(September 6, 1757 - May 20, 1834)
Biography and Newspaper Gleanings
Transcribed and Submitted by: Nancy Piper
Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Lafayette (known as "Marquis de Lafayette" until June 1790) 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 in 1834.
The name "La Fayette" is derived from an estate in Aix that belonged to the Motier family in the 13th century. The original Gilbert Lafayette, Marshal of France, (from whom Lafayette draws his motto, "CUR NON?" - Latin for "WHY NOT?") fought, successfully, at the Battle of Baugé (also called Battle of Beauge) and nine years later for Joan of Arc. 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" and thereby using this propaganda to give Lafayette's supporters the false impression that he gave up on his life-long belief that "ALL men are created equal". Note that Lafayette may be written as one word or as two; one word is more typical in American usage and Lafayette's preference and as it appears on his grave stone, while the two-word form is preferred in contemporary British and French usage. Many places in the United States are named Lafayette, Fayette, or Fayetteville in his honor.
Lafayette was born at the Château de Chavaniac, near Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, in the remote, mountainous Auvergne region of France, 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, and bravery.
At 19, he was a captain of dragoons when the British colonies in America proclaimed their independence. He later wrote in his memoirs, "my heart was enrolled in it." Charles-François, comte de Broglie, whom he consulted, tried to discourage him from getting involved in the conflict. Broglie eventually presented him to Johann Kalb, who was also seeking service in America. On December 7, 1776, Lafayette made an arrangement through Silas Deane, an American agent in Paris, to enter the American service as a major general. At this moment, the news arrived of grave disasters to the American cause. Lafayette's friends "officially" advised him to give up. Even the king had to "officially" forbid his leaving after British spies discovered his plan (and other clandestine aid to Americans). At the insistence of the British ambassador, orders were issued to seize the ship Lafayette was fitting out at Bordeaux and to have Lafayette arrested. He eluded capture disguised as a courier and sailed for America with 11 companions. Although pursued by two British ships, he landed safely on North Island near Georgetown, South Carolina, on June 13, 1777 after a voyage of nearly two months.
Lafayette offered his services to the Americans as an unpaid volunteer. He presented himself to the Continental Congress with Deane's authority to request a commission of the highest rank after the commander-in-chief.
Congress then passed a resolution, on July 31, 1777, "that his services be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family, and connections, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States." The next day, Lafayette met George Washington, who became his lifelong friend. As a member of Washington's inner circle, Lafayette also became very close friends with young Alexander Hamilton, Washington's chief aide-de-camp.
Lafayette's first battle was Brandywine on September 11, 1777, where he was wounded in the leg. Shortly afterwards, he secured the command of a division — the immediate result of a communication from Washington to Congress of November 1, 1777, in which he said: "The Marquis de Lafayette is extremely solicitous of having a command equal to his rank. I do not know in what light Congress will view the matter, but it appears to me, from a consideration of his illustrious and, important connections, the attachment which he has manifested for our cause, and the consequences which his return in disgust might produce, that it will be advisable to gratify his wishes, and the more so as several gentlemen from France who came over under some assurances have gone back disappointed in their expectations. His conduct with respect to them stands in a favourable point of view—having interested himself to remove their uneasiness and urged the impropriety of their making any unfavourable representations upon their arrival at home. Besides, he is sensible, discreet in his manners, has made great proficiency in our language, and from the disposition he discovered at the battle of Brandywine possesses a large share of bravery and military ardour."
In the first months of 1778, Lafayette commanded troops detailed for the projected expedition against Canada. After that plan was aborted, Lafayette participated in the campaign in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where he was commended for his retreat from Barren Hill (May 28, 1778), and fought at the Battle of Monmouth (June 28). He received from Congress a formal recognition of his services in the Rhode Island expedition (August 1778).
Meanwhile, the signing of a formal Treaty of Alliance between the United States and France on February 6, 1778, prompted by Great Britain to declare war against France. LaFayette asked leave to return to France to consult Louis XVI as to the further direction of his services.
Lafayette left for France on January 11, 1779, where he was made a colonel in the cavalry. After about six months, he returned to America. From April until October 1781, he was charged with the defense of Virginia, where he showed his zeal by borrowing money on his own account to provide his soldiers with necessaries. Washington commended him for doing all that was possible with the forces at his disposal. In the siege of Yorktown, Lafayette bore an honorable if not a distinguished part.
At the end of 1781, Lafayette returned to France, where he was welcomed as a hero and promoted to the rank of maréchal de camp (brigadier general) in the French army. Lafayette then helped prepare for a combined French and Spanish expedition against the British West India Islands, of which he was appointed chief-of-staff. The armistice signed on January 20, 1783, between the countries put a stop to the expedition.
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg ,PA)
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 people.
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.
Republican Compiler ( Gettysburg , PA)
September 1 1824
Leading incidents of his eventful life – compiled from sundry 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 field.
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.
Republican Compiler ( Gettysburg , PA)
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 foreigner.
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 , PA)
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.)
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 incase 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 them.
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 the General.
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.
Republican Compiler ( Gettysburg , PA)
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 , PA)
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 gendarmes, 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 , PA)
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 , PA)
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 their town.”
Republican Compiler ( Gettysburg , PA )
September 15, 1824
It is rumored in our circles (says the Boston Gazette) that 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.