Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Vaughan to Thomas Jefferson, 14 March 1821

From John Vaughan

Philad. 14 March 1821

Dr sir

I have learnt with pleasure that the Establishment of West Point is to possess a full length portrait of yourself executed by M Sully

I have always esteemed this Institution as a most important one to the permanent Strength of this Country—The objection to & the expence of, a large Army will always reduce the regular1 armed force of this Country, So as to make it a Comparatively small School for military education & So divided that the means of instruction will be very confined—Under these Circumstances the advantages of a Military School to lay a foundation on which a Scientific knowledge of the profession may be built when the occasion calls for the service, are incalculable—& I hope the present measure may operate as a Continuance for Years to Come, of that protection which you have So wisely afforded it & will enable it to resist all the attacks of false œconomy—Its destruction would be a great national evil—

I am gratified that it has fallen to Mr Sullys lot to be the Artist employed & beg leave to recommend him to that attention which—Talent & modest merits have ever experienced from you—

I remain Yours sincerely2

Jn Vaughan

RC (MHi); at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Mar. 1821 and so recorded (with additional parenthetical notation: “by mr Sully”) in SJL.

The portrait of TJ that Thomas Sully executed for the United States Military Academy at West Point is reproduced elsewhere in this volume.

1Manuscript: “regualar.”

2Manuscript: “sincely.”

Index Entries

  • Army, U.S.; and military academy search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; T. Sully’s paintings search
  • Sully, Thomas; portraits of TJ by search
  • United States Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.); J. Vaughan on search
  • United States Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.); portraits at search
  • Vaughan, John (1756–1841); and portrait of TJ for U.S. Military Academy search
  • Vaughan, John (1756–1841); letters from search