A magnificent tribute



Adam Smith is finally honoured by a fitting statue in his own country. There were two days of festivities to mark the occasion, starting with Thursday’s debate on The Invisible Hand (which won handsomely). On Friday morning there was a visit to Panmure House, his one-time residence. Adam Smith’s favourite breakfast, strawberries, was served. Then at 12.15 in the Royal Mile in front of St Giles Cathedral, Nobel Laureate Vernon Lomax Smith said the words and pulled off the cover to reveal Alexander Stoddart’s astonishing tribute to the great man himself.

He stares down Edinburgh’s High Street, his stern expression reminding onlookers of the virtues of free markets and free societies. The statue itself, 10 foot high on a 10 foot base, took over three years to organize and complete, and was funded by private donations and organized by the Adam Smith Institute. A piper played some of the guests into a lunch in City Chambers, and the events concluded with a dinner addressed by R Emmett Tyrell of the American Spectator and Prof David Purdie speaking on the Scottish Enlightenment.

The unveiling was widely covered in the media (with an excellent photo in the Financial Times), and marks the successful culmination of much effort. Adam Smith has in recent years returned to his rightful place of prominence and respect. He is the Scot who has had the greatest influence on the world and on the lives of other people, and a wholly benign influence at that. Now there is a striking monument which captures the likeness of the man and serves to remind everyone of his great contribution to human happiness.