Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Lafayette and Washington: The Friendship That Forged a New Country

Pictured  L-R: Michael Tomme, GA State President SAR; Brenda Jessel, GA DAR State Corresponding Secretary and member of General Daniel Newnan Chapter DAR; Betty Harrah, James Waldrop Chapter DAR Regent; Speaker Phyllis King, James Waldrop Chapter DAR; Susan Sloan,  James Waldrop Chapter DAR Commemorative Events Chairman ; Helen Busbin; and Susie Morrison,  Fayette-Starr’s Mill Chapter DAR Regent.

Fayette County and Fayetteville are both named for the Marquis de Lafayette who was so instrumental to America during the American Revolution. The James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution held their 3rd annual Lafayette Dinner recently as Americans remembered Lafayette's September 6th birthday and the Treaty of Paris.  The Treaty of Paris formally ended the American Revolution on September 3, 1783.

In 1775, Lafayette heard the Duke of Gloucester speak of the colonial efforts in the pursuit of the rights of men.  Lafayette was intrigued by the talk of the colonial leader, George Washington.  Lafayette offered his services to the Americans without any pension, but kept his freedom to return to France in the event he was summoned by his King.  Upon his arrival in America, Lafayette wrote home “Americans are as likable as my enthusiasm has led me to picture them. A simplicity of manners, a desire to please, a love of country and liberty, and an easy equality prevail everywhere here. The richest man and the poorest treated each other as equals.”

DAR Speaker Phyllis King said, "When Lafayette met Washington, it was a joining of two worlds, The Old World of Europe represented by the younger Lafayette and the New World of the Colonies represented by the older Washington. Together they would fight battles, plan strategy, pursue alliances, and create a special Father/Son bond that they both were desperately seeking." 

King described Lafayette's commission from Congress in these words: "To Lafayette this meant that he would be a military apprentice to Washington in line for a command. To Washington it presented a dilemma as to what to do with this nineteen year old French noble to be sure France was not offended in any way. Their first meeting," continued King,  "was August 5,1777, at the City Tavern. Lafayette remembers it in the this third person account, “ Washington took Lafayette aside, spoke to him kindly, complimented him upon the noble spirit he had shown and the sacrifices he had made in favor of the American cause, and then told him, that he should be pleased if he would make the quarters of the commander-in-chief his home, establish himself there whenever he thought proper and consider himself at all times as one of the family.” Further he added he was confident the young general would, “submit with good grace to the customs, manners, and privations of a republican army.”

"Lafayette would prove himself in battle at Brandywine, at Valley Forge, and Yorktown," King said.
" He was loyal to Washington when others tried to take his command. He faithfully went to seek aid from France and to settle any disputes of his countrymen. He spent his own money to outfit the command he was given and provide supplies throughout the war. He even names his son Georges Washington Lafayette after his adopted father."

Lafayette and Washington shared a deep affection and respect for one another.  Lafayette's friendship with Washington endured time and distance.  Their bond helped forge the beginnings of the United States.

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