The Academy Keeper
Author: Anonymous
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Academy Keeper.

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Academy Keeper:

Or VARIETY of useful


Concerning the Management of an






Proper Methods of addressing Parents and Guardians of all Ranks and Conditions.


Necessary RULES for the proper Choice and Treatment of Academy-Wives, Ushers, and other menial Servants: with the Reasons of making them public.

Quando pauperiem, missis ambagibus, horres; Accipe, qua ratione, queas ditescere. HOR.


Printed for THO. PEAT, No. 22. Fleet-Street. M.DCC.LXX.

Transcriber's Note: In the Contents, Chapter IX has been changed to read "Ushers" only and Chapter X, "Other Servants", which was not included in the original text, has been added. Sect. 14 in Chapter IX is missing from the original text.


After many unsuccessful experiments, made some years ago, to retrieve a declining fortune, I was lucky enough at last to marry the mistress of a boarding-school: her circumstances were not, indeed, at the time of our marriage, very considerable. But as I was neither unacquainted with the world, nor the more useful sciences, by a peculiar attention to the tempers of the boys, and the dispositions of their parents, by a flexibility of face, for which I was always remarkable, the assistance of a northern degree, and a tolerable share of assiduity; I soon accumulated a large fortune with credit. My eldest daughter I afterwards married to a favourite usher, resigned to him the school, and for his service drew up most of the following rules. After his decease I favoured many others with a copy, who adhered to them with equally great advantage, and added a few to their number: I therefore should not acquit myself properly as a citizen of the world, if I did not give every one an opportunity of seeing them who may have occasion to use them. Many alterations in the mode of education render them indeed, at this time, peculiarly necessary.

Mothers, not school-masters, have with great propriety of late, the sole direction of their children's studies; as also what punishments shall be inflicted on them; what diversions must be allowed them; what degree of insolence they may express to their ushers; and what liberties they may take with their school-fellows. These are circumstances formerly unknown, and many, by a too great inattention to them, and an adherence to the ancient plan, have lately been ruined.

There is another inducement to the publication of these rules, which I must not suppress. The cause of learning declines with the reputation of its friends. And if we enquire, why the character of an Academy-Keeper is treated with such general contempt, we shall not find the true causes to be either superciliousness, pedantry, ignorance, or venality, as the world maliciously insinuates, but the modesty of these people, and their disinterested probity; by the former of which they have unhappily prevented the world from being acquainted with their merit, and by the latter prevented themselves from emerging out of a state of poverty and raggedness, which in these golden days cannot be expected to find much courtesy in the world. In retrieving therefore their fortunes, we may not only re-establish their characters, but administer relief to learning and science, which have been wounded through their sides.

Nor were these my only motives for publishing these papers. Another, and very considerable one, was the good of the public. The parents of these times seem duly sensible of the advantages of a good education, and are rather desirous of having their children instructed in the different branches of polite literature, and genteel deportment, than acquainted with the crabbed writers of antiquity, or the useless distinctions and discoveries of modern philosophical subtlety. But, for want of proper information, they know not where those several accomplishments are regularly taught. These directions, therefore, may be of the greatest service; since by properly enquiring how many of them shall be hereafter practised at the respective Academies in and near London; parents may generally know in what school their children are likeliest to receive the desired improvements.

Note. As it is not imagined that the following Directions are all that may be necessary, whoever amongst my readers is kind enough to communicate to my bookseller others equally pertinent, may be assured of finding them properly noticed in the next edition.















Page 2. l. 8-9. Expences is, for expences are. ——- l. 11. charge, for charges. Page 7. l. 9. is, for are. ——- l. 11. boulli, for boullie. Page 11. l. 20. month, for year. Page 15. l. 6. dele (see article USHER.)

The reader is also desired to excuse a few other typographical errors; as the author could not conveniently attend the press.



Academy Keepers.



