Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Trumbull, 28 August 1787

From John Trumbull

London August 28th. 1787.

Dr. Sir

When I first receiv’d your letter about the Harpsichord, I was out of the way. It is now compleated packed shipp’d, and I hope saild for Rouen. I enclose you a Bill of Lading.

I have paid Mr. Walker for adding the Stop, thirteen Guineas; and Mr. Kirkman for porterage &c. 14/. in all £14–7–0. The Instrument was pack’d by Mr. Kirkman in the usual way, and which he says he has never known to fail of perfect security. For this He makes no charge. It is a very fine instrument, and I hope will come safe to you.

Will you do me the favor to inform me at what season I shall most probably meet the principal Officers who serv’d in America, at Paris. I shall soon be ready to paint my picture of the surrender of York Town, and must then come to paris. I suppose the winter is the most certain time of meeting them in Town. I shall wish to see the Marquis L Fayette, Count Rochambeau, Chatellux, the two Viomenils, De Grass and D Bar[ras]. I will thank you to mention my intention to the Marquis, and he can probably answer my Question.

Before this reaches you, Mrs. Cosway will be with you. I am very sorry I cannot be there at the same time. The Salon would be doubly interesting seen in such company.

With the sincerest Respect & Esteem I am Sir Your Gratefull friend,

Jno. Trumbull

Compliments to Mr. Short.

RC (DLC); endorsed. Recorded in SJL as received 2 Sep. 1787. Enclosure (DLC): Bill of lading, dated 22 Aug. 1787, signed by James Dunn, master of the ship James, for “One Case Containing a Harpsichord,” shipped by Abraham Kirkman for TJ “To the Care of Mr Garvey Mercht at Rouen.”

“In the autumn of 1787,” Trumbull wrote in his Autobiography, “I again visited Paris, where I painted the portrait of Mr. Jefferson in the original small Declaration of Independence, Major General Ross in the small Sortie from Gibraltar, and the French officers in the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis‥‥ I regard these as the best of my small portraits; they were painted from the life, in Mr. Jefferson’s house” (Theodore Sizer, ed., Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, New Haven, 1953, p. 152). On 6 Feb. 1788 Trumbull wrote to his brother, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.: “I have been in this capital of dissipation and nonsense near six weeks for the purpose of getting the portraits of the French Officers who were at York Town, and have happily been so successfull as to find all those whom I wished in town. I have almost finished them, and shall return to London in a few days:—they are Rochambeau, DeGrasse, De Barras, Viomenil, Chastellux, St. Simon, the young Viomenil, Choizy, Lauzun, de Custine, de Laval, Deuxponts, Pherson, & Damas, besides the Marquis La Fayette” (quoted in same, p. 152, note). See illustration in this volume.

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