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BOX I:1-27 REEL I:1-6 Part I: General Correspondence, 1770-1910
Letters received and copies of letters sent, family papers, financial records, letters of condolence, memoranda, notes, petitions, secretary of state reports to Congress, and speeches.
Organized into Henry Clay correspondence and Clay family correspondence and arranged chronologically therein. A card index to the Henry Clay correspondence is available in the Manuscript Division Reading Room and on microfilm. Abstracts of the correspondence are provided below.
Available on microfilm. Shelf nos. 13,789 and 13,789.1
BOX I:1 REEL 1 Clay, Henry
30 Nov. 1770-4 Feb. 1814
This volume includes material on Henry Clay's ancestors; his license to practice law in Virginia, dated 6 November 1797; business correspondence related to land speculation and debt collection, principally with out-of-state clients, notably from Baltimore; the first letter with Clay's most intimate and long-term correspondent, Francis Brooke, a boyhood friend; a letter from Felix Grundy on the Kentucky Insurance Company issue, dated 4 February 1805; a letter from Attorney General John Breckenridge on relations with Great Britain, dated 22 March 1806; correspondence on the Aaron Burr litigation in November and December 1806; the challenges, formal rules, and an eyewitness account of the Clay-Marshall duel in January 1809; and letters concerning the War of 1812 from Thomas Hart Benton, William Henry Harrison, and James Monroe.
BOX I:2 REEL 1 5 Feb. 1814-24 Nov. 1818
This volume includes correspondence with fellow commissioners James Asheton Bayard, Albert Gallatin, and Jonathan Russell during the Treaty of Ghent negotiations; extensive correspondence with William H. Crawford on the diplomatic issues at stake; an American position statement, dated 14 December 1814; Secretary of State James Monroe's offer to Clay to assume a diplomatic mission to Russia, dated 30 October 1815; President James Madison's offer to Clay to take over the War Department, dated 30 August 1816, and Clay's letter of refusal, dated 14 September 1816; the first letter to be received by Clay from Marquis de Lafayette, dated 26 October 1815, in which he comments on political conditions in France. Lafayette's correspondence would grow in volume and is noteworthy for its perspectives on European politics, international relations generally, and South American independence movements in particular.
BOX I:3 REEL 1 30 Nov. 1818-17 Dec. 1822
This volume includes correspondence with Langdon Cheves concerning Clay's professional relationship with the Bank of the United States, correspondence that would subsequently be taken up by Nicholas Biddle; the correspondence and official records of the land claims negotiations between Kentucky and Virginia in which Clay acted as commissioner for Kentucky; extensive correspondence on presidential politics, beginning with a letter from Henry R. Warfield, dated 13 December 1821; a letter from Jonathan Russell relating his efforts to undermine John Quincy Adams's presidential campaign, dated 9 July 1822; a letter from Amos Kendall describing his clandestine efforts, dated 20 June 1822; and a letter from Andrew Hughes suggesting that Andrew Jackson might run for president, dated 31 July 1822.
BOX I:4 REEL 1 19 Dec. 1822-14 Oct. 1824
This volume is dominated by presidential politics. Secondary subjects include Clay's continuing professional relationship with the Bank of the United States and a disagreement with Congressman Ichabod Bartlett of New Hampshire, which ended amicably in January 1824.
BOX I:5 REEL 1 15 Oct. 1824-12 Oct. 1825
Correspondence reflecting uncertainty over the final electoral vote count includes the letter from Clay to Francis Preston Blair, dated 8 January 1825, that would provide the basis for the revival of the charge of "bargain and intrigue" during the presidential campaign of 1828 (see abstracts to vols. 11 and 12). A letter from Clay to Blair dated 29 January 1825 responds to George Kremer's anonymously-published calumny. The volume also includes Nicholas Biddle's reply to Clay's resignation from the Bank of the United States, dated 11 March 1825; correspondence in response to Clay's address to his constituents concerning Kremer's allegations; and the initial correspondence between James Brown as minister to France and Clay as secretary of state. The latter correspondence was particularly frank, for the two men were longtime friends, and related by marriage to the Hart family of Kentucky.
