Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Lafayette (formerly the "marquis
de la Fayette" until June 1790) (September 6, 1757 – May 20, 1834) was a French military officer and former
aristocrat who participated in both the American and French revolutions. He permanently renounced the title "Marquis"
before the French National Assembly in June, 1790. Even though he was already adopted by George Washington, he
was twice granted Honorary Citizenship of the United States, first in 1824 (along with his descendants in perpetuity),
and again, posthumously in 2002; one of only six specific persons so honored.
Lafayette served in the American Revolutionary War both as a general and as a diplomat, serving entirely without
pay in both roles. Later, he was to prove a key figure in the early phases of the French Revolution, serving in
the Estates General and the subsequent National Constituent Assembly. He was a leading figure among the Feuillants,
who tried to turn France into a constitutional monarchy, and commander of the French National Guard. Accused by
Jean-Paul Marat of responsibility for the "Massacre of the Champ de Mars" (before which, Lafayette was
nearly assassinated), he subsequently was forced out of a leading role in the Revolution by Jacobin-Terror anarchists.
On August 19, 1792, the Jacobin party seized control of Paris and the National Assembly, ordering Lafayette's arrest.
He fled France and was arrested by the Austrian army in Rochefort, Belgium. Thereafter, he spent five years in
various Prussian and Austrian Empire prisons. He was released in 1797; however, Napoleon Bonaparte would not allow
his return to France for several years. He continued to be active in French and European politics until his death
Lafayette's full name is seldom used in the United States, where he is usually known as "General Lafayette"
or simply "Lafayette" (his preferences and as written on his birth certificate), but sometimes is called
"the Marquis de Lafayette" (mistakenly or maliciously, if used in post 1790 references since he permanently
renounced the nobility title on June 19, 1790)After 1790 and especially after the Bourbon Restoration, Lafayette's
enemies viciously taunted him in the press by continually referring to him as "Marquis"
Lafayette was born at the Château de Chavaniac, near Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, in the remote, volcanic-mountainous,
Province of Auvergne, also known as the "Appalachia of France." He belonged to the cadet branch of the
La Fayette family. His father was killed at the Battle of Minden in 1759 by a British cannon ball, and his mother
and grandfather died in 1770. He was educated by his aunt and two priests (the second was the Abbe Fayon, Cure
de Saint-Roch de Chavaniac), and at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. At the age of 14, Lafayette chose to follow
the career of his father and grandfather, entering the French army on April 9, 1771. At the age of 16 he married
Marie-Adrienne-Françoise de Noailles, daughter of Jean-Paul-François, 5th duc de Noailles. Known
as "Adrienne" or "Noailles Lafayette," she was famous for her simplicity, extraordinary charity,
He was the father of one son and three daughters, of whom two survived.
George Washington Lafayette
(1779–1849), whose godfather was Lafayette's close friend George Washington; he married in 1802 Françoise
Emilie Destutt de Tracy, and was father of two sons and three daughters including Oscar Gilbert Lafayette (1815–1881),
Edmond Lafayette, (1818-1891)
Anastasie Lafayette (1 July,
1777-1863) md Charles Fay de LaTour-Maubourg (1774-1824), the youngest of the three LaTour-Maubourg brothers. (his
eldest brother César (1756-1831) was one of Lafayette's closest and loyal friends and who was imprisoned,
in isolation, at the same time and, who is buried at the head of Lafayette's grave at Picpus.);
their daughter Jenny Fay de LaTour-Maubourg (6 September, 1812 La Grange-Bleneau-15 April 1897 Turin)
Virginie (1782-1849) md Louis de Lasteyrie du Saillant (1781-1826)
Newspaper Stories concerning La Fayette
[submitted by Nancy Piper]
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
August 25, 1824 - From the N.Y. Nat. Adv., Aug. 17
Landing of La Fayette
Yesterday was a proud day for New York. We have seen the reception of the allied sovereigns and the celebration
of great events in Europe – we have read of the landing of King William, the entrée of George IV, in Ireland,
and Louis XVIII, in Paris, but never witnessed a more splendid display, or more cordial, generous and spontaneous
feeling than that of yesterday on the landing of Gen. La Fayette. It was truly a jubilees – a more general holiday
than the Fourth of July. Business was suspended, stores were closed, and the streets thronged with well dressed
The Corporation had chartered the Chancelor Livingston steam boat to receive the General, together with the Bellona,
Connecticut and Oliver Ellsworth. The steam boats, dressed elegantly with flags and streamers, were joined by the
Nautilus and Olive Branch, thus making an elegant aquatic escort, as they were all filled with ladies and gentlemen,
and each boat had a fine band of music on board.
The day was clear, cool and pleasant, and about 10 o’clock the Steam Boats left the North River and sailed round
the Battery to the Navy Yard where they were joined by the splendid steam ship Robert Fulton, dressed with the
flags of different nations – her yards were manned with about 200 seamen of the Constitution, who made an elegant
appearance – a battalion of marines, under the command of Major Smith, was on board, with a band of music, together
with several Naval Officers, and the whole escort moved majestically down the river and Bay. The Chancellor came
to at the wharf on staten Island to receive the General. On board the Chancellor was the superior Band from West
Point, which Capt. Center brought down early yesterday morning.
