Papers of John Adams, volume 18

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners

From John Jay

426 To John Adams from Thomas Jefferson, 13 August 1786 Jefferson, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Jefferson
Dear Sir Paris Aug. 13. 1786. 1

The inclosed came to hand this morning.2 mr̃ Carmichael you observe, and mr̃ Barclay suppose something may yet be done at Algiers. it remains for us to consider whether the conduct of the Dey of that country leaves any room to hope that any negotiator can succeed without a great addition to the price to which we are confined? and should we think in the negative, yet whether the expences of mr̃ Barclay’s going there may not be compensated by additional information, by the possibility that he may get at their ultimatum, by the importance of possessing Congress of this ultimatum, that knowing their ground, they may not suspend a decision. Spain having made it’s peace with Algiers, we may see whether their interference can count as money, as it has done at Marocco. hostilities too may possibly be suspended or slackened a while longer. these are all chances on which I acknolege I build very little; yet as nothing weighs against them but the expence of mr̃ Barclay’s journey, they might be tried. if you are of that opinion, send me the necessary papers for mr̃ Barclay ready signed by you, & I will sign them & forward them.— there is lodged in mr̃ Grand’s hands money enough to support the diplomatic establishment of our country in Europe three months, on which your draughts & Colõ Smith’s shall be honoured if you think proper to make them.3 I am with sincere esteeme Dear Sir, your friend & servt.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “H. E. mr̃ Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Jefferson Aug. 13. / ansd sept. 11. 1786.”; and by WSS: “Paris August 13th. / Mr. Jefferson—”


Jefferson last wrote to JA on 8 Aug. (Jefferson, Papers , 10:195–196). There he acknowledged JA’s 16 July letter, above. Jefferson also noted the French reduction of duties on whale oil, and he enclosed letters received from William Carmichael of 15 and 18 July, John Lamb of 18 July (and likely a copy of his of the 15th), and Richard O’Bryen of 12 July (same, 10:131–132, 137–139, 149–152; except for Carmichael’s first letter, all the enclosures were filmed at their dates in the Adams Papers). Finally, Jefferson asked JA’s advice in settling Lamb’s accounts. For JA’s reply to that letter and this one of the 13th, see his 11 Sept. letter, below.

Jefferson also wrote to AA, on 9 Aug., complaining that it had been “an age” since he had received a letter from her and enclosing an account stating the amounts owed to Jefferson and the Adamses, including sums for shoes purchased for AA2 in Paris and shirts obtained for Jefferson in London ( AFC , 7:312–315).


The enclosures have not been found, but from Jefferson’s comments on their content, they were presumably copies of Thomas Barclay’s 26 June letter to the commissioners, above, and Carmichael’s of 31 July to Jefferson (Jefferson, Papers , 10:178, 179–181). The Barclay letter was enclosed with that from Carmichael. For WSS’s reception of a copy of Barclay’s 26 June letter directly from 427 Barclay to the commissioners on 23 Aug., during JA’s absence in the Netherlands, and WSS’s dispatch of copies to Jefferson and John Jay, see the descriptive note to that letter, above.


For the money deposited with Ferdinand Grand, see John Paul Jones’ 10 July letter, and note 2, above. There is no indication that JA or WSS drew on Grand for their salaries.