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SOME ACCOUNT

OF THE

WEST OF ENGLAND

DEAF AND DUMB INSTITUTION.

THE West of England Institution for the Deaf and Dumb contains thirty-two boys and twenty-three girls, between the ages of five and fifteen.

This noble Institution, or (to use the words of John Wilton, the eldest of the pupils now residing there) this "Temple of Peace and Piety," originated in a small private Establishment for about twelve poor deaf and dumb children, superintended, for some years, by a lady in the neighbourhood of Exeter.

In the year 1827, owing to the benevolent exertions of Sir Humphrey Davy, Bart., and

some other gentlemen residing in and near Exeter, a subscription was raised for the purpose of removing these children into a public and permanent institution, and of extending the benefit to the deaf and dumb children of the four western counties of England.

The Institution thus founded has been since supported by donations and annual subscriptions; a handsome building has been erected on Mount St. Leonard's, about half-a-mile from Exeter it overlooks the river Ex, which flows at the foot of the spacious garden belonging to the establishment; and, from the northern side of the building, there is a delightful view, for many miles, of Halden Hills.

The Institution is at the distance of a morning's walk only from the sea; and the children are frequently indulged by taking that walk. Health could never have been better considered than in the choice of the spot on which the house is erected.

The boys are made to rise very early: they are up at the dawn of day for the purpose of

bodily exercise, walking, gymnastics, &c., before assembling in school: the time allotted to school is eight hours each day. Gardening, printing, engraving, and various other employments, occupy the children out of school: they are all, more or less, little carpenters, tailors, and shoemakers. The girls are instructed in house-work, needle-work, washing, &c. indeed, the scene of diligence, alacrity, and animation which this Institution presents, whether the children are occupied in the pursuit of knowledge, or engaged in their ordinary duties, can be imagined only by those who have visited it.

The most perfect unanimity dwells among them the turbulent passions which were visible in their uneducated state are suppressed, or regulated: gentleness, kindness, modesty, are the habitual guides of their whole conduct.

The anxiety of the older pupils respecting a new comer is exceedingly entertaining; and no ordinary politeness is exercised by them in pointing out to their new companion, par

ticularly if he is lively and well-mannered, the novelties of the school-room and grounds; but the sullen and rebellious spirit is soon brought to order and submission by the example and inculcations of the older boys.

There are three classes of children in this Institution : each pupil on the foundation pays £7 16s. per annum. The charge for private pupils is generally regulated according to the rank of the child's family; but no child, of any class, is admitted under £40 per annum, as a private pupil. There is an intermediate class for children whose parents may be unable to place them as private pupils, and who yet may not be in circumstances to require the assistance of the subscriptions raised for the benefit of the poorer classes: each child in this intermediate class pays £18 per annum. female pupils are under the care of a governess, superintended by the principal of the school, Mr. W. A. Gordon; a gentleman whose talents and merits can only be rightly estimated by those who have an opportunity of inspecting this Institution, and of observing the characters and attainments of his pupils.

The

We may venture to assert that no school for deaf-mutes, at present existing in Great Britain, can afford such striking examples of the degree in which the minds of these unfortunate persons can be cultivated, and in which they are prepared to be, not only happy in themselves, but useful to others. It is a fact, little known, that the number of deaf-mutes in England and Wales alone is computed to be 10,000. The difficulties which formerly existed of addressing instruction to minds thus locked up left this unhappy portion of our fellowbeings in the most painful solitude; the greater number either sank into imbecility, or became the sport of ungoverned passions; and, in both cases, were a melancholy burden on society. The obstacles to their instructions are, however, now happily removed, by the persevering efforts and inquiries of benevolent and philosophical minds.

The children in our Institution are educated in the strictest principles of virtue and religion; and those who go home, during the vacation, not unfrequently work a moral re

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