LAFAYETTE'S VISIT TO OHIO VALLEY STATES.
BY C. B. GALBREATH.
The fame of those who rose to eminence in the American
Revolution is secure. Time has not dimmed the luster of their
achievements or our gratitude for their patriotic service. The
monument reared to them in the hearts of the American people
has withstood the test of the critic, the sneer of the cynic and
the hammer of the iconoclast. This is well. If they have been
idealized and idolized it is not to the discredit of their posterity
and the Republic that they founded.
In the quest for historic truth, however, it is inevitable that
there should be a revision of opinions in regard to incidents and
men. No serious fault can be found with "the man from Mis-
souri" who wishes "to be shown." There can be no objection to
his doubt so long as it is a reasonable and honest doubt. Dispas-
sionate consideration of evidence in the determination of facts
is as timely in historic investigation as in the study of the nat-
ural sciences. This, however, does not warrant conclusions
based upon unsupported assertion, however novel and original
they may be and however startling because they run counter to
long established public opinion.
The "higher criticism" is entitled to respect and some of its
revelations may well provoke a smile when applied to the ro-
mance and legends of the Revolution. But the story of the
famous hatchet and cherry tree does not diminish the regard
for the Father of His Country, however much it may shake faith
in the narrative of the Reverend Mason Locke Weems. Nor
shall mirth provoking humor, even when used to camouflage the
keen shafts of sarcasm, prevail against the substantial worth,
the generous enthusiasm and the distinguished achievements of
the compatriots of Washington.
Lafayette has been fittingly styled "the fortunate friend of
liberty in Europe and America," but the success that crowned
his career on this side of the Atlantic was the meed of merit as
well as good fortune. The crowning testimonial to his achieve-
164 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ment, the welcome accorded him in 1824 and 1825 on the occa-
sion of his second visit to America, was so spontaneous and pro-
nounced that it has, in recent years, invited at least one chal-
lenge by an apostle of "the higher criticism."
In the Atlantic Monthly for May, 1919, a gifted writer from
classic Princeton, a spot hallowed by stirring events and tra-
ditions of the Revolution, has essayed in a brilliant and somewhat
disconcerting contribution, entitled "Since We Welcomed La-
fayette", to pluck a few feathers from the plume of this
"knight errant of liberty," and incidentally to take a fall out
of the schoolbook historians and our French "propaganda"
through the World War.
In this style the "higher criticism" goes to the bat:
"No single phenomenon of America's participation in the
Great War has been more striking than the instant response, in
the average American heart, to the name of Lafayette. It is one
of the most curious, the most absurd, the most fortunate, of
moral accidents. We did not go into the war because of Lafay-
ette; but who can say what help that name has rendered in sus-
taining the enthusiasm of the draft army?"
The foes of Germany; we are-given to understand, had a
weapon of which they had scarcely dreamed in the credulity
of the American people:
"Allied propaganda had an instrument to its hand which
perhaps it did not, itself, suspect. Like a sword from its sheath,
like Lazarus from the tomb, the figure of Lafayette leaped forth
from the collective memory. People who knew nothing else;
people who found it difficult to credit German turpitude or to
feel a vital interest in any European war whatsoever, knew all
about him. 'Why, yes,' they said, rubbing their eyes; 'of course
we owe a debt to France; we don't know much about France,
but France is a good scout, you bet: she sent Lafayette to help us
fight the English.' For millions, France meant Lafayette."
We are then enlightened as to the comparative insignificance
"But he was never a great fighter, and his military career in
America, though respectable, was not distinguished. Except by
loving the insurgent Americans when most people did not, it is
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 165
hard to know what peculiar and signal service he rendered.
Even at that time of counting noses and husbanding pitifully small
talent, he was not indispensable."
Our "ridiculous, unscientific schoolbooks" and their young
dupes are the next exhibit:
"How much good Lafayette accomplished in 1777 is prob-
lematical; the good he accomplished in 1917 is, frankly, incalcu-
lable. We really needed no French propaganda; you said, 'La-
fayette,' and you had all the young throats cheering."
"American youths did not stop to read what the Committee
on Public Information printed. They had learned what was nec-
essary in their ridiculous, unscientific schoolbooks. Didn't France
help us out? And didn't France, on top of it, have a revolution
of her own and turn into a republic ?"
The discovery of the influence of Lafayette is presented as
"And the joke of it is that no one had suspected the power
of that name. When politicians and public speakers first used it,
because there was no argument they dared omit, they did not
dream that it would, for so many millions, make any other argu-
ment unnecessary. It was sheer, stupendous luck."
Reference is made to General Pershing's famous speech with
the observation that when he said, "Lafayette, we are here," he
said just what the school boy would have him say:
"The propagandists here used Lafayette in the beginning;
and General Pershing made him, as it were, official. The French
themselves lagged a little behind, but they did not lag for long.
They were too well-informed to suspect Lafayette's importance in
the first place; but they were far too intelligent not to use him
as soon as they saw what, to uninformed young America, he stood
The "higher criticism" then concludes with this somewhat
"The near-historian might point to the Lafayette legend as
one of Bismarck's 'Imponderables.' But we, if you please, will
let it go at what it most obviously is: an Arabian-Night-ish tale of
irrelevant magic and incommensurate rewards; a proof that
166 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Haroun-al-Raschid and Abraham Lincoln were both right; that
not only to the gayety, but to the positive benefit, of nations, you
can fool all the people some of the time."
With the hope that those who have followed these quotations
thus far may read in full the article from which they are taken,
we beg to observe that if the fame of Lafayette is "a joke", based
largely on a misconception of services to the patriot cause, the
American school boys of today are not the first to have been
misled by its influence, or, to put it in another form, led aright
by its unwarranted influence. From the "higher criticism" of
1919, we appeal to the testimony of those who welcomed Lafay-
ette almost a century ago, who were closer to him and his achieve-
ments and whose spirits were aflame with the story and the
memories of the Revolution.
He first came to America in 1777, when he was a youth of
nineteen years, when disaster seemed about to overwhelm the
American cause. He joined Washington at the Brandywine and
was wounded in the battle there, was with the commander in
chief through the terrible winter at Valley Forge and fought
without pay until the crowning triumph of American and French
arms at Yorktown.
He first made a brief visit to the United States in 1784.
Later when the young Republic had expanded westward and was
fast becoming a nation wide and strong, after the French revolu-
tion, his long imprisonment in an Austrian dungeon and the
downfall of Napoleon, Lafayette came again and as "the na-
tion's guest" visited every state in the Union.
In the latter part of February, 1825, he started on his south-
ern and western tour. Down the Potomac and the Chesapeake,
through Virginia and the Carolinas he went, down to the sunny
southland to meet the early spring. Overland across Georgia he
passed and down the Alabama. Out from the bay of Mobile
the vessel steamed and bore him to New Orleans - the French-
American city that welcomed him in a delirium of joy. Up the
"Father of Waters" he came, visiting new states, then the west-
ern frontiers of civilization, and marveling at the prodigies of
progress in the wilderness.
As his delighted eyes dwelt upon the happy prospect, he
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 167
168 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
forgot age and fatigue and felt bounding through his veins again
the enthusiasm of revolutionary days. In what had been
the Northwest Territory he rejoiced to see the principles that
claimed his youthful heart embodied in the structures of three
noble states, prophetic of what the greater Republic was to be
when slavery under the flag should cease and liberty should be-
come universal in America.
The fame of Lafayette's reception in the East gradually
reached the frontier settlements of the West and stimulated a
lively desire to see and greet the nation's guest. Late in No-
vember of 1824 the legislature of Illinois appointed a committee
who formulated the following address to Lafayette:
"To General Lafayette:
SIR:-The General Assembly now in session, in behalf of
the people of the state of Illinois, feel it their duty to express to
you, how largely its citizens participate in the feelings of joy and
gratitude, which your arrival in the United States has inspired.
All our sentiments are in perfect harmony with those of our fel-
low citizens of the East, who have so warmly greeted your visit
to this Republic. They have spoken the language of our hearts.
The voice of gratulation which has been sounded from Maine to
Louisiana, is echoed from the banks of the Mississippi. Remote
as we are from the Atlantic states, we have not been able to join
with our fellow-citizens in their congratulations, and say to the
Guest of the Nation: "Welcome Lafayette." But though we
have not spoken it, we feel it. No sooner had the news of your
arrival reached this distant part of the country, than every eye
sparkled with joy, every heart beat high with gratitude, and every
bosom swelled with patriotic pride, that Lafayette was in Amer-
ica. With your name is associated everything that can command
our respect, admiration and esteem. Your early achievements
in the war of the Revolution, and the uniform devotion to the
cause of American liberty, have written the name of Lafayette
upon the tablet of our hearts, and secured to you the brightest
page of our history. The same pen that records the virtues and
glories of Washington, will perpetuate the name of Lafayette.
Few of us, in Illinois, have any recollection of the eventful
scenes of the Revolution; but our fathers have told us, and when
they have rehearsed to us its interesting events, the names of
Washington and Lafayette have adorned the recital. There are
few men living, if any, who have such claims upon the gratitude
of the American people, as yourself. You largely contributed to
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 169
lay the foundation, on which are erected our present political in-
stitutions; and even here, in Illinois, a thousand miles from the
scenes of your early exploits, we reap the rich reward of your
toil and blood. When you were fighting by the side of Washing-
ton, Illinois was scarcely known, even by name. It has now be-
come an important member of the great American family, and
will soon assume a prominent rank among the sister states.
"The uniformity of your character particularly endears you
to the hearts of the American people. Whether we behold you
amid the storms of revolution or the oppressions of despotism,
you appear the same consistent friend of liberty and of man
throughout the world.
"We scarcely indulge the pleasing hope of seeing you among
us; but if circumstances should induce you to make a visit to the
western country, be assured, sir, that in no part of it will your
reception be more cordial and welcome than in Illinois; and you
will find hearts deeply penetrated with that gratitude which your
visit to the United States has awakened in every part of our
happy country. We entreat heaven, that the evening of your life
may be as serene and happy, as its morning has been brilliant and
The invitation was forwarded, together with a letter by
Governor Coles. Under date of April 12, 1825, Lafayette writ-
ing from New Orleans signified his eager desire to visit Illinois
and suggested points at which he might meet representatives of
the state. Governor Coles in his reply informed the General
that Colonel Hamilton* would meet him in St. Louis and ar-
range the details of his visit to Illinois.2
*William S. Hamilton was the son of Alexander Hamilton. His name
was William Stephen, not William Schuyler, as written by Governor Coles.
He was aid-de-camp to Governor Coles with the rank of Colonel. (For
interesting sketch of Colonel Hamilton see Washburne's "Sketch of Ed-
2 The following letters passed between Lafayette and Governor Coles:
LAFAYETTE TO EDWARD COLES.
NEW ORLEANS, April 12, 1825.
My Dear Sir: Notwithstanding many expostulations I have received
on the impossibility to perform between the 22 of February, and the
fifteenth of June, the tour of visits which I would have been very unhappy
to relinquish, we have arrived thus far, my companions and myself, and
I don't doubt but that by rapid movements, we can gratify my ardent
170 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
On Saturday, April 30, 1825, Lafayette and party accom-
panied by prominent citizens, chiefly from Missouri, on board
the steamer Natches, arrived in Kaskaskia. The visit was en-
tirely unexpected at that time and no military parade was at-
tempted. The news of the arrival soon spread, and the streets
and way leading to the landing were thronged with people. The
party landed about one o'clock in the afternoon. The guests
proceeded to the residence of General Edgar where a reception
was held. After partaking of refreshments the General was wel-
comed by Governor Coles in the following address:
desire to see everyone of the western states, and yet fulfil a sacred duty as
the representative of the Revolutionary Army, on the half secular jubilee
of Bunker Hill. But to do it, my dear sir, I must avail myself of the
kind, indulgent proposal made by several friends to meet me at some point
near the river, in the state of Illinois -I would say, could Kaskaskia or
Shawneetown suit you to pass one day with me? I expect to leave St.
Louis on the 29th of April, but being engaged for a day's visit at General
Jackson's I might be at Shawneetown on the 8th of May, if you don't take
me directly from St. Louis to Kaskaskia or some other place. Excuse
the hurry of my writing, as the post is going, and receive in this private
letter, - for indeed, to the Governor I would not know how to apologize
for this answer to so polite a proposal,-receive I say, my high and
His Excellency, Governor Coles, Illinois.
GOVERNOR 'COLES TO LAFAYETTE.
EDWARDSVILLE, Apr. 28, 1825.
Dear Sir:--This will be handed to you by my friend and aid-de-
camp, Colonel William Schuyler Hamilton, whom I take particular pleasure
in introducing to you, as the son of your old and particular friend, General
Alexander Hamilton. As it is not known when you will arrive at St.
Louis, or what will be your intended route thence, Colonel Hamilton,is
posted there for the purpose of waiting on you as soon as you shall arrive
and ascertaining from you, and making known to me, by what route you
propose to return eastward, and when and where it will be most agreeable
for you to afford me the happiness of seeing you and welcoming you to
I am, with the greatest respect and esteem, your devoted friend,
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 171
In the name of the citizens of Illinois, I tender you their
affectionate greeting and cordial welcome. Entertaining for you
the most sincere affection, veneration and gratitude, they have
largely participated in the joy diffused throughout our extensive
Republic by your arrival in it; and are particularly gratified that
you have extended your visit to their interior and infant state.
For this distinguished mark of respect, I tender you the thanks
of Illinois. Yes, General, be assured I speak the feelings of
every citizen of the state, when I tell you that we experience no
common gratification on seeing you among us. We are not in-
sensible to the honor done us by this visit, and only regret that
we are not able to give you a reception more consonant with our
feelings and wishes. But you will find our excuse in the recent
172 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
settlement of the state, and the infancy of our condition as a
"You will doubtless bear in mind that Illinois was not even
conceived at the period of the Revolution, that she has come
into existence but a few years since, and of course has not yet
procured those conveniences and comforts which her elder sis-
ters have had time to provide. But, General, though her citizens
can not accommodate you as they would wish, believe me they
receive you with all those emotions which swell the bosom of the
affectionate child, when receiving its kind parent, for the first
time, at its new and unfinished dwelling.
"Your presence brings most forcibly to our recollections
an era of all others the most glorious and honorable to the char-
acter of man, and most propitious to his high interests; - when
our fathers aroused to a sense of their degradation, and becom-
ing sensible of their rights, took the resolution to declare,
and called into action the valor to maintain, and the wisdom to
secure, the Independence of our country and the liberty of them-
selves and their posterity. In the performance of this noble but
arduous service, you acted a distinguished part, - the more so as
your conduct was prompted by no motive of self-interest. You
were influenced by an enlarged philanthropy, which looked on
mankind as your kindred, and felt that their happiness was near
and dear to yours. You saw a far distant and alien people,
young and feeble, struggling for their rights and liberties, and
your generous and benevolent bosom prompted you to surmount
the many restrictions and obstacles by which you were encom-
passed, and with a disinterested zeal, chivalrous heroism, and
pure and generous philanthropy, surpassing all praise, flew to the
assistance of the American patriots, and aided by your influence,
counsel, services and treasure, a cause you had so magnanimously
"The love of liberty, which is the most prominent trait in
the American character, is not more strongly implanted in every
bosom than is an enthusiastic devotion and veneration for the
patriotic heroes and sages of the Revolution. We glory in their
deeds, we consecrate their memories, we venerate their names,
we are devoted to their principles and resolved never to abandon
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 173
the rights and liberties acquired by their virtue, wisdom and
valor. With these feelings, and looking upon you as one of the
most virtuous and efficient, and the most disinterested and heroic
champion of our rights and liberties, a Father of the Republic,
an apostle of liberty, and a benefactor of the human race, our
emotions can be more readily conceived than expressed.
