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JQA Diary, volume 33 5 March 1825


Neal Millikan Utopian Communities

5. VII. General Brown called on me early this morning, to enquire concerning the appointment of an Adjutant General— I told him I should nominate Coll. Roger Jones, with which he declared himself much gratified— The Office has been in substance three years vacant in consequence of a difference between the President, and the Senate on the construction of the Law reducing the army— A multitude of visitors of congratulation and to take leave absorbed the day— James Barbour and S. L. Southard were here immediately after Breakfast. And among the visitors were N. Macon, Senator from North-Carolina, and T. W. Cobb, Senator from Georgia— An 105An Administration was to be formed. Soon after Noon, James Lloyd, and Nathaniel Macon, came as a Committee from the Senate to notify me, that they were in Session, ready to receive any Communication from me; to which I answered that I should make them a Communication, at an early hour this day— On the Evening of the 3d. I had at about nine O’Clock received a Note from Mr Monroe, informing me that he had shortly before received a Letter from Mr Crawford, resigning the Office of Secretary of the Treasury. I now sent by Daniel Brent, Chief Clerk of the Department of State, a Message to the Senate, nominating

Henry Clay of Kentucky to be Secretary of State Richard Rush of Pennsylvania Secretary of the Treasury James Barbour of Virginia Secretary for the Department of War. Alexander Hill Everett of Massachusetts— Envoy Exty. and Minr. Pleny. to Spain. Christopher Hughes of Maryland Charge d’Affaires to the Netherlands. Thomas Ludwell Lee Brent of Virginia Charge d’Affaires to Portugal John M. Forbes of Massachusetts Chargé d’Affaires to Buenos-Ayres William Miller of North-Carolina Chargé d’Affaires to Guatemala Condy Raguet of Pennsylvania Charge d’Affaires to Brazil—and Lieutt. Colonel Roger Jones Adjutant General of the Army.

I sent at the same time four other messages with nominations.

1. Officers of the Customs, whose Commissions are about expiring—renominated. 2. Registers of the Land-Offices and Receivers of Public Monies. do. 3. Navy Agents do. 4. Governor, and Legislative Council of Florida— Certain Consuls, and others—

Most of the renominations had been already made by Mr Monroe; but as the Commissions of the incumbents would not expire within the term of his administration, the Senate had declined acting upon them— Efforts had been made by some of the Senators to obtain different nominations, and to introduce a principle of change, or rotation in office, at the expiration of these Commissions. Which would make the Government a perpetual and unintermitting scramble for Office.— A more pernicious expedient could scarcely have been devised. The Office of Marshal, for the District of Indiana, was that upon which the principal struggle was made— John Vawter the incumbent had been re-nominated by Mr Monroe— There was no complaint against 106against him; but numerous recommendations, especially from Senators, of Noah Noble, a brother of the Senator from Indiana, for the appointment— Mr Noble the Senator ostensibly taking no part in the canvass— But a few days before the Presidential Election I received a Letter from John Test one of the members of the House from Indiana, informing me that the Senate would not act upon the nomination by Mr Monroe of Vawter—recommending Noble, and that Vawter’s name should be withdrawn, to place the Candidates on an equal footing. I mentioned this suggestion to Mr Monroe, but neither he nor I was inclined, to take the hint. Samuel Eddy also, a member of the House from Rhode-Island, informed me that he would accept the Office of Collector at Providence, if appointed to it, in the place of T. Coles whose Commission is expiring. He intimated that Coles was personally incompetent, but that no one would take the responsibility of complaining against him. Great interest was made against the reappointment of Allen M’Lane, Collector at Wilmington, Delaware; and two persons were strongly recommended for his place; there were complaints against him, but of a character altogether indefinite. I determined to renominate every person, against whom there was no complaint which would have warranted his removal; and renominated every person nominated by Mr Monroe, and upon whose nomination the Senate had declined acting. Mr Monroe, always acted on this principle of renomination— I did not this day send nominations for the Missions to Great-Britain, or to Mexico; nor of a Chargé d’Affaires to Sweden— The first I leave open some days, at the earnest request of some of Mr Clinton’s friends, for the possible chance that he may reconsider his determination. I wait for the decision of the Senate upon the nomination of C. Hughes, to vacate his place at Stockholm; and I concluded after much deliberation to offer to Joel Roberts Poinsett of South-Carolina, the nomination of Minister to Mexico— I accordingly sent for him this morning and made him the offer— It had been made to him by Mr Monroe, early during the late Session of Congress, and declined upon Considerations, most of which do not now apply. He made however now two objections—One that upon his vacating his Seat in Congress, a very troublesome and unprincipled man, would probably be chosen in his place— The other that he had recommended to Mr Monroe another person for the mission to Mexico— I knew who this person was— It was Thomas H. Benton a Senator from Missouri, who from being a furious personal and political enemy of Genl. Jackson, became 107became about the time of this recommendation, a partizan not less ardent in his favour— I now told Poinsett, that with regard to the consequences of his vacating his Seat in Congress, I could form no judgment, having little knowledge of the state of Politics at Charleston, and no acquaintance with the person who might be his Successor; but that if he should decline, I should not offer the mission to the person whom he had recommended to Mr Monroe— He asked time for consideration; and promised to give me a definitive answer to-morrow— Among the numerous visitors of this day to take leave was Joseph Blunt, who recommended Charles King for the appointment of Collector at New-York in the Event of a vacancy— Blunt asked nothing for himself, but suggested as expedient policy the employment of young men— In my solitary walk before dinner, I met Mr Calhoun walking in front of his own door; and told him I had offered the Mexican Mission to Poinsett— After dinner I went to the Capitol to attend the second Lecture of Mr Owen of Lanark, but it was postponed till Monday Evening— After returning home I called upon Mr Rufus King at his lodgings at Williamson’s— His term of Service as a Senator expired on the 3d. and he had declined a re-election, intending to retire from the Public Service— He leaves the City to-morrow Morning to return home— I told him of the nominations I had made; and that I had omitted that for the mission to England, at the earnest desire of some of Mr Clinton’s friends— But I said the reason assigned by Mr Clinton for declining the appointment was in my opinion one which he could not reconsider, nor had I any expectation that he would— I therefore asked Mr King, if he would accept that mission? His first and immediate impulse was to decline it— He said that his determination to retire from the public service had been made up, and that this proposal was utterly unexpected to him. Of this I was aware; but I urged upon him a variety of considerations to induce his acceptance of it— The general importance of the Mission, in my estimation not inferior to that of any one of the Departments— The special importance to the States of New-York and of Maine; of certain interests in Negotiation with Great-Britain— His peculiar qualifications for the conduct of those Negotiations. His duty to the Country; not to refuse Services so important, and for which perhaps no other individual would be so well suited— The Satisfaction which the appointment and his acceptance of it would give to the federal party throughout the Union— The tendency that it would have to heal our divisions, and harmonize the feelings of the People— The opportunity which he 108he would afford me of promoting this reconciliation of parties, and at the same time of proving by my example the sincerity of the Sentiments avowed in my address— I dwelt with earnestness upon all these motives, and apparently not without effect— He admitted the force of them and finally promised fully to consider of the proposal before giving me a definitive answer. On returning home, I found B. W. Crowninshield who came to take leave— Going to-morrow. Long conversation with him.