Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Isaac Stephens

To John Jay

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners, 2 October 1786 Barclay, Thomas American Commissioners
Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners
Gentlemen. Cadiz 2nd: October 1786.

By the bearer Colonel Franks I do myself the honor to Send you in a Small Box the following articles.1

1st: A Book containing the original Treaty in Arabic between the Emperor of Morocco and the United States.—

2. Three translations of the Treaty in English, to each of which is added a translation of a Declaration made by Tahar Fennish by order of His Majesty in addition & explanation of the 10th: article.2

3. A Letter from the Emperor to the President of Congress

4. The translation of this letter in English.—

5 Translation of the Emperor’s letter to the King of Spain.3

6 A Letter from Tahar Fennish to the Ministers at Paris and London, and Translation.—4

7 Signals agreed on by which the Moorish & American Vessels may distinguish each other at Sea.5

8th: The answer to the Queries which you put to me, Dated Tangier the 10th. September.6

9 An Account of Some other particulars relative to this Country— Dated Tangier—13th. September.

10 An Account of the proceedings relative to the Treaty Dated Ceuta 18th. September.—

11. Copy of a Commission given to Francisco Chiappe of the City of Morocco untill the pleasure of Congress Shall be known, and the names of the Agents at Mogadore and Tangier.—7

These matters have been detain’d a considerable time from you by various accidents, among which contrary winds and Stormy weather were a part— But I hope, as all Such impediments are now remov’d, you will receive them with the utmost Expedition.—

The Original of the Declaration made by Mr. Fennish, cou’d not be placed in the Same Book with the Treaty Seal’d by the Emperor, the Moorish forms not permiting it, therefore Mr. Fennish wrote it in another Book which I had placed in his hands with a Copy of the Treaty for examination, in order that he might certify the Verity of it, lest any accident Shou’d happen to the original, which Book 470 with authenticated Copies of the other papers, remain in my hands—

I am with great respect / Gentn. / Your most Obedt. Servt.

Thos Barclay (Copy)8

RC in David S. Franks’ hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Their Excellencies / Mr. Adams & Mr. Jefferson.”


David S. Franks reached Paris with the documents listed here in late December and then carried them to London, where he arrived on 24 Jan. 1787 (from Thomas Jefferson, 20 Dec. 1786, below; AFC , 7:454). The documents were sent to JA so that he could examine the record of the Moroccan negotiations and add his signature to Jefferson’s on the commissioners’ provisional ratification of the resulting treaty, which is at 25 Jan. 1787, below. The treaty and the rest of the documents listed by Barclay were then enclosed with the commissioners’ 27 Jan. letter to John Jay, below.


For a facsimile of the Arabic text of the Moroccan-American treaty, see Miller, Treaties , 2:186–217. For the English text from one of the three translations sent by Barclay, see the Moroccan-American Treaty of Peace and Friendship, at [28 June 1786], above.


For English translations of the emperor’s 28 June letters to the president of Congress and the king of Spain, the first announcing the completion of the treaty and the second acknowledging Spain’s mediation in its conclusion, see Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 2:698–700. On 23 July 1787, five days after ratifying the treaty, Congress replied to the emperor’s letter and also wrote the king of Spain to thank him for his assistance ( JCC , 32:355; 33:393–396).


Of [28 June 1786], above.


See Miller, Treaties , 2:219.


Items 8, 9, and 10 are Barclay’s letters to the commissioners of 10, 13, and 18 Sept., all above.


In the 15 July commission, Barclay appointed Francesco Chiappe, subject to the approval of Congress, the American consul at Marrakesh. In a note below his signature, Barclay indicated that he had issued similar commissions to Giuseppe and Giacomo Chiappe to be the American agents at Mogador (now Essaouira) and Tangier, respectively. He also indicated that Giuseppe currently served as the Genoan consul and Venetian vice-consul, while Giacomo was Venetian consul and Genoan vice-consul ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 2:725). Congress approved Barclay’s appointment of the Chiappe brothers on 23 July 1787 ( JCC , 33:397).


Signature and notation in Barclay’s hand.