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and accordingly this has already given risc to far too large an expectation of supplies from abroad—an expectation which has deluded the public mind into a false security, and may have perhaps misled the policy of our Rulers, else we might have had, and should have still, an instant stoppage of the distilleries. On the other hand, we hold that the evils of a Poor-rate, in corrupting the habits and undermining the independence of the working classes, cannot be overrated. But in an emergency like the present, of palpable, undeniable distress, when human creatures are dying in hundreds before our eyes, all the liberalities of Government (who in this respect are doing nobly) as well as of both public and private benevolence, should be put forth to the uttermost- for the mitigation of a calamity that will soon evince itself to be of ten-fold greater dimensions than have yet come within the reckoning of the community at large, or even of many of our most enlightened philanthropists and statesmen.
In conclusion, let us observe, that, as we disclaim for this Review all partizanship in politics—so with like earnestness do we disclaim for it, all sectarianism in things ecclesiastical. We uitterly repudiate its being our aim to advance the objects of any one denomination in the Church of Christ, though we shall ever regard it as a high and holy endeavour to advance the objects of the Church Universal. On this sacred theme our alone directory is the Bible, and our alone desire is to speed forward the cause of truth and righteousness in the world.
ART. II.--The Lost Senses, vol. i. Deafness : vol. ii. Blindness.
By JOHN Kitto, D.D., Editor of the Pictorial Bible, of the
Biblical Cyclopædia, &c. London, 1845. The intelligent and accomplished author of the two interesting volumes, whose titles we have placed at the head of the present article, has the misfortune to be deaf. The calamity under which he labours is the result of an accident which befel him at the age of twelve years—a time of life at which he had, of course, acquired a good knowledge of spoken language through the ordinary channel. Happily for him, he had also learned to read and write ; and had, moreover, imbibed a taste for books. The first of the volumes referred to, has much the character of an autobiographical narrative,—it is a detailed and cleverly-written account of Dr. Kitto's personal and individual experience in the
deaf state, and abounds with many acute, philosophical, and valuable remarks in reference to that peculiar condition.
It does not, however, throw much light upon the circumstances, feelings, and difficulties which connect themselves with the more melancholy position, and more laborious and painful progress
a person to whom the sense of hearing has been denied from birth; and, therefore, as in some measure supplementary to what Dr. Kitto has recorded, we shall intersperse, in the present notice, a few incidental remarks, touching the more afflictive dispensation of congenital deafness.
It would scarcely have been reasonable to have expected that Dr. Kitto, in discussing his own case, should have dwelt at much length upon this more aggravated form of the same calamity, the experience of which, with all its concomitant privations, happily for him he has not known. The two cases are indeed very widely different, resembling one another in little more than in the palpable fact, that in each there is the same insensibility to existing sounds. When we use this word sound, we employ a term with the meaning of which the author before us is perfectly familiar we refer to that, with the importance of which, as a vehicle of thought, he was once practically acquainted, and the conception of which, he even now possesses, and habitually associates with the written characters of speech. It is very
different with the deaf-born. For him sound never existed ; and the intercourse of those around him, by means of the vocal organs, is to him a mystery which no effort of conception on his part can help him to unravel. His attention has, indeed, been attracted to this wonderful medium of intercourse between mind and mind from early childhood; and both his curiosity and his imagination have, no doubt, often been anxiously, though fruitlessly excited on the subject : but he at length resigns himself to the fact--withdraws his efforts from the hopeless inquiry—cultivates, in silence, his own imperfect gesticulations, and waits in patient acquiescence, perhaps in hopeful expectation, the solution of a problem which time can never explain.
That the difference between a person thus circumstanced, and one who can hear, is sufficiently described in the summary state ment; that the latter enjoys the sense of hearing which the for mer wants, is a position which the slightest reflection will shew to be very
far from the truth. It is not the want of hearing on the part of the deaf-born that constitutes the only difference between him and others, nor does this by any means constitute the chief difference. The want of hearing, simply, is in fact a defect of comparatively small moment-a privation of comparatively easy endurance : it is the want of language that creates the immense chasm between the uneducated deaf-mute, and the un
educated hearing person.
Before the education of the latter commences, he is in possession of language, that is, of all the requisite apparatus for carrying on the work to any extent: the deaf-mute begins with absolutely nothing of this apparatus ; it has to be constructed piece by piece before him, and he cannot attain to the familiar use of it, without years of assiduous application under a system of direct instruction of a peculiar kind. Children, in general, learn language insensibly, and without effort-for Nature is the teacher: but the deaf-mute is precluded from her instructions, and is dependent upon the artificial schemes of man's devising. It is no easy thing to impart language to the deaf and dumb-to supply, by human ingenuity, what, through the ordinary channel, God in his wisdom has seen fit to withhold ; and we may accordingly expect that, even when all that art can achieve has been accomplished, the result will still be marked with that imperfection which always attaches itself to every human performance. When we converse with a little child of three or four years old, and reflect for a moment upon the simplicity of the means employed--the absence of all effort on his part--the proverbial intractability of infancy, and yet witness his ready command over so mighty an instrument of thought as language is, we cannot fail to be impressed with the same sense of the silent operations of Omnipotence, that the contemplation of every department of nature necessarily awakens. But this impression is forced on the mind with increased vividness, when we compare his position with that of the uneducated deaf-mute—a being destitute of that which forms the most striking distinction between man and brute, separated from the rest of his species, and remaining alone in the midst of millions.
