Marquis de Lafayette

I am using this blog as a separate blog from the original as a way in which to record my historical research for this projects.


Undershirt from the 1750's to the 1800 form the V and A
Undershirt from the 1775 to 1800 V and A

Both of these are very similar and from the approximately the same time period as they are gathered tightly at the neck and are both made out of linen. Undershirtts were used as a way to protects the outer clothing from bodily fluids as in the 18th century baths were not taken on a day to day basis. The sleeves are also gathered but the gathers on both appear to be off the shoulder although due to the fact that the patterns are made up of squares in a way to be economical about fabric this may just be were the shoulder seam lays. The sleeves are then gathered again at the bottom although the lower one is tighter at the wrist as to achieve a close fit to the arm where as the first appear to remain baggy even at the wrist. Neither appear to have cuffs and the sleeves seam to be bound a 1 cm piece of fabric. Both of these undershirts have collars which appear to have been stiffened and lay at the top of the neck as to touch the hairline at the back and they both appear to be fastened by a two buttons on the collar.

This website has a step by step tutorial on how to make a historical 18th century under shirt the finished product is exactly the type of shirt that I wish to make and although made for regency the shape and style is perfect and from previous research many sources explain that undershirts vhanged very little between the 16th century to the 18th.

French Revolution


A watershed event in modern European history, the French Revolution began in 1789 and ended in the late 1790s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. During this period, French citizens razed and redesigned their country’s political landscape, uprooting centuries-old institutions such as absolute monarchy and the feudal system. Like the American Revolution before it, the French Revolution was influenced by Enlightenment ideals, particularly the concepts of popular sovereignty and inalienable rights. Although it failed to achieve all of its goals and at times degenerated into a chaotic bloodbath, the movement played a critical role in shaping modern nations by showing the world the power inherent in the will of the people.


As the 18th century drew to a close, France’s costly involvement in the American Revolution and extravagant spending by King Louis XVI (1754-1793) and his predecessor had left the country on the brink of bankruptcy. Not only were the royal coffers depleted, but two decades of poor cereal harvests, drought, cattle disease and skyrocketing bread prices had kindled unrest among peasants and the urban poor. Many expressed their desperation and resentment toward a regime that imposed heavy taxes yet failed to provide relief by rioting, looting and striking.

Did You Know?

Over 17,000 people were officially tried and executed during the Reign of Terror, and an unknown number of others died in prison or without trial.

In the fall of 1786, Louis XVI’s controller general, Charles Alexandre de Calonne (1734-1802), proposed a financial reform package that included a universal land tax from which the privileged classes would no longer be exempt. To garner support for these measures and forestall a growing aristocratic revolt, the king summoned the Estates-General (“les états généraux”)–an assembly representing France’s clergy, nobility and middle class–for the first time since 1614. The meeting was scheduled for May 5, 1789; in the meantime, delegates of the three estates from each locality would compile lists of grievances (“cahiers de doléances”) to present to the king.


France’s population had changed considerably since 1614. The non-aristocratic members of the Third Estate now represented 98 percent of the people but could still be outvoted by the other two bodies. In the lead-up to the May 5 meeting, the Third Estate began to mobilize support for equal representation and the abolishment of the noble veto–in other words, they wanted voting by head and not by status. While all of the orders shared a common desire for fiscal and judicial reform as well as a more representative form of government, the nobles in particular were loath to give up the privileges they enjoyed under the traditional system.

By the time the Estates-General convened at Versailles, the highly public debate over its voting process had erupted into hostility between the three orders, eclipsing the original purpose of the meeting and the authority of the man who had convened it. On June 17, with talks over procedure stalled, the Third Estate met alone and formally adopted the title of National Assembly; three days later, they met in a nearby indoor tennis court and took the so-called Tennis Court Oath (“serment du jeu de paume”), vowing not to disperse until constitutional reform had been achieved. Within a week, most of the clerical deputies and 47 liberal nobles had joined them, and on June 27 Louis XVI grudgingly absorbed all three orders into the new assembly.


On June 12, as the National Assembly (known as the National Constituent Assembly during its work on a constitution) continued to meet at Versailles, fear and violence consumed the capital. Though enthusiastic about the recent breakdown of royal power, Parisians grew panicked as rumors of an impending military coup began to circulate. A popular insurgency culminated on July 14 when rioters stormed the Bastille fortress in an attempt to secure gunpowder and weapons; many consider this event, now commemorated in France as a national holiday, as the start of the French Revolution.

The wave of revolutionary fervor and widespread hysteria quickly swept the countryside. Revolting against years of exploitation, peasants looted and burned the homes of tax collectors, landlords and the seigniorial elite. Known as the Great Fear (“la Grande peur”), the agrarian insurrection hastened the growing exodus of nobles from the country and inspired the National Constituent Assembly to abolish feudalism on August 4, 1789, signing what the historian Georges Lefebvre later called the “death certificate of the old order.”


On August 4, the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (“Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen”), a statement of democratic principles grounded in the philosophical and political ideas of Enlightenment thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). The document proclaimed the Assembly’s commitment to replace the ancien régime with a system based on equal opportunity, freedom of speech, popular sovereignty and representative government.

Drafting a formal constitution proved much more of a challenge for the National Constituent Assembly, which had the added burden of functioning as a legislature during harsh economic times. For months, its members wrestled with fundamental questions about the shape and expanse of France’s new political landscape. For instance, who would be responsible for electing delegates? Would the clergy owe allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church or the French government? Perhaps most importantly, how much authority would the king, his public image further weakened after a failed attempt to flee in June 1791, retain? Adopted on September 3, 1791, France’s first written constitution echoed the more moderate voices in the Assembly, establishing a constitutional monarchy in which the king enjoyed royal veto power and the ability to appoint ministers. This compromise did not sit well with influential radicals like Maximilien de Robespierre (1758-1794), Camille Desmoulins (1760-1794) and Georges Danton (1759-1794), who began drumming up popular support for a more republican form of government and the trial of Louis XVI.


