Manuscripts and Archives Division, Library of Congress.

Henry [Harry] Clay, of the Howgate Preliminary Expedition on the Gulnare, was the grandson of the famous Henry Clay of Lexington, KY. Materials about him and by him are in Section II. Box 46, and probably elsewhere in the Library of Congress manuscript collections.

July 30, 1877: Dear Tommy from your “aff. Brother,” telling him he made a mistake changing regiments: I hope you will be only a short time with the negro troops.

Second folder is labeled Feb – May 1880:

April 16 1880 Susan M. Clay, his mother to Harry, is shocked & dazed at his decision to go to the Arctic: such a mad scheme to which you would sacrifice yourself…in two years more you might be elected to Congress. …nothing will be gained and every thing lost—hardships & perils and to certain death.—The expedition will end as all others have—Some may return broken in health & fortunes, having accomplished nothing & leaving the bones of their companions to leach on those desolate horrible Arctic shores.

May 16 letter to Charley, Harry’s brother, sees the mother moderating her fear & depression. But follows this with a series of religious letters, injunctions to Harry to avoid evil. Fourteen letters of an ardent evangelical spirit, dated from June 17 to 28.

Another letter from his brother [Charley?], not in an easy hand [p. 6060] has this at bottom: I have been reading Stephens “Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan”. It is very interesting and you should read it if you have it on ship board.

Folder 3 has a long series of continuous letters, almost in the form of a diary, from Lucretia Hart Clay, to her brother Harry, from July 12, 1880, to June 19, 1881, mostly reporting on life & gossip of the Clay home in Lexington, again not an easy hand.

July 12, 1880, No. 1 [6144]: I hope you will relieve my mind in respect to the safety of the Gulnare. Even if you get to Lady Franklin Bay I am afraid it will be too late in the season for the vessel to return.

July 18: By the way, Mrs Preston told Aunt Mary that if the Expedition was successful your name should be known all over the world and you would be more celebrated than your Grandfather was.” [6152v]

July 21, letter from Harry saying little but that they are cheerful.

July 23, after his first letter was received in Greenland: The Expedition has been unfortunate, but I trust that all will come right…. I was beginning to think it was not meant for Man, to penetrate the ice barriers, and even if he does, he may find nothing but a dreary waste of ice and water [6154v]

I talked to Professor Patterson about the Arctic regions. He told me some things in regard to the “Magnetic Pole” that I had never heard before—“that it is gradually moving towards the West (?), and that after it reaches a certain point it will come towards the east again.” Perhaps the dip that is said to take place every few thousand (or million) years at the North Pole, causes it.’ [6155] (Not clear who is writing to whom here, probably to Harry from Lucretia.)

July 22: As we were returning Lizzie Swift overtook us, and told us she had seen in a morning paper, Cincinnati Gazette, I think, that the Gulnare was found to be unseaworthy, and that the expedition had been postponed to next year…I must say it would be a relief to me, as I will be constantly uneasy about you, but I will not consult my own feelings and be selfish enough to wish for your return. I can only wish you success, and a safe return after you have accomplished all you desire. [6155v]

Folder 4 (May 1880-March 1881), continues Lucretia’s continuous letter to Harry at July 12:

Aug 22, 1880: She has news of two American expeditions, one searching for relics of Franklin, the other commanded by Symmes. Cites last Saturday’s Courier (?) Journal Supplement (probably Louisville) containing the article written by American Symmes—It is headed “The Undiscovered Country: Captain Howgate, Henry Clay, and the Symmes Theory.” Most of it tells of the Expedition gone before and lauds the evidence of Captains Parry, Hall, Kane, Nordenskjold and others—to prove the Symmes theory. He speaks of you in the first part, says “The Howgate exploring expedition to the North Pole, that has just sailed with Henry Clay of this State on board, is the first expedition that ever went out that [had?] any knowledge of the Symmes theory. When Mr. Clay heard from Captain Howgate that he could accompany the expedition, he did me the honor of coming out to see me in Company with a Mr. Willis, a young lawyer of Louisville and spent an afternoon in learning of the chief point of the Symmes theory. And he promised (?) that he would keep an eye to the development of the theory that had been the puzzle of all former expeditions [garbled, something like not sharing of the Symmes theory]. He wishes to prove the truth of the Symmes theory of the hollow earth by ——-of ice at the North Pole coming out at the South Pole.

Sept. 5, 1880: note from his mother to Harry, enclosing $185 begging him to come home. Doesn’t quite make sense because she says he would be returning to the East from wool business in the west—could it be for another brother?

March 9, 1881: Howgate to Thomas J. Clay [brother] replying to an inquiry. Says Congress has made appropriation for LFBE, headed by Greely. Get details from Secr. of War. “I know he has selected one officer already but no men and it is possible your application if promptly made may receive favorable consideration, but of this I am unable to speak positively.” Did Thomas want to join Harry? Howgate still undetected. His letterhead is for Office of the Howgate Grant of Lake George, Florida, 75 Maiden Lane, NY, with globe of polar regions covering half the sheet.

Next folder has letter from Greely to Harry’s mother about Harry’s departure from Expedition and Greely’s regret that he was leaving. Later Greely named Camp Clay for him.