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S T A M M E R I N G 






JAMES HUNT, PH.D., F.S.A., F.R.S.L. F.E.S., 

[Honorary Secretary of the Ethnological Society of London.) 







247 * 




% j 


Aristides the Rhetorician. 


To you, my dear pupils, who have felt the physical 
and mental pangs attending impeded utterance, and the 
feeling of relief when the ' thoughts that breathe ' readily 
find vent ' in words that burn,' I dedicate this volume. 

I cheerfully acknowledge the many tokens of gratitude I 
have received from you, and I am equally thankful that it 
has been my privilege to remove or alleviate your infirmity , 
so that you are now enabled to do the work assigned to 
you in this world. 

That you may succeed and prosper in the respective paths 
you have chosen, will always remain the sincere wish of 

Your faithful Friend, 

Ort House, near Hastings. JAMES HUNT. 

December, 1860, 


The third edition of my " Treatise on the Cure of 
Stammering" being out of print, I have embraced this 
opportunity of issuing the present work in lieu of 
another edition of the Treatise. Though a portion of 
the latter is necessarily embodied in this volume, 
yet the whole has been so altered and so many addi- 
tions and, I trust, improvements made, that it may be 
considered as essentially a new book. The reader may 
now search without disappointment for every phase of 
defective utterance, as the present volume contains, in 
a condensed form, a comprehensive survey of nearly all 
theories and remedies proposed in relation to impedi- 
ments of speech, from the earliest period to the present 

For reasons stated in the text, it is not pretended 
tliat a mere perusal of these pages will enable afflicted 
persons to cure themselves ; but they certainly will 
derive from it everv information as to the nature of 

their infirmity, as well as the conviction that im- 
pediments of speech, so long held to be incurable, are 
as amenable to treatment as other disorders of the 
human frame. 

One of the main objects of this work is, moreover, to 
impress on parents and guardians the great importance 
of meeting the evil in embryo, so. as to prevent it 
taking root. 

In expressing, finally, my acknowledgments for the 
favourable reception my former contributions to this 
subject have met with from the Press, the Medical Pro- 
fession, and the Public generally, I may be allowed to 
add that it has been my anxious desire to render this 
little volume as complete as possible, in order to make 
it more worthy of the favour bestowed on its pre- 


Ore House, near Hastings, 

December, 1860. 




Impediments of Speech a real affliction — Production 
of Voice and Speech — The Vocal Cords — The 
Organs of Articulation — The Principal Nerves 
distributed upon the Vocal and Articulating Ap- 
paratus — Alalia and Dyslalia — Synonyms ex- 
pressive of Impediments of Speech in various 
languages ...... Page 1 


Stammering and Stuttering Defined. ,/ 

The Meaning of Words — Stammering as contra-dis- 
tinguished from Stuttering — Stammering and its 
Causes — Consonantal Stammering — Action of the 
Velum — The Chief Causes of Stammering — Stut^ 
tering — Vowel Stuttering — Consonantal Stuttering 
Principal Causes of Stuttering . Page 11 


Minor Defects of Articulation. 

Defective Enunciation of the Consonant R — The Gut- 
tural and the Lingual R — Alcihiades — The Netv- 
castle burr — Demosthenes — Method for the Re- 
moval of the Defect — Affected Rhotacism — 
Sigmatism — Rhinism — Cluttering and Pattering ^ Page 25 



Statistics ok Psp:llism. 

Number of Stutterers and Stammerers — The Female 
Sex — Injinence of Languages on Impediments of 
Speech — Stuttering among Savages . . Page 35 


External Influences ox Articulation. 

Hereditary Transmission — Influence ofTemjjerature 
— Temperament — Psijchical Injluences — The 
Emotions — Illustrative Cases — Remarks on cer- 
tain received Opinions in relation to Stamynerinq 
and Stuttering Page 40 


Historical Review of the Chief Theories and 
Modes of Treatment. 

First Period 

First Scripture Records — Herodotus — Aristotle — 
Hippocrates — Plutarch — Demosthenes — Celsus — 
Galenus — Meaning of Terms . . . Page 55 


Historical Review, &c. 

Second Period. 

Mercurialis — Bacon — Amman — Sauvages — Frank 
Ita rd — Deleau — Serres — Rullier — 3Ic Cormac — 
Hervez de Chegouin — Arnott — Midler — Schul- 
thess — Bell — Voisin — Marshall Hcdl — Lichtinger 
— American Theory and Method — Jourdant — 
Carpenter Pa(;e Qb 



Surgical Operations. 

Galen — Aetius — Fahricius Hildanm — Diefferibacli 
Frorlep — Phillpp and Velpeau — Amussat — Bon- 
net — Petreipiin — Lang^ihacli — The American 
.Surgeons — The English Surgeons — Danger and 
Usclessness of these Operations — Dr. Claessen — 
Summary of Operations .... Page 110 


Is PsELLisM A Disease ? 

The late Mr. HnnVs Opinion — Gellius-Ulpian — 
Organic Defects — Cases — Psellism and Chorea — 
Treatment of Chorea in France — Psellism in some 
Cases the Cause and not the Effect of Disease, Page 120 


System of the late Mr. Hunt and Peactice 
OF the Author. 

Secret Remedies — System of Thomas Hunt — State- 
ment of the Author — Benefit derived from the 
Perusal of Written Instructions — Self-cure — Re- 
marks on the elder HunVs System — Treatment — 
Psychical Treatment — How to Detect Organic Mal- 
formation — Effects of the Removal of the Im- 
pediment Page 129 

jVIanagement of Stuttering Children. 

Ihe Flogging System — Joseph Frank — When Stam- 
mering is first noticed — Importance of Meeting the 
Evil at the Outset — Elocution — Relapses — Re- 
marks by Dr, Warren— Concluding Remarks^ Page 145 


Appendix A, 

Memoir of the late Thomas Hunt — Dr. Forhes and 
Mr. Liston on Mr. Hunfs System — Messrs. 
Chambers and Forster — Death of Mr. Hunt-^ 
Pretenders to his System ^ . . . Page 156 

Appendix B. 

Hints to Stammerers ..... Page 167 

Appendix C. 

Testimonials, ^x Page 172 

Pace 40.— Heading of Chapter Toa External Influences of 
Articxdation read External Ivflxienccs ox Articulation. 
Page 71.— Bottom line for Medicals read Medicales. 



Among the many calamities incidental to human nature 
there are few so distressing as confirmed stuttering, 
especially that variety which is attended with mus- 
cular contortions. Those persons who have only 
occasionally met with cases of defective utterance in 
general society, can have but a faint idea of the agony 
of its victims, unless they have witnessed its effects in the 
domestic circle, or in subjects in whose welfare they- 
feel interested. It is, indeed, a melancholy spectacle to 
see a youth, born to a good position, of refined intel- 
lect, possessing extensive information, seemingly des- 
tined to adorn society, and yet, though so highly 
gifted, unable to give oral expression to his thoughts, 
without inflicting pain on those who listen ^to him, or 



subjecting himself to ridicule ; for, while the deaf-mute 
is pitied, the stutterer is generally laughed at.^ 

But not only is the victim of defective utterance 
debarred from the pleasures of social intercourse, he 
must also give up all hope of professional success, at 
the bar, the pulpit, the senate, and the chair, and 
must strike out for himself some new path for which, 
perhaps, neither his talent nor inclination fit him. 

Nor is an impediment of speech less distressing 
when it affects a young female. The adage of Horace, 
— " Foeminaa verba hatha decent^'' — that stammering 
is becoming in females is, if not sheer irony, a poetical 
license. It is just possible that a slight singularity 
of enunciation may serve to draw attention to other 
graces a yoimg lady may possess ; but certain it is, 
that confirmed stuttering throws all the enchantments 
of youth and beauty into the shade, and must even- 
tually blight her happiness. 

A popular author has well depicted this distressing 
affliction in the following verses*. — 

* To laugh at the mi; fortunes of our fellow-creatures is 
certainly very wrong, but so ludicrous are the grimaces of 
most stutterers, that it is next to impossible not to laugh them 
in the face. The lud an stage had, in ray time, a special actor 
(/7 tartaglia) to play the part of the stutterer." (P/a.r. Med. 
Univ. J. Frank). 


Tlie Stammerer's Complaint* 

" Has't ever seen an eagle chained to the earth ? 
A restless panther to his cage immured ? 
A SAvift trout by the wily fisher checked ? 
A wild bird hopeless strain its broken wings r" 

'* Or ever felt, at the dark dead of night, 
Some undefined and horrid incubus, 
Press down the very soul, and paralyse 
The limbs in their imaginary flight 
From shadowy terrors in unhallowed sleep :" 

" Then thou can'st picture — ay, in sober truth — 
In real, unexaggerated truth — 
The constant galling, festering chain that binds 
Captive my mute interpreter of thought ; 
The seal of lead enstamped upon my lips, 
The load of iron on my labouring chest, 
The mocking demon, that at every step, 
Haunts me, and spurs me on — to burst in silence. 

' I scarce would wonder if a godless man 
(I name not him whose hope is heavenward), 
A man whom lying vanities hath scath'd 
And harden' d from all fear — if such an one, 
By this tyrannical Argus goaded on, 
Were to be wearied of his very life. 
And daily, hourly foiled in social converse 
By the slow simmering of disappointment. 
Become a sour'd and apathetic being, 
Were to feel rapture at the approach of Death, 
And long for his dark hope— annihilation," 

* Ballads for the Times. By Martin Tupper. 


Production oj Speech. 

The production of speech is effected by the conjoint 
agency of the respiratory, vocal, and articulating 
organs. ^'Hie function of respiration may be carried on 
independent of articulation ; but voice and speech 
cannot be produced without the action of the respira- 
tory organs. 

The respiratory apparatus includes the lungs, the 
trachea (windpipe), the rU^s, and all the muscles con- 
nected with them, the diaphragm and the abdominal 

The production of the voice takes place in the larynx 
— a cartilaginous box situated at the anterior part of 
the neck on the top of the windpipe, with which it is 
connected by membranes and ligaments. On looking 
downwards into the interior of the larynx, there may 
be observed on each side two folds of the mucous 
lining membrane. These folds, which are composed of 
highly elastic tissue, have received the name of vocal 
cords or vocal ligaments. 

The inferior membranes are the organs chiefly con- 
cerned in the production of voice ; hence they 
are called the true vocal cords, while the superior 
membranes are termed the false vocal cords. The 


narrow opening between the true vocal cords is called 
the rima glottidis (chink of the glottis) or simply the 

The vocal cords are acted upon by a variety of mus- 
cles, which have the power of shortening, elongating, 
or stretching them, by which the varieties of pitch are 
produced. But though all the fundamental sounds are 
produced in the larynx, they may, by the action of the 
organs between the glottis and the external apertures, 
such as the pharynx, the soft palate, the tongue, the 
teeth, &c., be so modified as to become articulate 
sounds — a combination of which constitutes speech. 

The muscles by which articulation is effected are, 
at first, only partially subject to the will. Thus we 
have a control over the movements of the lips, the 
cheeks, and the greater portion of the muscles of the 
tongue ; but over the muscles of the pharynx, the soft 
palate, and those muscles of the tongue which carry its 
root upwards or downwards, our power is not so com- 

" We may tell the patients," observes Magendie " to 
depress the tongue because it hides the tonsils ; they 
make many efforts, and it is more by chance than by 
volition that the action is obtained. If they are desired 
to raise the velum, the will has scarcely any power. 


It is the same with regard to the production of sounds 
in the larynx and in speaking. The voice is produced, 
Ave articulate without exactly knowing what movements 
are passing in the larynx or in the mouth. This is one 
of the marvellous results of animal organisation. 
This perfect mechanism, by which the most compli- 
cated acts are executed is not subject to the will ; an 
admirable instinct presides, the perfection of which 
will always remain beyond human ken. It is this 
instinct which presides over the innumerable move- 
ments requisite for the production of voice and speech." 

These opinions of Magendie have been much can- 
vassed ; but they are in the main correct. Magendie 
does not say, as he is represented, that the muscles of 
the root of the tongue, the soft palate, and the pha- 
rynx are not under our control, but only that they are 
not completely so. They may thus be considered as 
involuntary muscles in the act of deglutition ; but they 
are completely under the influence of the will of a per- 
fect speaker or singer, although, like an acrobat, he 
may not be cognisant of the state of the particular 
muscles called into motion, nor of the mode by wliich 
he effects their harmonious action. 

The principal nerves upon which the healthy action 
of the vocal and articulating apparatus depends are : — 


The inferior laryngeal branch of the 10th pair, 
{Pneumo-gastric) called, from its peculiar reflex course 
to the larynx, the recurrent nerve, supplying most of 
the muscles of the larynx. 

2. The glosso-pharyngeal, supplying the tongue and 
the pharynx. 

3. The facial nerve {portio dura), by which the 
movements of the face and the lips are regulated. 

4. The hypoglossal or lingual nerve, the principal 
branches of which are distributed to the tongue, of 
which it is the principal motor; to which must be 
added the phrenic nerve, supplying the diaphragm, and 
in fact, most of the nerves connected with respiration. 

All the muscles supplied by these nerves must act in 
harmony in the production of speech ; and a want of 
control over the emission of voluntary power to one of 
these muscles may afiect a number of other muscles 
with which they are in the habit of acting con- 

"We thus perceive that the process of utterance is 
determined by a variety of nervous tracts upon which 

* For a minute description of all the organs concerned in 
vocalisation and articulation, the reader is referred to the 
Author's work, Philosophy of Voice and Speech. Longman and 
Co.. 1859. 


the activity of the muscles of the abdomen, the thorax, 
the larynx, the pharynx, the tongue, and the face 
depends. Though each of these organs has its pecu- 
liar functions, they must act synchronously, or in certain 
successions. If, then, their association be interrupted 
by an altered condition of any of the respective nerves 
or muscles, the emission of certain sounds and their 
articulation, becomes impeded. 

Speech, then, is articulated voice ; but the instant 
of time which intervenes between the formation of the 
sound in the larynx, and its articulation in the cavity 
of the mouth is so short, that it can scarcely be appre- 
ciated, hence the production of voice and speech appear 
as synchronous phenomena. 
(^The perfection of speech depends : 

1. On the development of the mind. 

2. On the healthy state of the vocal and articulating 

( 3. On the right use of all the organs concerned in 
the production of voice and articulate sound. 

The entire deprivation of speech may result from 
either of the following causes : 
. 1. From imbecility of mind, as in perfect idiocy. 
2. From deafness, congenital, or acquired, and 
* /3. From serious defects in the organs of speech. 


The state technically called Alalia,"^ or mutelsin, does 
not any further concern us, the subject of this 
treatise being Dyslalia,] which consists, either in the 
impossibility or difficulty of correctly forming and 
enunciating certain articulate sounds, or of properly 
conjoining the elementary sounds for the purposes of 
distinct utterance. Dyslalia thus embraces every 
species of defective utterance, each appearing under a 
variety of forms. 

Synonyms expressive of impediments of speech in general 
in various languages. 

Hebeevt. — Kobad peh (slow of speech); loag (to 

stammer) ; eleg (a stutterer). 
Greek. — Psellismos ; Traulismos ; Ischnophonia ; 

Latin. — Balbuties ; blaesitas ; haesitantia linguae. 
Fkench.— Begayer ; barbouiller ; balbutier ; bre- 

Italian. — Balbetare; tartaliagre ; scingulatio. 

* A, priv. lalia, speech. See the chapter on deaf-dumbness, 
Philosophy of Voice a7id Speech. Longman and Co., 1859. 

t Drjs, difficult; lalia, speech. 


Spanish. — Tartamudear. 

Gaelic. — Gaggach ; gagganach (a stutterer) ; man- 

dach (lisping) ; briot (chitter-chatter). 
Anglo-Saxon. — Stomettan ; stamer ; pblips ; melyst. 
German. — Stammela; stottern; anstossen. 
English. — Stammer; stut; stutter; lisp. 




" When I began to examine the extent and cer- 
tainty of our understanding, I found that it had so near 
a connection with words that, unless their force and 
manner of signification were first well observed, there 
would be very little said clearly and pertinently con- 
cerning knowledge." 

" He that shall consider the errors and obscurity, the 
mistakes and confusion that are spread in the world 
by an ill-use of words, will find some reason to doubt 
whether language, as it has been employed, has contri- 
buted more to the improvement or hindrance of know- 
ledge among mankind," 

" I know there are not words enough in our language 

* Extracts from Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding. 


to answer all the variety of ideas that enter into man's 
discourses and reasonings. But this hinders not that 
when he uses any term he may have in his mind a 
determined idea, which he makes it the sign of, and to 
which he should keep it steadily annexed during that 

It will presently appear how forcibly these just 
remarks of our great philosopher apply to our subject. 

Stammering as contra-distinguished from Stuttering. 

The terms "stammering" and "stuttering" are in 
this country synonymously used to designate all kinds 
of defective utterance. In no English M'ork written 
upon this subject has the exact discrimination between 
these disorders, which diflfer both in kind and in origin, 
been laid down with scientific correctness. From this 
confusion of terms have arisen many errors in theory 
and in practice, for no treatment can be efficacious 
unless our diagnosis be correct. 

It is, therefore, requisite that the distinctive cha- 
racter of each affection should be clearly defined at the 
very outset. 

Stammering {per se) is characterised by an inability or 
difficulty of properly enunciating some or many of the 


elementary speech-sounds, accompanied or not, as the 
case may be, by a slow, hesitating, more or less indis- 
tinct delivery, but unattended with frequent repetitions 
of the initial sounds, and consequent convulsive efforts 
to surmount the difficulty. 

Stuttering, on the other hand, is a vicious utterance, 

manifested by frequent repetitions of initial or other 

elementary sounds, and always more or less attended 

with muscular contortion^. 

Having thus concisely stated the distinctive mark of 

each disorder, I proceed to consider them in their 

individual characters. 

Stammering and its Causes. 

(. Vowel Stammering. — The belief that stammering 
occurs only in the pronunciation of consonants is cer- 
tainly erroneous ; the vowels are equally subject to this 
defect, though not to the same extent as the conso- 
nants. The proximate causes of defective vowel 
sounds, may have their seat e'ither in the vocal ajjpa- 
ratus, or in the oral canal. The original sounds may 
be deficient in quality, from an affection of the vocal 
ligaments, as in hoarseness ; or the sounds may be 
altered in the buccal and nasal cavities, from defects, 


or an improper use of the velum ; in which cases tho 
vowels are frequently aspirated. Enlargement of the 
tonsils, defective lips and teeth, may also influence the 
enunciation of the vowels. But the whole speech- 
apparatus may be in a healthy state, and yet the enun- 
ciation of the vowels may be faulty, from misemploy- 
ment, or from defective association of the various organs 
upon which the proper articulation of the vowels 
depends. In some cases the faulty pronunciation may 
be traced to seme defect in the organ of hearing. 

Defective enunciation of Consonants. 

Consonantal Stammering may, like that of the vowels, 
be the result of an organic affection, either of the vocal 
apparatus, or of the organs of articulation. When, for 
instance, the soft palate, either from existing apertures 
or inactivity of its muscles, cannot close the posterior 
nares, so that the oral canal may be separated from the 
nasal tube, speech acquires a nasal timbre, and the 
articulation of many consonants is variously affected. 
B and p then assume the sound of an indistinct m ; 
f/and t sound somewhat like n ; and g and k like ng. 
The action of the velum during speech is thus des- 
cribed by Sir Charles Bell. 


" In a person whom I had the pain of attending long 
after the bones of the face were lost, and in whom I 
I could look down behind the palate, I saw the oper- 
ation of the vchim palati. During speech it was in 
constant motion ; and when the person pronounced the 
explosive letters, the velum rose convex, so as to inter- 
rupt the ascent of breath in that directon ; and as the 
lips parted, or the tongue separated from the teeth or 
palate, the velum recoiled forcibly." 

On the other hand, closure of the nasal tube either 
from a common cold or other obstructions, affects the 
articulation of m, n, n^, which then sound nearly as 
b, d, g, hard. {Sec Rhinism). 

The Chief Causes of Stammering. 

The variety of defects which constitute stammering 
result either from actual defective organisation or 
from functional disturbance. Among organic defects 
may be enumerated : hare-lip, cleft-palate, abnormal 
length and thickness of the uvula, inflammation and 
enlargement of the tonsils, abnormal size and tumours 
oC|he tongue, tumours in the buccal cavity, want or 
defective position of the teeth, &c. 

Dr. Ashburner, in his work on Dentition, mentions 


a very curious case of a boy who, though not deaf, 
could not speak. This he attributed to the smallness 
of the jaws, which taking at length a sudden start in 
growth by which the pressure being taken off from the 
dental nerves, the organs became free, and the boy 
learned to speak. Considering that the teeth play but 
a subordinate part in articulating — for all the speech 
sounds, including even the dentals, may be pronounced 
without their aid, as is the case in toothless age — it is 
certainly not a little singular that the mere pressure 
on the dental nerves should produce such an eifect. It 
is very possible that in this case the motions of the 
lower jaw and of the tongue were impeded, but even 
then, it is not easy to account for the fact that the 
child never attempted to articulate, however imper- 

When the organs are in a normal condition, and the 
person is unable to place them in a proper position 
to produce the desired effect, the affection is said to be 
functional. -Debility, paralysis, spasms of the glottis, 
lips, &c., owing to a central or local affection of the 
nerves, habit, imitation, Sec, may all more or less tend 
to produce stammering. 

From these observations it anay be inferred that 
stammering is either idiopathic, when, arising from 


causes icit hin th e vocal and articulating apparatus ; or 
it is symptomatic, when, arising from cerebral irritation, 
paralysis, general debility, intoxication, &c. Children 
stammer, partly from imperfect development of the 
organs of speech, want of control, deficiency of ideas, 
and imitation, or in consequence of cerebral and ab- 
dominal affections. The stammering, or rather falter- 
ing of old people chiefly arises from local or general 
debility. The cold stage of fever, intoxication, loss of 
blood, narcotics, may all produce stammering. Stam- 
mering is idiopathic and permanent in imbecility, 
when the slowness of thought keeps pace with the 
imperfection of speech. It may also be transitorily 
produced by sudden emotions. Persons gifted with 
great volubility, when abruptly charged with some 
real or pretended delinquency may only be able to 
stam7ner out an excuse. 


The main feature of stuttering consists in the 
difficulty in conjoining and fluently enunciating syl- 
lables, words,~and sentences. The interruptions are 
more or less frequent, the syllables or words being 
thrown out in jerks. Hence the speech of stutterers has 


been by Shakspeare* (and by Plutarch before him) 
aptly compared to the pouring out of water from a 
bottle with a long neck, which either flows in a stream, 
or is interoiittent ; the patient in the former case, feeling 
that his glottis is open, endeavours to pour out as many 
words as possible before a new interruption takes place. 
The stoppage of the sound may take place at the second 
or third syllable of a word, but occurs more frequently 
at the first, and the usual consequence is, that the begin- 
ning of a syllable is several times repeated until tlie 
difficulty is conquered. The stu tterer , unless he be at 
the same time a stammerer, j which is now and then the 
case, has generally no difficulty in articulating the ele- 
mentary sounds/in whiqh respect he differs from the 
latter ; it is in the combination of these sounds in th^ 
formation of words and senteiices that his infirmity 

Stuttering does not obtain to the same degree in all 
persons. In the most simple cases the affection is but 
little perceptible ; the person speaks nearly without in- 

* "I pr'ythee, tell me, who is it ? quickly, and speak apace. 
I would thou could' St stammer, that thou might' st pour this 
concealed man out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of a narrow 
mouthd bottle, either too much at once, or none at all. I 
pr'ythee take the cork out of thymoutli, that I may drink thy 
tidings." As You Like it. Act 3. iSc. 2. 



Defective enunciation of the consonant r. — RJiotacism. 
French, Grasseyement, parler gras. English, ra^/Z/w^, 
burring. German, Schnarren. 

The mechanism in the production of this consonant 
is very complicated, requiring considerable efforts of 
various organs.* This may be one of the reasons why 
in some languages, us for instance in the Chinese, it is 
altogether wanting, and I substituted for it. The con- 
sonant may be produced in two ways, in front or behind ; 
so that we have a lingual r, and a guttural r. The 
former is the result when the tip of the tongue touches 
and vibrates against the hard palate, while the latter, 
or the guttural r, is produced by the contact between 
the posterior part of the tongue and the soft palate, 
when the vibration of the uvula is effected by the 
passing air current. The lingual r is considered as the 

* The difficulty of articulation in the various races of 
men is very curious, e.g., it was noticed long ago by Capt. 
Cook, Sir Joseph Banks, and others, that the Negro could 
pronounce any English word, while the Polynesians could not 
pronounce any English word of more than one syllable. 


legitimate speech-sound, wliilst the guttural enunciation 
is looked upon as a fault, especially in public speakers. 
From the difficulty of its enunciation, r is the last 
letter children learn to articulate ; they at first pro- 
nounce I instead of it until at lengh the sound is 

The defective enunciation of this consonant has no'' 
escaped the notice of the ancients. Plutarch says of 
Alcibiades " He had a lisping^' in his speech, which 
became him, and gave a grace and persuasive tone to 
his discourse." Aristophanes, in those verses wherein 
he ridicules Theorus, takes notice that Alcibiades 
lisped, for instead of calling him corax (raven) he 
called him colax (flatterer), from whence the poet takes 
occasion to observe that the term in that lisping pro- 
nunciation too was applicable to him. With this 
agrees the satirical description which Archippus gives 
of the son of Alcibiades — 

" With sauntering step to imitate his father, 
The vain youth moves ; his loose robe wildly floats ; 
He bends the neck — he lisps. "f 
The correct articulation of r seems to have been one 

* The translation of lisping is scarcely correct according to 
the meaning we attach to the word ; the original is trauloteta. 
Traulos, traulotes, evidently refer to the inability of articu_ 
lating the letter r, though traulizo, traulismosare frequently 
us ed for stammering in general. 

t Langhorn's Plutarch. 


of the difficulties encountered by Demosthenes. Cicero'^ 
said, his speech was so inarticulate that he was unable 
to pronounce the first letter of the art he studied, viz., 
Rhetoric. By practice he effected so much that no 
one is thought to have spoken more distinctly. Demos- 
thenes was, therefore, not of opinion that the defective 
enunciation of r gives, as Plutarch observes, a per- 
suasive turn to a discourse. The fact is, that though 
tolerated in an Alcibiades and in a pretty girl, rattling 
is a grave fault in a public speaker, sometimes very 
disagreeable to listen to, and in some cases insupportable. 
Khotacism is more common among the northern than 
among the southern nations. The defect is rarely met 
with among Spaniards and Italians. Owing chiefly to 
imitation there are whole provinces which use the 
guttural r. In our own country, we may mention 
Northumberland (the Newcastle burr)f It is com- 
paratively rare that a person can neither pronounce 
the guttural nor the lingual r ; but such instances do 

* " Demosthenes quum ita balbus esset, iit ejus ipsius artis 
cui studeret (sc. rhetoricae) primam literam (so. r.) non posset 
dicere." Cicero adds, " perfecit meditando ut nemo planius 
esse locutus piitaretur." 

t In some places it is universal, as in Denmark, in Marseilles, 
and also in Paris, where the enunciation of the r seems to 
some extent subject to the fashion of t!ie day. 


occur. The main cause of the production of the 
guttural, instead of the lingual r is, that the tongue 
is kept in a convex position, and vibrates at the base 
instead of being concave towards the palate, and 
vibrating the tip of the tongue against the roof. 
Talma, the celebrated French actor, proposed the 
following method for the removal of this defect : 
Choose for the first exercises a word in which there 
is but one r, preceded by a t, — travail for instance. 
Write tdavail, by substituting d for r. The pupil will 
then pronounce t and d separately thus — /-, d-, avail ; 
insensibly he will add the mute e and pronounce te-da- 
vail ; by inducing him to pronounce more rapidly he 
will nearly drop the mute e and say tdavail. The 
pupil must now be urged to pronounce as rapidly as 
possible, uniting the sound of t with that of c?, giving 
more force to the articulation of t. By this pro- 
ceeding, the lingual r is insensibly articulated, seem- 
ingly produced by the rapid union of t and d: Other 
exercises must follow until the vicious habit is aban- 
doned. This method is said to have been, long before, 
used to teach the production of r in the Institution for 
Deaf-mutes in Erfurt. By this simple method, observes 
Fournier, who described it, numbers of cures have 
been efiected, and he cites as an instance, the pretty 


and accomplished actress, Mile. St. Phal, who had, 
owing to her defective articulation of r, to retire from 
the stage for a time. When she re-appeared adds 
the gallant professor, her enunciation was so much 
changed that she would not have been recognised by 
the spectators but for her charming face. 

