I know not how, Sir, to recover my thread; and so must break off with that delight which I always take when I come near the bottom of my letters to your dear self; because then I can boast of the honour which I have in being your ever dutiful,
Well, but, my dear Mr. B., you will perhaps think, from my last rambling letter, that I am most inclined to a school education for your Billy, and some years hence, if it should please God to spare him to us. Yet I cannot say that I am; I only lay several things together in my usual indigested way, to take your opinion upon, which, as it ought, will be always decisive with me. And indeed I am so thoroughly convinced by Mr. Locke’s reasons, where the behaviour of servants can be so well answered for, as that of yours can be, and where the example of the parents will be, as I hope, rather edifying than otherwise, that without being swayed, as I think, by maternal fondness, in this case, I must needs give a preference to the home education; and the little scheme I presumed to form in my last, was only on a supposition, that those necessary points could not be so well secured.
In my observations on this head, I shall take the liberty, in one or two particulars, a little to differ from an author, that I admire exceedingly; and that is the present design of my writing these letters; for I shall hereafter, if God spare my life, in my little book (when you have kindly decided upon the points in which I presume to differ) shew you, Sir, my great reverence and esteem for him; and can then let you know all my sentiments on this important subject, and that more undoubtedly, as I shall be more improved by years and your conversation; especially, Sir, if I have the honour and happiness of a foreign tour with you, of which you give me hope; so much are you pleased with the delight I take in these improving excursions, which you have now favoured me with, at different times, through more than half the kingdom.
Well then, Sir, I will proceed to consider a little more particularly the subject of a home education, with an eye to those difficulties, of which Mr. Locke takes notice, as I mentioned in my last. As to the first, that of finding a qualified tutor; we must not expect so much perfection, I doubt, as he lays down as necessary. What, therefore, I humbly conceive is best to be done, will be to avoid choosing a man of bigoted and narrow principles; who yet shall not be tainted with sceptical or heterodox notions, nor a mere scholar or pedant; who has travelled, and yet preserved his moral character untainted; and whose behaviour and carriage is easy, unaffected, unformal, and genteel, as well acquiredly as naturally so, if possible; who shall not be dogmatical, positive, overbearing, on one hand; nor too yielding, suppliant, fawning, on the other; who shall study the child’s natural