Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors]

continued to enlarge the size of their cottages "till we reason to know that the mere construction of the cottage

" have almost every rent-charge from £3 to £13 a year.” “will not produce the desired effect.”

A recent tourist (Dr. Taylor) gives us a more glowing pic-

ture of these cottagers than Mr. Ashworth's modesty would


allow him to give. He is speaking of the arrangement

The first intimation which the too-secure middleman has
both of Egerton and of Turton, near Bolton.

of these proceedings comes upon a dirty bit of paper,
“ I visited the interior of nearly every cottage : I found signed “Terry Alt,” which he finds one fine morning stuck
“ all well, and very many respectably furnished : there to his gate-post. The contents are in strange contrast with

were generally a mahogany table and chest of drawers. the style of the communication. The burthen of the notice
Daughters from most of the houses—but wives, as far as is that,

“ Unless Mr. lowers his conacre rent to the
I could learn, from none-worked in the factory. Many

“ould rate, and lets more of his idle uplands at the same,”
“ of the women were not a little proud of their house- the reformer of the mountain, whose name is subscribed,
“ wifery, and exhibited the Sunday wardrobes of their will be at him and his when he least expects it. But, such
“ husbands, the stock of neatly-folded shirts, &c.; and is the lighthearted character of the Irish peasantry, that

one of them gave me a very eloquent lecture on the this ominous announcement is couched in words strangely
mysteries of needlework, of which I did not compre- humorous and playful. It is, as Banim with much beauty
“ hend a syllable; but I could very well appreciate the has called it, “the mockery of the heart by the heart itself.”

-66 results in the neatness and comfort around me.”

At a more remote period than we are now describing, one

“ I was informed by the operatives that permission to such doughty legislator for his own bog or mountain chose

“ rent one of the cottages was regarded as a privilege and to designate himself John Doe, for no earthly reason, adds

"" favour; that it was, in fact, a reward reserved for honesty, the same clever novelist, in his tale of that name, than

“industry, and sobriety; and that a tenant guilty of any that he meant to make himself as busy and ubiquitous in

“ vice or immorality would be at once dismissed.” ejectments of farms, as his prototype and namesake, that

" It was sufficiently obvious, from the gossip I heard, creature of Saxon law, had approved himself to be. But

" that public opinion had established a very stringent neither Jolin Doe nør Terry Alt carried their sportive fit

“ form of moral police in the village, which superseded beyond the ill-spelt scrawls in which they deigned to make

" the necessity of any other."

their demands intelligible. Their tendency was anything

But the Messrs. Ashworth have not been content with but sportive, and they were to be enforced even to the

building roomy cottages, enforcing cleanliness, and treat- letter. This mixture of levity and horror is indeed a singu-

ing their work-people with kindness and attention. They lar feature in the character of the Irish agrarian outrages.

have done their best to instruct the children.

If the landlord disobeyed or neglected the mysterious

“ A visit to the schools of Turton and Egerton was pe- injunction, their next step was to enforce it. Some days

“culiarly interesting. The children sang in chorus, having been suffered to intervene, the landlord, on awaken-

"two hymns, Moore's Melody— Those Evening Bells,' ing one morning, found all the cattle he owned in the

" and some other pieces with great taste, feeling, and pro- world reposing on their shadows and his lawn from the

priety. I examined the children in mental arithmetic, forced journey of the past night. His herdsman was sent

geography, scripture history, and the nature of objects : for, but could give no explanation of the mystery. He had

on all these points the average was above that of any left them all right the night before in the masther's best

*s school which I ever visited in my life. The needlework field, with the gates fast and the fences sound. Somebody

“ of the girls was very good, and I believe that they re- must have opened the gates. The estrays are again gathered

“ceive something of an industrial training in addition to together and driven back towards their field; when, lo!

