Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Loughton Smith, 21 June 1798

Lisbon, June 21. [17]98.

Dear Sir

Two days ago I returned here from a Tour to Gibraltar, Cadiz, Madrid &c &c which has engaged my time from the beginning of March.

While in Spain I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of 10th Jany.—I hope your next will communicate some very interesting information respecting the Northern Powers; I have long looked with impatience to some movement on their part which may encourage the Southern States which have submitted to the yoke of France to endeavour to shake it off. It is now said that something is in agitation—but I have been so frequently disappointed by delusive hopes & vague reports that I shall wait for accurate information before I indulge any further hopes; That information you will probably be soon enabled to transmit. Is it not astonishing that Russia & Prussia should suffer France to subdue the rest of Europe, or at least the greatest part of Europe, without making an effort to stop their baneful progress? Were those two powers to unite in this noble work, they would soon be joined by Sweden & Denmark; Austria & Germany only wait for an opportunity to recover what they have lost; there can be no doubt that as soon as the Tide of French Success shall turn, all the Southern nations whom She has trampled under foot, & Holland, would rise to recover their former independance. If Russia & Prussia could cordially unite & send a powerful force into Germany, I have little doubt that Spain would immedy. make a seperate peace with England; but at present threatened as she is by France & unable to resist an invasion, She is obliged to submit to the Dictates of that imperious Nation.

Portugal is still threatened, tho it is said that a negotiation for peace is going on at Paris. I believe the Directory have not yet made up their minds on the subject, spinning out a negotiation until they can either extort most humiliating terms or find a fit moment for the invasion, for which they are not yet prepared. Some think that should the Toulon armament be kept within the Meditn. that the Troops will be landed in Spain & march to Portugal, perhaps republicanizing Spain en passant. We are in anxious expectation of an engaget. in the Meditn. where the English have a Squadron. You have doubtless read the very interesting correspondance of our Envoys to France & know the sensations excited in America by the disclosure of such abominable turpitude; tho’ it is an unpleasant reflexion; that any thing was wanting to open the eyes of any part of our fellow citizens as to the views of France, yet as that blindness did in fact exist, we must rejoice at this new light thrown on the subject.

The Dey of Algiers died last week & was quietly succeeded by his prime-minister, with whom our Treaty has been renewed on paying 5 or 6000 dollars.— I am with great respect / Dr Sir Your ob st

Wm Smith

MHi: Adams Papers.

Index Entries