After this he descended at the Exchange, where he was received by the Mayor and Councils, with an appropriate address and answer. He thence proceeded in his carriage to Light-street, across which, at the entrance into Market- street, an elegant pavilion had been erected, and where he was received by a fine military assemblage. Here there was a truly splendid ceremony, in presentment by the Mayor, to the General, with Pulaski's standard, made during the revolutionary war by a Moravian Nun, at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which belonged to Pulaski's legion, raised in Baltimore in 1778. In 1779, Count Pulaski was mortally wounded at the attack on Savannah; and these colors, at his decease, in 1780, descended to the Major, who was sabred to death in South Carolina. The venerable Paul Bentalou, Esq. now marshal of the district of Maryland, and at that time captain of the first troop of light dragoons, and senior surviving officer, inherited the standard of the legion, which he has preserved with Great care to this day, with all the fond recollections and attachments of the veteran soldier.
In the evening, the city was brilliantly illuminated, and many of the public and private buildings exhibited appropriate transparencies.
On Friday, hundreds of citizens were presented to the General, in the Hall of the Exchange; and in the afternoon he dined with the Mayor and Corporation. In the evening, he attended the ball and supper given to him by the citizens, which was truly splendid, and occupies many columns in the description.
The General was also waited upon, and addressed in the most feeling manner, by the French residents, to whom he replied in the most affectionate manner.
At seven o'clock in the evening the General was received at Masonic Hall, by the Grand Lodge of Maryland, in the presence of eight hundred brethren, The General dined with the Cincinnati on Saturday. "On Monday he was presented with a medal from the young men of Baltimore, with inscriptions expressive of their gratitude. He afterwards presented several colors to the fifth regiment, under Colonel Stewart, in his behalf, which were received with the highest military honors. The General then reviewed the regiment.—At eleven o'clock he left his lodgings, and proceeded in his barouche to Whetstom Point, for the purpose of reviewing the third division, under the command of Major General Harper. He partook of a splendid military banquet. His honors on leaving the city were magnificent as those of his reception. He departed under escort on Monday, over the Washington turnpike. He was to pass the night 30 miles from Baltimore, and enter Washington city on Tuesday at noon."
In no city which General Lafayette visited, had he met with a more cordial welcome, or a more splendid reception, than in Baltimore. All were desirous to do him honor and to express their feelings of gratitude and respect for the guest of the nation. Many interesting recollections must have been brought to his mind when in this city. It was here he passed some time in 1781, when he commanded the American light infantry in that quarter—when the British had a large army in the vicinity, and our troops were destitute of clothing, and in a state of great despondence. By his own personal influence and responsibility, he obtained a loan here for the use of his troops, which was necessary to their comfort, and served to render them in a measure contented with their situation. The address of his old friend Colonel Howard, in behalf of the Cincinnati of Maryland, who were assembled in the Tent of Washington to receive his adopted son, and their beloved brother soldier, was as follows:—
"A few of your brother soldiers of Maryland, who remain after a lapse of forty years, and the sons of some of them who are now no more, are assembled in the Tent of Washington, to greet you on your visit to the United States; and to assure you of their affectionate and sincere regard. This Tent will call to your recollection many interesting incidents which occurred when you associated in arms with Washington, the patriot and soldier, saviour of his country, and friend of your youth.
"Accept, General, our cordial sentiments of esteem for you, and of gratitude for services rendered by you to our country—services which will never be forgotten by the free and happy people of the United States."
To which General Lafayette replied—
"The pleasure to recognize my beloved companions in arms; the sound of names, whose memory is dear to me; this meeting under the consecrated Tent, where we so often pressed around our paternal commander in chief; excite emotions which your sympathizing hearts will better feel than I can express. This post also nobly defended in the late war, while it brings the affecting recollection of a confidential friend in my military family, associates with the remembrance of the illustrious defence of another fort, in the war of the revolution, by the friend now near me. [Colonel Smith.] It has been the lot of the Maryland line, to acquire glory in instances of bad as well as of good fortune; and to whom can I better speak of that glory, than in addressing Colonel Howard? My dear brother soldiers, my feelings are too strong for utterance. I thank you most affectionately."
The meeting of this Society was rendered peculiarly interesting,—there being present, besides many other worthy veterans of the revolutionary army, Colonel John F. Howard, the celebrated hero of the battle of the Cowpens, January 1781, to whom Congress presented two medals, in testimony of his singular bravery-General (formerly Colonel) Samuel Smith, who bravely defended Mud-fort, and many years senator in Congress; and Paul Bentalou, Esq. now marshal of Maryland district, who was the senior captain of light dragoons, belonging to Pulaski's legion, in 1778. Here also the very venerable Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the declaration of independence, was introduced to Lafayette.
We give also an extract from the address of Governor Stevens, to the General.
"In bidding you a hearty welcome to the state of Maryland, whilst I gratify the feelings of my own heart, I express, though feebly, those of the people, whom it is my pride and pleasure, on this occasion to represent. Beneath this venerable canopy, many a time have you grasped the friendly hand of our illustrious Washington, aided his council with your animating voice, or shared with him the hardy soldier's meal. The incidents which the association so forcibly recalls, however inspiring, it were needless to dwell upon. The recollection of them fills the mind with gratitude; a full measure of which is justly due to you, as the generous companion of our fathers, the gallant and disinterested soldier of liberty—You are about to enter the city of Baltimore, which you have known in other days. In her growth and embellishment, you will behold a symbol of our national prosperity, under popular institutions and a purely representative government.—Welcome, thrice welcome, General, to the soil of Maryland. Nothing which we can do, can too strongly express to you the affection and respect which we entertain for your person and your principles, or the joy with which we receive you among us, as a long absent father on a visit to his children."