“a mere literary education."

the spectacle! The field is not to be seen-has vanished

So much as to the children; now for the adults, who, altogether. Perhaps a hundred acres of the best grass in

“ about twelve years ago,” were living in a state of dirty Ireland have been turned up in that one night. The

brutality. “I found clocks and small collections of books fences, whose soundness the herdsman but now vaunted,

“ in all their dwellings. Several had wheel-barometers, are smooth with the earth, and the ditches filled with the

“ and in one house I noticed a hygrometer of very delicate materials of the now level banks. In a corner of this deso-

“ construction. The books were for the most part on re- lation-for field we cannot call it—there is something more

“ ligious subjects; next to the Bible I found that Thomas chilling still--an open grave! And a neighbouring scrawl,

“ a Kempis is the greatest favourite with the people of subscribed Terry Alt, at once avows the agency that

“ Lancashire.”

wrought it, and the purpose to which it is to be applied :

Let us sum up the result of all this in one very striking if Mr.

folly on, an' won't be afther takin'

picture borrowed from the same writer.

a frien's kind warnin'.” These phenomena admit of a

“On descending to visit it” (Mr. Ashworth’s Turton very easy explanation.

Mill), “my attention was excited at the entrance by a A friend of ours, whose benevolence and love of justice

very simple circumstance, which I think not unworthy made him a great favourite of the people, although a

“ of record. Fruit-trees, unprotected by fence, railing, or county magistrate, was riding home one day from a placc

“ palisade, are trained against the main wall of the building, about 20 miles off, when he met a boy driving a herd of

“ and in the season the ripe fruit hangs temptingly with cattle. " Whose cattle are these?". - Mr. Taaffe's, your

“ in reach of every operative who goes in or out of the “ honour; it is to his house I'll be takin' them.".

“ mill. There is not an instance of even a cherry having “ he told you to drive them there.”_" Is it he tould me?

“ been plucked, though the young piecers and cleaners “ Not he, Sur, I'll be your bail.”-

_“ Who did tell you,

“must pass them five or six times every day; and they “ then ?”—“ Sure I was bid,” said the boy. Our friend

“ are far from being deficient in the natural love for fruit, saw that it was needless to press the lad. Queen Mab had

as I found they were good customers to the itinerant been with him. Terry Alt's band was in that dish.

“ hawkers. Mr. Ashworth's garden is on the side of the There is a sort of spade that has being used in Ireland

“ factory remote from the house : it is rich in fruits, from aboriginal times, and called a loy. It is used for

« flowers, and vegetables, but it is absolutely unprotected. turning the sod preparatory to bringing it into cultivation,

6 A child could scramble through the hedge, and, in my for levelling banks, filling in holes, and the like. Forty

“school-boy days, I would have thought little of clearing men with loys, working leisurely, will turn an acre a day.

" the gate in a leap ; the gate, however, is only secured Forty Irishmen, working with zeal and upon an emergency,

by a latch, and could not therefore exclude an infant. will of course do much more than this, whether by day or

“ Now this unprotected garden has never suffered the by night. The phenomenon above described was more

"slightest injury or depredation."

frequently noticed in spring, when the nights were still

We think that, after reading these accounts of what has long, than in the summer season; and if we add that Terry

here been done by men who, in doing it, have done no Alt was in no want of hands in the districts which he

more than their duty towards the poor, our readers will visited, our readers will easily understand how so great a

be apt to agree with us that the Uckfield Guardian“ has work became so expeditiously accomplished.



Meanwhile the applicants for conacre holdings were to hear of it. The very next morning he won over every flocking in more numerously than ever, but their biddings one of the unhappy men enrolled by the Ribbonmen's were getting lower instead of rising. Both they and the emissary to come forward publicly in the Catholic parishmiddleman saw the hundred acres or so lying idle and un- church, and renounce the horrid oaths they had taken, and profitable, and they knew that it could not be for long. the society of crime into which they had been seduced. In Either the middleman must lay it down again in grass or proof of their sincerity they even undertook to join with other crops, with the certainty of another such visitation their fellows in watching the district by night and by day, and the risk of a worse one, or he must dispose of it in and in repelling the strangers, should they come again, by conacre, to his present indemnity from new losses, and his force, if necessary. Suffice it to say, Ribbonism was never own personal protection. But so large an addition to the again seen in that quarter. land `into the market, under such unfavourable circum- Sir George Savile, foremost in the cause of Catholic stances, was evidently calculated to depress the price of emancipation in England, was one of the best among the the whole. To assist this measure, and to make its effect few good Irish landlords of the last century. It was a more sure, the redoubted Terry Alt had caused it to be shocking century for poor Ireland. The “ Philosophical notified, that if any tenant dared to give a higher conacre Survey of the South of Ireland,” published in 1777, by way rent than the maximum ascertained by his tariff, a new of prelude to the following anecdote, tells us that at that grave should yawn for him in the centre of his tenement, time the Irish metropolis was perhaps “the only part of and not yawn vainly, nor very long. Amid so much to “the kingdom where the rights of human nature seemed in condemn and execrate, it is satisfactory to be able to com- “ the least attenıled to." Sir George had an estate in mend Terry Alt for one thing--the moderation of his tariff. Ulster, which he visited a few years before that book was Six guineas for the conacre he allowed landlords to ask and written, for the sake of informing himself about its local cirtheir occupiers to give.

