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32.: From LORD SHELBURNE - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith 
Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987).
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From LORD SHELBURNE
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/138; Scott 245–8.
Dublin, 26 Apr. 1759
I have lately received your letter of the 4th inst; your former of the 10th of March, came also to my hands in due time. I can not sufficiently express my Satisfaction at the account you give me of my Son, now under your care; the description you make of him, convinces me of your power of looking into him, so does the Scheme you chalk out for the prosecution of his Studies, convince me of your judgment; Every thing confirms that you merit that Character which made me wish so much that you should take the Charge of him upon you, and, if I mistake you not, I shall make you much amends by assuring you, that the more I reflect on the Situation he is in, the more I am happy; so much so, and so satisfied both of your Ability and Inclination to do him Service, that I must refuse the request you make, that I shou’d point out what I wish to have done, I can point out nothing, I can only approve of what you mean to do. The great fault I find with Oxford and Cambridge, is that Boys sent thither instead of being the Governed, become the Governors of the Colleges, and that Birth and Fortune there are more respected than Literary Merit; I flatter’d myself that it was not so at Glasgow, and your commendation of my Son’s conformity to the Discipline of the place he is in, persuades me that you think as I do, that no greater Service can be done in leading to Manhood, than to confirm Youth, by long practice, in the habit of Obedience; a power of adopting the Will of another, will make one Master of one’s own. Oeconomy seems likewise to have a just place in your attention; No fortune is able to do without it, nor can any man be Charitable, Generous or Just who neglects it, it will make a man happy under Slender Circumstances, and make him Shine if his Income be Affluent. Your Pupil comes into the World a sort of an Adventurer, intitl’d to nothing, and will, if I may venture to prophesy concerning him, have more in proportion as his own wants are few. I wish him train’d to Need little, not for the purpose of Accumulating, but in order to enable him to Give more. The Building which is to be rais’d by Him, on the foundation that I am laying, is what I can not hope to see, and what I trust, and do believe, I shall not be troubled about, when my power to interpose shall cease; I wish him therefore to be convinc’d, that it is His happiness and not my own, that I have in view. I wish him to become an honest and a Benevolent man; I wish him Punctual and Sober; a lover of Method, and so skill’d in Figures and the businesses of Life, as by Assisting me in my latter days, he may make me rejoice at my Labours in his early ones.
Perhaps it is not yet the Season of procuring for him some Instruction to mend his hand–writing, but it is what he will want, and what he is capable of receiving, for when he writes with care, he does it in a manner that makes me think him capable of writing well. His Genius I have thought, Open to everything, his perception of Images and of Lines express’d on paper, was in the earliest part of his life, quick and clear; this makes me hope that the Study of Euclid, which you intend for him, will be of profit and not above his reach, it is, in my mind, a far better teacher of Reasoning than Logic is. If his Idleness and Volatility can be overcome, Mathematicks in general I fancy will be agreeable to him, and from a turn that he has to Mechanicks, the Experimental parts of Natural Philosophy will I am sure be a great delight to him. I mention these things, only to convince you that I have him and his future happiness at heart, and if he shall not turn out such as his Talents are equal to, be assur’d that I shall not be the more doubtful of, or the less thankful for your Endeavours.
The time of my Son’s stay at Glasgow, is by no means limited as you seem to think from what his Elder brother told you; I wish him to stay so long as You, Sir, can endure him under your Eye, and so long as he shall continue worthy of your Attention; for my part, having no view to anything but his Improvement, nor any use to make of him until he shall be perfect in those things which I only know how to Admire, but not how to Teach, I shall rejoice at the length of his Absence from me, being much of opinion that great Evils arise by suffering Boys to become Men too soon. A knowledge in the Civil Law, is the best foundation he can have to introduce him to that of his own Country, the Study of it may make him Wise, but it is upon Your Precepts and Example in Morality, that I depend for making him Happy.
I can hardly flatter myself with the hope of seeing Scotland this Summer, but I think of a jaunt thither with much pleasure.
You make me very vain by approving so much my endeavours to make a part of this Country happier than I found it, if I succeed I shall make myself so; I shall be glad that Good is done how little hand soever I may have in doing it, in the present case a very Slender share of praise is to fall to my Lot, the truth is, that my Property is so scatter’d, and my Avocations from Every place so frequent, that I cou’d only have Imagin’d the Work you have heard of, but cou’d not possibly have brought it to a likelyhood of perfection, were it not for the great and able aid I received from my friend Dr. Henry.1 This Gentleman has had his Education in your University, tho’ a Native of this Country; it is an honour to Glasgow to have train’d up one of a Spirit so Great and so Disinterested as his in doing good to Mankind; the burthen of my late work has been borne by him, and so ought the praise, if any it shall deserve; it is a pleasure to me to give this just Character of him, to one of your merit; your pupil will be glad, I hope, to hear that his friend Dr. Henry continues both to deserve and acquire the Esteem of Everybody; I pray you to assure him of my Love, and to believe me to be with much Esteem, Sir
Your Much Oblig’d and Very humble Servant
[1 ]? William Henry (d. 1768), Dean of Killaloe 1761–8; chaplain to Archbishop Josiah Hort; D.D. Dublin 1750; F.R.S. 1755.