« PreviousContinue »
COULD not but be much furprifed, my dear friend, to receive your commands on a fubject, of which You, of all men, are the greatest master. For who could fo well advise the party, you speak of, or refolve the general queftion concerning The Ufes of Foreign Travel, confidered as a part of modern breeding and education, as He, who has himself profited so much by this practice, and, in a late excellent treatife [a],
[a] Account of Denmark, as it was in the year 1692.
has given fo convincing a proof of its utility?
BESIDES, your application to me is a little fufpicious; and looks as if you wanted to draw from me a confirmation of your own fentiments, rather than a candid examination of them. For how was it poffible for you not to foresee the difficulty I must be under, in debating this point with you? When have I been able to diffent from you in any question of morals or policy? and especially what chance for my doing it in this inftance, when you know the bias which my own education, conducted in this way, muft have left upon me?
I AM therefore at a lofs, as I faid, to account for your fancy in making me of your council on this occafion. But, whatever your purpose might be, fince you have thought fit to honour me so far, I must own your Letter of Inquiry could
not poffibly have found me in a fitter feafon.
I HAPPENED just then to amufe myself with recollecting a converfation, which, not many days before, had paffed between me and a certain Philofopher of great note, on that very fubject.
You know the efteem I have of this Philofopher; I mean, for fuch of his writings, as are most popular, and deserve to be fo; fuch as his pieces on Government, Trade, Liberty, and Education. No man understands the world better; or reasons more clearly on those subjects, in which that world takes itself to be moft of all, and is, in truth, very nearly concerned.
His Philofophy, properly fo called, is not, I doubt, of fo good a taste, at leaft, his notion of morals is too modern for my relish: I had put myself to school
to other masters, and had learnt, you know, from his betters what to think of Life and Manners; which they treat in á ftyle quite out of the way of these subverters of ideal worlds [b], and architects on material principles [c].
BUT on this head, my dear Sir, you have heard me fpeak often, and may hear from me more at large on fome other occafion. With exception to this one article (an important one, however), no man is more able, than Mr. Locke, or more privileged by his long experience, to give us Lectures on the good old chapter of Education; which many others indeed have difcuffed; but none with fo much good fenfe and with fo
 Such as certain philofophers amufed themfelves with building, on Innate Ideas.
[c] Ideas of Senfation-on which principles, indeed, a late writer has conftructed, but by no fault of Mr. LOCKE, a material fyftem of the groffeft Epicurifm. See a work entitled, De l'Esprit, in 2 tom. Amft. 1759.