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common cause of benevolence.* The public, however, will have pleasure in learning that so important a work of charity has been lately begun; and the original subscribers to this Institution will be gratified to hear, that its success, though on a very limited scale, has surpassed the expectations of its founders.
A prejudice has strangely obtained, not only amongst the vulgar, but the higher orders, that persons born deaf, and consequently dumb, are capable of little more than animal training. No opinion is more ill founded. The general principle of compensation, so discernible in the various arrangements of Providence, is in no instances more remarkable, than in those of persons deprived of certain organs of external sense. The intelligence and vivacity of blind persons are familiarly observed. The extraordinary acuteness of their sense of touch, and the judgments they learn to form of the distance and magnitude of the solid objects around them, are facts too frequently exemplified, perhaps, to excite the attention which they deserve. But when we are informed of a blind botanist, who discovers not only the forms, but the colours of plants, by the sensibility of his tongue, surprise is created, although the fact itself is strictly analagous to those which daily experience exhibits in the improved faculties of other organs.
It is hardly to be' expected, however, that those who are accustomed to judge of the exercises of the mind, through the medium of language alone, should form a just conception of the intellectual capacities of the Deaf and Dumb. The cultivated uses and alertness of their sense of vision, improved by early habits of reliance on its information, and associated with almost every mental process, lay open avenues of instruction, which even the philosopher explores with wonder and pleasure. The examples are numerous, in which instruction through the organs of sight has redeemed Deaf and Dumb persons, of a teachable age, from the lowest degradation, to very high intellectual attainment. One instance of this kind may be cited.--Massieu, a pupil of the Abbé Sicard, was born a peasant in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux. His youth had been spent entirely in the mechanical employment of tending a flock; without any attempt having been made to cultivate his reason. At the age of sixteen, when the Abbé took him into his school, he was strictly a man of the woods, untinctured with any
habits but such as were merely animal ; astonished and terrified at every thing. His clouded and inexpressive countenance ; his doubtful and shifting eye; his silly and suspicious air ; all seemed to announce, that Massieu was incapable of any instruction. But it was not long till he began to inspire his teacher with the most flattering hopes." -After he had made a certain progress in the cultivation of language, (which was taught him in the figurative manner adapted to his apprehension,) the Abbé required of him one day a definition of Time.
It is a
* There are about twenty-five Institutions in Europe for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb.
line, he replied, which has two ends; a path which begins at the cradle, and terminates in the grave. To the question, IVhat is Eternity? he replied, It is a day without yesterday or to-morrow ; a line which has no end. The Abbé inquired of him, What is Revolution in a state ? He answered, It is a tree, whose roots usurp the place of its trunk. -What do you understand by gratitude ? resumed the Abbé; Gratitude, said his pupil, is the memory of the heart.-When the existence and attributes of God were disclosed to Massieu, he cried, with an enthusiasm which would have done honour to the nius and piety of Newton. Ah! let me go to my father, to my mother, to my brothers, to tell them that there is a God; they know it not,
That he afterwards acquired very just notions of the Governor of the Universe, may be proved by his answer to the question proposed to him by Sir James Mackintosh ; Docs God reason? Alter some consideration, he replied, Man reasons bccausc he doubts; he deliberates, he decides : God is omniscient, he knows all things, he niem ver doubts ; he therefore never reasons,
Even in the still more deplorable case of children born Deaf, and Dumb, and Blind, intellectual culture is by no means precluded. An instance of this kind is recorded by Mr. Dugald Stewart, in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh ; on which that writer makes the following just and philosophical remarks. “Solitary as Mitchell (the subject of his narrative) is, in the midst of. society, and confined in his intercourse with the material world within the narrowest conceivable limits; what a contrast does he exhibit--in those rudiments of a rational and improveable nature, which we may trace even in his childish occupations and pastimes, and more particularly in that stock of knowledge, scanty as it is, which he has been prompted to acquire, by the impulse of his own spontaneous curiosity ;-to the most sagacious of the lower animals, though surrounded with all the arts of civilized man, and in the fullest possession of all the powers of external perception !"
