Record

CodeNA5154
Dates1723-1790
Person NameSmith; Adam (1723-1790); philosopher and political economist
SurnameSmith
ForenamesAdam
Epithetphilosopher and political economist
ActivityAdam Smith (1723-1790), philosopher and political economist, was the only child of Adam Smith (1679-1723), who was private secretary to Hugh Campbell, third earl of Loudoun, and comptroller of customs at Kircaldy. Smith was brought up by his mother. When he was three he was kidnapped by gipsies. He was not a strong child and suffered from 'fits of absence of mind'. He was educated at the burgh school of Kircaldy and in Glasgow, 1737-1738. His teacher, Francis Hutcheson, was a great influence. Smith obtained a Snell exhibition to Balliol College, Oxford, 1740. With this grant he was obliged to take orders in the episcopal church in Scotland, but after the union this condition was not enforced. Smith took the BA degree in 1744 and stayed in Oxford until 1746. His health was not good during this period.

Smith returned to Kircaldy in 1746 and in 1748-1749 gave a course of lectures on English literature and also lectured on economic topics. He was elected to the chair of logic at Glasgow University in 1751 and, on the death of Professor Craigie, he became Professor of Moral Philosophy, 1751-1790. Smith was also quaestor (treasurer) 1758-1764, Dean of Faculty, 1760-1762, and from 1762, Vice Rector. He became travelling tutor for Henry Scott, third duke of Buccleuch in 1763. Following the death of Hew Campbell Scott, Smith returned to London and later to Kircaldy. He was appointed Commissioner of Customs, 1777 and settled in Panmure House in Edinburgh's Connongate. In 1787 Smith was elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University and he died in July, 1790. Smith was a member of the Literary Society of Glasgow, the Anderston Club, the Poker Club, The Club, the Oyster Club and the Philosophical Society. Smith became a Fellow of the Royal Society, 1767. He contributed to the 'Edinburgh Review' and his publications include: 'The Theory of the Moral Sentiments' (1759); 'The Wealth of Nations' ( 1776).
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