The first part of the elementarie vvhich entreateth chefelie of the right writing of our English tung, set furth by Richard Mulcaster.
Mulcaster, Richard, 1530?-1611.

Cap. II. That this fiuebranched Elementarie is warranted by generall autoritie of all the grauest writers, and all the best common weals.

IN persuading & admitting euen the verie best things, there be two other points, besides the pretended goodnesse in the thing, which theie haue still in eie, that ar to be per∣suaded. Whereof the one is, what coūtenaūce he carieth, which is the persuader, and what mean he vseth to work his per∣suasion. For both the thing, which is in question, must make shew of some good, ear it will be receiued: and the partie that Page  6 persuadeth, must be of good credit, if he think to be beleued: and the mean whereby his persuasion must take place, must be stronglie appointed with the best kinde of proufs, both for autoritie in persons, and probabilitie in things. For who will allow, but where there is a why? or who will hear him, which is, he knoweth not who? or what force can that haue to pro∣cure it self place, which neither wise man praiseth, nor wise reason proueth? That this fiue branched Elementarie, which * I seke to persuade, is verie profitable and good, there be manie priuat presumptions in our cōmon experience, besides the ge∣nerall proufs, which shall follow hereafter. First, bycause the most of these principles be in vse with vs alreadie, tho not with all persons, yet sure in all places, where the liking of these things, and the abilitie to bear charge do concur in parents. Secondly, bycause euen those which haue them not, yet do wish theie had them, when theie fall in thinking of them, vpon som either pleasant or profitable obiect, which theie finde wrought by them: tho vpon som priuat respect either to spa∣ring or to precise, some kinde of people either care not for get∣ting them at first, or for wishing them at last, least theie might seme to condemn their own selues, if theie did wish for that, which theie wold not once, as contemning that of passion, which theie allow of in iudgement. Besides these two, there be * a number mo, which our dailie experience doth bring furth, whereby the goodnesse of this argument, is euidentlie confir∣med. And maie it not seme likelie to anie resonable censur, that I my self wold not so force them on publiklie, if theie were not in dede excedinglie well warranted, with more thē mine own autoritie? For who am I to persuade the liking of so full an Elementarie, not allowed of the most, neither tried of the best? A simple teacher. And yet that teaching name is not plane nothing, in a matter of school. A mean companion. That is a great somthing, where the persuaders countenance, is to carie awaie the thing. Nay a newfangle. That is very odious, where the old currant will not lightlie be changed, and the opinion of right hath both the countenance of the best, and contentment of the most, wherevpon to make staie. To me it maie be replied, you medle in this matter alone, you do but Page  7 truble your self: you can not turn the course, which is ordi∣narie & old, and therefore verie strong for you to striue against: this thing which you commendis not euerie mans ware: it will not be compased: do you let it alone: if you will nedes write, turn your pen to other matters, which the state will better like of: which this time will soon allow: which you maie per∣suade with credit, if theie be new, and sutable: or confirm with prase, if theie be old, and nede the file. If these and such ob∣iections were not allwaie ordinarie euen to euerie one, in all at∣tempts of turning, either from the ill to good, or from the good to better, I wold answer them with care, but now I nede not, bycause to win a resolute good, he that wisheth to haue it must think to wrastle for it, both with words and writing, a∣gainst corruption of time, against the alonenesse of attempt, a∣gainst the preiudice of parties, against the difficulties of per∣formance, & whatsoeuer else. Neither must he be discouraged with anie ordinarie thwarting, which is a thing well known to well trauelled students, and of least account where it is best known, how fearfull a thing soeuer it seme to weak fantsies, by crossing of corruption to striue against the stream. For both the stream will turn, when a stronger tide returns, and if there be no tide, yet an vntired trauell will still on a∣gainst it, vntill he be aboue it. And more honorable it were for som one or som few to hasard their own credit and estima∣tion for the time in fauour of such a thing, as theie know to be of credit, tho not in account, then by to timorous a con∣ceit, to sore afraid of a popular opinion, not alwaie the soun∣dest, tho most of most swinge, to leaue excellent arguments ei∣ther destitute of defence, if theie be pleaded against, or defeated of deliuerie, if theie fortun to be cald for. For maie it not fall out, that such a thing, as this is, maie be cald for hereafter, tho presentlie not cared for thorough som other occasion, which hath the rudder in hand? I had therefor rather that it were redie then, to help when it were wisht for, then for fear of misliking at the first setting furth, to defraud the posteritie of a thing so passing good. And what if the want of conuenient books, appropriate to persons, applied to things, apt for ech purpos, both hath bene, and be the hinderer of such helps, Page  8 which would be ventered on, if men had such volums? And in good sooth, I know not anie book in this Elementarie kinde so thoroughlie fitted for such a purpos, as I hope this shall pròue. What there be in other kindes I will then shew mine opinion, when I com to their placing. But for this present, bycause there maie be such counterbufs, as I haue said before, against my countenaunce in this persuasion, notwithstanding the good, which is more then half confessed to be in the thing, I haue therefor by waie of mean to work persuasion, fenced my hole * choice in all these principles, with the best autoritie of most al∣lowed writers, who cōmend the vse of them in one hole traine, and with the greatest weight of most apparent reasons, which maie persuade vs thoroughlie to entertain them so, as their de∣sert is worthie, and as their worthinesse deserues. Which two proufs, I thinke maie verie well persuade anie reasonable man, both to beleue me, and to embrace them. But will ye hear the writers them selues speak? theie shall not nede to be ma∣ny bycause the testimonie of a few is sufficient enough, where the truth of a thing is called in question, and those few in that kinde be held for most trew, the kinde it selfe being such as cō∣cerneth not religion, but onelie common policie, tho the poli∣cie be but simple, where the religion is but small. Besides this all such writers as