Adams Family Correspondence, volume 9

William Stephens Smith to John Adams, 5 October 1792 Smith, William Stephens Adams, John
William Stephens Smith to John Adams
Dear Sir— London Octr. 5th. 1792.

Mr. Bond delivered your Letter of the 20th. of april1 I should have answered it sooner, but I really have been so much occupied in my private affairs, that I have scarcely had time to attend to any of my Correspondents out of the line of real business—but I now have a pretty clear prospect of getting well thro’ the great points I embraced— I shall however, I find, make more reputation than money, but upon the whole I have done vastly well, the wide spead ruin of speculation has not in the least effected any of my negotiations, nor the property of my friends committed to my direction, they are of course very much satisfied, and make very grateful returns, both in the line of civility & further unbounded confidence— in short sir, I feel agreably the effects of my prompt decissions on the score of public employment, the last winter, I feel myself in a great measure independent of the smiles or frowns of Courtiers, which I am grevied to find our Capital abounds, with— should any change take place in the administration of the affairs of our country, so as to introduce men who do not require too great a suppleness of Character to fill the offices of Government, but will be content, with the strict integrity & unblemished honour of Candidates, not absolutely deficient in abilities— perhaps my ambition may induce me to join them, but never while I possess abilities sufficient to bouy me above 311the lash of poverty or independence of soul enough—to dispise the low intregues of designing ministers, will I join the career of those who in the infancy of Government lay it down as a principle that great suppleness of Character is a primary essential & that those who do not possess it, are not fit, for public employments—

I send you the papers to the present date—& should be glad to know what our able minister of foreign affairs thinks of his french alliance now, I think if he has any modesty left or my friends have any Justice, they will acknowledge the propriety of my opinions & the Justness of my conduct on that subject—& as the affairs are connected with the appointment of a Minister to the Court of france,— you will find that Mr. Morris is more detested in Paris, than he was hated here, a Gentleman from france lately here in public employment—asked me a few day's past a plump Question—thus—my God sir, how came your Country to send such a man as mr. Morris as its minister he surely cannot be the representative of America either in opinions or manners— The people of france are so much disgusted with him & enraged at him—that if he did not bear the name of an American & a Commission from Washington, his head would have been paraded upon a pike before this day— this I put by slightly, by saying I was in pursuit of my private affairs & did not know a sufficiency of the interior of the politicks of our great men to say from what scource he sprang into that political situation, excepting that it was by the apparent independant nomination of the President— he said, that Washington friends in france were much electrified, to find such a man with such Morals & Character, possessing his Confidence &c. &c. I suppose you will hear more of this from other quarters, & on this ground, I shall also be found to have been right, which will encrease the hatred of my enemies, & give me more cause to laugh at, if not despise them— We are all well here & are about making an excursion into Devonshire & to take bath in our return to London, for tho’ we are but private people we cannot help being a little fashionable— Mrs: Smith has written to Mrs: Adams & I suppose given a greater detail of politicks than I have time to enter into She loves it; you may guess where she got it from, & her Judgement on those points are astonishingly good, we chat a little now & then on these subjects, but keep ourselves out of the Circles of the Court, & shall continue to do so— she Joins me in affectionate Love to you, Madam Loisa & T. B. Adams Esqr.—& wish you would present our most particular respects to Mrs: Washington—

I am Dr. Sir. / Your most Obedt. / Humble servt.

W: S: Smith

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of The United States / at / Philadelphia”; internal address: “The Vice President”; endorsed: “Col. Smith.”


Letter not found. Mr. Bond was probably Phineas Bond (1749– 1816 1815 ), an American loyalist who served as the British consul in Philadelphia. He had sailed to England in June (Joanne Loewe Neel, Phineas Bond: A Study in Anglo-American Relations, 1786–1812, Phila., 1968, p. 5, 9, 14–15, 91–94, 174–176).

