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"To the memory of Hugh James, M. D., who practiced physic with eminent skill for many years, in this city. Providence largely recompensed the loss of sight in early life, with talents which raised. him to distinguished reputation in his profession, and more abundantly blessed him with a disposition ever prompt to succor poverty and pain. The study of his art, which showed him the weakness and uncertainty of life, taught him to meditate deeply on the works of God, and animated his faith in a merciful Redeemer. He died the 20th of September, 1817, the forty-fifth year of his age, and was interred in the parish church of Arthuret."
In the summary notices comprised in this series, of those eminent blind, who must ever be cheering as well as guiding stars to their order, we have uniformly omitted a description of the various methods and apparatuses employed by them in the study of the different sciences; as they could be of no service at present, save to gratify the curious. In the institutions for the education of this class, established in almost every state of our Union, as well as those of Europe, vastly improved and simplified apparatuses are introduced, answering as perfect substitutes in every department of science, for those commonly used in schools for the seeing. But, notwithstanding the educational facilities which all the blind at present possess, none have attained to that celebrity which our predecessors enjoyed, when no institutions of this kind were known. This, we think, cannot be so much
attributable to comparative talent, as to the limited and inadequate course of study, within the pale of these establishments. Where these institutions exist, the public expects that they shall do the work of educating the blind, and consequently the colleges and universities, in which our eminent predecessors were admitted, and where they received the high intellectual training that enabled them to rise above their misfortune, are, in a great measure, closed against us. Until the blind student's course of study is raised to a level with those pursued at our best colleges, he is unable to move successfully in the sphere whence he draws his highest happiness, and in which he can be most useful to himself, and society. In the world of thought and idea is his most congenial realm. Here in the broad field of scientific research, he needs no guide; but walks with unfaltering tread, and with the torch of reason explores the darkest vaults of nature's archives; then climbs on the chain of universal laws, to distant worlds, and weighs in the balance of calculation vast systems plunged in the depth of space.
We would not be understood, however, to depreciate the philanthropic hand that has placed within our reach, as a class, the common branches of education; but would only beg leave to remark, that all has not been done for the blind that can be accomplished, or that we have reason to expect at the hands of our government, and christian philanthropists. We implore those, whose generous hearts have been
enlisted in our behalf, to put within our reach a finished college education; such as many who have the use of their eyes, and all other natural faculties, enjoy at the expense of government. Here is yet a field open that will richly repay, in human happiness, the labors of public or private munificence; for it imparts sight to the blind. Showers of emotional sympathy we have on every side; but stern experience has taught us, that these will neither fill an empty stomach, nor satisfy the cravings of an immortal mind; but, on the contrary, unless accompanied by well-directed christian benevolence, they serve only to awaken in our bosoms smouldering emotions of sorrow, which we would fain forever suppress. Nothing can be more cruel and inconsistent, than for persons who would commiserate our misfortune, to point out its darkest phase, and draw before our imagination a panorama of all the fascinating beauties hid from our view, painted in the most extravagant colors. Such compassion can but aggravate our wounds, and move us to murmur against an irrevocable providence. Even under this affliction, life is not without its charms. So multifarious and boundless are the resources of human happiness, that, by the loss of natural sight, new and more glorious scenes of contemplation break upon our spiritual vision. With a lively hope soon to be disencumbered from the imperfections of sense, and forever roam through the regions of fadeless beauty, we endure our lot with patience, and can say, in the language of the poet:
"He doeth all things well." The great Milton, who under a depression of spirits, lamented his loss of sight in the most pathetic strains, said, in moments of cooler reflection: "It is not, however, miserable to be blind he only is miserable who cannot acquiesce in his blindness with fortitude. And why should I repine at a calamity which every man's mind ought to be so prepared and disciplined as to be able, on the contingency of its happening, to undergo with patience a calamity to which man, by the condition of his nature, is liable, and which I know to have been the lot of some of the greatest and the best of my species?"
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE BLIND IN THE INDUS-
SERIES II.-SECTION I.
THERE is, perhaps, no calling in which it may become necessary for us to act, where sight is so necessary, as in the manual labor pursuits. In rude stages of society, when mechanical operations were all performed by hand, it may have been more possible for a blind person, in some branches, to compete with the seeing. But in an age like the present, when steam and other natural agents, have usurped the place of muscular power, and the manufacture of all articles of profit is monopolized by large capitalists, this possibility seems almost entirely to have vanished. The facility with which a seeing person will manufacture articles by the aid of machinery, from which those without sight have been entirely excluded, appears to have left this class of laborers utterly without a hope of gaining even a livelihood. But it seems to us that with a little kindly aid, this inequality might, in a great measure, be remedied. That the blind have sufficient ingenuity, and can also acquire the requisite knowledge of any mechanical pursuit, necessary