ADAMS, JOHN. 1735-1826.
I AM ALWAYS PLEASED TO SEE CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS OF THAT GREAT MAN
JOHN ADAMS ON THE IDOLIZATION OF GEORGE WASHINGTON.
Letter Signed (John Adams), 1 p, 4to (conjoining blank), Quincy, March 8, 1823, to James Perpignan, body of letter in the hand of his granddaughter, Susanna Boylston Adams, thanking the Philadelphia artist for his gift of a miniature of George Washington, mild toning, minor split to centerfold.
Revealing, acerbic letter in which John Adams comments on the legacy of George Washington. In part: "
thank you for your infinitesimal miniature of President Washington. I cannot see it even with the help of a Solar microscope and should not be able to distinguish the features on the figure clearly enough to know whether it is a fair representation of the hero, but the young eyes of my family and friends say that it is as good a likeness of him as they have seen from any pencil or chisel. I am always pleased to see correct representations of that great man. The more they are multiplied and the wider they are scattered and diffused the better, but I totally despise the miserable catchpenny tricks by which he is represented in situations whence he never stood and as the author of measures in which he had nothing to do, and which he did not even approve. This is a kind of rapine of fame confounding all distinctions between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, virtue and vice, subversive in short of all political morality.
John Adams, of course, outlived his fellow founding father and the man for whom he served as Vice President by nearly 30 years. Their friendship was never warm, but Adamss mixed feelings for Washington are rarely more clearly in evidence than in the present letter.