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the hoole yere ” and “Haunsmen ande Yong Gentlemen at thir Fryndes fynding v[j] (As to say, Hanshmen iij. And Yong Gentlemen iij” p. 254,) no doubt for the purpose of learning manners, &c. And that such youths would be found in the house of every noble of importance I believe, for as Walter Mapes ( ab. 1160-90 A.D.) says of the great nobles, in his poem De diversis ordinibus hominum, the example of manners goes out from their houses, Exemplar morum domibus procedit corum.
That these houses were in some instances only the finishing schools for our well-born young men after previous teaching at home and at College is possible (though the cases of Sir Thomas More and Ascham are exactly the other way), but the Lord Percy last named had a schoolmaster in his house, “ The Maister of Graimer j”, p. 254; “Lyverays for the Maister of Gramer ' in Housholde: Item Half a Loof of Houshold Breide, a Pottell of Beere, and two White Lyghts,” p. 97. “Every Scolemaister techyng Grammer in the Hous C 8.” (p. 47, 51). Edward IV.'s henxmen were taught grammar; and if the Pastons are to be taken as a type of their class, our nobles and gentry at the end of the 15th century must have been able to read and write freely. Chaucer's Squire could write, and though the custom of sealing deeds and not signing them prevailed, more or less, till Henry VIII.'s time, it is doubtful whether this implied inability of the sealers to write. Mr Chappell says that in Henry VIII.'s time half our nobility were then writing ballads. Still, the bad spelling and grammar of most of the letters up to that period, and the general ignorance of our upper classes were, says Professor Brewer, the reason why the whole government of the country was in the hands of ecclesiastics. Even in Henry the Eighth's
Item, Gentillmen in Housholde ix, Viz. ij Carvers for my Loords Boorde, and a Servant bitwixt theym both, except thai be at their frendis fyndyng, and than ather of theym to have a Servant.—Two Sewars for my Lordis Boorde, and a Servant bitwixt theym, except they be at their Friendis fyndynge, and than ather of theym to bave a Servant.-ij Cupberers for my Lorde and my Lady, and a Servant allowed bitwixt theym, except they be at their Frendis fyndynge, And than ather of theym to have a Servant allowid.
Under the next heading “My Lordis Fansmen at the fyndynge of my Lorde, and Yonge Gentyllmen at there Frendys fyndynge,” is
Item, my Lordis Hansmen iij. Yonge Gentyllmen in Houshold at their Frendis fyndynge ij=v.
Grammar usually means Latin. T. Wright.
time, Sir Thomas Boleyn is said to have been the only noble at Court who could speak French with any degree of fluency, and so was learned enough to be sent on an embassy abroad. But this may be questioned. Yet Wolsey, speaking to his Lord Chamberlain and Comptroller when they
“ showed him that it seemed to them there should be some noblemen and strangers (Henry VIII. and his courtiers masked) arrived at his bridge, as ambassadors from some foreign prince. With that, quoth the Cardinal, 'I shall desire you, because ye can speak French, to take the pains to go down into the hall to encounter and to receive them, according to their estates, and to conduct them into this chamber' (Cavendish, p. 51). Then spake my Lord Chamberlain unto them in French, declaring my Lord Cardinal's mind (p. 53)." The general' opinion of our gentry as to the study of Letters, before and about 1500 A.D., is probably well represented by the opinion of one of them stated by Pace, in his Prefatory Letter to Colet, prefixed to the former's De Fructu”.
1 The exceptions must have been many and marked.
2 Richardi Pacei, invictissimi Regis Angliæ primarii Secretarië, eiusque apud Elvetios Oratoris, De Fructu qui ex Doctrine percipitur, Liber.
Colophon. Basileae apud Io. Frobenium, mense vir.bri. an. M.D.XVII.
