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JQA Diary, volume 45 12 May 1846


Neal Millikan Mexican-American War (1846–1848)
Washington Tuesday 12th. May 1846—

12. V—

The proceedings of the House of Representatives, absorb all notice of any thing else occurring in the course of this day— After the reading of the Journal of this day—Robert C. Winthrop called for a correction of the Journal, in which his name had been entered, as against an Amendment proposed to the declaration of War, he having in fact voted in favor of it, which correction was made— Armistead Burt of South Carolina, said he was instructed by the Committee on Military Affairs to move for consideration of a Bill from the Senate, for the organization of a Company of Sappers, miners, and pontoniers Richard Brodhead of Pennsylvania, asked Burt to allow him first to move for an extra 567number of Copies to be printed of the War Message of yesterday— Burt declined, and the House went into Committee of the whole on the state of the Union—upon the Bill, with an Appropriation of $25000. for the present year; Joshua. R. Giddings opposed the Bill, with an hour speech, interrupted by frequent calls, to order, after which a motion was made for the Committee to rise, The Committee rose, and the Chairman, Moses Norris, said the Committee had directed him to report the Bill— Which was not true— Burt who had moved for the Committee to rise, stated the fact, and said the reporter had erroneously made reported— Douglass of Illinois said “let it go as it is,” to this I objected— George. W. Hopkins, acting as Speaker, decided that the report was to be received as it had been made— Burt moved the Previous Question and the Bill was passed by yeas and nays, 153. to 9— A formal motion to reconsider, without yeas and nays called for by Rathbun but refused, and the House went again into Committee of the whole on the State of the Union, Charles. S. Benton, of the 17th. Congressional District of New York, in the Chair, on the West Point Academy Appropriation Bill— Whereupon George Rathbun’s motion to abolish the Academy, as soon as the present Cadets shall have graduated, was debated and while William Sawyer of Ohio was speaking against the resolution, a message from the President was received, with a dispatch from General Taylor now commanding the Army, encamped on the Boarder of the Rio Del Norte— The Message was laid on the Table and ordered to be printed, and the House returned into Committee— After some further desultory debate the Committee rose, and McKay moved, to close debate in Committee in ten minutes, after the Bill should next be taken up in Committee which was carried by yeas and nays, 85. to 33. Allen G. Thurman moved to take a recess till 1/2 past 7. this eveg. Winthrop moved to amend it to take the recess till 10. o’clock this evening— After several unsuccessful motions to adjourn Thurman’s motion to take the recess was carried, 67. to 65— At the meeting after the recess, a 568Letter was presented to the House, from John Pettit Chairman of the Select Committee of Investigation for the impeachment of Daniel Webster, stating that after having been refused the service of a Clerk for that Committee by the House he had concluded, to refuse to serve any longer on that Committee and therefore asked again to be excused, and that another person may be appointed in his place— He was accordingly excused and Seaborn Jones of Georgia was appointed in his place— Pettit was the mover for this Committee, with the avowed purpose of impeachment, of Mr. Webster— Having carried that motion, the real purpose of which was, to force the production of the secret papers, in the Department of State, he takes the first opportunity to get excused from serving on the Committee, well knowing that no impeachable matte, will be obtained by the investigation but trusting, that the publication of the secret papers, would operate injuriously upon the reputation of Webster in the Public mind— The whole of this transaction affords an exemplification, of the manner, in which the secrets of this Government, are divulged, by the operation of factious Parties and malicious personal enmities— Message was received from the Senate, returning the Bill declaring war against Mexico, passed by them with Amendments—which were concurred in, almost without opposition— . . . A final formal vote of reconsideration was made and rejected, and between eight and nine oclock the House adjourned and I came home with a heavy heart.