Dictionnaire François—Onontagué by John Gilmary Shea

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This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Author: John Gilmary Shea

Release Date: March 10, 2005 [EBook #15310]

Language: French / Onondaga / English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by David Starner, Renald Levesque and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team


With the increasing interest felt in the Science of Ethnology, much
attention has of late been given to the study of the languages of the
aboriginal tribes of America, and it must be confessed that more
philosophical research, talent and investigation have been bestowed upon
them in Germany than in our own country. Yet the science is still in its
infancy. Relying on crude or hastily taken vocabularies, which often
confound different languages, many have set on foot theories, and
entered into criticisms, which fall to the ground on the examination of
a carefully prepared grammar or dictionary of the language. Fortunately,
of very many American languages such works exist, often the labor of
early missionaries, whom a long residence with a tribe, a knowledge of
their habits, manners, and usages, enabled to write with accuracy and

Very few of these works were printed. Most have remained in manuscript,
and are liable to perish by accident. Every investigator knows that many
which survived till a few years since are now irrecoverably lost.

The language of a tribe is its most important relic. The mechanical arts
were rude, and the remains so scanty, that mound and bone pit, and
deserted village, have given us scarce a clue to the history of the
peoples to whom they belong. But language is the great key to the
affinities of the tribes, and often enables us to trace their
migrations, and in all cases to determine their kindred.

We owe it to posterity to allow the work of destruction to go no
further, and to put in a permanent form every work now in manuscript,
giving the grammatical structure or a full vocabulary of an Indian
dialect. Our national honor is interested, and the learned abroad even
now begin to wonder at our indifference.

Impelled by a desire to save these works, I began a series of them,
printing a few copies of each, from the original manuscripts, my object
being to preserve them; and seven grammars or dictionaries, of different
tribes, have already been issued. So much, however, is yet to be done,
that I appeal to the Public Libraries, the Historical Societies, and
Literary Institutions of the Country, as well as to Ethnologists, here
and abroad, to aid me, by subscribing to the series: as the greater the
number of subscribers, the lower the works can be afforded, and the
greater the number of volumes that can be issued.

The works are handsomely printed on good paper, and carefully edited,
forming a series of Royal 8vo. volumes creditable to any collection.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 2nd Dec 2021, 4:40