In our own language, either from inability to pro- 
nounce the canine letter, from habit, imitation, and in 
many cases, from pure affectation, w is frequently sub- 
stituted for r. Roman is pronounced Woeman ; rub- 
bish, wubbish, &c. — a vicious habit which, in spite of 
Mr. Punch's weekly castigations, still obtains amongst 
our would-be exquisites. In justice to modem dandy- 
ism it must be stated that affected rhotacism is not of 
recent origin. Lentilius, a famous physician of the 
17th century, remarks on this subject that, although 
no sane man can subscribe the stupid opinion that 
there is anything graceful in stammering, yet he re- 
members having known in Saxony some noble young 
ladies who, though well able to pronounce the canine 
letter, made the greatest effort to acquire a stammering 
(dropping the r) enunciation which, in their opinion, 
was more graceful, and a sign of gentility. "^ 

As there is nothing new under the sun, so we find 
* Lentilius. K. Med. Pract. Miscell. Ulmae, 1698. 


that old Ovid^'' already complained that some study 
to weep with propriety, and can cry at any time 
and in any manner they please. They moreover 
deprive the letters of their legitunate sounds; they 
contract the lisping tongue, and seek for grace in a 
vicious articulation of the words. They learn to speak 
worse than they actually can. 

The following extract in relation to rhotacism may, 
perhaps, interest the reader. 

The Wonders.] 

" There is a village in this county named Charleton, 
surnamed Curley, and all that are born herein, have a 
harsh and wratling kind of speech, uttering their words 
with much difficulty, and wharling in the throat, and 
cannot well pronounce the letter r. Surely this pro- 
ceedeth not from any natural imperfection in the 
parents (whence, probably, the tribual lisping of the 

* . . . Discant lacrimare decenter 
Quoque volunt plorant tempore, quoque modo 
Quid ? cum legitima fraudatur littera voce, 
Blaesaque fit jusso subdola lingua sono r 
In vitio decor est, quaedam male reddere verba, 
Discuut posse minus, quam potuere loqiii. 

Ov. Ar. Am. 3. 293. 

t T. Fuller's Worthies of Leicestershire. London 1662, ^?. 126. 

MINOR defp:cts of akticulation. 31 

Ephraimites did arise, Judg. xii. 6.), because their 
children, born in other places, are not haunted with that 
infirmity. Rather it is to be imputed to some occult 
quality in the elements of that place. Thus, a learned 
author (J. Bandin Method. Hist. cap. 5) informeth us, 
that some families at Lnhloin, in Guyen, in France, do 
naturally stut and stammer, which he taketh to proceed 
from the nature of the waters. 

"As for the inability distinctly to pronounce r, it 
is a catching disease in other counties. I knew an 
Essex man, (Mr. Jos. Mede), as great a scholar as any 
in our age, who could not, for his life, utter Carolus 
Rex Britamiice, without stammering. The best was, 
the king had from him in his hearty prayers what he 
wanted in YCr^ plain pronunciation. 

" My father has told me, that in his time, a fellow of 
Trinity College., probably a native of Charleton, in this 
county, sensible of his own imperfection herein, made 
a speech of competent length, with select words both 
to his mouth and for his matter without any r therein, 
to show that men may speak without being beholden to 
the dogs letter." 

From what I have been able to ascertain, the present 
inhabitants have neither this defect, nor has the " oldest 
inhabitant" any knowledge of its ever having prevailed 
in the district. 


Slgmatism, from the Greek dgma, comprehends the 
various defects in the enunciation of the sibilants or 
hissing sounds, s, z, zh, &c. Our own word to lisp is 
probably -derived from the sound : Anglo-Saxon wlisp, 
German lispeln, French sesseyer. Though the Greeks 
used the word pselUsmos for impediments of speech in 
general, it seems that joseZ/os specially meant a lisper, and 
the word is, according to Hesychius, an onomatopoiea. 
The substitution of t, or th for s, or vice versa, is the 
most common expression of the vice of lisping, for it is 
certainly no beauty of enunciation, whatever may be 
the opinion of our young ladies. 

If lisping does not proceed from an abnormal condi- 
tion of the tongue and the position of the teeth, it is 
the result of habit and affectation. This peculiar 
utterance of the sibilants, arises mostly from the 
inappropriate action of the tongue against the teeth. 

Our th seems to be the shiboleth of foreigners, who 
do not possess this sound. In their attempts to 
enunciate the sound, they pronounce tinker or dsinker 
for thinker, &cc. 

Rhinism or Rhinophonia (speaking through the nose). 
— In the normal state of articulation, the sounds escape 
more or less both by the mouth and nostrils. When 
either of these passages is closed, or when any one 


attempts to speak or sing more than usually through 
one channel, the sound acquires that disagreeable 
quality, the nasal timbre, which thus arises from two 
opposite causes. When the dorsum of the tongue is 
raised, and the soft palate descends, the air can only 
partially flow out by the buccal cavity, in which case 
the sounding air- current passes into the nasal cavity, 
and escapes by the external nostrils. There results, from 
this, what is commonly termed the nasal twang, and 
the expression " speaking through the nose," is suffi- 
ciently correct. But the very same effect may be 
produced by the opposite cause of obstructions existing 
in the nasal cavities, either from inflammation of the 
mucous membrane, tumours, or by holding the nose, so 
as to prevent the sound escaping by the nostrils. In 
such cases, it is clear the person does not speak through 
the nose, but through the mouth. From imitation and 
habit, there are whole nations who rejoice in that pecu- 
liar twang ^ which distinguishes the genuine Yankee. It is 
by obtaining a great command over the action of the 
vocal and articulating organs, that many persons 
become adepts in altering the normal action of their 
organs, and in imitating the voice and speech of others. 
Cluttering. — French. Bredouillement, is an anomalous 
enunciation, which consists in pronouncing words and 


sentences with such rapidity, that the syllables appear 
only half articulated, and the speaker becomes, conse- 
quently, unintelligible. 

This vice must be distinguished from mere talkative- 
ness, and specially from its morbid aggravation 
lallomania — an irresistible impulse to talk — resulting, 
no doubt, from some cerebral affection. Cluttering is , 
also, distinct from patterijig, assumed by some of our 
actors and entertainers, for the purpose of diverting 
their audience. Pattering is ^feat which may be ac- 
quired by much practice, cluttering is a vice which, 
unless checked at the proper time, may become 
habitual. There are no other means of remedying it but 
by enjoining the pupils to articulate slowly, and recite 
rhythmical exercises, and thus prevent them crowding 
and gluing their words together. With regard to 
natural pattering, or abnormal rapidity of utterance, it 
will generally be found that little persons, of a sanguine 
temperament, are much more inclined to it than the 
tall and phlegmatic. The reason seems to be that, in 
the former, the circulation and respiration is more 
rapid, and their ideas, possibly, present themselves 
more readily, while in tall and phlegmatic persons, the 
pulse being slower, and the respiration proportionally 
less frequent, the utterance keeps pace, and is more 



CoLOMBAT ( Tableau Synopt. 8f Statistiqtie) assumes 
that there are, in France, about 6,000 persons labouring 
under defective articulation, or nearly 1 in 5,000. 
There can be no doubt that the actual proportion is 
much greater. Colombat himself admits that he in- 
cluded in his estimation such only whose impediments 
were strongly marked. In Prussia, which, in 1830 
contained a population of about 13,000,000, the 
number ascertained from the official returns of 
many places, was calculated to amount to more 
than 26,000 cases for the whole kingdom. Accord- 
ing to this calculation, taking the population of 
the globe to amount to about 1000,000,000, the 
number of stutterers and stammerers, would, form 
an army of 2,000,000, of which London alone would 
possess nearly 6,000. It would be very desirable that 
at the Census, or whenever an opportunity may occur, 
the Registrar-General would employ the means at his 


disposal to ascertain the actual number of persons 
labouring under various impediments of speech in 
Great Britain, which, I have little doubt will approach 
the proportion of 3 in 1,000. 

It is unquestionable that psellism is far less frequent 
in females than in men. Jtard declares he never met 
with a female stutterer, though he does not deny that 
such exist. According to Colombat, one woman only in 
20,000 stutters, while the proportion, according to the 
same authority, in men is 1 in 5,000. 

Reasoning a j^riori^ one would imagine that stuttering 
should be more prevalent among females than among 
males. If the cause of stuttering depends upon nervous 
susceptibility, and if it be nearly allied to chorea, 
females should suffer from it in greater numbers. 
Again, if, as some gratuitously assume — without a 
shadow of reason — that woman thinks more rapidly 
than man, the probable effect should be that the words 
would not keep pace with the thoughts. Aristotle, 
(for Rullier seems to have borrowed the idea from him) 
already considered that one of the causes of stuttering 
was, that the words did not proceed j-jarZ/Mssw with the 
thoughts, on account of the flight of the imagination. 
Again, if timidity be one of the causes of stuttering, the 
fair sex should, from their natural bashfulness, be more 


liable to it. Setting aside the theory of final causes, 
viz : that nature, in order to compensate woman for 
her weakness, has bestowed upon her a powerful 
weapon in the gift of the tongue, we must, then, rest 
satisfied with the physiological fact, that the vocal and 
and articulating apparatus of woman being more elastic 
and mobile than that of man, is less liable to be affected 
by some of the minor causes which produce the infir- 
mity in the male sex. In illustration of this fact it 
may be stated that, the male voice rarely, if ever, 
reaches such a compass as that possessed by some 
female singers, such as Catalani, or Sessi, &;c. 

I have full reason to believe the estimate above, far 
too low, at least, for this country. Many cases of 
female stutterers have come under my notice, some of 
which, of a very severe nature, requiring the greatest 
care in treatment. The habitual timidity of women 
frequently aggravated by a derangement of the nervous 
system, combines to produce more intricate cases than 
in men, and require more time and patience to arrive 
at a successful issue. 

It would equally be an interesting subject of inquiry, 
to ascertain, as far as possible, the influence of different 
languages and dialects upon the causation of impeded 
articulation. At present, our data are insufficient to 


found on tliem any correct theory. It is presumable^ 
that a soft flowing language may not produce such a 
Iter centage of stutterers as a liarsh and guttural one ; 
climate and other circumstances may also have a con- 
siderable influence. 

Colombat mentions that a son of Mr. Chaigneau, the 
French Consul, in Cochin-China, born of a Chinese 
mother, and who, from his innmcy, spoke the languages 
of both his parents, expressed himself with the greatest 
facility in the Chinese dialect, but stuttered much in 
spealdng French, which he was chiefly in the habit of 
using. Colombat attributes this to the rhythmical 
structure of the Chinese, and the peculiar intonation 
required to distinguish similar words. (See Philosojjht/ 
of Voice and Sj^eech, page 185.) 

It appears to me, that if it be true, as has been 
asserted on very slender grounds, that there are no 
stutterers in China (for the whole nation stammer, at 
least, in our acceptation of the term, inasmuch as they 
cannot pronounce the canine letter), the circumstance 
is not so much owing to the sing-song, nor to the 
rhythmical structure of the Chinese language, but 
chiefly to its being a mono -syllabic tongue. 

In Great Britain I think there is an excess of the 
average amount of stutterers in the north, where our 


language meets the Gaelic. Where a mixed language 
is spoken, the majority are unable to speak the one or 
the other perfectly, and the result is, that they find a 
difficulty at both, whence arises a certain hesitation, 
the forerunner of stuttering. If this be true, we might, 
a priori, expect a large number of stutterers and 
stammerers at the frontiers of countries in which the 
languages differ ; but I am not aware whether such be 
the fact. 

Another question has been much discussed, namely, 
whether psellism be the privilege of civilization or not. 
All travellers, who have long resided among unculti- 
vated nations, and whose authority is of any \veight, 
maintain that they never met with any savages labour- 
ing under an impediment of speech, ••' Granting it to 
be so, it is not easy to say whether this immunity is 
owing to the more ample physical development of the 
buccal cavity in savages, to the nature of their dialect, 
or to their freedom from mental anxieties and nervous 
debility, the usual concomitants of refinement and civi- 
lization. My impression is, that the latter circumstance 
offers the best explanation of the alleged fact. 

* De Froberville (Bull, de la Soc. Geogr. Juin, 1852), speaks 
of a stuttering negro-tribe, the Neambaga ; they intercalate 
the syllable, shill, or any other, in the middle of each word. 



The doctrine of hereditary transmission both of cor- 
poreal and mental qualities from parent to offspring, as 
shown in external resemblance and similarity of internal 
organization, has, at all times met with much favour. 
But while there are some who assert that, excepting 
acute fevers, nearly all affections are transmitted by 
the parent to the child, there are some eminent 
physiologists who totally dissent from this doctrine, 
both as a matter of fact and theory. Dr. Louis goes even 
so far as to consider variation the rule ; and conformity 
the exception. Thus, with regard to temperament, he 
observes, that children, born of the same parents, nearly 
always exhibit different temperaments ; some are of a 
bilious, others of a sanguine, or a phlegmatic tempera- 
ment. Twins frequently differ in this respect. Even 
the famous Hungarian sisters who lived twenty-two 
years, are described as having been most dissimilar in 
temperament and dispositions, although they were like 


the Siamese twins, joined together, and had a com- 
municating system of blood vessels. 

In accordance with this doctrine, impediments of 
speech have also generally been considered as hereditary 
affections, and as the male is believed to influence more 
the external resemblance, and the female more the 
internal organism, when hereditary on the female 
side, it is said to spread upon a greater number of a 
family. Certain it is, that many stammerers and 
stutterers consider their affection as an inheritance, and 
account for it that they have a parent or collateral 
relation labouring under the same infirmity. It is 
equally true, that many instances can be adduced where 
the defect has descended for several generations, and I 
have, myself, had under my care several children thus 
afflicted out of one family where the parents stuttered. 

S. Lucas* who assumes that not merely external re- 
semblance, and internal organization, but moral and 
intellectual aptitudes are directly transmitted, gives the 
following instance of hereditary loquacity. A servant 
girl talked so incessantly, either to others or to herself, 
that her master found it necessary to dismiss her, when 
she exclaimed " But, sir, it is not my fault ; it is no^ 

* Traite Philosoph. et Physiol, de Vheredite naturelle, Paris* 


my fault ; it comes to me from my father, who tormented 
my mother in the same way, and he had a brother who 
was just like me." 

Now without at all denying the transmission even of 
organic defects — the statistics of deaf-muteism* having 
placed this question beyond any doubt, I still contend 
that stuttering as such, is 7iot an inheritance, not 
being, as deaf-muteism, the result of defective organi- 
sation. All that can be safely asserted amounts to 
this : that as nervous affections are, more or less trans- 
missible, hereditary influence may be at work in 
causing a pre-disposition to contract the habit of 
stuttering whenever the subject is placed in certain cir- 
cumstances favourable for its development 

Injluence of Temperature. 

That sudden variations of temperature, changes of 
the season, extreme heat or cold, have some influence, 
(as in most nervous affections,) in either increasing or 
diminishing the infirmity, merely confirms the theory, 
that stuttering is a functional disorder. Colombat 
asserts, that stuttering increases in winter and summer," 

* See Philosophy of Voice and SpeecJi, chap. xix. 


and diminishes in autumn and spring, provided they 
are temperate and moist, and that dry air in frost and 
great heat act inversely.'*'' This is opposed to the 
experience and practice of Mercurialis, who would 
confine the patient in a dry and heated atmosphere. 
The affection is also said to be more sensible in the 
morning than in the evening. According to my own 
experience, all these assumptions are more fanciful than 
real. No certain rules can be laid down in this respect. 
The dry or damp state of the atmosphere, its electrical 
condition, and the changes of the season, influence 
stuttering according to the idiosyncrasy of the subject, 
so that the same external influences produce among a 
number of stutterers collected under one roof, opposite 

Tempet'ument. — That the majority of stutterers belong 
to what are termed the sanguine and nervous tempera- 
ment is true enough : but it is an error to suppose that 
they are exclusively of this class. All temperaments 
yield their quota, and some of the more severe cases 
which. I had under my care were subjects of a lymphatic, 

* *' Aetna was very furious when we passed, as she useth 
to be sometimes more than others, specially when the wind 
is southward, for then she is more subject to belching out 
Hakes of fii'e, as stutterers use to stammer tnore when the wind 
is in that hole. {Howel's letters, 1655.) 


temperament, who, though less tractable than those of 
any other temperament, rarely relapsed after being once 

Psychical Injluences. 

Every passing emotion influences more or less the 
action of the heart and the respiratory functions, 
either in accelerating or retarding them, and as the 
production of voice is intimately connected with the 
act of respiration, it is not surprising that the vocal 
and articulating apparatus is instantly affected by the 
state of our feelings and thoughts. If, on the one 
hand, slight emotions increase the infirmity of stutter- 
ing, violent emotions, wrath, fear, danger, or severe 
injury, may remove it by the excitation of cerebral 
action ; the motor agents of the articulation receive 
a new impulse and vigour, and the person who could 
scarcely produce a word, expresses himself with 
remarkable energy. On the other hand, voice and 
speech may be suddenly lost under the influence of 
powerful emotions. The following cases, presenting 
opposite effects, may serve as illustrations : — 

In January, 1833, three gentlemen, MM. Dub... 
Mart... and Ou..., stutterers to a painful degree, went 


to the French Academy of Sciences, for the purpose 
of being examined before a Commission prior to the 
commencement of their treatment under Mr. Colombat, 
then a candidate for the prize Monthyon. On leaving 
the Academy, they entered a tobacconist shop to 
purchase some cigars. Mr. Dub. ..who was the least 
timid, commenced his address, " Dooo do doo donncz 
mois des ci des ci des cigarres." It so happened that 
the tobacconist was himself a terrible stutterer ; he 
was thus by no means surprised to have found a com- 
rade in affliction, but he was certainly far from imagin- 
ing that the other two were similarly affected. When, 
therefore, the tobacconist asked " de-dede-de-dede- 
quel quel qua-qua-qu qua qualite vou-vou-voulez vous 
les-les cigarres," and all three began horribly to stutter; 
he flew into a violent rage, thinking that they merely 
came to have a lark. He, therefore, seized a stick to 
belabour them, whilst he swore at, and threatened them 
in the most energetic terms, without the least impedi- 
ment in his speech. Fortunately the arrival of Mr. 
Colombat put an end to the scene, by informing the 
enraged tobacconist of the real facts of the case. 

The Courrier de Lyon (Feb., I860,) relates the fol- 
lowing sad result of a practical joke :— *' An apprentice 


of that city, who had been out catching- frogs last 
week, brought several home alive, and to play his 
brother a trick, put three of them in his bed. In 
the middle of the night the frogs, finding the bed too 
warm, tried to get out, and one of them happened to 
crawl on the lad's face and awoke him. Feeling some- 
thing cold and clammy on his cheek, the lad was dread- 
fully frightened, and leaped out of bed, calling for 
help. When his parents came they found him lying 
on the floor in strong convulsions, which were, however, 
relieved by proper treatment, and the boy has since 
resumed his usual occupation, but has lost the faculty 
of speech." 

My note-book is filled with such instances. One of 
the most severe cases of stuttering I ever saw, was 
caused by the parent stamping and calling out in a 
loud voice, " silence." His son, aged eight, who was 
running across the room, fell on hearing his father's 
voice. When he got up, he began stuttering very 

A pupil, who has recently left me quite cured, stated 
that his infirmity was caused by the fright of being 
run after by an Irish tramp. 

Esquirol, in his Ireatise on the great influence of 
violent impressions on the organs of speech, relates 


that a person who by accident had lost his power of 
speech, suffered for years patiently the scoldings of his 
wife. One day, being more than usually ill-treated, 
he became so much enraged, that his tongue, hitherto 
paralysed, recovered suddenly its mobility, so that 
henceforth he repaid his Xanthippe with compound 

There appeared lately, in the Cologne Gazette, an 
extract from the Magdeburg Journal, to the following 
effect : — A shoemaker in Domschutz, near Torgau, 
named Griihl, had^ a son nineteen years of age, who 
had lost his voice when he was ten years old. In the 
night before last Christinas the young man had a vision, 
which commanded him to join in the responses on 
Christmas day. From fear the young man had hid 
himself under his bed covering, and fell into a profuse 
perspiration. The next day he was completely cured. 

A woman in the south of France, who had lost her 
speech from sleeping with her head uncovered in the 
sun, recovered it suddenly two years, afterwards when 
her house was on fire. 

Herodotus gives the following account of the son 
of Croesus : — 

" Croesus had a son, who was a fine j^outh, but 
dumb. Everything had been done for him by his 


father. He also sent to Delphi to consult the oracle, 
and Pythia answered as follows : — ' Lydian, though 
thou art a powerful prince, yet of a foolish heart. 
Expect not to hear in thy palace the desired voice of 
thy son, that will be of no use. Know he will first 
speak on the most unfortunate day.' 

* When now the city (Sardis) was conquered, one 
of the Persians approached Croesus to slay him, for he 
knew him not. And when Croesus perceived it, he 
was careless about being struck down, having been so 
unfortunate. But when his young son saw the inten- 
tion of the Persian to kill his father, fear and anxiety 
released his voice, and he spoke : ' Man, kill not 
Croesus ! ' This was the first word which he spoke 
and he continued to speak all his life." 

Dr. Todd terms such a loss of speech, met with 
in patients subjected to some powerful emotion, 
" emotional paralysis." It occurs, he says, in men of 
hypochondriacal habits, and in women too. The power 
of speech returning usually in a few days, and rapidly, 
after the patient has gained the ability of pronouncing 
" Yes " or " No." 

Influence of Imitation. — The tendency to imitate the 
actions of others is so intimately connected with the 
nature of man, that Aristotle has, by way of distinc- 


tion, called him an imitating animal. I do not speak 
here of voluntary and deliberate imitation, but of that 
almost irresistible propensity to catch and to repeat 
the expressions and actions of other human beings 
with whom we come in contact. This tendency ex- 
hibits itself in its greatest intensity in childhood and 
early youth. Long before children can appreciate our 
motives, they imitate our actions. The faculty is 
instinctive, both in man and many animals, and differs 
from the power cf voluntary imitation, possessed by 
man in the highest degree, that it is a deliberate act, 
determined by various motives. 

The most familiar illustration of involuntary imita- 
tion is the irresistible inclination to imitate the act of 
yawning, which is so little under the influence of the 
will, that the more we resist the execution cf the 
movement, the greater is the desire to effect it. The 
history of epidemics, religious revivals, kc, and the 
medical records, afford the most conclusive proofs of 
the infectious nature of emotions, and" their physical 
manifestations, convulsions, fits, &c. 

The imitative propensity exhibits itself in earliest 
childhood, and nothing is more common than to see 
infants assume the gestures and habits of those by 



whom they are constantly surrounded. This suscepti- 
bility may, it is true, differ in various subjects in degree, 
but not in kind. There are, in fact, but few irregular 
actions, manifested externally, which are not instinc- 
tively imitated by children. It is, therefore, beyond 
question that, like squinting, winking with the eyes, 
and many other habits, both stammering and stuttering 
arise, in most cases, from unconscious, or may be, 
voluntary imitation. Seeing, then, that the habit is 
80 easily contracted, we are scarcely justified in con- 
sidering it as an hereditary affection, even in such cases 
where one of the parents stammers. In by far the 
greater number of cases which came under my obser- 
vation, I found that the evil was neither hereditary nor 
congenital, but could be traced to the prodigious in- 
fluence of voluntary or involuntary imitation, One 
stammerer or stutterer in a family is quite sufficient to 
inoculate the rest ; and so rapid is the contagion to a 
susceptible child, that I have had pupils who have con- 
tracted the habit by a single interview with a stutterer. 
I must here strongly warn all young persons against 
stammering either in mimicry, or for the baser purpose 
of deceiving their teachers, in order to avoid some task, 
as I have hud pupils who have confessed their serious 


impediment to be the result of one of these practices.* 
I am in a condition to adduce numerous instances of 
this kind from my own experience, but I shall only 
add two illustrations, so graphically described by an 
eminent authority on this as on other subjects. " I knew 
of a young man, who used for his little brothers and 
sisters* amusement, to act some stammering relation. 
One day he found that his acting had become grim 
earnest. He had set up a bad habit, and he was en- 
slaved by it. He was utterly terrified ; he looked on 
his sudden stammers (by a not absurd moral sequence) 
as a judgment from God for mocking an afflicted per- 
son ; and suffered great misery of mind, till he was 
cured by a friend of mine, to whom I shall have occa- 
sion to refer hereafter."! 

* A much, respected clergyman, of the Church of Scotland, 
who lately consulted me, writes to the following effect : " I 
was entirely free of it till I was five years of age, when at that 
time of life there was a gentleman who was m the habit of 
occasionally fre(|uenting my father's house, who indeed stam- 
mered very badly, and I distinctly remember one afternoon 
trying to imitate him, when unfortunately he heard me, and 
was very indignant, and so ashamed were my parents at my 
conduct, that after he had gone, I was taken to task and 
punished severely for it, and ever since that night I have 'been, 
affiicted with this most distressing malady ." 

t The Irrationah of Speech. By a Minute Philosopher.— 
Fraser's Magazine, July, 1859, 


" One of the most frightful stammers I ever knew 
began at seven years old, and could only be traced to 
the child's having watched the contortions of a stam- 
mering lawyer in a Court of Justice. But the child 
had a brain at once excited and weakened by a brain 
fever, and was of a painfully nervous temperament." 

Remarks on Certain Received Opinions in Relation to 
Stammerijig and Stuttering. 

1. — Persom do not stutter in singing, — It is undeniable 
that stuttering obtains much less in singing. The simple 
reason is, that in singing the breath is more regulated, 
the glottis is open, and the action of the vocal appa- 
ratus is not so much interrupted as in common speech, 
which requires a constant change in the position of the 
articulative organs. For a similar reason, though in a 
less degree, stuttering is not so appreciable in recita- 
tive as in declamation. Something analogous takes 
place in intoxication ; an inebriated man is sometimes 
able to run, but finds it a rather diiScult matter to stand 
at ease or walk steadily. The same singular phenomena 
occur now and then in rheumatic and nervous affec- 
tions. Gaubins cites the case of a man who could run, 
but not walk steadily ; and Astrie had a lady under his 
care who walked lame, but danced dogantly. 


It is, however, not true that the above rule applies 
generally. I have had under my care subjects who 
also stutter in singing, which certainly renders the 
case more complicated. 

2. — There is no Stuttering in Whispering. — The reason 
why generally there is no stuttering in whispering is, 
that in that mode of utterance there is no necessity of a 
synchronous action between the muscles of the larynx 
and the oral canal, the breath being articulated without 
the participation of the vocal ligaments ; but if the fault 
lies, as in a few cases it does, in the action of the articu- 
lating organs, there will be, and there is, stuttering in 
whispering, as I have frequently had occasion to con- 
vince myself. 

