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Title: An essay on the government of children, under three general heads, viz. health, manners, and education

Author: James Nelson

Release Date: May 19, 2019 [EBook #59551]

Language: English

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Produced by Turgut Dincer and the Online Distributed
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Government of Children,
Under Three General Heads,

Health, Manners, and Education.

By JAMES NELSON, Apothecary.


Just as the Twig is bent, the Tree’s inclin’d. Pope.

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Printed for R. and J. Dodsley, in Pall-mall;
And Sold by J. Hinxman in Pater-noster-row. 1763.

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Countess of ——


Happiness being the grand Object of human Pursuit, it may, I imagine, be modestly presumed, that every Attempt, however ineffectual, to render That universal, must be universally well received. And yet, conscious as I am that the following Essay aims solely at this Point, the Fear of it’s being too feeble to stand alone, makes me desirous of procuring it the additional Strength of your Ladyship’s Countenance and Protection.

The Subject is undoubtedly of great Moment, namely, the proper Government of Children; which being ranged under the Heads of Health, Manners, and Education, affords not only the Opportunity of exposing many Errors, too generally adopted, but also of pointing out a more natural and rational Method of attaining the End proposed, than is usually pursued. And I cannot but think, that, if this Method were seriously attended to, the Happiness of all Mankind would be built on a more solid Basis, than it has in common hitherto been.

Works of this Kind naturally calling on the Great and Good for Patronage; it cannot be thought strange that I aspire to the Honour of your Ladyship’s Protection is the Privilege of the Powerful: And therefore, where Power is happily joined with Goodness, the Recourse of the Weak to it’s beneficent Influence, is but a just Tribute of that Homage which is due to superior Merit: And such is the unfeigned Respect I mean to pay your Ladyship by this Address.

I have yet another Motive for presuming to offer this Performance to your Ladyship; namely, the Hopes that it’s Use may, by this Means, be farther extended. The World, Madam, has it’s Eyes upon You: The many Excellencies of Mind and Heart so conspicuous in Yourself; and the uncommon Lustre of every eminent Virtue in the noble Lord, with whom you have wisely chosen to share the Dignity and Duties of the Matrimonial and Parental State, have justly gained you, not only general Admiration, but general Esteem.

When the World shall behold you declining many of it’s Allurements, to yield to the stronger Attraction of Parental Affection; when it shall see you often decline the Assemblies of the Great, and retreat from the Splendor of a Court, to take upon you the Office of a tender Mother, by cherishing, watching over, and instructing your Offspring; when the World, I say, shall behold you employed in Actions like these, it will not only be charmed with the pleasing Task you have undertaken, but be powerfully animated to pursue the same Measures; which alone can procure that solid Happiness all seek, or seem to seek, yet so few find.

That nothing may ever interrupt your present Felicity; but that it may be augmented to the most exalted Degree, by the additional Blessing of wise and virtuous Children, is the sincere and fervent Wish of,

Your Ladyship’s
most obliged, and
most obedient
humble Servant

James Nelson.

Dec. 1, 1755.


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The important Business of the Management of Children, thro’ every Stage of our Dominion over them, has led many Writers to handle the Subject: but on this, as on other Occasions, each has had some particular Point in View; and each has directed his Steps to that End. One has considered only the State of Infancy, and, with an Eye to their Health chiefly, laboured to point out the Means of preserving it: another has passed over that State, as if of no Consequence; and, while nobly aiming at regulating the Passions, has inadvertently suffered them to be too deeply rooted from an Inattention to their first Appearance: a third has made it his principal Business to conduct their Education; and has either omitted altogether the forming their[iv] Manners, or has supposed, what is very far from being generally true, that the one is a necessary Consequence of the other; or in other Words, that good Education will always produce good Manners. Others have confined themselves to one Species of Education; or, if they aimed at a perfect Piece, it was for an Individual only, or at most, for one Class of a whole Kingdom.

Yet, of the many excellent Performances on these Heads, no one, that can here be recollected, has either been extended to general Life, or has comprehended the Whole of a Parent’s Care for their Offspring. In one we see delineated the Education of a Prince; in another, of an able Statesman; in a third, of a great Commander; and so on: but these are too narrow to instruct the Whole, and too confined to become general Rules. They resemble, if the Comparison may be allowed, some great Masters in Painting; one is happy in hitting the Likeness; another gives an exquisite Softness and Ease to the Fall of the Arms; a third has a[v] peculiar Grace in his Attitudes; yet all, perhaps, are obliged to a fourth for the Delicacy of the Drapery: while he too, who excels in this, is unable to reach any Degree of Perfection in the rest.

But here the Reader is presented with a more extensive Plan on the Government of Children; a Plan adapted to general Use; calculated for familiar Life: and which, without a Thought of Arrogance, or once supposing it perfect, aims at the Good of all. The first Part treats of the general Means of preserving Health; in which every one is equally concerned. The next relates to forming the Mind; that is, shews the Use of Manners, and points out the most rational Method of acquiring them: to the End, not only that good Habits may be obtained, but that Reason may always have the Ascendant of the Passions. The last Part treats of Education; which, tho’ here it makes a distinct Head from Manners, yet are they to be considered as very strictly connected; because the more exalted the one is, the mere conspicuous should the other be. As[vi] in every State or Kingdom there are many Degrees of Rank and Fortune; so great Pains have been taken to consider the Propriety of Education; and to point out a judicious Degree of it for each Individual.

Thus it is to be observed, that the Piece here presented is not designed to direct the Fathers, and exclude the Mothers; to govern the Boys, and neglect the Girls; nor to address the Great, and disregard the Little; by no Means: it aspires at offering Advice to all; and, with equal Zeal, aims at giving Aid to Parents of every Rank, Sex and Degree. It regards the Care of Children as long as the Dominion of Parents may be said to last; and neither neglects the Infant of a Day, nor gives up unconcernedly, a Youth of either Sex, at twenty Years old.

The Point most laboured at is indeed that of Manners; not only because they are of the utmost Consequence in themselves, and furnish the surest Means of being happy, and excelling in Life, but[vii] because the present too general Depravity of them stands publicly confessed.

Should it be urged, that as a great deal has already been wrote on the same Topics, and in a masterly Manner too, all farther Attempts of the like Nature seem needless; it may be answered, (besides what has already been observed) that so fertile a Subject cannot easily be exhausted; and being Points of the most weighty Concern, they will undoubtedly always furnish thinking Men with Matter to expatiate on.

The Thoughts here given are the Result of Reason, Observation and Experience; and should it be said that they are not new, still it is hoped they have a Claim to some Degree of Regard, as there is always both Use and Entertainment in displaying even the same Sentiments in a different Manner.



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Nothing is more evident, than that a Love of our Children is a great ruling Principle in human Nature; and that it makes a large Part of that Self-love which sticks so closely to us. For them we aim at Wealth, Power, and Dignity; for them our Views are endless, our Desires boundless. Nor do we stop here; for, eager as we are in pursuing the real or seeming Good of our Children, we extend our Views still farther, even to their Children. And it is certain, that Mankind in general do not think the great Business of Life compleat, unless they live (as it is usually termed) to see their Children settled, and in a Way of contributing to the great Family of the World. But were none to engage in a State of Wedlock in order to become Parents, till their Abilities to train up their little Offspring were try’d and approv’d, I am of Opinion the Number of Marriage Licences would be greatly abridg’d.


Many run precipitately into this important State, without any Fore-thought at all; but even among the wary, the discreet, and the wise, how very few are there who reflect on the Duty of first acquiring such a Degree of Knowledge as may serve to make their Children happy in them, and themselves happy in their Children? It is this general Defect in human Life, which has induced me to offer my own Thoughts on the Government of Children; and my Aim herein is, to point out the Errors committed in this important Work, and propose some Means of preventing them for the future. A learned Writer on the Art of Medicine[1] says, that he who advances the Knowledge of it, tho’ but a Step, deserves the Thanks of the whole Species; if then I am but happy enough to give one useful Hint, one helping Hand for the Public Good, I shall esteem my Labours abundantly rewarded. But before I go any farther, let me be understood: I am not giving Laws, but Counsel. The Experience I have gained in the tutoring seven Children of my own, joined to the Observations I have made on the Management of others of every Age and Degree, seem to give me[11] some Title to hope my Thoughts may prove useful; if so, my End is answered.

Mr. Pope, in his moral Essays, tells us, that all Happiness lies in three Words; Health, Peace, and Competence. May we not then hope, that an Endeavour to point out the Way to Health, Manners, and Education, will help us in the Pursuit of this great Object? For these rightly understood and well conducted, Peace and Competence will seldom fail to follow.

Manners however is the grand Point I aim at; every thing else is secondary to that. Health, it may not be in our Power to secure; and School Education, all cannot reach to in any considerable Degree. The Government of our Children is indeed an universal Obligation; but all Men are not therefore obliged to be Physicians or Pedagogues. Still, as neither Health nor liberal Instruction, where proper, are to be neglected, I shall in their due Place speak of both, so far as seems necessary for every Parent to know.

By Manners I do not mean that external Shew of good Breeding, which consists only in a Bow, or Curtsy, or other personal[12] Carriage, tho’ this too is of Importance; but I mean, such a uniform Deportment, such a ready engaging Behaviour, and such a Propensity to do what is right, as testify a happy Disposition of the Mind and Heart; and appear, what they really are, the Fruits of good Habits, either natural, or acquired, or both.

The grand Source of the too general Defect, we cannot but observe and lament in the Manners of Children, is partly in themselves, but chiefly in their Parents. In themselves it arises from a natural Love of Ease and Liberty; in Parents, from a supine Neglect of that necessary Knowledge already hinted at: in short, from want of reflecting why they are Parents, and what is incumbent on them to do, in order to make their Children happy in themselves, and useful to Society. But how shall I be sheltered from the Imputation of Vanity? I am well aware how liable a Man is to be censured, for attempting to point out to others, what every one supposes himself to be already acquainted with: and where are the Parents who once suspect, that they are so little acquainted with the Duties of their State, as to be themselves the Causes of their Children’s Misconduct?


That there are many whose Ability in this important Work is far superior to any thing I can pretend to, I am convinc’d; many who are happily endowed with a competent Penetration and Skill to manage the Temper, Genius, and Passions of Children, and who are equally assiduous in the Exercise of those Gifts for the Benefit of the rising Generation: neither is it for these I write; rather do I wish to receive their Instructions myself. But, that the Bulk of Mankind are wholly thoughtless of, or unacquainted with, the proper Methods of managing Children, is, I think, very evident. In proof of which I appeal to every one’s own Observation. Let the Generality of People look round them, and reflect how they find the Majority of Children of every Rank among their Acquaintance. Are they innocent, tractable, orderly, and courteous? Are they tolerably instructed in the Knowledge necessary for their Age and Station? Or are they not rather corrupt and untoward? Are they not rather unruly to a Degree of Pity? Incorrigibly rude, or tolerably civil only by Starts; grossly ignorant in many Things they ought to have been taught, and but too knowing in others it were perhaps better they never knew at all? If they really find this to be[14] true in the Children of others, let them turn their Eyes homewards, and impartially canvas their own Children’s Deportment; and if upon discovering any of the like Deformities, they can resolve to be just to themselves, I am confident they will to their great Surprize awaken to the Consciousness of one Truth, which perhaps they hitherto never so much as suspected; namely, that what they have the most Reason to be displeased with in the Conduct their Offspring, is chiefly owing to their own want of Skill, or want of Thought, in the Management of those tender Plants.

As Men are sometimes seen to forget the Husband and act the Sovereign only, so are they apt to think themselves supreme and independent in the Power they have over their Children. But can we, upon Reflection, take it to be the Intention of Nature, that Children be govern’d by Fathers alone, while they are in Possession of the Blessing of having Mothers to share a Part in that Government? Or can we consider paternal Sway as an arbitrary Power, absolutely presiding over, and giving Laws to Children without any Controul? No. Lest Fathers thus impower’d should invert the Intention of the Creation by becoming Tyrants, the[15] providential Laws of Nature have wisely assigned a joint Portion of Power to the Mothers; that the Father’s Authority and the Mother’s Sweetness being seasonably and discreetly blended, both might equally contribute to one and the same great End, the future Welfare of their Offspring: where the Roughness of the one serving as a Spur to egg them on to the Pursuit of Happiness from a Principle of Awe, the Smoothness of the other may sooth them forward, from Motives of Affection; or, in a Word, that the Sternness of the Father may serve as a Quickener to maternal Endearments, and the Mildness of the Mother sweeten and render palatable the more bitter Draughts of paternal Harshness.

It is no small Difficulty to fix the Time in which Parents should take the Reins of Government into their Hands; but if it be considered that we are by the Perverseness of our Nature prone to err, I think they cannot begin too soon; in short, they should begin as soon as they become Parents, that is, as soon as their Children have a Being. This will appear to be strange Doctrine to those who have not reflected how very early Children shew themselves. The Source of many of our Errors with Regard to the[16] Government of Children, seems owing to a mistaken Notion of their Incapacity; whereas in Reality they have some Reason much earlier than is commonly imagined; but till that dawns out, the Passions alone are their Guides. Now if the Passions are suffered to gather Strength, by cherishing and indulging them, (which is too commonly the Case) and Reason remains feeble for want of being exercis’d, the natural Consequence must be, that Children will grow obstinate, perverse, and ungovernable in their Passions, before Reason is called forth to their Assistance; and it will often prove a very unsuccessful Talk to hinder them when grown up, from being Slaves to themselves, and Plagues to all about them.

Parents then, to obviate these Evils, have two principal Points to aim at, for their own and Children’s Happiness; and indeed for the Happiness of all Posterity; viz. weakening their Passions, and strengthening their Reason. And that this is greatly in their Power to effect, is an undoubted Truth, tho’ it may often prove an arduous Task to reduce to practice. Still it may, and ought to be aim’d at; and, if I may be allowed to speak my Sentiments, I think I may confidently assert, that all social Virtues, and the[17] genuine Happiness which they are productive of, will insensibly flow from a constant due Exercise of that Dominion over our Children, which all Laws divine and human have entrusted to us.

’Tis wonderful to observe how very early a Wilfulness is discernable in Children; and with what swift Progress it gathers Strength, if not immediately and carefully check’d. I have seen a Child not above six Months old, obstinately contending for a certain Position to be suckled in, and the tender (simply tender) Mother painfully distorting her Limbs, and straining her whole Frame, in Compliance to it, or it would not suck at all: and I have seen too a Child, before one Year of Life was compleated, so fantastically, and yet so obstinately humoursome, that all that could be devis’d to give it, was not sufficient to gratify it: it would roar for the first Thing it saw, then throw it away and fight for another, and so on without Measure; and this at the Expence not merely of Baubles, but of Glasses, China, and other valuable Things; and often at the still greater Expence of the Mother’s Peace and Rest.

The next Advance is to the Use of Speech; and this Faculty is no sooner acquired,[18] but immediately follows the Abuse of it. Many Children, indeed, are slow and backward in the Acquisition of it, but few are those who are not too forward in misapplying this noble Gift. Let a Child of three Years old, who has been much indulged, be bid to do any thing, and how ready is it to answer, I won’t! And if forbid a thing, how pert to say, I will! Yet let the fondling Parent ask it ever so plain and easy a Question, it is a thousand to one, if a Word of Answer be obtained: the cunning, obstinate Urchin is instantly dumb, and nothing shall restore it to the Use of its Tongue, but the Gratification of its Humour with a Cake or a Play-thing.

Thus are they generally suffered to run on to near the Age of Seven, with little or no Variation, except that of their Appetites gaining head of their Reason, and multiplying in proportion to the Objects which excite them. And as during that Term of Life which we distinguish by the Name of Childhood, Parents look upon the infant Reason of their Children, as incapable of producing Fruits, they are but too apt to leave that uncultivated, and to overlook, with an injudicious Contempt, their early Deviations from it. But surely it were injuring[19] human Understanding, to agree with such Parents, in an Opinion which condemns itself; and which they themselves are universally the first to contradict. For let the Topic of Children be but broach’d to any of them, and what Encomiums are we not sure to be tir’d with upon their own! What Enlargements on their Comprehension, their Judgment, their Wit, and the surprizing Products of all these, in the many excellent things they say and do! In the mean time not a single Step is taken to improve all these boasted Talents, nor to check the growing Humours which threaten them with Destruction; and may, if neglected, grow into Habits more difficult to eradicate than an hereditary Disease.

Left this should affect but little those Parents, who are more solicitous that their Children should be fair in Face, and strong in Body, than beauteous in Mind, and pure of Heart, let me convince even these, that it is dangerous too to the bodily Welfare of Children, to neglect cultivating their Reason from their earliest Infancy; or to be careless of eradicating their little Humours, as soon as discover’d. And to this end they need only view the Majority of them on a sick Bed; where they will see this melancholy[20] Truth (for such indeed we may call it) in its full Light.

Diseases are one Part of the Portion of human Nature, in a State of Mortality: no Stage of our Existence is exempt from them, and Childhood as little as any. Let then an unmanag’d, humour’d, pamper’d Child be sick; and besides the Abundance of otherwise unnecessary Trouble and Affliction it brings on the Parents and the whole Family, what Danger is not the Child itself exposed to, beyond what the Disease brings with it!

All wise Men agree, that Providence has furnished the World with Remedies for most human Diseases, at least in their first Stages, and Men with Knowledge to apply them. When skilful People are consulted in Time, the Medicines good, duly prepared and given, the Nurse attentive, and the Patient tractable, there is but little to be apprehended from the first Stage of any Disease which is not mortal of itself, where the Habit of Body is otherwise sound; barring such Accidents as cannot be foreseen, nor consequently obviated. But what can Physicians, Medicines, Nurses, all avail, in the Disease (otherwise ever so curable) of an untoward[21] Creature, against whom perhaps there are great Odds that it shall not be conquered to swallow the least Portion of the most absolutely necessary Remedy; nor to submit in Sickness to the least Controul; indulged, perhaps, as it has been, in a Habit of slighting and baffling all Authority while in Health? Just nothing. No; the Trouble indeed of attending it, is doubled and trebled to those who are constantly about it; the Expence is at least the same, if not considerably augmented; and the Confusion, Affliction, and Alarms of the Parents, at the growing Danger of their spoil’d Darling, immoderately encreas’d, on finding all Remedies rendered ineffectual to it, by an Obstinacy which they (whether conscious of it or not) have heretofore been the foolish Encouragers of. In the mean time, the Disease gathers Strength, and the Child’s Wilfulness with it; and the little ungovernable Patient falls an untimely Victim to the former Mismanagement of the mistakenly fond Parents, and its own present Unruliness. To see a fond Father, in Spite of the Impotence of Tears, so general to his Sex, weeping over his Child, his Heir, his only Hope of Joy, and vainly entreating him, whom he might command, to take an easy Remedy! To behold a tender Mother,[22] herself half spent with Grief and Fears, prostrate at her sick Favourite’s Pillow, expostulating with all the Eloquence of maternal Anxiety, and entreating, praying, coaxing it to swallow a necessary Medicine, but still in vain! To view the Parents at such a Juncture, inwardly divided, torn, and almost consumed, between the alternate Motions of Tenderness, Impatience, Love, and Anger, fruitlessly insist, where a Habit of Subjection should have already made a Word or a Look sufficient; and yet to find the humour’d Thing as resolutely bent on refusing, merely, perhaps, because so much entreated! To eye all this, I say, were surely sufficient to convince us, that it is a strange Inversion of the natural Order of Things; and has a something in it extremely absurd: and the more so, when we reflect, that the whole is an Effect of Folly in the Parents, and chiefly owing to their former Neglect of exerting a little prudential Authority.

If this be too frequent a Case, as the Experience of many People must convince them it is, let Parents in general remember, that their watchful Industry to conquer and regulate the little growing Passions and Humours of their tender Offspring, is as necessary[23] towards the Preservation of their Bodies, as for the Culture of their Minds.

That this Difficulty of conquering Children, and rendering them tractable while sick, is no Exaggeration, I might appeal to the Consciousness of most Parents throughout the Kingdom; nay, I could support the Charge by many Instances within my own Knowledge; but shall content myself with producing a very few from the Relation of others. A Friend of mine, who had the Care of a young Gentleman, lately received a Letter from his Boarding School, with this Information; “Master has been much out of order, and what is worse, was out of the Reach of the Means of being easily made better. He had indeed three Doses of Physic prescrib’d him, but could not be prevailed on to swallow one; in short, they were all spilt on the Sheets, for not a Drop went down his Throat.” A little Miss not yet able to speak plain (as I was informed by a Person present) had a Medicine to take which she obstinately refus’d; Mamma interferes, and after many fruitless Entreaties gently corrects her; Miss still persists in the Refusal, and is chastised with additional Severity, even to the sixth time; at length, half breathless with crying, and[24] ready in appearance to burst with Passion, she has still her Spirit so little conquered as to say in her imperfect Gibberish, “Well, if you till me, I won’t take it.” So Mamma overcome, lays down the Rod; and obstinate Miss coming off with the Victory, shewed she had more Courage to receive Correction, than the Mother Resolution to bestow it. The Truth was, that Mamma had never had a Dispute with the Child, in which she had not the Weakness to suffer it to get the better of her. A Lady of Rank I have the Honour to be acquainted with, and who I’m sure in other Respects has good Understanding, forfeited it greatly on a like Occasion. She told me her Daughter, when in the Country, having a Fever, all usual Means were try’d to prevail on her to take the necessary Remedies, but in vain! So far from being mov’d to Compliance, she was thrown into such vehement Fits of crying, whenever they were offered to her, that it was apprehended her Fever would encrease, and endanger her Life: ’till at length by good Fortune the Lady reflecting she had a Kitten which Miss was extravagantly fond of, she resolved to try an Experiment. Accordingly, as often as any thing was to be taken by Miss, Mamma holding Puss in her Hands, protested it[25] should be thrown out of the Window and killed, if she did not take what was given her; and by this Stratagem brought the Child to a Compliance, which nothing else could effect. I own the Expedient was ingenious, and the Lady gave a Proof of her great Presence of Mind in turning to the Child’s Advantage an innocent Foible she had been indulg’d in. But surely at the same time she betrayed how much she had before forfeited her Understanding as well as the true Tenderness of the Parent, by the little Care she had taken to inculcate and enforce such Principles of Obedience and Gratitude, as should have taught her on the like Occasions to do at least as much out of Love and Duty to a fond Parent, as she did out of childish Attachment to a Kitten. Now however lightly People may think of these Things, who are not immediately concerned, they must and will be acknowledged great Afflictions to all Parents who love their Children, and see them in such Circumstances.

’Tis certain that Children may have Disorders which are not of a dangerous Nature, and may therefore be got through without a nice Observance of Rule; but then it is equally certain, that they have oftentimes very dangerous ones, which necessarily require[26] both Medicines and Rule. And very eminent Physicians have declared it as their Opinion, that many of these tender Lives have been lost, purely for want of Submission to the Medicines and Rules prescribed them. Who then can look back on the Causes of a Loss so detrimental to Society, and not be offended at the general Neglect of Parents to remove them?

Nor can one, reasonably speaking, be less offended and concerned at the universal Custom among Parents of remedying on such Occasions their former Neglects, by present Falsehoods: that is, I mean, by attempting to impose on their Children’s Senses and Understandings by manifest Untruths. When a Child is to take a Medicine, is it not ridiculous to call a bitter Draught sour, or a sour one sweet? Is it less absurd to insist on a nauseous thing’s being pleasant, than it is to shew them what is black, and endeavour to persuade them it is white? And yet this is the Method commonly made use of with Children, to beguile down their Medicines. It is true it may furnish People with an easy Pretext to expatiate on their Children’s Capacity; but I am sure it adds no Honour to their own. They may tell their Apothecary how much Pains they took[27] to cheat the Child, but the little Rogue was so cunning it would not be cheated! They may display his Genius by telling how they called it Wine, and gave it in the dark; or said it was Tea, and put it into his own Cup; still nothing could deceive him: Oh! it is a sensible little Creature! But what all this while is become of the Sense of the Parents? For after all this Address, this mighty Juggle, it must still perhaps be owned, that the Child does not take the Dose: or if it should, with a Superiority of Sense, it justly reproaches the Parents with having told it a Falsehood. “You said it was good, but I find it is nasty Stuff, and I’ll take no more of it.” And too generally do they keep their Word. Can Parents so palpably mislead their Children, and not be sensible of their Mistake? Or can they be sensible of it, and not blush at their own Folly?

Thus far we have considered the Untowardness of Children, with some of its Consequences, in that Stage of Life we usually call their Childhood; that is, to seven Years old; for according to the Custom of familiar Life, every Septenary is reckoned a Stage; tho’ Physical Writers divide Life otherwise. With them there are eight[28] Stages. From the Birth to three Years old, is one; viz. the Infancy; from three to ten another; and so on to Decrepidity. But as this Treatise attempts to reach no farther than the Dominion of Parents generally extends, that is, till they become Men and Women; it will not be consistent with my Design, to carry on either Observation or Precept beyond the third Stage of Life.

Let us therefore proceed to take some Observation of them in the second Septenary; when on all Hands it is agreed their Understandings are open, and capable of receiving more important Impressions.

Now if we view the Generality of Children from seven to fourteen, I am afraid we shall be obliged to confess, that however far they advance in what is commonly called Learning, they gain but very little in the Science of Manners. In William of Wickham’s famous School at Winchester there is this Motto, Manners maketh Man: Whereby we are reminded, that all Learning which does not improve our Manners, is vain and unprofitable; the Perfection of Manners being the End, which Learning is only design’d as a Means to conduct us to. Yet so it happens, that Parents are frequently misled[29] by confounding Names, by taking one thing for another, and concluding their Children have Manners because they have Learning. Whereas in reality, a Child may, from want of proper Care, have a great deal of Learning, and no Manners at all: or, on the other hand, by timely and proper Tuition, advance greatly in the Improvement of genuine Manners, with little or no School Learning: which is all that is generally understood by the Word Learning, with regard to Children in the second Septenary.

When a Man becomes Father of a Family, he usually applies the Boys, as soon as he deems them of an Age for it, to School Learning; different according to the Rank he bears in Life: while the Girls, by a shameful Indolence or Contempt, are often neglected in this Particular, and suffered to become alternate Plagues and Play-things at home: at least with strictest Truth we may say, too little Care is taken to form either the Mind or Heart of these to any great Advantage. The Boys, if dull, return Blockheads, and so remain; if smart, grow boisterous, audacious, conceited, and ungovernable; tyrannical to their Sisters; disobedient to their Mother; and scarce are awed by[30] their Father’s severer Brow. The Girls remain uncultivated in almost every thing but Vanity and a Love of fine Cloaths. Indeed they can work a little, (and perhaps but little) or they can dance, and so they ought; but shall scarcely be able to spell a Word right beyond a Monosyllable; or write the Direction on a Letter with any Propriety. Is it an Exaggeration to say this is the usual Education till fourteen? Surely Experience convinces us it is not; and tho’ some Exceptions may doubtless be found, yet they are few in Comparison with the whole.

Now let me ask the Parents of such Children, what real Comfort do they find in them? Do they not often with Sorrow, nay almost with bleeding Hearts, see them running counter to their Expectations and Wishes? Do they not daily see, and must they not therefore daily lament (unless they are self-blind) that all their other Profusion of Kindness so lavishly poured on their Children, yields neither Profit to them, nor Comfort to themselves? And whence the Cause of all this Disappointment? Alas! ’tis too visible, too apparent! It arises from a Neglect, or at least an Abuse of that early Authority they ought to exercise over them: from a Neglect, in not correcting in time[31] their Irregularities and Humours; from an Abuse, in correcting them without Judgment and Discretion. Nor does this happen to People in inferior Stations only; no, ’tis every Day to be met with, not merely from the Peasant to the Tradesman, but from the Tradesman to the Nobleman; and even among those of the finest Understanding. But whence the Cause of this strange Misconduct and Omission? It springs, as I take it, from Ignorance, or Inconsiderateness, or Partiality, or Passion, or from all together; but the most frequently of any, from false Tenderness, and blind Indulgence.

Every Man has his own way of judging, and generally abides by it right or wrong. I knew a Gentleman of refined Understanding, who frequently forfeited it, by a boundless injudicious Fondness for his Children. He would say to his little Boy at Table, Well, my Dear, what shall I help you to? The Child, accustomed to have his own Will, unskilled to make a proper Choice, and following the Gratification of his depraved Palate, was sure to choose the most unfit Dish, by choosing the richest, because the most savory. The Father indeed would fain set him right, by recommending some[32] simpler Food; No, my Dear, he’d say, have some Mutton, Mutton is best for you; and so of any other plain wholsome Dish; but this Advice proves too late, after having set him wrong; nor would he eat a Morsel of any thing but what he himself approved of. The same Gentleman, as a Proof of his Sense, took abundance of Pains to inculcate strict Notions of Honour to his Children, tho’ he often degraded that Sense in the Application of them. One Day, at the beginning of the Week, he says to his Son, My Dear, I know you are a Man of Honour, and what you once promise you’ll punctually perform; you are one Day this Week to take Physic; tell me then, what Day will you fix on? The Boy pauses a little, and replies, Saturday, Sir. Oh! fye my Dear, says the Father, why stay ’till Saturday? why not take it to-morrow, or next Day? No Sir, replies the Boy, with an unbecoming Pertness, I’m upon Honour; the Choice of the Day was left to me, and I’ll not take it before. What an amazing Inversion of Ideas! Honour with Disobedience! Who in this Case could be said to hold the Reins of Government, the Parent or the Child?

Thus too does many an affectionate and[33] even sensible Mother both see and feel in a Daughter, whom Nature perhaps has endowed with all that might make her sweet and amiable, an Untractableness she knows not how to account for. But tho’ it is her own Mismanagement, or rather no Management at all, which makes the Girl’s Desires irregular and inordinate, still the fond Parent remains blind to the Cause. If Miss knows Mamma is to go out without her, she’ll eat no Dinner; if the Dress of the Day is not to her Fancy, she is sure to remain sullen ’till Night; and if an accidental Difference is made to a Sister, or any other of her own Age, she shall redden, and swell, and pout, and fret, ’till she has fretted her Mamma sick, to see her untoward Behaviour; and possibly fretted herself sick too. ’Tis easy to discern the Principles she acts upon; they are Self-will, Vanity, and the Love of Pleasure, which she has been used to be indulged in. No wonder then, that when these are not gratified she is miserable; and while they are, is it likely that she can long be happy?

There ought to be made a considerable Difference between the Children of inferior People, and those of Rank, with regard to their Tuition; nothing is more reasonable; since the latter have innumerable Advantages[34] over, and are to move in a very different Sphere from the former. Still the Mistakes in all are too often essentially the same; and only conceal’d or varnish’d over by the external Education. Now, what I contend for is, that Parents of all Ranks have the Power, and are equally bound in Duty, to be themselves the Teachers of their Children, with regard to that Self-Knowledge, and the genuine Docility arising from it, which are necessary to conduct them thro’ Life with Ease and Benefit to themselves, with Honour and Pleasure to their Parents, and with universal Advantage to Society in general. I say again, that all Parents have the Power of answering this Obligation in great measure; but those of Rank, Fortune, and Education, have it in an eminent Degree; and are therefore utterly inexcusable, when they give into that gross Neglect of it; which we daily see, even in the second and more improveable Stage of human Life.

Tho’ it is allow’d by all, that Children, long before they attain the Age of fourteen, are in general capable of receiving very advantageous Impressions, and are full as susceptible of the reverse; yet ’tis pretty evident, that much the Majority to that Period,[35] gain few or no good ones; and I wish it were not as evident, that their principal Stock are of the bad Kind. But let us proceed to consider them in the third Septenary, which brings them to the Age of twenty-one; the Period which generally closes our Obligations to them; shuts out in great measure our Power over them; and sets them loose on the great Stage of the World, every one to act their Part just as we have taught them. If well, great is our Honour, great must be our Comfort; and great and lasting is their Happiness likely to prove, to themselves, and to Posterity. If ill, no matter what their Station is, they disgrace it; and the Disgrace with double Force is reflected back on ourselves.

’Tis a well-known Maxim, that the first Impressions strike the deepest. Thus, a Boy, who before fourteen has never been convinced that it was necessary for him to obey, will afterwards laugh at it as ridiculous; and if his first Lessons were Pride and Pleasure, the only Use he will make of his Understanding when more at large, will be to study to continue in the Pursuit and Augmentation of those his favourite Objects.

Whether we consider the Heir of a Family[36] at the University, or his younger Brother in a Merchant’s Compting-house; whether we consider a young Stripling destin’d to the Law, to Physic, or view him behind a Counter; we cannot make a true Use of our Eyes, without seeing innumerable Disorders during this third Stage of Life. For tho’ heretofore he has been treated as a Child or School-boy, he will now pretend to judge for himself; and as his Reason is weak, and his Passions strong, that will slavishly run in pursuit of every thing which will promote the Gratification of these. I have already observed, that the only Use he will make of his Understanding, will be to abuse it. For Example, he wants fine Cloaths, such, perhaps, as are very unbecoming his Station; he wants two or three Suits, where one ought to serve; he wants an encrease of Pocket-money, far beyond a reasonable Allowance, and often beyond what his Father can afford; or finally, he has some more vicious End in view. Now without once employing his Reason, or reflecting how much he has abused the Indulgence of his Parents, his Passions urge him on to effect whatever they suggest. To gain his Point then, with Address and Cunning he applies to his Mother; whose blind Fondness for her Boy, will not let the Father[37] rest, till his prodigal Humour is gratify’d. The Father, as a good one, shall argue the Case. “What, my Dear, can I do with this extravagant Boy? I have spar’d no Pains nor Expence in his Education, because on that I grounded all my Hopes of his future good Conduct and Prosperity; he don’t want Sense, and has improv’d pretty well in his Learning: if not quite so well as perhaps he might have done with a little more Application, yet allowing for the natural Thoughtlessness of his Age, at least well enough to know how to act better. Still I see little Prospect of Comfort from him; because I see no Dispositions in him but to Idleness, Folly and Extravagance. In short, if he goes on thus, what better can I expect than to see him daily plunge deeper and deeper into Extravagance and Vice: and what must the Consequence be but irrecoverable Destruction? Shall I then by continuing to humour him hurry on his Ruin, perhaps in my own and yours?” But the fond Mother still persuading him that every present Folly is to be the last, urges her Suit; and enforcing all that Influence which in an amiable Woman seldom fails to succeed with an indulgent Husband and doating Father, is almost always sure to[38] carry her Point. Is not this the Situation of many a Parent? Is not this the reigning Practice of many a Son? Of too many indeed!—The Father here describ’d is such a one as most Men will acknowledge to be a tender one; and some will be apt to think a discreet one; in allowing for the Inconsiderateness of his Age, weighing like a prudent Man his real Good, and generously resolving to furnish him with every reasonable Means of being wise and happy: still is he disappointed; and still are his Expectations frustrated. But need we ask the Cause? Surely it is too plain. More Pains have been taken to pamper and humour him, than to make it unnecessary to do either: more Time and Care have been employ’d to furnish his Head, with perhaps merely ornamental Knowledge, than to correct and enrich his Heart with such Sentiments as might improve his Manners. Can we then wonder that he precipitates into Ruin? No surely; we may rather wonder if he escapes it. But admitting that Fortune still favours him, and that he keeps up his Dignity and Reputation; how does he possess his own Mind, as a rational Creature, or a Brute? Does he act so as to deserve the Esteem of Mankind? If not, Life is not worth enjoying.


Let us now view the fairer part of our Species; those tender Branches our Daughters. They (thank Heaven) are not naturally so liable to Vices and Extravagancies as our Sons; but I wish I could say they were all as good as they are capable of being made; as amiable in their interior Sentiments, as their Forms might make us hope to see them. But alas! too often those choicest Charms of our Eyes are the chief Plagues of our Hearts; and it is we ourselves are the principal Causes, that they whom Nature seem’d to have form’d to be our principal Comforts, should thro’ our Mismanagement become the Disturbers of the Peace of us their Parents, and of their own Happiness.

A Girl enter’d into the third Septenary passes soon into a Woman; but commonly speaking she is much sooner such in her Person and Appetites than in her Understanding: whence arise many of those glaring Mistakes they daily commit. A Girl who is tall generally conceits she is wise; and because ’till now she has liv’d without controul, she thinks Subjection and Obedience to her Parents, mean and slavish. It would be a Reflection on young Ladies to say they have no Manners, but still it is too generally true[40] that their Manners are false ones; springing from Pride, and influenc’d by it. A Girl (of any Figure in Life) soon knows that the World has it’s Eyes upon her; and as there are certain Motives which induce her to exert all her Skill to seem well bred, so there are certain Times she really appears to advantage: but let the Mask be thrown off; let the Restraint be taken away by which she is confin’d; and we shall soon see where her Manners lye: we shall (I am afraid) oftentimes discover that they are not the Dictates of a well-regulated Heart. But as my Tenderness for the Sex will not suffer me designedly to misrepresent things, let us examine fairly the Conduct of a young Lady according to the too general Mode of breeding.

It appears already that the first Stage of Life was wholly spent in gratifying her Humour; the second was employ’d in a superficial Education, resembling in some measure a Building ornamented without, but ill contriv’d and useless within. Self-will, Vanity and Pleasure have hitherto been her Guides; and these instead of being check’d, are in the third Stage, greatly strengthen’d and augmented: and have besides added to them a boundless Love of Power and Uncontroul.[41] Now from such a Source what Virtues can we expect to flow? What Miseries may we not fear? Alas! too soon are we convinc’d that her whole Soul is absorb’d in Pleasures; her Head runs round with them; she is continually contriving, plotting, scheming; and all Opposition of her Parents becomes too weak: she has not, perhaps, a Spark of real Duty, nor the least Sense of her misguided Steps: and happy is it for her if her mistaken Conduct does not in the End plunge her into Sorrow too great to support. Happy is it for her if the Stream of Pleasure she is borne down with does not insensibly carry away her Honour and Virtue; or at least dash her on the fatal Rock of a miserable Marriage. Wherever this Portrait is found to be genuine, let it be remember’d, that the Painter who draws a real Likeness ought not to be blam’d for the Disagreeableness of the Features.

Many, it is true, have Fortune to support their Pleasures, however expensive or irregular; but where that fails, where Fortune is small, and the Propensity to Pleasure great, Honour and Virtue stand so very tottering, that they are in perpetual Danger: and if with this unbridled Love of Pleasure, there be a tolerable share of Wit or Beauty,[42] or both; who that reflects, can help trembling even at the Apprehension of a Fall? But tho’ a young Lady should escape those innumerable Calamities which her giddy Conduct has laid her open to, what Hopes are there, that she who has never borne Contradiction, will so demean herself as to become amiable in the Eyes of others, or be happy in herself?

I could with great facility delineate a variety of shapes hideous to behold, which young People of both Sexes shew themselves in, when guided only by their Passions; but, to avoid Prolixity, will content myself with the general View I have already presented; and proceed to lay down such Rules as appear to me to tend most directly and securely to the avoiding the various Evils our Children are subject to, and seem most conducive to their real Happiness. But before I lay down any Precepts let me premise, that all Laws in general give Parents the sole supreme Power of governing their Children: ’tis the Order of Nature; and if her Laws are inverted, nothing but Confusion follows. If then Parents do not govern their Children at all; or what is worse, let their Children govern them, which is often the Case, the almost[43] unavoidable Consequence will be, that Train of Irregularities and Disorders we daily see them run into; in which Case, there are but two Ways of their becoming sensible of their mistake: either from a natural Goodness of Heart awakened by Time and Experience; or from a load of Misfortunes crushing them down for want of Power to support them: now the one we ought not to trust to; and the other we should bend all our Study to prevent.

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Government of Children.

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Tho’ the principal Design of this Attempt be that of regulating the Manners of Children; yet as Health and Education are of vast Importance in the Government of them, and are closely connected[46] therewith; I think myself oblig’d to speak of what may tend to preserve the one, and, in a due Degree, promote the other. For the sake of Method I shall divide my Subject into three Parts; that is, range it under the general Heads of Health, Manners, and Education; which to me appears to be the only natural Order of treating it. Mr. Locke, it is true, in his Treatise on this Subject, calls the whole, Thoughts on Education; but notwithstanding that general Title to his Book, he speaks likewise of Health and Manners, and ranges them all in the Order here propos’d.

As Health is the reverse of Sickness, my Readers will easily discern that it is not the Business of this Undertaking to invade the Physician’s Province, by entering on the Cure of Diseases; but only to point out such Means as seem to have the most rational tendency to prevent them.

First then, I earnestly recommend to both Father and Mother, that their Children suck the Mother’s Breast. But why, you’ll say, take pains to address each Parent distinctly? The reason is obvious. A Man cannot be conversant in Life, and not see that many a sensible Woman, many a tender[47] Mother, has her Heart yearning to suckle her Child, and is prevented by the misplac’d Authority of a Husband. Parents upon the whole are to be consider’d as equally and mutually concern’d in the training up their Children; therefore when I address them by that one common Epithet, I mean either, or both. But there are, both in Nature and Reason, certain Provinces assign’d to each; and a Man’s attempting to overturn them, would be as absurd and preposterous, as a Merchant’s sending his Wife to transact Business upon Change, while he stay’d at home to preside over the Nursery.

Providence, we see, without any Expence to us, kindly sends Food into the World along with the Child, by giving to the Mother a Breast flowing with Milk. But to what purpose is this bestow’d? To be neglected and render’d fruitless? No surely; we cannot think thus indignantly of so great a Blessing. But besides this evident Design of Providence, there is another important Consideration; which is, that Mothers by suckling their Children cherish that Tenderness which Nature has implanted in them towards their Offspring. For Experience shews, that the Office of suckling considerably augments in them the Affection from[48] whence that Tenderness flows; serves as Fuel to keep their fond Breasts in one perpetual Glow; and by sweetening their Care, enables them likewise to bring the tender Infants thro’ their helpless Age?

Another Argument for suckling, which is not sufficiently attended to, because not sufficiently known, is, that the Anxiety and Fatigue is perhaps fully compensated by the Pleasure. The provident Author of Nature has order’d in this, as in all, or most other Things, right and natural, that the Inducement shall more than balance the Discouragement. All Mothers who have experienc’d it, whose Minds are temper’d with natural Affection, assure us, that there is an inexpressible Pleasure in giving Suck, which none but Mothers know; for besides that the Sensation itself is said to be mighty pleasing; to behold the Innocence, the Cunning, the Tricks, and the various Whims of a Child; to observe likewise the early Sentiments they discover; must doubtless give a Pleasure which no Words can describe. Now if thus much be granted (and surely no Arguments can reason it away) I cannot help advising in the strongest Terms, that every Father consent, and even promote, that the Child be suckled by it’s[49] Mother; if the Mother be in a Condition for it. But then, this Compliance, this Leave, if I must call it such, should be cordial, and from the Heart; otherwise a Mother, tho’ the best Nurse in the World, may become the most improper one, by a Husband’s so far souring her Temper, as to render her Milk, not only good for nothing, but even pernicious.

The general Good of all being what I aim at, I mean to offer the same Advice to all, as far as it can be practised; and therefore speak according to the Nature of Things. Still I am not insensible how little Probability there is that my Advice herein will be follow’d by Persons in high Life. For what Room is there in general to hope, that a fine Lady will lay herself under any of the necessary Restraints towards acting the Part of a good Nurse, and generously give up some of the vainer Pleasures of Life, in order to stoop to this Part of domestic Care? It is true that there may sometimes be important Reasons which may make their doing so improper; but it is greatly to be fear’d that those Reasons are oftener affected than real; and as this is a Duty not so easily dispensed with as People are apt to imagine, it is incumbent on Parents of the highest[50] Rank to consider how far they are really justifiable in deviating from the Laws of Nature. But there is another important Consequence attends the Neglect with which People of Rank treat their Offspring in this Particular; that it thereby becomes a national Evil. It is universally known that the Little imitate the Great, and mostly too in what is wrong; that is, they catch their Vices sooner than their Virtues. Hence it happens, that because a Woman of the first Rank does not deign to suckle her Child, the Neglect descends to almost the lowest Rank; and many Men whose Figure in Life is very inconsiderable, scorn to bear the Noise of a Child, tho’ their own Flesh and Blood, only because it is a Practice among their Betters to remove them. And hence too the Great have two Reflections to make on this Point, the Duty they owe to their Children, and, (tho’ perhaps it is not a proper Observation here) the Influence which a Neglect of this Duty has on all beneath them.

While I am enforcing to Mothers the Duty of suckling their Children, I must endeavour to omit no material Circumstance, either that will contribute to the Ease of the one, or the Advantage of the other. The first that naturally occurs, is, the Time[51] when a Child should be put to the Breast: and as this is a Matter variously thought of, and often erroneously managed, tho’ I could say a good deal from my own Observation, I have endeavour’d to settle it upon a much stronger Basis, viz. the Experience of competent Judges. Dr. Hunter, well known to the Public both by his Lectures in Anatomy, and his Practice in Midwifry, and one of the Men-Midwives of the Lying-in-Hospital in Brownlow-Street, informs me, that at the first opening of that Charity, they generally conducted the Business of suckling in the following Manner. The Child was not put to the Breast till the Milk came freely, or run out of itself; and as the Breasts commonly began to fill in about eight and forty Hours after Delivery, sooner or later, they were allowed to fill more and more, perhaps as much longer, ’till the Milk began to discharge itself: to forward this, the Breasts were frequently embrocated with warm Oil; to invite the Milk both by the Softness of the Oil, and the Motion given the Breasts by rubbing it in with the Hand. This Method was adhered to pretty generally, ’till they found by Experience that it was wrong. For besides that the Child might probably suffer in some Degree, by being so long depriv’d of it’s most natural Physick and Food, many grievous Effects often attend the Mother; viz. painful[52] Swellings and Inflammations of the Breasts, Milk Fevers, and Milk Sores.

