Imágenes de página

VOL. 6.] Interesting Particulars of the Education of the Blind at Vienna. 221

liteness and genius, made this untutored ioned Lady Ann acquire which her rerustic assiduous in devices to suit the presentative will not display as gracefond fancies of her nominal parent. fully ?- Was it any ornamental art ? She accompanied him in his evening None, for the refinement of good taste walks among the fells and waterfails forbids a woman of rapk to be her own near his domain, caused the wild rose- ariist. Was it an easy and natural nebushes to be fostered, and his favourite glect of polished decorum and courtly Oaks to be woven into a canopy. These complaisance ?--Judge for yourselves were the arts of her private hours ; in whether the ease of ignorapce is not public she had attractions no less pow. more perfect than the assumption of erful. Cheered and soothed by the affected apathy. This pupil of nature semblance of a daughter's kindness, the will be rude with more amiable rashness, visionary man became fond of society, and please by greater novelty. Judge and solicitous to see his daughter loved. too how cheaply I have gained for this It was a subject of strange curiosity and young stranger all the glory of that nomuch admiration to the people of a toriety wbich fashionable women perish provincial town ; and when whispers to obtain ! The wardrobe of old Lady were circulated that she was going to Ano De Clifford has made her the obwalk, to ride, or to appear at church, ject of more pleasant and less envious crowds were sure to assemble, On the wonder than a belle or heiress of the anniversary of her arrival, Abraham newest ton. She will shew how nearly was once more ordered to provide a the excess of ignorance approaches the splendid feast for his tenants and de- perfection of modern education-it expendents. When they were all assem. cels it, perhaps ; for she who knows bled in the old dining-hall of the baro- nothing has nothing to unlearn, while nial mansion, the Lord of the Manor the pupil of false taste acquires sciences brought the nominal Lady Ann to her she must disdain to shew, and learns place at the head, and made this unex- morals never meant for use. She needs pected oration to his vassals :

nothing but the art of forgetting, which “ Gentlemen, as you well know, I mean to teach her. I present her to have been thought mad above twelve you as my adopted and future heiress, months by all my friends, and by some, certain that no one will then remember mad since my birth. Of the first opio- her deficiencies or her origin. Let her ion you shall judge presently; of the but seem to have learned more than second you ought to have soine doubts, ever could bave been ugesul, and to as I have myself. Who among you make no use of what she has really has not seen the labour and the sums learned, and she will be all that fashion la vished to make my former dangbter can make ber, and all that Lady Ann seem what this uneducated woman is ? De Clifford geed be in 1819." V. What did the modern and highly-fash




URING my stay at Vienna, I vi. bowers and seats. I must confess I

sited, among other curiosities, the experienced a sort of melancholy seninstitution for the education of blind sation on entering the school-room, children. The building is situated in where about thirty blind children were the suburb Gumpendorf, near the Schen assembled ; but my sadness was soon brunn-line. The two lateral wings of dissipated, when I perceived that these the edifice inclose a spacious court- unfortunate beings were reconciled to yard, and adjoin a garden planted with their fate, and most of them very cheersbądowy trees, and furnished with green ful, Not to distnrb them in this bappy


mood, and to avoid exciting desires in next saw the blind read and write

. them it would be impossible to satisfy, For reading, they make use of a raised a printed table is hung on the wall, re- letter-press. which they read very esquesting strangers to forbear from ex- peditiously by the touch. With this pressing aloud every sentiment of sym- letter-press, several motios, prayers, alpathy. If all the children in this insti- manacks, tables for bistory, and otber tution were such as from their birth objects to be found at the institution, have been deprived of their sight, it have been printed, and are so in part would require less art to explain how by the pupils themselves. they support with so much indifference is practised in the usual way with a the absence of the poblest of senses, and lead pencil, a pin, or with ink. Lobare withal content and happy ; as, in served several boys write very legibly a this case, they may be said, with great theme dedicated by a stranger. As it propriety, to be ignorant of what they so happened that these very children forego. But there are also to be found had been blind from their birth, and had amongst them some young men, who, therefore never seen the figure of a lettill their eigbth, nay even till the twelfth ter, I could not but consider this the year, had enjoyed their sight, and who most difficult part of the instruction of nevertheless grieve or repine as little as the blind. the bliod-boro. Besides that use assuages