The village of Castleton was crowded with persons, and in a short time a barouche, containing the General, his
son, and the Vice President, drove to the landing. The spectators formed a line opening to the right and left,
and the veteran General marched down with his hat in his hand amidst the cheers of spectators – and passing under
a triumphal arch formed by the American and French flags, he entered on board the steam boat Chancellor Livingston,
and was received by the Marines of the United States with military honors.
The band, on his arrival on board, struck up the popular French air of “Ou fieut on etre mieux,” together with
“See the conquering Hero comes,” the “Marseilles Hymn,” and “Hail Columbia”. Here he was presented to the Members
of the Corporation, and several Naval and Military Officers and many ladies. The steam ship fired a salute, and
the whole got under way for the city. A more noble and gallant sight was never seen; the Beliona and Olive Branch,
fastened each side to the Cadmus, the ship which brought the General from France, the whole decorated with flags
and filled with passengers moved up the Bay. – the Robert Fulton leading the way, followed by the Chancellor, the
Oliver Ellsworth, the Nautilus, and the Connecticut – the sea smooth and placid, and the air cool and agreeable.
The most interesting sight was the reception of the General by his old companions in arms: Col. Marinus Willett,
now in his 85th year, Gen. Van. Cortland, Gen. Clarkson, Col. Varick, Col. Platt, Col. Trumbull, and several members
of the Cincinnati. Col. Fish, Gen. Lewis, and several of his comrades were absent. He embraced them all affectionately,
and Col. Willet again and again. He knew and remembered them all. It was a re-union of a long separated family.
After the ceremony of embracing and congratulations were over, he sat down alongside of Col. Willett, who grew
young again and fought all his battles o’er. “Do you remember,” said he, “at the battle of Monmouth, I was volunteer
aid to Gen. Scott: I saw you in the hat of battle. You were but a boy, but you were a serious and sedate lad. Aye,
aye; I remember well. An on the Mohawk, I sent you fifty Indians, and you wrote me, that they set up such a yell
that they frightened the British horse, and they ran one way and the Indians another!” Innumerable anecdotes of
the Revolution, and reminiscences, were rehearsed during the passage to the city. Occasionally, the steam boats
would run alongside and give three cheers. On passing Governor’s Island a national salute was fired, and from the
U. S. schr. Spark in the stream.
On arriving off the Battery, the scene beggared description. The military, making a noble appearance, formed the
line with a heavy battering train. The ramparts and parapet of the Castle were lined with spectators – the Flagstaff,
and every eminence and place filled with well dressed persons. Hundreds of boats and wherries surrounded the battery,
and the General, with several officers, left the Chancellor in a barge commanded by Capt. Rogers of the navy, and
landed at Castle-Garden. The shouts of the multitudes reverberated along the shore; the artillery fired a salute;
the bands struck up a aviary air; and with much difficulty, the General found his way into the centre of the fortification.
Here he remained some time, and from the pressure, we could not witness the ceremonies; but saw him subsequently
in a barouche, escorted by a squadron of horse, go up Broadway to the City Hall.
In all this fatiguing ceremony, Gen. La Fayette sustained himself with the most amiable and cordial frankness,
delighted, as he must have been, at the reception spontaneous and hearty on all side; a reception which speaks
volumes in favour of free governments, and all who aid in establishing and perpetuating the rights of man.
It will require several days for the General to see every thing with the deliberation necessary, and without fatigue.
The amusements will of course, be various. The Park Theatre will open some night this week; and we learn that it
is contemplated to give the General a splendid Ball in the Theatre next week, after the fashion of the Greek Ball,
which will give time for the ladies to reach the city from the springs and watering places.
The stores were all closed, and the streets filled to overflowing; the windows were graced with the beauty of the
city, waving their handkerchiefs as the venerable soldier passed. After the ceremonies, the General together with
the Corporation and Cincinnati, dined at the City Hotel.
Among the omens auspicious of the arrival of the revered La Fayette was that of a rainbow formed Subsequent to
the shower on Sunday, the base of which rested on Fort La Fayette, and completely enveloped it in a most brilliant
effulgence. The General was at the moment on the plaza of the Vice President’s house, and this singular coincidence
being remarked to him, he observed, “this day has been full of happy omens to me in arriving among those who have
treated me with so much unmerited kindness.”
Leading incidents of his eventful life
compiled from various newspaper accounts.
La Fayette was born at Auvergne in France, in 1757 – consequently, he is now 67 years old. At the early age of
19, he left wife, relatives and a princely fortune, and came over to this country in a ship fitted out at his own
expense, landing at Charleston, S.C. in January, 1777. He immediately entered the army, and served as a volunteer
until the 31st of July following, when he was commissioned by Congress a Major General. He distinguished himself
on various occasions, and particularly at the battle of Brandywine, where he was wounded, but refused to quit the
In 1779, he returned to France on a visit, and while there he was presented by Congress with a sword. He took this
opportunity to make interest with the French government for assistance to these then colonies, in which he partially
succeeded. He returned again in 1780, and landed at Boston, with large reinforcements. In 1781 he was entrusted
with a separate command in Virginia, for the purpose of driving Arnold out of the state – but did not succeed.
