Papers of John Adams, volume 18


To John Jay

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners, 26 June 1786 Barclay, Thomas American Commissioners
Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners
Gentlemen Morocco 26th. June 1786 1

This day week we arrived here, since which I have had two audiences from His Majesty, the first a public one & the second a private one of yesterday.2 It is but a few minutes since I heard that a Courrier will depart this Evening for Daralbeyda,3 & I have not time to enter into particulars. It will be agreable however for you to know, that the last draught of the Treaty is made, & will probably be signed in a few days, & that our stay here will not exceed that of a week from this time. I believe you will be satisfied on the whole, as there is only one article more I could wish to see inserted, & that I really think, in all human probability will never prove of the least Consequence.4

I shall proceed to Tangiers and take an early Opportunity of sending you a more detailed account of my proceedings; In the mean time I recommend your transmitting as soon as possible, through Mr. Carmichael The Powers to treat with Tunis & Tripoli, & (if Mr. Lamb has declined all further concern) for Algiers. If you had a Treaty with the Porte I flatter myself the rest would follow, & at all Events Tunis & Tripoli should be invited to our friendship.—

There is a young man now under my Care, who has been a Slave some time with the Arabs in the Desart, his Name is James Mercier, born at the Town of Suffolk Nansimond County Verginia. The King sent him after the first Audience, & I shall take him to Spain.5 I have not time to add, but that I am Gentlemen / Your most obedient, / humble Servant,

Thos Barclay

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams Esquire / Minister Plenipotentiary from the / United States of America at the / Court of Great-Britain, / London.”; internal address: “Mr. Adams, / & / Mr. Jefferson.”; endorsed: “Mr Barclay 26 / June 1786.”; and by WSS: “Morocco 26th. June / 1786. T. Barclay.”; notation: “London 22d. Augt. 1786— / for Forrest & Stoddert / Wm. Pratt”; and by WSS: “Rec’d and a Copy sent to / Mr. Jay 23d. August / 1786—” WSS’s notation refers to his 23 Aug. letter to John Jay with which he enclosed this letter ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 3:37). He also enclosed a copy of the letter with his letter of that date to Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Papers , 10:291).


That is, Marrakesh.


Barclay’s negotiations were with Sidi Mohammad ibn Abdallah, generally known as Mohammad III. The resulting Moroccan-American Treaty of Peace and Friendship was completed with the emperor’s seal on 23 June and delivered to and signed by Barclay on the 28th, at which date see the English text of the treaty, below. For Barclay’s detailed account of the negotiations, and in particular his accounts of his audiences with Mohammad III and sketch of the emperor himself, see his letters of 13 and 18 Sept. to the commissioners, both below.


That is, Dar El Bëda, now Casablanca.


Barclay mentioned again his desire for an additional article in his 16 July letter to the commissioners, below, but he never specifically indicated the content of that article.


Nothing further is known of the shipwrecked sailor James Mercier, but Thomas Jefferson paid the expenses of his return to Virginia upon the supposition that he would be reimbursed either by Virginia or Mercier’s relatives (Jefferson, Papers , 10:207).