3. — When alone persons do not stutter nearly as much 
as when in Co?npang. ^Timidity, and the fear of stutter- 
ing, no doubt, in many instances increases the infirmity ; 
hence, generally speaking, patients are more free in 
their elocution when reading by themselves ; but such 
is not invariably the case. A young lady, at present 
(July, 1860) one of my pupils, is far more affected with 
the infirmity when alone than before company. The 
fear of rendering herself ridiculous acts, in her case, as a 
stimulant, strengthening the psychical element — the 
firm will to overcome the difficulty, and actually giving 


her, for the time, more control over the disobedient 

4. — Stutterers cannot stutter voluntarily when told to 
do so. — I considered this alleged fact, mentioned by Dr. 
Warren, too curious to neglect verifying it. I am 
bound to say that in all cases I have yet tried there was 
not one in which the infirmity disappeared. The volun- 
tary effort made by the patient simply effected, in most 
instances, an articulation different from his normal 
utterance, but no removal of the defect, which indeed 
generally only exists when the persons are trying to speak 
in their natural voice. Nearly all stutterers have no 
difficulty when they imitate any peculiar articulation ; 
but this voluntary effort cannot be kept up, and it fre- 
quently happens that nervous stutterers are too timid to 
try such an expedient. 



Arranged in Chronological Order, 

The literature of defective articulation may conve- 
niently be divided into two periods, viz. : — From the 
earliest records to Mercurialis (1584), and from Mer- 
curialis to the present time. 

First Period, 

The earliest mention of defective utterance we find 
in the Scriptures. 

*' I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue." He- 
brew. — Kebad peh kehad loshun anochi, Greek, 
Sept. — Ischnophonos kai bradyglossos ego eimi. Latin, 
VuLG. — Impeditioris et tardioris linguae sum. ExOD. 
Chap. iv. 10. 

" And the tongue of stammerers shall speak readily 
and plain." Hebrew. — Loshun elgim. Greek Sept. 


Kai ai glossai ai psellizousai. Latin/ Vulg. — Ei 
lingua balhorum.'* Isaiah, Chap, xxxii. 4. 

*' And the string of his tongue was loosed, and he 
spake plain." St. Mark, Chap vii. o5. 

Among the Pagan writers who allude to defects of 
the articulation may be mentioned Herodotus, Aris- 
totle, Hippocrates, Plutarch, Galen, Celsus, &c. 

The information we derive from the writings of the 
Greeks and Romans in relation to the physiology and 
pathology of dyslalia is very scanty, which is the more 
remarkable, as oratory then paved the way to the 
highest offices of the state. 

The following extracts from the works of the ancients, 
arranged nearly in chronological order, contain some 
of the principal passages referring to the subject of 
disorders of the voice and speech. I have considered 
it advisable to place the Greek and L?itin terms in 
juxtaposition, in order better to exhibit the meaning 
which the respective authors and translators, apparently 
attached to the expressions used. I may also here 
observe that in presenting the reader with a panoramic 
view of the principal theories and remedies proposed, I 
first intended to offer my comments on them separately 
in a collected form. On further consideration, it seemed 


to me preferable to append my remarks to the respec- 
tive views of the various authors quoted. 

The term battarismos is, according to some, derived 
from Battos. Herodotus (484 e.g.) says that the The- 
rean Battos, w^ho had been a stutterer and a stammerer 
{ischnophonos kai traulos) from his youth, consulted the 
oracle at Delphi. The oracle said : 

" Battos, thou comest on account of thy speech, but 
King Phcebus Apollo sends thee to Libya, in the land 
of sheep to dwell." 

After having founded the colony Cyrene, he was, 
according to Pausauias (l. 10) cured by the unexpected 
sight of a lion. Herodotus also observes that Battos 
meant, in the African language, a king. 

Aristotle (384 e.g.) says, "The tongue is either 
broad or narrow, or of a medium shape, which latter is 
the best for distinctness ; or it is free or tied, as in those 
that stammer and stutter. Gr. — Tois psellois kai iois 
traulois. Lat. — Qualis hlaesoi^um et bulborum. Hint. An. 
Lib. 1, Cap. ii. 

" An equable and broad tongue is also convenient for 
the formation of letters, and the purpose of speech ; for, 
being such and free, it is eminently capable of being 
dilated and contracted in a variety of manners. This 
is evident in all such persons in which the tongue is 


not sufficiently free, for they stammer and stutter. 
Gr. Psellinzontai gar kai traulizousi. Lat. hlaesi 
enim et halhi sunt* 

Problems, — Section XI. — 'Stammering (Gr. traulotes 
Lat. Blaesitas) therefore, is the inability of articulating 
a certain letter ; quam libet ; but stuttering {psellotes) 
is the omission of some letter or syllable ; and hesita- 
tion (Jschnophonia) is the inability of joining one syl- 
lable with another. All this arises from debility, for 
the tongue is not obedient to the will. Intoxicated 
persons, and old men, are similarly affected, but in a 
lesser degree. (Problem 30)." 

Problem 38. — "Why are those who hesitate in speak- 
ing melancholy? (ischnophonoi, ILdX. quilinguahaesitani). 
Is it because thatto follow the imagination rapidly is to 
be melancholy? Such, however, is the case with those 
that hesitate in speech, for in them the impulse to 
speak precedes the power, in consequence of the mind 
rapidly following that which is presented to it. This is 
also the case with those that stammer, for in these the 
tongue is too slow to keep pace with the imagination.'* 

Hippocrates (370 e.g.! Praecepta 6 ; Aphor. 6, 32 ; 
Epid. 2,5; De Judicat 6. 

" Persons who have impediments in their speech 
* De Part. An. Lib. 2, Cap. xvii. 


(Gr. — ischnophoninen. Lat. — ex linguae haesitantes) 
are freed by varices ; the impediment remains if no 
varices appear. 

"Those who are tall, bald, stammer {trauloi) and 
hesitate in their speech {ischnophonoi),^ are usually 
good. A stammerer, [traulos) bald, and hesitating in 
his speech, {ischfiopkonos) who has a hairy body, is 
subject to atrabilious diseases, as also those who repeat 
certain syllables, striking various times with their 
tongue, are not masters of their lips. Some suppuration 
must be effected if they are to acquire freedom of 

Chap. vi. — " Those who have a large head, small eyes, 
are, if they stammer, subject to auger." 

" Stammerers (oitroiloi), and clutterers {tachyylossoi ; 
linguae voluhilitate), are much subject to bile. 

" Who has a small head will neither be bald nor 
stammer, unless he has blue eyes." 

Hippocrates also observes that the infirmity is partly 
owing to an affection of the ears, and partly that the 
speaker before delivering his words passes to other 
thoughts and expressions.] 

Epid. Sect. 3. further. — In gouty persons, tumours 

* Some translate linguae haesitantei, others gracili voce, (a 
thin falsetto voice) 


are observed under the tongue containing calculi, inters 
fering with articulation." 

As the prince of orators is constantly alluded to in 
relation to impediments of speech^ it may not be out of 
place to give here the entire passage of Plutarch (a.d. 
66), as referring to his infirmity. 

" Demosthenes, in his first address to the people, 
was laughed at and interrupted by their clamour; for the 
violence of his manner threw him into a confusion of 
periods and a distortion of his arguments. He had, 
besides, a weakness and a stammering in his voice,* 
which caused such a distraction in his discourse that it 
was difficult for the audience to understand him. At 
last, on his quitting the assembly, Eunomos the Tria- 
sian, a man now extremely old, found him wandering 
in a dejected condition in the Piraeus, and took on to 
him to set him right. " You," said he, " have a man- 
ner of speaking much like Pericles, and yet you lose 
yourself out of mere timidity and cowardice. You 
neither bear up against the tumult of a popular audi- 
ence, nor prepare your body by exercise for the labour 
of the rostrum." 

*Gr.— Kai astheneia, kai glottes asapheia, pneumatos 
kolobotes. Lat. — Laboravit veto etiam vocis exilitate, lingua 
inexplanata, spiritus augustia. Plut. Vit. parall. 


Another time, we are told, when his speeches had 
been ill-received, he went home with his head covered, 
and in the greatest distress. Satyrus, the actor, who 
was an acquaintance, followed him. Demosthenes la- 
mented that though he was the most painstaking of all 
the orators, yet could he find no fixvour with the people. 
" You speak truly," replied Satyrus, " but I will soon 
provide a remedy, if you will recite to me some speech 
in Euripides or Sophocles. When Demosthenes had 
finished, Satyrus repeated the same speech, with such 
propriety of action, and so much in character, that it 
seemed quite a dificrent passage. Demosthenes now 
understood, how much grace and dignity of action adds 
to the best oration, that he thought it of small matter 
to compose and premeditate, if the pronunciation and 
propriety of gesture were not attended to. On this 
he built himself a subterraneous study, which re- 
mained in our times. Thither he repaired every day 
to form his action and exercise his voice; and he 
would stay there for two or three months together, 
shaving one side of his head, that the shame of appear- 
ing in that condition should keep him in. Demetrius, 
the Phaleiian gives an accoimt of the remedies he 
applied to his personal defects, and he says he had it 
from Demosthenes in his old age. The hesitation and 


stammering he corrected by practising to speak with 
pebbles in his mouth, and he strengthened his voice 
by running or walking up hill, and pronouncing some 
passage in an oration or poem during the difficulty of 
breath which that caused. He had, moreover, a look- 
ing-glass in his room, before which he declaimed to 
adjust his motions. 

Celsus* says, " When the tongue is paralysed, either 
from a vice of the organ, or the consequence of another 
disease, and when the patient cannot articulate, gargles 
should be administered, of a decoction of thyme, 
hysop, or pennyroyal ; he should drink water, and the 
head, the neck, mouth, and the parts below the chin 
be well rubbed. The tongue should be rubbed with 
lazerwort, and he should chew pungent substances, 
such as mustard, garlick, onions, and make every effort 
to articulate. He must exercise himself to retain his 
breath, wash the head with cold water, eat horse- 
radish, and then vomit." 

Galenits (died about 200 a.d. — De locis affectis^ 6), 
appears to refer stammering to an intemperies humida. 
Intoxicated persons stammer, as the brain is too much 
moistened, and consequently the instruments which 
move the tongue, and the tongue itself. And again, 

* Cchus dc ResohUione Linguae. 


that ischnophonia^ or stuttering, is owing to the debility 
of the muscles of the tongue from the diminution of 

It would thus appear that translators and commen- 
tators have been much perplexed as to the proper 
meaning of ischnophonia, psellismos, battarismos, 
traulismos, &c. According to the etymology of the 
term ischnophonia, {ischnos, weak, thin, and phone 
voice,) is merely a defect of the voice and not of 
articulation. Yet Aristotle expressly says that isch- 
nophonia consists in the disability of properly joining 
syllables and words, i. e. , stuttering. Again, Alci- 
biades is by Plutarch called traulotes, translated a 
lisper, but there is no evidence that he actually 
lisped; he had a defect in the enunciation of r. 
The word halbus of the Romans seems chiefly to 
have been applied to this defect, hence the surnames 
BalbuSy Balbinus, Balbilius, Sec, as some of the 
members of the family Sempronius, were named. 
Traulismos seems, therefore, to mean what is now- 
understood by rhotacism. Psellismos appears to have 
conveyed the meaning of lisping. "Psellos," says Hesy- 
chius, {factum a sono — an onomatopoeia,) '* is a person 
who cannot properly pronounce s — a lisper." The 
Koinans frequently called a lisper blacsus ; blacsilas 


would, therefore, properly mean lisping. Then, again, 
there are atijpi, derived either from typoo, I express, 
and the priv- a ; or from fypto, I strike ; such persons 
cannot use the instrument of the tongue with sufficient 
expedition ; and ancyglossi — tongue-tied, are those 
whose tongue is attached naturally by the fraenum, or 
accidentally from indurated cicatrices, the result of 


HISTORICAL EEVIEW, WG.-iSecond Period.) 
Fro7n Mercurialis to the 2)rese7it time. 

The literature of Psellisin may, strictly speaking, be 
said to date from the time of Mercurialis, who treats 
of defective utterance at considerable length in the 
second book of his work, De puerorum morbis. Ed. 
J. Groscesii, Francofurti, 1584.* According to the 
notions prevalent at his time, Mercurialis considers a 
moist and cold intemperament as the chief cause of 
balbuties, comprehending both stammering and stutter- 
ing. He, therefore, forbids washing the head of stam- 
mering children, as that increases the moisture, In 
order to desiccate the head, he advises cauteries and 
blisters on tl^e neck and behind the ears, which should 
be kept open for a considerable time. To dry the 

* Hieronynus Mercurialis, born at Forli, 1530, and subse- 
quently professor at Padua, Bologna, and Pisa, was tlie 
greatest physician of his time, and equally distinguished as a 
philosopher and antiquary. Emperor Maximilian II, whom 
he cured of a fever, created him a count, and the Paduaus 
erected a monument to his memory, 



tongue, be recommends that it should be frequently 
rubbed with salt, honey, and specially with sage, which 
had proved singularly effective in curing the infirmity. 
The diet should be salty, spicy, and heating ; no fish, no 
pastry, is to be allowed. Our author is, however, some- 
what puzzled by finding that Hippocrates attributes 
stammering also to the dryness of the tongue. To recon- 
cile this opinion with his own, Mercurialis is obliged to 
assume two species of balbuties — a natural and an acci- 
dental. The natural is produced by humidity, the un- 
natural or accidental by dryness, and it is of this species 
that Hippocrates has spoken. Now when balbuties pro- 
ceeds from dryness, as after fevers or inflammation of the 
brain, we should direct our attention to the moistening 
of the tongue and the top of the spinal cord. Gargles 
with woman's milk are advisable ; the tongue must be 
frequently moistened with a decoction of marsh-mallow, 
to which sweet oil of almonds may be added, or some 
nymphese leaves, by which the effect will be greater. 
The spinal cord, especially the cervical region, should 
be acted on by convenient liniments, apt to soften these 
parts. Besides, the intemperies humida et frigida^ im- 
pediments in speech are also produced by emotions, 
deep cogitations, prolonged watchfulness, sexual ex- 
cesses, habitual intoxication, which by injuring the 
brain and the nerves, produce halhuiies^. 


But, though a physician, Mercurialis does not seem 
to rely on his drugs and diet, for he expressly says : 
the body and the voice must be exercised as much as 
possible, and if there be anything which may benefit 
stammerers and stutterers, it is continued loud and 
distinct speaking. He supports this opinion by the 
example of Demosthenes.* 

'J he following extract derives its chief interest from 
the celebrity of the author, of whom it can be truly 
said, nil erat quod non tetigit'. — 

'* Experiment, solitary, touching Stutting, {Sylva 
Sylvarum, or Natural History. First published 1627,) 
Cent. iv. Sec. 386. By Lord Bacon. 

" Divers, we see do stut. The cause may be, in 
most the refrigeration of the tongue ; whereby it is less 
apt to move. And, therefore, we see that naturals do 
generally stut : and we see that in those that stut, if 
they drink wine moderately, they stut less, because it 
heateth ; and so we see, that they stut more in the first 

* Exercendum est corpus quantum fieri potest, praesertun 
vero exercenda est vox ; et si quid est, quod possit prodesse 
balbis et haesitantibus est continua locutio alta et clara. 
Demosthenes superavit balbutiem sola vocis exercitatione et 
eontentione, nam dedid decern millia drachmorum Neoptol^mo 
Histrioni, qui ilium docuit versus plures uno spiritu proferre 
scilicit ut injectis in os calcuiis ascendens et currens versus 
continue profeiret. 


offer to speak than in continuance ; because the tongue 
is by motion somewhat heated. In some, also, it may- 
be, though rarely, the dryness of the tongue, which 
likewise maketh it less apt to move as well as cold ; 
for it is an affect that cometh to some wise and great 
men ; as it did unto Moses, who was linguae praepe- 
ditae, and many stutters, w^e find, are very choleric men ; 
choler inducing dryness in the tongue." 

Johann Conrad Amman 5 of Haarlem, to whose works*' 
most subsequent writers are much indebted with re- 
gard to a correct theory of the formation of voice and 
articulate sounds, did not confine his practice solely to 
the education of deaf-mutes, but extended it to remedy 
all kinds of defective utterance. Vicious articulation, 
he conceived, was in some cases owing to organic 
defect in some portion of the vocal and articulating 
apparatus, or to debility. The tongue, for instance, is 
sometimes so large that it fills nearly the whole buccal 
cavity, and materially interferes with the enunciation 
of many sounds. " I had," he says, " a Danish gentle- 
man under my care, who, on account of the size of his 
tongue, articulated badly, and could by no effort of his 
own pronounce ^a, but always said ta. Whilst placing 

* Surdus loqiiens, ^'c. Anist, 1692. Dissertatio de loquela, 
^•c. Amst. 1700. 


my two fingers firmly on this organ, I desired him to 
enunciate ka. I well perceived that he tried to say /a, 
but as he could not approach the tongue to the teeth 
he was forced to enunciate ka to the admiration of the 
bystanders." The tongue may also be deficient in 
mobility, owing to its being fixed by the fraenum, or 
the latter may be absent, in which case, the tongue 
lies at the bottom of the cavity. The uvula may be 
too voluminous, too small, or altogether wanting. The 
palate, the lips, the teeth, may also be in fault. 

Amman distinguishes two species of stammering 
The first he calls Hottentotism, which consists in modi- 
fying the sounds in such a manner that they become 
unintelligible. He quotes the case of a young lady of 
Haarlem, who could scarcely pronounce any letter but 
t, and whose utterance was of course a ridiculous far- 
rago of an interminable repetition of that sound. 
Amman cured this young lady within a space of three 
months, so that not a vestige of her defect remained, 
and her elocution became perfect. The second kind, 
Amman terms Haesitantia, consisting in a laborious 
repetition of tbe explosive sounds. During the eflTorts 
to produce them, the patient is frequently much agita 
ted, the countenance becomes livid, and the features 
contorted. To remedy this defect, he advises loud 


reading, committing to memory short pieces, and to 
repeat them before a friend slowly and deliberately. 
He further recommends exercismj^ the articulatini; 
organs in the enunciation of the explosive sounds in 
various combinations, as in the syllables — tak^ teh^ tilt ; 
pack, peic, pile, pit, hiyi, tuyt, &c. These kinds of 
defective utterance, he further observes, are not the 
result of organic defects, but originate in the contrac- 
tion of a vicious habit, which in time becomes in- 

Want of space precludes the possibility of quoting 
from the works of any other author of this time. An 
enumeration of the principal treatises on the subject of 
defective utterance must therefore suffice. 

G. Schacher. de Loquela. Lipsiae, 1696 ; Kiistner de 
lingua sana et aegra. Altdorf, 1716; Fick de halhis. 
Jenae, 1725; Bergen de balbutientibus Francf, 1756; 
Reil de Vocis et Loquelae vitiis, 8fc. 

Sauvags [Nosologia llethodica, Amst. 1768,) places 
stammering among dgscinesiae, {dys, difficult, — kineOy 
I move,) diseases of which the chief symptom consists 
in debility. CuUen, {synop. nos. med.) and many sub- 
sequent authors have adopted the same opinion. 

Joseph, Frank* distinguishes c^yspAowme- affections 

* Prazeos Medicae TJniversae Praecepta. Chap. ii. '* De 
vitiis vocis et loquelae." 


of the voice, which may be symptomatic or primary, 
traumatic, catarrhal, &c., and dT/slaUae-defeGts of the 
articulation. As regards the causes of stuttering, he 
enumerates, (following Mercurialis,) bad education, 
depraved habit, cerebral affections, sexual excesses, &c 
In respect to the prognosis, he observes, that stuttering 
seems to diminish, and frequently ceases with advanc- 
ing age, but when inveterate it is an incurable evil. 
Dr. Frank seems in favour of a severe discipline in the 
treatment of stuttering, for he strongly recommends 
a good flogging, — a mode of cure with which, for 
reasons stated in the sequel, I certainly cannot agree. 

The 'nodern literature of Psellism may be said to 
have commenced with Itard,* who seems in many res- 
pects to have entertained correct notions on the sub- 
ject, and to have anticipated some of the appliances 
adopted by subsequent practitioners, as will appear 
from the following passages . — 

Itakd, says : — " Some modern anatomical writers 
instead of throwing a new light upon the subject, have 
rather withdrawn our attention from the real seat of 
the affection, as they considered stuttering as the con- 
sequence of organic defects. The phenomena which 

* Journal Universel des Sciences Medicals. Paris, 1817. 


stuttering exhibits, make us suspect a spasmodic or 
tremulous action, and a debility of the muscles moving 
the tongue and the larynx. I have no doubt the 
affection is curable. The remedies must necessarily be 
adapted to the degree and duration of the disorder. 
It is not sufficient to make the pupil acquainted with 
the mechanism of articulation, and to repeat frequently 
the individual sounds, but they must be studied in all 
possible combinations. Some syllables are more easily 
pronounced, when preceded by one which places the 
tongue into a position favourable for its production ; 
whilst the enunciation of them will be more difficult if 
they follow a syllable not affording this advantage. A 
good deal also depends on the vowel with which the 
consonant is combined, thus stutterers find less diffi- 
culty in articulating co than ca. 

" When stuttering increases and extends to a great 
number of individual sounds and syllables, it will be 
necessary by mechanical means to strengthen the organs 
of articulation, and to lessen their spasmodic tendency. 
"We must treat the muscles of the vocal and articula- 
ting organs like those of locomotion, and as dancing 
and fencing will render the latter more firm and flexi- 
ble, so must the tongue and the lips be subjected to 
analogous exercises. I avail myself for this purpose 


of a small apparatus, whicli I place under the tongue/^ 
The iastrument is scarcely introduced, when we hear 
a confused, indistinct voice, but no stuttering. The 
most difficult syllables are articulated with some trou- 
ble, but they are not repeated. We must, however, 
not deprive the tongue of this mechanical support at 
too early a period, otherwise the defect will re-appear. 
The apparatus should be used for a very considerable 
time, and when, at meals and during the night, it is 
removed, the patient must strictly abstain from speaking. 
I cannot exactly say how long it should be worn, hav- 
ing only effected two cures by its agency. The first 
case was that of a young man, set., twenty, who used 
the instrument for about eighteen months. The per- 
severance of the patient to subject himself to such an 
inconvenience for so long a period, was powerfully 
supported by the hope of meeting, after the removal 
of his infirmity, with a more favourable reception from 
a young lady to whom he was greatly attached. The 
cure was complete; but I have n.ot been informed 
whether he met in another quarter with the success he 
so amply merited. The second case was that of a boy 

* The mstrument consists of a gold or ivory fork placed in 
the concave centre of a short stalk, and applied by its convex 
surface to the cavity of the alveolar arch of the lower jaw. 


set., eleven, who wore the apparatus very reluctantly, 
and removed it whenever he could do so unobserved. 
I saw him much improved after he had used it for 
eight months, and I have reason to believe, though I 
lost sight of him, that he ultimately recovered." 


Itard very justly denies stuttering as being the con- 
sequence of organic lesions. The main defect of his 
theory and practice consists in having placed the cause 
of the evil too exclusively in the articulating organs. 
It is, therefore, not surprising that even by his own 
account, he only succeeded by means of his instrument 
in effecting two cures after a lapse of eighteen months 
in the first, and of eight months in the second case ; 
and did not even know whether the latter had been 

Deleau* distinguishes three kinds of stuttering : the 
first is produced by disordered motions of the tongue, 
which he calls Ungual or loquax ; the second includes 
those stutterers who exhibit contortions in the muscles 
of the mouth and the face, which he terms labial or 
difforme ; the third, comprising those stutterers who 

* Acad, des Sciences, 1828. 


cannot properly produce any sound ; this is termed 
douloureux or muet. 

As causes he assumes— 1. A vicious enunciation 
contracted in infancy. 2. Produced by an organic 
lesion. 3. A weak will and an insufficient supply of 
nervous influence to direct the organs. In some re- 
spects his theory is just the reverse of that of Rullier. 

M. Serres"^ considers stuttering a nervous affection, 
presenting two well marked aspects. The first resem- 
bles chorea of the muscles which modify the sounds ; 
in the second there obtains a tetanic rigidity of the 
muscles of phonation and respiration. In the first, the 
will loses the power of influencing the rapid motions 
of tlie lips and tongue ; in the second the respiration 
is obstructed. To cure a slight stutter, it is sufficient 
to pronounce briskly every syllable ; for courage you 
must pronounce rapidly cot«-ra-ge. When the stutter- 
ing is severe, this simple kind of gymnastics is in 
sufficient ; the arms must join in the movements. You 
must shake the stutterer by the arms at every syllable, 
or he may do it himself, and he will be surprised at the 
facility which these motions will give him. 

* Memorial des Ilopitaux du Midi, annei, 1829. 



Unfortunately, from the author's experience, the 
remedy proposed has frequently the opposite effect. It 
succeeds at first, but when the noYelty is gone, the 
stuttering is generally worse. 

Dr. Rulliee,"" ranges himself among those authors 
who place the immediate cause of stuttering in the 
brain. He remarks that the cerebral irradiation which 
follows thought, and puts the vocal and articulating 
organs in action gushes forth so impetuously and 
rapidly, that it outruns the degree of mobility possessed 
by the muscles concerned, which are thus, as it were, 
left behind. 

Hence the latter are thrown into that convulsive 
and spasmodic state which characterises stuttering. 

To substantiate this defective relation between the 
exuberance of thought, the celerity of cerebral irradia- 
tion and the corresponding organic motions, he observes, 
that the great majority of stutterers are distinguished by 
the vivacity of their understanding and the petulance 
of their character ; but when advancing age clips the 
wings of the imagination, and ripens their judgment, 
stuttering diminishes as the action of their organs is 
now in equilibrium with cerebral irradiation. 

* Diet, de Scien. Med. Brux. 1828. 


As an auxiliary in curing stuttering, RuUier recom- 
mends the burning of moxa on the integuments cover- 
ing the larynx and the hyoid bone. 


Rullier's theory connecting stuttering with an ex- 
uberant imagination is certainly not new, having, as the 
reader may find already been advanced by Aristotle. 
The connexion between thought and speech is no doubt 
an interesting subject of inquiry. In plain, distinct 
speech, good speakers do not utter more than three 
syllables in a second, but in rapid delivery, as many as 
eight or nine syllables may be utttered within that 
time. Yet it seems certain that a long train of thought 
may run through the mind during the time it takes to 
articulate a single word. The anxious endeavours to 
express these thoughts may certainly interfere with 
articulation in two ways. If there be no command of 
words, it will produce hesitation, just as its opposite a 
want of matter ; but I doubt much whether it can ever 
be the cause of actual stuttering. The assigned reason 
that stuttering diminishes with advancing age in con- 
sequence of the wings of the imagination being clipjed 
appears to me very imaginary. 


Dr. H. M'CoEMAc published in 1828 a treatise on 
the cure of stammering, which he prefaces in these 
terms : — 

" That the following work will communicate, without 
the possibility of a failure, to the reader, whether 
medical or otherwise, the means of curing habitual 
stoppage of speech, may appear at first sight, a little 
paradoxical, when we consider that thousands of years 
have elapsed without any individual having ever been 
able to discover and communicate to the world any 
means by which the distressing affliction could be 
alleviated. But any scepticism that may exist on the 
subject will quickly vanish, when the stutterer, once 
in possession of the means, shall essay them on himself, 
and find that without trouble or difiiculty, he may learn 
to speak with the same facility as other men. 

