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it. There is little doubt that St. Paul thousand additional signs of his own dictated to stenographers his epistles invention, and that Bishop Cyprian to the Colossians.

added many thousands of abbreviaThe famous preacher Origen (A.D. tions for scriptural terms, one may 185–253) has left on record the state have some idea of the difficulties with ment that he prepared his addresses which the students of shorthand in in shorthand. He did not, however, ancient times had to contend. Perpermit the addresses to be reported haps these long lists of arbitraries were until after he was sixty years of age, responsible for the sad fate of Cassiwhen he had acquired such skill as an anus when teaching shorthand. Casorator that he could be certain that his sianus had been a bishop of Brescia, orations were given in the form he and when he was expelled from his wished. St. Augustine employed ten see, he established an academy at stenographers. Basil the Great (A.D. Imola, in the Province of Bologna, in 329–379) wrote:

which he taught shorthand. It is

recorded that his exasperated pupils Words have wings, therefore we use signs so that we can attain in writing suddenly surrounded him and stabbed the swiftness of speech. But you, oh, him to death with their styli. There youth, must make the signs very care

is no explanation as to what they were fully and pay attention to an accurate exasperated about, but I conjecture arrangement of them, as through a little that he had assigned them a lesson of mistake a long speech will be disfigured, a thousand extra arbitraries of his own while by the care of the writer a speech invention. Fortunate indeed is the may be correctly repeated.

teacher of modern shorthand whose Pope Gregory the Great (A.D.

students are armed only with harmless 590-604), in the dedication to his fa pencils. mous "Homilies,"mentions that he had Marcus Aurelius Prudentius, who, revised them from the stenographic in the third century, was the most reports. St. Jerome had ten stenog- famous of the Roman Christian poets, raphers, four of whom took down his expresses regret at the unhappy fate dictation, while six were transcribers of a shorthand-writer who was reportwho wrote out what the others had ing a trial in court. The centurion taken from dictation. This fact is an

Metellus, having been converted to illustration of how "efficiency" was

Christianity, refused to remain a highly regarded even at that early soldier. He was what we should now time, and that shorthand had reached term “a conscientious objector.” When a commendable degree of accuracy.

the judge decided the case against How many stenographers to-day can

him and condemned him to death, the read one another's notes?

shorthand-writer who had been em

ployed by Metellus flung his tablets $ 4

at the head of the judge. By order of Bearing in mind the fact that the the judge he was promptly torn to Tironian notes consisted of thousands pieces. It was decreed that stenogof arbitrary signs for words and raphers who copied the writings of the phrases, that the famous orator Seneca teachers of heretical doctrines should developed the Tironian notes by five have their hands "hewn off.”


Then there is the sad case of the St. Augustine records the fact that stenographer to a great ecclesiastic the stenographers of Rome went on who, finding his stenographer dozing strike on one occasion and succeeded when he should have been transcrib- in securing their demands. Just ing his notes, dealt him such a vigor- imagine for a moment what would hapous blow on the ear that the stenog- pen if all the stenographers of to-day rapher died from the effects of it, and went on strike. The whole world of the churchman had to leave the city in commerce, our whole political and order to avoid trial for manslaughter. social life, would be disorganized. The prevailing fashion of our stenog- Peocopius, who was a stenographer raphers of to-day in covering their ears to the Emperor Constantine II, bemakes such a "custom" impossible. came a count. He attempted to seize

With the crude form of shorthand Julius's crown, but, vacillating at the that then prevailed, shorthand-writers critical moment, was betrayed by his had enough to worry about; but we generals and put to death. A teacher find that the Emperor Severus, in the of oratory, Fabius Quintilian (A.D. third century, decreed that a short- 35–95), in publishing his “Guide to the hand-writer who made a mistake in Art of Oratory," complained that his reporting a case should be banished lectures, published by others under and have the nerves of his fingers cut his name, had injured him because so that he could never write again. they had been reported by "greedy

In 1903 archæologists discovered, shorthand-writers who had taken them one hundred miles south of Cairo, down, and circulated them.” It is a great many ancient documents on stated that the early Christians bribed papyri. Among them was a contract the judicial shorthand-writers to take with a shorthand-writer, dated A.D. down the sayings of the Christian on 137, whereby a boy was to be taught trial. These were preserved in the shorthand for the sum of 120 drachmæ archives and read at the martyrs' (about $24.00); 40 drachmæ to be paid anniversaries in order to encourage the in advance, 40 drachmä on satisfac- faithful. tory evidence of the progress of the boy in the acquirement of the art, and

$ 5 a final 40 drachma when he had be- With the decline and dissolution of come a proficient writer. Remember the Roman Empire, shorthand, like all that this was 137 years after the birth other arts, lost favor. It was no longer of Christ. Shorthand was so much in regarded as a great, fashionable art. demand in those days that there may The Emperor Justinian, in the sixth have been some profiteering among the century, forbade his records being teachers of it, because we find that in kept by the “catches and short-cut A.D. 301 the Emperor Diocletian is- riddles of signs." Later, Frederick II sued an edict fixing tuition fees at ordered the destruction of all shortseventy-five denares per month for hand-characters as being "necromaneach pupil, about a dollar and a half tic and diabolical." As the Holy a month. Evidently the high cost of Roman Empire then covered almost living did not vex teachers in those the entire known world, the edict of days.

