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nizes his latitude and longitude, from every breath of varied fragrance wafted by the breeze, from every ascent or declivity in the road, from every natural or artificial sound that strikes his ear. Regulated by these and other analogous signs, the blind have been known not only to perform long and difficult journeys themselves, but to conduct others through dark, tortuous, and dangerous paths, with the utmost security and exactness."

The blind are said by some writers to be desponding, and mechanical arts are recommended as a means more of diverting their minds from sad thoughts than anything else. We, however, having known personally a large number of blind men, cannot agree with this theory, having mostly found them inclined to make themselves, after the manner of the immortal Mark Tapley, jolly under difficulties.

It is recorded—we cannot give chapter and verse—that some medical men and others consulted, in the presence of a blind man, as to the mode of treatment to be pursued in the case of a patient who was subject to fits of melancholy and depression of spirits without apparent cause. Not being able to agree, they appealed to the blind man, who, without the least hesitation, replied, "Put out his


Since the time of the bard who sung the woes of Ilium, the unhappy condition of the blind has been a subject of commiseration by their more fortunate fellow mortals. Nothing seems, to 'a man possessed of sight, more deplorable and hopeless; and these cannot appreciate or conceive the compensating advantages which the blind enjoy, in the intenser pleasure they receive from the use of those faculties and senses which are preserved to them. Until a comparatively recent time little was done to ameliorate their condition. As a class they were left pretty much to themselves, and though some instances occurred from time to time of blind men attaining to marvellous achievements, yet doubtless the great bulk of those afflicted with loss of sight must have continued in a state of hopeless ignorance and misery. Introductory to some account of the institutions for the benefit of the blind of our own times, it may not be uninteresting to notice briefly the life and circumstances of some of those few who, either by a peculiar genius, or the exceptional care of friends, contrived to become, in a few instances, great scholars, fine musicians, or expert mechanics.

Of those who, like Milton, after having enjoyed the blessing of sight for many years, afterwards lost it, we shall say nothing. They had sufficient opportunity of storing their minds with information and images, which afforded them a mine of enjoyment in the recollec

but we shall instance those who either from birth, or very earliest infancy, were completely blind.


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Seeing that the teaching of music forms an important element in all the modern institutions for the blind, a few particulars of the life and career of a blind musician will not be out of place.

John Stanley, a singularly eminent performer and composer of music, was born January 28, 1713. At the age of two years

he deprived of his sight by an accident resulting from a fall. He was put to the practice of music as a means of alleviating the distress resulting from so great a calamity, and also as being the only study in which he could hope to do anything. Having made considerable progress under Mr. Reading, himself a pupil of the celebrated Dr. Blow, he soon attained very fair excellence on the harpsichord. His friends, seeing his great progress, and acting on the advice of competent judges, placed him under the care of Dr. Green, organist of St. Paul's, under whom he studied with great diligence and success.

In the year 1723, being then eleven years old, he was appointed organist of Allhallows, Bread Street, and three years afterwards of St. Andrew, Holborn. He took the degree of M.B. at Oxford ; and in 1734 was appointed organist of the Temple Church. He retained the last two offices together until his death in 1786, in the seventy-third

age. In 1760, on the death of Handel, who made him co-heir with Mr. Smith of his music, Stanley undertook, in conjunction with that gentleman, the superintendence of the Oratorios performed, first at Covent Garden, and afterwards at Drury Lane, an office which he held till within four years of his death. In 1779 he was appointed Master of his Majesty's band of musicians in the room of Dr. Boyce, deceased, and in 1783 he succeeded Mr. Werdeman as the conductor of it.

A biographer says, Stanley, in many respects, resembled that great mathematician, Dr. Nicholas Saunderson (mentioned hereafter). He had the same retentive


the same strength of feeling, the same refined ear.

He was never at a loss for anything he had ever learned in his profession, even in his juvenile years. His conduct of the oratorios was such as to excite, not only admiration, but astonishment. At the performance of a Te Deum, for a public charity, he is said to have transposed the whole music, the organ being an exact semitone sharper than the other instruments.

Dr. Alcock, a pupil of his, says, “ that it was common, just as the service of St. Andrew's Church or the Temple was ended, to see forty or fifty organists waiting to hear his last voluntary; even Handel himself I have many times seen at each of those places. In short, it must be confessed that his extempore voluntaries were inimitable, and his taste in composition wonderful."

On the Sunday after his death, instead of the usual voluntary, a dirge and the anthem, "I know that my Redeemer liveth,” were performed on that organ, on which he had, with such eminence and for such a number of years, displayed his musical abilities.

Nicholas Saunderson was professor of mathematics at Cambridge, and Fellow of the Royal Society. He was born in January, 1682, at Thurlston, Yorkshire. At the age of twelve months, he lost not only his sight but his eyes, which sloughed away after an attack of small-pox. At the free school at Peniston he was instructed orally in the Greek and Latin languages, and made such progress that he could understand the classic authors when read to him in the original. Soon after, his father undertook to instruct him in arithmetic, in which he made such rapid progress as to be able to do long and difficult calculations by the aid of his memory alone. By the assistance of friends he became early acquainted with the mysteries of algebra and geometry, which he pursued with much ardour. We cannot follow the various steps by which Saunderson was enabled to go to Cambridge, where he first taught the mathematics for subsistence, and on the retirement of Whiston from his professorship, the University were induced by Saunderson's extraordinary merit as a teacher to grant him the honorary degree of Master of Arts, and on this he was elected Lucasian professor of mathematics in November, 1711.

