Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Mills, 24 June 1812

To Robert Mills

Monticello June 24. 12.

Dear Sir

I thank you for the copy of the Report of a committee of the Society of artists of the United States, which you were so kind as to forward to me, and which I have read with great interest & satisfaction. the growing wealth & population of the US. cannot fail to produce an increasing demand for the productions of the Fine arts; and the talents of the present members, the judicious institutions they have traced & commenced, & the prospect of their permanence, will ensure to our country the means of being furnished within ourselves with what we have hitherto sought in distant countries. the kindred objects of this society, & of that of the Academy of the fine arts, seem to invite an Union, and the mutual aids which theory & practice may render each other, are too well understood not to excite a hope that considerations so weighty will at length prevail, & incorporate under an united institution the patriotic views & services of both.

I see, in your letter, with particular pleasure, the proofs of your continued friendship, the more gratifying as they meet1 the sentiments of sincere esteem & respect, of which I pray you to accept the assurance.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Robert Mills”; endorsed by TJ. Tr (PPAFA: Minute Book of Society of Artists of the United States, p. 87).

On 24 Aug. 1810 the Society of Artists of the United States and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts had agreed on a partial union, in which the society invested $2,000 in the academy’s capital stock in order to gain “rights and privileges” at the other institution. The two organizations further agreed to promote jointly “a taste for the fine arts in the United States.” However, the following year the society declined to be wholly subsumed by the academy (Report of the Committee appointed to examine into the Rise, Progress, and Present State of The Society of Artists of the United States [Philadelphia, 1812], 8–10, 19).

1TJ here canceled “those.”

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; fine arts search
  • Mills, Robert; and Society of Artists of the United States search
  • Mills, Robert; letters to search
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia) search
  • Society of Artists of the United States; and TJ search