To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        2 June 1798

    My dear—

    I believe I have recieved two or three Letters from you that have not been particularly replied to, & I have omited this piece of duty till to day that I might have time; but my table is so cluttered up with books, pamphlets, papers and Letters that, I must declare, whether you believe me or not, I cannot find either of the letters I meant to answer—However, having read them more than once when they first came to hand, I can recollect enough to assure you they each of them afforded me much pleasure, & increased my anxiety to get home as soon as possible—Your description of the childrend, in the Kitching,1 repeating the story of the babes in the woods, was well illustrated by comparing them to a parcel of Grasshoppers—They like children are constantly hop[p]ing in different directions, & crossing each others path—yet all in good humour—

    I was not less please to hear you are about to have a school—and a minister [Rev. Nathaniel Webster] at the New Meeting house—These are two objects of primary importance to children. And I like it the better because the Minister & School-Master are united in the same man—The Minister will be a pledge for the behaviour of the School-Master. Our Country are suffering irregularities in their teachers of Schools, that thirty years ago would not have been born with.

    Every retrospect I take of past times, & make a comparason with the present, I am more inclined to think we are departing too much from the institutions of our Ancesters—If they were too riged—we have become too liberal—If their virtues and manners were austere & uncouth—I fear those of the rising generation may be called corrupting & effeminate

    Philips wrote me the School-master is to keep but four days in the week—This is no objection in my mind—Children should learn to work as well as to read & write—and two days in a week is not too much to be dedicated to the use of the hands & feet—perhaps too this arrangement will suit well with the plan of your expected Dancing master, which I would have you attend to on account of Philips and Sally—The other children, we will endeavor to attend to in this way, hereafter2—Two at a time is as much as we can get through with—But send as many of the Grass-hoppers to the reading & writing School as the Master will take charge of on account of their age—

    Tell Betsey I am glad to hear she is returned & pleased with her visit—And I hope she will continue satisfied with her situation—I know she will be, if she has sense & judgment to keep her easy till she comes to an age of mature understanding—Have you given her the Book I sent for her?3

    One word on the times—The important moment that is to decide the fate of England is near at hand, if not already passed—Should she be conquered by France, America has every thing to fear—and nothing but union and the most determined courage can save us!

    On the 12th. May I sent you ten dollars—has it reached you? I now send you ten more—

    and am, with unbounded Love to the dear children, your very affectionate

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    ALS, TFP