A particular kind of characters, that every ill, the society of their equals at appeared as if pierced through with pins, the sostitution, and the continual activ- but was, as we saw afterwards, dose ity and useful occupation in which they with letters consisting of fine points, are kept, contribute a great deal to their affords material service to the blind. cheerfulness. Of the advantageous ef- These characters are legible to them by fect of the latter means upon them I felt the touch; and they correspond, by the more convinced, from the explana- means of them with their absept parents tion given me, and the rest of the com- and relations, who answer them in simipany present, of the method of instruc- lar characters. We had an opportunity tion.; and, on being showo the exerci- of seeing such letters, directed to a young ses and acquirements of the pupils. Mi- girl at the institution descended from a sic formed the beginning. From twelve good family and wbich bad been written to fourteen pupils, partly with wind and by her mother, residing at the distance partiy with chorded instruments, per- of eighty leagues from her. You must formed several pieces, according to the form a proper conception of the situarules of the musical art. They joined tion of both mother and daughter, in so accurately, observed time and every order to duly judge of, and appreciate, thing else with such precision, as to the value of an expedient so capable of leave nothing to desire. This is not a affording them consolation. laboriously acquired mechanical ex- For the purpose of teaching the pertness without theory. They are ac- elements of arithmetic, the machine quainted with the noting system, are called the Russian ciphering-machine, able to practise whole pieces by raised with small variations, bas been introand tangible notes ; and the instruction duced at the institution. Raised figures in music is founded on theoretical prin- for the touch, which are placed next to ciples, on their fine musical ear, in one another, and under one another, on which they excel the greater part of tables provided with many co-partments those who can see, and on the always or small divisions, serve lor ciphering in preceding instruction in singing. By the accustomed manner. But no-where these means they make rapid progress have I been made so truly sensible as even in the execution, so that, if larger here, how much the operations of ahe pieces are but twice or thrice played to mind may be retarded or multipli d by them, they enter fully into their compre. the use of figures, and other similar bension. Two boys of twelve years signs. Never would these blind played a four-banded sonata of Mo- children have attained to that readiness zari's with the greatest accuracy. We and rapidity in mental computation,

VOL.6.] Interesting Account of the Education of Blind Children at Vienna. 223

[ocr errors]

Of very

which are observable in the greatest part the pupils are not only able to distinof them to a superlative degree, had guish animals from one another by the they begun to learn reckoning with touch, and to find and point out the figures at an earlier period, as is usually particular characteristics of each, but the case with children enjoying their the cleverest will even form each animal sight, who then no longer separate ideas in wax upon a contracted scale, and so from signs, but in mental computation as not to be mistaken. In order to do imagine the figures singly standing as this, the blind pupil must have acquired it were before them, and proceed in the by the touch, not only a clear idea of same way as if they were ciphering on the form of the whole, but also of the paper or on the table. These blind proportion of each individual part; so children will solve any question, not that one should think, were he suddenly only in the simple modes of reckoning, to recover bis sight, he must recognize but likewise make any calculation that such an object even in nature. relates to the rule of three, and connect large objects, such as houses, steeples, various fractions, mentally. The most &c. there are likewise models extant, expert are capable of extracting, in this which the pupils imitate in paste-board, manner, the square roots of three or with some variations in size and form. more propositions. Being used to All this is treated as preparatory to analyze afterwards, if desired, every mechanical labours, in which many solution with minuteness, I discovered have acquired an astonishing dexterity. that they were taught to make use in As a specimen of their refined toucb, computation of the advantages afforded we were shown a collection of copper, by the decimal system, without however silver, and gold coins, of wbich the pubeing obliged, in any particular case, to pils could accurately denote every piece. follow exactly the fixed rules prescribed With equal precision they could tell to them; but there is a free scope several fruits, grains, and seeds, many allowed to the genius of each pupil to of wbich are much easier to distinguish choose for himself the best and shortest by the sight than by the touch. method that may occur to him; hence Their

usual manner of marking their it came, that some children solved the playing-cards is very ingenious. Of the same question accurately in different fifty-two cards, each has but a few ways. By two boys of about twelve slight punctures made with a needle,not years the answer to every question was visible on the outside, but which may given so quickly, that it was necessary to be felt on the inside. At each of the exclude them at 'length, in order to four sides this mark is put on a different show us that the other children were place ; and the pupils are withal so sure likewise good arithmeticians.

