France formally recognized the United States on February 6, 1778 by signing the Treaty of Alliance, prompting the British to declare war on the new American ally the following month. This exhibit explores the French presence in Newport from 1778-1781, and traces the longstanding relationship built upon the shared ideals of liberté, fraternité, and egalité through to its contemporary form.
The idea that “All Things Come Back to Newport” celebrates the importance of Newport as a center of commerce during its Colonial heyday and the key role it played in the American Revolution, as well as the recent acquisition by the Newport Historical Society of a silver handled dress sword believed to have belonged to the Marquis de Lafayette. Given as a gift to Newport resident Daniel Lyman, it was donated to the Society by a descendent, Bruce Lyman Blakemore. In addition, the frigate L’Hermione returned to Newport’s shores in 2015, heralding 235 years of Franco-American amity and proving once again that all things connected to Newport’s vital history do indeed come back.