To Revive the
Religion, Manners, Arts & Tongues.
An Anſwer to the Objections
against this Way of Education.
Printed by J. D. to be ſold by Tho. Parkhurſt, at
the Bible and Crown at the lower end of
To all Ingenious and Vertuous Ladies, more eſpecially to her Highneſs the Lady Mary, Eldeſt Daughter to his Royal Highneſs the Duke of York.
Cuſtom, when it is inveterate, hath a mighty influence: it hath the force of Nature it ſelf. The Barbarous cuſtom to breed Women low, is grown general amongſt us, and hath prevailed ſo far, that it is verily believed (especially amongſt a ſort of debauched Sots) that Women are not endued with ſuch Reaſon, as Men; nor capable of improvement by Education, as they are. It is lookt upon as a monſtrous thing, to pretend the contrary. A Learned Woman is thought to be a Comet, that bodes Miſchief, when ever it appears. To offer to the World the liberal Education of Women is to deface the Image of God in Man, it will make Women ſo high, and men ſo low, like Fire in the Houſe-top, it will ſet the whole world in a Flame.
Theſe things and worſe then theſe, are commonly talked of, and verily believed by many, who think themſelves wiſe Men: to contradict theſe is a bold attempt; where the Attempter muſt expect to meet with much oppoſition. Therefore, Ladyes, I beg the candid Opinion of your Sex, whoſe Intereſt I aſſert. More eſpecially I implore the Favour of your Royal Highneſs, a Perſon moſt Eminent amongſt them, whoſe Patronage alone will be a ſufficient Protection. What I have written is not out of humour to ſhew how much may be ſaid of a trivial thing to little purpoſe. I verily think, Women were formerly Educated in the knowledge of Arts and Tongues, and by their Education, many did riſe to a great height in Learning. Were Women thus Educated now, A2 I 4 A2v (4) I am confident the advantage would be very great: The Women would have Honour and Pleaſure, their Relations Profit, and the whole Nation Advantage. I am very ſenſible it is an ill time to ſet on foot this Deſign: wherein not only Learning but Vertue it ſelf is ſcorn’d and neglected, as pedantick things, fit only for the Vulgar. I know no better way to reform theſe Exorbitancies, than to perſwade Women to ſcorn thoſe Toyes and Trifles, they now ſpend their time about, and to attempt higher things, here offered: This will either reclaim the Men; or make them aſhamed to claim the Sovereignty over ſuch as are more Wiſe and Vertuous than themselves.
Were a competent number of Schools erected to Educate Ladyes ingenuouſly, methinks I ſee how aſham’d Men would be of their Ignorance, and how induſtrious the next Generation would be to wipe off their Reproach.
I expect to meet with many Scoffes and Taunts from inconſiderate and illiterate Men, that prize their own Luſts and Pleaſure more than your Profit and Content. I ſhall be the leſs concern’d at theſe, ſo long as I am in your favour; and this diſcourſe may be a Weapon in your hands to defend your ſelves, whilſt you endeavour to poliſh your Souls, that you may glorify God, and anſwer the end of your Creation, to be meet helps to your Husbands. Let not your Ladiſhips be offended, that I do not (as ſome have wittily done) plead for Female Preeminence. To ask too much is the way to be denied all. God hath made the Man the Head, if you be educated and inſtructed, as I propoſe, I am ſure you will acknowledge it, and be ſatisfied that you are helps, that your Husbands do conſult and adviſe with you (which if you be wiſe they will be glad of) and that your Husbands have the caſting Voice, in whoſe determinations you will acquieſce. That this may be the effect of this Education in all Ladyes that ſhall attempt it, is the deſire of
To the Reader.
I Hope I ſhall not need to beg the patience of Ladyes to peruſe this Pamphlet: I have beſpoken, and do expect your Patron age; becauſe it is your Cauſe I plead againſt an ill cuſtom, prejudicial to you, which Men will not willingly ſuffer to be broken. I would deſire Men not to prejudge and caſt aſide this Book upon the ſight of the Title. If I have ſolidly prov’d, what I do pretend to, and fairly anſwered the Objections brought againſt my Aſſertions, and if I have propoſed something that may be profitable to Man-kind, let it not be rejected. If this way of Educating Ladies ſhould (as its like, it never will) be generally practiſed, the greateſt hurt, that I fore-ſee, can enſue, is, to put your Sons upon greater diligence to advance themſelves in Arts and Languages; that they may be Superior to Women in Parts as well as in Place. This is the great thing I deſigne. I am a Man my ſelf, that would not ſuggeſt a thing prejudicial to our Sex. To propoſe Women rivals with us to Learning, will make us court Minerva more heartily, leſt they ſhould be more in Her Favour. I do verily think this to be the beſt way to diſpell the Clouds of Ignorance, and to ſtop the Flouds of Debauchery, that the next Generation may be more wise and vertuous than any of their Predeceſſours. It is an eaſie matter to quibble and droll upon a ſubject of this nature, to ſcoff at Women kept ignorant, on purpoſe to be made ſlaves. This ſavours not at all of a Manly Spirit, to trample upon thoſe that are down. I forbid Scoffing and Scolding. Let any think themſelves agrieved, and come forth fairly into the Field againſt this feeble Sex, with ſolid Arguments to refute what I have aſſerted, I think I may promiſe to be their Champion.
Theſe for my much Honoured and worthy Friend, &c;
I Have heard you diſcourse of the Education of Gentlewomen in Arts and Tongues. I wonder any ſhould think of ſo vain a thing.
Women do not much deſire Knowledge; they are of low parts, ſoft fickle natures, they have other things to do they will not mind if they be once Bookiſh; The end of Learning is to fit one for publick Employment, which Women are not capable of. Women muſt not ſpeak in the Church, its againſt cuſtom. Solomon’s good House-wife is not commended for Arts and Tongues, but for looking after her Servants; And that which is worſt of all, they are of ſuch ill natures, they will abuſe their Education, and be ſo intolerably Proud, there will be no living with them: If all theſe things could be anſwered, they would not have leiſure.
We send our Sons to School ſeven years, and yet not above one in five get ſo much of the Tongues only, ſo as to keep them, and nothing of Arts.
Girls cannot have more than half the time allotted them. If they were capable, and had time, I cannot imagine what good it would do them. If it would do them good, where ſhould they be Inſtructed. Their converſe with Boyes would do them more hurt than all their Learning would do them good.
I have no prejudice againſt the Sex, but would gladly have a fair anſwer to theſe things, or elſe ſhall breed up my Daughters as our fore-fathers did.
Sir your Condeſcenſion herein will very much oblige,
It ſhould be the earneſt Endeavour of all men, to imploy their Lives to thoſe noble, and excellent Ends, for which the Omnipotent and all-wiſe Creatour made them, which are, the Glory of God, the Eternal Happineſs of their immortal Souls, and to be uſeful in their Places. One generation paſſeth away, and an other cometh: But the Earth, the Theatre on which we act, abideth forever. All the Works of the Children of Men do remain, not only in reſpect of the preſent and future Emolument of Detriment, cauſed by them; But alſo in Reference to the Influence they have as examples on ſucceeding Ages. The harveſt of Bliſs or Woe, will be according to the Seed-time of this Life. This Life proceeds ordinarily, as it begins, Quo ſemel eſt imbuta recens ſervabit Odorem Teſta diu —
So great is the Force of the firſt Tincture any thing takes, whether good, or bad. As Plants in Gardens excel thoſe, that grow wild; or as Brutes, by due Management (Witneſs the Philoſophers Dogs) are much altered: So Men, by liberal Education, are much better’d, as to intellectuals and morals. All conclude great Care ought to be taken of the Males: But your doubt in your Letter is concerning the Females. I think the greater Care ought to be taken of Them: Be cauſe Evil ſeems to be begun here, as in Eve, and to be propagated by her Daughters. When the Sons of God took unto themſelves the Daughters of Men, Wickedness multiplied apace. It was the curſed Counſel of Balaam to debauch Israel by Balack’s Idolatrous Women. Wretched Jezebel excites Ahab to greater Wickedneſs, than he could ever have thought of. God gave ſtrict Command to the Iſraelites, not to marry with heatheniſh Women. When Solomon himſelf (the wiſeſt of Men) did this, they ſoon drew his Heart from God. Bad Women, weak to make Reſiſtance, are ſtrong to tempt to evil: Therefore without all Doubt great Care ought to be taken, timely to ſeaſon them with Piety and Virtue.your 8 A4v (8)
Your great Queſtion is, Whether to breed up Women in Arts and Tongues, is not a mere new Device, never before practiſed in the World. This you doubt the more Becauſe Women are of low Parts, and not capable of Improvement by this Education. If they could be improved, you doubt, whether it would benefit them? If it would benefit them, you enquire where ſuch Education may be had? or, whether they muſt go to School with Boys? to be made twice more impudent than learned. At laſt you muſter up a Legion of Objections.
I ſhall ſpeak diſtinctly to your Queſtions, and then anſwer your Objections.
Women have formerly been educated in Arts and Tongues.
Little is recorded concerning the manner, how Women were educated formerly: You can expect my Proof to be only topical and by Circumſtances.
It doth appear out of Sacred Writ, that Women were imployed in moſt of the great Tranſactions that happened in the World, even in preference to Religion. Miriam seems to be next to Moſes and Aaron, ſhe was a great Poet, and Philosopher: For both Learning, and Religion were generally in former times wrapt up in Verse.
The Women met David, ſinging triumphant Songs, compoſed (it’s like by themſelves) a great Specimen of liberal Education.
Deborah, the Deliverer of Israel, was without all doubt a learned Woman, that underſtood the Law. Huldah the Propheteſs, dwelt in a Colledge, (we may ſuppoſe) where Women were trained up in good Literature. We may be ſure ſhe was a very wiſe Woman: For King Joſiah sends Hilkiah the Prieſt, and the Nobles of his Court, in a Caſe of Difficulty and Danger, to conſult with her. 2 Chro. 34.20.21 &c;
In the New Teſtament we find Anna a Propheteſs.
Paul, Rom. 16.I. Commends unto them Phebe, who was not only a Servant of Chriſt: But a Servant of the Church at Ceucrea. Ver. 12. He tells us Triphena, Triphosa and Persis laboured much in the Lord. Priscilla inſtructed Apollos.
Timothy’s Grandmother called Lois, and his Mother Eunice were not only Gracious Women, but learned Women; for from a Child they inſtructed him in the holy Scriptures. 2 Tim. I. 5. compared with Chap. 3. I5. The Children of the Elect Lady, found walking in the Truth, were inſtructed by her. Philips four Daughters were Propheteſſes, Acts 21. Though Women may not ſpeak in the Church; yet 9 B1r (9) yet thoſe extraordinarily inabled, to whom Paul ſpeaks, I Cor. II. 5. might: For Paul directs them they ſhould not pray nor propheſie with their Heads uncovered, which ſuppoſes they might do the things. I ſhall not diſpute theſe Texts what this praying and propheſying was; it ſerves my Turn, that Women extraordinarily inabled, were publickly imployed.
We may infer from the Stories of the Muſes, that this way of Education was very ancient. All conclude the Heroes were men famous in their Generation, therefore canonized after their Deaths. We may with like Reaſon conclude, Minerva and the nine Muſes were Women famous for Learning whilſt they lived, and therefore thus adored when dead.