SECT. 1. You are desirous of engaging in the management of an Academy. Are you in low circumstances? Are you a broken attorney, or excise-man? A disbanded Frenchman, or superannuated clerk? Offer your service for a trifling consideration; declaim on the roguery of requiring large sums, and make yourself amends in the inferior articles; quills, paper, ink, books, candles, fire, extraordinary expences, taylors and shoe-maker's bills, are excellent items in academy-accounts. You may charge them as amply as you please, without injury to your reputation. The expence in books, paper, &c. is chearfully paid, as proofs of a rapid progress. The charge of candles, fire, and extraordinary expences, as proofs of your indulgence; and no-body will suspect you to be partner in your taylor's and shoe-maker's bills. This is an approved rule, and practised with success by many of my acquaintance.

SECT. 2. But we will suppose you of higher character, and better prospect. We will suppose you an emigrant from some northern university, or a tuftless child of one of our own, and to have been a considerable time assistant in some southern school. Twenty-five pounds is the least you can ask. Nor are you to neglect to avail yourself of the preceding items; but deem it a general rule that your extraordinary advantages are to bear a direct proportion to your stated terms.

SECT. 3. If you have promised to confine your attention to a trifling number; by advertising that one or two are still wanting, or by decreasing your terms, attempt immediately to retract this promise. Apply to your first benefactors; hope they will permit you to accommodate a few pretty little masters, sons of Mr. Such-a-one, who may be of the greatest service to you. They will not deny you; they will consider it as a proof of your rising reputation. You are indebted for this judicious rule to the late eminent Mr. Jerkham, who died broken-hearted, as is supposed, in consequence of the ridiculous appearance he made in one of our late monthly reviews. I mention this melancholy circumstance, that you may avoid his fate, and let your learning be known only to your boys; it will do you most service, be a proof of your modesty and attention to your school.

SECT. 4. When advertising for boys does not answer, advertisements for servants may probably succeed. The following is an approved copy.

Wanted at an academy near London three domestics;

A compleat penman, accomptant, and mathematician, with an undeniable character:

A steady careful person capable of teaching the English language grammatically, and willing to attend the children to bed:

A cleanly sober wench to look after the children's linen, and do other occasional work: Enquire of Mr. Twitch, broom-maker, in Kent-street.

By properly publishing advertisements like this, you will seldom fail of attracting the attention of the publick.

But you may want none of these servants. You have an easy redress. Ask the mathematician if he understands English, the abecedarian if he understands mathematics; upon these conditions promise them each ten pounds a year, (board, lodging, and washing) with eighteen-penny perquisites, and you are acquitted with credit; as to the wench, if she comes bare-foot, almost before the news-paper appears, rebuffs of this kind are so common, that you may say, without suspicion, you are engaged.

SECT. 5. If you are at any time desirous of enlarging your terms, expostulate plentifully on your intended improvements, and the large stipends your assistants require. Your expences are extremely great, and the business above measure fatiguing; you have been long accustomed to children, and are fond of seeing them about you; and indeed otherwise the business would be insupportable.



Among the first articles enquired after, both by parents and children, are those of the table. You cannot therefore be too early instructed in the desirable art of giving all reasonable satisfaction in this matter, at the least possible expence.

SECT. 1. Remember then always, to see the fruit-basket amongst your boys before dinner. Fruit is least prejudicial to an empty stomach; and if the children will indulge themselves with biscuit and gingerbread, who can help it.

SECT. 2. If your number of boys or their allowances deserve not a fruit-woman's attendance, your wife may properly enough engage in the office; it will prevent the boys from being cheated, and be a proof of her humility.

The use of some neighbouring tavern may also be permitted with caution; it is an indulgence which will not fail to conciliate the affection of your leading boys.

SECT. 3. If there be no considerable parish work-house near you, it will be your interest to secure the stale loaves and neck-beef; the former is excellent in boiled milk or plumb-pudding, the latter in boulli for a Saturday's dinner. The butchers and bakers you must remember have been time immemorial the best academy-ticks.

SECT. 4. The worse your fresh joints are dressed the better for you; the boys will eat the less, and it is always the cook's fault.

SECT. 5. Whenever the boys find fault with the quality of your meat, appear at the head of your table, declare the extraordinary price you have given for it, and call your servants to witness that you sent for the best in the market. Whoever replies, turn him away.

SECT. 6. I allow of no pies except a little before the holidays. Delicacies and dainties are not to be expected in a school.

