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Deaf and Dumb Man's Discourse,' which were published in the interval between Wallis's practical application of his method and the appearance of Dalgarno's book. Dalgarno, we believe, may claim the merit of having first exhibited, and that in its most perfect form, a finger alphabet. He makes no pretensions, however, to the original conception of such a medium of communication. But the great and distinctive merit of his treatise is not so much, that it improved the mechanism of instruction, as that it corrected the errors of his predecessors, and pointed out the principles on which the art is founded, and by the observance of which alone it can be carried to perfection. As we first attempt to fix and communicate our notions by the aid of speech, it was a natural prejudice to believe that sounds were the necessary instrument of thought and its expression. The earlier instructors of the deaf and dumb were thus led to direct their principal effort to the teaching their pupils to distinguish the different mechanical movements by which different sounds are produced, and to imitate these sounds by imitating the organic modification on which they depend. They did not consider that still there existed no sound for the deaf; that the signs to which they thus attached ideas were only perceptions of sight and feeling ; that these, on the one hand, were minute, ambiguous, fugitive, and, on the other, difficult; and that it would be better to associate thought with a system of signs more easy to produce, and less liable to be mistaken. The honour of first educating the deaf and dumb in the general principles of grammar, and in primarily associating their thought with written instead of with spoken symbols, is generally claimed for the eighteenth century, France
, and the Åbbé de l'Epée. All this was, however, fully demonstrated a century before in the forgotten treatise of our country. man, as in a great measure also practised by Pontius, the original inventor of the art, a century before Dalgarno. We are indebted, as we formerly observed, to Mr Dugald Stewart for rescuing the name of Dalgarno from the oblivion into which it had fallen ; and the following quotation from that distinguished philosopher affords the most competent illustration of his
merits.—- After having thus paid the tribute of my sincere • respect to the enlightened and benevolent exertions of a cele• brated foreigner (Sicard), I feel myself called on to lay hold of • the only opportunity that may occur to me of rescuing from oblivion the name of a Scottish writer, whose merits have been strangely overlooked, both by his contemporaries and by his successors. The
The person I allude to is George Dalgarno, who, more than a hundred and thirty years ago, was led, by his own sagacity, to adopt, a priori, the same general conclusion con. cerning the education of the dumb, of which the experimental • discovery, and the happy application, have, in our times, re• flected such merited lustre on the name of Sicard. I mention• ed Dalgarno formerly, in a note annexed to the first volume of the · Philosophy of the Human Mind,' as the author of a very ingenious tract, entitled · Ars Signorum,' from which it appears indisputably that he was the precursor of Bishop Wilkins in his
speculations concerning a real character and a philosophical • language; and it now appears to me equally clear, upon a fur
ther acquaintance with the short fragments which he has left • behind him, that, if he did not lead the way to the attempt made • by Dr Wallis to teach the dumb to speak, he had conceived • views with respect to the means of instructing them, far more profound and comprehensive than any we meet with in the works of that learned writer prior to the date of Dalgarno's publications. On his claims in these two instances, I forbear to en* large at present; but I cannot deny myself the satisfaction of transcribing a few paragraphs in justification of what I have already stated with respect to the remarkable coincidence be*tween some of his theoretical deductions, and the practical results of the French Academician.
“ I conceive there might be successful addresses made to a “ dumb child, even in its cradle, when he begins risu cognoscere “ matrem, if the mother or nurse had but as nimble a hand, “as commonly they have a tongue. For instance, I doubt not “ but the words hand, foot, dog, cat, hat, &c., written fair, “and as often presented to the deaf child's eye, pointing from “the words to the things, and vice versa, as the blind child “ hears them spoken, would be known and remembered as soon “ by the one as the other; and as I think the eye to be as docile as “ the ear, so neither see I any reason but the hand might be made “as tractable an organ as the tongue, and as soon brought to form, “if not fair, at least legible characters, as the tongue to imitate and "echo back articulate sounds.” “ The difficulties of learning to read “on the common plan, are so great, that one may justly wonder “ how young ones come to get over them. Now, the deaf child, “ under his mother's tuition, passes securely by all these rocks “ and quicksands. The distinction of letters, their names, their “powers, their order, the dividing words into syllables, and of " them again making words, to which may be added tone and ac“ cent-none of these puzzling niceties hinder his progress. It is “ true, after he has passed the discipline of the nursery, and comes “ to learn grammatically, then he must begin to learn to know “ letters written, by their figures, number, and order."
• The same author elsewhere observes, that “the soul can exert
“ her powers by the ministry of any of the senses ; and therefore, “ when she is deprived of her principal secretaries, the eye and
ear, than she must be contented with the service of her lackeys “ and scullions, the other senses; which are no less true and faith“ ful to their mistress than the eye and the ear, but not so quick “ for despatch."
I shall only add one other sentence, from which my readers will be enabled, without any comment of mine, to perceive with
what sagacity and success this very original thinker had antici* pated some of the most refined experimental conclusions of a more enlightened age.'
My design is not to give a methodical system of grammatical “ rules, but only such general directions, whereby an industrious “ tutor may bring his deaf pupil to the vulgar use and ót of a “ language, that so he may be the more capable of receiving ins struction in the dióti, from the rules of grammar, when his judg“ment is ripe for that study; or, more plainly, I intend to bring “ the way of teaching a deaf man to read and write, as near as “ possible to that of teaching young ones to speak and understand “ their mother tongue.”
