Page images

The French Association for the Advancement of Sciences.
The Congress of the History of Sciences.
The International Congress of Philosophy.
The International Congress of Sociology.
The Philomatic Society of Paris.

The purpose of the Delegation is: (1) To ascertain whether the proposition would meet with the approval of the scholarly world at large; (2) In case of an affirmative verdict, to put the question of the selection of an International Language to serve besides the national languages, into the hands of the International Association of Academies, founded in Paris in 1900. The Academies belonging to this Association which should eventually pass judgment over and decide between the different languages proposed to serve as an international language are, arranged in the alphabetical order: The Academies. and scientific bodies of Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Christiania, Copenhagen, Goettingen, Leipzig, London (Royal Society, British Academy), Munich, Paris (A. des Sciences, A, des Inscriptions, A. des Sciences Morales), St. Petersburg, Rome (Accademia dei Lincei), Stockholm, Vienna, and Washington.

The Delegation sent out, soon after its organization, the following “Declaration."


The undersigned, deputed by various Congresses and Societies to study the question of an International Auxiliary Language, have agreed on the following points :

(1) There is a necessity to choose and to spread the use of an international language, designed not to replace national idioms in the individual life of each people, but to serve in the written and oral relations between persons whose mother-tongues are different.

(2) In order to fulfil its purpose usefully, an international language must satisfy the following conditions :

ist Condition : It must fulfill the needs of the ordinary intercourse of social life, of commercial communications, and of scientific and philosophic relations;

2d Condition : It must be easily acquired by every person of average elementary education, and especially by persons of European civilization;

3d Condition : It must not be one of the national languages.

(3) It is desirable to organize a general Delegation representing all who realize the necessity, as well as the possibility, of an international auxiliary language, and who are interested in its employment. This Delegation will appoint a Committee of members who can meet during a certain period of time. The purpose of this Comınittee is defined in the following articles.

(4) The choice of the auxiliary language belongs in the first instance to the International Association of Academies, or in case of failure, to the Committee mentioned in Article 3.

(5) Consequently the first duty of the Committee will be to present to the International Association of Academies, in the required forms, the desires expressed by the constituent Societies and Congresses, and to invite it respectfully to realize the project of an auxiliary language.

(6) It will be the duty of the Committee to create a Society for Propaganda, to spread the use of the auxiliary language which is chosen.

(7) The undersigned, being delegated by various Congresses and Societies, decide to approach all learned bodies, and all societies of business men and tourists, in order to obtain their adhesion to the present project.

(8) Representatives of regularly constituted Societies which have agreed to the present declaration will be admitted as members of the Delegation.

N. B.—The above Declaration is the sole official program of the Delegation. It constitutes the basis of understanding and course of action of the adherent Societies and Congresses which are enumerated in the circular on the State of the Delegation.

This Declaration may be signed either by societies, or by individuals. The adhesion of learned societies is especially sought for. Altogether, about two hundred societies have signed the Declaration. The Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, in Vienna, has appointed one of its members, the world-famous philologist, Hugo Schuchardt, professor in Gratz, to follow the movement for the adoption of an international anxiliary language, and to report on it whenever necessary. (See among others his report in the “ Almanac ” of the Academy for the year 1904). The “Königliche Akademie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften zu Erfurt” has given its adhesion to the two first articles of the Declaration.

The adhesion list of individuals is really more important as it reflects so much better the international character of the work of the Delegation. Moreover, the right to sign is strictly limited to persons belonging to the scientific world. Says the circular of the Delegation : “We accept signatures of only two categories of people, viz., members of learned bodies, and members of institutions of higher learning, in order to limit the domain of our petition and maintain for it the highest standard.” Of course, the central committee being in Paris, the propaganda has met with particularly great success there. French scholars having personally signed the Declaration lead most decidedly as far as quantity is concerned. We have, for instance:

Académie Française : M. Lavisse.
Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres: M. Chavannes.

