tv Life and Legacy of Lafayette CSPAN February 13, 2016 9:12pm-10:02pm EST
at the maiden voyage of this trip. [applause] i wonder about how much i could say to, and i wrote two pages of notes last night. i thought to myself, no, that is what the book is for. if you really want to know, you can consult the book. it is 446 pages, it is illustrated, and my wife says, it moves around -- moves along really rapidly. [laughter] mr. miller: the story of lafayette is quite profound. he was born to wealth. in central france. called auvergne, and he grew in his early years and a chateau there called chavaniac.
the town has since changed its name to chavaniac lafayette. and it is confirmed that almost anybody was some relationship, say through marriage, can have the name of a famous person to their own name. rather nice. lafayette never knew his father. his father was killed in battle against the british at age two. and he was raised by his very plain, but wise grandmother. .t chavaniac his own mother was much happier living in the palace in paris. which, of course, after the kings moved out, it was turned over for nobility to live there, and as you probably know, now is course, the- and of
park is still there. it is a pretty place to visit and get the french flavor. which i certainly enjoy. and, he was treated like a prince. as a young lad. what thenew very early story of his family was. that, he came from the blood of nights, course through his blood system. he was an early challenger. unfortunately, his mother remained in paris, pretty much, and the boys stayed with his grandmother. eventually, unfortunately, well, i'm getting ahead of my story, but anyway, his mother invited him to come to paris and
enroll in school, which he did. and then, she died when he was 11. although she did not care for chavaniac, she is buried in the church there. he very quickly, his father had been killed in germany. killed by the british. and napoleon bonaparte, in battle. and lafayette, early on, decided that he did not like the british. unfortunately, -- or for chile, as the case may be, at the age a very impressive scholar and close friend and soldier and scientist, and soon-to-be father-in-law, or very close to,
louis the 15th, not only had an apartment at versailles, but also a mansion, a palace that you might they, and the town of versailles. he had great flexibility, so at the age of 16, lafayette married -- adrienne. she was nobility. it was a step up in his life. -- something he probably will not know because it has not been published in english, but it hasn't french, by a man who had a personal interest in it. lafayette soonat would be a cadets, a student cadet for the royals.
he was strapping. about my height, i would say. headstall foral the family, a large nose, and his four head when back. he actually was the head of cadets for a wild. and he would go out to hunt with the king. xiv.alking about louis and the king led been in office for 60 years. louis xv, apres moi, le deluge. after me, the flight. he cannot do anything about it, because he cannot find his battles either.
we think of louis the 15th as a man of great taste. he was known as much beloved, and then there would be a sni gger because he was a --. he would have a bunch of girls brought in for his elect patient. and so forth. died.y or another, he and i of the most horrible disease. smallpox. his body was sealed up, and take into a different location where the kings were buried. and was forgotten. his grandson, then, would become s xvi.nd that was loui when lafayette was living at versailles, learning, he also learned what louis was like.
he was the duke at the time. his younger brothers, all three of them would become kings of france. was sent to the town in france. it was then, it is now. he did not have much to do. i wanted to tell you particularly about the -- you know that he attended a famous dinner, the dinner was held by his -- who is very eager to find out what was going on in the colonies, the american colonies. anything that he could find out, because he was also, of course, opposed to england maintaining the country, because, in the seven years war, some 30 years
loss to theking british. loss holdings in the new world. into a chance, how are they ever going to get back? get back the british. i should tell you something that most people don't know, i don't think. that the population of the british isles, at the time, was about 8 million people. and the population of france was 20 million people. educated were very far and few between. the nobility, which managed everything, people in the field, most people were of a foreign background. and then, -- [indiscernible] decisiveness,eat
one of the theories that i like to talk about is before the industrial revolution, wonderful furniture, you know french, 18th-century nerd -- 18 century furniture, you know how elegant it is. time was not important. in those days. time, however long it took, it cannot really matter. with the industrial age, which really is, of course coming from britain, time became as important as labor and material. and so, suddenly, everything changed. when lafayette lived, for the most part, there was a group of french economists, known as the liberalthey gave a look, they felt that the economy of most countries dependent on farming. you can see how far we have come from that point of view.