There is no Queſtion the Greeks and Romans, when moſt flouriſhing, did thus educate their Daughters: in Regard ſo many amongſt them were famous for Learning. As Sempronia, Cornelia, Lelia, Mutia, Cleobulina, Caſſandra, Terentia, Hortenſia, Sulpitia, Portia, Helvigia, Euonia, Paula, Albina, Pella, Zenobia, Valeria, Proba, Eudocia, Clau dia, and many others.
The Sybills could never have invented the Heroick, nor Sappho the Sapphick Verſes, had they been illiterate. Do you think Corinna could ever have thrice out done Pindar, upon a ſolemn Conteſt ſo excellent in his Lyrick Verſes, that none elſe durſt imitate him, had ſhe not been inſtructed in Arts?
There was a Conteſt between twenty Grecian and twenty Roman Ladies, which were moſt excellent in Learning. The Romane Dames were the beſt Oratours: But the Grecian Ladies the beſt Philoſophers. This plainly ſhews they both were inſtructed in all kind of good Literature.
Women Educated in Arts and Tongues, have been eminent in them.
I ſhould be too tedious, if I ſhould commemorate all upon Record, that have been Smatterers in Learning. I ſhall only mention ſome few Ladies that have been equal to moſt Men.
It is reported of Zenobia Queen of Palmeria, that ſhe was not only excellent her ſelf in Arts and Arms: But Learning in her (like light in the Sun) influenced her whole People, only famous in her Daies.
Olympia Fulvia Maurata, Tutreſs to the Empreſs of Germany, underſtood French, Latin, Dutch; she was so good a Grecian, that ſhe read B publick 10 B1v (10) publick Lectures in that Language. She was also reputed to be well skilled in Divinity.
The Lady Jane Grey excelled Maurata in this, ſhe underſtood the Hebrew alſo. There is a large Diſcourſe of her Learning (in which ſhe took great delight) and Piety, in the Book of Martyrs.
The preſent Dutcheſs of New-Caſtle, by her own Genius, rather than any timely Inſtruction, over-tops many grave Gown-Men.
I am forbidden to mention the Counteſs Dowagerof Huntington (inſtructed ſometimes by Mrs. Makin) how well ſhe underſtands Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Spaniſh; or what a proficient ſhe is in Arts, ſubſervient to Divinity, in which (if I durſt I would tell you) ſhe excels.
The PrinceſsElizabeth, daughter to King Charles the firſt, to whom Mrs. Makin was Tutreſs, at nine Years old could write, read, and in ſome meaſure underſtand, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian. Had ſhe lived, what a Miracle would She have been of her Sex!
The Princeſs Elizabeth, eldeſt Daughter to the Queen of Bohemia, yet living, is verſed in all ſorts of choice Literature.
Mrs.Thorold, Daughter of the Lady Car in Lincolnſhire, was excellent in Philoſophy, and all ſorts of Learning.
I cannot without Injury forget the Lady Mildmay, and Dr. Loves Daughters; Their Worth and Excellency in Learn is yet freſh in the Memory of many Men.
Cornelia read publick Philoſophy-Lectures at Rome, ſhe brought up her Sons, the Gracchi, ſo, that they were the only Men famous in their Dayes. She was admired by Cicero for diverſe of her Works.
The Papal Chair could not defend it ſelf, but was invaded by a Woman, for her Excellency in Learning above the men of her Times; As Volateran, Sigebertus, Platina and others, that have writ the Lives of the Roman Biſhops, do declare. She is remembred likewiſe to this purpoſe by Boccaſus in his Book de Claris Mulieribus.
Roſuida, a Saxon by Nation, She lived under Lotharius the firſt; She was Eloquent in the Greek and Roman Tongues, and practiſed in all good Arts. She compoſed many Works, not without great commendation from the Readers. One to exhort to Chaſtity, Virtue, and Divine Worſhip. She publiſhed ſix Comedies; beſides a noble Poem in Hexameter verſe, of the Heroick Acts done by the Otho Cesars; with divers others.
Elizabetha of Schonaugia zealouſly imitated the Study and Practice of this Roſuida. She writ many things in the Latin Tongue; namely, a Book 11 B2r (11) Book intituled, A Path to direct us the way to God; as alſo a Volumn of Learned Epiſtles; with many other Books.
I cannot omit Constantia the Wife of Alexander Sforza; She was ſo Learned, that upon the ſuddain and without any premeditation She was able ſufficently to diſcourſe upon any Argument, either Theological, or Philoſophical: Beſides, She was very frequent in the works of St. Hierome, Ambroſe, Gregory, Cicero, and Lactantius. She was much admired for her Extempory vaine in Verſe. Her Daughter Baptiſta was equal to Her in Fame and Merit, and was reckoned among the beſt Learned, and moſt illuſtrious Women.
Chiriſtina late Queen of Sweden underſtood ſeveral Languages, and was well verſed in Politicks, and acquainted with moſtArts and Sciences.
I thought of Queen Elizabeth firſt, but purpoſely mention Her laſt, as the Crown of all. How learned She was, the World can teſtifie. It was uſual for her to diſcourſe with Forraign Agents in their own Languages. Mr. Aſcam, her Tutor, uſed to ſay, She read more Greek in a day then many of the Doctors of her time did Latin in a week. You ſee ſome Women have been good Proficients in moſt kinds of Learning. I ſhall now ſhew you how they have been excellent in ſome particular parts of it, as the Tongues, Oratory, Philosophy, Divinity, and laſtly Poetry.
Women have been good Linguiſts.
It is objected againſt Women, as a reproach, that they have too much Tongue: but it’s no crime they have many Tongues; if it be, many Men would be glad to be guilty of that fault. The Tongue is the only Weapon Women have to defend themſelves with, and they had need to uſe it dextrouſly. Many ſay one tongue is enough for a Woman: it is but a quibble upon the word. Several Languages, underſtood by a Woman, will do our Gentlemen little hurt, who have little more than their Mother-Wit, and underſtand only their Mother- Tongue: theſe moſt uſually make this Objection, to hide their own Ignorance. Tongues are learnt in order to Things. As things were, and yet are in the World, its requiſite we learn Tongues to underſtand Arts: It’s therefore a Commendation to theſe Women after mentioned, that they were Miſtreſſes of Tongues.
There is an ancient Copy of the Septuagent, ſent from the Patriarch of Alexandria to King James, written by a Woman called Tecla, ſo accurate and excellent, that the Authors of the Polyglot-Bible choſe B2 it 12 B2v (12) it before all other Copies written or printed, to make uſe of in that Impreſſion.
Anna Maria Schurman of Utrecht, (called by Spanhemius, ultimum Natura in hoc ſexu conatum, et decimam Muſam, Natures Maſter-Piece amongſt Women, excelling the very Muſes) hath printed divers Works in Latin, Greek, French and the Perſian Tongue; ſhe underſtood the Arabick alſo. Beſides, ſhe was an excellent Poet.
Amalaſuntha Queen of the Oſtrogothes, the Daughter of Theodericus, was a great Miſtreſs of the Latin and Greek Tongues, ſhe ſpake diſtinctly all the barbarous Languages that were uſed in the Eaſtern Empires.
For Excellency in Tongues moſt of thoſe Perſons before mentioned are eminent Inſtances, Maurata, the Lady Jane Grey, and the three Elizabeths, &c;
Women have not been meer Talkers: (as ſome frivolous Men would make them) but they have known how to uſe Languages, when they have had them. Many Women have been excellent Oratours.
Women have been good Oratours.
Valerius Maximus tell us of Ameſia a modeſt Roman Lady, when ſhe was accuſed of a great Crime, and ready to incur the Sentence of the Pretor, ſhe in a great Confluence ſtept up amongſt the People, and without any Advocate pleaded her own Cauſe ſo effectually, that by the publique Suffrage ſhe was acquitted from all Aſperſion whatſoever, and from that Time ſhe was called Androgine.
Hortenſia was equal to her, the Daughter of Quintus Hortenſius. When a greivous Fine was impoſed upon the Roman Matrons by the Tribunes, when all Lawyers and Oratours were afraid to take upon them the Patronage of their Cauſe, this diſcreet Lady pleaded before the Triumvirate in the behalf of the Women, ſo happily and boldly, that the greateſt Part of the Mulct impoſed upon them, was remitted.
Some have commended Caia Affricana’s Eloquence: I cannot approve of the Uſe ſhe put it to, but paſs her over.
Tullia (by the Inſtruction of her Mother Terentia) was counted equal to her Father Cicero in Eloquence.
Divers of thoſe Perſons before mentioned were very eloquent, particularly Maurata, Cornelia, and Queen Elizabeth. We may ſuppoſe Schurman, and the reſt that wrote ſo elegantly, could alſo ſpeak eloquently upon a juſt occaſion.It 13 B3r (13)
It is objected againſt poor Women, they may learn Tongues and ſpeak freely, being naturally diſpoſed to be talkative: But for any ſolid Judgment or depth of Reaſon, it is ſeldom found in their giddy Crowns. I proceed therefore to ſhew they have been good Logicians, Philoſophers, Mathematicians, Divines, and Poets.
Women have underſtood Logick.
Logick is the Key, thoſe that have this in their Heads may unlock other Sciences; ſome Women have had it at their Girdles, and been ve ry dextrous in Diſputation.
Hipparchia with one Sophiſm put to Silence Theodorus. It was thus: That which Theodorus doing, he is not ſaid to do unjuſtly; if Hipparchia do, ſhe is not ſaid to do unjuſtly. This he granted. She proceeds, But, Theodorus beating himſelf, is not ſaid to do unjuſtly; therefore if Hipparchia beat Theodorus, ſhe is not ſaid to do unjuſtly. Theodorus makes no Reply, but, juſt like our lazy Gentlemen, goes out of the Room and ſaith, Let Women mind their Spinning.
Margarita Sorocchia, a Gentlewoman of Rome, is lookt upon as ſo great a Sopiſter, that ſhe is ordinarily a Moderatix in the Academy at the Diſputation amongſt learned Wits, in the moſt Polite Parts of Learning and Philoſophy, yea and Divinity too.
Those who read Schurman’s Decertations, will conclude ſhe underſtood the Principles and Practice of Logick very well.
Cacelia did ſtrange things by her great Skill in Logick, particularly by ſolid Argument, ſhe diſwaded Tiburtius Valerianus his Brother, from heatheniſh Idolatry to the Chriſtian Faith.
Some think I have hardly ſpoke to the Purpoſe yet; Logick diſpoſes to wrangle, a thing Women are inclined to naturally: I proceed therefore to shew that Women have been great Proficients in the moſt ſolid Parts of Learning, which require moſt ſerious Thoughts and greateſt Judgment; they have been good Philoſophers, good Arithmeticians, good Divines, and good Poets.
Women have been profound Philoſophers.
