Monticello June 24. 26
The kind invitation I receive from you on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration of the 50th anniversary of American independence; as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.
I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the City of Washington and of it’s vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be forgotten. with my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself, and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.
“I am very worried about America. I love America. I just love the States. I’m the sort of age that saw America as everything that was good: rock’n’roll, cars with fins, James Dean, John F. Kennedy, baseball and chewing gum. All these things were just fantastic for someone from a little country on the other side of the world. And now I’d be reluctant to set foot in the place. It’s unrecognisable.
“It’s terribly damaged. It’s traumatized. I hope things do change in November but whoever wins that election, there will be staunch resistance from the other side. How you reunite a country that has been systematically taken apart by this administration I just don’t know.”
- Sam Niell
In 1879, Claude Monet moved with his family to the village of Vétheuil on the north bank of the River Seine. For the next three years the town became the artist’s central landscape motif. His style during this period evolved from the blunt, broad strokes of the 1870s to delicate, rhythmic brushwork that reads like a gauze of spun sugar. The poplars in the background appear as twirling configurations of blue and green, while the clouds are painted in a broad and wet manner that suggests the flat quality of the sky at midday.