« VorigeDoorgaan »
inoculation, and then of vaccination,--bark,- antimony, &c. ;-remembering that our College of Physicians imprisoned one physician for employing cantharides, and another for differing from Galen ; that Ambrose Paré was “hooted" for tying wounded arteries instead of applying boiling pitch, the pain of which they thought nothing of, and which Dr. Copland would have
red; that, just as the course of the earth taught by Pythagoras and to be taught afresh by Corpernicus, at the end of two thousand years, after being reviled, and then again required all the powers of Newton for its demonstration, so the truth of nerves of sense and motion being distinct fel into contempt in the last century, and no preparation of that ancient and powerful remedy, colchicum, was in the London Pharmacopæia when I was student at St. Thomas's and Guy's Hospitals, in 1808.
The happiness of a scientific, liberal, and humane course they would find great beyond all expectation. They would feel raised as men, and be enabled not to view their poor coterie, or college, or profession, as their world, fashioning their opinions, and habits, and whole nature by its cramping influence; but, regarding themselves as a part of universal nature, would find themselves always moving freely in it, would keep their regards constantly upon its truths only, and, walking happily onwards, bestow no more attention
upon the sayings and doings of the coteries and prosperous men of the moment, than upon the noisy sparrows which flutter and chirp outside their window to-day and will not be heard of to-morrow.
We have already admitted that it is not for us to enter the lists with such a writer and scientific observer, when the subject is of the professional nature of that under consideration. In so far as the pamphlet is concerned, it seemed enough that we should show that Dr. Elliotson was entitled to a hearing, and that he urged grounds upon which every inquirer and experimenter has an undeniable right to appeal to a society of gentlemen whose only object should be the ascertainment of truth, not victory by the despotism of the majority, Let prejudice be scouted, and the existence of certain phenomena, which may be of great importance in a physiological view, be calmly tested and investigated. And where shall you find a fairer opponent than in the author of the pamphlet? Where one whose aid will be more efficient in the course of observation, or whose deep knowledge coupled with peculiar opinions will elicit a better rivalship of study and of insight? We learn, for example, that he is sceptical with regard to the alleged intuitive powers of knowledge in the stage of
clairvoyance.” He could never be privy to a case of collusion, which, we are persuaded, is not such a rare occurrence in mesmeric practice as its less educated and honest professors would have people to believe. There surely can be but faint reliance placed on a mesmeriser who goes about, generally on public occasions, attended by one unchanging patient, and where gain or eclat is the object of the performers.
Honest believers in the alleged science do wrong to the interests
of truth when they encourage public exhibitions and add to the fashionable fervour that attends any new excitement, especially if mystery is an element connected with the subject. The contagion of example is thus propagated among the weakest and most credulous; and disgustingly maniacal may be the results, without the slightest approach to a discovery of any new physiological fact, or other than the further derangement of morbid constitutions. We should say that even in the hands of the most skilful physician the process and manipulation by which magnetic sleep, or artificial somnambulism, is alleged to be produced, -as for the purpose of facilitating the cure of a disease, --should be most cautiously resorted to, seeing that the persons most susceptible of the influence appear for the most part to be labouring under a heated imagination, or some derangement of the normal state of the human system. Hence, we should fear,--supposing it to be established that mesmeric influence can be, and has been, exerted on those susceptible persons,---lest the additional excitement of the imagination, the feelings, or the passions, should prove a more serious evil than the disorder whose cure was intended.
It is obvious that great guardedness should be maintained in relation to the enlargement of doctrines connected with mesmerism, its alleged phenomena being as yet surrounded with mystery. Both delusion and imposture therefore have here the widest scope, and may riot in the wildest fancies. We offer this observation merely to have an opportuntity of noticing the fact that in certain quarters an attempt is making to connect phrenology with mesmerism; and for quoting a letter which we have met with in the “People's Phrenological Journal,” that may cause our readers to stare and to shake their heads.