In April 1792, the newly elected Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria and Prussia, where it believed that French émigrés were building counterrevolutionary alliances; it also hoped to spread its revolutionary ideals across Europe through warfare. On the domestic front, meanwhile, the political crisis took a radical turn when a group of insurgents led by the extremist Jacobins attacked the royal residence in Paris and arrested the king on August 10, 1792. The following month, amid a wave of violence in which Parisian insurrectionists massacred hundreds of accused counterrevolutionaries, the Legislative Assembly was replaced by the National Convention, which proclaimed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the French republic. On January 21, 1793, it sent King Louis XVI, condemned to death for high treason and crimes against the state, to the guillotine; his wife Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793) suffered the same fate nine months later.

Following the king’s execution, war with various European powers and intense divisions within the National Convention ushered the French Revolution into its most violent and turbulent phase. In June 1793, the Jacobins seized control of the National Convention from the more moderate Girondins and instituted a series of radical measures, including the establishment of a new calendar and the eradication of Christianity. They also unleashed the bloody Reign of Terror (“la Terreur”), a 10-month period in which suspected enemies of the revolution were guillotined by the thousands. Many of the killings were carried out under orders from Robespierre, who dominated the draconian Committee of Public Safety until his own execution on July 28, 1794. His death marked the beginning of the Thermidorian Reaction, a moderate phase in which the French people revolted against the Reign of Terror’s excesses.


On August 22, 1795, the National Convention, composed largely of Girondins who had survived the Reign of Terror, approved a new constitution that created France’s first bicameral legislature. Executive power would lie in the hands of a five-member Directory (“Directoire”) appointed by parliament. Royalists and Jacobins protested the new regime but were swiftly silenced by the army, now led by a young and successful general named Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821).

The Directory’s four years in power were riddled with financial crises, popular discontent, inefficiency and, above all, political corruption. By the late 1790s, the directors relied almost entirely on the military to maintain their authority and had ceded much of their power to the generals in the field. On November 9, 1799, as frustration with their leadership reached a fever pitch, Bonaparte staged a coup d’état, abolishing the Directory and appointing himself France’s “first consul.” The event marked the end of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era, in which France would come to dominate much of continental Europe.

American Revolution

By the late eighteenth century, Americans enjoyed more liberties than most people in the world, and they paid lower taxes than the subjects of any other European state. Even as they declared their allegiance to the British monarch, they tarred and feathered his royal officials; though they professed loyalty to the rule of English law, they boycotted imports, defied taxes, and burned ships that docked in their ports.83 They came together from very disparate regions and societies because they found common ground in their grievances, their concerns about tyranny, and their notions of self-determination. They were defiant protestors but reluctant revolutionaries; in the beginning, the Americans sought reconciliation with their sovereign along with recognition of their rights.

Once the concepts of liberty and self-representation were lodged in the hearts and minds of the Patriots, the only remaining course of action was Parliamentary compromise or war. Long before the Revolution was ever waged on the battlefields at Lexington, Saratoga, or Yorktown, it was decided in the mansions of the Virginia gentry, the pulpits of the churches, the town halls of New England and the backcountry of Tennessee.

For the first time, the masses seemed to have absorbed and were acting upon their conceptualization of liberty and its meaning. Their actions—and preexisting local feuds—often profoundly influenced the response of colonial elites from the Hudson River Valley to the plantations of the Chesapeake. Dense, sophisticated seventeenth- and eighteenth-century political philosophies of the Enlightenment were now articulated in simple, easy-to-read pamphlets by revolutionaries like the Englishman Thomas Paine. Colonists demanded representation, and in the process, accountability on the part of their leaders. The underlying message of the growing tension with British Parliament was the American notion that government exists to serve and protect the people. When it fails to do so, the people can revolt and establish a new government that serves their interests.

Meanwhile, whole segments of the colonial population for whom the rhetoric of freedom was never intended capitalized on its potential for radical change. Slaves seized their own freedom by escaping, fighting behind British lines, enlisting with the Continental Army, or plotting insurrections to take advantage of the social upheaval that surrounded and distracted their masters. They understood the language and meaning of liberty and they pressed for a fuller realization of the revolutionary promise. Many blacks and whites recognized all too well the inherent hypocrisy in waging a war for independence while tolerating human bondage in their midst. Many women also saw the possibility for change that might improve upon their own lives by giving them more individual as well as nationalistic self-determination. Colonial ladies could express their dedication to the cause and derive a sense of self-importance and patriotism by fundraising, spying, weaving homespun, and delivering messages across enemy lines. For white women and all African-Americans, the Revolutionary War offered at least a chance to expand on rights and liberties that had been circumscribed before. When American victory could not guarantee emancipation or equal rights, some groups sought to achieve their aims by allying with the enemy.

The Patriots' war for hearts and minds, having been waged and won for the majority of colonists by the time the actual fighting began, also proved pivotal in the military aspect of the fight. Americans believed in their cause and in their General, George Washington, with a fervor that Hessian mercenaries (from Germany) and homesick English troops could never match. As underdogs, the Patriots were not hampered by the hubris that comes with being the world's foremost power. They also had specific notions of what they were fighting for: theirs was to be a radically new sort of society, one that judged its citizens not on their birthright but on their merits. Even if elite colonists thought differently, and even if their new government—which discriminated against women and African-Americans—seems less than completely egalitarian today, in the context of the eighteenth century it marked a substantial and unprecedented break from the past.