"Language can not describe our love for the individual, our
gratitude for his services, our admiration of his character; a
character which has under the most adverse and trying circum-
stances, throughout a long and eventful life, remained pure, con-
sistent and unsullied, by an act of injustice, cruelty, or oppres-
sion. Whether aiding the cause of liberty in a foreign and dis-
tant country, or in your own dear native France; whether at the
zenith of power, commanding millions of men, and wielding the
destinies of a great nation, or imprisoned by the enemies of free-
dom in a foreign dungeon, suffering for many years all the pains
and privations which tyranny could devise, we still see displayed
the same distinguished traits of character;-never tempted by
power, nor seduced by popular applause; always devoted to lib-
erty, always true to virtuous principles; never desponding, but
ever firm and erect, cheering and animating the votaries of free-
dom; and when overtaken by adversity, beset with difficulties, the
victim of your virtues, preferring the loss of wealth, of power,
nay of liberty, and even of life itself, to the smallest sacrifice or
compromise of your principles.
"I would not have ventured, on this occasion, to have said
thus much, but for the difficulty I have met with in restraining
my feelings when addressing General Lafayette; and also from
a belief that it would have a good effect on those of our country-
men about us, to hold up to their admiration the strong and
beautiful traits of your character. In this view your visit to
America will not only make the present generation better ac-
quainted with the Revolution, but will, by exhibiting so perfect
a model, render more attractive and impress more forcibly upon
their recollections the republican principles, and the pure and
ennobling virtues of that period.
"I must be permitted to say, in addition to that joy which is
common to all portions of the Union, there is a peculiar grati-
174 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
fication felt in receiving you, one of the fathers of our political
institutions and the friend of universal freedom, in the bosom
of a state, the offspring of those institutions, which has not only
inherited the precious boon of self government, but has been
reared in the principles and in the practice of liberty, and has had
her soil in an especial manner protected from oppression of every
"In addition to this, what reflections crowd the mind when
we consider who is our Guest, and when and where we are re-
ceiving him. Not half a century has elapsed since Jefferson
penned the declaration of America's wrongs and of man's rights;
Washington drew the sword to maintain the one and avenge the
other; and Lafayette left the endearments of country and family
to assist in the arduous contest. Then our population was con-
fined to the sea-board and extended back no further than the
mountains. Now our republic stretches from ocean to ocean,
and our population extends 1200 miles into the interior of this
vast continent. And here 1000 miles from the ocean and from
the interesting scenes of your glorious achievements at Brandy-
wine, Monmouth, and Yorktown, we, the children of your com-
patriots, enjoy the happiness of beholding the great friend of our
"These reflections expand our imaginations, and make us
delight in anticipating the future. And, judging from the past
do I hazard too much in saying the time is not far distant when
the descendants of the revolutionary worthies, inheriting the
spirit of their fathers, and animated with the same attachment
to liberty, the same enthusiastic devotion to country, and imbued
with the same pure and divine principles, will people the country
from the Atlantic to the Pacific; irradiating this whole continent
with the diffusion of intelligence, and blessing it by the establish-
ment of self government, in which shall be secured personal,
political and religious liberty? When, in the progress of our
country's greatness this happy period shall arrive, the phil-
anthropist may look with confidence to the universal restoration
of man to his long lost rights and to that station in the Creator's
works and to that moral elevation to which he was destined.
And then, my dear the world will resound with the
atives in both houses, and of their chief magistrate, my gratitude
for their affectionate invitation, for the reception I now meet in
this patriotic town of Kaskaskia, my best wishes, my devotion
After the address the crowd of citizens pressed forward to
grasp the General by the hand. Among them were some old
revolutionary soldiers who had fought with him at the Brandy-
wine and at Yorktown. They were affectionately greeted by their
old commander. The meeting of these revolutionary veterans
deeply affected those who witnessed it. The company then pro-
ceeded to the tavern kept by Colonel Sweet where an ample
176 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
dinner awaited them.* The decorations, though hastily prepared,
were most appropriate. The walls of the room were hung round
with the laurel wreath tastefully displayed, while over the chair
of the guest was erected an arch of roses and other flowers which
presented the form and colors of the rainbow.2
After dinner the following toasts were offered:
By General Lafayette- Kaskaskia and Illinois; may their
joint prosperity more and more evince the blessings of congenial
industry and freedom.
By Governor Coles - The inmates of La Grange - let them
not be uneasy; for though their father is 1000 miles in the interior
of America, he is yet in the midst of his affectionate children.
By G. W. Lafayette-The grateful and respectful confi-
dence of my father's children and grandchildren, in the kindness
of his American family towards him.
By Governor Bond-General Lafayette-may he live to
see that liberty established in his native country which he helped
to establish in his adopted country.
By General Edgar - John Quincy Adams.
By Col. Scott, of Mississippi--The memory of General
By Col. Morse- Gratitude to an old soldier, which equally
blesses the giver and receiver.
*Order of procession-General Lafayette, George Washington
Lafayette, Colonel Levasseur, De Syon, Governor Coles; Colonel Morse
and Colonel Ducros, aids of the Governor of Louisiana; Mr. Caire, Sec-
retary of Governor of Louisiana; Mr. Prieur, Recorder of N. Orleans;
Colonel Scott, aid to Governor of Mississippi; General Gibbs, General
Stewart, Colonel Rutledge, Colonel Balch, Tennessee Committee; Judge
Peck, General Dodge, Colonel Wash, Colonel O'Fallon, St. Louis Com-
mittee; Citizens of Kaskaskia and vicinity; Committee of arrangements-
General Edgar, Governor Bond, William Morrison, Sr., Capt. Stacy Mc-
Donald, Judge Pope, Hon. E. K. Kane, Col. Menard, Col. Greenup, Col.
Mather, Major Maxwell, Major Humphreys, Doctor Betz, Pierre
2We joined the procession and took our places at the table, where
the General was seated under a canopy of flowers prepared by the ladies
of Kaskaskia with much skill and taste; and which produced by the blend-
ing of the richest and most lively colors the effect of a rainbow.
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 177
By Gen. Dodge -General Lafayette, the champion of the
rights of man in the old world -the hero who nobly shed his
blood in defense of American liberty.
By S. Breese, Esq. - Our illustrious Guest - in the many
and trying situations in which he has been placed, we see in him
the same consistent friend of liberty and of man.
By Col. Stewart--Boliver, the South American liberator.
By S. Smith-General Lafayette, the protector of Ameri-
By Col. O'Fallon -The states of Illinois and Missouri--
united by the same interests, their citizens should regard each
other as members of the same family.
By Wm. Morrison, Esq. - The land we live in.
By Col. Balch - Governor Coles - sound in his principles,
amiable in his manners; his efforts to promote the interests of his
state will be received with gratitude by the freemen of Illinois.
By William Orr-The American revolution-May the
patriotic feeling which distinguished that period never cease to
exist in this Union.
The General and other guests now proceeded to the house
of William Morrison, Sr., by whom a ball was given on this
occasion. Here the ladies of the town and vicinity were presented
to the General; and far into the night, in honor of the illustrious
guest "youth and pleasure chased the glowing hours" that van-
ished all too soon.
While General Lafayette was taking a short rest at General
NOTE - The following account of the reception is given by Levasseur,
the private secretary of Lafayette:
"In the escort which formed to accompany him, we saw neither
military apparel nor the splendid triumphs we had perceived in the rich
cities; but the accents of joy and republican gratitude which broke upon
his ear was grateful to his heart, since it proved to him that wherever
American liberty had penetrated there also the love and veneration of its
people for its founders were perpetuated.
"We followed the General on foot and arrived almost at the same
time at the house of General Edgar, a venerable soldier of the revolu-
tion, who received him with affectionate warmth and ordered all the doors
to be kept open that his fellow citizens might enjoy, as well as himself,
178 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Edgar's before the banquet, Mr. George Washington Lafayette
and Mr. Levasseur walked through the streets of the town with
some of the citizens and viewed with much interest the life of
this frontier capital. The attention of Levasseur was attracted
to the Indians who were present in great numbers, several tribes
being represented. It was the season of the year when they came
to sell the furs that they had accumulated as the result of their
winter's trapping and hunting. He soon engaged in conversation
with these sons of the forest, many of whom could speak French.
At the suggestion of Mr. Caire, private secretary of the Gov-
ernor of Louisiana, the two visited an Indian camp about half
an hour's walk distant. With the exception of an old woman
cooking at a fire in the open air there was no one in the camp.
She did not answer questions, and maintained a stolid indiffer-
the pleasure of shaking hands with the adopted son of America. After a
few minutes had been accorded to the rather tumultuous expression of the
sentiments which the presence of the General inspired, Governor Coles
requested silence, which was accorded with a readiness and deference
which proved to me that his authority rested not only on the law but still
more on popular affection. He advanced towards Lafayette, about whom
the crowd had increased, and addressed him with emotion in a discourse
in which he depicted the transports his presence excited in the population
of the state of Illinois, and the happy influence which the remembrance of
his visit would produce hereafter on the youthful witnesses of the enthusi-
asm of their fathers for one of the most valiant founders of their liberty.
"During an instant of profound silence, I cast a glance at the
assembly in the midst of which I found myself, and was struck with
astonishment in remarking their variety and fantastic appearance. Beside
men whose dignity of countenance and patriotic exaltation of expression
readily indicated them to be Americans, were others whose course dresses,
vivacity, petulance of movement, and the expansive joy of their visages
strongly recalled to me the peasantry of my own country; behind these,
near to the door, and on the piazza which surrounds the house, stood some
immovable, impassive, large, red, half-naked figures, leaning on a bow or
a long rifle: these were the Indians of the neighborhood.
"After a pause of some seconds, the Governor resumed his address,
which he concluded by presenting, with great eloquence, a faithful picture
of the benefits which America had derived from its liberty and the happy
influence which republican institutions would one day exercise on the
rest of the world. When the orator had finished, a slight murmur of
approbation passed through the assembly, and was prolonged until it was
perceived that General Lafayette was about to reply, when an attentive
silence was restored.
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 179
ence while they examined the huts and surroundings. When
they were about to leave, Levasseur, on crossing a stream that ran
through the camp, saw a small water wheel which appeared to
have been thrown on the bank by the rapidity of the current.
"I took it up," said he, "and placed it where I thought it had
originally been put by the children, on two stones elevated a little
above the water, and the current striking the wings made it turn
rapidly. This puerility, which probably would have passed from
my memory, if, on the same evening, it had not placed me before
the Indians in a situation sufficiently extraordinary, excited the
attention of the old woman, who by her gestures, expressed to us
a lively satisfaction."
On returning to Kaskaskia, Levasseur met Mr. De Syon, a
young Frenchman who at the request of Lafayette had accom-
panied the party from Washington. He also had made an excur-
sion into the adjacent country and had met among the Indians a
handsome young woman who spoke good French and asked if La-
fayette was at Kaskaskia. When told that he was, she manifested
a strong desire to see him. "I always carry with me," she said,
"a relic that is very dear to me; I wish to show it to him; it
will prove tohim that his name is not less venerated in the midst
of our tribes than among the white Americans for whom he
fought." Thereupon she drew from her bosom a pouch, which
contained a letter carefully wrapped in paper. "It is from La-
"After these reciprocal felicitations, another scene not less interesting
commenced. Some old revolutionary soldiers advanced from the crowd
and came to shake hands with their old general, while he conversed with
them, and heard them, with thought and feeling, cite the names of their
ancient companions in arms who also fought at Brandywine and York-
town, but for whom it was not ordained to enjoy the fruits of their toils
nor to unite their voices with that of their grateful country. The persons
whom I have remarked as having some likeness in dress and manners to
our French peasants,* went and came with vivacity in all parts of the
hall, or sometimes formed little groups, from the midst of which could
be heard, in the French language, the most open and animated expressions
of joy. Having been introduced to one of these groups by a member of
the committee of Kaskaskia I was received at first with great kindness and
was quickly overwhelmed with a volley of questions, as soon as they found
I was a Frenchman, and accompanied General Lafayette."
*These were French Canadians who had emigrated to Illinois.
180 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
fayette," she said. "He wrote it to my father a long time since
and my father, when he died, left it to me as the most precious
thing he possessed." This interested Mr. De Syon and he asked
her to accompany him to the city. She declined the invitation
but requested him to come to her camp that evening if he wished
to speak further. "I am well known in Kaskaskia," she said.
"My name is Mary."
De Syon's story so impressed Levasseur that he determined
to see the young Indian princess and bring about a meeting be-
tween her and the General. When he and De Syon reached Gen-
eral Edgar's residence where Lafayette and a number of friends
had been entertained, they joined the procession as it crossed
to Col. Sweet's where they were to dine.
We can not do better than relate the story of the daughter of
Panisciowa in the words of Levasseur, of which the following is
MARY, THE DAUGHTER OF CHIEF PANISCIOWA.*
"I spoke to General Lafayette of the meeting with the young
Indian girl; and from the desire he manifested to see her, I left
the table with Mr. De Syon, at the moment when the company
began to exchange patriotic toasts, and we sought a guide to
Mary's camp. Chance assisted us wonderfully in directing us to
an Indian of the same tribe that we wished to visit. Conducted
by him we crossed the bridge at Kaskaskia, and notwithstanding
the darkness, soon recognized the path and rivulet I had seen
in the morning with Mr. Caire. When we were about to enter
the enclosure, we were arrested by the fierce barking of two
stout dogs which sprang at, and would probably have bitten us,
but for the timely interference of our guide.
"We arrived at the middle of the camp, which was lighted
by a large fire, around which a dozen Indians were squatted,
preparing their supper; they received us with cordiality, and, as
soon as they were informed of the object of our visit, one of
them conducted us to the hut of Mary, whom we found sleeping
on a bison skin. At the voice of Mr. De Syon, which she recog-
nized, she arose, and listened attentively to the invitation from
General Lafayette to come to Kaskaskia; she seemed quite flat-
*Known to Americans by the name "Chief Jean Baptiste Du
Coigne," or "Du Quoin."
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 181
tered by it, but said before deciding to accompany us that she
wished to mention it to her husband.
"While she was consulting with him, I heard a piercing cry;
and turning round I saw near me the old woman I had found
alone in the camp in the morning; she had just recognized me
by the light of the fire and designated me to her companions,
who, quitting immediately their occupations, rushed round me in
a circle, and began to dance with demonstrations of great joy
and gratitude. Their tawny and nearly naked bodies, their faces
fantastically painted, their expressive gesticulations, the reflection
of the fire, which gave a red tinge to all the surrounding objects,
everything gave to the scene something of an infernal aspect,
and I fancied myself for an instant in the midst of demons.
Mary, witnessing my embarrassment, put an end to it, by order-
ing the dance to cease, and then explained to me the honors
which they had just rendered me.
"'When we wish to know if an enterprise which we meditate
will be happy, we place in a rivulet a small wheel slightly sup-
ported on two stones; if the wheel turns during three suns with-
out being thrown down, the augury is favorable; but if the cur-
rent carry it away, and throw it upon the bank, it is certain
proof that our project is not approved by the Great Spirit, un-
less, however, a stranger comes to replace our little wheel before
the end of the third day. You are this stranger who have re-
stored our manitou and our hopes, and this is your title to be thus
celebrated among us.' In pronouncing these last words, an iron-
ical smile played on her lips, which caused me to doubt her
faith in the manitou.
