James Gallatin

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James Gallatin (December 18, 1796 – May 29, 1876)[1][2] was the son of Albert Gallatin, the man who helped broker the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. James acted as his father's personal secretary during this diplomatic trip. His journal entries from this voyage were published in the September 1914 issue of Scribner's Magazine and include a detailed historical account of the negotiations and infighting between the American representatives as well as with the British delegates.

However, Raymond Walters, biographer of Albert Gallatin, and other historians believe the diary to be a forgery.[3] Walters wrote "... I reached the conclusion that the diary is a complete fraud."[4]

Walters notes that no manuscript for the diary has survived or was ever known to have been seen by anybody other than James Francis Gallatin. James Francis styled himself Count Gallatin, though his right to the title was disputed, but he was known to his own family as "bad Jimmy".[4]

After the success at Ghent, the Gallatins traveled to France just as Napoleon arrived at Cannes after escaping Elba. James' diary includes a detailed look into the lives of the nobles as they faced the threat of Napoleon's return. At one point, he is asked by the famous artist Jacques-Louis David to sit as a cherub for his painting l'Amour et Psyche:

3 March 1815. — We were received privately this morning by the King, only the Duchesse d'Angouleme was present. She looked very sad. The King moved to the embrasure of a window, motioning to Father to follow him, they remained in conversation for a quarter of an hour. Amongst other things His Majesty intimated a wish that Father would be sent as Minister to Paris adding, "you must not forget that your family belonged to France, before you belonged to America." The Duchess talked to me most graciously, asked me about my Mother and said "You are too young to begin political life. I assured her I was 18; she exclaimed "Mais c'est un bebe." Monsieur David the great Artist has requested Father to allow me to pose to him for Cupid, Father has consented and I sit tomorrow.

James Gallatin succeeded his father as the president of the Gallatin National Bank in 1839.[1] After his retirement in 1868 he resided in Paris, where he died.[2]



  1. ^ a b Homans, Isaac Smith (August 1864). "James Gallatin, of New York". The Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review. 51 (2): 97–105. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "OBITUARY.; CAPT. JEREMIAH BRIGGS. JAMES GALLATIN. WHO OWNS THE TRIBUNE..." The New York Times. May 30, 1876. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ Raymond Walters, Jr. (July 1957). "The James Gallatin Diary: A Fraud?". The American Historical Review. 62 (4): 878–85. doi:10.2307/1845518. JSTOR 1845518. 
  4. ^ a b "The Hoax Diary", thenewsfromwaterloo.com; accessed December 28, 2015.