To this address Lafayette replied—
"While your Excellency is pleased so kindly to welcome me in the name of the citizens of Maryland, the lively gratitude, which this most gratifying reception cannot fail to excite, associates in my heart, with a no less profound sense of my old obligations to this state, both as an American General and a personal friend. I am happy, sir, to have the honor to meet you in this fort, so gallantly defended in the late war, in presence of the brave colonel of the worthy volunteers, whose glory on that occasion I have enjoyed with the proud feelings of an American veteran. It was by a Maryland colonel in the year 1777, that the British received, in the gallant defence of an important fort, one of the first lessons of what they were to expect from American valour and patriotism. The Maryland line, sir, in the continental army has been conspicuous, not only in days of victory, but on days either unfortunate or dubious. This tent, under which I now answer your affectionate address; the monument erected to the memory of our great and good commander in chief; the column of a later date, bearing testimonies of a glorious event; my entrance into a city long ago dear to me, and now become so beautiful and prosperous; fill my heart with sentiments, in which you have had the goodness to sympathize.
"Accept, sir, the tribute of my respectful and affectionate gratitude to the citizens of the state, and their honored chief magistrate."
There was an incident connected with General Lafayette's escort to the boundary of Baltimore, which deserves to be particularly noticed. The cavalry troop was commanded by Samuel Sprigg, Esq. who, two years ago, ended a full term of service in the capacity of Governor of the state of Maryland, of which he was Captain-General and Commander in Chief. Returned to private life, a wealthy planter, in the midst of all that can render life easy and pleasant, he is proud of resuming his character of a citizen, and becoming a member of a troop of horse, in which he enrolls himself with his neighbours, who choose him their commander. In that capacity, he has had the pleasure of receiving General Lafayette at the boundary of his county, and escorting him through it. This incident, we say, deserves to be noted as a fine practical illustration of the principles of republican government.
General Lafayette arrived in the city of Washington, according to previous arrangement, about 1 o'clock on Tuesday the 12th.
About 9 o'clock, on Tuesday morning, the General and suit left Rossburg, and proceeded to the District of Columbia, at the line of which he was met by the committee of arrangements from the city of Washington, and a number of revolutionary officers, escorted by a handsome troop of city cavalry, and a company of Montgomery cavalry. The meeting of the General with his revolutionary compatriots, and with the committee, was affectionate and impressive in the extreme. After many embraces were exchanged, the General was transferred to the elegant landau provided by the city for his use, drawn by four fine greys, in which he was accompanied by Major General Brown and Commodore Tingey, members of the committee; and his son George Washington Lafayette, his Secretary, Col. Vassieur, and Mr. Custis, of Arlington, were placed in another carriage provided for the purpose. The whole then advanced to the city, Capt. Sprigg's company in front, the remaining companies proceeding and flanking the carriages containing the General, his suite, the committee, &c. On rising to the extensive plain which stretches eastward from the capitol to the Anacosta river, the General found himself in front of the most brilliant military spectacle which our city ever witnessed, being a body of 10 or 1200 troops, composed entirely of volunteer companies of the city, Georgetown, and Alexandria, some of them recently organized, clad in various tasteful uniforms, and many of them elegant beyond any thing of the kind we have before seen. Brigadier Generals Smith and Jones were in the field with their respective suits and the field officers of the first brigade. These troops, together with the large body of cavalry, the vast mass of eager spectators which overspread the plain, and the animation of the whole, associated with the presence of the venerated object of so much curiosity and affection, gave a grandeur and interest to the scene which has never been equaled here on any former occasion. After the General had received the respects and welcome of our military chiefs, the whole body of troops tools took up the escort, for the capitol, wheeling into column, in East Capitol-street, and then into line upon the leading division. The General and suite then passed this line in review, advancing towards the capitol, and receiving the highest military honors as he passed.
After the military procession had reached the east end of the market house, on East Capitol-street, which was handsomely adorned with proper emblems, and the Declaration of Independence, above which perched a living eagle of the largest size, the committee of arrangements and General Lafayette and suite alighted from their carriages and preceded by the committee, the General and suite passed through the market house, which on each side was lined with anxious and delighted spectators, to the east entrance of the Capitol Square, over which was thrown a neat arch, decorated with evergreens and other ornaments, with appropriate labels, expressive of the esteem and gratitude of the citizens to the national guest; on the pinnacle stood another eagle. On entering the gate, the General was met by a group of 25 young girls, dressed in white, intended to represent the 24 States and the District of Columbia, each wearing a wreath of flowers, and bearing in her hand a miniature national flag, with the name of one of the States inscribed upon it; when the one representing the district advanced and arrested his progress, and, in a short speech, neatly and modestly delivered their welcome to the nation's guest. After which each of the young ladies presented her hand to the General, which he received in the most affectionate manner, and with the kindest expressions. He then passed a double line of girls, properly dressed, from the schools, who strewed his way with flowers. Leaving the girls, he passed lines of the students of the colleges and seminaries, with their respective banners, and a company of Juvenile Infantry, dressed in uniform, and armed in a suitable manner; and then the younger boys from the schools. All these formed a numerous and highly interesting assemblage. Arriving at the north wing of the Capitol, the General was conducted by the committee of arrangements through the great door, up the grand staircase, into the central rotunda of the Capitol, which though of immense size, was filled with ladies and gentlemen; and, through it, received, on every side, demonstrations of the most ardent and grateful respect. On leaving the rotunda, he passed under the venerable tent of Washington, also filled with ladies, revolutionary officers, and other gentlemen, to the front of the portico of the Capitol, neatly carpeted, on which was erected the tent. He was introduced to the Mayor, who introduced him to the Mayor of Georgetown, the members of the corporation, and other gentlemen present, when advancing to the front of the portico, in the presence of many thousand spectators, the Mayor delivered an address, to which the General replied.
