Pray tell Mr. Harte that I have received his letter of the 27th May, N. S., and that I advise him never to take the English newswriters literally, who never yet inserted any one thing quite right. I have both his patent and his mandamus, in both which he is Walter, let the newspapers call him what they please.
London, July 9, O. S. 1750.
My dear friend: I should not deserve that appellation in return from you, if I did not freely and explicitly inform you of every corrigible defect which I may either hear of, suspect, or at any time discover in you. Those who, in the common course of the world, will call themselves your friends; or whom, according to the common notions of friendship, you may possibly think such, will never tell you of your faults, still less of your weaknesses. But, on the contrary, more desirous to make you their friend, than to prove themselves yours, they will flatter both, and, in truth, not be sorry for either. Interiorly, most people enjoy the inferiority of their best friends. The useful and essential part of friendship, to you, is reserved singly for Mr. Harte and myself: our relations to you stand pure and unsuspected of all private views. In whatever we say to you, we can have no interest but yours. We are therefore authorized to represent, advise, and remonstrate; and your reason must tell you that you ought to attend to and believe us.
I am credibly informed, that there is still a considerable hitch or hobble in your enunciation; and that when you speak fast you sometimes speak unintelligibly. I have formerly and frequently laid my thoughts before you so fully upon this subject, that I can say nothing new upon it now. I must therefore only repeat, that your whole depends upon it. Your trade is to speak well, both in public and in private. The manner of your speaking is full as important as the matter, as more people have ears to be tickled, than understandings to judge. Be your productions ever so good, they will be of no use, if you stifle and strangle them in their birth. The best compositions of Corelli, if ill executed and played out of tune, instead of touching, as they do when well performed, would only excite the indignation of the hearer’s, when murdered by an unskillful performer. But to murder your own productions, and that ‘coram