Lafayette for Young Americans - Rupert Holland

The Little Marquis of France

In the mountains of Auvergne in Southern France, in what was for many centuries called the province of Auvergne, but what is now known as the department of Haute-Loire, or Upper Loire, stands a great fortified castle, the Chateau of Chavaniac. For six hundred years it has stood there, part fortress and part manor-house and farm, a huge structure, built piecemeal through centuries, with many towers and battlements and thick stone walls long overgrown with moss. Before it lies the valley of the Allier and the great rugged mountains of Auvergne. Love of freedom is deeply rooted in the country round it, for the people of Auvergne have always been an independent, proud and fearless race.

In this old Chateau of Chavaniac there was born on September 6, 1757, the Marquis de Lafayette. He was baptized the next day, with all the ceremonies befitting a baby of such high rank, and the register of the little parish church in the neighboring village records the baptism as that of "the very noble and very powerful gentleman Monseigneur Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert Dumotier de Lafayette, the lawful son of the very noble and very powerful gentleman Monseigneur Michel-Louis-Christophle-Roch-Gilbert Dumotier, Marquis de Lafayette, Baron de Vissac, Seigneur de Saint-Romain and other places, and of the very noble and very powerful lady Madame Marie-Louise-Julie Delareviere."

A good many names for a small boy to carry, but his family was very old, and it was the custom of France to give many family names to each child. He was called Gilbert Motier for short, however, though he was actually born with the title and rank of Marquis, for his father had been killed in battle six weeks before the little heir to Chavaniac was born.

The family name of Motier could be traced back to before the year 1000. Then one of the family came into possession of a farm called the Villa Faya, and he lengthened his name to Motier of La Fayette. And as other properties came to belong to the family the men added new names and titles until in 1757 the heir to the old chateau had not only a long string of names but was also a marquis and baron and seigneur by right of his birth. There were few families in Auvergne of older lineage than the house of Lafayette.

The little heir's father, Michel-Louis, Marquis de Lafayette, had been killed while leading a charge at the head of his regiment of French Grenadiers in the battle of Hastenbeck, one of the battles of what was known as the Seven Years' War in Europe, which took place at about the same time as the French and Indian War in America. Although only twenty-four years old Michel-Louis de Lafayette was already a colonel and a knight of the order of Saint Louis and had shown himself a true descendant of the old fighting stock of Auvergne nobles. Now the small baby boy, the new Marquis, succeeded to his father's titles as well as to the castle and several other even older manor-houses, for the most part in ruins, that were perched high up in the mountains.

For all its blue blood, however, the family were what is known as "land poor." The little Marquis owned large farms in the mountains, but the crops were not very abundant and most of the money that had come in from them for some time had been needed to provide for the fighting men. Fortunately the boy's mother and grandmother and aunts, who all lived at Chavaniac, were strong and sturdy people, willing to live the simple, healthy, frugal life of their neighbors in the province and so save as much of the family fortune as they could for the time when the heir should make his bow at court.

Without brothers or sisters and with few playmates, spending his time out-of-doors in the woods and fields of Chavaniac, the young Lafayette had a rather solitary childhood and grew up awkward and shy. He was a lean, long-limbed fellow with a hook nose, reddish hair, and a very bashful manner. But his eyes were bright and very intelligent; whenever anything really caught his attention he quickly became intensely interested in it, and he was devoted to all the birds and beasts of the country round about his home.

Some of these beasts, however, were dangerous; there was a great gray wolf that the farmers said had been breaking into sheepfolds and doing great damage. The boy of eight years old heard the story and set out, sword in hand, to hunt and slay the wolf. There is no account of his ever coming up with that particular monster, but the peasants of the neighborhood liked to tell all visitors this story as proof of the courage of their young Marquis.

But the family had no intention of keeping the head of their house in this far-off province of France. He must learn to conduct himself as a polished gentleman and courtier, he must go to Paris and prepare himself to take the place at the royal court that belonged to a son of his long, distinguished line. His family had rich and powerful relations, who were quite ready to help the boy, and so, when he was eleven years old, he left the quiet castle of Chavaniac and went to a school for young noblemen, the College du Plessis at Paris.

Lafayette's mother's uncle, taking a liking to the boy, had him enrolled as a cadet in one of the famous regiments of France, "The Black Musketeers," and this gave the boy a proud position at school, and many a day he took some of his new friends to see the Musketeers drill and learn something of the Manual of Arms. The company of other boys, both at the College du Plessis in Paris and then at the Academy at Versailles, as well as the interest he took in his gallant Black Musketeers, made Lafayette less shy and awkward than he had been at Chavaniac, though he was still much more reserved and thoughtful than most boys of his age. He learned to write his own language well, and his compositions in school showed the practical common sense of his country bringing-up. He wrote a paper on the horse, and the chief point he brought out in it was that if you try to make a horse do too many things well he is sure to get restless and throw you, a bit of wisdom he had doubtless learned in Auvergne.

The boy Marquis was at school in Paris when, in 1770, his devoted mother and the rich granduncle who had had him appointed a cadet of the Musketeers both died. The little Lafayette was now very much alone, his grandmother in the distant castle in the mountains was his nearest relation, and, though only a boy of thirteen, he had to decide important questions for himself. But the granduncle had been very fond of the lad, and in his will he left Lafayette all his fortune and estates. The fortune was very large, and as a result the boy Marquis, instead of being only a poor young country nobleman from Auvergne, became a very rich and important person.

Immediately the proud and luxury-loving society of the French court took a great interest in Gilbert Motier de Lafayette. Every father and mother who had a daughter they wished to marry turned their attention to the boy. And Lafayette, who, like most boys of his age, paid little attention to girls, was beset with all sorts of invitations to parties and balls.

In Europe in those days marriages were arranged by parents with little regard to the wishes of their children. Sometimes babies of noble families were betrothed to each other while they were still in the cradle. It was all a question of social standing and of money. So Lafayette's guardians put their heads together and looked around for the most suitable girl for him to marry.

The guardians chose the second daughter of the Duke d'Ayen, Mademoiselle Marie-Adrienne-Francoise de Noailles, a girl twelve years old. The Duke was pleased with the proposal; the Marquis de Lafayette would make a most desirable husband for his daughter. But the little girl's mother had strong ideas of her own. When the Duke told her of the husband selected for Marie-Adrienne she objected.

"It is too great a risk to run for Adrienne," she said. "The Marquis de Lafayette is very young, very rich, and very wilful. He seems to be a good boy, so far as his standing at school and his conduct in society are concerned; but with no one to guide him, no one to look after his fortune and hold him back from extravagance and foolishness, without a near relative, and with his character as yet unformed and uncertain, our daughter's marriage to him is out of the question, and I will not agree to it."

Both the Duke and the Duchess were strong-willed; Adrienne's father insisted on the match and her mother opposed it more and more positively. At last they actually quarreled and almost separated over this question of the marriage of two children, neither of whom had been consulted in regard to their own feelings. At last, however, the Duke suggested a compromise; the marriage should not take place for two years, Adrienne should not leave her mother for three years, and in the meantime the Duke would look after the education of the boy and see that he became a suitable husband for their daughter.

This suited the Duchess better. "If the boy is brought up in our home where I can see and study him," she said, "I will agree. Then, having taken all precautions, and having no negligence wherewith to reproach ourselves, we need do nothing but peacefully submit to the will of God, who knows best what is fitting for us."

The shy boy came to the Duke's house and met the little girl. Adrienne was very attractive, sweet-natured, pretty, and delightful company. Before the two knew the plans that had been made concerning them they grew to like each other very much, became splendid companions, and were glad when they learned that they were to marry some day. As for Adrienne's mother, the more she saw of the boy the better she liked him; she took him into her house and heart as if he were her own son, trying to make up to him for the loss of his own mother. The Duke kept his agreement. He saw that Lafayette was properly educated at the Academy at Versailles where young noblemen were taught military duties and that in proper time he obtained his commission as an officer in the royal regiment of the Black Musketeers.

Then, on April 11, 1774, Lafayette and Adrienne were married. The groom was sixteen years old and the bride fourteen, but those were quite proper ages for marriage among the French nobility For a year the young husband and wife lived at the great house of the Duke d'Ayen in Paris, still under the watchful eye of the careful Duchess, and then they took a house for themselves in the capital, going occasionally to the old castle of Chavaniae in Auvergne.

The boy Marquis never regretted his marriage to Adrienne. Through all the adventures of his later life his love for her was strong and enduring. And she was as fine and noble and generous a woman as Lafayette was a brave, heroic man.

Rich, a marquis in his own right, married to a daughter of one of the greatest houses of France, Lafayette had the entrance to the highest circles at court, to the innermost circle in fact, that of the young King Louis XVI. and his Queen Marie Antoinette. And never was there a gayer court to be found; the youthful King and his beautiful wife and all their friends seemed to live for pleasure only; they were gorgeous butterflies who flitted about the beautiful gardens of the Palace at Versailles and basked in continual sunshine.

But the, boy of seventeen, son of a line of rugged Auvergne fighters, men of independent natures,' did not take readily to the unceasing show and luxury of court. Balls and dramas, rustic dances and dinners and suppers, all the extravagant entertainments that the clever mind of the young Queen could devise, followed in endless succession. True it was that some of the courtiers had the fashion of talking a good deal about the rights of man and human liberty, but that was simply a fashion in a country where only the nobles had liberty and the talk of such things only furnished polite conversation in drawing-rooms. To Lafayette, however, liberty meant more than that; young though he was, he had seen enough of the world to wish that there might be less suffering among the poor and more liberality among the wealthy. The constant stream of pleasures at Versailles often gave him food for thought, and though he was very fond of the King and Queen and their youthful court, he had less and less regard for the older nobles, who appeared to him as vain and stiff and foolish as so many strutting peacocks.

Sometimes, however, for all his thoughtfulness, he joined whole-heartedly in the revels the Queen devised. On one midsummer night Marie Antoinette gave a fete at Versailles, and Lafayette led the revels. The Queen had declared that she meant to have a fete champetre  in the gardens that should be different from anything the court of France had ever seen. All her guests should appear either as goblins or as nymphs. They should not be required to dance the quadrille or any other stately measure, but would be free to play any jokes that came into their heads. As Marie Antoinette outlined these plans to him Lafayette shook his head in doubt.

"What will the lords in waiting say to this?" he asked, "and your Majesty's own ladies?"

The pretty Queen laughed and shrugged her shoulders. "Who cares?" she answered. "As long as Louis is King I shall do what pleases me."

Then a new idea occurred to her and she clapped her hands with delight. "I shall go to Louis," she said, "and have him issue a royal order commanding every one who comes to the fete to dress as a goblin or a nymph. He will do it for me, I know."

King Louis was too fond of his wife to deny her anything, so he issued the order she wanted, much though he feared that it might affront the older courtiers. And the courtiers were affronted and horrified. The Royal Chamberlain and the Queen's Mistress of the Robes went to the King in his workshop, for Louis was always busy with clocks and locks and keys, and told him that such a performance as was planned would make the court of France appear ridiculous.

Louis listened to them patiently, and when they had left he sent for Marie Antoinette and her friends. They described how absurd the courtiers would look as nymphs and goblins and the King laughed till he cried. Then he dismissed the whole matter and went back to the tools on his work-table.

So Marie Antoinette had her party, and the gardens of Versailles saw the strange spectacle of tall, stiff goblins wearing elaborate powdered wigs and jeweled swords, and stout wood-nymphs with bare arms and shoulders and glittering with gems. The Queen's friends, a crowd of hobgoblins, swooped down upon the stately Mistress of the Robes and carried her off to a summer-house on the edge of the woods, where they kept her a prisoner while they sang her the latest ballads of the Paris streets. The court was shocked and indignant, and the next day there was such a buzzing of angry bees about the head of the King that he had to lecture the Queen and her friends and forbid any more such revels.

As the older courtiers regained their influence over Louis the young Lafayette went less and less often to Versailles. He was too independent by nature to bow the knee to the powdered and painted lords and ladies who controlled the court. Instead of seeking their society he spent more and more time with his regiment of Musketeers. But this did not satisfy his father-in-law, the Duke d'Ayen, who was eager for Lafayette to shine in the sun of royal favor. So the Duke went to the young Count de Segur, Lafayette's close friend and cousin, and begged him to try and stir the Marquis to greater ambition.

The Count, who knew Lafayette well, had to laugh at the words of the Duke d'Ayen. "Indifferent! Indolent! Faith, my dear marshal, you do not yet know our Lafayette! I should say he has altogether too much enthusiasm. Why, it was only yesterday that he almost insisted on my fighting a duel with him because I did not agree with him in a matter of which I knew nothing, and of which he thought I should know everything. He is anything but indifferent and indolent, I can assure you!"

Pleased with this information, and feeling that he had much misunderstood his son-in-law, the Duke made plans to have Lafayette attached to the suite of one of the princes of France, and picked out the Count of Provence, the scapegrace brother of Louis XVI. This Prince was only two years older than Lafayette, and famous for his overbearing manners. As a result, when the Duke told his son-in-law of the interview he had arranged for him with the Count of Provence, Lafayette at once determined that nothing should make him accept service with so arrogant a fellow.

Having decided that he wanted no favors from that particular Prince, Lafayette set about to make his decision clear. His opportunity soon came. The King and Queen gave a masked ball at court, and the youthful Marquis was one of their guests. With his mask concealing his face he went up to the King's brother, the Count of Provence, and began to talk about liberty and equality and the rights of man, saying a great deal that he probably did not believe in his desire to make the Count angry.

The plan succeeded beautifully. The Count tried to answer, but every time he opened his mouth Lafayette said more violent things and made more eloquent pleas for democracy. At last the young Prince could stand the tirade no longer. "Sir," said he, lifting his mask and staring at his talkative companion, "I shall remember this interview."

"Sir," answered the young Marquis, also lifting his mask and bowing gracefully, "memory is the wisdom of fools."

It was a rash remark to make to a royal prince, but it had the effect that Lafayette desired. With an angry gesture the Count of Provence turned on his heel and made it clear to every one about him that the Marquis was in disgrace. In later days the Count showed that he had remembered Lafayette's words to him.

News of what the Marquis had said quickly flew through the court and speedily reached the ears of the Duke d'Ayen. He was horrified; his son-in-law had not only insulted the Prince and so lost his chance of becoming a gentleman of his suite, but had also made himself a laughing-stock. The Duke lectured the boy, and told him that he was throwing away all his chances for worldly advancement. But Lafayette answered that he cared nothing for princely favor and meant to follow the dictates of his own nature.

So the Duke, finally despairing of doing anything with so independent a fellow, had him ordered to join his regiment, and Lafayette left Paris to seek his fortune elsewhere. Already, although he was only seventeen, the boy Marquis had shown that he was a true son of Auvergne, not a parasite of the King's court, as were most of his friends, but an independent, liberty-loving man.

"Wake Up! I'm Going to America to Fight for Freedom!"

Although the young Marquis had deliberately given up a career at court, there was every promise of his having a brilliant career in the army. Soon after his famous speech to the King's brother, in August, 1775, he was transferred from his regiment of Black Musketeers to a command in what was known as the "Regiment de Noailles," which had for its colonel a young man of very distinguished family, Monseigneur the Prince de Poix, who was a cousin of Lafayette's wife.

The "Regiment de Noailles "was stationed at Metz, a garrison city some two hundred miles to the east of Paris. The commander of Metz was the Count de Broglie, a marshal and prince of France, who had commanded the French armies in the Seven Years' War, in one of the battles of which Lafayette's father had been killed. The Count de Broglie had known Lafayette's father and had greatly admired him, and he did all he could to befriend the son, inviting him to all the entertainments he gave.

It happened that early in August the Count de Broglie gave a dinner in honor of a young English prince, the Duke of Gloucester, and Lafayette, in the blue and silver uniform of his rank, was one of the guests at the table. The Duke of Gloucester was at the time in disgrace with his brother, King George the Third of England, because he had dared to marry a wife whom King George disliked. The Duke was really in exile from England, and in the company of the French officers he had no hesitation in speaking his mind about his royal brother and even in poking fun at some of his plans. And the Duke made a special point of criticizing King George for his policy toward the colonists in America.

In that very year of the dinner-party at Metz, in the spring of 1775, a rebellion had broken out in the colonies, and there had actually been a fight between American farmers and British regulars at the village of Lexington in the colony of Massachusetts Bay. The Duke had received word of the obstinate resistance of the farmers peasants, he called them at Lexington and Concord, and of the retreat of Lord Percy and his troops to Boston. The Duke told the dinner-party, all about the discomfiture of his royal brother, laughing heartily at it, and also related how in that same seaport of Boston the townspeople had thrown a cargo of tea into the harbor rather than pay the royal tax on it.

The Duke talked and Lafayette listened. The Duke spoke admiringly of the pluck of the American farmers, but pointed out that it was impossible for the colonists to win against regular troops unless experienced officers and leaders should help them. "They are poor, they are ill led," said the Duke, "they have no gentlemen-soldiers to show them how to fight, and the king my brother is determined to bring them into subjection by harsh and forcible methods if need be. But my letters say that the Americans seem set upon opposing force with force, and, as the country is large and the colonies scattered, it certainly looks as if the trouble would be long and serious. If but the Americans were well led, I should say the rebellion might really develop into a serious affair."

Most of the officers knew little about America; even Lafayette had only a vague idea about the colonies on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. But the Duke's words stirred him deeply; he sat leaning far forward, his eyes shining with interest, his face expressing the closest attention.

Finally, as the guests rose from the table, Lafayette burst forth impetuously. "But could one help these peasants over there beyond the seas, monseigneur?" he asked the Duke.

The English prince smiled at the young Frenchman's eagerness. "One could, my lord marquis, if he were there," he answered.

"Then tell me, I pray you," continued Lafayette, "how one may do it, monseigneur. Tell me how to set about it. For see, I will join these Americans; I will help them fight for freedom!"

Again the Duke smiled; the words seemed extravagant on the lips of a French officer. But a glance at Lafayette's face showed how much the boy was in earnest. The words were no idle boast; the speaker plainly meant them. So the Duke answered, "Why, I believe you would, my lord. It wouldn't take much to start you across the sea, if your people would let you."

Lafayette smiled to himself. He had already done one thing that his family disapproved of, and he did not intend to let them prevent his embarking on such an enterprise as this, one that appealed so intensely to his love of liberty. He asked the Duke of Gloucester all the questions he could think of, and the Duke gave him all the information he had about America.

The dinner-party broke up, and most of the officers soon forgot all the conversation; but not so the young Marquis; that evening had been one of the great events of his life. As he said afterward, "From that hour I could think of nothing but this enterprise, and I resolved to go to Paris at once to make further inquiries."

His mind made up by what he had heard at Metz, Lafayette set off for Paris. But once there, it was hard to decide where he should turn for help. His father-in-law, he knew, would be even more scandalized by his new plan than he had been by the affront the young man had given the King's brother. His own wife was too young and inexperienced to give him wise counsel in such a matter. Finally he chose for his first real confidant his cousin and close friend, the Count de Segur. Lafayette went at once to his cousin's house, though it was only seven o'clock in the morning, was told that the Count was not yet out of bed, but, without waiting to be announced, rushed upstairs and woke the young man.

The Count saw his cousin standing beside him and shaking him by the arm. In great surprise he sat up. "Wake up! wake up!" cried Lafayette. "Wake up! I'm going to America to fight for freedom! Nobody knows it yet; but I love you too much not to tell you."

The Count sprang out of bed and caught Lafayette's hand. "If that is so, I will go with you!" he cried. "I will go to America too! I will fight with you for freedom! How soon do you start?"

It was easier said than done, however. The two young men had breakfast and eagerly discussed this momentous matter. The upshot of their discussion was to decide to enlist a third friend in their cause, and so they set out to see Lafayette's brother-in-law, the Viscount Louis Marie de Noailles, who was a year older than the Marquis.

The young Viscount, like the Count de Segur, heard Lafayette's news with delight, for he also belonged to that small section of the French nobility that was very much interested in what was called "the rights of man." So here were three young fellows, hardly more than boys, for none of the three was over twenty years old, all of high rank and large fortune, eager to do what they could to help the fighting farmers of the American colonies.

At the very start, however, they ran into difficulties. France and England, though not on very friendly terms at that particular time, were yet keeping the peace between them, and the French prime minister was afraid that if the English government should learn that a number of young French aristocrats were intending to aid the rebellious American colonists it might cause ill-feeling between France and England. The prime minister, therefore, frowned on all such schemes as that of Lafayette, and so the three young liberty-loving conspirators had to set about their business with the greatest secrecy.

Lafayette's next step was to hunt out a man who had been sent over to France from the American colonies as a secret agent, a representative of what was known as the American Committee of Secret Correspondence, of which Benjamin Franklin was a member. This man was Silas Deane of the colony of Connecticut. Deane was secretly sending arms and supplies from France to America, but he was so closely watched by the agents of the English Ambassador, Lord Stormont, that it was very difficult to see him without rousing suspicions.

While the Marquis was studying the problem of how to get in touch with Deane he confided his secret to the Count de Broglie, his superior officer at Metz and his very good friend. The Count was at once opposed to any such rash venture. "You want to throw your life away in that land of savages!" exclaimed De Broglie. "Why, my dear Lafayette, it is the craziest scheme I ever heard of! And to what purpose?"

"For the noblest of purposes, sir," answered the Marquis. "To help a devoted people win their liberty! What ambition could be nobler?"

"It is a dream, my friend, a dream that can never be fulfilled," said the old soldier. "I will not help you to throw your life away. I saw your uncle die in the wars of Italy, I witnessed your brave father's death at the battle of Hastenbeck, and I cannot be a party to the ruin of the last of your name, the only one left of the stock of the Lafayettes!"

But even the old Marshal could not withstand the ardor and enthusiasm of the youth. So vehemently did Lafayette set forth his wishes that finally the Count promised that he would not actively oppose his plans, and presently agreed to introduce the Marquis to a Bavarian soldier named De Kalb, who might be able to help him.

"I will introduce you to De Kalb," said the Count. "He is in Paris now, and perhaps through him you may be able to communicate with this American agent, Monsieur Deane."

De Kalb was a soldier of fortune who had been to America long before the Revolution and knew a great deal about the colonies. At present he was in France, giving what information he could to the government there. And the upshot of Lafayette's talk with the Count de Broglie was that the latter not only gave the Marquis a letter to De Kalb but also actually asked De Kalb to go to America and see if he could arrange things so that he, the Count de' Broglie, might be invited by the American Congress to cross the ocean and become commander-in-chief of the American army! Perhaps it was natural that the veteran Marshal of France should think that he would make a better commander-in-chief than the untried George Washington.

The Baron de Kalb arranged that the Count de Broglie should see Silas Deane of Connecticut. Silas Deane was impressed with the importance of securing such a powerful friend and leader for his hard-pressed people, and he at once agreed to see what he could do for De Broglie, and promised Baron de Kalb the rank of major-general in the American army and signed an agreement with him by which fifteen French officers should go to America on a ship that was fitting out with arms and supplies.

This fell in beautifully with Lafayette's wishes. De Broglie introduced the Marquis to De Kalb, and De Kalb presented him to Silas Deane. This was in December, 1776, and Lafayette, only nineteen, slight of figure; looked very boyish for such an enterprise. But he plainly showed that his whole heart was in his plan, and, as he said himself, "made so much out of the small excitement that my going away was likely to cause," that the American agent was carried away by his enthusiasm, and in his own rather reckless fashion, wrote out a paper by which the young Marquis was to enter the service of the American colonies as a major-general.

Deane's enthusiasm over Lafayette's offer of his services may be seen from what he wrote in the agreement. The paper he sent to Congress in regard to this volunteer ran as follows: "His high birth, his alliances, the great dignities which his family holds at this court, his considerable estates in this realm, his personal merit, his reputation, his disinterestedness, and, above all, his zeal for the liberty of our provinces, are such as have only been able to engage me to promise him the rank of major-general in the name of the United States. In witness of which I have signed the present this seventh of December, 1776. Silas Deane, Agent for the United States of America."

By this time the colonies had issued their Declaration of Independence, and called themselves, as Silas Deane described them, the United States of America.

Imagine Lafayette's joy at this result of his meeting with Silas Deane! It seemed as if his enthusiasm had already won him his goal. But there were other people to be considered, and his family were not as much delighted with his plans as the man from Connecticut had been.

As a matter of fact his father-in-law, the powerful Duke d'Ayen, was furious, and so were most of the others of his family. His cousin, the Count de Segur, described the feelings of Lafayette's relations. "It is easy to conceive their astonishment," he wrote, "when they learned suddenly that this young sage of nineteen, so cool and so indifferent, had been so far carried away by the love of glory and of danger as to intend to cross the ocean and fight in the cause of American freedom." There was more of a storm at home than when the self-willed young Marquis had of his own accord disgraced himself at court.

But his wife Adrienne, girl though she was, understood him far better than the rest of the family, and even sympathized with his great desire. "God wills that you should go," she said to her husband. "I have prayed for guidance and strength. Whatever others think, you shall not be blamed."

Others, however, did have to be reckoned with. Lafayette's two friends, the Count (le Segur and the Viscount de Noailles, both of whom had been so eager to go with him, had found that their fathers would not supply them with the money they needed and that the King would not consent to their going to America. Reluctantly they had to give up their plans. But Lafayette was rich, he had no need to ask for funds from any one; there was no difficulty for him on that score.

He was, however, an officer of France, and it was on that ground that his father-in-law tried to put an end to his scheme. He went to the King with his complaint about the wilful Marquis. At the same time the English Ambassador, who had got wind of the matter, also complained to King Louis. And Louis XVI., who had never concerned himself much about liberty and took little interest in the rebel farmers across the Atlantic, said that while he admired the enthusiasm of the Marquis de Lafayette, he could not think of permitting officers of his army to serve with the men of America who were in rebellion against his good friend the King of England. Therefore he issued an order forbidding any soldier in his service taking part in the Revolution in America.

The Duke d'Ayen was delighted. He went to Lafayette, and trying to put the matter on a friendly footing, said, "You had better return to your regiment at Metz, my dear son."

Lafayette drew himself up, his face as determined as ever. "No Lafayette was ever known to turn back," he answered. "I shall do as I have determined."

One of Lafayette's ancestors had adopted as his motto the words "Cur non," meaning "Why not?" and the Marquis now put these on his own coat of arms, the idea being, as he himself said, that they should serve him "both as an encouragement and a response."

By this time the young republic in America had sent Benjamin Franklin to help Silas Deane in Paris. Franklin heard of Lafayette's desires and knew how much help his influence might bring the new republic. So he set about to see what he could do to further Lafayette's plans.

At that moment things looked gloomy indeed for the Americans. Their army had been badly defeated at the battle of Long Island, and their friends in Europe were depressed. That, however, seemed to Lafayette all the more reason for taking them aid as quickly as he could, and when he heard that Benjamin Franklin was interested in him he made an opportunity to see the latter.

Franklin was perfectly fair with Lafayette. He gave the young Frenchman the exact news he had received from America, information that Washington's army of three thousand ragged and suffering men were retreating across New Jersey before the victorious and well-equipped troops of General Howe. He pointed out that the credit of the new republic was certain to sink lower and lower unless Washington should be able to win a victory and that at present it looked as if any such event was far away. And in view of all this Franklin, and Silas Deane also, was frank enough to tell Lafayette that his plan of aiding the United States at that particular time was almost foolhardy.

The Frenchman thanked them for their candor. "Until this moment, gentlemen," said he, "I have only been able to show you my zeal in your struggle; now the time has come when that zeal may be put to actual use. I am going to buy a ship and carry your officers and supplies to America in it. We must show our confidence in the cause, and it is in just such a time of danger as this that I want to share whatever fortune may have in store for you."

Franklin was immensely touched by the generosity of the young Marquis and told him so. But, practical man as he was, although he gladly accepted Lafayette's offer, he pointed out that as the American agents were closely watched in Paris it would be better for Lafayette to work through third parties and in some other place than the French capital, if possible.

Lafayette took these suggestions. At once he found that it was extremely difficult to secure a ship without discovery by the English Ambassador. Here the Count de Broglie again gave him aid. He introduced the Marquis to Captain Dubois, the brother of his secretary, an officer in one of the King's West Indian regiments, who happened to be at home on furlough at the time, and Lafayette engaged him as his agent. He sent him secretly to Bordeaux, the French seaport that was supposed to be safest from suspicion, and gave him the money to buy and supply a ship, the plan being that Captain Dubois should appear to be fitting out the vessel for the needs of his own regiment in the West Indies.

The needed repairs to the ship would take some time, and meanwhile, in order to escape all possible suspicion of his plans, Lafayette arranged with his cousin, the Prince de Poix, to make a journey to England. The Marquis de Noailles, Lafayette's uncle, was the French Ambassador to England, and he welcomed the two young noblemen with delight. Every one supposed that Lafayette had at last given up his wild schemes, and all the great houses of London were thrown open to him. He wrote of the amusement he felt at being presented to King George III., and of how much he enjoyed a ball at the house of Lord George Germain, the secretary for the colonies. At the opera he met Sir Henry Clinton, with whom he had a pleasant, friendly chat. The next time Sir Henry and he were to meet was to be on the field of arms at the Battle of Monmouth.

But he never took advantage of his hosts. He kept away from the English barracks and shipyards, though he was invited to inspect them. He was careful to a degree to avoid any act that might later be considered as having been in the nature of a breach of confidence. And after three weeks in the gay world of London he felt that he could brook no longer delay and told his uncle the Ambassador that he had taken a fancy to cross the Channel for a short visit at home.

His uncle opposed this idea, saying that so abrupt a departure would be discourteous to the English court, but Lafayette insisted. So the Marquis de Noailles finally offered to give out the report that his nephew was sick until the latter should return to London. Lafayette agreed. "I would not have proposed this stratagem," he said later, "but I did not object to it."

The voyage on the Channel was rough and Lafayette was seasick. As soon as he reached France he went to Paris and stayed in hiding at the house of Baron de Kalb. He had another interview with the American agents and sent out his directions to the men who were to sail with him. Then he slipped away to Bordeaux, where he found the sloop Victory, bought by Captain Dubois with Lafayette's money, and now ready for the voyage across the Atlantic.

Lafayette, however, could not sail away from France under his own name, and as a permit was required of every one leaving the country, a special one had to be made out for him. This is still kept at Bordeaux, and describes the passenger on the sloop as "Gilbert du Mottie, Chevalier de Chavaillac, aged about twenty, rather tall, light-haired, embarking on the Victory, Captain Lebourcier commanding, for a voyage to the Cape on private business." His name was not very much changed, for he was really Gilbert du Motier and also the Chevalier de Chavaniac, but probably a careless clerk, who had no concern in this particular young man's affairs, made the mistakes in spelling, and so aided Lafayette's disguise.

But all was not yet smooth sailing. Lord Stormont, the English Ambassador, heard of Lafayette's departure from Paris and also of his plans to leave France, and at once protested to the King. Lafayette's father-in-law likewise protested, and no sooner had the young nobleman arrived in Bordeaux than royal officers were on his track. The French government did not want him to sail, no matter how much it might secretly sympathize with the young republic across the ocean.

Having come so far, however, the intrepid Marquis did not intend to be stopped. He meant to sail on his ship, he meant to carry out the brave words he had spoken to his cousin. "I'm going to America to fight for freedom!" he had said, and he was determined to accomplish that end.

How Lafayette Ran Away to Sea

Lafayette did actually run away to sea, with the officers of King Louis XVI. hot-foot after him. When he learned that his plans were known and that he would surely be stopped if he delayed he ordered the captain of the Victory to set sail from Bordeaux without waiting for the necessary sailing-papers. His intention was to run into the Spanish port of Las Pasajes, just across the French frontier on the Bay of Biscay, and there complete his arrangements for crossing the Atlantic, for the sloop still needed some repairs before starting on such a voyage.

At Las Pasajes, however, he found more obstacles and difficulties. Instead of the sailing-papers he expected letters and orders and French officers were waiting for him. The letters were from his family, protesting against his rash act, the orders were from Louis XVI.'s ministers, and charged him with deserting the army, breaking his oath of allegiance to the King, and involving France in difficulties with England. And the officers were from the court, with documents bearing the King's own seal, and commanding Lieutenant the Marquis de Lafayette of the regiment of De Noailles to go at once to the French port of Marseilles and there await further orders.

The news that affected the runaway nobleman most was contained in the letters from home. He had had to leave Paris without telling his intentions to his wife, much as he hated to do this. He knew that she really approved of his plans and would do nothing to thwart them, but the letters said that she was ill and in great distress of mind. He would have braved the King's order of arrest and all the other threats, but he could not stand the idea of his wife being in distress on his account. So, with the greatest reluctance he said good-bye to his plans, left his ship in the Spanish port, and crossed the border back to France.

It looked as if this was to be the end of Lafayette's gallant adventure. The Baron de Kalb, very much disappointed, wrote to his wife, "This is the end of his expedition to America to join the army of the insurgents."

It might have been the end with another man, but not with Lafayette. He rode back to Bordeaux, and there found that much of the outcry raised against him was due to the wiles of his obstinate father-in-law, the Duke d'Ayen. It was true that the English Ambassador had protested to King Louis' ministers, but there was no real danger of Lafayette's sailing disturbing the relations between England and France. New letters told Lafayette that his wife was well and happy, though she missed him. The threats and the orders were due, not to the anger of his own government, but to the determination of the Duke that his son-in-law should not risk his life and fortune in such a rash enterprise.

When he learned all this the Marquis determined to match the obstinacy of the Duke with an even greater obstinacy of his own. His first thought was to join his ship the Victory at once, but he had no permit to cross into Spain, and if he should be caught disobeying the King's orders a second time he might get into more serious trouble. His father-in-law was waiting to see him at Marseilles, and so he now arranged to go to that city.

In Bordeaux Lafayette met a young French officer, named Du Mauroy, who had also received from Silas Deane a commission in the American army, and who was very anxious to reach the United States. The two made their plans together, and the upshot of it was that they presently set out together in a post-chaise for Marseilles.

They did not keep on the road to Marseilles long, however. No sooner were they well out of Bordeaux than they changed their course and drove in the direction of the Spanish border. In a quiet place on the road Lafayette slipped out of the chaise and hid in the woods. There he disguised himself as a post-boy or courier, and then rode on ahead, on horseback, as if he were the servant of the gentleman in the carriage.

His companion, Du Mauroy, had a permit to leave France, and the plan was that he should try to get the Marquis across the Spanish frontier as his body-servant. The chaise went galloping along as fast as the horses could pull it, because the young men had good reason to fear that French officers would speedily be on their track, if they were not already pursuing them. They came to a little village, St. Jean de Luz, where Lafayette had stopped on his journey from Las Pasajes to Bordeaux a short time before, and there, as the Marquis, disguised as the post-boy, rode into the stable-yard of the inn the daughter of the innkeeper recognized him as the same young man she had waited on earlier.

The girl gave a cry of surprise. "Oh, monsieur!" she exclaimed.

Lafayette put his finger to his lips in warning. "Yes, my girl," he said quickly. "Monsieur my patron wants fresh horses at once. He is coming just behind me, and is riding post-haste to Spain."