That they have been good Philosophers, appears from thoſe numerous examples before mentioned. I ſhould but tautologize to repeat them again. Take only their names; Rosuida, Elizabeth of Schonaugia, Conſtantia, her Daughter Baptiſta, Anna Maria Schurman, Margarita Socratacchiacra- 14 B3v (14) cratacchia, &c; All thoſe hereafter mentioned as eminent in Divinity, must needs have ſome competent skill in Philoſophy; as Tibiola, Marcella, Euſtochium, &c;
Aganolda was ſo deſirous of knowledge, that ſhe put her ſelf into mans Apparel, attained ſo great a perfection in Natural Philoſophy, and in the practice of Phyſick, that ſhe was envied by all thoſe of her faculty, and ſlandered for incontinency; to vindicate her ſelf, ſhe diſcovered ſhe was a Woman.
Miriam was a great Philoſopher, and ſo was the Queen of Sheba, or elſe ſhe would never have ventured to try the Wiſdom of Solomon in dark Problems, and by hard Queſtions.
Nicoſtrata (by ſome called Carmentis) helped to make up the Greek Alphabet, and made ſome addition to the Roman Letters.
Aſpaſia, a Miliſian Damſel, was ſo learned, that ſhe inſtructed Pericles, and of a great Souldier, made him an excellent Philoſopher, and one of the beſt Orators in Greece, and after was married to him.
Socrates acknowledges he imitated Aſpaſia in his Facultas Politica, and doth not bluſh to call Diotima his Tutreſs. Theſe two Women were ſo learned, as to teach this great Philoſopher.
Arete attained to that perfection in Philoſophy, that ſhe inſtructed her son Ariſtippus, who was therefore called Mothertaught. After her Fathers death, ſhe erected a School of Philoſophy, where ſhe commonly read to a full and frequent Auditory.
Leontium, a Grecian Damſel, was ſo well ſeen in Philoſophical Contemplation, that ſhe feared not to write a Book againſt the worthy Theophraſtus.
Dama, the Daughter of Pythagoras, and her Mother, were excellent Philoſophers.
Pythagoras profeſſes he often adviſed with, and received help from Themiſtoclea.
I ſhould be too troubleſom to you, if I ſhould ſpeak particularly of the Learning of Adeſia, the Wiſdom of Hermodica, the Improvement of Themiſte in Pythagorean Philoſophy, of the Works of Genebria, or how eloquent the two Daughters of L. Craſſus were.
I had almoſt forgotten Chriſtina Queen of Sweden in Philology and Philoſophy, ſuperior to moſt of the great Scholars in Europe.
Portia, Cato’s Daughter, was the beſt Philoſopher in her Time.
Some Women have understood the Mathematicks.
The Mathematicks require as much ſeriouſneſs as any Art or Science, yet ſome Women have attained an extraordinary knowledge in theſe alſo.
Hyppatia of Alexandria, Daughter of Theon, writ of Aſtronomy; ſhe was Profeſſor in the School in Alexandria, where ſhe was frequented by many worthy Scholars. Afterwards by ſuch as envied her Fame for Learning, ſhe was pitifully ſlain and maſſacred.
A Lady of late, I have forgot her name, is ſo well skilled in the Mathematicks, that ſhe hath printed divers Tables.
If any think all this Learning is but meerly humane, I acknowledge the great end of Arts and Tongues is the better to enable us to know God in Jeſus Chriſt, and our own ſelves, that we may glorifie and enjoy him for ever.Si Chriſtum diſcis, nil eſt ſi caetera artſcis. Si Chriſtum neſcis, nil eſt ſi caetera diſcis.
Many Women have improved their humane Knowledge, ſo as by Gods Bleſſing hath been a means of their obtaining Spiritual Knowledge.
Fabiola, a Roman Matron, had attained ſo great Perfection in the Knowledge of the Scriptures, that ſhe had a reverent Reſpect from the Learned in her Time. St. Jerome vouchſafed to dedicate a Book to her intituled de Veſta Sacerdotali.
Marcella, a Roman, was ſo eminent in the Knowledge of Divinity, that St. Jerome ſalutes her by Name in many of his Epiſtles. He writ diverſe Books to her. One de Mundi contemptu; another of the ten Names God is called by amongſt the Hebrews; a Third of Faith; a Fourth of Blaſphemy againſt the Holy Ghoſt, And diverſe others.
Euſtochium, the Daughter of Paula, a Roman Matron, was ſo excellent a Divine, and ſo well practiſed in the Scriptures, and in the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew Dialects, that ſhe was called the new Prodogy of the World.
We may reflect upon diverſe of thoſe before mentioned to ſupply the Defect of Examples in this Place. Queen Elizabeth and the Lady Jane Grey were eminent for their Knowledge in Religion.
Roſuida, Elizabeth of Shonaugia, Conſtantia the Wife of Alexander Sforza, and her Daughter Baptiſta, were excellent in Divinity as well as Philoſophy.The 16 B4v (16)
The Works of Anna Maria Schurman, that are extant, declare how good a Divine ſhe was.
I ſhall conclude with Iſola Navarula, who writ many eloquent Epiſtles. She was a great proficient in Philosophy and Theology, as appears by that Book ſhe wrote by way of Dialogue, between Adam and Eve, which ſinned firſt and moſt; and by divers otherBooks.
There is one thing yet remaining, in which Women have excelled, that is Poetry. Their excellency in this, tends as much to their vindication as any thing yet ſpoken to. To be a Poetaſter, is no great matter; but to be a Poet-laureat, requires great natural endowments, ſuch as man cannot lend, if God doth not give; Poeta naſcitur, non fit. If a man’s natural parts be low, Induſtry, Education, Time, and Practice, may raiſe to ſome competent height in Oratory; therefore we ſay, Orator fit: But all the Inſtruction and Education in the World, all the pains, time, and patience imaginable, can never infuſe that ſublime Fancy, that ſtrong Memory, and excellent Judgment required in one that ſhall wear the Bayes. If Women have been good Poets, Men injure them exceedingly, to account them giddy-headed Goſſips, fit only to diſcourſe of their Hens, Ducks, and Geeſe, and not by any means to be ſuffered to meddle with Arts and Tongues, leſt by intollerable pride they ſhould run mad.
If I do make this appear, that Women have been good Poets, it will confirm all I have ſaid before: for, beſides natural Endowments, there is required a general and univerſal improvement in all kinds of Learning. A good poet, muſt know things Divine, things Natural, things Moral, things Hiſtorical, and things Artificial; together with the ſeveral terms belonging to all Faculties, to which they muſt allude. Good Poets muſt be universal Scholars, able to uſe a pleaſing Phraſe, and to expreſs themſelves with moving Eloquence.
Women have been good Poets.
Becauſe ſo much depends upon this, I beg the Mens patience, if I be a little tedious on this Point. I queſtion not the Women will be contented to hear their Sex vindicated.
I begin with Minerva, the Goddeſs of Wiſdom; ſhe was for no other reaſon reckoned amongſt the Goddeſſes, but for her excellency and cunning in Poetry and other good Arts, of which ſhe is ſaid to be the first Inventreſs.There 17 C1r (17)
There were three Corinna’s, famous for Poetry. One lived in the time of Augustus, and was very dear to Ovid. A second was called Corinna Thespia, ſhe is celebrated in the Books of the Antient Poets, eſpecially Statius. The third, and moſt eminent, was Corinna Thebana; ſhe was Daughter of Archelodorus and Procratia, and Scholar to Myrtis. In five ſet Conteſts ſhe bore away the Palm from Pindar, Prince of the Lyrick Poets. She publiſhed five Books of Excellent Epigrams.
Erinna, Sir-named Teia, or (as ſome will have it) Telia, from the Iſland Telos, not far diſtant from Gnidon; ſhe flouriſhed in the time of Dion of Syracuſa, and publiſhed an excellent Poem in the Dorick Tongue, beſides divers Epigrams. Her Stile was ſaid to come near the Majeſty of Homer’s. She died when ſhe was but nineteen years of Age.
Sappho, the Daughter of Scamandaurus, lived in the time of Tarquinius Priſcus; ſhe firſt deviſed the Sapphick Verſe, and found out the uſe found out the use of the Harp with a Quill. There was alſo another Sappho called Mitelena, who lived long after. She publiſhed many rare and famous Poems amongſt the Greeks; and therefore had the honour to be called the tenth Muſe.
Proba Valeria Falcona, a Roman Matron, lived in the time of Honorius and Theodoſius junior. She compoſed a Divine Poem of the Life, Works, and Miracles of Chriſt. She alſo Paraphraſed upon the Verſes of Homer, and called the Work Homeroucheutra. Her Husband being dead, ſhe inſcribed upon his Tomb an Epitaph, Engliſhed thus:To God, to Prince, Wife, Kindred, Friends, the Poor; Religious, Loyal, True, Kind Stedfaſt, Dear, In Zeal, Faith, Love, Help, Amity, and Store; He, that ſo liv’d, and ſo deceas’d, lies here.
I had almoſt forgot the Sybils: The Name ſignifies ſuch as have thoughts of God. As a Man that propheſieth is called a Prophet, ſo a Woman predicting, was called a Sybil. There were twelve of theſe, all of them Poets. Sybilla Lybica invented the Heroick Verſe. Sybilla Delphica was ſo famous a Poet, that Homer did take many of her Verſes to himſelf, and made them his own. All of them delivered their Oracles in Verſe: If their Verſes were not ſo ſmooth as Homers and Heſiods, an abatement muſt be made for the matter and manner of their ſpeaking, which was uſually in an extaſie. They all propheſied of Chriſt. I ſhall inſert only one or two of their Predictions, thus Engliſhed.C A 18 C1v (18) A King, a Prieſt, a Prophet, all theſe three Shall meet in one; Sacred Divinity Shall be to Fleſh eſpos’d. O, who can ſcan This Myſtery, uniting God with Man! When this rare Birth into the World ſhall come, He the great God of Oracles ſtrikes dumb.
Sybilla Delphica ſpeaks to this purpoſe.An Angel ſhall deſcend, and ſay, Thou bleſſed Mary hail; Thou ſhalt conceive, bring forth, yet be A Virgin without fail. Three Gifts the Chald’ans to thy Son Shall tender with much pietie, Myrrhe to a Man, Gold to a King, And Incenſe to a Deitie.
I ſhall mention only one more, which is that ofSybilla Europa. When the great King of all the World ſhall have No place on Earth by which he may be known; When he that comes, all mortal men to ſave, Shall find his own Life by the World o’rethrown. When the moſt Juſt, injuſtice ſhall deprave, And the great Judge be judged by his own. Death when to Death, a Death by Death hath given, Then ſhall be op’t the long-ſhut Gates of Heaven.
I do not produce theſe as Foundations of our Faith; We have a more ſure word of Propheſie which we ought to look unto, as a Light that ſhineth in a dark place. This is more ſure than that which we ſee with our Eyes, hear with our Ears, or handle with our Hands.Cleobulina 19 C2r (19)
Cleobulina was Daughter of Cleobulus Linndus, one of the ſeven Wiſe Men of Greece. She imitated, and ſome think did equalize her Father. She was eminent for Enigma’s and Riddles. Take this one rendred thus:One Father hath twelve Children great and ſmall, And they beget twice fifteen, Daughters all; Half of them White, half Black, immortal made; And yet we ſee how every hour they fade.
