Letter from John Anderson, Regarding a Missing Paper

Author(s): Anderson, Professor John



Last night I received your Letter of the 2d instant in which you
inform me, that, "their [the Faculty's] answer is, that you must aſsist
"in a general search for the Paper you want - To morrow, when you
"please, I shall be in the way with the keys of the different Repositories."
Were I to repeat these words changing only they for you, it
would be giving such an answer to the Faculty as they have given to me;
and the propriety of it would be manifest; because my Repositories were
never in their keeping, more than their Charter chests were in mine; and,
because it would be easy for me to remove the Papers demanded, before
the search began. Suppose that I, who am a Party, were desiring to
aſsist the Custodians of the College Papers, might not they justly answer,
We will not allow you, because you have no right to make such a
demand, and because the use that may be made of complying with it
need not be named. The rights of Parties are reciprocal. It is a maxim
in Law and Common ſense, that it is the duty of the Custodian to
find the Paper; and if he were to urge the Demander to aſsist him,
the conclusion is obvious to every impartial man. This applies to all
Parties, and to all Custodians, whether Individual or Corporations.
In the beginning of the seſsion 1785 when I wanted to examine
the Faculty Books and Papers, which I had a right to do as a Profeſsor

and as a Litigant, I was not allowed to dictate to my Amanuensis such
excerpts as I wanted, though he offered to sit at the outside of the door.
In consequence of this refusal, I applied to the Court of Seſsion, and the
Books and Papers were carried to Edinburgh. Of late some Papers, repeatedly
demanded, have not been shown to me; and such as were, I was
not allowed to look at, but under such restrictions as were contrary
to practice, and made the risk to one too great. When my Receipts,
upon delivering what I had seen, were demanded, they were not returned,
nor was any name scored, according to the legal usage. The consequence
of all this is, that the Papers wanted wil be carried to Edinburgh;
and my Agent, not I, will answer your letters and demands;
and therefore, our Correspondence is now at an end.

I am, Sir, your most Obedient and most Humble ServantJohn Anderson
Glasgow College April 3d, 1787
To M Wilson Cler. Coll.


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APA Style:

Letter from John Anderson, Regarding a Missing Paper. 2024. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from

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The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Letter from John Anderson, Regarding a Missing Paper

Document Information

Document ID 576
Title Letter from John Anderson, Regarding a Missing Paper
Year group 1750-1800
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1787
Place of publication Glasgow, Scotland
Wordcount 432

Author information: Anderson, Professor John

Author ID 201
Title Professor
Forenames John
Surname Anderson
Gender Male
Year of birth 1726
Place of birth Rosneath, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Occupation Academic
Father's occupation Clergyman
Education University
Locations where resident Glasgow
Other languages spoken Latin