Miss Campbell?

Based on a short entry in Scottish novelist Henry Mackenzie’s memoire, I identified a seventh possible Adam Smith “lost love” in my previous post, a “Miss Campbell.” Who was she; when did Smith fall in love with her; and what, if anything, became of this romance? For his part, Mackenzie himself implies that “Campbell” was a common last name — a “name so numerous that to use it cannot be thought personal” — so that he is not giving anything way by identifying “Miss Campbell” as the object of Smith’s affections. That said, could Mackenzie’s “Miss Campbell” nevertheless be the same “young lady of great beauty and accomplishment” that Dugald Stewart refers to in his end note — originally Note H; now Note K — in his biography of Smith?

In the alternative, could Mackenzie perhaps be referring to Duke Henry’s younger sister Lady Frances (b. 1750, d. 1817), whose portrait as a little girl is pictured below? Although this is just a conjecture on my part, it is not a far-fetched one for several reasons. To begin with, Lady Frances was the daughter of Caroline Campbell Scott, so she was a “Campbell”. Secondly is Mackenzie’s observation that the woman, whoever she was, was “of as different dispositions and habits from him as possible.” Lady Frances was the daughter of a wealthy aristocratic family, while Adam Smith was an absent-minded professor. Lastly, Adam Smith corresponded with Lady Frances on multiple occasions (at least three letters from Smith addressed to Lady Frances survive), and both lived at Dalkeith House for at least two months during the fall of 1767.

Given these many coincidences (see above), I will further explore the relationship between Lady Frances and Adam Smith in my next blog post …

Frances, Lady Douglas, 1750-1817
Artist Credit: Joshua Reynolds

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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