Imatges de pàgina

that, being a slave to his order, he had not the opportunity of doing so much good.

He concludes his letter thus:-"I have here given you two of the truest and sincerest Christians that I believe any one age ever produced—not in a perfect print, but in a sort of rough draught, as far as the narrow compass of an epistle would allow. It will be your part to pick out of both what you think will conduce most to Christian piety. If you ask to which of the two I would give the preference-I think them of equal goodness, though of different condition of life. And as it was a greatness of soul in Colet, with that plentiful fortune, not to follow where nature but where his Saviour called him, so truly it was a singular excellence in Vitrier, that he could show so much of a pure, evangelical spirit in guch a wrong turn of religious life, and be, as it were, a fish in the fens without any thing of the muddy taste. After all, there were some things in Colet that savored a little of human infirmity, but I never saw any thing in Vitrier that betrayed the least tincture of flesh and blood.”


The state of schools in London before Dean Colet's foundation was to this effect: the chancellor of Paul's (as in all the ancient cathedral churches) was master of the schools, (magister scholarum,) having the direction and government of literature, not only within the church but within the whole city; so that all the masters and teachers of grammar depended on him and were subject to him; particularly he was to find a fit master for the school of St Paul, and present him to the dean and chapter, and then to give him possession, and at his own cost and charges to repair the houses and buildings belonging to the school. This master of the grammar school was to be a sober, honest man, of good and laudable learning, who should instruct the boys, especially those belonging to the church, in grammar, and set them the example of a good life, and take great care not to deprave the minds of those little ones by any turpitude in word or deed, but with chaste language and conversation train them up in holiness and the fear of God, and be unto them, not only a master of grammar but also of virtue and religion. He was, to all intents, the true vice-chancellor of the church, and was sometime so called, and this was the original meaning of chancellors (and vice-chancellors) in the two universities or great schools of the kingdom. A grant of the office and dignity of chancellor of the church passed formerly by giving and granting the school of St. Paul, as in the time of Richard de Belmeis, Bishop of London, about 1123.

That Paul's School was very ancient appears by the charter of Richard, Bishop of London, in Henry I.'s time, who granted to one Hugh, the schoolmaster thereof, and his successors, the habitation of Durandus, at the corner of the turret or bell-tower, and the custody of the library belonging to the church; after whom succeeded Henry, a canon of the same bishop; which Henry was 80 respected by Henry de Bloys, Bishop of Winchester, that he commanded none should teach school in London without his license, except the school. masters of St. Mary le Bow and St. Martin le Grand. All that presumed to open any school within the city, (except in those exempt places) after a third admonition, were to be excommunicated.

Dean Colet being desirous his school should be independent upon this power, (which probably he observed had been somewhat abused,) was therefore, in respect to the memory of his father, who had gained a fair estate in the company of mercers, as well as for other reasons, willing to show his regard to them, by constituting them sole governors of his foundation; and he seems to have been instrumental in obtaining for them the right of nomination, or presentation, of a master to the hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, in the city of London, (now Mer. eers' Chapel,) granted to the said society by Richard, Bishop of London, in 1514.

At this time the common way for the nobility and gentry to educate their song was, to send them into a religious convent, especially of the Dominicans,

• Abridged from Knight's “Life of Dr. John Colet."

Franciscans, or Augustine friars, where, as Erasmus says, “they had not above three months' time allowed them for learning grammar, and then immediately were posted away to sophistry, logic, suppositions, ampliations, restrictions, ex. positions, resolutions, and a thousand quibbles, and so on to the mysteries of divinity, but if they were brought to any classic author, Greek or Latin, they were blind, they were ignorant, they thought themselves in another world." Yet the age began now to be wiser, and to be well versed in grammar-learning was thought a matter of greater importance by all who were well-wishers to thé restoration of learning. Particularly Bishop Waynfleet, in founding his three schools, at Waynfleet, Brackley, and within Magdalen College in Oxford, took care that in those different parts of the kingdom the seeds of Greek and human literature might be early sown, to yield a plentiful increase through the whole nation; and in his foundation of Magdalen College, as he provided sufficient salaries for a master and usher to teach boys the rudiments of that tongue, so for the scholars of his house that should grow up to greater maturity in age and learning, he settled a particular professor, to confirm and perfect them in that language.

Instruction in grammar was a main use and purpose of the ancient foundations. And even so late as the erecting and endowing of Jesus College in Cambridge it was, as for a master and six fellows, so for a certain number of scholars to be instructed in grammar.