These Inconveniences induced the Physicians of that Hospital to alter the Method, which for some Time past has been as follows. The Child is put to the Breast commonly within twenty-four Hours after Delivery: and tho’ at first it sucks little, and that only a thin Serum, (which however is of singular Service to the Infant by discharging the Meconium that fills the large Intestines) yet the Advantage to the Mother is, that by this means the Milk comes gradually and kindly; and before the usual Time of the Breasts hardening in the other Method, the Difficulty is conquered in this; the Milk flows freely, the Breasts are soft and easy, and the Heat of the Body continues temperate: insomuch that Dr. Hunter farther assures me, that there has been much less of Inflammations of the Breasts and Milk fevers, and but one Milk Sore among upwards of fourteen hundred Women that have been deliver’d there since this Method has been pursued.[2]

Here, tho’ it is a Digression from my[53] Subject, I cannot help reflecting with Pleasure on the Benefit arising to many industrious virtuous People from the Institution of this Hospital. Every Charitable Foundation, every Contribution to relieve the Needy, does Honour not only to those who give, but to the Nation where it is given; for when Individuals are known to be humane and benevolent, Strangers will conclude it as a national Virtue. It is certain that all public Receptacles for the Comfort and Support of the Distressed Indigent argue a compassionate Heart in those who support them, and a just Sense of others Woe; but the Lying-in-Hospital has a Delicacy in it peculiar to itself. The Ladies who contribute to it’s Support, prove, in Terms far more expressive than Words, their Sympathy with the Sufferings of their Sex; and particularly with those whom Fortune has placed the farthest from them. The Gentlemen who encourage it, and labour for it’s Promotion, shew a Tenderness which can only dwell in manly Hearts: for he certainly comes nearest to the Dignity of a Man, who has the tenderest Sense of the Sufferings of the opposite Sex; and particularly of those, which his own Existence is the necessary Cause of. But farther, most other Public Charities seem in their Nature limited; seem to extend no farther than the immediate Relief of those under their Care; whereas[54] this is far more extensive: the Mother is comforted, and with tenderest Care brought thro’ her Child-bed; the Child (as far as Skill can reach) is safely entered on the Stage of Life; and thus is Mankind not only preserved, but perpetuated; and thus too is Society enlarged, and improved, to a boundless Degree. Thus much have I said to do justice to an Undertaking in itself highly laudable, and infallibly productive of the greatest Good. But there is another Effect, perhaps hitherto unthought of, which will necessarily attend this Hospital, and is no less than a general Concern; that of the Improvement of Midwifry: the several Gentlemen who attend it in that Capacity, cannot but have the best Foundation in their Art, that which is extended and strengthened by the frequent Occurrence of the more nice and uncommon Cases among such Variety: and the Women whom they educate to Midwifry in that Hospital, must from their many Opportunities become valuable Practitioners for such of their Sex as are inclined to employ them rather than a Man.

But to return to the Matter in hand. This Method of putting Children to the Breast much sooner than usual, corresponds with the Opinion of Dr. Cadogan, who in a small Pamphlet on the Management of Children, has said a great many sensible useful Things; and among the rest, he proposes,[55] that a Child be put to the Breast in seven or eight Hours after it is born; whereby, says he, “It would not only provide for itself the best of Nourishment, but by opening a free Passage for it, take off the Mother’s Load as it increased, before it could oppress or hurt her; and therefore effectually prevent the Fever; which is caus’d only by the painful Distention of the lacteal Vessels of the Breasts, when the Milk is injudiciously suffer’d to accumulate.” To this I have two Things to add; First, to recommend to Parents that the Advice here given be reduced to Practice, unless some extraordinary Circumstances intervene; in which Case, their own Judgment must direct them to seek an Opinion suitable to the Exigence. Secondly, that all Precautions be taken to prevent the Mother’s catching Cold, or being too much fatigued in the first Days after Delivery. It is here meant, besides the Child’s having it’s most proper Nourishment, the Breast, as soon as possible; that the Mother be secured not only from the Danger of sore Breasts, but even from Inflammations and Fevers so common to the Sex in Child-bed. But while we are guarding against Mischief one way, it is no less our Duty to prevent it, if possible, every way; therefore do I again caution that the[56] utmost Care be taken to prevent the Mother’s catching Cold, or sitting up in Bed too long for her Strength in the first Attempts to suckle her Child. It is common for a Child, when first put to the Breast, to be unapt; the Mother, especially if a young one, is often awkward; and if the Nurse be unhandy or careless, the Consequences may be fatal; and indeed frequently are so: the Reason is plain. The Perspiration which usually follows Delivery is necessary; and where Nature is defective, Art is employ’d to keep it up: if then these Sweats are salutary, whatever obstructs or checks them must be dangerous; and nothing sooner or more certainly effects this than the being injudiciously uncover’d. But besides catching Cold, there is great Danger to be apprehended from Fatigue. That too much Fatigue in these early Days after Delivery may be very pernicious, every body knows who is experienced. Nothing so common as a Woman’s having had a good Labour, and being so extremely well, that on the second, third, or fourth Day she indulges herself with the Conversation of a Friend, or sits up in Bed for some time for Refreshment; in Consequence of which she grows hot, has a restless Night, and before Morning is in a raging Fever; perhaps delirious.


The precise Time of a Child’s sucking is a Point much controverted, particularly among Ladies, but nothing ascertain’d. The present Fashion ’tis true, is to let Children suck only three or four Months; but surely this is too important an affair for Fashion to take place of Reason. From my Acquaintance with the Learned on this Head, I gather, that generally speaking a Child should not suck less than six Months, nor more than twelve; but that the Medium, that is, nine Months, is for the most part the best. Still there may be Reasons for varying these stated Times; if so, Reason in that as well as in other things should be our Guide. And farther, there may be Circumstances which impede the Mother’s suckling her Child at all; the want of Health is a principal one; but then it should be a real want of Health, not an imaginary one. Where then a Doubt arises, I advise Parents not rashly and hastily to resolve for themselves, but to consult proper Judges, and always, where it is in their Power, be determined by their Physician.

But here, as an Encouragement to Mothers to suckle their Children, I must observe, that it is the Opinion of Physicians that many Women would mend their Health by it; and very few, if any, hurt a good[58] Constitution, unless thro’ Imprudence or Ignorance: now to obviate these, let Mothers be careful to set out right, and then they have very little to fear.

Hunger, Fatigue, and Fretting, are the three most obvious things that impair a Mother’s Health in Nursing. I say nothing of gross Intemperance, violent Passions, and the like, for they are always to be banish’d; nay we are not once to suppose they exist in the Sex. Hunger is carefully to be avoided: while the Mother gives suck, she should never let the Keenness of her Appetite go off by waiting long for her Meals; for that often repeated will sink the Spirits, fill her with Wind, impair her Strength, and consequently not only hurt herself, but prejudice her Milk also.

I confess it is my Opinion that a very nice regard to a Nurse’s Diet is not so generally necessary as is imagined. Temperance is universally to be held as a Rule; but under the appearance of avoiding one Error, they run into a greater; they often eat of very rich Dishes, and shun the use of Vegetables: whereas to People who are young and healthy, nothing is more wholsome than Vegetables blended with Meat: and the only Caution that is material to be given, is,[59] that they guard them with Pepper; whereby they will keep under the Effect they sometimes have, of producing Wind. But should Garden Stuff, after all this, disagree, Prudence will certainly direct the Mother to disuse it; tho’ at the same time it must be own’d, that where this is the Case, her Digestion is not what it ought to be to constitute perfect Health. To this Head I will add, that where a Woman has been accustom’d to drink a glass or two of Wine or Ale at Meals, she should not debar herself from it now; as her waste of Strength and Spirits certainly demand at least her usual way of Life; tho’ it does not seem needful for her to go far beyond it.

By Fatigue I mean so much Exercise as manifestly impairs the Strength, or brings on various Pains, so as to render a Mother incapable of executing what she has begun; or at least makes the Office extremely slavish to her. Exercise is good, but Fatigue is bad. There are so many different Conditions in this great Family of the World, and so many different Circumstances in each Station, that it is impossible to lay down Rules for every Individual, or prescribe an universal one for all; in general I recommend on this occasion the joint Attention of both Father and Mother. If a Man reflects[60] that while his Wife is suckling her Child, she is labouring to compleat the principal Work for which they came together, he cannot surely suffer her to endure Fatigue beyond her Power to bear; nor can he feel for her that Tenderness he ought, if he imposes any Hardship on her that can be dispens’d with. On the other hand, the Mother is to remember, that besides being chearful and keeping her Mind at rest, she must keep her Limbs at rest too; that is, she must often forego other Exercise, that she may be enabled to bestow a larger Portion of Kindness on her Child.

But there are several ways a Woman may be fatigued with Nursing without the least necessity. The first thing a Mother has to do, is, to use her Child to such Positions in suckling as she likes best, and is most convenient to herself. When up, the Mother should by all means sit upright, and the Child be rais’d to the Breast: the Child should yield to the Mother, and not the Mother to the Child. That distorted Posture so commonly seen in suckling gives great Pain to the Back, and cramps all the Limbs; and this without any other effect on the Child than indulging a manifest Wilfulness. When in Bed, the Child should take the Breast as it lyes; and not incommode the[61] Mother by making her sit up in Bed by the Hour, purely to humour it, as is too common: for this too, without any Benefit to the Child, greatly increases the Mother’s Fatigue, by robbing her of her Sleep, and by exposing her to catch Cold from the various Seasons it happens in. But these Inconveniences may farther be obviated, by letting the Child lye in a Cradle without the Breast the Night thro’, or with a Maid in another Room; for it is certain, that neither Breast, Drink, nor Feeding are so absolutely necessary in the Night as is commonly imagin’d. Some of my fair Readers will, I doubt, reject my Counsel in this particular; but I urge it on the double Motive of Benefit to the Child, and Ease to the Mother. Yet not to be too rigorous in this Point, not to affect too sensibly a Mother’s Tenderness, suppose a Child be sometimes allow’d the Breast in the Night, it certainly should be only sometimes; for the Practice of letting it drag at it the Night thro’ is a grievous Error: it hurts both Child and Mother; the Child by this Means is continually wrangling, fretting, and dissatisfy’d, and the Mother is often so sensibly affected by it, as even to be thrown into Hysteric Fits.

Difficult as I acknowledge it is to lay down an universal Rule, I will here attempt[62] what appears to me to be generally practicable. According to the usual Management of Children at the Breast it may be averr’d, that they have too little Sleep, and too much Food: that is, their Sleep is short and broken thro’ Mismanagement, and they are suckled or fed oftener than is conducive to Health. Now to remove this Error, I will not offer any Restraint in the Day-time, (tho’ that in the opinion of an ingenious Writer[3] requires it) but endeavour to effect it by regulating the Night. To this End let a Child be undress’d, it’s Night things put on, and be fed or suckled at seven o’Clock, and then put into it’s Cradle; where without rocking (if used to it and in Health) it will fall asleep. Supposing the Mother to go to Bed at ten or eleven, if the Child should happen to be awake, let it be turn’d dry (as the Nurses term it) and suckled again; and it will sleep soundly for six or seven Hours: perhaps now and then it will whimper a little, but if it is not touch’d it will fall asleep again immediately. But supposing it is not awake when the Mother goes to Bed, let it not by any means be disturb’d, for that breaking of Childrens Rest so common with Parents makes them vastly tiresome; all that the Mother has to do in this Case is, to keep a warm Cloth in Bed with her, and when the Child awakes[63] take away the wet one as soon as possible, that it may not be too much disturb’d by the Sense of Cold; that done, let it have the Breast, and it will commonly sleep again till it is time for the Family to rise. The Child should not have its Cloth shifted again; for frequently opening it when it ought to sleep is a great Impediment to it’s Rest; and while wrapt up warm, and it lies still, it receives no Harm from being wet: to this must be added, that the Mother be very hush; no talking, no shewing the Candle, the Daylight, or any thing that may awaken it thoroughly. If this Method be adher’d to, I am persuaded it will have many good Effects; it will give a longer respite than usual from feeding or suckling; it will obtain what is of great Consequence to a Child’s Health, Sleep; and it will facilitate the Mother’s Task by lessening her Fatigue.

To suffer by Hunger or Fatigue does great injury to the Mother principally, but Fretting has always a double Consequence; it hurts the Child too. A fretful Temper turns even Pleasure into Pain; well then may it make a necessary Care a Fatigue. One Distinction however I would make that I think deserves Attention; whether the Fretfulness be in Nature, be fixt and incurable; or whether it be owing to external[64] Accidents, the Occurrences of Things; such as frequent Provocations from a Husband, untoward Children, wasteful Servants, vexatious Law Suits, and many other Evils Life is fraught with. In the first Case, Women would do well to let suckling alone; for warm as I am in recommending this Practice, it is certain there are some few Exceptions, and this is one. But in the other, I urge suckling in great measure as a Remedy. For let the naturally good-temper’d Mother but once reflect that Fretting hurts her Child, and she will avoid it for her Infant’s sake: besides, the Love created in her for it by the Exercise of this natural Duty, will make her forget many other Cares; at least it will counterpoise her Troubles, by mingling Pleasure with Pain.

There is a Class of Women who are lifeless and sluggish, an insipid Race that do neither good nor harm; these should by all means suckle their Children, for by so doing they would be enliven’d, and animated with a Desire to become useful. If too they reflect, that the Intention of Nature is, that they should rear their Children as well as bear them, they will soon be ashamed of doing their Work by halves: and thus become much happier in themselves, and of much more Consequence to Society.


By the Observance of these few Rules, Mothers in general may suckle their Children, not only without Pain or Injury, but even with Pleasure and Profit. They may sometimes improve their Health; often lessen their Cares, and mend their Temper and Dispositions; and will always have a pleasing Consciousness that they have obey’d the Laws of Nature, by having done all that was incumbent on them.

If after all that has been said it is not thought expedient that a Child should suck it’s Mother; a Breast is certainly the best Substitute: but great Care should here be taken, in the Choice of a Nurse. She should be young, healthy, good-humour’d, sprightly, and temperate. The newer her Milk the better; it is best not to be above three Months old; and should never exceed six Months, when the Child is first put to her Breast; if beyond that, either the Child must be wean’d too soon, or suck a staler Milk than perhaps it ought. Some are of Opinion, that Breast-milk begins to lose of it’s nutritious Quality after the Expiration of a Year; but let us here observe the Operations of Nature. The younger Breast-Milk is, the thinner and lighter it is; fitted by Nature for the tender Stomachs of new-born[66] Babes: as it grows older, it becomes thicker, richer, and more stubborn of Digestion; by which gradual Change it is suited to the relative rising Powers of Digestion in the Child. Hence it would seem, that Breast-milk, does not at this stated Time become poorer, but richer; rich perhaps to a degree of Rancidity; which, like gross Food to others, is sometimes stronger than Children can bear: and on this Principle it is I recommend where a Breast is to be sought, that either the Milk be young, or the Child wean’d soon.

But supposing a Child to have no Breast (as Arguments whether good or bad will often be brought against it) the want of it must be supply’d by coming as near to Nature as we can. In order thereto, it is the Opinion of a Physician[4] in the Practice of Midwifry, whose Judgment in this Matter ought to have weight, that Cows-milk be diluted with Water, ’till it becomes as thin as Breast-milk, and given warm several times in the Day; that is, as often as a Child would have the Breast were it to be suckled: besides this, it should sometimes be fed with other Milk Diet; viz. Bread[67] and Water boil’d lightly together, and Milk added to it.

When a Child sucks it is usual to feed it with nothing but Water Pap, that is, Bread and Water boil’d together, without the Addition of Milk; from a Notion that it should not have two sorts of Milk; but this Treatment is surely erroneous. Nay, there are some who improve upon this Error, and give their Children (at least for the first Month) Water Pap only, even tho’ they have no Breast.

It is both natural and commendable in Parents to inform themselves what Distempers Children are subject to, and usually dye of; and if we farther refer them to the Bills of Mortality, they will constantly find, that Gripes, Looseness, and Convulsions make a great Part of the Account. Now besides the latent Causes of these Diseases, they have a very obvious one, viz. improper Food. For my own part I am convinc’d, even to Demonstration, that many Infants owe their Death to the Mistakes committed in this Point; and often to the false Practice of giving them Bread and Water only, and omitting that most salutary part the Milk. Milk (again I repeat it) is the Food[68] of Nature; with that alone, to an Infant, we may do almost every thing; without it, nothing.

Tho’ these first Rules here laid down should meet with general Approbation, and Parents from seeing how natural and reasonable this Doctrine is, be induced to follow it; they have still many things both to do and avoid, that are greatly conducive to their Childrens Health; and therefore demand their Attention and Regard.

As we have urg’d that Milk is the Food of Nature, so we may with equal Propriety call Bread the Staff of Life. Breast-milk my Readers will observe, is preferred to every other; but where that cannot be obtain’d, then Cows-milk, made thinner and lighter by the Addition of Water, is to supply its place; and, between whiles, the Child is to be fed with Milk-victuals; from which, as it is thicken’d with Bread, it will receive great Nourishment. But here great care must be taken to keep up its Appetite for this Food at first setting out; as it is of all others the most proper; and not spoil its Relish for it by the Admixture or Intervention of any thing else while in Health, ’till a more advanc’d Age.


The first Error usually run into, is, the immoderate use of Spice and Sugar; which Physicians who have consider’d these matters positively condemn: and if a Child is well, putting either of these in it’s Victuals, answers not the least good End. Spice and Sugar are certainly fine natural Productions, and of vast Use to Mankind; but the Food of Infants should be as simple as possible; and if it is made otherwise by the early use of these, the Effects will always be very troublesome, and oftentimes mischievous. What is more common than to give young Children Lumps of Sugar to eat; yet what more erroneous? Every Day’s Experience shews us how wrong the Practice is: it vitiates their Taste; creates in them an unconquerable Fondness for it, even to a Degree of Vulgarness; and manifestly clogs their Stomachs.

The Error next in rank to these, or rather a part of the same, as Sugar is greatly concern’d in it, is, the Custom Parents have of giving Children Tea. Tea, to a young Child, if we omit the Milk, has not a single Ingredient to recommend it: the Sugar in it has already been treated of; the Water, (as Tea is usually drank too hot,) serves to scald it’s Mouth and Throat, or at[70] best to relax the Stomach and weaken the Tone of it; and the Plant or Shrub it self has Qualities, which, to say the least of it, seldom contributes to promote it’s Health.

That this Herb of which our Tea is made has had many Tongues to speak it’s Praise, I am convinc’d; or it would not have obtain’d that universal use we now see made of it: and some likewise have taken up their Pen, and with great Labour describ’d its Virtues and Utility to Mankind: but all this is too weak to stand against that infallible Guide, Experience. To insist that Tea has no good Qualities would be offering an Affront to the Judgment and Experience of many wise People, and is very far from being my Design; on the contrary, I am convinc’d it has. Bohea Tea is esteem’d balsamic, and Green is allow’d to be an astringent Stomachic. Still these or any other particular Qualities, do not justify it’s general use; for while the same Experience proves that for one who receives Benefit by drinking it, ten receive Harm, it must upon the Whole be condemned.

Tea may be consider’d like some certain Drugs, which in skilful hands are safe and useful, but in ignorant ones, poisonous.[71] That the intemperate and indiscriminate use of Tea is hurtful, is too well known to be disputed; some it is true are manifestly refresh’d, comforted and enliven’d by it; others feel not the least sensible effect from the longest use of it, and drink it purely thro’ Custom; but again there are others, and those much the Majority, who impair their Health so visibly by this pernicious Practice, that they shorten their Lives, or at least render them comfortless, if not miserable. Now who that considers these things well, or but once reflects that ’tis at least ten to one that their Children are Sufferers by it, can reasonably speaking be hasty in bringing them to it; especially too if we farther reflect, that by a seeming magic Power it often enslaves People even to Infatuation. Infants then have nothing to do with this darling deluding Liquor; and when at a more advanc’d Age, Parents should still give it them very sparingly, if at all; and be careful to keep them if possible from ever being attach’d to it.

Before I take my leave of this Article, let me recommend to Parents some Observations for their farther guidance herein. Those Children who have weak Nerves should not by any means drink Tea at all. Tea should never[72] be made strong; nor drank in large quantities, nor hot, nor without Milk, nor very sweet. Tea should not be drank in a Morning by those who cannot eat; nor can it in general be drank in the Afternoon with Safety, but by those who have eat a hearty Dinner, and drink it soon. Bohea Tea is found to affect the Nerves the most sensibly; and Green, from its Astringency, is not only the most grateful, but its Effects prove it to be least hurtful.

Many are the Errors which Parents fall into in the Management of Children, especially at first setting out. I have often seen Children wash’d away with the watry Gripes, when upon inquiry it appear’d they had no other Food but Water Pap: others reject this, and fall into the Error of giving Children Broth; which alone, is in it’s Nature too laxative for Infants. But Water Pap must be condemn’d as far the most improper; for it is manifest that Bread, of which it is made, besides the Fermentation it undergoes in the Hands of the Baker, has, according to the Juices it meets with, a farther Power of fermenting in the Stomach: therefore, should Nature by chance be thwarted, should universal Observation be for once contradicted, by shewing a Child whom Milk is unfit for;[73] in that case I recommend, that Broth be added to the Pap; which will bring the Food nearest to the Quality of that animal Fluid, Milk, the natural Nourishment. And as watry Gripes are often owing to ill-digested Pap, Broth, tho’ laxative, would certainly from its Smoothness prevent or lessen the Stimulation in the Bowels; as we find in the Cure of such Gripes great Service from Glysters of Oil, Chickens-guts, and other things of the like Kind.

But farther; I am clearly of Opinion, that the first Change in Childrens Diet should be from Milk to Broth, and not from Milk to Meat: their tender Stomachs ought not to be put too early upon the Office of digesting the fleshy Fibres of Meat; but they may, as they approach to a Year old, by way of Introduction to eating Flesh, and by way of changing Diet, sometimes have Broth; but by no means for constant use, to the neglect of Milk.

It is universally confess’d, that in England we eat too much Flesh; and were I to urge all that might be said on that Head, it would be dwelling too long on a single Point. But since this Error of our Country is acknowledg’d by many of the wisest Men in it,[74] let it serve as a general Caution to Parents; let them turn it to the Advantage of the rising Generation; by being neither hasty in giving Flesh Meat to their Children, nor even permitting them to be intemperate in the Use of it.

To enforce this Precept, and prove the Reasonableness of not giving Children Meat so soon as is usual, I will here observe, that Physicians say the first Digestion should be in the Mouth, the second in the Stomach; whence it appears that Children have no Business with Meat ’till they have Teeth to chew it; nay, not ’till they have their Mouths almost full of Teeth; for they have not the Power of grinding down their Meat sufficiently ’till they have got some of their strongest Teeth, and those every one is sensible do not come first. Hence we are furnished with an admirable Hint, which not to endeavour to reduce to Practice, would be injuring our Children, and baffling the Labours of learned Men, who make the Good of Mankind the Study of their Lives. Parents by the same Lesson are instructed likewise, to make their Children accustom themselves to chew their Meat well their whole Lives; for it is certain they would thereby[75] prevent many ill Effects arising from Indigestion.

Having thus, as near to Nature as I am able, led Parents into the first Steps of the Management of their Childrens Health, I shall now touch on Art; a little of which may, and will be necessary. It is plain that Children are born full of Foulness, full of Excrement; and Nature to remedy this, gives a purgative Quality to the Mother’s first Milk; which Quality, as the Child cleanses, goes off. But if this first Milk be drawn away by another, as is frequent, in order to ease the Breasts; or the Child does not suck it’s Mother, but an older Milk; in that Case it should most certainly be purged three or four times in the Month. For my own Part I have gone farther, and tho’ my Children had the first Milk, I always began by giving them a little Syrup of Rhubarb and Oil of Almonds; which has constantly had a good Effect, not only on them, but on many others under my Care: the Rhubarb scours and cleanses them, and the Oil in some measure blunts its griping Quality, and prevents its leaving a Costiveness so common to that Drug. But tho’ I have frequently given this, yet Rhubarb in Substance, corrected with a small Portion of[76] Aromatic, or mix’d with Gascoign’s Powder, is found by Experience to agree very well: Syrup of Violets or Marshmallows, join’d with Oil of Almonds, are frequently given in order to cleanse the first Passages, and are very proper; tho’ not so efficacious as Rhubarb. Nor are there any better Purges than these for new-born Infants, unless, (which very seldom happens) in great Costiveness, and then a little Manna. What farther relates to Physic and physical People, shall be spoken of hereafter.

In a Treatise of this Kind nothing must pass unobserved that is important; and nothing is more so, than the destructive Practice of drinking spirituous Liquors. For a Woman to have a Habit of Dram-drinking is always detestable; but for one who gives Suck, it is horrible beyond Expression: it is fraught with double Mischief, Destruction to herself, and Destruction to the Child. One would imagine, that so odious a Vice wanted not to be inveigh’d against; or at most that the Caution could no where be useful, but amongst Basket-women and Billingsgates. ’Tis true indeed, that the Illiterate and Vulgar are the most addicted to it; but melancholy Experience shews us, that Women every way happy in Life, Women of the best Understanding, and the[77] best Education, are but too often tainted with it.

It is not my Design in general to write on the Foibles or Vices of Parents, but of Children; yet it must be owned, that where the Actions of the one have an Influence on the other, where the Connection is so close that the Health or Morals of Children are affected by the Conduct of Parents, it is perfectly consistent with the Plan I have laid down; and consequently is within my Province. Thus then I observe, that there are many Women who never tasted spirituous Liquors ’till they gave Suck. A Child is kept lugging at the Breast ’till the Mother is ready to sink, and a Friend recommends a Dram: the innocent Woman starts at the Proposition; but it being strenuously urg’d that it will do her good and the Child too, she follows the Counsel and drinks it. How reluctantly and with how much dislike may be known by her shaking her Head at the very Smell of it, making Faces when it is down, and declaring it is nasty Stuff. Now for a while let me talk like an Apothecary. The Nerves give Sensation to our whole Frame whether of Pain or Pleasure. This Dram acts immediately on the Nerves of the Stomach, and instantly communicates itself[78] to those of the Brain, which are exquisitely fine; the Sensation is pleasing, a general Glow is felt, and the temporary Relief it gives, persuades her that Drams are not so pernicious as People pretend. But by and by the Languor returns, and she has recourse to her Dram again; tho’ perhaps with this Difference, that instead of being persuaded into it she seeks it herself; and thus by a Return of Wants, she finds a Return of Desire; she flies so often to her fancied Remedy, that at length she is innocently and insensibly led into a Habit which infatuates her: even so far as often to rob her of the Power of getting rid of it. But the Habit contracted, what is the Effect? Why, that which at first was only a slight Injury, by this means becomes a mortal Wound.

The Human Frame, that Master-Piece of infinite Wisdom, is compos’d of a great variety of Parts, of different Make, Texture and Quality; each of which has it’s Use, and proper Office assign’d it. But that I may not confound any of my Readers by nice or obscure Physical Divisions, I will say it is compos’d of Solids and Fluids: the Fluids, that is, the Blood and other Juices, are allotted to nourish and preserve the Solids; and the Solids, that is, the Flesh and[79] other hard Parts, serve as Pipes or Channels to convey in a due Course the several Fluids to their destin’d End. Now to preserve Health, it is necessary that our whole Machine acts regularly; which it cannot do for any long Time with the pernicious Habit we have been speaking of. Drams, which at first give only a slight Wound to the Nerves, by frequent Repetition enfeeble them; and in the End totally disable them; as is evident by their bringing on Tremblings, weakening the Memory, and impairing the Understanding. To maintain Health, the Solids are to keep up their due Force or Spring, that they may propel the Fluids, and prevent their breaking them down by too great a Resistance. The Fluids are to be kept in such a state, that they may neither run too rapidly, nor clog by the way for want of the circulating Power. Thus in Rivers, where the Banks and Fences are weak, the Pressure of the Water will break them down; or if the Water be clogg’d and render’d foul by any Mixture foreign to it’s Nature, or is otherwise obstructed in it’s Course, it cannot reach those various Meanders, those small Canals it was allotted to fill.

Hence every Eye may see how destructive[80] this unnatural Habit must be to our Frame. The Tone of the Stomach is weaken’d, and with it, the Power of Digestion; Obstructions of the Liver and other Parts ensue; the Solids are broke, and the Fluids forsake their proper Channels: hence Jaundice, Dropsies, Palsies, and various other Distempers, fatal in their Consequences, and doubly acute to those who reflect, that they have brought them on themselves: for however thoughtless or indifferent they may be while in Health, when bitter Remembrance accompanies the severe Effects, the Situation must be dreadful.

I have observ’d that many are innocently led into this grievous Habit: and they are the more liable to it, as the Goodness of their Constitution preserves some longer than others, from being sensible of it’s ill Effects. But they must beware of Illusions, and convince themselves of one Truth at least; that instead of that Nutrition which proper Food yields, the Blood and other Juices are by this means vitiated; and with them that most salutary Fluid the Milk. It is true indeed that all Drams are not alike pernicious; nor do they, as I have just hinted, act alike on all Constitutions. Yet thus much is certain; that they all contain fiery Particles,[81] a Portion of caustic inflammable Matter, in general very injurious to our whole Frame; very unfit to circulate in our Blood and Juices; and above all, extremely prejudicial to those Infants who imbibe the Infection by sucking at a Breast thus unhappily tainted.

But besides this dreadful Habit in the Mother or Nurse, there is a Practice among the Vulgar still more shocking; and which must make every reasonable Creature shrink with Horror; that of giving Drams to the Children themselves, even while Infants. Nothing is more strongly urg’d by all moral Writers than the Force of Example; and when they mean to paint a bad Parent, they describe a Child imitating those Vices his Father acts before him. But here Description is too weak; no Language has Force enough to express the Horror of this Vice! These unhappy wretched Parents forestall Imitation; they stay not ’till the Child has Power to follow their Example; but pour the deadly Poison down the poor Babe’s Throat, even before it can speak! What, I say again, what Language can describe the Horror of this Vice? Surely none.

All wise Men agree, that Virtues flow,[82] or ought to flow, from the Head; that the Inferior receive their Influence from the Superior; and most act by Imitation of their Betters: but Experience shews us, that the Little can sometimes teach the Great Virtues they were before Strangers to; and by a still stranger Inversion of the natural Order of Things, it often happens, that the Great imitate the Vices of the Little. But here I cannot refrain from exhorting Parents of every Rank never to suffer themselves to fall into so dreadful an Error as that just hinted at. Those who are already tainted with it are perhaps too abandon’d to be reclaim’d; or have it not in their Power to remove the Mischief they have caused: but those who are happily Strangers to it, must keep their Attention awake; must live in a constant Resolution never to let a Child so much as touch so dangerous a Weapon; unless they choose to be their Childrens Murderers; choose to have them fall a Sacrifice to some dire Disease; or become Cripples, Idiots, or Brutes.

Before I quit this Head, I must take Notice of an inferior Degree of the same Error; less a Vice indeed, because there is an Intention of Good in it, tho’ generally a mistaken one; I mean that of putting Brandy[83] and other spirituous Liquors into Childrens Victuals. How this Practice came to be introduced is amazing! But tho’ the general Pretence is preventing or curing Wind and Gripes, it is highly erroneous: for where these Disorders really exist they should be treated in another Manner; and by People whose Judgment can be depended on.

The next Degree of Error to this, is the early Custom Parents have of giving their Children Wine. Grown People, even among the Temperate, often drink much more of it than is either needful or beneficial; but Children want it not at all. To give Wine to Infants is a gross Error; and even to those who have pass’d that Stage, the Practice is very wrong.

Wine, tho’ a general Term for the Juice produced from Grapes, is undoubtedly a very different Liquor, not only in Colour and Flavour, but in Quality, according to the Country it grows in; as is manifest by the different Effects of it on the Human Body. One Sort is found to constringe too much; another is loaded with Tartar; a third abounds with a large Portion of inflammable Spirit; and so on. But not to enter into a physical Analysis of Wine, we[84] will say it is allow’d to assist the Digestion, to warm the Blood, and give a certain Sprightliness, which, in other Words, we call a Flow of Spirits. Now in the Case of Children we injure them if we give them gross Food, such as requires Wine to digest; and if Wine be added to it, we put Fuel to Fire, Flame to Flame; nor does the Blood and Spirits need this foreign Assistance while young: the one is by Nature sufficiently warm’d; and the other are best supported by Temperance and a chearful Disposition.

I will not take upon me to fix precise Rules on this Head, both because it is very difficult, and in general they would not be adher’d to: but thus much I seriously recommend, that Children in the first Septenary taste no Wine at all; in the second be vastly sparing; and in the third fix a Temperance built on solid Principles of Reason and Virtue; such as will best secure to them Health and Happiness for their whole Lives.

I am here naturally led to speak of Malt Liquor, the native Produce of our Country: but on this, as well as the two foregoing Heads, we must keep Temperance[85] in View, from the double Motive of Health and Virtue. Experience teaches us, that Malt Liquor can be rais’d to any Degree of Strength; that it is capable of inflaming the Blood and intoxicating the Brain; consequently it is capable of weakening and destroying our Frame when intemperately used. But besides these Effects, it has others often very hurtful, but less regarded, because less sensible. One, from a natural Weakness of the Bowels, it throws into habitual Purgings; another it oppresses with Wind; and in a third, from its glutinous Quality, it obstructs some of the Viscera, and has a peculiar Tendency to clog the Vessels of the Lungs, and thereby hinder Respiration, produce Coughs, and those fatal Circumstances frequently attending them. Hence it is easy to see how necessary the Parents Attention is, to guide their Children herein. Infants, at least for the first Year, have no Business with Malt Liquor at all; they ought not to taste it: Milk, or Water, or both together, is their proper Drink; and if after this Age, these were made the Liquor to drink with their Food, it would be no worse for them. However, not to be too rigorous in this respect, let Children after the first Year, wash down their Victuals with light clear Small-beer;[86] and nothing beyond that for the first seven Years. In the second and third Septenary, the same Rule which has been laid down concerning Wine, should be observ’d in all strong Malt Liquors; they should be very sparingly used. Nothing is more dangerous than the Indulgence of Parents in this Point; for besides the many ill Effects already mentioned, ’tis coarse and vulgar; it clouds the Understanding, and renders young People unfit for Study. Besides these, it gives them an early Bloatedness; and greatly endangers the laying the Foundation of a Sot for Life: or at least gives them such a Hankering, as cannot but be a great Impediment to their Happiness.

Nothing is more talk’d of for the Good of Children, and yet nothing more unsettled, than the necessary Degree of Warmth; and while some Parents are sanguine in maintaining the Necessity of much Cloathing, there are others as obstinately prone to freeze their tender Babes: even skilful and ingenious Physicians disagree in this Particular.

It is a Maxim in Philosophy, that Heat is a Principle of Life: and indeed, without the Assistance of the Schools, every one knows the Truth of it. All know, that[87] Life is warm, Death is cold; and therefore to support Life, there must always be a Degree of Warmth. This premised, it appears that Warmth is natural to us; but where to begin, or how to maintain such a Degree of it in our Children as will keep us from either Extreme, is not easy to determine. However, to keep as wide of Error as we can, we must keep close to Nature’s Laws.

Nature then, I think, points out to us, that new-born Children want more Cloaths in Proportion than others. When we consider how warm a Bed they have long been wrapp’d in before their Birth; when we consider too how tender all their Fibres must be; and see them shivering, trembling and cold as soon as the external Air surrounds them; we cannot but conclude that they are greatly cherished and comforted by the Addition of Cloaths.

It is true that the same Philosophy which teaches us that Heat is a Principle of Life, teaches also, that Action is the Cause of Heat: but new-born Infants being incapable of Action to any Degree, it appears to me, that for the Reasons already given, they stand in need of an additional, or rather, an[88] adventitious Warmth, from Cloaths, Fire, Sun, or all, in their proper Time and Place.

Should any one urge that thin Cloathing of Children is the rational Way to make them hardy, and inure them to Cold, I am ready to grant it; but I cannot help being of Opinion, that it ought not to be begun with. In most other Things relating to Children we succeed best by beginning at once; but here I think we should proceed by Degrees. Let Parents then at the Birth give Children all the Comfort Cloaths can afford them; and when some Months Time has hardened their Fibres, and thereby strengthened their Solids, let them be thinned gradually. One sensible Distinction may be made that should be universally regarded: that is, the Difference of Climate and Seasons. A Child born in the midst of Summer, or where the Air is incapable of affecting it very sensibly, need not to have so much cloathing as one born in the Depth of Winter, or in a colder Climate.

It is easy for my Readers to see that I am an Advocate for Warmth; and that I do not only recommend it as yielding great Comfort to Infants, but esteem it highly necessary[89] and useful to them: and should any farther Proof be required to support this Opinion, we may refer to all created Nature, animate and inanimate.

In this View of Nature we shall find the Birds not only provide Nests for their young, but cover them with their Wings, to guard them from the chilly Air, ’till Time has encreased their Feathers. The Beasts with amazing Tenderness, cherish their young, ’till Nature has lengthened the Hair, the Wool, or whatever covers them; or Time has given them the Power of Action. Farther we shall find, that Insects, and all the vegetable Creation, shoot out into Life, and receive Vigor, Comfort, and Support, from that glorious Body the Sun: so indispensably necessary is Warmth; and so essential to the raising and preserving of All.

Such of my Readers as agree with me on this Head, must still be cautious not to over-act their Part. This Preceps suits so well the tender Nature of Mothers, that if heedless, they will easily slide into Error; and I should be wanting in the Duty of a faithful Guide, or an honest Adviser, if I did not endeavour to prevent it.


Dr. James Douglas, deservedly eminent in his Profession, once (within my own Knowledge) gave it as his Opinion of a Child he attended, that it perished with Cold. The Doctor had laid a Woman of Rank of her first, nay her only Child, a Son too, and Heir to a large Estate. The Season was cold; the Child was dry-nurs’d; and a small four-post Bed was, by the Advice of some ignorant People, made on purpose for it to lye in alone. In this neglected starving Way the Child was kept ’till ready to expire, and when too late to help it, they sought Advice. All Means were try’d in vain, the poor Babe sunk into the Grave: and, as I have already observ’d, the Doctor, upon examining every Circumstance, pronounc’d it starv’d to Death. Here we have an Instance of one Extreme of Error; and I have introduc’d it as a Hint to Parents that all Extremes are to be avoided; and that while they shrink at the one, they must be careful not to plunge into the other.

It has already been agreed, that Children at the Birth should have all the Comfort Cloaths can give them. I will now observe, that it is every Way advantageous, that for the first Year at least, they lye in a Cradle, or in a small Crib by the Bed-side of the Parents,[91] or whoever has the Care of them. To put an Infant in a Bed by itself for several Hours before the Bed-time of the Mother or Nurse, is in general too cold a Situation; and afterwards, if it is not then too hot, which with some is a doubt, it is attended with several Inconveniences. First, it is pretty sure to disturb the Child; a Matter of real Consequence: secondly, when once disturb’d, it will very likely have no Sleep again but lying at the Breast, a Circumstance attended with great Trouble and Anxiety to those who suckle it: thirdly, there is always Danger more or less of the Child being overlaid; which is a Consideration that ought justly to alarm every Parent, as many Children have by this means been kill’d in one Night’s time. I am very sensible how watchful a tender Mother usually is, but there are Times that the best are unguarded; and it is surely right for them to put it out of their own Power to hazard so dreadful an Accident. Nay this Danger has been thought so great, however common the Practice is, that the most sensible People have spoke and wrote against it. To obviate therefore this Evil, Parents need only let Infants lye in a Cradle or Crib; which will keep them in a regular equal Warmth, secure them from all unnecessary[92] Disturbance, and effectually prevent any fatal Accident.

By what has already been advanc’d, it appears, that tho’ due Care is recommended, yet it is not design’d to cherish that false Delicacy which Parents, especially Mothers, are but too apt to keep up in their Children, whether Boys or Girls; on the contrary I have advis’d, that their Cloathing be thinn’d by Degrees. Let them too be wash’d every Day with cold Water, the Head and Limbs at least, if not all over; and be carried out as much as can be into the open Air.

To breathe in a free, open, pure Air, is undoubtedly of great Use; by giving that Spring to the Solids so conducive to the establishing and preserving Health. Children therefore, especially if born in London, stand in need of this Assistance; they should often have the Freedom of tasting a sweeter Air, than that which usually surrounds their Habitation. Here I am aware, that this Advice, instead of being properly relish’d, will be swallow’d greedily; instead of its serving to rouse the Care of Parents, it will endanger the banishing the Child, which under the Pretext that Air is good, will be sent to a Place, where perhaps every thing[93] else is bad. Parents, especially the Fathers, who do not love the Noise or any other of the Inconveniences attending the Care of Children, have a short Way of doing Business by sending them at once into the Country; and to support the Reasonableness of their Conduct, readily tell their Friends, that those who write about these Matters recommend Air, and say that Children thrive best in it. But surely they have never study’d the Duty of Parents, or they must know, that it is always incumbent on them, unless Necessity prevent it, to rear their Children themselves. But to prove farther that it is not always a Child’s Good which they seek, so much as their own Ease, it is often sent to be nurs’d even in London; sometimes too in a part much worse than they themselves live in; perhaps where noxious Effluvia are continually surrounding it; or in some narrow Lane or close Alley.

Where real Necessity pleads, no Arguments can be brought against it: otherwise I would universally recommend, that Children be brought up under the Eye of the Parents. Let the Methods propos’d have a fair Tryal; if those are ineffectual, and the Child does not thrive, by all means remove it into the Country; but still, if practicable,[94] accompany’d with the Mother, and under her Care; if that cannot be comply’d with, send it to a Nurse. Still I have one Objection that has great Weight with me, whatever it may have with my Readers. The common Country People (such as we may suppose take Children to nurse) tho’ usually very innocent, have nevertheless that Innocence intermixt with a large Portion of Obstinacy; in short, they will always do their own Way. Now it is well known that almost the only Flesh Meat these People eat the Year thro’, is Bacon and Pork; with this Meat, which of all others is the worst in the World for Children, the Nurses cram them unmercifully. To tell them that they give Children Meat too young, avails nothing; to urge that it is a gross kind of Food, capable of creating bad Humours in the Blood, and thereby accumulating Disorders, which like a smother’d Fire, will some time or other burst out with Violence, is like encountering the Winds; Don’t you see, they cry, how fat and jolly the little Rogue is? They are not aware, that to be fat is one thing, and to be healthy another: for bad Fat may be compared to ill-gotten Wealth, they both prey upon the Vitals. Thus then while I maintain the Advantages arising from Childrens Breathing in a pure Air, I[95] cannot help condemning the Practice of exposing them to many other Dangers.

Besides the Food, Warmth and Air, necessary for preserving the Health of Children, there is another Mean of great Importance, but much neglected, to the Detriment of many; viz. Exercise. When some Months Time, as I observed before, has strengthened their Solids, they are then fitted for Action; without which there is but little chance for Health: the Laws of Nature demand it; and it is almost incredible, the Mischief that attends the want of it. Exercise affords the most natural and the most comfortable Warmth to our whole Frame that can be. Exercise makes the Blood and other Juices circulate with Freedom; prevents the Mischief too often arising from Stagnation, and throws off the redundant Matter through the Pores of the Skin by insensible Perspiration. And Exercise too, greatly contributes to that Flow of Spirits, that lively pleasing Air and chearful Countenance so essential to our Happiness.

The first half Year of a Child’s Life is far the least troublesome to a Mother or Nurse; for after that time Children begin to take Notice, shew they love Action, and[96] where they are well nursed, never are so happy as when they are exercised; and indeed it is scarcely possible to give them too much of it. There should be no Sluggards about a Child, no body that wants either Will or Power to toss it about continually; and from six Months, to a Year and half, or two Years old, it is really a great Fatigue to give it due Attendance. But Parents must remember it is an indispensable Duty; and their faithful Discharge of it will, generally speaking, be amply rewarded by a more solid Health in their Children than can be expected without it; and by having their future Trouble greatly lessened: for how often does it happen that Children for want of due Exercise grow ricketty, become Cripples, or are puny all their Childhood, perhaps their whole Lives; to their own great Sorrow, and to the inexpressible Trouble, Pain, and Expence of the Parents.

Rickets is a Distemper extremely common in London; but if the Rules already laid down be observed, I dare affirm, it will very rarely be seen. It is not indeed the Design of this Treatise to cure Diseases, but to prevent them; yet as thousands of Children fall into the Rickets in a manner insensibly, often without it’s being once apprehended;[97] I would here not only keep the Attention of Parents awake, but propose a Remedy.

Let us then observe, that many Children have all the appearance imaginable of Health, Strength, and Vigor, till about nine Months old; after that Age they begin to dwindle, grow listless, heavy and inactive, which to account for, Parents find a thousand Causes, perhaps all wide of the real. One ascribes it to cutting the Teeth, another to a Fever, a third to loss of Appetite, and so on; when after a Time it proves the Rickets: the Cause whereof is, generally speaking, bad Nursing. But whether this, or any other Weakness produces the Distemper, I earnestly recommend, that it be not suffered to pass unregarded, since much depends upon our early Care.

The great and noble Remedy for this Disorder is a Cold Bath; and tho’ the Tenderness of Mothers may make them shrink at the Proposal, yet neither their own Weakness, nor the Child’s Reluctance, must in this Case prevail, especially when I assure them that a very short Time will make the use of it not only easy but pleasant.


