For my own part, I beg to declare, that if the parent were not to inflict the punishment himself, I think it much better it should be given him, in the parent’s presence, by the servant of the lowest consideration in the family, and whose manners and example one would be the least willing of any other he should follow. Just as the common executioner, who is the lowest and most flagitious officer of the commonwealth, and who frequently deserves, as much as the criminal, the punishment he is chosen to inflict, is pitched upon to perform, as a mark of greater ignominy, sentences intended as examples to deter others from the commission of heinous crimes. The Almighty took this method when he was disposed to correct severely his chosen people; for, in that case, he generally did it by the hands of the most profligate nations around them, as we read in many places of the Old Testament.
But the following rule I admire in Mr. Locke: “When,” says he (for any misdemeanour), “the father or mother looks sour on the child, every one else should put on the same coldness to him, and nobody give him countenance till forgiveness is asked, and a reformation of his fault has set him right again, and restored him to his former credit. If this were constantly observed,” adds he, “I guess there would be little need of blows or chiding: their own ease or satisfaction would quickly teach children to court commendation, and avoid doing that which they found every body condemned, and they were sure to suffer for, without being chid or beaten. This would teach them modesty and shame, and they would quickly come to have a natural abhorrence for that which they found made them slighted and neglected by every body.”
This affords me a pretty hint; for if ever your charming Billy shall be naughty, I will proclaim throughout your worthy family, that the little dear is in disgrace! And one shall shun him, another decline answering him, a third say, “No, master, I cannot obey you, till your mamma is pleased with you”; a fourth, “Who shall mind what little masters bid them do, when they won’t mind what their mammas say to them?” And when the dear little soul finds this, he will come in my way, (and I see, pardon me, my dear Mr. B., he has some of his papa’s spirit, already, indeed he has!) and I will direct myself with double kindness to your beloved Davers, and to my Miss Goodwin, and not notice the dear creature, if I can help it, till I can see his papa (forgive my boldness) banished from his little sullen brow, and all his mamma rise to his eyes. And when his musical tongue shall be unlocked to own his fault, and promise amendment—O then! how shall I clasp him to my bosom! and tears of joy, I know, will meet his tears of penitence!