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219.: To CHARLES McKINNON OF McKINNON - 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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To CHARLES McKINNON OF McKINNON1
MS., BM Add. MSS. 5035; Rae 380–1.
Custom–house, Edinburgh, 21 Aug. 1782
I received your favour of the thirteenth of this month and am under some concern to be obliged to tell you that I am not only not yet out of the press, but that I have not yet gone into it; and would most earnestly once more recommend it to your consideration whether upon this occasion we should go into it at all. It was but within these few days that I could obtain a meeting with Mr McKinzie who was occupied with the Exchequer Business.2 I found he had seen your Papers before and was of the same opinion with me, that in their present condition they would not do you the honour we wish you to derive from whatever work you publish. We read them over together with great care and attention, and we both continued of our first opinion. I hope you will pardon me, if I take the liberty to tell you that I cannot discover in them those original ideas which you seem to suppose that they contain. I am not very certain whether I understand what you hint obscurely in your former letter; but it seems to me as if you had some fear that some person might anticipate you and claim the merit of your discoveries by publishing them as his own. From the Characters of the Gentlemen to whom your Papers have been communicated, I should hope there is no danger of this. But to prevent the Possibility of the Public being imposed upon in this manner, your Papers now lie sealed up in my writing Desk, superscribed with directions to my Executors3 to return them unopened to you or your heirs as their proper owners. In case of my Death and that of McKinzie the production of these papers under my seal and superscribed by my hand will be sufficient to refute any plagiarism of this kind. While we live our evidence will secure to you the reputation of whatever discoveries may be contained in them. I return you the five Pound note in hopes that you will not insist upon this publication at least for some time; at any rate I shall always be happy to advance a larger sum upon your account, tho I own, I could wish it was for some other purpose. I have not shown your Papers to Smellie.4 It will give me great pleasure to hear from you and to be informed that you forgive the freedom I have used in offering you, I am afraid, a disagreable advice. I can assure you that nothing but the respect which, I think, I owe to the character of a person whom I know to be a man of worth, delicacy and honour could have extorted it from me, I ever am
Dear Sir, most faithfully yours
If you should not chuse that your papers should remain in my custody, I shall either send them to you, or deliver to whom you please.
[1 ]Charles Mackinnon of Mackinnon, Chief of Clan, had composed a treatise on fortification which he wished to have published. To this end he sent £5 to Smith to cover expenses, but Smith wanted him to abandon the whole idea of publication.
[2 ]Henry Mackenzie, the novelist.
[3 ]Drs. John Black and James Hutton.
[4 ]William Smellie (1740–95), printer, naturalist, and antiquary; edited and contributed to ed. 1 of Encyclopoedia Britannica, 1771; wrote a brief life of Smith.