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Lot 64: CLAY, HENRY. Autograph Letter Signed, "H. Clay," to Peter Buell Porter,
November 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: "THE ADM[INISTRATI]ON . . . INTENDS TO ABANDON THE COUNTRY TO ITS FATE" CLAY, HENRY. Autograph Letter Signed, "H. Clay," to Peter Buell Porter, acknowledging receipt of newspaper articles honoring Daniel Webster, explaining that he would like to visit but cannot yet, and soliciting advice about how to respond to the administration's proposals. 1 page, 4to; short separations at folds, minor toning at edges. Ashland, 7 August 1837
"I duly received . . . two newspapers containing an account of the Addresses and honor extended to Mr. Webster, during his sojourn in Buffalo. . . . They were due to his distinguished abilities and eminent services, and could not have been withheld without exciting invidious remarks upon the N.York Western Capital. . . .
"What are we to do at the approaching Session of Congress? We shall need all your advice and that of our other enlightened Countrymen to guide us. The Adm[inistrati]on, I presume from all that I see and hear, intends to abandon the Country to its fate, and to endeavor to take care of the Officers of Government only. . . ."
As Congress approached the session beginning September 4, 1837, government faced the Panic of 1837, partly brought on by former President Jackson's currency policies, but now the responsibility of President Van Buren, who proposed an independent treasury system in the hopes of restoring stability to the economy. The president's opponents in Congress resisted the plan, until 1840, when Congress passed the Independent Treasury Act.