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July 14 A Talk with Marquis de Lafayette on Bastille Day

  • Historic St. John's Church, 1741 2401 East Broad Street Richmond, VA, 23223 United States (map)

St. John’s Church Foundation is pleased to host a talk with the Marquis de Lafayette in honor of Bastille Day (July 14th, 1789).

Doors open for seating at 1:45 p.m. The program will last 30 minutes followed by a Q&A with the Marquis.

Born into nobility and baptized Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the young Marquis de Lafayette sympathized with the colonies in British America. Defying the explicit orders of King Louis XVI, who did not wish to provoke Great Britain, the Marquis purchased a ship La Victoire and funded his own way to America, vowing to fight for Liberty.

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Congress, in the early stages of government, could not pay the young officer and turned down his services. Lafayette would not be turned away and agreed to serve without pay. Congress awarded the Marquis de Lafayette the rank of major general to serve at General Washington’s side.  This strengthened the bond between them and soon Washington referred to Lafayette as his adopted son.  (In 1779, The marquis named his newly born son Georges Washington de Lafayette in honor of the American revolutionary.)

As both a “friend and a father,” Washington held the young Frenchman in high esteem. Lafayette remained at Washington’s side during the harsh winter at Valley Forge in 1777 and was later sent south to capture the traitor Benedict Arnold.  Lafayette helped capture General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781.

An Interesting Read

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Why Marquis de Lafayette Is Still America’s Best Friend

A conversation with Sarah Vowell about her book, the American Revolution and what we can learn from the Founding Fathers (from Smithsonian.Com)