The girl understood. Perhaps she was used to odd things happening in a village so close to the border of France and Spain, perhaps she liked the young man and wanted to help him in his adventure. She called a stable-boy and had him get the fresh horses that were needed, and when the disguised Marquis and his friend were safely across the frontier and some French officers came galloping up to the inn in pursuit of them she told the latter that the post-chaise had driven off by the opposite road to the one it had really taken.

At last, on April seventeenth, Lafayette reached the Spanish seaport of Las Pasajes again and went on board of his sloop the Victory. After six months of plotting and planning and all sorts of discouragements he was actually free to sail for America, and on the twentieth of April, 1777, he gave the order to Captain Leboucier to hoist anchor and put out to sea. On the deck of the Victory with him stood De Kalb and about twenty young Frenchmen, all, like their commander, eager to fight for the cause of liberty. The shores of Spain dropped astern, and Lafayette and his friends turned their eyes westward in the direction of the New World.

When news of Lafayette's sailing reached Paris it caused the greatest interest. Though the King and the older members of his court might frown and shake their heads the younger people were frankly delighted. Coffee-houses echoed with praise of the daring Lieutenant, and whenever his name was mentioned in public it met with the loudest applause. In the world of society opinions differed; most of the luxury-loving nobility thought the adventure of the Marquis a wild-goose chase. The Chevalier de Marais wrote to his mother, "All Paris is discussing the adventure of a young courtier, the son-in-law of Noailles, who has a pretty wife, two children, fifty thousand crowns a year, in fact, everything which can make life here agreeable and dear, but who deserted all that a week ago to join the insurgents. His name is M. de Lafayette."

And the Chevalier's mother answered from her chateau in the country, "What new kind of folly is this, my dear child? What! the madness of knight-errantry still exists! It has disciples! Go to help the insurgents! I am delighted that you reassure me about yourself, for I should tremble for you; but since you see that M. de Lafayette is a madman, I am tranquil."

A celebrated Frenchwoman, Madame du Deffand, wrote to the Englishman Horace Walpole, "Of course it is a piece of folly, but it does him no discredit. He receives more praise than blame." And that was the opinion of a large part of France. If a young man chose to do such a wild thing as to become a knight-errant he might be criticized for his lack of wisdom, but on the whole he was not to be condemned.

Meantime, as the Victory was spreading her sails on the broad Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin was writing to the American Congress. This was what he said: "The Marquis de Lafayette, a young nobleman of great family connections here and great wealth, is gone to America in a ship of his own, accompanied by some officers of distinction, in order to serve in our armies. He is exceedingly beloved, and everybody's good wishes attend him. We cannot but hope he may meet with such a reception as will make the country and his expedition agreeable to him. Those who censure it as imprudent in him, do, nevertheless, applaud his spirit; and we are satisfied that the civilities and respect that may be shown him will be serviceable to our affairs here, as pleasing not only to his powerful relations and the court, but to the whole French nation. He has left a beautiful young wife; and for her sake, particularly, we hope that his bravery and ardent desire to distinguish himself will be a little restrained by the General's prudence, so as not to permit his being hazarded much, except on some important occasion."

The Victory was not a very seaworthy ship. Lafayette had been swindled by the men who had sold the sloop to his agent; she was a very slow craft, and was poorly furnished and scantily armed. Her two small cannon and small stock of muskets would have been a poor defense in case she had been attacked by any of the pirates who swarmed on the high seas in those days or by the English cruisers who were looking for ships laden with supplies for America.

In addition to the defects of his ship Lafayette soon found he had other obstacles to cope with. He discovered that the captain of the Victory considered himself a much more important person than the owner and meant to follow his own course.

The papers with which the ship had sailed from Spain declared that her destination was the west Indies. But ships often sailed for other ports than those they were supposed to, and Lafayette wanted to reach the United States as quickly as he could. He went to the captain and said, "You will please remake your course as direct as possible for Charlestown in the Carolinas."

"The Carolinas, sir!" exclaimed the captain. "Why, I cannot do that. The ship's papers are made out for the West Indies and will only protect us if we sail for a port there. I intend to sail for the West Indies, and you will have to get transportation across to the colonies from there."

Lafayette was amazed. "This ship is mine," he declared, "and I direct you to sail to Charlestown."

But the captain was obstinate. "I am the master of this ship, sir," said he, "and responsible for its safety. If we should be caught by an English cruiser and she finds that we are headed for North America with arms and supplies, we shall be made prisoners, and lose our ship, our cargo, and perhaps our lives. I intend to follow my sailing-papers and steer for the West Indies."

No one could be more determined than Lafayette, however. "You may be master of the Victory, Captain Leboucier," said he, "but I am her owner and my decision is final. You will sail at once and by the directest course for the port of Charlestown in the Carolinas or I shall deprive you instantly of your command and place the mate in charge of the ship. I have enough men here to meet any resistance on your part. So make your decision immediately."

The captain in his turn was surprised. The young owner was very positive and evidently not to be cajoled or threatened. So Leboucier complained and blustered and argued a little, and finally admitted that it was not so much the ship's papers as her cargo that he was troubled about. He owned that he had considerable interest in that cargo, for he had smuggled eight or nine thousand dollars' worth of goods on board the Victory and wanted to sell them in the West Indies and so make an extra profit on the side for himself. The real reason why he didn't want to be caught by an English cruiser was the danger of losing his smuggled merchandise.

"Then why didn't you say so at first?" Lafayette demanded. "I would have been willing to help you out, of course. Sail for the port of Charlestown in the Carolinas; and if we are captured, searched, robbed, or destroyed by any English cruisers or privateers I will see that you don't lose a sou. I will promise to make any loss good."

That satisfied Captain Leboucier. As long as his goods were safe he had no hesitation on the score of danger to the ship, and so he immediately laid his course for the coast of the Carolinas. Lafayette, however, realizing that the Victory might be overtaken by enemy war-ships, arranged with one of his men, Captain de Bedaulx, that in case of attack and capture the latter should blow up the ship rather than surrender. With this matter arranged the Marquis went to his cabin and stayed there for two weeks, as seasick as one could be.

The voyage across the Atlantic in those days was a long and tedious affair. It took seven weeks, and after Lafayette had recovered from his seasickness he had plenty of time to think of the hazards of his new venture and of the family he had left at home. He was devoted to his family, and as the Victory kept on her westward course he wrote long letters to his wife, planning to send them back to France by different ships, so that if one was captured another might carry his message to Adrienne safely to her. In one letter he wrote, "Oh, if you knew what I have suffered, what weary days I have passed thus flying from everything that I love best in the world!" And then, in order to make his wife less fearful of possible dangers that might beset him, he said, "The post of major-general has always been a warrant of long life. It is so different from the service I should have had in France, as colonel, for instance. With my present rank I shall only have to attend councils of war. . .

As soon as I land I shall be in perfect safety."

But this boy, nineteen years old, though he called himself a major-general, was not to be content with attending councils of war and keeping out of danger, as later events were to show. He was far too eager and impetuous for that, too truly a son of the wild Auvergne Mountains.

And he showed that he knew that himself, for later in the same letter to Adrienne he compared his present journey with what his father-in-law would have tried to make him do had Lafayette met the Duke d'Ayen at Marseilles. "Consider the difference between my occupation and my present life," he wrote, "and what they would have been if I had gone upon that useless journey. As the defender of that liberty which I adore; free, myself, more than any one; coming, as a friend, to offer my services to this most interesting republic, I bring with me nothing but my own free heart and my own good-will,—no ambition to fulfil and no selfish interest to serve. If I am striving for my own glory, I am at the same time laboring for the welfare of the American republic. I trust that, for my sake, you will become a good American. It is a sentiment made for virtuous hearts. The happiness of America is intimately connected with the happiness of all mankind; she is destined to become the safe and worthy asylum of virtue, integrity, tolerance, equality, and peaceful liberty."

This, from a boy not yet twenty years old, showed the prophetic instinct that burned like a clear flame in the soul of Lafayette.

He knew very little of the English tongue, but that was the language of the people he was going to help, and so on shipboard he set himself to study it. "I am making progress with that language," he wrote to his wife. "It will soon become most necessary to me."

The North Atlantic was stormy, the Victory met with head winds, and through April and May she floundered on, her passengers eagerly scanning the horizon for a sight of land. On the seventh of June the Marquis wrote in a letter to Adrienne, "I am still out on this dreary plain, which is beyond comparison the most dismal place that one can be in. . . . We have had small alarms from time to time, but with a little care, and reasonably good fortune, I hope to get through without serious accident, and I shall be all the more pleased, because I am learning every day to be extremely prudent."

Then, on a June day, the Victory suddenly became all excitement. The lookout reported to Captain Leboucier that a strange vessel was bearing down in their direction.

Leboucier instantly crowded on sail and tried to run from the strange ship. But the Victory was not built for fast sailing, and it was soon clear that the stranger would quickly overhaul her.

"It's an English man-of-war!" was the message that ran from lip to lip. In that case the only choice would be between resistance and surrender. Leboucier looked doubtful as to the wisest course to pursue, but Lafayette and his companions made ready to fight. The two old cannon were loaded, the muskets distributed, and the crew ordered to their stations.

The stranger drew nearer and nearer, sailing fast, and the Victory floundered along in desperation. Lafayette and De Bedaulx stood at the bow of the sloop, their eyes fixed on the rapidly-gaining pursuer. Then, just as escape appeared utterly out of the question, the oncoming ship went about, and as she turned she broke out from her peak a flag of red, white and blue, the stars and stripes of the new United States of America. A wild cheer greeted that flag, and the colors of France were run up to the peak of the Victory in joyful greeting to the flag of Lafayette's ally.

The Victory headed about and tried to keep up with the fleet American privateer, but in a very short time two other sails appeared on the horizon. The American ship ran up a danger signal, declaring these new vessels to be English cruisers, scouting along the coast on the watch for privateers and blockade runners. Having given that information the American ship signaled "good-bye," and drew away from the enemy on a favoring tack.

The Victory could not draw away so easily, however, and it was clear that her two cannon would be little use against two well-armed English cruisers. In this new predicament luck came to the aid of the little sloop. The wind shifted and blew strongly from the north. This would send the Victory nearer to the port of Charlestown, the outlines of which now began to appear on the horizon, and would also be a head wind for the pursuing cruisers. Captain Leboucier decided to take advantage of the shift in the wind, and instead of heading for Charlestown run into Georgetown Bay, which opened into the coast of the Carolinas almost straight in front of him.

Fortune again favored him, for, although he knew very little of that coast, and nothing of these particular shoals and channels, he found the opening of the South Inlet of Georgetown Bay and sailed his ship into that sheltered road-stead. The English vessels, working against the north wind, soon were lost to sight. On the afternoon of June 13, 1777, Lafayette's little sloop ran past the inlet and up to North Island, one of the low sand-pits that are a fringe along the indented shore of South Carolina.

The long sea-voyage was over, and Lafayette looked at last at the coast of the country he had come to help.

The Young Frenchman Reaches America

The Victory had anchored off North Island, a stretch of sand on the South Carolina coast, but neither the captain nor the owner nor the crew of the sloop knew much more about their location than that it was somewhere in North America. Charlestown they believed was the nearest port of any size, but it might be difficult to navigate through these shoal waters without a pilot who knew the channels. So Lafayette suggested to Baron de Kalb that they should land in one of the sloop's boats and see if they could get information or assistance.

Early in the afternoon Lafayette, De Kalb, and a few of the other officers were rowed ashore in the Victory's yawl. But the shore was merely a sand-flat, with no sign of human habitation. They put out again and rowed farther up the bay, keeping a sharp lookout for any house or farm. They found plenty of little creeks and islands, but the shores were simply waste stretches of sand and scrub-bushes and woods. The mainland appeared as deserted as though it had been a desert island far out in the sea.

All afternoon they rowed about, poking the yawl's nose first into one creek and then into another, and nightfall found them still exploring the North Inlet. Then, when they had about decided that it was too dark to row further and that they had better return to the sloop, they suddenly saw a lighted torch on the shore. Heading for this they found some negroes dragging for oysters. Baron de Kalb, who knew more English than the others, called out and asked if there was good anchorage for a ship thereabouts and whether he could find a pilot to take them to Charlestown.

The negroes, very much surprised at the sudden appearance of the yawl, thought the men on board might be Englishmen or Hessians, and instantly grew suspicious. One of them answered, "We belong to Major Huger, all of us belongs to him, He's our master."

"Is he an officer in the American army?" De Kalb called back.

The negro said that he was, and added that there was a pilot on the upper end of North Island, and then volunteered to show the men in the yawl where the pilot lived and also to take them to the house of the Major.

Lafayette thought it would be best to find Major Huger at once; but the tide was falling fast, and when the rowers, unused to these shoals, tried to follow the negroes in the oyster-boat, they discovered that they were in danger of beaching their yawl. The only alternative was for some of them to go in the oyster-boat, and so Lafayette and De Kalb and one other joined the negroes, while the crew of the yawl rowed back to the Victory.

Over more shallows, up more inlets the negroes steered their craft, and about midnight they pointed out a light shining from a house on the shore. "That's Major Huger's," said the guide, and he ran his boat up to a landing-stage. The three officers stepped out, putting their feet on American soil for the first time on this almost deserted coast and under the guidance of stray negro oystermen.

But this desolate shore had already been the landing-place of English privateersmen, and the people who lived in the neighborhood were always in fear of attack. As Lafayette and his two friends went up toward the house the loud barking of dogs suddenly broke the silence. And as they came up to the dwelling a window was thrown open and a man called out, "Who goes there? Stop where you are or I'll fire!"

"We are friends, sir; friends only," De Kalb hurriedly answered. "We are French officers who have just landed from our ship, which has come into your waters. We have come to fight for America and we are looking for a pilot to steer our ship to a safe anchorage and are also hunting shelter for ourselves."

No sooner had the master of the house heard this than he turned and gave some orders. Lights shone out from the windows, and almost immediately the front door was unbarred and thrown open. The owner stood in the doorway, his hands stretched out in greeting, and back of him were a number of negro servants with candles.

"Indeed, sirs, I am very proud to welcome you!" he said; and then stopped an instant to call to the dogs to stop their barking. "I am Major Huger of the American army, Major Benjamin Huger, and this is my house on the shore where we camp out in the summer. Please come in, gentlemen. My house and everything in it is at the service of the brave and generous Frenchmen who come to fight for our liberties."

There was no doubt of the warmth of the strangers' welcome. The Major caught De Kalb's hand and shook it strenuously, while his small son, who had slipped into his clothes and hurried downstairs to see what all the noise was about, seized Lafayette by the arm and tried to pull him into the lighted hall.

"You are most kind, Major Huger," said De Kalb. "Let me introduce my friends. This gentleman is the leader of our expedition, the Seigneur Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette; this is Monsieur Price of Sauveterre, and I am Johann Kalb."

"He is the Baron de Kalb, monsieur," put in Lafayette. "A brigadier in the army of the King of France and aid to the Marshal the Count de Broglie."

Major Huger had heard of the Marquis de Lafayette, for already news of the Frenchman's determination to fight for the young republic had crossed the Atlantic. He caught Lafayette by both hands. "The Marquis de Lafayette!" he cried. "My house is indeed honored by your presence! We have all heard of you. You have only to command me, sir, and I will do your bidding. I will look after your ship and your pilot. But to-night you must stay here as my guests, and to-morrow I will see to everything. This is my son, Francis Kinloch Huger. Nov please come into my dining-room, gentlemen, and let me offer you some refreshment."

Small Francis, still holding Lafayette's hand, drew the Marquis in at the door. The three guests, delighted at their welcome, went to the dining-room, and there toasts were drunk to the success of the cause of liberty. America was not so inhospitable to the weary travelers after all, and with the glow of the Major's welcome warming them, Lafayette and his two friends went to their rooms and slept in real beds for the first time in many weeks.

Lafayette naturally was delighted at safely reaching his haven, and, as he put it in his own words, "retired to rest rejoiced that he had at last attained the haven of his wishes and was safely, landed in America beyond the reach of his pursuers." Weary from his long voyage on the Victory, he slept soundly, and woke full of enthusiasm for this new country, which was to be like a foster-mother to him. "The next morning," he wrote, "was beautiful. The novelty of everything around me, the room, the bed with its mosquito curtains, the black servants who came to ask my wishes, the beauty and strange appearance of the country as I could see it from my window clothed in luxuriant verdure, all conspired to produce upon me an effect like magic and to impress me with indescribable sensations."

Major Huger had already sent a pilot to the Victory and had done everything he could to assist Lafayette's companions. All the Major's family were so kind and hospitable that they instantly won Lafayette's heart. He judged that all Americans would be like them, and wrote to his wife, "the manners of this people are simple, honest, and dignified. The wish to oblige, the love of country, and freedom reign here together in sweet equality. All citizens are brothers. They belong to a country where every cranny resounds with the lovely name of Liberty. My sympathy with them makes me feel as if I had been here for twenty years." It was well for him that his first reception in America was so pleasant and that he remembered it with such delight, for he was later to find that some Americans were not so cordial toward him.

If he was delighted with the Hugers, the Major and his son Francis were equally delighted with the young Frenchman. And, strangely enough, the little boy Francis, who had seized Lafayette's hand on that June night in 1777, was later to try to rescue his hero from a prison in Europe.

The Marquis and his friends thought they had had quite enough of life on shipboard for the present, and so decided to go to Charlestown over the country roads. The pilot that had been furnished by Major Huger came back with word that there was not sufficient water for the Victory to stay in Georgetown Bay, and Lafayette ordered the ship, in charge of the pilot, to sail to Charlestown. Meantime he and his companions, with horses of the Major's, rode to that seaport. As soon as he arrived there he heard that there were a number of English cruisers on that part of the coast, and so he at once sent word to Captain Leboucier to beach the Victory and burn her, rather than let her be captured by the cruisers.

The Victory, however, sailed safely into Charlestown without sighting a hostile sail, and the captain unloaded Lafayette's supplies and his own private cargo. Later the sloop was loaded with rice and set sail again, but was wrecked on a bar and became a total loss.

No welcome could have been warmer than that Lafayette received in Charlestown. A dinner was given him, where the French officers met the American generals Gulden, Howe, and Moultrie. All houses were thrown open to him, and he was taken to inspect the fortifications and driven through the beautiful country in the neighborhood. How pleased he was he showed in a letter to Adrienne. "The city of Charlestown," he wrote, "is one of the prettiest and the best built that I have ever seen, and its inhabitants are most agreeable. The American women are very pretty, very unaffected, and exhibit a charming neatness,—a quality which is most studiously cultivated here, much more even than in England. What enchants me here is that all the citizens are brethren. There are no poor people in America, nor even what we call peasants. All the citizens have a moderate property, and all have the same rights as the most powerful proprietor. The inns are very different from those of Europe: the innkeeper and his wife sit at table with you, do the honors of a good repast, and on leaving, you pay without haggling. When you do not choose to go to an inn, you can find country houses where it is enough to be a good American to be received with such attentions as in Europe would be paid to friends."

That certainly speaks well for the hospitality of South Carolina!

He did not mean to tell his plans, however, until he should reach Philadelphia, where the Congress of the United States was sitting. "I have every reason to feel highly gratified at my reception in Charlestown," he wrote, "but I have not yet explained my plans to any one. I judge it best to wait until I have presented myself to the Congress before making a statement as to the projects I have in view."

He had only one difficulty in the seaport town. When he started to sell the Victory and her cargo he found that the men who had sold him the ship and Captain Leboucier had so entangled him with agreements and commissions, all of which he had signed without properly reading in his haste to sail from Bordeaux, that, instead of receiving any money, he was actually in debt. To pay this off and get the needed funds to take his companions and himself to Philadelphia he had to borrow money, but fortunately there were plenty of people in Charlestown who were ready to help him out of that difficulty.

With the money borrowed from these well-disposed people Lafayette bought horses and carriages to take his party over the nine hundred miles that lay between Charlestown and Philadelphia. On June twenty-fifth the expedition started. In front rode a French officer dressed in the uniform of a hussar. Next came a heavy open carriage, in which sat Lafayette and De Kalb, and close behind it rode Lafayette's body-servant. Then there followed a chaise with two colonels, the counselors of the Marquis, another chaise with more French officers, still another with the baggage, and finally, as rear-guard, a negro on horseback.

The country roads were frightful for travel; indeed for much of the way they could scarcely be called roads at all, being simply primitive clearings through the woods. The guide kept losing his way, and the carriages bumped along over roots and logs in a hot, blistering sun. As far as this particular journey went, the Frenchmen must have thought that travel was very much easier in their own country. One accident followed another; within four days the chaises had been jolted into splinters and the horses had gone lame. The travelers had to buy other wagons and horses, and to lighten their outfit kept leaving part of their baggage on the way. Sometimes they had to walk, often they went hungry, and many a night they slept in the woods. They began to appreciate that this new country, land of liberty though it was, had many disadvantages when it came to the matter of travel.

From Petersburg in Virginia Lafayette wrote to Adrienne. "You have heard," said he, "how brilliantly I started out in a carriage. I have to inform you that we are now on horseback after having broken the wagons in my usual praiseworthy fashion, and I expect to write you before long that we have reached our destination on foot."

Yet, in spite of all these discomforts, the Marquis was able to enjoy much of the journey. He studied the language of the people he met, he admired the beautiful rivers and the great forests, and he kept pointing out to his companions how much better the farmers here lived than the peasants of his own country. At least there was plenty of land for every one and no grasping overlords to take all the profits.

The journey lasted a month. The party paid a visit to Governor Caswell in North Carolina and stopped at Petersburg and Annapolis, where Lafayette met Major Brice, who later became his aide-de-camp. On July twenty-seventh the travel-worn party reached Philadelphia, which was then the capital of the United States.

The outlook for the Americans was gloomy enough then. New York was in the hands of the enemy, Burgoyne's army had captured Ticonderoga and was threatening to separate New England from the rest of the country, and Howe was preparing to attack Philadelphia with a much larger army than Washington could bring against him. It would have seemed just the time when any help from abroad should have been doubly welcome, and yet as a matter of fact the Congress was not so very enthusiastic about it.

The reason for this was that already a great number of adventurers had come to America from the different countries of Europe and asked for high commands in the American army. Many of them were soldiers of considerable experience, and they all thought that they would make much better officers than the ill-trained men of the new republic. Some of them also quickly showed that they were eager for money, and one and all insisted on trying to tell Congress exactly what it ought to do. Quite naturally the Americans preferred to manage affairs in their own way.

George Washington had already sent a protest to Congress. "Their ignorance of our language and their inability to recruit men," he said, "are insurmountable obstacles to their being ingrafted into our continental battalions; for our officers, who have raised their men, and have served through the war upon pay that has hitherto not borne their expenses, would be disgusted if foreigners were put over their heads; and I assure you, few or none of these gentlemen look lower than field-officers' commissions. To give them all brevets, by which they have rank, and draw pay without doing any service, is saddling the continent with vast expense; and to form them into corps would be only establishing corps of officers; for, as I have said before, they cannot possibly raise any men."

It was true that Silas Deane had been instructed to offer commissions to a few French officers, whose experience might help the Americans, but he had scattered commissions broadcast, and some of these men had proved of little use. One of them, Du Coudray, had arrived and insisted on commanding the artillery with the rank of major-general, and had aroused so much opposition that Generals Greene, Sullivan, and Knox had threatened to resign if his demands were granted. Congress was therefore beginning to look askance at many of the men who bore Silas Deane's commissions.

That was the state of affairs when Lafayette, confident of a warm welcome, reached Philadelphia and presented himself and his friends to John Hancock, the president of Congress. Hancock may have received letters concerning the young Frenchman from Deane and Benjamin Franklin in Paris, but, if he had, he had paid little attention to them, and was inclined to regard this young man of nineteen as simply another adventurer from Europe. With a scant word of welcome Hancock referred Lafayette to Gouverneur Morris, who, he said, "had such matters in charge."

The Frenchmen went to see Morris, but to him also they appeared only a new addition to the many adventurers already hanging about, looking for high commands. He put off dealing with Lafayette and De Kalb. "Meet me to-morrow at the door of Congress, gentlemen," said he. "I will look over your papers in the meantime and will see what I can do for you."

The two new arrivals kept the appointment promptly, but Morris was not on hand. After they had cooled their heels for some time he appeared, bringing with him Mr. Lovell, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. "Matters that concern France are in Mr. Lovell's charge," said Morris. "Please deal with him after this."

Lovell bowed to the strangers. "I understand, gentlemen," said he, "that you have authority from Mr. Deane?"

"Certainly, sir," De Kalb answered. "Our papers and agreements show that."

Lovell frowned. "This is very annoying," said he. "We authorized Mr. Deane to send us four French engineers, but instead he has sent us a number of engineers who are no engineers and some artillerists who have never seen service. Mr. Franklin, however, has sent us the four engineers we wanted. There is nothing for you to do here, gentlemen. We needed a few experienced officers last year, but now we have plenty, and can promise no more positions. I must bid you good-morning."

Here was a dashing blow to all their eager wishes. Surprise and disappointment showed in their faces.

"But, sir," began De Kalb, "Mr. Deane promised

"Well, Mr. Deane has exceeded his authority," declared Lovell. "He has promised too much and we cannot recognize his authority. We haven't even a colonel's commission to give to any foreign officers, to say nothing of a major-general's. The Congress is very much annoyed by these constant demands, and General Washington says he won't be disturbed by any more requests. I am sorry to disappoint you, but under the circumstances I can promise you nothing. Again I must bid you good-morning."

Lovell returned to Congress, leaving the Frenchmen much discomfited. De Kalb began to storm, and finally spoke angrily of the way they had been treated by Deane. "It is not to be borne!" he cried. "I will take action against Deane! I will have damages for this indignity he has put upon us!"

Fortunately Lafayette was more even-tempered. In spite of this rebuff at the outset he meant to achieve his goal. He turned to the angry lie Kalb and laid his hand restrainingly on the latter's arm. "Let us not talk of damages, my friend," he said. "It is more important for us to talk of doing. It is true that Congress didn't ask us to leave our homes and cross the sea to lead its army. But I will not go back now. If the Congress will not accept me as a major-general, I will fight for American liberty as a volunteer!"

"I Will Fight for American Liberty as a Volunteer!"

Lafayette, standing outside the door of the American Congress in Philadelphia, refused the commission in the American army that had been promised him by Silas Deane, spoke these words of encouragement to his disappointed and indignant friends who had crossed with him from France. "If the Congress will not accept me as a major-general, I will fight for American liberty as a volunteer!" he said; and, having come to this decision, he immediately proceeded to put it into effect. He went to his lodgings and wrote a letter to John Hancock, president of Congress.

Lafayette's letter explained the reasons why he had come to the United States and recounted the many difficulties he had had r, to overcome. He stated that he thought that the promise he had received from Silas Deane, the approval of Benjamin Franklin, and the sacrifices he had himself made ought to lead Congress to give a friendly hearing to his request. He said that he understood how Congress had been besieged by foreign officers seeking high rank in the army, but added that he only asked two favors. These were, in his own words, "First, that I serve without pay and at my own expense; and, the other, that I be allowed to serve at first as a volunteer."

This letter was a great surprise to John Hancock and the other leaders of Congress. Here was a young French officer of family and wealth who was so deeply interested in their cause that he was eager to serve as an unpaid volunteer! He was a different type from the others who had come begging for favors. Hancock looked up the letter that Franklin had written about the Marquis, and read, "Those who censure him as imprudent do nevertheless applaud his spirit, and we are satisfied that the civilities and respect that may be shown him will be serviceable to our affairs here, as pleasing not only to his powerful relations and to the court, but to the whole French nation."

Hancock was impressed; perhaps they had made a mistake in treating this Marquis de Lafayette in such cavalier fashion. So he sent another member of Congress to see the young Frenchman and instructed him to treat Lafayette with the greatest courtesy. And the ref suit of this interview was that Hancock's emissary was quickly convinced of Lafayette's absolute honesty of purpose and intense desire to help the United States.

Having reached this conclusion Hancock decided to make amends and do the honorable thing, and so, on July 31, 1777, Congress passed the following resolution: "Whereas, the Marquis de Lafayette, out of his great zeal to the cause of liberty, in which the United States are engaged, has left his family and connections, and, at his own expense, come over to offer his services to the United States, without pension or particular allowance, and is anxious to risk his life in our cause, therefore, Resolved, that his services be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family, and connections, he have the rank and commission of major-general in the army of the United States."

How fortunate it was that Lafayette had not been daunted at the outset, or discouraged as De Kalb and his companions had been! His great dream had come true as a result of perseverance; he had been welcomed by Congress, and was, at nineteen, a major-general in the army of liberty!

But he did not forget those companions who had crossed the sea with the same desires as his own. In the letter he wrote to Congress, penned in his own quaint English,—a letter now in the State Department at Washington,—after thanking "the Honorable mr. Hancok," as he spelled it, and expressing his gratitude to Congress, he said, "it is now as an american that I'll mention every day to congress the officers who came over with me, whose interests are for me as my own, and the consideration which they deserve by their merit, their ranks, their state and reputation in frame."

He was unable, however, to do much for these friends, though one of them said, "He did everything that was possible for our appointment, but in vain, for he had no influence. But if he had his way, De Kalb would have been major-general and we should all have had places."

Congress felt that it could not give them all commissions. Captain de Bedaulx, who was a veteran officer, was made a captain in the American army, one other was engaged as a draughtsman and engineer, and Lafayette kept two as his own aides-de-camp. Most of the others were sent back to France, their expenses being paid by Congress. As for De Kalb, he had given up his plans for high rank and preferment and was on his way to take passage on a ship for Europe when a messenger reached him with word that Congress, voting for one more major-general in the army, had elected him.

Lafayette, in his letter to Hancock, had said that he wished to serve "near the person of General Washington till such time as he may think proper to entrust me with a division of the army." Events soon gave him the chance to meet the commander-in-chief. The arrival of Howe's fleet at the mouth of the Delaware River seemed to threaten Philadelphia, and Washington left his camp in New Jersey to consult with Congress. Lafayette was invited to a dinner in Philadelphia to meet the commander-in-chief, and accepted eagerly. The Frenchman was greatly impressed. "Although General Washington was surrounded by officers and private citizens," he wrote, "the majesty of his countenance and of his figure made it impossible not to recognize him; he was especially distinguished also by the affability of his manners and the dignity with which he addressed those about him."

Washington had already heard of Lafayette and found a chance for a long talk with him. On his part he was at once strongly attracted by the young Marquis. "You have made the greatest sacrifices for our cause, sir," Washington said, "and your evident zeal and generosity interest me deeply. I shall do my part toward making you one of us. I shall be greatly pleased to have you join my staff as a volunteer aid, and beg you to make my headquarters your home, until events place you elsewhere. I beg you to consider yourself at all times as one of my military family, and I shall be glad to welcome you at the camp as speedily as you think proper. Of course I cannot promise you the luxuries of a court, but, as you have now become an American soldier, you will doubtless accommodate yourself to the fare of an American army, and submit with a good grace to its customs, manners, and privations."

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


The next day Washington invited Lafayette to accompany him on a tour of inspection of the fortifications about Philadelphia.

The General liked the Marquis, but was not quite certain how the latter could best be employed. He wrote to Benjamin Harrison, who was a member of Congress, "As I understand the Marquis de Lafayette, it is certain that he does not conceive that his commission is merely honorary, but is given with a view to command a division of this army. It is true he has said that he is young and inexperienced; but at the same time he has always accompanied it with a hint that, so soon as I shall think him fit for the command of a division, he shall be ready to enter upon his duties, and in the meantime has offered his services for a smaller command. What the designs of Congress respecting this gentleman were, and what line of conduct I am to pursue to comply with their design and his expectations—I know not and beg to be instructed. . . . Let me beseech you, my good sir, to give inc the sentiments of Congress on this matter, that I may endeavor, as far as it is in my power, to comply with them."

Mr. Harrison answered that Congress intended Lafayette's appointment to be regarded merely as an honorary one, and that the commander-in-chief was to use his own judgment concerning him.

In the meantime Lafayette set out from Philadelphia to join Washington's army. That army, early in August, had begun its march eastward, hoping to cut off any British move about New York; but the appearance of the British fleet off the Delaware had brought them to a halt, and Washington ordered them into camp near the present village of Hartsville, on the old York Road leading out of Philadelphia. Here, on August twenty-first, Lafayette joined the army, just as the commander, with Generals Stirling, Greene, and Knox, was about to review the troops.

It was indeed a sorry-looking army, according to the standards of Europe. There were about eleven thousand men, poorly armed and wretchedly clad. Their clothes were old and ragged, hardly any two suits alike, and the men knew little enough about military tactics. Courage and resolution had to take the place of science; but there was no lack of either bravery or determination. Yet some of the foreign officers who had seen the American army had spoken very slightingly of it, and Washington said to Lafayette, "It is somewhat embarrassing to us to show ourselves to an officer who has just come from the army of France."

Lafayette, always tactful, always sympathetic, smiled. "I am here to learn and not to teach, Your Excellency," he answered.

A council of war followed the review, and the commander asked the Marquis to attend it. The council decided that if the British were planning to invade the Carolinas it was unwise to attempt to follow them south, and that the army had better try to recapture New York. But at that very moment a messenger brought word that the British fleet had sailed into Chesapeake Bay, and, hearing this, Washington concluded to march his army to the south of Philadelphia and prepare to defend that city.

Ragged and out-at-elbows as the small American army was, it marched proudly through the streets of Philadelphia. With sprigs of green branches in their hats the soldiers stepped along to the tune of fife and drum, presenting, at least in the eyes of the townspeople, a very gallant appearance. Lafayette rode by the side of Washington, glad that the opportunity had come for him to be of service.

Very soon he had a chance to share danger with his commander. When the troops arrived on the heights of Wilmington, Washington, with Lafayette and Greene, made a reconnaissance, and, being caught by a storm and darkness, was obliged to spend the night so near to the British lines that he might easily have been discovered by a scout or betrayed into the hands of the enemy.

Meantime General Howe and Lord Cornwallis had landed eighteen thousand veteran troops near what is now Elkton in Maryland, and was advancing toward Philadelphia. To defend the city Washington drew up his forces on September ninth at Chadd's Ford on the Brandywine. One column of Howe's army marched to this place and on September eleventh succeeded in driving across the river to the American camp. The other column, under command of Cornwallis, made a long detour through the thickly wooded country, and bore down on the right and rear of Washington's army, threatening its total destruction.

The American commander at once sent General Sullivan, with five thousand men, to meet this force on the right. Realizing that most of the fighting would be done there, Lafayette asked and was given permission to join General Sullivan. Riding up as a volunteer aid, he found the half-formed wings of the American army attacked by the full force under Cornwallis. The Americans had to fall back, two of General Sullivan's aids were killed, and a disorderly retreat began. Lafayette leaped from his horse, and, sword in hand, called on the soldiers to make a stand.

He checked the retreat for a few moments; other troops came up, and the Americans offered gallant resistance. Lafayette was shot through the calf of the leg, but, apparently unconscious of the wound, continued to encourage his men. Then Cornwallis's brigades swept forward again, and Sullivan's troops had to give ground before the greater numbers. The battle became a general rout. Gimat, Lafayette's aid, saw that the young man was wounded, and helped him to mount his horse. The wounded man then tried to rejoin Washington, but soon after he had to stop to have his leg bandaged.