It were needless to multiply examples, in proof of the capacity for mental acquisition, which may exist in persons destitute of those faculties by which oral communication is received and practised. But the process, by which the other senses are brought to perform the vicarious offices of informing the mind, is highly interesting. If the individual retains the organ of sight, the external world presents to him, on every side, the occasions of thought, and the means of instruction. The classification of natural and artificial works, their structure, æconomy, and uses, are, in most cases, demonstrable to the sight and touch. The acquisition of the written characters of language, which is the grand resource of those who are cut off from its oral uses, is likewise attainable by the same faculties. The process is indeed slow and laborious, in a degree that is little suspected by those who have studied only the modes of instructing children in ordinary circumstances. But the principles, upon which it is conducted, are no less certain and definite; and the results, in many kundred cases, have long since banished all distrust of their efficiens
When the ear is closed, and the eye becomes the chief medium of communication with the mind, the language first addressed to it must be that of pictures or of figurative signs. By degrees literal or arbitrary signs are substituted. Alphabetical language, however, is not taught in the usual way of analysis, (except when the pupil is learning to articulate or to write, but in the compound form of words, which are exhibited to the eye as symbols of things. After a while, the sentiments felt in the breast of the pupil, or excited by gesture and mimic representation, are interpreted to liis eye by written words, expressive of them in ordinary language. Thence by degrees the use of characters is extended, from persons and things, to moral ideas; from individuals, to their generic representatives; and by an easy transition, from passive to active significations. It is thus, in brief, that the pupil acquires an instrument of communication with those around him, of searching out all the treasures of natural and moral knowledge, and of transporting himself beyond the narrow sphere to which he had otherwise been permanently doomed.
But the developement of the pupil's understanding, great as the benefit must be accounted, is yet subordinate to the further object of improving his heart and life. To acquaint him with the great truths of Religion; to open to him the pages of the gospel ; and to enlist him as a disciple of Christ, are the grand purposes of his education. And whose heart does not kindle at the bare suggestion of rescuing such unfortunate beings, from the depths of more than heathen darkness, to the glorious light of gospel truth—from a sleep of carnal ignorance, to a life of spiritual joy and peace? Lightly as the blessing of Christianity may be esteemned by some, let them but be asked if they will consent to have it entirely snatched out of their reach ; so that in sickness, in sorrow, and in death, they shall derive no comfort from its promises : and then they will appreciate the loss which their miserable Deaf and Dumb fellow-creatures involuntary sustain.
Tenth Number of Monthly Extracts from the Correspondence of the
British and Foreign Bible Society.
March 2, 1818. A Danish soldier (once in the British service) wrote some time since for some religious books. I sent him three Testaments, in various languages. Some time afterwards he came over from his cantonments, (10 miles distant,) with several of his comrades, and earnestly besought me, in the name of his Regiment, (winch, from its having newly arrived in the country, to succeed one which was removed, had not partaken of the British and Foreign Bible Society's previous bounty,) to furnish them with the Scriptures. In consequence, I loaded them with 22 Danish Testaments
, 20 German ditio and one German Bible. With these, which I bestowed gratuitously, in the Society's name, (the soldiers having nothing wherewith to
442 Extracts from the Correspondence of the Br.&. For. B. S. pay,) they thankfully departed. The letter I have inclosed was forwarded to me a few days after the receipt of the books. From the Letter of the Danish Soldier, referred to in the preceding
Bouchain, February 23, 1818. In contemplating the favours you have rendered me, and the rest of my countrymen, I beg leave, on their, and my own account, to offer our sincerest and warmest thanks. Nothing, I can solemnly assure you, has ever had a greater or better effect towards our souls' salvation, than the Books you so generously bestowed upon us I presented a Book to our Major, and to a Captain of our company, who likewise return their sincere and humble thanks. We hope the Almighty Father above will forever bless you and your honoured family; and for ever shall our prayers and thanks ascend to heaven for your kindness. Happy should we be, to give out of our trifling pay (which is five sols per day) what you might demand, if we could obtain a few Bibles in Danish or German.
