He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves besides.

“LA FAYETTE was tall and well proportioned. He was decidedly inclined to
stoutness, though not to obesity. His head was large; his face oval and
regular; his forehead lofty and open; his eyes, which were full of
goodness and intelligence, were large and prominent, of a grayish blue,
and surmounted with light and well-arched, but not bushy eyebrows; his
nose was aquiline; his mouth, which was habitually embellished with a
natural smile, was seldom opened except to utter kind and gracious
expressions; his complexion was clear; his cheeks were slightly colored,
and, at the age of seventy-seven, not a single wrinkle furrowed his
countenance, the ordinary expression of which was that of candor and
frankness.

“Gifted with a strong and vigorous constitution, which was not developed
till late in life, and which was enfeebled neither by the vicissitudes
of a career passed amidst political convulsions, nor by the sufferings
and privations which he underwent during his captivity, La Fayette,
notwithstanding his advanced age, enjoyed his intellectual faculties to
their full extent, and was rendered by his moral energy superior to
circumstances which bow down or crush the generality of mankind.

“During the latter years of his life his health was good, or at most
troubled at but rare intervals by slight indispositions, or by transient
fits of gout….

“La Fayette’s sight was excellent; but of late his hearing had lost
something of its delicacy, and the circumstance was the more perceptible
whenever he felt indisposed. His perceptions, both morally and
physically speaking, were keen, and he usually gave free vent to the
manifestations of his agreeable impressions. Those of a contrary nature
his strength of mind enabled him to support, or at least to dissemble,
in order that he might spare his friends the knowledge of his
sufferings.

“His physiognomy, which was habitually calm, gave a faithful reflection
of the movements of his soul, and at times assumed much expression,
though it was less under the influence of his sensations than of his
sentiments. According to the circumstances in which he was placed, joy,
hope, pity or gratitude, tenderness or severity, were by turns
predominant in his eyes and in every feature of his countenance.

“His deportment was noble and dignified, but his gait, since the year
1803, was rather constrained, in consequence of the accident of a broken
thigh, which compelled him to lean on his cane when walking, and
prevented him from sitting down with ease and quickness, on account of a
stiffness in the hip joint. His other movements were easy and natural,
and though he had but little suppleness in his fingers, his gestures
were graceful, and rarely abrupt, even in the moments when his
conversation was most animated. The tone of his voice was naturally
serious, soft, and agreeable, or strong and sonorous, according to the
circumstances under which he spoke. When the subject of conversation was
gay, he laughed heartily, but even the excess of his mirth was never
displayed in sudden and violent bursts of laughter.

“He dined at home as often as possible, and his frugal meal invariably
consisted of a little fish and the wing of a chicken; he drank nothing
but water. I have not the least doubt that his sobriety and temperance,
and the regularity of his regimen, greatly contributed to exempt him
from the infirmities of old age.

“La Fayette’s dress was always extremely simple, and free from
everything like pretension. He usually wore a long gray or dark-colored
great-coat, a round hat, pantaloons, and gaiters, as represented in the
full-length portrait executed some years ago by M. Scheffer, and which
resembles him in every respect.

“He was remarkably clean and neat in his person, even to minuteness, and
for this reason his _valet de chambre_, Bastien, who had been long in
his service, and never quitted him, became at last indispensable for his
comfort….

“During his latter years, La Fayette led an agreeable and regular
existence, every instant of his time having its stated occupation. His
moments of recreation were spent with his family, or amongst a circle of
intimate friends, on whom he bestowed the hours not devoted to his
legislative labors or to his numerous correspondents. He ever regarded
time as a gift of which the best use was to be made, and, according to
his own expression, ‘he was not at liberty to lose it himself, and still
less to occasion the loss of it to others.’ If he was not always exact
to the hour of appointment given or accepted by him, the multiplicity of
his engagements and his preoccupation of mind were the cause of the
delay; but in important cases his punctuality was praiseworthy.

“He never indulged in any of those social games to which people have
recourse by way of amusement, or to kill time, as the phrase is
generally used. He was fond of the country, and, when not detained in
Paris by business, usually retired to La Grange, where his existence was
altogether patriarchal.”

[Illustration: Entrance to Château La Grange]

M. Cloquet in his quaint book of Recollections of La Fayette, gives a
full and interesting description of La Fayette’s home at La Grange, of
the grounds, château, La Fayette’s library, museum, and many curiosities
gathered there. As Cloquet was his family surgeon and warm personal
friend for years, as well as a frequent visitor to the La Fayette
estate, and was also present at the death-bed of the illustrious
general, his account may be deemed authentic. From his long and detailed
description, covering more than one hundred pages, the following
prominent features are here culled.

The estate of La Grange is situated thirteen leagues east of Paris. The
château stands in the centre of a farm containing eight hundred French
acres. The roads leading to the château cross the property, and are well
laid out and carefully kept in order. The entrance into the park is
through a wide, handsome avenue bordered with apple-trees. This avenue,
turning to the left, passes by the farm and an old chapel, and crossing
a plantation of chestnut-trees, extends for some distance through a
grove of dark-green ornamental trees until it reaches the château. The
drawbridge, which formerly existed over the moat, has been replaced by a
stone bridge with parapets. The entrance is by a large door composed of
two arches, the one having on the sides two deep excavations which
received a portion of the woodwork and the chains of the old bridge, the
other forming the real door. On either side of the door rises a
substantial stone tower, in which narrow windows are pierced. The walls
to the level of the tiled roof, by which they are surmounted, are
covered with moss and tufted ivy, between the foliage of which may be
seen the outline of the casement of the towers. The ivy was planted by
the celebrated Charles Fox, during his stay at La Grange with General
Fitzpatrick, after the Peace of Amiens. The court, through which is the
entrance, has the form of an irregular square, and is light and
spacious, and looks out upon the beautiful park on which it opens.

The following view of the château was furnished by General Carbonel, and
represents part of the park, lawn, and residence. The château has two
stories besides the ground floor. The walls are covered on the outside
with ivy, Virginia jasmins, etc., and the entire dwelling is surrounded
with fine trees and enormous weeping willows, which gracefully bend
their branches towards the waters of the moat, which is from thirty to
forty feet in breadth and seven feet in depth. The moat has been filled
up on one side of the château, leaving a level passage to the lawn. The
waters of the moat are clear and limpid, being fed by a stream that runs
from one of the ponds of the farm, and fine fish are kept in it. On the
outside it is surrounded with terraced slopes of green sward enamelled
with brilliant flowers.

[Illustration: Château La Grange]

On the ground floor of the château, and communicating with the
vestibule, are a small chapel, a large dining-room, and further on, the
kitchens. A wide stone staircase, well lighted, leads to the two
reception-rooms, to the La Fayette museum, and to the corridors which
conduct to the other apartments of the family, and to those reserved for
friends.

