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PUBLISHED MONTHLY AT FIVE DOLLARS PER ANNUM-JNO. R. THOMPSON, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR.
RICHMOND, FEBRUARY, 1849.
tions are wrought, that appear almost miraculous. EDUCATION OF IDIOTS.
The expressionless face, the open mouth, the
lolling and speechless tongue, all so eloquent of Within three quarters of a century past, Hu- the vacant mind, the uncleanly habits, the totmanity has achieved three very great triumphs tering and powerless limbs and frame,-have over physical and mental misfortune. The teach- been changed into looks of comparative intelliing of the deaf and dumb to read and write, in gence, neatness of person and dress, a perfect 1773, at Edinburg, made Dr. Johnson conclude command of the limbs, a capacity to talk, to read that such a conquest, over an infirmity seemingly and write, to do works of usefulness, and even irremediable, left nothing hopeless to human re- to earn a livelihood by labor! solution. “ After having seen the deaf taught No mysteries attend this great work. There arithmetic,” says he, “who would be afraid to are no nostrums of secret composition—no uncultivate the Hebrides ?"_Yet in our own time, divulged sleights of hand, -nor any of the other the lengths that had been gone in his day, are far artifices, by which humbug and quackery comtranscended : so that to be deaf and dumb now monly operate. The whole magic of those marforms, comparatively, a trivial obstacle to social vellous cures consists in patient care, with judienjoyments, and social usefulness. More recent- cious, long and oft repeated efforts, in training ly, by the help of raised letters, the blind have the hands, the feet, the eyes, the ears, the touch, had the inestimable pleasures of reading opened and the mind of the idiot subject. Ever since to them: and, by feeling along the page, are en- 1830, these efforts have been going on ; indeed abled to gather its meaning almost as rapidly as the system of observation which led to them behe who reads by sight. Thirdly comes the im- gan in 1828, or earlier. Messieurs Voisin, Leuproved method of treating lunatics, invented by RET, and Seguin, French physicians, appear to Pinel, and practised now in most or all of our be the men to whose benevolence, ingenuity, and American Lunatic Asylums ; which substitutes patience, mankind are mainly indebted for this inkindness, fresh air, proper exercise, healthful diet, estimable alleviation of one among human naand a patient culture of the reason and of the ture's greatest calamities. Doctor John Conolly, moral feelings, for the chain, the dungeon, the of London, seems to have been foremost in makdueking-stool, and the lash. An improvementing the improvement known in England : and by which the number of cures is quadrupled, and Mr. George Sumner, of Boston, is the first Amerthe sufferings of the incurable are unspeakably ican, so far as we know, who has brought it to alleviated.
the notice of his countrymen. The Westminster We have now to herald a yet greater wonder, Review, for April, 1818, from which we derive to the Virginia public: a more striking, if not a all our knowledge of the subject, has an article more beneficent achievement of enlightened Hu- on The Biçêtre Asylum," made up chiefly of manity. It is the education of Idiots. The extracts from a book of Dr. Conolly, and a letanimation of clay seems hardly more incredible, ter of Mr. S. to a friend in Boston. The letter than the extent to which mind has been infused is filled with particulars of the deepest interest. into such masses of stolidity. So hopeless has It was elicited by inquiries from Dr. Howe, of been the cure of idiots, so hopeless even any ap- Boston-member of a commission appointed in preciable improvement of their condition by any 1816, to inquire into the condition of idiots in process used in our Insane-Hospitals, that the Le- Massachusetts, “to ascertain their numb_r, and gislature of Virginia, eight years ago,* forbade whether any thing could be done fur their relief." any idiot to be received into either hospital. And The Biçêtre is the seat of the school for idiots, such, we believe, has been the course in other near Paris ; and contains also a lunatic asylum. States and countries.
