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PREFACE.

This miscellany was first formed, many years ago, when two of my friends were occupied in those anecdotical labours, which have proved so entertaining to themselves, and their readers.* I conceived that a collection of a different complexion, though much less amusing, might prove somewhat more instructive; and that literary history afforded an almost unexplored source of interesting facts. The work itself has been well enough received by the public to justify its design.

Every class of readers requires a book adapted to itself and that book which interests, and perhaps brings much new information to a multitude of readers, is not to be contemned, even by the learned. More might be alleged in favour of works like the present than can be urged against them. They are of a class which was well known to the ancients. The Greeks were not without them; the Romans loved them under the title of Varia Eruditio ; and the Orientalists, more than either, were passionately fond of these agreeable collections. The fanciful titles, with which they decorated their variegated miscellanies, sufficiently express their delight.

The design of this work is to stimulate the literary curiosity of those, who, with a taste for its tranquil pursuits, are impeded in their acquirements. The characters, the events, and the singularities of modern literature, are not always familiar even to those who excel in classical studies. But a more numerous part of mankind, by their occupations, or their indolence, both unfavourable causes to literary improvement, require to obtain the materials for thinking, by the easiest and readiest means. This work has proved useful : it has been reprinted abroad, and it has been translated; and the honour which many writers at home have conferred on it, by referring to it, has exhilarated the zealous labour which seven editions have necessarily exacted.

* The late William Seward, Esq., and James Pettit Andrews, Esq.

THE

PHILOSOPHY

OF

SLEEP.

BY

ROBERT MACNISH,

AUTHOR OF "THE ANATOMY OF DRUNKENNE88," AND MEMBER OF THE FACULTY OF PHYSICIANS

AND SURGEONS OF GLASGOW

NEW-YORK:

WILLIAM PEARSON & CO., 106 NASSAU STREET;

SAMUEL COLMAN, BOSTON ; AND CHAPPELL AND CO., PHILADELPHIA.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

The present edition of The PHILOSOPHY OF Sleep capable of affording a rational and easy explanation of is so different from its predecessor, that it may almost all the phenomena of mind. It is impossible to account be regarded as a new treatise. The work has been, in for dreaming, idiocy, spectral illusions, monomania, a great measure, re-written, the arrangement altered, and partial genius in any other way. For these reasons, and a great accession made to the number of facts and and for the much stronger one, that having studied the cases: the latter, many of which are now published for science for several years with a mind rather hostile the first time, will, I hope, add much to its value. than otherwise to its doctrines, and found that nature Some of them have occurred in my own practice; and invariably vindicated their truth, I could come to no for others, I am indebted to the kindness of several in- other conclusion than that of adopting them as a mat. genious friends. Notwithstanding every care, the work

ter of belief, and employing them for the explanation of is far from being what it ought to be, and what I could have wished ; but, imperfect as it is, it may, perhaps, phenomena which they alone seem calculated to elucistimulate some other inquirer to investigate the subject date satisfactorily. The systein of Gall is gaining more deeply, and thus give rise to an abler disquisi- ground rapidly among scientific men, both in Europe tion. So far as I know, this is the only treatise in and America. Some of the ablest physiologists in both which an attempt is made to give a complete account of quarters of the globe have admitted its accordance with Sleep. The subject is not an easy one ; and, in the nature ; and, at this moment, it boasts a greater numpresent state of our knowledge, moderate success is ber of proselytes than at any previous period of its caprobably all that can be looked for.

reer. The prejudices still existing against it, result In the first edition Dr Gall's theory, that the brain is from ignorance of its real character.