because, with the industrial revolution, the whole thing changed. in the midst of all of this, was the famous party and the duke of gloucester was coming. he had a new wife, and his iii did not like, because she was called illegitimate. so they were touring europe. and the commandant, his name was [indiscernible] -- he married an extremely -- famous family and friends. she was the only one -- the only woman who came to this dinner. and lafayette was there. and the person who was older than he was, he was in his 50's at the time, was john. famous they know how
word dekalb is in the united states for cities and things like that. of --.an agent who had trained him. he was about six foot, five feet -- 6'5" inches. began one of the ones who this wonderful experiments about would come to aid the americans. 25-50 frencheady officers before lafayette came there. skirmishes and battles. before he arrived, trenton had happened. so, one of the things i wanted to point out, my friend who i give credit to for giving me the french viewpoint on many things, his name is.
jacques. lafayette did not have enough. he was not old enough. he was barely 19. somehow, the -- with his legally acquired wealth had a longhand and getting us all set up. at first, he did not want lafayette to go, you are young father, he will destroy your family if you don't come back. over, and the ship, on its return, sank, and charleston harbor. it hit a boulder and went down. the interesting thing is lafayette always said that in -- hull of- the hall
the ship, it looks something like the mayflower, perhaps a little smaller, about 40 crew. 15 french officers who went along. and i did not tell you that the -- was also a master spy. v.der louis x i came in, he won to make sure that nothing went wrong. he came up with a magnificent way to attack the british isles. and the young king said, no, no. --. is why -- became then, [indiscernible] went the best officers
over with lafayette to serve in the american army, and yet each -- told each one of them, and what you to report back to me, but he did not tell the others, so in other words, he told each one, but he did not tell the other person that they were reporting back. , there was an old -- it wasn't all trading ship. gone up and down the atlantic many times. [indiscernible] they had also brought munition. hold with mostly brass cannons and canon parts. extensively you know, but even the father of created a newry
form and better form of gun power -- gunpowder that was so much better than what the british had. there was a very prominent playwright, clint also worked very closely with the king, was a secretary. he was the one who started the --. it was a company that was supposed to be shipping over farming equipment. that's what he thought. heavy industrial things. to the point that before the americans, lafayette landed. he landed 26 miles north of charleston, s.c.. they managed to
find some black men around. where can we go? they said, find our master. -- spoke english. he had been to the united states before. he had a secret. they go to congress and see if on --.uld like to take as the new commander-in-chief. because, george washington was losing the war. this man had been very successful. he was short. had a lot of european connections. he thought he could bring all of those. he was convinced. even know he didn't know english, and he did not know the frontierng about
fighting. he thought he could do it. his master plan was to become king of the new republic. unfortunately, or fortunately, the called -- dekalb said that there was no way that was going to happen. he found that the american congress was so tired up, doing anything, that of course, -- were never want to go there and be in such a paltry situation. it was hard for the french officers not to say something about how the americans were draft. anyway, lafayette manages over six weeks, buys all kinds of things. get, after six weeks, to philadelphia. of course, by that time, congress had had its fill with french officers who could look
down their noses at how bad things were. but were not very successful or do not speak english. lafayette made a very strong effort to learn english, on the ship, as much as he could. and very quickly, because had every intention, and i will tell you some thing else, when he met george washington, shortly after , first he wrote to john hancock -- it was a masonic symbol and he wrote back to john hancock, who i believe was the president of the congress at the time, to move this along. finally, lafayette was tired, but they never expected him to be more than an observer. they did not know what his plans were. this, heu to imagine came over with two servants, can you imagine him at valley forge in the americans are bleeding all over the snow and he is there with two servants?
uniform, whichnt he had a lot to do with the design on? lafayette,at, but, in his initial coming over, to flintlockhim battle pistols, which were a gift to george washington. to a pointl down where, when he came back after the success of the revolution, and after years there. he took a tour through -- he was invited by his dear friends, president james monroe to come over, and i cannot help but think of james monroe and think, it was known as the age of good feeling. and how different it is from our politics today. it was the end, it was pretty much the end of the federalist party.
