Life of Adam Smith eBook

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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 551 pages of information about Life of Adam Smith.
And he never appears to have set foot in Oxford again.  When he became Professor at Glasgow he was the medium of intercourse between the Glasgow Senate and the Balliol authorities, but beyond the occasional interchange of letters which this business required, his relations with the Southern University appear to have continued completely suspended.  Nor did Oxford, on her part, ever show any interest in him.  Even after he had become perhaps her greatest living alumnus, she did not offer him the ordinary honour of a doctor’s degree.


[10] Rogers’s edition of the Wealth of Nations, I. vii.

[11] Laing MSS., Edinburgh University.

[12] Stewart’s Life of Adam Smith, p. 8.

[13] Tyerman’s Wesley, i. 66.

[14] Brougham, Men of Letters, ii. 216.

[15] Letter from Senatus of Glasgow College to Balliol College, in Laing MSS., Edinburgh University.

[16] Letter of A.G.  Ross of Gray’s Inn to Professor R. Simson, Glasgow, in Edinburgh University Library.

[17] Laing MSS., Edinburgh University.

[18] Edinburgh University Library.



1748-1750. Aet. 25-27

In returning to Scotland Smith’s ideas were probably fixed from the first on a Scotch university chair as an eventual acquisition, but he thought in the meantime to obtain employment of the sort he afterwards gave up his chair to take with the Duke of Buccleugh, a travelling tutorship with a young man of rank and wealth, then a much-desired and, according to the standard of the times, a highly-remunerated occupation.  While casting about for a place of that kind he stayed at home with his mother in Kirkcaldy, and he had to remain there without any regular employment for two full years, from the autumn of 1746 till the autumn of 1748.  The appointment never came; because from his absent manner and bad address, we are told, he seemed to the ordinary parental mind a most unsuitable person to be entrusted with the care of spirited and perhaps thoughtless young gentlemen.  But the visits he paid to Edinburgh in pursuit of this work bore fruit by giving him quite as good a start in life, and a much shorter cut to the professorial position for which he was best fitted.  During the winter of 1748-49 he made a most successful beginning as a public lecturer by delivering a course on the then comparatively untried subject of English literature, and gave at the same time a first contribution to English literature himself by collecting and editing the poems of William Hamilton of Bangour.  For both these undertakings he was indebted to the advice and good offices of Lord Kames, or, as he then was, Mr. Henry Home, one of the leaders of the Edinburgh bar, with whom he was made acquainted, we may safely

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