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Letters to His Son 1746-47

Page 74 of 82

I have no letters of yours, or Mr.  Harte's to acknowledge; so that this
letter is the effect of that 'scribendi cacoethes,' which my fears, my
hopes, and my doubts, concerning you give me.  When I have wrote you a
very long letter upon any subject, it is no sooner gone, but I think I
have omitted something in it, which might be of use to you; and then I
prepare the supplement for the next post: or else some new subject occurs
to me, upon which I fancy I can give you some informations, or point out
some rules which may be advantageous to you.  This sets me to writing
again, though God knows whether to any purpose or not; a few years more
can only ascertain that.  But, whatever my success may be, my anxiety and
my care can only be the effects of that tender affection which I have for
you; and which you cannot represent to yourself greater than it really
is.  But do not mistake the nature of that affection, and think it of a
kind that you may with impunity abuse.  It is not natural affection,
there being in reality no such thing; for, if there were, some inward
sentiment must necessarily and reciprocally discover the parent to the
child, and the child to the parent, without any exterior indications,
knowledge, or acquaintance whatsoever; which never happened since the
creation of the world, whatever poets, romance, and novel writers, and

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