Section 83. Upon this account it is, that any sort of speaking, so as will make him be understood, is not thought enough for a gentleman. Reason, if consulted with, would advise, that their children’s time should be spent in acquiring what might be useful to them when they come to be men, rather than to have their heads stuff’d with a deal of trash, a great part whereof they usually never do (’tis certain they never need to) think on again as long as they live: and so much of it as does stick by them they are only the worse for. And if the greatest part of the trouble be not the sense that they have done amiss, and the apprehension that they have drawn on themselves the just displeasure of their best friends, the pain of whipping will work but an imperfect cure. For what pleasure or encouragement can it be to a child to exercise himself in reading those parts of a book where he understands nothing? When that is done, and he knows pretty well the constellations of this our hemisphere, it may be time to give him some notions of this our planetary world; and to that purpose, it may not be amiss to make him a draught of the Copernican system, and therein explain to him the situation of the planets, their respective distances from the sun, the centre of their revolutions. With geography, chronology ought to go hand in hand. Or can it hope to be heard, if it should call that luxury, which is so much own’d and universally practis’d by those of the best quality? A great part of the learning now in fashion in the schools of Europe, and that goes ordinarily into the round of education, a gentleman may in a good measure be unfurnish’d with, without any great disparagement to himself or prejudice to his affairs. You will, however, in the mean time bear me witness, that the method here propos’d has had no ordinary effects upon a gentleman’s son it was not design’d for. Section 178. They at other times should be shewn what to do, and by reiterated actions be fashion’d beforehand into the practice of what is fit and becoming, and not told and talk’d to do upon the spot, of what they have never been accustom’d nor know how to do as they should. Though as to cards and dice, I think the safest and best way is never to learn any play upon them, and so to be incapacitated for those dangerous temptations and incroaching wasters of useful time. By this means a great deal of time and tiring would be sav’d: 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 awkwardly or is dragg’d unwillingly to it. He, whose mind directs not wisely, will never take the right way; and he, whose body is crazy and feeble, will never be able to advance in it. By these steps unnatural cruelty is planted in us; and what humanity abhors, custom reconciles and recommends to us, by laying it in the way to honour. And therefore, I think, for this, as well as other reasons before-mentioned, a lazy, listless humour that idly dreams away the days, is of all others the least to be indulged or permitted in young people. I told you before, that children love liberty; and therefore they should be brought to do the things are fit for them, without feeling any restraint laid upon them. A gentleman’s more serious employment I look on to be study; and when that demands relaxation and refreshment, it should be in some exercise of the body, which unbends the thought, and confirms the health and strength. The younger they are, the less I think are their unruly and disorderly appetites to be comply’d with; and the less reason they have of their own, the more are they to be under the absolute power and restraint of those in whose hands they are. For in many cases, all that we can do, or should aim at, is, to make the best of what nature has given, to prevent the vices and faults to which such a constitution is most inclin’d, and give it all the advantages it is capable of. Shame in children has the same place that modesty has in women, which cannot be kept and often transgress’d against. This has been that which has given cards, dice and drinking so much credit in the world: and a great many throw away their spare hours in them, through the prevalency of custom, and want of some better employment to fill up the vacancy of leisure, more than from any real delight is to be found in them. But whether the scraps they have got into their heads this way, make them remember other things the better; and whether their parts be improved proportionably to the pains they have taken in getting by heart others’ sayings, experience will shew. Section 210. 1. To accustom a child to have true notions of things, and not to be satisfied till he has them; to raise his mind to great and worthy thoughts, and to keep him at a distance from falsehood and cunning, which has always a broad mixture of falsehood in it; is the fittest preparation of a child for wisdom.