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Frank Leward: Memorials

Dr. Pott to Mr. Leward

Dr. Pott to Mr. Leward

The School, Upton, May 28,1837.

My Dear Sir,—As is my usual custom, I write a few lines at this season of the year to keep you informed of the respective improvement—physical, moral, intellectual—of your sons.

Of the elder I wish sincerely for my own sake, more for your sake, but most of all for his, that I could report improvement in all these branches of human education.

Physically, undoubtedly your son Francis has improved. He is an athlete, and a leader amongst the athletes of our school. This branch of education, though not to be despised by us, any more than it was amongst the ancients, is, I need hardly point out to a gentleman, a Christian, and a scholar like yourself, a comparatively small and unimportant part of a gentleman's and a Christian's education. The Greeks ranked such training highly; I think, and always have thought, too highly.

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This pre-eminenee of its kind may account for the apparent κνδδo;ς which your son, I believe, receives at the hands of his compeers.

Morally, or in the sphere of ethics, I regret to have to inform you, who I know to be sincerely and profoundly anxious for your son's future, even more than for his present, welfare; more for his eternal even than for his temporal advancement, I regret, I say, deeply to have to inform you that I can see no improvement whatever. Fain would I, to spare a too-affectionate parent's feelings, draw a veil over so sad and distressing a subject.

Intellectually Francis is by no means deficient. The reports of his masters show that he has made a considerable advance in the "litteris humanioribus," or in classic knowledge, and could he abstract his mind sufficiently from vain and passing amusements to devote it more to the great models of antiquity, I have no doubt he might become a very fair scholar. But alas! though in the words of the great Stagirite the δúύναμις is there, the ένεργεια is altogether wanting.

I turn to the more hopeful and cheering picture presented by your younger son.

Physically, he is of course inferior to his elder brother. Heaven has denied to him a strong constitution or a muscular frame. That is not his fault, but is of the wise designs of an inscrutable Providence. Morally, Arthur is all I could wish; an ensample to the whole school, an ever-present monitor, a censor moralium.

Intellectually, he is progressing very creditably. Though the bent of his mind is evidently mathematic, and though page 19he excels all other boys of his age in mathematic studies, he is by no means deficient in classic attainments.

I am writing, as I am in duty bound to do, to keep you informed exactly of my opinion of the respective progress of your sons. I trust that though the former portion of my report is not favourable, you will be consoled by knowing that you have one son worthy of your name—one who strives to imitate the noble example of respectability, piety, and morality which you have ever set.

—I beg, sir, to subscribe myself your obliged and humble servant,

Theophilus Pott.

To Francis Leward, Esq., J.P.,

The Shrubbery, Southampton.