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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 22, 1929, Image 89

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1929-12-22/ed-1/seq-89/

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Revolutionary compatriots and with the com
mittee was affectionate and impressive in the
extreme. After many embraces werfc exchanged
the general was transferred to the elegant
landau provided by the city for his use, drawn
by four fine grays, in which he was accompanied
by Maj. Gen. Brown and Commodore Tingey,
member of the committee, and his son. George
Washington Lafayette; his secretary and Mr.
Custis of Arlington, who were placed in an
other carriage provided for the purpose. * * *
“A national salute from the artillery of Capt.
Burch’s company of artillery, posted on Mary
land avenue, announced the general’s arrival at
'the line of the city, which was followed by na
tional salutes from the navy yard and the mili
tary arsenal, the last of which was from field
pieces captured during the Revolutionary War
at Bennington, Saratoga and Yorktown. * * • On
rising to the extensive plain which stretches
eastward from the Capitol to the Anacostia
River the general found himself in front of the
most brilliant military spectacle which our city
ever witnessed; being a body of 1,200 troops com
posed entirely of volunteer companies of the
These figures were later changed to 1,500
troops. Os course there were the usual number
of delegations on hand to extend invitations to
the distinguished guest to visit their respective
towns. Naturally, Alexandria and Georgetown
were represented, and replying to the invitation
extended by the committee from the latter place
he said that Georgetown was an old acquaint
ance of his, where he had found many valuable
and esteemed friends, and said he would visit
there with great delight.
r T'HE Franklin Hotel, then at the northeast
• corner of Twenty-first and I streets at its
junction with Pennsylvania avenue, was selected
by the citizens’ committee, on behalf of the
«ity, as the stopping place for the notable guest
Ehd his son and secretary, and after the cere
monies at the Capitol, in which he was officially
received by the mayor of the city, Roger C.
Weightman, he called on the President at the
White House, where “liberal refreshments” were
served, and he later repaired to his hotel, where
• dinner was given in his honor toward evening
and where he delivered one of his famous toasts:
“The City of Washington: The central star of
the constellation which enlightens the whole
world.” At the Capitol had been placed a civic
arch, and here it was that Miss Sarah M. Wat
terston, on behalf of the people of the District,
delivered to Lafayette an address of welcome.
At night there were fireworks and many pri
vate buildings were illuminated, conspicuous
among which was eld Columbian College, then
in its infancy and located on the west side of
Fourteenth street a few blocks north of Florida
avenue. Indeed, the marquis put in a full day
being entertained by the people of the District
of Columbia.
From the 9th of October, 1824, until early in
December, 1825, Lafayette was in and out of
Washington at various times. In the first few
days he visited Tudor place, Arlington; Col. Cox,
mayor of Georgetown; Georgetown College; the
home of the Minister of France; Judge Duvall,
the Secretary of State; the Caldwell House at
206 Pennsylvania avenue and the navy yard,
where he dined at the quarters of Commodore
Tingey. He also called on Secretary Crawford
“and breakfasted with him at his cottage resi
dence in the country,” which, strange as it may
seem, was then on the northwest comer of
Massachusetts avenue and Fourteenth street,
which is today in the heart of the city.
y AFAYKITb’S welcome in Alexandria—where
he arrived on October 16—was a part of the
entertainment accorded him by the District of
Columbia, since this historic city was then a
part of the 10-mile square, and here he was re
ceived “amidst the shouts and welcome of thou
sands of voices” as he was escorted through the
town. The women, always as loyal and enthusi
astic as the men, filled the windows on the line
of march, being dressed in their best attire as
they waved "their handkerchiefs to the veteran
as he passed in token of their participation in
the joy manifested by the multitude in the
From here he went to Mount Vernon, where a
most touching scene was enacted, for, we are
told: “After remaining a few minutes in the
house the general proceeded to the vault, sup
ported by Mr. Lewis and the gentleman relatives
of the judge and accompanied by G. W. Lafay
ette and O. W. Custis, the children of Mount
Vernon both having shared the paternal care
of the great chief. Mr. Custis wore the ringwus
pended from a Cincinnati ribbon.
