¶The true order and Methode of wryting and reading Hystories, ac­cording to the precepts of Franci­sco Patricio, and Accontio Triden­tino, tvvo Italian writers, no lesse plainly than briefly▪ set forth in our vulgar speach, to the great profite and commoditye of all those that delight in Hystories. By Thomas Blundeuill of Nevv­ton Flotman in Nor­folke.

Anno. 1574. ¶Imprinted at London by VVillyam Seres.


Firmo Appoggio



To the most Noble Erle of Leycester.

KNowynge youre Honor amongst o­ther your good de­lyghtes, to delyght moste in reading of Hystories, the true Image and portrature of Mans lyfe, and that not as many doe, to passe away the tyme, but to gather there­of such iudgement and knowledge as you may therby be the more able, as well to direct your priuate acti­ons, as to giue Counsell lyke a most prudent Counseller in publyke cau­ses, be it matters of warre, or peace: I that haue no other meane to shewe my thankfull mynde towardes your Honor from tyme to tyme, but with yncke and Paper: thought I coulde not wryte of anye thing more plea­sing, or more gratefull, than of those preceptes that belong to the order [Page] of wryting and reading Hystories, which preceptes I partly collected out of the tenne Dialogues of Fran­cisco Patricio, a Methodicall writer of such matter, and partly out of a lit­tle written Treatyse, whych myne olde friende of good memorie, Ac­contio did not many yeares since pre­sent to your Honor in the Italian tongue, of whych my labour and good wyll, I most humbly beseech your Honour to allowe▪ wyth that fauourablle iudgement, which you haue alwayes heretofore vsed to­wards me, and therwith to continue my good Lord vntyll I shall deserue the con­trary.

Most bounde to your Honor, Thomas Blundeuill.

The true order and methode of writing and reading hy­storyes. &c.

AN Hystorye ought to declare the thynges in suche order, as they were done. And bycause e­uery thing hath hys beginning augmentacion, state, declinacion, and ende: The writer ought ther­fore to tell the things, so as therby a man may perceiue and discerne, that which apparteyneth to euery degree, and that, not onely as tou­ching the Countrie or Citie: but also as touching the rule or domi­nion thereof. For the beginning, augmentacion, state, declynacion, [Page] and ende of a Countrie or Citie, and of the empire thereof, be not all one, but diuers things.

Foure things would be dispar­sed thoroughout the history, that is to saye, the trade of lyfe, the publique reuenevves, the force, & the maner of gouernement. By knowing what trade of lyfe, the Countrie or Citie in euery tyme and season hath vsed, we learne howe to haue lyke in like times. Agayne, by knovving the reue­news and what things haue bene done therwith, we come to know vvhat the Countrye or Citie is able to doe. The force consisteth in Souldiours, in the maner, of the militar discipline, in the Na­uies, in Munition, and instru­ments of vvarre. And the vvriter must not forget to shew vvhither [Page] the souldiours be hyred foreners, or home Souldiours, for lacke whereof Polibius hath giuen great cause of woonder vnto thys age, because all Italie at this present, is not able to leauie the tenth part of the number of Souldiours, which the Romans leauied in his tyme, enioy [...]ing all that tyme, neyther Liguria, Lombardie, Romania, nor Marcapianarite And yet as the foresayde Polibius vvryteth, they vvere able to set forth foure score thousande footemen, and three score thousand horsemen. And in their firste vvarres agaynst Car­thage, being only Lords of Italie, they dyd sende a nauie to the sea of three hundred and thirtie great Gallyes, called Quinqueremi, and novv the Turke for all his great­nesse is scant able to sende to the [Page] sea, so many small Gallyes.

The vvriter also muste shevve vvhat kinde of gouernement the Countrye or Citie had in hir be­ginning, augmentation, state, de­clynation, and ende. And whi­ther there vvere any chaunge of gouernemēt, for vvhat cause, and hovve the same vvas done, and vvhat good or euill ensued there­of.

Hystories bee made of deedes done by a publique vveale, or a­gaynst a publique vveale, and such deedes, be eyther deedes of vvarre, of peace, or else of sediti­on and conspiracie. Agayne, eue­ry deede, be it priuate, or publique must needs be done by some per­son, for some occasion, in some­tyme, and place, with meanes & order, and vvith instruments, all [Page] vvhich circumstaunces are not to be forgotten of the vvriter, and specially those that haue accom­panyed and brought the deede to effect Euery deed that man doth, springeth eyther of some out­vvarde cause, as of force, or for­tune, (vvhich properlye ought not to be referred to man:) or else of some invvard cause belonging to man: of vvhich causes there be tvvo, that is, reason and appetite. Of reason springeth counsell and election, in affaires of the lyfe, vvhich not being letted, do cause deedes to ensue. Of appetite doe spryng, passions of the mynde, vvhich also doe cause men to at­tempt enterprises. Agayne, of deeds some haue sometimes such partes as be also deeds, and some­tymes parts that be no deedes. [Page] And bycause that euery deede is done by some person, for some cause, in tyme, and place, vvith meanes and instrumēts: vve vvill therefore suppose that to be al­vvayes true, as vvell in the prin­cipall deede, as in the meane and smallest deedes of all. And as the qualities, offices, and placyng of the members of a mans body, be diuers, and yet tende all to one ende, that is to saye, to the preser­uation of lyfe, and of the vvhole body: euen so all meaner deedes ought to be applyed to the ac­complyshinge of the principall deede. And if there be a principall deede, vnto the vvhich all other inferiour deedes ought to be re­ferred as to their finall ende: there muste needes be also a principall doer, vvhome all other inferiour [Page] doers must obeye. Agayne, if there be a principall dooer, there is also a principall cause, ruling all other inferiour causes, and al­so a principall time, place, meane, and instrument. And as deedes haue outvvardly belonging vnto them all the foresayd circumstan­ces, so invvardly they doe com­prehende three speciall thinges, vvhich doe runne thoroughout all the circumstaunces from the beginning to the ending. And they be these, possibilitie, occasiō, and successe. VVhich things the vvriter must declare, euen as they vvere.