Not all of those who fought for independence had purely noble and idealistic reasons for doing so. Many colonial elites stood to benefit economically from their decision to cast off British creditors and boycott exports so as to inflate crop prices. They were also heavily influenced by African-Americans, whose strivings for emancipation worried the slaveowners who prized a stable society as necessary to protect their most valuable investment and the source of their labor. Others came down in favor of whichever side opposed their own longstanding local enemies. Even among Patriots, infighting erupted over the skyrocketing inflation of Continental paper money, Congress's inability to properly pay and clothe Washington's soldiers, Indian policy, and the lack of essential supplies that resulted from colonial boycotts.

Despite its flaws, the American Revolution changed the world, launching a global Age of Revolutions. Soon after, the centuries-old monarchy of France would fall. Then came the world's first black republic, created after slaves revolted in Haiti in 1791. In 1819, Simon Bolívar would carry the torch of independence from Haiti to his homeland in Venezuela, and the South American republics followed, then Mexico in 1821, and so on, for generations. The Americans did not foresee these consequences and were quite horrified by many of them (especially the Terror of the French Revolution and the specter of slave revolt and black independence in Haiti). Yet these actions remained intrinsically tied to the American precedent of successful struggle for self-determination, liberty, equality, and freedom. Even if equality was a concept applied exclusively to white men in the United States, this alone represented a fairly radical change for the rigidly hierarchical world of the eighteenth-century Western world.

Conservative Americans sought to regain power at war's end, in order to curb some of the radical implications of their revolution. They wanted to preempt anarchy and secure the long-term existence of the new nation, but they were also determined to maintain their privileged economic and social standing. As scholar Hannah Arendt once said, "The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution."84 Nonetheless, once the Patriots had dedicated their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to creating a rupture in the traditional hierarchy of the Old World, it could not easily be closed, even by some of the Patriots themselves. The American Revolution marked the beginning of a society dedicated to the concept of liberty and equality for all. It wasn't perfect, and the principles it established were restricted primarily to white men. But the principles themselves could later be invoked to widen the scope of democracy.

Marquis de Lafayette

Early Life

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier was Lafayette’s full name although he was better known as Marquis de Lafayette was born in 1757 in a Chavaniac in France and died 1834 in Paris, France he fought in the American and French revolution and was a renowned Military Leader .

Lafayette was born into a noble military family with his father being a colonel in the French Grenadiers. His father then later died at the battle of Minden in the seven year war when Lafayette was merely two.

The responsibility to raise and provice for Layfette was then placed onto his mother and Grandmother although due to the fact that he was born into a noble family they were never short of money. Something that cannot be said for many of the families whos fathers died in the seven year war.

In 1770 when Lafayette was 13 his mother and grandmother passed away leaving Lafayette with a vast inheritance. In 1773 at the age of 16 he joined the Royal army hoping to follow in his father footsteps and later that year he married the 14 year old Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles who was a member of one of the wealthiest families in France and gave him a connection to the king.

American Revolution

Lafayette’s first introduction to ideas of America came at a dinner in 1775 when he came into contact with the Duke of Gloucester who sympathises with the struggle of the colonies. The romantic idea of the American cause excited Lafayette and he made plans to travel to America.

Many colonial leaders initially rebuffed him although were impressed with his passion and willingness to serve for free and therefore he became a volunteer to aid the Colonies strive for independence.

Eventually he landed near Charleston, South Carolina, June 13, 1777 and later in the summer he came to Philadelphia and the Congress welcomed him. Since he represented the highest rank of French nobility and his motives were so patriotic in the American cause, the Congress commissioned him a Major General on the 31st of July. Later in the summer he met General Washington and a friendship developed between the two men which lasted as long as Washington lived

Lafayette became a member of Washington's staff and during the Battle of the Brandywine he was wounded and was forced to take a break from the American forces until his wounds recovered in late autumn

In 1778 after Lafayette found an won many battles the active complaining was over and he wished to return to France. Consequently he applied to Congress in Philadelphia for a furlough to return home. On October 21, Congress granted him permission to return to his native land and stated: "that he shall return at such time as shall be most convenient to him." When Lafayette arrived in France he went at once to the palace at Versailles to see his wife and family. Since Lafayette had left France against the king's will, he knew he was under a cloud and could not come to the court until he was forgiven by the king. His father-in-law went to see Maurepas, the minister, who informed him that Lafayette must undergo a period of exile before he could return to court. Later Lafayette was exiled to the Hotel de Noailles for a period of eight days, and he was not permitted to go about, and no one was permitted to see him except his family. He was always honored by the queen and she made it a point to see him in the palace grounds before he went into exile. She congratulated him on his fine record in the American war. Once it became known that Lafayette was exiled, the king soon discovered that the sentence was considered unjust and Lafayettes' praises were heard on all sides. Nevertheless, many important people did come to see him during his period of exile. When his term of exile was completed he was summoned by the King who received him very graciously, congratulated him very warmly on his service for the United States. The early situation was soon forgotten and Lafayette stood very high in court affairs. Shortly after his return home the Congress of the United States presented him with a sword which was an honor appreciated by the King and his government.

From the very beginning on his return home, Lafayette made every effort to secure additional aid from his government. In the long run his work bore fruit. On June 12, 1779, Lafayette wrote a long letter to Washington in which he expressed his hope that he would soon be with Washington to tender such aid as he could give. He knew how much the colonies needed money so he wrote: "It gave me much trouble, and I so much insisted upon it, that the director of finances looks upon me as his evil genius. France has incurred great expenses lately. The Spaniards will not easily give their dollars. However, Dr. Franklin has got some money to pay the bills of Congress, and I hope I shall determine the government to greater sacrifices. Serving American is to my heart an inexpressible happiness."