“When they arrived at the sepulcher Mr.
Custis addressed the general and presented him
with a ring containing the hair of Washington,
which the general received and pressed to his
bosom and affectionately embraced the donor.
Then * * * gazing intently on the receptacle *
of departed greatness, fervently pressed his lips
to the door of the vault, while tears filled the
furrows in the veteran’s cheeks. The key was
now applied to the lock—the door flew open
and discovered the coffins, strewed with flowers
and evergreens. The general descended the
steps and kissed the leaden cells which con
tained the ashes of the great chief and his
venerable consort and then retired in an excess
of feeling which language Is too poor to de
After partaking of refreshments at the house
and making a slight tour of the grounds the
general returned to the shore, and “the pilgrim
who now repairs to the tomb of the Father of
His Country will find its laurels moistened by
the tears of Lafayette.”
doubt one of the most interesting of all
the events occurring here during his stay
was tlie dinner given him by Congress at Wil
fir £ I*' v | ,|p| »£& ,; y .. jr vT'-a?? ; —Y.
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The Tudor mansion, Georgetown Heights , where Gen. Lafayette visited when he came to Washington in 1824.
liamson’s Mansion House —site of the New Wil
lard—on the evening of January 1, 1825. Os
this the Intelligencer says:
“According to previous arrangements the din
ner given by the members of both houses of
Congress to Gen. Lafayette took place on Satur
day, the Ist of January. At $ o’clock the whole
range of front rooms at Williamson’s extensive
establishment (now occupied by private fam
ilies) was thrown open for the reception of the
company, and at 6 o’clock the company, in
number exceeding 200, sat down to a sumptuous
and elegant dinner prepared in Mr. Williamson's
best style.
“Mr. Gaillard, the President pro tempore of
the Senate, and Mr. Clay, the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, presided at the feast.
“On the right of the President of the Senate
sat our venerable Chief Magistrate, the Presi
dent of the United States, who graced by his
presence as a guest the most memorable feast
that has ever taken place in this country. On
the left of the chair sat the Nation’s guest, sup
ported by several of his brethren of the Revolu
tion, among whom were recognized Gen. Samuel
Smith, Gen. Jackson. Rufus King and Messrs.
Chandler and D’Wolf of the Senate and Gen.
Udree of the House. The Speaker was sup
ported on his right hy the Secretary of State
and the Postmaster General and on his left by
the Secretary of War and Judge Thompson of
the Supreme Court of the United States. Among
the invited guests were also recognized Gen.
Dearborn, our late Minister to Portugal; George
Washington Lafayette and the general’s friend.
La Vasseur, also Gens. Scott, Macomb. Bernard
and Jessup of the Army and Commodores Bain
bridge, Tingey. Stewart and Morris of the Navy,
with many other public officers, civil and mili
tary, of high rank in the various departments of
our Government.
“The hall was adorned with pictures and flags
arranged wFh great elegance and taste.”
%; 1 KBJMI ■Hggj( HnHgi MR SH
.' ; £•: v 'JUUSBBP:
Roasburf j hut. on the Baltimore-W ashinglon Boulevard, near College Station,
Where Gen. Lafayette stopped over night before entering Washington on
October 9, 1824.
IT was a great practice, especially in early days,
to drink toasts, and it seemed to be some
one’s especial business to see that a sufficient
number were drunk to go round. At this func
tion there were provided 15 set toasts. No. Bon
the list—the one drunk to Lafayette—is espe
cially interesting, of course, as it relates to him.
However, the cme he offered in return is far
more interesting and seems almost prophetic
after what our troops accomplished for man
kind during the World War.
