Thursday, 26 March, 1829

You will remember that a good reputation of great value and to have and keep a good character should be your constant care. It is much easier to keep a good reputation than to regain it when tarnished. And indeed if after once deviating from the path of rectitude, your walk thereafter should be the most exemplary and unexceptionable, yet on differences of sentiments or in political contests, it will be cast in your teeth. These things are never forgotten. Your enemies, if you have any, or your opponents of every kind will set them down and use them to your disadvantage, whenever interest may require. You cannot be too careful of your conduct under all circumstances. Never do that which would cause a blush to mantle your check by being held up to the gaze of society. And if at any time you are tempted by the demands of appetite or by the solicitations of associates, at once leave both, or leave one and shun the cause of them for both lead to ruin, guilt, shame, and remorse. Let me beseech you, never, no never, abandon the pleasant and upright path of virtue and honor, because these is no real substantial enjoyment ever derived from vice. But pain in your own breast if it be never divulged to the world; you, yourself, will know it, and you are aware of the consequences if it was known, and even this alone will prove a source of torment in every place and station of life. You can never reach an elevation, however exalted that will be above the sting of error or vice. Then as you regard your own peace, follow virtue.