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their blind father. Throughout seven years he had been labouring at the “Paradise Lost,” and in 1667 he received his five pounds for the first edition of the greatest poem of modern times. “Samson Agonistes,” “Comus," and “Paradise Regained,” were all written after blindness had come on their author. Milton had, however, long been familiar with nature, and could recall the memories of sight with which to garnish his poetry. But there bave been poets who were entirely cut off from this advantage.
Thomas Blacklock, born at Annan, in Dumfriesshire, in 1721, lost his sight by small-pox when he was six months old. His father read to him the works of Milton, Spenser, Prior, Pope, and Addison ; and the boy evinced an early disposition to poetry. Some of his pieces were shown to an eminent physician, who interested himself in the blind youth, and procured for him the advantage of a classical education at the University of Edinburgh. While there, he published his poems, in 1746. He continued to prosecute his studies until 1759, when he was licensed to preach the Gospel. He also obtained a presentation to a parish ; but, the parishioners objecting on account of his blindness, he resigned on a small annuity, and devoted himself to the tuition of youth. In 1767, he received the degree of doctor of divinity from the University of Marischal College, Aberdeen.
In the latter part of last century another blind poet flourished, M. Phefel, of Colmar, whose works fill six octavo volumes. Some of them have been translated into French. He kept a military school at Colmar, and had the honour of instructing the sons of some of the best families in the country. Prince Schwartzenburg was among his pupils. Recent years have also added some blind bards to the list of the illustrious, among whom we may mention Miss Frances Brown, whose poems possess considerable melody.
Science also has had illustrious disciples among the blind. Among the ancients, certain philosophers are said by Diogenes Laertius and Thrasyllus to have deprived themselves of sight, in order to pursue their studies with less distraction; but Cicero, who relates this story, does not seein to credit it. “Malebranche, when he wished to think intensely, used to close his shutters in the day-time, excluding every ray of light;"* and Burdaloue is said to have preached with his eyes shut. Cicero's own master, Deodatus, taught geometry after he lost his sight; and Euler, the mathematician, pursued his favourite study, and published works upon it, after a similar affliction befell him. But one of the most remarkable men of science, and one who surmounted the privations of his blindness to the greatest extent, was Nicholas Saunderson. He was born in 1682, and by small-pox was deprived in infancy both of his sight and of the or, ans of seeing. He was early initiated into the dead languages, which enabled him afterwards to peruse the works of Euclid, Archimedes, and Diophantus in the original Greek. Mathematics was his favourite pursuit, and in this branch he became a master. Some friends aided to send him to Cambridge, where he lectured on optics. Many went to hear a man lecture on light, which
* Prescott, p. 52.
he had never seen, and were highly gratified. Sir Isaac Newton sought his acquaintance, and procured for him the Lucasian professorship of mathematics. Aided by a most powerful and retentive memory, he was able to perform the most difficult calculations in arithmetic, and to work out the most complex geometrical problems. One of the first who thoroughly understood and appreciated Newton's “ Principia,” his commentary on that great work was thought worthy of being printed twenty years after his death. He also composed other valuable mathematical works. “ One fact worthy of remark is, that he found great difficulty in understanding a demonstration of Dr. Halley's, which appeared not very difficult to other geometricians ; but, when he had got a notion of what was wanted, he worked out the same problem in his own way, so as to make it clear to others as well as to himself. Dr. Halley's statement, in fact, involved a risual idea, of which probably no one concerned, except the blind man, was aware.”* His notions of God were exceedingly vague, however; and he scarcely appreciated the evidence of design. When told of the faith of Newton, Leibnitz, and Clarke, whom he almost worshipped, he remarked on his dying bed, “The testimony of Newton is not so strong for me as that of Nature was for him. Newton believed on the word of God Himself, while I am reduced to believe on that of Newton....... God of Newton, have mercy on me!”
