Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

referred to a commee of the whole. The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of many. For this reason those passages which conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, lest they should give them offence. The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under those censures; for tho' their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others."

The writings of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Sherman, and Livingston have been searched in vain for evidence in support of the statement that Paine had any share in the drafting of the Declaration, nor is there anything in Paine's own writings that gives color to the notion, Moreover, more than one writer since 1892 has specifically attributed to Jefferson the anti-slavery clause in the preliminary draft of that document, Thus in 1903 Sir George 0. Trevelyan said that " Jefferson, again, had written, and somewhat over-written, a denunciation of the King for having refused his sanction to the successive endeavours which the Virginian assembly 2 had made, in all honesty, to suppress the importation of negroes.”3 In 1904 Dr. Herbert Friedenwald wrote:

The other paragraph had reference to the slave-trade and was more denunciatory of the King than any of the remainder. . . . This is unquestionably one of the most forcible clauses that issued from Jefferson's pen, and its rejection, for the reasons which he ascribes, served to promote consistency of action on the part of the colonies, and prevent the forcing of an issue which the country was not yet in a position to

1 Jefferson's Writings, 1. 24, 28. In his reply, dated September 6, 1823, Madison said:

Nothing can be more absurd than the cavil that the Declaration of Independence contains known and not new truths. The object was to assert, not to discover truths, and to make them the basis of the Revolutionary act, The merit of the Draught, therefore, could only consist in a lucid communication of human rights, in a condensed enumeration of the reasons for such an exercise of them, and in a style and tone appropriate to the great occasion, and to the spirit of the American people (Letters and other Writings, w. 336–337).

? Trevelyan has marle a slight mistake in restricting the endeavors to the Virginian Assembly. The clause struck out speaks of “every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce." See 245, ante.

8 American Revolution, 11. part ii. 161.

face. But its omission was a serious blow to Jefferson, who all his days was a firm advocate of the suppression of the slave trade and of slavery.

[ocr errors]

Nor should we overlook Sir Leslie Stephen's cautious remark that Paine" is supposed by Mr. Conway to have written the suppressed clause against the slave trade in the declaration of independence.” 2

Evidence drawn from epitaphs and wills, though to be received with caution, yet at times has its value. The epitaph which Jefferson composed for his own monument is well known: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the American Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia."3 In his will, made January 18, 1809, or less than five months before his death, Paine says:

war

I, Thomas Paine, of the State of New York, author of the work entitled Common Sense, written in Philadelphia, in 1775, and published in that city the beginning of January, 1776, which awaked America to a declaration of Independence on the fourth of July following, which was as fast as the work could spread through such an extensive country; author also of the several numbers of the American Crisis, thirteen in all; published occasionally during the progress of the revolutionary

the last is on the peace; author also of Rights of Man, parts the first and second, written and published in London, in 1791 and 1792; author also of a work on Religion, Age of Reason, parts the first and second - N. B. I have a third part by me in manuscript, and an answer to the bishop of Llandaff; author also of a work, lately published, entitled Examination of the Passages in the New Testament, Quoted from the Old, and called Prophecies concerning Jesus Christ, and showing there are no Prophecies of any such Person ; author also of several other works not here enumerated, Dissertations on First Principles of Government, Decline and Fall of the English System

[ocr errors]

1 Declaration of Independence, 132-133.

9 Dictionary of National Biograplıy (1909), xv. 71. In a letter dated August 6, 1822, John Adams, speaking of the Declaration, said, “I have long wondered that the original draught has not been published. I suppose the reason is, the vehement philippic against negro slavery” (Works, 11. 614 note). Had ere been the slightest doubt in the mind of Adams as to the authorship of that philippic, surely it would have been expressed in this letter; yet in the letter he specifically refers to Jefferson as “the author of the Declaration of Independence" (11. 513 note).

* Randall's Life of Jefferson, 111. 563.

of Finance, --- Agrarian Justice, &c., &c., make this my last Will and Testament.

Sir Leslie Stephen asserts that Paine “attached an excessive importance to his own work, and was ready to accept the commonplace that his pen had been as efficient as Washington's sword."2 Can we for a moment doubt that had Paine had any share in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, even of a clause rejected, the honorable fact would have been recorded in his will ?

