It is that of emulation; which I humbly conceive to be of great efficacy to lead children on in their duties and studies. And how, dear Sir, shall this advantage be procured for a young master, who has no school-fellows and who has no example to follow, but that of his tutor, whom he cannot, from the disparity of years, and other circumstances, without pain (because of this disparity), think of emulating? And this, I conceive, is a very great advantage to such a school education, as I mentioned in my former letter, where there are no more scholars taken in, than the master can with ease and pleasure instruct.
But one way, in my humble opinion, is left to answer this objection, and still preserve the reason for the preference which Mr. Locke gives to a home education; and that is, what I formerly hinted, to take into your family the child of some honest neighbour of but middling circumstances, and like age of your own, but who should give apparent indications of his natural promptitude, ingenuous temper, obliging behaviour and good manners; and to let him go hand-in-hand with yours in his several studies and lessons under the same tutor.
The child would be sensible of the benefit, as well as of the distinction, he received, and consequently of what was expected from him, and would double his diligence, and exert all his good qualities, which would inspire the young gentleman with the wished-for emulation, and, as I imagine, would be so promotive of his learning, that it would greatly compensate the tutor for his pains with the additional scholar; for the young gentleman would be ashamed to be outdone by one of like years and stature with himself. And little rewards might be proposed to the greatest proficient, in order to heighten the emulation.
Then, Sir, the generosity of such a method, to a gentleman of your fortune, and beneficent mind, would be its own reward, were there no other benefit to be received from it.
Moreover, such an ingenious youth might, by his good morals and industry, hereafter be of service, in some place of trust in the family; or it would be easy for a gentleman of your interest in the world, if such a thing offered not, to provide for the youth in the navy, in some of the public offices, or among your private friends. If he proved faulty in his morals, his dismission would be in your own power, and would be punishment enough.
But, if on the other hand, he proved a sober and hopeful youth, he would make an excellent companion for your Billy in riper years; as he would be, in a manner, a corroborator of his morals; for, as his circumstances would not support him in any extravagance, so they would be a check upon his inclination; and this being seconded by the hopes of future preferment from your favour and interest, which he could not expect but upon the terms of his perseverance in virtue, he would find himself under a necessity of setting such an