Off-white painted terra cotta; 9 1/2 x 27 1/2 x 21 1/2 in., 80 lb. (24.1 x 69.9 x 54.6 cm, 36.3 kg). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.
George Clinton, 1792
I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. This, with its echo of the Declaration (
self-evident) was Jefferson at his most terse. Except for the phrase
in usufruct — a legalism meaning the right to use property for a certain time — Jefferson’s words could be chiseled in stone, or shouted on the hustings.