"She silently shook her head, then raising her eyes, 'I have
been taught,' she said, 'to place my confidence higher;-all my
hopes are in the God I have been taught to believe in; the God of
"I had at first been much astonished to hear an Indian
woman speak French so well, and I was not less so in learning
that she was a Christian. Mary perceived it, and to put an end
to my surprise, she related to me her history, while her husband
and those who were to accompany her to Kaskaskia, hastily
took their supper of maize cooked in milk. She informed me
182 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
that her father, who was a great chief of one of the nations
that inhabited the shores of the great lakes of the north, had
formerly fought with a hundred of his followers under the orders
of Lafayette when the latter commanded an army on the
frontiers; that he had acquired much glory, and gained the
friendship of the Americans. A long time after, that is, about
twenty years ago, he left the shores of the great lakes with some
of his warriors, his wife and daughter; and after having marched
a long time he established himself on the shores of the river
"'I was very young then,' she said, 'but have not forgotten
the horrible sufferings we endured during this long journey,
made in a rigorous winter, across a country peopled by nations
with whom we were unacquainted; they were such that my poor
mother, who nearly always carried me on her shoulders, already
well loaded with baggage, died under them some days after our
arrival; my father placed me under the care of another woman,
who also emigrated with us, and occupied himself with securing
tranquil possession of the lands on which we had come to estab-
lish ourselves, by forming alliances with our new neighbors.
The Kickapoos were those who received us best, and we soon
considered ourselves as forming a part of their nation. The
year following my father was chosen by them with some from
among themselves, to go and regulate some affairs of the nation
with the agent of the United States, residing here at Kaskaskia;
he wished that I should be of the company; for, although the
Kickapoos had shown themselves very generous and hospitable
towards him, he feared that some war might break out in his
absence as he well knew the intrigues of the English to excite
the Indians against the Americans. The same apprehension in-
duced him to accede to the request made by the American agent,
to leave me in his family, to be educated with his infant daughter.
My father had much esteem for the whites of the great nation
for which he had formerly fought; he never had cause to com-
plain of them, and he who offered to take charge of me inspired
him with great confidence by the frankness of his manners, and
above all, by the fidelity with which he treated the affairs of the
Indians; he, therefore, left me, promising to return to see me
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 183
every year after the great winter's hunt; he came, in fact, sev-
eral times afterwards; and I, notwithstanding the disagreeable-
ness of sedentary life, grew up, answering the expectations of my
careful benefactor and his wife. I became attached to their
daughter who grew up with me, and the truths of the Christian
religion easily supplanted in my mind the superstitions of my
father, whom I had scarcely known; yet, I confess to you, not-
withstanding the influence of religion and civilization on my
youthful heart, the impressions of infancy were not entirely
"'If the pleasure of wandering conducted me into the
shady forest, I breathed more freely, and it was with reluctance
that I returned home; when, in the cool of the evening, seated
in the door of my adopted father's habitation, I heard in the dis-
tance, through the silence of the night, the piercing voice of the
Indians, rallying to return to camp, I started with a thrill of
joy, and my feeble voice imitated the voice of the savage with a
facility that affrighted my young companion; and when occasion-
ally some warriors came to consult my benefactor in regard to
their treaties, or hunters to offer him a part of the produce of
the chase, I was always the first to run to meet and welcome
them. I testified my joy to them by every imaginable means,
and I could not help admiring and wishing for their simple orna-
ments, which appeared to me far preferable to the brilliant decor-
ations of the whites.
"'In the meantime my father had not appeared at the time
for the return from the winter's hunting; but a warrior, whom I
had often seen with him, came and found me one evening at the
entrance of the forest, and said to me: "Mary thy father is old
and feeble, he has been unable to follow us here; but he wishes
to see thee once more before he dies, and he has charged me to
conduct thee to him." In saying these words he forcibly took
my hand and dragged me with him. I had not even time to reply
to him, nor even to take any resolution, before we were at a great
distance, and I saw well that there was no part left for me but
to follow him. We marched nearly all night, and at the dawn
of day we arrived at a bark hut, built in the middle of a little
valley. Here I saw my father, his eyes turned towards the just
184 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
rising sun. His face was painted as for battle. His tomahawk,
ornamented with many scalps, was beside him. He was calm and
silent as an Indian who awaited death. As soon as he saw me
he drew out of a pouch a paper wrapped with care in a very dry
skin, and gave it me, requesting that I should preserve it as a
most precious thing.
"I wished to see thee once more before dying," he said, "and
to give this paper, which is the most powerful charm (manitou)
which thou canst employ with the whites to interest them in thy
favor; for all those to whom I have shown it have manifested
towards me a particular attachment. I received it from a great
French warrior, whom the English dreaded as much as the
Americans loved, and with whom I fought in my youth." After
these words my father was silent. Next morning he expired.
Sciakape, the name of the warrior who came for me, covered
the body of my father with the branches of trees, and took me
back to my guardian.'
"Here Mary suspended her narrative and presented to me a
letter a little darkened by time, but in good preservation. 'Stay,'
said she to me, smiling, 'you see that I have faithfully complied
with the charge of my father; I have taken great care of his
manilou.' I opened the letter and recognized the signature and
handwriting of General Lafayette. It was dated at headquarters,
Albany, June, 1778, after the northern campaign, and addressed
to Panisciowa, an Indian chief of one of the Six Nations, to
thank him for the courageous manner in which he had served
the American cause.
"'Well,' said Mary, 'now that you know me well enough to
introduce me to General Lafayette, shall we go to him that I
may also greet him whom my father revered as the courageous
warrior and the friend of our nations?' "Willingly," I replied,
"but it seems to me that you have promised to inform us in
what manner, after having tasted for some time the sweets of
civilization, you came to return to the rude and savage life of
"At this question, Mary looked downwards and seemed
troubled. However, after a slight hesitation, she resumed in a
lower tone: 'After the death of my father, Sciakape often re-
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 185
turned to see me. We soon became attached to each other; he
did not find it difficult to determine me to follow him to the
forest, where I became his wife. This resolution at first very
much afflicted my benefactors; but when they saw that I found
myself happy, they pardoned me; and each year, during all the
time that our encampment is established near Kaskaskia, I rarely
pass a day without going to see them; if you wish, we can visit
them, for their house is close by our way, and you will see,
by the reception they will give me, that they retain their esteem
and friendship.' Mary pronounced these last words with a de-
gree of pride, which proved to us that she feared that we might
have formed a bad opinion of her, on account of her flight from
the home of her benefactors with Sciakape.
"We accepted her suggestion and she gave the signal for de-
parture. At her call, her husband and eight warriors presented
themselves to escort us. Mr. De Syon offered her his arm, and
we began our march. We were all very well received by the
family of Mr. Menard; but Mary above all received the most
tender marks of affection from the persons of the household.
Mr. Menard, Mary's adopted father, was at Kaskaskia as one of
the committee charged with the reception of Lafayette, and Mrs.
Menard asked us if we would undertake to conduct her daughter
to the ball which she herself was prevented from attending by in-
disposition. We assented with pleasure; and, while Mary as-
sisted Miss Menard to complete her toilet, we seated ourselves
round a great fire in the kitchen. After we had spent some time
talking to a colored servant who claimed to be more than one hun-
dred years old and who grew remarkably reminiscent as we
listened*, Mary and Miss Menard came to inform us that they
were ready, and asked if we would be on our way as it began to
"We took leave of Mrs. Menard and found our Indian
escort, who had waited patiently for us at the door and who
resumed their position near us at some distance in front, to guide
and protect our march, as if we had been crossing an enemy's
country. The night was quite dark, but the temperature was
*Adapted by omitting the "reminiscences."
186 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
mild, and the fireflies illuminated the atmosphere around us.
M. De Syon conducted Miss Menard, and I gave my arm to
Mary, who, notwithstanding the darkness, walked with a confi-
dence and lightness which only a forest life could produce. The
fireflies attracted and interested me much; for, although this was
not the first time I had observed them, I had never before seen
them in such numbers. I asked Mary if these insects, which
from their appearance seem so likely to astonish the imagination,
had never given place among the Indians to popular beliefs or
tales. 'Not among the nations of these countries, where every
year we are familiarized with their great numbers,' said she to
me, 'but I have heard that, among the tribes of the north, they
commonly believe that they are the souls of departed friends who
return to console them or demand the performance of some
promise. I even know several ballads on this subject. One of
them appears to have been made a long time since, in a nation
which lived farther north and no longer exists. It is by songs
that great events and popular traditions are ordinarily preserved
among us, and this ballad, which I have often heard sung by
the young girls of our tribe, leaves no doubt as to the belief of
some Indians concerning the firefly.' I asked her to sing me
this song, which she did with much grace. Although I did not
comprehend the words, which were Indian, I observed a great
harmony in their arrangement, and, in the very simple music in
which they were sung, an expression of deep melancholy.
"When she had finished the ballad, I asked her if she could
not translate it for me into French, so that I might comprehend
the sense. 'With difficulty,' she said, 'for I have always found
great obstacles to translating exactly the expressions of our
Indians into French, when I have served them as interpreter with
the whites; but I will try.' And she translated nearly as follows:
Legend of the Firefly.
'The rude season of the chase was over. Antakaya, the
handsomest, the most skilful, and bravest of the Cherokee war-
riors, came to the banks of the Avolachy, where he was expected
by Manahella, the young virgin promised to his love and bravery.
'The first day of the moon of flowers was to witness their
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 187
union. Already had the two families, assembled round the same
fire, given their assent; already had the young men and women
prepared and ornamented the new cabin, which was to receive
the happy couple, when, at the rising of the sun, a terrible cry,
the cry of war, sent forth by the scout who always watches at the
summit of the hill, called the old men to the council, and the
warriors to arms.
'The whites appeared on the frontier. Murder and robbery
accompanied them. The star of fertility had not reached its
noontide height, and already Antakaya had departed at the head
of his warriors to repel robbery, murder and the whites.
'Go, said Manahella to him, endeavoring to stifle her grief,
go fight the cruel whites, and I will pray to the Great Spirit to
wrap thee with a cloud, proof against their blows. I will pray
him to bring thee back to the banks of the Avolachy, there to be
loved by Manahella.
'I will return to thee, replied Antakaya, I will return to
thee. My arrows have never disappointed my aim, my tomahawk
shall be bathed in the blood of the whites; I will bring back their
scalps to ornament the door of thy cabin; then I shall be worthy
of Manahella; then shall we love in peace, then shall we be
'The first day of the moon of flowers had brightly dawned,
and many more had passed away, and none had heard from Anta-
kaya and his warriors. Stooping on the shores of the Avolachy,
the mournful Manahella every evening raised to the evil spirits
little pyramids of polished pebbles, to appease their anger and
avert their resistance to her well beloved; but the evil spirits
were inflexible, and their violent blasts overthrew the little pyra-
One evening of the last moon of flowers, Manahella met on
the banks of the river a pale and bloody warrior. 'Die, poor
ivy,' said he to Manahella; 'die! the noblest oak of the forest,
that proud oak under whose shade thou hopedest to enjoy re-
pose and happiness, is fallen! It has fallen under the redoubled
strokes of the whites. In its fall it has crushed those who felled
it, but it is fallen! Die, poor ivy, die! for the oak which was to
188 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
give thee support is fallen!"-- Two days after, Manahella was
"Antakaya, whose courage had been deceived by fate, had
fallen covered with wounds into the hands of the whites, who
carried him far away. But he escaped; and after wandering long
through the forest, he returned to mourn his defeat and meditate
vengeance with Manahella. When he arrived, she was no more.
Agitated by the most violent despair, he ran in the evening to the
banks of the Avolachy, calling Manahella, but echo alone replied
to the accents of his grief.
'O Manahella! he exclaimed, if my arrows have disappointed
my skill, if my tomahawk has not spilt the blood of the whites,
if I have not brought thee their scalps to ornament the door of
thy cabin, forgive me! It is not the fault of my courage, the evil
spirits have fought against me. And yet I have suffered no
complaint to escape me, not a sigh, when the iron of my enemies
tore my breast: I have not abased myself by asking my life!
They preserved it against my will, and I am only consoled by the
hope of one day avenging myself, and offering thee many of their
scalps. 0 Manahella! come, if but to tell me that thou pardonest
me, and that thou permittest me to follow thee into the world
of the Great Spirit.
'At the same instant a vivid light, pure and lambent, ap-
peared to the eyes of the unfortunate Antakaya. He saw in it
the soul of his beloved, and followed it through the valley dur-
ing the night, supplicating it to stay and to pardon him. At
the dawn of the day he found himself on the border of a great
lake; the light had disappeared, and he believed that it had passed
over the water. Immediately, although feeble and fatigued, he
made a canoe of the trunk of a tree which he hollowed, and with
a branch he made a paddle. At the end of the day his work was
achieved. With the darkness the deceptive light returned; and
during all the night Antakaya pursued the delusion on the face
of the unsteady waters. But it again disappeared before the light
of the sun, and with it vanished the slight breath of hope and the
life of Antakaya.'
"Mary ended her ballad, and I expressed to her my thanks
as we arrived at the bridge of Kaskaskia. There, Sciakape col-
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 189
lected his escort, said a few words to his wife, and left us to
enter the village alone. We approached the house of Mr. Mor-
rison, at which the ball was given to General Lafayette. I then
felt that Mary trembled; her agitation was so great that she
could not conceal it from me. I asked her the cause. 'If you
would spare me a great mortification,' she said, 'you will not con-
duct me among the ladies of Kaskaskia. They are now without
doubt in their most brilliant dresses, and the coarseness of my
clothes will inspire them with contempt and pity, two sentiments
which will equally affect me. Besides I know that they blame me
for having renounced the life of the whites, and I feel little at
ease in their presence.' I promised what she desired, and she
became reassured. Arrived at Mr. Morrison's, I conducted her
into a lower chamber and went to the hall to inform General La-
fayette that the young Indian girl awaited him below. He
hastened down and several of the committee with him. He saw
and heard Mary with pleasure and could not conceal his emo-
tion on recognizing his letter and observing with what holy ven-
eration it had been preserved during nearly half a century in a
savage nation, among whom he had not even supposed his name
had ever penetrated. On her part, the daughter of Panisciowa
expressed with vivacity the happiness she enjoyed in seeing him,
along with whom her father had the honour to fight for the good
"After a half hour's conversation, in which General Lafay-
ette was pleased to relate the evidences of the fidelity and cour-
ageous conduct of some Indian nations towards the Americans,
during the Revolutionary War, Mary manifested a wish to re-
tire, and I accompanied her to the bridge, where I replaced her
under the care of Sciakape and his escort and bade them fare-
Shortly before midnight Lafayette bade farewell to the cit-
izens of Kaskaskia and accompanied by his party and Governor
Coles embarked for Nashville, Tennessee. Levasseur was very
favorably impressed with the Governor as may be gathered from
his journal where he recorded the following tribute:
All persons agree in saying that he fulfills his duties as
Governor with as much philanthropy as justice. He owes his
190 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
elevation to the office of governor to his opinions on the abolition
of the slavery of the blacks. He was originally a proprietor in
Virginia, where, according to the custom of the country, he cul-
tivated his lands by negro slaves. After having for a long time
strongly expressed his aversion for this kind of culture, he
thought it his duty to put into practice the principles he had pro-
fessed, and he decided to give liberty to all his slaves; but know-
ing that their emancipation in Virginia would be more injurious
than useful to them he took them all with him into the state of
Illinois, where he not only gave them their liberty, but also es-
tablished them at his own expense, in such a manner that they
should be able to procure for themselves a happy existence by
their labor. This act of justice and humanity considerably dimin-
ished his fortune, but occasioned him no regret. At this period,
some men, led astray by ancient prejudices, endeavored to amend
that article of the constitution of the state of Illinois, which pro-
hibits slavery. Mr. Coles opposed these men with all the ardor of
his philanthropic soul, and with all the superiority of his enlight-
ened mind. In this honorable struggle he was sustained by the
people of Illinois. Justice and humanity triumphed, and soon
after Mr. Coles was elected Governor, by an immense majority.*
This was an honorable recompense, and to this there is now
joined another which must be very grateful to him; his liberated
negroes are perfectly successful, and afford a conclusive argu-
ment against the adversaries of emancipation."
