Изображения страниц

madness will devise. The sane action and act upon his prepossessions, on of the mind is both quickened and the principle that they are true. He interwoven with the diseased faculties, will do evil offices, or refuse kind in such a manner as to increase all its offices-he will avoid certain persons ; illusions and render them consistent. and as the circle extends, most persons Thus, when it happens that the mem- and all persons, to the extent that bers of a family become objects of circumstances and counteracting influinsane suspicion to one of their number, ences or other causes permit. He will and are in turn made the depositaries modify in the mean time his moral of the black revelations of a hypo- opinions of mankind, and (gradually) chondriac fancy-it can easily be of moral obligation, to the facts he understood how mutual suspicion may believes and the course he pursues. spring up, and so influence them to He will persuade himself that all men each other, that each becomes readier are selfish, unjust, and dishonest, and to believe ill of all the rest. Nor will that they are leagued against him. He it be sufficiently allowing for the will next infer that he cannot be bound ignorance of many, and the infirmity by any law of obligation to all or any. of nearly all, to affirm that the subse- By degrees, it takes time to alter quent discovery of the origin will be habitual feelings,) he will reduce enough to remove all its consequences. these principles to action, and become It may be easily imagined inany of selfish-false-dishonest : while he our readers, how ill feelings, sometimes also forms a code of morals by which aggravated by mutual offences, whether all this is perfectly justified in his own of word or deed, soon convert into thoughts : and he will feel himself substantial grounds of will, preju- (perhaps, for there are differences) dices founded upon the slightest causes the best as well as the most hapless and or none. Such, independent of the persecuted of mankind. Few can be present subject, is but too observably extensively acquainted with the world, the common course of family feuds- without having met one case or more in which a slight misinterpretation of this prevalent modification of hyof a word or deed, blameless if not mis- pochondria. understood, occasions years of bitter The principal writers upon insanity

When once offended, there are seem to have recognized none of its many, (to speak moderately,) who will secondary effects. Partly, we imavoluntarily look upon the darker side gine, because it might be considered of everything—and even foster a mis- contrary to the exact method of a protake in which an angry feeling is bound fessional treatise to discuss insanity up : for it is the nature of most, to otherwise than as a disease. The interpret from the feeling rather than delicacy of entering upon details by reason or cool reflection.

seeming to implicate opinions upon the We must now turn our attention to moral character of individuals, might the moral influences of these illusions also have its just weight. But more, upon the person whom they possess. we suspect, is due to the prepossession

Let us now suppose a common case. of those theoretical opinions to which A man of intellectual temperament we have adverted. From the desire and habits believes as in the watch to regard insanity wholly as diseasemaker's case, that his friends have from the analogies of delirium and engaged in an extensive conspiracy dreaming, and from some known cases, against him. This is the illusion ; it it would appear to have been inferred is combined most probably with other that the whole effects, moral as well as fancies as to sight, sound, and taste intellectual, caused by insanity, are which are partly the illusion of discase, wholly resolvable into this disorder. partly moral and common to most ; Of the contrary, we have no doubt. for it is the nature of all illusion to In the cases chiefly within the scope of pervert reason and observation. What professional experience—it is very will then be the probable effect of this probable that the result of such a compound state of mind? The sane facul- theory will mostly seem to be confirmed ties cannot, we know, be so separated by the fact, that convalescence has put as not to be in some degree affected. an end to all the perceptible conseThe insane person will both reason quences of disease, as completely as the


