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To James Madison from Jacquelin Ambler, 24 August 1782

From Jacquelin Ambler

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “The Honobl. James Madison of Congress Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “Aug. 24. 1782.” JM also wrote on the cover, “Mr. Jones 74. Lr. from C. to GW. Prisoners from Engld. money Mr. Ross.” JM appears to be listing topics to touch upon in his letter of 3 September to Edmund Randolph (q.v.). On the opposite edge of the cover, JM wrote a “J,” a “W,” “1763,” a short vertical line, and a circular doodle. He also multiplied 35 by 5, and listed “5.3” above “8.15.” What any of these miscellaneous jottings connotes is unknown.

Richmond 24th August 1782

Dear Sir

On confering again with the Auditors I find they have altered their opinion with respect to the mode of liquidating the Accounts of the Delegates.1 Mr. Stark2 tells me it will be necessary for you to transmit one expressing the number of days you have acted in that capacity from your first appointment,3 and charging for each day 8 Dollars. The Account to be credited with the several payments which may have been made, reducing those of Paper Curry into Specie agreeable to the Scale of depreciation where and when they were made. You are charged he says in December 1779 with £2000. and, as he supposes this sum was paid you before you left Virginia, you will think it right to reduce it according to our Scale.4 It will probably be three or four weeks before this Account reaches me, I shall therefore in the meantime apply to the Auditors for a Warrant in your favor on Accot. and give the Attorney5 every aid in my power towards making you a remittance from it.

I wish Carlton’s letter may not raise our expectations too high. Britain does not seem to have lost sight of the hope of seperating us some how or other from our good Allies.6 We impatiently wait the arrival of further intelligence on this important subject.

Yours with great regard

J. A.

1See Ambler to JM, 3 August 1782, and n. 2.

2Bolling Stark.

4The credit column of the treasurer’s master account, mentioned ibid., n. 3, shows that JM received cash in December 1779 to the amount of 6,666⅔ “Paper Dollars.” A “Rate of depreciation” of “62” reduced these to specie dollars. Equating £1 as 3⅓ times one of these dollars, the auditors arrived at £32 5s as the “Value in Specie Virga. Curry.” After April 1781, when the rate had risen to 220, no further note of it appears on this master account.

Although a statute of 5 January 1782 had defined “a scale of depreciation” for computing the specie equivalent of previously incurred private debts, the Virginia General Assembly may have heeded a request made by the auditors on 4 June and readjusted the scale, insofar as the remuneration of the delegates in Congress was concerned, by a resolution adopted by the House of Delegates on 22 June 1782 and by the Senate three days later (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1781, p. 74; Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782 description begins Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782, MS in Virginia State Library. description ends , pp. 78, 80; 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, 472–73; Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 365; 367, n. 9). The delegates customarily were paid by drafts on Peter Whiteside and Company or some other firm in Philadelphia. Hence they received Pennsylvania rather than Virginia currency. See JM to Randolph, 10 September 1782.

6See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 303–4; Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 9 August, and n. 1; 13 August 1782, n. 4.

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