The Fanwood Press
Transcriber's Note: The funeral took place on August 29, 1902 at the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Matthew on West 84th Street.
IT is not the Custom of the Church, in connection with this office, to add to it words of eulogy or commemoration. But, happily, the usage of the Church is not an inexorable bondage, and there must always come funerals when we cannot deny ourselves the privilege of adding to those words which our Mother puts in our mouths in this connection those other words which are in the heart of everybody to whom I am speaking at this moment. It is impossible for me personally to stand here without reminding myself of three typical losses which the diocese of New York has sustained during this summer time, when we are wont to be parted, so many of us, from one another, and so largely scattered over the face of the earth.
First of all, that loss which the Church and the community sustained in the death of the Dean of the General Theological Seminary, ripe in years, rich in service, distinguished in many ways for his large benefactions, both of service and of means, to the cause of the Kingdom of God in the world.
And then (I suppose there are few of you who knew him) that other loss, of the young rector of the Church of the Epiphany, who lost his balance in a boat in Massachusetts, and was drowned, as it were, in an instant, taking out of New York, I [i/ii] take leave to say, one of the most interesting personalities I ever knew, and a man of most extraordinary gifts for the extremely difficult and delicate work to which he had been called.
And then, our brother whose remains are behind me at this moment, and whose ministry in this great city has been a precious and beautiful fragrance, lasting consistently to the end, and as beautiful in the end as at the beginning.
I remember very vividly the first time that I ever saw Dr. Gallaudet. I was a candidate for Holy Orders. I do not want to say anything to give anybody pain--certainly not a priest of the Church, whose office it is to minister in the City of New York; but I was wandering about the streets of New York on a summer day--it was in August, I remember--to find, if I might, a church that was open on a Sunday afternoon in August. I am sorry to say that I was not very successful, till I came to St. Ann's Church, where I supposed, curiously enough (such was my ignorance) that I had found my way into a church of extreme ritualistic usage, because the priest was standing before the altar in a black gown, in absolute silence, communicating by motions what he had to communicate to the people. Presently I discovered where I was, and soon fell under the spell of what I think nobody who ever saw him failed to recognize, and that was the spell of the singular eloquence--let me say it to my friends whose office is to communicate the Word of God and the mind of God by human gestures, and not by human speech--the singular grace and beauty and eloquence of Dr. Gallaudet's action as a preacher with the hands, and by signs. Nobody who ever heard him read the service, and who knew what a singularly fine organ he had, and with what dignity and stateliness he could make himself heard in any congregation, could be unmindful that he was, as it were, putting one gift upon the shelf, in order that he might use the other for that people to whom he was bound in so many and such tender ways. I have always thought that his consecration of his gifts to their service was [ii/iii] one of the finest things in the history of religion in this land.
His father, unless I am mistaken, had been head of the Institution for the Training of Deaf-Mutes in Hartford, and his mother herself was a mute. Now, then, I can well imagine how a man who had grown up in that atmosphere could have turned his back upon it, and felt, at any rate, that if he went into the ministry he would exercise an entirely different group of gifts, and address himself to an entirely different type of congregation. Dr. Gallaudet did not do so. He took up the work among deaf-mutes in this land, and he was a missionary going all over the land.
When I was at Trinity Church, Boston (it is a great joy to me to remember at this moment), I had the incomparable pleasure of meeting him on Sunday afternoons, for at time, in that dignified church that used to be in Summer Street, when Dr. Gallaudet did me the great honor of translating the very poor sermons which I preached on those afternoons, to the people who came there to worship and listen. Then I came into the relation which he and I have sustained here in this diocese for nearly twenty years, and in which, let me say in this presence, I never parted from him without a new sense of the singular sweetness, transparency, purity, and elevation of his character.
He was a most lovable man, of inexhaustible tenderness, and the rare grace and charm with which he moved his hand was an expression and type of his mind. He could not be harsh--at least I could not conceive of him as harsh. He could not be bitter. And in all of life he had a singular philosophy of vision. He looked at things in a large and lofty way. He judged men with an inexhaustible charity. And when we were together, some of us who are here, last spring, in the church of which he was the rector, I believe, until his death, where the deaf-mutes especially were gathered, in the northern part of the city, I shall never forget that night when we prayed for him; how the atmosphere of tenderness, and a certain quality of hunger of [iii/iv] love, brooded in the place, and made the dullest conscious of its presence.
Men and brethren, it is not merely an ecclesiastical loss that we are mourning this afternoon. You who are deaf-mutes are not merely losing your head, you are losing out of life, out of New York, out of the Christian fellowship of men, in which he had so lively a sympathy, recognized by the presence here today of many Christian disciples not of our communion, from whom he received generous help and support--we are losing out of all these one of rare charm of character, whose beautiful and consistent life, whose constant and untiring devotion to the people whom he had chosen especially to be his flock, is one of the great pictures which we are to hang upon the wall of our common history, toward which I hope you will never cease to turn with love and the genuine homage of our Christian appreciation.
Dr. Gallaudet could easily be differentiated from other men by what he was not; but I prefer to remember what he was; to remember how he moved to and fro among all sorts and conditions of men, making life sweeter because he was part of it and human speech more tender, and our judgments of men more forbearing, by the exquisite patience which I sometimes think was the finest note of his character, however imperfectly we imitate and reproduce it.
I thank God for his great ministry; and I beseech you, my brethren, to whom especially he spoke, and for whom especially he lived, to carry forward the power of his life by the strong and consistent and ardent faith with which you follow and serve your Master, even as he followed and served his!
 SERMON PREACHED IN ST. MATTHEW'S CHURCH, N. Y., BY THE REV. WM. H. VIBBERT, S.T.D., SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26TH, 1902.
[Transcriber's note: the service was held in commemoration of the life and work of the Rev. Thomas Gallaudet. The preacher's remarks were translated into sign language by the Rev. Dr. John Chamberlain, who had succeeded Fr. Gallaudet at St. Ann's, and by the Rev. Dr. Mann, a deaf-mute clergyman at St. Matthew's.]
"For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep." Acts 13:36
WHEN I was asked to preach the sermon upon this occasion, and the privilege was offered me of paying my tribute of grateful affection to the memory of my friend whom I had known and loved for many years, these words of St. Paul which summed up the story of the life of the shepherd-king, came spontaneously into my mind, as the brief but comprehensive biography of our departed father and friend and brother. For truly it may be said of him, "He served his own generation by the will of God, and fell on sleep." In fact, it was said to me a few days ago, by one who knew him well and appreciated his work, "If any man deserved a monument from the people of his own day, it was Dr. Gallaudet." But after all, his life and works are his monument, and his good life stands out [3/4] fairer than any carved memorial of marble or of brass. A life filled with the enduring fragrance of holy deeds wrought for the love of Christ and the good of man, shining with the gentle ministry of a good example, cheerful and resigned in bright days and dark, "making a sunshine in a shady place," perfumed with the incense of self-sacrifice and beautified with the grace of humility, lifts itself as a stately monument on which the finger of grateful love might write the enduring epitaph, "He served his own generation according to the will of God, and fell on sleep."
