H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

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cardinal whites, and calf-skins which were well sold in Sicily,
etc. The commodities which they returned back were silks,
camlets, rhubarb, Malmseys, mnscadels and other wines, sweet



oils, cotton, wood, Turkey carpets, galls, pepper, cinnamon, and
some other spices, etc. Besides the natural inhabitants of the
aforesaid places, they had, even in those days, traffic with Jews,
Turks, and other foreigners. Neither did our merchants only
employ their own English shipping, but sundry strangers' also ;
as Candians, Ragusans, Sicilians, Genoeses, Venetian gal-
leasses, Spanish, and Portugal ships ; all which particulars I
have diligently perused and copied out of the ledger-books
of the Pi.W., Sir William Locke, Mercer of London, Sir William
Bowyer, Alderman of London, Mr. John Gresham, and others."
The king freely employed his ambassadors and agents in the
furtherance of the growing commerce of the country. He
appointed a Genoese as English Consul in the distant island of
Ohio ; and Ley in Spain, and Pace in Switzerland and Venice,
had always, as much by Henry's direction as by their own
inclination, as watchful eyes for the commercial as for the
diplomatic advantage of the country. A very extensive scheme
of Pace's for the enlargement of English trade with the Levant,
was only prevented from coming to the king's notice by the
jealous interference of Wolsey, who, as Campbell says, first
decried him as a madman, and then, by his ill-usage, made
him really such.

The age also began to breed great naval commanders, as Henry


well as adventurers and explorers (pp. 300 seq.}. Among these Admira is.
were Sir Edward Howard, Lord High Admiral in 1513-14,
who in the latter year met the French admiral, the Sieur de
Porsmoguer (a name corrupted b}^ the English of the time
into Sir Pierce Morgan), off Brest, and fought a bloody but
indecisive battle with him, and who soon afterwards fell once
more gallantly leading a squadron to the attack of some French
galleys in Conquet Bay. When he knew that he must die he
flung overboard his chain of gold nobles, and his great golden
whistle, that the spoils of an English admiral should not pass
into the hands of the enemy. The gold whistle, it should be
mentioned, was then the badge of command of an admiral,
just as the silver whistle or "call" now is of a boatswain;
and more than once during the last hundred years a sensible
proposal has been made to revive it as such.

There was also Sir Thomas Howard, younger brother of
the above, and afterwards Duke of Norfolk. He succeeded




Sir Edward as Lord High Admiral. Both were sons of that
K.irl of Surrey who had said: "The narrow seas shall not be
infested with pirates so long as I have an estate to furnish a


(By I'i'riiiix.iioii, from the j//iiiitiiuj in Hit possession uf llis Urm-r the Duke of Ncff'il:.)

ship and a son to command it." Sir Thomas first distinguished
himself by defeating and slaying one of the most notorious of
these pirates, the redoubtable Scot, Sir Andrew Barton. He



also fought with distinction at Flodden ; he was made, as we
have seen, commander-in-chief of the allied fleets of Henry
and the Emperor ; and he won many successes at sea. Finally
there was Sir William Fitzwilliam, who became Earl of
Southampton, and who was not only a great commander, but
also a very accomplished seaman, at a period when the two
qualifications did not commonly go together.

Some interesting particulars concerning the government of Pay on
a fleet at this period and the method of providing for the pay- service
merit of the ships' crews are to be found in an indenture made
in 1512 between the king and Sir Edward Howard, admiral-
in-chief. After reciting the rates of pay for the various ranks,
the instrument declares that the officers and men engaged
shall have " Certain dead shares, as hereafter doth ensue ; of
all which wages, rewards, and victual-money, the said admiral
shall be paid in manner and form following : he shall,
before he and his retinue enter into the ship, make their
musters before such commissioners as shall please our said
Sovereign-lord to depute and appoint ; and immediately after
such musters be made, he shall receive of our Sovereign-lord,
by the hands of such as his Grace shall appoint, for himself,
the said captains, soldiers, mariners, and gunners, wages, rewards,
and victual-money after the rate before rehearsed, for three
months then next ensuing." From this it appears that three
lunar months' wages were paid in advance. The "dead shares,"
it must be supposed, regulated the division of prize-money.
The stated tonnage of the ships engaged on this occasion
was : Regent, 1,000 ; Mary Rose, 500 ; Peter Pomegranate, 400 ;
XI colas Reede, 400; Nary and John, 260; Ann, of Greenwich,
100: Mary George, 300; Dragon, 100; Barbara, 140; George,
of Falmouth, 140; Nicolas of Hampton, 200; Martenet, 140;
Genet, 70; Christopher Dtn-y, 160; and Sabyan, 120. "The
said soldiers, mariners, and gunners," continues the instrument,
" shall have of our Sovereign- lord conduct-money, that is to
say, every of them, for every day's journey from his house to
the place where they shall be shipped (accounting twelve miles
for the day's journey) sixpence ; of which days they shall have
evidence by their oaths, before him or them, that our said
Sovereign-lord shall appoint and assign to pay them the said
wages and conduct-money."




