I shall be happy to receive your corrections of these ideas, as I have found, in the course of our joint services, that I think right when I think with you.
I am, with sincere affection, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
P.S. Monsieur Houdon has agreed to go to America to take the figure of General Washington. In the case of his death, between his departure from Paris and his return to it, we may lose twenty thousand livres. I ask the favor of you to inquire what it will cost to ensure that sum on his life, in London, and to give me as early an answer as possible, that I may order the ensurance, if I think the terms easy enough. He is, I believe, between thirty and thirty-five years of age, healthy enough, and will be absent about six months. T.J.
LETTER LXXI.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, July 10, 1785
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Paris, July 10, 1785.
Mr. Houdon would much sooner have had the honor of attending you, but for a spell of sickness, which long induced us to despair of his recovery, and from which he is but recently recovered. He comes now, for the purpose of lending the aid of his art to transmit you to posterity. He is without rivalship in it, being employed from all parts of Europe in whatever is capital. He has had a difficulty to withdraw himself from an order of the Empress of Russia; a difficulty, however, that arose from a desire to show her respect, but which never gave him a moment’s hesitation about his present voyage, which he considers as promising the brightest chapter of his history. I have spoken of him as an artist only; but I can assure you also, that, as a man, he is disinterested, generous, candid, and panting after glory: in every circumstance meriting your good opinion. He will have need to see you much while he shall have the honor of being with you; which you can the more freely admit, as his eminence and merit give him admission into genteel societies here. He will need an interpreter. I suppose you could procure some person from Alexandria, who might be agreeable to yourself, to perform this office. He brings with him one or two subordinate workmen, who of course will associate with their own class only.