James Madison Papers
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Expense Account as Delegate in Congress, [25 September] 1780

Expense Account as Delegate in Congress

MS (Virginia State Library). Expense account of JM, for 20 March to 20 September 1780, inclosed in preceding letter. To the extent that a fragmentary copy of this account, in the Madison Papers, Library of Congress, can be read, it duplicates what he submitted to the auditors. In the Virginia State Library is the ledger sheet itemizing the debits and credits of JM’s account with the state from 16 December 1779 to 31 December 1782. Accompanying this double page are three large sheets, divided by horizontal lines of ink into three-month periods, on which JM listed his receipts and expenses as a delegate in Congress from 16 December 1779 to 20 March 1782. The entries on these sheets correspond with his quarterly statements, and hence will not be reproduced in this volume unless one of the quarterly statements is missing.

[25 September 1780]

Dr. James Madison Junr. in account with the Commo[n]wealth of Virginia Cr.
1779 Dollars 1780 Dollars
December To cash received from the Treasury of Virginia. 6666⅔ March 20 By ferriages in travelling to Philadelphia 122
By allowance of 2 dollars per mile for do5 520
April 7
To the moity of a draught on the Auditors for 30,000 dollars in favor of S. C. Morris1 by C. Griffin & J. Madison Jr. 15000 By expences in Philadelphia prior to fixed lodgings 320⅔
By expence of boarding from 20 of March to 20 of Septemr 21373⅔
June 23 To cash received from the Continental Treasury on warrant from Congress dated April 122 for 15 000 dollars in favor of C. Griffin and J. Madison Junr., the remainder of the moity being received by Mr. J. Walker 2500 By incidental expences for liquors sugar fruit not included in board 2459
By expence of 3 horses from 20 of March to 30 of June and of 2 to the 20 of September at the continental Stables 6034
June To one third of a draught on the Auditors for 23312 dollars by Jos: Jones Jas. Henry & J. Madison Junr. in favor of Col. Balard negociated by Levi Hollingsworth3 7770⅔ By extra expences for do. during a scarcity of forage there 577
By expence for washing 1776
By expence to Barber 1020
Augst. 30 To one fourth of a draught on the Auditors for £20 000 Virginia currency by Jos: Jones, J. Madison Junr, and John Walker, received from Theo: Bland Junr 16666⅔4 By expence in wood6 605
Sepr. 20 By allowance of 20 drs. per day for attendance at Congress from the 20 of March to the 20 of Sepr. being 183 days7 3660
48604⅔ 38467⅓
June 15 By cash advanced to an Express returning to Virginia 175
Ballance 9962⅓
Philada. Sepr. 20. 17808 E E9
J. Madison Junr.

1Samuel Cadwalader Morris (1743–1820), a leading patriot and merchant of Philadelphia.

2The authorization by Congress was on 10 April 1780 (Journals of the Continental Congress, XVI, 343; NA: PCC, No. 136, III, 175).

3“Col. Balard” was probably Colonel Robert Ballard (ca. 1742–ca. 1803) of Mecklenburg County and of the 4th Virginia Regiment. Late in the Revolution, or shortly after its close, he moved to Baltimore, Md. Levi Hollingsworth (1739–1824) of Philadelphia was a well-known merchant and speculator. John Walker evidently did the negotiating with Hollingsworth (Walker to Jefferson, 13 June 1780, in Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , III, 441).

4Multiplying £20,000 by 3.33 and dividing the result by four equals the $16,666⅔ (Virginia Delegates to Auditors, 11 September 1780, n. 4).

5In December 1779 the Virginia legislature fixed the salary of delegates at $20.00 a day, their travel allowance at $2.00 a mile plus ferry costs, and guaranteed to reimburse each delegate for the living costs of himself and family at Philadelphia, including his expenses for rent, fuel, food, and a maximum of three servants and four horses (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , X, 163).

6JM’s consolidated expense sheets for 1779–1782, mentioned in the headnote, state that the amount of wood was two cords.

7Above, n. 5.

8On their ledger sheets mentioned in the headnote, the auditors not only divided each of the sums listed by JM by 3.33, in order to arrive at the value in Virginian rather than continental paper currency, but also reduced the latter to its specie equivalent by applying a depreciation ratio. Thus between December 1779 and June 1780 this ratio was 62 for 1. By August of that year it had grown to 75 for 1.

9Probably stands for “Errors Excepted,” an expression sometimes found at the close of the accounts of other delegates. The law, mentioned in n. 5, required the delegates to submit only “a general account of all their disbursements” and apparently did not oblige them to file supporting receipts.

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