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147.: From JOHN ROEBUCK - 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 JOHN ROEBUCK1
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/152; Scott 268–9.
Bo’ness, 1 Nov. 1775
I have so long delayed writing that I blush to take the Pen. Yet I know you will believe me when I say if my writing would have been of real service to you no consideration should have made me omit it. Since I left London I have not enjoyed good Health but have been dul and inactive and yet not so ill as to be confined to the House or take Medicines. I have trusted to indolence and temperance to restore me to health and have therefore attended only to absolutely necessary Business.
On my return home I found Mr Miller2 rather more tractable than I expected. My concerns3 however suffered a good deal by my absence not for want of either knowledge or industry in my Son John who truly executed his part to admiration but for want of sufficient Authority which necessitated him to yield to the Controul of my Trustees when I might have resisted. Sometimes I think Mr Miller disposed to [be]have candidly according to his knowledge at other times I find it difficult to refrain from contrary sentiments. I am daily however becoming more independent. These reflections to ourselves I should weary you with the subject if I was placed in your easy Chair.
Business and want of good Health has so confined me to Kinneil4 that I have nothing but News Paper Politicks to furnish me with a little Zest which has roused me to write the inclosed Paper5 I will not say in answer for I did not chuse to be personal but on the occasion of the publication of Mr Burks Letter to Mr [ ] of Bristol.6 I sent it last Post to a Friend to put it in some of the Papers (of course without mentioning my name). But perhaps it may not see the light.
I have inclosed you a Coppy of a Letter from Capt. Lowrie with the Characters of some of the Boston Politicians.7 Though the Pictures are not well painted yet I am inclined to think they are not much unlike the Originals.
I this day received the Kings Speech which delights me much as I perceive the Ministry are now creating a proper spirit.
I sometime ago received a Coppie of Letters to T.R.8 by which I perceive both you and Mr W9 have been attentive to my Interest. In hopes it will take place I have been instructing Ben.10 in some branches of Chymistry so as to enable him to carry on Business with advantage soon after his arrival.
I hoped by this time to have seen your Name in the Papers. The meeting of Parliament is a proper time for the Publication of such a work as yours.11 It might also have been of general use in influencing the Opinion of many in this American contest.
Mrs Roebuck sends her kind Compliments to you. I am Dear Sir ever your Affectionate Friend and Humble Servant
[ ] letter and a Plan of the Pr[ ]ers shall be sent to TR under [ ] next Post.12
[1 ]John Roebuck (1718–94), inventor and projector; studied Chemistry and Medicine at Edinburgh and Leyden (M.D. 1742); developed techniques for smelting precious metals and producing sulphuric acid; formed the Carron Iron Company, 1760; Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh; friend and partner of James Watt. He went bankrupt in 1773, and Matthew Boulton bought his share in the partnership with Watt.
[2 ]Patrick Miller (1731–1815), Edinburgh banker and shareholder in Carron Co.; director of the Bank of Scotland (from 1767), then Deputy Governor; later associated, as projector, with the development of steam navigation.
[3 ]Roebuck lost heavily through ill success at this period with salt–works and coalmines at Bo’ness, Linlithgowshire. Latterly he was employed there as manager by his creditors.
[4 ]16th–17th–century mansion S.W. of Bo’ness; the park was the scene of experiments with Watt’s condensing steam engine.
[5 ]Not traced.
[6 ]Blank in text: ? Richard Champion—see Letter 145 from Burke, dated 1 May 1775.
[7 ]Walter S. Laurie, ‘Camp on Charles Town heights 23 June 1775’, GUL MS. Gen. 1035(y): the ‘Boston Politicians’ include Samuel Adams and Josiah Quincy.
[8 ]Not traced.
[9 ]? Alexander Wedderburn.
[10 ]Another son of Roebuck.
[12 ]The postscript is torn.