There are other names of the blind well known in the annals of science. Huber, of Geneva, was a naturalist of the highest order, and made more discoveries respecting bees and ants than any former observer. He used the eyes of others—especially those of a faithful servant-for his observations, but he was indebted to his own abilities for his philosophy. “Thus he clearly proved that there are two distinct sets of bees in every hive-honeygatherers, and the wax-makers and nurses ; and that the larvæ of working bees can, by course of diet, be changed to queens. Thus also he accurately described the sanguinary conflicts of rival queens; the recognition of old companions, or of royalty, by the use of the antennæ. Thus he explained the busy hum and the unceasing vibration of wing ever going on in the hive, as being necessary for due ventilation.” +
John Gough, of Kendal, was also a famous mathematician, and an accurate botanist and zoologist. He lost his sight in his third year, yet was able to distinguish plants by the touch of his fingers. As a zoologist, Coleridge tells us that he could correct the mistakes of keen sportsmen as to birds and vermin. He was an accomplished teacher of mathematics, and had among his pupils the celebrated Dr. Dalton, of Manchester, and Dr. Whewell, now Master of Trinity, Cainbridge. Dr. Moyes, of Kirkaldy, was an itinerant lecturer on chemistry and optics, though blind ; and Dr. Carpenter mentions “the case of a blind friend of his own, who has acquired a very complete knowledge of conchology, both recent and fossil,
• Dr. Bull, p. 92.
* “ Edinburgh Review," January, 1854. I “ Principles of Human Physiology."
and who is not only able to recognise every one of the numerous specimens in his own cabinet, but to mention the nearest alliances of a shell previously unknown to him, when he has thoroughly examined it by the touch."
Blind musicians are well known. Among the Egyptian tablets disentombed by Sir Gardner Wilkinson, blind men are represented as professional musicians. The last and most famous of Irish bards was Carolan, who lost his sight in infancy. He lived in the seventeenth century, and made very high attainments in music. He was able to appreciate the excellencies, and even to detect the imperfections, of fine Italian pieces. A curious story is told of his sense of touch. “When he grew to manhood, there was a time when his harp would sound only of love, under the impulse of a passion he had conceived for Bridget Cruise. The lady did not unite her love with his; and after a while he loved and married another, named Mary Maguire. Many years after, he went on a pilgrimage to St. Patrick's Purgatory, a cave in the island of Loughderg, Donegal ; and, on returning to the shore, met several pilgrims waiting the arrival of the boat that conveyed him. On assisting some of these into the boat, his hand unexpectedly met one which caused him to start, and he instantly exclaimed, • This is the hand of Bridget Cruise !' His sense of feeling had not deceived him; it was the hand of her he had once loved so passionately.” This fact is said to have been communicated to the narrator by himself. Ossian, the greatest of the Celtic bards, was also blind. Stanley, the author of the oratorios, “ Jephthah” and “ Zinoi,” and organist of All-hallows, Breadstreet, London, was blind. Mademoiselle Paradis, of Vienna, lost her sight when two years old, but became one of the delights of Parisian concerts. Many others might be mentioned in this department; but we can only name Picco, the blind Sardinian minstrel, whose strains have charmed many audiences of late.
The church, too, has had some theologians and preachers who were blind. Jerome tells us of Didymus of Alexandria, who lost his sight at
of age, and who flourished in the fourth century. Besides the acquisition of languages and mathematics, he became a theologian, and published a treatise on the Holy Spirit, which was translated by Jerome into Latin, and is published among the works of that father. * He was a disciple of Origen, and one of the last public teachers of that father's errors. On account of this, his works were condemned by the Council of the Lateran. Dr. Blacklock, already referred to among the poets, was a licentiate of the Church of Scotland. Dr. Waddel, an eminent and eloquent minister of the American Presbyterian Church, was blind for many years. The Rev. W. H. Milburn, for some time chaplain to the American Congress, lost his sight almost entirely in youth, and could only see as much as one letter of the alphabet in a word at a time. Nevertheless, he read
* Many extracts from this work of Didymus may be found in Owen's chapters on the Holy Spirit.
books at that slow rate. By the assistance of others, he passed through a collegiate education, and became a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church. For a number of years lie itinerated over the length and breadth of the land, and became a popular preacher. Many in this country had an opportunity, a few years ago, of listening to his eloquence. We know another preacher, blind from his early youth, who passed through the University of Glasgow, and obtained a prize in the Greek class. He then studied theology for several years, and, after the usual examination in classics, philosophy, ecclesiastical history, and theology, was licensed to preach the Gospel by one of the presbyteries of his Church. We have heard him conduct divine service, during which he repeated from memory the psalms to be sung, and whole chapters of the Bible, and preached with considerable eloquence.
