James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacquelin Ambler, 31 August 1782

From Jacquelin Ambler

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Cover addressed to “The Honobl. James Madison of Congress Philadelphia.” Below this address JM wrote, “Recd. of J. Cohen £50 Pa. Cy. 28 guinees.” Docketed by JM, “Aug: 31. 1782 J. A.”

Richmond Virginia 31. Aug. 1782

Dear Sir

I do myself the pleasure to transmit you Mr. Harrison’s1 first Bill on Monsr. Holker2 for two hundred Dollars. Mr. Harrison gives every assurance that it will be paid at ten days sight certainly, but he hopes before. I am sorry a larger sum could not be sent you, but am in hopes some addition may be made to it thro’ the same channel e’er long. A Friend of yours3 obtained a Warrant from the Board of Auditors on the 29th. inst. for £60. (in part) on your Account which was vested in the inclosed Bill.4

Nothing here but what the Papers of the day5 communicate. I am with great regard

Your friend & Servt.

J. Ambler

1Benjamin Harrison, Jr., continental paymaster of the southern department and, more relevant here, agent of the French army in Virginia (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, 140, n. 5; 333, n. 3).

2John Holker (1745–1822) was the son of a Jacobite officer who fled from England to France in 1749 and became a large manufacturer of cotton goods at Rouen (André Rémond, John Holker, manufacturier et grand fonctionnaire en France au XVIIIme siècle, 1719–1786 [Paris, 1946], pp. 25–26, 119–21). The son, who first visited the United States in 1777 as an “observer” for the French government, returned the next year as consul of France at Philadelphia and purchasing agent of the French navy. Four years later he became consul general of France for New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXI, 946). Both as purchasing agent and as a speculator in currency and commodities for his own profit, he was closely associated in business with Robert Morris and also with Benjamin Harrison, Jr., and Company of Richmond (Clarence L. Ver Steeg, Robert Morris: Revolutionary Financier, with an Analysis of His Earlier Career [Philadelphia, 1954], pp. 32–34, 84, 147; William E. O’Donnell, Chevalier de La Luzerne, pp. 173–75).

3Edmund Randolph. See Randolph to JM, 30 August 1782.

4JM’s account in the office of the treasurer records that the “Warrant on the Treasury” for £60 was dated 12 August 1782 (MS in Virginia State Library).

5The Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (James Hayes) and the Virginia Gazette, and Weekly Advertiser (Thomas Nicolson and William Prentis), both published weekly in Richmond every Saturday, including 31 August.

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