To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    New York City        18 February 1789

    My dear—

    To One who thinks, as I do, that every thing relative to a persons being good or bad depends upon his education, must be sensibly affected with every circumstance and little event that takes place with his Children—And when I reflect upon the trifling things, in the eyes of most people, that determin the temper, and disposition of children, I can hardly reconcile my leaving home, at this time, with the duty I owe to our dear children—for however your care and attention may render my presence almost unnecessary; yet in some things in cultivating that sweetness of disposition which is necessary to make them amiable, yet in informing the head, particularly, in learning them to read, I think I should be of service—And perhaps Philips may soon be old enough to learn to read—I would not force a child at the age of Philips to read; but if things can be so disposed as shall lead him to desire it, he may begin at that, as well as [a] more advanced period—When I came from home, Philips had begun to entertain a wish to read; this first sentiment being rightly improved may cause that to be a pleasure to him & us which generally is irksom to children & painfull to parents—

    The other day I purchased Lord Kaim’s Treatise upon education—more particularly on the Culture of the Heart1—I wish you had the Book—indeed I most heartily wish every pare[n]t had one; tho it is not so full and minute as Rosseau—it is less philosophical, more plain, and better adapted to the very comprehension of readers of every denomination—The book is rather too large to send in the mail—but the first opportunity that offers I will embrace to forward it to you2

    Education is a subject too little attended to; and one great reason of this neglect arises from the Culture of the heart depending upon those circumstances that, by people in general, are looked upon as too trifling to deserve their attention—Of this I am convinced—and wish you may differ, as much as I do, from millions of others—And untill I can send you the Book, I have been discribing, I think to transcribe for your perusal, a few extracts from it—On the Authority of partents he sais—

    [. . . .]

    The command of a parent to a child ought not to be interupted by the intercession of friends, or visitants—a child that is told to go to bed—ought to go; and it is wrong for any one present to take part with the child & intreat the mother to let the child set up a little longer—I have lately had occasion to note the inconvenience of this—

    It makes the child think its mamma’s orders are capricious—and that some other knows better what is for its good, & at the same time possessed of more kindness—It is of great importance that a child be uniformly persuaded of the mother & fathers good intention and affection—and the great spring of education lies in making the child concieve that is very punishments arise from Love—In order to do this I think, that constantly, after correction, the child ought to embrace & kiss its mamma—which may be returned by her, occasionally, in such a manner as enhanse & fix the Love of the Child—

    Adieu, my dear—it is four oClock, & I am going out to dine—

    * * *

    ALS, TFP. The omitted text is three and a half manuscript pages of excerpts from Kames’s Loose Hints on the subject of parental authority, including the following: “As few of the lower sort of people think of disciplining their children to obedience, it is no wonder that there is found among them so much obstinacy and perverseness.” At the underlined words, GT appended a footnote: “By this and one or two other like words you will percieve that this book was wrote by a nobleman—and in a Country where the Nobility and the lower sort are distinctions established by their Laws—And tho this is not the case in this Country the principle, so far as it relates to education, is the same.”