History of Gallatin County, Part 6
In the state of Montana, as pointed out by Senator Walsh last week, there are three streams named by Lewis and Clark in their expedition across the continent. They are the Jefferson, the Madison and the Gallatin, named for the triumvirs of the anti-federalist party that wrested the Government from the dead and corrupt hand of Federalization in the last years of the Eighteenth Century.
Mr. Walsh was taking occasion to pay tribute to the last named of the triumvirate, to ask that a statute of Gallatin, to be privately subscribed for, be given a place in front of the Treasury Building beside the one of Alexander Hamilton. It was a belated honor that was sought for one of the outstanding figures in early American history.
No man chose his lieutenants with more care than Jefferson, and when he named the Swiss-born Gallatin to be Secretary of the Treasury to succeed Hamilton it was with full understandings of his ability as a financier. The alien American might be laughed at on the floor of the Senate for his foreign accent, and at times faltering tongue, but he was recognized as the equal of Hamilton in his grasp of national finance. He was superior to Hamilton in his vigorous republicanism as contrasted with the non-archistis [sic] leanings of the Federalists. None wielded a stronger lash against the abuses of the old order, the inexcusable Jay Treaty and the tyrannous lien and Sedition laws, and none struck out with more force for reforms in the new republic.
For thirteen years Gallatin complemented the work of Hamilton to strengthen American credit. Then came an opportunity to serve his adopted country, in the wide field of diplomacy. Had Gallatin not been present as a peace commissioner at Ghent, it is doubtful whether Adams and Clay could have come to an agreement with the British plenipotentiaries as to terms concerning the War of 1812. To the ability of Gallatin is also due in large measure the commercial treaty that was subsequently made, and though neither of these treaties accorded full rights to the new nation, they were the best that could be expected, and for months it seemed that no understanding of any kind could be made.
The statue of Gallatin in front of the Treasury building would be deserved, though belated, memorial.
It is this same Gallatin that our county was named for and all our citizens will be interested in knowing that his name is at last to be honored.