It may show the great regard had about this time to these studies, that the university students took their degrees in rhetoric and grammar, the manner whereof Mr. Wood tells us, in his account of an eminent.grammarian, Robert Whitington. "In the beginning of the year 1513, 5 Henry VIII., he supplicated the venerable congregation of regents, under the name and title of Robert Whytingdon, a secular chaplain, and a scholar of the art of rhetoric, that whereas he had spent fourteen years in the study of the said art, and twelve years in the informing of boys, it might be sufficient for him that he might be laureated. This supplication being granted, he was (after he had composed an hundred verses, which were stuck up in public places, especially on the door or doors of St. Mary's church,) very solemnly crowned, or his temples adorned with a wreath of laurel, that is, doctorated in the arts of grammar and rhetoric, 4. July the same year." And this may discover the error of some, who, not considering the crown of laurel as the ensign of a degree, have been apt to think that a poet laureat of old, as well as of late, had that title and a pension with it from the prince, when it came from the university in commencing the degree of doctor of grammar, as it came thus to Bernard Andreas, tutor of Prince Ar. thur, to John Skelton, tutor of Prince Henry, &c.

Polydore Vergil and Erasmus, both personally acquainted with the life and motives of Dean Colet, have described the establishment of St. Paul's School.

Polydore Vergil, in the twenty-sixth book of his History of England, speaking of the new foundations of colleges in Oxford and Cambridge, adds:

It was the same spirit of virtue and glory that excited Dr. John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, to propagate in some like manner the knowledge of good letters. He being very eminent, as well for his greatness and firmness of mind, as for his goodness and integrity of life, was esteemed among his countrymen (the English) as if he had been a second St. Paul. For being from a child naturally devout and religious, as soon as he grew up, and was perfectly instructed in those arts and sciences which are called the studies of humanity, he applied himself with the utmost intention to divinity, and chose out St. Paul for his great master and director, in whose writings he was so conversant, both at Ox. ford and Cambridge, and in Italy, that, becoming a sound divine, and a complete scholar, as soon as he returned from his travels, he began to read public lectures out of the Epistles of St. Paul, in his native city of London, and to preach often in the churches. And because his life was agreeable to his doctrine, people were much the more attentive and complying to him. For he was a man of exemplary temperance, and all other virtues. He eat but once a day. He was not ambitious of honor, nor covetous of worldly wealth; so far from pursuing after riches, that he rather avoided and fled from them, while they notwithstanding pursued and overtook him. It so happened, that of two and twenty children which Henry Colet, his father, (a citizen of great prudence and virtue,) had by Christian, his wife, (an excellent woman, of a good family,) this John was the only survivor, and his father's inberitance came to him. When he was in full possession of it, observing that many of his fellow-natives of that city did, by the mere strength of pature, grow up into considerable men, he concluded they would sooner do so, if they had the help and advantage of being trained up in good literature. And therefore he resolved to lend (at his own expense) that assistance to the children of that city; for which purpose he founded a magnificent school in the east part of St. Paul's churchyard, and appointed two masters, the principal being William Lily, the other John Ryghthuyse, who was to attend the lower boys—both men of learning, good manners, and the greatest diligence. Lily was a man in the phrase of Horace) of a pure and unspotted life, who, after he had bestowed some years in Italy, for the attaining of perfect let. ters, i. e., the Greek and Latin tongues, upon his return was the first among the English that taught them in any public school. It was somewhat before this time, that Cornelius Vitellius, an Italian, born at Cornaro, a maritime town on the coast of Tuscany, a man of a noble family, and of all agreeable qualifications, taught both these kinds of literature at Oxford.

For those two masters Dean Colet made a suitable provision, by annual salaries, to support them, in teaching without fee or reward forever. And he made it an injunction, that in the room of the upper master, the second should succeed, without just impediment, by which means Ryghthuyse succeeded-Lily, and after Ryghthuyse, Master Richard Jones, a very learned and modest man. But · as by the benefit of this school the London youth have been very much polished and improved, so the whole kingdom has enjoyed the good effects of a daily progress of languages and school learning.

But the best account is given us by Erasmus, and it is very particular as followeth.

