Mr. Porter to Mr. Hay.

No. 685.]

Sir: Your instruction No. 789, of June 12, directing me to transmit to the French Government a copy of the joint resolution approved June 6, 1900, respecting the unveiling of the statue of Lafayette at Paris on July 4 was complied with upon its receipt, and under date of the 2d instant it was acknowledged by M. Delcassé in a note, of which a copy and a translation are herewith inclosed.

A day or two after, M. Destournelles, a well-known deputy, formerly [Page 458] a member of the diplomatic corps, called at my house to confer with me with regard to the wording of a resolution which M. Bourgeois, late prime minister, and himself, intended to introduce in the Chamber in response to ours. The form of the resolution being agreed upon, it was understood that M. Bourgeois would introduce it in the Chamber before the inauguration of the statue. He did so on the 2d instant, and began by reading the joint resolution of the 6th, and then said:

Thus, gentlemen, the monument erected to the memory of Lafayette, which is to be inaugurated at Paris on the Fourth of July next, is due to a double subscription, one coming from the children of the schools of the United States, the other coming from Congress. To this homage rendered to the Frenchmen who fought for the independence of America the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States have added, in the name of the American nation, another evidence of faithful and unanimous remembrance. We are certain that the Chamber of Deputies will respond with dignity to this manifestation. Therefore, gentlemen, in the name of my honorable colleague, M. Destournelles, and in mine, I have the honor to propose the following resolution, for which I ask urgency:

The Chamber of Deputies expresses to the American nation the gratitude of France for the gift of a monument which will perpetuate between the two Republics memories which are equally dear to both.

The reading of this resolution was hailed with loud applause, after which M. Delcassé, minister for foreign affairs, said that the French Government had already sent to Washington the expression of its gratitude and associated itself with the resolution. The Government, he added, was only too happy to see the national representation of the country manifest its convictions that this monument, which is intended to recall to the people of France and of the United States remembrances equally dear and glorious, will also in the future be a token of fruitful understanding for the mutual interests of both countries, interests which are in perfect harmony on so many points, and which happily are not irreconcilable.

The resolution was carried unanimously. The president of the Chamber said he was happy to see this unanimity of sentiment, and that he would transmit the resolution through the diplomatic channel.

MM. Chaumié, D’Aunay, Morellet, and Maxime Lecomte introduced in the Senate the following resolutions:

The Senate expresses to the American nation the gratitude of France for the gift of a monument which will perpetuate between the two Republics memories which are equally dear to both.

The keeper of the seals and minister of justice, M. Monies, said he was happy to see two French Chambers associate themselves with the sentiments of gratitude expressed by the French Government to the United States. The memories, a hundred years old, which we are about to commemorate, he added, are the living ties which united the French and the American people.”

The resolution was carried unanimously.

The statue was inaugurated yesterday on a square of the Place du Carrousel, which is hereafter to bear the name of Square Lafayette, in the presence of M. Loubet, President of the French Republic; the presidents of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies, MM. Fallieres and Deschanel; the minister of foreign affairs, M. Delcassé, and of other members of the cabinet and high officials of the French Government. The ceremony was a brilliant one, the number of persons present being estimated at between 5,000 and 6,000, the majority being Americans. I had the honor of presiding at the ceremony, making the opening address. Commissioner General Ferdinand W. Peck, [Page 459] president of the Lafayette Memorial Committee, formally presented the statue to France, and the President of the Republic accepted it in the following terms:

Gentlemen: This magnificent monument consecrates the old friendship and union of two great nations.

In a spirit of generous impulse the Government of the United States, the House of Representatives and the Senate, have approved of the ceremony which brings us together here before the image of a common ancestor, but the initiative of this celebration comes from the youth of the schools nourished by the splendid examples of history and by the most noble traditions. I am happy to join in the cordial thanks which the Chambers have already sent to the people of the United States, thanks which I now renew in the name of all France.

The spectacle of these two Republics imbued at this moment with the same emotion and animated by the same thoughts is not less a lesson than a cause for celebration. It shows that among nations as among individuals the cold and calculating policy of egoism is often more counter to the general welfare than the generous impulses of the heart.

