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The copartnery of BALFOUR, Auld, and SMELLIE, seems to have been carried on for several years to the mutual satisfaction of the parties. At length, towards the end of the year 1769, disputes arose between Mr Smellie and Mr WILLIAM AULD, one of the partners; but such is the imperfect state of the correspondence which remains on this subject, that it is exceedingly difficult to form any tolerably certain conjecture on the nature and cause of the discord. As already mentioned, Mr John BALFOUR, whose name was at the head of the firm, was an eminent bookseller; and being fully occupied with the care of his own peculiar business, entrusted the entire management of the printing concern to his partners, Messrs Auld and SMELLIE, who were each entitled to an allowance of twelve shilling's aweek from the company, as a compensation for their trouble. Mr WILLIAM Auld had fallen into a bad state of health, owing to which he was long under the necessity of residing in the country, and had even taken a voyage to London in hopes of benefiting his health. During a long protracted illness, and consequent absence from the printing office, although by that means the whole
charge and labour devolved upon Mr SMELLIE, Mr Auld appears to have regularly taken credit in the books of the company, which seem to have been under his management as senior acting partner, for his weekly allowance of twelve shillings. To this arrangement Mr Smellie appears to have objected, and not unreasonably, because the whole burden of management had fallen to his share.
At this period, likewise, a newspaper called the Journal, which was carried on by the company, appears to have been considered by Mr Smellie as a losing concern, and he strongly urged the necessity of its being dropt ; while his partner Mr William Auld pertinaciously insisted that it should be continued. A farther bone of contention arose between these partners, from the circumstance of Mr WILLIAM Auld having engaged an apprentice to the business, without consulting with Mr SmellIE ; who alleged that there were already more apprentices in the printing-house than could be profitably employed, and positively refused to admit this additional apprentice into the house.
These disputes appear to have occasioned a long correspondence; and, by some of the letters which still remain, Mr WILLIAM AULD lost his temper in the course of the dispute, and even descended into personal invective against Mr SMELLIE. The commencement of this dispute seems to have been about the month of October 1769; and the final issue was a dissolution of the copartnery in November 1771. Mr BALFOUR, the leading partner, does not appear to have taken any concern in this protracted dispute ; yet we have reason to conclude that he considered Mr Smellie as in the right, for immediately on the breaking up of the company of BALFOUR, Auld, and Smellie, a new partnership was entered into by Mr Balfour and Mr Smellie, which commenced business on the 12th November 1771, as will be farther noticed in the sequel.
SOME time before the dissolution of the copartnery with Mr WILLIAM Auld, and perhaps arising from the discord which had unfortunately taken place between him and Mr Smellie, it would appear that a plan was in agitation about the close of 1769, for introducing Mr Smellie into the management of
the vast printing concern carried on at London by the late eminent WILLIAM STRAHAN, Esq. M. P. joint Kings printer for England, The commencement of the following letter refers to the Memoirs of Great Britain, a work published in 1771, by Sir John DalRYMPLE, which was then printing by Mr Smellie. The concluding paragraph hints very distinctly at the before-mentioned plan of employing Mr Smellie at London,
Sir John DALRYMPLE to Mr WILLIAM
Dear Sir, London, January 30. 1771,
I SEND you the preface and the errata; and so we bid farewell to each other.
I have a very material thing to tell you. In a note at the bottom of p. 115, part II, there are these words : I gave it afterwards to Lord HarDWICKE, who has it now. He has lost the paper, and insists these words should be out. You will therefore cause a
pen be put through every copy, and the ink must be firm and black, so as to make it quite illegible.
I TOLD all your qualities to STRAHAN, in much stronger terms than I can repeat to you, and have reason to believe
you take up your residence here. He asked me what your business was worth in Edizburgh. I said I did not know; but that one of
your friends called it to me about L.200 a-year. Let me know what terms you would expect, and I will manage the affair for you. Yours, &c.
Though never carried into effect, the same idea seems to have recurred in 1780 or 1781, as appears by the following letter, which is peculiarly valuable, as containing a sketch of Mr Smellies life written by himself. His son, the present Mr Alexander SMELLIE, says that it was written to the late WILLIAM STRAHAN, Esq. and that it proceeded from an offer made to him by Mr STRAHAN to go up to London, and to take the management of his great printing concern, either with