The blind are noted for their memory, and therefore it is not surprising that they should excel as historians, philosophers, and linguists. Nicaise of Malines, blind from three years old, became Professor of Canon and Civil Law in the University of Cologne in the fifteenth century. In the sixteenth century, Sheghius taught philosophy and medicine in the University of Tubingen, and published several treatises. Schomberg, in the sixteenth century, taught belles-lettres at Altorf, Leipzig, and Hamburg. Bourchenu de Valbonais, of Grenoble, in the same era, published the “History of Dauphiné,” in two folio volumes. Prescott, the able and eloquent historian of Ferdinand and Isabella, and lately deceased, was for some years deprived of his sight. During the season of his darkness he still pursued his studies, and wrote and published histories. Dr. Bull, the author of two able medical works on maternal management, was for the last eight years of his life deprived of sight; yet he prepared a work on “The Sense Denied and Lost,” in which he supplies many interesting details relative to blindness. Lord Cranborne, blind from his childhood, published, a few years ago, a history of France for children. Thierry, the great French historian, is to be included in the same class.
In modelling and sculpture, too,—the most difficult attainments for the blind,-some have evidenced great proficiency. M. de Piles saw in Italy a blind man, a native of Cambassy, in Tuscany, who was a very good desiguer. M. de Piles met him in the Justiniani Palace, where he was modelling in wax a statue of Minerva. By means of touch, he had seized with precision the forms and proportions of the original. The Duke of Bracciano, who had seen bim working, doubted whether he was completely blind; and, in order to put the matter to the test, he caused the artist to take his portrait in a dark cave. It proved a striking likeness. also told of Giovanni Gambassio, of Volteno, who became an excellent statuary, and was employed by the highest personages in Italy. He executed a Statue of Pope Urban VIII. for the Grand Duke of Tuscany. John, one of the kings of Bohemia, and the present King of Hanover, rank among blind monarchs; and Zisca, the Bohemian general, performed great acts of valour after the loss of his sight.
Many most entertaining stories might be told of the facility with which the blind can travel from place to place ; but these are familiar to readers by means of living illustrations in their immediate localities.
THE CENSUS OF 1861.
A PARLIAMENTARY paper gives the general results of the late Census. The main particulars are of much interest.
1. PERSONS ABSENT FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM.
The people of these islands are more movable than other nations, and large numbers of them are always abroad, sometimes on distant voyages, sometimes on the Alps, sometimes in the deserts of Africa, or in the strangest places ; but generally in ships at sea, in the great commercial entrepôts, in the capitals of Europe, in our colonies, or in the States of America.
The measures which were taken to procure the returns of the ar.ny and navy and merchant-seamen abroad, either on sea or land, were successful. The numbers exceeded a quarter of a million, (250,356,) of whom 162,273 belonged by birth to England and Wales. The army and navy of a country are an integral part of its population; and they should, therefore, be counted among its numbers. But travellers and temporary settlers in other states are less accurately defined: their numbers are not easily ascertained, and they are represented to some extent by exiles and foreign visiters in England. They are therefore excluded from the tables. The number of the British subjects, including the Scotch and the Irish, abroad, of whom we have returns, was 67,969. This number does not include the English in America, in India, or in the colonies; neither does it include any of the English in France except those who were domiciled. Upon the other hand, some of the people born at the Mediterranean stations were inscribed in the consular registers as British subjects; but, as a general rule, the Maltese and Ionians are excluded from the list.
France is the country to which the English most resort in Europe, and 25,844 are domiciled there : 4,092 are returned in Belgium, 827 in Holland, 1,124 in Switzerland, 7,365 in Gerinany, 5,467 in Italy, including Rome, 2,072 in Portugal, and 3,879 in Spain, 525 in Greece, 2,360 in Turkey, and 931 in Egypt; in Denmark 372, in Norway 242, and in Sweden 411; in Russia 3,749. Passing to Asia, 30 of Her Majesty's subjects were returned in Persia, 1,072 in China, 81 in Japan, and 24 in Siam. The English population in India, according to the returns of the Indian Government, (apparently defective,) amounted to 125,379, including the English army, 85,008 strong
340 English people are in the empire of Morocco. Algeria and the rest of Africa make no return.
Central America returns 145 English residents; Ecuador, 27; Chili, 4,152, of whom 3,265 are males, chiefly miners; and Brazil, 2,838.