Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GRAHAM, John, diplomatist, born in Dumfries, Prince William County, Virginia, in 1774; died in Washington, D. C., 6 August, 1820. He was graduated at Columbia in 1790, and emigrated to Kentucky, where he represented Lewis County in the legislature. He was then sent by President Jefferson to the territory of Orleans as secretary, and subsequently held a similar office in the American legislation in Spain. During the time when James Madison was secretary of state, Graham was chief clerk under him. In 1818 he accompanied a commission to obtain political information in Buenos Ayres, and wrote an elaborate report, which was printed by the state department. He was next sent by President Monroe as minister to the court of Portugal, then resident in Rio Janeiro. His health gave way under the Brazilian climate, and he died soon after returning to Washington.--His brother, George, acting secretary of war, born in Dumfries, Prince William County, Virginia, about 1772; died in Washington, D. C., in August, 1830, was graduated at Columbia in 1790, studied law, and practiced in his native town. He afterward removed to Fairfax County, and raised and commanded the "Fairfax light-horse" during the war of 1812. On the retirement of General Armstrong from the war department after the burning of Washington, Graham was placed in charge as chief clerk. During the last two years of Madison's administration, and until relieved by John C. Calhoun in the first year of Monroe's term, he was acting secretary of war. In 1818, at Mr. Calhoun's request, he made a long and perilous journey to inspect a settlement which had been made by General Lallemande, Napoleon's chief of artillery, with 600 armed colonists, at Oreoguises Bluffs, on Trinity river. Finding the colonists on Galveston island, he induced them to submit to the authority of the United States and abandon their enterprise. On his return he became president of the Washington branch of the United States bank, which office he held until he was appointed commissioner of the land office in 1823, serving in the latter capacity during the remainder of his life. While connected with the bank he was employed by the government to wind up the "Indian factorage " affairs, and in doing so is said to have saved the country not less than $250,000.
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