The General was then invited by the Mayor of Georgetown to visit that town, in a chaste and neat address.
To which the General replied, in a few words, that Georgetown was an old acquaintance of his, where he had found many valuable and esteemed friends, and he would visit it with the greatest delight, and thank its citizens for their kind regards.
After this, John Brown Cutting, Esq. at the request of the committee of arrangements, and in behalf of himself and other revolutionary officers, delivered a short address and complimentary poem, in a handsome and appropriate manner.
After having made a reply to this address, the General was introduced to some other gentlemen; and was then conducted by the Mayor, attended by the committee of arrangements, in the way by which he had ascended, to the front door of the north wing of the Capitol, where the military passed in review before him, saluting as they passed. Immediately after his reception in the portico, a grand salute was fired in the neighborhood of the Capitol by a company of Alexandria artillery. The review being finished, the Mayor ascended the landau with the General, attended by Gen. Brown and Com. Tingey, and the procession was resumed in the same order as before; and passing through Pennsylvania Avenue, proceeded to the President's house. In this passage the streets were lined with spectators; but the most pleasing sight was the windows on each side of it filled with ladies, in their best attire and looks, bestowing, with beaming eyes, their benedictions on the beloved Chief, and waving white handkerchiefs, as tokens of their happiness.
On passing the centre market, another salute was fired from a battery south of the Tiber, by a company of artillery.
The General, with his son, the Mayor, committee of arrangements, &c. thus escorted, having reached the President's house, (distant from the Capitol more than a mile) passed into the gate of the enclosure, and thence to the portico of the mansion. The General, on alighting, was there received by the Marshal of the District of Columbia, and, supported by Gen. Brown and Com. Tingey, and accompanied by the Mayor and others of the committee of arrangements, was, with his son conducted into the drawing room where the President was prepared to receive him.
The President, stationed at the head of this circular apartment, had on his right hand the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, on his left the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, and, ranged on each side the room, were the other gentlemen invited to be present at this interview. The whole number of distinguished persons present being fifty or sixty.
On the General's reaching the centre of the circle, the President advanced to him, and gave him a cordial and affectionate reception, such as might have been expected from the illustrious representative of the American people, to one of those early friends of theirs, whom, like himself, they delight to honor.
After the interchange of courtesies between the guest and the President, he was welcomed by the Heads of Departments. Between him and Mr. Crawford, with whom he had in France an intimate acquaintance, the meeting was that of old and affectionate friends: and by all he was respectfully and kindly greeted. Subsequently, the General was introduced in succession, by the Chief of each Department of the Government, to the officers attached to each. Liberal refreshments were then offered to the company, and fifteen or twenty minutes were spent in delightful conversation. After which the General took his leave, well pleased with his reception, and, remounting the landau, proceeded to rejoin his escort.
Retiring from this affecting scene, the General passed in review, and was saluted by the whole body of troops, which had been wheeled into line, and extended from the President's square to the General's quarters. On his alighting, he expressed his thanks to them for the honor bestowed on him, and then another grand salute was fired by a company of artillery: after which, the military were dismissed. He retired, for a short time, to his private room; and, when he returned into public, was, with his suite; introduced to a great number of citizens, anxious to express their heartfelt respect to the disinterested champion of their country's liberty.
To an address from the Mayor, full of fine feeling, the General made the following reply:—
"The kind and flattering reception with which I am honored by the citizens of Washington, excite the most lively feelings of gratitude; those grateful feelings, sir, at every step of my happy visit to the United States, could not but enhance the inexpressible delight I have enjoyed at the sight of the immense and wonderful improvements, so far beyond even the fondest anticipations of a warm American heart; and which, in the space of forty years, have so gloriously evinced the superiority of popular institutions, and self government, over the too imperfect state of political civilization, found in every part of the other hemisphere. In this august place, which bears the most venerable of all ancient and modern names, I have, sir, the pleasure to contemplate, not only a centre of that constitutional Union so necessary to these States, so important to the interests of mankind; but also a great political school, where attentive observers from other parts of the world may be taught the practical science of true social order.
"Among the circumstances of my life, to which you have been pleased to allude, none can afford me such dear recollections, as my having been early adopted as an American soldier; so there is not a circumstance of my reception in which I take so much pride, as in sharing those honors with my beloved companions in arms. Happy I am to feel that the marks of affection and esteem bestowed on me, bear testimony to my perseverance in the American principles I received under the tent of Washington, and of which I shall, to my last breath, prove myself a devoted disciple. I beg you, Mr. Mayor, and the gentlemen of the Corporation, to accept my respectful acknowledgments to you and to the citizens of Washington."
To the address and poem presented by John Brown Cutting, Esq. the General made the following reply:—
"While I embrace you, sir, and make my acknowledgments to those of our revolutionary comrades, in whose name you welcome me to this metropolis, be assured that I reciprocate those kind expressions of attachment, which from them are peculiarly gratifying. And although, in doing this, it cannot be expected that I should command such beautiful language as you employ, yet I speak from the bottom of my heart, when I assure you that the associations of time and place, to which you allude, exalt the interest which I shall ever feel in your prosperity, and that of every meritorious individual who belonged to the revolutionary army of the United States."
After the ceremony of the procession, &c. a public dinner was provided, at which the Mayor of Washington presided, assisted by the Presidents of the boards of Aldermen and the Common Council; and at which were present, the heads of departments, revolutionary officers, military and naval officers of the United States, members of the City Council, and many distinguished characters from different parts of the nation.
