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Bishop Burnet Thoughts on Education 1761

The things he is to learne are, first discretion, how to converse, to be silent, to choose friends, to find out peoples humours; how to gain love, and the like. These he must be well directed in; for now he learne to be a man, and live among them. The Proverbs will doe well for his: and for humane writers, the best I know is the son of Sirach.


He must also be taught to speak properly, and promptly: and for this cause he should begin to write essaies upon everything, to use himselfe, while he is alone, to discourse upon any subject; for this is the best way to smooth his stile, and to replenish his mind with good thoughts and fancies. Now how necessary this is for all is easy to guesse, but chiefly for noblemen, who by ane elegant expression shall become the more considerable bot in parliament and counsel. Wee see the chieffe in all states have been the greatest orators, as all histories assure us.


For study, if he retain and improve in what he hath acquired, I should burden him no more: yet if he be of a composed mind, and moderate spirit, to look differently into chymistry, will be a huge addition to his other parts, and may oblige him to love home, and seek a retired life; which is always the best choice; none being ever so fit for public affairs, as they who shun them, and seek privacy. But if he be of a hot brain, and forward in his acting, this will more prejudge than profit him, and may intangle him so as to ruin his estate, and fill his head with doting fopperies. At this age therefore study should be used as a recreation.