George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jaquelin Ambler, 13 November 1792

To Jaquelin Ambler

Philadelphia Nov. 13. 1792.


Be pleased to pay to Messrs Johnson, Stuart & Carrol Commissioners of the Federal buildings on the Patowmac, or to their order, or by the order of any two of them, the second instalment of the monies granted by the state of Virginia towards the said buildings.1

Go: Washington

LS, in Thomas Jefferson’s writing, Vi; L (letterpress copy), DLC: Jefferson Papers; copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW. All are addressed to the “Treasurer of Virginia.”

Jefferson enclosed this letter in his letter to the D.C. commissioners of 13 Nov. 1792. He also enclosed a separate letter that he had written to Ambler earlier on this date, in which he explained that the president’s request did not specify the sum of the expected payment because “no copy of the act granting the money is possessed here” (Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 24:612–13). The Virginia legislature on 27 Dec. 1790 granted $120,000 for the construction of public buildings in the federal district, payable in three equal installments (see Hening 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. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 13:125). For both Jefferson’s and GW’s acknowledgments that they did not have a copy of the pertinent legislation among their papers, see Jefferson to GW, 12 Nov. 1792 (second letter), and note 4.

Jaquelin Ambler (1742–1798), a 1761 graduate of the College of Philadelphia, was a successful planter and merchant in Yorktown, Va., before the Revolutionary War. During the war he left his Yorktown home and mercantile business and began a career in public service, eventually settling in Richmond where he served as a director of public buildings from 1784 to 1791 and supervised the construction of the new capitol. Ambler served as Virginia’s state treasurer from 1782 until his death.

1On the verso of the receiver’s copy of this letter, David Stuart wrote, “Pay the within contents to Coll Willm Deakins on order,” and both he and fellow D.C. commissioner Daniel Carroll signed that order. Deakins acted as the commissioners’ treasurer. Also on the verso, John Hopkins, commissioner of continental loans for the state of Virginia and a Richmond banker and merchant, wrote and signed the following receipt: “May 6th 1793 Recd a Warrant on the Treasury of Virga for Fifteen Thousand dollars in part of the within.” Ambler had made an earlier payment of $10,000 on the second installment on 10 Dec. 1792 (see Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 20 Dec., n.1).

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