Papers of John Adams, volume 13

From Richard Chapman

From Philip Mazzei

From Thomas Barclay, 28 June 1782 Barclay, Thomas JA


From Thomas Barclay, 28 June 1782 Barclay, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Barclay
Amsterdam 28 June 1782 Sir

Captain Smedley will, I expect, Sail in about Six days, and if your Excellency has any Dispatches, or other Commands, he will be a good opportunity to Send them by.1 I Shall endeavour to wait upon you at the Hague previous to his Departure. Mr. Livingston wrote to 134me Some time ago to Send him Such Pamphlets or Papers as Contain any thing of Consequence or Information, but I can lay my hands only on Some Registers which Shall go, and if you have got a few news papers or any thing of the Kind to Spare, they Shall be carefully forward'd.

Some time ago His Excellency Docter Franklin wrote to me that Mr. Morris had Sent and Estimate of Supplies to the amount of about Two Million of Livers, with Directions, that Mr. Ridley and myself Shou'd Compleat the Purchases, but that the funds Cou'd not be procured in France for its Execution. I beg leave to Submit to your Excellency the propriety of Employing any part of the Loan which you have negociated in Holland for the purposes of Sending those Supplies. My Instructions from Congress empower me to draw in Cases of absolute Necessity on any funds which I Shall Know to be procured for Congress in Europe, of this necessity you must in this Case be the Sole Judge, as you Know much better than I do the wants and the Situation of our Country, and Consequently by what application of the money those Wants Can be best removed. I have taken the liberty of mentioning this matter to you now, and when I have the honour of Seeing you at the Hague you can give me your Sentiments.2

Mr. Thaxter gets Something better, his friends have advised his Staying here a few days longer, and indeed it Seems to be absolutely necessary to the Reestablishment of his health.

I have the honour to be with the greatest Esteem and respect Dear Sir Your Most Obedt Servant.

Tho Barclay

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqre. at the Hague”; endorsed: “Mr Barclay”; by John Thaxter: “June 28th 1782.”


Samuel Smedley of Fairfield, Conn., was a former prisoner appointed by Barclay to command the General Sullivan, which he had chartered to carry to America some of the goods originally intended to go with the South Carolina. The vessel was renamed the Heer Adams between 25 and 29 April in honor of Dutch recognition of the United States (Louis F. Middlebrook, History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution, 2 vols., Salem, Mass., 1925, 2:123, 325; Franklin, Papers , 37:213, 237).


Neither Franklin's letter to Barclay nor Robert Morris' letter of 9 March, to which it likely referred, has been found. But for the content of Morris' letter to Franklin, see his letter of 9 March to Congress (Morris, Papers , 4:376–378). JA apparently did not reply to this letter, presumably because, as Barclay intended, the two men discussed the matter at The Hague. Barclay gives an accurate summary of his 10 July 1781 instructions ( JCC , 20:736–737), but it is unlikely that he received the requested funds because JA had not yet received any significant return from his new loan and, in any case, was reluctant to make substantial disbursements without the direct orders of Congress (to Robert R. Livingston, 5 July, 2d letter, below).