HENNON-DUBOIS, Romulus Antoine
Le General La Fayette
circa 1820. Lithograph. Printed on india paper and mounted onto thick white wove as issued. In excellent condition. Sheet size: 21 3/8 x 15 3/16 inches.
A striking portrait of General Lafayette with a plaque listing the major battles that he participated in.
Lafayette's actions during the American Revolution earned him a place in America's pantheon of heroes. Joining the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, he became one of the first Frenchman to come to America's aid. Through his valiant commitment to the American cause Lafayette became a close associate of George Washington's, and he helped negotiate French aid for the Revolution. He was voted a major general at the age of 20 by the Continental Congress, and his actions at the battle of Yorktown helped corner the British forces, which led to their surrender in 1781. Returning to France, he played an important role in the French Revolution, though the chaos inherent in the situation nearly cost him his life. Ultimately though he was hero in his own country as well as in the New World.
In 1824, as the United States approached its 50th anniversary, President Monroe invited General Lafayette to return to America. He enjoyed a hero's welcome and toured the 24 states in triumph. Lafayette had a great love for the United States, a sentiment which is best expressed in his eloquent words to Henry Laurens, the Congressional President; "The moment I heard of America I loved her; the moment I knew she was fighting for freedom I burnt with a desire of bleeding for her; and the moment I shall be able to serve her, at any time, or in any part of the world, will be the happiest of my life". Through his involvement in the American and French revolutions Lafayette became a symbol of the ideals of liberty and a crusader against tyranny. Lafayette's veneration for the United States was so strong that when he returned to France, he took with him a plot of American soil, within which he was buried. Lafayette came to America during this country's birth and his words embody the ideals and sentiments that helped form this country. In a letter to his wife in 1777, he wrote; "The happiness of America is intimately connected with the happiness of all mankind; she is destined to become the safe and venerable asylum of virtue, of honesty, of tolerance, and quality and of peaceful liberty."