La Fayette’s apartments on the second floor consist of an ante-chamber,
a bedroom, and a library, the windows of which look out upon the park,
and command a view of the farm beyond. At the entrance of the vestibule
are two small pieces of cannon, which the Parisians at the period of the
Revolution of 1830 had mounted upon coach-wheels to attack the troops of
Charles X. The conquerors afterwards presented them to La Fayette. Near
the cannons a white cockatoo reposes on his perch. This fine bird was
presented to the general by his friend Benjamin Constant because the
cockatoo had always shown a marked preference for La Fayette, and
welcomed his coming with joy, while to M. Constant’s other guests the
bird was quite indifferent. The small chapel, opening on the vestibule,
is now hung with black and devoted to the exclusive use of the family.
The altar is adorned with an ivory crucifix and with silver candelabra.
Two tablets on the wall contain Scripture quotations and passages from
the Book of Tobias.

On the wall of the vestibule, facing the great door of the salon, may be
seen a trophy of flags, artistically grouped, and recalling historical
events. Amongst them are flags belonging to the old Paris National Guard
of 1789, also tri-colored flags borne in the Revolution of 1830,
together with several American and Polish flags. In one of the large
reception-rooms are marble busts of Monroe and Quincy Adams, Presidents
of the United States. Over the door is a painting representing the Port
of Passage in Spain, where La Fayette first embarked for America. The
_Victory_ is shown just setting sail from the harbor. To the right and
left of the door are two other fine paintings. One represents the French
Federation in the Champ de Mars; the other, the storming of the Bastile.
The latter painting was exhibited in the Louvre in 1790. La Fayette was
examining it there with much enthusiasm, and exclaimed to his friend
beside him, while gazing upon the stirring scene with ardent admiration,
“Whoever becomes the possessor of that picture will be a happy man!” The
artist, Robert, was at that moment standing behind La Fayette, and
hearing the remark he advanced and said, “General, be happy; that
picture is yours.”

On the wall to the right of this reception-room hang beautiful
engravings of the American Declaration of Independence and the Farewell
Address of President Washington.

One of the most interesting ornaments in this room is a marble bust of
La Fayette, sculptured by the artist David, and placed on a small
pedestal between the portraits of Washington and Franklin. The flag of
the American frigate, the _Brandywine_, shades the portraits of these
three friends, seemingly uniting their memories by its azure folds,
while its silver stars float above their heads. Washington, La Fayette,
and Franklin form an illustrious trio of immortal names. The second
reception-room may be called the American Gallery. On one side stands a
handsome bronze bust of Washington by the artist David. Above this bust
hang the portraits of John Adams, and Quincy Adams, both Presidents of
the United States. Upon the opposite wall are placed portraits of
Presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson.

[Illustration: Corporal of the Prison at Olmütz]

[Illustration: Vase presented by Midshipmen of the Brandywine]

A small staircase leads to the private apartments of La Fayette. Near
the entrance door is placed a portrait of the corporal of the prison of
Olmütz, made from a sketch drawn by La Fayette’s daughter Anastasie
during their imprisonment. She is said to have made the sketch upon her
thumb-nail to avoid the notice of their jailers. The hangings in La
Fayette’s bed-chamber are of yellow silk, the furniture is simple, and
the walls of the room are covered with family portraits and engravings.
On one side of the chimney hangs a large miniature of Mr. F. K. Huger,
the son of Major Huger of South Carolina, who may be called La Fayette’s
deliverer, on account of his bold attempt to secure his release from the
prison of Olmütz. The portrait is surrounded with a gold frame of
exquisite workmanship and inclosed in a box of massive gold. It was
presented to La Fayette in 1825 by the city of Charleston. Above the bed
is a painting representing a group of American officers, together with
La Fayette and General Rochambeau, at the siege of Yorktown. Upon a
chest of drawers is placed a silver vase presented to La Fayette by the
midshipmen of the _Brandywine_ frigate. Among numerous decorations on
the vase, consisting of vine leaves, river gods, and acanthus leaves,
the American eagle is carved on one side grasping in one of his talons a
bundle of javelins, and in the other an olive-branch: above him floats a
cloud spangled with stars. Upon the base of the vase are three
bas-reliefs representing the Capitol at Washington, La Fayette’s visit
to the tomb of Washington, and the arrival of the _Brandywine_ at Havre.

Near the vase is a box containing the silver epaulettes, embroidered
with three stars, which La Fayette wore as Commander-in-chief of the
National Guard.

[Illustration: Seal and Clock belonging to La Fayette]

[Illustration: Roman Standard presented by City of Lyons]

Beside the chimney stands the cane usually carried by La Fayette. It was
the gift of Commodore Taylor. The head is a stag’s horn, with a gold
plate upon the side, with the name of the giver and receiver. In the
presses of the bed-chamber are preserved the general’s clothes. Amongst
them is a complete uniform of the Warsaw National Guard, presented by
the Poles; also a blue cloth suit, given to him by the Americans of
Carolina. The cloth of the coat and the massive gold buttons are of
Carolina manufacture. On the buttons is the head of Washington.

[Illustration: Ring given by Grandson of Washington]

La Fayette’s library contains numerous paintings, in the cameo style,
representing Washington, Franklin, and many others. There are many fine
works of German and English history, and various other valuable books. A
special place is reserved for American works. The most remarkable among
these is a superb manuscript folio, presented to La Fayette by the city
of New York. It contains the acts and deliberations of that city,
together with a narrative of the events which relate to La Fayette’s
visit there. It is adorned with artistic pen drawings. The volume is
richly bound, and to preserve it from injury is inclosed in a mahogany
box with lock and key.

[Illustration: Seal]

The furniture of this room is of mahogany, with the exception of two
chairs, the cushions of which were embroidered by Madame La Fayette. In
the table drawer are two seals; one bears La Fayette’s monogram; the
other, the head of Washington, surrounded by rays. Among the other
mementos in this room is a Roman standard, presented to General La
Fayette by the city of Lyons. This trophy is ornamented with a crown of
oak leaves, surmounted by the Gallic cock, inclosing a large shield, on
one side of which is represented the self-devoted Curtius, precipitating
himself into the gulf, the flames of which already envelop his horse’s
breast, and on the other side of the shield is a lion, which had been
adopted as the arms of that city.

Another interesting relic is a civic crown of silver, presented to La
Fayette by the town of Grenoble. Near it is a handsome medal presented
by the electors of Meaux. Upon one side is a striking likeness of La
Fayette, together with the memorable dates, 1789 and 1830. On the other
side, a civic crown forms a frame for the words of dedication.

[Illustration: Medal Presented by Electors of Meaux]

[Illustration: Ring Given by Grandson of Washington]

There are a number of quaint souvenirs of General Washington, which were
highly prized by La Fayette. One is an ivory-handled pair of glasses
mounted in silver, constantly used by Washington; also a long-handled
parasol, with an ivory top, which was generally attached to the horse’s
saddle when Washington travelled. There is also a piece of tapestry
embroidered by Mrs. Washington, which was presented to La Fayette by her
granddaughter. Here may be seen, too, the ring given to the marquis at
Mount Vernon during his last visit to America, by the grandson of Mrs.
Washington, in the name of the family. The chestnut hair in the middle
of the ring is Washington’s; the white hair on each side, that of his
wife. Around the hair are the words, “Pater Patriæ“; on the sides,
“Mount Vernon”; and behind, the following inscription:—

LA FAYETTE.
1777.
PRO. NOVI. ORBIS. LIBERTATE.
DECERTABAT. JUVENIS.
STABILITAM. SENEX.
INVENIT.
1824.

