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Auguste Davezac
Engraving by J. B. Forrest (New York City), circa 1842
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands

In office
1831–1839
Preceded by William Pitt Preble
Succeeded by Harmanus Bleecker
Member of the New York State Assembly

In office
1842–1843
Member of the New York State Assembly

In office
1844–1845
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands

In office
1845–1850
Preceded by Christopher Hughes
Succeeded by George Folsom
Personal details
Born (1780-05-30)May 30, 1780
Aux Cayes, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti)
Died February 15, 1851(1851-02-15) (aged 70)
New York City, New York
Resting place Calvary Cemetery in Queens
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Margaret Andrews (1768-1847) (m. 1803)
Relations Edward Livingston (brother in law)
Children Auguste Davezac Jr. (1803-1859)
Parents Jean Pierre Valentin Joseph d'Avezac de Castera (1756-1803)
Marie Rose Genevieve Valentine Tallarie de Maragou (b. 1768)
Alma mater College de Sorèze
French Military College
Profession Attorney
Diplomat

Auguste Davezac (May 30, 1780 – February 15, 1851) was an American diplomat who served twice as United States Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Biography

Auguste Genevieve Valentin D'Avezac was born in May, 1780, near Aux Cayes in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti. His father was a wealthy landowner, and he was educated in France at the College de Sorèze and the French Military College. In 1791, the slaves of Saint-Domingue revolted, which resulted in the deaths of Auguste's two older brothers, with the rest of his family fleeing to Virginia and New Orleans. In 1805, Davezac's sister Louise married Edward Livingston.[1][2] Ten years later, their younger sister Aglae Pauline married Judge Henry Cox Carleton of New Orleans.

Davezac completed his education in France and moved to the United States shortly after Louise's marriage, studying medicine in Edenton, North Carolina, and establishing a practice in Accomack County, Virginia. He changed the spelling of his last name (eliminating the apostrophe), decided to abandon medicine for the law and relocated to New Orleans to study under Livingston. Davezac built a successful practice and was a sought-after criminal defense attorney.[3]

During the War of 1812, Davezac served on the local defense committee established by the residents of New Orleans. In 1814 he joined the staff of Andrew Jackson as aide-de-camp and judge advocate with the rank of Major, the title by which he was addressed for the rest of his life. Davezac participated in the Battle of New Orleans[4][5] As a result of his War of 1812 experience Davezac became a devoted admirer and political supporter of Jackson, campaigning actively for him in both the 1824 and 1828 campaigns for President.[6]

In 1829 Jackson rewarded Davezac with appointment as Secretary of the United States embassy in the Netherlands, where he served under William Pitt Preble.[7] In 1831 Edward Livingston became Secretary of State and Davezac succeeded Preble, serving as Chargé d'affaires until 1839.[8]

Davezac returned to New Orleans, but soon relocated to New York City, where he was active in Martin Van Buren's unsuccessful 1840 campaign for reelection. In the early 1840s Davezac was elected to two terms in the New York State Assembly as a Democrat, 1842 to 1843, and 1844 to 1845.[9][10]

In 1844 Davezac supported Van Buren's efforts to win the Democratic nomination for President, and campaigned extensively for the eventual nominee, James K. Polk. When Polk won the presidency, he rewarded Davezac by reappointing him as Chargé d'affaires in the Netherlands, where he served from 1845 to 1850.[11]

After leaving office Davezac returned to New York City, where he lived in retirement for only a few months before he became ill and died on February 15, 1851.[12] He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens.

References

  1. Cathal J. Nolan, Notable U.S. Ambassadors Since 1775: A Biographical Dictionary, 1997, pages 69 to 74
  2. Arnold Richard Hirsch, Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization, 1992, page 104
  3. James Stryker, Stryker's American Register and Magazine, Volume 6, 1853, pages 213 to 214
  4. John William Ward, Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Age, 1962, pages 129 to 132
  5. Hershel Parker, Herman Melville: A Biography, Volume 1, 2005, page 359
  6. Parke Godwin, A Biography Of William Cullen Bryant, Volume 1, 2006, page 368
  7. Duff Green, Journal of the United States Senate, 1829, page 408
  8. Charles Lanman, Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States, 1876, page 603
  9. New York State Legislature, Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 1, 1842, page 66
  10. New York State Legislature, Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 75, Issue 7, 1852, pages 131, 132
  11. Hans Krabbendam, Cornelis A Van Minnen, Giles Scott-Smith, Four Centuries of Dutch-American Relations: 1609-2009, pages 263 to 265
  12. William Allen, The American Biographical Dictionary, 1857, Volume 1, page 287
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Pitt Preble
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
1831–1839
Succeeded by
Harmanus Bleecker
Preceded by
Christopher Hughes
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
1845–1850
Succeeded by
George Folsom

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