Biography of Albert Gallatin
Famous American Biographies

ALBERT GALLATIN, one of the most distinguished statesmen of the early days of the republic, was born at Geneva, Switzerland, January 29, 1761. He was the son of Jean de Gallatin and Sophia A. Rolaz du Rosey Gallatin, representatives of an old patrician family. Albert Gallatin was left an orphan at an early age, and was educated under the care of friends of his parents. He graduated from the University of Geneva in 1779, and declining employment under one of the sovereigns of Germany, came to the struggling colonies, landing in Boston July 14, 1780. Shortly after his arrival he proceeded to Maine, where he served as a volunteer under Colonel Allen. He made advances to the government for the support of the American troops, and in November, 1780, was placed in command of a small fort at Passaniaquoddy, defended by a force of militia, volunteers and Indians. In 1783 he was professor of the French language at Harvard University. A year later, having received his patrimony from Europe, he purchased large tracts of land in western Virginia, but was prevented by the Indians from forming the large settlement he proposed, and, in 1786, purchased a farm in Fayette county, Pennsylvania. In 1789 he was a member of the convention to amend the constitution of that state, and united himself with the Republican party, the head of which was Thomas Jefferson. The following year he was elected to the legislature of Pennsylvania, to which be was subsequently re-elected. In 1793 he was elected to the United States senate, but could not take his seat on account of not havingheen a citizen long enough. In 1794 Mr. Gallatin was elected to the representative branch of congress, in which he served three terms, He also took an important position in the suppression of the "whiskey insurrection," In 1801, on the accession of Jefferson to the presidency, Mr. Gallatin was appointed secretary of the treasury.. In 1809 Mr. Madison offered him the position of secretary of state, but he declined, and continued at the head of the treasury until 1812, a period of twelve years. He exercised a great influence on the other departments and in the general administration, especially in the matter of financial reform, and recommended measures for taxation, etc., which were passed by congress, and became laws May 24, 1813. The same yearhe was sent as an envoy extraordinary to Russia, which had offered to mediate between this country and Great Britain, but the latter country refusing the interposition of another power, and agreeing to treat directly with the United States, in 1814, at Ghent, Mr. Gallatin, in connection with his distinguished colleagues, negotiated and signed the treaty of peace. In 1815 in conjunction with Messrs. Adams and Clay, he signed, at London, a commercial treaty between the two countries. In 1816, declining his old post at the head of the treasury, Mr. Gallatin was sent as minister to France, where he remained until 1823. After a year spent in England as envoy extraordinary, he took up his residence in New York, and from that time held no public office. In 1830 he was chosen president of the council of the University of New York. He was, in 1831, made president of the National bank, which position he resigned in 1839. He died August 12, 1849.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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