The New

TOWARDS the close of the fifteenth century, learning and
education in England underwent u permanent change, owing
to the spread of the great movement known as the Renaissance
to our shores. Commencing in Italy, in the time of Petrarch,
its earliest pioneer, it gradually assumed, a twofold character:
first, in connection with Latin literature ; and secondly, in
connection with Greek literature. As regards the former, it is
necessary to recall that many of Cicero's writings, which had
been for ages lying in oblivion, were now for the first time again
brought to light and studied with an almost unbounded en-
thusiasm by Italian scholars, with many of whom it became
their chief ambition to be successful imitators of Cicero's
Latin style ; as regards the latter, it is also to be remembered
that Greek literature, as associated with heresy, had long been
under the ban of the Church, and was consequently neglected.
But in the fifteenth century, both before and after the fall of
Constantinople in 1453, there had been a continual migration
of Greek scholars into Italy, bringing with them numerous
manuscripts of authors almost unknown in the West and
interpreting them to admiring audiences in the universities
of Florence, Padua, and Rome. The fame of their lectures
attracted scholars from all arts of Europe. In England, some
students at Oxford among whom were Selling, Grocyn, Linacre,
and William Latimer were thus induced to repair to Italy in
order to acquire a knowledge of Greek, which, on their return,
they imparted to their countrymen at home. Gradually their
example was followed by a. considerable number of scholars
both from Oxford and Cambridge and a great literary inter-
course Avas thus brought about between Italy and England.
This led in turn to a more general intercourse, which was
attended by very important results in the latter country.

But in England, as in Germany, it was not without con-
siderable opposition that the " new learning," as it was termed,
made its way. Civilians and canonists disliked the Ciceronian
Latin, by the side of which their crabbed and barbarous diction
appeared yet more crabbed and barbarous than before. The
theologians, accustomed to cite the Latin Fathers as incontro-
vertible authorities with respect to points of doctrine, could not
patiently endure to hear Clemens, Origen, or St. Basil cited in




opposition and as of equal authority. Schoolmasters through-
out the country were almost invariably hostile to a movement
which threatened to revolutionise the prevailing methods of
education. A bitter feud broke out between the contending
parties : and at the universities, under the names of '' Greeks "

(Galerie du Lo'irre, I'aris.)

and "Trojans," they carried on a series of animated conflicts.
At one time it even appeared probable that the latter would
prove victorious. Erasmus, who was Lady Margaret Professor
of Divinity at Cambridge from 1511 to 1514, after vainly en-
deavouring to establish a school of Greek in the university,
abandoned his design in despair. At Oxford, the antipathy to
the study was so violent, that in 1519 it became necessary to


77/7-; OLD



Work of

The Inno
at Cam


issue a royal mandate in order to obtain for the "Greeks"
immunity from molestation. Had it not been for the exertions
and influence of statesmen such as Bishop Fisher, Sir Thomas
More, and Cardinal \Volsey, the progress of the ne\v learnin<_r
in England might have been indefinitely postponed.

