Here is a good place to describe a list of your hobbies, projects or interests.
Lafayette Adrienne Business woman
After she escaped death and after she was released but before she obtained more subsides and loans from Georges Washington and Governor Morris, Adrienne de LAFAYETTE who was living part of the time at Chavaniac Auvergne went through many periods when she had no money and had to ask one of her former maids to renew at the maid expenses her newspaper subscriptions.
In this times of great uncertainty and poverty when Aristocrats were still enemies of the People, Adrienne quest to purchase newspapers could seem to be frivolous.
On the contrary the titles she requested: The Patriot Francais, The Feuillants, the Debats.: showed us that they were political newspapers where her fate and the fate of her husband could be detected by studying the articles in theses newspapers.
On one hand she was still the very devout Marquise with old aristocratic education where women were taught nothing of any use in France after the French Revolution. In addition for the last ten years she had been the wife of the rich and famous hero General Lafayette, at this time French and English dignitaries where courting her and all her wishes were met without Adrienne having to beg or even to ask twice. From this status of semi Goddesses she went to be a prisoner with no rights. None of these lives prodded her into being a thinking, organized, good negotiator.
Below is a testimony of her brilliant organized mind, she had to learn so much, so fast but she succeeded and become a very organized business woman:
Article 3 and 4 of her memorandum
Article 3: Everyone knows that it is possible to do very well by buying back one's own property for a few years revenues and that it suffices to give a small sum in cash. We ought not to lose sight of the probable time when Gilbert will be struck off ( the list of emigres) and be reinstated in his estate.
Article 5: If one succeeds in buying back all or part of the lands sold 9 after being seized by the government), it is necessary to refrain from repurchasing the small, separated parcels, which are always sold at a higher price because there is competition. And the neighboring property owner, administering them without cost, always has a great advantage over us. whereas in buying larger parcels, there is less competition, and the purchaser who has acquired them from the nation has almost always made an effort above his means. This dispose him to arrangements profitable to the original owner.
The blossoming of a brilliant mind is always a feast when we study history.
What are the elements that allowed her to be so successful.
Above all a great intelligence allowing her to learn, assimilate and use for the best all the information she had to gather at great speed.
Then and indomitable courage: Winston Churchill said: " Intelligence without courage is useless"
She had both.
She was a daughter of unproductive Aristocracy and the three elements that helped shape Adrienne into a brilliant courageous woman came from various sources.
The first element was the fact that fortunately for Adrienne, her mother made of her daughter a literate avid learner a crucial element in the blossoming of the mind.
The second element is contained in the fact that most Americans in contact with her ( Governor Morris a great financier among others) were skilled business men. There is no doubt that before the revolution Adrienne was not the business women she would show in the later years. It is important to note that French aristocracy was not known for its business sense.
The third element was the long absences of her Husband the Marquis when he was in the United States of America helping Americans become free from English tyranny. These absences that lasted years forced Adrienne to become more independent and able to take on more responsibilities.
I am offering you my dear readers:
Adrienne de Lafayette; A martyr, an heroine, and exemplary mother, a loving wife, and a business woman when they were few,
Adrienne rescuing fortune and family 7
Adrienne de Lafayette was a young woman whose zone of comfort was a universe where all decisions were taken by her Mother then her husband. It was a universe where she was living in extreme wealth, where she was surrounded by servants, lackeys and butlers helping her avoid any annoying task, where she did not have to decide anything or god forbid negotiate anything.
How this amazing woman was able to literally leap out of her zone of comfort into the cruel and dangerous world of the French Revolution and surpass with her deeds all French men of her epoch and class is astounding. She had to make very difficult decisions days after days. She spent many of theses terrifying years begging not for herself but for her family and negotiating important purchases for the sake of her husband.
This leap was gigantic and it was done in the middle of the most dreadful period of French History called: "The Terror" 1793 the bloodiest year during the French Revolution.
When her husband was arrested and all of their domains were confiscated, she was literally destitute and crumbling under the burden of very important debts.
She the daughter of one of the most illustrious aristocratic families in France ( Noailles and Ayen) and in the past one of the richest women in France had to resort to begging money from her husband's friends (All her Friends were in jail or ruined). Putting her pride aside she begged George Washington to come to her aid.