He was afterwards opposed to that able General, Cornwallis, whom he frequently baffled. – When the army was in
great want of clothing, he supplied 10,000 dollars from his own private purse. At the siege of Yorktown, he acted
a conspicuous part, and in fine, without dwelling upon particulars, he continued throughout our struggle, to render
the most efficient and disinterested services.
In 1784 he returned to France, where he was received with enthusiasm. At the breaking out of the French revolution,
he took sides in the cause of Freedom, always however opposing violent, lawless and sanguinary measures. He was
elected a member of the States General, in 1789 he was made President of that Assembly, and commandant of the National
Guards in 1790, and was created General in Chief of the National Guards – but in 1791 the tide began to turn against
him – he was too moderate for those furious times – the National Assembly suspected him – his soldiers became disaffected
towards him – and his life was attempted by a ruffian. He resigned his command at the adoption of the French Constitution.
In 1792 he was called again into service, but on the memorable 10th of August of that year, when the Royal Family
fled to the National Assembly for safety, he opposed the fury of the mob, was deprived of command and obliged to
fly his country for safety. A price was set upon his head. He was arrested in Germany by the Duke of Saxe Teschen;
and was about to be hanged when the King of Prussia interfered, and changed the sentence to confinement in the
dungeon of Magdeburgh, where he languished a year. At the end of that time the Emperor of Austria claimed and took
him, and threw him into the prison of Olmutz, in chains. His wife and two daughters (Virginia and Carolina,) went
to prison with him. His estate was confiscated. General Washington endeavored to procure his liberation, and supplied
him from his own purse.
After being in the prison of Olmutz, a Dr. Bellman, a Hanoverian, and a young American, by the name of Francis
K. Huger, formed the plan of liberating him. He was liberated, but had not traveled more than 100 miles before
he was suspected; and finally retaken and reconducted to prison. Huger was also retaken and imprisoned and Bollman
voluntarily surrendered himself to share the fate of his companion. These two were tried, but by good management,
came off with only a week’s imprisonment. La Fayette, however, was kept confined until the close of 1797, when
he was released at the request of Bonaparte. His health was impaired and his hair all came out. The health of his
wife and daughters was almost destroyed. Declining the offer of Bonaparte’s protection, he retired to Hamburgh,
where he remained until after the overthrow of the French Directory. He then returned to France, and lived upon
his estate. Upon Bonaparte’s first abdication, he was elected a Deputy, in which situation he continued until the
final restoration of the Bourbons, when he once more retired to private life. He was however again elected to the
Chamber of Deputies to opposition to the influence of the Ministry; but at the last election, his enemies succeeded
in defeating him, and he is now a private untitled citizen, at liberty to indulge his inclination in assisting
this land of freedom, endeared to him by so many sacrifices and associations, and whose sons are so ready to receive
their early friend and protector, and to pour forth their overflowing hearts of gratitude and welcome – Fredonian.
Other Newspaper Clippings
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
September 1 1824 - Richmond, Va., Aug. 20
La Fayette has at length arrived among us – to receive a nation’s benedictions. What a proud refutation of the
monarchical maxim that “Republics are ungrateful”! What a majestic spectacle to all the nations of the earth! Never
has the sun shone upon so rich a scene! Never did so great and happy a Republic take to her arms with such éclat,
such overpowering manifestations of feeling, one of the first founders of her liberty – in the person too of a
The whole nation will rise, as it were with one accord, to receive her benefactor. There is no division – no party
upon this occasion – every man thinks and feels alike. All parts of the nation are anxious to have him among them.
Whereever he appears, it is to witness the rapture-kindling enthusiasm of a free people. It is a spectacle which
will “twice bless him that gives and him takes.” The contagion will be catching and ennobling. It will revive in
our bosoms the scenes of “76”, and the glorious spirit which attended them. Virginia will receive the hero with
open arms. He will here tread again some of the proudest fields of his military glory. No sooner was the intelligence
of his arrival known in this city on Wednesday evening than the artillery company fired a salute. Yesterday all
the volunteer companies turned out and fired feux de joie.
George Washington La Fayette, who has arrived with his father, is the same who, in 1795, escaped from France and
arrived at Boston, where he was supported by Gen. Washington, then President, out of his private purse, and was
for some time a member of Cambridge College. He afterwards returned to France and distinguished himself as an officer
in Bonaparte’s army. – Trenton Emporum
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
September 8, 1824
The following anecdote of our distinguished guest has been related. A gentleman while in conversation with him,
observed that “he spoke the English language remarkably well.” “And why should I not,” replied the General, “being
an American just returned from a long visit to Europe.” – Nat. Intel.
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
September 8, 1824
From the N.Y. Com. Adv. Aug. 18
Embarkation of Gen. La Fayette at Havre
By the Don Quixotte, which arrived here yesterday, we received the following account, from an eye witness, of the
arrival of Gen. La Fayette at Havre (France), and his embarkation on board of the Cadmus. How mean – contemptibly
mean – were the vexations thrown in the way of the old veteran, and those who wished to do him honor, by the little
tyrants of the Police.