If a Child along with this Disorder has a Fever, a full quick Pulse and short Breath (as is very common) Parents should certainly ask proper Advice before they begin to use the Bath. But as some may be careless in this Matter, or at least unwilling to submit; and as many ill Consequences may follow from setting out wrong, I will in that Case recommend, that two or three Ounces of Blood be taken away at the Arm or Neck; next Day purge it with Rhubarb, and repeat it to three or four times, at a Day or two’s distance between each Dose: and even where there is no Fever, and the Lungs play freely, it should still be purged as above directed.

The more Water and the colder the Bath the better. At first use it only two or three times a Week, afterwards every Day; and continue it (unless other Accidents intervene) ’till every appearance of Weakness be vanished, even though it should last long, or come on in the coldest Season.

To obviate as much as possible all groundless Fears, I will on this Head add, that as Cold Baths act very powerfully on the whole Frame, they are frequently observed to give Cold at first using; and sometimes affect the Limbs and other Parts very sensibly; all which goes off on repeating it. And indeed,[99] where a Cold Bath is judged proper, the only Circumstance which justifies the Disuse of it, is, it’s leaving a Shivering and Coldness all over, instead of that pleasing comfortable Glow, which generally follows the use of it.

The proper Cloathing of Children is a Consideration of great Importance; and indeed the Opinions of different Men in the Learned World, and of different Women in the Conversable World, are so very many, as to render it next to impossible to fix a Standard for Dress with regard to Health only, that would in any manner square with the various Notions subsisting. Arguing on Principles of Philosophy, from Reasons founded on the Knowledge of Anatomy, and the Animal Oeconomy, will not go down with the Croud. Nor will Examples produced from Practice, prevail on the Learned to think the general Practice right. It is not enough to say, that different Nations act with more or less Propriety on this Head; for even our own Country is herein much divided in itself.

What I have before observed on cloathing Children, relates only to the keeping up a due Degree of Warmth, ’till Time strengthens their Solids; but the grand Controversy is,[100] what kind of Cloaths they should wear, and how they must be put on; how Boys should be cloathed, and how Girls; what Cloathing conduces to Health, and what impairs it: with many other Things much disputed, but still unsettled.

Nothing is more certain than that Nature in general is our best, our surest Guide, for the Conduct of Life; yet if we make the Law universal, we shall undoubtedly sometimes err. Two things all Mankind inherit in consequence of our first Parents Disobedience, viz. the Turbulence of our Passions, and our bodily Defects and Infirmities: all are sensible of this; all see and feel them, more or less. How small is the number of those, whose Passions are by Nature so happily calm, as to keep them free from Irregularities! How few are those, to whom Nature has given a perfect Form: whose Stature, Limbs, and Features, bear exact Proportion and Symmetry, free from Blemishes and Defects; such as constitutes a finish’d Beauty: or whose Constitution is so happily temper’d as to have no Bias, no weak Side, no redundant Humours to disturb Life and Health. This I say is evidently the Lot of very few. Still Providence, ever kind, has furnished us with Means to turn all things to our Advantage. To regulate our Passions we[101] are endowed with Reason; to rectify, as far as Nature will permit, our bodily Defects, we are supplied with Judgment: but as in the first Case we are apt to let Passion get the Mastery of Reason; so in the other, we often let our Judgment err, or suffer Fancy to take place of it. Hence arise many of those Mistakes Mankind daily run into; and hence too the Judgment of one will sometimes be perverted into Fancy, and the Fancy of another be falsly esteemed Judgment. From this view it is easy to see, how vast a Field is open to Mankind to exercise their Judgment in; but where that is weak, Errors will certainly make their Way; which from the Propensity we have to do wrong, are sometimes so prevailing and swift, as to become almost universal; even so far as utterly to overturn superior Judgment. Now though we grant that every one is possessed not only of a Power, but of a Right of judging; yet we do not agree, that the Judgment of the Weak, or of those who have neglected to exercise and improve their natural Faculties, should be abided by, and made our Rule of Conduct: for as our Law-givers should be wise, and as from them we seek to be secured in our Property and our Peace; so from those who have searched into Nature, who have studied the Animal Oeconomy,[102] and are acquainted with the Structure of our Frame, from those only can we rationally learn how to preserve Health. To apply then these Arguments to the Matter in hand, I would recommend to Parents with regard to Cloathing their Children, to be attentive themselves; to exercise and improve their own Judgment, as far as they have opportunity; not suddenly to run with the Croud, lest it prove a vulgar Error; but endeavour to learn what is the Opinion of Judges: and by comparing that with the general Practice, they may draw such Conclusions as will profit them most.

Dress, in the common Acceptation of the Word, is not my Province; those People whose Business it is to promote it, know that the World is fickle and inconstant; they know that Men will change, even though it be for the worse, purely from a Love of Novelty: therefore is it that at one Time a Man has his Hips almost up to his Arm-pits, another Time he must stoop to get his Hand into his Coat Pocket; therefore is it that one Year a Woman is (at the Will of the Stay-maker) to be short-waisted, another Year long-waisted; with many more Absurdities, that ought at least to be laughed at. But where Dress is capable of affecting our[103] Health, it both deserves and demands Attention and Regard: And to that End, I will for the Instruction of my Readers, give the Sentiments of the Learned on this Head.

It is the Opinion of many, that every kind of Bandage is an Error in Practice; even Garters, Wrist-bands, and Collars; that they impede the Circulation of the Blood, or at least render it unequal and irregular, and prevent the proper Growth of the Solids; nay more, that they are a frequent though latent Cause of Apoplexies, and other dreadful Diseases. It is farther their Opinion, that whatever compresses the Frame, (particularly the tender one of a Child) is dangerous; as Rollers, stiff Stays, and the like: that as the Trunk of the Body contains, what Physicians call the Viscera, in which are the chief Functions of Life, whatever external Methods are used to bind or cramp them up, is prejudicial to Health. That the Lungs particularly are to have free room to play; and that if the Chest be externally press’d, whether by Rollers, Stays, Waistcoats, or any thing else, it lays the Foundation of many future Evils. To these general Opinions, let me add that of an eminent Writer. Mr. Locke, in his Treatise of Education, says, “Narrow[104] Breasts, short and stinking Breath, ill Lungs and Crookedness, are the natural and almost constant Effects of hard Bodice and Cloaths that pinch. That way of making slender Waists and fine Shapes, serves but the more effectually to spoil them. Nor can there indeed but be Disproportion in the Parts, when the Nourishment prepar’d in the several Offices of the Body, cannot be distributed as Nature designs. And therefore what wonder is it, if being laid where it can on some Part not so braced, it often makes a Shoulder or Hip higher or bigger than it’s just Proportion.” He then produces the Example of the Chinese Women, who of all People on Earth, have the smallest Feet, not naturally, but made so by cramping them; from a notion that it is beautiful; by which Practice, says he, it is believed they impede their Growth and shorten their Lives. Now to confirm and strengthen what is here advanced, we must observe, that besides the universal Reputation Mr. Locke so justly obtain’d as a Man of Science, he was design’d for a Physician: and though he never practised Physic, he had studied it. To these Opinions may be added the general Consent of Mankind, that in those Countries where Stays are not worn at[105] all, the People are seldom or never known to be crooked.

Now let us examine the general Practice, and the Motives which influence it; that no Injustice may be done in a Treatise that aims at the general Good of Mankind. Mothers and Nurses observe, that a new-born Child has no Support of itself; the Head leans on one side or the other; and the Body sinks as it were into a Heap: to remedy which, and to prop up the helpless Babe, they put what is call’d a Stay to its Neck, they roll a Flannel many times round its Body, and at the Expiration of a Month it is usually coated: that is, it continues when undress’d with the Roller; and in the Day Time when dress’d, it wears a Stay about the Waist. The Stay to the Neck is left off in some Months, and the Roller in about a Year; some sooner, some later: but the same Method is used both to Boys and Girls. The first, second and third Stays are usually very soft and plyable; but after that, when a Child approaches to two Years old, they are then made stronger, that is, stiffer to the Feel; and these Sort are worn by Boys ’till they are breech’d, and by Girls their whole Lives. Nurses urge, that Children are helpless, cannot sit upright, nor be toss’d about without them. And I remember[106] an eminent Surgeon, late of one of our Hospitals, once told me, that a Child was brought to him with several of its Ribs crush’d inward by the Hand of the Person who had been tossing it about without its Stays.

But as I have just observed, it is not in Infancy only that Stays are used; but in one Sex, ’till four, five, or six, Years old; and in the other for Life. The Solicitude of Parents about Shape, is chiefly confin’d to the Girls; Boys, when breech’d, like Eels, twist themselves into a thousand Forms, and prove strait at last; while the Girls, with less Freedom and more Anxiety, seldom come off so well. Still Mothers contend for the Necessity of Stays; and maintain from Experience, that the Shape, instead of being hurt with them, is spoil’d without them. Here then is the grand Point, whether Nature requires these Props or not; the Learned say they don’t; general Practice says they do: the Learned recommend that Nature be left to Fashion the Parts herself; but general Practice contradicts this: and who will take upon them to decide so important a Matter? for me, I confess it is too much.

When I read or hear the Opinion of skilful Men, and weigh their Reasoning, I heartily[107] concur with them; and when I see an exquisite Shape under a judicious Mother’s Management, I am inclin’d to applaud her Judgment, and commend the Choice of her Stay-maker. However, that I might not leave this Head and determine nothing, I have already recommended to Parents to exercise their own Judgment, and to seek that of others; whereby many of the Errors, become general thro’ Ignorance and Time, will be removed. The Learned, unless dogmatical, will be brought to allow, that Stays may often be worn without the least Injury; that as Girls are by Nature more tender and delicate than Boys, many of them would have been deformed either thro’ bad nursing, or some inbred Infirmity, tho’ they never had worn a Stay in their Lives: and Parents will be convinc’d, that while Nature is labouring to compleat their Children’s Growth, both Health and Beauty greatly depend on their not being braced injudiciously.

As I am speaking of Health and Beauty, it will not be improper to observe, that with regard to the outward Form, what is most agreeable to see, is often most conducive to Health and Strength. Thus the Dancing-master has Power to confer many Advantages on his Scholars. That Command and free[108] Play of the Joints of the Knees, with the Habit of keeping them unbent but when necessary, and the proper turning out of the Toes, add great Firmness and Grace both to standing and walking: that graceful Power of the Arms, the easy Fall, and the dropping of the Shoulders from the Neck, gives a pleasing Distinction of the bred from the unbred: and the keeping the Body upright, and throwing forward the Chest, are besides being great Beauties, vastly conducive to the free Exercise of the Lungs, and to the proper Action of the whole Viscera.

But while this Part of Education is justly commended as conducive to Health, and pleasing to behold, what shall we say of those, who under the Appearance of increasing their Beauty destroy it; and who, while aiming at Health, often deprive themselves of Life. I have shewn that bodily Defects are more or less the Lot of all Mankind; but where Judgment free from Error can rectify them, we have Power to do it. If we can find a Cure for Diseases born with us, we certainly may and ought; if we can increase our Strength, and add Graces to Nature, we undoubtedly should; we may curl our Hair, increase its Growth, or cut it off; we may and ought to comb or shave our Head, pare our Nails,[109] and scour off all that Foulness which Nature throws out upon the Surface of our Body, and maintain a constant Cleanliness: But all this does not imply that we may give ourselves a new Face; and yet little less is frequently attempted. When Nature is oppressed within us, she often, for our Relief, throws out the Malady upon the Skin; if it happen to be on the Face, we grow restless and impatient; we are ignorant of the Kindness done to us; and to remove the Blemish to our Beauty, we unadvisedly drive back the redundant Humour; perhaps on our Vitals; and thus fall a Sacrifice to our Pride or Ignorance.

There is a Practice, particularly among the Great, shocking to Nature and to Reflection; that of using Paint. Paint is to the Face, what Affectation is to the Mind: as the one is a ridiculous Mimic of amiable Qualities we are Strangers to, so the other is a ridiculous Affectation of Beauty we cannot reach. But while Paint disappoints those who are attach’d to it, by conferring false Beauty, it is attended with the Mischief of impairing real; and many who by Nature alone would be comely in the Decline of Life, are, by this odious Practice, hagged even in Youth. Temperance, Exercise, good Hours, and a chearful[110] Mind, will best preserve the Bloom of Life; but such is the present Age, such the prevailing false Taste, that Error is confounded with Error, and our corrupt Judgment is still farther corrupted. There was a Time that Paint was designed to give a false Bloom when the real was declining; but now it is used to hide even the natural Bloom: it is made an Instrument to destroy that Beauty which Providence has bestowed; and instead of being grateful for the Blessing, it is shamefully hid under a pale Enamel, or a dead White! What an Indignity, what an Affront is this to the Author of all Nature, to the Bestower of all Blessings!

Lord Hallifax, in his Advice to a Daughter, goes so far as to dissuade her even from the Use of Sweets. “Those Ladies (says he) who perfume themselves, will be strongly suspected of doing it to conceal some other Stink.” Cleanliness is to be preferred to every foreign Aid; for tho’ it is certain, that Nature throws off some offensive Matter, whether perceptible or not, by the several Organs given for those Purposes, yet daily washing the Mouth, combing the Head, and using every other Means of Cleanliness, bids much fairer for rendering us inoffensive to others, than the general and immoderate Use[111] of Perfumes. And therefore I cannot but concur with this noble Writer, in dissuading Parents from introducing among their Children the Custom of seeking foreign Assistance in order to be sweet. Should I add to this, that continually striking on those Nerves which convey the Sense of Smelling to us, is prejudicial to our Health, I should advance no more than what many learned Men hold as a Truth.

But there is another Pretext for using Sweets, which must not pass unobserved; that of keeping us from being sensible of the various Smells around us. It is true that those are sometimes so grossly offensive, as to justify, and even demand, our shutting them out: but in general, there is too much false Delicacy, too strong a Tincture of Pride, and too little Sense of our own Infirmities in this Practice. On these last Heads then I must beg Leave to admonish Parents, even of the highest Rank (should this little Work ever fall into their Hands) to be greatly circumspect with regard to their Children; that they be careful to give them a due Sense of the Blessings Nature has bestowed on them; that they point out to them the most rational Way of correcting natural Defects; and above all, to imprint on them a just Detestation[112] of every Practice which has a Tendency to raise their Vanity, and add Fuel to their Pride. To this end, Parents should convince their Children, that the fashionable Cosmetics greatly endanger Health; Paint debases both the Face and the Mind; the wanton Use of Perfumes is an Error in Principle, and all are fraught with mischievous Effects.

It may be urged, that Children are not subject to the Use of these things, at least while Children: I grant it. But my Readers must observe, that when I enter on a Topic, I am naturally led thro’ it; and as we never stand still in Life, so Parents must bring their Ideas forward, and consider their Children as always advancing. Nay I may without Impropriety say farther, that Vanity is one of the first things that Children learn; and it demands the early Attention of Parents to keep it under, by discountenancing the Practice of every thing which tends to support or cherish it.

Parents are naturally anxious to have this first Entrance on the Stage of Life got thro’ with Success; and I flatter myself, that the Rules already laid down will conquer, or at least lessen the Difficulty attending it. How eager are all good Parents to see their Children weaned; to have them firm on their Feet; to find their Mouths full of Teeth;[113] and to hear them prattle: nay there are many, particularly Fathers, who think their Children of no Importance, at least they have no Pleasure in them, ’till these are effected. That nothing therefore may obstruct this Progress, I will here add a Word or two more.

It is a Point much disputed, whether a young Child is better or worse for wearing Shoes and Stockings; for my own Part, I think they are both: but, as this may seem a Paradox, I will explain myself. The Disuse of Shoes and Stockings is to make Children hardy; but my Readers will remember, that unless Regard be had to Time and Season, they may cramp their tender Limbs, and do them great Harm. Stockings therefore cannot with Prudence be totally neglected, lest it prove a Neglect to the Child; and Shoes, when they are put on it’s Feet, are, besides being not so disagreeable to see, much safer to walk about in; as nobody can answer that Pins, Splinters, Stones, and various other things will not sometimes fall in their Way, even on the smoothest Floor, or a Carpet. Thus much in their Favour: but what I have to say against them is not less significant. According to the usual Method of managing Children, they wear no Cloth[114] in the Day-time after five or six Months old; and then, if they are not carefully watched, they will frequently wet themselves, and thereby make Shoes and Stockings an Impediment to their thriving, by soaking them, as it were, in Wet, Cold, and Nastiness. Either then let a Child be kept clean with them, or intirely go without them; for of two Evils, it is always most eligible to chuse the least.

But a little Judgment and Attention would obviate this Inconvenience; for as even Infants are not without various Ways of shewing their Wants, an Attention to these, and a Method of putting them regularly into their Chair, would be very convenient both to Mother and Child: and if notwithstanding this, it should by chance wet itself, having dry Shoes and Stockings always ready to put on, would prevent any ill Effect.

I am of Opinion, that Parents are often too eager to have their Children walk; by which, they take such Means as serve to retard it. Two things much in use manifestly keep Children back, viz. much sitting, especially with their Cloaths up, and much standing. They should never sit long in their Chair, nor be left to support the Weight of their Bodies, while their Joints[115] and Limbs are tender. Let them by all means feel that they have Feet, but let them not be left alone, ’till Time, Air, and Exercise have strengthened their Solids, and given them a lasting Firmness.

But we will now suppose that these first Difficulties are all surmounted. Parents have still many things to do, which require indeed Attention, but neither need, nor ought to be accompanied with any considerable Degree of Difficulty or Pain.

Notwithstanding a Child is advancing, I still recommend, that Milk and Water with Bread, or Milk-porridge, or Rice-milk, be it’s constant Breakfast. Parents may sometimes alter their Course, may easily contrive little Changes in a Child’s Diet, that will be very pleasing, without either seeming to humour it, or varying it so sensibly, as to hurt the Quality. For Example, in Summer, pour warm Water on Milk to take off its Rawness, and let the Child with a Piece of Bread bite and sup: in Winter let it have Milk-porridge, or Rice-milk. Milk is accounted to lose of its natural Sweetness by boiling; therefore in general it should be avoided.


But there is another Principle Parents are to act by, viz. a Child’s Habit of Body. Nothing is more certain than that our Food may be made our Physic; and if our Judgment went Hand in Hand with Nature, we should happily escape many bodily Infirmities, many grievous Evils: for it would then be easy to see when she is regular, when not; whether she wants a Curb or a Spur; whether she is robust or delicate; or, in fine, whether she has any Bias, and where. To familiarize this, let me observe, that where a Child is hot, dry, and costive, Parents should sometimes desist from the Use of Milk, and give it Water-gruel, either with or without Currants; or very small Broth, or Milk-porridge, which last is rendered opening by the Oat-meal. So likewise, where the Bowels are weak, and there is an habitual purging, the Child should be kept more closely to Milk; have Rice-milk, Rice-gruel, or Broth thickened with Rice; or thick Milk, or hasty Pudding made with Milk and Flour. Of one or other of these things, as Occasion serves, a Child may properly breakfast as long as the Guidance of Parents will be necessary: and when it is no longer a Child, but comes to act for itself, it will not be easy to find more wholesome[117] Food. Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate are the most usual Breakfasts in lieu of these. Tea has been spoken of already. Coffee is hot and dry; it is rather fit for a Medicine than a Meal, and should be used with Judgment; it is manifestly a Cephalic, and sometimes removes a Head-ach instantaneously as if it were by Magic; but intemperately used, it is very apt to sink the Spirits, and bring on Tremblings. Chocolate has a nutritious, balsamic Quality, yet it disagrees with many People; it does not sit easy on every Stomach; either from the natural Property of the Nuts, or from its being made too thick, and sometimes drank with Milk, which renders it still heavier. But, generally speaking, Tea is the Breakfast for Children, which is often made worse, by being accompanied with hot Bread. I have seen a Mother so cruelly kind, for so with Truth we may call it, as to give a young Child all the Crum of a hot Roll for its Breakfast; and this repeated every Day, till it had lost not only it’s Appetite, but almost it’s Breath.

There is nothing Parents should more promote in their Children than the Love of Bread; they should be taught to eat a great deal of it with their Meat; be taught to eat[118] it sometimes alone; but not be suffered to eat it quite new: for the Custom of cramming Children with hot Bread, is one of the Ways that make them unhealthy, without Parents being aware of it.

Butter is allowed to yield great Nourishment, but there are Objections which Parents must not disregard. It often rises in the Stomach, is apt to give that Pain which People call the Heart-burn, and is judged to be frequently the Occasion of Childrens breaking out, by obstructing some of the Glands. Butter therefore should be eat much more sparingly than usual, and great Care should be taken that it is never rancid.

Cheese is a kind of Food which Children are naturally very fond of; and, if left to themselves, will eat it to an immoderate Degree. I have observed before, that little Changes in a Child’s Diet are at times very right; particularly to prevent any Dislike to certain things, either from Disuse or Affectation; but when Cheese comes in turn to be the Meal, it should be under great Restraint. Suppose, for Example, a Child’s Supper is to be Bread and Cheese, the Bread should most certainly be considered as the Meal; a very small Quantity of Cheese to give it a[119] Relish, and convey it down, is all it ought to have. Cheese, tho’ nutritious, should never be eat in large Quantity; it gives Children a restless painful Fondness for what is relishing, and takes off their Appetite from more wholesome simple Diet; it is found to disagree with many Stomachs; toasted, it is particularly bad, and difficult to digest; and it has often a Pungency, which creates Heat, Thirst, and Costiveness.

Flesh Meat has already been touched upon; I will here add, that besides the Parents Care that Children do not begin too soon with it, nor eat it intemperately, they must pay a due Regard not only to the Quality of the Meat they give them, but to the Time and Manner of eating it.

Physicians are of Opinion, that Animal-food is not in Perfection ’till full grown; for, like unripe Fruit, their Juices are crude, and always more or less improper to mix with our Blood, ’till they are in a State of Maturity: hence it appears, that Beef and Mutton are more wholesome than Veal and Lamb. Nor should Beef, as the Fibres of it are very strong, be eat too freely by those whose Digestion is weak; and when rendered[120] harder by lying long in Brine, it is still more improper. Pork, tho’ a favourite kind of Food, is in several Respects improper to be eat frequently; it is extremely apt to offend the Stomach; it has a remarkable Tendency to bring on Purgings; and it is suspected not to form so pure a Chyle, and to be more disposed to load the Blood with those Particles which create scorbutic Disorders than any other Meat. Upon the whole, no Meat is so universally suited to our Nature as Mutton. For after all our Labour and Expence to obtain greater Rarities, after we have fatigued ourselves with Sport, hunted down defenceless Creatures, brought to the Ground the most wary Birds, and cloyed ourselves with the choicest Viands, we find perhaps a truer Relish, and a better Appetite for a Mutton-chop. So Topers, after spending the Night in search of the richest Wine, after rioting in Excess, and wearying the Tavern-waiters to please their Palates, seek Comfort and Refreshment in a Glass of Water.

Fish is a sort of Diet extremely improper for Children. I would recommend to Parents never to let a Child so much as taste it for the first seven Years at least. If it were nothing more than the Danger of Bones[121] sticking in it’s Throat, it is enough to alarm prudent People; but most kinds of Fish are naturally flabby, cold, and watry; are very unfit for young Stomachs, and usually made more so, by being accompanied with rich Sauce.

Children should not be debarred Fruit; but the Use of it requires some Attention; 1st, It should always be good in its Kind, and ripe. 2dly, Regard is to be had what Sort agrees, and what disagrees. 3dly, Some Limitation as to Quantity. It is a disputed Point whether we may eat Fruit in a Morning; other Nations do frequently, we seldom. In France, Germany, Switzerland, and many other Places, the People always eat Bread with their Fruit; and it appears so rational that I believe it were better that we did too. Fruit gives some a Pain at the Stomach, others not; Apples, Currants, and those Kinds, which, tho’ ripe, have still a Degree of grateful Acidity in them, usually agree best. Pears and Plumbs, especially the Orleans Plumb, have a Tendency to bring on Purgings, which sometimes terminate in a Bloody Flux and Death; and therefore should be given to Children with great Caution: but, in fine, Experience here, as in many other things, is to be our Guide. One general Rule I would recommend, which[122] is, that the Skin or Rind of all Fruit that is in any manner tough, be not eat. It is the Pulp and juicy Part of the Fruit which refreshes us; and Nature, to preserve these, has wrapped them up in a tough kind of Coat, which is judged by many to be very unfit to take into the Stomach. I must not omit to speak of Nuts. I observed before, that merely from the Danger of Bones Children should be kept from Fish; so, had Nuts no other Effect than loosening the Teeth by frequent cracking them, which they do manifestly, they should never be meddled with; but in Fact they have. I have seen People eat Walnuts ’till they could scarcely breathe; the famous Barcelona Nuts, besides the Substance or fibrous Part of them, often abound with a rank kind of Oil; and even our own Hazel Nuts and Filberds, when eaten in any Quantity, are apt to create Thirst, cord up, as it were, the whole Chest, and produce Coughs.

Self-gratification on one hand, and Self-interest on the other, have introduced several Trades the World in general might dispense with; two of which demand my Observation, viz. the Confectioner and the Pastry-cook. That these Trades have their Use I do not deny. A Nobleman, according to the Rules of Politeness, cannot make[123] an Entertainment without a Desert; thus the Confectioner becomes necessary: in inferior Life, the Coarseness of the Entertainment is taken off by the Assistance of the Pastry-cook: all which may be reasonable, if reasonably used. But when I consider the general Misapplication of these luscious Dainties to Children, I cannot but condemn it.

If a Child is sent to visit a Relation or Friend, the grand Compliment is, to apply to the Confectioner or the Pastry-cook; and ’till the little Visitor be crammed with Biskets, or Cakes, or Tarts, or Sweetmeats, or all in their Turn, and that even to a Surfeit, the welcome is not thought compleat. Still there is some Excuse to palliate this Mistake; the Child is considered as a Visitor; and these Excesses are the mistaken Effects of Good-Nature and Respect; both which are apt grievously to err against Judgment. But my Principals here are the Parents; for from them alone must come the Habit of doing right, and by them alone must the Error be prevented or corrected.

I have no Objection to a Child’s having a Tart or Bisket by Chance, but I am a profess’d Enemy to the daily Abuses committed[124] with them. If we view the Loads of Wigs, Tarts, and Cakes, every Day made at the Pastry-cooks, we must be astonished at their Consumption. The Truth is, People give these Things to their Children ’till they have made them sick, and then give them because they are sick. If a Person happens to call on a Friend where there is a Child indisposed, it is ten to one but they find a Tart in it’s Hands; Ah! poor thing, says Mamma, it has eat nothing to-day, so I sent for a Tart for it. That the Hands, the Face, the Apparel and Bedding of Children, imprudently indulg’d with this kind of Food, be constantly daub’d and besmear’d, is the least bad Consequence attending such Indiscretion; it has several other Effects, particularly on their Health; by vitiating their Appetites, engendering Crudities, and alienating them from more wholesome Diet.

But let us go lower into Common Life; and view the various Outlets from London. What Swarms, what Multitudes of Children are there not in the Fields on every fine Sunday! And what is their Entertainment? Why, generally speaking, they are stuffed with a coarse kind of Pastry-ware made coarse on purpose for Children, who of all[125] the human Species ought not to touch it: then to compleat the Mischief, they are to wash it down with a foul, nauseous, heady kind of Ale, or other Malt Liquor. Yet when one opposes this Practice, as every one must with Hand and Heart, who has but a Head to guide them; Poor Things! cry the mistaken Parents, what! take Children into the Fields, and not give them a Bun! But how grievously does their dotard Fondness mislead them! Good Bread, with a very little Sweet Butter, wash’d down with Water, or clear well-brew’d Small Beer, would preserve their Health; while the only use of this Trash, is to impair or destroy it.

To reduce to Method what has been here said concerning Diet, I must observe, that next to the proper kind of Food, nothing is more conducive to Health than a Habit of eating Meals regularly. Children accustomed to eat all Day long are seldom healthy; besides, that it makes them disorderly, and often throws a Family into Confusion to gratify all their little Humours. The proper Breakfast has been already pointed out; their Dinner should be made of one Dish, only, unless by great Chance a passing Taste of a second; they should either eat a[126] great deal of Bread, or blend their Meat with Greens, Turnips, or other Garden Stuff; Pickles and all high Sauces should not be touch’d by them; and their Meal should be washed down with Water or light Small Beer. Their Supper may, like their Breakfast, sometimes be vary’d, as to the Auxiliary; Bread is to be the Repast; yet a small Portion of Butter, Cheese, Fruit, or Tart, may in their Turn accompany it: the Vehicle the same as at Dinner. But should a Child at intermediate Times, especially before Dinner, complain of Hunger, and fasting long might make it’s Stomach ach; in that Case nothing so good as a bit of Bread; and if used to it, it will eat it as eagerly as the greatest Dainty; but to see Children walk about a House with Tarts or Bread and Butter in their Hands, daubing every thing and every body they touch, is certainly wrong; being not only detrimental to their Health, but to their Manners too, as it is inexpressibly vulgar.

The Ideas of Parents may perhaps confine these Rules to the first Septenary of a Child’s Life; but I must here observe, that no essential Difference, no very material Changes can be made from this, even in the second and third Stages, without some Degree[127] of Error. Eating and Drinking are made too much the Business and the Pleasure of Life, to be consistent with either our Health or our Reason: Parents therefore who aim at acting on right Principles, must for the sake of these, teach their Children to be regular and temperate in the use of those. It is right that they begin early, that they set out well; but it is doubly so, that they keep them in the same Road; and as their Childrens Reason gathers Strength, convince them that they must never quit it, if they wish to live a long or happy Life: and that, of all human Gratifications, an inordinate Attachment to Eating and Drinking is the meanest, and most unworthy a Man.

Mr. Locke proposes, as a great Means of preserving Health, that Boys (for it is for them only that he writes) have Holes made in their Shoes on purpose to let in the Wet; which (says he) being rendered familiar to them, will prevent their catching Cold. It is certain this Gentleman acts here upon a right Principle; but whether the Practice be altogether eligible, is a Doubt. Nothing is so hurtful to the Head, the Eyes, and the Breast, as catching Cold in the Feet; and therefore I cannot but concur with this ingenious Writer, in recommending the Use of[128] cold Water in order to make Children hardy. I have before advised, that young Children have their Limbs washed daily with cold Water; now as many things may be rendered familiar and easy by Custom, if, as they advance, their Feet were daily immersed in cold Water too, it would undoubtedly be of vast Service, and greatly tend to confirm their Health. But if this be never practised, or the Practice set aside, which is nearly the same thing, it demands double Care of the Parents to prevent their being liable to Colds.

To this End, Children’s Feet should be washed in Water a little warm’d; for it is extremely dangerous to make a sudden Derivation of the Blood up to the Lungs or Head, which is the natural Effect of cold Water. And it is for this Reason that People are never suffered to walk into a cold Bath, but are thrown forwards, that the Immersion may be total at the same instant. Nay, Mr. Locke himself was so sensible of this, that tho’ he advises washing the Feet daily in cold Water, he would have it begun with in the Spring, and the Water luke-warm, and made colder and colder by Degrees: “For (says he) it is to be observ’d in this, as in all other Alterations from[129] our ordinary Way of living, the Changes must be made by gentle and insensible Degrees.”

The next Mean is, that Children have always dry Shoes. There is a great deal of Mischief attends the mistaken Delicacy of Shoes. Those who always tread on Carpets, who never go abroad without a Coach or a Chair, may perhaps wear with Safety the thinnest that can be made; but to see People in inferior Life, or those engaged in real Business, trampling thro’ dirty Streets, and soaking their Paper-soals in continual Puddles, is surely every way absurd: but as this Practice is evidently detrimental to Health, as it frequently occasions Coughs, sore Eyes, Head-ach, Rheumatism, and other Disorders, it is highly incumbent on Parents to keep Children free from these Dangers by using them, in Winter especially, to such Shoes as will keep them dry. On this Head it will not be amiss to give a Caution against Shoes that pinch. Parents must be attentive to this both in Boys and Girls, for many by this Means are made so tender-footed, and have such painful Corns, that they are a kind of Cripples their whole Lives: and are not only very uncomfortable to themselves, but are often thereby greatly[130] disabled from doing their necessary Business.

I must not here omit, so far as relates to Health, to mention Sleeping, and the Circumstances attending it. “Of all (says Mr. Locke) which looks soft and effeminate, nothing is more to be indulged Children than Sleep. In this alone they are to be permitted to have their full Satisfaction, nothing contributing more to the Growth and Health of Children than Sleep.” I have already with regard to Infants shewn, that they ought not to be disturbed from their Rest; and even past that Age Sleep affords them great Nourishment. Nothing certainly is more injudicious and unnatural than the Custom many Parents have of keeping their Children up late. If they wish them to be healthy, temperate, or wise, they must create in them a Habit of early going to Bed and early rising. As the many Conditions in Life oblige, or at least lead People to act differently, so it is extremely hard to fix precise Rules herein; but in general, ’till Children approach nearly to Men and Women, they would do best not to sit up to see, much less to eat, a Family-supper at nine o’Clock.


Lying on soft Beds is undoubtedly wrong; the French have a good Custom of putting a Matrass above the Feather-bed, which prevents their sinking into a Softness very prejudicial to Health. Soft Beds absorb too much of our Juices, cause a greater Waste than we can spare, enfeeble our whole Frame, and have a remarkable Tendency to give a Pain of Weakness in the Small of the Back, by heating the Reins.

Mr. Locke, amidst great good Sense, has some Notions a little rigorous, which probably are never followed, nor do they seem altogether needful. He proposes that a Child’s Bed be designedly ill made; that is, sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes rough, sometimes smooth; for my part, I am desirous to banish every ill-judged Tenderness, every false Fondness; but as I write for the Use of both Sexes, and all Conditions, I cannot confine my Ideas to a Tent or a Cabin. Let Children by all Means lie on Matrasses instead of Beds, for the Reasons already given; let them lie with a Bolster only, and no Pillow, for it is not good for them to have the Head high; let them lie either on one Side or the other, and not on the Back; and let them lie pretty[132] straight in the Bed, yet not fully stretched out, for that would impede the due Action of the animal Functions, and render Sleep less profitable to them. With regard to the Form of their Beds, I think, Decency requires that they be orderly and regular; nor is there any Fear that a Change of Bed will affect them, for most young People sleep sound wherever they are laid.

It has been generally said, that we should keep our Heads cool; and many on that Principle, even tho’ their Heads are shaved, lie without a Night-cap. I will not take upon me to determine the Matter, but observe, that the Night-air seems to require some Guard; and many are of Opinion, that lying with the Head warm is most healthful; and particularly good for the Hair, the Eyes, and the Teeth.

Another Observation I shall here make, is, the Error of sleeping in small Rooms, and by Choice in the lower Part of a House; it is certainly right that we should have Space for a due Circulation of Air that it may not become thick and foul, which is very common in close Bed-chambers; nor should we lie surrounded with Curtains, for that is confining ourselves to the Air within[133] the small Compass of our Beds. Parents would do well to let Children lie with the Curtains undrawn; and even where they have tender Constitutions, drawn only at the Sides of the Bed; but never all round, unless really sick: for this Practice, however common, is highly erroneous.

Notwithstanding the general Rules laid down concerning Exercise, I must here observe, that as Children advance in Life, that is, when they approach to Men and Women, great Regard should be had to the Exercise suitable to their Circumstances and Constitution; but these are too many to admit of enlarging upon here. I will in brief observe, that those who are hale receive the greatest Advantage from walking; the tender, especially the Hectical, and those who have weak Nerves, cannot bear this Exercise to any Degree, but gain Strength and Vigor from riding on Horseback; and indeed it often happens, where walking cannot be borne without great Fatigue, and waste of Strength and Spirits, riding, on the contrary, not only gives Pleasure, but increases both. Where Infirmity is so great, which doubtless will sometimes happen, that neither of these Exercises can be pursued, then a Coach, or some ether Vehicle, should[134] supply their Place; for it is of great Consequence not totally to disuse Exercise: but Parents must remember this is too indolent in a State of Health; and is not by any Means to be encouraged by Choice. Besides these, there are many others under the Name of Sports and Pastimes, which if well regulated, and Care be taken that those engaged in them do not injudiciously drink cold Liquors, or otherwise expose themselves to inclement Seasons, are very salutary; such as Fencing, Dancing, Bowling, Digging, Gardening, and many others; all in their Nature good, and at times not to be shunned, especially by those whose Life would otherwise be inactive, those particularly who are devoted to Study.

There are yet some farther things relative to Health, which Parents must not disregard. Constitutions are so variously formed, that the same Employment which suits one Child, will not another. If one is closely confined to Study it will impair his Health, and either shorten his Days, or make him miserable: if another is engaged in a laborious Business, his tender Frame, perhaps, sinks under it: if a third is indulged in an easy Occupation, where Action would have suited his Frame, he becomes[135] indolent, insipid, and infirm, a Burden to himself and others. Lastly, there are Occupations in Life whose Fumes are known to affect us; and some Regard should be had even to these, since the Health of our Children is concerned: not that I here recommend the Observance of each Nicety, or would have Children afraid of every Vapour that rises around them, or of every Employment that is accompanied with Labour: no; that would be making Life too painful, and fix in our Children an unmanly Timorousness, which would make them puny, frivolous or hurtful; and would be swerving from the Opinion of the greatest Men that have studied and wrote on these Subjects: For Hippocrates, Celsus, and all those who were best acquainted with what Physicians call the Non-naturals, maintain, that, besides Temperance and Air, Exercise, and that too of the most laborious Kind, particularly Husbandry, is indispensably necessary for Health. What then in general I here advise, is, that Parents, in settling their Children, have an Eye to their Health, at the same time that they study their Interest and Prosperity.

Having thus with real Pains, and an unfeigned Desire to promote the Welfare of[136] Mankind, pointed out the general Means of preserving Health, and, I hope, set in a true Light those Errors which usually tend to impair or destroy it; if Parents seriously adhere to the one, and avoid the other, their Children will receive many and great Advantages therefrom. It may be urged, that the Treatment which suits one Child will not another; and that general Rules are always subject to particular Exceptions: I grant it. Still this does not justify those Parents who submit to no Rules at all. I have said before, that all Laws give Parents the sole Power of governing their Children; I may also maintain that the same Laws oblige them to do every thing to promote their Welfare. Those who are unacquainted with the Duty of a Parent, must learn; those who know, must practice. Let this Admonition then rouse the Attention of Parents; and let these Precepts serve as the Foundation, whereon to build the solid Health of their Children. The Constitution is like the Countenance, somewhat different in every one; where therefore any Deviations from Rule are the Effect of Judgment, I sincerely applaud them; and where any Principle here laid down proves erroneous, I chearfully submit to the Removal of it.


Many of my Readers will still perhaps expect, that something should be said concerning the manner of treating Children in Sickness; but they must remember, that I set out with no farther View than the preserving Health, by avoiding every Irregularity and Excess: and when Diseases happen, which cannot be obviated, nor even foreseen, it is not the reading a single Volume that will qualify Parents to undertake the Cure of them: no; they must apply to those who make it their Study and their Profession; to those whose Judgment, whose Integrity, and whose Diligence they can confide in. To this End I will here endeavour to point out to Parents the most rational Way of proceeding.

One would imagine, that nothing was easier to determine than this Matter; for what can be more natural in Sickness, than sending for a Physician? He who from his Youth has laboured to acquire Knowledge, who has devoted his Life to Study, who has searched into Nature, and discovered the most hidden Causes; who has sacrificed many even of the innocent Pleasures of Life, that he might become useful to Mankind; and who, to accomplish this, has spent perhaps a good younger Son’s Portion. Can[138] any thing, I say, be more natural or more rational than this Proceeding? And yet, who is there that has any Knowledge of the World, that is acquainted with London particularly, that does not daily see a very different Practice? Who is there that does not know, that the Apothecary, the Nurse, the Quack, and many others, oftentimes baffle the Physician, or keep him out of Play.

Every Nation is distinguished for some Peculiarities of it’s own. In France the Physicians have but little Dignity, and their Fees are low; yet nobody in Sickness presumes to act without them; they are always call’d first: in England, the Reputation of Physicians is deservedly great; but their Fees are high, and they are usually call’d in last. As Sickness is in it’s Nature every Way expensive, as the Doctor’s Fee is always Gold, we cannot but be sensible, that there are many People in the Nation, who either from a Desire to contract the Expence, or from a Want of Ability to give the customary Fees, do not, at least ’till Danger threatens, send for a Physician. And it is for these, and other Reasons, that some Medium between the Patient and the Physician seems necessary: which Medium is no where to be found, but in the Apothecary.


Let us now enquire a little into the Nature of the Apothecary’s Business, and see of what Use he is to Mankind. Pharmacy, the Apothecary’s Art, is branch’d out of Physic; for as now the Apothecary sometimes prescribes, so originally the Physician was Apothecary too. An Apothecary’s Education is not so deep, nor his Application to Study usually so close, as the Physician’s: yet as Genius is not confined to the Physician, but is by Nature as capable of residing in the Apothecary; some Degree of Learning, an Acquaintance with proper Books, which are equally open to both, and constant Observation on Diseases, will certainly furnish him with a considerable Stock of useful Knowledge. Experience is the Mother of Wisdom. While the Physician is labouring at Theories, the Apothecary is perhaps deeply immers’d in Practice: and as all allow that nice Observation is of vast Use in Physic, while the one is searching into Causes, the other, if he improves as he ought the Opportunities he is furnished with, gains a Knowledge of Effects. Hence it appears, that an Apothecary is capable of being, not merely an useful, but a valuable Man to Society; and perhaps equally so, both to Patient and Physician. Physicians[140] could not keep up their Dignity, nor act with Safety without this Medium. Who is it they confide in that the Drugs are good, and the Letter of the Prescription faithfully adhered to, but the Apothecary? Who is it that gives the Patient that close Attendance he frequently wants, but the Apothecary? Who is it that has the Trouble of applying Leeches, of applying and dressing Blisters, of administering Vomits, &c. of watching the various Changes that arise, and of running in Pursuit of the Doctor to check some threatening Symptom, but the Apothecary? And who is it, in fine, that on every Emergency, in every real or fancied Danger, is called out of his Bed to administer some speedy Relief, or appease some groundless Fears of the Patient, or their Friends, but the Apothecary? Still all this, tho’ literally true, tho’ it proves the Apothecary (where a good one) to have some real Importance, yet it does not put him upon a Level with the Physician, much less justify the shutting him out from Practice. Those who deny that Apothecaries can sometimes cure Diseases, flatly contradict what every Day’s Experience proves; and those, who, to magnify them, depreciate the Physicians, are guilty of an Injustice, which can have no other Source than Ignorance, or an evil Mind:[141] for, to put Things upon a fair Footing, the Apothecary should be considered as an Auxiliary; or, as I have before expressed it, a necessary Medium between Physician and Patient.

Health is a nice Affair; and Life precious to every Individual. The best Advice then I can give to Parents is, that they do not, where these are at Stake, hazard either one or the other by Indolence, or an ill-tim’d Frugality. Those who are rich, let them at once send for the Physician, especially if it be a Matter of Moment; and surely Prudence points out this to us: so those who cannot reach the best, let them take the next best; that is, where calling in a Physician would too sensibly affect their Circumstances, Prudence demands, that they employ a good Apothecary. And even these, tho’ they consult their Apothecary first, should strain a Point where Danger threatens; and neither attach themselves too closely to the Man who is fond of his own Judgment, nor condemn another’s Tenderness in proposing farther Advice. But I may on this Point say farther, that it is sometimes the greatest Proof of Wisdom in an Apothecary to desire the Advice of a Physician; for tho’ Diligence, Integrity, and many other Qualifications are highly[142] necessary in this Profession, yet none is equal to that Penetration, which gives him the Power of seeing Danger before it is too late to apply a Remedy.

As for the Calumnies, the Sneers, and the Misrepresentations of ignorant or designing People, such as Apothecaries and Physicians being in league together, and playing into one another’s Hands; the Eleven-pence in the Shilling; the cramming People with Physic they do not want; and much more of the like Nature; these are things that scarcely deserve any Notice. I have now been above thirty Years in the Business; have seen and done far from an inconsiderable Share; have attended with Physicians of every Rank, from those who first enter’d into Practice up to those who have reach’d the Summit; yet cannot charge either any single Physician, or myself, with even an Attempt to enter into an Association to the Prejudice of Mankind. On the contrary, I have seen some who have laboured with disinterested Zeal for their Benefit; not merely because they could not have their Fees, but because they would not take them. Here I cannot help observing how much the World is misled by Appearances; because People see an Apothecary with a good Suit of Cloaths on, they conclude he is above Want; and because[143] they see another in a Chariot, they pronounce him rich: so too because a very few Physicians make Fortunes, they conclude, that all of the Profession are Wealthy. But how fallacious is all this! There is no Profession, no Trade in the Kingdom which we call genteel, that has so few rich Men in it as the different Branches of Physic. Many a Man in it, sensible that the World would have no Opinion of his Skill, if he appeared to Disadvantage, keeps up a Port with aching Heart; many a Chariot is in daily Danger of breaking down; and many owe their Stability more to their own Patrimony, to their Wives Portion, or some other fortunate Event, than to the Produce of their Business.

