Presidential candidate Henry Clay expresses his "views of what becomes a Candidate for the exalted office of President"Henry Clay Autograph Letter Signed as Presidential Candidate. Three pages, 7.75" x 9.75", "Washington City," May 3, 1844. In this letter addressed to "Messrs Gales & Seaton," presidential candidate Henry Clay shares his personal feelings regarding the proper behavior of a presidential candidate. In part: "The election of a Chief Magistrate of a free, great and enlightened Nation is one of the gravest and most momentous functions which the People can exercise. It is emphatically, and ought to be exclusively their own business. Upon the wisdom of their choice depends the preservation and soundness of free institutions, and the welfare and prosperity of themselves. In making it, they should be free, unpartied, and wholly unbiased by the conduct of a Candidate himself. Not only in my opinion, is it his duty to abstain from all salutation, desired or undesired, of their sufferages, but he should avoid being voluntarily placed in situations to such, or in which he might be supposed to such to influence their judgment. Entertaining these views of what becomes a Candidate for the exalted office of President of the U. States, I shall act in strict conformity with them. Hereafter, and until the pending Presidential election is decided, I cannot accept nor attend any public meeting of my fellow Citizens, assembled in reference to that object..." Signed "H. Clay," with a small flourish beneath.
Clay presumably submitted this letter to Gales and Seaton for publication in their Washington DC newspaper, the National Intelligencer. Concerned primarily with reporting the activities of Congress and the government, Gales and Seaton not only published the major news of the capitol in their paper, they also created what would eventually become the Congressional Record. Letter is lightly toned, with folds and creases and a few inconsequential ink smudges. Small area of fold strengthening. Large, bold signature.
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