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HENRY CLAY was born in Hanover County, Virginia, near Richmond, April 12, 1777. In 1781 his father died. As a boy he clerked in a retail store in Richmond. Afterward was clerk for four years in the High Court of Chancery. In 1797, at the age of twenty, was admitted to the Bar. Shortly afterward he moved to Lexington, Kentucky. Was married in 1799. In 1803 was elected to Kentucky State Legislature. 1806–07 and 1809–11 filled, by appointment, unexpired terms in the United States Senate. 1811–21 and 1823–25 was member of Congress from Kentucky, and during this time was thrice elected Speaker of the House, serving in this capacity a total of ten years. 1814, Peace Commissioner at Ghent. 1824, candidate for President. 1825–29, Secretary of State. 1832–42, United States Senator from Kentucky. In 1832 and again in 1844, Whig candidate for President. 1849–52, United States Senator from Kentucky. Died at Washington June 29, 1852.
SPEECH ON INTRODUCING THE COMPROMISE BILL, IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, FEBRUARY 12, 1833
The election of General Jackson to the Presidency for a second term took place in the fall of 1832, and immediately thereafter the State of South Carolina assumed, by the formal edict of a regular convention of her people, to nullify and make void the tariff laws of the United States, on the ground that, being im}. for the purpose of protecting American manuactures, they were unconstitutional and invalid. General Jackson promptly issued a vigorous Proclamation, denouncing the act as rebellious and treasonable, and declaring that he should use all the power entrusted to him to vindicate the laws of the Union and cause them to be respected. General Scott, at the head of a considerable regular force, was posted at Charleston, S. C., and every portent of a desperate and bloody struggle was visible. Gen. Jackson's im
rious passions were lashed to madness by the Caroina resistance, and the whole physical power of the country but awaited his nod. At this crisis Congress assembled, and the efforts of Mr. Clay were promptly directed to the devising and maturing of some plan to #. a collision between the Union and the nulifying state, and spare the effusion of blood. Under these circumstances, he projected and presented the bill known as the Compromise Act. On introducing this bill, he addressed the Senate as follows:
I yesterday, sir, gave notice that I should
ask leave to introduce a bill to modify the
various acts imposing duties on imports.