Upon the death of his father, when by right of inheritance he was possessed of a good sum of money, lest the keeping of it should corrupt his mind, and turn it too much toward the world, he laid out a great part of it in building a new school in the churchyard of St. Paul's, dedicated to the child Jesus; a magnificent fabric; to which he added two dwelling-houses for the two several masters, and to them he allotted ample salaries, that they might teach a certain number of boys, free, and for the sake of charity. He divided the school into four apartments. The first, viz., the porch and entrance, is for catechumens, or the chil

dren to be instructed in the principles of religion, where no child is to be ad. - mitted but what can read and write. The second apartment is for the lower

boys, to be taught by the second master or usher; the third for the upper forms, under the head-master, which two parts of the school are divided by a curtain, to be drawn at pleasure. Over the master's chair is an image of the child Jesus, of admirable work, in the gesture of teaching, whom all the boys, going and coming, salute with a short hymn; and there is a representation of God the Father, saying, Hear ye him, these words being written at my suggestion. The fourth or last apartment is a little chapel for divine service. The school has no corners or hiding places; nothing like a cell or closet. The boys have their distinct forms, or benches, one above another. Every form holds sixteen, and be that is head or captain of each form has a little kind of desk by way of pre

ëminence. They are not to admit all boys of course, but to choose them in ac...cording to their parts and capacities. The wise and sagacious founder saw that

the greatest hopes and happiness of the commonwealth were in the training up of children to good letters and true religion, for which noble purpose he laid out

an immense sum of money, and yet he would admit no one to bear a share in this expense. Some person having left a legacy of one hundred pounds sterling toward the fabric of the school, Dean Colet perceived a design in it, and, by leave of the bishop, got that money to be laid out upon the vestments of the church of St. Paul. After he had finished all, he left the perpetual care and oversight of the estate, and government of it, not to the clergy, not to the bishop, not to the chapter, nor to any great minister at court, but amongst the married laymen, to the company of mercers, men of probity and reputation. And when he was asked the reason of so committing this trust, he answered to this effect: That there was no absolute certainty in human affairs, but for his part he found less corruption in such a body of citizens than in any other order or degree of mankind.

Dean Colet, it is plain, had. grammar-learning so much at heart, that in the year 1509, as he had been the pious founder of this school, so he was laboring himself to be the perpetual teacher and instructor of it; and therefore, after he had appointed Mr. William Lily to be the chief or high master, who answered Erasmus' character of a good scholar in all respects, he drew up some rudiments of grammar, with an abridgment of the principles of religion, and published them for the standing use and service of Paul's School, entitled "Rudimenta Grammatices a Johanne Coleto, Decano Ecclesiæ Sancti Pauli London, in Usum Scholæ ab ipso institutæ.” Which little manual, called Paul's Accidence, the author, Dr. Colet, dedicated to the new master, Lilye, in a short, elegant Latin epistle, dated from his own house the first of August, 1510.

The most remarkable part of this introduction to grammar are the honest and admirable rules that the Dean prescribed for the admission and continuance of boys in his school, which rules and orders were to be read over to the parents, when they first brought their children, for their assent to them, as the express terms and conditions of expecting any benefit of education there.

- The mayster shall reherge these articles to them that offer their chyldren, on this wyse here followynge

If youre chylde can rede and wryte Latyn and Englyshe suffycyently, so that he be able to rede and wryte his own lessons, then he shal be admitted into the schole for a scholer.

If youre chylde, after resonable season proved, be founde here unapte and unable to lernynge, than ye warned thereof, shal také hym awaye, that he occupye not oure rowme in vayne.

If he be apt to lerne, ye shal be contente that he continue here tyl he bave competent literature.

If he absente vi dayes, and in that mean season ye shew not cause reasonable, (resonable cause is al only sekenes,) than his rowme to be voyde, without he be admitted agayne, and pay iliid.

Also after cause shewed, if he contenewe to absente tyl the weke of admys sion in the next quarter, and then ye shewe not the contenuance of his sekenes, then his rowme to be voyde, and he none of the schole tyl he be admytted agayne, and paye iiiid, for wryting his name.

Also if he fall thryse into absence, he shal be admytted no more.

Your chylde shal, on Chyldermas daye, wayte upon the boy byshop at Poules, and offer there.

Also ye shal fynde him waxe in winter.
Also ye shal fynde him convenyent bokes to his lernynge.
If the offerer be content with these articles, than let his childe be admytted.

Then follow, in English, The Articles of the Faythe; the seven Sacraments; Charyte, the love of God, the love of thyne own self, the love of thy neighbour, penaunce, howselinge in sekenes, in deth, precepts of lyvinge: (in Latine,) Symbolum Apostolicum; Oratio Dominica; Salutatio Angelica; Oratiuncula ad puerum Jesum Scolæ Præsidem; Mi Domine, Jesu suavissime; qui puer adhuc anno ætatis tuæ duodecimo, &c.

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