Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834

Alternative names
Birth 1757-09-06
Death 1834-05-20
French, English

Biographical notes:

Charles Nicoll Bancker was a merchant and financier.

From the guide to the Charles Nicoll Bancker family papers, 1733-1894, 1733-1894, (American Philosophical Society)

The Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) was a French patriot who enlisted in the Continental Army with the rank of Major-General. He was second-in-command to General Washington. He also participated in the French Revolution until 1790 when he was forced out of the country under the rule of the Jacobin party. He returned to France in 1800 and was active in French and European politics until he died in 1834.

From the description of Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier Lafayette letter, 1786. (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 44416715

Lafayette's estate near Paris was called LaGrange.

From the description of Catalog of the library at LaGrange, 1822. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122458915

French statesman and soldier, major general in the American Revolution.

From the description of Arthur H. and Mary Marden Dean Lafayette Collection, 1520-1849. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63936469

Lieutenant en 1773, lié avec Franklin, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) partit en Amérique en 1777 pour aider les insurgés. De retour en France, il contribua à décider le gouvernement à apporter son aide officielle à la guerre d’Indépendance américaine et repartit en 1780 pour l’Amérique, où il fut nommé maréchal de camp en 1782. Franc-maçon, adepte des idées nouvelles, il fut favorable au doublement du tiers état lors de la réunion de l’Assemblée des notables de 1788. Il fut élu député de la noblesse aux états généraux de 1789. Nommé commandant de la Garde nationale après la prise de la Bastille, il voulut être l’instrument de la réconciliation du roi et de la Révolution, lors des journées des 5 et 6 octobre 1789 et de la fête de la Fédération nationale du 14 juillet 1790 ; mais il perdit peu à peu sa popularité, surtout après avoir fait tirer le 17 juillet 1791 sur les manifestants du Champ-de-Mars venus demander la déchéance du roi. Partisan du maintien d’une monarchie libérale, il se sépara des Jacobins pour fonder le Club des Feuillants. Il poussa le roi à la guerre et fut nommé commandant de l’armée du Centre, puis de l’armée du Nord. Il se prononça contre la suspension de Louis XVI et, accusé, cessa de lutter le 19 août 1792 contre les Autrichiens, qui l’internèrent à Magdebourg puis à Olmütz jusqu’en 1797. Député de la Seine aux Cent-Jours, il fit partie de ceux qui exigèrent l’abdication de Napoléon. Député de la Sarthe (1818) puis de Meaux (1827) et membre de la Charbonnerie, il participa encore à la révolution de 1830.

Information extraite de la notice des Archives nationals de France (FRAN_NP_050067)

In 1803 Congress granted Lafayette 11,520 acres of land in Louisiana for his services during the American Revolution.

From the description of ALS : to an unidentified correspondent, 1829 May 22. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122580895

French soldier and statesman.

From the description of Letter, 1816 February 8 [manuscript]. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647827217

Major general in the Continental army and French soldier and statesman.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to Mathew Carey, 1825 July 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 757385463

Major General, U.S. Continental Army, American Revolutionary War; resident in United States, 1777-1784, and 1824-1825; native of Auvergne, France.

From the description of Lafayette collection, 1786-1825. (University of South Carolina). WorldCat record id: 31444821

French statesman and soldier. A wealthy nobleman, Lafayette offered his services to Congress as a military commander, and in December of 1777 was granted the command of Virginia light troops as a major-general. In January of 1778 the Board of War placed him in command of a proposed expedition to Canada, but this campaign was never carried out. Lafayette was involved in preparations for a land and sea attack at Newport, R.I. to be carried out with the assistance of the French fleet. In October 1778 he was granted furlough to return to France, and returned to America in April of 1780.

From the description of Marquis de Lafayette letters, 1777-1781. (The South Carolina Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 36794076

French general who participated in the U.S. Revolutionary War; also a participant in the French Revolution.

From the description of [Letters] / Lafayette. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 244251581

French hero of the American Revolution.

From the description of Marquis de Lafayette letters of introduction, 1828-1833. (Buffalo History Museum). WorldCat record id: 71325607

Soldier and statesman.

From the description of Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, papers, 1776-1934. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70982692

From the description of Papers of the marquis de Lafayette, 1457-1990. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79456514

The Marquis de Lafayette was a French general and political leader born of a distinguished family. Enthusiastic over the news of the American Revolution, he left France to join George Washington's army. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1777, where Congress appointed him a major general. After a trip to France in 1779-80, where he negotiated for French aid, he returned to America and served with distinction in the Virginia campaign that ended with the surrender of the British general Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. After returning to France in 1782 and allying himself with the revolutionary bourgeoisie, he became one of the most powerful men during the first few years of the French Revolution. His prestige was largely responsible for the installation of Louis Philippe as king of the French. Lafayette's unswerving courage, integrity, and idealism made him a popular symbol of the bond between France and the United States. His direct descendants, members of the Chambrun family, are honorary U.S. citizens. The modern French flag was created by Lafayette in July, 1789, by combining the royal white with the blue and red of Paris.

