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them strong drink, wine, fruit, playthings, and other such matters, which may make them in love with their conversation.
64. Having named company, I am almost ready to throw away my pen, and trouble you no farther on this subject. For since that does more than all precepts, rules, and instructions, methinks it is almost wholly in vain to make a long discourse of other things, and to talk of that almost to no purpose. For you will be ready to say, "What shall I do with my son? If I keep him always at home, he will be in danger to be my young master; and if I send him abroad, how is it possible to keep him from the contagion of rudeness and vice, which is everywhere so in fashion? In my house he will perhaps be more innocent, but more ignorant too of the world, wanting their change of company, and being used constantly to the same faces, he will, when he comes abroad, be a sheepish or conceited creature."
I confess, both sides have their inconveniences. Being abroad, it is true, will make him bolder, and better able to bustle and shift amongst boys of his own age, and the emulation of school-fellows often puts life and industry into young lads. But till you can find a school, wherein it is possible for the master to look after the manners of his scholars, and can show as great effects of his care of forming their minds to virtue, and their carriage to good breeding, as of forming their tongues to the learned languages, you must confess that you have a strange value for words, when, preferring the languages of the ancient Greeks and Romans to that which made them such brave men, you think it worth while to hazard your son's innocence and virtue, for a little Greek and Latin. For, as for that boldness and spirit, which lads get amongst their playfellows at school, it has ordinarily such a mixture of rudeness, and an ill-turned confidence, that those misbecoming and disingenuous ways of shifting in the world must be unlearned, and all the tincture washed out again, to make way for better principles, and such manners as make a truly worthy man. He that considers how diametrically opposite the skill of living well, and managing, as a man should do, his affairs in the world, is to that malapertness, tricking, or violence, learnt among school-boys, will think the faults of a privater education infinitely to be preferred to such improvements, and will take care to preserve his child's innocence and modesty at home, as being nearer of kin, and more in the way of those qualities, which make a useful and able man. Nor does any one find, or so much as suspect, that that retirement and bashfulness which their daughters are brought up in, makes them less knowing or less able women. Conversation, when they come into the world, soon gives them a becoming as. surance, and whatsoever beyond that, there is of rough and boisterous, may in men be very well spared too; for courage and steadiness, as I take it, lie not in roughness and ill-breeding.
Virtue is harder to be got than a knowledge of the world, and if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered. Sheepishness and ignorance of the world, the faults imputed to a private education, are neither the necessary consequences of being bred at home, nor, if they were, are they incurable evils. Vice is the more stubborn, as well as the more dangerous evil of the two, and therefore, in the first place, to be fenced against. If that sheepish softness, which often enervates those who are bred like fondlings at home, be carefully to be avoided, it is principally so for virtue's sake, for fear lest such a yielding temper should be too susceptible of vicious impressions, and expose the novice too easily to be corrupted. A young man before he leaves the shelter of his father's house, and the guard of a tutor, should be fortified with resolution, and made acquainted with men, to secure his virtue, lest he should be led into some ruinous course, or fatal precipice, before he is sufficiently acquainted with the dangers of conversation, and has steadiness enough not to yield to every temptation. Were it not for this, a young man's bashfulness, and ignorance of the world, would not so much need an early care. Conversation would cure it in a great measure, or, if that will not do it early enough, it is only a stronger reason for a good tutor at home. For, if pains be to be taken to give him a manly air and assurance betimes, it is chiefly as a fence to his virtue when he goes into the world, under his own conduct.
It is preposterous, therefore, to sacrifice his innocency to the attaining of confidence, and some little skill of bustling for himself among others, by his conversation with ill-bred and vicious boys, when the chief use of that sturdiness, and standing upon his own legg, is only for the preservation of his virtue. For if confidence or cunning come once to mix with vice, and support his miscarriages, he is only the surer lost, and you must undo again, and strip him of that he has got from his companions, or give him up to ruin. Boys will unavoidably be taught assurance by conversation with men, when they are brought into it, and that is time enough. Modesty and submission, till then, better fits them for instruction, and therefore there needs not any great care to stock them with confidence before-hand. That which requires most time, pains, and assiduity, is to work into them the principles and practice of virtue and good breeding. This is the seasoning they should be prepared with, so as not easily to be got out again; this they had need to be well provided with. For conversation, when they come into the world, will add to their knowledge and assurance, but be too apt to take from their virtue, which therefore they ought to be plentifully stored with, and have that tincture sunk deep into them.
