Lewis Masquerier

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Lewis Masquerier

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from "The World's Sages, Thinkers and Reformers"


The subject of this sketch was born in Paris, Ky., March 14, 1802. He is a descendant of the French Huguenots on the paternal side and of the Scotch-Irish Nonconformists on the maternal side. From a few months' education in a log schoolhouse in the woods he educated himself in various branches of literature and science.

Learning the art of printing it led him to see the imperfection of the alphabet and the barbarous orthography of the English language. He has developed to his full satisfaction that there are eleven vowel sounds in the human voice and that they are modified into species by twenty-two consonants or sinkings of the parts of the mouth upon each other. He has in keeping with this theory compiled an alphabet of easy adoption, of the best of the Roman small capltals,and small letters, differing only in size. With each of these letters, invariably representing a single element of the voice, he has provided for easily spelling the words in all languages, thus tending towards the building up of a universal language. There is an increasing interest manifested in this orthographic reform; ingenious systems and alphabets in great variety have been brought out. There can be little doubt that at a not far distant day the English-speaking inhabitants of the world will take a forward step in this matter of orthography. It is a most necessary step. They will be compelled to do this if they wish the English language to become the general language of the world. The tendency is doubtless to a homogeneity of language habits, education and belief. Our language assuredly needs to be reformed before it is suited to be thus generally adopted.

Mr. Masquerier was one of the number who joined George H. Evans in the Land Reform movement, which contended for the natural right of every human being to a share of the earth's soil for life, the same as the water and the air which surrounds the globe, giving the power of self-employment; and by organ izing into township landed democracies throughout the nation, such convenient communities and governments as would best subserve the greatest good to the entire population, and afford them the best and truest system of self government.

He believes he has developed the thorough principles of a perfect right to be those of equality, inalienation, and individuality, while their respective opposites or wrongs are the leading causes of evil. He has given an improved classification of Rights and Wrongs running parallel; and applied these great principles to them all; thus giving them a more scientific form. His publications consist of "A Phonotypic Spelling, and Reading Manual;" "A Phonotypic Dictionary;" "A History of the Land Reform Movement; " "Sociology, or the Science of Society;" "A Classification and Analogy of the Elements of the Medium of the Five Senses," etc.

Mr. Masquerier has been a confirmed Freethinker for many years, believing in the boundlessness and eternality of the Universe, which, by necessity, could never have had a maker nor designer. It is long since he had the slightest confidence in the mysticisms of darker ages, or in the dwarfing rule of theology and priestcraft. He believes in the immutable laws of Nature; that they are equal to all emergencies, and that the Universe requires no personal God to attend to its operations, and no privileged, salaried priesthood to govern, guide, and grind down the human race. He has written numerous essays upon theological and reformatory subjects, which, from time to time, have appeared in the Liberal and secular press.

In the year 1872 he lost his amiable and intellectual wife, who was a Tabor previous to her marriage. She was highly esteemed for her many good qualities by all who knew her. She was also an advanced thinker, and had long been emancipated from the tyranny of dogmas and creeds.

He has a monument of granite prepared for his tomb in Cypress Hill Cemetery, adjoining Brooklyn, upon which are engraved the principles of Land Reform which he has advocated for many years, as well as his alphabetical and orthographic reform, thus transmitting to stone his cherished principles which must thus be preserved, hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.

American Bookmaker

"AMONG the relics which will be exhibited at the Press Club Fair is a press said to have belonged to William Bradford. It was preserved by the pious care of Louis Masquerier, an octogenarian printer, who died some three years ago, and who received it as a legacy from a printer whose business life ended as Masquerier's began. This will be put in operation, if repairs do not prove too difficult, and will print a facsimile of Bradford's first newspaper, the Gazette."--American Bookmaker, 1893.