Desirous of offering all due honors to General Lafayette, and knowing his taste for military exhibitions, the Governor ordered the militia of Boston, which constituted a brigade, of the first division, and an equal number from Essex and Middlesex, which included the second and third divisions, to assemble on the Common in the city of Boston, on Monday, the 30th of August; This was really a proud day, particularly for the citizen soldiers of Massachusetts; but all classes of the people enjoyed this imposing and honorable display. For our militia are justly considered the ornament as well as the defence of the republic. Citizens of all professions take an interest in their appearance, their discipline and their reputation. The ranks are composed of our valuable and industrious population; and their officers are to be found among our respectable mechanics, merchants and professional gentlemen. The exhibition was the most splendid of the kind recollected by the oldest inhabitants. There were above five thousand men armed and equipped, and their appearance and movements would have done credit to regular troops. Their officers are men of talents and ambition. The impression made upon the minds of a great concourse of distinguished citizens, in the civil department, who were present, was highly creditable to our military system, and to those, whose duty it is to attend to the execution of laws on the subject. The Governor, as Commander in Chief, had ordered a spacious marque to be erected, where upwards of fifteen hundred people were accommodated in partaking of an abundant collation; rations were also dealt out to all the troops on duty at the expense of the State. The spectacle was most magnificent. The officers and soldiers did themselves and the State great honor by their exact discipline and soldierly appearance; and by the promptness and regularity of their movements. The illustrious visitor was highly pleased, the strangers were gratified; and the militia themselves felt a conscious pride, in having an opportunity to offer appropriate salutations to one who was both a soldier and a philanthropist.
Should it be supposed by the sober citizens of other countries, or by those in our own, who did not join in these offerings of grateful admiration to Lafayette, and who therefore could have felt nothing of the enthusiasm which such scenes are calculated to produce; that there was too much parade or an undue measure of sensibility manifested on this occasion; it may be proper to observe, that no conclusion is to be drawn from this great rejoicing, that the people of Boston, or in fact of the United States, are disposed to pay higher regard to eminent men of the military than in the civil department; or that they have so little discrimination, as to bestow applause upon merely splendid achievements. It is believed to be a fact, that the most intelligent and sober part of the community were as ready to engage in these processions and ceremonies as those of the more common and uninformed class of citizens. How could it be otherwise? These are convincing proofs of the zeal, disinterestedness and devotion of General Lafayette to the cause of American liberty and independence—of his bravery, activity, judgment, constancy and fidelity—of his attachment to Washington and other patriots, and of their regard for him; and of his uniform support of regulated liberty in his own country. In his early days, he had risked every thing and had done every thing which an individual could possibly endure or attempt, in our behalf. He had now in advanced life, left his own beloved retirement in a distant hemisphere, to visit this land of liberty, and of his affections; to behold the prosperity, order, enjoyment and felicity of a great people. His character, too, is unstained by bloodshed and crime; it is consecrated on the contrary by the prayers, and tears and benedictions, of all good men in America and Europe. Who then will censure or wonder, that he should be received by the moral and sober people of America, with all that cordiality and enthusiasm, which were discovered on his arrival among us? We do not forget Washington; our beloved, and almost adored Washington—nor are we insensible to the merits and virtues of other statesmen and heroes of our own country. But, surely we may be allowed to greet this old distinguished benefactor, with a cordial welcome, without subjecting ourselves to the charge of extravagance or caprice.
The character of the militia in Boston, and generally through the state, has been much improved within the last fifteen years. They have recently adopted a cheap uniform; and great improvements have been made in adopting the modern system of tactics. The independent companies need not decline a comparison with regular troops; and, what is very important to the respectability of the militia, their officers are intelligent and ambitious, and actuated by a patriotic spirit, which is a pledge of fidelity and a stimulus to honorable exertion. The high praise bestowed upon the militia at this review, was justly merited.
General Lafayette left Boston on Tuesday morning for Portsmouth, in the state of New Hampshire, intending to pass through Marblehead, Salem and Newburyport, on his way to the former place. A number of distinguished citizens, and a Committee of the City Council accompanied him to the northern line of the city; and the governor's aids attended him to the extreme part of the state adjoining New Hampshire. On his route, he was greeted by the inhabitants of Chesea, Lynn and Marblehead, with great feeling and respect, alike honourable to themselves and gratifying to the friend and guest of the nation. Addresses were also made to him, in these several towns, expressive of their gratitude for his services, and of the lively sense they had of his present visit to the country. He took breakfast at Marblehead, where almost the whole population of this industrious and patriotic town were presented to him. He also met here, some gentlemen celebrated for their naval exploits in the war of the revolution.
His reception at Salem was very distinguished and splendid. At the entrance of the town, he was met by the selectmen and committee, a numerous cavalcade, and a large body of citizens in carriages, and received a salute of artillery; on advancing a short distance within the bounds of the town, the bells commenced ringing, and the escort was joined by a battalion of light infantry, and a body of seamen, of about two hundred, in blue jackets and white trousers, with ribbons on their hats, stamped with the name of Lafayette.
"With the hearty cheers of these hardy sons of Neptune, the General appeared to be peculiarly impressed. Over South Salem bridge were two tastefully decorated arches—one bearing the inscription "WELCOME ILLUSTRIOUS CHIEF! Receive the pledges of thy Children to sustain with fidelity the principles that first associated LAFAYETTE with the destinies of America." These arches were surrounded by an immense number of citizens, who made the air ring with their huzzas and welcomes. The figure of an Indian Chief characteristically dressed, bore labels inscribed "Lafayette and Liberty. Welcome generous Lafayette."
"The procession passed through the principal streets, which were thronged with spectators; while the windows of the houses were crowded with females, all eager to see and welcome the heroic visitor.
"Civic Arches, historical and patriotic Inscriptions, memorable eras, wreaths of flowers and evergreens, banners and flags, were displayed in many of the streets, enlivening the scene, animating the cheers, and affording grateful recollections.
"Central street was gaily dressed in colours, and on an elegant arch were inscribed the names of distinguished patriots of the revolution, crowned with those of WASHINGTON and LAFAYETTE. In North-street a similar arch bore the inscription:—"Honor to him who fought and bled for the peace and happiness we now enjoy." On an arch at Buffum's corner, was inscribed, "LAFAYETTE, the friend of Liberty, we welcome to the land of liberty. He did not forget us in our adversity—In our prosperity we remember his services with gratitude." Near the above, another arch bore a likeness of Lafayette, surmounted by an eagle.
"Near the avenue leading to the bridge at which, in February, 1775, Col. LESLIE, with a detachment of the British 64th regiment, met with a repulse in an attempt to carry off some canon deposited in the vicinity, were banners, with the following inscription:—
"Leslie's Repulse, 1775. Lafayette's Renown, 1824."
"In Winter-street an arch bore the following inscription on American duck, made at the factory in Salem—
"While winds shall blow, and seas shall roll, While aught remains that's good and great, Our Native Duck, from pole to pole, Shall waft the fame of Lafayette."
"Washington-square was decorated with two arches, tastefully ornamented, one bearing the name of the General in oaken characters and the second a bust of Washington.
"On Washington-square the General passed between two lines of boys, about one thousand in number, arrayed under their respective instructors, all bearing Lafayette badges. One of the gates of the square bore this inscription.—"The children welcome with joy, the illustrious benefactor of their fathers." And as the General passed, they shouted "Welcome Lafayette."
"Notwithstanding the heavy rain, this youthful band could not be prevailed upon to leave the ground, but remained bravely at their post until they had shared with their parents in the honor and happiness of greeting the nation's guest.
"From Washington-square the procession passed to the Coffee-House, now named Lafayete Coffee-House (late Essex;) where, on a temporary stage, erected in front of the house, the Committee of Arrangements received their illustrious guest, and Judge Story, the president of the day, in the most interesting and eloquent manner, welcomed him in the following address:—
"SIR—Forty years have elapsed since the inhabitants of this town had the pleasure to welcome you within its limits. Many, who then hailed your arrival with pride and exultation, have descended to the grave, and cannot greet you on your long desired, return. But, thanks to a good providence, many are yet alive, who recollect with grateful sensibility, the universal joy of that occasion. Your disinterested zeal in embarking is a cause, deemed almost hopeless—your personal sacrifices in quitting a home, endeared by all the blessings with which affection and virtue can adorn life—your toils and perils in the conflicts of war, and the vicissitudes of a discouraging service—your modest dignity and enthusiasm on receiving the homage of a free people—these were all fresh in their memories, and gave an interest to the scene, which cannot be described, but which time has hallowed with his most touching grace. I stand now in the presence of some, venerable in age and character, who were the delighted witnesses of that interview, and whose hearts again glow with the feelings of that happy day.
