John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on copper. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

Uncle to John Hancock, to whom he left his fortune.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 242.7 x 150.9 cm (95 9/16 x 59 7/16 in). Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 145.73 x 122.24 cm (57 3/8 x 48 1/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127.00 x 101.60 cm.). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm ). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 3/8 x 40 1/4 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

Known as Colonel James.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 1/2 x 40 5/8 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Pastel on laid paper; w:36.8 x h:44.5 cm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 127 x 101.92 cm (50 x 40 1/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 126.05 x 100.33 cm (49 5/8 x 39 1/2 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

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.

Richard Brookhiser
James Madison (2011)