|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
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The Indian language which he knew best, however, was the Algonquin, the parent of a large progeny of dialects; and this he learnt not from the natives, but from Father Thavenet, of the congregation of St. Sulpice, for many years a missionary among that tribe, and perhaps more profoundly skilled in their language * than any European scholar before his time. Of the Algonquin Mezzofanti became completely master—a success which can only be appreciated by those who understand the peculiar,* and to a European entirely novel structure of these languages
But whatever uncertainty may exist as to the manner in which he acquired these particular languages, there are many others with regard to which it cannot be doubted that he turned most
industrously to account, during these years, the many resources supplied by the Propaganda, and that to this noble institution he was indebted for many of his later acquisitions.
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