The boat steamed down the Mississippi to the Ohio, and as-
cending this, reached the mouth of the Cumberland the following
evening. Soon after the arrival, the steamboat Artisan came
down the river. To this Lafayette and his companions, after
bidding an affectionate farewell to their friends from Louisiana
and Mississippi, were transferred, and the journey was continued
up the river to the capital of Tennessee. On the 4th of May they
reached Nashville where a great ovation was tendered the illus-
trious guest. At the landing he was met by General Andrew
*While the above statements in regard to Governor Coles and his
attitude toward slavery are correct, he was not elected by an "immense
majority," but by a very small plurality. The vote was as follows: Coles,
2,810; Phillips, 2,760; Brown, 2,543; Moore, 522. Coles was therefore
elected by a plurality of only fifty votes. By these votes Illinois was
saved to freedom.
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 191
Jackson with whom he rode in a carriage at the head of a long
procession under a triumphal arch and through streets strewn
with flowers. Here forty officers and soldiers of the Revolution
greeted Lafayette, among them a German veteran by the name
of Hagy who had come with the General on his first voyage to
America and had served under him through the Revolution. The
white haired old soldier who had walked many miles to see his
General, threw himself into Lafayette's arms exclaiming: "I
have enjoyed two happy days in my life; one when I landed with
you at Charleston, and the present. Now that I have seen you
once again, I have nothing more to wish for; I have lived long
Lafayette was welcomed by the Governor of Tennessee and
the mayor of the city. He visited the camp of the militia, Cum-
berland College, and the home of General Jackson. The cere-
monies in his honor closed with a ball, after which he started
down the river to resume his journey toward the east.
ILLINOIS - SHAWNEETOWN.
On the 7th of May the boat again entered the Ohio, and on
the day following the party with Governor Coles and other mem-
bers of the committee from the state of Illinois, landed at Shaw-
neetown. Here the greeting of the people was most cordial. As
the boat approached the landing, a salute of twenty-four rounds
was fired. The people were out in great numbers to welcome
the hero. Two lines were formed extending from Rawling's
Hotel to the river. Down this passed the committee of reception,
town officials and other dignitaries, and received the nation's
guest, who with the distinguished party accompanying him passed
up the line, the citizens standing uncovered in perfect silence,
until he arrived at the hotel where many ladies were assembled.
Here James Hall, one of the judges of the state and a literary
man of note in his day, delivered the following address of wel-
"Sir:- The citizens of Shawneetown, and its vicinity, avail
themselves with infinite pleasure of the opportunity which is this
day presented to them, to discharge a small portion of the na-
192 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
tional debt of gratitude. The American people are under peculiar
obligations to their early benefactors. In the history of govern-
ments, revolutions have not been unfrequent, nor have the strug-
gles for liberty been few; but they have too often been incited
by ambition, conducted with violence, and consummated by the
sacrifice of the noblest feelings and the dearest rights. The sep-
aration of the American colonies from the mother country was
impelled by the purest motives, it was effected by the most vir-
tuous means, and its results have been enjoyed with wisdom and
moderation. A noble magnanimity of purpose and of action
adorned our conflict for independence; -no heartless cruelty
marked the footsteps of our patriot warriors, no selfish ambition
mingles in the councils of our patriot sages. To those great and
good men we owe, as citizens, all that we are, and all that we
possess; to them we are indebted for our liberty - for the un-
sullied honor of our country--for the bright example which
they have given to an admiring world!
"Years have rolled away since the accomplishment of those
glorious events, and few of the illustrious actors remain to par-
take of our affection. We mourn our Hamilton -we have wept
at the grave of our Washington--but Heaven has spared us
LAFAYETTE, to the prayers of a grateful people.
"In you, sir, we have the happiness of recognizing one of
those whom we venerate-the companion of those whom we
deplore. We greet you as the benefactor of the living, we greet
you as the compatriot of the dead. We receive you with filial
affection as one of the fathers of the Republic. We embrace with
eager delight an opportunity of speaking our sentiments to the
early champion of our rights-but we want language to ex-
press all we feel. How shall we thank you, who have so many
claims upon our gratitude? What shall we call you, who have
so many titles to our affection? Bound to us by a thousand
fond recollections - connected with us by many endearing ties-
we hail you by every name which is dear to freemen. Lafayette
-friend - father - fellow citizen - patriot - soldier - phil-
anthropist ! We bid you welcome! You were welcome, illustrious
sir, when you came as our champion; you are thrice welcome as
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 193
our honored guest. Welcome to our country and to our hearts -
to our firesides and altars.
"In your extensive tour through our territories, you have
doubtless beheld many proofs that he who shared the storms
of our infancy has not been forgotten amid the genial beams of a
more prosperous fortune. In every section of the Union, our
people have been proud to affix the name of Lafayette to the
soil, in fighting for which that name was rendered illustrious.
This fact, we hope, affords some testimony that although the
philosophic retirement in which you were secluded might shelter
you from the political storms which assailed your natal soil,
it could not conceal you from the affectionate solicitude of your
adopted countrymen. Your visit to America has disseminated
gladness throughout the continent, but it has not increased our
veneration for your character, nor brightened the remembrance
of those services, which were already deeply engraven in our
"The little community which has the honor, today, of paying
a tribute to republican virtue, was not in existence at the period
when that virtue was displayed in behalf of our country. You
find us dwelling upon a spot which was then untrodden by the
foot of civilized man; in the midst of forests whose silent echoes
were not awakened by the tumults of that day. Around us are
none of the monuments of departed patriotism, nor any of the
trophies of that valor which wrought the deliverance of our
country. There is no sensible object here to recall your deeds to
memory - but they dwell in our bosoms - they are imprinted
upon monuments more durable than brass. We enjoy the fruits
of your courage, the lesson of your example. We are the de-
scendants of those who fought by your side -we have imbibed
their love of freedom- we inherit their affection for Lafayette.
"You find our state in its infancy, our country thinly popu-
lated, our people destitute of the luxuries and elegancies of life.
In your reception we depart not from the domestic simplicity of
a sequestered people. We erect no triumphal arches, we offer
no exotic delicacies. We receive you to our humble dwelling
and our homely fare -we take you to our arms and our hearts.
194 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
"The affections of the American people have followed you
for a long series of years-they were with you at Brandywine,
at York, at Olmutz, and at La Grange-they have adhered to
you through every vicissitude of fortune which has marked your
virtuous career. Be assured, sir, that you still carry with you
our best wishes-we firmly desire you all the happiness which
the recollection of a well spent life and the enjoyment of ven-
erable age, full of honor, can bestow-we pray that health and
prosperity may be your companions, when you shall be again
separated from our embraces, to exchange the endearments of
a people's love for the softer joys of domestic affection, and that
it may please heaven to preserve you many years to us, to your
family, and to the world."
The reply of Lafayette was short and extempore. His
voice was tremulous with emotion. He said, in substance:
"I thank the citizens of Shawneetown for their kind atten-
tion. I am under many obligations to the people of the United
States for their manifestations of affectionate regard since I
landed on their shore. I long wished to visit America, but was
prevented by circumstances over which I had no control. This
visit has afforded me unspeakable gratification. I trust that
every blessing may attend the people of this town and the state
A collation prepared by the citizens was then served, at
which General Joseph M. Street presided, assisted by Judge
Hall. A number of toasts followed, appropriate to the occasion.
After spending a few hours in pleasant converse and greeting
many citizens, the General was conducted back to the steamer.
Here Governor Coles bade him adieu and proceeded by land to
Vandalia. A salute was fired as the vessel bearing the guest as-
cended the river and vanished from the sight of loving eyes.
UP THE OHIO -SINKING OF "THE MECHANIC."
The Ohio was ever the "River Beautiful". In the spring-
time of long ago, before the adventurous white explorer first
gazed upon its waters, it rushed round the rocky angles of green
in its rugged mountain home, and coyly checking its pace as it
traversed a widening valley, moved in curves majestic through the
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 195
forest primeval to meet the mighty "Father of Waters". Then, as
now, the canopy of sky and sun and fleecy clouds by day, of moon
and stars by night, reflected in the bright waters, between
vistas of fern and forest fringed shore, yawned like an inverted
subterranean heaven. Falls and rapids left behind, the waters
ceased to murmur, the valley widened, the hills receded and in
gentle curves stood dimly outlined against the distant horizon.
Who can tell what volumes would be revealed if rock and
hill and sentinel star could speak the unwritten history of the
"River Beautiful"? What records of "men and things" are hid-
den in the unknown graves on its shores. Gone are the days
when the architects of the stone age laid the via saca at the
mouth of the Muskingum. Beacons no longer blaze on sentinel
hills or sacrificial altars, and the hands that raised the mounds
have mingled with the earth that they heaped high through un-
recorded time as their only memorial. The French trader and
the picturesque savage have departed, and the pioneer at the
dawn of a new century bids a last farewell. The Past keeps
her secrets well, but those who have looked upon the meandering
river may know at least that through the generations the limped
waters have gladdened loving eyes and inspired brave hearts to
deeds heroic for home and native land.
As The Mechanic with a numerous company of distinguished
passengers on board, steamed up the noble river, a moving pan-
orama of wild and romantic beauty spread out before them. The
day was calm; the sun high in heaven; and the river a winding
mirror with green islands that seemed floating in mid air. The
forests along the shore, for miles unbroken by the habitation of
civilized man, were clothed in the virgin verdure of May. At
the river's marge, white armed sycamores leaned over, holding
aloft wreaths of green; stately elms here and there waved trail-
ing vines in salutation, while underneath flowers bloomed and
ferns kissed the silent waters. All this passed in pleasing review
before the eyes of the passengers who moved languidly along
the deck as the vessel steamed rapidly up the river, calling
echoes from the woodland as the engine sent up volumes of
smoke and steam.
But Lafayette rested not nor did he gaze long on the back-
196 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications
ward moving shores. The boat was crowded with passengers.
The General, his son George, Mr. De Syon and M. Levasseur,
his private secretary, were assigned to the ladies' cabin, in the
stern of the vessel, which could only be reached by a flight of
about a dozen steps. Here with the aid of his private secretary
Lafayette was answering letters that had accumulated to the
number of more than two hundred. They came from all sec-
tions of the United States and even from beyond the Atlantic.
The typewriter had not then been invented and the handling of
heavy mail was slow and tedious. The General worked indus-
triously and happily, cheered by the thought that his health and
strength were not only proving adequate to the long journey, but
that he had been able to meet the expectations of a grateful
people and had not been compelled to disappoint even his hum-
The afternoon passed swiftly by. The weather continued
calm, but gathering clouds shut out the light of the declining
sun. Twilight faded into night. Fireflies danced along the shore,
and at long intervals a distant taper sent its ray through the
deepening gloom. An occasional scream came from some wild
denizen of the forest, and near the screech owl and the whip-
poorwill made solemn music. As the long hours passed, these
sounds became less frequent; the passengers sought their berths,
and there was little to break the profound silence save the
puffing of the engine and the rush of waters through which the
boat plowed her way right onward.
Wearied at last with his correspondence, after dictating a
letter to the superintendent of La Grange, his estate in France,
relative to improvements he wished made before his return,
he lay on his couch and was soon asleep. His son George came
down from the deck when the clock struck ten and remarked
as he entered the cabin:
"I am surprised that in a night so dark our captain does
not make a stop or at least abate his speed."
Similar thoughts had been in the minds of Levasseur and De
Syon, but they had become so thoroughly accustomed to river
navigation at all hours in fair and stormy weather, that their
conversation soon drifted to other subjects. At length George
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 197
Lafayette lay down and slept. Levasseur corrected his notes
and talked at intervals with De Syon. With the exception of the
pilot and two of the crew, all others had fallen asleep when the
clock struck eleven. The grating of the engine and the dash of
waters alone broke the silence. Sleep began to weigh heavily on
the two in the cabin. Twelve o'clock struck. With a terrible
shock the vessel stopped short. The timbers creaked ominously
and a tremor ran through the boat.
The General and his son sprang from their berth and a
number of passengers ran to the deck.
"We have struck a sand bank," said one. "We are in no
"I am not so sure of that," said Levasseur, as he entered
the great cabin where he found the passengers much agitated,
but still in doubt of the nature of the accident; some had not
even quited their beds. Deciding not to go below without ascer-
taining the real state of things, Levasseur proceeded with the
captain and opened the hatches. The hold was found half filled
with water, which rushed in torrents through a large opening.
"A snag! A snag!" cried the captain. "Hasten Lafayette
to my boat! Bring Lafayette to my boat!"
The cry of distress reached the great cabin and the deck but
General Lafayette did not hear it in the room below. Here Le-
vasseur found him half dressed with his servant.
"What news?" he asked.
"That we shall go to the bottom, General, if we do not
extricate ourselves," said Levasseur, "and we have not a moment
George Lafayette and Levasseur began gathering together
papers and other articles of value. They begged the General to
leave the room at once.
"Go first and prepare for our escape," said the General,
"while I complete my toilet."
"What," cried his son, "do you think that under such cir-
cumstances we would leave you for a moment?"
The two took the General by the hand and hurried him to-
wards the door. He followed, smiling at their haste, and as-
cended the steps.
198 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
At this time the rolling of the vessel was so violent and ir-
regular, and the tumult so great that those on board were in
imminent danger of a watery grave. At last Lafayette and his
friends emerged on deck where confusion reigned in the dark-
ness. Half dressed passengers were running wildly about; some
were dragging trunks; some were looking for the boat; others
were calling for Lafayette. He was already in their midst, but
in the uncertain light they did not recognize him.
The dim lantern revealed only the complete confusion; the
boat heeled to starboard; scarcely could the affrightened men keep
The captain and two sailors brought his boat to this side and
"Lafayette, Lafayette," rang out the captain's sonorous
The confusion was so great that the General could not reach
the boat. Again the vessel rolled violently.
"Here is General Lafayette," shouted Levasseur.
This had the desired effect. The crowd parted, and those
about to leap down into the boat made way for the General.
He hesitated to descend before provision had been made for
the safety of the other passengers, but he was obliged to yield
to their will. He was almost forced to descend.
The rolling of the vessel and the rocking of the little boat
in the darkness made the passage difficult and dangerous. Levas-
seur descended first. He received Lafayette in his arms as he
was lowered by two strong men. Losing his equilibrium under
the great weight, both fell, and had it not been for Mr. Thibeau-
dot who prevented the boat from capsizing, both would have
been thrown into the river.
The boat pushed off into the darkness, but the danger was
not wholly past. The land was to be reached,-but at what
distance, and toward what shore should they direct their course?
The captain promptly made up his mind. Holding the rudder, he
directed the oarsmen to pull for the left bank. In a few
moments the boat reached the shore, and those on board disem-
barking found themselves in the midst of a dense forest.
On landing, those who were so fortunate as to be in the
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 199
boat found their number to be nine: the captain, two sailors, Gen-
eral Lafayette, Mr. Thibeaudot, Dr. Shelly, carrying in his arms
a little daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman, the father of the
child, and Levasseur. Then the General perceived for the first
time that his son was not with him, and his habitual coolness in
the presence of danger deserted him.