"To us of a younger generation—the descendants of your early friends and companions in arms, a different but not less interesting privilege belongs. We are allowed the enviable distinction of meeting in his riper years, one, whom our fathers loved in their youth. We welcome you to our country, to our homes, to our hearts. We have read the history of your achievements, your honors, and your sufferings! They are associated with all that is dear to us—with the battle-grounds, consecrated by the blood of our heroes— with the tender recollections of our departed statesmen—with the affectionate reverence of our surviving patriots. Can we forget that our country was poor and struggling alone in the doubtful contest for Independence, and you crossed the Atlantic at the hazard of fortune, fame and life, to cheer us in our defence? That you recrossed it to solicit naval and military succors from the throne of France, and returned with triumphant success? That your gallantry checked in the southern campaigns, the inroads of a brave and confident enemy? That your military labours closed only with the surrender at Yorktown, and thus indissolubly united your name with the proud events of that glorious day? We cannot forget these things if we would—We would not forget them if we could. They will perish only when America ceases to be a nation.
"But we have yet higher sources of gratification on the present occasion. You have been not merely the friend of America, but of France, and of liberty throughout the world. During a long life in the most trying scenes, you have done no act for which virtue need blush or humanity weep. Your private character has not cast a shade on your public honors. In the palaces of Paris and the dungeons of Olmutz, in the splendor of power, and the gloom of banishment, you have been the friend of justice, and the asserter of the rights of man. Under every misfortune, you have never deserted your principles. What earthly prince can afford consolation like this? The favor of princes, and the applause of senates, sink into absolute nothingness, in comparison with the approving conscience of a life devoted to the good of mankind. At this very moment you are realizing the brightest visions of your youth, in the spectacle of ten millions of people prosperous and happy under a free government, whose moral strength consists in the courage and intelligence of its citizens.—These millions welcome your arrival to the shores of the west with spontaneous unanimity; and the voice which now addresses you, feeble as it is, repeats but the thoughts that are ready to burst from the lips of every American."
The General's reply was in his usual manner.—It was brief, affectionate, and full of feeling.
An impressive circumstance occurred in the delivery of the address.—When the Judge came to that part which says, "We could not forget them if we would; we would not forget them, if we could;" the spontaneous assent of the assembled people to the sentiment, was given by "No, never;" repeated by thousands of voices, and accompanied by deafening shouts of applause.
A great number of introductions to the General took place. Of them, were several revolutionary officers and soldiers.
At Beverly and Ipswich he received from the assembled inhabitants, the same cordial welcome with which he had been greeted in other towns, through which he passed. The selectmen of these places waited on him, and offered him the congratulations of their fellow citizens; the people greeted him with repeated cheers of "welcome, welcome Lafayette;" and arches were erected at several public places, containing appropriate mottoes. The houses of the villages through which he passed, after the evening set in, were brilliantly illuminated.
It was evening when he arrived at Ipswich, and the weather was very inclement. The inhabitants had, therefore, assembled in the meeting house to receive him. Thither he was conducted by a committee of the town; and on his entrance, he was greeted with great exultation and joy. One of the committee addressed him as follows:—
"Accept from the people of Ipswich, their cordial congratulations on your arrival in their country and within their own borders. To this ancient town, sir, we bid you a joyful welcome.
"Having devoted to our beloved country, in her weak and critical situation, the vigor of your youth and the resources of a mind intent on the cause of freedom and humanity, and committed to a common lot with her, your own destinies,—that country can never forget the services you rendered, and the sacrifices you incurred, for her defence and protection, when assailed by overbearing power.
"We rejoice in having an opportunity of presenting ourselves in this house, consecrated to the worship of the God of our fathers, who has kindly raised up friends and patrons of the cause of our country and of liberty, to pay to you our grateful respect for your eminent labours.
"Most of those who acted in, or witnessed the great scenes in which you bore so conspicuous a part, have now descended to the tombs of their fathers. The present generation can rehearse only what they have heard with their ears, and their fathers have told them. But the name of Lafayette is not confined to any generation. While the liberties of America shall endure, it will descend from father to son, associated with those of the immortal Washington, and other heroes and sages of our revolution, as the friend of our country, of liberty, and of man.
"Illustrious benefactor—may the blessing of Heaven ever attend you, and may your remaining days be as happy, as your past have been perilous, useful and honorable."
To which the General made the following reply:—
"The attentions paid me by my American friends, I receive with inexpressible gratitude. I regret that so many of my friends here, should be exposed on my account to this storm. I have ever considered it my pride and my honor, that I embarked in the cause of Independence in this country; and I rejoiced when I found myself again landed on the American shores. You, kind sir, the people of this town, and all who are assembled in this solemn place, will please to accept my thanks for this expression of your attachment, and receive my best wishes for your individual prosperity and happiness."
He reached Newburyport a little past ten o'clock, where he passed the night. His lodgings were the same which Washington occupied, when he made his tour through the northern states, in 1789, the first year of his presidency. The following address was made to him, by the chairman of a committee of that town:—
"The citizens of Newburyport are happy in this opportunity of greeting, with the warmest welcome, a distinguished benefactor of their country.
"The important services, which you rendered this people in the day of their distress; the devotedness which you manifested in their perilous cause, and the dangers which you sought for their relief, are incorporated in our history, and firmly engraved upon our hearts.
"We would lead you to our institutions of learning, charity and religion; we would point you to our hills and valleys covered with flocks, and smiling in abundance, that you may behold the happy effects of those principles of liberty, which you was so instrumental in establishing.
"Our children cluster about you to receive a patriot's blessing. Our citizens press forward to show their gratitude. Our nation pays you a tribute, which must remove the reproach that republics are ungrateful.
"As the zealous advocate for civil liberty, we bid you welcome; as the brave defender of an oppressed people, we make you welcome; as the friend and associate of our immortal Washington, we bid you welcome."
General Lafayette replied in his usually courteous and animated manner, and evincing his great sensibility to the kind and friendly greetings with which he had been received. He here also met several veterans of the revolutionary army; a gratification which he enjoyed in almost every place he visited. Though the number is rapidly lessening, a few remain in most of the populous towns of the Commonwealth.
He left Newburyport Wednesday morning for the capital of New-Hampshire. The escort contemplated to have attended on his way to the bounds of the state, was prevented by the heavy rain. It was at his urgent request that it was dispensed with. The committee of the town however, accompanied him to Hampton; where he was met by a deputation from Portsmouth, and conducted on his intended route. When passing through Greenland, a procession of the citizens was formed, by which he was attended through the villages. Here he was welcomed also by salutes from an artillery company, by civic arches and repeated acclamations of the assembled people. One of the arches was supported by two young ladies, representing LIBERTY and PEACE. One presented him a wreath, adorned with flowers, and said, "Venerable sire, condescend to receive this emblem of the hero's glory, as the token of a nation's gratitude and love." The other presented him the olive branch, saying, "Good and faithful servant, peace and happiness await you." He received these with complacency, took each young lady by the hand, and made an affectionate reply.
He then proceeded to Portsmouth, where he arrived about noon. He was conducted into this town by an escort on horseback, and a procession of carriages, (the whole extending two miles) composed of the civil, judicial and legislative authorities; officers of the United States and of New-Hampshire, &c. &c. The margins of the avenue leading to the centre of the town, was lined with children, with the inhabitants of both sexes in the rear; who greeted him with their cordial welcomes and repeated acclamations. Salutes were fired, and the bells rang a joyous peal; and the streets through which the procession passed, were crowned with arches, decorated with wreaths of evergreen and garlands of flowers. The procession moved through several streets to Franklin Hall: and here, when General Lafayette alighted, the chairman of the selectmen addressed him thus:—
"The selectmen of Portsmouth, in behalf of their fellow citizens, most respectfully and heartily bid you welcome.
"Enjoying, as we do, the happiness of a free government, we cannot but feel grateful to all, by whose exertions it was obtained. Those intrepid men among ourselves, who in the hour of danger stood forth in defence of their country's rights, have a lasting claim upon our regard. But in contending for the liberty of their country, they were striving to secure their own happiness, and the prosperity of their children. They found a motive for exertion in their own interest; which, while it derogates nothing from the value of their services, places in a strong light, the pure zeal and contempt of private advantage, which led you to our aid, from the shores of a foreign land. Their love of liberty was necessarily the sentiment of patriotism; yours was an ardent desire for the general welfare of mankind.
"After an absence of forty years from our country, most of which have been passed in scenes of unexampled excitement and perplexity, it gives us peculiar pleasure to find you still the firm and consistent friend of liberal principles. We have watched the progress of your eventful life, with unaffected sympathy; and whether at the head of the National Guards, in the dungeons of Magdeburg and Olmutz, or in the Chamber of Deputies, we have found nothing to lessen our esteem for the early friend of America.
"Permit us then to receive you as our guest; and to pay you such honors as are in our power to bestow. They are the voluntary tribute of warm and grateful hearts. We wish our children to learn, that eminent virtue affords the highest claim to honorable distinction; and that among a free people, merit will not fail of its appropriate reward.