SECT. 7. The less salt, vinegar, pepper, &c. at dinner upon the table, so much the better; boys want no such provocatives.

SECT. 8. If you oblige your boys to eat all you send them, it will prevent the frequent return of their plates, and learn them an excellent custom; if not, what they leave will make excellent hashes, and seem more indulgent: in this point I find few who are agreed.

SECT. 9. If you are afraid they will eat more than you have provided, say grace.



SECT. 1. Few instructions may suffice on this head. The lighter the boys are covered, and the harder the bed, the more natural and more healthy.

SECT. 2. The fewer chamber-pots the better; it will prevent the boys catching cold by rising in the night, and make them unwilling to drink much beer at supper.

SECT. 3. The more you put in the bed the better also; it will endear them to each other, and prevent their playing wicked tricks.

SECT. 4. Lodge the great boys always farthest from you, it will prevent them disturbing you in the night. If they lie near the maids, so much the better; the maids may give you proper notice of their behaviour.

SECT. 5. Your usher must always be stowed amongst the little boys, to prevent them from tumbling out of bed, and to help them in the night.

SECT. 6. If you allow the occasional use of a close-stool, let it be locked up in the garret that they may not abuse it. But I rather approve of their easing themselves in some corner of the room, that they may have the less pleasure in resorting thither in the day-time, and tumbling the bed-clothes about; and that their mothers, who always pay a visit to the bed-chambers, may be sensible what trouble you have with them.

SECT. 7. Let the beds be always to be made, at the time of undressing. Going to bed is a thing the boys dislike. This little respite, therefore, will please them mightily, and they will please the maids.



SECT. 1. The more holidays the better; it will give the boys an opportunity of feeding themselves at their own expence, and, by tasking them well, you will prevent the complaints of their parents. But the fewer holidays you promise before-hand the more prudent; it will prevent your usher from gadding abroad.

SECT. 2. Never give a holiday on the day appointed for the entertainment of your friend; you will have the fewer interruptions, and a good excuse for being absent from your school.

SECT. 3. Give a holiday always on public rejoicing-days; it will be considered as a proof of your loyalty; and let that day of the month on which your predecessor died, be always a feast for the boys; it is a tribute due to his memory.

SECT. 4. Send your boys always on a holiday to see something or other in the neighbourhood; it will please both them and their parents, prevent their lurking about the pantry, and employ your ushers.

SECT. 5. Boys commonly endeavour on these days to dispatch a letter or two privately. It will be your business to intercept them; they may be negligently written; there may be solecisms in them, or misrepresentations of facts, which might be displeasing to their friends.



SECT. 1. Remember always to exercise your first severity on poor people's children, and day-scholars. The first floggings are a perpetual disgrace, and it is but reasonable that they should bear it, by whom you are least profited.

SECT. 2. Never punish the favourite of a family, if he have any younger brothers.

SECT. 3. Boys who bear flogging best are commonly those who most deserve it. If four be accused, therefore, he who bears flogging best is always in the fault.

SECT. 4. If a father gives you full power over his son's posteriors, be not afraid to use it, but make him the scape-goat of the school as often as convenient. In this, and many other rules, the reasons are too obvious to be particularly noticed.

SECT. 5. No good to be done with a boy who has not a good opinion of his master. If a boy, therefore, accuses you, or your ushers, of ignorance or incapacity, take the first opportunity to expel him, especially if he be clever, and likely to make a progress, in which you may be ill-qualified to accompany him.

SECT. 6. Insolence to ushers is to be punished with great caution. This will best maintain a proper distinction between you and them.

SECT. 7. If some untouchable youth happens to be detected in expressing his insolence, your wife, or the person he has offended, must beg him off.

SECT. 8. Severe discipline is never to be inflicted immediately before the school breaks up, or very soon after the return.

SECT. 9. Setting a maid upon her head, or pissing upon a mistress's new gown, is a flogging matter, no more; it might look like partiality.

SECT. 10. The best punishment for idleness is confinement and short commons.

By an adherence to this rule you will not endanger the children's health; you will save your victuals, expose your scholars to sufficient disgrace, and give them an opportunity of learning their book.



