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Bishop Burnet on Education

It is true great change and daily variety of company, doth rub off all rusticity, and give a garb, and teach a good behaviour; and this is all most doe or can pretend to. But if a short satisfaction, which is soon forgotten, or a gab which, not suiting with the humour of the countrey, must be aid aside ere the French clothes be worn out, deserves to be once let in competition against the almost certain hasards a traveller is exposed to, let all wise men judge. All the wits there counting it their glory, to turn to mysterys of faith, scriptures, and piety in ridicule. Some yeeres agoe there was a hazard of gentlemen their returning papists: but now wee may rather expect to get them home atheists; since there is, in this depraved compound of a man, a farre stronger byasse to atheism than to popery.


I mention not the hasards from duellers and robbers, since by the king’s severity, these are not now so frequent; neither shall I much consider the impoverishing the kingdome; by carrying so much money beyond sea, nor the ruin of estates occasioned by travel: for these are considerations without my road. But there is one thing further considerable, that by travelling, and seeing fine and high things, they are made to loathe and weary of home.


Upon all these accounts, I exceedingly disapprove young men their travelling.


Yet a person of a mature spirit and ripe judgment =, who is well confirmed in his religion, and hath a true sense of piety and virtue, and is not of a light or gadding mind, but doth know what to observe and search after, if he be well recommended, may after he is twenty one yeeres of age, with much advantage, spend a year or two abroad. For he may be capable of larger and freer thoughts; and may learne to know more of the world and of mankind; as also he may see a great manny useful things, which our countrey doth not afford; and by seing even the finest things in the world, he may arrive at a more just understanding of what is best on earth, and so be taught to contemne it. and with the help of effectual recommendations (for complimenting ones are not worth carrying) he may get the acquaintance of worth and wise persons, who may prove kind and good directors to him.  But what I say of travelling, I mean only of running beyond sea, for since we have not now a king and court in Scotland, it is very proper that the gentlemen be well acquainted with the court in England; thought there be manny things there that make me with even a short stay among them.