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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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9037. WASHINGTON (George), Statue of.—

There could be no question raised as to
the sculptor who should be employed [to execute
Washington's statue]; the reputation of
Monsieur Houdon of this city [Paris] being
unrivalled in Europe. He is resorted to for
the statues of most of the sovereigns in Europe.
On conversing with him, Doctor Franklin and
myself became satisfied that no statue could be
executed so as to obtain the approbation of
those to whom the figure of the original is
known, but on an actual view by the artist. Of
course no statue of General Washington, which
might be a true evidence of his figure to posterity,
could be made from his picture. Statues
are made every day from portraits; but if the
person be living, they are always condemned
by those who know him for a want of resemblance,
and this furnishes a conclusive presumption
that similar representations of the dead are
equally unfaithful. Monsr. Houdon, whose reputation
is such as to make it his principal object,
was so anxious to be the person who
should hand down the figure of the General to
future ages, that without hesitating a moment.


Page 935
he offered to abandon his business here, to leave
the statues of Kings unfinished, and to go to
America to take the true figure by actual inspection
and mensuration. We believe, from
his character, that he will not propose any very
considerable sum for making this journey;
probably two or three hundred guineas, as he
must necessarily be absent three or four months,
and his expenses will make at least a hundred
guineas of the money. When the whole merit
of the piece was to depend on this previous
expenditure, we could not doubt your approbation
of the measure; and that you would
think with us that things which are just or
handsome should never be done by halves. We
shall regulate the article of expense as economically
as we can with justice to the wishes of
the world. This article, together with the habit,
attitude, devices, &c., are now under consideration,
and till they be decided on, we cannot
ultimately contract with Monsr. Houdon. We
are agreed in one circumstance, that the size
shall be precisely that of life. Were we to have
executed a statue in any other case, we should
have preferred making it somewhat larger than
life; because as they are generally a little elevated
they appear smaller, but we think it important
that some one monument should be
preserved of the true size as well as figure, from
which all other countries (and our own at
any future day when they shall desire it), May
take copies, varying them in their dimensions
as may suit the particular situation in which
they wish to place them. The duty as well as
the glory of this presentation we think belongs
peculiarly to Virginia. We are sensible that the
eye alone considered will not be quite as well
satisfied; but connecting the consideration that
the whole, and every part of it presents the true
size of the life, we suppose the beholders will
receive a greater pleasure on the whole.—
To the Governor of Virginia. Ford ed., iv, 26.
(P. 1785)