From the description of Marquis de Lafayette collection, 1781-1834. (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 84674290

French statesman and officer; in American revolution.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : La Grange, to Joel R. Poinsett, 1827 July 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270596543

Marquis de Lafayette, French nobleman and military officer, was born September 6, 1757, in Cavaniac, France. Leaving France in 1776 he offered his services to the Americans in the Revolutionary War. He assisted in the defeat of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 thus ending the war. He contributed much of his wealth to the American cause, and Congress rewarded him for his military and financial assistance with a land grant of 11,520 acres located in what was to become Louisiana.

From the description of Marquis de Lafayette papers, 1817, 1830, 1848. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 181761140

French statesman and soldier. A wealthy nobleman, Lafayette offered his services to Congress as a military commander, and in Dec. 1777 was granted the command of Virginia light troops as a major-general. In Jan. 1778 the Board of War placed him in command of a proposed expedition to Canada, but this campaign was never carried out. Lafayette was involved in preparations for a land and sea attack at Newport, R.I. to be carried out with the assistance of the French fleet. In Oct. 1778, he was granted furlough to return to France, and returned to America in Apr. 1780.

From the description of Marquis de Lafayette correspondence, 1777-1781. (The South Carolina Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 71058630

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, (1757-1834) was a French aristocrat who served as a general in the American Revolution and later as a leader of the Garde Nationale during the French Revolution.

From the guide to the Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier Lafayette Papers, ., 1786-1825, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

French general and political leader, the hero of the American Revolution. Returning to France in 1782, Lafayette was a member of the Assembly of Notables (1787) and the Estates-General (1789), vice president of the National Assembly and the National Guard. In 1792, he was captured by the Austrians and imprisoned at Olmutz prison. Liberated in 1797 by Napoleon, he returned to France. In 1824-25, he toured the United States.

From the description of Collection of papers of Marquis de Lafayette, 1779-1835. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122593922

French aristocrat and military officer.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Melun, to Auguste Petit, 1832 June 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 593883272

The Marquis de Lafayette, French military officer and general in the American Revolutionary War.

From the description of Marquis de Lafayette manuscript material : 1 item, 1829 (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 707511364

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Montier, Marquis de Lafayette, was born on 6 Sep 1757 in Auvergne, France. By the age of 16 Lafayette had inherited a great fortune and after finishing the Military Academy in Versailles and he became a captain in the French cavalry.

Lafayette sympathized with the American Revolutionaries desire for independence from the British and in 1777 he arrived with a ship and a crew on the American shore. He joined George Washington as a major general. Serving with distinction, Lafayette lead America forces to several victories. Once he returned to France he convinced the French government to assist the revolutionaries through his relationship with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson

By 1791 Lafayette had alienated himself from both the French nobility, because he advocated a constitutional monarchy, and with the populace, because he used military force to squash a crowd rebellion. In 1792 he lost favor with the King and Queen and his own troops. He fled the country after he was denounced as a traitor. In 1800, Lafayette returned to France only to find that his fortune had been confiscated. In 1830 Lafayette led the revolution that dethroned the Bourbons. He promoted a constitutional monarchy and helped place Louis Philippe on the throne. By 1834 he regretted this decision and began to promote the idea that France should be a republic.

From the guide to the Lafayette-Bonaventure. Collection, 1774-1849, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Epithet: Marquis de la Fayette

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000412.0x0003de

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette was born at Chavaniac, Auvergne, in 1757, to an old, illustrious family of the provincial and military nobility. He lost both his parents early: his father was killed by the British at the Battle of Minden when Lafayette was two years old (1759), and when he was thirteen and attending the prestigious Collège de Plessis in Paris both his mother and grandfather died (1770). The latter's death left Lafayette with a sizable inheritance: he was actually the richest bachelor in France. In 1771 Lafayette became one of the King's Musketeers, beginning the military career he had always envisioned for himself. In February of 1773 he moved to Versailles as a protégé of Jean de Noailles, the Duc d'Ayen, becoming a lieutenant in the Noailles Dragoons in April and promoted to captain one year later, shortly after his arranged marriage to the Duc d'Ayen's daughter, Adrienne de Noailles on April 11, 1774. And yet, Lafayette's chances at obtaining a position matching his wealth and status were curtailed by the prevailing reformist mood and when the Minsitry of war cut costs and suppresed his regiment, he was relegated to reserve status (June1776.)