" The peasant and the artisan will equally receive 
the benefit of this communication ; and that which for 
many centuries wealth could not purchase, will now 
be placed within the compass of even the most abject 
poverty." And again, " The means I have provided 
are so easy of execution, and so abundantly efficient, 
that were it not for the sake of saving trouble, it would 
be of little consequence whether the cliildreji contracted 
it or noty 


It appears that, being in 1826, in the City of New- 
York, Dr. M'Cormac was given to^understand that a 
Mrs. Leigh of that city was very successful in the 
removal of impediments of speech. As he could obtain 
no information of the method employed, he considered 
that what another had done, he might possibly do 
likewise. "No medical work," say Dr. M'Cormac, 
so far as I knew, or now know, contained the least 
satisfactory information on the subject, and all the 
means which I had ever heard proposed or read of, were 
equally ineffectual and useless. This ignorance I con- 
sidered, and truly, as an opprobrium jnecltcorum, — a dis- 
grace to the science of medicine and its professors, and 
I earnestly desired to become the instrument of re- 
moving it." 

Dr. M'Cormac now employed much of his time in 
pondering on this subject until he arrived at the acme 
of his desires ; for it suddenly occurred to him that 
the sole and proximate cause of stuttering was an 
attempt to speak when the lungs are in a state of col- 
lapse, or nearly so. 

"In this," says the doctor, "consists the discovery 
hitherto made by none. The patient endeavours to 
speak when the lungs are empty, and cannot. We can 
utter a voice without speech or words, but not the 
latter without the forrrer." 


The cause from which all impediments of speech 
arise, being apparently so simple, the remedy proposed 
is equally easy, for he says : " The main thing to be 
attended to, and which, in fact, is the ground-work of 
the whole system of cure, is to expire the breath 
strongly each time, when attempting to speak, the 
lungs being previously filled to the utmost, or, in other 
words, to reverse the habit of stuttering, which is, that 
of trying to speak without expiring any air." 


Dissenting from Dr. M'Cormac's assumption that 
stutterers invariably try to speak with empty lungs, 
the remedy which he proposes, viz., to fill the lungs to 
the utmost extent, and to expel the words with force is 
inapplicable. In some few cases, where the voice is in 
fault, the patient may be benefited ; but in most in- 
stances, the practice recommended is more likely to 
aggravate the impediment than to remedy it. The 
regulation of the breath is no doubt of the utmost im- 
portance in all cases ; but it must not be effected in the 
way indicated by Dr. M'Cormac. 

The error into which this author has fallen must be 
partly attributed to the false premise from which he 


started, namely, that the Toice is indispensable to ar- 
ticulation. *'We can," he observes, "utter a voice 
without words, but not the latter without the former/' 
The stutterer should, therefore, cause his vocal cords to 
vibrate, and that he can only effect by forcible expira- 
tion. Now, it is well known that in whispering we 
articulate perfectly, without producing any voice. A 
person whose vocal cords are obliterated from dis- 
ease may still be able to whisper out his thoughts ; the 
voice is gone, but the articulation remains."^* The 
vocal cords being unconcerned, the tone can, in whis- 
pering, be neither raised or lowered, as in normal 
speech, when both, the vocal and articulating organs 
are in action. 

Hervez de Chegouin,! says " Stammerers have 
hitherto, convinced of their incurability, resigned 
themselves to their fate. Uncertain as to the cause, 
traditional remedies were resorted to. We were told* 
of Demosthenes and his pebbles ; but, by some fatality, 
pebbles don't cure stuttering now-a-days. We were 
then recommended to articulate slowly ; and in point 
of fact, stammering is then less sensible. But the 

* See Philosnp/nj of Voice and Speech. 

f Ttecherchcs sur las C ruses du Bcgaicnient, P^rip, 1830. 



reason why, was not known. In placing myself before 
a looking-glass and pronouncing each syllable sepa- 
rately, I did not stutter ; but when I endeavoured to 
join several syllables, which required a change of form 
and position of the articulating organs, I had the same 

" The cause of stuttering consists either in the short- 
ness of the tongue or the vicious disposition of the 
fraenum, which fixes it to the inferior part of the mouth, 
and thus restricts its motions. It is true that the frsenum 
may be short or long in persons who articulate well, 
but in comparing the tongue of a stutterer with that of 
another individual, it will be found that the frsenum of 
the former extends more to the top of the tongue, or 
that it is harder and thicker, and also that the tongue 
is shorter, so that to raise it towards the pharynx 
though not impossible, is yet very difficult. If I, then, 
find that the cause has its seat in the frsenum, I divide 
it, and if the tongue be too short, I double the dental 
arches by inserting within a silver arch, by which they 
are brought nearer to the tongue." This instrument 
Mr. Hervez calls cintre. 

The abnormal condition of the tongue may, indeed 


produce stammering, but never actual stuttering. Mr, 
Hervez's chitre may be useful in cases when a portion 
of the tongue has been lost from disease. A con- 
genital shortness of the tongue is not often met with, nor 
does it, when existing, cause stuttering. Neither will 
the division of the frsenvim cure stuttering ; and I have 
had under my care many pupils whose affection dates 
from an unskilful and unnecessary operation of that 

Dr. Aknott's Theory and Remedy.* — " The most 
common case of stuttering, however, is not, as has been 
universally believed, where the individual has a diffi- 
culty in respect to some particular letter or articulation, 
by the disobedience to the will or power of association 
of the parts of the mouth which should form it ; but 
where the spasmodic interruption occurs altogether 
behind or beyond the mouth, viz., in the glottis, so as 
to affect all the articulations." 

Starting from the principle that the closure of the 
glottis is the chief cause of stuttering, it follows that a 
stutterer is instantly cured, if, by having his attention 
directed to it, he can keep it open. In order to effect this. 
Dr. Arnott advises to begin pronouncing or droning any 
simple sound, as the e of the English word, berry, 

» Elements of I'/iijsics, &c. G. Niel Arnott, M.D. 


whereby the glottis is opened, and the pronunciation of 
the following sounds is lendered easy. The words 
should be joined together, as if each phrase formed but 
one long word, nearly as they are joined in singing ; if 
this be done, the voice never stops, the glottis never 
closes, and there is, of course, no stutter. With regard 
to the strangeness of such a mode of enunciation. Dr. 
Arnott observes : " There are many persons not ac- 
counted peculiar in their speech, who, in seeking words 
to express themselves, often rest long between them, on 
the simple sound of e mentioned above, saying, for in- 
stance, hesitatingly, ' e\ e think e you may," — 

the sound never ceasing until the end of the phrase, how- 
ever long the person may require to pronounce it. 

Peofesok Muller* agrees with Dr. Arnott, in con- 
sidering the immediate cause of stammering to be a 
spasmodic affection of the glottis, and that the cure 
must, therefore, be effected by conquering this morbid 
tendency to closure by voluntarily keeping it open. 
For this purpose, Dr. Arnott advises that the patient 
should connect all his words by an intonation of the 
voice, continued between the different words, as is done 
by persons who speak vvith hesitation. "This plan," 
observes MuHer, " may afiord some benefit, but cannot 

* ■ Elctnents of Physiolotji/, IranslalcdLy W. Baly, M.D., 18-37 


do everything, since the main impediment occurs in 
the middle of words." He, therefore, advises, in addition 
to Dr. Arnott's plan, the following procedmre : *' The 
patient should practise himself in reading sentences in 
which all letters, which cannot be pronounced with a 
vocal sound, namely, the explosives, should be omitted, 
and only those consonants included which are suscep- 
tible of an accompanying intonation, and that the sound 
should be much prolonged. By this method, a mode 
of enunciation would b^ attained, in which the glottis is 
never closed, owing to the articulation being combined 
with vocalisation. When the stammerer has long 
practised himself in this manner, he may proceed to 
the explosive sounds. In such a plan of treatment, the 
patient himself would perceive the principle, while the 
ordinary method — that of Madame Leigh — is mere 
groping in the dark, neither teacher nor pupil knowing 
the principles of the method pursued." 


The so called spasmodic closure of the glottis, con- 
sidered by Drs. Arnott and Miiller, and their followers, as 
the chief cause of stuttering is, I am convinced, not a 
cause, but an effect, produced by the misemployment of 


the respiratory and vocal organs — in short, by the 
application of inadequate means to surmount the 
difficulty. If the contraction of the glottis were 
spasmodic^ in the proper sense of the terra, the patient 
would scarcely have the power, which he undoubtedly 
possesses, even in the severest form, to arrest it in- 
stantly by silence. 

Again, stuttering does not, as frequently asserted, 
occur only at the explosive sounds, hence, the omit-sion 
of these letters in the exercised, as recommended by 
Miiller, will not always stop the paroxysm. 

Those who make use of the trick of an intervening e 
sound for the purpose of keeping the glottis open, must 
be reminded that, in order to derive any benefit from 
the artifice, the next sound must closely follow, other- 
wise the glottis will again contract. That such a mode 
of drawling enunciation attracts, comparatively, little 
notice, is a proposition to which I cannot subscribe. 
In some cases, it is, perhaps, more disagreeable to the 
listener than the original defect. In justice to Dr. 
Arnott, it may be observed, that he expressly states, 
that though the simple sound, the e of berry, is a means 
of keeping the glottis open, there are many other cases 
in which other means are more suitable, as the intelli- 
gent preceptor soon discovers. 


Dr. Schulthess* distinguishes idiopathic, sympto- 
matic, and sympathetic stuttering. The first depends 
upon disharmony between innervation and the action of 
the vocal and articulating organs. Stuttering, the result 
of imitation, is idiopathic. 

Stuttering is sympathetic, if the disorder of the larynx 
is consensual, owing to an affection of the brain, or 
the abdominal viscera. 

Symptomatic stuttering generally disappears with the 
affection, of which it is the symptom. 

In sy^nptomatic stuttering we must combat the affec- 
tion of which it is a symptom. When stuttering is 
sympathetic, the treatment must be directed to the 
primary evil which produced it, and which has chiefly 
its seat in the abdomen and the brain. But though 
stuttering may orginally be a secondary symptom, it 
may, by long continuance, become idiopathic ; we 
must, then, after having removed the original cause, 
direct our attention to the spasmodic affection of the 
larynx, which may still remain. In idiopathic stutter- 
ing, we must internally and externally try such remedies 
which directly or indirectly act upon the vascular, 
vegetative, and nervous system generally; but especially 
upon the vocal and sympathetic nerves — remedies 
* Das Stammeln und Stottern. Zurich, 1830. 


whicti have proved beneficial in other convulsive 
diseases, such as epilepsy, chorea, hooping cough, &c. 

Among external applications, antispasmodics, resol- 
vent embrocations on the throat, and the vicinity of the 
larynx may be useful. Derivatives, setons, blisters, 
either on the throat, behind the ears, the neck, the 
chest, the pit of the stomach, or at distant regions, 
have, at times, produced good effects. " Thus," he says, 
" a stutterer was much relieved after applying to the 
chest the antimonial ointment." 

Though agreeing with Dr. Arnott as to the spasmodic 
state of the glottis, he doubts whether the enunciation 
of a simple vowel sound will much relieve the stutterer. 
Dr. Schulthess concludes his work by expressing a wish 
that some person would take the trouble of embodying, 
in a single volume, all the methods which have occa- 
sionally succeeded, so that the practitioner might have 
his choice of remedies in case of failure. 


Db. ScHulTiiESs's work is, in many respects, a very 
meritorious performance. He does not, however, appear 
to have enjoyed much opportunity for practice. Hence, 
his views are theoretical, and his fault consists in 


having treated the subject chiefly from a medical point 
of view. Though fully admitting the paramount im- 
portance of a psychical treatment, which, as he observes, 
has been successfully employed when medical treat- 
ment only aggravated the disorder, he still considered 
stuttering, in most cases, a disease or symptomatic 
of a corporeal affection — an opinion which is daily 
losing ground, and which I cannot at all agree in. 

SiE Charles Bell* attributes to the pharynx a much 
greater share in articulation than is generally allowed. 
He considers that this smaller cavity is substituted for 
the larger cavity of the chest, to the great relief of 
the speaker, and the incalculable saving of muscular 

Both the musical notes in singing, and the vowels in 
speech are affected by the form and dimensions of the 
pharynx, and it is during the distention of the bag of 
the pharynx that the breath ascends and produces the 
sound which proceeds and gives the character to the 
explosive letters, and the pharynx,^ after being dis- 
tended, contracts, and forces open the lips. 

He further observes that, with each motion of the 
tongue or lips, there is a correspondence in the action 
of the velum and pharynx, so that the compression o 
Philosophical Transactions, 1832. 


the thorax, the adjustment of the larynx and glottis, 
the motions of the tongue and lips, and his actions of 
the pharynx and palate must all consent before a word 
is uttered. 

Applying this to impediments of speech, Sir Charles 
remarks that, " in a person who stutters, the imperfec- 
tion is obviously in the power of intonation, and not in 
defectTof a single part. The stutterer can sing without 
hesitation or^spasm, because in singing, the adjustment 
of the glottis and the propulsion of the breath by the 
elevated chest, are accomplished and continue uninter- 
ruptedly, neither does he experience any distress in 
pronouncing the vowels and liquid consonants. For 
the same reason, and if he study to commence his 
speech with a vowel sound, he can generally add to the 
vibration, already begun, the proper action of the 
pharynx. Another necessary combination distresses 
the stutterer, namely, the action of the expiratory 
muscles, and those of the throat. He expels the breath 
BO much in his attempts at utterance, that, to produce 
a sound at all, the ribs must be forcibly compressed. 
To remove this necessity, if he be made to fill his lungs 
and elevate the shoulders, the elasticity of the compages 
of the chest will come into play, so as to expel 
the breath without effort, and he will speak with 



comparative facility and comfort. Accordingly, to 
commence speaking with the chest fully inflated, to 
pitch the Toice properly, to keep measured time in 
speaking, and to raise the voice on a liquid letter or 
vowel, are some of the common means recommended for 
the cure of it ; and they are certainly those which tend 
to overcome the difficulty in combining the organs of 
speech when the defect arises from no disorder or mal- 
formation of the organs of speaking." 


It will be perceived that our distinguished physiologist 
considers stuttering not as a disease, but chiefly as the 
result of disordered respiration. He, therefore, lays 
down no specific plan, but recommends the common 
means which, by regulating the respiratory acts, may 
tend to overcome the difficulty of the stutterer in com- 
bining the action of the organs of speech. 

Dr. Voisin* being afflicted with an impediment in 
his speech, left no method untried, from the pebbles of 
Demosthenes to the method of Mrs. Leigh and Mal- 
bouche, for the purpose of removing it. Chance first led 
him to the discovery of the method he recommends. He 

* Bulletin de V Acad. Roy. de Med. 1837. 


was reading a paper before a society, and wishing to 
do so with energy, he happened to look in a mirror 
which was opposite him, and perceived that he rested 
the border of his right hand upon his chin, in a manner 
80 as to depress the inferior maxilla and hold the mouth 
half open. The idea immediately suggested itself that 
this instinctive and mechanical movement might con- 
tribute to his reading more promptly and easily. In 
fact, upon ceasing the pressure the difficulty of ex- 
pression was quickly reproduced ; but upon replacing 
his hand the freeness of the articulation immediately 
returned. Endeavouring to give an account of this, he 
observes : first, that the mouth was kept half open, 
the distance between the teeth being a line and a half. 
Second, that the tongue, abandoned to itself, in the 
state of repose, placed itself against the inferior dental 
border, whilst during pronunciation it is projected for- 
wards and upwards, but is withdrawn almost imme- 
diately behind the alveolar arch. Third, that a medium 
pressure is necessary upon the chin ; this should be 
sufficiently strong to resist the muscles which move 
the inferior maxilla, without impeding its movement 
of elevation, so strong as to prevent perfect approxima- 
tion. To produce this pressure, and at the same 
me make it e xcusable, it is necessary to use a certain 


delicate art, so that the manoeuvre may not appear 
forced, but on the contrary, almost natural. This 
pressure should be made with the external border of 
the right or left hand indiscriminately, the thumb 
applied to the chin, and the fingers free. He hcs 
obsei-ved the same in other individuals afflicted with 


TiiEKE are few cases in which any benefit will be 
derived from the artifice recommended. It is at best 
but a palliative not reaching the cause of the evil ; nor 
was Dr. Voisin cured by it. The pressure upon the 
chin during enunciation may, in some instances, give 
temporary relief; and as beards are now all the fashion, 
it may be efiected by holding the hirsute appendage, 
and drawing down the lower jaw without exciting too 
much attention. 

Dk. Marshall Hall, in his Diseases of the Nervous 
System, 1841, says : "In Stammering the act of 
volition is rendered imperfect by an action independent 
and subversive of the will and of true spinal origin. 
In some instances, an act of inspiration is excited at 
the same tiinc, which is equally iuvolunlary ; but in 


o-eneral, there is a violent effort of expiration, and, in 
the worst cases, the disease is of an almost convulsive 
character. Stammering, as a diseas«, is sometimes 
induced by a morbid condition of the intestines, acting 
through the incident nerves. Dr. Bostock has re- 
corded such a case in the Medical Chirurgical Trans- 
actions, vol. xvi, p. 72 ; it was cured by purgative 

*' In all cases this affection is aggravated by indis- 
position, and by emotion or agitation. It is best 
remedied when not hereditary or inveterate, by atten- 
tion to the general health, and especially by purgative 
and tonic medicines, and by acquiring a habit of self- 
possession, and of speaking in a subdued, continuous 
tone, first dilating the thorax. 

*' Stammering is very like a partial chorea ; it is 
not I think, as Dr. Arnott supposes, an affection of 
the glottis or larynx, that is of the organ of the voice, 
but of some of the different parts which constitute the 
machinery of articulation. 

*' If the recent observations of Mr. Yearsley prove 
correct, that stammering is to be cured by excision 
of the uvula and tonsils, a new ray of light will be 
thrown on this singular malady. Is the uvula the 
excitor-rcgulator of articulation : Is it, in cases of 


stammering, unduly excitable ? Every voluntary act 
combines with itself an excitomotory action. The con- 
tact of an object with the palm of the hand, the sole 
of the foot, induces an additional muscular contraction 
beyond that of the original stimulus of volition. Articu- 
lation may be regulated in the same manner. A 
reflex arc between the mouth and the organs of articu- 
lation would not be more marvellous than many others. 
How extraordinary, for example, is the act of vomiting 
induced by irritation of the fauces! How singular 
that substances passing the fauces in deglutition do not 
produce the same effect. How do the incident excitor 
nerves of vomiting escape ? I may further ask, what 
is the state and position of the u^oila in articulation ? 
The velum, and with it the uvula, are elevated and 
placed so as to close the posterior nares, whenever cer- 
tain letters are pronounced. Are incident nerves 
regulators of articulation excited in this case ? And 
are they unduly excited in stammering ? And is stam- 
mering not only an undue spinal action (as I stated 
many years ago), but an undue rejlex spinal action ? 
These interesting questions, time and long investigation 
alone can determine. Farther, can the uvula and 
adjacent parts be implicated in chorea ? " 

In the Journal of the Rnijal Institution, for 1841, 


Dr. M. Hall, further very justly observes : " All results 
prove that the larynx is not closed in stammering, and, 
indeed, that its closure and stammering are totally in- 
compatible with each other. Where articulation is 
interrupted, it is by the co-operation of a part anterior 
to the larynx ; it is, in a word, not an interruption of 
the organ of voice, but of speech." 

Dr. Lichtinger in a series of papers on stuttering 
[Med. Zeitunfft 1844), distinguishes those cases which 
depend on an affection of the nervous system from such 
which result from malformation of the organs of speech. 
Following Dr. Marshall Hall, he further distinguishes 
cerebral and spinal stuttering. In the former, affec- 
tions of the brain interfere with the efforts of the will, 
so that spinal activity preponderates unregulated. On 
the other hand, spinal stuttering must be referred to 
that portion of the cord which is situate between the 
origin of the fifth and seventh and those resj)iratory 
nerves that supj^Iy the chest and belly. This may be 
either central when the cause exists in the tract men- 
tioned, or eccentric when the cause is seated in some 
of the reflex nerves. 


American Theory and Method.'^' 

The method said to have been invented in 1825, by 
Mrs. Leigh, an English woman residing at New York, 
created great sensation both in America and Europe. 
Magendie, in his report to the French Academy (March. 
11, 1828), gives the following account of this lady:— ► 
Mrs. Leigh, residing at New York, having become a 
widow when about thirty-six years old, was received 
in the house of Dr. Yates, one of whose daughters 
about eighteen years of age, laboured under a severe 
impediment of speech. In return for the great kind- 
ness with which she was treated, Mrs. Leigh deter- 
mined to free the young lady from her impediment. 

Deriving no information from any English work 
treating of the subject, she tried a number of remedies, 
until she arrived at her " infallible " method. Con- 
sidering that the pressure of the tongue against the 
inferior incisors was the sole cause of stuttering, the 
great point of her system consisted in inducing the 
patient, during enunciation, to alter the position of 

* Although in clironological order, this theory ought ta 
have been inserted before, it was deemed advisable to pro- 
duce it here in connection with its chief propagator in. 
Europe, Mr. Malebouche. 



that organ by placing it to the top of the palate, by 
which means, it is said, she succeeded in curing Miss- 
Yates of her infirmity. 

Dr. Warren of Boston, however, insists that the 
above great discovery was not made by Mrs. Leigh at 
all, but by Dr. Yates, the father of the young lady ; 
and that he merely consented that the system should 
pass under her name, from fear of being considered an. 

Dr. Zitterland, on the other hand, in a pamphlet 
published in 1828, at Aix la Chapelle, says, that Mrs. 
Leigh's husband had been a stutterer, and that the 
discovery was the result of nine years constant obser- 
vation. Others assert, that Mr. Broster had practised 
the same method before Mrs. Leigh, and that it was 
from England that the system was transplanted to 
America. Be this as it may, certain it is that Mr. 
Malebouche, a Frenchman, bought the secret for a 
round sum of Mrs. Leigh, and introduced it, in 1827, 
into the Netherlands and Germany. Both the Nether- 
land and Prussian Governments considered the subject 
of sufficient importance, to grant to those who were 
in possession of the secret considerable privileges, and 
to appoint them professors at public establishments. 

Mrs. Leigh's system was shortly afterwards intro- 


duced into France by Mr. F. Malebouche, a brother of 
the gentleman who purchased the secret from Mrs.. 
Leigh. As Mr. F. Malebouche, in the course of his 
practice, found the method, in many cases, inefficient, 
he set about perfecting it, and presented to the French 
Academy of Science, in 1841, a memoir containing 
his improved system of treating defective utterance. 

In this memoir, Mr. Malebouche reproaches the 
American method that it is not applicable to all 
species of stuttering, and that the cures effected by it 
were not lasting. He had, therefore, remedied its short- 
comings, and discovered a more perfect method of cure. 
His starting point is directly to oppose the curative 
remedies to the vicious action of the organs of speech ; 
as he does not think that respiration has much to do 
with the production of stuttering, he deems it unneces- 
sary to occupy himself with this fundamental element 
of speech, which, he assumes, becomes regularised in 
its actions in proportion as stuttering diminishes. 
The lips form a special object of Mr. Malebouche's 
treatment. "With regard to the tongue, Mr. Male- 
bouche recommends that not merely the tip, but the 
whole organ should be raised and applied to the 
palate, retracting it as much as possible. In this 
manner, the stutterer begins to perceive the motions- 


necessary for pronunciation ; he must be made, while 
the tongue is thus glued to the palate, to pronounce 
all kinds of syllables and words, which he succeeds 
in effecting after a longer or a shorter time, according 
to the intelligence of the pupil, or the degree of 
-flexibility of his organs. The pronunciation, no doubt, 
is much altered — it is thick, clammy ; but experience 
has proved that this defect disappears in proportion 
as the pupil becomes master of his movements. The 
teacher should not yield to the desire of the stutterer 
to be soon relieved from this mode of enunciation ; it 
must be continued for a considerable time, until the 
pupil can, with the tongue placed in the indicated 
position, enunciate distinctly. It is important, nay- 
indispensable, that during the time of the treatment, 
the subject should, excepting during the hours devoted 
to the exercises, keep perfect silence. The invariable, 
infallible rule is this — to articulate as distinctly as 
possible, with the least possible detachment of the 
tongue from the palate. The more the pupil succeeds 
in articulating clearly, while the tongue is retracted, 
the more perfect is the cure. 

'!'he chief point insisted on by Mrs. Leigh, that 


in stuttering tlie tongue is fixed to the inferior incisors, 
is not true. It is also evident that as neither Mrs. 
Leigh or Malebouche attach any importance to dt fee" 
tive vocalisation and the respiratory functions, some 
of the most essential elements in the causation o*^ 
stuttering remain unnoticed, and the method is, conse- 
quently, one sided and ineffective. 

CoLOMBAT''^* assumes two species of stuttering, each 
having several subdivisions. 

1. Begaiement lahio-choreique, so termed on account 
of its analogy with chorea, or St. Vitus's Dance. It con- 
sists of spasmodic motions of the lips and tongue, and 
other moveable organs, and conduces to the frequent 
repetitions of the labial sounds. 

2. Begaiement guttm'o-tetanic, consisting mainly 
in a rigidity of the respiratory muscles, and those of 
the larynx and pharynx, and manifesting itself by a 
sudden stoppage of the breath, owing to the contraction 
of the glottis, and, consequently, affecting the emission 
of sound. The guttural sounds g, k, q, are cliitfly 
influenced in this species. 

Those labouring under the first named defect, are 
usually persons of a lively disposition, whilst those 

* Trait e de tous les vices de la parole et en pariiculier du 
Regalement, &c. Paris 1840. 


•subject to the. second species, articulate slowly, and 
make considerable efforts to produce the disobedient 
sounds. Colombat followed the opinion of his pre- 
decessors, in assuming as the proximate cause of stut- 
tering, the want of harmony between the nervous 
influence and the muscles distributed to the organs of 
speech. He, therefore, devised a series of orthophonic 
exercises, in order to restore the harmony between 
nervous action and the organs of articulation ; tKe 
most efiective agent in these exercises being the appli- 
cation of rhythm in speaking. 

The orthophonic gymnastics have the advantage of 
acting physically and morally; they act physically 
upon all the respiratory muscles ; upon the lungs, the 
larynx, and specially upon the glottis, the tongue, and 
the lips. The respiration effected in the mode indi- 
cated has for its object, to relieve the spasmodic 
♦constriction of the vocal cords by opening the glottis, 
while, at the same time, the chest is expanded by a 
large quantity of air \vhich escaj^es slowly by an ex- 
piration which should be gradual, and only sufficient 
to produce the sound. 

By placing the finger upon the pomum Adami every- 
one can convince himself, that on raising the tongue 
iind turning the tip towards the pharynx, the larynx. 


descends, and the glottis enlarges, whilst in stuttering, 
the larynx is usually raised, by which the glottis is 
constricted. The position of the tongue, as above, 
renders it almost impossible to stutter upon the gut- 
tural, dental and palatal letters, whilst the infirmity 
is soon exhibited when it is depressed. The transversal 
tension of the lips, as indicated, tends to relieve 
that species of convulsive tremor which obtains in 
articulating the labials when the lips form a sort of cur- 
vilinear sphincter. As different causes never produce 
the same effects, it is easy to conceive that the disagree- 
able repetitions cannot take place if the mechanism, 
which produces them, is altered in an opposite direc- 
tion. Tiiere is also a condition upon which he insists, 
that the patient should, for at least a fortnight, not 
speak with any body else, or only with such individuals 
who are under treatment for the same infirmity, 
otherwise the precepts are soon forgotten, and the 
influence of the method is only ephemeral. 

*• After what has been stated," says Colombat, " it 
is evident that rhythm is one of the chief phases of 
my method " 

Although Mr. Colombat obtained the Monthyon 


prize from tlie French Academy, it is difficult to 
discover that he has thrown any new light on the infir- 
mity. Colombat's great merit consists in having syste- 
matised the subject; although his many sub-divisions 
are useless, and some of his principles erroneous. 