Restat ut iam tibi explicem, quid me moueat ad libellum hoc titulo conscribendum et publicandum. Quum duobus annis plus minus iam præteritis, ex Romana urbe in patriam redijssem, inter-fui cuidam conuiuio multis incognitus. Vbi quum satis fuisset potatum, unus, nescio quis, ex conuiuis, non imprudens, ut ex uerbis uultuque conijcere licuit, cæpit mentionem facere de liberis suis bene instituendis. Et primum omnium, bonum præceptorem illis sibi quærendum, & scholam omnino frequentandam censuit. Aderat forte unus ex his, quos nos generosos uocamus, & qui semper cornu aliquod a tergo pendens gestant, acsi etiam inter prandendum uenarentur. Is audita literarum laude, percitus repentina ira, furibundus prorupit in hæc uerba. Quid nugaris, inquit, amice ? abeant in malam rem istæ stultæ literæ, omnes docti sunt mendici, etiam Erasmus ille doctissimus (ut audio) pauper est, & in quadam sua epistola vocat tnv katápatov
uxorem suam, id est, execrandam paupertatem, & uehementer conqueritur se son posse illam humeris suis usque in Baduritea Tóvrov, id est, profundum mare excutere. (Corpus dei iuro) uolo filius meus pendeat potius, quam literis studeat. Decet enim generosorum filios, apte inflare cornu, perite uenari, accipitrem pulchre gestare & educare. Studia uero literarum, rusticorum filiis sunt relinquenda. Hic ego cohibere me non potui, quin aliquid homini loquacissimo, in defensionem bonarum literarum, responderem. Non uideris, inquam, mihi bone uir recte sentire, nam si ueniret ad regem aliquis uir exterus, quales sunt principum oratores, & ei dandum esset responsum, filius tuus sic ut tu uis, institutus, inflaret duntaxat cornu, & rusticorum filij docti, ad respondendum uocarentur, ac filio tuo uenatori uel aucupi longe anteponerentur, & sua erudita
It remains that I now explain to you what moves me to compile and publish a treatise with this title. When, two years ago, more or less, I had returned to my native land from the city of Rome, I was present at a certain feast, a stranger to many; where, when enough bad been drunk, one or other of the guests—no fool, as one might infer from his words and countenance—began to talk of educating his children well. And, first of all, he thought that he must search out a good teacher for them, and that they should at any rate attend school. There happened to be present one of those whom we call gentle-men (generosos), and who always carry some horn hanging at their backs, as though they would hunt during dinner. He, hearing letters praised, roused with sudden anger, burst out furiously with these words. Why do you talk nonsense, friend ?” he said ; “A curse on those stupid letters ! all learned men are beggars : even Erasmus, the most learned of all, is a beggar (as I hear), and in a certain letter of his calls rhv karápatov nevíay (that is, execrable poverty) his wife, and vehemently complains that he cannot shake her off his shoulders right into Badukutea móvrov, that is, into the deep sea. I swear by God's body I'd rather that my son should hang than study letters. For it becomes the sons of gentlemen to blow the horn nicely (apte), to hunt skilfully, and elegantly carry and train a hawk. But the study of letters should be left to the sons of rustics." At this point I could not restrain myself from answering something to this most talkative man, in defence of good letters. “You do not seem to me, good man,” I said, “ to think rightly. For if any foreigner were to come to the king, such as the ambassadors (oratores) of princes are, and an answer had to be given to him, your son, if he were educated as you wish, could only blow his horn, and the learned sons of rustics would be called to answer, and would be far preferred to your hunter or fowler son ; and they, enjoying their learned liberty, would say to your face, 'We prefer to be learned, and, thanks to our learning, no fools, than boast of our fool-like nobility.'” Then he upon this, looking round, said, "Who is this person that is talking like this? I don't know the fellow.” And when some one whispered in his ear who I was, he muttered something or other in a low voice to himself; and finding a fool to listen to him, he then caught hold of a cup of wine. And when he
usi libertate, tibi in faciem dicerent, Nos malumus docti esse, & per doctrinam non imprudentes, quam stulta gloriari nobilitate
. Tum ille hincinde circumspiciens, Quis est iste, inquit
, qui hæc loquitur ? bominem non cognosco. Et quum diceretur in aurem ei quisnam essem, nescio quid submissa uoce sibimet susurrans, & stulto usas auditore, illico arripuit uini poculum. Et quum nihil haberet respon. dendum, cæpit bibere
, & in alia sermonem transferre. Et sic me liberauit, non Apollo, ut Horatium diutius longe duraturam uehementer timebam.
garrulo, sed Bacchus a uesani bominis disputatione, quam
Professor Brewer gives
me the reference,
could get nothing to answer, he began to drink, and change the conversation to other things. And thus I was freed from the disputing of this mad fellow,—which I was dreadfully afraid would have lasted a long time,—not by Apollo, like Horace was from his babbler, but by Bacchus.