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 October 1792 Adams, Charles Adams, Abigail
Charles Adams to Abigail Adams
My dear Mamma New York Octr 8th 92

It is a long time since I have heard from you although I have not omitted writing. I hope it is not illness which hinders you from sometimes informing me how things are going in Massachusetts. The Baron returned from Steuben last week and I had intended to procure lodgings at some private boarding house, but when I mentioned to him my intention, he took me kindly by the hand “My dear Adams said he When your sister went from New York I invited you to come to my house, at least till you could find more convenient and pleasant Lodgings; I then had not the pleasure of a long acquaintance with you, but I was pleased that in our little society we could be of mutual advantage to each other, and that our improvements in the French language and in other branches of literature would render my table the seat of improvement and pleasure. I have since you have been here formed a very great and sincere friendship for you. You must now allow me the right of friendship; Indeed you must not leave me. What is it? Is there any thing you do not like? Is any thing inconvenient? I wish I could give you a better apartment, but the house will not aford it. I told him there was not a desire I could form but what was accomplished in his house; but that I did not think it proper that I should any longer take advantage of a kindness I had not a right to expect. And will you not then allow me to be any longer your friend and patron? You must not make such objections. It is not from any favor I can ever expect from your father. I am not rich, nor am I poor: and thank God I have enough to live well and comfortably upon; your being here does not make any difference in my expences. I love you, and will never consent that our little society should be broken, untill you give me more sufficient reasons for it.[”] To this affectionate and fatherly address, I could only reply that I would do any thing he wished and would not leave him if he was opposed to my doing so. My dear Mamma there 313is something in this man that is more than mortal. We have late accounts from Europe, Our friends are well. I can not here enlarge upon french affairs but my father is a prophet and ought as the Baron says to be ranked next after Isaih. I have a necessity for about fifty guineas Will you tell me how I shall procure them. I do not know unless I borrow them and I do not like that very well. But should necessity prompt me I must do it. When does Pappa mean to pass through New York, I fear he will be most terribly perplexed the next session, There is a party formed to abolish this government. It consists of Officers of the late army. Antifederalists, and Southern men who from many reasons are endeavoring to subvert the funding system and of course every obligation which a nation can be under. Our Eastern delegates are complained of It is said their eyes are not open that they rest in security while America is in the greatest danger That they sleep while every body opposed to them is on the watch. God Grant that we may not be ruined, That we may not discard our name as a nation. You may depend upon it there is great danger of it. And my dear father what will be his sensations when all his toils are forgotten and his labors sunk in oblivion. what will be the path for his Children to persue when they see such an event will any encouragement remain to follow the road of public virtue Will any wish remain to be ranked among the list of patriots: Colonel Burr is appointed a judge of our Supreme Court and will without doubt accept the office. He aims at the Gubernatorial chair of this State and it is thought he will be able to obtain more influence as a Judge than he can by his present station.1 Mr Jay has been at death's door but is now somewhat recovered.2

I should be glad to hear oftener from Braintree where is my Brother John I hear no more of him than if he was in Asia.

Adieu my dear Mamma beleive me your affectionate son

Charles Adams.

PS I requested that some shoes might be sent to me, but I suppose you did not recollect it. I can not get them here they are very bad and at a very high price. If three or four pair can be sent it will much oblige me.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by JA: “C. A. Oct. 8. 1792. / New York.”


On 2 Oct., George Clinton and the N.Y. Council of Appointment nominated Aaron Burr, then a New York senator, to become associate justice of the N.Y. Supreme Court. He declined the position (Milton Lomask, Aaron Burr: The Years from Princeton to Vice President 1756–1805, N.Y., 1979, p. 176).


John Jay became dangerously ill with an eye inflammation and rheumatic fever in late September; he finally recovered in November 314(Selected Letters of John Jay and Sarah Livingston Jay: Correspondence by or to the First Chief Justice of the United States and His Wife, ed. Landa M. Freeman and others, Jefferson, N.C., 2005, p. 213–214).