Nov 20, 2014 - Sale 2367

Sale 2367 - Lot 10

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
"OUR FUGITIVE SLAVES ESCAPING INTO CANADA MAY BE RECOVERED" CLAY, HENRY. Letter Signed, "H.Clay," as Secretary of State, to John T. Langhorne, promising to recommend him for a Postmaster General position, explaining that he soon expects to learn the result of negotiations with the British concerning the recovery of fugitive slaves in Canada, and noting that he is not optimistic that the negotiations would be successful. 1 page, 4to; faint scattered staining, short closed tear in bottom edge, docketing verso, folds. Washington, 27 September 1827

Additional Details

". . . Among the objects of negotiation with which Mr. Gallatin is charged, is that of endeavouring to effect an arrangement with the British Government by which our fugitive slaves escaping into Canada may be recovered. With what success the negotiation may be attended we shall very shortly know. I do not feel very sanguine in regard to it."
On July 5, 1827, U.S. Minister to the UK Albert Gallatin, then in negotiations with British ministers concerning the recovery of fugitive slaves in British territories, related the statement of the ministers: "[I]t was utterly impossible for them to agree to a stipulation for the surrender of fugitive slaves." When Henry Clay then renewed negotiations conducted by another U.S. minister, the result was similar: "[T]he law of Parliament gave freedom to every slave who effected his landing on British ground" (William Jay, Miscellaneous Writings on Slavery, Boston, 1853). Although Clay was a slaveholder, he supported a policy of gradual emancipation and was instrumental in the success of the Compromise of 1850.