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William Smith to Abigail Adams, 13 July 1797

William Smith to Abigail Adams

Boston. 13th: July. 1797.

Dear Madam.

Your several favors of the 1st & 9th Ins. I have recd. & am much oblig’d to you for the inclosures.1 the situation of the United States is indeed very critical, but in my opinion, every day strengthens the Union of the people in favor of the government. the Treason of Blount will confirm the sentiments of many, that all nations are equally friends to us so long as their interest is benefited by it. it is generally suppos’d that Mr Blount’s plan was projected by a very different Interest. from British.— if we can keep clear from a rupture on the Mississippi I have no dobt the dispute will be of service to the Government.2 & unite us more generally in putting the country in a state of defence.— I hope the warm air of Philaa. will not injure the Healths of the President & yourself. we shou’d be happy of seeing you this way, but hope you will take frequent excursions from the noxious air of the City.— your Couchee will be soon compleated & I will send it by the first good oppertunity.— Cap. Carter arriv’d here this week from Jamaica he was taken by a French Privateer on his passage home. they took out his Mate & part of his people. left Cap. C. on board with 2 Hands. put on board 8 frenchmen. after they had been in possession 10 Days—the prize Master fell overboard by accident. Cap. C. immediately drove the Frenchmen below & retook his Brig & after 12 Days bro’t her in here. he has suffer’d great fatague but is in good health.—3

Mrs. S & my Sister join me in affectionate regards to yourself &, the President.—

Yrs. Affecly

Wm. Smith.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams / Philadelphia”; internal address: “Mrs. Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr W Smith / July 30 1797.”

1In her letter to William Smith of 9 July, AA noted her satisfaction at Elbridge Gerry’s appointment to France and informed Smith that she was enclosing some correspondence and two issues of the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers).

2Navigation of the Mississippi River was another complaint presented by the Spanish government to the United States in an effort to delay the turnover of East and West Florida. Spain argued that the Jay Treaty unfairly accorded the United States the right to allow British navigation of the river. On 6 May Carlos Martínez de Irujo (1763–1824), the Spanish minister to the United States, wrote to Timothy Pickering that the Pinckney Treaty stipulated that “the free navigation” of the Mississippi River “to the ocean belongs exclusively to the subjects of the King, and to the citizens of the United States.” Pickering responded on the 17th that “the United States were contending with Spain for the free navigation of the Mississippi for themselves” and that “any declaration of His Catholic Majesty alone, to exclude other nations, was to them quite immaterial.” Pickering communicated this correspondence to Congress on the 19th (Abernethy, The South in the New Nation description begins Thomas P. Abernethy, The South in the New Nation, 1789–1819, [Baton Rouge, La.], 1961. description ends , p. 211; Amer. State Papers, Foreign Relations description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–1861; 38 vols. description ends , 2:5, 14–17; LCA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiographical Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, ed. Judith S. Graham and others, Cambridge, 2013; 2 vols. description ends , 1:234; Gerard H. Clarfield, Timothy Pickering and American Diplomacy, 1795–1800, Columbia, Mo., 1969, p. 138, 139).

3The brig Katy, Capt. Thomas Carter, was returning from Jamaica when it was taken by a French privateer on 18 June and sailed toward Havana. On the night of the 28th Carter learned that “the prize master, had got drunk, had fell over board and was drowned.” When Carter found all but one of the other privateers asleep on deck, he disarmed the “good republicans” and made the French sailors “assist in working the vessel” on the voyage to Boston (Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers description begins Ship Registers and Enrollments of Boston and Charlestown, Boston, 1942. description ends , p. 108; Newburyport Political Gazette, 13 July; Boston Price-Current, 13 July).

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