[Illustration]

One of the most interesting among the Washington souvenirs is the
Decoration of the Cincinnati, worn by Washington. The Society of the
Cincinnati, recognizing the assistance which America had received from
France, sent the decoration of the order to the Counts d’Estaing, de
Grasse, de Barras, de Rochambeau, and to La Fayette. Washington had been
president of the order. The decoration, of enamelled gold, is framed in
a laurel crown, sustained by two cornucopiæ, interwoven together, from
which issues fruit, and which are themselves suspended to the ribbon by
an oblong ring, formed by two tresses attached together. The American
eagle, with extended wings, occupies the middle of the crown, and bears
a shield on each side. On one of the shields may be seen Cincinnatus
leaning on his plough, and receiving the Roman deputies, who present him
with the sword of the dictator. Around it are these words, written in
letters of gold on a sky-blue ground: “OMNIA. RELINQUIT. SERVARE.
REMPU.”

[Illustration: Pin presented by Franklin’s Granddaughter]

On the other shield Cincinnatus is represented as resuming his
agricultural labors, and guiding a plough. At a little distance is his
cottage. This scene is illumined by the sun, and around are the words:
“SOCI. CIN. RUM. INST. A.D. 1783. VIRT. PRAE.”

The figures of the shields are of dead gold, the ground of green, and
the background of carnation enamel. The decoration is attached to a
sky-blue watered silk ribbon, edged with a white piping, in token of the
alliance between France and America, and held together by a gold clasp.
The ribbon used by Washington is much worn. On the morocco leather box
which encloses the decoration, are the words, “Washington’s Cincinnati
Badge.”

[Illustration: Crystal Box containing Mementos of Riégo]

[Illustration: Ring containing Hair and Portrait of Jeremy Bentham]

Here may also be seen a cane, formerly used by Franklin, which was given
to La Fayette on his last visit to America. Also a pin, presented to La
Fayette by Franklin’s granddaughter. This contains the hair, and
presents Franklin’s monogram. Near it is a ring containing the hair and
portrait of the celebrated English writer, Jeremy Bentham. In a crystal
box, mounted in gold, and closed with a small padlock, lie two sad
mementos of the unfortunate Riégo, who perished on the scaffold. Just
before the terrible end he untied his black silk cravat and sent it,
with a lock of his hair, to his wife. Madame Riégo afterwards divided
these sacred relics with La Fayette. Through the clear crystal the
memorable souvenirs may be reverently examined.

Another curiosity is a round wooden box. The lid is divided into four
parts formed of different woods. The walnut wood is from the last tree
of the forest of Penn, cut down in 1818, opposite to the Hall of
Independence. The elm wood is from the treaty tree. The oak is from the
first bridge constructed on the Dock Creek. The mahogany is from the
house of Christopher Columbus.

[Illustration: Round Wooden Box]

There is also another interesting American relic, in the shape of a
cane, upon which is carved a portrait of La Fayette. During La Fayette’s
last visit to America an old captain sought him out in Nashville, and
with tears in his eyes, embraced him, saying: “I have had two happy days
in my existence—that on which I landed with you at Charleston, in 1777,
and this day. I have seen and embraced you. I now desire to live no
longer. I have nothing but this cane, on which you see your portrait; I
request you to accept it, and to keep it in memory of one of your old
soldiers and companions in arms.”

Another handsome souvenir is a sword presented to La Fayette by the New
York militia. Also a sword of ivory and gold, presented to La Fayette by
Colonel Muir in the name of the ninth regiment of artillery of New York.

[Illustration: Sword presented by the 9th Regt. of Artillery of New
York.]

But the memento of the greatest importance in the collection is probably
the sword of honor presented to La Fayette by Congress, and transmitted
to him by Franklin, through his grandson. We have mentioned this sword
previously, but did not describe it. This weapon is a _chef d’œuvre_
of art. During the Reign of Terror, Madame La Fayette, fearing it would
be seized, ordered the sword to be buried. It remained concealed for
many years and was thus saved.

When George La Fayette returned from America, while his father was still
in exile, he disinterred this famous weapon, but found the blade had
been completely destroyed by rust. George was able to preserve only the
handle and the mounting, which he conveyed secretly to his father in
Holland, running great risks thereby, as it was very dangerous to take
gold out of France in those unsettled times. On La Fayette’s return to
France, he conceived the happy idea of adjusting to this handle, the
blade of the sword presented to him by the National Guard of Paris. This
blade was manufactured from the iron bolts and bars of the Bastile, and
presents some allegorical subjects connected with the destruction of
that renowned fortress.

[Illustration: Sword presented by the American Congress.]

The sword as it now appears is thus described. “The knob of the handle
presents, on one side, a shield with La Fayette’s arms—a marquis’s
coronet surmounted by a streamer—on which is inscribed the motto, ‘CUR
NON.’ On the other side is a medallion representing the first quarter of
the moon, whose rays are shed over the sea, and the land of the American
continent, which is perceived on the horizon. The coasts of France form
the foreground of the scene, surmounted by a floating band, on which are
read the words: ‘CRESCAM UT PROSIM,’—an allusion to the rising liberty
and the subsequent prosperity of America. In the centre of the handle,
on each side, are two oblong medallions: the first represents La
Fayette, who has drawn the sword, and overthrown the English lion at his
feet. The general is on the point of despatching him, but he pauses,
extends his hand, and seems inclined to spare his life. On the other
medallion America is represented as having just broken her fetters. She
is portrayed under the form and features of a young woman, half-clad,
seated under a military tent. In one hand she holds her broken chains,
and with the other she presents a laurel branch to La Fayette.

“Above and below the two preceding medallions are military emblems of
arms, and two crowns of laurel which encircle the handle. On the sides
of the guard are other trophies of arms; and on one of them are the
words: ‘FROM THE AMERICAN CONGRESS TO MARQUIS LA FAYETTE, 1779.’

“The curved parts of the guard are carved on both sides, and represent
on their medallions four memorable events of the American war in which
La Fayette was distinguished by his prudence or his courage. They are
‘THE BATTLE OF GLOUCESTER IN THE JERSEYS,’ ‘THE RETREAT OF BARREN HILL,’
‘THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH,’ ‘THE RETREAT OF RHODE ISLAND.’

“The blade of the sword is flat and double-edged. On one side is a
medallion damaskeened in gold, and suspended by chains of the same
metal, which stand out admirably on the azure ground of the steel. It
represents the taking of the Bastile. The populace of Paris, placed in
the foreground of the scene, lay siege to the fortress, the ramparts of
which give way under the repeated cannonade. The besieged make a
vigorous resistance from the summit of the towers, and Fame flies
through the air, announcing by sound of trumpet the first year of
liberty. Beneath the medallion are two lighted flambeaux, from the
centre of which issue the supporters of a bell put in motion to sound
the tocsin. These flambeaux are joined by a crosspiece supporting a
drapery, on which may be read, ‘THE REVIVAL OF LIBERTY.’