And as touching the dooer, to be knovvne vvhat he is, and to be knovvne as chiefe dooer, is tvvo things, and requireth tvvo maner of proceedings. For vvee learne [Page] vvhat hee is, and vvhat maner of man, by knovving hys name, the name of his family, the coun­trie vvhere hee vvas borne and bredde, and such like things: but he is knovvne as chiefe doer, by his povver, skill, and industrie. For these three things doe bring to effect the possibilitie, occasion, and successe, of the deede. For the povver & ability of the doer, causeth the thing vvhich is pos­sible, to be done in deede. Againe, his skill, causeth him to take oc­casion vvhen it is offered, and to vse the meetest meanes to bring it to passe. Finally, hys industrie & earnest follovving of the mat­ter, bringeth the successe of the deede to perfection.

Povver consisteth chieflye in three things, that is, in riches, in [Page] publique auctoritie, and in pry­uate estimacion.

Skyll also consisteth in bodily force, in the boldnesse of natu­rall courage, in the sodayne mo­tions of affectes, and in the sted­fast habytes of the minde. For let no man thinke to doe anye vvoorthie enterprise, or to bring any notable thing to good effect, vnlesse he be mooued therevnto by all or some of the qualities a­boue sayde, vvhich the vvriter must declare at the full, if he min­deth that others shoulde receyue any good by his vvriting. And as it is not meete that the vvryter fayle in describing the deede, and the doer, togither vvith all those partes vvhereby the deede vvas brought to effect: Euen so it be­hooueth in any vvise that amon­gest [Page] the reast of the chiefest out­vvarde partes, he consider well the cause that mooued the doer to enterprise the deede, & to de­clare the same accordingly. And note here, that by the cause, I meane the ende. For the matter vvheron the doer vvorketh, is the deede of peace, of vvarre, or of sedicion. And the shape or forme thereof, is the meanes and maner of doing, vvhich the doer vseth therein. And the cause efficient is the doer himselfe.

Affections also haue a fynall cause, as the ende of vvrath, is re­uenge: of loue, the fruition of the thing beloued: and of mercy, the ende is helpe and comforte.

Novve as touching the tyme, the vvriter ought to shevve the very moment as vvell of the be­ginning [Page] as of the ending of the deede, to the intent that the rea­der may knovve the continuance of the principall deede, and also of the inferiour deedes. And for the better knovvledge of the op­portunitie of affayres: It shalbe needefull sometyme to note the daies according as they be eyther vvhote, or colde, cleare or clovv­dye, drye or moyste, vvindye or snowye, holy dayes or vvorking dayes, and vvhither it be in the morning, at noonetyde, or in the euening, and likevvise the nights togither vvith the differences of the tymes and seasons thereof, and fynally the very houre. For as the houre importeth much for doing of the deed, so it is very ne­cessary that vve knovv the same.

The place may be eyther gene­rall, [Page] especiall, or particuler, as England, Norfolke, & Norwich.

The meanes be diuers, for eue­rye thing is done eyther secrete­lye, or openly, orderly, or vvith­oute order. And hereto apper­tains all meanes and vvayes, that be vsed in gouerning states, in making lavves, in creating Ma­gistrates, in deliberating, in iud­ging, in appointing places, in pro­uiding victuals, in gathering vp the publike reuenues, and a thou­sande such lyke thynges, of all vvhich things, it behooueth that the vvriter haue consideracion, & vvhen neede is, that he declare the same at large. And in spea­king of conspiracies, he must tell hovv the conspiratours came to­gyther, hovv they got fautours, and hovv they ended their enter­prise, [Page] hovv they vvere chastised, or hovve perhappes they escaped free, and such like. And in mat­ters of vvarre he must shevve in vvhat sort the same vvas made, and hovv the Souldiours vvere leauyed, payd, exercised, and go­uerned, and hovv the hoste vvas ordered in marching through the Countries in being incamped, in skirmuching, in fighting battels, eyther in playne field, or in place strongly trenched, or othervvise fortified, and hovv they passed Mountaynes, Riuers, and Mar­rishes, hovv they conueyed their cariages, artillerie, and munition, all vvhich things, are very neces­sary to be knovvne, for to auoyd all euill happes that may hereaf­ter chaunce in like cases. Of instruments vvhereby mans [Page] lyfe is mayntayned in tyme of peace, yea, and also in tyme of sedition, there be in a maner in­finite kindes: but of such as men vse in tyme of vvarre, there are but foure principall, that is, foote­men, horsemen, armour, and na­uye, all vvhich, according to the diuersitie of tymes and countries are diuersly vsed. For the Mace­donians, Grecians, Persians, and Romaynes, dyd vse these things diuersly in diuers tymes, and dayly as occasion, tyme, and place, required: chaunged the maner of their armour asvvell of­fensyue, as defensyue, and vve doe the like at this present vvher­fore it is necessarye that the vvri­ter declare all such particularities at the full

