NOTES AND QUERIES. [8* s. XL FEB. a, WPS
Kildare, gent Rose Fitzgerald died in November, 1762, and her husband m 1802.
Another account I have mentions a Mr. Lacy who married a daughter of John Baggot, of Nurney, co. Kildare, and had issue a son. John Lacy, counsellor-at-law, of Ratn- h, but I do not know if he is identical
with the above-mentioned Counsellor Lacy.
I should be glad if any one could give me further particulars regarding Counsellor Lacy and his family, and tell me whether he was actually a relative of the Austrian General Lacy. FITZGERALD.
THE PAUCITY OF BOOKS IN ELIZA- BETHAN TIMES : SHAKESPEARE ABROAD
(9 th S. xi. 44.)
Z., IN his most interesting article on this subject, maintains that, from an examination of letters of the Elizabethan age, the pro- vincials of that time were not so ignorant, so far as English composition is concerned, as Halliwell-Phillipps and others have made them out to be, and that these letters show "no particular trace of dialect." This may be so in the case of men of the better classes, who were educated by parents who had them- selves been educated, or by tutors employed for the purpose. So far as English was con- cerned, the masses drew nothing in those days out of the country grammar schools, in which English did not form part of the curriculum. The letters referred to by Z. are apparently those of the former of these two classes, to which Francis Bacon belonged, who for his education was mainly indebted to the watchful eyes of his father, Elizabeth's Lord Keeper, Edward VI. 's tutor, and "eminent in the whole circle of arts and learning," and to his mother, Lady Ann, governess to the boy king, and a woman who early won repute for learning, read and spoke fluently Latin, Greek, Italian, and French "as her native tongue," and translated Jewel's 'Apologie' from the Latin. In the latter class may be included William Shakspere, whose father and whose mother could not write their names, according to the Stratford records, [f '/A. will consult the town registers of the Elizabethan age, he will find how lament able was the ignorance of even the middle
question if education were not more generally spread in Queen Mary's time than it was in that of George II." Perhaps. But Shake- speare did not live in " Mary's time."
Roger Aschara, Queen Elizabeth's tutor, had no high idea of the country schools when he wrote :
" It is pitie that commonly more care is had, yea, and that among verie wise men, to find out rather a cunnynge man for their horse, than a cunnynge
man for their children the master mostly being
as ignorant as the child, what to say properly and
fitly to the matter."
And Dr. Johnson says that in the time of
Shakespeare the masses were "gross and
dark," and that
"to be able to read and write, outside of
professed scholars, or men and women of high
rank, was an accomplishment still valued tor
What writing was necessary for such people
letters, accounts, &c. was done by the
professional scriveners. Had the lower
classes been able to write, the dialect they
spoke would have appeared in their letters.
Those who did write, having been taught
English, wrote English, not ' k dialect." This
seems to me a feasible explanation of Z. s
It is of the " talk," not the " writing," of the " squirearchy " of which Macaulay speaks when he says, " Country gentlemen spoke the dialect of clowns," and Richard Grant White, the Shakespearian scholar, takes up the same position when he maintains :
" Members of Parliament could not understand each other's rustic patois. Even the soldiers in Elizabeth's army could not comprehend the word of command, unless given by officers of their own county or shire town."
And so with Shakspere, surely. In spite of his Warwickshire dialect, and without an education in English but with a vocabulary of 15,000 words he leaves Stratford, some say bearing in his pocket the manuscript of ' Venus and Adonis/ the most elegant, clas- sical, and polished verses ever written, with- out a trace of Warwickshire dialect. If the uneducated Shakspere could accomplish this, we can scarcely deny the possession of similar ability to Z.'s "educated squirearchy."
Z. also takes Halliwell - Phillipps to task for his statement that Stratford was almost destitute of books, maintaining, from the number of works published in London, that
classes, among them men who held municipal many of them must have reached the pro- offices. Of nineteen aldermen and burgesses vinces. But in those days the editions of in Stratford alone, but six could write their such works were undoubtedly small, and names in a document facsimiled by Halli- . would be almost entirely swallowed up by well-Phillipps in his 'Outlines,' i. p. 40. Z. ' London purchasers. A proof of this is the maintains that 'it would seem an open rarity of Elizabethan books and the prices