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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 8

Docno: ADMS-04-08-02-0029

Author: Smith, William Stephens
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-06-04

William Stephens Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Madam—

I have recived your agreable Letter of the 5th. of may1 and am much obliged for it, at the same time I had the happiness of getting one from my dear Abby2 I ask your pardon Nabby you like best and when I am acquainted with what will give my friends pleasure— I shall alway's attend even to the minutest particle—therefore to you Nabby is the word—Amelia to herself—my daughter for Sir—& for myself I know no single term in the English Language which can properly convey the tender & interesting Idea which my mind is filled with relative to her— your immagination therefore is left free—permit it to expand and embrace every thing that my soul holds dear, connect it with Nabby and as I am concerned most intimately in every thing which relates to & may possibly contribute to the happiness of her friends & herself, I shall heartily subscribe to it— I wrote her from Madrid, on the 31st. ulto. 1. & 2d. inst. which as it goes by the same post with this, you may if you can agree on the subject exchange Letters, but I immagine you will have done reading first— my Letters to her from Paris, Bourdeaux Bayonne & old Castile will fully inform you of my Movements—3 I flatter myself Mr. A. will think the time spent at Paris Versailles and the disagreable check which I met with at Bourdeaux in consequence of Mr. Barclay's imprisonment—were necessary—and that my progress thus far to carry into execution the orders of Congress—has been effected with as much rapidity as possible— I am one of those animals who { 76 } are ever anxious & pressing forward to the Compleation of some point or other and when entrusted with the Business of my Country never at rest untill I have fully done my part to put it in the most eligable train of operation in my power— I shall be necessarily detained here a few day's—to pay the attentions expected at Court— I waited yesterday on His Excellency The Comte De. Florida Blanca, and delivered the Letter which the Chevalier De Campo gave me, & was recieved with great civility—4 I dined in company with Mr. Carmichael at the Swedish Ministers & passed the day very agreably—5 I find Mr. Carmichael perfectly well received & much respected here—but he is so cramped in his salery as really to be obliged as to content himself without making those returns to the Civilities of his friends & the Hospitality of the Corps-diplomatic, which he would be happy in doing if the salery from his Country would admit of it—but I tell him he must keep himself cool it is the same in England & in France— I have no doubt but every care will be taken of my Little friends while I am away— I flatter myself that the one has recovered from her cold and that the other encreases in pleasantry & good humour— I am rather anxious to be with them—& I am apprehensive when I return you may all be in the Country—is it possible for you my dr. Mama—to give me some information relative to your movements that I may know when I land in that Isle of Beef & Pudding where to find you all— Thus far I had got in the morning it is now 8 o:Clock in the evening & the post is on the point of departure— I have been to Court & made my bow to His Most Catholic Majesty—& dined agreably with the English Minister—6 every one here appears disposed to be polite, & hitherto my jaunt has been as agreable as the rapidity of my motion and the roughness of the roads in spain could in any degree admit of— Inclosed I send you the writ of the Parliament of Bourdeaux for the liberation of Mr. Barclay— I have bit a week on the lines—“Mais une Nation nouvelle, qui doit son existence à la protection de sa Majesty & au puissance secours des Armes francaises.”7
I will not say what others ought to do—but for myself I think I would consent to remain in a dungeon for Life rather than be liberated by an order which containd such a Line— I deny it in toto as a Soldier & as a Citizen—we were of ourselves competent to the task I acknowledge they contributed to hasten its period—
I am glad D.H. & your have been so successful in your negotiations—8 present me to your lesser half shake Nabby by the hand for { 77 } me, Kiss the Boy & be assured of the regard & affection with Which I am / Dr. Madam— / Your obliged & dutifull / Son—
[signed] W.— S.— S.—
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. Adams—”
1. Not found.
2. This letter has not been found, but WSS received it on the evening of 1 June and replied to it the next day (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:162–164).
3. WSS wrote letters to AA2 datelined Paris, 28 April and 5 May; Blois, 10 May; Bordeaux, 14 and 19 May; Bayonne, 20–21 May; Old Castile, Spain, 25 May; and Madrid, 31 May – 2 June (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:131–164).
4. José de Moñino y Redondo, Conde de Floridablanca (1728–1808), was Spanish foreign minister under Charles III; Bernardo del Campo had been his secretary and was now Spanish minister plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James (JA, Papers, 9:134, 12:143; vol. 7:36, 45).
5. William Carmichael served as the acting American chargé d'affaires at the court of Spain from 1782 until 1790 and then as the officially commissioned chargé d'affaires from 1790 to 1794. Carl August, Baron von Ehrensvärd, was the Swedish minister to Spain, 1784–1799 (DAB;Repertorium, 3:416).
6. Sir Robert Liston (1742–1836) was the British minister to Spain from 1783 to 1788. He served as the minister to the United States during JA's presidency (Repertorium, 3:177; DNB).
7. But a young nation, which owes its existence to his Majesty's protection and the potent help of the French army.
8. Probably David Hartley.

Docno: ADMS-04-08-02-0030

Author: Smith, William Stephens
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1787-06-06

William Stephens Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Friend:

I was much pleased this morning by the receipt of yours of May 19th.1 Look at the dates—May 5th, Paris, and Blois, May 11th—the places are very distant, and it is impossible to write in a chariot going post. I have answered your mamma's letter from this place; I have not gone through the necessary visits to the royal family, but they are nearly finished. I find everything here much more agreeable than I expected; the corps diplomatic, are very different gentlemen at this court, from those at the court of London; here friendship, hospitality, and good humour, sweeten society, and sweeten the political career. I have been here four days, and have dined very agreeably three of them, with the English, Swedish, and the Dutch Ministers;2 I am engaged to dine with the Comte de Florida Blanca on Saturday, and shall begin to think of proceeding to Lisbon; but I am rather uneasy about Curio; the fatigues of the journey have proved too great for him, and he is now sick and a-bed; he is well attended, and I hope will recover in a few days; if he does not, I shall with very great reluctance be obliged to proceed without him; he has conducted himself so well, that I shall miss him much—and at Bayone took him in the carriage with me, so that all through { 78 } Spain he has fared in every respect equal with myself. But notwithstanding that, he is sick and I am as usual, in greater health for the active life I have passed.3 It is my element; sloth and inactivity will sicken me; but the other will ensure me health and spirits.
June 7th.
The grand procession of the court this day, has engaged the attention of every one in and about this place; the palace was thronged with “reverend r——s in robes,” adorned with all the insignia of their respective stations, and cutting no despicable figure; on the contrary, the whole was solemnly magnificent, and worthy the attention of a stranger. After the solemn march was over, all parties perambulated the gardens, where taste and elegance, accompanied with all the graces of the Spanish court, were laid open to view. I was entertained and shall spend this afternoon at a bull feat; but I am told it will not be equal to what I shall see in the course of a day or two; but you shall have more of this in detail, my friend, when I shall again seat myself contented by your side. I thank you for the information you give me in cypher; there is great pleasure in having my companion a little of a politician. The news came agreeable and apropos. Yours,
[signed] W. S. S.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:164–166.
1. Not found.
2. The Dutch minister to Spain was Jacob Godefroy, Graf van Rechteren, who served from 1773 to 1793 (Repertorium, 3:269).
3. Curioni's ill health continued until at least 18 June. It contributed to the delays that kept WSS at Madrid until 3 July (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:172–173, 183).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.