Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Pownall, Thomas. A letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith … being an examination of several points of doctrine, laid down in his ‘Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations’. London, 1776.

This is probably the earliest criticism of Adam Smith’s Wealth of nations, published earlier in 1776, and is a significant addition to the Library’s holdings relating to the Scottish Enlightenment. The author, though disagreeing with some elements in Smith’s arguments, was generally complimentary. He believed that if a number of corrections were made, the book could be used as a basis for lectures ‘in our universities’. In fact, Smith subsequently sent him a letter of thanks for ‘his very great politeness’. Pownall had previously been Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company (1757-59) and Governor of South Carolina (1759-60), and at the time of writing the critique was the MP for Minehead. He published on a wide range of subjects including the administration of the colonies, international trade and law.


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