“On the other side of the blade may be observed four medallions, also
supported by chains tastefully arranged. In two of these medallions the
polished steel of the blade is bare; in a third is seen a prisoner
breaking the fetters which had been attached to his hands and feet, and
quitting the stake to which he had been bound; the fourth represents the
column of liberty erected on the ruins of the Bastile, and rising above
the other buildings, which are perceived on the sides. Beneath the
latter medallion is represented the head of Medusa, and on each side are
two fires, the flames of which melt the chains interwoven together, and
supporting and uniting these different objects. On the drapery, at the
bottom, are engraved the words, ‘YEAR IV. OF LIBERTY.’

[Illustration: Vase presented by the National Guard]

“The mounting of the scabbard is of gold, and carved. On one side is
perceived a large oval medallion, which represents Fame borne on the
clouds. The goddess crosses the ocean, preceding the vessel which
conveys La Fayette back to France, and which is perceived in the
horizon. In one hand she holds the crown awarded to La Fayette by
America, and in the other, the trumpet with which she announces his
exploits to France, as indicated by the three _fleurs-de-lis_
embroidered on the banner of the instrument. On the other side is an
irregular shield encircled with a laurel branch, intended to receive La
Fayette’s monogram.”

But we must not overlook one most impressive object in the general’s
library. This is the magnificent monumental vase presented by the
National Guard of France to La Fayette. It was commenced in 1831, but
owing to some delay, it was not finished until 1835, at which time the
illustrious La Fayette had passed beyond all earthly honors and human
homage. It was accordingly presented in the name of the National Guard
of France to George Washington La Fayette, who received the precious
deposit in memory of his adored father, as a holy memento and noble
inheritance, and reverently placed it in the general’s library, by the
side of the other sacred relics consecrated to his memory.

“The vase, which is of silver gilt, and the stand, in the form of a
votive altar and of the same metal, is about four feet high. The handles
are formed of two strong vine-stalks, attached at one end to the edges
of the neck, and supported at the other by two lions’ heads. The neck is
enriched with a civic crown, and the bottom of the vase is ornamented
with leaves of aquatic plants, separated by stems of the sugar-cane and
coffee-tree. On one of the sides of the vase, the genius of the fine
arts and the genius of industry, surrounded with their attributes,
support a drapery, on which may be read,

‘FRANCE
TO GENERAL LA FAYETTE.’

“On the other side, surrounded with a glory, is the date 1830. The
pedestal is square, with splayed-off corners, and is decorated with four
statues and four bas-reliefs, which may be regarded as so many
masterpieces of taste and historical illustration. The statues, which
represent Liberty, Equality, Force, and Wisdom, are placed upright on a
projecting ledge prepared to receive them. Liberty is represented under
the form of a young woman in full drapery, and with a Phrygian cap on
her head. In one hand she holds the national flag, and in the other, the
sword to defend it, whilst she tramples under foot a set of broken
chains. Equality is represented by a goddess holding in her right hand
the levelling-plane, while she leans with her left upon a table of laws,
thus presenting the symbol of constitutional equality. Force is
represented by a female in the prime of life. Her head is covered, and
she is partly clothed with a lion’s skin, which falls on her back and
her left shoulder. She leans on a bundle of rods, to indicate that her
strength depends on union. Wisdom is represented under the form of a
young female of severe aspect; her drapery is tasteful, and her head is
covered with the helmet of Minerva. Her calm and grave attitude
indicates reflection.

“The four sides of the altar are ornamented with as many bas-reliefs,
well chosen, and representing the following events connected with the
life of La Fayette. The first bas-relief represents the capitulation of
Lord Cornwallis. La Fayette, with the generals and the respective staffs
of the French and American army, receives General O’Hara, as he delivers
the sword of Cornwallis to Washington. The second bas-relief represents
La Fayette taking the civic oath to the French Federation, July 14,
1790.

“The third bas-relief represents the visit of the Duke of Orleans,
lieutenant-general of the kingdom, to the Hôtel de Ville, July 31, 1830.

“The fourth bas-relief represents the distribution of the standards to
the National Guard at Paris, Aug. 29, 1830.”

The room which now serves for the museum was formerly the entrance to
the apartment of Madame La Fayette. After her death, La Fayette ordered
the door of communication to be walled up, so that the room could only
be entered by himself through a back door. On stated days the marquis
repaired thither, either alone or with his children, to pay sad homage
to the memory of her who was enshrined in their hearts with an undying
affection.

The museum is filled with numerous objects, such as models of machines,
etc., many stuffed birds and reptiles, shells and minerals, together
with a quantity of weapons of all kinds, and numberless Indian
curiosities collected by La Fayette during his several visits to
America.

The inmates of La Grange were illustrious for their many deeds of
benevolence. Their poorer neighbors were constantly aided by the general
and his children. In times of special sickness among the poor, large
sums were expended by La Fayette and his family in their behalf. Many
charming fêtes were held at the Château, and La Fayette was always the
centre of a brilliant circle. The venerable marquis was a model host.
His guests enjoyed freedom without restraint, and the most delightful
entertainment without officiousness. His children and grandchildren seem
to have inherited many of his fine traits of mind and character; and
there are few instances given in history of such a perfect home-life as
was witnessed at La Grange, especially before the removal of her who was
the centre of all its sunshine and the guiding star of her illustrious
husband.

The character of La Fayette was singularly lofty, and he was strongly
attracted towards all that was good, great, noble, or generous in human
nature. His moral and intellectual faculties were keen, his reason was
solid, and his judgment was sure. He was not led into impracticable
theories by too ardent an imagination, and his enthusiasms were always
based upon his conscience and his reason.

His views of morality and politics were very comprehensive, but his
_beau ideal_ of life was always held within the bounds of possibility,
and governed by the claims of usefulness, justice, and honor. He was
great even in small circumstances, for he lifted the little to a place
of importance by the exact attention he bestowed upon it. He judged
mankind by his own exalted nature, and his illusions regarding them
arose from the impossibility of such an upright mind as he possessed
being capable of perceiving or believing that others were so far beneath
the high motives which governed his own thoughts and actions. “His
conscience was his guiding star, his courage the pilot that led him safe
through the storm by which France was overwhelmed, and his progress
through that grand epoch was marked by patriotism, civic courage, and a
series of advantageous reforms and liberal institutions, with which he
assisted to ameliorate the condition of France.”

La Fayette passed untainted through an age of corruption, and was proof
against the seductive excesses of the court of Louis XV., and retained
his moral integrity in the midst of the temptations and the terrible
whirlwinds of political storms which raged with relentless fury during
the reign of the unfortunate Louis XVI. To his early avowed principles
of liberty and patriotism he was ever true as the needle to the magnet.
No emoluments could bribe him to advocate a wrong principle; no terrors
could deter him from stanchly and fearlessly upholding what his
conscience acknowledged to be the cause of truth and liberty.




