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president of the south carolina college, in the state of south 

Carolina; and professor of chemistry, mineralogy, geology, 

and political economy in that institution. 







.f S. J. M'MORRIS. 


72, ST. PAT'L'S churchyard, 


I? 31 



The features of what lias been termed Physiological Medicine 
in France, and of which Dr. Broussais, Professor of Medicine, at 
the Hospital of Val de Grace, is the chief propounder and suppor- 
ter, are principally these. 

The Body consists of certain organized parts, as the circu- 
lating and respiratory apparatus, the thoracic and abdominal 
viscera, the muscular apparatus, the secreting and excreting glands, 
the osseous structure, &c. 

The membranous elements of which these are composed, are 
tissues. — They are all of them subservient to the nervous appara- 
tus, of which the Encephalon is the centre ot communication. 

The tissues of the animal body, appear to be composed chemi- 
cally, of fibrine, of gelatin, and of albumen. The muscular parts 
are chiefly fibrine ; the skin, the mucous membrane, &c. are chiefly 
gelatin ; the nervous apparatus is albuminous. The phosphat 
and carbonat of lime composing the bones, do not seem to have 
like properties with the other tissues ; but these chemical sub- 
substances in the living body have not been fully examined. All 
of them, except the bones perhaps, are contractile upon the appli- 
cation of certain substances called stimuli: upon this property 
(of contractility) depends the motion and action of the organized 

Life is the aggregate of those functions which the several or- 
ganic parts of the body perform, on being stimulated into action, 
by the natural stimuli of caloric, light, air, atmospheric electricity, 
and food, in the usual and regular proportions and degree. 

The organic actions excited by these natural stimuli in a heal- 
thy body, constitute the normal, regular, healthy functions of the 

various parts so stimulated into action ; the aggregate whereof, is 
included in the term Life. When the tissues from any cause, arc 
more than usually irritable ; or the stimuli applied, are in excess 
as to proportion, or from their unusual character, the natural stimu- 
lation of the tissues and organs, becomes increased or exalted into 
over-excitement or over-stimulation, technically called Irritation. 
Stimulation, therefore, is the term appropriated to what produces 
regular, usual, normal, healthy action ; Irritation, to a morbid 
increase of stimulation ; and, in the language of Rush, may be 
termed, morbid action. Irritation has various shades and de- 
grees, extending from a very slight excess of stimulation, up to 
inflammation, and consequent disorganization of the part affected, 
terminating in suppuration or in gangrene. 

Irritation, producing abnormal, morbid action, may, according 
to the degree and continuance of the irritation, exist in a tissue 
or an organ, or a viscus, for a long time : the consequence will be 
functional derangement, without manifest organic lesion or des- 
truction. After Ion"; continuance, this functional derangement 
may assume the character of habit, or may proceed gradually to 
sub-inflammation, inflammation, and disorganization. 

Contractility, stimulation, irritation, are not entities distinct 
from the tissue itself, which is contractile and irritable, or which 
is stimulated or irritated : they are words without meaning, if the 
meaning do not strictly include the tissue stimulated or irritated : 
we know nothing of them, but in connection with the tissue itself, 
of which they are properties. 

All the tissues are pervaded, more or less, by nervous fibre. 

The nervous apparatus, consisting of the encephalon and its 
ramifications, and the spinal cord and its ramifications, may be 
considered as divided intotwogreat portions — the one serving for 
voluntary, and the other for instinctive and automatic functions. 
The encephalic apparatus serves for the first, the spinal cord and 
its ramifications for the second set of functions. 

Sensation, perception, feeling, consciousness, are words denoting 
that property or function of the encephalic nervous apparatus by 
which we have cognizance of objects extraneous to us, and also of 
the visceral affections and wants within us, transmitted to the 
encephalic centre by the internal visceral nerves. This propertv 

or function of the encephalon is termed Sensibility. It connects 
us with the material world extraneous to our bodies, and with the 
affections or modifications of our internal organs, destined to in- 
stinctive and automatic functions. 

Hence we have two sources of sensation, viz. one, the impres- 
sions made on the nerves of our senses by external objects; and 
another, the impressions made on our internal, visceral nerves, 
and thence transmitted to the nervous centre, the encephalon. 
The nervous apparatus of voluntarity, is stimulated to action by 
these transmissions of impressions from without, and affections 
from within us. The influence of the encephalic centre on the 
nervous system in various parts of the body, is called Innervation. 
The nerves that transmit to the brain information of the internal 
visceral affections, are not the same as those that transmit from 
the brain, the resulting voluntary motions. 

Ail the tissues and organs of the body being instruments of, 
and subservient to the nervous apparatus of the encephalon, 
whenever any of these are morbidly irritated, or have suffered 
lesion, or any other abnormal (morbid) affection, the nerves of the 
part become irritated, and act sooner or later upon the encephalic, 
as well as on the neighboring nervous apparatus; the nervous 
system thus becomes gradually irritated, and assumes abnormal, 
morbid action, and what is called disease ensues. 

Disease is a word only, not an entity or thing. Like other ab- 
stractions, it has been personified. But disease is strictly nothing 
else than the disordered action of some injured or irritated tissue, 
producing derangement of function; it has no meaning separate 
from the tissue actually affected : and the cure of disease, is the 
restoring the regular, healthy, normal action of the part, in lieu of 
the irregular, abnormal, morbid action which constitutes disease.* 

Hence, no man is competent to pronounce on disease, who is. 
not well acquainted with the regular, normal, healthy action of 

* The leading principles of physiological therapeutics, are : — 
Sedatives : including general, and topical bleeding by leeches and cup- 
ping : mucilaginous drinks : cold affusions : gentle laxatives and enemata. 
The general rule being, to avoid as much as possible, irritating by medi- 
caments an internal surface already in a state of irritation. 

Revidsives : as epispastics, sinapisms, and sinapial pediluvia, irritating 
imsruents, cauteries, and issues. 

the part morbidly affected j so that from the symptoms and indi- 
cations he can judge of the locality, the kind, and degree of abnor- 
mal action. All medicine is therefore founded on an accurate 
knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and on these alone. All 
else is empirical. 

In the ensuing treatise, Dr. J3roussais developes the elements 
of the physiological doctrines of stimulation, irritation, inflamma- 
tion, and innervation. This is comprised in chapters 1, 3, 4. 

He gives a history of medical theories, until the establishment 
of the Physiological Doctrine of Irritation in France, chap. 2. 

He then proceeds to examine the ontological and psychological 
notions, which clerical metaphysics have introduced into physi- 
ology : and he shews, that we have no right to assume the exis- 
tence of any hypothetical entity to account for those intellectual 
phenomena, which so far as our senses are to be trusted, are no 
other than the natural, normal functions of the encephalon. That 
we have no right to assume or to believe any thing which our sen- 
ses external or internal — the only sources and inlets of knowledge 
that we possess — arc unable to furnish us with the proof of, that we 
know, and can know nothing that our senses are incompetent to 
shew us, for we have no other means of information and of knowl- 
edge, than our external and internal senses : that all terms used 
in medicine, and all words and expressions of abstraction, are 
words only, and not things or actual phenomena : that there is no 
such entity as disease, either general, or particular, distinct and 
separate from the tissue actually affected : that there is no remedy 
other than the alteration actually produced in the affected tissue 
by the modifier employed for the purpose : that whether any man 
living can or cannot explain satisfactorily the rationale of organic 
functions intellectual or instinctive, is of no consequence to the 
matter of fact, which remains true whether we or any one else 
can explain it or not : that the phenomena termed intellectual, arc 

Counter Stimulants : as bark, arsenic, and copper in the apyrexia of 
periodical irritations; such as intermittent and remittent fevers, and neu- 
ralgias. The Southern climate of the United States, seems to require 
more bold and decisive practice, than the Northern climate of Paris or 
London : hence, to us, the therapeutics of Broussais, Begin, Coster, &c. 
appear feeble ; but the principles, founded on the physiology and patholo- 
gy of the tissues, are undeniable and universally applicable. 


quite as difficult of explanation by the aid and intervention of a 
seperatc soul, as without it: and he deems it sufficient to shew 
that these phenomena are really, and in fact, the regular normal 
properties and functions of the encephalon, without pretending to 
explain how and why, and in what manner these properties and 
functions belong to that organ and are developed in it: an ex- 
planation to which he readily confesses himself as unequal, as his 
opponents are : that the whole difference between them is, that the 
phenomena — the facts, being the same, he acknowledges his ina- 
bility to explain them,* while his opponents introduce an assum- 
ed, hypothetical entity, (the human soul) that explains nothing, 
and burthens the system with an additional and needless difficul- 
ty. All this occupies chapter 5 ; and the supplement also in reply 
to the metaphysical notions of M. Cousin. 

In chapter six and seven, he developes the connection between 
the nervous system of the human body, and the phenomena of in- 
tellect and of instinct. 

He then applies the physiological doctrine of irritation to the 
disorder called insanity under its various modifications; this oc- 
cupies the whole of the second part of the work. Insanity had 
long been deemed a mental affection, or disorder of the soul ; it be- 
came his business therefore to discard this gratuitously assumed 
entity, and to shew that insanity was an affection of the encepha- 
lon, and of that alone. 

In the latter part of chap. G of the second part of the work, and 
in part of chap. 7, (pages 228 et seq. and 247 et seq. of this transla- 
lation) he takes occasion to animadvert on the craniological doc- 
trines of Dr. Gall j and produces what will be considered as the most 
formidable objections hitherto advanced against the system of that 
very able man ; without however affecting the great and leading 
principles of Gall's theory, or the truth of his observations so far 
as they rest on observed facts. The puny sciolists who think 
themselves entitled to laugh at Dr. Gall, would do well to peruse 
the very honorable testimony to his knowledge and talents, which 
Eroussais so readily concedes, while he controverts the imperfec- 
tions of Gall's theory in its present state. 

" x " Who can explain why gold is yellow and siver white ? or why the 
ame poil should feed the potatoc and the poison-vine '- 


In this volume then, the reader will possess, the most recent 
exposition of the physiological doctrines of medicine of the mod- 
ern French school, applied fully and distinctly to a specific dis- 
ease, and illustrated by the known causes, symptoms, progress 
and cure of that disease. He will also possess in this work the 
most complete refutation of the metaphysical doctrines of psychol- 
ogy, any where extant. In 1787, following the path opened by 
Dr. Priestly, I published in England what I thought to be a satis- 
factory refutation of those doctrines: circumstances elsewhere 
noticed, have since induced me to shew, first that the obnoxious 
doctrine of Materialism, is the doctrine actually held and main- 
tained in]the christain gospels by the founder of Christianity ; and 
also that it is true in itself, both metaphysically and physiologi- 
cally. These tracts were drawn up in 1823 and published in Phila- 
delphia; I have seen no reply to them yet. I regret, that in this 
country and among a people who boast ot their being so enlightened, 
and in the middle of the 19th century, I find it expedient to fortify 
myself by Mr. Jefferson's coinciding opinions; but so it is: the 
value of free discussion is not yet appreciated as it ought to be in 
these United States ; and the powerful enmity of the clergy and 
their ignorant adherents, is sure to pursue every man who exercis- 
es the right of discussing clerical doctrines and clerical claims. 
But I think the indications are manifest that their day is gradu- 
ally drawing to its close. For the peace and happiness of man- 
kind, I sincerely hope it is so. 

The book of Hartley "On Man" is so little read among the 
medical profession here, and the doctrine of " Association of 
Ideas," so little known or attended to, that I have been tempted 
to give an outline of that doctrine, connected as it is with all phy- 
siological questions. 

The volume now offered to the public, will be found to contain 
the Elements of physiological metaphysics, the only metaphy- 
sics in my opinion worth the attention of a man of common sense. 
Those who have studied Hartley, Priestley, Cabanis, Destut Tra- 
cy, and Broussais, will know how to estimate the vague and wordy 
discussions of the Scotch school. 


Columbia, March 1, 1831, 


Preface of the Translator, 

" " Author, 


First Part On Irritation considered in its application to health and 

disease, 23 

Ch. 1. Idea of Irritation, 23 

Ch. 2. History or Irritation, 25 

Ch. 3. Principles of the Physiological Doctrine, 49 

Of the contractility of fibrine, gelatin, and albumen, 55 

Ch. 4. On the functions of the nervous system in the phenomena 


Sec. 1 Fungtioas of the nervous apparatus in the adult, 59 

Sec. 2 Successive developement of the different functions of 
the nervous apparatus from the embryo to the adult state, 63 

Sec. 3. Reason of the prerogatives that distinguish man from all 
other animals, 72 

The Cerebellum not the exclusive seat of the generative power 
as Gall imagines, 73-74 

Sec. 4. On what depend the final developement of the intellec- 
tual and instinctive faculties which accompany the evolution 
of puberty", 73 

Ch. 5. On the theories advanced concerning the intelleclual 


Sec 1. How man abstracts himself from himself: basis of the 

psychologi al doctrine, 78 

Sec. 2. Of the notions entertained b) the psychologists of con- 
sciousness: are animals endowed with it ? 82 

Sec. 3. If it be possible to make a science out of the mere phe- 
nomena of consciousness? Sources of error among the 
psychologists in relation to it, 84 

Sec. 4. Of the necessity of the senses and consciousness con- 
curring to perfect the science of the sentient, thinking man, 92 

Sec. 5 Comparison of the hypothesis of the psychologists with 
the opinion of the physiologists on the appreciable cause of 
intellectual phenomena, 100 

Sec. 6. What the objections of the psychologists really amount 

to, on final analysis. Solution of the foregoing question, 103 

Sec 7. Of the rationalists and modern theologians, 111 

Ch. G (by mistake numbered".) Exposition or the relations which 



Sec. 1. In what manner cerebral perception furnishes the ma- 
terials of all our instinctive, ami intellectual operations, 118 

Sec. 2. How the emotions of sensibility become motives of all 
our actions, 121 

Sec. .3. In what manner observation, offspring of cerebral per- 
ception developes our intellectual faculties; and what are 
those faculties, 123 

Sec 4 How the will and the freedom of the will, connect them- 
selves with perception, 125 

Sec. 5 How; intellectual perceptions associate themselves with 
instinctive emotions; and what constitutes the passions, 128 

Sec. 6. Cause of error of the psychologists on the principle of 
action in man, 131 

NECTED with Irritation, 133 
On volition and the will p 125 and 145 
On nervous excitation considered in itself, 147" 

Ch. 8. On the part which excitation acts in the production of 


Sec. 1. How the defect of excitation produces abirritative dis- 
eases, 150 

Sec. 2. How the defect of excitation produces irritative dis- 
eases, 154 

Sec. 3. How excess of irritation produces diseases of irritation, 

and what those diseases are, 158 

Sec. 4. Of the changes that take place in the organs in conse- 
quence of irritation, 162 
ON IRRITATION AND INSANITY : part the sec^n# 181 

On Insanity considered in reference to the principles of physio- 
logical medicine, and the phenomena of irritation, 181 
Ch. 1. On the causes of Insanity, 181 
Ch 2. On the incubation of Insanity, 186 
Ch. 3. Characters of Insanity, 190 

Acute furious mania p 190. Acute mania not furious 192. 

Chronic mania general and partial, or monomania, 193 

1. Instinctive monomanias, founded on the perversion of instinct 
and the wants termed physical ; either complicated with de- 
lirium or not, 194 

A. Perversion of the want or instinct of self-preservation, or 

suicide, 194, 

JJ. Perversion of the instinctive want of muscular exercise, or 

rest. . 195 

C. Perversion of the instinctive want of associating with other 
men, 195 

D. Perversion of the instinctive want of nutriment, 197 

E. Perversion of the instinctive desire of generation, 197 
2. Intellectual monomaniacs ; or persons that are such from the 

perversion of moral wants, with the predominance of one 

idea, or one series of ideas, acquired, 198 

A. Monomania founded 011 self-satisfaction, 198 

B. Momomania founded on self-dissatisfaction, 200 

C. Monomania of gaiety, 201 

D. Monomania of melancholy, 201 

E. Complex monomania, 202 

F. Intellectual monomania without the predominance of inter- 
nal emotions, agreeable or painful, 202 

Intermittent mania, 205 


Cli. 4. Progress, duration, complication", termination of insanity, 206 

Dementia, and general paralysis, 208 

Ch. 5. Necroscopy of insane people, 213 
Ch. 6. On tiivories of Insanity, ancient and modern, until the in- 


l)r Gall's opinions examined, 226 to 232 
Ch. 7. Theory of Insanity according to the physiological doc- 
trine, 233 

Dr. Gall's opinions on monomania 8tc. examined, 247 to 254 

Ch 8. Prognostic of insanity, 262 

Ch. 9. On the treatment of insanity, 273 

Supplement : examination of the metaphysics of M. Cousin, 280 

FINIS. End of M. Broussais' work, 292 



Preface to the scripture doctrine of Materialism, 295 

Brief account of the scripture doctrine of Materialism, 304 

Mr Jefferson's letter thereon, szii 
A view of the metaphysical and physiological arguments in favor of 

materialism, ^^ 

Mr. Jefferson's letter thereon, j?® 

Outline of the doctrine of the Association of Ideas, o79 

FINIS, 408 


Page 29 for Stahl formerly read formally. 

37 f' >r effections read affections. 

38 for attributing to read adopting. 

39 line 9 from the top for -which read in -which. 
44 line 9 from the top for 7iothing read any thing. 
51 middle of the page for principle read principal. 
72 line last, dele if. 

95 line 13 from the top, for the senses read your senses ? 

117 for ch. VII read ch. VI. 

197 for B read D 

213 line 16 from the top after symptoms add of. 

216 line 16 from the bottom for exercise read exorcise. 

230 line 11 from the top for than read that. 

250 note for organiologists reaa organologists. 

271 for80ofFah read 90. 

272 line 11 from the top for vegetable, fccvla, read vegetable -fecuhi: 


AFTER many vacillations in its course, Medicine has 
at length taken th< only road which can lead to truth ; that 
is, the observation of the relations of man with external 
modifiers ,* ana of the organs of man, one with another.,, 
This method now universally prevails in writings, and in 
practice, whether it be avowed or not. This is the physio- 
logical method ; because it must be followed by 
the phc nomena of life, which ;=lone render the bodily organs 
thus modifiable. Let us, however, beware of mistake ; it is 
not the abstraction, Life, which is to be studied, but the 
living organs. If the observer wearies himself with inves- 
tigations of properties or forces, considered independently of 
those living organs, or the natural bodies which have an 
influence over them, he will take much labor indeed, hut he 
will fail in his object ; he will know neither organs nor 
agents; he will know only the dreams of his imagination; 
his head will be filled with illusions. It is thus that the 
ancients went astray, as will be seen in this work. The 
moderns have not escaped the snare; and the same snare is 
even now preparing to be spread in the path of our cotem- 

Since then, true medical observation is that of the organs 
and their modifiers, it is in fact an observation of the body 
itself, and can be pursued only by means of the senses : 
hence the senses must furnish materials, and it belongs to 
the judgment to draw conclusions from them. But here a 
difficulty presents its* If ; if the physician draws false con- 

* Modificateurs. Whatever acts upon and ox ites any part of the animal 
frame, producing any alteration whatever in its antecedent state. — Trans. 

elusions, or if he be so unfortunate as to forget the true 
source from whence they should proceed, he loses himself, 
and deviates into that mistaken road of which we have just 
spoken. Such an aberration is the more easy in the present 
day, as this false route is sanctioned by some distinguished 
men ; by names that command respect and inspire confidence 
in the doctrines they advance. It is under the auspices of 
these respectable names, some of them dear to France, that 
education, by means of the senses, is depreciated, and threaten- 
ed with discredit. Do not let us pass over an important dis- 
tinction, and a practical truth. If the abstract words, rights, 
lawfulness, disinterestedness, elevation of soul, are adapted 
to produce actions, praiseworthy, useful to the public good 
and to the national glory, it is not the same with the words 
vital properties, vital forces, vis medicatrix, specifics, conta- 
gion, and others of the same kind, which, in like manner, 
paint the abstractions of the human intellect ; for nothing is 
more easy than to abuse these expressions ; that is to say, to 
impress under their sanction, on the living body, modifications 
hurtful to the health of particular men, and injurious to the 
good of society. Such a method of philosophising, although 
it may succeed in politics or diplomacy, is not always appli- 
cable to medicine ; and if it be sufficient in those two sciences, 
to abandon ourselves to the sentiment of the beautiful, the 
sublime, and the just, without searching very profoundly in 
what manner we have arrived at these ideas, it is not so in 
medicine, where it becomes necessary to prescribe the regi- 
men and treatment of a suffering fellow-creature, or to judge 
of questions that relate to the public health. These ques- 
tions cannot be resolved by sentiment or inspiration ; the mo- 
difying mendicaments prescribed, will not act directly upon 
vital /brce, upon nctfwre, upon principle : they do not influence 
these abstractions, until after they have acted upon the or- 
gans ; and if these last are injured by a blow, the evil which the 
abstract idea would have produced, will be in future without 

remedy. In politics, on the contrary, the results of the ap- 
plication of a false principle may be calculated before the 
existence of society is compromitted ; for nations are much 
more robust than individuals ; some victims there will be, 
but their sufferings will be perceived if the press be re- 
spected, and the mass of society may be preserved from 
similar evils. 

Society then may proceed in the career of improvement, 
independently of first principles ; it may be rendered happy 
or unhappy in the name of God, of the Prince, or of the 
Laws : experience will settle which of these three motives 
produce the most durable good, or an evil of most easy cor- 
rection. Moreover it is of little consequence in politics, 
whether the notion of justice or injustice comes from the 
senses, or from some interior revelation. The laws must be 
good ; and experience will soon pronounce on their advan- 
tages and disadvantages ; these become manifest to the pub- 
lic, and every one must at length acknowledge them. It is 
not so in medicine, while the evil produced by the circum- 
stances that modify and destroy our organs, are attributed 
to diseases, as if diseases were separate and real beings ; 
and the reason of the mischief is, that empirical medicine 
never corrects itself; experience is lost upon it, and it goes 
on with a satisfied conscience, sacrificing other victims. A 
just conception of disease, therefore, is the first object of 
medicine, nor can this be acquired without explaining in 
what manner this conception is formed ; that is to say, with- 
out probing to the bottom the real meaning of the Avoids 
vital properties, vital forces, vital laws, for the purpose of 
understanding the words putrid fevers, malignant fevers, 
&c. &c. 

It is necessary, therefore, that the physician should al- 
ways have present to his mind, the substance of the organs, 
and that he should never forget that the abstract ideas of the 
science he pursues, have come to him by means of the sen- 


ses, and that he cannot safely proceed to study man, by 
means of any a priori notions. 

The object of this book, is to put this truth in a clear 
light, and to guard medicine from the dangers that threaten 
her by means of a philosophical sect essentially invading. — 
Hence the necessity imposed on us, to present to young phy- 
sicians liable to be seduced by false systems, a true notion 
of Psychology,* which advances toward them with her ban- 
ner unfurled, and already anticipates an easy conquest. 

Introduced into the path of observation by the ideas of 
Des Cartes on method, and by the advice of Bacon — en- 
lightened on the nature of the apparatus which we use for 
this purpose of observation, by the labors of Locke and of 
Condillac, the French proceed zealously and in concert to- 
ward the enlargement of every branch of useful knowledge. 
To this concert of effort, natural philosophy, chemistry and 
natural history, owe the progress which has distinguished 
them among ourselves, and which has enabled industry to 
soar so high. The turn of medicine has now arrived ; the 
study of this branch of science, vague as it has hitherto 
been, has assumed more precision, since to the experimen- 
tal method of the great Holler, it has added a comparison 
of the diseased organs with the symptoms, and the study of 
vital properties and forces in pathologic lesions. Professor 
Chausier by his excellent delineations, had so well traced 
the path to physiological observation, that it seemed impos- 
sible to miss it. Pinel had attempted the philosophical anal- 
ysis of diseases, and if he did not perfectly succeed in this 
great enterprise, he at least struck out some ideas which the 
genius of Bichat has happily rendered fruitful of solid con- 
clusions for pathology, by a faithful analysis of the tissues 
of the human body. We shall make observations in concert 

*The doctrine of an immaterial soul, or principle distinct from matter, 
but some how or other connected with the human body, and presiding 
over its intellectual function?. — Transl. 


with ihose oi' our predecessors ; we shall profit by the ad- 
vice of Condillac and improve our scientific language, while 
the profound and judicious Destut de Tracy, will render his 
able aid in this difficult undertaking, of which the fulfilment 
will alone preserve to mankind that knowledge which he 
has been at so much pains to collect ; the wise researches 
of Cabanis, have given to our nation a philosophic prepon- 
derance, which will insure us from invasion by foreign sects. 
The beautiful doctrine of the relation between the physical 
and moral qualities of man, belongs to us through Cabanis, 
at least as much as it belongs to England ; for Cabanis had 
made a step beyond our external senses ; he had noticed the 
powerful effect of internal viscera upon our thoughts, which 
was not unknown to Epicurus, who furnished, however, no 
physiological demonstration of this truth. 

These precious investigations have conferred on Physi- 
ology and Medicine, the exclusive right of dictating laws to 
Ideology, and promise to remove forever, any interference 
of the ephemeral systems of philosophical schools, with our 
science. We can now hardly venture to believe in any re- 
turn of those scholastic subtleties, and those wordy contests 
which occasioned such loss of time to our ancestors. 

So we thought, but we were wide of the truth. During 
the period that was occupied in France in observing the hu- 
man frame, with all the precautions necessary to exclude il- 
lusion, and give us a just view of its nature, the metaphysi- 
cians of Germany and Scotland disfigured the nature of man, 
under pretext of rectifying the system of Locke. It was 
indeed necessary to rectify that system, but it was on the 
data furnished by Cabanis, and not by returning to the no- 
tions of antiquity and the recal of the system of Plato. 

The French testified some disgust at the obscurity of 
Kants' system, which had been to them a frequent subject 
of raillery. It then became an object to naturalize it among 
us, under the specious pretext of making us acquainted with 

XI \ 

(he first disciple of the great Socrates ; that iirst martyr to 
the right of freedom of thinking ; the man whom every one 
had agreed to regard as a sage, and almost as divine. Was 
not this enough to stimulate the enquiries of our young 
men, greedy after every kind of knowledge ? Platonism^ 
twenty times repulsed from the schools — Platonism which 
the French regarded with disdain, and congratulated them- 
selves in having escaped its yoke, was offered merely as an 
object of literary curiosity. This was the first step taken 
toward disengaging us from actual observation of instruc- 
tive facts, and replunging us amid the illusions and chi- 
meras of Ontology. Natural Philosophy, Natural History 
Chemistry, Mathematics, the study of History, at present 
truly philosophical, are walls of brass which Kants' Platon- 
ism can never subvert. Nevertheless, by favor of surprise 
it has made some steps among us, and some breaches in our 
ranks. The first object was to attack Cabanis, of far more 
consequence than Locke and Condillac. For Cabanis, al- 
though by no means free from Ontologism, had this advan- 
tage over his predecessors, that he appealed to facts which 
any one might verify, instead of confining himself to sys- 
tematic speculation : in reflecting on these facts, it is hard- 
ly possible not to discover others equally fatal to Ontology. 
The Kanto-Platonicians foresaw this ; and without being 
fully aware of what might be discovered by the senses in 
•observing man, they were desirous of obviating before hand, 
ihe results of observation which they could not prevent. — 
This is the amount of their present attempt, to place by the 
side of actual and sensible observation, and far above it, 
some pretended internal observation, which, if we believe 
them, is as much higher than the observation of our senses, 
as Morality is above Physics, Heaven above the Earth, or 
things sacred above profane. 

For this purpose, some consecrated words have been cho- 
sen, with no small success, as narrow and wide, low and el- 


evated, grand and little, and these are skilfully arranged. — 
Every thing that depends on the philosophy of the present 
day, is low and trifling ; all that flows from Kanto-Platonics 
is grand, noble and elevated. They attack our youth with 
arms formerly very efficient, with ridicule ; and they hope 
that men will fly to their ranks to avoid humiliating impu- 

I know not whether they have yet discovered, that ridicule 
changes its object as knowledge progresses, and that words 
have not at this day their former influence ; but whether 
they have discovered this or not, they have certainly chan- 
ged their means of attack. Assuming the tone and language 
of religious fanaticism, they do not insinuate, but they loud- 
ly proclaim, that no man can be an estimable member of so- 
ciety, who does not belong to their party. It needs but lit- 
tle for them to condemn to the gibbet, those who are called 
Sensualists. Who can be the dupe of their officious zeal 
to distinguish such as are wanting in philosophy, and to draw 
from their silence a pretended proof of concealed acquies- 
cence, or an inconsequence worthy of pity ? 

Skilled in multiplying the allurements which they deem 
necessary to offer to our astonished youth, they give them- 
selves out as eclectics, after having treated every other sys- 
tem as exclusive : and they say, or seem to say, " O ye who 
aspire to true knowledge, hasten to us, and we will instruct 
you in all the doctrines of others, and preserve you from the 
misfortune of being seduced by any of them. For know, 
that all other philosophers are monomaniacs : raving on 
some one idea, and who will soon reduce you to their own 
situation." What then is the eclectic philosophy of these 
men ? We now know it : they take their stand between 
Sensualism and Theology, but on the indispensable condi- 
tion of being spiritualists. On this we have but a word to 
say ; if they are essentially spiritualists, they are not eclcc- 
lics ; they can only judge of other systems as spiritualists. 
and they too are governed by one predominant idea: 


They borrow from the sensualists all the facts of sensation, 
which they explain after their own fashion, they borrow rev- 
elation from the Theologians, but they modify it as they 
think fit. They are true reformers of worship, or rather 
illurainati who aspire to the universal dominion over con- 
science. Exclusives as spiritualists, they amalgamate differ- 
ent dogmas, even those that were heretofore held as con- 
tradictory. Such is their Eclecticism. It remains to be 
known whether its base be solid; and whether they will be 
permitted to exercise the right of demonstration and of proof 
which they arrogate, and by which they set themselves up 
above all theologians who rest upon faith alone. This is a 
question which will be investigated in this volume, without 
entering into religious discussions ; for we make it a duty to 
respect religious belief in a treatise consecrated to Physi- 
ology, and the exposition of those facts which the senses are 
competent to verify. We do not aspire to the titles either 
of dogmatist or eclectic ; it is truth we seek ; and w 7 e seek 
it by those means of investigation which our organization 
furnishes. He who is in search of important fact, ought to 
be indifferent to the appellation which sectaries may bestow 
on him. 

The pivot on which this eclectic Ontology turns, is powers 
(forces,) on which we shall make some observations to ren- 
der our subject more comprehensible. The Kanto-Platoni- 
cians of France, affect the utmost contempt for matter, and 
have no consideration but for the powers that animate it ; 
and believe that by this means, they place themselves far 
above the observers of facts. We must see if by this puf- 
fing up, they are rendered able to rise higher than their op- 

Let us examine what is meant by force or power. It is 
necessary to dwell upon this. What then is it, but the in- 
duction drawn by an observer of something which acts upon 
or within a body, producing therein some alteration ? The 

XV 11 

observer is naturally carried on to suppose that the body is 
moved by something acting on it, as he himself is accus- 
tomed to act in certain cases on certain other bodies : no 
doubt there is a tendency to this conclusion. It is impossi- 
ble not to admit that we are driven to it by analogy ; that 
is to say, we are compelled to judge of what we do not 
know, by that which we believe we do know : but it is 
here, and precisely here, that the fact stops. The man 
whose judgment govern his imagination, restrains himself, 
and laments that he is compelled to remain in ignorance of 
first causes. For him, the word power, force, is but a 
formula ; the sign of a perception which he has received 
from some phenomenon, and he makes use of it only to 
search for others which his senses may equally seize hold of. 
It is not so with a man whose imagination governs his 
judgment ; a man of a poetical tendency ; a Platonician, 
ancient or modern : equally credulous and presumptuous, 
he cannot support the idea of ignorance ; and he passes from 
vague conjecture, to the most perfect conviction : he does 
more, he hastens to realize his induction ; he personifies it; 
lie makes it act as U it were an animated, living being ; in 
short, like a man ; then he frames his romance, of which this 
induction is the hero ; and he is angry at those who refuse 
to pay it homage. 

Such is the fanaticism of opinion : it differs in intensity 
according to the character of the person in whom it is devel- 
oped ; but it is at the bottom always the same. All authors 
of this description, whether in medicine, philosophy, or any 
other branch of knowledge, may profess toleration, but they 
are not capable of it ; they cannot be : they are too much 
attached to the fiction which has so agreeably occupied them ; 
to their poetic prose, and to the incredible efforts which 
useless researches have given rise to ; and looking at the 
picture for effect, they cannot support the idea that they 
have been occupied by chimerical reveries : they forgive a 


brother romancer, although the portrait of his idol may be 
different from theirs ; but they never forgive a strict rea- 
soner who pays them no deference, and passes by the temple 
of Ontology without bending the knee. 

A figurative style suits marvellously the picturesque, and 
the fictions in which poetry deals : let it, if you please, be 
the style of idyls, or even of the epic ; but it ought not to be 
the style of philosophy, which it in no wise suits. Frequent 
experience since Plato, has taught us this : hence, young 
students cannot understand this figurative philosophy : they 
regard it with astonishment, and accuse themselves in secret 
of a want of intellect. There are always some, who by 
dint of listening, or of reading, succeed in figuring to their 
imaginations, some of those fantastic beings which this style 
pourtrays ; these, necessarily few in number, adopt the lan- 
guage of their teacher, and become violent in proportion as 
they were humble admirers of his sublime talent. As soon 
as these new adepts become unintelligible to their friends, 
and their conviction is carried so far as to make them smile 
with pity, and shrug up their shoulders at the names of Locke 
and Condillac — so soon as Cabanis is in their eyes nothing 
but an Atheist, happy that he escaped the severest punish- 
ment — so soon as Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu, 
appear to them but sorry philosophers — that the works of 
Volney excite their indignation — and that the dryness of 
Destut de Tracy revolts them — their education is finished : 
they have no longer any occasion to study, or to consult the 
monuments of French literary glory, unless to criticise them, 
for they can find nothing of instruction in them ; they are 
far above these legislators of reflection and of taste : what 
they cannot find in the classics of their own school, they arc 
sure to find in their own consciousness ; when discarding 
the senses, they withdraw within themselves, shut their 
eyes, avoid all noise, and listen to their own contemplations. 
When they have arrived at this high degree of perfection. 


their features become composed, they assume an expression 
of pride, and they feel an inward conviction that their intel- 
ligence is infinitely greater than that of the persons who tell 
them with some surprise, "I do not understand you." 

The moment, however, seems to have arrived, when we 
may tear away the veil which renders their masters impene- 
trable. We hope in this work to make known the secret of 
their apparent superiority ; and the cause of that singular- 
stupor which they have produced in the literary world. 

It is to physicians that we shall offer the explanation of 
these mysteries; for it is their cause that we are now plead- 
ing ; it belongs to the medico-physiologists to determine, 
what there is really appreciable in the causes of instinctive 
and intellectual phenomena. We address ourselves to phy- 
sicians, because he who has studied nothing more than the 
regular and healthy physiology of the human being, does not 
possess facts enough for the solution of these problems. Man 
is only half understood, if he is observed only in health : 
sickness constitutes part of his moral, as well as of his phy- 
sical existence. We must not, therefore, be surprised at the 
reveries of an Ontologist, who is a stranger to the physiolo- 
gy both of health and of disease ; or who is content with a 
superficial knowledge of authors, whom he is unable to com- 
prehend. Such is the case with the Kanto-Platonicians, 
and nothing is more strange than the pretension which they 
set up now-a-days to give laws to our science, especially at 
a moment when it is undergoing a stormy revolution, the 
nature of which they cannot understand. On all sides they 
find discussions of which they know not the true motive ; 
truth and error, sincerity and dissimulation, honorable dis- 
interestedness, and vile speculation imitating her language, 
are afloat, not in the whole medical world, but in the capital 
of France — in all the saloons — in all the academies ; and 
the Kanto-Platonicians are at a loss to discover their own 
tenets: thev know not what medicine is, and yet they dare 


calumniate and despise it : they proclaim that the science oi 
man, such as they conceive it to be, has alone any preten- 
sions to certainty : without having passed even ten years of 
their life in studying man as physicians, or knowing him, con- 
sidered in his organs, living and dead, they think that the 
external observation of the grown man, is sufficient to 
explain all the phenomena of the embryo, the infant, the 
diseased, the deformed, and the dead, submitted to anatomi- 
cal analysis. The first observation is for them the only true 
one, because it is theirs; the other is a vain and gross hypo- 
thesis, calculated for common understandings. It is of con- 
sequence to show them where the truth really lies; in 
particular, to make them understand that a victory over a 
few deserters, or some speculators, who sacrifice to them a 
science which they do not understand, is immeasurably dis- 
tant from a victory over medicine. 

We will not do so much injustice to the French youth, as 
to believe they can be entirely led estray by the bloated 
language of the Kanto-Platonicians — the fund of good sense 
which distinguishes them, will doubtless preserve them now, 
as it has done formerly. But they may be confounded by 
the clattering of words which assail their ears on every 
side, and the schools of medicine will be surprised to hear, 
that this senseless jargon is to be introduced into the midst 
of the medical faculty, while so much opposition is to be 
made to the fruitful and intelligible doctrine of the Physiolo- 
gical School. We shall endeavor to explain this enigma, 
and make them feel the dignity of the science they cultivate ; 
and we shall prove undoubtedly, to every man who has con- 
secrated the most valuable years of his life to anatomical 
physiological, and pathological investigations, that the 
science which he has so laboriously acquired, neither is nor 
ought to be, tributary to metaphysics, from which it can 
draw nothing useful ; and that so far from receiving its laws 
from this science of words, ought to supply them to meta- 


physics which, like an ungrateful child, despises and denies 
its parent. 

Following this great truth, we must collect the phenomena 
of instinct and intelligence around the excited nervous sys- 
tem, and give them an important place among the genera- 
ting causes of irritation. We have not hesitated to adopt 
as the base of our work, the article Irritation, which we 
published in the Encyclopedic progressive, and which the 
public has favorably received. But the theory of irritation 
will receive in the following pages, a fuller developement 
than suited the plan of that work : so that this is in reality 
a new treatise on Irritation, which we now offer to our 
brethren. Since, of the four forms of Irritation, that of the 
nerves is more particularly developed in this book, as its 
importance required, and which we have hitherto refused to 
insist on, until time had matured our ideas, — we thought we 
could do nothing better than add to it by way of proof, a 
description of a correspondent malady. We have chosen 
Insanity, as being the disorder in which nervous irritation 
plays the most important part. This subject suited us better, 
as affording new strength to the arguments which we oppose 
to the ambitious pretentions of the Psychologists. 

In truth, our design in this work is, to unveil that mystery, 
under whose protection bad taste threatens to spread itself 
over the whole science of man, physical and moral ; to con- 
tribute by a new effort, to the progress of physiological 
medicine, and to mark the causes which have prevented 
that progress from being more rapid ; in fine, to pursue the 
science which we love, and to whose glory we have conse- 
crated the greater part of our life, from being subjected to a 
disgraceful subordination. 

It required motives like these, to induce us to interrupt 
the third edition of our Examen des doctrines medicates, 
which we have already put to press, and are sorry to delay 
so long ; but that work shall be resumed with new activity. 


First Part. — On Irritation considered in its application to 
Health and Disease. 

Chap. I. — Idea of Irritatiox. 

The word Irritation represents to Physicians the action 
of irritating substances, or the state of the living parts that 
are irritated. We give the name of Irritants, to all those 
modifiers of our bodily economy which increase the irrita- 
bility, or sensibility of living tissues, and which raise these 
phenomena beyond their (normal*) regular degree. 

The word Irritation, is applicable to every living body, all 
of which are endowed with irritability ; but in medical lan- 
guage this word is used to designate the unusual increase of 
irritability, or of sensibility, among the higher order of 
animals. Our intention is, to consider irritation as applied 
to man alone, leaving to others the task of applying it to the 
'veterinary art. 

To say that a man is capable of irritation, is, no doubt, to 
say that he is irritable ; but the irritability, which is the 
property of every tissue, is not taken in a pathological, or 
morbid sense. We express by this word, the property pos- 
sessed by the tissue, of moving on the contact of" a foreign 
body, which induces us to say, that a tissue has felt that con- 
tact. IIaller confined this property to the muscular fibre : 
it is now agreed, that it belongs to every tissue. When a 
man is conscious of the motions excited by a foreign body. 

".Vonnal : within the usual anil regular limits of the laws of healthy 
.% normal what is out of those usual and regular limits from whate- 
ver cause. 

L m J 

which we frequently call a modifier, he is said to have i'eit 
the impression ol that body, and we give to the faculty 
which he possesses of feeling or perceiving it, the name ot 
Sensibility. Sensibility then, belongs to the individual, 
(Moi*) and irritability to every fibre of the human body. 
A part affected by a foreign body, may be excited to motion 
without the individual (Moi) being conscious of it. In this 
case, there is nothing but irritability ; but if the individual 
(Moi) experiences that kind of modification which induces 
the man to say, " I feel, I perceive," there is both irritability 
and sensibility. Sensibility, then, is the consequence of ir- 
ritability, and not irritability of sensibility : in other words, 
we must be irritable, before we are sensible. The embryo 
is not yet sensible, it is only irritable : an apoplectic man is 
no longer sensible, but he is irritable. We see that irrita- 
bility is common to all living beings, from the vegetable to 
the man, and that it is constant ; while sensibility is a pro- 
perty belonging to certain animals only, and is manifested 
only under certain circumstances ; these circumstances are 
the existence of a nervous apparatus, furnished with a cen- 
tre, to wit, the brain ; there must also be a particular state 
or condition of that apparatus, for it is not always in a condi- 
tion to give to the animal a consciousness of the motions 
which pass within its tissue. The apoplectic man, and the 
embryo, are proofs of this. 

Some persons have erected into a property, the faculty 
which the fibre possesses, of yielding to the impression of a 
stimulant, without the animal himself being conscious of it. 
They have designated this pretended property, by the 
phrase Organic Sensibility, because it is in such manner 
inherent in the organs, that it may be observed in them 
when separated from the collection ; but as the movement 
of the stimulated fibre is the only phenomenon that is seen — 
as it is impossible to separate, to insulate the feeling from 
the motion — as the word feeling here, has no other meaning 
than self-motion — and as by like reasoning, the word feeling 
may be applied to inert bodies, since nothing hinders us 
from saying, that the ball which is moved, has felt the con- 
tact of the ball which is impelled against it. — This organic 
sensibility is a superfluous abstraction, which cannot find 
entrance into the exact language of philosophical physiology. 

*Moi: one's self— that which constitutes me a different being from 
every other thing or creature. This seems, among the French metaphy- 
sicians, to be the expression for individual consciousness. personal identity. 

Tva i 

L 25 J 

The modifiers which put irritability into action, are called 
excitants, or stimulants, and their effect, excitation or 
stimulation. Excitation, considered under a general aspect, 
separate from the place where it exists, and the modifier 
which produced it, is also called excitement. When excita- 
tion, or stimulation exceeds the (normal) ordinary bounds, 
it puts on the character of irritation, and the agents which 
produce this, are called irritants. This is the irritation 
which forms the base of the physiological doctrine in medi- 
cine ; but prior to considering it pathologically, and before 
investigating the part that it plays in the production, the 
course and the treatment of diseases, it may be useful to 
cast an eye over the eras of medical science, to discover by 
what gradations we have at length arrived at the point where 
we find ourselves. ■ 

Chap. II. — History of Irritation. 

Hippocrates had no idea of irritation, but he admitted a 
consent among the organs, which he attributed to an inter- 
nal principle (enormon) which a modern physician has 
translated impetumfaciens, (producing an impulse;) by this 
occult force, he explained the phenomena of health and dis- 
ease. The dogmatists, who followed the father of medicine, 
acknowledged a material soul, etherial or igneous, formed of 
whatever was most subtile in matter, and they made it pre- 
side over every vital action : this material soul held its place 
for a long time among the schools, sometimes alone, and 
sometimes as subordinate to an immaterial and imperishable 
soul, but they had no idea of irritability in the living tissue. 

Neither is the theory of Strictum and Laxam of Themi- 
son, developed by Thessalus, irritation : it related to the 
facility or the difficulty which atoms experienced, in pene- 
trating into the cavities appropriated to them ; and the 
therapeutics which resulted from these hypothetical specu- 
lations, was absurd and without, any relation to the modern 
theories of excitement and irritation. They proposed to 
open and shut the pores of all bodies which they considered 
like the skin, upon which they most frequently experiment- 
ed. Hence they set to work by means of frictions ; some- 
times executed with substances attractive, sometimes 
astringent, repulsive, adstrictive, &c. and they emptied the 
body by vomits, by purgatives, and by regimen ; to fill it 
again within a certain regulated number of hours or days. 

L m J 

Men who had no idea of anatomy, or of the functions of the 
body, conceived that by these practices they could empty all 
the channels of the system, expel the old matter, and intro- 
duce new, more proper to sustain health, and this they 
termed metasyncrasy, or reincorporation ; they flattered 
themselves that by this pretended regeneration, they could 
give more force, suppleness, and permeability to the living 
channels ; correct the excess of constriction or relaxation, 
and place them in that middle condition, most favorable to 
health and longevity. We see, then, upon what slight foun- 
dations it is asserted, that the notion of irritability is found- 
ed upon. this system. 

Galen developed the elementary and humoral theory of 
which the germs were found in the writings attributed to 
Hippocrates. He was the father of humoralism — he estab- 
lished forces to act upon the elements, earth, water and air, 
or pneuma, to convert them into humors, regulate their mix- 
tures and their relations to each other, and enable them to 
direct the functions of life, and the conservative efforts of 
nature in disease. He lost himself in subtleties on almost 
every question he-discussed, and had no idea whatever of 
animal irritability. 

The doctrine of Irritation is not to be sought for in the 
oriental application of magic and the Cabala to the art of 
healing ; nothing is there to be found but what is degrading 
to the human intellect. 

The Arabians, who cultivated medicine with so much 
ardour before the invasion of the Turks, were mere copyists 
or imitators of Galen and the Greeks. They explained all 
the phenomena of life by occult forces, which they multi- 
plied prodigiously. They were the founders of Materia 
Medica, and of Chemistry, but they had no idea of Irritation. 
Dissection was interdicted, and experiment was unknown. 
They had no anatomy, but that of Aristotle or of Galen, or 
of the Physicians of the Alexandrian School. Surely it was 
not from these sources, they could derive any just notions 
of the vital properties of the human body. 

On the revival of letters, some authors, Jerom Fracasto- 
rius, for example, spoke of the irritation produced by the 
humours on the solids ; but they built up no system on this 
vital action. The word Irritation is found among them, 
merged and lost amid a deluge of expressions, more or less 
faulty, belonging to the elementary and humoral pathology. 

i M J 

in this author, Irritation is considered in the abstract, and 
not as seen in this or that part, or as a state of the body. 

During the 16th century, and the universal attack on the 
Galenical Theory, a Professor of the Faculty of Montpelier, 
Joubert, who first opposed " the dread of a vacuum," made 
use of Irritation to explain the phenomena of convulsions, 
which he attributed to the reaction of the solids against the 
morbific causes. He also attributed the action of medicines 
to a species of Irritation, viz. the disagreeable impression 
made on the stomach. Still the humoral pathology predo- 
minated ; no system was yet founded on the irritability ol 
the animal fibre. This, indeed was not even suspected, 
though manifest in some of the functions. 

The Alchemists, the melters of metals, were for a long 
time occupied in discovering specifics and panaceas for the 
cure of disorders. Paracelsus their Coryphceus, imagined 
a kind of soul attached to the organs and residing in the 
stomach. He called it Archceus, and gave to it in charge, 
the government of the functions ; but he did not assign to 
it Irritation as its prime minister, and irritability played no 
part in his absurd system of galimatias. Yet to one of the 
votaries of medical chemistry, Van Helmont, we owe the 
first notions clearly expressed of Irritation. Van Helmont 
admitted the Archceus of Paracelsus, and like him, placed it' 
in the stomach. This physician was the first who gave a 
just notion of the local cause of Inflammation. He attribu- 
ted it to the anger of Archceus, who, offended by the pre- 
sence of morbid causes, sent a ferment into the part, which 
the Archceus always had at command. This ferment irrita- 
ted the tissues, which called upon the blood, and thus became 
the immediate cause of inflammation. He exemplified this 
by a thorn forced into a sensible part, and thus gave an idea 
of the mechanical production of Inflammation. He attribu- 
ted also to Inflammation some diseases which, till that time, 
had been very differently considered, such as dysentery, 
which he placed in the first rank of phlegmasia;, declaring 
that it differed from pleurisy, only by the part effected.— 
His notion of the manner in which inflammation was produ- 
ced occupied the famous article Aiguillon in the Eneyclo- 
pedie, which has laid the foundation for the modern works 
on the vitality belonging to each of the organs. 

But this idea had not all the success which we might have 
suspected ; for, from the system of Descartes arose the phy- 
siologico-cheraical school of Sylvius, the mechanico-mathe- 

! 28 | 

matical and animal" school of Stahl, who, for some time 
turned aside the physicians from using the theory of ir- 
ritation. It is true, that Van Iielraont placed this pheno- 
menon in the second rank only, and that his seeds of disease 
and his ferment, savored too much of the humoral theories, 
and his Archceus manifestly tended to place the soul at the 
head of all the physiological phenomena. This author may 
then be considered as the principal founder of medical spir- 
itualism, but his irritation is too much separated from matter, 
to serve as abase for any reasonable theory of the irritability 
of living tissues. 

Sylvius de le Boe, used the word irritation to give an idea 
of the action of acrid humors, which he conceived to arise 
from the fermentations, precipitations, and distillations, of 
which the human body was the continual seat. To blunt 
these acrid humors, he employed methods, more or less 
irritating : hence his theory does not rest upon irritability 
considered as a fundamental property of the body, and a 
source of vital phenomena ; irritation was for him, only 
something accessary, frequently very ill applied. We may 
say as much of all his followers who, like Floyer, multiplied 
their acrimonies, and sought their specifics among the incras- 
sating, always joined to irritating medicaments. 

In the system of Borelli, one of the founders of the me- 
chanical school, irritation plays an important part. — It is by 
this means, that the nervous fluid disseminated through the 
muscles by the action of the brain, determines their contrac- 
tion. Irritation figures also in producing diseases; for the 
nervous fluid becomes acrid by the vitious action of glandu- 
lar secretion, (although the blood does not participate this 
action,) excites fever by irritating the heart. But this 
appears to be the sum of their explanations, founded upon 
irritability ; for their calculation of the force of the heart, 
and the fibres of the stomach — their dissertations on the 
effects of trituration — the velocity of the blood — the impulse 
of the molecules against the sides of their containing vessels — 
the influence which angles and curvatures produce on the 
course of fluids, and similar researches to which they always 
applied calculation, absorbed the attention of these physi- 
cians, and drew them aside from the principal phenomenon. 
It was elasticity, considered as a mechanical force, which 
formed the fundamental property of the living body, and not 
irritability, a word which was employed, not in a literal, but 

i 29 j 

in a metaphysical sense, to give an idea oi the principle of 
action. Hence ail the explanations of this school were me- 
chanical, and most of the physicians that belonged to it were 
empyrics in Pathology, and mechanicians and calculators in 
Physiology. Hence, no doubt, the opinion which prevails 
at present among certain practitioners, that mathematical 
sciences can render no service to the practice of medicine. 

Nevertheless, some physicians, convinced of the insuffi- 
ciency of mechanico-mathematical calculations, to explain 
the movements of the blood, and the congestions in, and 
derangements of the secretory organs, had recourse to irrita- 
tion, by means of which the blood is attracted, independently 
of the impulsive force of the heart. This irritation was, ac- 
cording to them, a vital phenomenon which they did not 
place in subjection to ferments, such as those of Van Hel- 
mont. Nevertheless, in spite of these flashes of reason over 
the physiology of life, irritation was nothing yet but an 
accessory phenomenon, not essentially inherent in the ani- 
mal fibre, so as to force itself into the explanation of all 
Physiological and Pathological appearances. It was from 
this cause that the authors who were not mechanicians in 
Physiology, were always either humouralists or empyrics, 
whenever the causes of the treatment of diseases come in 

Stahl formerly denied that the parts of the body were 
brought into action by stimulants, and that they contract 
themselves under the influence of stimulants : this was de- 
nying the fundamental point of the doctrine of irritation. 
He acknowledged no active power capable of producing 
motion, excepting the soul, which he borrowed from Van 
Helmont. It was the soul that perceived impressions ; but 
this soul made use of tonicity as the only agent capable of 
producing motion, although the notion of making the modi- 
fiers of the body act immediately upon an immaterial sub- 
stance, without counting any thing of the impression made 
upon living matter, and introducing this last solely for the 
purpose of producing a reaction of the spiritual being, seems 
strange and contradictory ; yet, on studying the system of 
this physician, we cannot help perceiving that it was favor- 
able to the progress of the theory of irritation. In effect, 
it was only necessary to place this phenomenon between the 
body impressed and the soul, just as he had placed what he 
calls tonicitv between the action of the soul and bodilv 

L ^ J 

motion, to perceive that irritation presides over the pheno- 
mena of health and disease. But the properties of the seve- 
ral tissues which compose our organs and other apparatus, 
was not sufficiently understood to lead readily to this con- 
clusion. Nevertheless they employed the word irritation 
to give an idea of the manner in which the soul is effected 
by its modifiers. — It is the soul, according to the disciples of 
Stahl, which is irritated by the light that strikes upon the 
retina ; and it is the soul which determines the closing of 
the eyelids and the contraction of the iris. One said 
that the soul was irritated by the impression of acrid matter 
which affected (not irritated) the nerves, and which excited 
fever. Another, Robert Whytt, acknowledged three spe- 
cies of muscular motion : one natural, another produced by 
nervous influence and voluntary, and a third, involuntary, 
produced by direct irritation. But the soul was always 
brought forward ;* they always regarded it as the cause of 
motion, and to explain the motions which took place in a 
separated muscular fibre, they maintained that the soul was 
divisible, and that its presence in each portion of a divided 
heart, was the cause of the contractions which took place. 
They employed the same reasoning to explain the repeti- 
tion of the contractions in a heart, torn out of a living animal, 
when they ceased to puncture it ; they saw no mean be- 
tween Mechanism and Animism, and if the heart did not 
move mechanically, it must move by means of the soul ; 
they regarded as nothing the inherent irritability of the liv- 
ing fibre ; they gave the same explanation of the irritations 
applied immediately to the nerves, and more or less pro- 
longed after the substraction of the modifiers. This, there- 
fore, was not the true theory of irritation. Others, never- 
theless, pretended that the will always acted as an irritant 
upon the parts ; this was one step more toward the truth, 
but the system was not yet generalized ; indeed it could not 
be while irritability was separated from the living fibre, and 
while tonicity, the substitute of elasticity, was regarded as 
the principle property of tissues, and the abstract entity, 
irritation, was in this system brought into play, in lieu of 
the irritability of living animal matter. 

Sauvages was mechanician in Physiology, and empyric 

*No man who has glanced at the prevailing Physiology, and the prc- 
vading Theology of any period, can doubt but the absurdities of Physiolo- 
gy must be ascribed to clerical influence. — -Transl. 

L 3i j 

in Pathology : he subjected all the mechanical phenomena 
of the living body to the soul, and studied diseases by groups 
of symptoms, as is seen in his Nosologic Methodique. He 
had no just idea of irritation. 

The reasonable soul of Stahl became now superceded by 
the vital principle. This was only changing the word. 
Thus, Casimir Medicus maintained that matter was of itself 
incapable of all motion, and that the irritation of tissues 
which had forced itself into notice, explained nothing with- 
out the intervention of this foundation-principle. Another 
author revived the material soul of the ancients, and assign- 
ed to it the same functions as the reasonable soul of Stahl. 
Each portion of the body was endowed with its peculiar 
sentiment and imagination, which was under the general 
government of this material soul. There is no assignable 
termination to the entities created and interposed between 
the immaterial soul and the organic fibres. But this arbi- 
trary creation could not resist the progress of physical 
sciences. Nothing is seen in these hypotheses, but the. 
system of Van Helmont under different colours. 

Thcophilus Bordeu admits in each organ a particular 
feeling. But he does not erect it into an intellectual 
feeling. Each organ being possessed of its own proper life, 
has also its own particular internal agents of irritation, which 
it draws from the blood, the nerves, &c. This author 
brought the glands greatly into play, conferred a principle 
of action on the blood, and submitted the whole to the vital 
principle, which in truth was not the reasonable soul of 
Stahl, nor an etherial or igneous material principle like that 
of the ancients. It was something abstract ; the general 
result of the particular lives of the respective organs ; but 
it was also an active force which directed the mass of par- 
ticular and special forces. 

Irritation here is only a secondary means. It is not that 
force, which reflected from one organ upon the others, com- 
municates motion and supports life : it is the general force, 
a result of all the particular forces, which feels the wants, 
calls in the means of supplying them, disposes the concert 
of motions, assimilating, depurating, conservating, repro- 
ducing, and directing the phenomena of nutrition. This is 
not yet the theory of Irritation. Shall I speak of the 
chimerical functions to which this author put the cellular 
tissue ? the pains and cachexies pro rood in a - from the vicious 

[ 32 ] 

action of the different secreting organs, which the vital prin- 
ciple had to remedy by laborious efforts of coction, more or 
less prolonged, by crises, depurations, &c? It is evident 
that the theory of Bordeu, though much superior to those 
of his predecessors, is nothing like the true doctrine of irri- 

It carries also with it an impression of Animism. It 
seems to give ideas and action to a principle, and to princi- 
ples of which no one can form a precise idea. It is so far 
good that it unites these principles to particular organs, so 
that you cannot think of the one, without contemplating at 
the same time the other, and their modifiers. As to the 
theory of Coction, and efforts made with irritation, this is a 
remains of the Ontology of the Hippocratic Schools. 

La Caze, so much thought Oi by some, spoke of irritation ; 
but he nearly confined it, in the production of vital motions, 
to the tendinous centre of the diaphragm which he consider- 
ed as nervous. He wandered so far from the truth, that 
we cannot place him among the physicians who contributed 
to the progress ol the theory of Irritation. 

These errors would not have been committed, if physiolo- 
gists had been content to reason on facts well established. 
But the mad propensity derived from the ancients of guess- 
ing at functions instead of studying them ; and that other 
not less erroneous of considering every thing abstractly — 
of talking for a long time about functions without noticing 
the organs to which they belong — of placing the organs in 
a subordinate point of view, and creating some immaterial 
being to hover over them, and direct all their movements — 
this Ontologic mania was as yet too fashionable to permit 
physicians, under the influence of their imagination, to escape 
from it. On the other hand, wise men, who had no anatomi- 
cal and physiological analysis to resort to, for no one had as 
yet established such a branch of knowledge, had no resource 
but to empiricism or scepticism. But scepticism prescribes 
no formulas, and diseases demand them. There was no 
remedy, therefore, in medicine, but empericism and a re- 
nunciation of physiological reasoning. Content with a 
superficial view of facts, exclaiming with Horace, Pcrmiitc 
Divis ceetera. 

Barthez, a noted favorer of the vital principle, placed in 
subordination to it too many particular forces, and brought 
it upon the stage as a kind of intelligent soul: although he 

f 33 } 

protested to mean no more by this than the cause, whatever 
it might be, of vital motions. This author admits also of 
humoral charges, founded partly on the theory of the Ga- 
lenists, and partly on that of Bordeu ; for he strove as much 
as possible to make the different theories agree. He re- 
garded irritation as a secondary phenomenon, and did not 
make it the base of any regular system of Physiology, or of 

Ernest Plainer, in his great work on Anthropology, admits 
a nervous spirit, a kind of material soul, which he proposes 
as the general instrument of the immaterial soul. The or- 
gans pump it out of the atmosphere : it corresponds to the 
Pneuma of the old physicians. It is an emanation of the 
general soul of the world, and proceeds from the ether. — 
This material soul, diversified in each organ, produces therein 
sentiment, desire, aversion, and explains all phenomena. 
In this explanation irritation acts but very feebly. 

Hitherto nothing appears on irritation but what is vague. 
Arriving at Francois Glisson, we shall see something more 
precise. Without entering into the details of the system 
of this philosophical physician, we shall remark, that he 
ascribes to each animal fibre, a property which he terms irri- 
tability, and of which the results are perception and desire 
(appetit). Perception differs from sensation. Perception 
precedes the motion which is the effect of irritability, and 
is converted into sensation so soon as it reaches the soul. 
This perception is natural to the fibres ; the nerves possess 
it ; it renders the fibres irritable ; it is the source of natural 
movement, which the author distinguishes from sensitive 
movement, the result of sensation. The soul having received 
a sensation from a natural perception, acts upon this for the 
purpose of moving the muscles, without acting immediately 
on the muscles. The will put into action by the soul, acts 
upon the irritable fibres by means of the nerves, or their 
natural perception. Irritability is divided into natural, vital 
and animal ; and the humors partake of it. There are vital 
spirits also, intermediate between the immaterial soul and 
the organs. The sympathies between these two, are explain- 
ed by the communication of animal irritability. 

In spite of all this Ontology, it is easy to see that the first 

theory of Irritation is comprised in Glisson's, and the germs 

also of the theory of excitement. To find this, it is only 

necessary to take away the immaterial beings which he has 


I * J 

placed between the impression of the excitants and die 
movement of the fibre ; and then will remain the irritability 
of the fibre, and its result, irritation. Still this irritability is 
too general, too vague. It becomes necessary to appreciate 
its degree and its function in each tissue. This precision, 
however, belongs to a period much nearer to our own. But 
we shall see that the first notions of the theory of excitement 
must not be refused to Hoffman. 

Irritation occupied an important place in the system of 
this author, but it did not form the basis, of that system. 
The blood contains an etherial fluid which it dispenses to 
all parts of the body ; which is secreted in the brain, and 
distributed in the nerves. This fluid is the first mover of 
life ; it is this which gives irritability to all the tissues ; it 
is the intermedium by whose aid the immaterial soul acts 
upon the body ; it constitutes of itself a sensitive soul, and 
each of its parts has an idea of the mechanism of its whole 
organization. It is according to these ideas, that the mate- 
rial soul forms a body for its own habitation ; she takes care 
of it, she repairs it, &c. &c. We can easily see that the 
thinking particles of this sensitive soul, do not differ from 
the Monads of Leibnitz. 

Is there any question of the movements which are execu- 
ted by this sensitive soul ? Hoffman studies and explains 
them by Mechanics and Hydraulics. Life consists in the 
preservation of this union, through the movement which is 
produced by the spirit contained in the blood, and it is this 
movement which keeps up the animal heat. 

Independently of this movement, Hoffman admits another, 
which he regards as fundamental ; that is, the diastole and 
systole of the membranes of the brain, or meninges, already 
discovered by Pacchioli and Baglivi. It is this new motion 
propagated in the dura matter of the spinal marrow, which 
forces the nervous fluid into the different parts of the body. 
The excess of this motion furnished him with the explana- 
tion of convulsions. In general, diseases depend on irregu- 
larities in this motion, or in the imperfect mixture of the 
humors produced by the faulty action of the spirit, dissemi- 
nated through the blood, whose mixture it does not properly 
regulate. Excess of this motion produces spasm ; when too 
feeble, the result is atony ; while the faults of the mix- 
ture engender humoral diseases. 

Hence arose a pathology, arbitrary and fantastical. We 

I 3o J 

see clearly that the physicians of that day, to whatever sect 
they belonged, were embarrassed by the obligation they 
believed imposed on them, to make room, some how or 
other, for an immaterial soul,* and to explain its relations 
with every part of the body. Descartes located this soul in 
the pineal gland ; others placed it in other parts of the brain ; 
but Hoffman, brought up in the school of Van Helmont, 
distributed it to every part of the body. The great difficul- 
ty to be overcome still remained : that is, the contact of an 
immaterial substance with matter. They had long been in 
the habit of extricating themselves by means of spirits : that 
is, a subtile matter, more or less like ether, from whence 
they frequently derived it ; but as these kinds of gasses were 
capable of contact, in part with the soul, and in part with 
the organs of the body, they had only to explain their ope- 
rations, by the Chemistry or Philosophy of the day. Whe- 
ther they employed two souls, and two sorts of spirits, or 
one, the idea was at bottom the same. Hoffman sometimes 
made his soul and his spirits mechanicians, sometimes che- 
mists ; at other times they seem to put the molecules into 
action according to the blind laws of vegetative life, as if 
these molecules had not labored under the eyes of their 
immaterial principles, and in some measure under their 
hands. His pathology conducted him to stimulants, though 
he abused them much less than many others. All this is 
very unlike the true theory of Irritation, toward which, 
Hoffman had not advanced so far as Plattner. 

Hitherto, irritability had been considered confusedly and 
always abstractedly. The great Haller, first of all determin- 
ed by precise experiments, what tissues were really irritable : 
the result with him was, that their property was confined to 
the muscular fibre. Of the other tissues, some, like the 
nervous, and those which were abundantly furnished with 
nerves, were endowed with sensibility only : others, not 
the fewest in number, were declared to have neither sensi- 
bility nor irritability, but a vis inertias only. The connec- 
tion of the nerves, which, according to Haller, produced 
nothing but sensibility, served to explain the sympathies, or 
the propagation of excitement from the fibres of one part, to 
those of another. 

This theory was a great step gained ; for it gave consis- 
tence to ideas, before that time, too abstracted to fix the 

In obligation imposed on them by the clergy. — Th'omsl. 

E 36 ] 

attention of strict reasoners, and too difficult to convince 
them. But it did not furnish a sufficient reason of the phe- 
nomena of motion, particularly such as took place in the 
numerous tissues to which Haller had refused both irrita- 
bility and sensibility, and allowed them only a vis inertiae ; 
for what idea can you have of a vis inertiae in a living body ? 
The cellular tissue, and the organs, which, according to that 
author, are formed out of it, such as the tendons, had no 
distinct properties. How then could be explained the union 
of these tissues with those that were sensible or irritable ? 
Besides the first defect, Haller's system had a second, not 
less weighty. Sensibility, that part of the ancient soul, be- 
came materialized, when it attached itself to the nervous 
tissue, and assumed an heretical character, when taking its 
place by the side of the irritability of the muscular fibre. 
This, of course, excited grave suspicions among the physi- 
ologists and the philosophers. Notwithstanding all the 
efforts they made at that time to remedy this very inconve- 
nient materialization, and which encroached upon the do- 
main of the soul, it has remained even to our day ; and our 
spiritual philosophers cannot get rid of this cruel thorn, but 
by interposing the soul between the Almighty and their sen- 
sibility, just as the ancients interposed spirit, or ether, 
between the soul and matter. We shall of course consider 
this subject again, by-and-bye. 

Nevertheless, the successors of Haller perfected their 
theory as far as they were able. One re-established the 
irritability of Glisson, and made it the source of all the mo- 
tions of the body, dispensed it to every tissue, and assigned 
to the nerves alone, the power of exciting, and of putting it 
inaction. Some time after, another proved that irritability 
was independent of the vital spirits, and belonged originally 
to the fibres ; for he demonstrated it in zoophytes and in 
plants. Others showed that the essence of the human body, 
consisted in the re-union of the forces of its several tissues. 
They saw that irritability remained in those parts whose 
sensibility had been destroyed by tying, or cutting the 
nerve, distributed through them ; they specified the external 
agents which excited, diminished, extinguished, or exhaust- 
ed it by excess. (Works of the school of Winter.) These 
exciters of irritability assumed the name of stimulants, which 
they have kept to the present day. Many authors went so 
far as to denv the existence of the nervous fluid. 

[ 31 J 

Many disputes arose concerning the sensibility of differ- 
ent parts : some refused to allow it in conformity to the 
experiments made on living animals ; they pretended to 
judge of it, rather by the pain excited by the inflammation 
produced, than by the presence of nerves. They maintain- 
ed that contractility is an original property of living matter, 
and therefore that every part of the body, without exception, 
is endowed with it. This opinion found many supporters. 
Thus by degrees the bases of the theory of Irritation were 
laid down. 

After such facts established, how was it possible to remain 
so long adherents, to medical Ontology ; how could every 
thing remain in doubt, and how could medicine come down 
to our day, without having been able to associate itself de- 
finitively with Physiology by the intervention of irritation ? 

Peter Anthony Faber, however, gave it a valuable sup- 
port. He demonstrated better than any one else, the irrita- 
bility of the capillaries, independent of cerebral innervation. 
He remarked in frogs, that the blood followed all directions, 
sometimes a course retrograde in the small arteries, and 
direct in the small veins. Dr. Sarlandiere repeated this 
experiment before us, by placing the mesentery of a frog in 
the focus of a microscope. We had ascertained that the 
molecules of the fluids came from all parts, convergingly 
even across the veins, toward the point irritated by the 
puncture of a pin, and were there accumulated so as to form 
a congestion. At length the molecules of the circumference 
were able to disengage themselves, and take an inverse 
direction if you establish a new point of inflammation in the 
neighborhood of the former. This fact became decisive in 
the theory of many inflammatory disorders, and of the effect 
of revulsion. Faber had made a very happy application of 
this fact to the theory of inflammations. If it was not sa- 
tisfactory in his hands when applied to fevers, it was because 
he had not viewed these effections as phlegmasia;. 

In fact, while fevers were not reduced to a phenomenon 
of inflammatory irritation, they remained within the domain 
of the vital principle, a kind of immaterial soul, but perisha- 
ble — subordinate to the immortal soul, but strictly connected 
with it. This foreseeing principle — this interior providence 
of Hippocratic origin, all whose doings had a purpose to be 
guessed at, reduced the business of a Physician to that of an 
Augur or Auruspex, at least in the greater number and most 

[ 38 J 

prominent of the cases, and especially in those which were 
most interesting for the multitude and mobility of the scenes 
they presented. How could a series of notions so incom- 
plete, for the most part, associate themselves to irritability so 
as to become a real science ? Was it not necessary to throw 
down this monstrous colossus of specific fevers, so labori- 
ously raised by the successive efforts of physicians, from 
the very first epoch of civilization ? 

This new theory of inflammation, which consisted in 
attributing to a local irritation, attractive of the neighboring 
fluids, furnished in all cases the means of attacking with 
success, the system of Boerhaave, on the obstruction of the 
small vessels, by the globules of the blood, as being the 
cause of inflammation, and furnished a better foundation for 
the therapeutics of disease ; but physicians did not derive 
all the advantages of which this theory was capable, for 
inflammations were too confined, and systems were afloat 
which diminished their number. Ontology was too power- 
ful at that day, to permit the full developement of the theory 
of irritation, and the physiological doctrine of medicine. 

