Adams Papers

Thomas Barclay to John Adams, 18 October 1784

From Thomas Barclay

L’Orient 18th. October 1784—

Dear Sir

Inclosed is a letter which I received Yesterday under Cover from Mr. Dumas, I suppose the old Gentleman sent it to Me, as you are wholly Unknown in and about Paris—1 I hope the security of the Conveyance will make You amends for the Delay—

I have purchased for Mrs. Adams some Hyson, and other Teas, which will be left at Pichinies at Passy Near the Barrier au Conferance, who keeps a Pension,2 It is Containd in a Box with other Teas for Doctor Franklin and Mr. Jefferson— The quality Not Very uncommon, but as good as any at this place, of the last Importation from China, and so reasonable in the price that I Dare Not Mention it. lest you shou’d think less of the Tea than it deserves—

You were Extremely well off in getting the set of China which was Intended for Mr. Ridley for I do assure You, there is Not such a one for Sale in this Town— I intend to return to Paris, by way of Bordeaux. Can I do any thing for you there, do You want any wines, of Good Quality and at the Cheapest rate.

I have a great mind to send you a Couple of hhds. of Obrion Claret3 at 500 livres Per hhd— I shall desire Mr. Darcel to Call on you for 1000 livres. which please to pay him on My acco.4

You will have the Goodness to present My Best wishes to Mrs. Adams and Miss Adams, and to beleiv Me My Dear Sir / Your Very Aff. / and Obedient Servant

Thos Barclay

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / Jno. Adams Esqre / Minister Plenipotentiary / from the United States / of America / at / Auteuil near Paris—”; internal address: “Mr. Adams—”; endorsed: “Mr Barclay / Ansd. 31. Oct. 1784.”

1JA in his 25 Aug. letter to C. W. F. Dumas, above, suggested that Dumas send letters to him under cover to Barclay. The letter that Barclay received at Lorient was likely Dumas’ of 31 Aug. (Adams Papers), for which see Dumas’ letter of 10 Sept., above.

2The Pechignys, husband and wife, were proprietors of a pension, or boarding school, at Passy, which JQA and CA attended in 1780 before JA took them to the Netherlands (AFC, description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 3:271–273).

3Likely an anglicization or phonetic spelling of Haut Brion, then and now one of the great wine chateaus in the Bordeaux region.

4Matthew Ridley’s clerk, Nicholas Darcel, followed up on Barclay’s letter to JA with his own [ante 29 Oct.] note to JA, asking for payment of 1,000 livres tournois on Barclay’s account and promising to leave a receipt with the clerk of Paris banker Augustin Forestier, which he did on the 29th (both Adams Papers). In his 31 Oct. reply to Barclay (LbC, APM Reel 107), JA indicated that he would pay the sum as requested and that he had no need of the claret “as I have a Sufficient quantity upon the Road, ordered long Since from Bourdeaux, which I expect to arrive every moment” (Morris, Papers, description begins The Papers of Robert Morris, 1781–1784, ed. E. James Ferguson, John Catanzariti, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, Mary A. Gallagher, and others, Pittsburgh, 1973–1999; 9 vols. description ends 9:470; Luc Vincent Thiéry, Almanach du voyageur a Paris, Paris, 1784, p. 115). JA also enclosed for forwarding a letter from Dumas to the president of Congress, probably of 8 Oct., for which see Thulemeier’s letter to the commissioners of the same date, and note 1, above.

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