Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was born in Philadelphia on the 10th of December 1787. His ancestors were Huguenots from France. When he was thirteen years old his parents moved to Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Gallaudet was never very strong in body. When he was a boy, he loved to study. He was very bright and industrious. He learned very fast. He entered Yale College in 1805. He was a deep thinker and talked like a person much older than he was. In his youth he wrote verses for his own pleasure. Some of his poems have been printed.
After he left College, Mr. Gallaudet studied law one year. His health was not good so he had to stop studying law. Soon after this, he became a tutor in Yale College where he remained two years. He next tried traveling for a mercantile house. He was thus making his experience varied. About this time he united with the Congregational Church and began to study for the ministry. He studied theology about three years at Andover College. Mr. Gallaudet was very earnest and sincere. He desired to serve his Master acceptably.
He studied hard and wrote many letters for the newspapers. His name became well-known in New England. After he left Andover he was offered several churches in which to preach, but he did not accept any of them because his health was so poor. He did not seem to know just what to do. His opportunity had not yet come. He preached occasionally and traveled as much as he could for his health. Until 1817 there were no schools for the deaf and dumb in America. Only a few deaf persons had been taught to read and write. There were schools for the deaf in Germany, France, and England, but the people in America did not know anything about them. They were many deaf boys and girls in America. They were all very ignorant. They had no teachers to help them.
Mr. Gallaudet had several small brothers and sisters. Among their playmates were the children of Dr. Mason F. Cogswell. Dr. Cogswell was an eminent surgeon. He was a very popular man. He had a child named Alice, who was deaf. She was very bright, but she could not learn as fast as her sisters on account of her deafness. She often played with the Gallaudet children, for they were near neighbors. One day Mr. Gallaudet noticed Alice. He pitied her because she could not hear. He wished to teach her, so he tried to see what he could do. He first taught her the word “hat” then many other words and some sentences. When Mr. Gallaudet went back to college, Alice’s parents, brothers and sisters kept on teaching her. She learned a great deal but not very fast, because they did not know how to teach deaf people very well then. Dr. Cogswell was a kind-hearted man. He thought very much about his daughter, Alice. He made inquiries and found there were many other deaf children in Connecticut. He thought it was a pity they should grow up in ignorance. He talked with other people about it and they decided to start a school for the deaf and dumb. Some kind men gave money to help them. They had heard about the schools for the deaf in England and France. They determined to send someone to England to learn about the schools there. They chose Mr. Gallaudet to go there and learn how to teach the deaf and dumb.
The English schools for the deaf were in the hands of a family named Braidwood. Mr. Gallaudet went to the Braidwoods and asked them to show him how to teach the deaf. The Braidwoods would not do it unless Mr. Gallaudet would give them much money. Mr. Gallaudet had no money to give them. He was very much disappointed. He spent several months trying to find out something about the Braidwood methods of teaching. He feared he would be unsuccessful. About this time Mr. Gallaudet heard that the Abbé Sicard was in London with two of his brightest pupils. He went to see them. He was delighted to see that the deaf could learn so much.
The Abbé Sicard invited him to visit his school in Paris and promised to help him all he could. Mr. Gallaudet was very glad and went to Paris. The Abbé Sicard was very kind and showed him how to teach the deaf and dumb. He remained there nearly a year, learning the signs and studying the methods of teaching. At last he was ready to return to America.
Laurent Clerc was one of the Abbé Sicard’s assistants. He had also been his pupil for he was deaf. He had been a very bright boy and learned very fast. When he grew up Sicard appointed him to help him teach the deaf and dumb in his school in Paris. He was a good teacher and he assisted Mr. Gallaudet while he was in Paris. Mr. Gallaudet wished to take someone with him to America to help him start the new school. So he asked Mr. Clerc to go with him, and he consented. They landed in New York on August 9th, 1816.