When Lafayette crossed the ocean to aid a distant people in winning their independence, he was not the victim of heroic Quixotism; he aided a deep political principle; he went to initiate the friendship of two peoples which should be founded upon the common rock of patriotism and liberty.

This friendship, born under the brotherhood of arms, has developed and strengthened itself throughout the century which is drawing to a close; the generations which follow us will not let it grow weak; they will enforce and cause to multiply the amicable relations and the intercourse between the two shores of the Atlantic, and will thus give a precious guarantee of the peace of the world and the progress of humanity.

After various other speeches the ceremony was closed by Archbishop Ireland, whose oration, delivered in French, was prefaced by the reading of a letter the President had addressed him on this occasion.

I inclose herewith an extract from the Daily Messenger of this day, giving a full account of this imposing ceremony, the most memorable one ever held abroad for the celebration of our Day of Independence.

I have, etc.,

Horace Porter.
[Inclosure 1.]

M. Delcassé to Mr. Porter.


Mr. Ambassador: Conformably with the instructions of the President of the United States of America, your excellency has been kind enough to transmit to me the text of a resolution voted by Congress relative to the inauguration of the statue of Lafayette, which is to take place in Paris the Fourth of July next.

I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of it to your excellency, and to thank you for sending it to me, and I have not failed to cause it to be placed before the President of the Republic.

The President is extremely appreciative of this attention. He has charged me to convey to you the expression of his lively thanks and to beg that you will be good enough to transmit to His Excellency, President McKinley, and to the American Congress the profund gratitude of the President of the Republic.

Please receive, etc.,

[Page 460]
[Inclosure 2.]
[Extract from Daily Messenger, Paris, July 5, 1900.]

Lafayette’s statue—the gift of American children to the Republic of France the unveiling yesterday—grandiose ceremony—greatest gathering of Americans ever held in France—some interesting speeches—President Loubet present—his address—magnificent company.

Yesterday morning at 10 o’clock the unveiling of the monument to General Lafayette, presented to the French Republic by the school youth of the United States through the Lafayette Memorial Commission, took place on the Square Lafayette, Carrousal du Louvre, the ceremony proving one of the greatest functions which has ever marked the celebration of the American Fourth of July abroad. Nothing was lacking to make the occasion notable. The President of the French Republic was present. The President of the United States sent a message of congratulation, and there were present a greater number of American officials and dignitaries than have ever before assembled outside the confines of the United States.

The statue is erected in the courtyard of the Louvre in one of the charming green spots which nestle between the two main wings of the great museum. In this charming enceinte tribunes had been erected around the statue, at present in plaster while awaiting the permanent bronze, sufficient to seat several thousand persons. The statue itself was covered with a huge tricolor flag at the beginning of the ceremony, later to be uncovered by two little boys chosen for the occasion. A huge wreath of white roses was, on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution, placed at the bottom of the statue by the charming little daughter of Maj. Ben. Truman, of California.

At 10 o’clock the guests swarmed in. Brilliant toilettes and uniforms began to fill the stands. In the buttonholes of the frock coats were borne miniature “Stars and Stripes.”

And “still they came”—the spectators. The crowded stands could contain no more, and many specially interested in the ceremony were compelled to take their places around the square, where they were joined by numerous sightseers, attracted by the presence of the Republican Guard and the American soldiers. On the surrounding roofs of the Louvre one noticed a number of privileged visitors comfortably seated in the shadow of the great chimney stacks, for the sun shone brilliantly.

Half past 10. There was a rattle of drums; Sousa’s band struck up “The Marseillaise.” It was the President of the Republic arriving. He was accompanied by M. Delcassé, minister for foreign affairs, General Bailloud, and M. Combarieu.

Amid cries of “Vive Loubet!” “Vive la République!” “Viva la France!” General Porter, the United States ambassador, received the President and conducted him to the seat reserved for him. The enthusiasm of the spectators was tremendous. Loud hurrahs rent the air. Scarcely had the notes of “The Marseillaise” died away than the strains of “The Star Spangled Banner” were heard. The scene then “beggared description.” On every side men waved their hats and flags in the air.