How they should be fitted for conversation, and entered into the world, when they are ripe for it, we shall consider in another place. But how any one's being put into a mixed herd of unruly boys, and there learning to wrangle at trap, or rook at span-farthing, fits him for civil conversation, or business, I do not see. And what qualities are ordinarily to be got from such a troop of playfellows, as schools usually assemble together, from parents of all kinds, that a father should so much covet it, is hard to divine. I am sure, he who is able to be at the charge of a tutor, at home, may there give his son a more genteel carriage, more manly thoughts, and a sense of what is worthy and becoming, with a greater proficiency in learning into the bargain, and ripen him up sooner into a man, than any at school can do. Not that I blame the schoolmaster in this, or think it to be laid to his charge. The difference is great between two or three pupils in the same house, and three or fourscore boys lodged up and down. For, let the master's industry and skill be ever so great, it is impossible he should have fifty or an hundred scholars under his eye, any longer than they are in the school together; nor can it be expected, that he should instruct them successfully in anything but their books; the forming e their minds and manners requiring a constant attention, and particular application to every single boy, which is impossible in a numerous fock, and would be wholly in vain, (could he have time to study and correct every one's particular defects and wrong inclinations,) when the lad was to be left to himself, or the prevailing infection of his fellows, the greatest part of the four-and-twenty hours.
But fathers, observing that fortune is often most successfully courted by bold and bustling men, are glad to see their sons pert and forward betimes, take it for a happy omen, that they will be thriving men, and look on the tricks they play their school-fellows, or learn from them, as a proficiency in the art of liv. ing and making their way through the world. But I must take the liberty to say, that he that lays the foundation of his son's fortune in virtue and good breeding, takes the only sure and warrantable way. And it is not the wag. geries or cheats practiced among school-boys, it is not their roughness one to another, nor the well-laid plots of robbing an orchard together, that makes an able man; but the principles of justice, generosity, and sobriety, joined with observation and industry, qualities which I judge school-boys do not learn much of one another. And if a young gentleman, bred at home, be not taught more of them, than he could learn at school, his father has made a very ill choice of a tutor. Take a boy from the top of a grammar-school, and one of the same age, bred as he should be in his father's family, and bring them into good company together, and then see which of the two will have the more manly carriage, and address himself with the more becoming assurance to strangers. Here, I imagine, the school-boy's confidence will either fail or discredit him; and if it be such as fits him only for the conversation of boys, he had better be without it.
Vice, if we may believe the general complaint, ripens so fast now-a-days, and runs up to seed so early in young people, that it is impossible to keep a lad from the spreading contagion, if you will venture bim abroad in the herd, and trust to chance, or his own inclination, for the choice of his company at school. By what fate vice has so thriven amongst us these few years past, and by what hands it has been nursed up into so uncontrolled a dominion, I shall leave to others to inquire. I wish that those who complain of the great decay of Christian piety and virtue everywhere, and of learning and acquired improvements in the gentry of this generation, would consider how to retrieve them in the next. This I am sure, that, if the foundation of it be not laid in the education and principling of the youth, all other endeavors will be in vain. And if the innocence, sobriety, and industry of those who are coming up, be not taken care of and preserved, it will be ridiculous to expect that those who are to succeed next on the stage, should abound in that virtue, ability, and learning, which has hitherto made England considerable in the world. I was going to add courage too, though it has been looked on as the natural inheritance of Englishmen. What has been talked of some late actions at sea, of a kind unknown to our ancestors, gives me occasion to say, that debauchery sinks the courage of men ; and when dissoluteness has eaten out the sense of true honor, bravery seldom stays long after it. And I think it impossible to find an instance of any nation, however renowned for their valor, who ever kept their credit in arms, or made themselves redoubtable amongst their neighbors, after corruption had once broke through, and dissolved the restraint of discipline, and vice was grown to such a head that it durst show itself barefaced, without being out of counter
It is virto , then, direct virtue, which is the hard and valuable part to be aimed at in education, and not a forward pertness, or any little arts of shifting. All other considerations and accomplishments should give way, and be postponed, to this. This is the solid and substantial good, which tutors should not only read lectures, and talk of; but the labor and art of education should furnish the mind with, and fasten there, and never cease till the young man had a true relish of it, and placed his strength, his glory, and his pleasure in it.