The first British column had driven the American troops from Chadd's Ford, and the latter, together with Sullivan's men, fell back along the road to Chester. Washington attempted to cover the retreat with rear-guard fighting, but night found him pursued by both divisions of the enemy. In the retreat Lafayette came to a bridge, and made a stand until Washington and his aids reached him. Then together they rode on to Chester, and there the Frenchman's wound was properly dressed by a surgeon.

The battle had been in one sense a defeat for the Americans, but it had shown General Howe the fine fighting quality of Washington's men, and the American commander had been able to save the bulk of his army, when Howe had expected to capture it entire. To-day a little monument stands on a ridge near the Quaker meeting-house outside Chadd's Ford, erected, so the inscription says, "by the citizens and school children of Chester County," because, "on the rising ground a short distance south of this spot, Lafayette was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777." And the monument also bears these words of Lafayette: "The honor to have mingled my blood with that of many other American soldiers on the heights of the Brandywine has been to me a source of pride and delight."

The battle-field of the Brandywine was only about twenty-six miles from Philadelphia, and the cannonade had been clearly heard in the city. The word the couriers brought filled the people with alarm; many citizens began to fly from the city and Congress took its departure, to meet at the town of York, one hundred miles to the west. The Americans wounded at the Brandywine were sent to Philadelphia, and Lafayette was conveyed there by water. From that city he was sent up the Delaware River to Bristol. There he met. Henry Laurens, who had succeeded John Hancock as the president of Congress, and Laurens, being on his way to York, took Lafayette with him in his own carriage to the Old Sun Inn at Bethlehem, the quiet home of a people called the Moravians, fifty miles to the north of Philadelphia. In later times Henry Laurens, by one of those strange turns of the wheel of fate, became a prisoner in the Tower of London, and Madame de Lafayette repaid his kindness to her husband by seeking the aid of the French government to secure his release.

There could have been no better place for a wounded man to recover his strength than in the peaceful little Moravian community at Bethlehem. For six weeks he stayed there, and the people tended him like one of themselves. He could not use his leg, but he spent part of his enforced idleness drawing up plans for the invasion of the British colonies in the

West Indies. He also wrote long letters to his wife in France. "Be entirely free from anxiety as to my wound," he said in one of these, "for all the doctors in America are aroused in my behalf. I have a friend who has spoken for me in a way to ensure my being well taken care of; and that is General Washington. That estimable man, whose talents and whose virtues I admired before, whom I venerate the more now as I learn to know him, has been kind enough to inc to become my intimate friend. His tender interest in me quickly won my heart. . . . When he sent his surgeon-in-chief to me, he directed him to care for me as I were his son, because he loved me so much; and having learned that I wanted to join the army too soon again, he wrote me a letter full of tenderness in which he admonished me to wait until I should be entirely well."

Wonderful it was that Washington, beset and harassed with all the burdens of a commander-in-chief, could yet find the time to pay so much attention to his wounded French aid!

Lafayette knew well that matters looked dark then for the American republic. In another letter to Adrienne he said, "Now that you are the wife of an American general officer, I must give you a lesson. People will say, 'They have been beaten.' You must answer, 'It is true, but with two armies equal in number, and on level ground, old soldiers always have an advantage over new ones; besides, the Americans inflicted a greater loss than they sustained.' Then, people will add, 'That's all very well; but Philadelphia, the capital of America, the highroad of liberty, is taken.' You will reply politely, 'You are fools! Philadelphia is a poor city, open on every side, of which the port was already closed. The presence of Congress made it famous, I know not why; that's what this famous city amounts to, which, by the way, we shall retake sooner or later.' If they continue to ply you with questions, send them about their business in terms that the Vicomte de Noailles will supply you with."

It was true that General Howe had taken Philadelphia while Lafayette had to nurse his wounded leg at Bethlehem. It was not until the latter part of October that the Marquis was able to re join the army, and then his wound had not sufficiently healed to allow him to wear a boot. The battle of Germantown, by which Washington hoped to dislodge the British from Philadelphia, had been fought, and the year's campaign was about to close. Two battles had been lost by the Americans in the south, but in the north the British general Burgoyne had been obliged to surrender. Washington's headquarters were now at Methacton Hill, near the Schuylkill River, and there Lafayette went, hoping for active service.

His chance for service came soon. Cornwallis had entered New Jersey with five thousand men, and General Greene was sent to oppose him with an equal number. Lafayette joined Greene as a volunteer, and at Mount Holly he was ordered to reconnoitre. On November twenty-fifth he found the enemy at Gloucester. Their forage wagons were crossing the river to Philadelphia, and Lafayette, in order to make a more thorough examination of their position, went dangerously far out on a tongue of land. Here he might easily have been captured, but he was quick enough to escape without in jury. Later, at four o'clock in the afternoon, he found himself before a post of Hessians, four hundred men with cannon. Lafayette had one hundred and fifty sharpshooters under Colonel Butler, and about two hundred militiamen and light-horse. He did not know the strength of the enemy, hut he attacked, and drove them back so boldly that Cornwallis, thinking he must be dealing with all of Greene's forces, allowed his troops to retreat to Gloucester with a loss of sixty men.

This was the first real opportunity Lafayette had had to show his skill in leading men, and he had done so well that General Greene was delighted. In the report he sent to Washington he said, "The Marquis is charmed with the spirited behavior of the militia and rifle corps. They drove the enemy about a mile and kept the ground until dark. . . . The Marquis is determined to be in the way of danger."

Lafayette had shown himself to be a daring and skilful officer; more than that, he had endeared himself to the men under his command. And this was more than could be said for most of the foreign officers in the American army; many of them devoted the larger part of their time to criticizing everything about them. Baron de Kalb expressed his opinion of these adventurers from across the Atlantic in forceful terms. "These people," said he, "think of nothing but their incessant intrigues and backbitings. They hate each other like the bitterest enemies, and endeavor to injure each other whenever an opportunity offers. Lafayette is the sole exception. . . . Lafayette is much liked and is on the best of terms with Washington."

It was natural, therefore, that Washington, having had such a good account of the young Frenchman at the skirmish at Gloucester, should be willing to gratify his desire for a regular command in the army. So the commander-in-chief wrote to Congress concerning the Marquis. "There are now some vacant positions in the army," said Washington, "to one of which he may be appointed, if it should be the pleasure of Congress. I am convinced he possesses a large share of that military ardor that characterizes the nobility of his country."

And Congress agreed with Washington, and voted that "the Marquis de Lafayette be appointed to the command of a division in the Continental Army." On December 4, 1777, the Frenchman was given the command of the Virginia division. He was twenty years old, and it was only a little more than a year since he had first heard from the Duke of Gloucester about the fight of the American farmers for liberty. He had accomplished a great deal in that year, and had won his spurs by pluck, by perseverance, and by ability.

Naturally he was delighted at this evidence of the confidence that Washington and the American Congress placed in him. He wrote to his father-in-law, the Duke d'Ayen, the man who had tried his best to keep him from coming to America, "At last I have what I have always wished for, the command of a division. It is weak in point of numbers; it is almost naked, and I must make both clothes and recruits; but I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I reflect, and upon the result of all this I make an effort to form my opinion and to put into it as much common sense as I can . . . for I do not want to disappoint the confidence that the Americans have so kindly placed in me."

Events were soon to test both his ability and his mettle.

Lafayette Wins the Friendship of Washington

In December, 1777, Washington's army went into winter quarters at Valley Forge. That winter was to test the courage and endurance of the soldiers, for they were ill-clad, ill-provisioned, and the road to victory appeared a long and weary one. Fortunately the commander-in-chief was a man of intrepid soul, one who could instill confidence into the men about him.

Lafayette quickly found that all the people of the young republic were not in agreement about the war. Men called Tories joined the British army, and in countless other ways hampered the work of Congress. Business was at such a standstill that it was almost impossible to obtain clothing, shoes, and the other supplies that were so urgently needed, and as Congress had no power to impose and collect taxes it was hard to raise any money. The different states had each its jealousies of the others and each its own ends to serve, and indeed in 1777 the union was so loosely knitted that it was a wonder that it held together at all.

Washington had chosen Valley Forge as his winter quarters because from there he could watch the enemy, keep the British to their own picket lines, and cut off supplies going into Philadelphia. Otherwise, however, the place had little to recommend it. The farmhouses in the neighborhood could hold only a few of the two thousand men who were on the sick-list, whose shoeless feet were torn and frozen from marching and who were ill from hunger and exposure. For the rest the soldiers had to build their own shelters, and they cut logs in the woods, covered them with mud, and made them into huts, each of which had to house fourteen men. There the American troops, lacking necessary food and blankets, shivered and almost starved during the long winter.

There were times when Washington would have liked to make a sortie or an attack on the enemy, but his men were not in condition for it. Constantly he wrote to Congress, urging relief for his army. Once a number of members of Congress paid a visit to Valley Forge, and later sent a remonstrance to the commander-in-chief, urging him not to keep his army in idleness but to march on Philadelphia. To this Washington answered, "I can assure those gentlemen that it is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room, by a good fireside, than to occupy a cold, bleak hill, and sleep under frost and snow, without clothes or blankets. However, although they seem to have little feeling for the naked and distressed soldiers, I feel superabundantly for them; and from my soul I pity those miseries, which it is neither in my power to relieve nor prevent."

All those hardships Lafayette also shared, setting his men an example of patience and fortitude that did much to help them through the rigorous winter, and winning again and again the praise of his commander for his devotion.

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


In the meantime some men of influence, known as the "Conway Cabal," from the name of one of the leaders, plotted to force Washington from the chief command, and put General Greene in his place. They wanted to use Lafayette as a cats-paw, and decided that the first step was to separate him from Washington's influence. With this object in view they planned an invasion of Canada, the command of the expedition to be given to Lafayette. But Lafayette saw through the plotting, and refused to lead the expedition except under Washington's orders and with De Kalb as his second in command. He also showed where he stood when he was invited to York to meet some of the members of Congress and generals who were opposing his leader. At a dinner given in his honor he rose, and, lifting his glass, proposed a toast to "The health of George "Washington, our noble commander-in-chief!" The party had to drink the toast, and they saw that the Frenchman was not to be swerved from his loyalty to his chief.

Congress had decided on the expedition to Canada, though the conspirators now saw that their plot had failed, and so Lafayette set out for Albany in February, 1778, to take command of the army of invasion. But when he got there he found that nothing had been done by way of preparation, and that none of those in authority were able to help him. Twelve hundred ill-provided men were all he could raise, altogether too few and too poorly armed for such an ambitious enterprise. Very much disappointed, he had to give up the idea of leading such an army. More and more he grew convinced that all the hopes of America rested on Washington.

That Washington might know his feelings, Lafayette wrote to him. "Take away for an instant," he said, "that modest diffidence of yourself (which, pardon my freedom, my dear general, is sometimes too great, and I wish you could know, as well as myself, what difference there is between you and any other man) , and you would see very plainly that, if you were lost for America, there is no one who could keep the army and the revolution for six months. . . . I am now fixed to your fate, and I shall follow it and sustain it as well by my sword as by all means in my power. You will pardon my importunity in favor of the sentiment which dictated it."

Washington was no less devoted to Lafayette. When the latter returned disappointed from Albany the commander said to him, "However sensibly your ardor for glory may make you feel this disappointment you may be assured that your character stands as fair as it ever did, and that no new enterprise is necessary to wipe off an imaginary stain."

And Washington's view was now so strongly held by Congress that it immediately voted that it had "a high sense of the prudence, activity, and zeal of the Marquis de Lafayette," and that it was "fully persuaded nothing has, or would have been, wanting on his part or on the part of the officers who accompanied him to give the expedition the utmost (possible effect."

Lafayette went back to Valley Forge to cheer his soldiers, and there, early in May, 1778, news came that Benjamin Franklin had succeeded in his efforts in France and that the government of Louis XVI. had decided on "armed interference "in the affairs of America, and that a treaty of alliance had been signed between the United States and the French king.

The army at Valley Forge was wild with delight at this news. How it must have cheered Lafayette to know that his own country now stood with the young republic of the west! Washington proclaimed a holiday and held a review of his troops. Then the commander planned a new and more vigorous campaign.

The British, now foreseeing possible French as well as American attack, decided to give up Philadelphia and fall back on New York. Washington learned of this, and in order to keep a check on the movements of his opponents, he sent Lafayette with a strong force of two thousand picked men to keep as close to the British lines as possible.

Lafayette joyfully led his command to a ridge called Barren Hill that overlooked the Schuylkill. From here he could watch the road from Philadelphia, and he at once fortified his camp. British scouts brought reports of this to their generals, and the latter decided it would be a capital plan to defeat the Frenchman's forces and capture the Marquis. This they considered so easy to accomplish that Generals Howe and Clinton sent out invitations to their friends to a dinner at their headquarters "to meet Monsieur the Marquis de Lafayette."

On the morning of May twentieth eight thousand British and Hessian soldiers with fifteen pieces of artillery marched out of Philadelphia by one road to take Lafayette in the rear, while by another road a force of grenadiers and cavalry marched to attack his right wing, and a third column, commanded by Generals Howe and Clinton in person, with the admiral, Lord Howe, accompanying them as a volunteer, took a third road to attack the Marquis in front. In this way the enemy forces were completely surrounding the American position, except on the side of the river, by which they considered escape impossible.

Lafayette was talking with a young woman who had agreed to go into Philadelphia and try to obtain information on the pretext of visiting her relations there, when word was brought him that redcoats had been seen in the rear. He was expecting a small force of dragoons, and his first idea was that it was these who were approaching. But, being a prudent commander, he at once sent out scouts, and these quickly reported the advance of a large force. Immediately he made a change of front under cover of the stone houses and the woods. Then messengers dashed up with news of the real state of affairs. His little command was about to be attacked in a three-cornered fight by an overwhelming number of the enemy.

It was a ticklish position, and Lafayette came within a hair's breadth of being trapped and captured. His men called out to him that he was completely surrounded. In the confusion of the moment he had to keep on smiling, as he afterward said. It was a test fit to try the skill of a much more experienced general than the young Frenchman. But this one had studied his ground thoroughly, and lost not a moment in deciding on his course. Back of his men was a road, hidden from the British by trees, which led to a little-used crossing known as Matson's Ford, a place unknown to the enemy, though they were, as a matter of fact, much nearer to it than Lafayette was.

The Marquis quickly threw out "false heads of columns," that is, a few men here and there, who were to march through the woods at different points, and give the impression that his whole army was advancing to battle. The British general saw these "false heads "and, taking them to be the advance guards of the Americans, halted to form his lines. Meantime Lafayette sent all his other troops at the double-quick down the hidden road and across the ford, bringing up the rear himself and waiting until he was joined by the men who had formed the false columns.

The small American army was almost all across the ford before the enemy realized his mistake and began to attack. Then, as the three British columns climbed the hill to crush the Americans according to their plans, they met only each other. They tried to make an attack on Lafayette's rear, but by that time he was out of their reach. He crossed the Schuylkill and reached the camp at Valley Forge without the loss of a single man, to the great delight and relief of Washington, who had heard of the danger in which Lafayette stood and had ordered signal guns fired to warn him of it.

Lafayette had a good story to tell the commander-in-chief on his return. A small body of Indian warriors had been stationed in ambush to attack any stray parties of the enemy. As the Indians lay in the bushes they saw a company of grenadiers in tall bearskin hats and scarlet coats coming up the road. Never having seen such men as these before the Indians were seized with terror, threw down their arms, and yelling as loud as they could, made a dash for the river. The grenadiers, on their part, seeing the painted faces and hearing the yells, thought they had come on a crowd of devils, and hurried away as fast as they could in the opposite direction.

Washington complimented Lafayette on what had really amounted to a victory, the bringing his men in safety from an attack by overwhelming forces, and advised Congress of the Frenchman's "timely and handsome retreat in great order."

And so Generals Howe and Clinton were unable to present to their guests at the dinner at their headquarters that evening "Monsieur the Marquis de Lafayette," as they had intended.

If the British generals meant to use their armies in the field it was clear that they could not stay in Philadelphia indefinitely. As Franklin said, instead of their having taken Philadelphia, Philadelphia had taken then). They had spent the winter there in idleness, and unless they purposed to spend the summer there in the same fashion they must be on the move. Washington foresaw this, and called a council of war to decide on plans for his forces, and at this council General Charles Lee, who was then second in command, insisted that the Americans were not strong enough to offer effective opposition to the enemy, although Generals Greene, Wayne, Cadwalader, and Lafayette expressed contrary opinions. Then, early in the morning of June 18, 1778, General Howe's army evacuated Philadelphia, and crossed the Delaware on their way to New York.

Washington instantly prepared to follow. General Maxwell was sent out in advance with a division of militia to impede the enemy's progress by burning bridges and throwing trees across the roads. The bulk of the American army followed, and when they arrived near Princeton, in New Jersey, Washington called another council. Here Lafayette made a stirring plea for immediate action. But Lee again opposed this, and the council decided, against Washington's own judgment, not to bring on a general engagement with the enemy.

Almost immediately, however, the advance of General Clinton threatened one of the American detachments, and Lee was ordered to check this. He declined to do so, saying it was contrary to the decision of the council of war. At once the command was given to Lafayette, who took the appointment with the greatest eagerness.

But the Marquis had hardly more than planned his advance when General Lee interfered again. The latter saw that if the movement was successful all the honor of it would go to Lafayette, and this was not at all according to his wishes. So he appealed to Washington to replace him in his command, and also went to Lafayette and asked the latter to retire in his favor. "I place my fortune and my honor in your hands," he said; "you are too generous to destroy both the one and the other."

He was right; Lafayette was too chivalrous to refuse such a request. Lee had placed Washington in an awkward situation, but the Frenchman's tact and good-feeling, qualities which had already greatly endeared him to all the Americans he had met, relieved the commander-in-chief of the need of offending Lee. Lafayette immediately wrote to Washington, "I want to repeat to you in writing what I have told to you; which is, that if you believe it, or if it is believed, necessary or useful to the good of the service and the honor of General Lee to send hint down with a couple of thousand men or any greater force, I will cheerfully obey and serve him, not only out of duty, but out of what I owe to that gentleman's character."

No wonder Washington liked a man who could be so unselfish as that! He gave the command back to Lee, and arranged that Lafayette should lead the advance.

Early the following morning Washington ordered an attack on the British at Monmouth Court House, and on June 28, 1778, the battle of Monmouth was fought. The result might have been very different if Lafayette, and not Lee, had been in command. For Lee delayed, and when he did finally move forward he assaulted what he thought was a division of the enemy, but what turned out to be the main body. I3e was driven back, tried another attack, got his officers confused by his contradictory orders, and at last gave the word for a retreat, which threatened to become a rout. At this point Washington rode up, questioned the officers, got no satisfactory answer as to what had happened, and was so indignant that when he reached General Lee he took the latter to task in the strongest terms. Then he gave instant orders to make a stand, and by his superb control of the situation succeeded in having his men repulse all further attacks.

Lafayette meantime had led his cavalry in a charge, had done his best to stem the retreat, and when Washington arrived reformed his line upon a hill, and with the aid of a battery drove back the British. By his efforts and those of the commander-in-chief the day was finally partly saved and the American army maneuvered out of disaster.

Night came on and the troops camped where they were. Washington, wrapped in his cloak, slept at the foot of a tree, with Lafayette beside him. And when they woke in the morning they found that the enemy had stolen away, leaving their wounded behind them.

So the honors of war at Monmouth, in spite of General Lee, lay with Washington. The enemy, however, escaped across New Jersey and reached New York without any further attacks by the Americans.

When Sir Henry Clinton arrived near Sandy Hook he found the English fleet riding at anchor in the lower bay, having just come from the Delaware. Heavy storms had broken through the narrow strip of sand that connects Sandy Hook with the mainland, and it was now divided by a deep channel. A bridge was made of the ships' boats, and Clinton's army crossed over to the Hook, and was distributed on Long Island, Staten Island, and in New York. In the meantime Washington moved his troops from Monmouth to Paramus, where the Americans rested.

Now a French fleet of fourteen frigates and twelve battle-ships, under the command of Count d'Estaing, reached the mouth of the Delaware at about that time. Monsieur Gerard, the minister sent to the United States by the court of France, and Silas Deane, were on board, and when D'Estaing heard that Lord Howe's squadron had left the Delaware he sent Gerard and Deane up to Philadelphia in a frigate, and sailed along the coast to Sandy Hook, where he saw the English fleet at anchor inside. He had considerable advantage over Lord Howe in point of strength, and at once prepared to attack the enemy squadron. Anticipating this, Washington crossed the Hudson River at King's Ferry, and on July twentieth took up a position at White Plains.

The French fleet, however, could not make the attack. They could find no pilots who were willing to take the large ships into New York harbor, for all the pilots agreed that there was not enough water there, and the French admiral's own soundings confirmed their opinion.

Washington and D'Estaing therefore agreed on a joint expedition against Newport, in Rhode Island. Washington sent orders to General Sullivan at Providence to ask the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to supply enough militia to make up an army of five thousand men. At the same time he sent Lafayette with two thousand men from the Hudson to Providence to support the French naval attack.

On July twenty-ninth the French fleet reached Point Judith and anchored about five miles from Newport. General Sullivan and Lafayette and some other officers went on board to make plans for the joint attack. The British troops numbered about six thousand men, and they were strongly intrenched. The allies had some four thousand men on the French ships and between nine and ten thousand Americans at Providence.

Disputes arose as to the best plan of campaign; it was argued whether the men of the two nations would fight better separately or together. Then the English fleet appeared in the distance, and D'Estaing, considering that it was his chief business to destroy the enemy squadron, at once stood out to sea. A violent storm came up, driving the two fleets apart, and doing great damage to ships on both sides. When the storm subsided D'Estaing insisted on sailing his fleet to Boston to make needed repairs, and so the joint expedition came to an end, without having struck a blow. General Sullivan's plans were in confusion. Lafayette rode to Boston and begged the French admiral to come back as soon as he could. At last D'Estaing promised to land his sailors and march them overland to Newport; but before he could do this the British were strongly reinforced, and Lafayette had to gallop back to protect his own rear-guard forces. The Americans were in peril, but again, as at Monmouth, he was able to save them from defeat.

There was great disappointment over the failure of the attack on Newport, and this was increased by the feeling that there had been disputes between the American and French commanders. Lafayette had all he could do to make each side appreciate the other. In this he was greatly helped by Washington, who wrote to both the French and the American generals, soothing their discontent, patching up their differences, and urging future union for the sake of the common cause.

It was now autumn, and there was little prospect of a further campaign that year. Wearied by the many misunderstandings, distressed by the failure of the joint attack, homesick and sad over the news of the death of his little daughter in France, Lafayette decided to ask for a leave of absence and go back to France on furlough. In October he reached Philadelphia and presented his request. Washington, much as he disliked to lose Lafayette's services even for a short time, seconded his wishes. And Congress, which only sixteen months before had hesitated to accept his services, now (lid all it could to pay him the greatest honor. It thanked him for his high assistance and zeal, it directed the American minister in Paris to present him with a sword of honor, and it ordered its best war-ship, the frigate Alliance, to convey him to France. Henry Laurens, the president of Congress, wrote to King Louis XVI. that Congress could not allow Lafayette to depart without testifying its appreciation of his courage, devotion, patience, and the uniform excellence of conduct which had won the confidence of the United States and the affection of its citizens.

And finally Monsieur Gerard, the French minister at Philadelphia, wrote to his government in Paris, "You know how little inclined I am to flattery, but I cannot resist saying that the prudent, courageous, and amiable conduct of the Marquis de Lafayette has made him the idol of the Congress, the army, and the people of America."

With words like these ringing in his ears, Lafayette said good-bye to George Washington in October, 1778, and rode away from camp, bound for Boston, where he was to board the frigate Alliance.

Rochambeau Arrives

Lafayette, on his way to board the Alliance, rode into the town of Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, and there fell ill of fever. He had been entertained by friends and well-wishers all the way from Philadelphia to the camp on the Hudson, and the fatigue of these continual receptions, combined with chilly, wet weather, brought on malaria. He became very sick; Washington, greatly concerned, rode daily from his headquarters eight miles away to inquire about the Frenchman's condition, and sent his own physician to attend him. This physician, Dr. John Cochran, Surgeon-General of the Continental Army, devoted himself to the Marquis, and when he was able to travel again went on with him to Boston. Washington wrote Lafayette, "I am persuaded, my dear marquis, that there is no need of fresh proofs to convince you either of my affection for you personally or of the high opinion I entertain of your military talents and merit."

The Alliance, a Continental frigate of thirty-two guns, sailed from Boston for Brest on January 11, 1779. On board the ship in the harbor Lafayette added a postscript to a letter to Washington. "The sails are just going to be hoisted, my dear general," he said, "and I have but time to take my last leave of you. . . . Farewell. I hope your French friend will ever be dear to you; I hope I shall soon see you again, and tell you myself with what emotion I now leave the coast you inhabit and with what affection and respect I am forever, my dear general, your respectful and sincere friend, Lafayette."

The voyage of the Alliance was beset with obstacles and perils from the outset. There was so much difficulty in making up the crew that a number of English prisoners and deserters in Boston were pressed into service as sailors. This makeshift crew came very near to proving disastrous for the Marquis, since there was an English law that offered to pay the full value of any American ship to the crew that would bring it into an English port, and there were considerably more English prisoners and deserters in the crew of the Alliante than there were American and French sailors.

The commander of the frigate was a Frenchman in the service of Congress, Captain Pierre Landais, of St. Malo, but the ship was under the orders of Lafayette. The Chevalier de Pontgibaud, who made the voyage, wrote: "The port of Boston was then frozen, and we were obliged to cut a passage for the ship through the ice. The wind was extremely violent, though favorable. We put up our main-sail only and that alone took us along at the rate of ten knots an hour. . . . Off the Banks of Newfoundland we were assailed by a terrible tempest. It lasted so long and grew so much worse, that first inquietude, then alarm, and at last consternation, seized everybody on board. M. de La Fayette was invariably very ill at sea; he was down on the sick list."

The storm continued for three of the twenty-three days of the voyage. The Alliance captured two British vessels, and everything promised well. But then came the great excitement; nothing less than rank mutiny. "While we were at dinner," wrote the Chevalier, "thinking no more of bad weather but of France, from which we were now only some five hundred miles distant, one of the crew entered and asked to speak to M. de La Fayette. He took the Marquis on one side and told him a good deal in a few words, namely, that the English sailors had laid a plot to kill us, take possession of the vessel and turn her head for England. The time set for the rising was five o'clock when the English sailors came off their watch. Arms were hidden in the hammocks."

The sailor who had given the warning had been taken for an Irishman by the mutineers, and had been offered the command of the frigate in case of success. A lookout was to give the signal "Sail ho!" and as the officers came on deck in a group they were to be shot down by cannon loaded with grape-shot and the ship sailed into an English port, where the mutineers would divide the profits.

"There was not a moment to be lost," the Chevalier continued. "We numbered in all fourteen officers. We began by securing the man who had warned us. . . . Some of us then went to fetch the bravest and trustiest of our sailors . . . thirty of us went down between decks. The ringleader was seized and bound before he was awake. . . . The scoundrels were so taken by surprise that they made no resistance. They had noticed amongst the baggage of M. de La Fayette some very heavy cases which they supposed contained treasure."

Thirty-three mutineers were captured and clapped into irons, and the rest of the crew sailed the frigate into the French harbor of Brest a week later.

On shore the mutineers were kept in irons to await trial. Finally they were sent back to America on different vessels, but it is not reported what became of them there.

Lafayette landed in triumph. The young fellow who had run away to sea in the Victory was returning a hero in a warship of the new American republic. He hurried at once to Versailles, then to Paris; and all along his route he was greeted by joyful, acclaiming crowds. He was amused, as well as delighted, when he compared this welcome with the way in which his family and friends had treated him when he left France to fight for American liberty. "I could not but recall the attitude of nay country," he said, "of America, and my own situation, at the time when I went away, as I saw the port of Brest recognize and salute the flag that was now flying on my frigate."

He saw his daughter Anastasie for the first time. The welcome he cared for the most was that from his wife, who had followed him in her thoughts all the time he had been in America, and had always sympathized with him and wished success for his plans. The Duke d'Ayen was delighted to see him, and listened with hearty approval to his son-in-law's story of what he had done in the young republic across the Atlantic. The court at Versailles, remembering that the Marquis had disobeyed the King's order, was obliged, for the sake of appearances, to show him no attention at first. But friends came to see him at the Hotel de Noailles; and one day the Queen, Marie Antoinette, his old playmate, happened to meet him as he was walking in the palace gardens and summoned him to her. He told her his adventures. Soon afterwards the King sent for him, and ordered him under arrest as a deserter, but with a twinkling eye declared that his prison should be his father-in-law's great house in Paris, and his jailer his wife Adrienne.

Then the King forgave him for running away to America, congratulated him, and, with his ministers, consulted the Marquis about affairs in the United States.

His reception in Paris was enough to have turned the head of any man less well balanced than Lafayette. Whenever he appeared on the street he was cheered by throngs. The actors in the theatres put special lines in their speeches to honor him; poems were written about him; and the young man of twenty-one became the lion of France. This was partly because he represented the connecting link in the alliance that now united the two countries, and that alliance was in great favor with the people. It was also because he stood for that ideal of "liberty "which was rapidly becoming the ruling thought of France.

It would have been easy for him to rest on his laurels now, and feel that he had accomplished all that was needed of him. But instead he used all this hero-worship to further his one aim more help for the young republic across the sea. "In the midst of the whirl of excitement by which I was carried along," he wrote, "I never lost sight of our Revolution, the success of which still seemed to me to be extremely uncertain: accustomed to seeing great purposes accomplished with slender means, I used to say to myself that the cost of a single fete would have equipped the army of, the United States, and in order to provide clothes for them I should gladly have stripped the palace of Versailles. . . . I had the honor of being consulted by all the ministers, and, what was a great deal better, of being kissed by all the women."

Maurepas and Vergennes were the two leading statesmen of France at that time, and they made use of the Marquis to obtain first-hand information of men and affairs in America. They wanted to obtain his help quite as much as he wanted to win theirs. And the wise Benjamin Franklin, at the court of France, saw that his own tireless efforts in behalf of his country would be helped tremendously by this young enthusiast, and made the most of the golden opportunity. Several plans were concocted between them. One was to carry the war into England. The Alliance was kept at Brest, by Franklin's order, and placed under the command of Captain John Paul Jones, who also had three French vessels. According to the arrangements Lafayette was to go with Paul Jones, and the ships were to attack Liverpool, Lancaster, Bristol, Bath and Whitehaven. The force was to be made up of 15,000 infantry, six pieces of artillery and some cavalry. Lafayette was to command the land forces and Paul Jones the fleet. Tribute was to be levied on the cities and towns and the proceeds were to be sent to the United States to help equip and clothe the army.

While they were arranging this the French government suggested a more ambitious plan, which was an attack upon England with the combined forces of France and Spain. Details of this were being worked out when John Paul Jones put to sea in his ship, the Bon Homme Richard, and on September 22, 1779, fought his famous engagement with the Serapis.

Meantime Lafayette was very busy. He was given a commission in the French army again, and made a colonel of the King's Dragoons. He spent much time in affairs of state at Versailles. Vergennes, the minister, was continually consulting him. They discussed how England could best be invaded, whether the King of Sweden could be persuaded to lend America some of his ships of the line, how to induce other countries to lend money to the new republic. Edward Bancroft was chosen to go to Ireland to see whether the people there were ready for rebellion; but he reported that "the fruit was not ripe; "so the plan for enlisting Irish aid was temporarily abandoned.

While he waited in France Lafayette wrote to the President of Congress by the hand of Monsieur de la Luzerne, who was going to Philadelphia, "The affairs of America I shall ever look upon as my first business whilst I am in Europe. . . . I hope to leave this place before long, in order to play a more active part and come nearer the common enemy." And to Washington he wrote, "However happy I find myself in France, however well treated by my country and my king, I am so accustomed to being near to you, I am bound to you, to America, to my companions in arms by such an affection, that the moment when I sail for your country will be among the happiest and most wished for of my life."

Later to Washington he sent word, "I have just received, my dear General, an express from court, with orders to repair immediately to Versailles. There I am to meet M. le Comte de Vaux, Lieutenant-General, who is appointed to command the troops intended for an expedition. In the army I shall be employed in the capacity of aide-Maréchal-general des logis, which is, in our service, a very important and agreeable place, so that I shall serve in the most pleasing manner, and shall be in a situation to know everything and to render services."

The expedition he referred to was the long-talked of joint attempt of France and Spain against England. French troops were already gathered at various of their home seaports along the English Channel when on June twenty-first Lafayette accompanied the Count de Vaux to Versailles, where the King gave them his instructions. After that Lafayette went to Havre, and stayed there until the expedition was finally abandoned, because the fleet from the south under the Count d'Orvilliers failed to appear. The fleet did arrive eventually, a hundred ships of the line and frigates, but it came too late; it could not convoy the French troops across the Channel because by that time a powerful British squadron had been collected at Portsmouth. The failure of this plan must have been a great disappointment to Lafayette and his friends, but he went on busily with other schemes.

While he was waiting at Havre the Marquis was presented by Franklin's grandson with the sword that the Congress of the United States had ordered should be given to him. It was a beautiful sword; the handle made of gold, exquisitely wrought, and decorated, as well as the blade, with figures emblematic of Lafayette's career in America, with his coat of arms and his motto, "Cur non?"

By now the young Frenchman had come to the greatest of his plans, and had induced the government at Versailles to see that a French expedition to aid the Americans was both practicable and necessary. He had shown the King's ministers that they were making a mistake in limiting their efforts to a naval war in the West Indies. What they ought to do, he said, was to send a great army and navy to assist Washington. He wrote many letters to Vergennes about this, and soon both Vergennes and Maurepas were agreeing with him. There was some opposition from the court, for neither Louis XVI nor Marie Antoinette nor the royal princes who surrounded them cared to encourage the spirit of liberty too far; but the people, backed by a few powerful leaders, demanded that Lafayette's plan be carried out; and at last his and their persistency won the day. The government decided to send an expedition, commanded by Lieutenant-General the Count de Rochambeau, with a fleet of warships and transports and six thousand soldiers, to the aid of America.

Lafayette was to go ahead to carry the welcome news to Washington and Congress, and to let them know that there would be no more of the jealousies and disputes that had hindered the success of the French and Americans in the field before. He had arranged that the French troops should be under Washington's orders, that they should accept the leadership of the American officers on the latter's own ground, and that officers of the United States should be recognized as having equal rank with those of France. This harmony that Lafayette secured had a great deal to do with the final successful outcome of the American Revolution.

Rochambeau's appointment was announced on the ninth of March, 1780. On March eleventh Lafayette went on board the frigate Hermione at the Isle d'Aix. Captain Latouche, in command, said of h= s passenger, "I consider it a favor that an opportunity has been given me to prove the high esteem in which I hold him." Sailing from Rochelle on March fourteenth, Lafayette was almost six weeks at sea, and had plenty of time to study the instructions that had been given him by the French government.

