ONE REASON why Madison held a commanding position in the Continental Congress was that he was more assiduous in attendance than most of his associates, who came and went having regard chiefly to the affairs of their respective States and their own personal convenience, and holding the concerns of the Union as of secondary importance. As he was always on the spot his influence was naturally greater than theirs. While his public duties were thus laborious, his private circumstances were trying and his pressing pecuniary embarrassment caused him incessant worry.
The provision made by Virginia for her delegates in Congress would have been a liberal one if it had been paid. At first they were allowed food for their horses and servants, house rent and fuel, and twenty dollars for each day of attendance on Congress, and two dollars for every mile of travel going and coming. To encourage economy they were required to submit their household accounts to the State auditors.* At the May session of the Assembly, 1782, this provision was repealed, and they were allowed eight dollars a day specie standard, while in actual attendance. As a bachelor of unostentatious habits Madison's expenses were not heavy. He kept but one servant and two horses, and he had no separate house. But the treasury of the State could seldom pay him or his colleagues, and they were compelled to make common cause in their poverty; when one received a draft he shared it with the others. In March, 1783, the State auditors adjusted____________________