cumstances. All the leases were at that moment expired, In the course of the same ride, the gentleman of whom which was a favourable opportunity for the good he meant we have already spoken, entered an extensive district of the to do. The tenants were, for the most part, groaning under county Roscommon. An assemblage of cabins, called a terrible oppressions. A new middleman held the estates village, lay close to his track, and on the hill above it, in large tracts immediately from him, and parcelled out where many acres had been lately turned up, he perceived a these again among numerous cottiers at exorbitant racknumber of men at work. Suspecting the cause, and halting rents. Sir George Savile resolved to emancipate the latter. at the nearest point of the village before-mentioned, he He announced to them that each cottier was henceforth to inquired of some peasants, who had come out to see him hold immediately of him, and that he was ready to receive pass, whose land that was on the hill ? On hearing the their tenders. To his surprise, they heard the announcename, he at once knew it to be that of a proprietor recently ment with gloom and dejection of mind, not with joy and visited by the Terry Alts. “ What are those men doing gladness, as he had expected. They were wholly unused to “there ?”' was his next inquiry.“ Digging their conacres, acts of mercy, and, not knowing him personally, they fancied “ y'ere honor.”—“ Oh! Mr. has been setting them that, like the middleman of whom they had hitherto held “ fresh conacre land, I suppose ; it is very kind of him.” their little farms, he was prepared to raise their rents to the “ Sure, y'ere honor, there's no thanks for him an' he did; uttermost. It was some time before they would tender at “ it's little he cares for the poor tinnants he has.” This all, and when they did, they offered him what they had was strictly true.--" Has Terry Alt been among you, boys ?”) paid the middlemen, or undertakers as they were then “ Ah! thin, y'ere honor, we hard them who was talkin' called. To their amazement Sir George instantly remitted “ about him being in those parts.”—“What sort of a man about half of that amount, and ou those reduced terms “is he?”—“ Sure, y'ere honor, we never see him at all; renewed the leases of the deserving tenants. At the same " we're poor boys that does keep quiet and peaceable in time, by thus getting rid of the exacting middlemen, his “ the cabins; it is'nt for the likes o' us to be goin’abroad own income was doubled. What acłds to the grace and o’nights, or to be afther seein? Terry Alt, or to be spakin' good desert of this benefaction, a single undertaker had

to him, God preserve us !"-" The rascal must do a great offered him, upon “ as good security as the Bank of Eng“ deal of harm, this Terry Alt, destroying people's pro- land, even more than he would accept from his tenants !" “ perties in this shameful way.”—“ Musha, your honor, we Sir George Savile is long since in his grave, whither his “ don't know nothin', maybe he does;" and unconscious, works have followed him. Fortunately there are some perhaps, of the bearing of the action, they turned their living who emulate those good works. Every landlord is eyes, as if mechanically, towards the fresh-turned field on not extortionate and unjust; every magistrate is not like the hill, and the men upon it, digging at the new potatoe- the Wexford one, who, before the commutation of tithes, patches they had got from Mr. for the old price of used to play into the hands of his brother justice, a parson six guineas the conacre. Our friend rode home musing like himself, and sacrifice the poor tithe-payers' rights to his deeply over the scenes he had witnessed.

own and bis neighbour's cupidity. We must explain our Terry Alt's reign is now a matter of history. As we meaning at the risk of a tiresome digression. About five have said, it expired within two years or so of its commence- years ago, when tithes were yet payable, they were rement. The grievance which was the throne of that malig- covered by summary process at petty sessions. The poor nant despot having crumbled away, the despot toppled man was supposed to have a fair hearing before the justices: down into chaos, and disappeared. All our inquiries into and perhaps he had it, when the justices were not parsons the conacre system as it is, have been met with the assur- too, or lay impropriators of tithe. In the case before us, ance that six guineas is now considered a very high rent however, there was an express compact between the two indeed, at least in Connaught. Thus we may compliment parson-justices to exchange tithe decrees whenever wanted. the unhappy ruffians who set afoot those combinations if it was parson A- -'s tithe that was in question, he upon more than one virtue besides that of moderation. would ride over to parson B—'s house to breakfast; if it They have approved their scrupulous fidelity to their en- was parson B- -'s, then he would ride over and breakfast gagement, and the cessation of the one grievance has indeed with parson


