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JQA Diary, volume 30 21 August 1818
JQA Neal Millikan African Americans Health and Illness Treaty of Ghent

21. IV:30. Partly drafted a Letter to Mr Aguirre, by direction of the President. General Porter came to my house and afterwards to the Office, and explained his motives for coming here at this time. It is the old grudge between him and Hawkins, the Agent to the Commission which brought him here. He says that Hawkins moves about in his agency with his wife, and a family of Servants, cooks and chambermaids, enormously expensive, and charging all to the public. That he is so overwhelmed with debt that he is held to bail upon a suit in Canada, and now dares not cross the line, from thence, for fear of other writs out against him in the State of New-York. That there is no security for any public money that might be entrusted to him. 389He says also that Hawkins has been breeding strife between him the Commissioner, and Adams, the Astronomer to the Commission, and that all the stir made in Congress last Winter against him was raised by Hawkins, intriguing with Mr Spencer, a member of Congress from New-York, and Son of Ambrose Spencer— Porter expressed some apprehension that I had been personally unfriendly to him—and countenanced the charges against him last Winter— I assured him that his suspicion was entirely without foundation— He complained that the charges for his private expences were not allowed in addition to his Salary, while those of the Agent, whose Salary he said had been increased to equal that of the Commissioner, were allowed. He further insisted that the private expences of the Commissioners under the Treaty of 1794. had been allowed; and that the Salaries of the American Commissioners under that Treaty had been the same as those of the British Commissioners, and that it was £1200 Sterling each— I told him that I had settled the agreement with Lord Grenville upon this subject myself, but he still persisted that Coll. Barclay had told him it was otherwise—that he had received £1200 though he had not crossed the Sea to execute the Commission, and Mr Bagot had told him £1200 was the standing Salary of all British Commissioners for all sorts of Services— I told him that this could not apply to cases whether there was a compact upon the subject with another Government— That the private expences of the Commissioner had not been allowed under the former Commissions, and were not allowed to the Agents now. I added it was my belief that if the Executive should allow these claims now, Congress would at the next Session either refuse the appropriation, or take some other measure which would put an end to the Commissions altogether— And I mentioned to him the Resolution passed by the House of Representatives, the last Evening of the late Session. As to Hawkins, I told him he might dismiss all fear of his having the public money to waste, and I read to him my Letter to Hawkins of 5. May giving him the President’s explicit directions concerning the subordination of the agent’s office to that of the Commissioner, and confining the accountability for the expences of the Commission, to the Commissioner. The General was but partially satisfied with my explanations, and I think it is not in my power to satisfy him. This afternoon there were three Balloons sent up from Gibson’s, the tavern, next door to my house— A mulatto boy fell into Burnside’s Boiler, and was scalded to death— Mr ten Cate was here, and Mr and Mrs W. S. Smith— ten Cate hurried back from a tour to Harper’s ferry, on hearing of the arrival at New-York of the Viscount de Quabeck his Successor.