SMITH, ADAM. 1723-1790.
"...I SHALL NOT KNOW HOW TO EMPLOY MYSELF TILL I GET MY LIBRARY."
Autograph Letter Signed ("Adam Smith"), 1 p, 4to, [Paris], "Thursda[y] / 10 o'clock forenoon," , interlineal closed tear, 4 small repairs to verso with loss of one letter.
Rare Adam Smith letter, dating from just before his work on Wealth of Nations began in earnest. Concerns the transport of his books and a picture of Henry Scott, Duke of Buccleuch [1746-1812] home to Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Adam Smith acted as the Duke of Buccleuch's tutor from 1764 to 1766 when the pair traveled abroad. It was on this trip that Smith came to know Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and Francois Quesnay and other French economists. Scott and Smith remained lifelong friends and Smith's affection is apparent in the care he had taken of the latter's portrait.
In full: "My servant will deliver to you along with this a picture of the Duke of Buccleuch, wch tho' it is but a sketch I value very highly. I must beg the favour of you that you will order a particular box to be made for it in which it may be perfectly safe & send it along with the books to Scotland directed in the same manner. / I should be glad to receive all my good & chattels as soon as possible as I shall not know how to employ myself till I get my library. I ever am Dear Sir / most faithfully yours / Adam Smith."
Provenance: estate of Helen Dow Whiting