Whichever it was, the window of the been the signal for the discontinuance of the other. room where the two justices were at breakfast would be thrown

Moreover at no time did Terry Alt, any more than Cap- open, while the tithe-proctor, who had issued the process, tain Rock, or John Doe, or Richard Roe, or any other re. and the tithe-payers against whom it was issued, stood outformer of his vicinage, penetrate into the estates of just and side. The demands were most exorbitant: six acres were merciful landlords, no matter where situate. We know that often made into ten for the sake of the assessment; but good landlords and good agents always succeeded in driving how was the poor unlettered peasant to set it right? out the pestilence whenever it threatened such an inroad. “ Patrick Murphy!” the tithe-proctor would begin.There is a remarkable instance of this in our own recollec- “ Here,” answers Paddy. -“ The claim against you is tion. Ribbonmen some years ago made their way into one “ £1 10s. 9d.” “ Decreed,” shout the justice and host, portion of an immense 'estate in Connaught, before the agent (a most excellent and bumane one he was) could get !

*“ A Philosophical Survey," &c., p. 316.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

without moving from the breakfast-table. The same farce return of capital. But although hired time and labour cannot would be gone through with the rest, after which the justice be applied beneficially to such cultivation, the owner's own andguest, thanking the justice and entertainer, would mount time and labour may. He is working for no higher returns at his horse and return home! We repeat it—there are,

first fronı his land than a bare living. But in the course of and there always have been, gentlemen in Ireland of a very generations, sertility and value are produced ; a better living, different fashion from this. There are, and there have and even very improved processes of husbandry, are attained. been, good magistrates and good landlords.

“ If there

Furrow draining, stall feeding all summer, liquid manures, are were not,” says the author we have cited, “ this nation universal in the husbandry of the small farms of Flanders, “ would soon cease to exist as a people.”

Lombardy, and Switzerland. Our most improving districts

under large farms are but beginning to adopt them. Dairy But, on the other hand, though Terry Alt reigned para- husbandry even, and the manufacture of the largest cheeses, mount in Thomond and part of Connaught, though Captain by the co-operation of many small farmers-the mutual Rock was formidable in Munster, and though wherever assurance of property against fire and hailstorms, by the commisery has existed, there have always been lawless men to | bination of small farmers—the most scientific and expensive form agrarian combinations of some kind or other, it is not of all agricultural operations in modern times, the manufacture every peasant that has shared in their misdeeds. Thousands of beet-root sugar,-the supply of the European markets with and thousands of poor men, ay, and of persecuted and flax and hemp, by the husbandry of small farmers,—the starving ones, were to be found in those districts of outrage abundance of legumes, fruits, poultry, in the usual diet even of and crime, who steadfastly withstood the temptation, and to

the lowest classes abroad, and the total want of such variety at the end refused to join the accursed confederates. We say the tables even of our middle classes, and this variety and accursed ! for the excommunications of the Church did abundance essentially connected with the husbandry of small but promulgate upon Irish soil a sentence already registered farmers,--all these are features in the system of the occupation in Heaven !

of a country by small proprietor farmers, which must make the Note on Terry All."

