Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/236

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

manded permission to pass. This permission might easily have been refused, but there was no justification for arresting the party, for, as you are of course aware, all that they wished to do was to get to Ostend and then come over here. To the shame and disgrace of the Prince of Cobourg, however, or rather to the Court of Vienna, M. de la Fayette and the officers who accompanied him, were all made prisoners and closely confined in the citadel of Olmutz. You know that I was one of his companions in misfortune, but you do not know, for it is not known in Europe, of the plan, its preparations, and the carrying out of his escape, which only failed through his own fault, for he did escape, and was, so to speak, wrecked in port. Here is the story.

"General Washington, who was still President at that time, made instant applications to the Cabinet of Vienna to obtain his friend's liberty, but met with a formal refusal. A plan of escape was then arranged over here, and Congress devoted a sum of 400,000 francs to its execution.