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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2013

Wheaton College
University of Sussex
Jennifer Powell McNutt, Biblical and Theological Studies Department, Wheaton College, 501 College Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187–5593,
Richard Whatmore, Sussex Centre for Intellectual History, School of History, Art History and Philosophy, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1


Early in 1782, republican rebels in Geneva removed the city's magistrates and instituted a popular government, portraying themselves as defenders of liberty and Calvinism against the French threats of Catholicism and luxury. But on 1 July 1782, the republicans fled because of the arrival at the city gates of invading troops led by France. The failure of the Genevan revolution indicated that while new republics could be established beyond Europe, republics within Europe, and more especially Protestant republics in proximity to larger Catholic monarchies, were no longer independent states. Many Genevans sought asylum across Europe and in North America in consequence. Some of them looked to Britain and Ireland, attempting to move the industrious part of Geneva to Waterford. During the French Revolution, they sought to establish a republican community in the United States. In each case, a major goal was to transfer the Genevan Academy established in the aftermath of Calvin's Reformation. The anti-religious nature of the French Revolution made the attempt to move the Academy to North America distinctive. By contrast with the Irish case, where religious elements were played down, moving the Academy to North America was supported by religious rhetoric coupled with justifications of republican liberty.

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1 Henri-Albert Gosse to Roland de la Platière, 16 Mar. 1782, in Plan, Danielle, Un Génevois d'autrefois: Henri-Albert Gosse (1753–1816) d'après des lettres et des documents inédits (Paris and Geneva, 1909)Google Scholar, p. 123.

2 François d'Ivernois to John Stuart (Mountstuart, 4th earl of Bute from 1794), 26 June 1782, Bibliothèque de Genève (BGE), MS Suppl. 32, fo. 368.

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5 Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas (one of Albemarle County's two representatives in the Virginia House of Delegates), 23 Nov. 1794: Oberg, B. and Looney, J. Jefferson, eds., The papers of Thomas Jefferson digital edition (Charlottesville, VA, 2008)Google Scholar.

6 Quotations are from the contemporary English translation: de Méhégan, Guillaume-Alexandre, A view of universal modern history, from the fall of the Roman empire (3 vols., London, 1778)Google Scholar, ii, p. 166.

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17 D'Alembert, ‘Genève’, Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres (28 vols., Geneva, 1772 (orig. Paris and Neuchâtel, 1757)), vii, pp. 574–8Google Scholar.

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19 Lüthy, Herbert, La banque protestante en France de la révocation de l’édit de Nantes à la Révolution (2 vols., Paris, 1959–61), ii, pp. 4780Google Scholar.

20 On the représentants, see Whatmore, Richard, Against war and empire: Geneva, Britain and France in the eighteenth century (New Haven, CT, and London, 2012)Google Scholar.

21 D'Ivernois to Mountstuart, 7 July 1782, BGE, MS Suppl. 32, fos. 370–1, cited in Karmin, Otto, Sir Francis d'Ivernois (Geneva, 1920), pp. 115–17Google Scholar.

22 D'Ivernois to Mountstuart, 11 June 1782, 6 July 1782, and 30 Sept. 1782, BGE, ‘Intelligence from Geneva 1779–1783’, MS Suppl. 32, fos. 303, 372, 374.

23 Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (London), Tuesday, 8 Oct. 1782, issue 606; Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (London), Wednesday, 16 Oct. 1782, issue 4185.

24 Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, pp. 130–3.

25 Samuel Romilly to Jean Roget, 25 Oct. 1782, in Romilly, Samuel, Memoirs of the life of Sir Samuel Romilly written by himself (3 vols., London, 1840), i, pp. 243–5Google Scholar; Jean Roget to Samuel Romilly, 18 Dec. 1782, in Roget, F. F., Lettres de Jean Roget, 1780–1783 (London, 1911), pp. 292–4Google Scholar.

26 ‘Warrant by the lord lieutenant general and general governor of Ireland, for the settlement of the Genevese in that kingdom’, Annual register, or a view of the history, politics and literature for the year 1783 (London, 1785), pp. 350–4.

27 Earl Temple to William Wyndham Grenville, 8 Feb. 1783, in Report on the manuscripts of J. B. Fortescue Esq., preserved at Dropmore (10 vols., London, 1892–1927), i, p. 191; Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, p. 135.

