Life of Adam Smith eBook

John Rae (educator)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 551 pages of information about Life of Adam Smith.
to whom I beg to be remembered in the most respectful manner.
You have made a small mistake in stating our account.  You credit me with L150 only, instead of L170; the first bill for L120, the second for L50.  Cadell, however, still remains unpaid.  As soon as I understand he has delivered the books, or before it, if he will send me the account of them, I shall send him the money.—­I ever am, dear sir, most faithfully yours,

     ADAM SMITH.[283]

What was the cause of Smith’s outbreak of very unhabitual irritation with Strahan on the occasion alluded to in this letter, I cannot say, nor probably does it in the least matter.  His temper, indeed, was one of unusual serenity and constancy, and but for his own confession in this letter, we should never have known that it was liable, like others, to occasional perturbations, from which it appears, however, he speedily recovered, and of which he is evidently heartily ashamed.  General Skeenes was probably one of his relations, the Skenes of Pitlour.

The money transactions mentioned in the concluding paragraph refer doubtless to his Commission fees, which from some calculations made, probably by Strahan, on the back of the letter, seem to have come to L147:18s.  But the reference to Mr. Cadell’s account shows that the second edition of his book had now appeared.  It was not published in four volumes octavo, as he originally proposed to Strahan, but, like the former edition, in two volumes quarto, and the price was now raised from L1:16s. to two guineas, so that under the half-profit arrangement which was agreed upon, he must have obtained a very reasonable sum out of this edition, and we can understand how, from the four authorised editions published during his lifetime, he made, according to his friend Professor Dalzel, a “genteel fortune,” as genteel fortunes went in those days.


[275] Hume MSS., R.S.E.  Library.

[276] Leslie and Taylor, Life of Reynolds, ii. 199.

[277] Sim’s Works of Mickle, Preface, xl.

[278] Ibid., Preface, xliii.

[279] The Bee, 1st May 1791.

[280] Gentleman’s Magazine, lxv. 635.

[281] Original with Mr. F. Barker.

[282] Original in possession of Mr. Alfred Morrison.

[283] Original in possession of Mr. Alfred Morrison.



1778-1790. Aet. 55-67

On settling in Edinburgh Smith took a house in the Canongate—­Panmure House, at the foot of Panmure Close, one of the steep and narrow wynds that descend from the north side of the Canongate towards the base of the Calton Hill; and this house was his home for the rest of his days, and in it he died.  The Canongate—­the old Court end of the Scottish capital—­was still at the close of last century the fashionable residential quarter of the city, although Holyrood had then long lain deserted—­as Hamilton of Bangour called it,

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Life of Adam Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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