At this great crisis, the debt of our forefathers to Erasmus
\vould seem to have been almost incalculable. Although he
had failed in his endeavours on behalf of Greek in Cambridge,
his influence there, in another direction, was considerable and
enduring. It was there that he mainly produced his No rum
Instrumentum, a paraphrase of the New Testament into Latin
from the original Greek, and not, as Wycliffe's English Bible,
chiefly from the Latin Vulgate the errors of which he exposed
unsparingly. The paraphrase by Erasmus also paved the way
for Tyndale's versions in the vernacular. The whole question
of the study of Greek, at this period, is thus to be found
standing in close relation to the other great movement of the
first half of the sixteenth century the English Reformation.

It \vas about the year 1521 that it became notorious in
( 'ambridge that certain members of the University, mostly
young men, were in the habit of holding meetings in the
town, at an old inn, known as the White Horse, for the purpose
of religious discussions. These assemblings would appear, in
the first instance, to have had for their object simply the
reading of Erasmus's Paraphrase, and an examination of some
of the questions which it raised by its divergence from the
Vulgate. A little later, however, it began to be rumoured that
these discussions were extending to the yet graver questions
opened up by Luther's earlier writings, in which he was
assailing not only the prevalent abuses but the doctrinal
errors of the Roman Churcl . The White Horse now began
to be known as "Germany/' and its devout frequenters as
"Germans." In reality, however, only a few of those who thus
.assembled adopted the Lutheran tenets ; they mainly wished
to bring about a moderate reform, which, while rejecting the
i'apal supremacy on the one hand, would have retained the
institution of the episcopal order on the other. Among the
more advanced were < 'overdale and Tyndale, whose versions
of the Scriptures in the vernacular became an important
influence in our literary history, by the manner in which they




served to fix the standard of English prose. Among the more
moderate was Hugh Latimer, who by his powerful pulpit
oratory roused the laity to a more systematic study of the
Bible for themselves, although he did not concern himself with
Luther's doctrines. Another was Robert Barnes, who confined
himself chiefiy to inveighing against the abuses of the Church
and the pride and pomp of Wolsey.

Erasmus himself, although he largely aided the Reformation
by his labours, had little sympathy with the movement. He
would have liked to see the more glaring abuses and super-
stitious observances abolished,
to see the authority of General
Councils restored, as the su-
preme tribunal of the Western
Church, and he would have
rejoiced, above all, to see educa-
tion and learning more widely
diffused among both the clergy
and the laity. When, however,
he saw that Luther was leading
his followers into a position of
antagonism to the Church which
could result only in complete
rupture, he drew back and took
his stand on the side of conser-

But there Avas yet a third
field of labour in which the

teaching of Erasmus was destined to be attended by more Theim-
definite results than either in connection with the study of
Greek or of divinity. This was in relation to the improvement
of education among the poorer laity. To no single scholar,
indeed, is the cause of education in the sixteenth century
under greater obligations than to Erasmus. His freedom from
traditional prejudice, combined with his high scholarship and
natural sagacity, enabled him to discern the conditions essential
to the profitable acquirement of knowledge, whether in the
case of a future monarch or of the son of a mechanic. It was
in the year 1510 that the celebrated John Colet, who had
been one of Erasmus's best friends in England, consulted him


(Which reairi'tl AV<ixi..s'x



as to the choice of a master for a new school which he was
proposing to found in London. Colet, the son of a Lord Mayor
of London, was a man of fortune, and had studied at Oxford
and in Italy; and it was his aim to educate for the Church
a select number of youths who should reflect the best influences
of the Renaissance, and especially be taught " pure Latin, the


very Roman tongue used in the time ot Tully and Sallust."
His conception of the functions of the teacher was undoubtedly
high ; but he found Erasmus's yet higher. In fact, the letter
in which the great scholar embodies the advice demanded, may
be looked upon as one of the most remarkable compositions
in the whole literature of the history of education. Erasmus
held that a good teacher, even for boys, should not only be a
good Latinist, but should also know Greek ; that he should




have studied the Fathers ; that he should have studied the
ancient philosophers ; that he should have a knowledge of
history, both sacred and profane, and likewise of geography
and comparative philology, This high ideal can hardly have
been fully realised in the appointment of William Lyly, the
compiler of the first Latin Grammar for public schools in


(In Erasmus's Treatise : St. John's College, Cambridge.)