“La Fayette loved truth above all things, and rejected all that could
change or corrupt its nature. Like Epaminondas, he would not have
suffered himself, even in joke, to utter the slightest falsehood. He was
the mirror of truth, even in the midst of political parties, whose
condemnation he pronounced by presenting to them the hideous image of
their passions. He thus offended without convincing them, and the
mirror, being declared deceitful, was destined to be broken.” He was
heard to say: “The court would have accepted me had I been an
aristocrat, and the Jacobins, had I been a Jacobin; but, as I wished to
side with neither, both united against me.”

The following incident is related, illustrative of La Fayette’s
generosity:—

“On the occasion of his last visit to America, General La Fayette having
learned that the family of his old aide-de-camp, Colonel Neville, was in
difficulties, before he embarked for France drew a bill of exchange in
their favor, on the President of the United States, for the sum of four
thousand dollars, and addressed it to the children of M. Neville. It may
be easily conceived that the latter declined making use of it; but they
keep it as a precious document which reflects equal honor on the memory
of their father and on the noble generosity of La Fayette.”

La Fayette’s ambition was not a selfish desire to rise above others, to
achieve personal fame; but to do good, by the performance of noble
actions and important services in behalf of humanity. He thus defines
his own impulses in a letter to the Bailli de Ploën: “An irresistible
passion that would induce me to believe in innate ideas and the truth of
prophecy, has decided my career. I have always loved liberty with the
enthusiasm which actuates the religious man, with the passion of a
lover, and with the conviction of a geometrician. On leaving college,
where nothing had displeased me more than a state of dependence, I
viewed the greatness and the littleness of the court with contempt, the
frivolities of society with pity, the minute pedantry of the army with
disgust, and oppression of every sort with indignation. The attraction
of the American Revolution drew me suddenly to my proper place; I felt
myself tranquil only when sailing between the continent whose powers I
had braved, and the place where, although our arrival and our ultimate
success were problematical, I could, at the age of nineteen, take refuge
in the alternative of conquering or perishing in the cause to which I
had devoted myself.”

La Fayette valued reputation and prized glory, but was indifferent to
the personal power resulting from them. Being asked who, in his opinion,
was the greatest man of his age, he replied: “In my idea, General
Washington is the greatest man; for I look upon him as the most
virtuous.”

M. Cloquet says of La Fayette’s equitable disposition:—

“I doubt if La Fayette was ever in a passion; at least I have no
recollection of having seen him lose his temper, even under
circumstances that might have occasioned or excused one of those violent
movements of the soul which few men are able to master. When any
circumstance annoyed him, he became taciturn, his forehead and eyebrows
slightly contracted, and a shade of sadness was visible on his
countenance; but these moments of uneasiness rather than of ill humor
were not of long duration, and his features soon recovered their
serenity. One day one of his friends had uttered, from the tribune of
the Lower Chamber, certain opinions which he repelled as utterly at
variance with his principles. The only phrase in which he expressed his
dissatisfaction was, ‘Well, well, he lacks common sense.’ These words he
pronounced in a firm tone of voice, though evidently with much emotion.”

That which was right was always the rule of La Fayette’s conduct; the
inspirations of his heart and the voice of his conscience regulated his
life. “_Fais ce que dois, advienne que pourra_” was his motto. His moral
faculties exercised complete control over his physical powers; it was
said of him, “He was an intelligence served by organs.” His calmness was
only increased by an increase of danger, and the most imminent peril
seemed but to inspire him with redoubled courage.

His surgeon, M. Cloquet, gives this instance of his marvellous powers of
physical endurance:—

“During his last illness he acquainted us with the nature of the medical
treatment which he had undergone in 1803 for a fracture of the thigh,
occasioned by a fall on a slippery pavement. Deschamp and Boyer, whose
memory I respect, and whom I am proud to have had for my masters, were
summoned in their professional capacity to his assistance. The fractured
limb was inclosed in a machine which kept it in a constant state of
tension; and, as La Fayette had promised those skilful surgeons to
support the pain with patience as long as they might judge it necessary
for his cure, he uttered not a single complaint for the fifteen or
twenty days during which the apparatus was applied. When it was removed,
the surgeons were unable to conceal the annoyance they felt at the
effect produced by the bandages. Deschamp turned pale; Boyer was
stupefied; the upper bandages had, by their pressure, cut deeply into
the muscles of the inside of the thigh, and laid bare the femoral
artery: the action of the lower ones had been less violent, but they had
produced a mortification of the skin at the back part of the foot and
laid bare the tendons of the toes. In consequence of La Fayette’s
stoical fortitude, the vigilance of his surgeons was completely at
fault. Deep scars bore evidence of the truth of one of his observations
to us, uttered, however, in confidence, through an apprehension of
injuring, not the interests, but the memory of two individuals for whom
he felt gratitude, although their exertions on his behalf had been
unsuccessful. A length of time elapsed before he recovered from the
lamentable consequences which resulted from his medical treatment, and
which were followed by an almost complete anchylosis and lameness of the
hip-joint.”

La Fayette’s frankness of nature was proverbial. An intimate friend of
the family, Madame Dupaty, said of him:—

“To appreciate his frankness you must have known him as thoroughly as we
did. He was too honest not to leave his keys always in the locks, even
in politics.”

La Fayette’s conversation was graceful, easy, full of good humor, and
peculiarly charming, without descending to frivolity. He was quick at
repartee, and apt in uttering _bon mots_, as the following incidents
will illustrate:—

“When he was arrested by the Austrians in 1792, an aide-de-camp of
Prince de ——, the enemy’s general, came to him, on behalf of his
superior, to demand the money of the army which he had been obliged to
leave. La Fayette, astonished at the demand, laughed heartily; and when
the aide-de-camp advised him to take the matter more seriously, ‘How can
I help laughing?’ said he; ‘for all that I can understand of your demand
is, that had your prince been in my place he would have run away with
the military chest.’ The aide-de-camp had nothing to say in reply, took
leave of the prisoner, and departed as he came.”

When he joined the nobles of Brittany, in 1788, in their movement
against the government, the queen impatiently asked him why he, who was
from Auvergne, meddled with the affairs of the Bretons. “I am a Breton,
Madam,” replied La Fayette, “just as your Majesty is of the house of
Hapsburg.”

As La Fayette’s mother was from Brittany, so the queen was descended
from the house of Hapsburg by the female line.

None of the speeches pronounced by La Fayette in the Chamber of Deputies
were prepared. His extempore addresses were eloquent, dignified, and
clear. His language was persuasive and pleasing, and his speeches were
intelligible to all classes, on account of their simplicity and the
directness of their appeal.

A friend of La Fayette one day overheard the conversation of several
French artisans, who were discussing in the street the merits of the
articles in a newspaper they were reading, and after criticising with
warmth many of the writers, the leader exclaimed, “Come, this man La
Fayette at least speaks French: we can understand what he wishes to
say.”

