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Biography of Henry Clay(1831)

  • E340.C6.P9
  • 1 vol.

This copy of George D. Prentice’s Biography of Henry Clay (Hartford: Hanmer & Phelps, 1831) originally formed part of the library of Williamsburg mayor and College of William and Mary president Robert M. Saunders, who lived during the mid-19th century in the Robert Carter House on Williamsburg’s Palace Green. The flyleaf bears the brown ink autograph of his father-in-law John Page of Rosewell plantation, friend of Jefferson and early governor of Virginia.

The later inscription by Union soldier H.M. Flanagin of Penns Grove, New Jersey acknowledges that the book was taken on December 10, 1862. After the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862, the Saunders family evacuated the old colonial capital. David Cronin, a Federal provost marshal in charge of the town during its occupation, reminisced in his Evolution of a Life about visiting the Carter House during this period. “I have never looked upon a more deplorable picture of the ravages of war than when standing amid the litter of half-destroyed books, papers and documents on the floor of the Governor’s library … heavy-booted and spurred cavalrymen had played football with everything of value.”