“As it was expected that the General would arrive early in the afternoon of the 12th, several merchants, and a
great number of young men left this place at 2 P.M. in carriages, gigs, and on horseback, to go out and meet Monsieur
La Fayette at Harfleru, (6 miles from Havre), and accompany him into town. The American Consul, and all the American
gentlemen, and captains of ships in the harbor, intended also paying that compliment to the General; but the Sous
Prefet notified to the Consul, that the Americans must not do so.”
“The road for two miles out of town, continued crowded from 3 in the afternood till dark, when no tidings of the
General having come, the people returned into town, where they remained in groups all the evening. Havre presented
the appearance of a town in danger of an enemy’s approach. The guards were doubled at all the posts; patroles of
soldiers,plicemen and gend armes, marched about, and prevented the crowd from collecting in any one spot.”
“At a quarter past 10 the General arrived in a post carriage, with his son and secreatery. They were accompanied
by the carriages that had gone out from Havre, and about 100 young men on horseback, all dressed alike. A strong
body of gend armes escorted the cavalcade. On arriving at the entrance to the city, the gates were shut, and the
guard drawn out with fixed bayonets. It was then asked if it was the Marquis de La Fayette, who was there, and
on being answered that it was General La Fayette, the gate was opened to admit his carriage, and closed immediately
to prevent the entry of any of those who had gone out to meet the General.”
“After repeated and unavailing attempts to get in, and expostulating with the officer on guard, this latter assured
the gentlemen on his honor, that if they would go to the Poste de Pincettes, (a gate at the rear side of the city
and a mile from the principalone,) they would be admitted. On presenting themselves at the gate, it was closed,
and they were desired to go back to the principal gate, where they were admitted, two by two, at intervals, and
the names of several taken.”
“In the mean time the General proceeded to the house of Mr. Phillipon, (a most respectable merchant,) where an
elegant dinner was provided, and a large party waiting to receive him. In the course of the entertainment, a stone
was thrown by some miscreant, in through one of the windows, which passed close to the head of one of the gentlemen.
On the morning of the 13th, crowds again assembled to witness the embarkation of the General, and the streets presented
the same appearance as the evening before. A party of soldiers were drawn up opposite the Cadmus, on the customhouse
quay, where it was supposed the embarkation would take place. Every impediment was used to prevent the people from
showing any mark of respect. The Cadmus, in consequence of the tide’s falling was obliged to haul out into the
roads. The General, accompanied by a body of gentlemen, arrived, and went on board the steam boat, which was previously
cleared by order of the Police, who would not allow him to embark whilst any body of the town was on board. They
also hauled down the flag belonging to the boat, and would not let it be hoisted whilst M. La Fayette was on board.
The gates were shut, to prevent the people going to the pier-head to take a last view of the General. However,
in this their efforts were unavailing, as every boat that could be had was immediately filled, and followed the
steam boat to the Cadmus, two miles off. A gend’ arme and a police officer went out in the Cadmus, to prevent any
body but the General and his suite going on board. On his coming alongside, he was received with hearty and repeated
cheers from the ship, which were returned from the boats, and a few persons on shore, who had got out and assembled
about half a mile from the pier, (to be out of the way of the military,) as there was a strong guard at the pier-head.
This closed the scene.”
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
September 15, 1824
From the Petersburg Intelligencer
In Virginia, when General La Fayette shall visit us, we possess but scant means of making a parade. We have no
splendid palaces, ships, or steamboats, to make a display, and we can exhibit but little of the “pomp and circumstance
of war” – but we can lead the veteran to the principal scenes of his early glory – we can ..?... him to the plains
of York, and Petersburg, we can show him, on Boilingbrook Hill, the very house, still standing, from the upper
story of which, with a cannon ball thrown from Archer’s Hill, on the opposite side of Appomattox River, he dislodged
the British General Phillips, and caused his haughty enemy, who said the “Boy cannot escape me,” to retreat into
the cellar. With these recollections to interest him; with an old-fashioned, downright Virginia welcome, the General
will excuse deficiencies, and take the will for the deed. There may be something too much of show and ceremony
even when originating in the most laudable and praiseworthy motives; but the extended hand – the heaving bosom
– the glistening eye, speak a language that cannot be misunderstood, and which La Fayette will not fail to appreciate.
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
September 15, 1824
From the N.Y. Eve. Post, Sept 1
On Friday, Gen. La Fayette, family and suite, dined at the seat of his Excellency Gov. Eustis, at Roxbury, near
Boston. The preparations for his reception were remarkably splendid and tasteful. In the evening the front of his
Excellency’s house was beautifully lighted by variegated lamps, and fireworks thrown upon the lawn. On Saturday
forenoon the General received the congratulations of the citizens of Boston in the State House, and at 1 o’clock
left town for Medford where he dined with Governor Brooks. In the afternoon he returned, and spent the evening
with a large party at Mrs. Lloyd’s. Sunday morning, he attended divine service at Brattle Square meeting house,
where he heard a sermon from the Rev. Mr. Palfrey, and, after service, went to Quincy to dine with the late president,
Mr. John Adams. On the General’s visiting Bunker Hill, at Charlestown, he was addressed by Dr. A. R. Thompson;
to which he made the following reply: “With profound reverence, Sir, I tread this holy ground, where the blood
of American patriots; the blood of Warren and his companions, gallantly and gloriously spilled – aroused the energy
of three millions, and secured the happiness of ten millions and or many other millions of men in names to come.
