Today in French History

Today is the anniversary of the death of one Gilbert du Motier, freemason, French military officer and aristocrat who participated in both the American and French revolutions. Du Motier served in the American Revolutionary War both as a general and as a diplomat, serving entirely without pay in both roles. Later, he was to prove a key figure in the early phases of the French Revolution, and the subsequent National Constituent Assembly. He was a leading figure among the Feuillants, who tried to turn France into a constitutional monarchy, and commander of the French National Guard. He was accused by Jean-Paul Marat of responsibility for the "Massacre of the Champ de Mars" , he subsequently was forced out of a leading role in the Revolution by Jacobin-Terror anarchists. On August 19, 1792, the Jacobin party seized control of Paris and the National Assembly, ordering du Motier's arrest. He fled France and was arrested by the Austrian army in Rochefort, Belgium. Thereafter, he spent five years in various Prussian / Austrian prisons allied with the British Empire. After a strenuous effort by his wife, that was aided by the French Directory that forced Napoleon's Army toward Austria, he was released in 1797; however, Napoleon did not want du Motier to return to France and hoped he would leave forever to the United States. After three years in exile he quietly returned (aided again by his wife) and continued to be active in French and European politics until his death in 1834.

He permanently renounced the nobility and the title "Marquis" before the French National Assembly on June 19, 1790.

Due to his infamous act of attacking the Bastile, he was able to offer George Washington the present of the key to the Bastile, which is at Mount Vernon to this day.

He was known as de La Fayette until he renouced his title.

Vive Le Roy! Vive Le Roy! Vive Le Roy!

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