inquirer pause before he admits the dogma of our land doctors Although the greater part of the above paper is generally appli- at home, that large farms worked by hired labour and great cable in Ireland, it is only in the west that conacre and yearly capital can alone bring out the greatest productiveness of the holdings, or leases, are held, by the same tenant. Elsewhere the soil, and furnish the greatest supply of the necessaries and prevailing system is to let some of the land to a few substantial conveniences of life to the inhabitants of a country. One farmers on long leases at moderate rents, and to parcel out the common error in the usual comparison of the large farm and greater part of the rest among the poor, on conacre at very high small farm systems—la grande aud la petite culture-is to rents. These indeed are so calculated as to leave a surplus to the reckon as increased production from the soil the increased tenant of less than a supply of food for the current year. In the quantity of grain or other products, sent to market by the peasant told us that after he had tilled his conacre, pinched and large farmer from the same extent of land. A farm for squeezed his other resources, and paid the landlord his rent, be instance of two hundred arable acres in the hands of a single found that the rest of the crop, out of which he had to provide farmer, may send to the market town a larger quantity of grain for his daily food and that of his family, had cost him as much as than if the land were occupied by ten or fiften farmers with if he had purchased it in the market ! so evenly balanced were their families. But this, if correct to all the extent assumed by the yearly value and the yearly rent! Last spring a Longford agricultural writers, is not increased production from the soil. 'squire appeared before the Longford Election Committee, and it is in political economy only a different distribution of contested the qualification of a tenant of his to vote. He brought perhaps the same, or even a less amount of produce—it affects year, but which they swore was worth only £23 12s., leaving the only the different proportions of a population living in the unhappy peasant 8s. în arrear, after having paid over to his land country by agriculture, or living in the towns by manufacturing lord the whole year's value of the land." The landlord did not industry. The quantity of food of all kinds raised from the seem to be aware that, in disqualifying his tenant as a voter, he soil is not necessarily greater, because a greater proportion of was publishing his own infamy as an oppressor of the poor. it is consumed by the town populations, and a smaller by the

country populations. It may even be a question in social LARGE AND SMALL FARMS.- If we listen to the large economy, whether the well-being of a people is promoted by farmer, the scientific agriculturist, the political economist, good that kind of artificial or forced system, which sacrifices the farming must perish with large farms; the very idea that good comfort, and condition, or numbers of the agricultural labourfarming can exist, unless on large farms cultivated with great ing class of a country, to the prosperity and increase of its capital they hold to be absurd. Draining, manuring, econo- town or manufacturing populations. It may be a question mical arrangement, cleaning the land, regular rotations, whether the body engaged in agriculture should be deprived of valuable stock and implements, all helong exclusively to large its middle classes, its small farmers, its yeomanry, by the farms, worked by large capitals, and by hired labour. This unnatural and forced value given to land, by the combined reads very well; but if we raise our eyes from their books to operations of corn laws and of the exclusive political privileges their fields, and coolly compare what we see in the best attached to the possession of landed property. The true condistricts farmed in small farms, we see, and there is no blink- | clusion in political economy on the relative productiveness of ing the fact, better crops on the ground in Flanders, East the grande and petite culture, appears to be, that the capital Friesland, Holstein, in short on the whole line of the arable and skill of large farmers attain all over a country no augmentland of equal quality of the Continent, from the Sound to ation of the products from soil and climate, which is not Calais, than we see on the line of British coast opposite to l equally attainable by the labour, skill, and conjoined means of this line, and in the same latitudes, from the Firth of Forth all an intelligent body of small farmers. The traveller who looks round to Dover. Minute labour on small portions of arable without prejudice or preconceived opinion at the state of crops ground give evidently, in equal soils and climate, a superior on the Continent, wherever the small farming and small proproductiveness, where these small portions belong in property, prietary system is predominant, at the abundance and variety as in Flanders, Holland, Friesland, and Ditmarsh in Holstein, of food afforded by it to the rest of the population, and at the to the farmer. It is not pretended by our agricultural writers, way of living, the cheapness, the physical comforts in diet and that our large farmers even in Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, lodging of the working classes, and the whole social effect of or the Lothians, approach to the garden-like cultivation, the occupancy of land in small farms, will come to this conattention to manures, drainage, and clean state of the land, or clusion-viz., that the large farm money-rent system, which is in productiveness from a small space of soil not originally almost entirely confined to Britain, is a kind of political rich, which distinguish the small farmers of Flanders and their establishment, the growth of artificial arrangements of system. In the best farmed parish in Scotland or England, society, and fostered by the classes it supports ; but is in more land is wasted in the corners and borders of the fields of reality not essential to good husbandry, or to the utmost welllarge farms, in the roads through them, unnecessarily wide being of its inhabitants. Food raised from our own soil because they are bad, and bad because they are wide, in will become more abundant, and in greater variety, by the neglected commons, waste spots, useless belts and clumps of increase of the number of its producers. This is the natural sorry trees, and such unproductive areas, as would maintain law of all production.-Laing's Notes of a Traveller. the poor of the parish, if they were all laid together and cultivated. But large capital applied to farming is of course only London: Printed by Palmer and Claytox, 10, Crane-court, Fleet. applied to the very best of the soils of a country. It cannot street; and published by GEORGE DISMORE, at the Office of the TRUE touch the small unproductive spots which require more time