"George, George," he called aloud, but his voice was
drowned by the cries that went up from the sinking vessel and
the roar of the steam escaping from the boiler.
His friends tried in vain to reason with the General. He was
reminded that his son was a good swimmer and it was suggested
that he had probably remained on the vessel voluntarily, and
that with his coolness he would certainly escape all danger. The
General continued to walk up and down the shore calling for his
The captain and Levasseur returned to the vessel. The
former had scarcely reached the deck, when twelve men clinging
to the wreck leaped down into the boat and were rowed to the
shore, but neither young Lafayette nor De Syon was among the
number. The boat was again approaching the vessel which now
stood almost on her beam ends, when a terrible crash and cries
of despair announced that she was rapidly sinking. The pas-
sengers began leaping overboard, and the water was agitated in
many directions as they attempted to reach land through the
On the shore, Mr. Thibeaudot coming down to the water's
edge to render assistance to the unfortunates, found a man
drowning near the bank of the river, and drawing him out of the
water, laid him on the grass. The poor man delirious with fear
and agitation, and not realizing that he was on land, made mo-
tions as if attempting to swim, and continued to struggle vio-
lently. He was at length calmed by the reassuring words of his
Others now began to arrive on shore, but young Lafayette
was not among them, nor could any one tell what had become
of him. The General's anxiety increased. It was known that the
vessel had not entirely sunk; that her starboard was under water,
200 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
but that the larboard and gangway were still above it; and that
a number of passengers had taken refuge there.
Again the little boat approached the wreck, and Levasseur
called loudly for his missing companion. No voice replied.
Rowing to the stern he called once more.
"Is that you, Mr. Levasseur ?"
It was the servant Bastien who spoke. He was clinging
to the roof of the upper cabin. He loosened his hold and slid
down, fortunately alighting in the boat.
"George Lafayette," shouted Levasseur.
"Here I am," was the calm reply from the stern.
"Are you safe?"
"I never was better."
Mr. Walsh, of Missouri, who was standing on the deck near
all the effects of Lafayette and his party that could be rescued
from the inrushing flood, handed them down to the boat. Among
them were about sixty letters that had been prepared for post.
Lafayette was promptly assured of the safety of his son.
Levasseur, having learned that the boat had struck the bottom
of the river and could sink no further, turned his attention to
the General for whom a comfortable bivouac had been established
around a large fire of dry branches. Here George Lafayette,
De Syon and others soon arrived.
As the discomfited passengers and crew dried their clothing
and conversed about the fire, the General learned that his son
had won the admiration of those on the wreck by his coolness
and the assistance that he kindly rendered his fellow passengers.
Standing at times waist deep in the water, he calmed those be-
side themselves with fright, assisted others to places of safety,
and refused to leave the vessel until all the passengers were out
"Mr. George Lafayette must have been shipwrecked before,"
said the captain, "for he has behaved tonight as if he were ac-
customed to such adventures."
From accounts of passengers it appeared that General La-
fayette had rather a narrow escape. A few moments after he
left, the water rushed into the ladies' cabin making entrance or
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 201
Careful inquiry at last brought the gratifying assurance
that passengers and crew had all been saved. It was very dark
and a storm seemed impending. A number of fires had been
lighted and swarms of sparks were rising through the arms of
the huge trees to be swallowed up in the blackness of the night.
A floating mattress, almost dry on one side, was brought for the
General, and on it he soon slept. Some occupied themselves
in collecting wood for the fire and others stood about endeavor-
ing to dry their soaking garments. At length the rain began to
patter down, but fortunately it soon passed by.
At daybreak trips were recommenced to the vessel and an
endeavor made to save baggage and food supplies. Captain
Hall, Governor Carroll of Tennessee, and Mr. Crawford, a
young Virginian, directed the work. The foreign passengers
were somewhat surprised to see the Governor of a state without
shoes, stockings or hat, seriously doing the work of a boatman,
more for the benefit of others than for himself, as he had very
little on board to lose by the shipwreck. The searchers brought
to shore a small part of the baggage belonging to the passengers,
the General's trunk containing some of his most valuable papers,
also wine, biscuits, and a leg of smoked venison. With these
provisions the men numbering about fifty, repaired their strength,
exhausted by a night of labor and anxiety.
Day on its return revealed an interesting picture. The shore
was covered with wreckage of many kinds, in the midst of which
each eagerly searched for his own property. Some mournfully
recounted their own losses; others who had lost most of their
wardrobe or had soiled what was rescued from the flood could
not keep from laughing at the grotesque appearance that they
made in their scant and disordered raiment. The mirth provoked
by the situation was contagious; pleasantries circulated around
the fires of the bivouac, smoothed the visages of the sorrowful,
and almost transformed the shipwrecked travelers into a pleasure
Upon investigation they found themselves near the mouth
of Deer Creek, Indiana, about one hundred and twenty-five
miles below Louisville.
At nine o'clock General Lafayette, with Mr. Thibeaudot and
202 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Bastien, was induced to cross to a house on the other side for
protection from a threatening storm. Soon after he had left one
of the party announced a vessel descending the river, and im-
mediately afterwards another. Joyful salutations greeted the
vessels as they arrived opposite and stopped. One of them, a
steamer of large size and remarkable beauty, was The Paragon.
She came from Louisville and was on her way with a heavy
cargo for New Orleans. Fortunately for those on shore, one
of their number, Mr. Neilson, owned an interest in the vessel
and promptly offered it to the committee from Tennessee, that
General Lafayette might continue his voyage up the river.
The party now abandoned the bivouac and were soon
aboard The Paragon. Before leaving the captain of The
Mechanic, who remained with his wrecked vessel, they offered
their services which he promptly refused, assuring them that he
had hands enough for the work. It was easily seen, however, that
he was much depressed, not because of the loss of the vessel, the
twelve hundred dollars on board, or the fear of not finding em-
ployment; his grief rose from having shipwrecked the nation's
"Never," said he, "will my fellow citizens pardon me for the
peril to which Lafayette was exposed last night."
To calm the agitation arising from this apprehension, a
statement was reduced to writing and signed by all the passengers
of The Mechanic, declaring that the loss of the vessel could not be
attributed either to the unskilfulness or imprudence of Captain
Hall, whose courageous work in bringing them safely to land
had been witnessed and appreciated by all.* This gave the cap-
tain much satisfaction, but did not entirely console him.
*The statement in part is as follows:
"We would deem it a great injustice to Captain Hall, should his
character for skill and prudence, as an officer, sustain any injury from
this occurrence. The accident was such as neither prudence nor foresight
could have avoided. The snag which produced this disaster was concealed
some distance under water, and at a distance of more than fifty yards from
the shore. The depth of the water where the boat sunk was not less than
"We feel it a duty to ourselves, as well as to Captain Hall, to make
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 203
As soon as The Paragon got under way, Levasseum and
George Lafayette went in a boat to bring the General on board.
They found him on the opposite shore, and after about half an
hour's rowing joined the vessel which without further incident
worthy of special note reached Louisville.
Stormy weather marred the entertainments given in honor of
Lafayette at Louisville. The vessel landed at Portland, a few
miles below the city, at nine o'clock Wednesday morning, May
10, and was welcomed with the national salute. Lafayette was
met at the landing by the local military organization and com-
mittees representing the city and state. Solomon P. Sharp de-
livered the address of welcome on behalf of Kentucky. He said
"No lapse of time can make you a stranger to the American
people. On the historic page your name is destined to be en-
rolled with the names of Washington and Bolivar; and so long
as enlightened and civilized man shall love freedom, its founders
will live in his memory and claim the first place in his affection.
"The distinguished men of our own country acquired fame
in the good cause, but that cause was their own. You came a
volunteer and staked your fortune and your life in defense of the
rights of others; you found us destitute of arms, of money, of
knowledge of the military art, of every aid but heaven -yet
you found us a people with banner unfurled, resolved for free-
dom to die. In that moment of holy enthusiasm a kindred feel-
ing was born that will never permit you to be considered a for-
known the above facts; so highly honorable to the worthy but unfortunate
subject of these remarks."
To this statement signed by all the passengers the General added the
"I eagerly seize this opportunity of doing justice to Captain Hall's
conduct, and acknowledging my personal obligations to him."
The statement above referred to may be found in full in The National
Republican, Cincinnati, May 17, 1825. For Captain Hall's account of the
steamboat disaster, see his letter to Dr. Hildreth on page 250
204 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
eigner. We must ever esteem you one of the founders of the
"The care which a kind providence has taken to preserve
you, in all the perils of war to which you have been exposed,
and to deliver you safe from varying imminent and recent dan-
ger in the wreck of your vessel on our waters, elicits the grate-
ful emotions of the heart toward the Supreme Ruler of the uni-
verse, and inspires the pious hope that you may continue to en-
joy His beneficence."
The General replied:
"While, in the last days of the Revolution, we were indulg-
ing in patriotic anticipation, our fancy was entertained with dis-
tant and half credited reports from this part of the vast wilder-
ness. You may judge, sir, what must be my feelings when I have
lived to see these remote hopes not only verified, but far sur-
passed by the creations and prosperity of the state of Kentucky,
where I have been most kindly invited and where you are pleased
to welcome me in most gratifying terms. I beg you, gentlemen
of the state committtee, to accept my grateful acknowledgement."
Judge Rowan next addressed Lafayette on behalf of Louis-
ville and Jefferson county. Among other things he said:
"Permit me, General, as the organ of the citizens of the town
of Louisville and the county of Jefferson to express to you the
very great pleasure which your visit to this place affords them.
They have felt an ardent desire to see you from the moment
they have had reason to anticipate your arrival. Their wish to
see and honor you was not the impulse of that curiosity which
seeks its gratification in beholding and admiring the man of
whose virtues and services to mankind fame has spoken so
loudly, so universally, and so justly; nor was it a wish merely
to swell, by the contribution of their humble mite, the moral
spectacle which the United States has been exhibiting to the
world ever since your arrival within the precincts of the nation
--a spectacle entirely new to mankind, that of a great nation,
twelve millions of freemen, spontaneously and eagerly tendering
to one man the gratitude of its heart. The singularity and
grandeur of the spectacle might justify their wish to partici-
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 205
pate. But they had other and higher motives for their eager-
ness to see and honor you-motives which spring from asso-
ciations inseparably connected with the freedom they possess and
the liberties they enjoy. * * * * * * An attempt to de-
lineate your claims to their homage and that of mankind would
be to recount your heroic services, sacrifices and sufferings
throughout a long life devoted to the cause of liberty and human-
ity; the task is one to which I feel unequal, and which the occa-
sion forbids. They are destined to enrich and instruct posterity.
Your fame, General, will be as extended and as durable as the
principles of liberty; and the gratitude of mankind will be coex-
tensive with their love of liberty and durable as your fame.
"But it was not the object of this address to eulogize Gen-
eral Lafayette. It was to bid him welcome. Welcome, then,
General- a cordial welcome to the town of Louisville and the
county of Jefferson."
Lafayette responded as follows:
"I feel highly obliged, sir, for the gratifying welcome, which
in the name of the people of Jefferson county, you are pleased
most kindly to express. It is to me a great satisfaction to visit
the town of Louisville, the flourishing emporium of this im-
portant state. Among the inexpressible enjoyments of my visit
to the United States, where twelve millions of citizens are pleased
so very affectionately to greet one of their earliest soldiers, I am
particularly flattered to have been an additional occasion for the
people of those happy states to testify their attachment to the
principles for which we fought. Accept, sir, the expressions of
my gratitude to the citizens of Louisville and Jefferson county."
The General was then assisted to an open carriage, drawn by
four horses, and accompanied by Colonel Anderson, one of his
aides in the revolution, was escorted to the city preceded by
cavalry and followed by the artillery, light infantry, and a large
procession of citizens. As he passed Shippingport, the steam-
boats there each fired a national salute, and on reaching Louis-
ville he found ten thousand people on the streets awaiting his
arrival. The windows of the houses along the line of march
were filled with ladies, and little misses from the schools, ar-
206 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
rayed in white and stationed along the sidewalks, bowed, waved
their handkerchiefs, and strewed the street with flowers as the
venerated guest passed along. As the procession moved up
Main street, the vast crowd moved with it to the lodgings pre-
pared for the General at Union Hall. A little later a deputation
from Indiana formally invited the General to visit their state. He
signified a desire to grant their request, and the following day
was fixed for the visit.
At night, accompanied by his son and suite, General Lafay-
ette attended a ball given in his honor at Washington Hall.
Among the distinguished guests present were Governor Carroll
of Tennessee, Governor Duval of Florida, and Governor Ray of
In the midst of the joy occasioned by the arrival of Lafay-
ette, the citizens of Louisville did not forget the generous service
of Mr. Neilson to whom they showed substantial evidences of
their gratitude. His name was coupled with that of the General
in the toasts at the public dinner, and the city presented him a
costly piece of plate, on which was engraved the thanks of the
Tennesseeans and Kentuckians for his generous act that pre-
vented inconvenience and delay in the journey of the nation's
On the day after his arrival in Louisville, General Lafayette,
accompanied by a numerous party, on board the steamer General
Pike, crossed the river to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where he was
received in a manner that did credit to the young state.
When the word went abroad that General Lafayette would
probably visit the western states before returning to France, the
legislature of Indiana then in session promptly provided for the
selection of a committee who reported the following resolution
in reference to Major General Lafayette:
"The Senate and House of Representatives of the state of
Indiana, in General Assembly convened, would be deficient in
respect to the feelings of their constituents and unmindful of
their obligations to a distinguished benefactor, did they fail to
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 207
join the paean of national gratitude and unanimous welcome to
Major General Lafayette, on the occasion of his late arrival
in the United States. It is scarcely necessary for them to say,
that they unanimously accord with the sentiments expressed
toward their illustrious friend, by the Chief Magistrate of the
Union, and cordially add their sanction to the provision in his
favor recently enacted by Congress. The latter they view as
the smallest return for his preeminent services and sacrifices the
American people could make, or the National Guest receive.
It is the dignity of a spectacle unparalleled in the history of man,
which they particularly feel and admire.
"Ten millions of hearts, spontaneously offering the homage
of their gratitude to a private individual, unsupported by rank
or power, for services long past, of the purest and most exalted
character; - whilst they furnish consoling evidence that republics
are not ungrateful, also carry with them the delightful convic-
tion that the sons of America have not degenerated from their
fathers of the Revolution.
"In pausing to contemplate with appropriate feelings this
sublime example of popular gratitude, united with reverence for
character and principle, the General Assembly learn, with peculiar
satisfaction, that it is the intention of General Lafayette to visit
the western section of the United States. The felicity denied
by a mysterious providence to the father of his country,
has, it is hoped, been reserved for his adopted son. What the
immortal Washington was permitted to see only through the
dark vista of futurity, will be realized in the fullness of vision
by his associate in arms and glory.
"The General Assembly hail, with inexpressible pleasure, the
prospect of this auspicious visit. They can not, they are aware,
receive their benefactor in the costly abodes of magnificence
and taste, nor vie with their sister states in the embellishments
of a hospitality more brilliant than it is theirs to offer, but not
"But they can, and do, in common with the whole American
people, welcome him to a home in their hearts. They feel per-
suaded that he will take a deep interest in this part of our
208 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
country, which though not the actual theatre of his generous
labor, has emphatically grown out of the glorious results of his
revolutionary services. On the west of the Alleghany Moun-
tains, our illustrious guest will behold extensive communities of
freemen, which within the period of his own recollection, have
been substituted for a trackless wilderness; where forty years
ago primeval barbarism held undisputed sway over man and
nature, civilization, liberty, and law now wield the mild sceptre
of equal rights. It is here that our illustrious friend will find
his name, his services, and, we trust, his principles flourishing in
perenniel verdure. Here, too, may he enjoy the exulting pros-
pect of seeing them in the language of a favorite son of the
West, 'transmitted, with unabated vigor, down the tide of time
to the countless millions of posterity.'
