Obrázky na stránke

ing to have these scenes actually the memory revive, the associated take place : and, in addition to this, thought. exhibit the emotion of love strongly Our fellow-students need a few in his own countenance, and the adjectives to add to their nomenislander at once comprehends him; clature ; such as high and low, hard and thus a new word, and a new sym- and soft, long and short, round and bolical sign are settled for future square, bold and cowardly, alive use. By similar processes of de- and dead. They are quickly learned, scription, be may speedily add the for the various objects to which names of all the passions and emo. these epithets belong can easily tions of his vocabulary. He ad- be presented to the imagination by vances to the operation of the in- signs, and also the qualities which tellect, and what an herculean task are denoted by the above-menis before him. By what process tioned terms; and all this is done shall he present to the observation while our missionary and his friend of the islander, such operations of are calmly reposing beneath their the mind, as to think, to remember, bread-fruit tree. to forget, to understand, to con- . And now pronouns must be template, to imagine. He sees at learned, and the cases of nouns, a distance a man building his hut; and the comparison of adjectives, the man finds a difficulty in the and the moods and tenses of verbs. construction of the door, he stops " I give you a'fish," says the misand assumes the attitude of thought; sionary: "“ what is that in your the moment is a happy one, and language?" He speaks an unknown the missionary inquires by what tongue ; but he makes the sign term that visible exhibition of the for a fish: he points to himself as internal working of the mind is possessing it, he hands it to his denoted, and receives a satisfactory companion, and signifies that he reply. But this illustrative example will not take it back, that it is to might not have occurred for hours, belong to his companion. He is or even days. By the language of immediately furnished with the apsigns, however, he can pourtray this propriate phrase. He multiplies very example, and a hundred others such examples, and he soon has equally pertinent, and thus, on the a little stock of phrases, by the spot, acquire the new word which comparing of which together he he seeks.

begins to elicit the structure and He rises from the ground; he idioms of the language. Were he describes by signs the setting of not to pursue this course, he must the sun, and the appearing of the wait day after day till the suitable stars covering the whole concave occasions occur, illustrative of the of the sky: he puts himself in the phrases, the import of which he attitude of contemplation; his eye seeks. “ How many tenses have leisurely surveys the immense as- your verbs ? " The question is semblage of the heavenly hosts, useless. He must allude to some his countenance exhibits the oper- known past, and some anticipated ation of his soul. The islander who future event, in order to obtain has already caught with enthu- knowledge on this point ; and what siastic ardour this new and fasci- carefulness is necessary, if he denating language, immediately utters, pends on the common occurrences in his own tongue, the word which of life, as they transpire during denotes “ to contemplate." Still his intercourse with the natives, in the eye claims the honour of being order to acquire an accurate knowthe teacher ; the ear serves only ledge of this very difficult part of the humble purpose of furnishing all languages ! But if he has well an arbitrary name, by which the settled, by appropriate signs, the imagination may again form, and diurnal motion of the great luminary of heaven, the succession of these objects, and the recurrence days and nights, of weeks and of these actions, passions, emotions, months, nay of hours and minutes, occasions and circumstances, he all of which is quite practicable; can pourtray and describe them by and if he is expert in describing the countenance, signs, and gestures motions and actions, he can easily whenever he wishes to take his pourtray a variety of events in such lesson in the language which he an order and connexion, as to mark is anxious to learn, how much time all the varieties of time, and thus and labour will be saved. Besides ascertain how this order and suc. being master of all the varieties cession are denoted in all the va, of signs and gestures, and of the rious tenses of the language which various expressions of the counteit is his aim to acquire.

