James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacquelin Ambler, 18 October 1782

From Jacquelin Ambler

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Cover addressed by Ambler to “The Honobl. James Madison of Congress Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “Octr. 18. 1782.”

Virga. Richmond 18: Octo. 1782

Dear Sir

I am enabled to make you another Remittance by this Mail of £130, as you will find in the inclosed first Bill of David Ross &co. on John Ross Esqr.1 I could not get them at a shorter sight than 20. Days, but I hope this will make no material difference. This sum makes up £310. sent you, for which Warrts. have been taken out of the Auditors Office at different times & debited to you on Account.2 the like sum has been paid to the Orders or set apart for each of the other Gentlemen of the Delegation.3 I hope I shall be able to make an addition in two or three weeks. The Auditors still insist that they are not authorized to fix the Rates of Depreciation on the Paper Money paid you at the different Periods they expect this will be done by the Delegates & whatever appears to be the bal. on their state of the Accounts will be so passed in the Books of their Office.4

Mr. Jameson will be much obliged to you to inform Colo. John Jameson5 that you have a Bill for One hundred Dollars to be applied to his use & to negotiate the inclosed for him. I am obliged to leave Town for some Days. Mr. Webb6 I hope will forward the Papers

I am Dr Sir Yrs

J. A.

1See Ambler to JM, 12 October; Randolph to JM, 18 October 1782, and n. 4. John Ross (1729–1800), a merchant-shipowner of Philadelphia, was born in Scotland and migrated to Pennsylvania in 1767. A decade later he was in France as the agent of Robert Morris in settling the tangled financial accounts of Morris’ deceased half-brother Thomas. While engaged in this work, and during the next year, when the American commissioners employed him as a factor to buy clothing and munitions for the continental army, Ross incurred the enmity of Arthur and William Lee. Ross, whom William Lee called an “insignificant Scotch pedlar,” seems to have returned to Philadelphia late in 1780. Frequently during the next four years he memorialized Congress for reimbursement of nearly £20,000 sterling which he allegedly had spent of his own funds for the matériel mentioned above. Although he prospered as a merchant for at least a decade after the Revolution, he died so heavily in debt that his executors had to sell his house in Philadelphia and also Grange Farm, his six-hundred-acre country seat a short distance outside the city (NA: PCC, No. 41, VIII, 280–331, passim; JCC, XI, 739–40; XIX, 16, 67–68, 173, 201–2, 319, 354; XX, 500, 681–82; XXI, 1059 n., 1123 n.; Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , III, 84–85; VIII, 605 n.; Worthington C. Ford, ed., Letters of William Lee, I, 46, 199–203, 302; II, 353–493, passim, 663, 671; Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXIII [1899], 77–84).

2Of the £310, £60 were sent to JM on 31 August, £60 about 9 September, £60 about 28 September, and £130 with the present letter (Ambler to JM, 31 August and n. 4; 16 September; and 5 October 1782). JM’s account in the treasurer’s office (MS in Virginia State Library) shows that warrants were drawn in his favor for £60 on 12 August, £60 on 26 September, and £190 on 17 October 1782.

3Theodorick Bland, Joseph Jones, Arthur Lee, and Edmund Randolph.

5David Jameson, a state senator for Elizabeth City, Warwick, and York counties, and his nephew Colonel John Jameson. 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, 117; 118, n. 7; 162; 163, n. 1; JM to Pendleton, 24 September 1782, n. 2.

6Foster Webb, Jr., commissioner of the Virginia treasury.

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