Thomas Jefferson Papers

Lafayette to Thomas Jefferson, 1 July 1821

From Lafayette

La grange July 1st 1821

Your Last Letter, my dear Excellent friend, is dated Xber 26th: I Had Been Long deprived of your So much Valued Correspondence. the motives of Health, and stifness in the wrist Unluckily dislocated and Very ill mended, form an Apology But too forcible, But Very painfull. I would not put You to inconvenience, But when You Can Well Bear writing, think of Your oldest and Best friend, to Whom Some lines from You are a Great Comfort.

the Work of infamy which You alluded to, as it then threatened italy, Has Been Consummated By three of the powers of the Sainte alliance. the english and french Governments Have kept their distance But did Sympathise With the principles, and opposed no Restraint to the Acts of the Leyback Gang. the Neapolitans Spoke well and Behaved ill on the field. they Gave not to upper italy the time to Rise in Arms, and those Who Broke out, the piemontese, were Half betray’d, Half beaten into a State of Submission. Yet it is to Be Hoped the Scandal of Austrian dominion over italy Cannot Last Long.

Spain and portugal are Constitutionally Governed. Great intrigues However are Carried on in those Countries, particularly Spain, Under the patronage of all the European Counter Revolutionary party. and in Case france preserves the direction now pursued By all the powers of Government, I am affraïd interior disturbances in Spain Will become Very Serious.

Great efforts Have been Lately made by the Greecks for their Emancipation from the ottoman Yoke. they Have Been productive of Bloody disorders on Both Sides; But the most Horrid Cruelties are daily perpetrated By the turks. the triumvirate of Leyback Have, in Common, asserted the Legitimacy of Sultan Mamouth; altho’ it is probable Alexander Will be obliged By Russian politiks, and Religious propriety, to Give His own Ambition a turn More favorable, at least, to the protection of the christians Against infidels. the Best We Can Hope is the Erection of Some Grecian Republics where liberty and information May obtain a degree of Security.

The North of Germany is, more or less, in a liberal ferment. But it is Now Agreed on all Sides that on the freedom of france depends the Emancipation of Europe. Never Were the friends of liberty, in the Several Countries, So Sincerely United By a Continental link of Sympathy. Here Counter Revolution is the order of the day. it Sits on the throne, more oppenly So, next to the throne, it is Unanimous at Court, and in a great Majority in the Constitutional powers, particularly in the House of deputies, Because most of those who are affraïd of its Excesses are forced by White Jacobiners to go along With them. a Net of Government1 Agents, place men, millionaries, informers, is extended over the People. party intriguers, Bonapartists,2 Orleanists, orangists &c. Appear on the Surface. But Under that Compounded Crust, the produce of many Years Very ill employ’d, there is a Sound population, and particularly admirable Youthfull Generations. the old military Now Returned to their families Have Reassumed Civic Habits; the New army are better disposed than might Have been Expected. it is true the Benefits of the Revolution, By Bettering the Condition of the People, Have made them more quiete and less Sensible of their danger. there are However in almost all the departments a Set of patriots, namely among the Young men, who are jealous of their Rights, determined to be free, and quite clear of party Combinations or preferences. our debates in the House Have no other Use but to be the only means of publication that Have Been Left to my friends and myself. But they are Eagerly Received out of doors. what I Said four Weeks Ago, and Has been Since printed, may Give You Some idea of our present Situation.

My family are all well. the eldest grand daughter, Celestine Maubourg Has married one of My Colleagues, and is on the point of increasing the number of my children. two Sisters of Hers, three girls and one boy belonging to my daughter Virginia, three girls more and two boys by George are now on the Colony of La grange where I Came for a few days on a Visit to them, on farming business, and to Rid myself of a Slight touch of the Gout. The tracy famïly are gone to their Country Seat in the department de L’allier.

Are You Sure, my dear friend, that Extending the principle of Slavery to the new Raised states is a method to facilitate the Means of Getting Rid of it? I Would Have thought that By Spreading the prejudices, Habits, and Calculations of planters over a larger Surface You Rather encrease the difficulties of final liberation. Was it Not for that deplorable Circumstance of Negroe Slavery in the Southern States, not a Word Could be objected, when We present American doctrines and Constitutions as an Exemple to old Europe. my Accounts from the Commonwealth of Hayti are Very promising.