28 D'Ivernois and Du Roveray, ‘Mémoire sur l’établissement des Genevois en Irlande’, Bolton papers (Thomas Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton), National Library of Ireland, MS 15914 (3).

29 ‘Estimate of the houses for the Genevese, 20 May 1783’, Bolton papers, National Library of Ireland, MS 15910 (1–2).

30 Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, p. 155.

31 Earl Temple to d'Ivernois and Du Roveray, 28 May 1784, Bolton papers, National Library of Ireland, MS 15914 (1).

32 D'Ivernois to Stanhope, 9 Nov. 1785, Charles Stanhope, 3rd earl, miscellaneous political papers, Kent County Record Office, U1590 C65.3 Document E, fos. 1–4.

33 Du Roveray to Stanhope, 24 Nov. 1785, ibid., Document F, fos. 1–3.

34 McManners, John, The French Revolution & the church (New York, NY, 1969), pp. 1011Google Scholar; Aston, Nigel, Christianity and revolutionary Europe c. 1750–1830 (Cambridge, 2002), p. 217Google Scholar; Sorkin, David, The religious Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ, 2009)Google Scholar, p. 311; Robert Darnton, ‘What was revolutionary about the French Revolution?’, for the eleventh Charles Edmondson Historical Lectures at Baylor University (28 Apr. 1989), p. 17.

35 Lüthy, La banque protestante en France, ii, pp. 749–89.

36 Walker, CorinneLe langage des apparences ou la loi des distinctions: Genève pendant la révolution’, Revue du vieux Geneve, 20 (1990), pp. 2531Google Scholar, and idem, ‘Langages et revolution: l'expression symbolique de la revolution Genevoise’, Regards sur la revolution genevoise, 1792–1798, Société d'histoire et d'archéologie de Genève (SHAG), MDG, 55 (1992), pp. 170–90.

37 Éric Golay, ‘1792–1798 revolution Genevoise et Révolution française: similitudes et contrastes’, in Regards sur la revolution genevoise, 1792–1798, SHAG, MDG, 55 (1992), p. 30.

38 Etienne Dumont to Albert Gallatin, 19 Aug. 1794, cited in Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, p. 177.

39 Candaux, Jean-Daniel, Voyageurs européens à la découverte de Genève (Geneva, 1966), p. 155Google Scholar. See further Gaberel, J., Histoire de l’église de Genève (3 vols., Geneva, 1862), iii, pp. 424–5Google Scholar; Dufour, Edouard, Jacob Vernes, 1728–1791: essai sur sa vie et sa controverse apologétique avec J.-J. Rousseau (Geneva, 1898), p. 28Google Scholar; Sorkin, The religious Enlightenment, pp. 109–10.

40 Desonnaz, Jean, Histoire de la conjuration de Grenus, Soulavie, &c. contre la république de Geneve faisant suite à la correspondence de Grenus et Desonnaz (3 vols., Geneva, 1794)Google Scholar, iii, p. 52.

41 Roveray, Du, Declaration des citoyens de Geneve anti-anarchistes: du 6 Janvier 1794 ([Geneva], 1794)Google Scholar; D'Ivernois, La Révolution française à Genève: tableau historique et politique de la France envers les Genevois, depuis le mois d'Octobre 1792 au mois de Juillet 1795 (London, 1795)Google Scholar.

42 Records also indicate some resistance to Genevans emigrating to territories such as Carolina: Archives d’état de Genève (AEG), Registres de la Compagnie des Pasteurs (RCP) 24, 16 Apr. 1734, fo. 46.

43 AEG, RCP 31, 12 Oct. 1770, fos. 66–7; ibid., 8 Mar. 1771, fo. 97. Difficulties with the Anglicans in the area are alluded to in the report to the Company.

44 See AEG, RCP 29 and the correspondence found in BGE, MS Fr. 451. The key role of the church of Geneva is evident when the New York church refused the candidate recommended by the church at Amsterdam because he did not come from Geneva but from Zurich: AEG, RCP 29, 3 May 1765, fo. 398. Jean-Louis Duby is an example of a Genevan pastor filling the New York pulpit: AEG, RCP 35, 21 Oct. 1796, fo. 88.