the whole thing, the election, when andrew jackson does not win. he did win the next one. years after the revolution, invited back, comes over, and he realizes that he is to lay the invited cornerstone of bunker hill monument, which was a masonic, endeavor. when he didn't realize, by the time it was there, he would travel through all between for states and have lots of wonderful inventions. but he found out, when he got there, and he was welcomed by daniel webster, -- [indiscernible]
a fortunate, fortunate man, he goes on to say what -- with a spark of electricity brought the new world to the old. anyway, i will leave that. and tell you that lafayette had a choice, finally, of what troops he would need, and it turned out he chose washington's virginia to be commander there. as adventures are very, very interesting, and of course, it overlaps with the treachery of benedict arnold, who was an american hero. and one of lafayette's embarrassments. inbe asked by the congress york, pennsylvania, by then, forced to move inland, because of the british taking over new york, etc.. to command an invasion of canada.
and he is driving in the dead of winter, on his horse, writing up there, and he finds out that there are insufficient supplies, and he had boys and old men, who are the ones who are supposed to instruct and be the fighters, and he realizes that he has been had. certain was that congressmen did not like washington and they wanted to separate lafayette from him, and he was very close. lafayette never gave up where he stood, in terms of what his record was. back, he wasent really chagrined. he said, i cannot go back to france, i will be absolutely laughed at. washington said, no, you will fight another day. of course, he did, and virginia, and it was he, who had all of the troops. ill that he was
particular day, and he was able andelcome george washington another down from the north. and the battle began, and of course, one of my heroes is alexander hamilton. who, was the first one over the barricades. he said, i want to do this. and lafayette pulled one of his people back. and off they went. -- was like a very the private secretary to george washington. ofway, all of the excitement the british coming up. lafayette, crossed the atlantic eight times and was usually seasick each time. french came how the
over and gobbled up lord cornwallis, and i even found a message that lord cornwallis sent to lafayette, asking for an exchange of troops. each had captured members of the other side and they wanted to get them back. i presume that that occurred. but he also, cornwallis also said, please leave enough time for them to get back before you start warfare again. one interesting thing, to show you how different those times are from now, is i have never found a letter or such that mentions lord cornwallis that does not call him lord cornwallis or general cornwallis, i think there was a basic respect that he is probably the best general the british sent to america. he is usually credited with that. mentioning brandywine, which is
really the first battle. that lafayette took part in. and he was shot through the left calf and rode home to his wife and was fine. she was so proud that he shed blood for america. later in his life, he fell in the ice near a hotel in paris. [indiscernible] they put him into a device in which they tried to mechanically pull his legs so they would go back into -- may contact. i assume it was the femur that was broken. but, he developed a lifelong need to use a cane. he was about 64 years all, when he came over 40 years later. what i would like to stress out, is toime runs
say that one of the great things was when he came back, he quickly realized that the military was not going to be enough for him. and he became -- he ran for office and was elected four times to the chamber of deputies. in france, which is the equivalent of the house of representatives over here. and his son, who stayed with george washington at mount vernon at one point, was right beside him. elected from a different district. and they were liberals, of course. they sat on the left side. , i of the great moments isnk you'll enjoy reading, when napoleon was defeated at the battle of waterloo in belgium. someone came to the chamber and said, the emperor wishes to return and lafayette stood up at the meeting in the chamber and
just think, i cannot quote it exactly, but just think how many people died on the way in egypt under napoleon. , somethingy died like 400,000 died marching on russia. know, i have read this reason they, they found some of the balance and let the wind yet of the french soldiers and they have found that the bones in the hands and the feet are deformed from carrying their packages on their backs. there were materials. even though, lafayette owed a great deal to napoleon, anyway, in his career as a general of the north, of the -- repel the,
invasion and depressions and the austrians -- depressions and the -- prussians. [indiscernible] he was an aristocrat. he gave up his title willingly. he was opposed to the old system. the aristocratic system. he was four, and this is the important thing, he was for the right of everyone, not just the aristocracy, or the nobles, so brilliantly and spent five years in an unknown wild, controlled by austria.
the world lost touch. there even plays written about lafayette, where is he? songs are written. lots of information on that at lafayette college in eastern pennsylvania, which was kind enough to lend me some old illustrations. i think we have about 15 minutes for questions. from the audience. i could tell you a lot more, of course, -- [applause] [indiscernible] mr. miller: this is a painting
of a -- 13 feet long that hangs in the location in paris. something i was not able to get in. moments ofthe high something called the --. festival of the federation. --, a yearall of the 1790, hend in organized this place. i bet a lot of you have been where it was. this is where the eiffel tower stands today. the three blocks that go down that way, they made benches along the side. there are seats along the side. there were 20 masses that were set inside during the thing, and
the extreme left, you will see lafayette source -- lafayette source, he wrote into the ceremony and was absently supreme at that moment, except at the pavilion on the side. new status.ing the he is still king. king of the french. not the king of france. semantics. they made great deal in terms of politics at the time. it would take six years from july 14th,time of 1790, until he was actually tried and went to his death. as you may know, he was innocent. i claim in the book that he was absolutely guilty, because he and marie antoinette wrote to
her brother in austria to have the austrian army and the prussian army come in and defeats the french army and restore them to their majesty. to me, that is treason. great question. >> any other questions? let me have you speak into the microphone please. accepted asette part of the revolutionary people in france? mr. miller: no. great question. he really wasn't. to moderate. for the rebels. he was despised by the aristocrats. he had to find his mental way, -- middle way, and he never developed what i would call a constituency.
you might ask why, and i think i know why, because he was asked to be a policeman in his early years before the revolution it -- revolution that going. he was the one who dismantled the bastille and got rid of it. he had trumpeters go out to announce that it was happening. he had a wonderful sense of public relations. terrific, i have to tell you little bit about him personally, they always said, there's an old saying that you can always tell i,eone who grew up at first -- add versailles, he was extremely courtly, yet a way of sort of picking up your vibrations. and knowing how you work. he was honest, but a born politician, no question about that. it just so happens that he did not agree with the king, and certainly, he did not agree with murray and when at. later in his life, his liberal -- liberalral ants
aunts. you is in prison, his wife went there with an american passport, given to her through james monroe, who would later invite lafayette to tour the country, american passport, which latter to travel. over to france. down to vienna. then she went to the king, the emperor, and said, we would like might -- my daughters and i would like to join my husband in the present. he is treated so well there. actually, it was the most vile place you ever imagine. she came away with a terrible affliction. vermin infested straw. they took a way the girls silver forks may have tea with their hands. as did lafayette.
he had shrunken away and went bald. that is another thing. he was rather vain. something on top of his head. when he traveled to the united states, he also came with his lafayettee washington , and his public relations man, who wrote a book in english and france about the trip, and i borrowed liberally from that. it is fascinating. there are about nine chapters in which he travels with lafayette and goes through all of the broken down roads. all of the troubles and so forth. the one that is really fascinating is on the ohio river. mechanic, which is a flat steamboat. in the dark, it hits a boulder off of indiana, and begin sinking immediately. sees his lafayette
correspondence, and his trunks and so forth floating out into the dark into the ohio river and he loses track of where george is. he was 64 years old at the time. i should also mention, because of all the trousers regulations of living in those arrows, people aged tremendously. unlike today. 65, he thoughtof of himself as a very old man. and he was. be 76.d to he made many friends. constantly. the writers just swarmed to him. who wrote "the last of the
mohicans?" cooper. that's right. his on select him a townhouse, about a block away from a palace. who knows what might have happened if lafayette was there to be called upon? he had an apartment. i know what he ate. he loved to eat roast chicken. dates. dessert he loved being a reporter, cooper would ask him, what were they like? what was marie antoinette like? what was thinking like?
he would get his impressions of them. louis xviii was the worst. he had an interesting relationship with him. xviii had gone to the rebel government and said, if you do a way with my brother, i would be willing to be the next king. [laughter] mr. miller: lafayette is head of the police at the time, had those papers. xviii new that he had them into now want to bring up the subject. as far as i know, they never brought it up officially. that meant that lafayette could do a lot. he sided with the -- after napoleon was defeated, he sided politicians,leon
who are pretty much gotten rid of by the new conservative government under the new king. when he was in america, louis xviii died. he was having dinner in alexandria went the secretary came in and said that he died. he said he could not imagine x would be any better. and he was not. he was a religious man. he wanted to impose religion on everyone. it got to be really happy. he would move people around. politicians, they would be in his favor, and were supporting him, and they were not good enough any change them quickly, and doubt they would go. and you people come in. but never anything better. job, the way that lafayette
in, a new man came mandat. chamberragged into the and as he came out, with his son, he was shot on the steps, and his body -- i think his body was thrown into the seine, right then and there. of course, the ks began. -- chaos began. said that nobody knew about the maelstrom that was coming. i've read the book. , theuality of narrative storytelling aspect to it, not just the bits of information of
reality and events that existed at the time, but i said to myself, as i was reading it, i read it several times, i thought i was right there with them. one of the things, early on, i learned, was that lafayette the united states, even before he got here. when he was a teenager. he read some things about the events that were going on. he loved liberty. freedom. religious toleration. and those things are expressed in the book. i know they he must've had something to do with the united states and valley forge, i did not know that yet a father-son relationship with george washington. when he leaves the united states, the gentleman asked about the french revolution, i was overwhelmed with how -- what
an important job he had in that revolution. he was head of the entire national guard. i cannot emphasize, again, how important he was. he end up in jail. yeah kind of a mixed relationship when it came to the french revolution. he was for those principles and freedoms and so forth that we associate with the french. but, he was close to the monarchy. for all of this violence and so forth that we associate with it. he spent several years in jail. again, the same thing. the thingdescribe that happens to people that are in jail, you feel like you are right there with them. one of the major things that stuck with me is how much time he devoted to slavery in the united states. and donald goes into it.
many people in france were very conscious of slavery. they were strong abolitionists. the question i was going to ask you, or rather the comment i was going to ask about, i was interested in learning that he and jefferson were marvelous friends, too. he stayed at monticello and all of that stuff. it was about the time that slavery was beginning to be spread with the missouri compromise and so forth. it was going west. he had a total different than jefferson of what that would do to slavery it self -- itself. as it spread, it would be good, that is what jefferson said. it would be diluted and fade away. lafayette wrote back, just the opposite. but i was interested in that whole subject, and the emphasis that you place on not just lafayette, but his friends who are interested in our abolition. and one little and go, because you mention hamilton.
hamilton has been in the news kind of a bit, he has written some books. -- he kind ofat hamilton shooting and he gets killed. and the last thing that donald says is, one year ago, hamilton duelas killed in a dual -- , defending the honor of his father. mr. miller: in the same place. >> in the same place. i was interested in the rain leather -- letter between lafayette and jefferson about the difference and what was great to happen to slavery. opposed to he was it. in fact, one of the many things that i could tell you is that he in his wife set up a farm french guiana in the tropics,
where 120 black people were invited to earn their freedom by working on the farm. it lasted seven years and was destroyed by the rebels in paris when they came to power. favor always very much in of equal rights for all. start it withto george washington. that is what led him, when george was too busy, a southern gentleman and all of that sort of thing, in getting ready for the new presidency. he never did. lafayette referred to lafayette's idea about freedom as his favorite hobby horse. he actually started to create a new, similar farm in tallahassee. in florida. he never came over for that, he
thought it would be good to grow wine there. it did not pan out. one of the strange -- have you -- having a blind spot here. francis wright? known as danny ht?ght -- fanny wrigt she started a similar farm in the worst way she could have chosen, which was called nashoba. near memphis. it did not last. she was born the same day as lafayette. september 6. she had inherited money, too. when that did not work out, she took all of her black friends and failed to haiti and made sure that they were accommodated there. there is so much more to this story. one of the things i thought to bring up to our time, is that in
nameda wealthy frenchman, pierre, does anybody remember him? 30 years later, he was the collaborationist premiere of france, who worked very closely with the nazis. in 1935, he provided the money that allowed his daughter and her husband, who was a direct descendent of lafayette to eventually restore lafayette's , but they didteau not take over until the 1950's. suddenly, they were up in the attic one day and they found a false wall. behind the wall, where lafayette's books and documents. and those have been translated onto microfilm, 64 microphones and they are in four locations in this country. of course, the library of congress, it took an active congress to do it.
it cost $300,000 in 1950's to do that. and the outgoing secretary of the library of congress was responsible for overseeing the program. thank you much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ornia. so all of us have skin in the game and want to put an next on c-span3. the 1966ck 50 years to vietnam hearings. these are the first televised hearings on the vietnam war. we will see a special report and cbs coverage of the hearings. i began with senate historian -- we begin with senate historian
emeritus donald richie. >> the vietnam hearings were some of the most extraordinary hearings ever held by congress. they were an investigation in to a war that was still being fought. congress and the senate wanted to know why we were in vietnam, what the administration's policies were, and they wanted to hear from opponents of the war. they give equal status to critics as they did supporters. iswas a real debate and that something that does not happen in wartime. in wartime, everyone rallies around the flag and there is general agreement. the reason was, we never had a declaration of war or a congressional debate. 1954, -- president lyndon