The distinguished visitors had soon taken up their places on the special stand reserved for them. The President of the Republic was seated between Gen. Horace Porter and Mr. Ferdinand W. Peck, United States Commissioner-General to the exhibition. There were by their side M. Failéres, president of the Senate; M. Deschanel, president of the Chamber of Deputies; M. Delcassé, minister of foreign affairs; M. Georges Leygues, minister of education, M. Caillaux, minister of finances; General André, minister of war; M. Millerand, minister of commerce; M. Baudin, minister of public works; General Brugére, Col. Meaux Saint-Marc; M. de Selves, prefect of police; M. Bourgeois, and several other members of Parliament. Among the literary notabilities present we noticed M. Brunettére, M. Jules Claretie, and M. Gaston Deschamps.

The American colony was present in force, with Mr. Gowdy, consul-general, and all the members of the embassy and the consulate.

Lafayette’s family was represented by MM. G. de Sahune Lafayette, councilor-general of Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lieut. Gilbert de Pusy, Comte de Beaumont, Comte de Braza, Marquis de Chambrun, deputy of the Loire, and M. Pierre de Rémusat, former deputy.

The unveiling ceremony at once began. At the foot of the monument sat two children; on one side Gustave Hennocque, great-grandson of Lafayette, on the other, the son of Mr. Thompson, secretary of the Lafayette Statue Committee, both dressed in white with a wide tricolored ribbon.

General Porter said: “In the name of the school children of the United States, whose generous contributions made possible the erection of the imposing statue which [Page 461] is about to be unveiled, and in the name of our Government, which added so liberal a donation to the fund, I extend to all here present a cordial welcome upon this day, the anniversary of our country’s birth, within sight of yonder memorable concourse of the nations, in the presence of this vast assemblage of the representatives and citizens of the Old World and the New, and in memory of a struggle in which French and American blood moistened the same soil in battles fought for a common cause, it is a fitting occasion upon which to solemnly dedicate a monument in honor of a hero of two continents, the immortal Lafayette. This statue is a gift from the land of his adoption to the land of his birth. Its purpose is to recall the record of his imperishable deeds, to testify that his name is not a dead memory, but a living reality; to quicken our sense of appreciation and emphasize the fidelity of our affection. A recital of his deeds inspires us with the grandeur of events and the majesty of achievement. He needs no eulogist. His services attest his worth. He honored the age in which he lived, and future generations will be illumined by the brightness of his fame.”

In French the ambassador said: “I extend a cordial greeting to all who have gathered with us to-day to take part in an event of international importance. Americans do not fail to appreciate profoundly this evidence of sympathy, especially on the part of the high officials of the French Republic and the eminent representatives of foreign powers whose presence here honors the occasion and adds distinction to the ceremonies. We assemble here upon the anniversary of the birthday of the American union to inaugurate a statue which the school children of the United States present to the country which generously cast its strength with us in battling for our national independence. This monument is the tribute paid by grateful hearts to the memory of a man who had the rare good fortune to be the hero of two countries and who was the highest personification 6th the great principle of liberty secured by law, a man who, in America as well as in France, at all times and in all places, was ever ready to make the most heroic sacrifices whenever liberty needed aid or weakness called for help, the friend and pupil of Washington, the chivalrous Lafayette.

“During the sanguinary struggle which resulted in securing liberty to the American colonies, there were some who gave to the cause their sympathies, others a part of their means, but Lafayette shed his blood; he gave a part of himself. Living, he was honored by the affection of his American comrades; dead, he is enshrined in the hearts of their posterity. In erecting this statue to this great representative soldier America has, at the same time, raised a monument to the memory of every Frenchman who fought for the cause of our national independence. May the presentation of this gift and the good wishes which accompany it strengthen between the two great sister Republics the bonds of friendship which have so long united them and which nothing should be permitted to weaken.”