VVhose lyues ought to be chronicled.

ALl those persons vvhose lyues haue beene such as are to bee follovved for their excellencie in vertue, or else to be fledde for their excellencie in vice, are meete to be chroni­cled. And if they vvere publique personages or gouernours, then they are to be considered in as many diuers vvayes, as there be diuers kindes of gouernement. VVhereof according to Aristotle, there be sixe, that is, a kingdome, a Tyriannye, the rule of many good men, the rule of few, migh­tye in povver: a common welth, and the rule of the base sorte of people, for euery one of these go­uernements hath his excellencie [Page] proper to himselfe, & diuers one from an other.

It is meete that the lyues of Princes should bee chronicled that it may appeare hovv things vvere gouerned vnder euerye kinde of Prince, vvere he good or bad.

To gouernement belong tvvo ciuill vertues, Prudence, and Iu­stice, and tvvo mylitar vertues, that is, prudence, and fortitude. And vvhosoeuer by meanes of the tvvo mylitar vertues hath done any notable actes, good, or euill, is meete to be chronicled: but the tvvo ciuill vertues are o­thervvise to be considered of. For iniustice the contrarie vice to iu­stice if it be open and manifest, it is of small force in ciuill actions, and the greater it is, the lesse po­vver [Page] it hath to hurt. Againe, on the other side, mere iustice with­out prudence and fortitude, doth fevve things vvorthie of memo­rie, but if both the ciuill and my­litar vertues be ioyned togither, they bee of great force, and doe bring to passe vvorks of excellen­cie, & vvorthie of fame and me­morie, and they may be mixt or compounded three manner of vvayes, for eyther they are both in the person of vvhome the hy­storie is made, or else in the go­uernement of the citie or cōmon vvealth, or else the one in the one, and the other in the other. Amongst the ciuill sort are to be reckened Princes and Lordes of states, as Kings and Tirants, and also the Magistrats of common vveales. And as touching the [Page] vvarryours they be of tvvo sorts for eyther they bee home Soul­diours, bredde and borne in the same countrye, or else forryners that serue for hyer.

In vvriting the lyfe of anye man, you ought first to shevv his proper name, the name of his fa­milie, and of vvhat countrye he is, and then to declare his actes and deedes. And vvhatsoeuer en­terprise any man taketh in hand, he doth it being mooued and pro­uoked therevnto, eyther by some outvvarde principle, or by some invvarde principle, if outvvarde, it is eyther by destinie, by force, or by fortune, if invvarde, then it is eyther by nature, by affec­tion, or by choyse and election, and such electiō springeth eyther of nature, or of some passion of [Page] the minde, of custome, or else of the discourse of reason.

The acts vvhich vve doe, being forced by outvvarde occasion, de­serue neyther blame nor prayse, neyther are they to be follovved or fled sith they proceede not of our ovvne courage or covvardly­nesse. And therefore it shall suf­fice to make mention of these, so farre as they may eyther fur­ther or hinder those actions that spring of invvarde causes, vvhich actions are most vvorthye to bee vvritten. I meane those actes vvhich the person of whom you vvrite, dyd himselfe, and not the actes of his Auncetours, or that vvere done parhaps in his tyme, hee deseruing to haue no parte thereof: neyther are all his actes to be vvritten, but those onely [Page] vvhich are notable and may serue to some good example.

And as touching the invvarde causes: I meane here, by nature, that inclynacion vvhich a man hath from his cradle & by affec­tions: I meane certayne liuelye motions, as anger, loue, hatred put in execution. For so they bring foorth actions, eyther by sodain motions vvithout electiō, or else by some passion bred by custome, and growne to hab te. Some agayne doe spring of bare and simple discourse, accompa­nyed neither vvith passion or cu­stome. And some doe spring of discourse accustomed, eyther to vice or vertue. And therefore the vvriter in tellyng the actes and deeds, ought to shew of which of these causes aboue sayde suche [Page] actes proceeded, & specially those that vvere done vvith choyse and election.

And to doe this vvell he ought to consider, that though the dis­course and affectiō from whence the action springeth, proceedeth for the most parte of nature: yet they be somtimes greatly increa­sed and augmented, by other things that are not naturall▪ as by the educatiō and nurture vvhich man hath frō his tender yeres, or by the studies & exercises here­to he is giuen in his ripe age. And these two things do vvorke three effectes. First they do confirme a man in that vvherein hee hath bene trained, exercised & brought vp. Secondly, they frame his af­fections therevnto: And finally they breede by custome suche a [Page] perfect habite in the minde, as being once gotten, is vvorthie eyther of prayse or disprayse.

