A Dialogue Between Head and Heart


Thomas Jefferson

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Tonight, we’ll read a letter Thomas Jefferson sent to Maria Cosway in 1786. Jefferson, a widower, met Cosway, who was married, while travelling in France and was rather charmed by the Italian-English artist. In this letter, a sorrowful Jefferson pines for her and imagines a debate between his head and his heart. He writes, the only “effective security against such pain of unrequited love, is to retire within ourselves and to suffice for our own happiness.