Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I have always loved France...

I have always loved France. It is unfortunate that the language is not offered in the schools near here for my son. He is making his way with Spanish, but he does not have the love I have for language particularly because of my fascination with France.

My uncle, spent his unmarried youth traveling around a bit. I remember his story of France. He hopped in a cab and was so delighted to be in Paris, he burst out singing the National Anthem, La Marseillaise. The French cab driver was so taken by the delivery, he joined in for a duet. Neither spoke the other's language other than that, not really. I guess my uncle knew enough to find a hotel and ask for a ham sandwich. But, I have always loved that story. I love all the passion of the French and la bonne vie.

So, I am wondering today about Marie Jean Paul Joseph Roche Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de LaFayette. I have discovered he first came to America at Charleston, SC after a retreat to Spain. He traveled on horseback to Pennsylvania, so he must have come through NC. Are there any details about his adventure in NC in 1777? Here is a bit from the referenced website about his decision to come to America.

Here he received letters from his family and the ministry which led him to return for a short, time to Bordeaux. A letter which he now wrote to the government, begging permission to proceed with his enterprise, remained unanswered. In a private letter to Maurepas, he observed that "silence gives consent," and he should go on. There was more than mere pleasantry in this. He doubtless understood well enough that the royal disapproval of his movements was in great part assumed for the sake of appearances. He set sail from Pasage (Spain), 26 April, 1777, taking with him De Kalb and eleven other officers, and landed, 14 June, at Georgetown, S. C., whence he proceeded to Charleston. After a journey of more than a month on horseback he arrived in Philadelphia, where congress was in session.

We know LaFayette returned to the states later in life, and visited 10 states including NC. But, that's after freedom. So, did he write anything about his time in 1777. Did he spend more than a couple of days in NC? Where was he?

John Quincy Adams gave this summary of LaFayette's life at the death of the hero which illustrated the Revolutionary times and the strong temperament of the man who rather than live a life of ease equal to the French king, came to America to lend a hand.

Of course, Fayetteville is named for him and apparently, so is LaGrange in Lenoir county. There is more research to do.

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