"We beg you to accept our sincere wishes for your health and happiness, and our prayers will be offered, that your example may animate the wise and good in every nation, to contend manfully and perseveringly for the freedom and happiness of the world."
To which the General made the following reply:—
"It would have been to me an inexpressible gratification on this first visit to the eastern parts of the Union, after so long an absence, to have been able to present the several towns of New-Hampshire with my personal respect, and to have witnessed the great improvement of a State, to which I am bound by early sentiments of attachment and gratitude.
"Obliged as I find myself, to take a southern course towards the seat of government, at Washington, I am happy to revisit at least the town of Portsmouth, where the remembrance of past favors, mingles with most grateful feelings for your present affectionate and flattering reception.
"I thank you, gentlemen, for your constant concern in my behalf, during the vicissitudes to which you are pleased to allude. The approbation of a free, virtuous and enlightened people, would be the highest reward for any one who knows how to value true glory; still more so, when it is bestowed on an adopted son.
"To the citizens of Portsmouth and their worthy selectmen, I offer my most respectful and affectionate acknowledgments."
Gov. Morril gave him the hearty welcome of the State, in the following address:—
"Forty years have rolled away since you left this asylum of liberty, for your native country. During this eventful period our cities have advanced, and villages have been reared; but our Langdon, our Cilley, our Poor, our Sullivan, and our Washington have passed from the stage of human action, and are gone to the land of their fathers. Although they are gone, their sons survive, and the patriotism and love of liberty which animated their breasts and excited them to those glorious acts, during our revolution, in which you, sir, shone so conspicuously, are now cherished in the bosoms of their posterity;—and we rejoice to be numbered among them;—and in the name of the patriotic citizens of New-Hampshire generally, allow me to say, that it is with no ordinary emotions we receive and welcome you to our State.
"We receive you, sir, as the friend of our nation, of liberty, and the rights of man.
"We welcome you as the magnanimous hero, who in early life, from the most pure and disinterested motives, quitted your native country, and repaired to these Colonies, then the seat of war, (contending for Independence) to embark in the struggle for the preservation of those rights, and the achievement of those privileges, which are more precious to the patriot than life itself. And, sir, it is our ardent desire, that the gratitude of Republics, but more especially of the Republic of the United States, and the smiles of Heaven, may rest upon you to the last period of your life."
The General, in his characteristic reply, alluded very affectionately to his departed associates; and the interesting changes which have taken place since he left the country. It is not necessary to add, that he expressed with emotion his acknowledgments for the cordiality of his welcome.
There was a very splendid ball in the evening, in honor of Lafayette, which he attended, and where a great number of ladies were presented to him. He left Portsmouth, 11 o'clock at night, to return to Boston, having engaged to be there on Thursday morning. While at Portsmouth he received pressing invitations to visit Exeter and Dover, but was obliged to decline them. He reached Boston about 7 o'clock, Thursday morning; and after taking some necessary repose, he received a number of revolutionary officers and soldiers; and deputations from several towns in the interior, lying on his rout to Connecticut. He then repaired to the Council Chamber, and took leave of the Governor and other members of the Supreme Executive: and afterwards set off for Lexington and Concord, and thence to Boston on his way to Worcester. He left Boston at about two o'clock, in a carriage provided by the State for his accommodation, and attended by the committee of arrangements of the city, and by the Governor's aids, who waited on him to the bounds of Connecticut. When he left the City, he expressed the gratification and delight he had experienced from the interesting recollections which had occurred to his mind, and from the great cordiality and affection with which he had been received. The Mayor assured him, that he and others were happy in the opportunity they had to manifest their attachment and respect to the early and faithful friend of the nation, and the firm and uniform friend of civil liberty.
When he passed through West Cambridge, the whole population of the town were assembled to honor the friend and guest of the nation, and to gratify their patriotic feelings by beholding this justly celebrated personage. Artillery corps stationed on the eminences adjoining the public road saluted him as he passed; and the country rung with loud huzzas and joyful acclamations. At the line of Lexington, he was received by a troop of horse and cavalcade of citizens, who conducted him into that ancient town. On his way, he passed under an arch, bearing this inscription—"Welcome, friend of America, to the birth place of American liberty." Salutes were again fired, and he was then conducted to the monument erected in memory of the attack of the British troops upon the militia of that place, April 19, 1775. He was here welcomed and addressed by one of the citizens in behalf of the town. Near the monument, he was introduced to fourteen of the militia company, which had assembled at that time, and on whom the regular troops fired, when eight of the number were slain.
After this very interesting scene, General Lafayette proceeded to Concord, and was met at the line between that place and Lexington, by a committee of the town and a respectable cavalcade of the intelligent yeomanry of the vicinity; there was also an escort composed of several companies of militia. The procession, thus formed, moved forward to the village, and the distinguished visitor was conducted to a spacious bower prepared for his reception, and tastefully decorated with evergreens and flowers by the ladies of Concord. As he entered the village, he received a salute from the artillery corps, and the vocal salutations of the inhabitants of both sexes, who had assembled to present him their grateful offerings. The peals of the village bell prolonged the acclamations of the admiring throng. The following inscription was to be seen in a conspicuous place in the arbor—"In 1775, the people of Concord met the enemies of liberty; In 1824, they welcome the bold asserter of the rights of man, LAFAYETTE." A sumptuous repast was provided for the occasion; and the tables were covered with all the delicacies the season and country could afford.
When General Lafayette had entered the arbor, one of the citizens addressed him by the following speech:—
"The inhabitants of Concord, by this delegation, welcome you, General, to their village. We thank you for affording us an opportunity here to offer our humble tribute of gratitude for services long since rendered, but still held in lively recollection. You, sir, now behold the spot on which the first forcible resistance was made to a system of measures calculated to deprive the whole people of these States of the privileges of freemen. You approved this resistance. A just estimate of the value of rational liberty led you disinterestedly, to participate with strangers in the toils, the privations, and the dangers of an arduous contest. From the 19th day of April, 1775, here noted in blood, to the memorable day in Yorktown, your heart and your sword were with us. Ten millions of grateful people now enjoy the fruits of this struggle. We can but repeat to you, sir, the cordial, affectionate, respectful welcome offered to you at your first arrival on our shores, and which we are assured will be reiterated wherever you move on American ground."
The General was, as usual, extremely happy in his reply, and alluded with sensibility to the memorable scenes of April 19, 1775.
The ladies of Concord and vicinity were present at this civic and patriotic repast; and it added much to the interest and splendour of the scene. Coffee was served up, as a counter-part of the entertainment; and Lafayette appeared to be highly pleased with the hearty reception which he met in this hospitable town. Some revolutionary characters called upon him here, who had not before seen him since he arrived; and were received with great cordiality. He spoke of the gun which had been shown him in Boston, by an inhabitant of Concord or vicinity, and which was first fired against the ministerial troops of Britain. He said, "it was the alarm gun to all Europe and to the world. For it was the signal, which summoned the civilized world to assert their rights, and to become free."
The visit at Concord was necessarily short as he had engaged to pass the night at Bolton, about twenty miles distant. He left Concord at sun-set; and was escorted on his route to Bolton, by a company of cavalry and several gentlemen of distinction belonging to that place and vicinity. He was every where greeted by the people, who collected in companies at various places, to offer him their hearty welcome. The houses on the road were illuminated, and bonfires were kindled on the adjoining hills. The militia of Bolton were assembled to receive him, though it was late in the evening when he arrived. The selectmen offered him their salutations and welcome in the name of the town. He passed the night at the hospitable mansion of Mr. W——, where taste, variety and elegance contributed to render his reception very distinguished. Mr. W—— had resided much in France, and was particularly acquainted with Lafayette and family. Committees from Lancaster and Worcester waited on him at Bolton, to learn his plans and the probable hours of his being in those places, and to communicate the desires of the people to present him their tribute of affection and regard. He visited Lancaster early on Friday morning, where all classes of the inhabitants were assembled to bid him welcome, and to express the affectionate sentiments by which their glowing bosoms were animated. A corps of cavalry still escorted him—a national salute was fired—and the turnpike gate, at the entrance of the village, was ornamented with garlands of flowers and evergreens, and displayed this inscription, "The FREE welcome the BRAVE." He was conducted through lines formed by the citizens of both sexes, to an elevated platform, prepared in the centre of the village, and near the church; where he was addressed by the Reverend Pastor—
"In behalf of the inhabitants of Lancaster, I offer you their cordial congratulations on your arrival in a country, whose wrongs you felt and resented; whose liberties you valiantly defended; and whose interests and prospects have always been dear to your soul.
"We all unite with the few surviving veterans, who were with, loved, and respected you on the high places of the field, in giving you a welcome to this village, once the chosen residence of savages, and the scene of their most boasted triumph; and rejoice that you visit it under the improvements of civilized life, in prosperity and peace.
