John Kersey extends Wingate's Arithmetick

This Preface by John Kersey, probably first in the 1673 edition of Arithmetique made easie (which we have not found), is certainly in later editions such as Mr Wingate's Arithmetick (1883).

The Preface of John Kersey.

About the year 1629, our learned country-man, Edmund Wingate, Esquire, published a treatise of Arithmetic, divided into two Books, the one entitled Natural Arithmetic, the other Artificial Arithmetic; and in regard his principal design in that treatise was, to remove the difficulties which ordinarily arise in the practice of Common Arithmetic, by the help of artificial or borrowed numbers, called Logarithms (whose proper work is to perform Multiplication by Addition; Division by Subtraction, etc.) he did then in his said first book omit divers pieces of Common or Practical Arithmetic, which for the perfect and universal understanding of it, were necessary to be inferred: but, after the first impression of both those books was spent, our Author being importuned to take care of the Second Edition, he promised his assistance therein; yet his other necessary employments not permitting him to pursue the said purpose, he was pleased to impart his thoughts concerning the same to me, together with his request, that I would pursue the said First Book, and supply it with such pieces of practical arithmetic, as for the reasons aforesaid were wanting in the First Edition.

In pursuance of this request, I have contributed my talent towards perfecting the said treatise, upon our Author's foundation; partly in his life-time, to his good liking, and partly since his decease, in several editions committed to my care to be prepared for the Press; wherein I have used my best endeavours, as well to preserve this book as a monument of our said Author's worth, as also to make it a complete store-house of common arithmetic; from whence the ingenious may be furnished with the excellencies of that Art, in reference both to Common Affairs, as also to the practical parts of the mathematics. And in order to those ends, I have made these following alterations and additions; namely

First, for the ease and benefit of those learners, that desire only so much skill in arithmetic, as is useful in Accounts, trade, and such like ordinary employments; the doctrine of whole numbers (which, in the first edition, was intermingled with definitions and rules concerning broken numbers, commonly called fractions), is now entirely handled apart. And to the end the full knowledge of practical arithmetic in whole numbers might more clearly appear, I have explained divers of the old rules in the first five chapters, and framed anew the rules of division, reduction, and the golden rule, in the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Chapters; so that now arithmetic in whole numbers is plainly and fully handled before any entrance is made into the craggy paths of fractions, at the sight of which some learners are so discouraged, that they make a stand, and cry out, Non plus ultra, There's no progress farther.

Secondly, to assist such young students as would lay a good foundation for attaining of a general knowledge in the mathematics, I have in a familiar method delivered the entire doctrine of fractions, both vulgar and decimal, which was omitted in the First Edition; and have also newly framed the extraction of the square and cube roots, in a method which by experience is found to be much easier than that commonly used heretofore, and is exactly suitable to the construction or composition of square and cube numbers.

Lastly, I have added an Appendix, furnished with variety of choice and delightful knowledge in numbers, both practical and theoretical. In all which performances, I have earnestly aimed at truth, perspicuity, and exact correction, both of the text and numbers; so that I hope this book is now supplied with all things necessary to the full knowledge and practice of common arithmetic, the usefulness whereof is so generally known, that there will be no need of arguments to excite any one that is desirous of his own or the public good, to be acquainted with so excellent an Art.

But if the more curious artist, after he is well exercised in vulgar arithmetic, desires farther inspection into the mysteries of numbers, his best guide is the admirable Art called Algebra; the elements of which I have explained at large in a treatise lately published.

Last Updated September 2023