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with more than Roman patriotism and magnanimity. Stuart, by a series of masterly portraits, had established his renown in London ; he had mingled in the best
; society; his vigorous mind was cognizant of all the charms that wit and acumen lend to human intercourse, and he knew the power which genius and will may so readily command. His own nature was more remarkable for strength than refinement; he was eminently fitted to appreciate practical talents and moral energy ; the brave truths of nature, rather than her more delicate effects, were grasped and reproduced by his skill; he might not have done justice to the ideal contour of Shelley, or the gentle features of Mary of Scotland, but could have perfectly reflected the dormant thunder of Mirabeau's countenance, and the argumentative abstraction that knit the brows of Samuel Johnson. He was a votary of truth in her boldest manifestations, and a deliveator of character in its normal and sustained elements. The robust, the venerable, the moral picturesque, the mentally characteristic, he seized by intuition ; those lines of physiognomy which channelled by will the map of inward life, which years of consistent thought and action trace upon the countenance, the hue that to an observant eye indicates almost the daily vocation, the air suggestive of authority or obedience, firmness or vacillation, the glance of the eye, which is the measure of natural intelligence and the temper of the soul,
the expression of the mouth that infallibly betrays the disposition, the tint of hair and mould of features, not only attesting the period of life, but revealing what that life has been, whether toilsome or inert, self-indulgent or adventurous, careworn or pleasurable -these, and such as these records of humanity, Stuart transferred, in vivid colors and most trustworthy outlines, to the canvas. Instinctive, therefore, was his zeal to delineate Washington; a man who, of all the sons of fame, most clearly and emphatically wrote his character in deeds upon the world's heart, whose traits required no imagination to give them effect and no metaphysical insight to unravel their perplexity, but were brought out by the exigencies of the time in distinct relief, as bold, fresh, and true as the verdure of spring and the lights of the firmament, equally recognized by the humblest peasant and the most gifted philosopher.
To trace the history of each of Stuart's portraits of Washington would prove of curious interest. One of his letters to a relative, dated the second of November, 1794, enables us to fix the period of the earliest experiment. “The object of my journey,” he says, “ is only to secure a portrait of the President and finish yours.” One of the succeeding pictures was bought from the artist's studio by Mr. Tayloe, of Washington, and is, at present, owned by his son, B. Ogle Tayloe, Esq. ; another was long in the possession