The English language was as familiar to La Fayette as the French, and he
wrote both with great facility. His style was simple, concise, and
clear-cut, forceful and elevated; his ideas were well defined, his
principles and opinions decided and frankly avowed. Regarding the
English correspondence of La Fayette with his friend Masclet, an
Englishman thus comments:—

“La Fayette has happily avoided the two principal dangers to which the
majority of those who attempt to write in a foreign language are
exposed. His style is as free from servile imitation as from grammatical
errors or faults of idiom: in a word, it is peculiar to himself; it
displays the man, though under another costume. It is simple without
meanness, concise without obscurity, dignified without affectation; and
often contains those happy turns of expression which infuse such a charm
into letters written in French. Scarcely ever does it contain one of
those little particles which betray the foreign origin of the writer.
His letters, it is true, present some inversions not authorized perhaps
by modern custom, but by no means at variance with the genius of the
language. On the contrary, they establish a sort of link between the
writer and the old English authors. Such inversions are admirable for
their delicacy and _naïveté_; without shocking the ear, or proving
injurious to clearness of expression, they arrest the attention of the
reader, deck themselves, as it were, in the smile resulting from his
agreeable surprise, and prevent monotony of style. La Fayette writes
English with much facility. His letters present no trace of painful
effort or labored composition. He seems never to hesitate in his choice
of a suitable word or turn of expression, though he sometimes forgets
that the English language can with difficulty bend to that nervous and
even elliptic concision of which a skilful French writer often avails
himself with so much advantage. This forgetfulness occasionally gives an
appearance of roughness and even abruptness to La Fayette’s style.

“His letters are irreproachable, as presenting a faithful picture of his
mind; in reading them we feel irresistibly inclined to love the writer;
and perhaps in this respect they are inferior to nothing ever composed
by him in his own language. Amongst the English, and others who speak
that language, such expressions as are employed to depict different
degrees of friendship are certainly less numerous and less graceful than
amongst the French; but, on the other hand, such expressions have been
less frequently subject to the encroachments of gallantry or exaggerated
politeness, and are consequently more candid and sincere. In the mouth
of such a man as La Fayette, it will be readily imagined that all these
qualities acquire new force.”

La Fayette’s handwriting was more legible in English than in French. His
characters were small and well formed. Though he never made rough
copies, his letters rarely presented erasures. A writer says of the
value of his letters:—

“It is almost superfluous to say how La Fayette’s letters were received
by those to whom they were addressed. It was enough to present them to
meet with unlimited support, protection, and devotedness. The name of
the writer was a species of talisman which opened every door; and it
might have been said that to such as received his letters, a spark was
communicated from his soul, and a desire to imitate his virtues. Some
years ago one of my friends, who was abroad, showed a letter from La
Fayette to a distinguished personage entrusted with the confidence of an
absolute sovereign. At sight of the letter, the powerful functionary
seemed electrified, rose from his seat in token of respect, and
entreated my friend as a special favor to give him a fragment of the
precious correspondence.”

La Fayette always gave precedence to his duty rather than his personal
interests. To the Bailli de Ploën he wrote: “So many stupid remarks have
been uttered by party spirit, that it may not be out of place here to
assert that no private affection has ever diverted me from my public
duty. In the course of three years of power I encouraged none to speak
well of me; I prevented none from speaking ill; and to explain my
conduct with regard to the notorious characters of the Revolution, it
will be sufficient to verify their writings, speeches, and actions at
the same period.”

Regarding his own ideas of liberty and equality, he wrote to the same
friend: “For my part, as I feel persuaded that the human race was
created to enjoy freedom, and as I have been born to promote the cause
of liberty, I neither can nor will shrink from the participation which
it has been my fate to take in this great event; wherever I have been
able, and especially in my own country, I concurred on principle in all
the enterprises undertaken against an illegitimate power which it was
necessary to destroy, and I now declare to you that in 1787 and 1788 the
resistance of the privileged classes—of the leaders of the
aristocracy—had as much of the true character of faction as any other
insurrection that I have since witnessed.”

La Fayette could never be persuaded to use violent measures in upholding
even a good cause when such an expedient was not absolutely necessary.
At one time during the Revolution, Mirabeau having recommended some very
violent plans to La Fayette, urging that they were excusable for the
execution of certain projects, La Fayette indignantly exclaimed, “M. de
Mirabeau, it is impossible for an honest man to employ such means.”

“An honest man!” replied Mirabeau. “Ah! M. de La Fayette, it seems you
wish to be a _Grandison Cromwell_: you will see to what that
amalgamation will lead you.”

Wherever the voice of duty called La Fayette, no danger could make him
flinch, no fear of insult could deter. During the days of October, 1789,
when the palace of Versailles was filled with the raging, bloodthirsty
mob, La Fayette hastened to an apartment where the crowd was the
thickest, and calmly entered, and crossed the _Salon_ without
attendants. “There goes Cromwell!” cried one. Turning to the speaker, La
Fayette replied with dignity, “Cromwell would not have entered here
ALONE!” Notwithstanding the difference of opinion between La Fayette and
Napoleon, whenever it appeared to La Fayette that his services could be
of use to the best interests of his country, he was ever ready to
sacrifice all personal feeling. Before the battle of Marengo, La Fayette
addressed a letter to a friend, instructing him to deliver the
communication to Napoleon, in case the battle of Marengo should be lost.
In this letter La Fayette offered his services to Bonaparte, in defence
of the independence of France. As the battle was won, the epistle was
not delivered; but Napoleon was informed of the step which La Fayette
contemplated taking in case of defeat. One day, while surrounded by his
staff of officers, Bonaparte expressed his admiration of the patriotism
of the man with whom he differed in opinion, and added, “Which of you,
gentlemen, could have done better?”

La Fayette always recollected with pride and with pleasure the services
rendered to France by the National Guard, and he thus wrote of them:—

“The Revolution had armed France; it was urgent to bestow on her an
organization, and to that end the observations which I had made in
America and in several parts of Europe were directed. The National Guard
was instituted; this was the sole armed force which could maintain
internal order without favoring military despotism, and by means of
which foreign aggression could be repelled, whilst the ancient
governments were reduced to the inability of defending themselves
against us, unless they imitated us; or against their subjects, if they
ventured to follow our example.”

La Fayette was a warm advocate in favor of educating the masses; he
often said, “that a good education, physical, moral, and intellectual,
was in his opinion the best inheritance that parents could transmit to
their children; and he considered it to be their duty to make every
sacrifice to insure to their offspring this imperishable advantage,
which could not but in time prove conducive to their happiness and that
of others.” He expressed to his physician his astonishment that in
colleges young people were forced to study the course of different
rivers in India or Mexico, whilst no pains were taken to impart to them
a knowledge of themselves, by giving them some notions of their own
organizations and the exercise of their functions. He was desirous that
great pains should be taken with the moral and political education of
the people, thus insuring their being well-informed and good citizens.
He contended that education was calculated to purify the manners of a
nation, and contribute to its happiness. And in proof of his own
opinions, La Fayette himself might well have been cited as a type of a
perfectly civilized being, whom civilization has improved instead of
deteriorating; for he had avoided all its vices, and followed only with
undeviating step the path traced by virtue and true liberty. He declared
that every member of a well-constituted society should receive an
education that might point out to him the path which he ought to pursue
between his duties and his rights; and that such an education would
prove much more effectual for the prevention than the law was for the
repression of disorder.