Washington had already sent her money twice before he received letters of supplication from Adrienne and upon receiving another letter he sent her a third payment.
Through Governor Morris the American Ambassador to France who even after resigning his ambassadorship stayed in Paris as an efficient observer of the Revolution she received 100,000 livres as a personal loan from Morris to settle the Lafayette's debts.. In addition Governor Morris put aside 10,000 florins in an account in Amsterdam) to be used to give better care to General Lafayette in Prison. More money would be sent much later to the Lafayettes by the United States Congress in reimbursement of Lafayette's expenses for the clothing and arms he personally provided to the soldiers under his command during the revolutionary war. Among many of his expenses in the very beginning of the war he bought a ship to come and fight for the USA. He had spent 1.5 millions livres of his fortune in helping the USA gain their freedom. It is my estimate that 1.5 millions livres if you use purchasing power as a calculating tool could amount between 30 to 50 million dollars in 2010 US Dollars.
George Washington, most of the founding fathers and many leaders of the American congress as well as of Lafayette's American friends were men of great ethics and great sense of honor. The action they took to help General Lafayette and Adrienne Lafayette showed the rare metal they were forged with.
There is no doubt in my mind that the reason the United States of America became such a flourishing nation is due to the extraordinary quality of their founding fathers.
At this time their was no doubt in the minds of the founding father and in the minds of most of the citizens of the United States that they owed their last victory thus their independence to France who used its navy adequately to win one of the few victories ever against the British fleet and then landed an experienced corps of Marine with heavy artillery that was decisive in the victory at Yorktown. It was Lafayette's tireless sponsoring of the American cause that convinced the French government to send such a fleet and such an Army.
Government and politicians all over the world are known to be incredibly ungrateful.
The founding fathers were a different breed, they were men of honor. A man, General Lafayette gave them a decisive victory through which their country obtained its independence. They personally did everything in their power to help him and his family in their times of sorrow and misery. The first beneficiary of their gratitude and high ethical behavior was Adrienne de Lafayette.
The Marquis de Lafayette came very close to establishing a communion between the French people and their king at the "Fete de la Federation" commemorating July the fourteenth, Bastille Day.
At this blessed period for the Marquis de Lafayette he had the unconditional love of the French People and had convinced the king to accept a moderate Constitution.
In fact the Fete de la Federation of the 14th of July 1790 could be seen as the height of the popularity for General Lafayette. At this very instant he could have become the master of France, he was so popular that he could have been elected president, in the heart of the French People he should be their leader.
A French deputy Adrienne Duquesnoy wrote about him an opinion that was shared by the majority of France.
"He is truly the man of the Revolution, whose posterity will recognize as the true creator of French Liberty. Think what he could have done if he had not had an honest soul, and say if you know many men in history to compare with him. Absolute master of an immense army that obeys him blindly and discipline itself every day, strong in the enthusiasm of the people and the esteem of the public, what could he not have done if he had been wicked."
He was so popular with the army of the people that he received 144 letters from National Guard commanders of different provincial towns addressed to General Lafayette as the Paris National Guard commander asking him to be able to enroll their guard's regiment under his banner and to serve under his leadership.
His answer to this popular fervor was to reject the honor the French People and the French deputies wanted to bestow on him because as he said: "That would be too much power in my hands." The constant thread throughout Lafayette life was his relentless adherence to the principles of Democracy.
The French People were with him and the King told him that he would accept the Constitution Lafayette had designed with strong powers for the king.
Lafayette was on the verge of succeeding in achieving an almost blood less French Revolution establishing a Constitutional monarchy.
The spectators of the 14th of July 1790 Fete de la Nation would almost unanimously remember the King's speech as very warm and obliging towards his nation and the cheers he received as well as the iconic figure of General Lafayette.
By trying to reconcile his ideals of freedom within a constitutional Monarchy and his inclination to bring together the king and the people of France, he unfortunately alienated the right wing part of the king's advisers with queen Marie Antoinette his fiercest opponent even though he saved her life and the extreme left wing of the Revolutionary leaders who believed Lafayette was too protective of the King.
All his moderate good intentions were criticized by the extremists from the two parties.
What went so wrong that we will find General Lafayette in a horrible jail and his wife Adrienne in another jail waiting to be executed?
