Horace Walpole’s Journal

My next set of “Smith and the City” posts will follow Horace Walpole’s Paris journal to retrace some of Adam Smith’s footsteps during the first eight weeks of Smith’s residency in Paris, i.e. until Walpole’s departure on April 17, 1766.[1] (As I mentioned in my previous post, Walpole had arrived in the French capital on September 13, 1765,[2] several months before Smith’s arrival.) In summary, Adam Smith or his pupil Duke Henry are mentioned by name in Walpole’s travel journal no less than 20 times. The dates and substance of these journal entries are catalogued in chronological fashion in the table below:

Date of Journal EntryReference to Smith or Duke Henry (followed by page number)
Saturday, February 15“Dr Smith came. Went to an auction of prints. To Mme d’Uson. To Mme de Bentheim, Mme Lillebonne there. To Duchesse de la Vallière, Mme de Ferté-Imbault and Count Golowski there. To Mme Geoffrin’s ….” (302, footnote omitted)
Sunday, March 2“To Italian play with Lord and Lady G. Lennox, Duke of Buccleuch, Dr Smith, Sir H. Echlin and Captain Jones, Tom Jones.” (305, footnotes omitted)
Monday, March 3“King went suddenly to the Parliament—packing up and writing letters till late in the evening. Dr Smith and Baron d’Holbach came. To the Temple.” (306)
Saturday, March 8“Ditto. Mme Geoffrin, Mr Smith, Mme du Deffand, Lord and Lady George came.” (306, footnote omitted) [Note: The word “Ditto” refers to Walpole’s journal entry for the previous day (March 7): “Cold in my eyes.”]
Sunday, March 9“Ditto. Ditto. and Duke of Buccleuch and M. Schuwalof.” (306) [Note: The second “Ditto” refers to the individuals who visited with Walpole on the previous day (March 8).]
Tuesday, March 11“Mr Smith and M. de Sarsfield. To take the air. To Mme du Deffand.” (307)
Thursday, March 13“Dr Smith and Gordon, Principal of the Scotch College came.” (307)
Saturday, March 15“With Dr Smith to the Scots College.” (307, footnote omitted) [See also pp. 358-360 of Walpole’s “Anecdotes Written in 1766.”]
Sunday, March 16“To Hôtel de Brancas, Duke of Buccleuch etc. there.” (308)
Thursday, March 20“Mr Young, Mr Lyttelton, Duke of Buccleuch and Mr Smith came. To shops.” (309)
Saturday, March 22“To shops. With Lady and Lord George, Mr and Mrs Carr, Duke of Buccleuch, Mr Scot, and Mr Nicholson to the Foire St-Germain, and supped afterwards at Lord George’s.” (309)
Monday, March 24“Dined at Duke of Buccleuch’s with several English.”
Tuesday, March 25“To manufacture at Sevè with Lady George, Mrs Ker, Duke of Buccleuch and Mr Scot.” (309, footnote omitted)
Wednesday, March 26“To Mme d’Usson, Duke of Buccleuch etc. Abbé Colbert, and M. de Barbantane, and Mme de Gacé there. (309)
Friday, March 28“Supped at Hôtel de Brancas with Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Fitzwilliam and others.” (310)
Sunday, March 30“To Mme du Deffand. Mr Smith came.” (310)
Tuesday, April 1“M. de Schuwalof and Mr Smith came.” (311)
Monday, April 7“The Rena, Lord Tavistock and Mr Smith came.” (312, footnote omitted)
Monday, April 7“Supped at Lady Mary Chabot’s with Lady Browne, Mme de Bouzols, Mr Smith and Chevalier de Barfort.” (312)
Wednesday, April 9“Lord Edward Bentick and Mr Smith came.” (312)

As you can see from this table, Adam Smith and his pupil Duke Henry are mentioned with great regularity and frequency in Walpole’s journal–no less than 20 times–but there is a significant gap early on, a gap consisting of two weeks, between Feb. 15, 1766, when Walpole mentions Smith by name for the first time, and March 2, 1766, the second time in which Smith is mentioned in Walpole’s journal.

The first entry to mention Smith is dated Saturday, February 15, and it tells us that “Dr Smith came,” presumably to the the Parc-Royal, the hotel where Walpole was also residing, though it is unclear whether Smith accompanied Walpole to the “auction of prints” or to the whirlwind of social visits that Walpole made that same day. Either way, though, this entry provides a revealing glimpse and “who’s who” of the salons of ancien régime Paris.[3] But then, a period of two-weeks elapses before Smith is mentioned again in Walpole’s journal. What was Smith doing during this time? As we shall see, if Smith was in Paris in February, it’s very likely that he visited two Paris landmarks during this time, the Temple and Notre Dame Cathedral. I shall explain why in my next two posts …


[1] Walpole’s journal entry for that date reads: “Set out for England at 4 o’clock.” Lewis 1939, p. 314.

[2] Walpole’s journal entry for that date reads: “Arrived at Paris at 6 o’clock.” Lewis 1939, p. 260 (footnote omitted).

[3] Walpole’s entry for February 15, however, presents a puzzle because, in a private letter addressed to Lord Mary Coke dated 3 March 1766, Horace Walpole writes: “Your nephews [Duke Henry and his younger brother Hew Campbell Scott], Madam, and Dr. Smith are coming to the Hôtel I inhabit.” Toynbee 1904, p. 430.

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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1 Response to Horace Walpole’s Journal

  1. Pingback: Smith in the City: Death of the Dauphin | prior probability

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