Two Things with respect to Sickness Parents are to guard against; one is, the Neglect of calling for Help in time; the other, that amazing Attachment to Nurses, and what they call good old Women. I esteem it a Misfortune in a Family, where a Physician or an Apothecary appears as regularly as the Baker; and to prove that I do so, I have said before, that our Food may often be made our Physic; and have pointed out many Ways to prevent Diseases: still it is a Fact, that all Errors are best rectified at the Beginning; and the sooner a Distemper[144] is attacked, the sooner, in all Probability, will it be conquered. Good Women are extremely apt to treat physical People with Contempt; and this chiefly to magnify their own Skill. If they have any Knowledge, as some of them doubtless have, to whom principally do they owe it? Is it not from conversing with physical People, and seeing how they proceed? most certainly. And yet these same good Women shall wonder that any body sends for a Doctor or an Apothecary to a sick Child! What, they cry, do these People know about Children? A good old Woman is better than all of them. She must be a very good old Woman indeed, that knows more than Men who have made the Knowledge of Diseases the whole Study of their Lives. But supposing that Reason and Resolution get the better of this Weakness; Parents have still more to do; it is not enough that Medicines are prescribed, they must be sure that they are taken. For besides the Repugnance in the Child, there is a Difficulty perhaps in the Nurse; and if she thinks it wrong, it will be hard to set her right; and harder still, to prevail on her to give them to the Patient. Parents, in this Case, must either resolve not to ask Advice, or resolve to see the Medicines taken.


Nurses have a Province of their own, in which they are very valuable, that is, a diligent attentive Care; for in vain do Parents seek Advice, in vain do Physicians prescribe, if Nurses are negligent, unwatchful, or careless. But while I do them the Justice they deserve, while I acknowledge the Merit of their Station, and recommend that it be rewarded, I cannot help repeating to Parents, not to suffer them to baffle superior Knowledge. If any Change happens to the Patient, or a Difficulty arises unforeseen, let them suspend for a Time the Execution of the Orders given them; but let them not frustrate the Physician’s Intention, by throwing Medicines away, giving them by Halves, or giving something of their own added to it, or in it’s stead; and then concealing what they have done: all these things are grievously wrong, and every way unjustifiable, as they frequently disappoint the Patient, or disgrace the Physician. If a Nurse has made any useful Observation on the Patient (which all good Nurses sometimes will) there is not a Doctor in the Kingdom, if a Man of Sense, but will hear her, and turn it to Advantage; but if her Conceit leads her to set aside or overturn what is proposed, however merry it may make herself, every[146] thinking Person in the World must condemn so capital an Error.

The last Caution I shall give to Parents relative to Health, is, the Danger of Nostrums and Quack-Medicines. I believe there is not a Physician nor an Apothecary in the Kingdom but what has seen the Lives of People, particularly of Children, sacrificed to this Practice. What is it that constitutes the Physician, that proves the Man of Judgment, but the varying his Prescriptions, not only according to different Diseases, but according to the different Circumstances of the same Disease? And yet these Nostrum-Mongers, with unparalell’d Boldness, often attempt to conquer all Diseases with one Arcanum, one pretended Remedy. Who that hears these Boasters, or that reads their printed Accounts, but must discover many Absurdities on the very Face of them. The Man that promises what is repugnant to common Sense, argues himself either a Knave or a Fool; and yet People are often so little attentive, or so regardless of Health, that they do not discover their Error, ’till it is sometimes too late to remedy it. That I may do strict Justice to every one, I am ready to grant, that many Discoveries have been made in Medicine by mere Accident;[147] and that some of the Nostrums in Vogue are in themselves good; nay some of them were the Discoveries of able Physicians; Discoveries since seiz’d on by designing People, and pirated into a kind of Property. But what does all this avail in the Hands of ignorant People? What is a Man the wiser for being placed in a Repository of the finest Drugs, if he knows not how to apply them? Or wherein does he differ from one set in a Library of the choicest Books, without being able to read? Yet are People every Day vending Things, which they know not the Nature nor Use of; and so far impose on the weak and credulous, as often to make a Fortune at others Cost.

Opium, Mercury, and all the powerful Drugs, are every Day scattered about the Kingdom, and indiscriminately offered to all, whether they want them or not, whether they are good for them or not; and the specious Terms they are recommended in are apt to mislead, not merely innocent, but very sensible People. Since then Things are so, Parents must be very wary how they touch such dangerous Weapons. ’Tis great Odds but they mistake their Child’s Disorder; ’tis great Odds that the random Medicine they give is not suited to[148] it; and how will they reconcile it to themselves if any fatal Consequence ensues? Upon the Whole, as a Friend to Mankind, independent of any private Interest, as one who aims at the Benefit of Society, and wishes to preserve the rising Generation, I cannot but advise Parents to be tender, circumspect, and judicious, in so important a Matter as their Children’s Health. When they are well, let them use every prudent Means to keep them so; if they are ill, let them ask good Advice; by which Means they will often save their Children’s Lives: and even where a Miscarriage happens, their Prudence and Justice will be attended with this Consolation, that they have done their best.

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Manners comes next under my Consideration: it implies such a Government of our Children as tends to regulate their Conduct, by making their Actions what they ought to be. And though Health has been treated first, from it’s being generally thought the most immediately necessary, yet if this Regulation, this due Government does not accompany every Endeavour to preserve their Children’s Health, Parents will often be disappointed, and find their Labour fruitless.

The Basis of Government is Authority: without that, in vain do we expect any Order in our Children, any Happiness to ourselves. Cities, Armies, Kingdoms, all are sustain’d by it: and so too must private Families be. By Authority I do not mean that stern Brow, that trembling awful Distance, nor that Bashaw-like Behaviour, which favours more of the Tyrant than of the Parent;[150] no: I mean a rational, yet absolute Exercise of a Degree of Power, necessary for the regulating the Actions and Dispositions of Children, ’till they become wise enough to govern themselves. But because some Children attain this necessary Knowledge sooner than others, and one Child will be better able to conduct itself at fifteen, than another at twenty, or even thirty; there is but one general way of ascertaining the length of Time our Authority should be exercised in it’s full Force; which is that settled by the Laws of our Kingdom; viz. ’till the Age of twenty-one. And if we can once seriously resolve to employ this Term so critical to Children, solely to their Advantage, Authority will thenceforward become useless: it’s Terrors will vanish, and be wholly absorbed in the united Considerations of the Parent, the Friend, and the Companion: in a Word, our Children well conducted to this Age will afterwards take as much Pains to make us happy, as we have done to make them wise. But to proceed.

As soon as a Child discovers the first Dispositions to Perversity and Self-will (which as sure as it is born it will too soon begin to do) I advise most earnestly that it be attended to; for much depends upon it. Here I[151] must caution my Fair Readers in particular, not to suspect me of Cruelty; since the Pains I am taking is intended to prevent the Necessity of using any Severity during our whole Lives. But what! you’ll say, should a Child be corrected before it can speak? I answer, that the first Principle in human Nature is Self-love; Reason, the second Principle, opens only by degrees. Now as soon as the Passions of Children shew themselves, they should certainly be checked: and as the Fear of Chastisement is included in Self-love, it is easy to turn this to their Advantage, ’till Reason shall have gained so much Strength as to render it unnecessary: no one can absolutely fix the Time, but within the Year most Parents will find a Necessity to begin; and before half the first Septenary is past much may be done.

In the Government of Children Parents should be obstinately good; that is, set out upon right Principles, and then pursue them with Spirit and Resolution: otherwise their Children will soon grow too cunning for them, and take the Advantage of their Weakness.

Severe and frequent Whipping is I think a very bad Practice; it inflames the Skin, it[152] puts the Blood into a Ferment, and there is besides, a Meanness, a degree of Ignominy attending it, which makes it very unbecoming: still there may be Occasions which will render it necessary; but I earnestly advise that all the milder Methods be first try’d. A coarse clamorous manner of enforcing Obedience is also to be avoided; it is vulgar, and nothing vulgar should be seen in the Behaviour of Parents to their Children, because through the Eyes and Ears it taints their tender Minds: still, let Parents make their Children both see and feel the Power they have over them.

If a Child is passionate and wilful, a Look, or a little Tap on the Hand, will, without hurting it, sometimes suffice to convince it that it is doing wrong; and will often cure the Fault, or at least keep it under. A Child, in a perverse Mood, throws down it’s Play-things; if they are taken up fifty times successively, they are still thrown down as long as the Spirit of Contradiction lasts: now the Remedy here should be to take them away; or by a serious Countenance shew you are displeased; and the Child will very probably not only soon be quiet, but be less prone to do the like another Time. I have seen Children that could not speak, distinguish perfectly[153] those who were disposed to spoil them, from those who were not; scratch Faces, break China, and play the tyrant over all who humour’d them, and yet not offer to lift a Finger against those who did not. By all means let Children be play’d with, and have every Amusement; but great care must be taken to distinguish Play from Mischief; innocent Freedom, from a growing Perversity.

The Humours even of Infants are innumerably various. One Child will not sleep but on a Lap; another there is no Peace with unless rock’d in a Cradle; a third will cry when a Candle is taken away; and to shew us why it cry’d, it is quiet the Moment it is brought back again; a fourth will swill Tea or some other improper Liquor out of measure and out of time; and a fifth will eat Trash ’till it can eat nothing else, nor that itself. In these Cases I advise Parents to consider if their Children are acting for themselves, or they for their Children: one Grain of Judgment will set them right; one Minute’s Reflection will shew them their Error; but, when they once see it they must resolve to avoid it for the future. I call’d some time ago on a Friend, and took a Family Dinner; when to my great Astonishment I[154] saw little Master, not yet a Year old, drinking Porter. What, said I, do you give the Child strong Drink? Oh! Sir, reply’d Mamma, he’ll drink nothing else. Now is not the Fault of such Proceeding obvious? and is not the Remedy as obvious? Parents surely cannot be so blind as not to see their Children’s Health impair’d, and their Humours strengthen’d, by this misplac’d Indulgence; and all for want of a little Resolution, a gentle Correction, or a seasonable Reprimand; nay perhaps only a Look; which given with an authoritative Air, would often have the desired Effect. Constant Experience proves how wrong, nay how ineffectual, the opposite Practice to this is; those who give a Child every thing it cries or asks for, strengthen indeed its Wilfulness, but are far from making it happy. How many improper Things are there which Parents give a Child because they cannot quiet it? Who has not seen a Picture, a Book, a Watch, and other valuable things exposed to be destroyed by it through this mistaken Management? But surely it is right that even among the Baubles contrived on purpose, the Parents, not the Child, should have the Command of them; that is, they should be given or taken away at Discretion; and this without Passion or Ill-nature on one Side, and without[155] Clamour or Fretfulness on the other. Parents should every Day more and more convince their Children of their Power over them, by restraining their little Irregularities, and by weakening their Passions; now this they cannot do without an early Attention to their various Dispositions and Tempers; that they may thence learn what Propensity is strongest, what Foible is most predominant.

Nature, ’tis true, is not alike bountiful to all; nor does she give the same Propensity, the same Temper to all. One Child is born with sweet and mild Dispositions; another more sanguine, and full of Fire; a third has a Redundance of Acrimony; and so on: yet different Tempers are sometimes a kindness bestow’d on us by Nature, on purpose for us to act some certain Part on the great Stage of Life. It is therefore the Parents Business to watch the Temper of their Children; to check any evil Tendency, any ill Dispositions, and prevent every Excess from growing into a Habit; nay more, to change the bad Humour into a good one; as Physicians administer Medicines to alter the Blood and Juices. That famous Reply of Socrates to the Phisiognomist was excellent: “Nature (says he) intended me a Monster; but Reason[156] has made me what I am.” Cardinal Richlieu (speaking of external Graces) says, “Every thing to a Gentleman should be natural.” Now it cannot be supposed that he means, we should know how to speak, or move, or dance gracefully, without being taught; no, but these Things by Acquisition should so far enter into us as to seem interwoven in our Nature. Thus did Philosophy change the Vices of Socrates into Virtues; and thus should Parents correct and alter the irregular Dispositions of their Children: they must temper and moderate the Fire of one, lest it grow too impetuous; they must animate the Mildness of another with a Degree of Warmth, lest it become sluggish; and they must blunt and sweeten the Acrimony of a third, lest it degenerate into Rancour; which last Frame of Mind, as it is of all others the most detestable in itself, and the most dangerous to Society, so of all others it requires the nicest Care to manage; in short Parents, as I have already observed, are to let their Children see and feel their Affection for them, and their Power over them; and then regulate their Actions as they find necessary.

I have still my Eye on Children in the first Septenary, and with Concern view the Majority of them humour’d, and therefore humoursome;[157] Boys audacious and impudent under the Name of courageous; and Girls pert and vain under the name of witty. It is my Opinion the Parents need not trouble themselves much to reason with their Children in this Stage; first let them consider what is proper for them to do, or avoid; then enforce their Compliance in soft and winning Terms; or, if not with a smiling Countenance, at least with a smooth Brow and without harshness: but whenever they attempt to disobey, let them shew by a Word or a Look that they are absolute: which Method I think should be seriously adhered to. Though I have already observed that Children have Knowledge much earlier than is commonly imagined, they have yet no Judgment to guide their Actions. What they chiefly discover to us at this Age is Cunning; therefore if Parents neglect Reproof when necessary, they will soon get the better of them. For Example, a Child cries because it is to go to School; shall Parents fondly to quiet it keep it at Home? by no means. A Dose of Physic is to be taken; shall they, because it is unpleasant, humour the Child, and throw it away? no surely. There is no other Method here but being serious; you must go, you must take it; when Children thus see their Parents in earnest,[158] Obedience very soon becomes familiar and easy.

Nor is an unreasonable Compliance with the Humours of Children what Parents take it for; they falsely think it Tenderness and Love; but far from it; it is Love degenerated into Weakness and Folly. But it is easy to soften this seeming Rigour in the Behaviour of Parents, by their addressing the Understandings of Children at other Intervals, supposing it to be open. What more natural and reasonable than to say to a Child, You know, my Dear, all good Children do as they are bid; all Children to become wise must go to School; you would not surely be rank’d among bad Children by being disobedient? You would not, I hope, be a Blockhead? yet if you do not apply to your Learning you must be one. Thus too with Regard to Medicines: You know, my Love, Physic is to make you well; I am sorry you have occasion to take it; I am sorry it is unpleasant; but since it is necessary for you, prove yourself a good Child, and take it at once. Here I must beg leave to expostulate with Parents on the Errors usually run into in this last Particular. How comes it that there is such an universal Difficulty in getting Medicines down a sick Child’s Throat?[159] How comes it that the most sprightly talkative Child cannot be prevailed on to shew its Tongue to the Doctor, yet the Moment his Back is turn’d he will loll it out twenty times? The Reason is plain; Parents do not teach their Children to obey. Instead of Compulsion or Reason, they use Flattery, Bribes and Deceit: but I am practically convinced that all this, however common, is wrong: and indeed where Obedience is not insisted on, and made a first Rule of Action, few things can be right. As Medicines are generally nauseous, a Repugnance to take them is as natural as shrinking at Pain; notwithstanding this, where they are really necessary, and unless they are so, nobody ought to be troubled with them, a Child at any Age, from the very Day it is born, till it is a Man or Woman, may, and ought to be made to take them. But to do this Parents must set out right; they must have the Child under Command. That every Parent is actuated by a Principle of preserving the Life of their Child, I will take for granted; but this is not enough: they must go on to the Execution of the Means. The Infant of a Day shews its Repugnance to swallow a few Grains of Rhubarb; the Child of a Year will twist it’s Head about every Way it can, that the[160] Spoon or Cup which contains the Dose may not reach it’s Mouth; and by the time it is three or four Years old, it will probably dash the Cup out of the Hand of those who offer the Potion, or tell them in plain Terms it won’t take it. Now, without mentioning the Consequence this may be of to it’s Health or Life, there is another of great Importance; namely, that a Child thus used to get the better of all about it, and convinced it can conquer it’s Parents, is seldom disposed to conquer itself; so that where Self-will is very strong, Reason will doubtless be weak; and only serve to aggravate the Fault by fixing an Error, perhaps for Life. Yet great as all these Difficulties appear, they vanish at the Entrance of Reflection and Resolution. If Parents consider that they are bound by every Tye to make their Children obey, and then resolve to fulfil this Obligation, the Business is done: therefore with regard to Medicines, what have they more to do? Nothing but the Execution, which may be effected with Ease. For Example, take a Child from it’s Birth to the Age of twenty-one, and divide this Time into three, not equal parts, but States; call the first the unresisting State; the second the State of Cunning; and the third the State of Reason. The first is extremely short, we cannot count[161] it by Years, and scarcely by Months; nor is there any Trouble here with Medicines, but putting a Spoon or Cup to it’s Mouth, and holding the Head back ’till the Dose is swallowed. The second State lasts long; and tho’ soft and winning Words are always to be preferred, yet they seldom succeed here; a serious Countenance and a resolute Air are the surest Means to conquer; and these maintained, there is nothing to fear. The Difficulties of the third State, that of Reason, are greatly lessened by the Success of the preceding; for a Child habituated to obey, looks back with Pleasure on it’s Compliance with every reasonable Command; and tho’ it before obey’d and took Medicines, because it must, it now takes them because it ought.

I cannot but be of Opinion, that every Method in the Management of sick Children contrary to this is erroneous; I think I have seen all tried that is in the Power of human Invention; and many who read this cannot but be convinced that their own Endeavours have often been fruitless. The first Rule Parents are to lay down to themselves is, never to deceive their Children; for surely those who are to teach them never to be deceitful, cannot but be very unfit[162] Persons to deceive them themselves: nor does this square with the Practice of quibbling down a Dose of Physic, under a thousand Shifts and Turns, and even manifest Falshoods. The next Rule is, to avoid the Practice of Bribes. Children should be taught to know, that their greatest Happiness is their Parents Love; therefore the Custom of giving them Sugar-Plumbs, Cakes, Toys, or Money for every thing they take, is grievously wrong: it gives them a Fondness for improper things; it gives them a restless Desire for every new Bauble; and above all, it gives them an early Mean-spiritedness; an odious Selfishness; a Desire of being paid for every thing they do.

At the same time that I recommend to Parents never to call things by wrong Names, never to attempt imposing on a Child’s Senses or Understanding, or to force down Medicines with Bribes; so I also recommend, that they avoid Harshness and Violence, unless pressed to it by great Necessity; but this Caution is almost needless after what has been said: for with the Method proposed, it requires no more than to approach the sick Bed with, Come, my Dear, take your Dose; if the Child says, it is nauseous, grant it: but at the same time[163] say, We do not take Medicines for Pleasure, but to make us well: if it declines it, urge how wrong it is to dwell on what would be gone in a Minute; and if any Difficulty still remains, inform it, that it is not for your Sake you urge it, but it’s own; and that while you are doing all you can to restore it to Health, you must, and will be obeyed. At intermediate times, let Parents, by a fond, engaging Behaviour, convince their Children how tenderly they love them; let them frequently mingle with them in their little Plays and Sports; and let them sometimes overlook Trifles, that they may have more Influence in Matters of Moment.

Lord Hallifax observes, that the first Impressions Children receive are in the Nursery; whence he infers, that Mothers have not only the earliest, but the most lasting Influence over them.

That the first Care of Children, and many of the most tender Offices they require, are the Mother’s Province, is an undoubted Truth; but when the forming their Manners is under Consideration, the Influence of both Father and Mother should, if possible, be equal; at least it is necessary that Parents[164] go hand in hand, and not counteract one another in the Government of them.

Parents should make it a Rule to themselves, never to shew to their Children, both at once, the Marks of extreme Anger, or excessive Fondness; but when a Child has done such a Fault as demands of the Father to affect great Severity, let the Mother put on an equal Share of Lenity and Compassion mixed with Grief: and so on the reverse. Thus too on other Occasions, when the Mother prudently exposes all the motherly Fondness of her Heart, let the Father as prudently conceal a Part of his, and, with an Air of Steadiness, insinuate, that the Conduct which is approved is no more than Duty. But Parents will never be able to act with due Moderation in the Government of their Children, without first resolving to govern, with the utmost Prudence, their own Passions and Tempers. And how will they be able to do this, unless they look inwardly, and study to find them out? If the Man be of a choleric or morose Disposition, and the Woman of a phlegmatic, mild, and affable Temper, the Contrast may prove sovereignly beneficial to their Children, if the Parties, conscious of it in themselves, resolve mutually[165] to apply it under the Direction of Prudence; and found the Government of their young Family’s Passions on that of their own. Whereas, if ignorant of their respective Foibles, or heedless to turn them to Advantage, they give a full Loose to them, and agree in nothing but an unbridled Exertion of them as Occasion or Accident offers, the Contrast will probably prove fatal both to themselves and their Children: they will for the most part be pleased and displeased alike out of Time and out of Measure; their Severities and Lenities will often jar, and rob each other of their due Effect; their Punishments and Rewards, by being never, or but seldom, and that by mere Chance, proportioned to the Failings they mean to correct, or the Merit they Wish to encourage, will prove fruitless, if not destructive: and what is still worse, they will seldom fail, in the midst of Correction, to strengthen the Misconduct they aim at reforming, by the Example they give of it in their own Persons; and as seldom miss, in the Extravagance of their false Fondnesses, of perverting the Minds of their Children from the noble Love of Virtue, to the reptil Hankerings after Rewards, Praises, and Caresses. If a Child is to be reformed of any peevish or passionate Behaviour, what[166] Effect can Correction have on him, if given by a Parent delivered over by his own Passions to all the Fierceness of a Brute? It may make him hate the Correction, but can never make him hate Faults, the opposite Virtues to which he sees not the least Example of in his Corrector. If another is to be encouraged in some commendable Action, what Benefit will he receive from an Excess of Fondness, while the being humour’d in other Actions, perhaps highly discommendable, only teaches him to exchange Vice for Vice, or one Folly for another? Or finally, what Advantage can be produced to Children from Reprehension or Approbation, from Punishments or Rewards, however well proportioned, timed or placed, if there appear to them in the Parents a Dissention in the bestowing them; and that they are the Overflowings of Passion or Partiality, rather than the Result of Reason and Equity? Parents then should seriously acquaint themselves with their own Tempers, and mutually consent and agree on the Methods of regulating their Children; never to reward or punish, seem angry or pleas’d, but by Concert; and above all, never to correct while in a Passion, nor reward till the fond Fit be over.


There are many things in the Management of Children rather to be wished than obtained; not so easily practised as desired; among these, one Expedient, I think, might often prove successful towards attaining this happy Medium I have been speaking of. Where a Father is of a choleric, hasty, and severe Disposition, and the Mother the reverse, which is most generally the Case, it were greatly to be wished, that, by mutual Consent, they sometimes exchanged Offices in the Government of their Children. Would the Father resolve to make it his Study so to conquer his Temper, as seldom or never, but in extreme Necessity, to interfere in reprimanding and correcting his Children, but rather to take upon him the Office of Commendations and Rewards; and of treating them with all the Affability he is Master of: and would the Mother take an equal Resolution to conquer the Softness of her Nature, to reprimand and punish them on proper Occasions with all the Sternness she can summon; remitting them for the Applause or Gratifications they may deserve to their Father: would Parents, I say, with these Dispositions, resolve on the Practice, I cannot but think it would produce excellent Effects in the Government of[168] Children: considering the very little Danger there would be of the choleric, or naturally severe Father spoiling his Child by Excess of Fondness; or the naturally tender Mother ruining it by extreme Severity.

I will here suppose, what is most agreeable to good Sense, that Parents in general have such good Dispositions as to intend the real Benefit of their Children; but either that they have not thought on what was necessary to be done, or thought on it but confusedly: I will suppose too that both Father and Mother agree in this general Intention. Still, as all have their several Ways of judging, the most sensible People will be liable to have different Notions of different Things, and even different Ways of doing the same Thing; which, so far from being wrong, if well attended to, may contribute to the great Emolument of both. Yet Parents must be extremely cautious never to differ about the Government of Children in their Hearing; it does incredible Mischief; but particularly, it alienates them from their Duty; and weakens the Authority of the Parents on one Side at least, if not on both.

If a Child is to be in the Hands of a Nursery-maid, (which is general among[169] People of Condition) great Care should be taken in the Choice of her. I am an Advocate for Knowledge and Good-breeding, but they are not so much wanted here. The Requisites are, Cleanliness, Good-temper, Docility, and Innocence. Every one allows, and is sensible of the Benefit of Cleanliness; and genuine Good-temper is no less advantageous; but if with these Parents find a tractable docile Mind, joined with a native Innocence, they have found a Treasure; and ought to prize it accordingly. The Parents are to be their Children’s Guides, and the sole Judges what ought to be done for them; therefore I cannot but account it a singular Happiness, when they find a Servant who will treat their Children in the Manner they require. But farther; a Servant with this Turn of Temper, will every Day improve in the Knowledge and Behaviour necessary to her Station: and from seeing the Reasonableness of the Parents Injunctions, take pains to enforce them on the Child.

But as a Variety of Circumstances in Life may alter our Views; so we are often obliged to vary our Mode of proceeding, tho’ directed to the same Point. Thus it sometimes happens, that a very young Couple[170] become Parents, who are totally unacquainted with what ought to be done; in that Case, it is undoubtedly necessary that they seek a Person already skilled in this important Business; possessed too of all the Requisites I have just pointed out: and such an one with Care and Pains may be found. As Misfortunes are but too common, so there are Women who are not only well born, but whose Education and Manner of Life is truly virtuous; whose only Fault perhaps is, that they inconsiderately married too young; and whose Misfortune is, that Death by depriving them of their Husbands, has deprived them of Support: whence they are glad to accept of a Service, which unexperienced Parents ought as gladly to engage them in, and reward them for.

It is not enough that Children have wise and discreet Parents, who employ too a faithful Deputy; no, they must also be guarded from the Interposition of Friends and Relations. They are dangerous Sharers in our Government, and dangerous Rivals in our Children’s Affections. No body surely can mistake me so far as to think I would exclude Relations from the Respect and Duty due to them; by no means: they may assist with their Counsel in the Absence[171] of the Children, or they may encourage filial Duty in the Absence of the Parents; but in general they should not be allow’d to interfere in the Management, nor on any Account thwart the Parents Injunctions, or discover opposite Sentiments in the Children’s hearing. What more common than for a Lady to have a Maiden Sister live with her, who is pretty sure to spoil the Children by a mistaken Fondness. A Child grows ungovernable, and the Parents correct it; now as Children are cunning before they are wise, immediately it flies to it’s Aunt; who, with eager Embraces, and pathetic Nonsense, seldom fails to pervert the Parents Correction with ill timed, and worse judg’d Consolations. Is it not easy to see that Children by this Party Management will be misled; and that if it does not misguide their Affection, it will at least weaken their Duty?

That Children have Knowledge very early is plain to us a thousand different Ways, but in none more evidently than their close Attachment, their visible Fondness, for some one Person, whether Father, Mother, Aunt, or Nurse; though commonly it is the Mother or Nurse, or whoever is most with them, or most humours them. This Fondness is perfectly natural, and we are not to[172] be surprised at it; but my Readers must remember it is the Parents Business to regulate their Children’s Desires; and this they cannot do, if they indulge and cherish a blind Fondness in them, though it should be even to themselves. Filial Affection in it’s full Extent is undoubtedly an exalted Virtue; still to be rational, it must be just: and as there are many things which Parents cannot lawfully command their Children to do, so there are many things which Children ought not to comply with, even though commanded by a Parent. For Instance: if a Man dislikes his Wife, or a Woman her Husband (and melancholy Experience shews us these things do happen, and that there is sometimes a fix’d Aversion on one side or both) is it therefore lawful for a Man to teach his Children to hate their Mother; or the reverse? by no means: nor can a Child comply with so impious a Command. People who know but little of Life, may think such an Injunction impossible; but it is far from it. Many Incidents approaching very near to this are too frequently to be met with; and I have myself the Pleasure of being acquainted with a Gentleman, whose whole Deportment is such as renders him amiable in the Eyes of all who know him; yet this Gentleman, when a Student, was[173] almost totally abandon’d by his Father, for no other Reason than that of writing some Letters of Duty and Affection to his Mother. But to return to this first Fondness we discover in Children. The Cause of it is mostly owing to their being too much confined to the Arms of one Person, or too much indulg’d by another: yet whatever it is owing to, the Effects are very disagreeable, very inconvenient, and sometimes very fatal.

When a Child is in the Arms of those it is fond of, no body must meddle with it under pain of a Slap on the Face; and tho’ this Behaviour is often put up with, and the Parents persuade themselves it is pretty, yet their Friends, when absent, seldom fail to condemn them as the Cause of this Behaviour: but should any one, regardless of the Slaps, take the Child into their Arms, the little Creature is immediately in a Rage, the whole Company is thrown into Disorder, and nothing can quiet it, but returning to the Arms of the mistaken Fondler. Here at one View is Error upon Error, Absurdity upon Absurdity; the Child by this mistaken Fondness is made miserable, and the Mother or Nurse a Slave. Now to obviate this Inconvenience, my Advice is, that every[174] Child, after six Months old, be accustomed to various Faces; be put into the Arms of various People, young or old, fine or ordinary; so as to make every one they see in some Degree familiar: Parents are to make their Children happy; keep them active, lively, and smiling; and this they cannot do, if they cherish or indulge in them a Dislike of going to any other but themselves. I know this Weakness in Mothers and Nurses is attended with many Inconveniencies; it creates in Children an early Fear; often an unconquerable Shyness; it sours their Temper, and strengthens their natural Wilfulness; which last Effect is plain to every Eye; for to make the Child quiet they take it away from the Stranger; by which Treatment it soon sees it can conquer it’s Parents. But Parents encourage this partial Fondness in Children, for fear they should not love them: this is a Mistake; for even Infants soon know their Mother or Nurse; and soon too do they both see and feel a Happiness in them they do not find in others: like People who toil themselves with Sights and Shows, they return to their own Home, and enjoy a Content superior to every thing they felt abroad.

Children, while young, may be compared[175] to Machines; which are, or should be, put in Motion, or stopped, at the Will of others: but here it must be confessed, that ’till they are able to conduct themselves, they stand in need of good Conductors. For Example, Children have the Gift of Speech; but to how perverse a Purpose, unless regulated? Their Wit, their Cunning, or their Knowledge, often serve but to mislead them; serve but to strengthen the natural Corruption of their Will. What is more common than for a Child to make no Answer when ask’d a Question? Or what more common than for another, or perhaps the same in a different Mood, to tire a whole Company with incessant Prating? Now nothing can regulate these but the Judgment of Parents; the whole Machine, that is, the Words and Actions of Children, are to be under their Guidance alone: to this End, they must set out with a Resolution to conquer; and never quit the Field of Argument ’till they have. When a Question is ask’d a Child, no Matter by whom, whether by the Parents, a Visitor, a Servant, or a Beggar, it must never be suffered to go unanswered; all the Rules of Breeding and Civility demand it; and nothing can excuse a Non-compliance: so, on the other hand, when a Child has a fluent, voluble Tongue, and is disposed to[176] talk out of Time and Place, and to say perhaps many improper or unbecoming things, it must certainly be restrained. But tho’ I urge this, it is not merely because Children should speak or be silent; do a thing, or let it alone, when bid; for however right or pleasing all this is, it is far from being the only Motive; no, it is the Influence the opposite Behaviour will have on Children’s future Lives that must be the Point in View. A Child accustomed not to answer when spoke to, will probably contract a morose, dogged, or, at least, an uncivil Habit; another suffered to out-talk every body in the House, will be in Danger of becoming an impertinent, if not an empty Prater; and if a third is never refused the thing it asks for, it will be but ill prepared to bear Disappointments. Parents I know are apt to think nothing of these Irregularities; but it is Inattention to the first Errors, which lays the Foundation of Vices for Life. What is it distinguishes Mankind from all created Nature, but that superior Power, Reason? Yet what is it makes this noble Faculty, this boasted Power, so often useless, nay destructive, but the Corruption of the Will? Will is a distinct Power in the Soul; but as it is naturally corrupt, if Parents neglect an early Restraint of it in their Children, it is great[177] odds that their Reason will never be able to conquer it: nay there are many who never attempt the subjecting it; who banish every thing which does not favour their Inclinations, however irregular; and even among those who struggle for Reason to gain the Ascendant, the Combat is often unequal. Hence appears the Necessity of attending to the earliest Words and Actions of Children; of observing the Biass they take; and of moulding their tender Minds, that the first Dawn of Reason may be cherished and improved in them.

Parents should give their Children an early and an ardent Love of Truth; in order to this, it is not sufficient that they give them Precepts, they must add Example too. There is no Vice more dangerous, none more odious, than a Habit of lying; and yet none more common. But what is stranger still, Parents themselves are often the Persons who teach it them. It is very far from being my Design to charge Parents with an Intention of leading Children into this capital Error; but that they do it either thro’ want of Thought, or want of Judgment, is evident. First, they grossly mistake their Children’s Capacity; and from a Notion that they know nothing, say a thousand improper[178] things in their hearing: then, when they find themselves observed, are obliged to use many Shifts and Turns to get rid of their Curiosity and Importunity. The next Cause is, that Parents do not make Duty their Children’s Rule of Conduct. A Child sees something in it’s Father’s Hand, and asks, What is that? The Father answers, Nothing. But why make so absurd a Reply? Will not the Child in Return act the same Part? Jacky, what have you got in your Hand? Nothing. A Child sees it’s Mother put Money, Fruit, or any thing else in her Pocket, and asks for it; immediately she replies she has none: the Child taking the Conviction of it’s Senses, cries for what it has seen; and the Mother, after repeated Denials, has no other Way of pacifying it, than the giving what it cries for; and thus prove she has been maintaining a Falsehood. I was once in Company with a Lady, who with a sort of half Whisper, said her poor little Girl had Worms, and she must give her some Physic; Miss immediately cries out, What, you are talking of me now: No, no, Child, says Mamma: I know you are, replies Miss; I heard you talk of Physic, but I’ll not take any I am resolved: No, my Dear, repeats Mamma, I’m not talking about you; I’m talking of[179] somebody that is in a Consumption. Surely such Behaviour reflects greatly on the Understanding or Conduct of Parents. Children should be told their Duty without Disguise; and it is certain they may often be won to it by soft and gentle Means; but Falsehoods, Prevarications, and puzzling the Truth, can never be the Way to lead them to it. Parents then, besides animating their Children to a Love of Truth by daily Advice, must themselves carefully avoid all obscure ambiguous Language in their hearing; all Signs, Nods, and Winks, which can answer no other End than perplexing their Understandings, or raising in them a restless painful Curiosity. Sir Roger L’Estrange tells a Story that pleases me for it’s thorough Honesty. “A Man met an Acquaintance in the Street: What, my Friend, says he, have you got under your Coat? Why, replies the other, what I have under my Coat, I put there on purpose that you might not know.” Thus Parents without quibbling or evading, without Harshness or Ill-nature, need only convince their Children that all things are not proper for them to have, nor all things fit for them to know.

There is a Propensity in Nature which[180] greatly deserves the Attention of Parents, that is, Curiosity: and this when well regulated, may without Impropriety be called the Gate of Knowledge. How lifeless, spiritless, and insipid, is a Child without it! How pleasing, and how capable of daily Improvement with it! Parents then ought to cherish this Propensity, as it’s Use is boundless. But tho’ Curiosity is in it’s Nature a Means of Improvement, it is extremely apt to degenerate into Impertinence; and herein Parents cannot be too circumspect. For as they are really two opposite Qualities, the one a Virtue, the other a Vice; great Care should be taken to praise and reward the former, and discountenance and punish the latter. Parents, besides the Instructions and Encouragement they give to Children in this Point, should throw them in the way of exercising it, and attend to their Behaviour when unconstrained. For Example; if I never lock up my Books, my Children will learn that they have the Liberty of reading them, unless expressly forbid; so likewise if I leave Letters or other Papers about without reserve, they may with Freedom examine them; and if they did not, I should think them incurious: but if they look over my Shoulder on purpose to see what I am writing, if they break a Seal to read the[181] Contents of a Letter, or pry into my Scrutore because I have accidently left it open; it will be easy for me to determine that they are degenerating into Impertinence.

Useful Curiosity shews itself by innumerable Enquiries into the various Productions of Nature and Art; hence insensibly arises in Children, a Love of Knowledge, and a Love of Labour; hence too they learn to distinguish the Useless from the Useful; what they should pursue from what they should avoid. Impertinence shews itself by prying into the Affairs of others; employing their Thoughts and Time about what does not concern them, to the Detriment of all within their Reach. Hence springs that Neglect of real Knowledge we daily see in many; and that Croud of Trifles which waste their Time, and tend only to hurt others, and do themselves no good. For in proportion to the Time they spend in acting wrong, so much do they lose of the Knowledge how to act right. But besides it’s being so detrimental and destructive to Society, Impertinence has something in it so mean and hateful, that Parents cannot do too much to keep their Children free from it.

Parents should encourage in their Children[182] a lively chearful Disposition; but quite pure, and unmixt with Vice, however distant. In order thereto, they should never suffer them, for any consideration, to utter an indecent Word, or commit any irregular Action which has the least bad Tendency; but above all, Parents must be careful themselves, never to say or do any thing in their Presence that they ought not to hear or see. This Caution may seem unnecessary, since all acknowledge how great the Force of Example is; yet if we view the general Conduct of Fathers particularly, we shall be obliged to own they stand greatly in need of it. For what more common than to hear Men swear and utter many indecent Expressions before their Children? And what more natural than their Imitation of them? which Poison, when once imbibed, cannot easily be expelled. As my Aim in writing is purely the Hopes of conveying Instruction, so I speak my Thoughts with Freedom; and every one is at liberty to take or leave what they like, or what they find most necessary and applicable to themselves: still I cannot help urging in the strongest Terms, a strict Regard to Decency as an universal and indispensable Obligation. For whoever considers how naturally propense we are to catch the Taint, and how very hard it is to wipe it off, will[183] surely agree with me, that those are much the happiest who escape the Infection the longest.

But besides the nicest Care with regard to Words, Parents, as I have observed before, should be greatly circumspect in their Actions. Nothing gross or indecent should be done in their Sight; a Mother should by no means appear too much undressed in the Presence of her Son; nor a Father in that of his Daughter; for these and many other things, though in themselves innocent, are not allowable; they give Boys a Boldness which borders on Impudence; and they are apt to wean Girls from some Degree of that Modesty they ought so carefully to preserve.

I cannot but recommend, what I doubt very few will comply with, that Boys and Girls, even when Infants, have not only separate Beds, but, wherever it is practicable, always lie in separate Rooms: nor should they ever be exposed naked to one another, or the least wanton Curiosity be permitted: the Eyes and Ears convey Corruption to the Mind; and we cannot begin too soon to shut up every Avenue to Vice. I am sensible of the Singularity of this Doctrine; but I am firmly persuaded many good Effects would[184] flow from the Practice of it. It is Matter of Astonishment to me, to see discreet and good People universally over-run with the false Notion, that Children do not observe; as if because they are Children, they neither hear, nor see, nor feel: whence they often lead them, or suffer them to be led very early into some kinds of Knowledge, which should be the last for them to learn. I grant indeed that such is the general reigning Corruption, that however carefully Parents avoid tainting their Children’s Minds, they will still be exposed to the Contagion of others; but if they have the Happiness of seeing these things always discountenanced by their Parents, and are never suffered to copy the corrupt Manners of others, the odds are greatly in their Favour: but if after all they should still turn out vicious, Parents will have at least the consoling Reflection, that they did every thing on their Part to prevent it.

At the same time that Parents are industrious to make Children obedient to themselves, they must teach them to consider every one as an Individual of Society, and give them a deep Sense of the Necessity of good Behaviour to all, whatever be their Circumstances or Condition. In every Family there are particular Obligations which[185] Children must be taught to distinguish, and to reduce to Practice. Next to their Parents, Children owe to all senior Relations, Respect and Duty; to their Brothers and Sisters they owe not only a tender but an unalterable Affection; and all of more distant Kin have a Claim of Respect which cannot be refused them. Yet all this is but little, if compared with the universal Demand Mankind have on one another. We cannot without Injustice deny Virtue and Merit our Esteem; old Age is venerable, and to refuse the Honours due to it, is a Degree of Impiety; Obligations demand Gratitude; Misfortunes call for Friendship and Compassion; and even Vice and Folly demand our Pity and Concern, nay more, demand our Endeavours to remove them. But among the various Situations in Life, that which most requires the Care and Attention of Parents is, the teaching Children a due Regard to People in Poverty and Distress. It does not cost much pains to give Children a proper and becoming Behaviour to their Betters and Equals; but to persuade them to maintain a considerable Degree of Respect to Inferiors, or to those in disadvantageous Circumstances, is an arduous Task; still it may and ought to be done. Nothing so humanizes the Soul, nothing so strongly proves the Man, as sympathizing[186] with, and relieving the Distresses of our Fellow Creatures: ’tis then the Duty of Parents never to let their Children speak or act with the least Degree of Rudeness to the lowest among Mankind; never to let them divert themselves with their Rags or Misfortunes; but on the contrary, they should sometimes furnish them with Money or other Things, that the Relief they design to give the Needy may pass through their Hands: and at the same time imprint this Truth on their Minds; that he who is thus reduced to ask, is often far more deserving than he who bestows.

Another indispensable Duty of Parents to their Children is, that they teach them never to dare to sport with the natural Defects of others. As an ingenious Author says, “This Practice, though levelled at the Creature, reflects on the Creator; it mocks the Architect, and burlesques the Creation.” ’Tis strange that Persons of the best Understanding so seldom reflect on this Point. What can be more absurd than to ridicule one Man for being too tall, and another for being too short? one for having too little Nose, another for having too much? The Degrees of Beauty and Deformity are infinite; and to be perfectly free from natural[187] Defects and Blemishes is the Lot of very few: nor is it easy to fix the Standard of Beauty. We know by Anatomy, Sculpture and Painting, the general Rules of Symmetry and Proportion, and thus easily distinguish the gross Defects; but Beauty in the superlative Degree, in it’s ultimate Perfection, is not so readily determined. But farther; what is beautiful in the Eye of one is not so in the Eye of another; what was accounted Beauty in some former Age or distant Country, is not esteemed such at present. Since then we see that ’tis our general Lot to be more or less defective, and that All are made by one Almighty Hand, how inhuman must it be to insult or despise another for what, if an Imperfection, it is not in his Power to avoid; and that perhaps while the Insulter himself is not free from other Blemishes, full as obvious and offensive to many.

But the Defects of the Body are not alone the Subject of our Ridicule; we sport too with those of the Mind. Providence for wise Reasons does not give to all alike; are we therefore to hold another in contempt for not knowing so much as ourselves? Are we to laugh at a Man for not knowing what he has had no opportunity to learn? no surely. A Neglect to improve, and the Abuse of[188] natural Talents, are the only things that deserve the Scourge; and even here it often happens, that he who exercises the Rod, deserves it more than he who feels it. Such however is the Partiality, such the false Practice of Mankind. Can Parents then be too careful to obviate these Errors in their Children? Can they take too much Pains to imprint on their Souls the Meanness and Folly of such Mistakes? surely they cannot.

Another Caution equally necessary is, that Parents utterly avoid all Distinction of Favourites among their Children. Sometimes the Father has his Darling, and the Mother her’s; sometimes they both doat on the same Child, and neglect the rest. Again, it is frequently observed, that Mothers are extravagantly fond of the Boys, and either treat the Girls with a visible Indifference, or grossly neglect them, they know not why. It is true indeed that it may, and sometimes does happen, that one Child in a Family is superior in Parts to the rest, or is particularly engaging, and may be said to merit that partial Distinction Parents make; but to shew that Reason is not always their Guide, I appeal to general Observation, whether it does not often happen, that the greatest Favourite is the greatest Booby? Yet allowing[189] that a Lady loves her Son best, because he is really a smart Fellow; it is possible those very Qualifications she so much admires, and which attract her to him to the Prejudice of the other Children, are the things she ought to be most displeased with; things, which if sounded to the Bottom, would often prove Vice or Folly. But supposing that the favourite Son is really what he appears, more amiable than the Girls; may not this be owing to Accident or Design? May it not be the Effects of superior Education, or a greater Knowledge of Men and Manners? most certainly. All young People are, what they are, in proportion to the Opportunities they have had of acquiring Knowledge, or the Use they have made of them; so shut them out from Opportunities, and they can never improve; because they are deprived of the Means: thus it often happens in Families; the Boys are in the World, and gain a Knowledge of good Behaviour; the Girls are coop’d up, and Mamma wonders at their Ignorance! But what farther increases a Mother’s Surprize is, that she does not find her Girls improve in proportion to the Opinion she entertains of her own Abilities: now allowing, what cannot be generally true, that she has all that a Woman can be possessed of, if they are confined to the Company[190] of her chiefly, their Knowledge of the World will be very scanty. To be acquainted with the World, we must see it; to know Mankind, we must know their Faces, and mark their Deportment; and from seeing a Variety of Manners, must come the Power of polishing our own.

I say not this as an Intimation to Parents, that they ought to throw their Children wild and untaught into the World, far from it; on the contrary, I am convinced how much they want to be fortified against it’s Snares; and how nicely they ought to be conducted: but with reference to the Matter in hand, I would fain make Parents sensible how irregular, nay how unjust their Partiality usually is; particularly in banishing Children from their Affections for not knowing what they have had no Opportunity to learn. If then Parents really intend the Good of their Children, they must with the utmost Resolution throw off all Partiality; if not, ’tis more than probable it may greatly injure, or even undo, a whole Family. The Darling is liable to be ruined thro’ Indulgence; the rest, thro’ Neglect and Ignorance. Children, by this unequal Treatment, conceive a Hatred to one another, and often to the Parents themselves, which perhaps lasts as long as[191] their Lives. But besides that, this injurious Treatment debases their Minds, it is productive of many dreadful Evils; for hence proceed, not only inveterate Malice, but Confusion, Law-suits and Poverty; and hence too proceed rash, precipitate, and disgraceful Marriages; with many other Calamities, which it would require a Volume to enumerate.