The Hermione, flying the French flag, arrived in Boston harbor on April 28, 1780. Word that she had been sighted had spread through the city, and the wharves were lined with people. When Lafayette landed a great throng gave him a rousing welcome, and the people of Boston followed him, cheering, through the streets to the house of Governor John Hancock on Beacon Hill. That sturdy old patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence was not a whit behind his fellow-citizens in his enthusiastic greeting to this friend of the Republic.

At once Lafayette sent off a letter to Washington, who then had his headquarters at Morristown. Washington, to whom the news of aid from France was like the coming of spring after a long, weary winter, replied with the greatest delight. "I most sincerely congratulate you," he wrote, "upon your safe arrival in America, and shall embrace you with all the warmth of an affectionate friend, when you come to headquarters, where a bed is prepared for you."

Lafayette reached Morristown on the tenth of May, and the two friends discussed the situation. The young Frenchman told of the coming of Rochambeau with a fleet and an army, and the American commander's eyes shone with joy. He himself could only tell of the hardships his soldiers had borne during the winter, the difficulty of securing recruits, and the general discouragement of the country. But all was changed now. Greatly cheered, Washington sent Lafayette to Philadelphia to make his report to Congress, and set himself to the work of rousing his army and the people to welcome the men from France.

On May sixteenth Lafayette made his appearance before Congress in Philadelphia, and received official thanks for the services he had lately rendered in Europe. According to a plan made with Washington, he did not tell Congress anything definite about the coming of General Rochambeau and the fleet under Admiral de Terney. But he did speak about the need of equipping the American army if it was to be made into an efficient fighting force. He described how at Morristown he had found Washington's troops half-fed and half-clothed, with only four thousand out of six thousand soldiers fit for duty. And he said to the President of Congress, "Though I have been directed to furnish the French court and the French generals with early and minute intelligence, I confess that pride has stopped my pen and, notwithstanding past promises, I have avoided entering into any details till our army is put in a better and more decent situation."

Congress and the country were roused, and before the French fleet arrived the American army was in much better condition.

Lafayette kept the details of the French expedition secret, but various rumors concerning it quickly got abroad. It was suspected later that General Benedict Arnold, whom Washington implicitly trusted, had tried to betray the plans to the enemy. At any event, Sir Henry Clinton received information that Canada was to be attacked by Rochambeau. Rochambeau arrived with his army at Newport, Rhode Island, on Admiral de Terney's ships, on July 10, 1780, and at once sent word to Washington, declaring, as his government had instructed him, "We are now, sir, under your command."

On July twenty-fifth Lafayette welcomed the French commanders on behalf of General Washington. There was a great deal of excitement, both on the fleet and on shore, owing to rumors of an intended British attack at Newport. The British Admiral Graves had indeed joined his ships to those of Admiral Arbuthnot, and the combined fleet was cruising just outside Narragansett Bay. Moreover Sir Henry Clinton had planned to arrive with an army; but at the last moment he countermanded his orders and turned back. So the excitement subsided. But while there was danger at Newport Lafayette remained there. Only when it was definitely known that Clinton was not coming did he return to the American headquarters, which had been moved to Peekskill.

When he reached camp he learned that Washington had given him the command of a corps of light infantry, made up of six battalions, in two brigades, under General Hand and General Poor. He had plenty to do in organizing this "flying army," as he called it; but he also found time to write criticisms of what he considered bad management of affairs at Newport. These criticisms came to the notice of Rochambeau, and so irritated him that he was on the point of quarreling with Lafayette. But fortunately wiser counsels prevailed, and the dispute was smoothed over. Afterwards the two became warm friends, and each had the highest admiration for the other's military judgment.

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


Rochambeau had his troubles to contend with. The second division of his fleet was still in French waters, blockaded by thirty British ships at Brest. For the present he could do little. Washington held a council of war on September sixth, and it was decided not to attempt an attack on New York until Rochambeau's second division arrived. On the twentieth of September Washington, with Lafayette and General Knox, met Rochambeau and Admiral de Terney at Hartford, and Lafayette had the opportunity he had long looked forward to of presenting his American hero to his fellow-countrymen from France. Rochambeau's aide-de-camp, Count Jean Axel de Fersen, described this meeting in a letter to his father. "During our stay in Hartford," he wrote, "the two Generals and the Admiral were closeted together all day; the Marquis de La Fayette assisted as interpreter, as General Washington does not speak French nor understand it. They separated quite charmed with one another, at least they said so."

It was during this meeting that one of Lafayette's pet schemes was discussed and practically decided on, the invasion of Canada by the joint American and French armies. The details of this invasion were to be entrusted to General Benedict Arnold, who was to be put in command of the forces.

But at the very moment when Washington and Rochambeau were making their plans, events were taking place elsewhere which were not only to frustrate this scheme but to put the whole American cause in the greatest jeopardy.

A Narrow Escape

On the very night when Washington was taking leave of Rochambeau and De Terney at the hospitable house of Colonel Wadsworth in Hartford a mysterious business was going forward on the Hudson River. Out from a wooded point on the western shore of the stream, which widens below King's Ferry, a small boat, the oars muffled with sheepskin to prevent any sound, stole about midnight. Two men were rowing, a third sat silent in the stern. The latter was a lawyer named Joshua Hett Smith, and the boat and the oarsmen were under his command.

With the tide favoring them, the boat was not long in reaching the sloop-of-war Vulture, which stood out big and black against the clear, starlit sky. A sentry on the ship gave a challenge, which was quickly answered, and the rowboat was ordered to come alongside. Joshua Smith climbed up a ladder and boarded the British sloop. He went into the cabin and spoke to several officers, and then, his visit being a short one, he returned to the deck and so over the side to his little craft again.

He brought a passenger with him, however; a young man, handsome and slender, whose long blue cloak, fastened tight, concealed the bright scarlet uniform of a British officer. As silently as before the boat was rowed back to the shore, and landed Joshua Smith and his companion, who was Major John Andre, Adjutant-General in the British Army, and one of Clinton's favorite officers.

The two men walked up from the beach into a thicket at Long Clove, below Haverstraw, and there in the woods they met another cloaked figure. Greetings were exchanged; and then Joshua Smith, having brought the two together, left them and went back to his boat.

The two cloaked men had much to say to each other, and what they said was of vital concern to the cause of American freedom. For it happened that the man who had been hiding in the woods was none other than Major-General Benedict Arnold, one of Washington's most trusted commanders.

Arnold was a man who had long cherished a grievance, a very ambitious man who felt that he had never received the advancement that his talents deserved. In Philadelphia he had been spoiled by admiration, and had married Margaret Shipper, a great beauty, and daughter of a very rich and important Tory family. He had a fine house on the Schuylkill, and spent his wife's money with lordly lavishness, got into debt, quarreled with his superior officers, and finally was brought up before a Committee of Congress and a court-martial. He was acquitted, but the trial made him morose and vengeful. He determined to get even with the leaders of the American cause, and managed by intrigue to obtain command of the post at West Point on the Hudson. It was his plan to surrender the Hudson Valley to the British General Clinton and so divide the Union. Burgoyne had tried to do this with his army and had failed; now Benedict Arnold saw his chance to do it by treachery.

This was what he discussed with Major Andre in the woods at Long Clove on the night of September twenty-first. They talked for a very long time, so long in fact that Joshua Smith, waiting down on the beach, began to grow uneasy. At last Smith returned to the woods and whispered a warning to the conspirators that dawn had almost come. Arnold and Andre left the thicket, but either because they thought there was too much risk of detection if the British officer should attempt to row out to the Vulture again, or because they had not yet finished their discussion, they decided to go to Smith's house and await a later chance to escape. In doing this Andre disobeyed his instructions, with, as it turned out, disastrous results for himself.

Their way led through a small village, and an American sentry challenged the three night prowlers. Arnold gave a satisfactory answer, and they were allowed to pass. But Andre realized his danger and went on in growing alarm until they reached Smith's stone dwelling-house on the crest of a hill.

They entered the house about daybreak, and hardly were they inside when they heard the sound of firing on the Hudson. Looking from a window they saw the Vulture, which was to have waited for Andre, being driven from her place in the river by cannon-fire from the shore. The young Britisher, who was still in his twenties, and to whom the role of a spy was entirely unfamiliar, turned in consternation to the older American officer. Arnold encouraged him, assured him there was no risk; and for several hours more discussed the surrender of his post to his country's enemies.

At last all arrangements were made, every detail decided as to how the British were to attack West Point and how Arnold was to give it up. In return for his treachery Arnold was to receive a large sum of money and a high commission in the English army. He handed Andre some papers in his own handwriting that had to do with the bargain. Then he provided the Englishman with passes, gave him to understand that he would be rowed out to the Vulture in safety that evening, and set off for his own headquarters.

Andre stayed at Smith's house most of the day, growing more and more uneasy as he thought of the possibility that he might be caught within the American lines as a spy. His fears were lessened, somewhat, however, when, several hours after Arnold had left him, he saw the Vulture sailing back up the Hudson and coming to anchor not far from her old position. Eagerly he waited for the protection of night, when he might in safety be rowed out to the sloop. But to his horror he found, when he spoke to Smith, that the latter had no intention of carrying out that part of the plan. Smith would not make another venture to the Vulture. He pointed out the dangers and offered all kinds of excuses, but remained perfectly firm. It was in vain that the young Englishman entreated him and demanded that he do as General Arnold had ordered. After much heated talk Andre was compelled to agree to make the attempt to get back to the British lines by land.

Twilight had come when the two men set out on what was a much more dangerous expedition than the trip by boat would have been. Andre had put on a disguise and had hidden the papers that General Arnold had given him in his boots. This made his situation many times more perilous than it had been before. If he had been captured wearing his own uniform and without these papers he would probably only have been held as a regular prisoner of war; but in disguise and carrying these messages his capture would necessarily mean his death as a spy. He knew the risk he ran, but felt that he had no choice.

Smith had provided good mounts. Andre had a big brown horse, prominently branded with the initials "U. S. A." By a circling, hilly road they went up the shore of the Hudson to King's Ferry, no one attempting to stop them. The Englishman breathed more freely when he found that the boat that crossed the river was ready to start as soon as they were aboard. They reached the eastern side, and set off with greater confidence in the direction of the outposts of the British army above New York.

Their road led through a wild and lonely country. The September night came soon, and they were shut in by the looming heights of the hills. Smith tried to talk, but Andre rode mostly in silence. For a night and a day he had lived in constant fear and suspense, and now that the second night had come he appreciated fully what would happen if he were caught.

Suddenly out of the dark came the challenge of a sentry. They had ridden unawares into an American patrol. The riders showed the passes that Benedict Arnold had given them. The captain of the patrol made them go with him to his quarters, where he examined the passes carefully and the two travelers as well.

Smith made up a likely story to explain their riding so late at night toward the enemy's lines. The captain still seemed doubtful; and possibly to quiet his fears they arranged to stop and spend the rest of the night at a house near by. Andre went to bed with his clothes on, and long before dawn he was up again and urging Smith to ride on.

The day was foggy and cold. As they stole out of the house they found no one to oppose them. Regaining their horses, they mounted and quickly struck into the road. Through the murky dawn they galloped, but they had not gone far when they came to a small tavern, and here another picket stepped out and challenged them.

The passes were produced and taken into the tavern to be scrutinized by lamplight. The two horsemen waited a long time, apprehensive of some mischance. At last a shadowy figure came out from the inn and told them that General Arnold's passes had been found correct and that they might continue their journey. Andre sighed with relief. Apparently his fortunate star was safeguarding his steps.

Next came a long, slow climb up a stony hill, and when they reached the top the daylight was breaking through the mists of dawn. The light was cheerful, the damp and cold were leaving, and as they rode down into a little valley Andre began to talk hopefully to Smith of the end of their adventure.

But in the midst of his talk he faltered and his smile fled. A horseman was coming toward them, and the Englishman recognized in him an American officer who had been a prisoner of the British in New York and whom Andre had met there. The chances seemed a hundred to one that the American would remember the Englishman. The American stared hard as he came up with the two riders going in the opposite direction. But that stare was all. Andre's fortune still held. The American rode past without asking any questions.

A little farther and the two came to a fork in the highroad. Near by was an old house, and as the travelers were very hungry by now they decided to ask for breakfast.

They rode around the house, and dismounting, ate the food the farmer's wife brought them on the back steps, from where they could keep an eye in each direction and not be seen themselves. And when they had finished their breakfast Smith bluntly told his companion that he had now come as near to the British lines as he intended to go, and that Andre must go on alone.

More protests and arguments followed. It had been agreed that Smith should see the English officer clear to the British outposts, and here he was deserting him, with those outposts fifteen miles off. But again Andre's protests were useless. Smith would not go on. And so, under the circumstances, there was nothing left for Andre to do but continue by himself.

So the unfortunate young officer rode on, while Smith turned back to safety. Andre was now entering a sort of No Man's Land, or country lying between the two armies, not really in the possession of either, a strip of territory where sometimes American, and sometimes British, troopers were to be found scouting. This country was altogether strange to him, and now, without the ready tongue of Smith to help him allay suspicion, he feared to ask questions. The fog settled again in the river valley and presently turned to a steady rain. Andre began to wonder whether he had taken the wrong turn at one of the forks. In growing confusion he tried one road, then turned back and tried another. At last he found himself obliged to ask his way, although the people he spoke to showed their suspicion of this cloaked rider who was so ignorant of his whereabouts.

However, people answered his questions, and by the middle of the morning he was hastening along the post-road in the neighborhood of Tarrytown. The British lines were now so near that he was expecting almost any turn in the road to reveal their welcome outposts. He came to a ravine, where a plank bridge crossed a stream, and was galloping over, the planks clattering under his horse's hoofs, when suddenly three men stepped out from the bushes to one side, and he found the muzzle of a musket pointed at his head.

And now Andre at last, after having passed safely through so many dangers, made a fatal mistake. He did not know whether the three men were American or British scouts, they wore no uniforms;—but if he had promptly shown them General Arnold's passes he would in all likelihood have been safe in either case. If Americans, the passes would probably have satisfied them; if British, they would have taken him to their commander and Andre could have revealed his identity. But something about the appearance of the three made him believe that they were Tory scouts, and he boldly told them that he was an English officer.

He had guessed wrong. The three were American militiamen, young fellows named John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart. They told him what they were. In dismay he hurriedly brought out General Arnold's passes. The militiamen paid no attention to his explanations, but made him dismount and searched him from head to toe. The papers he had hidden were discovered in his boots. Paulding, looking at these, declared, "The man is a spy!"

Andre offered them a thousand pounds to set him free. His captors were not to be bought. They took him immediately to Lieutenant-Colonel Jameson at the nearest American post.

Jameson read the papers of General Arnold that had been concealed in Andre's boots, but could not believe that Arnold was a traitor. He sent Andre with a letter and the papers toward West Point, but at the same time sent a letter to General Arnold telling him of Andre's capture. Major Benjamin Tallmadge, a much shrewder man, brought Andre back, closely guarded. The letter to Arnold, however, went on its way, and presently reached the traitor.

A courier, with a note from Jameson, set off at once over the road to Hartford to notify Washington. At the same time the American commander-in-chief, with his escort, was riding away from Hartford by another route. On the morning of September twenty-fourth they came down the eastern shore of the Hudson toward Benedict Arnold's headquarters at the Robinson house, which stood across the river from West Point. Washington was coming back several days earlier than he had expected, and had sent a message on ahead telling Arnold that he would breakfast with him that morning.

The commander-in-chief, however, absorbed in his own plans, turned his horse from the road that led to the Robinson house into a lane that ran down to the Hudson. Lafayette reminded him that Mrs. Arnold was expecting them to breakfast. Washington laughed. "Ah, Marquis," he said, "you young men are all in love with Mrs. Arnold. I see you are eager to be with her as soon as possible. Go and breakfast with her, and tell her not to wait for me. I must ride down and examine the redoubts on this side of the river, but will be with her shortly."

Lafayette and Knox, however, preferred to ride on with the General, and sent their apologies to Mrs. Arnold by two aides, Colonel Hamilton and Major McHenry.

The two aides soon reached the Robinson house and were welcomed by the hostess. Young and fond of society, Mrs. Arnold was always glad to have officers at her table. Breakfast proceeded gaily. Even Arnold himself seemed entirely at his ease. Yet it must have been a trying experience for him. He supposed that of course Andre had by this time reached the British lines and he had himself already prepared his fortifications for surrender to the enemy; but this unexpectedly early return of Washington might still defeat all his plans.

They were at the breakfast-table when a messenger galloped up to the door with a letter for Arnold. He opened it at once, it was from Jameson, and read that Andre had been captured, and that the secret papers found upon him had been sent to Washington. Arnold rose from the table at once, saying that he had received news that would take him immediately to West Point, and beckoned his wife to follow him to her room. There he told her that he was a ruined man and must fly for his life. Mrs. Arnold, horrified at her husband's confession, fell fainting on the floor.

There came a knock at the door; a servant said that a messenger had arrived to announce the coming of General Washington. Arnold was in a panic. Leaving his wife, he ran from the house, mounted the messenger's horse, and dashed down to the river through a ravine. His barge was waiting, he ordered the rowers aboard, and pushed out into the river. With pistol in hand, he made his men row down the Hudson to his only refuge now, the British sloop Vulture.

Almost immediately after Arnold's hurried departure Washington, Lafayette and Knox reached the Robinson house. They were told that General Arnold had been called to West Point, and that Mrs. Arnold was unwell. The commander-in-chief supposed that Arnold had gone to West Point to prepare for his reception, as he intended to visit the fortifications, and so, having eaten a hasty breakfast, crossed the river with his companions.

He was somewhat puzzled, however, when no salute was fired as he approached the fortress. But immediately Colonel Lamb, the officer in command, came hurrying down to the landing, full of apologies, saying that he had received no word of General Washington's visit.

"Is not General Arnold here?" Washington inquired.

"No, sir," said Lamb. "He has not been here for two days, nor have I heard from him in that time."

Surprised, but still unconscious of anything wrong, the commander and his escort spent the morning inspecting the works. He was somewhat disturbed at the unprepared condition in which he found the fortifications, but it never occurred to him to suspect his trusted General Arnold of having intentionally weakened the place.

About noon they recrossed the Hudson and rode back to the Robinson house. Colonel Hamilton met them, spoke a few low words to the commander, and handed him the secret papers that had been found on Andre. At once the whole plot was clear. Washington turned to Lafayette and Knox, and told them the news, saying how much he had always trusted General Arnold, and adding, "Whom can we trust now?"

Lafayette wrote later to a friend, "Judge of our astonishment when, upon our return, we were informed that the captured spy was Major Andre, the adjutant-general of the English army, and that among the papers found upon him was a copy of a very important council of war, a statement of the strength of the garrison and of the works, and certain observations upon the methods of attack and defense, all in General Arnold's handwriting."

Washington lost no time; the traitor's plot had failed, but West Point was now vulnerable. He gave orders right and left. Hamilton was sent at breakneck speed down to Verplanck's Point, but found that Arnold had reached the Vulture, and was now out of reach.

Couriers dashed through the hills, carrying the commander's orders to troops that Arnold had scattered to return to the fortress at once, and directing General Greene to send a whole division of the main army. Fortunate it was that Washington had arrived at this particular place at this particular moment; otherwise no one can tell what harm might have befallen the American cause.

No one but Lafayette and Knox knew the real reason for the commander's massing of forces, although others soon suspected it. Toward evening Washington, calm as ever, joined his officers at the Robinson house for dinner. "Come, gentlemen," he said, "since Mrs. Arnold is indisposed and the General is absent, let us sit down without ceremony."

Later in the evening, with two of his aides, he went to see Mrs. Arnold and tried to comfort her. Everyone felt the distress of her situation keenly. In his letter Lafayette wrote, "The unhappy Mrs. Arnold did not know a word of this conspiracy. Her husband told her before going away that he was flying, never to come back, and he left her lying unconscious. . . . The horror with which her husband's conduct has inspired her, and a thousand other feelings, make her the most unhappy of women."

Night came, with torrents of rain. But under Washington's orders sentries were watching every road and pass, guards were patrolling the Hudson in small boats, troops were returning to West Point, and Anthony Wayne was marching in haste with a detachment from the main army through the defiles of the mountains.

The enemy had not seized their chance. Another day and West Point would be as impregnable as ever.

Washington stayed at the Robinson house a day or two longer, until all danger of an attack by Clinton had passed. He saw Mrs. Arnold, with her baby and her maid, started back to her home in Philadelphia in her own carriage, under a sufficient escort. Lafayette expressed the opinion of all when he wrote to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, "General Washington and everyone else sympathize warmly with this estimable woman whose face and whose youthfulness make her so interesting. She is going to Philadelphia, and I implore you, when you return, to use your influence in her favor. . . . Your influence and your opinion, emphatically expressed, may prevent her from being visited with a vengeance which she does not deserve. General Washington will protect her also. As for myself, you know that I have always been fond of her, and at this moment she interests me intensely. We are certain that she knew nothing of the plot."

When Mrs. Arnold had left, Washington with his officers set out to join the main army. They crossed the Hudson at King's Ferry, and rode down the west shore to a small Dutch town called Tappan. Here he had directed General Greene to collect his forces, and here on the evening of September twenty-eighth the commander-in-chief was joyfully welcomed by his soldiers.

Washington took up his headquarters in a tiny, one-story cottage. Major Andre, under a strong guard, was lodged in the stone tavern. And immediately the American commander appointed a military_ court, of which Greene, Knox, Lafayette, and Von Steuben were members, to try the young Englishman.

The court-martial was held in the village church. Andre was given a fair trial. He had a most attractive personality and his youth and high character made a strong appeal to his judges. Moreover, in a way it seemed as though Benedict Arnold had forced Andre into his role of a spy, and had left the less guilty man to pay the penalty of his treason, while he himself went free. But the judges had to do their duty, and that duty was plain. There was no doubt of Andre's guilt as a spy, and the court convicted him and sentenced him to be hung.

Lafayette was a generous judge. A letter to Madame Lafayette, written after Andre's death, shows that the Frenchman felt the charm of the unfortunate young English officer, as did everyone else who knew him. "He was a very interesting man," wrote Lafayette; "he conducted himself in a manner so frank, so noble, and so delicate that I cannot help feeling for him an infinite pity."

Benedict Arnold meantime had donned the uniform of a British general and was doing his best to defeat his former comrades. But he was not trusted by his new friends, and two English colonels who were supposed to be under his orders were secretly given the duty of keeping an eye on him. It was in Virginia that he and Lafayette were to meet and cross swords the next year.

Fighting Through the South

The treason of Benedict Arnold prevented the invasion of Canada by an American army, and Lafayette saw no active service for some time. He did indeed outline a plan for a bold attack upon General Clinton on Manhattan Island, but Washington considered that the risk was entirely too great. So the young Frenchman spent the autumn in camp on the Hudson and in New Jersey, drilling his men preparatory to the next year's campaign.

He took great pride in his soldiers, who formed a special corps of light infantry, picked from all branches of the service. "Its position is always that of advance-guard," he wrote Adrienne. "It is independent of the main army, and it is far too fine for our present pacific situation." And apparently his troop was much better fitted out than the rest of the army, for Lafayette sent to France for such luxuries as sabres and banners and plumes for his men. The Chevalier de Chastellux visited the camp at Totohaw, or Second River, in New Jersey, seven miles from Washington's headquarters at Tappan, and said that Lafayette's infantry "were better clothed than the rest of the army the uniforms were smart and military, and each soldier wore a helmet made of hard leather, with a crest of horsehair." He added, "The officers are armed with espontoons, or rather with half-pikes, and the subalterns with fusils; but both are provided with short and light sabres, brought from France, and made a present of to them by M. de Lafayette." Hospitality reigned there also, for when the Chevalier returned to Totohaw from a visit to General Washington at Tappan, he said, "We arrived wet at Marquis de Lafayette's quarters, where I warmed myself with pleasure, partaking, from time to time, of a large bowl of grog, which is stationary on his table and is presented to every officer who enters."

Lafayette entertained many of his countrymen at camp, and later joined De Chastellux in Philadelphia. A number of French officers had gathered there, and they, used to the gayeties of the most brilliant court in Europe, added much to the amusements of the American capital. Everyone liked the French guests, and the foreign officers, on their part, liked and admired their new allies. Sometimes the self-denying seriousness of the Americans, which was an element of their national strength, surprised and amused the gayer Frenchmen. De Chastellux told a story about Philadelphia in his volume of "Travels." He said that at balls in Philadelphia it was the custom to have a Continental officer act as the master of ceremonies, and that at one party he attended that position was held by a Colonel Mitchell, who showed the same devotion to duty in the ballroom that he showed on the field of battle. This Colonel saw a young girl so busily talking that she could pay little attention to the figures of the quadrille, so he marched up to her and said to her severely, "Take care what you are doing; do you suppose you are there for your pleasure?"

Naturally the Chevalier de Chastellux and his friends, fresh from the world of Marie Antoinette, where pleasure was always the first aim, had many a, laugh at the people of this new world. But with the laugh there always went respect and admiration.

But Lafayette by no means devoted himself to pleasure. He wrote every month to his powerful friend at the French court, Vergennes, urging speedy aid for the Republic. When the American Colonel Laurens set out on an important mission to Paris Lafayette gave him expert advice on the court customs and prejudices. Also he wrote to leading men in the different states of the Union, and one of his friends said that "private letters from him have frequently produced more effect upon some states than the strongest exhortations of Congress."

By Colonel Laurens he sent a long letter to his wife. Another child had been born to the Marquis and Adrienne, a son, who was given the name of George Washington. "Embrace our children," wrote Lafayette, "thousands of times for me. Although a vagabond, their father is none the less tender, less constantly thoughtful of them, less happy to hear from them. My heart perceives, as in a delicious perspective, the moment when my dear children will be presented to me by you, and when we can kiss and caress them together. Do you think that Anastasie will recognize me?" And, as he could never write without thinking of the brave men in his army, he added, "Only citizens could support the nakedness, the hunger, the labors, and the absolute lack of pay which constitute the conditions of our soldiers, the most enduring and the most patient, I believe, of any in the world."

On January 11, 1781, Lafayette visited Washington at his headquarters, and the two reviewed the situation. The field of war had now swung from the north to the south, and there it appeared to be going in favor of the British. The original British plan of seizing and holding the larger cities had failed. After three years they held New York and Newport, and very little more. Now they had abandoned Newport. King George was disgusted, but was as determined as ever to suppress the Revolution. So the British government had decided to change its plans and turn its attack to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

This change in the British plan had worked out well for them. Sir Henry Clinton had sent one force by water and one by land against Georgia. The French fleet under the Count d'Estaing had sailed up from the West Indies to meet the British, but had had no success, and the French commander, whom Washington was hourly expecting to arrive off Sandy Hook, abruptly ordered his fleet to return across the Atlantic to France. Then Clinton caught the American General Lincoln in Charleston, and Lincoln surrendered five thousand men. North and South Carolina appeared about to be overrun by the enemy. Washington detached the picked troops of Maryland and Delaware from his army and sent them south under the Baron de Kalb. But fresh disasters followed; the British General Cornwallis defeated the Americans at the battle of Camden, in South Carolina, and Lafayette's old companion, De Kalb, fell at the head of his men.

Washington next sent General Greene to take command of what was left of the army in the South. Greene, who had been the commander-in-chief's right arm in every campaign, found the forces in great disorder. After he had joined his army he wrote, "I am not without great apprehension of its entire dissolution. . . . Nothing can be more wretched and distressing than the condition of the troops, starving with cold and hunger; without tents and without camp equipage. . . . A tattered remnant of some garment clumsily stuck together with the thorns of the locust tree forms the sole covering of hundreds."

Cornwallis was now near Winnsborough, in the northern part of South Carolina, and Greene was near Charlotte, in the lower part of North Carolina. The British were much superior in force, but notwithstanding that, General Greene divided his small army in two, and marched them at a wide distance from each other, one to the east and the other to the west of the enemy at Winnsborough. Cornwallis decided that he must attack one of these forces, and chose to strike first at the Americans on his left. He sent General Tarleton with one thousand men against the eight hundred under General Morgan, a huge Welshman who had started the Revolution as a wagoner and had become one of the ablest American commanders of light troops. On January seventeenth the two forces met at a place called the Cow-pens, near the borderline between the two Carolinas. The Americans won, Tarleton's force being almost annihilated at the Battle of the Cowpens.

This was cheering news to Washington; but even this victory could hardly allay his anxiety over Greene's small and divided army. Greene, however, proceeded to justify his commander's confidence in him, and skilfully handled his troops. He kept on southward. He said that he would "fight, get beaten and fight again." He forced the British before him, and finally drove them to retire to their fortifications at Charleston.

By now there was another matter that caused Washington great concern. General Clinton, in New York, had sent a strong detachment to Virginia to raid and plunder that State. This expedition was under the command of Benedict Arnold, now a brigadier-general in the English army. The thought of this traitor leading an army to lay waste Virginia caused the greatest resentment throughout the United States.

Arnold was in Virginia with sixteen hundred British regulars, had burned Richmond, and was camped at Portsmouth. Washington's answer to this threat was to send a French naval force to Chesapeake Bay and a detachment from his main army overland to Virginia. The army was to rout out Arnold from his camp, the ships to cut off his escape by sea. The French admiral ordered a ship-of-the-line and two frigates to the Chesapeake, and the commander-in-chief placed twelve hundred light infantry under Lafayette's command. Washington wrote to Lafayette, "You are to do no act whatever with Arnold that directly or by implication may screen him from the punishment due to his treason and desertion, which, if he should fall into your hands, you will execute in the most summary way."

Lafayette felt that this new command, which was of the greatest importance, showed what confidence and trust Washington had in his military ability. The Marquis understood the situation. He must act with the French navy, bottle up the British in the Chesapeake and so force them to surrender. He must get food as best he could. And above all, he must play the fox. Daring was required first and foremost, and daring was what Lafayette had already shown that he possessed.

The Marquis left camp at once. His troops were the New England Light Infantry, and with these he made a feint as if he intended to attack Staten Island, but instead kept on across New Jersey. At Morristown New Jersey troops joined his command. He reached Philadelphia on February twenty-sixth, and on the third of March he was at the Head of Elk, an inlet at the upper end of Chesapeake Bay. He was constantly busy and alert. He wrote to Thomas Jefferson, the Governor of Virginia, with regard to militia, artillery horses and vessels; to General von Steuben, who was in command of the militia there; and frequently to Washington. And Washington wrote to him on March eighth from Newport, giving this welcome news concerning the French naval contingent, "The whole fleet went out with a fair wind this evening about sunset."

Lafayette, on board the Dolphin, arrived at Annapolis, whence he and the Count de Charlus, son of the Marquis de Castries, Secretary of the French Navy, went in a small boat on a reconnoitering expedition as far as Yorktown. They saw no signs of the French fleet, and concluded that it had been delayed by adverse winds. So, while waiting for the squadron, he left his army at Annapolis, and rode with a few officers to consult with Baron von Steuben and seek his aid. He secured some companies of militia at Williamsburg, near the York River, and proceeded to the camp of General Muhlenberg, near Suffolk, and went from there to have a look at Benedict Arnold's defenses at Portsmouth.

Word came to him that a fleet had anchored in Chesapeake Bay, and he thought that it must be the French ships he was expecting under command of Des Touches, who had succeeded Admiral de Terney. But soon it appeared that the fleet was British, and a little later Lafayette learned that the first French squadron had found there was not sufficient water in the bay for them, and had sailed back to Newport, while a second squadron had been driven off by the enemy. The result was that General Arnold's forces were relieved from the danger of being bottled up, and the British were reinforced by two new regiments under General Phillips, who now took command of all the English armies in Virginia.

Naturally this turn of affairs was very disappointing to Lafayette, but he made the best of the situation. He rode to Fredericksburg, where he paid his respects to Mrs. Washington, the mother of the General, and then snatched time for a hasty visit to Mount Vernon. To make up for these indulgences he traveled by night to re join his command, sending orders ahead to Annapolis to have the troops prepared for immediate departure.

He reached Annapolis on April fourth, and found a surprise awaiting him. In the Severn River lay the Hope and the Monk, both British boats, and both blocking his retreat. There were very few horses or wagons or small boats for crossing the ferries, and he seemed to be caught in a trap. But he was a man of resourcefulness, and he had resort to a clever stratagem. He put two eighteen-pounders on a small sloop, which, with another ship under Commodore Nicholson, sailed out toward the enemy vessels, firing their guns as if about to attack. The two English ships on guard withdrew a considerable distance down the bay, and then Lafayette embarked his troops on his own boats and got them out of the harbor and up the bay to Elk. They reached there safely during the night, followed by Lafayette and Nicholson in the sloop.

He landed at Head of Elk one month to a day from the time of his departure. He had failed in trapping Benedict Arnold; but that had not been due to any fault of his, but because Des Touches had not been quick enough in closing the mouth of the Chesapeake. Yet Lafayette had learned much from his expedition. He knew the ground well, and he had shown himself an adroit commander in handling troops in difficult situations.

The arrival of Major-General William Phillips to command the British troops in Virginia increased Washington's anxieties concerning the campaign in the South. The situation of the Americans there was extremely perilous. General Greene was having all he could do to oppose Cornwallis in North Carolina. The Americans were outnumbered, most of the time ragged and hungry. They were often making forced marches over great stretches of primeval forests and undergrowth, fording rivers swollen by torrential rains. They had insufficient arms, ammunition, and artillery. Horses were not always available to draw such guns as they had, and oxen had to be used. And all the time the British were pressing at their heels, forcing them to rear-guard actions, surprising them in continual ambushed attacks. And now not only Cornwallis, but Phillips also was in the field with fresh and well-equipped troops. Washington wondered if General Greene's army was to be annihilated as that of Gates had been. Unless strong opposition could be brought against Phillips the latter might quickly overrun Virginia and unite with Cornwallis. In this predicament the commander-in-chief determined to put the defense of Virginia in the hands of Lafayette.

At the time, Lafayette, with his army, had returned to Head of Elk, and was preparing to start on his march of three hundred miles back to Washington's headquarters. Then came a fresh order that caused him to right-about-face. "Turn your detachment to the southward," Washington wrote. At first the Marquis was disappointed. He thought that the most important campaign would take place around New York, and he wanted to be there. But when he understood that Washington considered it of the greatest urgency that he should support General Greene, he immediately prepared for this new plan.

His troops left Head of Elk on April tenth, crossed the Susquehanna River at the Bald Briar in a storm on the thirteenth and reached Baltimore a few days later. There he borrowed ten thousand dollars from the merchants of the city on his personal security, and with this bought food and supplies. Some of his men had declared that they would rather "take a hundred lashes "than march south; but their new equipment put fresh courage in them. A general who would buy them new shirts and trousers and stout boots was one worth following. Lafayette told them that his business and theirs was to fight an enemy greatly superior in numbers, through difficulties of every sort, and added that any soldier who was unwilling to accompany him might avoid the penalties of desertion by applying for a pass to the North. His men, placed on their mettle, stood by him cheerfully. As a result he said of them, "These three battalions are the best troops that ever took the field; my confidence in them is unbounded."

