12.29.2007

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 312



December 29, 1807

Motion Relating to Freedom Claims of Certain Slaves

The bill prepared for Henry Clay was meant to limit the time of commencing certain actions by ‘people of color’. Kentucky laws had until then responded to the Pennsylvania and Virginia law on importation of black people, but never required the recording of importation on domestic slaves.

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 312

4.10.2007

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 289-296



April 10, 1807

In a letter from James Brown in New Orleans to Henry Clay, the conditions of life and the reality of the conspiracy of Burr come to be understood. Under a”weak governor and a despotic general” (respectively William Claiborne and James Wilkinson), Brown describes the lives of most to be wretched. In a comment on Burr, he defines him as the “Arch Traitor, whose character he only lately had proofs”, and he fears him to be like Benjamin Sebastian. As the conspiracy on Burr is coming to light, a general fear for the constitution and the administration is felt throughout the colonies. In closing his letter, Brown asks Clay to update him on the Indian Creek and Trimble.

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 289-296

2.01.2007

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 273-276



February 1, 1807

After the arrest and trial for treason of Dr. Bollman and Mr. Swartwout, Clay continued his personal campaign of informing the most significant figures of the Union of Burr’s attempt to divide the country. In a letter to Col. Thomas Hart, militia officer from Hanover County, Virginia, Clay describes his fears for the Union and the dispute over New Orleans and Mexico. If earlier, Clay thought that Mr. Burr was an innocent man, along with many other representatives in the Union, he now faced the reality that Burr had all along plotted against the Union and the country. Now more than ever, the Union was at risk.
Fearing for the European situation with Britain and Spain, Clay described the situation as very unfavorable to the negotiation and the differences between the European countries and the U.S. were too great.
The war that Bonaparte was conducting in Europe, had by this date favored the French dictator, who now controlled the Prussian monarchy as well as many other countries in a rather weak Europe. Clay commented “death alone can check the career of this modern conqueror”.
In closing his entry, Clay was positive that Kentucky had finally proven sympathy and approval to the Union, and even though some were dubious of this fidelity, he told them “he would answer with his honor and life for the attachment to the common cause”.

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 273-276

1.24.2007

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 271_273



January 24, 1807

A week later, Clay found satisfactory proof to convince himself and the Administration that Burr was in fact guilty and two of his men had been arrested and transported to Washington with charges against the U.S. government. Dr. Justus Erick Bollman and Mr. Samuel Swartwout, Burr’s agents in the city of Orleans, arrived in Washington, where they applied for Habeas Corpus but had not at the time of the letter to Thomas Todd yet been presented in front of a court. Clay stated that “what disposition will be made of them remains to be decided.”
In the same letter, he informed Todd of the auspicious resolution with Great Britain for which he anticipated the most favorable results. As for the affairs with Spain, they “still continued in the dark”, but war did not seem to be a necessary event for the moment.
In closing the letter, Clay commented on his horse Buzzard and the success it was having over Continent and Dragon.

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 271_273

1.16.2007

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 269­_271



January 16, 1807

In a letter to Harry Innes, the first United States federal Judge in Kentucky, Henry Clay righteously charged Mr. Innes of impeachment in corrupt behavior to the U.S. Government and for omission of communication and facts to the same on Spanish affairs. As other “gentlemen”, however, found him not guilty, the charges were dropped with a promise for investigation on Innes. Just a few months before the Innes’ case, another Kentucky Judge, Benjamin Sebastian, had resigned as a consequence of investigation after he received pension benefit from the Spanish Government. In a moment of turmoil, caused by Col. Aaron Burr, military man of the Revolutionary war, Clay had to move away from Innes’ case to solve more imminent foreign affairs.
Col. Burr seemed indeed to have began treasonable projects against U.S. Government including the reduction of New Orleans, the subjugation of Mexico and the separation of the Western from the Eastern section of the Union. As a consequence New Orleans was put in the maximum state of defense and new measures of investigation on Spanish affairs established to secure more satisfactory intelligence report.
As for the affair with Great Britain, Clay confirmed that they were favorable as U.S. Attorney General William Pinkney was send to join James Monroe in London for the purpose of settling differences with the British government and of negotiating a commercial treaty.

The Papers of Henry Clay, pg. 269­_271