Frederick II rendered shorthand one

of the lost arts. Then came the Dark fiery tongue of the orator? Yet hisAges, and for nearly a thousand years torians say that Savonarola's orations the arts and sciences, among them were so eloquent that they strung the shorthand, were banished from the Florentines to heights of spiritual world.

emotion which they had never before

or since attained. Let us, then, be 8 6

charitable to Lorenzo Viola, who had With the decline of the church, to report when such waves of emotional and the decay of empires and feudal frenzy were sweeping over the audipowers, there came a revival of learn- ence surrounding him. ing, and the birth of new ideals of human life and culture. There came

7 freedom of speech, as manifested in The first system of shorthand pubthe Renaissance in Italy and in the lished in modern times was that of Dr. Reformation in Germany and Eng- Timothy Bright, whose system of land. The peoples of the earth awoke "characterie" was published in Lonfrom the long lethargy of the Middle don in 1588. Dr. Bright, in the introAges. Columbus sailed the seas and duction to his book, said that he was discovered a new world, Copernicus inspired to devise his system through became the father of modern astron- reading Plutarch's reference to the omy, and Galileo, of modern science. reporting of the Catilinian conspiracy. It was a great age: Shakspere wrote, The full title of Dr. Bright's book Gutenberg invented movable type, and was, "Characterie. An Arte of Shorte, Caxton, the printing-press.

The first evi. dence of the re vival of shorthand that we have in the Renaissance is

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An entry from Pepys's diary for January Viola. There are many omissions or incomplete sen- Swifte and Secrete Writing by Chartences in these reports, and in paren- acter.” The system was dedicated to thesis there is this quaint explanation Queen Elizabeth, and letters patent by the reporter, "Here I was unable were issued to the author by the crown, to proceed because of weeping." Was dated July 13, 1588, giving him the the reporter merely camouflaging his exclusive right to the publication and own inability to keep pace with the use of shorthand.


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The art of shorthand has been Willis, published in 1602, and from known by many titles. “Characterie” that time on there was a steady stream did not meet with favor, and it was of systems or modifications of systems. superseded by branchygraphy, tachyg- In the next century and a half more raphy, stenography, and many other than two hundred systems were pubnames. It is a curious thing that the lished. first mention of the word “shorthand,” by which the art is now generally known, is in an epitaph which is still There was great interest in shortto be seen in the cloisters of West- hand at this time. The people were minster Abbey. It is to William Lau- eagerly desirous of preserving in perrence, who died December 28, 1661, manent form the utterances of their and reads:

beloved religious leaders. All text


books of that time reflect this, because Shorthand he wrot, his flowre in prime they are full of abbreviations for bibdid fade,

lical phrases. John and Charles WesAnd hasty death shorthand of him hath

ley, the founders of the Methodist made.

Church, were shorthand-writers. The Dr. Bright was a man of rare at Wesleys used the celebrated system of tainments. He was a distinguished Dr. John Byrom. physician and an author of several Dr. Philip Doddridge, in his famous books of importance. In 1586 one of theological college, insisted that all his books was called "A Treatise on students preparing for the ministry Melancholy," and it is believed that it should learn shorthand first in order suggested to Shakspere many of the that they might easily take down his pranks of mad people as set forth in lectures. In 1628 Bishop Earle de his plays, and especially, “Hamlet.” nounced certain "graceless” persons Shakspere was twenty-four years of who did not scruple to report sermons age when Bright's book was published, in stenography and then palm them and no doubt he was familiar with it, off later as their own. as it created a stir at the time; indeed, a

But shorthand was used for other the word "characterie" is used in purposes. The most famous diary ever two of his plays. Bright's “Treatise published was that of Samuel Pepys, on Melancholy" was published in which was written in the Shelton sys1586, and therefore long preceded tem. In this diary Pepys gives a vivid "Hamlet." Recent investigators have account of the Great Plague and the found that several expressions in Great Fire of London, with many "Hamlet," which were heretofore be intimate accounts of the court of King lieved to have been original with Charles II. Pepys was an expert Shakspere, are to be found in Bright's shorthand-writer, because he menbook; such as “discourse of reason." tions in his diary that in April, 1680,

Bright's system was arbitrary and he attended the king, by command, at had not an alphabet that could be Newmarket, and there "took down in connected; it was simply a list of signs shorthand from his own mouth the to be used for words. The first sys- narrative of his escape from the battle tem with an alphabet was that of John of Worcester."

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It is interesting to recall that Thomas ing to him in which are annotations in Jefferson, in a letter to his friend Page, shorthand is still preserved in one of dated January 23, 1764, proposed that the historical societies. It is not, howthey should master Shelton's system, ever, generally known that many the one used by Pepys, so that they years before coming to this country might have something which was unin- Roger Williams, at nineteen years of telligible to any one else. He said, age, was employed by the famous “I will send you some of these days lawyer Sir Edward Coke to report the Shelton's Tachygraphical Alphabet proceedings of the Star Chamber in and directions."


John Winthrop, Jr., the son of the $ 9

first governor of Massachusetts, and There is evidence that the art of who was himself afterward Governor shorthand was in use in this country of Connecticut, was an accomplished within half a dozen years of the land- shorthand-writer. When he arrived in ing of the Pilgrims. In the library at Boston in 1631 he proceeded to superSpringfield, Massachusetts, there is intend the settlement of the town of preserved the shorthand note-books of Ipswich, Massachusetts, while his wife Major John Pynchon, the son of the Martha remained in Boston. They founder of Springfield, containing re- corresponded in shorthand, and many ports of the sermons of the first pastor of these shorthand letters, which were of Springfield, the Rev. George Moxon. written in 1633, are preserved by the These sermons are dated from 1637 to Winthrop families under the date of 1639, seventeen years after the coming that year. I mention this particularly of the Mayflower.

because Martha Winthrop is the first A majority of the writers of short- American shorthand-writer of the hand in New England in the early gentler sex of whom we have record. colonial days were men of distinction. As early as 1650 Sir Ralph Verney Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode spoke of the “multitudes of women Island, was a very accomplished short practicing shorthand in church.” A hand-writer. An Indian Bible belong- discourse published in 1700 was de

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