While Mr. Gallaudet was in Europe, Dr. Cogswell and other friends had collected money and secured a charter for the “Connecticut Asylum.” Several months were spent getting ready to open the new school. Finally on the 15th of April, 1817, the “Asylum” was opened for pupils. At first there were seven pupils. The first of these were Alice Cogswell, George H. Loring, and Wilson Whiton. Dr. Gallaudet’s labors for the deaf were now fully begun and he labored incessantly for their good. Year after year new pupils were added and new teachers employed. The school grew rapidly and a new building was erected. The name of the institution was changed to the “American Asylum.”
Dr. Gallaudet was principal of the “American Asylum” thirteen years. He worked very hard and taught a class himself all the time. He was not fairly treated by the board of directors but he did not complain. Besides working harder, he received less of a salary than did some of the teachers. Mr. Clerc received a higher salary than he.
Dr. Gallaudet was a small man. He was not strong but he had good control of his pupils. Some of them were large, rough boys, and some were bad. One day in the dining room Dr. Gallaudet stood up to say grace when a large boy seized a knife and rushed at him. He could not escape. He could not resist the large, strong boy. Dr. Gallaudet opened his bosom and told him to strike. The boy was instantly ashamed of himself and slunk away. Dr. Gallaudet loved the deaf and dumb and did all he could to help them. At last, after thirteen years’ labor for the deaf, he retired from the “American Asylum” on account of poor health. He continued to reside in Hartford and visited the Institution often. In 1821 Dr. Gallaudet was married to Sophia Fowler who was deaf and who had been one of his first pupils. They had several children among whom are Dr. Edward Gallaudet, president of the National Deaf-Mute College, and Dr. Thomas Gallaudet, rector of St. Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes in New York City. Mrs. Gallaudet lived many years after the death of her husband, and she was loved and honored by all who knew her.
After leaving the “Asylum” Dr. Gallaudet spent several years writing books for the young. He also wrote for the magazines. In 1838 he became chaplain in the Institution for the Insane at Hartford. He continued in this office until his death in 1851. In September of this year, he was confined to his home and to his bed most of the time. At last on the 10th, as he lay in his bed he thought he felt better. His daughter was with him. He said to her, “I will go to sleep.” He slept in Jesus for he never waked again in this world.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was the father of deaf-mute education in America. The deaf and dumb in the United States love to do honor to his memory. In 1854 they collected money and erected a monument to his memory in front of the Institution in Hartford. A bronze statue of Gallaudet, costing $10,000, was erected by the deaf on the grounds of the National Deaf-Mute College in Washington in 1889. It is right for the deaf to love him for he was a great and good man.
A Ring of Ill-Omen
Alphonso XII, king of Spain, had a splendid ring made. It was set with costly diamonds and pearls. He gave the ring to his cousin, Mercedes, the day they were betrothed. Mercedes lived but a short time after that. After the death of Mercedes the valuable ring was given to Alphonso’s grandmother who died soon afterward. Then the king gave the ring to his sister, who died within a month. The ring was next worn by Christiene, the daughter of the Duke of Montpensier. In less than 100 days this lady was also dead. Alphonso then locked up the ring in his own casket and inside of a year the king himself was summoned by the grim reaper. The jewel was then placed around the neck of the statue of the Maid of Almadena, the patron saint of Madrid, where it still remains. It may be seen by everyone who passes. It is very valuable but no one dares to take it, so it is safe where it hangs in the public street.
Benjamin Franklin was one of the most distinguished men of this country. He was a great writer, a philosopher, and a patriot. When he was young he was honest and a hard worker. He studied very hard and read all the good books he could get.
Franklin was born in Boston, January 17th, 1706. His father was a soap boiler and candle maker. He was not rich and had to work hard to support a large family. Benjamin was the fifteenth child in the family. He learned to read while quite young. He was more delighted with a book than other children with toys. He attended school only two years. He learned very fast, however, and soon knew as much, and more than his brothers and sisters.
Benjamin did not read and study all the time when he was a child. He liked to play, too. He was very clever and often did amusing things and got into mischief like other boys. He was strong and active and an excellent swimmer.
