During Lafayette's American tour in 1824, much enthusiasm was aroused in Albemarle by the news of his intended visit to Mr. Jefferson at Monticello. The community as a whole was eager to do him honor, and elaborate preparations, were made for his reception. Accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, a secretary and staff, he arrived on Thursday, Nov. 4th, and was met at Boyd's Tavern, on the Fluvanna line, by a company of horsemen, named in his honor the Lafayette Guards. The officers of this troop were John H. Craven, Captain; George W. Kinsolving, First Lieutenant; Richard Watson, Second Lieutenant; and Thomas W. Gilmer, Cornet. In an address of welcome delivered at this point by W. C. Rives, graceful reference was made to the grjtitude of the populace for the military protection Lafayette had afforded them at the time of Tarleton's threat against Scottsville, and he was informed that the road which he had then cut in that vicinity was still called the "Marquis's Road."
Refreshments were served at Boyd's Tavern. Attended by Mr. Rives and Thomas Jefferson Randolph, General Lafayette then ascended the Monticello landau. The Guards followed, and next came a large body of citizens marshalled into order by Major Clark. In this manner they proceeded to Monticello, where at two o'clock in the afternoon their approach was announced by bugle. A touching re-union took place between the two old patriots in the presence of the crowds which had gathered on the Monticello lawn. Having entered the mansion, Lafayette was re-called to the porch and addressed "with appropriate gesture"-by the late Judge Fgbert R. Watson, then a boy of fourteen, who was in command of a company of Junior Volunteers. This troop contained the youngsters of the community, among them being the late Mr. Jesse Maury and Col. R. T. W. Duke.
On the next day there were an address and a public reception at the Central Hotel in Charlottesville. Escorted by the Guards, General Lafayette, Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison arrived in the landau drawn by four bays. At the steps of the Hotel the General alighted, and was "received in a handsome manner" by Mr. Randolph. In replying to this address, General Lafayette, in rather quaint English, made the following reference to Tarleton's Raid.
The recollections you are pleased to allude to are on your part very kind, Sir-I may add, they are very generous. I still with regret remember that owing to the necessity of our operating a junction which an active enemy endeavored to prevent, the town of Charlottesville was exposed to momentary invasion. Yet that very circtinistance has given fresh proof of the patriotism of the citizens of this and neighboring counties, as to their spirited assistance we were in great part indebted to the happy return of our military operations.
The General was then introduced to a large crowd in the reception room. He was evidently grateful at the glow of feeling. It was not constrained respect to renown or power, it was deep and grateful affection.
At twelve o'clock a procession was formed to escort him to the University. Here a thousand women were waving their handkerchiefs from the terraces, while three large flags floated on the Rotunda, the largest bearing the inscription, "Welcome, our Country's Guest." A dinner in the Rotunda was served at three o'clock, the tables being arranged in three concentric circles, with a laurel bower above the seat of Lafayette, and four hundred seated guests. "The meats were excellent," and the toasts called forth re-echoing cheers. Mr. Jefferson was present, but was unable to deliver his speech, which was read for him by one of the officers. In this, he referred to the invaluable support he had received from the General during his Ministry to France: "In fact I only held the nail, he drove it,"-a simile obviously suggested by the uncompleted building and his architectural labors From the Page Genealogy we obtain an account of some of the other participants:
"Ex-President Madison responded to the regular toast, 'James Madison, the ablest expositor of the Constitution,' and ended by proposing the following toast: 'Liberty, which has Virtue for its guest, and gratitude for its feast.' Volunteer toasts were proposed by Thomas J. Randolph, W. C. Rives, Th. Walker Gilmer, Dr. Maim Page, Wm. F. Gordon, V. W. Southall, N. P. Trist, Col. S. Carr, Richard Duke and others. Mr. Soutliall presided with great dignity."
President Monroe had been expected, but was detained by official business.
It being customary for each community to make a distinctive gift to the hero or his party, tradition states that at some time (luring the ceremonies a living-but fangless-rattlesnake was presented to the younger Lafayette. At six o'clock Lafayette returned to Monticello, where he remained until Monday, when he was escorted by the Guards as far as Gordonsville, on his way to Montpelier.
It is not generally remembered that in August, 1825, Lafayette returned to Monticello for a farewell visit, and was again dined at the University. Upon this occasion Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were all present, and Wm. Wirt sat at the right hand of "The Nation's Guest."
Woods' History of Albemarle; A. C. Gordon's Wi1liam Fitzhugh Gordon; The Page Genealogy; Niles' Register; Randall's Life of Jefferson; Richmond Enquirer, Nov. 16, 1824.