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extraordinary things they saw done, Dancing is an accomplishment of as at the facility with which the, which the Blind are very capable, means of doing them were commu- when properly taught. That degree nicated by the teacher, and the of attention which partners generally promptness and success with which bestow upon each other, with a prothey were comprehended and prac- per regard to the figure on the part tised by the pupil. of those who, in turn, have to cooperate with blind subjects, will be sufficient to render them quite correct in a country dance. They will never fail to be perfect in the figure; their distances and their time will be exact; and, if irregularity or confusion should, at any time, arise, it will be owing to no want of precision on their part.
A familiar acquaintance with the most prevalent games at cards, may be easily acquired. Draughts, backgamalon, and chess in particular, they may be taught to excel in, and other amusements, in which the being qualified to take a part, constitutes an admitted claim to a favourable reception; contributes to the common enjoyment, and, from a consciousness of the share which the blind visitor takes in, and contributes to, the general pleasure, he will derive a satis faction not to be surpassed by the feelings of any individual of the party.
In speaking of cards, &c. it is not to be imagined that a spirit of gaming is meant to be excited. There can be no motive in the mind of a blind person, for wishing to play for any stake, and the winning or losing will be a matter of perfect indifference, so far as the stake is concerned, whilst the exercise which the play affords, to the intellectual faculty, will yield him the most sensible gratification.
But of all the sources from which the Blind are to receive consolation and comfort, religion pre-eminently presents itself as the most important, The sure and certain means which it holds out, of an abundant compensation in a future life, for all the una voidable sufferings of mankind, in this, if judiciously and earnestly inculcated, is well calculated to beget that resignation, that tranquillity, and that disposition to content here, which they are perfectly capable of comprehending to be inferior only to the permanent enjoyment that awaits those, hereafter, who establish the required claim to it. It is, however, peculiarly necessary, that the religious instruction of a blind pupil should
It is extremely consoling to observe, that these representations suggest nothing that may not be easily verified; nothing that a master of intelligence, application, and temper, may not prove, on any pupil of ordinary capacity; and, it is with a perfect conviction of the practicability of the plan, that a select number of blind pupils are invited to participate in the benefits of a domestic Institution, formed for the express purpose of instructing them in any of the following branches of learning, which their genius, capacities, and inclinations may qualify them for attaining, and induce them to apply to: viz. reading, writing, arithmetic, music, geography, mathematics, languages, history, the belles lettres, natural and moral philosophy, and the pure principles and practice of the Christian religion.
Hence, they may derive, from a systematical plan of education, suited in all respects to their state and condition, the invaluable means of counteracting, in a very great degree, its melancholy effects; of qualifying them for the attainment of general knowledge; of enabling them, not only to participate in, but to contribute their share of the enjoyments which flow from the conversation of refined so ciety; and, by still further attentions, they will be fitted for the display of those personal accomplishments, and that external deportment and behaviour, which add so much to the charm of an elegant circle, and which cannot be possessed by any one under any circumstances, not even excepting those of blindness, without inspiring such a becoming assurance and self approval, as contribute essentially to the satisfaction which arises from a consciousness of acquitting ourselves properly in the society we mix with. That which constitutes the pleasure of society with others, should be held to be the business and the essential employment of the higher classes of the blind, with whom, as a pleasure also, it will be inestimable.
A minute detail of particulars, with respect to the education of the Blind, must be left to be determined by the genius, the capacity, the temper, and a variety of circumstances connected with those to whom the general rules, which may be laid down, are to be applied; but, whatever peculiarities of disposition may be observable in the pupil, it should be a main object with the preceptor to impress him with a firm persuasion that he is under the direction of an attached, a tender, and an affectionate friend.
