Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Belmont, August

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BELMONT, August, financier, b. in Alzey, Hesse-Darmstadt, in 1816; d. in New York city, 24 Nov., 1889. He was educated in Frankfort, and for several years was in the employ of the Rothschilds in their banking-house in that city, and also in Naples. In 1837 he settled in New York and became the agent of his former employers. A quarrel concerning a lady led to a duel, in which he was shot and lamed for life. From 1844 till 1850 he was consul-general at New York for the Austrian government, but, owing to his disapproval of the treatment received by Hungary from Austria, he resigned his office. In 1853 he was appointed United States chargé d'affaires at the Hague, and in 1854 became minister resident. He resigned in 1858, having first negotiated a highly important consular convention, for which, with other diplomatic services, he received the special thanks of the department at Washington. For many years he resided in New York, where he was engaged in banking. He was well known as a patron of arts, and his collection of paintings was one of the finest in the city. Mr. Belmont showed much interest in politics: he was a delegate to the democratic convention of 1860, and from that year until 1873 was the chairman of the national democratic committee. For twenty years he was president of the American jockey club, and a most prominent member of the union and other clubs of New York. He married a daughter of Com. Matthew C. Perry, and was instrumental in erecting a bronze statue of him at Newport, R. I. — His son, Perry, b. in New York city, 28 Dec., 1851, was graduated at Harvard in 1872, and at Columbia college law school in 1876. After being admitted to the bar, he practised in New York until 1881, when he was elected as a democrat to congress, serving from 5 Dec., 1881, till 4 March, 1887. During his first term in congress he was a member of the committee on foreign affairs, and in that capacity came into notice by his cross-examination of James G. Blaine, then late secretary of state, concerning his relations with a syndicate of American capitalists interested in the development of certain guano deposits in Peru. An attempt was made to show that Mr. Blaine's efforts toward mediation between Chili and Peru were from interested motives. Mr. Belmont was appointed chairman of the committee on foreign affairs in 1885.