Some established an identity between nervous power 
and irritability, and made the soul contribute to all the irrita- 
tive movements ; but as it was proved that irritability did 
not depend on nervous influence, these notions did not gain 
ground. Innervation is for the fibre no more than an exci- 
ting cause to put it in action, and which renders irritability 
more marked and distinct. 

Hence arose the nervous theory, which took its origin at 
Edinburgh, and of which Cullen was the father. He dedu- 
ced it indeed from the doctrines of Hoffman, who frequently 
sought for the cause of disease in the nerves. But Hoffman 
made the nerves subordinate to the dura mater : he made 
this to act mechanically, so that the causes of disease were 
with him mechanical : he admitted also of humoral diseases, 
which Cullen rejected, referring every thing to the modifi- 
cations of the nerves. Cullen is properly the father of 
solidism, although he often wanders. He combined the 
notions of Hoffman, with vital forces. 

In his theory o{ levers, he sets out from the principle that 
all the causes of these affections are debilitating. This 
debility exists at the surface ; and the reaction of the vis 
medicatrix excites the powers of the body and produces 
heat : but the debility at the surface exists during iho whole 

I 39 j 

progress oi' the fever. The internal coat ot the stomach 
partakes of it. 

The diminution of energy in the brain, is the first cause 
of that in the skin. Spasm succeeds atony, and the mutual 
reaction goes on. Hence, Quinquina and other tonics be- 
come specifics in these cases. 

Cullen attributed inflammation to the irritation of the 
sanguineous capillaries. Rbeumatism is a type of this state, 
which visceral phlegmasia are passed over. The gout dif- 
fers greatly from rheumatism, as being a disease of the 
whole system — a nervous debility arising from atony of 
digestion. This atony assumes periodicity, in which the 
gouty fit arises from congestions taking place at the articu- 

Irritation becomes in this system an important agent, but 
almost always a secondary one. This is a bad use to put it 
to. The author makes it arise from debility, and in vain we 
ask, what is the primitive debility in those disorders which 
are more successfully treated by debilitating the patient, than 
by exciting him, with a view to give strength ? Irritation is not 
in its proper place here, nor is this the doctrine of Irritation. 
Cullen, moreover, passes by many diseases. He admits, 
against his own principles, of acrid humors, and dwells al- 
most always on cure by tonics. It is to Cullen we owe the 
tonic therapeutics in fevers, and in those chronic affections 
where he always saw relaxation of the stomach. These 
notions supported by his disciple Brown, have prevailed in 
the European schools even to this day. 

The atony which here appears again upon the stage, is the 
laxum of Themison, who located it in the vessels. But it 
had been already presented under another aspect, for Stahl 
had acknowledged the general relaxation of fibre. Hoff- 
man rather placed it in the nerves than the vessels. Cul- 
len saw it in every tissue. Nature no longer struggles, as 
Boerhaave supposed, with a stagnation of the fluids. He 
has now to contend according to Cullen, with relaxation con- 
verted into spasm. The disciples of Boerhaave at least, 
left some energy in their organ of reaction : irritated by the 
obstacle which stopt the blood it would otherwise have 
pushed forward, the heart redoubled its vigor, and its in- 
creased efforts produced inflammation and fever. This an- 
cer of the heart, substituted for the anger of the Archaeus, 
was in truth gratuitous, but it involved no contradiction. 

I 40 j 

Not so with the "atonico-spasmodic system of Cullen : the 
atony was not confined to the skin and the surface-vessels, 
but extended to the stomach and particularly to the brain ; 
a thoughtlessness surprising, considering that in this system 
the nervous apparatus was the chief organ of life, and the 
source of all reaction. For if the brain be in a state of de- 
bility, we see not whence that reaction is to come, which 
raises up a fever to overcome atony and spasm. If Cullen had 
been an animist, one would have supposed he would have 
assigned this part to the soul to perform : but he talks of 
nothing but nature, life, and matter. In his system, therefore, 
we are driven to suppose that the vital principle, something 
different from matter, acts upon it and produces reaction. 

Still, Cullen rendered great service to medicine, by shew- 
ing the true manner in which medicaments act. He has 
enabled us to banish specifics, by shewing that medicine acts 
only on the nervous system. They act indeed first upon 
the stomach, which by its numerous sympathies acts upon 
every other part of the body and corrects the tendency to 
disease ; which was as much as to say, that they did not act 
directly or specifically on the morbid entites, which diseases 
were considered to be. It is true, Cullen usually proposed 
to increase the tone of the stomach ; but he was not blind 
to the relaxing and dissolving properties of emollient medi- 
cines, or the vital reaction which rendered astringents and 
narcotics irritating. With such principles, we might have 
been led in due time to perceive, that therapeutic agents did 
nothing but modify the vital properties, and augment or di- 
minish the excitation of the organs. He therefore furnish- 
ed to the doctrine of irritation, a foundation which subsequent 
observers might render more substantial. 

James Gregory, a Professor at Edinburgh, and one of the 
proposers of the new nervous theory, pretends that every 
thing is nervous in the animal economy ; and doubts wheth- 
er sedatives directly diminish irritation ; he is inclined to 
regard them in the first instance as irritants. This notion 
adopted by Brown, and from him to Ravori, has served as 
the base of all the disputation on excitement. 

Samuel Musgrave, of London, was of the same school. 
Every disease even to dropsy, typhus, and contagion, were 
affections of the nervous system, and medicines acted only 
upon that system. 

De la Roche, ( analyse des fonctions du systeme nerveux } 

[ 41 ] 

professed similar principles. Like Gregory, he established 
a distinction between the rapidity and the intensity of ner- 
vous phenomena ; the first increases as the latter diminish- 
es. Stimulants according to him, increased the rapidity, 
tonics the intensity of nervous action. This theory has 
gained ground. Even at present a distinction is made be- 
tween excitation and tonic action ; but this latter is only a 
shade of the former, \v T hich according to the physiological 
physicians, is in fact the same. 

According to Albert Thaer, fever is nothing else than an 
excitement of the nerves of the vital organs ; whence re- 
sults an increase of irritability in the heart and arteries. He 
repeats after Baglivi, that crudity in fevers is the result of 
spasmodic and irregular contraction ; and when the spasm 
ceases, a healthy coction succeeds. These expressions are 
vague, and the seat of spasm is undetermined ; but we see 
clearly that the doctrine of irritation promises to become 
the prevailing system. Stcll himself, with all his humoril- 
ism, entertained the notion that fever and inflammation were 
owing to the augmentation of irritability in the heart and 
arteries, and Selle did not hesitate to place the cause of fe- 
ver in a particular disposition of the nervous system, which 
can only be referred to irritation. 

The theory of Schmffer, physician at Ratisbon, is much 
nearer what we acknowledge at present in France, although 
it differs, as we shall see, in many essential points. Accor- 
ding to him, all diseases depend on an unnatural irritation of 
the nervous system. Excitement, crudity, coction, are all 
nervous. Critical evacuations do not decide upon febrile 
diseases ; they are nothing but relaxations produced by the 
cessation of spasm. This author pays more attention to ner- 
vous affections and irritations, than to pretended acrimonies. 
Medicines act upon the nerves of the stomach, and bring 
the sympathies into play, by aid of the great intercostal 
nerve. Here is, without doubt, an important position ta- 
ken, to found thereupon the theory of acute disorders ; but 
we want intermediate facts to render it useful. The author 
deduces from his theory, the necessity of emetics to shake 
the system powerfully, to overcome spasm, to hasten coction, 
&c. &c. But to recur to irritation, for the purpose of over- 
coming irritation, without having revulsion in view, (that 
is to say, without meaning to create a new and counter irri- 
tation) and to suppose that irritants have a specific 

L ** J 

anti-irritative effect, as he supposes after Rasoii, is to 
entertain .a false idea of the irritability of the tissues ; for 
the proper view of the subject is founded on the knowledge 
of the mode of action of internal fluids and external agents 
upon the same tissues ; and a just notion of this mode of 
action constitutes the true science of medicine. 

We find in John Gardiner an excellent application of the 
nervous theory of that day. He attributes catarrh, to 
a transfer of irritation from the skin to the air passages. 
What more precise can be said of the sedative action of 
cold ? And why did not the other parts of the theory agree 
with this? 

Some classifiers have reproduced in our day, a system ex- 
plained by Vanderheuvel. This author based it upon the 
different aberrations of vital energy; the genera of disease, 
rested upon the disorder of the general functions ; and the 
species of disease, on the disorder of the special functions. 
This gave us diseases arising from excess of general, and 
diseases arising from excess of local irritability. The fault 
of this system has already been shewn : you cannot separate 
the vital properties of the organs from the organs, to make 
these properties as distinct entities, preside over organic af- 
fections. You must study the lesions of these properties 
in the organs themselves that are diseased, and not the le- 
sion of the organs in the disease of the properties : these 
last are chimerical entities, resulting from medical On- 
tology. ( The property of any thing by which it is known 
or characterized, is not an independent being, separate from 
the thing of which it is a property : it is not a noun substan- 
tive but a noun adjective, as a peculiar yellow brilliancy is 
the property of gold. It is the thing itself. — Trans.) 

All these efforts shew that the attention of physicians was 
no longer voluntarily directed to ch'meras, although from 
the influence of prevailing prejudices, they were undesign- 
edly led in that direction ; but their intent was to rest 
upon the phenomena, from whence we derive our notions 
of life. These phenomena were known in a great measure 
— no one could lose sight of them. It required only a good 
and clear method of studying them, which they were yet 
far from possessing. 

Henceforward the soul of Stahl presides no more over 
diseases : vital force, nature, were substituted ; and the 
Animists [or Psycbists,) had become Solidists. According 

I 4:3 j 

lo Vacca Berlinghieri, Professor at Pisa, we ought no lon- 
ger to talk about humors. It was necessary to study the so- 
lids and the forces that animate them. No more of putre- 
faction in the circulating fluids ; this takes place not within 
but out of the vessels. The constitution of the atmosphere 
alters the humors only by acting on the solids. He admits 
a principle of reaction which is the cause of salutary and 
morbid changes, and is in fact vital energy ; and medicine 
acts by means of the substances prescribed, on this vital 
energy. The base of this theory is good ; not so its appli- 
cation. Physicians dwelt as yet among important generali- 
ties. In spite of themselves they were drawn on to consid- 
er the vital principle as some separate abstract being : irri- 
tation was not studied in its actual effects on each organ, nor 
was the connection traced between the irritability of each 
tissue and the irritants actually employed. 

Grimaud, Professor at the school at Montpelier, was 
among the vitalists, but in a peculiar way. He discovered a 
great affinity between nervous diseases and fevers. He ob- 
served among the phenomena the principle of reaction. 
The heat and cold of fever are equally affections of the 
nerves. But the faults of the humors, (the fluids) are not 
the result of those of the solids, for the vital principle acts 
equally on the fluids. These fluids then have their appro- 
priate diseases independent of the solids. This modifica- 
tion of the humoral pathology, adopted also by Bordeu, has 
always had its partizans. But to adopt a vital principle 
which sometimes hovers over the solids, and sometimes over 
the fluids, separated from both, is Ontology. (It is Proso- 
popeia. — Trans. ) To see morbid entities all ready formed 
in the fluids, before the solids are affected by them, is illu- 
sion and chimera. The fluids, as we shall see by and by, 
may contain a cause of disease resident for sometime within 
themselves, but the disease itself does not reside there. 
To make the curative modifiers act upon the fluids instead 
of the solids, is another illusion supported by no fact. What- 
ever part we choose to assign to the living solid in that theo- 
ry, we can see nothing that induces us to confound it with the 
doctrine of Irritation. 

Notwithstanding all the labors of the solidists, they had 
not yet extended unity to the different phenomena of the 
animal body. Most of the physicians were inclined to sep- 
arate as Haller did, nervous energy from muscular irritabili- 

t 44 ] 

ty, so that the irritation of the nerves was not iike that of 
the muscles ; nor had they any idea of the irritability of tis- 
sues, which Haller had condemned to" vis inertia?. They 
sought to establish this desirable unity, by saying that the 
nerves are the base of all the tissues, and that in fact every 
theory is reducible to neuvous substance. But this hypo- 
thesis could not mislead the anatomists ; and it found itself 
at variance with the practitioners, who could not bring them- 
selves to see nothing but nervous modification, in the influ- 
ence exerted by the causes of disease, and the action of re- 
medies. On the other hand, the vital principle was not suf- 
ficiently of the nature of matter, to be put in connection with 
the agency of external substances : and it was not to be con- 
cealed, that in seeking to modify it according to prevailing 
theories, the results were not always satisfactory. 

The uneasiness which arose from this unpleasant state of 
uncertainty, hurried many able men into empiricism, till the 
system of John Brown, (Johannes Bruno, as he was often 
called — Trans.) long unknown and neglected, began to 
spread, and attracted strongly the attention of physicians in 
general. Brown had been a disciple of Cullen. He adop- 
ted like Cullen the notion that debility was the cause of ma- 
ny diseases ; but he did not convert spasm into a distinct 
being. He saw but one modification of debility ; and he re- 
jected the whole humoral explanation. Brown borrowed 
from Cullen the idea that remedies were not specific ; and 
he acknowledged but one modification of life in its action on 
the organs. He discarded the words " vital principle ;" nor 
did he trouble himself in reducing all the functions to ner- 
vous phenomena. He seized upon two ideas, excess and 
defeat of excitement ; and made these equivalent to excess 
and defect of vital force, The hypothesis of strictum and 
laxum had been already advanced. Brown connected these 
two expressions with his own theory ; so that excess of 
excitement, or of vital force was excess of tone, strictum, 
while laxum became defect of excitement ?nd vital force. 

Brown laid it down as a principle that life is kept up by 
excitement ; and to live is nothing but being excited. Thus 
far all was just- It is manifest that whatever it be that makes 
us live, it is reducible in the eyes of an accurate observer 
to those phenomena, which we include under the term life : 
these phenomena go on with decreasing effect and seem dis- 
posed to wear out, But to make use of this principle, we 

I 43 i 

must study each part of the body in its relation to the ex- 
ternal agents of excitation, and ascertain how the respective 
organs mutually excite each other ; and we must attentively 
study the effects of internal and external excitants, on each 
of the tissues of which the bodily organs are composed. 
Brown neglected this : for this manner of studying excita- 
tion, is no other than the modern physiological method of the 
French school. Let us see then what Brown did, and what 
was the cause of his mistakes. 

He considered excitation abstractedly ; separately from 
the excited organs, and he threw himself by his very first 
step among the Ontologists. Then he applied to the organs 
his reveries on excitability. He held that excitability, in a 
general view of it as a modification of life, is consumed and 
worn out by excitement and the action of excitants ; it is 
then accumulated by rest, or the absence of excitement. 
From this view he deduced many consequences by no means 
just. Hence with him, a moderate excitement sustains the 
equilibrium of the vital forces, as no person will contest : a 
greater degree of excitement produces an increase of 
strength, and becomes a source of sthenic disease or disease 
from excess of force. A still stronger .excitement exhausts 
excitability and produces debility or indirect asthenia. Di- 
rect asthenia, is the consequence of defect of excitement. 
The more this defect is increased, the greater is the quanti- 
ty of excitability accumulated, till it becomes excessive. 
Brown formed a regular double scale, representing on one 
side, all the degrees of augmentation and excitement by the 
action of stimulants to the highest degree, which then be- 
came converted into indirect debility or asthenia ; and on 
the other side, all the degrees of augmented excitability by 
reason of want of stimulus, till direct debility or asthenia 
was induced, as far as extreme weakness, terminating in 

It cannot but be felt how absurd is a theory which places 
the highest degree of excitability at that moment when 
excitability itself is about to be extinguished by death. 
But this js not the least fault : the great objection is, that it 
led the Brunonians on to a most fatal practice. The false 
position that the vital force constantly diminishes by a high 
degree of excitement, introduced to make room for indirect 
debility, led Brown to treat by excitants all those inflamma- 
tory affections, which overwhelmed and oppressed muscular 

L 46 J 

motion. The opinion not less erroneous, that whenever ex- 
citants had acted in a less quantity than usual upon the sys- 
tem, excitability accumulated was to be consumed and used 
up by excitants, compelled him to employ those kinds of 
modifiers to all persons who were affected by chronic disor- 
ders. Brown placed all excitants on the same line ; ali- 
ments and the fluids contained in the vessels, formed the prin- 
cipal part : hence it clearly followed, that if persons were 
more lean than in their usual state of health, they had not 
been sufficiently excited, and therefore they must submit to 
excitations. But the physiological doctiine of our day 
teaches us, that the greater part of chronic diseases are in- 
flammations produced and kept up by excitants, and must be 
cured by practice conducted on opposite principles. 

Had Brown studied excitement in connection with, and 
as it appears in the organs themselves, in lieu of treating it 
by personification and abstractedly, he would have avoided 
these errors. He would have acknowledged that persons 
whose regimen is too exciting, instead of becoming as he 
supposed less excitable, are more so, and end by being una- 
ble to bear any further excitation. He would have under- 
stood that excitability may be augmented in some organs 
of the body, while it is diminished in others; for instance, 
when persons who have indulged to excess in alcoholic li- 
quors, fall into a stupor with violent fever, they are easily 
excited at the internal surface of their digestive organs while 
their surface is torpid. Had he been convinced of this im- 
portant truth, he would not have treated acute disorders by 
wine, by bark, and other stimulants of that kind ; and hu- 
manity would not have had to deplore the astonishing pro- 
gress which his system has made, even within our day. 

Had Brown carefully observed persons, enfeebled and 
emaciated by diseases of debility, he might have assured 
himself that their leanness was owing to their being too ex- 
citable, or having been too much excited, and not for want 
of it, consequently we could not hope to diminish their ex- 
citability by any new excitement. Had he made this re- 
mark, w T e should not have seen many physicians in these 
days, treat patients, afflicted with chronic diseases, by stimu- 
lants, and thus hasten the disorganization of their viscera. 

The abstract speculations of this author on excitability, 
did not disclose to him the laws of this phenomenon. He 
never saw them but in cases where patients already too much 

L 41 J 

excited were cured by excitants ; but this is to be ascribed 
to revulsion ; that is, where there is a change of the local- 
ity of excitation, transferred from organs of the first neces- 
sity to life, to another set of organs or to tissues of second- 
ary importance, which are often sacrificed to preserve the 
more essential ones primarily affected. Brown did not per- 
ceive that these fortunate crises were so uncommon, r that ift 
a great majority of cases the exciting treatment destroys 
the principal organs, or produces diseases of debility almost 
always incurable. 

But Brown was neither a practitioner or an anatomist, nor 
in his day w r as the degree of vitality of the several tissues suf- 
ficiently known, to render it possible to observe accurately 
their excitability, or to obtain a just idea how excitation was 
transmitted from one to another ; a system of analytic anat- 
omy was wanting ; and a nation was wanting which posses- 
sed a Chaussier and a Bichet. 

Such is the substance of the famous Brunonian system. 
It was not rigorously adopted in the schools of medicine. 
Some modified it without changing its basis ; in others it 
was made to amalgamate with the humoral theories ; that is, 
the treatment was sometimes applied to peccant humors, and 
sometimes to excess or defect of vital force. Others adop- 
ted a kind of empiricism, wherein Brown's theory indicated 
the curative treatment. Each disease was regarded, not as 
an affection of this or that organ, but as a group of symp- 
toms bearing a certain name, and requiring as a matter of 
course, debilitants or tonics. When the patient was visited, 
the symptoms were counted and noted, without noting what 
organ was affected, and furnished them. To this collection 
of symptoms, a name of that disease was given, to which 
(hey seemed to have most relation. The name was drawn 
from ancient authors ; but as to the treatment, that was 
drawn from the Scotch practice. If the disease was of a 
sthenic character, according to Brown, debilitants were ex- 
hibited : if it appeared to be asthenic, stimulants were pre- 
ferred ; and this was most frequently the case. 

This method was not always strictly pursued, for none 
of these systems had any regular foundation. For instance, 
among febrile diseases, somewhere called after the part af- 
fected pneumonies, peritonitis, hepatitis ; others after the 
state of the patients strength, as adynamic (or typhoid) fe- 
ver*', sthenics or asthenics : some were denominated from the 

[ -is j 

nature of the fluid secreted from the parts affected, as ca- 
tarrhal, mucous, bilious fevers ; some from the danger ac- 
companying them, as pernicious fevers ; some from the sur- 
prise or apprehension they excited in the physician, as ma- 
lignant, irregular, or ataxic fevers ; others from certain ac- 
cidents accompanying them, as syncopal, painful, nervous, 

The same confusion prevailed as to chronic affections. 
Dyspepsies qualified according to the difficulty of digestion ; 
hypochondrias named after sensations referred to the region 
of the hypochondria from obstructions imperfectly under- 
stood ; cutaneous eruptions and scrophulas whose relation 
to the stomach and bowels were not well known. In treat- 
ing these ailments, sometimes, they would dissipate a con- 
gestion without regard to the excitement produced by the 
medicines applied ; sometimes they would make a determi- 
nation to the skin, without considering the gastric stimula- 
tion necessary to produce sweat ; in many cases a virus was 
attacked by methods which only injured the stomach ; in 
most cases the object was to increase the gastric energy 
and the nutrition, without considering that this was a fulness 
and a factitious strength communicated to the patient which 
concealed the alteration of the principal organs, and render- 
ed their ultimate destruction more certain. In fact the ir- 
ritability of the organs was misunderstood, and the remedies 
were applied to unmeaning denominations, while the mis- 
takes committed, were such, as did not teach how to avoid 
mistakes hereafter. 

This disgusting confusion turned away all the best tal- 
ents from medicine, or rendered them empirics. But what 
good could be expected from empiricism, while the true 
notion of disease Avas so unsettled ? Empiricism pretends 
to find a remedy appropriate to the malady, without being 
at the trouble of explaining the malady, or how it is modi- 
fied by the medicine. But what idea of disease could the 
medical knowledge of that day present ? If the explanation 
of the disease was rejected, what was it but a group of symp- 
toms or a single symptom, such as inappetence or want of 
appetite ? But this was sometimes cured by water, some- 
times by wine, by purging or by fasting, or by eating more 
in quantity, or of food more stimulating than usual. In such 
a case what was to be done ? What course was to be fol- 
lowed ? If you will not reason, or adopt some theory to 

[ 49 ) 

discover which of these methods you should resort to, noth- 
ing remains but to try the one after the other ; and if, un- 
luckily, you should first pitch upon that remedy which does 
not suit the disease, you will increase the evil, and perhaps 
render it incurable. What I say here, concerning defect of 
appetite, is applicable to the greater part of other diseases ; 
so that physicians were unable to adopt the empyrical 
method exclusively. They divided into two great classes ; 
the one credulous and superficial, gave themselves up to a 
theory, especially if it was fashionable in their own country, 
or that some eloquent professor had given it a value from 
the chair of an university. The other class, difficult to 
be convinced, either from the severity of their judgement 
or the natural vaccillation of their intellect, throw them- 
selves upon empiricism, or upon an eclectic system of the 
most dangerous kind ; and lamented, before men of science, 
the uncertainty and impotence of the art of healing. By 
dint of enquiry, and a desire to learn every thing relating 
to the animal Man, they seem to have arrived at doubt up- 
on every thing. 

It is easy to see, after this sketch, that medicine was not 
a science ; and that excitation, which they had taken so 
much pains to understand, had not yet become the base of 
any regular system, applicable at once to health, and to dis- 
ease. Still there remained no other method of laying thefoun- 
dation of a real science ; as every one will see, after we 
have stated the principal truths of physiological medicine. 

Chapter III. 


This is based upon Irritation. We acknowledge with 
Brown that life is maintained by excitation alone. But 
we must soon abandon this author, for he takes the road of 
abstraction, and considers excitement insulated and in itself. 
Our object is, to consider it in the organs and tissues affect- 
ed, or rather to consider those organs and tissues when ex- 
cited. This study supplies a certain number of general 
truths, which we propose to state with illustrative examples. 

Man cannot live but by means of that excitement or 
stimulation, (synonimous expressions) which the circum- 
stances or media amid which he lives, exert upon him. 
These media are not confined in their action to his skin or 
his vision, they penetrate all the natural openings of the 

1 oO ] 

body, which arc themselves sensible organs, with exten- 
sive surfaces communicating with the skin. These surfa- 
ces which may be regarded as internal senses, occupy the 
interior of many viscera, and like the external senses, re- 
ceive the stimulations or excitations of foreign bodies. These 
surfaces are membranous like the skin, but their structure is 
somewhat different. Such is the internal membrane of the 
larynx, which penetrates by the trachea and the bronchial 
vessels through all the pulmonary vessels ; and the mem- 
brane of the pharynx which descends by the oesophagus 
and the stomach, and lines the whole intestinal canal to the 
anus. These surfaces are incessantly in contact with the 
foreign bodies ; the first with the air and the particles it 
contains ; the second with the air, the aliments, the bever- 
age, and whatever can be introduced by the mouth or by 
the anus : of all this, the result is excitation. 

. This excitation takes place on the nervous matter distri- 
buted through and among these external surfaces, which we 
shall call surfaces of relation. This nervous matter being 
excited, transmits the excitation to the nervous system ; 
and this last, either by means of single nerves, or by its 
cerebral center, reflects and distributes it through the web 
of all the tissues without excepting the surfaces of relation. 
These surfaces then, are placed between two agents of ex- 
citation ; 1st, the foreign bodies with which they are in con- 
tact, and 2ndly, the influence of the brain. This last we call 

This motion, a disturbance which takes place in the ner- 
vous system by being excited or stimulated, keeps up 
through life the movements which commenced in the foe- 
tus, which is a diminitive mass of living matter. This mass 
cannot sustain its life but by the excitement produced in it 
by the nutriment conveyed to it. The embryo finds that nu- 
triment in the fluids of uterus, which had been already sub- 
jected to the action of external modifiers. The fluids al- 
ready annualized, are therefore the first excitements, in 
quality of being the first sources of nutriment — when the em- 
bryon organs become developed to a certain point, they re- 

* It is a question at present whether electricity is not the cause of ner- 
vous excitation. It is not for us to discuss this question. Admit thai 
the nerves are conductors of electricity or any other fluid or form of mat- 
ter, the irritation of the organs remains a fact discernible by the senses: 
and being established as a fact, may be so taken in treating of the histo- 
ry of this science. . .— 


vj *-»r ..♦ .c jjK£t*n^~ 

L 51 J 

quired the external stimulants of nature. Un being born, the 
nutritive fluids contained in the vessels of the infant, would 
be quickly exhausted, if not renewed, or else would lose 
their stimulating and nutritive properties. But the action 
of the heart, the action of the capillary tissues, and by con- 
sequence life itself, is kept up by the stimulation of the sur- 
faces of relation — the stimulation that takes place in the 
nervous apparatus — the impression made by extraneous par- 
ticles of various kinds absorbed — and by all these united 
excitations, added to those which are occasioned by the 
blood, and by the fluids already assimilated. 

Here then are three orders of stimulating or exciting 
powers, viz. 1st, the bodies exterior to us, producing excite- 
ment which converges to the brain as a centre. 2dly, Inner- 
vation, or diverging excitement ; being the action of the brain 
on the several tissues : 3dly, the stimulations which are 
produced by the motion of the fluids assimilated or not as- 
similated, in the midst of the solids ; a general excitement 
which takes place in all directions. To these three clas- 
ses of stimulation, we may add the action of the organs on 
each other, either by the intervention of the brain, or imme- 
diately by the nervous cords ; a stimulation that takes place 
also in all directions. These comprise the principle stimu- 
lations of the animal economy. 

But they are not all. The fluids in their connection with 
each other, and with the solids, are subjected to new combin- 
ations, changes of form, and perpetual transmutations. By 
the conversion of nutritious substances into fluids peculiar 
to the individual, the conversion of chyle into blood, of blood 
into various fluids, liquids into solids, and solids into li- 
quids. But we may consider all the molecular movements 
founded on the affinities peculiar to living bodies, and which 
constitute what is called organic chemistry, as so many new- 
excitations. In fact, to these is owing the disengagement ot 
caloric ; thus disengaged within the tissues it becomes a stim- 
ulant of the same kind as external caloric. 

To these numerous causes of stimulation, all of them vi- 
tal, are added the non vital stimulants, such as attraction 
and its modifications, electricity, inorganic chemistry, which 
often acts with foreign bodies upon the surface of relation. 
These powers tend to assimilate organic to inorganic bo- 
dies, and if they do not always succeed, it is because the laws 
of life react against them and neutralize their action. 

[ o2 J 

This reaction itself is no other than an excitation. 

It is under the continual influence of these numerous cau- 
ses of excitation, that life maintains itself. So necessary 
are they, that if they are absent, death ensues. Much has 
been written in favor of vital power, the vis conservatrix. 
This power is no doubt calculated to excite our admiration, 
but we must not attribute too much to it. Man has been 
represented as an independent being, free in the midst of 
nature which he is destined to rule over. Will you judge 
accurately of this pretended independence ? Nothing more 
is necessary to bring it very low, but the powers of nature 
of heroic activity, Poison, Fire, Volcanic explosion : remove 
him for a few minutes from the exciting influence of oxy- 
gen and caloric, then call upon him to exert that vis conser- 
vatrix which has been so much extolled in diseases of all 
descriptions. It assumed all the characters of a physical 
agent, but the want of power in this modifier has deprived 
it of them. Stop for a short time the operation of these 
stimulants ; you have not broken the instruments of this 
vital energy, you have taken nothing from it ; you have 
only diverted the course of this unknown but material prin- 
ciple ; you have suspended it for a few moments, and al- 
ready the man is a mass of inanimate matter. Let criti- 
cism then attack if it pleases, the fundamental principle of 
the physiological doctrine ! 

We have referred to excitation, the manifestation of all 
those phenomena which have been at all times considered 
as entering into the idea of life : to wit, the motion of fixed 
organic matter disposed in fibres, contractility ; and as a 
consequence the motions of the fluids or moveable animal 
matter; also the consciousness of these movements, sensi- 
bility ; whose modifications include all the intellectual ope- 
rations. Upon these phenomena depend all the rest ; as 
the production of animal heat, and nutrition, (or the substi- 
tution of animalized materials in lieu of other bodies) gene- 
ration, &c. 

As contractility is the principal instrument of the secon- 
dary phenomena of the animal economy, (for the primary 
are the molecular affinities) it is very impoitant to settle 
the idea of contractility. In our treatise on physiology, we 
have defined it, a condensation, a shortening of the animal 
fibre : and we have stated that this was not confined to the 
muscular fibre, but was participated by all the forms of liv- 

1 te ] 

ing matter ot' which our bodily organs are composed ; and 
maybe reduced to the following : fibrine ; gelatine; and 
albumen. But as experiments and even engravings have 
been published to shew that muscular fibre experiences no 
shortening during its contraction, but a kind of zig-zag fold- 
ing which produced no great diminution in its length, it 
seems proper, to save our readers some laborious research, 
that we should sum up those facts which induce us to make 
contractility a general property, and to view it in the light . 
now presented. I would be understood however, as not 
supposing this explanation necessary to establish the physio- 
logical doctrine ; it is indeed superabundant ; and even if 
it should be true that muscular contraction produces no di- 
minution in the length of the fibre, the basis of that doctrine 
w T ould remain unshaken. But to the facts. 

The muscles are the agents of motion : for this purpose 
they contract, and in contracting they are shortened ; our 
eye sight suffices to furnish evidence of this. If we could 
bring ourselves to doubt of this shortening in the muscles of 
men and of animals attached to a bone, it cannot be denied 
in worms and the whole of molluscous animals. In a word 
the muscles of every animal not furnished with a bony skel- 
eton, shorten so manifestly during motion, that we must be 
deprived of eye-sight not to observe it. 

It is equally evident in hot blooded as in cold blooded an- 
imals, as in the trunk of an elephant ; a simple folding 
could not produce the evident diminution of its length.— 
How can any one deny the shortening that takes place in 
the fibres of the muscular coat of the stomach, the intes- 
tines, the bladder, the matrix ? For it is manifest that their 
fibres are shorter when empty and when their sides are in 
contact, than when distended by foreign bodies within the 

The shortening of the muscular fibre then, is certain ; nor 
can it be deemed hypothetical reasoning to lead off from this 
ascertained fact, in explanation of others ; on the contrary 
it is a mode of reasoning perfectly legitimate, to argue from 
what is known to what is unknown. 

If we were tempted to attribute the contraction of the 
muscles generally to the nervous tissue, which is distributed 
through them in red blooded animals, (an error formerly 
adopted and which some may yet incline to adopt ) it may 
be answered that the polypi and the other pulpy animals 
where this shortening is so manifest to the eye, have no 

I 64 J 

nervous apparatus. Moreover you may see the contractil- 
ity exerted in fibrine separated from the blood, and in some 
of the'plants cercalia. Shortening is therefore a property 
of the muscles and of fibrine generally. It is a property 
dependent on this form of organization in living matter : it is 
independent of the nerves. To deny these propositions is 
to deny proof positive, for no artificial experiment can invali- 
date the manifest facts of nature. 

A multitude of agents may bring into play muscular con- 
tractility ; but the stimulations communicated by the ner- 
vous tissue produces them most efficaciously. This tissue 
has a center, the Brain,- and a crowd of expanded fibres, 
differently formed, called nerves. The extremeties of these 
expansions present themselves on the external or sensitive 
surfaces, and the organs of sense ; also on the internal sen- 
sitive surfaces forming the internal senses. Moreover, they 
are found in all the other organs, but neither so numerous 
or so developed. In all these places the nervous extreme- 
ties receive stimulations ; these are conducted to the cerebral 
center, from whence they are reflected by other nerves, to 
the muscles ; the fibrine of these muscles shortens or be- 
comes condensed, which is the same thing, and thus deter- 
mines the motions necessary to the exercise of the functions. 

Some physiologists think that what pervades the nerves 
and serves to excite the muscular fibre, is of the nature of 
electricity : others reject this explanation, allowing that 
electricity may follow the course of the nerves, without pen- 
etrating their substance. They admit therefore a particular 
fluid running along the fibrils of the nerves. What is cer- 
tain, is, that if a current of electricity be passed along the 
principal nerve of a limb separated from the body, all the 
muscular fibres connected by nervous filaments with the 
principal nerve, are excited to contraction. But this fact 
does not bear upon the question before us. 

The motions that take place by the shortening of the 
muscular fibre are those of locomotion which are prodigious- 
ly numerous ; those of the voice, of deglutition ; the pro- 
gressive motion of the matters thrown into the digestive ca- 
nal ; the greater part of those which are subservient to the 
exoneration of the body, all the voluntary motions, and to a 
certain extent all the involuntary ones which serve to ex- 
press our wants, our passions, and some of our most lively 
sensations, all the motions which propel the circulating flu- 
ids, &c. 

[ oo ] 

Here then is a prodigious quantity of movements execu- 
ted by the fibrine of the body which forms the muscular 
fibre, and which depend entirely on its shortening or conden- 
sation. Is not this condensation brought about evidently by 
the stimulation of the nerves by different agents, which 
stimulation is by the nerves transmitted to the iibrine ? The 
exaggeration or excess of all these movements, constitutes 
one kind of morbid excitation, a species of irritation. But 
even if no shortening of the fibre should take place, this ex- 
cess will not be less real ; it will have been produced by 
the same agents, calculable by the same means ; and will not 
less constitute one of the grand classes of disease acknowl- 
edged by the physiological doctrine, as we shall soon see. 
Let us now pass to another form of animal matter, Gelatin. 
This constitutes the greater part of the tissues that are 
not muscular ; it is found in all the organs intermixed with 
other forms of animal matter. Every where it exhibits con- 
tractility, which as in fibrine, is a shortening or conden- 
sation. The cellular and areolar tissue which serves to 
unite all parts of the body, and is the depositary of fat, is 
composed of gelatin. It is shortened when in marasmus it 
becomes emptied ; it is condensed, and carries with it the 
skin, which becomes wrinkled in proportion as the subject 
is young and vigorous. It is sufficient to have dissected a 
dead body that is lean and one that is fat, to be satisfied that 
the cellular membrane returns upon itself in condensing, and 
when dilated, admits of a considerable extension. It brings 
back to their former situation not only the skin when ii is 
separated from the other organs by corpulence, by serous 
effusions, &c. but also all the other serous membranes des- 
tined to facilitate the movement of the organs on each oth- 
er, and which have changed their situation by tumours either 
normal or abnormal, (healty or morbid) as alimentary reple- 
tions, pregnancy, serous collections, dropsies, inflammatory 
tumors, &c. 

The fibrous tissue that serves as the base of the skin, is 
gelatinous (the skin itself is gelatin) and every one knows 
with what energy it contracts in fear, and several other pas- 
sions, which produce that roughness called goose-skin, and 
which makes the hair stand erect, (horripilatio.) 

The fibrous tissues of the cavernous parts of the body are 
formed of gelatin ; and their contractility is so strong under 
the influence of cold, of anger, of fear, of shame, &c. that 
the penis appears to be drawn in and hardened. This re- 

t 5« 1 

traction and hardening of the penis, is more observable in 
animals of the genus Equus. The vascular system is com- 
posed of gelatin, excepting the larger arteries, in which 
fibrine appears under a peculiar modification. Can any 
thing be more contractile than these sanguineous capillaries, 
which return upon themselves almost immediately after hav- 
ing been distended by the influx of fluids ? than all those 
excretories which ejaculate their fluids, such as the salival 
capillaries, the lacbymal, &c. ? all the excretory ducts do 
not, like these, spirt out their fluids, but all of them have 
force enough to drive out their contents and conduct them 
toward the place of their destination. It cannot be said that 
this is not a shortening of their fibres ; for it is so, to that de- 
gree, that most ol these canals close of themselves, and be- 
come obliterated when they cease to act. 

But are not we now speaking of that vascular apparatus 
destined to the purposes either of the blood, the lymph, or 
the secreted fluids which constitutes the greater part of the 
viscera ? It will therefore be useless to dwell on the proof, 
that contractility, shortening, and condensation of sub- 
stance, takes place in these organs, and determines the move- 
ment of the fluid columns that pass through them. 

It is by nervous influence, innervation, that all these vas- 
cular movements are excited, sustained, and accumulated. 
Experience permits no doubt on this subject, since every 
thing which excites the nerves of a vascular apparatus, eve- 
ry thing which exalts its sensibility, calls to it the fluids in 
greater quantity, and determines either their accumulation 
or their rejection in more than the usual proportion, or their 
different transformations and combinations. Stimulation 
then, reaches the vascular fibres formed of gelatine essen- 
tially contractile, as it does the fibrine of the muscular fibre. 
It produces in them, in like manner, condensation followed 
by elongation and relaxation. The relations and the alter- 
nations of these two movements, explains all the displace- 
ments of the columns or masses of fluid which circulate in 
all directions across our organs. Why do they not say that 
the nerves are the sole agents in all these phenomena, and 
that the movement of condensation of a vein or a lymphatic 
which diminishes the caliber of the containing vessel to suit 
the size of the column of fluid, is a nervous phenomenon 
with which gelatin has nothing to do ? This would be just 
as reasonable as to say that the muscular fibres are passive 
when the muscles contract ! 

E « ] 

Gelatin, moreover, forms ligaments, cartilages, and bones. 
This animal matter has not lost its contractility in these 
organs, for that property is essential to it; but its effects arc 
something entrammelled by the crossing and decussations of 
the gelatinous fibres, and sometimes by their combination with 
inert matter, as phosphate of lime, which gives solidity to 
the bone. It is in this manner that Gelatin is prepared to 
answer the purpose of support to the organs, and determine 
the form and attitude of the animal. 

We come now to the third form of animal matter Albu- 
men. We had better study it in the brain, for it is there in 
considerable mass, and the eye can decide upon its motions. 
But the motion producing condensation is manifest beyond 
dispute, when the upper part of the scull is removed. After 
every pulsation of the heart, and after every inspiration, the 
brain is seen to retreat upon itself after having been raised 
up and enlarged. The condensation takes place in the di- 
rection of the white fibres, from the circumference to the 
centre, and to the base. Moreover, the serous membrane 
insinuated between the different folds and surfaces of the 
encephalic matter, admits beyond doubt, that an undu- 
latory motion continually takes place among the fibres, and 
the encephalic mass is in continual agitation. A man who 
would doubt this fact, must be devoid of all talent for ob- 
servation and induction. We have already stated, and we 
repeat, that these encephalic movements are antecedent to 
the serous surfaces of the encephalon, and ought to produce 
them ; for two gelatinous surfaces in contact, and at rest, 
with no intervening motion, would adhere to each other* 

Since motions of alternate contraction and relaxation take 
place in a mass of albuminous matter, it ought to exist in 
each fibre in particular ; nor can we suppose them strangers 
to the influence of innervation. No doubt something else 
takes place in the interior of nervous tissues ; but we cannot 
say how it is connected with these movements, or how it 
may contribute to innervation. Still, contractility remains 
as a vital property of the nerves ; the envelopes of the ence- 
phalon, and the neurilema of the nerves, and the vascular 
system of the one and of the other, possess contractility 
as gelatinous tissues. The albuminous nervous fibre 
possesses this property as Albumen. It is by means 
of this important substance that we are connected 
with oyvzrn., with calorio. with electricitv, and the oth 

[ M 1 

imponderable forms of matter ; in fact, with that perpetual 
and unknown cause of life, of whose essence we are igno- 
rant, and which in excess or defect for a moment, may destroy 
us. It is not permitted to us to explain the first acts of what 
we term life, because we cannot place under our inspection 
the phenomena that constitute us sensible beings ; nor can 
we place ourselves above that act by which we contemplate 
ourselves for the purpose of contemplating that act ; nor 
have the physiological physicians ever held out such a pre- 
tension. But every thing which results as a consequence 
of the first impulse — every thing which takes place in conse- 
quence of the movements of the means and instruments oi 
this first impulse, this superior force, ( that is to say, by means 
of the two other forms of animal matter, fibrine and gelatin, ) 
are manifested by the phenomenon of contractility. But 
this is of immense extent, as we have proved ; for there is 
not a shudder that takes place in a muscular fibre — there 
is not an impulse given by a containing vessel — not a resist- 
ance by means of ligament, but what is referable to contrac- 
tility. It is the unusual, unnatural exaggeration of these 
phenomena of contractility that constitutes irritation in the 
tissues spoken of. One may easily guess, therefore, how 
important it must be to know how to observe it well and 

In fact, all the spontaneous acts of a man, whether instinc- 
tive or voluntary, whose assemblage insure the performance 
of the various functions, tend either to preserve him from 
the continually imminent causes of destruction, or to satisfy 
that feeling of curiosity which impels him to observe and 
compare himself with the things which are not himself. All 
these acts and their repetitions are the effects of excitement 
upon the animal fibre. We do not assert, however, that 
these acts are themselves excitement. We assert only that 
they manifest themselves to us as the results of excitement. 
Certainly the molecular combinations which alter the chemi- 
cal properties of the aliments in the digestive canal ; those 
which take place in the bile, in the milk, in the urine, forms 
of animal matter, not found in the blood; those which at- 
tach moveable and circulating matter to fixed and organized 
matter ; those which cause the embryo to germinate and to 
grow, &c. cannot be reduced to excitation, produced by 
foreign bodies. Indeed if the fibre be excitable, it must 
^xist in that form which is fitted for excitation. Ff if do so 

L w J 

exist, it is in consequence of the laws of vital affinity which 
has arranged the molecules of which it is composed. The 
phenomena of composition then, are in the developement of 
each animal, anterior to the phenomena of excitation : these 
two phenomena therefore are not the same. This seems to 
be plain and simple reasoning : how it can be otherwise re- 
garded we know not. 

It is not our intention to discuss the first cause of the 
molecular affinities which organize a living body, but mere- 
ly to give an idea of the phenomena that relate to excitation 
m man, considered in his perfect state of organization. We 
shall therefore proceed to the fundamental positions of the 
physiological doctrine by some developements on sensibility, 
and on the part taken by the nervous system in perception 
and motion. Thus we shall have treated the subject of vital 
properties, as much as is necessary to understand the phe- 
nomena of Irritation, the chief object of this first part of our 

Chapter IV. — On the functions of the Nervous Sys.- 


In this chapter I shall examine in three successive sec- 
tions : — 1st. The functions of the nervous apparatus in the 
adult. 2dly. Their gradual developement from the embryo, 
till the man arrives at his full and perfect growth. 3dly. 
The reasons of the qualities which distinguish man from 
other animals. 

Sec. 1st. — Functions of the nervous apparatus in the adult. 

The duties of the nerves considered in this state of full 
developement, is to propagate stimulation in the animal 
economy, and to keep up all the functions by continuing them 
under the agents of excitation. This is proved by experi- 
ence, independently of any and every system and explanation, 
as to the mode of receiving and propagating these stimula- 
tions. We know r also, that the result perceptible to our 
senses is an augmentation of the phenomena of life, in those 
parts to which the stimulation is transmitted, as well as in 
those where it first took place. After these preliminaries, 
we may proceed at once to discover the functions of the 
nervous system, which we shall divide into four stages or 

1st. Sotting out from the most simple functions of the 

[ 60 j 

nervous system, Ave observe that the stimulated nerves 
transmit those stimulations to a moderate distance. A thorn 
may be forced under the nail, without the person feeling it; 
nevertheless, the nervous matter which it stimulates, pro- 
pagates the stimulation to parts in the neighborhood of the 
nerve, or to some nervous substance at a distance, until the 
fluids are insensibly attracted to the place, and a considera- 
ble congestion is formed at the time when it first becomes 
painful. The same circumstances take place in the viscera. 
Some foreign body, stopt at a place where the sensibility is 
obtuse, attracts to that place the fluids in the neighboring 
vessels, proving that the stimulation has been propagated ; 
the vessels we know are accompanied by nerves. Let the 
same stimulation be located at some part of the mucous 
membrane of the thin portion of the intestines, and there 
will be an increase of motion, not only in the capillaries of 
that membrane, but also in a portion of the corresponding 
muscular fibres. Here then, are examples of stimulation 
propagated by the nerves to very short distance. We shall 
now state the like to greater distances. 

2d. The stimulation which we placed in narrow limits in 
the digestive canal, has increased ; it calls to that point the 
fluids in greater quantity ; it is propagated to the liver, or 
the pancreas, and bile is poured out with the pancreatic 
juice. The mucous secretion becomes altered at greater 
distances ; action is increased in the mesenteric glands. In 
a word, there is great disturbance in all the organic func- 
tions of the lower belly ; that is, organic sympathies occur 
more considerable than in the former case, but without any 
sign of the stimulation being propagated beyond the vis- 
ceral cavity. 

3rd. Worms, which have a nervous apparatus without any 
well defined encephalon, and only with a central nerve 
more active than the rest, offer an example of this kind. 
Stimulation travels on by means of the nerves, which are 
not more numerous than the vessels, along the course of the 
vessels ; it arrives at the point where these are terminated 
by capillaries, or proceeds along that tissue toward the great 
nerve, and regulates the nutritive processes. The great 
sympathetic nerve serves the purpose of all the functions of 
relation, which are very few in an animal destined to creep 
onward in a very simple progress. It possesses a vitality not 
quite so dull as some animals -who have a nervous svstom 

I 61 j 

more developed ; but we see clear enough that the nerves 
of nutrition have more to do than those of relation. This 
degree will be a ladder to get at the succeeding. 

4th. Figure to yourself in the abdomen, a shade of stimu- 
lation higher than that which we stated just now : it will be 
propagated to the heart, to the lungs, to the skin, to the 
members, to the different secretory vessels charged with 
the duty of depuration ; it will extend even to the brain ; for 
such is the human organization, that stimulation originating 
at one point of the body, cannot be propagated to a great 
number of organs, if it be not considerable enough to reach 
the brain. Here begins sensibility in the examples taken 
from men ; for here perception first takes place from the 
painful sensations of different degrees, felt and referred to 
the stimulated viscera, or to the members, or to other re- 
gions ol the nervous apparatus, whether internal or external. 
Perception having discovered sensibility, we ought, if we 
would understand the phenomena, study the different kinds 
of nerves that meet at the encephalon to produce it; and 
above all, the different states of the brain itself. 

It is well known that, " to feel," can only be considered 
as a function of the brain ; but if this organ be healthy and 
perfectly developed, it will give us feelings or sensations, 
that differ according to the nerves that have transmitted to 
it the stimulation. Placed between two classes of nerves, 
one of which terminates in sensitive expansions at the sur- 
face, and the other plunges among the visceral tissues, the 
brain receives two kinds of stimulations very different from 
each other. If we next examine each of these two classes 
of nerves, we shall find secondary differences well worthy 
of attention ; and which prove that the brain has something 
else to do than to answer the stimulations of the senses vul- 
garly admitted by physiologists and metaphysicians. Each 
of our external senses is connected with a particular agent, 
which, being impressed, gives rise to a sensitive stimula- 
tion ; and all of them are susceptible of another kind of 
stimulation, when some body, calculated to inflict a wound, 
penetrates into the nervous matter of the organ of sense. 
(The impression of light on the retina, produces a sensitive 
stimulation : a body that lacerates the retina, produces a 
very different one. — Trans.) 

The internal nerves also present notable differences. 
We find among them the genital senses, half external, half 

I 62 j 

internal, which are located either in the mucous surfaces, 
and communicating with several kinds of agents, or in the 
erectile tissues, which furnish a very distinct set of percep- 
tions. In every internal mucous surface, we may distinguish 
a different sense. That which belongs to respiration, and 
which extends from the larynx to the bronchia?, and which 
varies throughout its course, differs greatly from that which 
receives the food, and of which the internal coat of the sto- 
mach is the seat. The mucous membrane of the intestines, 
from the duodenum to the anus, possesses also a sense exhi- 
biting marked differences from the former. So do the senses 
of the urinary passages, considered in their shallow cavity 
and their entrance ; while the sense of the urethra, excited 
sometimes by urine, and sometimes by the spermatic fluid 
in men, exhibits differences which multiply in proportion to 
the vitality of the internal membrane that lines the cavity.* 
Besides the numerous internal senses in their regular and 
normal state, we must admit those which morbid causes pro- 
duce ; for throughout the whole body, where irritation takes 
place, the nervous matter present in the tissues acquires a 
new activity, and gives rise continually to new perceptions. 
Hence the principal secretory organs, the liver, the pan- 
creas, the testicles especially, the heart, the serous mem- 
branes that envelope and facilitate the movements of the 
principal viscera, the mucular tissue, the cellular, the liga- 
ments, aponeuroses, cartilages, and even the bones, become 
in some chronic maladies, real internal senses, which trans- 
mit to the brain stimulations that rival in distinctness and 
intensity those of the regular senses so called. In a great 
number of cases also, where a man cannot positively be said 
to be diseased, many of our regular internal senses, those 
of the digestive organs especially, are so much exalted by 
irritation, that their action on the brain is tenfold what it is 
in a regular and normal state. 

*The five senses, as they are called, seeing, hearing;, tasting-, touching - , 
smelling, are distinguished because the sensations they originate are per- 
ceptibly different. The vulgar distinguish these, because the eye, the 
car, the mouth, the nose, the fingers, are visible. But every source of a 
regular, permanent difference of sensation, is for like reason equally a 
sense. What can be more different than the wants that take their origin 
in the organs of respiration, and those of digestion, or generation? Is 
the eye-sight more different from hearing, than hunger and thirst from 
the irritations of the excretory organs oppressed byingesta? Every 
tissue that in due and regular performance of its functions gives rise to 
sensations always different, is a different sense, physiologically. — Trans!. 

i 63 j 

Vll the internal senses, moreover, ot' a normal and regu- 
lar character, have a distinction analagous to our external 
senses. In fact, the brain placed between these two classes 
of sense, the external and internal, is so organized, that in 
all the external perceptions that relate to the satisfaction of 
instinctive wants, and which first develope themselves, it 
cannot determine the action, but by means of other simulta- 
neous or consecutive perceptions which proceed from the 
internal senses. We shall explain this very soon. 

Let us state, as a fundamental fact in this question, that 
the brain, or rather the whole encephalic mass, is so organ- 
ized as to reciprocate with these different sources of stimu- 
lation ; that it acquires its full perfection slowly and with 
difficulty ; that this degree of perfection corresponds with 
the like property of the various sources of stimulation ; and 
that it perishes more or less readily as these do. The fol- 
lowing observations will explain this. 

Sec. 2d. — Successive developement of the different func- 
tions of the nervous apparatus, from the embryo to the adult 

In the first moment of his existence, man is no more than 
a diminutive mass of animal matter. He possesses no dis- 
tinct organ. But the molecules of the mass arrange them- 
selves according to the laws of an affinity which, we distin- 
guish at a distance, so as to form successively the various 
animal tissues. 

During all this effort of vital chemistry, (vital chrystaliza- 
tion.* — Trans.) the nerves and the encephalon have no 
occupation ; they become developed, and that is all. 

So soon as the tissues are formed, they act ; each has its 
duty to perform ; and the nervous commences upon its func- 
tion, which is, to put stimulation in motion, and thus to 
determine the movements of all the other forms of animal 
matter. All subserving the regular transmission of nutritive 
matter to its destination, there to be subjected to the affini- 
ties of vital chemistry; for it can do nothing more important 
than press forward the developement of a human creature. 

The nerves then, play the same part in the human em- 
bryo, that they perform in worms and other animals of a low 
class wherein we first observe them. In the embryo of a 

■*Chrystalization is the arrangement of molecules into some determin- 
ate form and shape, according to certain laws of attraction or affinitv, 
squally unknown in the formation of h ick chrystal or cubic pyrites, as in 
ial organization. Trans 

L 84 J 

lew weeks old, there are as yet no members ; the brain and 
nerves, therefore, cannot preside over a heart and vascular 

But the limbs, or members, begin to grow and push them- 
selves forward like little appendages ; the functions of the 
encephalon augment in proportion as the body is developed, 
and its mass acquires more volume and energy. The stimu- 
lations that travel along the nerves and are reflected by the 
brain, can now determine the motions in the members of 
the foetus. This is what the mother can tell us about the 
third or fourth month of her pregnancy. 

Gestation advances : During the rest of its period, the 
internal senses destined to respiration, nutrition, and ejec- 
tion of superfluous matter, are more elaborated than the 
rest, without excepting the external senses. The infant is 
born ; the cries it utters on the first impression of the air on 
its lungs, announce to us that it is now sensible, and that it 
probably has been so for some time before its birth, and that 
the movement of its limbs, while imprisoned, was the effect 
of some stimulation. 

The functions of the nervous system and of its encepha- 
lic centre, become much augmented from the moment of 
conception. But we must not take for granted that they are 
more considerable than the actual observation and ieasona- 
ble induction will warrant. A child born without a head, 
can neither perceive the want of respiration, or the contact 
of the atmosphere, although the sense of touch and the sense 
of respiration are developed and capable of receiving stim- 
ulations. The cries of an infant just born, arise then from 
a reaction in the encephalon, due to these first stimulations 
transmitted thither from the lungs. The skin and the bron- 
chial vessels are also stimulated in the acephalous child ; but 
they run along the nerves in vain, there is no brain to col- 
lect and send them back to the respiratory muscles ; there 
is no perception or sensation. 

The infant is now covered with clothing which preserves 
its temperature, and supplies as far as possible the medium 
from whence it emerged. The painful stimulation of the 
atmosphere ceases, the cries cease, and the infant is quiet, 
obeying one natural sense only, that of respiration. But 
this state of rest is not destined to continue ; another inter- 
nal sense transmits its stimulations to the brain : this is di- 
gestion or the first assimilation (hunger.) So <=oon as this 

[ 65 j 

has spoken, the infant recommences its pries. It is brought 
to the breast of the mother ; immediately on contact it di- 
rects its face to her's, and all its motions to seize the breast 
and to work by suction and by swallowing are executed with 

This second want satisfied, the infant resumes his habitual 
calm, which the act of exoneration does- not disturb, until 
the deposit of these matters on the linen, and irritation grad- 
ually produced by them on the skin, or some new demand 
on the stomach, or some extraordinary irritation again awa- 
kens him. Physiologists know that the alvine and urinary 
ejections do not take place but in concurrence with some 
action of the respiratory muscles. It is at least necessary that 
these muscles should follow the organs that return upon them- 
selves for no vacuum could take place among viscera which 
touched each other. These respiratory muscles are under 
the control of the encephalon, which acts therefore in this 
case, in consequence of stimulations of the internal sense, 
belonging to the organs of evacuation, as well as of respi- 
ration ; that is to say, without feeling pleasure or pain ; but 
pain does accompany the internal gastric sense as well as too 
lively a stimulation of the skin. But if some obstacle should be 
felt either to respiration or defecation, the innervation of the 
bowels or of the urinary passages, or of the respiratory or- 
' gans upon the brain, would increase and be felt with more or 
less vividness according as the encephalic development is 
more perfect. 

These first perceptions are instinctive, as are the motions 
resulting from them. In the new born infant instinct reigns 
alone, but it is very limited. We shall see it increase as 
vears increase. But as it may be confounded with intellect, 
we must seize the present occasion for distinguishing them. 
With the physiologist, it depends on the stimulations of the in- 
ternal or external sensitive surfaces, propagated to the brain, 
and from thence reflected so as to produce muscular motion ; 
which takes place either with pleasant or unpleasant percep- 
tions, or without any perception which the observer can dis- 

From this time then, we may distinguish two kinds ot re- 
action in the brain, which receives stimulations from the 
nerves : 1st, reaction unaccompanied with pain or pleasure : 
2ndly, reaction with one or other of these. All this, with- 
out any manifestation of intellect, and all possible to occur 

L ™ J 

in every animal possessed of a nervous apparatus. Taking, 
care, therefore, not to suppose more than there actually is, 
let us pursue our historical developement of the nervous 

The infant grows, his limbs are formed. Two external 
senses, which as yet do not appear to have furnished any 
perception, begin to modify the cncephalon which is now in 
a condition to respond. The infant fixes his eyes on objects, 
he follows their motions, and if you turn his back, he turns 
round his head to keep his eyes in the direction of the lu- 
minous rays which have escaped him : it is an instinct more 
perfect that induces him to execute this motion. Moreover 
he is attentive to noise ; that is, by a like instinct he moves 
farther off, or he approaches as well as he can, or keeps his 
body motionless to perceive the impression of the human 
voice, or the sound of instruments, &c. These are two new 
senses brought into action, and the child that had before on- 
ly touch and taste, has now eye sight and hearing. 

That acquisition does not seem immediately to produce 
any new action : but now it is observed that when his im- 
mediate wants are satisfied he no more falls into a sleep, he 
begins to observe himself, and aided by the signs of his 
nurse he marks the inconvenience of uncleanliness, and 
learns to get rid of it. His smiles of pleasure accompany 
the satisfaction of his wants, and the caresses of his nurse. 
He puts himself now in relation with the beings of his own 
kind. He seeks to handle the bodies which he sees, and 
tries to imitate the sounds he has heard. A new want has 
now arisen, curiosity. The desire of moving, necessarily 
accompanies this. The infant exerts his muscles of locomo- 
tion not only to bring objects within his reach, but to ap- 
proach them, although this is done very often ineffectually. 
He is determined to this by an internal impulse purely in- 
stinctive, even when he has no object in view, no end to 
serve, he bestirs, he agitates himself, he is never at rest un- 
less while sleeping, or while some new object rivets his at- 
tention and gives it a new direction. 

But let us stop a little at this power of calling off the at- 
tention from a sensation. It did not exist before. Here 
then is a new faculty in the brain which has been developed 
with the senses of hearing and seeing. No doubt it is so ; 
and this new faculty is nothing more than a greater devel- 
opement of instinct, dependant on the augmentation of iho 

L 67 ] 

eiicephalon, which is not merely enlarged, but begins to be 
well marked out in regions where it was heretofore but 
roughly sketched. These regions are the different points of 
the anterior portion which corresponds to the frontal bone. 

In proportion as this part of the brain becomes more dis- 
tinct, the expression of the physiognomy is heightened ; the 
eyes and even the motions of the muscles of the face, and 
the complexion, announce that the child has ideas analogous 
to some of our own. For expression is not a being — an en- 
tity taking its station in the face, but it is property belonging 
to this part of the body, of making known to an observer 
that the person observed possesses ideas. The most ex- 
pressive physiognomies, disclose nothing to persons of weak 

Here then are the first lineaments of intelligence, which 
henceforward are marked. We should have looked for 
them in vain in the young child who furnished so many proofs 
of sensibility ; I beg the reader not to lose sight of this, 
and he will see that sensibility, intelligence, and instinct, are 
very different things. In fact, the action of the nerves on 
the motions of the heart and vascular system, with which 
they are developed, constitutes the first degree of nervous 
action : the second is manifested when the brain, stimulated 
either by the internal senses, or by the limbs when they are 
bent, pressing upon some of the viscera, and in some man- 
ner which we may suppose unfavourable to the regular pro- 
gress of the animal economy, produce motions in the loco- 
motive muscles of the child in the womb. The infant just 
born, gives evident proofs of sensibility, but only by the ex- 
pression of pain ; and executes also some instinctive actions : 
this is the third degree of nervous action. Lastly, the fourth 
to which we now come, seems to be prepared by the devel- 
opement of agreeable sensations, never perceived until now : 
this is the period when intelligence shows itself, by giving 
birth to attention, by acts of observation, and by the faculty 
which the infant henceforward possesses to put off action 
solicited by instinct, and of the first necessity, to execute 
others enforced by external impressions. 

Still this intelligence is as yet, extremely limited ; and it 
would be a great mistake to consider it as equal to that of 
the grow up man. The infant as yet, has no ideas but of 
material bodies ; nothing proves that he is able to analyse 
and abstract their attributes. He seems much more advan- 

[ 68 j 

ced with respect to the perceptions that human beings like 
himself, furnish to him ; for long before he is able by his 
gestures to exhibit his intelligence upon colors, solidity, and 
the motion of ineit bodies, he distinguishes very plainly 
kindness, bad temper, or anger, in the physiognomy of the 
persons who approach him. Frequently he cannot bear 
without painful feelings and tears, and turning aside his face, 
the sight of grown up persons unknown to him : especially 
if they have a physiognomy somewhat harsh ; while a good 
tempered, or insignificant face, or the sight of an infant like 
himself, pfoduces no unpleasant feeling. 

The cause of this is evidently, that the developement of 
instinct goes on faster than that of intellect : an unpleasant 
physiognomy frightens him, as a result of the instinct of self 
preservation ; just as he would be frightened if one were 
to threaten to throw him down a precipice, or at the sight 
of a furious animal, ready to rush upon him. He feels sen- 
sations, such as those of hunger and thirst, the want of rest 
and motion, heat and cold, and he obeys them without hes- 
itations but the inclination to observe, and curiosity always 
increasing, soon render him educateable, and show that he 
may be accustomed to support without fear, the sight of all 
those objects which gave him at first so much uneasiness. 

In the mean time, the infant makes progress ; he imitates 
the accents of the human voice, and e\ en all the actions of 
his fellow creatures : he does more, he shows that he has 
not only ideas of the properties of bodies, but also of the 
circumstances under which he observes them. When he 
lives with well educated people, he remembers the words, 
by which they express their opinions of the different scenes 
of social life, and he employs them so as to show that he 
understands them. We should be tempted then to believe 
that his intelligence was perfect ; but how far is it yet from 
its final developement ! to prove this, induce him if you can 
by means of the words which he understands so well, to en- 
ter into some accurate process of reasoning ; and you will 
soon see that his attention becomes distracted from the 
train of ideas that you would impose upon him, and he fixes 
upon some other ideas, more simple, which his memory sub- 
stitutes, or on impressions which have been made upon his 
senses. This depends upon instinct making more progress 
than intellect : the brain of a child, not yet arrived at the 
age of puberty, is so organized, that he receives no lively 

[ 69 j 

pleasure, unless from the impressions oi material objects . 
these alone, agitate agreeably his nervous system. To eat 
and to drink, to take much exercise, to see new objects, and 
satisfy a wandering curiosity ; to put his limbs in action, 
which nature orders him to do ; to try his strength, and to 
compare it with that of others, not only for the purpose of 
exercising it, but to obey the want of that self satisfaction 
which shows itself but as yet only in outward actions, such 
are the customs imperiously demanded by instinct ; and to 
which, youth, not yet arrived at the age of puberty, always 
returns, whatever pains you may take to turn him from 
them. The pleasures of reflection are as yet unknown to 
him, excepting those which he obtains by stratagem, which 
he substitutes to strength, whenever he wishes to act upon 
one stronger than himself. This kind of pleasure has more 
attraction for him than that of kind actions ; unless indeed, 
he finds in these, the means of exercising his predominant 
faculties ; this would be the case for example, in protecting 
a young person weaker than himself, whom he would plague 
the instant after. In general, he prefers mischief to doing 
good, because by this means he satisfies his vanity, and he 
finds in it more excitement, which is necessary to him, at 
whatever price. This is the reason that we see him so of- 
ten amuse himself by breaking to pieces inanimate objects : 
and he finds a double pleasure, founded on the desire of self 
satisfaction, to find resistance yield to him, and to excite 
the anger of reasonable persons ; this seems to him a victo- 
ry that he enjoys deliciously whenever he can escape by 
flight from merited punishment. On the same principle of 
action, he delights in torturing animals ; and he would en- 
joy the same pleasure in torturing individuals of his own 
species, if he were not restrained by fear ; for the desire of 
self preservation is very strongly marked in him. Com- 
passion does sometimes restrain him; but this is a feeling 
not much developed at this age in the male sex: we find it 
more frequently, and more distinctly marked in young girls. 
I know that all the acts of young "people before the age of 
puberty, are not distinguished by this depravity : the char- 
acter of goodness which marks many persons afterward, be- 
gins to appear before the epoch of reason ; but the great 
majority are such as I have described ; and the more vigor- 
ous young boys are, and the more lively do they feel the 
want of expending their force by external motion, the 

L ™ j 

stronger is their tendency to do wrong : there is scarcely a 
child that does not make a bad use of his strength upon oth- 
ers who are weaker than himself ; this is his first movement; 
but the cries of his victim stop him, when he is not natu- 
rally ferocious, until a new Instinctive impulse induces him 
to commit the same fault. 

To correct these propensities, which reason, and experi- 
ence of the unhappy consequences attending them, would 
never correct, or correct too late, two methods have been 
adopted. The instinct of self preservation is brought into 
play by the punishments which terrify the child, and turn 
against him the consequences of his bad actions : endeavors 
also are used to turn him aside from selfish gratification in 
these pernicious indulgences, to render him more suscep- 
tible of those pleasures which attend praises obtained by 
docility, kindness, goodness, attention to his duties, effects 
of study, memory, and intelligence. 

This last faculty is put in requisition by anticipation, in 
explaining the notion, of good and evil, justice and injustice, 
merit and demerit. These are most useful ideas, which are 
as yet confused in a child of that age, and applicable at will 
to his petty passions, but which are rectified by being pre- 
sented accurately drawn out by the labors of philosophers 
and sages. We succeed in this task in proportion only to 
the developement of those parts of the brain that belong to 

While we exhaust our unproductive efforts to hasten the 
developement of intelligence in the child, and inspire him 
with a taste for serious objects, a new function establishes 
itself, and nature performs without effort, what art would 
have attempted in vain. The organs destined for the pro- 
duction of the species become developed, and the encepha- 
lon receives an impulse which is calculated to carry it to its 
last degree of growth and energy. The young man perceives 
a prodigious change in his manner of seeing things. So soon 
as he has received the influence of this new sense, a wan- 
dering kind of inquietude seizes him ; the eyes of the other 
sex excite within him instinctive movements that he feels 
with surprise. If we examine the state of his intellect, we 
shall find that he has discovered new ideas in words that he 
thought he well understood, but had never suspected before ; 
he sees relations, bearings and order, whore he before ob- 
served only differences, multiplicity, and confusion. Ideas 

L <l J 

of connection and casuality arise ; lie loves now to draw 
inferences which are as easy as they were formerly difficult, 
and he becomes suddenly a maker of objections and a rea- 
soner. He begins to find pleasure in reflecting on himself, 
in observing what he does and what he thinks: he is incli- 
ned to compare himself with others in respect of these new 
faculties which he feels an interest in studying as they ap- 
pear in others ; and if he finds he has any advantage, he is 
much more flattered than by any superiority of strength or 
address, although he is still more flattered by the latter 
quality, than he will be by-and-bye. This is a wonderful 
revolution, which would have been quite impossible to all 
the common places of wisdom. 

The new facility which the youth feels he possesses for 
all the operations of intellect, seldom fail to lead him astray. 
He seems to think he invents, he creates what he discovers ; 
it seems to him that thought goes on quicker in him than 
in men in general ; he sees with a kind of disdain the in- 
tellectual slowness and circumspection of riper age. He 
does not perceive that he is only working upon that multi- 
tude of ideas, which, during his long childhood, were in- 
culcated with so much pains ; he has not yet had time to 
feel that opposition, and experience alone can give him any 
just notion of the inconvenience of hasty conclusions, and of 
that facility which seems calculated to overcome all obsta- 

As muscular force and the feelings of life and health have 
augmented as well as his intellectual faculties, the young man 
sees before him an immense prospect ; and the generative 
power with which he feels himself abundantly supplied, 
adds to his arrogance by multiplying his intellectual enjoy- 

Such is man in the spring-tide of life. The nervous sys- 
tem executes from henceforward all the functions which be- 
long to it : but the intellectual faculties do not acquire 
their full vigor till about the age of thirty ; an epoch when 
the increase in growth has developed the whole brain in 
every direction to which its fibres can extend. During the 
space of time which separates the appearance of the last of 
the intellectual faculties from the full developement of the 
whole intellect, the judgement goes on toward perfection. 
The man having been often deceived by hasty conclusions 
from first impressions, that is, having been repeatedly com- 

L ™ 1 

pelled by the acquisition of new ideas, to correct his first 
opinions, becomes gradually sensible of this kind of humili- 
ation. The first time he commits these kind of errors, he 
hastens to correct them without feeling any thing but pleas- 
ure at having learnt some thing new ; but when he sees the 
necessity of correction multiply continually, his self-love 
becomes alarmed, he becomes angry, and employs cunning 
to maintain the authority of his first conclusions : but inter- 
nally and privately, he determines to endeavor to spare 
himself humiliation or anger, and becomes, as we say, cir- 

It is now that his faculties, if they have been properly 
cultivated, are carried to their highest perfection. Man is 
so favored by nature, that he can enjoy them for a long time, 
and procure an amount of happiness, of which other ani- 
mals seem to have no idea. 

Let us see now to what is it owing that he enjoys all 
these advantages. 

Sec. 3. Reason of the prerogatives that distinguish man 
from all other animals. 