The tutors of the Blind ought incessantly to inculcate this maxim, that it is their indispensable duty to excel, and that it is absolutely in their power to attain a high degree of proficiency in whatever course they resolve on. To impress this notion on their minds, the first objects presented to their observation, and the first methods of improvement applied to their understanding, ought, with no great difficulty, to be comprehensible by those interpal powers and external senses winch they possess. Not that improvement should be rendered quite easy to them, if such a plan were possible; for all difficulties, which are not really or apparently insuperable, heighten the charms and enhance the value of those acquisitions which they seem to retard, Above all things, their own genius and inclination when ascertained, ought to determine the particular studies to be preferred: for, it is infinite-. ly better to direct than to supersede the exertions of a blind pupil. The inventive faculties ought to be indulged with freedom. The data which they explore may be presented in such a manner, as to render discoveries easy, but still let invention be allowed to co operate. The internal triumph and exultation which the mind feels, from the attainment and conviction of new truths, heightens their charms, impresses them deep on the memory, and gives them an influence in practice, of which they could not otherwise have boasted." Jimitation of the powers of the Elind naturally contracts their views and pursuits, and, as it were, concentres their whole intellectual faculties in one object, or at best in few. Care should therefore be taken to afford the mind a field for its exertions, as
lead him to repose, with an undisturbed confidence, on the cheering consolations of the Gospel, unaccompanied by any intimation of the existence of those polemical opinions, which beget incredulities and doubts, from which their susceptible and tenacious minds would, with great difficulty, be emancipated.
In arranging a plan for promoting the future happiness of the Opulent Blind, by laying down wholesome rules for training them in their youth, it is very important to urge a due attention to bodily exercise. The sedentary life to which, by privation of sight, they are in a great degree destined, remixes their frame, and subjects them to all the disagreeable sensations which arise from dejection of spirits. Hence, without regular exercise, the most feeble exertions create lassitude and uneasiness. Hence, the native tone of the system, which alone is compatible with health and plea sure, destroyed by inactivity, exasperates and embitters every disagreeable impression. In order to avert these evils, a systematical daily course of exercise is indispensably necessary, Riding on horseback is particularly recommended; but, for such pupils as may not be encouraged by their friends to prefer it, walking, with a variety of other salutary means, should be uniformly resorted to. for a part of the pupil's diurnal recreation.
The great relief which the Blind are capable of deriving from mechanical pursuits, when they happen to conceive a partiality for them, and are tolerably successful in their first ef forts, demands that the use of certain simple tools should be a determined object of instruction. Even music, with ali its charms, not unfrequently becomes irksome, and ceases altogether to delight, or to amuse, if other means of engaging the attention, and of employing the active faculties, both of body and mind, cannot be occasionally resorted to; whereas, a great variety of amuseinent may be derived from the least cultivation of a mechianical turn of mind, and, whether there be a natural and voluntary disposition to it in the subject or not, he should at least be enabled to resort to it, in case the inclination should at any
extensive as possible, without diverting it from one great end, which, in order to excel, it ought for ever to have in prospect.
It is presumed that an instructor, influenced by such considerations, yielding to such impressions, and never forgetting that his duty is not so much to make them learned as to make them happy; whose chief aim would be to store their minds with such materials and to accustom them to such habits of corporeal exercise as in each particular case may be best calculated to afford the means of future happiness, health, and enjoyment, would have little reason to doubt of ultimate success in the accomplishment of his object.
Though the immediate purpose of this address is to invite attention to the means proposed for the relief of those blind subjects whose friends are in circumstances to procure for them the invaluable advantages of a liberal and systematical education, it will scarcely be considered superfluous to notice the very superior regard that has been bestowed on those of their brethren in affliction, whose loss of a sense was further aggravated by the indigence of their lot in life. Indeed it would be improper to omit the reference, because their interesting history exemplifies the important fact of the great relief which the minds of blind subjects draw from their being provided with the means of keeping their attention engaged on such suitable objects and employments as tend to dissipate the ennui, by which they are otherwise so apt to be overcome. The progress that has already been made, and the increased efforts that are still making in the school for the indigent blind, in St. George's Fields, (which is soon to be removed to a neighbouring spot, exactly in front of the Obelisk) cannot fail to gladden the heart of every benevolent man who chooses to be an eye witness of the activity and the happiness which reigns amongst them, whilst engaged in their several avocations.