Ferdinand W. Peck, the American commissioner-general to the exhibition, and honorary president of the Lafayette Memorial Commission, then was introduced by General Porter. Mr. Peck’s speech was as follows:

“Mr. Ambassador, Mr. President of the Republic, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: France, a great nation across the sea salutes thee to-day. Her children, bowed in gratitude, pay the homage for the heroic deeds of thy countryman, who came with sword and treasure to succor a struggling people. On this, the Independence Day of the United States of America, our youth plant a tribute upon thy soil to the memory of our knight of liberty, our champion of freedom, the immortal son of France, the rescuer of the oppressed—your Lafayette, our Lafayette. The spirit of liberty moved him to leave home, comforts, fortune; moved him to cross boisterous seas during weeks of peril in order to battle beside our ancestry for that freedom which underlies the development of the great Western empire, an empire which has since contributed so much in men, in thought, in achievement to advance the civilization of the world during the century now about to close.

“That love for freedom, that friendship, that sacrifice, that patience, that heroism which brought General Lafayette to the snores of the new continent to stand side by side with our Washington when a nation was in the throes of its birth, when our forefathers saw no light through an almost hopeless gloom, will give an undying incentive to patriotism and live in grateful memory so long as our institutions shall endure. He came that we might live; he prayed for the perpetuity of the nation for which he fought. These are his words: ‘May this immense temple of freedom ever stand as a lesson to oppressors, an example to the oppressed, and a sanctuary for the rights of mankind; and may these happy United States attain that complete splendor and prosperity which shall illustrate the blessings of our government and for ages to come rejoice the departed souls of its founders.’ The prayer, by the grace of God, has proven a prophetic invocation.

“In thus eulogizing thy son, we do not forget, 0 France, thy generous gift in our hour [Page 462] of need. We do not forget that out of thy treasury came timely support to our impoverished young country when our struggle of the Revolution was done. We do not forget these words you uttered: ‘Keep one-third of what we have loaned you as a gift of friendship, and when with the years there comes prosperity you can pay the rest without interest.’ For this our country to-day pays thee homage with tears of gratitude. We also thank thee for the hallowed ground where a nation’s children lovingly place this offering; for the beautiful site in thy historic Garden of the Tuileries, made sacred by a thousand memories of thy past. Here, surrounded by great palaces filled with the works of the grandest masters, will stand forever this memorial. But we thank thee above all for Lafayette. From thy soil he came with his banner of freedom to lift the yoke of oppression which our forefathers endured in the eighteenth century. When in our struggling colonies the altar fires of liberty were burning low our hero fanned with his enthusiasm the slumbering embers into an undying flame; and after this noble work was done he caught up a spark that, when carried back to his country, burned into the stones of Paris that trinity of words so dear to the French heart, ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.’

“And now, in behalf of our great Republic, the representatives of which in Congress assembled supplemented the gift of our youth in placing here this tribute to the memory of a nation’s defender, and in behalf of the Lafayette Memorial Commission organized to execute the thought of our children, it is our duty and our great privilege to present to thee, France, this monument to the memory of our knight, whose noble deeds a nation will never forget. His ashes lie in a tomb which needs no fragrant floral offerings, for

‘The actions of the just
Smell sweet to Heaven and blossom in the dust.

“In this hour we gather around the shrine of the richest, purest sentiment. It stirs the soul and moistens the eye to think of the thousands of little hearts from whose impulse came the sacred fund that has builded this tribute to the intrepid apostle of freedom. Legends of liberty learned at the knees of American mothers have found their holiest expression in this gift, and the puritan boys and girls, who read the story of freedom as they read the story of Christ, have been watching and waiting with us for this sublime moment.

“May the lovers of liberty from the uttermost parts of the earth seek this sanctuary as an inspiration for the oppressed and a promise of the redemption of mankind throughout all the ages to come.”

President Loubet was greeted heartily when he rose to accept the monument on behalf of France. The President said:

“Gentlemen: This magnificent monument consecrates the century-old friendship and the union of the two great nations.

“Moved by a generous impulse, the Government of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate have associated themselves with the ceremony which brings us together before the image of this common ancestor; but the credit of originating this festival is due to school children fed with the noblest traditions and the best examples of history. I am happy to join in the cordial thanks which the Chambers have already sent to the people of the United States, and which I repeat in the name of the whole of France.

“The spectacle of these two Republics, penetrated at this moment by the same emotion and animated by the same thoughts, is not less a lesson than a fete. It shows that with nations, as with individuals, the calculations of selfishness are often more hurtful to one’s interests than generous impulses to the heart.

