William Stephens Smith to Abigail Adams
Aranjuez June 4th. 1787.
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 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 me, Kiss the Boy & be assured of the regard & affection with Which I am / Dr. Madam— / Your obliged & dutifull / Son—
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. description begins Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams,... Edited by Her Daughter [Caroline Amelia (Smith) de Windt], New York and London, 1841–; 3 vols. description ends , 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. description begins Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams,... Edited by Her Daughter [Caroline Amelia (Smith) de Windt], New York and London, 1841–; 3 vols. description ends , 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 description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–. description ends , 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; description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends Repertorium description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, &c., 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 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 description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, &c., 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:177; DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements. description ends ).
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.