Thomas Jefferson Papers

Maria Cosway to Thomas Jefferson, 10 July 1822

From Maria Cosway

London 10th July 1822

My dear friend

I have at last finished all the affairs which have kept me here after the loss of poor mr Cosway and am returning to the tranquillity, good climate & favorite as well as usefull occupation of my dear College at Lodi. I promised in my last to acquaint you of my destination that I might have the pleasure of hearing from you, little did I expect I should be detaind So long.—In appearance mr C. passed for being very rich, but in reality was farr from it, little had but what depended on the Sale of his valuable & immense Collection & that Sold for very little, the times are bad here, all complain for want of money, and it is too natural every one will deprive themselves of the Superfluos, and only in that the Collection1 Consisted, However, if what I have is not Sufficient for this Country where I am going I shall be Comfortable and at ease. My activity requires Some occupation & what I have chosen is a glorious one, & every Circumstance does incorage me to it, particularly its happy Success. I have lost many valuable old friends and at my Age & my Sentiments new ones I little care for. Children are growing tender plants, & by planting virtues in their hearts & minds, affection & gratitude reward & console my assiduity & labours, and is a Constant Succession of Satisfaction & enjoiment.—But, all this is about myself, permit me to be anxious about you, & to enquire the state of your health, happy you will ever be, because you know too well in what best happiness Consists, After all it much depends on the choice we make, & in what we make it Consist, and yours must be Successfull.—

The whole world is a grand lesson, all in trouble, all at work, for what! in constant ambitious struggles, Aiming at impossibility to obtain, & end on a rock in the middle of the Seas.—I wish I could see you on your charming Monticello! could I drop back Some of my Years I should be happy to pay you a Visit. I have visited Scotland & have been delighted, the Scenery beautifull & the Nation brave, Constant & faithfull to the Sentiments of their forefathers of whom they inherit the Characteristic Virtues. How this Nation triffles itself away!—

I hope to hear from you, a letter addressed to Lodi Via Milan2 will find your ever obliged & Sincerly affte

Maria Cosway

I beg to be rememberd to your Daughter.

Can you tell me where my brother (George Hadfield) is, & what he is about?

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thoms Jefferson Esqre Monticello Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as a letter from “Causway Maria” received 8 Sept. 1822 and so recorded (with last name spelled correctly) in SJL. Enclosure: enclosure to TJ to George Hadfield, 10 Sept. 1822. Enclosed in Richard Rush to TJ, 12 July 1822, and Daniel Brent to TJ, 3 Sept. 1822, not found (see note to preceding document cited).

Cosway alludes to Napoleon’s end on a rock in the middle of the seas, the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena. TJ’s daughter was Martha Jefferson Randolph.

1Manuscript: “Colection.”

2Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Cosway, Maria Louisa Catherine Cecilia Hadfield (Richard Cosway’s wife); as educator search
  • Cosway, Maria Louisa Catherine Cecilia Hadfield (Richard Cosway’s wife); family of search
  • Cosway, Maria Louisa Catherine Cecilia Hadfield (Richard Cosway’s wife); letters from search
  • Cosway, Maria Louisa Catherine Cecilia Hadfield (Richard Cosway’s wife); on Scotland search
  • Cosway, Maria Louisa Catherine Cecilia Hadfield (Richard Cosway’s wife); wishes to visit TJ search
  • Cosway, Richard (Maria Cosway’s husband); art collection of search
  • Cosway, Richard (Maria Cosway’s husband); death of search
  • Cosway, Richard (Maria Cosway’s husband); finances of search
  • Great Britain; economic distress in search
  • Hadfield, George (Maria Cosway’s brother); family of search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; death of search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • Scotland; M. Cosway on search
  • women; letters from; M. Cosway search