The name of Gallaudet occupies a large and honorable place in the record of Christian philanthropy. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, the father of our departed brother, founded the first school for deaf-mutes in 1817, at Hartford, and there that Institution stands to-day to tell of his charity to the silent people of God.
Edward Miner Gallaudet, Dr. Gallaudet's brother, also devoted himself to the work of instructing those whom the finger of God hath touched, and became the president of the National Deaf-Mute College, in the District of Columbia, in 1864, where he has been laboring ever since.
Thomas Gallaudet was born in Hartford, Ct., on the 3d of June, 1822, and was brought up in an atmosphere and amid home surroundings hallowed by the thought that the purpose of life [4/5] was to benefit those less favored, and to minister, at the cost of self-sacrifice, to those who needed service and care. The desire of the youth was to go to Yale College, of which his father was a graduate, but his mind and tastes turning towards the Church, of which we are members, and for which he conceived a love, he entered Trinity College, and was graduated in the class of 1842, a class one-half of which served as ministers of Christ. He began his life work as a teacher of a country school in the vicinity of Hartford, but in the following year accepted a call to teach in the New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes, in which field of labor he found the inspiration of the remarkable career which has just closed. Having great physical and mental vigor, he soon assumed duties and pursued studies quite independent of his work in the school for the deaf. He early conceived the idea of doing something for the spiritual welfare and comfort of the adult deaf of the country, whose peculiar disability made it impossible for them to enjoy or take any intelligent part in the services of the Church. He saw, and he was the first who saw it, in the worship and ritual of the Church a fruitful help and means of instruction in spiritual things, and his active mind was intent in devising a language of expressive signs which would convey to the souls of these silent people the meaning of the Church's services. While teaching in [5/6] the New York Institution he began to prepare himself for what he used to call the awakening of sleeping souls, by pursuing a course of theological study, and was ordained deacon in 1850 and priest in 1851. Before this time he had organized and conducted a Bible Class for the deaf-mutes of New York, which grew into St. Ann's Church shortly after his ordination, and in which he held his first religious service for them on the first Sunday in October, just fifty years ago. Religious services for the deaf-mutes seem natural enough to us now, and churches for them are common enough to-day, among many Christian denominations, in many cities and towns, but we must remember that it was Dr. Gallaudet who demonstrated the propriety and feasibility of such work. In St. Ann's Church were held, in 1852, the first services in America in which the deaf and dumb could really join in worship. The church which he founded was then a small chapel of the New York University, on Washington Square, but later on, a Baptist church (formerly Christ Church) on Eighteenth Street near Fifth Avenue, was purchased; and there, till 1892, a blessed and influential work was carried on for the benefit of both those who could and those who could not hear. After this edifice and rectory were sold, a union was affected of the parish of St. Ann's with that of St. Matthew's, which is "pledged to support St. Ann's Church [6/7] for Deaf-Mutes for all time." We can fancy the delight of the dear old doctor's heart when the work on which that heart had so long been set, was placed on a solid and enduring foundation.
But Dr. Gallaudet's own generation meant more to him than the congregation of St. Ann's. He felt a duty to ALL those who could not hear, wherever they might be in the length and breadth of our land. And so in 1872, he organized "The Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes," whose business it was to look after their welfare generally, to aid them in their efforts for self-support, to interest the public in these unfortunate members of society, to lend a helping hand to those in trouble, to find workers and helpers in the work of the ministry among them, and to provide for those who, from permanent ill health or old age, might be unable to get their own living. By his personal presence he stimulated and encouraged the enterprise, by his personal efforts he aroused interest and secured donations, and gave sympathy and aid as well to individuals as to the work at large.
As a result of his untiring labors a "Home for Aged and Infirm Deaf-Mutes" was established some thirty years ago, which from a very humble beginning in this city has grown, through the benefactions secured by the industry of its founder, until there is now rising on the banks of the Hudson, near Poughkeepsie, a [7/8] a noble structure on a lovely farm, a shelter and a haven for those who have well nigh passed the waves of this troublesome world. "Gallaudet Home" aptly preserves forever the memory of his labors and prayers and generous self-sacrifice, and we all feel how fitting it is that his name and honor are inevitably interwoven with the strands of his disinterested labors.
It was the will of God that he should touch his generation in other points and in other lands. As an authority in the field that he had chosen, and which he had made peculiarly his own, he made several trips abroad in the interest of those whom it was God's will that he should serve, promoting the welfare of the deaf in Europe, holding conferences with the workers, making addresses in behalf of the work, giving the benefit of his counsel and experience, and furnishing information for the guidance of those interested in the cause of the unfortunates who were so near his heart.
So his influence deepened and widened as the years went by, and it would seem as if God not only gave him length of days in which to serve his generation, but also supplied him with strength and vigor almost up to the time of his death, for even though he came to fourscore years, when one might have looked for the usual trouble and sorrow, he was able to take part in the Church's services and to speak the message of Christ's love. As our Bishop said, "His [8/9] mission was as beautiful at the end as it was in the beginning." Bright and fresh as it was in the rosy glory of its morning, it seems all the more glorious as it lies in the sweetness and strength of its beauty beneath the golden rays of its setting sun.
Nor in the survey of his service to his generation must we omit to say a word of his interest in the education of young men and of his devotion to his Alma Mater, which he loved because it was an Institution of the Church which was training up young men in her Godly doctrine, and in her sober standard of holy living. At college gatherings here or in Hartford, it was his delight to be, and it was the delight of the boys to have him. For the sixty years that followed his graduation, I think he was never absent from the Commencements of Trinity College (except possibly on two occasions) and almost always he took the opportunity to say a word full of sympathy, of instruction and help, full of kindliness and humor, and yet withal touching the hearts and consciences of those who heard him, lodging a thought which God only can tell how, and how far it has wrought its influence on human lives. It rejoiced my heart last June when Dr. Gallaudet was received with all the honors as the oldest living graduate of his Alma Mater, to listen to his last public speech at the Alumni dinner. It was in his old and best vein, full both of [9/10] humor and of seriousness, uttered in that grand sonorous voice for which he was famous, eloquent with the earnestness of truth, and marked with that deep spiritual tone which was a characteristic of his life, and which wakened a responsive chord in the hearts of those who listened to him, to all that is noblest and best in our nature. We did not know that that sweet song we heard was to be the last sweet song of one who charmed us with the music of his voice, with the beauty of his diction, and the depth and purity of his thoughts.