Dr. Con lly says, But by the efforts of gifted men in France, new
“In the first part of the Bicêtre to which I was lights have lately been thrown upon the capabil- conducted was a school exclusively established ities of those unfortunates. There is a school for the improvement of the idiotic and of the and hospital for them in Paris, where transforma- epileptic, and nothing more extraord nary can
will be imagincil. No fewer than forty o these
parents were assembled in a moderate-sized * Acts of 1811, p. 45, ch. 15, 9 34.
school-room, receiving various lessons and per
forming various evolutions under the direction of any of the senses appear developed; who is abana very able schoolmaster, M. Seguin, himself a doned to the lowest passions, and who is unable pupil of the celebrated Itard, and endowed with to walk or to execute voluntary movements. that enthusiasın respecting his occupation before He is brought to Bicêtre, and placed at once in which difficulties vanish. His pupils had been the class of those boys who are executing the all taught to sing to music, and the little band of moving power. Here, with about twenty others, violins and other instruments by which they were who have already learned to act somewhat in accompanied, was formed of the old almsmen unison, he is made, at first by holding and guiof the hospital. But all the idiotic part of this ding his arms and feet, and afterwards by the exremarkable class also sang without any musical citement of imitation, to follow the movements accompaniment, and kept excellent time and of his companions. These, at the order of the tune. Both the epileptic and idiotic were taught teacher, go through with various steps and moveto write, and their copy-books would have done ments of the head, arms and feet, which at the credit to any writing school for young persons. same time that they give wholesome exercise to Numerous exercises were gone through, of a the animal part of the system, develope the first kind of military character, with perfect correct- personal sentiment, that of rest and immobility. ness and precision. The youngest of the class After this, the class is made, at the word of comwas a little idiot boy of five years old, and it was mand, to designate various parts of the body. interesting to see him following the rest, and imi- On the 20th of January, the number of this class tating their actions holding out his right arm, was eighteen; some of whom had been several left arm, both arms, marching to the right and months under treatment; others of whom had left at the word of command, and to the sound been just attached to it. The teacher, 1st, indiof a drum beaten with all the lively skill of a cated, with his hand, a part of the body,—as French drummer by another idiot, who was head, arm, hand, face, hair, eyes, and named it gratified by wearing a demi-military uniform. aloud; the children repeated the movement and All these exercises were gone through by a col- touched the part. 2nd. The teacher designated, lection of beings offering the smallest degree of with the voice, a part which the idiot touched. intellectual promise, and usually left, in all asy- 3rd. He designated a part by gesture, and the lums, in total indolence and apathy."
pupils named it aloud.
There are many, of
course, who are slow to do this, but the love of Mr. Sumner thus groups together some of the imitation, and the care of teachers, produce, in wonderful results of the new system:
me, the necessary regularity of movement; the
organ of speech has yet, however, to be develDuring the past six months I have watched, oped in others. with eager interest, the progress which many
"A complete series of gymnastic exercises, young idiots have made, in Paris, under the di- adapted to the various necessities which the phyrection of M. Seguin, and at Bicêtre under that siological examination has established for each of Messrs. Voisin and Vallée, and have seen, case, is now followed up; the result of which is, with no less gratification than astonishment, to create an equilibrium between the muscular nearly one hundred fellow-beings who, but a aud the over-excited nervous system, to fatigue short time since, were shut out from all commu- the idiot sufficiently to procure him a sound and nion with mankind, who were objects of loath- refreshing sleep, and to develope his general ining and disgust, -many of whom rejected every telligence. At the same time, the hygeienic treatarticle of clothing, -others of whom, unable to ment, adapted to his peculiar case, is applied. stand erect, crouched themselves in corners and He is exposed to the light of the sun, to fresh gave signs of life only by piteous howls,—others, air—is made to go through frequent ablutions, in whom the faculty of speech had never been and is warmly clad. In most cases a tonic diet developed,—and many, whose voracious and in- is adopted, and he is placed at table where the discriminating gluttony satisfied itself with what- monitors, by dint of industry and example, teach ever they could lay hanols upon, with the garbage him to eat as do those around him. thrown to swine, or with their own excrements;
“ The next step is to educate the senses, beginthese unfortunate beings—the rejected of human- ning with that of feeling; and beginning with ity, I have seen properly clad, standing erect, this, inasmuch as it is the sense by which the walking, speaking, eating in an orderly manner idiot acquires most readily a knowledge of exat a common tab working quietly as carpen- ternal objects, long before his eye is accustomed ters and farmers; gaining, by their own labor, to fix their image, or his ear to listen to sounds. the means of existence; storing their awakened Smell and taste are next cultivated; the former intelligence by reading one to another : exercis- by presenting to the pupil various odors, which ing towards their teachers and among themselves at first make no impression whatever, rose and the generous feelings of man's nature, and sing- assafætida being received with equal favor. By ing in unison songs of thanksgiving.”
