Of the Bringing up of Children
ALMIGHTY GOD, shewing a true mother's duty, saith by the Prophet Isaiah [xlix. IS]: "Can a woman forget her child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb ?" This pity which God requireth in mothers is to give the breast to their children, and not to change the food which they have given unto them before their birth. But at this day the most part make their breasts to serve for allurements to whoredom, and, being willing to set themselves at ease, free from the children's noise, do send them into the country, where peradventure they be changed or given to bad nurses, whose corruption and bad nature they suck with their milk. And from thence come the changelings, weak and degenerate from the right stock whose names they bear. The savage women bear a greater love than that towards their young ones, for none but themselves do nourish them; and that is general throughout all the West Indies: likewise their breasts are no baits of love, as in these our parts, but, rather, love in those lands is made by the flame that nature kindleth in everyone, without annexing any arts to it, either by painting, amorous poisons, or otherwise. And for this manner of nursing their children are the ancient German women praised by Tacitus, because that everyone did nurse their children with her own breasts, and would not have suffered that another besides themselves should give suck to their children. Now our savage women do give unto them, with the dug, meats which they use, having first well chewed them; and so by little and little bring them up. As for the swaddling of them, they that dwell in hot countries and near the
tropics have no care of it, but leave them free unbound. But drawing towards the North, the mothers have an even smooth board, like the covering of a drawer or cupboard, upon which they lay the child wrapped in a beaver fur, unless it be too hot, and tied thereupon with some swaddling band, whom they carryon their backs, their legs hanging down: then, being returned into their cabins, they set them in this manner up straight against a stone or something else. And as in these our parts one gives small feathers and gilt things to little children, so they hang quantity of beads and small square toys, diversely coloured, in the upper part of the said board or plank, for the decking of theirs.