Puslapio vaizdai

versation with the Abbe Sicard; and I once had the pleasure of passing some time in a room where an assistant of the Abbe was giving lessons. On my arrival at the Carmelites, upon this last occasion, I asked a little boy, who was going out, to show me the school room, upon which he applied his fingers to his mouth and to his ears, to explain to me that he was deaf and dumb, and then imitated the action of a person taking a pencil out of his pocket, and writing on a piece of paper. All this was done in less time than words expressive of the same ideas could have been pronounced, and with a very intelligent countenance, and upon my writing down, that I was an American, and that I wished to see a countryman, a sourd-muet who had lately arrived, he conducted me to the room. I could perceive, as he went along the corridor of the ancient convent, that he told the boys we met, who I was, with his fingers; several of them appeared to be conversing, and all of them seemed cheerful and happy. As I requested the instructor to continue his lesson, I had the pleasure to see the mode of teaching, which the Abbe recommends, put in practice. A part of the wainscot was painted black, and upon this, the boys either drew the figures of different objects, or placed the names of them, or wrote sentences which the master dictated. Some of them were learning the numerical figures by making a greater or less number of radii meet in a common centre, where the figures were placed; and others, the government of a verb, by one or more substantives; in the case of the third person singular, for instance, of the verb to go, and in the present time, he was put at one extremity of a line and goes at the other; and in the third person plural, two lines, each having he at one extremity, terminated by forming an acute angle, and there the words they go were written. It was the same for the first person plural of to be: two lines, with I am at the commencement of each, ended in we are. I desired the instructor to dictate to one of them, that I was from North America, which he did by pointing to the west with one hand, and with a gesture which implied distance, and making a movement with the other in imitation of a ship in motion. He comes from America, was instantly written down, and the boys immediately gathered about me and drew my attention to a little Creole of St. Domingo, implying, I presume, that he was my countryman. I then requested that the word North might be put before America, upon which the instructor, making a sign that all was not right, looked first as if incommoded by the sun, then turned suddenly round and pointed a little to the right of West, and the word North was immediately added. I observed that they expressed the future by moving the hand forward in a half circle vertically, and the past by an action which resembled the throwing of something over the shoulder. I am sorry I neglected to ask how many pupils there are at

present under the care of the Abbe Sicard, but I know the number to be very considerable. Persons who are able to bear the expense, pay for the board and tuition of their children, the others are maintained by the government. I should have been glad to have repeated my visit to this interesting place, but there were still a great many things to be seen in Paris, and my time has passed as rapidly as in a dream.

A great many of Massieu's definitions are the best I know, and I was only sorry, that a person of his respectable character and great acquirements should be called upon to act a part, once a month, upon a sort of public stage. As he expresses himself by looks, and by gesticulations, and motions of the body, there are times when it is impossible to keep one's countenance. But the good Abbe condescends to act a part also, and takes a great deal of pains to explain his system before persons, who pay very little attention to what he says, and are far from following him, as he imagines, into the regions of metaphysics. They come to see the sourd-muets perform feats of knowledge, as they would go to see a monkey play tricks, and are impatient till the show begins.

There is a simplicity in the language of these people, when they express themselves upon paper, which is very interesting. It happened once to Massieu to have his pocket picked, and his attestation before the magistrate was as follows: "I am a sourd-muet. I was standing with others, sourd-muets like myself, looking at the pyx of the holy Sacrament, when a man perceived a red pocket-book in my right coat pocket. He approached me gently and took it. My hip informed me of what had happened. I turned towards him: he was frightened, and threw the pocket-book against the leg of another man, who picked it up and gave it to me. I took him by the coat; he turned pale and trembled. I beckoned to a soldier and showed him the pocket-book. The soldier brings this man-robber before you, and I have followed. I swear before God he took my pocket-book. He dares not swear before God. I hope he will not have his head cut off, but only be made to row upon the sea, for he has not killed."

The first effusions of his mind, when his teacher had made him feel the necessity of a supreme Being, and convinced his reason that there was a God were truly astonishing: He begged that he might return home and give the blessed information to his parents, and to his brothers and sisters; and when he was informed that the government had decreed him twelve hundred livres a year, as an assistant teacher: "ah, how happy I am!" was his exclamation, "my dear parents now can never want bread."

The almost impious idea of Rousseau, that he would present himself to his creator, at the day of universal judgment, with the volume of his confessions in his hand, might cease to deserve that epithet, if

applied to these good and virtuous men, the Abbe de l'Epee and the Abbe Sicard. They, surely, if we can suppose such a moment according to the literal interpretation, might not fear to present themselves at the most awful tribunal, followed by numbers, for whom neither virtue nor religion had existed, but for their exertions.



A VERY late London gazette announces that a new weekly paper, entitled THE FRIEND, was on the eve of making its appearance in the metropolis of the British empire. This Journal is to be conducted by the celebrated Coleridge, already advantageously known to the republic of letters by many ingenious performances both in Poetry and Prose. With the utmost cheerfulness we insert his Prospectus in The Port Folio, and this we do with the more alacrity, because it is plainly perceived that Time, Experience, and Observation, have totally changed the colour of this gentleman's mind, and that the reign of right principle is fully restored.