"It gladdens us, that we and our children may behold the man, whom we have believed, and whom we have taught them to believe, was second only to his and our friend, the immortal Washington. We participate in your joy, on beholding our institutions in vigor, our population extended, so that, since you left us, from a little one we have become millions, and from a small band a strong nation; that you see our glory rising, our republic placed on an immoveable basis, all of which are in part, under Providence, to be ascribed to your sacrifices, dangers and toils.
"We wish you health and prosperity. We assure you that wherever you shall go, you will be greeted by our fellow countrymen, as one of the chief deliverers of America, and the friend of rational liberty, and of man. It is especially our prayer, that on that day in which the acclamations and applauses of dying men shall cease to reach or affect you, you may receive from the Judge of character and Dispenser of imperishable honors, as the reward of philanthropy and incorruptible integrity, a crown of glory which shall never fade."
It is unnecessary to add, that this eloquent and pious greeting excited strong emotions in the General, and had an impressive effect on the assemblage who heard it.
The following is a report of General Lafayette's reply:—
"Accept my thanks, sir, for the kind welcome you have offered me in the name of the inhabitants of Lancaster. In returning to this country after so long an absence; in receiving such proofs of gratitude and affection wherever I go; in witnessing the prosperity of this land,—a prosperity you are pleased to say, I have been instrumental in promoting;—I feel emotions for which no language is adequate. In meeting again my former friends, in seeing the children and grand children of those who were my companions in the war of the revolution, I feel a gratification which no words can express. I beg you to accept, sir, and to offer to these people, my grateful, my affectionate acknowledgments."
In passing through Sterling and Boylston, he was saluted by the artillery companies in those respective towns, and hailed by the cordial salutations of the people, who crowded from the neighbouring country to behold the man, whom all delighted to honor. The whole population seemed to be in motion; and both old and young were eager to offer him their personal greetings. Several arches were thrown across the public road, at short notice; but indicative of the grateful dispositions of the citizens. This motto was observed on one of them—"Welcome LAFAYETTE, friend of WASHINGTON, and adopted son of America."
His entree and reception at Worcester was highly interesting. He remained in this village several hours. The taste and wealth and patriotism of this flourishing shire town were unitedly and spontaneously put in requisition to prepare due honors for the "nation's guest." The number and neatness of the military, arches spacious and highly ornamented, extensive lines of the citizens and of youth expressing their gratitude in frequent and loud acclamations—all conspired to render the scene particularly brilliant. Here, as in other places, the ladies were eager to manifest the high estimation, in which they held the character of this eminent friend of liberty and virtue. He was addressed with great eloquence and feeling, by Judge Lincoln, in behalf of the citizens of the town and county of Worcester.
"The citizens whom you see assembled around you, have spontaneously thronged together, to offer you the tribute of their affection, their respect, their gratitude.
"In the name of the inhabitants of Worcester, the shire of an extensive county of more than 75000 population, in behalf of all who are present, and in anticipation of the commands of those, whom distance and want of opportunity occasion to be absent from this joyous scene, I repeat to you the salutations, which elsewhere have been so impressively offered upon your arrival in this country, and your visit to this Commonwealth. Welcome, most cordially welcome, to the presence of those who now greet you!
"Your name, sir, is not only associated with the memorable events of the American revolution, with the battle of Brandywine, the retreat from Valley Forge, the affair near Jamestown, and the triumph at Yorktown; but the memorials of your services and our obligations exist, in the Independence of the nation which was accomplished, in the government of the people which is established, in the institutions and laws, the arts, improvements, liberty and happiness which are enjoyed. The sword was beaten into the ploughshare, to cultivate the soil which its temper had previously defended, and the hill-tops shall now echo to the sea shore the gratulations of the independent proprietors of the land, to the common benefactor of all ranks and classes of the people.
"Wherever you go, General, the acclamations of Freemen await you—their blessings and prayers will follow you. May you live many years to enjoy the fruits of the services and sacrifices, the gallantry and valor of your earlier days, devoted to the cause of freedom and the rights of man; and may the bright examples of individual glory and of national happiness, which the history of America exhibits, illustrate to the world, the moral force of personal virtue, and the rich blessings of civil liberty in republican governments."
The General, in reply, said in substance, "That he received with much sensibility, the expressions of kind attention with which he was received by the inhabitants of the town and county of Worcester; that he was delighted with the fine country which he had seen, and the excellent improvement and cultivation which he witnessed; that he saw the best proofs of a great, prosperous and happy people, in the rapid advancement of the polite and useful arts, and in the stability of our free institutions; that he was especially much gratified in the great improvements of the face of the country, because he was himself a farmer; that he felt happy to observe such decided proofs of industry, sobriety and prosperity.—He begged the citizens to be assured of his affectionate and grateful recollection of their reception of him; he thanked them for all they had manifested towards him, for the kind expressions; which had been offered him by the committee, and, in a feeling impressive manner, reciprocated their good wishes."
Speaking to an individual of the attentions he had received, he observed. "It is the homage the people pay to the principles of the government, rather than to myself."
The inhabitants of Sturbridge and other places through which General Lafayette passed, on his way to Hartford, in Connecticut, assembled in their respective towns, and presented him the ready homage of affectionate and grateful hearts. Companies of artillery fired salutes; ladies and gentlemen gathered round him to bid him welcome to America, and to express their deep and lively sense of his past services; and many veterans of the revolutionary army pressed upon him, without ceremony or introduction, expecting, as they found, a friendly and cordial reception.
General Lafayette was received at Hartford, in Connecticut, where he arrived on Saturday morning, with similar marks of affection and esteem to those so cordially bestowed on him in the towns he had already visited. He was expected by the citizens on Friday evening, and arrangements were made for a general illumination. He was escorted into the city by the military, and a large procession of the citizens received him soon after he entered within its bounds, and conducted him to the State House, where he was addressed by the Mayor of the city, who assured him of the affectionate welcome, with which the people received him, and referred to the past services of Lafayette, which were still highly appreciated. And he expressed great happiness in beholding so many proofs of the prosperous state of the country, and in witnessing the invaluable effects of our free institutions. The greater part of the inhabitants of both sexes were personally presented to him; and there was an assemblage of children of about eight hundred, the misses all dressed in white, wearing badges with the motto, "Nous vous aimons LAFAYETTE." A gold medal was presented him by one of the children, which was enclosed in a paper containing these lines.
Welcome thou to freedom's clime, Glorious Hero! Chief sublime! Garlands bright for thee are wreath'd, Vows of filial ardour breathed, Veteran's cheeks with tears are wet, "Nous vous aimons LAFAYETTE."
Monmouth's field is rich with bloom, Where thy warriors found their tomb. Yorktown's heights resound no more, Victor's shout or cannon's roar. Yet our hearts record their debt, "We do love you LAFAYETTE."
Brandywine, whose current roll'd Proud with blood of heroes bold, That our country's debt shall tell, That our gratitude shall swell, Infant breasts thy wounds regret, "We do love you LAFAYETTE."
Sires, who sleep in glory's bed, Sires, whose blood for us was shed, Taught us, when our knee we bend, With the prayer thy name to blend; Shall we e'er such charge forget? No!—"Nous vous aimons LAFAYETTE."
When our blooming cheeks shall fade, Pale with time, or sorrow's shade, When our clustering tresses fair Frosts of wintry age shall wear, E'en till memory's sun be set, "We will love you LAFAYETTE."
In comparison with the population of Hartford, a greater portion of his revolutionary companions were here presented to him than in any place he had visited. The number was nearly one hundred. These marched before him, in the procession, in a connected column and attended by their own music. It is hardly necessary to say, that their beloved general gave them a most cordial greeting. By one of the citizens, a sash and pair of epaulets were produced, which were worn by Lafayette when he entered the American army. The sash was stained with blood from his wound received in the battle of Brandywine. He left Hartford late in the afternoon, and proceeded to Middletown, where he embarked in a steam boat for New-York. The citizens of this place regretted, that he could not pass some time with them; and receive the attentions, which their grateful feelings would induce them to bestow on a zealous and able friend of American independence.
HIS RETURN TO NEW-YORK.
General Lafayette reached New-York on the following day, about noon; and was conducted to the City Hotel by the committee of arrangements, who were in waiting to receive him, when he arrived at the wharf. Multitudes assembled, who greeted his return, and renewed their joyful acclamations on meeting him again as a guest of their city. On Monday, the Cincinnati of the State of New-York gave a public dinner, in honor of "their old companion in arms," at which were also present several other persons of distinction, and the members of the City Council. This was the anniversary of the birth of Lafayette; and the circumstance increased the interesting associations of the interview. The hall of meeting was richly decorated with appropriate emblems, and portraits of some of the heroes of the revolution, and bearing the hallowed name of Washington. In the toasts given on this occasion, were illusions to the important events which occurred in the war of the revolution, and to many of the distinguished characters, who conducted it to a successful issue—Washington, Greene, Lincoln, Steuben, Knox, Gates, Clinton, Kosciusco, De Kalb, Hamilton and others.
