Jordan, Moses W. (fl. 1824) to Ruth Smith
High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01450.719.06 Author/Creator: Jordan, Moses W. (fl. 1824) Place Written: Mount Hope, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 October 1824 Pagination: 4 p. : address ; 33.3 x 20.5 cm.
Gives his sister a detailed and effusive description of a visit to Philadelphia by the Marquis de Lafayette. He attended the festivities and met the man himself at the state house.
Mount Hope, Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania, Oct.r 10.th 1824 -
My dear Sister,
You must have learned from the news-papers the enthusiastick ardous, which pervades all classes of citizens in the United States, to testify their respect for the illustrious and patriotic hero, the Marquis de la Fayette to whom these states were so much indebted, during their ardous struggle for independence. I had learned, from the history of the revolution, to venerate the character of the youthful hero, who forsook the delights of domestick enjoyment, and the splendid and luxurious case of a princely fortune, to share in the tails of a doubtful contest, and risk his life in the sacred cause of Liberty; but I never expected, it would fall to my lot to see the man, who [struck: who] had been so dear to our illustrious Washington, much less to grasp that hand which wielded the sword, so terrible to tyrants yet I have enjoyed both. - The publick expectation had been much excited by the intended visit of La Fayette to Phila. and great preparations had been made to render his reception worthy of so great a city. Tuesday the 20th of Sept. was the day fixed for his publick, and triumphal entry; and the volunteer companies, and many of the citizens, to the distance of fifty and sixty miles, had flocked to the city to witness the splendid procession. Residing at the distance of 75 miles, I had expected to derive no further pleasure from the magnificent scene, than would be afforded by reading the description of it in the papers; but I had the satisfaction to be present.  Many triumphal arches had been erected over the streets, through which the procession was to pass, adorned with the portraits of Washington and La Fayette, and bearing appropriate motto[inserted: e]s; and on the top of one of them, was perched a living bald eagle. Numerous scaffolds were erected, with seats to be rented to spectators. The windows of the houses on the streets, through which the general was to pass, were occupied [struck: by] almost entirely by ladies, dressed in the most elegant style, their hair adorned with flowers. In the morning, the troops, amounting to 5 or 6000, were reviewed by the general, a few miles above the city, after which the procession was formed, consisting of the Government of the state, distinguished characters, the principal citizens, and the military, bearing numerous flags, inscribed with appropriate mottoes. The Marquis was seated in a most elegant barouche, (with judge Peters at his left hand,) drawn by six elegant deer horses. In two large [inserted: square] stages, surrounded with railing and placed on wheels, drawn each by six large horses, were conveyed a considerable number of the surviving soldiers of the revolution, with papers on their hats, bearing the figures 76. When the procession approached, expectation was on tiptoe - all the windows, doors, and foot-pavements were occupied. As the Marquis passed, he was cheered with repeated huzzas from the men, while the ladies saluted him by waving their white handkerchiefs. He rode uncovered, complaisantly bowing to the  crowds as he passed them. After having passed the several streets, designated in order to give the citizens a fair opportunity to view the procession; he descended from his barouche, in Chesnut street, under a triumphal arch, and entered the room in which the declaration of Independence had been signed, where he was received by the mayor and councils, and welcomed to Philadelphia. [text loss] after he had entered the State house the procession dissolved, and the crowds dispersed. In the evening, the city was splendidly illuminated, and the streets were crowded until near 11 o'clock by people, traversing the city to see the elegant transparencies, and other beautiful objects, exposed to view. The triumphal arches were handsomely illuminated [text loss] made a splendid appearance. [text loss] o'clock commenced a display of fireworks [text loss] the common a part of which consisted in a representation of the burning mountain, Mount AEtna. During the day and evening, great harmony prevailed, and I did not learn that any serious accident occurred. During several days, at state hours, the citizens generally had access to him, and I among them had the pleasure to take him by the hand. He [text loss] good looking old man, apparently near six feet high, sandy complexion, wears a wig, and dresses in plain clothes. On Saturday a very handsome procession attended him to the navy yard: it was much less numerous than the former, as the military part of it was composed entirely of the city volunteers.  After having been a spectator of those splendid scenes, of which I have given you a very imperfect description, and which composed but a part of the publick demonstrations of joy with which la Fayette was welcomed to Phila., I have returned to the dull occupation of teaching, in which I shall probably spend the winter here. Being in a genteel family, and having but few scholars, and. consequently, considerable time for reading my employment would not be very disagreeable, did I not feel convinced that my [inserted: duty] required me to be engaged in something of more consequence. Through the continued goodness of Providence, my health remains unimpaired. The season has been very fine; and the crops are abundant. There is not so much sickness in this part of the country as there was last autumn. I hope you [inserted: will] write me soon, at any rate, while you do not write me, I shall take it for granted that you are as well as usual.
M. W. J
Atn. Jonathan Smith 2nd,,
For Mrs. }
Ruth Smith }
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.