Papers of John Adams, volume 17

XII. Thomas Barclay’s Letter of Credit, 6–[11] October 1785 Adams, John
XII. Thomas Barclay’s Letter of Credit
Sir Grovenor Shquare London Westminster Octr 6.[–11] 1785.

The United States of America in Congress Assembled on the 14th day of Febry. last resolved, that the Ministers of the United States who are directed to form Treaties with the Emperor of Morocco and 452the Regencees of Algiers Tunis & Tripoli be empowered to apply any Money in Europe belonging to the United States to that use: As you are appointed to proceed to Morocco as Agent for forming such Treaty with the Emperor you are hereby authorized & empowered to draw Bills of Exchange to the amount of a sum not exceeding twenty thousand Dollars, at one or two usances, upon “John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America at the court of Great Britain, residing in Grosvenor Square, at the corner between Duke Street & Brook Street,” who will regularly accept & pay the same either at the house of R & C Puller in London or of Wilhem & Jan Willink & Nicholas & Jacob Staphorst at Amsterdam.1 Your Bills are however to be always accompanied with a letter of Advice in your own hand writing to Mr Adams, a duplicate of which you will also send by some other conveyance.

With great respect / We have the honour to be / Sir / Your affectionate friends & / humble Servants

Grosvenor Square London Octr. 6. 1785. Paris Octr. 11. 1785 John Adams Ths Jefferson.2

FC in David Humphreys’ hand (PCC, No. 87, I, f. 151–152); internal address: “The Honble / Thos Barclay Esqr. / Agent of the Emporer of Morocco.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 111.


JA may have drafted this letter, and that to John Lamb, on 5 October. In a postscript of that date to his 2 Oct. letter to Thomas Jefferson, below, JA reports drafting letters of credit for Barclay and Lamb and that he is sending fair copies of them for Jefferson’s signature. This required a change in the commissioners’ earlier letter to the loan consortium (No. III, above). For the new letter, this time only from JA, see No. XI, above. Jefferson informed Barclay of the commissioners’ decision in his letter of 26 Sept. (Jefferson, Papers , 8:552), which Barclay enclosed in his to JA of 1 Oct. (Adams Papers).


Below the signatures David Humphreys wrote, “N. B. A letter of Credit of the same tenor, is also given to John Lamb Esqr. Agent to the Dey & Government of Algiers—sub stituting ‘forty thousand’ instead of ‘twenty thousand Dolls’ & adding after the passage ‘with a letter of Advice’ ‘and as your hand writing is wholly unknown to Mr Adams, these letters of advice are always to be in the hand writing of Paul R. Randal Esqr. who accompanies you, whose hand writing is left in the custody of Mr Adams as a check & a proof by comparison. The letters however as to be subscribed by you.’” In the Adams Papers, there is a LbC of the letter of credit issued to Lamb, in which the language indicated by Humphreys appears. That LbC, like the one of Barclay’s letter of credit, is in Paul R. Randall’s hand and presumably was intended as an exemplar of Randall’s hand when Lamb’s bills reached JA.