The first volunteer toast was by the President of the Society, and was, "Our distinguished guest;" when a transparent painting was suddenly illuminated and unveiled, and displayed a "WELCOME;" and over the head of Lafayette a beautiful wreath of flowers was suspended. He rose and said,—"with inexpressible delight at our brotherly meeting, with my affection to you all, my very dear friends and companions in arms, I propose the following sentiment; The sacred principles for which we have fought and bled—Liberty, equality and national independence; may every nation of the earth in adopting them, drink a bumper to the old continental army." [Footnote: Some of the toasts given by General Lafayette on other occasions are here recorded, as they are indicative of the opinions and sentiments which probably predominate in his mind. At the public dinner in Boston, on the day of his arrival—"The city of Boston, the cradle of liberty; may its proud Faneuil Hall ever stand a monument to teach the world that resistance to oppression is a duty, and will, under true republican institutions, become a blessing." In the College Hall at the dinner of the Society of Phi Beta Kappa—"The Holy Alliance of virtue, literature and patriotism: It will prove too powerful for any coalition against the rights of man." At the military dinner on the Common in Boston, when the brilliant parade took place before mentioned—"The patriotic troops who have paraded this day, they excite the admiration of every beholder, and fill the heart with delight." At the dinner given by the citizens of Salem—"The town of Salem: may her increasing prosperity more and more evince the blessings of popular institutions, founded on the sacred basis of natural and social rights." And at Portsmouth, he gave that town, and added, "may the blessings of republican institutions furnish a refutation of the mistaken and selfish sophistry of European despotism."]
On the next day, he visited the public Schools, the College, the Hospital, and Academy of Fine Arts; and on Wednesday, embarked in a steamboat to view the fortifications in the harbor of New-York. In the evening following, he attended the theatre, and was received with universal and repeated acclamations. Many eminent persons from distant parts of the United States visited New-York, at this time, for the sole object of meeting the celebrated friend of America. Among these were Mrs. Lewis, a niece of General Washington; and Mr. Huger of South-Carolina, the brave and generous youth, who attempted the liberation of Lafayette from the dungeon of Olmutz, at the imminent hazard of his own life; and who suffered a long and severe imprisonment for his disinterested interference. He also visited the widowed ladies of Generals Montgomery and Hamilton. Of the latter general, he was the personal and ardent friend.
A public dinner was given to Lafayette by the French gentlemen resident in New-York; many of whom were among the constitutionalists in France in 1783; and who manifested equal respect and veneration for this distinguished confessor of regulated liberty, as the citizens of America. Several of the Aldermen of the city also gave splendid entertainments to the guest of the nation, who could justly claim to have acted an important part in the establishment of our freedom and independence.
He consented to attend the examination of several of the free schools—and appeared highly gratified by the evidence given of the improvement of the pupils. At one of the schools, consisting of 400 misses, after the examination, the following lines were chanted by the pupils:
Welcome, Hero, to the West, To the land thy sword hath blest! To the country of the Free, Welcome, Friend of Liberty!
Grateful millions guard thy fame, Age and youth revere thy name, Beauty twines the wreath for thee, Glorious Son of Liberty!
Tears shall speak a nation's love, Whereso'er thy footsteps move, By the choral paean met— Welcome, welcome, Lafayette!
The African free school was not overlooked. While on his visit here, one of the trustees announced, that General Lafayette had been elected a member of the Manumission Society of New-York. The truly venerable John Jay is President of this benevolent association. One of the children stepped forward, and expressed their sense of the honor of the visit, and of their satisfaction in reflecting, that he was friendly to the abolition of slavery.
But the most splendid scene exhibited in this proud city, was the fete at Castle-garden. This was an evening party and ball, at which six thousand ladies and gentlemen were present. It was the most brilliant and magnificent scene ever witnessed in the United States. Castle-garden lies at a very short distance from Battery-street, which is a spacious and elegant promenade, on the south westerly part of the city. It was formerly a fort, and is about one hundred and seventy feet in diameter, of a circular or elliptical form. It has lately become a place of great resort in the warm season of the year. Everything which labor and expence, art and taste could effect was done to render it convenient, showy and elegant. An awning covered the whole area of the garden suspended at an altitude of seventy-five feet; the columns which supported the dome were highly ornamented, and lighted by an immense cut glass chandelier, with thirteen smaller ones appended.
The General, made his appearance about 10 o'clock; when the dance and the song was at an end. The military band struck up a grand march, and the Guest was conducted through a column of ladies and gentlemen to a splendid pavilion. Not a word was spoken of gratulation—so profound, and respectful, and intellectual was the interest which his presence excited. The interior of the pavilion which was composed of white cambric, ornamented with sky blue festoons, was richly furnished. Among other interesting objects was a bust of Hamilton, placed upon a Corinthian pillar and illuminated with a beautiful lamp. In front of the pavilion was a triumphal arch, of about 90 feet span adorned with laurel, oak, and festoons, based upon pillars of cannon fifteen feet high.—A bust of Washington, supported by a golden eagle, was placed over the arch as the presiding deity. Within the arch was a symbolic painting nearly 25 feet square, exhibiting a scroll inscribed to Fayette, with the words:—
"Honored be the faithful Patriot."
Soon after the General entered, the painting just alluded to was slowly raised, which exhibited to the audience a beautiful transparency, representing La Grange, the mansion of Lafayette. The effect was as complete as the view was unexpected and imposing. Another subdued clap of admiration followed this tasteful and appropriate and highly interesting display.
Universal harmony and good feeling prevailed; and about half past one o'clock, the General left the Castle, and embarked on board the steamboat James Kent, in his excursion up the North River, amidst renewed and prolonged acclamations. Eighty sets of cotillions were frequently on the floor at the same time.
A writer concludes the account of this fete thus; "Taking into view the immense space of the area, the gigantic ceiling of which was lined with the flags of all nations, festooned in a thousand varied shapes, and the whole most brilliantly illuminated, we can safely assert that there was never any thing to equal it in this country.
"The seats now erected around the area will accommodate about 3000 persons.
"There were 200 servants employed on this occasion, dressed in white under clothes, and blue coats, with red capes and cuffs."
He did not arrive at West-Point until about noon, having been detained some hours on the passage, by the steam boat getting on the flats in a thick fog. Before he reached this memorable spot, and as he passed near the banks of the Hudson, the people collected in great numbers, at several places, tendering him the hearty welcome of freemen, and expressing, by loud and long acclamations, their joy at his presence. On his arrival at West-Point, the whole establishment were in readiness to greet him. He was received under a national salute. Generals Brown and Scott of the army of the United States were also here, to bid him welcome, and bestow those honors due to the highest general officer in the national service, as well as to one who justly merited the nation's gratitude. He passed several hours at this celebrated spot; highly pleased with the appearance of the cadets, and with the evidences exhibited of improvements in military science. The recollection of times long since gone by gave a deep interest to the visit at this memorable post, some time the Head-Quarters of the American army; and the place where the infamous Arnold attempted to barter away the independence of the country. Some of the cadets wear the swords presented by Lafayette to a corps of American troops in the war of the revolution.
At a late hour in the afternoon, he proceeded up the river to Newburgh, where nearly 20,000 people were collected to greet him. They had been waiting his approach with great eagerness, and arrangements had been made to receive him with due honors, and expressive of their unbounded affection and regard. The lateness of the hour prevented their being carried into full effect. A splendid ball was given, and a sumptuous repast prepared; and he was addressed in behalf of the town, by one of the principal citizens. Arches were thrown across the principal street, and most of the buildings were illuminated. He regretted, that he had not more time at Newburgh; for this, too, is memorable as the residence of WASHINGTON, and a part of the continental army in 1781. He embarked on board the steam boat, at twelve o'clock, and proceeded up the river, on his way to Albany. He reached Poughkeepsie at the rising of the sun. But the militia were assembled, the banks of the river, and the wharves were crowded by a happy population, impatient to present their offerings of gratitude and esteem to their heroic and benevolent visitor. Their repeated cheers made the welkin ring. When he landed, he was received by a battalion of the militia, in full uniform. A procession being formed, he was conducted through the most populous part of the town, to the city hotel, receiving as he passed, the constant greetings of the people.
The spacious hall in which breakfast was provided for him, was tastefully ornamented, and in various public places, inscriptions and mottos were displayed, which were expressive of the affection and respect of the inhabitants for their distinguished guest. A number of his old companions in arms were presented to him, both at this place and at Newburgh; among them was one who had served with much credit as an officer through the war, who was ninety-five years of age, with all his faculties unimpaired.
The reception of Lafayette at Catskill, Hudson and Livingston's manor, was highly gratifying to him, and honorable to the sensibility and patriotism of the people. He was every where met with demonstrations of joy. The overflowing gratitude, the sumptuous hospitality, the military pride, which were manifested wherever he paused, if but for an hour, were new proofs of one universal feeling of affectionate attachment to the friend of WASHINGTON and adopted son of the nation.
