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ESSAY XIII.

OF MANLY TREATMENT AND BEHAVIOUR.

IT has sometimes been a question among those who are accustomed to speculate upon the subject of education, whether we should endeavour to diminish or increase the distinction between youth and manhood, whether children should be trained to behave like men, or ihould be encouraged to the exercise of manners peculiar to themselves.

Pertness and primness are always in some degree ridiculous or disgusting in persons of infant years. There is a kind of premature manhood which we have sometimes occasion to observe in young persons, that is destructive of all honest and spontaneous emotion in its subjects. They seem as if they were robbed of the chief blessing of youth, the foremost confolation of its crosses and mortifications thoughtless, bounding gaiety. Their behaviour is forced and artificial. Their temper is unanimating and frigid. They discuss and affert, but it is with a borrowed judgment. They pride themselves in what is emi

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ftranger from human society, to inspire him with a solitary and self-centred fpirit; and to teach him to fear an enemy, before he has known a friend!

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ESSAY ESSAY XIII.

OF MANLY TREATMENT AND BEHAVIOUR.

It has sometimes been a question among those who are accustomed to speculate upon the subject of education, whether we should endeavour to diminish or increase the distinction between youth and manhood, whether children should be trained to behave like men, or ihould be encouraged to the exercise of manners peculiar to themselves.

Pertness and primness are always in some degree ridiculous or disgusting in perfons of infant years. There is a kind of premature manhood which we have sometimes occasion to observe in young persons, that is destructive of all honeft and spontaneous emotion in its subjects. They seem as if they were robbed of the chief blessing of youth, the foremost confolation of its crosses and mortifications thoughtless, bounding gaiety. Their behaviour is forced and artificial. Their temper is unanimating and frigid. They discuss and assert, but it is with a borrowed judgment. They pride themselves in what is emi

nently

veil of gravity over the innocent, as well as the immoderate, luxuriance and wantonness of our thoughts.

But, if hilarity be a valuable thing, good fenfe is perhaps still better. A comparison has fometimes been instituted between seriousness and gaiety, and an enquiry started as to which of the two is most excellent. Gaiety has undoubtedly a thousand recommendations ; it is not so properly the means of happiness, as one of the different species of which happiness confifts. No one would gain attention from a reasonable man, who should offer to advance a word against it. But gaiety must probably in the comparison yield to seriousnefs. The world in which we are engaged, is after all a serious fuene. No man can expect long to retain the means of happiness, if be be not sometimes serioufly employed in contemplating and combining them. The man of mere gaiety, passes away life like a dream, has nothing to recollect, and leaves behind no traces that he was. His state is rather a ftate of vegetation, each day like the day before, than a ftate worthy of a rational being. All that is grand and sublime, in conception or compofition, in eloquence or in poetry, is ferious. Nay, gaiety itself, if it be such as a delicate tafte would approve, must have been indebted for its rearing and growth to seriousness. All that is fublime in character, all that is generously virtuous, all that extorts our admiration and makes conquest of our nost ardent affections, must have been accompanied both in its rise and progress by seriousness. A character may be valuable, a man may be contented and happy, without gaiety; but no being can be worthy the name of a man, if seriousness be not an ingredient in his disposition.

А young person should be educated, as if he were one day to become a man. He should not arrive at a certain age, and then all at once be launched upon the world. He should not be either wholly ignorant of, or unexercised in, the concerns of men. The world is a momentous and a perilous scene. What wife parent would wish his child to enter it, without preparation, or without being initiated in the spectacle of its practices ?

The man should, by incessant degrees, be grafted upon the youth ; the process should perhaps commence from the period of birth. There is no age at which something manly, considerate and firm, will not be found graceful. The true point of skill is, not to precipitate this important leffon, but to carry it on with a suitable progress; to show, to the judicious and well in

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