Page images

crease. It is convenient for health and sobriety, to drink no more than natural thirst requires; and he that eats not salt meats, nor drinks strong drink, will seldom thirst between meals, unless he has been accustomed to such

able drinking.



19. Above all, take great care that he seldom, if ever, taste any wine, or strong drink. There is nothing so ordinarily given children in England, and nothing so destructive to them. They ought never to drink any strong liquor, but when they need it as a cordial, and the doctor prescribes it. And in this case it is, that servants are most narrowly to be watched, and most severely to be reprehended, when they transgress. Those mean sort of people, placing great part of their happiness in strong drink, are always forward to make court to my young master, by offering him that which they love best themselves; and, finding themselves made merry by it, they foolishly think it will do the child no harm. This you are carefully to have your eye upon, and restrain with all the skill and industry you can: there being nothing that lays a surer foundation of mischief, both to body and mind, than children's being used to strong drink; especially to drink in private with the servants.


20. Fruit makes one of the most difficult chapters in the government of health, especially that of children. Our first parents ventured paradise for it; and it is no wonder our children can not stand the temptation, though it cost them their health. The regulation of this can not come under any one general rule; for I am by no means of their mind, would keep children almost wholly from fruit, as a thing totally unwholesome for them; by which strict way they make them but the more ravenous after it; and to cat good and bad, ripe or unripe, all that they can get, whenever they come at it. Melons, peaches, most sorts of plums, and all sorts of grapes in England, I think children should be wholly kept from, as having a very tempting taste, in a very unwholesome juice; so that, if it were possible, they should never so much as see them, or know there were any such thing. But strawberries, cherries, gooseberries, or currants, when thorough ripe, I think may be very safely allowed them, and that with a pretty liberal hand, if they be eaten with these cautions. after meals, as we usually do, when the stomach is already full of other food. But I think they should be eaten rather before, or between meals, and children

should have them for their breakfasts. 2. Bread eaten with them.

1. Not

3. Per

fectly ripe. If they are thus caten, I imagine them rather conducing than hurtful to our health. Summer fruits, being suitable to the hot season of the year they come in, refresh our stomachs, languishing and fainting under it; and therefore I should not be altogether so strict in this point, as some are to their children; who being kept so very short, instead of a moderate quantity

of well

chosen fruit, which being allowed them would content them, whenever they I can get loose, or bribe a servant to supply them, satisfy their longing with any

trash they can get, and eat to a surfeit.

Apples and pears too, which are thorough ripe, and have been gathered some time, I think may be safely eaten at any time, and in pretty large especially apples, which never did any body hurt, that I have heard, after



Fruits also dried without sugar I think very wholesome. But swee

etmeats of

all kinds are to be avoided; which, whether they do more harm to the maker

or eater, is not easy to tell. This I am sure, it is one of the most inconvenient ways of expense that vanity hath yet found out; and so I leave them to the ladies.


21. Of all that 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. All that is to be regulated in it is, in what part of the twenty-four hours they should take it; which will easily be resolved, by only saying, that it is of great use to accustom them to rise early in the morning. It is best so to do, for health; and he that, from his childhood, has by a settled custom made rising betimes easy and familiar to him, will not, when he is a man, waste the best and most useful part of his life in drowsiness and lying a-bed. If children therefore are to be called up early in the morning, it will follow of course that they must go to bed betimes; whereby they will be accustomed to avoid the unhealthy and unsafe hours of debauchery, which are those of the evenings; and they who keep good hours seldom are guilty of any great disorders. I do not say this, as if your son, when grown up, should never be in company past eight, nor never chat over a glass of wine till midnight. You are now, by the accustoming of his tender years, to indispose him to those inconveniences as much as you can; and it will be no small advantage, that contrary practice having made sitting-up uneasy to him, it will make him often avoid, and very seldom propose midnight revels. But if it should not reach so far, but fashion and company should prevail, and make him live as others do above twenty, it is worth the while to accustom him to early rising and early going to bed, between this and that, for the present improvement of his health, and other advantages. Though I have said a large allowance of sleep, even as much as they will take, should be made to children when they are little; yet I do not mean, that it should always be continued to them, in so large a proportion, and they suffered to indulge a drowsy laziness in their beds, as they grow up bigger. But whether they should begin to be restrained at seven, or ten years old, or any other time, is impossible to be precisely determined. Their tempers, strength, and constitutions must be considered: but some time between seven and fourteen, if they are too great lovers of their beds, I think it may be seasonable to begin to reduce them, by degrees, to about eight hours, which is generally rest enough for healthy grown people. If you have accustomed him, as you should do, to rise constantly very, early in the morning, this fault of being too long in bed will easily be reformed; and most children will be forward enough to shorten that time themselves, by coveting to sit up with the company at night; though, if they be not looked after, they will be apt to take it out in the morning, which should by no means be permitted. They should constantly be called up, and made to rise at their early hour; but great care should be taken in waking them, that it be not done hastily, nor with a loud or shrill voice, or any other sudden violent noise. This often affrights children, and does them great harm. And sound sleep, thus broke off with sudden alarms, is apt enough to discompose any one. When children are to be wakened out of their sleep, be sure to begin with a low call, and some gentle motion; and so draw them out of it by degrees, and give them none but kind words and usage, till they are come perfectly to themselves, and being quite dressed you are sure they are thoroughly awake. The being forced from their sleep, how gently soever you do

