The Nature of Familiar Letters, written, as it were, to the Moment, while the Heart is agitated by Hopes and Fears, on Events undecided, must plead an Excuse for the Bulk of a Collection of this Kind. Mere Facts and Characters might be comprised in a much smaller Compass: But, would they be equally interesting?
Samuel Richardson (1689–1761), British novelist. First edition, London (1753-1754). Sir Charles Grandison, preface, Oxford University Press (1972, repr. 1986).
Richardson's particular epistolary style, invented in his novels, has come to be called "writing to the moment." Richardson uses the phrase here in the Preface to Grandison and in a letter to Lady Bradshaigh, Feb. 14, 1754.