CHAPTER LIX

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CHAPTER LIX

 

The Arrival of General La Fayette in the United States in 1824.-His Visit to Illinois in 1825.

 

THE whole Union, from one extreme border to the other experienced a general joy and gratification on the arrival of Gen. La Fayette in the United States. In this great national outburst of gratitude and general rejoicing, no party or bitter feelings interposed, and the whole nation hailed the hero of the Revolution with those honorable and patriotic feelings that were due to the immortal character of La Fayette. He arrived at St. Louis, Missouri, the last day of April, 1825, and a great concourse of people attended and greeted him.

I resided at that time near St. Louis, and heard early in the morning thirteen cannon fired in honor of the hero, and "the times that tried men's souls." These thirteen cannon awakened all my patriotism for him and the Revolution, and placed me, in my feelings, in the midst of it. Our Representative in Congress, the Hon. Daniel P. Cook, introduced me to him, and I had the honor to behold, with admiration and respect, this great and good man. He was lame from a wound he received in achieving our liberties, which added much interest to his character. Governor Coles, the governor of the State, escorted him to Vandalia the seat of government of the State, and also to Shawneetown. At this latter place, Judge Hall, then a citizen of Illinois, delivered him an address on behalf of the citizens of that town, which, for its neatness and elegance, was a model of composition, and also admirably expressed the sentiments of the people of Illinois to that distinguished individual.

When I saw General La Fayette in St. Louis, he was sixty-eight years of age, and he showed on his countenance the signs of much care and anxiety. His person was slender, and at least six feet high. Age had bent his form a little, but he was still gay and cheerful. It seemed that his lameness added to his noble bearing, as it told to the heart the story of the Revolution. judging from my visit to him, I would say that he possessed, in an eminent degree, all the amiable and benevolent traits of character that elevate and adorn the human family. It appeared to me that delicate and refined sensibility reigned strong in his character, and that chivalry and honor had a strong resting-place in his heart. These traits were, in my opinion, dominant in his character, and out of them arose his patriotism and love of liberty that showed so conspicuously throughout his long and eventful life.

 

from My Own Times by Gov. John Reynolds (pp. 164-165)

 

 

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