Of Method - Peter Ramus

Book II

Of the method

The method is a disposition by the which
among many propositions of one sort, and
by their disposition known , that thing
which is absolutely most clear is first placed, 
and secondly that which is next: and therefore
it continually proceeds from the 
most general to the special and singular.
By this method we proceed from the an-
tecedent more absolutely known to prove
the consequent, which is not so manifestly 
known: and this is the only method which 
Aristotle did observe.

Cap. XV

Of the ilustration of the method by
examples of arts.

The chief examples of the method are
found in the arts ans sciences: in the which
although the rules be all general, yet they
are distinct by their degrees: for every thing
as it is more general is first placed. The
most general therefore shall be first placed:
the next shall follow there which be imme-
diately contained under the general, every one
orderly unto the most special which shall be
last disposed. The definition therefore as
most general, shall be first placed: next fo-
llows the distribution, which if it may be ma-
nifold and of diverse sorts shall be first divi-
ded  inot his integral parts, next into his
forms and kinds. And every part and form
shall be placed and described in the same
order and place which he had in his division.
It shall be expedient also if the prolixt decla-
ration part them far asunder, to gather
them by a short transition, for that does re-
create and refresh the auditor. But that
the matter may be the more easily under-
stood we must use some familiar example.
If thou will ask (having all t he defini-
tions, divisions, and rules of Grammar
written in diverse tables, and mixed out of all or-
der) what part of Dialectic teaches thee
to dispose orderly these rules to be confunded:
first you have no need of the places of inven-
tion, seeing they be already found out: nei-
ther you have need of the first disposition
of propositions, seeing they are disposed al-
ready: neither of the second disposition, which
is the judgment of the syllogism, seeing all
things which might fall into controversy
is proved and concluded: only the method
does remain. The Logician therefore by
the light of his artificial method, shall
take a part out of this confused mass the
definition (for it is most general) and place
it first of all. As Grammar is an art which
teaches to speak well and congrously. Then
shall he seek out to the said mass the di-
vision of Grammar, and shall dispose the same
in the second place. Grammar is parted into
two parts: etymology and syntax, And
thereafter he shall find out the definition of
Etymology, to the which he shall give the
third place. Then he shall seek out the
part of etymology and first the most
general as letters, next syllabes and words.
Having the parts, he must seek out the for-
ms: as words having number, and without
number. And last he shall knit and join (?)
together with short and apt transitions the
and of every declaration with the beginning
of the next. And so having defined, divided
and knit together the parts of the Etymo-
logy, he shall make everything more ma-
nifest and plain with most fit and special
examples. And after the same order he shall
entreat the syntax. This is a general  me-
thod observed in all arts.

Cap. XVI

Of the illustration of the method by examples of Poets, Orators, and Historiographers.

We do not only use this method in the
declaration of arts and sciences, but
in the expounding of all things which we
would plainly set forth. And therefore
the poets, orators and all sort of writers
oft soever they purpose to teach their
auditor, do always follow this order of method,
although they do not everywhere insist
therein. Virgil in his Geogics parted his
matter as we have said in four parts: and
in the first book he intreats of common and
general things, as of Astrologie, and
things engendered in the air, and of cornes(?)
and there manuring (?), which is the first part
of his work. Then he uses a little transition
in the beginning of the second book:

This much is spoke of terres and husbanding;
Now will I thee Baccus begin to sing.
Next he writes generally of trees, then
specially of vines: the second transition
is put in the third part, but more
imperfect and without the conclusion o fthe third
book, of oxen, horses, sheep, and dogs:
Eke thee great pales the goddess of pasture
And the Apollo of sheep the governor
At Amphylus with praises I will sing
And last the third transitio of the fourth part
is put in the beginning of the fourth book:
Now by and by with song I will you show
The plandish (?) giftes of honey made of dew
Here therefore we may see that the poet
has studied to place the most general in
the first place, and the next general in the
midst, and the most speciall last of all. So
does Ovid in his Fasti first propose the
somme (?) of his work, and shortly after part
the same: and last having declared the parts
knits them together with short
transitions: the Orators also in their poemes,
narratives, confirmations, and perorations
labour to observe this order which
they call the method artificial and natural.
Here Cicero first proposes the matter and
next parts it: Thou hast been this fourteen
years questor (sayeth he)  Cn. Papyrius being
consul and I accuse thee of all things which thou
hast done from that day to this day: there shall
not be one hour found void of thy theft, 
malitious doing, cruelty, and mischief. Here is
somme (?): now follows rge general
partition. All the years (sayeth he) are spent
either in the office of the questure: in the 
ambassade made in Asia: in the office of the 
preture among the Sicilians. And therefore
into these fewer part my whole accusation 
shall be parted. Of the which fewer parts,
and the least memener of ebery part he
entreats afterwards, every pne in his own
order and place. And in the third oration
knits together the first three parts
with transitions: Now (sayeth he) seeing I
have shown his office iof questure and first dignity 
to be full of theft and mischievous doing, I pray
you gene (?) care of the rest. the after he had
shown the faults of the Ambassade,
follows the transition to teh office of the preture
But now let us come (sayeth he) to that
worthy preturie and to ythsose fauktes, which he 
more manifest to those that be here present, that 
to me although I have studied and prepared
myself to declare the same. This transition is
more imperfect lacking and epilogue. And
last in the beginning of the fourth oration he
makes such a transition to the fourth part
which is of the preturie among the Sicilians
There is many things (honorable Judges)
which of necessity I most pretermit to thede (?) I
may speak a little of these things commited 
to my charge. For I have taken upon me the
cause of Sicilia, that charge has pulled me to 
 this business. So Livy in teh beginning
comprehend the sum of seventy years,
and thereafter divides the same by decades.

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