The toast to Gen. Lafayette was;
“Gen. Lafayette, the great apostle of national
liberty; unawed by the frowns of tyranny, un
influenced by the blandishments of wealth and
unseduced by popular applause—the same in the
Castle of Olmutz as in the active scenes of his
labor and the height of his renown.”
To this toast Gen. Lafayette replied:
"Gentlemen of Both Houses: I want words
to express the respectful and grateful sense I
have of all the favors and kindnesses you are
pleased to confer upon me. I hope you will do
justice to the warm feelings of an American
heart, and I beg leave to propose the following
“Perpetual union among the United States:
it has saved us in our times of danger: it will
save the world.”
Just a few days before this dinner Congress
passed a bill giving to Lafayette outright
$200,000 and one township of land. When one
considered the great sacrifices made by this
most useful man, his inestimable benefit to the
cause of liberty, together with the fact that dur
ing his service in the Revolutionary War he had
expended an amount equal to $140,000, one can
see that the following bill as passed was only a
just and proper one:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House
of Representatives of the United States
of America, In Congress assembled, that
in consideration of the services and sacri
fices of Gen. Lafayette in the War of the
Revolution the Secretary of the Treasury
be, and he is, hereby authorized to pay to
him the sum of $200,000 out of any money
in the Treasury not otherwise appro- ...
Section 2. And be it further enacted?
that there be granted to the said Gen. *
Lafayette and his heirs one township of
land, to be laid out and located under the .
authority of the President on any of the
unappropriated lands of the United States.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President of the Senate, Pro Tempore.
Washington: Approved December 28.182^.
jyjß. HAYNE of South Carolina, in speaking
on the bill before its passage by the Senate,
among other things said:
“He raised, equipped and armed a regiment at
his own proper charge and came here with a
vessel freighted with arms, munitions and
equipments for war which he distributed
gratuitously among your people. And it k a
matter of record on the pages of your history
that he put shoes on the feet of your barefoot
and suffering soldiers. For these services he
asked no recompense—he received none. He
spent his fortune for you—he shed his blood for
you, and without acquiring anything but a claim
upon your gratitude he impoverished himself.
And what, in recompense, has this Government
done for him? It was not until the year 1794
that they gave to him the full pay, without in
terest, which he was entitled to have received
12 to 14 years before. Did they then attempt
to remunerate him for the service, other than
military, which the gallant general had ren
dered to the country? No. sir. But if an
American citizen had put his hand into his
pocket, raised a regiment for the service of his
country, clothed its nakedness and put shoes
upon their bleeding feet—would he not,, have
been entitled to compensation for such expendi
ture? Sir, if we were to resort to a calculation
of pounds, shillings and pence—if we were to
draw up an account current with Gen. Lafayette
the balance in his favor would far exceed the
amount which by this bill it is proposed to ap
TTO show the true worth of the man, Mr. Hayne
pointed out that in 1803 Congress made a
grant of 11,520 acres of land to Gen. Lafayette
and that later it granted to the corporation, of
the City of New Orleans a space of 600 yards
around the fortifications of that city, includ
ing a valuable portion of the very land which
had been previously entered by the general—of
an estimated value of $50,000.
"And what was the conduct of Lafayette on
being Informed of these facts?” asked Mr.
Hayne, and then answered his own question by
saying: “He promptly and without hesitation
communicated to his agent ‘that he would not
consent even to inquire into the validity of his
title; that he could not think of entering into
litigation with any public body in the United
States; that the property had been gratuitously
bestowed upon him by the United States and it
was with them to say what had been given,' and
he accompanied these declarations by a posi
tive direction to his agent to relinquish his entry
and to make a location elsewhere.”
It was not until December 8, 1825, that Lafay
ette sailed down the Chesapeake in the U. S.
frigate Brandywine, sad at heart in leaving be
hind his multitude of friends in the United
States, but. on the other hand, longing to gee
his children, grandchildren and great-grand
child back on the Le Grange estate in his be
loved France.

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