We have left the youth in connection with every material 
object, animate and inanimate, distinguishing of his own 
accord, all their external attributes, and able to discover the 
most difficult of their physical properties, even to the cir- 
cumstances that may modify them ; but it is only when he 
is called upon to observe them, that he remembers wonder- 
fully all the signs of his intellectual operations, and acquires 
in consequence, ideas of abstraction. But we have noticed 
that he exhibits great repugnance to make an application of 
these precious signs, to the investigation of those circumstan- 
ces which produce a variation in the state of bodies, and to the 
comparison of his own intellect, with that of his equals : that is 
to say, he dislikes to abandon himself to reasoning and reflec- 
tion. In other words, we have seen that he learnt easily, not 
only words,but the formula of ratiocination — that he seemed to 
understand them, but exhibited no propensity to make others 
like them, although placed in favorable circumstances ; and 
that an insurmountable force brought back his attention to 
some order of ideas far less complicated. We have remark- 
ed, that at the same time when he acquired the faculty of 
reflection and of reasoning, a new sense manifested itself, 
with a new instinctive want. So that there is always the 
same law of the developement of man : if he acquires an in- 

L ™] 

crease of intellectual power, and an increase at die same 
time of instinctive faculties. But nature seems to have as- 
sociated the perfection of intelligence with the generative 
faculty ; so that the young man shall not become transformed 
into the father of a family, before he has acquired the strength 
and intelligence necessary to provide for all the wants of 
his offspring. The exceptions of this rule, though rare, 
sufficiently demonstrate its great importance. We see 
among male children instances of premature puberty at five 
or seven years, for instance, which are accompanied with 
the usual grade of intellect of that time of life ; a disgusting 
and deplorable spectacle. It is by investigating these kinds 
of subjects, that we can obtain a solution of the question that 
occupies us. Let them be well examined, and it will be 
found, as Dr. Gall has well remarked, that the cerebellum 
is more than usually developed, while the anterior part of 
the brain, the seat of intelligence, which is always at its full 
size at the full period of regular puberty, is not larger than 
what belongs to a mere infant. Dr. Gall concludes that the 
cerebellum is the special presiding organ of generation ; but 
if we consider, 1st. Thatthe heart, the sanguineous system, 
the respiratory muscles, those that depend on the will, take 
their last growth with the cerebellum, as well as the organs 
of generation ; 2dly. That if the testicles are taken away 
before puberty, the developement of all those organs, as 
well as of the cerebellum, is deficient ; 3dly. That castration, 
after the age of puberty, diminishes not merely the cerebel- 
lum, but all the muscular apparatus, and the sanguineous 
system — we , shall be compelled to allow, 1st. That the 
cerebellum is not alone appointed to the use of the instinct 
of propagation, but it is equally connected with that increase 
of vital energy that produces the full developement of all 
the organs ; 2dly. That it is not the sole promoter of these 
changes ; 3dly. That the simultaneous developement of the 
cerebellum, the sanguineous system, and the external mus- 
cles, after that of the testicles or ovaries, is the only con- 
stant fact ; but, that usually the brain receives, at the same 
time, its last impulse of growth on which the intellectual 
faculties depend, more especially those of reflection and in- 
duction. This suffices to answer the question before proposed. 
Sec. 4. On what depend, the final developement of the 
intellectual and instinctive faculties, which accompany the 
evolution of \>ubcrty. 


L 74 J 

It seems that the developement of the testicles unci ova- 
lies, is brought on by the common process of nutrition, 
which always causes the most important organs of existence 
in the individual to precede those that are less so ; that 
these organs begin to grow and secrete without any prepara- 
tory shock ; and that they excite throughout the viscera, 
whether by the influence of the nerves distributed through 
the organs, or by the re-absorption of the liquor they elabo- 
rate, an excess of vitality which pushes on the whole body 
toward its last degree of developement. This was nearly 
the common opinion, prior to the system of Dr. Gall, who 
referred all these charges to the cerebellum. But why 
should we impute to it those changes which the cerebellum 
alone cannot produce ? Why does it not grow ? Why not 
determine the forms of puberty among eunuchs, always ex- 
cepting that which relates to the generative act ? Why 
does it not preserve these forms among youths at puberty, 
whom we submit to castration ? How happens it that it is 
itself oppressed after this operation, in common with all the 
muscular system ? Will it be said that this cerebellum makes 
use of the genital organs as an instrument to react on the 
animal economy ? This will admit the influence so long 
acknowledged, of the testicles on the sanguiferous system, 
the muscles, and even on the brain. It is easier then to 
take the facts as they are, and acknowledge that since the 
cerebellum is incapable of producing changes in the form, in 
the voice, the color, the muscular force, the character, the 
inclinations that characterize puberty — these changes are 
results of the developement of that part of the genital appa- 
ratus, destined to furnish the first materials of the embryo ; 
that the cerebellum is thence affected like every other part 
of the encephalon, but that its developement is more parti- 
cularly connected with the internal functions which preside 
over nutrition, and produce the abundance and energy of 
the fibre.* 

We see that the intellectual, like the instinctive faculties, 
are developed along with the nervous system ; that they 
result from the insensible ampliation or growth that takes 
place in the encephalon and the distributed nervous system, 
during the period from the embryo to the adult state ; that 
they are in fact, to the physiological observ er, nothing more 

*I doubt whether these considerations ore quite sufficient to set aside 
Gall's facts.— Transl 

than the transmission of nervous encephalic stimulation, 
considered under peculiar circumstances. The catenation 
of the facts which we have unfolded, proves this ; but to 
add to this proof, we shall present the following considera- 
tions drawn from the same source, a rigorous observation of 

1 . The quantity of innervation afforded by the instinctive 
and intellectual phenomena, being of a higher character, and 
connected also with that which causes muscular motion, is 
in its degree necessarily a disturber ; it would soon termi- 
nate our existence, if it were not interrupted at the end of a 
certain time : hence the necessity of sleep, which substi- 
tutes another form of innervation for that of wakefulness. 
Sleep, when perfect, suspends these two kinds of phenome- 
na, although it cannot prevent some of the stronger stimula- 
tions of the nerves from reaching the brain, and being from 
thence reflected on other nerves. What proves this, is, 
that the muscular surfaces of the hollow organs, and the 
respiratory muscles, which cannot act regularly, but by 
means of the brain, continue their motions, whihmo instinc- 
tive act is manifest, and no thought troubles the repose of 

Dreams do not take place but in imperfect sleep, or at 
the beginning and the end of usual sleep. But if you awa- 
ken suddenly a profound sleeper somewhat fatigued, in the 
midst of his first sleep, he will tell you he had no dream. 
Dreams and somnambulism come in aid of our assertion, for 
they present a feeble kind of rest wherein many stimulations 
reach the brain, and determine that series of thoughts and 
acts which always show an incomplete and irregular state of 
encephalic innervation. Sometimes the regular instinct 
brings in subjection the intellect to which it was subordin- 
ate during wakefulness ; sometimes an irregular intellect 
provokes instinctive motions which would not otherwise 
have taken place, &c. but this innervation is always less 
considerable than what takes place in a state of wakefulness. 
The fcetus seems to pass through these different shades of 
innervation. During the first months its sleep is perfect ; 
during the latter months it is often interrupted by percep- 
tions which cannot bring into play any thing but instinct in 
its most limited phenomena relating to the preservation of 
the individual ; nor do they shew themselves, except by 
momentary motions produced by pain. These motions are 

L ™ J 

m fact the first and most simple actions of that class of animals 
which are provided with a sensitive apparatus. So similar 
are they, that they differ only from those of the polypus, by 
their proceeding from a stimulation reflected by an encepha- 
lic apparatus. Is it not evident that the first motions of an 
embryo are those of zoophytes, and as the embryo grows, 
they put on the character of sleepy motions ? 

2. Diseases augment, diminish, interrupt, deprave the en- 
cephalic innervation in all its relations, instinctive, intellect- 
ual, sensitive, and muscular. In many soporific states not 
profound, as in coma, lethargy, incomplete apoplexy, there is 
a perfect interruption of intellectual innervation, with contin- 
uance to a certain point of instinctive innervation, manifest- 
ed by the motions of co-ordinate muscles. The patient turns 
aside to avoid noise, light, palpitation, &c. In epilepsy and 
hysteria, instinct reacts also but irregularly and by convul- 
sions. In strong apoplexy, intellect and instinct are both 
banished ; but the motions of the heart, and those of the 
splanchnic muscular fibres exist co-ordinately (by means of 
the encephalon ) with those of the respiratory muscles. In 
complete syncope, as well as in asphyxy, the innervation of 
the brain is diminished to such a degree, that the respiratory 
motions, and those of the heart, become insensible. 

Here then, the functions of the encephalon and the nerves, 
have been analysed by their diminution through all then- 
stages of decrease ; and the adult appears retrograding as 
far back as the embryo. In insanity, on the contrary, we 
find these functions analysed by their exaltation, not only 
according to their degrees, but their differences, as we shall 
see in the second part of this work ; until excess of irrita- 
tion deprives man of his first and most simple motives of 
action, instinct, and will, and reduces him in point of inner- 
vation to the state of the embryo, whose limbs are not yet 
developed. This is what we are accustomed to observe in 
those kinds of insanity which degenerate into complete 
fatuity : the man in this case, stript of all motive to external 
action, remains motionless ; exhibiting neither appetite nor 
desires ; feeling no want, he would permit himself to die of 
hunger, and remain motionless in his excretions, if his fel- 
low men did not take pity on his condition. Life remains 
however, so long as food is introduced into his stomach by 
the aid of strangers, while the gastric passages can assimilate 

i << j 

it, and the interior innervations can distribute it through the 
animal economy, and offer to the several tissues the assimi- 
lated fluids proper for their nutrition. 

It is true then, that the business of the nervous system, is 
to transmit the stimulations of one part of the animal econ- 
omy to another ; and in performing this duty, five classes 
of phenomena appear in the early period of existence. 1st. 
The oscillatory movements of the heart and vascular system. 
2nd. The contractile motions of the visceral, muscular fibres. 
3rd. The motions of the respiratory muscles, always co- 
ordinate with these last, and attesting the intervention of 
the encephalon. 4th. The motions of these muscles, and 
those of the voice, and of locomotion ; in an order, and for a 
purpose which we may easily distinguish, but without any 
intellectual operation : a phenomenon purely instinctive, 
which is itself no more than the expression of our first 
wants, arising from the stimulations of the nervous apparatus 
of the encephalon. 5th. And finally, the same motions un- 
der the directions of intelligence, which sometimes make 
them co-ordinate with instinctive suggestions, and sometimes 
with desires that take their rise from curiosity. 

We see that this last want (curiosity, or the feeling of the 
want of observation ) comes in as an addition to all the others : 
it shows itself at first, as an instrument to satisfy these other 
wants by an instinctive impulse, in proportion as the mother 
ceases to provide for them ; and it finishes when the brain 
is perfected, by giving birth to all the intellectual operations 
which supercede the mother and instinctive motions. These 
operations, derived from one source, (curiosity,) seem to 
multiply themselves in proportion as the man abandons him- 
self to the impulses of this same want. It is also evident, 
that the high degree of perfection of those acts which are 
suggested by the desire of observation, (curiosity,) is that, 
in which intelligence is reflected with most energy upon 
itself, exciting to the study of itself, and to cause itself to be 
studied by other men ; for it is incontestible, as some philo- 
sophers have truly said, that the more a man reflects for the 
pleasure of reflecting, the more desirous he is to communi- 
cate his ideas : very different in this respect from one who 
seeks to satisfy wants of a lower order ; who, if he be 
prudent, is secret, and communicates' to others, those 
only of his ideas which may aid in the execution of his 

C 78 ] 
Chapter V. — On the theories advanced concerning 


Having followed man during his growth, and having laid 
down the inappreciable advantages he derives from the gra- 
dual advance to perfection of his encephalic apparatus, we 
are now led to consider the explanation he himself gives of 
these advantages. Here, men are divided into two classes: 
to wit, those who speak of intellectual faculties without 
being acquainted with their organs — and those who speak 
of them possessing that knowledge. The first class know 
nothing of Irritation ; they must be led to it : for indepen- 
dently of the first cause, and the profound respect due to it, 
we are compelled by the undeniable evidence of a thousand 
facts accurately observed, to refer all the instinctive and in- 
tellectual phenomena, to the action of the nervous appara- 
tus; and to explain their lesions by the changes which take 
place in its excitation ; changes where we see in the first 
rank, the phenomena of irritation. To arrive at the demon- 
stration of this truth, we shall examine in the seven sections 
following. 1. How man came to abstract himself from him- 
self, and the foundations of the psychological doctrines. 
2. What idea they annex to consciousness, and whether other 
animals are endowed with it. 3. Whether it be possible to 
form a science of the phenomena of consciousness alone, as 
the psychologists pretend : and here we shall expose the 
sources of their errors in explaining internal perceptions. 
4. How it is that consciousness and the senses aid each 
other in constructing a true science of man as a feeling and 
thinking being : with an essay on the personified principle 
which the psychologists would impose on the nervous sys- 
tem. 5. Whether the explanation of the physiologists on the 
ascertainable cause of the intellectual phenomena, is an hy- 
pothesis like the principle of the psychologists ; and we 
shall shew the connections which unite the internal func- 
tions, to those of the organs of external relation. 6. To 
what it is that on the ultimate analysis, all the objections are 
reduced which are urged against the office of the nervous 
apparatus in the production of intellectual phenomena. 7. 
What we are to think of those philosophers who call them- 
selves rationalists, theologians, illuminated, mystic. 

Sec. 1. How man abstracts himself from himself: bash 
of the psychological doctrine. 

In seeking to satisfy his first wants, man enters into the 
field of observation : tho remarks he makes serve onlv for 

1 79 ] 

that purpose. Hy and by the observations of bodies which 
he is compelled to examine, becomes of itself a pleasure, 
which often leads him aside and makes him forget the ob- 
jects of his researches. At length this new pleasure takes 
such hold upon him, that he forgets his original object, and 
begins to think that he is placed in this world only to con- 
template nature and observe himself; and this becomes to 
him the most noble and most essential of his occupations. 
He goes further : he frames an hypothesis : he divides him- 
self into two beings, of which, one which he confesses he 
has in common with other animals is the object of his con- 
tempt, while the other, which has nothing in common with 
blood, flesh, or even the nervous system, rules over the 
first, and constitutes more especially, the being Man. Here 
follows the mode of proceeding he adopts to arrive at these 
ontological assertions. 

He takes all the phenomena of intellectual innervation, 
more or less mixed up with the instinctive, and applies to 
them a word ; which word becomes the mover of the phe- 
nomena themselves. He is manifestly led to this erroneous 
distinction, by his ignorance of the manner in which the 
phenomena are actually produced : this it imports us much 
to search to the bottom, partly for the purpose of determin- 
ing truly the functions of the nervous system, and partly to 
enable us to comprehend the theory of Insanity, which will 
engage our attention in the second part of this work. 

Judging of himself by bodies of a lower class, and by the 
circumstances in which they are placed, man imagines that 
his intellectual phenomena are directed by an intelligent 
being placed within his brain ; like the tunes of an organ 
produced by some musician out of sight. He does not suf- 
ficiently reflect, that there can be no comparison between a 
human being playing on an instrument, and the cause of in- 
tellectual phenomena which take place in that same human 
being. He persists nevertheless ; he converts the observa- 
tion of these phenomena into a science; and he calls it 

The anatomist however, comes forward, armed with his 
scalpel ; he dissects the dead man ; he make experiments on 
some living animal ; he compares it with man in a healthy, 
and with man in a diseased state ; he does this in spite of 
(he metaphysician who thinks himself dishonoured by such 
a comparison. Tho anatomist now shews, that the pretend 

L w 3 

ed organist which the metaphycian had located in the pineal 
gland, or the pons varolii, is nothing else than the whole 
connected encephalic apparatus. Some reasoners seise 
upon this discovery, and endeavour to show to the meta- 
physician, the imposibility of forcing into contact, some- 
thing which has none of the properties acknowledged to 
belong to the body, with the nervous matter of the ence- 
phalon which is a part of the body. This difficulty does not 
stop the metaphysian : his imagination produces some inter- 
medial entity, some air, or gas, or subtle matter to bring 
about this singular connection of a being, that has no pro- 
perty in common with matter, and the material substance of 
the encephalon. It is urged, that let him do what he will, 
his intermediary substance will always be material, and no 
reasonable person can bring himself to admit the existence of 
a substance, which is not cognizable by any sense he pos- 

The metaphysician remains unconvinced. He has never 
been at the trouble of examining the functions of the nervous 
system, so as to be capable of conviction : he hesitates how- 
ever. His uncertainty, his concealments, the weakness of 
his arguments, destroy his credit with men of science ; and 
the opinion begins now to prevail, that as there can be no 
real science, except of facts that are certain, and of things 
which the senses can take cognizance of, it becomes neces- 
sary to bring back metaphysics to objects of sense ; but this 
destroys metaphysics as a science, and reduces it to physio- 
logical facts, and conclusions of the same kind as those which 
we have already propounded. 

The science of Man was at this stage, when the metaphy- 
sicians who were expected to yield with a good grace to the 
class of observers who took their senses as guides to their 
researches, rallied, and now placed their ontologic philoso- 
phy on the basis of what they called facts of consciousness. 

It is on the inspiration of consciousness then, that modern 
metaphysicians, discarding that title as savouring too much 
of theology, hold the following language as Psychologists. 
" No doubt the sciences ought to repose on facts capable of 
being observed ; but it is not strictly true that these facts 
must be observable by the senses. Here are two kinds of 
observation independent of each other : one proper to na- 
turalists, the other to philosophers : the first admits the evi- 
dence of the senses alone; the other i« founded on intern;'] 

[ 31 ] 

evidence, and the facts thus discovered are facts of eon* 
sciousness. They fall not under cognizance of the senses: 
nevertheless they are facts, and facts of the utmost cer- 
tainty. What can be more sure than to feel pleasure or 
pain, to feel ones own existence, to feel that we think or 
that we have thought of any thing ; that we will, or that we 
have willed any thing ; that we believe one thing, or doubt 
about another, &c. But since these two classes of facts are 
equally certain to the human being, the history of man is 
two fold. It is in vain that the naturalists would base it on 
facts cognizable by the senses alone, and the philosophers 
on facts of consciousness ; the two classes cannot be con- 
founded. Consciousness feels itself, but does not feel the 
sensations : the senses perceive nothing but external ob* 
jects and impressions, and can neither see, or hear, or touch 
what is evident to consciousness. Senses and conscious- 
ness have nothing in common, except to be equally in con- 
nection with the intelligent principle, which is individual in 
its nature, and to which the others administer. If we have 
not yet succeeded in reducing philosophy to a science of 
certainty, it is because its truths have not been understood. 
Hitherto the two classes of facts have been confounded, as 
have the two corresponding sciences. The naturalists have 
gone astray in treating the facts of consciousness as sensible 
facts : the philosopher has been equally mistaken in admit- 
ting this method, and affecting to refer to his consciousness, 
to decide on sensible facts. Neither of these sciences 
ought to borrow from, or concede any thing to the other : 
it is high time that each should know his proper boundaries: 
and if the physiologist or the naturalist will absolutely treat 
on the moral character of man, they must abandon all inves- 
tigations that depend on the senses, throw away their scalp- 
els and microscopes, and like the philosophers, give them- 
selves up to meditation in the absence of all outward im- 
pressions, and become solely psychologists." 

Thus spake the metaphysicians of the new school : and 
the ideologists who w T ere enrolled under the banners of 
Locke and Cordillac, by referring all our ideas to the im- 
pressions made upon our senses, now found themselves em- 
barrassed. They had not foreseen this important objec- 
tion; and so soon as the psychologists advanced under 
cover of consciousness, the existence of a mover indepen- 
dent of all animal substance — while they protested that they 


[ 82 J 

felt the existence and operation of this mover— that the} 
saw it act freely and originally without any other relation to 
the external senses than that of a master over his servants — 
the ideologists were afraid to contradict it openly. But 
when the psycologists came forward, and in the name of 
their Sybill pronunced anathemas against all those who 
doubted of these truths — when they expressed a contempt 
for all those whose intellects were so gross as to refuse their 
assent to the evidence of a principle superior in wisdom and 
elevation to bodily senses composed of matter, vile, and sub- 
ject even to putrefaction — the ideologists who had admitted 
this simple principle without doubting but they could amal- 
gamate it with their own theory, remained unable to reply ; 
with one only exception.* We are now at this point; the 
Ideologists are silent, or advance no refutation ; and the 
physicians who cultivated physiology reclaim for them- 
selves by halfway complaints, the science of intellect which 
has been ravished from them, and appropriated to them- 
selves by the psychologists, who had never condescended 
to study the organs or the functions of the bodily system. 
As it is solely on the evidence of consciousness that the 
psychologists rely, I proceed to examine what they under- 
stand by that word ; and whether it be possible to erect a 
real science on this word alone as the basis of it. 

Sec. 2. Of the notions entertained by the psychologists of 
consciousnsss : are animals endowed ivith it ? 

By consciousness they understand that faculty which man 
possesses, of observing himself: not of observing external 
bodies which he cannot do but by means of the senses ; but 
of observing his thoughts ; that he thinks of this or that ; 
that he wills or that he does not will ; or that he does or 
does not will this or that. This is what I have denomina- 
ted in my treatise on physiology by the expression to re- 
flect upon one's self. This has no termination ; for in obser- 
ving, I feel, I perceive, I am sensible that I observe ; and so 
on. This kind of intercranial innervation, distinguishes us 
among animals, and places us at the head of them, by the 
perfection to which it can be carried in our species. We 
cannot admit its existence in any living being unless he can 
make us understand that he possesses it, either by his ac- 
tions or his discourse. As the foetus, the embryo, the new 

*I believe he alludes to Destut Tracy, the friend of Cabanis; the nu ■ 
thor of the Ideology. — Transl. 

t 83. J 

born iniant, and all the animals of a lower class, exhibit no 
proof of possessing it — as they have no language, and there- 
fore cannot say to us, " I feel that I feel ;" nor can they 
understand us when we employ this formula — we therefore 
do not hesitate to decide that they do not possess the facul- 
ty which it expresses. In observing the infant and the pro- 
gress of his growth, we seize upon that moment when he 
deliberates between several impressions ; it is from that 
moment we may conclude that he feels that he feels, and 
that he has felt, that is to say, the phenomena of conscious- 
ness then manifest themselves in him. 

If on the other hand we apply our observation to many 
other animals, we observe the same phenomena. In truth, 
we see that animals do not confound themselves with any 
other body in nature : they receive many impressions : they 
hesitate before they act : and they act without any proof to 
us that they are determined, except by some one of their 
actual and present impressions. The case is the same when 
they obey the impulse of a simple recollection ; that is, they 
feel at present, that they have felt heretofore impressions 
different from what they feel at the present moment by 
means of their senses. For instance, a well-educated hunt- 
ing dog, who formerly devoured the game, now brings it 
without hesitation to his master ; he seems even to applaud 
himself for not having given way to his appetite. Such is* 
another dog, who although tempted by caresses, and by 
food set before him, refuses to stay with the person tempt- 
ing him, and returns to a great distance to rejoin his master 
whom he has not seen for some days, &c. Such are wolves, 
wild dogs, and animals of prey, who though pressed by 
hunger, but foreseeing from the presence of the enemy that 
there is not time to satisfy their hunger with security, hide 
in some place the animal they have seized, after taking the 
precaution of killing it, and then run to the defence of 
themselves or their young. Such are also dogs and foxes 
which hunt in company, one of which pursues the game, 
while the other waits for it at its form, to which it never 
fails to come back. 

A cat weary of always having her young carried away, 
determined to put them down in a granary. When the 
young ones of this last deportation began to grow up, and 
her milk did not suffice for their nourishment, she thought 
of transporting them to the kitchen ; the door was shut : 

L 84 j 

she cried out to get it opened. The door being opened, slit 
regained the stairs leading to the granary for the purpose of 
finding her young, but they being wild had run away at the 
noise of opening the kitchen door. This door was shut 
against the cat, who called again, and had the door again 
opened. The want of success in this first trial served her 
for a lesson : she entered a few paces, carressed the cook, 
and put herself in a posture to go out again and regain the 
staircase, but turning round every now and then to excite 
the curiosity of the woman and induce her to follow that she 
might understand the cat's proceedings. The cat succeed- 
ed. The cook surprised at this management, followed the 
uneasy mother, and found upon the stairs of the granary, 
the young ones who again took flight. The cook now com- 
prehending the wishes of the old cat, left open the door of 
the kitchen, and seemed to pay no attention to what was 
going forward. The cat took advantage of the opportunity, 
and by calling her kittens to her, introduced them at length 
into the kitchen. 

All these actions and a thousand others, which we could 
add to them,* incontestably prove that animals whose or- 
ganization approaches ours to a certain point, have the fac- 
ulty of feeling that they feel or perceive, and that they have 
felt or perceived different impressions ; and also they have 
the faculty of induction, (or deducing conclusions from a 
comparison of ideas. ) 

At length the infant gets hold of the instrument, lan- 
guage : he gets at it by the gradual progress of cerebial 
developement : he arrives at this point by leaving behind 
him the mere animal life, at whose level he was a short time 
ago : it is then he understands the meaning of I feel that I 
feel, or that he pronounces it himself. It is thus that the 
consciousness belonging to man, developed with the slow 
and successive progress of the encephalon, finishes by pla- 
cing men far above all other animals. 

Having now settled the characters of this faculty, let us 
see how the psychologists wish to use it as the base of a 
particular science. 

Sec. 3. If it be possible to make a science out of the 
mere phenomena of consciousness ? Sources of error among 
the psychologists in relation to it. 

* The translator cpuld add fifty of his own knowledge, demonstrative 
of thought and reasoning in animals. Transl. 

[ 85 ] 

They say we must listen to the language ol conscious- 
ness ; and for that purpose, collect ourselves in silence and 
obscurity, that no sense may be employed : we must ab- 
stract ourselves from every body in nature, in short we 
must listen to ourselves alone, and think. They affirm se- 
riously that when we have been for a long time exercised 
in this kind of reverie, we discover an immense perspective, 
a new world, crowded with facts of the most admirable 
kind, and connected by natural relations, of which the laws 
may be discovered ; facts moreover, that have nothing in 
common with those presented by the senses ; facts whose 
assiduous contemplation, elevates the psychologist far above 
his fellow men, without excepting the naturalists and the 
physiologists, who are occupied about ideas furnished by 
the senses. 

Let us then examine what they can find in their con- 
sciousness by proceeding in this mode of research. Inde- 
pendent of the faculty of feeling that we feel, they find two 
other sorts of things : but let us first speak of what is ori- 
ginally established in consciousness, and is surely found 

The psychologists are sure to meet there, all the viscer- 
al sensations that are in correspondence with the brain ; 
not merely hunger, thirst, venereal desires, the sensations of 
cold, heat, positive pain and pleasure, referred to some part 
of the system, but they will have to remark a crowd of other 
sensations vague, indeterminate, sometimes producing sad- 
ness, sometimes joy, sometimes action, sometimes rest ; 
hope at one time, at another despair even to dread of exist- 
ence. They will find all these sensations and emotions 
without any doubt in their minds concerning the source 
from whence they proceed ; for the physiologists or rather 
the physicians who have paid most attention to the pheno- 
mena of visceral irritation, and the various degrees of insan- 
ity and whom they never consult, can alone give them infor- 
mation on this point. If they take all these internal sensa- 
tions for revelations of the divinity, whom they call con- 
sciousness, they may greatly increase their riches of this 
description, by following the oriental custom of taking a 
dose of opium combined with aromatics. They will then 
find themselves like Mahomet, in connection with all that 
is most extraordinary in the empyreal heavens. But let 
us pass on to the second class of objects, which the psycho-^ 

t 86 J 

Io»isl in Ins reverie cannot fail to discover in this conscious- 
ness of his. 

He will find the recollection of impressions made upon 
his senses ; I do not say that he will see there, images, or 
impressions, or ideas considered as entities, but I will say, 
that while he is observing, he will perceive sensations* as- 
sociated in such manner with bodies that have already im- 
pressed the senses for the first time, that these sensations 
cannot be renewed without compelling us to think of these 
same bodies. Consciousness then, is populated ; first, with 
materials produced internally, from the visceral nerves, and 
the nervous apparatus of the brain itself. Secondly, with 
materials produced by impressions made on the external 
senses. Moreover, these materials are associated together, 
mixed, confounded, identified in some manner or other ; 
and they are so to such a degree as we have shown in our 
physiology, that sensations proceeding from the visceral 
nerves, forcibly recal the attention to certain trains of ideas, 
the offspring of sensations furnished by the external senses ; 
nor can these acquire some degree of intensity in conscious- 
ness, without giving birth in their turn to visceral sensa- 

Without this combination, man would have no motive to 
action ; a circumstance which I shall be compelled to con- 
sider by-and-bye : and this combination is the proper func- 
tion of the encephalon considered in respect of innerva- 
tion, sensitive and intellectual. It is by means of the 
impressions made upon the external senses, that the in- 
ternal sensations are of any value to the individual. Hun- 
ger becomes a determinate sensation only by the pre- 
sence of the recollection of some material object proper 
to satisfy it : and this value is not the same when the stom- 
ach is full as when it is empty : in its normal and its abnor- 
mal state : it is reciprocally, by sensations perceived simul- 
taneously in the viscera, that those of the senses acquire a 
precise character : the sight of the other sex has not the 
same value to an infant or a sick person, as it has to the full 
grown man, in a state of health. One may say the same 

* The French seem not sufficiently aware of Hartley's exposition of the 
doctrine of association : including sensations with sensations, sensations 
with ideas, sensations with muscular motions, voluntary and automatic ; 
ideas with muscular motions ; and all these with desires and emotions ; ami 
the very important and most extensive application of this theory to the 
phenomena of intellect, instinct, health, and disease. Trans! . 

i m ] 

oiaii othoi" sensations : for those which do not relate to our 
principal wants, as the sight of a triangle, may be connect- 
ed with instinctive curiosity. What proves this, is, that 
this sensation is of no value to a child, whose instinct of cu- 
riosity is not yet developed, and whose brain is as yet im- 
perfect ; just like a native idiot, whose brain has not grown 
in that portion of it which is assigned to intellectual pheno- 
mena : it signifies moreover, more or less to a grown man, 
well organized, according as he has exercised more or less, 
his faculty of observation, on that train of ideas which the 
triangle can recall to memory. But what value does it not 
acquire, in awakening that want of self satisfaction, which, 
as we have explained in our physiology cannot be excited 
to a certain degree of intensity, without developing sensa- 
tions referable to the most important viscera ; to the same 
viscera which are excited by hunger, by thirst, by the fear 
of death, and all the phenomena of instinct ? In a word, let 
us do what we will, in abandoning ourselves to meditation, 
it is absolutely impossible not to awaken visceral sensations, 
and that instinct should not be put in action in concert with 

Hence the psychologist, in his reverie, will find nothing 
in hisconciousnessbut mixed facts: it is wrongfully, there- 
fore, that he pretends to build up with these facts, the edifice 
of a particular science, which shall be independent of facts 
observed by the senses : it will be impossible for him to 
assert, after this inspection of the interior, a single fact which 
will not require to be verified by the senses. This is what 
we must now undertake to prove, and for that purpose, wo 
shall occtipy his own ground. 

He asserts, that his internal observation is something cer- 
tain ; for there is nothing in the world more certain to him 
than to feel that he does feel, and that he has felt. Very 
well ; no doubt : we grant all that. It is certain that he 
enjoys when he does enjoy, and that he suffers when he 
does suffer ; and that he has a perception of the pleasure 
and pain which he experiences. Nobody ever dreamt of 
contesting with him this certainty, nor the reality upon which 
it is founded ; but because it is certain that a psycologist 
feels a body to be round and immovable, it does not follow 
that the body really is so : it may be square, and seem round 
while it is in motion, and if the senses did not interfere to 
give the required certainty, the psycologist would remain 

L 88 J 

all his lite in error relative to the form of this bo<|y, and to 
another circumstance very important respecting it. This 
example may serve for all the cases of the same nature. 
The pretended certainty of high and low, of the immobility 
of the earth, and of a diurnal circle drawn around it by the 
sun, were formerly facts of consciousness ; every body 
believed that he felt within himself the certainty of these 
pretended facts, and it has been by the aid of the senses that 
their falsehood has been definitively demonstrated. 

But the psycologist will say, " you speak of physical facts 
of which the first motion came through the senses, but we 
have excluded these from the domain of consciousness. 
The questions about which we are occupied are those that 
relate to the nature of the intelligent principle, the faculties 
it possesses, and the morality of its actions. Upon all this, 
our consciousness alone can throw light, and cannot deceive 
us, while our senses teach us absolutely nothing." 

To assure ourselves of this, we ask of the psycologists 
what their consciousness reveals to them of every thing ? 
Let us begin with the question of the intelligent principle. 
We have already said that the ancient metaphysians attribu- 
ted it to something independent of the nervous apparatus. 
Consciousness has taught our modern psycologists nothing 
more. The replies we have made to their predecessors we 
may therefore make to them. I shall therefore not repeat 
them. But I would ask of these gentlemen, so devoted to 
the worship of consciousness, if they really believe that this 
faculty is competent of itself and alone, to judge of the 
nature of the intelligent principle without the aid of the 


At the first blush, it is manifest that we cannot without 
absurdity suppose a man well organized, arrived at that 
point when he is able to reflect upon himself without having 
arrived there through the aid of the senses. What proves 
that we cannot make this supposition, is, that those unfortu- 
nate persons who are born without sight and hearing, arc 
necessarily ideots. In the second place, all men who have 
offered opinions on the principle of intelligence, are philo- 
sophers who, for a long time before-hand, have exercised 
their senses by observation of external objects, and have 
been long familiarized with the instruments of language. It 
is not, therefore, consciousness alone which speaks through 
these men. Noris it consciousness alone that speaks through 

L ^ } 

the osteologists of our day. Their intelligence works upon 
a mass of ideas acquired by the senses. Could any one 
doubt this, it would be sufficient to recur to the comparison 
which they make of a man directing the operations of some 
machine. They never would have had this idea, if then- 
senses had not shewn them a man actually at work with a 
machine ; nor would they have had the means of proposing 
this comparison, if they did not possess the signs of language 
acquired only through the senses. 

They pretend that they do not mean to suppose a man liv- 
ing in the human brain, but something that acts on the human 
organs, as a man acts on a machine. To this we answer for 
the thousandth time, that their notion of this something, is 
not derived from their abstracted meditation on conscious- 
ness, but suggested by the scenes of nature that have im- 
pressed their senses ; and we defy them to find a single 
idea in their psycology which is not copied from some object 
or scene in nature. So true is this, that they have not a 
single expression which they can apply to their subject 
which is not metaphorical, which does not mark all their 
conceptions of their science by words that have been inven- 
ted to designate natural bodies and their properties, or the 
circumstances under which they have been offered to human 

They explain themselves on their principle, by saying 
that they mean to designate the unknown cause of intelli- 
gence. If they mean only to designate it as unknown, why do 
they use for this purpose, words and expressions appropria- 
ted to things known ? If they do not know how it differs 
from the nervous system, what right have they to assert that 
it cannot be the nervous system ? If they can venture to 
say of it, that it is not nervous matter — that it is not any 
species of composition — that it is something simple — surely 
they must have some idea of it. They ascribe to it positive 
qualities and negative qualities, and they say they do not 
understand it ; or if they choose to describe it, they use for 
that purpose an expression drawn from the exercise of the 
senses. This expression is deduced from the idea of a man, 
and is in truth the greatest honor they can do their principle, 
and the least bad ol the arguments they advance in its favor; 
for we have in fact ideas of a man directing a machine. But 
when they compare it to an ether, we do not see how a gas. 
which is a mere inert body, never exhibiting any signs of 

[ ao J 

intelligence, can perform intellectual operations, or without 
performing them itself, can make the nervous system per- 
form them. When they insist that their principle is some- 
thing necessarily simple, they think they have advanced an 
unanswerable argument. Where have they obtained the 
notion of a simple thing, compared with something of many 
parts, if not by observing natural bodies ? But what idea 
can we have of something simple which is not a body, which 
nevertheless is so connected with the molecules of nervous 
substance, as to produce the phenomena of intelligence ? If 
the psycologists had that idea, they ought also to have some 
word, some form of expression to transmit it intelligibly to 
others. What have they beyond their words or signs of 
some material body, to designate that which is not a body ? 
What they really have of internal sensation, when they 
think strongly upon it, is some desire, some regret, a kind 
of anger because they cannot express themselves without 
using signs appropriated to bodies, and cannot avoid employ- 
ing them, notwithstanding the strangeness of their style. 
It is the confused perceptions of all these sensations that 
they take as a proof of the existence of their incorporeal 
intelligent principle, made known by some a priori revela- 
tion. These men live in a constant effort of expression 
which, in their discourses, does but substitute one metaphor 
to another, and depraves their language, if it have no worse 
effect upon their intellect. In truth, their sensations on 
this subject are but irritations on the viscera, analogous to 
those which govern our instincts. The brain excites them ; 
the other viscera return them, and again receive them from 
the brain ; and the health of the splanchnic apparatus is not 
the better for all this. 

It is now our business to ascertain if similar perceptions 
which have desire for their basis, prove any thing in the 
present question. 

I lay it down as a principle, that one desire can prove no 
more than another in its kind. If any one possesses the 
means of disproving this assertion, let him do so. In mean 
time, I shall argue on this assumption. Almost every body 
desires riches and power : wise men require a tranquil, 
independent life. No one can deduce from these desires, 
that those who experience them ought some day or other 
to have them gratified. All we know is, that the thing is 
possible, because our senses have shewn it : but we do not 

I 91 J 

know this much of other desires whose gratification have 
never been an object of our senses. Many persons, for 
instance, would desire to preserve eternally their youth and 
vigor; the naturalist, the philosopher, the astronomer, would 
desire to know the first mover of all the phenomena which 
they study ; almost all men would be glad to know the be- 
ginning and the end of bodies, of extension, of space, &c. 
Man lives continually in the midst of desires ; but does it 
follow that he has the right to have all this knowledge im- 
parted to him ? Alas ! an impenetrable veil hides forever 
all these mysteries from our eyes, and we have no good rea- 
son for pretending to explain one more than another. What 
right then has the psycologist to conclude from his desire 
of knowing the first cause of the intellectual faculties, that in 
fact he ought to know them ? or from his desire of preserv- 
ing these faculties when his brain shall be decomposed, that 
he has a right to preserve them ? A wise man, reflecting 
on the manner of his acquiring his knowledge, soon finds 
out that his organization does not permit him to become 
acquainted with the cause of his organization. He places this 
knowledge among first causes inaccessible to human enquiry, 
or if you will, in the sole and general first cause. He sub- 
mits, therefore — he represses the desire he entertained at 
first, and applies his faculties to the acquisition of useful, 
applicable knowledge. From that moment he becomes 
exempt from the internal sensations that pester the psycolo- 
gist, who complains, no doubt very sincerely, that he ex- 
hausts his superfluous efforts to create a language which 
may give some notion of his insatiable desires. 

Certainly the psycologist affords great room for censure 
in placing in the same rank consciousness and the senses ; 
and in making them to be presided over by an intelligent 
principle, presumed to be simple, from I know not what 
comparison with material objects. The only thing certain, 
as to internal perceptions, is, that he who experiences them, 
experiences them effectually. I have just proved, that 
Avhen the consciousness of the psycologist wishes to judge 
of itself, it models itself on the bodies which the senses 
have introduced to its acquaintance, nor can it abstract its 
first cause unless by a similar process. We have now, there- 
fore, every reason to believe that it is not capable of judg- 
ing of itself from its own resources alone. If it be true, that 
in this operation it has stood in need of the senses, it cannot 

[ 92 | 

be independent of the senses; but above all, it does not 
alone furnish to the principle of intelligence ; (which, out 
of compliment to the psycologists, I shall personify for a mo- 
ment,) it cannot alone furnish, I repeat, facts equally certain 
with those furnished by the senses. The senses may un- 
doubtedly mislead us as well as consciousness ; still they 
alone are able to furnish just ideas of bodies ; but conscious- 
ness cannot furnish any other incontestable fact — any fact, 
whatever, not resting on the evidence of the senses, except- 
ing internal sensation. In other terms, I can affirm that I feel, 
that I feel myself feeling and wishing — that I have felt myself 
feeling and wishing ; but I can conclude nothing from thence, 
on the reality of those things which have been the objects of 
my feeling and wishing, unless I have recourse to the senses ; 
because it is very possible that I may have been deceived 
on the existence or the nature of these objects. I have fur- 
nished the proof of this already, by marking and specifying 
the mistakes of the ancient physicians. These proofs are 
also so abundant in every other branch of knowledge, that 
any one can find them without trouble. 

Sec. 4. Of the necessity of the senses and consciousness 
concurring to perfect the science of the sentient, thinking 

The testimony of consciousness then, is not of equal val- 
ue with that of the senses. The science drawn from con- 
sciousness consists in the following assertion : / am endow- 
ed with the faculty of feeling that I feel. Here it ends. If 
you would erect a science on such a basis, you must go fur- 
ther and interrogate incessantly the senses for facts to be 
added to this assertion. If the psychologists presume they 
can succeed in any other way, they deceive themselves ; if 
they neglect this method they will equally go astray. I 
shall furnish them with another proof which may enable 
them to understand how dangerous it is to refer always and 
solely to internal feeling, or to believe that because any 
thing is desired, to be of a certain kind or description, no 
pains need be taken to ascertain whether it might not be 
something different. 

"Man," say the psychologists "feels within himself 
something different from his limbs, his flesh, his senses : it 
is an internal sentiment that raises him far above all other 
animals : man alone submits the whole universe to his ex- 
amination : he alone studies and classes bodies and their 

L 93 j 

properties : he alone proceeds by induction from effects to 
causes : he alone raises himself to the contemplation of a 
supreme being. But, say they, it is not possible that the 
principle which gives these faculties, can be the same with 
that which presides over animals. This principle has some- 
thing which partakes of the nature of the first cause. As 
it rules over the body, it cannot be confounded with the 
body ; it must be therefore of a nature superior to the bodi- 
ly nervous system ; nor can we conceive it to be decompo- 
sed and destroyed, together with that system. All that we 
now say, (they add,) we have not learned from the exter- 
nal senses. It is our internal sense that inspires us with 
these ideas ; nor can we help considering them as reali- 

They can be thus answered. " That you have these 
ideas, that you consider them as expressing real things, is 
what we cannot pretend to controvert, because this is the 
reality of your psychology : but that we ought to have the 
same ideas, is what you will never be able to demonstrate ; 
and still less, that they represent something real ; and this 
it is, that prevents our agreeing with you. You say that 
man feels internally all that you have stated. We answer, 
yes. The adult man, awake, healthy, having long exerci- 
sed his senses, may feel all that : but the embryo, the foe- 
tus, the infant, the human being, who is at once blind and 
deaf, does not : nor does a man, born an idiot, through de- 
fect of developement of the anterior part of the brain, feel 
any thing of the kind. Prove to us, that these two last ex- 
amples of humanity do not form part of the human species : 
if you cannot do this, if you cannot show us, that the hu- 
man nature of an embryo, of a blind and deaf man, of an idiot 
from birth, is not the same as that of a man of thirty years 
of age, well formed and healthy, if you cannot find between 
these, any difference but in the developement of their or- 
gans, we shall conclude, according to the evidence of our 
senses, that the principle of these ideas which you have 
stated, does not exist always and among all men, but only 
among men placed in certain circumstances. We may go 
farther : we will take any of your human beings who pos- 
sess these ideas ; and by consequence, the principle that 
produces them ; we will follow him in his first sleep ; in 
apoplexy ; in asphyxy ; if he should have the misfortune of 
falling into it : and after having interrogated him in these 

[ 94 J 

different circumstances, our conclusion will be, that some- 
times he has, and sometimes he has not this principle." 
" Oh ! but you say, he has it always, but it is not always in 
action ; we shall reply to this by-and-bye ; in the mean 
time, come with us to the lunatic hospital ; and there you 
may see twenty patients in a state of idiocy, who have had 
your principle, and will never have it again. Tell us then, 
if you please, if it be still there, in what corner is it hidden, 
or how can its activity rest without occupation ?" 

Here then is the proof that the psychologists cannot de- 
monstrate the continued existence of a principle different 
from nervous matter. They are compelled in order to es- 
cape this difficulty, to allege that their principle standing 
in need of the organs of the body, cannot appear unless 
when these organs are in a situation to obey it ; an asser- 
tion perfectly gratuitous, and equally absurd ; because it 
contains a manifest contradiction : you make use of the ac- 
tual existence of the intellectual phenomena, to prove that 
the principle, which is not nervous matter, is present to 
produce them ; and you make use of the non-existence of 
these same phenomena, to prove that it is still there, in the 
same place : from its having appeared you conclude it can- 
not disappear ; your reason for this is, that you have admit- 
ted its presence ; and although we hear you declare that 
you do not understand the intimate nature of this principle, 
you assume that it is such that it cannot ever quit the brain 
while this lives ; even when years may pass without any 
marks of its presence (as in the insanity of ideocy) and 
death may ensue without the patient having recovered his 
reason. You venture still further ; for after deducing your 
principle from the intellectual functions of the highest order, 
you boldly confer it on the embryo, who does not yet pos- 
sess these functions, who has as yet no brain, who consists 
of nothing but a mass of vessels and fluids in which the or- 
gans are not marked. Have you well reflected on this mass 
of hypotheses, each more singular, more chimerical than 
the other ? 

How comes it that you have thus lost yourself in this laby- 
rinth of suppositions ? It is because you have given credit to 
this internal sentiment, which says, (if we can trust your 
representations) that it is simple, that it is independent of 
your organs, that it is not of the same nature with that 
which presides over animals, that it has always existed, and 

L a* J 

will always exibt. What right has this principle to athrni to 
you all these things, while alone and without the aid of the 
senses, it cannot give you one idea, of the beginning, or the 
end, or the interruption of action of the organ by which it 
makes itself manifest ? Does your internal sentiment teach 
you that you were once an embryo, an infant, and that some 
day or other you will die ? If you believed nobody but this 
principle, would you not believe that your organs were im- 
mortal ? Whence have you taken the notion of this per- 
manence without organs of which it speaks as you tell us, if 
it be not in the successive impressions of the bodies which 
act upon the senses ? Who told you there were animals ex- 
isting with some analogies to yourselves, but the senses ? 
Whence comes it then that to satisfy your desire of being of 
some other nature than the rest of the universe, you believe 
your senses, when they tell you that every living body dies, 
without the possibility of recovering the phenomena of then- 
nervous functions, while you refuse credit to the testimony 
of the same senses, when they shew you clear as the day, 
that your intellectual phenomena, are also the results of the 
action of perishable nervous matter ? How comes it that to 
affirm the contrary, to maintain that you can think without 
nerves and without brain, you refer to an internal sentiment, 
incompetent to judge of space, of time, of matter, or of any 
of the substances formed of it ? Above all, how happens it 
that the most strange conclusion is every moment advanced, 
that although sight proceeds from the eye, hearing from the 
ear, and touch from the nervous extremities of the skin, 
yet thought proceeds not from the brain ? Is not the evi- 
dence the same ? You admit the office of the senses in the 
production of ideas which represent the bodies, because you 
say you feel the senses act ; yet you deny that reflection is 
an operation of the brain, because you cannot see your brain 
in action ! Be uniform in your conclusions. Since it is by 
your senses that you verify the evidence of your conscious- 
ness which tells you that the idea of colour proceeds from 
the sense of sight, verify in like manner the pretended evi- 
dence of the same faculty, when it seems to tell you that it 
is not your brain that thinks or reflects. You do not refer 
yourself to your body for the functions of the eye. You 
have ascertained them in other persons as well as yourself 
by proofs negative, and positive. You have thus convinced 
yourself that those who have lost their eyes become blind 

L »« J 

and lose the sense of colours ; observe other persons there 
fore on the question of thinking, and you will soon become 
convinced that thought is developed, is altered, impaired, 
and destroyed, in proportion as the brain is ; that he who 
loses his head, loses the power of thinking, as he who loses 
his eye loses the perception of colours. 

Were it true, as you repeat incessantly, that you confine 
yourselves to the evidence of consciousness in judging of 
your sensitive and active faculties, you may object to us, 
that we wander from the question : but we have proved to 
you that you do not so confine yourselves; that you never 
cease to work upon the impressions proceeding from the 
senses ; even when the question is concerning the nature 
and duration of the principle of your intellectual phenome- 
na. Upon what then is founded your psychology ? upon a 
false operation of your understanding, upon whose mechan- 
ism you have not reflected. You generalise the fact of 
thought and of reflection, which you have observed in its 
highest degree of perfection in some grown up man, heal- 
thy, possessing ail his senses, having exercised them con- 
jointly with his understanding during forty or fifty years, 
and master also of a perfect language ; you make this fact 
an attribute of every man, and you make it also something 
independent of the nervous system. Not being able to dis- 
cover this attribute in the innumerable cases of exception 
which we have so often cited ; you are reduced to supposi- 
tions, to sustain its existence in a substance with which it is 
agreed it can have no contact; and to explain the frequent 
absence of its actual manifestation. Recurring to your sen- 
ses, which you unfairly call in as witnesses, to furnish you 
with comparisons relating to an object, to which according 
to yourselves they cannot be applied, you affirm without 
hesitation, that when this attribute does not appear, it is like 
<i star obscured by a cloud ; or like a musician placed in an 
organ dismounted, and which he can no longer put in opera- 
tion ; or like a master whose servants refuse to obey him ; 
or like a skilful and active workman, who remains for years 
together with his arms folded, in the midst of rough mate- 
rials, waiting until they have been prepared for him ; then 
working with them for some time, and again resting for a 
much longer time ; waiting idly in the midst of an animated 
machine, till its destruction shall be complete. 

If you ore resolved to sustain the existence of your prin 

[ 07 J 

cipie, say at once that you feel it : assert it on your own 
authority. Those who feel it as you do, will iepeat your 
assertions ; do not undertake to prove its existence to those 
who do not feel it ; for you cannot get on with them without 
reasoning to the phenomena of the senses, and exposing 
yourselves to refutation. For the same reason, do not pre- 
tend to make a regular science of the facts of consciousness : 
they arc neither numerous enough, nor sufficiently connected 
with social life, to enable you to succeed. Keep your hypoth- 
esis then of an intelligent principle that has nothing to do with 
nervous matter, as the secret mover of your own actions. 
Such an hypothesis may be useful to certain kinds of intellect. 

The psychologists hold in great estimation the faculty of 
induction (drawing conclusions from a comparison of facts) 
in favour of a principle (not partaking of a nervous nature) 
which holds the government of the brain ; but they never 
introduce it except to explain intellectual action^ 

If we believe them, to deduce from sensible phenomenon 
the conclusion that it must have a cause ; that it exists for 
some purpose ; that some principle of intelligence directs 
it; and that it implies some change taken place in the body 
wherein it is manifested ; is to have ideas a priori, of some 
cause not nervous which moves the nerves, some Cause in 
connection with the first cause ; while our senses can give 
no information either of the cause, the intent, the promotor 
of the phenomena, nor the change which constitutes them. 
It is thus, say they, that from one of the phenomena of a 
function we deduce all the rest ; and although we cannot 
establish them by means of the senses, we are persuaded 
they exist, and we make experiments to discover them* 

When I read these psychological arguments, I know not 
where I am : I seem to' be among men differently organized 
from myself; for if I enter into my own feelings and inter- 
rogate my consciousness as to the value of this deduction, I 
find I can employ it indeed, but as one of the strongest proofs 
that our ideas come from our senses only. In fact all in- 
ductions are only comparisons. It is because from his most 
early years, man is accustomed to see causes produce ef- 
fects; it is because he himself becomes in various instances 
a cause of effects ; because he is continually led to become 
so ; because he feels pleasure in seeing himself obeyed ; in 
seein^ inanimate objects yield to his efforts as well as those 
(hat are animated ; it is because he alwavs has some inten- 

L 98 ] 

tion, some proposed end in view, when he performs these 
acts, of which his fellow men give him perpetually exam- 
ples; it is because he sees that he produces changes in the 
bodies submitted to his action; in a word, because the in- 
tentional modification of every thing that surrounds him, is 
almost the whole of his education during life, and he carries 
of necessity this modification into all the phenomena of na- 
ture — it is from these known circumstances that the induc- 
tion is drawn. He is convinced (they tell us) although he 
has not seen the causes, nor received the confidence of au- 
thors, nor explained the secrets of these transformations. 
No doubt : the more ignorant a man is, the more credu- 
lous he is ; and having received an education embracing 
causality and intention, he is necessarily carried on to judge 
of what he does not know, by what he does know : he no 
longer loves to doubt ; rather than stop there, he seizes the 
first glimpse of probability that strikes him, and becomes as 
thoroughly convinced, as if he had verified his belief by the 
aid of all his senses. This is his method of proceeding ; it 
answers his purpose in intellectual operations on common 
things. He does not like therefore to abandon it ; and a 
long and laborious education becomes necessary before he 
can acquire the courage to doubt, although his credulity 
has a thousand times over led him estray. One might com- 
pose volumes consisting of the simple enumeration of w«cll 
known errors in the sciences depending on facts, which 
have been owing to hasty conclusions, and which subse- 
quent discoveries have rectified. But without going to 
ages past, it suffices to look around us, to collect by thou- 
sands, examples of prejudices more or less absurd, in reli- 
gion, in politics, in medicine, &c. brought forth by the ope- 
ration of induction, or deducing conclusions; that ever ac- 
tive unrestrainable propensity which carries man to judgo 
of what he does not know, by what he thinks he knows. 
This is the chief source of his mistakes. As he can guess at 
nothing to any good purpose, he must depend on chance 
setting before him facts, before he can escape from errors of 
false analogies. Hence his education really depends on 
his senses. Oi this, our psychologists furnish an example 
worth all the rest. They are so much in the habit of trans- 
ferring the known to the unknown, that in place of frankly 
acknowledging their ignorance of the nature of intellectual 
phenomena, they place a machinist (not nervous) in the 

L 99 J 

bruin of the human species only, at the risk of being com- 
pelled to argue rashly, inconsequently, and ignorantly upon 
the object of their investigations, 1st in comparing the living 
and active nerves to a machine passive a nd inert ; 2dly in 
being able to give no description of this machinist who in- 
habits the brain, but what their senses have furnished them 
with from the man himself; 3dly in attributing to the nervous 
system of animals, exactly the same phenomena that they 
attribute in man to some incorporeal intelligence ; as sensa- 
tion, memory, volition. These are, I should presume, in- 
stances sufficient of those precipitate judgements which the 
habitude we have spoken of betray men into. 

A great deal more is wanting than some a priori notions, 
to indicate beforehand to the physiologists, the end they 
ought to pursue, and the experiments they ought to set on 
foot to arrive at the full discovery of a function, which is not 
yet known but by some of its phenomena. Every physio- 
logist is an anatomist ; he examines the organs of the body ; 
he sees them act ; having learnt by the exercise of his senses 
the action of the first that he examines, he discovers the 
mode of action in others; where he does not clearly distin- 
guish their uses, he conjectures by analogy enough to lead 
him to those experiments of putting them in action, which 
may teach what functions they really perform. Have they 
not from infancy, data furnished by their senses as to the 
use of all the external parts of the body ? How then when 
they come to the internal, can they avoid applying the same 
rules of judging as to the organs that are concealed ? If they 
have not this analogy, they have others : Harvey was led 
to suspect the circulation of the blood from remarking the 
direction of the valves in the veins. Others had already 
drawn the same conclusion from the same fact. But what 
does this signify ? The first who made this deduction found 
the elements of his theory in nature ; in the shrubs and 
branches of trees, in hydraulic machines, &c. There was 
no need of any a priori inspiration to conclude that the 
valves were destined to prevent the blood from flowing 
back, and that as it had clearly passed through these valves 
and was again found behind them, it could not arrive there 
but by a circular course. This conclusion and the facts and 
experiments that suggested it, are not extraordinary, but 
the lateness of the period at which observers arrived at 
them, is truly so. 

L 10 ° J 

Let the psychologists shew us one man deprived of his 
senses from the moment of birth, or possessed of his senses 
but with a very diminutive forehead, and who was able to 
deduce these truths : this would be an experiment directly 
in point to which we could not avoid giving credit. But so 
long as we are able to find in the phenomena observed by 
the senses, the models of the phenomena discovered by in- 
duction, we shall never be able to find any good reason for 
attributing this discovery to consciousness. 

Sec. 5. Comparison of the hypothesis of the psychologists, 
with the opinion of the physiologists on the appreciable cause 
of intellectual phenomena. 

Chagrined at being unable to support their non-nervous 
principle, otherwise than by hypothesis, some psychologists 
have tried to console themselves by maintaining that the 
opposite opinion which refers the phenomena of intelligence 
to the nervous apparatus, is itself no more than an hypothe- 
sis. To maintain this position, they reason as follows : 

They distinguish in the phenomena of life, 1st The facts 
which are independent of the intelligent and voluntary 
principle, and of sensibility. Sdly The facts wherein this prin- 
ciple intervenes. 

The facts that take place independent of this principle, 
are the two great internal classes of nutrition and reproduc- 
tion. The facts that depend on this principle, constitute the 
third great function of life, that of relation (forming our 
relation to and connection with external objects). 

According to them, it is one and the same principle which 
feels in the phenomena of sensation ; which knows in the 
phenomena of perception of external objects ; and which 
wills in all cases of voluntary action. Sensation, idea, vo- 
lition, are then the integrant elements of all the phenome- 
na of relation. These are facts of consciousness which fall 
not within the jurisdiction of the senses, are not the objects 
of sensible observation, and consequently cannot be learnt, 
but must reveal themselves anteriority to all investigation, 
to which indeed they are the only motive. 

I consider this as the strongest argument which the psy- 
chologists have employed to deprive the nervous system of 
the phenomena of relation, and to place them under the gui- 
dance of a principle, whereof they agree that we can form 
no idea : that is to say, to demolish without hope of recon- 
structing. I attack this argument with the aids furnished 
by common sense. 

I 101 J 

Nutrition is never independent of the phenomena ol rela- 
tion except in the foetus. It is so in that instance, because 
nutrition is a consequence of the small portion of the liquid 
fecundated. The first nutrition is nothing but the play of 
molecular affinities. To this is added, the mechanical im- 
pulse given to the blood by the vitality of the heart of the 
foetus, and that of the placenta and umbilical vessels. The 
means of relation to the external objects commences at 
birth, when the brain by means of the external senses per- 
ceives the impression of the air, and the breast of the mo- 
ther ; but this relation unaccompanied by intelligence, is 
but instinctive. By and by, the brain being grown and de- 
veloped in company with the organs of sense and the mns- 
cles, that is to say, with the instruments of the new func- 
tions which it is called upon to perform, the interior phe- 
nomena of intelligence, and the acts that mark it, become 
the first instruments of nutrition : this is demonstrated, in- 
asmuch as the human being existing in a state of complete 
imbecility would die of hunger, if the intelligence of some 
other human being did not provide for his nutrition. Let 
now the psychologists tell us if they can, whether between 
the embryo or the infant of a day old, and the man of thirty 
years, any other differences can be pointed out in respect 
of nutrition, than those which I have stated : and if they 
are determined to introduce their non-nervous principle, let 
them tell us at what precise epoch it makes its first appear- 

The phenomena of relation, moreover, (connection with 
external objects,) are still more essential to the reproduc- 
tive function ; for the senses (which I presume are the prin- 
ciple means of relation ) are the only means of discovering 
the difference of sex, and the only means which can furnish 
to the male and female the requisite inclination to inter- 

If the psycologists separate from nutrition and reproduc- 
tion, every thing that intelligence has to do with these func- 
tions, they would not be the functions of vertebrous animals, 
but of zoophytes, where nutrition is no more than molecular 
affinity, and reproduction an accidental section or separation 
of a part. If they pretend to understand by the words nu- 
trition and reproduction, nothing but the phenomena of con- 
tractility, circulation, absorption, affinities, and changes of 
form of animal matter, they will not include instinctive phe- 

i 102 J 

nomeua. If they are determined to introduce them, I shall 
prove to them by referring to what 1 have said on the educa- 
tion of "the infant, that intelligence is nothing but instinct 
brought to its perfection under certain relations, by the de- 
velopement of the encephalon in certain directions easy to be 

Having thus marked the duty of the principle which feels 
and which wills in the internal functions, let us examine the 
same principle in its external, or functions of relation. Sen- 
sation, idea, volition, are, say they, facts of consciousness 
which the senses cannot take cognizance of. Let us distin- 
guish. Is the question concerning ourselves, or concerning 
others ? If the latter, assuredly we have no method of dis- 
covering these faculties, but by our senses. Does it relate 
to ourselves ? Undoubtedly when we feel, or think, or will, 
we do not see ourselves do this. But without the senses, 
what can we make of this fact ? What can a man say — 
what can he do with this internal sensation of his own, if he 
does not compare it with that of other men, of whom he can 
have no idea but by means of his senses ? Still more : With 
these internal perceptions alone, would he possess any ideas 
of any things ? Would he have volition ? Let the deaf and 
blind by birth, answer this. Man possesses no intellectual 
faculties, but because his internal sensations connect them- 
selves with some external object, or some part of his own 
body perceptible to his senses, as their determining causes; 
to speak of their combined faculties of feeling, of possessing 
ideas, and of willing, as of a simple fact, purely internal, is 
to speak of what does not exist. Independent of the percep- 
tions that have their source in the senses, nothing remains 
but a confused feeling of existence. What do I say ? No : 
not even that ; for the blind and deaf, are observed to have 
a feeling in the skin, which is to them an external one. 
They can at least compare the sensations thence arising 
with those which the food they take furnishes, and perhaps 
the genital sense ; and certainly with that which is furnished 
them by the movement of their limbs.* 

* Nobody can draw any acknowledgment from these unhappy sub- 
jects, of what they feel internally. They are to us like the embryo, or 
the molluscar animals. Such is the consequence of the imperfection of 
the senses. The imperfection of the anterior part of the brain is nearly 
the same. A short time ago, a young girl of twenty years of age was 
presentcd'to [different scientific bodies at Paris, who possessed scarcely 
ftny forehead,* and no more intellect than a child of six months old, altho' 

t 103 J 

To aflirin, therefore, that the internal sensation oi' exist- 
ence, the idea of external objects, the volition to approach 
them, or take hold of them, are in man, phenomena anterior 
to all perception arising from the senses, is to affirm what 
is not true. For the fact is, that we cannot observe our- 
selves without observing at the same time bodies that are 
not ourselves: it is astonishing, that in the 19th century 
it is necessary to assert over again a truth so ancient. It 
follows then, that the notion of an internal perception, of an 
idea, of volition, are the results of observation made by the 
senses in those who possess senses, and cannot be acquired 
by those who have not yet acquired them, without the aid of 
sensible observation ; an assertion directly contrary to that 
of the psychologists. We may say then, in contradiction to 
these authors, that the faculties in question are formed, and 
take up their abode in man by the simultaneous exercise of 
the brain and the senses : they do not exist, therefore, 
anteriorly to sensible observation, are not self-existent, and 
have no existence a priori. 

Sec. 6. What the objections of the psychologists really 
amount to on final analysis. Solution of the foregoing 

Although we have proved to the psychologists that the 
idea of consciousness itself is derived from the senses, and 
therefore we cannot consent to allow it the privilege of 
placing itself precedently to all perception, many of them 
may yet remain unconvinced. Personal identity, le moi, 
myself, takes precedence of all, say they ; for it is the sole 
motive of the researches we make to come at the knowledge 
of it ; for to speak definitively, if we have never had percep- 
tion, we should never have thought of investigating hoir 
p>erception arises. 

Recollect, gentlemen, the replies already made. I have 
proved, I trust, that ideas and volition always imply sensi- 
tive perceptions ;* I have shewn that mere internal percep- 
tion, of itself, and without sensitive perception, amounts to a 
mere fact of sensation which you can do nothing with, and 
which renders no service, to your system. Why then do 
you persist in deducing from the observation made by myself* 

*he had her external senses well developed. It is not enough, therefore. 
bo have senses ; there must be a brain proper to make use of the per- 
ceptions furnished by the senses. 
* Perceptions originating by impressions on the senses. — TransL 

[ 104 J 9 

on myself, the existence of this same myself anterior to alt 
sensitive observation ? There is a play of words in this 
case that deceives you ; some ontological enigma which it 
may be worth while to unriddle. Does not your obstinacy 
depend on your personification of le moi, myself? I think 
I have hit the mark. You say to yourselves, " no man ob - 
serves unless he be furnished with all the means and appa- 
ratus of observation : le moi, the myself which is within a 
man, ought to be presumed in that situation." Stop, gentle- 
men, take care that your moi (myself) does not come forth 
suddenly, a Minerva armed cap a pie : remember what has 
just been proved, that the word moi, myself, cannot desig- 
nate any thing but a phenomenon which shews itself under 
certain given conditions, consisting in — 1st, The existence 
of a perfect brain, well grown, and of adult age. 2dly In 
the fact of certain stimulations, at first internal, subsequently 
external, transmitted to the brain. It is only under these 
conditions that le moi, myself, exists at all ; nor can any 
myself be compared but with itself. Cease then to judge 
of it by false comparisons, and adopt a different idea con- 
cerning it. 

Your obstinacy may have another source. Teased on the 
one hand by the testimony of your senses, which teaches 
you that myself disappears so soon as the head is severed 
from the body, and compels you to acknowledge that this 
myself depends upon the brain ; wearied on the other hand 
by useless endeavors to explain how the brain can be the 
Seat of this myself, without the latter resolving itself into a 
phenomenon of cerebral action — you become resolved to 
apply to consciousness for some information respecting the 
nature of this myself, that is to say of consciousness ; for how 
differs consciousness from le moi, myself? Consciousness, 
which has no idea whatever of duration, destruction, repro- 
duction, talks to you in its own language. It is nothing but 
a sensation inseparable from existence. It answers you, 
that myself is an existence independent of all accident. But 
this is a contradiction to your senses, and you find yourselves 
unable to explain this moi, myself. The doctrine of sensa- 
tions is old. Some philosophers of the north, who never 
understood it, have discredited it in your eyes, to establish 
consciousness on its ruins. This consciousness is of late 
date in the history of philosophy ; but it is in fashion : it 
inspires you with a sentiment of pride which is dear to you, 

[.105 J 

and which the senses would deprive you ol", by destroying 
the illusions of your internal sensation. All this induces 
you to decide, and you determine to say, " since our con- 
science refuses to believe that she depends on the brain" — 
since the senses, which seem to affirm the contrary, cannot 
explain it, we conclude " that itcannot be so, and that it pre- 
cedes the brain." 

So then you choose to deny a fact because you cannot 
explain it ! Think a little where this will carry you. 1 do 
not wish to dwell on the consequences that would result. 

I use another argument. Having proved that we observe 
by means of a brain connected with the senses, and that the 
only difficulty is how this is possible, 1 reduce your objec- 
tion to this possibility ; and I say, "if we had not the power 
of observing ourselves, if to do so were impossible, we should 
never seek to do so." This expresses a common truth, 
equally applicable to the observation we make by means of 
the senses. Thus, " if the faculty of observing others and 
ourselves was not formed in us by the developement of our 
brain and the exercise of our senses, we should not seek to 
observe either ourselves, or any other object in nature." 
That is to say, " we observe because we are able to ob- 

You see your objection is not single : but as the difficul- 
ty consists in the impossibility of explaining how and why 
the faculty of observation is placed in the nervous substance 
of the encephalon, it is no concession made by the natural- 
ists, physiologists, and anatomists to your doctrine, that they 
acknowledge the existence of facts that the senses cannot 
explain, or that they know no more than I do, how and why 
man possesses feelings, ideas, and volitions. You are kind 
enough to pity this ignorance, and you add " we will teach 
you all this. The reason is, that for the production of these 
phenomena, and the execution of these functions, man pos- 
seses something within, that differs from his own nervous 
substance and from that of all other animals, and from every 
thing which is the object of sense in the universe. Some- 
thing in fact, of which no one can form any other idea, than 
that it does not resemble any thing whatever of. which we 
are able to form an idea." 

We have then at length reached the final question after 
so many impediments. The psychologists say, that they 
have perceptions, ideas, and volitions, precisely because 

i I0(i j 

they possess lor that purpose something that no other ani- 
mal possesses, who like man, has also perceptions, ideas, and 
volitions. Then their perceptions, ideas, and volitions, 
must be of a different nature from those of other animals. 
We have noticed already the recollection and the volition 
of the dog, the wolf, the fox, the cat ; we have seen that 
they are exhibited in opposition to sensitive impressions, 
this implies something within, some internal perception, 
consciousness. On the other hand, we have exhibited man, 
of imperfect age, and imperfect organization, possessing nei- 
ther perception, or volition, and of course ideas neither so 
distinct or complete, as we see them in animals. If this 
does not depend on the perfection or nonperfection of the 
nervous apparatus of these living animals, will these gentle- 
men be good enough to inform us on what it does depend ? 
Is there not contradiction in ascribing the very same phe- 
nomena to nervous substance in animals, and to something 
very different in men ? In pretending that the chief source 
of motion in animals is the nervous apparatus, which in man 
is only an inferior and secondary instrument ? Let us act 
honestly. Is there any good reason for assigning to man a 
principle which animals do not possess ? There can be no 
reason for it, unless man possess intellectual faculties which 
other animals do not : for it is not to be denied that the or- 
gans which put these faculties in operation, are the same in 
men and in other animals, excepting that the organs of man 
being more complicated and more perfect, are able to exe- 
cute intellectual operations, which those of other animals 
cannot. This may be wonderful. But when the animal ex- 
ecutes intellectual operations which the human being is not 
equal to — as when we compare a full grown well educated 
dog to a new born infant, where is the proof of any princi- 
ple existing except nervous matter ? Let the psychologists 
choose their side. They must place this principle some- 
where ; they cannot put it on the road, travelling toward its 
destination, nor can they conceal it in the brain and leave 
it there in perfect idleness, as they used to do formerly be- 
fore they fabricated hypotheses. 

On the other hand, the physiologists advance no hypoth- 
esis, when setting out from certain known, and acknow- 
ledged facts, namely, that sensation, thought, volition, are 
developed with and in proportion as the cerebral substance 
is developed : diminished and augmented as that substance 

L nw 3 

is so; disappearing forever when the brain disappear 
and shewing themselves connected with the brain as an ef- 
fect is with its cause, in every possible case where an animal 
possessing a nervous apparatus can be observed — they ad- 
vance I say, nothing like hypothesis or supposition, when 
they conclude that these faculties are nothing else than the 
results of the operations and functions of the brain and ner- 
vous system. 

