George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Francis Hopkinson, 16 May 1785

To Francis Hopkinson

Mount Vernon May 16th 1785

Dear Sir,

In for a penny, in for a pound, is an old adage. I am so hackneyed to the touches of the Painters pencil, that I am now altogether at their beck, and sit like patience on a Monument whilst they are delineating the lines of my face.

It is a proof among many others, of what habit & custom can effect. At first I was as impatient at the request, and as restive under the operation, as a Colt is of the Saddle—The next time, I submitted very reluctantly, but with less flouncing. Now, no dray moves more readily to the Thill, than I do to the Painters Chair. It may easily be conceived therefore that I yielded a ready obedience to your request, and to the views of Mr Pine.

Letters from England, recommendatory of this Gentleman, came to my hand previous to his arrival in America—not only as an Artist of acknowledged eminence, but as one who had discovered a friendly disposition towards this Country—for which, it seems, he had been marked.1

It gave me pleasure to hear from you—I shall always feel an interest in your happiness—and with Mrs Washingtons compliments, & best wishes joined to my own, for Mrs Hopkinson & yourself, I am—Dr Sir, Yr Most Obedt & Affecte Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS (facsimile), PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP; LB, DLC:GW. Stephen Moylan took this letter and those cited in note 1 to Philadelphia. See GW to Biddle, 16 May, n.3.

1For the letters introducing Robert Pine to GW, see Hopkinson to GW, 19 April, n.1. In his letter on this day thanking John Dickinson for his letter of introduction, GW repeats this third paragraph almost verbatim (ALS [photocopy], DLC:GW; LB DLC:GW). In his letter to Thomas McKean, also of this day, GW varies his language somewhat: “I had the honor to receive your letter of the 23d Ulto by Mr Pine, whose character as a historical and Portrait Painter, and as a friend to the rights of America, has been very favorably represented to me from England before he made his appearance in this Country. His present design, if well executed, will do equal credit to his imagination and Pencil; and be interesting to America” (ALS, PHi: McKean Papers; LB DLC:GW). Transcriptions of the letters are in CD-ROM:GW.

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