Wythe to Thomas Jefferson, 10 January 1791
George Wythe asks Thomas Jefferson to look over the drawing of the Seal of the High Court of Chancery. He asks if he agrees that Benjamin West's addition of Sisamnes, a corrupt judge who had been flayed alive, is an improvement to the seal. Also, Wythe asks if the words "State of Virginia" are superfluous and, if so, what should replace them. Wythe asks if Jefferson knows if there is anyone who makes or sells philosophical instruments in Philadelphia.
When you can attend to triffles, tell me your opinion, in general, of the drawing inclosed with this; particularly, should not parties appear before the judge? is not the skin of Sisamnes, whose story, you know, Herodotus relates, added by Mr. West to the original design, an improvement? on the reverse, are not the words 'state of Virginia', on the exergon, since within it are represented Patomoack, &c. a tautology? and, if so, what ought to supply their place? return the drawing at your leisure. if any makers or sellers of instruments for philosophical experiments be in Philadelphia, desire one of them to send me a bill of his articles,
articles, with their cost. i wish you felicity perpetual. Williamsburgh, 10th of january, 1791