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Thomas Jefferson to John Adams Regarding the Barbary States

John Paul Jones Monument in Washington, DC. (


Paris, August 6, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I now enclose you a draught of a treaty for the Barbary States, together with the notes Dr. Franklin left me. I have retained a press copy of this draught, so that by referring to any article, line, and word, in it, you can propose amendments and send them by the post, without any body’s being able to make much of the main subject. I shall be glad to receive any alterations you may think necessary, as soon as convenient, that this matter may be in readiness. I enclose also a letter containing intelligence from Algiers. I know not how far it is to be relied on. My anxiety is extreme indeed, as to these treaties. We know that Congress have decided ultimately to treat. We know how far they will go. But unfortunately we know also, that a particular person has been charged with instructions for us, these five months, who neither comes nor writes to us. What are we to do? It is my opinion that if Mr. Lambe does not come in either of the packets (English or French) now expected, we ought to proceed. I therefore propose to you this term, as the end of our expectations of him, and that if he does not come, we send some other person. Dr. Bancroft or Captain Jones occurs to me as the fittest. If we consider the present object only, I think the former would be the most proper: but if we look forward to the very probable event of war with those pirates, an important object would be obtained by Captain Jones’s becoming acquainted with their ports, force, tactics, &c. Let me know your opinion on this. I have never mentioned it to either, but I suppose either might be induced to go. Present me affectionately to the ladies and Colonel Smith, and be assured of the sincerity with which I am,

Dear Sir, your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.