Adams Papers

To John Adams from Isaac Smith Jr., 19 November 1783

From Isaac Smith Jr.

Sidmouth Nov. 19. 1783

Dear sir,

The papers having announced yr. public appearance in this kingdom, I take the liberty of Congratulating you on yr. arrival in England, & on the success of yr. negociations in behalf of the United states of America.1

After much anxiety & toil, to see yr. wishes realized, to find the uncertainties of war ended, & the great object of it fully established & secured, must give you an high degree of satisfaction. America, I hope, will know how to make a proper improvement of the advantages which her independence is Capable of affording her, & that no Circumstances will arise, which may lead You hereafter to regret the part you have taken in the accomplishment of this important event.

It is an event indeed, which in my own imagination I Confess, I had postponed to a more distant period. Of the probability of success on our part in the late Contest, in the beginning of it at least, I had no idea whatever. For the issue of it however I shall not be sorry, so long as it Conduces to the happiness of America, the Country which I wish still to call my own. In this Country, Tho’ I have lived a considerable time, I Consider myself, as a stranger, & should I be doomed to continue in exile here, it would make me extremely unhappy.—

Of public matters at Boston I have heard nothing of late. My brother was with me about two months ago. I had yesterday a letter from him, dated at Brussels, 8th instt, on his way to Paris, where I believe he expects to have the pleasure of seeing you.—2 I condole with You on the death of my Uncle Smith, of which I am just informed, & who Closed I find the scene of life with much serenity & peace.3 I flatterd myself with the thought of seeing him again in this word, tho’ advanced in years, but his lot is happier in being removed from it!—

I am sorry that my distance from town prevents me from paying my personal respects to you at present. Should you remain here thro’ the winter, perhaps I may have the opportunity of doing it. But whether I have the honour in England, or not, you will allow me to subscribe myself, with the greatest respect, dear sir, / yr. most obedt / hble servt

I Smith jr:

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esq. / at Mr: Stockdale’s. Book seller— / Picadilly— / London”; endorsed: “Rev. Is. Smith / ansd Decr. 4.”

1Rev. Isaac Smith Jr. (1749–1829), the loyalist son of Boston merchant Isaac Smith Sr., was AA’s first cousin. He had graduated from Harvard in 1767 and later served as a tutor at the college, but he left America for England in May 1775. There he associated with various loyalists, including Thomas Hutchinson, and in 1778 was ordained by and ministered to the congregation of a dissenting church at Sidmouth, England. In 1784 he returned to Massachusetts, apparently suffering no serious consequences from his sojourn in England (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–. description ends , 16:523–530).

2William Smith (1755–1816), brother of Isaac, was a 1775 Harvard graduate and Boston merchant who had sailed for Europe in July 1783. JA wrote to him on 12 Nov. that he had received “Two large Packets” for him and was forwarding the notes that had been enclosed with them (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers). Smith was at London when AA and AA2 reached the city in July 1784 and spent time with them before he sailed for Boston (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 2:359; 5:206, 371, 372, 374, 376–380, 403, 408; JQA, Diary description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981– . description ends , 1:313).

3JA first learned of Rev. William Smith’s death on 7 Nov. 1783, from a letter by Isaac Smith Sr. (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 5:264) and mentioned it in his letter to William Smith of 12 Nov. (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers).

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