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JQA Diary, volume 43 21 May 1842


Neal Millikan Sectionalism Slavery Slave Trade
149 Washington Saturday 21. May 1842.

21. V. Saturday.

Thomas Dr John M Mrs Thomas.

The chill North-easter continues; but this day without rain— I wrote lines in the album of Anna Payne, Mrs Madison’s niece—and in the Boston Mercantile Journal, edited by a man characteristically named Sleeper Mr. G. Brown has published with a puff, my paraphrase of the 1st. and 2d. verses of the 61st. chapter of Isaiah written at his request. Not a day passes but I receive Letters from the North and sometimes the West asking for an autograph, and a scrap of poetry or of prose, and from the South almost daily Letters of insult, profane obscenity and filth— These are indexes to the various estimation in which I am held in the free and servile sections of this Union— Indexes to the moral sensibilities of free, and of Slavery tainted communities. Threats of Lynching and Assassination, are the natural offspring of Slave-breeders and Slave-traders—profanity and obscenity are their natural associates;—such dross the fire must purge— But the perpetual calls for autographs and Album scraps, are scarcely less annoying in another way— They set in motion the rhyming maggot in my brain and breed swarms of May flies as prolific as the dead herrings that line the banks of the Potomac.— I laboured with an abortion upon Faith this morning, and with another anti belligerent speech, on this navy-appropriation bill. At the house, after a struggle by Cowen, chairman of the Committee of Claims pleading for the devotion of this day to private business, the house at Fillmore’s motion decided by yeas and nays to to go into Committee of the whole on the state of the Union on that bill— Cushing had the floor from yesterday and made an elaborate speech of two hours in defence of the administration, and of the Secretary of the Navy and his report— His argument as usual was captious and sophistical; attempting to shew that the Secretary’s plan did not urge a present increase of the Navy; but that M’Kay and Meriwether were contending for a decrease of the existing navy— Cushing affects to be the leader of the administration members, and is much flattered when recognized by the whigs and democrats, as a Cabinet Minister, of the white house in petto: as was done by M’Kay and Meriwether, in replying to him this day; which they did with great earnestness. Parmenter, made a sly, jesuitical, Mrs Candour attack upon the Commissioners of the Navy, and especially upon Commodore’s Hull and Morris—which I briefly noticed— The Committee rose and the house adjourned soon after 3.— The bloodless termination of the Rhode-Island War was this day received— The ignominious flight of the spurious governor Thomas W Dorr, has postponed the heaviest calamity that ever befel this Nation—but I scarcely dare yet to rejoice. J. P. Kennedy and others told me also that the quarrel between Wise and Stanly was adjusted— No fight— Dr and Mrs Thomas here this eve