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To James Madison from Jacquelin Ambler, 8 February 1783

From Jacquelin Ambler

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Unsigned but in Ambler’s hand. Cover addressed to “The Honobl. James Madison of Congress Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “Feby. 8. 1783.” On the lower half of the second page of the letter are a few computations by JM, evidently relating to the money owed him by Virginia.

Richmond Virga. 8. Feby. 83.

Dear Sir

Being very much engaged myself I obtained Mr. Webb’s Assistance to procure answers to the other Queries, which he has done & I believe as fully as they can be at this time.1 I enclose also a State of your Accot. against the Commonwealth, for your Inspection. You will please to make such additions & corrections as you may find necessary.2

I have endeavoured by taking the mean of depreciation, according to the Scales left here by Colo. Bland, to do both the State & you justice. minute fractions were not attended to.3

I informed you by the last mail that I had written to a Mr. William Satchell Shff of Northampton County (on the Eastern Shore) to remit to Mr. Jones, or any other Gentleman of the Delegation, what Specie he has in his hands payable for Taxes, which I understood from a letter he wrote Mr. Webb was not much Short of £500. provided he could do it on certainty, and in a reasonable time.4 I was induced to press this matter earnestly on Mr. Satchell on two accounts—in the first place I was apprehensiv[e] you stood much in need of a remittance, & there was little probability of making one from the Treasury until late in March & in the next place the risk that would attend bringing the Money over the Bay while the Enenimies Barges are cruizing.5 Unfortunately the Person who is to carry the Letter to Mr. Satchell is still detained here: I hardly know what to advise as the best meens for obtaining this Money in time. it is too inconsiderable a sum to hire an Express at Philadel. to go for it—especially as there is a possibility that Mr. Satchell may either bring or send the money here before my Letter reaches him.6

I send you another letter, however, for him7 in case any favorable opportunity should offer from Phil to that part of the Country.

1For the “Queries” and the share of Foster Webb, Jr., commissioner of the Virginia state treasury, in answering them, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 345–48; Ambler to JM, 1 Feb. 1783.

2The missing enclosure probably recorded only the auditors’ estimate of the money owed by Virginia to JM for his services as a delegate in Congress prior to 1 January 1783 (Ambler to JM, 1 Feb. 1783, and n. 2). For the adjustment of the account, see Ambler to JM, 22 Mar. 1783.

3Virginia’s debt to JM, as of 31 December 1782, consisted of three items: namely, (1) “12 days travelling to, and 1017 days constant attendance at Philadelphia,” (2) $175 in continental currency paid on 15 June 1780 for “an Express returning to Virginia” (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 97), (3) $2,760 in continental currency on 6 December 1780 for “Cash advanced to Robt. Jewel Keeper of the New-Goal Phila. for cloathing food & Medicine for 6. Sailors belonging to Virga. returning sick from captivity in New York” (ibid., II, 252; 254, n. 15; Auditors’ Ledger, MS in Va. State Library). To change the sums expended by JM listed in No. 2 and No. 3 to their equivalent in specie, Ambler applied the scale of depreciation forwarded by Robert Morris to Theodorick Bland on 11 November 1782 (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 192, n. 3). The table indicates that the Philadelphia depreciation rate nearest to 15 June was 62, and to 6 December 1780 was about 100 to 1. Thus for No. 2, disregarding “minute fractions,” $175 divided by 3.33 equals £52.5. Multiplying £52.5 by 20 results in 1,050 shillings. Dividing the shillings by 62 converts them into about 16s. specie. In like manner for No. 3, but substituting 100 for 62, the result is £8 6s. specie (Auditors’ Ledger, MS in Va. State Library). In regard to item No. 1, the result of multiplying 1,029 days by $8.00 specie, the per diem allowance stipulated in the Virginia statute of 1 July 1782, is $8,232.00 (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 377, n. 12). Although the outcome of dividing these dollars by 3.33, in order to convert them into pounds, is £2472 1s. 5d., the auditors entered £2469 12s. on their ledger. This discrepancy appears to be the only evidence that the auditors may have disallowed one of JM’s claims.

5Jefferson to JM, 7 Feb. 1783, and n. 4; Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 279, n. 3; McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 427, 428, 448–49, 452–53; Cal. of Va. State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , III, 405, 417, 435.

7Not found.

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