Description[Marquis de Lafayette] William Vernon Jr. Retained Draft of an Autograph Letter to Lafayette (August 1824), accompanied by a retained draft (June 1825) regarding Lafayette. Both drafts address the French aristocrat's grand tour of America in 1824 and 1825. Invited by President Monroe to tour the United States, the elderly Lafayette, an American Revolutionary War hero who had returned to his home in France afterwards, was met by enthusiastic crowds and well-wishers during the tour. One well-wisher who requested an audience with the hero was William Vernon Jr., the son of the well-known Newport, Rhode Island, slave trader and American patriot.
The retained draft to "General La Fayette" (two pages, 5" x 8", Boston, August 24, 1824) reads in part, "I arrived here [Boston] on my mission from the place of my nativity [Newport, Rhode Island] in time to see your triumphant entry into this City of your affection, into that Town where the first blood of the revolution, in which you took so great a part, was spilled. Such a meeting after forty years separation from a people who love you was extremely affecting." The second page contains a separate letter with the same date to "General La Fayette" requesting that a Newport, Rhode Island, committee (of which Vernon Jr. was a member) be allowed "to wait upon General La Fayette in the City of Boston." This letter is slightly wrinkled with folds.
The retained draft regarding Lafayette (one and one-half pages, 5" x 7.75", Boston, June 23, 1825) is written to the U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, Asher Robbins. Vernon Jr., trying to secure a visit to Rhode Island from Lafayette, writes that Lafayette "expressed much regret" that he would not be travelling through Rhode Island ("his engagements would previously oblige him to travel northward . . . that he should then take the upper road to Albany in order to arrive in New York on the fourth of July. That . . . he should proceed to the seat of government from thence to Virginia in order to take leave of the President & ex Presidents of the Union"). Still, Lafayette might have time, Vernon hoped, to "board a steam-boat and visit his friends in Rhode Island." Lafayette traveled around the young nation for thirteen months, but he never made the Rhode Island trip. This letter is toned with some separation along folds; foxing. From the Papers of William Vernon.
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