“When Lafayette crossed the sea to help a distant people to win its independence he was not the victim of a Quixotic folly; he had a deep political design. He went to found the friendship of two peoples on the common religion of patriotism and liberty.

“This friendship, born in the comradeship of arms, has developed and grown stronger during the century which is ending. The generations which succeed us will not suffer it to grow weak; they will rather endeavor to multiply friendly relations and intercourse between the two sides of the Atlantic, and by so doing give a precious pledge of peace to the world and of progress to humanity.”

Robert J. Thompson, the secretary of the Lafayette Memorial Commission, spoke on behalf of the school children of the United States. He said:

“It is my great privilege and honor to speak here a few words for the millions of builders of this memorial—for the children of America who, assembled in their various study rooms, gave in a single day the funds necessary to insure the success of this monument, long deferred, but inevitable from the very logic of history.

“On that day a tribute was paid to Lafayette unparalleled in the annals of civilization. From the great universities and colleges of the cities to the remote schools of the forests and plains, in every dwelling of education in our broad land, songs of [Page 463] gratitude and praise were offered up, a memorial to the youthful and generous friend of our fathers, finding lodgment, we doubt not, as ideals in the minds of those who in the future years must shape the destiny of their country.

“There were schools for the blind and the deaf, schools for the Indians of Oklahoma and Alaska, schools for the negroes of the sunny South, little children of the city kindergartens, and millions from the regular common schools—all sent up their mites that one who had in fact offered up his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor that the Declaration of Independence might become a thing of reality and life should be singled out more than a century later as the ideal patriot whose country was the world and whose religion was human freedom.

“Nations, like men, live largely in hopes for the future and retrospection of the past. We are a puissant people to-day, but looking backward to those days when, springing from the womb of the Revolution, we began the search for progress, we observe a nation of scarcely 3,000,000 people. To-day we are passing into the twentieth century, having in a little more than a hundred years multiplied our population twenty-five fold.

“Let us look forward a century, when, if it please God, our children’s children may gather again around this spot. It is but a day in the evolution of man, yet the United States, more youthful still than her sister nations of the world, shall number over a billion of people. A thousand million free and independent souls enjoying the heritage of the blessings of this man’s arms and sacrifice. We must in the logic of events look forward to that. A thousand million people filling the plains and valleys of Columbia as the teeming millions now cover Europe and Asia.

“The impressions of youth are the strongest; they standout in after years like beckoning friends, drawing us onward to deeds of greatness or disaster. And it is by this fact that the children of America will profit greater in this affair than can be measured. The inspiration of one high ideal implanted in the mind of a boy may change the map of the world, advance the civilization of man by gigantic strides, or preserve to him, if need be, the rights and institutions of liberty purchased in the past by the blood and brain of the fathers.

“Let the boys and girls of America build for that portentous day, for come it will. To participate in the shaping for the future of this great structure shall be the pride, of the twentieth-century youth of America. And they will be true to the trust we leave them, that this great Government may stand, as viewed with prophetic eye by Lafayette, forever as a lesson to oppressors, an example for the oppressed, and a sanctuary for the rights of mankind.”

Mrs. Daniel Manning, president of the General National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, was introduced by General Porter, and delivered a speech, from which we make the following extracts:

“We have come tegether in this city of romantic and historic interest to honor the memory of the illustrious Lafayette, and sunny France extends a gracious welcome to every guest. In one hand the brightness of the South, in the other the treasures of the North. This beautiful city with all its irresistible splendor is fortune’s favored spot—between extremes, yet where they meet in happy harmony.

“We are here to-day to render our homage to Lafayette, our admiration for his character, our gratitude for his help, and our attachment for the principles of civil and religious liberty which he encountered ocean, exile, and war to establish. The bells are ringing to-day throughout America to celebrate the birth of our Republic, and the names of Lafayette and Washington, for Lafayette’s name is indissolubly linked in the heart of every American with the Fourth of July.

“On this day, on lasting foundations, we laid the corner stone of our Republic, which your compatriot helped us to rear.