In prosecution of this general idea, he has treated, in one very short chapter, of A Deaf Man's Dictionary, and in another of A • Grammar for Deaf Persons, both of them containing (under the • disadvantages of a style uncommonly pedantic and quaint) a va. ‘riety of precious hints, from which, if I do not deceive myself
, * useful practical lights might be derived, not only by such as may • undertake the instruction of such pupils, as Mitchell or Massien, • but by all who have any concern in the tuition of children during • the first stage of their education.
• That Dalgarno's suggestions with respect to the education of the dumb, were not altogether useless to Dr Wallis, will, I think,
be readily admitted by those who take the trouble to compare • his letter to Mr Beverley (published eighteen years after Dal
garno's treatise) with his Tractatus de Loquela, published in • 1653. In this letter, some valuable remarks are to be found on * the method of leading the dumb to the signification of words ; and
yet the name of Dalgarno is not once mentioned to his corespon• dent. We may add, that Mr Stewart is here far more lenient than Dr Wallis' disingenuity merited. Wallis, in his letter to Mr Beverley, has plundered Dalgarno even to his finger'd alphabet. It is no excuse, though it may in part account for the omission of Dalgarno's name, that Dalgarno, whilst he made little account in general of the teaching of the deaf and dumb to speak, had, in his chapter on the subject, passed over in total șilence the very remarkable exploits in this department of the
' learned and my worthy friend Dr Wallis,' as he elsewhere styles him. On this subject, indeed, it seems to have been fated that every writer should either be ignorant of, or should ignore his predecessors. Bulwer, Lana, and Wallis, each professed himself original ; Dalgarno entitles his Didascalocophus the first, *(for what the author knows) that had been published on the subject'; and Amman, whose Surdus Loquens appeared in 1692, makes solemn oath, that he had found no vestige of a similar attempt in any previous writer.'
The length to which these observations have run on the Philocophus, would preclude our entering on the subject of the other treatise—the Ars Signorum, were this not otherwise impossible within the limits of the present notice. But indeed the most general statement of the problem of an universal character, and of the various attempts made for its solution, could hardly be comprised within the longest article. At the same time, regarding as we do the plan of a philosophical language as a curious theoretical idea, but one which can never be practically realized, our interest in the several essays is principally limited to the ingenuity manifested by the authors, and to the minor philosophical truths incidentally developed in the course of the discussions. Of such, the treatise of Dalgarno is not barren ; but that which principally struck us, is his remarkable anticipation, on speculative grounds, a priori, of what has been now articulately proved, a posteriori, by the Dutch philologers and Horne Tooke—that the parts of speech are all reducible to the noun and verb, or to the noun alone.
Art. VII.—Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North
west Passage, and of a Residence in the Arctic Regions during the years 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833. By Sir John Ross, C.B., K.S.A., K.C.S., &c. &c., Captainin the Royal Navy. Including the Reports of Commander now Captain James CLARK Ross, Ř.N., F.R.S., F.L.S., &c., and the Discovery of the Northern Magnetic Pole. 4to. London : 1835.
Berore Captain Ross undertook the adventurous voyage from
which he so unexpectedly returned, the interest which so long surrounded the question of a north west passage had begun to subside. Notwithstanding the many valuable discoveries which were made by the preceding expeditions, their failure in effecting the leading object which they contemplated, had damped the ardour both of scientific enthusiasm and of commercial speculation ; and the Government of the day, though not unwilling to devote the public money to scientific enterprises, which could be performed by naval or military officers, did not feel themselves justified in the farther pursuit of an object to which the nation had shown considerable indifference, if not some portion of hostility.
Since the year 1818, when Captain Ross first navigated Bafin's Bay in search of a northwest passage, no fewer than nine voyages and journeys have been undertaken at the expense of the British Government for the purpose of exploring the Arctic Zone. In these expeditions, the English Board of Longitude took a deep and an active interest, not merely in reference to the progress of geographical discovery, but to the determination of many data of general science, and particularly of those which relate to the figure of the earth. The Royal Society of London combined its exertions with those of the Board of Longitude, and both these public bodies gave the most effective aid to the Admiralty in the general and scientific equipment of all the nine expeditions of discovery. But notwithstanding all these exertions, and the extreme liberality, if not the profusion of the Government, the fruits of these expeditions, however valuable we may deem them, were not commensurate with the efforts and the means which they exhausted ; and we have no doubt, that men of disinterested judgment and well-informed minds will agree with us in thinking, that results of more importance to science—of greater practical value in social life and better calculated to advance the national glory—might have been obtained from a different application of the public wealth.
It may doubtless gratify the national vanity to plant the standard of England even upon sterile regions where snow falls during one-half of the year, and drifts and thaws during the other, and the whole of which may be had in fee simple for a piece of iron hoop or an old file; and geographical amateurs may delight to contemplate a new line of coast studded with the names of the royal family, the favourites of the court, the minions of office, and the pot-companions and cousins to the tenth degree of the successful navigator. But though all this is a real addition to our mass of knowledge, yet if no advantage can be gained by revisiting such inhospitable regions, it must be admitted that the mere knowledge of their existence, and of the indentations of their shores, is comparatively useless, and utterly unworthy of that sacrifice or risk of life and resources by which it may have been acquired.
* These observations are by no means intended to depreciate Captain