The chief reason probably for the existing prejudice against technical systems of composition, is to be found in the cramped, meagre, and feeble character of most of such essays, &c. as are avowedly composed according to the rules of any such system. It should be remembered, however, in the first place, that these are almost invariably the productions of learners; it being usual for those who have attained proficiency, either to write without thinking of any rules, or to be desirous (as has been said), and, by their increased expertness, able, to conceal their employment of art. Now it is not fair to judge the value of any system of rules,–those of a drawing master for instance,–from the first awkward sketches of tyros in the art.
Richard Whately (1787-1863), Elements of Rhetoric.
And the teachers of first-year composition applauded.