The answer in short has three components:
1)Betrayal by the French King influenced by his wife Marie Antoinette, the king reneged on all his promises.
2)Anger and betrayal by his former allies who believed he was too cozy with the king. Because he had become de facto the only armed force around the king and had to protect the king against the people of Paris he was perceived as the king's ally by the left wing.
3) A dramatic shift of power in the French assembly that went from moderate to left wing extremism.
The result was that General Lafayette the hero was hounded by all the people of the extreme left and the extreme right and had to flee for his life abroad.
He was convicted a criminal and his wife was hounded too as the wife of a criminal. At this moment her life toppled over and she entered a path of extraordinary bravery and became the Heroine we admire so much instead of abandoning the fight and allowing her family to perish.
MADAME LAFAYETTE TO THE RESCUE
Through her actions Adrienne Marquise de Lafayette was the ultimate unsung heroine. She was living in one of the most dangerous period in the History of France.
Firts Let's describe the complex context and unstable background where the story of her life unfolded
In 1794 during the French revolution the left wing extremists seized power following a coup that rejected the French Constitution. They installed a regime now remembered as the reign of terror or more often as The Terror.
The Terror started under Danton and was continued even more forcefully by Robespierre. Makeshift tribunals were formed to condemn aristocrats and perceived enemies of the regime.
These Tribunals were called Revolutionary Tribunals and their judgment had only one outcome: beheading by Guillotine. The list of suspects was drafted by the Committee of Public Safety and by the Committee of General Security from proposals that came from a popular commission.
These tribunals were already a mockery of justice, but they were rendered even worse and more dangerous by the infamous Law of 22 Prairial (June 10 1794) which forbade prisoners to employ counsel for their defense, suppressed the hearing of witnesses and made the death penalty the only possible outcome.
Before 22 Prairial the Revolutionary Tribunal had pronounced 1,220 death-sentences in thirteen months; during the forty-nine days between the passing of the law and the fall of Robespierre 1,376 persons were condemned, including many innocent victims.
At this time Madame de Lafayette was already in prison ready to be brought immediately in front of the Revolutionary Tribunals to be judged.
In addition to Adrienne de Lafayette, her Grandmother, her Mother and her Sister had been arrested and sent to prison. They were members of France's highest nobility, the Noailles family.
All of the Noailles women except for Adrienne de Lafayette herself from the Noailles family were promptly beheaded after they were condemned by the Tribunal.
The question is, "Why Adrienne Marquise de Lafayette, born a Noailles, wasn't brought in front of the Tribunal and beheaded?"
In addition of being an Aristocrat, she was the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette who was then marked as an outlaw in his own country by the left wing terror regime. She should have been executed before all the women of her family
Days passed, one after the other, and she was still in prison but alive. What happened to keep her alive?
A miracle had happened, an American miracle. George Washington had sent numerous letters to Governor Morris his Ambassador in France asking him to unofficially do whatever he could to help the two Lafayettes. Governor Morris in transition to relinquish is ambassador duties, wrote a remarkable letter to the Committee of exterior relations a committee under the supervision of the Committee of Public Safety, a letter highlighting the fact that Madame and the Marquis Lafayette were adored in the USA and alluded that the USA could be a powerful ally to France in the future. His letter was a good example of the offer of a stick and a carrot. When his letter was not acknowledged he went to some members of the Committee of Public Safety and repeated his arguments, offering the stick and the carrot once again.
Robespierre was unable to remain immune to these arguments, but overtly rescuing a Noailles-Lafayette from the guillotine was suicidal for him or any leader involved in The Terror. Fortunately he had major control of all the steps leading to the Tribunal and everyone on the committees either feared him or owed him something. The day before prisoners were summoned to the court, the files of the prisoners were prepared and stacked up to be given to the court the next day. He arranged that EVERYDAY or every other day Madame de Lafayette's file would be taken from the top of the pile and be moved to the very bottom. And every day or every other day this magical slight of hand which buried her file was repeated to make sure that Madame de Lafayette's file would never be sent to the Revolutionary Tribunal who would have her executed by beheading her with the guillotine.
The intervention of the USA Ambassador to France, Governor Morris was the miracle that saved Adrienne Marquise de Lafayette. It was the first of many actions the Americans took as thank you gestures demonstrating how much they appreciated France's help in their fight for freedom.
