The New Student's Reference Work/Gallatin, Albert

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Gallatin (găl′ lȧ-tĭn), Albert, an American statesman, was born at Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 29, 1761. He studied in its university, and in 1780 emigrated to America. He served a short time in the Continental army, and taught French for a year at Harvard College. He settled in Pennsylvania, and was naturalized in 1786. He soon entered politics. When the “whiskey insurrection” broke out, Gallatin, at considerable personal risk, helped to bring it to a peaceful close. From 1795 to 1801 he was a member of the house of representatives, and was a recognized leader in his party. He directed his attention especially to financial questions, and under Jefferson and Madison was secretary of the treasury, where his successful management and his writings made him recognized as one of the first financiers of the age. He also took an important part in the negotiations for peace with England in 1814, and signed the treaty of Ghent. He served as minister to France and to England together with other important posts. The latter part of his life was devoted to literature. He made a study of the American Indians, and wrote several works on the subject. He died at Astoria, N. Y., Aug. 12, 1849. See Life by Henry Adams.