Chapter

A Deep Acquaintance with Grief

Lindsey Apple

in The Family Legacy of Henry Clay

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813134109
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813135908 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813134109.003.0005
A Deep Acquaintance with Grief

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While attempting to preserve a nation, Henry Clay endured both the intense criticism of political enemies and family tragedies that would have felled most men. All six Clay daughters died prematurely, a son died in war, and two sons suffered mood disorders so severe that they were placed in the Lexington Lunatic Asylum. The oldest son spent his life there; the youngest was released but remained subject to manic episodes and a source of concern throughout Clay's life. Henry Clay struggled, not always successfully, to balance public and private responsibilities, and tragedy humbled a proud man. As his “afflictions” began to take a toll on the third generation, Clay looked to a higher power and submitted to baptism late in life. Even in tragedy he found it difficult to console Lucretia or receive consolation from her, yet his children took lessons from his suffering.

Keywords: family tragedies; mood disorders; Lexington Lunatic Asylum; death; Baptism; children

Chapter.  8873 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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