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ALSO, A VIEW OF THE DOCTRINE OF SMITH,
COMPARED WITH THAT of the FRENCH ECONOMISTS; WITH a methoD OF
LIFE AND WRITINGS
DR. ADAM SMITH.
ADAM Smith, the celebrated author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,' was born in the town of Kirkaldy, on the 5th of June 1723. His father, at an early period of life, practised as a writer to the signet in Edinburgh, and officiated as private secretary to the Earl of Loudon, during the time his Lordship was principal secretary of state in Scotland, and keeper of the great seal; but afterwards settled at Kirkaldy, where, for some time before his death, he held the office of comptroller of the customs. He died a few months before the birth of his son.
The constitution of young Smith, during infancy, was so sickly as to require all the care and solicitude of his surviving parent, whose only child he was. The duty which thus devolved on his mother, it is allowed, she discharged in the most ample manner; and, indeed, carried her indulgence so far as to have drawn on herself, it has been said, some degree of blame. But it certainly does not appear that any bad consequences resulted, on this occasion, from unbounded parental fondness; nor can it be said, that any permanent disadvantage was felt by the retirement, and even seclusion, which long-continued weakness rendered necessary. To the inability of young Smith to engage in the active sports of his early companions, we ought, perhaps, to trace the foundation of those habits, and love of retirement, which distinguished him, in a peculiar manner, during a long life *.
We are informed that Smith received the rudiments of education at the grammar-school of Kirkaldy; and, at that time, attracted some
It is mentioned, that when about three years old, he was stolen from the door of his uncle, Mr. Douglas, in Strathenry, where his mother had been on a visit, by some tinkers, or gypsies. He was rescued in Leslie wood by his uncle, who was thus the happy instrument, Mr. Stewart observes, of preserving to the world, a genius, which was destined, not only to extend the boundaries of science, but to enlighten and reform the commercial policy of Europe.