His reception by Mr. Monroe President of the United States, was most cordial and honorable. He called on the President, the day of his arrival in Washington, as before mentioned. The next day he was with Mr. Monroe both at breakfast and dinner, and on Thursday, the President gave a public dinner in honor of Lafayette, at which were present, the Heads of Departments, many distinguished public characters from various parts of the Unified States, and the principal officers of the army and navy. While in Washington, he also visited the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, and of War, and Major General Brown, of the United States army.
Gen. Lafayette rode over to Georgetown, on Thursday, having been earnestly invited by the Mayor and corporation to visit the city. And the citizens demonstrated their gratitude and joy on the occasion, by a military escort, and a respectable precession. But the most acceptable offering was such as he had received in all other places, the spontaneous and cordial salutations of the whole people. On Friday, he visited the navy yard, by invitation of the veteran Commodore Tingey. His reception here was remarkably brilliant and impressive; he was accompanied by many distinguished citizens and public functionaries; and the attentions of the naval veteran were honorable to himself and highly gratifying to General Lafayette. He dined again, this day (Friday) with President Monroe; and on Saturday proceeded on his proposed visit to Alexandria, and Yorktown. He was accompanied as far as the Potomac by the Mayor and committee of arrangements from Washington, escorted by the Georgetown cavalry. On the south side of the river, he was received by the deputation of Alexandria, attended by many other citizens, and several officers of the army and navy of the United States. He was received in Alexandria with the highest military honors, and escorted through the town amidst the welcomes and shouts of many thousands of inhabitants. A public dinner was given him; and the highest regard manifested by all classes of people for this disinterested friend of American freedom and independence.
Sunday morning he visited the tomb of Washington, at Mount Vernon, accompanied by Mr. Custis, the nearest male relative of that most distinguished patriot. Lafayette spent an hour at this hallowed spot, where, were deposited the mortal remains of his most respected friend, whom he loved, venerated and was ever desirous to imitate. It was a moment of sacred recollection; and while the living patriot and hero reflected with mingled emotions of joy and sadness at the grave of one who was his leader and examplar, in youth, he could not but anticipate, with deep solemnity, the approaching period of his own departure. Mr. Custis here presented him with a ring containing some of the hair of his immortal relative. General Lafayette then proceeded on his way to Yorktown, where he arrived on Monday; and was received with great demonstrations of respect and joy. A steamboat was dispatched from Yorktown down the river to meet the United States steam boat, which had Lafayette on board. He entered the former near the mouth of the river, where he was received by the committee from Yorktown, and conveyed to that place, attended by four other large boats, crowded with citizens anxious to see and welcome "the guest of the nation." One of the committee addressed him, in a very affectionate and impressive manner, as soon as he came on board of the Virginia steamboat. A great concourse of people from the neighbouring towns were collected, and many from far distant places, together with the most distinguished public characters in the whole state of Virginia. There were also present on this occasion, many officers of high rank of the army and navy of the United States.
Great preparations had been made by the citizens of Virginia, and by the state authorities, to celebrate the anniversary of the capture of the British army, under Lord Cornwallis, at this place, on the 19th of October, 1781; an event, in which Lafayette took a very active and useful part; perhaps no general in the siege, under Washington, was more active and useful—an event, also, which had great and immediate influence with the English government, to acknowledge our independence and offer terms of an honorable peace. General Lafayette had been invited, some weeks before, to be present in Yorktown, at this time. The Ex-Presidents Jefferson and Madison, were also invited to attend, but they both declined. Mr. Madison's want of health prevented; and Mr. Jefferson declined on account of age and infirmity. We give his letter in reply to the invitation.
"Monticello, Oct. 9, 1824.
"I received, on the 2d instant, your favor of September 27, conveying to me the obliging invitation of the volunteer companies of the state, to meet them and their distinguished guest; Gen. Lafayette, at York on the 19th instant. No person rejoices more than I do at the effusions of gratitude with which our fellow-citizens, in all parts, are receiving this their antient and virtuous friend and benefactor; nor can any other more cordially participate in their sentiments of affection to him. Age and infirmities, however, disable me from repairing to distant occasions of joining personally in these celebrations; and leave me to avail myself of the opportunity which the friendship of the General will give by his kind assurance of a visit. He will here have the pleasure of reviewing a scene which his military maneuvers covered from the robberies and ravages of an unsparing enemy. Here, then, I shall have the welcome opportunity of joining with my grateful neighbors in manifestations of our sense of his protection peculiarly afforded to us and claiming our special remembrance and acknowledgements. But I shall not the less participate with my distant brethren by sincerely sympathising in their warmest expressions of gratitude and respect to their country's guest.
"With this apology for my inability to profit of the honorable invitation of the volunteer companies, I pray you to accept for them and yourself the assurance of my high respect and consideration.
Hon. Mr. Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States, Major-General Taylor of the Virginia militia, Mr. Bassett, many years a member of Congress from the state, and a committee from Yorktown, went in the steamboat to meet General Lafayette. The address of one of the committee, on his entering the Virginia steamboat, was as follows:
"We are deputed by our fellow citizens now assembled at Yorktown, to welcome you to Virginia.
"We will not recount, in your presence, the real services you have rendered this republic, and the virtues that so endear you to us, lest even the simple voice of truth might pain the delicacy of a mind like yours. But the emotions we all feel, of gratitude, affection and veneration for you; emotions rendered more intense in each, by the universal sympathy of others; these we cannot suppress. In the numerous assembly, now anxiously awaiting your arrival, they are swelling in every bosom, and hanging on every tongue, and beaming from every eye.
"Yes, sir, you "read your history in a nation's eyes." A whole people unite in one deep and glowing sentiment of respect and love towards you. Wheresoever you go, the old greet you as their leader in arms, and their companion in toil and danger; the partaker, too, of their triumph. The young have been taught, from their earliest childhood, to honor and to bless your name. The mothers and the daughters of the land shed tears of joy at your approach. Your name is associated in the memory of us all, with every name, and wish most of the events in our annals, dearest to the American heart; with the illustrious and revered name of Washington, and with the most glorious achievements of the revolution.