You may think that this miracle was wonderful by itself but it gets much better. Robespierre was executed and the reign of Terror ended, but even though many Aristocrats were freed Adrienne Marquise de Lafayette was still a prisoner and the French government did not want to free her. Again the question was, "Who would free her?"
The person who freed her was James Monroe the future President of the USA who had replaced Governor Morris as American Ambassador in Paris. Ambassador Monroe's wife went to visit Adrienne Marquise de Lafayette and was appalled at the conditions of her existence. The Ambassador accompanied his wife in visits to the Marquise on many occasions until it became incredibly embarrassing for the French Government to read in the press about the attachment of the American Ambassador and his wife for this wonderful lady. In fact Madame Lafayette was not guilty . She was finally released due to the support of Ambassador Monroe and his wife.
She immediately began to do everything she could to have her husband freed while at the same time she continued fighting tooth and nail, brains and persistence, to finalize buying back the Domain of the Marquis de Lafayette located in Auvergne and reorganizing it. Her fight to regain her husband's domain was funded with money borrowed from Governeur Morris and personal funds given by George Washington before her emprisonment. This was an amazing accomplishment for an Aristocrat during these times. This remarkable woman managed to successfully complete this difficult and extremely tiresome task. She also managed to buy back a smaller domain.
But It gets even better.
After she reorganized the estates of the Marquis de Lafayette she asked for an audience with Francis II, Roman Emperor also known as Francis I, Austrian Emperor. Because she was a member of the nobility and he had met members of her family in the past he granted her an audience. He braced himself to rebuke her demand to free her husband the Marquis de Lafayette, but she asked instead to be allowed to be a prisoner with him at Olmutz one of the most horrible prison-fortresses of these times. The Empereur was so startled that he agreed to let her become a prisoner. She went to Olmutz with her two daughters and was given a cell next to Lafayette and allowed about three hours of visitations rights each day.
When the rest of the European world learned about her voluntary captivity so that she could be close to her husband she became an instant heroine and through her dedication she again drew attention to the Marquis de Lafayette. Without his wife Adrienne, the Marquis de Lafayette would probably have withered into oblivion and death.
Adrienne Marquise de Lafayette became the ultimate heroine when she demonstrated her absolute courage as well as her absolute virtue.
Her gesture of unselfish and absolute love had consequences she had not expected. Across the western world she become an instant celebrity even in anti-French England. Her exploits were widely publicized and rightly so. In America her deeds made her famous and beloved, and the love of the American people swelled into a gigantic wave filled with poems, songs and articles written in the honor of the couple.
However, conditions in the prison were so unhealthy with foul air, scarce food and infestations of insects in her cell that she became extremely ill with blisters all over her body. She was literally dying and a doctor was asked to visit. She was a prisoner, but she was a member of the highest levels of the aristocracy and the doctor had to send a message to Emperor Francis II asking that the prisoner be conducted to the best doctor in Vienna. The Emperor agreed under the condition that she would not return to prison. Being the truly loving wife she was, she refused to go to Vienna and see the best doctor preferring to stay in jail with her beloved husband and risk dying
Her health continued to decline, she was dying. Would there be another miracle to save this saint or would she die in prison? Well, there were no more miracles left but her iron will. She spend the last two years of her imprisonment withering away in bad heath but with so much determination to stay alive to be with her beloved husband that she did not die.
Napoleon Bonaparte not yet an Emperor but as a General of the Revolutionary Army, vanquished the Austrians in a succession of battles and Austria asked for a peace resulting in the Treaty of Campo Formio (17 October 1797.) Even though it had not been one of Napoleon's wishes, the negotiations about the release of the Lafayette Family were part of the treaty, and it was again American Diplomats who pushed to hurry the negotiations and made the accommodations for them to be sent to their family in Belgium. After two years in Belgium. The Marquis de Lafayette decided to return to France against Napoleon orders and settled in his domain previously bought back by his wife. Thanks of his wife tireless sollicitations he and his family were not homeless.
They spent the next few years very happy together because the Marquis was more or less confined to his estates and he had become very much in love with his wife.
To be brave and a man charging the ennemy when you are 22 years old raised in a Military family believing as all young persons that you are immortal is very easy.
