James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacquelin Ambler, 14 June 1783

From Jacquelin Ambler

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Cover addressed by Ambler to “The Honobl: James Madison of Congress Philadelphia.” Cover docketed by JM, “June 14, 1783.”

Richmond Virga 14 June 1783

Dear Sir

I am afraid I shall find it difficult to settle my Accounts with the Committee,1 without obtaining Warrants from the Auditors2 in favor of the Gentlemen of the delegation to the full amount of the genl. Remittances made since the first of the present Year. in order to obtain these, I must entreat you to interest yourself with the Gentlemen who now remain at Phila. to sign a Certificate some what similar to the one inclosed. Mr. Jones & Mr. Lee I doubt not will sign here.3 I am at a loss to discover how the deficiency arises which you mention:—if in negotiating the Bills,—the same I apprehend would have happened had the Bills been sent by any other person;—if actual money had been paid here, which is what the Act requires of me, & this money sent in Specie to Phila., the loss must have been still [?] more considerable.4 I am, however, very unwilling the Gentlemen should lose a shilling of their right, & therefore take the liberty of pointing out the proper mode of preventing it, which is, by giving the Treasury credit in each of their Accounts for the full amount of their proportion of the several Genl. Remittances, and charging the State with the proportion of loss sustained by each in negotiating the Bills—this will effectually save them. You will readily observe the loss must fall on me if the Certificate to the Auditors do not express the full amount, because they will issue Warrants for no greater sum than the Certificate mentions.

there has not issued a single Warrant for any of the Remittances I have made on the Genl. Account in this year; these amount to  . [I] cannot precisely ascertain the sum, because I am not informed what was paid by the Sheriff of Northampton.5 You will be so good as return me the Certificate as soon as possible, that I may be enabled to settle my Accounts before the rising of the Assembly.6

if you have not purchased the Stationary please to think no more of it.7 perhaps it may be had on as good terms here.



Me[nti]on the Sum paid by the Northampton Shff in yr. next that I may give him credit for it

The Certificates before sent acknowledging the receipt of monies for the several Remittances8 shall be returned to you as soon as I get the genl. one requested above

3Enclosure not found. JM, Theodorick Bland, and John Francis Mercer were the delegates from Virginia then in Philadelphia. The other two, Joseph Jones and Arthur Lee, were in Richmond attending the Virginia General Assembly. See Ambler to JM, 7 June 1783.

4The present editors have not found any of the letters written by JM to Ambler in 1783. Possibly in a note enclosing his Summary of Accounts with Virginia, 28 May (q.v., and nn. 3, 4), JM mentioned his “loss” or “deficiency” caused by having bills of exchange from Virginia cashed in Philadelphia. See also JM to Bland, 6 May 1783, and n. 1. By the law, strictly construed, Ambler was obliged to pay the delegates, “whenever congress shall be sitting,” in money rather than in bills of exchange (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, 299).

5Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 183, and n. 6; 211; Statement of Receipts, 28 May 1783.

6Ambler could not have received JM’s reply before the adjournment of the Virginia General Assembly on 28 June (JHDV description begins (1828 ed.). Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Anno Domini, 1776 (Richmond, 1828). description ends , May 1783, p. 99). See also Ambler to JM, 5 July 1783.

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