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263.: From EDMUND BURKE - 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 EDMUND BURKE
MS., J. M. and Marie–Louise Osborn Coll., Yale University Libr.; Burke Corr. v. 296–8.
Beconsfield, 7 Dec. 1786
My dear friend,
During the whole of the last Winter I flatterd myself that I might have the pleasure of seeing you in London; though I could not hope, that I should have much enjoyment of your Company from the troublesome Nature of the Business in which I was necessarily engaged. I have no Doubt, that in so important and so clear a Case, that on the whole I have met your approbation; and that you do not altogether think, that I wanted the patience and Temper proper to carry me reputably through an undertaking begun under such difficulties on all sides as that was, and conducted under so litigious and vexatious, as well as powerful opposition. This Session will finally dispose of the affair1 —and then having no engagements on my hands—I may take other matters as they arise with more or less application to them as I think proper, or as my health and strength may admit. I think it right however to caution any friend of mine in judging of me at a distance to look to my papers of charge as the sole things authentick, and to pay no regard to the Speeches in the Newspaper, which so far as regards me, I am persuaded are often misrepresented wilfully; but almost always are misrepresented from the total ignorance of the Speech makers in the matters treated of.
In the Course of Last Winter, Lord Cornwallis was appointed to India with powers totally unlimited.2 I have reason to believe, that in order to justifye these powers, changes (whether reformations I know not) to which such powers are commensurate will be made. He has gone out with a full spirit of that kind—a very zealous Courtier—no friend of mine—etc etc. With those dispositions I trust you will not accuse me of being unreasonably timid, when I apprehend it to be possible, that there may be a selection of proper Objects in those changes; and that any friend of mine is not likely to be the better secured for my Wishes in his favour. I do not know Lord Cornwallis in the least—and Mr Ross I have seen only at your House.3 You know, and you partake in, my regards for my old and valuable friend Will Burke.4 Thro’ what things he has gone, and what his Merits are I need not say. But surely he ought to be sufferd in his Banishment to try to make up some little matter honourably, (he would not make any thing otherwise,) for the little remainder of his Life.5 Little he can make; and no long time he can live. He has no Enemies but such as are so, and some are so very bitterly, on account of my Conduct. On his own Account he had made nothing but friends; and is, I am well informed, the best beloved man that ever went out to India, both by the Civil, and the Military Lines. I gave him the place of Deputy Paymaster whilst I was in Office. Attempts have been made to remove him. Hitherto they have failed; and for this Service, the old friendship to him of Governor Johnstone,6 as well as some resort to generosity on the part of Mr Dundas, are to be acknowledged by Mr Burke.
Now my dear friend, may I beg the favour of you to write to Col Ross yourself;7 and if you can interest any other friends it will be the more obliging, to entreat his friendship and protection to Mr Burke. This you will not do coldly; but with your usual goodnature, and I entreat it may be (your own Letter at least) so speedy as to go by the next Ships. I make no apology for desiring an act of kindness at your hands. I am ever with my Wifes and my Sons most cordial regards
My dear Sir Your most faithful and affectionate humble Servant
I do not wish you to particularise any Service to Mr Burke but a general, and, (as you will make it,) strong recommendation. You need not make mention of any attempts against him; this is for yourself, with them it might do harm.
[1 ]The session ended with Warren Hastings being impeached by the Commons at the Bar of the House of Lords, but the trial did not end until April 1795.
[2 ]Charles Cornwallis (1738–1805), 2nd Earl and later 1st Marquis, was given the power of acting without the consent of his Council on certain occasions (26 Geo. III, c. 16, sec. 7) and of combining the offices of Commander–in–Chief and Governor General (sec. 6) of India.
[3 ]Colonel Alexander Ross (1742–1827) was Cornwallis’s secretary. Windham records in his Diary, ed. Mrs. H. Baring (London, 1866), 63–4, that he and Burke met Ross at Adam Smith’s in Edinburgh on 13 September 1785.
[4 ]William Burke (1729–98), M.P. 1766–74, Deputy–Paymaster of the Forces in India, 1782–93. Edmund recognized him as a cousin.
[5 ]Cornwallis kept a tight grip on affairs in India, and William Burke was not allowed to make a profit from the money paid to the troops.
[6 ]George Johnstone (1730–87), M.P. for Ilchester, was usually called ‘Governor Johnstone’, having been Governor of West Florida from 1763 to 1767. He had a long and stormy career in East India Company politics.
[7 ]Smith complied; see Letter 264 addressed to Col. Alexander Ross, dated 13 Dec. 1786.