Papers of John Adams, volume 17

435 I. The American Commissioners’ Draft of Thomas Barclay’s Letter of Credence to the Emperor of Morocco, 12 September 1785 American Commissioners Adams, John Jefferson, Thomas Morocco, the Emperor of
I. The American Commissioners’ Draft of Thomas Barclay’s Letter of Credence to the Emperor of Morocco
[ 12 September 1785 ]1

The United States of America, heretofore connected in Government with Great Britain, have found it necessary for their Happiness to Seperate from her, and to assume an independant Station. consisting of a number of Seperate States, they have confederated together, and placed the Sovereignty of the whole, in matters relating to foreign nations, in an body an Assembly2 consisting of Delegates from every State and called the Congress of the United States. Great Britain after a distressing War of Eight Years 3 has solemnly4 confirmed their Seperation and acknowledged their Independence. After the conclusion of the Peace, which terminated the distressing War of Eight Years,5 in which they had been engaged for the Establishment of their Independence, the first Attentions of Congress were necessarily engrossed by the re-establishment of order & regular Government. As Soon as it was possible, they turned their Attention to6 foreign Nations, and, desirous of entering into Amity & Commerce with them, have been pleased to appoint us, with Dr: B: Franklin, to execute such treaties for this purpose, as shall might7 be agreed on by such Nations, with us, or any two of us— Dr: Franklin having found it necessary to return to America, the execution of these several Commissns: has devolved on us— One of us, being placed as Min: Plepo: fm. the U: S: at the Court of G B: & the other at the Court of France;8 these Circumstances, together with the Commissions with wh: we are charged for entering into treaties with various other nations, put it out of our power to attend at the other Courts in person & oblige us to negotiate by the intervention of confidential persons— Respecting the friendly disposition of his M. the E. of Morocco shewn by Yr: Majesty9 towards the U: S:, & in compliance with their desire of forming a Connection with a Sovregn so renowned for his power, his wisdom & his justice, We have embraced the first moment possible of assuring him Yr: Majesty10 of these the Sentiments of our Country & of ourselves, and of expressing our wishes to enter into a Connection of friend ship & Commerce with him Yr: Majesty—11

For this purpose, We have Commissioned the Bearer hereof, 436Thos: Barclay Esqr: a person in the highest Confidence of the Congress of the U: S:, & as such, havg: been several years, & still being their Consul General with our great & good friend, & Ally the K. of France, to arrange with his Yr. Imperial M. the Emperor 12 those conditions wh: it might be advantageous for both Nations to adopt for the regulation of their Commerce & their mutual Conduct towards each other— We have delivered to him a Copy of the full powers with which we are invested to conclude a treaty with Yr: Majesty, which Copy he is instructed to present to Yr: Majesty: Altho’ we are not authorised by these powers to delegate to him the full authority of ultimately signing the treaty; yet such is our reliance on his wisdom, his integrity, & his attention to the Instructions with which he is charged, that We assure your Majesty that the Conditions wh: he shall arrange & send to us shall be returned with our Signature in order to receive that of the person whom Yr: M. shall commission for the same purpose.—

With the most profound respect, & our best wishes for the health, happiness, prosperity & glory of Yr: Imperieel Majesty We have the honor of subscribg ourselves, Yr: Majesty’s / Most Oedt.—Most Huml: servt.

J: A— T. J—13

FC in JA’s and Charles Storer’s hands (Adams Papers); docketed by JA: “Letter to the / Emperor of Morocco.”; filmed at [Sept. 1785]. Dft in Thomas Jefferson’s hand (Adams Papers); filmed at 4 Sept. with Jefferson’s letter of that date, above. LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 111.


None of the copies listed in the descriptive note are dated, thus the date given here is derived from the location of the LbC immediately following the 12 Sept. letter to the loan consortium (No. III, below). Thomas Jefferson’s Dft was entitled “Heads for a letter to the Emperor of Marocco” (Jefferson, Papers , 8:617–619).

JA combined the eleven “Heads,” each set off as a separate sentence, into paragraphs and made stylistic changes, such as in verb tense. In the FC, however, he made few changes to Jefferson’s suggested language, for which see notes 2–3, 5, 7–12. JA prepared a signed, fair copy of Barclay’s letter of credence, presumably dated 12 Sept., and enclosed it with his letter to Jefferson of 15 Sept., below. That copy has not been found, probably because, as Jefferson indicates in his letters of 19 and 24 Sept. (second), both below, John Lamb’s arrival with dispatches from Congress made it necessary to prepare a new letter of credence (No. VI, below) that would not conflict with Congress’ own letter to the Moroccan emperor of 11 March ( JCC , 28:143–145).


In copying from Jefferson’s Dft JA wrote, “an body,”—“a body” in the Dft—but then canceled it and interlined, “an Assembly.”


JA added and then deleted this passage, but see note 5.


The word “solemnly” was interlined by Charles Storer presumably to correct a copying error by JA.


In the Dft, Jefferson wrote, “terminated the war.”


The remainder of the FC is in Storer’s hand.


At this point in his Dft, Jefferson wrote, “should.”


In Jefferson’s Dft, this sentence began, “That being placed as Min. plen. for the U.S. at the courts of ———.”


The previous four words were interlined to replace the canceled passage that appeared in Jefferson’s Dft.


The previous two words were interlined 437to replace the canceled word that appeared in Jefferson’s Dft.


The previous two words were interlined to replace the canceled word appearing in Jefferson’s Dft.


In his Dft at this point, Jefferson wrote, “his majesty the Emperor.”


The closing paragraph and the initials do not appear in Jefferson’s Dft.