From John Stadler
October the 25th 1791.
Please Your Excellency
The inclosed is a Copy of a Letter to the Honourable James Madison, as I have been directed to apply tog. with an account against the State of Virginia attested by Patrick Henry, then Gouvernor, and with a Certificate of the Notary publick of Fredericksburg for two Commissions inclosed, one a Continental one, and the other of the State of Virginia.1 I had the Honour to wait last May in this Town on the Honourable Col. Munroe, one of our Senators, who was an Eye-witness ⟨mutilated⟩ I carried on in Gloucester County against Lord Dunmore, showed him a ⟨mutilated⟩ this Letter; but did not seem to pleased with it, by asking me: If I thought ⟨mutilated⟩ would pay me the Money, which the State of Virginia owed me? I told him ⟨mutilated⟩t expect such a thing, but expected that Congress could compell Virginia ⟨mutilated⟩e.2 With the greatest Respect to Your Lady, I have the Honour to be ⟨mutilated⟩ Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. An endorsement on the cover notes that this letter was delivered by Mr. Peter Kuhn.
John Gaspar Stadler (Stadley; Stedler; died c.1799) had served during the Forbes campaign of 1758 and assisted in the construction of Fort Pitt in 1759. In the 1760s he traveled around the Northern Neck of Virginia as a music master and taught John and Martha Parke Custis at Mount Vernon (GW to Robert Cary & Co., 10 Mar. 1768, n.2). Congress appointed Stadler one of two engineers for the southern department on 30 Mar. 1776, and GW later recommended him “as a man of understanding and of good behaviour” (GW to John Hancock, 5 Oct. 1776). Stadler was appointed “Engineer in the Service of this Commonwealth” by the executive council of Virginia, which commissioned him on 30 Dec. 1776. He resigned this commission before 18 Oct. 1777 (Journals of the Council of State of Virginia, description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends 1:302, 2:12).
1. The enclosed copy of Stadler’s letter of 22 Oct. to James Madison is in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. The original receiver’s copy is printed in full in Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 14:80–84. Stadler complained that Virginia still owed him money for his Revolutionary War expenses and services, and he wrote Madison that when he met with GW at Fredericksburg the president directed him to present his grievances to Madison to be laid before Congress. Madison refused to submit Stadler’s accounts to Congress, however (ibid., 83). Madison advised Stadler to petition the Virginia house of delegates for reimbursement for his expenses, but the committee of claims rejected Stadler’s request on 8 Nov. 1793 (Stadler to Madison, 22 Oct. 1791, n.8, Madison to Stadler, 18 Nov. 1791, Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 14:84, 108–9).
2. No reply from GW has been found. Stadler wrote to GW from Fredericksburg on 15 Feb. 1792: “I do not doubt, but my Letter with the Copy of the Letter I wrote to the Honourable James Madison came to hand; I take the Liberty to send to Your Excellency his Answer, which gives me very little Comfort: When I had the Honour to converse with the Honourable James Monroe upon the Subject, of Mr [Patrick] Henry ⟨losing⟩ my Certificate I had of General [Andrew] Lewis, and being sorrow for the Accident, He told me, I should not be uneasy about it, because all the Books of the dif⟨f⟩erent Paymasters were at Congress, and it could easily be found, how much I had received for my Continental Services, and Deficiency, that was owing to me, would be paid to me by Congress without Difficulty; But gave me very little Hop[e]s in behalf of the Account I hath against the State of Virginia. What to do now, I do not know, the above mentioned Delegate says, the Debt was old, I can not help this, I applied the same Week I got the Certificate for Redress, that the Debt has not been paid in the year 1776, is not my fault. The Account I have against the State of Virginia, I can not think of giving it out, To build a Fort, that was so far ready to mount 42 Cannon besides different Batteries at Hampton and Yorktown, and to do this at my Expences of travelleng the country up and down, I do not think it is reasonable to expect such a Thing; That the Works were well done at Portsmouth, the History of the late War will tell, General [Edward] Mathews [Mathew] & General [Alexander] Lesly [Leslie] took notice of it: My Virginia Account is likewise at present an old one, Mr Patrick Henry and his Council said, they would see me paid, but did not keep their Word; I apply’d to the Assembley three times, but allways without Success. I have the Honour to be acquainted with several Delegates in Congress of the Jerseys, Pensylvania, Maryland and the Honbe John Page of Virginia, as the Delegate for the Department I belong to, does not chuse to bring my Complaints before Congress, perhaps I may find some friends in the other States that will do it: I shall let it rest a present, till I have the Honour of Your Excellency’s Advice” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). The enclosed receiver’s copy of Madison’s letter of 18 Nov. 1791 to Stadler (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters) is printed in full in Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 14:108–9. GW apparently never replied, and there is no evidence that Stadler ever petitioned Congress.