That blood has called both American continents to Republican Independence, and has awakened the nations of Europe
to a sense, and, in future, I trust, to the practice of their rights. Such have been the effects of a resistance
to oppression, which was, by many pretended wise men of the times, called rashness; - while it was duty, virtue;
and had been a signal for the emancipation of mankind.”
“I beg you, Sir, and the Magistrates, and the citizens of Charlestown, to accept the homage of my gratitude for
your kind welcome and of those sentiments of affection and respect, which for so many years I have cherished towards
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
September 15, 1824
It is rumored in our circles (says the Boston Gazette) tha the Minister of his Most Christian Majesty has received
orders not to extend any civility to the Marquis De La Fayette, now in this country; it is also stated, that the
French and English Consuls, in Boston, have not paid their respects to the Marquis. The latter part of the story,
we believe to be true; we have the honor of knowing these public functionaries, and have a high respect for both
gentlemen, for their intelligence, urbanity and courtesy, and fully believe that political, and not personal reasons
influence their conduct. We are not surprised at the fact, that such a man as the Marquis De La Fayette should
be marked with the neglect of crowned heads.
September 8, 1824
At the request of a friend and Subscriber, we publish the following account of the sufferings of La Fayette and
his family, during his imprisonment in several fortresses in Europe – extracted from a volume of the French Wars:
M.P.J.R.Y.G. Motier, Marquis La Fayette, was born in Auvergne, and is descended from an ancient family. He was
educated at the College of Lewis Le Grand, at Paris, and received a commission in Mosquetaires; soon after which
he married a lady of the family of Noailles. When only 19 years of age, this nobleman repaired to America, where
he acquired considerable reputation by his military achievements, and rendered himself still more celebrated by
his disinterestedness; he having refused, during the winter of 1777, to accept of the command of the American army,
in prejudice to his friend, Gen. Washington, whose talents and virtues had not, at that time, been sufficiently
appreciated. (This is notoriously without foundation. There never
existed, at any period of the American war, an idea of transferring the command of the army from Washington to
La Fayette. The remark is not, however, made to derogate from the merits of the Marquis, who certainly rendered
very important services to the American cause, as well with his fortune as his person. – American Epit.)
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) December 1 1824
Washington, Nove 24
General La Fayette reached this city yesterday morning in the steam boat, from Fredericksburg, accompanied by the
Hon. James Barbour, of the Senate of the United States, and Judge Brooke, of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.
The General was met, at the wharf, at 6 o’clock in the morning, by the Committee of Arrangements and conducted,
under the escort of Capt. Andrew’s troop of cavalry to the Franklin House.
The General dined yesterday with the President of the United States, with the principal Officers of the Government,
the Mayor of the City, and other guests.
He will leave here today, about 11 o’clock – not being able, compatibly with some private engagements, to depart
at an earlier hour; and will reach Baltimore probably between 8 and 9 o’clock in the evening. – Nat. Intell.
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) December 1 1824
Baltimore, Nov. 25
Arrival in Baltimore
We have the pleasure to announce to the citizens that Gen. La Fayette, accompanied by his Son and Secretary, and
also by the Hon. Jas. Barbour, of Virginia, and W. Seaton, Esq. of Washington, arrived here at a late hour, last
night from Washington. The Mayor, at the head of the Committee of Arrangement, was in waiting to receive him, and
in the name of the city, expressed the sincere gratification and happiness which his presence occasioned. He was
welcomed in the most cordial and hearty manner to his lodgings, which the Corporation have held at the Fountain
Inn for his accommodation exclusively, whenever he may be among us.
The General was escorted from the State line to the city of Baltimore by Capt. Sprigg’s troop of horse. When he
alighted at his lodgings, he was greeted by the cheers of a crowd of citizens who were awaiting his arrival.
This morning the General will proceed to the Cattle Show and Agricultural Fair – and will deliver to the fortunate
competitors the handsome premiums which have been prepared. The General, it is understood, will dine with the Agricultural
Society and on his return to the city in the evening will visit the theatre, having accepted an invitation to that
effect from the managers. They have selected for his entertainment this evening Sheridan’s comedy of the School
for Scandal, the play always chosen by General Washington when he attended the Theatre. We understand that a box,
appropriately decorated, will be set apart for the accommodation of the General and his suite. – Amer.
When the French Revolution occurred, La Fayette prepared to act a distinguished part. In 1789 he became a member
of the States General, as a deputy from the nobility of Riom, in Auvergne. He had already been a member of the
Notables, in 1789, and his attack on the administration of Colonna is said to have contributed to the downfall
of that Minister. He was the first to propose to the National Assembly a plan for a Declaration of Rights; and,
after the recall of Necker, was unanimously elected Commander-in-Chief of the National Guards. In this capacity
he presided at the Grand Confederation, on the 14th of July, as the Generalissimo of a greater body of troops than
has ever been commanded by any other man since the days of Xerxes. No sooner was the Constitution organized than
he resigned his power and retired to one of his family estates, whence he did not return until a war with Austria
was resolved upon. He was at that period a major General, but soon obtained the rank of Lieut. General, and finally
that of Marshal of France, with a red ribband.
