As the rearing of children, that is, the laying a foundation of
sound health both of body and mind in the rising generation, has
justly been insisted on as the peculiar destination of woman, the
ignorance that incapacitates them must be contrary to the order
of things. And I contend that their minds can take in much more,
and ought to do so, or they will never become sensible mothers.
Many men attend to the breeding of horses, and overlook the
management of the stable, who would, strange want of sense and
feeling! think themselves degraded by paying any attention to the
nursery; yet, how many children are absolutely murdered by the
ignorance of women! But when they escape, and are destroyed
neither by unnatural negligence nor blind fondness, how few are
managed properly with respect to the infant mind! So that to
break the spirit, allowed to become vicious at home, a child is
sent to school; and the methods taken there, which must be taken
to keep a number of children in order, scatter the seeds of
almost every vice in the soil thus forcibly torn up.
I have sometimes compared the struggles of these poor children,
who ought never to have felt restraint, nor would, had they been
always held in with an even hand, to the despairing plunges of a
spirited filly, which I have seen breaking on a strand: its feet
sinking deeper and deeper in the sand every time it endeavoured
to throw its rider, till at last it sullenly submitted.