At the age of ten, Franklin had to help his father in the soap and candle factory. He tended the store, filled the candle molds, and went on errands. He made himself useful but he did not like this kind of business. He wanted to do something that would help to improve his mind. He thought of running off to sea, but his father prevented it. At last he was apprenticed to learn the printing trade with his brother, James, who had a printing office in Boston. He liked printing because he could get more books and papers to read. He soon learned to write articles for the papers.
Benjamin and his brother, James, did not agree very well together, so they parted and Benjamin went to New York to get work. But in New York he could not get a job, so he concluded to go to Philadelphia. He had very little money, so he walked part of the way to Philadelphia. He tramped through rain and mud and was hungry sometimes. He did not give up but kept on. When he reached the “City of Brotherly Love,” the first thing he did was to visit a baker’s shop and buy some rolls. He carried a roll under each arm and one in his hand which he ate as he walked along the street. He did not care if the people smiled or laughed at him. One young girl, Dorothy Read, laughed heartily when she saw him. Franklin looked very funny. His clothes were splashed with mud and besides the rolls under his arms, his spare stockings and shirt were sticking out of his pockets. It was enough to make anybody laugh. In a few years, this same young lady became Franklin’s wife and helped him in his business.
Franklin soon became the best printer in Philadephia. Governor Keith encouraged him to go to London to get a new press and types and promised to help him. When Franklin had reached London, he found that Keith had deceived him. He was without money or friends. He soon found employment in a printing office. Here he learned some new things about the business and earned enough money to go back to Philadelphia. He could make ink and cast types and engrave on type metal. He became a very useful man.
By and by Franklin had his own printing office and printed a newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette. It was the best newspaper in America at that time. He also studied hard and learned several languages. He could read French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. He discovered that lightning was the same as electricity and invented the lightning rod. He became famous because he was wise and sensible.
Franklin was appointed to various public offices. He was elected to the Pennsylvania assembly for fourteen years. He was sent to England by the colonists to settle difficulties. After the War of the Revolution broke out, he was sent to France to persuade that country to assist the Americans. He was very successful.
Franklin also worked hard to improve the conditions of society in America. He organized the first police and first fire company in the colonies. He also founded the first library in this country. He started a hospital and a high school, which afterward became the University of Pennsylvania. He also organized the first society for the abolition of slavery.
On account of his many services to the colonists and his wisdom and sagacity, Benjamin Franklin became the most popular man in America, except Washington. He died on the 17th of April, 1790. He was mourned by the whole country and twenty thousand people attended his funeral.
Venice is a wonderful city in Italy on the Adriatic Sea. It is often called the “Queen of the Adriatic.” It is a very old city and many years ago it was more powerful and more beautiful than it is now. It is full of interest and people from all over the world go to visit there, because it is so unlike other cities and because there are so many interesting things to be seen.
The city is built on eighty small islands, separated by wide and narrow channels. These channels are called canals. The houses cover the islands so completely as to make it appear that they were built up in the water. Nearly all the streets are canals. There are no rattling wagons and squeaky carts. People and goods are carried from place to place in boats called gondolas. These gondolas are very graceful and beautiful as they glide noiselessly along over the smooth water between the tall, stately houses. The houses open to the canals and the people step from their doors into the gondolas where they go any place. There are also narrow winding footpaths along the canals which are frequently crossed by graceful bridges.
One of the bridges in Venice is called the Rialto. It is a graceful arch of marble, one hundred and fifty-eight feet long. It is three hundred years old. It is lined on either side with little shops, where everything is sold. It is said the first newspaper ever published was sold on this bridge. The price of the paper was a coin, called a Gazetta. That is why, I suppose, so many newspapers are now called “Gazette.”
St. Mark’s is a famous cathedral, erected nearly eight hundred years ago. The stones, the marble and the timbers used in building it were brought from every country in Europe. In this wonderful church, repose the remains of St. Mark, so it is claimed. There are also four spiral columns here, said to have belonged to the temple of Solomon.