As people get composed of a plurality of organs, each organ being the better acquainted with the science, and the formidaseat of a particular mental faculty, was had recourse

ble evidence by which it is supported, they will think to for the purpose of explaining the different phenome differently. na of Sleep; in the present edition, this doctrine is Many persons who deny the possibility of estimating more prominently brought forward. The great objec- individual character, with any thing like accuracy, by tion to the prevailing metaphysical systems is, that none

the shape of the head, admit the great phrenological of their positions can be proved ; and that scarcely two principle that the brain is composed of a plurality of writers, agree upon any particular point. The disciples organs. To them, as well as to those who go a step of Gall, on the one hand, assume that his system, hav- farther, the doctrine laid down in the present work will ing ascertainable facts to illustrate it, is at all times appear satisfactory. An admission that the brain is susceptible of demonstration—that nothing is taken for self, and that each mental faculty is displayed through

the material apparatus by which the mind manifests itgranted ; and that the inquirer has only to make an ap- the medium of a particular part of the brain, is all that peal to nature to ascertain its fallacy or its truth. The is demanded in considering the philosophy of the sciscience is entirely one of observation : by that it must

These points are only to be ascertained by an stand or fall, and by that alone ought it to be tested. appeal to nature. No man can wisely reject phrenoThe phrenological system appears to me the only one llogy without making such an appeal.

ence.

THE

PHILOSOPHY OF SLEEP.

INTRODUCTION.

CHAP. I.

twilight is left to silence, with her own star and her falling dews. Action is succeeded by listlessness, energy by languor, the desire of exertion by the inclina

tion for repose. Sleep, which shuns the light, embraces Sleep is the intermediate state between wakefulness darkness, and they lie down together under the sceptre and death : wakefulness being regarded as the active state of midnight. of all the animal and intellectual functions, and death as From the position of man in society, toil or employthat of their total suspension.

ment of some kind or other is an almost necessary conSleep exists in two states ; in the complete and the comitant of his nature—being essential to healthy sleep, incomplete. The former is characterized by a torpor and consequently to the renovation of our bodily orof the various organs which compose the brain, and by gans and mental faculties. But as no general rule can that of the external senses and voluntary motion. In- be laid down as to the quality and quantity of labour complete sleep, or dreaming, is the active state of one best adapted to particular temperaments, so neither can or more of the cerebral organs while the remainder are it be positively said how many hours of sleep are necesin repose : the senses and the volition being either sus sary for the animal frame. When the body is in a state pended or in action according to the circumstances of of increase, as in the advance from infancy to boyhood, the case.

Complete sleep is a temporary metaphysical so much sleep is required, that the greater portion of death, though not an organic onethe heart and lungs existence may be fairly stated to be absorbed in this performing their offices with their accustomed regularity way. It is not mere repose from action that is capablo under the control of the involuntary muscles.

of recruiting the wasted powers, or restoring the nervSleep is variously modified, as we shall fully explain ous energy. Along with this is required that oblivion hereafter, by health and disease. The sleep of health of feeling and imagination which is essential to, and is full of tranquillity. In such a state we remain for which in a great measure constitutes, sleep. But if in hours at a time in unbroken repose, nature banqueting mature years the body is adding to its bulk by the acon its sweets, renewing its lost energies, and laying in cumulation of adipose matter, a greater tendency to a fresh store for the succeeding day. This accomplish- somnolency occurs than when the powers of the absorbed, slumber vanishes like a vapour before the rising ents and exhalents are so balanced as to prevent such sun ; languor has been succeeded by strength ; and accession of bulk. It is during the complete equipoise all the faculties, montal and corporeal, are recruited. of these animal functions that health is enjoyed in greatIn this delightful state, man assimilates most with that cst perfection ; for such a state presupposes exercise, in which Adam sprang from his Creator's hands, fresh, temperance, and the tone of the stomach quite equal to buoyant, and vigourous ; rejoicing as a racer to run his the process of digestion. course, with all his appetencies of enjoyment on edge, Sleep and stupor have been frequently treated of by and all his feelings and faculties prepared for exertion physiological writers as if the two states were synonyReverse the picture, and we have the sleep of dis mous. This is not the case. In both there is insensi

