Page images

to the Equator, and fixed ratios of the blind to the seeing have even been given to different parallels of latitude. But, however ingenious or curious such a speculation may be, there are at present no sufficient data to go upon. There are other causes, far more powerful than climate, at work in tropical countries, such as bad food, unhealthy lodging, disregard of all sanitary laws, and ignorance of ophthalmic surgery. And a glance at the accompanying table from the last census returns will show that all reasoning from mere geographical position is absolutely futile.

[blocks in formation]

For example, why should the ratio in Norway be 1 in 540, while in the adjacent country it suddenly sinks to 1 in 1400? or in poor little Denmark * to 1523? Why should Newfoundland, again, be so widely apart from Prince Edward's Island as 1400 from 1880 ? And why should the United States of America enjoy an immunity from blindness such as, we believe, no other country in the world can boast ? the ratio of blind people to those with sight—if American statistics are not worthless — being 1 in 2970; not one-half that of Great Britain.

The gist of our previous remarks has mainly applied to the lower and less-educated class of blind persons. We have endeavoured to give our readers some notion as to their numbers, occupation, and general status, to show what has been done, and what remains to be done, for them. Blindness in the United States f seems just now to be on the increase; and though in England it would for the time appear to be on the decrease, it may possibly again mount to the ratio which it maintained twenty years ago, two of its stanchest allies, typhus and scarlet fever, being almost as deadly as ever. In the mean while, how

It would be a curious point to inquire how far the common belief in the strength and endurance of dark blue and grey eyes, over brown and light blue, affects the light-haired, blue-eyed Norsemen.

+ See · Report of Pennsylvanian Institution for 1864,' p. 13.


cver, no provision whatever appears to be made for the education of blind children of the upper class, who stand in need of special teaching almost as much as their poorer fellow-sufferers. The want of it condemns them to many a long, weary hour of darkness and idleness which the poorer blind boy escapes. • Never,' says a blind man, ‘is labour more laborious, never is patience more tried, than when a blind child sits with his hands before him in ever-during darkness.' * What is really needed is a well-organised school or college for the education of children of both sexes from the upper ranks of life, where they may be not only thoroughly trained in all the special acquirements of the blind, but, as far as possible, in all the other branches of that wide and liberal education which is the heritage of the seeing. The want of some such institution is a very great and serious one, when it is remembered to what utter shipwreck of all power, heart, and hope in life blindness condemns its victims—so great and so intense that wise and good men in every age have for a time given way to it; and even John Milton, who grandly claims for himself and all his fellow-sufferers, that they are the special care of the Almighty, dwelling under the shadow of his wings,' yet mourns the loss of light in words of pathetic and unequalled tenderness. To him the sun is dark and silent as the moon,

Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.' Years come and go, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night; but to him day returns not, nor golden dawn nor summer eve, nor spring flowers, nor living creature, nor 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. I Thousands are still to be found in the same cloud of darkness which fell about the pathway of his life; some few possibly with genius of the same kindred power as his; but many

doubtless of fair and goodly talents, waiting, hoping, for some real work in life which may never come. Our object has been to show that their hope is a just one, that the need is vital; of what kind that work should be, and the noble fruit it will surely bear. would be hard to exaggerate the value, the beauty, and the

* Bull, p. 172. † Such a college has, we believe, been at last just started under the able direction of the Rev. W. Taylor, near Worcester. * Paradise Lost.' Book iii., 45.


interest of such work when once achieved. None indeed but He who made the eye can give sight to the blind ; but human hands and human hearts * may do inuch to help them to find out their share in all the privileges, joys, and responsibilities of human toil, and in it to discover Him who has set up his present kingdom here in this world of work, given to every man bis task, and, when evening is come, will give to each labourer his due wage of reward.'t

Art. VI.-1. Xenophontis Opuscula Equestria et Venatica cum

Arriani Libello de Venatione, fc. Vol. VI. J. G. Schneider.

Lipsiæ, 1815. 2. Pindari Epinicia. Edidit C. H. Weise. Lipsiæ, sumtibus et

Typis Caroli Tauchnitii. 1845. 3. Pausaniæ Græciæ Descriptio. Lib. V. et VI. in Vol. II.

Lipsiæ, 1829. Tauchnitz. 4. Ovidii Halieuticon Fragmentum. 5. Gratii Falisci et Olympic Nemesiani Carmina Venatica, cum

duobus fragmentis de Aucupio. Edidit Reinhard Stern, Halis

Sax. 1832. 6. Oppiani Poeta Cilicis de Venatione, Libri IV., et de Piscations,

Libri V., cum Paraphrasi de Aucupio, curavit J. G.

Schneider. Argent. 1776. 7. Arrian on Coursing ; the Cynegeticus of the Younger Xenophon.

Translated from the Greek, with Classical and Practical Annotations; to which is added an Appendix, containing some account of the Canes Venatici of Classical Antiquity.

