But now, my dear Mr. B., if you will indulge me in a letter or two more, preparative to my little book, I will take the liberty to touch upon one or two other places, wherein I differ from this learned gentleman. But first, permit me to observe, that if parents are, above all things, to avoid giving bad examples to their children, they will be no less careful to shun the practice of such fond fathers and mothers, as are wont to indulge their children in bad habits, and give them their head, at a time when, like wax, their tender minds may be moulded into what shape they please. This is a point that, if it please God, I will carefully attend to, because it is the foundation on which the superstructure of the whole future man is to be erected. For, according as he is indulged or checked in his childish follies, a ground is laid for his future happiness or misery; and if once they are suffered to become habitual to him, it cannot but be expected, that they will grow up with him, and that they will hardly ever be eradicated. “Try it,” says Mr. Locke, speaking to this very point, “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 these creatures are half so wilful and proud, or half so desirous to be masters of themselves, as men.”
And this brings me, dear Sir, to the head of punishments, in which, as well as in the article of rewards, which I have touched upon, I have a little objection to what Mr. Locke advances.
But permit me, however, to premise, that I am exceedingly pleased with the method laid down by this excellent writer, rather to shame the child out of his fault, than beat him; which latter serves generally for nothing but to harden his mind.