Louisa Taylor, aged sixteen, came from Hull a little more than two months ago, to visit her sister, who resides in Bradford, and lives next door to Mr. William Prest, a practical mesmero-phrenologist. When about a year and a half old, L. T. was deprived of the proper use of her right arm and left leg ; and although several medical men were consulted about her case, she derived no benefit from their treatment. During the last two or three years she has grown stouter, but the paralysed limbs have become worse, and she has frequently fallen whilst walking along the street. Her neighbour, Mr. Prest, seeing her unfortunate condition, proposed to try the effect of mesmerism once or twice daily, for a few weeks, to which, after some hesitation, she consented. He found some difficulty at first, owing to chronic inflammation of her eyes; when, however, she had been operated upon a week or ten days, they had regained their usual strength and appearance, although previously inconvenienced by them for some months. The magnetiser called upon me a few days ago, to ask if I should like to see her before she returned to Hull; and stated that he had found her a good phrenological subject, as well as capable of evincing community of taste. He brought
her to my house last evening; and as her case is a very interesting one, I invited a few friends to witness it. She told us that she felt every week increasing strength in her arm and leg, and looked forward with much pleasure in confident anticipation of an eventual cure. After being operated upon for about one minute, she fell into a state of mesmeric sleep, when the operator, in addition to the ordinary manifestations, elicited some others which I shall briefly notice.
Idleness and industry were excited at pleasure. When the upper part of colour was pressed, in connection with individuality, she saw corresponding changes; a man with white trousers, at the upper portion; the pressure being removed to the middle, the trousers became red, but black on the outside of that organ being excited. Individuality and the centre of form being chafed, she told us she saw a man with a pug nose; if the pressure was applied to the right, his nose was long; but on touching the left she said that his nose was flat. The bottom of locality being acted upon, she invariably moved her hand as if in the act of making and throwing away soap bubbles; on being asked what she was about, she replied, “What, don't you see? I am making blobs.” When the centre of this organ was touched, she struck out her hands and made an attempt to swim : the upper part of locality was then excited, when she instantly altered her gesture, as in the act of rowing a boat. The inner portion of causality being acted upon, she invariably begins to wind; but changes this motion for rolling, if the finger or instrument be placed on the outer side of the organ. The last manifestation was pity; when she turned her head away, and with a countenance expressive of distress, said she saw a poor old man,
We then wished to see a powerful demonstration of the community of taste. The magnetiser being in contact with her, took hold of Mr. Crofts, he of Mr. Roberts, Mr. R. of Mr. Joseph Hollings, I joining him at the extreme point of the chain, put a little ale into my mouth, and on asking what made her move her lips, she said she tasted ale. After rinsing my mouth I swallowed a little mint water, which she could not so readily distinguish, but said it was teetotal drink; but on being asked whether it were ale, wine, or mint water, she replied mint water. I afterwards put salt into my mouth, but she could not tell what she then tasted. As the taste of ipint still remained in my mouth, and Mr. Crofts out of curiosity had also tasted the same, the chain was discontinued. Mr. Roberts then taking hold of the magnetiser, took a little salt into his mouth, when she instantly "set a face," spit out, saying it was salt. Mr. Joseph Hollings next took hold of the operator's hand, and ate some very hot pickle; when asked what she then tasted, she replied “mustard."
L. T. was then demesmerised, and the magnetiser went into an adjoining room, and in about two minutes again threw her into a mesmeric sleep although he was several yards distant, and separated from her by a thick wall. I talked to her during this time, but could not prevent her falling asleep.
ART. III. 1. Political Philosophy.-By HENRY LORD BROUGHAM. Part II.
Of Aristocrcy : Aristocratic Governments. Chapman and Hall. 2. The Influence of Aristocracies on the Revolutions of Nations ;
considered in relation to the Present Circumstances of the British
Empire. By JAMES J. MACINTYRE. Fisher, THERE may not be much in common between the two works whose titles we have placed at the head of this paper, either in point of manner of treatment or order of sentiment. Still, as both properly belong to the department of philosophy which has the principles of politics for a subject, and have a pretty close resemblance in name. they may be coupled together without inconvenience, and perhaps with certain reciprocated advantages.