nance, he can do that systematically, These illustrations might be made which he must otherwise perform in to any extent; and they would alla desultory, unconnected manner, go to establish the first position and at distant intervals of time. It which was laid down, that the lan- is important, too, in the acquisition guage of the countenance, signs, of the meaning of words, which and gestures, is an accurate, sig- depend upon a variety of circumnificant, and copious medium of stances for their illustration, to thought. Consider, too, that it is select those circumstances only only by the eye that it is possible which are fairly comprised in the to acquire a purely oral language; import of the terms, and to reject for suppose that the missionary those which are irrelevant. knows nothing of the systematic And here is the principal diffilanguage of signs and gestures, culty in the acquisition of a new employed in the instruction of the language, by merely hearing it used deaf and dumb-and that he arrives among the people who speak it. among a people who have neither The occasions on which words are a written nor a printed language. used must be repeated again and The words which he hears uttered, again, before the exact assemblage are at first quite unintelligible to of circumstances can be selected him. How does he acquire the to which the words belong. But a meaning of them? Solely by no. person who is versed in the lanticing with his eye the objects to guage of signs and gestures, forms which they are applied, the actions his own occasions, introduces only which they denote, the passions or the appropriate circumstances, and emotions which they describe, the rejects all adventitious ones. And occasions on which they are used, this doubtless is the principal reason together with all that variety of why the intelligent deaf-and-dumb visible circumstances, and those re- pupil is often so happy in the acferences to past, present, or future curacy of his definitions, and the periods of time, which furnish the precision of his use of words. The full and exact import of what they language, too, of the deaf and are intended to convey from another dumb, admits of a kind of permind to his own. Now all this is mutation and combination, of which in fact a language of signs and scarcely any other is susceptible, gestures; and the ear, except as unless indeed the Chinese furnish furnishing a certain set of audible an exception. The missionary, for symbols and signs, has nothing more instance, has settled with the native to do with it, than have the fingers the sign for a man, and the sign of the deaf and dumb in their ac- for a sheep. He wishes to learn quisition of language, by furnishing the native's term for shepherd. He a certain set of visible symbols first describes by signs a sheep, he and signs. If, then, instead of adds the sign for many, he pourwaiting for the actual presence of trays in his own person a man watching over these sheep, and he mised was, that instances have ocis at once put in possession of the curred in the instruction of the deaf term which he sought. Signs and and dumb, in which, in the space of gestures have a peculiar signiticancy two years, five thousand words have from their resemblance to the ob- been taught several intelligent puject which they are intended to pils who were previously entirely denote ; and this is true, even of ignorant of them, and of all lanthose that are employed to denote guage excepting that of their own intellectual objects, from the fact natural signs, together with a comthat there is scarcely any emotion mand of language which would of the heart, or operation of the place them on an equality, with remind, which is not accompanied gard to the expression of their ideas, with some corresponding expres- with the most intelligent persons sion of countenance, or attitude of among those heathen nations who the body, or position of the limbs. have nothing but an oral language. Almost all the terms which we In this nothing is assumed as an employ in spoken language to hypothesis. An actual fact is taken, denoté these emotions and opera- and it forcibly suggests the following tions, are derived from the material inquiry. If such a command of world, or from some state, or motion, written language can be imparted or action of the body: and philo. by means of signs and gestures, in sophers have complained of this, so short a space of time, to a mind as involving their discussions on enveloped in complete ignorance of the philosophy of the mind, in ad. words and their construction into ventitious difficulty and obscurity. sentences, what would hinder the Be that as it may, if the fact be communication of the same comso, the emotions of the heart, and mand of language to a heathen who the operations of the mind, may as should be entirely ignorant of our pertinently be expressed in sym. language, and the obtaining from bolical signs, as in symbolical him also the corresponding words words. And without incurring the and their construction into sentences charge of materialism, it may safely in his own language. If intelligent, be asserted, that all the emotions he would be as capable of instrucof the heart are accompanied with tion by signs and gestures as the corresponding changes in the body; deaf-and-dumb pupil ; and taking and that many, if not all, the ope- this language of signs and gestures rations of the mind, produce the as the medium of communication same effect, and that most of these while he would be learning the Enchanges are visible to the eye. glish tongue, if master of his own, In confirmation of this opinion, he could, in his turn, teach it to his it may be remarked, that, as is instructor. Thus a double object well known, the deaf and dumb, would be accomplished at the same previous to instruction, have many time, and by the same process. Innatural and universal signs, by deed, a class might be formed of which they denote various states pupils from different heathen coun. of their minds and feelings. The tries; and while the English lanmissionary, therefore, who should guage was taught all its members be acquainted with these signs, so by means of signs and gestures, by far as there is a real foundation for the same means each would be them in nature, would possess a enabled, without any confusion or very important aid in acquiring the embarrassment, to express the corlanguage of a heathen people, and responding words and phrases in establishing a speedy medium of his own tongue. Without being, intercourse with them.

therefore, at the expense of explorIn the former part of this essay, ing the western wilds, or visiting the the latter of the two position's pre- islands of the sea, or the remote

