Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

discussion would be premature.— This excuse we cannot accept, for if the scheme be good for anything, it must be good, plain, and applicable in this point; and if this point be given up, then the other parts of it may be allowed quietly to fall to the ground; for we can show that they are being accomplished at present in a degree, and by a little legislation may be fully developed. In the classification of medical men, merit only should be looked to; but how is this to be ascertained? It would be insufferable to put an old and experienced physician or surgeon on his examination about the elementary parts of science, and if he happened to display an ignorance of optics or hydraulics to stamp him with the mark of class number two. How would a Cambridge or Edinburgh graduate, or an hospital-surgeon, brook such a doom. Perhaps this is not the way the end would be gained, but as the author has left us in the dark upon the subject, we are forced to conclude, that if it is not to be gained by personal examination, it must be by looking at the man's character among his brethren, or at the monuments of his skill among the public. In which of these could we confide? who are to form the invidious inquisition? Would medical men always speak the truth of their rival? or would patients be competent to judge of the science of their physician—would the attempt at classification not be absurd and impracticable. To the plan of education proposed we have no particular objection, it differs but little from that usually followed, except in the preliminary part. If the present members of the profession are allowed to remain as they are, we would oppose the licensing, even of the students, according to the system of classes-we think they are wrong in principle, and at best would only substitute one evil for another. After remarking that the highest honours in medicine should not be lavished on hundreds who never aspired beyond the rank of general practitioners, our author laments, that the Scotch universities should have inundated the island with doctors of physic, which has been hitherto the highest distinction in medicine. They have stamped many spurious pieces with the title of M.D., and these getting into circulation have lowered the value of the whole coin. To correct this evil, he says we must " invent some other designation than that of doctor of medicine;" of course the incorporation of his first class would supply this desideratum, and thus a new mint would be established, that would send out pure metal on which the public might depend. That a fraudulent coinage has taken place we will not deny, but how the pieces are now to be detected, otherwise than by the public estimation of their value, we are at a loss to discover. But the Scotch universities having raised the necessary qualification to a standard nearly as high as our author proposes, such an ence cannot again take place. Of this he does not seem to be aware, and the fact, that they, as well as other licensing bodies, have gradually increased the required qualification, supersedes the complicated machinery of classes.

occur

At Edinburgh, the education neces

essary before a student can graduate has been greatly increased of late; and at Glasgow, the candidate must be a master of arts, independent of a long course of medical study. The author pitches on the scale of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh as a standard for his second class; but that scale, even now, is all he claims for his first class, with the exception of the Greek, French, and German languages; and we believe the College will soon make it still more comprehensive. Our author's object must be the better education of the profession; and, do we not see that the present colleges are laudably and rigorously forwarding this object? What, then, could we promise ourselves by changing the name and mutual relationship of the profession?' The real grievance of which medical men complain, is the persecuting and monopolizing spirit of some of their corporations, particularly that of Apothecaries' Hall. This obnoxious body will not allow a well-educated and regularly-bred surgeon to practise in England or Wales, unless he has a licence from them, and for which he must not only submit to be examined, but likewise pay a sum of money. Thus, a person who is thought worthy to take care of the health of his Majesty's subjects in one part of his kingdoms, is prosecuted like a quack and impostor in another. This should not be; and Government have promised to enter into the subject next session of Parliament. To us the matter seems easy to arrange:--let no college or corporation have the power of prosecuting or fining the licentiates of another, but let every medical man who has a diploma practise where he pleases; and, if the qualification required by any college or corporation be too low, let a commission be appointed to equalize the standard of medical qualification in all our colleges and corporations, taking say the Edinburgh scale for their guide for physicians and surgeons, which our author so much praises; and, for the regulation of chemists and druggists, his remarks are as appropriate as any we have heard made. And we would recommend, that, at the same time, oculists and aurists, but particularly dentists, should be required to give proof of their knowledge, before they are allowed to practise in these responsible departments.

ART. IX.-1. Coup d'ạil d’un Avengle sur les Sourds Muets.

Par Alexander Prodenbach. Brussels, 1829.

2. Paper on the Education of the Blind, in the North American Review, No. LXXX. New York, 1833. France has the credit of being the first country in which any attempt was made to give to the blind the advantages of education. About the commencement of the last half century, a highly benevolent individual, the Abbe Hauy, taking compassion on the blind, established for a few of them a school in his own house,

and there, with a degree of ingenuity and patience proportioned to his benevolent zeal, adopted all sorts of contrivances for teaching the blind how to read. The apparatus which he invented for this purpose was a piece of sized paper, which, being laid on a set of types, was strongly pressed down, so that the letters were produced in bold relief on the paper. By feeling these letters with their fingers, the blind scholar was enabled in a little time to determine each letter, and, finally, each word, with wonderful readiness and precision. The results of his labours brought upon the good Abbe the general attention of the metropolis; crowds of the great, the learned, and the fashionable, used to pour into his establishment, to witness the interesting phenomena which were exhibited by the blind boys. A general feeling of enthusiasm in favour of the design soon seized all parties in the state, and led, at last, to the erection of a vast institution, intended for the reception of the blind. But, unfortunately the institution did not succeed, for some reasons to be sought, perhaps, in the condition of the times; the care of the institution, abandoned almost by public support, was transferred to the Government, and has remained ever since under its protection.