The instruction of youth you must commit in a great measure to your ushers; it is for this purpose you employ them, (see article USHER.) But not to omit any thing material, which may concern you, take the following rules.

SECT. 1. If your principal boys ask too hard questions, make it a rule never to tell them; it would be excusing them from a necessary part of their duty. Tell them it is easy enough, and send them back; the more pains they take to acquire their learning, the longer they will retain it.

SECT. 2. If you be ever obliged to have a hard lesson said to you, busy yourself in writing letters, or take an occasional nap; the boys will be glad of it, and it may prevent their accusing you of ignorance.

SECT. 3. Never explain a passage in a difficult author; your scholars will hereafter have a greater pleasure in making the discovery themselves.

SECT. 4. If you ever condescend to hear your head boys tell them of it; it will make them get their lesson the better, and thereby give you less trouble. If they happen to meet with a ne plus ultra, abuse them, and send them back; if they grumble, flagellation is necessary.

SECT. 5. If you see a boy sent back by an usher, and the boy cries, call him, unseen by the usher, hear him, and let it pass; it will please the boy mightily.

SECT. 6. Never let your boys get too forward; the longer they stay, the longer they pay. I have known a dozen boys of six years standing in an academy, who neither knew the declension or conjugations of their accidence, their multiplication or pence table, or any thing else besides, which they had been sent to learn, and for the learning of which, some of them to my certain knowledge had paid upwards of three hundred pounds. What then? the boys are rather slow, and require time; or a little idle, and will, it is hoped, grow more thoughtful as they grow up; or your ushers have neglected their duty; and you have therefore thought it necessary to change them.

SECT. 7. In all kinds of Latin or Greek exercises it is best to mark the faults, and let the boys mend them, it puts them on enquiring into the exact meaning of the words they use, and will make them more careful of committing blunders.

SECT. 8. If your highest attainments be only some small smattering in the English language, and the command of the pen, it were to be wished you could impress upon the boys a higher opinion of you than you deserve: and, for this purpose, I know nothing better than to inform yourself of the merit of the different authors of the learned languages. Declaim on this subject to your boys, and order all their exercises to be publickly submitted to your inspection regularly every evening. This was an infallible rule with our friend Gerundivy Leech, and he acquired an easy fortune, has taken out his Dedimus for the county of Wilts, and lives in great repute.

SECT. 9. If you are a Dissenter, or a Roman Catholic, you will not fail to make the young gentlemen committed to your care, sensible of the truth of your particular tenets; it will prevent their being bigots.


ADDRESS and BEHAVIOUR before Parents.

SECT. 1. When a gentleman or lady pays you a visit, run out, the more slovenly the better; it will shew your attention to business, and a due sense of the honour they do you. It would be proper also that your wife hold the door open; your ushers be all ready to bow as they pass; and that your best looking boys be called into the parlour.

SECT. 2. If a parent unfortunately call to see a boy who has been just whipped, call the boy to you, and threaten, if he promises not to behave better, to tell his parents; then carry him into the parlour, pat him upon the head; tell them how prettily he reads, that he is sometimes in fault—but you never tell, and he will do so no more.

SECT. 3. If a fond mother come too often to see a favourite child, never fail to tell her, how the child cries when she is gone.

SECT. 4. Write always to ministers of state, and your brethren of the Birch, in Latin or Greek, and the more blunders the better; the former will take them for elegances which they have forgot; and the latter which they never knew.

SECT. 5. Never ask the parents or friends of the boys to dine with you. You live upon the fragments left by the boys, and have nothing worth asking them to; it will be a proof of your frugality, and they will the more readily pay your demands.



SECT. 1. The properest person is a daughter or widow of the trade, such a one is commonly best instructed in the mystery of the business, best able to conciliate the affection of the boys, and make most of the children's linen.

SECT. 2. If such a one cannot be had, some old maiden must be sought for; she probably may have learnt the art of frugality, and if peevish and proud, the more desirable; you will be liked the better, it will preserve her also from being too familiar with the ushers, and she will be more respected by people of quality.