There can be no doubt that a slow and measured 
delivery sometimes tends to diminish stuttering, and 
may prove beneficial in some cases of defective utter- 
ance ; but nothing can be more erroneous than to 
assume that rhythm, however skilfully employed, is 
by itself, sufficiently potent permanently to remove 
a severe impediment. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc — 
because rhythm is in some uncomplicated cases a very 
useful adjunct : it has been by most writers cried up 
as a panacea for stuttering. The real fact is that it is 
not the rhythm which produces a beneficial efiect, but 
its influence in altering, for the time being, the manage- 
ment of the breath; for the moment the patient begins 
his ordinary discourse the defect immediately reappears. 
Unless, therefore, the fans et origo mali — vicious res- 
piration be first attended to, so as to establish a syn- 
chronous action between the respiratory, vocal, and 
enunciating organs under all circumstances, rhythm 
alone will produce little or no effect. 


Dr. Becquerel''* believes that the cause of stuttering 
is a dynamic affection of the respiratory muscles, having 
probably its primary seat in the nervous system. The 
convulsive movements of the vocal and articulating 
organs ; the difficulty of pronouncing certain syllables 
and their frequent repetition, are merely the conse- 
quences of the premature escape of the air which is 
not employed in the formation of sound. It is, there- 
fore, necessary to prevent this escape of air, by retain- 
ing it as much as possible during speech. In stuttering 
it will be seen that the walls of the thorax sink . too 
often, to expel the excess of air introduced. The 
result of it is that a larger quantity of air escapes than 
is necessary for articulation, and a sensible current of 
air arriving in the buccal cavity at the moment when 
the tongue, the lips, and the buccal parieties contract 
for articulation, impedes their free action, and produces 
stuttering. Such being the case, the loss of air must 
be prevented by retaining it as much as possible, and 
employing it in the formation of articulate sound. 

Dr. Becquerel's theory, though defective, con- 

Traite du Begaietnent. Paris, 1847. 


tains much that is true, which, in some cases may, 
under careful guidance, be carried out in practice. It 
appears that Dr. Becquerel himself — one of the most 
eminent living French physicians — laboured under an 
impediment of speech, and as none of his colleagues 
were able to afford him any help, he applied to a Mr. 
Jourdaut, (not a medical practitioner) by whom he was 
much relieved, if not altogether cured. And it is the 
theory of Jourdant which our author has amplified and 
developed in his work. 

Dr. Carpenter'^* concurs in the opinion of most 
authors that the defect called Stammering essentially 
consists in the want of power to combine the different 
actions concerned in vocalization. He also considers 
a disordered action of the nervous centres as the proxi- 
mate cause ; though this may be (to use the language 
of Dr. M. Hall) either of centric or eccentric origin. 
And whereas the stammerer experiences his greatest 
difficulties in the pronunciation of the consonants of 
the explosive class, he approves of Miiller's suggestion 
that the patient would do well to practice sentences 
from which such consonants are omitted. 

With regard to the cure of stammering, Dr. Carpenter 
makes the following suggestions : — 

* Principles of Human Physiology, 5th edition. 


" One of the most important objects to be aimed at 
in the treatment of stammering consists in the preven- 
tion of all emotional disturbances in connection with 
the art of speech ; and thus requires the exercise and 
the direction of thought in the following modes : 

" To reduce mental emotion by a daily, hourly habit 
of abstracting the mind from the subject of stammering 
both while speaking and at other times. 

" To avoid exciting mental emotion by (not ?) at- 
tempting unnecessarily to read or speak when the 
individual is conscious that he shall not be able to per- 
form these actions without great distress. 

" 3. To elude mental emotion by taking advantage 
of any little artifice to escape from stammering, so 
long as the artifice continues to be a successful one." 


It would thus appear that Dr. Carpenter very justly 
looks upon stammering (which word he uses synony- 
mously with stuttering), rather as a psychical afi*ection 
"which must be combated by psychical means. That 
there are some stutterers who are more free in their 
utterance when not thinking of their difficulty, or 
when their attention is, during speech, directed to 


another object is very true, and in such cases the 
act of abstracting the mind from the subject of 
stammering may prove beneficial if the pupil had 
the power to do so ; but the difficulty consists in 
reducing such a theory to practice. Nothing is easier 
than to advise the patient to withdraw his attention 
from his affliction — nothing more difficult to the, 
stutterer to effect it. 

To exercise a voluntary power over the direction of 
our thought when we are, by actual sensation, con- 
stantly reminded of our affliction, requires a mental 
effort which but few are capable of. And if the case 
be really merely psychical, and the patient have 
sufficient mastery over his mind, would it not be more 
rational to advise the patient to do just the reverse ; 
that is to say, to direct his attention to his affliction, 
and to overcome it by concentrated firmness of pur- 
pose ? We shall have to recur to this subject. 

In extreme cases of mental abstraction and excite- 
ment, we find occasionally that fluent speech is given 
for the time ; but in the majority of cases it is quite 
the reverse, especially if the person is labouring under 
fsar^ which is known to stop the secretions, especially 
of the salivary glands, causing a dryness in the mouth. 
Nor is it alone the stutterer who is often rendered 


unable to speak under its influence. The most trivial 

thing will often obstruct an elegant flow of language, 

and overthrow an entire chain of thought, causing an. 

utter incapability of pronouncing a word at will ; as 

instance, Macbeth : 

*• But wherefore could I not pronounce 
Amen ? I had most need of blessing ; and Amen 
Stuck in my throat ! ' * 

And here I may state a circumstance very little 
known, which is, that some subjects stutter only ia 
the presence of certain persons, wjiile their articulation 
is more free in the presence of others. When a 
patient has once stuttered in conversing with a cer- 
tain individual, the chances are that he will do so again 
on a similar occasion. Be it from association or other 
causes, there can be no doubt as to the fact itself. 



JouBERT {Historical Researches) endeavours to sho\r 
that operations for defective utterance are not so new 
as is generally believed. 'Galen (200 a. d.) speaks of 
the thickening, induration, and shortening of the 
tongue, as influencing articulation, and recommends 
cauterisation. Aetius, 400 years after Galen, also 
speaks of tongue-tied (ancyglossi). Paul of Aegina, 
in his Opus de re Med. advises the division of the 

In 1608, Fabricius Hildanus operated upon his 
little brother, who, at the age of four years could not 
pronounce a word on account of the shortness and 
thickness of the frsenum, by which the tongue could 
not reach the teeth and the palate. Dionis, in 1672, 
proposed to make two or three small incisions in the 
tongue of such children who seem not to articulate 
easily. All these operations appear, however, to have 
been confined to the division of the frsenum, an opera- 


tion as old as surgery, which has even been perfoi med 
by mothers and nurses. 

It was reserved for modern surgery to extend the 
operations to the muscular apparatus of the tongue, 
and DieiFenbach is generally considered as the chief 
authorit}" for the practice. 

DiEiFENBACH in his letter to the French Academy, 
March 1841, says: "The idea of curing stammering by 
means of an operation, first presented itself to my 
mind on being requested, by a patient cured of strabis- 
mus, to operate upon him for defective utterance. 
My attention being directed to the subject I remarked, 
indeed, that many persons affected by strabismus, had 
at the same time an impediment in their speech. As 
I was of opinion that the derangement in the mecha- 
nism of articulation was caused by a spasmodic con- 
dition of the air passages, which extended to the 
lingual and facial muscles, I conceived that, by inter- 
rupting the innervation in the muscular organs which 
participate in this abnormal condition, I might succeed 
in modifying or completely curing it." "^ 

* Though there may be cases in which squinting is cou- 
comitant with, psellism, they are exceptional, and have little 
or no relation to each other, whilst by interrupting the inner- 
vation, the respective parts are not merely modified, but 
paralysed in their functions. 


Amiissat also claims the honour of applying surgical 
operations for the cure of defective utterance. In his 
letter to the French Academy (Feb. 1841), he writes 
that he conceived his idea of the method of dividing 
the genio-glossi as an extension of the operation for 
squinting, and that he communicated the idea to Mr. 
Philipps, when no one at Paris knew that it was 
treated so in Germany. Malebouche, on the other 
hand, says that Mrs. Leigh had advised it, and that it 
was acted upon years, before, in America. 

Dr. R. Froriep again {Froriep^s Notizen, 1841) con- 
ceived that the local cause of stammering was the 
retraction of the lingual muscles on one side only, 
which may be detected by the form of the tongue and 
the neck. He therefore confined himself to dividing 
the genio-glossus on one side only, and attributed to 
this mode his own success, whilst the division of both 
these muscles by Bonnet and others led to no certain 

Whether, or not, Dieffenbach first introduced the 
practice, certain it is that the example of so high aa 
authority gave rise to a host of operators, who by 
cutting difierent ways, aspired to the honour of being 
the inventors of some new method. They divided them- 
selves in Castes. Philipp and Velpeau followed 


DiefFenbacli's or the Gerjnan method. Amussat, 
Bonnet, Petrequin, and Robert in Marburg, divided the 
genio-glossi and genio-hyoidei ; Langenbach in Goet- 
tingen, the stylo-glossi and hyo-glossi, and Wolff the 
nervus hypo-glossus. The English surgeons chiefly 
confined themselves to the excision of the tonsils and the 
uvula. The greatest zeal was exhibited in France, where 
not less than 200 persons were operated upon within one 
year. The rage for operations spread to America, 
where Dr. A. Post performed the first operation, May, 
1841, by dividing the genio-hyo-glossi near their 
origin. Drs. Mott and Parker, of the New York Uni" 
versity, devided the genio-hyo-glossi either by the 
knife or scissors, cutting closely to the symphysis of the 
lower jaw. In many instances the patients seemed 
immediately to be much benefited, and spoke with, 
fluency. A few hours, however, dispelled the delu- 
sion, and they found themselves as bad as ever. Dr. 
Detmold passed needles through the tongue, and 
the same improvement followed, but as in the rest the 
impediment returned. 

The utility of these operations has been deduced 
from their successful application in squinting, wry-neck 
and clubfoot. The premises were wrong, and the con- 
clusion false. In these affections the evil is permanent 


and always associated with a contraction or shortening 
of the respective muscles. Stuttering is, on the con- 
trary, frequently temporary ; were it the result of an 
organic defect it would be equally permanent. Dieffen- 
bach found no organic defect in sixteen cases upon 
which he operated, nor were there any found in forty 
cases treated by Blume. Since then, the seat of stutter- 
ing is not in the tongue, it follows that all operations 
on that innocent organ are useless. No doubt, the 
patient frequently ceases stuttering either from the 
shock upon the system, or from his strong faith in the 
efficacy of the operation ; but after the wound is healed 
up, he relapses into his old habit^. 

Nor is it true as asserted by some surgeons, that 
stuttering frequently results from an abnormal condition 
of the tonsils and the uvula, and that the excision of 
these organs would relieve the impediment. Tumefac- 
tion of the tonsils exists in most cases, without producing 
stuttering, while few stutterers have enlarged tonsils ; 
nor if they have, is it the cause of the infirmity. We 
may, however, admit that hypertrophied tonsils, or an 

* Schulthess cites a case of a young workman, a stutterer, 
"whose arm was crushed by machinery so as to require am- 
putation. He remained free from stuttering during the time 
the wound was suppurating ; but the infirmity returned on 
its being healed up. 


abnormal condition of the tongue, the palate, and the 
uvula, may and frequently does give rise to a stammer ; 
that is to a defective articulation of certain sounds ; 
but never are they the cause of stuttering, which, as 
shov/n, essentially differs in its origin and its phenomena 
from stammering. There is then something in a name, 
i. e. in an exact definition of these affections ; for from 
the confusion of the terras arose the confusion in 
their treatment. 

Besides organic defects, the cause of stuttering has 
also been attributed to the defective action of the muscles 
of speech, that is, either to debility or to spasmodic 
action. Debility cannot be the cause, otherwise age, 
wounds, issues, which weaken the muscles, would 
increase the infirmity, and not, as experience shows, 
diminish it. Debility may cause a bad enunciation 
of individual sounds, that is stammering, but certainly 
not stuttering. Nor is the local spasm of the glottis 
the proximate cause ; as, affections of the larynx 
rarely cause stuttering. All reasoning on this subject 
has been in a circle, and it might as well have been 
said a man stutters because he stutters. 

Dr. Claessen, a distinguished German surgeon who 
performed a variety of operations, says {Casper* s 
IVorkenscrift, 1841) "Although the results of my 


experience would lose nothing by comparing them with. 
those published, assuming them to be strictly true, 
still I am so little satisfied, that I have undertaken, 
no operation of the kind since June 11th, though a 
number of afflicted persons vehemently desired it. 
I consider it my duty to dissuade all from performing 
such operations, as it is exceeding rare that the fault is 
in the action of the muscles, and that the evil is reme- 
died by dividing them." 

The following is a summary of surgical operations 
which have been from time to time recommended in: 
various cases of defective articulation : — 

1 . Inability to enunciate the lingual r, 

( Transverse incision into the upper surface of the forepart of 
the tongue.) 

2. Inability to enunciate the palatial r ov ch. 
{Incision into the stylo-glossus, glosso-palatinus, with or toith- 

out the excision of a triangular piece.) 

3. Excision of a prismatic or longitudinal piece from 
the tongue, if it be too voluminous. 

4. Inability to pronounce the hard ff, k, and n g, 
[Division of the genio-glossi and the genio-hyoidei.) 

5. Imperfect articulation of d, t, s, z, in consequence 
of the tip of the tongue not reaching the incisors. 

(Division of the genio-glossi.) 

The efforts made by my late father to put a stop to 


such operations in England, supported by the unsatis- 
factory results obtained, proved after a time successful, 
so that at last the practice was discountenanced by all 
the most eminent members of the profession. In sup- 
port of which I may quote the following passages from 
a leading medical journal. 

*'The sanguinary operations which have recently been 
devised and executed, with the view of curing stam- 
mering, are one of the greatest outrages upon modern 
surgery. Although some of them had their origin 
in legitimate motives, most we fear serve but to show 
Tvhat ruthless expedients will be occasionally resorted 
to for the purpose of acquiring professional fame, 
however short-lived, and to what extent the igno- 
rant and the credulous will become a prey to craft 
and subtlety. If our indignation was awakened at the 
barbarous cruelties practised upon dumb animals for the 
sake of elucidating the truth, of physiology, how 
much more ought it to be when we consider the mul- 
titudes of our fellow-beings who have^ suffered them- 
selves to be maimed and mutilated at the instigation 
of individuals more remarkable for their reckless use 
of the knife than for the soundness of the] ii^edical 

Br if. and Foreign Med, Revieio, vol, xii. 


" It is ascertained that persons who have stammered 
in t])e highest degree, have been remarkable for the 
perfect integrity of conformation and structure of all 
the organs of voice and speech ; while others who have 
laboured u:pder a faulty or d.seased condition of these 
organs have preserved their articulation unimpaired." 

But though it is now comparatively rare to hear of 
an operation of cutting out a transverse wedge from 
the tongue in cases of pscllismus, there are still persons 
who submit to have their tonsils removed for thickness 
of speech, and the uvula extirpated. The whole subject of 
operations of this nature is ably handled hj Mr. Harvey,* 
who says — " Another defect for which the removal of 
these bodies has been most strangely and unaccount- 
ably suggested is defective utterance. Now, how such, 
an expedient for removing that painful and distressing 
condition could enter the mind of anyone I cannot con- 
ceive." That the operation of taking off the elongated 
nvula is also useless there is ample proof given in the 
work from which I have quoted. 

Enlarged tonsils are often found in young persons, 
but they grow out of it in time. In proof of this asser- 
tion, I quote from Mr. Vincent, who says — " I have 

* Oil Excision of ih'i Enlarrjid Tonsils audits Consequences^ 
By William Harvey, Esq., F.R.C.S., &c. Eenshaw. j 


seen very many cases of enlarged tonsils, producing 
the greatest annoyance in patients at fifteen, which, 
have gradually assumed the natural size by the time 
the subject arrived at maturity. If we consider the 
great utility of these glands in secreting a mucus of a 
peculiarly lubricating fluid, so valuiible in the economy 
of deglutition, I cannot regard it as a good practice to 
remove these parts so unsparingly as I have known.'* 

Experience has shown mc that inflamed tonsils and 
elongated uvula are often accompanied with stammer- 
ing ; but on that being removed, this state generally 
ceases The continual misuse of the organs, the vio- 
lent action of the breath, which we often find in stut- 
tering and stammering, are quite sufficient causes to 
produce this result, which is, in most cases, only the 
efiect of stammering, and according to the admitted 
axiom, on the cause being removed the effect wilL 



The plea so long urged by medical authors that 
psellism is a disease, and lies, therefore, within the pro- 
vince of medicine, into which no layman has a right to 
enter, is now generally abandoned ; and is at present 
only advanced by some antediluvian practitioners. 
On this point my late father wrote thus : — 
" I deny that stuttering is a disease. It is an imper- 
fection occasioned by organic, physical, or accidental 
causes — the want of some proper regulation or use, and 
not a disease — though the fruitful source of many dis- 
eases, some of which, by re-action, may be confounded 
with the original cause, such, for example, as palpita- 
tion of the heart, derangement of the nervous system 
pulmonary affections, all inducing constitutional de- 
bility, both physical and mental, and frequently ending 
in premature death. These are the effects of stuttering ; 

* Psellism is here and elsewhere used as a generic term for 
impediments of speech in general. 


but therefore to call a misapplication of the tongue, the 
jaws, the throat, or the breath, a disease, appears to me 
a ridiculous error." 

It is remarkable that the question whether stammer- 
ing be a disease has already been discussed by the 
Ancients. Thus we find in Gellius that stuttering and 
stammering are rather vices than diseases, just as a 
biting and kicking horse is vicious, but not diseased."^' 

XJlpian {dig. tit.) says, it is asked whether the stam- 
merer, thelisper, and such who hesitate in their speech, 
and the halting, are sound ? I am of opinion they 

It may be safely asserted that no idiopathic stutterer 
"was ever cured by a mere therapeutic treatment. 
Medice te ipsum cura ! Physician, cure thyself! Now, 
it is a somewhat curious fact, that there are still alive 
some eminent physicians, who, having been stutterers, 
wrote books on psellism, giving very learned reasons as 
to the how and why they and others stuttered, but 
were not delivered from their infirmity until they con- 

* Balbus autem et atypus vitiosi magis quam morbosi, ut 
equus mordax aut calcitro, vitiosus non morbosus est. 

f Qaesitum est aut balbus et blaesus, et atypus isque qui 
tardius loquitur et varus et vatius sanus sit ! Et opinor eos 
sanos esse. 


descended to place themselves under the care of a lay- 
man, who had made the subject his exclusive study. 
The fact is, that unless a medical man has for years 
devoted all his energy to the subject, and brings to bear 
upon it an ample knowledge of the various phases of 
the disorder, founded upon rigorous deduction and ex- 
tensive experience, combined with an intimate acquain- 
tance with the structure of language and effective deli- 
very, he is but little likely to benefit the* stutterer. 

Most rational physicians novf admit, that discipline 
of the vocal and articulating organs, under an expe- 
rienced instructor, is the only means of overcoming 
impediments of speech. 

But while I deny that idiopathic stuttering is an 
actual disease, I admit that cases of psellism, do 
occur, requiring, in the first instance, the aid of the 
physician or the surgeon. When, for example, I have 
cause to presume that stammering is decidedly a sjnnp- 
tom of a primary affection in some part of the nervous 
centre, I never fail to recommend the applicant to con- 
sult a respectable physician. Again, if the defect can 
be clearly traced to defective organisation, the surgeon 
must be called in to remedy it, if possible. Thus, when 
a person has a cleft palate, science can supply the 
defect by an artificial palate, after which the patient 


still requires to be instructed how to make a proper 
•use of the foreign organ ; m illustration of which, I 
quote the following case ; — 

"Mr. D. P., 83tat 17, has a genital fissure in the 
palate — articulates very imperfectly. The sound of his 
voice was very unpleasant, and many of his words are 
unintelligible. Six months after the operation Mr. P. 
had made no improvement in his speech, when he put 
himself under the tuition of Mr. Hunt. In the course 
of a few weeks an extraordinary change was effected, 
and ere long the articulation was so different that little 
more could be desired."* 

There is a nervous affection, wliich, in more than one 
of its essential features, bears agreat resemblance to some 
sorts of psellism, namely Chorea^ or St. Vitus's Dance^ 
the characteristics of which are a want of control over 
the movements of the muscles of one or more of the 
limbs, the face, or the trunk. Like psellism, it usually 
occurs before puberty, and is frequently as little under 
the control of medicine as the irregular motions of the 
respiratory and articulating organs in defective utter- 

* Extracts from Observations on Cleft Palate. By WilHam 
Ferguson, Esq. F.R.S., Professor of Surgery, King's College. 
The details of the case are given in Vol, XVIII of the MedicO' 
Chirurgical Transactions. 


ance. Both increase or dimmish under nervous excite- 
ment ; and so apparently similar are these affections^ 
that stuttering has been called a chorea of the arti- 
culating muscles. But it is remarkable that, from 
some not yet explained cause, chorea seems to be 
chiefly confined to the female sex, and is now found ta 
yield rather to gymnastic than to medical treatment, as 
"will appear from the following extracts from a French 

" The first who employed gymnastics for the cure of 
St. Vitus's Dance were the priests. The patients were 
assembled after Mass, and made to dance to sacred 
music, plaints were sung, which obliged them to dance 
to measure. Becamier applied rhythm jn [numerous 
convulsive affections. He was of opinion that if the 
muscular motions could be rendered habitually regular 
by alternate contraction and relaxation, a cure might 
be effected. For this purpose he assembled his pa- 
tients at night at the Place Vendome and made them- 
follow the drummers, beating the tattoo. Any other 
instrument, for instance, the metronome, may be em- 
ployed. We commence to make the patients execute 
on command, motions with one arm or one leg, after 
■which we proceed to combined movements. Then 
follow rapid movements, which are by far the easiest^ 


there being no sufficient interval for the choreic un- 
certainty to supervene. Finally, we make them exe- 
cute combined slow movements. "^ ^' 

M, See reports that of twenty-two children treated 
exclusively by gymnastics, eighteen were cured in. 
twenty-nine days. 

The results were less satisfactory when medicaments 
were administered. M. Blache, Physician to the Hopital 
des Enfants, concludes his memoire, read before the 
Academic de Medecine, as follows : — 1. That no treat- 
ment is so efficacious in chorea as the gymnastic, whe- 
ther applied alone, or in combination with the sulphur 
bath. 2. That the former can be employed in every 
case, whilst other remedies are frequently counter- 
indicated. 3. That in the gymnastic treatment amelio- 
ration becomes apparent during the first few days. 4. 
That whilst the disorder disappears the constitution, 
generally is greatly benefited."^* 

Thus it would appear that even in those cases, when 
stammering or stuttering either results from, or co- 
exists with chorea, systematic exercise of the various 
organs, judiciously applied, will not only cure the 
stammer and the primary affection, but will greatly 
improve the constitution. It has ever formed part of 

* Archives gen. de Medecine, 1854, 


my system to combine oral instruction with the practical 
training of all the organs, directly or indirectly concerned 
in the production of sound and speech, by means of 
appropriate gymnastic exercise calculated to streng- 
then the respective organs, and to bring them under 
the control of the pupil ; and I have the satisfaction of 
knowing that few have left my establishment without 
great improvement in their general health. 

On this point I also quote the following, extracted 
from the Irr-ationale of Speech : — "A stammerer's life 
is (unless he be a very clod) a life of misery, growing 
with this growth, and deepening as his knowledge of 
life, and his aspirations deepen. One comfort he has, 
truly — that the said life is not likely to be a long one. 
Some readers may smile at this assertion. Let them 
think for themselves. How many old people have they 
ever heard stammer ? I have known but two. One is 
a very slight case ; the other a very severe one. He, 
a man of fortune, dragged on a painful and pitiable 
existence — nervous, decrepid, effeminate, asthmatic — 
kept alive by continual nursing. Had he been a 
labouring man, he would have died thirty years sooner 
than he did. 

*' The cause is simple enough. Continued depression 
of spirits wears out body as well as mind. The lungs. 


never acting rightly, never oxygenate the blood suffi- 
ciently. The vital energy, (whatever that may be) con- 
tinually directed to ti.e organs of speech, and used up 
there in the miserable spasms of misarticulation, can- 
not feed the rest of the body : and the man too often 
beco/nes pale, thin, flaccid, with contracted chest, loose- 
ribs, and bad digestion. I have seen a stammering boy- 
of twelve stunted, thin as a ghost, and with every sign 
of approaching consumption. I have seen that boy, a 
few months after being cured, upright, ruddy, stout, 
eating heartily, and beginning to grow faster than he 
had ever grown in his life. I never knew a single 
case of cure in which the health did not begin to im- 
prove there and then." 

The intimate relations of body and mind, and their 
mutual dependance upon each other, are constantly 
manifested in the phenomena of utterance. Thus in 
many cases the infirmity is increased or diminished, 
according to the impaired or healthy state of the di- 
gestive and other functions. If it cannot be denied that 
nervousness may produce stammering or stuttering ; 
it is not less true that stuttering will produce ner- 
vousness, and perhaps, in the course of time, organic 
disease. In such cases the cure of stuttering will tend 
to re-establish health. I have known it arrest the 


progress of pulmonary disease, while in every case, its 
removal has had the effect of calming and invigorating 
the whole system. 

The action on the young is in some cases very marked, 
often stopping the growth.*' I have known youths 
after the cure to grow two inches in three months 
which is to be accounted for by the nourishment acting 
now in a natural manner on the system, which before 
was unduly appropriated to the support of the misused 

* " We have some reason to believe that the formative 
power of the tissues themselves may be diminished, so as to 
check the process of nutrition, even when the plastic material 
is supplied ; and a diminution of it in that irritable state of 
the system which results from excessive and prolonged bodily 
exertion, or anxiety of mind." Carpenter's Huma7i Physiology, 



There exists, perliaj^s, a well founded prejudice 
against secret remedies. We may, iu the abstract, 
admit that a person in full possession of a remedy- 
tending to relieve any of the ills incidental to the 
human frame is morallv bound to divulEre it, and to 
look for a reward in his own conscience ; even although 
a professional man's experience may be his stock in. 

But is it not absurd to]talk of the secrcsy of a system, 
which has now been in active operation for many years, 
and must consequently be known to many hundreds, if 
not thousands ? The secret is in the application of the 
system, and not in the system itself. 

Let us take a case in point, though the greatest pre- 
cautions were taken to keep the construction of the 
" Armstrong gun" a secret, its structure is well known- 



and duly commented upon in various periodicals. The 
real secret of it, however, though it may be divulged, 
cannot be easily communicated, for it consists in the 
employment of superior tools, in the skill of the work- 
men, and in the ingenious mode of combination requisite 
for a variety of purposes. 

The secret of my system is experience ; it nei- 
ther consists in an operation, in a charra, or a potion; 
its name is legion, according to the legion of shades 
which the calamity exhibits ; for there is no affection, 
which is so capricious, and so much defies correct 
description. I believe there is no one term which pre- 
sents such extremes of differences, both in degree, and 
in kind as the word stammering, used in a compre- 
hensive sense. Even if there were, in this system, 
an uniform system of rules, it would not be applicable 
to all cases, as there are no two persons who are 
physically and mentally constituted alike. 

The stammer or stutter of one never exactly resem- 
bles that of another. Each case has its peculiar symp- 
toms and a physiognomy of its own. Simple of aj)pli- 
cation as my system is in one case, it is intricate and 
complicated in another. But were it even possible to 
describe all the minutiae of a mode of treatment adapted 
to all imaginable cases, it would be useless, if not pro- 


ductive of mischief, unless the individual who applies 
it has qualified himself for the task by an extended 
practical experience. 

