Often strapped for material, the Youth’s Magazine, of Cincinnati, Ohio, often reprinted pieces from various newspapers. “Interview of the Blind with the Deaf and Dumb” gives glimpses of the education of blind and of deaf children in the 1830s and points up that impairment is relative.

“Interview of the Blind with the Deaf and Dumb” (from Youth’s Magazine, April 14, 1837; p. 31)

Interview of the Blind with the Deaf and Dumb.—An Ohio paper gives the following account of a visit of some pupils of the Boston Institution for the Blind, to the Deaf and Dumb Asylum in Columbus:—

To-day the children visited the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, where some interesting communications took place between these two classes of unfortunates, which strikingly exemplified the power of education, and the blessings and happiness to be derived from their respective institutions. The blind acquired a knowledge of the signs made by the mutes in a short time, by feeling their hands while in the act of making the signs. The blind boy wondered if the mutes would not like to hear him sing. He also inquired how the mutes could form any idea of sound. A mute girl replied, they formed an idea from reading their books.

The boy supposed the happiness derived from musical sounds which the blind enjoyed, could in no way be compensated to the deaf. The mute girl replied, that the great variety of pleasing objects which the deaf could see, more than balanced the pleasure which the blind derived from music. The blind boy said he could read in the dark, when the deaf could not see. To this the mute girl made no reply—the blind boy observed he had gallantry enough to yield the point.

The mute teacher came in, and took up the debate. The blind boy wished to know how many books the mute had read in the dark? He replied, none—but they could see and read of many things, and think of them in the dark; and that the blind labored under this disadvantage, they could not see to escape from danger when it approached. The blind boy observed that the blind could hear the sound of danger at a greater distance than the deaf, and be aided to escape, &c. &c. Thus the parties argued the relative advantages of their condition in life.

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