William Loughton Smith (1758-1812) was one of the leading Federalists in South Carolina in the early national period. Educated in schools in London, he studied law at the Middle Temple and returned to Charleston in 1783 to begin a law practice. After serving in the state legislature from 1784, he was elected to the First Federal Congress in 1788, and served continuously in the House of Representatives until 1797, when he resigned to become Minister to Portugal. An open critic of Thomas Jefferson and the Jeffersonian Republican Party, Smith was himself so unpopular for his political pamphlets and views, that in 1794 he was burned in effigy. When he returned to Charleston from Portugal in 1803, he became an important investor in the Santee Canal Company (see The Lock House On The Santee Canal), of which he was President. This portrait was painted by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) in Philadelphia when Smith was serving in Congress.
Courtesy of the Gibbes Museum of Art/Carolina Art Association.