England, to the Mastership of St. Paul's School, London.
Nevertheless, it may serve to show to what a height the
theory of education had risen in the days and in the realm
of Henry VIII.

Some six years later, in 1516, Erasmus compiled his treatise
on the " Education of a Christian Prince," in which he enun-
ciates a series of maxims designed to guide a monarch in his
conduct of the realm and in his relations to the people. The



compiler rather indicates the ideal to which the royal education
should tend than lays down any distinct method to be pursued.
The treatise, however, soon came to be regarded as the l>e.si
manual for those select few whom accident of birth mijj'ht


some day call upon to sway the sceptre, and the library of St.
lohn's College, Cambridge, still preserves the copy presented
to King Edward VI. in his eleventh year, and containin-j- the

o */

royal autograph.

Boys , In his old age, in the year 1529, Erasmus embodied the

schools results of his long experience in a more practical treatise on
Middle the " First Liberal Education of Boys." To the reader of the
Ages. present day so much of the advice here given will now appear
trite and commonplace that it is only by recalling to mind what
had hitherto been the discipline and training of the medieval
school that we can do justice to the originality and sound
judgment which pervade this admirable treatise. We hear but.
little, it is true, concerning schoolboy life in medieval times.
but that little is generally unfavourable. One of the earliest
glimpses we get is that afforded in the pages of Fitz-Stephen,
the historian, of schools in London in the twelfth century :
it seems to show that disputations were a good deal en-
couraged among the scholars a practice almost universally
condemned by the most authoritative writers on the subject
of education. Generally speaking, there appears to have
been a complete disregard of special aptitudes on the part
of the individual pupil ; the traditional text- books were dictated
to the class in a formal, unintelligent manner ; the average
acquirements were limited to reading and writing, to which,
in the cathedral schools, there were added chanting and an
elementary knowledge of Latin. At the same time, the discipline
was harsh, and sometimes cruel in the extreme (cf. Vol. II., p. 179).
Even among the gentry, as we see from the " Paston Letters,"
flogging was looked upon as a necessary corrective to boyish
disinclination to study. Mrs. Agnes Paston, in a letter to a
teacher of her son (a lad of fifteen), written in 1457, begs that
" if the boy has not done well, he will truly belash him till he
will mend." Some endeavour was made to impart a few notions
of deportment and manners, by instructing the youthful gentry
in the "Book of Urbanitie." Erasmus, in his treatise, recom
mends that education should begin at home, and that a teacher




should be chosen with aptitudes and a liking for his vocation.
In learning Latin, a good vocabulary is first to be acquired, all
grammatical rules being made as concise and general as

O o O

possible ; lessons are never to be tedious, but should be given
at frequent intervals. As soon as a foundation had been laid
in language, the learner was to acquire a knowledge of facts
and things. Erasmus held that the training of the memory
was a matter requiring especial attention ; and, as essential
thereto, he postulates a clear comprehension of facts, correct
order of these in the mind, careful grounding in first notions


(Corpus l.ln-l.iti i.'ulli'iii; Offonl.)

and in distinctions. Such are a few of the really philosophic
views on the subject of education with which, at this period,
Englishmen, by the aid of this sensible tractate, became

It was AVolsey's policy, as far as his position permitted, to wolsey
place himself at the head of the advancing movement; and the cation. 11
foundation of Cardinal College (afterwards Christ Church) at
Oxford, in 1525, endowed with the revenues of some of the
suppressed monasteries and with teachers of the new learning,
some of them brought from Cambridge, gave practical proof
of his sympathy. Brasenose had already been founded in
1511 ; and the rise of Corpus Christi in 1517, with chairs for

120 TllK 01.lt OUDKH <' II. I \< ;


lecturers in Latin and Greek, was a notable event in the history
of learning at Oxford. The latter foundation owed its origin
to Richard Fox, Bishop of \Vinchester, another eminent patron
of education at this period. At Cambridge, Bishop Fisher, the
patron of Erasmus, was proceeding on the same lines; and
through his efforts, the munificence of the Lady Margaret, the
mother of Henry VII., was successively directed to the founda-
tion of Christ's College in 150(i (Vol. II., p. (iS(i), and St. John's
Collee in 1511. At all these new foundations the statutes

given for their observance served not only to encourage the
new studies, but also, by the absence of many restrictions to be
found in the codes of the older societies, to impart a greater
animation and sense of freedom in other respects. At St. John's
College was gathered together a brilliant circle of scholars,
among whom were William Cecil (afterwards Lord Burghley),
Sir John Cheke, and Roger Ascham, who vied with each other
in their enthusiastic pursuit of the study of Greek and in the
energy with which they devoted themselves to the instruction
of the younger students.