Having been invested with the command of the armies of the Meuse and Moselle, he left his Head Quarters soon after
the 20th of June, 1782, on purpose to complain of the indignities to which the King had been exposed in the course
of the day; but a Decree of Accusation was at length voted against him, he was forsaken by his troops, and deemed
it prudent to fly, along with a few of his friends. Being seized on neutral ground, in contravention of the laws
of Nations, they were considered, as will be seen hereafter, in the light of prisoners of war after they had ceased
to be soldiers, and experienced a degree of severity in respect to their treatment, reserved, in general, for degree
of severity in respect to their treatment, reserved, in general, for malchetors alone.
Latour Maubourg had been Colonel of the regiment of Soisonois, and deputy from the nobility of the Puyen Valley
to the Sates General. Attached to the principles of the Revolution, he was among the first of his order who joined
the third estate, and became one of the most ardent defenders of popular rights. When Louis XVI was arrested at
Varrenes, Latour Maubourg was nominated, along with Petion and Barneve, to reconduct the Monarch to Paris, and
when his friend La Fayette was placed at the head of one of the French armies, he accompanied him thither with
the rank of Major General, and afterwards shared his captivity in the Prussian and Austrian dungeons.
Bureau De Pusy, was originally an officer of Engineers, and a deputy from the nobility of the Baileage of Amont
to the States General. Like Latour Maubourg, he joined the third estate. And, after the formation of the National
Assembly, presided several times over its debates. He was also a member of the Military Committee, and on the 10th
of June, 1791, in consequence of the defection of the Officers of the army, he proposed a decree requiring a new
oath of fidelity, by which each person was to declare himself forever infamous in case he violated it.
At the conclusion of the labors of the first Assembly he served under La Fayette, and was denounced by Gaudet,
for having proposed to Marshall Luckner to unite both armies and march straight to Paris, in order to punish the
outrages committed against the King, on the 20th of June. On this the assembly desired that he should appear at
the bar, in order to justify himself. He accordingly repaired thither, and produced a letter from Marshal Luckner,
testifying the information to be false; on which he was immediately declared innocent. He accompanied his General
in his flight, and participated in all his subsequent misfortunes.
Alexander Lamett – The family of Lamett received a distinguished protection at Court, anterior to the Revolution.
And Alexander, at an early period of his life, attained the rank of Colonel in second, and became a Knight of Malta.
After serving for some time in America, as aid-de-camp to M. de Rochambeau, he returned home, and in 1789, was
elected a deputy by the nobles of Peronne to the States General. Like several others of his own order, the Count
at first distinguished himself by his attachment to the popular cause, but he, at length, became a violent member
of the feuillant Club, and excited the rage and the revenge of the Jacobins, who asserted that he and his family
had changed their principles, merely because they had large estates in the West Indies. Certain it is, that, after
having been for a long time the implacable enemy of La Fayette, a reconciliation ensued, and he accompanied the
General to the army, and actually served under him. He also followed his fortunes, and for some time shared his
fate; but his mother, Madam Lamett, by means of her own influence and that of her brother, marshal Broglio, obtained
first a melioration of his captivity, and then his liberty.
La Fayette, perceiving himself abandoned by his army and proscribed by the National Assembly, as has been already
mentioned, determined on flight. It was the intention of the General and his companions to repair to Holland, as
that was a neutral country, and in the neighborhood of their own. They accordingly set out on horseback, dressed
in their Regimentals, and freely declared to all they met, that they had quitted the French army, and were retiring
to a place of refuge. They had not, however, traveled more than a few leagues beyond the frontiers, when they happened
to be arrested by an Austrian patrol, and conducted to Luxemburg. Being at length permitted to address a letter
to the Duke of Saxe Teschen, Governor General of the Low Countries, that prince not only signified his refusal
in the most peremptory manner, but added, with a degree of bitterness wholly unsuitable to the occasion, that they
should be reserved for the scaffold.
Immediately after this a correspondence took place between the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, relative to these prisoners.
And as it was at length determined that the monarch who commanded the combined army should be entrusted with the
custody of La Fayette and his companions, they were immediately conducted under an escort, andn imprisoned at Wesel,
where they were confined separately, and constantly superintended by non-commissioned officers, who received strict
orders never to permit them to remain for a single moment out of sight, or to answer any questions that were put
by them. La Fayette, overwhelmed with chagrin and mortification, fell sick, and became so dangerously ill that
his life was despaired of. While in this condition, Maubourg was refused permission to visit his friend,now supposed
to be on his death bed.
But a salutary crisis having occurred, and the King of Prussia thinking that he might be able to profit by his
convalescence, caused it to be intimated that his situation would be meliorated, provided he would draw up place
against France: But La Fayette exhibited, by means of an energetic answer, his scorn of such a proposition. On
this the rigors of his confinement were increased. He and his companion were soon after thrown into a wagon and
conveyed to Magdeburg; care being taken that they sould learn nothing respecting their families, concerning whose
fate they experienced the most lively emotions, in consequence of the proscriptions that prevailed in France.