The Ducal Palace is a noted building. It is very large and wonderfully rich in ornament and fine workmanship. It was first built one thousand years ago, but has been destroyed five times. Each time it was rebuilt with more splendor than before. The governors of Venice hold their court in this building and in the rear, just across a narrow canal, is the gloomy prison with its dungeons and torture chambers. A bridge connects the Ducal Palace with the prison and is called “the bridge of sighs.”
The Grand Canal is the fashionable avenue of Venice. It is very wide and about two miles long. Along this canal are the houses of the rich and many of them are beautiful marble palaces.
Memorial Address for Rev. John G. Brown, D. D.
This appeared in the November 1, 1915, issue of The Western Pennsylvanian.
In these days of contention and “war’s alarm” we hear much of “preparedness for defense”—to be ready to fight our battles when they come our way. The battles of life in the times of peace are as strenuous as those of war and we are educated to be prepared to meet them. The deaf, more than any, need this preparedness.
What are our schools but for this purpose and schools for the deaf are their training camps. Every army, whether for war or peace, needs training because training breeds confidence, and experience increases efficiency. Therefore the more training and experience one obtains, the better fitted is he for the battle of life.
That country which has a trained soldiery and efficient fighting machine is better prepared for defense against the freebooter and the despoiler of liberty. “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute” was a potent cry. In times of peace millions upon millions are explended for education and the training of our youth in order that they may make a success of life. Such is the right sort of preparedness, and every boy and girl needs it and it is their right. To be prepared is a duty to themselves, to the state and nation.
In centuries past the deaf were neglected blocks in the edifice human rights, only to be cast aside as fitting nowhere. Then came the master builders and discovered their niches when lo the edifice was complete and they no longer encumbered the earth. Education and training shape the blocks for every position from foundation to turret. All honor to these master builders!
The shaped block which has no enduring qualities is still worthless and the time spent on their shaping is wasted. So it is with him who receives his training and makes little use of it. Therefore, everyone is confronted with the duty of showing the metal he is made of. Much has been done for the deaf to lift them up to the plane of respectability. They climb higher or they may slide down. It is for them to choose which.
Dr. John G. Brown, like others before him, planted a seed and saw it grow and blossom into a great institution, the fruit of which is being garnered here at this reunion. It is no great stretch of fancy to suppose that he from the vantage on high sees and rejoices in the abundance and excellence of the fruitage which his vine has produced.
Let us review the planting of this institution and note the labors of its founder and builder.
It is meet that we are assembled here to do honor to our friend and benefactor, the founder of this magnificent institution, the Reverend John G. Brown, D. D. He loved the deaf and proved it by his numerous sacrifices and constant devotion to their interests. For forty-five years his greatest concern was the welfare of those sheltered by this institution as well as those who had left its protecting wall and gone forth to buffet with the storms of life.
He loved to be regarded as the grandfather of each and all of them as one bearing all the affection which that name implies. Until his last hours he loved to hear of their successes out in the bustling world of endeavor and grieved at any misfortune that crossed their path. He was happy to think that the school to which he had given the best part of his life and his most strenuous labor elevated them to a plane of prosperity and true happiness, and made them a part of the activities of human achievement. It is eminently fitting, therefore, that we think on these things and give him the meed, long delayed, of our loyalty to the institution which he founded and our love fostered and matured by the Alma Mater which he made possible.
Like other good men who dedicated their lives to uplift the deaf—men who blazed the way—he might have achieved great success in other walks of life, but the deaf appealed to him, he felt it was “a call” to special work, so he gave up a pastorate which promised a wide field of usefulness to devote his time and energies to their needs. He stood high in the estimation of his neighbors and in the councils of his church. For over fifty years he was a member of the Monongahela Presbystery and at one time its moderator. Members of this body gathered to do him honor on the fiftieth anniversary of his connection with the Presbystery. I mention this to show that he attained distinction and honors even while devoting the best part of his time and energies to the deaf who received the greatest and most lasting benefits from his efforts.
Dr. Brown believed in the biblical injunction, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” He thought that what was worth doing at all was worth doing well. He believed in practical employment for the young. He desired them to obtain as much industrial experience as was compatible with the means at hand.
