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JQA Diary, volume 31 3 March 1821
JQA Neal Millikan Adams-Onis Treaty Bank of the United States Elections, Presidential (1824) Seminole Wars South American Wars of Independence

3. VI: Close of the sixteenth Congress; and of the first term of the Administration of James Monroe. This morning Daniel P. Cook of Illinois called at my house; to recommend friends for appointments and to converse upon politics— He says that the Governor of the State refuses to give him a certificate of his election to the next Congress, though he was chosen by a majority of near three thousand votes. There was some defect or irregularity in the Law of the State under which the election was held; but before the election both the candidates pledged themselves, not to take exception to it, however the result might turn out. The Governor however not being a party to this agreement, and being opposed to Cook, who may thereby be disabled from taking his seat, and subjected to the chances of another election— I was at the President’s; and found him occupied about this Postliminary claim of Mr Clay for a supplementary half outfit of 4500 dollars; Mr Clay himself, and his friend Coll. Richard M. Johnson for him, both pressing for the allowance in a very urgent manner. It is contrary to every precedent and every principle; but the President to whom Clay applied for it directly by Letter to himself, feels an awkwardness at deciding it against him, precisely because Clay, has pursued a course of insidious hostility against his Administration. He has however concluded to postpone 543the determination of it for the present. The President requested me to attend at the Capitol, between four and five O’Clock this afternoon— Between one and two I received a Resolution from the Senate passing a Negative upon the nomination of John James Appleton as Chargé D’Affaires at Rio de Janeiro— At this I was much surprized and disappointed; apprehending that it was because some of the Letters most warmly recommending him had not been sent with the nomination. I had a search made for them at the Office, and they were sent to the Senate. I dined at four O’Clock, and immediately afterwards went to the Capitol, where I found the President had already arrived. I met Dr Eustis at the door of the South Wing, and spoke to him about Appleton. He said he had been earnest in recommending him, but he understood that one or more of the Senators had taken a fancy to go to Rio de Janeiro themselves, and were not averse to going in the capacity of Minister Plenipotentiary— But no objection had been made to Appleton but his Youth— Notwithstanding this hint I spoke in Appleton’s favour to Mr James Barbour the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations of the Senate, whom I intreated to lay before the Senate the additional recommendations which had at first not been sent. He said he would, but told me that unless they could add to the years, and experience of Mr Appleton they would be of no avail: the opinion of the Senate being unanimous that a person of the first talents, and highest standing of character ought to be sent immediately as Minister Plenipotentiary to Rio de Janeiro— A resolution of the Senate of that purport was in the course of the Evening brought in to the President, by Mr Charles Cutts their Secretary— The wisest bodies are not always perfectly consistent— In the Estimates for the present year, I had inserted an outfit and Salary for a Minister Plenipotentiary at Rio de Janeiro. While those estimates were before the Committee of Ways and Means of the House, their Chairman, Genl S. Smith, wrote me a Letter, enquiring among other things whether the appointment of a Minister to Brazil could not for the present year be dispensed with. The President, not without some hesitation authorised me to answer that it might; but that it would then be necessary to appropriate an outfit, and Salary for a Chargé d’Affaires. This was accordingly done, in the general Appropriation Bill— The outfit and Salary for a Minister were struck out, and those for a Chargé d’Affaires were inserted— This General Appropriation Bill the Senate passed this day, with the Appropriations for a Chargé d’Affaires, and without those for a Minister—and on the same day they unanimously pass a Resolution recommending the immediate appointment of a Minister— I observed to the President, that the Law spoke one language and the Resolution another, directly the reverse, both emanating from the same body, on the same day; and as the law received his sanction it expressed the Sentiment both of the whole Legislature and of the Executive, while the Resolution expressed the sense of only one branch of the Legislature, and that in direct opposition to their own opinion likewise expressed in the Law. It would look very odd, if after signing the appropriation act this day with an outfit and Salary for a Charge d’Affaires, he should next week appoint a Minister, without any previous appropriation; and in these economical times would not escape the animadversion of the House of Representatives at the next Session— The President said he should be in no hurry to act upon the Resolution of the Senate, but would take ample time for consideration— There were thirty-Bills and two Resolutions this day presented to the President for his signature—and upon two of them the Military Appropriation, and the loan Bill, there was disagreements between the two Houses which were settled only by conferences— While the President remained in the Committee Room, I passed a part of the Evening in the House of Representatives.—There was little debate, and less confusion than usual— Though it was difficult to keep together a Quorum— I conversed with several of the members, on various subjects.