Parents should by all Means consider, that every Child is equally the Object of their Love and Care; and, by the Right of Nature, equally demands their Protection. The Laws indeed, for the Support of Families and Dignity, have, in some Cases, made an Inequality in the Distribution of Fortune, which must be submitted to: still that does not take off from the Obligation of Parents, nor justify a blind or whimsical Partiality. There is no Topic I would more enforce than this, yet none more difficult to prescribe Rules for. It is certain, that rewarding the good, and punishing the bad, is both a Virtue, and a Duty; yet at the same time that I acknowledge how much the good Child deserves, I cannot resolve to abandon the bad: the Voice of Nature and Reason cry out loudly against it. I will for once suppose Parents entirely divested of Partiality,[192] and that the Difference is really in the Children, and not in themselves. Are they sure there are no Faults in their Education? Are they conscious that they have not exposed them to be corrupted by others, tho’ they have not done it themselves? Are they convinced those Acts of Disobedience which their Children commit are the Effects of Malice prepense? or may they not be rather the Sallies of thoughtless, giddy Youth? All these things Parents must nicely weigh, before they carry their Resentment against a Child to Extremes. Let Parents reflect, that a Boy whom they cannot now controul, and whom perhaps they are going to expose to the capricious Fury of the Seas, and deliver up to an Academy of Vice and Profaneness in order to reform him, may be much sooner reclaimed by proper Pains and Remonstrances, than by throwing him into the Jaws of Licentiousness: for how often do we see a disorderly Youth, touched, by a Parent’s well-timed Clemency, with a Sense of his Mistakes; and when the native Fire of his Youth is abated, become truly wise and good; a Pattern of Virtue, and an Honour to the Age he lives in? Can Parents reflect on this, and not resolve to try every Expedient before that of disinheriting a Child, abandoning him to Misery and Want, or giving him[193] up to that Nursery of Immorality, the Sea? My serious Advice in this Point is, that Parents be not hasty in driving things to Extremities. Let them with unwearied Patience try every gentle Means in their Power; and certainly by such Methods they will have the fairest Chance to succeed. For if Children see their Parents constantly aiming at their general Good; if they find them hold the Scale of Justice with an equal Hand; and experience their Affection and Tenderness to be void of Partiality, even after repeated Provocations; if, I say, they once become so happy as to reflect on these Circumstances in their true Light, (as sooner or later undoubtedly they will) I cannot but hope the most abandoned will be reclaimed, and the hardest Heart softened into Tenderness, Respect and Duty. But here lies our common Error; we grow impatient at a Child’s Disobedience and Untowardness, and without striking at the Root of his Vices, without levelling at, and removing the Cause, we dwell on the Effects; his Follies give us Pain, and we do not try so much to cure him, as to ease ourselves; and therefore rashly remove him from our Sight by sending him to Sea: in my Opinion, the last Place in the Universe to make a bad Boy a good one. I heard a Story some Years ago of a rich Citizen of London, which deserves[194] to be remember’d with Honour. He had a Son, some Years past a Boy, addicted to every Extravagance, and who had almost worn out the Father’s Patience and Indulgence by repeated Abuses of them, and by continual Cravings. The Father at length consulted a Friend, in order, if possible, to devise a Remedy: when he had poured out his Soul in Grief, and shewn that his Kindness had been almost boundless; the Friend replied, I have, Sir, a Remedy to propose, that I think deserves the Experiment. The World calls you a hundred thousand Pound Man; but tho’ that may not be strictly true, yet from my own Knowledge you are very rich: throw at once ten thousand Pounds into your Son’s Hands; that Sum cannot ruin you, and it is possible it may save him. The good old Man, with Heart full of Desire to do whatever might convince his Son how much he wish’d his Happiness, very readily came into the Proposal: he sent for him accordingly, and thus addressed him. “You know, my Son, how dear I have always held you; you know how much I have desired your Happiness and Prosperity, by the Pains I have taken to promote them; but you do not consider how much you have abused my Indulgence: your boundless Love of expensive Pleasures has so far blinded you, that you neither see my[195] Kindness, nor your own Folly. But here, take the utmost Proof of an afflicted Father’s Fondness; take this ten thousand Pound, and husband it as you please. If you use it well, it will not be the last Favour you may hope from my Tenderness: but if you persist in the Abuse of my Bounty, ’tis the sole Proof of it you must ever expect.” The Son, struck with Amazement at so much Goodness, and touched with a deep Sense of his former Ingratitude, from that Hour became all he ought to be, and all his Father’s Heart could wish. This genuine Relation may in great Measure serve as a Guide to Parents. It is true every one has not ten thousand pound to give; but there are ten thousand Parents who may, by exerting their several Capacities according to their Station, preserve their Children from the Ruin they are threaten’d with: and thus turn them from Objects of Vexation and Grief, into Instruments of Joy and Happiness.

At the same time that the Authority of Parents is to be maintain’d above every other Consideration, Children should be taught to love them to a superlative Degree. This Love in Children to their Parents, will naturally make them fly to them on every Emergence; and thus Obedience will become a[196] Pleasure: whereas if they are kept at a Distance by an austere Behaviour, or are treated in a cold, lifeless, insipid Manner, they will be apt to doubt of their Parents Affection, and be induced to seek Comfort from others: and then no wonder if they fly to Aunts and Cousins, when even the Servants, from the Stable to the Kitchen, will have Power to engage their tender Hearts, and rob Parents of that superior Affection they ought so jealously to engross to themselves. Nothing requires more the Parents Attention, than the preserving that golden Rule, a Medium in their whole Conduct to their Children; therefore while they are careful not to spoil them by too much Indulgence, they should at the same time study to win their Hearts.

Parents should be particularly careful not to dispirit their Children; which undoubtedly will have a bad Influence on their whole future Conduct. There is a Degree of Courage to be maintained that is not only graceful, but absolutely necessary to carry us thro’ Life, which Parents therefore must not destroy. Some of my Readers may perhaps think, that while I am enforcing Obedience, I am myself undermining Courage; but let me ask them whether a Soldier loses his Courage by being under Discipline? by no Means. On the contrary, a Consciousness[197] of the Regularity of his Exercise, and of his Skill in the Use of Arms, always animates him in time of Danger: thus Children kept in Decorum, and under a Habit of doing right, will have far less Fear than those who are acting as their Passions lead them: unless indeed they are quite abandoned.

Courage discovers itself by a Command of Countenance, a dauntless Air and Behaviour, join’d with such a Degree of Respect, Duty, and Self-knowledge, as shews it to be free from Impudence and Self-conceit: it is a Firmness of Spirit that enables us to encounter every Danger when necessary; and to demean ourselves in a proper Manner under Trouble, Pain, and Disappointment. But here Parents must be very careful to distinguish false Courage from true, imaginary Evils from real: let there be no trembling about Hobgoblins, or dark Holes; no Stories of Apparitions to raise Terror in the tender Minds of Children: Parents should never mention these things to them, nor, if possible, suffer any body else to do it; unless it be to laugh at, and expose the Folly of them.

Nothing can be a greater Weakness than the creating or cherishing these Fears in Children: nay how senseless a thing is it to[198] make them afraid of a dark Room, a Chimney-sweeper, or whatever else can impress a groundless or an unjust Fear on them; for more or less they feel it their whole Lives, and by that Means are oftentimes made very miserable. Children, as soon as they can distinguish, should be taught to look, and move, and speak with Courage; and, as they grow up, they should be put frequently in the Way of exercising it, whereby many natural or acquired Weaknesses will be conquered: such as, a Fear of the Water, Riding, and innumerable other things, which Parents should by every Means endeavour to prevent or remove: taking along with them this Caution, not to treat those Children whose Spirits are naturally weak, with the same Freedom they do the more robust; nor ever rashly expose them to real or imminent Dangers.

There is another Species of Fear, so far removed from Virtue and good Sense, that Parents cannot do too much to banish it from their Children’s Minds; I mean that which is the Offspring of Superstition. What Pity is it that this heathenish Principle should ever find a Place in a Christian Breast: that People who are taught to rely on Providence alone, and who know that Happiness is the infallible Reward of a virtuous Life, should[199] nevertheless desert that Providence, and turn their Backs on the Comforts and Advantages annexed to it, to run in Search of Misery. Fear is natural to the Soul of Man; but it is Reason only that can fix it’s just Bounds. If I have a Child in the Indies, and dream he is dead, am I to be miserable till a Letter from him convinces me of my Folly? If I am about engaging in an Affair, of itself not only innocent but laudable, am I to put it off because it is an unlucky Day? or because a senseless, withered Hag shakes her Head over a Dish of Coffee-grounds, am I to fear that Destruction is coming upon me? No, no; all these are Instruments of Misery, which nobody must meddle with who claims being a rational Creature. Superstition and Happiness are incompatible, as every Day’s Experience proves. Parents then, effectually to avoid these Evils, must teach their Children a just Abhorrence of Superstition; they must teach them too, that the only Fear consistent with a Reliance on Providence, and consistent with Virtue and good Sense, is the Fear of doing wrong; that is, of being vicious.

The general Indulgence of Parents to their Children in gratifying their unreasonable Humours, is no small Obstacle to their Happiness; but that is not all, it disturbs[200] the Oeconomy of the Family, and every Day, perhaps every Hour, throws the House into Disorder; and thus turns that into Slavery and Vexation, which Providence designed as a Comfort and a Blessing. There is a well known pleasant Story which seems not unsuitable here: A Lady gave her Daughter, about three Years old, to the Care of a Nursery-maid, with positive Orders that Miss should never be suffered to cry; Whatever she wants, says the Lady, be sure let her have it; I will not have her cry. The Maid soon grew weary of her little Tyrant, and archly resolved on a Method to convince Mamma of her Mistake. Accordingly, one fine Evening, the Girl put Miss into a Window; See, my Dear, says she, see that pretty Moon; shall I give you that pretty Moon to play with? In a short time she work’d up the Child’s Fancy so strongly, that nothing would quiet her but the Moon. At length Mamma (upon hearing her Child cry) in great Rage entered the Room; How dare you, says she, let my Child cry? Madam, replied the Maid, Miss wants—Don’t tell me she wants; she shall want nothing she has a Mind to have. Madam, repeats the Maid, (as soon as she could be heard) Miss wants the Moon; and your Ladyship knows I can’t give it her. The Lady was struck dumb; Miss still[201] cried vehemently, and nothing could quiet her, but a severe Whipping from Mamma’s own Hands.

There are but two Ways of subduing the Passions, viz. Force and Reason; but there are a thousand Ways, and those daily used, to inflame and strengthen them. When a Child is accustomed to have all it asks for, it soon becomes unreasonable in its Demands; and in the End expects Impossibilities. Now which is most eligible, to keep the Passions regulated, and prevent their making great Resistance; or to suffer them to rise to such a Height, that all our After-care will not be sufficient to check them? Parents then should by all Means accustom themselves to deny their Children some things, even such as are innocent and reasonable; not indeed to gratify a cruel Pleasure, for that they should abhor, but to familiarize them to Disappointments, that they may brook them the better. Besides, by this Method, every Grant from the Parents will be esteemed a Favour, and received with Gratitude and Alacrity; whereas the granting every thing they ask, destroys the very Life and Spirit of Compliance, and it ceases to be a Favour. A little Judgment and Experience will shew Parents how to vary these Grants and Denials, if they do but attend to them; and if[202] Children are under any Degree of Regulation, nothing is more easy.

Yet this by no means implies that Children are not sometimes to have what they like; far from it: but the Regulation I have been speaking of makes their own Lives comfortable and easy; and at the same time furnishes Parents with frequent Opportunities of discovering their various Inclinations and Propensities, and puts it in their Power to confer many little Favours on them, that otherwise they would not be sensible of. For Example; there are two Sorts of Meat at Table equally innocent; in that Case Parents may sometimes, without Impropriety, give a Child its Choice; this Indulgence, when allowed without Clamour or Rudeness in the Child, looks graceful, gives it Spirit, and a pleasing Air: besides, it affords Parents an Opportunity of discovering, if a Child has any natural Antipathy, any unconquerable Aversion, to certain Kinds of Food; or any thing in its Constitution that has a Repugnancy to certain Meats, which, tho’ it may like, always make it sick; all which must be distinguished from Humour and Daintiness. But it will be impossible to arrive at this Knowledge, if my first Principle, Obedience, be neglected; for if a Child be suffered always[203] to have it’s own Humour, what a fantastical Figure does it make at Table! I have seen a sensible well-bred Woman sweat with Confusion at the Behaviour of her Child, and able to eat no Dinner herself for attending to it’s Humours. One Minute it would have one Meat, the next another; this was too fat, and that was cut in the wrong Place; by and by it would have something else, and after all grow sullen, and not eat half it’s Dinner: but Obedience obviates this Confusion, and makes all calm and regular; Children take whatever is given them, and eat it without Reluctance or Reserve. Thus while they see they are not to be humoured, Parents will be at Leisure to attend to them, and may easily observe what Food should be generally given, and what avoided; and thus too Parents might have half a dozen Children at Dinner with Peace and Joy, while the opposite Behaviour makes one a Plague to the whole Table.

This Attention to Children will likewise discover what Companions they like, and often, why they like them; by which Means Parents will be able to judge if their Dispositions are good or bad; vulgar or polite; tending to Vice or Virtue; all which will furnish them with Hints for granting or denying certain Acquaintance.


The same Rule Parents should observe, thro’ the stated Actions of every Day; that is to say, at Rising, Breakfast, Dressing, School, Dinner, Supper, and Bed-time; all are to be under such Regulation, that no Opposition or Untowardness obstruct the Order of their Designs: these I call the stated Actions, because they are things that constantly and regularly return; and Parents should by all Means habituate their Children to consider them as Acts of Obedience and Duty that must be readily complied with. On this Head I earnestly recommend, that Parents introduce Order and Method among their Children; by laying out their Time, and allotting different Hours in the Day for different Exercises; by which Means all will go smoothly on, and render their various Employments extremely easy. Here I cannot help observing, how ready People are to give opprobrious Names to what they dislike or are Strangers to. A Man, because he does not love Order, or does not understand it, endeavours to brand it with the Epithet of Formality; whereas in reality, nothing considerable or truly important can be carried on without it. How comes it, that, besides the Artizans, and other Day-labouring Men, we so regularly see the Clerk in his Office, the Merchant upon Change, the Physician with his Patient, and[205] the Judge on the Bench? but because the Nature of our various Employments in Life require it, and because Order is the Soul of Action. To be convinced of this, we need but view the first Elements of Learning, where we find Letters and Figures always ranged in the same exact Order. But we may go farther, by observing, that Logicians teach us the Arrangement even of our Ideas; so indispensably necessary is Order and Method for the conducting us through Life. But while I urge the Usefulness and Necessity of Order, I would not be understood to mean a rigorous and starch’d Preciseness in all we do; on the contrary, I have already recommended, that Parents endeavour to give their Children an easy and a graceful Air. I am very sensible, that as in the Productions of Nature there is often displayed a beautiful Irregularity, thus Order and stated Times may be dispensed with, in some of the greatest Actions the Soul of Man is capable of. And as in Wit the sudden Propriety of the Thought and Expression makes the Beauty of it; so in the Exigencies of Life, an unpremeditated Act of Benevolence, doubly proves the Goodness of the Heart from which it flows: still as Judgment is superior to Wit, so Order is superior to Irregularity.

I have already recommended that Parents[206] study to win their Children’s Hearts; and it is on this Principle, that Love be made to take the deepest Root in them. Love and Fear are two great Springs of human Actions; both which must be maintained, both should by turns appear, but Love must be predominant. Would Parents make their Children good, let them daily instill into them that noble Motive, Love. Would they make their Children happy, let them prove they desire it, by shewing their Love to them. Would they make Duty a Pleasure, let them teach their Children to love it, by teaching them a chearful Obedience. In the whole Oeconomy of human Life nothing is so essential to Happiness as this Principle; for as all Actions are, or should be guided by some Principle or other, so those which have a generous well-directed Love for their Motive, bid fairest for attaining that genuine Happiness, which all aspire at, but so few find. Hence it is easy to see how necessary it is for Parents to cherish in their Children this great Principle of Virtue and Happiness; ’tis this keeps their Duty awake, and turns that into Ease and Joy, which otherwise would be a Burthen and a Pain; ’tis this that stems the Torrent of irregular Actions, and checks the rising Passions of our Children, by producing in them the opposite Effect, Fear; that is, a Fear of offending.[207] Of all the important Steps necessary for forming the Minds of Children, and for conducting them thro’ Life with Happiness to themselves and others, nothing is more truly so, than the animating their Actions with well-tempered Affection; it makes them open, generous, and noble; and it takes off that Narrowness of Mind and Heart, so disadvantageous to themselves, and so detrimental to Society: for in proportion to the Affection they prove for their Parents, so much will they increase in what in their future Lives they bestow upon others. Children who love their Parents as they ought, will seldom fail to diffuse in social Life a general Affection around them; they will love their Husbands, their Wives, their Children, and their Friends: nay they will love the whole human Race, by promoting, in some Degree or other, the Good of every one within their Reach. Such are the Benefits arising from a Love founded on just Principles; such the Force of this Heaven-born Quality!

I have observed that Fear is another great Spring of human Actions; and were it only such a Fear as Love creates, it would be truly laudable. But Experience too sadly proves how much Mankind are actuated by a Fear of Pain, Disgrace, and Poverty; a[208] Fear which, in it’s Nature, is servile, mean, and base; such as Parents should seriously endeavour to banish from their Children’s Breasts. It may be reasonably asked, whether this Baseness, this unworthy Fear, so visible in the Majority of Men, be natural or acquired? When we view indeed our Children in some Individuals, and see them forsake every generous Offer of being happy, and cling immoveably to sordid Meanness, we may, in these Instances, conclude it is Nature; but when we consider them in the Lump, and take a general Survey of the Principles which guide their Actions, we must surely own it is in great Measure acquired: that is, the Dignity of Man is debased, in an almost constant Succession from Father to Son, by the false Estimation we make of Happiness; by forsaking Reason’s purest Streams, to follow our corrupt Passions.

To evince this, let me here descend a little to Particulars. Parents desire their Children’s Happiness, (I say nothing of those Monsters who neither feel nor act the Parent’s Part) but how do they attempt to reach it? certainly in a Path the most remote from it. No sooner have Children a Place on the great Stage of the World, but their Will is irregularly cherished; before they know where[209] they are, or know to what End they have a Being, their tender Minds are impressed with Principles as opposite to Happiness as Light to Darkness. Who first awakens in them a Spirit of Resentment and fierce Revenge, even before they can speak? Those who beat the Floor, the Chair, the Table, or whatever little Master has heedlessly run against, and hurt himself with. Who first inflames their Vanity, by kindling in them Self-admiration, and a Passion for Dress? Those who set out with teaching Miss to admire herself only because she is fine. Who is it raises in them a Thirst of Gain, an early, and a sordid Love of Money? Those who give a mean Reward the Preference to Virtue; or who, by direct or oblique Insinuations, persuade them that there is no Happiness but in Riches. Who, in a Word, exposes them to the Fury of every tempestuous Passion, by opening the Flood-gates of irregular Pleasures? Those who indulge them in every thing they ask; who never contradict their Humour, however irregular; or who neglect to curb their Passions, and subject them to Reason. From this View of the too general Conduct of Parents, we may with Reason infer that Fear, the Spring which actuates the Majority of Mankind, is more acquired than natural: for where inordinate Desires are cherished, a[210] Fear of not obtaining what we wish, or of losing what we possess, produces many Actions unworthy ourselves: Actions not only unjustifiable, but which constitute certain Misery under the Mask of Happiness.

To obviate then these Evils, to prevent the Acquisition of a base, mean, unmanly Fear, and to lead Children into the Path to Happiness, let Parents, as I have before recommended, make Love take the deepest Root in them, but as Fear will naturally by turns prevail, let them with the warmest Zeal labour to make it a Fear dictated by Love, and guided by Reason.

But how shall this be effected unless Parents act on right Principles? The grand Obligations of Parents to their Children consist in teaching them a Knowledge of themselves, a Love of Duty, and a Love of Virtue. Whence it is evident, that the Attention of Parents to conduct their Children as they ought, is indispensably necessary, even to the third Stage of Life; but it is doubly so at the Beginning. It is a judicious Observation, that he who sets out wrong is half undone; and tho’ this holds good in the general Concerns of Life, yet it is no where more applicable than in the false Steps taken in the initiating our Children. For if Principles[211] opposite to Self-knowledge, Duty and Virtue, are either created, inculcated, or cherished, where is the Wonder that Children prove the reverse of what was expected? or that while they seem to aim at Happiness they find themselves wretched?

Those who build with Judgment, are always careful to lay a solid Foundation. I will now hope that Parents are sensible that the general Practice in the Management of Children is erroneous; and the general Neglect of them unjustifiable. I will hope too, that I have here shewn, however imperfectly, that Virtue alone is the Basis on which their Happiness is to be raised. An early Obedience, a Love of Truth, a spotless Innocence, and a becoming Courage, tempered with Self-knowledge, make the Ground-work of my Design; of that genuine Manners I mean to recommend. The Edifice however is still to be rear’d; that is, other Virtues both general and particular are to be taught, and brought into Habit: the whole Frame of Mind and Heart must appear regular, orderly, and beautiful; not accidentally so, but resulting from Reflection; they must be eager to embrace Virtue, and watchful to shun Vice: in a Word, be always dispos’d to do what is right, and never, with Design, do what is wrong. Here perhaps[212] I should throw aside my Pen: if I have been so happy as to convince Parents of their first Mistakes in this important Work; those once rectify’d, the rest may be supply’d by abler Guides: for I neither have, nor pretend to have, the Power requisite to display or enforce those Virtues, the Knowledge and Observance of which make up the Measure of our Duty.

But to awaken Parents still farther, I must observe, that teaching their Children all the moral Duties is not only their Province, but more or less their Obligation. A learned and ingenious French Author says, that Parents are the best Instructors, if they themselves are well instructed. For, says he, “A Father who has but two or three accustom’d to respect him, finds no Difficulty in keeping them to their Duty. He has them constantly at home with him; he can take the Hours when they are most docible; he knows their Capacity, their Genius, and their Inclinations. He can instruct them at leisure, and allow the necessary Time for it.” And a little farther he adds; “What is here said of Fathers must in Proportion be understood of Mothers, principally in regard of their Daughters.” Here then I recommend to Parents that they do not content themselves with laying the[213] Foundation, but labour on till the Superstructure is raised and the Design compleated. For as Men who justly aim at Reputation, and who desire to fill with Honour some Post or Profession, spare no Pains to qualify themselves for it; so those, who would fulfil the Design of Providence in making them Parents, must take care that they do not lead Children out upon the Stage of the World, and leave them to act their Part alone, till they have taught them those Duties that will best secure Happiness both to themselves and others.

It will still perhaps be expected that I should treat of the farther Means to effect this great End; but my Readers must remember, that besides my being unequal to the Task, besides my being confined to the Compass of a small Volume, these important Matters have already been handled by many abler Pens, to which I refer them. However, to answer in some measure a reasonable Expectation, and farther to prove the Sincerity of my Intentions, I will here touch on those Virtues which are universally allowed to be essentially necessary; and which all, who would be esteemed wise and good, must both know and practise.

We are now to suppose, that Children are[214] considerably advanced; not only that their first Lessons were Obedience, but that their Minds have been tempered with Duty, and with such a Knowledge of Right and Wrong, as strongly to incline them to adhere to the one and avoid the other: we will suppose too, that their Reason, unblinded by Passion, has gained so much Strength as to be able to exert itself to advantage: that is, that those Perceptions and Distinctions, with many other things which natural Logic is capable of teaching, have so far improved their Understanding, and disposed their Will, that they are fitted to receive more important Lessons, and practise them when taught.

Prudence then comes first under Consideration: it implies such an orderly Conduct of our Words and Actions, as keeps us free from those Irregularities which hurt ourselves and offend others. Prudence is a Virtue attended with innumerable good Effects, but particularly as it frequently shuts the Door not only against Misfortunes, but against Injustice. It is not to be doubted but that the Prudent are sometimes unfortunate. A thousand Evils surround us, a thousand Darts threaten our Destruction, which cannot be obviated because they cannot be foreseen: still it is certain that Prudence keeps off many Calamities which would otherwise befall us.


But besides the Advantages arising from Prudence to ourselves, it makes us pleasing and useful to others. Men naturally love to converse with the Discreet; from them they learn the Art of shunning those Rocks which so many others have split on; from them they discover a safer Path to tread in; and from them they often labour to model their own Actions. Farther, the Prudent are not only pleasing, but valuable to Society. A prudent Man is esteemed by all who have any Dealing with him. Mankind have naturally an Attachment to their Property; therefore are they with great Reason inclined to trust it in the Hands of the Discreet, rather than the Indiscreet. Hence appears the Necessity of teaching Children the Nature and Advantages of Prudence; but as it is one of the graver Virtues, it seldom appears in young People, unless it be those who are so happy as to have prudent Parents, that labour to implant an early Habit of it in them.

There is a natural Consciousness in the Mind of Man of his own Significance; and where he takes Prudence for his Guide, some real Advantage may always be made of it. No Man is so high as not to require the Aid of those beneath him; no one so low but he[216] may be useful to his Betters. Parents therefore instead of inculcating on their Children a false Pride, or raising in them a vain-glorious Flame, should give them a due Sense of others Significance and their own; this, accompanied with Prudence, will shew them the true light they stand in; shew them their just Distance from those above them, their Nearness to those beneath them. From this View will arise not only that genuine Self-knowledge so essentially necessary for their Conduct in Life, but that becoming Pride, which at the same time that it proves to them the Obligation of acting in some certain Sphere, animates them with Resolution to behave in it as they ought.

Prudence is a Check to Extravagance, Vice, and Folly; nay, it is often the Guide of virtuous Actions; for even Benevolence, Generosity, and Charity, Actions greatly noble in themselves, unless well directed, timed, and placed, will often be the Cause of others Ruin and our own. Prudence therefore, of all Virtues, may justly be call’d the Balance that keeps us from Extremes.

I have elsewhere observed how dangerous it is for Parents to rate their Children too high; nor is it less so to sink them too low: there is a certain Spirit to be maintained,[217] without which our Children will degenerate into Meanness; there is a Degree of Dignity they must support, without which they will become not merely useless, but burthensome: Parents therefore must carefully attend to this, lest in avoiding one Evil they fall into another: And no Means so likely to gain the Medium, as Self-knowledge under the Direction of Prudence. By this they are check’d in the Pride of towering too high; and by this they are lifted from that Meanness which Sloth, Ignorance, or false Humility is apt to plunge them into.

Here I might expatiate on the Cruelty of some Parents, who use every body well but their own Children; who act not only the Sovereign, but the Brute, the Tyrant, and the Monster over those whom Nature calls on them to cherish, comfort, and love: and often, under the Pretext of making their Children humble, harrass them into Misery, and fix a Hatred to themselves. However, I will not pursue a Reflection so shocking to Nature; but rather hope that once to know it will be a sufficient Motive for it’s Banishment.

But of all the Advantages attending Prudence, there is none equal to the Bar it puts against the Rashness of young People in[218] plunging themselves into the Mistake of an inconsiderate Marriage: and indeed were it the sure Means of preventing this Evil alone, it would both demand and deserve all the Attention of Parents to lead their Children into the Knowledge and Practice of it. How few are those whose Passions never rise above the Mark of Reason; how few whose Duty never nods; what Grief does such a mistaken Step bring on the Parents; what Care, what Sorrow, what Misery on the Children! Here, in the strongest Light, we may view the necessity of Prudence. Suppose a Father (one of some Figure and Circumstances) educates his Son suitable to his Condition in Life; and then engages him in Business, either as a Clerk, an Apprentice, or whatever Station occurs: at this Age, and in this Situation, he is exposed to a thousand Dangers; but particularly to that of a rash and an unequal Marriage. The young Fellow, if unguarded by Prudence, is open to all the Arts, the Smiles, the Hypocrisy of some one at least of the opposite Sex, who thinks it her Business to make her Fortune; while he, a Stranger to his own Heart, and ignorant of the Consequences of such a Step, involves himself in Sorrow, if not in Destruction. The transient pleasing Dream once past, he looks around him with Amazement! but ’tis now too late! the Chain is link’d,[219] the Fetters are tied, and nothing but Death can break them! After various Contrivances to conceal the rash Deed, at length it reaches the Parents Ears. What a Scene of Affliction is here! Not the lively Picture of a Poet’s Fancy; not the fabled Representation of romantic Distress; but real Life overwhelmed with boundless Grief. A generous Father who has spared no Cost to promote his Son’s Felicity; a tender Mother, who with endless Anxiety has sought the fairest Prospect for her favourite Boy; view them alternately struggling with Love, and Rage, and Fear, and Resentment! What must they feel to see their Expectations frustrated, their utmost Wishes vanished, their darling Child undone! We say, it is dangerous to rouze a sleeping Lion; nor is it less so, to kindle the Resentment of Parents: for to be greatly exasperated is to fall into a Frenzy, which we cannot stop at Will. Thus it often happens with those whose Children precipitate themselves into Misery; their Rage becomes a continual Resentment, or an unconquerable Hatred. And alas! how dreadful are the Effects! What more common than for a Child to be banished from his Parents for a Step like this. I know not what Effect a Description may have on those who hear or read it, but, for my own Part, I think a Child, who thro’ such gross Folly[220] and Disobedience has shut himself out from the Doors, the Hearts, the Affection of his Parents, is in the most calamitous Situation upon Earth.

But let us change the Scene. Let us suppose the Parents Grief subsided, or that Love and Pity have got the better of Resentment. How fares it with the disproportioned Couple? Does a Reconciliation with the Parents secure Happiness to them? Alas, no; they know but little of Life who conclude so. There is always Danger in Disparity, especially where Vanity or Ambition predominates. The Woman who is suddenly lifted up from a very low Condition, commonly makes but an aukward Figure; and what is worse, she is apt, in affecting to be like her Betters, to misuse the Dominion she is invested with; and, instead of demeaning herself like a good Wife, she becomes a Vixen, a Shrew or a Tyrant. Yet granting that none of these Evils happen, granting that a Woman has really Merit, and that the labours to improve her natural Talents, in order to suit them to her new Condition, there are still other Evils to fear. Reflection on past Folly naturally draws Resentment on the Object of it: and tho’ when two Parties once become Man and Wife, they are obliged to maintain Fidelity, Tenderness and Love to[221] one another; yet Experience unhappily shews us that this Obligation is often violated. He who is extravagantly fond without Regard to Merit, will often be unreasonable without Provocation. Thus, when a Man, in his cooler Thoughts, compares what he is, with what he might have been; reflects on what he has lost in grasping imaginary Happiness, or views himself, thro’ a Disparity of Years, chained to faded Beauty, to declining Life, while himself is in his Bloom; not all the natural or acquired Merit of his Wife, not all the Tenderness that can flow from the sincerest Love will be able to balance his Disappointment: he frets, and swears, and raves, he breaks out into Extravagancies, which frequently end in the Destruction of them both; Destruction to their Peace, and Destruction to their Fortune.

Nor is this Portrait of private Woe the only one that can be represented. A thousand others might be produced, all essentially the same, all fraught with Misery, and only different in circumstances or Degree. To see the Heir of a great Estate forsake his Father’s Mansion, and marry the Dairy-maid; to see a young Lady trained up in all the Pomp and Pride of Wealth, throw herself into the Arms of a Man whose only Merit perhaps is a deceitful Tongue, or a borrowed[222] lac’d Coat; or to see another steal to the Fleet and marry her Father’s Footman; are things so preposterous in their Nature, that one cannot reflect on them without shuddering.

Certain it is, that great Merit sometimes lies cover’d in Obscurity; and it is but justice to render it conspicuous, by raising the Possessors of it to an exalted Station. And farther, a young Man, who has with great Pains and Expence qualified himself to act in a genteel Profession, tho’ he should not have a Shilling in the World, has a Title to expect a Fortune with a Wife; nor does he know his own Significance if he neglects it: for allowing that the Woman he marries has Personal Merit, if they are balanced by the same good Qualities on his Side, the Prospect he has from his Trade or Profession is often more than an Equivalent for the Advantages he reaps by her Fortune. Nor is it these things I mean to inveigh against; what I condemn is in general far otherwise: we see a wild Flame seize our Youth, Inclination cherishes it, and they fall a Sacrifice to their Imprudence. How happy then are they whom Prudence guides; how consoling the Reflection, that by steering with this Pilot they escape the common Wreck.


Among the moral Virtues necessary to be inculcated, among the Obligations of Parents to their Children, nothing so much demands their Diligence, Attention and Regard, as the teaching them a Knowledge and a Love of Justice. How noble is this Virtue! how vast in it’s Extent! and, alas! how little is it practised! Some Virtues stand as it were alone, and may be separated from every other; but this, when understood and practised in it’s utmost Latitude, seems to unite almost every Virtue to itself. Justice teaches us all the Obligations we are bound to maintain in Society; now it is certain that these are many more than are generally understood. Men soon learn those things which the Laws take Cognizance of; and therefore, unless quite wretched or abandoned, avoid them; but what are these, if compared to many others which Nature, Reason and Reflection make us conscious of? What are these to the many Injustices which spring from Pride, Sloth, Lust, Avarice, Slander and Revenge? Surely nothing. But without enquiring what Actions evade the Law, or triumph over it, I will endeavour to give my Readers a true Idea of Justice; and point out to them the proper Steps for leading Children into the Exercise of it.

Here I cannot avoid returning back to the[224] Infancy of Children, nor help reminding Parents of the Necessity of an early Care. Virtuous Principles are the best Foundation of virtuous Habits; and should the Seeds of Passion be too deeply rooted in our Nature to be extirpated, Reason, we know, has Power to keep them in Subjection. This premised, I recommend to Parents the utmost Assiduity in shutting out the very Source of Injustice; that is, they must counteract those Passions which tend to produce it; not only by inculcating the opposite Virtues, but by frequent Reflections on the Danger of cherishing irregular Desires.

Justice is to be considered as general and particular; and tho’ Mankind are apt to content themselves with a general Justice, yet it can never claim the Merit of an exalted Virtue, unless we both know and practise it in particular. To attain this Knowledge and Love of Justice, Children are to be taught, even before they can speak, to part with any thing they are in Possession of, and this readily, and without Clamour: the Effect of which will be, that when a little more advanced, and they can distinguish their own things from others, they will not eagerly desire the Property of a Brother, a Sister, or Play-fellow. The next Step is, that Parents avoid with the utmost Caution every the least[225] Deceit, especially about Money, and every thing which discovers to their Children a Fondness for it. There is nothing more surprising to me, than the universal Disregard Parents have to the Presence of their Children; a thousand things in Life are necessary to be said and done which they, particularly while young, should not be Witnesses to; and yet are Parents every Day and Hour so impolitic and so imprudent, as not only to disclose their inmost Thoughts, but to transact the most improper, nay perhaps the most unjustifiable things before their Faces. As Children seldom have Judgment to distinguish, they can only catch Appearances. Now suppose a Man in a just Cause has played the Politician, and by the Force of Stratagem recovered his Right; can it be a proper Subject for Children to be in the hearing of? But should this Man have gone farther, and should he boast a Conquest unjustly gain’d, perhaps to the Ruin of another; what Effect must this have on the tender Minds of Children? Children in general act by Imitation; therefore, as far as can be, they should see nothing but what they may imitate. But farther, Children naturally think those things right which they see done by their Parents; therefore they should see no Action in them but what is really so. Farther still, Children, even under a virtuous[226] Education, are surrounded with a thousand Incitements to Ill; their Eyes and Ears are continually open, and continually receive corrupt Impressions, which dart to the Mind and Heart of the most innocent: where then can they fly for an Antidote to this Poison? To whom shall they have recourse; or by whom shall they be furnished with Weapons for their Defence? By those to whom they are bound by every Tye; Parents alone must stop the Torrent of every Evil to their Children, not only by virtuous Precepts, but by virtuous Example. For as it is a certain Truth, that the Influence of Parents is more than a Balance for a thousand others, the Necessity of their opposing Vice with Virtue, is every way apparent: nor is it any where more so than in the noble Cause of Justice.

This Rule established, I must again repeat to Parents the avoiding before their Children every Appearance of Deceit, and every Fondness for Money. If Children are taught to deceive, they will be induced to practise it for the Sake of Gain; and if a Love of Gain be cherished in them, they will often use Deceit to acquire it. How apt are Parents to Wish for Money in their Children’s hearing; and this, not merely the Indigent, those who want many of the[227] Comforts, the Necessaries of Life, but those who have already perhaps more than they make a good Use of. Tom, says a vain Father to his Son, had I ten thousand Pound, you should be the smartest Fellow in the Kingdom, ne’er a Lord in the Land should out-do you. Thus too, a doating Mother addresses her Daughter, What Pity it is my dear Nancy should not keep her Coach; so sweet a Girl! Oh! that I was but rich, you should marry nothing less than a Lord. What must be the Effect of this Language? Must it not inflame the Heart, or fly to the Head and make it giddy? most certainly. Nor does it stop here; for when this irregular Love of Money is once deeply rooted, irregular Steps will often be taken to make it thrive.

But to pursue the Idea of Justice, let me not confine myself to the Passions, but speak likewise to the Understanding. I will hope that Parents have shewn Children in Infancy the general Justice I have spoken of; the obvious Rules of Right and Wrong; and check’d in them every Shadow of Injustice: that is, that they have taught them never to meddle with Money, be it more or less, or with whatever else belongs to another; nor even to desire it; nor to be fond of dwelling on it, counting it, or chinking it; (for Money has a strange Effect on both[228] Eyes and Ears:) never to put their Hands into another’s Pockets; much less to unlock a Scrutore: never to evade the Payment or Acknowledgment of a single Farthing; nor obtain unjustly even a Top, a Marble, or whatever can be called the Property of another. Farther, that as they advance, Parents inform them that there is a constant Intercourse between Man and Man: that Providence has created some to labour one way, some another; that the various Wants of Life are to be supplied by the Care, the Industry, and the Sagacity of each in their several Stations; that the Poor are destined to labour for the Rich, and the Rich to employ and reward the Poor: that some in fine are born to govern, others to be governed. That this Intercourse is called Society; and that Justice alone is the Band that connects and ties it; consequently, that he is the most valuable Member of Society, who despising selfish or sinister Views, who shunning the Tricks, the Frauds, the Villainies of others, resolves to make Justice his Rule of Action. That to this End, besides a general Knowledge of Property, and an Acquaintance with those Laws which are made to defend it; besides the adjusting Profits in Trade, stating Accounts fairly, and paying Debts regularly; there are still many things to be considered, some of which I will here[229] endeavour to reason upon, as they visibly produce some certain kind of Injustice in their Effects, tho’ their Cause is often hid from common Eyes, or they are disguised by false or palliative Names.

The first Spring of Injustice is Pride. Children, as I have just observed, have their Minds impressed with a Love of Riches; whence naturally follows an undue Degree of Self-esteem, accompany’d with a Love of Power, Show, and Dignity: now to effect these, a thousand Stratagems are used; every Obstacle which stands in the Way to Wealth or Preferment must be overturned; every Difficulty must be removed. Hence it is easy to see that unjust Means will often be used to gain the desired End; and hence it is plain that those who ascend by indirect and violent Measures, crush down many others as they pass. Parents therefore to obviate this, must teach their Children that nothing can be lawful which injures others; that they may indeed arrive at Honours and acquire Riches; but that unless they are obtained without Guilt, and possessed without Pride, they cannot be just: for even allowing that no undue Means are used to support our Pride, there is Injustice riveted to the Vice itself; for the Proud, to raise[230] themselves, always attempt to depress or debase others.

Another Cause of Injustice is Sloth. Providence has created us to labour; the Head, the Hands, the Feet, all are given to answer in some Degree the same End; that is, the Preservation of ourselves, and the Benefit of others. None are born to be idle, none who are so can with any Truth be said to fill up Life as they ought. Those who have Talents are bound to cultivate them as far as they have Opportunity, that they may counsel, instruct, or assist others: those who have Fortune cannot without Injustice neglect the Care, the Improvement, and the Distribution of it: those who have no Fortune, but enjoy Health and Limbs, are Robbers of Society if they refuse to work: and indeed among the various Objects of Sloth, those who exercise neither Head, nor Hands, nor Feet, but lounge and fawn and beg for a Subsistence, no Matter whether in Rags or Finery, are of all others the most mean, at the same time that they are grossly unjust. The Virtues opposite to this are, Industry, Application, and Oeconomy; which Parents must raise in their Children betimes, and cherish with Zeal and Pains.


A third Source of Injustice is Lust. What I have before said of an universal Regard to Decency both in Words and Actions must not be confined to the State of Childhood, but be enforced by Parents on their Children as Rules that are never to be departed from; since what is in it’s Nature wrong, nothing can make right: for if Innocence be a Virtue, which even the abandoned will hardly dispute, every Deviation from it must be more or less a Vice. As this then is a settled point, enlarging on it here is needless; my only Aim on this Head being to make some Reflections on the Vice when manifestly attended with Injustice.

It has been the Custom of every wise Nation both in their Writings and Conversation, to inculcate and enforce the finest Morals, the most important Truths under an Allegory or Fable; and where the Simile is natural and the Expression emphatic, nothing is more powerful. Suppose then a Father should lead his Son, as he approaches to Manhood, into a Garden, and thus address him. “View here, my dear Child, the Beauties of the Creation; see how abundantly the Earth is furnished with all that can contribute both to our Use and Delight. But besides the unmeasurable Bounty of Providence, behold the Gardener’s[232] incessant Toil; what pains he takes to improve the Soil; with what early Care does he water each tender Plant; how watchful to secure them against destroying Vermin, and how anxious to defend his Flowers from Blasts! Now tho’ Providence has given to Man a Power over all the Works of the Creation, ’twas never meant he should abuse them. What then would you think of him who should pluck the choicest Flowers here, purely for the sake of destroying them? But should he go farther, and exercise a wanton Pleasure not only in stripping them of their Beauty, but in rendering them offensive and odious to all who see them? What, my Son, I say, would you think of such a Man? But Oh! my dear Boy, should this affect you, should this raise in you a Degree of Contempt; with how much Indignation must you behold the Wretch, who, with a Complication of Crimes has deflowered the fairest Part of the whole Creation: not an inanimate Rose, or Pink, or Lilly; but robb’d a spotless Virgin of her Innocence! Tremble, my dear, dear Child, tremble at the very Thought of so much Baseness! View with impartial Eyes the guilty Deed! On one side the Deceit, the Oaths, the Perjuries, and a thousand criminal[233] Inventions to gain the desired End; on the other, the dreadful Change from Innocence to Guilt; from Honour to Infamy; from the Esteem of all, to the Contempt of all; and what is stranger still, forsaken and despised by the very Seducer himself! Yet Oh! my Son, let not these Reflections be made in vain; but draw Profit from others Crimes: examine them in their true Light; be not misled by those who palliate the blackest Actions with the specious Names of Wit, and Love, and Gallantry; but live in a Resolution never to share in their Guilt; never to injure another in the least Degree; but above all resolve to suffer a thousand Evils, to sacrifice every Passion, rather than even stain, much less destroy, the Flower of Innocence.”

These are Sentiments our Sons must be warmed with; these are Ideas of Justice they must not be Strangers to, if we wish to make them good Men, or desire to fulfil our Obligations as Parents. Innocence, wherever it resides, is an inestimable Treasure; two things therefore Parents have to do herein, viz. to teach their Children neither to destroy another’s Innocence; nor suffer others to sully theirs. The first has just been spoken of: I will only add, that[234] the same Regard must be paid to all Degrees, whether high or low: it is the Vice we are to keep in view, not the Quality of the Person. ’Tis no Extenuation of the Crime, that a Gentleman’s Son seduced his Master’s Cook; or that a young Nobleman has ruined only a Tenant’s Daughter, or his Mother’s Chamber-maid; no, no, there are no Distinctions in Virtue’s Cause: that lost, there are always some to weep; the poorest have their Parents, their Relations, or their Friends, to lament their sad Mishap; and those who are robbed of what cannot be restored, have always their own Loss to deplore.

The next Care of Parents on this Head is, that they labour to preserve their Children’s Innocence from being tainted by others. One would imagine when Parents had taught their Children every Virtue, and enforced them by their own Example, their Duty would be compleat; but far from it; they have still the Obligation of representing to them the Snares, the Artifices, the Villainies of designing People. In my last View I have shewn that our Sons, either hurried by Passion, led by false Notions of Gallantry, or Strangers to Right and Wrong, are often the Instruments, or liable at least to be the Instruments, of others Destruction: in[235] this I must touch on the Necessity Children are under of being defended from receiving Injuries. And here I must observe, that both Sexes are equally in Danger. The Girls indeed have by Nature and Education more Innocence, as well as more Tenderness; the Boys, tho’ more robust, have more Temptations. Men are the Instruments, and dreadful ones too, which chiefly destroy our Daughters; but bad Women on one hand, and corrupt Men on the other, combine to destroy our Sons. Let Parents then point out to them the Dangers they are exposed to, and furnish them with every Means for their Defence; let them shew that the Colours Vice is painted in are false and delusive; that however pleasing the Appearances are, the Effects are bitter; that our corrupt Imagination is extremely apt to mislead us, therefore they must not trust to this Guide, but seek Security from Reason and Reflection; that they must not rely on their own Strength, by exposing themselves to those who have the Subtlety and Cruelty to form Designs against their Virtue; and that, in these Cases, the greatest Proof they can give of their Courage is to run away, because their Passions naturally incline them to stay; that those, in a word, who wish to maintain their Virtue, must shun the Vicious:[236] and where the Affairs of Life unavoidably expose them to the Company of such, let them by a constant discountenancing Deportment, shew their Disapprobation of every unbecoming Word or Action; whereby they will check, and often prevent, any Attacks on their Innocence. But farther, to enforce the Virtue of Innocence, let Parents shew their Children the Obligations they are under of preserving it; that besides the Insult offered to their Creator who made them rational Beings, and thereby distinguished them from the Brutes, their departing from it is an Injustice to themselves, an Injustice to their Parents, and to all those who have laboured to correct the natural Corruption of their Hearts, by instilling into them every virtuous Principle.

