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very frequently it was Senebier who suggested the experiments, and Huber, deprived of sight, who executed them. Their labours have been published in their joint names, under the title of “Memoires sur l'Influence de l'Air dans la Germination des Graines.”
The style of Huber is, in general, clear and elegant, and while not destitute of the precision required in didactic compositions, it is blended with that charm which a poetical imagination is capable of diffusing over all objects. That, however, by which it is particularly distinguished, is what would be least expected, the description of facts in so graphic a manner, that in the perusal we seem ourselves to see the objects which the author, alas, had not seen. sidering this singular quality of the style of a blind person, I have accounted for it, by the efforts it must have cost him to connect the accounts of his assistants, in order to form a complete idea.
His taste for the fine arts, being deprived of the power of expatiating on form, was led to sounds. He loved poetry but music, had the greatest charins for him: his taste for it might be called innate, and he was greatly indebted to it throughout his whole life, as a source of delightful recreation; his voice also was agreeable, and he had been initiated from his earliest youth in the beauties of Italian music.
The wish to keep up acquaintance with absent friends, without recourse to a secretary, suggested to him the idea of having a printing press for his own use; it was made for him by his servant, Claude Lechet, whom he had inspired with a taste for mechanics, in the same way that he had formerly instructed Burnens in natural history. A series of numbered cases contained small printing types, executed in bold relief, which he arranged in his hand. On the lines thus composed, he placed a sheet of paper blackened with a particular kind of ink, and above that a sheet of white paper; with a press, set in motion by his foot, he succeeded in printing a letter, wbich he folded and sealed himself, greatly delighted with the idea of that independence of others, which he hoped to acquire by this means. The difficulty, however, of putting the press into action made him soon abandon the use of it; but the letters, and the algebraic characters of burnt earth, which his son, ever zealous and ingenious in his service, had made for him, were a source of occupation and amusement for upwards of fifteen years. He enjoyed also the pleasure of walking in the fields, and was even able to do this alone ; by means of strings in his hand, and small knots made at intervals, he always knew where he was, and would direct himself accordingly. The activity of his mind made it necessary that he should have such occupations, or he might have been amongst the most miserable of mankind; his friends around him also had no other wish than to please and assist him, and it therefore ceases to be a wonder how he preserved that happy disposition, which is so often destroyed by collision with mankind.
lively; and to few departments of knowledge was he a stranger. He delighted in elevating his thoughts to the contemplation of the most lofty and important subjects, and he could also descend to the most playful and familiar. He was not learned, in the usual acceptance of the term, but, like a skilful diver, he explored the depths of every question with extraordinary tact and sagacity. When the conversation turned on subjects in which he felt more than common interest, his fine countenance became peculiarly animated; the vivacity of his physiognomy, by some mysterious charm, seemed to give expression even to his eyes, so long condemned to darkness, and the tones of his voice then became more solemn and impressive. To extensive knowledge, M. Huber also joined an extraordinary inemory: he related, in a most graceful style, a great variety of interesting anecdotes, and nothing could be more affecting than to hear him sing the words of the scene between Edipus and his daughter.
This extraordinary man passed the latter years of his life at Lausanne, under the care of his daughter, Madame de Molin, and from time to time he resumed his early pursuits. The discovery of stingless bees in the neighbourhood of Tampico, by Captain Hall, excited his interest, and his joy was great when his friend, Professor Prevost, was able to send him, first a few specimens, and afterwards a whole hive of these insects. This was the last attention he paid to that favourite pursuit, to which he had been indebted for his fame, and, what was more, for his happiness. Naturalists, who have followed in his track, although enjoying the benefit of sight, have found nothing
of importance to add to the observations of one who was deprived of vision.
Huber preserved his faculties, and was both amiable and beloved to the last. At the
At the age of eighty-one he thus wrote to one of his dearest friends; “ There are moments when it is impossible to keep one's arms folded, and it is then, in unbracing them a little, that we can repeat to those whom we love, all the esteem, the affection, and the gratitude with which they inspire us;" further on, he added, “I can only say to you, that resignation and serenity are blessings that have not been denied to me." He wrote these lines on the 20th of December, and on the 22nd he was no more, having calmly breathed his last in the arms of his daughter.
Memoirs of the Empress Josephine, vol. 1-Foreign Quarterly Review, vol. 10. p 561-Edinburgh Review for 1815.
THE BLIND PHILOSOPHER OF DALKEITH.
But Oh! instead of Nature's face,
The many bright examples that have already been given of individuals who, in this state of blindness, have distinguished themselves by their eminence in the severest exercises of the mind, particularly in the acquisition of knowledge, evince how strong must be the natural love of knowledge in the human mind, when, even in the midst of such impediments, its gratification has, in so many instances, been so eagerly sought, and its end, so largely attained.
Alexander Davidson, A.M. was born at Dalkeith, a village in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, of humble, but respectable parents, who sent him early to the village school. Here, before he could number his seventh year, he had been taught to read with facility and interest, the Sacred Volume, which imparts to the peasantry of Scotland the virtue and in