Imatges de pàgina

them must be obvious, and level to their thoughts, and such as may, (if I may 80 say,) be felt and touched. But yet, if their age, temper, and inclinations be considered, they will never want such motives as may be sufficient to convince them. If there be no other more particular, yet these will always be intelligible, and of force, to deter them from any fault fit to be taken notice of in them, viz. that it will be a discredit and disgrace to them, and displease you.

EXAMPLES 76. But, of all the ways whereby children are to be instructed, and their manners formed, the plainest, easiest, and most efficacious is to set before their eyes the examples of those things you would have them do or avoid. Which, when they are pointed out to them, in the practice of persons within their knowledge, with some reflections on their beauty or unbecomingness, are of more force to draw or deter their imitation than any discourses which can be made to them. Virtues and vices can by no words be so plainly set before their understandings as the actions of other men will show them, when you direct their observation, and bid them view this or that good or bad quality in their practice. And the beauty or uncomeliness of many things, in good and ill breeding, will be better learnt, and make deeper impressions, on them, in the examples of others, than from any rules or instructions can be given about them.

This is a method to be used, not only whilst they are young; but to be continued, even as long as they shall be under another's tuition or conduct. Nay, I know not whether it be not the best way to be used by a father, as long as he shall think fit, on any occasion, to reform any thing he wishes mended in his son; nothing sinking so gently, and so deep, into men's minds, as example. And what ill they either overlook, or indulge in themselves, they can not but dislike, and be ashamed of, when it is set before them in another.

WHIPPING. 77. It may be doubted concerning whipping, when, as the last remedy, it comes to be necessary ; at what times, and by whom it should be done: whether presently upon the committing the fault, whilst it is yet fresh and hot; and whether parents themselves should beat their children. As to the first; I think it should not be done presently, lest passion mingle with it; and so, though it exceed the just proportion, yet it loses of its due weight: for even children discern when we do things in passion. But, as I said before, that has most weight with them, that appears sedately to come from their parents' reason; and they are not without this distinction. Next, if you have any discreet servant capable of it, and has the place of governing your child, (for if you have a tutor, there is no doubt,) I think it is best the smart should come more immediately from another's hand, though by the parent's order, who should see it done; whereby the parent's authority will be preserved, and the child's aversion, for the pain it suffers, rather be turned on the person that immediately infiicts it. For I would have a father seldom strike his child, but upon very urgent necessity, and as the last remedy: and then perhaps it will be fit to do it so that the child should not quickly forget it.

78. But, as I said before, beating is the worst, and therefore the last, means to be used in the correction of children; and that only in cases of

extremity, after all gentler ways have been tried, and proved unsuccessful; which, if well observed, there will be very seldom any need of blows. For, it not being to be imagined that a child will often, if ever, dispute his father's present command in any particular instance; and the father not interposing his absolute au rity, in peremptory rules, concerning either childish or indifferent actions, wherein his son is to have his liberty; or concerning his learning or improvement, wherein there is no compulsion to be used; there remains only the prohibition of some vicious actions, wherein a child is capable of obstinacy, and consequently can deserve beating: and so there will be but very few occasions of that discipline to be used by any one, who considers well, and orders his child's education as it should be. For the first seven years, what vices can a child be guilty of, but lying, or some ill-natured tricks; the repeated commission whereof, after his father's direct command against it, shall bring him into the condemnation of obstinacy, and the chastisement of the rod? If any vicious inclination in him be, in the first appearance and instances of it, treated as it should be, first with your wonder; and then if returning again a second time, discountenanced with the severe brow of the father, tutor, and all about him, and a treatment suitable to the state of discredit before mentioned; and this continued till he be made sensible and ashamed of his fault; I imagine there will be no need of any other correction, nor ever any occasion to come to blows. The necessity of such chastisement is usually the consequence only of former indulgences or neglects. If vicious inclinations were watched from the beginning, and the first irregularities which they caused corrected by those gentle ways, we should seldom have to do with more than one disorder at once: which would be easily set right without any stir or noise, and not require so harsh a discipline as beating. Thus, one by one, as they appeared, they might all be weeded out, without any signs or memory that ever they had been there. But we letting their faults, (by indulging and humoring our little ones,) grow up, till they are sturdy and numerous, and the deformity of them makes us ashamed and uneasy, we are fain to come to the plow and the harrow; the spade and the pick-axe must go deep to come at the roots, and all the force, skill, and diligence we can use is scarce enough to cleanse the vitiated seed-plat, overgrown with weeds, and restore us the hopes of fruits to reward our pains in its season.

