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Of the Orthographie and Congruitie of the Britan Tongue A Treates, noe shorter than necessarie, for the Schooles   By:

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{Transcriber's Note:

All material in parentheses () or square brackets [], including the ( sic ) notations, is from the 1865 original. Material added by the transcriber is in braces {}. Greek words have been transliterated and shown between symbols. Single Greek letters are identified by name: eta , alpha . "i" represents upside down i (used in I.3.6). {gh} represents yogh (used in I.4.10). Irregularities in chapter numbering are explained at the end of the editor's Notes.}




A Treates, noe shorter then necessarie,

for the Schooles,



Edited from the Original MS. in the British Museum, by HENRY B. WHEATLEY.

LONDON: Published for the Early English Text Society, by Trübner & Co., 60, Paternoster Row. MDCCCLXV.

HERTFORD: Printed by Stephen Austin.


The following Tract is now printed for the first time from the original Manuscript in the old Royal Collection in the Library of the British Museum (Bibl. Reg. 17 A. xi). It is written on paper, and consists of forty five leaves, the size of the pages being 5 3/4 in. by 3 3/4 in. The dedication, the titles, and the last two lines, are written with a different coloured ink from that employed in the body of the MS., and appear to be in a different handwriting. It is probable that the tract was copied for the author, but that he himself wrote the dedication to the King.

The Manuscript is undated, and we have no means of ascertaining the exact time when it was written; but from a passage in the dedication to James I. of England, it is fair to infer that it was written shortly after the visit of that monarch to Scotland, subsequent to his accession to the throne of the southern kingdom, that is, in the year 1617. This would make it contemporaneous with Ben Jonson's researches on the English Grammar; for we find, in 1629, James Howell (Letters, Sec. V. 27) writing to Jonson that he had procured Davies' Welch Grammar for him, "to add to those many you have." The grammar that Jonson had prepared for the press was destroyed in the conflagration of his study; so that the posthumous work we now possess consists merely of materials, which were printed for the first time in 1640, three years after the author's death.

The Dedication of this Tract is merely signed Alexander Hume , and contains no other clue to the authorship. Curiously enough there were four Alexander Humes living about the same time, and three of them were educated at St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's; only two, however, became authors, the first of whom was Minister of Logie, and wrote Hymnes or Sacred Songes . There can be little doubt, however, that the present grammar was written by the Alexander Hume who was at one time Head Master of the High School, Edinburgh, and author of Grammatica Nova .

From Dr. Steven's History of the High School, Edinburgh, and from M'Crie's Life of Melville, I have been enabled to extract and put together the following scanty particulars of our author's life: The time and place both of his birth and of his death are alike unknown; but he himself, on the title of one of his works, tells us that he was distantly connected with the ancient and noble family of Home, in the county of Berwick. He was educated at the school of Dunbar, under the celebrated Andrew Simson, and in due time was enrolled a student in St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's, and then took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1574. He came to England, and was incorporated at Oxford January 26, 1580 81, as "M. of A. of St. Andrew's, in Scotland."[1] He spent sixteen years in England, partly engaged in studying and partly in teaching. During the latter part of this term he was a schoolmaster at Bath, as appears from Dr. Hill's answer to him, published in 1592; and the fact of his residence in this city is corroborated at page 18 of the present treatise... Continue reading book >>

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