Smart was born in Barrhead, Renfrewshire on 10 April 1853, and died in Glasgow on 19 March 1915. He was educated at Glasgow High School, and registered as a student at Glasgow University in 1867. His university education suffered a long interruption, however, as his father, who managed the Mile-End Thread Works in Glasgow and was later Senior partner in the proprietors, John Clark, Junr, St Son., wished him to combine business with his studies and, when the competition for his energies proved too much, work in the business won. Smart finally took his MA in 1882. After his father's death, Smart became a partner in the firm, and was only finally freed to pursue his developing academic interests in political economy when the business was sold in 1884.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.