James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Benjamin Chambers, 8 November 1810 (Abstract)

§ From Benjamin Chambers

8 November 1810, Lawrenceburg. “I have been absent for 7 Mo past in which time my family have been embarrassed for the want of the money due me from the U. States.… The roads I made are travelled by great numbers of persons and allowed to be well done—and I flattered myself that Mr Ewings amendments & alterations … would not be deducted from my Acct.1… Mr Jennings our representative told me that Mr Ewing would sighn a petition in my favour praying a further Allowance for my services. Astonishing as this may appear it is a fact that I have been Kept out of the Small Sum due me for more than two years.” Hopes JM will order the account to be paid.

RC (DNA: RG 49, ML). 2 pp. Docketed by Gallatin with a note to treasury auditor Richard Harrison requesting information on the state of the account that included the roads Chambers had contracted to open in the Indiana Territory. Beneath Gallatin’s note, Harrison responded on 20 Dec. 1810 that the sum of $4,199.52 advanced to John Badollet had been transferred to the debit of Nathaniel Ewing and the account settled and closed on 28 June. Another note by Gallatin the following day requested Daniel Sheldon to show him the report on the account to see “whether Chambers stands charged or credited &c.” Printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Indiana, 8:55–56.

1Benjamin Chambers, a surveyor, had been engaged by John Badollet, register of the Vincennes Land Office, to open roads “from Vincennes to the Indian Boundary line established by the treaty of Greenville in the direction to the North Bend, and from Clarksville to intersect the above road on the East Side of the eastern fork of White river and from vincennes to the mississippi oposite the town of St Louis.” Chambers had written to JM in 1809 to protest that part of his payment had been wrongly withheld and that land office receiver Nathaniel Ewing had employed men to complete the roads at his expense. JM referred Chambers’s complaints to Gallatin, who on 21 Dec. 1810 explained to Chambers the principles on which his department had settled the account with Badollet and Ewing “which embraces your own.” In the event that Chambers still believed that money was owed to him, Gallatin wrote, “you should transmit to the Comptroller your account stated on your own principles: and … the account will be definitively settled accordingly” (Chambers to Gallatin, 10 Nov. 1808, Chambers to JM, 29 June 1809, Gallatin to Chambers, 7 Aug. 1809, Carter, Territorial Papers, Indiana, 7:614–16, 658–59, 665; Gallatin to Chambers, 21 Dec. 1810, ibid., 8:67–68).

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