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DIRECTIONS FOR WRITING LETTERS.
It was a just observation of the honest Quaker, that If a man thinks twice, before he speaks, he'll speak twice bet. ter for it. With great propriety the above may be applied to all sorts of writing, particularly the epistolary.
In letters from one relation to another, the different characters of the persons must first be considered. Thus a father in writing to a son, will use a gentle authority; a son to a father, will express a filial duty. And again, in friendship, the heart will dilate itself with an honest freedom; it will applaud with sincerity, and censure with modest reluctance.
In letters concerning trade, the subject matter will be constantly kept in view, and the greatest perspicuity and brevity observed by the different correspondents; and in like manner, these rules may be applied to all other subjects, and conditions of life, viz. a comprehensive idea of the subject, and an unaffected simplicity, though modesty in expression. Nothing more need be added; only that a constant attendance to the above, for a few months, will soon convince the learner that his time has not been spent in vain.
Indeed, an assiduous attention to the study of any art, even the most difficult, will enable the learner to surmount every difficulty, and writing letters to his correspondents become equally easy as speaking in company. A careful attention to the plain and simple rules laid down in the preceding Grammar, will enable him to write in the language of the present times; and if he carefully avoids affectation, his thoughts will be clear, his sentiments judicious, and his language plain, easy, sensible, elegant, and suited to the nature of the subject. As letters are the copies of conversation, just consider what you would say to your friend if he was present, and write down the very words you would speak, which will render your epistle unaffected and intelligible.
UNIVERSAL LETTER WRITER.
LETTERS TO AND FROM DIFFERENT RELATIONS,
LETTER I. From a Merchant in London, to the Master of a
College, recommending his Son to his care as a Pupil.
London, January 7, 1841. Rev. SIR,—The opinion I have long had of your abilities as a scholar, your behaviour as a gentleman, and piety as a Christian, encourages me to solicit your
kind assistance in an affair of very great importance.
My son Charles has finished his grammatical studies in Merchant Taylors' School, and is very desirous of being entered as a commoner in your University. The variety of business which I have on my hands, requires my constant residence in London ; but being willing to discharge my duties as a father, I know not any gentleman in Oxford, to whose fidelity I could so readily trust, as yourself ; and, if you approve of this, the youth shall be sent on the return of your answer. He shall be left entirely to your direction, and I doubt not but you will treat him with the same tenderness as if he was your own.--I am, Sir, &c.
The Doctor's Answer. Sir,- I received yours by this day's post; and am extremely pleased with your resolution of giving your son a liberal education. My long residence in this seat of learning, has furnished me with many opportunities of studying the different passions and capacities of youth. Our term begins next week, and if you please to send the young gentleman, you may rest assured of his being constantly under my own direction, and the greatest care taken both of his studies and morals. Oxford, January 9, 1841.
am, Sir, &c. LETTER III. From the young Gentleman to his Father. Honoured Sir,-After entreating you to make acceptable my duty to my mother, and love to my sisters, I embrace this opportunity of letting you know how happily I am settled in the family of the worthy doctor. The good gentleman, and his amiable lady, do every thing in their power to make my life agreeable during the intervals of my attendance on the public lectures. The doctor has begun to teach me geometry, and I hope soon to be able to make some progress in that useful science.
I have endeavoured to be as good au economist as possible, but at present am obliged to purchase several books : I know your tenderness and generosity, and doubt not of hearing from you soon.
am, Sir, your affectionate and dutiful son.
The Father's Answer. Dear Charles,-I received yours, and am greatly pleased to hear of the progress you make in your studies, as well as your agreeable situation, I know the doctor is a worthy man, and if your behaviour continues consistent with the duties of morality, you may be assured of his treating you with the same tenderness as if you were his own son.
As to the affair you mentioned concerning the books, the inclosed order will convince you that nothing on my part shall be wanting to furnish you with every thing necessary ; as I am assured, from the whole of your former conduct, that you will not require any thing bordering on superfluity.
I am your affectionate father.
LETTER V. From a Merchant's Widow to a Lady, a distant
Relation, in behalf of her two Orphans. Madam,- When you look at the subscription of this letter, I doubt not of your being much surprised with its contents ; but it is more on account of your amiable character, than that I have the honour of being your relation, that I have presumed to trouble
you with this.
My late husband, who you know was reputed to be in affluent circumstances, has been dead about six months ; his whole accounts have been settled with his creditors, and because of many losses and bad debts, there is not above one hundred pounds left for myself. I have a son just turned of fourteen, whom I want to bind apprentice to a reputable trade; and a daughter near seventeen, whose education has rendered her incapable of acting as a menial servant, although she would willingly be the companion of some young lady, where she might be treated with familiarity and tenderness. In circumstances so distressing, I have presumed to address myself to you ; your long acquaintance with the world will enable you to direct me how to proceed, and I doubt not but your unbounded generosity will induce you to comply with a request dictated by the severity of affliction.
The Lady's Answer. Madam, I know not whether I am more affected with the modest representation of your afflic. tio or pleased that I have it in my power to assist you. You see, madam, that all human expectations are vain, and often attended with deception; when we think our circumstances are independent, there is generally some latent mischief hidden under the specious appearance; and this should teach us continually to look to that Providence which superintends the affairs of this lower world, and orders all for the good of its creatures. With respect to your two children, I have proposed the following scheme for their benefit :
Let the boy think of some trade, to which his inclination leads him, and I will provide him with every necessary during his apprenticeship; and at the expiration of that term (if his behaviour is agreeable) advance something to set him up in busi
As for the girl, let her be immediately sent to my house, where she shall be brought up along with my daughters, and every thing in my power done to serve her.
I expect that, from time to time, you will communicate to me an account of your own circumstances, that I may be happy in alleviating every calamity.
I am, &c.