Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Trumbull to Thomas Jefferson, 23 October 1818

From John Trumbull

New York Octo 23d 1818

Dear Sir

I have the Satisfaction to acquaint you that my painting of the Declaration of Independance is finished (as far as it can be, until I see it in its place at the Capitol)—and, with permission of the President, is now publicly1 exhibiting in this City:—It has excited some attention, and has drawn forth one Criticism of so malignant a Character that I felt it necessary immediately to reply to it:—and as in my reply I have taken the liberty of using your name, & referring to your ancient friendship, and the interest which you from its origin took in this work, I have thought it my duty to enclose to you both the criticism and reply.   fully persuaded that you will forgive the liberty which I have taken, in consideration that the poison required an instant antidote; & if suffered to operate until I could have obtained your permission, its effects might have proved dangerous to the reputation of the work

I hope that you, and all your Family enjoy & will long enjoy, Health and all Happiness

I am Dr Sir Your much obliged & grateful

Jno Trumbull

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Oct. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (Joseph Rubinfine, West Palm Beach, Fla., 2010).

Trumbull exhibited his painting of the declaration of independance (reproduced elsewhere in this volume) at the New York Academy of Fine Arts from 5 Oct. to 9 Nov. 1818, with an admission fee of twenty-five cents per person. He donated the final day’s receipts of nearly $350 to the local institution for the deaf and dumb (New York Mercantile Advertiser, 3 Oct. 1818; New York National Advocate, 2 Nov. 1818; New-York Evening Post, 7 Nov. 1818; New-York Daily Advertiser, 10 Nov. 1818).

1RC: “publily.” Dft: “publicly.”

Index Entries

  • Capitol, U.S.; J. Trumbull’s paintings for search
  • Declaration of Independence; J. Trumbull’s painting of presentation of search
  • Monroe, James; and J. Trumbull’s historical paintings search
  • New York (city); Academy of Fine Arts search
  • New York (city); J. Trumbull’sDeclaration of Independenceexhibited in search
  • New York (city); New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb search
  • paintings; by J. Trumbull search
  • The Declaration of Independence (J. Trumbull) search
  • Trumbull, John (artist); letters from search
  • Trumbull, John (artist); The Declaration of Independence search