"In accordance with the preceding sentiment the General
Assembly adopt the following resolution:
"Resolved, That this General Assembly, in common with
their fellow citizens of this state and Union, entertain the highest
admiration for the character, and the most heartfelt gratitude
for the services of Major General Lafayette, and most cordially
approve of every testimonial of kindness and affection he has
received from the people and government of the United States.
"Resolved, That, in the opinion of the General Assembly,
it would afford the highest gratification to the citizens of
Indiana, to receive a visit from their revered and beloved bene-
factor, the only surviving General of the American Revolution,
and that the Governor of this state be requested, without delay,
to transmit to General Lafayette this and the preceding resolu-
tion and preamble, accompanied by an invitation to visit this
state, at the seat of government or such town on the Ohio River
as the General may designate.
"Resolved, That the Governor of this state, together with
such officers and citizens as may find it convenient, attend at the
point selected by General Lafayette to receive him with the honor
due to the illustrious guest of the state and nation, and that the
Governor draw on the contingent fund for the payment of all
expenses incurred in executing these resolutions.
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 209
"Resolved, That the Governor be requested to transmit a
copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions to the president
of the United States, and to each of our senators and representa-
tives in congress.
S. C. STEVENS,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
JAMES B. RAY,
President of the Senate, pro tem.
"Approved Jan. 28, 1825.
Soon after the arrival of General Lafayette in Louisville
Colonel Farnham, aid to the governor of Indiana, accompanied
by Messrs. Gwathmey, Merriwether, Beach, and Burnett, waited
upon him with the congratulations of the state which were ex-
pressed as follows:
"General Lafayette-We have the honor to present our-
selves as a committee, in behalf of the executive, the legislature
and the people of Indiana, to tender you our warmest felicita-
tions on your progress thus far, in a tour grateful and exhilar-
ating to every American heart! We particularly congratulate you
on your recent escape from a disaster that menaced your personal
safety and the destruction of our fondest hopes. Accept, sir,
on the soil of a sister state the preliminary welcome of Indiana.
She anticipates with eagerness the satisfaction of indulging at
home, those effusions of sensibility and affection which your
presence can not fail to inspire. She bids us tell you that her
citizens, one and all, impatiently await the happy privilege of
rallying around a national benefactor, and of wreathing in the
shrine of gratitude a garland of honor to republican freedom!
In yielding yourself to their affectionate wishes, you will con-
summate the claims you already possess to their choicest affec-
To this greeting the General replied:
"A visit to Indiana, where I shall have the opportunity in
person to express my sense of gratitude to her executive, repre-
sentatives and citizens for their very kind invitation and gener-
210 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ous expressions of regard, has been among the fond wishes of
He then appointed the following day to make his visit to
the state, at Jeffersonville.
At eleven o'clock, Thursday forenoon, the Indiana com-
mittee met Lafayette on board of the Steamboat General Pike
to which he had been escorted by the committee of arrangements
and marshals of Louisville and Jefferson county. The General
was greeted on the Indiana shore by a salute of thrice twenty-
four guns, discharged from three pieces of artillery, stationed
on the river bank, at the base of three flag staffs each seventy-
five feet high and bearing flags with appropriate mottoes. He
was received at the shore by Generals Clark and Carr, marshals
of the day, and escorted by a detachment of three artillery com-
panies, commanded by captains Lemon, Mifford, and Booth, to
the pleasant mansion of the late Governor Posey; on his entrance
to which he was welcomed by his excellency, James B. Ray, in
the following address:
"General Lafayette--You have already been apprised of
the sentiments of the General Assembly of this state, through
resolutions which my predecessor had the honor of transmitting
to you, and which have received on your part, the most affec-
"Permit me, as the organ of their feelings, and of those of
the people of this state, to hail with delight this auspicious visit.
Your presence on our soil, whilst it satisfies the wishes of the
present generation, will be marked by posterity as the bright
epoch in the calendar of Indiana. Accept, dear General, our
cordial congratulations, our heartfelt welcome, our devoted as-
pirations for your happiness.
"In presenting this free will offering of our hearts, we do not
obey exclusively the impulses of personal affection and grati-
tude. In the language of our legislature, we unite with these
'reverence for character and principle.' We exult, in cooperat-
ing with our brethren of this Union, to demonstrate to the world
that a benefactor and friend, superadding to these sacred claims
those of patriot, philanthropist and republican, 'without fear
and without reproach,' will ever receive the unanimous acclama-
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 211
tion of a free people. If we look in vain into the history of
other nations for this concentration of feeling and sentiment on
any individual, it is because we shall find but one nation en-
joying the preeminent felicity of claiming as its citizens a Wash-
ington and a Lafayette! Allow me, General, on this grateful oc-
casion, to intimate a hope that our sister republic of Columbia
may find in the illustrious Bolivar a legitimate successor in their
hearts to these venerated titles in ours.
"General, when you first landed on our shores and were re-
ceived with outstretched arms by all our citizens who had the
happiness to be near you, the enemies of freedom in Europe
derided these genuine impulses of gratitude as the results of
popular effervescence and caprice. It is now approaching a
twelve-month since your presence diffused joy and gladness
among us, and twenty-one states out of twenty-four have
212 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
recorded by public demonstrations, their deliberate sense of the
honor and happiness you have conferred on them by your visits.
"The states of this Union west of the Alleghany Mountains
were, -at the commencement of your generous services in the
cause of America, unknown, except as boundless tracts of an un-
"This extensive territory you now behold, reclaimed and
fertilized, with a population of millions all cherishing with en-
thusiasm your principles, and emulating each other with har-
monious rivalry in rendering to illustrious merit the grateful
offices we now attempt.
"This population is daily extending with increasing strides
to the western limits of our continent, where your name, in con-
junction with that of the immortal father of his country, will
be repeated, as it now is here, in accents of love and veneration,
and where in all human probability, some of the immediate de-
scendants of those you see around you this day will rehearse
the passing scene to their posterity, till the tones of joy and exul-
tation shall be lost in the murmurs of the Pacific ocean.
"Once more, General, Indiana greets you with a cordial
To which the General returned the following answer:
"While I shall ever treasure in grateful memory the man-
ner in which I have been invited by the representatives of
Indiana, it is now an exquisite satisfaction to be, in the name of
the people, so affectionately received by their chief magistrate
on the soil of this young state and in its rapid progress to wit-
ness one of the most striking effects of self government and
"Your general remarks on the blessings and delightful feel-
ings which I have had to enjoy in this continued series of popu-
lar welcomes, -as they sympathize with my own inexpressible
emotions, so the flattering personal observation you have been
pleased to add claim my most lively acknowledgment; and never-
more, sir, than when by a mention of my name you honor me as
the filial disciple of Washington and the fond admirer of
"Be pleased to accept this tribute of my thanks to you, sir,
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 213
to the branches of the representatives of Indiana, and my most
devoted gratitude and good wishes for the people of this state."
The General was then conducted to rooms where refresh-
ments were provided and presented to a numerous company of
ladies assembled to welcome him, and to several hundred citi-
zens, including a few revolutionary soldiers. Though the crowd
was large, the stormy weather prevented some from attending.
At three o'clock the General was escorted to dinner by the
military accompanied by a band of music. The table was hand-
somely prepared under an arbor, about two hundred and twenty
feet in length, well covered and ornamented throughout with
forest verdure and foliage, among which roses and other flowers
were tastefully interwoven by the ladies of Jeffersonville. At
the head of the table a large transparent painting was hung, on
which was inscribed, "INDIANA WELCOMES LAFAYETTE, THE
CHAMPION OF LIBERTY IN BOTH HEMISPHERES." Over this was
a fine flag, bearing the arms of the United States. At the foot
of the table was a similar painting, with the following inscrip-
tion: "INDIANA, IN '76 A WILDERNESS-IN 1825 A
CIVILIZED COMMUNITY! THANKS TO LAFAYETTE
AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE REVOLUTION." Many
distinguished gentlemen from Kentucky, Tennessee and other
states were present, among whom were recognized Governor
Carroll and suite, Hon. C. A. Wickliffe, Judges Barry and Bled-
soe, Attorney-General Sharp, Col. Anderson, the Hon. John
Rowan, committee of arrangements from Louisville and Jeffer-
son county, Kentucky, Major Wash, Mr. Neilson and others.
After dinner the following toasts were offered amid fre-
quent and hearty applause:
1. Our country and country's friend.
2. The memory of Washington.
3. The Continental Congress of the thirteen united colonies
and their illustrious coadjutors.
4. The congress of 1824-They have expressed to our
benefactor the unanimous sentiments of our hearts.
5. The president of the United States-A vigorous scion
from a revolutionary stock!
6. Major General Lafayette, united with Washington in our
214 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
hearts-We hail his affectionate visit with a heart cheering
In reply to this General Lafayette gave the following:
"Jeffersonville and Indiana-May the rapid progress of
this young state, a wonder among wonders, more and more
evince the blessings of republican freedom.
7. The classic birthplace of freedom-The crescent and
scimeter are no longer terrible to the descendants of Leonidas
8. Simon Bolivar, the liberator of Columbia and Peru-
May the example of Washington continue to direct his course
and consummate his glory.
9. The surviving revolutionary compatriots of General La-
fayette-They have lived years of pleasure in one interview
with their illustrious associate!
10. The ordinance of '87 containing fundamental laws for
the government of the northwestern territory, and providing a
perpetual interdiction to slavery-Immortal gratitude and
honor to its framers!
11. The native soil of our illustrious guest, the classic land
of chivalry and the arts, the smiling region of hospitality, honor,
and refinement - Americans can never forget their first "great
and magnanimous ally."
12. The memory of George Rogers Clark, the brave and
successful commander of the Illinois regiment - His achieve-
ments at Kaskaskia and St. Vincent extinguished the empire of
Great Britain on the Ohio and the Mississippi.
13. The fair of America -It will be their delightful task
to instil in our children those exalted lessons of honor and virtue
taught in the life of our distinguished guest, and thus embalm
his memory in the hearts of posterity!
General Lafayette, on being invited to propose a toast, gave
"The memory of General Greene."
The following volunteer toasts were then offered by
1. Governor Ray. The people of the United States-
Gratified with the opportunity of expressing to the world their
gratitude to their friend and benefactor.
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 215
2. Governor Carroll. The State of Indiana. Rich in nat-
ural resources, her industrious and virtuous citizens know how
to improve them.
3. Judge Barry. General Andrew Jackson -The hero of
4. General M. G. Clarke. The rights of man and the
memory of Thomas Paine, their intrepid and eloquent advocate.
5. Colonel Ford. Henry Clay--The statesman, the
patriot and orator.
6. J. H. Farnham. Our amiable guest, William H. Neil-
son- His noble conduct towards the guest of the nation claims
the tribute of our sincere admiration.
7. General Carr, (one of the marshals of the day). Gen-
eral Andrew Jackson-Posterity will view with admiration the
deeds of glory achieved by the hero whose motto was, "The
country held sacred to freedom and law."
8. A. P. Hay, Esq. The late war with England--It has
evinced to the world that republican government is able to with-
stand the attack of the best regulated monarchy.
9 .............. Henry Clay - Gold from the crucible,
seven times refined.
10. Samuel Gwathmey, Esq. The day we now celebrate-
Long will it be engraved on the hearts of the citizens of Indiana !
After the banquet, in the midst of reluctant farewells,
General Lafayette and his party re-embarked in the evening for
KENTUCKY- SHELBYVILLE, FRANKFORT, LEXINGTON.
On Friday morning, May 12th, after presenting a stand of
colors to the Lafayette Guards, a corps of volunteer cavalry
that had been expressly formed to escort him on his arrival in
Kentucky, he proceeded on his journey to the state capital. Gov-
ernor Carroll of Tennessee, yielding to pressing invitations, ac-
companied the General. Shelbyville was reached at the end of
the first day's journey. At four o'clock Saturday afternoon the
General and his escort entered South Frankfort.
A contemporary witness tells us that "the long and brilliant
procession winding down the hill and through the streets, the
course has been honorable, and that ultimately when you leave
this terrestrial globe you may meet in the mansions of bliss with
our beloved Washington, is the sincere and heartfelt prayer of a
To which Lafayette replied substantially as follows:
"My old and endearing connection with those parts of
America from which Kentucky has made a splendid offspring
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 217
could not but make me very anxious to visit this state where
the splendid results of fertility and industry have surpassed our
most romantic hope and where in the gallant and spirited Ken-
tuckians I recognize the sons of my revolutionary contemporaries
Thanks to the kindness of friends, among your fine corps of vol-
unteers I have had the pleasure of meeting a body of my old
companions, and those also who in that Revolutionary War
fought on the western frontier. Here also I meet many of the
patriots who in the last war proved themselves the glorious de-
fenders of their country. While my lively gratitude is excited
by the affectionate welcome I now receive from the people of
Kentucky, and which at this seat of government you are pleased
most kindly to express, I have also personally to acknowledge
anterior obligations; for from this place, by the two branches of
the legislature and the chief magistrate of the state, I have been
invited in most flattering terms, for which I beg leave to join my
thanks with the tribute of my grateful and devoted respects to the
citizens of this commonwealth."
After the General had rested from the fatigue of his journey
the military re-formed and he was conducted along the serried
columns under a gorgeous arch, to a large pavilion. Here a
touching scene occurred. A band of revolutionary soldiers,
wearing on their hats the figures '76, were drawn up in line to
meet the General. Gray and bent with age they stood up proudly
to look once more upon their commander of other years. The
General walked along the line and warmly greeted each veteran.
In his sturdy frame and in his face as yet unmarred by time,
they saw no traces of the slender boy General of the days "that
tried men's souls." From their faces the freshness of youth and
the pride of vigorous manhood had departed. "Half a century
had obliterated the features that once made these brave men
known to each other, but they mutually recalled a number of
incidents which had occurred in their former service." As they
grasped the hand of the man who in his youthful days had led
them to danger and glory, grateful emotions found expression,
and down the furrows of war and time tears freely found their
Later in the evening over five hundred guests sat down to
218 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
dinner, the General occupying the place of honor. To his right
and left sat the aged men who had been his companions in arms.
Around the tables were seated officers of the war of 1812, sen-
ators, representatives in congress, members of the state legisla-
ture, judges, clergymen and distinguished guests from other
Among many toasts offered were the following:
By General Lafayette- Kentucky and this seat of govern-
ment- May the gallant and patriotic Kentuckians forever unite
in the enjoyment of the principles for which we have fought and
of the blessings to which their industry, their valor, and their
republican spirit give them a triple right.
By Governor Desha-Generals Lafayette and Jackson-
One fought to obtain American liberty; the other to perpetuate it.
By Colonel Richard M. Johnson - Joseph Desha, Governor
of Kentucky - distinguished for services in the field and the un-
deviating support of republican principles.
By Chief Justice Barry- The captain, crew, and passengers
of the Steamboat Mechanic - They showed their love for liberty
in their anxiety to preserve its great apostle.
By Judge Bledsoe- Washington, Lafayette, Bolivar, and
Manrocordato -apostles of liberty in two worlds.