degrees, and as the harmony of the functions is
restored, and the intellectual activity developed, Our readers must not fail to read the following this sense is awakened, and lends again its' aid long extract from Mr. Sumner's letter; con
to awaken others. The sense of taste is rousea taining, in fact, its main substance. All that we rious substances, alternately, sapid and acid, bit
in the same manner, by placing in the mouth vahave said was meant but to introduce and re- ter and sweet. commend this extract:
“ The power of speech, so imperfect in all, is
the most difficult to develope; but a method, im"Let us take a young idiot, in whom scarce proving upon that which Pereira practised, in
1760, and which has been since successfully fol- is exercised, among other means, by the pupil's lowed up in Germany, has been adopted at Bi- learning to distinguish ard name, while blindçètre, and also in the private practice of Seguin, folded, the natural sounds as produced by the with great success. This is, however, the part cords of a bass-viol. Meanwhile, the youngest of idiot education that proceeds the slowest, and class of eighteen or twenty is going through its which, more than any other, except, perhaps, the elementary gymnastics of the moving power. moral treatment, requires, the greatest attention, “From 81 to 9, A. M., is taken up by the patience and intelligence on the part of the study of numeration and arithmetic. Here the teacher.
whole school is divided into frequently changing ** The sight is next cultivated ; and here, as in- groups, according to the various capacities dedeed in every part of this miracle of instruction, veloped. The lowest of all is ranged in line and great difficulties were at first encountered. The taught to count aloud up to thirty; a series of eyes of the idiot are often perfectly formed, but sticks, balls, or other material objects, being given he sees nothing—they fix no object. The organ to them at the time. This helps to ameliorate he possesses—but it is passive and dormant. their speech, and to stimulate to imitation those The senses of smell and taste have been devel- who have not that faculty. Another group is set oped by direct action upon them; that of touch, to climb upon ladders, counting the number of by putting the hand in contact with different bo-rounds as ihey go up,—and thus the muscular dies; the stagnant eye of the idiot cannot, how - system and knowledge of numeration are simulever, be moved by the hand of another. The taneously developed. A higher group is of those method employed is due to the ingenuity of Se- who count up to fisty with counters, and who, by guin. He placed the child in a chamber, which means of them, get an idea of unity, plurality, Was suddenly darkened, so as to excite his atten- subtraction, addition and equality. A higher tion.-after which, a small opening in a shutter group still has learned to count up to one hundred, let in a single ray of light, before which various and another group is learning, by means of moveobjects, agreeable to the pupil
, arranged upon able figures taken from a case, the combinations slides, like those of a magic lantern, were suc- of numbers. Higher still are boys working upon cessively passed. The light, and its direction, their slates, or going through calculations upon having once attracted his attention, was then, by the black board, with a facility and precision that a change of the opening in the shutter, moved any pupil of Warren Colburn might envy. up and down, to the right and left, followed in • From 9 to 91. Breakfast of soup and a plate most cases, by his heretofore motionless eyeballs. of meat. The pupils are here seated at table,
This is succeeded by exercises of gymnastics, and cat with fork and spoon-the more adroit aidwhich require the attention of the eye to avoid, ing those less so. not a dangerous bruise, but a disagreeable thump; “91 to 104. Recreation in open air,-running, games of balls and battledores are also used to playing ball, driving hoop, or cultivating a small excite this sense. Another means employed, is plot of ground, the hire of which, for three months, to place yourself before the idiot, fix his eye hy each one may gain by a certain number of ticka firm look, varying this look according to va- ets of good conduct. rious sentiments; pursuing, for hours even, his “104 to 111: Reading class, in which all take moving but unimpressed orbit; chasing it con- part, divided, however, into various groups, as stantly, until finally it stops, fixes itself and begins before. to see. After efforts of this kind, which require “11} to 12. Writing class. Here the lowest a patience and a superiority of will that few group is taught only to trace on the black board, men possess, the first reward comes to the teacher with a ruler, these lines :himself, for his identity is recognised by other means than the touch, and he catches the first beam of intelligence that radiates from the heretofore benighted countenance.
