Expense Account as Delegate in Congress
MS (Virginia State Library; and LC: Madison Papers, Vol. 91). JM’s covering letter, if any, to the Virginia Auditors of Public Accounts has not been found.
|1781.||From Sepr. 20 to Decr. 20—1781.|
|Pena. Curry.||Pena. Curry.|
|Sepr. 25.||To cash arising from a bill drawn Sepr. 13.||87—5—3||By balance due Sepr. 203|
|in my favr. for £100 by T. Pleasants Agt.||Decr. 20.||By Board &c. including liquors &c||£85—13—2|
|for Mr. Ross, on R: Morris1 60 days sight||By Expence of 2 Horses||19— 5—|
|Novr. 5.||To cash recd. of T. Pleasants||12— —||By washing £6—11 — 2 Cord Wood £5||11—11|
|To do. rcd. of do||23— —||By allowance for 91 days4 at|
1. Thomas Pleasants, Jr., David Ross, and Robert Morris. Evident here is the high discount rate, exceeding 12½ per cent, about which the delegates had complained to Governor Harrison [Nelson] in their letter of 4 December 1781 (q.v.), and which in the present instance was attached to a bill repayable at face value within sixty days of presentation.
2. The three debits making up this total were entered without change by the auditors on their ledger sheet for JM (MS, Virginia State Library). The ink on JM’s memorandum of these transactions, retained for his files, is faint and the paper badly water-stained. This memorandum records:
|Sepr. 25.||To 52—6—3 resulting from a bill for £100||87£[?]|
|drawn in my favor Sepr. 13th at 60 days|
|sight on R. Morris by Thos. Pleasants jr.|
|A. for Mr. Ross|
|To 4 half Joe recd of T Pleasants|
|To [£]23 recd of|
The editors do not understand where JM derived the figure “52—6—3,” and by what scale of appreciation he converted the amount into “87£”[?]. The fact that £52 6s. 3d. plus £23 plus £12 (“4 half Joe”) equal £87 6s. 3d., or virtually the sum netted by JM from the £100 bill, as shown on the copy prepared for the auditors, has to be accounted merely a coincidence in order to avoid adding to the mystery.
3. See Expense Account, 20 September 1781, and n. 3. JM necessarily left the “balance due” a blank because the Virginia General Assembly had not determined what increase in the per diem salary, above the $20 in paper currency stipulated in 1779, should be granted as an offset to the rapid depreciation since that year.
4. See n. 3, above. On his retained memorandum JM detailed this credit column as follows:
|Sepr 26||By 30 bushels of Oats at 2/||£3|
|Ocr. [?]||By 2 Cords of wood||£5|
|Ocr. [?]||By pd. for washing||[2—6]|
|Novr. 6||By Hay £6||6|
|By Oats 7/6||1—17—6|
|Novr. 20th||By 15 bushels do. 30/|
|Decr. [?] 20||By stablage||5|
|By washing||2— 7 —6|
|For Horses||£9.7.6 not charged in last acct.|
|rcd. from J.J. & E.R. for supply to their Horses|
|19. 5 net expence for this quarter|
“J.J. & E.R.” obviously stands for Joseph Jones and Edmund Randolph. The total for laundry, entered on the auditors’ copy, will not agree with JM’s retained itemization, unless the cost of this item in October, blotted out by a water stain, was the amount inserted within brackets by the editors.