All that I ever pretended to, was to have rigidly 
followed in the footsteps of my late father, who, by un- 
shackling himself from preconceived theories, and by 
taking nature as his guide, has established the basis of 
a method which has now stood the test of time, and 
the soundness of which becomes more and more con- 
firmed by our daily increasing knowledge of the struc- 
ture and functions of the vocal and articulating 

The eminent writer before quoted gives his valuable 
opinion on this point in the following words : — 

" There is no secret in Mr. Hunt's ' system,' except 
in as far as all natural processes are a secret to those 
who do not care to find them out. Any one who will 
examine for himself how he speaks plainl)% and how his 
stammering neighbour does not, may cure him, as Mr- 
Hunt did, and " Conquer Nature by obeying her," but 
lie will not do it. He must give a lifetime to the work, 
as he must to any work which he wishes to do well. 
And he had far better leave the work to the few (when 
I say few, I know none but my friend. Dr. James Hunt) 
who have made it their ergon and differential energy 


throughout life. Still less 'svill those succeed who,. 
haviiig got hold of a few of old 2slv. Hunt's rules, fancy 
that they know his secret. Old 3.1r. Hunt's secret v,-as, 
a shrewd English brain, backed by ball-dog English, 
det 'rmination, to judge from the remarkable bust of 
him which exists, and which would have made him do 
many other things, had he chosen, besides curing stam- 
meriug. And the man who tries to trade on his con- 
clusions, vv'ithout possessing his faculty, or having 
worked through his experiments, will be like hiin who 
should try to operate in the hospital theatre, after cram- 
ming np a book on anatomy, or throw himself into a 
pond after hearing a lecture on swimming. He will 
apply his rules in the wrong order, and to the wrong 
cases ; he will be puzzled by a set of unexpected and 
unclassified symptoms, and be infallibly v/rong in his 

" For instance, put tvro men before a second-bund pre- 
tender of this kind ; one of whom (to give a common 
instance) stammers from a full lung, the other fro:n an 
empty one. Each requires to be started on a diircrent 
method, and he will most probably (unconscious of the 
difference between theai) try the same nietliod for 
both ; while if the empty-lunged man have a hard, 
round chest, and the full-lunged man have a soft and 


flat one, lie will never find out whicli is which. The 
matter is a study by itself; and had Dr. James Hunt, 
in his book, told all he knew of the methods of cure, 
lie would not have injured himself one whit — except in 
as far as he might have raised up a set of quae'is whe- 
ther medical or other, trading on his name, and bring- 
ing him into disrepute by their failures. "•>■* 

Having devoted myself to a special branch of 
physiology, and witnessed the fruits of thirty yenrs' 
experience in my father's and my own practice, I feel 
now that it is my duty to carry out the system in a 
manner which shall compass the greatest amount of prac- 
tical good. As already stated, my teaching interferes 
neither with th.e practice of the physician or surgeon. 
I pretend to nothing more than the employment of 
instruction and reason to remedy, in the vast maj ;rity 
of cases, these painful impediments which constitute 
not only a barrier to the common intercourse and 
enjoyments of life, but to individual advancement in 
any class of professional or social pursuit. 

This brings me to the consideration of the benefit 
that has been and may be derived from the perusal of 
"books professing to lay down definite rules for the 
cure of psellism, from whatever cause or causes it may 
have arisen. Persons who have not duly reflected on 
* Frase7''s Magazine , July, 1859. 


the subject, and ignorant that psellism does not arise 
from one but many causes, have felt disappointed that 
I have not given minute instructions for the removal 
of each individual defect. 

In my Manual of the Philosophy of Voice and Speech^ 
and in this, and former treatises, I have given abun- 
dant general rules in relation to the cultivation of the 
voice and the regulation of respiratory action, the 
observance of which will prevent stuttering. By study- 
ing these rules, an intelligent person possessing tenacity 
of purpose and self-control, may succeed in freeing 
himself in certain cases from his defect. But wliere 
there are severe faults of articulation, confirmed by 
long habit, the mere perusal of written rules and their 
application in attempts at a self-cure, will not only fail 
but actually increase the disorder, rendering it more 
complicated by the contraction of other bad habits. 
I know from experience that the great majority of 
sufferers, who have applied to me for relief, had pre- 
viously read and tried the multifarious plans recom- 
mended by a great variety of authors, and I had always 
greater trouble in curing these, compared with sucb. 
who were free from any preconceived theory. The 
common saying " a man who is his own doctor has a 
fool f)r his patient" applies equally to the stutterer. 


Nothing is more certain than that in inveterate and 
severe cases of stuttering, the patients require for a 
certain period, the constant aid of an experienced 
teacher, who, having traced the cause of the evil, 
adapts the treatment accordingly. The main thing is 
to form a correct diagnosis ; but this can only be ac- 
quired by long practice. The distinctive marks are 
frequently so blended that the superficial observer may 
consider two cases as identical which have scarcely any 
analogy to each other, and require an essentially 
diiFerent treatment. 

It has ever been a fundamental error to assert that 
there is but one cause which produces the various 
degrees of stammering and stuttering, and consequently 
one remedy to be applied. The result has shown that 
all systems, which have been propounded on such a 
narrow basis, have been rendered comparatively use- 
less. On the other hand, there is perhaps no affliction 
to which the human frame is liable, which has been 
attempted to be cured in so many different ways. 

The famous pebbles of Demosthenes ; a bullet in the 
mouth ; a roll of linen under the tongue ; the fork 
of Itard ; the hride-langue of Colombat ; the whale- 
bone of Malebouche ; the stick behind the back ; 
intoning ; speaking through the nose ; talking with 


the teeth closed ; all these have been successively ad- 
vised aivl applied to remedy fiiults which existed only 
in the ir.ip.gination of the advisers. And if they pro- 
duced any effect it consisted frequently in creating new 
defects. One thing is certain, that nearly every one 
of these contrivances seemed to loose its eificacy as 
soon as the secret was divulged. 

The following is written by one who, having tried 
nearly every system in his own person, is well able to 
estimate the comparative value of the general principles 
upon vfhich my treatment is based : — 

" The elder Hunt's ' System, ' as he called it, is a 
Tery pretty instance of sound inductive method hit on 
by simple patience and common sense. He first tried 
to find out how people stammered ; and for this pur- 
pose had to find out how people spoke plain — to com- 
pare the normal with the abnormal use of the organs. 
But this involved finding out what the organs used 
were, a matter little understood thirty years ago ])y 
scientific men, still less by Hunt, v*'ho had only a 
Cambridge education, and mother wit to help him. 
However, he found out ; and therewith found out, by 
patient comparing of health with unliealtli, a fact 
which seems to have escaped all before' him — that the 
abuse neither of the ton<:rue nor anv other sin":le orii-au 


is tlie cause of stammering — that the whole malady is 
so complicated that it is very difficult to perceive what 
organs are ab;ised at any given nioiaent — quite im- 
possible to discover what organ first v/ent wrong, and 
set the rest wrong. For nature, in the perpetual strug- 
gle to return to a goal to which she knows not the path, 
is ever trying to correct oue morbid action by another ; 
and to expel vice by vice ; ever trying fresh experiments 
of mis-speaking, and failing, alas ! in all ; so that the 
stammerer may take very diJaerent forms from year to 
year ; and the boy who began to stammer with the lip 
ma}^ go on to stammer with the tongue, then with the 
jaw, and last, and worst of all, with the breath ; and 
in after life, try to rid himself of one abuse by trying 
in alternation all the other three. To these four abuses 
— of the lips, of the tongue, of the jaw, and of the 
breath — old Mr. Hunt reduced his puzzling mass of 
morbid phenomena ; and I for one believe his division 
to be sound and exhaustive. He saw, too, soon, that 
stammering was no organic disease, but simply the loss 
of a habit (always unconscious) of articulation ; and 
his notion of his work was naturally, and without dodge 
or trick, to teach the patient to speak consciously, as 
other men spoke unconsciously. "••' 

* Irrationale of SjJoech. 



Before determining upon the treatment to be adopted, 
i make it a point to inquire whether any relatives of 
the patient labour under the same infirmity, and whe- 
ther he stammers in singing. After a careful exami- 
nation of the buccal cavity, and inducing the patient to 
move his tongue in every possible direction, I ask a 
few questions, and desire him to read passages of poetry 
and prose, in order to observe whether his difficulty 
lies in the enunciation of the lingual, labial, or gut- 
tural sounds, and also to see what mannerism or tricks 
have been acquired. The motions of the lower jaw, 
the elevation and depression of the larynx, the rhythm 
of the respiratory organs during enunciation, and the 
action of the heart, require particular attention before 
w; are enabled to form a correct diagnosis. The con- 
stitution, age, sex, the duration of the infirmity, 
the original cause of the defect, the mental disposition 
and moral habits of the patient, must all be taken 
into consideration before the treatment can be decided 


If no oiganic defect can be detected, it will, in most 
cases, be found, that the infirmity is simply owing to the 


misuse of one or more organs which are employed either 
with too much force, or not used at all ; the necessary- 
result of which is disharmony between vocalisation and 
articulation — the chief source of stuttering. Articula 
tion may be normal, and vocalisation defective, and vice 
versa. To establish the requisite harmony between all 
organs concerned is the object to be aimed at. 

If the question be asked, how it can be ascertained 
that the infirmity is not the result of defective organi- 
sation, the answer is, by first inspecting the respective 
organs as far as we may be able; for such an examination 
mostly extends only to the organs contained in the 
buccal cavity."^' But the actual proof that there exists 
no organic disease, is obtained by placing the patient, 
tinder certain new conditions, and observing whether his 
speech becomes more free. Does the patient both 
stammer and stutter? Does he stammer or stutter 
while singing or reciting? Is his articulation more 
distinct when reading alone, or talking to himself? 

* Professor Czermack of Pesth, has recently given at Paris 
some demonstrations with, his laryngo-scope, which is very 
likely an improvement of a contrivance employed years ago 
by Garcia. The surgeon introduces, with great care below 
the uvula, a little mirror, the back of which is in contact with 
the uvula, so that the larynx may be completely seen. 
Whether any new light will thereby be thrown on the 
action of the larynx remains to be seen. 

140 sta.m:>ieuixg and stutteiiikg. 

What are his most difncult letters of the alphabet? 
Is the disorder intermittent or permanent ? Now 
whenever we find defective utterance yielding to- 
altered circumstances, Ave may fairl}' take for granted 
that the structure of the organs has notliing to do 
v.'ith the impediment, for actual organic disease is 
known by the permanence of its symptoms, so that the 
subject ought then to stammer or stutter under all 

Psych ica I Trea tm en t. 

It is admitted that the exciting cause of speech is 
in the mind, so that perfect idiots are mute from the 
absence of the intellectual stimulant. The mind is 
thus the m.aster of speech, and through it alone can 
we act on the organs necessary for the process of 
articulation. When we lose our control over the 
mind, v/e have none over the bodily organs under its 
influence, and an improper action is the result. 

Novr most of the methods recommended have that 
in common, that they leave the psychical element 
nearly out of sight, being almost exclusively directed 
to the action of the vocal and articulating organs, and 
are thus wanting one of the most important means for 


ultimate success. It is impossible to lay down any 
precise rules in regard to the psychical treatment of 
tlie stutterer, for it is clear that it must be adapted, 
not merely to the intellectual and moral capacity, but 
also to the temperament of the patient. The sanguine, 
the phleg-.natic. the choleric, and the nervous stutterer, 
require each, the application of a different method. 
Tho great object, however, in all cases is to impart to 
the patient mental tranquillity and self-control. When 
that is effected much has been gained, and unfil it is 
attained, physical and mechanical means prove bat of 
small beuefit. 

In illustration of the power of tlio mind over tbe 
body with regard to stuttering, not owing to organic 
defects, I may state the following fi\ct from amongst 
•many of a sunilar nature. One of my pupils, a talented 
clergyman, before coming to me, haci occasion to 
deliver a sermon — a task which, under the circum- 
stances — being afflicted with a severe impediment of 
speech — he would much rather have avoided. Per- 
ceiving at the very outset, that the peculiarity of his 
enunciation caused an unseemly merriment among 
his congregation, his feelings were roused to such a 
pitch, that he inwardly vowed to give them no further 
cause for it, and he fully succeeded ; for he went on 


with his discourse to the end without once faltering 
But the excitement proved too much for him ; the 
concentration of mental energy was, as usual, followed 
by reaction, and he felt utterly prostrate for several 
days, and stuttered fearfully until he placed himself 
under my tuition. Since I have acquainted him with 
the causes of his impediment, and having, by practice 
brought his rebellious organs under control, he feels 
not more surprised at the simplicity of the means by 
which he obtained this command, than at the circum- 
stance, that with all his reading and talents he did not 
himself discover so obvious a remedy. 

Stammerers and stutterers are frequently looked 
upon as a careless, petulant, and indolent class— a set 
of imbeciles — than which nothing can generally be 
more erroneous. That the temper of many such 
sufferers has been sour'd by continued annoyances ; 
that some exhibit signs of indolence which convey the 
impression of stupidity is true, but this is no more 
than would occur under the same circumstances to 
any other persons. Often have I found excellent 
qualities of head and heart thus obscured; but the 
cause being removed, and sufficient time allowed for 
the sufferer to regain his bodily health and mental 
vigour, he, no longer restrained by his infirmity, not 


only frequently equals, but rises superior to his unfet- 
tered companions. We behold him now speaking 
with fluency and pleasure in society where formerly 
he could not utter a sentence. I may illustrate this 
by the following case — 

A young gentleman, the son of a dignitary of the 
Church of England, labouring under d severe impedi- 
ment of speech, became a pupil of my late father. 
Being of a persevering character, he not only, in due 
time, conquered the impediment, but actually acquired 
such a command over his organs, that he, shortly 
after, carried off the prize as the best reader of his year, 
as scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge. 

There was, therefore, in this case (by no means an 
unusual one) not only a blemish removed, but a beauty 
created where previously deformity existed. This 
result, though scarcely expected, is natural enough ; 
for a stutterer who has gone through a systematic 
course must, if perfectly cured, generally be a better 
reader and speaker than are usually met with, inas- 
much as the very discipline, requisite to overcome 
impediments in speech, leads simultaneously to correct 
reading, and fluent, and ready delivery. 

It frequently happens that the cure of psellism 
brings out latent capabilities, which might have 


remained dormant had they not been roused by the 
removal of the cause which concealed them. It is 
no uncommon occurrence to find a fine voice, and 
many other qualifications for oratory, hidden under a 
distressing delivery. Under appropriate treatment, 
the enemy is not only vanquished, but his post advan- 
tageously occupied ; weakness yields the place to 
strength, and strength establishes the foundation of 

The ascertained cause of the impediment should be 
explained to the pupil, for few, if any, stutterers are 
aware of the reason vv^hy they have a difficulty of 
utterance. Vocalisation and articulation are intuitively 
acquired in infancy ; but the mode and the cause of 
their production is unknown even to man3' adults. 
* No\y it is not exactly requisite minutely to explain 
to the stutterer the individual and collectivo action 
of all the organs concerned. This would defeat our 
very purpose ; for finding it so complicate a mechanism 
it would but increase his apprehension tbat he could 
ever obtain the mastery over it. But it is necessary to 
point out to the patient, in the first place, the manner in 
which voice is produced, and articulation effected, and 
the ostensible reason why he has a difficulty in speech. 
He must be made to concentrate his attention to the 


main source of his impediment, whether the fault be 
in the action of the respiratory, vocal, or articulating 
apparatus. By these means the mind of the patient 
is acted upon, scepticism and mistrust is removed, 
confidence is established, and the subject is inspired 
with the hope that he may ultimately recover his 
fluency of speech. 



During the reign of terror in our educational es- 
tablishments, when learning and morality were beaten 
into the reluctant minds of the rising generation, it was 
but natural that the application of the rod was con- 
sidered an effective means to cure psellism. I am 
therefore not surprised to find that even the great 
Joseph Frank recommends, in his Practice of Medicine^ 
cuffs and kicks as proper remedies in certain cases of 
impediments. But though the flogging system has in 
recent times lost caste, the treatment of stammering 
and stuttering children is still very irrational. 

Some severity may be advisable in those cases when 
the infirmity is presumed to be mimicked either for fun, 
or for deception. It is, however, not so easy for persons 
unacquainted with the various causes and symptoms ta 


detect the difFerence between real or pretended stam- 
mering, and many children really afflicted have been 
treated with great injustice on that account. A sus- 
ceptible, timid child, constantly in awe of an ignorant 
parent, or a brutal master, may be made to stutter by 
«ruel treatment. I cannot, therefore, but fully concur ia 
the following forcible remarks, merely adding that the 
fundamental principle of all rational education — suaviter 
in mocio, for tiler 171 re — is a fortiori applicable to the 
cure of stammering. 

*' And here I say boldly that the stupidity and cruelty 
with which stammering children are too often treated,. 
is enough to rouse indignation. They are told, " You 
can help it if you like !' As if they knew how to help 
it. They are asked, " Why cannot you speak like 
other people ? " As if it were not torture enough ta- 
see other people speaking as they cannot ; to see the 
rest of the world walking smoothly along a road which 
they cannot find, and are laughed at for not ^finding ; 
while those who walk proudly along cannot tell them 
how they keep on it. They are even told, "You do 
it on purpose !' As if they were not writhing with 
shame every time they open their mouths. All this 
begets in the stammerer a habit of secresy, of feeling 
himself cut off from his kindred ; of brooding over his 


thoughts, of fancying himself under a mysterious curse, 
which sometimes (as I have known it do) tempts him 
to actual suicide ; sometimes (as I have known it co) 
seems the possession of a demon. If it proceeded from 
an organic defect, a deformity, he would know that he 
could not dance. If he was blind he would not ex- 
pect to see. But when he knows there is no deformity, 
that his organs are just as perfect as other people's, 
the very seeming causelessness of the malady makes- 
it utterly intolerable."*^ 

Whether it be from inattention, or from inability of 
distinguishing between the difficulty of enunciating 
certain syllables and words in early infancy, and actual 
psellism, it is certain that the first inclination to stam- 
mer is little noticed, and that it is only about the 
period of the second dentition that the attention of the 
parents is fairly roused. The hope which many parents 
entertain that the affection may spontaneously decline, 
is, unless it proceeds from a transitory disorder, rarely 
realised. The defect, on the contrary, commonly in- 
creases with approaching puberty, and sometimes be- 
comes then developed in its worst form. 

Parents, therefore, cannot too often be reminded, 
that the proper time for seeking the aid of an expe- 

* Irrationale of Speech^ 


rienced practitioner is the period when the infirmity 
first manifests itself, when the evil may be more easily 
removed, while the cure becomes more difficult and 
tedious, when indistinct articulation has become 

One of the causes of defective articulation, which 
has scarcely been noticed, is the foolish manner in 
which children are talked to by ignorant nurses and 
fond mothers ; to which must be added the careless and 
faulty manner in which they are taught to speak and 
read. It is scarcely necessary to remark that parents 
cannot be too careful to select nurses and teachers free 
from any defect of speech. 

The celebrated Dr. Priestley, who laboured under an 
impediment of speech, was conscientious enough to 
retire from his profession of a teacher, as he well knew 
how contagious, if we may use the term, stuttering is. 
In Priestley's time the nature of the infirmity was but 
little understood, and he abandoned all hope of being 
relieved of his impediment. 

I do not intend entering here upon any discussion 
as to the value of elocution as a branch of elementary 
education. I have done so elsewhere (see Philosophj 


of Voice and Speech) ; but this much I may observe, 
that there have been, and there are elocutionists under 
-whose instructions great advantages may be acquired. 
But unfortunately such men are sometimes called in to 
correct inveterate errors, instead of instituting ele- 
mentary principles at the outset, before the contraction 
of bad habits. Elocution, as now understood, seems 
only a method of varnishing the voice, and of teaching 
the imitation of some particular style or rhythmical 
mode of speaking and reading ; no wonder that the 
study of elocution has fallen into disrepute. Properly 
to develop the vocal and articulating organs, we must 
be guided by some fixed principles, with which the 
majority of those who teach children to read are totally 
unacquainted. The same may be said of many who 
style themselves elocutionists. 

Relapses. The French and German commissions, 
which examined the patients presented before them, 
-after having undergone the treatment employed by 
their respective tutors, pronounced most of them per- 
fectly cured of their infirmity. Yet it is certain that 
many of these, after a shorter or longer period of time, 
relapsed into their old habit. The questions, therefore, 
arose w^hether a radical cure be at all possible, or 
whether the systems employed were in fault. Now, I 


will not attempt to deny that similar cases, though not 
to any extent, have occurred in my own practice. But 
when it is considered that the old habit, which perhaps 
has existed for years, is still strong, and can, especially in 
inveterate cases, be only controlled by constant attention 
to the rules for harmonising the motions of the articu- 
lative organs with the vocal and respiratory functions, 
it is wonderful that the relapses are not more frequent. 

The few — for I venture to say not one in ten of 
my pupils have experienced relapses — have candidly 
imputed it to their own carelessness, and not to the 
system ; for what was possible once must be possible 
again. In some cases circumstances prevented the 
pupil from going through the whole requisite discipline. 
Others, again, are too sanguine, and consider themselves 
perfectly cured on having acquired a certain fluency of 
utterance, while in some, the constant fear of relapsing 
is the cause of its actual occurrence. 

Mr. Malebouche says that his experience was, "That 
those cures which are the most quickly effected are the 
least durable ; " I have certainly found a tendency to 
the same reeult; but by due caution, such a rule has 
been by no means general. 

I fully agree with Mr. Malebouche, however, vv'hen 
-he says, " That it is important to concentrate the mind 


exclusively upon the object to be obtained by tbe- 
treatment. Children, and that class of men of the world 
who are accustomed to descant upon and discuss every- 
thing without ever concluding upon anything, are 
incapable of this concentration of the attention, and 
for that reason are difficult to cure." 

To effect a perfect cure, it is absolulely necessary to 
appeal to the reason, and arouse the will to a vigilant 
control over all the voluntary nerves and muscles. 
When pupils are too indolent or too careless to exercise 
this control, the cure becomes very difficult and un- 

One principal reason, however, of failure, has justly 
been observed by Dr. Warren, an eminent physician of 
the United States, to be that teachers require too little 
time ; and consequently many of the cures are not perma- 
nent. A habit tliat has been confirmed by years cannot 
1)6 eradicated in a very short time. This remark as to 
the length of time required for the cure of children 
applies still more forcibly to the case of adults. The 
more confirmed the habit, the more complicated it is, 
and the longer the time requisite for its eradication. In 
regard to the discipline of the organs, an experienced 
instructor is of the utmost importance. The advice 


which Dr. Warren gives to parents is so judicious that 
I cannot refrain from quoting it. 

" Seek out a person who has experience in the treat- 
ment of impediments of speech. Pkce him under his 
care, and if he is benefited, do not remove him, and 
think to perfect the cure vourseL'^. Three months is a 
Tery short time for him to remain under the superinten- 
dence of an instructor ; six months is better, and where 
it is practicable, he should remain a year. If this inter- 
feres with other studies, it is of no consequence ; he 
will derive benefit enough to compensate for the loss. 
The age I should fix upon for the trial should be from 
eight to twelve. At this period the loss of a year's 
study may be a gain. If he meets there others who 
are afi"ected as he is, it is all the better ; he will no 
longer look upon his case as a peculiar one ; and if he 
sees others whose impediments are worse than his, it 
\vill give him additional courage." 

This is very true, for very sensitive pupils are apt to 
doubt themselves, and fail in consequence of want of 
confidence. But when they observe the successful 
eflfects of the system in which they are to be instructed, 
the conviction is forced upon their minds that they 
need only follow the same course to reap the same 


Concluding Remarks, 

As the subjects are frequently young persons with, 
irritable nerves, or extremely shy and bashful, it is, in 
most cases, requisite that they should, for a given time, 
be withdrawn from certain home influences — too often 
the exciting causes of psellism in its various forms. 

When defective articulation is the result or the con 
comitant of debility, whether congenital or acquired, a 
permanent cure can in such cases be only effected by 
placing the pupil under such favourable circumstances, 
that whilst the organs concerned undergo the requisite 
training, their healthy action may be restored and sus- 
tained by the invigoration of the whole frame. 

The number of apparently intractable cases, vvhick 
yielded to treatment during my annual temporary so- 
journ on the coast, have convinced me of the great 
value of a country and marine residence as an adjuvant 
in many cases, dependhig upon affections of the 
vocal and respiratory apparatus. In order, there- 
fore, fully to carry out my system, I have formed a 
permanent establishment"^' for the treatment of defective 
articulation, which enables me to afford residential 
accommodation to a limited number of pupils. 

* Ore House, near Hastings. 


The advantages offered by the locality selected, 
considere^d one of the most salubrious spots in Sussex, 
are sufficiently obvious. The house commands exten- 
sive land and sea views ; the air is pure and bracing, 
and the environs offer all requisites for health and 

Physical training, generally so much neglected, re- 
ceives due attention, and all means are resorted to for 
producing bodily vigour. The cultivation of the in- 
tellect and the inculcation of moral habits is not less 
carefully attended to. 

As, independent of any impediment, many find it a 
difficult task extemporaneously to address an assem- 
bly, it forms a prominent feature in the plan of in- 
struction to afford to the pupils constant opportunities 
to read, debate, and speak on various subjects before 
others, the frequent practice of which being abso- 
lutely requisite to overcome the natural diffidence, and. 
to restore a feeling of confidence and self-reliance. 


Abridged Notice of the Life of the late Thomas Hunt. 

The late Tliomas Hunt was born in Dorsetshire, in 1802" 
His progenitors and family were connected with the. 
Chnrch of England, and he was educated at Winchester, 
and Trinity College, Cambridge, with a view to a similar 
provision in holy orders. 

While at Cambridge, Mr. Hunt's attention was, by the 
affliction of a fellow-student, forcibly drawn to the investi- 
gation of the causes which produce stammering — a disorder 
then held to be incurable. Havmg, by various successfully 
treated cases, satisfied himself that he had discovered a 
rational system for the cure of tliis infirmity, he left college 
with the determination of devoting himseK to that pursuit, 
which soon became the engrossing business of his life. 

An extended provincial tour, undertaken to enlarge his 
experience, only confirmed his opinion as to the real nature 
of the disorder, and the most appropriate remedies for its 

One of the earliest proofs of his provincial success, is 
vouched for by Sir John Forbes. 

*'Mr. Hunt was kind enough to give a lesson in my 
presence to Thomas Miles (a patient in the Chichester 
Infirmary), a poor man who has been affected with stammer- 


ing, in a very high degree, from his infancy. And from the 
unreserved exposition of his principles on that occasion, as 
well as from the remarkaWe improvement (amounting almost 
to a complete cure) produced by this single lesson, I am of 
opinion that Mr. Hunt's method will be successful in nearly 
every case of stammering not depending on any organic 
defect, provided the requisite degree of attention is paid by 
the pupil." 

John Forbes, M.D." 
" Chichester, April 12, 1828." 

Thus fortified by the happy results of his labours in all 
parts of the country, Mr. Hunt finally resolved to settle in 
the metropolis, where at first he experienced, to the full, all 
the difficulties which usually attend the estabhshment of a 
new theory. In spite of all obstacles, however, Mr. Hunt's 
system gradually rose in public estimation, and the evidence 
of its merits became too convincing to be withstood. The 
greatest surgeon of the day, the late Mr. Kobert Liston, 
stepped before the public, and not only raised his voice 
against any further mutilations, but evinced his admiratioir 
of the simplicity and efficacy of Mr. Hunt's system, by re- 
commending to medical and other students to avail them- 
selves of Mr. Hunt's tuition. Those only who know how 
scrupulously chary that eminent surgeon was to give the 
sanction of his name to aught, either professional or general, 
which he could not conscientiously approve, can estimate 
the paramomit importance of such aid. 

