Thomas Jefferson Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Smith, William Stephens" AND Period="Confederation Period"
sorted by: author

To Thomas Jefferson from William Stephens Smith, 22 February 1788

From William Stephens Smith

London Feby. 22d. 1788.

Dear Sir

I wrote by this evenings post and attempted to explain in a satisfactory manner our account. I shall be pleased to be informed that I have succeded, and that every article appears clear to you. You have never yet informed me whether the picture I send you was the one you saw at Bermingham or Brumigum, and whether the price I gave, was anything near what you could have obtained it for, previous to its visit to the Capital.

Mr. Adams has taken leave of the King, and I suppose will soon put himself in motion towards America. There is a circumstance happened lately which it may be well for you to know. It is, that the resolve of Congress of the 5th. of October last which gave him permission to return, also put a period to his Commission to the United Netherlands, upon which Mr. Adams wrote memorials addressed to the Prince of Orange and their High Mightinesses the States General and enclosed them to their secretary requesting him to present them. This after consultation he declined to do, and has returned the letters, giving as a reason, that as Mr. Adams presented a Letter of Credence from Congress on his arrival, and there is no regular letter of recall accompanying the memorials, they can neither be presented nor received. This has produced a disagreable sensation and perhaps may lay the foundation of disrespectful observations, which thus knowing the case, you will be more collected to meet. Mr. Adams thinks he can do nothing to check this disagreable Impression and of course, home he will go. I have taken the liberty to hint that a visit pro hac vici to the Hague may do good, he at present thinks otherwise. He has not a Letter of recall here neither of Course, agreable to diplomatic etiquette his letter of Credence is not regularly counteracted but no objections have been started, relative to want of formality. Whether this arises from a general or particular scourse, I cannot say. But we go. I must refer you to my letter to Mr. Short for scandal and slander and have the pleasure to inform you that Connecticut has adopted the national Government by a majority of 135 to 40. Will you be so good as to tell Mr. Mazzei, that I cannot find nor have I heard from his Bookseller. He is an odd fish. He writes me that Mr. Morini in London has a sett of his Books for me. I should be much pleased if Mr. Mazzei in France will condescend to inform Mr. Smith in England in what part of the little City of London Mr. Morini is to be found. With great veneration for his Coolness and moderation I am Dear Sir, your obliged Humble Sert,

W. S. Smith

RC (DLC); endorsed. Probably received on 1 Mch. 1788.

Scourse: Smith seems to have employed the obsolete word scorse in the sense of exchange (OED description begins A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Oxford, 1888–1933 description ends ). His letter to Short was in reply to the latter’s of 14 Feb. 1788 and commented upon La Luzerne’s arrival in London: “As to your questions relative to the Marquis de la Luzerne, I answer—he exerted himself to arive here time enough to pay his respects to the Queen on her birth-day, and was invited to dine with the Minister of foreign Affairs, who gave an entertainment on the occasion and to enliven the feast Monsr. De Calonne was also a Guest. Some think it fortunate that the Ambassador is near sighted, as otherwise he might have supposed it an insult and lost his dinner,—but the former was not made nor the latter lost. With respect to the Eagle and blue Ribbon [of the Cincinnati] he does not appear in it, your opinion of him is just, indeed not one of them who have been here, have shewn it. This pleases you, I know. It has not a different effect upon me, and even Mr. Ternant tho’ he left it behind him when he went to St. James, could not find favour in the Eye of Majesty. Notwithstanding the most pointed introduction from the Ambassador, both the King and Queen passed him with a glaring and apparently premeditated insult and so strongly marked as to produce a buz of who is it? Do you know him? Does anybody know him?—insomuch that before night his name was writ in every private memorandum book with notes critical and explanatory, and when they found that he had been in service in America and in Holland, some were not backward in expressing their astonishment, that the Ambassador could introduce a person who had acted so pointedly against the views and interest of the King &c. &c. &c.—The opposition to the edict in favour of American Commerce which was passed in france in Decr. last, is trumpeted here pretty loud. I do not think it unlikely that John may frighten Louis out of it; I am clearly of opinion, he has more influence there, than he ought to have, and we ought to have a penetrating eye, to their intrigues and negotiations.” Smith urged Short to visit London prior to their departure in the April packet, and added: “tell Shippen I think it is also worth his while to return here to see … the tryal of Mr. Hastings. He may travel for 20 years and not see a more dignified scene or a grander spectacle. It will furnish a page in the British history more glaring (if possible let the decision be what it may) than the decapitation of Charles, or the expulsion of the Stewarts” (Smith to Short, 22 Feb. 1788, DLC: Short Papers; endorsed in part “[received] March 1.”).

Index Entries