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PARLOR LETTER WRITER.
A GREAT VARIETY OF LETTERS
ON THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS:
RELATIONSHIP, BUSINESS, LOVE, COURTSHIP AND
OUS LETTERS, LAW FORMS, &c., &c
BELECTED FROM JUDICIOUS AND EMINENT WRITERS
Heaven first taught Letters for some wretch's aid,
THE art of Letter Writing consists in a proper expression of those ideas, on paper, which we should convey by conversation to a person were he present; hence it follows that the more natural a letter is written the better it is. This remark applies particularly to those which are written to friends and relations upon ordinary topics, where no great degree of accuracy is requisite. But letters on business, or other subjects of importance should never be penned in a hurry, and ought to be carefully revised, in order to prevent those disagreeable consequences which frequently arise from writing carelessly or in a passion.
In the following selection of letters, the publisher has endeavored to combine those adapted to every capacity; it is a mistaken notion to suppose that a child shows great talents by being able to write a stiff, formal letter to his parents, however good it may be in itself; it is altogether unnatural, and whatever is unnatural is disgusting. We expect a child to write like one, and it makes him appear just as ridiculous to attempt any other style as it would to put on one of his father's coats.
Agreeably to this opinion, we have commenced with Letters which children might be supposed, and which would be consistent for them to write, and have followed them by others in that degree in which we may suppose the mind arrives at maturity; among the latter are some finished epistles by a number of eminent men.
It must appear evident that the style of letters should always be in accordance with the condition of the person written to, and with the subject written upon. For instance, to write to a parent in the same manner that we would to a common acquaintance, or to address a person in distress in a strain of levity, is not only highly improper, but in the latter case, is an insult.
In letters on business, people should endeavor to express their sentiments in as clear and concise a manner as possible, because persons in business have not time to read long letters, and besides, too many words are apt to bewilder instead of informing. Many mistakes of importance occur from their ambiguity of expression; and yet, perhaps, he that uses it is endeavoring to render his meaning doubly plain by explanations.
No precise rules for epistolary writing can be given to any advantage. The most prominent are these :
Think what you wish to say, and put it on paper in the words that most readily occur to your mind, always endeavoring “to use proper words in proper places.'