Benjamin West (1738—1820)

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Watercolor on ivory; 6.4 x 4.6 cm (2 1/2 x 1 13/16 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 131 x 98 cm (51-1/2 x 38-1/2 in). Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater K

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Full title: General Johnson Saving a Wounded French Officer from the Tomahawk of a North American Indian. Oil on canvas. Derby Museum

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Art and hand-colored print by Benjamin West; engraving by Pierre Charles Canot (c. 1710—77). Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Art and hand-colored print by Benjamin West; engraving by William Smith (1727—1803). Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 28 1/4 x 23 in. (71.8 x 58.4 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 76.2 x 61.6 cm. Private collection.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 152.6 x 214.5 cm (60 x 84-1/2 in).
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; h:66.50 w:66.30 cm (h:26 1/8 w:26 1/16 inches). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 25 x 24 7/8 inches (63.5 x 63.2 cm). Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT.

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)