James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Lambert, 2 April 1806 (Abstract)

From William Lambert, 2 April 1806 (Abstract)

§ From William Lambert. 2 April 1806, Washington. “I inclose a copy of a circular letter, addressed without distinction of party, to all the members of both Houses of Congress, and also to the President of the United States. I find myself compelled, from the treatment I have received, to take a step of this kind, and the respect I have for your person and character, induces me to make the communication to you.”1

RC and enclosure (DLC). RC 1 p. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure is Lambert’s 2 Apr. 1806 printed circular (1 p.) rebutting U.S. House of Representatives Chief Clerk John Beckley’s response published in the 3 Mar. 1806 National Intelligencer, to claims by Relfs Philadelphia Gazette that Beckley was not only in arrears to the Gazette and another newspaper for subscriptions to the representatives but was also in arrears on payments to clerks William Lambert and Josias W. King, although the money had been appropriated by the House. Beckley replied that he had paid all congressional accounts as they were presented, but he had never subscribed to the Gazette for the Clerk’s office. He denied Relf’s charge that he was also in arrears on the salaries of Lambert and King, stating that he had signed receipts for what had been paid. In his circular Lambert asserted that not only had their salaries often been paid months in arrears but that Beckley had borrowed money from Lambert and not repaid it until well after it was due. He added that he and King were owed money for services during the current session that had not been paid them in spite of its having been appropriated by the House. On 3 Feb. 1806 the House had voted to authorize Beckley to receive money from its contingent fund and to pay Lambert and Beckley $200 each. Much of the acrimony in the case probably stemmed from Lambert’s having run against Beckley the previous fall for the chief clerk’s position, his defeat, and his subsequent firing by Beckley (National Intelligencer, 3 Mar. 1806; Journal of the U.S. House of Representatives, 9th Cong., 1st sess., 5:257; PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (11 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 10:686 n. 1).

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