An erroneous opinion prevails that blindness is a greater affiction than deafness. This would unquestionably be true if privation of sight precluded the acquisition of language, which it does not; nor, as ample experience shows, does it oppose any very serious obstacle to the full development of the mental powers. We are all familiar with many well authenticated instances of blind persons having attained to a distinguished position both in literature and science. The celebrated Saunderson, who filled the chair of Newton in the University of Cambridge, lost his very eye-balls by the small-pox when only twelve months old; yet before he was thirty, we find him giving public lectures on optics, explaining clearly the theory of vision, and discoursing admirably on the phenomena of light and colours--thus furnishing, by his own extensive acquirements, a convincing proof of the extraordinary powers of language, and of the full efficiency
* Watson's “ Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb.” Passim. This interesting and truly philosophical performance, is much less generally known than it deserves to be. It was published in London in 1809.
of the ear as an avenue to the mind. The darkness of the blind, as such instances as this sufficiently show, is but a physical darkness; they still possess a ready channel through which the brightest beams of intellectual light may be freely poured; but the darkness of the deaf-mute is a mental and a moral darkness; and though lie can gaze abroad upon creation, yet it is little more than mere animal gratification that he feels; he looks not “through nature up to nature's God,” nor does he participate in that high communion which, through the sublimity of her visible language, she holds with the soul of an enlightened being.
The reason why the blind usually receive from us a deeper sympathy than the deaf, is perhaps because the amount of privation borne by the former can be inore accurately estimated. We have only to close our eyes, to shut out for a while the glorious light of heaven, in order to conceive how great that privation must be. But we can never for a moment occupy the place of the uneducated deaf and dumb; we cannot shut out our moral and intellectual light; we cannot dispossess our minds of all that language has conveyed there, nor realize, by any effort of imagination, the melancholy condition of a being grown up in the midst of society, yet deprived of all power of social intercourse, whose mind has never been elevated by a single act of devotion, nor soothed and comforted by a single impulse of religious feeling. Man naturally “looketh on the outward appearance ;” and when we see the bright eye, and the contented and even joyous aspect of the deaf-mute, we forget that we may witness all this in the brutes that perish."
It may probably be thought by some, that in thus depicting the mental and moral condition of the deaf and dumb, we are drawing upon imagination, and magnifying their affliction, and that we altogether overlook the value of signs, the peculiar language of the deaf-mute, as a medium of communication. But it is not so. Of the importance of signs we are fully sensible; and readily admit their immense advantage, in the absence of a more perfect channel, in imparting to the deaf a knowledge of written language ; yet, as used by the uneducated deaf and dumb, gesticulation, as every teacher knows, is of extremely limited scope, barely sufficing to make known his mere physical wants and animal emotions, and to describe, though with much vagueness and ambiguity, events, or rather actions, which may have passed before his own eyes, or in which he may himself have engaged. Experience furnishes no instance in which a deaf-mute, having nothing but the language of signs at his command, had ever attained to any distinct notion of a future world, of his own moral accountability, of man's ultimate destiny, or even of a Supreme Being.
Now, it is important to bear in mind that all this melancholy
amount of privation arises, not from the want of hearing, but from the want of ordinary language--a want which no system of mere gesticulations can ever supply; and therefore that, in estimating the condition of the deaf, we must not overlook the fact, that those who come under this designation divide themselves into two distinct classes, separated from one another by a wide and essential difference--a difference which may
indeed be narrowed by artificial aid and human contrivance, but which, in ordinary circumstances, can never be wholly obliterated.
The author of the volumes before us enjoyed the blessings of hearing for twelve years. It is true these were the years of infancy and childhood; yet, during that brief and thoughtless period, nature, as we have endeavoured to show, had been carrying on, by insensible but continuous advances, her great work; and a mastery over language must in that time have been secured, which, had he been born deaf, the longest life devoted to the task would scarcely have enabled him to attain. With this important acquisition, and aided by only the memory of the ear, he has, by dint of assiduous self-culture, acquired for himself a wide reputation for varied knowledge ; and is, moreover, not merely an agreeable, but a graceful writer. The events of the day on which his misfortune befel him are thus graphically and impressively related:
*66 On the day in question, my father and another man, attended by myself, were engaged in new slating the roof of a house, the ladder ascending to which was fixed in a small court paved with flag-stones. The access to this court from the street was by a' paved passage, through which ran a gutter, whereby waste water was conducted from the yard into the street.
“ Three things occupied my mind that day. One was, that the town-crier, who occupied part of the house in which we lived, had been the previous evening prevailed upon to entrust me with a book, for which I had long been worrying him, and with the contents of which I was most eager to become acquainted. I think it was Kirby's Wonderful Magazine ;' and I now dwell the rather upon this circumstance, as, with other facts of the same kind, it helps to satisfy me that I was already a most voracious reader, and that the calamity which befel me did not create in me the literary appetite, but only threw me more entirely upon the resources which it offered.
-66 The other circumstance was, that my grandmother had finished, all but the buttons, a new smock-froek, which I had hoped to have assumed that very day, but which was faithfully promised for the morrow. As this was the first time that I should have worn that article of attire, the event was contemplated with something of that interest and solicitude with which the assumption of the toga virilis may be supposed to have been contemplated by the Roman youth.
“ 'The last circumstance, and the one, perhaps, which had some ef- , VOL, YI. NO, XII.