“This monument is the loving gift of the young people of America who have offered of their treasures, and the monument will not only be a monument to a hero, but the permanent memory of a great life in a thousand little minds, for one landmark of history written in stone is worth a hundred written in ink. It is with gratitude the Daughters of the American Revolution place a tablet upon this monument.

“It is not, then, as America’s hero alone, nor as the hero of France alone, that we desire to perpetuate the memory of General de Lafayette, but as a hero possessing those traits that all mankind delight to honor wherever worth is valued and great ideals are the aspiration and hope of the brave and true. The fame of such a character can be measured only by the limit of a world’s gratitude. With no spur of future emoluments nor incentive of personal ties, he came to espouse the cause of the American people according to the principles of the Declaration, which unfolded before his eyes the consecrated standard of human rights. He crossed the ocean and offered his sword to distant unknown fellow-men striving for liberty. And how completely his sympathy was with America is shown in a letter to his wife, when he writes: I hope, for my sake, you will become a good American.’ His was the most tender friendship to Washington that history records, and to the boy hero was given [Page 464] the grateful thanks of a free people, and the depth of that gratitude was shown when on his return to America, forty years after, everyone vied in paying him homage, as expressed in the words of a popular song—

We bow not the neck,
We bend not the knee,
But our hearts, Lafayette,
We surrender to thee.

“He cast his fortunes in with us when we stood alone. He fought for us when we had no credit, and his hand helped to guard the cradle of America’s liberty. The name of Lafayette is forever inscribed in letters of gold upon the tablet of our memories and the history which commemorates the name America.

“And thus, ‘with hands across the sea,’ America joins in this tribute to her, to our, to the world’s hero—Lafayette,

The friend of America,
The fellow-soldier of Washington,
The patriot of two countries.”

Miss Tarquinia L. Voss, of Indianapolis, Ind., read the following dedication poem, written for the occasion by Frank Arthur Putnam:

Dedication Ode.


To France, as to the sister of her soul,
Columbia sends this wreath of immortelle,
Green for the grave of her immortal son;
Columbia rears this love-engirdled shaft,
The tribute of her children, and a prayer
That never in all the changing after years
Shall night o’ertake the fame of Lafayette.


Our fathers’ father knew him face to face;
They grasped his hand in gladness when he came;
They heard him, wise at council in the hall;
They saw him, like a lion in the field;
A brave heart that was stranger to despair.
A brave heart that was bouyant in the right;
A true heart that in triumph or defeat
Was steadfast to its purpose as the stars.


He did not ask for honors or for gold;
He volunteered to follow, not to lead.
But chivalry was conscious of its kind,
So our great Captain took him to his arms,
And Love has twined the chaplet for his brow.
Where History, cowled and solemn, pens his tale,
Beneath the line that sets his titles forth,
Be this the legend writ across the page:
When Freedom’s feet were weary in the wilds,
He thrust his sword between her and her foes.


Republic to Republic! Yonder sea
That bore your standards to us in our need,
Shall rise in mist and wander ’mid the worlds
Ere ever the debt we owe you be forgot—
Ere ever the debt Man owes you be repaid.
Yea, on this day to Freedom consecrate,
We pledge anew, beside the Hero’s bier,
Unfaltering faith to that eternal truth
In whose behalf he made our cause his own,
Beneath whose banner he led our ragged hosts
With Washington from darkness to the day.


Come Britain, elder brother of our blood;
Prophetic Slav, and German patriot, come;
Italia, Hellas, peaks in Time’s long range,
Swiss from the heights where Freedom’s holy fires
Through centuries of oppression on the plain,
Blazed beacon-like above a struggling world;
Come, brown men from the emancipated isles,
Our kindmen and copartners that shall be;
Lovers of men in all the wide earth’slands
Columbia bids you kneel with her this day,
And now, above the dust of Lafayette,
In his white name beseech Almighty God
To quicken in us the spirit that was his—
The son of France and brother of all mankind.
[Page 465]

Archbishop Ireland, of St. Paul, Minn., delivered the oration of the day. He spoke in French, and received great applause. His address follows:

“To-day a nation speaks her gratitude to a nation; America proclaims her remembrance of priceless favors conferred upon her by France.