SECT. 3. Never, I beseech you, attempt to marry a young woman of fortune or family.

SECT. 4. Never allow your wife to contradict you before the boys or parents.

SECT. 5. The older your wife the better; she will look more motherly, and take more patiently such names as the children may wantonly give her.

SECT. 6. Never let her be humble enough to inspect the children's heads; it will put her too much on a condition with the servants: and yet she should not be too proud to sell them ribbon, garters, studds, gingerbread, &c. It is a necessary part of her duty.

SECT. 7. When you are absent she must watch the ushers, and see that they watch the boys, and cheat them not out of their money or play-things: there is no trusting any of them.



SECT. 1. Never employ a man of abilities if you can help it; he will scarce ever submit to the drudgery of your business, or pay that deference to your authority, which you may find necessary.

SECT. 2. The most desirable method of procuring ushers is by advertisements. None will apply who are not in desperate circumstances, and these are your men. If they know little it is no great matter; they will be the more diligent: and should the children detect their ignorance, or the parents complain, you may easily dismiss them; others such-like are to be had; and it will shew your friends how desirous you are to oblige them.

SECT. 3. When your ushers first come, you must endeavour to open their hearts by kind treatment. Make yourself acquainted with their circumstances; you may then more judiciously reduce them to trammels.

SECT. 4. It is not your interest that the ushers be too intimate one with another, or with the boys; they may communicate their respective observations; poison the minds of your boys with injurious reflections on your character; or revolt, and make a confusion in your school.

SECT. 5. If a search is to be made after some hoards of forbidden dainties, the information must always be declared to come from an usher; it will preserve the odium from you: but the seizure must be made by you or your wife; it will afford you an agreeable repast.

SECT. 6. If a boy be sent home, whose parents are in low circumstances, the usher is the man to accompany him: he is the properest person to inform the parents what progress the boy makes: and to send your footman would be making no distinction betwixt the children of the poor and the rich.

SECT. 7. If a beggar appears at the door, your usher is the man to send him away, both because he may be mistaken for the master of the house, and because he ought, whilst the boys are at play, to be always at the door.

SECT. 8. If you see an usher writing a letter, or reading in school-time, send him a boy to teach; it will shew your regard to the welfare of your boys.

SECT. 9. Never let your ushers have money before-hand; they may abscond: and you may as well seek a criminal in a coal-mine, as an usher in an academy.

SECT. 10. Never introduce an usher into company; it will lessen your authority, and he will undermine your credit.

SECT. 11. Let them always breakfast with the servants, or in some other equally humble manner; it will keep them at a due distance from you, and make them the more thankful for what little notice you may think proper to take of them.

SECT. 12. If any of them dislike you, and give you notice of their intentions to leave you, let them go the first possible opportunity; it will prevent their behaving awhile remarkably well, and rendering their memory grateful to the boys: it will also look as if some quarrel had been the occasion of their abrupt departure.

SECT. 13. Never speak well of an usher when he is gone, nor recommend him to another place; if bad he does not deserve it; if good, it is your interest to keep him as long as you can, and never to suppose or allow him good for any thing after he is gone.

SECT. 15. If an usher have it in his power to make advantages of his leisure-hours, this must be carefully denied him; it will make him independent.



This is a point of no great consequence.

SECT. 1. They must be able to live upon scraps, and lie three in a bed. If you give them no wages it will oblige them to look sharp, and be upon good terms with the boys.

SECT. 2. It will always be your interest to have a quarrel between the maids and the ushers; it will prevent the latter from having more meat and drink than they are allowed.

SECT. 3. If your maids are taken from taverns or inns so much the better; they will bear with less reluctance the innocent freedoms of the boys.—Many other rules might be added on this head, but it is needless; if you adhere strictly to those that I have already prescribed, you will not fail of success; and indeed I am rather afraid you will think them already too many and too plain, as well as object to this method of conveyance. To which I can only answer, that I could think of no other so generally useful; and that notwithstanding some few cautious parents, or guardians, may see more from it than might be wished; you, I am sensible, will remember the rules, when they shall have long forgotten for what good purposes they were given.

Lambeth, Jan. 7. 1770.

The E N D.


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