Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Stephens Smith, 19 May 1787

Bourdeaux May 19th. 1787.

Dr: Sir—

I am under the disagreeable necessity of informing you that Mr: Barclay is in Prison at this place at the suit of Messrs V & P French & Nephew, Merchants Established here, for the Sum of 75.000 Livers—which arises from Cash advanced & Goods Shiped on his account & by his order—near 4 years past—the Gentlemen seem much attached to the Idea, that Mr. Barclay, being in a public capacity—his Country will interpose, pay the debt and sett Mr. B. at liberty—I have done all in my power to convince them, of the impropriety of their expectations—for tho’ I will readily grant, that the holding of a public office, ought in every case to induce a Gentleman to be doubly cautious and guarded in his private conduct—still I think the Idea perfectly novel and ridiculous—that in case a public officer should involve himself in difficulties, in consequence of <[. . .]> his private negotiations—that his Country should be supposed bound to extricate him—I have visited him and find him miserably lodged & apprehensive that his difficulties will encrease upon his Situation being made public—for from what I can learn—this is not the only debt—I Shall take leave of him this afternoon & pursue my duty in the morning and with affectionate regards for the Ladies & the little Gent—

I have the honor to be Dr. Sir—Your Excellency’s most Obt. Ser

W:S: Smith

MHi: Adams Papers.

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