GADSDEN, JAMES (1788-1858), American soldier and diplomat, was born at Charleston, S.C., on the 15th of May 1788, the grandson of Christopher Gadsden. He graduated at Yale in 1806, became a merchant in his native city, and in the war of 1812 served in the regular U.S. Army as a lieutenant of engineers. In 1818 he served against the Seminoles, with the rank of captain, as aide on the staff of Gen. Andrew Jackson. In October 1820 he became inspector-general of the Southern Division, with the rank of colonel, and as such assisted in the occupation and the establishment of posts in Florida after its acquisition. From August 1821 to March 1822 he was adjutant-general, but, his appointment not being confirmed by the Senate, he left the army and became a planter in Florida. He served in the Territorial legislature, and as Federal commissioner superintended in 1823 the removal of the Seminole Indians to South Florida. In 1832 he negotiated with the Seminoles a treaty which provided for their removal within three years to lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma; but the Seminoles refused to move, hostilities again broke out, and in the second Seminole War Gadsden was quartermaster-general of the Florida Volunteers from February to April 1836. Returning to South Carolina he became a rice planter, and was president of the South Carolina railway. In 1853 President Franklin Pierce appointed him minister to Mexico, with which country he negotiated the so-called "Gadsden treaty" (signed the 30th of December 1853), which gave to the United States freedom of transit for mails, merchandise and troops across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and provided for a readjustment of the boundary established by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States acquiring 45,535 sq. m. of land, since known as the "Gadsden Purchase," in what is now New Mexico and Arizona. In addition, Article XI. of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which bound the United States to prevent incursions of Indians from the United States into Mexico, and to restore Mexican prisoners captured by such Indians, was abrogated, and for these considerations the United States paid to Mexico the sum of $10,000,000. Ratifications of the treaty, slightly modified by the Senate, were exchanged on the 30th of June 1854; before this, however, Gadsden had retired from his post. The boundary line between Mexico and the "Gadsden Purchase" was marked by joint commissions appointed in 1855 and 1891, the second commission publishing its report in 1899. Gadsden died at Charleston, South Carolina, on the 25th of December 1858.
An elder brother, Christopher Edwards Gadsden (1785-1852), was Protestant Episcopal bishop of South Carolina in 1839-1852.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)