Digital Facsimiles

An 1839 letter from James Fenimore Cooper to Lafayette's son, George Washington Lafayette, written upon receiving a copy of Lafayette's Memoires, and in which Cooper muses on the dissipation of American ideals since General Lafayette's heyday. Lafayette had died in 1834.

Collection 4661


I have received, after some delay, the volumes of your revered father's memoirs. You judge us rightly, in supposing that the book will have more than common interest with us, who so well knew the purity of motive, the sacrifices and the heart of Gen. Lafayette. It is a book, were America the country it was, that would make a great sensation here, but, now, every thing is swallowed in the grasping desire for gain. That which was always a failing in a community that had so few other inducements to offer for a noble ambition has reached the pass of criminality. . . .