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endurance of waywardness and petulance, her simple unpretending manner, her familiar explanations, and condescension to all the ignorance and slowness of childhood, gain an easy access to the infant mind; and the precepts which are to be given, and the knowledge which is to be conveyed, assume a pleasing and attractive form when they are tenderly inculcated and mildly enforced. But Mr. Bowdler's mother possessed advantages which fall to the lot of few. Her mind was naturally powerful and comprehensive, her talents highly cultivated, her reading very extensive, her manners elegant. She had, also, a peculiar turn for conveying instruction, a peculiar art in gaining the attention of children, and making knowledge pleasing, which some of those who were trained under her care now remember with gratitude and delight. She applied herself to this important task with great diligence, and being in the habit of reflecting deeply on every topic which came before her, and of committing her thoughts to paper, she entered philosophically into those subjects which she communicated familiarly to her scholars. Her chief labour in the instructing of her children was to give them a thorough knowledge of the Bible and of every part of Christianity, and to fix in their hearts sound and steady principles. For this purpose she drew up an explanation of the church catechism, so comprehensive and yet so plain, that there is scarce any point of
doctrine, of duty, or of the discipline of our church which may not be easily learned from it. *
* Should these papers fall into the hands of any one desirous to know the history of this MS. it is as follows:- “When I had been some time engaged in explaining the church catechism to my children, I thought it would be a help to my memory to set down such questions as I had found most fit to awaken attention and introduce useful lessons. I went on so to do, and sometimes, when I could not frame a question so as to lead directly to the answer, I set down an answer to it that I might have it ready at hand; but I never desired any thing but the church catechism to be got by heart: I was, indeed, better pleased when my own questions were answered in different words each time, as it showed the meaning of them was understood. Going on in this manner, my book of questions grew to a considerable size, though many questions, which occasionally were asked, were never set down in it. I did not confine myself to go through it in a regular manner, but generally used to ask a few questions on each part of the catechism, as best suited the capacity and present disposition of my hearers. When my eldest girl seemed pretty well acquainted with my notions, I dismissed her from answering with the little ones, and desired her to take my book of questions, and, going through it in order, to write down a part of it every Sunday, adding herself the answers to the questions, and copying out those few which she found ready to her hand. This took her up, I believe, near two years, and produced such a work as gave me great pleasure.
“ Nothing of this kind can be of general use : different stations have need of different instructions; and different times produce diversities of mistakes which must be guarded against; for prejudice is unavoidable, and if we neglect to instruct children, the world, to their destruction, will do it for us. If any, from reading this, should think me any way capable of giving advice, I intreat them not to require these instructions, or any work of the same kind, to be got by rote; it would be only burdening the memory, without forming the mind or touching the heart. To the instruction thus given by an excellent mother, was added that of a father so well informed, so well read particularly on religious subjects, so pious, and, at the same time, so gentle and affectionate, that his teaching, whether delivered in the way of precept, or in the more familiar form of conversation, while it was valuable beyond what most men are capable of giving, won an easy way to the hearts of his children, and left there a deep impression of reverence, love, and gratitude.
Thus trained in the good and the right way, from which, under the directing grace of God, he was never to depart, the son of these excellent
For the same reason I am greatly against teaching children to say their prayers or their catechism in French, as is commonly done ; for it only gives them a dislike to both, and makes religion a task : besides, that the translation we have of the Common Prayer, as well as most of those we have of the Bible, into that language, are by no means worthy of the subject. Whoever undertakes to instruct children (and all mothers ought to endeavour to do it) should consider they are to instruct themselves. We all want teaching, even those that think themselves most capable of teaching others; and if we seriously set about forming the minds of our children, we shall find our own ideas improve at the same time. Let every one, therefore, study such instructions as these first by themselves; and then make them their own, by striking out what they think useless, and adding what may seem wanting ; without condemning, however, what may only seem new, from their not being acquainted with the primitive writers, or the first reformers of our English church."- From a paper in Mrs. Bowdler's hand-writing.
parents acquired a knowledge of religion beyond his years, and firm principles of action, which gave him, while yet a boy, the fixed and steady character of a man. At 'eight years old he went to school to Mr. Graves, at Claverton, near Bath. An anecdote, almost too insignificant to be related, may serve to mark the strictness of his principles. Having incurred a debt to a school. fellow of a very trifling amount, his conscience sadly misgave him when he went home as usual on the Sunday. An error of this amount having occurred in some settlement between his parents, the difference was given to him. The largest inheritor of this world's wealth never probably was so happy as he was at that moment. The money was paid immediately on his return to school; and if there was one thing which through life he dreaded more than another, as unjust and disgraceful, it was the being in debt.
Mr. Graves was well known in his day as an elegant scholar and a pleasing poet, the friend of the simple and pathetic Shenstone. His name, it is hoped, still lives in the groves of the Leasowes, and he is known to the present generation as the author of the Spiritual Quixote. Here Mr. Bowdler might have made rapid progress in classical knowledge, and have cultivated to great advantage his taste for poetic beauty; but for some reason not now known he was removed to an academy at Brompton, where he mourned over his
hard fate, and a Scotch grammar, which, by mul- tiplying difficulties instead of unravelling them, detained him in the rudiments of Greek long after the time when he ought to have been tasting its
beauties, and enriching his mind with some of its • exhaustless stores. It will, perhaps, be thought
but a poor compensation, that he learned writing and arithmetic, and the whole art and mystery of keeping accounts, in which he greatly excelled. The disadvantages and disappointments which he suffered did not, however, seduce him into a neglect of his studies : his sound principles and good conduct gained the approbation of his master, who wrote to his father, “ My ever dear pupil has just carried off his books : very good use (thank God) has he made of them; and good use will he make (I hope) of his future, as he has done of past opportunities; with joy do I own his uncommon good behaviour, &c.”
In the spring of 1762, Mr. Bowdler quitted Kensington, and was placed under the private tuition of the Rev. Nicholas Brett, at Spring-Grove, in the county of Kent; a person of talents and acquirements, very different from those of his former preceptors. Mr. Brett was the representative of a family which had been settled in that part of Kent for many generations, and the only surviving son of the Rev. Dr. Brett, the author of many valuable works respecting Church government, and the nature of the Eucharist, particularly a Collection