Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From William Stephens Smith

The American Commissioners to William Short

To William Stephens Smith, 5 August 1785 Adams, John Smith, William Stephens
To William Stephens Smith
(Copy)1 No. 2. Dear Sir Grosvenor Square August 5th. 1785 2

In answer to your Letter of yesterday, you will give me leave to say, that your assistance and advice, has been at all times so usefull and agreable to me, that I should loose the advantage of it with reluctance if it were only for a few Weeks, or even day’s— nevertheless the month of august is so dull and so disgusting & unwholesome in London the Place is so deserted by Men of Business as well as others, that I believe it will be the best time to take an Excurtion, on all accounts

The General Review of the Prussian Army, is an Object Worthy of your Ambition to see, and therefore I will chearfully consent to your making the tour, and will only ask the favour, of your return, as soon as may be— I shall only add a request, that you would enquire in every City where you go, concerning the Prohibitions & Duties which are imposed on our American Commodities of all Sorts, particularly Tobacco & Oil, and whether we cannot obtain Marketts, where monopolies & exclusions are less Idolized— You would do well to enquire too how the Cities are illuminated, and what Manufactures may be had, especially in Prussia, with whose soveriegn we have just concluded an honourable Treaty—3


with great Esteem—I have the Honour to be Sir / your most obedient and most / humble Servant

John Adams

FC in WSS’s hand (PCC, No. 92, I, f. 19); internal address: “Coll Smith.”


This “Copy” was enclosed with WSS’s 6 Dec. letter to John Jay, which also covered a copy of his 4 Aug. letter to JA ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 3:9).


On 9 Aug. JA wrote letters introducing WSS to C. W. F. Dumas and to the loan consortium (both LbC’s, APM Reel 111). On the 15th, WSS presented JA’s letter to the Amsterdam bankers, who approved a line of credit for WSS’s travel needs, to be charged to the United States as “part of his Salary” (Archivo del general Miranda, ed. Vicente Dávila and others, 24 vols., Caracas, 1929–1950, 1:360). See also the consortium’s letter of 8 Nov., and note 2, below.


JA acknowledged WSS’s initial letters in his of 19 Sept., below, but most of WSS’s infrequent letters have not been found, and none of those that have survived contain the information requested here.