To bring therefore into a briefe summe those things vvhich are chiefly to bee considered by the vvryter, vvho hath to chronicle any mans life: I saye that they be these. The name of the man, his familie, his parentes, and his Countrye, and also his destinie, fortune, and force or necessitie, (if they seeme manifestly to ap­pertayne to the action) his na­ture, affections, and election, proceeding eyther of vvisedome, passion, or custome, his educa­tion, exercises, deedes, and spea­ches, and also the age, and time, vvherein euery notable acte was done, and the qualities of his bo­dye, vvhither they vvere signes [Page] and tokens of his mynde, or else helps to the actions. And as the vvriter is bounde to shevv the e­ducatiō of the person chronicled, and those exercises, and studyes, vvhereby hee hath formed hys maners: so also he is bounde to tell euery deede, vvorde, signe, or token, that maye signifie eyther his maners, his nature, his affec­tions, thoughts, or any maner of motion of the mynde.

For, sith that the minde is the fountayne and father of all ac­tions, it behooueth vs to knovv that, as perfectly as is possible, to the intēt that in measuring ther­by his deeds, and speaches, both profitable and hurtfull, vve may be able to iudge of their good­nesse or naughtinesse, both by that, vvhich is honest or disho­nest, [Page] profitable, or hurtfull in deede, and also by the apparance thereof.

And sith that to profite others vvee obserue in mans lyfe none other thing but deeds & speaches: It is needefull not onely to con­sider the thinges that go before, vvhich vve haue heretofore re­hearsed: but also those things, vvhich of necessitie doe accom­pany such deeds or speaches, that is to save the doer, the causes, the tyme, the place, the meane, and instrumentes and such lyke, in such sort as, the vvriter in due­lye obseruing these circumstan­ces, may set foorth a true and ly­uelye Image of both lyfe and man, whereof he maketh his hy­storie.

VVhat Profite hysto­ries doe yeelde.

EVery Citie or Countrye standeth vpon three prin­cipall pyonts, vnto one of vvhich all publique actions doe appertaine, that is, peace, sedition, and vvarre, & the first is the ende of the tvvo last▪ in the vvhich ende, the happinesse of our lyfe cōsisteth and the accomplishment of three desires, vvhich we natu­rally haue first to lyue, secondly to lyue contentedly, or blessedly, and thyrdly, to lyue alvvayes in that happinesse, so far as is possi­ble to mans nature, vvhich three things the latt [...]ns doe briefly vt­ter in this sort Esse, benè esse, & semper esse.

And as touching peace, first it [Page] is meete to knovve the vvay vn­to it. And then to follovve that vvaye that vve maye attayne it. And by this vvord peace, I meane not onely that vvhich consisteth in outvvarde actions, but also in­wardly in the mind. For, the out­ward peace (thanks be vnto God, & to our most gracious Queene vvith hir honourable Counsell,) vve do quietly enioy here in En­glande at this present, and haue done manye yeares: But the in­vvarde peace of the heart, and mynde, hovv small it is, God knovveth best.

The vvay to come to that peace vvherof I speake, is partly taught by the Philosophers in generall precepts and rules, but the Histo­riographers doe teache it much more playnlye by perticular ex­amples [Page] and experiences, and spe­ciallye if they be vvritten vvith that order, diligence, and iudge­ment, that they ought to be.

And as the true peace standeth chiefly vppon the contentment of the mindes of the Citizins, as vpon hir proper foundacion: e­uen so that cōtentment is groun­ded vpon the ciuill discipline, e­ducation laws, offices and duties, of euery order and companye in the Citie. And such peace is bro­ken eyther by some invvarde cō ­motion, or else by outvvarde vvarre. If by invvarde sturre: then the cause thereof is some­time the lacke of things necessa­rie for the maintenaunce of lyfe, as of foode, apparell, and habita­cion, or dvvelling, vvherevvith those that are pinched, doe ryse [Page] eyther agaynst they owne Citi­zens, that doe abounde and haue plentie, or else against theyr nei­ghbours, and borderers. And somtime the cause of such sturre may be for that they be not suf­fered to participate of the honors and dignities of the Citie, or cō ­mon vveale. And sometyme they rise for excessiue tributes, & paymēts leauied by the chiefe heads. Agayne, sometime for in­iuries and vvrongs done by one to another, all vvhich occasions being taken avvay, the peace is easilye preserued, vnto vvhiche ende, all good lavves, orders & decrees, ought to tende, so as a man may rightly say, that peace vvholy consisteth in lavves vvell made and vvell kept.

And as for outvvard vvarre to [Page] be offered by the straunger, it is eyther open, or by the waye of treason. The vvaye to be preser­ued from treason, consisteth in hauing good espyall, and true intelligence in vvell revvarding the discouerers of the treason, & in sharpely punishing the Tray­tours.

