Ohio History Journal





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-


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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

of Lafayette:

"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

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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

a "joke:"

"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

remarkable deduction:

"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

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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

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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

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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-

ward Coles.")

2 The following letters passed between Lafayette and Governor 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

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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

affectionate regards.


His Excellency, Governor Coles, Illinois.



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,


General Lafayette.

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Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States.     171

"General Lafayette:

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

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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

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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-

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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

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Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States.    175

praises of Washington and Lafayette, of Jefferson and Franklin,

of Madison and of the other patriots, sages, and heroes of the

glorious and renovating era of 1776."

To which General Lafayette replied:

"It is to me, sir, an exquisite gratification to be in the state

of Illinois, and in the name of the people, welcomed by their

worthy governor, whose sentiments in my behalf, most kindly

expressed, claim my lively acknowledgments, at the same time

that his patriotic, liberal anticipations and observations excite

the warmest feelings of my sympathy and regard. - Obliged as

I am by a sacred engagement well understood by all the citizens

of the United States, to shorten my west-

ern visit, I will take with me the inex-

pressible satisfaction to have seen the

growing prosperity and importance of this

young state, under the triple guarantee of

republican institutions, of every local ad-

vantage, and of a generous determination

in the people of Illinois to improve those

blessings, on the soundest principles of

American liberty. To those cordial con-

gratulations, my  dear sir, I join my

thanks for the honor you have done me,

to associate my name with those of my

illustrious, dear and venerated friends,

and I request you to accept in behalf of

the citizens of Illinois, of their represent-

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

and respect."

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

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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

Menard, Jr.

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.


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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-

can liberties.

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,

Vol. XXIX-12

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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

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.

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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

a translation:



"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."

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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

the Christians.'

"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

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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

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

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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

the Indians?"

"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

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

grow late.

"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."

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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

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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

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188      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

give thee support is fallen!"-- Two days after, Manahella was

no more.

"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

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

American cause.

"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

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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

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.




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-

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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

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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.

Vol. XXIX-13

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"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

of Illinois."

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.



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

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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-

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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-

blest correspondent.

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

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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

to spare."

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.

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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

their footing.

The captain and two sailors brought his boat to this side and

lowered it.

"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

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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,

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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

of danger.

"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

egress impossible.

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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

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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

eighteen feet.

"We feel it a duty to ourselves, as well as to Captain Hall, to make

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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

in part:

"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

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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-

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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-

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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

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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

more sincere.

"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

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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.

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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.


Speaker of the House of Representatives.


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-

Vol. XXIX-14

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210       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

ous expressions of regard, has been among the fond wishes of

my heart."

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-

tionate acknowledgment.

"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

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

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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-

subdued wilderness.

"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

perfect freedom.

"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

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



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



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

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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

and Aristides!

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

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

New Orleans!

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




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

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sound of bugles, the shrill notes of the fife, the rattling of the

drums, and the reports of cannon echoing from a hundred hills,

rendered this the most imposing and interesting spectacle ever ex-

hibited in the capital of Kentucky." As the procession passed

through the streets enthusiasm rose high. From crowded win-

dows ladies waved handkerchiefs and showered roses down in

the way of the General. As his carriage approached the hotel,

the people welcomed him with long continued cheers. He was

conducted to the large

porch where Governor

Desha delivered an ad-

dress of welcome. In

concluding he said:

"We receive you,

General, as a chieftain

of freedom, as a mili-

tary chieftain of revolu-

tionary memory, and

glory in having the op-

portunity of expressing

our gratitude. * * *

You see joy lighted up

in every countenance at

your arrival. Permit me,

then, in the name of the

people of Kentucky, to

thank you for honoring

us with this visit. That

your days maye be many

and as happy as your

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

grateful people."

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

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

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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

been preserved:

"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-

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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-

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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

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.

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"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

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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

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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

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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,

-- welcome."

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,

Vol. XXIX-15

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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

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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,

liberty reigns.

"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-

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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

address.                                         LEVASSEUR.

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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.

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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

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.


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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

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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

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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

Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States

Lafayette's Visit to Ohio Valley States.    235

country--crossed the ocean and in the true spirit of chivalry

sustained, with his fortune and his blood, our fathers in the

doubtful struggle for emancipation.

"It had been predicted by an orator from the mountains of

Virginia that in their distress they would receive foreign suc-

cor. And lo! the youthful chieftain, wafted by the encouraging

smiles of his countrymen, arrives upon our shores, at a crisis

the most inauspicious and dark in the history of colonial suffer-

ing, when despair appeared legibly in the faces of many, and

hope, the companion of the

wretched, lingered only in the

bosom of the brave.

"Our faithful little band of

war-worn soldiers was at that

period retreating through the

Jerseys, almost naked and

barefoot, leaving its traces in

blood. To them the news of

his arrival was "glad tidings;"

like the beams of the glorious

sun, after a night of triple

darkness, it dispelled the

gloom      from  every counte-

nance.      Hope elevated and

joy brightened the soldier's

crest. He forgot the dangers

and difficulties he had passed

and looked forward to the

day, not far distant, when the

triumph of victory should be

the knell of oppression.

"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

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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-

fayette !

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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