Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners, 13 July 1787

Thomas Barclay to the American Commissioners

L’Orient 13th. July 1787


I do myself the Honor to inclose you two Books of 82 Pages containing all my Accounts respecting my Mission to Morocco, by which you will see that the amount of the Expences attending the Negociation Including the Presents and all the Travelling Charges of Mr. Franks and myself amount to 95,179.10 which Sum I shall place to the Debit of the United States. The particulars of the Purchases made, and of the Appropriation of all the Presents, together with an Account of the Articles remaining on Hand make a part of these Accounts, and I do not know that any thing whatever is left unexplained, when I have told you that my reason for leaving the Lawns and Cambricks in the Hands of Mr. Champion of this place for Sale, was because the Farmers General wou’d not permit me to carry them out of the Town by Land. Mr. Champion Died suddently in April last, and at present nothing is done or can be done in his Affairs, which are all sealed up by the Judges, and are likely to remain so some time. I shall direct the Account of the Goods to be lodged in the Hands of Mr. Loreilhe here in order that he may claim them.

I annex an account of Bills drawn on Mr. Adams amounting to £4645. Sterg., one Hundred pounds of which in favor of Mr. Grand, he writes to me, was never sent forward for acceptance, in which case, I have promised to account with him for it, and then the Amount will be £4545. Stg. which, supposing the Exchange to be on an average 24 Livres the pound Sterling clear of Negociating fees in Paris the sum will be in Livres 109,080, so that upon this Account I shall remain Indebted to the United States, (untill I make a settlement with them, and untill I know what I am to charge for my Voyage) 13901₶ 10s. I have also some suspicion that I must have drawn a Bill not included in this Account, but I am not certain, as most of my Papers are at St. Germains. Mr. Adams will be so kind as to procure from the Banker, who paid the Draughts, an account of the particulars, and transmit it to me under Cover to Mr. Jay at New York, assuring himself that a final settlement shall be made to the intire satisfaction of Congress, and to that of you, Gentlemen.

The necessity I am under of hastening out to America shou’d not have prevented my waiting on Mr. Adams in London for his commands, had not Mr. Jefferson given me a full dispensation on that Head, and therefore I know Mr. Adams will excuse me.

Before I take leave, permit me to thank you both for the many marks of Esteem, and attention with which you have honor’d me, and to request most earnestly a continuance of that regard, which I sincerely assure you is very presious to Gentlemen Your most obt. and obliged Servant,

Thos. Barclay

P.S. The precise Exchange of the Bills cannot be adjusted, untill I receive Mr. Grand’s accounts.

RC (DLC); in clerk’s hand, signed by Barclay and with this notation at foot of text in his hand: “This Copy for Mr. Jefferson having sent one to Mr. Adams in London.” Recorded in SJL as received with Barclay’s letters of 12 (missing), 14, and 16 July on 20 July 1787. RC (MHi: AMT); in clerk’s hand, signed by Barclay and with corresponding notation. Tr (DNA: PCC, No. 91). Tr (DNA: PCC, No. 107). Enclosures: (1) The “two books of 82 Pages containing all my Accounts” did not accompany this letter or its duplicate to Adams, for reasons explained in Barclay to TJ, 14 July 1787; these “two books” may indeed have been carried by Barclay to America; they are now in DNA: PCC, No. 91, ii, 346–91, 392–435. (2) Copies of the list of drafts made by Barclay on Adams are to be found with all texts of the present letter in DLC, MHi: AMT, and DNA: PCC.

Barclay evidently spoke the truth when he said that he did not think any thing whatever is left unexplained in his accounts. The two books of 82 pages included some interesting and revealing details in their fullness: “powder and pomatum,” “a box and tickets at the play House at Barcelona,” a gratuity to “the Doorkeeper of the Cathedral [at Murcia] for shewing the Church steeple,” and other similar expenses were included along with the usual costs incident to 18th century travel (even among the latter are many that strike an unfamiliar note, such as the charge for paying a servant to carry a light for the American agents on their way home after a dinner in Morocco). The listing of gifts for the Emperor of Morocco and his officials reveals both Parisian and Moroccan taste in the late 18th century. The gifts included many gold and silver watches, a pair of pistols inlaid with gold, “an alarum silver watch,” a blue enamelled gold snuff box, three boxes of perfume, “a Sword with the Arms of the United States on the Handle,” eight dozen silver spoons and six dozen forks, “50½ dozen Phosphorus Matches,” tea, sugar, cambrics, silks, muslins, &c. At the first audience with the Emperor, Barclay presented “A large Elegant Umbrella of Crimson Silk, lined with White, the seams Coverd with Rich Gold lace, and the Border of Gold Fringe and Tassels”; there was also “A Clock in the Bottom of a Cage, with an Artificial bird, that sings every hour, or when a string is pulled, and sings Six Tunes”; another “Clock in the Form of the Temple of Diana, with five Pillars and Pedestals of Elegant Marble”; gold watches, a gold box, phosphorus matches, and many other gifts—all these were wrapped in great silk handkerchiefs and “were carried [to the audience] by Thirty Six Jews, and Five Servants.” Taher Fennish, whose services were so indispensable in negotiating the treaty, was given a silver watch, fine cloths, tea, sugar, and other gifts wrapped in five handkerchiefs; in addition, $600 was paid on 30 July 1786 to “Taher Fennish who made the Treaty and who escorted us to Mogadore from Morocco.” The accounts also include such entries as the following: “for papers of a particular kind to write the Treaty,” “for Copying the Treaty in Arabic 2d time,” “for putting the Kings Seal to the Treaty and Letters,” “for binding the Book with the Treaty,” &c. David Franks’ “Accounts of Expences from Paris to Morocco, and Back to Madrid” are included in the total of 95,179.₶—10 and were “Settled at the Escurial 16th Nov. 1786, when Col. Franks Returned to France.” Barclay’s accounts, as “Settled at L’Orient the 12th of July 1787,” actually totalled 97,030.₶-11, but there was a deduction of 1,851₶—1 for books bought at Alicante, Valencia, and elsewhere—at least part of which were for TJ.

Index Entries