Page images
PDF
EPUB

Common-hall at Derby, and clerk of the parish, who read a chapter to her almost every day. She would also sometimes give a penny or two, as she could spare

the money, to those who would not read to her without payment. By these means she became well acquainted with the New Testament, and could repeat many chapters without the book; and daily increasing in sacred knowledge, she exhibited its influence on her life, till, when she was about twenty-two years of age, she was condemned for not believing the doctrine of transubstantiation, and was burned at Derby, August 1, 1553.

During the reign of the gloomy bigot Mary, one Thomas Edwards, a boy of seveuteen years of

age, and also blind, was burnt alive in Smithfield, for asserting that the Scriptures were the only authority we ought to acknowledge. From the above facts, the reader will see the honourable share the blind had in that glorious struggle between light and darkness, liberty and slavery, which in the end produced the great moral revolution that took place in the 16th century, to which, under God, we owe all the civil and religious liberties we now enjoy.

AUTHORITY.

Townly, page 193.

BB

THERESA PARADIS,

THE

BLIND PIANO-FORTE PLAYER.

MADEMOISELLE THERESA PARADIS, equally distinguished by her talents and misfortunes, was the daughter of M. Paradis, Conseilleur Aulique in the imperial service of Austria. At the age of two years and eight months, she was suddenly blinded during the night, as it should seem, by excessive fear : for there being a dreadful outcry in her father's house of fire! thieves! murder ! he quitted the child and her mother in the utmost trepidation, calling out for his sword and fire-arms; which so terrified the infant, as instantly and totally to deprive her of sight.

At seven years of age, she began to listen with great attention to the music she heard in the church, which induced her parents to have her taught to play on the piano-forte, and soon after to sing. In three or four years' time, she was able to accompany herself on the organ, in the Stabat Mater of Pergolesi, of which she sung a part at St. Augustine's church, in the presence of the Empress Queen, who was so touched with her performance and misfortune, that she settled a pension on her for life. After learning music from several masters at Vienna, she was placed under the care of Kozeluch, an eminent musician, who composed many admirable lessons and concertos, on purpose for her use, which she played with the utmost neatness and expression.

At the age of eighteen, she was placed under the celebrated empyric Dr. Mesmer, who undertook to

cure every species of disease by “ animal magnetism." He called her disorder a perfect gutta serena, and pretended, after she had been placed in his house as a boarder for several months, that she was perfectly cured, yet refused to let her parents take her away or visit her. At length, by the advice of Dr. Ingenhouze, the Barons Stoerck and Wenzell, and Professor Barth the celebrated anatomist, and by the assistance of the magistrates, she was withdrawn from his hands by force, when it was found that she could see no more than when she was first admitted as Mesmer's patient. He hadl, however, the diabolical malignity to assert that she could see very well, and only pretended blindness, to preserve the pension granted to her by the Empress Queen, in consequence of her loss of sight; and, after the death of her imperial patroness, this cruel assertion was made an excuse for withdrawing the pension.

In the year 1780, Mademoiselle Paradis quitted Vienna, in order to travel, accompanied by her mother, who treated her with extreme tenderness, and bore a very amiable and interesting character. After visiting the principal courts and cities of Germany, where her talents and misfortunes procured her great attention and patronage, she arrived at Paris early in the summer, and remained there five or six months; receiving every mark of approbation and regard in that capital also, both for her musical abilities and her amiable disposition. When she arrived in England, about a month or six weeks afterwards, she brought letters from persons of the first rank, to her Majesty Queen Charlotte, the Imperial Minister, and other individuals of high rank, as well as to the principal musical professors in London. Messrs. Cramer, Abel, Solomon, and other eminent German musicians interested themselves very much in her welfare, not only as being a country-woman bereaved of sight, but also as an adn irable performer. She went to Windsor to present her letters to the Queen, and had the honour of playing there to their Majesties, who were extremely pleased with her performance, and treated her with that condescension and kindness, which all who were so happy as to be admitted to the presence of their Majesties, in moments of domestic privacy, experienced, even when less entitled to it by merit and misfortunes than Mademoiselle Paradis. She afterwards performed before his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, at a grand concert at Carltonhouse, to the entire satisfaction and wonder of all who heard her; she also had a benefit night, which was extremely well attended.

AUTHORITY.

European Magazine, 1781.

EXTRAORDINARY ACCOMPLISHMENTS. We have now to introduce to our readers another young lady named Salignac, who, like the one of whom we have previously given some particulars, was blind from an early age, and was likewise distinguished by attainments extraordinary in one labouring under that severe privation.

Mademoiselle Salignac was a native of Xaintonge, in France, and lost her sight when only two years old, her mother having been advised to lay pigeons' blood on her eyes, to preserve them in the small-pox, whereas, so far from answering the end, it caused an inflammation, which destroyed sight. Nature, however, may be said to have compensated for that unhappy mistake, by beauty of person, sweetness of temper, vivacity of genius, quickness of perception, and many talents which certainly sostened her misfortune. She played at revertis (a game of cards) without any

direction, and often faster than others of the party. She first prepared the packs allotted to her, by pricking them in several parts, yet so imperceptibly that the closest inspection could scarcely discover her indexes; at every party she altered them, and they were known only to herself; she also sorted the suits and arranged the cards in their proper sequence, with the same percision, and nearly the same facility, as they who have their sight. All she required of those who played with her, was to name every card as it was played, and these she retained so exactly, that she performed some notable strokes at revertis, such as showed a great power of combination and a strong memory. A very wonderful circumstance was, that she learned to read and write ; she regularly corresponded with her elder brother, whom some mercantile affairs had called to Bourdeaux, and from her he received an exact account of every thing that concerned them. The mode adopted by her

В в 3

« PreviousContinue »