of their tact, that they play among It is generally supposed that the themselves, and with those who can blind, at least those that are born so, see, several games without stopping. It are unable to conceive any just ideas of has been asserted that the blind are the size, distance, and form, of bodies. able to distinguish colours by the touch, Some exercise of these blind pupils, but wbich seems in itself a contradicbowever, convinced me of the contrary. tion. So much is certain, that at the They measure all that comes before Vienna and the Paris Institutions, them with rules with raised divisions, or among so many able scholars, not one by a measure transferred to their own blind individual has ever attained, in body. They stated the length of a the proper sense of the word, to such a walking-stick handed them by one of knowledge of colours. the strangers present, by measuring it As the institution numbers amongst with the span, all to ball arrinch. In its pupils some whose parents are peothe same way they estimate angles and ple of property and distinction, and corners by degrees. For instruction in who are to be instructed properly in Datural history, models of animals made scientific objects, that they may bereof paste-board are provided, by which after occupy themseives usefully and

[ocr errors]

This is way.

agreeably, particular hours have been knitting, spinning, lace-weaving, and appointed for them, in order to their paste-board work. The pupils also learning foreigo languages, history, make twine or packtbread, cords and natural philosophy, geography, mathe- lines, nay, even new leather shoes, and matics, and the like, the means for repair old ones. Two boys construct, which are likewise contrived for the of polished wood, small cabinets of toucb. For lecturing, a considerable various forms very prettily. Botb girls collection of appropriate books is to be and boys perform besides all kinds of found. The greatest part of the pupils, domestic work. As the strictest order however, belong to poor parents; and and regularity prevail throughout the these, by a judicious instruction, are to house, and everything retain its be brought so far, that, by mechanical assigned place, they never stumble labour, they may be enabled to earn against any object, and always find their their subsistence in future.

They know one another not just what appears to be the most difficult only by the voice, but likewise by their task in the education of the blind, as step, and are very affectionate to each there are fewer obstacles by far to the other. They are active and busied the formation of their minds than to the whole day long. The elder instruct application of their bodily powers, the junior ones; and, in their leisure owing to the privation of the most im. hours

, they divert themselves in the portaat sense, without the help of which, yard and gardeo,where they are particuscarcely an entirely plain work, much lariy fond of playing at skittles, in which less a compound one, can be executed. game they have acquired so much skill, The priocipal reason, therefore, seems that, even in the company of players to be, in no one having ever made use whose optics are perfect, they never of the powers of the blind, and their lose. It is a consoling and pleasing having been left wholly unoccupied, spectacle to behold a number of blind because it had been customary to look boys, otherwise of a good aspect, as. upon all subsistence-procuring labours sembled bere in merry converse and as confined to the common fraternities of playfulness, wanting nothing and handicraftsmen. Because the blind happily unconscious of their privation. cannot enter as master, journeyman, or We feel grateful to Providence, and apprentice, nor work with, and by the bless those friends of bumanity who side of, their brethren gifted with sight, were so fortunate as to find the means it follows by no means hence, that they by which this greatest of corporal ills are incapable of earning any thing by is, if not cured, at least forgotten. This labour. Clear proofs of this are ex: institution, with some similar establishhibited in the pupils of the present in- ments to which it has given rise, is one stitution. This is to the blind, as well of the few benefits that have resulted as to all otber men, inherent instinct to from the French Revolution. The activity, their zeal 10 conquer every founder and governor of the Vienna obstacle they meet with, their being Institution for the Blind, Wilhelm constantly together, and the absence of Klein, was born at Wallenstein, studied dissipation, greatly facilitate the instruc- law at the late Academy of Stuttgard, tion given them in manual labours, if and held a considerable situation in his only care be taken to reduce every country. In the year 1800, when the thing to the plainest modes, and in the storms of the Revolution were for the begioning to familiarize them with second time affrighting the Continent, every individual one, which certainly is he voluntarily laid down bis office, and not practised with the seeing appren- went to Vienna, where he obtained an tices, who learn almost every thing by appoiotment at the newly-regulated mere intuition ; but, on this very ac- Poor-house. Here he determined to count, not unfrequently acquire only a attempt the education of the blind ; superficial koowledge of things. The and, by appropriate occupations, to following are the occupations introdu- render them useful to civil society. At red at the Institution of the Blind : that time there existed but one institu