I cannot leave out Helpis, the Wife of the Famous Philoſopher and Poet Boethius Severinus; becauſe many Hymns to the Apoſtles are yet extant, which Gyraldus and the beſt Writers conſtantly affirm to be hers. She writ her Epitaph with her own hand, tranſlated thus;Helpis my Name, me Sicily firſt bred; A Husband’s love drew me from hence to Rome, Where I long liv’d in joy, but now lie dead, My Soul ſubmitting to th’ Almighties doom. And I believe this fleſh again ſhall riſe, And I behold my Saviour with theſe eyes.
I may put Philenis and Aſteniſſa together; they were both good Poets, and imitated one another.
Hildegaris Moguntina was eminent for Learning and Piety as well as Poetry: Her Works were approved in the Council held at Tryers, where Dr. Bernard was preſent.
Ariſtophanes ſpeakes much of Clitagora Laecademonia and Strabo in his Homerica speaks more of Heſtia Alexandria.
Antipater Theſſalus, gives the firſt place amongſt the nine Lyric Poets, to Paxilla Syconia. She lived in the thirty ſecond Olympiad.
I ſhould be too tedious, if I ſhould give you a particular account what Seneca ſpeaks of Michaele; what Ariſtophanes of Charixena; what Celius ſpeaks of Muſea; or, what Textor remembers of Meroe.
Corniſicina, Luccia Mima, Caſſandra, Magaloſtrate, were good Poets. Polla Argentaria, Wife to the famous Poet Lucan, was reputed of that excellent Learning, that ſhe aſſiſted her Husband in the three firſt Books, entituled Pharſalia.
I can but name thoſe Poets Anyle, Noſis, Myro Byzantia, Damophila; becauſe I haſten to thoſe nearer our own time; Only take notice, theſe C2 numerous 20 C2v (20) numerous Examples of Learned Women, do plainly prove, they were heretofore liberally educated.
Lorentia Stoza is now famous in Italy for divers Hymns ſhe compoſed in divers kinds of Verſe, eſpecially in excellent Sapphicks.
How excellent a Poet Mrs. Broadſtreet is, (now in America) her Works do teſtifie.
We need no other Encomium of Mris. Philips, than what Mr. Cowley gives, he plucks the Lawrel from his own Brow, to crown hers, as beſt deſerving it. Beſides, her Works in print ſpeak for her.
Sir John Harington in his Allegory upon the 37 Books of Arioſto, commends unto us the four Daughters of Sir Anthony Cook; alſo the Lady Ruſſel, the Lady Bacon, the Lady Killegrew, giving to each of them, for Poetry, a worthy Character; whither I refer the Reader.
In the ſame place the Author commends to us, a great Italian Lady, Vittoria, who writ largely and learnedly in the praiſe of her dead Huſband. With whom I may rank (if in the compariſon I do not under prize) the beautiful and learned Lady Mary, Counteſs of Pembrook, the worthy Siſter to that incomparable Perſon Sir Philip Sidney.
The Lady Jane Gray, and the Lady Arabella, had a great faculty in Poetry.
The two Orations delivered at the Univerſities by Queen Elizabeth’s own Mouth, gives ample teſtimony of her Oratory. Thoſe ingenious Fancies, and pleaſant Poems, bearing her Name, ſhews ſhe was a good Poet.
The Lord Burghlies three Daughters were eminent for Learning, and competent Poets; as appears by theſe Verſes made upon this occaſion. Sileſia was in Cornwal, her Husband was deſigned to be ſent Embaſſador; Mildreda her Siſter was at Court, who had intereſt there to hinder this intended Embaſſie of her Brother; Sileſia writes to her Siſter Mildreda:Si mihi, quem cupio Dominum, Mildreda, remittas, Tu bona, tu melior, tu mihi ſola Soror. Sin malè cunctando retines, vel trans Mare mittas, Tu mala, tu pejor, tu mihi nulla Soror. At ſi Cornubiam, tibi pan ſic, & omnia lata, Sin Mare, Sileſia nuntio bella. Vale. Mildred, my Husband dear, if you now back do ſend, Better than good you are, and Siſter to the end. But 21 C3r (21) But if you him ſtay there, or ſend him o’re the Sea, Much worſe than nought you are, no Siſter you ſhall be. If Cornwal he does ſee, I’le pray, and all good tell; But if he croſs the Sea, I am your foe. Farewel. Sileſia.
It may now be demanded, by thoſe ſtudious of Antiquity, why the Vertues, the Diſciplines, the Nine Muſes, the Deviſers, and Patrons of all good Arts, the Three Graces, ſhould rather be repreſented under the Feminine Sex, and their Pictures be drawn to the Portraictures of Damoſels, and not have Maſculine Denominations, and the Effigies of Men? Yea, why Chriſtians themſelves, in all their Books and Writings which they commit to Poſterity, ſtill continue the ſame practice? Why Wiſdom is ſaid to be the Daughter of the Higheſt, and not the Son? Why Faith, Hope, and Charity, her Daughters, are repreſented as Women? Why ſhould the ſeven Liberal Arts be expreſſed in Womens Shapes? Doubtleſs this is one reaſon; Women were the Inventors of many of theſe Arts, and the promoters of them, and ſince have ſtudyed them, and attained to an excellency in them: And being thus adorned and beautified with theſe Arts, as a teſtimony of our gratitude for their Invention, and as a token of honour for their Proficiency; we make Women the emblems of theſe things, having no fitter Hieroglyphick to expreſs them by. I ſhall add this one thing, worthy obſervation, to the great honour and commendation of the Feminine Sex.
The parts of the World have their denomination from Women, Aſia is ſo called from the Nymph Aſia, the Mother of Japethus and Prometheus. Europe, from Europa the Daughter of Agenor. Lybia (which is Africa from Libia the Daughter of Epaphus. America (lately diſcovered bears the ſame Female Figure.
It is uſual for men to pride and boaſt themſelves in the Wiſdom, Valour, and Riches of their Anceſtors; what wiſe Men their Fore-fathers have been, what great things they have done, and what large poſſeſſions they have had, when they themſelves are degenerated and become Ignorant, Cowardly, beggarly, debauched Sots.
I hope Women will make another uſe of what I have ſaid; inſtead of claiming honour from what Women have formerly been, they will labour to imitate them in learning thoſe Arts their Sex hath invented, in ſtudying thoſe Tongues they have underſtood, and in practiſing thoſe Virtues ſhadowed under their Shapes; the knowledge of Arts and 22 C3v (22) and Tongues, the exerciſe of Virtue and Piety, will certainly (let men ſay what they will) make them honourable.
Care ought to be taken by us to Educate Women in Learning.
That I may be more diſtinct in what I intend, I ſhall diſtinguiſh of Women, Women are of two ſorts, Rich, Poor, Of good natural Parts. Of low Parts. I do not mean, that it is neceſſary to the eſſe, to the ſubſiſtence, or to the Salvation of Women, to be thus educated. Thoſe that are mean in the World, have not an opportunity for this Education: Thoſe that are of low Parts, though they have opportunity, cannot reach this; Ex quovis ligno non fit Minerva: My meaning is, Perſons that God hath bleſſed with the things of this World, that have competent natural Parts, ought to be educated in Knowledge; That is, it is much better they ſhould ſpend the time of their Youth, to be competently inſtructed in thoſe things uſually taught to Gentlewoman at Schools, and the overplus of their time to be ſpent in gaining Arts, and Tongues, and uſeful Knowledge, rather than to trifle away ſo many precious minutes meerly to poliſh their Hands and Feet, to curl their Locks, to dreſs and trim their Bodies; and in the mean time to neglect their Souls, and not at all, or very little to endeavour to know God, Jeſus Chriſt, Themſelves, and the things of Nature, Arts and Tongues, ſubſervient to theſe. I do not deny but Women ought to be brought up to a comely and decent carriage, to their Needle, to Neatneſs, to underſtand all thoſe things that do particularly belong to their Sex. But when theſe things are competently cared for, and where there are Endowments of Nature and leaſure, then higher things ought to be endeavoured after. Meerly to teach Gentlewomen to Frisk and Dance, to paint their Faces, to curl their Hair, to put on a Whisk, to wear gay Clothes, is not truly to adorn, but to adulterate their Bodies; yea, (what is worſe) to defile their Souls. This (like Circes Cup) turns them to Beaſts; whilſt their Belly is their Godd, they become Swine; whilſt Luſt, they become Goats; and whilſt Pride is their God, they become very Devils. Doubtleſs the under-breeding of Women began amongſt Heathen and Barbarous People; it continues with the Indians, where they make their Womenmen 23 C4r (23) men meer ſlaves, and wear them out in drudgery. It is practiſed amongſt degenerate and Apoſtate Chriſtians, upon the ſame ſcore, and now is a part of their Religion; it would therefore be a piece of Reformation to correct it; and it would notably countermine them who fight againſt us, as Satan againſt Adam, by ſeducing our Women, who then eaſily ſeduce their Husbands.
Had God intended Women onely as a finer ſort of Cattle, he would not have made them reaſonable. Bruits, a few degrees higher than Drils or Monkies, (which the Indians uſe to do many Offices) might have better fitted ſome mens Luſt, Pride, and Pleaſure; eſpecially thoſe that deſire to keep them ignorant to be tyrannized over.
God intended Woman as a help-meet to Man, in his conſtant converſation, and in the concerns of his Family and Eſtate, when he ſhould moſt need, in ſickneſs, weakneſs, abſence, death, &c; whilſt we neglect to fit them for theſe things, we renounce God’s Bleſſing, he hath appointed Women for, are ungrateful to him, cruel to them, and injurious ſelves.
I remember a diſcourſe in Eraſmus, between an Abbot and a Learned Woman. She gives many good Reaſons why Women ſhould be learned, that they might know God, their Saviour, underſtand his Sacred Word, and admire him in his wonderful Works; that they might alſo better adminiſter their Houſhold Affairs amongſt a multitude of Servants, who would have more reverence towards them, becauſe they were above them in underſtanding. Further, ſhe found a great content in reading good Authors at ſpare times. He gives her one Anſwer to all this, That Women would never be kept in ſubjection if they were learned; as he found by experience amongſt his Monks, of all things in the World, he hated nothing ſo much as a learned Monk, who would alwayes be contradicting his Superior, from the Decretals out of Peter and Paul. He cared not if all his Monks were turned into Swine, ſo long as they would be obedient, and not diſturb him in his pleaſures. Doubtleſs if that generation of Sots (who deny more Polite Learning to Women) would ſpeak out, they would tell you, If Women ſhould be permitted Arts, they would be wiſer than themſelves (a thing not to be endured) then they would never be ſuch tame fools and very ſlaves as now they make them; therefore it is a wicked miſchievous thing to revive the Ancient Cuſtom of Educating them.
Seeing Nature produces Women of such excellent Parts, that they do often equalize, some-times excel men, in what ever they attempt; what reason can be given why they should not be improved?Nothing 24 C4v (24)
Nothing is more excellent than Man; his excellency doth not consist in his smooth Skin, or erect Countenance, but in his Reasonable Soul; and the excellency of Reason is, when it is improved by Art.
Learning perfects and adorns the Soul, which all Creatures aim at. Nay more, a principal part of God’s Image in Man’s firſt Creation, conſiſted in Knowledge. Sin hath clouded this: why ſhould we not by inſtruction endeavour to repair that which ſhall be perfected in Heaven?
