John Adams is always at his sharpest when he’s passionate.

The source material for this comic comes directly from a November 11, 1807 letter from John Adams to Benjamin Rush, in which he describes the many “talents” that George Washington had that allowed him to become the God-level myth idol that Americans remembered him as after he died, a development that frustrated Adams.

Self taught or Book learned in the Arts, our Hero, was much indebted to his Talents for “his immense elevation above his Fellows.” Talents? You will Say, what Talents? I answer. 1. An handsome Face. That this is a Talent, I can prove by the Authority of a thousand Instances in all Ages: and among the rest Madame DuBarry who said Le veritable Royaute est la Beauté 2. A tall Stature, like the Hebrew Sovereign chosen because he was taller by the Head than the other Jews. 3 An elegant Form. 4. graceful Attitudes and Movements. 5. a large imposing Fortune consisting of a great landed Estate left him by his Father and Brother, besides a large Jointure with his Lady, and the Guardianship of the Heirs of the great Custis Estate, and in Addition to all this, immense Tracts of Land of his own Acquisition. There is nothing, except bloody Battles and Splendid Virtues, to which Mankind bow down with more reverance than to great fortune.

It continues from there, if you’d like to read on, here’s a link to a copy of the full transcript, or if you want a pithier version of the letter, keep reading Two Party Opera this week!

↓ Transcript
John Adams acts out various talents in a mocking manner.
Adams: "Look at me! What a talent to be so handsome.
I'm so talented to be this tall.
An elegant form. Such talent.
Talent is these graceful attitudes and movements."

Thomas Jefferson enters and says "Speaking of talent, where have you been hiding this Washington impression?"
John Adams, now in place of Washington's portrait in the dollar bill, "What a talent to be born rich."