Early in the year 1780 Lafayette's hard work with the French government resulted in the success of sending French troops to aid Washington and additional needed supplies. So insistent was Lafayette for aid to the Americans that one day Count de Maurepas said in the royal council: "It is fortunate for the King, that Lafayette does not take it into his head to strip Versailles of its furniture, to send to his dear Americans; as his Majesty would be unable to refuse it." In addition to governmental supplies Lafayette purchased our of his private account a large amount of supplies for the troops he would command on his return to America.

After numerous conferences the French government decided to give the French troops to the command of Count de Rochambeau and Lafayette would be expected to command the American division according to the plans of Washington. Special instructions were given Rochambeau under date March 1, 1780, from Versailles:

"His Majesty, having determined to send a considerable body of troops to American, to the assistance of his allies, the United States, has appointed Count de Rochambeau, one of his lieutenant-generals, to the chief command of the twelve battalions of infantry, which are to be commanded under his orders by four major-generals. This corps, which his Majesty has furnished with its proper complement of artillery for sieges and service in the field, is to be in readiness to start from Brest in the first days of April, under the escort of a squadron of six ships of the line, commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay."

Lafayette had stressed the vital need of harmony in order to assure military success in the campaign. In the instructions given to Rochambeau there was this significant statement:

"That the general, to whom his Majesty intrusts the command of his troops, should always and in all cases be under the command of General Washington."

Lafayette sailed in the French frigate Hermione on March 19 and after a passage of thirty-eight days arrived in Boston. He reported to Washington and then went to Philadelphia to give the French representatives of his government certain official papers. Rochambeau and his expedition arrived in Newport on July 10. The coming of this help brought new hope to the American cause. In the weeks which followed Washington and Rochambeau made careful plans so that their campaign would bring definite success and Washington hoped it would be the final victory for independence.

In the meantime the British invaded the south in their endeavor to crush the war in that section Washington sent such troops that he could spare and the first real movement began in the spring of 1781 when Lafayette was sent to Virginia to unite his forces with Steuben, who was also operating there in a limited way. In the early fall of 1781 Cornwallis and his troops were driven into Yorktown, Virginia, and now the forces of the Americans and French moved to force him to surrender since he was also held in from the sea by the French fleet. As a result of brilliant efforts on the part of the Americans and the French forces, Cornwallis was compelled to surrender on October 19, 1781. Rejoicing was manifested throughout the entire country as at last the victory was won. Gratitude was likewise given the French for their timely help and particularly to Lafayette for his unselfish devotion to the American cause. Every one seemed to realize that the main fighting was ended. Consequently, Lafayette went to Washington to secure a leave of absence to return home. He went to Philadelphia to secure the permission of Congress which granted his request and gave him a fine letter of appreciation for his patriotic services. Before he sailed for home Washington wrote him a personal letter in which he said:

"I owe it to your friendship and to my affectionate regard for you, my dear Marquis, not to let you leave this country without carrying with you fresh marks of my attachment to you, and new expressions of the high sense I entertain of your military conduct and other important services in the course of the last campaign, although the latter are too well known to need the testimony of my approbation."

Lafayette sailed home from Boston on the United States ship "Alliance" on December 23, and before sailing he wrote a letter to Washington in which he said:

"Adieu, my dear General; I know your heart so well that I am sure that no distance can alter your attachment to me. With the same candour I assure that my love, respect, my gratitude for you, are above expression; that, at the moment of leaving you, I felt more than ever the strength of those friendly ties that forever bind me to you."

French Revolution

With his return home in 1782, Lafayette was made Brigadier General in the French Army. Between the American and French Revolution, he worked diligently at obtaining commercial advantages for America by establishing duty-free ports, reduced customs prices, and preferential terms. Amazingly enough, Lafayette secured a six million dollar loan for the Americans when the French coffers were utterly exhausted.

When Louis XVI came to power in 1774, the French economy was faltering. Although he had appointed all new officials, the country's financial situation did not improve. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 had provided favourable terms for France, but their pursuits in the American Revolution had caused France to lose money at an alarming rate. Charles Alexander de Calonne, the King's new Minister of Finance, noted that it would be necessary to call the Estates General or the Notables because of the dire economic situation. This had not been done since 1614.The King chose over one hundred Notables with the Marquis de Lafayette among them. He was also among the rare twenty Notables to be housed in the royal palace. The Assembly of Notables opened February 22, 1789.

In the beginning, Lafayette, as Vice-President of the Assembly, accomplished very little. As the meeting progressed, however, he attacked the "farmers generaux," the rich farming class for their taxation methods. On the floor of the Assembly, Lafayette exposed the way in which these landowners prospered at the expense of the lowest ranks of society. The peasants believed that they had been liberated but somehow they were still required in the rural areas to make payment or to perform seigniorial obligations. While Lafayette himself was a landowner like many Notables, sympathy for poverty classes was frowned upon at this time in the Assembly.

While this disparity for the poverty classes did decrease his popularity with the nobles somewhat, Lafayette had been working on a French bill of rights with the help of America's Thomas Jefferson. In Jefferson, the Lafayette found someone whom he could trust. Jefferson told Lafayette the truth about the dangers he faced. Jefferson's work in the American Revolution put him in a position to advise the young noble about the delicate course that he should pursue. Just two months before Lafayette presented his bill of rights to the Assembly, Jefferson wrote Lafayette:

Your Principles are decidedly with the Tiers Etat, and your instructions against them. A complaisance to the latter on some occasion, and an adherence to the former on others, may give you the appearance of trimming between the two parties, which may lose you both.

Thomas Jefferson did, however, endorse Lafayette's declaration of rights. The document was very much like the American Bill of Rights in that it addressed freedom of speech, protection of property, the general goodwill of the government, and the right to a fair trial, among other freedoms.

