Posts Tagged With: Ben Franklin

June 13: 19-Year Old Helps America Win Independence….Marquis de Lafayette.


Born September 6, 1757, his father died before he was two-years-old; and his mother died when he was twelve, leaving him to inherit their fortune.

At 14-years-old, he joined the French Military and, at age 16, became a captain.

He married Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, whose family was related to King Louis XVI.

His name was Marquis de Lafayette.

At 19, against the King’s wishes, Lafayette purchased a ship and persuaded several French officers to accompany him to fight in the American Revolution, arriving JUNE 13, 1777.

Trained in the French Military, he was a descendant of one of the oldest French families, with ancestors who fought in the Crusades and alongside of Joan of Arc.

Commander-in-Chief George Washington appointed Lafayette a Major General in the Continental Army, though Lafayette paid his own expenses.

Lafayette endured the freezing winter at Valley Forge, was wounded at Brandywine, and fought with distinction at the Battles of Gloucester, Barren Hill, Monmouth, Rhode Island, and Green Spring.

Returning to France, Lafayette worked with Ben Franklin to persuade King Louis XVI to send General Rochambeau with ships and 6,000 French soldiers to America’s aid.

Lafayette led troops against the traitor Benedict Arnold, and commanded at Yorktown, helping to pressure Cornwallis to surrender.

George Washington considered Lafayette like a son, and belatedly wrote back to him from Mount Vernon, on June 25, 1785:

“My Dear Marquis…I stand before you as a culprit: but to repent and be forgiven are the precepts of Heaven: I do the former, do you practice the latter, and it will be participation of a divine attribute.

Yet I am not barren of excuses for this seeming inattention; frequent absences from home, a round of company when at it, and the pressure of many matters, might be urged as apologies for my long silence…

I now congratulate you, and my heart does it more effectually than my pen, on your safe arrival in Paris, from your voyage to this Country.”

Lafayette joined the French abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks, which advocated the end of the slave trade and equal rights for blacks.

On May 10, 1786, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to Marquis de Lafayette:

“Your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country.”

On August 15, 1787, in a letter from Philadelphia to the Marquis de Lafayette, Washington wrote:

“I am not less ardent in my wish that you may succeed in your plan of toleration in religious matters.

Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church with that road to Heaven which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest and easiest, and the least liable to exception.”

On May 28, 1788, George Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette regarding the U.S. Constitution:

I will confess to you sincerely, my dear Marquis; it will be so much beyond any thing we had a right to imagine or expect eighteen months ago, that it will demonstrate as visibly the Finger of Providence, as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.”

When the French Revolution began, President Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette, on July 28, 1791:

“I assure you I have often contemplated, with great anxiety, the danger to which you are personally exposed…

To a philanthropic mind the happiness of 24 millions of people cannot be indifferent; and by an American, whose country in the hour of distress received such liberal aid from the French, the disorders and incertitude of that Nation are to be particularly lamented.

We must, however, place a confidence in that Providence who rules great events, trusting that out of confusion He will produce order, and, notwithstanding the dark clouds which may threaten at present, that right will ultimately be established….

On the 6 of this month I returned from a tour through the southern States, which had employed me for more than three months. In the course of this journey I have been highly gratified in observing the flourishing state of the Country, and the good dispositions of the people.

Industry and economy have become very fashionable in these parts, which were formerly noted for the opposite qualities, and the labors of man are assisted by the Blessings of Providence.”

Lafayette tried to maintain order in France as the French Revolution began, but fell out of favor.

He was eventually imprisoned for five years, with his wife and two daughters choosing to be imprisoned with him.

Napoleon negotiated his release.

On June 10, 1792, from Philadelphia, President Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette:

“And to the Care of that Providence, whose interposition and protection we have so often experienced, do I cheerfully commit you and your nation, trusting that He will bring order out of confusion, and finally place things upon the ground on which they ought to stand.”

Jefferson asked him to be the Governor of the Louisiana Territory, but he declined.

Fifty years after the Revolution began, Marquis de Lafayette visited America. He traveled over 6,000 miles to 24 States.

On June 17, 1825, the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill Monument was laid.

Daniel Webster spoke to a crowd of 20,000, which included General Marquis de Lafayette:

“God has granted you this sight of your country’s happiness ere you slumber in the grave forever.

He has allowed you to behold and to partake the reward of your patriotic toils; and He has allowed to us, your sons and countrymen, to meet you here, and in the name of the present generation, in the name of your country, in the name of liberty to thank you!”

Many ships, streets, parks, and cities were named after him, including Fayetteville, North Carolina.

When word came to America that Marquis de Lafayette had died, President Andrew Jackson wrote to Congress, on June 21, 1834:

“The afflicting intelligence of the death of the illustrious Lafayette has been received by me this morning.

I have issued the general order inclosed to cause appropriate honors to be paid by the Army and Navy to the memory of one so highly venerated and beloved by my countrymen, and whom Providence has been pleased to remove so unexpectedly from the agitating scenes of life.”



