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Lear, Tobias (1762-1816) to Buchan, the Earl of Erskine re: a portrait of President George Washington by Trumbull and American neutrality.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02794.036 Author/Creator: Lear, Tobias (1762-1816) Place Written: Liverpool, England Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1794/02/23 Pagination: 3 p. + docket 23.5 x 19.5 cm

Summary of Content: Buchan, the Earl of Erskine, an English liberal in Edinburgh, Scotland, writes: "I am much pleased to find that the Portrait of our great good Washington meets your Lordship's approbation [. . . .] There is now with Mr. [Benjamin] West in London (lately sent over) a full length painting of the Rendering by Trumbull, which is perhaps the best ever taken of him-- and an engraving is to be made from it." "I find a pretty general apprehension occasion in this Country by the military preparations making in the U.S. as tending of a rupture with this Kingdom; but sure I am that the only object of such preparations is to enable the U.S. to preserve with dignity & energy that System of neutrality which they have adopted." A draft was kept by Lear.

Full Transcript: Liverpool Feby 23rd: 1794
My Lord,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship's [inserted: acceptable favors] of the 4 and 11. of the present month.- The first came ...to my hands just as I was leaving London, and the latter was forwarded to this place where I desire all letters for me to be sent - until I might direct otherwise.
I could not find the Busts in London which your Lordship [struck: was] is desirous of obtaining to be placed in your Hall at the Abbey; but I shall assuredly take upon myself the pleasure of getting them for you if they are to be had in America, or elsewhere within my knowledge.-
I am much pleased to find that the portrait of our great and good Washington meets your Lordship's approbation.- I have seen the print which is now sold in London, and altho' I think it a very strong likeness of the President, yet it has not done him justice in pains of character.- There is now with Mr. West in London (lately sent over) a full length [struck: likeness portrait] [inserted: painting] of the President by Trumbull, which is perhaps the best ever taken of him - and an engraving is to be made from it. This will be an object worth your Lordship's attention, and thereupon you may be furnished with an excellent [2] print. How long it may be before the plate will be ready is more than I can say; but I think no time will be lost in finishing it. If I can be serviceable to your Lordship in getting one of these [struck: you] I need not say how much pleasure it will give me [struck: in doing it] to do it.
I find I shall not be in Edinburgh so soon as expected - and [struck: I think] [inserted: indeed] it is not certain at this moment whether [struck: I] my business will call me there at all before I leave the kingdom. If it should I shall not fail to pay my respects to your Lordship while in that quarter.
It is my present intention to make a shipment to my home from this Kingdom some time in April;- and from all the information I have hitherto collected, this Port seems to present itself as the most favorable for making shipments to America from the most effective manufactures of. [struck: illegible] After tarrying here a few days to obtain [inserted: on the ship] more particular information on this Subject, I shall if I find it proper to ship from there, visit the manufacturers of Yorkshire - and other ports to take measures for having goods forwarded to this place.- And I beg your Lordship to be assured of [illegible] which I have of your goodness in permitting me to use your name [struck: where I may find] in supporting my errand into this country.
I find a pretty genuine apprehension occasions in this Country by the military preparations making in the U.S. as tending to a rupture with this Kingdom; and [sure] I am that the only object of such preparations is [3] to enable the U.S. to preserve with dignity & energy that System of neutrality which they have drafted.- They will not become a party in the present war unless there to in defense of rights which they cannot give up. And I am particularly happy to find that the sentiments of candid & liberal men here, so far as I have had an opportunity of knowing them, are coincident with those of your Lordship-
I think with you that the more free & intimate the communication is between the two countries the more [struck: illegible] it will [illegible] to a right understanding between them and the greater will they mutual advantages-
Begging that my best respects & wishes may be made acceptable to Lady Buchan and my other amiable friends at Dryburgh Abbey.

I have the honor to be, with
my great respect
my lord
Your Lordship
Most obliged & ob.t
T.E.

[address leaf]
To
The Earl of Buchan
28 Feby 1794

See More

People: Lear, Tobias, 1762-1816

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentArt, Music, Theater, and FilmMilitary HistoryGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyNeutrality

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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