Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Charles Willson Peale, 21 August 1819

Belfield Augt 21st 1819.

Dear Sir

on the receipt of your letter I hastened to the City to seek the Inkstand you wanted, I beleive no nearer to your direction could be had in the City, than I have sent, I put two of them in one package and delivered it at the Post office, directed to you at Monticello. That most likely to answer probably may be sunk deeper by cutting out some of the wood beneath, and a little grinding down of the top may also be needfull to get it to ⅞th of an Inch. If neither of those sent will answer, our next recourse must be to some Glassworks.

If so, please to inform me, and I will make a pattern to get it blown.

My late Portraits are much better than those I formerly painted, such is the opinion of the public—yet I cannot resist my inclination for mechanical labours so much as I ought, but too often I want things made that I cannot get workmen to execute; Thus it has been this Summer, my windmill to pump water for my Cattle, had its sails worn out and the wood work shackling, The principle being good, determined me to make the Arms of Iron & the sails of Tin—This labour was heavy on me, but I have accomplished it with others equally difficult, to my satisfaction.

This I call happiness, the Idler cannot be happy: Now returning to my Pensil I shall finish a Picture which I began in the Spring; The retreat of the American Army over the Delaware at night, in 1776. depicting some of the horrors of War. I thought it the most hellish scene I have ever beheld. The bauling execrations the pensil cannot give. I cannot hope to give more than hints for reflection. The late transactions of Europe must powerfully tend to enlighten mankind to their true Interests, may the example be a powerful monitor to my Country, is the prayer of your friend

CW Peale

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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