Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Maria Cosway, [5 October 1786]

From Maria Cosway

[5 Oct. 1786]

I am very, very sorry indeed, and […]1 for having been the Cause of your pains in the [Night];2 Why would you go? And why was I not more friendly to you and less to Myself by preventing your giving me the pleasure of your Company? You repeatedly said it wou’d do you no harm, I felt interested and did not insist. We shall go I believe this Morning, Nothing seems redy, but Mr. Cosway seems More dispos’d then I have seen him all this time. I shall write to you from England, it is impossible to be wanting to a person who has been so excesvely obliging. I dont attempt to make Compliments, they can be None for you, but I beg you will think us sensible to your kindness, and that it will be with infinite pleasure I shall remember the charming days we have past together, and shall long for next spring.

You will make me very happy, if you would send a line to the post restante at Antwerp, that I may know how you are.

Believe me dr: Sir your Most obliged affectionate servant,

Maria Cosway

RC (MHi); MS mutilated at the top, as are all of the early letters from Maria Cosway. This mutilation, which evidently is the work of a rodent, suggests that all of Maria Cosway’s letters were at one time bundled together, since, on being placed in juxtaposition, the serrated edges of the tops of her early letters coincide; there is no particular significance in this fact, for the alphabetical grouping of in-letters was no doubt a normal procedure with TJ. Date supplied from internal evidence; see TJ to Maria Cosway, 29 Nov. 1786.

1Five or six words missing. Randolph, Domestic Life description begins Sarah N. Randolph, The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson description ends , p. 86, reads: “…very sorry indeed, and [blame myself] for having been the Cause,” &c.; this reading for the two words in brackets (supplied) is conjectural, though there is no statement that the MS was mutilated (as it was) at the time Randolph published it. This reading may be correct in substance, but it is erroneous in phraseology, for fully half a line is missing and the remnant shows the descender of a letter at the end of the first word, indicating that it could not have been “blame.”

2One word missing. Randolph, same, p. 86, reads “wrist,” which is obviously an error since there is the remnant of a descender showing.

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