HENRY CLAY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 03/04/1850 - HFSID 13383
Sale Price $1,275.00
Henry Clay sends an autograph letter as U.S. Senator of thanks for the letter and food.
Autograph Letter Signed: "Henry Clay" as U.S. Senator, 1p, 7¾x10. Washington, 1850 March 4. To Thomas Kirkpatrick, Esq. In full: "I received your obliging letter, and also the articles of food to which it refers. And I request you to accept yourself, and to tender to those who united with you in transmitting these acceptable presents, my cordial thanks for them. They were among the fattest specimens of their respective kinds I ever saw. The pig was suspended in the Bar room of the Nat. Hotel and was gazed upon, with the greatest admiration, by a multitude of persons. The piece of the Beef intended for Govr Seward was sent to him. Tell the young gentleman, who had with so much care and so much success, nursed the Coon that it was brought to the dining table in the most tempting form; but out of respect to them and to it I could not reconcile to my feelings to taste it." HENRY CLAY (1777-1852) represented Kentucky in the House of Representatives (1811-1814, 1815-1821, 1823-1825; Speaker same years except 1821) and the U.S. Senate (1806-1807, 1810-1811, 1831-1842, 1849-1852) and served as Secretary of State under President J.Q. Adams (1825-1829). He was the unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Democratic-Republican Party in 1824, of the National Republican Party in 1832 and of the Whig Party in 1844. Clay resided at the National Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue between Sixth and Seventh Streets. Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, numerous members of Congress and Cabinet members periodically called the National their home. John Wilkes Booth stayed at the National the day he shot Lincoln. On January 29, 1850, five weeks before this letter was written, Henry Clay offered to the Senate a series of resolutions that he hoped northern and southern senators would agree on. They involved admitting California as a free state with no decision in regard to slavery in the other territory gained from Mexico in the recent war. A strict new fugitive slave law was also proposed. During 1850, Clay held a series of meetings at the hotel between leading northern and southern Congressmen and Senators to work out the Compromise of 1850. So close had the Union been to dissolution that when Congress passed the Compromise on September 7, 1850, a spontaneous celebration broke out in Washington. The Marine Band led a large parade of citizens up the Avenue to the National Hotel to thank Clay, before moving on to the lodgings of the other leaders involved in crafting the Compromise. Clay later died in room 32 of the National in 1852. In 1844, WILLIAM H. SEWARD (Governor of New York, 1838-1842) had been a staunch supporter of fellow Whig Henry Clay in his presidential race against Polk. Seward had been elected Senator in 1848, but, in this letter, Clay still referred to him as "Governor" Seward.Seward, an uncompromising opponent of slavery, opposed his friend Clay's compromise resolutions. On the floor of the Senate, on March 11, 1850, just one week after Clay wrote this letter, Seward said: "I am opposed to any such compromise, in any and all the forms in which it has been proposed, because, while admitting the purity and the patriotism of all from whom it is my misfortune to differ, I think all legislative compromises radically wrong and essentially vicious." After Clay died on June 29, 1852 and Daniel Webster passed away on October 24, 1852, Seward became the recognized leader of the Whig Party. Separated at mid-horizontal fold. Tape stains at upper right blank corner and lower blank margin. Shaded at right edge. Overall, fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 32x21.
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