TABLET, 6, Catherine-street, Strand; whither all communications

must be sent, addressed (prepaid) to FREDERICK LUCAS, the sole and labour to fertilize them, than is consistent with a quick Editor and Proprietor.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


LAURA, THE DEAF, DUMB, as blind men and women are, what secrets would come

AND BLIND GIRL. out, and what a worker of hypocrisy this sight, the loss of Our readers have no doubt which we so much pity, would appear to be! all heard of various benevolent The thought occurred to me as I sat down in another institutions and benevolent ef- room, before a girl, blind, deal, and dumb ; destitute of forts for communicating know- smell, and nearly so of taste; before a fair young crealedge and mental culture to those ture with every human faculty, and hope, and power of unfortunate persons who are de- goodness and affection inclosed within her delicate frame, prived of one or more of their and but one outward sense—the sense of touch. There

They know, we dare she was, before me; built up, as it were, in a marble cell, say, that blind people have been impervious to any ray of light, or particle of sound ; with taught to read and write, and to her poor white hand peeping through a chink in the wall study geography on maps made beckoning to some good man for help, that an immortal expressly for their "tutored soul might be awakened. fingers. They must have heard Long before I looked upon her, the help had come. also of the success which has at. Her face was radiant with intelligence and pleasure. Her tended the endeavour to make hair, braided by her own hands, was bound about a head dumb people speak and deaf whose intellectual capacity and development were beautipeople comprehend what is so fully expressed in its graceful outline, and its broad open spoken by the dumb. But we brow; her dress, arranged by herself, was a pattern of have before us, in the new neatness and simplicity; the work she had knitted, lay work on America of Mr. Dick- beside her; her writing-book was on the desk she leaned

one of the most interesting upon.-From the mournful ruin of such bereavement, accounts we have ever met with of the training up of there had slowly risen up this gentle, tender, guileless, a girl, deaf, dumb, blind, without either taste or smell, grateful hearted being. and possessing only the one sense of touch. We are Like other inmates of that house, she had a green ribsure our readers will be extremely gratified at our giving bon bound round her eyelids. A doll she had dressed lay them entire this most touching narrative. The insti- near upon the ground. I took it up, and saw that she tution in which she has been educated is “The Perkins had made a green fillet such as she wore herself, and “ Institution and Massachussetts Asylum for the Blind at fastened it about its mimic eyes. “ Boston.” The following are Mr. Dickens' own words :- She was seated in a little enclosure, made by schoolI went to see this place one very fine winter morning. desks and forms, writing her daily journal. But soon The children were at their daily tasks in different rooms, finishing this pursuit, she engaged in an animated commuexcept a few who were already dismissed and were at nication with a teacher who sat beside her. This was a play. Good order, cleanliness, and comfort, pervaded favourite mistress with the poor people. If she could see every corner of the building. The various classes who the face of her fair instructress, she would not love her were gathered round their teachers, answered the questions less, I am sure. put to them with readiness and intelligence, and in a spirit I have extracted a few disjointed fragments of her hisof cheerful contest for precedence which pleased me very tory, from an account, written by that one man who has much. Those who were at play, were gleesome and noisy made her what she is. It is a very beautiful and touching as other children. More spiritual and affectionate friend narrative; and I wish I could present it entire. ships appeared to exist among them, than would be ound Her name is Laura Bridgman. “She was born in among other young persons suffering under no depriva- Hanover, New Hampshire, on the twenty-first of Detion; but this I expected and was prepared to find. It is cember, 1829. She is described as having been a very a part of the great scheme of Heaven's merciful considera- sprightly and pretty infant, with bright blue eyes. She tion for the afflicted.

was, however, so puny and feeble until after she was a In a portion of the building, set apart for that purpose, year and a half old, that her parents hardly hoped to rear are workshops for blind persons whose education is her. She was subject to severe fits, which seemed to

finished, and who have acquired a trade, but who cannot rack her frame almost beyond her power of endurance; pursue it in an ordinary manufactory because of their and life was held by the feeblest tenure: but when a year deprivation. Several people were at work here; making and a half old, she seemed to rally; the dangerous sympbrushes, mattresses, and so forth; and the cheerfulness, toms subsided; and at twenty months old she was perindustry, and good order discernible in every other part fecily well. of the building, extended to this department also.