" The number of pupils in the school has varied, for some time past, from eighty to one hundred. At 5 o'clock they rise, and pass half an “ The next group is taught to make upon the hour in washing, combing and dressing; the board the rudimental curvilinear characters, makmonitors, pupils more advanced, aiding those ing three in each line. After this they write on whose instruction is but recently commenced. slates, and, when farther advanced, the monitor They then pass into the hall of classes, and being ready to guide their hands, they write in range themselves in a double line-no easy task ruled books. The highest class rules its own for the beginners—when they sing a simple morn- books, and writes alternately a page of large and ing prayer, repeated to them by the teacher. fine hand. After this, they make their first breakfast of a “ 12 to 12). Gymnastics. simple slice of bread. The class for the educa- 124 to 1. Music. tion of the senses now begins and fills up the “1 to 44. Manual labor. In this all take part; time till 84, A. M. In the 1st or highest divis- some as shoe-makers, somo as carpenters, or ion, several occupy themselves with face and rather cabinet-makers, and some as tillers of the landscape drawing; and others, less advanced, ground. One of the best exercises for the body, with geometrical drawing upon the black-board. inasmuch as it com pels the idiot to walk and bal
vision, divided into sections, is of those ance himself unaided, is that of wheeling a barwho are exercising the senses of smell, taste, row, charged with a weight proportionate to his sight, and observing color and form by the methodl strength. The most stupid may be soon taught I have before described. The sense of hearing this. Others, more intelligent, 'wield spade and
pickaxe most energetically and profitably; but The testimonies of other English travellers in nowhere does their awakened intelligence appear France are given ; but we have room only for more satisfactory than in the workshop of a cabi, one more short extract from Mr. Sumner, which net maker. When one of them has sawed through a plank, or nailed together two pieces speaks for itself: of wood, or made a box, his smile of satisfac
" The fact, I have said, is now clearly estabtion,—the consequence of something attempted, something done,'--the real result of which he lished, that idiots may be educated; that the recan estimat',-is beautiful to see.
Nor is their flective power exists within them, and may be awawork, by any means, to be despised. With one
kened by a proper system of instruction ; that they cabinet-maker as teacher and monitor, they per- may be raised from the filth in which they grovel
to the attitude of men; that they may be taught formed, last year, all the work necessary for their school-room and dormitories, as well as for a good honest livelihood ; and that, although their in
different arts which will enable them to gain an part of the great establishment of Biçètre. At shoe-making they show intelligence; but this is telligence may never, perhaps, be developed to too sedentary an occupation for them. Some,
such a point as to render them the authors of however, who have quitted the school, work at
those generous ideas and great deeds which leave it; but the greater number of them become farm- a stamp upon an age, yet, still, they may attain ers and gardeners.
a respectable mediocrity, and surpass, in mental “After this manual labor they dine, and after power, the common peasant of many European
states." dinner play till 64 P. M.
" Froin 6 to 7. Grammar class; the lowest group is taught to articulate syllables,--the high
The Reviewer adds a sensible admonition to est, as much as in any grammar school.