Very splendid preparations were made in Albany for his reception: and a great number of people had assembled from all the neighbouring towns. He did not enter the city till evening, which prevented in some measure, the brilliant honors which had been intended to be offered. A committee proceeded to meet him several miles from the city, and to conduct him on his way. They were attended by an escort of dragoons, and a great number of the citizens in carriages. The roar of cannon announced his approach, and the houses in the city were at once illuminated. The procession moved on to the capitol, amidst the cheers and welcomes of 40,000 people. General Lafayette was here addressed by the mayor of the city; and being introduced to the governor, he also offered him the salutations of the state. A number of the revolutionary officers and soldiers were then presented to him. The interchange of greetings was most affectionate between the parties, and most interesting to the spectators. A standard of Gansevort's regiment, which had waved at Yorktown, under the command of Lafayette, attracted particular attention among the numerous decorations in the capitol. In the course of the evening, he was conducted to the splendid ball room, where the ladies appeared in all their attractions, and were anxious to show their respect to the far-famed hero, who almost fifty years ago, had devoted his life and his all, to the cause of America.
On the following day, many of the inhabitants of both sexes were introduced to him, at the capitol. The old soldiers of the revolution were among them. One, when he took his hand, said, "General, I owe my life to you; I was wounded at the battle of Monmouth. You visited me in the hospital—you gave me two guineas, and one to a person to nurse me. To this I owe my recovery, and may the blessing of heaven rest upon you."
He afterwards visited Troy and the great canal, recently made in the state of New-York, the commencement of which is not far from the city of Albany. He was accompanied by the governor, Hon. De Witt Clinton, the chief projector and patron of this great work, by a deputation of the city council, and several other gentlemen of distinction. When passing to the canal, he was greeted with repeated _welcomes_ by the people who crowded the streets and the public roads. The steam boat which he entered, was commanded by a captain of the revolutionary army. On passing the arsenal, he was saluted by _three field pieces captured at _Yorktown_. Here he was also shown the field train taken from _Burgoyne_, and some French field pieces which he was instrumental in procuring to be sent to the United States, in 1779. At Troy, he was received by a deputation of the city, and one of them addressed him in the name of the inhabitants; referring to his meritorious services, and declaring the joy they experienced in beholding him in this favoured land of peace and freedom. He also received an affectionate address from the Free Masons, and one still more affectionate from the ladies of Troy. They bid him _welcome_, and acknowledged that to him, with others, they were indebted for the blessings of social, and the joys of domestic life. The misses of the academy were then presented to him, and sang a hymn prepared for the occasion. He made a short reply, but was so much affected, that it was not sufficiently understood to be preserved. He then returned to Albany, followed by the cheers and blessings of the people, who crowded about him on the water and on the land.
In the evening he embarked on board a steamboat for the city of New-York, "amidst the melody of music, the shouts of the people, and the roar of cannon." His departure excited deep regret, but it was matter of joy, that they had had opportunity to present their offerings of respect, to such a pre-eminent friend of America.
In the winter of 1777-8, General Lafayette was a short time at Albany, as commander of the troops stationed in than quarter, after the capture of Burgoyne. There was a plan in contemplation at this time, to make an attack upon Canada, but it was not prosecuted. The recollection of this circumstance, no doubt, added to the pleasure which swelled the joyful hearts of the good people of Albany. For his conduct in that department, as well as on all other occasions, manifested his great regard for the comfort and the improvement of the soldiers. When he first arrived, he was not very cordially received; he was young, being then only about twenty; and they were full of respect also for their victorious general Gates. But his attention was immediately given to improve the condition of the troops; he was constant in his personal anxiety to provide clothes, provisions and comfortable quarters for them, of which they were sadly deficient. He visited the hospital, and furnished cordials for the sick, from his own private resources; and was also duly careful of the discipline and order of those, who were able to perform military duty. The feeling of the soldiers was soon changed; they became personally and warmly attached to him, in a short time, and many, at this day, have a deep and grateful remembrance of his kindness as a man, as well as of his fidelity and energy as an officer.
General Lafayette passed three days in the city of New-York, on his return from Albany. The society of Free Masons gave him a public dinner, which was uncommonly sumptuous and splendid, and the mayor of the city entertained him with distinguished hospitality. Wherever he appeared, many of the citizens attended him, and all expressed their joy at his presence. One of them presented him a cane, worn by FRANKLIN, and left in his will to Washington.
He left New-York on Thursday, the 23d of September, attended by a deputation of the city and the Society of Cincinnati. When he reached the shore of New Jersey, the Governor of that state was ready to receive him. He bid him welcome in the name of the state, and offered him his own cordial salutations. He was conducted on his way by squadrons of horse, and a large cavalcade of the citizens, and his progress was announced by frequent salutes. His reception at Newark was unusually splendid; three thousand infantry and five hundred cavalry were paraded and reviewed by him. A spacious bower was prepared to receive him, which was highly ornamented, and he was addressed by the Attorney General of the state. After partaking of a collation, he proceeded for Elizabethtown, accompanied by the governor, with a military escort. A procession of the citizens was formed to receive and conduct him into the centre of the city; arches and bowers were erected, military parade exhibited, salutes were fired, and bells were ringing; the people cheered, the ladies welcomed him; collations were prepared, and public officers were eager in their attentions and assiduities.
Pursuing his route towards Philadelphia, he reached New Brunswick the next day, and the day following, arrived at Princeton. He was detained on his way, at several places, by the earnest solicitations of the people, who were desirous of manifesting the grateful sense they cherished of his meritorious services and exalted worth. At Princeton, he was met by a deputation from Trenton, a place rendered memorable by the victory which General Washington obtained over a large body of the British troops in December, 1776, when he had under his command a much smaller number, many of which were militia. He was escorted to that place by the citizens and a company of cavalry, as in other parts of his journey. When he arrived, he was addressed by the mayor, in a very affectionate manner. We can only furnish the following extract:—
"To receive upon this spot, where your Friend, our illustrious WASHINGTON, raised the first successful barrier against the relentless tide of oppression, which, in the eventful period of seventy-six, was rolling over our country; the hero who, in the succeeding stages of our revolutionary struggle, acted so conspicuous a part, and contributed so essentially to its glorious termination, cannot fail to awaken the most agreeable sensations. Next to our beloved Washington, there is no name entwined with deeper interest in the hearts of Jerseymen, than LAFAYETTE—None, which they will transmit to their posterity, encircled with a wreath of nobler praise, or embalmed with the incense of purer love, than that of the interesting stranger who embarked his life and fortune open the tempestuous ocean of our revolution—and who fought at Brandywine, at Monmouth and at Yorktown, to procure for Americans, those blessings you now see them so fully, and we trust, so gratefully enjoy."
The following is the General's answer to the address at Princeton:—
"While the name of this city recalls important military remembrance, it is also connected with that of the illustrious college, which, in diffusing knowledge and liberal sentiments, has greatly contributed to turn those successes to the advantage of public liberty. Your library had been destroyed; but your principles were printed in the hearts of American patriots. I feel much obliged, sir, to your kind recollection of the diploma, which the signature of my respected friend Doctor Witherspoon, renders still more precious to me; and I beg you, gentlemen, and you, interesting grand sons of my contemporary friends, to accept my affectionate acknowledgments."
The civic arch reared at Trenton to his honor was the same, which 35 years before, was erected to receive the revered Washington.—A sumptuous dinner was served up to him, his family, and the deputations which attended on him. He spent the evening with his brother-soldiers of the Cincinnati, and other revolutionary worthies.
On the Sabbath he attended divine service in the forenoon, and visited Joseph Bonaparte in the afternoon. The latter apologized for not making the first call, on the ground that it would necessarily involve him in public associations, which it was his duty and his wish to avoid.—He added, "I am in adversity and misfortune—You, General, are full of honor and glory, and deserving of both."
After passing the Delaware, thirty miles from Philadelphia, he was met by the Governor of Pennsylvania and suite, with an escort of two hundred and fifty cavalry. For his accommodation, a splendid barouche was provided, drawn by six cream coloured lofty steeds. "The guest of the nation entered its former capitol" about noon, on Tuesday, the 28th of September. When the Governor met Lafayette, as above mentioned, he welcomed him to the State in the following address:—
"The citizens of Pennsylvania behold, with the most intense feeling and exalted regard, the illustrious friend and companion of Washington.
"With sentiments of the highest veneration and gratitude, we receive the early and great benefactor of the United States; the enlightened statesman, philanthropist and patriot of both hemispheres.
"The sincere and universal joy which your arrival has diffused over the nation, is no where more deeply or enthusiastically felt, than in Pennsylvania; whose fields and streams are rendered memorable by your achievements; whose citizens were the followers of your standard, and the witnesses of your sacrifices and toils, in the defence of American liberty. The eventful scenes of your useful life are engraved on our hearts. A nation has rejoiced at your successes, and sympathized with your sorrows.