"The object, with a view to which this school was founded, is unquestionably one of the most important and interesting kind that can excite compassion or demand encouragement. It provides instruction for the Indigent Blind, of both sexes, in va
rious trades, by which they may be able to provide, either wholly, or in part, for their own subsistence; and thus, instead of being altogether a burthen to the community, they will be of some service to it; and instead of being depressed and cheerless themselves, under a sense of their total dependence, and for want of regular employment, habits of industry, will relieve their spirits, and produce the most beneficial effects on their state and character. The children of this Institution are completely clothed, boarded, lodged, and instructed gratis. The success that has crowned the efforts of this Institution, since its first establishment, affords sufficient evidence of the degree in which the situation and faculties of the blind are capable of improvement, and a view of it in its present prosperous state must be gratifying to persons of humane and compassionate feelings.Here they will not find the scholars sitting in listless indolence, which is commonly the case with the Blind, or brooding in silence over their own defects, and their inferiority to the rest of mankind; but they will behold a number of individuals, of a class hitherto considered as doomed to a life of sorrow and discontent, aud to be provided for merely in workhouses, or by donations of charity, not less animated in amusements, during the hours of recreation, and and far more cheerfully attentive to their work in those of employment, than persons possessed of sight."
Such was Dr. Rees's* account of this institution in the year 1804, five years after its commencement, and the writer of this Prospectus had lately, at the further distance of six years, the indescribable pleasure of witnessing what the Doctor has so justly described, with the additional delight of hearing their humble exertions accompanied, at frequent intervals, by voluntary effusions of the most melodious hymns, in which sometimes a few, sometimes many, and sometimes all the pupils in each of the several work-rooms joined. The effect it produced in the rooms occupied by the females was rapturous. †
New Cyclopædia, article Blindness, †This institution has already re
turned thirty-three persons to their
ing at St. Petersburgh. God forbid that the afflicted of the British empire should be the last to partake of its beneficent effects.
To this happy asylum for the Indigent Blind, it is not surprising that their neglected brethren of the opulent classes occasionally apply for permission to associate. They reasonably By the foregoing extract is shewn calculate on becoming partakers of the vast importance of enabling the their cheerfulness, if allowed to par- Blind to dissipate the melancholy take of their employments; and no which is incident to their situation, seminary being open to them for the by some such suitable occupations of communication of such instruction body or of mind, or both, as are conand such amusing employments as genial with their habits of life, and are suitable to their rank and condi- according with their rank in society. tion in life, they naturally resort to Whilst this is done, to a considerable an establishment, where, however un- extent, in favour of the Indigent congenial its habits and its manners Blind, not only by the institution in with their own, they hope to acquire St. George's Fields, but by similar those means of consolation and men- establishments at Edinburgh, at Bristal relief which naturally spring from tol, at Liverpool, and elsewhere: how rational and rightly-directed exertions. much is it to be deplored, that it is left, Unhappily for applicants of this in a great measure undone, with respect description, their reception has to the Opulent Blind, all over the kingbeen deemed incompatible with the dom? It is not meant to contend principles of a charitable establish- that they are wholly uneducated. In ment, and they have necessarily the enjoyment of an agreeable and been denied a participation in re- refined intercourse with their famisources which are exclusively de- lies, and in listening to the reading of voted to dissipate the gloom of the books, they, no doubt, obtain a consimore fortunate sons and daughters of derable degree of mental culture, and poverty. In this view of their situa- so would their brothers and sisters, if tion, the Opulent Blind resemble the they were never placed within the famished merchant, whose apparent pale of scholastic discipline, or suband misconceived superiority of cir- jected to the tuition of the preceptor cumstances prevented his being ad- or the governess; but do parents, on mitted to share with a community of that ground, ever withhold from those mendicants that morsel, for want of brothers and sisters the substantial which he expired. advantages of being regularly trained in the rudiments of general learning? If it be a paramount duty to confer on children generally all those advan tages, how much more so is it, in cases where the hand of Providence has rendered the obligation and the duty infinitely more iniperative? To leave them unpossessed of any acquirements which they can be put in a situation to attain to, is to treat them as if the loss of one faculty were a sufficient reason for neglecting the cultivation of all the rest. Hitherto the evil has been without a proper remedy, and its existence has been no reproach to the parents of those unfortunates. Their other children must have suffered under the same disadvantages, if, in the one case, as in the other, there had been no schools, nor teachers, nor any other of the means and implements essential to their being taught. Happily for the rising generation, the genius and perseverance of M. Hauy have enabled us to
At the success of the noble efforts in behalf of the Indigent Blind, every benevolent heart must rejoice; but, though poverty has its privileges, it has none that tend to lessen the claims of those among the opulent members of society, whom Providence has doomed to an endurance of evils that call for every mitigation of which their lot is susceptible. That they ought to experience those mitigations is as indisputable as that they do not; and that they may, has ceased to be a question, since the promulgation of Mr. Hauy's system, which has been extended over great part of the continent of Europe, and is now establish
families, able to earn from 7s. to 185. per week. Its pupils are increased to thirty-eight males, and fifteen females, and it has established a manufactory, at which articles were made last year, by the hands of blind persons, that sold for 8314 19s.