From the Proceedings at the Fifth Anniversary of the Colombo Auxi
liary Bible Society, respecting the extraordinary honours conferred upon a Native, for his diligence and fidelity in translating the Holy Scriptures.
Colombo, August 3, 1817. A MESSAGE was received from His Excellency the Governor, signifying his extreme regret at being prevented, by severe illness, from attending the Anniversary Meeting, and
being present when the well deserved honours of a Modeliar* of the Gate are conferred upon
Don Abraham de Thomas.
The second and fourth Maha Modeliar, several other Modeliars, and the Mohandiram, Don Abraham de Thomas, are introduced, and a Memorandum is read and translated, in which His Excellency the Governor declares, that the high rank of a Modeliar of the Gate is bestowed upon Don Abraham, for his eminent abilities, exerted with such indefatigable perseverance, for five years, in translating the Scriptures.-A singular merit, not likely to be pleaded again in favour of an extraordinary promotion.—The Honourable John Rodney, Chief Secretary to Government, then invests the Mohandiram, Don Abraham de Thomas, with the Sword and belt of a Modeliar, which are put upon him by the second Maha Modeliar, Abraham de Saram.
Don Abraham de Thomas is the son of Thomas Apohamay, who was settled in Saffragam, where he married the granddaughter of Munisinga Modeliar, who had a grant of the village of Gulgumme from the King of Sitewaca.
When Don Abraham was only ten years old, he was intrusted to the care of a Buddhu Priest, who took him to his Temple at Matura, where the young scholar was instructed in the Cingalese, Ellou, Pali, and Sanscrit, by some of the most learned men of the time. He
Captain of the Body Guard.
put on the yellow robe of priesthood, and at the age of twenty he went to Kandy, where, on account of his proficiency in literature, he was received with distinguished honours by the Chief Priest of Buddhu, and by the King. From Kandy he returned to Matura : but in the year 1808 he came to Colombo, and attended Mr. Doyly, as a Cingalese teacher.
The present second Maha Modeliar, Abraham de Saram, was also one of his pupils, and from him he took the name of Abraham, at his baptism in the Dutch Church; for he soon renounced the superstitions of his heathen priesthood, and became a Christian. Mr. W. Tolfrey had recourse to his help in the study of Ellou, Pali, and Sanscrit; and when the translation was begun, Don Abraham was his continual assistant.--Soon after this work commenced he was made a Mohandiram of the Gate; and at length, in consequence of the warm recommendations left by the late Mr. W. Tolfrey, and confirmed by the present superintendents of the translation, as well as by the Committee of the Bible Society, he was appointed a Modeliar of the Governor's Gate. This is one of the highest honours that can be conferred on a Native, and it has been amply deserved by the learning and zeal which he has displayed in carrying on the translation of the Scriptures with so much perseverance, in the midst of suffering, and interruption from bad health.
From the Appendix to the Fifth Report of that Society. While the Report was in the press, notice was received of a very considerable present from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. This gift of no less than 500 Spanish Dollars, announced in a letter from the Rev. Daniel Poor, Secretary to the American Mission in this island, confirms our ability to meet the current expenses of the year : and it is most highly gratifying to receive such a proof that our exertions are known and valued in a distant country, under an independent government. Too much of hostile enmity has of late rankled between nations springing from the same old English stock. It is an auspicious sign, when a Board of American Commissioners unites with an English Society to propagate the Gospel in an Asiatic Island. May the true spirit of that religion of peace and good-will, which we both profess, influence the public councils, and private feelings, in America and Great Britain, which are still too nearly related, to enter into hostilities, without some mixture of that animosity which seldom fails to taint the character of a civil war!
RHODE-ISLAND BIBLE SOCIETY. The fifth annual meeting of the Rhode Island Bible Society was held in Providence, on the 3d of September.
The following is an extract from the Report :
The Board of Trustees, in their communication for the last year, represented that their attention had been principally occupied in providing for the wants of the destitute in this State. To this the Board had been more particularly led, in consequence of the