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Nicholas Philip Trist

Trist, Nicholas Philip, 1800–1874, American diplomat, b. Charlottesville, Va. He attended West Point, studied law under Thomas Jefferson, whose granddaughter he married, and was private secretary to Andrew Jackson. He served as U.S. consul (1833–41) in Havana, Cuba, and was chief clerk of the Dept. of State when he was sent (1847) to Mexico as a special agent to conduct negotiations to end the Mexican War. A short armistice was reached after the battles of Contreras and Churubusco (Aug., 1847), but negotiations were unsuccessful and war was resumed. President Polk had Trist recalled. Trist had reopened negotiations before his recall arrived and decided to ignore the order. He succeeded in negotiating the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Polk supported the treaty but declared Trist in disgrace. Trist did not recover his unpaid salary and expenses until 1871.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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