It is true, the physiologists have taken the facts from 
which they reason from the evidence of their senses, but 
they have deduced from these facts no forced, no contradic- 
tory conclusions ; while the psychologists who have also 
pushed their opposite arguments into the perceptions of 
sense, as I have superabundantly shewn, have drawn con- 
clusions which no rules of sound logic can justify. This it 
will be well to shew them definitely. For this purpose, I 
shall concentrate their arguments, which are exactly such 
as they employ to prove, that to attribute thought to a ner- 
vous apparatus, is an hypothesis far less probable than that 
which attributes it to a principle in man, that is not bestow- 
ed upon other animals. 

1st objection of the psychologists. To attribute to an 
organized apparatus the faculty of producing thought, &c. is 
to attribute to it what we can never discover in it. We 
acknowledge dependence of the phenomena on the appara- 
tus ; but as the results of the action of this apparatus, would 
be exactly the same if it were no other than a mere instru- 
ment, there is no reason why we should not so consider 
it, or why we should prefer the hypothesis of our adversa- 
ries to our own, 

Reply. We discover perfectly in this apparatus the fac- 
ulty of producing thought, &c. What we do not pretend to 
discover, is the manner how this is produced. This propo- 
sition has been already demonstrated. 

The dependence of the phenomena on the apparatus, can- 
not be explained by means of a separate intelligent cause 
having no relation to nervous matter ; this is an hypothesis 
merely ; the type or model of this cause no where exists. 
We cannot admit that what is in no sense matter or body, 
can act upon matter or body. A mere negation cannot act 
upon that which is positive. 

2nd Objection. Observation can shew us nothing but 
material particles arranged in a certain manner. As no 

[ 108 J 

molecule ol the mass can produce these phenomena, the 
physiologists themselves cannot comprehend how the mass, 
or arranged assemblage of molecules, can produce them ; 
they must therefore recur to supposition and hypothesis. 

Organization, therefore, proves no more than any other 
word of any other sound. 

Reply. It has been proved that the nervous apparatus 
in a certain state^ does produce by its action, intellectual 
phenomena in animals as well as in man. This then is the 
question before us, the fact itself, and not the how and the 
why. Hypothesis begins so soon as we go beyond the 
matter of fact and offer to comment on it. The physiolo- 
gists make no comments ; the psychologists alone keep their 
imagination alive. 

3d Objection. In machines we have examples of organ- 
ized matter put into action by separate intelligent beings. 
We have nothing like, nothing equivalent to this in the sup- 
posed organization which gives rise to intellectual faculties. 
Hypothesis is, therefore, against hypothesis, that of the psy- 
chologists is preferable. 

Reply. There is no room for comparison between an in- 
animate machine, and the living, organized, cerebral appa- 
ratus. Moreover, the intelligence which the psychologists 
shew us in their machine, is nothing else than the cerebral 
apparatus of the man himself who moves and directs it : but 
to suppose one cerebral organ within another, would be an 
absurdity explaining nothing. 

4th Objection. The nerves, the senses, the muscles, be- 
ing indispensible to sensation and action, and being no more 
than instruments of the brain, without which they can do 
nothing, we can have no difficulty in supposing how a brain 
also may itself be in the same inactive situation as the senses 
and muscles, in respect of that presiding principle of which 
it is but the instrument. 

Reply. There is no parity in the things compared. Our 
senses shew us that nerves and muscles are capable of ac- 
tion independently of the brain ; that action, however, can- 
not be regulated but by means of the brain ; so as that the 
result of these motions afford us an idea of an inciting intel- 
ligence. But no sense has ever demonstrated to the psy- 
chologists, that the brain was the instrument of any other 
agent, than the whole nervous system with which it is con- 
nected. The brain and the nerves are successively, and in 

I ion j 

turns agents and patients ; in this circle there is no point tu 
designate a beginning or an end. As to the muscles, they 
can only serve as instruments of the brain and nerves, for 
the execution of certain acts which the nervous apparatus 
was not designed to execute ; although the muscular tissue 
is sometimes subject to other influences. 

5th Objection. By destroying certain parts of the brain, 
in experimenting on living animals, certain actions are de- 
stroyed also. Diseases also analyse the human faculties, 
abolishing one after another : but no disease has yet de- 
stroyed the will. This happens, according to certain psy- 
chologists, from the principle of voluntarity being distinct 
from the brain. For if the brain itself were the principle 
of voluntarity, when you altered the brain you would alter 
also the voluntary principle : but no operation, no disease 
has produced this effect. 

Reply. Let us attend to facts. It is not true that expe- 
riments have not destroyed volition. You may suspend 
and you may renew it by merely compressing the brain. 
Nor is it true that no disease has yet destroyed volition : 
all the violent congestions of the brain suppress it ; all vio- 
lent inflammations of that organ put an end to volition while 
they continue, and by their long duration ; and life may re- 
main a long time even after this loss. Moreover, the em- 
bryo has no voluntarity, and the embryo we presume par- 
takes of the nature of man. 

And now what becomes of the railleries of the psycholo- 
gists on the supposed hypothesis of the physiologists ? 

Seeing that it is demonstrated by reasonings founded on 
the known evidence of a man's senses, without which there 
can be no knowledge, that the nervous apparatus, consisting 
of the encephalon and the nerves distributed to all parts of 
the body, is the source of all the phenomena of instinct, of 
sensibility, of perception, of volition, in one word, of intel- 
ligence — seeing that you cannot impose upon that apparatus 
a separate, stronger principle, without introducing by means 
of thought, within the brain itself all the scenes of the ma- 
terial world, of which the senses alone can furnish any ideas 
— the pretensions of the psychologists fall of themselves. 
The how, or the first cause, remains equally unknown to 
the one disputant and the other. But this circumstance of 
being unknown as to the first cause, is no obstacle to re- 
searches whose object extends no farther than the pheno- 

[ m ] 

ineiia, the tacts of the sensible world. That this first cause 
should remain unknown, is of no consequence to physiolo- 
gists, moralists, publicists, and legislators. As to metaphy- 
sicians and psychologists, it is a very different thing. They 
cannot, unfortunately, erect a science on the basis of con- 
sciousness alone, independent of the influence of the senses, 
because all the phenomena of this, their consciousness are 
reduced to this single expression, / feel that I feel. Be- 
yond this they cannot go, without calling in the aid of the 
senses. If they would confine their pretensions to the study 
of those relations, which bind man to man, they would en- 
list among the moralists and publicists : if they will pretend 
to discuss the actual origin of the intellectual faculties, let 
them study physiology, anatomy and even pathology, not in 
books, but at the bedside of the sick. This last occupation 
will teach them far more than all the treatises on ideology. 
All the efforts they make to emancipate themselves from 
the influence of these branches of knowledge will prove 
useless, because without them no one can be acquainted 
with the facts necessary to treat the question properly. 
Consciousness was their last refuge ; hereafter it will serve 
them in no stead ; they cannot with any success oppose so- 
phisms and declamations to the facts which we have exhib- 
ited. But I shall give them credit for more judgement and 
coolness than to choose such weapons. 

Sec. 7. Of the rationalists and modern theologians. 

Hitherto I have spoken only of psycologists who take into 
consideration the evidence of their senses, and who pride 
themselves on the strictness of their reasoning. But there 
are some who pay no attention to what their organs of sense 
report to them. They set out at once from consciousness as 
a starting point to arrive at reason : this being once discov- 
ered, becomes the oracle of all their philosophy. In the 
name of reason, they employ arguments to despoil the ner- 
vous apparatus of all its functions. I do not aspire to the 
honor of convincing them by reasoning, although they tell 
us they are the interpreters of reason. For what can I say 
to men who profess the following doctrine. " Reason is that 
which places a man in connection with the Deity. It is an 
emanation from the Deity. The identical, individual being, 
le moi, (myself,) is susceptible of feeling, of willing, of per- 
ceiving: he rests upon his volition, and he is connected with 

L m J 

the visible phenomenal world by his senses ; with the invisi- 
ble, substantial, rational world, by his reason."* 

They admit, like the psychologists already noticed, the 
noilsensible nature of le moi, (the being or principle that 
constitutes myself, ) and the characteristic of consciousness 
" I feel that I feel ;" but their principal argument for forcing 
upon the nervous system a presiding principle, is drawn 
from what they advance founded on authority and without 
any proof, concerning reason. "Reason, say they, gives us 
what experience cannot furnish, to wit, principle, the laws 
of man, the laws of nature, and the supreme law. In fact, 
laws being necessary and universal, cannot be deduced, 
from what is contingent and personal. Reason which teaches 
these laws cannot be contingent or personal. These laws 
are absolute : reason, therefore, is so also. Nor does she 
belong to space or time. She appears to the individual man, 
as the preserver of his impersonality. The Deity is the ab- 
solute, substantial law. Man raises himself to the Deity by 
his reason; but he knows that great Being imperfectly, 
because man is limited to space and time." 

I have argued with the psychologists, properly so called, 
because they profess to reason rigidly. But how shall I 
argue with rationalists, who pretend to no strictness in their 
deductions, and who scruple not to advance as truths, asser- 
tions mysterious and unintelligible, such as that reason, altho' 
an impersonal being, belongs to the individual man ? They 
speak of man, as if he were of a nature superior to man. I 
do not ask them to define the words they use ; they will not 
descend so low as to definition and the grammar. They fly 
off into some ideal world, from whence they look down 
with pity on what passes in this. 

Without addressing them, I shall make some remarks on 
the language they employ. "Reasonis an emanation from 
the Deity." A metaphor in which God is likened to some 
planet, or some spring ; and reason to the rays of light or 
the streams of water, or some other emanation still more 

*Iam not satisfied that I understand this passage. "Laraisonest 
ce que met l'liommc en rapport avec l'absolu: cest une emanation de Dieu ; 
qui n'est autre chose que cet absolu, ou de cet absolu qui est Dieu. Le moi 
est susceptible dc scntir, do vouloir, et de concevoir ; il se pose par s? 
volonte, et il est en rapport avee le inondc visible, phenomenal, par ses 
sens : et par la raison, avec le monde invisible, rationel, substantiel." I 
am persuaded I have given the sense of the passag-e, but I cannot rende." 
'absolu* — Transl. 

t i*a ) 

subtile, which Hows from it. Before I can admit that reason 
is any thing of this kind, I want to know how they arrive at 
the knowledge that reason is really such. They tell me 
they acquire this knowledge by their consciousness ; that 
Janus which by one of its faces looks at and comprehends 
reason speaking in the name of the Deity, and by the other, 
puts himself through his senses in relation with a world of 
facts and of material things. I ask myself, is not this de- 
grading the Deity, to convert him into a body capable of 
emitting material emanations ? If, on the other hand, rea- 
son is to be regarded like a fluid that flows, which hears 
without ears, and speaks without a mouth to consciousness 
who has no organs of hearing — is not this mere fancy ? 

Let us, however, admit that consciousness, who has no 
auditory organs, has heard all that reason has uttered, whom 
no one has ever seen ; to whom did consciousness relate 
this before the rationalist spake of it ? To herself doubtless, 
unless some other being was present, endowed w 7 ith the 
faculty of hearing. Be all this as it may, the internal being 
who has learnt all these wonders, must have some organs 
of speech to enable all this to come to the ears of the pro- 
fane, so that these latter may give themselves up to their 
respective consciousnesses. I say to their consciousnesses, 
for each of them has one of his own. Consciousness is not 
one universal being, serving the turn of all mankind ; and 
this throws us into the difficulties before noticed. Why has 
not the foetus a consciousness ? If it have, why does not con- 
sciousness understand it ? Why does not consciousness 
speak to it ? If absent, where is she ? If there bean enti- 
ty called consciousness, common to all men, why does she 
not speak to the embryo, or to persons apoplectic, or afflicted 
with asphyxy ? 

Let us add, but for ourselves only and without addressing 
the rationalists, the following question. 

Why is it that consciousness, for the purpose of teaching 
these mysteries, is constrained to use language appertain- 
ing to the properties of material bodies ? I must suppose 
that it is, because like ourselves, these rationalists are com- 
pelled to have recourse to objects, which their senses have 
made known to them, to enable other men to understand 
their thoughts ; and this brings to my mind that we cannot 
discourse at all of abstract entities, but by means of attri- 
butes belonging to material bodies. Is not reason reduced 

t 113 ] 

to the same necessity ? do we not say a good, a bad, a just, a 
fine, a forcible reason ? Is not time itself qualified by ex- 
pressions drawn from the dimensions of bodies ; and can we 
figure to ourselves a day, an hour, &c. without including 
some material idea of space ? How is it possible that ever 
since men spake at all, they have never been able to invent, 
for the purpose of conveying an idea of abstract substan- 
tives, a single adjective but what represents one of those 
qualities or properties which belong to material substances. 

Let us ask, (ourselves however) what is the meaning of 
all this ? It means that in good truth we are so much the 
slaves of our senses, that we are compelled to compare ab- 
stract beings to the bodies which our senses have made us 
acquainted with. This necessity arises, because these pre- 
tended (abstract) substances, are themselves nothing else 
than words and signs, by which, during perception, we recall 
the manner in which we have been modified ( acted on ) by 
the given circumstances. But as our senses are modified 
(acted upon) by bodies alone, and in consequence our brain 
is so too, we cannot qualify these modifications, unless by 
words or signs that recall to our memories either the bodies 
themselves or the impressions they have made upon us; 
even these impressions are designated by the qualifiers of 
material bodies. Thus, we say a lively joy, a great surprise, 
&c. A man pronounces the word virtue : the idea does not 
instantly occur to us that he considers virtue as some body; 
but ask him to join to that substantive word some adjective, 
and he will no where find one, unless among the properties 
of bodies, or the modifications of his own body : and virtue 
always must be great or small, or sweet or austere, or sa- 
vage or gentle, and so on. There is no adjective but di- 
vine that does not recall some material body : but if man 
would apply any qualification to the Deity, he must patch 
it ; he cannot avoid using some adjective drawn from a ma- 
terial substance ; and those epithets which are most worthy 
of the occasion are those which apply to man ; employed by 
multiplying supposedly and indefinitely whatever he is or 
whatever he does of a more distinguished character ; as 
by calling him infinitely great, good, wise, foreseeing, &c. 
God may be spoken of also by the qualifications eternal, 
universal, immutable, immense, &c. this is the same thing : 
eternity is a continuance of sensible duration and immensit y 
of sensible space. Meditate as 9trongly and ;j? Ions; as you 

[ H4 ] 

please on these two ideas joined to the negation which seems 
to characterise them, and which is nothing but a supposi- 
tion like those which we make on so many other questions, 
and you will never get beyond some material corporeal idea. 
But in thinking much on all the abstract ideas which tend 
to determine the first cause, we shall experience a singular 
uneasiness : we wish to express this sensation, but we can 
no more explain or express it than Ave can some undescriba- 
ble morbid states of the body. It is this sensation that 
tempts a man to believe he has an idea of something be- 
yond sensible objects. It is while he reflects, while he 
feels that he feels, that he perceives this sensation : hence 
it is, that he confounds it with his consciousness, and makes 
them inseparable. But once more, this sensation, in other 
respects so diversified, according to the individual, proves 
nothing, any more than the sensations of a hypochondriac. 
It may seem to some, an inspiration, and determine their be- 
lief ; but to those who have studied physiology and patholo- 
gy it will be an irritation of the nervous system. This sen- 
sation does not occur to every body ; and although very 
well marked in many people, it may be dispersed by study 
and the observation of nature, whenever it is not brought 
on by disease : but it is entitled to our respect, since it is 
often a motive to belief and to faith : And now, let us be- 
gin again to reason, in tracing the consequences of the fig- 
urative language of which I have just given examples. 

As the Rationalists make reason act like a body, let us so 
consider it ; but in assuming this position, we have a right 
to express our astonishment, that they compel it to do things 
which no body in whose properties they clothe it, is ac- 
customed to do ; or, they give it in succession, capriciously, 
the attributes of other bodies, to which they had not assim- 
ilated it : or, finally, after having treated it like a body, they 
close by telling us it is no such thing, and has nothing in 
common with a body. 

We cannot then conceive, that the principle which con- 
stitutes myself (moi) is of a nature insensible, and yet able 
to feel, and to take Its station ; which implies nerves, and an 
apparatus for motion ; a reason which imposes laws upon 
things and upon men ; an idea taken from a legislator, and 
which does not derive them from experience, as legislators 
do; a. moi, which places itself as it pleases, and that insinu- 
ates, that it might please, not to place itself at all. for if ii 

L no j 

had not the liberty of doing either the one or the other, ri 
would have no volition ; a will, a thing of which no one can 
have an idea, but by acting, or seeing another man act, con- 
verted into something which is not a man, and which is not 
even a part of a man, since it is no part of the nervous sys- 
tem, and which, nevertheless, has the character of man ; a 
reason which is neither contingent nor personal, although it 
belongs to each human person, excepting always those who 
have never had the sense of vision, &c. &c. In reading all 
this, I cannot take it literally, without supposing it the lan- 
guage of idiots ; if I did not know it was not so. Here 
then, I am convinced that these writers are well persuaded 
that the things they speak of, have not the material attri- , 
butes which they ascribe to them. I feel myself, therefore, 
in an unpleasant situation, if called upon to explain how 
men, apparently well organised, reasoning correctly upon 
every thing unconnected with their doctrine, can adopt, in 
respect of that alone, a language of which all the expressions 
are false, and of a falsity infinitely diversified, and incapable 
of any termination. Without doubt, I could not escape 
from this embarrassment, any more than so many wise men 
who have preceded me, and who have listened with a kind 
of stupefaction to the unintelligible discourses of these fol- 
lowers of pure reason, if physiological observation had not 
come to my aid. I interrogate physiology then ; which re- 
lieves me from an immense load, by showing that the things 
that these rationalists would give an account of, and which 
they are unable to express, are nothing more than internal 
sensations. From henceforward, all is explained ; and I 
§ee clearly how it is, that when I converse with them, they 
imagine I have not well understood them. It is evident the 
cause is, that not having the same internal sensation, I can- 
not give the same meaning to words which they do. I un- 
derstand these words literally ; because my consciousness 
applies to them that meaning which is conventional among 
men. The rationalists give them another meaning, by ma- 
king them the representatives of internal sensations which 
they may feel, but I do not. While we find ourselves in a 
situation so different, it is not likely we shall harmonize. 

As to the rest, what is there strange in tins, seeing these 
gentlemen cannot agree among themselves? And how- 
should they agree, when by a tacit convention, each with 
himself, it is settled that the expressions they employ shal! 

[ 1M J 

not designate what they wish to represent ? When they go 
so far as to shrug up their shoulders in pity toward those 
who affix to their words the usual literal meaning ? How- 
ever slightly the internal sensations of adepts differ from 
those of the eloquent rationalist who has raised them into 
doctrines, there will still be differences of internal sensa- 
tion that must engender sects, and sub-sects indefinitely; for 
every one will finally perceive during the discussions, that 
his interlocutor has not exactly delivered what he himself 
endeavors to deliver. 

Such are the inconveniences of words employed to de- 
signate things which neither have, or can have, any precise 
appropriate expression in any language. Hence, I avoid all 
discussion with men who have words in their mouth void of 
the meaning that usually and properly belongs to them, and 
that do not designate the things which they were invented 
to express. I know that by a rhetorical figure, we make 
words assume a meaning different from their original accept- 
ation, and often very successfully ; but, in my opinion, we 
ought to distinguish two kinds of metaphor. The first, found- 
ed on those resemblances which every one acknowledges ; 
the allusion is easily comprehended, and admired in propor- 
tion as it relates to important interests. The other class of 
metaphors, rest upon analogies, vague, arbitrary, and percept- 
ible, by those only who are in the habit of perverting the 
natural meaning of words. These last kinds of metaphor, 
in use among the rationalists, produce no impression but on 
adepts ; and they are so diversified, that the eloquence of 
one professor is not that of another ; and they are all equally 
unimpressive on men accustomed to severe study and strict 

Let us conclude : Since all the theory of the rationalists 
is founded on the revelations of consciousness, we may judge 
of them by the facts already stated, and the conclusions 
already deduced, in treating of the consciousness of the 

We shall not say thus much of the Theologians, illumi- 
nated or mystic, who see every thing in God, to whom, in 
imagination, they are raised, by separating themselves from 
every thing connected with self, and with reasoning. No- 
thing of this kind is satisfactory to them, for it is not God. 
For them, the supreme good, is out of and beyond this life, 
in the bosom of the Deity. Such men do not condescend to 

[ 111 j 

prove their belief ; they recommend a patient abiding lot 
that grace which is always imparted when perseveringly 
desired. They are opposed to any use of reason in explain- 
ing what they receive by faith, without troubling themselves 
whether reason approves or disapproves ; because the prin- 
ciple that inspires this belief, is of a far higher nature than 
human reason, which is of this world, and participates of the 
imperfections of the world in which it takes its rise. 

I have given the substance of their doctrine, to shew that 
although it may touch, in some points, on that of the ration- 
alist, it has not the slightest resemblance to ours. No an- 
swer can be given to men who explain nothing, and prove 
nothing. I address myself, therefore, to those only who 
pretend to use certain explanations against the functions of 
the nervous system. But this last doctrine is a religion ; 
and all religions are entitled to respect, as are their funda- 
mental doctrines of the existence of God, and the immortality 
of the soul. Let any one who thinks it right, embrace those 
doctrines, whether in consequence of an external revelation 
or an internal inspiration, without pretending to found them 
on any demonstration which brings the nervous system 
upon the carpet. Physiology has nothing to do with this ; 
for it does not pretend to prove any thing against that inter- 
nal sensation, the parent of all faith, and on which all belief 
is founded, that is not susceptible of proof from material 
objects. The physiologist enumerates these sensations to 
distinguish them from others ; and when the religionists 
erect themselves into ideologists, he ought, in replying to 
them, to put faith aside, and answer only the arguments 
that bear upon the subject. The arguments against the 
abstractions which tend to make the functions of the ner- 
vous system misunderstood, do not imply any thing like 
contempt for, or even doubt of religious convictions, which, 
in some persons, are compatible with the interior sentiment 
producing them ; and provided he treats belief with respect, 
he ought to be permitted the use of all such arguments as 
are calculated to serve his own cause. 

Chapter VII. Exposition of the relations which 


We may, without difficulty, and assuredly without hypo- 
thesis, reduce all abstract substances, or entities, to func* 

L 1*8 J 

tioual phenomena, by shewing that they are no more than 
the representative signs of the modifications or varieties in 
perception, which every observer remarks in himself. Mo- 
difications which sometimes associate with emotions of 
pleasure, or of grief, that is with the phenomena of sensi- 
bility, and which cannot be considered by our senses any 
thing else than modifications of the nervous system. Of 
these, we should know nothing, but by means of our senses 
for we have no abstract idea of our consciousness, as we 
have proved already. But we cannot undertake to treat 
this question here, in all its extent. We shall only, there- 
fore, explain in this work the means of arriving at that 
solution of which we believe it capable : We mean a faithful 
exposition of the phenomena of innervation, which consti- 
tute the very basis of all our intellectual operations. Our 
readers will then be able to judge how near we approach to 
Locke, and how far we differ, as well as from Cabanis, and 
his illustrious scholar, Destutt de Tracey, whom every one 
ought to read and re-read before he ventures to write on 
the intellectual faculties. This learned man has not per- 
mitted himself to be seduced by the psycological school ; 
but it is to be regretted, that he could not observe the animal 
man, in the various anomalies of pathology, and study in the 
anatomical and physiological ampitheatres, the connection 
of organized tissues with the phenomena of instinct and 
intelligence. To treat of these questions in their order, we 
shall examine in this chapter — 1st How it is that cerebral 
perception furnishes the materials of all the instinctive and 
intellectual operations. 2dly How the sensible emotions 
become motives to our actions of all kinds. 3dly In what 
manner observation arising from cerebral perception devel- 
opes our intellectual faculties, and what they are. 4thly, 
How volition and liberty connect themselves with the same 
perception. 5thly How intellectual perceptions associate 
themselves with instinctive emotions, and what constitutes 
the passions. 6thly What is the cause of error among the 
psychologists respecting the principles of action in man. 

Sec. 1. In what manner cerebral perception furnishes the 
materials of all our instinctive and intellectual operations. 

The encephalon considered in a full grown man, enjoying 
perfectly all his faculties, is placed between two currents of 
stimulation : Those which proceed from the external, and 
those which proceed from the internal nerves. Cabams 

t HO J 

first applied these to ideology, undei the appellation of im- 
pressions proceeding from the organs. The stimulations 
which theencephalon receives from these two sources, either 
are accompanied, or are not so, by consciousness. We have 
already*demonstrated, that the last mode was the first in the 
regular order of individual developement. We have also pro- 
ved that the phenomena of consciousness, after having been 
developed, must necessarily experience interruptions, lest 
the organs upon which they depend should be over excited. 
At present, I have nothing to do but with cerebral stimula- 
tions accompanied by consciousness. 

Cerebral stimulation, with consciousness, implies, as I 
have already said, the perception of some object which 
strikes some external sense ; and the perception also, of 
one's-self, as perceiving this object. This may be, as eve- 
ry one knows, some part of our body capable of affecting 
some one of our external senses, as our limbs. 

These perceptions have been referred to sensibility ; 
which is the source of pleasure or of pain ; emotions that 
do not always accompany these phenomena, and therefore 
may give rise to objections. But these objections are no- 
thing in themselves, for the epithet sensible, is applicable 
to every phenomenon of innervation, which is accompanied 
by consciousness. But to avoid every thing equivocal, I 
shall distinguish as before, 1st, phenomena of innervation 
without consciousness. 2dly, phenomena of innervation 
with consciousness. These last will divide themselves 
naturally into simple perception, instinctive or intellectual 
— and perception accompanied by an agreeable or disagree- 
able emotion : and I shall refer these different perceptions, 
not to particular and distinct properties, appertaining to the 
nervous fibre, but as different modes of excitation in the en- 
cephalon. These phenomena will be a continuation of the 
first mode of this excitement, wherein no one can observe 
either perception of self, or* of any other object, or of pleas- 
ure, or of pain. Such is nervous action, in the new-formed 
embryo, and in asphyxy. 

Perception, with consciousness, which necessarily has al- 
ways a double object, is either unattended by pleasure or 
pain, or complicated with the one or the other of them. 
We shall soon see the result ; but before we go any further, 
let us forestal an objection, which an imperfect comprehen- 
sion of what wo have already said, may give rise to : Bo- 

L 120 j 

cause perception has always a double object, the necessity 
of some single, active principle has been inferred, to per- 1 
ceive the one and the other of these objects ; and it is this 
same principle which has been distinguished from nervous 
matter, and declared to be of necessity, something in itself 
single and simple. I repeat, that this principle is nothing 
but a supposition ; a mere word ; the result of an induction 
employed to explain the quomodo, or manner of perception. 
We have only to renounce any inquiry into this quomodo, 
of which we know nothing, and which moreover can never 
be the same in all creatures possessing a brain — and leave 
it among the things unknown, in company with all other 
first causes — and this objection will be of no value : indeed 
we shall be compelled to this ; for we cannot avoid suppos- 
ing for the purpose of this explanation, ideas derived from 
those material objects which our senses have made known 
to us. It is, therefore, indispensible to confine ourselves to 
the recital of those phenomena which manifest perception, 
without introducing a perceptive principle ; and I propose, 
immediately, to give an example of this. I return to my 

The perception of ones self, or the phenomena of le moi, is 
always the same ; although this moi may perceive itself in 
joy, or in suffering. It is not the same with that of the ob- 
ject which the external sense makes known : this percep- 
tion becomes diversified, according as the attention remains 
longer fixed upon the object itself. 

Objects are perceived by what is called the understand- 
ing (P Intelligence). I mean to say, that when we per- 
ceive them in that state which you call understanding, they 
are perceived, 1st, according to the properties of vision, 
which presents ideas of colours, forms, dimensions, distance, 
motion, or rest, &c. 2dly, according to the properties of 
hearing, which furnish ideas more or less similar to the fore- 
going, for colours alone are peculiar to vision. 3dly, ac- 
cording to the properties of touch, which alone informs us 
of the consistence and temperature of bodies ; but which, as 
to dimensions, forms, motion, can only give us impressions 
more or less similar to those of the two former senses. 
4thly and 5thly, according to the properties of smell and 

Such are the perceptions furnished by external objects 
which enter as elements among the phenomena of un- 

t > 21 J 

demanding : but we should be wrong to believe that the 
understanding is only composed of these perceptions, and 
of some active principle, which sees, judges, and combines 
them diversely : this manner of considering the subject, 
constitutes an hypothesis : it is ontology, founded like the 
systems we have already refuted, upon the supposition of a 
principle, of which man, observed by the senses, has 
furnished the model. But let us continue the exposition 
of facts. 

Sec. 2. How the emotions of sensibility become motives 
of all our actions. 

We have said, that perceptions were either unattended, 
or attended, with pleasure and pain: let us examine the 
first case. 

In observing external objects, if the man has no feeling in 
himself, he is inactive ; he has no motive to react. This 
situation is uncommon ; but we must admit its existence, 
because every one feels that he has sometimes been in that 
situation. For the most part then, perception is attended 
by pleasant or unpleasant emotions ; sometimes they are so 
weak, as hardly to be distinguished from the perception it^ 
self: sometimes he is immediately struck with their differ- 
ence : but almost always he attaches them under the rela- 
tions of causality, to the different objects which have affect- 
ed hissenses. 

Remember, that I have noticed these phenomena without 
supposing them executed by any entity called the principle. 
I wish to be understood, in advance, that if ever I make use 
of that word, I shall employ it only as an abreviated formu- 
la in the discussion. The pleasant or unpleasant emotions 
which accompany our perceptions, proceed always from a 
stimulation of the nervous apparatus of the person perceiv- 
ing ; and it will be wrong to distinguish them literally, into 
physical, and non-physical : their modes are diversified al- 
most infinitely ; and many of these modes have been con- 
sidered as particular principles, not of a nervous character, 
and called principles of action, or active faculties. But if 
you consider the facts alone, these emotions are no other 
than the effects of perception, excited by causes internal or 
external, and executed in the encephalon : and thus it is, 
they are capable of becoming motives to human actions. 
They follow also, in regular train, instinctive excitations; 
void of the phenomena of intelligence ; such as those which 

t 122 j 

induce motion, in the unborn infant, and excite the action 
of sucking even before the child has experienced the breast, 
and force it to demand by cries, those things that are ne- 
cessary to satisfy its first wants. In other words, the mo- 
tives of action, or if you please the locomotive motions of 
the foetus, of the newborn infant, of a person in profound 
sleep, &c. are stimulations of the encephalon, proceeding 
from the two sources already mentioned, but without any 
distinct perception or consciousness : the motives of the 
adult man, healthy and awake, are the same stimulations, 
sometimes with distinct perception or consciousness, and 
sometimes without. The difference arises from the nature 
of the acts, from habit, from distraction, &c. This will fol- 
low from the explanations into which I am about to enter. 

When the man feels distinctly an internal want, in conse- 
quence of the stimulations transmitted to the brain by the 
nerves of the viscera, he observes all external objects in 
connection with this want, because the first duty of the 
brain is to attend to the wants of instinct. All the objects 
which may serve to satisfy the predominant want, cause 
profound emotions in the viscera where that want origin- 
ates; and these emotions determine the man to execute 
those actions that are necessary to satisfy the want. This 
proves, very positively, that the brain stimulates the viscera 
in a state of want, by means of the perception of those ex- 
ternal objects which are calculated to satisfy that want : the 
viscera rendered more irritable by this accession of stimu- 
lation re-acts more strongly on the brain. No doubt the 
perception of all these external objects fit to satisfy the pre- 
vailing want, excite the viscera, which respond to the stim- 
ulation. But it is quite certain that the viscus, which the 
existing want renders most irritable, acts most strongly on 
the br\in, after the perception of those objects which are 
capable of allaying the want. The proof of all this may be 
seen in detail in our physiology. 

Man always obeys the emotion which is produced by a 
body called for by a visceral want, unless there be some 
moral motive to prevent him. In early infancy he always 
obeys this emotion ; for at that period, the want of observa- 
tion, curiosity, is not yet developed. But in proportion as 
he becomes older, and a careful education has developed 
this want of observation, (curiosity) he becomes less a slave 
to his early wants, as we shall see in treating of volition and 

L L23 j 

of liberty. For the present, let us trace the rise and forma- 
tion of the faculty of observation. 

Sec. 3. In what manner observation, offspring of cerebral 
perception, developes our intellectual faculties; and what are 
those faculties. 

When the encephalon becomes no longer tormented by 
wants merely instinctive, that is, when man has satisfied his 
wants, he applies himself to the observation of external bo- 
dies, by an emotion of a different kind from that which those 
wants excited. It is not easy to trace the line of original 
distinction between these two kinds of emotion, but the ex- 
tremes are not difficult to seize. 

The instinctive emotions relate to individual preserva- 
tion, respiration, hunger, thirst, want of exercise, rest and 
sleep, want of exoneration, of generation, and the preserva- 
tion of offspring. A lively pleasure attends the satisfac- 
tion of these wants ; chagrin and ill temper attends the 
obstacles which stand in the way of satisfying them. All 
these emotions are excitations of the brain and nerves, with 
a perception of sensations more or less vivid in the principal 
viscera, the stomach, the heart, the lungs, the sexual or- 
gans, and vaguely in the sub-diaphragmatic nervous plexus, 
(see my physiology. ) 

The emotions which have least connection with the in- 
stinct of self preservation and reproduction, are those which 
are produced by external objects not calculated to satisfy 
these wants ; and of which the phenomena are fully declared 
in the work already cited.* The man then, when his first 
and urgent wants of an instinctive character are satisfied, 
has another want that requires to be satisfied, viz. the want 
of observation, (curiosity. ) This incites him to observe, to 
analyse his perceptions, to compare them, and to remark that 
he perceives himself in the act of perceiving : an act essen- 
tially inexplicable to us, and which itself constitutes the 
whole of his intellectual faculties. f 

It is in the exercise of this kind of observation, that what 
are called abstract ideas arise, and which constitute the 
signs by means of which we represent objects under every 
kind of relation. Among these signs, some of them conve- 
niently serve to recall one or other of the attributes or pro- 

* We have an American translation of this valuable work. — Transl. 

f This follows also from Hartley's theory of the association of Ideas. 
A book which Cabanis and Broussais would have been the wiser for stu- 
dying. — Transl. 

L 134 j 

perties oi' bodies corresponding to the external senses, such 
as colours, consistence, &c. — that is to say, they serve to 
place us nearly in the same state of stimulation, as the sensi- 
ble appearance of the objects themselves produced. The 
others retrace the circumstances in which we have seen or 
observed the objects ; as whether they were at rest or in 
motion ; whether they affected the senses or the viscera 
agreeably or disagreeably ; if they satisfied our wants : if 
they cured a disease : if they were dangerous to health or 
life, &c. so that there are a great many of those signs, that are 
equivalent to many phrases, or even to a long dissertation, 
and save much circumlocution : such are the words restora- 
tion, fortification, good manners; and in medicine febrifuge, 
antispasmodic, and others of like kind, which designate com- 
plicated scenes of social life, or which reinstate us momen- 
tarily in nearly the same emotion, as when we felt the vis- 
ceral stimulations of pain, of pleasure, of joy, of anger, of 
hope, &c. 

It is by feeling, and by attention to his feelings and per- 
ceptions, that man judges. When the judgement he forms, 
is as rapid as the perception itself, it is instinctive, or a judge- 
ment at first view. If he does not form his judgement until 
by aid of memory he has recalled many intuitive judgements, 
which are comprised in the formula or representative 
signs of other judgements, they are called judgements by de- 
duction, or what is vulgarly called reasoning. But the 
names are nothing : on final analysis we shall never see any 
thing else than the perception of one* s-self perceiving. 

If man had not the faculty of recalling perceptions passed, 
by means of perceptions present, (association) he would be 
incapable of executing all his intellectual operations : he 
would resemble an idiot. He could never fix his attention 
on any thiwg, if his actual perception were not thus prolong- 
ed. This faculty is founded on what has been called The 
Association of Ideas; for actual perception could not recall 
passed perceptions, whose cause has gone by, nor that of a 
third, if something did not connect the perceptions with each 
another. In short, Imagination, is but a memory which 
reproduces perceptions vividly and abundantly, in such a 
manner as to form new combination. But, let us explain 
ourselves so as to reduce the figurative expressions of the 
ideologists, to the physiology of the nervous system. 

I have explained how the different judgements resolve 

[ 125 J 

themselves into the perception of the perception. Very well. 
Memory, then, to whatever extent it proceeds, whether it 
has for its object, bodies, or their properties, or their circum- 
stances, or emotions, is nothing more than the actual per- 
ception of past perceptions, recalled and reproduced. There 
is, therefore, but one phenomenon of the understanding ; 
that is, perception. What we know positively concerning 
it, is — 1st, That it takes place in the brain. 2dly, That it 
is an excitation of the substance of the brain. I refuse to 
say that it is an effect or result of the excitation of the sub- 
stance of the brain. I say, that it is the excitation itself, of 
the substance of the brain, in one of its various modes of 
being excited. I add, also, that an idea* can be nothing 
else. Diseases of the encephalon, prove this in a manner 
incontestible ; they furnish direct and positive experience 
that the words sensations, perceptions, ideas, cannot repre- 
sent to the physiologist any thing but nervous matter, under 
some of its modes of excitation. They put these phenomena 
on the same line with volition or the will, about which I 
shall have something to say. 

Sec. 4. How the will, and the freedom of the will, connect 
themselves with perception. 

If sensations, perceptions, ideas, and volitions, change 
with the varieties in the mode of excitation of the nervous 
matter of the encephalon, it follows that they must depend 
upon it ; for you cannot make them depend upon any other 
principle without introducing some hypothesis, founded up- 
on an inadmissible comparison : the quomodo, the manner 
alone of this causality, how it takes place, is, and must remain, 

The will, moreover, is one of those phenomena which 
have been most insisted upon, to render the brain subordin- 

* That a sensation, or impression, on some of the nerves of sense, ex- 
ternal or internal, transmitted to the brain ; and its counterpart, an idea, 
that is a recollected sensation, are no other than similar motions excited 
in the brain, and there felt or perceived, may be considered as the opin- 
ions of the most eminent physiologists. 

See Haller's Primoe Lineae, § 556, Edinb. 1767. 

Bichat. Phys. Res. Dr. Watkins' edit. Philad. 1800, p. 105, prope finem. 

Richerand's Phys. Dr. Chapman's edit. 1813, Philad. p. 390, 392 and 400. 

Blumenbach's Phys. Dr. Caldwell's edit. PhiJad. 1795, vol. l,p. 195. 

Majendie's Phys. Dr. Revere's edit. Baltimore, 1822, p. 102, 103. 

Nil unquam fuit in intellectu quod non prius erat in sensu, is an axiom 
true at this day, as well as in the days of Aristotle, taking the word sensu 
to designate as it ought, the internal asAvell as external senses. — Transf. 

I !,'U J 

ate iu some principle, or entity,* not nervous. But let ua 
quit for an instant the personification of this phenomenon, to 
study it, not metaphysically, but physiologically. 

In the embryo, and in many diseases, it shares the lot ol 
all the other phenomena of intelligence ; it does not exist at 
all: this is the first proof, that it emanates from the brain. 
It augments and it diminishes in conformity with the excita- 
tion of the encephalic substance : this is the second proof, 
that it resolves itself into a mode of action of that substance. 
The will, as well as perceptions and ideas, is shackled, for- 
ced, conquered, obscured, denaturalized, in the strangest 
manner, by the stimulations by which the viscera, particu- 
larly the digestive and reproductive, under certain states of 
excitement, affect the encephalon. This is the third con- 
firmation of the two precedent ones. I refer to my treatise 
on physiology on this subject. The quomodo, the manner 
how, rests at present among the things unknown. 

The question of the freedom of the will, is connected 
with the will itself. It is asked, are we free, or are we 
forced on by something that governs us ? 

It is necessary to determine what extension is intended 
to be given to this expression, freedom of the will ; for there 
are certain kinds of freedom or liberty, which belong to us, 
only upon certain conditions. Such are those that relate to 
the actions we perform with our respiratory muscles. The 
psychologist believes himself at liberty to speak : he is so, 
so long only as the want of respiration permits him — if a fit 
of the asthma should come upon him, or a violent nausea, 
the muscles of the voice are no longer at his disposal. A 
pregnant woman believes herself at liberty to walk during 
nine months ; but when labor approaches, the muscles of 
progression must be otherwise employed in aiding the con- 
tractions of the uterus. A man seized upon by the desire 
of sleep, has neither the power of walking nor of thinking 
at his disposal ; his limbs feel heavy, and his eye-lids close, 
in spite of himself ; he can no longer keep his thoughts fixed 
upon one object ; it escapes from him ; his ideas become 
deranged, and the labor of resistance on the part of his 
will, gives rise to a crowd of phantoms, in the midst of which, 
he goes to sleep profoundly ; that is, he loses entirely, every 
intellectual operation ; so, whenever some excitation be- 

*The soul of the metaphysicians, or psychologists; of Stahl ; the Ar- 
choeus of Parcelsus and Van Helmont— Transl. 

L 1*1 J 

\ond what is usual and regular, becomes developed in the 
tissues of our viscera, we begin to lose something of this 
freedom : first we are deprived of some of our powers of 
action, and then of some of our powers of thinking ; we see 
this, not only in violent fevers, but also in the chronic phleg- 
masia? of those organs which are abundantly supplied with 
nerves, and which exert a lively stimulation on the brain. 
The same thing is also observed in the idiopathic irritation 
of that organ. It cannot do every thing at once. When 
the viscera torment it, it loses its aptitude for thought; or 
else the irritation which it receives, forces its ideas in a 
particular direction, so dependent upon the disease, that this 
forced direction of thought increases, diminishes, and re- 
turns with the disease. I shall be answered, " Since these 
are diseases, they form exceptions." There are no excep- 
tion. The diseases, in this case, are no other than modifi- 
cations of the organs of thought ; and our word, " freedom," 
is only applicable to certain states of the organ. 

But what idea can we have of this freedom of the will, 
when the encephalon is not over excited, either sympa- 
thetically or idiopathically ? This is a delicate question : 
we undoubtedly have the consciousness that we are free. 
This consciousness, however, proves nothing, for an ideot 
has it also, although he is governed by a morbid irritation. 
The fact is, that we always have a motive for action, and 
the instinctive wants of self-conservation and re-production, 
frequently concur with the internal motive of curiosity 
which leads us to remark and observation, in directing our 
thoughts and our actions. The weakness of the brain, its 
imperfect developement in the part which executes intel- 
lectual operations, the habit early contracted of obeying vis- 
ceral impressions and impulsions, or in resisting them for the 
purpose of acting as our understanding dictates, decide with- 
out our knowledge on all our actions, even when we suppose 
ourselves most free. Our habits of thinking, which depend 
either on the organization of our brain, or on some pre- 
dominance of action which chance forces us to give to this 
or that region of the cerebral organ, or if you please to this 
or that mode of excitation in its fibres, are causes which de- 
termine our actions, and therefore our thoughts; and compel 
us to execute what habit dictates while we fancy ourselves 
at perfect freedom.* Now a nd then, man awakes from this 
*Our sensations Rnd their reminiscences, ideas ; all our thoughts, nrr 

L 138 j 

lethargy ; he sees the tyrants that deprive him of liberty j 
he revolts, and determines to make resistance in the most 
pressing emergency. In so doing, he obeys sometimes a 
religious, sometimes a selfish motive. For instance, for the 
sake of saying " I am free," he obeys the wish to enjoy 
his own esteem and that of his fellow-men ; a wish not less 
imperious than any other whatever, but which cannot take 
place, or influence his conduct, if the encephalon be not de- 
veloped, and exercised in a certain manner. 

Often we resist one instinctive want by another. Thus, 
hunger will yield to love, or to parental affection ; the fear 
of death often yields to this instinct, or even to self-love ; 
and this last gives way to some other passion, &c. In all 
these cases the struggle takes place in the encephalon ; and 
physiologically it is nothing else than some of the varieties 
of excitation. 

Such is the real account of freedom of the will (liberum 
arbitrium) ; it is a form of expression and nothing more, 
designating a certain kind of excitement that takes place in 
the brain, inciting to action in the voluntary muscles. In 
considering this subject, we must banish the personified, ab- 
stract entity, and consider only the facts ; for if this entity 
be placed in our consciousness, and we do not submit it to 
the verification of our senses, we shall be compelled to admit 
on equal footing, the mental freedom of the sick, and of the 
ideot, with that of the healthy man of perfect faculties ; for 
the ideot also says, " my will is free." This must be the 
case unless you admit two kinds of free will, one for the 
healthy and one for the insane ; and such a supposition will 
conduct us to two kinds of souls, unless we refuse to assign 
this incorporeal director to the insane, or suppose it inactive, 
a stranger to the phenomena over which it presided yester- 
day, and may be called on to preside to-morrow. 

Sec. 5. How intellectual perceptions associate themselves 
with instinctive emotions ; and what constitutes theimssions. 

In all cases where the perceptions termed moral, that is to 
say, those that are not connected with our first wants, but 

stimulations that take place in the brain, according to fixed laws of the 
animal economy and the established properties of that organ. The things 
and circumstances that give rise to sensations, ideas and thoughts, are out 
of our power. The laws that regulate their occurrence and their effects 
upon our brain, are out of our power. The laws that rcmilate the results 
of their action upon us, our consequent actions, arc out ot our power.— 

E m ] 

with curiosity only, do not excite lively emotions, the man 
acts but feebly : if he had no other motive he would remain 
inactive ; but nature has provided for this. As we proceed 
in the career of life, these perceptions become connected 
( associated ) by recollections with our first wants which ori- 
ginally did not affect them; in course of time there is hardly 
an object completely estranged from them. The sight of a 
table recalls hunger ; the sight of a cup, thirst. An agree- 
able shade recalls a country passed over ; and the recollec- 
tion of it, awakens the rural appetite ; the sight of a flower, 
or some article proper to make ornamental dress, recalls the 
pleasures we have enjoyed with a beloved object. A pre- 
cipice recalls the danger we may have run ; weapons, the 
combat we may have sustained ; the victory or the defeat 
that followed, with all their emotions, &c* 

These relations take place by means of the association of 
ideas ; and when their effects do not excite hunger or thirst, 
or any thing relating to individual conservation or repro- 
duction, they at least awaken certain other thoughts founded 
on feelings, or emotions ; or they excite us to the contem- 
plation of ourselves, attended with a sentiment of approba- 
tion or satisfied self-love. Hence it is, that among the poor, 
these associations almost always relate to emotions respect- 
ing the satisfying of primary wants, or to their children, and 
leave always something to be wished for ; while among the 
rich, the learned, the poet, the artist, they close in some 
object of self-love ; an insatiable passion which disguises 
itself in a vast number of shapes, each of an insidious char- 
acter, but which we cannot stop to explain in this work. 
Among benevolent persons, and among ascetics, the series of 
thoughts, excited into action by an object apparently the 
most insignificant, are connected with emotions of compas- 
sion, or the enjoyment of a heavenly life, or the torments 
.of a state of punishment. The philanthropist is conducted 
by the same path to that kind of emotion which is peculiar 
to him ; and among them all, the idea of resistance or ob- 
struction calls up painful emotions connected with fear or 
with anger. 

These are facts which no person is ignorant of, and I do 
not state them for the purpose of giving information to any 
body, but to warn those who are strangers to physiology 

x All these are clear cases of the association of ideas so admirably ex- 
plainer! by Hartley. — Transl. 

1 130 j 

unci pathology, that all these emotions take place in the 
same organs, and that none of them are disconnected with 
the nervous tissue. The brain, in all these cases, excites 
internal nerves; and the nerves which are distributed 
through the same viscera from whence proceed the sensa- 
tions of hunger, of thirst, the want of respiration, or exon- 
eration, are excited together with those viscera ; and some- 
times they are excited even more vividly than in the highest 
degree of these wants, by the feelings of self-love irritated 
or satisfied, by pride, haughtiness, or violence humiliated, 
compassion, sorrow, despair, anger, fanaticism, cruelty, 
indignation against crime, admiration for virtue, religious 
anger, compunction, religious ecstacy, enthusiasm of any 
kind ; in a word, by all those emotions which are ranked as 
moral, moral sentiments, and principles of action purely intel- 
lectual, &c. &c. We may then affirm, after observation made 
by means of our senses, on our own bodies and those of 
others, that all these associated emotions excited by exter- 
nal objects, are, and can be, none other than organic ;* and 
that it is not possible to insulate them from the nerves of 
which they are modifications, any more than it is possible 
to insulate the contraction of a muscle from the fibrine of 
which it is a modification. 

It is in this character, that the emotions in question are 
completely within the jurisdiction of physiology in respect 
of their nature, though they may be connected with patho- 
logy as to their cause, or with hygienne with respect to 
sanitary precautions. They belong also to the moralist, the 
publicist, or the legislator from the influence they exert on 
social happiness; but to the psychologist they are strangers ; 
nor can he usurp any cognizance of them, but through the 
hypothetic comparison whose artifice I have already explain- 
ed, and which hereafter will serve him in no stead. 

All these emotions which resolve themselves into pleas- 
ure and pain, constitute the basis of the passions, which are 
those durable desires or aversions by which we regulate our 
conduct. The term and state called passion, implies two 
things : 1st, a series of ideas which occupy us principally, 
and by which we regulate all the others : 2dly, emotions 
which connect themselves with these ideas, and which are 
recalled by, or recall them unceasingly : all to satisfy some 
or other of our instinctive wants, or our curiosity, that is. 

* This is demonstrated bvHnrilpv. — Trans! 

[ im j 

the wants created by the feeling of the desire ot' observation. 
Without visceral emotions somewhat vivid, man has nothing 
but tastes, tendencies, inclinations; but with vivid emotions 
he has passions. Two causes destroy or greatly enfeeble 
the passions : 1st, one or more series of ideas different from 
those which sustain them : that is to say, another system 
of conduct dictated by observation and reflection, or impo- 
sed by chance or by force. 2dly, The diminution or ces- 
sation of those emotions which give rise to the passions in 
us ; for example, that of love by a change in the organ 
where these emotions are perceived. 

The passions of instinctive origin are more difficult to 
eradicate in certain conditions of man than the intellectual ; 
but it is not so in other conditions. Men whose brains are 
well developed, correct or conceal their dominant appetites, 
and vice versa. Very often the passions founded on in- 
stinct, change their object in consequence of being modified 
by the intellect, without ceasing however to be based on 
instinct. It is thus that the desire for some one woman 
may be converted into a passion for all, or libertinage ; the 
passion for certain articles of food or drink, into gluttony or 
drunkenness ; or the one and the other of these may put on 
the form of epicurism. I will not stop at details : each se- 
ries of ideas is accompanied with sensations which become 
habits, when we are compelled to act upon them for a long- 
time ; and we thus contract factitious tastes which among 
men of lively emotions are apt to degenerate into passions. 
It is upon this fact, so well known but so seldom reflected 
on, that a good education ought in great part to be founded; 
but it is not my object to discuss this question : I shall be 
content to state it, because it is connected with medicine and 
the laws of health ; which ought to be well acquainted with 
the nature of man, that they may point out the kind of intel- 
lectual and muscular exercise which are fitted for certain 
diseased states of the nervous system. 

Sec. 7. Cause of the error of the psychologists upon the 
principle of action in man. 

One may judge on these data, how great is the error of 
the psychologists, when they assume as principles of action 
independent of the nervous apparatus, any of those emotions 
which have their rise in the brain, acting during thought up- 
on the nervous system of the viscera. But they notice a 
small number only f on which they have not had the pre- 

t 132 j 

caution to agree) while these assumed principles of action 
are really innumerable. They multiply with civilization, 
with the progress of the arts, with ornamental literature : 
but the real sciences, tend rather to confine their number 
than create new varieties. Hence it is, that psychology 
which is no science, but a play of the imagination somewhat 
like poetry, ceases not and never will cease to multiply 

Psychologists may take their course : the observation of 
what passes in nature will bring all things to rights. The 
kind of stupor which some high-sounding words, pronounced 
with emphasis, have produced among the naturalists, who 
are employed in the examination of facts — words such as 
grandeur of conception, sublimity of view, large, profound, 
extended, in opposition to narrow considerations, littleness 
of conception, absurdity and what is worse, ridiculous, may 
for some time prevent the observers of man from comparing 
and concluding. The fear of passing for a man of mean 
spirit, is very powerful with some : fears from a very differ- 
ent cause have acted upon others ; but all have silently ob- 
served and collected the facts which are unknown to the 
psychologists ; and some have not been restrained by diffi- 
dence or timidity, from the intention of publishing them. 
Metaphorical expressions borrowed from material objects, 
of which the senses only can give us any idea, are not cal- 
culated to serve the purpose of the psychologists in painting 
their ontological conceptions. However lofty the eminence 
on which these geniuses place themselves to domineer over 
the human race — whatever extent they may give to the ho- 
rizon which their view can take in from that sublime point 
— however profound the abyss placed beneath them — 
however long or wide the road traced through the plain 
which their sight would pass over — still all this is matter ; 
and matter much inferior to that which constitutes the brain 
of a man. These figures of speech are not calculated to 
raise our nature, to aggrandize our conceptions, or to ena- 
ble us to discover objects further than our sight really em- 
powers us. The great or the little emotion which the po- 
etic psychologist feels in dealing out these pompous images, 
proves nothing but the excitation of his own nervous sys- 
tem. His consciousness tells him that he experiences em- 
otions, and no one has a right to contradict him : but the 
proof amounts to nothing but this, and this changes nothing 

[ 133 J 

m the real nature of the facts. Man is a more noble being 
than any other sensible object to which you can compare 
him. Employ a metaphor if you please, but you must offer 
it for what it is, and you must without anger permit us to 
reduce it to what it actually represents, and to what the 
senses attest. The fundamental point is to characterise 
these facts truly, for after all, we must come to the bottom 
of the question. Every expression which when fairly exa- 
mined resolves itself into the man himself, under some of the 
modifications to which the human system is liable, ought 
not to be regarded as relating to a distinct entity, or being 
separate from man. 

Chapter VII. — How the instinctive and intellectual 


To treat this question accurately, we must take the in- 
stinctive and intellectual faculties, as they are now reduced 
or converted from sepaiate and distinct entities existing in 
and by themselves, into phenomena observable by conscious- 
ness acting in concert with the senses ; and shew that these 
phenomena, are in fact no more than a healthy, normal, and 
regular stimulation of the nervose-encephalic apparatus. 
When they are thus reduced, or converted, we shall see 
clearly how these same phenomena are attached to nervous 
irritation ; for this is nothing more than unusual, abnormal 
increase of stimulation in the nervous system ; a state, of 
which the opposite is abexcitation or defect of stimulation. 
This reduction or conversion, can be made without recur- 
ring to any hypothesis : and here is the general fact which 
we lay down as the foundation whereon to erect our theory 
of instinctive and intellectual phenomena, of which we have 
already explained the nature. 

What we call attention, perception of external objects, 
perception of our own thought or consciousness, idea, judge- 
ment, reasoning, memory, are not specific faculties, separate 
entities inhabiting the brain, put into action by the impres- 
sions that proceed from the senses, or by some pretended 
internal force independent of them, as has been asserted of 
le moi, or of consciousness, and of the memory — they are 
no other than varieties of cerebral perception, which we 
may observe as facts or phenomena, but which we cannot 
venture to explain. Still less are we permitted to adopt 
the poetry of metaphysics, and to personify these varieties 

[ 134 I 

01 modifications, tor the purpose of explaining the superiori- 
ty of one over the rest, or the influence they exercise one 
over another, as active principles ; for we cannot do this with- 
out treating these phenomena as if they were bodies cogni- 
zable by the senses, with which in fact they have nothing to 
do, for they can resemble nothing but themselves. All this 
we have already proved : let us now connect these pheno- 
mena still more closely to the nervous system. 

The phenomena of perception are double : as to their 
origin, they are, 1st, effects of excitation that takes place in 
the external senses ; 2dly, effects of excitation that has taken 
place in the internal senses, or within the interior of the 
tissues. Results of the excitation of the nerves, they are 
themselves excitations of the encephalon, reacting on the 
same nerves in some manner or other ; and their existence 
is of itself full proof of encephalic excitation. The one 
makes us acquainted with external objects, the other with 
the internal state and affections of the human body : but 
for perception, or consciousness to take place, the encepha- 
lic apparatus is indispensable in both cases. 

It is impossible to conceive (at least in respect to their 
origin) that perceptions can be independent of these two 
classes of nerves : no facts exist to prove it : whereas their 
reproduction by the mere excitation of the encephalon, is a 
fact undeniable. Every mode of encephalic excitation that 
has existed, may be renewed in the absence of the cause that 
first and originally produced it ; and one mode may call up 
another; this is memory and the connection f association ) 
of perceptions : the one and the other may take place un- 
der all modes of perception. 

Perceptions produced by the excitation of the nerves of 
external senses, are more or less clear, and are tied to the 
object Avhich determines them. In this point of view they 
are called ideas. An idea then, is an excitation in the brain 
associated in its origin with a stimulation of some external 
sense. Such is the fact : how, this comes to pass, is beyond 
human comprehension : still the fact is the same ; and it is 
true also, that this excitation in the brain, being there repro- 
duced by any cause whatever, different from the original ob- 
ject, the idea of this object never fails to arise, and we seem 
to see or hear it ; while the mere stimulation of the sensi- 
tive organ without the brain to react upon it produces no- 
thing. Hypochondria and insanity furnish proofs enough of 

the lirst assertion, and the profound sleep ot apoplexy of the 

Although the idea cannot be personified, that is, consid- 
ered insulated by and in itself, either as an impression made 
on the brain, or as an image painted on its substance, or as 
an entity of any kind resulting from this personification, yet 
it is always characterised to the person perceiving it, as some 
material object or as some property of such an object, or as 
the mark and sign conventionally substituted for such object 
or its properties. This mark or sign, is sometimes in like- 
ness of a figure, sometimes of a sound, or less distinctly with 
the three other senses : in short, when the objects are ab- 
sent, we experience a sort of illusion like the internal repre- 
sentation of some simple object, or some scenes which we 
have witnessed. This is precisely the proof that the idea* 
is nothing more than a stimulation of the brain ; which may 
be replaced by the mere excitation of its tissue, in the same 
state of stimulation or excitation, which was before occasion- 
ed by the object, acting on the senses and by them produced 
in the brain. No idea (of any external object) can exist, 
but by means of a stimulation made on some external sense. 
There is then, in the interior of the brain, a sense corres- 
ponding to these kinds of stimulation only ; as there is ex- 
ternally a sense corresponding exclusively to certain agents, 
essentially and by their nature stimulating, and it is always 
according to one and the same law that this is effected. 
Hence the impossibility of giving ideas to those in whom this 
internal sense is not yet developed ; and hence the difficul- 
ty or facility, the clearness or the confusion of ideas, &c. 
corresponding to the perfect or imperfect developement of 
this internal sense. The perceived impressions produced 
on the brain by the stimulated viscera, exciting reaction, are 
at first confused : but after some time and in proportion as 
life advances, they associate themselves with those per- 
ceptions that arise from the senses ; and if they do not pro- 
duce ideas peculiar to themselves, they recall by association 
those ideas which the senses originate, and which properly 
speaking are the only ideas that can arise. Does this dif- 
ference proceed from the nerves of the interior, not commu- 
nicating directly with the internal sense of ideas, or that the 
stimulation they transmit to the encephalon,has no connec- 
tion with internal sense ? 

*By Idea here lie means what Hartley calls a sensation : vi/. the on- 
srinal impression. — Transl. 

L »** J 

No doubt both causes contribute to this : for on the one 
hand every sensible surface, whether internal or external, 
has its own peculiar organization ; on the other hand it is 
not possible to believe that the stimulations proceeding Irom 
the viscera, and which shake so powerfully the encephalic 
apparatus, and so imperiously carry with them the will, ap- 
proach the cerebral substance at the same point and with the 
same delicacy, as those which proceed from the external 
senses and which furnish our ideas. The stimulations that 
proceed from our external senses and those that proceed from 
our internal, differ then in the following particulars. 1st, In 
respect of the organization of the nervous expansions which 
furnish them. 2dly, With respect to the region of the brain in 
which they respectively take place. 3dly, With respect to the 
intensity which they possess when they arrive. 4thly , With 
respect to the manner in which they agitate the encephalic 
mass. We are at a loss for accurate facts on these different 
points, but we possess a few data. We know, for instance, 
and have longknown, 1st, the portion of the brain where all 
the nerves that enter it are inserted. 2dly, That the cen- 
tral base of the brain and the whole of the cerebellum are 
principally devoted to nutritive and instinctive functions : 
comparative anatomy throws much light on this part of phys- 
iology as well as on the following, 3dly, that the hemispheres 
of the brain constitute that enlargement which is connected 
with predominance of intellect. 4thly, That the anterior part 
of the brain contributes most powerfully to intellect, and 
therefore is the seat of the most delicate portion of our senses 
and ideas. The cranioscopists are occupied incessantly in 
collecting facts, which tend to particularise the seat of each 
series of ideas and each instinctive impulse ; but this labor is 
as yet very far from its termination. 

What are called appetites are perceptions proceeding 
from visceral stimulations, transmitted to the brain, and at- 
tended with pleasurable or painful sensations : for the exter- 
nal senses alone, afford but few sensations. These emo- 
tions constitute instinct : they precede ideas, but never fail 
to become associated with them : without this, the appetites 
would never be satisfied, though they should stand but in 
little need of complicated acts. 

The appetites of the psychologists are synonimous with 
our instinctive wants: but we prefer the term wants to de- 
signate those phenomena, because it applies to the desire" 

[ m j 

of exoneration, of exercise, of repose, of sleep, of individual 
conservation, all of which are on the same line with the ap- 
petites of nutrition, reproduction, respiration, heat, cold, &c. 
Every man who experiences a want, feels pleasure or pain; 
and all artificial pains resolve themselves into wants. Thus 
it is that the skin, exposed to superabundant caloric, feels 
the want of cold; a wound, a contortion, &c. the want of 
ease from pain. But such is the character of wants, that 
the viscera partake of them more or less ; that is, we suffer 
or we enjoy in the splanchnic apparatus and more especially 
near the centre, upon every occasion when we feel a want 
well characterised. 

So soon as the body which is calculated to satisfy the 
want, is in contact with the external senses, the want which 
was vague before, becomes now distinct and precise ; the 
act is executed by cerebral innervation as we have already 
seen, if some moral cause does not oppose it. What I 
would particularly remark on this occasion is, the associa- 
tion that takes place between the agreeable or disagreeable 
perception of the want, with the idea of the body that satis- 
fies it. This association may commence at birth, or even 
before, by the impressions made on the skin of the foetus, 
or by the feeling of uneasiness that accompanies certain at- 
titudes of the body, and compels motions to take place in 
consequence. Be it as it may, these first ideas are too ob- 
tuse, too little compared with others, for consciousness to 
notice them afterward. They remain like those of the deaf 
and blind by birth, in whom the objects give no knowledge 
of their like. But in proportion as the cerebral sense of 
ideas becomes enlarged, as the external senses become de- 
veloped, and ideas multiply, association becomes extended, 
and the emotions that occupy us, finally connected with the 
idea of a body, become motives of all those actions whose 
end is the satisfaction of instinctive wants, relating either to 
self conservation or reproduction. 

In time the connection becomes so strong between the 
objects that strike the senses and and the emotions that 
take their rise in the viscera, that all these emotions recall 
sensible ideas and vice versa : but when the internal emo- 
tions become too multiplied, the objects of sense are not suf- 
ficiently numerous to furnish each of them with an idea. 
Hence the same idea becomes associated with several shades 

[ 1*8 J 

of internal perception, agreeable and disagreeable, that is to 
say, with emotions but in a manner very variable, according 
to the nature of each. 

One would hardly believe that the number of emotions 
could surpass those of ideas, buton a little reflection it will be 
impossible to doubt this. In the beginning of life, theprepon- 
derance is evidently in favor of emotions, as appears from the 
multiplied and generally fruitless efforts of the infant, during 
all the time that he is endeavoring to acquire the knowledge 
of words; that is, to associate his emotions with those ideas of 
which persons are teaching him the signs. The adult, heal- 
thy and quiet, the peasant, the savage, do not seem to wish 
for more expressions than they are acquainted with ; but 
let some passion agitate them, they will torment themselves 
to express all the shades of it ; they will produce a hundred 
times over the same expressions in different combinations ; 
till satisfied of the impossibility of expressing all their feel- 
ings, they will complain of the poverty of language, that is, 
of the small number of ideas known to their fellow-men and 
to which they have associated sensible signs. This kind of 
embarrassment appears in the letters of lovers, in the works 
of all poets, and all writers of impassioned prose. It is this 
paucity of ideas that compels them to have recourse to 
transpositions of the sense, and to metaphors, of which I 
have indicated the conveniences and inconveniences before. 
Nevertheless, this is nothing to be compared to the abun- 
dance of the metaphysicians ; they surpass in figures of 
speech, all lovers, all orators, the most impassioned, and all 
poets the most inspired ; not only because, like them, 
they would express all their emotions, but because, also, 
they are determined to express the why and the wherefore. 
A barrier ought to stop them ; I mean, the number of clear, 
intelligible ideas. But, hurried away by the passion of dis- 
covery, they soon break through ; and whenever they begin 
to forget that metaphors are nothing more than forms of 
words — whenever they give themselves the license to trans- 
form words into things — a new world, as they say them- 
selves, opens to their view. In truth, this world to them is 
vast, for the objects that fill it, are all the signs of things in 
this ; each with twenty significations, different from those 
that we assign to them, and with the possibility of receiving 
as many more as the caprice of these new creators mav 
sec fit. 

[ 139 ] 

It is b^ no means in the spirit of criticism, but in compli- 
ance with reality, that I place all the hypochondriacs, and all 
the neuropathies, who border upon insanity, by the side of 
the metaphysicians : both classes, in fact, find themselves 
under the necessity of torturing the sense of words ; but it 
is the metaphysicians only, who voluntarily put themselves 
in this situation. 

What we call desires, are nothing more than perceptions, 
accompanied with pleasure or pain, but which deduce their 
origin from stimulations made upon the senses, and the ideas 
that thence result. 

Desires show themselves while man gives himself up to 
the impulse of curiosity, which becomes developed with the 
faculty of having ideas. But as the pleasure, or pain of de- 
sire, cannot become intense without the brain, of which it is 
only one mode of excitation, stimulating the viscera, the 
emotions of appetite soon join themselves to desires ; or 
rather, the appetites furnish to desires a new degree of ac- 
tivity, by adding visceral to cerebral excitation. 

Desires have been separated from appetites, because they 
have a different origin, and an object more elevated. One 
cannot help applauding this distinction, even when applying 
it to certain appetites best characterised. However little 
mixture there is of desire for intellectual enjoyment with 
the appetite for sensual enjoyment, it is well to choose an 
expression which draws the curtain over this last idea ; for 
it is intelligence that elevates man above animals. It is for 
this reason that the modern word gourmandise, is objection- 
able. In what grade of civilization would you place a man, 
who solicited the hand of a young lady, from parents grave 
and sedate, in telling them that he had an appetite for the 
attractions of their daughter ? He jnanifests to them the 
desire he has of passing his life with her, because he is 
charmed with her grace, her intelligence, her good disposi- 
tion, &c. We should substitute, as much as possible in our 
intercourse, the expression of desire to that of appetite, 
which seems rather to place us in the rank of animals, and 
has, moreover, an expression in it of selfishness. These 
kinds of distinctions are conducive to social order ; but the 
physiologist ought not to forget, that while desire implies 
no more than a mere wish for intellectual enjoyment, which 
the faculty of observation procures for us, it can only con- 
sist in slight emotions, and that by consequence whenever 

L ^ u J 

desires manifest themselves by a forcible expression, there 
is something more than simple desire ; there is truly appe- 
tite, or rather, physical want, and it is thus that the passions 
are formed ; but they commence in two manners, sometimes 
by simple desire, to which pppetite joins itself, and some- 
times appetite is the occasion of developing the desire. 

The desire arising from the instinct of observation, (curi- 
osity) according to what we have advanced, ought to belong 
to the brain. Appetite always proceeds from an excitation 
of some of the other viscera ; but as perception implies that 
this excitation is repeated in the brain, one may say, that 
desire and appetite have this organ in common, and that 
they are excited and sustained by its means. 

It is thus that excitation passes and repasses incessantly 
from instinct to intellect, and from intellect to instinct. This 
is to be sure, speaking figuratively, but I use it to prevent 
long explanations. Suppressing however this form of speak- 
ing, the following facts will always remain, which the senses 
and the consciousness of the observer may simultaneously 
verify: 1st, the other viscera stimulated by causes foreign 
to the brain, excite this viscus instinctively and intellectu- 
ally ; and it reacts upon them. 2dly, the brain, stimulated 
intellectually, excites the other viscera instinctively, which 
react upon the brain : all with different shades of pain or 

It is this reciprocity of influence of instinct upon intellect 
and vice versa, which when prolonged, constitute the pas- 
sions. We have in fact found there an instinctive want so- 
liciting the intellect, which is incessantly labouring to find 
out the means of satisfying it. It is so in love, in gourman- 
dise, in drunkenness ; passions instinctive in their origin, of 
which the indulgence calculated by a subservient intellect, 
furnishes so many depraved and degrading taste a and hab- 
its. This is indeed the shameful agreement of the flesh and 
the spirit, becoming a system of conduct. 

It will be attempted in vain to refute this explanation by 
urging that there are passions purely intellectual. The 
most intellectual are those that have for their origin self love, 
or the pleasure a man receives on contemplating himself in 
comparison with other men ; a kind of pleasure that he man- 
ifestly owes to the remarks excited by his instinctive curi- 
osity. Such are pride, ambition, love of power, of riches, 
of honors, of academic crowns, of eulogies collected at the 

L 14! J 

tribunes, of the esteem of honest men, vanity, emulation, 
respect of our fellow men, the point of honor, envy, jealousy, 
&c., passions where we see nothing but varieties of a com- 
mon sentiment or feeling. This sentiment is the want we 
experience of self-satisfaction, or the want of those internal 
emotions which are agreeable to us, or aversion for those of 
an opposite character. 

It is true that an attempt has been made to erect the sen- 
timents that predominate in our passions, into so many dis- 
tinct principles of action, constituting them distinct entities 
sui generis, and destined to put man into action : but these 
entities have no peculiar privileges over those which we 
have already prostrated. The physiologist can see nothing 
in an agreeable or painful emotion which serves as a pivot 
to the passion, or as the motive to action in man, but some 
form of excitation of the nervous system ; and the more 
nearly we observe men, the more shall we be convinced, that 
these motives owe their power over the will, to the part 
acted by the viscera. In fact, self love, when satisfied, oc- 
casions joyful emotions ; if wounded, sorrowful ones, 
which are soon followed by anger. But these three sensa- 
tions, whose origin is in the encephalbn, are constantly fol- 
lowed by a stimulation of the visceral nerves, which being 
transmitted again instantly to the encephalon, is the secret 
power which produces decision and determines our actions. 

