Adam Smith, a Scottish philosopher, born at Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire, June 5, 1723, died in Edinburgh, July 8, 1790. He studied at the university of Glasgow for three years, and for seven years at Oxford. In 1748 he fixed his residence in Edinburgh, where under the patronage of Lord Kames he delivered lectures on rhetoric and belles-lettres. He was elected in 1751 professor of logic in the. university of Glasgow, and was transferred in 1752 to the chair of moral philosophy in the same university, which he filled nearly 12 years. His course was divided into four parts. The first treated natural theology; in the second, devoted to ethics, he developed the doctrines contained in his "Theory of Moral Sentiments;" in the third, the subject of which was justice, he traced the gradual progress of jurisprudence and government; and in the fourth, the subject of which was expediency, he ex-amined those political regulations which relate to commerce, finances, and ecclesiastical and military establishments, and which are calculated to increase the power and prosperity of a state.
The last division included the substance of his work on the "Wealth of Nations." He published in 1759 his "Theory of Moral Sentiments," in which he maintains the doctrine that all moral emotions and distinctions spring from sympathy. (See Moral Philosophy.) From this time he devoted a larger portion of his lectures to jurisprudence and political economy. Near the close of 1763 he resigned his professorship to accompany the young duke of Buccleugh on his travels. They visited Paris, resided 18 months at Toulouse, passed two months at Geneva, and returning to Paris at the end of 1765, remained there nearly a year. He returned with his pupil to London in October, 1766, and soon after fixed his residence for ten years with his mother at Kirkcaldy, engaged in severe study, and occasionally visiting Edinburgh and London. For many years he enjoyed an intimate friendship with Hume. In 1776 appeared his "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," which was the first complete and systematic statement of the principles of political economy. It received several additions in the third edition (1784), and was translated into the principal European languages.
A new edition by J. E. T. Rogers was published in London and New York in 1870 (2 vols. 8vo). (See Political Economy, vol. xiii., p. 668.) Smith resided for two years after its publication chiefly in London, and in 1778 was appointed one of the commissioners of customs for Scotland, removing to Edinburgh. In 1787 he was elected lord rector of the university of Glasgow. A large proportion of his savings was allotted to secret charity.