La Fayette considered that labor was the first duty of man living in a
social state, as it was only by labor that one’s debt to society could
be repaid. He countenanced amusements when they were pure and healthful,
and considered them a necessary relaxation from bodily or mental
occupations.

La Fayette recognized liberty of conscience and was tolerant of all
religious beliefs. “If it be a crime,” he declared, “to have preferred
civil and religious liberty extended equally to all men and all
countries, none is more guilty than myself.”

When La Fayette had been proscribed in 1792, the National Convention
confiscated all his property, and ordered his negroes at Cayenne to be
sold, in spite of the remonstrances of La Fayette, who declared that the
negroes had been purchased only to receive their liberty after they had
been prepared to exercise it by proper education, and not to be again
sold as slaves. At a later period all the negroes of the French colonies
were declared free by a decree of the National Convention. It is
interesting to note in connection with this effort of La Fayette to
bring about the abolition of slavery, that during his last visit to
America he visited a free school of young Africans in New York, which
had been founded and instituted by the society for the emancipation of
the negroes. This incident is related of his visit to this school. A
young negro approached La Fayette and said to him, with much emotion:
“You see, General, these hundreds of poor African children who appear
before you; here they share the benefits of education with the children
of the whites: like them, they learn to cherish the recollection of the
services which you have rendered to America, and they also revere in you
an ardent friend to the emancipation of their race.”

La Fayette was very desirous of instituting prison reforms in France,
but he was no advocate for the complete seclusion of prisoners.
“Solitary confinement,” said he, “is a punishment which to be judged of
must have been endured.” Surely he spoke from a bitter experience, for
he had suffered its terrible tortures for one year. Capital punishment
was held in horror by La Fayette, and he constantly raised his voice
against such penalty, especially in matters of political misdemeanors.
And no wonder that he shrank in loathing abhorrence from the bloody
guillotine, after his experience of the awful Reign of Terror.

M. Cloquet says in his recollections of La Fayette, regarding his
opinions on different subjects:—

“He was familiar with all questions of morals, jurisprudence, policy,
and public economy, and he could have treated them all _ex professo_. I
have frequently heard him speak of the resources of France and other
states; of the relations which people and governments should have to
each other; of constitutions, legitimacy, property; of commerce,
industry, agriculture; of the art of war, the progress of civilization,
the happiness of nations and individuals; and other questions which he
treated in the most lucid manner, and which he solved with his natural
good sense and simplicity.”

The Encyclopædia Britannica thus sums up the characteristics of La
Fayette:—

“His life was beset with inconceivable responsibility and perils, for he
was ever the minister of humanity and order among a frenzied people who
had come to regard order and humanity as phases of treason. He rescued
the queen from the murderous hands of the populace, not to speak of
multitudes of humbler victims who had been devoted to death. He risked
his life in many unsuccessful attempts to rescue others. He was obliged
to witness the butchery of Foulon, and the reeking heart of Berthier
torn from his lifeless body and held up in triumph before him. Disgusted
with enormities which he was powerless to prevent and could not
countenance, he resigned his commission; but so impossible was it to
replace him that he was induced to resume it.

“In the Constituent Assembly, of which he was a member, his influence
was always felt in favor of republican principles, for the abolition of
arbitrary imprisonment, for religious tolerance, for popular
representation, for the establishment of trial by jury, for the gradual
emancipation of slaves, for the freedom of the press, for the abolition
of titles of nobility, and the suppression of privileged orders.

“Few men have owed more of their success and usefulness in the world to
their family rank than La Fayette, and still fewer have abused it less.
He never achieved distinction in the field, and his political career
proved him to be incapable of ruling a great national movement; but he
had strong convictions which always impelled him to study the interests
of humanity, and a pertinacity in maintaining them, which, in all the
marvellous vicissitudes of his singularly eventful life, secured him a
very unusual measure of public respect.

“No citizen of a foreign country has ever had so many and such warm
admirers in America, nor does any statesman in France appear to have
ever possessed uninterruptedly for so many years so large a measure of
popular influence and respect. He had what Jefferson called a ‘canine
appetite’ for popularity and fame, but in him the appetite only seemed
to make him more anxious to merit the fame which he enjoyed. He was
brave even to rashness; his life was one of constant personal peril, and
yet he never shrank from any danger or responsibility if he saw the way
open to spare life or suffering, to protect the defenceless, to sustain
the law and preserve order.”

Hon. Chauncey Depew thus concisely comments upon La Fayette’s influence
in France:—

“While the principles of the American Devolution were fermenting in
France, La Fayette, the hero and favorite of the hour, was an honored
guest at royal tables and royal camps. The proud Spaniard and the Great
Frederick of Germany alike welcomed him, and everywhere he announced his
faith in government founded on the American idea. The financial crisis
in the affairs of King Louis on the one hand, and the rising tide of the
popular passion on the other, compelled the summons of the Assembly of
Notables at Versailles. All the great officers of state, the
aristocracy, the titled clergy, the royal princes, were there, but no
representative of the people. La Fayette spoke for them, and, fearless
of the efforts of the brother of the king to put him down, he demanded
religious toleration, equal taxes, just and equal administration of the
laws, and the reduction of royal expenditures to fixed and reasonable
limits. This overturned the whole feudal fabric which had been in course
of construction for a thousand years. To make effectual and permanent
this tremendous stride toward the American experiment, he paralyzed the
court and cabinet by the call for a national assembly—an assembly of the
people. Through that assembly he carried a declaration of rights,
founded upon the natural liberties of man, a concession of popular
privilege never before secured in the modern history of Europe; and,
going as far as he believed the times would admit toward his idea of an
American republic, he builded upon the ruins of absolutism a
constitutional monarchy.

“But French democracy had not been trained and educated in the schools
of the Puritan or the colonist. Ages of tyranny, of suppression,
repression, and torture had developed the tiger and dwarfed the man.
Democracy had not learned the first rudiments of liberty,—self-restraint
and self-government. It beheaded king and queen; it drenched the land
with the blood of the noblest and best; in its indiscriminate frenzy and
madness it spared neither age nor sex, virtue nor merit, and drove its
benefactor, because he denounced its excesses and tried to stem them,
into exile and the dungeon of Olmütz. Thus ended in the horrors of the
French Revolution La Fayette’s first fight for liberty at home. After
five years of untold sufferings, spurning release at the price of his
allegiance to monarchy, holding with sublime faith, amidst the most
disheartening and discouraging surroundings, to the principles of
freedom for all, he was released by the sword of Napoleon Bonaparte, to
find that the untamed ferocity of the Revolution had been trained to the
service of the most brilliant, captivating, and resistless of military
despotisms by the mighty genius of the great Dictator. He only was
neither dazzled nor dismayed, and when he had rejected every offer of
recognition and honor, Napoleon said: ‘La Fayette alone in France holds
fast to his original ideas of liberty. Though tranquil now, he will
reappear if occasion offers.’ Against the first consulate of Bonaparte
he voted, ‘No, unless with guaranties of freedom.’ When Europe lay
helpless at the feet of the conqueror, and, in the frenzy of military
glory, France neither saw nor felt the chains he was forging upon her,
La Fayette, from his retirement of La Grange, plead with the Emperor for
republican principles, holding up to him the retributions always meted
out to tyrants, and the pure, undying fame of the immortal few who
patriotically decide, when upon them alone rests the awful verdict,
whether they shall be the enslavers or the saviors of their country.

