This statue of the Marquis de Lafayette was created by Lorann Jacbos. In 1778, Lafayette attended a dinner by General Horatio Gates, who rented the stone house behind the statue. During this time, several military leaders and politicians were part of an informal plot known as the Conway Cabal. These men intended to replace the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, George Washington, with General Horatio Gates. The Marquis writes in his journals that his toast to General Washington embarrassed those involved in the Conway Cabal and helps end this plot.
The statue depicts the Marquis de Lafayette raising a toasting glass. This sculpture illustrates an entry from Lafayette's journals where he toasts General Washington in the Gates House behind the statue, as a show of support to Washington against some who felt Gates should replace Washington. In his journal, Lafayette describes the others nearby as reddening with shame as they raise their glasses to follow the toast.
The Conway Cabal was an informal plot to replace the Commander in Chief, George Washington, with General Horatio Gates. At this time, some military leaders and members of Continental Congress were critical of Washington's performance as Commander in Chief at the Continental Army.
Continental Congress, dissenters included John Adams, Sam Adams, and Richard
Henry Lee. In the military, Horatio Gates, Charles Lee, Thomas Mifflin, and
Thomas Conway all expressed doubt
had supporters who thought he would be a good replacement for Washington. In
what could be considered a political maneuver by those who wanted to replace Washington, Gates was appointed president of the Board of War. As
the president of the Board of War, Gates, who was technically still a subordinate
to Washington, would be issuing orders to his Commander in Chief.
One of the most vocal dissenters was General Thomas Conway. In one letter to General Gates, Conway was
critical of Washington’s leadership. James Wilkinson was tasked with carrying this letter from Conway to Gates, but he also communicated the contents of the letter
aide to Washington, Lord Stirling, who passed the information to the
Commander in Chief.
After learning of Conway's letter, Washington sent this brief note to Gates:
a Letter which I receivd
last Night, containd the following, paragraph.
In a Letter from Genl
Conway to Genl Gates he says—'Heaven has been determind
to save your Country; or a weak General and bad Councellors would have ruind
it.' I am Sir Yr Hble Servt.