Open vvarre is eyther made to defende, or to offende, vvhich vvee ought alvvayes to flee, vn­lesse in not beginning it one way, wee shoulde be forced to begin it a nother waye to our disad­uauntage.

Agayne, in open vvarre vve haue to deale eyther vvith those that be stronger, or those that be weaker then our selues, or else that be of equall power & force, to our selues. The weaker we [Page] neede not to feare, nor yet great­lye our equalls, vnlesse some o­ther accidente chaunce. Where­fore we haue chiefelye to with­stande those that are more migh­tie than vve be. Against whome we haue to worke so as eyther they may not assayle vs, or else in assailing vs, that they may not hurte vs. The first is to be done eyther by loue, or by feare: by loue, as when we procure peace, by payeing some trybute, and by acknovvledging their supe­rioritie, in receyuing such im­positions as they vvill laye vpon vs, or by appeasing them vvyth pleasures, vvith guyftes, and re­vvardes, or with graunting traf­fique and trade of marchaundise, by marriage, and such like.

We shall driue them from as­sayling [Page] vs by feare, in preparing or in seeming to haue prepared all thinges necessary as well to offende, as to defende.

Againe if the enimie do assayle vs, he will eyther beate and waste our frontires, or else enter into the mayne lande. Against both vvhich daungers it shal be neede­full to make the frōtires strong, and to fournish them vvell with men, and Munition, so as he shall not be able to enter at all, or at the least in entring he shall haue small assuraunce of him­selfe, leauing his enimies behinde at his backe. And being entered we haue to vvithstande him two vvays, that is, eyther by famine, or by fraude, otherwise called wily pollicie, for by force we can not, hauing all ready presupposed [Page] his force to be greater than ours.

The action of vvarre consisteth in three principall points, that is, in lodging or incamping, in mar­ching, and in fighting.

To incamping do belong foure considerations, that is, that the place be commodious for vvater, for victuall, for safetie, and for health.

In marching vve haue to passe eyther through our ovvne coun­trie, or through a straunge coun­trie, the inhabitants whereof are eyther our friendes, our foes, or suspecte, yea, and sometime per­happes hauing our enimyes at our backes.

Of fighting, there be also three kindes, that is, skirmuching, a pit­ched fielde, or the assaulting of some fortified place, be it campe, [Page] or tovvne: which also are woont to be defended by some, or by all of these three vvayes, that is, ey­ther by nature, by art, or by force of men. And as all other things that haue a beginning haue an ende, so likevvise hath warre. For by one of these foure meanes all vvarres for the most part are en­ded, eyther by victorie, by great ouerthrovve, by accorde and a­greement, or else by pouertye and for lacke of povver & force, chauncing eyther to the one side, or to both, and so at length warre resorteth againe to peace, as to his finall ende.

Novve as touching sedition, it is alvvayes mooued eyther by the inferiour sorte, vvhich seeke to be made equall to their supe­riours, or else by those that being [Page] equall, vvoulde be superiour to the reast: vvhich sedition is to bee suppressed, eyther by fayre meanes, or by fovvle meanes, by gentlenesse, or by sharpnesse, as vvhen the faultours, and first beginners thereof, are sharplye punished, eyther by the Magi­strates according to lavve, or else by the force of the other Citi­zens. Agayne such sedition may be appeased by gentilenesse tvvo maner of vvayes, that is, eyther by the authoritie of some graue personage, that is beloued, and had in admiration amongest the people, or else by graūting them the things vvhich were the cause of their rising.

These be the three generall ac­tions of any Citie, Prince, or common vveale, and be deuided [Page] into many particuler parts, which vve ought diligently to obserue in histories vvith such considera­cion, as vve may learne thereby, hovv one selfe effect springeth of one selfe cause, and hovv the cō ­trarie proceedeth of his contrary. And the like of his like, for the diuersitie of things being a thing infinite, can not be obserued.

Of the dutye and office of hystoriographers, and what or­der and disposition in writing hystories, they ought to vse.

OF those that make anye thyng, some doe make much of nothing, as God dyd in creating the Worlde of naught, and as Poets in some re­spect also doe, vvhilest they faine fables and make thereof theyr [Page] poesies, and poeticall Hystories: some agayne of more doe make lesse, as keruers & grauers of Ima­ges, and other such like artificers, some of little doe make much, & of muche little, as the Oratours vvhylest sometyme they extoll small things, & sometime abase great thinges. And some doe make of so much asmuch, as true Philosophers and Hystoriogra­phers, vvhose office is to tell things as they vvere done vvith­out either augmenting or dimi­nishing them, or svvaruing one iote from the truth. VVhereby it appeareth that the hystoriogra­phers ought not to fayne anye Orations nor any other thing, but truely to reporte euery such speach, and deede, euen as it vvas spoken, or done.

[Page] In hystories things vvoulde be disposed according to their owne proper nature, and therefore sith in euery action there must needs be a dooer, or vvorker, the hysto­rie muste first make mention of hym, and then shevve the cause that mooued him to doe, to what intent and ende, in vvhat place, and vvith vvhat meanes and in­struments. And bycause tyme doth accompany all maner of ac­tions, and euery action hath his proper and peculier tyme, the vvriter must giue to euery action his devve time accordingly.