A fourth Cause of Injustice is Avarice: which implies an inordinate Love of Gain. Avarice puts on a thousand Shapes, and is to be found in Men of every Rank and every Age; but it is most apparent in the Rich and the Old: which is an Aggravation of the Vice; because the one have more than enough already, and the other have not long to enjoy the Fruits of it, even should they live to reap them. But what is most alarming in the Avaritious is, the extreme Danger[237] of going beyond the Bounds of Justice; and what Dryden[5] says of Wits and Madmen may, by the easiest Change,[6] be apply’d without Impropriety to the Covetous and the Dishonest. How many Schemes are formed, how many Devices used to raise a Fortune, or to add Hoard to Hoard? One circumvents another in Trade; and with more than savage Cruelty, abuses the Power he has by keeping those under that might otherwise flourish; and had rather see another starve, than himself be deprived of what he does not want. A second burns with a Thirst of Gaming, and values himself for his superior Parts, if he can trick another out of his Money at Play; regardless of the dreadful Consequences attending the Loss; and regardless of the Injustice of the Acquisition. How do they possess their Minds who have raised their Fortune on another’s Ruin? Do they ever reflect on the Misery of their wretched Companion; or do they view the Distress of his Wife, his Children, and his suffering Creditors? Surely if the Gamester did this, even he who wins, and wins by a fair Bet, and equal Lay, must tremble at Riches thus acquired: but[238] if to this be added the Traps, the Snares, and other Artifices to draw in weak or unwary Men to their Ruin, what must we think of such Wretches? We may both pity and condemn the Ruined, but we must abhor those who caused it, however great their false Triumph may be. A third takes the Advantage of Distress or Weakness, and lends his Money, not with Kindness, but with a sordid View: these are the Men who grasp at Mortgages for the sake of fore-closing; and get Possession of an Estate for half it’s Value; who inveigle a Widow that they may ruin her Affairs, and enrich themselves; or get a Guardianship that they may beggar the Children. A fourth, sensible what Power Riches give him, employs it to the harrassing and depressing all beneath him; these are those who to add to their superfluous Wealth suck the Blood and Vitals of the Poor, by reducing their just Pay, and defrauding them of their Wages; or who with inhuman Scorn depreciate that Merit which others possess; or crush it in it’s Appearance. But how shall Parents, who perhaps may not live to be Witnesses to these Actions, prevent them in their Children? The Answer is easy. Imprint on them an early Love of Justice; and as they advance, shew them the various Ways of deviating from it; that by viewing these things in[239] their true Light, they may conceive a just Horror of Crimes so detestable in themselves, and so destructive to Society.

A fifth Source of Injustice is Slander. There are Men who would not game another out of his Money, nor forge a Deed, tho’ they could obtain his Estate with Security, nor run him thro’ the Body; yet shall, without Scruple, butcher his Reputation with Slander. An unbecoming Levity of Conversation and Behaviour is natural to many, who thereby do great Harm without once being aware of it; but this, tho’ a great Evil in Society, is Innocence, if compared with the Malevolence of others. There are Men of such rancorous Hearts, of such malicious Natures, that they seem to have nothing human but the Form; Wretches, who, to gratify their Spleen, or to indulge a Pique, tear in Pieces the Good-name of those whose Merit is perhaps superior to their own. All the moral Writers condemn this censuring, cruel Humour; and a celebrated dramatic Poet[7] describes[240] very beautifully the superior Loss of Reputation to that of Riches. A Man that is robbed on the High-way sees his Loss, and knows the worst of it; but he who is levelled at from afar, or receives a Stab in the dark, neither discovers his Enemy, nor knows where the Mischief will end. In the great Family of the World, every one is furnished with Means for his Support, be it more or less; all are in some Degree possessed of Power, Genius, or Abilities to procure, if not a Fortune, at least Subsistence; with what Face then does Mankind dare to frustrate the Intention of Providence, by robbing another of that Reputation which he is labouring to establish, and by which alone he is enabled to support his Wife, his Children, and himself. With what Pretensions, or by what Authority do they presume to strip another of the Merit he is possessed of? If I have less Merit than another, let me labour to equal him; should I perchance have more, let me not rob him of the little he is possessed of. But Men of this detestable Spirit imagine, that in making others little, they render themselves great; and thus unjustly use the Power they are invested with, by abusing their Hearers Ears; prostituting their own Tongues to the Destruction of others; and, lest Words should sometimes be ineffectual, they add[241] Nods, Winks, Shrugs, and whatever can express Malice, Hatred, or Contempt. Pure Morality teaches us to throw a Veil over others Faults; but Justice demands that we stifle not their Virtues, much less pervert them: that is, we should be ready to acknowledge the Merit due to them, but cannot deny it without the basest Injury.

Behold then what Justice requires of us! Parents who teach their Children a Knowledge of Property, who inspire them with a Resolution never to invade it in others, who teach them a Fairness in their Dealings, an Exactness in paying their Debts, and a just Detestation of the Tricks of sophisticating Goods, particularly Drugs, Wine, Food, and those things that often elude our Senses, or affect our Health; who teach them to obey the Laws of their Country, in avoiding all clandestine Trade, all Commerce in prohibited or contraband Goods, and make them ashamed of such Employments as require them to steal their Way through the World, or skulk about in the dark; those Parents, I say, who do this, do well: but that is not enough; they must check, nay conquer a babling censorious Disposition, and create in its stead that generous Tenderness for others that they would wish to meet[242] with themselves: but above all, they must inspire their Hearts and Lips with Justice, and imprint on their Souls a Sense of the Baseness of Detraction, Calumny, and Slander.

Before I quit this Head, I must touch on a Species of Injustice diametrically opposite to that we have been censuring: my Readers will perhaps be surprized when I say it is Silence. So much is due to the Cause of Justice, that we cannot always be silent without a Breach of it. Men complain, and very justly, that true Honour is rare to be found; yet, while this is granted, we must observe, that false Honour reigns in it’s stead; but my Purpose here is, to consider how far it is an Act of Injustice.

When a Man sets about a lawless Enterprize, his first Care is to engage what he calls a Friend to second his Attempts, or at least to promise him Secresy; but, to make it succeed, the Party employed is to be a Friend on both Sides: here then is a manifest Injustice in the Silence of the third Person, however innocent he may be otherwise. But what is the Principle they act upon? Honour. What! shall I betray my Friend! has he not reposed a Confidence in me? he[243] has; and I will be faithful to it. Who can reflect on the fatal Effects of this false Friendship, this mistaken Honour, without trembling? Who is there, with any Knowledge of the World, that has not seen Sorrow, Guilt, Destruction brought on Families by the Connivance of a Servant, the Silence of a Brother, and the Weakness of a Sister? What Barbarity in a favourite Maid to be the Instrument of a young Lady’s Ruin, by conveying a Scrub into the very Family whose Bread she eats; or at least sees her on the Brink of it, without speaking a Word for her Preservation? How dreadful are those Friendships, how preposterous that Silence, where a young Gentleman sees his Companion, his Fellow-Clerk, levelling at the Destruction of an innocent Girl, and not have the Soul to declare the guilty Design till too late? Or, finally, where is the Sense, the Good-Nature, or the Justice of her who sees a Brother taking fatal Steps, about to injure another’s Virtue, or marry a Beggar, or ruin himself, and, as far as he has Power, his Parents too, without once striking at the Root, by discovering his vicious Intentions and Practices? Who that can distinguish Right from Wrong, but must see the Injustice of this Silence? Parents therefore should animate their Children with a Resolution never[244] to enter into these false Friendships, never to promise what is in it’s Nature wrong, nor ever to promote or connive at another’s Harm, if in their Power to redress or prevent it. But farther, Parents, in forming their Children’s Minds, are in many Cases to adapt their Instructions to the Station of Life they are expected to act in. Those of Condition must not see their Parents injured, especially in a Matter of any Moment, and neglect to remove the Fault: those who are to serve, besides Duty and Respect, owe Justice; therefore must not only be faithful in their own Actions, but discover any real Injustice in those of others; and particularly they must detest with honest Scorn the being privy to an underhand Match. Laying Schemes, conveying Letters, Concealments from the Parents, or Denials where Danger is suspected, or otherwise contributing to the Ruin of a young Master or Lady, even tho’ they could make their own Fortune by being in the Secret, are Actions ever to be shunned, as they are base in their Nature, and grossly unjust.

The last Source of Injustice is Revenge. I have said before, that pure Morality teaches us to throw a Veil over others Faults; I may with equal Truth say, it obliges us to forgive[245] Injuries. For altho’ it is a Justice due to ourselves to maintain our Right, yet the same Self-Justice requires us to forgive those by whom we have been wrong’d. If we can remove an Injury, we may, and ought; but Revenge is not the Weapon we are to use for that Purpose. Whatever fires our Revenge, is apt to cloud our Reason; Men therefore who meditate Revenge, seldom have Reason for their Guide; and he who forsakes Reason, is a bad Judge how far Revenge should be carried. If we mentally survey a revengeful Man, how melancholy is the View! What Agitations in his Mind! what Flutterings in his Heart! All Nature seems convulsed within him! and, in the Midst of his Self-torture, his only Thoughts are, whether he shall ruin, or be ruined; murder, or be murdered! But if we go farther, and behold this Man in the Action he has so eagerly sought for, or carry our Ideas to the Consequences of it, we must tremble with Pity. His Countenance is an Index of his Mind: what Fury on his Brow; what Fire darts from his Eyes; what Malice, in confused, imperfect Accents, flows from his Lips; and what frantic Rage possesses his Soul! Sometimes a Duel is to repair the Injury; dreadful Situation! since whichsoever falls, the Calamity is inexpressible. Who can recall the Blood once spilt,[246] the Life once lost? who can console the wretched Survivor, when Revenge is glutted, and Reflection calls him back to himself? or can the Receiver of the Challenge draw Consolation in his future Life, from a false Point of Honour? no, no; it is all Delusion; and independent of the Crimes which gave rise to it, the Deed itself is gross Injustice. Revenge puts on many Shapes: some seek it not in Blood, yet, with equal Fury, hunt another to Ruin and Death by unjust Law-suits. What Havock does this make! How many fall from Affluence to Want, from Splendor to a Goal, thro’ the Inveteracy of Revenge! Not all the Concessions of the opposite Party, not all the Tears of his Wife, nor the impending Ruin of his Children, can appease the Revengeful: Savage-like, he quits not his Hold till his Fury is glutted, till his Adversary is destroyed. Besides these, there are many other Species of Revenge, less obvious indeed, but perhaps not less criminal: there are Men whose Fury is less, but whose Malice is equal: Men with cooler Heads, but with inveterate Hearts. Injuries, whether fancied or real, seize the Heart of the Revengeful, and having once taken place, a thousand things are machinated for Retaliation of the Offence: every good Office ceases; ill Offices[247] take place of them; cruel to their Character when absent; arrogant and disdainful to their Person when present; their Reputation torn to Pieces; false Constructions put on their most innocent Actions; and every sinister Means used to strip them of Fame, and Fortune; nay even of Bread. See here the dreadful Passion of Revenge; view the Cruelty on one Side, the ruinous Effects on the other. What Care then should Parents take to banish it from their Children’s Hearts, seeing it is the Source of Misery to themselves, and Destruction to others! Let them labour to stifle the first Resentments; let them speak to their Understandings as they advance. Youth is naturally full of Fire, and as now their Judgment is weak, they are easily misled by false Notions of Honour; but where Malice is found to reside in their Hearts, it will demand the utmost Pains to root it out: still all should aim at effecting it. To this End, besides checking the earliest Resentments, let Parents paint in the liveliest Colours the Deformity of Revenge; let them shew how much it destroys their own inward Peace; let them counteract the Passion by encouraging in them Meekness, Clemency and Love; and above all, prove to them how much they sink beneath the Dignity of Human Nature, how much they injure themselves,[248] and how unjust they are to Society in every Action that is accompanied with Revenge; but particularly where Life, Health, Fame, Peace, or Property are affected by it.

Thus much have I said to shew the Necessity Parents are under of teaching their Children the Knowledge and Love of that great Bond of Society, Justice: it demands indeed much more Labour to discuss every Point; but I persuade myself, that if their Hearts are duly impressed with the Principles here laid down, they will be animated to know and practise every other Act of Justice which their various Stations in Life offer them the Occasions of. Virtues beget Virtues; one Act of Equity will lead them to a second; a second will warm them to the Execution of a third; a Self-denial of little irregular things, will make way for the Entrance of Reason; and Reason exercised on the solid Principles of Justice, will enable them to conquer every lawless Desire, every turbulent Passion.

Notwithstanding what has been said thro’ the Course of this Attempt, of conquering our Passions, it is not to be understood that we are to be passive, spiritless, and insipid; far from it; this would be frustrating the[249] Design of Providence. We are, under Reason’s Guide, to enjoy our own Minds with honest Freedom; and he who has a warm Heart, a chearful Mind, and a frank Behaviour, bids fairest for being a good Man. But what irresistibly proves us design’d for an active State, is, the Virtue of Fortitude. Fortitude is Patience improv’d; it is Courage exalted; it is that Virtue which enables us not only to bear Sickness, Pain, Disgrace, and Poverty, but arms us with Power either to conquer these Evils, or at least so to weaken their Force that they may not bear too hard upon us. In viewing Mankind in general, or if each views himself in particular, it will be found that Life is imbitter’d a thousand Ways; all have their own Troubles, all feel their different Sufferings; some indeed taste so little of the Sweets of Life, or have them so strongly impregnated with Sorrows, that they are scarce sensible of their Relish: Fortitude alone then is the Remedy for these Evils; and therefore should be the Object of every one’s Study. With this Weapon we are enabled to face every Danger, to encounter every Trouble, and to struggle with every Difficulty: it is the Instrument Providence has kindly put into our Hands; and not to use it, is the highest Ingratitude, at the same time that it is being[250] ignorant of our own Happiness. Parents then cannot justify the Neglect of this Virtue to their Children: and it is from this Knowledge of Life, that I have already proposed, in Compassion and Regard to their future Happiness, that they familiarize them, with all the Tenderness of good Parents, to little Disappointments while young; that they may be arm’d to bear greater as they ought. All irregular Desires we should disclaim from our Hearts; but even with regard to those which are in their Nature innocent, lawful, and reasonable, how often are we disappointed! How then will Children, as they advance, struggle with Disappointments, if Strangers to the proper Guide, if unacquainted with Fortitude?

But here I must observe, that many things are looked upon as grievous Evils, which, if considered in a proper Light, are no Evils at all: and to what is this owing? certainly to the erroneous Measures taken at setting out. The Eagerness of Children after every new Trifle, the Desire of engaging in whatever is called Pleasure, and the early Passion for Dress and Show, make them earnest to have their Humour comply’d with. Now as many of these things are highly improper, gratifying their Demands must be an Error more[251] or less; but this is the least Part of the Evil: the Habit of having all they desire increases with their Years; and without considering, whether the Things they seek are necessary or reasonable, they pursue their Desires, and are wretched when disappointed. Hence arise many of the Passions which disturb the Oeconomy of Families, and fill the World with Disorder: Men disappointed in their Business, and cross’d in their Will, burst into Rage, or contract a Fretfulness which makes them unhappy in themselves, and painful to all who see or feel the Effects of it: and Women who have been used in Childhood to conquer their Parents, and in Youth all the World, who have been constantly addressed in the language of Romances, and have been vainly taught to think the Men their Slaves; Women, I say, who are thus educated, are but very ill prepared to meet Disappointments: the first Opposition throws them into Fits, whence follow Vapours, Melancholy and Indolence; the next kindles their Resentment, which agitates the Mind, spoils the Features, by tearing off the natural Softness of the Countenance, and puts the sweetest Temper into a Ferment; and, if a Husband be the Object of it, ’tis great Odds but a short Time creates either an unjust Coldness, or a fixed[252] Aversion. Mr. Locke, sensible of the Danger of irregular Indulgence, thus describes the Situation of a fondled Son. “He that hath been used to have his Will in every thing as long as he was in Coats, why should we think it strange that he should desire it, and contend for it still, when he is in Breeches? Indeed, as he grows towards a Man, Age shews his Faults the more; so that there are few Parents then so blind as not to see them, few so insensible as not to feel the ill Effects of their own Indulgence. He had the Will of his Maid before he could speak or go; he had the Mastery of his Parents ever since he could prattle; and why, now he is grown up, is stronger and wiser than he was then, why now of a sudden should he be restrained and curbed? Why must he at seven, fourteen, or twenty Years old, lose the Privilege, which his Parents Indulgence till then so largely allowed him?” From all this it is evident, that the early planting of regular Desires, checking the Growth of vicious ones, and subjecting Passion to Reason, are the great Means to lay the Foundation of Happiness in our Children, and the surest Fence against many Evils they would otherwise be exposed to: but if after all this, Sorrow, Pain, Disappointment,[253] or Poverty be their Lot, let Parents teach them to meet it as they ought; teach them with the firmest Resolution, with unshaken Constancy, to bear up against the rude Attack; and teach them that the only way to lessen the Evils they cannot avoid, is to adhere inseparably to that heroic Virtue Fortitude.

I am now led to speak of Temperance; the calmest Companion of the Heart of Man. Temperance is the Virtue that bridles our irregular Desires; it is nearly ally’d to Prudence, and has a close Connection with Justice; it calms Revenge, and quenches the Fire of unjust Resentment; it checks the Epicure, and stops the riotous Hand of the Bacchanalian; it extinguishes or abates the Flames of Lust, and banishes every lawless Action; it silences the flippant detracting Tongue, and gives in it’s stead a pleasing Moderation of Speech; it shuts the Door against Avarice, and proves experimentally, that Happiness does not consist in the eager Pursuit or Acquisition of Riches, but in a contented Mind; it curbs that strongest of all other Passions, Gaming, and distinguishes justly the Absurdity and Folly of making that a dangerous Trade, which was only designed as a Relaxation and an Amusement:[254] Temperance, in a word, is the Parent of many Virtues; the Parent of Peace, Prosperity, Health and Joy. But while these are Truths acknowledged and received, how comes it that we know so little of the Practice of them? How comes it that in general these are mere Matters of Speculation? Alas! the Spring is tainted in the Source. We are intemperate in our very Cradles; no wonder therefore if we remain so our whole Lives. We are born with irregular Appetites; and which, thro’ Errors in Judgment, or mistaken Fondness, are daily rendered still more so. But let us leave these melancholy Reflections, and consider the Advantages we enjoy, the Privileges we are invested with. Providence, kind Providence, has given us Reason for our Guide; and Reason will conduct us to Temperance.—Nothing can be more strange to all Observation, than the Practice of forsaking Temperance; since every Day’s Experience proves to us, that Intemperance produces the very opposite to what we seek. Suppose when a Child is born, we ask the Parents what it is they wish in that Child; they will answer, Life. But as Life alone, that is, mere Existence, may by Infirmity or other Accidents be very wretched, they will naturally wish for Health and Happiness. Well then, Life,[255] Health, and Happiness, are the general Wishes of Parents for their Children. Now let us see how their Wishes are likely to succeed. Their first Step is usually a shameful Neglect of the Food of Nature, the Breast; the next, a blind Gratification of their Will; the third, an almost total Neglect of their Manners; and a fourth, the cherishing in them every irregular Affection. Where then is the Wonder that Parents are disappointed? Life and Health depend on proper Food and other judicious Management on one part; and if sick, an Obedience to Remedies on the other part; and Happiness essentially depends in the first place on Health; in the next, on the due Government of our Senses, Affections and Passions. See here how Mankind deviate from themselves; how far they depart from their own Principles. But what then is the Remedy? nothing more obvious. Let Parents exercise their Reason in all the Steps they take for their Children’s Welfare; let them examine Right and Wrong; let them not only avoid Passion, but labour to correct their own Errors of Judgment, that they may be the better enabled to prevent them in their Children; but particularly, let them fix in them the Knowledge, Love, and Habit of Temperance.


These Rules will doubtless be an Infringement on those Liberties Parents usually take in indulging their Children’s Stomachs; and it will be a greater in the Restraint it lays on their growing Passions: but they must convince them of the Purity of their Intentions by speaking to their Understandings; not all at once, but by Degrees, as they open and gain Strength; so that Step by Step they may point out to them the Loveliness, the Pleasure, and the Advantages of this uncommon Virtue. I say nothing here of the State of Childhood, because it is already understood that Parents have their Children’s Health regulated by proper Management, and their Minds docile thro’ the Force of Obedience; but when Dress, Pleasure, Company, Feasting, or whatever subjects us to be intemperate, come into Play, as they are Actions which always cause a Struggle, more or less, between Passion and Reason, it demands the greatest Care and Attention of Parents to win them to a Love of Temperance.

An easy Submission to our Lot in Life is one of the greatest Attainments towards Happiness. View a young Lady with a strong Passion for Dress; every new thing strikes her; one Companion has a richer Silk than herself; another has the sweetest Lace she[257] ever saw; a third has Ear-rings ten times handsomer than her own; she burns with Impatience to equal them, and that granted, new things arise, and the others are old tho’ not worn out; that is, her Relish for them is lost. Thus a continual round of Fashions keep her incessantly anxious; and tho’ perhaps she possesses every thing, she enjoys nothing. Not so the calmer well-instructed Fair; she considers that Propriety of Dress is what suits her Station; and covets not another’s Jewels: she wears, without a Blush, a meaner Silk than her meaner Companion; and free from the Extremes of Negligence or Pride, she is qualify’d for all the Dignity that Dress can give her; but is equally happy in an inferior Appearance. Thus too it happens with our Sons: One is in the continual Pursuit of Pleasure, has a thousand Contrivances to reach a Play, a Ball, or a Horse-race; and is miserable if these things are going on without him: while another, awaken’d by Reason, and check’d by Temperance, takes these things as they come; and neither insipidly refuses the Chearfulness of an Entertainment, nor is disturb’d of his Rest, or loses either his Temper or his Appetite, if he is disappointed. Such is the Difference between Passion and Reason, such the genuine Effects of Temperance.


Temperance, as I observ’d before, is closely connected with Justice; that is, whatever thro’ Intemperance affects our Health, or endangers our Lives, must be unjust. What can be more amazing than the false Judgment of Mankind even in the most obvious things! All allow that we have no Right voluntarily to throw away that Life which Providence has given us; on the contrary, we are bound to support it, even under the Pressure of Pain and Sorrow, to the last Moment. How comes it then that while this is acknowledged, while Men justly shrink with Horror at the very Thought of Self-murder, they have the Hardiness to dally with some murderous Instrument? All the Arguments that are brought against Suicide, whether by Sword, Pistol, Laudanum, or Arsenic, hold good, in some Degree, in the Point before us. The oftener a Building is shock’d, the sooner will it decay; the more Violence is us’d to a delicate Machine, the sooner will it be destroy’d; and no Machine is so exquisitely delicate as Man. Now as every Species of Excess, Riot, and Debauchery, is a Shock given to our Frame, it must naturally impair our Health, and consequently shorten our Lives. Many things tend to effect this, that Men in general are Strangers to; but[259] there are others they are too sensible of, yet attempt not to remove, nay plunge themselves into. Here then appears the Necessity of Temperance; here we see the great Obligation of Parents to their Children in this Point: since they are not only accountable for their Happiness, but even for their Health and Lives. To conclude, let Parents in inculcating this Virtue dissuade their Children from every irregular Attachment, and convince them that no intemperate Affections are justifiable; that besides avoiding those irregular Passions which may be said to reside in the Soul, there are others that dwell on the Senses, equally capable of destroying us; particularly an unhappy Attachment to sleeping, eating, drinking, and many other things in their Nature not only innocent but indispensably necessary; yet, by the frequent grievous Abuse of them, made the Instruments of our Destruction.

These are the things I had to offer on the Part of Manners; these are the Steps I have already in great measure taken with my own Children, and these the Sentiments I wish to inspire them with. If therefore, as general Laws, they are equally applicable to others, my presenting them in Print will, I hope, be consider’d with the same Candour[260] they are offered. But notwithstanding what has already been said, Parents have still much to do. To keep up the Spirit of Government, they must constantly remember that Nature and Reason are to be their Guides: if we distort Nature, our Children will be preposterous Figures; and if we banish Reason, they will be Brutes or Monsters. Parents must remember too, that it is not for themselves that they labour to train up their Children in Order, Obedience, and Knowledge; there must be no self-pointed Views, no Pride, no Dispositions to tyrannise over their own Flesh and Blood; these are Motives unworthy a Place in any Parent’s Breast. Their principal Aim must be to make their Children happy, by making them wise and good; and if they succeed herein, so much Happiness will be reflected back on themselves as will amply reward all their Labours. But they must not stop even here; tho’ this Design is noble, they should have a nobler yet in view; that is, the universal Good of Mankind: ’tis too narrow a Good that seeks itself alone; Children must therefore be animated by their Parents with all those Virtues that will make them dear and valuable to Society. Now what Chance is there that Children will come on the Stage of Life with the necessary Requisites, unless[261] due Pains are taken to mould and temper their Hearts, to form their Minds, and cultivate their Understandings? Mr. Pope, after labouring to prove for what End we are in being, what Good we are to pursue, and what Evil avoid, concludes, “that all our Knowledge is ourselves to know.” If then this Self-knowledge is of such vast Importance for the securing our Happiness even in a moral Sense, and is so very difficult to be attained; surely Parents are under the highest Obligation to their Children of improving every Means within their Reach, for the gaining this only true Philosopher’s Stone. The End, as Philosophers agree, is the first thing in the Intention; but the Means to attain that End are surely, in the Case before us, either but little known, or little practised; else we should not see such daily and grievous Mistakes committed in the training up our little Offspring; nor such a continued Chain of Vice, Folly, and Ignorance, as is the general Result of this mistaken Manners, this want of Self-knowledge.

But here I must caution my Readers not to bewilder themselves in a Maze of fancied Difficulties; not to throw aside these Instructions as useful or practicable to none but[262] those of Genius, Learning, and great Abilities: the Light of Nature and Reason beams strongly on us all; and Parents, as I have before observed, have it greatly in their Power to regulate their Children’s Conduct: for after all, it must be confessed, that it is not so much that Parents do not know, as that they want the Will, to act rightly. But I hope, that such as are really ignorant, will here, in some measure, be informed; such as already know, will here be induced to practise: since by avoiding the Errors too generally run into, so much solid Good will ensue. But, to return back again: where or how are we to begin? Why—(as has already been advanc’d) by Authority. Authority is undoubtedly the first Means towards attaining this great End; the other Means are, a steady Attention to the various Tempers of our Children; a strict Guard over our own Conduct; a watchful Eye on theirs; joined to a serious Practice of every Lesson for their Improvement: to which we are to add, such an Education as is suitable to our Sphere in Life.


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Education is a very extensive Subject; it is a vast Field to expatiate in; and has employed the Thoughts and Pens of many great Men, with whom I pretend not to vie: I confess myself far unequal to the Task; and perhaps the greatest Service I can do my Readers, is to inform them, that, besides the ancient Writers, the Archbishop of Cambray, Tanaquil Faber, Mr. Locke, Monsieur Crousaz, and Monsieur Rollin, with some others still later, have handled this important Subject. To these then I refer them, as great and useful Guides; but not to these alone; they must go farther; and apply to those, whose Province it is to reduce the Theory of these to Practice: such are many of our living Guides; who tho’ they have not perhaps distinguished themselves by their Writings, are notwithstanding deservedly eminent for their Skill in teaching.

Nor is Education what I principally engaged[264] in, in this Treatise; Manners alone, I have declared to be my Design; and if I can do the present or future Age any real Service by the Plan of puerile Government already laid down, I shall be happy in considering myself as a useful Member of Society. Still it will appear that Education and Manners have so great a Connection, that they are not always to be separated: many of the Writers on these Subjects have considered them as one and the same thing; many just Sentiments are imbibed at the same time that we are acquiring Languages, and other Parts of Learning: and notwithstanding a Truth which was advanced at our first setting out, that much Manners might be acquired without School-learning, yet it is not to be doubted that they ought to rise in proportion to the Education bestowed on us. Two things therefore I aim at in pursuing this Subject, without attempting to teach, or invading the Province of the Preceptor; the one, to point out what seems necessary for both Boys and Girls, in different Spheres of Life, to learn or avoid; the other, to shew how far the Education bestowed on them is applicable to the Improvement of their Manners; or to their Engagement in any Art, Profession, or Science.


As entering on the Subject of Education will naturally carry the Ideas of Parents back to the Childhood of their Offspring, I will, in Conformity with that, suppose, that the Rules already laid down chiefly regard the first Stage of Life; at most, that they are the Ground-work of a future Superstructure: this granted, I will suppose too, that Parents have employed these first seven Years in moulding their Children, and rendering them so far pliable, as readily to submit to whatever their Parents think proper for them to engage in. There is a strong Passion in many Parents to have their Children forward and early in their Learning; where there is really a Genius, a very great Propensity and Aptness to learn, this may certainly not only be allowed, but improved; yet in general I think very little Account is to be made of what they can learn before seven Years old: it is commonly Rote-work, and often forgot almost as soon as learned. However, let these things be taken as they are found: if a Child has a great Quickness and Facility in learning, let it by no Means be check’d; on the other hand, let not another be severely chastised, or it’s Life rendered miserable, who has not the same early Aptness. Those who would avoid Error on this Point must consider,[266] that a Child’s Memory and Judgment are yet too weak to be much exercised; that close Application and intense Labour are very unfit for this Infant Age; that it is putting their tender Minds too much upon the Stretch; and endangers either a fix’d Aversion to learn, or an incurable Dulness: let them farther consider, that such a quick Child as I have been speaking of, learns without the least Difficulty; and if they oblige one of another Cast to learn as much in the same time, it is odds but they give him more Pain than his Frame can bear. Parents then must be very careful to avoid these first Mistakes in the educating their Children; since from a natural Fondness to have them appear to Advantage, they often thrust them on things that are unsuitable to their Age, and such as they are by no Means qualified to undertake.

It must not here be understood, that nothing is to be attempted in the first Stage of Life; that would be the opposite Extreme of Error; and playful as Children usually are at that Age, the leaving them wholly to themselves for seven Years would be not only injuring their Capacities, but might endanger a Habit of Idleness: what I mean is, that all which relates to Education should[267] now be made as light, as easy, and as pleasant as possible; that, as I have observed before, Parents should take things as they are, and not be dissatisfied or disappointed, if they find no extraordinary Progress made.

But this first Stage being over, the Business becomes serious; they are now to enter the Schools. Parents of almost every Rank aim, or seem to aim, at giving their Children Learning; ’tis a natural Ambition, and, if rationally used, highly laudable. Those of an inferior Class say, with a significant Shake of the Head, ’Tis a fine thing to be a Scholar! True, it is so: but surely it is a sad thing to be a learned Beggar; and worse yet to be a learned Blockhead: an unlearned Cobler is a Prince to either of these. To judge of the Propriety of Education, we should, I think, argue from a Knowledge of Life; for as no one surely will say that the same Degree of it is equally proper for all, it follows of course that it will be right or wrong, in proportion to our Knowledge or Ignorance of Mankind, and of those Stations wherein it is so variously exercised. Now in viewing it in this judicious Light, it appears to me, that the Steps frequently taken by Parents in the educating their Children, are in many respects[268] erroneous. Nor is this by any means to be ascribed to the Teachers, but to the Parents; not to the Plan, but to the Execution: for as in the Order of Nature, every thing has it’s own Sphere, it’s Province assign’d it, which cannot be departed from without Error; so in the various Degrees of Mankind, if a proper Regard be not had to Situation and Abilities, the Mistakes committed in educating our Children must be very many.

At the same time that I venture to think our Notions of Education sometimes erroneous, I confess it is extremely difficult to fix precise Rules for a better; no wonder therefore if I err in the Attempt; and in that Case, I hope, the Goodness of my Intention will plead my Excuse. But here let me ask a natural Question; What is it all Mankind aim at in the Education of their Children? certainly to give them such a Degree of Knowledge as will qualify them to fill some certain Post, some certain Station in Life: in short, to fit them for an Employment suited to their Condition, such as will make them happy in themselves, and useful to Society. This, I say, is, or ought to be our Aim: but how grievously do we pervert it? Parents often mistakenly soar above their Reach; like Adventurers in a Lottery, all[269] gape for the highest Prizes; all ambitiously strive to make their Children something more than common, something above themselves; and by these Means often, very often, overturn and utterly ruin them.

The principal Aim of Parents should be, to know what Sphere of Life their Children will act in; what Education is really suitable for them; what will be the Consequence of neglecting that; and what Chance a superior Education will give them for their Advancement to Posts of Dignity. I grant, it is Pity that a fine Genius should be uncultivated and buried in Oblivion; but surely it is greater Pity that Parents should so generally mistake their Children’s Station, Genius, Capacity, and Inclinations, as they generally do; nay more, mistake their own Capacity too; by engaging them in things above their Ability to conduct them through. The first thing many Parents do, is, blindly to magnify their Children’s Parts; in consequence whereof they engage them in such Studies as square with their Fancy; they then turn their Eyes on some few great Men, whose uncommon Merit, Genius, or Good-fortune, have rais’d them to conspicuous Stations; and thus, in the Vanity of their Hearts, conclude their[270] Sons are to be Judges, Bishops, Generals, and I know not what. But I would here earnestly dissuade Parents from this capital Mistake; indeed it seems so glaringly absurd, that I am surprized it should be so common. But those in inferior Stations will say, May we not then give our Children Education? yes certainly: but it should be a suitable one. What then, may we not aspire to raise our Children in the World? or must they, from Generation to Generation, remain Mechanics, Tradesmen, or the like? Let me not be misunderstood. Every one should look forward; there is a necessary Degree of Spirit becoming all Mankind; but then to be judicious, it must be rational: thus, at the same time that we avoid sinking into Meanness, we must be very careful not to tower so high as to endanger our dashing down into Error.

Education, tho’ design’d to lead us to every Advantage, is often bestowed to our Disadvantage, by being the Cause of many Errors, we should otherwise have escaped. Education is often wasted on us, either by being improper for our Station, or by engaging us in things we are unfit for. Education is a Term that often misleads Parents themselves; for many do not know[271] either it’s Extent or Use, nor know if their Children possess it or not. These things considered, it is easy to conclude how common an erroneous Education must be; and how much it behoves Parents to reflect on the necessary Means to obviate the like Errors for the future.

I remember a Lady whose Coachman was an Instance of the Mistakes I have been speaking of. I am resolved, says he to some of his Acquaintance, to have one Gentleman in my Family at least. In order thereto, he gave his Son Education, and then put him to an Attorney: this entitled the young Fellow to dress out, and keep, what he call’d, good Company; these led him to Pleasures, Gallantry, and many other Extravagancies; in fine, the old Man broke his Heart; and the young one in a short time was utterly ruined. But how much happier would he probably have been, had he kept to his proper Sphere, and been a Coachman too! It frequently happens, that honest industrious Men among the common Trades, as well as others, grow wealthy, and consequently are ambitious of giving their Children Learning; now as these People have usually but a very small Share themselves, they know little more of it than[272] the Name: they send a Boy to School, and because they hear him speak hard Words, and see him hammering at a Latin Exercise, sagely conclude that he has Learning; when it is fifty to one, that, comparatively speaking, he knows nothing. It requires a great deal of Time, Diligence, and Application for a Boy to become a good Grammarian, tho’ taught by the best Methods and the best Masters; what then must be the Fate of those who are under bad Teachers? and that there are some such, I believe will not be disputed. But supposing a Boy really acquires some Knowledge; let us see of what Use it will be to him: his Father is perhaps a Baker, and it is convenient to him to bring his Son up to his own Business; what does a Baker want with Latin? nothing. Besides, continued Disuse will make him forget it; or, should he retain it, of what Use could it be to him, but to make him pedantic and self-conceited? But perhaps upon the Presumption that this Boy is a Scholar, the honest Baker, desirous that his Son should cut a Figure, sends him to the University, and he becomes a Divine: but what Pity is it that a good Baker should be spoiled? The innocent young Man, tho’ spirited up by his fond mistaken Parents, has perhaps no Talents, no Genius,[273] no Interest; what then must be his Fate? why—he must drudge, and court, and wait his whole Life, and at last gain nothing. What can be more mistaken than this Conduct, and yet what more common? It may be urged, that these are Instances of illiterate Parents only, and that People in better Life know better things: now allowing that to be the Case, still as Parents of this Kind are very numerous, they stand in great need of being set right, as the Errors they commit by this false Education are productive of many Evils.

Every Nation has it’s Custom of dividing the People into Classes. The Police of France divide them into Quality, Noblesse, Artificers, and Peasantry. England, a mix’d Government, and a trading Nation, have the Nobility, Gentry, Mercantile or Commercial People, Mechanics, and Peasantry. Were we to subdivide the People, we might run it to an Infinity: to avoid Confusion therefore, I will select five Classes; viz. the Nobility, the Gentry, the genteel Trades, all those particularly which require large Capitals, the common Trades, and the Peasantry. But tho’ for the Sake of Perspicuity and Brevity, I confine my Observations to these, yet they may occasionally be applied[274] to others; and tho’ London may in general be called the Scene of Action thro’ my whole Design, yet is it equally applicable to, and intended for, the Benefit of the whole Kingdom.

Persons of Rank and Quality are, I doubt, placed in too high a Sphere for any Instructions of mine to reach them; or should this Attempt fall into their Hands, what Chance is there for it’s being useful to them, since they seem to have every Advantage, every Help at command. Still as true Wisdom consists in seeking Instruction wherever it can be found, and as the lowest among Mankind may drop a Hint that may be useful to the highest, I will, with all due Deference and Respect, venture to speak my Thoughts; and if they reach the Ears of the Great, I dare hope, they will at least commend the Design, if they cannot applaud the Execution.

Human Nature (as daily Experience shews us) is, in the general, alike in all, from the Prince to the Peasant: the same Weaknesses attend us; the same Passions torment us; the same Diseases kill us: all are the Work of one great Artist! all are born for the same great End! The Gifts of Fortune indeed are innumerably different;[275] the Advantages of Education very many; and as a Train of Vices corrupts our Manners, so a Succession of Virtues may be said to enoble our Birth and purify our Blood. Hence it is we often see those exalted Virtues in the Great and Noble inherited by their Posterity; and hence too we often discover, even where Pains are taken to conceal it, an inbred Dignity, a Mein and Aspect superior to the Generality of Men. Still this Rule is by no Means universal; for the same Experience shews us, that great Men can do little things; even such as the private and obscure would be ashamed of. And how so? because Passion, not Reason, is their Guide. Parents then, we see, even of the highest Rank, are under an indispensable Obligation of regulating the Manners of their Children. Philosophers say, that all Passions are in all Men; but that their Predominance is unequal, and different in different Men: if so, the Great stand in most need of having them subdued, or at least regulated, as the Power to indulge them is greater in them than in others. But granting that Parents of Quality are convinced of these Truths, and take all the Steps already recommended for training up their Children in proper Decorum; granting too, that they design every thing[276] for their real Advantage; they have still many things both to do and avoid which are not common to all.

Their first Care must be to avoid Sycophants, Flatterers, and Hypocrites; they are but too constant Attendants on the Great, and their Business is to diffuse an imperceptible Poison (if I may be allowed the Metaphor) over both Parents and Children. Nothing is so amiable as Truth, nothing more desirable, and yet nothing more difficult to reach the Great. If a Nobleman has a Child whose Parts are weak, whose Genius is slow and shallow, it is undoubtedly a Misfortune, but cannot be his Fault: the natural Blindness of Parents keeps them from seeing these Defects so clearly as another; but the unnatural, at least unmanly Artifices of the Flatterer totally prevent their seeing them at all: and thus the noble Heir is mistakenly taught to think himself what Nature has forbid he shall ever be.

Another Care is, that Youth of Quality, who have Parts and Quickness, be not suffered to waste the first Flower of their Age in Idleness: it is a grievous Error, yet very common. I have already observed, that Parents who know nothing are injudiciously,[277] and even anxiously solicitous to have their Children Scholars; and by a strange reverse Infatuation, Parents of Rank are often very indifferent about it. This Error is undoubtedly sometimes owing to themselves only by a supine Negligence in their own natural Temper; but it is much oftener owing to the false Praises given by those that have both the Parents and the Child’s Ear. A young Heir soon knows the Title, Dignity and Estate he is born to possess; too soon does he know his Independence, and too apt is he to grow careless about his Learning on this very Account, but if to these Impediments be added imaginary Excellence and Knowledge, thro’ the daily Flattery of a Dependent, what is likely to be the Consequence? why, that he will remain ignorant his whole Life. For who will take Pains to learn, that is firmly persuaded he knows enough already? and that many of our young Noblemen are trained up in this Disposition, nobody, I believe, will deny: it is true that Time may convince them of their Error; but it will then perhaps be too late to recover what they have lost.

The Education of a Nobleman should contain every thing that is both useful and ornamental. As he is more conspicuous than[278] others, as he always stands on an Eminence, his Education should be such as may reflect a Lustre on every one that beholds him. He is to be considered as a Pillar of the Laws, an Honour and an Ornament to the Age he lives in. To this End he is to study first, Languages; that is to say, two of the dead ones, viz. Latin and Greek; and of the living ones, besides his Mother-tongue, French at least. The Learned disagree very much as to the Variety of Languages necessary to be acquired; some are of Opinion, that besides these already named, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and more yet, are becoming the Education of a great Man; and urge in their Favour, that the more Languages are gained, the more the Mind is enlarged: others dissent from this, and maintain, that a great Variety rather confuses the Mind than otherwise; that Latin and Greek are indisputably the Languages of all learned Men; after those, French, and at most Italian, are all that need be added, as every thing may be found in these, either originally or translated into them: but they farther argue, that it is a great Waste of Time, spent merely in the Acquisition of Languages, when so many nobler Studies are to be pursued; Studies which at once strike the Mind, and constitute true Science. This last Reasoning[279] has, I think, great Force; but here for a Moment let me leave the Nobleman, to make an Observation on general Life. Languages, besides being considered as general Parts of Education, are particularly necessary in certain Circumstances of Life. If one, whether for Education or Business, goes to reside in Holland, France, Spain, or Italy, it would be an Absurdity not to attain the Language of the Country; so if another is to be a Merchant, surely he should not be a Stranger to the Language of his Correspondents; thus are these, and many other things more or less necessary, just as they are circumstanced: and therefore should Parents, besides the Education they bestow on their Children, as suited to their Station in general, join to it that which is necessary in particular. But, to return;

Besides Languages, a Nobleman is to learn Philosophy, both Moral and Natural; Mathematics; the ancient and modern Laws of our own Country; and the Customs, Laws and Manners of other Nations. He should particularly be a Critic in our own History, and our own Language; because they are what in real Life he will have most occasion to exercise. To this solid Learning should be added the Embellishments[280] of polite Literature, Poetry, Painting, and Music; and to compleat the Character, Dancing, Fencing, Riding and Architecture. Tho’ this is going a considerable Way, it is much the least Part of what ought reasonably to be expected from him, considering the Light he stands in. It is of great Consequence that his Preceptor have a good Head; but it is of much more that he has an honest Heart. He is to humanize his Pupil’s Soul, and form him for all those Actions that will give him a real, not a fancied Dignity. He should raise in him an ardent Love of his own Country; but, as every other Nation has it’s Virtues as well as Vices, he should at the same time avoid the customary Prejudice of allowing them nothing. While he is taught to think and act nobly, he should be informed that the Knowledge, the Care and the Improvement of his Estate, are essential Obligations, and such as cannot be dispensed with. He must be easy of Access, without which Truth will seldom reach his Ear; nor will he be able to distinguish Merit from Demerit; or know how to right the Injured, or punish the Injurer. While he maintains his Dignity, he must be ready to condescend to Inferiors with an humble Deportment where necessary; and be taught to see and feel another’s Woe:[281] which nothing will more inforce, than convincing him of the Instability of all human Grandeur. His Dress and Behaviour should be like his Quality, noble; yet perfectly free from Affectation, Vanity and Pride. He must be taught to know, that ’tis not for himself alone he is to live, but, from the politest Manners, a wise Conduct, and a benevolent Heart, to diffuse Pleasure and Joy to all that know him. Vice and Virtue are to be placed before him in their genuine Light; and the Beauty of the one made a Contrast to the Deformity of the other. While he is taught to distinguish Honour from Infamy, Nobility from Meanness, the utmost Care should be taken to shew him how much he would sink beneath a Man, should he become a Slave to any irregular Passion. He should, for Example sake, as well as his own, be instructed to shun every thing that is mean, base or vicious; and, in a word, be endowed with all those Virtues that will make him generous, noble, wise, and good. Much more might be said on this Occasion, much more might be added; but as the Great are supplied with far abler Helps from other Hands, I will only add on this Head, that if the Admonitions here offered be reduced to Practice, every other[282] Virtue, even the most heroic, will become familiar and easy.