45 Parliament began supporting missionary activity to New England from 1649 with the creation of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England due to Edward Winslow's promotion of the cause in England and the success of John Eliot's work with the Algonquians in New England: Bremer, Francis, The puritan experiment: New England society from Bradford to Edwards (rev. edn, Lebanon, NH, 1995)Google Scholar, p. 203. Bray then launched the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) at the end of the seventeenth century, which became SPG in 1701. See Dewey, Margaret, The messengers: a concise history of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (London and Oxford, 1975)Google Scholar; Thompson, H. P., Into all lands: the history of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1701–1950 (London, 1951)Google Scholar; Pascoe, C. F., Two hundred years of the S.P.G.: an historical account of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1701–1900 (London, 1901)Google Scholar.

46 Records indicate that the Company of Pastors was already in charge of dispensing willed funds purposed for the evangelism of ‘infidels’: AEG, RCP 18 (1703), fo. 452.

47 Dewey, The messengers, p. 14 ; Thompson, Into all lands, p. 102.

48 BGE, Arch. Tronchin 55, ‘Relation succinte des diverses societez etablies depuis peu d'Années en Angleterre pour la Reforme des mœurs, et pour la Propagation de la religion chretienne’, fo. 3.

49 BGE, Arch. Tronchin 55, fo. 52v; Thompson, Into all lands, pp. 39–40; Pascoe, Two hundred years of the S.P.G., p. 734.

50 AEG, RCP 19, 30 Dec. 1707, fo. 244; AEG, Chambre des Prosélytes 1, 16 Jan. 1708, fo. 3.

51 Pictet wrote to SPG to inform them of the establishment of the committee: AEG, Chambre des Prosélytes 1, 6 Feb. 1708, fo. 18. See response: ibid., 10 Sept. 1708, fos. 79–81. Records from 18 Feb. 1709 indicate that England planned to introduce a similar society to evangelize Roman Catholics: ibid., fos. 119–20.

52 Gallatin made plans with fellow Genevan Academy schoolmates Henri Serre and Jean Badollet though only Serre was able to go with him at his departure on 1 Apr. 1780: Walters, Raymond Jr, Albert Gallatin: Jeffersonian, financier and diplomat (New York, NY, 1957)Google Scholar, p. 9.

53 See Dungan, Nicholas, Gallatin: America's Swiss founding father (New York, NY, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Gallatin was denied the office of the secretary of state due to his Genevan birth and the fact that Geneva came under Bonaparte's control: Walters, Albert Gallatin, p. 210.

54 BGE, MS Fr. 1130. Dungan, Gallatin, p. 155; John Austin Stevens documents that Gallatin was seeking to establish a university education free to all and unhampered by confessional governance: Albert Gallatin (Boston, MA, and New York, NY, 1911), pp. 369–70.

55 Maag, Karin, Seminary or university? The Genevan Academy and reformed higher education, 1560–1620 (Aldershot, 1995)Google Scholar.

56 Black, Jeremy, The British and the Grand Tour (London, 1985), p. 196Google Scholar; Heyd, Between Orthodoxy and the Enlightenment, p. 247.

57 Gallatin to Eben Dodge, New York, 21 Jan. 1847, Adams, Henry, ed., The writings of Albert Gallatin (Philadelphia, PA, 1879)Google Scholar, ii, p. 578. Jefferson names Mr Kinloch and Mr Huger as former students from South Carolina: Jefferson, Thomas, The writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Washington, H. A. (9 vols., Washington, DC, 1853–4)Google Scholar, iii, Jefferson to Alister, 22 Dec. 1791, p. 313. See other names listed by Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, p. 644.

58 Gallatin to Eben Dodge, New York, 21 Jan. 1847: Adams, ed., The writings of Albert Gallatin, ii, p. 572.

59 Richard was married to Jefferson's niece, Lucy Carr, who was the daughter of Jefferson's sister, Martha Jefferson, who had married Mr Dabney Carr. Gallatin helped introduce him in France and Geneva with letters of reference: BGE, MS Fr. 322, 2 Aug. 1816, fo. 69r–v. Jefferson wrote, ‘I thank you for your attention to my request as to Mr. Terrell. You judge rightly that I have no acquaintances left in France: some were guillotined, some fled, some died, some are exiled, and I know of nobody left but La Fayette’: Jefferson to Gallatin, 11 Apr. 1816: Adams, ed., The writings of Albert Gallatin, i, p. 701.

