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ing them, in fragments or in whole, in the memory, through all delays and interruptions. Such thoughts disarm our criticism, where seeming haste has marred the rhythm or measure of a line, or left some link of fancy loose.”

Such remarks are as erroneous as they are depreciating. Had not Homer, Ossian, Milton, Blacklock, and scores of others, composed and sung their immortal verses while their vision was muffled, deep and dark as the drapery of night, we might be constrained to use metaphysical arguments to expose the inconsistency and vagueness of such methods to obtain favor, and ward off criticism. But they seem now uncalled for. Those who hew and carve poetry, as a toy-maker whittles out his articles, may find a supply of stationery a sine qua non. But a true poetic spirit or genius seems never to have depended upon such agents. We utterly abominate and detest every remark or insinuation that tends to hold up in the light of sympathy the literary efforts of a class, who have in every age won the fairest laurels, and enriched the commonwealth of letters. it has been our object in the present work, to point out to the blind, and the publie in general, the achieving abilities of our order.

Reason as well as experience proclaims to us, in tones un mistakable, that until the efforts of the blind are weighed in the balance of merit, it is impossible for us to succeed in any undertaking. Sympathy, like the atmosphere, surrounds us on every side, but like this, it is too light to sustain life. To acknowledge that our present work may have faults and imperfections, is only to admit that it has been produced by human

agency. But we certainly cannot ask to have them excused or loved in consequence of our peculiar condition. No: attribute them to our ignorance, carelessness or stupidity, but we pray thee, reader or critic, attribute them not to blindness, for this we must deem rather an advantage than an inconvenience in the art of composition.

Our subject is one of which so many false notions have been entertained and disseminated by speculative writers, that we have deemed it expedient to give the facts we wish to illustrate in connection with the lives of some of the most distinguished of our class, as we could in such connections best guard against being misunderstood. The characters we have chosen are from almost every age, country, occupation and class of society; so that, though we have dealt somewhat largely in biography, we hope that the facts, trials and triumphs presented may still produce an agreeable variety. The questions so frequently asked with touching pathos, by those who lose their sight in mature life," Is there benevolence in this world ? Must charity supply my wants? Will there be always some hand to lead me? Have the blind ever a home in any heart? Does anything ever cheer them ? Are their lives always useless ? Is there anything they can do ? "—these interrogatories are, we think,

erein fully answered. To accomplish this work, we have spared no time, pains nor expense. All the information rela tive to the sightless condition, that could be obtained from the records of our Institutions for this class, was, through the kindness of their Principals, placed at our command; and we have imported from Europe for this purpose, numerous valuable

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works written by the blind, never before possessed by an American public. From these writings, as from many others of our class, we have made a sufficient number of extracts to put beyond question the literary taste and capacity of our order.

It is frequently not uninteresting to the reader, to know someching of the author whose thoughts he is perusing. But upon the history of our lives we shall say but little. The principal scenes of life's drama in which we have acted, during our short peregrinations over the rugged face of old mother earth, are so much like those of our class in general, given in other connec tions, that we shall not here enter into detail. We will therebre only say, for the satisfaction of the curious, that we were born in Western New York, somewhere within the vicinity of twenty-five years ago; that ARTMAN lost his sight at the age of eighteen; that Hall's privation was congenital; that we were both educated at the New York Institution for the Blind, and have for the last four or five years been endeavoring to force a subsistence from nature and society, in various, and of course HONORABLE, occupations.

If this, our first effort in a literary capacity, should find favor with the public, more from us may be heard hereafter.


Dansville, 1856.

Achiebements of the Blind.




That man must indeed be depraved, who does not discover in himself some reflection of a divine image, though sin may have blotted and mutilated its form. The whole field of science does not open up to the inind a more pleasing subject for contemplation, or one fraught with more intense interest, than the study of its own mysterious nature. What are the elements that enter into its composition? Can it exist as distinct from matter, or is it merely the result of physical organization, as sound is the result of vibration? Is the brain only a system of organs, conspiring to produce thought, as melody is produced by musical instruments? How did the mind come in possession of its own identity, or that in ward consciousness of a separate existence as distinct from the laws of nature which silently govern matter? How does it put forth volition? In what way do outward manifestations awaken painful or pleasant emotions, and why should it possess that fearful power of perverting its

own affections, or destroying its own energies ? These are themes upon which every contemplative mind loves to dwell. Speculative philosophy is, however, not without its attendant evils; it may ripen into rank infidelity if not carefully guarded. Investigations of mental phenomena should be conducted with a prayerful heart. The relations which the creature sustains to its Creator, should be kept constantly in view, and no apparent discrepancy or incongruity, should be allowed to shake our faith in the wisdom and goodness of a Supreme Being.

Next to an earnest and careful inquiry after God's revealed will to man, the study of man himself is paramount to all others. He who best knows himself, is best able to judge others. Yet, without revealed religion, it is impossible to determine what is laudable in ourselves, without studiously observing what traits of character are lovely or hateful in oth

Hence it happens, that biography has been read and admired in all ages, and is found to be of such vital importance to the young. In the history of a great and good man, the youth finds a pattern by which he may mould his character. It is much easier to imitate good examples, than to act well from wise suggestions. It is less hazardous to follow closely in the footsteps of a virtuous and prudent man, whose path has led to honor and distinction, than to mark out for one's self a new course in life.


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Tread you my steps! 'Tis mine to lead the race,
The first in glory, and the first in place.

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