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may we not observe all these important considerations totally unheeded? Alas! what a complication of evil effects does the neglect of even one duty produce ! How wretched is the task, how hopeless, to remedy the long train of defects arising in neglect, ignorance, prejudice, conceit, absurd fondness, and indolence! Who that contemplates the early management of our infants, can be surprized at the confused notions, and the errors of our children? Who that observes our children can wonder at the inconsistencies, the follies, the absurdities, and the vices of our youth !
The cries and shouts of children are generally stopped, hushed, and smothered by coaxings, or kisses, or promises of indulgence, or the acts themselves of submission : in whom ? In the children ? Not at all; in the parent or attendant. Or these cries are put an end to, by cramming the gaping jaws with sugar, or sweets, or fruit, or palatable drink, or by pushing a fine trinket into the extended hands, and holding it up almost into the eye of the little tyrant. Or there is another way to stop the discordant sounds : by jolting the child suddenly, and with a fierce aspect and threatening voice, demanding of him how he dares to make that noise ? He is called “ naughty child," as loudly as the person (and this is generally the last resource of the nursery-maid) can speak it. Sometimes this does frighten him into silence -a silence of hate and fear. Let any person enter the room, and come forward : he begins his cries with renewed force, and, extending his arms with a supplicating look, seems to say, “take me
from this creature whom I cannot love, though I am obliged to fear her."
Such are the most common methods employed to keep peace; peace, as I have observed, which is to be maintained on any terms, at the expense of all that is good; a peace, moreover, which is infringed the moment the treaty is made. What does history teach us that we gain by such principles? The lazy descendants of Charlemagne loved such peace, and sacrificed their subjects' lives and property to their own ease : for while they were giving gold to bribe off the Normans, those invaders were quieted only to renew their depredations with greater vigour, at length seizing on the fairest provinces of the empire, where they have maintained their ground to this day. In like manner is present ease secured at future risk, in the purchasing off of tyrant passions; but with what success ? Only to see those foes return in tenfold numbers and commit tenfold excesses. The bribing of men to refrain from doing wrong, is not more injurious to a nation than the purchasing of quiet and peace is individually hurtful to the child. His fault disappears perhaps for one moment, one hour, one day; it was not overcome of reason, or goodness, or conscience, or principle of right or justice; consequently no good impression is made; no respect is created; no wisdom is apparent; no permanent obligation is seen ; the cake is eaten ; the toy is broken ; the compact is dissolved ; and the infantine heart is. corrupted. Temptation was strong yesterday : it is stronger to day. Will triumphed once: it shall again. The means employed once shall be employed twice;
another day's age has added the strength of another day; increased force shall permit louder cries; louder cries obtain larger bribes, so thinks the little tyrant ; larger bribes produce fresh corruption; more corruption, a host of faults; and faults, an appalling train of vices, which few persons will have the spirit to encounter. “And now," says the little tyrant, arrived at this point,
“ I will do this, I will not do that, I will have this, I will not have the other," and these sentences are equally addressed to parent, sister, friend, and servant. The actions of the same child perfectly agree with his thoughts and words; for he strikes, bites, kicks, screams, and sets the whole family at defiance. His sister and brother tease him in return for this rough usage. The maid shakes him privately, and bestows on him many a slap on the back. The mother at first smiles; and then, growing weary of the daring turbulence of his will and his ways, rings for the maid to take him, observing, « There, lead him away, he is a sad naughty child, we can do nothing with him," at the same time laughing! Visitors and the father declare the child has a fine spirit, and men for the moment may think so; but if they could look into futurity, to the distance of five, ten, fifteen years, and see the boy or girl despising reproofs in their own houses, the youth openly rebelling against their authority, and disgracing them in the public colleges of his country; the maiden at home, refusing to have any guide for her conduct but her own headstrong inclinations ; would not these men, as fathers, or as friends to humanity, be concerned that they had given applause
where they should have condemned ? In no way. It would not enter into a father's head if he had spent a great deal of money on his child's private and public education; if he had invariably been concerned for his health and general welfare; and if he had talked of the necessity for attending to his morals occasionally ; nay, if the father had twice whipped the boy for telling an untruth, or committing other offence, and had taken him to church every Sunday, under such circumstances, the supposition would never enter a father's mind that improper treatment on his part, as well as of the mother, had laid the foundation of depravity in his son. Perhaps we should not say, laid the foundations of vice, since the seeds of vice lurk in every bosom, man's heart being prone to evil; but certainly bad management in the parents above described, each in his degree, fostered those seeds of vice, and produced a depravity, which would have perished in infancy had virtues been planted or encouraged to oppose them. It is strange, but true, that parents hardly ever tax themselves with misconduct, when their children in after-years disgrace them. They lay excesses to fashion, to human nature, to associates, to the force of temptation, but never do they turn over the pages of their children's existence, and peruse those of their infancy and early childhood. If they would do so, what a “strange eventful history" would be recorded ! a history, which would dye the mother's cheek with crimson, and swell the father's breast with sighs! a history, which the Genius of Childhood may often blot with his tears, and the Spirit of Futurity bind up in covers of mourn
ing. Every human being has such a history-oh that mothers would oftener read it !
If the child, then, with all the irritability which impulse gives, should desire to have his own way in
preference to our's, let us resist him, if we truly value our own peace and his.
Peace is delightful; it is a heavenly blessing : but it must, to be so, be fixed upon good, firm foundation; a foundation which secures the peace of heaven itself, truth, and goodness, and justice ; a foundation which will give force and stability to every work, every law, and every institution. But without which, nothing shall stand. ' A peace so gained may be valued; but this will not be, if we shew the party we fear his struggles and his cries. Fear discovers weakness, and weakness implies consciousness of defect, or failing. If justice is on our side, what need have we for fear? Let him then shout and scream. I would lay the child gently on a carpet or bed, and quietly say,
66 This or that is not good for you; or, you must not have it. Forbear, or leave off crying, and be good.” Words in general are not necessary, for our action has proved that resistance is offered. The screams are hereupon repeated; the cries are redoubled. One would think, to look at the child, that his very life was in danger, so violent are his struggles, so great his apparent distress. A mother must persevere, and maintain a grave composure, though her bosom palpitate with most natural emotion and anxiety. She may be assured that the distress of her child is entirely deceptive. He is in no pain, if he was in perfect health and good humour five minutes before he chose to begin the riot.