I do not care what it costs. Just do it.

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP

may I ask the favor of you to present my request to your son that he would be so good as to1 make a copy of the portrait he took of me, and of the same size? it is intended for a friend who has expressed a wish for it; and when ready I will give directions to whom it shall be delivered if he will be so good as to drop me a line mentioning it & the price.

Source: To Charles Willson Peale, February 21, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Smart people, not just smart leaders, know the cost in advance.
Peale (1741 – 1827) was a noted Philadelphia painter. He also owned a distinguished natural history museum there. (Many of Lewis & Clark’s specimens from their western expedition found a permanent home in Peale’s museum.)

Peale had sons who were also painters. The son referred to here is Rembrandt Peale (1778 – 1860), named after you know who. Jefferson wanted Rembrandt to make a copy of his 1800 portrait for a friend. When it was completed, Rembrandt was to notify Jefferson and tell him what it cost.

Some of Jefferson’s financial woes were inflicted on him. Others were of his own making. This is an example of the latter. He was unfailingly generous toward others and gave no thought to the cost of such gifts, even extravagant ones like a duplicate portrait for a friend.

At age 81, he would write 10 points of advice for a young boy, based on his own life experiences. Point #3: “Never spend your money before you have it.” It was a lesson he never learned, and by that time, he was hopelessly in debt.


“Mr. Lee possesses a fine sense of theater… using his skillful acting
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The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

His business address is ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.

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