Unsigned deposition in an 1812 property case heard in Fayette Circuit
Court, handwritten by Henry Clay during his first term as Congressman
Autograph document unsigned. Pencil notations in unknown hand.
7½x12½, 1 sheet folded, front and verso, docketed on verso. No date, but
filed Aug. 21, 1812. This document is the deposition of Robert Johnson in
Fayette Circuit Court in a property case regarding the surveying of a piece of
property. Twenty-year-old Clay was admitted to the bar in 1797. Clay
(1777-1852, born in Hanover County, Virginia), who became known as "the Great
Pacificator", took office as Secretary of State under President John Q. Adams
during less than peaceful circumstances. One of four Presidential hopefuls
in the 1824 election, Clay had fewer electoral votes than Adams, Andrew Jackson
or William Crawford and was forced to withdraw. Clay's 37 electoral votes
determined the outcome of the election when, on the evening of Jan. 9, 1825,
he visited Adams, and they struck a bargain. Adams won the election and the
animosity of both Jackson and Crawford, who cried "corrupt bargain". Their
charge gained credibility when Clay headed the list of Adams' Cabinet
appointments. Clay also served as U.S. Senator (1806-1807, 1810-1811,
1831-1842, 1849-1852), Congressman (1811-1814, 1815-1821, 1823-1825) and
Speaker of the House (all years in Congress except 1821). He set his bids
on the presidency in two additional elections: as the National Republican
(Whig) nominee in 1832 (losing to Jackson) and the Whig nominee in 1844
(defeated by Polk). When Clay died on June 29, 1852, he was sure that his
last great work, the Compromise of 1850, had permanently averted a Civil
War. Unfortunately, the compromise only delayed the inevitable for a decade.
Lightly toned and creased. Handwriting has smeared and bled lightly in places
but is legible. Show-through touches signature and docket. Random ink stains.
Folded twice vertically and thrice horizontally. Discolored along bottom and
central folds. Otherwise in fine condition.
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