In the evening a ball was given in honor of the General,
in one of the most spacious halls of the then western country. It
was surmounted with an arched roof supported by two rows of
columns. A description of the room as it appeared that night has
"It was hung around with crimson drapery, relieved at inter-
vals by gilt laurel wreaths, from which were suspended festoons
of white drapery ornamented with red roses. Wreaths of ever-
green and roses were displayed on the entablatures of the capi-
tals and entwined around the shafts of the columns. At the
upper end of the room was a large military trophy, in the center
of which was an oval transparency, exhibiting a striking likeness
of the General, surrounded by festoons of crimson drapery and
enclosed in a triangular frame of stacked muskets, from behind
which the projecting points of bayonets and swords formed
brilliant rays of glory. The trophy was surmounted by the fol-
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 219
lowing motto; 'Welcome, Champion of Freedom.' In the
orchestra opposite the trophy, the French and American colors
were displayed above the tops of cedars ornamented with roses.
On the floor between the columns was drawn a beautiful design
- the French and American flags entwined around a shield sur-
mounted by a laurel wreath and surrounded by the motto, 'La-
fayette, Our Country's Guest.' On the walls hung several por-
traits tastefully ornamented, among which were those of Wash-
ington, Jefferson, Madison, and General Scott. Two elegant
chandeliers and numerous candles illuminated the fairy scene."
On the day following, the General and his party started to
Lexington. On their way they stopped for dinner at the town of
Versailles, whose citizens with those of the surrounding country
were out in great numbers to honor the General. That afternoon
the party traveled to within three miles of Lexington, where they
spent the night. On Monday morning a large body of state
cavalry, headed by a deputation from Lafayette county, came
to escort the General into the city.
On an eminence from which Lexington could be dimly seen
in the distance, the procession formed. By eight o'clock the
column was in motion. Rain was falling in torrents and the sky
covered with dark clouds, portended a bad day; but when the
cavalcade was entering the city, at the discharge of artillery on a
neighboring hill as if by enchantment the rain ceased, the clouds
scattered, and the returning sun revealed the landscape of living
green, the city in holiday attire and a great concourse of people
anxiously awaiting the arrival of the nation's guest.
The entertainments at Lexington were especially brilliant,
but the General was most interested in the evident educational
progress of all classes of the people. He was not a little sur-
prised to find so far west a town of six thousand inhabitants,
rivaling in culture the favored communities of Europe. The
first place he visited was Transylvania College, the university of
Kentucky. Here he was welcomed by John Bradford, president
of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Holley, president of the uni-
In his reply General Lafayette paid the following compli-
220 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ment to Henry Clay, who was a trustee of the university, but
was not present on this occasion:
"To your interesting remarks on the diffusion of light
through the western states, I will add that already the western
stars of the American constellation have shone with splendid
lustre in the national councils. South America and Mexico
will never forget that the first voice heard in congress for the
recognition of their independence was the voice of a Kentuckian ;*
nor can they any more forget that to the wise and spirited declar-
ation of the government of the United States they have been
indebted for the disappointment of hostile projects, and for a
more speedy recognition by European powers."
The General and his party then proceeded to a spacious hall
where the students honored him with addresses in Latin, English
and French. To each of these he made a brief response that
showed his familiarity with the languages. The addresses of
the young men have been preserved.
The General next visited the academy for young ladies,
conducted by Mrs. Dunham under the name of Lafayette
Academy. Here students welcomed him with a patriotic song
composed by Mrs. Holley and addresses similar to those de-
livered at the university. Lafayette was agreeably surprised and
deeply affected at the interest of the young in his visit and their
familiarity with the incidents of his life. The affectionate wel-
come tendered him here made him reluctant to leave, and when
finally he bade farewell to the young ladies and their teachers
he said, "I am proud of the honor of having my name attached
to an institution so beneficial in its aim and so happy in its re-
While in Lexington, Lafayette visited Mrs. Scott the widow
of General Scott of revolutionary fame. He also drove to Ash-
land, the charming home of Henry Clay, recently appointed
Secretary of State. Mr. Clay was not there to receive him, but
Mrs. Clay and her children did the honors in a manner that was
highly appreciated by the distinguished guest.
*Henry Clay was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic advocates
of the recognition of the independence of the South American republics.
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 221
At Lexington the General parted with Governor Carroll and
almost all of his friends from Louisiana, Tennessee, and Frank-
fort, and turning northward with Governor Desha, other state
officials, and a detachment of volunteer cavalry from George-
town, at the end of thirty-six hours arrived, on the nineteenth
of May, at ten o'clock in the morning, on the bank of the Ohio
River opposite the city of Cincinnati.
Lafayette's entry into the city of Cincinnati was most
auspicious. The day was cloudless; the spirit of peace seemed
to fall upon the expectant landscape and the laughing waters.
In the Queen City a great concourse of people was eagerly
awaiting the signal that should announce the approach of the
"Nation's Guest." When this was given an elegant barge, pre-
pared and manned for the occasion and commanded by mid-
shipman Rowan, crossed the river. The moment it commenced
its return with Lafayette on board a salute was fired by the
artillery and he approached the shores of Ohio "amidst the roar
of cannon and the shouts of a joyful multitude that thronged
the banks of the river."
Governor Jeremiah Morrow at the head of a large body of
gorgeously uniformed soldiery met him at the landing. As he
came ashore the Governor grasped his hand and proceeded to
address him as follows:
"General -On behalf of the citizens of the State of Ohio,
I have the honor to greet you with an affectionate and cordial
"This state, from the circumstances of its recent origin,
was not a member of the American confederation until many
years after the termination of the Revolutionary War. Her ter-
ritory has not been the theatre of those military operations so im-
portant in their results, nor have her fields been rendered memor-
able by the then sanguinary conflicts. Hence, in visiting a country
barren of revolutionary incidents, those recollections and associa-
tions with which you were impressed on lately traversing
Bunker's Hill and the scene of hostile action and victory at
Yorktown cannot be produced.
222 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
"Still, sir, we flatter ourselves that your visit to the western
country, which has excited on our part the most lively emotion,
will not be wholly uninteresting to yourself. To you it must be
interesting to witness, in the social order which prevails and the
rapid progress of improvement in our country, a practical illus-
tration of the effects produced on the condition of man, by those
principles of rational liberty of which you have been the early
defender, the consistent advocate, and the uniform friend; and
the same people welcome you here as on the more classic ground
over which you have passed; for here, as in the elder states,
many of those patriots who achieved our nation's independence
have fixed their residence. They and their descendants form a
large portion of our population, and give a like tone to the feel-
ings and character of our community. With the sentiments of
gratitude and veneration common to our fellow citizens through-
out the United States, we hail you, General, as the early and
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 223
constant friend of our country, of rational liberty, and of the
rights of man."
General Lafayete replied as follows:
"The highest award that can be bestowed on a revolutionary
veteran is to welcome him to a sight of the blessings which have
issued from our struggle for independence, freedom, and equal
rights. Where can those enjoyments be more complete than in
this State of Ohio, where even among the prodigies of American
progress, we are so particularly to admire the rapid and wonder-
ful results of free institutions, free spirit, and free industry; and
where I am received by the people and in their name by their
chief magistrate, with an affection and concourse of public kind-
ness, which fill my heart with most lively sentiments of grati-
tude. While I am highly obliged for your having come so far
to meet me, I much regret the impossibility to present to you
my acknowledgments, as I had intended, at the seat of govern-
ment. You know, sir, the citizens of the state know, by what
engagements, by what sacred duties, I am bound to the solemn
celebration of a half secular anniversary, equally interesting to
the whole Union. I offer you, sir, my respectful thanks for the
kind and gratifying manner in which you have been pleased to
express your own and the people's welcome; and permit me here
to offer the tribute of my grateful devotion and respect to the
happy citizens of the State of Ohio."
The soldiers then stood in open order and presented arms,
while the General proceeded in a "barouche and four", accom-
panied by the escort from Kentucky and the city authorities, to
a platform in front of the Cincinnati Hotel where he was re-
ceived by the committee of arrangements for the city. "The
crowd of citizens was immense. The whole common in front of
the town presented an unbroken mass of freemen, anxiously
looking for the object of their admiration, and occasionally
rending the air with shouts of the most enthusiastic joy." Ladies
thronged the doors, windows and balconies of adjacent build-
ings. Handkerchiefs fluttered, flags waved, the crowd swayed,
and the troops with military precision performed their evolutions
as the General and his party mounted the platform. Here he
was warmly greeted by a number of old revolutionary soldiers
224 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and prominent citizens of the state. General William Henry
Harrison, chairman of the committee, delivered the following
welcome on behalf of the city:
"General Lafayette - In the name of the people of Cincin-
nati, I bid you welcome to their city.
"In other places, General, your reception has been marked
by a display of wealth and splendor which we could not imitate,
even if it were not imcompatible with the simplicity of manners
and habits which distinguish the backwoodsmen of America.
But let me assure you, General, that in no part of the Union or
of the whole earth is there to be found a greater respect for your
character, a warmer gratitude for your services, or a more af-
fectionate attachment to your person than in the bosoms of
those who now surround you.
"But, if we cannot rival some of our sister states in the
splendor of an exhibition, or in the fascinating graces of a
highly polished society, to a mind like yours we can present a
more interesting spectacle-the effect of those institutions, for
the establishment of which your whole life has been devoted, in
producing in the course of a few years a degree of prosperity
and a sum of human happiness which you have nowhere seen
surpassed in the wide circuit of your tour. When you last em-
barked from your adopted country, General, the bounds of this
extensive state did not contain a single white inhabitant. No
plow had yet marked a furrow on its luxuriant soil. One un-
broken mass of forest equally sheltered a few miserable savages
and the beasts which were their prey.
"In this immense waste no human being offered the song of
praise and thanksgiving to the throne of the Creator; the country
and its wretched inhabitants presented the same appearance of
wild, savage, uncultivated nature. But now see the change, 'the
wilderness and the solitary places have been made glad, and the
desert to blossom as the rose.'
"There is no deception, General, in the appearances of pros-
perity which are before you. This flourishing city has not been
built like the proud capital of the frozen Neva, by command of
a despot, directing the labor of obedient millions. It has been
reared by the hands of freemen. It is the natural mart of a
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 225
highly cultivated country. These crowded streets are filled
with the inhabitants of this city and its vicinity, and are a part
of the 700,000 Christian people who daily offer up their orisons
to heaven for the innumerable blessings they enjoy. The youth
who form your guard of honor are a detachment of the 100,000
enrolled freemen, whose manly bosoms are the only ramparts
of our state. They have all assembled to present the freewill
offering of their affections to the benefactor of their country.
"Happy Chief! How different must be your feelings from
those of the most distinguished commander who, in the proudest
days of Rome, conducted to the capitol the miserable captives
and the glittering spoils of an unrighteous war. This, your
triumph, has not brought to the millions who witnessed it, a
single painful emotion. Your victories have not caused a sigh
from the bosom of any human being, unless it be from the tyrants
whose power to oppress their fellowmen they have curtailed.
"Happy man! The influence of your example will extend
beyond the tomb. Your fame, associated with that of Washing-
ton and Bolivar, will convince some future Caesar that the path
of duty is the path of true glory; and that the character of the
warrior can never be complete without faithfully fulfilling the
character of the citizen.
"Welcome, then, companion of Washington, friend of
Franklin, Adams and Jefferson-devoted champion of liberty,
The General was visibly moved, and replied as follows:
"The wonders of creation and improvement which have hap-
pily raised this part of the Union to its present high degree of
importance, prosperity and happiness, have been to me, from the
other side of the Atlantic, a continued object of attention and
delight; yet, whatever had been my patriotic and confident antici-
pations, I find them still surpassed by the admirable realities
which, on entering this young, beautiful and flourishing city offer
themselves to my enchanted eye, and by the testimonies of affec-
tion which the kind and happy multitude of citizens which sur-
round us are pleased to confer upon me. So, while I here enjoy
the blessed results of our revolutionary action, of the last war,
226 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and the fine appearance of the numerous corps of volunteers
who have turned out to meet me, in these young patriots, I see
a most gratifying specimen of the hundred thousand citizen
soldiers of this state, ever ready to stand in defense of national
rights and American honor. Here, also, I meet revolutionary
companions in arms, the sons of my old friends, and the sound
of names most dear to me. Accept, sir, my best thanks for the
kind manner in which you and the gentlemen of the committee
are pleased to welcome me and a tender of my respectful and
affectionate gratitude to the citizens of Cincinnati for their bril-
liant and, you will allow me to observe, my dear sir, their so
very affectionate reception."
At the conclusion of these ceremonies the military retired
and the General held an informal reception at the hotel. At five
o'clock he attended the masonic lodge, which bore his name,
which had been organized in anticipation of his visit, and of
which he was made an honorary member. An ode prepared for
this occasion by Morgan Neville, was read. George Graham
made the principal address to which the General feelingly replied.
Later in the evening he witnessed a "brilliant exhibition of fire
works" at the Globe Inn and on his return visited the Western
Museum which was brilliantly illuminated in his honor as was
the entire city. "At a seasonable hour", says a writer who was
present, "he returned to his lodgings at the house of Mr. Febiger
on Vine Street."
Early the next morning the streets were thronged with peo-
ple eager to see and honor the nation's guest. The committee
had arranged to give the Sabbath school children of Cincinnati
precedence in the parade. At nine o'clock they were formed in
procession and marched, "bearing appropriate banners, to the
foot of Broadway, where under the guidance of the teachers
they were arranged in a hollow square ready to receive the Gen-
eral." He was soon presented among them and seemed more de-
lighted with this exhibition of gratitude than with any other
which the best efforts of the citizens could present. He took the
children affectionately by the hand, proceeding with his saluta--
tions through the greater part of them, amounting in all to more
than fifteen hundred, besides the pupils of Dr. Locke's female
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 227
academy. These last were dressed in uniform and added much
to the beauty of the procession. Rev. Ruter, in behalf of the
children and teachers addressed the General:
"General Lafayette -The return to our Republic, of one of
its principal founders, after an absence of almost half a century,
brings to the mind an association of ideas and emotions not easily
described. When this part of the United States was a wilderness,
without inhabitants to appreciate your cause, you came to our
shores and fought and bled in defense of our national rights.
Success attended your efforts; you left America in peace and re-
turned in triumph to your native land. Years have rolled on,
revolutions have shaken Europe, kingdoms have risen and fallen.
By a gracious providence you have been preserved to see the end
of those perils. You have outlived the storm. And now, in the
bright evening of your days, returning to the theatre of that
memorable revolution in which you bore so conspicuous a part,
you behold its happy effects in the widespread blessing which
crowned the American people. From the East to the West, over
the land of the free, over the homes of surviving patriots once
your companions, and over the tombs of our departed heroes,
"During your absence, the wilderness has become a fruit-
ful field, filled with inhabitants, abounding with plenty, favored
with religious toleration and flourishing in the arts and sciences.
Our citizens who first emigrated to the western country brought
with them the principles which you have uniformly defended,
and their children have received them. The rising generation of
our land have been taught the origin of our political institutions;
they have learned your history as being interwoven with that of
their nation; they cherish and will transmit to posterity a grate-
ful remembrance of your sufferings and your achievements in
the sacred cause of freedom. General, the people of the West,
while they give thanks to God who first sent you to our shores,
receive you as their benefactor, as their friend, and as the
former friend and companion of the great Washington. All
hearts greet you, and perhaps none with more sincerity than
these juvenile companies, gathered from our schools and from
our principal female academy, with the instructors and guard-
228 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ians, whom I have the honor of representing, and in whose
name I am happy to welcome your arrival in Cincinnati."
