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252.: To [GEORGE CHALMERS] - 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 [GEORGE CHALMERS]
MS., EUL La. ii. 191, Rae 400–1.
Edinburgh, 3 Jan. 1786
The accounts of the Imports and Exports of Scotland, which you wanted, are sent by this days Post to Mr Rose.1
Since I wrote to you last I have conversed with Sir Henry Moncrieff,2 Dr. Websters successor as Collector of the fund for the Maintenance of Clergymens Widows, and with his Clerk, who was likewise Clerk to Dr Webster, and who was of great use to the Doctor in the composition of the very book which I mentioned to you in a former letter. They are both of opinion that the conversation I had with Dr Webster a few months before his Death, must have been the effect of a momentary and sudden thought, and not of any serious or deliberate consideration or enquiry. It was, indeed, at a very jolly table, and in the midst of much mirth and jollity, of which the worthy Doctor, among many other useful and amiable qualities, was a very great lover and promoter. They told me that in the year 1779; a copy of the Doctors book was made out by his Clerk for the use of my Lord North. That in the end of that Book the Doctor had subjoined a note to the following purpose; that tho’ between 1755 and 1779, the numbers in the great trading and manufacturing towns and Villages were considerably increased, yet the Highlands and islands were much depopulated, and even the Low Country, by the enlargement of farms, in some degree; so that the whole numbers, he imagined, might be nearly the same at both periods. Both these gentlemen believe that this was the last deliberate Judgement which Dr Webster ever formed upon this subject. The lists mentioned in the note are the lists of what are called examinable persons; that is of persons upwards of seven or eight years of age, who are supposed fit to be publicly examined upon religious and moral subjects. Most of our country Clergy keep examination rolls of this kind.
My Lord North will, I dare to say, be happy to accomodate you with the use of this book. It is a great curiosity, tho the conversation I mentioned to you, had a little shaken my faith in it, I am glad now to suppose, without much reason.3 I have the honour to be with the highest regard Sir
your most obedient humble Servant
[1 ]See Letters 249, 250, and 251 addressed to Chalmers, dated 10 Nov., 3 Dec., and 22 Dec. 1785.
[2 ]Sir Henry Moncrieff, 8th Bt. (1750–1827), Minister of St. Cuthbert’s, Edinburgh, from 1775; Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1785.
[3 ]See Letter 249.