Marquis de Lafayette

1784 and 1824

Three years after an American and French victory at Yorktown, Lafayette returned to the United States for a four-and-a-half-month visit. Welcomed in America as a hero, Lafayette spoke to six state legislatures and the Continental Congress on the importance of a strong federal union and assisted with the Iroquois peace negotiations at Fort Schuyler in New York. The highlight of his 1784 tour, however, was his ten-day visit with George Washington and his family at Mount Vernon. Writing home to his wife, Adrienne, Lafayette said of the General, “I assure you that in retirement General Washington is even greater than he was during the Revolution.” They enjoyed a pleasurable visit both would remember with sincere affection. While they corresponded and sent gifts to one another until the end of Washington’s life, they never saw each other again. When Lafayette returned for his grand tour of the United States in 1824 at the invitation of President Monroe, he briefly stopped at Mount Vernon again to pay his respects. It was later recounted that Lafayette visited Washington’s tomb alone and returned to his party with tears in his eyes.

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