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The Founding Era Collection > Founders Early Access > Adams Papers: Early Access > Documents 1785–1798 and 1813 [1654 documents] > Documents > Heads of Instructions for Thomas Barclay to the Barbary States, 12 Sep. 1785
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Heads of Instructions for Thomas Barclay to the Barbary States

12 Sep. 1785

Heads of instructions to Mr. Barclay.

Congress having been pleased to invest us with full Powers for entering into a treaty of Amity & Alliance with the Emperor of Morocco & it being impracticable for us to attend his Court in Person, and equally impracticable on account of our seperate Stations to receive a Minister from him, we have concluded to effect our object by the intervention of a confidential Person. We concur in wishing to avail the U:S: of your Talents in the execution of the Business and therefore furnish you with a Letter to the Emperor of Morocco to give a due Credit to your transactions with him. We advise you to proceed by the Way of Madrid, where you will have opportunities of deriving many Lights from Mr. Carmichael thro’ whom many communications with the Court of Morocco have already pass’d. From thence you will proceed by such rout as you shall think best to the Court of the Emperor.

You will present to him our Letter with the Copy of our full Powers with which you are furnished, at such time or times & in such Manner as you shall find best.

You will proceed to negotiate with \his/ Minister the terms of a treaty of Amity & Commerce, as nearly as possible conformed to the draught we give you; where alterations which in your opinion shall not be of great importance shall be urged by the other Party, you are at Liberty to agree to them; where they shall be of great importance & such as you think should be rejected, you will reject them; but where they are of great importance & you think they may be acccepted, you will ask time to take our advice with us accordingly, by Letter or by courier as you shall think best. The whole expences of this treaty, including as well the expences of all persons employed about it, as the presents to the Emperor & his Servants must not exceed 20,000 dollars: and we urge you to use your best endeavors to bring them as much below that Sum as you possibly can & to this End we leave it to your discretion to represent, to his Majesty, or to his Ministers, if it may be done with safety; the particular Circumstances of the U:S:, just emerging from a long and distressing War with one of the most powerfull nations of Europe, which we hope may be an Apology if our Presents should not be so splendid as those of older & abler Nations.

As Custom may have rendered some presents necessary in the beginning or progress of this Business, & before it is concluded or even in a Way to be concluded, we authorize to conform to the Custom; confiding in your discretion to hazard as little as possible before a certainty of the Event: we trust to you also to procure the best information, in what form & to what Persons these presents should be made, & to make them accordingly.

The difference between the Customs of that & other Courts the difficulty of obtaining a knowledge of those Customs but on the Spot, & our great confidence in your discretion, induce us to leave to that, all other Circumstances relative to the object of your Mission. It will be necessary for you to take a Secretary, well skill’d in the french Language to aid you in your Business & to take Charge of your papers in Case of any accident to yourself; we think you may allow him  Guneas a Year besides expences for travelling & subsistance, we engage to furnish your own expences according to the respectability of the Character with which you are invested, but as to the allowance for your trouble we wish to leave it to Congress. We annex hereto sundry Heads of inquiry which we wish you to make, & to give us thereon the best information you shall be able to obtain. We desire you to correspond with us by every Opportunity which you think should be trusted, giving us from time to time an Account of your proceedings & prospects, by the Way of Holland under cover to Mr. Dumas at the Hague or Messrs. Willinks of Amsterdam, by the way of England, France or Spain.—

(MHi: Adams Papers).
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