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Letters to Marquis de Lafayette Lane

Identifier: MSS-4301

Scope and Contents

This collection contains letters sent to Marquis de Lafayette Lane (1825-1872), also known as M. D. L., a lawyer and judge from Maine who served as US consul to Veracruz, Mexico, from 1862-1867. Most of the letters were written to Lane from his friend George Cowie, an officer in the US Treasury. Eleven letters are from his friend Robert S. Chew, a State Department clerk. There are also two letters to Lane from Assistant Secretary of State William Hunter, one from Commodore James Alden of the USS Susquehanna; and one from Cowie to Vice Consul Charles M. Proctor in Veracruz, whose death is referenced several times in Cowie’s 1863 letters. The last file of Cowie’s letters also contains three receipts related to Lane's Veracruz activities dated February 5, 1867, and signed by by A. O. Latham and H. Warrington. The letters to Lane discuss his salary and financial matters regarding the consul position, his requests for leave from Veracruz, and his concerns about getting sick. They also indicate that Lane tried to resign in 1866, before actually resigning in 1867. A number of letters are addressed to Lane in Standish, Maine, during periods of leave he was taking there with his family. Several letters contain references to the US Civil War or mention Mexico’s occupation by the French, which coincided with Lane's tenure as consul.


  • 1863 - 1867

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Marquis de Lafayette Lane was born June 11, 1825, in Hollis, York County, Maine. That same month, French general Marquis de Lafayette, who had served with George Washington during the American Revolution, stopped in Maine as part of a celebrated tour of the United States that he made during 1824-1825.

Lane, who was also known as "M. D. L.," graduated from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, in 1849. He married Elizabeth T. H. Chadbourne on April 28, 1854. They had at least two children, George Edward and Thomas. Lane became a lawyer and judge and served in the Portland, Maine, court system. He was appointed US consul to Veracruz, Mexico, in October 1862 under President Abraham Lincoln during a period of French intervention in Mexico.

A civil war that started in 1857 between liberal and conservative factions in Mexico drained the country's finances, and when liberal Mexican president Benito Juárez took office in 1861, he paused payments on Mexico's foreign debt for two years. Spain, England, and France landed at Veracruz--a liberal stronghold-- in December 1861, intent on taking back some of their debt. Spain and England withdrew, but French emperor Napoleon III wished to establish influence in Mexico and set up an Austrian archduke, Maximilian I, as emperor of the so-declared Second Mexican Empire. Maximilian I was crowned in April 1864. The emperor was supported at first by some members of Mexico's conservative faction. After the United States came out of their civil war in 1865, the US government sided with and lent support to the liberals and Juárez. Maximilian I was executed by the Juárez government on June 19, 1867.

Marquis de Lafayette Lane returned to Maine in 1867 and resumed practicing law in the Portland courts. He died of typhoid in 1872.


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Language of Materials



This collection contains letters sent to Maine native Marquis de Lafayette Lane while he served as US consul to Veracruz, Mexico, a post he held from 1862-1867.


Files are arranged in the order they had when the processing archivist received them.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The University of Alabama Libraries acquired the Letters to Marquis de Lafayette Lane in 2019.

Related Materials

See: Coll. 188, The Marquis de Lafayette Lane papers, Maine Historical Society Special Collections, Portland, Maine

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, July 2021.
Guide to Letters to Marquis de Lafayette Lane
Erin Ryan
September 2021
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266