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Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de (1757-1834) to Jeremy Bentham

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04801 Author/Creator: Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de (1757-1834) Place Written: La Grange, France Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 November 1828 Pagination: 4 p. : address : docket ; 22.5 x 18.4 cm.

Summary of Content: Confirms that he has settled on his farm at La Grange and indicates that he is studying Bentham's philosophy. Discusses standing armies and the role of the militia in defending the United States. Also discusses "the impeachment of ministers" and labels himself "a disciple of the American School," and includes commentary on the French Revolution.

Full Transcript: La grange November 10th 1828
My Excellent and illustrious Friend

Since your last and much valued Communication, End of August, Has reached me, I have Received neither printed books, manuscripts, nor ...a line or visit from Mm Rey and Felix Bodin. it is true I Have Remained on my farm at la grange, But Have Ever not only a few; say as many Hours as Requisite, to improve my mind on your enlightened and philanthropic letters, and to cheer my Heart with the testimonies of your Esteem and Friendship. Not that I think my observation might Be useful to you. Besides the weight of a Correspondence and a Series of diversified duties which perch upon me in a manner disproportionate with the length of the day, I am too old and Rusted a Soldier to Be So Serviceable as any of your more Recent military men, Excepting perhaps those General ideas when the Republican citizen takes the lead of tactics, and under that more lofty point of view You Have no Body to Consult.
A Baneful Emulation for Standing Armies Had, from the Reign of Lewis 14th prevailed in Europe, Small powers Striving like the frog of the fable to imitate their betters, When the Revolution of 89 [hailed] and Armed a Great Nation. to the institution of the National guards of France, upon which M. Comte Has lately published an interesting Book, Were owing the first Successes against the Counter Revolutionary Coalition and after imperial despotism, Neglecting or Rather fearing the principle of an Armed organisation of the people, depended upon its own Genius and the powers of a numerous, admirable Regular Army, Whose Superiority Was Compelled By tactitians and [Attested] By Victories, you Have Seen the Almost invincible Host and Omnipotent Napoleon Repelled By a popular insurrection of Germany. the fate of your Gallant troops, inured to the toils and dangers of the Spanish War, in their attack upon [2] the Hasty lines of new Orleans, defended by American Militia, Has Been a matter of European wonder. yet when in the chambre des deputés we ask not By far the dissolution of the Standing Army, But its Reduction Within proper Bounds, So as to form Regimental Nucles for larger incorporations in time of War, when we insist upon limiting the Conscription time to three years under the Colours and a Lancasterian primary Education, and three years on furlough, So that young men When they are taught the Use of arms to Repel an invasion do not loose the destination of their future life, When we consider Standing troops as the Vanguard of an Armed Nation and Call for a General System of National Guards, naming their own officers, which, in Countries Where Government is not, like in the United States, the people itself, appears to us a necessary Condition, even for the maintenance of discipline, we are opposed not only by the prejudices, Remembrances, and Counter Revolutionary Hopes of the Ancien Regime But By the imperialism, militarism, and wilful forgetfulness of men, many of whom, Had they not found in the National Guards a source of glory and advancement might Have Remained in the inferior Ranks of Society and Regular Armies. to the federation of 1790 fourteen thousand deputies duly elected were sent By upwards of three millions of National Guards. the Militia of the United States amount to eleven Hundred thousand men equal to defend independence, liberty, equality, territory, and legal order Against a Coalition of the Rest of the World.
I thank you, my dear Sir, for your observations on the impeachment of ministers. Let me Be allowed, as a disciple of the American School, to Ad[a]pt the principle Which limits the judgment on public men to dismissal from office and future incapacity, leaving it With the Court of Justice to try them, as New Offenders, By Common Law. in Europe, it is not the Case. on the greater part of the Continent, a minister is Responsible to His own master, and often to the master's mistress. Wherever there is What is Called a Constitution, (Not a Writen Constitutional act, originating With the Sovereignty of the people, framed By their Special Representatives, accepted By them, as it is practiced in the U.S. as we Had introduced it in the Beggining of the french [3] Revolution, But a Series of precedents, chartered grants, the acknowledgement of Several Rights made By Royalty on the [portentation] of privilege, as you Have it in England, or a writen Charter, acknowledging some higher, abridging others, denying many, among which the first of them, the national Right to make it) under those mock Constitutions, I say, the mode of impeachement of ministers includes the whole proceeding of the law. What is called popular Representation accuses; Hereditary legislators Become Hereditary Judges. The french charter Has Specified two offenses, treason and Concussion, which indeed extends far if misadvising the king or oppressing the people is treason and the misappropriation of public money is concussion. The Sense of the Chamber des deputés, after Better elections Have Secured their dismissal Has Been less there Being Brought to punishment, than obtaining a farther Removal of chances for their Return to office, the dismissal of Administration Agents still supported By the Court, and the Use of Committees of inquiry named By the House, an advantage which your parliament Has over our chamber. this may in some measure Explain the Hesitations, embroglios, and Minorities for Energetic [Refutations] which you Have justly Remarked in the Management of that affair. Your Communication of English precedents cannot But Be very welcome
Several packets [are] arrived since I Last Heard from the noble kind Hearted friend of whom you Have Said that She Had the Sweetest and strongest mind that ever was Lodged in a female Body. [inserted: [Miss F. Wright]] the Singular part Suited as you Have later observed, to Her Singular character may be misrepresented By people not well acquainted with the purity of Her Heart, the Candor of Her Mind, the Enthusiasm of Her philanthropy, the disinterestness of Her Views, and the vivacity of Her Hopes. Her talents indeed, part of which evaporate in theories, of the Certainty and Utility of which she Has not a doubt, might I think, Have Been more efficaciously employ'd even to promote Her own Humane purposes. But to know, to Respect, and to love Her will ever Be, in my Sense, one and Same thing. You Have Heard that Camilla is married to a very Honest man may they Be Happy, and Contribute to the Happiness of fellow Creatures, which [4] Whatever Be their Systems and modes of proceeding, is their main exclusive object I am much obliged to the preference You are pleased to preserve in Behalf of my Syrian Rose altho' its intrinsic Merit Has not stood the proof of a more Correct Horicultural examination. Sentimental associations are not strange to flowers or the soil where she originated. there they tell love tales: Here it Has Been Consecrated to friendship, a friendship most Cordially Reciprocated.
the part of the family now Here Beg to Be Respectfully Remembered, george and His Wife are as Grenoble (dauphiné) where my grand daughter Natalie [illegible] is on the point of giving me a great grand child.
More truly and gratefully
Your affectionate friend

[address leaf]

1828 | La Fayete Le Grange
Nov | to
| j.B.A.S.P
10 |
[illegible] | [illegible phrase]
[illegible] O'Conal quotes
the passage in wich he
speaks of reading J.B.
10 Novr 1828
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People: Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834
Bentham, Jeremy, 1748-1832
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Revolutionary War GeneralAgriculture and Animal HusbandryPhilosophyLibraryStanding ArmyMilitary HistoryNational SecurityMilitiaImpeachmentGovernment and CivicsFrench RevolutionFranceGlobal History and CivicsForeign Affairs

Sub Era: The First Age of Reform

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