The more this advances, the easier way will be made for other accomplishments in their turns. For he that is brought to submit to virtue, will not be refractory, or resty, in anything that becomes him. And, therefore, I can not but prefer breeding of a young gentleman at home in his father's sight, under a good governor, as much the best and safest way to this great and main end of education, when it can be had, and is ordered as it should be. Gentlemen's houses are seldom without variety of company; they should use their sons to all the strange faces that come there, and engage them in conversation with men of parts and breeding, as soon as they are capable of it. And why those who live in the country, should not take them with them, when they make visits of civility to their neighbors, I know not; this I am sure, a father that breeds his son at home, has the opportunity to have him more in his own company, and there give him what encouragement he thinks fit, and can keep him better from the taint of servants, and the meaner sort of people, than is possible to be done abroad. But what shall be resolved in the case, must in great measure be left to the parents, to be determined by their circumstances and conveniences. Only I think it the worst sort of good husbandry for a father not to strain himself a little for his son's breeding, which, let his condition be what it will, is the best portion he can leave him. But if, after all, it shall be thought by some, that the breeding at home has too little company, and that at ordinary schools not such as it should be for a young gentleman, I think there might be ways found out to avoid the inconveniences on the one side and the other.
EXAMPLE. 65. Having under consideration how great the influence of company is, and how prone we are all, especially children, to imitation; I must here take the liberty to mind parents of this one thing, viz., that he that will have his son have a respect for him and his orders, must himself have a great reverence for his son. "Maxima debetur pueris reverentia." You must do nothing before him, which you would not have him imitate. If any thing escape you which you would have pass for a fault in him, he will be sure to shelter himself under your example, and shelter himself so, as that it will not be easy to come at him to correct it in him the right way. If you punish him for what he sees you practice yourself, he will not think that severity to proceed from kindness in you, or carefulness to amend a fault in him; but will be apt to interpret it the peevishness and arbitrary imperiousness of a father, who, without any ground for it, would deny his son the liberty and pleasure he takes himself. Or, if you assume to yourself the liberty you have taken, as a privilege belonging to riper years, to which a child must not aspire, you do but add new force to your exam. ple, and recommend the action the more powerfully to him.
you must always remember, that children affect to be men earlier than is ught: and they love breeches, not for their cut or ease, but because the having them is a mark or a step towards manhood. What I say of the father's carriage before his children, must extend itself to all those who have any authority over them, or for whom he would have them have any respect
PUNISHMENTS. 66. But to return to the business of rewards and punishments. All the actions of childishness, and unfashionable carriage, and whatever time and age will of itself be sure to reform, being, (as I have said,) exempt from the discipline of the rod, there will not be so much need of beating children as is generally made use of. To which if we add learning to read, write, dance, foreign languages, &c., as under the same privilege, there will be but very rarely any occasion for blows or force in an ingenuous education. The right way to teach them to those things is, to give them a liking and inclination to what you propose to them to be learned, and that will engage their industry and application. This I think no hard matter to do, if children be handled as they should be, and the rewards and punishments above mentioned be carefully applied, and with them these few rules observed in the method of instructing them.
67. 1. None of the things they are to learn should ever be made a burden to them, or imposed on them as a task. Whatever is so proposed presently becomes irksome: the mind takes an aversion to it, though before it were a thing of delight or indifferency. Let a child be but ordered to whip his top at a certain time every day, whether he has or has not a mind to; let this be but required of him as a duty, wherein he must spend so many hours morning and afternoon, and see whether he will not soon be weary of any play at this rate. Is it not so with grown men? What they do cheerfully of themselves, do they not presently grow sick of, and can no more endure, as soon as they find it is expected of them as a duty ? Children have as much a mind to show that they are free, that their own good actions come from themselves, that they are absolute and independent, as any of the proudest of you grown men, think of them as you please.
68. 2. As a consequence of this, they should seldom be put about doing even those things you have got an inclination in them to, but when they have a mind and disposition to it. He that loves reading, writing, music, &c., finds yet in himself certain seasons wherein those things have no relish to him: and, if at that time he forces himself to it, he only pothers and wearies himself to no purpose. So it is with children. This change of temper should be carefully observed in them, and the favorable seasons of aptitude and inclination be heedfully laid hold of: and if they are not often enough forward of themselves, a good disposition should be talked into them, before they be set upon any thing. This I think no hard matter for a discreet tutor to do, who has studied his pupil's temper, and will be at a little pains to fill bis head with suitable ideas, such as Joay make him in love with the present business. By this means a great deal of time and tiring would be saved: for a child will learn three times as much when he is in tune, as he will with double the time and pains, when he goes