Nevertheless, I must repeat, that if, as the child grows up, and is capable of so much reason, that, from the love of the inducement, one can raise his mind to the love of the duty, it should be done by all means. But, my dear Mr. B., I am afraid that that parent or tutor will meet with but little success, who, in a child’s tender years, shall refuse to comply with its foibles, till he sees it value its duty, and the pleasure of obeying his commands, beyond the little enjoyment on which his heart is fixed. For, as I humbly conceive, that mind which can be brought to prefer its duty to its appetites, will want little of the perfection of the wisest philosophers.
Besides, Sir, permit to me say, that I am afraid this perpetual opposition between the passions of the child and the duty to be enforced, especially when it sees how other children are indulged (for if this regimen could be observed by any, it would be impossible it should become general, while the fond and the inconsiderate parents are so large a part of mankind), will cow and dispirit a child, and will, perhaps produce, a necessity of making use of severity, to subdue him to this temper of self-denial; for if the child refuses, the parent must insist; and what will be the consequence? must it not introduce a harsher discipline than this gentleman allows of?—and which, I presume to say, did never yet do good to any but to slavish and base spirits, if to them; a discipline which Mr. Locke every where justly condemns.
See here, dear Sir, a specimen of the presumption of your girl: “What will she come to in time!” you will perhaps say, “Her next step will be to arraign myself.” No, no, dear Sir, don’t think so: for my duty, my love, and my reverence, shall be your guards, and defend you from every thing saucy in me, but the bold approaches of my gratitude, winch shall always testify for me, how much I am your obliged and dutiful servant,
MY DEAREST MR. B.,
I will continue my subject, although I have not had an opportunity to know whether you approve of my notions or not by reason of the excursions you have been pleased to allow me to make in your beloved company to the sea-ports of this kingdom, and to the more noted inland towns of Essex, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, and Dorsetshire, which have given me infinite delight and pleasure, and enlarged my notions of the wealth and power of the kingdom, in which God’s goodness has given you so considerable a stake.