My next Topic is the Education of a young Lady of the first Quality; from which, if the Course of my Design did not make it necessary, I would gladly be excused: for as the most delicate Flowers require the tenderest Treatment, so the conducting a Woman of Quality thro’ the first Stages, and ushering her into the World, is of all others the nicest Part to act. Still, as Nature and Reason are my Guides; by them I hope to be enabled to offer some Aid, however small, for the promoting this great End.

As all Parents have a Right to exercise a proper Authority, so all Children, however high their Rank, should be taught to obey. Great Spirits may think Obedience mean; but Parents are to remember their Children’s Happiness is at stake: without Obedience they cannot regulate their Passions: and if not regulated, they have but little Chance for Happiness. Misfortunes with a Coronet, Misfortunes with a Coach and Six, are still Misfortunes; and it is the Business of every Parent so to conduct their Children, that[283] they may on their part avoid them, or so to fortify them that they may bear them as they ought. But, as it is most agreeable to good Sense, I will conclude that Parents of the highest Rank are convinced of this, and have employed the Infant Age of their Children accordingly. What next is to be done? What Education is most proper for a young Lady of the first Quality? Such surely as will distinguish her from the Crowd; such as will more adorn her Mind, than the Jewels she wears adorn her Person.

The Errors committed in the Education of the Children of private Persons are many, from the Parents educating them above their Rank; still there is one general Excuse may be made for them, which is, that as the Turns of Fortune are sometimes very great, they don’t know what Occasion they may have for it. But in Persons of Quality the Case is different; they are already at the Summit, and their Education should suit their Rank. As soon therefore as the first Stage is over, (not to mention what she may have learnt during that Period) a young Lady’s Time is to be esteemed precious: Reading, Writing, Working, Dancing, French, Italian and Music are all to be taught her; and that not superficially, as is too[284] much the Custom; not so as to puzzle and confound her Understanding, but to enlarge and improve it. A certain Author says, that there is not a Man in a thousand who reads well; if so, and Men assert a Superiority of Knowledge, it will be no unfair Conclusion to say, there is not a Woman in two thousand that does: but I hope this Gentleman’s Assertion is not true, and then the Conclusion falls of course. Still it is very certain, that much more is required to read our Mother-Tongue well, than is commonly imagined; and as that is really graceful, a young Lady should be taught to set a great Value on it. To know the Words and their Meaning is not sufficient; she must know the Pointing, the Emphasis and the Cadence; and she must know too, how, in different Parts, and on different Subjects, to modify her Voice, or she will never read well. To read with Energy and Beauty, we should know our Subject; and here the Understanding is concerned; this gain’d, we have nothing more to do but to keep close to Nature; for the greatest Fault committed in reading is, the throwing ourselves out of Nature. As I have formerly attended the Lectures of several public Professors, I remember one who committed this Fault of throwing himself out of Nature, as I have just[285] observed; when he read, he put on a Tone of Voice not his own; when he laid down his Paper to explain what he had been reading, he was himself again; and thus was he in and out of himself, if I may be allowed the Expression, ten times in an Hour. And yet this was a Man of Letters, a Man of Science, a Philosopher!

The Hand-writing of a young Lady should have an easy Elegance in it; a Medium between the Italian, which tho’ beautiful to see is usually wrote very slowly, and that Meanness of Hand too common in the Sex. Either of these Faults in a Lady’s Hand-writing will appear in their true Light, if we consider that the Custom of writing familiar Epistles is one of the most important Steps in her Education. Nothing tends more to open the Mind, nothing bids fairer for gaining a Knowledge of the World, next to the seeing it, than the giving and receiving one another’s Thoughts with Freedom, in a virtuous Intercourse of friendly Epistles. Now an evident Obstacle to this is the Manner of Writing; if a young Lady’s Hand is a fine Italian, she hates the Thoughts of writing a Letter, because it will take up so much Time; and if it be a bad Hand, she says her Scrawl is so frightful, she is asham’d that any body[286] should see it. But there is another important Reason for familiarizing a young Lady to her Pen, which is that of writing correctly. For a fine Lady not to spell with exact Propriety, is frightful beyond Expression; but when she has gained that, she possesses nothing till she writes with Grammar, with Stile, and a suitable Turn of Expression. Some, it is true, have by Nature a happier Turn this way than others, and may be said to be born with a Talent for Writing; but tho’ this be granted, yet certainly a great deal may be obtained by a due Care of their Education in this Point.

Needle-work is by no means below the Dignity of a Woman of Quality, therefore she should certainly be taught it; for tho’ it may not be called a thing she wants, yet the very Change of Employment is often a Pleasure: besides that the knowing it is really useful. I have seen a Woman of Quality at her sick Lord’s Bed-side, so far from being ashamed to own she could use a Needle, that what things of that kind were wanted during the Course of his Illness she would let nobody do for him but herself; and thus at the same time that her Tenderness and Concern proved the Sincerity of her Affection,[287] she proved that it was not below her Quality to be notable too.

Dancing I mention in course, tho’ it is needless to recommend it here, not only because I have elsewhere done justice to this Part of Education, but because all are convinced of it’s Importance, as an Accomplishment which strikes the Beholder’s Eye, and gives more or less favourable Impressions in proportion as we excel in it. But here, to avoid Error, the End of Dancing should be remembered; that it is not so much for the sake of shining at a Ball (tho’ that too may sometimes be necessary) but to give an easy Air and Grace to all the Motions of the Body.

French, in it’s Purity and Perfection, is a great Ornament to a Lady’s Education; but that is not all: it is not only polite, but highly useful; both as she may have frequent Occasions to speak it, and as there are many good Authors in that Language not yet translated into ours.

Italian and Music for a fine Lady should be inseparable; for tho’ it is allowed that our Music is vastly improved within half a Century past, yet the Critics in that way[288] insist, that Music in our Language is incapable of equalling the Italian, from the great Number of Consonants it abounds with.

When a young Lady is advanced thus far, she has certainly done a great deal; but not enough. If she is taught to think that the Great must be distinguished by their superior Knowledge, she will be animated with a Desire to acquire it; and not sit down contented with an inferior Degree of it. Still, as deep Studies and very close Application seem by Nature more the Province of Men than Women, so I have not urged the Study of the more learned Languages; and will leave this Point to be determined by the Parents and Preceptors. History, ’tis true, gives us many Examples of Queens and Ladies of every Rank, who were distinguished by their great Learning. Sir Thomas More, High Chancellor of England, in a Letter to his Daughter, commends her for the Purity and Elegance of her Latin; and Madam Dacier, Daughter of Tanaquil Faber, is well known (besides her other learned Works) to have translated Homer from the Greek: but these are rare Examples, and such perhaps as should rather be admired than imitated. Nature, I think,[289] points out to us, that the Education of a Woman should rather be sprightly than grave; thus polite Literature seems a fitter Study for a Lady than Syllogisms in Logic. However, that a Lady of Quality may by no means be deficient, she should have, besides what is already recommended, a Knowledge of Arithmetic, Geography, and Drawing; to which may, with great Propriety, be added, at least a general Acquaintance with Moral and Experimental Philosophy.

The Sketch here given is not to be considered as the Edifice, but the Ground-work, the Foundation alone; the Superstructure is still to be raised. In order thereto a young Lady is to be nicely directed what Language she should speak, and what shun: what ought to be her Sentiments, her Deportment, and her Actions. But first she should be taught to know that the World has it’s Eyes upon her, and that in proportion as she increases in Merit, so much nearer will she approach to gaining universal Admiration and Esteem. The Reasonableness of this Admonition will appear, if it be considered how many Actions we do unworthy ourselves, only because we are unobserved, or at least think we are so; whereas by keeping our Attention awake,[290] and considering ourselves as always beheld, we shall often blush at the very Approach of Vice and Folly, and thus nobly fly from them. Yet this Consideration of being beheld, tho’ in itself a Virtue, must be carefully inculcated and nicely distinguished, lest it degenerate into a vain Desire of Applause: her Business is to deserve Esteem, but not to look for it. We often see a half-bred Player stare about him when he has finished his Speech, as if he would beg a Clap, a Smile, or a Nod of Approbation; but we never see this in a thorough bred one; he attends to his Part, to his Business, and nothing else; he knows that the best way to obtain and secure Applause, is to deserve it.

I have said a young Lady should be nicely directed what Books she is to read; indeed it is too nice a Matter for me to determine; Mr. Addison, in one of his Spectators, has, in a burlesque Way, given a Sort of Lady’s Library; but I wish he had reversed it, and told them seriously what Books would grace a Lady’s Closet, and improve her Mind. For my own Part I think nothing is more difficult, even among Men, than a proper Choice of Books. Wisdom and Virtue are the great Sciences we are born to learn; Books and Men are the Channels to convey[291] the Knowledge of them to us. Now most Parents give their Children some general Cautions against bad Company, but Books are usually thrown into one undistinguished Heap: and tho’ some perhaps are pointed out to us as good, we are not instructed to shun the bad; at least they are still open to our View. Witness the Swarms of lewd Plays, Poems and Romances, calculated to inflame the Minds, and corrupt the Hearts of the Readers: witness the Sophistry and false Reasoning of many Writers, who take Pride in shewing how ingeniously they can deceive: witness the Loads of Lumber produced by those, whose Talents have been mistaken by making them Scholars without Genius: and witness too the Train of Trifles the present Age abounds with. From this clear and rational View of the State of Books, is it not apparent how liable we are to be misled? True it is, that we may read our whole Lives and learn nothing, nay far worse than nothing; learn Vice, Error, and Impiety. Since then this Point is of such Consequence to all, those in exalted Stations of both Sexes should have very able and faithful Guides herein; as from their Influence so much Good or Bad must flow. Still I must beg leave to caution Parents of the highest Quality, to imprint on their[292] Children’s Minds and Hearts this Maxim, that all their Studies should tend to make them wise and good. Convinced of this, as they advance in Years, their own Judgment and Goodness of Heart will, in great measure, instruct them what to read, and what to avoid.

A young Lady should be taught to speak her Mother-tongue with great Clearness, Purity, and Elegance; nothing coarse, mean, or vulgar should ever drop from her Lips; nothing uncouth, strained, or affected; the one debases her Quality, and the other her Understanding. Great Ladies may perhaps think that their Greatness entitles them to say any thing; but where this happens, it is certainly an Error in their Education; or at least it is one in their Practice. There is yet a third Error in Speech which Women of Rank should carefully avoid; an Error consistent with good Sense, but good Sense obscured; that of catching every new-coin’d Word. The English being a living Language, is subject to great Variations and Changes; but is now deservedly esteemed in high Perfection, as it is certainly stronger, more expressive, and more copious than heretofore. Still there is Reason to fear, that every Change is not[293] an Amendment; and if it be, a Lady should not be the first to adopt it: yet so it happens, that a Desire to appear wise and learned sometimes makes them over-shoot themselves, and thus by aiming too high, they are liable to fall too low.

The Sentiments of a young Lady of Quality should be noble, virtuous, and pure. While she is surrounded with external Grandeur, she must be taught to support a Dignity of Mind, without which, all her Pomp will be mere Farce and Pageantry, and only tend to inflame her Vanity; she must be taught to know, that the noblest Sentiments are those which inspire her with a Love of Virtue; and to be truly great, she must condescend frequently to revolve in her Mind the Hardships, Sorrow, Pain, and Sufferings of the various States beneath her: above all, she must be taught to maintain a spotless Innocence; and live in a constant Resolution to suffer any thing, however great, rather than disgrace her Birth and Quality by any Action unworthy of herself.

Her Deportment must answer her Quality, and be elevated, majestic, and noble; such as will strike us with Awe, at the same time that we see in it a Complacency and[294] Affability which charms us: such as will not suffer even the most bold and abandoned to offer the least Indecency or Rudeness, at the same time that it discovers a Heart susceptible of the tenderest Impressions. An easy Grace, a lively chearful Air should accompany all she says and does; but lest this should degenerate into Levity, she must be instructed never to throw off, that great Ornament of the Sex, Modesty.

Her Actions must be such as will contribute to others Happiness and her own; such as will reflect a Lustre on herself, and attract the Beholders of them to an unfeigned Esteem for her: Generosity, Benevolence, Charity, and Humility, accompanied with a Sweetness of Temper, should alternately prevail: and if the Distresses of others sometimes intrude too far upon her, (which from their great Severity they are apt to do) let her not add Misery to Misery, by dropping the Air of her Countenance, or use any Bitterness of Expression, at the same time that she refuses to relieve.

I have here laboured to shew what Education is necessary to adorn a Woman of Quality; and will leave it to abler Pens to refine, to correct, and improve it. What I[295] hope and wish is, that the Plan here laid down may be deemed natural, practicable, and no way repugnant to good Sense: nothing stoical, wild, or romantic; nothing, in short, (allowing for the Difference of Genius, Health, and other Circumstances) but what every Woman of Quality may and ought to be. But before I quit this Head, I cannot help remarking how injuriously Men often think and speak of the Capacities of the other Sex. If all be true that they urge, (which with some is still a Doubt) that the Understandings of Women are weaker than those of Men, yet it by no means excuses our excluding them from Education. Nature indeed seems to have formed the Men strong in Mind and Body, that they may labour either with their Understandings or their Limbs as Occasion requires; the Women more tender, for Employments of a gentler Kind: thus each have their several Provinces: allowing then the Woman to be the weaker Vessel, that is, neither her Frame nor Faculties so strong as the Man’s, does it imply that she has no Strength, no Faculties at all? by no Means. Experience shews us that the Sex have Wit, Judgment, and a Capacity to learn; how then can we justify our too general Neglect of them? But this Error is of great Consequence[296] even to ourselves. If our Love for the Sex extends no farther than a gross Sense, we miss our Aim if we expect to find Happiness; or if we go so far as to consider them useful in their domestic Capacity, that will not secure to us the agreeable: good Sense, and good Temper, improved more or less by Education, should be every Man’s View in a Partner for Life; and where shall we find them, if their Education be universally neglected? A rational Man should choose a rational Companion; but how will such be found, if Pains are taken to keep them ignorant? Thus it is evident, that we are injuring ourselves, and Posterity too, by this unworthy Treatment of the Sex. Still it seems reasonable, that as Men are to bear the Burden of Business, they should have superior Education, as well as superior Strength; therefore the only thing here contended for, is, that every Woman should have her Mind improved, her Understanding enlarged by such an Education as is best suited to her Condition in Life: such an one, in short, as will make her lastingly pleasing by being both useful and agreeable.

The Transition from the Nobility to the Gentry is very easy; for whatever Difference there may be as to Rank and Title, it is[297] certain that many private Gentlemen have equal Ability to educate their Children as they please. The Plan then already laid down for the Education of a Nobleman, will in general hold good here. The eldest Son, to whom our Laws give the Estate, should resemble our young Nobleman as nearly as may be; not from a vain Desire of being equal to him, (tho’ it is the Way to make him so) but from a laudable Ambition of being excell’d by none in Learning and Virtue. Still there will sometimes be great Difficulty to persuade young Gentlemen who are thus situated to apply themselves to Study: the early Knowledge they have of the Fortune they are to inherit makes them giddy; and they leave Study to their younger Brothers. What then is to be done? Parents must discard their outward Fondness for their Children, to prove their inward Affection; for how can they be said to love them, while they suffer them to live in Ignorance? how can they be said to love Virtue, yet lead their Children into Vice? Parents then must do violence to themselves, they must be in earnest, and consider that the Education of their Children is an indispensable Obligation. Parents, whatever be their Fortune, must exert a due Authority over their Children; must shew them[298] they are serious, and convince them that they will not be trifled with. Dr. Busby, the famous Master of Westminster School, is said to have made more eminent Scholars than any Man of his Time; the Reason is obvious, he was in earnest; his Scholars durst not trifle their Time away, or neglect their Studies: whether or no he carried it with so nice a Hand as never to err by his Rigour, I will not presume to determine; but if he did, it is no Matter of Surprise, since every Man is liable to Error. Whoever considers the Depravity of our Nature, how propense we are to love Ease, and fly from Labour, will be convinced that Boys stand in need of every Help to make them diligent. The Authority of the Parents, the Authority of the Masters, a Sense of their Duty, and a pleasing Prospect of Reward, by the Acquisition of Knowledge, must all combine to enforce their Compliance: and happy will it be for them if they can all produce the desired Effect. But it will be happier still, if the joint Endeavours of Parents and Teachers can create in Boys a Love for Study, and an ardent Desire to gain Knowledge: then it is we see them go to their Book with as much Alacrity as they go to Dinner; then it is we see them striving to excel; and the Knowledge they gain[299] from a Love of Learning, makes them sprightly and happy in themselves and pleasing to all that see them. Besides, this Turn of Mind has something in it so promising, that it is what every thinking Parent would wish for, and should earnestly strive to inculcate; yet he must not be surprised if he does not always find it; and indeed Experience shews us, that it is generally necessary to govern Children with a tight Rein: for early Indulgence does them incredible Mischief; in particular, it gives them a Reluctance for Study very hard to be conquered.

When these first Difficulties are got over, Parents should then apply themselves to their Children’s Understanding: the joining Reason and Authority together will give double Weight to their Injunctions. Suppose then a Father addressing his Son, let us see what Reason will dictate. “Do you know, my Dear, why you go to School? why I engage you in Study, and threaten you so severely if you neglect it? is it for my Sake, think you? or is it because I take Pleasure in giving you Pain? no; it is for your Sake alone that I thus urge your Obedience. Providence has made me the Instrument of your Being; therefore, as your natural[300] Guardian, I am accountable for your Education: Learning is the Road to Knowledge; Knowledge will lead you to Virtue; and Virtue to Happiness. Need you then any other Inducements to learn than the Duty you owe to me, and the Advantages that will accrue to yourself? no surely; I trust you will want no other Motive.” Is not this Method both rational and natural? I think it is undeniably so; and that, by these easy Means, Parents may, in general, promise themselves great Comfort in their Children by guiding them as they see proper. Children, if moulded while young, readily yield, like Wax, to the Impression; yet now they are merely passive: but when Reason gains Strength, when they see their Parents acting with a generous Affection for their Good alone, then it is that they are animated with a Love of Duty, and with a Desire to become every thing that they would have them be.

Every Gentleman of Fortune should certainly give all his Sons the Education of Gentlemen; and therefore the younger Brothers are, in the fundamental Points of Education, to accompany the eldest: but tho’ this be granted in general, yet there are certain particular Rules to be observed;[301] some one Point to be excepted against, another to be pursued, with many other things, according as Circumstances vary, all which require the Parents Attention. I have just observed, that the Foundation of their Learning should in all the Sons be becoming the Stock they spring from: but the eldest must be graced with every Ornament. He must be taught to know, that possessing a Fortune superior to his Brothers, obliges him to acquire superior Qualifications. He is to consider himself as one designed to do Honour to his Family, and to his Country; and be convinced, that if he neglects to cultivate his Mind, he will be a Disgrace to both.

Parents of this Class have, with regard to their younger Sons, two principal things to do: first, they are carefully to attend to their Genius, Temper, and Inclinations; and next they are to resolve on an Employment suited to them: this settled, they are to pursue their Education accordingly. The three learned Professions, Divinity, Law, and Physic, require not only deep Erudition, but require too a Species of Learning proper to each; besides, as these are Employments of the most serious Nature, and of the most weighty Consequence, not to give them all the Qualifications that human[302] Wit is capable of attaining, is surely a grievous Error. Yet are there sometimes other Errors too material to pass unobserved: not those of the Head, but of the Heart. It is in general hoped, that where due Care is taken in forming the Manners, the natural Corruption of the Heart may be corrected; but where that is neglected, or our Endeavours to effect it prove fruitless, which, it is to be feared, they sometimes will, the utmost Care should be taken in the Choice of an Employment for Life. It is a Rule in Life, that where we cannot do any great Good, we should do no Harm; and therefore it should be a Rule with Parents to place their bad Children, if they are so unhappy as to have any, as remote from Mischief as possible. Now to apply this to the Matter in hand, we must observe, that to fill up these important Stations with all their just Requisites, we must not only have a sound Education, and a clear Head; but we must also have an upright Heart: that is, we must resolve to banish every sinister Aim, and have no Views but those of Justice, Probity, and Honour. To what must we ascribe the general Reproaches thrown with so much Freedom on Professions which have in their Nature the strongest Claim to Respect, as their Foundation is Virtue,[303] Truth, and Justice; but to the corrupted Channels the Stream passes through? For tho’ Men’s Judgments frequently err, and false Constructions are often put on the best Actions; yet it is to be feared the Complaints are sometimes but too just. Men strongly tempted by irregular Passions, whether Pride, Avarice, Revenge, or others, will naturally incline to gratify them: hence then appears the Necessity, in these Professions particularly, of well-regulated Hearts: that on one side no Injury may be done, and on the other, that no Censure may be justly incurred.

It is to be presumed that the younger Sons of every Gentleman’s Family (unless by any lateral Means they have an independent Fortune) are to engage in some Profession or Employment, in order to their Advancement in the World; and it is perfectly right that they should: for by this means they may not only fill up their Time like reasonable Creatures, but become capable of doing Honour to some Profession, be useful to Mankind in general, and often raise a Fortune equal to their elder Brother. Now besides the learned Professions; the Sea, the Army, and the Exchange, with many others, needless to enumerate, are open for them to[304] engage in; and hence farther appears not only the Necessity of considering their Fortune, but of attending to their Genius, Temper, and Inclinations.

Nothing is more talked of than the Necessity of consulting our Children’s Genius; and I think verily there is nothing so little understood, or so little attended to. I know that many People say, there is nothing more easy to discover than the Genius of Children; but if we view the continual Errors committed in this Point, we shall have reason to think otherwise. What is more evident than a general Partiality of Parents to their Children? and what will naturally be the Consequence of it? certainly a false Estimation of their Capacity. However, difficult as I think this Knowledge is to be obtained, either from general Partiality, Want of Penetration, or the natural Inconstancy of Youth; yet let us not throw aside our Attention, nor wildly give up our Children to Chance; but rather let us improve the Reason Providence has endowed us with, and labour to draw such Conclusions as will most conduce to their real Happiness. To act therefore with Judgment in this weighty Matter, Parents must not, because a Boy says he will go to Sea, immediately send[305] him; nor because another says he will be a Soldier, directly buy him a Commission. One perhaps only wants to get away from his Studies, and the other thinks it a fine thing to wear a laced Coat. Youth is naturally giddy, and what they like to-day, they will often dislike to-morrow; Parents therefore would be grievously mistaken, were they to take every Start of Fancy, every premature Request of their Children for Genius. Still it is certain that they have many Ways of discovering what they are capable of, and what they are inclined to; therefore our Prudence and Judgment are to go hand in hand with these Discoveries. For Instance: if we see a Boy of intrepid Courage, loving, seeking, and enduring Hardships, and dwelling with Delight on maritime Affairs, at the same time that he has virtuous Dispositions, and both loves and applies to his Books; we need not hesitate to breed him to the Sea. So if we are convinced, that another seeks a Commission from true Honour and Courage, and from an ardent Desire to serve his King and Country, we may encourage his laudable Ambition; but if we discover that his Motives are those of being conspicuously dress’d, of sauntering and dangling one part of his Time away, and raking and gaming another part; if we see[306] too, that his only Fear, is the Fear of having occasion to fight; we should certainly reject his Request, and oblige him to apply another way: nay more, we should convince him how mean a Soul he must have, to seek so inglorious a life. In like manner, if we see a Boy whose Head is manifestly turned for Business, whose Cast of Temper argues Method in every Action, we may pretty safely conclude we hit his Genius, by making him a Merchant. But there is a capital Mistake Parents frequently commit, that is, their being influenced by some oblique Interest; which often tends to ruin their Children. For Example: the Family has a Living in their Gift, and a Boy must be bred a Clergyman on purpose to fill it: or there is an Uncle a Bishop, therefore the Nephew must be a Bishop too; tho’ perhaps he has no more Genius nor Chance for it, than he has of being Emperor of Morocco. Thus another, who would have been an Adept in the Mathematics, and have done Honour to the Science, or whose Sprightliness would have made a Figure in polite Literature, is cramp’d with the Study of the Law; not because he likes it, but because it is a Profession that may raise him to be a Judge; perhaps Lord Chancellor: tho’ he has as little Chance for either as the[307] Clerk to a Justice of Peace. A third, in Nature’s spite, is made a Physician, only because his Parents have seen a Mead, a Hulse, or a Wilmot standing at the Top of the Profession; and therefore conclude their Son will have equal Genius and equal Merit.

Here then it is evident, that Parents are often mistaken, not only by Inattention to the Genius of their Children, but by overrating their Parts; by fixing a Profession for them, perhaps as soon as they are born, or by blundering them into an Employment which their Education is not equal to. On this last Point let me explain myself. Suppose I have not over-rated a Boy’s natural Parts; suppose too that I have at great Expence kept him at School for ten Years; it does not from hence follow that he is learned: I must know if he has applied and improved these Years to his real Advantage; that is, whether his Learning is deep or superficial; I must know too the Tenor of his Studies, for even of those who are very diligent, all Parts of Learning are not equal Favourites; some are sprightly, some grave, some in short more striking to them than others: lastly, I must know if the Nature of his Education be adapted to the Employment I am about to engage him in. Without[308] Attention and Regard to these Circumstances, it will be impossible to keep clear of Error in the Disposal of our Children for Life: and as not only themselves, but Society too, must feel the good or bad Effects of our Choice, it is of the highest Consequence that it be judicious.

But Genius is not the only thing to be considered in the fixing our Sons for Life. Mr. Pope has a Position,[8] which does not tally with general Observation; for according to him there will hardly be a Man in ten thousand qualify’d for the Station he is in. True Genius is, I think, but rarely to be met with; plain natural good Sense, carefully improved by Education, will certainly enable the Generality of Men to become Proficients in any single Art or Science: that is, as by well directed Steps they are capable of acquiring great Perfection in one Way, so would they have been equally perfect had their Steps been directed another Way. Our Defects in general are not so much owing to the Want of Parts, as to the Want of cultivating them; hence appears that amazing Weakness in some Parents, in shewing a Boy as a Prodigy, when[309] every other Eye can see there is nothing uncommon in him; and hence too appears the Folly of others in neglecting those Improvements so essentially necessary for him.

From what has been here advanced it is pretty evident, that a young Gentleman of moderate Parts well improved, is capable of becoming whatever is pointed out for him, provided he is diligent. But here it is my earnest Request, that Parents resolve to make their Children happy; and this they cannot do but by complying in some measure with their Temper and Inclinations; for it is on this chiefly their Felicity depends. The same Boy (as I observed before) would become an Adept either in This or That Employment, but it is perhaps one only that will make him happy: therefore it is not always Genius, but Inclination, that requires our Regard.

The seeming Resemblance of Genius and Inclination may make some People take them for the same thing. Genius is a natural Gift, a Power in the Soul to do what another, without that Genius, cannot do: Inclination is a natural Propensity to pursue some certain Employment, whether we have Genius to execute it or not. We are told[310] of Cicero, that no Man had a stronger Inclination to be a Poet than himself; yet with all his great Abilities he had not a Genius for it. So in our own Times, we have seen Men with the greatest Itch of Writing produce nothing that argued Genius; some fond of Music almost to Distraction, without a Power of acquiring it: and others with a Passion for Painting, whose Genius amounted to nothing more than to dawb. On the other hand, there are Men possessed of Genius, but devoid of Inclination; so true is it, that however similar they appear, they are really distinct in themselves, sometimes very near to, at other times very distant from, one another. But to return to our Subject. As we have observed, that uncommon Genius is not to be always expected, and as we have shewn, that general good Capacity seldom is wanting; nothing more remains but to learn what Employment will suit our Sons Temper and Inclinations, and then compleat their Education accordingly. For surely it is wrong to insist on a Boy’s applying to the Law, when the Delight of his Soul is the Study of Physic and the Knowledge of Nature. Or is it not wrong to pin another down to the Study of Divinity, when Commerce engrosses his whole Attention; or his dauntless Heart[311] burns to traverse the Ocean? and is it not equally wrong to make a Boy a Merchant, who delights in the Study of the Law? most certainly. These therefore are the things we must attend to, these the general Steps to be taken or avoided; and as none but general Rules can be laid down, the particular Exceptions every Parent’s Judgment must supply.

A young Lady of the second Rank comes next under my Consideration: but as I have dwelt pretty largely on the Woman of Quality, I have not occasion to say much here. One material Distinction to be made in a Lady of this Class is, whether she is an only Child, an Heiress, no Brother in the way to enjoy the Estate; or whether she is only a younger Child, and is to share the Fate of her younger Brothers or Sisters. In the first Case, I would recommend that her Education approach to that of a Woman of Quality, since it is highly probable she will become one; at least if her Education, Conduct, and Deportment correspond with those of superior Rank, she will always be Company for them: but, in the other Case, that is, where a Brother sweeps away the Estate, it is certain that her Education[312] need not be so brilliant, nor ought to be so expensive as in the first. Yet let not this damp a young Lady’s Spirits; I do not mean to make her less happy, nor recommend the least Neglect of her; far from it. A State Coach with three Footmen answers no better than a plain Coach with one, for all the Purposes of a Coach: and a Diamond Necklace keeps a Lady no warmer than a Necklace of inferior Value. Thus it is with the Education of a Woman of Quality; it is in some measure merely ornamental, without being essential to her Happiness. Still it is fit it should be so. When the Superscription of a Letter begins with Her Grace, or Right Honourable, when a Coach or Chair appears with a Coronet, ’tis fit that due Deference and due Distance be observed; and to secure this, ’tis fit that her Education have a suitable Dignity. But, as I have just observed, this is not essential to her Happiness: and if those in private Life, and of moderate Fortunes, aim at equalling these either in external Appearances, or in too exalted an Education, they are pretty sure of running into Error; for Happiness much depends on an Education suited to our Condition in Life. Thus while I esteem it a Misfortune for a Woman of Rank not to[313] appear to the utmost Advantage, it seems no less a Misfortune for a young Lady in private Life vainly to aspire at equalling her.

Still I warmly urge, that no contemptuous Neglect be shewn her; let her be taught as thorough a Knowledge of her Mother-tongue as if she were a Princess; let her too write, and dance, and speak French to Perfection: Music too I recommend, but not to Perfection. Here, I am afraid, my Readers will start, and think that either the Author or the Printer has committed an Error; but a little Patience, and we shall, I hope, understand one another. When we consult a Physician, or a Council, they take the Fee, and give us their Opinion; which Opinion we may either reject or follow as we please. When I set out in this Undertaking, I declared myself not a Lawgiver, but an Adviser; as such then let me be considered. I speak my Mind freely, and like an honest Lawyer give my Opinion honestly; where the Advice is good, follow it; where erroneous, reject it: thus should all reasonable People do, taking along with them this Caution, not to condemn rashly and precipitately, but weigh the Matter well; and neither lavishly bestow unjust Praises, nor unfairly rob Merit of it’s Due. This premised, I return to my Subject. It[314] is very certain, that a young Lady of this Class should learn Music; it gives her a sprightly pleasing Air; it is a fine Relaxation from more serious Employments; and it greatly contributes to keep up a Chearfulness thro’ the whole Family: but I would not have her ambitious to excel; and I think Parents ought not to covet it. To attain Music to great Perfection, and to study the Italian for that Purpose, is a Work of great Labour, Time, and Expence; too much by far to gain what at last amounts to no more than an Amusement. Ladies of great Rank and Fortune have every thing at their Command, therefore should aim at Perfection in all they undertake; but those in more private Life, have certainly other things to do. They are, by all the Rules of Prudence, to be taught to work: they should be taught to know too, that they must reduce their Theory to Practice. They are to stoop likewise to domestic Cares; whereby they will often be enabled to boast a Happiness which greater Ladies are Strangers to. But supposing that either to gratify herself or her Friends she engages deeply in the Study of Music; Parents are here often cajoled out of their Money, and their Senses too, by their Daughter’s fancied Excellence: and the same Man that is lavish in his Praises to the fond Father’s Face, will perhaps in the[315] very next Company swear the Girl squeaks like a Pig. There is a great deal of Insincerity, nay the grossest Flattery, attends this kind of Study; and Parents in general have need of better Eyes than common to see thro’ it. However, not to injure the young Lady’s Capacity, I will grant that she really does excel: still I say, her Time might have been much better employed in acquiring more useful Knowledge: such as is properly suited to her Station. There are yet other Inconveniencies attending this Study when a Lady excels, or has the Reputation of it; that of exposing both her and the Parents to a great deal of gay Company at least, if no worse; such as tends to dissipate the Mind, to shut out Reflection, and thereby check or prevent the Knowledge of more weighty Obligations: and it often likewise exposes them to a great deal of ill-timed Expence: which, as every Day’s Experience shews us, frequently does great Harm, but seldom any Good.

It is certain that every populous Place, especially a polite City like London, ought to have some Entertainments of this Kind; and Persons of Quality and Fortune should give due Encouragement to them, as the Performers make it their Bread, and labour their whole Lives to excel, that they may give them[316] the utmost Entertainment in their Power: all this, I say, is highly reasonable, if reasonably used. But will not a Concert, an Opera, or an Oratorio always furnish this? most certainly. Is it worth a young Lady’s while, whose Fortune perhaps will be but scanty, to consume a great deal of Time and Money, and at last fall short of a Stage-performer? by no Means: any more than it is an Honour to a Man of Quality to be called the first Fiddle in the Kingdom; or for a Gentleman to boast that he can beat his Coachman at driving.

If to the Steps already laid down of a young Lady’s Education of this Rank be added Arithmetic, Drawing, and Geography, I think every thing will be done that her Parents need Wish; and enough, if well improved, to enable her to make a very advantageous Figure. Still she should be taught to know that this is only learning the Road; and she herself, with these Guides, is to take care not to go wrong: good Company, good Books, and an Attention to her own Actions, are to compleat her. She should not aim at more deep or learned Studies, which probably would only make her affected or pedantic; make her a Pain to herself, and disgustful to all who converse with her, particularly her own Sex. Knowledge[317] does not consist in Words, but in Things; and a Language, merely as a Language, conveys only the Knowledge of Words. If on this Foundation, and with these Materials, she builds with Care, with Diligence and Judgment, I dare affirm, that these alone will furnish her with every Means of being wise and happy.

I am now to treat of the third Class of People, the Men of Trade and Commerce, in which I comprize the Merchants, and all those that are usually distinguished by the Epithets of genteel Trades and good Businesses: such as require Figure, Credit, Capital, and many other Circumstances to conduct and support them: But I confess there is no small Difficulty herein. In some Countries the Gentry and the Men of Trade are as distinct People as if each were a Kingdom by itself: England, a trading Nation, connects more closely the whole Body of the People; links them, as it were, in one continued Chain, and brings them nearer to a Level. The Man of Trade marries the Daughter of the Gentleman; the Gentleman the Tradesman’s Daughter: and again, the Gentleman makes his Son (the younger at least) a Man of Trade. Hence arises the Difficulty of separating them; nor can it indeed be altogether done. The Reputation[318] and Value of Trade has convinced Gentlemen of the Usefulness and Necessity of an Alliance with it; and Trade is greatly indebted to the many and great Fortunes thrown into it from the Produce of Estates: thus are they blended and interwoven; and thus are they become reciprocally beneficial. Still, according to the general State of things, regarding the various Ranks in Life, I think we may make one sensible Distinction without Offence; that is, Gentlemen may be said to stoop or condescend to Trade, and Trade may be said to aspire not only to an Alliance with Gentry, but to become Gentry too. Thus while I honour Trade, I would by no means fail to pay a due Respect to Gentry; and therefore give them that Preference they are intitled to.

Birth, Education, and Manners, may be said to constitute the Gentleman. Birth alone, tho’ a Claim, is too poor a one to deserve that Title; Education adds indeed a Lustre to Birth; but both together are not sufficient without Manners: that is, to complete the Gentleman, they should all unite. To adjust this Matter fairly, we may without Impropriety urge, that Manners alone will give us a better Claim than Birth and Education together; and why? because these are not in our Power to choose. For[319] Example: It is not my Fault that I was not born a Nobleman, nor did I choose my own Education, but my Parents for me; yet when once I have learnt to know Right from Wrong, if I chuse the Right, and labour to maintain it for Virtue’s Sake; surely some Degree of Merit is mine: therefore, to use again the good old Bishop of Winchester’s Motto, Manners maketh Man. Still, as I observed before, to perfect the Character, all should combine: and thus if the Man of Trade depends on his Acquisitions only, he will find himself greatly mistaken. There is a pleasant Story told of King Charles II. I think not unapplicable here. An unbred Citizen becoming very rich, made a Friend at Court, who informed the King he desired much to be made a Gentleman; That, says the King, with a Smile, is not perhaps in my Power; but tell him, I’ll do better, I’ll make him a Knight. Thus at the same time that he conferred an Honour, he ingeniously reproached him, by shewing, that, to make a Gentleman, required something more than even Money or Title. The principal thing then that Men of Trade have to do is, to keep clear of Self-sufficiency; and avoid that Arrogance and Conceit which Money is apt to create. Their frequent Marriages and Intermarriages with well-bred People,[320] are some Means to effect this; and educating their Children suitably is another. Thus the rising Generation at least will be improved; and hence appears the Necessity of good Education and well-regulated Manners for this Class of People: that as they insensibly, as it were, become allied to their Betters, they may be taught properly to coincide with them.

Many Reasons prove the Necessity of good Education for People of this Class. In a Society of Men, suppose a Coffee-house, we see a promiscuous Croud of Gentlemen and Men of Trade; in an Assembly of Women, we see mixed with the Gentry, not only the Wife of the Merchant, but that of the Brewer, the Distiller, the Druggist, and the Draper; and it is highly necessary that these should have such Education, and their Manners so regulated, as will make them fit Company for those. But there are more weighty Reasons yet. Every Man conversant in Life, must have observed, not only the many calamitous Falls from high to low; but also the frequent Progressions from low to high; and where these Advancements are the Fruits of honest Industry, I rejoice with them in their Success. A Citizen grown rich by Trade, resolves to approach to the Gentry; and his first Advance[321] is usually to the Center of the Town. Here for a while he sits down, and with sweet Content enjoys the Fruit of his past Labours; but perhaps it is only for a while; the Heart of Man is restless, and he burns to taste the Manners of the Court: thus he flies to St. James’s Square, Grosvenor Square, Berkley Square, or one of the surrounding Streets; thus the Son gets a Post, and the Daughter marries a Lord; and thus the next Generation or two reaches the Summit of Grandeur and Honour. If things are so, and daily Experience proves they are, is it not highly necessary to set out with a good Education? most certainly. Still it should be a suitable one. A Man of Trade may be qualified to keep his Betters Company, without vainly aspiring to be like them; for that would be rendering him unfit for the very Trade he is engaged in. Every Man may and ought to look forward; but if every Man anxiously dwells on future Greatness, and continually dreams of Posts, Titles, and Palaces, it is the certain Way never to reach them: for tho’ the Advancements just pointed out are, I think, literally true, yet are the Instances but few in comparison with the whole. Therefore the Business of Parents is, to give their Children first a just Sense of their present Station; then to guide their Education, and regulate[322] their Manners accordingly; that done, leave the rest to Providence.

I hope this Reasoning upon the close Connection of Gentry and Trade is clear and express; and proves what I advanced, that they are not to be wholly separated. Whence it appears, that the Education both of Boys and Girls of this Class must in general be like that of the preceding. Still some Judgment, Prudence, and Self-knowledge are necessary to guide Parents herein.

The first wise Caution is, that Parents consider their own Fortune, and the real Prospects before them: it is not enough that a Man be of such or such a Trade, to entitle him to train his Child equal to another of the same Trade; for if this be taken as a Guide, many grievous Errors will be committed. What can be a greater Misfortune, than to educate a Boy like a fine Gentleman, and not be able to support it? or to train a Girl with the Expectation of keeping her Coach, and have little or nothing to give her? yet is this often the Case. Another Caution is, not to neglect such an Education as may be at least solidly useful, if they cannot reach the ornamental Part; for as Carving, Gilding, and Painting may at any time be added to adorn a[323] well-proportioned Room, so a sound Education is every Day capable of Improvement: and as the Vicissitudes of Life are many, it is right that Children should on every proper Occasion be able to prove the Goodness of the Stock they spring from. To set this Matter in the clearest Light, let us suppose any two of the same Business, no matter what; one has a large Trade and small Family, the other a small Trade and large Family; the Trade being the same, our Idea of both the Men will at first Sight be alike; but if we come to a nearer View, and thence draw a Comparison, we shall find it very unequal: for tho’ a Merchant is still a Merchant, yet while one has great Difficulty to give his Daughter a single thousand Pound, the other can with Ease give his twenty thousand. Thus, tho’ each should educate his Children suitable to his Character, yet each should at the same consider his Abilities.

Many other Rules laid down in the preceding Class hold equally good in this. The Genius and Frame of Mind are to be attended to; particular Studies are to be appropriated to particular Employments; the Disposition of Soul should be nicely searched into, that every thing mean, narrow, or base, may be subdued by the Principles of a[324] generous Education. Most young People, even of both Sexes, place their Happiness in external Appearance, but Girls have naturally the strongest Passion for Dress and Show; now Parents can never make the Education of their Children solid, unless they reverse this Disposition, not only by teaching them the Emptiness of this false Happiness, but by teaching them where to find the true. There is indeed an Appearance suitable to every Station, which to neglect, would be sinking into Meanness, and be a Disrespect to those we live among; that then should be regarded, but that alone; for all above should be made indifferent to us: Happiness is in the Mind, and to improve the Mind is the Way to reach it. Nor is Happiness more among the Great, with all their Grandeur, than among the Little; and if it be, the Fault is in ourselves; since nothing is truer than the Maxim, which says, that Happiness does not consist in enlarging our Possessions, but in contracting our Desires. Nothing therefore can be more dangerous in the educating our Children, than cherishing in them a Passion for Dress, especially the raising them above their Abilities. Children should be taught to know, that it is not how they look, but what they feel, that deserves Solicitude: thus too in estimating Riches; it is not what we lose,[325] but what we suffer, that merits our Regard; since we may sometimes lose a great deal, and suffer nothing.

Parents, in educating their Children, are to make them pleasing and useful. It is the Opinion of several ingenious Writers, that the first Appearance of a Stranger makes the strongest and most lasting Impression on us; that, as they shew to more or less Advantage at first Sight, so do we think more or less favourably of them ever after. Now, tho’ I do not think this is universally true, since Experience shews us that some who strike us at first never give us any Pleasure in their Company afterwards, and others who have nothing very pleasing in the Beginning of our Acquaintance, improve upon us at every Visit, and insensibly gain our Esteem; yet it is certain, that our Deportment should always be such as may dispose People to think favourably of us, and never such as can justly offend. But here I must observe, that young People are very apt to prostitute this Disposition, by using it only occasionally; whereas, to make it a Virtue, it must be exercised universally, and become a settled Habit; in short, it must flow from the Heart. A young Gentleman is to pay a Visit to a great Man, to a rich Aunt, or to some Person of Distinction, of whom[326] perhaps he has Views or Expectations; what Pains are taken to make a graceful Appearance, how exact is his Deportment, how nice is his Behaviour, and how pleasing his Conversation! The Visit paid, the Mask is thrown off, and he is a very Bear to every one else; nay perhaps even to his Parents, to whom he owes all that he enjoys. So too a young Lady who is to make her Appearance at an Assembly; no Player studies more to get their Part before they come on the Stage, than she to attract her Beholders; but then, like them too, when her Part is over, she often falls below herself. But have Actions like these any Merit in them? can it be a Virtue never to be civil but where we expect to gain by it? ought we not to give every thing it’s proper Name, and call such Behaviour Dissimulation and Hypocrisy? most certainly. To obviate then this Error in our Children, and prove the real Use of Education, let Parents be very careful to teach them an universal good Behavior; not partial, narrow, or confined, but such as will shew itself at all Times, on all Occasions, and to all Degrees of People: and if, as has been observed, the first Impressions generally make for or against us according as we behave, Youth must be taught to consider themselves as continually seen by somebody or other for[327] the first time; and therefore they must always demean themselves in such manner as to deserve Esteem, if they ever hope to gain it.

The other Point of Education is to make our Children useful; therefore nothing that can contribute to it should be omitted. A young Man, besides the first Education bestowed on him, besides the Pains taken by his Parents to engage him in such a Station as gives him the fairest Prospect of Happiness to himself, must be instructed to employ his Talents to the Benefit of others; and in all things, as far as is consistent with Prudence, Justice, and Self-preservation, promote the Happiness and Advantage of every one within his Reach. Here let me add, that while our Laws give the Men superior Power, a Father should be very careful to fix in his Son a tender regard to the opposite Sex; not indeed to become their Slaves, or degenerate into Effeminacy; not to be the Dupe of those who study to allure; but to have a just Sense of their Merit, their Innocence, and their Virtue: and thence resolve never to despise, insult, or oppress them, nor ever to impose a Hardship on them too great to bear. A Girl, on the other hand, is to be taught, that a Degree of Subjection is allotted her; but that it[328] must never be base, nor ever need be mean. She must know too, that the Fruits of her Education are to appear in her Actions; to this End, besides her Knowledge of Books, the Exercise of her Needle, her Pen, and her Figures, she is to understand the Management of a House, be acquainted with the various Seasons of Provisions, the Price of Markets, Skill in Carving, Demeanour at Table, and, in a Word, the whole Oeconomy of a Family. Lastly, she must know that her Province is to please, and that every Deviation from it, is thwarting Nature; but that the chearful Exercise of those Obligations her Station requires, will best secure Happiness to herself, and the Esteem of all who behold her.

I flatter myself that what I have here said, will furnish my Readers of this Class with some Help to guide them thro’ the Difficulties that naturally attend their Duty as Parents. And if to this they add the Exercise of their own Judgment, by varying the Rules as they see necessary, their Children will undoubtedly receive much Improvement; and reflect great Honour on themselves, who thus aim at the general Good, not only of their own Offspring, but of all Posterity.


