Now my companion asked no questions, but I saw that his lips quivered. The name on the simple tomb was that of
Here, away from the noise of the city, amid silence chaste and sweet, without a monument, lie the remains of one of the greatest men of France. Not in Pere la Chaise, amid grandeur and fashion, but in a little private cemetery, with a cluster of extinguished nobles on one side, and a band of victims of the reign of terror on the other!
We sat down beside his tomb, grateful to the dust beneath our feet for the noble assistance which it gave to the sinking “Old Thirteen,” when the soul of Lafayette animated it. How vividly were the days of our long struggle before us. We saw Bunker Hill alive with battalions, and Charlestown lay in flames. Step by step we ran over the bitter struggle, with so much power on one side, and on the other such an amount of determination, but after all so many dark and adverse circumstances, so little physical power in comparison with the hosts arrayed against us. It was when the heart of the nation drooped with an accumulation of misfortune, that Lafayette came and turned the balance in the scales. And we were grateful to him; not so much for what he really accomplished, as for what he attempted—for the daring spirit, the noble generosity!
Then, too, I thought how Lafayette stood between the king and the people, before and after the reign of terror—thought of his devotion to France—of his stern patriotism, which would neither tremble before a king nor an infuriated rabble. Yet he was obliged to fly for life from Paris—from France. He lay in a felon’s dungeon in a foreign land, for lack of devotion to kingcraft, and could not return to France because he loved humanity too well. Was it not hard?
France has never been just to her great men. She welcomes to her bosom her most dangerous citizens, and casts out the true and the noble. She did so when she sent Lafayette away. She did so in refusing Lamartine and accepting Louis Napoleon.
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When I first visited Paris, while Louis Napoleon was president of the republic instead of emperor, I became acquainted with a young man from America who had lived seventeen years in Paris. He was thoroughly acquainted with every phase of Parisian life, from the highest to the lowest, and knew the principal political characters of the country. He was a thorough radical, and an enthusiast. He came to Paris for an education, and when he had finished it, he had imbibed the most radical opinions respecting human liberty, and as his native town was New Orleans, and his father a wealthy slaveholder, he concluded to remain in Paris. When I found him, he was living in the Latin quarter, among the students, at a cheap, though very neat hotel. He was refined, modest, and highly educated, and was