None deny the underſtanding of the higheſt things belong to Women; as, The knowledge of God, Meditation of his Word, Contemplation of his Works; and they have been all along eminently employed in the great Tranſactions of the Church: In the Old-Teſtament, Miriam, Debora, Jael, Judith, Eſther. In the New-Teſtament, the Bleſſed Virgin, Anna, Phebe, Priſcilla, Lois, Eunice, the Elect Lady, &c; were all uſeful and ſerviceable to the Church. Who then will forbid them the ſtudying of Arts, Tongues, Hiſtory, Philoſophy, &c; ſubſervient to theſe? None can reverence the Majeſty of God, nor admire his wonderful Works, unleſs they in ſome meaſure know him and them.
This Nation was delivered from the Danes, by the Valour, Secreſie, and Fidelity of the Women; and from worſe, than Daniſh ſlavery by the means of a Woman.
If any deſire diſtinctly to know what they ſhould be inſtructed in?
I Anſwer, I cannot tell where to begin to admit Women, nor from what part of Learning to exclude them, in regard of their Capacities. The whole Encyclopedia of Learning may be uſeful ſome way or other to them. Reſpect indeed is to be had to the Nature and Dignity of each Art and Science, as they are more or leſs ſubſervient to Religion, and may be uſeful to them in their ſtation. I would not deny them the knowledge of Grammar and Rhetorick, becauſe they diſpoſe to ſpeak handſomely. Logick muſt be allowed, becauſe it is the Key to all Sciences. Phyſick, eſpecially Viſibles, as Herbs, Plants, Shrubs, Drugs, &c; muſt be ſtudyed, becauſe this will exceedingly pleaſe themſelves, and fit them to be helpful to others. The Tongues ought to be ſtudyed, eſpecially the Greek and Hebrew, theſe will enable to the better underſtanding of the Scriptures.
The Mathematicks, more eſpecially Geography, will be uſeful; this puts life into Hiſtory. Muſik, Painting, Poetry, &c; are a great ornament and pleaſure. Some things that are more practical, are not ſo material, becauſe publick Employments in the Field and Courts, are uſually denyed to Women: Yet ſome have not been inferior to many men even in theſe things alſo. Witneſs Semiramis amongſt the Babylonians; The 25 D1r (25) The Queen of Sheba in Arabia; Miriam and Debora among the Iſraelites; Katherine de Medices in France; Queen Eliſabeth in England.
Valerius Maximus tells us of divers Women that have, with good ſucceſs and great applauſe, pleaded their own Cauſes, as Amesia Sentnia; and Hortenſia the Daughter of Q. Hortenſius.
Amaleſuentha, Queen of the Gothick Empire in Italy, contemporary with Juſtinian, was exceedingly valued by him; as appears by his Epiſtles recorded by Caſſiadorus.
Zenobia made the Countrey famous by her Learning and Prudence.
In theſe late Times there are ſeveral inſtances of Women, when their Husbands were ſerving their King and Countrey, defended their Houſes, and did all things, as Souldiers, with Prudence and Valour, like Men.
They appeared before Committees, and pleaded their own Cauſes with good ſucceſs.
This kind of Education will be very uſeful to Women.
1. The profit will be to themſelves. In the general they will be able to underſtand, read, write, and ſpeak their Mother-Tongue, which they cannot well do without this. They will have ſomething to exerciſe their thoughts about, which are buſie and active. Their quality ties them at home; if Learning be their Companion, Delight and Pleaſure will be their Attendants: for there is no pleaſure greater, nor more ſutable to an ingenious mind, than what is founded in Knowledge; it is the firſt Fruits of Heaven, and a glymps of that Glory we afterwards expect. There is in all an innate deſire of knowing, and the ſatisfying this is the greateſt pleaſure. Men are very cruel that give them leave to look at a diſtance, only to know they do not know; to make any thus to tantalize, is a great torment.
This will be a Hedge againſt Hereſies. Men are furniſhed with Arts and Tongues for this purpoſe, that they may ſtop the mouths of their Adverſaries. And Women ought to be Learned, that they may ſtop their ears againſt Seducers. It cannot be imagined ſo many Perſons of Quality would be ſo eaſily carried aſide with every wind of Doctrine, had they been furniſhed with theſe defenſive Arms; I mean, had they been inſtructed in the plain rules of artificial reaſoning, ſo as to diſtinguiſh a true and forcible Argument, from a vain and captious Fallacy. Had they been furnished with Examples of the most frequent illusions of erronious Seducers. Hereſiarks creep into Houſes, and lead ſilly Women captive, then they lead their Husbands, both their Children; as the Devil did Eve, ſhe her Huſband, they their Poſterity.D It 26 D1v (26)
It is none of the least considerations, that a Woman thus educated, who modeſtly uſes her Learning, is, in deſpight of envy, honoured by moſt, eſpecially wiſe and good men; ſuch a one is admired and even adored by the vulgar and illiterate.
More particularly, perſons of higher quality, for want of this Education, have nothing to imploy themſelves in, but are forc ed to Cards, Dice, Playes, and frothy Romances, meerly to drive away the time; whereas knowledge in Arts and Tongues would pleaſantly imploy them, and upon occaſion benefit others.
Seneca endeavouring to comfort his Mother Helvigia in her Affliction, when he was under Baniſhment, ſuggests to her, that ſhe had been liberally brought up, and might now have an opportunity to be farther improved, and might comfort her ſelf in the ſtudy of Philoſophy.
We cannot be ſo ſtupid as to imagine, that God gives Ladies great Eſtates, meerly that they may Eat, Drink, Sleep, and riſe up to Play. Doubtleſs they ought not to live thus. God, that will take an account for every idle thought, will certainly reckon with thoſe Perſons that ſhall ſpend their whole lives in idle play and chat. Poor Women will make but a lame excuſe at the laſt day for their vain lives; it will be ſomething to ſay, that they were educated no better. But what Anſwer Men will make, that do induſtriouſly deny them better improvement, leſt they ſhould be wiſer than themſelves, I cannot imagine.
More particularly, Women are Unmarried. Married. Widows.
As for Unmarried Perſons, who are able to ſubſiſt without a dependance, they have a fairer opportunity than Men, if they continue long in that eſtate, to improve the Principles they have ſucked in, and to ripen the Seeds of Learning which have been ſown in their minds in their tender years. Beſides, this will be an honeſt and profitable diverſion to poſſeſſ their minds, to keep out worſe thoughts. Maids that cannot ſubſiſt without depending, as Servants, may chuse their places, to attend upon honourable Perſons, or to be imployed in Nurſeries; by their Converſation, to teach Tongues to Children, whilſt carried in Arms; who perhaps, when they find their own feet, will not abide the tedium of a School.
The famous Lord Mountagn was thus improved, to the amazement of all, which made him ever after hate all Pedantick Education.27 D2r (27)
Julius Ceſar alſo received ſuch a tincture, whilſt he was in the Nurſery, that he was the reviver of the purity of the Latin Tongue in his dayes.
Married Perſons, by vertue of this Education, may be very uſeful to their Husbands in their Trades, as the Women are in Holland; and to their Children, by timely inſtructing them, before they are fit to be ſent to School; as was the caſe of Ceſar and the Lord Mountagn.
I need not ſhew how any Perſons, thus brought up, if they happen to be Widows, will be able to underſtand and manage their own Affairs.
2. Women thus educated, will be beneficial to their Relations. It is a great blessing of God to a Family, to provide a good Wife for the Head, if it be eminent; and a preſage of ruine, when he sends a ranting Jezebel to a ſoft Ahab.
One Athaliah, married to Joram, plucks ruine upon the Houſe of Jehoſaphat. How many Families have been ruined by this one thing, the bad education of Women? Becauſe the Men find no ſatisfactory converſe or entertainment at home, out of meer wearineſs they ſeek abroad; hence they neglect their Buſineſs, ſpend their Eſtates, deſtroy their Bodies, and oftentimes damn their Souls.
The Italians ſlight their Wives, becauſe all neceſſary knowledge, that may make them ſerviceable (attainable by inſtitution) is denyed them: but they court, adore, and glory in their Curtezans, though common Whores; becauſe they are poliſhed with more generous breeding.
Many learned Men, having married Wives of excellent Parts, have themſelves inſtructed them in all kinds of Learning, the more to fit them for their Converſe, and to indear them and their ſociety to them, and to make them admired by others. The Woman is the glory of the Man; we joy in our children when eminent, and in our Wives when excellent, either in Body or Mind.
I have ſaid before how they may improve their Children in Learning, eſpecially the Tongues; I mention it again, becauſe it is a reaſon of ſo great weight, that it is ſufficient (if there was nothing elſe) to turn the Scale.
Tullia had never been ſo eloquent, had not ſhe had ſo learned a Mother as Hortenſia.
The Gracchi, Baptiſta, Damar, Ariſtippus, Euſtochium (before mentioned) had never been ſo famous in Arts and Tongues, had they not been timely taught by their Mothers, Cornelia, Conſtantia, Arete, and Paula.D2 D2v (28)
King Lemuel’s Wiſdom was extraordinary, yet he acknowledges the Seeds were ſown by the timely inſtruction of his Mother, Prov. 3I. Therefore Solomon charges Children to mind the Inſtruction of their Mothers; having found ſo much good by it himſelf.
Beſides, none have ſo great an advantage of making moſt deep impreſſion on their Children, as Mothers. What a prudent and virtuous Mother commends by Precept and Example, ſticks long; witneſs Lemuel and his Proverbs, many of which he ſuckt in with his Mothers Milk.
Timothy was taught the Holy Scriptures from a Child, by his Grandmother Lois, and by his Mother Eunice.
We may preſume the Children of the Elect Lady, were found walking in the Truth from their Mothers Inſtructions. For they ſeldom ſpeake the Language of Canaan, whoſe Mothers are of Aſhdod.
3. Women thus inſtructed will be beneficial to the Nation. Look into all Hiſtory, thoſe Nations ever were, now are, and alwayes ſhall be, the worſt of Nations, where Women are moſt undervalued; as in Ruſſia, Ethiopia, and all the Barbarous Nations of the World. One great Reaſon why our Neighbours the Dutch have thriven to admiration, is the great care they take in the Education of their Women, from whence they are to be accounted more vertuous, and to be ſure more uſeful than any Women in the World. We cannot expect otherwiſe to prevail againſt the Ignorance, Atheiſm, Prophaneneſs, Superſtition, Idolatry, Luſt, that reigns in the Nation, than by a Prudent, Sober, Pious, Vertuous Education of our Daughters. Their Learning would ſtir up our Sons, whom God and Nature hath made ſuperior, to a juſt emulation.
Had we a ſufficient number of Females thus inſtructed to furniſh the Nurſeries of Noble Families, their Children might be improved in the knowledge of the Learned Tongues before they were aware. I mention this a third time, becauſe it is of ſuch moment and concern.
The memory of Queen Eliſabeth is yet freſh. By her Learning ſhe was fitted for Government, and ſwayed the Scepter of this Nation with as great honour as any man before her.
Our very reformation of Religion, ſeems to be begun and carried on by Women.
