The life of a deaf-mute, with an image of a manual alphabet, 1855
William Sleight. A voice from the dumb. A memoir of John William Lashford. [...] Third Thousand. London, Seely, Fleet Street etc., 1855. 17 x 10,5 cm. 120 pp. With a frontispiece showing a manual alphabet. Original publisher's blind-stamped cloth, title in gilt on front board. In very good condition. Owner's entry on flyleaf, binding slightly discoloured.
The story of John Lashford, a deaf-mute who died tragically young.
It narrates the story of John William Lashford, a pupil of the Brighton and Sussex Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, who died in 1848 at the age of 17. Written by the headmaster of the institute, the primary aim of the publication seems to have been to raise money for the Institute.
"In a style epitomizing Victorian sentimentality, he [John] was depicted as a child who had achieved piety through adversity. [...] By portraying a 'good death' of the sort promoted by the Evangelical Revival and captured by the Romantic Movement, the Brighton Institution converted John Lashford into a marketable product whose appeal to the spiritual anxieties of less challenged believers generated valuable funds" (Borsay).
Cf. Borsay, 'Deaf Children and Charitable Education in Britain, 1790-1944', in: Medicine, Charity and Mutual Aid, pp. 71-90.