*' I have, with much pleasure, witnessed Mr. Hunt's 
process for the removal of stammering. It is founded on 
correct physiological principles, is simple, efficacious, and 
unattended by pain or inconvenience. Several young 
persons have, in my presence, been brought to him for the 


first time ; some of them could not utter a sentence, how^ 
ever short, without hesitation and frightful contortion of 
the features. In less than half an hour, by following Mr. 
Hunt's instructions, they have been able to speak and to 
read continuously, long passages without difl&culty. Some 
of these individuals had previously been subjected to painful 
and unwarrantable incisions, and had been left with their 
palates horribly mutilated, hesitating in their speech, and 
stuttering as before." 

" Egbert Liston." 
" 5, Clifford Street, March 1, 1842." 

About this time it curiously happened that Francis, when 
he shot at Her Majesty, was witnessed by Pearson, and had 
he been able to give the alarm, the danger might have been 

The Times, of June 25, 1842, remarks, " It will be re- 
collected that a lad, named Pearson, one of the persons who 
-witnessed the treasonable attempt upon the Queen's life on 
the Sunday afternoon, was afflicted with so inveterate a 
habit of stammering as to be unable even to give an alarm. 
He has, we are informed, by means of a new process of cure, 
obtained the power of perfect articulation ; the hesitation, 
■which before rendered him scarcely intelligible, even when 
not excited, having entirely disappeared." 

So completely does the valued opinion of Kobert Cham- 
bers,* represent the facts of the case, that I quote the 
greater portion of this article. 

" I have been taken by a friend to see stammering cured 
by Mr. Hunt. Though a matter in which a patrimonial 
interest is concerned, I feel tempted, by the interesting 
nature of what I saw, to make public allusion to Mr. Hunt's 

* Chambers' Edinburgh Journal, April 10, 1847. 


system. Two young men were in attendance, "botli grievously- 
afflicted with stammering, and both new cases. One was 
asked to sit down, and Mr. Hunt then addressed a few 
questions to him, on which he made the usual wretched 
attempts to answer. This young man had no recollection of 
ever speaking fluently. His attempts to read were equally 
miserable failures. Mr. Hunt then explained to him, in 
simple terms, the physiological and moral causes of staimner- 
ing, and gave him a few very intelligible directions for 
the regulation- of the mouth, tongue, respiration, and the 
part of the chest to speak from. The youth was soon able 
to pronounce sentences, and also to read with considerable 
readiness. The other youth was then put through a similar 
series of lessons, and in an equally short time the compara- 
tively perfect use of the organs was attained in his case. 
On a subsequent visit, I saw a girl who stammered and 
hesitated in an extraordinary manner, restored to a common 
style of speech in less than twenty minutes. These, how- 
ever, are not cures. A complete victory over the bad habit 
can only be the work of time. There is no mystery what- 
ever in the plan. It is merely replacing nature upon her 
pivot, from which accident or bad habit had thrown her. 
What the instructor does is but a small part of the cure. 
The greater part is the work of the pupil, fully obeying the 
rules, and persevering in them, till a new habit has been 
acquired. Most persons, I conceive, would not be safe from 
a relapse under carelessness for many months, and indi- 
viduals of weak will might fail altogether. 

* * * * 

" The exhibition is a most interesting one, creating that 
peculiar satisfactory feeling which we experience when the 
triumph of nature over error is asserted. Yet, as if to make 
good the rule that all benefits to humanity must come 

MEMOIK. 161 

•througli the sufferings of individuals, Mr. Hunt has been 
subjec'ed to persecution on account of his practice. It was 
discovered that stammering ought to be regarded as a 
disease, and therefore treated only by qualified medical 
men ; on this ground Mr, Hunt was publicly denounced as 
a quack. It would be as reasonable to demand that a 
dancing-master, who substitutes graceful for av/kward walk- 
ing, or an elocutionist, who extirpates patois from the tones 
of the voice, should have a medical diploma. A beautiful 
thing it would be, indeed, for the resolver of this difficulty 
to go to a faculty altogether ignorant of the subject, aud 
study their mysteries, which have nothing to do with it, 
and niue-tenths of which are now under a strong suspicion 
of being mere delusion, before he could be allowed to make 
use of an invention of his own, the benefits of which are 

The following is from the pen of a writer of high reputa- 
tion, viz : — Mr. John Forster, of the Exainiaer, the well 
Icnown biographer, of Goldsmith.* 

" A prospectus is before us, issued by Mr. Hunt, on the 
subject of impediments of speech, and the possibility of their- 
-easy and certain removal, without any kind of siu-gical in- 
tervention, which we think of sufficient interest to bring 
binder notice in this place. Struck by the announcement, 
and by a remark of the late Mr. Liston, among the testi- 
monials quoted, we have sought and obtained an opportunity 
of witnessing the process adopted by Mr. Hunt. We have 
110 hesitation in expressing a most favourable opinion of Mr. 
Hunt's process. Based upon clear and intelligible principles 
it has the merit of singular simplicity. Mr. Hunt explain 
to his pupils the anatomical o-initraction of the organs by 

* From the Examiner, of March 2, 1830. 


which the voice is produced, points out the different causes 
■of stuttering, and teaches how an easy utterance may "be 
obtained by removal of the cause that obstructs it in the 
particular case. There is nothing difficult to understand, or 
that the least intelligent may not readily seize, and instantly 
act upon. When we can discover what has induced a habit 
contrary to nature, we are surprised to see how easily nature 
xesuines what she might seem so completely to have lost. 
Whether or not she may be able to keep it depends on other 
considerations. In the case we had the pleasure to see tried, 
a young man, whose unavailing attempts to read a line of 
verse had been quite frightful to witness, was enabled by 
something less than an hours instruction, to read the whole 
of * Gray's Elegy ' with tolerable ease. Nor had we the least 
■doubt that perseverance in the instructions given would 
-eventually make the cure complete. But that this perseve- 
rance would be necessary, even to the point of incessant and 
uninterrupted practice for a very considerable time, we 
thought not less clear. Ha*bit must be conquered by habit. 
With this proviso of hearty and laborious co-operation on the 
sufferer's own side, we believe that a very ingenious and, 
intellient gentleman has really discovered an efficacious cure 
for a most distressing defect, and we are happy to take 
this o]3portunity of saying so." 

The number of pupils whom my father had relieved at last 
became very numerous, and many were anxious to express 
their gratitude to the benefactor who had rescued them from 
what must always have been a barrier to their success in. 
life. From various notices which appeared at the time, the 
following is extracted from the Literary Gazette^ February 
24, 1849. 

*' The cure of stammering by Mr. Hunt has so often com- 
manded our special consideration, that we are gratified to 

3IEM0IR. 163^ 

find the success of his simple and efficacious system (ahnost 
without a failure, as we have witnessed for a number of 
years) is in the course of being marked by a public testimo- 
nial from a grateful band of the pupils he has taught to 
relieve themselves from these painful embarrassments, and 
enabled to take very different position in life from those 
which such impediments imposed." 

This gratifying tribute is an excellent likeness, and affec- 
tionately prized by his family and friends, and is a lasting 
memorial of his services to his fellow creatures. It is thus 
recorded in the Catalogue of the Exhihition of the Royal 
Academy for 1849. 

" No. 1336. Marble bust of Thomas Hunt, Esq., author 
of the system for the Cure of Stammering. Subscribed for, 
and presented to him, by his pupils, in testimony of his 
services during a period of twenty-two years. 

" Joseph Durham." 

Ardently pursuing his task, !Mr. Hunt, at the close of his 
London sojourn, in 1851, left for Dorsetshire, when 
alas ! in the midst of health and joyous expectations, the 
strong man was struck down, and suddenly removed from 
his sphere of usefulness, as is recorded in the subjoined 

*' Obituary of Eminent Persons," in the Illustrated London 
News, August 23, 1851. 

" Thomas Hunt. — After one week of severe illness, died 
at Godlingstone, near Swanage, on Monday last, the 18th 
inst., Thomas Hunt, Esq., so long and so justly held in high 
esteem for his skill in the cure of stammering. During 
some twenty-five years of Mr. Hunt's practice, a great 
number have been benefited by his care, and very many 


have to be grateful to him for rescuing tlieii:i, not only 
from the mortification and distress of a painfnl disorder (for 
sucli it is), but for rendering them eligible to undertake 
hig])er stations in trade, the army and navy, all the liberal 
professions, and even in the legislature. His system v/as 
simply to teach the sufferers, by the plainest common-sense 
direction, the means of restoring nature to its functions. 
M'hich Avere perverted and counteracted by evil habits, or 
the curious infection of involuntary imitation. Mr. Hunt 
held, and truly held, that not one case in fifty was the con- 
sequence of deficient or mal-organization ; and he sternly 
and perseveringly eschewed tlie knife. In many cases the 
effect of a single lesson was so remarkable as to appear like 
magic, converting the convulsive stutterer from distressing 
tinintelligibility into freedom of voice, distinctness of utter- 
ance, and correctness of pronunciation. Tlie pupils and the 
wdtnesses of such an hours' change were alike astonished by 
the obvious process, which only required a degree of mode- 
rate attention to confirm for ever. 

*' Mr. Hunt vras of a good Dorsetshire family, many of 
whom were connected Avith the Church. He was educated 
ftt Cambridge, but circun^.stances led to his choice of farming 
instead of taking degrees. His devotedness to his one great 
pursuit did not prevent him from cultivating, as a distin- 
guished agriculturist, a large farm in Dorsetshire, where he 
was as much respected in that sphere as he was generally 
esteemed for his peculiar talent in v/hat may bo termed 
j)rofessional life. A widow and fcvmily of eight children are 
left to lament his loss." 

An extract fr.m the speech of the Right Hon. the Earl 
of C;rliile, 1'I.Gt., at the General i\nniversary Meeting of 
the riuyal Society of Literature, 1852, also records the sam«. 

anelancholy event. 

MEMO I';. IT) 5 

"•"The Society," said liis LorJslii}-, ihc president, '' lias lost 
^luring the year, Mr. Thomas IltHit, who, e liicated at Ciim- 
bridge, and intended for the Church, found himself com- 
pelled to devote the energies of his whole life, it' not to a 
very aspiring, at least to a most considerate aim of benevo- 
lence — the relief of the distress occasioned by stannueriug. 
1 learn, from authority of high professional eminence, as 
well as from the attachment of his personal friends, that his 
mode of treatment was attended with the most distinguished 
success, and that to the poor especially he was signally 
liberal and kind as an instructor." 

Mr. Hunt's death appeared to be the signal for the revival 
of competition in the walk he had occupied, to the exclusioa 
of the advocates for surgical operations and pretenders. The 
notorious and the obscure rushed forvrard, and anonymous 
books, pamphlets, and advertisements ajDpealed to the public, 
with every assertion of infallibility. The public was thus 
speedily besieged by a corps of resolute curers of stammering, 
■widely differing from each other as to the nature of the 
affection. But if there be v.-isdom in the multiplicity of 
judges, there is distraction in the nmltiplieity of counsellors. 
Some, mere teachers of languages, fancied themselves able 
10 coj.e v/ith the sometimes intricate causes which produce 
ihii: alleotion ; others not nearly so qualified were still more 

" On his death a host of pretenders^ sprang up, all, of 
■course, professing his system ; and all, as far as I have ever 
heard (an 1 Heaven knows I have had cause to hear CDough), 
lailing, and ducking under again into their native mud. 

" One man, a Weslej^an deacon, or some such functionaiy, 
used old Jtlr. Hunt's testimonials, boldly announced himself 
his successor, and received, without a word of explanation, 
inquirers and pupils who came to seek him. 


"This was a 'pretty sharp state of business,' as our 
transatlantic brethren say ; and one is puzzled to guess 
-whether (and if so in what terms) he related his ' experi- 
ences and exercises ' on the subject to his class leaders or 
other father- confessors. But probably he had arrived at 
that state of sinless perfection, boasted of by some of his 
sect, in which such legal and carnal distinctions as honesty 
and dishonesty vanish before the spiritual illuminations of 
the utterly renewed man. Whether he practises now or 
not, I neither know nor care. I suppose he has gone the 
way of other pretenders."* 

*Fraser*s Magazine, July, 1859. 


Hints to Stammerers.* 

The following advice to stutterers and stammerers is so 
-valuable that I have thought it advisable to print the extract 

'•'• And now one word as to Dr. Hunt, son of the Avorthy 
old Dorsetshire gentleman, the author of the book mentioned 
at the liead of this article. I could say very much in his 
praise w^iich he would not care to have said, or the readers 
of Fraser to hear. But as to his power of curing the average 
of stammerers, I can and do say this — that 1 never have yet 
seen him fail where as much attention was given as a school- 
"boy gives to his lessons. Of course the very condition 
of the cure — the conscious use of the organs of speech — 
makes it depend on the power of self -observation, on the 
attention, on the determination, on the general intellectual 
power, in fact, of the patient ; and a stupid or volatile lad 
will give weary work. Yet I never have seen even such 
go away unrelieved. For nature, plastic and kind, slips 
i^illingly into the new and yet original groove, and becomes 
■what she was meant all along to be ; and though to be con- 
scious of the cause of every articulate sound which is made, 

* Extracted from an article entitled *' The Irrationale of 
Speech, by a Minute Philosopher, C.K." being a review of 
the author's work, " A Manual of the Philosophy of Voice- 
and Speech," and "The Unspeakable, or Life and Adventures- 
of a Stammerer," See Fraser' s Magazine^ for July, 1859. 


■even in a short sentence, is a physical impossibility, yet a 
general watchfulness and attention to certain broad rules 
■enable her, as she always is inclined to do, to do right on the 
whole. For after all, right is pleasanter than wrong, and 
health more natural than disease ; and the proper use of 
iiny organ, when once the habit is established, being in 
liarmony with that of all other organs, and with the whole 
universe itself, slips on noiselessly, it knows not how, and 
the old bad habit of years dies out in a month, like the tricks 
which a child learns one day to forget the next." 

" But, over and above what Mr. Hunt or any other man. 
can teach ; stammerers, and those who have been stam- 
merers need above all men to keep up that mentem sanam m 
corpore sa7w, ^vhich is now-a-days called somewhat offen- 
sively, muscular Christianity — a term worthy of a puling- 
and enervated generation of thinkers, who prove their own 
imhealthiness by their contemptuous surprise at any praise 
of that health which ought to be the normal condition of 
the whole human race." 

"But whosoever can afford an enervated body and an abject 
character, the stammerer cannot. With him it is a questioa 
of life and death. He must make a man of himself, or bd 
liable to his tormentor to the last." 

"Let him, therefore, eschew all base perturbations of mind ; 
all cowardice, servility, meanness, vanity, and hankering after 
admiration ; for these all will make many a man, by a just 
judgment, stammer on the spot. Let him, for the same 
reason, eschew all anger, peevishness, haste, even pardonable 
eagerness. In a word, let him eschew the root of all evil, 
selfishness and self-seeking ; for he will surely find that 
Avhensoever he begins thinking about himself, then is the 
dumb devil of stammering at his elbow. Let him eschew, 
too, all superstition, whether of that abject kind ^vhiclL 


fancies that it can please God by a starved body and a 
hang-do«: visage, which pretends to be afraid to look man- 
kind in the face, or of that more openly self-couceited kind 
whicli upsets the balance of the reason by hysterical raptureri 
and self -glorifying assumptions. Let him eschew lastly, all 
which can weaken either nerves of digestion ; all sexual: 
excesvses, all intemperance in drink or in food, whether gross 
or efienainate, remembering that it is as easy to be uuwhole- 
someiy gluttonous over hot slops and cold ices as over beef 
and beer." 

*' Let him avoid those same hot slops (to go on with the 
corpus sanum), and all else which will injure his wind and. 
his digestion, and let him betake himself to all manly exer- 
cises v/hich will put him into wind, and keep him in it. Let 
him, if he can, ride, and ride hard, remembering that (so 
does horse exercise expand the lungs and oxygenate the blood) 
there has been at least one frightful stammerer ere novr 
who spoke perfectly plainly as long as he was in the saddle. 
Let him play rackets and fives, row, and box ; fur all these 
amusements strengthen those muscles of the chest and. 
abdomen which are certain to be in his case weak. Above 
all, let him box ; for so will ' the noble art of self-defence ; 
become to him over and above a healing art. If he doubt 
this assertion, let him (or, indeed, any narrow-chested porer 
over deiks) hit out right and left for five minutes at a point 
on the wall as high as his o^vn face (hitting, of course, not 
from the elbow, like a woman, but frourthe loin, like a man, 
and keeping his breath during the exercise as long as he 
can), and he will soon become aware of his weak point by a 
severe pain in the epigastric region, in the same spot 
which pains liim after a convulsion of staunnering. Then. 
let him try boxing regidarly, daily ; and he will find that it 
teaches him to look a man not merely in the face, but in the 


Tery eye's core ; to keep his chest expanded, his lungs full"' 
of air ; to be calm and steady under excitement ; and lastly, 
to use all those muscles of the torso on which deep and 
iealthy respiration depends. And let him, now in these 
Tery days, join a rifle-club, and learn in it to carry himself 
with the erect and noble port which is all but peculiar to 
tbe soldier, but ought to be the common habit of every man ; 
let him learn to march ; and more, to trot under arms with- 
out losing breath ; and by such means make himself aa 
active, healthy, and valiant man." 

"Meanwhile, let him learn again the art of speaking ; and 
laving learnt, think before he speaks, and say his say calmly, 
with self-respect, as a mnn who does not talk at random, 
and has a right to a courteous answer. Let him fix in his 
mind that there is nothing on earth to be ashamed of, save 
doing wrong, and no being to be feared save Almighty God ; 
and so go on making the best of the body and the soul 
which Heaven has given him, and I will warrant that in a 
few months his old misery of stammering will lie behind 
Lim, as an ugly and all but impossible dream when one 
awakes in the morning." 


The publishing of testimonials has always been a questlo 
vexata. That it is extensively abused in every branch of 
enterprise, and is equally the resort of truth and honesty, 
and of falsehood and fr^^ud, is undeniable ; but the apology, 
if any be necessary, is the great difficulty of obtaining, by 
other means, a public hearing of any new discovery, so as to 
entitle it to public consideration. This mode of producing 
prima facie evidence in favour of any new theory, is especi- 
ally requisite in cases, when the discoverer has left the beaten 
track, and having struck out a path for himself, comes into 
collision with '' vested interests," and is consequently at- 
tacked and obstructed in his onward march by interested 
parties. To confound the obstructors, he is compelled, in 
self-defence, to vindicate his theory by shov.'ing the results 
obtained. Little or no importance is to be attached to 
anonymous testimonials, when, however, the most eminent 
medical practitioners, like professors Liston, Fergusson, and 
Forbes, andliterary characters like Kingsley, Robert Cham- 
bers, John Forster, and many others, disregarding the odium 
they may incur, bear public witnesses to the simplicity and 
efficacy of the system I pursue, I submit that the evidence 
produced is sufficiently strong to entitle me to public con- 
fidence. It is with this view— -bearing in mind the adage, 
testimonia ponderanda sunt^ nan nwneranda — that the fol- 
lowing testimonials, selected from a host of siuailar ones in. 
my possession, are submitted to the public. 



The first letter is from a gentleman so well known and 
iippreciated by the public generally, that I need only men- 
tion that it is from the pen of the author of Yeasty Alton 
LocJce, Ilypatia^ Westward IIo ! Glaucus, Two Years Ago, 
&c., &:c., and I am convinced it must carry that \\ eight 
which it deserves. Such a testimony is ia itself surely sufh- 
dent to remove all scepticism ; and suiferers who disbelieve 
in the cure, will owe much to such an authority for removing 
their doubts and misgivings on the subject. 

" Eversley Rectory, March, 1856. 

" IMy dear sir, — I have Avaited till I had something worth 
saying before I wrote to you. At first I had various small 
relapses and failures, which put me out of heart : but I must 
tell you now that all my friends are quite surj^rised and de- 
lighted with the change in my speech. I have gone through 
many trying evenings vfithout stanunering a word ; and even- 
when, coming home tired and excited, I broke down a little, 
I have alvrays been able to recover myself before any spasm 
came on. If I fail now, it will be only from my own neg- 
lect of your simple lules, for which I thank you with all my 

"Three things gave me confidence in you at our first 
interview : — First, I saw that you really understood the 
mental excitants of the disease. Secondly, that you did not 
(as an empirick would) take for granted the symptoms which 
the disease had produced, but knew them to be various and 
ever varying, even in the same patient ; and therefore care- 
fully examined till you had found out which of the vocal 
(.•rgans was chiefly affected. Thirdly, that you had no 
panacea, Irick, or " dodge " to offer me ; (had you done so, 


I could not have had confidence in you,) but that your aim 
was to restore me to a conscious use of the vocal organs, ex- 
actly similar to that which the healthy subject employs un- 
consciously ; and so to deliver me from those half-conscious 
tricks which the stammerer employs as remedies for his com- 
plaint : and which (as my experience has taught me) are 
equally useless and unwholesome. ' To return to nature 
through art,' seems to be your notion of your work : if so, 
you must be right and successful also, for it is the great law 
and aim of aU worthy work in this world. 

" * * * * has given up all his prospects, and 
gone to Australia, simply on account of his stammering. 
This had happened while I was in town with you. Had I 
known you three months before, he might have been saved ; 
and I dare say his story is that of many. I assure you what 
you have done for me already has been much talked of ; and 
that many have promised me to get you pupils. 

" 1 must not iorget to say that, thanks to you^ I have been, 
preaching and lecturing extempore, not only without stam- 
mering, but with an ease I never felt before. 

" Believe me, yours most truly grateful, 
'*' James Hunt, Esq., &c. " C. Kingsley." 

"Newton Toney, near Warminster, 
" March 26th. 1857. 

" My dear sir, — It is with great pleasure that I send you 
my testimony of the success of your system for the cure of 
stammering as instanced in the case of my son. 

*'I am glad to say that he continues to speak and read 
without hesitation, and I have every reason to hope that his 
cure will be quite permanent, as it is now six months since 
he was under your care. 

*' I have made your successful treatment known to many 


of my friends, and shall continue to use my influence with, 
all uhoni I know, that have stammering children. 

" I beg that you will use my name whenever you wish. 
" I am, dear sir, yours truly, 

" Mary Anne Kendle." 
" To Dr. James Hunt." 

The following letter is kindly allowed publicity by the 

writer : — 

*' Chatham House, Brixton Hill, 

" September 1st, 1856. 

" My dear madam, — In reply to your inquiries respecting 
Mr. Hunt's treatment for the cure of stammering, I consider 
that with regard to my daughter's case, he has been com- 
pletely successful. His mode of treatment, of course must 
vary occasionally, according to the degree of the pupil's de- 
fect in speech — also the time requisite for effecting the com- 
plete cure. I consider his plan of treatment to be founded 
upon the most judicious and scientific principles ; and by no 
means disagreeable to the pupils themselves — to whom he is 
always most kind and considerate, in every way, making al 
allowance for the nervousness, &c., which generally attends 
impediments in the speech. 

*' I was perfectly satisfied with all the domestic arrange- 
ments superintended by Mrs. Hunt, who is most kind and 
attentive — and I am quite sure that your daughter would 
be perfectly happy and comfortable with her, as mine was 
in every respect. 

" I have very great pleasure in forwarding this testimonia. 
to you, as I feel that I cannot say too much of Mr. Hunt for 
his kind and judicious treatment of my daughter, whose case 
was of long standing, and difficult to overcome. 
" I remain, my dear madam, 

" Yours obediently, 

*' Sophia Z. Morris.'* 


Extract from a letter from Mns. Simmons, 46, Neiv King 
Street^ Bath^ to the Author^ Dated Septcmher 4, 1853. 

*'AVhen I saw my son, I Avas the most astonislied at the 
great ease and iluency he had acquired, and that too, in so 
short a time, as from the age of four or five years, he had 
stammered to a most painful degree. Yonr mode of treat- 
ment has had a most wonderful effect in removing this great- 
hindrance to his future success in life. I shall always feel 
a great pleasure in answering any inquiries respecting your 
skill, or kindness of treatment, and pray make whatever use 
of my name you think proper." 

" 23, Fenchurch Street, May 3, 1856. 
*' Dear sir, — It gives me great pleasure to bear testimony^ 
to your success in relieving ray son from the very painful im- 
pediment in his speech, which had been a growing trouble to 
him up to the time of his first introduction to you in the 
autumn of last year. He then spoke with much difficulty ; 
and some words he could scarcely say at all. 

'' I may confidently say the cure has been perfect on your 
part. I feel very thankful that I was induced, by two emi- 
nent medical gentlemen, to consult you, and place the case 
in your hands ; and that the result has been so beneficial to 
mj son, and satisfactory to us all. 

"Believe me, dear sir, yours very faithfully, 

" Charles Moss."" 
*' James Hunt, Esq." 

The following letter, in answer to some inquiries, is kindly 
Allowed publicity by the writer : 

" 104, Edgeware Koad, Paddiugton, (W.^ 
" April 15, 1856. 
" Dear Sir, — My nephew was under Mr. Hunt's care more 
than three years since ; and although only with him a few 


•weeks, he returned home speaking as fluently as any boy of 
his age. He was then about ten years old, and had stut- 
tered to a painful degree from his infancy, which produced 
great contortions of the face, and an entire motion of the 
muscles of the whole body. 

" I am happy to say he continues to speak and read as well 
as on the day he left. 

" If your son stammers badly, I believe I\Ir. Hunt will 
consider it necessary that he should reside with him, when 
the cure is effected in a shorter time, and rendered more 
certain and permanent. I believe Mr. Hunt considers the 
earher (after the pupil is able to read) the case is placed 
under his care, the more easy and certain is the result. You 
may rely on every domestic attention being given both by 
Mr. andlNIrs. Hunt. 

••' I always feel a pleasure in answering any inquiries on 
the subject ; and I am convinced you will be grateful to all 
who have induced you to procure his assistance and success- 
ful practice, which is worthy the admiration of all, and not 
to be confounded with the ' quack statements ' so often forced 
on the notice of the public. 

" I remain, dear sir, yours very truly, 

*' To H. F." " D. Sydenham." 

" 4, Halkin Street West, Belgrave Square, S.W. 
"March 21, 1857. 

"Dear sir, — When I first applied to you, it was with a 
very distant hope, indeed, that you could possibly cure me 
of a defect, which I had inseparably bound up with my ner- 
vous system : that I applied to you at all, was the result of 
reading your very admirable treatise, which satisfied me that 
if any man living understood the stammerer's very peculiar 
and artificial state of mind, — that man was yourself. 

" The weighty evidence afforded by every page of the trea- 



tise that actual experience and not mere theory had dictated 
the language, encouraged me not only to put myself under your 
tuition, but at the same time to invest a considerable quan- 
tity af f .\itli ill tlie result. 

*' I have very great pleasure in testifying that that invest- 
snent has returned me good interest in two ways — first, prac- 
tically, in putting into my hands a clue to the labyrinth in. 
which for years I had lost myself in exploring ; and secondly, 
n placing before me in a simple and clear manner, the nature 
of articulation, and the principles necessary to be employed 
to produce voice ; and you very satisfactorily demonstrated, 
that the vast amount of time and labour I had expended in 
endeavouring to master my defect, by acquiring a fancied 
mechanical expertness in utterance, failed at the most critical 
times ; simply from my ignorance of the very first conditions 
of the science, so that by this very practice — for which you 
•will remember I assumed some credit — T had actually been, 
confirming myself in a bad system. 

" Strange to say from once regarding stammering as a 
great calamity, I am now begiuning to look upon it as a real 
blessing ; it has led me to aim at being a correct speaker, 
without such a stimulant, I should have been all my life what 
most people are, careless and slovenly in articulation. 