It is short, feverish, and unrefreshing, disturbed bility; but it is easy to awake the person from sleep, by frightful or melancholy dreams. The pulse is agi- and difficult, if not impossible, to arouse him from stutated, and, from nervous excitation, there are frequent por. The former is a necessary law of the animal econBlastings and twitchings of the muscles. Nightmare omy; the latter is the result of diseased action. presses like an incarnation of misery upon the frame- Birth and death are the Alpha and Omega of existimagination, distempered by its connexion with physi- ence; and life, to use the language of Shakspeare, .is cal disorder, ranging along the gloomy confines of rounded by a sleep.' terror, holding communication with hell and the grave, When we contemplate the human frame in a state of and throwing a discolouring shade over human life. vigour, an impression is made on the mind that it is cal

Night is the time for sleep ; and assuredly the hush culated to last forever. One set of organs is laying of darkness as naturally courts to repose as meridian down particles and another taking them up, with such splendour flashes on us the necessity of our being up at exquisite nicety, that for the continual momentary our labour. In fact, there exists a strange, but certain waste there is continual momentary repair ; and this is sympathy between the periods of day and night, and the capable of going on with the strictest equality for a half performance of particular functions during these peri- a century. ods. That this is not the mere effect of custom, might What is life? Those bodies are called living in be readily demonstrated. All nature awakes with the which an appropriation of foreign matter is going on ; rising sun. The birds begin to sing ; the becs to fly death is where this process is at an end. When we find about with murmurous delight. The flowers which blood in motion, the process of appropriation is going shut under the embrace of darkness, unfold themselves on. The circulation is the surest sign of life. Musto the light. The cattle arise to crop the dewy herb cles retain irritability for an hour or two after circulation age ; and 'man goeth forth to his labour until the even ceases, but irritability is not life. Death is owing to ig.' At close of day, the reverse of all this activity the absence of this process of appropriation. and motion is observed. The songs of the woodland Bichat has dinded life into two varieties, the organic choir, one after another, become hushed, till at lengtti

mal. The first is common to both vegetables

ease,

it

and animals, the last is peculiar to animals alone. Or, large brains, and whose slumber is neither profound nor ganic life applies to the functions which nourish and of long continuance. The assertion, therefore, that the sustain the object—animal life to those which make it quantum of sleep has any reference to the size of a sentient being ; which give it thought, feeling, and the brain may be safely looked upon as unfounded. motion, and bring into communication with the sur That it has reference to the quality of the brain is more rounding world. The processes of assimilation and likely, for we find that carnivorous animals sleep more excretion exist both in aniinals and vegetables : the than such as are herbivorous ; and it is probable that other vital processes are restricted solely to animals. the texture, as well as form, of the brains of these two The digestive organs, the kidneys, the heart, and the classes is materially different. This remark, with relungs, are the apparatus which carry into effect the gard to the causes of the various proportions of sleep organic lise of animals. Those which manifest animal required by the carnivorous and herbivorous tribes, life are the train, the organs of the senses, and the throw out not as as a matter of certainty, but merely as voluntary powers. Sleep is the suspension of animal surmise which seems to have considerable foundation life ; and during its continuance the creature is under in truth the influence of organic life alone.

In proportion as man exceeds all other animals in the Notwithstanding the renovating influence of sleep, excellency of his physical organization, and an intellecwhich apparently brings up the lost vigour of the frame tual capability, we shall find that in him the various to a particular standard, there is a power in animal life phenomena of sleep are exhibited in greater regularity which leads it almost imperceptibly on from infancy to and perfection. Sleep seems more indispensably resecond childhood, or that of old age. This power,quisite to man than to any other creature, if there can sleep, however, healthy, is incapable of counteracting. be supposed to exist any dillerence where its indispenThe skin wrinkles, and everywhere shows marks of the sability is universal, and where every animal must, ia ploughshare of Saturn; the adipose structure dissolves; some degree or other, partake of it ; but, as regards, the bones become brittle ; the teeth decay or drop out ; man, it is certain that he sustains any violation of the the eye loses its exquisite sensibility to sight; the car law ordaining regular periods of repose with less indif. to sound ; and the bair is bleached to whiteness. ference than the lower grades of creation—that a cer These are accompanied with a general decay of the tain proportion of sleep is more essential to his cristintellectual faculties ; there is a loss of meinory, and ence than theirs-that he has less power of enduring less sensibility to emotion ; the iris hues of fancy sub- protracted wakefulness, or continuing in protracted side to twilight ; and the sphere of thought and action slecp—and that he is more refreshed by repose and is narrowed. The principle of decay is implanted in more exhausted by the want of it than they. The sleep our nature, and cannot be counteracted. Few people, of man, therefore, becomes a subject of deeper interest however, die of mere decay, for death is generally ac and curiosity than that of any other animal, both on celerated by disease. From sleep we awake to exer account the more diversified manner in which it distion—from death not at all, at least on this side of time. plays itself, and the superior opportunity which exists Methuselah in ancient, and Thomas Parr in modern of ascertaining the various phenomena which in the times, ate well, digested well, and slept well ; but at inferior animals can only be conjectured or darklı length they cach died. Death is omnivorous. The worm guessed at. which crawls on the highway and the monarch on his Sleep, being a natural process, takes place in general couch of state, are alike subjected to the same stern and without any very apparent cause. It becomes as it inexorable law; they alike become the victims of the were, a habit, into which we insensibly fall at stated universal tyrant.

