Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Thomas Jefferson

To John Paul Jones

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners, 16 July 1786 Barclay, Thomas American Commissioners
Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners
Gentlemen Morocco 16th. July 1786.

I wrote you the 26th. of last Month and expected to have followed my Letter in a Week, but several unforeseen Matters have hitherto detained us; however I expect we shall set out tomorrow or the day following. The 13th. Instant the Treaty was sent to me by the Effendi1 since which some important alterations have been made which the Villainy & carelessness of the Talbe Houdrani2 (to whom the drawing was committed) made necessary; and yesterday it was again delevered from Tahar Fennish, to whose hands the King committed the arrangement of the Matter.3 It still wants an additional Article, or rather a Declaration which His Majesty has permitted to be made in his Name, but which he desired might not make a Part of the Treaty: when this is done, it will stand as I described it in my last Letter Vizt. “there is only one Article more I wish to see inserted & that I think will never prove of any 395 Consequence”. …4 When I send you the Treaty it will be necessary to accompany it with some Remarks with which I will not now trouble you, & the only one I shall make is, that the King throughout the whole has acted in a Manner the most gracious and condescending, and I really believe the Americans possess as much of his Respect & Regard as does any Christian Nation whatever.5 If you should think my services at Algiers, Tunis or Tripoli necessary, I hope your Commands will meet me in the South of Spain, for after returning to Paris it will be utterly impossible for me to engage further in the Business. A Peace with the Barbary Powers is absolutely essential to the Commerce of our Country, and I think a general one might be made notwithstanding the impediments that appear. The Emperor has ordered five Frigates on a Cruize in the Atlantic Ocean; He is now at Peace with all the World except Russia, Malta, Hamburg and Dantzick— A Treaty with the first of these Powers was concluded on, and the Articles drawn, but it was afterwards broke off. The Emperor complains much of the Treatment he receives from England, & Mr. Duff who came here some time ago as Pro-Consul, returned the day before we arrived, highly offended at His Reception,6 the Emperor having refused to receive the Letter which Lord Sydney wrote, saying he would read no Letters from England but such as were written by the King. I had a Letter yesterday from Mr. Carmichael and was in great hopes it would have covered one from you, but I am hitherto without the Pleasure of hearing from you;

I am allways, / Gentlemen / Your most obet. humble / Servant.

Thos Barclay

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqre. / Minister Plenipotentiary from / the United States of America / London”; internal address: “The Honb. John Adams / and / Thomas Jefferson Esquires.”; endorsed by WSS: “Morrocco July 16th. 86. / Rec’d 1st. Septr., Copies / forwarded to America & / France of the same date”; notation: “Rece’d & forwarded 31st August 1786 / for Forrest & Stoddert / Wm Pratt.” Dupl (Adams Papers). WSS’s endorsement refers to his 1 Sept. letters to John Jay and Thomas Jefferson with which he enclosed the copies ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 3:44–45; Jefferson, Papers , 9:315–316). The Dupl was presumably the copy Barclay intended should go to Jefferson since it is addressed to him at Paris.


According to Barclay, the “Effendi,” who cannot be further identified, was the “chief Officer at Court” and proved to be an obstacle to the successful conclusion of the negotiations (to the commissioners, 18 Sept., below).


A talbe was a “doctor of Mahometan law,” frequently consulted by the emperor on legal affairs (Louis de Chénier, The Present State of the Empire of Morocco, 2 vols., London, 1788, 1:370).


See Sidi Haj Tahar Ben Abdulhaq Fennish’s [28 June] letter, above.


Ellipsis in MS.


For Barclay’s much longer and more detailed account of the negotiations, see his 18 Sept. letter to the commissioners, below.

396 6.

This is Charles Adam Duff, who visited the emperor in May. He replaced the previous consul, George Payne, who had been recalled in Aug. 1785 for neglect of duty (R. Lambert Playfair and Robert Brown, “A Bibliography of Morocco, From the Earliest Times to the End of 1891,” Royal Geographical Society, Supplementary Papers, ed. John Murray, 4 vols., London, 1886–1893, 3:347).