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246.: From ROBERT REID - 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 ROBERT REID1
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/167; unpubl.
Miramichi, 11 Sept. 1785
With due respect I would humbly beg leave to trouble you with a few lines informing of my present situation and give you some account of my peregrinations last winter. Know, then, Sir, that I am settled upon the Banks of a very pleasant and navigable River called Miramichi in the Province of New Brunswic and County of Northumberland, of which Governor Carleton has been pleased to appoint me Coroner. I have got an estate of some hundreds of Acres of Land of which the soil is but indifferent. Every tree that I cut down, however, serves two purposes; first, it affords firewood; and, secondly, it clears so much Land which with a little culture will produce tollerable good grain, Potatoes, and Cabbages etc. The woods abound with game of different sorts, particularly with what the Savages call Moose; an animal about the size of a Bullock and its flesh eats equally well. The Mapple tree in spring affords a juice which in my opinion makes sugar of a much more wholesome quality than that imported from the west Indies. We have also several herbs, particularly what is called Maidenhair, which serve as an excellent Substitute for Tea. The river is amply stored with various sorts of fish, particularly Salmon. I am now therefore become both a farmer and a fisherman, and by exerting my Industry can live comfortably. Our Co–partnery have two vessels one of which goes to the foreign Market with the produce of our Industry in fish and returns with such British goods as suits the market here. In short, Sir, I have at present the prospect of becoming what I call Rich.
I shall now, according to promise, give you some account of my peregrinations last winter. One of my Partners and self went to Quebec where we purchased a Schooner and being detained at that place too long could not reach this place before the frost set it. We were therefore under the necessity of putting into a place called Pabo in the Bay de Chaleur where the vessel wintered; and I undertook the arduous task of traversing about five hundred miles thro’ the wild woods of America in order to transact some necessary business at Halifax. I accordingly set out about the middle of December thro’ an almost un–inhabited Country and entirely covered with Snow. I was, however, equipt with a pair of good snowshoes, a very happy invention which in winter greatly facilitates the Business of this Country and without the use of which scarce any out–door business can be carried on. I had not travelled many miles when I fell in with three Savages one of whom I soon understood bore the rank of Captain, who seeing my blue Cloaths immediately announced me Brother. I entered chearfully into conversation with them, and as I was going the same road they proposed to conduct me to their Wigwams which were only a few leagues distance. We travelled on till evening approached and my companions then proposed to encamp for the night; but think what were my ideas to lye down to sleep in a wild lonesome wood, surrounded by savages, in so very cold a climate, in the depth of winter and during a very heavy fall of Snow! There was, however, no alternative. My companions went to work with their Tomahawks and cut down some trees for firewood, and with the larger branches made our wigwam, while the smaller ones were alloted for our Beds. Fire serves two purposes; first, it prevents any attack from wild Beasts who never approach it; and, secondly, by turning our feet towards it prevents their being frost–bit; an accident very common in cold climates. We lay down and my companions slept very comfortably after regaling themselves with a bumper or two of my Rum. The only inconveniency I felt was the necessity of rising frequently to shake my Blanket clear of the Snow which continued to fall incessantly thro’ the night. Morning approach’d and we resumed our journey after treating my friends with another bumper which had such an effect on my Brother that for one single bottle he proposed I should have his squaw (or wife) for my Bed–fellow upon our arrival at his Wigwam. I was introduced as a brother Captain; but the appearance of the Lady was not a motive sufficient to excite me to part, either with my Rum, or accept of the honour of such a Bed–fellow. I remained among them a few days which gave me an opportunity of observing their manners. But a particular and proper description of their Wigwams, their furniture, their Customs and manners of Life would far exceed the bounds of a Letter. I have since that time navigated rivers some hundreds of miles with other Savages in their Canoes made of the bark of the birch tree. If I could find a favourable opportunity I would send home one of these Canoes as a present for Lord Dalkeith.2
I called upon Sir Charles Douglass3 when at Halifax and met with a most friendly reception both from Lady Douglass and from him which I shall ever remember with gratitude. Her Ladyship sets a great value upon the skin of a black fox which I hope soon to procure from some of my friends, the Savages. It was at Breakfast with Sir Charles that I first heard my late worthy Mistress Smith had paid the debt of Nature. The powers of language fail to express my feelings when I heard the melancholy news. Permit me to say that I sympathise with you on the loss of so virtuous and so loving a mother.—Please to offer my most respectful Compliments to Miss Douglass. I am now entirely at a loss in what manner to apologise for my conduct in presuming to trouble you with so very long an epistle, especially when I consider how trifling the greater part of the subject is. My fears already suggest that your not honouring me with an answer will confirm my suspicion.—Our Correspondent Mr William Annand4 in Bow Lane, London will forward any letters address’d for me. I am, Sir with the greatest respect
Your much obliged and most Obedient Humble Servant
[1 ]Former servant to Smith.
[2 ]Heir of the Duke of Buccleuch.
[3 ]Sir Charles Douglas, 1st Bt. (d. 1789), Rear–admiral; Captain of the Fleet at the battle of Dominica, 1782; C.–in–C. Halifax station, 1783–6; distant relative of Smith.
[4 ]Not traced.