And if the deede or action be compounded of dyuers partes, vvhich be also actions, the like order is to be obserued in euery such part as ought to be kept in one simple action, and specially [Page] vvhen the parts follovve one af­ter another. But if many actions appertayning as partes to one selfe ende, shalbe done in one selfe tyme, sith it is vnpossible to tell them all at once, they muste needs be tolde one after another. And synce they may be declared eyther broken by peece meale, or else whole togither, it is best to tell them vvhole, noting in euerye one the tyme, vvherein such deede vvas done. For to tell them othervvise vvoulde breede both darcknesse and tediousnesse to the reader.

If many actions are to be vvrit­ten vvhich do belong to one selfe ende, and are some vvay lynked togither one vvith an other, the vvriter ought first to bring one alone to such termes & bounds, [Page] as vvithout feare of causing anye darckenesse or troubling the rea­ders memorie, he may fitly staye there, vntill he hath brought e­uery one of the other actions to the like tearmes, and then begin againe vvith the first, proceeding so orderly from one to an other, vntill he hath made an ende of all. But hauing to tell diuers actes not tending to one self end, then vvho doubteth, but that he ought to tell euery acte entyer as it is, euen from the beginning to the ending. Thus much tou­ching the order of vvriting Hy­stories.

VVhat order and me­thode is to be obserued in reading hystories.

[Page] WHo so is desirous to know hovve hystories are to bee readde, had neede first to knovve the endes and purposes for vvhich they are vvritten. VVhereof though there be di­uers as some to vvinne fame to the vvriter and some to delighte the readers eares that reade only to passe avvay the time and such like: yet in my opinion there are but three chiefe & principall. First that vve may learne there­by to acknovvledge the proui­dence of God, vvherby all things are gouerned and directed. Se­condly, that by the examples of the vvise, vve maye learne vvise­dome vvysely to behaue our sel­ues in all our actions, as vvell priuate as publique, both in time of peace and vvarre.

[Page] Thirdly, that vve maye be stir­red by example of the good to follovve the good, and by exam­ple of the euill to flee the euill.

As touching the prouidence of God, vve haue to note for what causes and by vvhat meanes hee ouerthrovveth one kingdome & setteth vp an other. For though things many times doe succeede according to the discourse of mās reason: yet mans vvisedome is oftentymes greatlye deceyued. And vvith those accedēts which mans vvisedome reiecteth and little regardeth: God by his pro­uidence vseth, vvhen he thinketh good, to vvorke marueylous ef­fects. And though he suffreth the vvicked for the most part to liue in prosperitie▪ and the good in aduersitie: yet vve maye see by [Page] many notable examples, decla­ring asvvell his vvrath, and re­uenge tovvardes the vvicked, as also his pittie and clemencie to­vvardes the good, that nothing is done by chaunce, but all things by his foresight, counsell, and di­uine prouidence.