It seems to me that his interest in and his companionship with the young made him ever ready to give a welcome to new thoughts and ways, and kept him from the tendency of age to disparage the new in comparison with the old. Firm in his devotion and steadfastness to the creed and truths in which he had been trained, he was ready to welcome new knowledge, and to reach forward to greet new ways. There was something very fine in his character, thus to be willing to entertain new light and bid God-speed to new thoughts, new workers, and new ways of work. He thus kept along with his generation, and because of his sympathy with it, he was able to serve it all the more effectively. Old in years, he was no "old fogy," but in his bosom there pulsed a youthful heart beating with the music of the age, in harmony with the spirit of the time. He lived in [10/11] the present, not in the past; and rejoiced in the progress of the world, in the growth and gladness and glory of each succeeding year. And so he grew old gracefully, until in the fulness of his fourscore years, the service of his generation, which by the will of God he so faithfully fulfilled, drew to its end; and on the 27th of August, God gave to His beloved disciple and minister, the blessing of a calm, a long, unbroken sleep. May he rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon him.
In striving to measure the true greatness of a character like that of our departed brother, we stand perhaps too close to him to get the true perspective of it in its manifold and yet united completeness; our bereaved eyes are too dim to see it in its true proportions. But our loving hearts can comprehend some of its more evident and salient points, which commend it to our love and imitation.
He was, above all things, a man of God, a faithful and devoted servant of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
He was a man of prayer, of deep spirituality, which pervaded all his life, into which religion was inwrought as a matter of daily conduct, to enrich it with its charm, and to beautify it with its celestial grace.
He was a man of sympathy, with a tear for every woe, and a smile for every joy.
He was a man of charity, and many of the [11/12] charities which he dispensed only the manifestation of the last day shall declare, and only the hearts of those who enjoyed his benevolence can tell.
He was a man of lovable tenderness, gentle and gracious in his disposition, bearing benignly in his very face the traits of the character that gave that sweetness to his demeanor and that kindness to his deeds. Large hearted and generous in judgment, he thought of men with inexhaustible compassion and forbearance.
He was a man of enduring patience, of remarkable fidelity, of unwearied perseverance, and of unwavering faith. Though deeply spiritual he was intensely human, and a saving sense of humor kept him from sourness, harshness and discouragement. In the wide range of his work, in the multitude of men with whom he came in contact, in the sphere of his chosen labor, in the generation which he served, the lives he brightened, the souls he cheered, in his untiring devotion to the people of his peculiar care, he won for himself an affection which we may all envy and which we will all do well to emulate. He has left behind him a memory fragrant with the perfume of self-sacrifice, which will live in the hearts of men as a rich and cherished treasure.
And now he has entered into "the rest that remaineth." Still the world is full of woe and trouble, still the cry of the needy sounds in our [12/13] ears, still the silent seek our sympathy, and the helpless invoke our aid, still sin stains and blights God's fair creation and darkens human life. These are all calls for our service, for our effort, our sacrifice. It is our own day and generation that needs our ministry and requires our service.
Our dear friend will not have lived in vain, if his life, so full of labors for human good, impress upon us all the duty and the privilege of serving our generation in faithfulness and quietude, without noise or fuss, forgetting self, and making the place where our lot is cast, sweeter, happier and better, doing all things according to God's blessed will.
"The night cometh when no man can work." May we, as the shadows gather around us, fall on sleep, in the humble hope that it may be said of us, as we say it, as the best tribute to the memory of our dear departed friend, and as an encouragement to us to follow the Master as he followed Him: "He served his own generation by the will of God, and fell on sleep."
MEMORIAL ADDRESSES DELIVERED AT A MEETING OF THE NEW YORK CHURCHMAN'S ASSOCIATION, MONDAY, NOV. 3, 1902  THE INFLUENCE OF DR. THOMAS GALLAUDET ON DEAF-MUTE EDUCATION IN AMERICA BY EDWARD MINER GALLAUDET, PH.D., LL.D., PRESIDENT OF GALLAUDET COLLEGE.
IN order to form a just estimate of the influence exerted by Dr. Thomas Gallaudet on deaf-mute education in America, and of the value of his opinions, due account must be taken of several circumstances connected with his early life, which are well-known to his friends, but which are not always given the weight they deserve.
In two of the most intimate relations of human life he was associated with deaf-mutes. Both his mother and his wife were born without hearing, and neither ever learned to speak. Dr. Gallaudet's mother lived until he was fifty-five years of age, and his wife survives him, after having spent fifty-seven years of married life with her husband.
Of what value these close intimacies were in solving the problems of deaf-mute education will be made clear later on.
Dr. Gallaudet's active labors with the deaf as a class began when he took a position as [17/18] a teacher in the New York Institution in 1844, when he was twenty-two years of age.
From that time to the last months of his life he was in close contact with the deaf, as a teacher, as a bible class leader, as a preacher, as a spiritual guide and comforter, as a Director in several large schools, as a helpful friend to many in distress, or needing aid to make their way in the struggle for self-support. And when from sickness or other misfortune a few of them were worsted in this struggle, they would ask of Dr. Gallaudet that shelter and solace in their old age which his beneficent provision, through the aid of his benevolent friends, has secured for them.
Dr. Gallaudet's experiences with the deaf were not limited to his own country.
He made ten voyages to Europe; and while these were in part excursions for rest and recreation, there was always something for him to do for the deaf.
He attended several Conventions of teachers abroad, and many such gatherings of the deaf themselves, in which he had opportunity of judging as to the results of the various methods of instruction in use in foreign lands.
In his own country a summer never passed that did not find him in some gathering of teachers or of the deaf, in which he came into communication with numbers of deaf people.
 In all these ways he whose death we mourn gained an insight into the disabilities of the deaf, and the possible development of which they are capable under different methods, surpassed by none and equaled by few.
In the early days of deaf-mute education two methods, quite different in their character, were made use of.
The basis of one was oral speech; that of the other the language of gesture and dactylology.
Under the first, the attempt was made to teach all deaf children to speak, and to understand the vocal utterance of others by observing the movement of the lips.
Those who taught by this method, endeavored to give their pupils an education equivalent to that afforded in elementary schools.
Many of the promoters of the oral method undertook to keep their pupils from the language of signs and finger spelling, and few made any use in the class-room of these most natural means of communication with the deaf.
