Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Lafayette mss. IV, 1825 & 1860, consist of two letters, the first letter, dated May 3rd, 1825, is Lafayette's response to a letter from Mr. Elisha Ely: "I have found this place your kind letter May the 1st and beg you to accept and to Steam Boat Ontario Company my affectionate thanks for this kindness to me. ...but as I am to reach Boston on the day appointed for the July secular jubilee of Bunker Hill, it is necessary for me to take the shortcut route, ...marked out by the Governor of New York."

The second letter is dated May 9th, 1860: "Memorandum by John F. Ely for John Stoner Ely. The letter...which is signed 'Lafayette' is one received by your grandfather, Elisha Ely, from that distinguished man during a visit to the United States in the year 1825....a day or two before his decease [Elisha Ely], he requested the letter to be kept and given to you."

At the time of Lafayette's' visit to the western US, Mr. Ely and one or two others owned the only two steamboats on Lake Ontario, "The Ontario" and the "Martha Ogden." Mr. Ely wrote to Lafayette, placing the "Ontario" at his disposal for his return trip.

Acquired: 2012

Collection size: 2 items

NOTE: Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.