"With ardent pleasure we have ever observed your strenuous exertions as the friend of man; and whilst your great services, rendered in the cause of humanity, have commanded our admiration, the purity of your motives has insured the love and affection of Americans.
"With the best feelings of the heart we now approach you, with the assurance that, if any thing could add to our happiness on this interesting occasion, it would be the hope of enjoying the distinguished honor of your permanent residence among us, and that a long and splendid life of usefulness may be closed in the State, whose soil has been moistened with your blood, generously shed in the cause of virtue, liberty and independence."
Answer of General Lafayette.
"On the happy moment, long and eagerly wished for, when I once more tread the soil of Pennsylvania, I find in her affectionate welcome, so kindly expressed by her first magistrate, a dear recollection of past favors and a new source of delightful gratifications. The very names of this state and her capitol, recall to the mind those philanthropic and liberal sentiments, which have marked every step of their progress.
"Pennsylvania has been the theatre of most important events; a partaker in the arduous toils and meritorious sacrifices, which insured the success of our glorious and fruitful revolution, I particularly thank you, sir, for your gratifying mention of my personal obligations to the Pennsylvanian line; nor will I ever forget, that on Pennsylvania ground, not far from this spot, I enjoyed, for the first time, the delight to find myself under American tents, and in the family of our beloved commander in chief. Now, sir, Pennsylvania is in full possession, and reaps all the prosperities and happy consequences of that great national union, of those special institutions, which by offering in a self-governed people the most perfect example of social order that ever existed have reduced to absurdity and ridicule the anti-popular arguments of pretended statesmen in other countries. In whatever way I may he disposed of by the duties and feelings, in which you have been pleased to sympathise, I shall ever rank this day among the most fortunate of my life; and, while I beg you, sir, personally to accept my cordial acknowledgements, I offer through you a tribute of profound gratitude and respectful devotion to the citizens of Pennsylvania."
His entrance into the fair city, founded by the wise and benevolent Penn, is described as most magnificent in all its accompaniments. The population poured forth to meet him at an early hour. Carriages, horsemen and pedestrians filled every avenue for a distance of five miles; and the windows and stagings were thronged with ladies eager to welcome him. Just at the entrance of the city, a division of militia, composed of cavalry, artillery and infantry was drawn up in a hollow square, on a piece of land of about forty acres, to receive the Patriot Hero, whose approach was announced by a salute of 100 rounds of artillery. Lafayette, uncovered and standing up in the barouche, was seen by the whole field. The car of Saladin could not have exceeded that of Lafayette. The troops were nearly six thousand. After the review, which the general made on foot, he received the saluting honors in his barouche.
The line of march into the city was then taken up. It extended nearly three miles, and passed through numerous streets. More than six hours were consumed in proceeding from Frankfort to the State House, a distance of about four miles. A full description of the procession, and the decorated arches, &c. under which it passed, would occupy too great a portion of this volume—we can only give the outline of the procession.
A cavalcade of 100 citizens preceded; followed by 100 general, field and staff officers. Then came a square of cavalry; a band of music, mounted, and a corps of 160 cavalry. Next a brigade of infantry, with flank companies.
Committee of arrangements. General Lafayette and Judge Peters, in the splendid barouche.
Then followed four other barouches, drawn by four horses each, with Governors Shulze and Williamson, and suites, the general's family, and distinguished individuals.
Then three cars, of large dimensions, containing 120 revolutionary heroes and worthies, each car characteristically decorated; bearing on their front "WASHINGTON," on the rear "LAFAYETTE," and on the sides, "defenders of our country," "The survivors of 1776."
Then advanced 400 young men. After these the procession of trades, led by a car, containing a body of printers at work at case and press—the latter striking off, and distributing, copies of an ode on the occasion—followed by the typographical society, with a banner, with the inscription: "LAFAYETTE—_the friend of universal liberty, and the rights of the _press_."
Then followed 200 cordwainers (with banners, badges, emblems, &c. The other trades were also decorated;)—300 weavers;—150 ropemakers;—150 lads, uniformly dressed;—100 shipbuilders;—700 mechanics of different professions, not enumerated;—150 coopers, with a car containing a cooper's shop, the workmen fitting staves and driving hoops:—Then came 150 butchers, well mounted and neatly dressed in their frocks;—then 260 carmen, mounted, with aprons trimmed with blue; and a body of 150 riflemen, in frocks, dressed with plaids, leopard skins, &c. A company of artillery, with two pieces; a brigade of infantry and the New Jersey cavalry. A body of 300 farmers closed the procession.
Besides the above, there were the Red Men of the state, the Lafayette Association, the True Republican Society, the Washington and Lafayette Society; and the German American Society.
The appearance of the whole of this truly grand procession was august and imposing. As it passed, Lafayette! Lafayette! sprang from the voices of a multitude that rolled on, and on, and on, like wave after wave of the ocean, in numbers we shall not presume to name, (but which were estimated at 200,000.) Lafayette beat in every heart—Lafayette hung on every tongue—Lafayette glowed on every cheek—Lafayette glistened on every swimming eye—Lafayette swelled on every gale. The whole city and country appeared to have arrayed themselves in all their glory, and beauty, and strength, at once to witness and adorn the majesty of the spectacle; and the fashionable part of the community seemed determined to exhibit the perfection of taste in the beauty of the decoration of their persons, and the richness of their attire. In Chestnut-street wreathes were cast into the barouche, as it passed, and many of them were from the fairbands of Quakeresses.
After the procession had passed through the principal streets, the front halted at the old State-House, which contains the hall in which the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
Here the general alighted, passed under a most magnificent triumphal arch, and was conducted to the hall, which is 40 feet square and was decorated in the most splendid manner. Among the decorations was a statue of Washington, and portraits of William Penn, Franklin, Robert Morris, Francis Hopkinson, Greene, Wayne, Montgomery, Hamilton, Gates, Rochambeau, Charles Carrot, M'Kean, Jefferson, Hancock, Adams, Madison, Monroe, and Charles Thompson.— The portrait of Washington, by Peale, occupied the first place, and was the most splendidly decorated. Here were assembled the city authorities, the society of Cincinnati, the judges, officers of the army and navy, and the committee of arrangements, all seated on superb sofas.
The Governor of the State having been presented, General Lafayette, Judge Peters, and George Washington Lafayette were introduced, the company all standing. The Mayor of the city then welcomed the guest, in the following address:—
"The citizens of Philadelphia welcome to their homes, the Patriot who has long been dear to their hearts.
"Grateful at all times for the enjoyment of a free government, they are, on this occasion, peculiarly anxious but unable to express a deep felt sentiment of pure affection toward those venerated men whose martial and civil virtues, under Providence, have conferred upon themselves and their descendents, this mighty blessing.
"Forty-eight years ago, in this city, and in this hallowed hall, which may emphatically be called the birth place of independence, a convention of men, such as the world has rarely seen, pre-eminent for talents and patriotism, solemnly declared their determination to assume for themselves the right of self-government; and that they and their posterity should thence forth assert their just rank among the nations of the earth. A small, but cherished band of those who breasted the storm and sustained the principles thus promulgated to the world, still remains—In the front rank of these worthies, history will find, and we now delight to honor, General Lafayette, whose whole life has been devoted to the cause of freedom and to the support of the inalienable rights of man.
"General—Many of your co patriots have passed away, but the remembrance of their virtues and their services, shall never pass from the minds of this people; their's is an imperishable fame, the property of ages yet to come. But we turn from the fond recollection of the illustrious dead to hail with heart-felt joy the illustrious living, and again bid welcome, most kindly and affectionately welcome, to the guest of the nation, the patriot Lafayette."
The general made the following answer:
"My entrance through this fair and great city, amidst the most solemn and affecting recollections, and under all the circumstances of a welcome which no expression could adequately acknowledge, has excited emotions in my heart, in which are mingled the feelings of nearly fifty years.
"Here, sir, within these sacred walls, by a council of wise and devoted patriots, and in a style worthy of the deed itself, was boldly declared the independence of these vast United States, which, while it anticipated the independence, and I hope, the republican independence, of the whole American hemisphere, has begun, for the civilized world, the era of a new and of the only true social order founded on the unalienable rights of man, the practicability and advantages of which are every day admirably demonstrated by the happiness and prosperity of your populous city.
"Here, sir, was planned the formation of our virtuous, brave, revolutionary army, and the providential inspiration received, that gave the command of it to our beloved, matchless Washington. But these and many other remembrances, are mingled with a deep regret for the numerous cotemporaries, for the great and good men whose loss we have remained to mourn.—It is to their services, sir, to your regard for their memory to your knowledge of the friendships I have enjoyed, that I refer the greater part of honors here and elsewhere received, much superior to my individual merit.