Under the second method, no attempt was made to teach speech or lip-reading. The natural language of the deaf, that of gestures, was cultivated and made much of as a means of reaching the intelligence and influencing the conduct of the children long before any [19/20] adequate channel of communication could be established by means of speech.
Finger spelling was resorted to as an exact and convenient means of familiarizing the deaf child with words and their combinations in verbal language.
Upon this basis, quite as full and satisfactory elementary education was built up as was attained under the oral method.
For fully a century the two methods just described were pursued with no attempt at combination, the former being often called the German Method and the latter the French, because of their having been invented and practised in Germany and France respectively.
During the first half-century of deaf-mute education in this country, the method pursued was the Manual, derived from the great school in Paris in 1816. And it may be said, in passing, that under this method the deaf children of the United States were given a school training, which transformed them from helpless, almost hopeless beings, into happy, self-reliant, self-supporting members of society.
In 1867, two schools for the deaf, modeled after those of Germany, were established in this country. This new departure attracted the attention of the managers of the older schools, and one or two prominent instructors were sent to Europe to examine schools for the deaf there, with a view of ascertaining whether any [20/21] change in the method theretofore practised in America was desirable. The reports of these investigators and the results shown in the two schools just alluded to, led the authorities of the other schools in the country to recommend that all deaf children should have an opportunity to learn to speak. They were not convinced, however, that it would be for the interests of these children to adopt the German or Oral Method to the exclusion of the other. And so it came about that a combination was soon effected in the larger schools of the country which has become general, and which is now recognized in educational circles throughout the world as the Combined System.
The two oral schools established in 1867 are still conducted as such; and a few others have come into being on the same basis. But none of the older institutions, while all have introduced speech-teaching to a greater or less extent, have closed their doors against manual methods. Several schools organized on the Pure Oral basis, satisfied that the best results could not be attained under any single method, have become Combined System schools.
In the somewhat prolonged controversy, which has been maintained in this country, Dr. Thomas Gallaudet has been always a supporter of the Combined System.
His varied and extended intercourse with the deaf has afforded him unusual opportunity to [21/22] judge of the results of the two different methods, for, in addition to the many naturally coming from manual schools, large numbers of those whose education had been conducted in purely-oral schools, have connected themselves with the organizations in which he has been prominent; and this in spite of the injunctions of their teachers against the use of the language of signs and against the association of the deaf together.
There were two prominent reasons why Dr. Gallaudet opposed the exclusive use of the Oral Method in the education of the deaf.
First, because his intercourse with those taught in this way satisfied him that great numbers did not succeed in acquiring a facility in speech that was at all commensurate with the amount of time and labor expended thereon.
His observations had made it clear that many deaf children of average mental ability, and some with more than this, were not able to become successful speakers and lip-readers.
The best speech these could acquire was so imperfect, and often so disagreeable to those who heard it, and consequently so hard to understand as to cause those who used it to be shunned by others.
This treatment wounded and discouraged these unsuccessful deaf speakers to such an extent that in many cases they gave up trying to speak and resorted to writing.
 Dr. Gallaudet's opinion was that in all such cases it would have been better if the time given to speech teaching had been devoted, under the Manual Method, to useful matters where success was possible.
His second reason for opposing the exclusive use of the Oral Method was because under it the language of signs is discredited and little used.
And here should be considered the prolonged and intimate intercourse with mother and wife which has been alluded to.
Dr. Gallaudet learned to talk with his fingers before he could use his tongue to express his thoughts and wishes.
In the home circle, as he grew up, the mimic language was co-existent with the vocal, and naturally the language of the mother was resorted to as often as the other.
These conditions continued in his own family after his marriage, and with this experience he was able in the years of his maturity to judge intelligently to what extent the use of the language of signs added to the happiness of the deaf, or detracted from it.
No doubt exists as to his opinion on this question. It was positive that to deny the deaf a free and reasonable use of that language nature has reserved for them, and limit them to a means of communication which is always artificial and often very imperfect, was to subject them to a definite wrong, amounting in many cases to cruelty.
 Dr. Gallaudet went so far as to claim, what has never been successfully disputed, that "signs are to the deaf what sound is to the hearing," and that no vehicle of communication is so natural, so agreeable, so inspiring to the deaf, as the language of gestures.
He has expressed this view in several conventions of instructors, and at a meeting held in Flint, Michigan, in 1895, read a paper on the subject, from which a quotation will be of interest.
"We are considering a class of people who are shut out from the sound of the human voice. We must think how far we can bring something into play which takes the place of the sound of the voice. Is it lip-reading? What a feeble substitute! Is it spelling? No; that does not take its place. Spell on the fingers 'I a-m g-l-a-d t-o s-e-e y-o-u.' Does that touch your hearts? It is the sound the voice gives which touches all and reaches the innermost hearts of men and women.
"Here are our dear friends to whom the sound of my voice is as nothing. What must we give them in its place? I want you all to feel that there is a force and power in the sign language of which many of you have had no conception.
"When I went into my father's school, the oldest school in the country for deaf boys and girls, and mingled with them, the sign language seemed to take the place of the language of [24/25] sounds. And I went on through life often speaking to myself through this, the sign language, just as I would in the language of sound. My dear mother was a mute, and I made up my mind I would not marry a deaf-mute--and therefore I did. My wife and I have talked in this way just as freely as I am talking to you now. So I went on through my pastoral work; it is all done in the sign language. We do not want to go to church and merely read over the cold type. The deaf-mutes read the signs; they bring to them the sight of the dear Lord; they tell of the Father with directness and eloquence."
In his advocacy of the use of the sign language with the deaf, Dr. Gallaudet always took pains to disclaim all purpose of undervaluing the effort to teach speech and lip-reading where this could be done successfully.
In the providence of God, a grand-daughter of Dr. Gallaudet's has been born deaf--the only one of the seventy-three descendants of his mother who has had this disability.
This little child is, with her grandfather's approval, now a pupil in what is known as a pure-oral school, and gives promise of achieving full success in speech and lip-reading. But with her friends at home, occasions often arise when the sign language is made use of to answer the many questions which a child, naturally, wishes to ask, and to convey ideas for which speech is not yet adequate.
 Dr. Gallaudet has repeatedly expressed to the writer the opinion that the mental, moral, and spiritual development of this little child, now eight years old, has been immeasurably greater than it could have been, had the use of signs been denied to her.
In forming an estimate of the influence of Dr. Gallaudet on Deaf-Mute Education in this country, many matters besides his opinions as to methods must be considered.
His position as a member of the boards of directors of several schools in New York State and elsewhere, gave him opportunities to advocate, as he always did, for deaf children, the fullest and broadest training, morally, mentally, and physically, which they were capable of receiving. He was an interested and earnest supporter of the College for the Deaf at Washington, always advising any young deaf-mutes of ability with whom he came in contact, to become students therein if possible.