Humane vvisdome hath three principall partes, the first vvhere­of teacheth vs rightlye to iudge of all thinges, vvhat is to be desi­red, and vvhat is to be fled. The seconde, hovve and by vvhat meanes vve may best attayne to the things which vve desire. The thirde teacheth vs to take occasiō vvhen it is offered and to foresee all peril that may hap. And the first part requireth tvvo conside­racions. First to knovve by the examples of others, vvhyther [Page] those thinges vvhich vve desire and seeme to vs good, be good in deede or not: and secondlye vvhat the obtayning therof vvill cost. For manye tymes those things vvhich seeme good, haue bene cause of great euil, as riches▪ honour, and greatnesse, vvhich euill proceedeth either of the na­ture of the things themselues, or by euill vsing the same, as for ex­ample, by theyr ovvne nature, honour, and greatnesse, causeth enuie. And riches sometyme causeth both enuie, murder, and robberie. Againe, riches by e­uill vsing them, doe cause the ovvner manye times to be dis­daynfull, prowde, arrogant, & to leade a dissolute lyfe, hating all vertuous exercises. Contrary­vvise, those thinges that seeme e­uill [Page] are manye tymes causes of great good, partly by their owne nature, and partly for being vvell employed, and turned to good vse. As pouertie of hir ovvne na­ture maketh a man industrious. Agayne, if a man bee defamed or slaundered by hys foes, hee ta­keth occasion thereby, to cor­rect his ovvne faulte, and so tur­neth theyr slaunder to his great gayne and commoditie. The o­ther consideracion of the fyrst parte of humane vvisedome, is as I sayde before, to consider hovve much the thing vvhich vve de­sire vvill cost. For the cost maye be such as vve vvere better to be vvithout our desire, than to haue it. And therefore in valueing this cost, vvee haue to consider our labour, and traueyle, our ex­penses, [Page] and losse of tyme, also vvhat perilles, displeasures and griefes myght chaunce vnto vs by hauing it, and vvhat commo­dities vve may enioye in being vvithout it. Againe, to vvay the certaintie of the euills vvheron vve venter, and the incertayntie of obtayning the good vvhich vve seeke, vvhich is made mani­fest vnto vs by the examples of many vvhich haue long sought, deare bought, and yet obtayned naught. Moreouer, it shall be needefull to compare the long time of our traueyle, and great charges, vvith the short tyme of enioying the thing vvhich vvee are to obtayne. It importeth al­so not a little to remember that many tymes, things doe seeme vnto vs more precious and more [Page] goodly vvhy lest vve seeke them, than vvhen we haue gotten thē. And in seeking them by vnlavv­full meanes, vvee haue to note what reuenge God is vvoont to take of such doinges, and hovve short a tyme & vvith what trou­ble, hee suffereth vs to enioye them. So cōtraryvvise, vve haue to note vvith hovv small trauell, and vvith hovv little charges, a most great good benefite, is many tymes obtayned. As touching the second part of humane wise­dome, sith some easily, and some hardlye, doe attayne the thing vvhich they seeke. It is needefull in reading Hystories, to obserue vvell euery thing that hath bene done, by vvhom, to vvhat ende, and vvhat meanes vvere vsed for the accomplishment thereof, and [Page] vvhyther suche endes by suche meanes, are alvvayes, or for the most part, or seldome or neuer obtayned, and vvhither all men dyd vse therein lyke meanes or diuers, & if diuers, vvhich tooke effecte, and vvhich did not, and vvhat maner of thinges those be, vvithout the vvhich, the ende cannot be obtayned. And by vvhat accidents the same is hin­dered, and vvhich are vvoont to chaunce often, and vvhich more seldome, also vvhich may be for­seene and vvhich cannot. And of euery meane vve haue to consi­der all the qualities and circum­staunces that make to the pur­pose, & from vvhence euery one sprange, vvhither of industrie or of chaunce. In the obseruing of meanes to attayne the ende, it is [Page] meete to marke vvell the order of those meanes, and hovve they are linked togither, vvhich or­der may proceede three maner of vvaies, that is, eyther in begin­ning vvyth the verye first thing that tendeth to any ende, and so forvvarde from one thing to an other, vntil you come to the last, or else contraryvvise in begin­ning vvith the last meane, next to the ende, and so backevvarde from meane to meane vntill you come to the first, or leauing both these vvaies, you maye take the thirde, which is to deuide all the meanes into their general kinds, and to consider of all the meanes contayned in euery kinde, apart by themselues, of all which three vvayes, lo here the examples in one selfe matter of vvarre, had [Page] vvith some forraine Nation. VVherin if you do first note the establishment of truce, and peace vvith your mightie neighbours, & vvith those that might harme you at home, and then the pro­uision of mony and of armour, the choise of chiefetaines, the lea­uiyng of souldiours, the order of their gouernement in marching, in incamping, and in fighting, and so forth from one meane to an other, euen to the victorie, you shall follovv the first order, but if you begin at the victorie, and cōsider the next causes there­of, as to haue fought vvith more valiauntnesse, or vvyth greater force, or vvith more aduauntage eyther of place, time, or occasion, & then vvhat vvas the cause or causes of that, & vvhereof euery [Page] thing proceeded, returning still backevvard, euen to those things vvhich in the first order vvere first to be considered: you shall obserue the seconde order. But if you examine euery thing by it selfe as the establishing of peace, and cōfirmacion of leagues, and truces with neighbours, the pro­uision of mony, men, & Muni­tion, the order of Marching, in­camping, and fighting, and so all the reast of the meanes reducing euery thing to his generall kind without obseruing vvhat vvas first or last done, (so as you com­prehende in youre diuision no­thing, but those meanes that ap­pertayne to the obtayning of the victorie,) then you shall obserue the thirde order. The first order properly belongeth to him that [Page] laboureth to come to some ende and is meete for the first reading of any Hystorie, sith all thinges are vvoont to be tolde in suche order as they were done. The se­conde order is very necessary to iudge of euerye thing, vvhat is vvell or euill done and to consi­der better aftervvarde of those thinges, vvhich vvere not easye to be well cōsidered of at the first. Also vvhen a thing vvas not to be obtayned by one meane, vvhi­ther it might be obtayned by an other meane or not, and vvhere want is, what meane vvere most mete to supply eche others place. But if so much knovvledge were not to bee gathered oute of that tale, or Hystorie, then to cōsider by vvhat meanes the lyke ende had bene obtayned else vvhere. [Page] VVherby you shall see, that one hath brought a thing to passe by one meane vvhiche an other coulde not doe the like by an o­ther meane.