"It is also under the auspices of their venerated names, as well as under the impulse of my own sentiments, that I beg you Mr. Mayor, you gentlemen of both councils, and all the citizens of Philadelphia, to accept the tribute of my affectionate respect and profound gratitude."
General Lafayette remained in Philadelphia a week; and the repeated and constant attentions shown him by public societies and by distinguished individuals, were such as might have been expected from the celebrated hospitality and civism of that city, and such as was not unworthy of their eminent guest. The governor of the state was attentive and courteous to him during his whole visit; and other public functionaries, both civil and military, were eager of the honor of manifesting their great respect for his character. That portion of the citizens, who belong to the religious society of Friends, appeared equally cordial and happy in an opportunity to assure him of their esteem. It is not consistent with their principles to make a great parade, or to prepare expensive and useless ceremonies. They did not all approve of the plan of illumination. In the wish to have it general, some ardent citizens censured the friends for declining to do it—But this was a mistaken zeal. The religious opinions and conscientious scruples of all classes of people are entitled to respect. It would have been altogether unjustifiable, had there been an attempt to force the friends into the measure. They are a very respectable class of citizens; and we trust, that for no purposes of parade or ceremony, they will ever be required to violate their consciences, or be subjected to insult for any non-compliance. The following lines were written by one of that religious society, on the occasion, and cannot fail to be acceptable to every liberal mind.
O! think not our hearts void of gratitude's glow, For the friend of our country, for liberty's friend, Tho' we do not with others loud praises bestow, The kind hand of friendship we freely extend.
We welcome thee back to the land where thy name, In boyhood we lisp'd, and in manhood revere; Tho' we bind not thy brows with the chaplet of fame, Accept, beloved guest, a warm tribute—a tear!
Yes—a tear of affection which starts to the eye, When tracing thy storm-beaten pathway through life; That thy principles pure could ambition defy, Thy humanity prompt thee to stay the fierce strife.
In thee we behold not the chieftain whose sword Delighting in bloodshed is ever unsheath'd; But the friend of mankind, whose mild actions afford A proof that his lips no hypocrisy breath'd.
Then welcome once more to the land where thy name In boyhood we lisp'd, and in manhood revere; Tho' we twine not thy brows with the war-wreath of fame, Accept, beloved guest, a warm tribute—A TEAR.
While in Philadelphia, General Lafayette visited the navy yard. The Governor accompanied him in this visit, and he was also attended by a large escort and procession. He was addressed by commodore Barron, in a very appropriate and feeling manner. A great number of ladies were presented to him at the commodore's quarters. On his return, he attended a splendid entertainment provided for him by the Free Masons. A ball was also given in honor of Lafayette, while he was in Philadelphia, the must brilliant and the most numerous ever known in the city. The Miss Bollmans, daughters of Dr. Bollman, who generously attempted the rescue of Lafayette from the prison at Olmutz, were present. On one day, 2000 children assembled at the State House to be presented to him; and one of them addressed him. The scene was said to be uncommonly interesting.—The following was his reply to the address of the Frenchmen in Philadelphia:—
"MY DEAR COUNTRYMEN,
"Amidst the enjoyments with which my heart is filled in this happy country, I experience a very great one in seeing myself surrounded by the testimonies of your friendship. It was in the hall in which now receive you, that the sacred sovereignty of the people was recognized by a French Minister, eleven years before it was proclaimed on the 11th of July, 1789, in the bosom of the Constituent Assembly. You are right in thinking that this first impulse of 1789, has, notwithstanding our misfortunes, greatly meliorated the situation of the French people. I participate in your wishes and your hopes for the freedom of our country. This hope is well founded, these wishes will be fulfilled. In the mean while I am happy in tendering to you this day the expression of my lively gratitude and tender affection."
We give here also the address of Captain Barron to Lafayette, when he visited the navy yard near Philadelphia:—
"To receive you at this naval station with the highest honors, is not less in obedience to our instructions, than to the impulse of our hearts.
"We rejoice in the opportunity of testifying to you, and to the world, our gratitude to one distinguished among that band of glorious heroes, to whom we are indebted for the privilege we now enjoy.
"You, sir, whose whole life has been devoted to the extension of civil liberty, must at this period be enriched by feelings which rarely fall to the lot of man.
"Turning from the old world, whose excesses have been almost fatal to the cause of liberty, to the new, where that cause has prospered to an unexampled degree, you see a proof, that political liberty is not visionary.
"The soldier will here behold the nation for which he has fought, not exhausted by his triumphs, nor sacrificed to idle ambition, but raised by his valor to liberty and independence; and while enjoying these blessings themselves, securing them for the remotest posterity.
"The patriot will here see a people, not distracted by faction, nor yet regardless of their political rights, making the most rapid strides to true greatness, and displaying in their happiness and security, the wisdom and power of institutions engraved on their hearts.
"To you, sir, the soldier and patriot, we offer this cheering picture; and if ever you can be recompensed for your generous devotion to us in our revolutionary struggle, it must be in the pleasure with which you witness our national happiness.
"Permit me then, dear General, to assure you that among the ten millions that bid you welcome, none do it with more sincerity than those of the navy."
Answer of General Lafayette.
"The extraordinary honors of which an American veteran is now the happy object, I consider as being shared in common with my surviving companions; and for the greater part, bestowed as an approbation of the principle, and a tribute of regard, to the memory of the illustrious patriots with whom I have served in the cause of America and mankind.
"It is with the most lively feelings of an American heart, that I have sympathised in all the circumstances relative to the United States' Navy, and proudly gloried in the constant superiority of the American flag over an enemy, justly renowned for bravery and maritime skill.
"I am happy, my dear Commodore, in your affectionate welcome; but whatever may be my feelings of personal gratitude to the Navy of the United States, I feel myself under still greater obligations to them, for the honor they have done to the American name in every part of the globe."
The 5th of October, Lafayette left Philadelphia, on this journey to the south, by the way of Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington. He passed the Brandywine, and entered Wilmington, the capital of Delaware, on the 6th about noon. He was received with demonstrations of lively gratitude and joy; and a sumptuous repast was provided for him. He then proceeded to Newcastle in that state, and was present at the marriage of Colonel V. Dupont, formerly one of his aids in France. From this place he proceeded to Frenchtown, where he was received by the aids of the Governor of Maryland, with a battalion of horse as an escort for their honorable guest. He was waited on, also, by deputations both civil and military, from the city of Baltimore, each of which offered him their cordial salutations in the name of those whom they represented. General Harper was at the head of the military deputation; and having given him a hearty welcome, introduced his Brother officers, amounting to two hundred. Several revolutionary officers and soldiers, who had repaired to this place for the pleasure of an early meeting, were also introduced to him. The joy of the meeting was reciprocal. Among the many former personal friends, he met here with M. Du Bois Martin, who procured the ship in which Lafayette first came to America in 1777. The interview must have been extremely interesting.
Lafayette embarked at Frenchtown in the steamboat United States, for Baltimore, furnished for his accommodation by that city. On his arrival in the river, columns of smoke in the direction of Baltimore, announced to those on board, the approach of a squadron of steam boats; and in three quarters of an hour the Virginia, the Maryland, the Philadelphia, &c. swept gallantly by, two on either side, crossed immediately under the stern of the United States, and took their positions en echellon. The Maryland and Virginia then came close along side, their decks crowded with spectators, who saluted the General with continued shouts. The whole fleet then proceeded slowly up the river, all elegantly decorated with flags closed into the centre as it passed the narrows opposite Fort M'Henry, and dropt anchor, forming a semi-circle near the northern shore.
Just as the anchor was let go a signal gun was fired, and a squadron of eight green and white barges, which had been awaiting the coming of Lafayette, shot across the bows of the United States, and passing round in regular order under the stern, came along side to receive the passengers. The first was handsomely carpeted and cushioned, manned by masters of vessels, and intended for Lafayette.
The General embarked in this boat amidst the repeated cheering of all around, and pushing off made way for the others, which took on board the committees and proceeded in order to the wharf.
The General was received on the way by the commander of the garrison, and proceeded to the star fort. The Governor of the State was here introduced to the General, who addressed him, to which the General made a feeling reply. He was afterwards conducted to the tent of Washington by Governor Stevens, within which he was received by the society of Cincinnati. The scene was impressive. As soon as the first emotions had subsided, the hero of the Cowpens, Colonel Howard, President of the society, addressed the General, who, in reply, said language could not express his feelings. He then embraced his old companions in arms. The General and invited guests then retired to an adjoining marquee, and took refreshments; after which he was seated in an elegant barouche, attended by Mr. Carroll, and Generals Smith and Howard, drawn by four black horses, with two postillions in white silk jackets, blue sashes and black velvet caps, led by four grooms similarly dressed. At the outer gate, the procession was received by about 1000 cavalry. On passing Federal Hall, a salute was fired. Descending the hall, the procession passed under an elegant arch, and another at the head of Market-street, where his friends left the carriage, and the General alone proceeded down the military line, in presence of thousands of both sexes.