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JQA Diary, volume 37 24 June 1828
JQA

1828-06-24

Emily Wieder Recreation African Americans
585

24. IV:30. Tuesday— Sun-rose 4:42. Ride and Swim— St. Johns day.

Neale— Christopher Wever Montgomery— Revd. Mr Jackson— John Nourse Joseph Read— William Preston— William P. Rush Richard Porter— Peter B Southard. Samuel L.

Mr Neale of Alexandria, brought a petition for the discharge from prison at that place of a coloured woman named Cavin; which was recommended by the District Attorney Mr Swan, and which I ordered. Mr Wever the Engineer, introduced a Revd. Mr Montgomery a Roman Catholic Clergyman, usually residing in the State of Ohio, but going now to Europe. I gave him, at his request a Letter of Introduction to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cheverus, who was formerly the Bishop of Boston. Mr John Jackson of North-Carolina, brought me a long Letter from Joseph B. Hinton, being a reapplication for an appointment as keeper of a Light-House; and Mr Jackson enquired if there was also any appointment that I could give him— Mr Nourse the Register of the Treasury, came and introduced Mr William Reed, heretofore a member of Congress from Massachusetts, now a member of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Foreign Missions—on the part of this Board, he requested my particular attention, to the proceedings of a Court of Enquiry recently held at Boston, upon the conduct of Lieutenant Percival of the Navy at the Sandwich Islands.— The proceedings are very voluminous, and have but just been returned to the Navy Department. Preston is a young man from Philadelphia who applies for a Midshipman’s Warrant. His name has been long on the Register of applications at the Navy Department— He now wrote me a Letter of direct solicitation, which he brought here himself, and desired to see me— I received him and referred him to the Secretary of the Navy to whom I promised to speak, and did speak in his behalf. Cabinet Meeting at one— Mr Rush General Porter and Mr Southard present— I stated to them that in every step of these proceedings with General Scott, I wished to act with the benefit of their advice— That the conduct of General Scott was insubordinate and disrespectful to a degree that were it not for the gallant services which he has rendered to the Country, I should some time since have dismissed him from the army— That on the rigorous principle of military subordination it was perhaps my duty so to have done— But it was entirely in the Nature of our principles and Institutions, to temper with kindness and indulgence even the rigidity of military discipline— And I thought it peculiarly proper so to do in the case of an Officer who stood so high in the estimation of his Country, and towards whom I had personally no other than friendly feelings. He had now three times successively manifested a disposition of disobedience to lawful commands; and now asked for a furlough till next April, avowedly to make an application in some form to Congress against the orders and decisions of the President— This allegation was itself an insult: for in what manner could Congress controul these orders and decisions. Certainly by no other mode than by Impeachment of the President, or by an ex post facto Law to annul a purely Executive Act. I should therefore on no consideration grant him a furlough— It had occurred to me, that in giving him this answer it would be proper to order him peremptorily to his Post, and to fix a day when his present leave of absence from it should cease— General Porter thought an intimation ought to be given in the answer, not only that the furlough could not be granted; but that the request was not admissable even as a subject of consideration: which was approved— General Porter also said that the course might be taken of ordering him here—of giving him informally and verbally warning of the consequences which he was bringing upon himself, by his conduct, and inducing him to ask 586to withdraw all the correspondence upon the subject, and repair to his Post: but Mr Rush said that with Scott’s character, and after his controversy with Gaines upon this same question he would certainly take every such indulgence for concession, and abuse it— Mr Southard concurred in this view— I desired General Porter to make a draft of a Letter, limiting the furlough, and we adjourned the meeting till to-morrow at one— I visited the Garden and Nursery: perceived no new vegetation since the 16th. but the Sun is scorching every thing— I planted one Apricot Stone in the Centre and one Persimon seed at the side of each of the Pots N. 7. 8. and 9. One Tangier Orange seed planted 3. June in Pot N. 4. this day came up.