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State of New York State History

Lafayette in New York Bicentennial: His Second Trip

Lafayette portrait by Ary Scheffer in House of Representatives (1825)

Lafayette’s second trip in New York was in a different direction.  In a previous blog, The Lafayette 1824-1825 Bicentennial: Are You Ready?, I presented the first trip. He left New York and followed the Boston Post Road to Boston and the interior of New England. In this blog, I provide the stops on his second trip. This time he heads north and not by land but by water. He travels the Hudson River from New York to Albany/Troy and back.

This 1824 journey occurred as New York State was undergoing rapid changes. One year later, Thomas Cole also would travel on the Hudson and paint View from Fort Putnam. I do not know if he was influenced at all by Lafayette’s own visit to West Point and honoring of the American Revolution. While Washington Irving ironically was in France, James Fenimore Cooper was in New York. He witnessed Lafayette’s arrival and participated in the activities arranged for Lafayette. It certainly is worth pursuing how many of the cultured elite in Manhattan, Lafayette met and what the impact of his proposed visit to all 24 states in the country meant.

In another leg of visit, he would cross upper New York State from Niagara along the partially-built Erie Canal into Massachusetts. So he was traveling to areas that would become part of the Hudson River School even before some of the artists painted it and the writers wrote about New York. I am sure people more knowledgeable than me already have written about the connections he was making in New York City and the impact of his visit. These would be great topics for a Lafayette conference.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I am working with two French/Lafayette organizations: American Friends of Lafayette and the American Society of Le Souvenir Français. This list was provided to me by the American Friends of Lafayette. Julien Icher is a member of that organization as well as the founder of The Lafayette Trail, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that “aims to educate the public about the national significance of Lafayette’s Tour and to promote a broader understanding of Lafayette’s numerous contributions to American independence and national coherence in preparation for the 2024-2025 tour bicentennial celebrations.” Readers of this blog may already have or be working with The Lafayette Trail to erect markers at their locations in recognition of his visit to their site.

1824 Sept 5 Manhattan NY City Hotel
1824 Sept 6 Manhattan NY City Hall, Washington Hall
1824 Sept 7 Manhattan NY Academy of Arts, Hospital, Almshouse
1824 Sept 8 Brooklyn NY Narrows / Fort Lafayette
1824 Sept 9 Manhattan NY St Paul’s Church, the Park
1824 Sept 10 Manhattan NY Free Schools, Vauxhall Gardens – Sword and Belt presented to Lafayette
1824 Sept 11 Manhattan NY Banquet by French citizens, Chatham Garden Theatre
1824 Sept 12 Manhattan NY
1824 Sept 13 Manhattan NY
1824 Sept 14 Manhattan NY Castle Garden Party to Lafayette
1824 Sept 15 West Point NY United States Military Academy
1824 Sept 15 Newburgh NY Orange Hotel
1824 Sept 16 Poughkeepsie NY Forbus House, Poughkeepsie Hotel
1824 Sept 16 Staatsburg NY General Morgan Lewis’s
1824 Sept 16 Clermont NY Robert Livingston’s House
1824 Sept 17 Albany NY Cruttenden’s Hotel, Canal Lock, Capitol
1824 Sept 18 Troy NY Emma Willard’s Female Academy, Troy House
1824 Sept 19 Albany NY Descent of the Hudson River – Arriving at Courtland Wharf
1824 Sept 20 Manhattan NY Dinner at Washington Hall –  Park Theatre in the evening
1824 Sept 21 Manhattan NY At New York
1824 Sept 22 Manhattan NY C.D. Holden’s
1824 Sept 23 Manhattan NY City Hotel (Address by Mumford), Cincinnati entourage, James Kent

4 thoughts on “Lafayette in New York Bicentennial: His Second Trip

  1. Here is an interesting sidenote, Dr. Feinman,

    Coincidental to Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to Manhattan in late summer 1824, was an extraordinary “run” of a fish called spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) Lacepede, 1802.

    Spot is a favorite saltwater-brackish water fish not often exceeding ten-inches in length or weighing more than a pound. On the Atlantic coast, they range from Massachusetts to northern Mexico. In the Hudson River watershed, they are number 191 of 236 species on our list of fishes.

    They have also lent their presence to the lore and legend of Hudson River fishes. A while ago, when I fished commercially for American shad, I listened to those who plied their trade on the water. I consistently heard of “Lafayettes” from well-seasoned fishermen. I discovered that this was a colloquial name for an ephemeral fish called the spot and, while the name has since faded out of memory, the story remains legendary.

    After a long absence, a great “run” of spot came into the lower Hudson River in late summer 1824, coinciding with a visit from France’s Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution. The Marquis was invited to Manhattan for a parade in his honor to show the American’s gratitude for his effort on behalf of the Colonies in the American Revolution. A further honor was bestowed on the Marquis when Leiostomus xanthurus became known as the “Lafayette.”

    In recent times, the presence of spot in the river has been very sporadic as evidenced by a near absence in the New York Bight from the late 1920s until 1976. Following that return, they all but disappeared again. We now see a few each summer in seines from the lower estuary.
    – Tom Lake

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
    Consulting Estuary Naturalist, Region 3, Hudson River Estuary Program
    with New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
    21 South Putt Corners Road New Paltz NY 12561—1696

    1. Thanks, Tom. I knew about Lafayette villages, towns, parks etc., but this is the first time I heard about Lafayette fish. Something to think abut for the Lafayette Hudson Valley conference.

      Peter

  2. An interesting side note on the connections between the Revolutionary and Civil War generations is that one of Lafayette’s escorts (in 1825, he says) is a young William Henry Seward, later Lincoln’s Secretary of State (and native of our town of Warwick NY). The impact of this duty, and a later visit to Lafayette’s home in France, must have reinforced Seward’s conviction about the importance of the Union. Link to that page in Seward’s memoirs: https://archive.org/details/autobiographyofw00sewarich/page/134/mode/2up

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