Mris. Ann Askue, a Perſon famous for Learning and Piety, ſo ſeaſoned the Queen, and Ladies at Court, by her Precepts and Examples, and after ſealed her Profeſſion with her Blood, that the Seed of Reformation ſeemed to be ſowed by her hand.29 D3r (29)
Henry the Eighth made a beginning out of State Policy, his Feminine Relations acted out of true Piety; this ſtuck in the Birth till his Daughter Queen Elizabeth carried it to the height it is now at.
My deſign is not to ſay all that may be ſaid in the praiſe of Women. How modeſt and chaſt many have been; how remarkable in their love to their Husbands, how conſtant in Religion, how dutiful to their Parents, or how beneficial to their Countrey.
The Scripture mentions the wife Woman at Abel, who ranſomed the City from Joab’s Sword with Sheba’s Head, when all the men were in a maze and knew not what to do. Debora was more inſtrumental to deliver Israel than Barak. Nabal and his Houſe had been deſtroyed, had not Abigail wiſely pacified David. The whole People of the Jews had been cut off, Heſter adventured her life at the feet of Abaſuerus.
My intention is not to equalize Women to Men, much leſs to make them ſuperior. They are the weaker Sex, yet capable of impreſſions of great things, something like to the beſt of Men.
Hercules and Theſeus were very valiant; Manalippe and Hyppolite were little inferior to them. Zeuxes and Timanthes were brave Painters. So were Timarete, Irene, Lala, Martia, and many others.
For Poetry, Sappho may be compared with Anacreon; Corinna with Pindar. Tullia was eloquent like Cicero. Cato’s Daughter little inferior to himſelf in the Theory and Practice of Philoſophy. Semiramis was like Alexander in magnificence. The Tanaquils as politick as Servius Tullius. The Porcea’s were as magnanimous as Brutus.
The inference I make from hence is, that Women are not ſuch ſilly giddy creatures, as many proud ignorant men would make them; as if they were uncapable of all improvement by Learning, and unable to digeſt Arts that require any ſolidity of Judgment. Many men will tell you, they are ſo unſtable and unconſtant, born down upon all occaſions with ſuch a torrent of Fear, Love, Hatred, Luſt, Pride, and all manner of exorbitant Paſſions, that they are uncapable to practise any Vertues, that require greatneſs of Spirit, or firmness of Reſolution. Let ſuch but look into Hiſtory, they will find Examples enow of illuſtrious Women to confute them.
Before I mention the Objections, I ſhall ſtate the Propoſitions I have endeavoured to prove; That which I intend is this, That Perſons of competent natural parts, indifferently inclin’d and diſpoſed to Learning, whom God hath bleſſed with Eſtates, that they are not cumbred in the World, but have liberty and opportunity in their Childhood; and afterwards,30 D3v (30) terwards, being competently inſtructed in all things now uſeful that concern them as Women, may and ought to be improved in more Polite Learning, in Religion, Arts, and the knowledge of things, in Tongues alſo as ſubſervient to theſe, rather then to ſpend the over-plus time of their youth, in making Points for Bravery, in dreſſing and trimming themſelves like Bartholomew-Babies, in Painting and Dancing, in making Flowers of Coloured Straw, and building Houſes of ſtained Paper, and ſuch like vanities.
Object. No Body means Gentlewomen ſhould be thus educated in matters of meer vanity; but in practiſing their Needle, in knowing and doing thoſe things that concern good Houſewifery, which is Womens particular qualification.
Anſw. I know not what may be meant, but I ſee what is generally done. In moſt Schools for educating this Sex, little more is propoſed by the Undertakers, or expected by the Parents. As far as I can obſerve, the leſs any thing of ſolidity is taught, the more ſuch places are frequented. I do acknowledge, in the ſtate of the Queſtion, that Women ſhould be accompliſhed in all thoſe things that concern them as Women. My meaning is, The over-plus time may be imployed in poliſhing their minds with the knowledge of ſuch things as may be honourable, pleaſant and profitable to them, and their Relations afterwards.
Before I proceed further to Anſwer the remaining Objections, I deſire, this may be taken notice of, That what-ever is ſaid againſt this manner of Educating Women, may commonly be urged againſt the Education of Men.
Object. If we bring up our Daughters to Learning, no Perſons will adventure to Marry them.
Anſw.1. Many men, ſilly enough, (God knows) think themſelves wiſe, and will not dare to marry a wise Woman, leſt they ſhould be over-topt.
2. As ſome Huſbands, debauched themſelves, deſire their Wives ſhould be chaſt, and their Children vertuous: So ſome men, ſenſible of their own want, (caused by their Parents neglect) will chuſe a learned Woman, in whom they may glory, and by whoſe prudence their defect may be ſupplyed.
3. Learned men, to be ſure, will chuſe ſuch the rather, becauſe they are ſutable. Some Men marrying Wives of good natural parts, have improved themſelves in Arts and Tongues, the more to fit them for their converſe.
4. Many Women formerly have been preferred for this very thing.D4r (31)
Athenais, Daughter to Leontius the Philoſopher, left deſtitute by him, by him, was entertained by his Siſter Placida for her Learning, and was after married to the Emperor Theodosius, charmed by her worth, being fitted by her education for that high place; ſhe is recorded for an excellent Empreſs. Upon her being baptized, ſhe was called Eudocea.
Conſtantine married Helena the Daughter of Lois, more for her Learning, than any other accompliſhments.
We may probably imagine Hortenſia, Terentia, Tullia, and divers others, had never been married to ſuch brave men, had not their Education preferred them.
If this way of educating Gentlewomen ſhould now be ſet on foot, there will not be ſo great a number bred; but (as degenerate as times are) there would be found learned men enow, to whom they may be preferred for their very Education.
Object. It is againſt cuſtom to Educate Gentlewomen thus.
Anſw. Bad cuſtoms ought to be broken, or elſe many good things would never come into uſe. I have ſhewed this is a Heatheniſh Cuſtom, or a worſe, continued amongſt us upon very bad grounds.
Object. Solomon’s good Houſewife is commended for riſing early, imploying her Servants, making Garments, by which her Husband was known in the Gate. It ſeems ſhe was of quality, ſhe had ſo many Servants, and her Husband a Magiſtrate; their Courts of Judicature were at the Gate: no mention is made of Arts or Tongues.
Anſw. It ſeems Perſons of Quality were more induſtrious in thoſe times than they are now. I do not intend to hinder good Houſewifery, neither have I called any from their neceſſary Labour to their Book. My deſign is upon ſuch Perſons whoſe leaſure is a burthen.
Further, if Solomon’s good Houſe-wife was accompliſhed with Arts and Tongues, ſhe would have more reverence from her Servants, and by her knowledge in Economicks, know better how to manage ſo great a Family.
Solomon deſcribes an induſtrious Woman. I am ſuggeſting what perſons ought to do that are about theſe things. Thoſe that deny this, deſerve no Anſwer, but are to be thought on with ſcorn, as that Duke that thought Women wiſe enough that knew their Husbands Doublet and Breeches aſunder.
If there be any perſons ſo vain, and are yet pleaſed with this Apiſh kind of Breeding now in uſe, that deſire their Daughters ſhould be outwardly dreſſed like Puppets, rather than inwardly adorned with Knowledge, let them enjoy their humour; but never wonder if ſuch Marmoſets32 D4v (32) ſets married to Buffoons, bring forth and breed up a generation of Baboons, that have little more wit than Apes and Hobby-Horſes. I cannot ſay enough againſt this Barbarous rudeneſs, to ſuffer one part, I had almoſt ſaid the better part, of our ſelves to degenerate (as far as poſſible) into brutality.
Object. Women are of ill Natures, and will abuſe their Education: They will be proud, and not obey their Husbands; they will be pragmatick, and boaſt of their Parts and Improvements. The ill Nature that is in them, will become more wicked, the more wit you furniſh them with.
Anſw. This is the killing Objection, and every thick-skull’d Fellow that babbles this out, thinks no Billingsgate Woman can Anſwer it. I ſhall take the Objection in pieces.
1. They will abuſe Learning. So do men; he is egregiouſly ſimple, that argues againſt the uſe of a neceſſary or very convenient thing from the abuſe of it. By this Argument no men ſhould be liberally brought up; ſtrong Drinks ſhould never be uſed any more in the World, and a hundred ſuch like things.
They are of ill Natures. This is an impudent calumny; as if the whole Sex of Women, or the greateſt part of them, had that malice infuſed into their very Natures and Conſtitutions, that they are ordinarily made worſe by that Education that makes Men generally better.—Ingenuas didiciſſe fideliter artes Emollit mores, nec ſinit eſſe feros.
The Heathen found, that Arts wrought upon Men, the rougher Sex.
Surely it is want of fidelity in the Inſtructer, if it have not the like effect
upon ſofter and finer Materials.
They will be proud, and not obey their Husbands. To this I Anſwer; What is ſaid of Philoſophy, is true of Knowledge; a little Philoſophy carries a Man from God, but a great deal brings him back again; a little knowledge, like windy Bladders, puffs up, but a good meaſure of true knowledge, like Ballaſt in a Ship, ſettles down, and makes a perſon move more even in his ſtation; ’tis not knowing too much, but too little that cauſes the irregularity. This ſame Argument may be turned upon Men; what-ever they anſwer for themſelves, will defend Woman.
Thoſe that deſire a farther Anſwer, let them peruſe Eraſmus his Dialogue, of the Ignorant Abbot and the Learned Woman. An ignorant Magiſtrate, or Miniſter, may as well plead againſt improvement 33 E1r (33) of Knowledge in all below them, leſt they ſhould be wiſer than themſelves, and ſo deride them. Do not deny Women their due, which is to be as well inſtructed as they can; but let Men do their duty, to be wiſer than they are. If this doth not pleaſe, let ſilly Men let wiſe Women alone; the rule is, All ſhould be (as near as they can) equally yoked.
Object. The end of Learning is publick Buſineſs, which Women are not capable of. They muſt not ſpeak in the Church; and it is more proper for men to Act in the Common-Wealth than they.
Anſw. They may not ſpeak in the Church, but they may inquire of their Husbands at home; it is private inſtruction I plead for, not publick Imployment. Yet there is no ſuch contradiction in the terms: Miriam and Deborah were extraordinarily called forth by God, as well as Aaron and Barak. Sometimes Women may have occaſions for publick Buſineſs, as Widows, and Wives when their Husbands are abſent; but, eſpecially persons bornn to Government. The Salique Law hath not prevailed all the World over, and good reaſon too; for Women upon Thrones have been as glorious in their governing, as many Men, as I have ſhewed before. But lay all this aſide; there are other ends of Learning, beſides pleading in the Hall, and appearing in the Pulpit. Private perſons (as I have before ſhewed) may many ways pleaſe themſelves, and benefit others. This Objection alſo will turn the Point upon all Men that are in a private capacity.
Object. They will not mind their Houſhold Affairs.
Anſw. Men are judged to be more capable of Countrey buſineſs by and liberal Education. Moſt ingenious Contrivances, even in Husbandry Trades, have been invented by Scholars. You may as well ſay, a Gentleman that hath Countrey Affairs to manage, ought not to be a Scholar, becauſe he will be poring upon his Book, when he ſhould be looking after his Plowmen.