regions of the east, could intelligent that he would acquire a more acnatives be procurred from these dif- curate and copious use of the Engferent countries, all of whom should lish language than could possibly be be well skilled in their respective imparted to him, in a given space languages, complete vocabularies, of time, by any other method; while grammars, and dictionaries of these the important advantage would also languages could be formed for the be gained of his being enabled by future operations of the missionary, his familiarity with signs and gesand able interpreters be trained up tures to teach his own language to to accompany them; and all this bis instructor; and thus, with the might be accomplished at home, aid of each other, a grammar and in a shorter time, and at much less dictionary of his language might be expense, and with less labour, than formed for the future use of the are now bestowed upon the same missionary among his countrymen. object. How is it that the mind of Should this interesting experithe unlettered deaf-and-dumb pupil, ment succeed, a new era would be and that of his instructor, are en- opened in the history of missionary abled to communicate with each efforts, and a new proof be afforded other ? When they first come in of the admirable connexion which contact, they have no medium by God often establishes between one which to interchange their thoughts. part of his providential dispensaThis medium is furnished by the tions and another; making the most language of signs and gestures; and unlikely and long-neglected means, it soon becomes so significant, ac- which some happy discovery brings curate, and copious, as to give the to light, efficacious for the accomteacher the capacity of eliciting all plishment of his wise and inscruta. the intellectual and moral powers of ble designs. Should it fail, at least his pupil, and of gradually conveying some new phenomena with reto his mind a thorough knowledge gard to the human mind would be of the English language. No wider noticed that might aid the philososeparation could possibly exist be- pher in his researches. At all events, tween the teacher and the rudest no injury would be done, except native of a heathen people; there that a small expense would be inwould be no greater difficulties to curred, and no greater disappointbe encountered, or mightier obsta- ment or mortification would happen cles to be removed, in the one case than often attends the efforts of than in the other. So that the ex- those who would reduce every new periment seems to have placed it hypothesis to the test of experiment, beyond all doubt, that under similar and who are willing to run the risk circumstances the same result would of being thought to be sometimes be produced. How far a school for too sanguine or even chimerical in heathen youth, conducted upon such their projects, if there be but a proa plan, would be more rapid and babiiity that such projects may tersuccessful in its operations than minate in doing good to their fellowthose which employ the common men. The philosopher who devotes modes of instruction, by means of his time and talents to the developgrammars and dictionaries, might ment of the intellectual and moral soon be determined. Let some in- powers of the human mind, should telligent heathen youth, amiable and be as willing to witness the overthrow tractable in his disposition, quick and of his most interesting hypothesis, lively in his conceptions, master of as the chemist whose happiest dishis own language and absolutely coveries have often been the unex. ignorant of ours, be taught upon pected result of his most unsuccessthe plan which is pursued in the ful experiments. instruction of the deaf and dumb, I might apply the principles deand there is every reason to believe veloped in the foregoing essay to the instruction of children in lan had been accustomed to change guage in infant schools ; but I these obnoxious lessons for scripmust leave this and various other tural ones, to conform in future to corollary results to the reflection of the regulations of the calendar on the attentive reader.-I am, &c. pain of ecclesiastical punishment.

T. H. GALLAUDET. Perhaps some of those individuals American Deaf and Dumb Asylum, who interested themselves on that Hartford, Connecticut.

occasion, or some other of those numerous members of our church,

who feel these lessons to be a serious Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

grievance, will take the above sug

gestion into their consideration, and I do not wish to revive the closing lay the result of their deliberations controversy respecting the merits or before your readers and the public.' demerits of the Apocrypha ; but I

CANONICUS. would suggest to that large class of our clergy and laity who lament the introduction of Apocryphal Lessons into the Service of our Church,

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. whether the present is not a favour- I Perfectly agree with yourself able opportunity for urging a suit- and those of your correspondents able representation to the Right who have maintained the propriety Reverend bench of bishops, or for of metrical additions being made petitioning the legislature on the to our church singing beyond the subject, with a view to the substitu- authorised versions of the Book of tion of canonical lessons in place Psalms. The arguments on this of these anomalous compositions. side of the question need not at Whatever might be the supposed present be re-stated, after the vapolicy (I cannot call it by a higher rious excellent and convincing obname,) of appointing Apocryphal servations which have already, at Lessons (though only on week- different times, appeared in your days) at the time of the Reforma- pages on the subject. But as it is tion, when the public were not pre- not proper that even a good cause pared for their rejection; and when, should be defended by means of a therefore, such a step would have false argument, I would wish to apsupplied our papal opponents with prise the Church-of-England advo. a powerfully popular objection to cates for metrical hymns, who have our worship; there can be no such weighty considerations in abundance reason for retaining them at the pre- in their favour, that one portion of sent advanced period of scriptural the reasoning usually employed to information. I suppose that no in- shew that the clergy are legally at dividual, lay or clerical, would ab. liberty to introduce hymns into the stractedly prefer them; and many service in their churches rests upon strongly object to them. The chief a basis which it now appears is unobstacle, therefore, would probably tenable. It is often urged, that the be the dread of innovation ; but the old version of Sternhold and Hoppresent is a case of such definite kins was never duly authorised ; bounds, that such an objection, it is that at best it was only connived at ; hoped, would not be insuperable. and that though it is stated in the The attention of our clergy has title-page to be allowed to be sung several times been called to the in churches," that allowance was a subject; and particularly a few mere assumption,- for that, after the years since in one diocese, in which most diligent search, no authority the bishop (the late Dr. Mansel) can be discovered, either on the zealously interposed his authority part of the crown or the convocato oblige those of his clergy who tion, to render it one whit more

« PredošláPokračovať »