Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners

The American Commissioners to John Lamb, [ca. 11–19 September 1786]
The American Commissioners to John Lamb
Sir— [ 11–ca. 19 September 1786 ]1

We have received your two Letters, of the 15 & 18. July2 from Alicant and are sorry to learn that your indisposition discourages you from travelling by Land or sea

We still think it most adviseable, both for your own interest & that of the United states, that you should return to Congress, for their further Instructions, as soon as possible, & we again propose to you, to embark from spain, by the first oppertunity.

Congress have never informed us, of any Promise made, or Encouragement given you, that you should be settled with in Europe, and we think it best you should settle with their Board of treasury. Nevertheless if you transmit to us, your account we will adjust it, as far as lies in Us, subject to the revision of Congress. Your Letter of 452 Credit we wish you to return to one of us, by the first oppertunity, as you will not have occasion to draw again by Virtue of it.3

Mr. Randall is gone to N. York & it is our wish that you might be there with him that Congress might have an oppertunity of receiving from both together, as much information as possible, that you might mutually aid each other in settling your account—

We are

J A—

LbC in WSS’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Lamb Esqr. Allicant”; APM Reel 113.


The LbC presumably was taken from the signed fair copy of the RC, not found, that JA enclosed with his 11 Sept. letter to Thomas Jefferson, above. In his 26 Sept. reply, below, Jefferson indicates that upon receiving the 11 Sept. letter he immediately signed and forwarded the enclosed letter to Lamb. Jefferson received JA’s letter on the 19th, the probable date of his signature, and then most likely sent it off as an enclosure in his 22 Sept. letter to William Carmichael. Note that in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson the commissioners’ letter is dated “[26 Sep. 1786].” That date was probably derived from Jefferson’s 26 Sept. letter to John Jay wherein an undated copy was enclosed (Jefferson, Papers , 10:349, 396–397, 405, 407, 427).


Jefferson enclosed Lamb’s 18 July letter to him, and possibly also that of the 15th, with his 8 Aug. letter to JA, for which see that of 13 Aug., and note 1, above. In the 15 July letter, Lamb wrote that he was quarantined at Alicante, Spain, and that poor health prevented him from continuing to Paris and New York City to deliver a report of the failed mission. He reported that “no more of our Vessels were Taken” and that he had supplied the American captives in Algiers with eight hundred dollars, and he promised to return the commissioners’ letter of credit. On the 18th he wrote that he had sent Congress a “full account” of the mission and sought “a Settlement of my Reasonable Accounts” (Jefferson, Papers , 10:139, 151–152).


For the letters of credit issued to Lamb and Thomas Barclay in Oct. 1785, see vol. 17:451–452.