Fighting tooth and nail against an horrible bureaucracy that hates Aristocrats and condescend on women, fighting when in prison, fighting when out of prison, begging tiredlessly, following the most difficult path, challenging death, that is true bravery.
Eric Lafayette March 2010
Madame Legros and the fall of the Bastille.
Who was most instrumental in making the huge fortress prison La Bastille a building that had to be destroyed?
The Mighty People of Paris or Madame Legros an average housewife?
Her name is not even mentioned in most History books, she is the perfect unsung Heroine
The fall of the fortress prison La Bastille took place on the 14th of July 1789, and is celebrated in France as the 14 Juillet and in French Communities all over the world as Bastille Day.
It was the early days of the French Revolution, The people of France were extremely hungry. Many were starving while the aristocracy and the Fermiers Generaux or government agents in charge of buying and collecting wheat were making fortunes as well as spending their fortunes extravagantly.
The people of Paris witnessed the luxurious lifestyles of the Fermier Generaux at the same time they were unable to buy a loaf of bread for themselves and their families because of the cost of bread was so inflated.
A perfunctory start for the events leading to the fall of the Bastille was a speech by General Lafayette. On Saturday 11 of July 1789 Lafayette spoke at the National Assembly and read an important text he had written, "La declaration des droits de l' homme" in English: "The Declarations of Human Rights" and it was very much inspired by the preamble to the American Constitution.
However it was not Lafayette's Declaration that stirred the people of Paris because it was not immediately known to them. Instead it was the announcement that Minister Necker who was favorable to the plight of the people had been dismissed. Minister Necker had started to address the high price of wheat prior to his dismissal.
The next day at the Assembly the 12 of July 1789, a young man Camille Desmoulin jumped on a table and shouted, "Aux armes!" His actions provided the spark that ignited the riots and his words caused unrest that spread like wildfire.
The 13 of July a human tide invaded the "Invalids" a military ammunition depot in the city and grabbed 50,000 guns as well as powder and ammunitions. Crowds of people in Paris were armed and roaming, but amazingly the crowd itself prevented looting.
With Paris in such turmoil half the deputies at the Assembly decided not to adjourn, and they spent the night at the Assembly.
Lafayette was elected vice president of the assembly and his duty was to preside over the night sessions of the 13th of July and the 15th of July.
The morning of the 14 of July, the Parisian crowd heard one Name: "A la Bastille" The power of this name was so great that the crowd was electrified and began moving towards the prison fortress "La Bastille"
This prison in itself was of no interest to the plebeian crowd, a crowd made up of workers and artisans called at the time commoners. The fortress was not important to them because it was one of the only prisons in Paris that specialized in imprisoning aristocrats. The Bastille began to become famous by imprisoning well known aristocrats or celebrities such as the Marquis de Sade, Voltaire and many others.
One of the main reasons why the Bastille was so famous or more accurately so infamous was the complete bypassing of the French judicial system.
Ministers and friends of the king could ask the king for a letter of "cachet" that would imprison one of their foes without any form of trial, and the king granted them these favors. The king of course used this power to send his own enemies to the Bastille as well.
The letters of "cachet" were on one hand tools not accessible to commoners and on the other hand they were tools used to send prisoners that were not commoners to the Bastille.
So why did this crowd of commoners believe so strongly that the Bastille was a symbol of the despotism that oppressed them?
A simple woman of modest means held the answer. Her name was Madame Legros.
When walking through Paris she noticed on the ground a partially open parcel that contained letters and documents. She took the parcel home and read the many pages written by a man named Henri Masers de Latude.
Henri Masers de Latude was a prisoner sent to La Bastille then to other prisons for 32 years by "a letter de Cachet."
Below are quotes (translated in English) from a book written by Henri Masers de Latude describing Madame Legros efforts to free him.
These quotes show superhuman efforts worth of great admiration.
"A young female found the packet; the envelope had been torn by the wet, and the seal had given way. She looked for the signature, and read as follows: "MASERS DE LATUDE, a prisoner during thirty-two years at the Bastille, at Vincennes, and at the Bicetre, where he is confined, on bread and water, in a dungeon ten feet under ground." She immediately repaired home, and read through with intense anxiety the circumstantial detail of my misfortunes; she then took a copy of the memorial and forwarded the original to its address. Her gentle nature was equally impressed with pity and indignation, but she had a clear and powerful intellect, and subdued the first impulses of feeling: in the course of six months, she formed her plan, possessed herself of all the necessary information, met and overcame a thousand obstacles, and prepared every thing for the final accomplishment of her object.
