Abigail Adams to Giuseppe Ceracchi
Quincy Febry 12th 1795
Accept Sir my acknowledgment to you for the very valuable present of the Medallion, and the polite Letter which accompanied it. The workmanship is too exquisite, and reflects too much honor upon the Artist, to be lodged in a Private House. Works of this kind are a Novelty in America, and were I to accept it, it would be considerd as an object of vanity.
The American are not accustomed to any other monuments or impressions of those whom they most esteem and value,1 but what is stampd upon their Hearts, nor will they even permit a perfect impression there, untill the recollection of importent Services renderd them, can no longer excite Envy.
Will you Sir do me the favour to present the Medallion to the Massachussets Accademy of Arts. it may be addresst to their vice President, who is President of Harverd Colledg.2 I will take charge of the conveyance of it.
any further information you may wish for, you may obtain from mr Adams—
present my compliments to mrs Cerachi and the Sweet Boy whom I Saw3
I am sir with Sentiments of esteem / your much obliged Humble Servant
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed: “Copy. Ceracchi”; “AA 1795”; and “Mrs Adams to / Mr Cerachi.” Dft (Adams Papers).
1. AA initially used “venerate” but wrote “value” over it. She also used “venerate” in the second, earlier Dft of the letter.
2. Joseph Willard was one of the founding members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1780, serving as corresponding secretary and then vice president (DAB description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).
For a discussion of Ceracchi’s gift and AA and JA’s decision to donate the medallion, see JA to AA, 2 Dec. 1794, and note 3, above.
3. Ceracchi’s family included his wife, Therese Schlishan Ceracchi, and at least four children, the eldest of whom were sons Giovanni and Romualdo (Alberto M. Ghisalberti and others, eds., Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, 73 vols. to date, Rome, 1960– ).