A Previously Unpublished Correspondence between Adam Smith and Joseph Nicolas de Windischgratz

MENUDO, J.M., RIEUCAU, N.

HISTORY OF POLITICAL ECONOMY

Abstract: This article transcripts and comments on two letters by Adam Smith, and two letters by his correspondent Joseph Nicolas de Windischgrätz. These letters belong to a rather rich and lengthy exchange—which would end at the beginning of 1788—composed of at least sixteen pieces. As with the rest of the correspondence between them, the letters published here refer to the prize proposed by Windischgrätz in 1784–85. The Programme of this prize was looking for general formulas that would normalize all types of property transfer. Adam Smith replied that the great diversity of human customs did not lend itself to such formulas. In spite of his reluctance Smith eventually agreed to help Windischgrätz, but the prize had no winner.