“ Then her mental powers, hitherto stinted in their On the ringing of a bell, the pupils all repaired, with growth, rapidly developed themselves; and during the out any guide or leader, to a spacious music-hall, where four months of health which she enjoyed, she appears they took their seats in an orchestra erected for that pur. (making due allowance for a fond mother's account) to pose, and listened with manifest delight to a voluntary on have displayed a considerable degree of intelligence. the organ, played by one of themselves. At its conclu- “ But suddenly she sickened again; her disease raged sion, the performer, a boy of nineteen or twenty, gave with great violence during five weeks, when her eyes and place to a girl ; and to her accompaniment they all sang ears were inflamed, suppurated, and their contents were a hymn, and afterwards a sort of chorus. It was very sad discharged. . But though sight and hearing were gone for to look upon and hear them, happy though their condition ever, the poor child's sufferings were not ended. The fever unquestionably was; and I saw that one blind girl, who raged during seven weeks; for five months she was kept (being for the time deprived of the use of her limbs, by in bed in a darkened room; it was a year before she could illness) sat close beside me with her face towards them, walk unsupported, and two years before she could sit up wept silently the while she listened.

all day. It was now observed that her sense of smell was It is strange to watch the faces of the blind, and see almost entirely destroyed; and, consequently, that her how free they are from all concealment of what is passing taste was much blunted. in their thoughts; observing which, a man with eyes may “ It was not until four years of age that the poor blush to contemplate the mask he wears. Allowing for child's bodily health seemed restored, and she was able to one shade of anxious expression which is never absent enter upon her apprenticeship of life and the world. from their countenances, and the like of which we may “ But what a situation was hers! The darkness and readily detect in our own faces if we try to feel our way the silence of the tomb were around her: no mother's in the dark, every idea, as it rises within them, is ex- smile called forth her answering smile, no father's voice pressed with the lightning's speed, and nature's truth. taught her to imitate his sounds :--they, brothers and If the company at a rout, or drawing-room at court, could sisters, were but forms of matter which resisted her touch, only for one time be as unconscious of the eyes upon them but which differed not from the furniture of the house, save in warmth, and in the power of locomotion ; and not | success about as great as teaching a very knowing dog a even in these respects from the dog and the cat.

variety of tricks. The poor child had sat in mute amaze“ But the immortal spirit which had been implanted in ment, and patiently imitated everything her teacher did ; her could not die, nor be maimed nor mutilated; and but now the truth began to flash upon her: her intellect though most of its avenues of communication with the began to work : she perceived that here was a way by world were cut off, it began to manifest itself through the which she could herself make up a sign of anything that others. As soon as she could walk, she began to explore was in her own mind, and show it to another mind; and the room, and then the house; she became familiar with at once her countenance lighted up with a human expresthe form, density, weight, and heat, of every article she sion : it was no longer a dog, or parrot : it was an imcould lay her hands upon. She followed her mother, and mortal spirit, eagerly seizing upon a new link of union felt her hands and arms, as she was occupied about the with other spirits ! 'I could almost fix upon the moment house ; and her disposition to imitate led her to repeat when this truth dawned upon her mind, and spread its everything herself. She even learned to sew a little, and light to her countenance; I saw that the great obstacle to knit.”

was overcome; and that henceforward nothing but patient The reader will scarcely need to be told, however, that and persevering, but plain and straightforward, efforts the opportunities of communicating with her, were very, were to be used. very limited; and that the moral effects of her wretched “ The result thus far, is quickly related, and easily constate soon began to appear. Those who cannot be en-ceived ; but not so was the process; for many weeks of lightened by reason, can only be controlled by force; and apparently unprofitable labour were passed before it was this, coupled with her great privations, must soon have re- effected. duced her to a worse condition than that of the beasts that " When it was said above, that a sign was made, it was perish, but for timely and unhoped for aid.

intended to say, that the action was performed by her “ At this time, I was so fortunate as to hear of the teacher, she feeling his hands and then imitating the child, and immediately hastened to Hanover to see her. motion. I found her with a well-formed figure, a strongly-marked, The next step was to procure a set of metal types, nervous sanguine temperament; a large and beautifully- with the different letters of the alphabet cast upon their shaped head; and the whole system in healthy action. ends; also a board, in which were square holes, into The parents were easily induced to consent to her coming which holes she could set the types; so that the letters to Boston, and on the 4th of October, 1837, they brought on their ends could alone be felt above the surface. her to the Institution.