By removing them in this manner, it seems to have been the intention of their persecutors to aggravate their miseries,
and excite the public indignation; but is such were their motives, they were greatly disappointed, as they every
where experienced that interest and compassion, produced alike by the injustice of their detention and the constancy
of their courage. They remained says Segur, Tab. Pol., t.3, page 277, during a whole year at Magdeburg, in a dark
and humid vault, surrounded by high palisades, shut up by means of four successive doors fortified by iron bars
and fastened with padlocks. Their fate, however, appeared to be now some milder, as they were permitted to see
each other, and allowed to walk for an hour each day on one of the bastions. At length the king of Prussia, all
of a sudden, ordered La Fayeete to be removed to Neiss. Maubourg in vain solicitated to be shut up along with him;
but this favor was denied, and he was conducted to Glatz, whither Bureau de Pusy was also carried soon after.
Alexander Lamett, who was dangerously ill, could not be transported along with his companions. His mother after
many solicitations, prevailed on the King to permit him to remain within his own dominions – and soon after the
peace had been concluded between that monarch and the French Republic, he was fortunate enough to obtain his liberty.
The other prisoners were now confined in Neiss, for the purpose of being delivered up to Austria. And, although
the dungeon inhabited by them was still more dismal and unhealthy than any of the others, yet they still deemed
themselves fortunate; for the three companions were permitted to enjoy the society of Madam Masoncuve; who had
courageously repaired thither to participate in the lot of her brother, Latour Maubourg.
Soon after this they were conducted to Oimutz, and on their arrival there were so completely stripped of everything,
that only their buckles and their watches remained. Some books were also taken from them, in which the word liberty
happened to be inserted; particularly L’Esprit, by Helvetius, and Paine’s Common Sense, both belonging to La Fayette.
It was, also, declared to each, while shutting them up separately in their respective cells, that henceforth they
would never see anything but the four walls of their dungeon; that they might expect no manner of intelligence
respecting persons or things; that the mention of their very names, even by the Jailers or in the dispatches sent
to Court was prohibited; and, that thenceforth they would only be designated by particular numbers, and that they
could never receive any information concerning the fate of their families or their own reciprocal existence; and
that, as men in this situation would be naturally inclined to destroy themselves, they must be interdicted the
use of a knife, fork and every other instrument which might product suicide.
After three different attestations on the part of Physicians, pointing out the indispensable necessity of fresh
air for La Fayette, he was permitted to walk in the fortress. It was this circumstance which afforded him an opportunity
to escape, on the 8th of January, 1794. Two Americans, Doctor Bollman and Mr. Heger, being affected with gratitude
for the distinguished part he had acted, during that war which rendered their country independent, and inspired,
at the same time, with indignation and pity at his cruel and forlorn situation, conceived the generous resolution
of becoming his deliverers. This was accordingly effected, and he was actually carried off. But he happened to
be retaken at Sternberg, eight leagues distant, and reconducted to prison. During the struggle between La Fayette
and the Corporal to whose care he was entrusted, and whom he had disarmed, the latter, who had fallen in the contest,
bit his hand to the bone. Bollman was delivered up to the Austrians. (The
persons who assisted the Marquis in his escape, were Dr. Bollman, a German, who had never, at that time, been in
America, and who was employed for the purpose, by several Americans then in Europe, and Mr. Kuger, of South Carolina,
who as accidentally traveling in Germany, and voluntarily engaged to accompany Dr. Bollman in the hazardous attempt.
– Amer. Edit. )
Subsequent to that period, the captivity of La Fayette was more rigorous, and his malady more violent than before.
He was left without any assistance, exposed to a continuous fever during a severe winter, and deprived of light,
and even of the linen that his malady rendered necessary. Maubourg and de Pusy, who had never attempted to escape,
were also deprived of the liberty of breathing the air of heaven; and, in order to augment the horrors experienced
by the General himself, he was made to believe that the two gentlemen who has so nobly interested themselves in
his favor, had perished on the scaffold.
While La Fayette was thus tortured in his dungeon at Olmutz, and apprehended daily to be delivered up to the axe
of the executioner, his unhappy wife, who was confined in a prison at Paris, also expected every hour to suffer
the same punishment that had been inflicted on the greater part of her family. The fall of Robespierre at length
saved her life; but it was long afterwards before she regained her liberty, and the necessary strength to execute
the design she has for some time meditated.
This unhappy lady, having at length found means to leave France, landed at Altona, September 9, 1795, set out immediately
for Vienna, under the name of Motier, with an American passport, and arrived there with her two daughters, before
her design had been divulged. The Prince de Rosenberg, affected by her virtues and her misfortunes, obtained an
audience from the Emperor, and leave to participate in the captivity of a husband and a father. But his Imperial
Majesty absolutely refused to make any promise relative to the liberty of La Fayette. While the wives of Maubourg
an de Pudy, inspired by the same sentiments, were denied permission to share the misfortune of their husbands,
and could not even procure his assent to enter into the Austrian States. On the arrival of Madam La Fayette at
Olmutz, she and her two lovely daughters were accordingly admitted into the fortress; but they were treated with
the greatest inhumanity, and appear to have been refused to hear Mass on Sundays or to have a servant attend upon
At length the health of this lady became so precarious, that she was prevailed upon to request permission from
his Imperial Majesty, to spend a week at Vienna, for the purpose of breathing fresh air and consulting a Physician.
