« PreviousContinue »
The Polytechnic School formed by the Engineer von Zentner, is now in successful operation, and Professor Bonirota, from Paris, a celebrated limner, has accepted the invitation of the Dutchess of Plaisance to remove to Athens and become a Professor in this Institution. He went at her charges and receives his salary from her.
There are eight presses now in operation in this country, five of which are in Bucharest. The School at St. Sava has a library of about 11,000 volumes, which is open to the public.
The Frederich-University at Christiana was opened in 1813, with six Teachers and eighteen Students. It now has twenty Professors, and eight Lecturers, and about 700 Students. Connected with it, there is a Botanical Garden-An Astronomical Observatory-A Library of about 130,000 lumes, open to the public daily from 12 to 2 o'clock-A Z00logical and Mineralogical Museum-A Collection of Coins, amounting to more than 20,000-A Depository of Archives-A Repository of Northern Antiquities-A Collection of Models A Naturalists' Cabinet-A Collection for the Faculty of Medicine.
SECOND SERIES. NO, XVI.--»WHOLE NO. XLVIII.
PRESENT STATE OF THE ART OF INSTRUCTING THE DEAF
AND DUMB IN THE UNITED STATES.
The subsequent article, although long, will, we trust, be acceptable to our readers. It is on a subject not often presented in the Repository, and was written by one who knows whereof he affirms.
The author was born in the possessisn of all his faculties, but when about eight years old, and after having learned to read, though not to write, he was deprived of his hearing entirely, in consequence of a violent attack of inflammation of the brain. Like others similarly affected, he soon lost the power of articulation, so that his utterances were unintelligi. ble to strangers. Thus excluded from social intercourse, he resorted to books, and eagerly and attentively read those which fell in his way. His books were few and well digested. Of such as were valuable, and did not belong to him, he was in the habit of making abridgements.
In 1833, he entered the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, for the purpose both of making himself familiar with the language of signs, and of enlarging his field of knowledge. After remaining a few months, he returned to the farm of his grand-parents, by whom he had been adopted, and where he now lives and labors to sustain himself and wife, SECOND SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. 11.
whom he married about three years since; an amiable young woman, also a mute, of the New York Institution.
Some eight years ago, he published a volume of “ Tales of the Deaf and Dumb, with Miscellaneous Poems,” which was well received by his own countrymen, and favorably reviewed in a Circular of the Royal Institution of Paris.
The views expressed in the present article, as well as the style, evince that the author is capable of close reflection, and has acquired a happy mode of expression.
1. Observations on the Education of the Deaf and Dumb.
Reprinted from the North American Review, (for April,
1834,) Boston, 1834. 2. Quatrieme Circulaire de l'Institut Royal des Sourds
muets de Paris, à toutes les Institutions de Sourds-muets
de l'Europe, de l'Amerique, et de l'Asie. Paris. 1836. 3. Reports of the American Asylum for the Education and
Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, twelfth to twenty-fifth
inclusive. Hartford. 4. Reports of the New York Institution for the Instruction of
the Deaf and Dumb, first to twenty-third inclusive. New
York. 5. Tenth and Thirteenth Annual Reports of the Pennsylva
nia Institution for the Deaf und Dumb. Philadelphia. 1830 and 1833.
The number of those who, by the privation of the sense which serves as the ordinary channel by which knowledge is acquired and thoughts interchanged, are set apart from their fellow-men, and even when placed in the most favorable circumstances, doomed to intellectual and social disadvantages that invest their case with a painful and peculiar interest, is much
any one ventured to suppose, before an enumeration of this class of persons had been, in several countries, actually made. These enumerations show one deaf mute, on a general average, to every fifteen hundred souls. We have, therefore, reason to believe that there are not less than half a million of our fellow-beings deaf and dumb.
Though the number known to exist in our own country is not so appalling by its magnitude as that just mentioned, it is still sufficiently large to awaken the most painful emotions in
the heart of every philanthropist. The census of 1830 gave six thousand one hundred and six as the number of deaf and dumb persons in the whole Union. By the census of 1840, having increased with the rapid increase of the whole population, they amounted to seven thousand six hundred and fiftynine ; and there are conclusive reasons to believe, as stated in the twenty-third Report of the New York Institution above cited, that in each case the number returned fell short by many hundreds of the actual number in the country. These are our own countrymen, often our own friends and neighbors, sometimes even bound to us by the tenderest ties;--nor is there one among us who can assure himself that a deaf and dumb child may not be born in his own family; nay, if he has children yei in infancy, that some of them may not become deaf by sickness or accident, and consequently dumb.
Considerations like these give a high interest to the subject of the present article. We need not expatiate on the sad condition of a deaf mute, abandoned to thread the mazes of this vale of tears, unaided, insoothed, unenlightened; for the public mind is, on this point, rather prone to exaggerate than otherwise. Nor is it now necessary, in this section of the Union, to appeal to public sympathy for the means of estabLishing institutions for the instruction of the deaf and dumb. The Northern and Middle States contain three of the largest and best conducted Institutions in the world, and the Legislatures of nearly all those States have made liberal provision for the education of their deaf and dumb population, and have shown a willingness to extend that provision whenever it shall become necessary. Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia have also established Institutions, believed to be competent for the education of the deaf and dumb of those States respectively. Several other States farther West and South, have either already engaged or have shown a willingness to engage in this work of philanthropy; and in view of what has been done within a few years, we may indulge the pleasing hope that, in a few years more, the intellectual wants of these our unfortunate fellow-citizens will, in every part of our country, be well supplied.
But though the art of instructing the deaf and dumb has been practised among us with success for a quarter of a century, and though it has enrolled among ils professors the names of several men of distinguished ability as writers, it
must be admitted that the reading public is very far from being fully and correctly informed, either with regard to its principles, its processes, the actual degree of success attained, or the causes which have prevented that success from being greater. Several very able and valuable articles have, it is true, from time to time been given to the public through different periodicals; and the annual reports above cited, those of the New York Institution in particular, present much valuable information, illustrated by enlarged philosophical views, on the theory and practice of the art, and on the statistics of the deaf and dumb. The circulars of the Institution of Paris are also exceedingly valuable, but they are in the hands of very few in this country; nor, when the great extent and population of our country is considered, can the fugitive arti-cles and reports referred to, be said to have attained any thing like a general circulation. It is presumed, however, that few will read these pages who are not aware that the first systematic attempts to instruct the deaf and dumb in the language of their countrymen, so far as is now known, were made by Pedro Ponce, a Spanish monk, who died A. D. 1584; and that the benevoleni De l’Epée founded at Paris, in the year 1760, and supported for many years from his own scanty fortune, the first institution for the instruction of those, constituting far the larger number, whose families have not the means to pay for their education. Those who feel a curiosity to learn more respecting the history of the art, are referred to the publications cited at the head of this article,-particularly to the North American Review for April, 1834, and to the twenty-first Report of the New York Institution. To the former and to many of the New York Reports, particularly the fifteenth, sixteenth and twentieth, the reader is referred for a sketch of the language of signs, and for many theoretical and practical details, not embraced in the plan of this article.
With regard to the subject we propose more fully to consider, namely, the actual degree of success attained by institutions for the deaf and dumb at this day, and particularly by those in this country, which are believed to have been at least as successful as those in any other country,—very different views may be, and have been taken, according to the particular instances of success which have fallen under the observadion of individuals, and to the standard of comparison adopted