"But, of all the states in the Union—though we will not say that Virginia is the most grateful—yet she certainly owes you the largest debt of gratitude. This state was the chief scene of your services. In the day of her greatest peril, in the darkest hour of her distress, when invading armies threatened to overrun the country, and all the horrors of war were pointed against our very dwellings; Washington selected you, his youthful friend, for the chief command, and securely entrusted the defence of his native state to your courage and conduct. How zealously you undertook, how well you fulfilled the arduous part assigned you, with what honor to yourself, and with what advantage to us, no time shall obliterate the remembrance. The general of the enemy, in effect, pronounced your eulogium, when conscious of his own abilities, and confiding in the superiority of his forces, he vauntingly said, "The boy cannot escape me." History records, not only that our youthful general did escape him, but that he held safe the far greater part of the country, in spite of his utmost efforts; and came at last to yonder spot, to assist in the capture of his army; to witness the downfall of his hopes, the humiliation of his pride, and the last effort of British power against American freedom. And now, after the lapse of forty-three years, he visits the name spot again—happy to renew there the glorious recollections of the past; and yet, happier, we hope, to see how dearly we appreciate the blessings of liberty and independence which he assisted us to achieve.
"On that spot, sir, we are most proud to receive you. We hail you as the hero of liberty and the friend of man. We greet you as the bosom friend of Washington. We greet you as one of the father's of the republic."
General Lafayette answered—
"I am happy, sir, to find myself again, after a long absence, and to be so kindly welcomed, on the beloved sail of the state of Virginia; that state, to which I am bound by so many old ties of gratitude, devotion, and mutual confidence. It is to the patriotic support I found in the civil authorities of this state, whose generous spirit had already shone from the beginning of the revolutionary contest; it is to the zeal, the courage, the perseverance of the Virginia militia, in conjunction with our small gallant continental army, that we have been indebted for the success of a campaign arduous in its beginning, fruitful in its happy issue. Nothing can be more gratifying to my feelings, than the testimonies I receive of my living still in the hearts of the Virginians; and I beg you, sir, to be pleased to accept, and transmit to the citizens of this state, the cordial tribute of my grateful, constant and affectionate respect."
The beach and the heights of Yorktown were filled with anxious spectators: the anticipation was intense. The Governor and Council were stationed on a temporary wharf, erected for the occasion, to receive him. Judges, revolutionary patriots, officers of the army, invited guests and citizens, were also in waiting, in a separate group. Lafayette landed with his companions, and supported by Colonels Fassett, Harvie, Peyton and Jones; who introduced him to the Governor of the State. The latter received him with the following speech:—
"SIR—On behalf of the people of Virginia, I tender to you a most cordial and hearty welcome to our State.
"In you we recognise the early, the steadfast, the consistent friend. Whilst the United States in general, owe you so large a debt of gratitude, for the liberal tender of your purse, your person and your blood in their behalf, the state of Virginia, is, if possible, still more deeply indebted to you.—You were her defender in the hour of her greatest trial. At the early age of twenty four years, with an army greatly inferior in numbers, and still more in equipments and discipline, you conducted your military movements with so much judgment, that the ablest officer of the British army could never obtain the slightest advantage over you; and whilst that officer spent his time in harassing our distressed state you maneuvered before him with the most unceasing caution and vigilance, with a steady eye, to that grand result, which brought the war to a crisis on the plains of York.
"Forty-three years from that period, we have the happiness to find you in our country, the vast improvement of which is the most conclusive evidence of the correctness of the principles for which you contended by the side of Washington.
"I will conclude, sir, by the expression of a sentiment, which I believe to be strictly true; It is, that no man, at any time has ever received the effusions of a nation's feelings, which have come so directly from the heart."
The General advanced, and grasping the Governor's hand, said,—"I am gratified sir, most highly gratified, by the reception you have given me on the part of the state of Virginia. The happy conduct and the successful termination of the decisive campaign, in which you have the goodness to ascribe to me so large a part, were attributable much more to the constituted authorities and people of Virginia, than to the general who was honored with the chief military command. I have the liveliest recollection of all the scenes of my services in this state, and of all the men with whom it was my happiness and honor to serve—and happy as I was to assist and witness the accomplishment of American liberty and independence, I have been yet happier in the assurance that the blessings which have flowed from that great event, have exceeded the fondest and most sanguine expectations."
The General was then successively introduced to the councilors, the judges, the revolutionary officers, and a number of citizens. The procession then advanced—Gen. Lafayette, the Governor, Chief Justice, and Mr. Calhoun, the Secretary of War, seated in the barouche. Next Lafayette's son and suite, and the Council, &c. &c. in regular succession. It advanced (the General's head uncovered) amidst the salutes from the artillery company stationed on the heights and from the steamboats and small craft—and amid the full swell of music. It passed through the long lines of citizens and old revolutionary soldiers arranged in two columns. It wound up the hill; and finally terminated at the General's quarters.—On entering the house (Gen. Nelson's) he was cheered by a crowd of citizens.
The introduction of a number of ladies and citizens followed—receiving all with interest and the quiet dignity of a spirit at peace within itself, and pleased with all the world. The most interesting of these interviews were with the soldiers of the revolution. One of them advanced, seized the General by the hand, exclaiming, "I was with you at Yorktown. I entered yonder redoubt at your side. I too was at the side of the gallant De Kalb, your associate in arms, when he fell in the field." The tears streamed from the veteran's eyes; and Lafayette showed by his countenance the sympathy he felt. "Yes, my brave soldier, I am happy to have lived, to meet you once more."