Without relations, friends, fortune, or assistance, she undertook every thing, and shrank from no danger and no fatigue. She penetrated to the levees of the Ministers, and forced her way to the presence of the great; she spoke with the natural eloquence of truth, and falsehood fled before her words. They excited her hopes and extinguished them, received her with kindness and repulsed her rudely: she reiterated her petitions, and returned a hundred times to the attack, emboldened by defeat itself. The friends her virtues had created trembled for her liberty, even for her life. She resisted all their entreaties, disregarded their remonstrances, and continued to plead the cause of humanity. When seven months pregnant, she went on foot to Versailles, in the midst of winter; she returned home, exhausted with fatigue and worn out by disappointment; she worked more than half the night to obtain subsistence for the following day, and then repaired again to Versailles. At the expiration of eighteen months, she visited me in my dungeon, and communicated her efforts and her hopes. For the first time I saw my generous protectress; I became acquainted with her exertions, and I poured forth my gratitude in her presence. She redoubled her anxiety, and resolved to brave every thing. Often, on the same day, she has gone to Montmartre to visit her infant, which was placed there at nurse, and then came to the Bicetre to console me and inform me of her progress. At last, after three years, she triumphed, and procured my liberty! But such a hasty summary of actions like these is equally unjust and ungrateful. My readers will readily pardon me for entering into more minute details, and every honest heart will respond with sympathy and admiration."
You can Imagine this woman of modest means walking all over Paris, even to Versailles, pregnant, exyremely tired, this picture is enough to underline the unique and glorious character of Madame Legros. What is most remarkable is her obstinacy against all odds. For three years everyday was devoted to unrelenting door to door pleading. Rebukes were constant.
Here are some influential names on whose doors she knocked in order to be heard:
the Prince Cardinal de Rohan, M. de St. Prest, M. de la Croix, Mr. Lenoir, Mr. Sartines, Mr. le Viscount de la Tour du Pin, Mr. de Lamoignon, Mr. Martin, Mr. Robinet, Mr. de Comeyras, Madame Necker, Madame D….. (aka my Minerva)
As mentioned in the quotation she did not have money so it was not a case of having a choice between hiring a carriage or walking. In order to plead the case of Henri Masers de Latude she walked all over Paris to meet influential people able to help liberate him, Paris was an already large town at this time and in addition while pregnant she walked to Versailles and back a 30 miles round trip.
Bicetre, the Prisoner's last prison was not in the center of Paris which added many miles to her already numerous exhausting trips.
To add misery to her efforts, almost each time she went to see the prisoner or ask a favor from one of the clerks of a royal office she had to bribe the clerk. Her meager means were soon exhausted, and she and her husband had to ration themselves and restrict their meals on many occasions.
It could seem irrelevant that I describe in such details the unrelenting actions of Madame Legros.
How could they be related to the fall of the Bastille?
In their ordinary fashion the people in power forced Madame Legros to wait in their hall among other solicitors to be received by them. The halls of these powerful people were full of solicitors, lackeys and clerks.) Because Madame Legros was so eager to share and make known the horrible status of Henri Masers de Latude, she told and retold the story to any friendly ears she found whether they were Princes or valets.
She told the story to hundreds of people and these hundreds of people each told the story to hundreds of people themselves.
In addition some of Latude's other supporters made it a point to make his status known to as many people as they could.
Although Henri Masers de Latude was imprisoned into four different prisons: "La Bastille, Vincenne, Charenton, Bicetre" it is the Bastille that was already the most infamous prison of all.
La Bastille was already a symbol of arbitrary power thanks to some of her illustrious prisoners such as Voltaire a great writer.
In addition La Bastille is such an ugly fortress that one's imagination can only conjure horrible things taking place behind these nine to twelve feet thick walls.
Before Madame Legros' rounds of horrible story telling, La Bastille was already a star, not only a hated star but the most famous symbol of the arbitrary behavior of power and despotism in France. After Madame Legros told the terrible but fascinating story of Henri Masers de Latude worthy of a novel by Alexandre Dumas the Bastille had unequivocally become the star of all stars in the sparkling sky of arbitrary power and despotism.
