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in the first volume of the Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester,' “ were the favourite employments of his infant years. At a very early age he made himself acquainted with the use of edged tools so perfectly, that, notwithstanding his entire blindness, he was able to make little windmills; and he even constructed a loom with his own hands, which still shew the cicatrices of wounds he received in the execution of these juvenile exploits." Besides a knowledge of the ancient languages, and of music, he is stated by Mr Bew, who became acquainted with him about the year 1782, to have made himself extensively conversant with Algebra and Geometry, and with Chemistry, Mechanics, Optics, Astronomy, and the other departments of Natural Science. At this time he was engaged in delivering lectures on Chemistry and Natural Philosophy in the different large towns throughout the country. He used to perform all his experiments, we are told, with his own hands, and with extraordinary neatness. Moyes possessed all that extreme delicacy in the senses of touch and hearing for which the blind have usually been remarkable. We have been told, that having been one day accosted in the street by a young friend whom he had not met with for a good many years, his instant remark, on hearing his voice, was, how much taller you have grown since we last met! When first brought into a company, his custom was to remain silent for a short time, until by the sound of the different voices he had made himself acquainted with the size of the room, and the number of persons it. He then quite at his case, readily distinguished one speaker from another, and shone greatly himself by his powers of conversation. Although at that time not in affluent circumstances, and having indeed nothing to depend upon except the very precarious

was

occupation to which he had betaken himself, he was remarkable for his cheerfulness and buoyant spirits. He contrived for himself a system of palpable arithmetic, on a different principle from that of Saunderson, and possessing the advantage in point of neatness and simplicity. An explanation of it may be found in a letter from himself, inserted in the Encyclopædia Britannica' under the article Blind. Dr Moyes who must have been a person of extraordinary mental endowments, and who affords us certainly, next to Saunderson, the most striking example on record of attainments in the Mathematics, made without any assistance from the eye, received his degree from a college in America, in which country he lectured for some years. He eventually made in this way a good deal of money; and some time before his death had retired to the town of Pittenweem, not far from his native place, where his society was much courted. His lectures are said to have been well delivered, and his explanations were eminently perspicuous. It has been reported that he could distinguish colours by the touch; but as this circumstance is not mentioned in his friend Dr Blacklock's article just referred to, we may fairly assume that he did not himself pretend to the possession of any such power,

CHAPTER XVIII.

Difficulties occasioned by Blindness conquered. Homer; Milton;

Salinas ; Stanley ; Metcalf ; Henry the Minstrel ; Scapinelli ; Blacklock; Anna Williams ; Huber.

MATHEMATICAL investigation is, strictly speaking, merely a mental exercise, and it is certaily conceivable that every theorem man has yet demonstrated in abstract science might have been discovered by him without the aid of his external senses. But, on the other hand, every operation of mind is so greatly facilitated by the employment of sensible symbols, and especially the processes of acquiring, apprehending, and recollecting knowledge, as well as of pursuing long and intricate calculations or deductions, receive such important assistance from those lines, figures, letters, and other marks which may be made to present the record of every thought faithfully to the eye, that we are justified in quoting any remarkable case of progress, even in abstract science, attained without the aid of this invaluable organ, as a noble example of what perseverance may accomplish in the face of the most formidable difficulties. It is much even for the mind to rise superior to so crushing a calamity as the loss of sight, and to maintain or recover its spirit of exertion under a deprivation which may be said to take from it for ever that which nature has appointed to be at once the chief helpmate and best sweetner of its labours. It would seem almost as if life could scarcely continue desirable to him whose hourly

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thought may be expressed, in the language, familiar to all, of Milton's beautiful and pathetic lamentation :

-with the year

Seasons return ; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks,o r herds, or human face divine ;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank

Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased.”
What an attestation to the medicinal value of intel-
lectual labour, that it has so often cheered even such
desolation as this ! and how strong must be the
natural love of knowledge in the human mind, that
even in the midst of such impediments to its gratifi-
cation it has in so many instances so eagerly sought
and so largely attained its end! After the examples
we have mentioned of individuals who in this state
of blindness have distinguished themselves by their
eminence in the severest exercises of the mind, it may
be thought less surprising that others should, in the
same condition, have devoted themselves with suc-
cess to pursuits of a less laborious character, and not
so rigorously taxing the attention and the memory.
Poetry and music, for example, may be deemed the
especially appointed occupations of the blind, as
having their subject and their materials chiefly in the
imagination and the affections, and being apparently
better fitted to dispense with the aid of visible sym-
bols than the intricate reasonings and calculations of
science. Yet even poetry owes much of its inspiration
to the eye wandering in freedom over nature ; and
more to that serenity and gladness of the soul, which
so heavy an affliction as the loss of sight is apt to

26*

VOL. III.

destroy or impair. Whosoever, therefore, suffering under this doom, shall not

-bate a jot
Of heart or hope ; but still bear up and steer

Right onward," be the healing and strengthening toils in which he exercises his spirit those of science or of song, still presents us with an example of heroic wisdom well worthy of our admiration.

It seems to have been the tradition of Greece that the Iliad and Odyssey were both composed by HOMER after he was blind, although, of course, from materials which he had collected before that misfortune befel him ; for it is very evident that the author of these poems must, at one time of his life, have surveyed whatever was most interesting that the world had at that early age to shew, with no dim or unobservant eye.

But of Homer, in truth, we know nothing. The origin of the Iliad and the Odyssey is the most perplexing problem in literature ; and Homer must, in all probability, ever remain to us a

The poems themselves are Homer, and perhaps there never was another. But if

“ Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides,

And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old,” instead of being fablers themselves, were merely the creations of other fablers, the Poet of Paradise at least uttered his harmonious numbers in darkness, he himself expresses it,

“ In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round.” Milton is supposed to have been in the fifty-fourth year of his age when he commenced the composition of his immortal epic, although the high theme had doubtless for some time before occupied his thoughts.

mere name.

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