After a short time, Lafayette, respecting that inestimable spirit of equality which pervades over free institutions, went forth to salute the crowd of citizens who stood in the street. He was stationed at the gate, and the long line of gratified spectators passed by him. Each person seized his hand as he passed him. To all Lafayette extended some mark of kindness and consideration. The spectacle was deeply impressive. The variety of manners in the different spectators was singularly striking. Some as they approached, fixed their eyes on his face, and lingered after they had passed, as if to drink in the last expression of its countenance. Others advanced with the deepest feelings of awe, with their eyes cast upon the earth.
On Monday, Lafayette dined with a select company of some 20 or 30, consisting of the revolutionary officers, &c. At night, some transparencies were exhibited over the door of his house, and under the Richmond marquee."
In truth, the scene exceeded all rational expectation: The committee of arrangements deserve much encomium for their enterprising spirit and judicious efforts. It is a seem which no man who saw it will ever forget. The Virginians appeared in their true colours.—The moral effects of this spectacle were sublime. There was an effect in it, which no words can describe, "tears streamed from an hundred eyes. The sentiments it diffused through several thousands of spectators, were of the loftiest character.
On this day, Monday 18th, the reception was purely civic, not a soldier appeared under arms. But on the 19th the military spectacle was imposing and brilliant. Soon after breakfast, Lafayette walked from his quarters, to the tent of Washington, surrounded by the committee of arrangements and others. Numbers were then introduced to him—many ladies, the veteran soldiers of the revolution, citizens from other states and all quarters of Virginia.
Col. Wm. I. Lewis, of Campbell, was introduced to him, and delivered the following address:—
"The sons of the mountains join most cordially their low land brethren in welcoming your return to this country, they are the more delighted at this particular period, because after an absence of about forty years, you will now be a witness of the happy effects of self government, founded on the natural rights of man—rights, which you so nobly contributed to establish. Little did you think when in youthful age, you voluntarily put your life in your hand, and crossed the stormy billows of the deep, to fight and bleed for the independence of America that the results would have been so wonderful. At that period we were only a handful of people, for in everything of military import, except an invincible love and attachment for liberty—we fought, and thanks to Lafayette and his native nation, we conquered!—Now we see the result—we have nearly by the offspring of our own loins increased to more than 10,000,000 of people cleared the immeasurable forests of savages, and wild beasts, and in their places are cultivating rich fields, building villages, towns, and cities; our commerce is spread over every sea, and our navy rides triumphant on the ocean. Such are the effects of free government, founded on equal rights, supported by wise and merciful laws faithfully executed!—There is but one alloy to our pleasure of meeting you—we dread your return to Europe. The despots of that country envy your increasing glory, founded on virtue, which they cannot imitate; and their political fears may again incarcerate you in the grated walls of a dungeon! Stay then with us, Lafayette—stay with us—here in every house you will find a home and in every heart a friend—we will with filial affection rock with gentleness the cradle of your declining age; and when it shall please the God of universal nature to call you to himself, crowned with the blessings of at least one free and mighty nation, we will then with holy devotion bury your bones by the side of your adopted and immortal father, and moisten your tomb with the tears of love and gratitude."
The costume and whole appearance of Col. Lewis were striking and interesting; he had on the mountain dress. On the conclusion of the address, the General grasped him with both hands, and in the most touching manner, begged him to convey to his mountain friends his, most affectionate acknowledgments for this testimony of their kindness. He recounted the services which their gallantry had formerly rendered him. He dwelt with delight upon the interest they now manifested in his happiness.
About 11 o'clock, the procession began to form for the triumphal arch, erected on the ruins of the Rock Redoubt, standing within six yards of the river's bank. The ceremony of the reception at that most interesting point, was pathetic beyond expression. The old General advanced up the hillock which leads to the redoubt, limping and supported by the Governor, with his aids and members of the committee of arrangement. A large column of officers and citizens followed them. When Lafayette had reached the triumphal arch, General Taylor stepped from the semicircular group, which was formed near the river's bank, saluted him with profound respect, and addressed him in the following manner:
"On behalf of my comrades, I bid you welcome. They come to greet you, with no pageantry, intended to surprise by its novelty, or dazzle by its splendour: But they bring you. General, an offering which wealth could not purchase, nor power constrain. On this day, associated with so many thrilling recollections; on this spot, consecrated by successful valour, they come to offer you this willing homage of their hearts.
"Judge, General, of their feelings at this moment by your own. Every thing around them speaks alike to their senses and sensibilities. These plains, where the peaceful plow-share has not yet effaced the traces of military operations; these half decayed ramparts, this ruined village, in which the bombs' havoc is still every where visible, tell us of past warfare; and remind us of that long, arduous and doubtful struggle, on the issue of which depended the emancipation of our country.
"On yonder hillock, the last scene of blood was closed by the surrender of an army; and the liberty of our nation permanently secured. With what resistless eloquence does it persuade our gratitude and admiration for the gallant heroes, to whose noble exertions we owe the countless blessings which our free institutions have conferred upon us?
"The spot on which we stand was once a redoubt occupied by our enemy. With how rapid a pencil does imagination present the blooming chieftain, by whom it was wrested from his grasp. Can we be here and forget, that superior to the prejudices which then enchained even noble minds, he perceived in the first and almost hopeless struggles of a distant and obscure colony, the movement of that moral power, which was destined to give an new direction and character to political institutions, and to improve human happiness. Can we forget, that, deaf to the solicitations of power, of rank, and of pleasure, with a noble prodigality, he gave to our country his sword, his treasure, and the influence of his example.
