Bordeaux 17 May 1787
I have this day the pleasure of dining with your son in law Colonel Smyth at our truly worthy and good friends, Messrs: Val Pas French & Nephew of this City, whose generous Conduct towards all the Gentlemen who come from America as well as their early love for the Cause of Liberty and the emancipation of America Intitle them to every praise and the best services of the best men.—For I am sorry to observe how much and how Cruelly they have Suffered by a Credulous good nature.—
The Occasion of this address is to inform your Excellency That some years ago Mr. Thos. Barclay came here Consul General from the United States to the Court of France—having faith in his public Character & an Extreme desire to oblige both himself Congress & every Public Character—They have in lent cash and goods trusted him to the amount of 75,000 Livres equal to 35000£ sterling for which sum they have nothing but his Protested acceptances whereon judgment is long since Obtained—They have Waited years the fulfilment of his promises to pay them Which he never offered to do in whole or in part these kind men proposed yet to extend his credit 10 years if he would give them any security and with the greatest pain & Reluctance they proceeded to arrest him—It being the only Step that Remained either to try by such a measure to Obtain security—or otherwise to lose the whole
He is now in Prison—and if you can thro. your Interest with Congress or in any other way be of service to Messrs. French & Nephew you will do a most benevolent & Meritorious work to & for a house the most conspicuous &liberal in every kind exertion for the good and in the behalf of every American gentleman.
Their losses have been great by many others few have Called upon them but to their loss and in such a Condition thro: a generous and Liberal Profusion of good Offices it would greatly become as well as do great honor to Congress
If in this Instance they should come forward and Redeem their servants in the Faith whereof and responsibility of the Supposed segacity and Prudence of Congress in sending out men of honor & Probity this debt had its foundati[on] And I hope will in that faith have its discharge Whereunto your kind aid will be very accepttable to Messrs. French & Nephew and meet a very grateful return from them as well as much Oblige your excellencys / Most obed. / very humb. servt.
MHi: Adams Papers.