James Armistead 

A Wild Scheme

La Belle Gabrielle

A Lifetime Passion

Farewell Tour

Frances Wright
and Nashoba

Skillman Library
Lafayette College

Web exhibit drawn from
the Spring 2001 
Special Collections &
College Archives exhibit
"Lafayette and Slavery"

Curated by 
Diane Windham Shaw

Web design by 
Emelie M. George

  The Farewell Tour

Lafayette’s last visit to the United States was a fourteen-month odyssey in 1824-25 that took him to every one of the twenty-four states then in the union.  Everywhere he went during the “Farewell Tour,” as it became known, he was met with an outpouring of affection from the American people on an unprecedented scale—thousands turned out to see him at every stop and he was regaled with parades, ceremonies, balls, dinners, and toasts in his honor.  Lafayette’s status as the “Guest of the Nation,” made it awkward for him to speak publicly against slavery.  Instead, he chose to make more symbolic gestures that conveyed his interest in the welfare of African Americans.  He insisted on visiting the African Free School in New York City and publicly greeted a delegation of black War of 1812 veterans in New Orleans, shaking hands with each.  In Virginia he stopped to visit in the homes of some slaves and free blacks, and he renewed acquaintances with at least two slaves in Richmond and Savannah that he had known during the American Revolution.  He also attended a meeting of the American Colonization Society (an organization promoting the return of freed slaves to Africa) in Washington D.C., where he was made a perpetual vice president.  In private, however, Lafayette had frank discussions about slavery with his old friends Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as well as other Virginia planters.

French engraving showing Lafayette 
landing in America, greeted by 
both blacks and whites, ca. 1824
Visit to the African Free School, 
New York City, September 10, 1824

Greeting the African American War of 1812 Veterans, 
New Orleans, April 18, 1825

Annual Meeting of the American Colonization Society, 
Washington, D.C., February 19, 1825

Interview with Lafayette in the African Repository and Colonial Journal
November 1825

Visit with James Madison

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Skillman & Kirby Libraries · Lafayette College · Easton, PA 18042
Last updated 9 August 2002