Speech of Monkeys

Boston Herald

Prof. R. L. Garner , student of, and instructor in, the speech of monkeys, lectured in Steinert Hall to a large and very intellectual audience, who listened intently for nearly two hours to a discussion of the possibilities of simian eloquence. The professor told of his experiences while living in an iron cage in the midst of a central African jungle for one hundred and twelve days without seeing a human being, and especially the attainments and accomplishments of one "Moses," the young chimpanzee which was Professor Garner's companion during his residence in the case.

The Rev. Dr. Edward E. Hale introduced the speaker, Professor Garner appeared in the costume of brown duck, with trousers oddly cut to fit the contour of the legs, in which he conducted his jungle experiments. Behind him on the platform was the famous cage, deftly constructed of iron bars and made in sections for convenient folding and shipment.

Beginning with the assertion that not only monkeys, but all mammals, possess the power of speech, Mr. Garner related how he stood for seven hours before a cage of monkeys in Cincinnati, observing how the little ones would assist each other in avoiding the attacks of a large one. Their cries of danger were intelligible to him, and he determined to study the subject till he had mastered it. Going from one menagerie to another, he then collected the remarks of various monkeys in all parts of the country, and, taking the phonographic records of these conversations to another city, he would reproduce them to another monkey of the same species and take a record of his answer. In this way a vocabulary of nine words was collected, including the words meaning food, drink, vexation, and satisfaction.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

"Sow beside All Waters"
February 22, 1900

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.