In 1826, on this day Secretary of State Henry Clay was killed dueling with Senator John Randolph of Roanoke at Pimmit Run in Northern Virginia.
Corrupt BargainRandolph had been infuriated by a backroom deal that saw Clay become secretary of state in exchange for ordering his supporters to back Adams for the Presidency. Making comparison to Henry Fielding's novel Tom Jones he called the political partnership a combination of "the Puritan and the blackleg" the latter being a cheat at cards a clear reference to Clay's fondness for late-night card games.
Called upon to apologize or fight, Randolph accepted pistols even though he had every intention of firing into the air unless he saw "the devil" in Clay's eyes. But as they gathered on a field near Arlington, Virginia, Randolph saw ominous devilment in the infuriated secretary's eyes and shot to kill.