We have to remember that each time Madame Legros told the story, the story started with the letter de Cachet sending Henri Masers de Latude to " La Bastille" and also that his stay at La Bastille was by itself an heroic novel that included Latude's escape from La Bastille an almost impossible exploit. It took him eighteen months altogether to gather all the elements he needed to make a very long rope ladder in order to escape La Bastille. He then fled to the Netherlands but was arrested in this foreign territory on orders from Madame De Pompadour and then sent to another prison in France.
We have now convincingly demonstrated that La Bastille was the most hated star of Arbitrary power and despotism in France.
There was no need to describe to the crowd the evils of La Bastille.
The cry: "A la Bastille" was very sufficient.
If there was a need for any more proof that La Bastille was the most hated and famous symbol of oppression in France the days that followed brought ample evidence. A week after being taken La Bastille was systematically destroyed and razed to the ground.
Pieces of stones and other artifacts were sold to the crowds that came to see the great symbol of oppression destroyed. This is comparable to the destruction of the Berlin wall
Suffice to say that Henri Massers de Latude was given his freedom after 32 years of imprisonment, and this freedom was due solely to the unrelenting efforts of Madame Legros
Madame Legros was given a medal for good civic conduct:
Henri Masers de Latude was part of the crowd that marched to the Bastille to conquered it the 14 of July
Another quotation from Henri de Latude book: "To complete the just eulogium of this incomparable woman, I feel myself bound to insert a letter from my amiable Minerva( Madame D) to M. de Comeyras, which places the whole of her conduct under one view, and will suitably wind up the history of her exertions.
" I have been informed, Sir, that you have requested Madame Legros to furnish yon with-a detailed account of her efforts, during three years, to obtain the liberation of M. do Latude. On questioning her as to the particulars of the memoir she has transmitted to you, I find that her diffidence has prevented her from doing justice to herself. For more than a year, I have witnessed her activity, courage, generosity, and constancy, and I feel the greatest pleasure in taking this opportunity of writing to you on the subject. A noble action, accomplished on the instant of its conception, is an incident in itself sufficiently rare; but an enterprise like that of Madame Legros, founded on the most disinterested benevolence, and pursued for three years with inexhaustible courage, and accomplished through every difficulty, in my opinion surpasses any thing of the kind I have ever heard of. Many might have wished to do the same, inspired by the same motives, but few indeed would have evinced the persevering constancy that could alone ensure success. Neither delays nor repulses, nor expectations a hundred times defeated, nor the coldness of those who soon wearied of what appeared to be a hopeless undertaking, could for a moment check the ardour of her zeal, which seemed always to increase in proportion to the difficulties which opposed her: the most urgent solicitations of her friends never swayed her resolution for a
* Madame Legros was compelled some time afterwards, by the narrowness of her income and the necessities of her household, to pawn this gold medal, which attested at the same time her virtues and the admiration they had excited.
no fatigue could exhaust her courage; no personal privation could induce her to waver in her purpose. It was by this surprising firmness, that, without fortune, or credit, or personal resources, she obtained at last the object she had so long and so ardently desired. She promised the unhappy prisoner whose liberation she sought to obtain, that he should supply the place of the son she had been deprived of, and most faithfully has she kept her word. I am not altogether perfectly informed as to the real situation of her affairs, but 1 know that, without any original fortune, she charged herself with the debts of her father, contracted during a lingering illness, and still further crippled her scanty means by the pecuniary assistance which, for a long time, she afforded to M. de Latude."
The fall of the fortress prison La Bastille was a monumental event that at first immediately affected all the persons in power King Louis the XVI and his minister first as well as all Parisians. In addition it is a monumental event in the sense that after the conquest of La Bastille by the people of Paris. There was no going back to continuous absolute despotism. The Parisians were no longer willing to accept blind despotism anymore. All succeeding monarchs were either controlled by a constitution written by the people or sacked. Even Emperor Napoleon only lasted 10 years as ruler of the French people.
The day after the storming of the Bastille, Lafayette was made Commandant of the French guards and his life will never be the same From being mainly an orator and an observer Lafayette became a prime actor in the chaos of the French Revolution with surprising and dire consequences for himself and his family.