MVB memorandum on Clay-Webster relations, [30 December 1826]
At the commencement of the session of Congress when the election was made by the House of Representatives (1825) Mr. Clay told Mr. Forsyth and myself at a dinner given by the Russian Minister, that if we could understand what Mr. Webster meant to do we could do more than he, and used several expressions indicating dislike and great want of confidence.
Dec. 30th 1826. Mr. Buchanan of Penn. Told me that, at the same session, 1825, when the bill making appropriations for the payment of the Spanish claims was pending in the House of Representatives, Clay came to him and said “I think we can pay these people with land,” from which Mr. Buchanan dissented. Clay then said, “that ------ yellow rascal is to have $70,000 of the money.” Mr. B. asked whether he meant Webster, to which Clay assented. Mr. B. then said that he thought W. was a clever fellow and he was glad he was to receive so much of the money as he thought he wanted it. C. said that it was probable that the treaty meant money but that he would give them trouble. Shortly after Webster addressed him and said that Clay meant to oppose the bill because he (W.) had an interest in it and wished him (B.) to take some notes he had made to support the bill as he thought it improper, from his situation that he should take part in it. Soon after the commencement of the next session he, to his surprise, found Webster and Clay walking, arm in arm, behind the Speaker’s Chari and from that time forward a close intimacy has subsisted between them.