BOX I:6 REEL 2 13 Oct. 1825-10 Apr. 1826
This volume includes a letter from William Carroll concerning Andrew Jackson's resignation from Congress, dated 25 November 1825; correspondence on the procrastination of Congress over sending delegates to the Congress of Panama; a letter from Robert Wickliffe, Clay's principal source of information on Kentucky politics, concerning the political gains of the Jackson faction in Kentucky, dated 7 March 1826; and documentation from late March through early April 1826 relating to the Clay-Randolph duel.
BOX I:7 REEL 2 12 Apr.-18 Nov. 1826
This volume begins with correspondence on the Clay-Randolph duel. Correspondence from ministers Christopher Hughes and James Brown predominates. In a letter dated 9 May 1826, W. B. Rochester comments on the presidential aspirations of DeWitt Clinton. However, the main focus of Clay's political correspondents, who report on political movements within their states, is the popularity of the Jackson faction. This preoccupation also takes up a substantial portion of the following six volumes. Volume 7 also includes correspondence with Daniel Webster, which was substantial, supportive, and confidential during the Adams administration and the first Jackson administration, and material on internal improvements and the St. Lawrence River.
BOX I:8 REEL 2 20 Nov. 1826-21 Apr. 1827
This volume consists principally of correspondence on presidential politics. The correspondents pay close attention to the Jackson faction, with comments on DeWitt Clinton and Martin Van Buren as well. Clay's informants continue to report on politics within their particular states. The concern over the pivotal states New York and Pennsylvania is reflected in correspondence with politicians from these states. Throughout these volumes the following correspondents regularly report to Clay concerning political conditions in their states: Adam Beatty, Kentucky; Francis Brooke, Virginia; William Carroll, Tennessee; James Erwin, Louisiana; Charles Hammond, Ohio; Edward Ingersoll, Pennsylvania; Francis Johnson, Kentucky; Joseph Kent, Maryland; John L. Lawrence, New York; P. S. Markley, Pennsylvania; Thomas Metcalfe, Kentucky; Hugh Mercer, Virginia; Hezekiah Niles, Maryland; John Hampden Pleasants, Virginia; Peter Buell Porter, New York; William Beatty Rochester, New York; John Sergeant, Pennsylvania; Henry Shaw, Massachusetts; Jonathan Sloane, Massachusetts; Thomas B. Stevenson, Ohio; Joseph M. Street, Missouri; Charles Stewart Todd, Kentucky; Henry R. Warfield, Maryland; Daniel Webster, Massachusetts; Robert Wickliffe, Kentucky; and Elisha Whittlesey, Ohio.
BOX I:9 REEL 2 22 Apr.-2 Aug. 1827
This volume begins with a letter dated 27 April 1827 related to the acquisition of a cipher to the coded correspondence between Jackson, Burr, and Blennerhassett (letters related to this attempt to discredit Jackson are dated 7 April 1827 and 13 August 1828). Much of the volume comprises replies to Tobias Watkins's circular asking for statements to dispute Carter Beverly's allegation that Clayites had bargained with the Jackson camp in the previous election. These replies provide the documentation for Clay's Address to the Public, a refutation of the charges against him, published in December 1827. This volume also includes correspondence responding to Clay's July denial to Jackson's June statement that, in the previous election, an individual representing Clay had made overtures to the Jackson camp.
BOX I:10 REEL 2 3 Aug.-21 Oct. 1827
This volume begins with correspondence responding to Clay's repeated denial that he had dealt with the Jackson camp in the previous election, a denial Clay reiterated in a published speech given in Lexington in August in which he called upon Jackson to name the supposed go-between. Correspondence in August and September relates to James Buchanan's statements that he had not acted in such a capacity.