Nearly at the same time that he founded Cardinal College
Grammar "

Schools. Wolsey also founded the Grammar School at Ipswich, and
himself drew up a plan of classical instruction distributed
through eight classes, which he designed should serve as a
model for the grammar schools throughout the kingdom. The

O o O

example thus set by Colet and Wolsey was widely followed,
and before the close of Henry's reign some fifty other schools
were founded. Among them were those of the newly founded
sees of Bristol, Chester, Gloucester, Oxford, and Peterborough,
together with those at Canterbury, Grantham, Norwich, Roches-
ter, Stamford, Sutton Coldfield, Wisbech, and Worcester.
Of the already existing foundations, originally designed solely
for the sons of citizens and townsmen, some are to be traced
as far back as the twelfth century Derby having been founded
in 1162, and St. Albans in 1195. From that period down to
the beginning of Henry VIII. 's reign, Carlisle enumerates some
five-and-thirty more among them, Winchester, Hereford, Eton,
The Mercers', Chichester, Lancaster, and Guildford. Not a few
others probably became extinct ; for Roger Bacon asserts that
in his time there w r ere schools in every city, town, and borough,
while in London the number was such as to cause the capital



to bo designated the " Third University." With the fifteenth
century, however, these schools, like the universities, had
rapidly declined, and in 1447 we find four London clergymen
petitioning for permission to found schools in their respective
parishes of Allhallows-the-More ; St. Andrew's, Holborn ; St.
Peter's, Cornhill ; and St. Mary Colechurch. It had also
become the practice of many of the nobility and gentry to send
their sons to be educated at the school of some large monastery
such as Glastonbury, Bury St. Edmunds, and Hyde near
Winchester. Others confided them to the care of some prelate,
distinguished for his virtues and learning ; and Sir Thomas
More himself had been educated in the household of Arch-
bishop Morton.

The dissolution of the monasteries stands in very close The Dis-
connection with the history of education in England. Of the ^a* 1011
effete condition of many of these foundations there appears to Education,
have been a widespread conviction long before the final catas-
trophe took place (Vol. II., p. 630). The school at Ipswich, like
Cardinal College, was endowed with the revenues of a suppressed
priory, and in thus appropriating monastic property Wolsey ap-
pears to have had the sanction of the Roman see. Had it not
been, indeed, for Henry's quarrel with the Pope, it is probable
that a considerable proportion of the monastic revenues might
have been thus transferred without involving so complete a
revolution as that which ultimately resulted. But for a time a
very different tendency seemed likely to prevail, and the greed
of the courtiers, unsatisfied with the spoil of the monasteries,
threatened to engulf the universities and colleges themselves.
Considerable estates were permanently alienated from more
than one foundation, and all found themselves distinctly
menaced. In the year 1545, when Fisher's influence could no
longer be invoked, St. John's College was in great danger.
Fortunately, however, King Henry was induced to examine
for himself the accounts of the society, and thereupon per-
emptorily refused to sanction the proposed spoliation, observ-
ing that " he thought he had not in his realm so many persons
so honestly maintained in living by so little land and rent."
In one respect, indeed, the dispersion of the monastic com-
munities proved directly detrimental to the universities, for
it had been customary for both monasteries and friaries to

777 /; OLD ORDER


tion in

SIMM! their most promising members to Oxford r Cambridge,
there to reside tor several years, keeping tlieir nets in the
schools and attending led HITS : "in order,"' says ;i royal in-
junction, so late as 1535, that "after they were learned in
good and holy letters, they might, when they returned home,
instruct their hrethren and diligently teach the \Vonl of

Simultaneously with the disappearance of the monks and
the friars, the universities witnessed a complete revolution in

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 15 of 68)