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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6


This foot note contained in document ADMS-04-06-02-0049
5. Here AA probably intends a further criticism of Lafayette, the head of the French chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati. The new military order had earned the immediate disapproval of the Adamses, of John Jay and Thomas Jefferson, and even of Lafayette's ally Franklin, as well as that of many other Americans in France. Lafayette, sensitive to their anti-aristocratic criticism, labored to explain the Society to its critics, while urging George Washington to seek the alteration of the Society's rules to eliminate the provision for hereditary membership. Washington supported this change, and hostility to the order, strongest in New England and among civilian servants of America in Europe, soon subsided. But AA 's remarks here and her concern, immediately below, that Col. Humphreys and Col. Smith were “Knights of Cincinnatus,” demonstrate that republican hostility to the order did not die out quickly. AA probably learned of Col. Smith's membership in the Cincinnati in late April. See JA to Elbridge Gerry, 28 April ( LbC , Adams Papers); AA to JA , 11 Feb. 1784, and note 9, above; and Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette Between the American and the French Revolution, 1783–1789, chap. 5.