Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
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The rousing story of Lafayette―aide-de-camp and “adopted son” of George Washington―exploring his vital role in the American Revolution.
In this long-overdue history of Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette, acclaimed French author Gonzague Saint Bris recounts Lafayette's invaluable contributions to the American War of Independence and, later, the French Revolution of 1789. The first study of Lafayette to appear in almost ten years, Saint Bris’ new volume recounts the young Lafayette's personal friendship with George Washington, who went so far as to refer to Lafayette as his “adopted son,” and his pivotal role as Washington’s aide-de-camp in helping establish the fledgling American nation.
Lafayette’s presence at the British surrender at Yorktown is a stark reminder of just how closely our forefather's victory hinged on the help of our French allies, who were roused into action by Lafayette himself. equally absorbing and less well known is Lafayette's idealistic but naive efforts to plant the fruits of the American-style democracy he so admired in the unreceptive soil of his homeland.
most constant and dearest confidant of all my thoughts, in the midst of all the vicissitudes among which I have often felt unhappy; but until now you have found me stronger than circumstances. Today, the circumstances are stronger than I. I will never recover. During the thirty-four years of a union in which her tenderness, her goodness, and the loftiness, delicacy, and generosity of her soul charmed, embellished, and honored my life; I grew so accustomed to everything she represented for me
tempted to remind him at every moment what his grandfather had done or said. A significant portion of the ruling class and of public opinion thought that the moment was ripe for Choiseul to return in triumph. He had been dismissed by Louis XV in December 1770 and was still, theoretically, required to live on his sumptuous estate, Chanteloup. He had many supporters and far from negligible assets. After all, the queen owed him her marriage, and he had been dismissed primarily because of his
sacrificed the duties of his office to his pleasures. The trouble was not that he had mistresses—all kings did—but that he imposed his favorites on the court and that they interfered in policy. And the fact that they procured for their illustrious lover ever younger bedmates, often recruited from Paris brothels, went beyond all bounds. With the last of the “sultanas,” Mme du Barry, to whom even the Dauphine had to defer, a disreputable world of procurers and swindlers had infiltrated the
who was a strong supporter of scientific endeavors and accepted the boldest suggestions when it came to improving the matériel available to France (he had, for example, agreed to have the largest warships lined with copper), bestowed spectacular rewards on the courageous balloonists. He no doubt had high hopes for this new means of transport. But he was able to distinguish between science and daydreams or charlatanism. Despite Marie Antoinette’s sympathy for her compatriot Mesmer, and the favor
Lenôtre, which I have relied on in what follows, he was told to put on a frock coat and a round hat and to go as discreetly as possible to see M. de Choiseul. He would give Choiseul a letter and receive instructions from him which he was to obey strictly. Cordially received by the duke, the hairdresser expressed some worry when he was asked to get into a carriage to go to an undisclosed location. It was no good his pleading that he had urgent appointments with friends of the queen whose hair he