ALL THE parts of Syntaxe have already beene declared. There resteth one generall affection of the whole, disposed thorow every member thereof, as the bloud is thorow the body; and consisteth in the breathing, when we pronounce any Sentence; For, whereas our breath is by nature so short, that we cannot continue without a stay to speake long together; it was thought necessarie, as well for the speakers ease, as for the plainer deliverance of the things spoken, to invent this meanes, whereby men, pausing a pretty while, the whole speech might never the worse be understood.
The English Grammar made by Ben Jonson, written
ca. 1617, published in 1640
POINTS, serving for the better Understanding of Words, are either Primary, or Secundary.
Primary Points, which shew their Tone, Sound and Pauses, are eight: four simple and more common; Period, [.] Colon, [:] Semicolon, [ ;] Comma, [,] and four mixt and less frequent...........
The mixt Points, are Erotesis [?] Ecphonesis; [!] Parenthesis, () Parathesis: [ ] which have always some simple Point, exprest or understood, in them...........................................
Secundary Points, now shewing Tone, Sound, or Pause, are four: Apostrophus, ['] Eclipsis, [-] or [--] Dieresis, [. .] and Hyphen, [-] or [″].
CHARLES BUTLER, The English Grammar, 1633
Great care ought to be had in writing, for the due observing of points: for, the neglect thereof will pervert the sence.
RICHARD HODGES, The English Primrose, 1644