Before he left Baltimore the citizens gave a ball in his honor, an event Lafayette greatly enjoyed.

On April nineteenth he led his troops toward the Potomac River, and from then on he moved with great speed and cunning. He went to Alexandria, to Fredericksburg, to Bowling Green, to Hanover Court House, and on the twenty-ninth reached Richmond.

Lafayette had arrived at Richmond in the very nick of time, for the British General Phillips had planned to take that city and seize the valuable military stores the Americans had collected there. Phillips had no idea that Lafayette was so near. The British had ascended the James River, driven General von Steuben out of Petersburg, and hastened toward the Virginia capital. One of them said, "Next morning they marched to Manchester, from whence they had a view of M. Fayette's army encamped on the heights of Richmond." Phillips was greatly surprised. Lafayette had only about nine hundred Continentals in addition to his militia, and his opponent had twenty-three hundred men; but Phillips, angry as a hornet, decided the better policy for him was to retire from Richmond.

The Frenchman had marched so fast that he had had to leave his artillery and even the tents for his soldiers to come on later. He wrote to Washington, "The leaving of my artillery appears a strange whim, but had I waited for it Richmond was lost. . . . It was not without trouble I have made this rapid march."

His next move was to keep watch of Phillips, and defeat his plans whenever he could. The British General retreated down the river to Brandon's, and Lafayette advanced to Bottom's Creek and the Chickahominy. The two wily commanders constantly tried to outwit each other. But Lafayette continued to have the better of this dance that lasted nine weeks. He was holding in check a much larger force than his own, which, but for him, might seize Richmond, or join Cornwallis, or harry the army of General Greene.

Cornwallis, however, now decided to take a hand in the game. When he heard how the Marquis had reached Richmond before Phillips he vowed that he would defeat "that boy Lafayette." He stopped his campaign against Greene in North Carolina and determined to take command himself in Virginia. Accordingly he sent word to Phillips to await his arrival at Petersburg. He expected, perhaps not unnaturally, that he, a major-general and an officer of great experience, would have an easy time with this "boy "in command of raw troops.

Lafayette got word of the northward march of Cornwallis, and waited eagerly for the coining of Anthony Wayne, who was to reinforce him. Meantime he wanted to prevent General Phillips from getting to Petersburg. Phillips, however, was nearer to that town and reached it first, forcing Lafayette to fall back on Richmond, though the latter sent out Colonel Gimat, with artillery, to keep the enemy busy.

In Petersburg, on May thirteenth, General Phillips died. It was before this general's guns that Lafayette's father had fallen at the battle of Hastenbeck. Benedict Arnold was second in command, and at this time he had occasion to write to Lafayette regarding prisoners of war. He sent the letter under a flag of truce; but when the Marquis learned the name of the writer he at once informed the men who brought Arnold's communication that while he would be glad to treat with any other English officer he could not receive a message from this one. This placed Arnold in a difficult position and was resented by a threat to send all American prisoners to the West Indies. But when the people of the country heard of the Frenchman's act they were delighted, and Washington wrote to him, "Your conduct upon every occasion meets my approbation, but in none more than in your refusing to hold a correspondence with Arnold."

Benedict Arnold, for personal reasons, had a keen interest in the treatment of prisoners. The story is told that when an American captain who had been taken prisoner was brought to the General's tent, Arnold asked him, "What would be my fate if I should be taken prisoner?" The captain answered, "They will cut off that leg of yours which was wounded in your country's service at Quebec and Saratoga, and bury it with the honors of war, and then hang the rest of you."

But Arnold's day was over. On May 24, 1781, Cornwallis reached Petersburg, and soon after ordered Arnold elsewhere. From then he disappears from the story of the Revolution, leaving only a dishonored name in the memory of his countrymen.

Lafayette now had to face a greatly superior army under command of a vastly more experienced general. At Byrd's Plantation, where Cornwallis had his headquarters, the British commander wrote, "The boy cannot escape me."

And the young Frenchman knew he had a real task set before him.

"Cornwallis has Surrendered!"

Cornwallis, toward the end of May, 1781, set out to conquer Virginia. The only American force to oppose him was that of Lafayette, for General Greene had sent the Marquis a letter directing him to take command in that State. All that Lafayette could do was to follow the tactics of General von Steuben; retreat slowly, carrying his stores, whenever possible, to places of safety.

But that retreat kept him constantly busy. When he had been in the North he had longed for more to do. Now, he wrote to Alexander Hamilton, "my complaint is quite of the opposite nature." The British, he thought, had between four thousand and five thousand men. "We have nine hundred Continentals," he continued in his letter. "Their infantry is near five to one, their cavalry ten to one. Our militia is not numerous, some without arms, and are not used to war." He urged Hamilton to come South and take command of the artillery; he wanted one real fight, "to receive one blow," he said, "that, being beat, I may at least be beat with some decency. . . . But, if the Pennsylvanians come, Lord Cornwallis shall pay something for his victory." As things stood he felt that he was "not strong enough even to be beaten."

But the Pennsylvanians under Wayne were slow in arriving. Lafayette wrote to Washington, "Were I to fight a battle I should be cut to pieces, the militia dispersed and the arms lost. . . . I am therefore determined to skirmish, but not to engage too far; and particularly to take care against their immense and excellent body of horse, whom the militia fear as they would so many wild beasts."

The Virginia militia grew impatient and began to show signs of deserting as the harvest-time approached and they felt the urge of home duties. There was also the danger of disease. "By the utmost care to avoid infected ground," Lafayette wrote in another letter, "we have hitherto got rid of the smallpox. I wish the harvest-time might be as easily got over."

Cornwallis, on his part, was as satisfied with the situation as Lafayette was troubled by it. He sent word to General Clinton, "I shall now proceed to dislodge Lafayette from Richmond, and with my light troops to destroy magazines or stores in the neighborhood. . . . From thence I propose to move to the neck at Williamsburg, which is represented as healthy . . . . and keep myself unengaged from operations which might interfere with your plan for the campaign until I have the satisfaction of hearing from you."

Lafayette left Richmond, as Cornwallis planned. The Marquis was forced to retreat before the superior army, or, as he put it, made to engage in "a runaway kind of war that I most heartily detest." If he should be caught, his army would be crushed, and Virginia, the key to the South, thrown open to the enemy. Speedily he marched to the Forks of the Chickahominy, thence to the South Anna, to the North Anna, to the Rapidan. He was looking for the troops of Wayne. And after him came Cornwallis. The British had raided the plantation stables, and Tarleton's dragoons were mounted on Virginia race-horses. The dragoons and the rangers overran the country, descended upon Charlottesville, captured seven members of the Legislature, and almost took the Governor, Thomas Jefferson, himself.

By early June the retreating Marquis had reached northern Virginia, and then one day his eyes were gladdened by the sight of waving plumes. The troops were "Mad Anthony "Wayne's men, and though their clothes might be in tatters their General saw to it that their plumes were of the best. There were less than a thousand soldiers, but they, and their commander, were full of fight; and from the moment of their arrival Lafayette abandoned his policy of retreating.

Cornwallis, having heard of Anthony Wayne, began to grow cautious. He decided that he had done about all the damage he could in Virginia. The tobacco had been burned, and all the horses stolen. The homes of the planters had been emptied of silver, and the negroes were hiding in the swamps. Moreover he had allowed himself to be drawn farther than was wise from his base of supplies. Then came an order from General Clinton, directing him to send three thousand troops to New York and to seek a safe defensive position. So Cornwallis now began to retreat down the James River.

Lafayette immediately followed, and a zigzag game commenced. One army was continually seeking to outwit the other. Once Lafayette's flank was in danger. He marched his men by night, however, over a forgotten wood road and reached safety. Six hundred mounted men came to join him from neighboring counties, and were warmly welcomed, for he was in great need of horses. At one time, to get his troops forward faster, he had each horse carry double. When General von Steuben joined him on June nineteenth the Americans and the British each had about four thousand men, though in the American army there were only fifteen hundred regulars and fifty dragoons.

Swords for the cavalry were even scarcer than horses, but Lafayette wanted mounted troops, and so he planned to provide some of his riders with spears, "which," he said, "in the hands of a gentleman must be a formidable weapon." In one way and another he kept his men mounted and armed and continued along the James, pressing hard on the enemy's heels.

Cornwallis, on his side, was planning to send a large number of his men north to reinforce Clinton, as he had been directed, and to combine the rest with the British garrison at Portsmouth, near Norfolk. To do that he would have to cross to the south side of the James River, and he felt very certain that Lafayette would seize that opportunity to attack him. Accordingly he arranged an ambush, intending to lure the Americans on with the belief that all except the rear-guard of the British had reached the opposite bank.

General Wayne was leading the American advance, and on July sixth he heard that Cornwallis was crossing the James River at Green Springs. Immediately he hastened forward, to catch the enemy out of position, which was what Cornwallis expected. Meantime, however, Lafayette, who was alert as a fox when it came to snares and traps, observed that the British were clinging tenaciously to their base on the northern bank and were replacing the wounded officers whom American riflemen picked off. He rode out on a point of land, and seeing that the British troops were waiting under protection of their artillery, immediately perceived the ambush. At once he spurred back to give General Wayne warning. By that time, however, Wayne's men had already opened fire.

Wayne had gone forward some distance when, to his great surprise, at the other end of a dirt and corduroy road that led across a marsh he found Cornwallis waiting for him with five thousand veteran troops. It was a tight place, but Anthony Wayne's policy always was "among a choice of difficulties, to advance and charge." This he immediately did. His riflemen opened fire, and then charged with the bayonet, eight hundred against five thousand. Audacity won the day. Cornwallis thought that Lafayette was about to attack him with all his army, which he knew now numbered six thousand men. He drew his troops back, and Wayne, taking advantage of this, retreated safely out of the ambush.

Lafayette, who had joined Wayne, greatly admired the latter's daring tactics, and wrote to Washington in praise of him. Apparently the Marquis had also been daring that day, for Wayne, when he made his report that no officers had been killed, though many of them had had horses wounded under them, added, "I will not condole with the Marquis for the loss of two of his, as he was frequently requested to keep at a greater distance. His native bravery rendered him deaf to the admonition."

Cornwallis now crossed the James and continued his march to the seaboard. Putting his army aboard transports, he sailed up the Chesapeake and into the next river north of the James, the York. In the meantime Clinton wrote to him, rebuking him for leaving so much of Virginia in the hands of the Americans, and directing him to fortify a place between the James and York Rivers that would secure a harbor for ships of the line. Cornwallis picked out a village on the high bluffs, called Yorktown, and fortified it, and also Gloucester Point, on the opposite bank.

While the British were building defenses in the early part of August, Lafayette led his troops to Williamsburg and gave them the rest they needed after so many weeks of constant marching. He sent out scouting parties; but there were no British to be seen. Except for those at Yorktown and Gloucester Point, the whole countryside was occupied by Americans.

This inactivity soon began to make the Marquis fret. He wrote to Washington that he knew nothing of what was going on in the world outside Virginia, that he was homesick for headquarters, and that if he could not help in the defense of New York, he would at least like to know what was happening there. Washington replied that he expected soon to send him important news.

While Lafayette and Cornwallis had been playing a game of tag in the South the commander-in-chief had not been idle in the North. Washington had held a conference with Rochambeau on May twenty-first at Wethersfield, in Connecticut. The Count de Banas, who had succeeded Admiral de Terney in command of the French squadron at Newport, was not able to attend the meeting, at which plans were discussed for bringing about joint action by the French army and navy and the American troops. Rochambeau favored a campaign in the South. Washington, disliking the waste of soldiers and time required by a long march to Virginia, preferred an attack on Clinton in the North, provided he could count on the assistance of the French West Indian fleet, under command of the Count de Grasse.

At that time the campaign was not going well in Virginia, and Washington thought that nothing would help the American cause so much as an attack in force on the British in New York. So Rochambeau sent the frigate La Concorde to the West Indies with a letter to De Grasse explaining Washington's plans and urging the Admiral to sail north and bring with him the five or six thousand French troops who were stationed at Santo Domingo. . Rochambeau wrote, "General Washington has but a handful of men. This country has been driven to bay. The Continental army has been annihilated." In addition to men, Rochambeau urged De Grasse to bring with him money, much needed to finance the campaign.

De Grasse had meantime written to Rochambeau, "It will be toward the fifteenth of July at the earliest that I shall be able to reach the coast of North America." Rochambeau wrote an even more urgent letter to the Admiral. And soon the man-of-war Saggittaire, with troops in convoy, brought money and other supplies, and Rochambeau joined his forces to those of Washington at Dobbs' Ferry on the sixth of July.

Shortly afterwards even more promising news reached the commander-in-chief. De Grasse was coming with his whole fleet. He would bring troops, with field-pieces, siege-guns, mortars, everything that was needed to equip an army in the field. He would sail for the Capes of Chesapeake, "the point," he wrote Rochambeau, "which appears to me to have been indicated by you, Monsieur le Comte, and by MM. Washington, de la Luzerne and de Barras, as the one from which the advantage which you propose may be most certainly attained." And he added, "As I shall be able to remain upon the Continent with my troops only until the fifteenth of October, I shall be obliged to you, Monsieur le Comte, if you make use of me promptly and effectively."

Washington and Rochambeau thought that here was a chance to win the war at last. No time must be lost, however, if they were to use De Grasse's men. The commander-in-chief at once sent a courier to Lafayette, telling him of the arrival of the French fleet and the plan to capture Cornwallis. The Marquis was to see that Cornwallis did not escape toward the South; and if General Wayne had started for the Carolinas he was to return to Virginia to reinforce the Americans.

Placing some of his troops in such a way that Clinton would think he was planning to attack New York, Washington, in company with Rochambeau, started south on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of August. Clinton did think that this march was part of a movement against his army, and it was not until the second of September that he discovered that he was not facing Washington, but General William Heath, who had been put in command of the American forces on the Hudson.

By that time Washington and Rochambeau, with two thousand Continentals and four thousand French, had made good progress southward. The commander-in-chief reached Philadelphia on the thirtieth of August. There Rochambeau gave the Continental soldiers a welcome surprise by paying them twenty thousand dollars in gold. At Chester, on September fifth, Washington heard that De Grasse had arrived in the Chesapeake. He waved his hat in the air as Rochambeau came up and told his French ally the good news. One of the French officers said, "I never saw a man so thoroughly and openly delighted," and Colonel Guillaume de Deux-Ponts declared that "instead of the reserved and exceedingly dignified manner of the Commander-in-Chief to which they had grown accustomed, they then saw his face beaming in delight, and 'a child where every wish had been gratified could not have expressed a keener joy.'"

Washington showed his ardent, human side frequently to such friends as Lafayette, and sometimes, as when he heard of the French fleet's arrival, to his officers and men.

Next he went to Head of Elk, where Rochambeau's troops arrived on the eighth of September and boarded boats. By a quick ride the commander-in-chief made a visit to Mount Vernon, the first in six years. On the fourteenth he met Lafayette at Williamsburg, and found that the French soldiers from the West Indies had already placed themselves under command of the Marquis.

The newly arrived French officers had a high opinion of Lafayette's military tactics. General du Portail had written concerning him, "Our young General's judgment is mature; with all the ardor of his temperament, I think he will be able to wait for the proper moment and not touch the fruit until it is ripe." And French officers much older in service now showed themselves glad to serve under his direction.

Some time earlier Lafayette had written a description of the military situation in Virginia to Washington, and had added, "Should a French fleet now come into Hampton Roads, the British army would, I think, be ours." The French fleet had now come, and it looked indeed as if Cornwallis were to be caught at Yorktown.

Washington stationed General Wayne at Westover to bar the road south against Cornwallis, and sent Colonel de Gimat to Cape Henry to watch for De Grasse. Colonel de Gimat boarded the flagship, Ville de Path, and gave the Admiral the messages from the commander and from Lafayette. Lafayette begged De Grasse "to sail up Chesapeake Bay immediately, to drive the enemy's frigates into the James River in order to keep the passage clear and to blockade the York River."

Meantime the British Admiral Rodney had been trying to attack De Grasse. He had sent Admiral Hood, with fourteen ships of the line, to reconnoitre. Hood had sailed into the Chesapeake in search of De Grasse before the Frenchman had got there, and not seeing the enemy, had withdrawn again. Then the British Admiral Graves, looking for the French Admiral de Barras, had encountered De Grasse, and the latter had gone outside and driven him back to New York, while the adroit De Barras had sailed into the bay to help transport the American and French troops that were arriving there.

Lafayette was ready to attack Yorktown before the other commanders, and some of his officers urged him to take the field at once. He knew, however, what Washington wanted him to do, for the commander-in-chief had written him that should the retreat of Cornwallis by water be cut off, "you will do all in your power to prevent his escape by land. May that great felicity be reserved for you."

The armies of Washington and Rochambeau had reached Lafayette's headquarters on September fourteenth. Salutes were fired and the armies paraded. Colonel Richard Butler says in his Journal that many "great personages and officers supped together in the utmost harmony and happiness." Lafayette had the ague, but the next day he was better, and gave a dinner in honor of the officers in camp. Washington was now in command, and it gave the young Frenchman great pleasure to think that his friend was to complete in triumph a campaign that had been beset with so many hardships and trials.

On the twenty-seventh of September Washington issued his orders for the investment of Yorktown. Next morning the two armies marched forward. Washington wrote, "Half a mile beyond the Halfway House the French and Americans separated. The former continued on the direct road to York, by the Brick House; the latter filed off to the right for Munford's Bridge, where a junction with the militia was to be made. About noon the head of each column arrived at its ground."

The American troops were on the right, the French on the left wing. Defenses were thrown up, and advantage taken of the woods and the marshy creeks. Tighter and tighter the allies brought their lines about Cornwallis. The armies held the mainland, the French fleet blocked the path to the sea; the British were caught in the trap.

The allied batteries opened fire, set enemy vessels ablaze in the York River and sunk many of them. On October tenth Cornwallis attempted to break through at Gloucester Point. He embarked troops on flat boats, crossed the York River, and tried to turn the right wing of the French. Watchful outposts drove him back. On the night of October fourteenth two British redoubts were taken, one by French troops, the other by Americans under Lafayette. Six shells fired in quick succession was the signal to advance, and Lafayette's four hundred men went forward under fire without returning a shot, and took the redoubt at the point of the bayonet in short order. Then on October seventeenth a British drummer appeared on Yorktown's ramparts, and Cornwallis sent a note to Washington asking for an armistice to arrange terms of surrender.

Through the ragged, but determined, army of the Republic, ran the triumphant tidings "Cornwallis has surrendered!"

An American and a French officer met two British officers at a farmhouse, and articles of surrender were drawn up and accepted. The French historian Jusserand writes, "On the 19th of October, after a loss of less than 300 men in each of the besieging armies, an act was signed as great in its consequences as any that ever followed the bloodiest battles, the capitulation of Yorktown. It was in a way a ratification of that other act, which had been proposed for signature five years before at Philadelphia by men whose fate had more than once in the interval seemed desperate, the Declaration of Independence."

In the afternoon of October 19, 1781, the army of Cornwallis marched out of Yorktown with their colors cased, their drums beating the tune "The World Turned Upside Down," between the long lines of French and Americans drawn up on the Hampton Road, to a field where a squadron of French soldiers had spread out to form a large circle. Cornwallis was ill, and sent General O'Hara to represent him. The sword of the British commander was received on Washington's behalf by General Lincoln, who at once returned it.

As it happened, the French officer who had prepared the articles of surrender at the farmhouse was Lafayette's brother-in-law, the Vicomte de Noailles, one of the two young men to whom Lafayette had taken the word that he meant to go "to America to fight for liberty!" Now the Vicomte saw that the ardent hopes of the young enthusiast had borne such glorious fruit!

There stands a monument on the heights above the York River, in Virginia, and on one side of it are these words: "At York, on October 19, 1781, after a siege of nineteen days, by 5,500 American and 7,000 French Troops of the Line, 3,500 Virginia Militia under command of General Thomas Nelson and 36 French ships of war, Earl Cornwallis, Commander of the British Forces at York and Gloucester, surrendered his army, 7,251 officers and men, 840 seamen, 244 cannons and 24 standards to His Excellency George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Colonial Forces of America and France, to His Excellency the Comte de Rochambeau, commanding the auxiliary Troops of His Most Christian Majesty in America, and to His Excellency the Comte de Grasse, commanding in chief the Naval Army of France in Chesapeake."

It was largely due to Lafayette that the French fleet and the army of Rochambeau had crossed the ocean and that the Americans in Virginia had succeeded in bottling up Cornwallis at Yorktown and so bringing an end to the Revolution.

A week after the surrender of Cornwallis British forces came down from New York, Clinton, Graves, Hood, with a big fleet and seven thousand fresh troops, but when they reached the Capes of the Chesapeake they learned what had happened at Yorktown and turned back again.

Lafayette went with Washington to visit Admiral de Grasse, and the plan of an expedition to the Carolinas, in which Lafayette was to command the land forces, was discussed, but since the French admiral was in haste to be off, the expedition was abandoned, and soon afterwards De Grasse's fleet sailed for the West Indies.

Lafayette then set out for the North. He stopped at Baltimore, where the citizens had loaned him money and where the women had sewed shirts for his needy soldiers, and said, in reply to an address, "My campaign began with a personal obligation to the people of Baltimore, at the end of which I find myself bound to them by a tie of everlasting gratitude."

Then he went on to pay his respects to Congress in Philadelphia.

And so, in success, ended Lafayette's campaign against Yorktown. "It was the grandest of causes," he said, "won by the skirmishes of sentinels and outposts."

The Marquis Aids the United States in France

Word of the surrender at Yorktown was received all through the thirteen States with the greatest joy. Watchmen calling the hours of the night in the cities cried, "Twelve o'clock! All's well, and Cornwallis has surrendered!" Everywhere the people hailed this event as heralding the close of the long and distressing war. When one thinks of what they had endured since 1775 there is no wonder at the hymns of thanksgiving. And a ship at once sailed across the Atlantic to France with the glad tidings.

The surrender at Yorktown did mark the beginning of the end of the Revolution, though the conflict went on in a desultory fashion for two years more, and it was not until November 25, 1783, that the British evacuated New York City. But after Yorktown many of the French officers went home, and among them Lafayette. He wrote to the French minister, "The play is over, Monsieur le comte; the fifth act has just come to an end. I was somewhat disturbed during the former acts, but my heart rejoices exceedingly at this last, and I have no less pleasure in congratulating you upon the happy ending of our campaign."

Both Lafayette and Congress felt that the Marquis could now help the country greatly by his presence in France in case more men and money should be needed for further campaigns. So, with Washington's approval, Congress agreed that "Major-General the Marquis de Lafayette have permission to go to France and that he return at such time as shall be most convenient to him." And Congress also voted that Lafayette "be informed that, on a review of his conduct throughout the past campaign and particularly during the period in which he had the chief command in Virginia, the many new proofs which present themselves of his zealous attachment to the cause he has espoused, and of his judgment, vigilance, gallantry, and address in its defense, have greatly added to the high opinion entertained by Congress of his merits and military talents."

He took his leave of Washington, the man he admired more than any other in the world, and the commander-in-chief, who looked on the young Frenchman as if the latter was his own son, said in his dignified fashion, "I owe it to your friendship and to my affectionate regard for you, my dear marquis, not to let you leave this country without carrying with you fresh marks of my attachment to you and new expressions of the high sense I entertain of your military conduct and other important services in the course of the last campaign, although the latter are too well known to need the testimony of my approbation, and the former, I persuade myself, you believe is too well riveted to undergo diminution or change."

The Frenchman was not so reserved as the American. His ardent spirit shows in the letter he wrote his commander. "Adieu, my dear general," he said. "I know your heart so well that I am sure that no distance can alter your attachment to me. With the same candor I assure you that my love, my respect, my gratitude for you are above expression; that, at the moment of leaving you, I feel more than ever the struggle of those friendly ties that forever bind me to you, and that I anticipate the pleasure, the most wished-for pleasure, to be again with you, and, by my zeal and services, to gratify the feelings of my respect and affection."

On December 23, 1781, Lafayette sailed from Boston on the same frigate Alliance that had carried him back to France the first time. He was to be received in his native land like a conquering hero. Already Vergennes, the Secretary of State of France, had written to him. "Our joy is very great here and throughout the nation," said Vergennes, "and you may be assured that your name is held in veneration. . . . I have been following you, M. le Marquis, step by step, throughout your campaign in Virginia; and I should frequently have been anxious for your welfare if I had not been confident of your wisdom. It required a great deal of skill to maintain yourself, as you did, for so long a time, in spite of the disparity of your forces, before Lord Cornwallis, whose military talents are well known. It was you who brought him to the fatal ending, where, instead of his making you a prisoner of war, as he probably expected to do, you forced him to surrender."

He landed in France on January 17, 1782. If his former arrival had been a succession of triumphs, this one was doubly so. When he reached the house of the Duke de Noailles in Paris his wife was attending a fete at the Hotel de Ville in honor of the birth of the Dauphin. As soon as his arrival became known the Queen took Madame de Lafayette in her own carriage and went with her to welcome the Marquis. Louis XVI. announced that he had promoted Lafayette to the high rank of "Marechal de camp," and wrote to him, through his minister of war, "The King, having been informed, sir, of the military skill of which you have given repeated proof in the command of the various army corps entrusted to you in America, of the wisdom and prudence which have marked the services that you have performed in the interest of the United States, and of the confidence which you have won from General Washington, his Majesty has charged me to announce to you that the commendations which you most fully deserve have attracted his notice, and that your conduct and your success have given him, sir, the most favorable opinion of you, such as you might wish him to have, and upon which you may rely for his future goodwill."

very one delighted to entertain and praise him; the Marshal de Richelieu invited him to dine with all the marshals of France, and at the dinner the health of Washington was drunk with every honor. And if the King and the nobles were loud in their acclaim, the people were no less so; they called Lafayette by such extravagant titles as the "Conqueror of Cornwallis "and "the Saviour of America with Washington." Had it not been that Lafayette had a remarkably level head the things that people said and wrote about him might almost have made him believe that he had won the Revolution in America single-handed.

Naturally he enjoyed being with his dear wife and children again, but he was not a man who could contentedly lead the idle life of a nobleman in Paris. Soon he was busy doing what he could to help the cause of the young American republic in France. He saw a great deal of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, the commissioners of the United States to the French court, and Franklin wrote home concerning him, "The Marquis de Lafayette was, at his return hither, received by all ranks with all possible distinction. He daily gains in the general esteem and affection, and promises to be a great man here. He is extremely attached to our cause; we are on the most friendly and confidential footing with each other, and he is really very serviceable to me in my applications for additional assistance."

He planned to return to America to re join the army. "In spite of all my happiness here," he wrote to Washington, "I cannot help wishing, ten times a day, to be on the other side of the Atlantic." But the Continental army was merely marking time, no active campaign was in progress, and neither Lafayette nor French troops were again needed to fight across the ocean.

The negotiations for peace were long drawn out, and in the autumn of 1782 France and Spain again planned a joint expedition against the English in America. A strong fleet of sixty battle-ships and an army of twenty-four thousand men were gathered with the purpose of sailing from the Spanish port of Cadiz to capture the English island of Jamaica and attack New York and Canada. Lafayette was made chief of staff of the combined expedition, and, wearing the uniform of an American general, he set sail from Brest early in December for Cadiz. But the grand fleet was still in port when a courier arrived with news that a treaty of peace had just been signed in Paris. So the fleet did not sail. A protocol, or provisional treaty, was drawn up, and on September 3, 1783, the final treaty was signed, by which Great Britain acknowledged the independence of the United States.

As soon as he heard the good news, Lafayette borrowed a ship, appropriately named the Triumph, and sent it off to Philadelphia with the earliest word of peace. And by the same ship he despatched a letter to Washington. "As for you, my dear general," he wrote, "who can truly say that all this is your work, what must be the feelings of your good and virtuous heart in this happy moment! The eternal honor in which my descendants will glory, will be to have had an ancestor among your soldiers, to know that he had the good fortune of being a friend of your heart. To the eldest of them I bequeath, as long as my posterity shall endure, the favor that you have conferred upon my son George, by allowing him to bear your name."

To Vergennes Lafayette wrote, "My great affair is settled; America is sure of her independence; humanity has gained its cause, and liberty will never be without a refuge."

From Cadiz the Marquis went to Madrid, where he straightened out affairs between the United States and the court of Spain. Then he went back to Paris, made several visits to his old castle and estates in Auvergne, and helped Franklin and Adams and John Jay in putting the affairs of the new republic on a satisfactory footing.

He wanted greatly to see that young republic, now that war was over and peace had come, and at last his wish was gratified. Washington had written him frequently, urging the Marquis to visit him, and had begged Madame de Lafayette to come with her husband. "Come then, let me entreat you," Washington wrote to Adrienne. "Call my cottage your own; for your own doors do not open to you with more readiness than would mine. You will see the plain manner in which we live, and meet with rustic civility; and you will taste the simplicity of rural life. It will diversify the scene, and may give you a higher relish for the gayeties of the court when you return to Versailles."

Adrienne de Lafayette, however, was as much of a home-lover as George Washington. Versailles had never attracted her, and she liked to spend most of her time at the castle of Chavaniac. The voyage across the Atlantic was a long and trying experience in those days and so she answered that she preferred to stay in France. She also sent Washington a letter from her little daughter, born while her husband was in camp in America.

Lafayette sailed from Havre on July 1, 1784, and reached New York, which he had never yet seen, on August fourth. Throngs, eager to sing his praises, met him at the harbor, and followed him everywhere on his travels. From New York he went to Philadelphia, and then to Richmond, where Washington met him. He visited the scenes of his great Virginia campaign at Williamsburg and Yorktown, and spent two happy weeks with his beloved friend George Washington at the latter's home at Mount Vernon. From there he went north again, to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Up the broad Hudson he traveled to Albany, where he went with American commissioners to a council with dissatisfied Mohawk chiefs. And to the sons of primitive America the young Frenchman, lover of liberty everywhere, spoke so appealingly that he quickly won them away from their enmity for their white neighbors. "Father," said the Mohawk chief, "we have heard thy voice and we rejoice that thou hast visited thy children to give to them good and necessary advice. Thou hast said that we have done wrong in opening our ears to wicked men, and closing our hearts to thy counsels. Father, it is all true; we have left the good path; we have wandered away from it and have been enveloped in a black cloud. We have now returned that thou mayest find in us good and faithful children. We rejoice to hear thy voice among us. It seems that the Great Spirit had directed thy footsteps to this council of friendship to smoke the calumet of peace and fellowship with thy long-lost children."

Indeed it did seem that the Great Spirit directed the steps of this man to the places where he was the most needed.

From Albany Lafayette went across country to Boston, where he was given a great reception and banquet in Faneuil Hall. A portrait of Washington was unveiled behind the Marquis at the table, and he sprang to his feet and led in the burst of cheers that followed. Through New England he went as far as Portsmouth in New Hampshire, and then turned south to make a second visit to Mount Vernon. Everywhere he went he was received as the man whom the United States especially desired to honor. Unquestionably he deserved all the praise and gratitude that was showered upon him, for he had left his wife, his home, his friends, his fortune, and had come to America in one of the darkest hours of her fight for independence, and by his confidence in her cause had done much to help her win her victory. He had brought French troops and money, but most of all he had brought that unselfish devotion which had so heartened the people. The United States did not forget what it owed to Lafayette in 1784, it has never forgotten it; the republic of the Western World has shown that it has a long and faithful memory.

At Trenton Lafayette stopped to resign his commission in the American army, and Congress sent a committee made up of one representative from each State to express the thanks of the nation. Then he returned to Washington's estate on the banks of the Potomac, and there walked over the beautiful grounds of Mount Vernon, discussing agriculture with the owner, and sat with the latter in his library, listening to Washington's hopes concerning the young nation for which both men had done so much. History shows no more ideal friendship than that between the great American and the great Frenchman, a friendship of inestimable value for the two lands from which they sprang.

When the time came for parting Washington drove his guest as far as Annapolis in his carriage. There the two friends separated, not to meet again. Washington went back to Mount Vernon, and there wrote a farewell letter to Lafayette. "In the moment of our separation," he said, "upon the road as I traveled and every hour since, I have felt all that love, respect, and attachment for you, with which length of years, close connection, and your merits have inspired me. . . . It is unnecessary, I persuade myself, to repeat to you, my dear marquis, the sincerity of my regards and friendship, nor have I words which could express my affection for you, were I to attempt it. My fervent prayers are offered for your safe and pleasant passage, a happy meeting with Madame de Lafayette and family, and the completion of every wish of your heart."

Lafayette answered after he had gone on board the Nymphe at New York. "Adieu, adieu, my dear general," said he. "It is with inexpressible pain that I feel I am going to be severed from you by the Atlantic. Everything that admiration, respect, gratitude, friendship, and filial love can inspire is combined in my affectionate heart to devote me most tenderly to you. In your friendship I find a delight which words cannot express. Adieu, my dear general. It is not without emotion that I write this word. Be attentive to your health. Let me hear from you every month. Adieu, adieu."

On Christmas Day, 1784, Lafayette sailed for France, expecting to return to his adopted country in a few years. He was not to return, however, for a long time, and in the interval much was to happen to himself and his own land.

In the following summer the Marquis made a journey through Germany and Austria, where he was received not only as a French field-marshal, but as an informal representative of America and a friend of Washington, who could answer the questions about the new republic which every one was eager to ask. At Brunswick he visited the duke who was later to lead the German troops against the army of revolutionary France. At Potsdam he was entertained by Frederick the Great, who happened on one occasion to place Lafayette between the English Duke of York and Lord Cornwallis at table. Lafayette was, as always, delightful company, and the general he had defeated at Yorktown wrote home to a friend in England, "Lafayette and I were the best friends possible in Silesia."

The Frenchman saw reviews of the Prussian armies, and was much impressed by the discipline of Frederick the Great. But he did not like that ruler, and spoke of his "despotic, selfish, and harsh character," and he liked his military system still less. He wrote to General Knox, "The mode of recruiting is despotic; there is hardly any provision for old soldiers, and although I found much to admire, I had rather be the last farmer in America than the first general in Berlin."

From Prussia he went to Austria, where he met the emperor, and there, as in all his travels, he told every one of his admiration for the United States and for Washington, and tried to make them see how much the young republic had already accomplished for the happiness of men.

The love of liberty was the dominant motive of Lafayette's life. He had told Washington of his desire to find some means of securing the freedom of slaves, and he wrote to John Adams in 1786, "Whatever be the complexion of the enslaved, it does not in my opinion alter the complexion of the crime the enslaver commits,—a crime much blacker than any African face. It is to me a matter of great anxiety and concern to find that this trade is sometimes perpetrated under the flag of liberty, our dear and noble stripes to which virtue and glory have been constant standard-bearers." So, on his return to France, he bought a plantation in Cayenne, and brought many negroes there, who, after being educated in self-government according to his directions, were to receive their freedom. He also tried to improve the condition of the French Protestants, who were very much persecuted, and ardently pleaded their cause before the King at Versailles.

