#1244 A Free Nation

The Founding Fathers intended a free nation in which you could choose your religion.
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

After a short discussion about weather, President Jefferson addresses a question about his ownership of a copy of the Quran. Jefferson goes on to explain his views on the importance of religious freedom. In the out-of-character portion of the show, Clay and David are joined by Brad Crisler.

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Portrait Miniatures

Brad Crisler, a longtime friend of the Jefferson Hour, gave us the story of his recent portrait miniature discovery. Brad writes:

A colleague found the set in an auction, the man identified as Capt. William Leslie c. 1775, the woman unattributed English school, the reverse memorial with the OB Jan 3rd 1777 age 26. When he brought it to my attention I recognized the woman as the work of Charles Willson Peale and both of us knowing the relationship between the Leslie family and Dr. Benjamin Rush (He stayed with the family while he studied in Edinburgh 1766-1768. Rush was befriended by the Leslie family and became dear friends with Capt. Leslie and apparently became very affectionate with Capt. Leslie’s sister, Jane.
After research revealed a letter from Benjamin Rush to Lady Jane on July 4, 1785 in which he describes in exact detail a memorial made with his and her chopped hair he was sending her set in the back of a miniature of Mrs. Rush (his wife Julia), we bought the set and were pleased to place it with an important private collection which has close ties to an important institution.

Mrs. Benjamin Rush by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1782

Memorial on the reverse, made with sepia ink and tiny bits of chopped hair, the gentleman formed with Dr. Rush’s hair, the lady and the tomb with Lady Jane’s hair (Capt. Leslie’s sister).

Captain Leslie painted in the United Kingdom, c. 1775.

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A Word About Fathers and Daughters

The Jefferson Watch

If you ask me what the most successful relationship was in Jefferson’s 83-year life, I can answer unequivocally that it was with his elder daughter Martha, whom he called Patsy, at least when she was young. The other adult daughter Maria (Polly), who died in her 25th year, always believed that her father preferred her older sister. She was right. Martha Jefferson was essentially a female version of Jefferson—tall, masterful in all that she did, disciplined, socially graceful, and competent through the roof. She adored her father, and was a fierce and lifelong protector of his privacies, his sensitive spirit, and his reputation. She knew his faults, or some of them. She said once, “My father never gave up a friend—or an opinion.” The potency of that last phrase depends on how long the pause is after friend, but there is a wonderful irony about it.

Read this week's Jefferson Watch essay, "A Word About Fathers and Daughters."

What Would Jefferson Do?

The idea was that once you create this constitutional mechanism, that it will distill the will of the people.
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

Tune in to your local public radio or join the 1776 Club to hear this episode of What Would Thomas Jefferson Do?

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