The execution of this Prospectus, we think, falls rather below Mr. Coleridge's brilliant powers. It is manifestly a hasty production; and, in the awkward form of a fragment of a letter, has the guise of affected negligence, not to say slovenliness. Mr. Coleridge is unquestionably capable of much more glorious exertion, and, when we recollect that, with all an architect's ability, he is about to construct a magnificent Temple, we are not a little surprised that he has not been more studious of the elegance of its porch.

The plan is nearly unexceptionable. It is liberal and extensive. The preference of prominent utility to transient delight is certainly judicious, but when Mr. Coleridge tremendously threatens his terrified readers with the menace of writing long essays, we tremble for the popularity of the work. If he depart from the plan of the Spectator, Mr. Coleridge does it at his peril. Brevity, he need not be told, is the soul of wit, and a long essay is as absurd as a long epigram.




Extracted from a letter to a correspondent.

"It is not unknown, to you, that I have employed almost the whole of my life in acquiring, or endeavouring to acquire, useful knowledge, by study, reflection, observation, and by cultivating the society of my superiors in intellect, both at home and in foreign countries. You know too, that at dif ferent periods of my life, I have not only planned, but collected the materials for many works on various and important subjects: so many indeed, that the number, of my unrealized schemes, and the mass of my miscellaneous fragments, have often furnished my friends with a subject of raillery, and sometimes of regret and reproof. Waving the mention of all private and accidental hindrances, I am inclined to believe, that this want of perseverance has been produced in the main by an over activity of thought, modified by a constitutional indolence, which made it more pleasant to me to continue acquiring, than to reduce what I had acquired to a regular form. Add too, that almost daily throwing off my notices or reflections in desultory fragments, I was still tempted onward by an increasing sense of the imperfection of my knowledge, and by the conviction, that, in order fully to comprehend and develop any one subject, it was necessary that I should make myself master of some other, which again as regularly involved a third, and so on with an ever-widening horizon. Yet one habit, formed during long absences from those, with whom I could converse with full sympathy, has been of advantage to me—that of daily noting down, in my memorandum or commonplace books, both incidents and observations; whatever had occurred to me from without, and all the flux and reflux of my mind within, itself. The number of these notices, and their tendency, miscellaneous as they were, to one common end, (quid sumus et quid futuri gignimur, what we are, and what we are born to become; and thus, from the end of our being to deduce its proper objects) first encouraged me to undertake my weekly essay, of which you will consider this letter as the Prospectus,

"Not only did the plan seem to accord better than any other with the nature of my own mind, both in its strength and in its weakness; but conscious that, in upholding the principles both of taste and philosophy, adopted by the great men of Europe, from the middle of the fifteenth till toward the close of the seventeenth century, I must run counter to many prejudices of many of my readers (for old faith is often modern heresy). I perceived too in a periodical essay the most likely means of winning, instead of forcing my way. Supposing truth on my side, the shock of the first day might be so far lessened by reflections the succeeding days, as to procure for my next week's essay a less hostile reception, than it could have met with, had it Been only the next chapter of a present volume. I hoped to disarm the VOL. IL

mind of those feelings, which preclude conviction by contempt, and, as it were, fling the door in the face of reasoning by a presumption of its absur dity. A motive too for honourable ambition was supplied by the fact, that every periodical paper of the kind now attempted, which had been conducted with zeal and ability, was not only well received at the time, but has become permanently, and in the best sense of the word, popular. By honourable ambition I mean the strong desire to be useful, aided by the wish to be generally acknowledged to have been so. As I feel myself actuated in no ordinary degree by this desire, so the hope of realizing it appears less and less presumptuous to me, since I have received from men of the highest rank, and established character, in the republic of letters, not only strong encouragements as to my own fitness for the undertaking, but likewise promises of support from their own stores.

The object of The Friend, briefly and generally expressed is, to uphold those truths and those merits, which are founded in the nobler and permanent parts of our nature, against the caprices of fashion, and such pleasures, as either depend on transitory and accidental causes, or are pursued from less worthy impulses. The chief subjects of my own essays will be:

The true and sole ground of Morality, or Virtue as distinguished from prudence.

The origin and growth of moral impulses, as distinguished from external and immediate motives.

The necessary dependence of taste on moral impulse and habits: and the nature of taste (relatively to judgment in general and to genius) defined, illustrated, and applied. Under this head I comprise the substance of the Lectures given, and intended to have been given, at the royal institution, on the distinguished English Poets, in illustration of the general principles of Poetry: together with suggestions concerning the affinity of the Fine Arts. to each other, and the principles common to them all.

The opening out of new objects of just admiration in our language; and information of the present state and past history of Swedish, Danish, Ger. man, and Italian literature, (to which, but as supplied by a friend, I may add the Spanish, Portuguese, and French), as far as the same has not been already given to English readers, or is not to be found in common French


Characters met with in real life; Anecdotes and results of my own life and travels, &c. &c. as far as they are illustrative of general Moral Laws, and have no immediate bearing on personal or immediate politics.

Education in its widest sense, private and national.

Sources of consolation to the afflicted in misfortune, or disease, or distress of mind, from the exertion and right application of the reason, and imagination, and the moral sense; and new sources of enjoyment opened out, or an attempt (as an illustrious friend once expressed the thought to me) to add sunshine to daylight by making the happy more happy. By the words "distress of mind," I more particularly refer to speculative doubt or disve

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