Pro vita sua ..... continued
Those meetings in London continued, and (after the Kings Return in 1660) were increased with the accession of divers worthy and Honorable Persons; and were afterwards incorporated by the name of the Royal Society, etc. and so continue to this day.
In the year 1649 I removed to Oxford, being then Publick Professor of Geometry, of the Foundation of Sr. Henry Savile. And Mathematicks which had before been a pleasing Diversion, was now to be my serious Study. And (herein as in other Studies) I made it my business to examine things to the bottom; and reduce effects to their first principles and original causes. Thereby the better to understand the true ground of what bath been delivered to us from the Antients, and to make further improvements of it. What proficiency I made therein, I leave to the Judgement of those who have thought it worth their while to peruse what I have published therein from time to time; and the favorable opinion of those skilled therein, at home and abroad.
In the year 1653 I was persuaded to publish a Grammar of the English Tongue; chiefly to gratify strangers, who were willing to learn it: (because of many desirable things published in our Language) but complained of its difficulty for want of a Grammar, suited to the propriety and true Genius of the Language.
To this I prefixed a Treatise of Speech (de Loquela) wherein I have Philosophically considered the Formation of all Sounds used in Articulate Speech, (as well of our own, as of any other Language that I know;) By what Organs, and in what Position each sound was formed; with the nice distinctions of each, (which in some letters of the same Organ, is very subtitle) So that, by such Organs, in such Position, the Breath issuing from the Lungs, will form such Sounds, whether the Person do or do not hear himself speak. Which was, I think, a new attempt, not before undertaken by any (that I knew of) before that time. For tho' it were observed, that some letters were Labials, some Dentals, some Palatines, and some Gutturals; and some Grammarians have in some [measure] few skewed a different Formation in some few of the same Organ; yet it is but of very few they have so done; and very imperfectly; None (that I know of) had before attempted it, as to all; whatever may have been done since in pursuance of what I had then taught.
In pursuance of this, I thought it very possible to teach a Deaf person to speak, by directing him, so to apply the Organs of Speech, as the sound of each letter required, (which children learn by imitation and manifold attempts, rather than by art:) And in the year 166o being importuned by some friends of his, I undertook so to teach Mr. Daniel Whalley of Northampton, who had been Deaf and Dumb from a Child. I began the work in 1661, and in little more than a years time, I had taught him to pronounce distinctly any words, so as I directed him (even the most difficult of the Polish Language, which a Polish Lord then in Oxford could propose to him, by way of trial, of those five or six select hard words, which they use to propose to others, as not to be pronounced by any but themselves :) and in good measure to understand a Language and express his own in writing; And he had in that time read over to me distinctly (the whole or greater part of) the English Bible; and did pretty well understand (at least) the Historical part of it.