I've been reading collections of letters and journals (generally relating to the Napoleonic Wars) published in the first half of the 19th century. Often these contain words that have been partially censored.
Lord Wellington when he came back, only said, "I am glad to see you safe Crauford." The latter said, "Oh, I was in no danger, I assure you." "But I was, from your conduct," said Lord Wellington. Upon which Crauford observed, "He is d____ crusty to-day."
The Private Journal of F. Seymour Larpent, Vol 1, Pg 133
While censorship of potentially blasphemous or othewise rude words is not unexpected, it also happens in people's names. In many cases, this is where the reference could be considered as unflattering but other times the reason is much less obvious.
So, in the following example, the reference to illness could be seen as a personal weakness which required some censorship to maintain the Deputy Paymaster-General's dignity;
I have taken a ride to Malliarda de Sorda, and found the Deputy Paymaster-General H_____ very unwell, with an attack of fever.
The Private Journal of F. Seymour Larpent, Vol 1, Pg 103
However, in the next example, the person whose name is omitted is not referred to again and no further insight into the person or their status is given. So there must have been some other reason for this censorship.
I sat at the grand dinner directly opposite to E_____ who introduced himself to me afterwards in the ballroom.
The Private Journal of F. Seymour Larpent, Vol 1, Pg 118
[NB: While the quoted document is described as a 'private journal', it is actually a collection of letters written home to his family. Also while these examples all come from the same volume, I've seen the same style used in many other publications of the period.]
Was this style of censoring words purely a publishing convention or would a similar form of self-censorship have been expected in private correspondence, between respectable members of polite society? That is, did this form of censorship, which appears in published works (of both fact and fiction), simply mirror conventions that would also be seen in personal letters?
Please note: I'm not asking to have these particular examples explained and I'm fully aware of the reasons for their use in published works.