[London]: [Printed for Thomas Simmons], . First edition. Modern marbled paper wrappers with original endpapers retained. Small quarto. 8 pages. Wide margins. Internally a bit toned, else a clean copy with occasional instances of underlining and marginalia from an early owner. One of three scarce variants of the first and only edition, with no priority among them. ESTC locates the present version at only 7 institutions, of those 4 in the U.S. Its only appearance in the modern auction record was over a century ago, in 1918; and this is presently the only copy on the market.
Following up his pamphlet The Woman Learning in Silence from the previous year, Quaker leader George Fox turns his attention to children's education and the responsibility of the men and women guiding them into adulthood. Addressing himself specifically to "school-masters and school-mistresses, and to parents," he exhorts educators to take seriously that their own beliefs and behaviors will influence children's educations more than any other text or lesson can. "Children ought to be taught fear of the Lord; and see you do teach them fear of the Lord; the fear of the Lord is to depart from sin." He expresses deep concern about trends he identifies in current teaching, which employ "idle communications...filthy jesting, and filthy Songs and Rimes." These, according to Fox, are detractors from real learning. And though it is critical for children to be taught "all Books, and Histories, and Languages," they will fall into corruption if those lessons are not straightforward and intertwined with a constant awareness of God. In particular he points to school-mistresses as the guilty parties, for engaging younger students and "young Women to play of Instruments and Musick of all kinds, and severall tunes, and teaching them to Dance, and Catches and Songs and Jests." A fascinating and important contribution to the history of education, providing insight into the newly emerging and more liberal styles of teaching that potentially undermined more conservative religious models.
Wing F1983. ESTC R202199. (Item #2806)