Never one to shirk the limelight, but genuine in his love of the Americans.
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de la Fayette (1757-1834), an only surviving heir became a teenage scion of aristocratic wealth and fortune. He had been raised on the principles of the “enlightenment” and was an aristocrat who felt social responsibility to ‘better his fellows.’
When he heard about George Washington and the American patriots, he was anti-British and eighteen. Then he met Ben Franklin and was encouraged to help the cause of ‘liberty’ with his wealth and position. The Royal party at Versailles thought him a traitor to his class and refused to assist him. Lafayette began buying and sending supplies, encouraging his fellows to follow him off to join his hero, George Washington.
Portrait by artist-historian George Stuart.
Courtesy Museum of Ventura County.
Images © copyright by Peter d'Aprix