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Seventh Annual Report Of The Board Of Education; Together With The Seventh Annual Report Of The Secretary Of The Board

Creator: Horace Mann (author)
Date: 1844
Publisher: Dutton and Wentworth, Boston
Source: Available at selected libraries


I have seen no Institutions for the Blind equal to that under the care of Dr. Howe, at South Boston; nor but one indeed, (at Amsterdam,) worthy to be compared with it. In many of them, the blind are never taught to read; and in others they learn only a handicraft, or some mere mechanical employment. Generally speaking, however, music is taught; and in Germany, where the blind, like all other classes of society, are taught music very thoroughly, I saw a common mode of performance on the organ which is very unusual in America. The organs were constructed with a set of keys for the feet; so that the feet could always play an accompaniment to the hands.


In Paris, the new edifice for the blind now just completed, is, in its architectural construction and arrangement, an admirable model for this class of institutions.


In regard to the instruction given to the Deaf and Dumb, I am constrained to express a very different opinion. The schools for this class, in Prussia, Saxony and Holland, seem to me decidedly superior to any in this country. The point of difference is fundamental. With us, the deaf and dumb are taught to converse by signs made with the fingers. There, incredible as it may seem, they are taught to speak with the lips and tongue. That a person, utterly deprived of the organs of hearing, -- who indeed never knew of the existence of voice or sound, -- should be able to talk, seems almost to transcend the limits of possibility; and surely that teacher is entitled to the character of a great genius as well as benefactor, who conceived, and successfully executed, a plan, which, even after it is accomplished; the world will scarcely credit. In the countries last named, it seems almost absurd to speak of the Dumb. There are hardly any dumb there; and the sense of hearing, when lost, is almost supplied by that of sight.