I have here enlarged on the Steps necessary to be taken for educating three Classes of People, and now proceed to treat of the fourth; which comprehends a very large Part of the Kingdom, but London particularly; viz. all the inferior Trades, and many others, that, according to the Custom of associating together, we may consider as forming one Division. Men, very valuable in their Way, and of boundless Use to Society: tho’ by the Wisdom of Providence born rather to Labour than to Idleness; to be obedient to the Laws, than to be the Dispensers of them.

I am well aware that Difficulties will occur to me on this Head, and thereby sometimes break the Order of my Design; but, as I have elsewhere observed, when Exceptions from general Rules are reasonable, it is perfectly right to adhere to them. It would be Affectation in me to call myself such a Stranger to the World, as not to know the Influence of Money: Mankind is apt to contract a Degree of Esteem for all who possess it; and the Possessor seldom fails to set a sufficient Value on himself for it. Thus it often happens that Men, whose Business is but mean, grow wealthy, have perhaps an only Child, and think they have a Right to educate it as they please; for my[330] own Part I do not mean expressly to oppose it, because it may be nipping a promising Fruit in the Bud; but Parents of this Class stand in need of more Knowledge to conduct themselves herein than commonly speaking they are possess’d of.

Nothing is more frequent than for Men in different Stations to ruin themselves by rashly aspiring; and he who has Reputation and Credit in one Sphere, is perhaps undone if he moves beyond it. But while we see that Money is apt to make Men even of good Understanding and good Education giddy, no wonder that those of obscure Birth, no Education, and a Life of ordinary Employment, spent mostly in ordinary Company, value themselves for their Possessions far beyond Desert. To this is owing that vain Strut, that supercilious Air, and Contempt of others, so frequent in People of this Class; and hence too arise those Errors they daily commit, by an ostentatious Education of their Children; by vainly aspiring to equal their Betters, and often to surpass them, at least in Appearance. I had occasion, some Years ago, to make a Visit to a young Lady of Fashion and Fortune at one of our Boarding-Schools near Town, where the best dress’d Girl in the whole House was a Poulterer’s Daughter.[331] Can there be any thing more absurd than this? yet is there any thing more common? It is a general Observation, that ordinary People dress their Children finer than People of Fashion; and why? only because they will shew the World they are able to do it, and therefore will not be outdone. Parents are not aware how destructive this false Pride, this vain mistaken Fondness is to their Children: and the first Effect it has on them is, to make them ashamed of their Parents, those very People who thus mislead them. Can any thing be more preposterous and unnatural? yet is it undeniably true.

There is an unhappy Propensity among Mankind in general of being ashamed of their poor and mean Relations, even among the Good; it is a Spark of Pride very hard to be extinguished, yet it may and ought to be done. And considering that scarcely a Family in the Kingdom is without them, more or less, it is Matter of Surprise that such Pains should be taken to stifle and conceal them: especially too if we reflect how much real Honour it does ourselves to cherish, to countenance, and to espouse them. Still it is true, that there is this Propensity, this Weakness in Men, either from their Nature, or their Education. Shall we then,[332] instead of keeping under this Pride in ourselves, lead our Children into it too? shall we deck them out so far above themselves only to despise us? and to make them falsely happy, make ourselves truly wretched? nothing can be a greater Folly, and nothing requires more the Parents Care to avoid. I remember I once called to see a Friend who was an Apothecary; a young Fellow, my Friend’s Apprentice, was at Work behind the Counter, and out peep’d a laced Waistcoat. (I must observe it was in those Days when a laced Waistcoat stood for something, for it has now, I think, lost all it’s Significance.) As the Appearance was unusual, I enquired who that young Gentleman was; and, to my great Surprise, was informed he was the Son of a Coachman; and the Lace he wore was taken off his Father’s Livery. Thus what was before no better than the Badge of Dependence, is now turned into an Instrument of Contempt and Ridicule. In how many of these things do the Weakness and Folly of Parents appear? would such a Boy own his Father on the Coach-box? or would he not rather, with an audacious Cock of his Hat, pass contemptuously by him? nothing better could be expected. And yet People who take these Steps wonder their Children are[333] not good; wonder they are proud, vain, and untoward, when they themselves have made them so.

Another Effect attending this misplaced Indulgence, this false Education, besides the making them ashamed of their Parents and Relations, is, the Influence it has on the Children’s future Lives: the Parents, it is true, are often made wretched, but the Children are not happy. Every thing raised above itself is in a precarious tottering State; the Building, whose Foundation is weak, is every Day liable to fall; and the Man who pretends to what he cannot maintain or support, is in perpetual Danger of Ruin. Self-sufficiency and Money may make his Outside passable; but if he is all Meanness, all Ignorance within, he can never procure a Grain of Esteem, nor ever be solidly happy. Children may in time discover their Parents Mistakes and their own Misfortune, but will then perhaps have no Remedy to apply. Happy had it been for them had their Education suited their Condition in Life; they would then have laboured with honest Chearfulness; and by keeping within their proper Sphere, have had their Labours crown’d with Success.

My Readers of this Class will, I am[334] afraid, be apt to mistake me, and think I design to keep them in a low dependent State; such an one as they call being unhappy; far from it: I would not have undertaken this Treatise at all, had I not designed the real, the universal Good of Mankind. Without Vanity I can say it, no one has a more disinterested, a more general Love of human Nature than myself; thousands have superior Abilities, but few, perhaps none, have superior good Wishes for the Happiness of Society; and should this very Performance prove a Trifle, the Fault may be in my Head, but it is not in my Heart: my Intention is good, if my Power is weak. Let this then serve as an Apology to all my Readers, but let those of this Class in particular be persuaded, that my Design is to augment the Happiness of their Children, not to lessen it. But then, they must resolve to seek Happiness where it can be found; if they wander into a Maze of Difficulties, and get into a Sphere they are utter Strangers to, they will most probably miss of it; but if they confine themselves within their own proper Orb, they need not fear to find it. Still there is Reason to apprehend, that Men of every Rank, and even among the lowest, will value themselves not for what they are, but for what they have; and while People[335] mistake Head for Brains, and Money for Merit, the best Advice will often be useless.

But great as this Folly is, there is a much greater reigning. Money, as I have already observed, is extremely apt to intoxicate Mankind; and it’s Influence is but too visible both in high and low Life: but there are thousands of this Class of People who pride themselves in educating their Children learnedly and expensively, without the least Pretensions upon Earth. If a Gentleman upon the Decay can get his Son educated suitable to his Birth, Regard to his Family, and Regard to his Education, may obtain him a genteel and profitable Employment: so too, if a Man in an inferior Station is convinced he can purchase his Son a Place or a Commission suitable to his superior Education, there is certainly room to justify him, tho’ we blame his Vanity; but that People without the least Expectations, that are conscious they cannot give their Children a Shilling, who have not the Honour of a Family to support, nor a Reputation to maintain, should run these strange Lengths, is amazing! The Truth is, Pride and Ignorance are their Guides; they scorn to be outdone by their Neighbours, tho’ all the while they really don’t know what it is they are doing.


It is to be presumed that Children while Children, and while educating, are in general Strangers to what may be their future Fortune on the part of their Parents: now if they are taught to think themselves equal to their Betters, taught to expect mighty things, and at length find nothing, it is, I think, a grievous Calamity on one side, and gross Injustice on the other: and yet is this evidently a daily Error.

The same things that yield us great Good, are often productive of great Evil. Food, designed by the Laws of Nature to preserve Life and Health, is often made the Instrument to destroy it. Education, designed to lead us to Happiness, by enlarging and improving our Understandings in some certain Way, is often made the Instrument of our Destruction. Hence appears the Necessity of a temperate and a judicious Use of both; and hence too we see, that the Education suitable for one, is very unfit for another. But I will now point out what Education appears to me to be generally proper for People of this Class; and where solid Reasons make particular Exceptions necessary, it is my Advice that Reason take place of general Rules.

I will suppose then that my Readers design[337] with me the real Good of their Children; and neither mean to neglect them, nor to hazard their Ruin by overdoing things. To this End Boys are to be taught Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Drawing; to which may be added, a Knowledge of Maps. This Plan, tho’ comprized in a few Words, contains all they need, nay all they ought to learn. It is usual in the common Businesses to put Boys Apprentice at about fourteen Years old; now supposing they begin to learn at seven, they have Work enough cut out for seven Years at least; which if well attended to, and their Time be well employed, is capable of turning to great account. I mean not to give offence to any one, but as the Province I am engaged in obliges me to speak my Thoughts, I may offend without Intention: and honest Truth, in a Matter of this Importance, is not to be disguised. My Advice then is, that Boys of this Class never once attempt to learn Latin. What do they want with it? or what use can they make of it? will it enable a Man to make better Shoes? will it assist a Taylor in cutting out a Coat? or will it give a Barber a keener Edge to his Razor? Parents, when they send a Boy to School, are often guided by the Master what he shall learn; he, naturally fond of advancing his Scholar, puts him into Latin; and[338] thinks him shabby without it. But is it not possible that this Gentleman may be a Man of real Merit, a good Grammarian, nay a compleat classic Scholar, yet a very bad Judge of Life? most certainly. The Boy is thrust headlong into things he does not want, and neither Parents nor Master consider the End: for tho’ it is certain that Parents cannot always tell what their Children will be, yet those of this Class are pretty sure they want not deep Learning.

Of all the Mistakes committed in Education, none is equal to that of our being thrust into an Employment for which we are unqualified; especially too if it be one of a serious important Nature; now no People on Earth are so liable to this as the Class we are treating of; for as they are apt to take a Remove beyond themselves for profound Knowledge, they plunge their Children into a Labyrinth of Difficulties, by engaging them in a Profession or Science far beyond their Power to reach.

I have already urged, that, in the Case before us, a learned Education is needless and improper; but this is saying too little of it, and treating it too mildly: we may go farther, and shew that it is even hurtful, by being an Impediment to more useful[339] Knowledge: and farther still, that it is not always what it is taken for. A Boy in common Life has perhaps about seven Years Schooling; the greatest Part whereof is employed in learning Latin: his English is notoriously neglected; and Writing and Arithmetic he gains but imperfectly. Now I beg leave to ask, whether these three last are not more useful to a Boy of this Stamp than Latin? and whether it is not a Misfortune to spend his Time in gaining what he has no use for, and omitting what he wants? But it is an Error in me to call it gaining, when in Reality it is losing: for after a Boy has been puzling his poor Brains, and been tortured with Latin for several Years, it is ten to one that, comparatively speaking, he knows nothing: that is, nothing radical, and to the Bottom; nothing, in short, but what one Year’s Apprenticeship will entirely efface. As a Proof that this is no Exaggeration, losing Learning is not only the Fate of Boys in common Life, who seldom get more than a Smattering, but it is confessed by every Gentleman, by the deepest Scholars, that a long Disuse of a Language, or almost any Branch of Learning, will in great measure wear it out of our Memories: or at least take off that Facility which constitutes Perfection. A Relation of mine was sent to London some Years ago to be educated fit[340] for Business; a Friend had the Care of him; who, after sending him to learn Reading, Writing, and Accompts for some Time, resolved to compleat him by putting him for a Year to Merchant-Taylors School to learn Latin. He did so; and that finished, he was put Apprentice to a Cabinet-maker. But what availed his Latin? just nothing. In three Months time he saw’d and planed it all away; he was not a Pin the better for it; but he lost a Year of precious Time, that might have been very usefully employed in improving what he had before learn’d, and in applying himself to Drawing: a thing absolutely necessary for the very Business he was put to, and which, to my own Knowledge, he has often lamented the Want of. Now this is not a single Instance, an accidental Mistake, but a general Error; hundreds and thousands of which might be every day produced: the Consequences whereof are always more or less wrong, and sometimes very fatal.

I have observed that useful things are neglected, to run in pursuit of what to them is useless; that is, they leave a certain Good for a precarious one. But we may reason still farther on this Head with great Utility. Mankind is by Nature aspiring and ambitious; and where Wisdom and Prudence accompany our Steps herein, they are highly[341] laudable. But if, instead of these, Ignorance and Vanity are our Guides, we are pretty sure of going wrong. A Man of mean Extraction, and illiterate, takes these mistaken Steps already pointed out, in bringing up his Son; whence a false Pride is stamped on both, and is sure to increase with the Boy’s Learning. The Father’s Care is to keep his Boy from disgracing his Education. “Jack, (says he) I have bestowed Learning on you, to make you a Man; look forward, and I don’t fear but you will make your Fortune.” And the Son at the same time takes care to think himself a better Man than his Father. But let us conduct him on; he is now a Gentleman; because he has, or fancies he has, Learning. He must dress fine, and keep Company with his Betters; this leads him to Expences he cannot afford; no matter, he is a Gentleman, and must appear like one. His Father, after rumaging his Brains for a genteel Employment, at length puts his Son to an Attorney. But that’s a dull Life, he likes the Stage better; and after having seen Plays by the hundred, he concludes himself equal to any thing, and turns Player: where perhaps his highest Character is to speak the Prologue in Hamlet’s mock Play, or to be the rueful Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet. It is too well known what kind[342] of Lives these Gentlemen lead; they are mostly riotous, extravagant, miserable, and short. Now can it be denied that these, and such as these, are the fatal Consequences of this false Education? surely daily Experience convinces us it cannot. But as I labour for the public Good, so I desire to do the strictest Justice. I will grant then that a Boy of this Stamp, and thus trained, does all on his Part to advance himself; that he is prudent, temperate, and virtuous; still he has neither Bottom, Interest, nor Friends; it is an hundred, perhaps a thousand to one, if he arrives at any thing higher than being a Hackney-Writer, an Usher to a School, or at most the slavish Master of an insignificant one.

Permit me here a short Digression. There are no People in the World, whom I at the same time both honour and pity, so much as Schoolmasters and Preceptors; those particularly to whom we owe the most essential, the most solid Part of our Education. There is something strangely inconsistent in Mankind, or they could not see a Master incessantly slave, and toil, and sweat to instruct others, and leave him at last without Reward. The Man who is qualified for a Teacher, must have laboured many Years in the Pursuit of Knowledge. If we would[343] wish this Man to do Justice to our Sons, we certainly should do Justice to him; that is, we should prove, at the same time that we desire our Children to be made wise, that we have so much Gratitude as to make him happy, by rewarding him as he deserves. From this ungrateful Disposition, or, from a very misplaced Frugality, it often happens that Parents do not seek the best Teachers, but the cheapest; whence not only follow the fatal Consequences attending a bad Education, by a seeming one passing for real, but also that many, who are by no means qualified, undertake the important Task. To return then to my Subject, we cannot doubt but that some of these unqualified Teachers are the Fruits of this false Education we have been speaking of; Men, who tho’ unequal to the Task they are engaged in, would have been distinguished as eminent Proficients in another Way, and been very valuable to Society; while in this, the highest Honour they arrive at, is perhaps the holding forth with a dictatorial Air in an Ale-house.

Many are the evil Effects this false Education produces; for thro’ the Mistakes of Parents, the Pride of Children shews itself very early, and daily gathers Strength: they soon look down with Scorn and Contempt[344] on the mean Business of their Father; and soon aspire to what they have not the least Chance to reach. But as they have been injudiciously taught to aspire, we cannot greatly wonder at their mistaken Conduct: hence we see them spending their Lives not merely in Trifles, but in Riot, Extravagancies, and Debauchery: averse to Employment, averse to Labour; too learned to be industrious, too ignorant to be wise. But how much happier would they be to know themselves, and keep within that Self-knowledge! How sweet is that Bread which is earn’d with honest Industry! How much happier is the Man that labours at his Loom, than he who with mistaken Pride, despising it, is perhaps reduced to be dependent on others! Could then Parents in general of this Rank, but learn Content in their Stations, and keep their Children from soaring beyond their Reach, they would secure much Comfort to both, besides contributing to the Happiness of Posterity.

My Readers will remember that the Scheme of Education for Boys of this Class, is Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Drawing, and a Knowledge of Maps. I will now shew what Advantage may be made of these, and endeavour to prove, that this is so far from being a contemptible Education, that[345] when attained to Perfection, it is not only useful, but very extensively so.

Mr. Addison says, that every Man who reasons is a Logician, tho’ he has never studied the Rules of Logic: so too we may say, that every Man who speaks grammatically is a Grammarian, tho’ he has not been taught Grammar. What I here mean is, that a due Attention to Children, and proper Instructions with regard to English only, will enable them to make a very considerable Figure both in Reading and Speaking. Nature furnishes us with the Faculty of Speech, but the Mode of it in great measure depends on the Place we are born in, and the Language we are accustomed to hear. The Court, and the learned Part of a Nation, certainly speak the purest Language; the Vulgar and the Illiterate speak the coarsest, and the most corrupt: but there are many Degrees between, who may be said to have the Power of choosing, as they frequently hear both. It is then the Parents Business to be greatly attentive in this important Point; especially as Experience shews us that a great Man can be vulgar, and a little one polite, and the Medium can neglect the Advantages in his Power by adhering to the wrong Side, when with equal Ease he may attain the right. I have already cautioned the Great never to[346] sink beneath their Quality; and while they learn to be humble, they must carefully avoid being mean. I have also recommended to the Gentry to approach as near to the Quality in good Behaviour and polite Language as possible: and to those of this Class, I strongly urge, that every thing coarse, vulgar, and incorrect, is not only improper, but highly unbecoming; is not only abusing the Faculties Providence has furnished them with, but is debasing their Nature. If then the Parents of this Class enter upon the Education of their Children with just Reflections (which all, more or less, are capable of making) the natural Consequence will be, that they will seek such Methods as are most conducive to their acquiring a thorough Knowledge of their Mother-tongue.

It may be urged that a compleat Knowledge of the English cannot be acquired without Latin; but, with all due Respect, I beg leave to dissent from this: I have seen a good Latin Scholar greatly deficient in the Knowledge of English, and a very correct Englishman who did not know a Word of Latin. But nice grammatical Rules are not strictly the Province of Boys in common Life, and much may be done without them. A good Master will enable them to read in a very expressive and significant Manner, at[347] the same time that he makes them acquainted with his Subject. He will teach them the different Types, why a Roman, why an Italic Letter is used; where the Accent is to be laid on different Words, and on the same Word in different Senses; where capital Letters are to be used, and why; the different Stops, which we call Pointing, and their Force; the Cadence, or Falling of the Voice, in ending a Sentence, or a Paragraph; and, what is the greatest Beauty of all, where to lay the Emphasis or Stress on every Expression, so as to give it it’s utmost Energy. Farther, he will teach his Scholars to keep close to Nature; and not suffer them to borrow a Whine, a Tone of Voice from that almost universal Destroyer of Nature, Affectation. He will shew them that the only thing which can be granted in this Case, is a certain adjusting, or rather a little Elevation of the Voice in Reading, above Speaking; and that they come nearest to true Reading, who would be supposed to be Speaking, were a blind Man the Hearer. He will shew too, that, according to Nature, all Subjects do not require equal Energy in Reading; and consequently the Voice must be modify’d and varied, on suitable Occasions: for as we are susceptible of various Impressions; and as Joy, Grief, Anger, and other Passions, are differently expressed[348] by us without any previous Study, purely from the Force of Nature, so a good Master will shew, that a Prayer, a History, and a Poem, have each something different in their Nature; and that to give them their due Propriety, Force, and Beauty, each must be read in a different way. Besides these, the Master will shew his Scholars, that in order to speak to Perfection they must observe first, what Language their Betters speak, and by comparing it with that of the Vulgar, they will be enabled to distinguish, not only good from bad, but Propriety from Impropriety; whence they will insensibly learn, Gender, Number, and Case; Person, Mood, and Tense, with many other things relating to Grammar, without once supposing that they are acquiring them. Secondly, he will direct them in the Choice of such Books as will give a double Relish to Reading, by the Goodness of the Language they are wrote in. And lastly, he will recommend their seeking Opportunities of hearing their Betters read, that they may compleat by Imitation, what Instruction has laid the Foundation of.

But to give all the Satisfaction in my Power, I beg leave to observe, that as Grammar (if I may be allow’d the Expression) is the Soul of every Language, it may,[349] in essential Matters, be taught in English as well as in Latin: it is true, that, in compound Words, and some of the Derivations, both Latin and Greek are necessary, and indeed many other Languages; but they are only so for Gentlemen and professed Scholars; and tho’ a mere English Scholar cannot give all the Derivations of Words, yet he can give all the Meanings, and all, or most of their Rules; and thereby be enabled to acquire a considerable Degree of Perfection, a pretty thorough Knowledge of his Own Language; and sometimes a Knowledge superior to those who in other respects are superior Scholars. Should it still be urged, that if Boys learn Latin, a Knowledge of English will be a necessary Consequence, and that Grammar in Latin is Grammar in English; I am ready to grant it: but the Point here maintained is, that what is called a learned Education is unnecessary and often hurtful to Boys of this Class, nor have they Time to acquire it. Besides, there are always Difficulties in referring or applying grammatical Niceties from one Language to another; Difficulties which are not within the Province of every one to get over. If therefore Boys of this Class, instead of engaging in Latin, which, as has been shewn, they have not Time to acquire, nor in general have any use for it[350] if they did, would apply to the Study of English only, and make the most of that, they may improve to a great Degree; vastly more than is usually done, because prevented by an injudicious Application to the Latin.

Thus much have I said, in some measure to do Honour to the Language of my own Country; but chiefly with a View to remove the Errors too generally run into by inferior People, partly from their Vanity, and partly from their being Strangers to the many and great Advantages which this Branch of Education only is capable of affording. I know that innocent well-meaning People are often misled in educating their Children; and have heard many say, that a Boy must learn Latin to enable him to spell English; but this is a vulgar Error, and henceforward, I hope, will be removed. But yet farther to prove the Usefulness of our Language in the real Concerns of Life, we may add, that by this alone may be learnt, from those whose Province it is to teach, every Duty, every Obligation we owe to God and Man; by this we are enabled to read the sacred Writings; by this we can become acquainted not only with the History of all Europe, both ancient and modern, but of the whole World; and particularly[351] with the History of our own Country: by this we are furnished with Books containing Helps in Building, Planting, Gardening, and many other things of great Use to Mankind; and by this, in a word, we are furnished with vast Abundance of both Instruction and Delight; not only from the excellent Translations from Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, French, &c. but from the original Writings of many of our own Countrymen: Men, whose Geniuses were perhaps inferior to none. Here, without Flourish, Parade, or Exaggeration, my Readers will see how noble an Use may be made of our Mother-tongue; how much Pleasure it will yield us, how much Knowledge it will convey to us; and hence, I hope, Parents will be induced to consider it in the Light it deserves.

Boys are next to engage in Writing; and I earnestly recommend that it be closely attended to, and considered as a Matter of great Importance. The present Method of teaching, and the Kind of Hand now usually wrote in Business is, I think, admirable; the Merchants of London, and some of our public Offices, shew great Perfection in this Way; and I would recommend that every Boy both learn and practise a mercantile Hand, as it is at the same time useful and[352] beautiful. Every Man who is acquainted with Life must daily see the too general Defects of Hand-writing. If a Bricklayer, or any other Workman, brings in a Bill, what a pitiful Figure it makes; nay, it is sometimes so very bad, that none but the Writer himself can read it; and where we see one wrote out in a masterly Way, it is ten to one but he has, at considerable Expence, employed somebody to do it for him. Now this must surely be considered as a grievous Misfortune, both as it is an Inconvenience, and a Loss; and which ought carefully to be prevented in the rising Generation. Besides, if we reflect on the unforeseen Advantages which many meet with who are fine Penmen, we shall be convinced how necessary it is to excel in this Art.

We come now to Arithmetic, which includes a large Field of Knowledge. The Use of Figures, is so universally known and allowed, that it seems needless to urge any thing in their Favour. Men of all Degrees want their Aid; they are the first Introduction to the Mathematics; and the Knowledge of them is more or less necessary from the Prince to the Peasant. If a Man fails in Holland, they immediately say, he has not kept good Accounts; in Truth People of almost every Rank stand in need of their[353] Help; and their Use and Power thoroughly known and attended to, would preserve thousands from Ruin. Parents then cannot do too much to instruct their Children in this important Branch of Knowledge; especially if they consider on one hand the Confusion and Perplexity which attends the Ignorance of it, and on the other hand the many surprising Turns for the Advancement of their Fortune, when possessed of the Knowledge of it. All young People, as I have before recommended, should be taught Method, and nothing more likely to initiate them in it than a masterly Knowledge of Figures. Besides, Debtor and Creditor, Loss and Gain, are by no means confined to the Merchant; every Man, however low his Trade, or however narrow his Dealings, while he does trade or deal, should understand what he is about: and he has no other Way than this of attaining that necessary Knowledge. I am very sensible, that some Men, even in Trade, have got thro’ the World, and make good Acquisitions, without any considerable Degree of this Kind of Knowledge; but we may truly say of such, that Fortune stood so very near them, that they stumbled upon her: tho’, for one who has thus succeeded, a thousand have miscarried. But my Aim is, to have[354] the rising Generation so educated, that either Misfortunes may be prevented, or, if they do come, that their own Conduct may be irreproachable: and, I say again, no way more likely to effect this, than knowing thoroughly and attending closely to Figures. But farther, this and the foregoing Branch of Knowledge are strong Recommendations in various Stations of Life: many, even from nothing, have by these Qualifications become great Merchants; our East-India and other Companies frequently want Boys who write and account in a masterly Way; and when young People set out in the World and act for themselves, the Knowledge of their Affairs, from their Skill in Figures, is often a Restraint upon them, and a Curb to their Passions; by keeping them from what they see they cannot afford.

I shall now speak of that important, tho’ much neglected Branch of Knowledge, Drawing. It is matter of Surprise to me that a thing so obviously useful, and in many Respects so indispensably necessary, should be so generally disregarded. Young Gentlemen at an Academy indeed sometimes learn a little Drawing; but neither so often, nor so compleatly as they ought; but it is not of those I now mean to speak, but of that large Body[355] of Youth comprehended in the fourth Class of People.[9] As Parents cannot know certainly what their Children will be, it is fit that, according to their Station, they should be so educated, as to be prepared for whatever may suit their Circumstances, their Capacity, and their Inclinations: to this End, besides Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, I earnestly recommend Drawing. To prove it’s Use, let us first view the various Branches of Building; where we shall immediately see the Necessity of understanding it. It is my Advice to all Parents, without Exception, that they implant in their Children an ardent Desire to excel; not to engage them in things they are unequal to, not to fill their Heads with Chimeras of fancied Power and Abilities, but that they labour with unwearied Industry to become perfect in their Way, be their Profession, Trade, or Business what it will. Thus, if a Boy is to be a Bricklayer, a Carpenter, a Smith, or any other Trade relating to Building, it is right that he should be animated with a Desire to become perfect, and not sit down contented with a scanty, superficial Knowledge of his Business: and, to attain this, Drawing should be made as familiar to him as Writing; which would greatly tend to his Advancement in the World: for how often does it happen that a Gentleman wants his own Conceptions and Designs explained and improved; which are easily[356] done by a masterly Workman, but are entangled and made worse by a Blunderer. Drawing shews us the Difference between Beauty and Deformity; as Features, Mein, Aspect, Stature, and the Power of Light and Shade. It teaches us the Use of Lines, Angles, Squares, and Circles; it teaches us the Rules of Proportion, what Base is proper for an Edifice of different Dimensions; what constitutes a regular, what an irregular Building; it distinguishes true Taste from false; it assists our Fancy, and enlivens our Imagination; it is the Foundation of Architecture, and therefore necessary for every Branch of Building: for tho’ there are general Rules and Principles in each Order of Building, yet is there great Latitude for what we call Fancy, Taste, and Judgment: and thus the whole Beauty and Propriety of an Edifice may be said to depend on the artful blending of the several Orders into one perfect Superstructure.

Thus much for the Usefulness of Drawing in Building; but I should injure this Art if I stop’d here, for it is still far more extensive. It is not enough that a Gentleman builds himself a House, it must be furnish’d too; and if he be a Man of Fortune and Taste, he will not be contented with what is merely useful, but will add the ornamental[357] likewise: hence appears the Necessity of the Artificers in this Way learning to draw in order to excel. If an Upholsterer be sent for, it is an Advantage to him not only to give the proper Dimensions of Furniture, but to display the several Ornaments and Fancies in use, and even strike out new Designs of his own; that he may convince People he is a Master in his Way: he cannot shew a Piece of Damask or printed Linen, but the Draughtsman appears in it; and it is right that he should be equally knowing in his own Business.

But if we take a more general Survey of things, in order to give us a true and solid Estimation of real Life, we shall find this Art of surprising Use. How many Trades are there subservient to the Arts and Sciences? all those who make Maps, Charts, and Globes; all those who make mathematical Instruments, and the vast Apparatus for the different Parts of Experimental Philosophy; so too Engravers, Sculptors, Painters, and Anatomists; all these, with many others, needless to enumerate, stand in need of Drawing: So vast is it’s Use, and so necessary is the Knowledge of it!

The last Step of Education for Boys of this Class is Geography, or the Knowledge[358] of Maps. Geography makes us acquainted with the whole Surface of the Earth; the whole terraqueous Globe: it is first divided into Quarters, viz. Europe, Asia, Africa, and America; again, these Quarters are subdivided, so as to make us acquainted with particular Provinces, Kingdoms, States, and Empires: hence it is easy to see the Pleasure and Use that arises from this Knowledge. Men of every Rank are liable to leave their native Country; and indeed it is often the only Way to their Advancement. What a Pleasure then must it be to be acquainted with a Road we never saw? to travel in a Country without Pain from our Fore-knowledge of it? which is really the Case with an Adept in Geography. But supposing our Travels exceed not the Bounds of our own Country; it is a Subject of great Delight to be thoroughly acquainted with that. Or farther yet: supposing we do not travel at all; Geography has still it’s Use: it assists us in the Knowledge of History, and thereby adds Instruction and Pleasure to our Reading: in fine, it makes us acquainted with the whole World, without going out of our Closets.

My Readers are, I hope, by this time convinced, how advantageous these Steps of Education are for many of the Purposes of[359] Life; nay they are such as some in better Stations are in great measure Strangers to, tho’ they may be possessed of Qualifications otherwise useful. If then to this be added virtuous Dispositions, a docile Mind, a becoming Behaviour, and, in a word, that genuine Manners recommended to all, I think Parents in general of this Class may promise themselves much more Comfort in their Children than they usually find.

Girls too of this Class are capable of being very valuable; but again I must caution Parents to be aware of those Banes of Happiness, Idleness, Pride, and Vanity. Idleness is justly called the Root of all Evil; and Pride and Vanity are empty nothings: or if they can be said to produce any thing, it is Evil. Girls of this Class have many things within their Reach, and if well attended to, may attain them. They may read and write to great Advantage; and learn so much of Accompts as will be necessary for conducting their Concerns, and understanding those Affairs they may in future Life be engaged in. They may and ought to work to Perfection, but principally the useful Parts: and tho’ the ornamental is highly commendable, yet it must not here be encouraged to the Prejudice or Neglect of the useful. When this Foundation is[360] solidly laid, let them be carefully instructed in the Management of a House, according to what has already been observed in the foregoing Class; from whence they will receive such a Fund of useful Knowledge, as when joined with good Demeanour, will procure them not only the Esteem of their Equals, but that of their Superiors. Let Parents farther inspire them with Dispositions daily to improve their Minds; to maintain with firmest Resolution the nicest Innocence, even amidst the rudest Attacks, should they occur to them; and lastly, to support themselves with a chearful Mind in that State which is allotted them. In fact, Happiness is much more within their Reach than they commonly imagine; but if they neglect to consider the Advantages they enjoy beyond thousands who are beneath them, and anxiously dwell on the Splendor of those above them, it is the certain way never to find it.

Notwithstanding what has been said on this Class, Allowances are still to be made as Circumstances vary; and if the Plan be in general practicable, it is all that can be expected. Education is in some measure accidental; and it is right to embrace those Advantages which Accident offers, provided they do not interfere with more useful Knowledge, for then they are no Advantages.[361] For Example: nobody should neglect their Mother-tongue; yet if they are so situated that they can add French to it, they ought by all means to do so. In the preceding Classes French is considered as a necessary Part of Education chiefly from it’s Politeness, and the Advantage of reading French Authors; but according to the present Age it is far more useful. French is now so universal, that a Man who speaks it can do Business with whatever Foreigner comes in his Way; or should he go abroad, he can transact his Affairs in any Country, or on any Exchange in Europe. But it is still farther necessary. Moliere, in one of his Comedies, introduces a Conversation, where a Servant is accused of flattering his Master: “What can I do? replies he: I am to please, I am to secure my Service by keeping in his good Graces, and I have no other way of doing it: therefore, continues he, it is not the Fault of me who flatter, but of him who will be flattered.” So in taking a View of Life we may sometimes observe, that to secure the Interest and Favour of the Great, the Taylor, the Milliner, the Shoe-maker, and many others, are expected to introduce their Modes under a French Tongue. But to do justice to the Wisdom of our Nation, this is far from being general;[362] therefore a general and close Application to the French for the fourth Class does not seem either necessary or practicable; because to some it would be useless, in others it would be forgot again, and by many it would never be attained.

Another Part of Education which is oftentimes merely accidental, is Music. If a Man plays on any Instrument, it will be delightful to him to employ his Son’s leisure Time in giving him something of so agreeable an Accomplishment; or if he can improve his Daughter’s Ear or Voice, by giving her a pleasing Manner in Singing, she should not be deprived of it; for these things make young People sprightly in themselves, and pleasing to others. But then Care must be taken that they stop here: they must not engage in an expensive and laborious Study of Music, unless it is to be their Trade; nor must they be attached to it so as to neglect other Obligations, or so as to engage them in irregular Company: and above all, great Care must be taken that they be not tainted by that Torrent of Corruption, bad Songs.

There is indeed a Step of Education for this Class, as well as all the preceding,[363] which I think of Importance, could it be obtained without the usual Inconveniencies attending it; that is, Dancing. I consider Dancing as conducive to Health; I consider it as sometimes a Means of preventing Deformity; and where there is no danger of that, all must see that it is the great Means of making young People of both Sexes stand, and walk, and sit, and even look and speak to advantage. Mr. Locke, speaking of a docile Mind, and good Dispositions, as superior to every other Consideration, says, “Parents surely must have a strange Affection for Latin and Greek, who will prefer them to their Sons Virtue.” So too I may say of Dancing; if we cannot get the Good without the Bad, it is better to let it alone. First, it is, for a great many People, too expensive; nothing indeed to those of Fortune, and in great Business; but to others, more so than is convenient. Next, it is apt to inflame young People’s Vanity, as well as increase the Expence of their Apparel. A Boy who learns to Dance is dissatisfied unless he has Pumps, white Stockings, laced Hat, and many other things not necessary to his Station; and a Girl rejoices when the dancing Days come, only because she is to have her Silk Coat on. A third Objection is,[364] the Danger of their contracting a Passion for Dancing; for tho’ young People may sometimes very innocently divert themselves with an Evening Ball or a Country Dance, yet an eager Desire for these Engagements, especially to those of lower Rank, and to those who live in London, are extremely dangerous. Still, as this Qualification seems really necessary, if the Expence of the Master can be submitted to, the other Difficulties may, I think, be got over. But here the Manners are concerned: Children must obey, and wear without a Struggle, and without a Blush, such Apparel as their Parents judge fit for them. If besides this, they are made sensible that every Step in their Education is taken purely for their Good, and are carefully instructed never to abuse by an inordinate Attachment what is bestowed on them only for Use; if Parents I say do this, they may in general hope that all their Children learn will turn to good account.

The Province I am engaged in, and the tender Regard I pay to all human Nature, demands that I speak of a fifth Class of People, usually term’d the Peasantry: tho’ I think the principal thing to be done here, is to admonish those in higher Spheres to behave[365] with Justice and Humanity to them, rather than to address themselves. If we speak of Education, here it will naturally carry our Ideas to the Spade, the Plough, or the Team; and which may without Impropriety be called Education to them. It is a true Saying, that there is a right way and a wrong in doing every thing; if so, it is an useful Part of Education to instruct them how to till the Earth with greatest Ease to themselves, and with greatest Profit to those who employ them. As early and constant Labour is the Province of this Class, there is but a small Share either of Time or Abilities for Instruction; still as they are by Nature susceptible of it, those who have Power cannot employ it better than by bestowing it; so far at least as may open their Minds to distinguish Truth from Falsehood, Right from Wrong, Innocence from Guilt. If to this were added, at least the Power of reading their Mother-tongue, it would at times be an Entertainment and a Consolation to them; and it would remove, in some Degree, that total Darkness and Ignorance they must otherwise remain in.

But here, for the Sake of Instruction, I must depart from the strict Propriety of the Word Peasant, to touch on another Species[366] of Rustics; that is, those of the lowest Class of People, in London particularly. These People possess indeed the Ignorance of the Peasants, but they seldom equal them in Innocence. Many are abandoned to every Vice; many indeed are honest and industrious; but even among those who are themselves good, their Children, thro’ an early false Fondness, or the Corruption of others, are usually ignorant, untoward, and vicious. Whence we daily see and hear in the open Streets such things as are Insults on Mankind; such as must shock the Ears, and make the Heart tremble; and such as cannot but be a Reflection on any civilized Nation. We say, it is easier to obey than govern; and, in this Case, it is perhaps easier to propose a Remedy, than to put it in Execution. But to cure an Evil among the Little, we must address ourselves to the Great; for if they have either their Example or Countenance, all Attempts to remedy it are fruitless. Next we must turn our Eyes on those in Power, as Magistrates, and Men in Office; if these exercise their Authority with Justice and Fidelity, much may be done: but if they not only neglect this, but give ill Example too, little is to be expected. Thirdly, the Children of these People are to have some Degree of Education;[367] the Boys, Reading, Writing, and the first Rules in Arithmetic at least; which, if carefully taught them, will qualify them for many useful Employments. The Girls should at least read and work at their Needle. But all this, tho’ indispensably necessary, is too weak to effect the Purpose designed. The Perverseness of the Will, the Unruliness of the Head, and the Corruption of the Heart, are still to be conquered. Manners alone then is the effectual Remedy: and as, to cure a Disease, we must strike at the Root of it; so, to rectify the Morals and Misbehaviour of the Corrupt, we must, on solid Principles of Reason and Reflection, awaken the Mind, and regulate the Heart.

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A Citizen of Athens advising with Xenophon about whither he should send his Son for Education, It is my Counsel, answered Xenophon, that you send him to Sparta. To Sparta! says the Athenian; is rude and uncultivated Sparta then preferable to Athens, the Seat of Arts and Sciences? Yes, replies the Sage: at Sparta he will learn a Science worth all the rest, he will learn to obey. According to this Philosopher then, Obedience alone is a Science productive of every useful Knowledge; whereas, without it, all other human Knowledges are often useless, if not, in general, dangerous Acquisitions.

Certain it is, that much may be hoped from setting out right, and every thing is to be feared from a wrong Beginning. Parents therefore who aim at making their Children wise, should aim at previously making them good. That is, (to recapitulate the chief of what has been said) they must make their[370] Wills pliant and tractable, by teaching them an early, very early Obedience: next, they should mould their Hearts, imprint on them a Love of Truth, Honour, Justice, and every other Virtue: lastly, they should form their Minds and Manners, by shewing them the several Duties of their Station, and how to fulfil them.

The first Duties of Children are in great measure mechanical: an obedient Child makes a Bow, comes and goes, speaks, or is silent, just as he is bid, before he knows any other Reason for so doing than that he is bid: the Dawn of Reason shews him general Duties; that is, that he owes to his Parents and Guides Obedience, Respect, and Love: when his Mind is farther opened, and his Judgment has gained Strength, he sees (if led by faithful Teachers) that he is born for an important, nobly important Purpose; and tho’ many particular Obligations, which he was before a Stranger to, present themselves to his View, yet is he convinced that they are nothing but what, under Reason’s Sway, he is capable of answering. Farther, he sees that the Exercise of all moral Obligations are rendered light by being reciprocal; and from a Sense that his own Support, Comfort, and Happiness[371] requires the Aid of others, he chearfully and willingly labours for others. Lastly, he sees, that tho’ irregular Passions sometimes raise Tumults in the Soul, and struggle for the Mastery, yet from the Happiness of a well-tempered Heart, the constant Exercise of Reason, and the Reflection he must needs make on the daily Instances before him of Vice punished and of Virtue rewarded, he may not only be enabled to give Virtue the Ascendant, but to give it on the purest Motive; that is, for the Love of Virtue. All this, I say, unless Children are by Nature untractable, or are over-powered by the Torrent of corrupt Example, will generally be the Effect of well-regulated Manners: and, possessed of all this, who can doubt but that they will then be wise? or who can think that while thus much is wanting they ever can be wise?

Mankind, as has been observed before, naturally desire their Children’s Prosperity and Happiness; but if they seek it in any other Road than this, they must not wonder if they miss of it: rather may they wonder in good earnest, if they ever find it. Still is the ultimate Point untouched: for, besides that our Passions are to be regulated, and our Actions to be innocent in themselves,[372] and valuable to others; to make them perfect, they are farther to be animated by a right Intention: for, says a learned and ingenious Author, “the Intention is the Pulse of the Soul.” Many Actions, in themselves indifferent, are rendered hurtful by an Error in the Intention; and even those which seem calculated by Nature to produce the most signal Advantages to others, as well as to us, are often, for want of being properly directed to their right End, both fruitless to those they were designed to benefit, and even detrimental to ourselves. Here then we are to know, that moral Duties are of divine Origin; and if Nature shews us the first Laws of Right and Wrong, the Author of Nature implanted them in us. But our Obligations to the great Creator of us all will irresistably appear; if we duly survey ourselves and every thing around us; for as thence we shall see that from Him alone we receive all things, so thence shall we be convinced that to Him alone all should be referred. Thus it is evident, that to fill up the Measure of our Duty, three things are necessary: first, we are to be carefully informed what is Right, and what is Wrong; secondly, we are inviolably to adhere to the one, and avoid the other; and, thirdly, the Right we[373] do must be done from Principle; which can no otherwise appear in us than by honouring and serving the Author of our Being, and of all the Blessings we enjoy: these naturally lead us to believe in him, to hope in him, and to love him; and these are Acts which constitute Religion. But here, with all due Reverence, I drop my Pen; leaving the Consideration of our Duties in a religious Light to those whose Province it is to point out, explain and enforce them: to those, in a word, to whom the Office is given from above.


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[1] Dr. Shaw. See Quincy’s Prælectiones Pharmaceuticæ.

[2] Since the second Edition of this Work, three thousand Women more, deliver’d in the same Hospital, are to be added to the above Number: among which, not above four have had sore Breasts, and those were either such as had no Nipples, or had formerly had Milk Sores; and all of them except one, cured by Poultices only. Dr. Macaulay (to whom the British Lying-in-Hospital is greatly indebted for his present close Attendance thereon) is my Authority for this Note.

[3] Dr. Cadogan.

[4] Dr. Parsons.


Great Wits to Madness sure are near ally’d:
And thin Partitions do their Bounds divide.


Av’rice and Knav’ry sure are near ally’d;
And thin Partitions do their Bounds divide.


——Who steals my Purse, steals Trash.
’Twas mine; ’tis his; and has been Slave to thousands:
But he who filches from me my good Name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
But makes me poor indeed.——


One Science only will one Genius fit;
So vast is Art, so narrow human Wit.

[9] Since the first Appearance of this Work in the Year 1753, the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce has been form’d and establish’d;* in Honour to which, the Author begs leave to observe that his Complaint on this Head (which he flatters himself was a just one) is in some measure obviated: for, from the particular regard paid by that Society to every Branch of the Polite Arts, Boys even in the most inferior Stations of Life (as well as others) have it’s Countenance and Approbation; and, by liberal Premiums, receive from it the Reward of their Genius and Industry. Hence Drawing is already become a far more general Study in England than heretofore; and hence, too, it may be hoped (provided the Plan here laid down be deemed rational) that Boys of this Class in particular will daily improve, and make, it both their Study and Delight to acquire that Perfection which will manifestly tend to their own Advancement in Life, and reflect Honour on their Country. A contemplative Mind, united to a Heart warm’d with the Love of Mankind, cannot but see with singular Pleasure the rapid Progress and growing Power of that highly useful Society: For, from a beginning of about six private Gentlemen, a few Years have increas’d their Number to near three thousand Members; among which far the greater Part are Persons of Rank, Learning and Fortune. But to what End do they associate, to what End do they bestow their Time, their Thoughts and their Money?† The Answer is obvious; it is to benefit others, not themselves: it is to encourage the Industrious, and reward the Ingenious: and what is still more exalted, it is to add Power, Strength and Lustre to their native Country.

* The Society commenced in March 1754.

† Every Member pays at the least two Guineas a Year; or one Payment of twenty Guineas for Life. Besides the Committees (which meet almost daily, and which are open to every Member) the Society, for the most Part of the Year, assemble once a Week; at which Times so many useful and curious Matters are discuss’d as render them a most rational Entertainment. And, that no Partiality may be shewn, or Benefit lost, every Member has full Liberty to throw out his Thoughts, and to propose whatever, in his Opinion, may be of Utility, and advance the Intentions of the Society.

Decorative header


Page 6. Line 12. for disregarded read disregard.
52. 1. for attend read attended.
82. 7. for strange read stranger.
220. 18. for he read she.
302. 5. for were read where.
321. 4. dele not.
Decorative footer

Transcriber’s Note: The errata have been corrected, along with minor and evident typesetting errors. The spelling and writing style of the 1750s has been retained.

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