Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Trumbull, 11 November 1818

To John Trumbull

Monticello Nov. 11. 18.

Dear Sir

Your’s of Oct. 23. is recieved, and I trust you have silenced the Critic on your Decln of Indepdce, as I am sure you must have satisfied every sound judge. painters as well as poets have their licence. without this the talent of imagination would be banished from the art, taste and judgment in composition would be of no value, and the mechanical copyist of matter of fact would be on a footing with the first painter. he might as well have criticised you because you have not given his white wig & black stockings to mr Cushing, nor his real costume to Roger Sherman. I think I pourtrayed to you, in words, the countenance of T.W. while the Declaration was reading. I hope you have given it all it’s haggard lineaments. if you have not, touch it again. it ought to be preserved as the eikon of the non-concurrents. he refused to sign. as to the use you have made of my name, it did not need apology. it is always at your command for any service it can render you. I am just on the recovery from a three months sickness. affectionately Adieu.

Th: Jefferson

RC (CtY: Franklin Collection); addressed: “Colo John Trumbull New York”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 14 Nov.; endorsed by Trumbull. PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ.

t.w.: Thomas Willing. eikon: “icon.”

Index Entries

  • Capitol, U.S.; J. Trumbull’s paintings for search
  • Cushing, Thomas; as member of Continental Congress search
  • Declaration of Independence; J. Trumbull’s painting of presentation of search
  • paintings; by J. Trumbull search
  • Sherman, Roger; and Declaration of Independence search
  • The Declaration of Independence (J. Trumbull) search
  • Trumbull, John (artist); letters to search
  • Trumbull, John (artist); The Declaration of Independence search
  • Willing, Thomas; as member of Continental Congress search
  • “Detector” (pseudonym); criticizes J. Trumbull’sDeclaration of Independence search