Object. They have other things to do.
Anſw. Thoſe which have, may mind thoſe things for ought I have ſaid: The Queſtion is of perſons at leaſure, Whether theſe had not better be imployed in ſome good Literature, than in pilling Straws, or doing nothing, which is the certain Seed of doing miſchief?
Object. Women do not desire Learning.
Anſw. Neither do many Boys, (as Schools are now ordered) yet I ſuppoſe you do not intend to lay Fallow all Children that will not bring forth Fruit of themſelves, to forbear to inſtruct thoſe which at preſent do not thank you for it.
But I have ſaid, there is in all an innate deſire of knowing, in WomenE 34 E1v (34) men as well as Men: if the wayes to the Temple of Pallas be ſo tedious, and intricate, that they confound or tire her Servants; or, if you dreſs up Learning in ſuch an ugly and monſtrous ſhape, that you afright Children; I have nothing to ſay to ſuch, but that they ſhould reform their Schools, or elſe all will think they have no deſire any, either Male or Female, ſhould be inſtructed.
Object. Women are of low Parts.
Anſw. So are many Men; we plead only for thoſe which have competent Parts. To be ſure, ſome Women are as capable of Learning, and have attained to as great height in it as moſt Men; witneſs thoſe Examples before produced.
If this be true, their Parts generally are lower than Mens, there is the more need they ſhould by all convenient means be improved. Crutches are for infirm perſons.
Object. Women are of ſofter Natures, more delicate a nd tender Conſtitutions, not ſo fixed and ſolid as Men.
Anſw. If their Natures are ſoft, they are more capable of good Impreſſions; if they are weak, more ſhame for us to neglect them, and defraud them of the benefit of Education, by which they may be ſtrengthened.
Object. It is againſt cuſtom to educate Gentlewomen thus; thoſe that do attempt it, will make themſelves ridiculous.
Anſw. This Argument might have been uſed to the Iriſh; not to uſe Traces at Plow and Cart, but to draw their Horſes by their Tails, which was a general cuſtom amongſt them. Bad Cuſtoms (when it is evident they are ſo) ought to be broken, or elſe good Customs can never come into uſe. That this is a bad Cuſtom, is evident, continued upon a bad ground. Let Women be Fools, and then you may eaſily make them Slaves.
Object. What need Women learn Tongues, there are Books enow in Engliſh for them to peruſe?
Anſw. The great Thing I deſign is, the Knowledge of things; as Religion, the Names and Natures of Herbs, Shrubs, Trees, Mineral- Juyces, Metals, and Precious Stones; as alſo the Principles of Arts and Sciences before mentioned. The learning of Tongues is only ſubſervient to theſe. Was all Learning in Engliſh, as it is now in French, I think those dead Languages would be of little uſe only in reference to the Scriptures. My opinion is, in the Educating of Gentlewomen, greater care ought to be had to know things, than to get words. If one 35 E2r (35) muſt be neglected, it’s better to neglect Tongues than Arts; though it is beſt where both may be had.
Object. Solomon’s vertuous Woman, Prov. 31. is commended for good Houſewifery, not for Arts and Tongues; yet her Husband was a Perſon of Quality, he ſat amongſt the Elders of the Land in the Gate.
Anſw. It ſeems Perſons of Quality were more induſtrious in thoſe times than now they are. Our Ladies would count it a great diſparagement to them to do as ſhe did; to ſeek Wool and Flax, and to work willingly with their own hands, verſ. 13. to lay their hands to the Spindle, and to take hold on the Diſtaff, verſ. I9. to riſe while it is Night, and to give Meat to her Houſhold, and a Portion to her Maids, verſ. I5. It’s like the neceſſities of thoſe times were greater, and the way of living far different from that which is now in uſe. The Duke of Florence is a great Merchant; Noblemen in England, and Gentlemen in France, think it diſparagement to them to be ſo.
Anſw. 2. I plead that our Ladies ſhould have but the ſame Abilities this vertuous Woman had; not to labour as ſhe did, but to underſtand as ſhe did. I am ſure to do all thoſe things well that ſhe peformed, ſo as to be reverenced of her Servants, that her Children ſhould riſe up before her, and call her Bleſſed, and that her Husband ſhould praiſe her, requires knowledge in Arts and Sciences, which were hardly got in thoſe dayes without the knowledge of Tongues; if they then were, or can be now, I am contented without them.
To buy Wooll and Flax, to die Scarlet and Purple, requires skill in Natural Philosophy. To conſider a Field, the quantity and quality, requires knowledge in Geometry. To plant a Vineyard, requires underſtanding in Husbandry: She could not Merchandize, without knowledge in Arithmetick: She could not govern ſo great a Family well, without knowledge in Politicks and Oeconomicks: She could not look well to the wayes of her Houſhold, except ſhe underſtood Phyſick and Chirurgery: She could not open her Mouth with Wiſdom, and have in her Tongue the Law of kindneſs, unleſs ſhe underſtood Grammar, Rhetorick and Logick. This ſeems to be the deſcription of an honeſt, well-bred, ingenious, induſtrious Dutch-woman. I deſire our Women (whoſe condition calls them to buſineſs) ſhould have no other breeding, but what will enable to do thoſe things performed by this Woman.
As for thoſe that are above theſe, I am ſure the highest breeding imaginable will be uſeful to them. I believe the men of our times would ſay, it’s pitty any Woman ſhould have ſo much Authority as this WomanE2 36 E2v (36) man had, she would be ſo maſterly there would be no living with her.
Object. Another Objection that ſeems unanſwerable, is this; How ſhall time be found to teach Children theſe things here propoſed? Boyes go to School ordinarily from ſeven till ſixteen or ſeventeen, and not above one in four attain ſo much knowledge in the Tongues, as to be admitted into the Univerſity, where no great accuracy is required; and they learn nothing elſe uſually, beſides a little Hiſtery. Gentlewomen will not ordinarily be ſent out ſo ſoon, nor is it convenient they ſhould continue ſo long. Further, half their time, it is ſuppoſed, muſt be ſpent in learning thoſe things that concern them as Women. Twice as many things are propoſed to be taught Girls in half the time, as Boyes do learn, which is impoſſible.
Anſw. This Objection makes the whole Contrivance ſeem idle, unleſs a ſatisfactory Anſwer be given.
I ſay therefore, The learning of things will be no hinderance to the getting Words. Words are the marks of things, and they are learnt better together than aſunder. As a man ſhall ſooner remember Names, if he ſee the perſons, ſo a Girl ſhall much eaſier faſten in her memory the names of Herbs, Shrubs, Mineral-Juyces, Metals, Precious Stones; as alſo the names of Birds, Beaſts, Fiſhes; the parts of Man’s Body; if ſhe ſee the things themſelves in ſpecie; or the Pictures and Repreſentations, where the things themſelves cannot be had. This is a great Truth, (if there be any ſuch thing as a concatenation of Notions, as doubtleſs there is) the thing being perceived, Words freelyfollow. Beſides, to learn words thus, will be very pleaſant and delightful, even to Children. As the eye is not ſatisfied with ſeeing, if it be an Object it can reach and diſtinguiſh: So the mind of a Child is not ſatisfied with underſtanding, if it be a thing he can apprehend. Let thoſe that do believe this, try a Child of four years old in plain Pictures of Men, Beaſts, Birds, or Fiſhes, they will ſee how inquiſitive he will be; or, let them ſhew Herbs, Flowers, Stones, or any thing rare, and ſee whether it is any burthen to the Childs underſtanding or memory to learn the name when he ſees the thing.
Let no Body be afrighted, becauſe ſo many things are to be learnt, when the learning of them will be ſo pleaſant; how profitable I need not tell you.
If any doubt how this may be done, or what Authors we ſhall uſe, that words and things may be learnt together;
I Anſwer, Comenius hath prepared Nomenclatures for this purpoſe. His 37 E3r (37) Orbis Pictus, contains all the Primitive Latine words, and the repreſentation of moſt things capable of being ſet out by Pictures; it may be learnt by beginners in three months, and is as a Syſtem of his Janua Linguarum.
This Janua Liguarum, a Syſtem of things, conſiſts of a thouſand Sentences; ten of which may be learnt in one day, fifty in a week, the thouſand in twenty-ſix weeks; allowing one day in a week, and one week in a month for Repetition, that we may keep what we get. Thus nine months is ſpent, I mean by Gentlewoman, that ſpend but ſix hours in a day at their Books; the other three months may be imployed in gaining the French Tongue, which I thus demonſtrate.
If the Latin Janua may be learnt in ſix months, where moſt of the words are new, then the French may be learnt in three, by one that underſtands Engliſh and Latin; becauſe there is not above one word of ten in the French Tongue, that may not fairly, without force, be reduced to the Latin or Engliſh.
Theſe two new Languages being learnt, one will help to keep the other. This I propoſe may be done to a Gentlewoman of nine or ten years old, that is of good Capacity; lower Parts require longer time.
If we ſhould dance that wild-Gooſe-chaſe uſually led, it would require longer time; ordinarily Boys learn a Leaf or two of the Pueriles, twenty Pages of Corderius, a part of Eſop’s Fables, a piece of Tullie, a little of Ovid, a remnant of Virgil, Terence, &c; and when all this is done, they have not much above half ſo many words as this little Euchiridion, the Janua, ſupplies them with.
It’s true, this courſe inſtructs us only in the propriety of the words; therefore it is ſo much the better, it’s the univerſal proceſs of Nature to riſe by degrees, to proceed from Seeds to Leaves, from Leaves to Flowers; from plain things to things ornamental. One would think thoſe learned Men mad, that go quite contrary to this Proceſs; that propoſe to ſeaſon with Rhetorick, and a ſtile, by reading crabbed Claſſick Authors, as Terence, &c; before Children underſtand any thing of the plain ſignification of words.
But, methinks, I hear my Reader complain that I abuſe him: I hear him confeſs this is but reaſon; But he thinks I ſhun the difficulty, and ſay nothing to Grammar, the ground-work of all; to begin at In Speech, to read the Accidence, and to get it without Book, is ordinarily the work of one whole year.38 E3v (38)
To Conſtrue the Grammar, and to get it without-Book, is at leaſt the task of two years more; and then, it may be, it is little underſtood, until a year or two more is ſpent in making plain Latin. My Reader, it may be, thinks I have forgot, or purpoſely omitted to allow time for theſe things, without which nothing can be done.
I do confeſs, to proceed in Lilly’s Method, (as is before mentioned) to commit the very Accidence and Grammar to memory, requires three or four years, ſometimes more, (as many can witneſs by woful experience) and when all is done, beſides declining Nouns, and forming Verbs, and getting a few words, there is very little advantage to the Child. This being ſuppoſed, it’s not likely Children of ordinary Parts ſhould in ſo ſhort a time be improved in any competent meaſure in the Latin Tongue.
The great reaſon of theſe Intricacies is, the whole Method ſwerves from the Rules of true Didacticks.
1. This is an undenyable Principle; All Rules ought to be plain, that they may be eaſily underſtood, eſpecially ſuch as are to be learnt by Children, to the meanneſs of whoſe Capacities we ought to condeſcend.