Sometimes, it may be said, we have as a secret motive, 
the prospect of future enjoyment, or the wish to escape 
from some imminent pain : but the one idea,* is actually 
agreeable, and the other, actually painful ; which in fact 
makes the motive the same as in the preceding case, when 
you reflect on it physiologically. In whatever manner you 
turn the question round, a full investigation will always 
produce this alternative, viz : we give way to an instinctive 
want, or to an intellectual want : and in those cases where 
the latter is sufficiently strong, to prevent our giving way to 
the former, it owes this superiority to its producing an exci- 
tation in the same viscera, whence the instinctive want ari- 
ses ; an excitation of a different nature from its own. 

* Broussais uses the word idea ambiguously : sometimes for the per- 
ceived impression of an external object ; and sometimes for an internal 
sensation. Hartley uses sensation for the first, and idea for the recur- 
rence of a similar stimulation by memory or association. Hartley was not 
aware of (ho extent of visceral sensations and associations. — TransL 

I 142 J 

The excitation wherein consists the calculation or inter- 
nal debate, always takes place in the encephalon ; every 
idea is successively produced ; and that which produces 
the strongest visceral agitation determines the act. Hence 
it is, that men differ so much in their tastes, their propensi- 
ties, their passions, according as they are carried away by 
such or such a predominant organic appetite, or that they 
give themselves up habitually, to this or that class of emo- 
tions. Tastes alter as the state of the viscera alter. Those 
of digestion and generation provoke a train of ideas which 
it is impossible to repel. The heart and the lungs excite 
others. In chronic diseases also, the character changes ; but 
in general, we may lay it down as a principle, that the more 
the encephalon is developed in those parts assigned as the 
seat of intellect, and the more energy a man bestows on 
that region of the brain, by the culture of his moral faculties, 
the more habitually will he obey the emotions that proceed 
from the desire of observation, (curiosity) and the less is he 
enslaved by the emotions of conservation and reproduction. 
But this culture of the intellect, may bring on a crowd of 
artificial passions. By despising instinctive movements, 
man abandons himself to spiritualism, and pays no attention 
to realities : he reduces himself by fastings and by watch- 
ings ; he imposes upon himself painful attitudes ; he tears 
his flesh ; and subjects himself to torture to propitiate a di- 
vinity of his own creation. In other cases, we see man 
braving death, to obey either a secret motive of self love, an 
enthusiastic patriotism, filial affection, or some other distinct 
passion. He becomes enamoured, sometimes of one form 
of government, sometimes of another ; and he does not al- 
ways keep himself within proper bounds : he embraces, by 
a kind of moral contagion, founded on the emotions which 
he experiences, sometimes the part of an orator; sometimes 
of a poet, a philosopher, or of an actor ; and he becomes 
transported with hatred and with anger, against those who 
do not agree with him in opinion. What excites him more 
particularly, is the supposed interest of religion, and above 
all, the certainty of eternal happiness according to his wish- 
es and his habits. It is for this reason that the followers of 
Mahomet are the most fanatic of the human race ; and, are 
the most disposed to acts of atrocity, to obtain, from the di- 
vinity some kind of happiness, of which they have framed 
to themselves an idea. 

[ 143 ] 

All the artificial passions arc fed partly by a certain train 
oi ideas, which chance has rendered permanent, and partly 
by emotions of the nervous system, pleasant or unpleasant.. 
These emotions are always the same ; they are those which 
our first wants create ; and they are rendered more intense, 
when they are left unsatisfied. They are at the service of 
all those trains of ideas, which governments succeed in im- 
posing upon the multitude, who have not the liberty of culti- 
vating their intellects as they please : for wherever there 
is liberty of investigation, and liberty of the press, the ob- 
servation of nature will, sooner or later, lead men on the 
road to truth. 

The roads that lead to truth are not chimerical, for they 
have as their basis, the organization of man, and the nature 
of the objects that summoned him. With freedom of in- 
struction, and freedom of the press, no error can long pre- 
vail ; for he who has best used his talent for observation, 
will necessarily obtain the assent of all persons well organ- 
ized. There will be, to be sure, partial obstacles, general- 
ly local, arising from literary bodies, from coteries, from per- 
sons in public credit, from orators, &c. But what are all 
these obstacles, compared to time ? Men, in whom these illu- 
sory trains of ideas have acquired too much influence over 
their nervous system, to permit them to yield, or who believe 
their honor interested to be unbending, will disappear, with- 
out intellectual posterity of their own description, while the 
cause of liberty and the sciences, continues to progress. In 
proportion as this takes place, poetical and oratorical lan- 
guage loses its literal signification : they are insensibly re- 
duced to a metaphorical jargon, a kind of hieroglyphic, 
whose proper interpretation constitutes part of the educa- 
tion of youth, in a well governed state ; and this is true lo- 
gic. This language has intruded itself among the sciences, 
from whence it ought to be banished. Chemistry and Na- 
tural Philosophy were the first to execute justice upon it. 
Medicine is becoming freed from it, by her connexion with 
physiology : general philosophy is still infected with it ; but 
we are touching upon the time when it will be gotten rid 
of, by giving up the theory of the human intellect to physi- 
ology, and by explaining frankly according to the real fact, 
the forms of expression it is compelled to employ, instead 
of presenting them mysteriously, as so many distinct and 
separate beings. 

[ 144 j 

This question is strongly connected with our subject; i'oi 
'he type of intellectual excitation, or the degree of that ex- 
citation which least disturbs the nervous system, is that 
which corresponds to the truth : in other words, that which 
a man ought chiefly to guard against in the exercise of his 
intellectual faculties, whether in respect of his health, or the 
moral consequences of his actions, are those excitations of 
his brain which are determined by the contemplation of, or 
the search after illusions. 

Among the passions of intellectual origin, one of the most 
illusory of them, avarice, occupies a distinguished rank : 
the fear of wanting the necessaries of life, seems to consti- 
tute the fundamental sentiment of this passion : then comes 
a love of money ; the representative sign of all the enjoy- 
ments of life ; the desire of amassing it, and the continual 
fear of losing it. Sentiments which induce the avaricious 
man to commit actions so mean, that their ridiculous char- 
acter escapes nobody but the miser himself. 

Avarice belongs to the nature of man ; for it is only pru- 
dence pushed to excess in the means of providing for the 
necessaries of life. There are many kinds of avarice ; as 
many as there are of instinctive and intellectual wants. One 
man is avaricious of his wine, another of his houses or dogs, 
another of his books, his medals, or any source of self grati- 
fication. But the avaricious man properly so called, differs 
from the rest, in being in a state of intellectual derange- 
ment, in such a way that the possession of the sign becomes 
of itself a substitute for all the enjoyments which that sign 
can procure. Remark too, that it takes a considerable time 
for this illusion to become confirmed ; that is, for all other 
ideas to be merged in the possession of the sign of wealth. 
But while the avaritious man is hurried on by this secret 
propensity, and gives himself up without perceiving it to this 
species of Ontology, his force decreases ; he feels that the 
means of acquiring are about to leave him ; fear, which is the 
foundation of avarice, increases daily, and ends by being 
carried to its extreme degree. Hence poets and artists 
who would represent avarice in excess, always choose as 
models, meagre old men, whose appearance gives the idea 
of sneaking caution, and apprehension. Although a depress- 
ing passion, it has its periods of violent reaction and even 
of rage, after which this passion refalls into the habit of fear 
which belongs to it, now and then interrupted by bursts of 

t 145] 

anger. We place it among the disturbing exciters oi the 
nervous system, which tend to increase excitement into ir- 

These researches into the nervous excitations which be- 
come motives to our actions, naturally lead us to the will,, 
considered also as a nervous excitement tending to irrita- 

What we mean by the ivill, is a mode or manner of ence- 
phalic excitation, in consequence of other modes of excite- 
ment termed perceptions, and of others also called emotions. 
It is characterised to the person who experiences it within 
himself by a perception of consciousness, and to a stranger 
by muscular motion. What proves that the will is truly a 
mode of cerebral excitation is, that 1st, whenever this 
cerebral excitation is increased, so is the will. 2dly, When 
one is diminished, so is the other. 3dly, Whenever the ex- 
citation of the brain, is interrupted or shackled by a quan- 
tity of fluid that stops its movements, the will disappears 
together with all the modes of perception and emotion be- 
longing to cerebral excitation. Nothing then remains but 
the instinctive mode of the same excitation in its obscurest 
shade, in that which permits nothing but the perception of 
the want of breathing, and the reaction of the brain which 
transmits innervation to the respiratory muscles. If for the 
purpose of objection, any one should connect this perception 
and this reaction of the lowest scale of instinct with intellec- 
tual perceptions and the will, this would be for us another 
reason for seeing nothing in the will but an encephalic ex- 
citation. There is no occasion for thus approaching it in 
order to embrace this view of the subject ; the facts them- 
selves compel it. But we must not make the impossibility 
of explaining the fact an objection to the existence of the 
fact itself. The labours of many physiologists of the pre- 
sent day, tend, with more or less success, to connect with 
certain regions of the encephalon, the different modes of 
excitation of which I have just spoken ; as well as the fol- 

Muscular action is always, during life, the effect of the 
excitation of nervous matter, upon the fibrine of which the 
muscles are composed ; but, as we have already seen, the 
encephalon does not always intervene ; it has the direct 
government of the motions of the respiratory, locomotive, 
and vocal muscles: but it ent^trrniK jndirootlv only, the ac« 


t 146 ] 

tion of the muscles of the viscera, by transmitting excitation 
throughout the whole nervous system, and furnishing it to 
the nerves belonging to those muscles. Hence it is, that 
when it is greatly excited, there is a surplus of contractility 
throughout all the muscles of the body ; hence convulsions 
in the voluntary muscles; spasm, and convulsive oscilla- 
tions in the visceral muscles ; and then the will being over- 
powered, is compelled to transmit a surplus of innervation 
to the muscles under its command, or else it disappears by 
excess of irritation, to give place to a morbid, instinctive ex- 
citation of the brain, which determines the motion of these 
muscles, either with, or without convulsions. These phe- 
nomena may depend on the too active influence of other 
viscera upon the brain, without having been excited by the 
will ; but very often, also, they show themselves by intel- 
lectual stimulation, in the more violent and active passions; 
in anger, and at the moment when the will, which has 
brought them into play, seems to have most intensity. This 
is, as if we should say that the cerebral excitation to which 
we give the name of will, disappears by its own excess, 
when carried too far ; but it is not alone in this condition : 
all the other modes of excitation, considered as intellectual, 
become more or less depraved, and annihilated through the 
same cause, as we shall see in treating of insanity and its 

This imports that none of the intellectual faculties can 
manifest themselves but within certain limits of cerebral 
excitation; beyond those limits, this excitation produces 
nothing but delirium, and actions which we are accustomed to 
refer to instinctive movements of the most brutal descrip- 
tion : below them, the intellectual phenomena of the person 
observed diminish in intensity, cease to correspond with 
those of the person observing, lose themselves in idiocy, 
or become mingled with the most simple instinctive acts, 
or disappear, leaving nothing but these behind. This is 
what the progress of old age insensibly brings on, if disease 
does not produce this state of things prematurely. 

Such are the phenomena of nervous action, considered 
under almost all its varieties and shades ; nor is it difficult 
to bring under the same point of view, those which have not 
been particularly designated. It is thus that we ought to 
consider nervous action, and not in a general manner, or bv 
meeting it into one or more distinct entities, or personified 

L 147 J 

abstractions. It is in the manner 1 have now indicated, that 
moralists, legislators, and physiologists, may determine the 
limits which separate their respective occupations. For 
myself, whose principle object here, is to lay a solid basis 
for the doctrine of irritation, I shall add only a few words 
more on the phenomena of nervous excitation, considered in 

On nervous excitation, considered in itself. 

What is there of a material nature, that passes into the 
nerves, and into the brain, to enable them to execute their 
functions, independent of the molecular affinities, which 
support the nerves and the brain with all their known pro- 
perties ? It is here, as I have already said, that the great 
mystery of the economy of life resides ; for the first impul- 
sion which puts into action the vital forces, is to be found in 
the half liquid animal matter which constitutes the nervous 
system, and of which the neurilema of the nerves, the mem- 
branes of the encephalon, and the dermoid covering of the 
membranes of relation, are nothing more than the vehicles, 
or if you please, the vessels and the support. Here it is, 
that we are stopped ; here it is, that none of our senses can 
penetrate ; it is here, in this albuminous substance, that the 
unknown cause of life, of instinct, and of intellect, connects 
itself with our system ; but remember, that in the adult, 
this connection is effectuated on the membranes of relation, 
all of which are sensitive surfaces; and that the most essen- 
tial of these relations take place upon the surface of the 
mucous membrance. This is a fact of great importance for 
the physiological physician, inasmuch as it leads him to con- 
clude that the nervous matter which is intermingled, (no one 
knows how, ) in these tissues with the sanguineous matter, 
is one of the principal means of conservation, and ought, by 
consequence, to be considered as one of the principal cau- 
ses of disease and of death. When excitation is too vivid 
in these seats of internal sensation, especially in the two 
great passages of relation constituted of these materials, viz. 
the internal bronchial surface, and that of the stomach, one 
may distinguish in them a redness accompanied by a greater 
warmth than usual, owing to an excitation beyond the nor- 
mal limits. 

We cannot make observations on excitation in the imper- 
ceptible canals of the neurilema, through which it passes 
in following the nervous pulp to arrive at the brain from the 

[ 148 J 

surfaces oi relation, to return to the muscles, and to pa&> 
from one of the viscera to another, &c. The motions that 
take place in these circumstances, we have not been able to 
observe by means of any instrument : it is, however, an ob- 
ject well worth pursuing. But if our senses cannot distin- 
guish this kind of motion, we are in possession of an anatom- 
ical fact that enables us to draw conclusions. When a 
nerve has caused considerable pain, and produced many 
convulsions during life, when in short it has performed its 
functions not in an ordinary but an extraordinary manner, 
we find the neurilima injected with blood, or lymph, and 
sometimes ossified : aud the nervous ganglions are red and 
tumified more than ordinarily in the dead bodies of persons 
whose nerves they surround, and which have been for a 
long time subject to supernormal innervation. From these 
facts, we may conclude, that the inflammation of the nervous 
substance properly so called, is accompanied with inflamma- 
tion of the sanguineous capillaries and the lymphatics, which 
subserve to the nutriment of the neurilema and aid the 
functions of the nerve. 

The changes produced by excitation are more easy to be 
seized in the substance of the encephalon. It is within 
the purview of our senses, that this substance reddens, be- 
comes injected with blood, and heated in a remarkable man- 
ner when it acts with remarkable energy, whether in the 
phenomena of thought, or in that kind of innervation on 
which muscular action depends. The atrophy which it may 
suffer after hypertrophy, is common to all hypertrophies and 
evidently produced by excitation, and which confirms rather 
than weakens this proposition. 

All these facts establish the coincidence between sanguin- 
eous and nervous excitation. But we know that alterna- 
tions of contraction and relaxation exist in the excitation of 
vessels of whatever kind : we may, therefore, assume 
that this belongs to all kinds of excitation in the ner- 
vous apparatus ; and we may assume this the more safely, 
as we know that the nerves and the encephalon can act but 
for a short time without the aid of the circulating blood. The 
nervous substance, however, possesses an action peculiarly 
its own ; what is that action ? 

We have already shewn that the encephalon yields and 
returns upon itself in the direction of the white fibres : here 
then is a powerful datum in favour of an oscillatorv move- 

[ *49 j 

ineut, when the nervous substance is excited, independent 
of the contractility of the vessels and the cellular membra- 
neous lamince which penetrate it, surround it, embrace it, 
sustain it, and which cannot but oscillate and become agi- 
tated with it. We shall find this fact again in the history 
of insanity. 

Whether any thing else takes place than these contrac-_ 
tile agitations in the phenomena of nervous excitation ; 
whether caloric, electricity, or any other imponderable fluid 
modifies or supports life, otherwise than by putting in play 
this contractility in the nervous substance, and the fluid 
molecules in contact with it, we know not even how to con- 
jecture. It is possible that on this earliest stage of life, phe- 
nomena of affinities, transformations of the fluid essential to 
the nervous substance, if there be any such nervous fluid, 
may take place, as does in fact take place in the blood which 
traverses it to supply nourishment and means of action : but 
it is far wiser to stop than to frame conjectures and hypoth- 
eses on this first cause of innervation. Although in the 
phenomena of consciousness, nervous excitation perceives 
itself acting, it is by no means likely that it can perceive 
also its relation with the first governing cause of all things. 
This kind of knowledge has not yet been obtained from any 
observation of nature, and it is not likely to be obtained from 
physiology. We may presume this, 1st, because to the 
present day man has never perceived any thing but materi- 
al bodies and their properties — bodies which are not him- 
self. 2dly, that his perception of bodies is confined to such 
as his external senses can take cognizance of. 3dly, be- 
cause his perception of his own viscera is confused ; and he 
has no ideas of them but such as are formed from the obser- 
vations made by his external senses. 4thly, because the 
perception of his own thought is reduced to a single fact 
which he can neither multiply or fecundate ; for beyond the 
assertion, J perceive that I perceive, (or I feel that I feel) he 
has not one other assertion to make on the subject, which 
does not belong to the perceptions he has received, by the 
senses situated on the surface of his body. 

Chapter VIII — On the part which excitation acts 


Having described the phenomena of excitation, such as 
we conceive them to be, and such as others ought to con- 

[ 150 j 

sider them who study by aid of their senses, we are led to 
ascertain how this excitation may deviate from its usual and 
natural (normal) state and become abnormal or diseased. 

Excitation becomes weaker with time, so that life would 
cease if new stimulants did not come perpetually to renew 
excitation. Hence, beyond doubt, the maladies of debility, 
numerous enough, but which Brown and his followers have 
singularly exaggerated and multiplied. To indicate the 
origin of these maladies, is to put ourselves on the road of 
discovery for those of an opposite character. 

Sec. 1st. How defect of excitation produces abirritative 

We have already seen that there are two excitants, w 7 hose 
absence would speedily bring on destruction, oxygen for 
the lungs, and caloric of temperature or free caloric for the 
skin. Recalling what has been explained on nervous exci- 
tation, we shall be aware that these two excitants exercise 
their first action on the surfaces of relation, and that it is 
thence rapidly conducted along the nerves to the brain, 
which transmits it by other nerves* throughout the system. 
Nor must we lose sight of the introduction of oxygen into 
the blood, and perhaps of the penetration and progression of 
caloric or some other imponderable substance into the ca- 
pillary canals of the nervous system. f With the aid of these 

* Every organ of the living body, be it large or small, executes its own 
peculiar functions, and not those appropriated to any other organ. Two 
distinct functions are never performed by one and the same organ. Each 
has its own business and duty. Thus, every stimulation that excites to 
muscular action for any purpose whatever, may be termed a motive, or a 
volilion. This may originate in the ganglionic system of nerves ; but if 
it be not sudden and instinctive, and nevertheless requires the aid o fthe 
voluntary muscles, it must be first propogated to the cerebral center. 
In every nervous fasciculus communicating with the brain, however small, 
there is one nerve destined to indicate the state of the internal viscera, 
and transmit to the brain stimulations that take place in the ganglionic 
system, and another that transmits from the brain nervous stimulation to 
the muscles of voluntary motion to excite them into the required action. 
This has been proved by direct experiment, by Bell, and Majendie, and 
confirmed by the cases of Mr. Broughion. See Johnson's Med. and 
Chir. Review, No. 29, for July, 1787, p. 200, See also the review of 
Descot, in the number for Ap. 1827, p. 425. The same opinion is adopt- 
ed by M. M. Torres, Manec, Martin, &LC.—Transl. 

1 1 find in the number of the Globe, of Ap. 1828, while correcting the 
proof this page, that M. Dulrochet has made experiments of which the re- 
sult is, that there exists in the living body an inlra-capillary electricity, to 
which the movement of the bodily fluids is to be ascribed. 

The contact of the liquids electrises the solids, and the organic sensi- 
bilitv of the living solids is nothing more than the property of receivinjr 

[ 161 ] 

recollections, the observer may frame to himself an idea, 
of the deficiency which will arise in the sum or amount of 

mtra-capilkiry electricity, which is the real agent of the vegetative, or or- 
ganic life. These experiments according to M. Dutrochet, will also prove 
that the solids and the liquids have one and the same property, to wit : the 
capillary electric, which he terms activity ; a word which must take the 
place of sensibility, which is consigned exclusively to the psychologists. 

During a long time past, organic sensibility has been reduced to irri- 
tability of the fibre — its property of contracting under the influence of 
stimulants: we have long known that electricity determines muscular 
contraction, and it would be easy to suppose that it acts equally on other 
forms of animal matter. We have expressed this opinion in the text. 
But whether irritability be brought into play by one agent or another, the 
question remains the same. The electricity communicated by the fluids 
to the solids, must be an electricity modified by the state of life, and not 
by the principal agent of the organic life. Suppose it to give an impulse 
in the living capillaries, this may be conceived, if we allow at the same 
time that it is modified by the state of life, as well as the attraction of 
masses, caloric, and the molecular affinities of which %e find traces in 
living bodies : for we may presume that no one will attribute to this new 
electricity of M. Dutrochet, all the transformations of living matter, the 
appropriations of certain molecules to certain tissues, the rejection of 
others, the manner, the duration, and the measure of developement of an 
the forms of animal matter that compose the living body, &c. Since nei- 
ther common chemistry, nor caloric, that excellent excitant of all nature, 
can explain the phenomena of vegetative or organic life, it is not likely 
that intercapillary electrization will prove more successful. Should the 
experiments of M. Dutrochet be confirmed, we can only assert in that 
case of electricity what we dare not yet assert of it; that it is now shewn 
to figure among the instruments of life, as has long ago been asserted of all 
the other natural phenomena observed among living beings. But one 
common fact will always remain to all these phenomena ; viz. that nei- 
ther one or another of them can be regarded as the regulator of vegetative 
or organic life ; for the moment it predominates over the others in a liv- 
ing body, life Avill be destroyed. Life is an unknown modification of all 
the phenomena of nature which our senses make known to us, and doubt- 
less of others also whereof we can have no idea ; it is not one or the 
other of these exclusively. Although we cannot say what it is, we can 
observe, and arrange in some regular order the appearances it presents, 
as we discover them. In this work an attempt has been made to pursue 
this method in arranging the phenomena of contractility and innervation, 
in order to arrive at the knowledge of irritation ; that is, the disturbances 
produced in the animal economy by those agents, which render the phe- 
nomena of life more or less strongly marked than they are in their regu- 
lar normal state. 

As to the complaisance with which certain physicians have lately pro- 
posed to abandon sensibility to the psychologists, it is founded no doubt 
on the belief they entertain that this phenomenon is still considered as a 
property of nervous matter. But the idea first entertained by Vic d' Azir 
10 rank it among the functions, has been since fortified by too great a 
number of proofs not to be generally adopted, and to leave no hold for the 
spiritualists. See also the explanations on this subject in the first chan- 
ter, and in the chapter preceding thie. 

[ 152 ] 

excitation, when these two excitants come to be wanting to 
the animal economy, and the difficulty which nutrition will 
experience in keeping up all the tissues, and particularly 
the nervous, in that state of vigor which the exercise of their 
functions require. In fact, the oxygen which the blood ab- 
sorbs by means of the lungs, is the cause of the temperature 
peculiar to animals, that is to say, furnishes them with calor- 
ic internally. But moreover, they require to be excited 
externally by free caloric, or at least that the media by 
which they are surrounded, have caloric enough not to ab- 
sorb too rapidly that portion which the body disengages 
while discharging its functions. We may then say, that ex- 
citability is only kept up by means of these two agents : that 
it languishes so soon as their influence diminishes, and it 
becomes extinguished when that influence disappears en- 
tirely. Matf in this case dies without having lost any of his 
substance ; he has lost nothing but the aptitude of living, 
that is the aptitude of being excited. Such are asphyxies 
from want of respirable air, from hanging (and drowning) 
wherein man loses nothing but oxygen ; but in drowning 
he loses also his caloric ; so also in death by excessive cold 
of the atmosphere, which depends on the too rapid sub- 
straction of caloric without defect of oxygen. 

After the deprivation of this double source of excitement, 
comes that of the aliments ; but the want of nourishment is 
less urgent than the want of caloric ; for a man may accu- 
mulate blood and other fluids that may serve the purposes 
of nutrition for .a while ; but he cannot thus accumulate 
caloric in the solids and the fluids, without danger of life. 
At all times the excitation which these aliments and bever- 
age exercise on the digestive organs, being among the means 
by which excitability is supported, as well as the vital ener- 
gy of the human creature during his extra-uterine life, if 
their aid fails, changes take place in the animal economy 
which lead to disease. To the languor of the vital forces, 
is added the uneasiness resulting from the privation of a 
necessary stimulant, and irritation joins itself to the diminu- 
tion of nutritive materials, to hurry on death accompanied by 
dreadful suffering. 

The blood and other humors, produced by digestion, are, 
as we have seen, the natural excitants of the internal tissues 
which these fluids pervade. We may remember that this 
excitation is the only one which supports the functions of 

[ 153 ] 

Uie lcetus, not yet habituated to external stimulants, and this 
is enough to shew its importance. The subtraction of 
blood and the other humors, like the subtraction of food, 
diminishes excitation, and many of the morbid states that 
depend upon it. If this subtraction be rapid, nature revolts, 
and irritation takes place, as in the diseases produced by 
hunger, but in a somewhat different Way. The most hor- 
rible convulsions precede the last hour of those who die ot 
hemorrhage, if we do not begin by diminishing or destroy- 
ing their excitability. It is for the purpose of preventing 
these convulsions, that butchers knock down by a blow on 
the head, the animals, before they bleed them. The violent 
stimulation exercised on the brain, by the viscera, deprived 
suddenly of the blood necessary to their functions, seems to 
depend on the same general law, viz. that all our wants, 
those of addition and repletion, as well as those of exonera- 
tion, make their appeal to the encephalon by the phenome- 
non of excitation. In other words, not figurative, wherever 
nervous matter is in want of its regular normal excitants, it 
contracts, if it be living an irregular abnormal mode of exci- 
tation, which is propagated along the nervous cords to the 
encephalon. In all these cases, death, for want of normal 
excitement, is brought on by irregular abnormal excitement ; 
and while certain organs are in this state of negative exci- 
tation, (abexcitation) such as the limbs, the organs of the 
sense, and the viscera of the second rank, the organs of the 
first importance expend the remains of their vitality in exag- 
gerated innervation. Such is the law, and we ought care- 
fully to bear it in mind ; for we find it among the sick, who 
are frequently bled, and among those who submit to want of 
food, for the sake of conquering an obstinate inflammation. 
To be ignorant of this, is to injure the sick, and to prepare 
for ignorance and charlatanism, a triumph which they never 
fail to abuse. 

The slow, but continual subtraction of circulating fluids, 
brings on debility and death without reaction. Animals treat- 
ed by narcotics, can also support hemorrhage, even to the 
extinction of life, without reaction or convulsions. 

In general, we may say that the excitations just now stated, 
being the only ones indispensable to the support of human 
life, nothing but their subtraction can bring on direct lan- 
guor and debility. But man is always subject to another 
kind of excitement, of which the privation may become ex- 

[ i&* j 

tremely painful : I mean the excitation he receives in hit 
external senses, by the view of nature, and the relations he 
necessarily bears to all other living beings, especially his fel- 
low creatures, during the exercise of his several func- 
tions. In fact, as we have already said, it is in seeking 
nourishment, in trying to escape the influence of heat and of 
cold, in avoiding the causes of destruction that menace him 
on all sides, in performing the several acts of reproduction 
and conservation of himself and his offspring, that man receives 
moral excitations, and converts them into a habit and a want. 

The modifications of intellect, though infinitely varied in 
their sources and their shades, are resolved, as we have 
seen, into an excitation of the nerves and the senses trans- 
mitted to the brain, and thence reflected upon all the move- 
able tissues of the animal economy. This excitation then, 
proceeds and joins others produced by other causes, and mo- 
difies them more or less ; that is to say, it influences the dis- 
tribution of the fluids, their temperature, their assimilation, 
nutrition, muscular motion, &c. &c. Nevertheless, its princi- 
pal action is in the nervous system, which contracts a habit 
to such a degree, that the want of this excitation produces a 
state of languor, which may be the cause of a diseased state 
of the system, wherein we always trace the presence of irri- 
tation ; and this is the necessary result of that reaction which 
the subtraction of excitants produces, in subjects who have 
not been previously deprived of irritability. Let us now see 
how this subtraction of various stimulants can produce dis- 
eases of irritation. 

Sec. 2. How the defect of excitation produces irritative 

We have already said that man cannot live but by means 
of excitation, but this, whatever be the cause, has a tenden- 
cy to become weak after a certain time ; so that life would 
inevitably be extinguished, if new stimulations were not ap- 
plied continually to renew and keep up excitation. Such is 
the general fact, applicable to all excitations. The extinc- 
tion of life does not always take place with the same prompt- 
itude. That depends on the kind and importance of the 
excitants whose absence menaces life. The subtraction 
of oxygen produces directly and quickly an extinction of ex- 
citability and by consequence of excitation. No reaction 
can take place here, because reaction is founded on excita- 
bility which cannot be kept up without oxygen : but in a 

[ 155 ] 

great number of other cases this reaction is displayed, ami 
produces diseases of irritation consecutive on sedation* or 
secondary, which we did but slightly touch upon in treating 
of diseases produced by direct debility. 

The subtraction of external caloric when complete and 
rapid, produces death like the privation of oxygen accom- 
panied by great cold. But if the caloric be subtracted in- 
completely and in a moderate degree, and the respiratkn 
still remains perfect, excitability is not destroyed but rather 
augmented; while reaction developes in the skin, or some 
other organ in its neighbourhood, an excitation beyond the 
normal degree and which amounts to irritation. Hence 
arise the inflammations of the skin, such as chilblains, acute 
rheumatisms, colds, and all those phlegmasia? which are the 
morbid consequence of cold applied to the external surface 
of the body. Remember that the fluids flowing always to 
the place where excitation calls for them, having no princi- 
pal of action of their own,f abandon the skin when cold has 
relaxed its activity, and when return of reaction has pro- 
duced any inflammation in the part ; or they accumulate any 
where internally where irritation takes place in consequence 
of reaction. Cold also produces pain, hemorrhages, aug- 
mentations of secretion, effusions of* serosity, &c. which we 
cannot refer to any other vital modification than reactive 
excitation converted into irritation. 

This consequence is forced upon us, because cold acts 
only on irritability ; and irritability presides over all the sen- 
sations, over all motions of the body, and over all displace- 
ments of the fluids. 

The subtraction of nutritious food and drink, leaves the 
stomach without excitation : but if irritability be not pre- 
viously destroyed, and if the cerebral functions can yet ex- 
ert themselves, the change produced by this privation of 
alimentary excitement in the stomach, is perceived; and 
innervation takes place in the stomach and in all the organs 

* The want of action from want of excitants and excitations. The 
effect of the class of medicines called sedatives. — Trctnsl. 

t If they had, they would go where that principle guided them, and not 
where nutrition calls for them. They can have no principle of action other 
than the affinities which connect their molecules with those of the solids : 
but as these affinities can only take place in the narrowest canals, the 
fluids forming a mass are soft, and arc directed mechanically by the ac- 
tion of the heart and arteries and veins, and by the pressure of the air ; 
powers to which it is latterly proposedtoaddjE»(/o. < ?mos' , or inter-capillary 
electricitv. foe the last note of the author. 

[ 156 j 

charged with primary or incipient assimilation; the excita- 
tion they experience becomes converted into irritation, the 
fluids are summoned thither, and if hunger long continues, 
inflammation seizes on the digestive organs, and more or 
less on the principal viscera ; while the external parts grow 
meagre, and are only animated by sympathetic pains and 
convulsions : the man gives way under excess of suffering 
to the disorganization of his viscera, long before his fat is ex- 
hausted, or the surplus of his circulating fluids consumed, 
or any other of the materials which nature seems to have 
placed in reserve to supply the defect of nutriment. Hence 
you may observe, that the greater the force and the irrita- 
bility of the system, the less resistance can the man make 
to the imperious demand for food. 

The irritation that takes place in the stomach, deprived 
of food, is suspected to depend on the continually increasing 
progress of animalization, an effect of the chemistry of life, 
which begins to operate on the alimentary ingesta in the 
stomach, and which finishes by placing in the solids the 
animalized molecules. Whether the gastric irritation of 
hungry persons depends on this cause, or on the increased 
acridity of the digestive juices, on the increase of innerva- 
tion from the internal sense of the stomach on the brain, or 
on the conjunction of all these causes, still it exists : to a 
certain point it is allayed by water. On the other hand, 
though the want of water is more intolerable than the want 
of solid food, on account of the internal heat that accompanies 
thirst, 1 have heard several sailors who had been exposed 
to suffering from thirst in the Pacific, say, that they could not 
have preserved life, but by consenting to eat, notwithstand- 
ing the thirst that afflicted them. They declared that all 
their companions who were unable to overcome the repug- 
nance to food, died miserably. Hence we may conclude, 
that however stimulant alimentary substances may be, as in 
this case were biscuit and salt meat, they acted as sedatives 
on the gastric membrane over excited by hunger. These 
sailors declared that they felt refreshed by the solid nutri- 
ment. Still we may conceive that this refreshing sensation 
can reach only to a certain degree, and if the want of water 
had not ceased, these men would have been reduced to the 
inability of swallowing solid food, however strong the de- 
sire to take it might be. Perhaps those who fell victims 
were already reduced to this inability. Moreover, this 

i 15? J 

over-excitation, from want of food, may be as easily con- 
ceived, as that which arises from want of sleep ; but it is not 
easy to explain either the one or the other. It is of the 
nature of any viscus that is deprived of its natural modifier, 
to stimulate the brain, and provoke it to those acts which 
are required to supply the want, and from stimulation to 
irritation, the sf»ep is easy. But there is an exception to be 
noticed here, relating to very old, very thin, very weak 
persons, whose irritability is in great part exhausted. Such 
persons, not being able to react, fall a sacrifice in a short 
time, by the direct operation of the want of food. 

What we have said respecting the death of robust persons, 
shows that the want of nourishment is seldom of itself a 
cause of death. In fact, by aid of certain drinks, proper to 
retard inflammatory action in the digestive organs, a man 
may live without solid food, even until he has consumed 
the stock of nutriment in reserve distributed through his 
body, and till he has reached the last stage of marasmus ; 
this continues a long time, when the person is not exposed 
to fatiguing exercise. This is a most valuable privilege 
for our species in the social state, and that ought to afford 
comfort to persons who are prohibited from food on account 
of disease, or from any accidental cause. 

The other external excitants, to whose action we are 
exposed, ought to be regarded as factitious, and are not 
absolutely necessary to our existence. They tend only to 
keep up the equilibrium, and their subtraction cannot pro- 
duce irritation. In fact, independently of all original want, 
we assume the habit of being excited in some certain man- 
ner, and in some certain organs : we find pleasure in this, 
and then a factitious want is created. If the excitations that 
these enjoyments give rise to, should be wanting, we feel 
restlessness and uneasiness ; the well-marked desire of ex- 
periencing our usual stimulations shews itself. This desire 
may of itself increase and be exalted into irritation, situated 
in the brain and viscera. This irritation is produced by a 
moral cause ; but the defect of our habitual excitations may 
affect us in another manner. We allude to those cases 
where such excitations induce the evacuation of a fluid of 
some kind. This fluid being no longer directed to its usual 
emunctory, becomes a burthen upon the animal economy, , 
and if nature does not direct it to its regular and normal 
course of discharge, such as cutaneous perspiration, urine, 

j lot ] excites in the organic tissue an extraordinary irritation 
which becomes a real disease. 

In our opinion, we may regard these as the chief causes oi 
those irritative diseases which depend on defect of excitement. 

Let us now proceed to investigate those which are pro- 
duced directly by excitation. 

Sec. 3. How excess of excitation produces diseases of 
irritation, and what those diseases are. 

We repeat once more, that excitement will become extin- 
guished, if it be not kept up by stimulants. We now add, 
that to maintain an equilibrium, it is necessary that new 
stimulants should not be applied to the nervous portion of 
the several organs, until the excitation of those which have 
preceded, has been reduced down to a certain point : This 
point is not easy to be determined ; it varies according to 
individual constitution, and according to the habitude and 
the degree of the excitants or stimulants. If excitation be 
too often renewed, if it be always applied, before that which 
has preceded it be sufficiently weakened, or if it be provoked 
by agents of uncommon activity, it no longer becomes of 
itself gradually weaker, until it falls into a regular normal 
type ; but it continues ; and although the organ be removed 
from the action of the stimulants that have provoked this 
new irritation, it exceeds its normal type, and puts on the 
character of irritation. In all these cases, excitation travels 
on with great rapidity in nervous matter : it is propagated 
from one visceral centre to another, always receiving a 
fresh impulse at the place most excited : it attracts and ac- 
cumulates the fluids in all the tissues where it predominates, 
and tends to denaturalize the phenomena of calorification, 
secretion, exhalation, and nutrition, as we shall soon see.* 

The proofs of this assertion are abundant, and obvious to 
all observers. We need only remark some of the most 
striking, and which may be referred to the different organic 
apparatus. An atmosphere too oxygenated, excites the 
lungs more strongly in proportion as they are at the time 

*See Examendes doctrines medicales, 1816, p. 439, where the follow- 
ing passage may be found under the head physiology of irritations:— 
" When a stimulant acts on our organs, the nerves receive the impression. 
This irritating impression being received in the nervous system, the 
course it takes is this: either it remains there and produces morbid phe- 
nomena, neuroses ; or it operates on the sanguineous capillary system, 
and determines therein phlegmasia; ; or it operates on the non-sanguine 
ous capillaries, secretory or excretory, exhalant or absorbent, and gives 
rise to those numberless alterations of which I have before spoken.'' 

[ 1.30 ] - 

more exeiteable, and there produces inflammation. Food 
excites the stomach during a certain time : but if by new 
supplies of food we are resolved to expose that organ to new 
excitements, before the last digestion is sufficiently weaken- 
ed, the stomach undergoes an excitement, which is not 
weakened in the usual and normal manner, it becomes irri- 
tation : at first this is merely nervous, and is dissipated by 
the passage of the ingesta, or by other stimulants : but if 
this overloading be persevered in, the irritation becomes 
sufficiently strong to produce an unnatural accumulation of 
fluids.* The lapse of time necessary to produce this over- 
excitation, varies according to the more or less stimulating 
quality of the meats and drink, and according to the power 
in the individual of establishing an equilibrium of normal 
excitation : but whether it require a week or several years, 
still, over eating and indulgence in intoxicating liquors, is 
sure to bring on gastritis more or less nervous, and accom- 
panied always by a morbid alteration in the tissues irrita-' 
ted. Certain substances exceedingly exciting, such as 
strong alcohol, acrid and corrosive poisons, &c. require only 
an instant to produce this irritation in the stomach ; in like 
manner certain deleterious gases can produce an over ir- 
ritation in the respiratory organs, in the twinkling of an eye. 
If the natural excitants of our organs of sense, the eyes, the 
ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the skin, are too powerful, the 
apparatus exposed to their action suffers in consequence ; 
but if you suspend the stimulation, the excitation produced 
will decrease, and the equilibrium will be soon re-establish- 
ed : but if the stimulation be incessantly repeated before 
this equilibrium be restored, the sensitive apparatus will be 
irritated, will become disordered, and often within a shade 
of the disorganization of the part. Those who have long 
misused their eyes are in this case. The ear is not irrita- 
ted but by sounds extremely loud ; but the nose and the 
mouth are often irritated by sternutatories and sialagogues : 
as to the skin, any one may verify our statements by using 
frictions or topical irritants. 

In all intellectual operations, it is the brain that acts. Al- 
low it rest after exertion, and you may enjoy with irapunity 
the pleasures of study. But if you keep on forcing it, 
either by continued study, or by yielding to the movements 

* Hence heart-burn, chronic gastric inflammation, or sub-inflammation, 
that is. dyspepsia. — TransJ. 

L ieo j 

of the passions, and compel it to new exertions before- th^ 
first has settled down to a normal state, the stimulation be- 
comes excessive, irritation is produced, and the delicate 
medullary tissue of this organ becomes exposed to serious 
alterations by the extraordinary afflux of fluids to the part, 
and the deviations from the nutritive affinities. This organ 
is one in which it is singularly difficult to re-establish the 
normal type of its organic action, because it is the boundary 
of all the lively stimulations which take place on the sur- 
faces of relation, both of the external and internal tissues; it 
is no wonder then that the maladies which depend on cere- 
bral irritation are so common. Megrims, lunacies, convul- 
sions, paralyses, apoplexies, are the chief ; all acknowledg- 
ing irritation as their cause, but not always induced by the 
irregular exercise of the intellect or affections: the stimula- 
tion of the stomach is a frequent source, in consequence of 
the sympathy of the organs of thought with those of digestion. 

We have been too long ignorant that the heart compelled 
to beat with supernormal activity by violent exercise, by 
moral affections, and by the inflammations produced by fe- 
ver, ends by contracting an irritation which is sufficient to 
alter its tissue, and conduct it by hypertrophy, to the state 
of aneurism. Intellectual labour pushed too far, passions 
violent and more especially long continued, giving no rest 
to innervation, or time to return to a normal state, engen- 
der every day a state of irritation whose principal seat is in 
the nervous apparatus of the three visceral cavities ; for it is 
thus (as we shall see) irritation has different predominant 
localities, as well as different degrees of intensity. It is 
easy to apply to the organs of generation, the secretory or- 
gans* and the muscles, the observations we have just made 
on the principal visceral apparatus, considered as liable to 
the influence of excitants. 

This second source of disease, (excess of excitation con- 
verted into irritation) is more fruitful than the first (defect 
of excitation ) and is indeed the source whence far the great- 
er part of our maladies flow. Writers may assert, generally, 
that over exercise of our organs fatigues them, and that the 
body long exposed to these rough proofs is used up and 
worn out. But in saying this they express the result only, 
without affording any notion of the physiological changes that 
produce it. This process is excitation, and the modifica^ 
tion of it that destroys us, is in every case irritation. 

I 161 J 
It is to this irritation wc must refer a crowd of diseases, 
which have been attributed to vicious humours, or to virus; 
such as scrofula, ring-worms, &c. and those which arise from 
the agency of contagion and infection. In fact, how do these 
maladies differ from those whose causes we have indicated? 
Certainly in the nature of the irritating agent only. In our 
most usual irritative affections, the agents are those which 
keep up our existence. They are in fault only by being in 
excess or in defect. But let them undergo an alteration in 
their constituent principles, let them be deteriorated by fer- 
mentation, putrefaction, or loaded with foreign deleterious 
principles, and we shall see them converted into true poi- 
sons: in that case, they are upon the same footing with every 
other substance in nature, not destined for our nourishment 
or our sustenance, in the regular and usual manner. Nev- 
ertheless, what effect have all these poisons but to produce 
irregular abnormal excitations, and without requiring re- 
peated or prolonged action, to convert them into an irrita- 
tion capable of wearing out the nervous power, producing a 
collapse, or determining; active congestions in the principal 
viscera ? It is said they affect the humours of the body; but 
during life this is a chimera. All that can truly be 'said 
hereon, is that the humours of the body may serve as vehi- 
cles to them during a longer or shorter time : but this virus, 
these poisons will produce no disease till they produce an ir- 
ritation in the solids. This is proved, inasmuch as the ani- 
mal economy may become habituated to such of them as are 
not poisonous in a very high degree, or do not corrode the 
tissues: for the molecules of these poisons circulate in our 
vessels without injury for an indeterminate time without any 
renewal of those irritations which their contact heretofore 
produced in the solids : such are putrid miasmata of moder- 
ate activity, and those of a much more active character, be- 
longing to the plague, the yellow fever, the small pox, &c. 
As to those poisons whose activity is such, that life is incom- 
patible with their presence, they can make no attack but by 
irritating the organs and destroying them, as strong acids 
and alkalies do when injected into the vessels ; or in causing 
by too rapid an excitement a loss in the nervous matter, of 
that excitability to which our existence is attached : such 
are the gases which exhale from certain burying places, and 
whose first inhalation is suddenly fatal. Our opinion is, that 
of the known poisons, none of them are dircctlv sedative of 

[ 163 I 

nervous excitability : and we will demonstrate it by some 
detailed observations which cannot find a place here, but 
which will be decisive. At present we can only give a 
bare idea of this. Whenever the most formidable among 
the poisons act in a small dose, upon some tissue actively 
alive, they over excite that tissue ; this is a fact of expe- 
rience. Can we then conclude, that when they kill sudden- 
ly, when applied in quantity, that they produce this effect in 
any other manner than by rapidly consuming the excitability 
of the more delicate tissues ? Of those tissues in our econo- 
my which are most vibratory, in those where all the move- 
ments of the animal machine commence, of those on which 
our existence depends, in a word on the nervous tissues ? 
These reflections are made to awaken our curiosity to the 
manner in which irritation acts when it once establishes it- 
self in our organs. It is to this investigation we are now 
proceeding, in order to complete the general history of this 
interesting phenomenon. 

Sec. 4. Of the changes that take place in the organs , in 
consequence of Irritation. 

The irritated tissues assume more rapid motions than in 
their normal state. They summon to the irritated part, the 
fluids, in consequence of the affinity that takes place be- 
tween the fluids and the solids, and which is stronger as the 
power of life is more intense. They form what are called 
diseased vital erections, (erections vitales morbides) which 
in their turn produce changes in the mode of existence of 
the tissues themselves. The first and chief, is the inflam- 
matory state. The irritated part swells, becomes penetrated 
with blood, and red : caloric is disengaged more than usual, 
and the local temperature is increased. The part is threat- 
ened by disorganization ; but as inflammation may assume a 
variety of shades, so may the disorganization consequent 
upon it. When inflammation has produced an excessive con- 
gestion, gangrene or death of the tissue ensues, and putre- 
faction takes place before it be detached from the living 
parts ; oftener it is suppuration ; at other times is a hard, 
red, inflamed place. These three terminations generally 
render the part affected unfit for its destined uses; it sepa- 
rates entirely, or it becomes soft, dissolves, and the solid 
molecules of which it consisted are re-absorbed: that is, are 
carried away by the stream of circulation that is perpetuallv 
passing through the patt in question, and of course thev dis~ 

i 163 j 

appear Horn the organization. This destruction may be 
complete or incomplete ; in the latter case the part that ex- 
periences a phlegmonous inflammation, may still perform its 

in certain cases, the inflammation, either in respect of its 
duration, or in respect of the organization of the diseased 
tissue, loses part of its activity, and becomes chronic. There 
are some inflammations, which establish in the parts they at- 
tack, a kind of abnormal nutrition, which covers the part 
with vegetations : indeed we may say, that before it produ- 
ces the destruction of an organ, inflammation always begins. 
by determining to that organ a certain degree of hypertro- 
phy : but this hypertrophy disappears, whenever the inflam- 
mation becomes rapid ; and it never makes a great progress 
unless in those inflammations whose moderate intensity al- 
lows them to continue a long time. 

Inflammation which has not produced disintegration of the 
tissues, often causes them in its decline, to contract abnor- 
mal adhesions ; and produces deformities in the tissues. 
more or less considerable, without having occasioned a real 
disorganization. It produces these alterations, by trans- 
forming the lymphatic molecules which it has evaporated at 
the surface of inflamed tissues, into solids. It is thus that 
it consolidates wounds, and establishes durable adhesions 
between surfaces that were previously unconnected, or that 
rubbed against, or slid over each other. The pleura, the 
pericardium, the peritoneum, are the most usual seats of 
these adhesions ; but they may be formed in any situation 
where two inflamed surfaces come in contact. We take 
advantage of this disposition to adhesion in our organs, to 
cure some original deformities, such as the hair-lip : it suf- 
fices for this purpose, to make the two living surfaces 
bloody, by cutting through the lip, setting the edges 
free, and then keeping them in contact. The inflammation 
that takes place, produces an adhesion which lasts through 

It is by means of inflammation, that irritation produces the 
most astonishing effects. As yet we have but briefly touch- 
ed upon those which take place in the part where inflam- 
mation is developed ; by-and-bye, we shall examine the 
consequences. Our business at present, is to enquire into 
what passes in other organs, in consequence of the inflam- 
mation of any one of them. 

i 164 ] 

Slight inflammations affect that part only where they are 
seated, and very often the individual is not sensible of their 
presence. A man in a fit of appopievy does not feel the 
blister you apply to his skin ; the inflammations excited in 
a paralytic limb are seldom felt ; several deep seated inflam- 
mations in a part containing few nerves, in a subject of dull 
sensibility, run their course without any painful sensation 
giving evidence of their presence. 

"Pain, accurately speaking, is not among the number of lo- 
cal phenomena, that are essential to inflammation. Indeed, 
how should it be, for sensibility is a function of the brain ? 
Pain, therefore, must be ranked among the extra local phen- 
omena which depend on transmitted irritation. The nerves, 
agents of all irritative communication, conductors of all stim- 
ulation, transmit irritation to the brain when it is violent in 
an inflamed part. Hence, pain is the valuable exponent 
which completes the diagnosis of inflammation ; and we may 
see how important this sign is, when it becomes necessary 
to pronounce on inflammation in some hidden organ, where 
redness is not visible, where increase of heat, not distinguish- 
able by the touch, can only be referred to pain, and where 
tumefaction is hard to be ascertained. 

But here, the history of inflammation becomes complica- 
ted and obscure to a degree, that requires on the part of the 
physician efforts of attention, of reasoning, and of induction, 
which prevented this phenomenon from being fully under- 
stood and appreciated by the ancients. So soon as inflam- 
mation or phlegmasia (synonimous expressions) is consid- 
erable, whether from its activity, its extent, or from its vio- 
lently affecting the brain, this cerebral irritation affects also 
a crowd of other organs, which in return transmit to the 
brain their own irritations. Hence, proceed a great variety 
of painful sensations, and motions more or less unpleasant 
and disordered ; the first mover in this tumultuous assem- 
blage, inflammation, is often lost sight of by the suffering in- 
dividual ; and it has long been overlooked by those whose 
business it is to observe what passes, and procure him relief. 
What else in fact are those fevers, which for so many- 
centuries have been objects of investigation to the physi- 
cians, and the perpetual sources of their hypotheses and 
controversies, but inflammations misunderstood ? And why 
has it been so ? Because irritation transmitted to the brain 
by the part inflamed, and re-transmitted from the brain to 

i 165 ], 

a \ i-ral other tissues, produced stronger sensations than 
those which are referred to the original center of inflam- 
mation. These secondary irritations are what constitute 
the " sympathies" of the inflammatory state. It will be 
seen that we do not hesitate to attribute them to the brain ; 
and our remarks on those inflammations that are not felt, and 
which do not occasion pain at their place of origin, nor sen- 
sation in any other part, justify our opinion. 

It has been asked how the nerves can be the agents of 
sympathy between distant organs supplied with different 
nerves ? It has been forgotten by those who ask this ques- 
tion, that the brain is the center of all the nerves, and that 
it never receives a stimulation without reflecting it not only 
to the nerves that transmitted it, but to others.* These re- 
flected stimulations, effect each organ according to the na- 
ture of its functions, and often originate in them, irritations 
more painful than those at the original locality of the inflam- 

This is not only the case in those inflammations which are 
sufficiently intense to produce fever, but in many others far 
less violent. Thus it is sometimes with the phlegmasia of 
the stomach and intestines, which without being themselves 
the seat of much pain, occasion distressing head aches, pains 
in the back and loins, in the sides of the chest, in the shoul- 
ders, weariness in the limbs, or determinations to delirium, 
whose cause is mistakenly referred to the head. It is in 
consequence of these sympathetic transmissions, by means 
of the brain, that deep seated inflammations in the bronchice, 
irritate the larynx and produce cough ; that inflammations 
in the parenchyma of the lungs, occasion pains in the back 
or at the middle of the sternum ; when they occur in the 
large intestines, they constitute dysentery, affect the loins 
and the thighs, and produce there more pain than at the in- 
flamed locality ; in like manner, inflammations of the uterus, 
occasion with many women durable pains in the loins and the 
groin ; in certain inflammations of the brain, the uneasiness 
shews itself principally in the stomach and digestive organs, 
or else in certain muscles which become convulsed and par- 
alytic; many inflammations of the urinary passages, are 
painful only at the extre mity of the urethra ; those of the 

* This fact has been demonstrated in the treatise, On physiology appli- 
ed to pathology ; and before, in treating of the intellectual and instinct- 
ive excitation. 

I 166 | 

kidneys announce themselves immediately in many cases 
by vomitings, and the disengagement of much gas in the 
stomach. This confusion docs not take place in external 
phlegmasia ; the form, characters, swelling, pain, heat, red- 
ness, are all manifest ; the diagnosis of external inflamma- 
tions has always been more easy than those that take place 
in organs hidden among the visceral cavities ; but for want 
of a just notion of these sympathies, physicians and sur- 
geons have often mistaken the influence of external inflam- 
mations on these organs. 

If all internal inflammations shewed themselves by errors 
of perception always the same, their diagnosis would not 
present any great difficulty ; but the same phlegmasia may 
present very different sympathies, while in some cases the 
original and local phenomenon, is far more violent than the 
secondary results. Hence no doubt the slow march of the 
science of medicine : these last mentioned inflammations, 
and those of the surface have been assumed as prototypes, 
and the others have been misunderstood. Physiological 
medicine alone, which brings us acquainted with the vari- 
ous functions of the same organ, and teaches us to appre- 
ciate the relations that they bear to all the others, can ex- 
plain the causes and -the reasons of this apparent confusion. 
We cannot enter into the details here. 

Among the phenomena which refer themselves to the 
transmission of irritation, we must note the alterations that 
take place in the colour, and in the secretions of organs more 
or less distant from the seat of disease. The most marked 
examples of this kind attend inflammatory irritation ; it is 
thus that the redness ol the tongue, of the palate, and the 
conjunctiva, con esponds to inflammation of the stomach; 
that the saliva and mucus of the mouth, are augmented in 
gastro-duodenal irritation. Similar changes are brought on 
by inflammation in the pancreatic juice and in the bile. It 
is always a sympathetic irritation transmitted to the secre- 
tory organs, which in lieu of their usual restrained action, 
all on a sudden excites in them an augmented action, which 
often passes into a morbid state. 

All these sympathies, which we shall denominate organ- 
ic, cannot take place but through the intervention of the 
nerves; but there are two orders of nerves; and those 
which play the principal part in these affections of relation, 
are the visceral nerves dependent on the a;reat sympathetic, 

[ Ml ] 

because they preside over the action of the vascular system. 
No doubt the cerebral nerves have their part also to per- 
form, for they are connected with the first mentioned order 
throughout all the viscera ; but it is solely as proceeding 
from the nervous system in general, and keeping up an ex- 
citation in that system that the cerebral nerves act ; for the 
intermedium of cerebral perception which belongs exclu- 
sively to the cerebral nerves, is by no means necessary to 
organic symptoms. Still it is a fact that the brain can influ- 
ence the secretions; thus the idea of meat produces saliva ; 
the idea of the infant, whom she suckles can occasion a flow 
of milk in a nurse's breast ; anger acts upon the liver ; and 
the idea of the act of generation on the testicules. But it 
is not probable that the intervention of the encephalon, 
should be necessary to organic sympathies, otherwise than 
as a cause of general excitement : for irritation pervades the 
nerves in all directions, and does not need the aid of the 
brain to pass and be propagated through nervous matter. 

This has been already clearly shewn in the first section, 
of Chap. IV. and we may dispense with the proofs here. 

In some cases normal excitement transformed by excess 
into irritation, throws out the blood which it attracts to the 
part, and produces hemorrhage. The evacuation of the 
blood, which forms a conjestion, depends on the organic dis- 
position of the part, and on this also, that the exterior pores 
are less irritated, or less strong and tenacious, than the inter- 
nal capillaries that act upon them. The analogy which ap- 
proaches hemorrhage to inflammation, results from identity 
of cause, similitude of local phenomena, until the moment 
when the blood is expelled, and the facility with which he- 
morrhage and inflammation succeed or replace each other, 
either in the same or in different tissues. Nevertheless, it 
is not every tissue that is susceptible of spontaneous hemorr- 
hage, while there is no tissue which may not be the seat of 
that kind of irritation which constitutes phlegmasia. 

Irritation developed in the living tissue, does not always 
alter it so as to produce inflammation. There are cases 
wherein the principal effect of irritation is to accumulate at 
the place, the lymphatic part of our humors, and to change 
the nutrition of the part, in a manner different from the dis- 
organizations that inflammation brings on, and which we 
have noted already. 

This difference arises from the primitive and original dif- 

t 168 ] 

fereuce of the tissues of which our organs are composed, 
and on the mode of action and the shade of irritability which 
presides over the life of each tissue. The areolar and lami- 
iiar'tissue is present in all our organs, and it shews itseli 
among them in various forms : sometimes as small transpa- 
rent lamince, more or less relaxed or tightened, and serving 
as a means of union between the organs, and between the 
different parts of the same organs ; sometimes as fatty tissue, 
when it fills large spaces between the organs and the appa- 
ratus ; in other cases, condensed and flattened as mem-, 
branes, which have always a cellular aspect, corresponding 
to the rest of the tissue of the same kind, and a suriace free 
and slippery, which corresponds to itself by means of dupli- 
catures and foldings, and which is smooth and slippery by 
means of the lymphatic vapours by which it is continually 
moistened : its use is to facilitate considerable removals, and 
diminish the friction that would otherwise be the consequence. 

Such arc the tissues of different aspects, but which may 
be regarded as modifications of one only ; and which are the 
usual seat of the most intense inflammations ; a proposition 
which has been developed in our History of Chronic Phleg- 
masia. When irritation has displayed itself there with 
energy, it attracts much blood to the parts, it swells them 
out, expands them where they are not too much condensed, 
and produces the phlegmon of which we have already spo- 
ken, and which has long been regarded as the type of all 
inflammations. But below this first degree of vascular irri- 
tation, a crowd of others group themselves, which are not 
less worthy of attention. Let us try in few words to give a 
clear idea of them. 

The first fact that strikes us is, that these same tissues are 
susceptible of another degree of irritation, which may itself 
be divided into several secondary degrees. Indeed, when 
irritation has not conducted these tissues through inflamma- 
tion, to suppuration or gangrene ; when it has not termina- 
ted by a gradual loss of its activity, and by organizing the 
lymph at the surface of inflamed parts, it engorges them with 
the same fluids for which, in their normal state, they served 
as a depot, and alters the nature of their nutrition in ways 
more or less extraordinary : hence, the degenerations that 
put on the character of lard, or fat, the fibrous, schirrous, 
cncephaloid, &c. These degenerations were formerly as- 
cribed to some virus, or specific depravations of the humors; 

[ *«9 J 

but observations made on their causes, on their progress, 
on their relation to other affections, and on their methods of 
cure, have demonstrated that they are nothing else but pro- 
ducts of irritation. — Seethe "History of Phlegmasia," arti- 
cle Peritonitis. Such is the first variety of sub-inflammations, 
that are seated in the same tissues, wherein inflammation is 
apt to develope itself with the greatest degree of intensity. 

The second variety of sub-inflammations, is manifested in 
lymphatic ganglions, which are found every where in the 
course of the absorbent vessels of a certain size. These 
little bodies are composed of blood vessels, nerves, and 
lymphatics, united by the areolar tissue ; but it is not well 
known, in what manner the different tissues that compose 
them are disposed. In all cases, we may observe that irri- 
tation takes place in them under the influence of certain 
exciting causes, and that it may be augmented into inflam- 
mation, which however is not common ; but the ganglions 
are often irritated in a manner that makes them swell, and 
hardens them with a remarkable augmentation of tempera- 
ture, and reduces them at length to a white substance, some- 
what like old cheese : this is the second variety of sub* 

The areolar tissue, and the ganglionic lymphatic, consti- 
tute a part of all our organic apparatus. It is not surprising, 
therefore, to find them affected and degenerated in all long 
continued irritations of that apparatus. These two first 
elements being well understood, let us proceed to such ap- 
pearances as belong particularly to these irritations. 

And first of all, let us fix our attention on those secretory 
organs, whose business it is to elaborate the humours des- 
tined to the performance of several functions. Such are 
the salivary glands, the liver, the pancreas, the kidneys, the 
testicules, the mammary glands, the follicules spread over 
all the surfaces of relation, as well external as internal, and 
certain glands of a similar nature, such as the amygdoloid, 
the prostrate, the lacrymal glands. All these are composed 
of a proper secreting tissue, which varies in a small degree, 
but which is always reducible, to blood vessels ; to the ves- 
sels which eliminate the secreted humor ; to lymphatic 
ganglions in the larger ones ; and absorbent vessels in all of 
them, to nerves more or fewer; and a cellular tissue, more 
or less abundant, more or less relaxed or stretched, and 
which serves as a means of union to these various tissues. 

[ «™ j 

These organs, moreover, offer to our remark the first 
mode of organic irritation, inflammation ; which, in its high- 
est degree, confuses all these tissues by expanding exces- 
sively the cellular tissue, and filling it with blood, accompa- 
nied bv heat, pain, and imminent danger of suppuration or 
gangrene. But, if we examine all these secreting organs, 
when they are not tormented by this rapid action, we shall 
find nothing but irritation excited by the same causes that 
produce phlegmon, or by the action of several other excit- 
ants, and confined in its influence to some of their tissues 
in particular. Thus, when a gland slightly hot and swelled, 
ceases on a sudden to secrete, or furnishes its fluid in greater 
quantity than usual, or presents it more or less altered, dif- 
fluent, concrete, odorant, irritant as to the neighboring parts ; 
when this fluid, badly elaborated, becomes decomposed, 
forming concretions more or less solid, with a feeling of 
smarting, weight, lancinating pains, &c. can we avoid con- 
cluding that irritation has taken up its abode in that portion 
of the glandular apparatus, which is destined to form saliva 
in the salivary glands, bile in the liver, urine in the kidneys, 
seed in the testicules, fat or transpirable matter in the skin, 
mucosity in the internal membranes of the lungs, the gastric 
passages, the bladder, &c? At length, after these organs 
having, for a long time secreted improperly, begin to swell, 
to harden, to become painful, to put on a schirrous appear- 
ance, or pass into a cancerous state — instructed by what 
passes daily under our eyes, in tissues purely cellular, or 
ganglionic, when feebly irritated, we shall at length begin to 
think that the tissues which constitute part of our secretory 
glands have, in like manner, been affected by irritation. 

Thus it has been, that the supposed humoral diseases for- 
merly attributed to ferments, to acridities, to virus, such as 
salivations, bilious affections, obstructions of the liver con- 
nected with chronic gastro-enteritis, obstinate pulmonic 
catarrhs, obstructions of the bladder or the rectum, tetters, 
involuntary emissions, fluor albus, diabetes, gouty affections, 
&c. rank among irritations, or sub-inflammations of the se- 
cretory organs, and finally belong to sub-inflammations, either 
mixed, lymphatic, cancerous, or tubercular ; when the chro- 
nic irritation has continued in the secretory organs, suffi- 
ciently long to induce a complete degeneration. 

We now begin to study vascular irritation in the more 
complicated tissues ; and hereafter, in examining irritation 

I m I 

in those tissues oi which we have not yet spoken, we shall 
be able to find nothing contrary to our preceding remarks, 
since the areolar tissue and the membranes formed of it, 
constitute the basis of the others. Every where, in fact, in 
the organs which remain to be examined, we ought to meet, 
1st, in the highest degree, phlegmon, if the areolar tissue, 
where the capillary arteries terminate, is free to expand 
itself. 2dly, in the lower degrees, and where the areolar 
tissue is condensed, compressed, we meet either sub-inflam- 
mations the effect of inflammation that has been abortive, or 
sub-inflammations primitively and originally such. These 
sub-inflammations, whether primitive or secondary, if of 
long duration, always produce tumours, lardaceous, ence- 
phaloid, schirrous, tuburcular, vegetations, collections of 
lymph, or concretions ; in short, when the inflammation 
which reigns in these altered tissues, is strongly exasperated, 
either by the influence of its own progress, or by causes of 
great activity, cancer becomes the last and deadly conse- 

What we have thus summarily and briefly stated, embra- 
ces all the inflammations of the locomotive apparatus, known 
under the name of rheumatism and gout, when they are 
caused by cold, or succeed to visceral irritations. These 
are very common diseases, which may be seated either, 1st, 
in the muscles, where the phlegmonous type may take place, 
from the quantity of free cellular tissue, that separates the 
fasciculi of muscle. 2dly, In the aponeuroses and the tendons, 
where inflammation so often becomes abortive, and assumes 
the character of sub-inflammation. 3dly, In the articulations, 
where irritation behaves at first differently, according to the 
constitution of the subjects, and according as it makes its 
appearance at the interior of the capsules, or in the liga- 
ments to which the bones are connected, but where it 
always ends by losing itself in various stages of sub-inflam- 
mation. 4thly, In the cartilages and bones, which admit the 
irritation of soft parts, and which, in their turn, are altered 
by becoming soft, by caries, or by necrosis. 

The irritations of the same tissues determined by violent 
causes, are subject to the same laws. In fact, phlegmons 
either acute or chronic, caries, white swelling of the ar- 
ticulations, the consequence of wounds or contusions, only 
re-produce in the locomotive apparatus the various phenom- 
ena of which gout and rheumatism are specimens. The 

L 17 ~ -J 

phenomena of transmission remain; and experience shows 
us that the irritation of the locomotive apparatus may be 
transferred to the viscera, and affects them according to 
their respective modes of organization.* Finally, we have 
to speak of the irritations that are seated in the net vous ap- 
paratus or system. We shall divide this apparatus into 
three sections: 1st. The first, will comprehend the nervous 
extremeties that are lost in the tissues, where they become 
confounded with the sanguinary capillaries, and constitute a 
part of the organ itself. This portion of the nervous sys- 
tem is least understood as to its intimate structure. This it 
is which receives the stimulations, and transmits them to the 
second portions or the nervous cords. The irritations to 
which it submits, are divided with the organs of which it 
forms a part ; but it may be more or less affected by them. 
2dly, The second section, or the nervous cords, are of two 
kinds, viz. the cerebral nerves, which consist, as is said, of 
nerves of feeling, and nervesf of motion ; and the splanch- 
nic nerves. The nervous cords are sprinkled here and 
there at intervals, with swellings or protuberances gelatino- 
fibrinous, called ganglions. 3dly, The third section, com- 
prehends the cerebral nerves, properly so called, those 
of the cerebellum and medulla oblongata, and those of the 
spinal marrow, (rachidian) which forms what is called the 
cerebro-rachidian apparatus, or internal sensitive nerve. 
We are now about to take up the irritations of these three 
sections of the nervous system. 

