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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 27, July 2, 2006, Article 37

JOHN BOLEN MEDAL WASHINGTON QUOTE

Steve Pellegrini writes: "I don’t know how anyone else is feeling
about the upcoming state and national elections but I for one have
a knot in my stomach just thinking of the rancor, divisiveness and
mudslinging we will be subjected to for the next two years.
Two years!!

I mention this because the other morning over coffee I was
re-visiting my copy of Neil Musante’s beautiful book, ‘The Medallic
Work of John Adams Bolen’. John Bolen was one of 19th century
America’s premiere diesinkers.

>From his Brockton, MA workshop he created a large opus of medals,
tokens and store cards. In 1864 as the Civil War entered the beginning
of its end Bolen created a medal that I found to be as relevant today
as it was in the dark, fratricidal time in which it was created.

This medal, catalogued as JAB-11, is a large silver portrait medal
of George Washington. On the medal's reverse Bolen choose to engrave
a powerful quote of Washington's written during the trying,
politically factional times of the early republic. The quote is
taken from a letter that our first Commander in Chief had written
to his young former aide de camp, Alexander Hamilton. It is an
observation that could have been written yesterday, were we ever
so lucky today to have men of Washington’s character and intelligence
running for public office.

In 11 lines the inscription reads: ‘I HOPE THAT LIBERAL ALLOWANCES
WILL BE MADE FOR THE POLITICAL OPINIONS OF EACH OTHER. WITHOUT THESE
I DO NOT SEE HOW THE REINS OF GOVERNMENT ARE TO BE MANAGED, OR HOW
THE UNION OF STATES CAN BE MUCH LONG PRESERVED.’ -- In his Appendix
II Musante records the whole of this most perceptive Washington
letter from which Bolan excerpted the inscription on the reverse of
JAB-11. It is well worth the effort to find and read this letter
in its entirety."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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