Having just related one the well-known clashes between Henry Clay and John Randolph of Roanoke, I thought I’d pass on Robert Remini’s charming story of the reconciliation that took place between the two men in late February or the beginning of March 1833, less than three months before Randolph’s death. I have added a paragraph break for readability:
The reconciliation took place quite by accident. “There was no explanation, no intervention,” said Clay. Randolph had gone to the Senate one evening which the Kentuckian was speaking. “Help me up,” Randolph commanded, “I have come here to hear that voice.” Clay spotted him “looking as if he were not long for this world; and being myself engaged in a work of Peace [the conclusion of the Nullification Crisis],” he walked over to Randolph when he had concluded his speech and extended his hand. Randolph seized it, and their salutations were “cordial on both sides.”
Ever the consummate politician, Clay later left his card at Randolph’s lodgings, but the two men never met again. The Virginian died a few months later on May 24 , after pronouncing Clay “a brave man, he is a consistent man . . . an independent man and an honest man.” Still, when he died, he wanted to be buried facing west so could keep an eye on Henry Clay. Just in case.