Present my affectionate Respects to mrs Randolph; Remember Your old friend When You adress the relations about You; George, His Wife, and Sisters desire to be most Respectfully mentioned.

this Letter goes By Doctor Barba, Son to a Celebrated Book Seller and printer in paris, who goes to the U.S. With a View to fix Himself on that Happy Land and to Exercise His profession as a phisician. He Has Been particularly Recommended to me By Colleagues on the coté gauche, and by meritorious litterati. permit me to introduce Him to Your benevolent Attention.

Most thankfully does m. poirey Aknowledge Your kindness to Him. I join in the Grateful feelings. adieu, my Very dear friend, think of me when You Cannot Conveniently write. Never Was Brotherly Affection more tender, and durable to the Last Breath than that of Your friend


Here is a pretty little publication just Come out that will amuse you. it is probable they will Seise it as they Have done the pamphlet the prosecution of which Has given Rise to the gay Complaint.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 Sept. 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

sainte alliance: Holy Alliance. In November 1820, just before the close of the Congress of Troppau, the three Holy Alliance powers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia signed the Troppau Protocol, an agreement to suppress democratic revolutions in Europe. Great Britain and France sent no plenipotentiary representatives to the meeting, and neither nation agreed with the propositions in the protocol. Members of the Holy Alliance continued their discussions at Laibach (leyback; later Ljubljana, Slovenia) early in 1821 (Paul W. Schroeder, Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820–1823 [1962], 60, 80–1, 84–6, 93–6, 104). Mahmud II (mamouth) was sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

Lafayette’s enclosed speech of four weeks ago (4 June 1821) to the Chambre des Députés regarding the French budget was printed the next day in Le Moniteur Universel. In a missing letter to James Madison of 1 July 1821, Lafayette evidently sent Madison a similar enclosure, which the latter commended in his reply, stating that “I have read with great pleasure your opinion occasioned by the Budget. Sentiments so noble, in language so piercing, can not be without effect. The deafness to them within doors, will not prevent their being heard & felt without, and the present atmosphere of Europe, is favorable to an echo of them everywhere” (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:405).

Lafayette’s eldest grand daughter, Célestine de La Tour-Maubourg, married Romain Joseph, baron de Brigode, on 13 June 1820 (Le Bulletin Héraldique de France, ou Revue Historique de la Noblesse 6 [1893]: 502). Lafayette’s daughter virginia was Virginie, marquise de Lasteyrie du Saillant. coté gauche: “left-hand side”; the political left. The enclosed pretty little publication may have been Paul Louis Courier, Simple Discours (Paris, 1821; possibly Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 682]).

1Manuscript: “Govenment.”

2Manuscript: “Bonapartits.”

Index Entries

  • Alexander I, emperor of Russia; and Greece search
  • Austria; and Holy Alliance search
  • Austria; and Italy search
  • Barba, René Anacharsis; introduced to TJ search
  • Brigode, Romain Joseph, baron de search
  • Courier, Paul Louis; Simple Discours search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; family of search
  • France; and Lafayette search
  • France; Chambre des Députés search
  • France; newspapers of search
  • Gazette nationale, ou, Le Moniteur universel (Paris newspaper) search
  • Germany; desire for reform in search
  • gout search
  • Greece, modern; and Ottoman Empire search
  • Greece, modern; war of independence search
  • Haiti, Republic of; news from search
  • health; gout search
  • Holy Alliance; mentioned search
  • Italy; and Austria search
  • Italy; and Holy Alliance search
  • Italy; and revolution in Naples search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Lafayette, George Washington (Lafayette’s son); family of search
  • Lafayette, George Washington (Lafayette’s son); sends greetings to TJ search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; and events in Europe search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; and events in France search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; and slavery in U.S. search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; as legislator search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; family of search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; health of search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; introduces R. A. Barba search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; letters from search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; speeches of search
  • Laibach, Congress of search
  • Lasteyrie du Saillant, Virginie, marquise de (Lafayette’s daughter); family of search
  • La Tour-Maubourg, Célestine de (Lafayette’s granddaughter) search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and Lafayette search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); works sent to search
  • Mahmud II, sultan of Ottoman Empire; legitimacy of search
  • Missouri question; Lafayette on search
  • Naples, kingdom of (later Kingdom of the Two Sicilies); revolution in search
  • newspapers; French search
  • Ottoman Empire; and Greece search
  • Ottoman Empire; and Russia search
  • Poirey, Joseph Léonard; seeks compensation search
  • Portugal; constitution of search
  • Prussia; and Holy Alliance search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • Russia; and Holy Alliance search
  • Russia; and Ottoman Empire search
  • Simple Discours (P. L. Courier) search
  • slavery; Lafayette on search
  • Spain; affairs in search
  • Spain; constitution of search
  • Troppau, Congress of search