This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Especial pains should be taken, when writing for the press, to write legibly. The error is very common with some authors and prominent men, of writing in a manner such as to seriously trespass upon the time and patience of printers and correspondents upon whom they inflict their penmanship.
This fault is a very serious one, and causes much waste of time and pecuniary loss to printers. Lawyers frequently prepare their briefs, clergymen their sermons, and others their copy, in a penmanship so entirely illegible as to compel several re-settings of much of the same, in type, before it is correct. Of course this loss of time must be borne by the compositor, and frequently, with those printers employed in setting type by the thousand, bad manuscript entails a loss in their earnings of several dollars per week.
While to filch from the pocket of the printer, in this manner may not be deemed so dishonorable as to steal his purse, the result is, however, all the same.
Again, business men who would regard it a great intrusion for another to trespass on their time for even a half hour, will show the discourtesy to write a letter to a correspondent which may consume hours and even days of his time in deciphering the same.
This evil would be less if it stopped here. Unfortunately, however, it goes beyond and afflicts the coming penmanship of our youth. The boy that will pick up the half consumed cigar and smoke out the balance of the stump, thinking that thereby he makes a man of himself, will look upon bad penmanship, when executed by distinguished men, as an evidence of genius, and is not unlikely to imagine himself a great man, because he imitates their pot-hooks and scrawls.
Eminent men are liable to have faults. If the error is an illegible penmanship, this defect is none the less a fault, because the man may have distinguished reputation and redeeming qualities in other directions.
Young writers should not therefore ape bad penmanship as an evidence of genius. Of two articles written for the newspaper, all things else being equal, that one stands much the best chance for publication which is most plain in penmanship. Let the young author see that the composition is not only correctly written, when prepared for the press, but that it is so perfectly legible that its merit may be readily seen upon examination.