illusive phantasms of a dream or a To conceive rightly the true nature fever are dispersed with the cause. and progress of these effects, and to We need not, however, dispute the separate the sane from the insane part theory, to establish a plain disiinction; of the combined character, which is this arises from the mere difference of often sweepingly attributed by some to the duration and intensity of the phe- disease, by others, to natural disponomena, together with the extent to sition-both erroneously and unjustlywhich they possess the faculties. In it is only necessary to consider the some cases the mind is too violently illusion real, and then examine what disordered, to permit of the continue upon such a supposition should be its ance of any of its saner processes; effects upon an undiseased underin some the illusions are not such standing. Such, though much aggraas can blend with sane notions, or be vated perhaps, will be its secondary in any way referred to a place among effects upon the insane. Were this the perceptions of health. Or, lastly, duly understood it might have the all these effects which we have desig- effect of disarming the cruelty which nated as secondary, being results in some cases confouuds the effects of of habit the disease may have been disease with natural worthlessness, and too transient to cause them. It can- the folly which sees an aggravated case not be strictly said that habitual effects of lunacy, where insanity is scarcely are essentially inconsistent with any noticeable. Indeed, it is our own form of mental affection. Many experience that in such cases-as life persons will, indeed, recollect how advances and the action of the vital often the mind has continued after powers diminishes, the actual disease awaking, in a state of feeling conse is reduced to nothing, while its effects quent upon the incidents of a dream. remain ; and this because they are This, too, may be observed to depend either such as to perpetuate themselves, on the nature of these incidents, being or because a determinate course of such as to affect the character of the habit has confirmed them. And here individual, and to blend with his real we are led to notice the main principle prospects and circumstances.

of these secondary affections, which But, lastly, it is not necessary to causes them in this particular class of make any supposition, as to the prola- insane persons, rather than in such as bility of the moral effects of insanity, are more violently affected. Habits continuing to affect the disposition are contracted in the one and not in the when the disease shall have been other. It is not disease but nature, removed. For the case immediately and therefore, in proportion as the under our consideration is of all others mind is nearer to sanity, it is liable to the most permanent as it is the least be increased. separated from perfect sanity in its It may be made a question to what illusions,

extent such considerations can be availNevertheless, we are compelled to able for any practical purpose. If regard it as essentially the most afflict- rightly understood, in the possession iny state to which a human mind can of good sense and sound discretionbe reduceri. Exempted from the they are of much importance. It is necessity of any systein, either of important that the slightest modificamedical treatment or legal control- tion of insanity should be recognised fully possessing all the faculties of as soon as may be ; it is still more so, reason; competent to guide and govern that its effects should be known and in the affairs of life. But, affected by guarded against ; and this as well for a slight hallucination, which, while it is the sake of the principal party, as all itself' governed, suppressed, and, in the his friends and intimate connexions. course of some tiine, rendered practi- Much may depend, in various ways to cally of no direct importance, by not others, much to himself upon the way being acted upon-yet by its inoral in- in which he is treated. Insanity, actfluences upon the heart, effecting in the ing on the mind, is liable in its first apend a wider and more falal separation proaches to be modified, and mitigated between the sufferer and his kind, than or aggravated by all that affects the if he had been struck with thie most mind the action is naturally affected frantic condition of lunacy.

by the reaction. Nor is it a slight


consideration, that in very many cases, dent of the reason ; and they who are medical persons (of ordinary intelli- acquainted with it by experience, are gence at least) bave little more well aware that this is true to the exguide them than the most ordinary tent, that a person under the influence symptons of a dyspeptic habit-unless of mental illusions of this class, can be by the aid of rightly directed observa- thoroughly convinced of the fallacy of tion upon a variety of small indications the impression, while they are at the which a knowledge of the person's same time unable to resist it : it affects habits alone can supply.

them like the testimony of the senses, Insane persons are mostly conscious and produces an instinctive belief which that their notions are not reconcilable cannot be entirely superseded by any to common experience ; and are ac force of reason, for more than a motuated by a jealous and sometimes ment; the rational conviction passes, highly vindictive apprehension, of their and the false impression continues. becoming the sulsject of remark or con From this the inutility of reasoning is tradiction. For this reason they con- apparently to be inferred. This, howceal their thoughts and become pecu- ever, has its limits :-in the milder Jiarly reserved; while at the same cases, and the earlier stages, the ortime they are constantly letting full ganic affection is not confirmed or exmysterious hints easily understood. tensive ; the effect of a strong moral

The great test of the distinction be- and intellectual reaction may be protween insanity and what is called eccen ductive of the best effeets. The entricity is, that the former is a sudden lightened physician is aware, thirt alchange, the other a permanent habit ; though the disease is ruled to be purely we omit all consideration of the ques- organic, in its proximate cause, yet its tion as to their essential sameness or origin is often purely moral. Hence distinctness. In the particular class of the advantage or evil of judicious or cases which we are considering, there ignorant moral treatment. But there is, however, amore obvious distinction, is a limit to be found in the other prinas these illusions are almost uniformly ciple, that an illusion leading to evil resolvable into errors of sensation. results, is to be counteracted, resisted,