In vsing this consideration in many like causes & declaratiōs: you shalbe able quicklye to dis­cerne vvhich meanes bee good and vvhich be not, to bring anye thing to passe. The third order is good for him that hath obserued the tvvo first orders, to reduce all things in to a briefe summe, that he may the more easily commit them to memorie, or vvhen he hath, to put any thing in execu­tion as to make diuers prouisiōs, or to distribute to diuers persons diuers charges and offices. But vvho so euer doth consider and examine euerye thing, that is [Page] of any moment or importance by all these three orders aforesayde: cannot choose but reape of his la­bour great benefite. And bycause vve finde manye tymes, that like meanes haue bene vsed to the ob­tayning of like endes, (as vve sup­pose) & yet not vvith like successe, we ought therfore diligently to cō ­sider the diuers natures of thinges, and the differences of tymes, and occasions, and such like accidents, to see if vve can possibly finde out the cause why mens purposes haue taken effect at one time, and not at an other. And by noting all that hath bene sayde, touching the na­ture and propertie of anye thing▪ vve shall learne vvhich accidentes are vvoont to accompanie togither and vvhich not. Thus much tou­ching the first and seconde part of [Page] humaine vvisedome.

Novv to the thirde part, vvherby we are taught not only to note the taking and leauing of all occasions and opportunities, vvhereby anye good hath bene procured: but also all the daungers of euills, that ey­ther in tyme haue beene vvyselye foreseene, and fled: or into vvhich for lacke of foresight, men haue headlong fallen, hauing therein re­garde to euery mannes state, condi­cion, facultie, profession, and o­ther such like circumstaunces, to the intent that vve our selues may learne thereby to doe nothing vn­aduisedly. And as the examples of prosperous successes, vvhich God hath gyuen as iuste revvardes to those, that vvoorke according to vertue: the great good will and loue that all men haue tovvardes [Page] them: their fame, glorie, & praise, sounding in all mens mouthes, and finally their immortalitie in being chronycled for their noble actes, do chiefely serue, to sturre vs, to ver­teous, honest, and commendable doinges: Euen so, nothing is more meete to dravve vs from vice, and dishonest dealing, than the exam­ples of euill successes, vvhich God hath giuen to the vvicked, as pu­nishments for theyr euill deserts: their shame & infamie: the ha­tred & enmitie, that they procure to themselues, not onelye vvhi­lest they lyue, but also after their death: the Infamie which they leaue to their familye, posteritie, & countrie, vvhose secrete wycked deeds, are layde open to the world by vvritten Hystorie, in such sort, as men vvill not for shame once [Page] name those persons, vvhiche in their life time, woulde be honored as Gods. Moreouer, to this thirde part doe appertayne, all the great labours, expenses, and perils, that noble minded men haue sustained, eyther in following that vvhich is good and commendable, or in flee­ing that vvhich is euill, & detesta­ble. And to the intent that in our reading vve omitte nothing vvor­thie to be noted: vve maye not make ouer much haste, but rather reade ley surely and vvith Iudge­ment, that remembring euerye thing meete to be obserued: vvee may fitly applie the same to some good purpose, and make it to serue our tourne, vvhen neede is. And though vve seeke by reading Hy­stories, to make our selues more wyse, asvvell to direct our ovvne [Page] actions, as also to counsell others, to sturre them to vertue, and to vvithdravve them from vice, and to beautyfie our ovvne speache vvith graue examples, vvhen vve discourse of anye matters, that therby it may haue the more auc­thoritie, waight, and credite: yet there is some difference of conside­racion to be had, when by exam­ples wee mynde to profite oure selues, & when vve minde to pro­fite others. For manye tymes a thing of small importaunce, maye eyther quicken, or confirme in our selues a part of vvisedome of great importaunce, but in counselling o­thers (if wee woulde haue our woordes to be of force and effica­cie) vve muste vse those examples that be of waight and importance. And therefore vvhen we finde any [Page] such in our reading, vve must not onely consider of them, but also note them apart by themselues in such order, as we may easily finde them, when soeuer we shall haue neede to vse them. And the order of such examples, would not be al­togither according to the names of the persons, from vvhence they are takē, which order some writers do commonlye vse in the tables of theyr bookes, but rather according to the matters & purposes vvhere­to they serue. Neyther is it suffi­cient in this behalfe, to haue onely common places of vertues and vi­ces, or of thinges commendable, and not commendable, but other places also besydes them, meete to be applyed to euerye one of those partes of obseruacion, vvhiche vvee seeke, vvhich places are to [Page] be founde, ordered, and disposed, not before vvee begin to reade, but whylest wee continue in rea­ding, and in obseruing all kynde of matters euery day vvith better iudgement than other. And by considering vnder what title euery example is to be placed (for the ready finding thereof) vvee shall greatlye helpe our memorie. But novve to conclude, as he that ma­keth these obseruaciōs in reading Hystories, shall reape, in my opi­nion that fruite which is proper, to that kynde of studye, and bee able therby greatly to profite both himselfe, and his commō vvealth: So I can not tell vvhyther I may deryde, or rather pittie the great follie of those vvhich hauing con­sumed all theyr lyfe tyme in hy­stories, doe knovv nothing in the [Page] ende, but the discents, genealoges, and petygrees, of noble men, and vvhen such a King or Emperour raigned, & such lyke stuffe, vvhich knovvledge though it be necessa­rie and meete to be obserued, yet it is not to be cōpared to the knovv­ledge, that is, gotten by such ob­seruacions as vve require, & be of greater importaunce: to the obtay­ning vvhereof, I vvish all rea­ders of Hystories, to em­ploye theyr chiefest studye, care, & diligence.


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