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solids, especially to the blood. In every organized system, whether animal or vegetable, and in every part of such system, whether solid or fluid, may be traced that power, which with such propriety may be denominated the principle of life. Of its cause and nature we know no more than we know of the cause and nature of magnetism. It is neither essential mind, nor essential matter; it is neither passion nor sensation ; though it is distinct from all these, it is capable of combining with any of them. It is possessed of its own book of laws, to which, under the same circumstances, it adheres without the smallest deviation.
The agency by which it operates, he says, is what should be denominated instinct, and its actions, when its sole and uniform aim is accomplished, instinctive actions. Instinct, whenever manifestly directing its operations to the health, preservation and reproduction of the living frame, or any part of the living frame, is the operation of the living principle. It is that power which characterizes and distinguishes organized from unorganized matter-pervades and regulates the former as gravitation pervades the latter, uniformly operating by definitive means in definitive circumstances, to the general welfare of the individual system on its separate organs; advances them to perfection, preserves them in it, or lays the foundation for their reproduction as the case may be.
It applies, according to the same theorist, equally to plants and to animals, and to every part of the plant and to every part of the animal, as long as the principle of life continues in them. It maintains from age to age the distinctive characters of plants and animals, carries off the waste or worn out matter, and supsplies new-very often suggests the mode of cure when diseases and injuries have occurred or been inflicted, and even effects the cure itself. “ It is,” continues he, “ the divinity that stirs within us, and is the much noted vis medicatrix naturae,' of so many noted physicians.”
This is giving it an application so much more extensive than we have been accustomed to think it entitled to and as applied to it, and is linking and classifying actions together, so widely deviating from each other, especially in appearance, that we can with difficulty, even when we can conceive of nothing more plausible, persuade ourselves to afford it our assent. Instinct has generally, if we have not entertained wrong conceptions, been supposed to comprehend those actions only, which seemed to arise, whether in the new born infant or in brute animals, from a voluntary motion. Such are the acts of the infant, when from some cause or other, it seeks nutriment from its mother's breast ; such are the acts of all the mammiferous animals in the same circumstances, the seeming anxiety of these to take care and preserve their young, with a great many other similar acts ; such are the actions of the feathered tribes to sit for weeks
their eggs until they are hatched, and then to feed and brood over them until they are capable of taking care of themselves; and such are a thousand acts of a similar kind in other animals, which it is unnecessary in this place to particularize.
With proper deference to a character so esteemed as a physician, so much admired as a professor, and so noted as an author, I shall venture to deviate from the above mentioned theorist, and prescribe narrower limits to the actions of instinct, and in some respects ascribe them to different faculties than those to which they have been usually considered as belonging.
To impart clear views, I shall follow still further the theory of Dr. Good, and afterwards commence the examination of the one just mentioned. At the conclusion of the first lecture of Dr. Good, he says that “instinct may be defined the operation of the principle of organized life by the exercise of certain natural powers directed to the present or future good of the individual ; and reason the operation of the principle of intellectual life, by the exercise of certain acquired powers directed to the same end." Towards the commencement of his other lecture, he says, “Instinct is the common law or property of organized matter, as gravitation is of unorganized ; and the former bears the same analogy to sensation and perception that the latter does to crystalization and chemical affinity. Instinct is the general faculty of the organized mass as gravitation is of the unorganized mass; sensation and perception are peculiar powers or faculties appertaining to the second ; they can only exist under certain circumstances of the organized or unorganized matter to which they respectively belong. Gravitation belongs equally to the smallest portions of unorganized matter; instinct in like manner belongs equally to the smallest portions of organized matter; it exists alike in solids and fluids, in the whole frame, and in every part of the frame ; in every organ and in every part of every organ, so long as the principle of life continues."
There might be some beauty, at least, and some propriety in such a theory, if the mind had not restricted it to narrower limits.
As the case is, it seems like breaking over barriers which nature had designed not to have broken over ; or like invading a country with a powerful force, when we had no right, or just cause. In the present essay, all those actions or motions which are performed without our being conscious of them, and which have been called involuntary motions, such as the action of the heart and arteries, the motion of the stomach and bowels, the secretion of the various fluids, the contraction and dilatation of the pupil of the eye, and many others of a like kind, will be left out of the catalogue of instinctive motions. The whole vegetable class of organized bodies, of course will be left out. This, it is believed, might with much more propriety, be arranged under some other name, There seems to be no better way of classing what are herein considered to be instinctive actions, than by taking those which in brute animals and in the new born infant seem to be performed, to a greater or less degree, through the intervention of the will. In respect to the former, there is no necessity of any further particularizing, and in regard to the latter, those acts only are thought of, which in after life, as far as they apply to the human species, are universally allowed to be performed through the intervention of the will, and as far as they apply to the brute creation, to what appears to be the will.
