Letter from Benjamin Griswold to Lewis Tappan
A letter from Benjamin Griswold to Lewis Tappan regarding "the painting" [Amasa Hewins' depiction of the Amistad rebellion]. In the letter, Griswold states, "I do not know whether it is best to say anything about it in public or not." He remarks that "perhaps it will have the effect to draw attention to [the Amistad Case]" and that the responsibility of making the painting public will be Lewis Tappan's. Appended to the letter in an unknown had is "Mr. Barber preparing pamphlet." Accompanying the letter is a more thorough description of the painting entitled "The Massacre on Board the Amistad by the blacks who are now in jail in this city." The painting is described in the letter as being on a 100 x 135 foot canvas and that it will be on display in the artist's room at the Phoenix Building for a few days. Griswold provides a detailed description of the events depicted in the painting and contrasts them with statements by the Amistad Captives. In reference to the painting as a work of art, Griswold has "nothing to say." Regarding the artist, Griswold states, "he seems to feel an interest in these men, to sympathize with them, & their friends."