On July 11, 1789, Lafayette read his Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen to the Assembly of Notables. This introduction of natural rights in Europe helped to give him wide public acclaim as well as early prominence as a symbolic representative of the emerging revolutionary principles. Of those who did not support Lafayette or his leadership pertaining to the American-styled bill of rights, Comte de Mirabeau was the most vocal. As one of the rare Notables who was in need of money and reputation, Mirabeau maintained that the American-styled liberty was fiction, and that the Bill of Rights functioned well on paper but not in practice. )Only a few days after the introduction of the Declaration, the citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille. Lafayette had no time to persuade the people of the value of the Declaration. With the storming of the Bastille, the Assembly of Notables hurried to make Lafayette the commander of the National Guard. While it was generally known that he was a friend to the King, the assembly appointed Lafayette to the National Militia, and the King then sanctioned the appointment. This was one of the rare instances where the National Assembly and the Royal party were united. While the Assembly placed confidence in his military talent and patriotism, the King depended on Lafayette's moderation and personal attachment as a friend. Lafayette accepted the office with exceptional gratitude, anxious to promote his brand of nationalism.)He refused to accept a 120,000-franc annual salary, agreeing to his new position solely to service the people of Paris. In return Lafayette wanted the Parisians to respect their government.

At that time, the government consisted of the Assembly, the King, the Judicial Court, and the national militia. Lafayette's first act of chivalry as Commander of the National Guard was carried out during the October Days. At the beginning of October a threatening crowd had formed outside the King's residence, the Hotel de Ville, to protest the lack of bread. He proposed moving King and his family to Paris.

The volatile spirit of the crowd had already begun to influence the guards. Lafayette was sympathetic too, for the want of bread was no crime. Even though he was later censured for doing nothing to stop the incident, Lafayette understood that the revolutionary spirit had overtaken the ranks. Still believing that the Guard's responsibility was to protect and maintain order, Lafayette sought to mediate between factions and unify the people through their shared political ideals.

After the initial events of the October Days, Lafayette escorted the King and his family to Paris, where it would be easier for him to protect them. On the roadside between Versailles and Paris people were shouting, "Vive Lafayette!" To this, Lafayette was quick to reply that he would vigorously defend the newly championed Declaration of Rights. While this was an act of treason committed in the presence of the King, it was also clear that Lafayette was leaning toward the concept of making a Constitutional Monarchy.

No one had more influence in France than Lafayette at this time. The first year of the Revolution had been Lafayette's year, because image promotion was becoming a source of influence in politics. Lafayette's status as the "Hero of two Worlds" allowed him to obtain a position of dominance in 1789. While he could no longer directly intervene in the Assembly, Lafayette often brought leaders together to discuss propositions of the committee such as the famous issue of the King's right to veto acts of the Assembly. T)he most important of these meetings was held at Jefferson's house at Lafayette's request. The correspondence from Lafayette to Jefferson notes:

The difficulty between us is the King's veto -- some want it absolute, others will have no veto -- and the only way to unite them is to find some means for a suspensive veto so strong and so complicated as to give the King a due influence. -- If they do not agree in a few days, we shall have no great majority in favor of any plan, and it must end in war.

The formation of the Federation was the absolute zenith of Lafayette's popularity. On July 14, 1790 the nation came together for the last time during the revolution to celebrate the Federation and the one-year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The National Assembly had dissolved and was re-emerging as the Constituent Assembly. As an actor in ceremony of the Federation, Lafayette promised that Republican influence and enthusiasm would not surpass that of the law and that liberty would not become license. In addition, he promised that the Guards would uphold the law in order to honour all Frenchmen. Also in his address, Lafayette christened the King, "Chief of the French," and "King of the Free People." The crowd was enthusiastic and immense, interrupting Lafayette's speech several times with great applause.

The crowd was also more forgiving than the journalist Jean Paul Marat. He charged that Lafayette's speech was intended to trap and confuse the French public. Marat accused him of being a "vile flatterer" of the King, and making of the Guard into the satellite of a corrupt legislature. In this sense, the charges against Lafayette were both anti-royalist and anti-republican, but as the Left (the anti-royalist clubs like the Jacobins and the Girondines) began to dominate the Assembly, the charges against Lafayette began to fall on the side of either the Royalists or Leftist clubs. Lafayette began to ride the fence flamboyantly between popular institutions and violence on the one hand, and preserving old-regime institutions on the other hand.

With the making of the Constitution, the Constituent Assembly began representing the people more directly. The Assembly began to extort power from the hands of the King. Yet at this time they still preserved the royal hereditary crown simply because there were not enough radicals in the assembly to vote to entirely remove the King. Lafayette truly believed that a hereditary monarchy surrounded by popular institutions was a practical form of government. While England had a history of conflict with France, Lafayette was willing to learn from English-styled government. It was not much of a surprise when the Republicans began to paint Lafayette as a would-be dictator similar to Oliver Cromwell. They argued that Lafayette's leadership of the Guard and his cooperation with the King indicated a preference for power and old-regime authorities over the newly established Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. Marat again made more accusations against Lafayette. This time he accused Lafayette of closing the Guard ranks to the people and using the newly organized troops as an instrument of the wealthy. Therefore, the armed forces, which had been established to protect the rights of the nation, began to take weapons from the nation's true defenders.

While the Republicans were certainly alarmed by the seemingly loyalist position of the Commander of the National Guard, the loyalists were also becoming more alarmed. They began to consider Lafayette an accomplice to crimes rather than a guardian of order. The loyalists charged that Lafayette had illegally moved the King to Paris, disarmed the nobles, and tolerated all sorts of mob disturbances. They claimed that above all, Lafayette had humiliated the King. Marie Antoinette, her husband, and the court in general agreed that the Constitution and Lafayette's bill of rights violated the royal prerogatives.

