St. Louis Mercantile Library

M-36: Gallatin, Albert

 

SCOPE: Letter to A. C. Cazenove concerning peace.

HOLDINGS: 1 letter, January 5, 1809. A. L. S.

ACCESS: A transcription of this letter is available for download.  Due to rarity and condition, access to this collection is limited please contact the staff member listed below.

HISTORY: Albert Gallatin, (1761-1849) American financier and public official.

At the time the letter was composed (1809) Gallatin had been serving as Secretary of the Treasury, in the Jefferson Administration since 1801. The letter seems to be primarily a letter relating to personal business between Gallatin and Anthony Charles Cazanove of Alexandria, VA, a businessman, merchant and sometime Swiss consul to the U.S.

The reference to a general peace must refer to ongoing war between Great Britain and the French European empire of Napoleon Bonaparte. Peace would not come until 1815. The Mrs. G referred to is Gallatin’s second wife Hannah (nee Nicholson), of New York, the daughter of Commodore James Nicholson (1737-1804), a U.S. naval officer, and Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Navy (1777-1781). Gallatin married Hannah in 1793. They died the same year in 1849. She must have considered the purchase of items sold by Cazenove such as lace, spectacles, shoes, tumblers and apples.

Gallatin, a prominent US businessman, legislater, cabinet minister and diplomat, served as Secretary of the Treasury for 14 years and was considered the genius of public finance in his day. In 1814 he de facto lead the U.S. Peace Commission in negotiations that ended the War of 1812 with Great Britain. Both Gallatin and Cazenove were immigrants from Geneva, Switzerland. Gallatin came to the U.S. in 1780 and Cazenove in 1795. They were partners in business in the late 1790s.

The Cazenove family dates to the 15th century in southern of France. Family members were Huguenots who sought refuge in Geneva, Switzerland, after the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572. Active in international commerce, branches of the family settled in England, Italy, Spain, and the United States.

Anthony-Charles Cazenove, (1775-1852), merchant and banker, was the second son of Paul Cazenove and Jeanne Elizabeth Martin. He was born in 1775 in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1790 he went to London to work for a time in the counting house of James Cazenove & Co. In 1794 he and his brother, John-Anthony emigrated to Philadelphia to escape the French Revolution which had come to Geneva. He settled in Alexandria, Virginia. About 1795 he became a partner in the firm Albert Gallatin & Co whose multiple partners were mostly immigrants to the US from Geneva. Cazenove was one of the original subscribers to the stock of the first United States Bank. In 1797, Anthony married Anne Hogan in Alexandria. They had nine children. Cazenove’s granddaughters married into other prominent families, particularly the Lee’s and du Pont’s. As the Crittenden letter (M-25) indicates Cazenove served as consul for the Swiss Republic. In 1850 his son Louis-Anthony Cazenove (1807-1852) bought the Lee-Fendale House (built in 1785 and still existing) in Alexandria. Both Louis and Anthony died in 1852.

The Mercantile Library Collection includes letters from John Jacob Astor, dated July 11, 1813 in M-2, one from Senator John C. Calhoun to Cazenove dated July, 1822, in M-19. one to him by Senator John Crittenden, dated October 31, 1851, in M-25, and a fragment of one to him by Henry Clay in collection M-23. There are others in the collection also.