vol. 6.]

Anecdotes of the BlindDr. Herschel.


'For a

tion for educating the blind, that of (1815) it contains thirty-four blind Valentine Hauy, founded at Paris in children of all the provinces of the mo1784, but of which Kleing had no op- narchy, and likewise some foreigners. portunity to take a nearer inspection. The blind children who are to be He was therefore obliged, on the outset, educated, are adınitted into the instituto contrive the method by which he in- tion between the age of seven and structed his first bliod pupil, and to find twelve. They must have no other deout, by hiinself, the requisite means for fact beside blindness. Six years, at that purpose. This first essay succeeded least, are required for finishing their beyond his expectations; and already, education ; yet a pupil may, according after three quarters of a year, the first to circumstances, either quii the institupupil in the spring of 1805could under- tion at an early period, or stay there bego a public examination. The various yond the term of six years. parts and accomplishments taught him poor blind child 150 forins currency withio so short a period, gave a convin- are annually paid ; and for this sum it cing proof of the possibility of attaining is fed, clothed, and instructed ; and, the end in view, and of the properness upon the whole, properly taken care of. of the means adopted. Goveroment, Children of wealthy parents pay in proand the public, were now vying with portion to the superior treatment reone another in supporting the projector quired for them, a higher premium, acin his benevolent undertaking for the cording to a previous arrangement with good of the blind. The number of the the governor of the institution. pu,vils increased. The Institution for The persons appointed at the instituThe Blind was reckoned amongst the tion are, a governor or director, a cathecuriosities of the imperial ciiy, and chizer, a teacher, two music-masters, frequently visited both by natives and two physicians, a surgeon, a superintenby foreigners. During the eleven years dant, a matron, various masters for inof its existence, this establishment has structing the pupils in manual labours, had fifty pupils, that is to say, thirty, and the requisite menial servants. two boys and eighteen girls. At present


From the London Monthly Magazines, October 1819.

below in the telescope. A similar but

WEwent to Slough, to pay a visit to smaller telescope is near at hand, and

also an instrument which he calls the Herschel. He lives in a sinall but

Coinet-seeker. In an adjoining buildpretty house, close to which is his on.

ing are several smaller telescopes, partly servatory. His great telescope is ereited in the middle of a grass-plat.

finished, all made upon the same prin

The tube of this prodigious instrument is ciples, with only this difference, that the thirty-nine feet four inches in length, Herschel polishes the metallic specula

eye-glass is at the side of the aperture. and is made of plates of rolled iron. himself, by means of machinery; and The great speculum, when it came the whole art consists in the curvature from the mould in which it was cast, which he gives them.

The mirrors in weighed 2118 lbs. The foot of the

time lose their brilliancy, and require instrument is moved by a very singular fresh polishing. Hence the use of mechanism. The observer sits upon a them in foreign countries is very limited, chair at the side of the upper aperture, because nobody knows how t give with his back to the object to be observed, and directs the magnifier to the bed the whole process in writing, so

them this polisb. Herschel has descriimage reflected by the great speculum that his art capnoi be lost wäh his death. 2E ATHENEUM VOL. 6.

Ile is now near eighty years of age,

« AnteriorContinuar »