- “It is all right, according to Cocker,” meaning that everything has been done in accordance with the present system of figures. The phrase refers to the celebrated writing-master of Charles II.’s time, whose Arithmetic, Dictionary, &c., were long the standard authorities. The Arithmetic was first published in 1677-8, and, though it reached more than sixty editions, is considered a very scarce book. Professor de Morgan says that the main goodness of Cocker’s _Tutor_ consists in his adopting the abbreviated system of division; and suggests that it became a proverbial representative of arithmetic from Murphy’s farce of _The Apprentice_, 1756, in which the strong point of the old merchant, Wingate, is his extreme reverence for Cocker and his arithmetic. A curious fact may here be mentioned in connexion with this saying. It has been stated, and very well proved, that many words popular in Shakspeare’s time, and now obsolete in this country, are still in every-day use in the older English settlements of North America. The original compiler of this work was surprised, when travelling through Western Canada, to find that, instead of the renowned Cocker, the people appealed to another and more learned authority. “According to Gunter,” is a phrase in continual Transatlantic use. This scientific worthy invented the sector in 1606; and in 1623, about the time of the great Puritan exodus to North America, he brought out his famous _Rule of Proportion_. This was popularly known as Gunter’s Proportion, or _Gunter’s Line_, and the term soon became a vulgar standard of appeal in cases of doubt or dispute.
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