The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter, ? To ?, Concerning Teaching Of Spelling
Dating:7 September [1658?]

[left margin, Hartlib's hand:]
Sept 7. [58?]
[scribal hand:]
    Deare Madam!
I have sent you, according to Instructions received from Mr Hartlib 12 Testaments of the Roman print Clasped; the price 14s. I hope both price and print will give content; Some of the booke sellers sell them for 16d per peice. but I had them of a friend; hee saith, if your Ladyship will have any more to send speedily, for they will be at 18d per booke shortly, the impression being almost sold. To adde a mite to the worke, I have sent for the use of poore Children 20 litle bookes, call'd guide bookes. The use of it is as followeth.
1.   It directs a Child to know the true sound of letters, namely of g, with a mark to 'g; and g. without a mark over head g; [left margin: See the guide booke page 9 'g cald jee g cald gea as gat)] so likewise 'c. c, so likewise i. 'J & U. V; which letters have severall sounds, as they are vowels i. u. and as they are consonants thus printed J. V, being plainely knowen by from i. u. vowels; also there is an Essay, to guide Children to know the differing sound of +ch [left margin: +ch. call kee] & ch, they being plainely discerned by the different Character. The first is to bee used from such words, as arise from the Hebrew and Greeke, as Lamech, Chaos, Christ; The other is to bee used in old English words, as +chip, [left margin: + ch: call chee] chin, chiefe &c; also the sound of th & th, & y vowel & y. Consonant; lastly h without a mark at the bottome should have the sound he in hebrew words, as Ionah. [left margin: Psal: 119: h is cald he; which sound is the truest, asperate, & neerer then the sound ach] Something might bee done in relation to s & s, sharp sound & flatt full sound, as his in english words & hîs in Latin, being the ablative case of hic, hæc, hoc.
2   The second thing is, that Children may bee taught to spell by syllables, the first of Saint Iohns Gospell is a guide for them, which Chapter begins page 21, wherin is noted over such words that have 2, 3, 4 syllables, a figure shewing how many syllables the word has, where the said figure stands over head, & is placed over the last letter of the first syllable. [left margin: The figure guides one to know also, how far the end of the first syllable reacheth.]
    The learner is to note all words of one Syllable, they have no figure over them, to shew the Child may spell them wholly from the beginning to the end, (of every such word) without any stop; Also such words as have these following endings of words, being 10, as example ed, er, est, eth, ing, full, all, ous, ness. which endings are seene in page 12 & 19. And where these 10 endings happen in any word, in the Chapter of Iohn, there is no figure: But the Children are to learne the said endings without book, & being so learn't, they may sound the last syllable without spelling; as example.
willed, willer, willest, willeth, willing; there the five last syllables have their five severall endings, & being learn't without booke, a Child will easily apprehend it without figure over it, or a division thus: wil-ed, wil-ed, wil-er., wil-est. wil-eth, wil-ing. So also the 5 last of the 10 [catchword: being]

being readily learnt, will helpe the Master and Schollar very much, as example, wil-full, re-all, plain-ly, grie-vous, wit-nes, pi-ous.
   These endings are very frequent in many English words, and will by Gods blessing forward Children in reading English or Latine, if once Children had but true sounds of letters, to further them. To Conclude, the Schollars help to get more suitable sounds to spell words wherin are 1. g. j, v. the true and proper sound to these letters are shewed in page 9; and for the tryall & experiment of the said severall sounds, you shall finde in divers pages of the guid booke, as in page the 2; there you have Capitall letters with small letters at the bottom; in page the 3, you have syllables for the true sounding the foure foregoing letters: in page the 3: where e. i. y followes the markt. 'c, & e, i. y followe the markt 'g; Also in page the 11, there is another triall to discerne the true sounds betwixt 'c c & 'g g. Lastly in page 14, 15, 16, 17, there you have the true experiment of the true sounds of c. g. in Latine words; paucus & longus; I have above 100 Children I teach in the same which is a great ease to me & them. I teach Children to write the said letters, first upon the blue slate, & then upon paper; & they give the sounds of markt & not markt letters; and wheras some suppose, all bookes must have the same marks to know their sounds, I answere No: for the Master & Children are to observe that the sounded C without a marke, goes alwayes before e, i, y, æ in Latin or English, & the same C sounded kee goes alwayes before a o u oo l. i, as you may see page the 4th