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Nor would space serve to detail the lives of Diodotus -Cicero's preceptor in geometry and Greek philosophy—to whose excellence and learning the orator renders his grateful tribute, nor of Didymus, the most famous man for learning in Alexandria in his time(the 4th century)—the instructor of St. Jerome-the repute of whose wisdom and sanctity attracted the stern hermit, St. Anthony, from his desert home; nor of Democritus the Grecian sage, who is said by some to have put out his eyes that he might prosecute his speculations to greater advantage. Nor yet, may
I linger to detail the struggles and successes of Scapinelli, who stood pre-eminent among his Italian contemporaries for genius and learning, filling the chair of poetry and eloquence in the universities of Pisa, Modena, Bologna, and who contributed as much as any man of the period to the revival of learning; nor of Hulderic Schoenenbergen, a celebrated German scholar and professor of the Oriental languages and literature; nor of Nicasius de Voerda, and Nicholas Bacon—both gentlemen of the Netherlands—who by their erudition acquired and deserved the degree of doctor of the canon and civil laws; nor of the Count de Pagan, father of the modern science of fortification. Time would fail me to speak of Francis Salinus, a Spanish musician; or of John Sinclair, an English performer; or of Dr. Blacklock, a man of letters; or of Anna Williams, a Welch poetess, and protégée of Dr. Johnson; or of John Wilson, whose memory seems to have been as marvellous as Magliabecchi's own; or of Holman, the traveller, who made a circuit of the earth, visiting nearly all the places of interest, of which he has given agreeable descriptions in his
EMINENT BLIND MEN.
books; or of hosts of others, who, although with darkness and with dangers compassed round, have yet won distinction in their respective spheres, and shown how man can triumph with such fearful odds against him.
My desire is to make special mention of a few, who are entitled to our regard and admiration, by the noble and inspiring lessons they have taught.
Euler, the most eminent European mathematician of the last century, lost his sight by too strenuous application to his studies, at the age of fifty-nine. Undaunted, however, by this calamity, which would have paralyzed most men's energies, he prosecutes with changeless purpose, his scientific inquiries and calculations. From the unbroken gloom issued a number of his most remarkable works; among them his elements of algebra, a new theory of the moon's motions with tables, which latter are considered by those best prepared to judge, a prodigy of constant industry and unflagging patience. Cheerful to a proverb, his kindly nature shed light upon all who came within his circle.
Nicholas Saunderson was born in the village of Thurston, Yorkshire, in the year 1682. At the age of six months, he lost not only his sight by an attack of the small pox, but even his eyes, which were discharged in abscesses. The father's heart softened to tenderness toward the afflicted child, and notwithstanding he was only a poor excise officer, with narl'ow. means, he determined to do all in his
power, to place the advantages of a superior education at the disposal of his son. Accordingly, at an early age the boy was sent to school in the neighboring vil
lage of Pennistoun. Here he made astonishing progress, not only in English but also in Latin and Greek, surpassing all his fellows in rapidity of acquisition, as well as in avaricious retention of his stores. He early became so apt a Latin scholar, that he was ever after able to speak and write it as fluently and correctly as the English ; and so full and accurate was his acquaintance with the Greek, that he listened to the reading of books in that tongue with as easy and perfect a comprehension as if written in the vernacular. Unfortunately, the method adopted by his preceptor for the instruction of this remarkable pupil has not been preserved to us.
The father's circumstances becoming more straitened, it was deemed necessary to remove the boy from school. Desiring to make such amends as lay within his reach for the privation thus imposed—for the boy had shown an insatiate craving for knowledge
the father gave him his first lessons in arithmetic. Neighboring gentlemen proffered their services to teach him algebra and geometry. Ere long the masters had nothing left to teach; for it was discovered that great as was the lad's aptitude for the languages, his capacity for the science of numbers was yet greater. Through the eyes of others, he studied the works of Diophantus, Archimedes and Euclid, in the original.
He was now three and twenty years of age, but without a profession or honorable means of livelihood. What shall he do ? Led by a dog must he take his stand by the roadside to beg of the passers-by, or with staff and wallet, trudge a weary way telling his piteous tale from door to door, that the sight of his in.
firmity may move the beholder to an alms; because God's sunshine is shut out from him! Must the blind man be an object of commiseration without a sphere of independent activity, cut off from all the noble vocations of life, doomed to the dole of charity and the weakening voice of compassion? Though his burden be a heavy one, shall his only business be to recite its weight, and to disgrace existence by complaint? For the sightless man, as for every other, there is ennobling work to do, and noble wages attend the doing. Berest as he is, is he not too a man? No pensioner upon others' bounty will Nicholas Saunderson be, if he can help it. Where there is a will to work, God provides the way. A fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, visits Thurston about this time; hears of the blind prodigy, but cannot credit the report. He comes to see him for himself, and finds that the half had not been told. Struck by Saunderson's acquirements and accomplishments, the collegian invites him to the university. The invitation is accepted. The other fellows, interested in the story of their companion, vote the blind man chambers, access to their library, and the use of their eyes in availing himself of its treasures. Moreover, arrangements are made for Saunderson to give a course of lectures. The subject selected is optics; Sir Isaac Newton's Principia had just been published; but the work of the great philosopher was not duly appreciated, even by scholars. Among the very first to hail and estimate the immortal work was our blind lecturer, who used it as the basis for his prelections, thereby doing as much as any other man in England to introduce it into general favor. Curiosity attracted crowds, to hear what a man who had never seen could say concerning light and vision. The gape of idle wonder was exchanged for the tribute of applause. So ample and exact was the lecturer's comprehension of his subject, so admirable his method of treatment, his luminous style, his agreeable, unostentatious manner, that the multitude which came to stare, remained to learn. The course of lectures was a success;
honest bread was earned by honest toil; the blind man had found his vocation.
Some years after this, the eccentric William Whiston, Sir Isaac Newton's successor in the Lucasian chair of mathematics at Cambridge, was ejected from his dignity. Newton was still alive, and was consulted as to the proper person to fill the place. His choice fell on Saunderson. The nomination was heartily accepted by the university. But it was necessary that a special order should be issued by the crown, to authorize the conferring the degree of M. A. on a non-graduate. The heads of colleges presented the petition, which was graciously answered by the king; and our blind friend, at the age of nine-andtwenty, was inducted into the office, which had been rendered illustrious by the discoverer of gravitation. Nor was the honor unworthily bestowed. Saunderson did credit to the chair which had been filled by Newton.
Thenceforth he devoted himself to the service of his pupils, both as their instructor and companion. His labors, as a preceptor, were diversified by the composition of several mathematical works, which took a high rank among books of their class, and also by the invention of apparatus for his mechanical