At the end of November 1851 Senator Henry Clay arrived in Washington for the last time. He was dying of consumption and knew it. On December 1 he appeared in the Senate chamber, "a shocking, frail ghost," and delivered "a short speech often interrupted by his racking cough." It was his final appearance in that body. He spent the next seven months until his death on June 29, 1852 largely confined to his rooms at the National Hotel.
He was not alone, though. During those months, friends and old political enemies as well visited to pay their respects. David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler report that one of the former was the president of the United States. "President [Millard] Fillmore sent an invitation for a private dinner a the White House, but Clay apologized that he was too weak to make the short trip up Pennsylvania Avenue. Fillmore refused to stand on ceremony. He came to see Clay right away and made a point of visiting him when he could . .."