"And when in the aged warrior who stands before us, we recognise that youthful chieftain, with what rapidity does memory retrace the incidents of his eventful life? With what pleasure do we see his manhood realize the promise of his youth? In senates or in camps, in the palaces of kings, or in their dungeons, we behold the same erect and manly spirit. At one time tempering the licentiousness of popular feeling; at another restraining the extravagance of power, and always regardless of every thing but the great object of his life, the moral and political improvement of mankind.
"General—In the brightest days of antiquity, no artificial stimulus of rank or power, or wealth, was required to excite noble minds to acts of generous daring, A wreath of laurel, or of oak, was at once the proof and the reward of illustrious merit. For this, statesmen meditated, warriors bled, and eloquence soared to its sublimest heights. The prize was invaluable; for, it was won only by merit. It detracted, however, somewhat from its worth, that it was conferred by the partiality of compatriots, and in the fervor of admiration inspired by recent success.
"Your life, General, illustrious throughout, in this also is distinguished.—Time which dims the lustre of ordinary merit, has rendered yours more brilliant. After a lapse of nearly half a century, your triumph is decreed by the sons of those who witnessed your exploits.
"Deign then, General, to accept the simple but expressive token of their gratitude and admiration. Suffer their leader to place upon your veteran brow the only crown it would not disdain to wear, the blended emblems of civic worth and martial prowess. It will not pain you, General, to perceive some scattered sprigs of melancholy cypress intermingled with the blended leaves of laurel and oak. Your heart would turn from us with generous indignation, if on an occasion like this, amid the joyous acclamations which greet you, every where, were heard no sighs of grateful recollection for those gallant men who shared your battles, but do not, cannot share your triumph. The wreath which our gratitude has woven to testify our love for you, will lose nothing of its fragrance, or its verdure, though time hang upon its leaves some tears of pious recollection of the friend of your early youth; In war the avenger, in peace, the father of his country.
"In behalf then, of all the chivalry of Virginia; on this redoubt which his valour wrested from the enemy at the point of the bayonet; I place on the head of Major General Lafayette this wreathe of double triumph:—won by numerous and illustrious acts of martial prowess, and by a life devoted to the happiness of the human race. In their names, I proclaim him alike victorious in arms and acts of civil polity. In bannered fields, a hero—in civil life, the benefactor of mankind."
Lafayette was deeply affected. There was a solemn earnestness in his manner, a touching sensibility in his whole countenance which most deeply impressed every observer. Many wept—all were moved. When Gen. Taylor had closed his address, he was about to fix the civic wreath upon the General's head. But the considerate veteran, always himself, always attentive to the slightest proprieties of word and action, caught the hovering wreath as it approached his brow with his right hand, and respectfully bowing, dropt it to his side, when he thus replied:
"I most cordially thank you, my dear general, and your companions in arms, for your affectionate welcome, your kind recollections, and the flattering expressions of your friendship. Happy I am to receive them on these already ancient lines, where the united arms of America and France have been gloriously engaged in a holy alliance to support the rights of American Independence, and he sacred principle of the sovereignty of the people. Happy also to be so welcomed on the particular spot where my dear light infantry comrades acquired one of their honorable claims to public love and esteem. You know, sir, that in this business of storming redoubts, with unloaded arms and fixed bayonets, the merit of the deed is in the soldiers who execute it, and to each of them, I am anxious to acknowledge their equal share of honor. Let me, however, with affection and gratitude, pay a special tribute to the gallant name of Hamilton, who commanded the attack, to the three field officers who seconded him, Gimat, Laurens and Fish, the only surviving one, my friend now near me. In their name, my dear general, in the name of the light infantry, those we have lost as well as those who survive, and only in common with them, I accept the crown with which you are pleased to honor us, and I offer you the return of the most grateful acknowledgements."
When he had closed, he gave a new proof of the rapidity of his conceptions, the generosity of his soul, the uniform modesty of his character. The very moment he concluded, (never having been prepared for such a scene, never having seen the address, never having suspected the presentation of the wreath) he turned round and drew Col. Fish to the front. "Here," he exclaimed, "half of this wreath belongs to you." "No sir, it is all your own." "Then" said Lafayette, putting it into Col. Fish's hand, "take it and preserve it as our common property."
The whole scene was strongly marked by the moral sublime. This ceremony over, the grand review commenced. Lafayette stood near the arch, and the volunteer companies, and the U. S. troops passed him in regular succession, with flags flying and music floating in the air. The troops then formed themselves again in line, and Lafayette on foot, passed down the line. He was carried to the obelisk, situated on the spot where Vimionel had stormed the second redoubt.—The review over, and Lafayette having seen and been seen by all the troops, be mounted his barouche in company with the governor, and was followed by the other carriages. The whole body of military and citizens then moved to the field, near to which the British troops had grounded their arms in 1781. Between these, and the amphitheatre, where at least one thousand ladies sat, the barouche passed on near to the ladies, who continued to wave their white handkerchiefs as he slowly moved on. "Ladies, receive my warm thanks for your kind welcome," was constantly upon his lips.
The whole scene defies description. Here were the fields, which forty-three years ago, had witnessed the tread of a conquered enemy! A thousand associations of this description rushed upon the mind. Now, filled with an animated and joyous throng of from 10 to 15,000 persons. The spectacle surpassed all expectation; all expression.
When at the tomb of Washington, Mr. Custis addressed him as follows:—
"Last of the generals of the army of Independence! At this awful and impressive moment, when forgetting the splendour of a triumph greater than Roman consul ever had, you bend with reverence over the remains of Washington, the child of Mount Vernon presents you with this token, containing the hair of him, whom while living you loved, and to whose honored grave you now pay the manly and affecting tribute of a patriot's and a soldier's tear.