" In conclusion I will just add what occurred to me very 
frequently of late — vk., that to all who speak in public I ani 
• convinced your instructions would be of little less value than 
to the actual stammerer, and although " mumbling clergy- 
men " of the class so graphically described in the Times the 
other day by " Habitans in Sicco " are rare, yet few can be 
aware how much more powerful and sustained their voices 
would be, were they to put into practice the principles yea 


*' I am, dear sir, yours faithfully, 

*' Joseph W. Blake." 


" Cork, 70, South ^lall, 

" April 24, 1857. 
" My dear sir, — For the last ten years one of the chief 
purposes of my life "vva,s to overcome a severe imp aliment in 
my speech, I have spent months and many hundreds of 
pounds in this attempt. I have been under the care of nearly 
every person who professed to cure such affections in Dublin, 
London, and Paris. So that I believe I have as much ex- 
perience in this matter as any one in these kingdoms. 

" The result of this experience is a clear conviction that 
you practice the true art of cure. / consider other systems 
valuable only in so far as they approximate yours, and dele- 
terious inasmuch as they differ from it. And I earnestly and 
deliberately recommend all fellow-sufferers to place them- 
selves under your care. 

" I am, my dear sir, yours very truly, 

" John George Mac Carthy.'* 
" James Hunt, Esq., Ph. D.," &c. 

The foregoing testimonials were inserted in the third 
edition of my former work. It is with sincere regret I have 
to omit the testimonials of two clergymen, whose sons have 
been snatched away from this world Avhen they ^vere just 
beginning a noble career. They had shown their strength 
of mind in conquering their stuttering : and the country 
has to deplore no tw^o more promising youths than Frederick 
Dusantoy and George Hamilton. 

The following are selected from amongst the most recent 
testimonies of the value of my services, which I have had the 
pleasure of receiving : — 

" Old] Anchor House, Carmarthera, 
"July 18th, 1860. 

" My dear sir,— Since Ileft you, I have been gradually 


getting better, and if I stutter occasionally, it arises from 
the want of strict attention to your simple rules. I have 
spoken in public under some very trying circumstances 
without any impediment. I must mention one instance : 
I was excited so much in addressing the audience, 
that I felt almost too weak to stand, my heart throbbing 
so strongly that I think it could have been heard half a 
■dozen yards off. But such is the command I have obtained 
over my vocal organs that even on this trying occasion I 
spoke without the slightest stuttering. My voice is also 
greatly improved, having acquired a fulness and compass 
which I did not hope for. 

" My friends and acquaintances are astonished at the ease 
and fluency with which I now speak, and testify that they 
never witnessed so complete a cure. 

" I feel as if moving in a new world, the great barrier to 
my success in life having been removed. This gives me new 
strength and courage to pursue my plans with diligence and 
perseverance. Words can never express my gratitude for 
the kind and simple manner which you have reheved me of 
a most distressing affliction. 

" I should like your system to be universally known, and 
I promise to do all I can to make the world understand the 
"wonderful cures it has wrought. 

" I remain, dear sir, yours truly, 

*' Wm. Lewis." 
" Dr. James Hunt." 

" 17, Westbourne Square, 

" October 20th, 1860. 

"My dear sir, — Before I had the pleasure of knowing 
you I was, at times, utterly unable to articulate words com- 
mencing with certain consonants, and consequently, reduced 
to the necessity of mentally changing the expression I 
wished to use. 


" The absorbing nature of my profession lias not permitted 
me fully to carry out all the directions you have given me 
for the full development of, and proper control over the 
vocal organs, but I find that proper attention to the rules 
you] have given me, enables me to pronounce any word 
whenever required. 

" I have only to add, that I think your excellent system 
worthy the attention of all who value clear articulation. 
*' Believe me, my dear sir, yours sincerely, 
" E. Aguilar." 
"Dr. James Hunt, F.S.A., F.R.S.L." 

*' 23, Redcross Street, 

"Novembers, 1860. 

" Dear sir, — It is with feelings of the deepest gratitude I 
write these few lines. About two years ago I came to yoa 
a very bad stammerer, as bad a case, perhaps, that has comp 
under your notice. 

" The first two days I was with you I could not speak one 
word, not even my own name. 

"But now, after having practised your excellent rules, and 
resided with you at Hastings for a short time, and having 
had your sound advice on the subject, I have mastered my 
defect, and have great pleasure to say, I can now speak 
jind read with great satisfaction to myself and to my friends, 

" I cannot conclude without expressing my thanks for 
the great kindness I received both from you and Mrs. Hunt, 
when at Hastings. 

" jNIake use of my name in any way you think proper, as 
I shall be most happy to answer any inquiries respecting 
your skill or kindness of treatment. Hoping you will 
always prosper, 

" I remain, your grateful Pupil, 

" F. W. Gray." 
*' P.S. — I am just eighteen years of age." 


" AVadliam College, Oxford, 
" October 31st, 1860. 

" My dear Dr. Hunt, — It is with much pleasure that I 
send you the results of my own experience of the value of 
your system. When I first came to you, nearly three years 
ago, I was much annoyed by stammering, and very sensitive 
about it. Although mine was not a severe case, it was quite 
bad enough, and I could not see my way out of it at all. 
And so my relief was very great, when, after a very short 
interval, I found that the rules and help which you gave me, 
so far put the clue into my hands that from that time, and 
ever since, I have felt convinced that it would be entirely 
my own fault if the cure was not permanently completed. 

" In my opinion, a principal advantage in your system is, 
that it puts his cure so entirely within the povrer of the 
j)U25il, that his own will can alv/ays determine the conditions 
of success. To me this has constituted its chief charm, for 
it produces in this respect, a feeling of self-reliance, that 
could not be enjoyed if the completion of cure, or recovery 
in cases of relapse, by any means necessarily depended on 
your own extern d assistance. The first and happiest effect 
produced by your treatment, is a pleasing consciousness of 
being no longer the slave, but the master of one's annoyance, 
stammer as one may. 

" And that this has been my happy experience, I can most 
unhesitatingly assert. To all those who most prize success 
when it has been attained by persevering exertion, your 
system must have peculiar attractions, for in it, as every- 
where, ' Amat victoria curam.' 

" Wishing you all the success that you have placed within 
the reach of myself and so many others, 
" I am, always, dear Dr. Hunt, 

" Yours gratefully and affectionately, 

" Arthur H. Haringtox." 

*'Dr. James Hunt." 



RecenUu PahUslied^ Crown 8i-o., pp. 422, Price 7s. 6d, 





London, Longman and Co., or tost free from the Autiiok, 
Ore House, near Hastings. 


From the Spectator. i 

" Mr. Hunt has introduced the re- ; 
suits of his own cousideration of the i 
questions, espe ially iu reference to 
his professional experience. * * I 
* A vast repertory of facts and 
opinions relating to the physical 
organs of utterance, and of utter- 
ance itself, from the lower animantia 
to man, and of the various questions j 
connected with voice and language, i 
These facts, too, are curious and 

From the Obsekver. 
"The volume is learned, and at 
the same time instru tive and amus- 
ing ; and as a work which has no 
parallel in the English language, as 
•well as a work of great value, it can 
lie safely recommended to public 

From the New^s of the World. 
*'This is the most comprehensive, 
philosophical, and practical book we 
have met with upon a subject deeply 
interesting to many thousands of 
the British public. The collection 

of materials for its developraent^. 
under all its variety of heads, must 
have been the labour of many years^ 
and the lucid arrangement of them 
cannot be praised too highly. We- 
have now, for the iirst time, ihe phi- 
losophy of voice and speech ex- 
plained thoroughly, intelligently,, 
and plainly. The nervous system^ 
the organ : of hearing, the vocal ap- 
paratus, and the manner in which 
the voice is produced, form the 
topics of several chapters, vvhereiu 
a fund of useful knowledge is deve- 
loped, and suggestions are made of 
practical utility. The disorders of 
the voice and defective articulation 
also receive attention, and are verysai is- 
factorily treated. Considerable space- 
is given to public speaking, and the 
rules for success therein, a topic 
which may be studied with advan- 
tage, not only by those who aim at 
public displays, but by those who 
would arrive at a good style of elo- 
cution in domestic life. Dr. Hunt's 
book is one of great merit through- 
out, and well desersung of public- 


■From the John Bull and Britannia. 
"The above-named work, wherein 
care, ability, and research abound, 
we most sincerely hope will stimu- 
late attention to the much neglected 
art of oral delivery. Mr. Hunt ex- 
plains simply, and advises practi- 
cally ; but not content, as many are, 
with merely pointing out error, 
.affords besides the best counsel to- 
wards correcting it. In a word, 
•either as a treatise on physical or 
mental defect or accomplishment, so 
far as the voice and speech are con- 
cerned, it is unexceptionably the re- 
sult of long experience and study, 
and a complete text book on the 

From the Examiner. 

" There are many curious details 
and sensible remarks in Doctor 
James Hunt's book, on Philosophy 
of Voice and Speech. The author 
is well-known as a practitioner to 
whom many are indebted for the 
removal of impediments in speech ; 
but his book is not, like so many 
of its kind, a mere advertisement of 
his own practice ; he is interested in 
the subject of his special study, and 
out of his real interest therein, this 
book arises." 

From, the Country Gentleman's 

" This volume is rich in new mat- 
ter, and the Philosophy of Voice and 
Speech is fully expounded by a 
learned professor thoroughly compe- 
tent to undertake the task. By its 
clearness and compactness, the reader, 
even of moderate capacity, is enabled 
to seize a clear idea, and garner in 
bis mind a large store of the subject 
under discussion. To those unfor- 
tunate individuals who stammer out 
at public meetings that "They are 

unaccustomed to address large as- 
semblies," and who pronounce the 
most miserable moments of their 
existence as the happiest, this 
manual is invaluable, and we strong- 
ly recommend it to all classes of 
readers ; by its perusal the scholar 
will add greatly to his fund of in- 
formation, while the unlearned will 
be struck with new ideas of philo- 
sophy of which he had never pre- 
viously dreamt. 

From the Morning Chronicle. 

" Not one professor in a hundred 
knows anything of the physical com- 
position of the organ whose manage- 
ment he teaches, nor is he aware of 
the acting causes which contribute 
to its failme or deficiencies. Dr. 
James Hunt, for many years a 
practitioner in the cure of impedi- 
ments of speech has st pped 
forward to remove this reproach, 
and supply a great existing require- 
ment. In a goodly volume he has 
placed his experiences before ^the 
world, and for the lirst time we 
really have an authority upon, not 
merely impediments and physical 
obstructions, but upon the voice 
itself, in its relation to its employ- 
ment, and upon the thousands of 
causes which weaken, deteriorate, 
and impoverish its powers. We 
confess, on taking up this volume, 
we were at first a little dismayed; 
a hurried glance at it seemed to 
show that it was diffuse — treating of 
subjects not immediately within the 
scope of the object proposed, and 
that instead of a practical inquiry 
into a question of universal interest, 
it was a mere medical treatise after 
all. Lest any of our readers should 
be led into the same error, we beg 
to warn them of it in limine. It is 
true that we have at the outset the 


chapters on. respiration, tlio nervous 
system, the organs of hearing, sound, 
&c. ; but in the broad way in which 
the subject is afterwards treated, these 
chapters will be found to be abso- 
lutely necessary ; and it is fair, more- 
over, to say that, taken separately, 
they are eminently worthy of perusal, 
as giving a plain and comprehensive 
insight in the physical conformation 
of some of the most delicate organs 
of the humaa system. * * * 
The work before us is most valuable, 
indeed, and in no part more so than 
in that portion which treats of the 
organs, which in their turn con- 
tribute to the integrity of speech. 
Here Dr. Hunt gives us much 
amusing as well as instructive in- 
formation. As might be expected. 
Dr. Hunt is great in the chapter on 
stammering. We commend this 
chapter to the perusal of persons 
afflicted. Altogether Dr. Hunt's 
Manual is an attractive as well as an 
useful work, and, considering it must 
have cost not a little labour, has a 
high claim to the patronage of the 

From the Athent.'eiim:. 
"Keadable and interesting, be- 
cause the author explains his sub- 
ject clearly. Has peculiar claim to 
notice, as the work of a man who 
has brought study and experience of 
his life to bear upon a special suh- 

From the Morning Star. 
" The preparation of such a work 
was not a task within the scope of 
many writers, for physiology, philo- 
logy, and rhetoric, must each be laid 
under contribution. We can bear 
willing testimony to the author's 
general qualifications for the labour 
he has undertaken, and to the great 
value of the book." 

From the. Illustrate o Times, 
"We do not complain of this 
superabundance of information, for 
there is not an uninstructive or un- 
interesting chapter in the volume. 
But in giving our readers an account 
of the work, we feel it necessary to 
state, that it is not merely a hand- 
book of public speaking, but some- 
thing more. Viewed without refe- 
rence to the special utility of the 
whole to public speakers, Mr. Hunt's 
Manual can only be spoken of in. 
terms of praise. * * * A mere 
list of directions for the management 
of the voice, together with a few- 
oratorical precepts, would have formed 
but a poor, dry volume. Like every- 
thing Mr. Hunt has written, the 
Philosophy of Voice and Speech 
abounds in anecdotes. He is never 
at a loss for popular illustration or 
an amusing story with which to en- 
liven the subject and engage the 
reader. The best chapters in Mr. 
Hunt's book are those directly re- 
ferring to oratory, and young speakers 
will find his remarks on the subject 
very valuable. 

From the Globe. 

" We need scarcely say that on all 
subjects bearing on the rectification 
of defects of the voice and speech. 
Mr. Hunt's remarks are worthy of 
respectful attention, and the present 
work adds the weight of scientific- 
views to-practical results." 

From Chaimbers' Journal. 

" There are many iatexesting anec~ 
dotes, and much practical good advice 
which is applicable to all " 
From the Press. 

" Theconcludingpartof the volume 
is devoted to subjects to which the 
author has paid special and profes- 
sional attention — disorders in the or- 
gans of voice ; defects in articulation,. 


■deaf-dumbness, and muteisni on the 
one hand — on the other hand, the 
cultivation and management of the 
Toice, and the art of elocution. Here 
the author proves himself to he tho- 
Toughly master of his subject — not a 
mere theorist, but one who has had 
much practical experience, and speaks 
with all the authority which that ex- 
perience gives him. Those especially 
Tvhoare called upon to address public 
assemblies, whether from the pulpit, 
at the bar, or in the senate, will do 
"well to consult so judicious an ad- 
"viser. Whatever we may think of 
Dr. Hunt as a philosopher, we hold 
it to be undeniable that he is an ex- 
cellent practical manager of voice and 

Paper pok ths Schoolmaster. 

"Dr. Hunt's Manual comprehends 
much more than might have been 
anticipated from its title. It is, in- 
deed, full of varied matter, of the most 
important character ; not as too many 
philosophical treatises are — cold and 
dry, but every page replete with in- 
terest. In strongly recommending 
this book as one which ought to be 
placed in the library of every asso- 
ciation of schoolmasters, we feel sure 
that v/e are doing them a service for 
■which they will be grateful." 
Derby A^^) Chesterfield Bepoeter. 

" This work is written in a clear 
and lucid style. Most of the tech- 
nical tenns are explained as they 
first occur in the course of reading. 
Altogether it is one of the most im- 
portant works published in this teem- 
ing age of literary productions. We 
venture to predict for it a high rank 
among the best standard works of 
our country." 

From the Sun. 

"This is a very able and useful 
■work, which has evidently cost the 
author much labour and study * * * 

A very useful MaDual, blending 
science with simplicity." 

From the Literary Gazette, 

" We are bound to admit that the 
Manual is a very entsrtaining, and 
in many respects, a very useful book. 
All sorts of readers will find matter 
here to interest them." 
From Sell's Weekly Messenger. 

" This is a very curious work, and 
one which merits all the attention 
that can be given to it, and if Dr. . 
Hunt meets with the re\vard to vvhich 
he is justly entitled, his book will be- 
come as popular as it is creditable 
to his. patience, his talent, and his 
Illustrated News of the World. 

" This is a thoroughly able work ; 
every thought in it bears the mark of 
having been tested by experience ; 
and in thus recording his observations 
and experiments, after many years of 
professional study of the subject. Dr. 
James Hunt has conferred an inesti- benefit upon the public in gene- 
ral, and upon all vfho seek to sway 
the public by the living voice in par- 

From the Beacon. 

* * * He tracks the footsteps 
of creative power along its line of ac- 
tion, and with a bold hand, lifts the 
seal of its operations, and discloses ta 
the eye of science the workings of the 
Almighty in the production of that 
marvel of nature, ' the voice Divine,' 
exercising its loftiest functions in its 
most impassioned mode. Oratory, no 
doubt, surpasses music ; and to hear 
good speaking, is the highest intel- 
lectual enjoyment of Avhich our na- 
tures are capable. Superior intelli- 
gence may command the v,hole of it 
at a glance ; but it is as delightful 
as astonishing, that we should be able, 
even by laborious processes, to follow 
and comprehend it; and that it is 


"brought to the level of all is due (no 
light praise) to the ability, energy, 
and recourses of the author. That he 
has treated a subject to Avhich the 
whole experience of his life has been 
devoted as a labour of love, and that 
the rules he deduces for the manage- 
ment of the voice are no en:ipu-ical 
nostrums, but the plain dictates of 
common sense, resting on an intimate 
scientific knowledge as their founda- 
tion, we might have been sure of from 
the experience aud position of so suc- 
cessful a practitioner as Mr. Hunt, 
and he is fortunate in the possession 
of a clear, simple style, which is in- 
valuable in a work that lays claim to 
a popular interest." 

From the Eka. 

" Mr. Runt has established a repu- 
tation as a special doctor, the best 
who can be consulted on all defects 
in the voice and utterance, and this 
volume shows that he is minu ely 
master of all that science has yet 

From the Art Journal. 

"When a practical man writes 
C071 (imore, upon a subject he loves, 
he rarely misses to make a book 
generally interesting to all. This is 
the case in Dr. Hunt's volume, which 
abounds with curious details and 
amusing anecdotes sufncient to make 
it agreeable to readers who v/ould 
fear ' philosophy ' less palatably 
given. Dr. Hunt, following his 
father's career, has long been known 
for his successful treatment of vocal 
defects ; the present book is a proof 
how sound is his knowledge, and hovv' 
well-grounded he is in all that re- 
lates to the art." 

From Eraser's Magazine, JuIi/ 1859. 
" A book which should be in the 
hands, not only of surgeons, but 
of public singers, schoolmasters, and 
above all, of preachers." 

From the Medical Times & Gazette.. 
" A great deal of information has 
been collected and arranged in the 
form of a useful manual." 

Colburn's New Monthly Magazine. 

" Dr. James Hunt, son and suc- 
cessor to Mr. Hunt, who obtained so 
much celebrity by his treatment of 
the difficulties of utterance and other 
impediments of speech, has expounded 
the whole philosophy of the ques- 
tion in an excellent work, " A Manual 
of the Philosophy of Voice and 
Speeh. This work addresses itself 
to a far wider circle than Ihe aillict d, 
and we have no doubt will meet with 
such a reception at the hands of the 
public generally as its merits entitle 
it to. 

From the Morning Herald. 

" The author has collected his 
materials from the best authorities. 
The work is one which will interest 
any one who takes it up. To those 
interested in the treatment of defects 
in the vocal organs the information 
it affords must prove extremely valu- 
able. The chapters on public speaking 
are at once siiggestice and amusing." 

From the Morning- Post. 
" The Vv'ork before us is a careful 
epitome of the labours of previous 
writers It is divided into tv/enty-oue 
chapters, each embodymg under its 
proper head all that is essential to. the 
elucidation of the main subject. Dr. 
Hunt's " Manual " must be considered 
partly as a professional and partly as 
a popular composition. In its pro- 
fessional bearings he deals with those 
parts of the human anatomy imme- 
diately involved in the production of 
healthy and efficient voice He opens 
the great question of races and lan- 
guages which during all time must 
be one of absorbing interest to the 
scientific philologist. Dr. Hunt has 
evidently bestowed much care in the? 


collection of the materials necessary 
for the elucidat on of this part of his 
subject. His chapter on the origin 
of the English language is clear and 
coinpreheu.!ive, embodying in a short 
space the most prominent facts illus- 
trative of the subject," 
From the Dorset County Chronicle. 

" Mr. Hunt has shoAvn by his re- 
searches into a special branch of 
human physiology what can really 
be done in scientific combat with the 
complicated infirmities of speech 
His present effort transcends in ability 
all his previous endeavours, which we 
have had much occasion to praise. 
And though no longer a neighbour, 
for we perceive that he has for a time 
relinquished his romantic marine 
abode at Swanage, and founded a 
larger institution at Hastings, the 
volume before us possesses attractive 
merits, such as, proceeding from 
Avhatever locality, must rivet upon it 
general attention, and elicit on all 
hands the acknowledgment that the 
accomplished author has, indeed, de- 
veloped the philosophy of his intri- 
cate subject, and has been the first 
to resolve the difiicult theories of 
voice and speech into a practical code 
of scientific laws." 

From the Weekly Times. 

" This is a useful Avork. It does 
not pretend to originality, nor ad- 
vance any views calling for discussion. 
It is, however, an excellent compila- 
tion. All the information relating to 
the subject of which it treats that 
could be gleaned from the best 
authors is collated, arranged in a 
careful and skilful manner, and where 
necessary, made comprehensible by 
notes of the author's very enlarged 
experience. Nor can it be denied 
that this subject is a very important 

Midland Counties Herald. 

" Great industry appears to have 

been exercised in the collection of the 
materials, and conscientious care and 
ability in their application. The 
matter is characterised by fulness of 
exposition, without redundancy, and 
clearness of arrangement." 

Fi-om the Brighton Exajviiner. 

"Dr. Hunt's work is of a very 
comprehensive nature, embracing the 
condensed results of much curious 
and laborious research." 

From the Sheffield Independant. 
" We think Dr. Hunt has done good 
service by his work, and wish that the 
cultivation of the voice may hence- 
forth receive more attention under 
such preceptorship as his. We may 
add that, scholarly as is the book, it 
is by no means dull, and will prove 
really interesting to those who will 
care to do it justice by an intelligent 

From the Daily Telegraph. 
" Dr. Hunt has published a v/ork 
of very great utility, and which ought 
to be in the hands of clergymen, bar- 
risters, members of parliament, and 
all those whose vocations necessitate 
much public speaking. It will also 
be found an excellent and instructive 
volume for those whose immediate 
duties do not bring them so promi- 
nently forward. None of us, however, 
can say that chance may not, at some 
time, place us on a platform, and then 
the study of works of this character 
will not have been entirely thrown, 

From the Freeman. 
" This book professes to be almost 
entirely a compilation ; but it has 
the merit — in these days none too 
common — of doing well that which, 
it professes to do. Various topics 
connected with the Voice and Speech 
are treated with brevity and clearness, 
and in respect to scientific details^ 


with commenda'ble accuracy. The 
subject is one in which all have an 
interest. Man can never cease to 
regard with curiosity that gift of lan- 
guage by which he is so highly dis- 
tinguished, and if the most searching 
investigation of the organization by 
whicli speech is effected still leaves 
the mysterious power unexplained, 
yet such knowledge as can be thus 
acquired is rich in interest and value." 
From tJie Civil Service Gazette, 
" Mr. Hunt, who has long devoted 
himself to the special investigation of 
Jimnan speech, and written learnedly 
and well upon it, has now produced 
a very comprehensive volume, which 
bears evidence of extensive reading 
and great care, and which, we doubt 
not, will be accepted by the public 
as a valuable contribution to the 
library of useful knowledge." 

From tlie Court Circular. 
" Contains a variety of information 
v.'ell arranged, and carefully digested, 
interspersed with judicious remarks, 
and possesses more than passing 
interest. The work will be found of 
considerable use by any youthful 
member who is about to make his 
maiden speech at St. Stephens." 

F7-om the Clerical Journal. 
" We readily concede this praise to 
Dr. Hunt — that he has produced a 
book which may be considered as 
From the Leeds Intelligencer 
" The author is entitled to all the 
credit of originality for his selec- 
tion, arrangement, and the use he 
makes of his materials, and for apply- 
ing them in a way in which they 
were never before brought together 
in the elucidation of one connected 
theme. He has also the merit of 
great research and extensive require- 
ments, and remarkable clearness and 

order in pursuing his subject. The 
concluding chapter of Dr. Hunt's 
work is on ' Oratory and Public 
Speaking,' to the consummation and 
perfection of which the whole of this 
able and instructive work may be said 
to contribute." 

From the Brighton Gazette. 
'•The author has given us principles 
rather than ih3ories, his aim being 
rather to advance that v/hich is true 
than that which is new. The work 
is the result of considerable research 
and careful study ; the different 
branches of the subject are well and 
clearly arranged, and dove-tailed as 
it were, very nicely, one into the 
other. The earlier chapters which 
are devoted to the elucidation of the 
physiological nature of voice and 
sound, are concise, clear, and well- 
arranged ; the author's reviev/ of the 
philosophy of language, and especially 
of the English vernacular, is fair, 
practical and instructive ; his obser- 
vations on diseases of the voice and 
ear are valuable, and evidently based 
on considerable personal knowledge, 
and his remarks on the cultivation 
and management of the voice and 
oratory, and public speaking, merit 
the most extensive perusal, for the 
low position of oratory in this country, 
and especially among those who, by 
profession, should be orators, or at all 
events, good public speakers is pro- 

F7'0}n the Nottingham Eeview. 

"All who are anxious to make the 
best use of their vocal organs, will 
find in the ' Philosophy of Voice and 
Speech " an invaluable and most in- 
structive companion. The study of 
it should precede all introductory 
works on singing and oratory. But 
those who would not think of listen- 
ing to the counsel which this volume 
imparts to singers and orators may 
perhaps be induced to read it from. 


consideration of healfh; v:e predict 
for this volume a high position among 
the standard productions of our na- 
tional literature." 

Notes A^'D Queries. 
'' An elaborate essay upon the sub- 
ject, which we should think, must be 
read with advantage by all who are 
nnderthose disadvantages in speaking 
which it is Mr. Hunt's peculiar object 
to remedy." 

From the British and Foreign 
Medico-Chirurgical Keview. 
'•This book treats of so many 
l)ranches of knov/ledge, that a doubt 
naturally arises as to the competency 
of any one individual to deal with 
them all. The chapters on the vocal 
apparatus, organs of articulation, and 
the production of the voice are on 
the whole very good. The larynx is 
well described,- and the progress of 
opinion respecting the action of the 
vocal ligaments and the formation of 

the voice is accurately traced The 

only vocal phenomena which are not 
yet fully reconciled with the hy- 
potheses are those of the falsetto. On 
this Dr. Hunt has some observations 
which we believe represent pretty ac- 
curately the present state of the case. 

Dr. Hunt's account of the voice 

of animals contains a good suuimarjr 
of what has been observed on the sub- 
ject, and is well worthy of perusal. 
Placing ourselves in the position of 
the general reader, which is thj only 
one we are entitled to assume in 
respect to a considerable part of the 
matters treated of, Dr. Hunt's work 
contains a vast variety of information, 
which seems to us of a less inaccurate 
character than that usually to be 
found in books of such comprehensive 

From the Gentleman's Magazine. 

" The leading object ol this bulky 
treati-e is to furnish the reader with 
an account of various opinions upon 
the philosophy of speech. In pursuit 
of this plan Mr. Hunt first makes us 
acquainted with the physiology of the 
organs of speech and hearing, and 
sums up with simdry suggestions on. 
the management and cultivation of 
the voice in public speakers. 
Throughout the volume we have a 
variety of illustrations drawn from 
numerous sources, from which we 
may infer that, in addition to his 
professional studies, Dr. Hunt culti- 
vates the belles lettres" 

London : 

Longman, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, Paternoster-row, 

AND ALL Booksellers in Town and Country. 

Printed by T. Blower, 3, Black Horse Court, Fleet Street, E.G. 

RC424E61 ^°^'^°^ UNIVERSITY