In the meantime, the fame of the Abbe had been carried to every corner of Europe, and he was expressly invited both to St. Petersburgh and Berlin, to found, in each of these capitals, an institution for the blind; and by degrees similar establishments were formed in almost every chief city of Europe. With respect to the number and state of these institutions at the present day, we are fearful that no very satisfactory account can be given of them. In some places they have altogether fallen into decay, whilst in others, no exertion is or has been made to improve the method of educating the blind. The institution of this kind which appears to demand the earliest particular notice, is that called L'Institution des Jeunes Aveugles, in Paris. There is also another, called Hopital des Quinze vingt, founded by St. Louis, when he returned from the East, for such of the soldiers who accompanied him, as had lost their sight by the malignant influence of the climate. The hospital derives its name from the number of patients which it admits, amounting to fifteen score, or three hundred adult blind. In this institution, however, there is no system of education acted upon, and the inmates are regarded merely as objects destitute of the means of subsistence, and, of course, merely treated as such. But the institution for the young blind is quite a distinct establishment, being arranged altogether with the view of educating the blind, and none but children between ten and fourteen years of age are admitted. There are one hundred of these interesting beings in the establishment, and a more delightful spectacle cannot be imagined than a view of its interior. You see not there the listless, helpless, blind man, dozing away his days in a chimney, nook, or groping his uncertain way about the house; but you hear

the hum of busy voices; you see the workshops filled with active boys, learning their trades from others as blind as themselves; you see the school-rooms crowded with eager listeners, taught by blind teachers. When they take their books, you see the awakened intellect gleam from their smiling faces, and, as they pass their fingers rapidly over the leaves, their varying countenances bespeak the varying emotions which the words of the author awaken. When the bell rings, they start away to the play-ground, run along the alleys at full speed, chase, overtake, and tumble each other about, and shout, and laugh, and caper round, with all the careless, heartfelt glee of boyhood. But a richer treat and better sport awaits them: the bell again strikes, and away they all hurry to the hall of music; each one brings his instrument, and takes his place; they are all there, the soft flute, and the shrill fife, the hautboy and horn, the cymbal and drum, with clarinet, viol, and violin; and now they roll forth their volume of sweet sounds, and the singers, treble, bass, and tenor, striking in with exact harmony, swell it into one loud hymn of gratitude and joy, which are displayed in the rapturous thrill of their voices, and painted in the glowing enthusiasm of their animated countenances.

The pupils, after admission, are expected to remain for eight years; during which interval they receive a very good intellectual education; they have much attention given to the cultivation of their musical powers, and are taught, also, many kinds of handicraft work. Their library consists of about forty different works, which have been printed in raised characters, and are legible with the fingers; among them are Latin, English, and Italian grammars, and extracts from Latin, English, and Italian authors. They have maps, constructed by a very expensive and clumsy process: they paste the map any country upon stiff pasteboard, then, having bent a wire into all the curves of the coast, and laid it along the courses of the rivers, and in the line of the boundaries, they sew it down to the pasteboard, and, taking a second map, of the same dimensions, paste it immediately over the first, and, pressing it down all around the wire, leave its windings to be felt. Here, it is obvious to any one, that common ingenuity could devise material improvements. Some have, in fact, been devised and put in operation at the institution in Boston, where the maps, made at one-tenth of the expense of the Parisian ones present the most obvious and important advantages over them.

They have also, in Paris, music printed in the same way as the books, that is, by stamping the notes through the paper, and producing their shape in relief on the opposite side. It is not found very advantageous, however, to print music in this way, for the memory of the blind is so tenacious that they can learn very-long pieces. Mathematical diagrams are made in the same way as the maps, but, in defiance, as it were, of common sense, they retain the old ones of Hauy, which are very large and clumsy-so large,

of

that the hands of the pupils must be moved about in all directions, to feel the whole outline of the forty-seventh proposition of Euclid; whereas the smaller the diagram is made, the more easily is it felt and studied, and the less does it cost. The blind are indebted, we think, to the Rev. Mr. Taylor, of York, in England, for a plan of embossing mathematical diagrams; but, even his are larger than they need to be, and many of the problems would be more rapidly learned by the blind student, were the diagrams so small that he could feel the outlines of them with his fingers, without moving his hands.

The children are taught arithmetic, not merely orally, but the use of the slate is supplied to them by a very clumsy contrivance, similar to that of Saunderson; a board is filled with numerous squaré holes arranged symmetrically; and into these holes types are made to fit, on the ends of which are the shapes of the figures of the units,--as one, two, three, &c., so that when the learner wishes to put down 25, he searches among the types for the one which has the figure 2 upon the end; this he places upright in the square hole, so that the figure is above the surface of the board, and then he searches for the figure 5, which he places in the hole to the right of it, and then, feeling both, he reads 25. And thus any number or combination of numbers may be put down, and any arithmetical process may be performed. This method, however, has been much simplified, by a contrivance of one of the pupils in the Edinburgh school, where they use but two types instead of ten. There the types, instead of having the form of the figures at the end, have a point on one corner; and if the type is placed in the square hole, in such a way that this point is felt on the left hand corner of the upper line, it signifies one,-if the type is turned, and the point is on the right hand corner of the upper line, it signifies three, if on either of the other two corners, it signifies the other two odd numbers: thus we have four figures with one type. Now there is on the other end of this type a point in the middle of one of its edges, instead of being on the corner, and this, turned to one or the other of the four sides, signifies one or the other of the four even numbers two, four, six, eight; thus we have four odd and four even numbers with one type turned to different sides of the square

hole. Then there is a second type which has a point in the centre of one end, to signify, five, and which is smooth on the other end to signify zero. Now, suppose one wishes to express 5073; he searches for the type with a point in its centre, and puts it into the square hole, so that the point is felt above the surface of the board; he then finds another type of the same kind, and putting it into the hole, the other end first, he has the smooth end of the type above the surface, which is zero, he then has down, 50; now he takes one of the other kind of type, and, feeling for the point at the corner, he places it in the hole, so that the point is felt in the right hand corner of the lower side, or the side towards him, to the right of the

« AnteriorContinuar »