The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 242
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The men of Champ d'Asile were for the most part veteran officers
of Napoleon's Grande Armee who for one reason or another found it
expedient to leave France during the Second Restoration of Louis
XVIII. Most of them were French, but many were not, as the Empire
had gathered to itself almost all of Europe. Some were sensible, stable
men who had been cut adrift from their careers by the sharp corner
French history had turned; they were desperate to reestablish them-
selves. Others were not so stable but would have probably led pro-
ductive lives in Europe if events had not knocked them off balance.
Some were sick in spirit by nature, and an adventure such as Champ
d'Asile had a special attraction for them. As a whole, they were by far
the most expert soldiers in the history of Texas filibustering. They had
the grandest past and the grandest hopes. They were already alienated
from their times by ruined expectations, and their failure in Texas
pushed them still further from a mainstream which only the strongest
From the spring of 1816 until mid-1818 most of these exiled officers
made their way from Europe to Philadelphia. There they found a
settled community of French already taking root, mainly refugees
from Saint-Domingue-now Haiti. In the summer of 1816 a number
of ethnic French from all waves of immigration organized the Colo-
nial Society of French Emigrants and obtained from the United
States Congress a grant of almost i oo,ooo acres of land in Alabama,
with the proviso that each grantee must cultivate vines and olives.
Excepting General Count Charles Lefebvre-Desnoittes and a few
other officers, the military exiles did not take an active interest in the
Vine and Olive society until it occurred to the Lallemand brothers,
both generals and barons of the Empire, that the society's large grant
of land-a fund of capital-was an attractive, ready-made agency for
plans which they had evolved in the course of their stay in the United
Dominique Lallemand (1777-1823) both entered military service while in their teens and
rose rapidly in rank, fighting in the major campaigns of the Grande Armee. They were
active in the plotting that preceded Napoleon's return from Elba, and both fought at
Waterloo. Charles Lallemand accompanied Napoleon to Rochefort but was not allowed to
continue with him to St. Helena, as he wished. He was sent instead as a prisoner to
Malta and from there wandered from country to country until he finally arrived in the
U.S. in April, 1817. His brother had preceded him by about a year. Michaud (ed.), Bio-
graphie universelle, XXII, 616-624; Niles' Weekly Register, June 15, 1816, p. 372, May 3,
1817, p. 158; Reeves, "Napoleonic Exiles in America," 16-17.
3Kent Gardien, The Chdtelaine of George Villa (Demopolis, Ala., 1979), 34-36; Kent
Gardien, "The Splendid Fools: Philadelphia Origins of Alabama's Vine and Olive
Colony," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, CIV (Oct., 198o), 494-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/294/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.