79. This course, if observed, will spare both father and child the trouble of repeated injunctions, and multiplied rules of doing and forbearing. For I am of opinion, that of those actions which tend to vicious habits, (which are those alone that a father should interpose his authority and commands in,) none should be forbidden children till they are found guilty of them. For such untimely prohibitions, if they do nothing worse, do at least so much towards teaching and allowing them, that they suppose that children may be guilty of them, who would possibly be safer in the ignorance of any such faults. And the best remedy to stop them, is, as I have said, to show wonder and amazement at any such action as hath a vicious tendency, when it is first taken notice of in a child. For example, when he is first found in a lie, or any ill-natured trick, the first remedy should be, to talk to him of it as a strange monstrous matter, that it could not be imagined he would have done; and so shame him out of it.

80. It will be, it is like,) objected, that whatsoever I fancy of the tractable. ness of children, and the prevalency of those softer ways of shame and commendation ; yet there are many, who will never apply themselves to their books, and to what they ought to learn, unless they are scourged to it. This, I fear, is nothing but the language of ordinary schools and fashion, which have never suffered the other to be tried as it should be, in places where it could be taken notice of. Why, else, does the learning of Latin and Greek need the rod, when French and Italian need it not? Children learn to dance and fence without whipping: nay, arithmetic, drawing, &c., they apply themselves well enough to, without beating ; which would make one suspect, that there is something strange, unnatural, and disagreeable to that age in the things required in grammar-schools, or in the methods used there, that children can not be brought to, without the severity of the lash, and hardly with that too; or else, that it is a mistake that those tongues could not be taught them without beating.

81. But let us suppose some so negligent or idle, that they will not be brought to learn by the gentle ways proposed, (for we must grant that there will be children found of all tempers;) yet it does not thence follow that the rough discipline o" the cudgel is to be used to all. Nor can any one be concluded unmanageable by the milder methods of government, till they have been thor. oughly tried upon him; and, if they will not prevail with him to use his endeavors, and do what is in his power to do, we make no excuses for the obstinate: blows are the proper remedies for those: but blows laid on in a way different from the ordinary. He that willfully neglects his book, and stubbornly refuses any thing he can do, required of him by his father, expressing himself in a positive serious command, should not be corrected with two or three angry lashes, for not performing his task, and the same punishment repeated again and again, upon every the like default : but, when it is brought to that pass, that willfulness evidently shows itself and makes blows necessary, I think the chastisement should be a little more sedate, and a little more severe, and the whipping, (mingled with admonition between,) so continued, till the impressions of it, on the mind, were found legible in the face, voice, and submission of the child, not so sensible of the smart, as of the fault he has been guilty of, and melting in true sorrow under it. If such a correction as this tried some few times at fit distances, and carried to the utmost severity, with the visible displeasure of the father all the while, will not work the effect, turn the mind, and produce a future compliance; what can be hoped from blows, and to what purpose should they be any more used? Beating, when you can expect no good from it, will look more like the fury of an enraged enemy than the good-will of a compassionate friend; and such chastisement carries with it only provocation, without any prospect of amendment. If it be any father's misfortune to have a son thus perverse and untractable, I know not what more he can do but pray for him. But I imagine, if a right course be taken with children from the beginning, very few will be found to be such; and when there are any such instances, they are not to be the rule for education of those who are better natured, and may be managed with better usage.

TUTORS AND GOVERNORS. 82. If a tutor can be got, that, thinking himself in the father's place, charged with his care, and relishing these things, will at the beginning apply himself to put them in practice, he will afterwards find his work very easy: and you will, I guess, have your son in a little time a greater proficient in both learning and breeding than perhaps you imagine. But let him by no means beat him, at any time, without your consent and direction; at least till you have experience of his discretion and temper. But yet, to keep up his authority with his pupil, besides concealing that he has not the power of the rod, you must be sure to use him with great respect yourself, and cause all your family to do so too. For you can not expect your son should have any regard for one whom he sees you, or his mother, or others slight. If you think him worthy of contempt, you have chosen amiss; and if you show any contempt of him, he will hardly escape it from your son: and whenever that happens, whatever worth he may have in himself, and abilities for this employment, they are all lost to your child, and can afterwards never be made useful to him.

83. As the father's example must teach the child respect for his tutor; so the tutor's example must lead the child into those actions he would have him do. His practice must by no means cross his precepts, unless he intend to set him wrong. It will be to no purpose for the tutor to talk of the restraint of the passions, whilst any of his own are let loose; and he will in vain endeavor to reform any vice or indecency in his pupil which he allows in himself. Ill patterns are sure to be followed more than good rules: and, therefore, he must also carefully preserve him from the influence of ill precedents, especially the most dangerous of all, the examples of the servants; from whose company he is to be kept, not by prohibitions, for that will but give him an itch after it, but by other ways I have mentioned.

