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devotion to her welfare. By him the services of a national ship
upon our shores. It were scarcely an exaggeration to say that it has been to the people of the Union a year of uninterrupted festivity and enjoyment, inspired by your presence. You have traversed the twenty-four States of this great confederacy-you have been received with rapture by the survivors of your earliest companions in arms—you have been hailed, as a long-absent parent, by their children, the men and women of the present age; and a rising generation, the hope of future time, in numbers surpassing the whole population of that day when you fought at the head and by the side of their forefathers, have vied with the scanty remnants of that hour of trial, in acclamations of joy, at beholding the face of him whom they feel to be the common benefactor of all. You have heard the mingled voices of the past, the present, and the future age, joining in one universal chorus of delight at your approach; and the shouts of unbidden thousands, which greeted your landing on the soil of freedom, have followed every step of your way, and still resound like the rushing of many waters, from every corner of our land.
“You are now about to return to the country of your birth-of your ancestors—of your posterity. The executive Government of the Union, stimulated by the same feeling which had prompted the Congress to the designation of a national ship for your accommodation in coming hither, has destined the first service of a frigate, recently launched at this metropolis, to the less welcome, but equally distinguished trust, of conveying you home. The name of the ship has added one more memorial to distant regions and to future ages, of a stream already memorable at once in the story of your sufferings and of our independence. “ The ship is now prepared for your reception, and equipped for
From the moment of her departure, the prayers of millions will ascend to heaven, that her passage may be prosperous, and your return to the bosom of your family as propitious to your happiness as your visit to this scene of your youthful glory has been to that of the American people.
6 Go then, our beloved friend : return to the land of brilliant genius, of generous sentiments, of heroic valor; to that beautiful France, the nursing mother of the twelfth Louis, and the fourth
Henry; to the native soil of Bayard and Coligne, of Turenne and Catinat, of Fenelon and D’Aguesseau! In that illustrious catalogue of names, which she claims as of her children, and with honest pride holds up to the admiration of other nations, the name of LA FAYETTE has already for centuries been enrolled. And it shall henceforth burnish into brighter fame : for, if in after days, a Frenchman shall be called to indicate the character of his nation by that of one individual, during the age in which we live, the blood of lofty patriotism shall mantle in his cheek, the fire of conscious virtue shall sparkle in his eye, and he shall pronounce the name of LA FAYETTE. Yet we, too, and our children in life, and after death, shall claim you for our own. You are ours, by that more than patriotic self-devotion with which you flew to the aid of our fathers at the crisis of their fate : ours by that long series of years in which you have cherished us in your regard: ours by that unshaken sentiment of gratitude for your services, which is a precious portion of our inheritance: ours by that tie of love, stronger then death, which has linked
your name, for the endless ages of time, with the name of WASHINGTON.
“At the painful moment of parting from you, we take comfort in the thought, that wherever you may be, to the last pulsation of your heart, our country will ever be present to your affections; and a cheering consolation assures us that we are not called to sorrow, most of all, that we shall see your face no more. We shall indulge the pleasing anticipation of beholding our friend again. In the mean time, speaking in the name of the whole people of the United States, and at a loss only for language to give utterance to that feeling of attachment with which the heart of the nation beats, as beats the heart of one man-I bid you a reluctant and affectionate FAREWELL !!
At the conclusion of this address, Gen. La Fayette replied as follows:
“ Amidst all my obligations to the General Government, and particularly to you, sir, its respected Chief Magistrate, I have most thankfully to acknowledge the opportunity given me, at this solemn and painful moment, to present the people of the United States with a parting tribute of profound, inexpressible gratitude.
“ To have been in the infant and critical days of these States adopted by them as a favorite son; to have participated in the trials and perils of our unspotted struggle for independence, freedom, and equal rights, and in the foundation of the American era of a new social order, which has already pervaded this, and must, for the dignity and happiness of mankind, successively pervade every part of the other hemisphere; to have received, at every stage of the revolution, and during forty years after that period, from the people of the United States and their Representatives at home and abroad, continual marks of their confidence and kindness,-has been the pride, the encouragement, the support of a long and eventful life.