In the meantime he constantly gave his help to furthering the affairs of America. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, who had been Governor of Virginia, when Lafayette had fought his campaign there, was now the United States Minister to France. Jefferson wrote to Washington, "The Marquis de Lafayette is a most valuable auxiliary to me. His zeal is unbounded and his weight with those in power is great. . . . He has a great deal of sound genius, is well remarked by the King, and rising in popularity: He has nothing against him but the suspicion of republican principles. I think he will one day be of the ministry."

The United States at that time especially needed aid in establishing trade relations with France, and it was here that Lafayette proved himself very valuable. He obtained concessions in regard to the importing and sale of oil and tobacco, and his efforts on behalf of the American whale fishery were so successful that the citizens of Nantucket voted at a town-meeting that every man on the island who owned a cow should give all of one day's milk toward making a cheese to weigh five hundred pounds, and that the cheese should be "transmitted to the Marquis de Lafayette, as a feeble, but not less sincere, testimonial of their affection and gratitude."

The cheese was greatly appreciated, as was also the action of the State of Virginia, which ordered two busts of the Marquis to be made by the sculptor Houdon, one to be placed in the State Capitol at Richmond and the other in the Hotel de Ville in Paris.

The United States had won its independence, though its statesmen were now perplexed with the problem of making one united nation out of thirteen separate states. But France had yet to deal with its own problem of liberty. There were many men who dreamed of equality in that nation and who hoped for it, but the King and the court were despotic, the peasants yoked to the soil, bowed down by un just taxes, crushed by unfair laws. There was a spirit abroad that was destined to bring a temporary whirlwind. So the thinking men of France, and Lafayette one of the chief among them, turned their attention to affairs at home.

How Lafayette Sought to Give Liberty to France

The people of the thirteen American colonies that became the United States had always had more liberty than the people of France. Most of the colonies had been settled by men who had left Europe and gone to America in order that they might en joy civil 5r religious independence. They largely made their own laws, and by the time of the Revolution had become so well educated in self-government that they were able to draw up a Constitution and live by its terms with extremely little friction or unrest. The success that followed the forming of the republic of the West was a marvel to Europe; that success was mainly due to the lessons of self-restraint and the real appreciation of what liberty meant that had come to the colonists before the Revolution. Progress that is to be real progress must begin right, and Washington and Jefferson and Franklin were far-sighted and clear-headed builders. The people of France had been putting up with wrongs a thousandfold worse than those the Americans had borne, but they had never been educated in self-government, and so when they tried to win liberty they plunged headlong into turmoil.

France was still governed very much as it had been in the Middle Ages. The peasants were reduced to the very lowest form of living, starvation and ignorance were common through the country. The business classes were hampered by unjust laws. The nobility were idle, corrupt, and grossly extravagant. Almost all power lay in the King, and Louis XVI., amiable though he was, followed the lines of his Bourbon ancestors, Louis XIV. and Louis XV., the former of whom had said, "The State, it is I," and had ruled by that principle.

Unhappily for Louis XVI., however, the world had progressed from the viewpoint of the Middle Ages, and men were beginning to talk of constitutions and of the duties that sovereigns owed their people. He shut his ears to such talk as well as he could, and his courtiers helped him to ignore the protests. The court continued to spend money on entertainments as if it was water, while the peasants starved. Then it was found that the expense of aiding the United States in the war had added enough to the nation's debt to make it impossible to pay the interest and to find means to carry on the government. Either the court's expenses must be lessened or new taxes must be levied. The nobles furiously resisted the first alternative, and the people resisted the second. Toward the end of 1786 Calonne, the Minister of Finance, had to admit that the treasury was bankrupt and advise the King to call a meeting of the Assembly of Notables to find some way out of the difficulty.

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


The Assembly was made up almost entirely of men of the highest rank, who failed to appreciate the distresses of the country. Lafayette was known to hold very liberal views, he was constantly talking of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and at first a part of the court opposed his membership in the Assembly. He was given his seat there, however, and with one or two others tried to convince the council of the need of reforming the laws. But the nobles would not listen. They were immovably arrogant and autocratic; they would hear nothing of reforms or constitutions or the rights of the people.

The Assembly of Notables reached no satisfactory conclusion. When it adjourned conditions grew steadily worse. The affairs of the country were in a terrible muddle, each class in the land thought only of itself, and each was divided, envious and hostile to the others. Lafayette fought heroically to bring them to the point of view of Washington's countrymen. The Marquis, however, was too much of an enthusiast and too little of a statesman to see that the long downtrodden peasants of France were a different type from the educated American farmers. Americans in France, John Adams and Gouverneur Morris, realized better than he did that the people of France were not yet fitted to govern themselves; but he would not listen to these statesmen's opinions. His role was that of a popular leader, not that of a far-seeing statesman in very difficult times. But the sufferings of the people were always present to him, and he took the most direct course he could to relieve and satisfy them.

When he saw that the Assembly of Notables would accomplish nothing to help the situation Lafayette startled the meeting by asking that they beg the King to summon a National Assembly of the States-General, a council that had not met for one hundred and seventy-three years and the existence of which had almost been forgotten.

The Notables were amazed. "What, sir!" exclaimed the Count d'Artois, who was presiding at the meeting. "You ask the convocation of the States-General?"

"Yes, monseigneur," said Lafayette, "and even more than that."

"You wish that I write," said the Count, "and that I carry to the King, 'Monsieur de Lafayette moves to convoke the States-General'?"

"Yes, monseigneur," was Lafayette's answer.

The proposal was sent to the King, with Lafayette's name the only one attached to the request. But as soon as the news of his petition became known the people hailed the idea with delight.

The States-General was a much more representative body than the Assembly of Notables, and Louis XVI. was loath to summon it. The situation of the country was so unsatisfactory, however, that he finally yielded and ordered the States-General to meet in May, 1789.

Lafayette had great hopes of this new parliament. He wrote to Washington, describing the situation. "The King is all-powerful," he said. "He possesses all the means of compulsion, of punishment, and of corruption. The ministers naturally incline and believe themselves bound to preserve despotism. The court is filled with swarms of vile and effeminate courtiers; men's minds are enervated by the influence of women and the love of pleasure; the lower classes are plunged in ignorance. On the other hand, French character is lively, enterprising, and inclined to despise those who govern. The public mind begins to be enlightened by the works of philosophers and the example of other nations." And when the state of affairs grew even more disturbed he wrote again to the same friend, "In the midst of these troubles and this anarchy, the friends of liberty strengthen themselves daily, shut their ears to every compromise, and say that they shall have a national assembly or nothing. Such is, my dear general, the improvement in our situation. For my part, I am satisfied with the thought that before long I shall be in an assembly of representatives of the French nation or at Mount Vernon."

Elections were held throughout the country to choose the members of the States-General, which was composed of representatives of the three orders, the nobles, the clergy, and what was known as the third estate, or the middle class. Lafayette went to Auvergne to make his campaign for election, and was chosen as deputy to represent the nobility of Riom. On May 2, 1789, the States-General paid their respects to the King, and on May fourth they marched in procession to hear Mass at the Church of St. Louis. The third estate marched last, dressed in black, and in their ranks were men destined before long to upset the old order, Mirabeau, Danton, Marat, Guillotin, Desmoulins, Robespierre.

On May fifth the States-General formally met for business. Then began continual struggles between the orders of nobles and clergy on the one hand and the third estate on the other, finally ending by a declaration of the latter that if the first two orders would not act in agreement with them they would organize themselves, without the other two, as the States-General of France.

On June twelfth the third estate met and called the roll of all the deputies, but none of the nobles or clergy answered to their names. Next day, however, three clerical members appeared, and the meeting felt itself sufficiently bold, under the leadership of Mirabeau, to declare itself positively the National Assembly of France. The indignant nobles answered this by inducing the King to suspend all meetings until a "royal session "could be held on June twentieth. But the third estate, having had a taste of power, would not bow to command so easily, and when they found that the hall where they had been meeting was closed they withdrew to the tennis-court, where they took the famous oath not to separate until they had given a constitution to France.

At their next meeting the third estate were joined by a large number of the clerical members of the States-General and by two of the nobles. This gave them greater assurance. At the "royal session "on June twentieth, however, the King tried to ignore the power that the third estate had claimed, and the latter had to decide between submitting to the royal orders or rebelling. They decided to take the second course and stand firmly on their rights as representatives of the people. When the master of ceremonies tried to clear the hall where they had gathered Mirabeau said defiantly, "The commons of France will never retire except at the point of the bayonet."

The King, although surrounded by weak and selfish advisers, at last yielded to the demands of the third estate, and the nobles and clergy joined the meetings of the National Assembly.

Lafayette, who had been elected as a deputy of the nobility, had found his position extremely difficult. He had thought of resigning and trying to be elected a second time as a deputy of the people, although Thomas Jefferson, the American minister, had urged him to take his stand outright with the third estate, arguing that his well-known liberal views would prevent his gaining any influence with his fellow-nobles and that if he delayed in taking up the cause of the people the latter might regard him with suspicion. This difficulty was solved when, at the King's command, the deputies of the nobles finally joined with the third estate.

The States-General, or the National Assembly, as it was now generally called, went on with its meetings which took on more and more a revolutionary color. There was rioting in Paris and Versailles, and the King ordered troops to guard both places. The Assembly considered that the soldiers were meant to intimidate their sessions and requested that they be sent away. The King refused this request, and as a result the breach between the crown and the parliament was still further widened.

Soon afterward Lafayette presented to the Assembly what he called his "Declaration of Rights," which was based on Jefferson's Declaration of Independence of the United States. This occasioned long discussion, for the nobles thought its terms were revolutionary in the extreme while many of the third estate considered that it did not go nearly far enough. And all the time the King continued his policy of trying to overawe the Assembly, and finally appointed the Marshal de Broglie commander of the troops that were gathering in Paris and Versailles, planning to bring the third estate to its senses and show the mob in Paris who was the real ruler of France.

Events followed rapidly. July eleventh the King dismissed Necker and the ministers who had been trying to bring order out of confusion. The Assembly, fearing that the King would next dissolve their meetings, declared itself in permanent session, and elected Lafayette its vice-president. The royal court, blind as usual, paid no attention to the storm the King's course was rousing, and a grand ball was held at the palace on the evening of July thirteenth. Next day, as if in answer to rulers who could dance while the people starved, the mob in Paris stormed the prison of the Bastille and captured that stronghold of royal tyranny.

The storm had broken at last. The Duke de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt hurried to Versailles, entered the King's chamber, and told him the news. "Why," exclaimed Louis XVI., "this is a revolt!"

"No, sire," answered the Duke, "it is a revolution!"

Next morning the Marshal de Broglie, who found that instead of a competent army, he had only a few disorganized troops at his command, resigned. The King, seeing his army melting away, decided that his only chance of restoring order lay in making friends with the Assembly, and appeared before it, begging it to aid him, and promising to recall the dismissed ministers.

The Assembly, delighted at this evidence of its power, agreed to aid the King, and sent Lafayette, with fifty other deputies, to see what could be done to quiet the people in Paris. They found the city in the wildest confusion. Shops were closed, barricades blocked the streets, and gangs of ruffians were fighting everywhere. The deputies brought some order, Lafayette made a speech to the people at the Hotel de Ville, and told them that the Assembly was glad that they had won liberty. Then it was decided that a mayor must be chosen to govern Paris and a National Guard formed to preserve order. Moreau de Saint Mery, who was presiding, pointed to the bust of Lafayette that the State of Virginia had sent to the city of Paris. His gesture was understood and Lafayette was immediately chosen to command the National Guard. Bailly was by a like unanimous vote elected mayor.

So, at thirty-two, Lafayette gave up his seat in the National Assembly and became Commander of the National Guard.

The deputies, on their return to Versailles, told their fellow-members that the only way in which confidence could be restored in the crown was for the King personally to visit Paris. This Louis XVI. agreed to do on July seventeenth. In the meantime Lafayette had collected the nucleus of a guard, had restored some sort of order, and made arrangements to receive the King. When Louis arrived at the city gates he was met by the mayor, Bailly, who handed him the keys of Paris, saying, "They are the same keys that were presented to Henry IV. He had reconquered his people; now it is the people who have reconquered their king."

The King was escorted to the Hotel de Ville through a double line of National Guards. There he was given the new national cockade, which he fixed in his hat. Afterward speeches were made and then King Louis rode back to Versailles. He was still the sovereign in name, but his real power was gone, shorn from him by the obstinacy of his nobles and himself.

Lafayette had no easy task in keeping order in Paris. His Guards obeyed his commands, but many of the mob, having tasted revolt, continued on a wild course, and they were now joined by many of the worst element from the provinces. Two innocent men were murdered in spite, and Lafayette could do nothing to prevent it. Disgusted at the trend of events he soon resigned his office of Commander, but since no one else appeared able to fill it he finally consented to resume it.

Meantime the Assembly was uprooting the old feudal laws and doing away with almost all forms of taxation. Their object was to tear down, not to build up; and the result was that in a very short time people throughout France were making their own laws in every city and village and paying no attention to the needs of the nation.

As autumn approached the population of Paris became restless. The Assembly at Versailles was not sufficiently under the people's thumb, the lower classes especially were eager to get both Assembly and King and Queen in their power. A reception given by Louis to the National Guards at Versailles roused great indignation. The court, so the people said, was as frivolous and extravagant as ever, and was trying to win the Guards over to its side. The excitement reached its climax when, on October fifth, Maillard, a leader of the mob, called on the people of Paris to march to Versailles. At once the cry "To Versailles!" echoed through the city, and men and women flocked to answer the cry.

Lafayette heard of the plan and sent couriers to Versailles to warn the King and the Assembly of what was in the air. All day he tried his best to quiet the people and induce them to give up the march. He forbade the National Guards to leave their posts, and at first they, obeyed hint. But presently deputation after deputation came to him. "General," said one of his men, "we do not think you a traitor; but we think the government betrays you. It is time that this end. We cannot turn our bayonets against women crying to us for bread. The people are miserable; the source of the mischief is at Versailles; we must go seek the King and bring him to Paris."

That was the view of the Guards, and it grew more and more positive. Armed crowds were leaving the city, dragging cannon, and at last the Guards surrounded their commander and declared their intention to march and to take him with them. So finally Lafayette set out for Versailles, preceded and followed by an immense rabble of men and women.

Meantime the couriers sent by Lafayette to Versailles had reported the news of the march of the mob. The Assembly could think of nothing that would pacify the people, and contented itself with sending messengers to the King, who happened to be hunting in the Versailles forests. Louis returned to his palace to find his bodyguards, the Swiss and the Flanders Regiment, drawn up in the courtyards as though to withstand a siege.

In the middle of the afternoon the first crowd of women, led by Maillard beating his drum, arrived at Versailles. Some marched to the Assembly and shouted to the deputies to pass laws at once that should lower the price of bread. Others paraded through the streets, and still others went to the palace to see the King, who received them very kindly and tried to assure them that he entirely agreed with all their wishes.

But the royal family had taken alarm and wanted to fly from the palace. Their carriages were ordered out, and the bodyguards placed in readiness to serve as escort. This plan became known, however, and when the carriages drove out from the great stables some of the National Guards themselves seized the horses' heads and turned them back.

The National Assembly itself was in an uproar. The President, Mounier, left the chamber to see the King, and when he came back he found a fat fish-woman making a speech to the crowd from his own chair. The Assembly had taken power and authority away from the King; now the mob was bent on doing the same thing to the Assembly.

At eleven o'clock that evening Lafayette reached Versailles with his National Guards and the rest of the rabble from Paris. On the way he had tried to curb the rougher part of the crowd and had made his troops stop and renew their oaths of allegiance "to the nation, the law, and the King." He went at once to the palace to receive King Louis' orders, but the Swiss guards would not let him enter until he agreed to go in without any of the people from Paris. When he did enter he found the halls and rooms filled with courtiers. One of them, seeing him, exclaimed, "Here is Cromwell!" Lafayette answered instantly, "Cromwell would not have entered alone."

The King received him cordially, and told him to guard the outside of the palace, leaving the inside to the protection of the royal bodyguards. Lafayette then saw that his men were bivouacked for the night, quieted noisy marchers, and felt that, at least for the time, Versailles was at rest. Worn out with the day's exertions the Marquis finally got a chance to sleep.

Early next day, however, the mob burst forth again. A crowd fell to disputing with the royal bodyguards at one of the gates to the palace, rushed the soldiers, and broke into the inner court. Up the stairs they streamed, killing the guards that tried to oppose them. Marie Antoinette had barely time to fly from her room to that of the King before the rioters reached her apartment, crying out threats against her.

As soon as he heard of all this Lafayette sent two companies of soldiers to clear the mob from the palace. When he arrived himself he found the people all shouting "To Paris!" He saw at once that his National Guards were not to be trusted to oppose the crowd, and urged the King to agree to go to Paris. Louis consented, and Lafayette went out on the balcony and announced the King's decision.

This appeased the throng somewhat, and Lafayette asked the King to appear on the balcony with him. Louis stepped out and was greeted with cheers of "Vine le roil "Then Lafayette said to the Queen, "What are your intentions, madame?"

"I know the fate which awaits me," answered Marie Antoinette, "but my duty is to die at the feet of the King and in the arms of my children."

"Well, madame, come with me," said Lafayette.

"What! Alone on the balcony? Have you not seen the signs which have been made to me?"

"Yes, madame, but let us go."

Marie Antoinette agreed, and stepped out with her children. The crowd cried, "No children!" and they were sent back. The mob was making too much noise for Lafayette to speak to them, so instead he took the Queen's hand, and, bowing low, kissed it. The crowd, always ready to go from one extreme to another, immediately set up shouts of "Long live the General! Long live the Queen!"

King Louis then asked Lafayette about the safety of his bodyguards. Lafayette stuck a tricolor cockade in the hat of one of these soldiers, and taking him on to the balcony, embraced him. The mob's answer was cheers of "Vive les gardes du corps!"

So peace was restored for the time. Fifty thousand people marched back to Paris, the King and the royal family in their carriage, Lafayette riding beside them. Close to them marched the royal bodyguards, and close to the latter came the National Guards. And the crowd shouted with exultation at having forced their sovereign to do their will.

At the gates of the city the mayor met the procession and made a patriotic address. From there they went to the Hotel de Ville, where more speeches were made, and it was late in the day before Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette and their children were allowed to take refuge in the Palace of the Tuileries.

Lafayette, who had played with the Queen and her friends in the gardens at Versailles when he was a boy, had stood by her loyally on that day when the mob had vowed vengeance against her. He believed in liberty and constitutional government, but he also believed in order. He wanted to protect the weak and defenseless, and he hated the excesses of the mob. He thought he could reproduce in France what he had seen accomplished in America. But conditions were too different. The people of France had been ground down too long by their nobles. Their first taste of liberty had gone to their heads like strong wine. So, like a boat that has lost its rudder, the ship of state of France plunged on to the whirlpool of the French Revolution.

Storm-Clouds of the French Revolution

King Louis XVI., Queen Marie Antoinette, and their children were now virtually prisoners in the Palace of the Tuileries in Paris, the nobles were leaving France for their own safety, and the Assembly was trying to govern the country. But the Assembly was very large and unwieldy, and its members were more interested in making speeches denouncing the present laws than in trying to frame new ones. Lafayette was commander of the National Guard, and so in a way the most powerful man in France, although the most able statesman and leader was Mirabeau. Occasionally Lafayette found time to attend the meetings of the Assembly, and at one of these sessions a deputy demanded that all titles of nobility should be abolished. Another member objected, saying that merit ought to be recognized, and asking what could be put in the place of the words, "Such a one has been made noble and count for having saved the State on such a day."

Lafayette rose at once to answer. "Suppress the words 'made noble and count,'" said he; "say only, 'Such a one saved the State on such a day.' It seems to me that these words have something of an American character, precious fruit of the New World, which ought to aid much in rejuvenating the old one."

The measure was carried immediately, and Lafayette dropped from his name both the "marquis "and the "de." He never used them again; and when, after the French Revolution was over, all titles were restored, Lafayette, steadfast to his convictions, never called himself or allowed himself to be addressed as the Marquis de Lafayette, but was always known simply as General Lafayette.

Lafayette did all he could to ease the difficult position of King Louis, though relations between the two men were necessarily strained, since the King could hardly look with pleasure on the commander of the National Guard, who held his office from the Assembly and people and not from the crown. Louis chafed at having to stay in the Tuileries and wanted to go hunting in the country, but the people would not allow this. And it fell to Lafayette to urge the King to show as little discontent as possible, which naturally made the sovereign resentful toward the General.

During the winter of 1789-90 Lafayette was busy trying to keep order in Paris and drilling the Guard. He sent the Duke of Orleans, who had been stirring up the worst elements to dethrone Louis XVI. and make him king instead, in exile from the country. Violent bread riots broke out and mobs tried to pillage the convents, but Lafayette and his Guards prevented much damage being done. It took all his tact and perseverance to handle these soldiers under his command; they were quick-tempered and restive under any authority, and only too ready to follow the last excitable speaker they had heard. Lafayette said to his officers, "We are lost if the service continues to be conducted with such great inexactitude. We are the only soldiers of the Revolution; we alone should defend the royal family from every attack; we alone should establish the liberty of the representatives of the nation; we are the only guardians of the public treasury. France, all Europe, have fixed their eyes on the Parisians. A disturbance in Paris, an attack made through our negligence on these sacred institutions, would dishonor us forever, and bring upon us the hatred of the provinces."

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


He did not want any great office or power for himself, his desires were always very much like those of George Washington, he simply wanted to serve the sacred cause of liberty. Yet he was at that time the most powerful and the most popular man in France. The court, though it disliked him as the representative of the people, depended on him for its personal safety. The Assembly relied on him as its guardian, the soldiers trusted him as their commander, and the people considered him their bulwark against any return to the old despotism.

Through all this time he wrote regularly to Washington, and when, by his orders, the Bastille was torn down he sent the keys of the fortress to his friend at Mount Vernon. The keys were sent, he wrote, as a tribute from "a son to an adopted father, an aide-de-camp to his general, a missionary of liberty to her patriarch."

On the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, July 14,1790, a great celebration was held in Paris. A vast crowd of more than three hundred thousand persons, including the court, the Assembly, the National Guard, and men from the provinces as well as from the city, met in the amphitheatre of the Champs de Mars to swear obedience to the new constitution which was to govern them all. First Louis XVI. took the oath, and then Lafayette, who was made for that day commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of France, stepped forward, placed the point of his sword on the altar, and took the oath as the representative of the French people. A great roar of voices greeted the commander's words.

But although Lafayette meant to remain faithful to the principles of a constitutional monarchy, the mass of his countrymen soon showed that they had no such intention. Disorder and rioting grew more frequent, the people demanded more of the Assembly than the latter felt it could grant, the Guards grew increasingly unpopular as the symbol of a law and order the mob did not like. Within the Assembly itself there were many quarrels and wrangles; sometimes the mob vented its feelings on an unpopular member by attacking his house. And as often as not the National Guards, when they were sent to protect property, joined with the crowd and helped to destroy it instead.

In February, 1791, a crowd from Paris attacked the fortress of Vincennes, which had once been a state prison, but had been unused for some time. Lafayette, with his staff and a considerable number of National Guards, marched out to the place, quelled the disturbance, and arrested sixty of the ringleaders. When he brought his prisoners back to the city he found the gates of the Faubourg St. Antoine closed against him, and he had to threaten to blow the gates open with cannon before the people would allow him to enter. All the way to the Conciergerie, where he took his prisoners, the General and his soldiers were targets for the abuse of the crowds.

On the same day some of the nobles who lived in the neighborhood of the royal palace of the Tuileries, hearing of the attack at Vincennes, thought that the King might also be in danger, and went to the palace, armed with pistols and daggers. This angered the National Guards who were posted about the Tuileries and who thought that the noblemen were poaching on their territory. The King had to appear in person to settle the dispute, and even then some of the nobles were maltreated by the soldiers. Immediately revolutionary orators made use of the incident to inflame the people's mind, representing that the King's friends had planned to murder officers of the Guards.

It was clear that the National Guards were growing less and less trustworthy, and equally evident that the people of Paris were becoming more and more hostile to their King. Louis disliked staying at the Tuileries, where he was constantly under the eyes of enemies, and at Easter decided to go to the palace of St. Cloud, which was near Paris, and celebrate the day there. Word of this got abroad, and the people grumbled; more than that they said that Louis should not go to St. Cloud.

On the morning of April eighteenth the King and his family entered their traveling-carriage, only to have an angry crowd seize the horses' heads and forbid the King to move. Louis appealed to the National Guards who were in attendance, but the soldiers took the side of the people and helped to block the way. The mob swarmed close to the carriage, insulting the King and his servants. Louis had courage. He put his head out at the window and cried, "It would be an astonishing thing, if, after having given liberty to the nation, I myself should not be free!"

At this point Lafayette and the mayor, Bailly, arrived, and urged the mob and the Guards to keep the peace and disperse. The crowd was obstinate; most of the Guards were openly rebellious. Then Lafayette went to the royal carriage, and offered to use force to secure the King's departure if Louis would give the word. The King answered promptly, "It is for you, sir, to see to what is necessary for the due fulfilment of your constitution." Again Lafayette turned to the mob and addressed it, but it showed no intention of obeying his orders, and at last he had to tell Louis that it would be dangerous for him to drive forth. So the King and his family returned to the Tuileries, fully aware now that they were prisoners of the people and could not count on the protection of the troops.

Everywhere it was now said that the King must obey "the supreme will of the people." Louis protested; he went to the National Assembly and told the deputies that he expected them to protect his liberty; but Mirabeau, the leader who had used his influence on behalf of the sovereign in earlier meetings, was dead, and the party of Robespierre held the upper hand. The Assembly had no intention of opposing the people, and paid little heed to the King's demands.

Lafayette saw that a general whose troops would not obey him was a useless officer, and sent in his resignation as commander of the Guards. But the better element in Paris wanted him to stay, and the more loyal of the troops begged him to resume his command. No one could fill his place, and so he agreed to take the office again. He went to the Commune of Paris and addressed its members. "We are citizens, gentlemen, we are free," said he; "but without obedience to the law, there is only confusion, anarchy, despotism; and if this capital, the cradle of the Revolution, instead of surrounding with intelligence and respect the depositaries of national power, should besiege them with tumult, or fatigue them with violence, it would cease to be the example of Frenchmen, it would risk becoming their terror."

The Commune applauded his words, and he went forth again as Commander-in-chief, the Guards taking a new oath to obey the laws. But at the same time the Jacobins, or revolutionaries, placarded the walls of Paris with praises of the soldiers who had rebelled and feasted them as models of patriotism.

Meantime King Louis and his closest friends determined that the royal family must escape from the Tuileries. Careful plans were laid and a number of the nobles were told of them. Rumors of the intended escape got abroad, but such rumors had been current for the past year. Lafayette heard them and spoke of them to the King, who assured him that he had no such design. Lafayette went to the mayor, Bailly, and the two men discussed the rumor, concluding that there was nothing more to it than to the earlier stories.

The night of June twentieth was the time chosen by the King and his intimate friends. Marie Antoinette placed her children in the care of Madame de Tourzel, her companion, saying, "The King and I, madame, place in your hands, with the utmost confidence, all that we hold dear in the world. Everything is ready; go." Madame de Tourzel and the children went out to a carriage, driven by the Count de Fersen, and rode along the quays to a place that had been decided on as the rendezvous.

Lafayette and Bailly had spent the evening with the King. As soon as they had gone, to disarm suspicion Louis undressed and got into bed. Then he got up again, put on a disguise, and walked down the main staircase and out at the door. He reached his carriage, and waited a short time for the Queen, who presently joined him; and then the royal couple drove out of Paris.

The flight was not discovered until about six o'clock in the morning. Then Lafayette hurried to the Tuileries with Bailly. He found that a mob had already gathered there, vowing vengeance on all who had had charge of the King. With difficulty he rescued the officer who had been on guard the night before. He sent messengers in every direction with orders to stop the royal fugitives. He went to the Assembly, and addressed it. At the Jacobin Club, Danton, the fiery orator, declared, "The commander-general promised on his head that the King would not depart; therefore we must have the person of the King or the head of Monsieur the commander-general!" But Lafayette's reputation was still too great for him to be reached by his enemies.

The unfortunate royal family were finally arrested at Varennes and brought back to Paris. Louis was received in an ominous silence by his people. Lafayette met him at the gates and escorted him back to the palace. There Lafayette said, "Sire, your Majesty is acquainted with my personal attachment; but I have not allowed you to be unaware that if you separated your cause from that of the people I should remain on the side of the people."

"That is true," answered King Louis. "You have acted according to your principles; it is an affair of party. At present, here I am. I will tell you frankly, that up to these last days, I believed myself to be in a vortex of people of your opinion with whom you surrounded me, but that it was not the opinion of France. I have thoroughly recognized in this journey that I was mistaken, and that this opinion is the general one."

When Lafayette asked the King for his orders, the latter laughed and said, "It seems to me that I am more at your orders than you are at mine."

The commander did all that he could to soften the hard position of the royal captives, but he took care to see that the Tuileries was better guarded after that.

Some Jacobins now petitioned the Assembly to dethrone the King, and a great meeting was held in the Champs de Mars on the seventeenth of July. As usual the meeting got out of hand and the mob turned to murder and pillage. Lafayette and Bailly rode to the field with some of their soldiers; Bailly proclaimed martial law and ordered the crowd to disperse. Jeers and threats followed, and at last Lafayette had to give his men the command to fire. A dozen of the mob were killed, and the rest took to flight.

This seemed to bring peace again, but it was only the quiet that precedes the thunderstorm. The Assembly finished its work on the new constitution for France and the King signed it. Then Lafayette, tired with his constant labors, resigned his commission and stated his intention of retiring to private life. Paris voted him a medal and a marble statue of Washington, and the National Guards presented him with a sword forged from the bolts of the Bastille. At last he rode back to his country home at Chavaniac, looking forward to rest there as Washington looked for rest at his beloved Mount Vernon.

To friends at his home in Auvergne the General said, "You see me restored to the place of my birth; I shall leave it only to defend or consolidate our common liberty, if attacked, and I hope to remain here for long." He believed that the new constitution would bring liberty and peace to his country. But the French Revolution had only begun its course, and he was destined soon to be called back to its turmoil.

He had several months of rest in his home in the mountains, happy months for his wife, who for two years had hardly ever seen her husband leave their house in Paris without fearing that he might not return. She had been a wonderful helpmate for the General during the turbulent course of events since his return from America and had loyally entertained the guests of every varying shade of political opinion who had flocked to his house in the capital. But she liked to have her husband away from the alarms of Paris and safe in the quiet of his country home at Chavaniac. There he had more time to spend with her and their three children, Anastasie, George Washington, and Virginia, who had been named after the State where her father had won his military laurels.

The Legislative Assembly of France, which was trying to govern the country under the new constitution, was finding the making of laws which should satisfy every one a very difficult task. There were countless cliques and parties, and each had its own pet scheme for making the land a Utopia. The court party hoped that the more reckless element would lose all hold on the people through its very extravagance, and so actually encouraged many wildly absurd projects. The royalists were always expecting that a counter-revolution would bring them back into power, and the nobles who had left the country filled the border-towns and plotted and conspired and used their influence to induce foreign sovereigns to interfere and restore the old order in France. Naturally enough news of these plots and conspiracies did not tend to make King Louis or his nobles any more popular with the lawgivers in Paris.

In August, 1791, the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria met the Count d'Artois and the Marquis de Bouillé at the town of Pilnitz and formed an alliance against France, making the cause of Louis XVI. their own. The royalists who had emigrated were delighted, and filled Europe with statements of what they meant to do to the revolutionary leaders when they won back their power. The revolutionists grew more and more angry, and as they saw foreign troops gathering on the French frontiers they decided that it was high time to oppose force with force. Narbonne, the Minister of War, announced that the King and government meant to form three armies of fifty thousand men each, and that the country had chosen as commanding generals Rochambeau, Luckner, and Lafayette.

Lafayette at once returned to Paris from Chavaniac, paid his respects to the King, and going to the Assembly thanked the members for his new appointment and declared his unalterable devotion to the maintenance and defense of the constitution. The president of the Assembly answered that "the French people, which has sworn to conquer or to die in the cause of liberty, will always confidently present to nations and to tyrants the constitution and Lafayette."

In view of what happened afterward it is important to remember that Lafayette accepted his appointment under the constitution of France and that he felt himself bound to support and obey it under all circumstances.

Then he departed from Paris for the frontier, the cheers of the people and the National Guards ringing in his ears. He was popular with all parties except those of the two extremes, the friends of the King considering him a rebel and the Jacobins calling him a courtier.

At Metz Lafayette met Rochambeau, Luckner, and Narbonne, and it was arranged that the three generals should make their headquarters at Liege, Treves, and Coblentz. News of these military measures somewhat cooled the ardor of the alliance against France and enemy troops stopped collecting along the border. Lafayette took advantage of this to prepare his raw recruits for a possible struggle. They needed this preparation, for the army of France, which had once been the proudest in Europe, had been allowed to scatter during the past few years.

He accomplished much in the way of discipline, was called to Paris to consult on a plan of campaign, found the leaders there as much at odds as ever, and returned to his post at Metz. Again the emigrant nobles and their allies were uttering threats against the French government, and finally, on April 20, 1792, the government declared war on its enemies.

Lafayette's orders were to proceed against the Netherlands, marching from Metz to Givet, and thence to Namur. Meantime Rochambeau's army was to attack the Austrians. But there was so much discord among Rochambeaus's divisions that the attack turned into a retreat, and Lafayette, learning this when he arrived at Givet, was obliged to wait there instead of marching farther. The conduct of his soldiers so discouraged Rochambeau that he resigned his commission and the territory to be defended was divided between Lafayette and Luckner. The former concentrated his troops at Maubeuge, and spent the month of May drilling and occasionally making sorties.

In Paris the cause of law and order was having a hard time. The Jacobins wanted to upset the constitution, dethrone the King, and establish a republic, and they were steadily growing stronger. The spirit of revolution was spreading through the country, and everywhere the people gave the greatest applause to the most revolutionary orators. The Assembly was treating Louis XVI. with insolence and the King was retaliating by regarding the deputies with unconcealed contempt. The monarchy and the constitution were fast falling to pieces, and the news of the defeat of the army on the frontier helped to hasten the climax. Gouverneur Morris wrote to Thomas Jefferson in June, 1792, "The best picture I can give of the French people is that of cattle before a thunderstorm." And a week later he wrote, "We stand on a vast volcano; we feel it tremble and we hear it roar; but how and where and when it will burst, and who may be destroyed by its irruption, are beyond the ken of mortal foresight to discover."

Lafayette, in camp at Maubeuge, alarmed at the reports from Paris, felt that the cause of liberty and order would be lost unless some effective blow could be dealt at the power of the Jacobins. If some one would take the lead in opposing that group, or club, he believed that the Assembly and the rest of the people would follow. So he wrote a letter to the Assembly, and in this he said, "Can you hide from yourselves that a faction, and, to avoid vague terms, the Jacobite faction, has caused all these disorders? It is this club that I openly accuse." Then he went on to denounce the Jacobins as the enemies of all order.

