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HESE thoughts concerning education, which now come abroad into the world, do of right belong to you, being written fe veral years fince for your fake, and are no o ther than what you have already by you in my letters. I have fo little varied any thing, but only the order of what was fent you at different times, and on feveral occafions, that the reader will eafily find, in the familiarity and fashion of the ftile, that they were rather the private conversation of two friends, than a difcourfe defigned for publick view.
The importunity of friends is the common apology for publications men are afraid to own themselves forward to. But you know I can truly say, that if fome, who having heard of thefe papers of mine, had not prefled to fee them, and afterwards to have them printed, they had lien dormant fill in that privacy they were designed for. But thofe whose judg. ment I defer much to, telling me that they were perfuaded, that this rough draught of mine might be of fome ufe if made more pub. lick, touched upon what will always be very prevalent with me, for I think it every man's indifpenfable duty, to do all the service
he can to his country; and I fee not what difference he puts between himself and his cattle, who lives without that thought. This fubject is of fo great concernment, and a right way of Education is of fo general advantage, that did I find my abilities anfwer my wishes, I should not have needed exhortations or importunities from others. However, the meannefs of thefe papers, and my juft diftruft of them, fall not keep me, by the flame of doing fo little, from contributing my mite, when there is no more required of me, than my throwing it into the publick receptacle. And if there be any more of their fize and notions, who liked them fo well, that they thought them worth printing, I may flatter myself they will not be loft labour to every body.
I myself have been confulted of late by fo many, who profefs themfelves at a lofs how to breed their children, and the early corruption of youth is now become fo general a complaint, that he cannot be thought wholly impertinent, who brings the confideration of this matter on the ftage, and offers fomething, if it be but to excite others, or afford matter of correction. For errors in education fhould be lefs indulged than any: thefe, like faults in the fift concoction, that are never mended in the fecond or third, carry their afterwards in corrigible taint with them, through all the parts and fiations of life.
I am so far from being conceited of any thing I have here offered, that I fhould not be forry even for your fake, if fome one abler and fitter for fuch a talk would in a juft treatife of education fuited to our English gentry, rectify the millakes I have made in this, it being much more defireable to me, that young gentlemen fhould be put into (that which every one ought to be folicitous about) the best way of being formed and infructed, than that my opinion fhould be received concerning it. You will, however, in the mean time bear me witnefs, that the method here propofed has had no ordinary effects upon a gentleman's fon it was not defigned for. Iwill not fay the good temper of the child did not very much contribute to it: but this I think you and the parents are fatisfied of, that a contrary ufage, according to the ordinary difciplining of children would not have mended that temper, nor have brought him to be in love with his book, to take a pleafure in learning, and to defire as he does, to be taught more than thofe about him think fit always to teach him.
But my bufinefs is not to recommend this treatife to you, whofe opinion of it I know already; nor to the world, either by your opinion or patronage. The well educating of their children is fo much the duty and concern of parents, and the welfare and profpeA 3