By a Graduate of Medicine. London, 1831. 8. Prose Halieutics, or Ancient and Modern Fish Tattle. By the

Rev C. D. Badham, M.D. London, 1854. 9. An Encyclopædia of Rural Sports, or complete Account (His

torical, Practical, and Descriptive) of Hunting, Shooting, Fish

ing, Racing, fc. &c. By D. P. Blaine, Esq. London, 1858. 'THE THE invention of the art of hunting,' says an ancient Greek

sportsman, is from the Gods. Nestor, Amphiaraus, Meleager, Theseus, Ulysses, Æneas, Achilles, and a host of other worthies of ancient classic fable, all owed their celebrity to the attention which they gave to dogs and hunting. These

The useful little industrial shop in the New-road, founded by the unwearied exertions and generosity of Miss Gilbert, and managed by Mr. Levy, himself an old pupil of the School for the Indigent Blind, is alone a proof of what can be done for the welfare of the blind by a few earnest people resolved for work.

+ •Sirion.'


are the men,' continues Xenophon, whom the good still love and the bad envy. If any calamities happened to city or king in Greece these men were the deliverers; if any quarrel or war arose between Greece and the barbarians, the Greeks conquered by means of such men as these, and Greece became invincible. My advice, therefore, to the young is that they should not despise hunting nor any other training, for by such means men become good soldiers, and excel in other accomplishments by which they are of necessity led to think, speak, and act rightly."

There is good sound practical sense in these remarks of the son of Gryllus, who was at the same time a clever general, a brave soldier, a man of letters, and a thorough sportsman; and no one can for a moment doubt that ancient Greece and Rome did owe to a considerable extent their courage and skill in war to the attention they bestowed upon field sports and athletic exercises.

The importance of a training in field sports is acknowledged by Aristotle, Plato, and Cicero; indeed the voice of classical antiquity is almost universally in favour of manly games. Horace, with his usual felicity, has shown the connection between the hunting-field and the field of battle in the well-known lines:

• Romanis solemne viris opus, utile famæ
Vitæque et membris ; presertim cum valeas et
Vel cursu superare canem vel viribus

Possis. Adde, virilia quod speciosius arma
Non est qui tractet (scis quo clamore corona
Prælia sustineas campestria); denique sævam

Militiam puer et Cantabrica bella tulisti.' * A few uncongenial souls, however, regarded field sports and other manly exercises as altogether a mistake, and spoke of them with most sublime contempt. Foremost amongst these complainers we find the name of Euripides, who, in a lost play called • Autolycus,' thus ex patiates on athletic games :

And much I blame the present fashions, too,
Which now in Greece prevail ; where many a feast
Is made to pay great honour to such men,
And to show false respect to vain amusements.
For though a man may wrestle well, or run,
Or throw a quoit, or strike a heavy blow,
Still, where's the good his country can expect
From all his victories, and crowns, and prizes?
Will they fight with their country's enemies

* Epist. i. 18.

With quoit in hand ? or will their speed assist
To make the hostile bands retreat before them ?
When men stand face to face with th' hostile sword,
They think no more of all these fooleries.
T'were better to adorn good men and wise
With these victorious wreaths; they are the due
Of those who govern states with wisdom sound,

And practise justice, faith, and temperance.' Athenrus, who gives us this information, tells us also that Euripides plagiarised these verses from the . Elegies' of Xenophanes, whose lines on the uselessness of all athletic exercises are also quoted by the author of the · Deipnosophistæ.' If Athenæus is correct in ascribing the “Autolycus’to Euripides, we may perhaps assign the poet's contempt of athletic games to the fact of his having once offered himself as a candidate at the Olympic Games and having been rejected on account of some dispute about his age. But let us bid farewell both to eulogists and oppositionists, and endeavour to set before the reader some account of the sports and sportsmen of ancient Greece and Rome, noticing among the numerous passages in the classical writers which bear upon this subject such as appear to afford the most practical information.

As to the different breeds of sporting dogs used by the old Greeks and Romans it is not possible to come to any very definite conclusion. Of the canes venatici some pursued their game by scent, others by sight. Figures of dogs on ancient monuments show a considerable resemblance to the greyhound: there is no doubt that the greyhound was widely used to course hares, and Arrian has written a very interesting book on this subject. It seems probable that the beagle was known to Oppian, and that some kind of mastiff was used to hunt savage animals; but as the ancients often crossed their breeds, an ancient pack of hounds was often composed of what modern sportsmen would regard as rather a mongrel lot. But we must return to this subject by and by.

Hare-hunting was principally practised on foot, and though the horse was employed for the purposes of the chase, the ancient huntsman was more frequently to be seen unmounted, with light dress and shoes, and a thick staff in his hand, accompanied by a man who had the management of the nets, for without nets no sport was anticipated. The modern sportsman will regard such accessories as belonging rather to the poacher than to the hunter, but we must remember that in ancient times when fire-arms

* Aihenæus, *Deiprosophistæ,'-, ;, Y nge's translation.


« EelmineJätka »