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JQA Diary, volume 37 4 November 1826
JQA Neal Millikan Recreation

4. IV. Round Capitol Square— Sun rose half beclouded; behind the Capitol Dome.

Southard S. L. Reynolds Weightman— H

Mr Southard came to converse with me, upon various subjects of current business in the Department of the Navy, such as the appointment of two Lieutenants in the Marine Corps, a Purser, for a Schooner now bound to sea, and two or three Midshipmen— He afterwards sent me a Commission, which I signed, of 2d Lieutenant of Marines for Thomas Lee, grandson to a former Governor of Maryland, recommended among others by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last surviving Signer of the Declaration of Independence— He had several Candidates for the appointment of Purser, between whom he was somewhat embarrassed to make a Selection. Strong suspicions of improper conduct having lately arisen, against the person, whom he would otherwise have preferred: Suspicions of his having himself written an anonymous Letter which he shewed as having been received by him. Mr Southard said he was desirous of having a purser, even in the smallest vessel; the duties of that office being otherwise necessarily performed by the Captain, which placed him in a double relation to the men, detrimental to discipline— He said further that there were several applications for Midshipman’s Warrants in behalf of Cadets, discharged from West-Point: among which was one for a youth named Forsyth, a native of North-Carolina, son of an Officer who had been killed in the public Service, and now in the process of education at the charge of the State— He was last year reported for dismission, but retained at the earnest interposition of the delegation from the State. He must now be dismissed, for incapacity, but with testimonials altogether favourable to his character, temper and conduct. 104The Governor of North-Carolina, and General Daniels now here are urgently soliciting for him a Midshipman’s warrant— I said it sometimes happened that a youth incapable of making much proficiency in study, was yet well suited to the business of active life and particularly to that of a Seaman— As there was positive evidence of this young man’s good conduct, I would give him another chance of making himself useful, and try him as a Midshipman— But the Warrant should not be granted to other dismissed Cadets, of whose conduct there was no favourable report; as it would be degrading the whole corps of midshipmen, to turnover to them all the refuse of West-Point— Mr Southard said he was examining the proceedings of the Court-Martial in the case of Lieutenant Constantine Smith, and thought he should be ready with his opinion next Monday. Mr Reynolds is a man who has been lecturing about the Country, in support of Captain John Cleves Symmes’s theory that the Earth is a hollow Sphere, open at the Poles— His Lectures are said to have been well attended, and much approved as exhibitions of genius and of Science— But the Theory itself has been so much ridiculed, and is in truth so visionary, that Reynolds has now varied his purpose to the proposition of fitting out a voyage of circumnavigation to the Southern Ocean— He has obtained numerous signatures in Baltimore to a Memorial to Congress for this object, which he says will otherwise be very powerfully supported— It will however have no support in Congress. That day will come, but not yet nor in my time. May it be my fortune, and my praise to accelerate its approach. Weightman a Clerk in the Branch Bank was here about an order of W. S. Smith upon my fathers Executors, in favour of R. Wallack, and endorsed by him, which Weightman had sent over to me— He told me that it was not a Bank Transaction, but that Wallack who was now at Alexandria, had given him the order to send to me— I told him I believed the order would be paid, and wished to see Mr Wallack concerning it of which Weightman said he would advise Wallack— The day was rainy and I spent much of it, in reading the proceedings of a Court Martial on the trial of Edwin R. Alberti 1st. Lieutenant in the 4th. Regiment of Artillery— John and Charles dined in the Baron de Mareuil’s, the French Minister, it being the Fête of the king of FranceMrs Adams is better but still keeps her chamber.