Despite all of this, Lafayette still swore complete allegiance to the King as a Constitutional representative for upholding order. A letter Lafayette wrote to the King in February 1790 demonstrates Lafayette's faith in the King as a constitutional representative for order. In it he wrote:

"When the people and the King make common cause together, who can succeed against them? I, at least, swear to your majesty that, if my hopes should prove fallacious, the last drop of my blood shall attest my fidelity.”

As political factions began forming to the political right and left of Lafayette, his brand of popular leadership began to fail. With the increase of people going over to one side or the other, there were few that were squarely supportive of Lafayette's image and ideal of a constitutional monarchy. In April of 1791, the revolutionary spirit overtook the National Guard, and Lafayette became powerless to stop the tide of violence. On the eighteenth of April, the King and his family were prevented from leaving Tuileries to attend Easter services at St. Cloud. The crowds and the Guard resisted Lafayette's effort to protect what he perceived to be the Royal Family's right to travel and practice religion. The revolution was opening up to new social groups that resisted any single leader, especially one of noble blood.

Just a few short months after the St. Cloud event, the King and his family tried to flee Paris. Although the King was captured some hours later, radical forces in the Assembly placed the blame on Lafayette. As a friend to the King, he had promised the King would not try to escape. As the Royal Family was ushered back into Paris, Lafayette gave the "no shout, no salute" command. The Guards were not supposed to express sympathy either for or against the Royal entourage, so that a mob uprising would be prevented. But mob uprisings were becoming a regular event with the rise of the Leftist clubs in the Constituent Assembly.

The Champ-de-Mars Affair ruined Lafayette's popular image and his command. During the second celebration of Bastille Day, the Leftists drafted a petition to depose the King. Another petition called for his trial. A riot ensued and the mob refused to disperse. They began to throw stones at the Guards, who in turn fired upon the crowd. Fifty people were killed. Lafayette's credibility as a leader among the working classes disappeared.

It was becoming impossible for Lafayette to command the Guards; he insisted that his authority as Commander should spring from the Guard's own desire for his brand of liberty. He essentially wanted the Guards to command themselves; thus, insurrections were widespread. Marquis de Ferrieres, a moderate deputy for the Constituent Assembly, witnessed the members of the Guard rallying crowds to kill Lafayette and put the Prince Orleans on the throne. Orleans himself had paid men in the streets to harangue the populace, inciting them to insurrection. This first wave of clear resentment overwhelmed Lafayette to the degree that he resigned his command, effective in the autumn of 1791. Lafayette decided to resume an agrarian lifestyle back at his home in Auvergne. In his resignation letter, Lafayette claimed that he was put into the office of Commander with every indication of popular confidence, but that "this confidence, to be useful must be universal."

It was not long before Lafayette was called back into military service. In the spring of 1792, he was put back into military service in the French campaign against the Austrians. Lafayette still had reservations about the loyalty of the French troops. As an admirer of the integrity of the troops in the American Revolution, he understood that no European army would tolerate hunger, nakedness, and lack of pay as the Americans had. Stationed in Metz, Lafayette was powerless to mount a counter-rebellion against the Assembly, which was dominated at that time by the Jacobins.

In June of that year, Lafayette wrote a letter to the Assembly explaining his horror that radicalism was spreading. He described how the Jacobins, in particular, were disturbing his effectiveness as a military leader, arguing that the clubs

"rejoice in our disorders, and array themselves against constituted authorities, detest the National Guards, preach insubordination to the army, sow at one moment distrust; at another discouragement."

When the Jacobins met in August at the Hall of Cordeliers, Danton accused the whole Assembly of being accomplices of Lafayette. With that charge, Danton then persuaded the Jacobins not to appeal to the law or the legislature any more. Instead, he called them directly to arms. The Jacobins, as they were approaching a majority, named Danton the Minister of Justice. They seized Tuileries and deposed the King, and then Danton confiscated Lafayette's property and set a price on his head.

Lafayette's ability to command was destroyed because his popularity had vanished. He wanted to march to Paris to defend the Constitution but his troops would not follow. Rather than being put into jail, Lafayette decided to flee the country. His plan was to cross Brabant and reach Holland, and then go on to the United States. As a participant in the American Revolution and as a close friend to the early American political leaders, Lafayette believed that he was entitled to citizenship in the United States. However, Lafayette was captured in neutral territory by Austrian troops and imprisoned.


Lafayette was held at Nivelles, then transferred to Luxembourg where a coalition military tribunal declared him, de Pusy, and two others to be prisoners of state for their roles in the Revolution. The tribunal ordered them held until a restored French king could render final judgment on them. On 12 September 1792, pursuant to the tribunal's order, the prisoners were transferred to Prussian custody. The party travelled to the Prussian fortress-city of Wesel, where the Frenchmen remained in verminous individual cells in the central citadel from 19 September to 22 December 1792. When victorious French revolutionary troops began to threaten the Rhineland, King Frederick William II transferred the prisoners east to the citadel at Magdeburg, where they remained an entire year, from 4 January 1793 to 4 January 1794.

Frederick William decided that he could gain little by continuing to battle the unexpectedly successful French forces, and that there were easier pickings for his army in the Kingdom of Poland. Accordingly, he stopped armed hostilities with the Republic and turned the state prisoners back over to his erstwhile coalition partner, the Habsburg Austrian monarch Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. Lafayette and his companions were initially sent to Neisse (today Nysa, Poland) in Silesia. On 17 May 1794, they were taken across the Austrian border, where a military unit was waiting to receive them. The next day, the Austrians delivered their captives to a barracks-prison, formerly a college of the Jesuits, in the fortress-city of Olmütz, Moravia (today Olomouc in the Czech Republic).