When a person who has been of urgently opposed, as the case may call sound mind and reasonable habits for or admit. becomes, without any apparent cause, In cases of the kind of insanity under estranged, brooding, solitary, and de our immediate consideration, the adjected, slightly dyspeptic, and shortly vantage of social intercourse is incalcuafter begins to account for it by inci- lably great. An affection of this kind, dents of an improbable, though still like all moral affections of onr nature, very possible kind, there are two ex can be much alleviated by confidential ceedingly important cautions to be communication, when judiciously and observed: such indications are part of kindly entertained. The rankling of any case to be submitted to a physi- an unexpressed bitterness is thus excian; and still more-nothing affirmed pended by confessions; and turned from by the person thus affected, of any their channels, by seasonable suggesother person, that may in the least de- tions into milder courses. But above gree affect his character, is to be heeded. all, the most deplorable consequences

A question often arises—are such are never truly reached, until a growillusions to be contradicted or reasoned ing dislike to his kind operates to drive against. This we can only answer by the victim of some embittering and cor. stating, that there are two principles, rupting illusion into solitary life. Then which may serve to govern sound dis- a change at once begins, of the most cretion upon this point. First, irrita- truly lamentable kind. First, reason tion should not be unnecessarily in- morbidly acute, changes side, and from ficted; and secondly, pernicious illu- being opposed to illusion, begins to sions, such as bear consequences dan- support and even systematize it. All gerous to the insane person, or to previous notions and experience; all others, must not be in any way con- things seen, felt, heard, or understood, firmed. It is very well known, that from this moment, become “confirmaa mental illusion, when it is the re tions strong" interpreted to accord with sult of disease, is altogether indepen. illusions no longer resisted. Having


3 A

believed for a time, (as has been said,) In truth, and it is a curious truth, the against reason, the sufferer now believes actual existence of theories, and of according to a theory, as firmly evi- classes, who practically maintain theodenced to his own mind as any of the ries favourable to the state we have conventional impressions of the social described, has the effect of mainworld. He winds his understanding in taining, and partially concealing its a web of sophistry, that nothing can true character. An insane person of henceforward break through; and pre- this class--that is to say, possessing sently begins to act upon it with reso his rational faculties entire can sellution and sagacity. Will not this, it dom go far without discovering a class may be asked, lead him into absurdi- of individuals, and a theory, such as to ties so totally opposed to the laws of reconcile his general notions ; the persociety, as to place him within their ju- sons he may shun, but their notions he risdiction. It is not a consequence. will adopt. Assuming his illusion for a first prin To obtain a true insight into the ciple, and taking a basis of realities, process we have described is easy. It such as the whole sane portion of his is only to assume the truth of the ilobservation presents, he will, with lusive notion. By reasoning consequenwonderful acuteness and sagacity, adapt tially upon this, a set of conclusions, his system to that of the world ; so and of moral impressions quite distinct that he will be, in his own secluded from insanity, are to be arrived at. walk, quite free from any collision with And the person knows little, indeed, of it. Such intercourse as his purpose his mind, who is not aware, how these, may require, will be regulated by much if sincerely acted on, must gradually more discretion, than he could have ex- alter the whole compound of the man. erted at the earlier period of his disease. The informed reader will probably And why? he is now disciplined by recollect some curious cases, from his system-he no longer has two which it would be inferred that all purposes, or two sets of feelings at the varied consequences of even long war within him-his human weakuesses continued instances of insanity have and affections have been obliterated- disappeared upon convalescence. And and he considers those with whom he we can (stating this in its most diffihas to converse, as the instruments of cult form) easily suppose the change his own purposes, or in some such of the whole mental action to be so class. We are, of course, for clear. great, or even total, that a system of ness, taking the extreme case. He is moral habits, acquired under the opein this state, arrived at a stage of ration of disease, may (however exmoral disorder, more melancholy than plained as to their growth) pass like a the worst example of intellectual anni- dream, and leave the old system of hilation, that the walls of Bethelem habits to resume their unimpaired hospital ever enclosed. A totally dominion. But this admission does hardened and corrupted heart, in which not impair our statement; which simply there lingers not a gleam of moral amounts to this, that in such cases of sympathy, or of old affections or care partial insanity, the mind, by rational for, or confidence in mortal. A state consequences, and by its sane processes, the more fatal, because it is not-as attains a state of disorder which is not seems to be the inference from the insanity. Such cases are very slight, writings of medical men-an imme- so far as actual disease; but they are, diate consequence of disease ; but an in every case to which our experience effect of moral habits, and fallacious reaches, either permanent, or subject theories, which, however caused, are to a very peculiar modification, in perfectly distinct, both in their growth which the illusion gradually and very and principle, from any case of in- slowly wears away with the physical sanity; and strictly reducible into powers, leaving the moral condition another class of cases, in which the disordered and depraved. It little matsame moral errors, and similar philo- ters how this is to be explained. sophic principles have produced nearly Practically, we fear, such cases are similar results. We say nearly, because to be regarded as beyond the reach of an allowance is still to be made for the human means. But they are peculiarly cooperation of insanity.