These ideas of his were well exemplified in all he did for the school. He set out by looking into the future and visioned a grand institution that would hold rank with the best, although at that time he had but few deaf children in his control. He had nevertheless abundance of determination. With his small band of boys and girls he started the first day school in the United States and solicited support. It was not very long before he perceived that a day school could not produce the best educational and industrial results consequently it was promptly cast aside for a well-founded institution where pupils could be housed and received the care and attention that experienced and educated people could provide, although he knew the plan would entail great labor and worry on his part, for he was then practically alone.
With this object in view he interested practical businessmen and trained educators in the enterprise and soon had a Board of Trustees almost as enthusiastic as himself at his back.
He personally solicited contributions to carry on the school while at the same time he raised a fund of $50,000, conditioned on the legislature, for institution buildings.
When one of the finest buildings in the county, resultant of his work, was destroyed by fire in 1899, he repeated the performance while nearing his eightieth birthday, and behold, those fine substantial buildings you now enjoy are the fruits of his activities.
He, too, looking to the well-being of the deaf now and in the future, obtained the library fund from Mr. Carnegie. This fund still provides annual contribution of books to the library, and will so continue for future generations. The good that he has done lives after him.
Doubtless Dr. Brown made mistakes as most men do occasionally, but he was not the kind to cling to old and worn methods when he was once convinced there was something better to be had, nor did he give up or worry when any of his plans which he believed, to be the best were thwarted. He usually took the best he could get and made the most of it.
Dr. Brown believed the combined method of instruction was the best for the deaf as a whole, although he insisted that everyone capable of oral improvement should receive thorough instruction in that direction. Whatever was best for the individual he should have. So when the legislature demanded oral instruction as the price of its support, he made no complaint, but, with the assistance of his associates, set about devising plans whereby the best results possible under the new arrangement might be obtained. He was an optimist, not a pessimist.
But raising funds by subscription and looking to the growth of the institution educationally was not all of his work by any means. He had to meet opposition in the legislature and from other quarters. He fought for the rights of the school, that those sheltered by it should receive the greatest amount of benefit. Dr. Brown was always on the alert and used his powers to convince influential men of the justice of his cause. He took up the refutation of the claim that the school was educationally inferior. He stinted neither time nor labor to secure information that emphatically disproved the assertions of inferiority.
Dr. Brown was particularly gratified that he was spared to see the completion of the new buildings, the peer of any in the land, and to see that the school was entering upon a new era of usefulness. It was only then that he was content to retire and pass to others the lighter burden of upkeep.
These fine buildings are his monument. He cared not for bronze and marble but he rejoiced that he could leave behind him something that would be of lasting use to the deaf. It is for us who revere his memory to lift up his name in enduring bronze where those who pass by may observe and understand that we are not forgetful of our dues to our friend and benefactor.
Aaron Burr’s Daughter
Aaron Burr was a noted figure in the United States early in its history. He was a noted lawyer and an ambitious and able man. He quarreled with Alexander Hamilton and killed him in a duel in 1804. Afterward Burr plotted against the government of the United States and was tried for treason. He was acquitted, but left the country and visited Europe.
Burr had but one child, a daughter. She was talented like her father, and very beautiful. She lived with her husband, a Mr. Alston, in Charleston, South Carolina. Her father, after a long visit to Europe, decided to return to America. He wrote to his daughter and asked her to meet him in New York. At that time there were no railroads. The only way to reach New York from Charleston was by stage or by ships. Burr’s daughter decided to go by ship. Her husband did not accompany her. She took passage in a schooner for New York. She took with her her own portrait which she intended to present to her father, and a small dog. After she embarked at Charleston, she was never seen by her friends again. It was a long time before it was discovered what had become of her. It is now known that pirates captured the schooner in which she was, and murdered the crew and passengers by throwing them overboard. After robbing the vessel the pirates set it adrift and it was wrecked on the coast near Nags Head, North Carolina. Before the vessel went down, the people who lived on the coast rescued the picture and the dog. The picture is still preserved as a valuable relic of Aaron Burr and the tragic fate of his beautiful daughter.