60 Gallatin to Jefferson, 1 Apr. 1816: Adams, ed., The writings of Albert Gallatin, i, p. 700.

61 In such correspondence, Gallatin described Jefferson as ‘one of my truest and best friends, and I owe him obligations which I would feel gratified, in some degree, to return’: BGE, MS Fr. 322, fo. 69r–v.

62 Jefferson, The writings of Thomas Jefferson, iii, Jefferson to Alister, 22 Dec. 1791, p. 313.

63 Letters between Jefferson and the Genevan Professor Marc-Auguste Pictet indicate that Jefferson was eager to support furthering knowledge of the region: ‘Our country offers to the lovers of science a rich field of the works of nature, but little explored, except in the department of botany. One would imagine indeed from the European writings that our animal history was tolerably known but time will show in it the grossest errors, our geology is untouched, and would have been a precious mine for you, as your views of it would have been precious to us. I will not allow myself to conclude that the present state of things is final. Our country is but beginning to develop its resources’: BGE, Archives Rilliet, Jefferson to Pictet, 14 Oct. 1795.

64 Original French manuscript: BGE, MS Suppl. 976, d'Ivernois to Adams, 22 Aug. 1794, fos. 59–63v. See French transcription in Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, pp. 640–9. An English translation is found in BGE, MS Suppl. 976, fos. 65–68v.

65 D'Ivernois expressed concern that the old age of the Theology professors might prevent them from relocation.

66 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fo. 61.

67 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fo. 61v.

68 ‘Additional memorial from Mons. d'Ivernois delivered to me (Thomas Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton) by Lord Mahon, 11 June 1784’, Bolton papers, National Library of Ireland, MS 15914 (3). Only minor reference is made to acknowledge benefits that the school might bring to ‘the encouragement of religion, virtue and science’: P. Egan, ‘The Genevese’, History, Guide & Directory of County and City of Waterford (n.d.), p. 206. See also Jupp's, Peter article: ‘Genevese exiles in County Waterford’, Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 75 (1970), pp. 2935Google Scholar.

69 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 5 Sept. 1794, fo. 72v.

70 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fo. 63. Similarly, d'Ivernois's correspondence with Jefferson speaks about the alarming crisis that menaced both knowledge and the social order: BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 5 Sept. 1794, fo. 72v.

71 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fo. 61v.

72 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fo. 59v: ‘The entire transplantation of a Protestant University into a Protestant country could be, it seems to me, an event extraordinary enough to merit perhaps a favorable exception and even some great sacrifice.’

73 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 5 Sept. 1794, fo. 71. In fact, he particularly appealed to the Democratic Republican party as coinciding with Geneva's opposition to monarchical despotism on the one hand and popular licence on the other while still upholding the importance of liberty and peace.

74 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fo. 63v.

75 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, 22 Aug. 1794, fos. 61v–62v. D'Ivernois requested a response before sending a representative to America to negotiate the transplantation.

76 Jefferson would later write that ‘Your proposition, however, for transplanting the college of Geneva to my own county, was too analogous to all my attachments to science, and freedom, the first-born daughter of science, not to excite a lively interest in my mind, and the essays which were necessary to try its practicability’: Jefferson, The writings of Thomas Jefferson, iv, Jefferson to d'Ivernois, 6 Feb. 1795, pp. 113–15.

77 Jefferson, The writings of Thomas Jefferson, iv, Jefferson to Wilson Nicholas, 22 Nov. 1794, p. 109.

78 Washington, George, Letters and addresses, ed. Viles, Jonas (New York, NY, 1909), pp. 367–8Google Scholar.

79 Jefferson, The writings of Thomas Jefferson, iv, Jefferson to d'Ivernois, 6 Feb. 1795, pp. 113–15.

80 Jefferson to Washington, 23 Feb. 1795, in Catanzariti, John, ed., The papers of Thomas Jefferson, xxviii (Princeton, NJ, 2000), pp. 275–8Google Scholar.

81 Once again, Jefferson described Geneva as one of ‘the two eyes of Europe in matters of science’.

82 Washington to Jefferson, 25 Feb. 1785: Boyd, Julian, ed., The papers of Thomas Jefferson, viii (Princeton, NJ, 1953), pp. 36Google Scholar.

