The Marquis de Lafayette and the Black Veterans of New Orleans

From the time of his service in the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette was an ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery.  His letters to the Founding Fathers on the subject, and their responses, make for fascinating reading and will be the subject of future posts.

During his tour of America in 1825 Lafayette met with black veterans on April 18, 1825.  An account of this meeting appeared in the New Orleans in the Courier of New Orleans on April 19.

The men of Color had solicited the favor to present themselves to the General, and at the hour he had appointed to receive them, they came preceded by their commander Mr. John Mercier, who addressed the General as follows: “The command of the Corps of men of Colour who so eminently contributed to the defense of this Country, has been just entrusted to me; and its officers, scattered until now, and before reorganizing themselves, felt that they should first offer to one of the Heroes of the American Independence, their tribute of respect and admiration.  The brave men that I command in whatever situation they may have been placed, would have purchased at the price of their blood, the honor of being presented to you, they felt an ardent desire to tell you, that they have arms always ready to defend their Country, and hearts devoted to you; deign General, to accept this sincere tribute of respect and admiration. . . .

The General received the men of colour with demonstrations of esteem and affection, and said to them: “Gentlemen, I have often during the War of Independence, seen African blood shed with honor in our ranks for the cause of the United States.  I have learnt with the liveliest interest, how you answered to the appeal of General Jackson; what a glorious use you made of your arms for the defense of Louisiana.  I cherish the sentiments of gratitude for your services, and of admiration for your valor.  Accept those also of my personal friendship, and of the pleasure I shall always experience in meeting with you again.”  The General then kindly shook hands with them all, and thanked the Governor for the opportunity he had given him to become acquainted with them. (more…)

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Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on The Marquis de Lafayette and the Black Veterans of New Orleans  
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