Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
HONOURED SIR : It is the common opinion of people that to play a game at cards is (almost) an unpardonable crime. But what renders it more odious than other diver sions ? Is it because more time is spent in it than in other diversions ? But why is more time spent ? Because this is a pleasanter and more sociable entertainment. And what makes it so entertaining in general is, that less pains and care need be used than in some other diversions ; whereas in playing checkers, instead of unbending the mind, after its labour, there is more thought and care to be used, and so can be no relief to the tired intellect. Besides, it is a dull, unsociable business ; and a stranger would rather think they were exercised with a fit of the spleen, than a diversion, to see them poring upon a piece of board, and looking with as much intenseness of thought as if the fate of empires depended upon the right forming their plan.
People are apt to say that cards, as it were, intoxicate those that use them, and that thereby they squander away their money ; that they are a thief of time ; are apt to raise disputes, &c. But what one thing is there which may not be used to excess? Are not other diversions subject to the same evils, if practised beyond measure and prudence? Why then so great an outcry against cards, as if they were the only evil? Even the diversion of checkers may be abused ; and may persons game and spend their time and money at one, so may they at the other.
I would not forget to acquaint you, Sir, that you were misinformed with regard to my playing cards ; and am sorry I have been the cause (through the ignorance of that block head) of any trouble or uneasiness in the breast of so kind, so loving a father, from whom any gentle admonitions, reproofs, or advice would be received with that respect and regard due to so affectionate a father by your dutiful son,
- Harvard College
- The Life Timothy Pickering. by His Son, Octavius Pickering. Volume I. 1867