Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the papers of the senior Smith chronicle the years 1770-1783, a period in North American history of great social and political upheaval; a time which tested the complex divided loyalties of confirmed colonial imperialists, such as Smith, whose fortunes depended alike on Royal support and assent, and on the friendship of plutocratic families (In Smith's case, the Livingstons, the Mac Dougalls, and the Schuylers) who served the revolution and with whom he shared some of the fundamental social, economic, and political beliefs which formed the basis for the struggle for independence. Included are fine letters and documents reflecting Smith's activities as lawyer of special interest are those which deal with the disputes of two Royal Governors of New York with Lt. Governor Cadwallader Colden, historian, sharp-witted diarist, property owner, political pamphleteer (William Livingston) provincial legislator, chief justice of New York, and, afterwards, Quebec, ambivalent loyalist, champion in the Governor's Council of the Livingston family against their Anglican archivals, the Delanceys, and arbitrator in the peace negotiations of 1780. The papers of William Smith III consist of some official and personal letters, some Smith family personalia (including letters, accounts, wills, land papers, warrants and commissions appointing him to various offices in Canada, and papers relating to lands in Canada.
The collection is on negative microfilm, *ZZ 44 & 45.