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JQA Diary, volume 30 15 October 1818
JQA Neal Millikan Adams Family Finances Bank of the United States Press Sectionalism Treaty of Ghent West, The

15. VI:30. A young man by the name of Essex called on me this morning, having Letters from Mr John Pope to Mrs Adams, and to Mr George Boyd, who has removed from this City into Virginia. He is an applicant for a warrant as a Midshipman in the Navy. I called at the President’s where I met Mr Calhoun. The President arrived from his seat in Virginia last Sunday. His health is better than it was in the Spring, but still somewhat infirm— He told me that Mr Crowninshield had resigned the Office of Secretary of the Navy; it was announced in the National Intelligencer of this Morning— The President said that as there was no person who occurred to him from the Western Country, he proposed to make his Selection from one of the middle Atlantic States; ranging between New-York and Maryland—and he named the late Governor Snyder of Pennsylvania, Mr Thompson, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New-York, and General Peter B. Porter as persons of whom he had thought— Their respective merits were discussed, and as Porter is now a Commissioner under two Articles of the Treaty of Ghent, and could not without inconvenience be replaced by another person for that service, he was laid out of the question— I observed to the President, that it would be very desirable, if possible to have one member of the administration from the Western States. It was a great and rapidly growing Section of the Union, and there appeared to be some uneasiness among them, at what they considered as an exclusion from the Cabinet, as it is usually called. The appointment of one member of the Administration from among them I thought would have a happy and conciliatory effect. He said he was well aware of the weight of these Considerations, and asked if I had thought of any person belonging to that part of the Union, suitable for the appointment— I said my acquaintance there was very limited, and the more so from the long absence from the United States from which I have recently returned. But I thought there must be many individuals there, well qualified to preside over a Department and to advise, as a member of the Administration— He said he would think further of the subject and asked how I thought it would be proper to have the duties of the head of the Department supplied in the interval, till the new appointment— It might be, either by assigning them to one of the acting Heads of the other Departments—or to the President of the board of Commissioners of the Navy—or to Mr Homans the Chief Clerk of the Navy Department. During a late vacancy in the War Department, the Chief Clerk, Mr. George Graham, had officiated as acting Secretary; but there had been some complaints against Mr Homans and certain circumstances of his conduct had been brought to light during the last Session of Congress, which he, the President thought of very little weight and not affecting his integrity; but which others viewed in a more serious light, insomuch that two members of Congress had even suggested to him that it should have subjected Homans to censure from him— To give him the powers of a head of Department might therefore occasion public animadversion; and on the other hand to make a different disposal might wound his feelings, and seem to give countenance to those prejudices against him, which seemed to be not altogether just. Mr Madison, at his late visit to him in Virginia, had intimated an opinion that the Office of Secretary of the Navy might be itself abolished, and its duties assigned to the President of the Commissioners of the Navy but he did not concur in that opinion, and was unwilling to give so much countenance to it as even a temporary appointment of the President of the Board, to do the duties of the Secretary of the Navy might warrant.— on the subject of foreign Affairs, little was said. There are several important despatches received from Messrs. Rush, Gallatin, and Erving which I had not yet seen. The mass of papers at the Department, accumulated since the direction was received from me to forward no more of them to Boston, is so great that I almost despair of getting through the reading of them— I was but a short time at the Office and only read over a few of the papers— Called and made some arrangements at the Branch and Metropolis Banks— On returning home to dinner, I found that Mrs Adams and Mary Hellen had arrived from Baltimore, which they did not leave till this morning.