The first fact which strikes us, is one that we have al- 
ready spoken of several times, to wit, that all the irritations 
of a certain intensity, which the first division necessarily 
partakes of, are transported by the nerves of the second sec- 
tion to the internal sensitive, which constitutes the third ; 
and are reflected by the third, back again into the second, 
and thence anew to the first. Thus it is, that there are 
no lively sensations, no considerable muscular movements, 
which do not attest this circle of excitement. So long as 
these excitations are proportioned to those of the organs 
which admit them, they constitute no malady ; but when 
they go beyond this, a nervous affection takes place, a neu- 

- Juicquidrecipitur,recipitur ad modum recipientis^ is the old school 
maxim, of most useful application in a thousand instances.— Transl 
tJ o h ,f e J ee ^ S at P rese »t "tile doubt of this, since the experiments of 
Mr. Bell, Mr. Broughton, Magendie, &c— Transl 

[ m i 

The iii sl division of neuroses consists of painful sensa- 
tions and convulsive motions, which are excited by some 
one of those vascular irritations of which we have spoken, 
and which become so predominant, that the patient complains 
greatly, and seeks eagerly to be delivered from them. The 
cases are, 1st, those of persons who by reason of some wound 
or lesion not immediately injuring a nervous cord, expe- 
rience great pain, convulsion or tetanus. 2dly, those who 
being attacked at first by acute phlegmonous inflammation 
in the digestive organs (the continued or essential fevers so 
called) soon become affected with delirium or convulsions: 
or who being worried by chronic inflammation, either of the 
digestive canal, or some other of the viscera, as the uterus, 
the heart, the bronchia?, refer it to a crowd of painful sen- 
sations, and become affected with irregular motions of the 
visceral, the respiratory, and locomotive muscles; this class 
comprises hypochondriacs and hysterical patients. The 
number is very great ; for in the modern state of civiliza- 
tion, few persons arrive at middle age without having con- 
tracted a morbid excess of sensibility in some part of the 
body. Man is greedy of sensations ; he obtains them only 
by excitation, and every organ requires this ; he excites his 
stomach more, and more frequently than he ought, especial- 
ly by savory food and fermented liquors ; he compels his 
heart to beat with unreasonable rapidity, either by the pas- 
sions to which he gives himself up, or by painful and irrita- 
ting exercise to which he submits ; he worries his sexual 
organs to excite in them pleasurable sensations, and seldom 
arrives at a due estimate of his powers in this respect, till 
he has abused them to the injury of his health. Moreover, 
as man, he is exposed to a multitude of causes which tend 
to disturb the balance of his excitability. Sometimes* cold 
freezes his senses, and paralyses his limbs, which re-assume 
their motions only to expose him to violent pain ; to fits of 
the rheumatism or the gout, whose intensity increases as he 
has voluntarily contributed to the irritations of his stomach: 
sometimes he is overwhelmed with the weight of p rinful 
affections ; and his sufferings are increased by his own self 
reproaches ; or death sometimes snatches from him, the 
being that attached him to life. If the reader has not lost 
sight of the developements heretofore made on the functions 
of the nervous system, he may easily comprehend, that a 
man cannot live long in the midst of these terrible attacks, 

without irritation hiking up its permanent abode in one or 
more of the organs. At first, it is the nervous matter of the 
organ which is over excited ; to this succeeds sub-inflam- 
mation and inflammation ; while these two modes of irrita- 
tion do not disorganise the diseased tissue, the nervous phe- 
nomena, that is, the sensations more or less painful, more or 
less extraordinary, as well as the contractions and convulsive 
tortures of the nervous fibres, are all moveable and curable ; 
but when an irregular abnormal nutrition produces different 
modes of vascular irritation, and have altered the nature of 
the irritated tissues, there is no resource in medicine. The 
organs and apparatus of which these tissues form a part, 
can no longer live but in an unnatural and vitiated manner. 
The nervous matter which forms a part of them, is no longer 
in unison with the other regions of the body ; it transmits 
to the encephalic centre an excess of excitement, and com- 
pels it in consequence to act too strongly upon other nerves; 
so that harmony and regularity can no longer reign over the 
living economy. The remainder of life is passed in perpet- 
ual pain, and in pain strongly diversified as to its type : for 
the patient does not only suffer in the diseased organs ; he 
refers his uneasy sensations successively to every depart- 
ment of sensibility. He connects his painful and unusual 
emotions, with all the ideas he has received since he began 
to know himself. He wanders, he suffers, and he causes 
every body else to suffer who approach him. Such is the 

All these morbid states bear witness, that in perceiving 
an irritation, and in determining the voluntary or involuntary 
motions which are the results of this perception, the internal 
apparatus of sensibility is itself excited to the degree that 
constitutes irritation. Once brought to this abnormal diapa- 
son, the system may undergo all the consequences of it : that 
is to say, its irritation may become phlegmasia, hemorrhage, 
or sub-inflammation. It is thus that encephalitis, arachnoi- 
ditis, become complicated into what was formerly termed 
essential fever; and that melancholy, hypochondriac, and 
hysteric patients, become lunatic, epileptic, or struck with 
apoplexy. Stich is the secondary irritation of the nervous 
system. At first it is neurosis : it then becomes transform- 
ed into something more humoural, viz. vascular irritation.* 

* There is much vague notion and uncertainty among physicians of the 
present day, on inflammations of the serous envelope of the brain, called 

[ 1?5 j 

The second fact on which we ought to bestow our atten- 
tion is, that the nerves (the nervous cords) being in part 
formed of the same laminar tissue which we have shown to 
be most liable to contract inflammation, the nerves are ex- 
posed to the same mode of irritation, which ought to affect 
them more or less according as the same tissue which forms 
their neurilema, is more or less abundant, more compressed 
and condensed. In fact, without speaking of affections that 
arise from wounds which may attack the nerves as well as 
any other organ, there are other causes which direct and 
fix irritation in the nervous branches, and carry them on to 
the degree of phlegmasia. The inflammation of the large 

the tunica arachhoides. Many observers attribute madness exclusively 
to the phlegmasia of that part, as if the substance of the brain could pos- 
sibly be a stranger to it. Others think that the pia mater may become 
inflamed. Others maintain that madness depends exclusively on the in- 
flammation of the grey portion of the medullary substance, which occu- 
pies the convex portion of the cerebral hemispheres. It is our opinion, 
that irritation in the encephalon cannot increase into inflammation, unless 
the blood vessels are also actively influenced. On the other hand, we 
cannot conceive that delirium can take place without an excitation of the 
white fibres of the encephalon, which evidently constitute its particular 
nervous system. From these data, it seems to us that we may assume it 
as certain, that inflammation first appears in the pia mater, from whence 
it may propagate itself convergingly into the grey and into the white sub- 
stance ; and divergingly into the arachnoid membrane, even to the dura 
mater and the bone, as is shewn in the ivory sculls of lunatics. It is easy 
to conceive that a centre of inflammation, occupying a space more or less 
considerable in the vascular sanguineous cap which envelopes the brain, 
may propagate itself to the grey substance, and throw into the white med- 
ullary substance irritation enough to occasion lunacy. Many things may 
be said as to the slight shades of irritation in these same tissues, in the 
case where it acts upon the blood vessels in a degree below suppuratory 
inflammation — in cases where it resides more especially in the white por- 
tion of the brain and its nervous matter — or in this or that region of this 
substance ; that is to say, in this or that section of the intercranial ner- 
vous apparatus — but of all this Ave must say nothing but what rests on the 
basis of facts. We shall speak of this again. But we may observe in 
addition here, in relation to the inflammations of the tunica arachnoides, 
that inflammation not proceeding from wounds or violent lesions (non 
traumatiques) establishes itself in the encephalon in two ways, 1st, Some- 
times by means of some moral cause, when the irritation takes place in 
the white medullary fibre, and agitates first the inter-cranial nerves under 
the types of delirium and convulsions ; and ends by acting on the sangui- 
neous capillaries, in which it produces inflammation; 2dly, Irritation 
sometimes seated in some other vascular sanguineous tissue, becomes 
propagated by organic sympathies in the pia mater and the arachnoid 
coat. Do not lunacies and arachnitis proceeding from moral causes, be- 
long to the first section ? Do not lunacies proceeding frcrn gastro-enteritis 
belonir the second ? 

L lW J 

nervous cords of the loins, the thighs, the arms, is by no 
means uncommon as a consequence of cold, or the suppres- 
sion of hemorrhages, or cutaneous or articular inflamma- 
tions ; local pains and convulsions (neuralgies) aiise irom 
the same cause. These affections may be determined to 
any branches of nerves on the exterior of the body, by the 
irritation of any nervous cord belonging to them, which may 
find itself enveloped by inflamed parts. The inflammation 
of the roots of the teeth, by attacking the nerve inserted, is 
sufficient to produce neuralgia in different branches of the 
fifth pair, and in the facial nerve. Here then is a second 
kind of neurosis belonging exclusively to the second section 
of the nervous apparatus, and referring itself to inflamma- 
tory irritation. We see clearly too, that while it depends 
in part on the vascular inflammation of the organs, it is con- 
nected also with the internal sensitive or encephalic appa- 
ratus; seeing that the perception of pain always implies an 
excitation of the encephalic tissue, and that all excitation 
may increase into irritation. 

This last reflection calls us to the consideration of the 
great fact, on which depend neuroses of the third division. 
This manifestly relates to the cases where the substance of 
the cerebro-rachidian apparatus is excited to the degree of 
irritation. This may happen, at first, as a consequence of 
the two primary divisions of the nervous state. For delirium, 
convulsions, lunacy, which depend on the irritation more or 
less intense of the brain and its membranes, may be provo- 
ked by picking, tearing, or pinching a nervous cord, far 
removed from the head, as well as by acute or chronic 
inflammation of the viscera. Let the primitive irritations 
of the encephalon then take place, and this section will 
comprise all the affections we have recounted, such as deli- 
rium, transitory or permanent, intermittent or continued ; 
and convulsion ; in so far as these maladies are dependent 
on local causes extra cerebral, and brought on by excita- 
tions directly applied to the encephalon, as by external 
violence ; or in so far also as they are excited in that appa- 
ratus by intellectual labor, by moral causes, by sanguineous 
plethora, &c. In short, whatever maybe the cause that has 
produced irritation in the brain, it may produce also, delirium, 
coma, epilepsies, apoplexies, palsies ; all of them signs, indi- 
cating that encephalic inflammation has become vascular, 
and that it partakes of the inflammatory state : the results 

[ 177 J 

are, sanguineous engorgement, suppuration, indurations, ex- 
travasations of blood and lymph, ulcerations, and other degen- 
erations, more or less considerable, such as, schirrous, car- 
tilaginous, osseous, &c. depending on some fault of nutrition; 
always analagous to what we observe in other tissues, where- 
in we have studied the important phenomena of vascular 

Such is the brief picture of the second class of maladies, 
and of-those that depend on irritation, whether secondary or 
primary. To these, we must add the affections, which are 
the consequences of these two classes: although not primi- 
tive, they often present indications which merit a particular 

Thejirst general fact at which we Ought to stop awhile, 
is the obstacle to the course of the blood, either partial or 
general. The consequence always is, either a debility 
which directs the fluids to one point, or an irritation which 
excites them to flow thither : such are aneurisms of the 
heart and arteries, inflammations of the arteries, phlebitis, 
varices and tumors, from whatever cause they may proceed, 
and which take place on the course of the principal vessels. 
This form of disease cannot be well distinguished, until the 
affections of our organs are referred to their true causes ; 
hence the old physicians had but a very imperfect compre- 
hension of them. 

The obstacles to the course of the blood, which are of the 
most interest, are those that form in the centre of circula- 
tion. Let the obstacle depend on the depression of the 
heart, caused by an effusion within the pericardium, or even 
pleuritic ; or let it proceed from a distension of the sides of 
the heart, with the softening of the parietes ; or let it be 
owing to induration, with diminution of volume, without 
inflammation of the pericardium ; let the cause of the obsta- 
cle be in the one auricle or the other ; let it arise from a 
dilation at the crossing of the aorta and vena cava, or from 
an inflammatory exudation which has contracted the caliber 
of the principle vessels in the vicinity of the heart, by its 
concretion ; let it result from the obliteration of the orifices 
of the aorta by some fungosity, or some vegetation on the 
muscular sides while they preserve their vigor ; or from 
some irregular dilatation of the same orifices with a soften- 
ing of the fleshy substance of the organ; let there be a 
hernia of the ventricules, or a laceration of the columns- : 

[ 1?8 J 

still the fundamental symptoms will always be the same. 
Many accessary symptoms may arise belonging to the spe- 
cific character of the lesion, but they will be variable as the 
irritability is, which ought to be the interpreter of all vital 
lesions ; but the three following are never wanting : 1st, diffi- 
culty of respiration. 2dly, of locomotion or even impossi- 
bility sometimes of moving. 3dly, difficulty or impossibil- 
ity of sleeping. 

The coincidence of these three orders of symptoms consti- 
tute the pathognomonic sign of the central obstacle to the 
course of the blood ; and of course indicate a forced stagna- 
tion of this fluid in the vessels of the larger viscera, and par- 
ticularly in the parenchyma of the lungs. These are also 
the symptoms which furnish the fundamental indications, by 
throwing light on the probable consequences of the malady, 
and which suggest to the physician the necessity of a very 
minute investigation to ascertain the specific and peculiar 
cause of the obstacle. Moreover, it may be possible that 
this cause is but momentaneous, as a spasm of the heart, 
such as we see in some fits of convulsive asthma ; for it is 
the perseverance only of the sympathies that furnishes proof 
of some permanent obstacle to the course of the blood. 
(See Commentaries on Pathology.) In short, in all des- 
perate cases, it is the same group of symptoms which fur- 
nish the only indications which remain to be attended to, 
when we desire to alleviate the sufferings of the patient, 
and put off as long as possible the last hour. How many 
reasons are here for disinterring from the chaos of antiquity 
the pathology of those lesions which belonging to the ob- 
structed passage of the blood through the double straits of 
the thoracic centre, so as to establish the real characters of a 
peculiar class of maladies ! a number of symptoms group 
themselves around those lesions ; the union of these symp- 
toms constitute the character of the disorders in question ; 
but this is not exactly the time to enter into details. 

The second general effect we inquire about, is the extra- 
vasation of the serous fluids, or dropsies. Sometimes they 
are occasioned by direct debility owing to exhausted exci- 
tability, as at the close of great loss of blood, want of food 
watery regimen, humid atmosphere, &c. Sometimes they 
arc produced by irritation occasioning an interior exhala- 
tion viciously substituted to the purifying serous excretions. 
Sometimes these dropsies are indirectly provoked bv these 

[ na J 

vicious exhalations in consequence of the acute inflammation 
which they give rise to. Dropsies then are sometimes pri- 
mitive, sometimes and more frequently consecutive ; but in 
this latter case they always become for the living subject a 
cause of secondary irritation and of suffering ; and constant- 
ly present, besides the indications of the disease itself, the 
indication also of provoking the evacuation ol the serous fluid 
extravacated. Hence we are obliged to make of these 
maladies a particular class ; but we have not at present lei- 
sure to enter into the details respecting them. 

The third and constant effect of diseases of every kind, 
is to produce an attack upon the assimilating power of the 
system, and to prevent the perfect elaboration of the hu- 
mors. Hence arise a number of symptoms, which refer to 
cacochymy and scurvy of medical writers. These maladies 
are also characterized by the indication of a certain kind of 
alimentation ; and for this double reason they deserve to be 
treated separately. 

Scurvy may be primitive , dependant on food of bad qual- 
ity, on an atmosphere cold, wet, dull, unwholesome. One 
of its characteristic symptoms ; is defect of contractility of 
muscular fibrine, the common source of the languor felt by 
the patient, and the feebleness of his locomotion ; another 
symptom is extravasation of blood in the skin and sub-cu- 
taneous tissue. But it is important here to remark, 1st, that 
the internal membrane of the digestive canal, always re- 
ceives the first attack, being peculiarly the organ of assim- 
ilation. Hence the patient is exposed to chronic phlegma- 
sia or to hemorrhage of that canal, including the gums : 
2dly, that scorbutic persons are far from being exempt 
from phlegmasia? in the other organs, but they incur 
them with greater certainty in proportion as they are 
exposed to one of the most frequent causes of scurvy, cold 
combined with humidity ; 3dly that inflammation shews it- 
self in scurvy under two varieties, chronic apyrexy, as in 
the gums, and the mucous membrane of the digestive organs, 
which is no obstacle to the attack of cold ; and the acute and 
feverish scurvy, which may shew itself in all the organs : 
constituting the hot scurvy of authors ; wherein the patient 
is equally susceptible of intermitting irritations: 4thly that 
the tissues of the scorbutic patient, having a less force o 
cohesion, and less force of organic affinity than healthy per- 
sons, are also more exposed to disorganizations. Hence 

[ ISO J 

the aneurisms of the heart, and the laceration of the mus- 
cles even by moderate exertions, in scorbutic patients 
hence the large ecchymoses from slight contusions, and the as- 
tonishing rapidity with which inflammation in scorbutics pro- 
duces disorganization : 5thly, as there are always two sets 
of indications in scurvy, ( a) that owing to vicious assimilation, 
which demands fresh food particularly vegetable, a dry at- 
mosphere frequently renewed, and light : (b) the indication 
furnished by the complicated states of inflammation; which are 
treated as in other subjects, but with more caution as to the 
loss of blood. For all these reasons, scurvy ought to hold 
a separate place in works of pathology. 

The fourth general effect which we have to consider, is 
the debility consequent on the irritations which we have 
thus briefly noted. Weakness is indeed the common result 
of all our maladies ; and the indication of restoring strength, 
follows always on the process of diminishing it. Every 
tissue whose vascular system has been engorged by irritation, 
becomes weakened and relaxed after a certain time, and 
in proportion as the sum of the general forces has been more 
or less diminished. Every nerve whose action has been 
exaggerated, loses more or less of its excitability, and 
sometimes becomes paralytic. The cerebral nerves in par- 
ticular are always palsied, when irritation has disorganized 
their point of insertion, whether in the brain or spinal mar- 
row. In all these cases the general sum of bodily strength 
is always more or less diminished ; and the indication of 
stimulating, must always be tempered by that of managing 
the excitability of the organs. This is enough to consti- 
tute a particular class of diseases. 

Such is the general history of irritation, and a foreshorten- 
ed painting of the physiological doctrine. No vital pheno- 
menon, normal or abnormal, can be taken from its domain : 
physicians must chuse between two methods of philosophi- 
zing : they must be physiologists and adopt irritability as 
their guide ; or they must be empyrics, exposed to a thou- 
sand contradictions of theory and practice ; and then they 
can draw but few useful conclusions from the observations 
they have made. We have frequently treated this question 
in the discourses pronounced at the opening of our private 
and public courses, and in our Examination of medical doc- 
trines: but to render the great importance of this remark 
more evident, we shall proceed to consider Insanity (la 

t 181 ] 

Folie) one of the maladies which have been treated empir- 
ically by the old physicians, but which requires more par- 
ticularly to be exposed to the lights of rational theory. In 
chosing lunacy ( insanity) for the application of the physiologi- 
cal principles herein laid down, in preference to any particu- 
lar malady, we have a double object; viz, to contribute as 
far as possible to the perfection of the therapeutics of this 
deplorable disease, which has not yet been fully brought to 
the test of our principles professedly ; and also to contii- 
bute to the improvement of real knowledge, by the over- 
throw of what is called ontology. 


Part the second. — On Insanity considered in reference 
to the principles of Physiological medicine, and the Phe- 
nomena of Irritation. 

Chapter I. — On the causes of Insanity. 

Medically speaking, Insanity is the prolonged cessation 
of tbe action of the brain, which in its normal state, is the 
regulator of human conduct, and that on which depends 
what we call Reason. But before insanity can be imputed, 
the patients must be able to exhibit the due functions of 
most of the other organs : for we do not consider frensy, or 
the situation of many diseased persons attacked with acute 
inflammation, as insanity, though they may be deprived of 
reason. When this instrument of intellect (the brain) is 
depraved, man can no longer resist the blind impulse of in- 
stinct, and even instinct is more or less depraved in insanity: 
hence arises the possibility of all kinds of aberration in the 
discourse and the actions of persons labouring under mental 
alienation. The brain or rather the encephalic apparatus, 
consisting of the brain properly so called, the cerebellum, 
and medulla oblongata, the common center of the nervous 
system — the brain I say, is the peculiar organ of instinct 
and of intellect ; and these two faculties (as they are called) 
alter always with any alteration in the brain. The ence- 

[ 182 ] 

phalic apparatus cannot be reasonably supposed to obey any 
law different Jrora those which regulate the other organs. 
Derangements of instinct and of intellect therefore must re- 
sult from excess or defect of excitation in the enccphalon. 
(See part 1st, Chap. 4th.) An original defect of excita- 
tion does not produce a durable depravation of instinct or 
of intellect ; insanity therefore must arise only from super 
excitation, that is irritation of the enccphalon. 

The sources of insanity may be classed like those of other 
diseases : they are reducible to the influence of hygienic cau- 
ses, and the influence of other diseases on the encephalon. 

These causes will allow of the same division as in all 
other diseases of irritation,, that is to say, we may consider 
them according to the various hygienic influences to which 
they belong. At the head of these, we place the percep- 
tions (percepta) as the leading sources of mental maladies, 
and we shall designate them as moral causes. But we 
meet here with two modes of excitation which are purely 
physical ; passions too violent, which we rank first as most 
influential : and intellectual labour pushed too far. The 
passions cause an afflux of blood to the brain, and increase 
all the phenomena of innervation. Hence result simulta- 
neous excitement of the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the 
liver, and the genital-urinary organs ; the whole locomotive 
apparatus also participates in this excitement. The passions 
are either those of pleasurable or of painful feeling. The 
one and the other, in their simple state, violently agitate the 
nervous system. But there are moral situations, wherein 
men experience in succession and with great rapidity, sen- 
sations of pleasure and of pain. Such is the unhappy state, 
when the expectations of ambition, of pride, or of self-love, 
are frustrated ; this is the state brought on by envy, by jeal- 
ousy, and the alternations of hope and despair ; producing 
the rudest attacks on reason. 

Intellectual labour pushed too far may produce a derange- 
ment of ideas, first, by the excitation which implies a long 
continued attention and neglect of sleep ; next by the pas- 
sionate movements which almost always intermingle, such 
as ambition, jealousy, self-love, exalted or depressed. Sor- 
row and fear considered as acting each by itself on our organs, 
have a sedative effect as it should seem ; because the pulse 
is depressed by them, and the locomotive powers are para- 
lysed. The sedative effect is not always complete ; there 

[ 1* ] 

is always a kind of encephalic excitation which accompa- 
nies attention, and wc cannot deny that it is one of the 
most active. This encephalic vital erection, or this constant 
form of innervation, may present the other forms in a 
very high degree, of grief, terror and surprise, and occasion 
sudden death : but when this case does not occur, a re-ac- 
tive innervation takes place, which like the direct excita- 
tions of lively passions tends to inflammation. 

We never observe insanity from a moral cause manifest 
itself in a recent subject, without being accompanied at its 
commencement by that sanguine excitation, of which we 
shall very soon present a picture. 

Children are very seldom susceptible of insanity from 
moral causes, because their impressions are not so durable 
as those of adults ; but the intensity of impressions may be 
a substitute for their durability. Moreover there are some 
children who have a premature developement of the ence- 
phalon which renders them suceptible of melancholy that 
may prove a cause of mental alienation. 

We see nothing in the action of other hygienic circum- 
stances, or in other physical causes except the excitation of 
different organs. We shall place at the head of these, the 
excitations of the brain itself in reference to the applicata 
and some neighbouring diseases of the encephalon produced 
by wounds, bruises of the head, concussions, inflammations 
of the hairy scalp in cases of erisipelas from some internal 
cause, or erythema from external cause, insolation, inflam- 
mation of the parotids, in a word, by all the centers of in- 
flammation in the neighbourhood of this organ of thought, 
because inflammation may easily be propagated to it. 

Next to neighbouring inflammations, we find as most in- 
fluential those of the stomach, the duodenum, and the liver, 
which may be produced by several hygienic causes, but 
which depend for the most part on the ingesta and the per- 
cepta. In fact a large proportion of men, contract under the 
influence of food too exciting, of poisons, or over exciting 
medicaments, chronic gastritis ; which after keeping them 
in a state of hypochondria and nervous affections for several 
years, often finishes by mental alienation. Others lose their 
reason from the same causes in less time. If it be extremely 
short, and that the gastritis is acute, the delirium is not 
termed insanity ; it arranges itself as frenzy, and febrile de- 
lirium. But what is remarkable, is, that moral causes, tho?o 

[ 184 ] 

which act more immediately on the brain, do not produce 
insanity till after they have p u d . ed and kept up for some 
time gastric inflammation ; as il the ehcephalon stood in 
need, in some people, of the reaction of the viscera to pro- 
duce a high state of cerebral irritation. This is the case of 
many persons melancholic from nostalgia, from disappointed 
love, from loss of fortune, from wounded self-love, &c. who 
do not lose their reason till they have suffered long under 
gastro-enteritis with symptoms of neuropathy. In fact we 
need not be surprised at this, because with many persons, 
moral commotions, though received in the brain, produce at 
the moment less effect on the organization of that viscus, 
than on the heart, the lungs, and the stomach. The brain 
never suffers alone, as we have demonstrated in our phys- 
iology. Perhaps we may sometime or other arrive at the 
proof, at least for the physiologist, that sensation is composed 
of a circle of excitation pervading the encephalon and all the 
nervous extremities. But a very arduous duty which is 
now imposed on us, prevents us from treating this question, 
which would be perfectly in its place here. 

The excitations of the other viscera, the heart, the lungs, 
the larger intestines, the spleen, the kidneys, the bladder, 
whatever may be the hygienic causes to which we may at- 
tribute their origin, do not disturb the reason; except under 
acute inflammation of great intensity : and in this case the 
delirium produced is not insanity. 

We shall not say as much of the over excitation of the 
sexual organs, to which the percepta the ingesta, and even 
the applicata contribute, as well as other causes. The 
generative viscera, more rich in the nerves of relation than 
the organs before mentioned, and not less provided than 
they are with branches from the great sympathetic, partake 
equally with the stomach (which also abounds in the same 
kinds of nerves) the power of exciting vividly the encepha- 
lon. Add to this privilege, that also of affecting sympa- 
thetically the stomach and all the epigastric nerves with 
this over excitement, and you will easily perceive how hys- 
terical women, and those afflicted with nymphomany are 
liable to become insane. This influence is far less among 

In every case irritation acts first sympathetically on the 
brain ; and this last more slowly becomes affected idiopa- 
thically, without abandoning the organ originally attacked. 

[ 135 ] 

The last order of physical causes is composed of misplaced 
irritation. The irritation of other parts ceasing, the brain 
becomes affected. It is not usual for the viscera to furnish 
the point of departure for these kinds of metastases : we 
see them frequently act on the encephalon; but usually this 
happens without their ceasing to be irritated themselves, as 
we have before remarked ; they only seem to be less irrita- 
ted as the brain becomes more so; but this organ always 
sends back to them sufficient of excitation to prevent their 
becoming completely cured even if they were disposed so 
to be. The external organs, particularly the skin, the 
mouths of the mucous membranes, and the articulations, are 
the chief parts that irritation quits to attack the viscera ; and 
i( the brain be somewhat pre-disposed, it is always severely 
affected. Remember, also, that it is almost always in con- 
nection with the stomach and the heart that importance is 
given to these metastases. Here we may rank all those 
insanities that arise from the sudden disappearance of tetters, 
erisipelas, hemorrhages, natural or artificial, old ulcerations, 
crusty exsudations, sweats, partial, fetid, thick, unusual ; 
disappearances that connect themselves with excreta of the 
Hygienists, with the retrocession of gout, rheumatism, &c. 

The insanity so often supervenient upon child-birth, does 
not arise from one organ only ; every organ is in a state of 
unusual excitement at that remarkable epocha. All are in 
danger of congestion ; and if the necessary evacuations are 
interrupted, a slight cause may produce a determination to 
the brain, as well as to any other of the visceral apparatus ; 
and this determining cause is often a moral one. 

As these causes do not always and necessarily produce 
insanity, we are compelled to admit a pre-disposition in the 
individuals to whom it happens. This pre-disposition can 
only depend on excessive irritability of the encephalon, or 
on its vitious developement. In fact, when the encephalon 
is too irritable, it retains for too long a time the stimulations 
it has received, and passes into a state of permanent irritation. 
When its irritability is imperfectly developed, or too feeble, 
it cannot resist the violent impulse of the passions, or the 
excessive vital erections which accompany great efforts of 
attention and memory. When this irritability is too strofig- 
ly developed, the brain supplies a prodigious facility which 
renders intellectual labor very agreeable. In the second 
mode of organization, the over excitement proceeds from 

[ 186 J 

weakness of intellect ; in the third, it proceeds from vigor 
of intellect, by the abuse we commit of an enjoyment which 
has become a want of the first necessity. It is thus, that a 
weak stomach is excited by a moderate dose of wine, and a 
strong stomach by a four-fold dose ; to which we expose our- 
selves more carelessly, in proportion, as we have suffered 
less from former excesses. The middle course is the least 
subject to great derangements. In medio tutissimus ibis. 

Chapter II. — On the incubation of Insanity :* two 


When the encephalon has been over-excited somewhat 
permanently, by the passions, and the efforts of attention and 
memory, insanity is imminent. It is so, also, when the en- 
cephalon is continually stimulated by irradiations which take 
their departure from the stomach, over-irritated in both 
sexes ; and when the genital organs are in a state of acute 
sub -inflammation in the female ; this state is always 
accompanied by a general irritation of the nervous appara- 
tus, which renders all the sensations too vivid. Hence pro- 
ceed two modes of incubation and explosion of insanity — the 
one cerebral — the other not cerebral ; and the one and the 
other may be either acute or chronic. 

Cerebral incubation of the acute form — the effect of active 
causes in a young and irritable subject, is nothing else than 
an irritation of the brain, indicated by the heat of the head, 
redness of the face and eyes, cephalalgies, vertigoes, and 
confusion of ideas. This state may also be the consequence 
of acute cerebral inflammation from whatever cause. The 
patients feel themselves compelled to contemplate certain 
visionary images which beset them : these images combine 
together in a manner unusual and monstrous : it is in vain 
that reason revolts at them : they press upon the attention 
of the sick person, and he feels that they are upon the point 
of becoming realities, and depriving him of what is left of 
his reason. He experiences, as a secondary symptom, trou- 
bles in his digestive organs, great thirst, and either a disin- 
clination for food, or an excess of appetite, bitterness in the 
mouth, heat in the epigastrium, pulsations, palpitations, and a 
sense of stricture about the heart, a stoppage of the breath, 
shudderings, startings, want of sleep, indefinable agitations^ 
sadness or irascibility, ra ge, sudden impulses to do some 
* That is, circumstances that, precede and aid its developement.— TYaw. 

[ 137 j 

wrong act produced by an instinct depraved by irritation ; 
impulses which he resists at first, and to which he does not 
yield till he has lost his reason. 

Chronic cerebral incubation, differs from the former only 
in a less degree of intensity. It is often the result of moral 
causes that have not acted forcibly, or else it depends on a 
less degfee of vigor, of irritability, and of energy of the 
sanguinary system. It frequently lasts several months, and 
even years. It is more frequently remarked among persons 
of a singular and original character, prone to false judgments, 
who love privacy and concealment, and have never felt the 
want of the effusions and confidences of friendship ; and have 
always been suspected of some kind of insanity, though that 
word has never been applied to them in its full meaning. 
In general, heads like these, that are not in unison with the 
common run of mankind, are continually at work as the 
common expression is : that is to say, are vividly excited by 
causes that produce but little effect on others, and are in a 
constant state of irritation, that leads them insensibly on to 
insanity. Acute and chronic cerebral incubation, may be 
equally the result of somewhat too little, or somewhat too 
great a developement of the brain, and the facility or the 
difficulty attending intellectual operations. A thousand 
circumstances may introduce varieties in the degree of inten- 
sity of the causes which solicit the over action of the brain. 

In this last incubation, the breaking out of insanity is 
repressed frequently by reason, which resists it much longer 
than in the preceding. Frequently, also, insanity is present 
long before it is distinctly perceived ; for usually the name 
of insanity is given to an increase of irritation determined 
by some accidental cause which only substitutes an acute or 
sub-acute type, to the chronic, habitual state. 

Cerebral incubation, may also be a consequence of cere- 
bral irritation, which manifests itself in a form different from 
insanity. Long continued megrims, repeated attacks of 
plethora, apoplectic congestions, incomplete palsies, habitu- 
al catalepsies, extasies, epilepsies, constitute so many pre- 
disposing and determining causes to insanity. This may 
break out sometimes under an acute, sometimes under a 
chronic form, according to the strength of the subject ; 
sometimes it may appear as dementia, a still more unhappy 
condition, of which we shall speak by-and-bye. 

Non-cerebral incubation is usually gastric. It 1 elates to 

I 188 J 

persons who are commonly called hypochondriacs, and some- 
times melancholies. To the chronic gastritis which torments 
them, may be joined some one of the hereafter mentioned 
cerebral pre-dispositions ; and then there exists a double 
irritation which tends to weaken the reason. The irritation 
is triple, if the genital organs are simultaneously affected, 
as we may observe among certain hysteric and nymphomanic 

The signs of gastritis here, are such as we see them in 
their unconnected state. Acute sense of feeling, or pains 
perceived at the epigastrium, or at the bottom of one or both, 
the hypochondria, flatulence, alimentary or musty eructa- 
tions, slow digestion, constipation, irregular diarrhoeas, red 
tongue, and other symptoms of gastro-enteritis; to which must 
be added a crowd of sensations, more or less insupportable, 
in the head, in the organs of motion, and even inside the 
body. All these evils worry the spirits of the patient, dis- 
pose him to sadness, to solitude, to continual reflections on 
the state of his health, to want of sleep, to the perusal of 
books on medicine, to enquiries after secrets and quacks : 
the diseased persons persuade themselves that they are 
afflicted with all the maladies which they hear spoken of, 
a croud of imaginary diseases lay siege to them, and they 
are subject, from time to time, to hallucinations. Although 
.awake, and in open day, they think they hear voices that 
call them, or that they feel some person lay hold of them, 
and pull them by the hair, &c. Their dreams are frightful, 
and when wide awake, they think they hear and see the ob- 
jects that occupied them while asleep. 

Hysterical women are at first troubled with a sensation of 
heat and acridity in the sexual organs — often, with fluor- 
albus ; their menstrual discharges are irregular ; the neck of 
the womb is hot ; and if the uterus be lifted up by the finger, 
the sense of stifling and globus hystericus is produced ; a 
sure proof that hysterics is not purely a cerebral affection, 
as some would have it. Venereal desires frequently attend 
this situation. — These, when exalted, constitute nymphoma- 
ny ; to which may be joined regret for some cherished ob- 
ject, and chagrin at not being able to possess the desired 

The phenomena corresponding to chronic inflammation of 
the digestive passages, may be, and in fact often are, associ- 
ated with the preceding symptoms. 

i 189 j 

All the individuals who arc a prey to these different acci- 
dents, inflammatory and nervous, have a pre-disposition to 
insanity. When their state of morbid wakefulness, and their 
reveries in that state (hallucination) become the predomi- 
nant symptoms, they are more than pre-disposed — they are 
in the state of incipient insanity ; that is, where the reason 
is hardly able to resist the suggestions of a too active ima- 
gination, and is in constant danger of yielding. We should 
place in the same line, and consider as already insane, those 
who in reasoning correctly, speak with great quickness and 
in a hurried manner, with brilliant eyes, the face colored, 
the features in motion, gesticulating, agitated, walking with 
great quickness, as if they had been excited by wine or by 
coffee. Such persons are very irascible — the slightest con- 
tradiction suffices to bring on a state of ungovernable anger ; 
a symptom which all writers on insanity, notice as the usual 

All those unfortunate persons, whom long and serious 
disappointments, the loss of fortune, injuries against their 
self-love, or their honor, who are tortured by remorse, or by 
a desire of revisiting their native country, their friends, and 
all that is dear to them, render sorrowful, care-worn, solitary, 
and keep them in a state of paleness and meagreness, are 
connected with that double series of which I have already 
drawn the picture. 

Infants, before ten years of age, are seldom exposed to 
insanity. They have too few ideas, and well formed opin- 
ions, to enable us to remark any permanent disorder. Those 
who are more advanced in this respect, are more exposed to 
it. But if the former have not any intellectual delirium, 
they have always as a substitute in their acute diseases, de- 
lirium of instinct, if I may so speak : that is to say, depraved 
appetites, tastes, and affections, which depend on the same 
causes as common delirium. 

Women are more pre-disposed to insanity than men, owing 
to their greater irritability, and to a less developement of 
the encephalon, particularly in those regions which are ap- 
propriated to intellectual functions.* 

* Not only Broussais, but all modern physiologists, with Gall, consider 
it is a fact beyond controversy, that the front part of the encephalon, from 
the orifice of one ear, round by the eye-brows, to the other ear, and across 
the head, from the orifice of one ear to the other, is the appropriate re- 
gion of intellect : the back part of the head, from ear to ear, in both direc- 

[ 190 j 

\V e may now understand how serious is the danger from 
retrocessions of external phlegmasia? ; from excess in liquor ; 
from moral affections unattended to ; from impatience ; from 
the action of the sun on the head ; from a temperature of 
body, suddenly reduced by cold : in all those persons who 
are exposed to the various conditions of the system here 
enumerated. The result of these may be a sudden exasper- 
ation of cerebral irritation, which produces an attack of furi- 
ous mania But of these causes, the most powerful are such 
as depend on intellectual excitement. 

There are cases where insanity shews itself unexpectedly 
as the result of very strong moral affections — as an affront 
received in public on the part of some great personage, or 
from the effect of menstrual suppression ; in short, by any 
accidental cause that acts violently on the nervous fibres of 
the encephalon, but which have not had time to modify pro- 
foundly the vitality of the vascular system, to excite a fe- 
verish diathesis, or to bring on any of those forms of incuba- 
tion of which we have given a description. They announce 
the presence of insanity by extravagance of action that sur- 
prise those about them. The organs of digestion are not 
much injured at first, and the disease is more nervous and 
more exclusively cerebral than in the ordinary cases, al- 
though the irritation that produces it, is not perfectly devoid 
of inflammation, which never fails to take place in the course 
of a few days. 

Chapter III. — Characters of Insanity. 

Mania shews itself under several forms : it is acute or 
chronic — it is general or partial. 

Acute mania — mania with agitation. 

It is accompanied with fury or without: in the one or the 
other case it is general ; and always at the same time in- 
stinctive and intellectual. 

A. Acute, furious mania, is the highest degree of insanity ; 
that which approaches to frenzy. It has been called acute 
delirium ; but the highest depree of activity of delirium in 
general, is that which arises from acute inflammation of the 
brain, but furious mania occupies only the second rank of 

tions, is appropriated to instinct, and to ihe passions. The developement 
of the parts being the same, there maybe great ditferences among indi 
viduals. from more or less irritability of the nervous svstem.— Trans. 

t 191 J 

active irritation, though susceptible of a long duration — that 
is to say, it is sub-acute. It is always the highest degree of 
what we call insanity ; all the others are exalted to this 
when the patients are strongly excited : at least if they be 
not already worn out. Insane persons, in this state, are agi- 
tated ; they vociferate ; they are irritated at trifles ; and 
even without provocation ; and still more, if they are spoken 
to : It is sufficient to converse with them, to excite them to 
the highest degree. Their proposals are incoherent ; their 
eyes are animated ; their muscular force is prodigious ; they 
must always be under restraint, for they are governed by 
an inclination to break and destroy every thing they can 
seize hold of. They would kill the persons who would ap- 
proach them, if these had not obtained the mastery over 
them. One of these insane persons, in whom the paroxysm 
had broke out suddenly, had already cut the throats of sev- 
eral persons, before they could seize and confine him : several 
turned their fury against themselves, and stabbed them- 
selves, or threw themselves headlong : this is frequently 
their first act of delirium. Their pulse is small and concen- 
trated, and more or less quick. Sometimes they have 
scarcely any acceleration in the pulsations of the heart. 
When they have not yet been blooded, we observe a red, 
puffy countenance ; the veins swelled ; a hot skin ; a red 
tongue ; confused sensibility in the epigastric region ; want 
of appetite ; sometimes a yellow tinge about the eyes. Pa- 
tients may long remain in this deplorable situation ; without 
sleep, without food, without feeling the impression of cold, 
vociferating and blaspheming day and night, striving to 
break their bondages, and always dangerous, if they succeed 
in so doing. It is difficult to conceive how life can be sup- 
ported at such an expense of cerebral and muscular innerva- 
tion, as that which they are subjected to occasionally, during 
two, three, four months, in succession ; and sometimes for a 
year. Some of them, far from being weakened by two or 
three months of voluntary abstinence, still enjoy a muscular 
force, proportionate to the fury which transports them. To 
us, this is the most astonishing of all maniacal disorders 
from the immense loss of nervous energy, which supposes 
a renewal from some source which we cannot point out. 
How can we conceive that a meagre female, who takes no 
substantial food, can remain for several weeks, half naked, 
in the depth of winter, with a feeble impulse of blood to- 

[ l»2 ] 

ward the skin, a pulse small and concentrated, without 
catching cold, or suffering from rheumatism ? This, howe- 
ver, is what we observe ; and it can only be attributed to an 
increase of nervous energy which we cannot explain in the 
first instance. We must not forget that this kind of maniac 
always has the head hot, and by consequence, it is to a ner- 
voso sanguine excitation of the brain, that they owe their 
power of resisting abstinence, cold, and pain. We are sur- 
prised, moreover, at the facility with which the contusions 
and lacerations which they inflict on themselves, are cuied 
without any application ; but when the patients are exhaust- 
ed by a prolonged nervous excitation, their wounds and 
contusions easily become gangrenous. 

The fury of this kind of madmen is always excited by a 
persuasion that they are attacked — that they are pursued — 
that their life is sought, according to one or more false narra- 
tives, or romances that their imagination fabricates without 
end ; or from the aspect, the discourse, the menaces, the 
gestures, of imaginary beings, corporeal or spiritual, to 
whom they address their conversation ; these are illusions, 
which are termed hallucinations. Most of the persons who 
introduce themselves to these maniacs, are ultimately ranked 
among their enemies and persecutors ; and being so, they 
seek to destroy them. It would be wrong to suppose the 
maniacs entirely deprived of reason ; they talk and act in 
many cases, consequently, upon the dreams of their delirious 
imagination ; but their reasonings are so rapid, that it is not 
easy to follow them. Nevertheless, we are certain, from 
their confessions after cure, that their bad actions are not 
always the result of reasoning ; but they are committed from 
impulses, organic or instinctive, and thoughtless ; but this 
vice is more frequent in a species of insanity less impetuous 
than what we have described. 

B. Acute mania, not furious. After mania, furious and 
agitated, we ought to rank another kind, where there is agi- 
tation, but without fury. We may remark in this form of 
mania, an incoercible propensity to agitation, by walking and 
gesticulating, a red face, sparkling eyes, a hot scalp, a pow- 
er of resisting hunger and weakness, which indicates an 
excess of innervation on the assimilating viscera, and the 
muscular apparatus ; a blustering loquacity, always founded 
like the preceding one, on the supposition of events that 
have never happened, whether gay or sad, or upon the sight 

L 193 j 

or accents of imaginary beings, to whom they address them- 
selves, (hallucinations.) These patients are usually confin- 
ed, but not bound, unless fury, and an inclination to destroy, 
should accompany the other symptoms, which sometimes 
takes place, by the sole effect of an increase of irritation. 

The duration of this state is also very variable. These 
madmen, like those who are furious, often have a chain of 
predominant ideas, not always easily understood ; but like 
the former, their ideas wander upon all subjects; and although 
they recognize the persons who accost them, they always 
judge ill respecting them ; for they associate these persons 
with the objects of their delirium ; ascribing to them antece- 
dent actions and conversations, to which they are utter 
strangers. They have also the mania of being acquainted 
with persons they have never seen ; and of placing them as 
actors in their imaginary fictions. 

Chronic Mania. 

It is either general or partial, instinctive or intellectual, 
and often both the one and the other simultaneously. 

Chronic Mania general. We speak now of insane persons, 
habitually delirious on all subjects, without being hurried on 
by a vivid agitation, like the preceding. This insanity is 
common when madness has already commenced ; but, before 
this epocha, the greater part of insane persons are governed 
by one predominant idea, or by a series of ideas , but they 
can understand reasoning upon most other subjects, when 
they are not under the influence of their morbid agitation ; 
provided, always, that you do not exact from them much, 
or continued attention. 

Chronic partial Mania^ or Monomania. Partial mania, 
the melancholy of the ancients, and of M. Pinel, the mono- 
mania of Dr. Esquirol, is the usual chronic state of maniacs, 
both before and after agitation, provided they have not yet 
arrived at dementia. Monomania differs according as the 
patients are more or less reasonable on subjects foreign to 
their habitual delirium, and according to the kind of that 
delirium. There are many monomaniacs who cannot keep 
up a conversation on any subject, without recurring to their 
habitual series of ideas, with which they connect all new 
impressions of the senses, although they have perceived 
them very distinctly. These occupy a middle rank between 
the general maniacs, and the perfect monomaniacs, under 
exclusive delirium, which, like the hero of Cervantes, arc 

t 194 j 

reasonable upon every thing not connected with their domi- 
nant idea. We shall see if the parallel holds in all points. 

The classification of monomanias is difficult, if we would 
make it interesting and easy to be remembered. I will en- 
deavor to connect them on the one hand, with the faculties 
of instinct and intelligence ; and on the other, with sensa- 
tions more or less oppressive, as well as with different de- 
grees of visceral irritation. 

1st. Of instinctive monomanias, founded on the perversion 
of instinct, and the ivants termed physical ; either complica- 
ted with delirium, or not. 

We love or we hate men and things : these feelings may 
be perverted, that is, the one may be excited to the prejudice 
of the others , and this gives rise to different monomanias. 
I shall explain them, following the division of instinctive 
wants kid down in my Treatise on Physiology applied to 
Pathology, and considered in the first part of that work. 

A. Perversion of the want (or instinct) of self-preservation. 
Monomany of Suicide. This is sometimes simple with- 
out delirium, and consists only in a thoughtless impulse, or 
else seemingly at least, on some particular grievance. In 
fact this toedium vitce is the result of some insupportable un- 
easiness, usually originating in a disordered stomach. But 
this viscus is not alone irritated : the heart and lungs are so 
also. The irritation is seated in the nervoso-sanguineous 
expansions of those organs ; it is sent through all the nerves 
of relation ; and it is the innervations of all these tissues on 
the brain, which renders existence a grievance, and urges 
these unhappy persons to their own destruction. All other 
motives are but pretexts. It will be necessary to distinguish 
this organic impulse to suicide, from that which depends on 
a moral cause producing despair, and from an aberration 
purely intellectual. Let us however return. 

Another mode of perversion of the same want, creates 
imaginary evils. We may observe the first stage, as we 
have already remarked, in the hypochondriac incubation of 
insanity. The last stage is found in those monomaniacs who 
believe themselves attacked by incurable disorders, infec- 
tions, or putrefactions ; surrounded by devouring fires ; con- 
ceiving that their legs are made of glass or of wood ; that 
their head is of metal ; that insects are biting them ; that 
snakes gnaw their entails : they believe they are incapable 
of walking, because their legs are too weak or too fragile. 

1 195 J 

&c. &c. All these deliria are founded on the perception of 
.some sensation more or less painful, sometimes slight and 
referred to the organs or limbs of which they complain. 
These sensations, during wakefulness, are framed into a ro- 
mance by their perverted imaginations, just as asthmatic 
persons while asleep feel a rock pressing its weight upon 
their breast, or some monster endeavoring to strangle them. 

B. Perversion of the instinctive ivant of muscular exercise, 

or of rest. 
We have seen how the want of exercise and bodily agita- 
tion, may be singularly exalted in furious mania. This affection 
may be the predominant phenomenon among certain mono- 
maniacs. There are others that cannot bring themselves to 
exercise any of their muscles ; and who are kept in silence, 
and immovable by some inexpressible internal sensation, not 
depending on any cerebral congestion, or any paralysis. 
The moral affections also are perverted. 

C. Perversion of the instinctive want of associating ivith 

other men. 

This want is the source of friendship, of kindness, of 
compassion. The exaltation of this want produces a deliri- 
um, in which the persons affected do not cease to deplore 
that they are deprived of the sight of persons dear to them. 
They weep, they lament, to obtain their being restored to 
them ; but they care nothing about them when they arrive, 
and speak of them as absent, although they recognize them 
as present, and invent conversations and actions relating to 
them altogether imaginary. 

From the opposite perversion of this want, result cruelty, 
and the inclination to destroy ; an impulse not founded on 
reflection, and condemned by the persons subjected to it — 
an impulse that tempts them to inflict pain, or even death, 
on those whom they love the most. This perversion, and 
that of suicide, are often found conjoined. The causes of 
these aberrations always belong to an irritation in the tris- 
planchnic apparatus, (great sympathetic nerve,) and above 
all, in the stomach, (of which the symptoms have been ante- 
cedently exposed,) acting upon the brain. This last viscus 
may produce a disposition to cruelty, by its original conforma- 
tion; but in the morbid state, it is an uneasiness felt through- 
out tho whole splanchnic apparatus, including also the brain 
itself ; so as to render ideas of murder predominant in spite 
of reason. This horrible perversion may be conslHered as 

[ 196 j 

that ot' suicide (A.) like a species of chronic anger and ha- 
tred, sometimes directed against ourselves, and sometimes 
against men and things. We have already seen it under a 
sub-acute form, in furious mania ; while it is entirely chronic 
and devoid of feverish inflammation, in that shade of it which 
we are now describing : in fact it may be extremely obsti- 
nate, and conceal itself under the appearances of calmness, 
gladness, kindness, until the disordered person finds the op- 
portunity of executing his dreadful purpose. Look at all the 
treatises on insanity, and particularly the great and import- 
ant note which Dr. Esquirol, the best of our living authors 
on mania, has just added to the translation of Hoffbauer. 

In a middle shade of irritation, the monomaniacs who feel 
these sentiments of aversion for their tellow-creatures taking 
place, condemn them and grieve at them. We find insane 
men, and more frequently insane women, who are in despair, 
that they cannot love their husbands or wives — their child- 
ren — their relations ; and who, on this account, feel them- 
selves unworthy to live. 

In its lighter degree, this perversion produces moroseness, 
impatience, and hatred towards certain persons — a state which 
we frequently meet with among children of different ages, 
and among many grown up persons, whose ungrateful and 
selfish character, skilfully concealed, discovers itself on the 
slightest painful affection, and particularly when the diges- 
tive apparatus is irritated. 

The unhappy persons abandoned to this deplorable inclin- 
ation, invent pretexts to justify their atrocities ; sometimes 
it is a voice that directs assassination — sometimes it is God 
himself : some have believed they had a commission to save 
mankind by the baptism of blood ; others pretend to secure 
the salvation of their children, and to make angels of them, 
by cutting their throats. Their rage is, for the most part, 
directed towards objects which are most dear to them ; and 
when the murder has been committed, they coldly contem- 
plate their victim, or occupy themselves about something 
else, according to the kind of delirium which coincides with 
their murderous monomania. When they have no other 
delirium but the impulse to commit murder, they put them- 
selves to death, through despair of having committed it ; or 
they go to a magistrate to confess it : there having been 
some who, in a state of delirium, have pretended that they 
have committed murder upon another, to procure that death 

L 1H J 

upon the scalVold, which they had not the courage to inflict 
upon themselves ; and to find time, in the delays of justice, 
to reconcile themselves to their maker. But it is clear, that 
in the majority of cases, tkese motives have been suggest- 
ed to them, by the horrible state of visceral uneasiness, of 
which 1 have spoken ; and which exercises such a prodi- 
gious influence over the will. 

There is no doubt, also, that certain forms of cerebral 
irritation may determine, originally, these two monomanias ; 
but even in these cases, the influence of a disordered brain 
produces a consequent irritation in the sub-diaphragmatic 
nervous apparatus ; for all authors agree in acknowledging 
the coincidence of irritation in the digestive passages, with 
those monomanias which urge on to murder or suicide. 
B. Perversion of the instinctive want of nutriment. 

The monomania which incites to the eating of strange 
things, sometimes very disgusting, as earth, charcoal, chalk, 
worms, insects, dung, &c. 

We find the first degree of this monomania among chloritic 
patients whose stomach is irritated, and among some men 
with gastritis. This desire is almost always accompanied 
by delirium in mad houses, but the irritation of the stomach 
is not less real. It exists as Boulimia, where the appetite 
is morbidly increased, for these foul-feeding maniacs are not 
incommoded by ordure, which it gratifies them to devour. 

The want of exoneration, which follows the taking of food, 
may also be depraved. Several insane persons delight in 
dirtying themselves while yielding to this natural want which 
is often coincident with the desire to eat their excrements, 
or drink their urine, &c. 

E. Perversion of the instinctive desire of generation. 

Erotic monomania of different kinds. — Some are troubled 
with priapism or nymphomania, and all their words and 
actions tend only to gratify their depraved appetite — others 
fall a prey to a passion quite moral ; such are often women 
of a gentle, melancholy character, well educated, who exhi- 
bit this shade ef erotism : they are wrapt in contemplation 
of the perfections of the cherished object : they think they 
see, hear, touch him: they address him with tender expres- 
6 i ons — sometimes in a gay tone — at others with tears in their 
eyes : they lament continually, and appear dying with grief 
at his absence, yet they would treat him coldly if he were 

[ 198 ] 

presented to them, whether they recognized him or not, for 
they might or they might not recollect him. Led away by 
the illusory images that occupy them, these insane patients 
do not substitute in their imagination , the real persons who 
offer themselves to their sight. Sometimes they have the 
wish and the intention of doing so, as we shall see further 
on, especially when the question is as to the persons who 
take care of them ; but the internal storm of their diseased 
imagination seems to sweep away all the impressions of their 
senses, or associate them with the chimeras of imagination. 
All the monomaniacs governed by a series of predominant 
ideas, but not exclusive, are in this situation, and resemble 
herein the general monomaniacs. I shall, therefore, not 
dwell upon these at all, in treating of the monomaniacs of 
whom I have yet to speak. 

2dly. Intellectual monomaniacs, or persons that are such 
from the perversion of moral ivants, with the predominance 
of one idea, or one series of ideas acquired. 

The desire of observation (curiosity) which manifests 
itself among us after the physical wants are satisfied, be- 
comes by exercise so powerful as to get the better of some 
of those wants. This desire is developed, as we have shewn 
in our Physiology, and in the first part of this work, in pro- 
portion as the cerebral apparatus dedicated to intellect, be- 
comes developed. It is this curiosity that procures for us 
all those ideas that we derive from external objects by 
means of our external senses ; and it is owing to the 
pleasure we experience in observing all the bodies of 
nature, and discovering what we deem their natural rela- 
tions, or truth, that we become passionately addicted to 
intellectual labor. This passion becomes stronger as our 
organs of intellect become more developed ; but do what we 
will, we shall never be able perfectly to insulate the percep- 
tions that arise from instinctive wants from those which 
depend on curiosity respecting external objects. Hence it 
is, that the original perversion of instinct draws with it 
that of intellect, a fact settled in the first section on insanity ; 
for the same reason we shall see instinct perverted in the 
monomanias of intellectual origin, as a consequence of them. 
A. Monomania founded on self-satisfaction. 

If the pleasure (a physical sensation) attached to self • 
satisfaction, be the prime mover of all our efforts to exalt our 
intellectual faculties, the morbid exaltation of this pleasure, 

[ 199 ] 

ought to constitute the principal monomania of intellectual 
origin, the monomania of pride. We observe this among a 
great number of those who become insane from excess of 
mental labor and study, whether they have been inflated by 
success, or discouraged by insurmountable difficulties. But 
we extract vanity from many other things than our intellec- 
tual riches. Man is proud of his strength, of his youth, of 
his health, of his comeliness, of his fortune, of his power, of 
his warlike exploits, in a word, of every thing that he finds 
in himself comparable with what he sees in others. If man 
has not always the pleasure of triumph, he has always the 
desire for it ; and he cradles his imagination in the enjoy- 
ments he can derive from the castles he builds in the air. 
The monomanias are, in fact, nothing but the realizing of 
this castle-building : with some, because their self-love has 
been satisfied ; and with some, because it has been opposed 
and wounded. The first set when they become insane, 
only continue to dream of the happiness at which they as- 
pire, and to pride themselves on their advantages; the others, 
after many obstacles humiliating to their pride, are left to 
dream at their ease, after getting rid of their troublesome 

Remark, however, that this delirium of happiness — this 
paradise of proud madmen, can only continue until some un- 
easy sensations felt in their principal viscera, overturn it. 

The varieties of monomania, founded on self-satisfaction, 
or moral contentment, are numerous, and they are the most 
common. The nature of this delirium is determined by the 
opinions imbibed during education, the circumstances con- 
tinually under their eyes, &c. These monomanias consist 
in believing that they are God, whether of the christians or 
the pagans, (no doubt the Mahometan madmen believe 
themselves often to be Mahomet,) in considering themselves 
as a spirit, an angel, a demon, a genius, a king, an emperor, 
a pope, a prince of the blood, a hero, a great nobleman, rich, 
opulent, learned ; in believing that they have made great 
discoveries, &c. These monomaniacs assume the tone, the 
language, the attitude, the gesture of the personages they 
represent ; they copy so perfectly the dignity of potentates, 
that one would almost believe them elevated to a throne ; a 
proof that such persons have profoundly studied, while in 
health, the character they assume when in their state of 

[ 200 ] 

At other times the satisfaction of the sentiment of self- 
love, is announced by the external signs of vanity. One 
adorns himself, and calls for admiration of his elegance ; 
others, especially among the women, are eager to dress 
themselves, and see the most elegant specimens of attire in 
dirty ribbons, and ornaments in every article of wood or 
of metal they can lay hold of. 

B. Monomania founded on self -dissatisfaction. 

We place it here as the opposite to the preceding form. 
Those who are seized with this delirium conceive them- 
selves to be despised, humiliated, justly prosecuted, culpa- 
ble in a high degree, bent down by judicial decisions, and 
unworthy to live. If religious ideas have much occupied 
them, they apprehend themselves to be objects of divine 
wrath, pursued by Satan, or having him dwelling in them, 
or that they are plunged into the burning lake. We see 
some of them under contortions and howlings of which they 
have taken the notion from pictures, books, and sermons, 
representing the torments of the damned. This form is 
what is termed demonomania. Fanaticism, and the dread 
which persons of weak heads experience on seeing the con- 
tortions of people who pretend to be possessed, are sufficient 
to give rise in them to the same delirium. It is in this way 
that demonomania has been seen extensively propaga- 
ted and in some sort contagious in the middle ages, particu- 
larly among females. 

One may easily conceive the conversation held, and the 
attitudes assumed by different forms of this kind of insanity, 
as the patients are impressed with their supposed suffering 
under this or that kind of misfortune. One, fearfully looks 
at the enemy or the monster that pursues him ; his eyes are 
haggard, his face distorted, his hair upon end ; it is dreadful 
to look at him. Another, conceals himself — a third sends 
forth groanings — a fourth rests in silence and consternation. 
I knew one of these, (a female,) whose whim was to believe 
herself ruined, and she was in consequence in the greatest 
humiliation ; she would wear rags only ; she would feed 
only from porringers of wood with a tin spoon, and keep her 
feet naked ; her countenance was sad, tears were in her eyes, 
she spoke seldom, unless those who attended her refused 
credence to her pretended ruin. 

All the monomaniacs of this series, have a strong and per- 
manent irritation in the digestive organs, and the signs of it 

[ 201 ] 

are manifest. But this irritation may be the result of mel- 
ancholy ideas. 

We have seen ideas acquired through the senses, which 
have become accidentally predominant, induce a lesion of 
that inward satisfaction or motive, that sustains curiosity. 
Let us now proceed to cases of monomania, or other trains 
of ideas, become predominant, and exciting either pleasing 
or unpleasant feelings, in which the lesions of this want are 
not predominant. 

C. Monomania of Gaiety. 

To the first form belong the monomaniacs who, being 
actuated neither by pride or vanity, appear gay, content, 
always smiling, always happy, whether it be from a persua- 
sion of wealth, of power, or of place ; they think they pro- 
duce the good fortune of all who approach them, whether 
from their influence with supernatural beings whose protec- 
tion affords them all kinds of felicity, or that they believe 
themselves already in possession of a spiritual world. 
D. Monomania of Melancholy. 

In the second rank I place all those melancholy monoma- 
niacs, who are devoid, however, of the feeling of humiliation 
consequent on wounded self-love ; a circumstance of impor- 
tance, because the visceral sensations are not so painful as in 
those melancholy deliria attended with feelings of shame 
and guilt. All the monomaniacs of this section, believe 
themselves persecuted without just cause, ruined, condemn- 
ed by what men call justice ; or else they are exposed to 
cruel animals, or they are fugitives, abandoned and without 
resources ; in short, they are in various ways unhappy, 
but always satisfied with themselves. They have not 
all these ideas at a time, but one or other adapted to their 
particular circumstances, and which occupy them exclusive- 
ly. This is the Melancholia of the old physicians, the Lipo- 
mania of Dr. Esquirol. 

The class of avaricious monomaniacs ranks here ; for they 
are under the domination of a series of ideas more melan- 
choly than gay. If the avaricious man enjoys, it is only 
through a long prospective, or from the contemplation of his 
treasure ; but this joy is poisoned by the fear of losing it ; 
and this fear becomes the predominant sensation. Having 
no self-persuasion of guilt, these insane people never believe 
themselves possessed by the Devil, but are able, like St. 
Anthonv, to set all his snares and temptations at defiance. 

[ ads 1 

they are always sorrowful, more or less; but not in despair, 
like those who are subject to self-reproach, and believe 
themselves not worthy to live. 

E. Complex Monomania. 

A third form of this species of insanity ought to be admit- 
ted, for the monomanias founded on a complex series of 
ideas, and calculated to excite alternately joy and sorrow, 
hope and despair, pride and humiliation, fear, and its reac- 
tive movement, anger, &£. These are the series of ideas 
that alternately predominate in many circumstances where a 
man's life is agitated by what is called ambition, jealousy, 
envy, and above all fanaticism, a kind of feeling nourished 
by pride, by anger, by envy, and all the most agitating intel- 
lectual emotions. They are rather the causes of insanity 
than the objects of it ; for the persons afflicted do not retain 
them while ill, in a form so complicated as before their mala- 
dy. Generally, one fixed idea predominates among these 
insane persons, who are neither agitated nor in a state of 
dementia, because the morbid state of the encephalon pro- 
duces the same series of ideas while it remains in that state ; 
and the diseased do not enjoy the aid of reason to repel this 
series, or to induce the successive predominance of other 
recollections, and to compare them with present impressions. 

As this state may exist under various shades, we are 
compelled to admit it here under the title of monomania of 
a complex character ; that is to say, founded on the predomi- 
nance of one series of ideas which gives rise successively 
to opposite sensations. 

F. Intellectual Monomania, without the predominance of 
internal emotions, agreeable or painful. 
After the monomanias, where the pleasure or the pain are 
of moral, that is to say of intellectual origin, although the 
emotions are truly visceral, and act a distinguished part, I 
place those where acquired ideas become predominant, 
occasion neither pleasure or pain sufficiently marked to 
constitute an unhappy complication. These monomanias 
are only singularities more or less surprising, which amuse 
the spectators rather than afflict them. Of these, are the 
persuasions in the patient that he is a dog, a wolf, a cat, or 
some other animal, whose cries and allures he imitates ; in 
supposing he is transformed into a stone, a bottle, a grain of 
mustard seed, &c. These kinds of transformations are in- 
numerable : they are sometimes founded on certain changes 

L 203 j 

in the functions. Thus an insane man, rendered powerless 
by masturbation, believes himself transformed into a wo- 
man, and wishes to assume the tone and costume of a female, 
The legs of glass, the belly of paper, the heads cut off, the 
hearts torn out, the supposed bad smell of the body entirely 
dissolved, the spirits that haunt him, the wantons that flit 
about the madman like flies, the lilliputians that by millions 
climb up the legs of one of these persons, who thinks that 
at each step he crushes them by dozens ; and other reveries 
of the same kind, may depend upon painful sensations, but 
are not sufficiently strong to induce us to regard the disease 
as of instinctive origin. We find, however, in all these, a 
predominant irritation of the brain, which obstinately re- 
produces certain ideas at the expense of the recollection of 
different ideas, and of actual impressions. 

We must place in the same rank, all those madmen who 
are incited to perform constantly certain movements, either 
of gesture or of progression ; to pronounce obstinately cer- 
tain words, or to keep silence for a long time — sometimes 
for years , to give themselves up to a certain kind of labor, 
whether mechanical or of writiug, whether of describing 
plants or animals, of chemistry, astronomy, the drawing of 
plans, translating, versifying, &c. &c. These monomanias 
are so numerous, that we should be lost in the classification, 
if we did not confine ourselves to referring them to some 
intellectual lesion, and the predominance of some acquired 
ideas, depending on some regular mode of cerebral irritation, 
unaccompanied by any great alteration of an intrinsic want 
of th£ first order, or by any special want which compels us 
to observation and comparison. 

As monomanias depend on some mode of cerebral irrita- 
tion, when this mode changes, the monomanias change also; 
the loquacious madman becomes suddenly taciturn, and vice 
versa. To sorrow succeeds gaiety ; to a phrase for a long 
time pronounced, some other phrase ; to one attitude, ano- 
ther attitude, &c. There is no fixed duration for any of 
these forms of mental aberration. 

It is in vain that some persons assure us, that there are 
monomaniacs who are perfectly reasonable on every thing 
except their predominant trains of ideas. They can reason 
justly upon questions merely relating to their physical and 
common circumstances ; but the most acurate observers 
agree, that none of them can sustain a serious conversation 

r 204 i 

which requires attention and discussion ; or neat by writing 
any question of morals or philosophy, general or special,* 
without falling at least into false reasonings. This is a fact 
we must not forget : there are no perfect Don Quixotes ; 
and whatever may be said, he w T ho cannot apply his reason 
to a subject so important as his own propei position in socie- 
ty, is incapable of reasoning justly upon any question of a 
higher order. These monomaniacs, then, are truly madmen ; 
as we may be convinced by compelling them to reason : we 
see immediately that they become disconcerted, or confus- 
ed, or irritated, and show a tendency to general mania : the 
least degree of insanity of which they are capable, is that 
where their different instinctive wants, such as we have 
already detailed, are but little changed ; so that we 
can employ these patients in some manual operations that 
do not require a sustained attention, or any complicated in- 
tellectual combination, such as some mechanic art, garden- 
ing, some simple game, music, daily domestic occupation, 
&c. provided no great responsibility attaches to them. 

We must remember also that in the monomanias that ap- 
pear most limited, there is always a perversion of the affec- 
tions and feelings that have been most durably, and most 
powerfully cherished by the patient ; I mean the love of their 
relations. This may be expected ; for these subjects are 
not insane, as in the case of general insanity, but because 
they are seduced by false perceptions which attract all their 
attention, and do not permit them to substitute the real per- 
ceptions furnished by the senses, nor the recollection of past 
sensible impressions. Hence it is they forget their .rela- 
tions, or hate them as persecutors, and the first sign of return- 
ing sanity, is the return of those affections of the heart, and 
the acknowledgement of those cares to which convalescents 
are indebted for their cure. 

If we were only to consider those actions which madmen 
can commit in consequence of the alteration of their intellec- 
tual faculties, we should make a bad classification of their 
monomanias. For example, a madman who believed him- 
self to be the Emperor of Austria, heard some one call his 
physician who wished to impose on him as Emperor of 
China : thence forward he believed his doctor came to de- 
throne him, and he took the resolution to kill him by sur- 
prise, and preserve his own crown. Here is an accidental 
* Important in medical jurisprudence. — Trans, 

[ 205 ] 

assassination not dependent on the monomania oi' murder. 
Insane delirious persons may have a thousand such motives 
for killing either themselves or others without the monoma- 
nia of murder being their ruling propensity. One of them 
strikes his friend, thinking he strikes a demon or a monster 
who pursues him ; another stabs himself to the heart to 
avoid a shameful death on the scaffold which he thinks 
waits him, and to save the honor cf his family ; a third sets 
his house on fire because he thinks it has become the ren- 
dezvous of robbers, &c. &c. Hence arises a necessity to 
inquire strictly into the motives of an accused person, not 
only to decide on the degree of his culpability, but also to 
determine the seat of the malady and the most efficacious 
remedy. As the passion which has given rise to the insan- 
ity does not always remain predominant after the loss of 
reason, so the monomania sometimes changes, and this im- 
plies some change in the affections of the different organs 
diseased ; but these changes are no more than the variations 
and irregularities of a continued malady. It is not so with 
the following class. 

Intermittent Mania. 
Every form of mental affection that we have described, 
may become intermittent, re-producing itself periodically, 
provided the irritation on which it depends has not altered 
the texture of the brain or the viscera of the lower belly ; 
it is this that renders insanity intermittent. Many acces- 
sions recur several times in the course of the year ; others 
only once, and at certain times, as spring, autumn, &c. A 
lady has had fits of insanity for three or four months annu- 
ally during thirty years, and they have never passed an 
interval of six months without re-appearing, though they 
have been sometimes retarded for two or three months. A- 
ware of the return, she retires to some lunatic asylum where 
she is confined during the access of her disorder. During 
night she sees the most tragical scenes of the revolution of 
which she had been an eye witness ; she sees the execu- 
tioners, and as formerly, she is sprinkled with the blood of 
the victims ; she is afflicted and cries out with all her force. 
Scarcely does day approach, than her delirium changes its 
type : it becomes gay, indecent, and even gross. At night 
the scences of horror appear again, and soon during the 
periodical access of the fit. She holds the same kind of dis- 
course, offers the same injuries, apostrophises those who 

I 2i)i> J 

attend her in the same language, and every symptom is ex- 
actly the same at each recurrence of the fit. When that is 
over, she becomes reasonable, returns home without losing 
the recollection of any thing she has done or said, and en- 
joys her reason perfectly till the next return of her disorder. 
During the prelude of her last access, in 1827, she received 
news of her husband's death, from whom she had long lived 
separate. The access of her disorder was stopped ; but in 
two months afterwards she was seized as usual. 

Chapter IV. — Progress, Duration, Complication*, 
Termination of Insanity. 

Insanity, like ail other non-specific irritation, has no pro- 
gress independent of modifyers, nor any fixed duration, like 
the small pox, the measles, &c. It may be cured suddenly 
by medical skill — by nature, which re-establishes a func- 
tion which has been interrupted, or transforms insanity into 
some other bodily affection — by chance, which dissipates it 
by means of some lively moral impression. This is very 
possible when the inflammatory state is not present, so long 
as the substance of the brain is not disorganized ; and this 
state maybe of long duration. It may also be indefinitely 
prolonged without amelioration, or only with remissions, 
and end in madness : this occurs in the greatest number of 
cases, when the disease has not been efficaciously combated 
at its commencement. 

It is, above all, with the progress of insanity which medi- 
cine has not arrested in a short time, that I must now be 

The inflammatory symptoms having been mitigated by 
art, the patients continue disordered in their senses, each 
after his manner ; that is partially on the same subject, or 
when the object and the subject are changed, during a great- 
er or less length of time. This time varies considerably. 
Some are cured at different epochas during the two first 
years, even under the care of physicians who use active 
remedies. We have seen reason return after ten or even 
twenty years of mental alienation : this proves that the in- 
tegrity of the brain may be preserved for a longtime in some 
favored subjects. Many other viscera offer the same cause 
of remark ; but one is less surprised in those cases than 
when a substance so delicate as the brain gives rise to it. 
In general, writers on mania (Esquirol) do not count upon a 

[ *o? ] 

cure alter the second year ; the most ordinary period within 
which a cure may be expected is from 50 to 150 days. 

When insane patients do not return to their reason, they 
fall into that kind of madness which consists in the loss of 
intellect ( dementia ) and into general palsy, unless some com- 
plicated disease abridges their life ; for they are exposed 
to all the maladies that afflict other persons. As they do 
not possess the power of resisting cold, except during the 
state of insane excitation, and few precautions are taken to 
secure them from the effects of it, they often suffer much 
from this cause. Hence pleurisies, peripneumonies, and 
pericarditis, which may carry them off in a few days : hence, 
also, an habitual state of pulmonary congestion, accompanied 
by bronchitis, which may have dangerous results : hence 
most insane persons become rheumatic or gouty, deprived 
of the use of their limbs ; or else these affections suddenly 
ceasing, they are replaced by suffocating irritations of the 
stomach, the lungs, or the heart. Acute gastro-enteritis and 
intermittent fevers, do not spare insane people, and often 
depend on the cold damp state of their habitations.* But 
of all the accidents to which they are liable, because it is 
the most suddenly fatal, is the congestion of blood in the 
brain, which kills them suddenly, and occurs often in an at- 
tack of epilepsy. Many fall victims to phtisis pulmonaris, 
and we shall soon see the reason ; but the greater number 
die of chronic entero-colitis ; for the disposition to acute 
gastro-enteritis cannot last long. This affection comes on with 
diarrhoea, and colicky pains, which plunge the patients into 
marasmus, leucoplegmasia, and slight effusions in the perito- 

Insane people do not arrive at this state of exhaustion 
until they have long suffered by chronic affections of the up- 
per portion of the digestive canal. Generally they do not 
complain much ; but their gastro-duodenitis may usually be 
distinguished by the yellow color of the conjunctiva, and 
the mucous and bilious state of the tongue, or the tender- 
ness of the right hypochondria into which the liver often 
pours its fluids ; and by a pain more or less obtuse on press- 
ing the epigastrium, or the right or left sides under the ribs. 
It is after this state has long continued without preventing 
the nourishment of the patient, that diarrhoea appears ; 

* In England and this country, all the train of accessary disorders here 
enumerated, are obviated by the introduction of heated air. — Trans. 

sometimes preceded by an (edema oJ the malleoli, or a slight 
fluctuation in the abdomen. 