“But how could I find words to acknowledge that series of welcomes, those unbounded and universal displays of public affection, which have marked each step, each hour, of a twelvemonth's progress through the twenty-four States, and which, while they overwhelm my heart with grateful delight, have most satisfactorily evinced the concurrence of the people in the kind testimonies, in the immense favors bestowed on me by the several branches of their Representatives, in every part and at the central seat of the confederacy?
“ Yet gratifications still higher awaited me. In the wonders of creation and improvement that have met my enchanted eye, in the unparalleled and self-felt happiness of the people, in their rapid prosperity and insured security, public and private, in a practice of good order, the appendage of true freedom, and a national good sense, the final arbiter of all difficulties, I have had proudly to recognize a result of the republican principles for which we have fought, and a glorious demonstration to the most timid and prejudiced minds, of the superiority, over degrading aristocracy or despotism, of popular institutions, founded on the plain rights of man, and where the local rights of every section are preserved under a constitutional bond of union. The cherishing of that union between the States, as it has been the farewell entreaty of our great paternal Washington, and will ever have the dying prayer of every
American patriot, so it has become the sacred pledge of the emancipation of the world; an object in which I am happy to observe that the American people, while they give the animating example of successful free institutions, in return for an evil entailed upon them by
Europe, and of which a liberal and enlightened sense is everywhere more and more generally felt, show themselves every day more anxiously interested.
“ And now, sir, how can I do justice to my deep and lively feelings for the assurances, most peculiarly valued, of your esteem and friendship; for your so very kind references to old times—to my beloved associates—to the vicissitudes of my life ; for your affecting picture of the blessings poured, by the several generations of the American people, on the remaining days of a delighted veteran; for your affectionate remarks on this sad hour of separation-on the country of my birth, full, I can say, of American sympathieson the hope, so necessary to me, of my seeing again the country that has deigned, near a half a century ago, to call me hers ? shall content myself, refraining from superfluous repetitions, fore you, sir, and this respected circle, to proclaim my cordial confirmation of every one of the sentiments which I have had daily opportunities publicly to utter, from the time when your venerable predecessor, my old brother in arms and friend, transmitted to me the honorable invitation of Congress, to this day, when you, my dear sir, whose friendly connection with me dates from your earliest youth, are going to consign me to the protection, across the Atlantic, of the heroic national flag, on board the splendid ship, the name of which has been not the least flattering and kind among the numberless favors conferred upon me.
“ God bless you, sir, and all who surround us. God bless the American people, each of their States, and the Federal Government. Accept this patriotic farewell of an overflowing heart. Such will be its last throb when it ceases to beat.”
As the last sentence of the farewell was pronounced, La Fayette advanced and took President Adams in his arms, while tears poured down his venerable cheeks. Retiring a few paces, he was overcome by his feelings, and again returned, and falling on the neck of Mr. Adams, exclaimed in broken accents, “God bless you !" It was a scene at once solemn and moving, as the
sighs and tears of many who witnessed it bore testimony. Having recovered his self-possession, the General stretched out his hands, and was in a moment surrounded by the greetings of the whole assembly, who pressed upon him, each eager to seize, perhaps for the last time, that beloved hand which was opened so freely for our aid when aid was so precious, and which grasped with firm and undeviating hold the steel which so brarely helped to achieve our deliver
The expression which now beamed from the face of this exalted man was of the finest and most touching kind. The hero was lost in the father and the friend. Dignity melted into subdued affection, and the friend of Washington seemed to linger with a mournful delight among the sons of his adopted country.
A considerable period was then occupied in conversing with various individuals, while refreshments were presented to the company. The moment of departure at length arrived; and having once more pressed the hand of Mr. Adams, he entered the barouche, accompanied by the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, and of the Navy, and passed from the capital of the Union. An immense procession accompanied him to the banks of the Potomac, where the steamboat Mount Vernon awaited to convey him down the river to the frigate Brandywine. The whole scene -the peals of artillery, the sounds of numerous military bands, the presence of the vast concourse of people,