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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 22, 1929, Image 88

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City Was Nation s Host to Lafavette
J J
BY JOHN CLAGETT PROCTOR.
jg S the writer has said upon several occa
j /§ sions, and is likely to say upon many
/ YJ more occasions, he knows of no other
/ t place in this country that breathes a
greater variety of really interesting,
patriotic, national history than does the city
of Washington. Indeed, it seems that every
street and avenue and every nook and corner
contains a good story of some national event or
of some national or international character who
lived here, who made this city his temporary
home or perhaps who just made it a visit, as
have ever so many foreign dignitaries during
the 129 years this city has been the seat of
government.
Only in the last decade have our allies in the
great World War sent to our shores and our city
their most noted statesmen and soldiers. Prance,
Its Marshal Poch, the supreme commander of
the allied armies; Marshal JofTre and, just
seven years ago—on December 4 —that wonder
ful man-of-the-hour and statesman, Georges
Clemenceau, who died only recently, but who
will live in the hearts of his countrymen for
generations to come.
Os the visits made here by these distinguished
foreigners you are no doubt quite familiar,
but how insignificant we find them to have been
when compared with the visit made here in
1824-25 by that most beloved of all Frenchmen,
Gen. Lafayette—Marie Jean Paul Roch Yres Gil
bert Motier, Marquis de Lafayette—to give him
bis full name and title. Indeed, no visitor to
these United States of ours has ever been re
ceived and entertained so fully, completely,
affectionately and sincerely as was upon that
occasion this great patriot and soldier, who left
behind him a young and devoted wife—whom
he had married when he was but 16—a baby
son, and even the comforts of royalty, to cast
his lot with the struggling Colonies in their
war for independence and American liberty.
I k\7HEN Lafayette first came to this country
• he was but 20 years of age and when he
returned the second time, in 1824. he was an
old man with but 10 more years to live." His
career in France was every bit as notable as
It proved to be in our country—ever fighting
for the rights of the people; ever ready to par
take of the bitter with the sweet for the sake
of humanity. No wonder Lafayette was ac
corded a welcome here such as has never been
given any person since.
Eighteen hundred and twenty-four was the
last year of the administration of President
James Monroe, for he was to retire on the fol
lowing March 4. He was very desirous of having
Lafayette visit this country before his term
expired and had written the general several
letters upon the subject, the last invitation
being of such a cordial and pressing character
that it could not easily be declined. Here is the
President's letter:
Washington City.
February 24th, 1824.
My Dear General:
I wrote you a letter about 15 days
since, by Mr. Brown, in which I expressed
the wish to send to any port in France
you should point out a frigate to convey
you hither, in case you should be able to
visit the United States. Since then Con
gress has passed a resolution on this sub
ject, in which the sincere attachment of
the whole Nation to you is expressed,
whose ardent desire is once more to see
you amongst them. The period at which
you may yield to this invitation is left
entirely at your option, but believe me,
whatever may be your decision, it will
be sufficient that you should have the
- goodness to inform me of it, and imme
. diate orders will be given for a Govern
. ment vessel to proceed to any port you
will indicate and convey you thence to
. the adopted country of your early youth,
- which has always preserved the most
grateful recollection of your important
- services. I send you herewith the resolu
tion of Congress, and add thereto the
assurance of my high consideration and
. of my sentiments of affection.
< JAMES MONROE.
Though accepting the invitation, yet Lafay
ette declined the offer of Congress to send a
frigate to convey him across the Atlantic; pre
ferring to come here at his own expense.
o n July 13, 1824, he embarked at Havre for
this country in the American merchant
ship Cadmus. Capt. Francis Allyn command
ing, accompanied by his only son, George
Washington Lafayette, and his private secretary.
Col. A. Levasseur. The Cadmus reached New
York on August 15 and on the following day he
Was officially received. From that time on until
he left our shores for France he was lavishly
entertained everywhere he went—and he went
everywhere.
. At Baltimore Lafayette went first ashore at
Fort McHenry, where he was soon taken to the
tent used by Gen. Washington during the War
of the American Revolution. Here he was pre
sented by Gov. Stevens to the venerable Col.
Howard, president of the Cincinnati of Mary
land, who addressed him with great emotion,
saying:
General; The few of your brother sol
diers of Maryland who remain after a
lapse of 40 years and the sons of some of
THE SUNDAY STAR. WASHINGTON, T>. C., DECEMBER 22. 1029.
Great Frenchman, Who Returned to America
Many Years After Revolution, Was
Greeted Here With Enthusiasm Seldom
Aroused in City of Washington.
Marquis tie Lafayette ( Marie-Paul-Joseph-Y ves-Gilberl-Mottier ), as he uppeared
■ when he visited Washington in 1824 prittr so his appointment as commander
in-chief of the Gardes Rationales de Prance.
those who are now no more are assembled
in the tent of Washington to greet you on
your visit to the United States and to
assure you of their affectionate and sin
cere regard. This tent will call to your
recollection many interesting incidents
which occurred when you were associated
in arms with Washington, the patriot or
soldier, the savior of his country, the
friend of your youth. * * *
In his reply Gen. Lafayette said:
The pleasure to recognize my beloved
companions in arms; the sound of names
whose memory is dear to me; this meet
ing under the consecrated tent where
we so often have pressed around our
paternal commander -in - chief, excite
emotions which your sympathizing hearts
will better feel than I can express.
On one side of the tent was mounted a French
cannon and on the other side an American
cannon, both of which were used in the siege
of Yorktown.
This same tent was used a few days later in
the exercises in this city outside the Capitol,
under which Lafayette walked upon leaving the
rotunda of that building, and as it has been in
the National Museum since 1883, having been
transferred there from the Patent Office. It
might be interesting to say that it was taken
to many places south of Baltimore visited by
Lafayette during his extended visit.