The following letter was read from Mr. CHARLES HENRY HART:

I do not think I can prove my appreciation of the recently printed Index volume to the second series of the Society's Proceedings more thoroughly than by telling you that I have read it through and found it most instructive. Among the references that caused me to stop and look, if not to listen, was “ Cooper, Samuel, miniature of Cromwell, 3. 282.” At the

of the volume indicated I found a list of donations for the year 1886–87, and among them this entry, “ A miniature of Oliver Cromwell, by Samuel Cooper, which once belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Given by Robert C. Winthrop.” This was not a "find” for me, as I knew the Society owned this miniature of Cromwell, and when, in 1905, I was selecting the illustrations for Elson's History of the United States, I chose this for its association, and had it photographed and reproduced for that work (1. 114). My comment on this miniature, in the annotated index to the illustrations, was :

The miniature here reproduced once belonged to Thomas Jefferson and came to the cabinet of the Massachusetts Historical Society, in 1886, from the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, who had received it as a legacy from Mr. Joseph Coolidge, who had married Jetferson's granddaughter. It has been attributed to the foremost of all miniature painters, Samuel Cooper, who did paint several portraits in little of the Lord Protector ; but this clearly is not one of them, being of very mediocre execution,

page

Since publishing this note I have often thought that it would be a proper act of courtesy if I gave the Society my

1 Paine's Writings, iv. 508.
2 Dictionary of National Biography, xv. 78.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

reasons in detail for questioning the authenticity of this min-
iature and its attribution of authorship, and I am especially
moved to do so at this time by the admirable twenty-fifth an-
niversary address, recently delivered before the American His-
torical Association, by our fellow member, Professor Albert
Bushnell Hart, on the pertinent theme of " Imagination in
History.”

It is not necessary to give to a cultivated body of men like
this Society any account of Samuel Cooper. It is sufficient to
say that he seems to have come forth full armored from the
brain of Jove, and he has remained to our day facile princeps
among the miniature painters of the world. His period covers
from 1609 to 1672, and if not precisely court-painter to the
Protector, he seems to have limned him many times, until his
name is as closely connected with the portraits of Cromwell
as Holbein's is with those of Henry VIII, and consequently
Cooper has suffered by having all sorts of portraits of the head
of the Commonwealth attributed to him. It will be remem-
bered that it was one of his miniatures of Cromwell that
called forth the high encomium of Horace Walpole, that if it
could be magnified to the size of Vandyke's it would appear
to have been painted to that proportion and Vandyke's appear
less great by the comparison, and as Dr. Propert correctly
says, It is extremely doubtful if Vandyke ever produced a
portrait which for strength, broad delineation of character and
freedom, could surpass many of Cooper's tiny miniatures."

This suggestion of Walpole is especially to the point in con-
sidering the miniature under consideration. The head is
three-quarters of an inch long, and I had it enlarged to two
and one-half inches, much below life size, when, instead of
holding its own, it went all to pieces, which was no surprise to
me as I saw how faulty it was in drawing, without modelling
and technically mediocre to the last degree. Indeed, there
never could have been any legitimate excuse for attributing it
to Cooper, excepting that it was a portrait of Oliver Cromwell,
and there are few miniatures of Cromwell that the owners do
not, with perfect assurance, assign to the incomparable Cooper
as glibly as in this country every portrait of Washington is
assigned to Gilbert Stuart.

As a matter of history, in connection with miniatures of
Cromwell by Cooper in this country, let me add that in Cum-

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mings's Historic Annals of the National Academy of Design
(page 118), there is an account of one Abrahams, who in 1830
exhibited in New York a collection of paintings by the “ Old
Masters," through which he got into trouble and was lodged
in the Tombs prison. On being released Cummings says, “ He
left in this country, from that collection, an original miniature
portrait of Oliver Cromwell, by Cooper, which he presented to
William Roome, the deputy-jailer of the City Prison, for kind-
nesses rendered during his confinement." A score of years
ago I had some correspondence with the author of this work,
Thomas Seir Cummings, then in his eighty-eighth year
well-known miniature painter, as to the time of the introduc-
tion of ivory for miniatures, and he referred to the Abra-
hams-Cooper miniature of Cromwell as being on ivory. This
fact alone stamped it as not by Cooper, ivory for miniature-
painting not having been used in his time. He painted upon
vellum, paper, or metal. In conclusion it might be well to
add that

your

miniature does not even bear a resemblance to any known portrait of Cromwell by Cooper, and thus another instance of imagination in history is laid bare.

and a

Mr. Ford made the following communication :

My colleague Mr. Alfred B. Page has called my attention to a hitherto unsuspected connection between two broadsides in the collections of the Society, and his investigation has developed this connection so as to place it beyond any question. He has prepared the following note embodying the material found upon the subject.

In April, 1751, was circulated a printed broadside, containing some satirical verses entitled, “ A Mournful Lamentation for the sad and deplorable Death of Mr. Old Tenor,” etc. The

poem had no name of author signed to it, and the broadside

gave no name of a printer. It was occasioned by a law enacted January 26, 1748–49, having for its object the withdrawing from circulation of the bills of credit issued by the Province, the last act in a long-continued experience of paper issues.' The broadside was presented to the Society in 1882

1 Mass. Provincial Laws, 111. 430. It is almost needless to call attention to the important studies made of this subject by Andrew McFarland Davis. The course of legislation and experience in bills of credit of no other colony has received so full and careful attention.

« ZurückWeiter »