If the insane patients uncured, do not contract any of 
these accessory diseases, they may arrive at an advanced 
age even while insane ; but they never afibrd instances of 
great longevity, for they are in fact diseased ; and those 
among them who have long enjoyed a state of good health, 
are the only persons who live long. Some have lived in a 
state of insanity during thirty years. During this long pe- 
riod, many causes influence their delirium, and some ol them 
exhibit short lucid intervals. Every thing that irritates 
them disorders their ideas, and tends to bring on a state of 
agitation, fury, and general delirium, when it is not of itself 
continuous. The spring, the autumn, great heat, biting 
cold, are the most frequent causes of these exacerbations. 
Electricity also excites them much, and threatens to induce 
even cerebral congestions, if the patients are plethoric : all 
these types of disorder are from the beginning, or become 
with time sensible to atmospheric changes. Contradictions, 
disputes, earnest discussions, numerous visitors, the sight 
of popular meetings much agitated, freedom allowed too ear- 
ly, wine, alcoholic liquors, and all the diffusible excitants, 
agitate them strongly and impede their cure. Such also is 
the case with tonics improperly exhibited, and generally 
with all irritating medicaments, which false medical notions 
may prescribe, unless in cases of accidental weakness, well 

Insane persons indulge in solitary excesses which greatly 
influence the progress of their disorder, by powerfully stimu- 
lating the heart, and determining congestions of blood in the 
brain. This cause is one of those which concur in produc- 
ing among them aneurism of the heart and epilepsy, one of 
the most unfortunate complications that canbefal them. 

I have said that dementia and general paralysis were re- 
served for insane persons who have neither been cured, nor 
cut off by the complications before mentioned. Let us now 
see how these affections exhibit themselves, and narrate 
the history of mental alienation (dementia) more particular- 
ly, that type which constitutes the last form of insanity. 
Dementia and General Paralysis. 

This is announced by three classes of phenomena, which 
correspond to the three great functions of the encephalon : 
loss of intellectual faculties ; loss of muscular motion ; loss 

[ 209 ] 

of the functions of the senses. The first constitutes what 
writers on mania have agreed to call Dementia : the second 
and third have always been regarded as Paralysis. Hence 
We are induced to join the history of mental alienation, 
(dementia) which constitutes the last form of insanity, tb 
the facts which relate to general paralysis. 

The presence ol epilepsy hastens the approach of demen- 
tia, which may appear as the immediate consequence of 
epilepsy, without any preceding insanity. For insanity has 
not the exclusive power of producing dementia, which may 
succeed to obstinate head-aches, to long continued intellec- 
tual labor, to much watching, great efforts of memory, apo- 
plectiform sanguineous congestions, repeated attacks of 
the palsy ; we see it come on by degrees among persons 
who have remained in a state of hemiplegia, or deprived of 
some of their senses after recovery from one or more apo- 
plectic attacks. It is equally developed in those who are 
palsied in one of their senses, or in some of their muscles, 
without having experienced any complete attacks of apo- 
plexy or hemiplegia, or who have been subject to that 
ldnd of attack without hemiplegia, which authors have 
called a sudden plethora of the brain, (coup de sang.) In 
short, dementia declares itself in the progress of old age in 
persons whose cerebral organization is imperfect, or who 
have too much abused that viscus. 

We have paid great attention to the dementia of old age j 
we have observed it often in those families, particularly, 
where the brain has not been very robust, and wherein 
insanity has appeared at an age not much advanced. 
This is a true chronic irritation of the encephalon, more or 
less inflammatory. It is with the irritations of the brain, as 
it is Avith that of other organs : among the subjects who arc 
born with a pre-disposition to chronic pneumony, gastritis, 
or articular inflammations, the more w r eak, the more irritable, 
the more stimulated, contract this disorder in their youth, 
trhile the more robust and the least irritated, contract 
it only in advanced life, and when time has triumphed 
over their vital energy. This truth would be a melan- 
choly one, if there were not a middle term reserved for 
those who know how to use the means of preserving 
health (hygienne) so as to withdraw themselves from the 
determining causes. 

[ 210 J 

"Dementia announces itself in various ways, as it is simple 
or complicated with insanity, or with general paralysis. 
The more simple form is that of old men who are neither 
insane or paralytic ; it shews itself by an incoherent loqua- 
city, with repetitions that mark the feebleness of memory. 
The persons affected, are subject to occasional hallucina- 
tions, signs that irritation is at work on disorganizing the 
encephalon ; they weep, they laugh, they sing, they invent 
stories ; but in other respects appear to be in health. 

The dementia of persons already attacked with insanity, 
is also recognized by want of memory, by incoherence of 
conversation and proposals, and frequently by vacancy of 
countenance, and stupid silence. But what is very remark- 
able, is, that the moment when they fall into imbecility, and 
lose that sombre and haggard look that expressed their 
cares, and that pale and worn figure so usual among all of 
them, they appear to gain astonishingly as to all their inter- 
nal functions ; they become fat, fresh, with color in their 
eheeks, and enjoy the best health in the world, while no 
disorganization of the stomach or the lungs is opposed to 
the healthy progress of nutrition. We see them walk 
alone, holding unmeaning discourses with themselves, but 
without agitation or fury ; sometimes they are taciturn, look- 
ing stupidly at persons who accost them, answering only by 
monosyllables to questions put to them, seldom properly, 
Unless they relate to their most indispensable wants. Those 
who are less affected, make remarkable efforts to connect 
their ideas, but when they are compelled to hear and to 
answer, and they become impatient at their want of success. 
Such, also, is, for the most part, the progress of demen- 
tia in persons who have been conducted to this state by 
epilepsy. But where it proceeds in company with palsy, 
there is an embarrassment of speech as well as of memory. 
The persons affected pronounce some syllables with difficul- 
ty, they hesitate in talking, and they are at a loss for the 
expression they want to use. A difficulty also is seen in 
lifting up their legs, which feel heavy and benumbed ; if 
they turn their head aside while they walk, they stumble, 
and are liable to fall. By degrees the face loses its expres- 
sion ; they become indifferent to what passes around them, 
and seldom speak. They arrive at last at that degree of 
carelessness and stupidity, that we see them remain immov- 
able, silent, and sitting or laying down for days together. 

[ 311 j 

1f general paralysis has proceeded at equal pace with de- 
mentia, the patients are at length deprived of the power of 
executing any voluntary motion, their foodmust he put into 
their mouths, and they must be kept constantly clean. In 
this degradation of the functions of external relation, the 
motion of the muscles of respiration and deglutition, remain 
during life. 

Dementia shews itself without any kind of reaction by 
the perfect silence and stupidity in persons who have long 
beenhemiplegic, or afflicted with chronic gastro-duodenitis. 
But a paralysis of one sense only, without being complica- 
ted with the loss of muscular action, or the disorganization 
of the principle viscera, does not prevent dementia from 
producing that loquacity which we have before noted. All 
the subjects whom apoplectic attacks have left impotent 
and deprived of the use of one side of their body, are those 
who pass as iveak-headed ; they become angry, they weep, 
they laugh at trifles, although they are in appearance rea- 
sonable : this may be considered as the first degree of de- 

While this form of disease is not yet far advanced, that is, 
while it does not yet approach that silent stupidity which 
corresponds to its highest grade, it may present complica- 
tions or alternations of intellectual excitation, forming a re- 
markable contrast with the stupor which usually characterizes 
it. Hence we are surprized to hear a man whose want of me- 
mory incapacitates him for regular con versation, play at chess, 
or perform on an instrument, as well as a reasonable person. 
The attacks of excitation seem to come on spontaneously at 
irregular periods, without any assignable cause, or at regu- 
lar times, as at periods of menstruation ; and the patients 
appear to become for some time agitated in the manner that 
approaches to curable mania ; but a little attention will pre- 
vent the physician from being deceived. 

The duration of dementia, is not determined more than 
other shades of mental alienation. When it is single, the 
brain does not experience much deterioration, for we see 
persons of weak intellect who are for years in this unhappy 
state ; but the addition of paralysis, renders the prolonga- 
tion of the disorder more difficult of cure. 

We have already said that general paralysis may break 
out with dementia ; but this may either precede or follow at 
different intervals. Person? of different ages, but especially 

[ «w ] 

at the decline of life, alter having undergone great intellec 
iual labor, mental troubles, and long continued cephalalgias, 
who have had falls or received blows on the head, spine, 
breast, or pelvis, experience muscular pains, and difficulty 
of walking, as well as of pronouncing certain words, a long 
time before they perceive a loss of memory or any approach 
of dementia. I cannot stop longer on the details of such 
cases, whose progress I have just noted. I shall confine 
myself to paralysis considered as a termination of insanity ; 
but this paralysis may be precedent or consecutive upon 
dementia, although it be more usual to observe these two 
affections commence and proceed simultaneously. 

When paralysis appears before dementia it is always ac- 
cidental, shewing itself as the consequence of violent head 
aches, some sanguineous congestion, or some attack of 
epilepsy or apoplexy. In these cases it is usually partial, 
confined to one side of the body where the muscles cease to 
act, or to one of the external senses that no longer gives rise 
to perception. Such a partial paralysis accelerates the ap- 
proach of dementia much slower than general paralysis. 
This last, when it is the result of insanity, always keeps 
company with dementia, following the course we have alrea- 
dy described. 

When insane persons are not suddenly carried off, whe- 
ther by violent apoplectic attack before or after the appear- 
ance of dementia, or by acute inflammation of the chest or 
the lower intestines, they perish miserably : sometimes in 
the immobility of dementia — sometimes with gangrenous 
eschars of the sacrum or trochanters, or by palsies of the 
bladder or rectum, when the affection of the brain is trans- 
mitted to the spine — sometimes before this period, by a 
chronic affection and disorganization of the lungs and diges- 
tive organs, as we have before observed. A great number 
go off in pulmonary hectic, from not having been sufficiently 
protected against the impression of cold. Those who are 
thus cut off, are affected also with a chronic gastro-enteritis, 
which puts an end to most of those who do not die of cere- 
bral congestion, or of consumption ; it is essential to chronic 
irritation of the encephalon to bring on these affections and 
disorders of the digestive apparatus. This gastro-enteritis, 
always accompanied by affections of the liver, kills the pa- 
tient with marasmus, and diarrhoea when the disease extends 
to the large intestines; and sometimes in a state of dropsy, 

[213 J 

which conceals the meagreness of the body, and the con- 
sumption of the last stage of life. Insane persons who have 
contracted rheumatism and its pains, often perish by aneu- 
rism of the heart joined to affections of the other viscera. 
This aneurism, the effect of irritation, may moreover exist 
independently among the insane, as among other persons. 

Chapter V. — Necroscopy of Insane People. 

According to some physicians, the post mortem examina- 
tion of persons who have died insane, have taught us noth- 
ing concerning the seat or the nature of insanity ; but many 
others are of a different opinion — they assure us that the 
brain always exhibits appearances of disease, of which men- 
tal alienation has been the effect. We shall give an account 
of the state in which the different organs have actually been 
found after death ; and the dissertation which we shall offer 
on the value of the symptoms, the diseases on which we 
have made our observations in the preceding pages, will aid 
us in determining the physiological character of insanity. 

We must seek for the alterations that correspond to in- 
sanity first in the head. It has been found in the cases of 
persons who have died in transports of fury that the cerebral 
substance was injected with blood, and of unusual hardness. 
As to myself, I have seen in the body of a young man of 18 
years of age, the nerves so hardened at the points of inser- 
tion in the brain, usually called the origin of the nerves, that 
they might easily have passed for small tendons. If such 
subjects die of violent apoplexy, we find moreover effusions 
of blood at the surfaces, in the cavities, or in the very sub- 
stance of the brain. 

When madmen have lived long, we find alterations still 
more varied ; but authors have not distinguished sufficient- 
ly the subjects who have been cut off by accidental death, 
prior to the access of dementia or general paralysis, from 
those who have undergone all the stages of mental and mus- 
cular deterioration. The organic disorders that have seized 
upon them, have proceeded from the external to the inter- 
nal parts. The inequality of bulk of the two portions of the 
head — the thickening or thinning of the scull ; in case of 
thickening, sometimes the two bony tablets separated, leav- 
ing between them a considerable diploe (cellular tissue); 
the scull sometimes compact and smooth like ivory, and 

L «" j 

-when not so, frequently injected ; when it is thin, it is some- 
times hard and sometimes brittle, and even friable ; the 
dura mater hardened, thickened, and ossified ; the arachnoid 
coat thickened, opaque, sometimes adherent, sometimes 
covered with a purulent layer, more or less dense ; the 
membrane of the ventricules thickened, purulent, adherent to 
the brain ; the pia mater injected with blood and serum ; 
sometimes thickened and united to the arachnoid ; we are 
principally struck with the adherence of the pia mater to 
the surface of the brain ; so much so, that in some subjects 
it could not be separated without carrying away some of the 
grey substance ; the circumvolutions obliterated and pressed 
against each other ; when on the other hand the pia mater 
was moist, these circumvolutions were separated, thinned, 
and the intervals filled with the lymph that moistened that 
membrane. We have seen the substance of the brain shin- 
ing, and as if it had imbibed a serosity which rendered it 
moist when cut ; sometimes the grey substance has been 
harder than usual, which ought to correspond with the more 
than ordinary developementof the contiguous vascular mem- 
brane, the pia mater. The grey substance has been some- 
times hard to be distinguished from the white ; a lively red 
tinge has been remarked in cases where the disease has 
been not much removed from sudden and acute, and in other 
cases a marbled appearance, more or less livid or pale, occu- 
pied the periphery of the brain, and almost confounded the 
two substances : the substance of the brain is found usually 
more dense than that of the cerebellum ; but both the one 
and the other unusually softened, especially in those sub- 
jects who have been attacked by epilepsy or general para- 
lysis ; partial softenings or hardenings of the cerebral 
substance appear, which to some observers have seemed 
glandular or schirrous ; sometimes suppurations or ulcera- 
tions of a cancerous character, appear at the external surface, 
or in the cavities of the brain ; bladders filled with hydatids 
in the plexus choroides, sometimes hard and almost stony 
concretions in the foldings of this membrane and in some 
others, and even the pulpy substance itself, where now and 
then we find considerable petrifactions, or bony masses, 
effusions of blood or serosity accompanying the alterations 
in the chronic, as well as in the acute state ; the general 
volume of the encephalic mass much less considerable in the 
first case than the last. Where general paralysis has occur. 

[ 215 ] 

red, we have found in the membranes of the spine, the same 
kind of lesions as in those of the encephalon ; and sometimes 
important alterations in the medullary substance and the 
nervous cords.* 

The alterations which the other organs present, do not 
differ from those which are found in subjects which have 
not been attacked by insanity. The insane, as we have 
seen, frequently contract chronic inflammations in the organs 
of respiration and circulation ; it is not extraordinary, there- 
fore, to find among them aneurisms, lungs hardened, ulcer- 
ated, or tubercular ; the pleura and the pericardium altered, 
or containing an effused liquid. It is more common to find 
alterations of the digestive organs, accompany alterations of 
the brain : we always discover, therefore, in the abdomen 
of madmen, who have passed through all the shades of intel- 
lectual degradation, traces of chronic gastro-enteritis, with 
degeneration of the liver ; that is to say, we find the inter- 
nal membrane of the stomach red, brown, black, thickened, 
ulcerated, ecchymosed, rarely thinned, softened, or des- 
troyed near the shallow part, unless the gastric symptoms 
have acquired the predominance, which we have seen more 
than once. We find much more frequently the duodenum 
reddish, brown, dilated; its internal membrane thickened, 
presenting follicules tumified, degenerated, ulcerated ; the 
liver yellow, fat, augmented in bulk, or tough, sometimes 
tubercular, schirrous, containing cysts with serous effusions 
in the peritoneal cavity. The rest of the digestive canal is 
more or less altered in its mucous membrane, according to 
the degree of inflammation which it has undergone ; the 
internal membrane oi the colon, brown, black, full of small 
circumscribed ulcerations, as if made by a punch, especially 
among those who have died with diarrhoea. We also find 
traces of chronic inflammation in nymphomaniac females ; 
but it would be useless to describe all the other disorders 
which may possibly be traced in the dead bodies of insane 
persons ; for as these patients are exposed to the action of 
cold, and of the passions, sources of a thousand evils, it would 
be necessary to describe the pathological anatomy of most 
of the disorders of the human race. 

* I refer to the excellent treatise on Insanity, by Dr. Calmeil, entitled 
"On general paralysis in insane persons." (De la paralysie generate 
chez les alienes.) Sagacity and indefatigable patience belong to this 
observer, who seem? destined to settle this part of pathological anatomy. 

t 216 J 
Chapter VI. — On theories of Insanity, ancient and 


Now that the more ostensible facts relating to mental 
diseases are known to us ? we may proceed to the investiga- 
tion of facts less evident, which constitute part of the laws 
of physiology, and which may serve to explain the former. 
It would be useless to dwell on the absurd opinions respect- 
ing insanity which have prevailed during ages of fanaticism 
and superstition. In the Catholic persuasion, ignorant 
people have always exposed themselves, by an inclination 
to ascribe insanity to demoniacal possession , as the pagans 
often explained it by being besieged by the furies. But let 
us pass over these miserable notions. 

From time of old, insanity has been considered as a dis- 
ease of the brain ; it has been compared with frenzy; and 
ascribed, like that, to inflammation of the brain, and its 
meninges. We find all these ideas in Ccelius Aurelianus, 
the translator of Soranus, as well as a therapeutic practice 
devised to perpetuate them ; such as the application of 
leeches, cuppings, and scarifyings to the head, to the nape 
of the neck, and to the shoulders ; a cooling regimen, simple 
diet, revulsive stimulation upon the skin, &c. It is surpris- 
ing, that modern physicians should claim the honor of this 
discovery. In truth, other ancients not less famous, such as 
Galen and his followers, had drawn off the attention from 
the real curative indications, to fix them on humors to be 
evacuated, particularly the atrabilious ; but this class of 
humors were always supposed to act upon the brain, and 
sometimes even to produce inflammation in it, as these 
Galenists acknowledged ; but this explanation, admitted 
by all the mechanic humoralists, by Boerhaave, Van Swie- 
ten, &c. has prevailed even to our day. We have reason 
then to be astonished that the moderns have been so slow 
in substituting inflammatory lesions of the brain to the vague 
humoral lesions of the antient and middle age. 

This delay has arisen from their having too much circum- 
scribed the phenomena of inflammation. Considering phleg- 
mon as the type of this morbid state, and requiring almost 
always suppuration to characterize the phlegmasia which do 
not terminate in gangrene, they have till now prevented 
observers from yielding the testimony of their senses to the 
proximate cause of the redness, the swelling, and the sense 

[. an j 

oi heat which they see in so many instances. Whenever 
irritation acting on a secreting organ, increased or denatur- 
alized the humor furnished by it, this was regarded as the 
cause of the local affection ; and if any other part, however 
distant, presented a morbid state at the same time, it was 
ascribed to the aberrations of the same humor. Thus it 
happens, that the transpiration, the bile, or the mucus un- 
der the name of phlegm, have become causes of so many 
disorders which were not attributed even to the blood. On 
the same principle in later days we have seen that all the 
affections of the viscera that succeed to suppurating lesions, 
whether simple or ulcerous, are placed to the account of 
purulent infection. 

The same tendency to generalize a few observations 
more or less exact, has shewn itself under different forms 
every time that some important discovery has been made. 
The circulation and pretended globular form of the particles 
of the blood, begat the mechanic, the hydraulic, the hydro- 
dynamic theories ; that of the glands, and still later of the 
absorbent vessels, gave occasion to attribute all maladies to 
lymph, to glandular obstructions, infractions, or inflamma- 
tions of the absorbent vessels ; the discovery of muscular 
irritability and the labors bestowed on the nervous system, 
drew medical attention to that quarter, and almost all our 
maladies were then placed to the account either of some 
original lesion of that vital energy of which the nerves were 
the agents, or of that subtile fluid of which they were the 
conductors, or else of the nervous fibrils whose degree of 
tension* explained all phenomena to that class of observers 
who did not admit of a nervous fluid. 

About the same time we saw the archceal abstractions, the 
soul material and immaterial, energy or weakness, entities 
which were created either as having locality, or as being 
independent of all confinement in the organs, become the 
regulators of all organic motions. These entities were made 
responsible for all kinds of diseases, and all remedies were 
addressed to them, but no one all this time, took the trouble 
to ascertain the action of these entities on the organs them- 

-Some careless and very superficial readers, have ignorantlv ascribed 
to Hartley the opinion that nerves were cords, stretched and vibratino- 
like the strings ot a harpsichord, although that great man expressly rfis« 

i'lpimc anr such nntinn W/»j?# 

claims am- qnch notion. — Tmn*. 

f 218 j 

Still later, ai>d in times nearer our own, some physicians 
felt disgust at these abstractions, and thought to work won- 
ders by substituting some new entities to the old. For fear 
of repeating antient absurdities, they refused to explain how 
the blood, the bile, the phlegm, the lymph, the nerves, 
could become the causes of disease ; but they admitted a 
causality which served them instead, by recognizing in some 
general manner, a sanguineous element, a bilious, a pituitous, 
and a nervous. 

Among their predecessors, some had attributed certain 
maladies to inflammation — others to some saburra (aliment- 
ary undigested concretion ) which must be evacuated — others 
to an excess of force — others to an excess of weakness in 
the stomach — some to putridity of the humors — many, quite 
as numerous to malignity, whose cause was ascribed to de- 
fect of energy in the vital principle. The new fangled 
ontologists reconciled all these disputants by creating for 
the same maladies inflammatory elements, saburral or gas- 
tric, which were synonimous ; sthenic and asthenic, which 
were opponents ; putrid, malign, irregular or ataxic. No- 
thing became easier than the diagnosis and the treatment 
of diseases with the aid of this legion of entities ; the doc- 
tors always agreed, for they created a genius to preside 
over each symptom, and the supposed specific remedy, 
which was in fact no other than the method prescribed by 
the same ancients whose language was rejected, was admit- 
ted in the catalogue of the polypharmacopeia destined to 
exercise all these hobgoblins. 

Thus it was that the consultations of medical juntos were 
arranged to the great advantage of Decorum ; for the profane 
were no longer witnesses of those scandalous disputes whose 
memory has been preserved by Moliere and other satirists. 

How then can we be surprised that the ancient idea of 
Soranus on the nature of insanity, should have been lost, 
and that much pains were required to produce evidence 
concerning it ? The elements, the principles, the morbid 
Genii, acted on the brain ; this is all they could say ; and 
when they were compelled to admit the presence of inflam- 
mation, this appearance, so found, was admitted only as 
accidental, just as it was asserted to be in the pretended 
essential fevers. 

Every one knows, that among the theories which I have 
brought up to recollection 5 that of nervous energy and vital 

f 219 | 

energy, has ultimately succeeded more or less. But anim- 
ism has always had its partizans : we see even at this day 
there are physicians who assert even in print, that madness 
is an affection of the immaterial principle, and that it has no 
particular seat; but a far greater number maintain that it 
depends on morbid elements, without giving any reasonable 
or satisfactory explanation of the mode of action of these 

After the explanations of hypothetical theorists, come 
those of the followers of anatomical pathology. We may 
expect now to find something, if not more reasonable 9 at 
least more material, and more intelligible to common un- 
derstandings ; we shall soon see if this presumption be well 

We have said that physicians have too much confined the 
idea of inflammation by taking phlegmon as the type of it ; 
no disorder shows this better than insanity. As it is ex- 
tremely rare to meet with pus like that of a phlegmon in 
the brain of madmen, nobody thought of inflammation there. 
On the other hand, as no one discovered the relation of 
cause and effect between the lesions of which we have spo- 
ken in the dead body, and mental alienation, there was great 
difficulty in materialising this affection. Indeed, with the 
usual idea of inflammation, how could it be supposed that 
the hardenings, the softenings, the diminutions and inequali- 
ties of bulk of the brain and cerebellum, the density, the 
opacity, the injection, the adherence of the membranes, the 
hardness or softness, the thickness or the tenuity, the con- 
sistence, with or without the ivory appearance or the fria- 
bility of the bones of the cranium, could be the causes of so 
many kinds of delirium, of fury, of convulsions, of prodigious 
increase of certain talents, and of the total brutality of the 
intellectual faculties ? One might reconcile fury and an 
increase of muscular force, with the hardening of the cere- 
bral substance, on finding it accompanied by sanguineous 
injection, for here was evidence of the first degree of inflam- 
mation ; but to confirm this idea, it would be necessary that 
all the chronic shades of inflammation, should present traces 
of suppuration analogous to that of phlegmon as their type. 
But this was scarcely ever seen ; and hence, in our opinion, 
all notion of cerebral phlegmasia, as the cause of insanity, 
was abandoned. In all cases, therefore, as it became abso- 
lute! V necessary to connect the alterations of the brain and 

[ 2*0 J 

its membranes with insanity, not being able tu view them 
as causes, they were converted into effects. 

This explanation, absurd as it is, passed amidst a number 
of other absurdities, which swarmed in pathology until 
1816, when I printed in my Examen de la doctrine medicate 
generalement adoptee, a question which I propounded in ray 
own lectures, ever since 1814. I asked of my honorable 
brethren what they understood by pathological alterations 
produced by a disease ; and how they conceived that a dis- 
ease could act upon the organs, since, according to the most 
philosophical nosographical definitions, a disease is nothing 
more than a bundle of symptoms. 1 applied this question 
to each disease in particular, and especially to those fevers 
denominated essential. In 1821, 1 republished it in my se- 
cond Examen. I endeavored to ascertain what idea one 
could form of a group of symptoms which tumefied and ob- 
structed, hardened, softened, ulcerated, perforated, and 
mortified the organs ; and not being able to find in any of 
their attributes, an agent capable of such actions, I concluded 
without doubt, that physicians had erected the word by 
which they meant to designate the disease into an entity, 
whether material or immaterial, I could not say ; but at 
least endowed with an activity proper to itself, and indepen- 
dent of that which belonged to the organs. One of my most 
distinguished pupils very happily exploded this idea in his 
refutation of a treatise on fevers which was meant to be- 
come a classic work. Taking each symptom in particular, 
Dr. Roche jocosely enquired of the ontological compiler, 
whether the burning heat, the foulness of the mouth, the 
thirst, the stupor, the bad breath, the prostration of strength, 
circumstances into which, according to the nosologists, the 
entity, adynamic or pvtrid fever, ought to resolve itself, 
possess the property of softening the internal membrane of 
the stomach, of ulcerating and perforating it, and of produc- 
ing intro-susception of the intestines. 

These pleaders against the essentiality of disease, vigor- 
puously sustained, during ten years, by a crowd of intelligent 
men, educated in the physiological school, have introduced 
an immense revolution in the medical science of France. 
But it is with great difficulty indeed, that this revolution 
has found its way into the establishments, public and private, 
devoted to the treatment of insanity. 

Among the chief pf the classic authors now living, who 

L 221 j 

give the law uu the question now before us, some still con- 
tend that the alterations of the brain are the effect of the 
disease, which they define by enumerating the symptoms ; 
others allow that there does sometimes exist inflammation, 
at first acute, but afterwards chronic, but that this is not 
always the case ; and that there is a lesion of the vital prin- 
ciple anterior to the affection of the tissues ; and that this 
lesion prepares and consummates their disorganization. 
The first set, seem to have no fears that they shall be asked 
by what property the mental wandering, the fury, and other 
symptoms, can harden the brain ; nor how stupidity can 
cause it to be injected, softened, or reduced to a state of 
atrophy. The second class have not dreamed of the diffi- 
culty of exhibiting their vital immaterial, or their nervous 
entity, in action and disorganizing the brain so as to produce 

It is well known that the greater part of men of science, 
who have their opinions made up, are not apt to change, 
especially after they have once published them : we must 
expect, therefore, that medical doctrines will advance rather 
by the labors of the pupils than by those of the masters ; 
and so it has happened, but to a certain point only ; for the 
pupils attached to lunatic hospitals have not always been 
those of the physiological school ; many of the truths taught 
in that school have been applied to insanity, but the most 
important have been neglected. 

In 1820, Professor Lallemand, as yet a student, advanced 
in print that the inflammation of the arachnoid coat, partici- 
pated by the pia mater, was a frequent occurrence, and that 
it was the principal cause of delirium ; but he did not apply 
this observation to insanity. He also said that the inflam- 
mation of the cerebral substance could not produce delirium ; 
he considered this rather as the cause of convulsions and 
partial paralysis ; and with me he referred the softening of 
the brain to inflammation. 

Among the young physicians who lived with insane pa- 
tients, one of them, in 1823, held in opposition to his pro- 
fessor, that mental diseases were the results of various 
modifications of the meninges and the encephalon : another, 
in 1825, taught in a publication, entitled "A new doctrine 
of mental diseases," that not only common delirium, but 
insanity, consisted usually in a chronic inflammation of the 
meninges, but he added an irritation either specific or sym- 

i. *** J 

pathetic of the brain itself, also as a cause. The lirst of 
these, developing the idea he had announced, pretended to 
have taugni the medical world that the lesions observed and 
described by authors, and which we have enumerated a few 
pages back, were the causes, not the effects of insanity, in- 
troducing, as he averred, a new method of considering this 
disorder. He attributed it sometimes to an original, some- 
times to an acquired mal-conformation of the head ; some- 
times to a lesion of the meninges, sometimes to a hardening 
of the brain, sometimes to a general or partial softening of 
that organ, or as the case might be, to any of the organic 
alterations I have enumerated , but always insisting that the 
engorgement of the vessels of the brain and pia mater was 
the most frequent occurrence, and the most frequent cause 
also of insanity. 

The second of these writers, conceived with many teach- 
ers, that insanity might take place as a sympathetic effect of 
the lesion of some other organ than the brain. The first of 
these authors, in 1826, declared through a third person, 
whose opinions coincided with his own, that the gout, dis- 
eases of the lungs, and even those of the digestive organs 
could not be causes of insanity which were always to be 
sought for in the brain. 

Here then are some of the physiological doctrines that 
stept over the threshold of lunatic hospitals, introduced, not 
by masters, but by students. Still, these students did not 
perform all that they might, and all that they ought. They 
did also what they should not have done, for they boasted 
of having discovered a new and fruitful principle as applied 
to the theory and practice of mental disorders, to wit, that 
the alteration of the brain and its membranes are the causes, 
not the effects of this malady. They omitted what they 
might have done, for they presented by this assertion, 
in spite of all the labors of physiologists, a false idea of the 
manner in which the organs thus affected produced the phe- 
nomena of mental alienation. The proofs of these two 
assertions will become more evident by the exposition I am 
about to make of what was taught and printed in the physi- 
ological school, before the writings of these two young phy- 
sicians appeared. 

In my lectures from 1814 forward, I referred all delirium, 
whether acute or chronic, to the irritation, original or sym- 
pathetic, of the brain ; adding, that this irritation sometimes 

[ 22S J 

did put on the character of inflammation, but sometimes did 
not reach that point ; such was the general idea. Convul- 
sions, partial and general loss of sensation and motion, 
engorgements, congestions, softenings, effusions, extravasa- 
tions of all kinds, whether of the brain or the meninges, 
were referred by me to the same cause ; and surprise was 
excited to find that apoplexy and mental alienation, were 
explained by the same theory as frenzy. Moreover, I per- 
suaded strongly all the pupils to search for facts that should 
confirm or refute these assertions. It was after he had lis- 
tened to all these developements that M. Lallemand put 
forth his " Letters on the Encephalon," a work composecrin 
great part of observations extracted from the practice of 
physicians whom he had followed while a student ; but dis- 
posed and commented on in the manner of my " History of 
Inflammations. He advanced the proofs of my assertions 
on the causes of convulsion and paralysis , and he essayed 
to describe with precision the symptoms that corresponded 
with each degree of encephalic lesion of which he took cog- 
nizance. It must, however, be remarked, that he never 
set out from irritation as the starting point in all the mala- 
dies he described ; he spake only of inflammation, a thing 
well known of old, and brought into vogue in England, in 
reference to these disorders, by Dr. Abererombie and oth- 
ers. He located, moreover, the cause of delirium in the 
inflammation of the arachnoid coat. 

The year after, 1821, I printed the opinions that I had 
held for seven years before, on the affections of the ence- 
phalon, and which had been already published. They con- 
formed to what I had already published on other maladies. 
In my Examen des doctrines medicates, p. 770, are to be 
found the opinions here advanced, viz. that sanguineous 
congestions in the brain, serous and hydro-cephalic conges- 
tions, arachnitis, apoplexies called nervous, cerebral can- 
cers, fungous tumors of the dura-mater, acephalo cysts or 
hydatids, tubercules in the brain, osseous tumors on the 
internal walls of the cranium, lethargy, epilepsy, and that 
softening of the brain that Dr. Abererombie had already 
regarded as the effect of encephalitis, are all the results of 
one phenomenon variously diversified, Irritation. Let 
any one point out, if he can, in any post mortem examina- 
tion (autopsie) of persons who have died insane, and which 
have been described bv anv author whose works I have ex- 

[ &S4 J 

auiined, any organic alteration bearing upon the subject, 
which is not referable to this cause. 

It remained to refer, by name, all these alterations to 
insanity ; and this was done in the 123 proposition of the 
"Examen," printed in 1821, and which, with the 467 others 
that accompany it, is nothing more than an abstract of my 
course of physiology and pathology during seven years. 
Here is the text of that proposition : " Madness always sup- 
poses an irritation of the brain. This irritation may be 
continued there for a long time by means of some other in- 
flammation, and may disappear with it ; but if it should be 
prolonged, it finishes always by being converted into ence- 
phalitis parenchymatous or membranous." 

This proposition was not a mere glance, hazarded ; it is 
the substance of extensive discussion to be found in the 
course of a work on the subject of nosography, a new work 
on the softening of the encephalon, the two first letters of 
Professor Lallemand, and finally in oral dissertations repeat- 
ed during seven years in my course of lectures, theoretical 
and practical. From these multiplied sources proceeded 
the general proposition above stated, in which, to avoid ab- 
surdities in language, and dangerous coniradictions in prac- 
tice, it is absolutely necessary to adopt irritation as the 
original phenomenon, and as connecting almost all the cere- 
bral maladies. This proposition had been already announ- 
ced in 1808, in the "History of Inflammations," (phlegma- 
siae.) I re-produced it in 1816, and applied it to the whole 
of pathology; finally, in 1821, it again appeared with pre- 
cision as applied to insanity. 

It is easy then to judge, that the authors, of whom we 
have spoken, have not acted acurately in attributing to 
themselves the discovery of " a principle subversive of all 
the old theories on mania," for this principle is not a new 
one. Nor have they acted acurately in boasting that in 
1824 they first established the medical diagnostic as consist- 
ing in giving to external phenomena a representative value 
of the internal state, or of the lesion of the organ which was 
the seat of the disorder. This idea is in fact the parent of 
the physiological doctrine : it is this which dictated the his- 
tory of inflammations (Histoire de Phegmasice) in 1808, the 
first Examen of 1816, and the second of 1821. The com- 
plete developement of this same idea has been advanced in 
theory, and applied in practice to a great hospital, before 

[ 225 j 

numerous witnesses in the midst of the capitol of the nation 
since 1814 ; that is to say, probably, before these young 
men had commenced their medical studies. 

In attributing insanity to the alterations which take place 
in the encephalon and its dependencies, these authors have 
not done all that they might have done : for instance, not 
being acquainted with the physiological doctrine, they did 
not feel the necessity of irritation to establish a regular sys- 
tem of pathology : they surreptitiously seized upon the notion 
that the symptoms ought to represent the state of the organs ; 
but how, physiologically, this happened, they had no clear 
idea ; they never doubted whether it was by irritation, and by 
irritation alone, that one organ acted upon another ; and 
that this constituted the sympathies. They never suspect- 
ed that irritation existed in the organ sympathised with, as 
well as in the organ sympathising ; that it is the phenome- 
non common both to one and the other ; and that this idea 
alone can explain how the organ sympathised with, may be- 
come altered and disorganised in imitation of that which 

Ignorance of this fact, which they might have understood 
had they studied the physiological doctrine, has tempted 
them to say that insanity sometimes depends on vitious con- 
formation, natural or acquired, of the scull or of the brain, 
sometimes on a lesion of the meninges, sometimes on the 
hardness of the brain, sometimes on its softness general or 
partial, sometimes on other alterations referred to before in 
this work, but most commonly to the engorgement of the 
vessels of the brain and pia mater. These assertions want 
precision, and are embarrassing for readers, because they 
do not speak to the understanding. How can we attach de- 
lirium directly to lesion which is so various ? Moreover, 
insanity exists a long time before all these alterations are 
formed ; and the proof is, its intermittent periodicity, and 
its sudden cure by some strong moral impression in the midst 
of intellectual derangements the most outrageous, or stupid- 
ity the most complete. Insanity is not the effect of these 
lesions, but of the cause that produces them. But this cause is 
not necessarily inflammation, as some authors have pronounc- 
ed it to be. This is also proved by the possibility ot sudden 
cures by moral causes, even after many years of malady ; a 
change incompatible with real inflammation, which would 
have produced an alteration in the organs themselves, 

2 n 

[ 226 j 

Moreover, because they have no proper idea of irritation, 
certain writers on mania have advanced that insanity could 
not be sympathetic, or depend on the influence of another 
affection. The reason they assign is, that the seat of a mala- 
dy cannot be elsewhere than in the organ whose functions 
are deranged ; language vague, enigmatic, and the source 
of vain disputes about words. 

No doubt ( our physiological physicians will say ) the seat 
of mania is always in the brain ; but the brain may be irri- 
tated by an organ which is still more irritated than the brain 
itself is ; there may be irritation for a long time before there 
is inflammation, and before there is disorganization ; and. 
this may cease when the brain ceases to be irregularly stim- 
ulated by the organ which acts upon it. Thus the breaking 
cut of the monthly discharge in females, an hemorrhoidal 
flux, a vomiting of blood or other liquid, the application of 
leeches to the epigastrium, &c. &c. may dissipate insanity in 
the twinkling of an eye, and even forever. 

Not to have understood all this — not to have applied the 
phenomena of irritation to mania — to have left it under an 
uncertain dependence on lesions which it does not imply — 
in refusing to explain in what manner these lesions can pro- 
duce it — not to have explained the therapeutic practice 
indicated by the most common laws of irritation — in other 
words, not to have shewn how insanity might be advantage- 
ously modified by directing the influence of some organs 
upon others — to have entertained but two general views : 
one that of placing the exclusive seat of mania in the brain, 
without making any attempt to explain sympathetic manias, 
and being satisfied with denying their existence — all this 
does not amount to a well studied knowledge of a doctrine 
whose existence was undoubtedly w r ell known, because the 
persons alluded to had borrowed from it ; a doctrine which 
comprised all the elements of the problems to be resolved ; 
in a word, it is a culpable omission of doing what might have 
been done. 

An author who ought always to be cited whenever there 
is any question in discussion concerning the brain, and who 
by his great labors on the functions of the cncephalon, has 
acquired permanent claims on the gratitude of mankind, Dr. 
Gall, has not stopped at these superficial views, and indis- 
criminating explanations : he rejects with disdain the opin- 
ion of those w r ho attribute insanitv to the alteration of the 

l 227 ] 

hones oi the cranium or any other. According to him, 
" mechanical and organic derangements are subordinate to 
the changes which take place during life ; they are results 
only; and the life of some particular part, or of the body 
generally, may become extinct without any visible organic 
derangement. He adds, that when mania has not been of 
long continuance, we find nothing ; but if it has remained 
a considerable time, we find in the brain, in the meninges, 
and in the cranium, manifest alterations ; such as ossified 
vessels, a diminution of one part or the other of the cerebral 
substance, osseous depositions on the internal surface of the 
cranium, &c. the results of some alteration inappreciable 
by our senses, but which has affected that power on which 
life and its functions depend." 

Dr. Gall was acquainted also with the other alterations 
before mentioned, and has explained them in the same man- 
ner. Inflammation is not the primary cause of these disor- 
ders ; it places them only on the same line with shocks that 
the brain receives, with accidental lesions, or some organic 
fault in the brain or meninges, some roughness of the inter- 
nal part of the cranium, an intellectual contention too long 
continued, a project baffled, hope disappointed, an ambition 
without bounds, vanity wounded, and other moral causes, 
which he refers, like all the rest, to a lesion of life. In other 
places of his writings which have appeared subsequent to 
the publication of the physiological doctrine in 1816, he re- 
marks that the augmentation of the irritability of the brain 
is manifest in the antecedent state, and through the first 
period of insanity. He does not, therefore, imitate those 
who, by a retrogade movement, have abandoned the expla- 
nations of Pinel, who for the sake of ranking among the 
anatomo-pathologists, consider insanity as nervous in its ori- 
gin, and agreed with them in acknowledging no characters 
in disease, but such as were manifest on a post mortem in- 

Dr. Gall does not explain the atrophy of the brain at the 
close of a prolonged mania of inflammation ; he attributes it 
to a lesion of the vital forces. A brain which has long been 
injured in the mode which constitutes insanity, is affected 
by atrophy just as a sciatic nerve is, which has been long* 
affected by pain. Moreover, the brain cannot sink down 
and become pressed in all its parts upon itself without being 
followed by the scull, unless some effusion should take place 

E 228 j 

between them. Hence the separation oi the internal table 
from the external, which last is less disposed to follow the 
retreat of the brain. But this is what arrives in the regular 
atrophy of the brain, the result of old age. But there will 
be this difference : in an insane person the space occasioned 
by the separation of the two bony tablets, instead of being 
occupied by a diploid tissue with large cells, which renders 
the bone thin in old subjects, it is filled on the contrary by 
a dense bony substance which penetrates both tablets, and 
renders the scull very thick, dense, and like ivory. This 
kind of alteration is so common, that Greding has observed 
it in 68 out of 100 furious maniacs, and 22 times out of 30 
in idiots. 

These remarks of Dr. Gall ought to put the writers 
on mania on the right road to truth. I cannot adopt all 
the ideas of this scientific observer on the seat of mania ; 
but as it is to him we owe the most valuable data, we must 
start from thence to go further if possible ; at least we 
must try. 

Dr. Gall considers insanity as a disease exclusively loca- 
ted in the brain ; and the young writers on the subject have 
borrowed this idea from him. According to him it is an 
affection of the vital force of the brain. The oftener this 
occurs, especially at the commencement of the disease, the 
greater is the increase of irritability, attended with an in- 
creased activity of the circulation, and even with inflamma- 
tion. But this inflammation is not the principal agent in the 
deterioration of the brain. The author is much more occu- 
pied in proving that the seat of insanity is the brain, a fact 
which no sensible and well informed observer ever doubted, 
than in determining what the physiological character of this 
modification of the brain really is. It is the vital lesion of 
the brain which induces the atrophy, the thickening, and all 
the accessary symptoms that denaturalize it ; but we do not 
well see how to attach this vital lesion to some fundamental, 
applicable, distinct appearance ; for he speaks only of a 
modification in general, of some unknown principle called 
life. This is well understood. 

Dr. Gall, after placing insanity in the brain, is principally 
occupied in determining what region of the brain is affected. 
We know that Dr. Gall considers the brain as a double set 
of nerves, or pairs of nerves, analagous to those of the exter- 
nal senses, but which do not quit the cranium, and whose 

number is yet undetermined. That each of these intercia- 
nial pairs, is charged with some intellectual tendency or 
faculty ; they are called organs, and their situation at the 
periphery of the brain, allows of their being more or less 
distinguished by means of the osseous bumps or projections 
of the external scull ; that the instincts, the aptitudes, the 
different degrees and different kinds of intelligence of each 
individual, not only of the human, but the brute species, may 
be thus indicated ; that the vital modification which consti- 
tutes insanity, may sometimes take place in all the organs 
at once ; but that it may also, and generally does predomi- 
nate, or locate itself, exclusively or successively, in one or 
other of them ; so that besides general mania, there may be 
as many monomanias as there are different organs in the 

This theory (it is said) enables us to explain, how exces- 
sive passions and excessive intellectual efforts, may lead to 
insanity. It is particularly to the super activity of some 
tendency to which the person adds energy by indulging it, or 
by the influence of some predominant faculty which seduces 
the inclination by the facility with which it is exercised, 
that man loses his reason. Inflammation often appears in 
organs too much exercised, a very common symptom in the 
access of general mania; or it may be confined to some or- 
gan in particular. Hence the possibility of suppuration ; 
but although possible, it often does not take place, as when 
we observe on opening the head no trace of lesion. But 
when the derangements of organization are not produced 
by inflammation, which happens in the smaller number of 
cases, there is at least that vital lesion which constitutes 

We may now see in what respect all this is defective. 
The learned organologist, ought to be able to say, if there be 
not inflammation and suppuration that disorganizes the 
brain, it is at least irritation that produces this appearance ; 
a modification not only possible in a'l the tissues, and 
which in this case acts on the cerebral fibre properly so 
called, but on all the other tissues that constitute the 
intellectual apparatus ; as the vessels that moisten it, the 
membranes that envelope it, and even the osseous case that 
incloses it. 

Pinel and his followers have explained themselves as 
faultily when they could see nothing but a nervous phenome- 

C 230 ] 

non in insanity ; I prove this by the same argument that I 
employ against Dr. Gall. What kind of a nervous lesion is 
that, by means whereof the cerebral vessels become en- 
gorged ; which produces effusions, phlegmons, adhesions, 
thickenings, ossifications ; which can act on the scull so as 
to produce the consistence of ivory and the hardness of 
enamel ? Nor have we any clear conception of what the 
organologist calls vital lesion ; an affection indeterminate, 
arbitrary, applicable to every supposed action on the organs, 
whatever may be their difference of texture, consistence, 
&c. What means have we of representing a neurosis than 
can produce all these disorganizations, consistently with 
the idea we have always entertained of nervosity ? Pincl 
thought he could escape by regarding all these disorders as 
complications or coincidences; an illusory subterfuge which 
would populate insanity, as well as all the other neurosis 
of the same author, with a crowd of morbid elements, inex- 
plicable, casual, of which we know not either the diagnosis, 
or the treatment. 

Without adopting throughout the organology of Dr. Gall, 
we arc compelled to agree with him and all the other well 
informed physicians who have preceded him, that insanity 
is seated in the brain. But we must analyse this express- 
ion, it isseatcd in the brain, for it has been strangely abused : 
it throws obstacles in the way oi knowledge, and dictates 
everyday to more physicians than one, assertions that ex- 
perience disavows. What is it among maniacs that is seated 
in the brain ? Is it delirium ? No doubt a man will not 
rave but in consequence of some malady of the brain. Let 
us, however, come to the second question. Why does the 
brain experience this aberration ? I would answer, because 
its irritability is augmented, or because its contractility is 
beyond its normal degree ; because it is over-irritated, or 
simply irritated, that I may keep to that sense of the express- 
ion which is adopted in the first part of this work. 

A third question now arises, which observation and the 
practice of the art ought to dictate to all physicians. Why 
should the brain be irritated ? Or in the other words, is 
the cause of the irritation of the brain seated in that organ, 
or in some other ? The physician who decides on the first 
and obvious view of the facts, replies, that the cause may 
reside solely in the brain, but that it may also be seated in" 
some other organ : he judges by those insanities that take 

[ *>1 ] 

place alter the affection of some other organ, and which are 
cured so soon as that affection is dissipated. But Dr. Gall 
and his partizans who are at present very numerous, judge 
differently. Since delirium cannot exist without an affec- 
tion of the brain, the cause must be located there. But they 
elude the question, and they must be brought up to it. Let 
us address them then. " We do not ask you whether the 
brain is affected whenever there is delirium ; this would be 
a question as silly as if we were to ask whether the muscles 
are affected in a convulsion ; but we ask of you whether 
the affection of the brain, may not be so subordinate to that 
of another organ', that it may be produced by this last, and 
cease when it ceases. You deny this fact, assuring us that 
in every case of this nature which you have observed, the 
brain has been originally affected ; and you accuse us of 
having seen incorrectly, when we attribute the affection of 
the brain to that of any other organ. This is bringing us at 
once upon the field of observation. Very well ; we repeat 
then, that we have seen cases of insanity produced and sus- 
tained by another disease ; in other words, the brain has 
not been deranged in its action until another organ has been 
so before it ; and it has been re-established so soon as that 
other organ re-assumed its healthy state. We shall now 
explain this dependance of the brain, which appears to you 
so incomprehensible ; we shall do so after having taken pre- 
cautions against indiscriminate expressions, insinuations, 
and the snares of language. Jn fact, the word affection, is 
indiscriminate ; the word malady, is somewhat less so ; but 
still, too vague to paint the phenomenon which we are 
desirous of studying. Affection or malady, which causes 
delirium, is a mode of speaking which induces us to ask the 
following questions : Affection or malady, in what does it 
consist ? Insanity gives us no precise idea, unless in a moral 
respect ; that is to say, in connection with mankind ; but 
the question now is, concerning the pathological physiology 
of the individual. A logician would not understand us if we 
asked him whether delirium was seated in the brain ; for, 
what is a delirium seated, to a man accustomed to give some 
account of the meaning of words ? 

Vital lesion, sounds also very physiologically ; but this 
mode of speaking has too much the air of an evasion to satisfy 
a demandant somewhat scrupulous ; for a man who reasons 
will not be able to comprehend what is meant by a lesion ot 

[ 232 j 

life which precedes, and which causes that of the organs.* 
The expressions, affection of the nerves, nervous affections, 
seem more to answer the purpose, because they present a 
material object modified ; but we know not by whom or 
how it is modified ; nevertheless we cannot, without 
being satisfied on this point, represent to ourselves a 
nervosity capable of producing all those disorders, of 
which the heads of insane people present such an astonish- 
ing spectacle. 

* All that has been urged before in this book, concerning the abstract 
principle which certain writers have been desirous of imposing on the 
nervous system to produce the phenomena of intelligence, applies to 
vital force, as well as to all the particulur forces into which they have 
attempted to resolve it. These forces do not fall under the cognizance 
of our senses ; they are conclusions from phenomena, and every one mul- 
tiplies them at his pleasure. Thence proceed all those forces of contrac- 
tion which subdivide themselves into as many species as there are degrees 
of contractility, and forms of animal matter endowed with it : thence como 
the forces of composition, decomposition, plasticity, vital resistance, con- 
densation, expansion, calorification, &c. according to the greater or less 
disposition of physiologists to decompose the sensible phenomena ; hence 
also the disputes upon the number of vital properties. 

Does a question arise concerning life in general ? Some make it the 
result of particular lives: others admit an original vital force that produces 
it, and among others, this life is divided into two — one for nutrition and 
re-production — the other for intellect. 

There would be no inconvenience in all this, if after having assumed, 
or supposed these vital forces, they would limit themselves lo describe 
the phenomena from whence they have been deduced ; they would then 
be no more than algebraic signs, to facilitate the labor of research by 
abridging the forms of enunciation. But it is not in this way that the 
ontologists proceed : real idolators, they prostrate themselves before the 
symbolical image that they have constructed of so many pieces ; and they 
set it to work as if it Avere a power sui generis. As they have no other 
idea excepting those which proceed from their senses — as they have no 
models superior to themselves— they always lend all their faculties and all 
their intentions to the force which they have thus brought into existence, 
and which they cause to act as they act themselves, or as they have seen 
others act, for whom they profess admiration and respect. In fact, all the 
forces of the physicians ofMontpelier, are little divinities thus construct- 
ed, and the great vital force is an intelligence of the first order, whose 
model is taken from all that they have seen most grand and extraordinary 
among men. This is a continuation of the polytheism of the Greeks": 
these are the Fauns, the Satyrs, the Naiads, &c. whom they have invest- 
ed, each with its functionary apparatus, and the other is the great Jupiter, 
whom they have seated upon his throne in the enccphalon, to preside 
over all the phenomena of relation. Such are the motives which compel 
us to reject the words vital force, vital lesion, from the strict language of 
physiological medicine ; or else to employ them onlv as formula-, fftvimr 
their pvocjp meaning wh^n wo o mr ,iov them 

[ 233 j 

Chapter VII. — Theory of Insanity according to the 
Physiological Doctrine. 

If we ascend now, to the principles of the physiological 
doctrine, as herein before exposed, we shall find something 
more satisfactory. It is said in a former part of this work, 
that living animal matter, being modified by certain agents, 
is capable of exhibiting in a surprising degree, the phenome- 
na characteristic of life ; and this is called irritation. Nb- 
thing is more clear ; it is said, moreover, that there are four 
principal forms of irritation, if we may judge from appear- 
ances obvious to the senses, viz : the inflammatory, the 
hemorrhagic, the sub-inflammatory, and the nervous ; and 
an idea has been given of these phenomena, and of the 
organic alterations which correspond to each of these forms, 
by noting that the nervous is the principal form which gives 
impulse to all the rest. All this is easily conceived, because 
it appertains to the modification of living matter, cognizable 
by our senses. Let us see then, if we cannot apply these 
data to Insanity. Let Us then give an abridged history of 
it, in physiological language, for the purpose of trying if we 
can be understood, and if we can resolve the question con- 
cerning the seat, or the seats of this malady. 

Let me now recall one of the fundamental truths of physio- 
logical medicine, upon which I have already greatly insist- 
ed ; that the brain is placed between two orders of stimula- 
tion, those which proceed from the nerves of the external 
senses, and those which it receives from the nerves of the 
internal viscera. This being stated, the generation of in- 
sanity explains itself, by referring the intellectual faculties 
to the physiological theory. 

The excitants which have been carefully indicated in 
the first chapter, having acted with too great energy, 
and during too long a time, on the principal organs, which 
are all abundantly supplied with nervous matter, the 
brain, which is the centre of this matter, assumes a state of 
irritation ; innervation becomes excessive, which appears 
by an augmentation of sensation and motion ; for it is impos- 
sible that the manifestation of a nervous irritation should 
appear in any other manner, unless from the very com- 
mencement ; irritation should be carried so far, as to destroy 
all the phenomena of innervation. There is then an excess 
of susceptibility on the part of the brain, ton-aid all the stimu- 

lations that are natural to it, and primarily to those of the 
senses. Moreover, there is an excess of motion in the cir- 
culation, and in the action of all the muscles, upon which 
the brain innervates, and by which it shows its irrritation. 
This portends that the increase, if not of the frequency, at 
least of the vivacity of the pulsations of the heart, the 
play of the countenance, the unaccustomed mobility of 
gesture, and the hurried speech, coincide with an exaggera- 
ted moral susceptibility, in manifesting the approaching 
danger, or the first actual access of insanity. But these 
manifestations may be made in other ways which we ought 
to be aware of ; they may depend on the place originally 
irritated, and on the degree of irritation, which is itself 
subordinate to distant causes, to their prolonged action, to 
the susceptibility of the subjects, &c. 

In fact, sometimes the original exciting cause depends on 
the moral relations between man and man ; or on the sen- 
sitive or instinctive relations of man with animals, with 
inanimate bodies, or even with the accidents of nature ; the 
cause then is nervous , that is to say, it commences by an 
excitation of the nerves ; at other times, the original excit- 
ing cause depends on the relation of the internal part of our 
viscera with the foreign bodies that arrive there ; such as 
stimulating aliments and beverage, medicines and poisons ; 
and in this second division of etiology, many shades of irri- 
tation are possible. It may be that the exciting cause is 
calculated to produce an irritation in the stomach, rather 
nervous than inflammatory, such as alcoholic liquors, and 
certain diffusible aromata : then the irritation propagated to 
the brain, is also principally nervous, and more or less ap- 
proaching that which depends upon certain moral causes : 
we say, rather nervous than inflammatory, because, for a 
reason already given, there is no nervous excitation which 
does not affect the capillary blood vessels. It is equally 
possible that the exciting cause may give rise to an irritation 
in the stomach more inflammatory than nervous : in all these 
cases, there is almost always a painful sensation in the 
brain, which receives the transmission of this double gastric 
irritation. The over-susceptibility of the encephalon will 
then be accompanied by ill humor, low spirits, fear, anger ; 
and the threating, or the actual manifestation of insanity will 
be marked by melancholy characters, or by an inclination 
to commit some act of violence on himself and on other?. 

L ^6 ] 

Let us now mark tho possible combinations of thtse two 
orders of causes. Let us suppose that the moral causes act 
upon a brain, which has already received impressions from 
a disordered viscus ; we shall then have a double cause of 
insanity, melancholy or furious ; and the habitual ideas, the 
opinions, or the belief of the patients will determine the 
kind of delirium. Let the physical causes be directed upon 
viscera, which, although healthy themselves, are in corres- 
pondence with a brain, affected by sombre ideas. In this 
case the delirium will necessarily be less melancholy ; let 
moral causes of a gay description, such as joy, satisfied self 
love, pride triumphant, act upon a brain more cr less stimu- 
lated voluptuously by some organ adapted so to modify it, 
as the reproductive apparatus, and the result will be a joy- 
ous delirium. Let us now suppose differently, and combine 
in a thousand different ways, all these stimulations ; let us 
add to them, those that are already established in the inter- 
cranial nervous apparatus, dedicated to instinct and to intel-> 
ligence j an apparatus of great importance, as it constitutes 
the hemispheres of the brain and the cerebellum ; let us 
now figure to ourselves, the nerves, as having been long 
busied upon recollections ; that is to say, in modes and man- 
ners, that have already previously existed, and this also 
implies the over action of some nerves at the expense of 
others ; let us combine these recollections differently by 
another mode of action, called imagination, which is per- 
haps, nothing more than the predominant action of certain 
nerves of the same apparatus ; let us associate these recol- 
lections, already denaturalized, with the actual impressions 
of the senses ; let us conceive that the result of this inter- 
nal action is a permanent irritation of the organs of thought, 
and that this irritation is augmented by all those which are 
accidentally developed in the viscera ; then let us join to all 
these the infinite variety arising from individual irritability 
and peculiarity of education, and we shall at length compre- 
hend why there appear so many shades and so many forms 
of maniacal delirium. Nevertheless, we shall not after all 
have discovered the first cause, seeing that this cause is the 
same with the cause of thought. 

Some one, perhaps, will require us in this method of 
etiology, to present other facts than those which have been 
enumerated ; and whose verification, in other respects easy, 
requires the knowledge of a multitude of other diseases, apd 

[ 2SS J 

the mode of action of many modifiers, medicinal or hygienic 
We can do this, by referring to some very common facts. 

When we are intensely and vividly occupied, either with 
some person, or some thing, we retain the image of it ; we 
see it, we hear it, as plainly after it has been taken away 
from our senses, as if it were still in immediate connection 
with them. A man who interrupts a business that he was 
intently occupied upon, for the purpose of taking rest, con- 
tinues to think of it, instead of sleeping ; and for the most 
part, even sleep cannot interrupt the train of ideas, which is 
prolonged in dreams. But while the man does not deviate 
from his normal state, distraction ot thought, repose, sleep, 
produce a cessation of all these predominant impressions ; 
that is to say, they make him unmindful of his pain, they 
calm his resentments, and at length re-establish an equili- 
brium, and replace him in an aptitude to receive new im- 
pressions, and to react upon them with propriety. But ii 
the predominant impressions have acquired a very high de- 
gree of strength, whether by the unaccustomed activity or 
the long cpntinuance of their causes, or by reason of some 
predisposition in the person, these impressions are not ef- 
faced ; there is an exaggerated and troublesome recollection 
of them ; the man cannot abstract himself from them ; and 
whether he indulges in them pleasantly, as in the case oi 
erotic melancholy, or whether he detests them, as in other 
forms of melancholy, he soon discovers that these recollec- 
tions draw others with them, which he had no motive vol- 
untarily to recal. The patient ( for from henceforward he 
must be so considered) suffers that interior movement, that 
tyrannic recollection, that forces him to contemplate a crowd 
of images that he would gladly drive away ; his inquietude 
increases when he perceives, forming within himself, mon- 
strous combinations of these images; a kind of intellectual 
burthen which has been referred to a faulty imagination, 
while all the reason he can employ, hardly suffices to pre- 
vent his believing in the reality of these chimeras. 

Well, this exuberant activity of the memory, these extra- 
vagant combinations of the imagination, amount, with the 
physiologist, to nothing more than a too lively, and too per- 
tinacious action ; to an irritation of the nervous substance of 
the brain, destined to intellectual operations. 

But the impressions transmitted by the senses of sight, 
hearing, and touch, the stimulations indicative of some bodilv 

I Wt j 

object, and which so powerfully serve to enrich our intellect, 
do not constitute all that can be reproduced as the phenomena 
of memory ; there is also, notwithstanding the absence of 
any immediate cause, a recollection of sensations, pleasant 
and unpleasant, which have been excited afore-time, by the 
modification of the nerves of the locomotive apparatus. 
The patient not only thinks that he feels an amputated limb, 
but he still feels lively pains, of which he can specify the 
seat ; a phenomenon of memory, which can only be explain- 
ed by some excitement of the brain, renewed in the absence 
of its original cause ; a phenomenon decisive of the ques- 
tion, whether perceptions and ideas are any thing else than 
stimulations of the cerebral substance. 

We shall now have to determine, whether the nerves of 
the viscera can give rise to perceptions which the memory 
is able to recal. Let us first see, what is the influence of 
these nerves orfthe brain. The ontologists obstinately re- 
fuse to rank them among intellectual phenomena ; but we 
shall be able to convince them of their error. 

Do not the viscera possess a cerebral nerve, the eighth 
pair, which continually transmits the visceral stimula- 
tions to the brain ? Do they not also correspond with 
the brain, by the communications of the great sympathetic, 
with the vertebral nerves ? Is it not by this double com- 
munication that those relations take place between the brain 
and the viscera, which constitute instinct ? Is it not thus, 
also, that the muscular movements take place, necessary for 
instinctive actions, of which the principal are, breathing, 
vomiting, expulsion of the foetus, &c. To be sure, no one 
w r ill suppose that the wants of vomiting, of coughing, of ex- 
onerating the intestines, have their original seat in the brain. 
It must be admitted, that the nerves transmit to the ence- 
phalon the cause of its perceiving those wants that are in- 
stinctive. But this cause is a stimulation, for it is nothing 
more than the transmission of a visceral excitement occa- 
sioned by the presence of the body to be expelled ; and 
whenever many of these stimulations are transmitted to the 
encephalon, whatever may be the cause that stimulated the 
viscera from whence they proceed, the intellectual opera- 
tions are greatly influenced, and often are actually prevent- 
ed by them. Experience shows us also that the Will resists 
them more feebly than it does actual pain, however violent, 
'hat proceeds from the nerves, or from the muscles. The 

L •» j 

;ti// can prevent a man of courage, even when under tor- 
ture, from uttering any exclamation, any cry, any groan ; but 
it cannot restrain the action of the muscles which assist in 
cries and groans, when the want of coughing, of sneezing, 
the pains of labor, call upon the encephalon for its co-opera- 
tion, by means of that influence which is peculiar to visceral 
stimulations. We have seen the reason of this before ; it 
is because the mode of action of the brain, which we term 
the will, is destroyed by excess of excitation. 

As the brain cannot protect itself from the stimulations 
every moment sent up from the viscera during a regular 
state of the system — as the brain receives laws of action 
from the viscera — as its intellectual operations are often 
deranged by visceral transmissions, and violently so in all 
cases of voluntarity — it is not surprising that an inflammation 
of the digestive or the genital organs should produce an 
abnormal state of the brain, and provoke a series of ideas 
different from those that took place previous to the inflam- 
mation. Nor is it necessary that the cerebral irritation 
should be exalted into actual inflammation to denaturalize 
the trains of ideas ; the effect of stimulating food and alco- 
holic liquors, the sperm accumulated in the vesicles and 
spermatic tubes, furnish proof of this. For still stronger 
reason, the character of our ideas will alter when the diges- 
tive and genital viscera habitually over-irritated, incessantly 
torment the encephalon by transmitting to its nervous fibres 
part of that irritation which preys upon them. I instance 
these two sets of apparatus only, because, being the most 
nervous, they act the most powerfully on the organs of 
thought ; but I might have brought others also into view, 
for the higher degrees of irritation in all the viscera act upon 
the brain. The subjects of these modifications are not igno- 
rant of this; they feel a visceral sensation travelling toward 
the brain ; they feel its influence on their intellect, turning 
aside their attention from the object on which they would 
willingly fix it, and forcing it upon other sensations and ideas. 
The hypochondriac, from gastric irritation, feels a sensation 
of uneasiness proceeding from his stomach, which compels 
him to ascribe a high degree of importance to all his sensa- 
tions, as so many sources of unheard of misery, multiplied 
and irrepressible : the neuropathic from cardiac irritation, 
is astonished to feel himself overwhelmed with terror the 
instant his palpitations come on ; or else he feels some spasm 

[ 239 J 

seize upon his heart and render it immovable : the hysteri- 
cal female cannot repress the sense of suffocation which 
seizes her, when the globus hystericus moves in her bowels, 
and threatens to mount up to the throat ; the hydrophobic 
patient cannot conquer his horror of water, nor repel the 
melancholy presages or the frightful images which deprive 
him of sleep or follow him into his dreams, until excess of 
irritation, deprives him of all power of thought, and hurries 
him out of life in convulsions. The more irritation there is 
* in the stomach and the pharynx, the more his brain is stimu- 
lated, until a congestion takes place which abolishes all 
intellect. The compliment of all these proofs from facts so 
various, is found in the effect of sedatives such as leeches, 
which, acting on the organ originally irritated, and not on 
the brain, often dispel at once all those symptoms which 
mark a secondary irritation of the encephalon. 

The mode of action then of any diseased viscus on the 
brain, is in all cases reduced to a stimulation. Well, these 
stimulations, when they become excessive, continued, im- 
portunate, may establish in the encephalon a permanent 
mode of irritation which constitutes real insanity , and from 
the moment when the encephalic irritation becomes stronger 
than the visceral, the scene changes ; for the irritation of 
that organ may give predominance to ideas, which for a 
long time the intellect did not entertain. But nothing ap- 
pears to us to prove that the excess of recollection of visce- 
ral sensations is possible: it is this circumstance that enables 
us to confirm the assertions of the patients, and to prove the 
direct influence of the viscera on the brain. In fact we pro- 
duce delirium by placing a stimulant on a membrane of rela- 
tion ; we cause it to cease, as well as the imaginary terrors 
that accompany it, when we take away the irritation which 
that stimulant has produced in the membrane : what more 
is wanting ? 

It may be alledged against this visceral influence, that 
melancholy never becomes established, unless in the case 
of an irresolute, pusillanimous character. This cause will 
not answer the purpose, for the subject has not always been 
neuropathic or visionary, and he may cease to be so : this 
constitutes a pre-disposition only ; but there may be insanity 
of the imagination in persons of good health. Here then 
are two orders of stimulation established fixedly in the 
brain, or there is continuous cerebral stimulation perpetu- 

[ 240 J 

ally heightened by those which are transmitted from irrita- 
ted viscera. All these external symptoms of double irritation 
exist in the imminent state, and in the first access of insani- 
ty ; we have stated them in their proper places. 

Instinct becomes depraved even when insanity is in its 
origin intellectual, because the brain innervates too strongly 
on the viscera, and receives in return reactions of more 
than usual strength, and appeals more energetic than in a 
moral state. It becomes altered first in its highest operation 
in those productive of intellectual phenomena, afterwards * 
in the affections. An insane person hates those whom he 
formerly loved ; afterward the alteration affects the wants 
of the first necessity, as we have seen in the classification of 
monomania. A fortiori, instinct ought to become denatur- 
alized, when the cerebral irritation that constitutes insanity 
has been fomented and determined by visceral irritation. 
These cases occur when the disease begins by depraved 
appetite, as we see in hypochondriac and chloritic cases^ 
wherein the digestive passages are alike affected by irrita- 
tion. Depravation may also exist in many other instinctive 
appetites than those which belong to nutrition, as we have 
stated before in our classification of monomanias ; but I 
insist at present on the irritation of the gastric passages, 
because the painful perceptions that proceed from thence, 
have a stronger tendency than others to melancholy, to fear, 
to anger, to unhappy forebodings, &c. Hence, in the great 
majority of monomaniacs who are suicidal and murderous, 
the disorder has commenced by chronic gastro-duodenitis. 
All authors refer to these symptoms, even those who are 
the strongest advocates for cerebral origin ; even they par- 
take with the antients the opinion that to effect a cure it is 
necessary to evacuate, if not the black bile, at least the vis- 
cous and blackish humors with which the stomach and 
intestines are loaded ; as if they would give us to under- 
stand that delirium depends on their presence ; a fact which 
the cerebrists are not fully persuaded of, because they con- 
sider the primitive cause of all insanity to be an alteration 
in the vitality of the encephalon. 

I will not enquire of the cerebrist, whether he attributes 
the formation of this humor to the influence of a diseased 
brain, nor what he thinks of the mucous membrane of the 
digestive organs, of the liver, or of the pancreas, which are 
sources of these humors. I pass on and say that we must 

[ 241 ] 

here note a very important distinction. There are wicked" 
men who, by the effect of their education, (taking the word 
in an extended sense) are inclined to murder, or are in the 
habit of committing crime ; such persons do not stand in. 
need of a strong visceral impulse to commit it. What I have 
said, therefore, applies to worthy men whom insanity incites 
to murder or to suicide. As to the rest, I am of opinion 
that when that inclination is once established by a visceral 
cause, it may sometimes remain, even though its original 
cause be taken away ; as we see in some madmen who re- 
tain this inclination long, conceal it with care, and make use 
of all kinds of stratagem to gratify it. But we must not 
forget, that what constitutes insanity is the persevering 
continuance of cerebral irritation, notwithstanding all the 
causes that produced it have ceased to act. While the cause 
exists there is passion only ; the cerebral irritation must 
become permanent before we can pronounce the man insane. 
It is often asked, if a man who reasons well in other re- 
spects, but is tormented by an impulse to commit murder, 
or suicide, which he thinks on with horror, ought to be con- 
sidered as insane ? I do not hesitate to answer in the affirma- 
tive ; for reason does not solely consist in drawing a fair 
deduction ; it is not given to us solely for the purpose of 
doing good ; one of its functions is to prevent us from doing 
evil. But he who gives himself up to an impulse which he 
condemns, has reasoned very incorrectly, for he has not been 
prevented by a foresight of the consequences ; he has rea- 
soned ill as to his relations to other persons, or he has not 
reasoned upon them at all, which is the same thing : he is 
in like case with one who is excited by wine, who appears 
to reason justly, but who strikes and breaks every thing 
within his reach, for the pleasure of destroying. These 
people have not reason, for they cannot resist the impulse 
of an instinct depraved by irritation in the polyspjanchnic 
nervous apparatus. This monomania has been called rea- 
soning, to distinguish it from some others, and because the 
aberration is rather in the actions than in the discourse. 
But it is always the effect of some secret thought, which the 
pretended reason of the diseased person has not been able 
to prevent breaking out into action : this denotes either the 
absence or the depravation of that faculty ; that is to say, it 
denotes the loss of that normal type of cerebral action, which 
presides over the conduct of a man. Here the great ques- 

L 342 ] 

tion of medical jurisprudence consists in knowing whether 
the tendency to murder is really an effect of a morbid depra- 
vation of instinct ; and the physician will always find it 
hard to pie-determine, if the person has exhibited no other 
proofs of derangement, or if he has not furnished such proofs 
by a violent access of delirium immediately after committing 
the murder. 

