Antoine-François Callet (1741—1823)

by Antoine-François Callet (1741—1823)

Oil on canvas; Height: 278 cm (109.4 in). Width: 196 cm (77.2 in). Chateaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Versailles, France.

by Antoine-François Callet (1741—1823)

Oil on canvas; 81.1 x 66 cm. Chateaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Versailles, France.

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)