On his inauguration he composed and delivered a speech in Latin, which one of his biographers characterizes as Ciceronian. He married the daughter of a neighbouring rector, and on the occasion of King George II. visiting the University in 1728, he was created, by favour of that Royal personage, Doctor of Laws.

Dr. Nicholas Saunderson died in 1739, and in the following year his “Elements of Algebra," of which he had only just completed the revision at the time of his death, was published at Cambridge.

That a blind man should teach mathematics is at first almost incredible, and yet there have been many instances recorded. And when we consider that geometry concerns itself with extension only, and that algebra only requires an extraordinary memory to dispense with the written process, though the thing still remains a marvel, it is seen to be possible.

In olden times, Diodotus, the preceptor of Tolly, is mentioned by his pupil as describing his diagrams so expressly to his scholars that they could draw every line in its proper direction.

Didymus, of Alexandria, is said by St. Jerome to have mastered the sciences of logic and geometry, though blind from his infancy, and Democritus is reported to have put out his eyes that he might think more intensely.

Eusebius, the Asiatic, was blind from five years of age, and yet managed to become possessed of a vast amount of erudition, and was a successful teacher. A professor of civil and canon law, blind from

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his third year, lived at Cologne in the fifteenth century. He was accustomed to quote, at great length, passages from law books which he had never seen; quos nunquam viderat.

Huber, of Geneva, a celebrated naturalist, and author of a treatise on bees and ants, which has never be surpassed, was blind from his earliest infancy.

John Metcalfe was born in 1717, at Knaresborough, in Yorkshire. At the age of six years he entirely lost his sight, through an attack of small-pox. Notwithstanding this misfortune he soon contrived to find his way through his native town and neighbourhood, and learned all the games and athletic exercises of his companions. He could ride and drive, swim and play at cards, fiddled at fairs and parties, and played at bowls with success. He followed, at various times of his life, many different modes of getting a living; horse dealing, livery stable keeping, and fetching fish from the coast for sale. He was attached to the army of General Wade, and made the entire campaign, which ended at Culloden. After his return he set up a stage waggon between York and Knaresborough, which he drove him. self, twice a week in the summer, and once in winter. Soon after this he commenced contracting for roads, and made one between Fearnsby and Menskip, about three miles. He also built a bridge at Boroughbridge, and continued in this kind of occupation until the year 1792. One of his feats was the acting as guide to a gentleman between York and Harrogate, which he accomplished without accident, and with so much address, that his companion did not discover his blindness until after the completion of the journey. He walked from London to Harrogate, on one occasion, in a week. His greatest work in roadmaking was a part of the Manchester Road, from Blackmoor to Standish-Foot. This was carried over deep marshes, and by his direction a firm road was made on a foundation, where necessary, of fascines of heather and thorns. The part so constructed was the best half-mile of the whole road, and lasted twelve years before it required any repairs.

Metcalfe died at Spofforth, after a prosperous retirement from active life in the year 1810, being then in his ninety-fourth year.

A person named William Kennedy, born in the county of Down, in 1768, became entirely blind at the age of four years. Having apparently a strong mechanical genius, he soon became toy-maker in ordinary to all his playmates. At thirteen years of age he took, like many other blind people, to fiddling, lodging meanwhile at the honse of a cabinet-maker, where he obtained a knowledge of the tools and manner of working, which was useful to him ever after. Again, he got possession of a set of bagpipes, which he put in order for himself, and without assistance or instruction. He followed this up by mending the pipes of his neighbours, and obtained a living by this means during several years.

He learned watch and clock making and mending. Having found a friendly clock-maker, who was desirous of learning the pipes, they mutually imparted their different accomplishments to each other. Kennedy also made linen looms with their tackle, but his principal employment was the making and mending of bagpipes, of which he enjoyed a monopoly in his neighbourhood.

Margaret McAvoy, a girl born at Liverpool, June 28, 1800, caused some considerable excitement in the early part of the present century. She was sixteen years of age when she became entirely blind. . The account of her abilities seems perfectly circumstantial, and apparently vouched for by respectable names, but many circumstances appear almost incredible ; for instance, it is said that a person who examined her took from his pocket-book an engraved French assignat, hot-pressed, and as smooth as glass, and she read the smallest lines contained in this with the same facility as a printed book. She afterwards professed to have developed a further extension of her faculty of touch, by ascertaining objects at a distance, with her back towards them, by merely stretching out the fingers in the direction of such objects. Whether she really did so, or her answers were the result of guess-work, it is impossible to say.

De Piles in the middle of the seventeenth century, in Italy, says he saw a blind modeller in wax, whose portraits of the late king of England, Charles I., and of Pope Urban VIII., were perfectly well executed; and John Gambasius, of Volterra, after being blind for ten years, felt a sudden desire to try to make a statue, and having felt all over a marble statue of Cosmo de Medicis, he made one of clay so like it as to astonish every one who saw it. Prince Ferdinand, of Tuscany, sent him to Rome, where he made many others with equal


Many other instances of ingenuity in blind men might be enumerated. There is a superb cabinet in the museum of Copenhagen, the work of a blind man. Sir Kenelm Digby gives a detailed and interesting account of a blind tutor, whom he had in his own house for his sons. Malle. Theresa Paradis, of Vienna, blind from her second year, displayed her musical talents before the king and queen in London, January, 1785. Besides these acquirements, she was able, with printing type, to express her thoughts on paper almost as quickly as if she could write ; and she could, by means of tables formed like chess-boards, calculate, with rapidity, any sums or numbers in the first five rules of arithmetic.

The earliest invention of printing for the blind dates only from 1784; the inventor was Valentine Hauy, a Frenchman. Many con

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