From Jacquelin Ambler
RC (LC: Madison Papers). Between the opening two lines of the message appears “1782 Ambler J,” in the hand of William C. Rives, JM’s first major biographer. Lacking a superscription by Ambler, the manuscript is likely the final page of a longer letter. It seems to have been written on 3 August, as explained in n. 6, below.
[ca. 3 August 1782]
I1 waited on the Auditors2 yesterday and am informed they grant Warrts. on the Treasury for the Arrears due the Delegates from the last settlement of their Accounts.3 If you will transmit me an Account of the Number of Days you have attended Congress, I will obtain Warrts. for the amount, at the rate of 8 Dollars per day,4 and use my best endeavors to convert a part at least of them into Cash & remit you. On another enquiry at the Auditors Office I find nothing more than two transcripts of Accounts from you which remain unsettled by them, & they seem to think must still remain so; this being the case, I apprehend you can do no more than commence the Account of your attendance from the period when your expences were discharged by remittances from hence.5 It will give me real satisfaction to serve you in this or any other business you may have to transact here; I hope, therefore, you will command me freely.
We are all impatient here to know what is become of the Squadron of french Men of War which passed by some days since. No report but what the Papers of to day give us.6
(Turn Over)7 Yours affectly
1. Jacquelin Ambler was the treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. Bolling Stark, Harrison Randolph, and John Boush. See 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, 367, n. 9.
3. For “the Arrears” and JM’s need of money, see ibid., IV, 110, n. 4; 231; 256. Ambler’s efforts in JM’s behalf may have been prompted by Edmund Randolph, who had been asked by JM in his letters of 16 and 23 July to see whether his overdue salary, or some of it, could be sent to him (ibid., IV, 417; 435).
4. The long wait by the delegates in Congress for their pay reflected the nearly empty condition of the treasury of Virginia and the delay by the General Assembly until 1 July 1782 before agreeing upon $8.00 per diem in specie or its equivalent as a delegate’s stipend while attending or traveling to or from Congress. This compensation was designed to approximate in real value the nominal salary and expense money rendered almost worthless by inflation since 13 December 1779, when the remuneration had been last stipulated by law (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 1779, p. 87; 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, 377, n. 12). See also JM to Virginia Auditors, 20 August 1782, and n. 3.
6. See the Reverend James Madison to JM, 2 August 1782; also 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, 446; 447, n. 8; 448. The “Papers of to day” almost certainly included the Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends of 3 August reporting the French fleet off the Chesapeake Bay capes. By reason of Ambler’s statement in this regard, his letter can be dated with considerable assurance.
7. This reminder was to call JM’s attention to the incorrectly accented “entŕe nouś,” written by Ambler on the reverse of the page. This directive, along with the fact that nothing on the extant page is of a confidential nature, strongly suggests that the letter originally consisted of at least two pages.