Click the images below for bigger versions:
Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de (1757-1834)
Group of Four Autograph Letters Signed by the Marquis de Lafayette, written from La Grange 1822 - 1824, plus two letters by his son Georges Washington Lafayette, 1823 and 1827

small quarto and quarto, 6 letters, 9 pages, in very good, very clean and legible condition.

$ 15,000.00 | Contact Us >
An interesting collection of letters by Lafayette and his son, who was sent to America during the French Revolution as a ward of George Washington, discussing political matters and Lafayette's financial affairs in his later days, dating from a period bracketing his triumphal tour in America. They were all presumably written to a Monsieur Degas, several are addressed directly to him.

"During the Restoration era (1815-1830), Lafayette served several terms in the Chamber of Deputies, opposing Bourbon policy and citing American political principles and the American experience as a model for France. Chateau La Grange, his home some forty miles southeast of Paris, became a mecca for Americans, while at the same time it was often a refuge for exiled revolutionaries from other European states, for Lafayette was supporting liberal revolutions wherever they occurred, from Poland to Latin America.

After President James Monroe invited him to visit the United States, Lafayette toured every state of the union in 1824-1825. He daily received tumultuous welcomes as a hero of the American Revolution, who for a half-century had advocated the principles of the American republic and of its patriarch, Washington, and who had never faltered in his devotion to or faith in the cause of human liberty. During the next decade scores of counties, cities, and other public places were named for him or for his estate at La Grange.

During the French Revolution of 1830, Lafayette once more became head of the national guard. Again he sought to maintain order and peace while a constitutional regime was created. He supported Louis Philippe because the Orleans line seemed to promise "a monarchy with republican institutions," but the performance belied the promise. Lafayette was still in opposition when he died, having spent nearly sixty years of his life as a public figure, always identified with the example of America as a free and prosperous republic." - ANB. 

1. La Grange, 14 Octobre, 1822, Lafayette to an unidentified recipient, [Mons. Degas?] on political matters. Small quarto, 1 page, short letter but nicely signed.

2. La Grange 19, Octobre, 1822, Lafayette to Mons Degas, Coulommiers, concerning Lafayette's "affair electorale," etc. Small quarto, 1 page, short but nicely signed.

3. La Grange, 14 Janvier, 1824, Lafayette, to an unnamed recipient [M. Degas] concerns government affairs. Quarto, one page, signed by Lafayette.

4. La Grange, 21 Janvier, 1824, Lafayette to Mons. Degas, concerning Lafayette's contribution to current legislation. Small quarto, one page, short but signed by Lafayette.

Georges Washington Lafayette Letters:

1. La Grange, 18, Janvier, 1823 G. W. Lafayette to an unidentified governmental figure, small quarto, two pages, signed G. W. Lafayette. Georges writes in an exasperated and somewhat angry tone. His father, the Marquis, is in urgent need of signatures to release funds due to him under the terms of his wife's testament [Mme Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, Marquise de La Fayette, 1759-1807]. His father has an insufficiency of funds, etc.

2. La Grange, 2 Juin, 1827, G.W. Lafayette to Mons. Degas, Coulommiers, small quarto one page, signed by G. W. Lafayette, plus two page manuscript in George's hand.

This concerns his father's right of inheritance to the estate of the Lusignem family. Georges request documents from M. Degas, who has handled affairs on behalf of the Marquis. Appended to this letter is a two page list in Georges' hand of documents outlining the finances and financial rights of the Marquise de Lafayette, including mention of his inheritances per the testament of his wife, who died in 1807.

Two remarkable windows into the finances of the Marquis de Lafayette in his later days. Georges was handling the matters on behalf of his father.

The following, quoted from Lafayette Comes to America, explains some of the difficulties alluded to in the letters above:

"In addition to his two grandparents Gilbert ... and the Marquise de Lafayette met at the Luxembourg apartment, the Comte de Lusignem, who was likewise a gentleman of rank and ancient lineage. Lusignem's first wife had been one of the Comte de La Riviere's daughters. Thus, because of the curious marriage of Lafayette's grandfather with his own cousin, the Comte de La Riviere's other daughter, Lusignem was both the brother-in-law and the cousin by marriage of Lafayette's grandfather, the Marquis de la Riviere. His relationship to Lafayette was therefore rather complicated. Now that both the Comte de la Riviere's daughters were dead and the Comte de Lusignem had married again, the relationship was even more anomalous. But the Comte and the new Comtesse de Lusignem remained very close to the La Riviere's. It was, in fact, the Lusignem's apartment at the Luxembourg in which they all lived. Lafayette came to regard them as his aunt and uncle and they looked upon him as a dearly beloved nephew. He also frequently saw his cousin, the Abbe de Murat, who had held him to the baptismal font. The abbe was now vicar-general of the archbishop of Paris. These men, dignitaries of both state and church, assumed responsibility for him. But there was really no one to play with in his new family. The Comte de Lusignem had a son by his first marriage who was therefore a cousin of Lafayette and who was one day to share with him the estate of the Comte de La Riviere. Yet the two boys never developed a friendship."

American National Biography, vol. 13, pp., 37-38

       Dictionary of American Biography, vol. v, part two, pp., 535-539