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243.: To DR. JAMES MENTEATH - 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 DR. JAMES MENTEATH1
MS., GUL Gen. 1464/1; Scott 292–3.
Custom–house, Edinburgh, 22 Feb. 1785
My Dear James
I received your very kind and friendly letter in due course; and have no hesitation to recommend the University of Edinburgh in preference to any other. It is at present better provided in Professors than any other Society of the kind that I ever knew; and it is likely soon to be still better provided than at present.2 While my own residence, besides, is here, which it is now very likely to be for life, I would fain flatter myself I may be of some use in rendering both your stay here agreable and your sons useful. I approve entirely of your attending your son3 to the place of his education yourself as his principal Governour and Preceptor. I consider it as the most sacred as well as the most important duty of a father. But I disapprove altogether of your proposal to resign your Living. It may happen that Scotland may not turn out to be so agreeable a place of residence either to you or to your family as you at present hope; and it will certainly be more prudent to take a trial of us for a year or two at least, before you take the final and irrevocable resolution of giving up altogether your connection with your present Neighbourhood and abode. You have hitherto been so religiously exact in the performance of all your pastoral duties, that you are well entitled to demand a vacation for at least three or four winters in order to attend upon the education of your son. I give you this caution, much against my own interest and inclination, and merely for Conscience sake. You are now, except one or two old Cousins,4 the oldest friend I have now remaining in the world, and it gives me the most unspeakable satisfaction to think that I have some chance of ending my days in your Society and neighbourhood. I ever am
My Dearest friend, your most affectionate and most faithful humble Servant
[1 ]A friend of Smith from his Oxford days, he was Rector of Barrowby in Lincolnshire until he inherited Closeburn, Dumfriesshire. He assumed the additional surname of Stuart by sign–manual in 1770. Smith sometimes spelled the name Monteath, and the family is now known as Stuart–Menteth.
[2 ]Adam Ferguson gave up the Chair of Moral Philosophy in 1785 and was succeeded by Dugald Stewart. Other distinguished teachers at Edinburgh University were the Principal, William Robertson; Joseph Black, Chemistry; William Cullen, Physic; John Robinson, Natural Philosophy; John Bruce, Logic; and A. F. Tytler, Universal History.
[3 ]Charles Granville Stuart Menteith, created a Baronet in 1838.
[4 ]General Robert Skene; Col. Robert Douglas of Strathenry; Miss Janet Douglas, Smith’s housekeeper; and Col. Patrick Ross of Innernethy and his wife. See Letter 281 addressed to James Menteath, dated 16 Sept. 1788, for an account of the last illness of Miss Douglas.