Seth Barton (attorney)

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Seth Barton (December 5, 1795 – December 29, 1854) was an attorney and government official who was active in Alabama and Louisiana. He served the federal government as Solicitor of the United States Treasury and Chargé d'affaires in Chile.

Biography[edit]

Barton was born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 5, 1795.[1] He attended Washington and Lee University, studied law and attained admission to the bar.[2]

In 1821 he relocated to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he continued to practice law and became involved in the newspaper business.[3][4] He apparently served in the militia, in that he was often referred to in correspondence and press accounts as "Colonel", though the exact details of his military service are not currently known.[5][6]

Barton was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1825.[7]

In 1828 Barton was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States House of Representatives.[8]

Barton moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1830, where he continued to practice law[9][10] as a partner of Judah P. Benjamin.[11] In 1843 he ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana House of Representatives,[12] and in 1844 he supported James K. Polk for President, including writing letters to the editor under the pen name John Randolph of Roanoke.[13]

As President, Polk rewarded Barton with appointment as Solicitor of the Treasury, and he served from 1845 to 1847.[14][15][16][17]

Barton served as U.S. Chargé d'affaires to Chile from 1847 to 1849.[18] While in this post he created controversy by marrying a local woman in a Protestant service. The leaders of Chile's Catholic Church were angered because as a Protestant and a man who had been divorced, they believed Barton to be violating church tenets by marrying Isabel Astaburruaga, who was Catholic.[19][20][21]

Barton died of yellow fever in New Orleans on December 29, 1854.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The United States in Latin America: A Historical Dictionary, by David Shavit, 1992, page 18
  2. ^ Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University, published by the University, 1888, page 68
  3. ^ Magazine article, Matrimonial Problems of Seth Barton: An Ante-Bellum American "Diplomat" in Chile, by James Morton Callahan, published in The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Volume 4, Volume 4, 1945, page 285
  4. ^ Memorial Record of Alabama, published by Brant & Fuller, Chicago, 1893, page 170
  5. ^ Shurbutt, Thomas Ray (1991). United States-Latin American Relations, 1800-1850: The Formative Generations. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 253. President James Polk had already appointed Colonel Seth Barton as the new chargé to Santiago. 
  6. ^ Oeste, George Irvin (1966). John Randolph Clay: America's First Career Diplomat. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 278. Colonel Seth Barton, a personal friend of the President, was of a quarrelsome disposition and totally unfitted for a diplomatic post. 
  7. ^ Seth Barton entry, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen and Marie Bankhead Owen, Volume 3, 1921, page 109
  8. ^ Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor entry, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen and Marie Bankhead Owen, Volume 3, 1921, page 117
  9. ^ The Papers of Henry Clay, by Henry Clay, edited by James Franklin Hopkins and Robert Seager, 1973, page 672
  10. ^ Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men: From 1540 to 1872, by Willis Brewer, 1872, pages 566 to 567
  11. ^ Shurbutt, Thomas Ray (1991). United States-Latin American Relations, 1800-1850: The Formative Generations. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 253. 
  12. ^ Niles, Hezekiah (July 15, 1843). "The States of the Union: Louisiana". Miles' Weekly Register. Baltimore, MD. p. 310. 
  13. ^ "Biography: Barton, Seth". Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ Correspondence of James K. Polk: July-December 1845, by James Knox Polk, 2004, page 93
  15. ^ The Bench and Bar of the South and Southwest, 1876, by Henry Stuart Foote, pages 203 to 204
  16. ^ Register of the Department of Justice, published by United States Department of Justice, 1885, page 4
  17. ^ The Papers of Jefferson Davis: June 1841-July 1846, by Jefferson Davis, 1975, page 524
  18. ^ The Mission of Colonel Seth Barton, United States Chargé D'Affaires to Chile, 1847-1849, by Thomas Ray Shurbutt, 1967
  19. ^ Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism, by Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, 2011, page 308
  20. ^ Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America, by Anthony James Gill, 1998, page 124
  21. ^ Freedom and Religion in the Nineteenth Century, by Richard J. Helmstadter, 1997, page 310
  22. ^ American Biographical Notes, by Franklin Benjamin Hough, 1875, page 19
Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles B. Penrose
Solicitor of the United States Treasury
1845-1847
Succeeded by
Ransom H. Gillet