He was a son of the Count Ladislas Gurowski, an ardent admirer of Tadeusz Kościuszko and lost the greater part of his estates through having participated in the insurrection of 1794. Having been expelled in 1818 and again in 1819 from the gymnasia of Warsaw and Kalisz for revolutionary demonstrations, young Gurowski continued his studies at various German universities.
Returning to Warsaw in 1825, he became identified with those opposed to Russian influence, and was in consequence several times imprisoned. He was active in organizing the November Uprising of 1830, in which he afterward took part. On its suppression, he escaped to France, where he lived for several years, associated with the Saint-Simonians, and adopted many of the views of Charles Fourier. He was also a member of the national Polish committee in Paris, and became conspicuous in political and literary circles. His estates had meantime been confiscated and he himself condemned to death.
In 1835, he published a work entitled La vérité sur la Russie, in which he advocated a union of the different branches of the Slavic race. The book being favorably regarded by the Russian government, Gurowski was recalled, and, although his estates were not restored, he was employed in the civil service. In 1843, the Marquis de Custine, lover of Gurowski's brother Ignacy, published La Russie en 1839, a polemical travelogue focusing on the Russian Empire. In 1844, finding that he had many powerful enemies at court, Gurowski left secretly for Berlin and went thence to Heidelberg. Here he gave himself to study, and for two years lectured on political economy in the University of Bern, Switzerland. He then went to Italy.
In 1849, he went to the United States, where he engaged in literary pursuits and became deeply interested in American politics. He wrote articles for the American Cyclopaedia and worked on the editorial staff of the New York Tribune. During the Crimean War, he sided with Russia, and his editorials and pamphlets were an effective influence on American public opinion in favor of Russia. He was strongly opposed to slavery.
From 1861 to 1863, he was translator in the state department at Washington, being acquainted with eight languages. In 1862, the first volume of his Diary was published, which except for Edwin M. Stanton, was highly critical of officials in the Lincoln administration.
He married Theresa de Zbijewska in 1827. They had two children. Theresa died in 1832.
- La civilisation et la Russie (St. Petersburg, 1840)
- Pensées sur l'avenir des Polonais (Berlin, 1841)
- Aus meinem Gedankenbuche (Breslau, 1843)
- Eine Tour durch Belgien (Heidelberg, 1845)
- Impressions et souvenirs (Lausanne, 1846)
- Die letzten Ereignisse in den drei Theilen des alten Polen (The latest events in the three parts of old Poland; Munich, 1846)
- Le Panslavisme (Florence, 1848)
- Russia as it Is (New York, 1854)
- The Turkish Question (1854)
- A Year of the War (1855)
- America and Europe (1857)
- Slavery in History (1860)
- My Diary, notes on the Civil War (3 vols., 1862–66)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1892). "Gurowski, Adam". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton
- Le Roy H. Fischer (1944). "Gurowski, Adam". Dictionary of American Biography. Supplement One. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.