it, is pain enough to them; and care should be taken not to add any other un easiness to it, especially such as may terrify them.




22. Let his bed be hard, and rather quilts than feathers. Hard lodgings strengthens the parts; whereas being buried every night in feathers, melts and dissolves the body, is often the cause of weakness, and the forerunner of an early grave. And, besides the stone, which has often its rise from this ralm wrapping of the reins, several other indispositions, and that which is the root of them all, a tender, weakly constitution, is very much owing to down Besides, he that is used to hard lodging at home, will not miss his sleep, he has most need of it,) in his travels abroad, for want of his soft bed and his pillows laid in order. And therefore I think it would not be amiss, to make his bed after different fashions; sometimes lay his head higher, sometimes lower, that he may not feel every little change he must be sure to meet with,ho is not designed to lie always in my young master's bed at home, and to have his maid lay all things in print, and tuck him in warm. The great cordial ture is sleep. He that misses that, will suffer by it; and he is very unfortunate, who can take his cordial only in his mother's fine gilt cup, and not in a wooden dish. He that can sleep soundly, takes the cordial; and it matters not whether it be on a soft bed, or the hard boards. It is sleep only that is the necessary.


of na


23. Perhaps it will be expected from me, that I should give some directions of physic, to prevent diseases; for which I have only this one, very sacredly to be observed: never to give children any physic for prevention. The observa tion of what I have already advised, will, I suppose, do that better than the ladies' diet-drinks, or apothecary's medicines. Have a great care of tampering that way, lest, instead of preventing, you draw on diseases. Nor even upon every little indisposition is physic to be given, or the physician to be called to children; especially if he be a busy man, that will presently fill their window! with gally-pots, and their stomachs with drugs. It is safer to leave them wholly to nature, than to put them into the hands of one forward to tamper, or that thinks children are to be cured in ordinary distempers by any thing but diet, or by a method very little distant from it: it seeming suitable both to my reason and experience, that the tender constitutions of children should have as little done to them as is possible, and as the absolute necessity of the case requires. A little cold stilled red poppy-water, which is the true surfeit-water, with ease, and abstinence from flesh, often puts an end to several distem pers in the beginning, which, by too forward applications, might have been made lusty diseases. When such a gentle treatment will not stop the growing mischief, nor hinder it from turning into a formed disease, it will be time to seek the ad vice of some sober and discreet physician. I this part, I hope, I shall find an easy belief; and nobody can have a pretence to doubt the advice of one, who has spent some time in the study of physic, when he counsels you not to be too forward in making use of physic and physicians.

or no

24. And thus I have done with what concerns the body and health, which reduces itself to these few and easily observable rules. Plenty of open air, exercise, and sleep; plain diet, no wine or strong drink, and very little physie; not too warm and strait clothing; especially the head and feet kept cold, and the feet often used to cold water and exposed to wet.


25. Due care being had to keep the body in strength and vigor, so that it may be able to obey and execute the orders of the mind; the next and principal business is, to set the mind right, that on all occasions it may be disposed to consent to nothing but what may be suitable to the dignity and excellency of a rational creature.

26. If what I have said in the beginning of this discourse be true, as I do not doubt but it is, viz., that the difference to be found in the manners and abilities of men is owing more to their education than to any thing else; we have reason to conclude, that great care is to be had of the forming of children's minds, and giving them that seasoning early, which shall influence their lives always after. For when they do well or ill, the praise or blame will be laid there; and when any thing is done awkwardly, the common saying will pass upon them, that it is suitable to their breeding.