"The ring has ever been an emblem of the union of hearts from the earliest ages of the world; and this will unite the affections of all the Americans to the person and posterity of Lafayette, now and hereafter. And when your descendants of a distant day shall behold this valued relic, it will remind them of the heroic virtues of their illustrious sire, who received it, not in the palaces of princes, or amid the pomp and vanities of life, but at the laurelled grave of Washington.
"Do you ask—Is this the Mausoleum befitting the ashes of a Marcus Aurelius, or the good Antonius? I tell you, that the father of his country lies buried in the hearts of his countrymen; and in those of the brave, the good, the free, of all ages and nations. Do you seek for the tablets, which are to convey his fame to immortality? They have long been written in the freedom and happiness of their country. These are the monumental trophies of Washington the great; and will endure when the proudest works of art have "dissolved and left not a wreck behind."
"Venerable man! will you never tire in the cause of freedom and human happiness? Is it not time that you should rest from your labours, and repose on the bosom of a country, which delights to love and honor you, and will teach her children's children to bless your name and memory? Surely, where liberty dwells, there must be the country of Lafayette.
"Our fathers witnessed the dawn of your glory, partook of its meridian splendour; and oh, let their children enjoy the benign radiance of your setting sun. And when it shall sink in the horizon of nature, here, here with pious duty, we will form your sepulcher; and, united in death as in life, by the side of the great chief you will rest in peace, till the last trump awakes the slumbering world, and call your virtues to their great reward.
"The joyous shouts of millions of freemen hailed your returning foot-print on our sands. The arms of millions are opened wide to take you to their grateful hearts, and the prayers of millions ascend to the throne of the Eternal, that the choicest blessings of heaven may cheer the latest days of Lafayette."
General Lafayette having received the ring, pressed it to his bosom, and replied—
"The feelings, which at this awful moment oppress my heart, do not leave the power of utterance I can only thank you, my dear Custis, for your precious gift. I pay a silent homage to the tomb of the greatest and best of men, my paternal friend."
General Lafayette was escorted to his quarters by the troops, and a sumptuous dinner provided for him, and the distinguished civil and military characters who were present on the occasion. The following morning, the officers of the volunteer companies present, prepared a military breakfast. The table was spread in the tent of Washington, which was pitched at the volunteer's encampment. He left York Wednesday afternoon, and reached Williamsburg in the evening, where he was received with open arms by the citizens. Hence he proceeded to Norfolk, where he had been previously invited, and where great preparations were made to receive him according to his distinguished merit, and his highly important services to the country. From Norfolk he was to proceed to Richmond; and thence farther south through North and South Carolina, to Georgia. Invitations have been given him to visit Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio; but it is probable he will decline them. For he intends returning to Washington in December, and to spend most of the winter season in that city. Early in the spring, he will probably visit the northern states again; and embark for France at Boston, some time in June or July.
There is a strong and very general desire that Lafayette should pass the remainder of his life in the United States; and that the national government should provide a respectable establishment for him and his family in this country. That the representatives of the people will be ready to grant an honorable stipend, there cannot be a doubt. But France is his native country and his home. There are his children and his grand children. There, it is natural, he should desire to pass his few remaining years. And such an intention, we believe, he has expressed. What will be his final resolution on the subject, we will not conjecture.
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From the New-York Commercial Advertiser.
O deep was the gloom on our sad land descending, And wild was the moan from the tempest's dread form, While the heroes and sires of our country were bending Their souls to their God, and their brows to the storm.
Who bounds to the shore from the dark bosom'd ocean, In the sparkle and pride of his beauty and youth? His ardent mind burning, his soul all devotion, To the high cause of liberty, justice and truth?
He joins the bold band, who, with spirits undaunted, Strive to guard and to win, all man's bosom holds dear; It is done! they have triumph'd! and heaven has granted Fair freedom to crown their majestic career.
How lovely the land where the bright sun is flinging The purple and gold from his throne in the west! There millions of hearts in their gladness are singing, There finds the poor exile contentment and rest.
The eagle that rush'd on a torn, bloody pinion, And soar'd to the sky 'mid the clamors of light, Now wings his proud way in untroubled dominion, While the nations all silently gaze on his flight.
Who comes o'er the billow with head bent and hoary, With full throbbing heart, and with glistening eye Past years roll before him—the scene of his glory Fills his heart with emotions, deep, solemn and high.
Great man! thy lov'd name to the skies is ascending, A name whose remembrance no time can destroy, While gladness and grief are within us contending, For all thou hast suffer'd, and all we enjoy.
We will rank thee with him, who was sent us by heaven; Ye shall meet in our hearts as in glory ye met: Spread, ye winds, the glad news! to our wishes is given The friend of our WASHINGTON, brave LAFAYETTE.
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We'll search the earth, and search the sea, To cull a gallant wreath for thee; And every field for freedom fought, And every mountain-height, where aught Of liberty can yet be found, Shall be our blooming harvest-ground.
Laurels in garlands hang upon Thermopylae and Marathon;— On Bannockburn the thistle grows;— On Runnymead the wild rose blows;— And on the banks of Boyne, its leaves Green Erin's shamrock wildly weaves. In France, in sunny France, we'll get The Fleur-de-lys and mignonette From every consecrated spot, Where ties a martyr'd Huguenot;—. And cull even here, from many a field, And many a rocky height, Bays, that our vales and mountains yield, Where men have met to fight For law, and liberty, and life, And died in freedom's holy strife. Below Atlantic seas,—below The waves of Erie and Champlain, The sea-grass and the corals grow In rostral trophies round the slain; And we can add to form thy crown, Some branches worthy thy renown. Long may the chaplet flourish bright, And borrow from the heavens its light! As with a cloud that circles round A star, when other stars are set, With glory shall thy brow be bound, With glory shall thy head be crowned, With glory-starlike tinctured yet:— For air, and earth, and, sky, and sea, Shall yield a glorious wreath to thee.