Perry Belmont

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Perry Belmont
Belmont c. 1918
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1881 – December 1, 1888
Preceded byJames W. Covert
Succeeded byJames W. Covert
United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain
In office
November 17, 1888 – May 1, 1889
PresidentGrover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Preceded byJabez L.M. Curry
Succeeded byThomas W. Palmer
Personal details
Born(1851-12-28)December 28, 1851
New York City, New York
DiedMay 25, 1947(1947-05-25) (aged 95)
Newport, Rhode Island
Resting placeIsland Cemetery,
Newport, Rhode Island
Political partyDemocratic
Military service
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
UnitFirst Division, Second Army Corps, United States Volunteers
Battles/warsSpanish–American War

Perry Belmont (December 28, 1851 – May 25, 1947) was an American politician and diplomat.[1] He served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1881 to 1888.

Early life and education[edit]

Belmont was born on December 28, 1851, in New York City, the son of Caroline Slidell (née Perry) and financier August Belmont. His maternal grandfather was Commodore Matthew C. Perry. His brothers were Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont and August Belmont Jr.

He attended Everest Military Academy in Hamden, Connecticut; and graduated from Harvard College in 1872; attended the law school in the University of Berlin;[2] and graduated from the Columbia Law School in 1876. He was admitted to the bar that same year.

Ancestry and memberships[edit]

Through his mother, he was a descendant of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry who had served as a privateer during the American Revolution and was also the father of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and Commodore Matthew C. Perry. By virtue of his descent from Captain Perry, Belmont became a member of the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the Revolution. In 1929 he was elected as a hereditary member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati. He was also a member of the Veteran Corps of Artillery.


Belmont practiced law in New York City for five years. Partnered with him in the law firm, Vinton, Belmont & Frelinghuysen, were his cousin, the writer Arthur Dudley Vinton, and George Frelinghuysen, future president of the Ballantine Brewing Company. He and his brother, August Belmont Jr., were also founding members of The Jockey Club.

Belmont's former residence in Washington, D.C.

Elected as a Democrat to the 47th Congress and reelected to the next three Congresses, Belmont served as the U.S. representative for the first district of New York from March 4, 1881, until his resignation on December 1, 1888.[3] During his first term, he was a member of the committee on foreign affairs; noted for his cross-examination of James G. Blaine, the former secretary of state. The cross-examination concerned Blaine's relations with a syndicate of American capitalists interested in the development of certain guano deposits in Peru. An attempt was made to show that Blaine's efforts toward mediation between Chile and Peru were from interested motives.[4] Belmont served from 1885 to 1887 as chairman of the committee on foreign affairs.

He was appointed United States Minister to Spain in November 1888 and served until May 1889.[5]

On October 6, 1890, Belmont was invested as a Commander of the French Legion of Honor.

In 1898, during the Spanish–American War, Belmont served for six weeks in the Army as an Inspector General of the First Division, Second Army Corps, United States Volunteers, with the rank of major.

Belmont with his wife, the former Jessie Ann Robbins c. 1910–1915

When the Consolidated National Bank of New York was organized on July 1, 1902, the fourteen directors included individuals such as Belmont, John W. Griggs, Henry C. Brewster, George Crocker, and Mortimer H. Wagar.[6]

In 1906, Belmont became "permanent president" of the National Publicity Bill Organization, which fought for campaign finance disclosure.

During the First World War, despite being 65 years old, Belmont was commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps on May 5, 1917. He was assigned to the Remount Division in Washington, D.C., and was discharged on May 21, 1920.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1899, after 17 years of marriage, Jessie Ann Robbins (1858–1935) divorced Henry T. Sloane (son of William Sloane, the founder of W. & J. Sloane) to marry Perry Belmont. The marriage occurred only five hours after the divorce was decreed and, at the time, was considered scandalous.[1]

Belmont died in Newport, Rhode Island, on May 25, 1947 (age 95 years, 148 days).[1] He is interred along with his parents and his brother August Belmont Jr. in the Belmont family plot in the Island Cemetery in Newport.[8] His former home in Washington, D.C., became the International Temple for the Order of the Eastern Star.

Military awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Perry Belmont, 96, Ex-diplomat, Dead. Envoy To Spain In 1888-9 Was In Congress 8 Years. Decried Isolationism In 1925 Perry Might, 96, Ex-diplomat, Dead". New York Times. May 26, 1947. Retrieved 2015-04-30. Perry Belmont, former representative and diplomat, who was a grandson of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, died this morning in the Newport Hospital, where he had been a patient since August. He was in his ninety-seventh year. ...
  2. ^ "Perry Belmont". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Perry Belmont". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  4. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Belmont, August" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  5. ^ "Perry Belmont". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Wall Street Topics", The New York Times, New York City, p. 12, July 2, 1902, retrieved January 19, 2017
  7. ^ Harvard's Military Record in the World War. Harvard Alumni Association. 1921. pg. 78.
  8. ^ "Perry Belmont". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 26 August 2013.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1881 – December 1, 1888
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by U.S. Minister to Spain
Succeeded by