Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Thomas Jefferson, 4 September 1785 Jefferson, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Jefferson
Dear Sir Paris Sep. 4. 1785.

On receipt of your favors of Aug. 18. & 23. I conferred with mr̃ Barclay on the measures necessary to be taken to set our treaty with the pyratical states into motion through his agency. supposing that we should begin with the emperor of Marocco, a letter to the emperor & instructions to mr̃ Barclay seemed necessary. I have therefore sketched such outlines for these as appear to me to be proper. you will be so good, as to detract, add to, or alter them as you please, to return such as you approve under your signature, to which I will add mine.1 a person understanding English, French & Italian, & at the same time meriting confidence, was not to be met with here. Colo. Franks understanding the two first languages perfectly, and a little Spanish instead of Italian, occurred to mr̃ Barclay as the fittest person he could employ for a Secretary.2 we think his allowance (exclusive of his travelling expences & his board which will be paid by mr̃ Barclay in common with his own) should be between 100 & 150 guinees a year. fix it where you please between these limits. what is said in the instructions to mr̃ Barclay as to his own allowance was proposed by himself. my idea as to the partition of the whole sum to which we are limited (80,000 D.) was that one half of it should be kept in reserve for the Algerines. they certainly possess more than half of the whole power of the Pyratical states. I thought then that Marocco might claim the half of the remainder, that is to say one fourth of the whole. for this reason in the instructions I propose 20,000 D. as the limits of the expences of the Marocco treaty. be so good as to think of it, and to make it what you please. I should be more disposed to enlarge than abridge it on account of their neighborhood to our Atlantic trade. I did not think 393that these papers should be trusted through the post office, & therefore, as Colo. Franks is engaged in the business, he comes with them. passing by the diligence the whole expence will not exceed 12 or 14 guineas. I suppose we are bound to avail ourselves of the cooperation of France. I will join you therefore in any letter you think proper to write to the Count de Vergennes. would you think it expedient to write to mr̃ Carmichael to interest the interposition of the Spanish court? I will join you in any thing of this kind you will originate. in short be so good as to supply whatever you may think necessary. with respect to the money mr̃ Jay’s information to you was that it was to be drawn from Holland. It will rest therefore with you to avail mr̃ Barclay of that fund either by your draughts, or by a letter of credit to the bankers in his favour to the necessary amount.3 I imagine the Dutch Consul at Marocco may be rendered an useful character in the remittances of money to mr̃ Barclay while at Marocco.

You were apprised, by a letter from mr̃ Short, of the delay which had arisen in the execution of the treaty with Prussia. I wrote a separate letter of which I inclose you a copy, hoping it would meet one from you & set them again into motion4

I have the honour to be with the highest respect Dear Sir / Your most obedient / & most humble servt.

Th: Jefferson5

RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jeffersons Letter / to me 4. Septr. 1785.”; and by AA2: “T. Jefferson 4. Septr: 1785.”; notation by CFA: “published in his Writings / Vol 1. p 303,” that is, Jefferson, Correspondence, ed. Randolph, 1:302–307, where both this letter and the enclosures mentioned in notes 1 and 4 appeared.


With this letter in the Adams Papers are three draft documents containing the “Heads,” or points, to be included in Thomas Barclay’s letter of credence and instructions, as well as a list of items, such as imports and exports, that he was to investigate during his residence in Morocco. For the documents in their final form, see Barbary Negotiations, 12 Sept. – 11 Oct., Nos. II, VI, and VII, below.


Lt. Col. David Salisbury Franks reached London on 10 September. In addition to this letter and Jefferson’s two other letters of this date to JA, he also carried Jefferson’s 4 Sept. letter to AA ( AFC , 6:333–334), Barclay’s 5 Sept. letter to JA , below, and Mary Barclay’s letter of the same date to AA ( AFC , 6:334–335). Franks, who would serve as Barclay’s secretary, had been in Europe since March 1784 when he arrived with a copy of the ratified Anglo-American definitive peace treaty (vol. 16:119–120; AFC , 6:312). Franks returned to Paris on or about 19 Sept. 1785, but during his stay in London he assisted Charles Storer as JA’s secretary (to Barclay, 17 Sept., descriptive note; to WSS, 19 Sept., both below; AFC , 6:365). Franks’ secretarial assistance was probably particularly welcome because on the day of his arrival JA, according to AA2, was “seized with a [violent?] inflamation in his Eyes, that rendered writing all most impracticable” ( AFC , 6:309).


For the commissioners’ letters to the Comte de Vergennes and William Carmichael, and the letter of credit on the Dutch bankers, see Barbary Negotiations, Nos. III, IV, V, and IX; for Barclay’s thoughts regarding his expenses, see his letter of 5 Sept., all below.


Jefferson enclosed a copy of his 1 Sept. 394letter to C. W. F. Dumas and William Short (Jefferson, Papers , 8:459–460). The copy is at its date in the Adams Papers. For the issue raised by the Baron von Thulemeier over the French and English texts of the treaty, see Short’s letter of 23 Aug., above. In his letter to Dumas and Short, Jefferson indicated that nothing had been said previously in the exchanges between the commissioners and Thulemeier on this issue, and that unless the Prussians wished to reopen negotiations, there should be no problem in ratifying the treaty in the two languages (Jefferson, Papers , 8:459–460).


Jefferson wrote two other letters to JA on this date (both Adams Papers). The first requested JA’s opinion regarding Philip Mazzei’s expenses as European agent for Virginia. The second concerned Ferdinand Grand’s inquiry about using American funds in the Netherlands to pay the interest on the 1781 Dutch loan that had been guaranteed by France. JA replied to both letters on 11 Sept. 1785 (both LbC’s, APM Reel 111). Regarding Mazzei’s expenses, JA indicated that from what he knew of Mazzei’s activities, £1,000 would not be excessive. With respect to Grand’s inquiry, JA indicated that he had no instructions from the Board of Treasury or anyone else regarding it (Jefferson, Papers , 8:475–476, 510–511). For the resolution of the issue raised by Grand, see the 5 Sept. letter from the Board of Treasury, below.