HENRY CLAY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 11/21/1829 - HFSID 281100
Sale Price $3,187.50
Henry Clay wrote this letter from his Ashland estate in Kentucky in 1829, about nine months after he stepped down as President John Quincy Adams' Secretary of State. In it, he talks about President Andrew Jackson - "the Military despot" - as well as the election and a friend who had published a letter of his without his permission.
Autograph letter signed "H. Clay". 4 pages, 7¾x9¾, 1 sheet folded, front and verso. Written at Clay's Ashland estate in Kentucky, Nov. 21, 1829. Addressed to P. R. Fendale, Esq. In full: "I recd. you favor both of the 30th. Oct. and the 7th. instant. I believe Mr. Wonley has made the permanent arrangement to supply the place of his late Co-partner; and I think it probable that he will make none before the fate of the Journal is finally decided. However much gratified I should be, in some respects, to see you a resident of Kentucky, I should regret it extremely if it were to be the consequence of the failure of the Journal. That paper has been edited with very great ability, generally, since the commencement of the present administration; and is considered in this quarter as standing unquestionably at the head of the papers which are arrayed against the Military despot. Its discontinuance would be a great public loss, and I sincerely hope that contingency will not arise. Something could be done, in this quarter, in the way of Subscriptions to it, if some person were authorized to receive them; and I think some thing also can done to rid of Mr. Coxer's scheme. Mr. Wonley would sell the whole of his paper for $3000 or a [illegible] of it for half that sum, or engage you, as formerly suggested, provided he should not previously make another [illegible]. Should the Journal therefore un-fortunately stop, and should you be inclined to come to K. let Mr. W. or me know immediately your wishes. On the subject of a nomination, I think my friends generally in the west have settle down on its [illegible] this wonder, unless some event should occur to recommend it. In lieu of that measure, it is thought more advisable to express, in the form of resolutions, in some other form, the disapprobation of the [illegible] of the manner in which the personas of the General Government has been recently exercised, attachment to the American System &c. If, however, upon the meeting of our friends in Congress at Washn., it should be deemed essential that a nomination should be made at Frankfort, I think the proper communication of that conviction would have great weight with the friendly members of the General Assembly, who compose a very decided majority in each branch. I do not think that any discouragement ought to arrive out of the latest Elections. The last presidential contest was too recent, and the next is too remote. This had a double operation to stimulate our opponents, flushed with recent victory, and to produce apathy among our friends, who saw nothing at hand worthy of a great struggle. Even with this unfavorable aspect, we have sustained no positive loss except in N. Jersey, of which I have had such explanations as to induce me to count it as nothing. On the other hand, both in N. York and Penna some gleams of hope have broken out of the darkness that enveloped these two states. I think I understand Mr. Southworth, whose recent abuse of a private correspondence forms the subject of your last letter. The Combs were [illegible] to his case; he delivered them to Mr. [illegible] to be brought here; and from him I first learnt the manner of the transmission. It seemed to me to be a matter of common [illegible] only to acknowledge the receipt of this letter; and as he had thrown into it strong protestations of friendship &c &c. I thought it also proper to say that I placed reliance on his assurances. The publication of my letter, without my previous knowledge or consent, was improper; and the [illegible] he makes about the omitted paragraph is also exceptionable. I really do not recollect what is in it, but I do know that there is not a work there that I had not as [illegible] the public should see as any other part of the letter. The whole of it was [illegible] under the influence of that precautionary rule, what, I think I have several times informed you, I always observed. Mr. Southworth's whole cause in regard to [illegible] has been marked by eccentricity, to say the least. His early nomination of me was not only without any authority from me, but without my know-ledge, until I saw it in the papers. He has quarrelled [sic] moreover with some of my best friends. And I am well informed of what passed between him and Duff Green &c. Yet I have not thought it right to fall out with one, who at least manifests so much zeal and attachment, even if I disapprove, as I sometime have done, the [illegible] what be taken. This [illegible], has prevent me placing any [illegible] degree of confident in Mr S. I have never [illegible] to him; ex-cept when my silence would have been offensive, or at least wanting in politeness; and I have never addressed any letter to him, the publication of whole of which could do me, I think, the slightest prejudice. I have, in short, found him an inconvenient friend, of whom, at the same time, I have not had the heart to get rid, although I should not have [illegible] much if he had quietly taken himself off. As to the Combs, I could not [illegible] writing him. If my friends in R. I. had not placed them under his care, there would have been no occasion given for my letter You would be surprised to see what an active farm [illegible] and man of [illegible] I have become. My health continues good; and I am anxious to try the effect of the climate of [illegible] upon my constitution this winter; by going there if I can in January. Mrs. Clay writes with me in offering you our best regards." "The military despot" is probably ANDREW JACKSON (1767-1845), who defeated President John Quincy Adams in the 1828 election. Clay was Secretary of State under Adams, and this letter was written just nine months after Jackson's inauguration and Clay's stepping down from this post. The enmity between Jackson and Clay reached back at least to 1819, when Clay denounced Jackson's invasion of Florida during the First Seminole War. 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. Encapsulated in Mylar. Letter was not examined outside encapsulation. Lightly toned, foxed and stained. Show-through touches signature and body of letter. Random ink stains. Rounded corners, with light discoloration along top corners. Light discoloration and separation along spine of letter. Folded twice vertically and thrice horizontally. Otherwise in fine condition.
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