« ZurückWeiter »
found playing the organ. The next day he was sent for by the dean, who, after reprimanding him for the method he had taken to gratify his curiosity, gave him permission to play whenever he pleased.
He now set about building his first organ, which, after its completion, he sold, and it is now in possession of a gentleman in Dublin, who preserves it as a curiosity. After receiving some instruction in this art at London, he built a second organ for his own use, anıl afterward constructed a third, with great perfection, which he sold to a gentleman in the Isle of Man. Mr. Strong was married at the age of twentyfive, and had several children. His house was elegantly furnished, yet it contained but few articles, either of utility or ornament, that were not of his own construction. He died at Carlisle, in March, 1798, in his sixty-sixth year.
The acquirements of WILLIAM TALBOT were so numerous and diversified, that it is difficult to determine in which of his accomplishments he most excelled. As we have reserved for our next series a sufficient number of musicians (among whom he might claim an eminent rank) to prove the capacity of our order for that profession we shall mainly speak of his mechanical attainments. He was born near Roscrea, in Tipperary, in the year 1781, and lost his sight from small-pox at four years of age. Afterwards his family removed to the seaside, at a place near Water. ford, where young Talbot soon began to evince a
taste for mechanics, in the construction of miniature wind-mills and water.wheels, and in fitting up small ships and boats, with every rope and appendage as exactly formed as in those of a larger scale.
At the age of seventeen he became acquainted with a captain in the navy, and was finally persuaded to go with him to sea. In the four years of his seafaring life, during which time he visited many parts of the world, he became so thoroughly acquainted with the ship that he could readily go aloft among any part of its tacklings, and was frequently seen ascending to the mast-head with the dexterity of an ex perienced seaman. But the alternate smooth and bil lowed breast of the ocean had not sufficient variety to satisfy his nature, and in 1803 he again set his foot upon the turf of
Erin. He soon after married at Limerick, and resorted to the exercise of his bagpipes, on which he was a perfect performer, and to mechanical ingenuity, as means of support.
About this time he commenced building an organ, and admirably succeeded, without the least assist
Soon after completing this instrument, he moved to the city of Cork, where he purchased an: organ, for the purpose of making himself better acquainted with its mechanism. After dissecting and examining all its parts minutely, he built a second instrument of this kind, of a superior tone and finish. In this way Mr. Talbot maintained a large family in respectability and comfort.
Among these sons of Jubal, we must not omit our
own JOHN HELLICK, a native of Northampton county, Pennsylvania, who lived at the beginning of the pres. ent century, and lost his sight in youth. Among the many fine musical instruments which this man constructed, without the least assistance, was an organ that would have reflected credit upon any workman skilled in this art, and in possession of perfect sight.
These examples must prove beyond a shadow of doubt, to every reflecting mind, that as perfect a knowledge of form and structure can be obtained by the sense of touch as by that of sight. They seem, also, to indicate that the blind derive as much pleasure from the exercise of their ingenuity as any other class of men, since a genius is always more impelled to labor from a desire to give tangible form to his inventions, or ideal images, than by the real value of the article when completed.
But perhaps the most complete triumph of tactual perfection over want of sight, that history records, is to be found in the artistic skill of John GONELLI, sometimes called Gambasio, from the place of his birth in Tuscany. This remarkable person lost his sight at the age of twenty, and after having been in this condition about ten years, he first manifested a taste for sculpture. His first work in this art, was to imitate a marble figure, representing Cosmo de Medici, which he formed of clay, and rendered a strikingly perfect likeness of the original. His talent for statuary soon developed itself to such a degree that the Grand Duke Ferdinand, of Tuscany, sent him to Rome to
model a statue of Pope Urban VIII., which he completed to the entire satisfaction of his patron. It is supposed that this is the same famous blind sculptor whom Roger de Piles met with in the Justinian palace, where he was modeling, in clay, a figure of Minerva. It is related that the Duke of Bracciano, who had seen him at work, doubted much that he was completely blind, and in order to set the matter at rest, he caused the artist to model his head in a dark cellar. It proved a striking likeness. Some, however, objecting that the duke's beard, which was of patriarchial amplitude, had made the operation of producing a seeming likeness too easy, the artist offered to model one of the duke's daughters, which he accordingly did; and this also proved an admirable likeness. Among his numerous other works is a marble statue of Charles I., of England, said to be finely finished. So far as this art pertains to the form and contour of a statue, it is not more difficult for a blind person to pursue, than others adverted to in this section. But to engrave upon a marble statue that intangible, life-like expression, in which mainly consists the individual similitude, is altogether extraordinary, and must be regarded as the climax of tactual attainments.
WHATEVER serves to illustrate a condition to which by the vicissitudes of life every person is exposed, cannot fail to awaken interest in the public mind. In view of this fact, we shall devote this section to the notice of such characters who, on account of their various pursuits, would not admit of regular classification, yet whose honorable attainments may afford interest to the general reader, and many valu able hints to our class.
Among these may be mentioned WIMPRECHT, the bookseller of Augsburgh, who was sightless from birth, yet by his energy and perseverance secured a good education, and is at present maintaining a large family in respectability and comfort, from the profits of his thriving business. His stock usually consists of about eight or nine thousand volumes, which he frequently reviews with no other assistance than his intelligent wife. His honesty, obliging deportment, and general acquaintance with books, have secured for him a large and profitable business.
We are informed of another blind person, who is the proprietor of a “music store," at Plymouth, England, and by this employment, together with the teaching of music, has placed himself in very independent circumstances.
It is evident that our class is by no means exempt