84. In all the whole business of education, there is nothing like to be less hearkened to, or harder to be well observed, than what I am now going to say; and that is that children should, from their first beginning to talk, have some discreet, sober, nay wise person about them, whose care it should be to fashion them aright and keep them from all ill, especially the infection of bad company. I think this province requires great sobriety, temperance, tenderness, diligence, and discretion; qualities hardly to be found united in persons that are to be had for ordinary salaries, nor easily to be found anywhere. As to the charge of it, I think it will be the money best laid out that can be about our children; and, therefore, though it may be expensive more than is ordinary, yet it can not be thought dear, He that at any rate procures his child a good mind, well-principled, tempered to virtue and usefulness, and adorned with civility and good breeding, makes a better purchase for bim, than if he had laid out the money for an addition of more earth to his former acres. Spare it in toys and play-games, in silk and ribbons, laces and other useless expenses, as much as you please ; but be not sparing in so necessary a part as this. It is not good husbandry to make his fortune rich, and his mind poor. I have often, with great admiration, seen people lavish it profusely in tricking up their children in fine clothes, lodging, and feeding them sumptuously, allowing them more than enough of useless servants; and yet at the same time starve their minds, and not take sufficient care to cover that which is the most shameful nakedness, viz., their natural wrong inclinations and ignorance. This I can look on as no other than a sacrificing to their own vanity; it showing more their pride than true care of the good of their children. Whatsoever you employ to the advan. tage of your son's mind will show your true kindness, though it be to the lessening of his estate. A wise and good man can hardly want either the opinion or reality of being great and happy. But he that is foolish or vicious, can be neither great nor happy, what estate soever you leave him: and I ask you whether there be not men in the world whom you had rather have your son be, with five hundred pounds per annum, than some other you know, with five thousand pounds ?

85. The consideration of charge ought not, therefore, to deter those who are able: the great difficulty will be, where to find a proper person. For those of small age, parts and virtue, are unfit for this employment: and those that have greater, will hardly be got to undertake such a charge. You must, therefore, look out early, and inquire everywhere; for the world has people of all sorts: and I remember, Montaigne says in one of his essays, that the learned Castalio was fain to make trenchers at Basil, to keep himself from starving, when his father would have given any money for such a tutor for his son, and Castalio have willingly embraced such an employment upon very reasonable terms: but this was for want of intelligence.

86. If you find it difficult to meet with such a tutor as we desire, you are not to wonder. I only can say, spare no care nor cost to get such an one. All things are to be had that way: and I dare assure you, that, if you can get a good one, you will never repent the charge; but will always have the satisfaction to think it the money, of all other, the best laid out. But be sure take no body upon friends, or charitable, no, nor bare great commendations. Nay, if you will do as you ought, the reputation of a sober man, with a good stock of learning, (which is all usually required in a tutor,) will not be enough to serve your turn. In this choice be as curious as you would be in that of a wise for him: for you must not think of trial, or changing afterwards; that will cause great inconvenience to you, and greater to your son. When I consider the scruples and cautions I here lay in your way, methinks it looks as if I advised you to something which I would have offered at, but in effect not done. But he that shall consider, how much the business of a tutor, rightly employed, lies out of the road; and how remote it is from the thoughts of many, even of those who propose to themselves this employment; will perhaps be of my mind, that one fit to educate and form the mind of a young gentleman is not every. where to be found; and that more than ordinary care is to be taken in the choice of him, or else you may fail of your end.

87. The character of a sober man, and a scholar, is, as I have above observed, what every one expects in a tutor. This generally is thought enough, and is all that parents commonly look for. But when such an one has emptied out, into his pupil, all the Latin and logic he has brought from the university, will that furniture make him a fine gentleman? Or, can it be expected, that he should be better bred, better skilled in the world, better principled in the grounds and foundations of true virtue and generosity, than his young tutor is ?

To form a young gentleman, as he should be, it is fit his governor should himself be well-bred, understand the ways of carriage, and measures of civility, in all the variety of persons, times, and places; and keep his pupil, as much as his age requires, constantly to the observation of them. This is an art not to be learnt, nor taught by books: nothing can give it but good company and observation joined together. The tailor may make his clothes modish, and the dancing.master give fashion to his motions; yet neither of these, though they set off well, make a well-bred gentleman: no, though he have learning to boot; which, if not well managed, makes him more impertinent and intolerable in conversation. Breeding is that which sets a gloss upon all his other good qualities, and renders them useful to him, in procuring him the esteem and good will

« AnteriorContinua »