When the letter was read in the Assembly the Jacobins attacked it furiously, charging that the General wanted to make himself a dictator. His friends supported him, but the Jacobins were the more powerful. Through their clubs, their newspapers, and their street orators they soon led the fickle people to believe that Lafayette, their idol of a few years before, was now a traitor to them and their greatest enemy.

Another quarrel arose between King Louis and the Assembly, and the former dismissed his ministers. The Jacobins seized on this to inaugurate a reign of terror. The streets were filled with mobs, passionate orators harangued the crowds, men and women pushed their way into the meetings of the Assembly and told the deputies what they wanted done. June twentieth was the anniversary of the Tennis Court Oath, and on that day a great rabble invaded the Assembly, denounced the King, and then marched to the Tuileries, where it found that the gates had been left open. The mob surged through the palace, singing the revolutionary song "Ca ira," and shouting "Down with the Austrian woman! Down with Marie Antoinette!" The Queen and her children fled to an inner room, protected by a few grenadiers. The King watched the crowd surge by him, his only concession to their demands being to put a liberty cap on his head. After three hours of uproar the leaders felt that Louis had been taught a sufficient lesson and led their noisy followers back to the streets.

A story is told that a young and penniless lieutenant by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte was dining with a friend in the Palais Royal when the mob attacked the Tuileries. Taking a position on the bank of the Seine he watched the scene with indignation. When he saw the King at the window with the red liberty cap on his head, he exclaimed, "Why have they let in all that rabble? They should sweep off four or five hundred of them with cannon; the rest would then set off fast enough." But the time had not yet come for this lieutenant to show how to deal with the people.

Lafayette heard of the mob's invasion of the Tuileries and decided to go to Paris to see what he could do to check the spirit of revolution. General Luckner had no objection to his leaving his headquarters at Maubeuge, but warned him that if the Jacobins once got him in their power they would cut off his head. Undaunted by this idea Lafayette went to the capital, and arrived at the house of his friend La Rochefoucauld, entirely unexpected, on the twenty-eighth of June.

His visit caused great excitement. He went to the Assembly and made a stirring speech in which he said that the violence committed at the Tuileries had roused the indignation of all good citizens. His words were cheered by the more sober deputies, but the Jacobins protested loudly. One of the latter asked how it happened that General Lafayette was allowed to leave his army to come and lecture the Assembly on its duties. The General's speech had some influence in restoring order, but the power of the Jacobins was steadily increasing.

Lafayette then went to the Tuileries, where he saw the royal family. Louis was ready to receive any assurance of help that the General could give him, for the King saw now that his only reliance lay in the constitution he had signed, and felt that might prove a slight support. Marie Antoinette, however, refused to forgive Lafayette for the part he had taken in the early days of revolution, and would have no aid at his hands.

When he left the Tuileries some of his former National Guards followed his carriage with shouts of "Vive Lafayette! Down with the Jacobins!" and planted a liberty pole before his house. This gave Lafayette the idea of appealing to the whole force of the National Guard and urging them to stand by the constitution. He asked permission to speak to them at a review the next day, but the mayor, fearing Lafayette's influence, countermanded the review. Then the General held meetings at his house and did all he could to persuade Guards and citizens to oppose the Jacobins, who, if they had their way, would, in his opinion, ruin the country.

At the end of June he returned to the army. Daily he heard reports of the growing power of his enemies, the Jacobins. Then he resolved to make one more attempt to save the King and the constitution. He received orders to march his troops by a town called La Capelle, which was about twenty miles from Compiegne, one of the King's country residences. His plan was that Louis XVI. should go to the Assembly and declare his intention of passing a few days at Compiegne; there Lafayette's army would meet him, and the King would proclaim that he was ready to send his troops against the enemies of France who had gathered on the frontiers and should reaffirm his loyalty to the constitution. The General thought that if the King would do this it would restore the confidence of the people in their sovereign.

But neither the King nor the nobles who were with him at the Tuileries were attracted by this plan, which meant that Louis would openly declare his hostility toward those emigrant nobles who had gathered on the borders. And when the Jacobins learned that Lafayette had been communicating secretly with the King they used this news as fresh fuel for their fire. So the result of the scheme was only to add to the currents of suspicion and intrigue that were involving Paris in the gathering storm.

The power of the Assembly grew weaker; its authority was more and more openly thwarted; the deputies wanted to stand by the constitution, but it appeared that the country did not care to live under its laws. The government of Paris was now entirely under the control of the Jacobins. They filled the ranks of the National Guards with ruffians in their pay. On July fourteenth the King reviewed soldiers who were secretly ready to tear the crown from his head and was forced to listen to bitter taunts and jibes.

Then, at the end of July, the allied armies of Austria and Prussia, accompanied by a great many French noblemen, crossed the frontier and began their heralded invasion. The general in command, the Duke of Brunswick, issued a proclamation calling on the people of Paris to submit to their king, and threatening all sorts of dire things if they persisted in their rebellion. The proclamation acted like tinder to powder. The invasion united all parties for the moment. If the Duke of Brunswick succeeded, no man who had taken part in the Revolution could think his life or property secure, and France would return to the old feudal despotism, made worse by its dependence on foreign armies.

The people of Paris and of France demanded immediate and vigorous action; the Assembly could not lead them, and the Jacobins seized their chance. Danton and his fellows addressed the crowds in the streets and told them that France would not be safe until the monarchy and the aristocracy had been exterminated. The people heard and believed, and by August first were ready to strike down any men their leaders pointed out to them.

Danton and the Jacobins made their plans rapidly. They filled the floor and the galleries of the Assembly with men whose violent threats kept the deputies constantly in fear of physical force. They taught the people to hate all those who defended the constitution, and chief among the latter Lafayette, whom the Jacobins feared more than any other man in France. So great was their fury against him that Gouverneur Morris wrote to Jefferson at the beginning of August, "I verily believe that if M. de Lafayette were to appear just now in Paris unattended by his army, he would be torn in pieces."

On August tenth the mob, armed with pikes, surrounded the Tuileries. The King looked out on a crowd made up of the most vicious elements of the city. He tried to urge the National Guards to protect him, but they were demoralized by the shouts of the throngs. Finally he decided to take refuge with the National Assembly, and with the Queen and their children succeeded in reaching the Assembly chamber.

The Swiss guards at the Tuileries attempted to make some resistance, but the mob drove them from their posts and killed many of them. The reign of terror spread. Nobles or citizens who had opposed the Jacobins were hunted out and murdered. When the Assembly adjourned the deputies found armed bands at the doors, waiting to kill all those who were known to have supported the constitution.

Meantime the royal family had found the Assembly a poor refuge. A deputy had moved that the King be dethroned and a convention summoned to determine the future government of the country. The measure was instantly carried. Louis XVI. and his family were handed over to officers who took them to the Temple, which then became their prison.

The Jacobins had won the day by force and violence. They formed a government called the "Commune of August 10th," filled it with their own men, drove all respectable soldiers out of the National Guard and placed Jacobin pikemen in their places. All nobles and friends of the King who were found in Paris were thrown into the prisons, which were soon crammed. The Reign of Terror had begun in fact. Only a short time later the prisoners were being tried and sent to the guillotine.

Lafayette heard of the events of August tenth and begged his troops to remain true to the King and the constitution. Then the Commune of Paris sent commissioners to the armies to announce the change of government and to demand allegiance to the Commune. Lafayette met the commissioners at Sedan, heard their statements, and declaring them the agents of a faction that had unlawfully seized on power, ordered them imprisoned.

News of Lafayette's arrest of the commissioners added to the turmoil in Paris. Some Jacobins wanted to have him declared a traitor at once; others, however, feared that his influence with the army might be too great for them to take such a step safely. But troops in the other parts of France had come over to the Commune, and so, on the nineteenth of August the Jacobin leaders felt their power strong enough to compel the Assembly to declare Lafayette a traitor.

Lafayette now had to face a decision. France had declared for the Commune of Paris and overthrown King and constitution. He had three choices. He might accept the rule of the Jacobins and become one of their generals; he might continue to oppose them and probably be arrested by his own soldiers and sent to the guillotine; he might leave the country, seek refuge in some neutral land, and hope that some day he could again be of service to liberty in France. To accept the first course was impossible for him, because he had no confidence in Jacobin rule. To take the second would be useless. Therefore the third course was the one he decided on.

He turned his troops over to other officers, and with a few friends, who, like himself, had been declared traitors because they had supported the constitution, rode away from Sedan and crossed the border into Belgium at the little town of Bouillon. He was now an exile from his own country. The cause of liberty that he had fought so hard for had now become the cause of lawlessness. His dream of France, safe and prosperous under a constitution like that of the young republic across the sea, had come to an end, at least for the time being. He could do nothing but wash his hands of the Reign of Terror that followed on the footsteps of the Revolution he had helped to start.

Lafayette in Prison and Exile

Lafayette knew that he could expect to find no place of refuge on either side of the French frontier; on the one hand were the Jacobin soldiers of the Reign of Terror who held him to be a traitor, and on the other the emigrant noblemen and their allies who regarded him as in large part responsible for all the troubles that had befallen Louis XVI. and his court. He had got himself into a position where both sides considered him an enemy; and his best course seemed to be to make his way to England and there take ship for America, where he was always sure to meet a friendly welcome.

Austrian and Prussian troops held the northern border of France and garrisoned the outpost towns of Belgium. Lafayette and his companions crossed the frontier on their road to Brussels, but were stopped at the town of Rochefort because they had no passports. One of the party, Bureaux de Pusy, rode to Namur, the nearest large town, to try to get the necessary papers, but when he told the officer in charge there that the passports were wanted for General Lafayette and several friends there was great commotion. "Passports for Lafayette, the enemy of the King and of order!" the Austrian officer exclaimed. Lafayette was too important a man to let escape in any such fashion. And at once the command was given to arrest the Frenchman and his companions.

They were found at Liege and arrested. Lafayette protested that he and his friends were now non-combatants, and moreover were on neutral territory in Belgium. In spite of that they were held as prisoners, although a secret message was sent to Lafayette that he could have his freedom if he would forswear his republican principles and give certain information about conditions in France. Indignantly he refused to buy his liberty in any such way, and then was sent to the Prussian fortress of Wesel on the Rhine. On the journey there he was questioned several times about the French army he had commanded, but the haughty contempt with which he refused to make any answers quickly showed his captors the sort of man they had to deal with. At one town an officer of the Duke of Saxe Teschen came to him and demanded that Lafayette turn over to the Duke the treasure chest of his army that his enemies supposed he had taken with him. At first Lafayette thought the request a joke; but when the demand was repeated he turned on the officer. "I am to infer, then, that if the Duke of Saxe Teschen had been in my place, he would have stolen the military chest of the army?" said he. The officer backed out of the room in confusion, and afterward no one dared to doubt the Frenchman's honesty.

The prison at Wesel was mean and unhealthy, and the cells so small and cold and damp that the prisoners suffered greatly. Yet to every protest of Lafayette the only answer vouchsafed was that he should have better treatment if he would tell his captors the military plans of the army of France. His reply was always the same, an indignant refusal. The Jacobins had declared him a traitor to the government of the Commune, but he never repaid them by any treachery.

The Prussians and Austrians, arch-enemies of liberty, felt that in Lafayette they had caught the chief apostle of freedom in all Europe, and for greater security they presently moved him from the prison at Wesel to the stronger fortress at Magdeburg on the Elbe. There Lafayette had a cell about eight feet by four in size, under the outer rampart, never lighted by a ray of sun. Its walls were damp with mould, and two guards constantly watched the prisoner. Even the nobles in Paris, victims of the Terror, were treated better than the Prussians treated Lafayette. For five months he stayed there, with no chance for exercise or change, proof against every threat and bribe. Then the King of Prussia, seeing that he would soon have to make peace with France, and unwilling that this leader of liberty should be set free, decided to hand Lafayette and his comrades over to the Emperor of Austria, the bitterest foe of freedom and of France.

So Lafayette and several of the others were secretly transferred across the frontier to the fortress of Olmutz, a town of Moravia in central Austria. Here they were given numbers instead of names, and only a few officials knew who the prisoners were or where they were kept. Lafayette practically disappeared, as many other famous prisoners had disappeared in Austrian dungeons. Neither his wife and friends in France nor Washington in America had any inkling of what had become of him.

When he had first left France on his way to Brussels he had written to his wife at Chavaniac. "Whatever may be the vicissitudes of fortune, my dear heart," he said, "you know that my soul is not of the kind to give way; but you know it too well not to have pity on the suffering that I experienced on leaving my country. . . . There is none among you who would wish to owe fortune to conduct contrary to my conscience. Join me in England; let us establish ourselves in America. We shall find there the liberty which exists no longer in France, and my tenderness will seek to recompense you for all the enjoyments you have lost." Later, in his first days in prison, he wrote to a friend in England, using a toothpick with some lemon juice and lampblack for pen and ink. "A prison," he said, "is the only proper place for me, and I prefer to suffer in the name of the despotism I have fought, than in the name of the people whose cause is dear to my heart, and which is profaned to-day by brigands."

For as brigands he thought of Robespierre and his crew who were making of France a country of horror and fear. From time to time he had news of the execution in Paris of friends who had been very near and dear to him. When Louis XVI. was beheaded he wrote of it as "the assassination of the King, in which all the laws of humanity, of justice, and of national faith were trampled under foot." When his old friend La Rochefoucauld had fallen at the hands of the Terror he said, "The name of my unhappy friend La Rochefoucauld ever presents itself to me. Ah, that crime has most profoundly wounded my heart! The cause of the people is not less sacred to me; for that I would give my blood, drop by drop; I should reproach myself every instant of my life which was not devoted to that cause; but the charm is lost."

The lover of liberty saw anarchy in the land he had worked to set free; king, nobles and many citizens swept away by the fury of a mob that mistook violence for freedom. Few things are more bitter than for a man who has labored for a great cause to see that cause turn and destroy his ideals.

Meantime Madame Lafayette was suffering also. She was arrested at the old castle of Chavaniac and for a time imprisoned, persecuted, and even threatened with death. The state had denounced Lafayette as an émigré, or runaway, and had confiscated all his property. Yet through all these trials his wife remained calm and determined, her one purpose being to learn where her husband was and secure his release if possible. She wrote to Washington, who was then the President of the United States, begging him to intercede for her husband, and when she finally managed to find out where Lafayette was imprisoned she urged the Austrians to allow her to share his captivity.

The Emperor of Austria turned a deaf ear to all requests made on behalf of Lafayette. The United States, however, was able to do something for the man who had befriended it, and deposited two thousand florins in Prussia, subject to his order, and obtained permission )f the King of Prussia that Lafayette should be informed that his wife and children were alive.

The prisoner might well have thought that his own family had shared the fate of so many of their relatives and friends. The name of Lafayette was no protection to them, rather an added menace in a land where the Jacobins held sway. On September 2, 1792, when the Reign of Terror was in full flood in Paris, Minister Roland ordered that Madame Lafayette should be arrested at Chavaniac. She was taken, with her aunt and her elder daughter, who refused to leave her, as far as the town of Puy, but there she wrote such vigorous letters of protest to Roland and other officials that she was allowed to return to her home on parole. In October of the next year she was again arrested, this time under the new law that called for the arrest of all persons who might be suspected of hostility to the government, and now she was actually put into a country prison. In June, 1794, Robespierre's agents brought her to Paris, and she was imprisoned in the College du Plessis, where her 1 husband had gone to school as a boy. From there her next journey, according to the custom of that time, would have been to the guillotine.

At this point, however, Gouverneur Morris, the Minister of the United States, stepped upon the scene. He had already advanced Madame Lafayette large sums of money, when her property had been confiscated; now when he heard that she was to be condemned to the guillotine by the butchers of the Revolution he immediately bearded those butchers in their den. He wrote to the authorities, the Committee of Safety, as the officials grotesquely called it, and told them that the execution of Madame Lafayette would make a very bad impression in America.

The Committee of Safety were not disposed to listen to reason from any quarter. Yet, when they heard Gouverneur Morris say, "If you kill the wife of Lafayette all the enemies of the Republic and of popular liberty will rejoice; you will make America hostile, and justify England in her slanders against you," they hesitated and postponed ordering her execution. But, because of his protests against such violent acts of the Reign of Terror, Gouverneur Morris was sent back to America, on the ground that he had too much sympathy with the victims of "liberty!"

Madame Lafayette was brought into court, and the Committee of Safety did its best to insult her. Said the Chief Commissioner, "I have old scores against you. I detest you, your husband, and your name!"

Madame Lafayette answered him fearlessly, "I shall always defend my husband; and as for a name there is no wrong in that."

"You are insolent!" shouted the Commissioner, and was about to order her execution when he remembered Morris's words and sent her back to her prison instead.

With her husband in prison in Austria, her young children left unprotected and far away from her, the plight of Madame Lafayette was hard indeed. But she was very brave, though she knew that any day might take her to the scaffold. Almost all the old nobility were brave. While Robespierre and his rabble made liberty and justice a mockery the prisoners maintained their old contempt for their jailers and held their heads as high as in the old days when they had taken their pleasure at Versailles.

On July 22, 1794, Madame Lafayette's grandmother, the Marechale de Noailles, her mother, the Duchess d'Ayen, and her sister, the Vicomtesse de Noailles, were beheaded by the guillotine, victims of the popular rage {, against all aristocrats. A few days later the Reign of Terror came to a sudden end, the prey of the very excesses it had committed.

The people were sick of blood; even the judges and executioners were weary. On July twenty-eighth Robespierre and his supporters were declared traitors and were carted off to the guillotine in their turn. The new revolution opened the prison doors to most of the captives, but it was not until February, 1795, that Madame Lafayette obtained her freedom, and then it was largely owing to the efforts of the new Minister of the United States, James Monroe. At once she flew to her children, and sent her son George to America to be under the protection of Washington. A friend had bought Chavaniac and gave it back to her, but another Reign of Terror seemed imminent and Madame Lafayette wanted to leave France. A passport was obtained for her, and with her daughters she went by sea to Hamburg. There the American consul gave her another passport, made out in the name of "Madame Motier, of Hartford, in Connecticut." Then she went to Austria and at Vienna presented herself to the grand chamberlain, the Prince of Rosenberg, who was an old acquaintance of her family. He took her to the Emperor, and from the latter she finally won permission to share her husband's captivity at Olmutz.

Meantime Lafayette's health had suffered under his long imprisonment. In the dark damp fortress, deprived of exercise, of company, of books, he had passed many weary days. But the Fourth of July he remembered as the birthday of American freedom and spent the hours recollecting the happy time he had known in the young republic across the Atlantic.

At last his wife and daughters joined him in his prison and told him of what had happened in France. Imprisonment was easier to bear now that his family was with him, but the confinement was hard on all of them, and presently the prison authorities, seeing Lafayette in need of exercise, gave him more liberty, allowing him to walk or ride each day, but always strongly guarded.

His friends in America were not idle. Washington had earlier sent a letter to Prussia asking the liberation of Lafayette as a favor. But the prisoner had already been transferred to Austria. In May, 1796, Washington wrote to the Emperor of Austria, and the American Minister, John Jay, presented the letter. "Permit me only to submit to your Majesty's consideration," wrote Washington, "whether his long imprisonment and the confiscation of his estate and the indigence and dispersion of his family, and the painful anxieties incident to all these circumstances, do not form an assemblage of sufferings which recommend him to the mediation of humanity. Allow me, sir, on this occasion, to be its organ; and to entreat that he may be permitted to come to this country, on such conditions and under such instructions as your Majesty may think it expedient to prescribe."

Austria, however, did not intend to release the prisoner. She had too much fear of him as a leader of liberty. When at an earlier time a friend of Lafayette had asked for his release an official of Frederick the Great had refused the request on the same ground that Austria's emperor now took. "Monsieur de Lafayette," said this official, "is too fanatic on the subject of liberty; he does not hide it; all his letters show it; he could not keep quiet, if out of prison. I saw him when he was here, and still remember a statement of his, which surprised me very much at that time: 'Do you believe,' said he to me, 'that I went to America to make a military reputation for myself? I went for the sake of liberty. When a man loves it, he can rest only when he has established it in his own country.' "

Before Madame Lafayette had joined her husband in the prison at Olmutz a friend had tried to help the captive to escape. At the time the Austrian officials were allowing Lafayette a little more freedom, although he was practically never out of the watchful sight of guards. The friend was a young man who had come to Vienna to try to find out where the famous Frenchman was imprisoned, the young American, Francis Kinloch Huger, who, as a small boy, had stood in the doorway of his father's house in South Carolina at midnight and helped to welcome Lafayette and his companions when they first reached American soil. Francis Huger's father had been attached to Lafayette's command during the campaign in Virginia, and the son had retained so deep an admiration for his hero that he had come to Europe to help him if he could.

After he had been in Vienna some time Francis Huger met a German physician, Doctor Bollman, who was as great an admirer of Lafayette as the young American. Bollman said to Francis Huger, "Lafayette is in Olmutz," and then explained how he had found out the place where their hero was hidden. He had become acquainted with the physician who was visiting the Frenchman in prison, and had used this doctor, who knew nothing of his plans, as a go-between. By means of chemically-prepared paper and sympathetic ink he had actually communicated with Lafayette and had arranged a method of escape to be attempted some day when the prisoner was outdoors.

Francis Huger entered eagerly into the plot, and the two conspirators made ready their horses and signals and other preparations for escape. Lafayette had learned part of their plans. As he rode out one day in November, 1794, accompanied by an officer and two soldiers, his two friends were ready for him. Lafayette and the officer got out of the carriage to walk along the road. The carriage, with the two soldiers, drove on. When it was far ahead, Huger and Bollman, who had been watching from their saddles, charged on the officer, while Lafayette turned on the latter, snatched at his unsheathed sword, and tried to disarm him.

The Austrian officer fought gamely, and while Huger held the horses Bollman ran to the aid of the Frenchman, whose strength had been sapped by his long imprisonment. The two soldiers, alarmed at the sudden assault, made no effort to help their officer, but drove away for aid. Meantime the officer was thrown to the ground and held there by Doctor Bollman.

Francis Huger, holding the restive horses with one hand, helped to gag the Austrian officer with his handkerchief. Then one of the horses broke from his grasp and dashed away. Bollman thrust a purse full of money into Lafayette's hand, and, still holding the struggling Austrian, called to Lafayette in English, so that the officer should not understand, "Get to Hoff! Get to Hoff!"

Lafayette, who was very much excited, was too intent on escaping to pay special attention to Bollman's directions. He thought the latter was merely shouting, "Get off; get off!" and so, with the help of Francis Huger, he sprang to the saddle of the remaining horse and galloped away as fast as he could go. He did not take the road to Hoff, where his rescuers had arranged to have fresh horses waiting, but took another road which led to Jagerndorf on the German frontier. Before he reached Jagerndorf his horse gave out, and while he was trying to get a fresh mount he was recognized, arrested, and taken back to his prison at Olmutz.

So the attempted escape failed. Huger and Bollman were arrested while they were hunting for the lost Lafayette. They were thrown into prison, put in chains, and nearly starved to death. And for some time after that the officials made Lafayette's life in prison even more uncomfortable than it had been before.

Fortunately neither Huger nor Bollman died in their Austrian prison. After eight months in their cells they were set free and sent out of the country. Both went to America, where in time Doctor Bollman became a political adventurer and aided Aaron Burr in those schemes which ultimately brought Burr to trial for treason. Then Bollman might have been punished had not Lafayette remembered what he had done at Olmutz and begged President Jefferson to set him free. Francis Huger was among the Americans who welcomed Lafayette to the United States in 1824.

The Frenchman, however, had to continue in prison in Austria. After his wife and daughters joined him the imprisonment grew less hard. But after a time his daughters fell ill of prison-fever, and soon their mother was sick also. She appealed to the Emperor for permission to go to Vienna to see a doctor. The Emperor answered that she could go to Vienna "only on condition that you do not go back to Olmutz."

She would not desert her husband. "I will never expose myself to the horrors of another separation from my husband," she declared; and so she and her daughters stayed with Lafayette, enduring all manner of privations and sufferings for his sake.

The world, however, had not forgotten Lafayette. America worked constantly to free him, Washington and Jefferson and Jay, Morris and Marshall and Monroe used all their influence with Austria, but America was not loved in the tyrannical court of Vienna and the appeals of her statesmen passed unheeded. England was generous also toward the man who had once fought against her. The general who had commanded the forces against him at the Brandywine moved Parliament again and again to interfere on behalf of the French hero, and Charles James Fox, the great English orator, pleaded in favor, as he said, "of a noble character, which will flourish in the annals of the world, and live in the veneration of posterity, when kings, and the crowns they wear, will be no more regarded than the dust to which they must return."

Help finally came from his own land, though in a very strange guise. While Lafayette lay in his cell at Olmutz a new star was rising in the skies, a planet succeeding to the confusion of the Reign of Terror in France. A Corsican officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, was winning wonderful laurels as a general. From victory he strode to victory, and by the spring of 1797 he had broken the power of Austria, had crossed the Italian Alps, and in sight of the Emperor's capital was ready to dictate the terms of the treaty of Campo Formio. Then he remembered that a Frenchman, Lafayette, was still in an Austrian dungeon. Neither Bonaparte nor the Directory that now governed France wanted Lafayette to return to that country, but both were determined that Austria must give him up. Napoleon wrote that demand into the treaty. The Austrian Emperor objected, but Napoleon insisted and finally threatened, and he held the upper hand. The Emperor sent an officer to demand a written acknowledgment of his past good treatment from Lafayette and a promise never to enter Austria again. Lafayette refused to say anything about his past treatment but agreed to the second condition. Dissatisfied with this the Austrians represented to General Bonaparte that the prisoner had been set free and urged him to sign the treaty. Bonaparte saw through the ruse. He sent an officer to see that Lafayette was liberated, and only when he was satisfied of this would he make peace with the crafty Emperor.

On September 17, 1797, Lafayette, after five years in prison, walked out of Olmutz with his wife and daughters a free man. Even then, however, the Emperor did not hand him over to the French; instead he had him delivered to the American consul, with the statement that "Monsieur the Marquis de Lafayette was released from imprisonment simply because of the Emperor's desire to favor and gratify America."

The French Revolution had swept away Lafayette's estates and fortune, but his friends came to his assistance and helped to provide for him. Especially Americans were eager to show their appreciation of what he had done for their country. Washington, who had been caring for Lafayette's son at Mount Vernon, now sent him back to Europe, with a letter showing that the great American was as devoted as ever to the great Frenchman.

Lafayette knew that his liberation was due to the brilliant young general, Bonaparte, and he wrote a letter to the latter expressing his gratitude. But there was considerable jealousy in the French government at that time; the letter was distasteful to some of the Directory, and they took their revenge by confiscating the little property that still belonged to Lafayette. Two Englishwomen, however, had left money to the Frenchman as a tribute to his "virtuous and noble character,," and this enabled him to tide over the period until he could get back some of his native estates.

The Netherlands offered Lafayette a home, and he went to the little town of Vianen, near Utrecht, to live. Here he wrote many letters to his friends in America, studied the amazing events that had happened in France since the day on which the States-General had first met at Versailles, and watched the wonderful course of the new leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, across the fields of Europe. Bonaparte puzzled him; he was not sure whether the Corsican was a liberator or a despot; but he saw that the General was restoring order to a France that was greatly in need of it, and hoped that he might accomplish some of the ends for which Lafayette and his friends had worked. Presently the time came when the exile felt that he might safely return to his home.

In the Days of Napoleon

After the treaty of Campo Formio with Austria, which had secured the liberation of Lafayette, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris the leading man of France. The government in Paris, which had gone through one change after another since the end of the Reign of Terror, was now in the hands of what was known as the Directory. But the members of this, divided in their views, were not very popular with the people, who were so tired of disorder that they desired above everything else a strong hand at the helm of the state. The people were already looking to the brilliant young general as such a helmsman, and the Directors knew this, and so grew increasingly jealous of Bonaparte.

Having settled his score with Austria Bonaparte suggested to the French government that he should strike a blow at England by invading Egypt. The Directory, glad to have him out of the country, agreed to this, and in May, 1798, Bonaparte departed on such an expedition. As soon as Bonaparte was safely away the enemies of France resumed their attacks, and when the French people saw that the Corsican was their surest defender they began to clamor more loudly against the Directory. Bonaparte kept himself informed of what was happening at home, and when he thought that the proper moment had come he left his army in Egypt and appeared in France. His welcome there made it clear that the people wanted him for their leader; they were weary of turmoil and constant changes in government, they were ready for a strong and able dictator.

France had known ten years of disorder, bloodshed, anarchy, democratic misrule, financial ruin, and political failure, and the people were no longer so much concerned about liberty as they had once been. Bonaparte was crafty; he pretended that he wanted power in order to safeguard the principles that had been won in the Revolution. He went to Paris, and there, on November 9, 1799, was made First Consul, and the real dictator of France. The country was still a republic in name, but at once the First Consul began to gather all the reins of authority in his own hands.

Under the Directory Lafayette had been an exile, forbidden to enter French territory. But with Napoleon in power conditions changed. Lafayette felt the greatest gratitude to the man who had freed him from Olmutz, he had the deepest admiration for the general who had won so many brilliant victories for France, and he was disposed to believe that Napoleon really intended to secure liberty for the country. When he heard of Napoleon's return from Egypt he wrote to his wife, who was in France at the time, "People jealous of Bonaparte see in me his future opponent; they are right, if he wishes to suppress liberty; but if he have the good sense to promote it, I will suit him in every respect. I do not believe him to be so foolish as to wish to be only a despot."

He also sent a letter to Napoleon, in which he said, "The love of liberty and country would suffice for your arrival to fill me with joy and hope. To this desire for public happiness is joined a lively and profound sentiment for my liberator. Your greetings to the prisoners of Olmutz have been sent to me by her whose life I owe to you. I rejoice in all my obligations to you, citizen-general, and in the happy conviction that to cherish your glory and to wish your success is an act of civism as much as of attachment and gratitude."

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


Friends procured the exile a passport and he returned to Paris. But Bonaparte was not glad to have him come back; the First Consul was in reality no friend of the principles of the Revolution, and he felt that such a man as Lafayette must inevitably oppose him and might even prejudice the people against him. He showed his anger unreservedly when friends told him of Lafayette's arrival, and the friends immediately advised the latter that he had better return to the Netherlands. But Lafayette, having made up his mind to come, would not budge now. "You should be sufficiently acquainted with me," he said to the men who brought him the news from the First Consul, "to know that this imperious and menacing tone would suffice to confirm me in the course which I have taken." And he added, "It would be very amusing for me to be arrested at night by the National Guard of Paris and imprisoned in the Temple the next day by the restorer of the principles of 1789."

Madame Lafayette called on the First Consul, who received her kindly. She pleaded so eloquently for her husband, pointing out his natural desire to be in France, that Napoleon's anger vanished. He said that he regretted Lafayette's return only because it would "retard his progress toward the reestablishment of Lafayette's principles, and would force him to take in sail." "You do not understand me, madame," he continued, "but General Lafayette will understand me; and not having been in the midst of affairs, he will feel that I can judge better than he. I therefore conjure him to avoid all publicity; I leave it to his patriotism." Madame answered that that Lafayette was her husband's wish.

Believing that Lafayette had no desire to oppose him, Napoleon soon restored him to citizenship. Different as the two men were, each admired the strong qualities of the other. The First Consul could appreciate Lafayette's devotion to the cause of liberty, and Lafayette said to Napoleon, "I have but one wish, General,—a free government and you at the head of it."

Napoleon, however, had no real liking for a free government. He had forgotten any belief in liberty that he might have had in the days when he was a poor and obscure lieutenant. He had tasted power, and was already looking forward to the time when he should be not only the most powerful man in France but in the whole world. To do that he must make his countrymen forget their recently won liberties. He must keep Lafayette, the greatest apostle of freedom, in the background, and not allow him to remind the people of his liberal dreams. So Napoleon adopted a policy of silence toward Lafayette. In February, 1800, the celebrated French orator Fontanes delivered a public eulogy on the character of Washington, who had lately died. Napoleon forbade the orator to mention the name of Lafayette in his address, and saw to it that Lafayette was not invited to the ceremony, nor any Americans. The bust of Washington was draped in banners that the First Consul had taken in battle.

Lafayette's son George applied for and was given a commission in one of Napoleon's regiments of hussars. When his name was erased from the list of exiles Lafayette himself was restored to his rank of major-general in the French army; but he did not ask for any command. He went to Lagrange, an estate that his wife had inherited from her mother, and set himself to the work of trying to pay off the debts that had piled up while he was in prison in Austria. Like all the old aristocracy that returned to France after the Revolution he found that most of his property had been taken by the state and now had new owners and that the little that was left was burdened by heavy taxes.

Chavaniac and a few acres near it came into his possession, but there were relatives who needed it as a home more than he did and he let them live there. He himself cultivated the farm at Lagrange, and was able in a few years to pay off his French creditors. But he was still greatly in debt to Gouverneur Morris and other Americans who had helped his wife with money when she had need of it, and these were loans that were difficult to pay.

Lafayette was living quietly on his farm when Napoleon returned with fresh triumphs from Italy. The man who had been a general could not help but admire the great military genius of the First Consul. The latter felt that he had little now to fear from Lafayette, and the relations between the two men became quite friendly. Had they only been able to work together they might have accomplished a great deal for the good of France, but no two men could have been more fundamentally different in their characters and ideals than Lafayette and Napoleon.

Occasionally they discussed their views on government, and Lafayette once said to the First Consul, "I do not ignore the effect of the crimes and follies which have profaned the name of liberty; but the French are, perhaps, more than ever in a state to receive it. It is for you to give it; it is from you that it is expected." Napoleon smiled; he had his own notions about liberty, and he felt himself strong enough to force those notions upon France.

Yet the First Consul did wish for the good opinion and support of Lafayette. It was at his suggestion that certain friends urged the latter to become a Senator. Lafayette felt that, disapproving as he did of some of the policies of the new government, he must decline, and did so, stating his reasons frankly. Then Napoleon's minister Talleyrand offered to send him as the French representative to the United States, but this Lafayette declined also. His political views and the need of cultivating the farm at Lagrange were sufficient to keep him from accepting office.

Lafayette enjoyed his talks with Napoleon, though the latter was often inclined to be domineering. Lord Cornwallis came to Paris in 1802 to conclude the Treaty of Amiens between France and England, and Lafayette met his old opponent at dinner at the house of Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon. The next time Napoleon and Lafayette met the former said, "I warn you that Lord Cornwallis gives out that you are not cured yet."

"Of what?" answered Lafayette. "Is it of loving liberty? What could have disgusted me with it? The extravagances and crimes of the tyranny of the Terror? They only make me hate still more every arbitrary system, and attach me more and more to my principles."

Napoleon said seriously, "I should tell you, General Lafayette, and I see with regret, that by your manner of expressing yourself on the acts of this government you give to its enemies the weight of your name."

"What better can I do?" asked Lafayette. "I live in retirement in the country, I avoid occasions for speaking; but whenever any one comes to ask me whether your system is conformant to my ideas of liberty, I shall answer that it is not; for, General, I certainly wish to be prudent, but I shall not be false."