27. As the strength of the body lies chiefly in being able to endure hardships, so also does that of the mind. And the great principle and foundation of all virtue and worth is placed in this, that a man is able to deny himself his own desires, cross his own inclinations, and purely follow what reason directs as best, though the appetite lean the other way.


28. The great mistake I have observed in people's breeding their children has been, that this has not been taken care enough of in its due season; that the mind has not been made obedient to discipline, and pliant to reason, when at first it was most tender, most easy to be bowed. Parents being wisely ordained by nature to love their children, are very apt, if reason watch not that natural affection very warily; are apt, I say, to let it run into fondness. They love their little ones, and it is their duty; but they often with them cherish their faults too. They must not be crossed, forsooth; they must be permitted to have their wills in all things; and they being in their infancies not capable of great vices, their parents think they may safely enough indulge their little irregularities, and make themselves sport with that pretty perverseness, which they think well enough becomes that innocent age. But to a fond parent, that would not have his child corrected for a perverse trick, but excused it, saying it was a small matter; Solon very well replied, "Ay, but custom is a great one."

29. The fondling must be taught to strike and call names; must have what he cries for, and do what he pleases. Thus parents, by humoring and cockering them when little, corrupt the principles of nature in their children, and wonder afterwards to taste the bitter waters, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain. For when their children are grown up, and these ill habits with them; when they are now too big to be dandled, and their parents can no longer make use of them as play-things; then they complain that the brats are untoward and perverse; then they are offended to see them wilful, and are troubled with those ill humors, which they themselves infused and fomented in them; and then, perhaps too late, would be glad to get out those weeds which their own hands have planted, and which now have taken too deep root to be easily extirpated. For he that has 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 more towards a man, age shows his faults the more, so that there be 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 no of a sudden must he be restrained and curbed; why must, he at seven, fourteen, or twenty years old, lose the privilege which the parents' indulgence, till then, 80 largely allowed him? Try it in a dog, or a horse, or any other creature, and see whether the ill and resty tricks they have learned when young are easily to be mended when they are knit: and yet none of those creatures are half 80 willful and proud, or half so desirous to be masters of themselves and others,

as man.

30. We are generally wise enough to begin with them when they are very young; and discipline betimes those other creatures we would make useful and good for somewhat. They are only our own offspring, that we neglect in this point; and, having made them ill children, we foolishly expect they should be good men. For if the child must have grapes, or sugar-plums, when he has a mind to them, rather than make the poor baby cry, or be out of humor; why, when he is grown up, must he not be satisfied too, if his desires carry laim to wine or women? They are objects as suitable to the longing of twenty-one or more years, as what he cried for, when little, was to the inclinations of a child. The having desires accommodated to the apprehensions and relish of those several ages is not the fault; but the not having them subject to the rules and restraints of reason: the difference lies not in the having or not having appetites, but in the power to govern, and deny ourselves in them. He that is not used to submit his will to the reason of others, when he is young, will scarce hearken or submit to his own reason, when he is of an age to make use of it. And what kind of a man such a one is like to prove, is easy to foresee. 31. These are oversights usually committed by those who seem to take the greatest care of their children's education. But, if we look into the common management of children, we shall have reason to wonder, in the great dissoluteness of manners which the world complains of, that there are any footsteps at all left to virtue. I desire to know what vice can be named, which parents, and those about children, do not season them with, and drop into them the seeds of as often as they are capable to receive them? I do not mean by the examples they give, and the patterns they set before them, which is encouragement enough; but that which I would take notice of here, is the downright teaching them vice, and actual putting them out of the way of virtue. Before they can go, they principle them, with violence, revenge and cruelty. "Give me a blow that I may beat him," is a lesson which most children every day hear: and it is thought nothing, because their hands have not strength enough to do any mischief. But, I ask, does not this corrupt their minds? is not this the way of force and violence, that they are set in? and if they have been taught when little to strike and hurt others by proxy, and encouraged to rejoice in the harm they have brought upon them, and see them suffer; are they not prepared to do it when they are strong enough to be felt themselves, and can strike to some purpose?

The coverings of our bodies, which are for modesty, warmth, and defense, are

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »