Monday, December 5, 2011

Adrienne de la Fayette

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life--Proverbs 31:12

He married, at the age of sixteen, the daughter of the Duke d'Ayen, of the family of Noailles--somewhat younger than himself;--and at all times the noble encourager of his virtues--the heroic partner of his sufferings--the worthy sharer of his great name and of his honorable grave. ...This admirable lady, who, in the morning of life, had sent her youthful hero from her side, to fight the battles of constitutional freedom, beneath the guidance of Washington, now goes to immure herself with him in the gloomy cells of Olmutz.--Edmund Everett, orator

Adrienne de la Fayette was born on November 2, 1759. At the age of fourteen, she married Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roche-Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de la Fayette. Lafayette sailed for America to assist the colonies in the American War for Independence and became not only a major-general in the Continental Army, but also one of Washington's closest friends.

He returned to France after the war was over and enjoyed life with his family, until the French Revolution broke out. Lafayette supported it, but only in moderation. He believed in a constitutional monarchy, not anarchy or tyranny. But the Revolution became more and more bloody, until Lafayette fled to Holland. The Austrians were at war with France and arrested Lafayette. After moving him a few times, they finally locked him up in Olmutz prison.

Adrienne had been imprisoned by the Revolutionaries and was in ever-present danger of being executed. However, the Americans were able to protect them and eventually Madame de la Fayette was released. She and her two daughters (her son Georges-Washington had been sent to America) immediately travelled to Olmutz, where they rejoined Lafayette. After a new general named Napoleon had humbled the Austrians, a peace treaty was signed and Lafayette was free.

Adrienne had sacrificed much for her husband, even (many historians believe) her health. On Christmas Eve, 1807, she died, much to the grief of Lafayette, who never remarried. Her last words were, "I am all yours".

"She is a good and amiable lady, exceedingly fond of her children...passionately attached to her husband!!! A French lady and fond of her husband!!!"--Abigail Adams

No comments:

Post a Comment