Other European codes, more influenced by the spirit of the Roman law, exact formalities which only Deaf Mutes able to write can comply with.In France, a Deaf Mute able to read and write, is admitted on all hands to be competent to make a valid will, writing, signing and dating it with his own hand, conforming in this to the spirit of the Roman law, and avoiding the ignorant exclusion of Deaf Mutes from birth from the possibility of education.Since most early learning, as well as the transmission of cultural and traditional knowledge, was accomplished orally, persons who were deaf were excluded from educational opportunities by the prevailing culture.

The result of this examination of English common law, as the foundation of American law, is, that the Deaf and Dumb have ever possessed the same rights of inheritance as those who are not deaf and dumb: and, like the latter, are restricted in the full enjoyment of such rights only upon proof of the want of the requisite intelligence.

This, also, we believe, is the case throughout Europe; the old feudal codes having mostly passed away.

We will next consider whether a Deaf Mute can make a valid will.

Evidently, a person deprived of the control of his property during his lifetime, cannot consistently be permitted to alienate it from the legal heirs at his death. The English law would decide this question according to the actual intelligence manifested.

It is alleged, indeed, that on her arrival in France, she was, as well as her sister Rose, also deaf and dumb from birth, received by the Abbé Hardy, then vicar-general of the bishoprick of Saintes, and that this ecclesiastic, devoting himself wholly to the care of their education, had taught them to read and to write; but no proof of this fact is to be found in the documents produced in the case: the only piece which has been adduced in support of these allegations, the acte of 19th September, 1789, far from justifying them, seems to prove the contrary.""In effect it results from this acte that one of the ancestors of the plaintiffs had wished at that time to withdraw the demoiselles Rose and Charlotte Lange from under the guardianship of the Vicar Hardy, in order that they should, as he said, re-enter the bosom of their family; and it was only by gestures and signs that Therese Charlotte, particularly, manifested her opposition, and her refusal to adhere to the demand of the Sieur D. If it is alleged that she had a great facility to divine the signs addressed to her, and to make herself understood by means of gestures by those with whom she was habituated to communicate, that fact may prove that by a just compensation, nature had endowed her with a remarkable instinct and penetration, but not destroy the presumptions, weighty, precise and consistent, which result from the other circumstances of the case; because these presumptions are yet farther justified by the fact that she appears to have made no use of writing, which ought, however, to have been one of the easiest and surest means of communicating with her relatives and friends.""These presumptions, already so strong, become certain proofs when, in the most solemn circumstance of her life, at the epoch of her marriage with the Sieur Hardy in 1821, we see Therese Charlotte, in order to accomplish Garde des Sceaux (Keeper of the Seals,) to obtain an authorization to this effect, because of the impossibility in which she found herself to express her consent; and on the other side, obliged to employ an interpreter to transmit to the public officer the consent which she gave as is mentioned in the acte civile, (the civil part of the contract of marriage) by signs, showing her intelligence by conversation on all sorts of subjects, when it had been so easy for her to avoid all these difficulties by giving her consent in writing, if in fact she knew how to write.""Hence there can be no doubt that at the epoch of her marriage with the Sieur Hardy, Charlotte Lange, then aged sixty-five years, did not know how to write, and it is difficult to admit that she could have learned since; moreover no proof has been offered on that point.""It must be concluded, from all these facts, that evidently, if the acte called her testament, materially emanated from her, it is not the work of her intelligence, and that, in this point of view, it cannot be valid in the eye of the law."The testament dated 7th August, 1834, and enregistered 8th August, 1836, was accordingly declared null. The reader will observe that, in this case, the general intelligence of Therese Charlotte Lange, and her competency to make her wishes distinctly known by signs, were not called in question.

The only question was whether she could read and write with sufficient understanding to write her own will, with a full knowledge of its provisions and their effect.

They also were pioneers in using simultaneous sign language translation at all spoken public meetings.

The children from Martha's Vineyard taught their signs to the School's staff and had a significant impact on the development of American Sign Language (ASL).

He also wrote textbooks on teaching deaf students using manual (sign) language.

De L'Eppe is credited with writing the first French sign language dictionary.

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that deaf people were somehow more sinful than the hearing population, since they were unable to hear religious communications.