The British Aristocracy may be said to have been occupying of late an unwonted share of public notice. Should any one of the titled conduct himself with gross profligacy, neither he nor his order is suffered to escape without the people's denouncement and the castigation of a vigilant and bitter press. Rank and wealth no longer bring immunity from censure, or secure any privilege from just
Our lordlings and hereditary legislators find it necessary to stand well in the estimation of the multitude, and to strive to keep, if not in advance of the more enlightened classes, at least so as not to fall to the rear. It is by arduous studies, life-labour, and devotion to business that the peerage is most frequently recruited.
Again, it is natural for the aristocratic body to be conservative in their policy, and to offer checks to the views of the more popular branches. Consequently the smaller body, in these days of free and unmeasured discussion, is continually the subject of remark and criticism; and were it but as landowners and corn-law monopolists they would in the present times of repeal and animadversion be the constant objects of watchfulness and unscrupulous exposure. Mr. Carlyle and others have been giving a more pointed and foreboding direction to opinion relative to our noblesse; nor, if we are not mistaken, will the present volumes go without teaching sundry lessons, and urging certain facts, that will tend to familiarise the public with the disadvantages as well as advantages, the vices and follies as well as the virtues and merits, of the titled of the land.
Lord Brougham figures as the author of the Second Part of Political Philosophy, and it is dedicated to the Queen. The volume treats of the origin, uses, and distinctive character of an aristocracy, and also presents a comprehensive summary of the history of aristocratic governments, ancient and modern, with many departures from the immediate themes of the work, in his Lordship's accustomed
disquisitional style, intended of course to give a more philosophical air to the political principles of the writer. His digressions indeed are more numerous and violent than usual even with him; and altogether the book may be justly described as being marked and marred by all his characteristic faults, and by others of which he has not been wont to be accused. In none of his publications have we observed more distinct evidences of an obtrusive attachment to particular notions, although there appears to have been an effort to maintain the semblance of great equanimity and philosophical sobriety; which purpose however has led to a feebleness of expression, without disguising the favouritisms and crotchetty partialities of the author. Besides, his involutions are more fatiguing and perplexing than ever; his rashness, haste, and carelessness more apparent. No doubt much ground is traversed, and samples of stores of thought and information, extraordinary in kind and magnitude, are constantly met with. The author's range of reading must have been vast, and his habits of speculation remarkably curious, however onesided may be his tendencies, or eccentric his whims.
The portions of the volume which will be read, we think, with greatest satisfaction, are those which are properly historical, passing in review the aristocratical governments of Athens, Sparta, and Rome; those of the Italian cities of the middle ages, and next those of modern existence. The rise and nature of aristocracies ; the virtues and vices of such bodies; their uses as an ingredient in government, both as acting upon the monarchical and democratical principle; and their disposition to decline into oligarchies, are with many other points handled with skill, although lawyerlike and too often after the manner of a partisan. We cannot so readily note the character of his digressions, for this would require analysis and argument in order to animadvert on the objectionable matter, to point out the peculiar, and to found a just praise of that which is admirable. We shall content ourselves therefore with two examples taken from the more episodical portions, each of them displaying the writer in his terse and spirited manner. The first of these passages relates to public opinion, and its classifications.
It is the constant and invariable disposition of all men in resolving upon the line of conduct which they shall pursue, so far as they shape it by the public opinion, to cast their eyes rather upon their own class than the world at large. Judges and advocates look to the bar: "the opinion of Westminster Hall” is a well-understood expression among our own sages of the law: it is almost to them synonymous with the opinion of mankind. our statesmen do not confine their regards to the chambers of Parliament, it is because they are subject to the direct interposition of the people out of doors. Were there no House of Commons, and were the whole powers of government vested in the Peers, each patrician would look to that body