those who are establishing similar schools, or "From 7 to 81 is passed in reading to one hospitals, in England, not to place them in, or another, or in conversations and explanations adjoining lunatic asylums or other retreats for the with the teacher, upon things which may excite insane ; because of the burtful influence exerted the reflective power; two evenings in the week by the sights and sounds of such asylums upon this hour is devoted to a concert and a dance. “ After this comes the evening prayer, sung
the nascent and tender minds of the idiot pupils.. by all; and then, fatigued, but happy, they retire And now, will Virginia do her duty towards
the hundreds of her own sons and daughters Such is a day at the school of Bicêtre. who are in the helpless and distressing condition Every Thursday morning the teacher takes them of idiocy? We do not know, but we will lay any out to walk in the country, and then inculcates elementary notions of botany, designating by wager—even “our dukedom to a beggarly detheir names, and impressing by smell, taste and nier”—that Massachusetts has done something sight, the qualities of different flowers and useful decided, something generous, on this subject, bevegetables which they see. At the same time fore now. he explains, by locality, the first elements of ge
M. L. ography. On Saturday evening there is a distribution of tickets of good conduct, three of which pay the rent of a garden, and one of which may buy off, for another, with the consent of the teacher, the punishment adjudged for certain slight acts of negligence. You will see
HERMANN. at once the effect which this must have upon the generous sentiments of the pupils. The sentiment of possession is developed—the rights of BY THE BARDS WERDOMAR, KERDING AND DARproperty taught; but its duties and its pleasures are, at the same time, impressed. “ These tickets of good conduct are given also
AN ODE. to those who are designated, by the pupils themselves, as having done some kind and generous (From the German of Klopstock. In the style of the ancient action, -as having been seen to run to the aid of
German bards.) one who had stumbled at play,—who had divided among his companions the bon-bons he may have received from a visitor, or who had helped, in any way, one weaker than himself. Thus
Hermann, in Latin called Arminius, was the they are constantly on the look-out for good actions in one another; but they are most positive
son of Siegmar, a prince of the Cherusci. He ly forbidden to repeat the negligences or unkind was educated at Rome, and was raised there to conduct which they may observe. The surveil- the rank of a knight. But even amidst the splenlance of the monitors is sufficient to detect these; dors of the capital of Augustus, the fire of patand even were it not, M. Vallée prefers that they riotism burned in his soul, and he returned to the should go unpunished, rather than that they forests of Germany, determined to liberate his should serve to cherish the grovelling sentiments of envy and malice which lurk in the breast of country from the Roman yoke. By his eloquence the informer and the scandal-monger.”—Letter, and zeal he assembled around him the German
hosts, and in a decisive and bloody battle, fought
BY C. L. LOOS.
in the Teutoburger forest, whither he had lured | Flow, flow down the glowing cheek, the enemy, and wbich lasted for three days, he
Tears of rage! defeated and almost annihilated an immense Ro- They are not mute. Thou understandest what they murman army under the command of Quinctilius Varus. Three Roman legions were almost en- It is a curse. Hear them, O Hela, tirely cut to pieces, and Varus himself, in despair, Let none of the traitors of the fatherland fell on his sword. Seutonius records that this That slew bim, die in battle! terrible defeat so overwhelmed Augustus, that
Werdomar. for months he let his beard grow, and often stri
See ye the forest.stream tumble king his head against the wall would exclaim, Down into the rocky cleft?
And hurled down with it the rumbling pines “ Varus, Varus, give me back my legions !" For Hermann's funeral-pyre? Hermann is regarded by the Germans as the Soon will he be dust, and rest deliverer of their country, and this defeat of In the earth of the grave, Varus as the great battle of their freedom, which And in the holy dust the sword secured to them their future independence and On which he swore destruction to the conqueror ! the purity of their language, their customs and Linzer, Othou, spirit of the slain, their laws. He was victorious in many other On thy way to Siegmar, engagements with the enemies of his country, And hear how for thee and Caecina, a Roman general under Germani- Burns the heart of thy people! eus, son of Drusus, came near meeting the fate
Kerding. of Varus with his whole army. Through the
Tell it not to Thusnelda,-speak it not, jealousy of some German princes he was assas
That here in his blood her Hermann lies! sinated in his thirty-seventh year. He had car- Speak it not to the noble wife. the unhappy mother ried off and married Thusnelda, daughter of That her Thumeliko's father lies here in blood ! Segestes, a chief of his own nation, but an ardent ally of the Romans. Thusnelda was cap- Walked before the terrible car of the proud triumph!
Tell it not to her, that has already in chains tured by her father and was led to Rome to grace Thou hast n Roman heart the subsequent triumph of Germanicus. That coulds't tell this to the desolate one! Werdomar.
Darmond. On this rock of aged moss
And what father begot ihee,
Unhappy daughter!-Segestes too
For there he lies in his blood,
Look not upon him ;-you would weep,
The chord that trembles
Hermann, Hermann, sing to the echo,
Sister of Cannae, battle of Winfeld !
The son of Drusus wished :o conceal
Lyre of the German bards.
3 The goddess that reigns over those dreary regions where those dwell after deaih who do not die in battle.
* Segestes was author of the conspiracy against Arminius. • The Elysium of the heroes fallen in battle.