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he describes them all, but these in particular I well remember
Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo,
A chaste and scrupulous conduct like his, would well become the writer of national biography. But enough of this.
Our respects attend Miss Shuttleworth, with many thanks for her intended present. Some purses derive all their value from their contents, but these will have an intrinsic value of their own, and though mine should be often empty, which is not an improbable supposition, I shall still esteem it highly on its own account.
If you could meet with a second-hand Virgil, ditto Homer, both Iliad and Odyssey, together with a Clavis, for I have no Lexicon, and all tolerably cheap, I shall be obliged to you, if you will make the purchase,
To the Revd. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Sept. 7, 1780.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
As many gentlemen as there are in the world, who have children, and heads capable of reflecting upon the important subject of their education, so many opinions there are about it; and many of them just and sensible, though almost all differing from each other. With respect to the education of boys, I think, they are generally made to draw in Latin and Greek trammels too soon. It is pleasing no doubt to a parent, to see his child already in some sort a proficient in those languages, at an age, when most others are entirely ignorant of them ; but hence it often happens, that a boy, who could construe a fable of Æsop, at six or seven years of age, having exhausted his little stock of attention and diligence, in making that notable acquisition, grows weary of his task, conceives a dislike for study, and perhaps makes but a very indifferent progress after
wards. The mind and body have, in this respect, a · striking resemblance of each other. In childhood
they are both nimble, but not strong; they can skip, and frisk about with wonderful agility, but hard labour spoils them both. In maturer years they become less active, but more vigorous, more capable of a fixt application, and can make themselves sport with that, which a little earlier would have affected them with intolerable fatigue. I should recommend it to you, therefore, (but after all you must judge for yourself) to allot the two next years of little John's scholarship to writing and arithmetic, together with which, for variety's sake, and because it is capable of being formed into an amusement, I would mingle geogra- . phy, (a science which if not attended to betimes, is seldom made an object of much consideration;) essentially necessary to the accomplishment of a gentleman, yet, as I know (by. sad experience) imperfectly, if at all, inculcated in the schools. Lord Spencer's son, when he was four years of age, knew the situation of every kingdom, country, city, river, and remarkable mountain in the world. For this attainment, which I suppose his father had never made, he was indebted to a plaything; having been accustomed to amuse himself with those maps, which are cut into several compartments, so as to be thrown into a heap of confusion, that they may be put to .
gether again with an exact coincidence of all their angles and bearings, so as to form a perfect whole.
If he begins Latin and Greek at eight, or even at nine years of age, it is surely soon enough. Seven years, the usual allowance for these acquisitions, are more than sufficient for the purpose, especially with his teadiness in learning; for you would hardly wish to have him qualified for the university before fifteen, a period, in my mind, much too early for it, and when he could hardly be trusted there without the utmost danger to his morals. Upon the whole, you will perceive, that in my judgment, the difficulty, as well as the wisdom, consists more in bridling in, and keeping back, a boy of his parts, than in pushing him forward. If, therefore, at the end of the two next years, instead of putting a grammar into his hand, you should allow him to amuse himself with some agreeable writers upon the subject of natural philosophy, for another year, I think it would answer well. There is a book called Cosmotheoria Puerilis, there are Durham's Physico and Astro-theology, together with several others in the same manner, very intelligible even to a child, and full of useful instruction.
To the Revd. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Sept. 17, 1780.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
You desire my further thoughts on the subject of education. I send you such as had for the most part occurred to me, when I wrote last, but could not be comprised in a single Letter. They are indeed on a different branch of this interesting theme, but not less important than the former..
I think it your happiness, and wish you to think it so yourself, that you are, in every respect, qualified for the task of instructing your son, and preparing him for the university, without commiting him to the care of a stranger. In my judgment, a domestic education deserves the preference to a public one, on an hundred accounts, which I have neither time nor room to mention. I shall only touch upon two or three, that I cannot but consider as having a right to your most earnest attention.
In a public school, or indeed in any school, · his morals are sure to be but little attended to, and
his religion not all. If he can catch the love of vir