The Elements of Tachygraphy

Illustrating the First Principles of the Art, with their Adaptation to the Wants of Literary, Professional, and Business Men. Designed as a Text-Book for Classes and Private Instruction. By DAVID PHILIP LINDSLEY. Boston : Otis Clapp.
WE have a real pleasure in speaking of this system of shorthand, to which the inventor has given the longest and ugliest name he could contrive. Its principles are so clear and simple that they can be understood with an hour’s study ; and a week’s practice will put the student in possession of an art which will relieve him of half the pain and labor of writing. Until a writingmachine is invented (without which our century is still as benighted, in one respect, as any since the invention of the alphabet), Mr. Lindsley’s system must seem the greatest possible benefaction. Phonography is a science to which months of study must be given, and in the acquirement of which the memory is burdened with a multitude of arbitrary and variable signs; while in Tachygraphy the letters are almost invariable, and as easily memorized as the ordinary Roman characters; a single impulse of the hand forms each letter ; there are as few detached marks as in ordinary chirography ; and the writing is fluent and easy. As with other easy writing, the hardness is in the reading; not because each letter is not perfectly distinct and intelligible, but because words in the common printing and writing are less assemblages of letters speaking to the mind than pictures appealing to the eye. This, however, will trouble the beginner only; and the art is at once available in the carefuller kinds of literary work, where the writer copies and copies again. Of course, in Tachygraphy the lunatical vagaries of English orthography are unknown ; the spelling is phonetic, — and this is another drawback, so used are we to the caprices of an orthography of which no burlesque can be half so absurd as itself. But this difficulty also is easily overcome, and, after a little practice, the learner finds himself spelling sanely with a sensation of absolute pleasure.
The chirography which Mr. Lindsley has invented is very graceful ; and we should think that it could never be so ill written as the ordinary kind. What degree of speed may be attainable in it, or whether it could advantageously supplant phonography in reporting, we do not know; but we feel certain that to editors, clergymen, and the whole vast and increasing body of literary men, it must prove a great advantage ; and we commend it to the attention of teachers as a system which might very well be taught in schools.