BOX I:11 REEL 3 22 Oct. 1827-14 Jan. 1828
This volume includes more correspondence concerning the Beverly- Jackson-Buchanan matter; correspondence on Congressional elections as harbingers of presidential politics; two Francis Preston Blair letters, dated 14 November and 31 December 1827, written prior to his testimony before the Kentucky senate committee investigating the charges against Clay; a published version of Clay's Address to the Public; and correspondence responding to the Address and to the Harrisburg Convention.
BOX I:12 REEL 3 15 Jan.-30 Apr. 1828
Correspondence in this volume concerns Francis Preston Blair, his appearance before the Kentucky senate investigating committee, and the question of publishing the supposedly incriminating letter Clay wrote to Blair, dated 8 January 1825.
BOX I:13 REEL 3 2 May-22 Nov. 1828
This volume is dominated by presidential politics.
BOX I:14 REEL 3 24 Nov. 1828-14 Mar. 1829
This volume includes correspondence commenting on the outcome of the election and expressing considerable apprehension concerning the Jackson administration and ends with invitations to Clay to attend public demonstrations in his behalf following his departure from Washington, D.C.
BOX I:15 REEL 3 16 Mar.-11 Nov. 1829
This volume includes correspondence critical of the Jackson administration. A letter from Sidney Breese, dated 30 July 1829, is the first to question Clay on the prospect of running in 1832.
BOX I:16 REEL 4 13 Nov. 1829-29 Oct. 1830
Correspondence in this volume speculates on the likely candidates for 1832, including the possibility that Martin Van Buren would receive the Democratic nomination. W. H. Crawford's letter, dated 31 March 1830, is representative of this speculation over candidates. The volume also includes correspondence critical of the Jackson administration. Daniel Webster's letter, dated 29 May 1830, is representative. There is a letter from Richard Rush on the anti-Masonry issue in New York, dated 25 September 1830, and a letter from James Madison on the "nullifying doctrine," dated 9 October 1830.
BOX I:17 REEL 4 30 Oct. 1830-25 Oct. 1831
This volume includes a letter, dated 3 November 1830, from Nicholas Biddle to Clay in which the banker states that it would be "inexpedient" to raise the recharter issue. Daniel Webster reports in a letter dated 4 March 1831 on the split between Calhoun and Jackson. In May, Richard Rush starts an urgent correspondence to persuade Clay to go along with the anti-Masons. Hugh Mercer reports on the resignation of the cabinet in a letter dated 9 May 1831. In a letter dated 31 August 1831, Clay is warned that the Jackson faction in Kentucky will make a concerted effort to block his election to the Senate. In a letter of 7 September 1831, John Quincy Adams disputes the legitimacy of nullification, expounding his constitutional theory of government. The correspondence in October concerns Clay's bid for a seat in the Senate.
BOX I:18 REEL 4 26 Oct. 1831-20 Mar. 1832
Correspondence congratulating Clay on his election to the Senate opens this volume. Nicholas Biddle's letter of 22 December 1831 touches upon rechartering the Bank of the United States. Patrick Henry urged Clay to encourage the government to purchase Mount Vernon in a letter dated 18 February 1832. Beginning in March, there is more correspondence on the recharter issue.
BOX I:19 REEL 4 22 Mar.-24 Aug. 1832
A March 22 letter from James Madison argues for accommodation on the tariff to avert a crisis over nullification. In May and June, Hiram Ketchum and Richard Rush address Clay on anti-Masonry. Clay's letter to Hezekiah Niles, dated 8 July 1829, comments on the tariff bill, the bank bill, and the public land bill. Nicholas Biddle's letter, dated 1 August 1832, expresses his reaction to Jackson's veto.
