[9. . 1804]My dear Boys I have just return'd from a visit to yr. good Grandmother - accompanied by Father, Sister, Brother, Ann & Mary Ann.She & I united in regretting that between one thing and another, you had so miss'd your chance of melons. We concluded however we would try to make it up to you in pears; for which you must not fail to send yr. acknowledgements to her and your Uncle J. T. By the way Henry, do not fall into the awkardness of bad spelling I beseech thee! Such as spelling Uncle with a k, instead of a c, &c Mother shew'd me thy Letter to John Thomas, with which I was pretty well pleas'd upon the whole - but one caution occurred to me to communicate on reading it - Beware dear Child, of the practice of doing things underhandedly! that is, with a wish, and a design to conceal them - Let them be ever so innocent in themselves, they are in one respect dangerous; as they create a necessity, or rather temptation to falsehood, if you should be suspected or accus;d: and might possibly lead into sneaking habits - and sneaking habits, are so contrary to everything that is honourable or manly - there is such a bitterness & meanness in them! - they are so ugly, so awkard, and so vulgar! that I pray Heav'n may avert them from my dear Children - or enable you to avoid them!! There is something so [----], & prompt, & firm, - so erect & so dignified insincerity - and moreover so convenient, compar'd
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