“ Then, on any article being handed to her, for in“ For a while, she was much bewildered; and after stance, a pencil, or a watch, she would select the compowaiting about two weeks, until she became acquainted nent letters, and arrange them on her board, and read with her new locality, and somewhat familiar with the them with apparent pleasure. inmates, the attempt was made to give her knowledge of “ She was exercised for several weeks in this way, arbitrary signs, by which she could interchange thoughts until her vocabulary became extensive; and then the imwith others.

portant step was taken of teaching her how to represent “ There was one of two ways to be adopted : either to the different letters by the position of her fingers, instead go on to build up a language of signs on the basis of the of the cumbrous apparatus of the board and types. She natural language which she had already commenced her- accomplished this speedily and easily, for her intellect self, or to teach her the purely arbitrary language in com- had begun to work in aid of her teacher, and her progress mon use : that is, to give her a sign for every individual was rapid. thing, or to give her a knowledge of letters, by combina- “ This was the period, about three months after she tion of which she might express her idea of the existence, had commenced, that the first report of her case was made, and the mode and condition of existence, of any thing. in which it is stated that she has just learned the manual The former would have been easy, but very ineffectual; alphabet, as used by the deaf mutes ; and it is a subject the latter seemed very difficult, but, if accomplished, very of delight and wonder to see how rapidly, correctly, and effectual. I determined therefore to try the latter. eagerly, she goes on with her labours. Her teacher gives

“ The first experiments were made by taking articles her a new object, for instance, a pencil, first lets her exain common use, such as knives, forks, spoons, keys, &c., mine it, and get an idea of its use, then teaches her how and pasting upon them labels with their names printed in to spell it by making the signs for the letters with her raised letters. These she felt very carefully, and soon, of own fingers : the child grasps her hand, and feels her course, distinguished that the crooked lines spoon, fingers, as the different letters are formed : she turns her differed as much from the crooked lines key, as the spoon head a little on one side, like a person listening closely; differed from the key in form.

her lips are apart; she seems scarcely to breathe; and her “ Then small detached labels, with the same words countenance, at first anxious, gradually changes to a printed upon them, were put into her hands; and she smile, as she comprehends the lesson. She then holds up soon observed that they were similar to the ones pasted her tiny fingers, and spells the word in the manual alphaon the articles. She showed her perception of this simi- bet; next, she takes her types and arranges her letters ; larity by laying the label k e y upon the key, and the and last, to make sure that she is right, she takes the label s po o'n upon the spoon. She was encouraged here whole of the types composing the word, and places them by the natural sign of approbation, patting on the head. upon or in contact with the pencil, or whatever the object

“ The same process was then repeated with all the may be.' articles which she could handle; and she very easily • The whole of the succeeding year was passed in learned to place the proper labels upon them. It was gratifying her eager inquiries for the names of every obevident, however, that the only intellectual exercise was ject which she could possibly handle; in exercising her in that of imitation and memory.' She recollected that the the use of the manual alphabet; in extending in every label b o o k was placed upon a book; and she repeated possible way her knowledge of physical relations of things ; only the motive of love of approbation, but apparently an. At the end of the year a report of her case was made, without the intellectual perception of any relation between from which the following is an extract. the things.

" It has been ascertained beyond the possibility of “ After a while, instead of labels, the individual letters doubt, that she cannot see a ray of light, cannot hear the were given to her on detached bits of paper: they were least sound, and never exercises her sense of smell, if she arranged side by side so as to spell book, k e y, &c.; have any. Thus her mind dwells in darkness and stillthen they were mixed up in a heap, and a sign was made ness, as profound as that of a closed tomb at midnight. for her to arrange them herself

, so as to express the words of beautiful sights, and sweet sounds, and pleasant odours, book, k e y, &c.; and she did so.

she has no conception; nevertheless, she seems as happy “ Hitherto, the process had been mechanical, and the and playful as a bird or a lamb; and the employment of

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »