William Loughton Smith

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William Loughton Smith
3rd United States Minister to Portugal
In office
July 10, 1797 – September 9, 1801
Preceded by John Quincy Adams (1796)
Succeeded by Thomas Sumter, Jr. (1809)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1789 – July 10, 1797
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Thomas Pinckney
2nd Chairman of the House Committee of Ways and Means
In office
December 21, 1795 – July 10, 1797
Preceded by Himself
Succeeded by Robert Goodloe Harper
In office
March 26, 1794 – November 3, 1794
as Chairman of the Standing Committee of Ways and Means
Preceded by Thomas Fitzsimons
Succeeded by Himself
Personal details
Born 1758
Died December 19, 1812 (aged 53–54)
Charleston, South Carolina
Political party Pro-Administration
Other political

William Loughton Smith (1758 – December 19, 1812) was an American lawyer from Charleston, South Carolina. He represented South Carolina in the U.S. House from 1789 until 1797. As chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, Smith acted as a Federalist floor leader and was known as a close collaborator and House spokesman for Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. In a special session of United States Congress called by John Adams in 1797, Smith introduced ten resolutions calling for increased naval defense and shore fortifications in response to the growing crisis in Franco-American relations.[1] He subsequently served as the U.S. Minister (ambassador) to Portugal 1797–1801.

Smith was opposed to the emancipation of slaves, believing it would benefit neither whites nor blacks. As he explained on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 17, 1790:

""If the blacks did not intermarry with the whites, they would remain black until the end of time; for it was not contended that liberating them would whitewash them; if they did intermarry with the whites, then the white race would be extinct, and the American people would all be of mulatto breed. In whatever light, therefore, the subject was viewed, the folly of emancipation was manifest."


  1. ^ DeConde, Alexander (1966). The Quasi-War: The Politics and Diplomacy of the Undeclared War with France, 1797-1801. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 31. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Position established
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas Pinckney
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Quincy Adams (1796)
United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal
Succeeded by
Thomas Sumter, Jr. (1809)