While he favored the formation of Societies of the Deaf, for social intercourse and literary culture, he advised them not to confine themselves to associations with each other, but to come into all possible relations with hearing people.
There is every reason to believe that Dr. Gallaudet's opinions and his advice had great weight with the majority of teachers of the deaf in this country, but behind and above all that [26/27] he thought and said, his greatest power lay in what he was.
His benign and lovable personality "drew all men unto him."
In his life he was so pure, so sweet, so full of charity for all, with malice toward none, that no one could have ten words with him without being conscious of an ennobling inspiration.
Some years since, while visiting the writer at Washington, he gave the students of the College an impromptu address on Magnanimity. The thoughts which he expressed were like rays from a self-luminous source of light. Without making the slightest allusion to himself, he disclosed to those he was addressing what had been the rule and practice of his life in dealing with and judging of others.
The address was delivered in that silent language of which he was a master, with eloquence and clearness that were to those before him as impressive and convincing as any vocal utterances could be to those who hear.
In founding a church for the deaf, which has become the mother of many such, Dr. Gallaudet has set before the world an object lesson of great force as to the proper position of the deaf as a class in the community.
The mere fact that they could join in, sustain, and profit by such organizations, has given deaf people a standing and dignity in the eyes of others not previously accorded to them.
 And when the question of methods is considered, not only as related to the school life, but as to the entire adult life of their subjects, that certainly cannot be given preference which, carried to its logical conclusions, would make churches for the deaf impossible. And if supporters of the oral method claim, as some of them do, that under that method deaf persons, generally, may become such expert lip-readers as to be able to participate with profit and pleasure in ordinary church services, the answer is that this claim is not sustained by the experience and testimony of the orally-taught deaf. Far from this, the presence of such persons in large numbers in churches for the deaf, and their eager acquisition of a knowledge of the language of signs, which had been, to a great extent denied them in school, gives convincing approval to Dr. Gallaudet's idea that "the language of signs is to the deaf what sound is to the hearing."
The establishment of churches for their benefit has in yet another way elevated the deaf in the eyes of the world. For such churches there must be, of course, ministers having a ready command of the language of signs.
This demand has led more than a few well-educated, intelligent deaf men, to seek ordination as clergymen that they might minister with official authority to the spiritual needs of their own people.
 In some instances these applications met with strenuous opposition from the high officials of the church. But this, in all cases, eventually yielded, and eight or more deaf men have been ordained as ministers in the Episcopal Church, besides several in other denominations. The beneficent and uplifting influence of these faithful workers in the Master's vineyard is now recognized by all who have had knowledge of it.
For the good these men have done, and will yet do, and for all that those who join them and come after them may do, we must accord a degree of credit to Dr. Gallaudet, as the man who gave the initiative impulse to the work.
It may not be fitting for a brother to attempt to make a final, comprehensive, estimate of the value of the lifework of him in whose honor you are assembled. But he may, without impropriety, quote from a recently published eulogy of Dr. Gallaudet, written by one of the class to whose welfare his life was devoted.
Professor Draper, a graduate of the College for the Deaf at Washington, and for many years a member of its Faculty, writes in the American Annals of the Deaf, as follows:
"Providence has raised up for the deaf many benefactors. These lived and labored to lift the youthful deaf morally, intellectually and industrially. It remained for Thomas Gallaudet to emphasize publicly among the deaf of all ages [29/30] the incomparable claims of the spiritual life. This was a virgin field. It lay before him as untilled as the secular instruction of the deaf had lain before his father. He entered it solely upon his own and the Divine inspiration. He labored in it for more than half a century with a singleness of aim, an unselfishness of devotion, and a purity of winning personal example, that gained for him the unfeigned respect and the loving affection of the deaf of this and of many other lands.
"When a man like this dies, we mourn. Well we may. The world seems lonelier. Indeed it is. We feel that we shall not look upon his like again. We may not. But let us turn from sad reflections, and rather rejoice that it has been our lot to know these many years, to walk by the side, and be kindled by the spirit and be led by the shining example of Thomas Gallaudet."
 REV. DR. GALLAUDET AS A RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTOR OF THE DEAF BY THE REV. JOHN CHAMBERLAIN, D.D.
YOU have been favored with a summary of the progress made in the education of the deaf and an estimate of the Rev. Dr. Gallaudet's influence in its promotion as full and clear as could be condensed within the allotted time for its presentation. In that survey of the subject, attention has been directed chiefly to the intellectual and industrial and moral development of the deaf under teachers in the schools. But in a wider sense, education is not confined to the schools, nor embraced within the few years allowed for tutelage. Other agencies must supplement the work of the schools, if the growth there fostered is to be continuous. From a clergyman's point of view, education, to be full and true, must also be concerned with something more than physical and intellectual culture and the inculcation of moral precepts. It must seek to inform and mould the spiritual faculties. It ought to present sonic definite conception of God and of human relations toward Him, and to attempt to cultivate religious life.
 In this direction of spiritual culture, the schools for the deaf in the United States, excepting those which are under Roman control, accomplish comparatively very little. The very conditions, under which they exist, render it practically impossible to give definite religious instruction and training. It must also be borne in mind that a very large majority of the pupils live at the schools the greater part of each year during the time of their tuition, and there is small opportunity for outside influences, even those of the Church and the home, to reach them in any very effective way. Hence there is greater need that special opportunities for religious culture be provided after they leave school, that they may be brought into vital union with the Church of Christ, the divinely appointed means for the best cultivation of religious life. But the lack of hearing renders it practically impossible for them to derive anything near the measure of benefit others derive from the ordinary traditional public ministries of the Church. Those who become deaf later in life probably realize more keenly than any others how strongly stimulative those public ministrations are to spiritual growth. On the other hand, those who, because of deafness, have not earlier in life experienced the benefit of such stimulation, come to a high appreciation of it when brought to their experience through the language of motion as it is conveyed to [32/33] others through the rhythm and cadence of sound. To those who have never had the sense of hearing, articulate speech is simply a system of labial signs or symbols more artificial and less natural than that of manual signs. This remains true however high a degree of proficiency such an one may have attained in articulation and lip-reading. Hence, however the two may compare as a means for purely intellectual culture, the more natural language of manual signs is much more efficient for swaying the emotions and impressing and moulding the spiritual faculties. Here may be stated the result of long observation. In the average, the graduates of schools where manual signs are freely used, show a higher degree of moral and spiritual culture than those of schools where the use of signs is rejected. Here also may be recorded the unanimous testimony of many deaf persons, who had been taught to abstain from the use of manual signs, that they derived little or no benefit or gratification from oral addresses in public assemblies.
His recognition of such conditions, which we have thus too briefly reviewed, and his consciousness of his own peculiar qualifications, the Rev. Dr. Gallaudet, at the beginning of his ministry, interpreted as a call to himself to attempt to secure the opportunity for spiritual culture so sorely needed by the adult deaf. He promptly obeyed the call, and the results testify [33/34] that his was not a misinterpretation. He did not foresee how far that call would lead him, but in simple faith started and then patiently proceeded step by step, as Divine Providence opened the way toward the splendid achievement which has won our admiration, and for which we may well thank God, who enabled His servant. The word, influence, hardly characterizes adequately his relation to his work. Under divine guidance and blessing he accomplished an almost creative work. His strong faith in that guidance and confident anticipation of that blessing gave him courage to enter upon a practically untried field of Christian effort, and love inspired him with patience and zeal for its cultivation. Previously no systematic pastoral care had been provided for the adult deaf after leaving school by men able to sympathize fully with their peculiar modes of thought and feeling. No effort had been made in large centers of population, where they were to be found in considerable numbers, to call them together at stated times for religious worship and instruction in the language most natural to them, and most expressive of religious emotions. The parish founded by Dr. Gallaudet was the first in the world to make specific provision for ministrations to the deaf. That it met in some good degree a real need is attested by the numbers who have gladly and continuously used the [34/35] privileges there afforded, and by the beneficial effects wrought upon them.
But he did not confine his activity to one locality, content with presenting a pattern for others to imitate at their leisure. He visited other cities and awakened interest on behalf of the deaf, and inaugurated services for them, enlisting the aid of such clergy as were available and securing lay-readers where clergymen were not at hand. During his ministry he thus visited all the more important cities, and many smaller communities in the United States, and several in Canada. Many places he visited repeatedly to foster the work. In Philadelphia as in New York, there is a church exclusively for the deaf. Elsewhere accommodation is kindly granted by ordinary parishes. During the past few years Dr. Gallaudet, by invitation, several times visited England and Ireland to speak on behalf of a similar work there, which was inaugurated some time later than his own, and whose prime mover had been called to rest in Paradise.
There was lack of clergymen who could use sign-language, and of those who would undertake to acquire its use. In order to supply this lack in some measure, Dr. Gallaudet courageously determined to attempt to bring about the introduction of an innovation. He succeeded in convincing the late Bishop Stevens, of Pennsylvania, that the general acquisition of the use [35/36] of written language by the deaf, and their development of a language of signs admirably adapted to their use for the purpose of public worship and religious instruction, warrant a disregard of Mosaic precept and oriental and medieval canon law and the conferring of Holy Orders upon a deaf man who is intellectually and spiritually qualified. Hence, on October 8th, 1876, Bishop Stevens, assisted by four other American bishops and one Canadian and several priests, ordained to the Diaconate Mr. Henry W. Syle, who was later advanced to the priesthood. His abundant and successful labors attested the wisdom of the action. There are now eight deaf priests at work in this country (and one deacon in England). Through the ministry of these men, two thousand or more deaf people have been brought into communion with the Church.
We need not enter upon further detail. This all too brief sketch indicates, I trust, in some fair degree the extent and power of the influence which our lamented friend exerted for the furtherance of the religious instruction of the deaf, and that it was a splendid contribution to their progress in education in the highest sense.
Of course the enabling grace of God wrought in and with him. But there was the readiness on his part to put aside personal ambition and be God's instrument; the attitude: "Here am I. [36/37] Send me," and "Not I, but the grace of God, which was with me." His character and work were dominated more than the work and characters of most men are, by those three Christian graces which St. Paul pronounced abiding. Rooted in those graces were the rare combination of virtues that adorned his character and issued in his work: courage, patience, persistence, tenderness and toleration, and underlying, permeating and vitalizing all these, that cardinal virtue, unselfishness, which springs directly from the root of that grace, of which St. Paul declared: "The greatest of these is charity." Surely, like that great Apostle, he "fought a good fight, finished his course, kept the faith." We cannot doubt that for him "is laid up the crown of righteousness." And the message to us, written large in his character and in his work, is: "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ."
 THE INFLUENCE OF DR. GALLAUDET'S PERSONALITY AND WORK UPON THE DEAF COMMUNITY BY THE REV. J. MITCHELL KOEHLER, M.A.
THE special topic assigned me presents so many view points that this paper has been prepared with a feeling of some constraint. There are so many things of interest in connection that even to touch them in passing, would occupy far more than the time allowed.
One has but to read a few of the memorials already published, to realize the strong hold our departed brother had upon the affection and esteem of all who knew him, but especially upon the confidence and love of the deaf community. He was, as one of them has expressed it, "the best beloved and trusted friend of the deaf of this and past generations."
Dr. Gallaudet was completely wrapped up in his work among the deaf. He devoted himself to it with a marvelous generosity, doing with his might whatsoever his hand found to do, with a fervent spirit, serving the Lord. And it was this devotion to their interests that impressed the deaf more than anything else. It was [38/39] not so much what he accomplished as he tried to do for them that attracted their attention and won their love and admiration. All realized the singular simplicity and thorough goodness of his character, and recognized in him a consecrated leader of souls to Christ. No one could spend even a short time in his company without feeling the influence of his simple goodness.
His broad sympathies impressed every one. He was tolerant of all opinions that can be tolerated in the Church, although he held with unquestioned tenacity to her distinctive principles. The remarkable good he accomplished along Church lines, stimulated others "not of this fold" to undertake similar work, sometimes with good results. But while deploring these divisions among a people so few and scattered, Dr. Gallaudet had no quarrel with those who could not work with him in his own way. What he did or thought was less for himself than for the silent children of God's family.
"Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed,
To them his heart, his hopes, his griefs were given."
His earnest prayer and aim was that all may be found in the ranks of the redeemed.
The gratitude of the deaf towards their benefactors is one of their most noteworthy traits, [39/40] and it has been exhibited so often as to become almost proverbial; and their grateful appreciation of Dr. Gallaudet's labors was shown in many ways during his life. Among many instances, a few years ago the "Congress of the British Deaf and Dumb" presented him with a beautifully illuminated address; and on the occasion of his golden wedding anniversary, in 1895, hundreds gathered from all parts of the country, bringing congratulations and gifts, among the latter a purse of over five hundred dollars in gold. He was always an honored guest at conventions of the deaf, and I recall in particular the great ovation he received at an International Congress held in Paris. It was my privilege to be with him at many gatherings of the deaf here and abroad, and I can testify to the universal respect for him, and the quiet yet forceful influence he exerted everywhere.
The impression Dr. Gallaudet made upon the deaf is best shown, perhaps, in the way they are carrying on his life work. In the Church, nine deaf men have been ordained who have brought thousands of their fellows into pastoral relations. Their work ramifies into nearly every diocese. Others are preparing themselves for the ministry; and in the denominations several are doing well for the moral and spiritual uplifting of the class. In Ohio, the deaf have for some years maintained a Home for their Aged and Infirm; and those in Pennsylvania [40/41] will soon open a similar one, in a building not easily duplicated among charitable institutions. Other enterprises of a like character are under way elsewhere, in all of which the deaf themselves are taking a leading part. Can better illustrations be offered of the impression made by Dr. Gallaudet's personality and work upon the deaf community? Can anything better show their filial regard for him?
His death caused universal sorrow among the deaf, and their tributes to his worth are most beautiful and touching. These come from all quarters, and demonstrate with remarkable unanimity the great impression made upon the deaf by Dr. Gallaudet's life--a life which, as its beauty and power are unfolded to us, is marked, more and more, as one truly "hid with Christ in God."
To quote from a minute adopted by the "Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes," at Troy, on the day of Dr. Gallaudet's funeral, "through more than sixty years of loving ministration in their cause, he never swerved in devotion to their interests, so that in his death the deaf at large have been truly bereaved of a benefactor whose good works they revere and whose name they will hold in lasting remembrance." And says Le Journal des Sourds-Muets, of Paris: "If his memory be imperishable among the deaf of America, it is equally so among those of France; for he visited them [41/42] often, every time giving them evidence of his great goodness."
I think there is no need to enlarge upon the topic. "Ye know after what manner he has been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and how he kept back nothing that was profitable to you, but showed you and taught you publicly and from house to house testifying repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Doubtless unto him is given
A life that bears immortal fruit,
In such great offices as suit
The full-grown energies of Heaven."
 INSTITUTIONAL EDUCATION, AND THE EFFICIENCY OF DR. GALLAUDET AS TEACHER and DIRECTOR. BY PROF. ENOCH HENRY CURRIER, M.A.
THE Institutional Education of the Deaf in the City of New York and Dr. Gallaudet's Influence as Teacher and Director, has been assigned me as a topic for presentation on this memorial occasion.
The New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, located at this present on Washington Heights, ranks second in date among American Schools for the Deaf, the school at Hartford preceding it about one year. Several years previous to the founding of the Institution, the Rev. John Stanford, a man whose memory is still cherished as a bright example of piety and zealous labor in behalf of the unfortunate, made an effort to impart instruction to several children, whose ears were closed to the ordinary means of religious instruction, in the almshouse of which he was Chaplain. Being ignorant of the necessarily peculiar processes of teaching the deaf, he did not succeed beyond enabling them to write the names of a few familiar objects. [43/44] Consequently he found himself compelled to await a more favorable period for the realization of his wishes. This opportunity came, when, as one the founders, this Institution was established.
A census of seven of the ten wards of the city, completed January 23d, 1817, showed sixty-six deaf-mutes. The population was then 120,000, a proportion of 1 to 1818.
The gentlemen interested in this benevolent undertaking believed that it would be possible to accommodate all the deaf at one school, and consequently those belonging to the city of New York could be sent to the school at Hartford, Conn., under the care of the Rev. Dr. Gallaudet, the father of him whose memory we have this afternoon assembled to honor. The fear that this Hartford school might be injured by another school in New York was also expressed, and not until the spring of 1817 were further efforts to establish a school in New York resumed, at which time an organization was perfected with the Hon. De Witt Clinton at the head. The Legislature of New York, on April 15th, 1817, granted corporate privileges to this organization, and then was begun the legal existence of the New York Institution, which has continuously therefrom endeavored to ameliorate the condition of the deaf. By an interesting coincidence this date of incorporation was identical with that of the opening date for [44/45] the reception of pupils of the school at Hartford under the Principalship of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.
On the 20th of May, 1818, four young deaf-mutes were brought to the opening session of the New York school. The teacher was Mr. Stansbury, a gentleman of liberal education, who had, for a year, been at the Hartford school under the Rev. Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. From this simple day school of four pupils has grown the present Institution of four hundred and twenty pupils, at this time one of eight similar schools for deaf children in this State.
In the time allotted to me it will be impossible to do more than briefly mention the work accomplished by this school. Three thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine pupils have been taught during the eighty-four years that have elapsed since its organization, following a course of study ranging from Kindergarten to Academic. Lip-reading and articulation are taught to all; education of the ear where there is a remnant of hearing; a mechanical trade to each pupil; classes in cooking; instruction in all branches of art; a department of floriculture; gymnasium under the supervision of a physical director; and military drill for the boys. This is the present condition of the Institution with which the late Dr. Thomas Gallaudet had been continuously connected [45/46] from 1844 to 1858 as a teacher, and from 1866 as a Director, an Institution which stands indebted to his father not only for the first teachers but also for the talented son, who for upwards of fifty-nine years gave devoted and constant service to the advancement of its interests.
As might be expected in a man of Dr. Gallaudet's careful and special training for the education of the deaf, which may be said to have begun in the observations of boyhood, broadened in youth, in manhood put into practical use as a teacher, still further extended by the experience of sixteen years in the classroom and forty additional years as a Director of the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, he held well-defined and advanced views.
His ideas were the embodiment of simple practicality. Indeed, in the first paper he presented on the subject of deaf-mute instruction, read at the first Convention of American Instructors, in 1850, he argued that the teachers of the deaf of that day were too much interested in the theory of instruction, and as a consequence the great mass of deaf-mutes did not make those advances which they would, if more regard had been manifested for the perfecting of the practice of the system. This talent for the actual, notwithstanding the seemingly trusting nature of the man, was ever evident, and no more so than in the subsequent results [46/47] which attended his efforts for the establishment of St. Ann's Church for Deaf-Mutes, and of the Gallaudet Home.
With respect to the views which he held on the subjects of the status of institutions for the deaf, systems and methods, I can only present a rapid resume, in order that time be allowed for an extended presentation of his efforts in the field in which his life was specially cast.
In considering the deaf-mute as an individual, Dr. Gallaudet held that, whatever method is taken in their instruction, deaf-mutes are a special class. They are a peculiar people and will ever remain such in many respects, there being inherent difficulties which they never can overcome until the time arrives when all human imperfections will be removed. He desired deaf-mutes to take the highest positions, but he was not discouraged if they were compelled to live in a quiet, unobtrusive way, and if, perchance, they made mistakes in language, provided they tried to lead a moral and correct life, and do their full duty in that state of life to which God had called them, he respected them and loved them. He believed it was possible to give deaf-mutes with ordinary faculties not only an education, but also the elements of social usages and correct bearing in society. Wherever deaf-mutes were employed, he urged that they should be treated upon their merits as individuals, and if they [47/48] were encouraged to take up the profession of teaching, they should receive a salary sufficient to maintain a family. It will thus be seen that, while holding to the opinion that deaf-mutes were a peculiar people, he ever held that they were entitled to an equal place, as their capabilities warranted, with the hearing.
In relation to Institutions for the education of deaf-mutes, Dr. Gallaudet believed the education of the deaf-mute child should be wholly free, so that every deaf-mute in the State could be reached without putting any one to the mortification of going before an official to state he was not able to pay for the education of his child. The Institutions should be in such a condition that they could receive every deaf-mute of proper age, and be made as complete and effective in all departments as possible. He favored small schools, with an attendance of 200 to 250 pupils. He believed that in New York, by judiciously multiplying the institutions, since it was difficult to transport little children a long distance, several hundred more pupils could be brought to school. He deemed it wise to bring the school within a reasonable distance of the homes, and make it known to every one that there was a school for the deaf-mutes nearby, thus affording education easy to be secured by many families wherein were deaf children.
There is one subject upon which he held strong and unchangeable opinion throughout [48/49] his whole life, that of the value of the sign language. Of this he was certainly most competent to express an opinion, for he grew up among deaf-mutes so naturally that, as he himself often said, it was several years before he realized that the deaf required two languages. They talk both by English and by signs, and this in a sort of general way, without realization of that fact. He held, therefore, that it was necessary to bring deaf children to appreciate that they had two languages. They naturally think in the sign language, and they therefore write in the order of the sign language, and not in that of the English order. It is not an easy thing to do, to speedily practice the use of the English order, but if it were done it would be a great help to the teacher. In his own earlier experience as a teacher he states he tried to do the best he could, but he did not have the idea of two languages clearly in mind. If the deaf child taught by signs is made to realize as soon as possible that he must use two languages, the English and the sign language, it would be found to materially aid him. He declared that he himself thought in the sign language, and was in that respect like a congenital deaf-mute. He spelled a word now and then--some quotation--but the ideas he evolved in the sign language. While pupils might be taught by the sign language, the teacher should guard them from writing in the order of that language.
 The sign language he held was based upon nature, perfected by philosophy and art, and capable of receiving additions tending towards greater beauty, force and scope. In his opinion it was the grand medium of imparting ideas to deaf-mutes, of explaining written language, of carrying on an ordinary conversation, of moulding character, of conducting the public worship of Almighty God. He protested against its being tampered with, slightingly spoken of, or shorn of its strength by endeavors to use it in the order of any spoken language. These sentiments, although expressed in 1853, may be regarded as Dr. Gallaudet's "Articles of Faith" in regard to the sign language and its proper use. He added that his mind was so clear as to the necessity of preserving the sign language in all its integrity, and of increasing its scope and gracefulness, that he assumed the whole matter as an axiom, the simple statement of which carried its own conviction to those at all familiar with the language. From his last public utterance on this subject, spoken at the Sixteenth Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, at Buffalo, in July, 1901, I quote:--
"We cannot settle down, on any one method of teaching deaf-mutes. It depends on the teacher, in a great measure, studying the question and then working it out from his own [50/51] personality. I fear in this effort to teach deaf-mute children too much by merely spelling to them, or speaking to them, we lose sight of the fact of the loss of the sound of the human voice. In the teaching of hearing children they are accumulating from time to time certain sounds which illustrate ideas, rather confused at first, but by and by the sound of the human voice brings up an idea, which is communicated then with a printed word, or a written word; and there I get back to the underlying fact of the whole thing, and that is what the intelligent deaf-mutes tell us themselves, that 'we need the sign-language to bring out ideas with deaf-mute children,' just as we use the sound of the human voice to connect ideas with words and sentences with hearing children; and to undertake to keep a lot of deaf-mute children away from you and say 'we will spell,' and 'we will read the lips,' and 'we will write the sign--no, no; no signs; that is out of the question; that is the eleventh commandment,'--as I was told somewhere, that was put up,--'no signs,' I think that is a fallacy. With a deaf-mute mother, and a deaf-mute wife, I love signs, and I use them, and shall continue to use them. I use them with my little grand-daughter. I could give you several wonderful instances showing, not yet her use of language but her ideas of preparing the way for the use of language. So I say again, my dear friends, don't dabble with [51/52] the sign language, don't get it down in the dust and stamp on it, but cultivate it, make it a means of explaining words and sentences, and ideas and thoughts. There is something more in life than a mere knowledge of the English language. There is happiness, which comes from the Spirit of God into the inmost life; and we all know we have to have lectures and debates and services to get hold of the personalities of our deaf-mute friends, to lead them up to something higher than a mere knowledge of the English language."
Because of this earnest advocacy of the sign-language, it should not be presumed that Dr. Gallaudet was a foe to instruction in articulation. He admitted that there had been a change in his own mind with regard to articulation. There had been a time when he had less clear ideas about it, and much less confidence in it. But he believed that while there was a great value in it, it was not the powerful awakener of a dormant mind.
Upon the subject of religious instruction in institutions, he held very deep convictions. He would have the positive institutions of the whole gospel system recognized and acted upon. Year after year, he saw more clearly the importance of this, not relying so much upon mere feeling and sentiment, as upon a humble and sincere obedience to the great Saviour of the world. He thought that pupils might be [52/53] kindly told by their teachers that, while under the existing condition of things, it is not practicable to introduce any sectarian religious organization into the institutions, it was very important to them, as soon as they reached their homes and began to take their positions in life, to become active members of some religious body.
As to the form of service, he believed in one that was calculated to be most useful to the deaf and dumb; that it should be entirely removed from the old question of liturgy and anti-liturgy, and the only question should be, is it going to benefit the tone of character and promote the highest possible mental development in deaf-mutes. He considered a desirable plan, that of allowing a portion of the service for extemporaneous prayer, then the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments and Apostle's Creed, in which almost all denominations are agreed. Such were the lessons taught by Dr. Thomas Gallaudet in his earnest and useful service as Teacher and Director.
The sweet influence for good of this gentle, kindly man, upon the deaf, cannot be better told than by the following testimonial, written by one of that class for whom his long life was spent:--
Thus briefly have I presented to your attention a special phase in the life of our departed friend and co-laborer in the uplifting of mankind. The glorious results of the work which he loved and to which his life was consecrated, will ever stand an enduring monument until the imperfections of humanity become perfections in eternity.