Lafayette first heard of the American revolt in 1775, at a dinner given by his commander the comte de Broglie in Metz. Inspired to serve the American cause though he knew very little about America beyond what he had read in Raynal and what he heard from Franklin, Lafayette managed to sign on as a future major-general in the American army in December 1776. But although by this time the French government was sending covert aid to the Americans in the hope of securing French trade interests (the "arms-for-tobacco deal"), Lafayette had to buy his own ship, La Victoire . It sailed from Spain on April 20, 1777 and arrived at North Island, South Carolina on June 13, 1777. Initially disappointed to find himself a general without a command, Lafayette was to return to France in 1782 having earned gloire for himself as well as liberty for the American colonies.

When Lafayette met George Washington on July 31, 1777, it was the start of a famous and longlasting friendship, often described as a "father-son relationship." Lafayette first saw combat at Brandywine (September 11, 1777). The leg wound that he got there lent him military credibility, and he received command of the Virginia division of the Continental Army, with which he spent the winter at Valley Forge under nearly unlivable conditions. In 1778 Lafayette took part in battles at Barren Hill and Monmouth Court House and served with the Continental detachment in Rhode Island in conjunction with d'Estaing's expeditionary force. Earlier that year, Congress had chosen Lafayette to lead a campaign into Canada, but the campaign was ultimately abandoned as unfeasible.

Lafayette returned to a France that was now officially an ally of the United States at the beginning of 1779. He was thus in France for the birth of his son George Washington Lafayette, as he had not been when Adrienne de Lafayette gave birth to their second daughter, Anastasie (1777), and buried Henriette, their first (1778). During this year at home, in addition to pleading the American cause to his compatriots, Lafayette was appointed to the French army as it prepared to invade England. The invasion never came about, and Lafayette was in America again by April 1780. In February 1781, Lafayette led a detachment against troops led by the traitor Benedict Arnold. Later that year he commanded forces against Cornwallis in the decisive campaign of the American war.

Lafayette returned to France in 1782 a popular hero and lobbyist for American economic interests. He accepted the position of quartermaster general of a Franco-Spanish expeditionary force that was headed for British Canada, and then the position of maréchal de camp in 1783, the year peace was officially declared in the United States. His second daughter Virginie was born in September. In these inter-revolutionary years, Lafayette energetically involved himself in the liberal causes of his day. He had been a member of the Freemasons since 1775 but in 1782 publicly identified himself with this network of secret societies that, with the literary salons of the day, formed pockets of free thought within the ancien regime and eventually espoused liberal politics. Lafayette devoted himself especially to the causes of toleration for French Protestants, whom he visited in Cévennes in 1785. In one of his most original enterprises, he also purchased a plantation in the French colony of Guiana which was to be the site of an experiment in gradually emancipating black slaves so as to maximize both their chances at integration into free society, and their productivity and birth rate. Madame Lafayette oversaw the management of the plantation after the death of its appointed manager, Richeprey, in 1786. During the 1780s, Lafayette's international popularity was evidenced by his first "American Tour" in 1784 and an "European Tour" in 1785, the highlight of which was a personal meeting with the "enlightened despot" Frederick II of Prussia.

Lafayette's role in the French Revolution was conditioned by the several aspects of his public identity, as paternalistic aristocrat, enthusiastic defender of freedoms, self-serving hero, and soldier. In 1787 and 1788, Lafayette attended sessions of the Assembly of Notables, called at this time to resolve pressing taxation issues. To the Assembly Lafayette brought his call for the civil rights of Protestants (an Edict of Toleration was in fact enacted in November of 1787). In 1789 Lafayette represented the nobility when he was elected deputy to the Estates General, a long inactive governing institution which now joined with the Third Estate to become the National Assembly. Lafayette presented the " Déclaration de droits de l'homme et du citoyen " to the Assembly on July 11, 1789, and was chosen vice-president of the National Assembly on the eve of the Fall of the Bastille. In the turbulence that followed, Lafayette was proclaimed commandant of the Garde Nationale, with the charge of keeping order in the streets of Paris, a task in which his popular sway among the moderate bourgeoisie aided him. The Guard escorted the King and Queen to Paris in October of 1789. On July 14, 1790, he presided at the Fête de la Federation.

