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159.: From ALEXANDER WEDDERBURN - 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 ALEXANDER WEDDERBURN
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/153; Scott 269–71.
[? London,] 6 June 1776
My Dear Smith,
Your Reflections a month ago upon the bad advices from America are all confuted by the favourable accounts lately received, which prove that our preparations have been seasonable, our Plans wise and the execution of them in all the departments of government active and vigorous. The next westerly wind may possibly reestablish your doctrines,1 but in the mean time because Quebeck is not taken and General Lee is, and because five American frigates were not able to beat an old twenty Gun Ship, we are wonderfully well pleased with ourselves;2 I have neither desponded very much nor been at all elated by any accounts from America, But I have a strong persuasion that in spite of all our wretched Conduct, the mere force of government clumsily and unsteadily applied will beat down the more unsteady and unmanageable Force of a democratical Rebellion. Fortune must be very adverse to us indeed, if distraction, folly, Envy and Faction should not fight for, as well as against us. So much for Politicks, of which at this time of the year I always have a perfect distaste, but I never felt it so strong as at present. Were the Session to open at this moment I know no man with whom I am fit to act except our friend Herbert.3 Would It in your opinion be justifiable in Any Man, and if so would It be fit for me to take up the System of pursuing my own Ideas without the least Attention to the Sentiments or Situations of other People. I am at present disposed to think that this is the best line a Man can follow, provided he acts so as to shew that It is System and not Caprice which directs him.
I saw some of your French friends, Suard4 was my Old acquaintance, a very reasonable Man, well informed and free from prejudices; Necker’s conversation shews that he is very rich and accustomed to be heard with complaisance.5 I did not take him to be very profound even in the Subjects he has had the greatest opportunity of knowing. He seems to think that a Book of rates is a good method of augmenting the industry of a Country, a Great quantity of Coin the certain proof of Wealth, and that a nation is the poorer for all the manufacturers bought of foreigners. He will not be a Convert to your System, for he is in possession of three or four terms that are of too much use in all his arguments to be easily dropped and that you do not much employ. Corn is with him La Matiere premiere, Coin, Le Tresor Publique, and by a dextrous application of the various literal and figurative senses of these phrases, he is very successful in every argument. I was unlucky in not meeting Made. Necker,6 but I could not prevail on Mrs Wedderburn7 to make a Party for her, and had only the Men.
I remember you mentioned two Books to me that would be of service to Sir James Erskine,8 and I have forgot the titles of them. If they occurr to you, I should be very glad to have them, as I must in a few weeks find some employment for his Curiosity.
I saw a very chearfull Letter from D. Hume, who I am happy to hear from other accounts is not likely to leave you any Commissions9 for a considerable time—
I ever am, My Dear Smith Yours most sincerely
[1 ]See Letter 158 addressed to William Strahan, dated 3 June 1776, and the MS. in Wedderburn’s hand, ‘Smith’s Thoughts on the State of the Contest with America, February 1778’, which is presented in Appendix B; also WN V.i.a. 27.
[2 ]Admiral Charles Douglas landed supplies at Quebec on 6 Mar. and the American investment was raised on 6 May. Gen. Charles Lee was not captured until 13 Dec. 1776.
[3 ]Henry Herbert: see Letter 70, n.1. Wedderburn urged conciliation with the Americans and drafted proposals to this end in 1776 and 1778. He became disenchanted with North’s conduct of the war and intrigued against him.
[4 ]J.–.B.–A. Suard (1733–1817) co–editor of La Gazette littéraire, translator of Robertson’s History of Charles V.
[5 ]Jacques Necker (1732–1804) financier and statesman, Louis XVI’s finance minister 1776–81, 1788–9; opposed the Physiocrats, as in his Essai sur la legislation et le commerce des grains (1775), which took issue with Turgot’s advocacy of a free trade in grains. Smith accepted an estimate of the French population from the Essai, but is said to have had no high opinion of Necker, calling him a ‘mere man of detail’ (Rae 206). See Letter 150, n. 5.
[6 ]Born Suzanne Curchod (1739–94); Gibbon ‘sighed as a lover’ for her, but ‘obeyed as a son’ when his father disapproved of their engagement. As Mme Necker, she conducted a famous salon in Paris and wrote on literary and moral topics. She was the mother of Mme de Staël.
[7 ]Betty Anne (d. 1781) dau. and heiress of John Dawson of Morley, Yorks.
[8 ]Sir James Erskine (1762–1837) s. of Wedderburn’s sister; at Eton 1772–7. His uncle supervised his education, secured him a seat in Parliament in 1782, though he was under age, and made him his heir. See letter 163, n. 5.
[9 ]Smith was Hume’s literary executor.