"What do you mean," said Napoleon, "with your arbitrary system? Yours was not so, I admit; but you had against your adversaries the resource of riots. . . . I observed you carefully. . . . You had to get up riots."

"If you call the national insurrection of July, 1789, a riot," Lafayette answered, "I lay claim to that one; but after that period I wanted no more. I have repressed many; many were gotten up against me; and, since you appeal to my experience regarding them, I shall say that in the course of the Revolution I saw no injustice, no deviation from liberty, which did not injure the Revolution itself."

Napoleon ended the conversation by saying, "After all, I have spoken to you as the head of the government, and in this character I have cause to complain of you; but as an individual, I should be content, for in all that I hear of you, I have recognized that, in spite of your severity toward the acts of the government, there has always been on your part personal goodwill toward myself."

And this in truth expressed Lafayette's attitude toward Napoleon, admiration and friendship for the General, but opposition to the growing love of power of the First Consul.

That love of power soon made itself manifest in Napoleon's election to the new office of "Consul for life." Meantime Lafayette was busy cultivating his farm, work which he greatly enjoyed. And to Lagrange came many distinguished English and American visitors, eager to meet the owner and hear him tell of his adventurous career on two continents.

The United States treated him well. While he was still in prison at Olmutz he was placed on the army list at full pay. Congress voted to him more than eleven thousand acres on the banks of the Ohio, and when the great territory of Louisiana was acquired a tract near the city of New Orleans was set aside for him and he was informed that the government of Louisiana was destined for him. But Madame Lafayette's health had been delicate ever since those trying days in Austria, and that, combined with Lafayette's own feeling that he ought to remain in France, led him to decline the eager invitations that were sent him to settle in America.

Napoleon's star led the Corsican on, farther and farther away from the path that Lafayette hoped he would follow. In May, 1804, the man who was "Consul for life "became the Emperor of France, and seated himself on the most powerful throne in Europe. Lafayette was tremendously disappointed at this step. Again Napoleon's friends made overtures to the General, and the latter's own cousin, the Count de Segur, who had wanted to go with him to America to fight for freedom, and who was now the Grand Master of Ceremonies at the new Emperor's court, wrote to him asking him to become one of the high officers of the Legion of Honor. Lafayette refused the invitation, and from that time the friendship between him and Napoleon ceased. The Emperor had now no use for the lover of liberty, and carried his dislike for the latter so far that Lafayette's son George, though a brave and brilliant officer in the army, was forced to resign his commission.

Napoleon went on and on, his victories over all the armies of Europe dazzling the eyes of his people. Those who had been aristocrats under Louis XVI. and those who had been Jacobins during the Reign of Terror were glad to accept the smallest favors from the all-powerful Emperor. But Lafayette stayed away from Paris and gave all his attention to his farm, which began to prove productive. In his house portraits of his great friends, Washington, Franklin, La Rochefoucauld, Fox, kept fresh the memory of more stirring times.

But France, and even the Emperor, had not forgotten him. Once in an angry speech to his chief councilors about the men who had brought about the French Revolution, Napoleon exclaimed, "Gentlemen, this talk is not aimed at you; I know your devotion to the throne. Everybody in France is corrected. I was thinking of the only man who is not—Lafayette. He has never retreated an inch."

And at another time, when a conspiracy against the life of the Emperor was discovered, Napoleon was inclined to charge Lafayette with having been concerned in it. "Don't be afraid," said Napoleon's brother Joseph. "Wherever there are aristocrats and kings you are certain not to find Lafayette."

Meantime at Lagrange Madame Lafayette fell ill and died in December, 1807. No husband and wife were ever more devoted to each other, and Lafayette expressed his feelings in regard to her in a letter to his friend Maubourg. "During the thirty-four years of a union, in which the love and the elevation, the delicacy and the generosity of her soul charmed, adorned, and honored my days," he wrote, "I was so much accustomed to all that she was to me, that I did not distinguish her from my own existence. Her heart wedded all that interested me. I thought that I loved her and needed her; but it is only in losing her that I can at last clearly see the wreck of me that remains for the rest of my life; for there only remain for me memories of the woman to whom I owed the happiness of every moment, undimmed by any cloud."

Madame Lafayette deserved the tribute. Never for one moment in the course of all the storms of her husband's career had she wavered in her loyal devotion to his ideals and interests. The little girl who had met him first in her father's garden in Paris had stood by him when all her family and friends opposed him, had been his counselor in the days of the French Revolution, and had gone to share his prison in Austria. History rarely says enough about the devoted wives of the great men who have helped the world. No hero ever found greater aid and sympathy when he needed it most than Lafayette had from his wife Adrienne. _

From his home at Lagrange the true patriot of France watched the wonderful course of the Emperor of France. It was a course amazing in its victories. The men who had been an undrilled rabble in the days of the Revolution were now the veterans of the proudest army in Europe. The people did not have much more liberty than they had enjoyed under Louis XVI.; they had exchanged one despotic government for another, but Napoleon fed them on victories, dazzled their vision, swept them off their feet by his long succession of triumphs.

The treaty of Tilsit, made in July, 1807, followed the great victories of Eylau and Friedland, which crushed the power of Prussia and changed Russia into an ally of France. Napoleon's might reached its zenith then. No European nation dared to contest his claim of supremacy. He was the ruler of France, of Northern Italy, of Eastern Germany; he had made Spain a dependency, and placed his brothers on the thrones of Holland, Naples, and Westphalia. For five years his power remained at this height. In 1812 he set out to invade Russia with an army of five hundred thousand men, gathered from half the countries of Europe. He stopped at Dresden, and kings of the oldest lineage, who only held their crowns at his pleasure, came to do homage to the little Corsican soldier who had made himself the most powerful man in the world. Only one country still dared to resist him, England, who held control of the seas, but who was feeling the effect of the commercial war he was waging against her.

But the very size of Napoleon's dominion was a source of weakness. The gigantic power he had built up depended on the life and abilities of one man. No empire can rest for long on such a foundation. When Napoleon left the greater part of the grand army in the wilderness of Russia and hurried back to Paris the first ominous signs of cracks in the foundation of his empire began to appear. France was almost exhausted by his campaigns, but the Emperor needed more triumphs and demanded more men. He won more victories, but his enemies increased. The French people were tired of war; there came a time when they were ready to barter Napoleon for peace. The allied armies that were ranged against him occupied the hills about Paris in March, 1814, and on April fourth of that year the Emperor Napoleon abdicated his throne at Fontainebleau.

The illness of relatives brought Lafayette to Paris at the same time, and seeing the storms that again threatened his country he did what he could to bring order out of confusion. His son and his son-in-law Lasteyrie enlisted in the National Guard, and his other son-in-law, Maubourg, joined the regular army. When the allies entered Paris Lafayette witnessed the downfall of the Empire with mixed emotions. He had never approved of Napoleon, but he knew that he had at least given the country a stable government. And when the allies placed the brother of Lafayette's old friend Louis XVI. on the throne, with the title of Louis XVIII., he hoped that the new king might rule according to a liberal constitution, and hastened to offer his services to that sovereign.

The people, tired of Napoleon's wars, wanting peace now as they had wanted it after the Revolution, agreed passively to the change of rulers. But Louis XVIII., a true Bourbon, soon showed that he had learned nothing from the misfortunes of his family. Lafayette met the Emperor of Russia in Paris, and the latter spoke to him with misgiving of the fact that the Bourbons appeared to be returning as obtuse and illiberal as ever. "Their misfortunes should have corrected them," said Lafayette.

"Corrected!" exclaimed the Emperor. "They are uncorrected and incorrigible. There is only one, the Duke of Orleans, who has any liberal ideas. But from the others expect nothing at all."

Lafayette soon found that was true. The new king proved the saying about his family, that the Bourbons never learned nor forgot. Louis XVIII. was that same Count of Provence whom Lafayette had taken pains to offend at Versailles when he did not want to be attached as a courtier to his staff. The King remembered that incident, and when Lafayette offered to serve him now showed his resentment and anger very plainly.

Seeing that there was nothing he could do in Paris, Lafayette retired again to Lagrange, and there watched the course of events. Napoleon, in exile on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean, was watching too, and he soon saw that France was not satisfied with her new sovereign. Agents brought him word that the people were only waiting for him to overthrow the Bourbon rule, and on March 1, 1815, he landed on the shores of Provence with a few hundred soldiers of his old Guard to reconquer his empire.

He had judged the situation rightly. As he advanced the people rose to greet him, the cities opened their gates, the soldiers sent to oppose him rallied to his standard. As Napoleon neared Paris Louis XVIII. fled across the frontier.

Again Lafayette went to the capital. "I had no faith in the conversion of Napoleon," he said, "and I saw better prospects in the awkward and pusillanimous ill-will of the Bourbons than in the vigorous and profound perversity of their adversary." But he found that the people of Paris wanted Napoleon again, and he heard with hope that the restored Emperor had agreed to a constitution and had established a Senate and a Representative Assembly elected by popular vote. These decisions sounded well, and as a result of them Lafayette allowed himself to be elected a member of the Representative Assembly, or Chamber of Deputies.

The other nations of Europe were furious when they heard of Napoleon's return. They collected their armies again and prepared for a new campaign. Exhausted though France was, the Emperor was able to raise a new army of six hundred thousand men. With these he tried to defeat his enemies, but on the field of Waterloo on June 18, 1814, he was decisively beaten and hurried back to Paris to see what could be done to retrieve defeat.

He found the Chamber of Deputies openly hostile; its members wanted him to abdicate. He held meetings with the representatives, among whom Lafayette now held a chief place. At last the Assembly gave Napoleon an hour in which to abdicate the throne. Finally he agreed to abdicate in favor of his son. The Assembly did not want the young Napoleon as Emperor, and decided instead on a government by a commission of five men. Napoleon's hour was over, his star had set; he was sent a prisoner to the far-distant island of St. Helena to end his days.

Lafayette wanted to see the new government adopt the ideas he had had in mind when France had first wrung a constitution from Louis XVI., and would have liked to serve on the commission that had charge of the country. Instead he was sent to make terms of peace with the allied armies that had been fighting Napoleon. And while he was away on this business the commission in Paris was dickering behind his back to restore Louis XVIII. The allies had taken possession of the French capital with their soldiers, the white flag of the Bourbons was everywhere replacing the tricolor of the Empire, and when Lafayette returned he found the King again upon his throne. Lafayette was disgusted with what he considered the folly and selfishness of the rulers of his country; he protested against the return of the old autocratic Bourbons, but the people were now more than ever eager for peace and harmony and accepted meekly whomever their leaders gave them.

Louis XVIII. was a weak, despotic ruler; the members of his house were equally narrow-minded and overbearing. Lafayette opposed their government in every way he could. In 1819 he was elected a member of the new Assembly, and for four years as a deputy he fought against the encroachments of the royal power. He took part in a conspiracy to overthrow the King, and when his friends cautioned him that he was risking his life and his property he answered, "Bah! I have already lived a long time, and it seems to me that I would worthily crown my political career by dying on a scaffold in the cause of liberty."

That conspiracy failed, and although Lafayette was known to have been connected with the plot, neither the King nor his ministers dared to imprison him or even to call him to account. A year later he joined with other conspirators against the Bourbons, but again the plans failed through blunders. The Chamber of Deputies attempted to investigate the affair, but Lafayette so boldly challenged a public comparison of his own and the government's course that the royalists shrank from pursuing the matter further. They knew what the people thought of their champion and did not dare to lay a hand upon him.

He retired from public life after this second conspiracy and went to live with his children and grandchildren at his country home of Lagrange. From there he wrote often to Thomas Jefferson and his other friends in the United States. If the Revolution in France had failed to bring about that republic he dreamed of the struggle in America had at least borne good fruits. More and more he thought of the young nation across the sea, in the birth of which he had played a great part, and more and more he wished to visit it again. So when he was invited by President Monroe in 1824 he gladly accepted, and for the fourth time set out across the Atlantic.

The United States Welcomes the Hero

The first half century of American independence was drawing near, and the Congress of the United States, mindful of the days when Lafayette had offered his sword in defense of liberty, voted unanimously that President Monroe be requested to invite the General to visit America as the guest of the nation. President Monroe joyfully acted as Congress requested, and placed at Lafayette's service an American war-ship. The Frenchman, now sixty-seven years old, was eager to accept, but he declined the use of the war-ship, and sailed instead, with his son George Washington Lafayette and his private secretary on the American merchantman Cadmus, leaving Havre on July 13, 1824.

As he sailed out of Havre the American ships in the harbor ran up their flags in his honor and fired their guns in salute, an intimation of the welcome that was awaiting him on the other side of the Atlantic. The Cadmus reached Staten Island on August fifteenth, and the guest landed in the midst of cheering throngs. Most of the men who had taken part with him in the birth of the country had now passed off the scene, and to Americans Lafayette was a tradition, one of the few survivors of the nation's early days of strife and triumph. He was no longer the slim and eager boy of 1777; he was now a large, stout man, slightly lame, but his smile was still the same, and so was the delight with which he greeted the people.

The United States had grown prodigiously in the interval between this visit and his last. Instead of thirteen separate colonies there were now twenty-four United States. The population had increased from three to twelve millions. What had been wilderness was now ripe farmland; backwoods settlements had grown into flourishing towns built around the church and the schoolhouse. Agriculture and commerce were thriving everywhere, and everywhere Lafayette saw signs of the wisdom, honesty, and self-control which had established a government under which men could live in freedom and happiness.

His visit carried him far and wide through the United States. From New York he went by way of New Haven and Providence to Boston, from there to Portsmouth by the old colonial road through Salem, Ipswich, and Newburyport. From there he returned to New York by Lexington, Worcester, Hartford, and the Connecticut River. The steamer James Kent took him to the old familiar scenes on the banks of the Hudson, reminding him of the day when he and Washington had ridden to the house of Benedict Arnold.

Starting again from New York he traveled through New Jersey to Philadelphia, the scene of the stirring events of his first visit, and thence to Baltimore and Washington. He went to Mount Vernon, Yorktown, Norfolk, Monticello, Raleigh, Charleston, and Savannah. In the spring of 1825 he was at New Orleans, and from there he ascended the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, sailed up Lake Erie, saw the Falls of Niagara, went through Albany and as far north as Portland, Maine. Returning by Lake Champlain he reached New York in time for the great celebration of the Fourth of July in 1825. He had made a very comprehensive tour of the United States.

The whole of this long journey was one triumphal progress. He constantly drove through arches bearing the words "Welcome, Lafayette!" Every house where he stopped became a Mecca for admiring crowds. The country had never welcomed any man as it did the gallant Frenchman. Balls, receptions, dinners, speeches, gifts of every kind were thrust upon him; and the leading men of the republic were constantly by his side.

He was present at the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument and heard the great oration of Daniel Webster. "Fortunate, fortunate man!" exclaimed the orator turning toward Lafayette. "With what measure of devotion will you not thank God for the circumstances of your extraordinary life! You are connected with both hemispheres and with two generations. Heaven saw fit to ordain that the electric spark of liberty should be conducted, through you, from the New World to the Old; and we, who are now here to perform this duty of patriotism, have all of us long ago received it from our fathers to cherish your name and your virtues. You now behold the field, the renown of which reached you in the heart of France and caused a thrill in your ardent bosom. You see the lines of the little redoubt, thrown up by the incredible diligence of Prescott, defended to the last extremity by his lion-hearted valor, and within which the corner-stone of our monument has now taken its position. You see where Warren fell, and where Parker, Gardner, M'Cleary, Moore, and other early patriots fell with him. Those who survived that day, and whose lives have been prolonged to the present hour, are now around you. Some of them you have known in the trying scenes of the war. Behold, they now stretch forth their feeble arms to embrace you! Behold, they raise their trembling voices to invoke the blessing of God on you and yours forever!"

The welcome he received in New York and New England was equaled by that of Philadelphia and Baltimore and the South. At Charleston Colonel Huger, the devoted friend who had tried to rescue Lafayette from his Olmutz prison, was joined with him in demonstrations of the people's regard. A great military celebration was given in Lafayette's honor at Yorktown, and in the course of it a box of candles was found which had formed part of the stores of Lord Cornwallis, and the candles were used to furnish the light for the evening's entertainment.

Lafayette first went to Washington in October, 1824. He was met by twenty-five young girls dressed in white and a military escort. After a short reception at the Capitol he was driven to the White House. There President Monroe, the members of his cabinet, and officers of the army and navy were gathered to receive him. As the guest of the nation entered, all rose, and the President advanced and welcomed him in the name of the United States. Lafayette stayed in Washington several days and then went to make some visits in the neighborhood.

During his absence Congress met and received a message from the President which set forth Lafayette's past services to the country, the great enthusiasm with which the people had welcomed him, and recommended that a gift should be made him which should be worthy of the character and greatness of the American nation. Senator Hayne described how the rights and pay belonging to his rank in the army had never been claimed by Lafayette and how the land that had been given him in 1803 had afterward through a mistake been granted to the city of New Orleans. Then Congress unanimously passed a bill directing the treasurer of the United States to pay to General Lafayette, as a recognition of services that could never be sufficiently recognized or appreciated, the sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

When he returned to Washington he went to the Capitol, where Congress received him in state, every member springing to his feet in welcome to the nation's guest. Henry Clay, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, held out his hand to the gallant Frenchman. "The vain wish has been sometimes indulged," said Henry Clay to Lafayette, "that Providence would allow the patriot, after death, to return to his country and to contemplate the immediate changes which had taken place; to view the forests felled, the cities built, the mountains leveled, the canals cut, the highways constructed, the progress of the arts, the advancement of learning, and the increase of population. General, your present visit to the United States is a realization of the consoling object of that wish. You are in the midst of posterity. Everywhere you must have been struck with the great changes, physical and moral, which have occurred since you left us. Even this very city, bearing a venerated name, alike endeared to you and to us, has since emerged from the forest which then covered its site. In one respect you behold us unaltered, and this is the sentiment of continued devotion to liberty, and of ardent affection and profound gratitude to your departed friend, the Father of his Country, and to you, and to your illustrious associates in the field and in the Cabinet, for the multiplied blessings which surround us, and for the very privilege of addressing you which I now exercise. This sentiment, now fondly cherished by more than ten millions of people, will be transmitted with unabated vigor down the tide of time, through the countless millions who are destined to inhabit this continent to the latest posterity."

Henry Clay was a great prophet as well as a great orator. We know now how the affection of the United States for Lafayette has grown and grown during the century in which the republic has stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific and its people increased from ten millions to more than a hundred millions.

In his journey through the country Lafayette passed through thousands of miles of wilderness and had several opportunities to renew his old acquaintance with the Indians. He had won their friendship during the Revolution by his sympathy for all men. Now he found that they had not forgotten the young chief whom they had called Kayoula. A girl of the Southern Creeks showed him a paper she had kept as a relic which turned out to be a letter of thanks written to her father by Lafayette forty-five years before. In western New York he met the famous chief Red Jacket, who reminded him that it was he who had argued the cause of the Indians at the council at Fort Schuyler in 1784. Lafayette remembered, and it delighted him greatly that the Indians were as eager to greet him as their white brothers.

Only one mishap occurred during the many journeys which might easily have proved full of perils. While ascending the Ohio River on his way to Louisville his steamer struck on a snag on a dark and rainy night. The boat immediately began to fill. Lafayette was hurried into a small boat and rowed ashore, in spite of his protests that he would not leave the steamer until he secured a snuff-box that Washington had given him. His secretary went below and got the snuff-box and his son George saved some other articles of value. All the party were safely landed, but they had to spend some hours on the river-bank with no protection from the rain and only a few crackers to eat. The next morning a freight steamer took them off and they proceeded on their journey.

[Illustration] from Lafayette for Young Americans by Rupert Holland


When he was in Washington Lafayette made a visit to Mount Vernon, and spent some time in the beautiful house and grounds where he had once walked with the man whose friendship had been so dear to him. Like Washington, almost all the men of the Revolution had departed. The Frenchman found few of the soldiers and statesmen he had known then. One, however, Colonel Nicholas Fish, who had been with him at the storming of the redoubt at Yorktown, welcomed him in New York and went with him up the Hudson. "Nick," said Lafayette, pointing out a certain height to Colonel Fish, "do you remember when we used to ride down that hill with the Newburgh girls on an ox-sled?" Many places along the Hudson served to remind him of incidents of the time when Washington had made his headquarters there.

In New York the Frenchman visited the widow of General Montgomery and Mrs. Alexander Hamilton. He found some old friends in Philadelphia and Baltimore. In Boston he saw again the venerable John Adams, who had been the second President of the country. He went to Thomas Jefferson's home of Monticello in Virginia, and passed some days with the man whom he revered almost as much as he did Washington. With Jefferson he talked over the lessons that were to be learned from the French Revolution and the career of Napoleon. And he met foreigners in the United States who called to mind the recent eventful days in his own land. He visited Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, at Bordentown in New Jersey. At Baltimore he found Dubois Martin, the man who as secretary to the Duke de Broglie had helped Lafayette to secure the ship in which he had first sailed to America. And at Savannah he discovered Achille Murat, the son of Joachim, the ex-king of Naples, one of the men Napoleon had placed upon a temporary throne, and learned that Murat was now cultivating an orange-orchard in Florida.

A man named Haguy came one hundred and fifty miles to see the General, and proved to be one of the sailors who had crossed on the Victory with him and had later fought under him in the Continental Army. Here and there he found veterans of his campaign in Virginia, and Lafayette was as glad to see his old soldiers as they were to welcome him.

Before he left for Europe John Quincy Adams, the son of the second President, was elected to succeed Monroe. The new President invited Lafayette to dine at the white House in company with the three ex-Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, all of them old and trusted friends of the Frenchman. What a dinner that must have been, with five such men at the table!

Perhaps the thing that delighted him most in America was the self-reliant independence that marked the people everywhere. This type of democracy was most inspiring to a man who had seen the constant turmoil and bickerings of the Revolution and Napoleonic era in France. America was young and her citizens were too busy developing their country to pay much attention to class distinctions or the social ambitions that were so prominent in Europe. They felt quite able to run their government to suit themselves, and it seemed to Lafayette that they were working out their problems in a most satisfactory manner.

In 1824 he witnessed a Presidential election with four candidates, Adams, Jackson, Clay, and Crawford. Party feelings ran high, and there was great excitement. But when the election was over the people settled down to their work again in remarkable harmony and the government continued its course serenely. This Lafayette, with his knowledge of other countries, regarded as evidence of a most unusual genius for self-control in the American nation.

All parties, all classes of men, praised and venerated him as they praised and venerated the founders of their republic. His tour was a tremendous popular success, the greatest reception ever given to a guest by the United States. It must have made up to him for the many disappointments of his career in France. And when he sailed for home he knew that the country to which he had given all he had in youth would never cease to love and honor him.

President John Quincy Adams at the White House, standing beside Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, said to Lafayette, "You are ours, sir, by that unshaken sentiment of gratitude for your services which is a precious portion of our inheritance; ours by that tie of love, stronger than death, which has linked your name for the endless ages of time with the name of Washington. At the painful moment of parting with you we take comfort in the thought that, wherever you may be, to the last pulsation of your heart, our country will ever be present to your affections. And a cheering consolation assures us that we are not called to sorrow, most of all that we shall see your face no more, for we shall indulge the pleasing anticipation of beholding our friend again. In the name of the whole people of the United States, I bid you a reluctant and affectionate farewell."

An American frigate, named the Brandywine, in compliment to Lafayette's first blow for liberty in America, carried the guest of the nation back to France. And the memory of that visit, and of what it stood for, has been kept green in American history ever since.

The Lover of Liberty

The frigate Brandywine reached Havre on October 5, 1825. The French people had heard of the wonderful reception given Lafayette by the United States and now they, in their turn, wanted to welcome the returning hero of liberty. But the Bourbon king who sat on the throne of France and the royalists disliked Lafayette so much that they did their best to prevent the people from greeting him. It was only after a long discussion that the forts of the harbor at Havre were permitted to return the salute of the Brandywine, and at Rouen, while citizens were serenading their hero beneath the windows of the house where he was staying, officials of the government ordered a troop of soldiers to charge upon the crowd and disperse it with drawn swords. The people, however, insisted on honoring their famous fellow-countryman. They, as well as the Bourbon king, saw in him the patriot and champion of independence. Louis XVIII. had been succeeded on the throne by his brother, Charles X., and the latter said of Lafayette, "There is a man who never changes." And the people knew this, and honored the General for his lifelong devotion to their cause.

He went back to his quiet family life at Lagrange. Prominent statesmen came to hint for advice, but be rarely went to Paris. The nobility had been restored to their ancient social standing, and Lafayette was urged to resume his title of marquis. He refused to do this, however, and the refusal embittered the royalists even more against him. The Bourbon government feared his influence in 1825, ,just as the aristocrats had feared it in 1785, the Jacobins in 1795, and Napoleon in 1805.

Yet Charles X. could not always conceal the fact that he had a strong personal liking for the old republican. One day in 1829 the newspapers announced that Lafayette was ill. The King met several members of the Chamber of Deputies. "Have you any news of Monsieur de Lafayette?" asked King Charles. "How is he?"

"Much better, sire," answered a deputy.

"Ah! I am very glad of it!" said the King. "That is a man whom I like much, and who has rendered services to our family that I do not forget. We have always encountered each other, although moving in opposite directions; we were born in the same year; we learned to ride on horseback together at the Versailles riding-school, and he belonged to my bureau in the Assembly of the Notables. I take a great deal of interest in him."

King Charles and his friends, however, paid no attention to the new spirit that was awake in France. The people had won a constitution, but the King tried to limit it as far as he could and to override it in some ways. He roused the resentment of the country by trying to bring back the old extravagance of his ancestors, and he even dared to attempt to intimidate the Chamber of Deputies. In 1829 he dissolved the National Assembly and appointed as ministers men who had won the hatred of the nation for their autocratic views. The gauntlet was thrown down between king and people, and the latter were not slow to pick it up.

At this time Lafayette happened to be traveling to Chavaniac, where his son now lived. He was greeted at every town with the usual marks of respect. At Puy he was given a public dinner, and toasts were drunk to "The charter, to the Chamber of Deputies, the hope of France!" When he reached the city of Grenoble he was met by a troop of horsemen, who escorted him to the gates. There citizens presented him with a crown of oak leaves made of silver "as a testimony of the gratitude of the people, and as an emblem of the strength with which the inhabitants of Grenoble, following his example, will sustain their rights and the constitution."

All along his route he was greeted with cheers and expressions that showed the people looked to him to protect their rights. At Lyons a speaker protested against the recent unlawful acts of the King and spoke of the situation as critical. "I should qualify as critical the present moment," Lafayette replied, "if I had not recognized everywhere on my journey, and if I did not perceive in this powerful city, the calm and even scornful firmness of a great people which knows its rights, feels its strength, and will be faithful to its duties."

Through the winter of 1829-30 the hostile attitude of Charles X. to his people continued. The new Chamber of Deputies was rebellious, and again the King dissolved it and ordered fresh elections. The country elected new deputies who were even more opposed to the King than the former ones had been. Then King Charles, urged on by his ministers, resolved to take a decisive step, to issue four edicts revoking the liberty of the press and taking from the deputies their legal powers. "Gentlemen," said the King to his ministers as he signed the edicts, "these are grave measures. You can count upon me as I count upon you. Between us, this is now a matter of life and death."

The King had virtually declared war on the country. The country answered by taking up arms. The royal troops in Paris, moving to take control of important points in the city, were met by armed citizens who fought them in the streets. Marmont, head of the King's military household, sent word to Charles, "It is no longer a riot, it is a revolution. It is urgent that your Majesty should adopt measures of pacification. The honor of the crown may yet be saved; to-morrow perhaps it will be too late."

King Charles paid no heed. The citizens defeated the royal troops, and in a few days had them besieged in their headquarters. Then the deputies turned to Lafayette and urged him to accept the position of commander of the National Guard, the same position he had held many years before. "I am invited," he answered, "to undertake the organization of the defense. It would be strange and even improper, especially for those who have given former pledges of devotion to the national cause, to refuse to answer the appeals addressed to them. Instructions and orders are demanded from me on all sides. My replies are awaited. Do you believe that in the presence of the dangers which threaten us immobility suits my past and present life? No! My conduct at seventy-three years of age shall be what it was at thirty-two."

Lafayette took command of the Guards and quickly had the city of Paris in his possession. Only then did King Charles, fearing alike for his crown and his life now, consent to sign a new ordinance revoking his former edicts. Commissioners brought the ordinance of the King to Lafayette at the Hotel de Ville. "It is too late now," Lafayette declared. "We have revoked the ordinances ourselves. Charles X. has ceased to reign."

The question now was as to the new form of government for the country. The people still remembered the days of the Reign of Terror and were not ready for a real republic. The Duke of Orleans, who had opposed King Charles, was very popular, and it was decided to appoint him lieutenant-general of the nation. The people would have liked to have Lafayette as their governor. The French captain of the ship that carried the fugitive Charles X. away from France, said to the ex-King, "If Lafayette, during the recent events, had desired the crown, he could have obtained it. I myself was a witness to the enthusiasm that the sight of him inspired among the people."

But Lafayette did not want the crown, nor even to be the constitutional head of the nation. It seemed to him best that the Duke of Orleans should receive the crown, not as an inheritance, but as a free gift of the people accompanied by proper limitations. So he took steps to have the country accept the Duke as its new ruler.

The people of France had at last become an important factor in deciding on their own form of government. The Duke of Orleans, better known as Louis Philippe, did not seize the crown, as earlier kings had done; he waited until the Chamber of Deputies and Lafayette, representing the nation, offered it to him, and then he accepted it as a republican prince. The deputies marched with the Duke to the Hotel de Ville, and as they went through the streets there were more shouts of "Vive la liberté!"  than there were of "Vive le Duc d'Orleans!"  Liberty meant far more to the people now than a king did, and Prince Louis Philippe knew it. As he went up the stairs of the Hotel de Ville he said conciliatingly to the armed men among whom he passed, "You see a former National Guard of 1789, who has come to visit his old general."

Lafayette had always wanted a constitutional monarchy for France; he knew Louis Philippe well, being allied to him through marriage with the Noailles family, and he believed that the Duke would make a capable ruler, his authority being limited by the will of the people. So when Louis Philippe came to him at the Hotel de Ville Lafayette placed a tricolored flag in the Duke's hand, and leading him to a window, embraced him in full sight of the great throng in the street. The people had been undecided; they did not altogether trust any royal prince; but when they saw Lafayette's act, they immediately followed his lead, and cheers for the constitution and the Duke greeted the men at the window.

Lafayette had given France her new ruler, declining the crown for himself, even as Washington had done in the United States. He made it clear to the new king that he expected him to rule according to the laws. He said to Louis Philippe, "You know that I am a republican and that I regard the Constitution of the United States as the most perfect that has ever existed."

"I think as you do," answered Louis Philippe. "It is impossible to have passed two years in America and not to be of that opinion. But do you believe that in the present situation of France and in accordance with general opinion that it would be proper to adopt it?"

"No," said Lafayette; "what the French people want to-day is a popular throne surrounded by republican institutions."

"Such is my belief," Louis Philippe agreed.

Charles X. had fled from his kingdom before Lafayette and the people even as his brother Louis XVIII. had once fled from it before Napoleon and the people. On August 9, 1830, the Duke of Orleans entered the Palais Bourbon, where the Chambers were assembled, as lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and left it as Louis Philippe, King of the French. The constitution which he had sworn to obey was not, like former charters, a favor granted by the throne, but was the organic law of the land, to the keeping of which the sovereign was as much bound as the humblest of his subjects. Lafayette and the people had at last won a great victory for independence after all the ups and downs of the Revolution and the days of Napoleon.

As Lafayette marched his reorganized National Guard, thirty thousand strong, in review before the King, it was clear that the General was the most popular, as well as the most powerful, man in France. And at the public dinner that the city of Paris gave him on August fifteenth, when he congratulated his fellow-citizens on the success and valor with which they had defended their liberties and besought them to preserve the fruits of victory by union and order, he could justly feel that a life devoted to the cause of freedom had not been spent in vain.

The coming years were to show that the people of France had much yet to learn about self-government, but when one contrasts the results of the revolution of 1830 with that of 1789 one sees how far they had progressed in knowledge.

Lafayette's presence was needed at Louis Philippe's court to act as a buffer between the sovereign and the people, and again and again he saw revealed the truth of the old adage, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Presently a revolution in Belgium left the throne of that country vacant and it was offered to Lafayette. "What would I do with a crown!" he exclaimed. "Why, it would suit me about as much as a ring would become a cat!"

The duties of his office as Commander of the National Guard, the tact that was constantly required of him as intermediary between the people and the royal court began to wear upon him, and he soon resigned his position as Commander. Then, as a member of the Chamber of Deputies, he continued his political labors. In time he saw many incidents that pointed in the direction of new aggressions on the part of the King, and he even came to believe that the fight for liberty was not yet won and never would be so long as a Bourbon occupied the throne of France. But he wanted the desired end to be reached by peaceful means, constantly preached loyalty to the government they had founded as the chief duty of the nation, and when, in 1832, a new revolution seemed imminent he would have no part in it and by his indignant words quickly brought the attempt to an end. He was now seventy-seven years old and great-grandchildren played about his knees at his home at Lagrange.

His work for France and for America and for the world was done. In the spring of 1834 he caught a severe cold, which sapped his strength. On May twentieth of that year he died, having worked almost to the last on problems of government. As his funeral wound through the streets of Paris to the little cemetery of Picpus, in the center of the city, a great throng followed. On that day church-bells tolled in France, Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, and England. All nations that loved liberty honored the great apostle of it. In the United States the government and the army and navy paid to Lafayette's memory the same honors they had given to Washington, the Congress of the United States went into mourning for thirty days and most of the people of the nation followed its example. America vowed never to forget the French hero; and America never has.

Men have sometimes said that Lafayette's enthusiasm was too impulsive, his confidence in others too undiscriminating, his goal too far beyond the reach of his times; but these were the marks of his own sincere and ardent nature. He was remarkably consistent in all the sudden shiftings of an age full of changes. Other men had sought favor of the Jacobins, of Napoleon, and of Louis XVIII. as each came into power; but Lafayette never did. All men knew where he stood. As Charles X. said of him, "There is a man who never changes." He stood fast to his principles, and by standing fast to them saw them ultimately succeed.

He was a man who made and held strong friends. Washington, Jefferson, and Fox loved him as they loved few others. Napoleon and Charles X. could not resist the personal attraction of this man whom neither could bribe and whom both feared. Honesty was the keynote of his character, and with it went a simplicity and generosity that drew the admiration of enemies as well as of friends.

He had done a great deal for France, he had done as much for the United States. He was a man of two countries and two revolutions; and never once, throughout the difficult course of events in which he played a leading part, did he swerve from his high ideal of liberty. The world loves a knight-errant, and such was this boy of Chavaniac, this brother-in-arms of Washington, this commander of the National Guard of France, this patriot who suffered imprisonment and exile, this friend of the Rights of Man. The United States took Lafayette as one of its heroes early in its career; it has cherished him ever since; his love of liberty has been a bond that has united two great nations in friendship and admiration. He was the great apostle of freedom and justice, one of the truest servants of men in the annals of history.