Lafayette, when captured, had tried to use the American citizenship he had been granted to secure his release, and contacted William Short, United States minister in The Hague. Although Short and other U.S. envoys very much wanted to succor Lafayette for his services to their country, they knew that his status as a French officer took precedence over any claim to American citizenship. Washington, who was by then president, had instructed the envoys to avoid actions that entangled the country in European affairs, and the U.S. did not have diplomatic relations with either Prussia or Austria. They did send money for the use of Lafayette, and for his wife, whom the French had imprisoned. Secretary of State Jefferson found a loophole allowing Lafayette to be paid, with interest, for his services as a major general from 1777 to 1783. An act was rushed through Congress and signed by President Washington. These funds allowed both Lafayettes privileges in their captivity.

A more direct means of aiding the former general was an escape attempt sponsored by Alexander Hamilton's sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church and her husband John Barker Church, a British Member of Parliament who had served in the Continental Army. They hired as agent a young Hanoverian physician, Justus Erich Bollmann, who acquired an assistant, a South Carolinian medical student named Francis Kinloch Huger. This was the son of Benjamin Huger, whom Lafayette had stayed with upon his first arrival in America. With their help, Lafayette managed to escape from an escorted carriage drive in the countryside outside Olmütz, but he lost his way and was recaptured.

Once Adrienne was released from prison in France, she, with the help of U.S. Minister to France James Monroe, obtained passports for her and her daughters from Connecticut, which had granted the entire Lafayette family citizenship. Her son Georges Washington had been smuggled out of France and taken to the United States. Adrienne and her two daughters journeyed to Vienna for an audience with Emperor Francis, who granted permission for the three women to live with Lafayette in captivity. Lafayette, who had endured harsh solitary confinement since his escape attempt a year previously, was astounded when soldiers opened his prison door to usher in his wife and daughters on 15 October 1795. The family spent the next two years in confinement together

Through diplomacy, the press, and personal appeals, Lafayette's sympathizers on both sides of the Atlantic made their influence felt, most importantly on the post-Reign of Terror French government. A young, victorious general, Napoleon Bonaparte, negotiated the release of the state prisoners at Olmütz, as a result of the Treaty of Campo Formio. Lafayette's captivity of over five years thus came to an end. The Lafayette family and their comrades in captivity left Olmütz under Austrian escort early on the morning of 19 September 1797, crossed the Bohemian-Saxonian border north of Prague, and were officially turned over to the American consul in Hamburg on 4 October.

From Hamburg, Lafayette sent a note of thanks to General Bonaparte. The French government, the Directorate, was unwilling to have Lafayette return unless he swore allegiance, which he was not willing to do, as he believed it had come to power by unconstitutional means. As revenge, it had his remaining properties sold, leaving him a pauper. The family, soon joined by Georges Washington, who had returned from America, recuperated on a property near Hamburg belonging to Adrienne's aunt. Due to conflict between the United States and France, Lafayette could not go to America as he had hoped, making him a man without a country.

Adrienne was able to go to Paris, and attempted to secure her husband's repatriation, flattering Bonaparte, who had returned to France after more victories. After Bonaparte's coup d'état of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), Lafayette used the confusion caused by the change of regime to slip into France with a passport in the name of "Motier". Bonaparte expressed rage, but Adrienne was convinced he was simply posing, and proposed to him that Lafayette would pledge his support, then would retire from public life to a property she had reclaimed, La Grange. France's new ruler allowed Lafayette to remain, though originally without citizenship and subject to summary arrest if he engaged in politics, with the promise of eventual restoration of civil rights. Lafayette remained quietly at La Grange, and when Bonaparte held a memorial service in Paris for Washington, who had died in December 1799, Lafayette was not invited, nor was his name mentioned.

Bonaparte restored Lafayette's citizenship on 1 March 1800, and he was able to recover some of his properties. The ruler offered to make Lafayette minister to the United States, but was met with a firm refusal, as Lafayette would not have anything to do with Napoleon's government. In 1802, Lafayette was part of the tiny minority that voted no in the referendum that made Bonaparte consul for life. Bonaparte offered to appoint Lafayette to the Senate and to bestow the Legion of Honor pon him, but Lafayette declined, though he stated he would gladly have taken the honors from a democratic government.


Post Revolution

In 1804, Bonaparte was crowned the Emperor Napoleon after a plebiscite in which Lafayette did not participate. The retired general remained relatively quiet, although he made Bastille Day addresses. After the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson, by then president, asked if he would be interested in the governorship. Lafayette declined, citing personal problems and his desire to work for liberty in France.During a trip to Auvergne in 1807, Adrienne became ill, suffering from complications stemming from her time in prison. She died on Christmas day.

In the years after Adrienne's death, Lafayette mostly remained quietly at La Grange as Napoleon's power in Europe waxed, and then waned. Many influential people and members of the public visited him, especially Americans. He wrote many letters, especially to Jefferson, and exchanged gifts with him, as the Frenchman had once done with Washington.

In 1814, the coalition that opposed Napoleon invaded France and restored the monarchy; the comte de Provence (brother of the executed Louis XVI) took the throne as Louis XVIII. Lafayette was received by the new king, but the staunch republican opposed the new, highly restrictive franchise for the Chamber of Deputies that granted the vote to only 90,000 men in a nation of 25 million. Lafayette did not stand for election in 1814, remaining at La Grange

There was discontent in France among demobilized soldiers and others. Napoleon had been exiled only as far as Elba, an island in the Tuscan archipelago; seeing an opportunity, he landed at Cannes on 1 March 1815 with a few hundred followers. Frenchmen flocked to his banner, and he took Paris later that month, causing Louis to flee to Ghent. Lafayette refused Napoleon's call to serve in the new government, but accepted election to the new Chamber of Representatives under the Charter of 1815. There, after Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Lafayette called for his abdication. Responding to the emperor's brother Lucien, Lafayette argued:

“By what right do you dare accuse the nation of ... want of perseverance in the emperor's interest? The nation has followed him on the fields of Italy, across the sands of Egypt and the plains of Germany, across the frozen deserts of Russia. ... The nation has followed him in fifty battles, in his defeats and in his victories, and in doing so we have to mourn the blood of three million Frenchmen.”