A WASHINGTON news item at the. time
tells us:
“The venerable tent of Washington will be
embarked from this District to form a part of
the military equipage of Gen. Lafayette on his
expedition to Yorktown, where it will be pitched
during the festival, and within its ancient walls
and impressed with its great and heroic recol
lections, the last of the generals of the Army of
Independence will hold military levee. After
the fete the pretorium will be consigned to the
Cincinnati of Virginia to be used by them at the
Capitol of the State. In the Spring it will be
forwarded to the Hon. Charles Cotesworth
Pinckney of South Carolina, the immediate suc
cussor of Washington as president general of
the Cincinnati of the United States.
“We are informed that Mr. Custis, the owner
of this venerable relic, will accompany Gen.
Lafayette to Yorktown as a part of his family
suite.”
George Washington Parke Custis tells us:
“The marquees were made on Third street,
Philadelphia, under the direction of Capt.
Moulder of the Artillery, and were first pitched
on Ur- Heights of Dorchester in August. 1775.“
Regarding the tents generally, Mr. Custis also
says:
"The headquarters were under canvas during
the siege and after the surrender of Yorktown.
The marquees of the commander-in-chief were
pitched In the rear of the grand battery, just
out of the range of the enemy’s shells. There
were two marquees attached to the headquar
ters during all the campaigns. The larger, or
banqueting tent, would contain from 40 to 50
persons; the smaller, or sleeping tent, had an
inner chamber, where, on a hard cot-bed, the
chief reposed. There is a most interesting
reminiscence attached to the sleeping tent. The
headquarters, even during the Summer season,
were located, in a great majority of instances,
in private dwellings, the sleeping tent being
pitched in the yard or very near at hand.
Within its venerable folds Washington was in
the habit of seeking privacy and seclusion,
where he could commune with himself and
' where he wrote the most memorable of his dis
patches in the Revolutionary War. He would
remain in the retirement of the sleeping tent
sometimes for hours, giving orders to the officers
of his guard that he should on no account be
disturbed save on the arrival of an important
express. The objects of his seclusion being ac
complished, the chief would appear at the can
vas door of the marquee with dispatches in his
hand, giving which to his secretary to copy and
transmit, he would either mount his charger
for a tour of inspection or return to the head
quarters and enjoy social converse with his
officers."
r J'HE visit of Lafayette to the District of Co
lumbia was looked forward to with keen in
terest and pleasure, as may be judged from what
the Intelligencer tells us in its issue of October
12. the day he was escorted into the city.
“Let this day,” it says, “on which we are to
receive in the Capitol the guest of the American
people, be secured to harmony, gratitude and
universal pleasure. Never was there on any
occasion a more emphatically spontaneous
popular movement than that which the visit of
Gen. Lafayette has produced. There is nothing
in history which can compare with it. All
hearts are moved by the same impulse; there is
but one mind among a people of 10,000,000.
“It is needless for us to offer to the welcome
guest the expression of our feelings on this
occasion. They are in full accord with those of
the whole country.”
The country had its poets then Just as it has
today, except that since the country is now.
about 12 times as large it' almost necessarily
follows that we have now fully 12 times as many*
poets as we had in 1824, when Grenville Mellon
wrote a 10-verse poem dedicated to the visitor,'
the first verse of which ran;
“Chief of the mighty heart! all hail!
How are thou wafted on?
Loud Freedom thundering on the gale
A Nation's choral song!
Oh! It is well to such as thee.
Our world should bend its iron knee,
To whom its thanks belong;
. What nobler homage hath it known
Than when it bows to worth alone.”
Continuing the Intelligencer says;
“The arrangements for the reception of Gen.
Lafayette remain unchanged. He arrived at
Rossburg last night from Baltimore and passed
the night there. He will pass the District line'
about 10 o'clock and will reach the Capitol, we
presume, between 11 and 12 o’clock. After be
ing there received with due honor by the city
authorities he will be conducted by them to the
residence of the President, from whom his re
ception will be as cordial as that which he has
received from any es his fellow citizens.”
1) BOARDING his arrival in this city we aij
told:
“Gen. Lafayette arrived in the city of Wash
ington, according to previous arrangements,
about 1 o'clock on Tuesday. He left Baltimore
on the afternoon of Monday, with his son and '
secretary, accompanied by a part of the Balti
more committee of arrangements. Col. Dicker
son and Col. Lloyd, the aides of the Governor of
Maryland, and escorted by Capt. Hollingsworth’s
handsome cavalry company of grays from Elk
Ridge. Fourteen or fifteen miles from Balti
more. at 8 o'clock in the evening, they were
met by the first Bladensburg troop of cav
alry, commanded by Capt. Sprigg (late governor
of the State of Maryland), and the general and
suite were escorted by this fine company (the
Elk Ridge troop having taken leave) to'Ross
burg, which place they reached about 10 o’clock
at night, having been joined at Vansvllle by
Capt. Snowdon’s company of riflemen mounted.
The general lodged at Rossburg Hotel, where
preparations had been made for his comfortable
accommodation.
“About 9 o’clock on Tuesday morning the
general and suite left Rossburg, escorted as be
fore, with the addition of Capt. Clark's company
of Prince Georges riflemen, also mounted, and
proceeded to the District of Columbia, at the
line of which he was met by the committee of
arrangements from the city of Washington and
a number of Revolutionary officers, escorted by
Capt. Andrews’ handsome troop of city cavalry
and Capt. Dunlop's company of Montgomery
cavalry. Here the committee of arrangements
from Baltimore took leave and returned home
ward. The meeting of the general with fits

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