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Henry Clay signs an autograph document in answer to a complaint against him.
Legal Autograph Document Signed: "Henry Clay" in text (first line), 2p, 7½x12¾, front and verso. No place but probably Lexington, Kentucky, no date but probably between 1800 and 1810. Clay is co-defendant. In part: "The answer of Henry Clay and George M. Bodinger to a bill of Complaint against them and John Drake in the Honble the General Court in Chancery inhabited by William Johnson & others. Those defendants now and at all times hereafter saving and receiving to themselves all benefit of exception to the said bill and the matters therein contained. For answer thereto or so much thereof as they are advised is material for them to answer. Say that they know nothing of the Complt Willams ancestor having obtained the warrant from the Governor of Virginia - made the entry afterwards with the Surveyor of Montgomery - exchanged the warrant with the Register of Virginia, upon the opening of the Commonwealths Land Office; and by virtue thereof renewed the entry with the surveyor of Kentucky County...That this deft Henry purchased one half of the Land...That afterwards a certain James French having set up a claim under the said Carberry this deft Henry purchased him out...." The Chancery Court, which traces its roots to 15th century England, is a separate jurisdiction that handles cases of equity rather than common law. Still in existence in some states today, these courts operate under a strictly structured code, primarily hearing cases involving payment of damages and the recovery of property, including land and personal effects. Clay, who had served as a law clerk to George Wythe, was admitted to the bar in 1797, and began his practice in Lexington, Kentucky. His reputation grew rapidly, and he was elected to the state legislature as a Jeffersonian Republican in 1803. Three years later, Clay was defense counsel for Aaron Burr. Shaded at horizontal fold, pin-hole at cross fold affecting two letters, lightly stained at blank left edge on verso, overall fine condition.

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Born: April 12, 1777 in Hanover County, Virginia
Died: June 29, 1852 in Washington, District of Columbia

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