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Can you see anything similar to the 1770’s????….Our Founding Fathers could see the future…

I’ve read the Declaration of Independence many, many times, and I can’t help but notice that the indictments of the Declaration seem eerily familiar today. Many people reading this probably haven’t read the Declaration since high school, if they ever really read it at all, so indulge me… go ahead and read this next section out loud, and listen to the reasons the Founders felt it necessary to defy their government, load their guns, and take on the most powerful military on the planet.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

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Contract Between the King and the Thirteen United States of North America (1783)

February 25, 1783
Contract between the King and the Thirteen United States of North America February 25, 1783

The reestablished peace between the belligerent powers, the advantages of a free commerce to all parts of the globe, and the independence of the thirteen United States of North America, acknowledged and founded on a solid and honorable basis, rendered it probable that the said States would be in a condition to provide hereafter for their necessities, by means of the resources within themselves, without being compelled to implore the continuation of the succors which the King has so liberally granted during the war; but the Minister Plenipotentiary of the said United States to His Majesty having represented to him the exhausted state to which they have been reduced by a long and disastrous war, His Majesty has condescended to take into consideration the request made by the aforesaid Minister in the name of the Congress of the said States for a new advance of money to answer numerous purposes of urgent and indispensable expenses in the course of the present year; His Majesty has, in consequence, determined, notwithstanding the no less pressing necessities of his own service, to grant to Congress a new pecuniary assistance, which he has fixed at the sum of six millions livres tournois, under the title of loan and under the guaranty of the whole thirteen United States, which the Minister of Congress has declared his acceptance of, with the liveliest acknowledgments in the name of the said States.

And as it is necessary to the good order of His Majesty’s finances, and also useful to the operations of the finances of the United States, to assign periods for payment of the six millions Iivres in question, and to regulate the conditions and terms of reimbursement, which should be made at His Majesty’s royal treasury at Paris after the manner of what has been stipulated for the preceding advances by former contract of the 16th July, 1782-

We, Charles Gravier, Count de Vergennes, etc., Counselor of the King in his Councils, Commander of his Orders, Chief of the Royal Council of Finances, Counselor of State, etc., Minister and Secretary of State and of his Commands and Finances, invested with full powers by His Majesty, given to us for the purpose of these presents- –

And we, Benjamin Franklin, Minister and Plenipotentiary of the United States of North America, likewise invested with powers by the Congress of said States for the same purpose of these presents, after having compared and duly communicated to each other our respective powers, have agreed upon the following articles:


The payment of the six millions livres, French money, above mentioned, shall be made from the funds of the royal treasury, in proportions of five hundred thousand livres during each of the twelve months of the present year, under the acknowledgments of the Minister of the said United States, promising, in the name of Congress and in behalf of the thirteen United States, to reimburse and refund the said six million livres in ready money at His Majesty’s royal treasury, at the house of the Sieur Grand, banker at Paris, with interest at five per cent per annum, at periods hereafter stipulated in the third and fourth articles. The advances which His Majesty has been pleased to allow to be made on account of the six millions in question, shall be deducted in the payments of the first month of this year.


For better understanding the fixing of periods for the reimbursement of the six millions at the royal treasury, and to prevent all ambiguity on this head, it has been found proper to recapitulate here the amount of the preceding aids granted by the King to the United States, and to distinguish them according to their different classes. The first is composed of funds lent successively by His Majesty, amounting in the whole to the sum of eighteen million livres, reimbursable in specie at the royal treasury in twelve equal portions of a million five hundred thousand livres each, besides the interest, and in twelve years, to commence from the third year after the date of the peace, the interest, beginning to reckon at the date of the peace, to be discharged annually, shall diminish in proportion to the reimbursement of the capital, the last payment of which shall expire in the year 1798.

The second class comprehends the loan of five million Dutch florins, amounting, by a moderate valuation, to ten million livres tournois, the said loan made in Holland in 1781 for the service of the United States of North America, under the engagement of the King to refund the capital, with interest at four per cent per annum, at the general counter of the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands in ten equal portions, reckoning from the sixth year of the date of said loan; and under the like engagement on the part of the Minister of Congress and in behalf of the thirteen United States, to reimburse the ten millions of said loan in ready money at the royal treasury, with interest at four per cent per annum, in ten equal portions of a million each, and in ten periods from year to year, the first of which shall take place in the month of November, 1787, and the last in the same month, 1796; the whole conformable to the conditions expressed in the contract of 16th July, 1782.

In the third class are comprehended the aids and subsidies furnished to the Congress of the United States under the title of gratuitous assistance from the pure generosity of the King, three millions of which were granted before the treaty of February, 1778, and six millions in 1781; which aids and subsidies amount in the whole to nine million livres tournois. His Majesty here confirms, in case of need, the gratuitous gift to the Congress of the said thirteen United States.


The new loan of six millions livres tournois, the subject of the present contract, shall be re- funded and reimbursed in ready money at His Majesty’s royal treasury in six equal portions of a million each, with interest at five per cent per annum, and in six periods, the first of which shall take place in the year 1797, and so on from year to year until 1802, when the last reimbursement shall be completed.


The interest of five per cent per annum of the capital of the six millions mentioned in the preceding article shall begin to be reckoned from the 1st of January of the year 1784 and shall be paid in ready money at His Majesty’s royal treasury at Paris on the same day of each year, the first of which shall take place the 1st of January, 1785, and so on from year to year until the definitive reimbursement of the capital; His Majesty being pleased, by a new act of generosity, to present and remit to the thirteen United States the partial interest of the present year, which the underwritten Minister of Congress has declared to accept with acknowledgment in the name of the said United States.


The interest of the capital of the six millions shall diminish in proportion to the reimbursements at the periods fixed in the preceding article, Congress and the United States reserving, however, the liberty of freeing themselves by anticipated payments, should the state of their finances admit.


The contracting parties will reciprocally guarantee the faithful observation of the foregoing articles, the ratifications of which shall be exchanged in the space of nine months from the date of this present contract, or sooner if possible.

In faith whereof we, the Ministers Plenipotentiary of His Majesty and the Congress of the thirteen United States of North America, in virtue of our respective full powers, have signed the present contract and thereunto affixed the seal of our arms.

Done at Versailles the twenty-fifth day of February, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. GRAVIER DE VERGENNES [Seal]


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