important, as affording an extended

scope to the search into causes, by insanity is feared to lurk in the constisure observation of effects.

tation of young persons. A profesThere is a large class of cases, con- sional volume on this topic, might well' nected nearly with the topics we claim the public attention. We should have had ander our present notice, be too happy to have the opportunity of much deeper interest, and demand- of introducing such a valuable acquiing a more immediately practical sition in these pages. We shall, at all attention. We mean the numerous in- events, offer some reflections upon the stances in which, from different causes, subject in a future number.


The appearance of such a work as this ecclesiastical body a place in the van at sach a time as the present, is to us of the enlightened intellects of the age. deeply gratifying. Such are the silent The church of Ireland, with many pleas which the church of Ireland prof- disadvantages, has on the whole nobly fers to the tribunal which is to try the fulfilled these demands. But of late cause between her and her persecutors. years, from a variety of causes, the efShe has argued the question of her forts of the clergy have been more of rights and deserts till even impudence a practical than of a speculative nature. itself has grown dumb if not abashed; They have laboured more for the good she has descended into the arena of of the current generation than (except legal disputation, and won the high indirectly) for that of future ones ; triumph of being abused by those who they have worked more with a view to could not confute ; she has stood upon the concerns of the literal immortality the low ground of political utility, and than for that metaphorical immortality established the important truth that which we are wont so fondly to ascribe she is indeed the keystone of the arch to the creations of mind. Living in the of union between the country she adorns midst of a divided people, surrounded and the nation that professes to rule it; by an artful and designing priesthood, she has done all this, yet this is but half struggling for the very existence of of what she may do, and what (we thank reformed Christianity in the country, Heaven !) she is doing. When before they have been forced to expend their the tribunal of enlightened and candid intellectual

in providing reason, this church-or any church- against or remedying the temporary has demonstrated her temporal and se- ditficulties of a most harassing situation, cular merits, she is not justified to the min checking by direct opposition the extent of her justifiable claims ; she has incursions of that powerful heresy which proved her expediency as a human in- for so many ages has overspread their stitution, but it is a different test that is land, and whose roots are sunk so deep to vindicate her character as a divine in the soil of human nature, in protectone ;-that is, as one adopted of a hea- ing their scattered flocks from temptavenly Parent, sustained by His power, tions to apostacy almost irresistible, in favored by His goodness, and inspired endeavouring to extend the light of with a rich measure of His unbounded general knowledge in the face of a wisdom. Such an evidence can only darkness supported by the deepest be afforded by the efficient piety of her policy; and in later times—alas that ministers, their activity in the work of we should say it !-in the bitter task of evangelization, their zeal in the diffu- obtaining the common necessaries that sion of all real knowledge as subser- are to sustain the lives whieh assassinavient to the growth of divine truth, and, tion has scarcely spared. Such has been as a consequence, their production of the condition of the Irish clergy; the those works wbich preserve for the very zeal of practical piety which would


• Essays, Thoughts and Reflections, and Sermons; by the Rev. H. WOODWARD, A.M. Rector of Fethard, in the diocese of Casheh_8vo. 1835. London, James Duncan.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »