Gallaudet Thomas Hopkins, Lld
Gallaudet Thomas Hopkins, Ll.D., an eminent Congregational minister and philanthropist, was born December 10, 1787, in Philadelphia. He graduated at Yale College in 1805, and was chosen tutor in 1808, which office he held two years, after which he was engaged in mercantile business until 1811, when he entered the theological seminary. In 1814 he received his license, and became pastor at Portsmouth. Here he became interested in a little deaf and dumb girl, Alice Cogswell, and instructed her with success. Her father, Dr. Cogswell, became the founder of an association for the aid of deaf mutes; and funds being provided, Mr. Gallaudet resigned his ministry, and went to Europe in 1815 to stuidy the existing deaf and dumb institutions. At the London Deaf and Dumb Asylum he was refused admission except as junior assistant. He then went to Edinburgh, but there the teacher had learnt his system from the Messrs. Braidwood, and had been compelled to sign an engagement not to impart the method to any other person intending to become a teacher. He then betook himself to Paris, and was warmly received by the abbe Sicard. Everything was laid freely open to him. He was able to return to America before the close of 1816, and Sicard allowed Laurent le Clerc, a deaf-mute, who was one of the best teachers of the institution, to accompany him to America. During his absence in Europe the society had been incorporated; Mr. Gallaudet was now appointed its principal, Le Clerc being his head assistant, and on the15th of April, 1817, The American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, at Hartford, Connecticut, was formally opened. Mr. Gallaudet remained head of the asylum until 1830, when he resigned from failing health. The system which he established was founded on that of Sicard, with modifications. "It is known as the American system. The main principle with Mr. Gallaudet was to call out the intelligence of the pupil as much as possible, by exercising him in describing things for himself, and to discourage the mere learning by rote; and the result was to stimulate the mind of the teacher, as well as of the pupil, in no ordinary degree. Mr. Gallaudet's exertions were by no means confined to the deaf and dumb asylum. He took an ardent and active interest in the improvement and extension of common schools, and in the raising up of a superior body of teachers, and wrote several pamphlets on the subject. He also zealously advocated the adoption of means of imparting moral and religious training to prisoners, and was an earnest promoter of the movement for improving the management of the insane. So strongly did he feel on this matter, that, though in but feeble health, he accepted in 1838 the office of chaplain of the state Retreat for the Insane at Hartford, where, it is stated, 'the experience' of each successive year furnished accumulating evidence of the usefulness of his labors, and the efficacy of kind moral treatment and a wise religious influence in the melioration and care of the insane.'" He died September 10, 1851. Besides a number of tracts and essays on the education of the deaf and dumb, and on the treatment of the insane, he published Discourses on various Points of Christian Faith and Practice (Lond. 1818, 8vo): — Remarks on Teachers' Seminaries (1826): — The Child's Book on the Soul (1830, often reprinted, and translated into most European languages): — Scripture Biography (5 volumes, 1838-1844). See Humphrey, Life and Labors of Gallaudet (N.Y. 1857, 12mo); English Cyclopaedia; Sprague, Annals, 2:609.