Description

    Robert Field Autograph Letter Signed. Signed: Robt. Field, two pages with integral address leaf, 8" x 9.5", Annapolis, July 30, 1800. Written to John Leeds Kerr, a young lawyer and close friend of Francis Scott Key. Field was a long resident of America where he painted portraits of George and Martha Washington as well as many other famous people, and was widely known and celebrated as a miniaturist. Some portraits attributed to Gilbert Stuart are widely thought to be by Field. In this letter he talks about what he has been doing during the three months he spent in Annapolis, and discusses at length and rather amusingly the coarse level of plebian patriotism which revolts against legitimate authority and responds only to a drink of liquor! "I would long since have written could I have found any other subject to talk about than myself, a subject too dull for fancy and too barren for speculation...I have been here three months, have been pretty well employ'd, have been introduced into much good company, have spent my time for the most part pleasantly, have been in love and have gotten out again, and would have gone to Georgetown yesterday if the damn'd stage driver had not gone before his time...Now, sir, let's talk about you a little. I hear you have been speechifying to the monster, you might as well f-t against the thunder as oppose sentiment or argument to the 'howl of plebian patriotism.' To be insolent to our betters, to revile all legitimate authority, to misrepresent every act of administration, to destroy all subordination, to bring everyone down to the level of a coarse and brutal rabble...this is patriotism, such patriotism as the most powerful eloquence will never be able to subvert - cease therefore to reason with those who cannot understand, or to use the powers of persuasion to those who cannot feel. Depend upon it there is no effectual mode of convincing the sovereign people but grog! grog! grog!...I am still deaf to the voice of ambition, and care not if my name should never be mentioned by posterity, in the same century with Lyon and Gallatin, with Duane and Jefferson...'. In fine condition; light overall toning; small hole on the first page from original wax seal; usual folds are present.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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