Two months after this, the Commandant made his appearance for the first time, and after giving orders that the
two young ladies should be confined to a particular chamber, signified to Madam La Fayette, that she was expressly
prohibited from ever gain appearing in the capital; but was allowed to leave the Jail, on condition, however, that
she should never enter it again. She was at the same time desired to intimate her option; but the courageous female,
taking up a pen, wrote as follows:
“I deemed it proper, for the sake of my family, to demand the succor necessary for the re-establishment of my health;
but they must know, that the price attached to this object, is not acceptable to me. I can never forget when my
husband and myself were ready to perish – I by the tyranny of Robespierre, and he by the physical and moral evils
sustained by him during his captivity – that we were both reciprocally bereft of the knowledge of each other’s
existence, as well as that of our family; and I am fully determined never to expose myself again to the horrors
of another separation. Whatever, then, may be the state of my own health, and the inconveniences attending the
stay of my daughters in this place, will will most gratefully take advantage of the goodness of his Imperial majesty
expressed towards us, by the permission to share in all the miseries of his captivity.
Signed, Noailles La Fayette.”
Subsequently to this period, no complaints whatever were heard on the part of the unhappy sufferers, who inhabited
those chambers, or rather dungeons, an also thoroughly impregnated and infected by a common sewer, and the privies
which were close to La Fayette’s window, that the soldiers were accustomed to stop their noses on opening the door.
Maubourg, Pusy and La Fayette had already been imprisoned during three years and five months, in the same gallery,
without seeing or being acquainted with the fate of each other, and entertained no prospect whatever of their liberty,
when the French Directory, by means of their ambassador, Barthelimi, interfered in their behalf, but this was at
first attended with no beneficial effect whatever, and it was not until the conqueror of Italy had sent Louis Romoeuf,
formerly one of La Fayette’s aids-de-camp, to solicit the favor, that the court of Vienna would consent to their
deliverance. The Austrian minister endeavored, on this occasion, to obtain conditions from the prisoners, which
they were determined not to accede to, and it was even required by a nobleman employed for that purpose, that La
Fayette should quit Europe immediately. Here follows the spirited reply from the latter:
“The Commission with which the Marquis De Chasteleer is charged, appears to me to be reducible to three points.
“1st. His Imperial Majesty is desirous that our situation should be verified, but I am not disposed to make the
least complaint on that subject. A number of particulars may be discovered in the letters to my wife; and, if it
be not sufficient for his imperial majesty to read, once more, the instructions sent from Vienna, in his name,
I will willingly afford any information to the Marquis De Chasteleer, he may be desirous of.
“2dly. His majesty, the emperor and king, wishes to be assured, that immediately after my deliverance, I will set
out for America. This intention has often been manifested on my part; but, as my consent, at the present moment,
would seem to recognize the right of imposing the condition, I do not deem it proper for me to accede to it.
“3dly. His majesty, the emperor and king, had done me the honor to signify to me, that the principles which I profess,
being incompatible with the safety of the Austrian government, he does not wish that I should ever enter his states
without receiving his own special permission. There are certain duties which I can never abandon; by these I am
connected with the United States, and more especially with France; and I cannot enter into an engagement with any
one in contravention to the claims which my country possesses in respect to my person. These exceptions being admitted,
I can assure the General de Chasteleer that it is my invariable determination, never to place my foot on any of
the territories belonging to his majesty the king of Bohemia and Hungary.”
The two other persons made similar declarations; and they, at length, agreed that they should all subscribe the
following engagements, and no other:
“We, the undersigned, engage to his majesty, the emperor and king, never to enter his hereditary states, without
having obtained his special permission, with an exception, however, to the right which our country possesses in
respect to our persons.”
This unexpected resistance greatly irritated the Austrian cabinet, and the doors of their dungeons were once more
shut upon them, while Bonaparte was given to understand, that they had been restored to their liberty. But, having
at length received intelligence of what had occurred, he sent Romoeuf to Vienna – and they were finally liberated,
in the month of September, 1797.
Immediately after this event had taken place, they repaired to Hamburg; and Madam La Fayette having obtained leave
to return to France, her husband was permitted, by Bonaparte, to repair thither also, soon after the revolution
that occurred in 1799.
Latour Maubourg , as well as his son and brother, were recalled by Bonaparte, in 1800, and their friendship with
the family of La Fayette has been still further cemented by a marriage between young Maubourg and a daughter of
Alexander Lamett, after having obtained his liberty by the influence of his mother, repaired to England, in 1796,
but he immediately received notice from the Government to quit the Kingdom, on which he retired to Hamburg. In
1797 he returned to France, with a view of having his name erased from the list of Emigrants, but he was soon once
more obliged to withdraw. At length, however, the resolution effected by Bonaparte, operated in a manner favorable
to his wishes, and in 1800, he was permitted to reside in his native county.