83 Washington to Jefferson, 15 Mar. 1795: Catanzariti, ed., The papers of Thomas Jefferson, xxviii, pp. 306–8.

84 Adams wrote to d'Ivernois on 11 Dec. 1795 saying, ‘I regret with you that America cannot avail herself of the Science and Literature of the Genevan University: but the compleat Impossibility of it is absolutely certain’: BGE, MS Suppl. 976, fo. 97.

85 Adams, Herbert B., Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia (Washington, Gov. Printing Office, 1888)Google Scholar. Adams regarded the Geneva project as the ‘historical origin’ of Jefferson's dream of a ‘cosmopolitan university, to be equipped with the best scientific talent that Europe could afford’ (p. 45). Jefferson never gave up seeking to bring European born or educated professors to enhance the education at the University of Virginia (p. 110). See also Hans, Nicholas, ‘The project of transferring the University of Geneva to America’, History of Education Quarterly, 8 (1968), pp. 246–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

86 Karmin points to d'Ivernois's letter to Vaucher on 5 Mar. 1795: Sir Francis d'Ivernois, p. 286.

87 Ibid., pp. 282–3.

88 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, letter to d'Ivernois, 9 Dec. 1794, fo. 74v.

89 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, fo. 75v.

90 Dungan writes that ‘Gallatin made an exploratory trip through New York State in Apr., purportedly to look for suitable land for the Academy’ (Dungan, Gallatin: America's Swiss founding father, p. 60). This trip led him to conclude that Pennsylvania would be a more fitting setting.

91 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, fo. 78r–v.

92 The plan was signed by the following persons: Albert Gallatin, James Odier, Jean-Salomon Fazy, Jean-Antoine and Antoine-Charles Casenove, Henry Cheriot, Pierre-Daniel Bourdillon, Jean-Louis Duby, Alexandre Couronne, Jean Badollet: BGE, MS Fr. 3637, vol. iv, no. 4; copy found in BGE, MS Suppl. 976, fos. 82–3.

93 Transcribed in Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, pp. 284–5.

94 D'Ivernois's Sept. letter is mentioned as being received in Dec.: BGE, MS Suppl. 976, fo. 86.

95 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, d'Ivernois to Adams, 24 Feb. 1795, fos. 88–89v; ibid., d'Ivernois to Jefferson, 26 Feb. 1795, fos. 90r–v.

96 BGE, MS Suppl. 976, d'Ivernois to Jefferson, 26 Feb. 1795, fo. 90.

97 Quoted in Karmin, Sir Francis d'Ivernois, p. 287.

98 BGE, Archives Rilliet, Jefferson to Pictet, 14 Oct. 1795, n.f.

99 BGE, Archives Rilliet, 26 Dec. 1820, Jefferson to M. A. Pictet.

100 Walters, Albert Gallatin, p. 138.

101 Namely Badollet, James Nicholson (Gallatin's brother-in-law), Louis Bourdillon, and Antoine-Charles Cazenove: Walters, Albert Gallatin, p. 134.

102 Dungan, Gallatin: America's Swiss founding father, p. 62. For a history of New Geneva, Pennsylvania, see Elizabeth Davenport's History of New Geneva (n.p., 1933).

103 Gallatin ‘confessed that his affairs at New Geneva troubled him more than the party battles in Congress. He was especially depressed by the debts incurred’: Walters, Albert Gallatin, p. 138.

104 Davenport indicates that this partnership began in 1794 with the building of the factory following soon after (History of New Geneva, p. 2).

105 Walters, Albert Gallatin, p. 139.

106 Golay, ‘1792–1798 révolution Genevoise et révolution française’, p. 34.

107 AEG, RCP 34, 3 Apr. 1795, fo. 581. A number of pastors and ministers lost their livelihood due to the two tribunals, including Pierre-Daniel Bourdillon, Jean-Henri-Adam Bouverot, Georges-Louis Choisy, Jean-Jacques Juventin, Marc-Samuel Mange, Jean-François Martin, Frédéric Mestrezat, Joseph Peschier, and Alexandre Sarasin. In Mar. 1795, it was overwhelmingly voted that the revolutionary judgments be overturned (1,952 to 250): ibid., 27 Mar. 1795, fo. 579.