On 22 June 1815, four days after Waterloo, Napoleon abdicated. Lafayette arranged for the former emperor's passage to America, but the British prevented this, and Napoleon ended his days on the island of Saint Helena. The Chamber of Representatives, before it dissolved, appointed Lafayette to a peace commission that was ignored by the victorious allies who occupied much of France, with the Prussians taking over La Grange as a headquarters. Once the Prussians left in late 1815, Lafayette returned to his house, a private citizen again.

Lafayette's homes, both in Paris and at La Grange, were open to any Americans who wished to meet the hero of their Revolution, and to many other people besides. Among those whom Irish novelist Sydney, Lady Morgan met at table during her month-long stay at La Grange in 1818 were the Dutch painter Ary Scheffer and the historian Augustin Thierry, who sat alongside American tourists. Others who visited included philosopher Jeremy Bentham, American scholar George Ticknor, and writer Fanny Wright.

Final Years

During the first decade of the Bourbon Restoration, Lafayette lent his support to a number of conspiracies in France and other European countries, all of which came to nothing. He was involved in the various Charbonnier plots, and agreed to go to the city of Belfort, where there was a garrison of French troops, and assume a major role in the revolutionary government. Warned that the royal government had found out about the conspiracy, he turned back on the road to Belfort, avoiding overt involvement. More successfully, he supported the Greek Revolution beginning in 1821, and by letter attempted to persuade American officials to ally with the Greeks. Louis' government considered arresting both Lafayette and Georges Washington, who was also involved in the Greek efforts, but were wary of the political ramifications if they did. Lafayette remained a member of the restored Chamber of Deputies until 1823, when new plural voting rules helped defeat his bid for re-election.

Lafayette grew increasingly disillusioned with Louis-Phillippe, who backtracked on reforms and denied his promises to make them. The retired general angrily broke with his king, a breach which widened when the government used force to suppress a strike in Lyon. Lafayette used his seat in the Chamber to promote liberal proposals, and in 1831 his neighbours elected him mayor of the village of La Grange and to the council of the département of Seine-et-Marne. The following year, Lafayette served as a pallbearer and spoke at the funeral of General Jean Maximilien Lamarque, another opponent of Louis-Phillippe. Despite Lafayette's pleas for calm, there were riots in the streets and barricade was erected at the Place de la Bastille. The king forcefully crushed this June Rebellion, to Lafayette's outrage. Lafayette returned to La Grange until the Chamber met in November 1832. He condemned Louis-Phillippe for introducing censorship, as Charles X had.

Lafayette spoke for the last time in the Chamber of Deputies on 3 January 1834. The next month, he collapsed at a funeral from pneumonia. Although he recovered, the following May was wet and, after being caught in a thunderstorm, he became bedridden.

On 20 May 1834, Lafayette died on 6 rue d'Anjou-Saint-Honoré in Paris (now 8 rue d'Anjou in the 8th arrondissement of Paris) at the age of 76. He was buried next to his wife at the Picpus Cemetery under soil from Bunker Hill, which his son Georges Washington sprinkled upon him. King Louis-Philippe ordered a military funeral in order to keep the public from attending. Crowds formed to protest their exclusion.

Lafayett's Grave


Breeches are a type of trouser for the 18th century man. Over the century's the fit has changed but it in the century which I am working in the are just over the knee in length fasten with button and button holes are tight up until the crotch where they become baggy at the bum. Due to the fact I am making mine for a soldier the fabric would be a fine wool such as drap sedan. To get a better idea of the shape and cut of the Breeches I did some research and found a really helpful website that explained the process of making mens breeches.

1870's cotton breeches
1880 French Breeches
Close up to fall front
Back View
Close up of laci
Close up of waistband


The history of the waistcoat goes back to the period of the Restoration when Charles II introduced it as part of ‘correct dress’. The style was derived from the Persian vests and in 1666 John Evelyn wrote: “To Court, it being the first time his Majesty put himself solemnly into the Eastern fashion of vest changing doublet, stiff collar, bands and cloak, into a comely dress after the Persian mode.” It is not known why the term ‘vest’ was replaced by the term ‘waistcoat’. One idea was that the waistcoat was made from the remaining ‘waste’ pieces when tailoring a two piece suit! The waistcoats on display show how they changed in shape and style during the Georgian period (1692-1837), the period when the four Georges were on the throne. In the early part of the century the waistcoat was long, with the emphasis on elaborate and striking decoration. This was concentrated on the centre front and the pocket flaps. It created a powerful sense of authority and status. By the end of the 18th century the emphasis had changed and it was the waistcoat was very much a ‘uniform’. The style was much shorter and the decoration lighter and delicate.

These changes in fashion reflected the social change that occurred during this period. At the beginning of the century the aristocracy was still very much based on inherited position, they were confident and very much using their costume to represent their superior position within society. As the century evolved the power of the aristocracy was increasingly challenged by a successful and aspiring middle class who made their money through trade and commerce. This new ‘middle class’ wanted to emulate the fashion of the aristocracy and had the money to do so. It became more and more difficult for the landed aristocracy to maintain their position and as more people became part of a wage based economy they had increasing opportunities to buy a wider range of fashionable goods. One of the many laments of the period was that it was increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the master and the servant or mistress and maid.

1870 waistcoat V and A

As can be seen the shaping in the waistcoat has changed drastically it sits on a low waist as well as having a lapel and a standing collor all of these mimic the shape of the jacket

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