In a gentler day, Charles Dodgson ("Lewis Carroll") wrote a conversational essay:

Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter Writing

He anticipates all the modern conveniences of word processing, email, and describes a system for keeping a file copy, and generating a precis and index of correspondence of various type. He also has a foreshadowing of practice I usually attribute to Harry S Truman after HST incautiously sending his letter to critic Hume (my statement of the practice follows):

Write freely, to organize ones' thoughts, and to capture and spend the emotion, but then place the draft in the top desk drawer to age a bit before sending.

I see 78 'composed' but unsent email in my 'pending' folder. Most will never be seen by the recipient I initially started writing them for.

Back to the Dodgson quote:

Another Rule is, when you have written a letter that you feel may possibly irritate your friend, however necessary you may have felt it to so express yourself, put it aside till the next day.

Vincent Andres adds:

French diplomat Talleyrand was doing that with some of Napoleon's letters. In some cases, 2 or 3 days later, Napoleon asked, if it was not sent, to destroy the concerned letter…. and was quite happy it was still doable.





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