Observations on the Diplomatic Establishment as provided for by Congress, [17 July 1790]

Jefferson’s Opinion on Consulship to Morocco

The Secretary of state has also consulted, on the subject of the Marocco consulships, with Mr. Barclay, who furnished him with the note of which a copy accompanies this. Considering all circumstances,1 Mr. Barclay is of opinion we had better have only one Consul there, and that he should be the one now residing at Marocco, because, as Secretary to the emperor,2 he sees him every day, and possesses his ear. He is of opinion 600. Dollars a year might suffice for him,3 and that it should be proposed to him, not as a salary, but as a sum in gross intended to cover his expences, and to save the trouble of keeping accounts. That this Consul should be authorised to appoint agents in the Seaports, who would be sufficiently paid by the consignments of vessels. He thinks the Consul at Marocco should most conveniently recieve his allowance through the channel of our Chargé at Madrid, with whom also this Consulate had better be made dependant4 for instructions, information, and correspondence, because of the daily intercourse between Marocco and Cadiz.

The Secretary of state, on a view of Mr. Barclay's note, very much doubts the sufficiency of the sum of 600. Dollars: he supposes a little money there may save a great deal; but he is unable to propose any specific augmentation till a view of the whole diplomatic establishment and it's expences may furnish better grounds for it.


MS (DNA: RG 59, MLR); entirely in TJ's hand; endorsed by Washington: “Respecting Diplomatic and the Allowances made by Congress.” PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 56: 9621–2, 9624); at foot of text there is the following (not in MS): “Th: Jefferson July 17. 1790.” FC (DNA: RG 59, SDC); at head of text: “Observations &ca. respecting Diplomatic matters, and the Allowances made by Congress”; in clerk's hand, including date and signature. N (DLC: TJ Papers, 232: 41538); entirely in TJ's hand; endorsed: “Marocco. Mr. Barclay's information.” This memorandum, which TJ must have set down after conferring with Barclay, contains interesting variations from the expressions employed in the above observations sent to Washington (see notes below).


  1. N reads: “considering the smallness of our fund.”
  2. N reads: “… at Marocco, viz [Francisco] Chiappe, who is one of the Emperor's Secretaries and sees him every day.”
  3. N reads: “… and give to the Consul 600 Doll. to answer expences of couriers &c. and ever more if necessary, and to let him know that nothing can be allowed to the agents.”
  4. N reads: “He thinks it will be better to make that Consulate dependant altogether on the Chargé at Madrid, and let him correspond with him altogether; to send a new Consular commission to Mr. Carmichael for [Francisco] Chiappe.”