“France, America salutes thee; America thanks thee. Great is her obligation; not unequal to it is her gratitude.

“We speak to France in the name of America, under commission from her Chief Magistrate, William McKinley, from her Senate and House of Representatives, from her youths who throng her schools, and from the tens of millions of her people who rejoice in the rich inheritance won in years past by the allied armies of France and America. We are bidden by America to give, in the hearing of the world, testimony of her gratitude to France.

“Once weak and poor, in sore need of sympathy and succor, to-day the peer of the mightiest, self-sufficing, asking for naught save the respect and friendship to which her merits may entitle her, the Republic of the United States of America holds in loving remembrance the nation from which in the days of her dire necessity there came to her powerful and chivalrous support.

“Noble men and noble nations forgive injuries; they never forget favors.”

The archbishop then sketched at length the history of Lafayette’s connection with the American revolutionary struggle. In the course of his remarks he said:

“There is a land which is, above all other lands, the land of chivalry, of noble impulse and generous sacrifice, the land of devotion to ideals. At the call of a highborn principle her sons, with souls attuned by nature to the harmonies of the true and the beautiful, leap instinctively into the arena, resolved at any cost to render such principle a reality in the life current of humanity. The pages of its history are glistening with the names of heroes and martyrs, of knightly soldiers and saintly missionaries. It is of France I speak.”

The speaker also paid a magnificent tribute to Lafayette’s mother, Gilbert Motier. Of Lafayette’s work he said: “Wealth and rank, the favor of court and King, high distinction in the service of his own country, the endearments of wife and child—all that ambition could covet or opportunity promise, the youth of 19 summers put resolutely aside to cast his lot with a far-off people battling against fearful odds—and that at a moment when their fortunes were at their lowest ebb, and hope had well nigh abandoned their standard. When the agent of America in France sadly confessed that he was even unable to furnish a ship to carry him and other volunteers, Lafayette said: “I will buy a ship and take your men with me.”

Continuing, he said: “France first stood sponsor for our nationhood. We entered into the great family of nations leaning on her arm, radiant with the reflection of her historic splendor, and strong in the protection of her titanic stature. When Franklin stood in the palace of Versailles an acknowledged envoy of America, and General de Rayneval, as the minister of France, saluted the Congress of America at Philadelphia, the young Republic thrilled with new life and leaped at once into a full sense of security and a true consciousness of her dignity.”

The concluding clause of the archbishop’s speech was as follows:

“And who more fittingly than Lafayette could stand forth before the world as the representative of the principles of civil and political liberty for which he and Washington fought? The passion of his soul, the inspiration of his thoughts and acts, was liberty. Liberty drew him to America; liberty put words of fire upon his lips in the States General; liberty led him to the prison of Olmutz. He understood—no one ever understood better—what true liberty is, and as he understood it so he loved it and defended it unto death. Liberty he loved as the fullness of enjoyment of one’s own natural rights, with proper regard to the natural rights of others, the fullest play of one’s own powers of mind and heart consistent with public welfare and public order. The enemies of liberty he hated—absolutism in its arbitary authority and anarchy in its chaotic rioting. He stood the strenuous defender of the rights of man and of the citizen which absolutism would fain destroy, and championed them in the name of manhood, in the name of citizenship, in the name of conscience. He championed them beneath the frown of the potentate and in defiance of bribe and threat. He stood the strenuous defender of law and order, which are the conditions of liberty, and which anarchy would fain subvert. When the struggle in France for liberty degenerated into mad riot he cast aside the leadership which he had taken in the name of liberty, and which he could have retained if he bore it in the name of lawlessness, and he sought the exile which ended for him in the prison of Olmutz. He suffered persecution from the extremists on both sides. He strove for the golden mean, and for this we respect and revere his name. Absolutism and anarchy alike hate Lafayette as they alike hate liberty; the friends of liberty love Lafayette as they hate absolutism and anarchy.

[Page 466]

“And now, Lafayette, thy task is given thee. Speak, we charge thee, the gratitude of America to France. Speak of the liberty for which America and France once fought together, and which to-day they together cherish and uphold. Speak, we charge thee, through endless years. Through endless years America’s gratitude shall last and liberty shall reign in America and France.”