BOX I:20 REEL 5 26 Aug. 1832-7 Nov. 1834
Correspondence on the presidential election continues through November with correspondence on the outcome of the election in November and December. P. B. Porter and W. B. Rochester kept Clay abreast of the anti-Masonry splinter group in New York. A copy of a bill to modify the tariff is located at the beginning of 1833. Dated 8 February 1833, a letter from Nicholas Biddle indicates his intention to fight back against the kitchen cabinet. The period from February through June 1833 contains increasing correspondence on the nullification crisis. In a letter dated 20 February 1833, John M. Clayton commented on the struggle in Congress; in a letter dated 19 March 1833, Peleg Sprague expressed the northern point of view; and in a letter dated 2 April 1833, James Madison advised appeasement. The period from January through March 1834 contains correspondence on the removal of the deposits from the Bank of the United States, the purportedly arbitrary removal of secretaries of the treasury, and the Senate's intention to censure Andrew Jackson for these "unconstitutional" actions. Clay's letter to Francis Brooke, dated 23 March 1834, expressed his fears for the political future of the country.
BOX I:21 REEL 5 8 Nov. 1834-5 June 1838
This volume includes correspondence on the French crisis during the winter of 1835. In a letter dated 4 January 1835, Nicholas Biddle expressed the view that the Bank of the United States played a role in collecting the claims. In a letter dated 31 January 1835, James Madison cautioned against rash action. The volume also includes material on the slavery issue. Lewis Tappan attempted to win Clay over to the anti-slavery group, with letters dated 24 March, 22 June, and 20 July 1835 and 1 May and 5 June 1838. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote Clay on 5 June 1837; and in January and February 1838 there is correspondence responding to Clay's January 8 speech in Congress modifying Calhoun's December resolutions. The question of the choice of the Whig candidate arose in correspondence between July and August 1837. The volume also includes a letter from Henry Austin attempting to enlist Clay's support for Texas, dated 13 April 1836; and two letters on the issue of international copyright from Harriet Martineau, dated 15 May 1837, and from Grenville A. Sackell, dated 25 January 1838.
BOX I:22 REEL 5 11 June 1838-13 Mar. 1841
A letter from Nicholas Biddle commented on the Texas question, dated 7 September 1838, and a letter from Clay on the proper course of action for Congress in relation to slavery in the District of Columbia, dated 25 February 1839. Letters and petitions advocate Clay's presidential candidacy. During the election year, there is correspondence with William Henry Harrison, dated 25 February, 21 June, 6 August, 2 November, and 15 November. A letter dated 13 March 1841 and its reply dated 15 March document a rupture in the relationship between the two men. Volume 22 also includes business correspondence between Henry Clay and his son, Thomas Hart Clay, esecially during the 1840s when their joint business ventures were failing.
BOX I:23 REEL 5 15 Mar. 1841-4 Oct. 1844
This volume begins with Clay's March 15 reply to William Henry Harrison's March 13 letter that rebuked Clay for "dictating" proposals. The period from May to September 1841 contains correspondence on reestablishing a Bank of the United States. A letter from Clay to Martin Van Buren written 26 March 1842, the day before Clay's farewell address to the Senate, extended an invitation to the would-be Democratic candidate to visit Ashland. Immediately thereafter, Clay received a letter, dated April 2, from Carter Beverly that exonerated Clay from the allegations Beverly had made in 1827. A letter dated 25 July 1842 from Clay to Jacob Gibson, provides insight into Clay's basic views on slavery. Joseph Story responded to Clay's Lexington speech, his first as a presidential candidate, in a letter dated 3 August 1842. Clay challenged James K. Polk to a debate over the issue of "bargain and intrigue" in a letter dated 20 May 1843. This volume also includes correspondence describing political trends within particular states and correspondence attesting to Clay's innocence in regard to the old charge of "bargain and intrigue."
BOX I:24 REEL 6 9 Oct. 1844-18 Apr. 1845
Correspondence commenting on the electoral defeat includes allegations of election fraud, particularly in New York. Beginning in November but continuing through the winter and spring there are many letters of sympathy concerning the electoral defeat and invitations to attend public demonstrations of support. The period from January through May 1845 contains correspondence on the fund-raising drive to relieve Clay of large debts. A copy of a letter dated 28 February 1845 from Andrew Jackson to William B. Lewis commented on James Buchanan's want of moral fiber in relation to the role he played in the "bargain and intrigue" scandal.
