John Wayles Eppes to Francis Eppes

Dear Francis

I received a letter from you by the last mail and am sorry that you are capable of suspecting any person of an act of so much meanness as to enter your chamber Secretly and cut your cloathes. You should endeavour my Son to curb and correct your temper—quickness of temper is often destructive to happiness—but the greatest curse that can be inflicted on a human being is a Suspicious temper—It causes the possessor to view every thing under the most unfavorable aspect and keeps him constantly on a rack of his own creating—I have known men of excellent understanding capable of being [. . .] an ornament to society who were like ill natured currs eternally snapping at all they come near—To such every sweet has its attendant bitter—the warmest Friendship is in an instant transformed into the most violent and vindictive hatred—Even love itself which is said to soften the heart of Tygers themselves tends only to increase the torments of the wretch cursed with a suspicious temper. Let me warn you therefore my son against suffering this fiend to enter your bosom—In your progress through life however fair may be your destiny, however smooth your temper you will meet occasions enough for real sorrow—To be above these is not the lott of any human being—True philosophy requires on such occasions that nature should have her course—He who indulges sorrow on a real and fair occasion commands the respect and sympathy of those who know him.—While the self Tormentor the wretch cursed with a suspicious temper excites only pity and contempt on the part of his equals and fear instead of love from those subject to his power—Next to a good constitution I consider a good temper the greatest blessing. and great as is the blessing it is in the power of every rational being to possess it—It is the creature of habit—Divine providence never formed an ill tempered or suspicious temper—character—I hope my son does not require any of these cautions which originate in the tenderness and affection of his Father—

I have purchased for you [. . .] coat which is just made—It is of [. . .] stuff as I thought it would be lighter and hide dirt better—Your other pantaloons are done and I will bring them with me to Richmond in eight or ten days—I will also purchase some waistcoats for you and have them made—

I was in Brunswick on the last mail day—and of course did not write. It is now raining and I shall not be able to send to Raines so as to forward your books. Indeed as You expect to come up so soon I think it scarcely worth the trouble of sending them—

I have no objection to your going to the Book auction sometimes if it meets the approbation of cousin Lucy Prosser—To whose kindness and care I wish you to consider yourself confided—I know her to be possessed of an excellent heart and a good understanding and hope you will on all occasions consult her and consider her wishes as mine—any books you may choose to purchase ou[t of] your own funds I shall not object to—I shall not however be disposed to furnish money at present for the purchase of any but the necessary school books—For four or five years you will be moving about from place to place & would loose books if they were purchased now—I lost all my school books and although I hope you will be more fortunate you may be subject to the same accident—

Your mama is well and unites with me in good wishes for your health—

Your affectionate father
Jno: W: Eppes
RC (NcD: John Wayles Eppes Papers); edge chipped and damaged at seal; addressed: “Mastr Francis Eppes Junr Richmond”; stamped; postmarked Raines Tavern, 17 May.