The Diary of James Gallatin: The Diary of James Gallatin, Secretary to Albert Gallatin, 1813-1827

By James Gallatin | Go to book overview

PREFACE

IN 1875 my grandfather, James Gallatin, handed me a large sealed packet, telling me it contained his Diary from 1813 until 1827, also many important private documents.

I was not in any case to publish any part of it until 1900. He died the following year. It lay unopened and nearly forgotten until last year. On reading it, I found it of the deepest interest. This decided me (after weeding out large portions and suppressing anything that might offend) to offer it to the public.

It throws a very clear light on the events leading up to the Treaty of Ghent, and on the actual conclusion of that treaty. James accompanied his father, Albert Gallatin, as private and confidential secretary. He was sixteen years of age when the Diary opens.

Albert Gallatin held a unique position. Born at Geneva in 1761, of one of the most aristocratic families, he was left an orphan at an early age, and was brought up by his grandmother, Madame de Gallatin-Vaudenet. She was a woman of very strong character, an intimate friend of the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, and also of Voltaire.

Albert Gallatin was much influenced by the latter's liberal theories; also he had imbibed the ideas of Rousseau and Condorcet. At the age of nineteen his grandmother informed him that she intended placing him in the army of the Landgrave with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His answer was, "I will not serve a tyrant." A sharp box on the ears from her decided

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