The Rules in Lilly’s Grammar are not ſo, becauſe they are in Latin, a Tongue the Learner doth not underſtand; and which is worſe, a great part of them is in verſe, hardly intelligible to a Child if they are tranſlated into Grammatical Engliſh.
2. Another undoubted Principle is; All knowledge is increaſed by Syncriſis, (comparing one thing with another) whoever would beget a new Idea in any ones underſtanding, reduces it (if poſſible) to ſomething he knows already, that is like it. This is a Law of Nature, whoever proceeds according to it, moves ſmoothly, as an oyled Clock when the Wheels are put into their right places. Who-ever goes not according to this Rule, forces Water upwards, which returns to its Channel, ſo ſoon as the vis impreſſa is ſpent; his motion is like to a Leg or an Arm out of joynt, very uneaſie.
Much of the Method uſed in Lilly’s Grammar, in the Etymologia, and the whole Syntax, that concerns Government, varies from this grand Principle.
Thoſe that would rationally teach Latin to a Child bred amongſt us, ought to accomodate his Inſtruction to the Engliſh Tongue, the Tongue ſhe knows already, and by Syncriſis, proceed à noto ad ignotum. This would be eaſie and pleaſant; but Lillies Grammar hath no more 39 E4r (39) reſpect to the Engliſh, than to the Welſh or Iriſh. For inſtance; A Noun is the name of a thing which may be ſeen, felt, heard, or underſtood. A Man doth not underſtand this, when the Noun is a ſecond Notion, or not obvious to ſenſe. Beſides, it may as well be applyed to Welſh, Iriſh, Dutch, French, Italian, or Spanish, as to an Engliſh Noun.
If you demand, How can a better Rule be given, which may be more uſeful?
I Anſwer; A Noun may have uſually before it in the Engliſh, a, an, or the, as a Man, an Angel, the Book. This every Child underſtands at the firſt naming.
Lilly ſaith, A Subſtantive ſtands by it ſelf, and requires not another word to ſhew its ſignification. An Adjective cannot ſtand by it ſelf, but requires another word to ſhew its ſignification. This is better than the former, yet hard enough for a Child to underſtand. Take your indication from the Engliſh, and ſee how plain it is. A Subſtantive varies in the number, as Book, Books. An Adjective doth not vary in the number, as good Book, good Books. Good is uſed both in the ſingular and plural Number.
Pronouns, in our old Grammar, are ſaid to be parts of Speech much like to Nouns, uſed in Shewing or Rehearſing. They are like to Nouns, that is, they are the names of things that may be underſtood, and ſo like to Nouns in this, that I cannot know them aſunder. Then Lilly reckons them up in Latin, but dares not name them in Engliſh, leſt you ſhould know them too quickly. How eaſily is this diſpatched, if we enumerate the Pronouns (let them be what they will) in two Claſſes, thus; I, thou, he, we, ye, they, are Subſtantives; my, thy, his, our, your, &c; are Adjectives.
It is better to tell a Child, Verbs have a ſign of a Mood or Tenſe, than than to ſay, they ſignifie doing, ſuffering, or being.
Participles are wildly deſcribed to be Parts of Speech, that take part of a Noun, and part of a Verb, &c; No child is at all edified by the definition. I confeſs this part of Speech is moſt difficult to be known in the Engliſh Tongue; yet it may be done thus, All words ending in ing, d, t, or n, which have no ſign at all, and may be reſolved into Verbs, are Participles, as learning, which doth learn; learned, which is learned.
If we now look back, that great ſtumbling-block to diſtinguiſh the parts of Speech, (which coſts years, before a Child diſtinctly knows them, whilſt he looks upon them in their Latin dreſs) is got over in a 40 E4v (40) few dayes, when we take our direction from our own Tongue. I will repeat it again, that I may be perfectly underſtood.
A Noun may have uſually before it in the Engliſh Tongue, a, an, or the. Subſtantives have a different termination in the Number; Adjectives have not.
Pronouns are all enumerated about thirty; ſome are Subſtantives, others are Adjectives.
Verbs may have a ſign of a Mood or Tenſe. All words ending in ing, ing, d, t, or n, which have no ſign, and may be reſolved into Verbs, are Participles.
Prepoſitions are all enumerated, about thirty; what-ever integral word is not Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Participle, or Prepoſition, is either an Adverb, or a Conjunction, it matters not much which a beginner calls them.
Interjections are all virtual Sentences; a few dayes will maſter this, if we proceed gradually.
I do not know much more requiſite to Gentlewomen, that intend not to be critical, beſides declining Nouns, and forming Verbs.
The ſpecial Rules for the genders of Nouns, are but five, and the exceptions are not many.
There are but three general Rules for that part of Grammar called the As in praeſenti, the irregular Verbs, which moſt frequently occur in Authors, in number about five hundred, are learned as a Vocabulary.
As to the Syntax; the two firſt Concords only are of uſe; and the Rules for Government, (eight ſcore in number in Lillies Grammar are competently accomodated to the ſigns of the Caſes thus;
Subſtantives have their Caſes by the Signs, and they are governed of the word going before, on which they depend according to the ſigns of, to, for, with, from, by, then, in, on, a, the.
Four exceptions ſubjoyned to this Rule, may make the Syntax compleat enough for a Woman, that intends onely a ſuperficial Knowledge in the Tongue; ten more exceptions (that concern onely particular words) will make them, as profound as moſt men are by Lillies Rules.
To Anſwer the Objection fully; to know the parts of Speech by theſe Rules; to decline a Noun, to form a Verb, to digeſt the five general Rules, and five ſpecial Rules for the genders of Nouns, to commit to memory the three grand Rules, containing the As in praesenti; to decline thoſe five hundred irregular Verbs, to underſtand the two Concords, and that one general Rule for Government, with four Exceptions, will not require many months.41 F1r (41)
The Prefacer to Lillies Grammar (who I hope is very authentick) tells you, more than this may be done very accurately by thoſe blundering Rules of Lillie in the ſpace of three months, by Children of mean parts.
Thoſe that do not underſtand theſe ſhort hints, may peruſe a Grammar and an Apology; to which is added Rules for Pointing and Reading Grammatically; Compoſed by M. Lewis, Sold by Thomas Parkhurſt, at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapſide, in which theſe things are more largely diſcuſſed. Or they may ſpeak with M. Lewis himſelf any Thurſday in the Afternoon, between three and ſix of the Clock, at the Bolt and Tun in Fleetſtreet.
I will not trouble you with his Diſcourſe, how this Method is founded upon the general rule of Speaking, that goes through the World, and how the Engliſh Tongue is one of the moſt regular Languages ſpoken upon the face of the Earth. The Grammar of this being known, it may be a Standard to meaſure all other Languages by.
If you peruſe his Apologie, you will ſee how the Engliſh is a foundation to the Latin, the Latin to the Greek, you may there ſee how he demonſtrates, to learn to decline Greek Nouns, and form Greek Verbs, hath not a fourth part of the difficulty in it, as there is in the Latin.
Let not Perſons raſhly cenſure theſe Propoſals, before they have examined the Hypotheſis, and heard what the Author can ſay in defence of it.
Let no Perſon be diſcouraged, becauſe Grammar, Words, and Things, are propoſed to be learnt in ſo ſhort a time; the plainneſs and ſhortneſs of the Grammar, the ſeeing the Things, and having the Words in ſo ſhort a compaſs, will make the Work eaſie and very delightful.
If all I have ſaid may conveniently be done, I expect many will deride this Deſign. I am contented, let them abound in their own ſenſe, and have Wives as ſilly as themſelves deſire, over whom they may tyrannize.
I hope I ſhall by this Diſcourſe perſwade ſome Parents to be more careful for the future of the Breeding of their Daughters. You cark and care to get great Portions for them, which ſometimes occaſions their ruine. Here is a ſure Portion, an eaſie way to make them excellent. How many born to good Fortunes, when their Wealth hath been waſted, have ſupported themſelves and Families too by their Wiſdom?
I hope ſome of theſe Conſiderations will at leaſt move ſome of this abuſed Sex to ſet a right value upon themſelves, according to the dignity F 42 F1v (42) of their Creation, that they might, with an honeſt pride and magnanimity, ſcorn to be bowed down and made to ſtoop to ſuch Follies and Vanities, Trifles and Nothings, ſo far below them, and unproportionable to their noble Souls, nothing inferior to thoſe of Men, and equally precious to God in Chriſt, in whom there is neither Male nor Female.
Let a generous reſolution poſſeſs your minds, ſeeing Men in this Age have invaded Womens Vices, in a noble revenge, reaſſume thoſe Vertues, which Men ſometimes unjustly uſurped to themſelves, but ought to have left them in common to both Sexes.
If any enquire where this Education may be performed, ſuch may be informed, That a School is lately erected for Gentlewomen at Tottenham-high-Croſs, within four miles of London, in the Road to Ware, where Mris. Makin is Governeſs, who was ſometimes Tutoreſs to the Princeſs Elisabeth, Daughter to King Charles the Firſt; Where, by the bleſſing of God, Gentlewomen may be inſtructed in the Principles of Religion; and in all manner of Sober and Vertuous Education: More particularly, in all things ordinarily taught in other Schools: As Works of all Sorts, Dancing, Muſick, Singing, Writing, Keeping Accompts, Half the time to be spent in theſe Things.
The other half to be imployed in gaining the Latin and French Tongues; and thoſe that pleaſe, may learn Greek and Hebrew, the Italian and Spaniſh: In all which this Gentlewomen hath a competent knowledge.Gentle 43 (43)
Gentlewomen of eight or nine years old, that can read well, may be inſtructed in a year or two (according to their Parts in the Latin and French Tongues; by ſuch plain and ſhort Rules, accomodated to the Grammar of the Engliſh Tongue, that they may eaſily keep what they have learned, and recover what they ſhall loſe; as thoſe that learn Muſick by Notes.
Thoſe that will beſtow longer time, may learn the other Languages, afore-mentioned, as they pleaſe.
Repoſitories alſo for Viſibles ſhall be prepared; by which from beholding the things, Gentlewomen may learn the Names, Natures, Values, and Uſe of Herbs, Shrubs, Trees, Mineral-Juices, Metals and Stones.
Thoſe that pleaſe, may learn Limning, Preſerving, Paſtry and Cookery.
Thoſe that will allow longer time, may attain ſome general Knowledge in Aſtronomy, Geography, but eſpecially in Arithmetick and Hiſtory.
Thoſe that think one Language enough for a Woman, may forbear the Languages, and learn onely Experimental Philoſophy; and more, or fewer of the other things aforementioned, as they incline.
The Rate certain ſhal be 20 l. per annum: But if a competent improvement be made in the Tongues, and the other things aforementioned, as ſhall be agreed upon, then ſomething more will be expected. But the Parents ſhall judge what ſhall be deſerved by the Undertaker.
Thoſe that think theſe Things Improbable or Impracticable, may have further account every Tueſday at Mr. Maſons Coffe-Houſe in Cornhil, near the Royal Exchange; and Thurſdayes at the Bolt and Tun in Fleetſtreet, between the hours of three and ſix in the Afternoons, by ſome Perſon whom Mris. Makin ſhall appoint.