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A Letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith

By Smith, Adam

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Book Id: WPLBN0000667803
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 3.14 MB.
Reproduction Date: 2005

Title: A Letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith  
Author: Smith, Adam
Language: English
Subject: Political science., Economics and literature, Economic & political studies series
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Archive for the History of Economic Thought


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Smith, A. (n.d.). A Letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith. Retrieved from

Economic Theory Literature

Excerpt: WHEN I first saw the plan and future of your very ingenious and very learned Treatise on the Wealth of Nations, it gave me a complete idea of that fife, which I had long withheld to fear the public in perihelion of. A fife, that might fix some first principles in the most important of Sciences, the knowledge of the human community, and its operations. That might become principia to the knowledge of politick operations; as Mathematics are to Mechanics, Astronomy, and the other Sciences. Early in my life I had begun an analysis, of first laws of motion (if I may so express myself) which are the hereof, and give direction to, the labour of mail in the individual; which form that reciprocation of wants and intercommunion of mutual supply of community; which give energy, motion, and that organized form to the compound labour and operations of that community, which is government; which give to trade and commerce, and are the forming of the instrument of it, most of the effect of it in operation, an influx of riches, and of the final effect, and power. The fate of that life called me off from find. I have however at times (never totally losing light of it) endeavoured to resume this investigation; but fearing that the want of exercise and habit in those intellectual exertions may have rendered me unequal to the attempt, I am extremely happy to find this executed by abilities superior to what I can pretend to, and to a point beyond that which the utmost range of my hot could have attained. Not having any personal knowledge of the author, or of the port which I now underlined he bears in the learned world, I read your book without prejudice.-I find it deserved a more close and attentive application, than the deafen of buffoons would allow me to give to it; I have find in the retreat of summer studied it: you have, I find, by a truly philosophic and patient analysis, endeavoured to investigate analytically those principles, by which nature first moves and then stops. As the operations of man in the individual, and in community: And then, next, by application of the principles to experience, and the institutions of men, you have endeavoured to deduce Synthetically.


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