John Pickering an Wilhelm von Humboldt, 26.07.1834|65r| Sir,
I am happy to have it in my power to send you a new work, just published here, which contains copious information on the subject of one of the North American dialects, namely, the Chippeway, now sometimes written Ojibwai. I have not had time to read the work, having received it this day from my bookseller; but I suppose the matters of fact may be relied upon, as the author has been conversant with the Indian tribes for many years, and his wife is, moreover, of half Indian blood. As to the opinions & speculations of the author I should feel more hesitation, if I may judge of the present work by some former writings of his. I hope it will be a useful addition to your Indian library.[a]
I perceive, by the journals, that the French National Institute has lately announced |65v| a prize-question, upon the grammatical character of the Lenâpè |sic|, Chippeway & Mohegan languages. I do not perceive their motive in selecting three dialects so nearly allied to each other. It is much the same thing as to enquire, for example, what is the grammatical character of the Italian, Spanish, & Portugueze |sic| languages.
Perhaps you can favour me with the particular reasons for the choice of the three dialects abovementioned.
If it would be admissible to publish in your Berlin Academy’s Transactions any memoirs by foreigners who are not members of the Academy, I would prepare a memoir on the characteristicks |sic| of some of the North American Languages, and, if you should approve of it, I would submit it to your Academy. I should write it in French or English, as might be conformable to usage.
I have only time to add, that I have sent you three different parcels, since the last autumn, which I hope may have arrived safe; and I trust I shall have the pleasure of hearing from you soon –I am, Sir, with the highest respect
your very obedient servant
Boston, U. S. July 26, 1834.
- a |Editor| Bei dem genannten Band wird es sich um Narrative of an Expedition Through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake, the actual Source of this River; embracing an Exploratory Trip through the St. Croix and Burntwood (or Broule) Rivers: in 1832 (New York: Harper & Brothers 1834) von Henry Rowe Schoolcraft handeln (siehe Pilling 1885, S. 690 Nr. 3505). Dessen Frau, die Schriftstellerin Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, hatte schottisch-irische und Ojibwa-Vorfahren (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Johnston_Schoolcraft).