Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4

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Author: Lafayette

U.S. History

From the Marquis De Lafayette.

Paris, 17 March, 1790.

MY DEAR GENERAL,

It is with the utmost concern that I hear my letters have not come to hand, and, while I lament the miscarriage, I hope you do not impute it to any fault on my part. In these times of troubles, it has become more difficult to know or to reach opportunities; and how this will be carried, I leave to the care of Mr. Paine, who goes to London.

Our revolution is getting on as well as it can, with a nation that has swallowed liberty at once, and is still liable to mistake licentiousness for freedom. The Assembly have more hatred to the ancient system than experience on the proper organization of a new and Constitutional Government. The Ministers are lamenting their loss of power, and afraid to use that which they have; and, as every thing has been destroyed, and not much new building is yet above ground, there is much room for critics and calumnies. To this may be added, that we still are pestered by two parties; the aristocratic, that is punting for a counter revolution, and the factious, which aims at the division of the empire, and destruction of all authority, and perhaps of the lives of the reigning branch; both of which parties are fomenting troubles.

And after I have confessed all this, my dear General, I will tell you, with the same candor, that we have made an admirable and almost incredible destruction of all abuses and prejudices; that every thing not directly useful to, or coming from, the people, has been levelled; that in the topographical, moral, political situation of France, we have made more changes in ten months than the most sanguine patriot could have imagined; that our internal troubles and anarchy are much exaggerated; and that, upon the whole, this revolution, in which nothing will be wanting but energy of government, just as it was in America, will propagate and implant liberty, and make it flourish throughout the world, while we must wait for a Convention in a few years to mend some defects, which are not now perceived by men just escaped from aristocracy and despotism.

You know that the Assembly have adjourned the West India affairs, leaving every thing in the actual state; namely, the ports opened, as we hear they have been, to American trade. But it was impossible, circumstanced as we are, to take a definitive resolve on that matter. The ensuing Legislature will more easily determine, after they have received the demands of the Colonies, who have been invited to make them, particularly on the objects of victualling.

Give me leave, my dear General, to present you with a picture of the Bastille, just as it looked a few days after I had ordered its demolition, with the main key of the fortress of despotism. It is a tribute, which I owe as a son to my adoptive father, as an Aid-de-camp to my General, as a missionary of liberty to its patriarch. Adieu, my beloved General. My most affectionate respects wait on Mrs. Washington. Present me most affectionately to George, to Hamilton, Knox, Harrison, Humphreys, and all friends. Most tenderly and respectfully,

Your most affectionate and filial friend,

LAFAYETTE.

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Chicago: Lafayette, "From the Marquis De Lafayette.," Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4 in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. Jared Sparks (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1853), 320–322. Original Sources, accessed September 19, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DA2ZDY6GV8P37XU.

MLA: Lafayette. "From the Marquis De Lafayette." Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4, in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. 4, Freeport, NY, Books for Libraries Press, 1853, pp. 320–322. Original Sources. 19 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DA2ZDY6GV8P37XU.

Harvard: Lafayette, 'From the Marquis De Lafayette.' in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4. cited in 1853, Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. , Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, pp.320–322. Original Sources, retrieved 19 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DA2ZDY6GV8P37XU.