Overview of the Collection
Scope and Content
Overview of the Collection
Title: Henry Clay Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1825-1829
Collection Number: mssHC 1-423
425 pieces in 5 boxes
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: This collection contains out-going letters of the Secretary of
State Henry Clay (1777-1852) and his Chief Clerk Daniel Brent (1774-1841), between 1825 and 1829. The correspondence concerns
international trade and
commerce; the foreign relations of the United States, particularly those with Great Britain,
routine State Department matters, and letters to resident representatives of various countries.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department.
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[Identification of item]. Henry Clay Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino,
Purchased from the Washington Cathedral through the agency of Thomas M. Spaulding, 1937.
The portion of Henry Clay's papers now in the Huntington Library consists of his official
State Department correspondence only. These papers had been bequeathed to the Washington
Cathedral by the late Mrs. Albert C. Janin (née Blair), who had inherited them from
Gen. Thomas S. Jessup a close friend of Mr. Clay. The collection was purchased from the
Cathedral in 1937, through the agency of Col. Thomas M. Spaulding.
Henry Clay (1777-1852), American statesman, was born in Hanover County, Virginia.
Representing his adopted state, Kentucky, he was a member of the United States Congress off
and on for almost fifty years, three times an unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency, and
from 1825-1829 Secretary of State.
Scope and Content
This collection contains out-going letters of the Secretary of State Henry Clay and his
Chief Clerk Daniel Brent to foreign ministers in the United States. The correspondence
concerns international trade and commerce; the foreign relations of the United States,
particularly those with Great Britain, routine State Department matters, and letters to
resident representatives of various countries.
Topics include negotiations relative to the abolition of discriminating duty of import and
tonnage in the commercial intercourse of the United States with: Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France,
Great Britain, Netherlands, Prussia, Sicily and the Papal States, Russia, Sweden.
American-British diplomatic relations covered include the Northeast boundary dispute (Maine
and New Brunswick) 1828-29; letters and instructions to U.S. agents Albert Gallatin and
William Pitt Preble; West India trade; and impressed seamen. Letters related to
Latin-American republics include the Panama Congress and U.S. neutrality related to the independence of Brazil and
Columbia including privateers with prizes in U.S. ports and rights of hospitality. There is also correspondence related to
claims for indemnity and points on
international law in regard to shipping, extradition, piracy, etc.
Countries addressed in four or more pieces:
- Austria (6 pieces)
- Brazil (30 pieces)
- Free city of Bremen (4 pieces)
- Chile (4 pieces)
- Central America (and Guatemala) (6 pieces)
- Colombia (30 pieces)
- Cuba (4 pieces)
- Denmark (16 pieces)
- France (34 pieces)
- Great Britain (120 pieces)
- Mexico (16 pieces)
- Netherlands (13 pieces)
- Portugal (9 pieces)
- Prussia (9 pieces)
- Russia (38 pieces)
- Saxony (6 pieces)
- Sicily and the Papal States (13 pieces)
- Spain (28 pieces)
- Sweden (and Norway) (21 pieces)
Some notable items include:
- Clay, Henry. To Henry U. Addington, Chargé d'affaires from Great Britain in respect
to the Convention for more effectually suppressing the Slave trade. Apr. 6, 1825
- _____. To Don Antonio Jose Cañaz, minister from Guatemala, respecting a Canal
through the Province of Nicaragua. Apr. 18, 1825
- _____. To the Baron de Mareuil, Minister from France, relative to Institutions in
the U. S. for the deaf and dumb. Apr. 18, 1826
- _____. To Charles R. Vaughan, Minister from Great Britain relative to the execution
of the Convention of St. Petersburg. Oct. 12, 1826. ...Your note of the 20th. ult.
- _____. To Don Hilario de Rivas y Salmon, Chargé d'affaires from Spain, concerning
alleged violations of neutrality by the United States in allowing the building of ships
employed against Spain, and in the conduct of Commodore David Porter's Mexican squadron
in the port of Key West, June 9, 1827
- _____. To Don José María Salazar, Minister from Colombia, that the United States
join Great Britain and Colombia in an offer of mediation to put an end to the war
between Brazil and Buenos Ayres. Oct. 31, 1826
These letters were published in: The Papers of Henry Clay/ James F. Hopkins, ed. [Lexington] University of Kentucky Press,
[c1959]-c1992, vol. 4-7.
Clay, Henry, 1777-1852 -- Correspondence.
Brent, Daniel, 1774-1841 -- Correspondence.
United States. Department of State -- Correspondence.
United States -- Foreign relations -- 19th century.
United States -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
United States -- History -- 1815-1861 -- Sources.
Letters (correspondence) -- United States.
Brent, Daniel, 1774-1841.
United States. Department of State.