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185.: 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. 1035/155; Scott 274–5.
London, 30 Oct. 1777
My Dear Smith
I have long intended to answer your Letter1 which I received very regularly, but in a Situation where I could not gain the least Intelligence about Mr Nelthorp.2 That Part of your Letter is now as much out of date as the Account of your mercy to the highwayman, in which I suspect there was a little mixture of Prudence; Nor I am convinced that the ardour of your Mans Courage3 would have misdirected his Pistol, and if he had shot I shou’d have been in more pain for your danger than the Highwayman’s. I believe I may venture to assure you that neither of the two Gentlemen you recommend so warmly will succeed Mr Menzies. I am sorry that I did not know how much you interested yourself in their favour before I received the D[uchess] of B[uccleuch]’s note, which I immediately conveyed to Lord North4 and I am assured It has had its full effect. I have often heard that Ladys interfering in Business never fail to spoil it. This Dutchess, meaning no doubt very well runs counter to your recommendation very unluckily, disappoints you of the pleasure of seeing either a very able or a very jolly Commissioner of the Customs, and deprives one of these Gentlemen of the more substantial pleasure of enjoying a very good Office.
If you do not come up to London directly and for some months at least keep Mr Nelthorp in countenance, I shall as little forgive the Duchess for her meddling in this Business, as you ought to do.
There is a Packet arrived from Howe5 which has been two months upon Its passage. People seem pleased with the accounts but I do not know what they are having only been a few hours in town.
I ever am, My Dr Smith Yours most sincerely
[1 ]Not traced: presumably dealt with Smith’s candidacy for the post of Commissioner of Customs.
[2 ]William Nelthorp, appointed Commissioner of Customs, 1774.
[3 ]Possibly Robert Reid, servant who left Smith’s employment before 1784, and wrote to him from New Brunswick, on 11 Sept. 1785; see Letter 246.
[4 ]Frederick, Lord North (1732–92), M.P.; Chancellor of the Exchequer 1767–82; First Lord of the Treasury 1770–82, and as such Prime Minister during the crisis of the American War of Independence. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Guilford in 1790.
[5 ]Either Admiral Richard Lord Howe or General Sir William Howe, brothers who commanded by sea and land in America.