supply all those deficiencies, and have laid a foundation for still farther and very considerable improvements on his inestimable plans.
render the dispensations of the Gospel productive of the salutary effects they are known to be capable of affording, without any tincture of superstition or melancholy.
For the greater convenience of deriving assistance from competent masters, whenever the progress of pupils shall render such assistance necessary, the Author of this address has quitted a residence at a distance, for one of suitable dimensions in the vicinity of the metropolis, at No. 5, Prospect-place, Chelsea, within a few doors of the church; where infor mation may be had, respecting the terms of admission, &c.; and he flatters himself that such pupils as may be intrusted to his care, will make that progress in their studies which will be perfectly satisfactory to their friends, and experience from him and the joint associates of his labours, such an uniform and unremitting exActuated by views of a higher na- ercise of tender, affectionate, and pature than the mere pecuniary recom- rental attentions, as shall contribute pence which his labours in the domes- largely to an increase of that dispotic plan he announces will entitle him sition to serenity and content, which to, the author contemplates, with a sa- no pains will be spared to excite and tisfaction wholly unallied to interested to encourage in every possible way considerations, the practicability of that can be devised and practised. qualifying instructors to accomplish the same end in any part of the king, dom, and of possessing them of all other necessary means and implements for a proper performance of the important task, wherever their services may be required. That, how ever, is a work which will require time and a combination of auxiliary aid. His present purpose is to announce that he has made arrange- respectable persons near the seminary, ments for the reception of a few blind may thereby be enabled to participate pupils, and for instructing them in in the advantages of the institution reailing, writing, (including the under the most agreeable circummeans of corresponding with their stances. distant friends), and the rudiments of arithmetic, geography, mathematics, music, and the sciences, as well as the arts, generally. The moral and religious duties will be inculcated in a manner worthy of the subject, and under the superintendance of a regular clergyman That habitual gloominess and solemnity, however, which Adam. HAD she tarried longer, I too commonly prevails, with blind could not have supported her look. subjects, will be avoided, as certainly Seth! thou canst not conceive the not essential to the making a proper depth of my misery: she too must fall; and an effectual impression. In a like a flower she will fade away, and word, every exertion will be made to moulder into dust: her children too,
Any exterior accommodations, that may be necessary to enable a larger number to partake of the intended benefits, may be procured in the neighbourhood, under the watchful superintendance of the preceptor, and such young ladies or gentlemen of distinction as may be desirous of occupying apartments with their governesses or guardians in the houses of
THE DEATH OF ADAM. From
[Continued from page 24.]
If the invention of the plough, or the mariners' compass, had been disregarded, it could scarcely have excited more surprise, than that the benefits of discoveries, pregnant with blessings to so interesting a class of sufferers as the Opulent Blind, throughout the British dominions, should have been withheld from them for so incredible a period as twentysix years!
Had it been so with the inventions of the Abbé L'Epée for administering relief to the Deaf and Dumb, what numbers of the afflicted of that class would have remained the melancholy victims of an indifference, over which the phil mnthropic exertions of instructors in that line have long since triumphed !