Papers of John Adams, volume 18

From John Adams to the Board of Treasury, 26 January 1787 Adams, John Board of Treasury
To the Board of Treasury
Gentlemen— Grosvr. square January 26. 1787.

In compliance with your Directions, I do myself the honor to inclose to you, a List of all the Draughts of money, which have been 561 made by me, whether on a public or private account since the first day of August 1785. Sometime ago, I transmitted to Mr. Barclay according to the Resolutions of Congress, all my Accounts up to that Day,1—after the Examination he made a settlement of them and transmitted them as I suppose to Congress— I should be happy to be informed whether they have been receivd and whether they are approved— I shall transmit in the same manner to Mr. Barclay, according to those same Resolutions of Congress which are still in force, all my remaining accounts, from the same first of August 1785. for his Examination & Settlement as soon as he returns to Paris—but if he should embark for America from Spain, I shall lay my accounts before Congress, or Your honourable Board, upon my return to America which if my Life & Health remain to me, will certainly be at the expiration of my present Commission to this Court if not before—

You will perceive Gentlemen that Mr. Lamb has drawn more than 3000£ for the purpose of his unfortunate mission & Mr. Barclay more than 4000£ for his fortunate one—

I have been obliged to concur in opinion with messrs: Willinks & Co. of the necessity of paying off the Gratifications in Amsterdam in Cash, & the measure has had an happy effect— Those Gentlemen will no doubt write you the particulars

With great respect &c

J. A—

LbC in WSS’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Honle: Board of / Treasury of the U. states—”; APM Reel 113.


JA listed debits of 263, 769 livres and credits of 412, 028 livres, for an amount due him of 148, 285. The board said, however, that 113,000 of that was “unaccounted for,” leaving JA due a balance of 35, 258 livres (PCC, No. 138, I, f. 13–21).

JA retained a more comprehensive set of accounts, dated 31 May 1785 – 1 April 1788, in his Letterbooks (APM Reels 107, 124) and on loose sheets (Adams Papers, filmed at 1 April 1788). Aside from accepting the mounting bills sent by the Barbary agents Thomas Barclay and John Lamb, JA regularly charged 210 guineas a month in this period for “Salary and Disbursements for the United States.” Beyond covering his travel needs, the American minister’s other expenditures involved setting up the legation office, such as a £44.13 charge made on 24 May 1786 to equip JA and WSS with “Stationary, Books and Copying Press for the Bureau.” For the details of JA’s accounts as approved by the board, see Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, DNA:RG 39, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 267.