Sunday, June 29, 2014

Diplomat Predicts Things Will Be Great for Esperanto in America!

1908 will be a great year for
Esperanto speakers!
George Harvey said that the French Esperanto speakers had “a strong movement, destined to apparently to be crowned with success at no distant date, to add Esperanto to the curriculum of the public schools.” What the Deseret Evening News of Great Salt Lake City, Utah did not mention in their June 29, 1907 paper was that Mr. Harvey had something of a vested interest in Esperanto.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, he was an ardent backer of Esperanto in his magazine, The North American Review, and he would go on to be president of the Esperanto Association of North America. In other parts of his life, he was an ambassador and influential political figure.

In the article “Popularity of Esperanto,” Mr. Harvey did acknowledged that not all was rosy in France:
Despite the efforts of such eminent scholars as M. Beafront, official France has been slow to extend recognition to the new language, presumably because of a desire to maintain the position of their own as that of the world’s diplomacy; but we know from personal inquiry in the smaller towns that the French people are really enthusiastic over Esperanto, nearly every village containing a small group of students, and even the more intelligent innkeepers giving it earnest attention.
All of Harvey’s French esperantist friends were enthusiastic, of course.

As for M. Beaufront, he was one of the more interesting characters of the early Esperanto movement (if you’re an Esperantist, you probably know the next bit). Louis de Beaufront was the assumed name of Louis Chevreux, in an era when it was much easier to assume a new identity, and the Marquis de Beaufront was an invention end-to-end. On the other hand, he was the founder of the first Esperanto group in France, the Société Pour la Propagation de l’Espéranto. De Beaufront made a deal with Hachette that gave them exclusive rights to publish works in Esperanto in France, with the intent of Beaufront that this would provide a stipend for Zamenhof (and by some indications, for de Beaufront as well). Yet, after all this, he secretly worked on Ido, which was introduced as rival language in 1907. As far as George Harvey knew, Beaufront was still an ardent promoter of Esperanto.

Beaufront had promoted Esperanto in France for about twenty years before leaving for the Ido movement. As Harvey points out, he did not achieve any sort of official recognition in France. Elsehwere:
Canada has many ardent supporters, and in enterprising Japan a single school comprises nearly 400 students.
So not much success there, to be honest.
In this country comparatively little progress has been made, although many of the universities have small organizations, and the foundation of an international association has been laid in Boston.
This national association would later be disbanded in favor of the group of which George Harvey would become president.
Many newspapers and periodicals, devoted exclusively to the language, are published in various parts of the world; and it is pleasing indication of the spirit of the new west that the first journal of this character to appear in the United States is published in Oklahoma. Briefly, wherever the new language has been introduced it has taken root and achieved almost instantaneous popularity.
And if not in 1908 or 1909…
Given that Harvey noted that “comparatively little progress” had been made in the United States, it’s hard to see how this equates with "almost instantaneous popularity. He had tried to get the Esperanto movement to hold its 1908 convention in the United States, but the German esperantists had already proposed Dresden. He tried again with a bid for the 1909 convention, although this too was unsuccessful. The 1909 convention was held in Barcelona. Again in the Deseret Evening News:
Col. Geo Harvey Will Invite Them to Come to the United States in 1909.
New York June 29.—Col. Geo. Harvey, who for some time has been interested in the adoption of Esperanto as an auxiliary international language, has decided to invite the Esperantists of the world to come to the United States in 1909. Last year at the congress held in Cambridge, Eng., where 32 nationalists were represented by the 2,000 delegates, Col. Harvey extended his invitation to them, but Germany had put in a prior bid. Accordingly the 1908 congress will be held at Dresden next August.
And now a word from our sponsor. Here’s an advertisement for his North American Review.

You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...