James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Gustavus B. Wallace, 25 March 1790

From Gustavus B. Wallace

Fredbg Virginia March 25th. 90

Dr. Sir

There are a great number of small ballance’s due to the Soldiers and officers of this and the North Carolina line which has been drawn by the pay master Genl and still remains in his hands to the Amount as I am inform’d of thirty thousand dollars.1 There is now in this State a man from newyork by the name of Renolds2 purchaseing these ballances at the rate of 3/ in the pound he was in this town, shew’d me his list of Names, from the pay master[’s] books, and the ballances due to each man. He has purchase’d a great many: at the request of some gent. in this place I give you this information that if possible this trade may be put a Stop to and the Soldiers get the whole of their money which may be done with ease by publishing the list of Names belonging to each State in the State news paper’s and the Sums due them.3 I have the Honor to be your Most obdt. St.

Gustavus B Wallace

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1The appropriation act of 29 Sept. 1789 had allotted a sum not exceeding $190,000 for satisfying unpaid warrants issued by the former board of treasury. Among these unpaid warrants were thirteen (amounting to $40,000) issued to officers and soldiers of the Virginia and North Carolina Continental lines for arrears of pay and subsistence for service in 1782 and 1783 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , I, 95; Gazette of the U.S., 28 Nov. 1789; Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , V, 408).

2The New York speculator was James Reynolds, husband of Alexander Hamilton’s paramour, Maria Reynolds (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (19 vols. to date; Princeton, 1950—). description ends , XVIII, 626–30; Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , XXI, 121–27).

3Wallace supplied additional information in his letter to JM of 20 Apr. On 27 Apr. JM wrote to Governor Randolph advising him that “from the uncertainty and inconveniency of obtaining an interposition of Congress” the state executives should undertake certain measures for redressing the frauds that may have been committed on those soldiers who had alienated their claims. Wallace’s 20 Apr. letter, which spoke of collusion on the part of a treasury clerk in supplying lists of soldiers to whom arrears were due, may have persuaded the Virginia delegation that the matter should be brought before Congress (speech of 17 May 1790; JM to the Governor of Virginia, 25 May 1790 and n. 1).

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