Smellie and Darwin, as before stated, have introduced a theory, in which they strangely contend, that brute animals and infants are actuated by the faculty of reasoning. This we shall not discuss very particularly. We shall not contend for it to any great extent, and we shall not exclude it altogether, considering it in every respect indefensible. Some of the actions, which we shall consider as belonging to instinct, are performed without reflection and without much seeming connection with it, and some through the intervention of what, if it is not reason, appears to be allied to reason. All instinctive motions call into action those muscles which are ordinarily considered to be under the control of the will.
Though instinctive actions——those considered such by Dr. Good, according to the limits above defined, have been considerably reduced, yet a number remain, and they consist of several kinds. In the account now to be given by them, we will begin with those which first present themselves in the new born infant, and other mammiferous animals. The first of any importance which here presents itself, is a nestling upon its mother's breast. This, it will be here observed, is not produc
ced by a mere mechanical impulse, like what might be produced upon dead, inorganic, or disorganized matter, but from an impulse originating from proper and natural feelings-sensations and desires—such as present themselves, as well among brutes as human creatures, though with less acuteness in both, in after life. From a sense of hunger and inanition, in which there can be no mistake, desires are created after nourishment which occasion an uneasiness and nestling, and from a sense of smell, which from its never having been blunted or contaminated by obtuse and unnatural objects, is perhaps more acute than in subsequent life, its proper place, to a greater or less degree, is pointed out, and the infant, or the young of brutes is satisfied. A person who seriously and rationally takes this into consideration, can no more believe that it is performed without consciousness, than that at a later period of his existence he cannot tell what hunger, and agreeable and disagreeable odors are.
As age advances, there is a propensity with the child to laugh and play, and with the colt, the calf, the lamb to gambol and jump, which are healthful actions, and excited by a desire for exercise. If health prevails there is a glow of pleasurable sensations experienced, and an impulse occasioned by these, calculated to put in motion some of the various muscles provided for
When the young are old enough, a different kind of food from that of the mother's milk is required, and the young of all animals, from natural desires, or from seeing others feed, or from both, partake of it themselves. New propensities and new desires develop and present themselves as age advances, and hence we see new intimacies forming, new joys and new pleasures experienced, and new engagements and new connections entered into. A new connection between the sexes takes place, but not without a peculiar sensation which directs to it, and an assurance that new pleasures will result from it. There is nothing inexplicable or wonderful in this, nothing but what we can readily account for, that is considering ourselves such beings as we are, and the mystery, that others have considered as belonging to instinctive actions, vanishes the moment they are taken up in their proper light. We know what our own feelings are in regard to these things, and we have no reason to suppose from what we every day behold, that there is any essential difference between our own feelings in these respects, Vol. XI. No. 29.
and those of brutes. We behold the latter provided with the senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, just like ourselves; we see them actuated by hunger and thirst, as we are ; provided with organs of reproduction, and apparently actuated by the same feelings in regard to the propensities belonging to these. They are possessed of a brain, a spinal chord, nerves originating from these and extending to the respective senses, and to all the different muscles. Why should they not be subject to pleasure and pain, desires and arersions, affections and antipathies like ourselves? Why is there any thing more inexplicable and indefinable in things of a like nature, whether they belong to brutes or to ourselves ?
There seem to be feelings of pity, love, compassion, fear, and many other passions, belonging to brutes; and why should
be otherwise? They are endowed with flesh and blood, writhe and appear to be in agony when a wound is inflicted, grow lean when under the influence of disease and when food is withheld, and thrive and look plump when under opposite circumstances. We see them operated upon by anger, rage, hatred and revenge, as well as by the milder passions. If they are endowed with the same senses, the same desires and aversions, the same propensities and passions that man is, they are probably moved by the same impulses, all of which lead to similar results to what they do in ourselves, only in different degrees. In all these comparisons, the infant of our own species should be reckoned with brutes, because instinct has been supposed to apply to him much in the same way as to animals of the brute creation.
There are different actions in different orders, genera and species of brute animals, the peculiarities of which require particular notice. The dog barks, the cat mews, the lion roars, the horse neighs, which peculiarities are accounted for, upon the principle, that there is a peculiarity in their respective vocal organs, and in the muscles belonging to the respective brute animals which from the proper impulse are excited into action. We know not exactly what the feeling is that causes the dog to bark, but when we pay attention to the incidents that seem to be the cause of it, and to the peculiar sort of excitement that the animal at such a time exhibits, we can be at but little loss about it. It is not hunger that produces it; it is not fear exactly; it is not the same feeling that causes the fox to burrow, the rabbit to hide itself in the thicket, and the bird to fly to its