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JQA Diary, volume 45 11 May 1846


Neal Millikan Mexican-American War (1846–1848)
565 Washington Monday 11— May 1846.

11— V—

War with Mexico—

A message from the President of the United States, to both Houses of Congress, was received this morning, after the House had been one hour in Session— It occupied about half an hour, in the reading, recommending, not in direct terms, but by circumlocution a declaration of War against Mexico.— It begins with a referrence to the state of the relations, between the two Countries, presented in the Annual Message, at the commencement of the Session, and then relates, the series of events, diplomatic and military, which have since occured, and brought on a state of hostility now existing between them. A voluminous correspondence, accompanied the message, When it was received, the House was in Committee of the whole on the state of the Union Samuel Gordon, of the tenth Congressional District of New York, in the Chair, upon the Military Academy Appropriation Bill—against which William Sawyer of the fifth Congressional District of Ohio, was playing off, his democratic Artillery. On the receipt of the message, the Committee immediately rose.— The Message, and part of the accompanying Documents were read, and after some altercation as to the mode of disposing of them, they were ordered to be printed and referred to the Committee of the whole on the state of the Union— The House went immediately into that Committee at the motion of Hugh. A. Haralson, of Georgia Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs— George. W. Hopkins of Virginia, in the Chair— They immediately took up Bill No. 145, reported from the Committee authorizing the President to accept the service of volunteers, not exceeding fifty thousand men, with an Appropriation of ten millions of dollars.— A long debate ensued, numerous Amendments were proposed, a distinction between War and hostilities much discussed and numerous efforts made, to shape into a declaration of War, against Mexico, one of which finally succeeded— A motion was soon made, by Jacob 566Brinkerhoff of Ohio that the Committee rise, for a resolution to close the debate in two hours, upon which resolution the yeas and nays were demanded and refused— At the end of the two hours, the Bill was reported to the House, with the Amendment declaring War by a lying preamble adopted at the motion of Lynn Boyd, and was passed by yeas and nays, 174. to 14. Amos Abbott, and Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts voting for this declaration of War. Of the 14, besides myself, Ashmun, Grinnell, Hudson, and Daniel P. King were five— Benjamin Thompson and Julius Rockwell, were absent. There is one vacancy in the delegation from Massachusetts. Thus only one half of the delegation from Mass voted for this most unrighteous War. Garrett Davis of Kentucky, asked, to be excused, from voting, for which he assigned reasons, perfectly conclusive, against the War, and finally withdrew his motion to be excused, and voted for the Bill— Thomas. H. Bayly of Virginia, did the same— Elias B. Holmes of New York—Albert Smith of the same State also voted for the Bill, protesting against the preamble, as base, fraudulent and false— Which preamble contained the declaration of War— And thus the Bill was passed, and the House adjourned—

Washington Tuesday 12th.— May 1846—