Académie des Sciences: MM. Appell, d'Arsonval, Bonnier, Duclaux, directeur de l'Institut Pasteur, Lévy, Lippmann, Perrier, directeur du Muséum, Poincaré, Roux, Général Sébert, S. A. S. le Prince de Monaco, Méray, etc. (37 in all).

Académie des Sciences morales et politiques: MM. Bergson, Espinas, Fr. Passy, Renouvier, Tarde, Adam, Naville (9 in all).

Académie de Médecine: MM. Blanchard, Javal, Lannelongue, Richet (7 in all).

There are 8 professors of the Collège de France, 8 of the Faculté de Médecine, 12 of the Faculté des Sciences, II of the Faculté des Lettres, il of the Ecole Normale supérieure, 12 of the Ecole Polytechnique, 6 of the Muséum, 10 of the Collège libre des sciences sociales, etc.

The “Recteur" of the Université de Paris, M. Liard, has recently given his signature, with his warm approbation for the efforts of the Delegation.

We cannot think of mentioning the more than seven hundred signers of the petition. They are found (in the alphabetical order) in Berlin, Berne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Brussels (17 members of the Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres, et des Beaux Arts; 24 University professors), Buenos-Ayres, Cracow (2 members of the Academy of Sciences), Dijon (53 University professors, among whom the Recteur), Edinburgh, Fribourg, Gand (32 University professors), Geneva (18 University professors), Genoa, Grenoble (26 University professors), Helsingfors, Kiel, Christiania, Leipzig (7 members of the Königliche Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, among them Ostwald, who lectured last winter at Harvard), Lille (18 professors, and the Recteur), Lima (63 professors), Lyons (60 professors), Marseilles (67 professors), Milan, Modena, Nancy (24 professors and the Recteur), Naples, Pisa, Prague (4 members of the Akademie der Wissenschaften), Rome, St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, Turin, Vienna (2 members of the Kais. Akad. der Wiss.), Zürich, and a good many other places.

Among the periodicals which have discussed the subject from a purely scientific point of view may be mentioned, besides the Almanac of the Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften of Vienna, the Indogermanische Forschungen, the Revue Internationale de l'Enseignement, the Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, the Revue Philosophique, the Monist.

Only a few words need be added as comments upon the previous statements. Of course some Americans know about the work of the Delegation, especially thru the influence of Professor Ostwald. Soon after his arrival in this country, the distinguished guest of Harvard University got the signatures of 13 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in Boston, and of 1g members of the Academy of Sciences, in Washington—probably he has more by this time. But the name of Mr. Ostwald is almost entirely identified with the cause of Esperanto, which ought to be kept separate from that of the Delegation. We know also that some of the greatest scholars in Europe, as Mr. Ostwald, have grown impatient at the timid attitude of some of their colleagues. Berthelot, for instance, signed the Declaration, but he went over to Esperanto at once, and now publishes occasionally in this language in the Internacia Scienca Revuo; together with him went men like Brouardel, d’Arsonval, Poincaré, Richet. In England Sir William Ramsay did the same thing. A new Esperanto review, a medical journal, was just added to the list of publications in Esperanto; and a sociological review will begin to appear in May, 1906.

But here exactly is the point, and this prompted us to bring the above facts before the academic public of America without more delay. We should think that the intellectual public of our universities owes it to itself to look into the question raised by the International Delegation,-a question in which they are themselves so much interested for their studies. Scholars have already too much the reputation of being extra-conservative in their opinions; it is not desirable to encourage such feelings around us, especially in a country where so frequently complaints are heard to the effect that the value of science is not recognized by the general public.

The situation is this: Is the problem of the international language now before the public—this is a fact that cannot be denied-to be solved (no matter whether in the negative or in the affirmative) with the coöperation of the educated classes, or in spite of them?


BRYN MAWR, PA. Note-Information regarding the work of the Delegation, together with blanks of subscription, can be obtained from M. L. Couturat, of the Université de Paris, 7 rue Nicole, Paris. The writer has agreed to keep subscription blanks for circulation in American universities and colleges.

« PreviousContinue »