“The sun of Austerlitz set in blood at Waterloo. The swords of allied
kings placed the Bourbon once more on the throne of France. In the
popular tempest of July, the nation rose against the intolerable tyranny
of the king, and, calling upon this unfaltering friend of liberty, said
with one voice: ‘You alone can save France from despotism on the one
hand, and the orgies of the Jacobin mob on the other; take absolute
power; be marshal, general, dictator if you will.’ But in assuming
command of the National Guard, the old soldier and patriot answered,
amidst the hail of shot and shell, ‘Liberty shall triumph, or we all
perish together.’ He dethroned and drove out Charles X., and France,
contented with any destiny he might accord to her, with unquestioning
faith left her future in his hands. He knew that the French people were
not yet ready to take and faithfully keep American liberty. He believed
that in the school of constitutional government they would rapidly
learn, and, in the fulness of time adopt its principles, and he gave
them a king who was the popular choice, and surrounded him with the
restraints of charter and an assembly of the people.”

M. Francis Hervé, editor of Madame Tussaud’s “Memoirs of the French
Revolution,” gives the following account of an interview with La
Fayette:—

“During an interesting conversation which took place at the apartments
of the editor at Paris, a few months prior to the death of La Fayette,
respecting the different forms of government, he observed that the
approaches of liberty ought always to be very gradual, and not conferred
at once upon those who had lived in a state of slavery under an
arbitrary power, and without the benefit of education; which opinion was
founded upon the long experience of a life which had been ever devoted
to that subject. Although bent with age, the same philanthropy and
energetic love of freedom glowed within him as that which characterized
his youth, but tempered with maturer judgment; hence, when the
Revolution of the three days took place, and he was called upon as the
arbiter of France respecting her government, he decided for monarchy,
with liberal institutions; but observed that, although a pledge was
given for the promotion of the latter, yet it had never been redeemed;
and he sighed as he made that declaration.”

La Fayette passed his winters in Paris, and at all seasons of the year,
when he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies, he resided in the city
during the sessions. He there occupied a suite of apartments in a large
hotel No. 6 Rue d’Anjou, St. Honoré.

La Fayette’s occupations in Paris were extremely numerous. Besides his
duties as a deputy, which he performed with scrupulous exactness, he was
obliged to attend public meetings, committees, relief societies, boards
of instruction, and constant social engagements. Notwithstanding his
multifarious avocations he found time to devote to his domestic affairs
and to his personal study. He was fond of society, and was a delightful
and brilliant conversationalist.

A political duel which terminated in the death of M. Dulong, one of La
Fayette’s fellow-deputies, was a severe blow to the marquis.
Notwithstanding his age, La Fayette followed the body of his friend to
the grave on foot, and when he returned home he was soon taken violently
ill. Measures were taken which gave him partial relief, but he never
entirely rallied from this attack. His health became so much improved,
however, that he was allowed to receive the visits of his friends, who
showed their sympathy and regard by the most constant attentions.

[Illustration: La Fayette’s Death Chamber.]

But having been exposed to a severe thunder-storm, La Fayette returned
home wet and exhausted, and was obliged again to take to his bed. His
symptoms from time to time became more alarming, but in every interval
of comparative freedom from the severity of his sufferings he was
cheerful and hopeful. One morning, upon the arrival of his physician, La
Fayette greeted him with a smile, and exclaimed: “The _Swiss Gazette_
has just killed me, and yet you knew nothing of the matter! Nay, more:
that I might die in due form, the celebrated Doctor ——, whom I hardly
know, has been consulted.” He then handed the paper to the surgeon,
saying, “After that, believe the public journals if you can.” The family
of La Fayette were desirous of having a consultation of physicians about
his case; but upon consulting him, he said: “To what purpose? Have I not
entire confidence in you, and can any addition be made to the care which
you take of me, and to the interest which you feel in my welfare?”

One of his physicians replied: “We think we have done what is best in
your case; but were there only a single remedy that might escape us, it
is our duty to seek it. We wish to restore you as soon as possible to
health, for we are responsible for your situation towards your family,
your friends, and the French nation, of whom you are the father.”

“Yes, their father,” answered La Fayette, with a meaning smile, “on
condition that they never follow a syllable of my advice.”

But his days upon earth were numbered. The valiant Knight of Liberty
must forever sheathe his brave sword, and the clarion tones of his
faithful voice would never again be heard in defence of the rights of
his fellow-men. His last years were passed in peace crowned with the
undying lustre of well-merited fame, and his self-sacrificing devotion
in the cause of truth and liberty received its just remuneration in the
adoring love of the people of two continents, united by his patriotic
zeal in a brotherhood sworn to defend the glorious rights of freedom and
humanity. Few men have been so universally idolized and so universally
respected. His glory did not blaze with the dazzling brilliancy of
Napoleon’s fame, nor can it be said to have equalled that of Washington;
but in some respects his career is unparalleled in history; and as the
champion of human liberty, irrespective of any clime and any color,
unbiassed by any influence of rank, or wealth, or power; true as the
magnet to the pole, in his stanch adherence to his avowed principles, La
Fayette stands alone in the annals of the world as the chivalrous Knight
of Liberty, wearing the colors of the goddess of freedom and waving his
sword in dauntless defiance against the despotisms of the nations.

On the 20th of May, 1834, as the first blush of dawn was seen in the
east, and the black curtains of the night were lifted, and the promise
of a new day glowed in the distant horizon; as the birds chanted their
morning matins of praise, and the earth, thrilled by the touch of
nature, awoke to renewed beauty,—the vail which shrouds the unknown
beyond was parted by unseen fingers, and the soul of La Fayette was
wafted by ministering spirits into the presence of the Almighty Monarch
of heaven and earth, whose Word had gone forth to all the world, “Thou
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In the quiet Picpus Cemetery, in France, in a small enclosure, the green
grass is growing over the headless trunks of more than one thousand
illustrious victims guillotined at the Barrière du Trône, during the
Reign of Terror, and thrown together in this common grave, called the
_Cimetière des Guillotinés_. Near by this memorable spot is La Fayette’s
tomb, and by his side sleeps his heroic wife. No grand monument rears
its stately head over their remains; nor is it needed. In letters of
gold are inscribed upon the black marble tablet, which marks the last
resting-place of Liberty’s Knight, the appropriate motto: “REQUIESCAT IN
PACE.”

As the blackness of the marble is illumined by the gleaming letters of
golden light, pronouncing a benediction upon the illustrious sleeper
beneath, they become the symbol of the shining example of his
self-sacrificing life, consecrated to the holy endeavor of dispelling
the black shadows of oppression, that Liberty’s luminous light might
flood the world with refulgent splendor.

LA FAYETTE! LIBERTY! and LAW! are the three shining words written upon
the page of history by this heroic life.