USES OF THE SEAL
When the Continental Congress made the obverse of the great seal the national arms it intended that the device should pass into common use among the people, as the flag has done, and like the flag the arms at first met with general approval, which soon gave place to an acceptance of it as an emblem of the power and sovereignty of the United States, which placed it above criticism.
Not all of the fathers of the Republic, however, were pleased with the selection of the eagle as the national emblem. When the badge of the Order of the Society of the Cincinnati was made in France in 1784 it was objected to by some because the displayed eagle resembled a turkey.
For my part [wrote Benjamin Franklin January 26, 1784, to his daughter], I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly; you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk; and, when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. With all this