On the general subject it should be noted that Fleta mentions nothing about boarders or apprentices in his account of household economy ; nor does the Liber Contrarotulatoris Garderobe Edw. Imi mention any young noblemen as part of the King's household. That among tradesmen in later times, putting out their children in other houses, and apprenticeships, were the rule, we know from many statements and allusions in our literature, and “ The Italian Relation of England” (temp. Hen. VII.) mentions that the Duke of Suffolk was boarded out to a rich old widow, who persuaded him to marry her (p. 27). It also says
The want of affection in the English is strongly manifested towards their children ; for after having kept them at home till they arrive at the age of 7 or 9 years at the utmost, they put them out, both males and females, to hard service in the houses of other people, binding them generally for another 7 or 9 years. And these are called apprentices, and during that time they perform all the most menial offices ; and few are born who are exempted from this fate, for every one, however rich he may be, sends away his children into the houses of others, whilst he, in return, receives those of strangers into his own. And on inquiring their reason for this severity, they answered that they did it in order that their children might learn better manners. But I, for my part, believe that they do it because they like to enjoy all their comforts themselves, and that they are better served by strangers than they would be by their own children. Besides which, the English being great epicures, and very avaricious by nature, indulge in the most delicate fare themselves and give their household the coarsest bread, and beer, and cold meat baked on Sunday for the week, which, however, they allow them in great abundance. That if they had their own children at home, they would be obliged to give them the same food they made use of for themselves. That if the English sent their children away from home to learn virtue and good manners, and took them back again when their apprenticeship was over, they might, perhaps, be excused ; but they never return, for the girls are settled by their patrons, and the boys make the best marriages they can, and, assisted by their patrons, not by their fathers, they also open a house and strive diligently by this means to make some fortune for themselves ; whence it proceeds that, having no hope of their paternal inheritance, that all become so
greedy of gain that they feel no shame in asking, almost " for the love of God," for the smallest sums of money; and to this it may
be attributed, that there is no injury that can be committed against the lower orders of the English, that may not be atoned for by money.A Relation of the Island of England (Camden Society, 1847), pp. 21-6.
“This evidently refers to tradesmen." The note by the Editor? however says it was the case with the children of the first nobility, and gives the terms for the Duke of Buckingham's children with Mrs Hexstall. The document only shows that Mrs Hexstall boarded them by contract during the time of absence of my Lord and my Ladie.""
The Earl of Essex says in a letter to Lord Burleigh, 1576, printed in Murdin's State Papers, p. 301-2.
“Neverthelesse, uppon the assured Confidence, that your love to me shall dissend to my Childrenne, and that your Lordship will declare yourself a Frend to me, both alive and dead, I have willed Mr Waterhouse to shew unto you how you may with Honor and Equity do good to my Sonne Hereford, and how to bind him with perpetual Frendship to you and your House. And to the Ende I wold have his Love towardes those which are dissended from you spring up and increase with his Yeares, I have wished his Education to be in your Household, though the same had not bene allotted to your Lordship as Master of the Wardes; and that the whole Tyme, which he shold spend in England in his Minority, might be devided in Attendance uppon my Lord Chamberlayne and you, to the End, that as he might frame himself to the Example of my Lord of Sussex in all the Actions of his Life, tending either to the Warres, or to the Institution of a Nobleman, so that he might also reverence your Lordship for your Wisdome and Gravyty, and lay up your Counsells and Advises in the Treasory of his Hart.”
That girls, as well as boys, were sent out to noblemen's houses for their education, is evident from Margaret Paston's letter of the 3rd of April, 1469, to Sir John Paston, “ Also I would ye should purvey for your sister [? Margery] to be with my Lady of Oxford, or with my Lady of Bedford, or in some other worshipful place whereas ye think best, and I will help to her finding, for we be either of us weary of other." Alice Crane's Letter, in the Paston Letters, v. i. p.
As to agricultural labourers and their children A.D. 1388-1406, see below, p. xlvi. * Readers will find it advisable to verify for themselves some of the statements
in this Editor's notes, &c.