BOX I:25 REEL 6 22 Apr. 1845-19 July 1848
This volume contains correspondence with Horace Greeley on presidential politics, with letters dated 15 November 1846, 30 November 1847, and 28 April, 29 May, and 21 June 1848. Correspondence with candidate Zachary Taylor is dated 4 November and 28 December 1847 and 30 April 1848. Clay's letters dated 2 December 1847 and 12 April 1848 relate to his own candidacy. Letters of sympathy concern the outcome of the Whig nominating convention.
BOX I:26 REEL 6 22 July 1848-4 Nov. 1852
Additional letters concern the outcome of the Whig nominating convention. Writing on 11 September 1848, Clay disclaimed any intention to run as a third party candidate. His letter of 31 May 1850 to Thomas Hart Clay revealed pessimism over passage of the Compromise measures. In the last years of his life, Clay wrote many letters to his wife, Lucretia Hart Clay. The last third of volume 26 consists of letters of condolence (see also letters of condolence in Part II: General Correspondence).
BOX I:27 REEL 6 Undated
Undated correspondence and miscellaneous material relate to Henry Clay; other Clay family papers are dated 1853-1910.
Clay family, 1853-1910, undated
BOX I:28-34 REEL I:7-8 Part I: Dispatches and Instructions, 1825-1829
Diplomatic correspondence and instructions.
Arranged chronologically.
BOX I:28 REEL 7 10 Mar.-10 May 1825
BOX I:29 REEL 7 11 May-22 Nov. 1825
BOX I:30 REEL 7 24 Nov. 1825-13 June 1826
BOX I:31 REEL 7 19 June-8 Nov. 1826
BOX I:32 REEL 8 11 Nov. 1826-4 May 1827
BOX I:33 REEL 8 11 May 1827-20 Feb. 1828
BOX I:34 REEL 8 21 Feb. 1828-28 Feb. 1829
BOX I:35Not filmed Part I: Addenda, 1785-1924
Correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, speeches, and other material.
Organized into correspondence and printed matter and arranged chronologically therein.
BOX I:35 Correspondence
Originals, 1814-1853
(2 folders)
Photostats, 1785-1888
Printed matter, 1823-1924, undated
(2 folders)
BOX II:36-40 Part II: General Correspondence, 1800-1891
Letters received and copies of letters sent, memoranda, notes, and speeches.
Arranged by type of correspondence and chronologically therein.
BOX II:36 General correspondence
Feb. 1800-Jan. 1824
(7 folders)
BOX II:37 Feb. 1824-Dec. 1831
(7 folders)
BOX II:38 Jan. 1832-Dec. 1842
(7 folders)
BOX II:39 Jan. 1843-May 1852, undated
(6 folders)
BOX II:40 Condolence letters, 1852-1853
Other correspondence, 1801-1857
Envelopes, annotated wrappings, etc., circa 1806-1891, undated
BOX II:40-49 Part II: Family Correspondence, 1780-1927
Correspondence, envelopes, journals, memoranda, notes, speeches, and telegrams.
Organized into family correspondence, other correspondence, and envelopes and arranged chronologically therein.
BOX II:40 Family correspondence
Nov. 1780-Oct. 1812
(4 folders)
BOX II:41 Nov. 1812-Oct. 1849
(6 folders)
BOX II:42 Nov. 1849-May 1855
(6 folders)
BOX II:43 June 1855-Jan. 1858
(6 folders)
BOX II:44 Feb. 1858-Feb. 1863
(6 folders)
BOX II:45 Mar. 1863-July 1873
(6 folders)
BOX II:46 Aug. 1873-Sept. 1884
(6 folders)
BOX II:47 Oct. 1884-Aug. 1912
(6 folders)
BOX II:48 Sept. 1912-Aug. 1927, undated
(3 folders)
Photostatic copies, 1781-1923
(3 folders)
Other correspondence
BOX II:49 1804-1863, undated
(2 folders)
Envelopes, annotated wrappings, etc., circa 1781-1917
(3 folders)
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