After greeting the children*, the General replied:
"Amidst the affectionate and universal greeting from the
people of Ohio whom I have the happiness to meet in this ad-
mirable city of Cincinnati, I have with peculiar delight noticed
the eagerness and warmth of juvenile feelings in behalf of an
old American soldier. There I rejoice to find not only additional
testimonies of the personal kindness of their parents and tutors,
but a most gratifying mark of their own early attachment to
the principles for which their forefathers fought and bled. Their
eyes have first opened on the public prosperity and domestic hap-
piness which are the blessed lot of this American land. Here
liberty and equal rights surround them in every instance, in every
progress of their tender years, and when admitted to compare
their country with those parts of the world where aristocracy
and despotism still retain their baneful influence, they will more
and more love their republican institutions and take pride in the
dignified character of American citizenship. So when they re-
flect on the toils in the war of independence, on the source to
which they owe these various institutions, they will be more
disposed to cherish the sentiments of mutual affection between
the several parts of the confederacy.
"I beg you, sir, to accept my affectionate thanks for your
kind address, and I also present my acknowledgments to the
worthy teachers and to my friends of both sexes in your so
very interesting schools and seminaries."
At eleven a. m. the grand procession was formed. In ad-
dition to the local military, companies from Springfield, Madison,
and Vevay, Indiana, participated. Mechanical organizations with
*When the General appeared before them, their young hands scattered
flowers under his feet, and Dr. Ruter advancing delivered him an address
in their name, the sentiments of which sensibly affected the General, who
wished to express his acknowledgments to the doctor, but, at the moment
was surrounded by the children, who in a most lively manner stretched
out their little hands to him, and filled the air with their cries of joy. He
received their caresses and embraces with the tenderness of a parent who
returns to his family after a long absence, and then replied to Dr. Ruter's
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 229
appropriate banners were in line: printers, cordwainers, hatters,
shipwrights, carpenters, engravers, saddlers and other labor
societies numbering in all more than thirty.
The shipwrights, several of whom carried models of boats
on their shoulders, were preceded by the barge in which the
General had crossed the river, now mounted on wheels and
drawn by three horses. On the stern was painted, 'Yorktown,
Oct. 19, 1781.' The star spangled banner floated proudly at
her bow and stern and the barge was manned by young men who
had volunteered to uniform themselves for the honor of con-
veying the General to the city.
Never had Cincinnati witnessed a more impressive spectacle.
Fresh arrivals from the surrounding country swelled the crowd
beyond the bounds of the city. Streets, doorways, windows and
roofs were thronged with people. After traversing the principal
streets the procession halted on the open plain back of the city.
Here was erected for the accommodation of the General and
suite an elegant pavilion, decorated with roses and evergreens
and sufficiently elevated to command a view of the surrounding
multitude. After the General was seated and the hum of the
crowd had been silenced, Mr. Samuel M. Lee sang the following
ode which had been composed for the occasion:
(AIR - Marseilles hymn.)
With wealth and conquest grown delirious,
A foreign despot seized the rod,
And bade us in a tone imperious
To bow submissive to his nod.
His hostile navies plowed the ocean,
His threatening armies thronged our shore;
But when we heard his cannon roar,
* Thousands exclaimed, with one emotion,
Columbia's sons, to arms!
Oh who would be a slave!
March on! march on! unchecked, unawed,
To freedom or the grave.
230 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The god of battles, from his dwelling
Of light and glory in the skies,
Heard from a thousand temples swelling
Our heart-felt prayers and praises rise,
And nerved each arm, inspired each spirit
To fight, to conquer, and be free,
And bade each son of liberty
His father's freeborn soul inherit.
Columbia's sons, to arms!
Oh who would be a slave!
March on! march on! unchecked, unawed,
To freedom or the grave.
See, one by one, those heirs of glory,
Forever fled their health and bloom,
In freedom's cause grown weak and hoary,
Descending to the patriot's tomb.
But yet of this great constellation
A few bright planets have not set:
We yet behold thee, Lafayette!
The guest, and glory of our nation.
Columbia's sons, to arms!
Oh who would be a slave!
March on! march on! unchecked, unawed,
To freedom or the grave.
With comrades, kindred, friends surrounded-
With ease and wealth and titles blest-
The gallant youth, when freedom sounded
Her trumpet-blast, sprang from his rest;
And flew, when tyrants sought to enslave us,
To western wilds, o'er ocean's tide-
Took ours, and heaven's and glory's side,
And toiled, and fought, and bled to save us.
Columbia's sons, to arms!
Oh who would be a slave!
March on! march on! unchecked, unawed,
To freedom or the grave,
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 231
Welcome, Fayette! with arms extended,
And hearts as boundless as our soil,
We hail thee to a land, defended
By thy own prowess, wealth and toil
In glory's page while bards and sages
Enroll the patriot's honored name,
Beloved Fayette! thy deathless fame
Will pass unsullied through all ages.
Columbia's sons, to arms!
Oh who would be a slave!
March on! march on! unchecked, unawed,
To freedom or the grave.
From a stand opposite the pavilion, Joseph S. Benham,* the
orator of the day, then delivered the following address:
"The love of liberty, natural as the love of life, is an in-
stinct common to all animals. In man, beneficently endowed
with intellect by which he is preeminently distinguished, it dis-
*A discourse upon the solemnity of the day succeeded the patriotic
song. The orator who was to pronounce it arose, advanced toward the
expecting multitude, before whom he remained some moments silent, his
countenance depressed, his hand placed upon his breast, as if overcome by
the greatness of the subject he was to treat. At length his sonorous voice,
although slightly tremulous, was heard, and the whole assembly soon
became fascinated with his eloquence. The benefits and advantages of
freedom, the generous efforts made for its establishment in the two hemi-
spheres by Lafayette, the picture of the present and future prosperity of
the United States, furnished the topics of Mr. Benham's address. He
took such possession of the imagination of his auditors that even after
he had ceased speaking the attentive crowd remained some time silent as
though they still heard his voice.
Popular eloquence is one of the distinctive characteristics of the
Americans of the United States. The faculty of speaking well in public
is acquired by all the citizens from the universality and excellence of their
education, and is developed in a high degree by the nature of their institu-
tions, which call upon each citizen for the exercise of that power in the
discussion of public affairs. In each town, in every village, the number
of persons capable of speaking before a numerous assembly, is truly
surprising; and it is not uncommon to meet among them men who, although
born in obscurity, have justly acquired great reputation for eloquence.
232 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
plays itself in every action of his life. It is the center of all his
affections - the key to his heart, - no less essential to his great-
ness than to his felicity. Subject his destiny to the arbitrary
will of a tyrant, and you mar the beauty and majesty of his form,
which is so 'express and admirable'; you extinguish every noble
and godlike aspiration, and 'tame him into dullness.' All order
is subverted, all harmony is destroyed. Subordinate the social
mass to one feeble and impotent will, ever influenced by narrow
and contracted views, by tumultuous passions, by self aggrandize-
ment, or by the adulation of courtiers, and it either pines in a pas-
sive lethargy, or, if called into action by extraordinary excite-
ments, exhausts its strength by its efforts, while its produce is
wholly drawn off by the privileged part, - like to the aged oak,
on which we see a few of the higher branches verdant, while the
trunk is rotten and sinking speedily to the dust.
"Despotic governments exert a like baleful influence upon
the inhabitants and the country. Their wealth is in the hands of
the nobility-a few haughty lordlings who regard the populace
as an inferior race of beings, forming a portion of their inherit-
ance, and fit only to minister to their sensual gratifications. The
inestimable rights of person and property are alike insecure:
industry receives no encouragement; the arts and the sciences
languish and commerce is in the hands of strangers, while pov-
erty, ignorance, degradation and wretchedness brood upon the
face of the country like primitive darkness upon the face of the
waters, and form the national character.
"Fix your eye upon the map of the Ottoman Empire, and you
have a glaring example of these truths. You there see an exten-
sive region of exuberant soil, in a genial climate, salubrious air,
and benignant skies; yet, such is the despotism of the govern-
ment, that with all these blessings, it is the poorest and most
barbarous upon the continent. This, too, was once the seat of the
muses and is now the scene of every classic reminiscence: the
land of Homer, the country of Epaminondas, of Themistocles and
Leonidas! But, alas! liberty, the muses, and the arts, like the
last flight of the dove from the ark, have wended their course
from those inhospitable regions. Ignorance has here shown her
natural hostility to taste by mutilating the statues, demolishing
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 233
the temple, and defacing the elegant forms of sculpture and
architecture. On the rock of the Acropolis, where once stood
the magnificent temple of Minerva, famed for its golden statues,
marble fragments are all that remain. The odeum of Pericles,
which once resounded with the notes of the lyre and the sub-
lime strains of the choral song, is now appurtenant to a Turkish
castle. These are the deleterious effects of despotism upon the
moral and physical world.
"Compare this picture, though feebly crayoned (for the orig-
inal would justify darker shades and deeper hues) with the
government of these United States, the prosperous, cheerful,
and happy condition of her citizens, and how vivid is the con-
trast. All the trans-Atlantic dynasties have been fortuitously
formed. They have mostly begun in bloody anarchy, and after
describing the whole circle, have at last terminated in sullen
despotism. They have passed from infancy to manhood, and
from manhood speedily to old age. The American government
no less prudent, cautious and circumspect than those of the old
world, like Minerva from the head of Jove, sprang at once into
full maturity and symmetry, armed in sovereign panoply and
took her rank among the kingdoms of the earth.
"The Greeks and Romans boasted that their laws and gov-
ernment were divine emanations. We propagate no such delu-
sions. Our government is universally acknowledged to be the
production of human reason, consecrated by the free will of
the people. The constitution delineated by their mighty hand, in
their sovereign and unlimited capacity, establishes certain first
principles of fundamental law, and is predicated upon the inde-
structible pillars of justice and equality. In its shade, like that
of a great rock in a weary land, the pilgrims of the old world
repose peaceful and happy. The philanthropists, philosophers
and sages who formed this charter of our rights never lost sight
of the self-evident truths that all men are created equal; that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that
among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
"This beautiful fabric of free government which has ex-
cited so much envy and admiration, was no sooner formed than
it was hailed as a 'magnificent stranger' in the world. Here the
234 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
wealth of the nation is equally distributed among her children,
who are alike noble with the gaudy 'insignia of nobility.' We
have no laws of primogeniture to create and foster an aristoc-
racy. The rights of person and of property are sacred and in-
violate. Industry in every branch of business is encouraged, the
arts and the sciences flourish, and commerce unfurls her canvas;
while contentment, independence, enterprise and intelligence
form the bright escutcheon of the national character. Here civil
liberty, in exile from the old world, has established her empire
and fixed her throne. It is here our laws are equal, mild and
beneficent; it is here that religious bigotry and intolerance are
unknown; it is here a provision is made by government for the
poor; it is here, in fine, that persecuted truth finds refuge and
persecuted man an asylum and a home.
"These, Lafayette, are the fruits of thy toils and sacrifices.
These are the laurels that bloom for thee in America- won by
thy gallantry in the vales of Brandywine, on the plains of Mon-
mouth and at Yorktown, and which like the aloe flower, blos-
som in old age. These form the bright constellation of thy glory.
Let its shining radiance impart one cheering ray to guild the
gloom of despotism, and like the star of Bethlehem conduct the
king and wise men of the earth in the road to civil and religious
"At the mention of thy name, revered and venerated hero
and sage, every countenance beams with joy, and every heart
dilates with gratitude, while you 'read your welcome in a nation's
eyes.' Most nations, when tyranny becomes intolerable, have
had their benefactors and deliverers-daring spirits whom no
dangers could appall, no difficulties dismay. Scotland had her
Wallace- Switerland her Tell - Poland, dismembered, pros-
trate Poland, her Kosciusco ; and America, thrice happy America,
her Washington. But these immortal champions of human lib-
erty were inspired by an ardent love of country to save from
pollution their household gods and their altars. Lafayette, in-
spired by the same enthusiastic love of liberty, and prompted
by a generous, disinterested sympathy, at the juvenile age of
nineteen, relinquished the charms of nobility, the ease of af-
fluence, the fascinations and endearments of friends, home and
"The disastrous condition of our affairs seemed to offer but
an humble theatre to the aspirant for military fame. The cy-
press extended its mournful boughs over our army. But nothing
could extinguish the ardor of the young hero. He immediately
clothed, equipped, and organized, at his own expense, a corps
of men, and entered as a volunteer into our service. All Europe
gazed with admiration, mingled with regret, upon the eaglet that
236 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
had left the royal nest and soared into a distant hemisphere to
fight the battles of liberty. In retracing the incidents of the
eventful life of our benefactor, a duty which gratitude imposes,
we find them alike illustrious. They exhibit a man passing with
the constancy of truth, the sternness of stoicism and the resig-
nation of Christianity, through greater trials and reverses of
fortune than any other in the annals of biography. Behold him
in his youth, contemning all patrician effeminacy, courting fatigue
and danger in the tented field, and leading our fathers to inde-
pendence and glory. See him soon after acting a conspicuous
part in the most awful and appalling convulsion in the annals of
the world, in which every old institution was covered in its
cradle with blood. We see him a member of the national as-
sembly, alike obnoxious to the Jacobins and the ancient regime,
to bloody anarchy and frightful despotism, moving the abolition
of the odious letters de cachet and the emancipation of the
protestants, holding in his hands for adoption a constitution con-
taining the elements of a representative monarchy. View him
in the Champ de Mars, at the head of the national guards, in
the midst of an amphitheatre containing half a million of his
countrymen, kneeling at the altar and swearing on their behalf to
a free constitution. But the Jacobins get the ascendency. La-
fayette and constitutional liberty are proscribed. Danton and
Robespierre reign and France is deluged with blood! He now
suddenly disappears; even his family know not where he is.
Behold him in the Austrian dungeon, spurning all compromises
with oppression upon dishonorable terms and claiming the pro-
tection of an American citizen. He is at length released and
lives for many years patriarchal like, in the bosom of retirement,
when we again after the battle of Waterloo hear his well known
voice in the tribune, endeavoring to rally his bleeding country-
men around the ancient tri-colored standard of '89. In fine,
we behold him in his old age, in the bosom of the Republic whose
eagles he defended in his youth, the 'guest of the nation', and
hear as he passes through it the united voices of millions salut-
ing him in the accents of gratitude, - Welcome, welcome La-
Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States. 237
"When we behold thee, General, after an absence of more
than forty years, mingling affectionately among us, we involunta-
rily look around with an inquiring eye for others who are absent,
the compeers of your toil and glory. Where are Greene and
Wayne, Washington and Hamilton? Where is Franklin the
sage? Their names are familiar among us; their actions are
engraven upon our hearts. But 'honor's voice cannot provoke
the silent dust'; in you we behold the only surviving officer of
the general staff, while your companions 'rest in peace and in
glory' in the bosom of the soil they redeemed:
"A tomb is theirs on every page,
An epitaph on every tongue."
"On your former visit to this your adopted country, they
were all alive to welcome you. You now find yourself in the
midst of a new generation. But they are not aliens; they are
kindred spirits. They occupy the same country, shaded by the
same vine and fig tree. They speak the same language and are
characterized by the same simple manners and customs. They
support the same good government, feel the same devotion to
liberty and worship the same God.
"Who can unveil the future glories of this rising Republic?
When these divine institutions, which now unite us in the bonds
of fraternity, shall have received their fullest expansion, what
political astronomer can 'cast the horoscope in the national sky'
and count the stars that shall rise to emblazon the banner of our
country? Calculating the future by the past, the imagination is
overpowered, when we look down the vista of time and contem-
plate the growing millions which in a few years will fill the bosom
of the West, united in one common brotherhood, by the same
laws and government, language and consanguinity. Only fancy