As to what would be deemed satisfactory proof of the requisite intelligence, there is evidently room for much diversity of opinion; and different decisions may be given in similar cases, according to the degree of intelligence and freedom from prejudice of the judge or jury.
He also wrote textbooks on teaching deaf students using manual (sign) language.De L'Eppe is credited with writing the first French sign language dictionary.Other European codes, more influenced by the spirit of the Roman law, exact formalities which only Deaf Mutes able to write can comply with.In France, a Deaf Mute able to read and write, is admitted on all hands to be competent to make a valid will, writing, signing and dating it with his own hand, conforming in this to the spirit of the Roman law, and avoiding the ignorant exclusion of Deaf Mutes from birth from the possibility of education.In the early 1800s, an American theologian named Thomas Gallaudet saw a French Sign Language presentation involving a deaf teacher named Laurent Clerc.
He was so impressed with what he learned that he went to France to study their teaching methods.
His writings also addressed the philosophical beliefs and misconceptions of popular culture regarding the deaf population.
On the Legal Rights and Responsibilities of the Deaf and Dumb. In addition, Peet was a prolific writer on sign language, teaching methods for the deaf, and the merits of instruction in verbal articulation.
In the Middle Ages, it was believed that deaf people were somehow more sinful than the hearing population, since they were unable to hear religious communications.
As a result, the deaf were thought to be unable to hold spiritual beliefs or to participate in a sentient way in religious practices.
As this case was an important one, and seems to have been argued at much length, and carefully considered by the court, we will give an abstract of the points in which the judgment was founded:"The heirs have not denied that the characters which compose the material body of the document purporting to be the testament of Theresa Charlotte Lange were the work of her hand, but maintained that they could not be the work of her intelligence; hence that there was no occasion for a verification of the hand-writing, or for enquiring at whose charge such verification should be.""No provision of the law places the Deaf Mute in any exceptional case as to the capacity of making a will; he possesses the common rights of other men; and therefore can, like the generality of citizens, bequeath or give away property, provided he complies with the formalities exacted by law.""If in consequence of his infirmity, he cannot make a will by acte publique, he cannot, at least, when he knows how to write, when he can manifest his will in an unequivocal manner, contest his ability to make a holographic or a mystique testament; this is a point on which there is now no difficulty.""To be valid, the holographic testament must be written, dated and signed by the hand of the testator.""In ordinary language, and in the strict acceptation of the term, it is true that to write may be understood to trace on paper letters or characters, no regard being had to their signification.""But in the eyes of the law, and in its more extended acceptation, this expression has a very different sense; and it is evident that in a matter of such importance as making a will, to write most evidently cannot be understood of the purely mechanical act which consists in copying, instinctively or by imitation, characters that have been placed before one's eyes, and of which the copier does not know the use or meaning; that to know how to write is to be able at once to conceive, collect, arrange one's thoughts, put them in form and express them on paper by means of certain conventional characters; and consequently, it is much more an operation of the mind, a work of the intelligence, than a labor of the hand.""Whence it follows, that to know how to write in the true acceptation of the word, it is indispensable to know the significance of words, to comprehend the relations which they have, the objects and ideas which they represent; that thus to establish that an individual knows or knew how to write, it is not enough to produce a sample of characters placed one after another; this would only prove that he had been habituated to figure letters, or to draw; but it is necessary to prove that he has received, whether in a public institution or by the care of capable persons, the education necessary to attain this result; this is above all true when the question is of a Deaf Mute from birth, who, deprived of two organs, so essential as hearing and speech, whatever natural genius and capacity he might have otherwise, has so many difficulties to overcome in order to develop, or rather to form, to re-temper his intelligence.""When such a proof becomes necessary, it is without doubt incumbent on the party who would have the benefit of a writing attributed to a Deaf Mute; in this matter the general rule is, the state in which nature has placed the individual afflicted with dumbness and deafness; the exception is, the modification or amelioration wrought in that state: the presumption of law is, that the Deaf Mute is illiterate, and the fact to be proved, that he has been brought out of his ignorance by education—which is consequently to be proved by him who alleges this fact, or claims the exception.""Therese Charlotte Lange was born deaf and dumb.