Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Charles Willson Peale, 17 February 1807

Museum Feb. 17. 1807.

Dear Sir

It is my hope that I shall never do any thing, which will be disagreable to you. My father was a good and learned Man, and knew well the advantages of a good education, and he intended that I should have liberal one, but alass poor man he died before I had reached my 9th year of age, my mother had 5 Children to provide for (I was the oldest of them) and this was to be done by her industry; my father left her nothing but his friends, for he was taken off at the moment when the prospect was opening on him of better times. Thus situated you may judge that my opportunity of mental improvements has been very limited—the few acquirements I have been able to make has been from an industrious habit, and the numerous avocations has straitened my time for scholastic knowledge. I know very well that you have often seen my errors of orthography in my epistles. But I trespass on your precious moments, and I will now only mention one trait of my disposition as most to this purpose of your last favor. Which is that when I am obliged to write to a person that I dont like, that I always subscribe a common phrase, “Your humble Servant.” I send by this mail a packet containing 3 pr. of Ink holders. I was induced to add the additional pr. because I thought the smallest set almost too small to be useful, I was obliged to take them in prs.; that is one for sand however it is easy to take away the mettle sieve, and place a larger cork in the cover, I was nearly tempted to do so, but judging it would be best to let you make your choise to retain or reject them. The cost per pair

67 ½
62 ½

So triffling a sum that I think you may contrive to give me some other commands to make it worth the trouble contriving payment.

I am not sorry to have a little time for improvement of my hand before Captn. Lewis shall do me the favor of setting. I have often told you of my Son Rembrandts increasing reputation as a painter, but now his improvements in Colouring is realy astonishing, and consequently of infinite pleasure to one as a parent. he now equals the brilliancy of tints of the most celebrated artists, and still adheres to the truth of Nature. This may be suspected, the partiallity of a father, it is not so, I am not blind—and shortly his fame will spread far, and near, if he progresses as he has done for a few weeks past.

I am Dear Sir with much esteem your friend

C W Peale

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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