To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        28 March 1800

    My dear

    Since I wrote you I have read your last Letter several times, & endeavoured to recollect what it was in mine that had given your mind so much uneasiness. By yours, I am led to think I expressed an unwillingness of doing anything that might create a relish in Sallys mind to delight in, & seek for compliments on account of Literary accomplishments—But why this should be disagreeable to you I confess I cannot well imagine—It is not a wish on my part to discourage her either from taking a high delight in reading, or endeavouring to write with perfect correctness—All my Letters to her prove this—I have always done all in my power to induce her to read & write—and improve every moment of her time to these purposes while she is at Portland, because we cannot keep her a great while at School.

    But I have, at the same time, endeavoured to impress it on her mind, that these are really secondary pursuits for a woman—they ought to be made embellishments to the more important acts of Housewifery—And they deserve praise only as they enable a woman to discharge those with grace and elegance—but never on their own account—

    I cannot consider it a desireable thing for young Misses to become students of the Sciences with a view to be learned in them; & to be so much taken up with the compliments, the present turn female education seems [to] carry with it in the minds of many, as to occasion an inattention to a more important line of conduct which their future relations must probably devolve upon them—

    The modern education of Boys as well as that of Girls appears to me to be diverging too much from what it was thirty five years ago—If it was then too rigorous & contracted it is now equally censurable for approaching too near to the other extreme—

    I Love all our dear children unboundedly! I dreamed last night I had Sally in my lap—& the delicious sensations of joy she expressed, with her arms round my neck, while I gave her imaginary kisses, yet flutter in my mind—

    I hope to be at home by the tenth or middle of May—

    Yours most affectionately

    * * *

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