Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Grand & Cie., [9 May 1789]

From Grand & Cie.

Paris, [9 May 1789]. They enclose a memorandum on the subject of Mr. Barclay. This is not the only claim they have for credit extended in America, and Mr. Williams, among others, has owed them 80,000livre tournois for 6 years “dont ils desespèrent de rien retirer et qu’ils lui prêterent au moment où ils le savoient dans l’embarras et hors d’etat de satisfaire à ses engagemens.” If Grand had not given aid to Barclay, it is certain that he would not have been able to go to Morocco on his mission, and it is equally certain that, if Barclay had not been clothed with a public character, Grand would not have been induced to lend him so considerable a sum, especially at the moment of his departure.—Messrs. Grand & Cie. hope that, because of the good will invariably shown to them by TJ, he will be good enough to serve them should the occasion present itself for doing justice to their claim. “Il est certain que l’argent de Mr. Grand dans ces deux cas a été employé à satisfaire d’autres créanciers que lui.”—They beg leave to recommend the enclosed two letters to his attention and to wish him a happy voyage and a prompt return.

RC (DLC). Not recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) The two letters have not been found. (2) The “notte” concerning Barclay, dated “Samedi [9 May 1789],” states that in the spring of 1785 when Barclay was on the point of leaving for Morocco on a mission for the United States, he expressed to Grand his need for a credit of about 45,000livre tournois; that Grand was not ignorant of the fact that Barclay was at that time embarrassed in his affairs and that different creditors had threatened to sue him; that his character as agent of the state of Virginia, as consul general of the United States, and as commissioner to examine the accounts of the United States in Europe was such as to inspire confidence, quite aside from that naturally inspired by Barclay’s probity, and was decisive with Grand in persuading him to assist Barclay; that an even more pressing consideration was that Barclay was obliged to depart from Morocco to negotiate an important treaty for the commerce of the United States; that, faced with such motives and being devoted to the interests of the United States, Grand was unable to refuse the request; that, although very strict in his affairs and avoiding unsecured obligations, he accepted drafts in the amount of 45,000livre tournois by Barclay who promised solemnly to redeem the obligation and even desired Grand to accept a mortgage on the ship Le Sieur Adams, which up to then had been unsaleable, even at the price of 5,000livre tournois that Barclay had also mortgaged to Grand an interest he possessed in some lots in Philadelphia; that the debt now amounts to more than 50,000livre tournois and that “Mr. Grand connoit assés la droiture et la délicatesse de Mr. Barclay pour être persuadé que c’est par impuissance qu’il ne satisfait pas à une dette qui paroit si privilégiée, mais tout en le plaignant il n’en souffre pas moins du retard de cette somme et si les bons offices de Monsieur Jefferson pouvoient contribuer à lui en procurer le payement, il ose les espérer de sa bonté” (DLC: TJ Papers, 49: 8317–9).

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