Criticism of Lafayette intensified when he ordered his men to fire on the unruly crowd and forty at the Champs de Mars in 1791. In October of that year Lafayette resigned as commandant of the Garde Nationale of Paris. In 1792 he became a commander in the war with Austria, which began in April. Lafayette's censure of the increasing influence of Jacobinism, and his basic inability to understand political trends, placed him at odds with both the government and the opposition. He was publicly accused of plotting to march on Paris with his troops. On August 19, 1792, the National Convention, formed after the arrest of Louis XVI on August 10, replaced Lafayette with Dumouriez, who dumbed him "a traitor" after he emigrated. Lafayette was in fact intercepted by the Austrians and imprisoned for five years -- first at Wesel, then at Magdebourg, Neisse and Olmütz. Adrienne Lafayette and the children, who had been experiencing the revolution from the provinces, joined him in prison in 1795. Adrienne herself had been in jail in France, and had survived the guillotining of her mother, grandmother and elder sister. The Lafayette family was more fortunate; save George who was staying in America, they together bore two more years of imprisonment. Freed in 1797, Lafayette remained on the list of proscribed émigrés, living in exile in Holstein and Holland until 1799. Adrienne, meanwhile, was in France (1797-1799) trying to get permission for her husband's return and to recover part of her inheritance: the Directory had confiscated and sold all of Lafayette's properties in Bretagne and Auvergne except for the house at Chavaniac.

With the establishment of the Consulate in November 1799 (the "18th Brumaire") the political climate in France changed enough that Lafayette was able to repatriate. He retired to La Grange (part of Adrienne's inheritance), where, during the years of the Consulate and Empire (1800-1815), he led a relatively private life, pursuing the interest in modern agriculture that he had developed in prison, and absorbed in the day to day management of his estate and of his financial crises: Lafayette's extremely generous financing of two revolutions, in combination with the loss of his properties, left him deep in debt. In 1804 the American government expressed their gratitude for Lafayette's contribution to the Revolutionary War by granting him a tract of land in Louisiana, but this gift, like the Florida Lands granted him later, in 1824, turned out to be something of a liability, in that his attempts to sell portions of it to his creditors embroiled him in lawsuits and the lands themselves were, in some cases, already occupied by settlers. Adrienne, in ill health since her imprisonment, died in 1807.

With the Restoration (1815-1830) Lafayette was once more drawn into political life, in the liberal opposition. In 1815 he served several terms in the Chamber of Deputies, and insisted on Napoleon Bonaparte's abdication. Lafayette played a leading role in the "Glorious Revolution" of July 1830 and found himself again commandant of the Garde Nationale. He was now in his seventies. His decision to support the duc d'Orléans' accession to the throne seemed to some a betrayal of his role as defender of the republican ideals.

During the Restoration years La Grange became a mecca for Lafayette's many admirers. His popularity grew even more with his American Tour of 1824-1825 as city after city hailed Lafayette as almost another "Father of Our Country."

Finally, in the last years of his life, Lafayette, still true to his motto, " Cur non? " supported national insurrections in Belgium (1830) and Poland (1831). He had followed Belgian politics since 1789 when the Brabant revolted against Austrian domination, and the chief of the Flemish Catholic party, Van der Noot, was in contact with the French government through the mediation of Lafayette. As the President of the Comité Central en Faveur des Polonais (1830-1832), Lafayette was active in fundraising and in publicizing the plight of Poland and its refugees. He also during this time corresponded with many members of the Carbonari, revolutionary Italians involved in the 1831 uprising. Lafayette died in Paris on May 20, 1834.

From the guide to the Arthur H. and Mary Marden Dean Lafayette Collection, 1245-1931, (Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library)

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette was born 6 September 1757 at the Chateau de Chavaniac, Haute-Loire, Avergne, France. He inherited a vast estate when orphaned at age 13 and joined the French army at age 14. When the American Revolution began, Lafayette, 19, offered his services to the Continental Army and was commissioned a major-general. He served ably throughout the Revolution and was instrumental in convincing Franch to join the war on the American side. After the Revolution, Lafayette returned to France and later sat in its assembly. Commander of the French army int he early stages of the French Revolution, Lafayette fell out of favor with the more radical elements of the revolutionaries and was declared a traitor. Escaping France, he was held prisoner by the Austrians and the Prussians from 1792 to 1797. Returning to France in 1799, Lafayette participated off and on in French politics as a liberal. Lafayette returned to the United States for a triumphal tour in 1824-1825. He married Marie-Adrienne-Francoise de Noailles, and they had three children. Lafayette died 20 May 1834.

From the guide to the Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette Letters, 1781-1825, (The Library of Virginia)


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