— Mr Mallary the Chairman of the Committee on the Ghent Commissions, came and told me that they had made the appropriation for the year, which I had recommended in my last Letter to him— I said 544they had however reduced the Salaries, not only of the Agents, as they had the right to do, but of the Commissioners which I thought a very harsh measure as regarded individuals, and contrary to the understanding and intent if not to the Letter of the agreement under the Treaty. That if either of the Commissioners should resign upon the passage of this Act, as they would have the right to do, and as I think I should do, in their place, it would throw the whole business into a very awkward predicament and much increase, instead of diminishing the expence. He said he did not think they would resign. And then observed that he was glad the Florida Treaty had terminated in a manner so entirely satisfactory— Mr Storrs the Chairman of the Committee upon the expenditures of the Department of State told me that he had made this morning, a Report to the House approving altogether the appointment of Major Delafield, after the close of the last Session of Congress, and declaring generally the correctness of the Accounts of the Department of State, so far as the Committee had examined them. He spoke as if he was ashamed of his motion which was intended as an attack upon me; and ashamed also to make public the justification which he had not been able to withhold— This is the last day of Storrs’s present political existence. He has no prospect of being elected to the next Congress. He has considerable talents, and some taste for literature; with which I have always a strong sympathy. But he wants both judgment and firmness. The Missouri question has blasted him, and the loss of his popularity at home, with the loss of all his influence in the House, have driven him to vicious habits, and made his career as a Statesman abortive— Mr Clay moved a vote of thanks to the Speaker, John W. Taylor, prefaced by a short, studied, but grossly indelicate speech— As however it was quite conciliatory, as to the sentiment, it passed without animadversion— The Clerk of the House, put the question, and there was only one voice answered in the negative— That was R. R. Reid of Georgia. About an hour afterwards the Speaker shortly addressed the house in answer to the vote of thanks. His speech was both in matter and delivery much better than Clay’s— It was past twelve O’Clock at Night before the business of the two Houses was finished; and a half an hour later before the last Bills were examined and signed by the President, and notified to the two Houses as thus completed. A joint Committee, consisting of Mr Holmes of Maine and Hunter of the Senate, and Genl. S. Smith and Joshua Cushman of the House of Representatives came, and informed the President that they were ready to adjourn, unless he had any further communication to make to them; to which he answered that he had none. It was near one in the Morning when they adjourned— And thus finished the sixteenth Congress of the United States— I walked home, in company as far as his house, with Mr Calhoun— I found him in some degree dispirited by the results of the attack systematically carried on through this whole Congress but especially through the Session just expired against his management of the War Department. He thinks that the present embarrassments in the Administration, all originated in two measures of the first Session of Congress under it. The repeal of the internal taxes, and the profuse pension Act— The present falling off in the revenue he says ought to have been foreseen; and also that on the failure of revenue, the War Department would naturally be the first upon which the scythe of retrenchment would fall. He observed also the Coalition of Crawford’s, Clinton’s and Clay’s partizans, though with views quite hostile to each other, in the assaults of this Session, against the administration. The vote of thanks proposed by Clay to the Speaker, Taylor; the appointment by Taylor, of the most violent opponents to the Administration upon Committees. The combinations of the Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky New-York and Vermont members, devoted to their respective leaders, and joining all their forces against the Administration— All this is unquestionably true— There have also been transactions in the War Department, in the Post-Office, and in the Bank of the United States, which have unfortunately given handle to every class of disaffection— Jackson’s Seminole Campaign, the Florida Treaty, and the South American insurgents have all been used in turn as weapons of annoyance— By the practical operation of our Government, the whole system of our Politics is inseparably linked with the views of aspirants to the Presidential succession; and by the peculiarity of our present position, the prospects of all the Candidates in reserve for the next Presidency, excepting the Vice-President, and setting aside the 545Secretary of State depend upon the failure of the present Administration for their success. The worst of it is, that this applies more forcibly to Crawford, a leading Member of the Administration himself than to any other— Crawford has been a worm preying upon the vitals of the Administration within its own body— He was the instigator, and animating Spirit of the whole movement, both in Congress and at Richmond against Jackson and the Administration— In all the vicissitudes of the Spanish Negotiation, wherever there has been difficulty or prospect of failure, he has been felt, when he could not be seen, and all the attacks against the War Department, during this Congress have been stimulated by him and promoted by his partizans— An essential impulse to this course on his part is the knowledge he has obtained that Calhoun, is not prepared to support him for the next Presidency. At the same time the emptiness of the Treasury, and Crawford’s utter inability to devise any other source of Revenue but loan upon loan, very naturally lead him to favour any kind of retrenchment, and especially such as will not bear upon any of his friends— It has been the policy of all the parties, to keep hostilities in reserve against me this Session; and to assail the War Department as an out work. At this Moment standing on the Isthmus between the past and the future, I look back with satisfaction solid and pure at what has been accomplished of public service, with humility and regret that more has not been effected, and with unbounded Gratitude to the disposer of all results— Forward, the prospect is beset with difficulties and dangers— Let me advance cheerily to meet the dispensations of Time; pursuing with singleness of Soul the path of duty; imploring for the faculty to will and to do—“to move in Charity, to rest in Providence, and to turn on the Poles of Truth.”