To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        26 March 1800

    My dear

    I wrote you two days ago, & inclosed a ten dollar Bill—Probably I should not have wrote to day, had I not recieved yours of the 16th. by which you seem to have very much misunderstood a former one of mine, touching on female education.1 It is impossible I should intentionally say a word on that subject to hurt your feelings—or to maintain sentiments the least derogatory to the female sex—My uniform endeavour to give to our dear departed Nancy [Bigelow] all the education our circumstances would admit—And the keeping our lovely Sally at Portland under a considerable expence; perhaps, beyond what prudence would justify, were I not anxious to give her all the education necessary to make her equally respectable as amiable.2 These two facts ought to satisfy your mind that I am not averse to educating Girls according to their true station in Society—But I must say—the modern & most popular rage of female education is to me most preposterous—Writing, reeding, drawing, Music [and] Dancing—Are not among the primary objects of female education—I only say they ought to be secondary objects, & embellishments to more substantial ones—I have known most desant [decent] female writers that cannot make up a bed, sweep a house or cook a dish of victuals—yet they are cried up as Girls of an elegant & accomplished education—Let writing, reading, music &c be made or as ornaments to the broom, the wheel & the kitchin generally, & I am no enemy to them3

    A Girl educated to be a good mantua-maker will never think it below her to support herself & family by her own hands—but I never saw a Girl who w[as] an elegant writer & reader, who did not think herself greatly degraded by keeping a School—

    I am, my dear, your most affectionate

    * * *

    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked; postmarked.