James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacquelin Ambler, 12 April 1783

From Jacquelin Ambler

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “The Honobl. James Madison of Congress Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “Apl. 12. 1783.”

Richmond Virginia 12th April 1783

Dear Sir

The Auditors, to my great surprize, excuse themselves from issuing Warrants on Account, to the Delegates in Congress, unless their respective Accounts are first transmitted; so that I have only the Certificate sent me in your last as my Voucher for the payment of the £500.1 the Act requires no more of me than to pay them on their order at the Treasury quarterly, as the means may be in my power; but, sensible of the difficulties which would result to them at so great a distance in being left on the same footing with the Officers of Government here, I have taken the liberty to vest the Money in what I conceived to be a better remittance:2—if, the Gentlemen Delegates have leizure & inclination to transmit their Accounts quarterly to the Auditors, it will indeed save them an entry or two more on their Books; & the Receipts in the Treasury will be more regular on the Auditors issuing their warrants.3 if otherwise, I have no doubt but the Assembly on being informed of the circumstances, will admit such a Certificate as you sent me a sufficient Voucher.4

I had great expectations of being able to remit another £500. by this days Mail; but the Bill cannot be procured until next Week.5

Mr. Digby has not yet made a sufficient fortune I suppose, & wishes a few more Prizes. I hope he will be disappointed.6

I am Dr Sir Yr. Affect. Serv.

J. A.

1For the members of the Board of Auditors, see Ambler to JM, 1 Feb. See also Ambler to JM, 22 Mar. 1783, and n. 2. Ambler’s “surprize” was occasioned by the auditors’ insistence that each of the delegates send his own “Certificate” rather than the jointly signed receipt which they had forwarded to Ambler on or about 27 March (Receipt of Delegates, 27 Mar. 1783). The law creating the Board of Auditors, enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in December 1778, directed them “to give warrants on the treasurer for the payment or advance of wages to our delegates in congress, debiting each delegate respectively with the warrant given in his name, and requiring account thereof to be rendered within three months after the expiration of his appointment” (JHDV 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 , Oct. 1778, p. 111; 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 , IX, 537).

2Harrison to Delegates, 12 Apr., n. 2. In their letter of 1 Apr. 1783 to Harrison (q.v.), the delegates had expressed a wish to be enabled to draw their quarterly salary from a source in Philadelphia rather than from the treasury in Richmond. Ambler seems to have responded to the request by underlining the words “at the Treasury”—italicized in the present copy—to emphasize what the law required him to do. Ambler’s “better remittance” to the delegates, from which JM received one-fifth, was in the form “of two bills of exchange one for £300 on Saml Inglis & Co. and the other for £200 on Wm. Turnbul & Co” (MS in Va. State Library). These sums are in Virginia pounds, but on Ambler’s ledger for the quarter, March to May 1783, they are entered in Virginia dollars, at a 3⅓ exchange ratio, as $1,000 on Inglis & Co. and $666⅔ on Turnbull & Co. (MS in Va. State Library). See also 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, 172, n. 2; 237, n. 7; 252; V, 148; 150, n. 16; Ambler to JM, 22 Mar. 1783, and n. 2.

3JM’s quarterly statement of accounts was dated 28 May 1783.

Index Entries