saie the same with them after their time, be but quils of that cundit, whereof theie ar the head: or if theie were before them, theie are so confirmed by them, as the second cō∣firmers be of more estimatiō then the verie first founders, both for their owne valew, for the credit of their countries, and the euidence of their time. For when theie liued, there were so great broods of most learned men, as would not haue let them go vncontrolled, if theie had missed the cussion. Therefore I must nedes think, that theie did not misse, and so much the ra∣ther, bycause theie name all the principles, which argeweth ad∣uise: & shew, for whō theie fit, which proueth a good forecast. Whereby theie direct vs also not onlie in the choice of matter to * learn, but also in the choice of wits fit to learn. First of all Pla∣to a man in these arguments verie well thought of among those that be learned examining of purpos what things be nedefull for the first education of young children, findeth out Page  9 gymnastik for the bodie and Musik for the minde, where he constreweth Musik a great deall larger then we common∣lie do, comprising vnder that name speche, and harmonie: and therewithall implicatiuelie he comprehendeth writing & rea∣ding for the benefit of speche, as singing and plaing for the vtterance of harmonie. A thing not gathered in him by me in natur of anie consequence, but vttered by himself, in the waie of his discourse. In the same place freing poetrie from fabu∣lous and vnsemelie arguments, and pictur from wanton & lasciuious resemblances, which two be the generall branches of naturall imitation, where he fineth both he refuseth neither: but as by clensing poëtrie he proueth grammer to be but an E∣lementarie principle, so by clearing pictur, he proues drawing to be another. Whereunto he might be the sooner moued, by∣cause *Pamphilus the Macedonian, master to the famous Apelles about the same time procured throughout al Grece, that draw∣ing should be held for the first degre of liberall science in the training vp of childern, and that no bondman should be ad∣mitted to vse the pencill. Wherevpon Plinie saith, that he neuer red of, neither yet euer saw anie excellent pece of work pain∣ted * by a bondman, tho manie by wemen. It should also seme that Aristotles plane speche concerning drawing did take hold of that act procured by Pamphilus, who examining, as Pla∣to* did, in what things childern were to be trained vp, setteth down all the fiue principles by name and allegeth great rea∣sons, why the minde is to be fashioned by them for learning, as the bodie is by gymnastik for exercise. He spendeth also the most part of the eight of his politiks to clear Musick from blame, and to proue it nedefull euen for bettering of maners besides vndouted pleasur. Quintilian also a Rhethorik master * among the Romanes, and of no lesse account in his cuntrie then he was of cunning, and so estemed of among vs, in the fra∣ming of his best orator, first nameth writing and reading, and with som earnest chalenge taketh vpon him the protection of Musik, whose two arms singing and plaing be. And in the same place vsing the same fauour to Arithmetik and Geometrie, which perfit the pen and pencill in Apelles his opinion, as the pen and pencill be their principles in common sense, he could Page  10 not but allow the one, admitting the other, as Plato did before him not refusing where he fined. I will rest content with the assured credit of these thre onelie, as principall among all, whe∣ther philosofers, or other, whereof there is none, but he doth allow of those principles, which these thre appoint, and I haue chosen. Neither is there anie other of either valew or account, which handleth this argument of childrens foretrain, whether in Greke or Latin, whether of purpos or by passage, whether Christian or prophane writer, but he ioyneth with them and me herein, tho in som after learning, and fear of som misuse, theie somtime dissent, and wish rather that the principles were wanting then the perills should take place, which vnwise peple seme to be subiect vnto, by dealing to far with them, a false slander to good principles, tho a iust reproche to ill peple. The best appointed common wealls also, in the best & most florish∣ing times for all kinde of learning embraced the same train, a thing as easie to be proued, by all the best writers, in most plane terms, if I thought it nedefull, as it is roundlie said in these few words. For it is not my resolution to vse manie names, tho I know the men, saue in those cases, where I must haue som com∣panie of known note, to satisfie som humors, or else seme my self to be of either none, or but of verie small account. Nei∣ther is it anie discredit for a Christian writer in cases of learning and education, such as these be, where Christianism maie fur∣nish the matter, tho prophanism yeild the form, to follow the president of prophane common wealls, & to cite the testimo∣nie of old philosophers, from whence we fet the most part of our learning. Neither can anie Christian state, or anie relligious consideration tho neuer so precise, but think verie well of these Elementarie principles, which the panims do, allow if theie be aduisedlie considered, and not he dilie renounced, by either raptnesse in conceit, or rashnesse in iudgement, before theie be well weied. For the same principles of learning, & the same fa∣culties being learned, did arm the Christians to ouerthrow, which armd the infidels to assail, as the learned diuines know to be most trew, by both the old greke writers, as Iustine the mar∣tir Eusebius the storier, and who not of that race? & by the old latin autors to, as Lactantius and Austen, and who but of that Page  11 crew? whose names I wold not spare, if that were best for spede. And why not Agar beloued in obedience to hir mistresse, as banished for hir stomak? seing it pleased Philo to make fre Sara the type of right religion, & bond Agar the type of other leaning. For the ills which ar pretended to come by them which be the chefe, naie the onelie causes why som honest but to credulous naturs do mislike som of them: the common wealls which shall admit them & the parties which will learn them for their profit sake, must take hede therevnto, least a more perillous harm do chance to crepe in vnder the colour of profit: seing the falts wherewith theie ar charged procede not from the things as naturallie euill, but from the persons, as na∣turall abusers, euen of what so is best. Which point in waie of their iustification shalbe laid verie plane in the particular dis∣courses of euerie principle. Well then, thus do all writers, thus do al estates, thus do all relligions esteme of these principles for the number, & goodnesse thereof, for where allowance of num∣ber is, the allowance of their good is granted before hand.