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CLAY

for Adams, he was appointed secretary of state. This made Jackson Clay’s lifelong enemy, and ever after kept Clay busy explaining and denying the allegation. In 1832 Clay was unanimously nominated for the presidency by the National Republicans; Jackson, by the Democrats. The main issue was the policy of continuing the United States Bank, which in 1811 Clay had opposed, but in 1816 and always subsequently warmly favoured. A majority of the voters approved of Jackson’s fight against what Clay had once denounced as a dangerous and unconstitutional monopoly. Clay made the mistake of supposing that he could arouse popular enthusiasm for a moneyed corporation in its contest with the great military “hero of New Orleans.” In 1839 he was a candidate for the Whig nomination, but by a secret ballot his enemies defeated him in the party convention, held in December of that year, and nominated William Henry Harrison. The result threw Clay into paroxysms of rage, and he violently complained that his friends always used him as their candidate when he was sure to be defeated, and betrayed him when he or any one could have been elected. In 1844 he was nominated by the Whigs against James K. Polk, the Democratic candidate. By an audacious fraud that represented him as an enemy, and Polk as a friend of protection, Clay lost the vote of Pennsylvania; and he lost the vote of New York by his own letter abating the force of his previous opposition to the annexation of Texas. Even his enemies felt that his defeat by Polk was almost a national calamity. In 1848, Zachary Taylor, a Mexican War hero, and hardly even a convert to the Whig party, defeated Clay for the nomination, Kentucky herself deserting her “favourite son.”

Clay’s quick intelligence and sympathy, and his irreproachable conduct in youth, explain his precocious prominence in public affairs. In his persuasiveness as an orator and his charming personality lay the secret of his power. He had early trained himself in the art of speech-making, in the forest, the field and even the barn, with horse and ox for audience. By contemporaries his voice was declared to be the finest musical instrument that they ever heard. His eloquence was in turn majestic, fierce, playful, insinuating; his gesticulation natural, vivid, large, powerful. In public he was of magnificent bearing, possessing the true oratorical temperament, the nervous exaltation that makes the orator feel and appear a superior being, transfusing his thought, passion and will into the mind and heart of the listener; but his imagination frequently ran away with his understanding, while his imperious temper and ardent combativeness hurried him and his party into disadvantageous positions. The ease, too, with which he outshone men of vastly greater learning lured him from the task of intense and arduous study. His speeches were characterized by skill of statement, ingenious grouping of facts, fervent diction, and ardent patriotism; sometimes by biting sarcasm, but also by superficial research, half-knowledge and an unwillingness to reason a proposition to its logical results. In private, his never-failing courtesy, his agreeable manners and a noble and generous heart for all who needed protection against the powerful or the lawless, endeared him to hosts of friends. His popularity was as great and as inexhaustible among his neighbours as among his fellow-citizens generally. He pronounced upon himself a just judgment when he wrote: “If any one desires to know the leading and paramount object of my public life, the preservation of this Union will furnish him the key.”

See Calvin Colton, The Works of Henry Clay (6 vols., New York, 1857; new ed., 7 vols., New York, 1898), the first three volumes of which are an account of Clay’s “Life and Times”; Carl Schurz, Henry Clay (2 vols., Boston, 1887), in the “American Statesmen” series; and the life by T. Hart Clay (1910).  (C. S.) 


CLAY (from O. Eng. claeg, a word common in various forms to Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. Klei), commonly defined as a fine-grained, almost impalpable substance, very soft, more or less coherent when dry, plastic and retentive of water when wet; it has an “earthy” odour when breathed upon or moistened, and consists essentially of hydrous aluminium silicate with various impurities. Of clay are formed a great number of rocks, which collectively are known as “clay-rocks” or “pelitic rocks” (from Gr. πηλός, clay), e.g. mudstone, shale, slate: these exhibit in greater or less perfection the properties above described according to their freedom from impurities. In nature, clays are rarely free from foreign ingredients, many of which can be detected with the unaided eye, while others may be observed by means of the microscope. The commonest impurities are:— (1) organic matter, humus, &c. (exemplified by clay-soils with an admixture of peat, oil shales, carbonaceous shales); (2) fossils (such as plants in the shales of the Lias and Coal Measures, shells in clays of all geological periods and in fresh water marls); (3) carbonate of lime (rarely altogether absent, but abundant in marls, cement-stones and argillaceous limestones); (4) sulphide of iron, as pyrite or marcasite (when finely diffused, giving the clay a dark grey-blue colour, which weathers to brown—e.g. London Clay; also as nodules and concretions, e.g. Gault); (5) oxides of iron (staining the clay bright red when ferric oxide, red ochre; yellow when hydrous, e.g. yellow ochre); (6) sand or detrital silica (forming loams, arenaceous clays, argillaceous sandstones, &c.). Less frequently present are the following:—rock salt (Triassic clays, and marls of Cheshire, &c.); gypsum (London Clay, Triassic clays); dolomite, phosphate of lime, vivianite (phosphate of iron), oxides of manganese, copper ores (e.g. Kupferschiefer), wavellite and amber. As the impurities increase in amount the clay rocks pass gradually into argillaceous sands and sandstones, argillaceous limestones and dolomites, shaly coals and clay ironstones.

Natural clays, even when most pure, show a considerable range of composition, and hence cannot be regarded as consisting of a single mineral; clay is a rock, and has that variability which characterizes all rocks. Of the essential properties of clay some are merely physical, and depend on the minute size of the particles. If any rock be taken (even a piece of pure quartz) and crushed to a very fine powder, it will show some of the peculiarities of clays; for example, it will be plastic, retentive of moisture, impermeable to water, and will shrink to some extent if the moist mass be kneaded, and then allowed to dry. It happens, however, that many rocks are not disintegrated to this extreme degree by natural processes, and weathering invariably accompanies disintegration. Quartz, for example, has little or no cleavage, and is not attacked by the atmosphere. It breaks up into fragments, which become rounded by attrition, but after they reach a certain minuteness are borne along by currents of water or air in a state of suspension, and are not further reduced in size. Hence sands are more coarse grained than clays. A great number of rock-forming minerals, however, possess a good cleavage, so that when bruised they split into thin fragments; many of these minerals decompose somewhat readily, yielding secondary minerals, which are comparatively soft and have a scaly character, with eminently perfect cleavages, which facilitate splitting into exceedingly thin plates. The principal substances of this description are kaolin, muscovite and chlorite. Kaolin and muscovite are formed principally after felspar (and the felspars are the commonest minerals of all crystalline rocks); also from nepheline, leucite, scapolite and a variety of other rock-forming minerals. Chlorite arises from biotite, augite and hornblende. Serpentine, which may be fibrous or scaly, is a secondary product of olivine and certain pyroxenes. Clays consist essentially of the above ingredients (although serpentine is not known to take part in them to any extent, it is closely allied to chlorite). At the same time other substances are produced as decomposition goes on. They are principally finely divided quartz, epidote, zoisite, rutile, limonite, calcite, pyrites, and very small particles of these are rarely absent from natural clays. These fine-grained materials are at first mixed with broken and more or less weathered rock fragments and coarser mineral particles in the soil and subsoil, but by the action of wind and rain they are swept away and deposited in distant situations. “Loess” is a fine calcareous clay, which has been wind-borne, and subsequently laid down on the margins of dry steppes and deserts. Most clays are water-borne, having been carried from the surface of the land by