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274.: To DR. ARCHIBALD DAVIDSON - 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. ARCHIBALD DAVIDSON1
MS., GUA ‘Letters from Rectors, etc. 1726–87’; Rae 411–12.
Edinburgh, 16 Nov. 1787
Reverend and Dear Sir
I have this moment received the honour of your Letter of the 15th instt. I accept with Gratitude and Pleasure the very great honour which the University of Glasgow have done me in electing me for the ensuing year to be the Rector of that illustrious Body. No preferment could have given me so much real satisfaction. No man can owe greater obligations to a Society than I do to the University of Glasgow. They educated me, they sent me to Oxford, soon after my return to Scotland they elected me one of their own members, and afterwards preferred me to another office, to which the abilities and Virtues of the never to be forgotten Dr Hutcheson had given a superior degree of illustration.2 The period of thirteen years which I spent as a member of that society I remember as by far the most useful, and, therefore, as by far the happiest and most honourable period of my life; and now, after three and twenty years absence, to be remembered in so very agreable manner by my old friends and Protectors gives me a heartfelt joy which I cannot easily express to you.
I shall be happy to receive the commands of my Colleagues concerning the time when it may be convenient for them to do me the honour of admitting me to the office. Mr Millar3 mentions Christmas. We have commonly at the board of Customs a vacation of five or six days at that time. But I am so regular an attendant that I think myself entitled to take the play for a week at any time. It will be no inconvenicy to me, therefor, to wait upon you at whatever time you please.4 I beg to be remembered to my Colleagues in the most respectful and most affectionate manner; and that you would believe me to be, with great truth, Reverend and Dear Sir
Your and their most obliged most obedient and most humble Servant
[1 ]Archibald Davidson (d. 1803), Minister of Inchinnan; Principal of Glasgow University 1785–d.
[2 ]Smith’s famous tribute to his former teacher, Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), after Shaftesbury the chief founder of the Moral Sense school of philosophy. For Smith’s account of Hutcheson’s system, see TMS VII.iii.c.
[3 ]John Millar, Professor of Civil Law.
[4 ]In succession to Edmund Burke, Smith was Lord Rector for two years, 1787–9. He gave no inaugural address.