periods, as we fall into other natural or acquired habits But it differs from the latter in this, that it cannot in any case be entirely dispensed with, although by clls

ton we may bring ourselves to do with a much staller CHAPTER II.

portion than we are usually in the practice of indulging

In this respect it bears a strong analogy to the ap petite for food or drink, It has a natural tendency to

recur every twenty-four hours, and the periods of its Every animal passes some portion of its time in accession coincide with the return of night. sleep. This is a rule to which there is no exception ; But though sleep becomes a habit into which we althongh the kind of slumber and the degree of pro- would naturally drop without any obvious, or very easifoundness in which it exists in the different classes are ly discovered cause, siill we can often trace tbe ongin extremely various. Some physiologists lay it down as of our slumbers ; and we are all acquainted with alary a general rule, that the larger the brain of an animal the circumstances which either produce or heighten them. greater is the necessity for a considerable proportion of I shall mention a few of these causes. sleep. This, however, I suspect is not borne out by Heat has a strong tendency to produce sleep. Wc facts. Man, for instance, and some birds, such as the often witness this in the summer season ; sometimes sparrow, have the largest brains in proportion to their in the open air, but more frequently at home, and above size, and yet it is probable that they do not sleep so all in a crowded meeting. In the latter case the sono much as some other animals with much smaller brains. rific tendency is greatly increased by the impority of The serpent tribe, unless when stimulated by hunger, the air. A vitiated atmosphere is strongly narcotic, (in which case they will remain awake for days at a and when combined with heat and monotony, 18 apt to time waiting for their prey,) sleep much more than men induce slumber, not less remarkable for the rapidity of or birds, and yet their brain are proportionally greatly its accession than its overpowenng character. "In such inferior in size : the boa, after dining on a stag or goat, a situation, the mind in a few minutes ceases to act will continue in profound sleep for several days. Fish- and sinks into a state of overpowering oblivion. The cs,* indeed, whose brains are small, require little sleep; slumber, however, not being a natural one, and seldom but the same remark applies to birds,t which have occurring at the usual period, is genorally short : it

As a proof that fishes sleep, Aristotle, who seems to have rarely exceeds an hour : and when ihe person awakes paid more attention to their habits than any modern author, states, ihat while in this condition they remain motionless, with the cx.

from it, so far from being refreshed, he is unusually ception of a gentle movement of the tail-that they may then be

dull, thirsty, and feverish, and finds more than comreadily taken by the hand, and that, if suddenly touched, they caso with the gonge which is disturbed bug the slightes norske, instantly start. The cunny, he adus, are surprised and surround. and more useful than any watch-dog for giving warning of den. ed by nets while asleep, which is known by their showing tho white of their eyes.

ger. It was the cackling of the carred gecac thu sared the Cape

tol of Rome from the soldier of Brennus, when the change The sleep of some birds is amazingly light. Such is the failed to discover the approach of an enemy.

in.

SLEEP IN GENERAL.

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