I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman: for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or simony, or fluxions, or paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning; nor will it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments; but... I would send her, at nine years old, to a boarding-school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice: then, sir, she would have a supercilious knowledge in accounts, and, as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries: this is what I would have a woman know; and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it.
Ignorance of all things is an evil neither terrible nor excessive, nor yet the greatest of all; but great cleverness and much learning, if they be accompanied by a bad training, are a much greater misfortune.
Learning is, in too many cases, but a foil to common sense; a substitute for true knowledge. Books are less often made use of as spectacles to look at nature with, than as blinds to keep out its strong light and shifting scenery from weak eyes and indolent dispositions. The learned are mere literary drudges.
This is an age of intellectual sauces, of essence, of distillation. We have conclusions without deductions, abridgments of history and abridgments of science without leading facts. We have animals for literature, Cabinet Encyclopaedias, Family Libraries, Diffusion Societies, and heaven knows what else! What is all this for? Not to add knowledge to the learned, but to tell points to the ignorant, without giving them the trouble to acquire the links. Oh! it is sad work. And the result will be injurious to all classes.