John Adams

by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863—1930)

Oil on canvas; 30 x 24 in. One of the 78 scenes from American history by Ferris titled The Pageant of a Nation. Virginia Historical S

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; Height: 28 ½” (72.3 cm); Width: 36 ¼” (92.7 cm). Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library; Winterthur, DE.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Black chalk, white-chalk heightening, and graphite on blue laid paper. 18 7/8 x 14 1/4 in.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 238.1 x 147 cm (93 3/4 x 57 7/8 in). Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge, MA.

by Mather Brown (1761—1831)

Oil on canvas; 34 ½ x 27 ¼ in. (90.2 x 71.3 cm). Boston Athenæum, Boston, MA.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.

by John Trumbull (1756—1843)

Oil on wood; 9.8 x 8.3 cm (3 7/8 x 3 1/4 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by James Sharples (c. 1751—1811)

Pastel on gray (now oxidized) laid paper. 9 1/2 x 7 7/16 in. • 24.1 x 18.9 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

attrib. family member of James Sharples (c. 1751—1811)

Pastel on gray paper; 9 x 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8 cm). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

George Washington ordered his overseers to begin the 1767 wheat harvest on June 24, a hot, cloudy Saturday at the end of a dry week. Thus began twenty days of unrelenting exertion for Mount Vernon’s slaves and no little anxiety for their master, who for the first time had given over his holding almost entirely to the cultivation of grain. Much depended on the success of this experiment, which was a crucial element in Washington’s scheme to free himself of the debts he had accumulated over the years of failing to produce tobacco that would sell on London’s finicky market. Rich as he was in land, he feared that, like so many of his fellow planters, he too would become permanently dependent on his English merchant creditors. It was a fate he dreaded above all, for to suffer it meant that he would lose the essence of a gentleman’s character, independence, and with it the capacity to behave in a truly virtuous way.

Fred Anderson
Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754 - 1766 (2000)