Trist, Nicholas (Philip)(1800–74) lawyer, diplomat; born in Charlottesville, Va. He attended West Point but left to study law in the office of Thomas Jefferson (whose granddaughter he married). He entered the State Department in 1828 and was consul in Havana, Cuba (1833–41). Chief clerk of the State Department from 1845, he went to Mexico in 1847 to negotiate an end to the war with Mexico; when charges that he was conceding too much reached Washington, he was ordered back, but he stayed and ended up signing the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). This ended his diplomatic career, and he returned to practice law in Virginia.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.