Thursday, June 05, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADAM SMITH!

According to his baptism certificate, Adam Smith was baptised on 5 June, 1723, which by common convention is taken to be his birthday, because sickly children were baptised at birth in case they did not survive infancy (a common practise among religious families until recently).

However, there are always those overly-smart know-alls who insist on showing how clever they are by unnecessarily complicating the consequences of their actions.  I refer to those persons who shift Adam Smith’s birthday from the calendar date in operation in 1723 (5 June) to 16 June  by adding 11 days to the Julian calander to bring it into line with the Gregorian calender that came into operation from 1752.

If you watch carefully, some announcements of Adam Smith’s 16th of June birthday will appear in the press somewhere soon. Consider the consequences if historians were to conduct a parallel operation to change the Julian to Gregorian dates on all of Adam Smith’s correspondence to and from others, plus the biographically dated events in his life up to 1752.  His biographies would need to be re-set or constantly re-marked on the page or by footnotes, as would events in the wider-world during those centuries preceding 1752.

I suggest we stick to the documented dates in the appropriate records and ignore the 11-day discrepancies that are of no interest to sensible people, much like the sex-life of a rhinosorous is only of interest to another rhinosorous.


To celebrate Adam’s birthday, I am having lunch today with Chris Smith in Edinburgh, not fay from where Smith's close friend, James Hutton explored the geology of the defunct volcano that 5 million years ago graced the lands where Edinburgh now stands.  

No doubt I shall consume several cans of Diet Coke with my fish and chips (for me that’s a treat!).  No doubt we shall speak of our, and other’s, recent scholarly work published and unpublished, plus the usual gossip about promotions and their career disappointments.  

As for the Gregorian ‘know-alls’, I offer them a metaphoric two fingers …

9 Comments:

Blogger airth10 said...

"As for the Gregorian ‘know-alls’, I offer them a metaphoric two fingers ."

Are the the two fingers for 'victory' or for the other two fingered metaphoric expression?

10:18 am  
Blogger me said...

Dear Professor Gavin Kennedy,
I just read your 'A Tour of Adam Smith's Sites in Edinburgh' written a few years ago.

I am an undergraduate student who interested in Adam Smith. I wonder would you still offer a tour of Adam Smith's sites.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,
Matthias

8:13 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Mathias
In principle yes. An Adam Smith Tour is available from me on a mutually convenient ate arranged in advance.
I have done a couple of tours this year, one for an individual and one for a party. I expect one or two more later this summer.
I am however somewhat incapacitated somewhat after two strokes and I walk very slowly.
Should a proposed date prove convenient and I feel fit enough - the exercise is recommended by physiotherapists - I will be happy to do so. There is, of course, no charge for the service.
Gavin

6:39 am  
Blogger me said...

Dear Professor Gavin Kennedy,

It is my great pleasure that you could offer a tour. I feel deeply appreciated.

Since I just finished my 3rd year economics degree now, I am available from june 17 to july 2. Please let me know if any of the date suit you and I will book a train ticket from manchester.(I am a student from Hong Kong studying in manchester)

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,
Matthias

11:07 am  
Blogger matthias said...

Dear Professor Gavin Kennedy,

Is any of the date june 17 to july 2 suit you?

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,
Matthias

4:25 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Mathias

I can make Friday 27. Any good?
Gavin

8:47 am  
Blogger matthias said...

Dear Professor Gavin Kennedy,

Its okay for me. What time should we meet and how can I make contact with you? I might come one day earlier to Edinburgh since the train need 4 hours to travel.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Matthias

1:24 am  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

MATHIAS
Friday 27 at 10.30am is about right for me, if that's OK with you.
We meet beside Adam Smith's statue beside St Giles Cathedral on the High Street/Royal Mile, and opposite the Edinburgh City Council building.
My mobile number is 0708 65 73 65.
Is that OK for you?
Gavin

7:55 pm  
Blogger matthias said...

Dear Professor Gavin Kennedy,

Friday 27 at 10.30am is okay for me.
my mobile is 07774663103

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Matthias

2:34 am  

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