The progress of intellectual irritation tending to insanity, 
is arrested in its state of incubation (primary gradual devel- 
opement) by the habitude of old ideas, or to speak physio- 
logically by the habitual nervous motions of the normal 
state ; but at length the new mode of stimulation gets the 
better of the older one ; another habitude introduces itself 
in the intra-cerebral innervation. While it is not yet gene- 
ral, and has not yet destroyed the ancient habit, the disease 
is monomania only, or mania with lucid intervals. This is 
also the case with those insane persons who demand to be 
tied, or who advise you to keep at a distance irom them, 
when they feel the impulse of committing murder. When 
the mode of action of the normal state has been destroyed 
by irritation, the patient can no longer judge of his own 
situation. This change can only take place from the exces- 
sive rapidity of the motions of the over-irritated cerebral 
nerves; for we have it in proof that there has been irritation, 
and irritation implies an accelerated motion in the living 
fibres, whatever be the modification of animal matter that 
composes them. Irritation in the fibrine of the muscles, as 
in the gelatin of the vessels, has for its predominant char- 
acter a hurried precipitated movement of contractility. 
Thus, too, it ought to be with the albumen of the white 
medullary substance, which is the essentially nervous part 
of the brain : it vibrates with precipitation in this case, in 
accordance with the gelatin and the fibrin of the cerebral 
capillary system, as we have shewn in the former part of 
this work ; and whenever these motions are excessively and 
preservingly accelerated, the normal type is destroyed, and 
insanity is fixed upon the brain. The hyper-normal mo- 
tions which constitute insanity, having become a powerful 
habit, le moi, personal consciousness, can no longer distin- 
guish it from a normal state while the irritation continues. 
The unanswerable proof of this assertion, is, that you may 
cure insanity while it is recent and after a short incubation, 
by destroying nervous irritation of the brain by copious and 

[ 343 J 

reiterated bleedings. This cure is of the same kind as in 
the case of an incipient peripneumony, for their cause is the 
same, irritation ; that is to say, that in the two cases, bleed- 
ing suffices to cure the disease so long as it suffices to des- 
troy irritation. For, let us be honest ; what else is it that 
destroys irritation in a man who cannot breathe as 
usual, and in one who cannot reason as usual, but a 
sanguineous engorgement in the lungs of the one, and in 
the brain of the other ? The irritation that produced this 
engorgement was kept up by it ; and ceased when the en- 
gorgement was taken away ; and the usual functions of 
these two organs were re-established at that moment : this 
would not have happened if the irritation had been prolong- 
ed ; for then a considerable time would have been required 
to permit the irritation to wear away gradually, or to re- 
move it by revulsive applications. These facts are applica- 
ble to all the organs. When experimenters have succeeded 
in producing a permanent over-excitement in the intra- 
cerebral nervous substance of monkeys or dogs, they may 
produce insanities in abundance. 

Insanity may be considered as complete when the impres- 
sions made on the senses, as the conversations for instance 
addressed to patients, are unable to bring back le moi, their 
personal consciousness, from its delusion. This is the touch- 
stone : for it ascertains that the hyper-normal type of intra- 
cerebral movement is too rapid to be suspended. Observe 
its progress : at first it is momentaneous only — then it be- 
comes prolonged — then it has a tendency to become con- 
stant, but the remains of the normal type are still sufficient 
to suspend it ; but when these remains are obliterated — in 
other words, when the returns of the normal state which 
were sufficient to dissipate the torrent of extravagant ideas, 
are no longer possible, the voice of a stranger may some- 
times produce for a moment the same effect ; when this also 
fails, the type of insanity becomes triumphant and complete. 

Why should we be surprised at so many forms of deliri- 
um ? All our instinctive impulses and all our ideas being 
associated with motions of the nervous matter, as effects are 
with their causes, may be reproduced by irritation existing 
in that matter. This is one of the great maxims of physio- 
logical medicine. I have demonstrated in my Physiology 
applied to Pathology, and in the first part of this work, a 
truth whick it would be well to repeat here, by giving to it, 
if possible, a more demonstrative shape. 

[ 244 J 

This truth is, that there is a reciprocity of influence be 
tween many passions, and the visceral irritations excited by 
them. For instance, in the same way that fear and surprise 
cause palpitations of the heart, the same kind of palpitations 
excited by some physical cause, produce the sensations of 
fear and surprise. So it is with the stomach : all the moral 
affections of a sad and sorrowful character, accompanied 
with an inclination towards anger, affect the stomach ; and 
when the stomach suffers from any physical cause, sadness 
and impatience are the consequences. But there is no organ 
where this mutuality of influence is more manifest than in 
the organs of generation. You cannot explain the flavor of 
metal, of sugar, of pepper, of earth, the sound of clocks, or 
that of one metal striking against another, or the noise of a 
drum, that enter among the fancies of hypochondriac per- 
sons subject to gastritis, unless by a recurrence of some for- 
mer encephalic stimulation. These are examples of the 
memory of past sensations rendered more vivid in insanity, 
as perceptions and ideas likewise are ; nor are they any 
thing else than an irritation of the organ. These facts fur- 
nish proofs also of that association which takes place by 
intellectual exercise, by the continual tendency to express 
otir internal emotions, between those emotions and the ideas 
we derive from oue senses.* These aberrations of taste, of 
smell, of hearing, never occur in the first, and are rare in 
£he second stage of infancy : they do not appear till after 
puberty, when the brain has received its full developement.f 
The longer a man has lived, and the more he has exercised 
his faculties of feeling, and of consciousness of feeling, the 
more do these illusions become easy and frequent in cases 
of prolonged irritation of the nervous substance of the or- 
gans of relation and the encephalic apparatus. Stimulated 
by an inflamed stomach, the brain vibrates sometimes in the 
mode correspondiugto one sensation, sometimes to another. 
All this may be verified by the alternate exhibition of irri- 
tants and sedatives introduced into that viscus. 

It is by virtue of this association of ideas, and of the ima- 
ges of bodies with certain motions in the brain, that the 

* All these cases of association, have been fully explained by Hartley 
in his 1st volume On Man. — Trans. 

1 1 doubt if the brain has received its full developement, till the age of 
item 45 to 30. In fact there is cause to believe that every portion of th* 
hrsnn, Fike a rnuFcl*, increases in size bv exercise —Trans 

[ 2*5 J 

violent attacks oi' the commencement, and the exaspera- 
tions of insanity, in a word what is called the access oi 
agitation in maniacs, present a rapid succession of incohe- 
rent ideas and hallucinations so strange. These phenomena 
indicate that the pairs of intercranial nerves forming the 
hemispheres of the brain and cerebellum, are agitated by 
motions irritative, rapid, and diversified. In effect each 
mode of innervation reproducing the idea of the body with 
which that mode was associated, with the emotions it was 
accustomed to produce, and all with tints incomparably more 
vivid and characterized, and with a rapidity far beyond the 
normal degree, we may easily conceive that the words and 
actions will present a surprising variety, and with great pre- 
cipitation, like what we observe in anger, in slight intoxi- 
cation, and in all the violent passions, which are essentially 
the same thing as insanity, and differ only in their type by a 
less duration. Ira furor brevis est. 

It is a constant occurrence, however, in this disorder, that 
whenever the irritation is vivid without being painful, with 
augmented innervation on the muscles without convulsion, 
but rather with an augmentation of their contractile force, 
the maniacs have a feeling of superiority, a pride and arro- 
gance insupportable, and often a disposition to violence. 
The greatest part of such madmen break and destroy what- 
ever comes within their reach ; they would kill, if they 
could, men and animals, and often from no other motive 
than the instinctive want of muscular exercise, the necessi- 
ty of expending superabundant vitality, as well as self-love 
and self-satistaction, no doubt misplaced in this case ; but 
we have already shewn that this internal feeling is suscept- 
ible of astonishing aberrations. They are in much the same 
situation as young men just entering upon puberty, when 
they feel their limbs endowed with a vigor before unfelt ; 
but in madmen this exaltation of vital power is far more 

We have seen, that when maniacs are afflicted with gas- 
tric, visceral, and cerebral ailments, their intellectual opera- 
tions are directed toward melancholy subjects, and their 
education determines the ideas that occupy their attention : 
this constitutes a first period of agitation, wherein the pa- 
tients are besieged by the most terrifying images, and deliv- 
ered up to the most frightful despair. What furious animals, 
monsters, robbers, executioners, police officers, or even the 

I 246 J 

devil pursues them ; hell appears at the side of them, and 
they even imagine themselves precipitated into it, and they 
imitate the contortions under which the damned are repre- 
sented in books and pictures ; these differences are of no 
account, it is one and the same phenomenon. The demono- 
maniac is in the case of a person asleep, where le moi, (his 
consciousness of personal identity,) deprived of the aid of 
reason, that is, of the degree of regular normal excitement, 
combines different ideas with a slight pectoral oppression, 
and thinks he sees his breast occupied by a great black cat, 
by a demon who strives to suffocate him, or by some build- 
ing that has fallen on and crushed him : he awakes, and the 
painful sensation becomes reduced to nothing. It is thus with 
the sorrowful maniac ; on some slight uneasiness he builds 
a croud of chimeras, more or less lugubrious, to which his 
brain becomes habituated, and they remain, although in a 
less degree, notwithstanding the disappearance of their 
cause. We see here the association of emotions by means 
of visceral irritation with ideas furnished by the senses^; 
ideas which a recollection unnaturally vivid renders more 
intense, and more adapted to react on the emotions which 
have called them up. Hence, result those monstruosities by 
which the imaginations of insane persons are besieged, and 
the excess of anger, of fear, and of despair, that render 
them so unhappy. 

We should be very wrong to deduce the belief, and the 
settled opinions of a man from the series of ideas which 
predominates in him during insanity. That insanity which 
has not yet reached dementia (or a total loss of reason) is 
characterised as much by the exaltation of the memory of 
abstract ideas, as by any other alteration intellectual or de- 
fective. The most ancient recollections are reproduced ; 
and considering the varieties of cerebral irritability, they 
may become more apparently present, more influential over 
the actual discourse, emotions, appetites, and desires, than 
more recent impressions. It is possible, therefore, that 
opinions renounced may be recalled ; that by an inverse 
movement the more recent may become predominant, or 
that a mingling of the one with the other may take place. 
Hence it is that physicians, placed over lunatic establish- 
ments, have so often observed, the devotee become impious, 
the irreligious man a bigot, the avaricious man a prodigal, 
the pyrrhonist a sectarian and fanatic, &c. Hence, also, it 

t •« ] 

is, that the passion, whose excess paved the way to insani- 
ty, is not always prolonged during the whole course of this 
malady ; and that we frequently see childishness and oddity, 
forming the most ridiculous contradictions in the series of 
ideas of the greatest number of monomaniacs. 

General mania, as we have seen, may be either with or 
without agitation, either furious or not so, and with or with- 
out increase of muscular force ; that is to say, it has different 
degrees of intensity, from that which approaches frenzy, 
and which is accompanied by local sanguinary turgescence, 
and feverish circulation, to that which seems to be exclu- 
sively nervous. The first form of this affection cannot be 
of long duration, for inflammation disorganizes the brain in 
a short time, if not overcome naturally or artificially. The 
second may remain several years, like all irritations of the 
nervous substance where the blood is not attracted in too 
great abundance, such as neuralgias, chronic and nervous 
sciaticas, dependent on an irritation of the sciatic nerve, 
lumbagos connected with that bundle of nerves called the 
fiorse y s tally &c. &c. ; but the most usual cases are where 
partial mania, or monomania, succeed general mania, which 
they had formerly preceded. 

There are many ways of explaining monomania. That 
of Dr. Gall is the easiest and the most plausible. If the 
brain be composed of different organs, it is easy to admit on 
applying the doctrine of irritation that each organ may be 
separately irritated ; which will give us as many monoma- 
nias as there are organs constituting the brain : It is to be 
regretted that serious objections may be made against an 
explanation so convenient. The first is, the difficulty of 
circumscribing our tendencies and our faculties, and of re- 
ferring them to a number sufficiently small of principal ones, 
so as not to exceed the organs of which, according to Dr. 
Gall, the encephalon is composed. In fact, what are twen- 
ty-eight or thirty organs in comparison of the numerous 
inclinations and preferences of our instinct, and the aptitudes 
and varieties of our intellect ? If we confine ourselves to 
the small number of organs pointed out by the organologist, 
we shall be compelled into perpetual subtleties to explain 
by the different degrees of developement, and the different 
combinations of the organs agreed on, those tendencies and 
intellectual faculties which have no appropriate organ. How 
can we manage this without falling every moment into some 

! 248 ] 

hypothesis, for it is impossible to circumscribe exactly the 
admitted organs, and to exhibit any central one which com- 
municates with all the others and rules over them when 
occasion requires ? If Dr. Gall could only show, by dissec- 
tion, a determinate number of pairs of nerves in the brain, 
and the cerebellum, we might make the attempt to distri- 
bute among them all our intellectual capacities, and all our 
predominances of affection. But he is far, as yet, from this 
degree of anatomical precision ; he confines himself to point- 
ing out to us as peculiar organs, some circumvolutions which 
make part of a nervous expansion, where nature has traced 
no division. It is to this nervous membrane that he confides 
all the treasures of intellect, and what is more, all the in- 
stinctive phenomena, one excepted, which he reserves for 
another expansion, forming nearly one seventh part of the 
first. It must be granted that such a division cannot satisfy 
an anatomist, to whom it will appear somewhat arbitrary. 

We have on our side, says Dr. Gall, observation. But 
what are the facts to which he applies it ? To certain bony 
eminences, which may not always correspond with the same 
bundle of nervous fibres, and which do not always corres- 
pond to the predominances of intellect, or the affections. 
He applies observation thus to the facts in which the brain 
is concerned : as to the cerebellum, he appeals to a co-inci- 
dence which I have not always found exact, and which is 
probably not the only case of th€ kind. In fact, in dissec- 
tions of living animals, there is found great connection be- 
tween the cerebellum and the muscular apparatus : the rea- 
der may consult what we have said p. 75. Moreover, 
besides the erection which is sometimes wanting in inflam- 
mations of the cerebellum, there are always in this case 
convulsions in the muscles of the spine. Finally, effusions 
of blood in the cerebellum produce apoplexy as well as 
those in the brain. The experience of Dr. Gall, therefore, 
is not exact at all points, nor free from liability to contra- 
diction, even among those who have studied his system with 
the greatest attention. 

An explanation of the shades of intellect and affection 
(feelings) by the different modes of action, or of irritability 
of the cerebral apparatus, which is the general organ of 
instinct and of intelligence, solves many of the difficulties 
which the bony protuberances of the scull are inadequate to 
account for. First, we are compelled to admit this mode of 

L 249 J 

explanation in cases such as the following. Dr. Gall him 
self instances persons in whom irritation has developed 
faculties which previously they did not profess. But this 
explains itself much better by an increased degree of activi- 
ty in an organ common to many faculties and subordinate to 
one principle of action, than by the increase of vital energy 
in a special organ which till then was less in size and ener- 
gy than all the others ; for we cannot see why this irritation 
which may take place elsewhere than in the brain, should 
not preserve the preponderance of the other organs, by 
exciting them as strongly as that organ which they were 
accustomed to retain in a state of inferiority. Nor are these 
cases uncommon. We find a multitude of instances, wherein 
drunkenness developes inclinations opposite in character to 
those of a sober and normal state : so, gastritis denaturalizes 
the character to such a degree as to convert brave men into 
cowards, and to make patient and quiet men impatient and 
captious. In* general, diseases that quicken the circulation 
without producing pain and uneasiness, have a tendency to 
inspire gaiety, to exalt the intellectual faculties, and produce 
the illusions of hope ; while those which depress the circu- 
lation, which confine the action of the heart, either by some 
specific malady, or by general uneasiness, produce sad and 
dull ideas, apprehension, fear, and even despair. The first 
class of cases is observed among young men frequently : at 
the moment when their teachers praise them most, when 
the student redoubles his ardour for study and seems to 
surpass himself, then comes on that irritation which is the 
precursor of pthisis. The second class of cases is found 
among those nervous people who are attacked by chronic 

No doubt the organs of every faculty must exist, or the 
faculty would notdevelope itself, nor could irritation deprave 
it ; without doubt the anterior portion of the cerebral hem- 
ispheres, the organs of our moral faculties, co-operate greatly 
by the manner in which they modify the stimulations of the 
mass when it is fully developed, so as to afford a high de- 
gree of intelligence ; but we cannot believe that this faculty 
is so attached to any cerebral fasciculus of nerves, that i< 
cannot be exercised by any other ; it is not likely that such 
a position can ever be proved. There must be a concur- 
rence of action among many pails of the internal apparatus, 
and even with the extra-cranial nerves, to complete tho 

I ?50 J 

impressions that compose a judgment even moderately com- 
plex; especially where instinctive emotions bear a part, and 
where a strong impulse is given to the will. Every fasicu- 
lus must doubtless contribute in its degree ; but why is 
not the action of some fasciculi .under certain degrees ot 
impulse answerable to the stimulations which incite us to 
judge, to love, to hate, in such a manner as to present an 
image or a feeling different from those which the same fas- 
ciculi commonly produce ? Is it not a fact that an additional 
degree of intensity may convert pleasure into pain ? As in 
the case of scratching or tickling. It would follow from 
Dr. Gall's system, that a cerebral organ would act a differ- 
ent part every time that new forces were added to what 
ought to be considered as its antagonist organ. Who has 
told us that ten vibrations in a given time instead of five, 
may not transform an ordinary man into a prodigy, by giv- 
ing activity to the memory which furnishes ideas to the 
understanding, and which before were tardily supplied ? 
Have we not seen a new facility for labor change the tastes 
and the habits of men ? May not the opposite effects pro- 
ceed from the same cause, as in a man already sufficiently sti- 
mulated, whom an additional stimulation in excess throws in 
confusion ? Whoever has formed one of a convivial com- 
pany of wine drinkers, will know how to judge on this point. 
May not an accidental diminution of irritability weaken the 
other faculties which were previously furnished with no 
greater quantity of action than what was necessary to the due 
performance of their functions ? Are not these the kind of 
modifications to which we must attribute the sudden devel- 
opement of great talents among persons who were considered 
as doomed to a humble mediocrity ; and the kind of bastardy 
that manifests itself at a certain age, among individuals of 
certain families ? A slight affection of gastritis, or hyper- 
trophy of the heart, a strong effort of intellect or of memory, 
a blow, a fall, suffice to produce improvement or deteriora- 
tion in the faculties, in proportion as the result is an increase 
or decrease of strength, more or less mobility, an unusual 
relaxation, or an engorgement which impedes the contrac- 
tility of the albumen of the brain ; all this may take 
place without the volume of the brain being sensibly 
altered. The alteration in the size of the brain requires 
much time, while the changes that take place in the 
facility of mental operations, introducing other tastes and 

I. 251 j 

other propensities, may occur within a period compara- 
tively short.* 

If the continued excitement of insanity, can relax or sof- 
ten, can expand by softening, or condense by indurating the 
cerebral mass ; if excess of memory accompanies excess of 
action and contractile force ; if the abolition of memory be 
the result of defect of mobility, or excess of softness ; if all 
the other faculties are in proportion to memory in cases of 
insanity, why may not similar modifications take place in 
the normal state of the brain ?f Doubtless a certain mass 
of brain is necessary to the intellectual faculties ; doubtless 
these faculties present varieties corresponding to the pro- 
longation of the cerebral fibres in one direction rather than 
another ; but these are not the only elements of the differ- 
ences of which these faculties are susceptible. Action has 
more influence than mass, in producing great differences ; 
were it not so, we should not see such prodigious differences, 
as we actually witness. The distance which separates one 
man from the capacity of the common mass, is by no means 
in proportion to the superior developement of his brain ; and 
often we find among others who are inferior to him in re- 
sources, a greater cerebral mass in those parts on which 
the craniologists have made his superiority to depend. How 
many men of letters in the time of Voltaire, have had brains 
much surpassing in size that of Voltaire, even in those re- 
gions of the brain which correspond, according to Dr. Gall, 
to those faculties which he possessed so pre-eminently? 

Our well considered opinion is, that a certain develope- 
ment of the brain, as the organ of intelligence, is necessary 
to render a man remarkable for intellectual qualities ; that 
the most distinguished faculties correspond, as Dr. Gall's 

* All these objections to Gall's system are undoubtedly true ; but the 
organiologists will reply, they do not calculate their doctrines on any other 
than the usual, normal, healthy developement of the encephalon and its 
envelope. The infinite modifications that may result from accident and 
disease, they have not attempted to embrace, or to explain. What they 
assert applies only to original tendencies, inclinations, propensities, apti- 
tudes, and feelings. 

There is another objection to craniology. At different stages and pe- 
riods of life, our propensities and aptitudes vary ; as in childhood, in youth, 
in manhood, in middle age, and in old age : they change also in our pas- 
sage through life according to our education, occupation, and society in 
all these periods ; but these changes are not indicated by any outward 
and visible sign. — Trans. 

f Because these modification? imply on abnormal state of the brain. — 

I 202 j 

opinion is, to the developement of the anterior hali ol the 
cerebral hemispheres ; such also was the opinion of the an- 
cients ; but we think that when the parts have arrived at a 
certain volume or bulk, differences arise between men that 
depend on other causes than volume or bulk. We believe 
that these differences are subordinate to the mode of action, 
the greater or less degree of irritability, contractility, per- 
manent condensation, suppleness or rigidity of cerebral ner- 
vous fibre, and may vary prodigiously ;* that the movements 
of moveable animal matter, the movements of ponderable 
matter, the movements of that, I know not ivhai, which per- 
vades the nervous fibre, stand as causes of many differences ; 
that the stimulations transmitted by our external, and by our 
internal senses, the manner in which intellect re-acts under 
various circumstances on the one and on the other, so modify 
our faculties continually, that it is not possible to find any 
constant invariable relation between this aptitude, this pro- 
pensity, this osseous protuberance of the cranium, that may 
be assigned as permanently corresponding. 

Such are the reasons that compel us to refrain from class- 
ing monomanias, as Dr. Gall does, by cranial protuberances; 
but this does not prevent us from ascribing very high merit 
to the labors of that excellent and indefatigable observer. 
The foundation of his system is solid ; we regard him as one 
of those who has most clearly comprehended the functions 
of the nervous system, and we are indignant at the levity 
and ingratitude with which his labors have been treated by 
men whose pretensions do not exceed one of his auditors, 
and who are indebted to him for every thing reasonable 
they are able to advance concerning the functions of the 
brain. We accuse this learned man of defects which do not 
relate to the basis of his doctrine ; that basis consists in a 
reference of every phenomenon instinctive and intellectual 
to the action of the encephalic apparatus; but we think he 
has made that apparatus too independent, and that some 
of his opinions are arbitrary.: the amount of our objections 
is, 1st, that he confines propensities and faculties within 
certain nervous fibres, as if these propensities and faculties 
were separate beings, which we have shewn is an erroneous 
notion in our objections to the psychologists ; 2dly, that he 
does not admit a concurrence of the whole apparatus for 

* Gall acknowledges, that the mass being the same, the power is as the 
energy of action. — T>~ans. 

[ 25J j 

each intellectual phenomenon, and that he establishes arbi- 
trarily an ontological republic in the encephalon ; 3dly, that 
he makes his organ, act one upon the other, without the aid 
of this concurrence, although he has no regulating organ ; a 
defect of which he has been accused, and to which he has 
given no reply ; 4thly, that he has not admitted that a dif- 
ference in vital action may establish great differences in 
propensities and faculties ; 5thly, that he has not put in its 
proper place the prodigious influence of the digestive visce- 
ra and the digestive apparatus on the encephalon ; 6thly, 
that he maintains that the prominences on the surface of the 
scull, are positive and invariable indices^ and present a just 
measure of the affective and intellectual predominances. 
Nevertheless, and in spite of this last objection, we do not 
contest the greater part of his observations on the influence 
of the developement of certain regions of the encephalon 
on our properties and faculties : we blame him only for as- 
cribing that influence to mass alone.* 

* Gall has shewn, as many others have shewn before him, that the en- 
cephalon is a mass consisting of the organs of intellect, and of the feelings, 
emotions, and passions ; 2dly, that the intellectual phenomena, and all 
intellectual aptitude depend on the anterior part of the hemispheres of the 
brain; that the feelings, emotions, passions, and propensities, depend on 
the posterior portion of the encephalon; 3dly, that other circumstances 
being equal, the intellectual aptitudes, and the affective propensities de- 
pend on bulk or volume of the corresponding portion of the encephalic 
mass ; 4thly, that generally, though not always, the bony envelope or the 
scull, is determined in external appearance by the developement of the 
encephalon internally in contact with it ; but that disease and old age may 
sometimes occasion an alteration of the encephalic mass without altering 
the external surface of the cranium, if there be no continued cerebral atro- 
phy ; 5thly, bulk, however, is not the sole exponent of aptitude, propen- 
sities, faculties, or qualities : for their energy may depend, also, on energy 
of vital action, of irritability, contractility, mobility, and somewhat more 
than usual or normal excitement. This is not sufficiently urged by Gall, 
hut all modern craniologists are aware of these conditions ; Gthly, that 
perception or feeling, and all intellectual and affective phenomena, are 
mere functions of the nervous apparatus: just as contraction on the ap- 
plication of a stimulus, is a function of muscular fibre in an animal, and 
of vegetable fibre in the Mimosa, the Dionoea, the Berberry, and other 
vegetables; 7thly, that the brain is a double organ, consisting of pairs • 
8thly, that every portion of the brain and nervous system, is destined to 
its own peculiar duty — its own functions — and cannot perform the duty 
or function of any other different portion : we cannot see with the auditory 
or hear with the optic nerve ; Dthly, that whether any cranial protuber- 
ance be the exponent of any intellectual aptitude, or affective propensitv 
cannot be known by any a priori considerations, or by any anatomical 
dissections, but by actual observation and experience only, in human and 
other animals : and depends on the proof by induction, and careful obser- 

i 254 ] 

Conclusion respecting the Theory of Insanity. 

The comparison of the post mortem examinations with 
the symptoms, throws light enough on the subject of in- 
sanity to enable us to advance a physiological theory of this 

From the commencement of this article, I have declared 
insanity to be one of the results of irritation ; the history of 
its causes , of its mode of action ; the physiognomy and pro- 
gress of its symptoms ; every thing in short, during the life 
of the patient, tends to confirm my assertion. The altera- 
tions in the dead body confirm it as to the acute state, for 
we find the cerebrftl substance hardened, and intermingled 
with red globules in a proportion far exceeding its normal 
state ; and the cerebral substance appears hard pressed 
against the internal osseous parietes, and flattened as if it 
had undergone a species of hypertrophy. These alterations 
correspond to an epoch of the disorder when there is a co- 
incidence of great contractile force and sanguine congestion. 

The chronic state offers no contradictory appearance ; for 
the injection and opacity of the membranes, shew evident 
traces of irritation in the blood vessels. On the other hand, 
if the atrophy of the chronic state has replaced the hyper- 

vation of individual cases and instances ; lOthly, he has also shown ana- 
tomically, that the texture of the brain is fibrous. 

Whether all the coincidences of protuberance on the one hand, and of 
aptitudes and propensities on the other, are well founded and fully estab- 
lished by Gall — or Avhether his divisions of faculties and feelings be cor- 
rect in point of number or arrangement — are circumstances that may 
reasonably be doubted, without denying the fundamental positions of his 
system. That many of them are just, is highly probable from the num- 
ber of intelligent converts he has made to his doctrine ; and all the mis- 
takes herein will probably be corrected by more numerous and more 
accurate observations hereafter. Craniology is yet in its infancy. All 
the British craniologists affect to talk of the soul, as if they firmly believ- 
ed the encephalon to be a mere organ of some hypothetical, distinct, and 
separate ontological entity, cognizable by none of the human senses, 
called the soul. This I am bound in charity to consider as a convenient 
assumption of the orthodox and fashionable costume of the day, which 
the interest, the ignorance, and the tremendous power of the priesthood, 
has hitherto compelled them to wear. It is high time to lay it aside, and 
to set science free from the fetters which the clergy have imposed on it. 
Gall, indeed, enters not into the psychological question, confining himself 
simply to the functions, as matters of fact and observation. Hoiv the 
functions are performed, in a man, an elephant, a gnat, an oyster, an oak 
tree, or a blade of grass, are questions equally difficult, which, in all pro- 
bability, human knowledge will never be able to solve ; but the organs 
and their functions will, nevertheless, remain matters of fact. — Trims. 

L loo J 

trophy of the acute state — if softness has succeeded to hard- 
ness ; if hardness, when it existed, has sometimes presented 
traces of morbid induration, I can see nothing in all this but 
the faithful execution of the common laws of all inflamma- 
tions and sub-inflammations of the organs. Often, while 
undergoing atrophy, the brain of madmen has preserved its 
solidity without apparent disorganization ; a certain proof 
that the reduction was not an effect of absorbing any serous 
or purulent humor, but a sustained contractility of the whole 
encephalic mass ; that is to say, of a strong and durable 
irritation. In other circumstances, the presence of a true 
pus has left no doubt on the existence of an inflammatory 
movement of that kind that we term legitimate. In all cases 
of the atrophy of the brain, the scull shrinks, and the pro- 
tuberances become levelled on its surface, the countenance 
loses its expression by the progress of dementia ; but at the 
same time the bones have been found thick, eburneous, 
injected with blood, or much worn and friable. In these 
changes, who can see any thing but the imperious law de- 
veloped in our Physiology, that the containing sides are as 
the organs they contain, if no other body be interposed ? 
The brain becomes condensed, the scull therefore must con- 
tract. The internal tablet at first followed the viscus, and 
withdrew from the external one ; but this last at length had 
to follow, and the external protuberances became oblitera- 
ted. Dr. Gall has asserted the same thing without referring 
to irritation, which he had not sufficiently considered. These 
cerebral changes were attributed by him to disease, to the 
alteration in vital energy. But this is not saying enough ; 
this is an assertion too vague for our era. The eburneous 
hypertrophy of the cranium must be attributed exclusively 
to the propagation of irritation, from the interior to the 
exterior ; and as to friability and thinness of the scull, they 
are observed among men who have grown old in a state of 
dementia ; and they rank among the atrophies which suc- 
ceed to the hypertrophies of over-irritation. 

The inequality of bulk of the two hemispheres, seems to 
have been matter of surprise to some observers ; but what 
is there so surprising in this, in a double organ ? Did we 
ever find the two halves of such organs, diseased and disor- 
ganized equally ? Does not this inequality take place in all 
our symmetrical organs at the expense of regularity of form, 
when we have lived to an advanced age ? This depends. 

[ 2b(i J 

beyond doubt, from our being incapable of stimulation 
equally in every part of those organs. 

I shall return to post mortem dissections, by stating that 
effusions, infiltrations, by datidsin the membranes, general 
induration with or without sanguineous injection, with or 
without hypertrophy or atrophy, as well as the effusions and 
ecchymoses in the cerebral substance, and the marbled 
spots that have been observed in it ; the partial petrifactions 
and softenings, arterial and membranous ossifications, and 
the ivory state of the brain with injection, its thinness and 
its friability, are the effects-of irritation. All these appear- 
ances prove, that irritation (before inflammation has con- 
founded and broken down every thing) acts as a sub-inflam- 
mation, and disorganizes each tissue in the manner adapted 
to the animal matter of which it is formed, and its particular 

The alteration of the mucous membrane, and of the diges- 
tive canal, and that of the liver, which necessarily accompa- 
nies the former, may have appeared antecedently to insanity, 
and may have been accelerated during its continuance by 
some cause or other, so as to become itself a cause of death; 
but what is certain, is, that a prolonged irritation of the 
encephalon cannot fail to produce an irritation of the diges- 
tive organs and of the liver, frequently accompanied by 
dropsy. As to the phlegmasia that we find marks of in the 
chest and the locomotive apparatus, they are accidental, and 
need not stop our course of remark. 

Here then is the substantial part of the question. Let us 
now endeavor, by the aid of induction, to deduce from these 
facts, others less evident, which will help us to account for 
the former ; and for this purpose it will suffice to resume 
our details. 

The first effect of irritation in that portion of the cerebral 
substance which presides over the intellectual phenomena is 
an excess of memory and of imagination, which is but a mode 
of memory. When this excess goes on increasing, sleep 
diminishes or becomes almost like wakefulness. The exu- 
berant intercranial activity recalls old impressions and com- 
bines them in Avays new to the consciousness of the indivi- 
dual. He sees, he feels arising within him this new trouble, 
and he is deceived also by hallucinations of which the cause 
seems exterior to him, while it is in fact nothing but cerebral 
irritation. He shudders when he reflects that he has almost 

[ ft* ] 

given credence to chimeras, and to strange associations of an 
exalted imagination.* He deplores his situation while he 
feels them forming and remaining in spite of himself, and 
even at the moment when he is most anxious to be delivered 
from them. Thus much we have said already : let us ad- 
vance another step. 

That which hinders him from believing all this, is the re- 
mains of the moral action of the encephalon ; but the abnor- 
mal action at length prevails ; and from that moment, rea- 
son, which was attached to the normal mode of action, 
existing no longer, consciousness becomes deceptious, and 
the will is depraved, because it no longer obeys the indi- 
vidual consciousness of the normal state. In fact, conscious- 
ness and identity are so depraved in complete insanity, that 
the patient no longer feels his proper relations to his fellow 
creatures. It is not the identity of health, which the insane 
observer finds within himself, but it is a false identity, a 
false consciousness operating on ideas dissimilar and uncon- 
nected, or similar and consequent, but founded on false prin- 
ciples. Such are the indications of the highest degree of 
the general malady. 

When insane persons of this description preserve the re^ 
collection of what they have said or done, we may believe 
that their individual consciousness is only oppressed, not 
destroyed ; but this is not the case when the agitation be- 
comes extreme : they cannot recollect what they have said 
or done too precipitately; they resemble men drunk, or 
transported with rage, and they quickly forget what they 
have said or done. Such also is the case with frenetic 
madmen. Self reflection, and by consequence the recol- 
lection of what he has been intellectually, is wanting to a 
man when his mental operations exceed a certain degree of 
precipitation. The memory of the access of insanity being 
frequently deceptive as to many scenes of their delirium, 
does not furnish any proof that they preserve their con- 
sciousness of individuality. 

*Docs not all this pruvc incontestably that sensations and ideas are 

- nothing more than motions in the brain, felt or perceived ? Yet, with a 

flippancy equalled only hy his ignorance of all intellectual physiology, did 

a reviewer in the Edinburgh Review for October, 180G, p. 15! », almost 

laiiffh butright at the absurdity of such a supposition : as fully proved aj 

■ aoyphysiologicaliactcaribc. — Ttana. 


I * i 

When an insane person, recovered, relates what he has 
done, and declares that he has been deceived by fallse im- 
ages of things; when he proves that his conclusions frtfm 
the facts which seemed real to him, were properly dedu- 
ced ; in a word, while he preserves the remembrance of 
the fit, we may believe that he preserves his feeling, of 
identity, but that his consciousness has been cheated by 
false images, the result of cerebral irritation. But when he 
is alternately reasonable and insane, or reasonable on one 
point and insane on another, without any possibility of disa- 
busing him, what, in this case, are we to think of his identi- 
ty (moi) and his consciousness? Is it enough to induce us 
to believe that a monomaniac is reasonable, that he can 
judge accurately of the temperature or the shape of a body ? 
Can we conclude that he possesses a consciousness of his iden- 
tity (de son moi) because he gives proper answers in rela- 
tion to his wants? Suppose we grant thus far, where is 
his reason, and his self consciousness, when he declares 
that he is a dog, an owl, a bottle, a leathern jug, a mile 
stone, a grain of mustard, &c. ? Will it be said he has a 
double moi, a double consciousness, the one for just ideas^. 
the other for false ones ? In the case, for instance, of a pa- 
tient who believes himself to be some animal, we may in 
strictness allow him the identity of a dog or an owl, but what 
are we to do with the identity of a mile stone, or a bottle ? 
If we refuse him the double identity, the double conscious- 
ness, will it be pretended that he possesses only the con- 
sciousness of a normal state obscured by disease ? Two re- 
plies may be made to this : 

1st. We may allow a consciousness oppressed by disease 
to one who furnishes occasional proofs of reason ; but can 
we make the same allowance to one who for many years has 
furnished no such proof? Where is the identity, the con- 
sciousness of a man in a state of dementia, who, after having 
long lived in a state completely brutish, dies without having 
afforded any proof that he has retained his reason ? Some 
there are who have recovered it at the last moment, but 
whither had it retired during so long an absence ? The 
malady had repressed it, may be the reply : well ; I pro-- 
ceed then to the second answer. 

2d. In advancing that identity (lc moi) and conscious- 
ness have been repressed by the malady, let us know dis- 
tinctly what the malady is. "We mav conceive of it as of a? 

i m j 

Being oj determined figure, which compresses or oppresses, 
another Being equally marked and determined, called moi, 
myself, or else another Being of the same nature, called 
consciousness. How then are we to represent this moi, 
this consciousness, and this malady, so as to assert any thing 
reasonable concerning them? I shall not push this discus- 
sion further, contenting myself with a reference to the first 
part of this work ; but we may conclude from what has been 
advanced, that if we would avoid ontology, we must not as- 
sert generally and absolutely that an insane man preserves 
or has lost his reason, that he preserves or has lost his con- 
sciousness of identity (de son moi,) that the feeling of iden- 
tity is oppressed under the weight of a malad}*, and that its 
tendency is to re-establish itself, as takes place after cure, 
and sometimes at the last moment of life ; that if it does not 
appear, it exists nevertheless, since it is a simple substance., 
indestructible, &c. Metaphorical language like this, teaches 
nothing, and only prolongs the reign of illusion, and adds 
strength to fanaticism. We must speak simply matter of 
fact.: we may say that a madman sometimes has reason and 
sometimes not ; that he sometimes has, and sometimes has 
not self consciousness; that when he is cured he recovers 
his reason, and that he may sometimes possess it a short 
time before death, but that he often dies without ever re- 
covering it ; that the cause of these differences lies in the 
words reason, self-consciousness, which in fact express no- 
thing but the action of the nervous substance of the enceph- 
alon, an action iiable to change so long as life remains. To 
this w$ must add that as the patient neither enjoys the facul- 
ty of reason constantly, nor always correctly, he has no regu- 
lar normal relation to other men. 

As to the explanation of this moral state so variable, we 
ought to say, that after having received light from the cau- 
ses of this disorder, from its progress, and from post mortem 
examinations, that when the brain is vividly irritated, the 
insane person has neither reason or consciousness; that 
when the irritation is moderate, he has both ; but when 
great irritation again takes place they disappear, as in sleep, 
or if you prefer it in apoplexy. When reason appears 
again for a few moments, just before death, it is in conse- 
quence of the ceasing of the morbid excess of irritation 
in a brain not yet completely disorganized, and this is 
the last part which irritation performs in all cases ofde- 

[ m j 

Jiriuui, and this is all we can say of this last moment of 
life's duration. 

As to madmen who are convalescent, and whose malady 
returns after conversations too exciting, or liberty given to 
them prematurely, we may properly say, that the exercise 
of their reason and their consciousness, as well as the appli- 
cation of the one and the other to the actual impressions of 
their senses, are so many cerebral stimulations, which, when 
converted into cerebral irritations, banish reason, conscious- 
ness, and identity, (moi) or if you please, the normal type 
of encephalic action, on which these intellectual properties 
depend. When reason is not present, as in madmen under 
general insanity, this normal type does not exist ; when 
loason appears but by intervals, and when it disappears on 
the slightest irritation, there is no regular assurance of the 
possession of this normal type, but it has existed ; it is lost 
therefore ; but in the native idiot who has never possessed 
it, he cannot have lost it. Such are the grounds and rea- 
sons which have induced me to adopt the definition of in- 
sanity, which I have already given. 

Let us add, for the purpose of giving additional force to 
ihese truths, and connecting them still more strictly with 
physiology, that in chronic irritation the contractile force is 
cot destroyed while memory remains unaltered ; for the 
weakening of this faculty is the first indication of the dimi- 
nution of this force, but the morbid habit, after some time, 
renders it incurable, when it is not so rendered by disorgan- 
ization ; that the whole mass of the brain is disordered more 
or less even in monomanias, which, under this view oi .he 
fact, are not to be regarded as partial affections of the bi 
We rely for proof on the fact, that monomaniacs are intel- 
lectually weak in all respects ; that they change their ob- 
ject ; and on the fact that anatomical pathology has not yet 
settled a coincidence of an alteration of any part of (he en- 
cephalic mass, with any specific form of delirium ; and be- 
cause dementia, when it takes place in monomaniacs, is ne- 
ver confined to subjects affected with partial delirium ; be- 
cause it is always general, and begins by a weakness of 
memory, whatever may have been the kind of delirium, and 
even when there is no other encephalic lesion than a dimi- 
nution of muscular force. 

We assert also that if you observe persons insane with 
dementia play at draughts, or music, it is because the de- 

L 261 j 

uientia is not )cl complete. Indeed the diminution ot 
contractility is not perceptible at first, but by a diminution 
of the most complicated intellectual operations, sjich as a 
judgment requiring the bringing together of a great number 
of perceptions ; for this reason, the memoiy of complicated 
abstract ideas, and judgments of deduction, are first weak- 
ened and first lost; but it takes more time to destroy those 
ideas which belong to simple combinations, and actions 
which approach to the character ol instincts.* 

Dementia analyses, to a certain degree, our faculties by the 
successive manner in which it destroys them. When the 
intellectual portion of the faculties, or the mode of cerebral 
action on which they depend no longer exists, the weak- 
minded patients abandon themselves to instinctive actions, 
the most gross and disgusting; and often the most opposite 
to their normal propensities : this proves the depravation of 
instinct ; but if they continue to live for some time, demen- 
tia deprives them even of instinct and volition, and reduces 
them to a state below the zoophyte, or even the vegetable ;f 
an observation of great value to the physiologist, since it 
shews him to what point the nervous system becomes ne- 
cessary to the functions of animals in whom it is much de- 
veloped, and particularly in man. J Physiological physicians 
may also make much use of this fact, to confirm what we 

* Perhaps it will be objected that draughts require considerable com- 
binations: the best players I have seen were sots. 

f See before p. 393, for a deplorable picture of the last stage of those 
weak-minded patients, who, by aid of accidental circumstances, live on. 
until the natural turn of their cerebral affection cuts them off". 

$ We are not ignorant that many animals, zoophytes, &c. observe and 
.seize their prey without possessing a nervous system. The reason is. 
that in these animals the nervous matter intermingled with the other 
forme of animal matter, suffices to the small number of actions which they 
have to perform. The medium in which they live abundantly supplies 
them with nourishment, and the irritability of their fibres affords them 
the means of seizing their prey. But in proportion as the necessary acts 
of alimentation and reproduction multiply and become more complicated, 
the nervous matter becomes separated from the other tissues, more 
abundant, and exercises more influence over the functions. Finally, 
among men it is thus to such a degree that life itself cannot be maintain- 
ed but by innervation, and what is more, without sensitive phenomena.— 

This is an ingenious supposition as to the physiological source of the 
slight degree of voluntarily perceptible in zoophytic animals, but it is 
supposition only. — Trans. 

[ 26B j 

bave already timed of the part performed by the entopha- 
Ion and its dependencies in the numerous morbid sympathies 
■which our predecessors would not undertake to explain. 

Chapter VIII. — Prognostic or JwsAsraxY- 

The prognostic of insanity is deduced from its causes, 
the constitution of the subjects, the mode oX its first access, 
its progress, and its complications. 

Insanity, from accidental causes, always presents more 
favourable chances of cure than that which arises from some 
innate disposition, and wherein accidental modificationshav.e 
only acted as determining causes. Among these last, moral 
circumstances are the most formidable, especially when they 
have been long in action. But when a long series of menial 
grievance has been complicated with a chronic affection of 
the digestive passages, the cure is always more difficult, 
because the two kinds of stimulation mutually act upon and 
keep each other in action. Such is the case of persons who 
have long lived in habits of intoxication ; it is even supposed 
that they may transmit thispre-disposition to their children, 
but I consider this as a conjecture hazarded. It is more 
frequently the case that a bad conformation of the brain, 
disposes men to insanity and to gluttony ; and it is thispre- 
disposition that is transmitted from father to son. 

Insanity arising from purely physical causes, as the sup- 
pression of a flux, the repression of exanthematous eruption, 
&c. yields for the most part, to judicious treatment ; more- 
over, there is neither complication, or hereditary source, or 
moral or physical causes of insanity of which we have not 
given a detail. The most difficult cases, are those where 
insanity succeeds to an illness which has affected the cere- 
bral organization, such as epilepsy, palsy, apoplexy, &c. : in 
this case dementia is not long in appearing. 

When insanity makes its access, impetuously in a fresh 
subject, we are much less uneasy as to its result, than when 
it announces itself by a want of memory, a difficulty in pro- 
nouncing certain words or syllables, and by some transient 
illusions which the patient himself perceives, and by an effort 
of attention is able to avoid. 

These indications which generally occur after some efforts 
of mental exertion prolonged, after mental uneasiness, and 
pains accompanied with weakness in the muscles of the back 

und extremities,, often with trembling and convulsive shud- 
dering, announce that the contractility of the brain is al- 
ready exhausted by irritation, and that the patient will soon 
fall into mental alienation and general paralysis, whatever 
may be the cause of his present enjoymentof health. This 
form of access is more common in old age than earlier : if to 
this be joined a disposition to loquacity , hallucination, a gaiety 
without adequate cause, and incoherent proposals, we may 
expect the mental alienation of old age, properly fo called. 

When a robust patient becomes insane by complete in- 
sensibility, resting immoveable, with his eyes void of ex- 
pression, refusing to eat or drink, we cannot but attribute 
this to a sanguineous congestion in the brain ; and this, 
whether the person affected has no ideas, or has them so 
confusedly that he feels no motive for action, or that some 
predominant idea absorbs all his attention, or is of such a 
nature as to hinder him from walking or taking nourishment ; 
as for example, if he believes that he shall break to pieces 
if he walks, or that it is all over with him if he speaks, &c. 
In each of these cases the disorder is not desperate. Fre- 
quently the calm state of stupidity, is the forerunner of some 
violent fit. In other cases more rare, insanity continues 
under this form, but the patients are sorrowful, they shed 
tears, and believe themselves lost or ruined. We judge of 
the probable issue of the disease, by estimating the strength 
of these symptoms. 

That insanity which persons who have become melancholy 
by love or any other cause, have concealed for a long time, 
but which now and then betrays itself, may break out with 
violence : and if the subject be yet robust, we may have 
reasonable hopes of cure. But if the disorder be recognized 
only by loss of memory, and other signs already noticed, we 
may conjecture that the long strife which the patient has 
undergone with his disorder, has worn out the contracti- 
lity of the brain, or that some disorganization has taken 
place there, and dementia may be expected. 

The more robust the subjects are, the less reason is there 
to expect dangerous occurrences, if there be only conges- 
tion or acute inflammation of the brain, which may be redu- 
ced by blood letting ; but we have every thing to fear where 
the patients are weak and sickly, of a solt fibre, and in whom 
moral affections are apt to produce violent effects : such per- 
sons are subject to relapses, and frequently fall into imbecility. 

[ 264 J 

The prognostic data, drawn from th&progros&of insanity 
are perfectly in harmony with the preceding. General 
mania with inflammatory symptoms, accompanied also with 
great agitation, gives us hopes for a long time, even when 
the patient listens to no reason, seems always occupied by 
chimeras, and readily becomes furious. We have seen this 
cured even after many years, as we have said before. Hence, 
although no cure should take place within the first half year, 
the usual period of hope, we may, nevertheless, have hopes 
for one or two years, or even longer; for such instances 
have occurred even after ten or twenty years of mental 
alienation. Partial mania or monomania, is often more ob- 
stinate, because it is often more chronic : it is more particu- 
larly to be feared when the ideas which sieze hold of the 
patients, are of an irritating description, or hinder them from 
taking nourishment, or speedily exhaust the vitality of their 
nervous system : these cases are still more formidable, if 
accompanied by an inveterate gastro- enteritis. In this rank 
we may place religious delirium, such as when the insane 
person believes himself possessed with the devil or plunged 
into hell. This demonomania is one of the most formidable 
when accompanied by marks of violent despair, when wc 
see the patient with haggard eyes, a face hideously distort- 
ed, the hair standing on end, and refusing all the care wc 
wish to bestow on him. But when he becomes familiarized 
with the devil, or believes himself to be an evil spirit, when 
he laughs and appears unconcerned, the prognostic is no 
longer drawn from the kind of delirium, but from its com- 
plications, the strength of the patient, and the state of the 

In truth, it is the memory and the attention, that furnish 
the principal grounds ot prognostic in insanity, when the 
disease is already in an advanced state. While memory 
exists, and the patient does not fall into stupidity and unhap- 
piness, while he is able to give attention to what is said to 
him, we need not renounce hope; whether he connects your 
conversation with his chimerical ideas, or answers with pro- 
priety, and does not appear to wander except on the accus- 
tomed subject of his disorder. 

So soon as memory begins to weaken among insane peo- 
ple, and the power of attention is destroyed, they find them- 
selves, as wc have said before, delivered from the cares 
which their exalted imagination had created, and which 

t 268 ] " 

proved an obstacle to their taking nourishment. From that 
period, assimilation takes place more easily, and they arc no 
longer affected by chronic phlegmasia? of the digestive canal ; 
the}- fatten, they acquire color and freshness of complexion, 
but without any expression. If, therefore, wo do not ob- 
serve this amelioration of the nutritive functions, it is a bad 
symptom, and we must satisfy ourselves which organ it is, 
whose irritation can keep up meagreness, want of color, &c. 
This super-nutrition, which is commonly remarked in 
dementia, is not "without its inconvenience ; it often pre- 
pares the way to returns of agitation with inflammatory 
symptoms, during which memory is absent ; it is therefore 
no presage of cure. This super-nutrition also causes epilepsy 
and formidable apoplexy. At other times these madmen 
live long in this state, fat and voracious ; but they always 
end by general palsy, by irritation, by engorgement, and by 
chronic phlegmasia? of the digestive organs and the liver. 
The marks, therefore, of this consequent gastro-enteritis, 
should be considered as lamentable; they presage engorge- 
ment of the liver, icteritis, dropsy, and diarrhoea, which 
bring on the death of these patients. Many succumb under 
gangrenous eschars and their consequences. 

The frequent returns of agitation, even with inflammatory 
symptoms in an insane person going onward toward demen- 
tia, are by no means proofs that his disorder is curable : we 
had better refer ourselves to the memory and attention. 
We have said that these exasperations are generally more 
common in extreme cold, and very hot weather, and at the 
seasons of equinox, than at other times ; but all accidental 
excitements, moral or physical, may bring them on, though 
they are more to be dreaded when they appear without 
provocation. These accesses are of good augury in a mad- 
man, whose malady has broken out with torpidity ; for it is 
a general law in pathology, that a reactive movement neuro- 
sanguineous, shews itself at the moment when congestions 
disappear. All we could wish is, that these reactions should 
not last more than a few days ; but they are unpleasant symp- 
toms in madmen who are in a convalescent state ; for thev 
arc proofs of a return of cerebral irritation which induces 
new fits of delirium. 

Intermittent insanity, gives us at first some hope when 
the patients exactly conform to the prophylactic, directions 
of their physician ; but when this insanity is inveterate it is 

L 2M j 

difficult of cure. There are periodical irritations that pro- 
duce delirium, as there are some that bring on the epileptic 
congestion. The longer they have lasted, the more likely 
is their recurrence. Intermittent irritation of the encepha- 
lic apparatus ends as in all other viscera, by establishing 
itself continually ; and when it has put on this form, demen- 
tia, that fatal stage, is not far off, if it have not already 

On the same principles we are to form our judgment con- 
cerning relapses which do not assume periodicity. Each 
attack producing some new injury to the brain, we may 
expect as many obstacles to the cure of the disorder, as there 
have been relapses. For the most part, partial insanity, 
tends to become general ; and all general insanity tends 
toward dementia and general paralysis. Our judgment, as 
to the approach of this fatal termination, must be drawn from 
the state of the memory, and muscular motion. 

Of all the possible complications in mania, the worst are 
epilepsy, chronic phlogosis of the digestive canal, and chro- 
nic pnoumony. 

The first of these is nearly allied to insanity ; it frequently 
precedes and determines it — at other times, it arrives as a 
complication at a period more advanced. Solitary pleasures 
to which the insane are so addicted, are often the determin- 
ing cause. But, mania being an irritation of the brain, what 
is there surprising that it should increase occasionally, and 
determine that kind of cerebral congestion which brings on 
fits of epilepsy? In every case, epilepsy makes the patient 
liable to the hazard of formidable attacks of apoplexy ; and 
even when this last does not occur, it hastens the approach 
of dementia and of palsy, general or partial. 

The phlogosis of the digestive canal, may at first produce 
either want of appetite, or voracity ; sometimes jaundice 
and ascites ; it commonly finishes its career in the large 
intestines, and kills the patient by diarrhoea. All these 
Complications are fatal, when they attack an insane person 
already for a long time in the chronic stage, or worn out in 
a short time by furious madness, and an agitation that no 
remedy can appease. 

Chronic pneumonia causes the ulcerations, and the pul- 
monary pthises, which we remark among insane persons, 
succeeding often to repeated bronchitis, or catarrhs, which 
they tfre'Ttnabre to avoid v. hen incurables for, being disgust- 

ing, dirty, ungrateful, ill-dispositioned, and even dangero^ 
these unhappy persons are deprived of all those minute- 
attentions which might prevent the consequences of rheums 
and irritating coughs to which they are subject. Frequently, 
when first remarked, chronic pneumania has already made 
so much progress, that the aid of medicine is unavailing. 

When insane persons have long suffered rheumatic and 
gouty pains, which the cold and damp of their apartments 
render them subject to, we ought to be on the watch, lest 
these irritations should penetrate within, and disorganize 
the heart, under the forms of pericarditis or aneurism, anfi 
the lungs under the type of chronic pleurisy, or pthisis pnl- 
monalis. It would be much out of place, on such an occa- 
sion, to attribute to them a peculiar vigor for resisting cold,, 
which insane persons never possess but during the period 
of excitation. 

The same causes, and others, expose them to intermit- 
tent fevers, and to acute plcgmasioe of the larger viscera; 
disorders always dangerous to them, because the chronic 
irritation of the brain may in consequence become acute, and 
carry them off with symptoms of what have been improperly 
called cerebral fevers, putrid, ataxic, or malignant fevers. 

If we judge ol the possible recovery of insane patients, 
by the proportion of cures published in the different treatises 
on mania, we shall find that in the best regulated establish- 
ments, from one fourth to one third are cured. If we seek 
after the data in reference to age, we shall remark, that 
from the age of ten to twenty years, more than half the pa- 
tients are cured ; from twenty to thirty, not so many ; from 
thirty to forty, still fewer ; from forty to fifty, not more than 
a third ; from fifty to sixty, somewhat less ; from sixty to 
seventy, not more than one in seven. Women are more 
easily cured than men. Let us hope that the improvements 
due to physiological medicine, so manifest in other disorders, 
will be apparent also in this. I may add that I am in pos- 
session of a sufficient number of facts to justify this cheering 

Chapter IX. — On the Treatment of Insanity. 

Ancient practice brought against insanity nothing but 
bleedings, and drastic purgings, chiefly with hellebore ; they 
used also the cold bath, and particularly bathing by sur- 
prise, which consisted in plunging thepatfentin cold water. 

[ 3fiS J 

then taking him out, and repeating this process several 
rimes. Some earlier authors pushed this violent remedy 
so far as to keep the patient sub-merged till he had repeated 
the psalm miserere. Their intent was to produce effect by 
the fear of death. When these remedies failed, they had 
recourse to shutting up and exclusion. For many ages a 
madman was considered as so incurable that it was regarded 
as a very fortunate circumstance, if a few instances of reco- 
very could be cited. 

In the middle ages, those times of fanaticism and igno- 
rance, demonomaniacs were common; but they were deliv- 
ered over rather to the priest who exorcised them, than to 
the physician. The pretended cure of some money seek- 
ing rogues, brought the clerical treatment into vogue to 
the detriment of medicine, which made no progress in this 

The decline of fanaticism in Europe, did not contribute to 
ameliorate the condition of insane patients. When exor- 
cism was laid aside, they were still ill-treated, loaded with 
chains, and beaten like culprits. It was not medicine that 
prescribed these cruelties ; but medicine, from want of 
knowledge, was not always guiltless. Furious madness, 
and the agitations of the first access, were attacked by bleed- 
ings, by drastics, by cold bathings, cold affusions, and 
applications to the head ; but if success was not the speedy 
result, the patient was released from the doctor, and deliv- 
ered over to keepers, themselves not watched, who were irri- 
tated against the patient for the most trifling causes, and who 
inflicted on them cruel punishments. There are still luna- 
tic hospitals in many of the great cities of Eurepe, where 
stripes still constitute apart of the treatment. 

Such was the condition of insane persons in France, (that 
is to say, copious bleedings, drastic purges, cold affusions on 
the head, baths of surprise, confinement and exclusion,) 
Avhen Pixel became a physician to the hospital Bicetre. 
His goodness of heart revolted at the ill treatment of insane 
patients, and at the abandonment to which they were con- 
signed when the first means of cure had failed. 

He composed a treatise, constituting his high and most 
worthy claim to public applause, wherein he called the at- 
tention of observers to this species of malady too much neg- 
lected : he shewed that, by treating insane people with 
more humanity — by preventing in them, by means of kind 

I «w I 

and soothing expressions, ihc feelings oi' distraction, hu- 
miliation, shame and despair, feelings that always arise on the 
first glimpse of returning reason — by saving them, also, from 
the violent treatment of drastics, of blows, and the dread of 
cold bathings, which shook their nerves, already weakened 
by excessive bleedings — by reserving the cold affusions as a 
means of correction in certain cases — and by gentle treat- 
ment generally, he produced a greater number of cures than 
had usually taken place. Two leading ideas were observa- 
ble in his work : to connect the maniacal ideas, hitherto 
confused and unintelligible both to physicians and philoso- 
phers, w r iththe intellectual and affective faculties recognized 
by Locke and Condillac ; and to regulate the treatment accor- 
ding to the views of hippocratic expectation, founded on the 
periodical efforts of nature, and the production, more or less 
regular, of crisis. These novel views, developed with a 
tone of conviction, and with the enthusiastic energy of en- 
lightened philosophy, produced a great effect in the learned 
world. Insanity became on all sides an object of attention ; 
facts w r ere sedulously collected ; insane persons became ob- 
jects of great interest to physicians, who soon communicated 
the impulse to persons in authority. The lot of madmen 
became ameliorated ; and if Pinel himself did not make 
great progress in the medical treatment of this disorder, he 
had at least the satisfaction, before he died, of contemplating 
the happy effects of the impulse he had given to public 

What I have said on the divisions of which insanity is 
susceptible, in reference to its physical and moral relations, 
■will dispense with the necessity of discussing the opinions 
of M. Pinel, on the analysis of the faculties of the under- 
standing, as deduced from the various kinds of insanity. I 
shall, therefore, confine myself to the treatment of this disor- 
der, which I consider as at present too inactive. No doubt 
it is better to abandon insane people to the influence of re- 
gimen, than to wear out their strength by enormous bleed- 
ings, to torment them by the dashing of cold water and the 
dread of immersion, or to inflame their digestive organs by 
violent cathartics. But is there no middle way between 
these torments, and the inertness of hippocratic practice ? 
I think there is ; and I am now about to relate my own ex- 
perience, and that of some of my friends who have applied 
the precepts of physiological medicine to insanity. 

[ 370 ] 

First, let us fix the indications. 

Insanity is an irritation. To combat it, we have two 
kinds of modifiers, sedative, and counter irritants; also, and 
more usually called revulsives. If we assume here, as we 
ought, the disease at its first access, and in its highest grade, 
we shall see it accompanied by inflammatory symptoms ; 
we shall have to light with encephalitis. We must resort 
therefore to bleedings, abstinence, emollient drinks, and the 
application of cold. There has been too much declamation 
against abundant bleedings, since Pinel and his school have 
been so sparing of the blood of insane patients. Hence, 
they never relate a case of sudden cure ; while the physio- 
logical physicians may cite many cases where bleeding, and 
especially leeches applied during 3, 4, or 5 successive days> 
have removed a commencing insanity, as we remove a com- 
mencing pneumonia, or gastro-enteritis, and restored the 
patient at once to his reason. There already existed facts 
that would point to thio practice, but it was necessary to 
choose the good and reject the bad. In the time of Despor- 
tes the average period of treating curable insanity was 150 
days. In 1822, at the Bicetre* it was 130 days for men, 
and at the Salpetriere 145 days for women. Instead of 
being astonished at the happy results obtained by the meth- 
od of practice of Desportes, and attributing the reverses to 
the debility of the patients, it would have been more just to 
ascribe them to the agitation produced by cold water, to ill 
treatment, and the consequent feeling of despair, and to the 
irritation of drastics administered without regard to the sus- 
ceptibility of the digestive organs : it would have been pos- 
sible to hit upon a proper middle course, and to have corn- 
batted the cerebral irritation during the first days of its ap- 
pearance by bleedings proportioned to the strength of the 
patients, instead of permitting them to remain in a state of 
delirious agitation, that the disorder might run through all 
its periods. 

Copious bleeding's are not always without danger in deli- 
rium attended by convulsive agitation. I have seen in the 
old practice, men attacked with acute febrile delirium, and 
convulsive trembling, after excess in alcoholic beverage, 
die suddenly a few hours after bleeding. I have collected 
already five or six cases of this kind, where death has oc- 

h, * Lunatic Hospitals at Paris. Broussais is attached to the Hospital 
of theVal de Grace, which is not a Lunatic establishment — Trait*. 

E m j 

curred very shortly in the practice of the iate M. Corvisart, 
who did not adopt the system or the denominations of his 
colleague Pinel. He did not call them ataxic (irregular) 
fevers, but malignant fevers, He saw in the delirious state 
and the redness of the eyes, signs of an inflammation of the 
brain, complicated with essential fever ; and before exhibit- 
ing camphor, kino, and ardent spirits against the malignant 
symptoms ( for he prescribed these also ) he opposed a bleed- 
ing in the feet to the inflammation, and his patients often 
died in a day's time. 

The same check may occur in mania: one of our col- 
leagues, Dr. Pressat, who owed his astonishing success to 
his anti-phlogistic treatment, made a judicious remark re- 
specting it. This enlightened physician deemed it. proper 
to give calming beverage to subjects seized suddenly with 
furious mania after an indulgence in spirituous liquors, and 
to let the pulse rise again, during some days before he ven- 
tured on blood letting. The more you bleed these sort of 
madmen, the more furious they become, and fall at length 
into a mortal collapse. This remark deserves the more at- 
tention as it comes from a practitioner, who has frequently 
removed the early stage of insanity by general and local 
bleedings, just as incipient pleurisies and gastro-enterites of 
an acute type are cut short by like means. 

After bleeding from the large vessels, come the capillary 
bleedings. Leeches and cuppings on the passage of the 
jugular, and on the head after shaving, at the base of the 
scull, on the occiput, and in all those places where more 
than usual heat is felt, or wheie the patient feels pain, and 
even in places where the skin is too sensible, in the nape of 
the neck, and between the shoulders after the manner of 
Ccelius Aurelianus, are all means of considerable efficacy. 
They must be employed as long as the strength of the pa- 
tient can support them in all recent cases, and even in exa- 
cerbations ; joining to these means others that are accessary. 

The principal are, warmth applied to the lower extremi- 
ties by means of the half-bath of 25 or 26 degrees (80 of 
Fahr. ) while warm water is poured gently on the head and 
near to it. This is bathing by affusion ; a practice not less 
useful in this case than in acute cerebral inflammations ; but 
it must be patiently persevered in. 

If inflammation of the stomach be conjoined with nianiac- 
al delirium, it must be attacked without loss of time. If it 

[ *M ] 

have preceded and determined insanity, after general bleed- 
ing we must apply leeches repeatedly to the epigastrium, 
before, and even concomitantly with their application to the 

If insanity does not yield to these means, seconded by ab- 
stinence, cool beverage, such as orgeat, gum water, lemon ■ 
ade, &c. the patient becomes calm to a certain point, and is 
usually seized with a strong appetite, which it would be 
dangerous fully to indulge, and equally so to enjoin a rigor- 
ous abstinence. The diet therefore must be vegetable, fc- 
cula, leguminous, vegetables, and fruits. Milk may perhaps 
be allowed, but animal food must be deferred. 

It is at this period, after the decline of the violent symp- 
toms, that the patients dread cold, which during the exalta- 
tion of the disorder they braved. As some of them have 
died by the sole influence of cold, precautions must be ta- 
ken to prevent this mishap. This is a remark of Pinel. 

The most pressing symptoms having been calmed by this 
antiphlogistic treatment, the causes of the disease must be 
enquired into for the purpose of deducing curative indica- 
tions. Suppression of habitual hemorrhage requires a re- 
establishment of a flux which has become necessary to the 
equilibrium of the functions. We may succeed in this, when 
the larger viscera have not received any formidable injury, 
by dissipating their irritations, and recalling the usual flux by 
leeches applied at or near to its former locality at the periods 
when it usually appeared. Repelled exanthemata and invete- 
rate discharges, demand the application of issues, cauteries,or 
setons ; or at least, the employ of vesicating ointments, and 
emplastic applications, as rubifaciants to the skin, or to ex- 
cite pustulous eruptions. 

Purgatives are sometimes useful ; but they are not to be 
used until by general or local blood-lettings the stomach and 
intestines are put into a state to support, without inconveni- 
ence, the action of drugs destined to promote alvine evacua- 
tions ; nor can we insist on these means as absolutely 
necessary. We must not forget that the employment of 
violent purgatives is the result of a false theory, rather than 
of experience, and they have been kept in vogue by a success 
ill interpreted. Some of them, such as hellebore, have 
been reputed hydragogues, and as the brain was considered 
as a cold organ, obstructed by pituitous humors, it was 
deemed a happy thought to draw these humors to the lower 

I 273 ] 

intestines, and thence expel them. Some cures [the effect 
of a happy revulsion) have rendered this a deep rooted 
prejudice, which has continued to our own day. Physi- 
cians no longer employ drastic purgatives in cases of insanity ; 
they are content with mild cathartics when such evacua- 
tions are required. For our part, we do not approve of this 
practice, or of the use of emetics; gastro-intestinal inita- 
tions in lunatics are to be appeased by local bleedings, and 
to be prevented by a severe regimen. It is always hurtful 
to make the digestive canal the centre of an habitual flux. 
The embarrassment which physicians experience, has in- 
duced them to employ emetics in large doses, as a contra- 
stimulant, on the theory of Rasori. The experiments which 
have been already instituted on this plan, have been such 
that the practice has been dropped. 

Diffusible antispasmodics, opium, musk, and all the class 
of fetid medicines, have had but little success in mania. 
Opium, above all, is dreaded, because it tends to produce 
sanguineous congestions in the brain ; but after sufficient 
bleeding, it may be given to certain subjects to lessen the 
excess of nervous debility. Dr. Pressat thus uses it advan- 
tageously in his establishment near the Barriere de la Trone ; 
I have also used it successfully in private practice, after 
blood-letting has been pushed as far as was prudent, when- 
ever nervous mobility and convulsive tendencies formed the 
predominant symptoms. Among the substitutes for opium 7 
the extract of hyoscyamus niger (jusquiame) may be used, 
but the belladona is too irritant on the brain to be trusted. 

Digitalis has not produced in my experience, any success 
worthy of notice. At present, practitioners resort to the 
hydrocyanic or prussic acid, in acute encephalitis. It is not 
a medicine to be relied on, and it must be exhibited with 
great circumspection on account of its deleterious properties. 

Quinquina has been tried in periodical mania ; some cures 
are due to it, but it is not a certain medicine. In such cases, 
the better practice is to remove the causes of disorder, to 
recur to sanguineous evacuations at the approach of the pe- 
riod of relapse, and then to apply revulsives on the external 
surface by the different methods we have spoken of, or by 
those which we mean to recommend. 

After medicine, come the hygienic means of restoring 
health, at the head of which we ought to place the moral 
treatment. The first article of this treatment is confine- 

L *™ J 

meat, it is necessary, at first, to separate the patient from 
the persons with whom he has been accustomed to live. If 
he lives in the midst of his family, he is always more im- 
perious and difficult to manage ; his violence is at its height 
by the resistance he experiences, and if he finds that he is 
obeyed, his arrogance becomes insupportable. These two 
extremes only exasperate the irritation of the brain, and 
render the cure more difficult. Moreover, a prompt and 
decisive repression is necessary to calm the violence of the 
access, and this cannot be effected conveniently, but by and 
among strangers. A feeble resistance to them exasperates 
maniacs. But a force manifestly superior, calmly employed, 
and founded on justice and reason, produces an instant 
effect, and greatly diminishes the violence of the cerebral 
innervation. In spite of the illusions that seize hold of their 
attention, in spite of the powerful reasons that they think 
they have to treat all the world with haughtiness, and to do 
as much injury as possible, the greater part of madmen, have 
not entirely lost all sense of justice. Some remains of the 
normal type of cerebral action appear from time to time, 
and allows them to perceive what is unbecoming or blamea- 
ble in their conduct; and if it is always at a proper time and 
occasion that they are seized, shut up, and confined in a 
strait waistcoat, far from being exasperated, they are calm- 
ed by it. On the other hand, if they are so much deranged 
as to be insensible to what is proper for them, there is no 
risk ran in resorting to these methods, taking due care 
tha* they are not hurt or wounded. These means of re- 
pression, which the wise Pinel substituted for stripes and 
chains, with which madmen had been loaded, are almost the 
only means now adopted in France, and it is observed that 
violent madness is less frequent and more conquerable than 
aforetime. The affusion of cold water on the head, is the 
only harsh means now resorted to. The patients are made 
acquainted with it in the outset, and it is used as a bugbear 
to repress their violence, and deter them from bad actions. 
Madmen resemble those profligates of 14 or 16 years of age, 
who are pushed on to improper conduct by some secret in- 
stinct : although they know they do wrong, and in private 
condemn themselves for doing so, they constantly tend to 
the practice by a pleasure more seducing than any other. 
Their enjoyment is founded on the chagrin and anger of 
others, and it is characterized externally by an ironical 

L »* 3 

smile ; it is malice. In every instance we observe a de- 
gradation of the feeling of self-respect accompanying imbe- 
cility of reason. This state, in young boys, proceeds from 
an imperfect developement of the encephalon, but in mad- 
men it is the effect of irritation. Both of them have a brain 
too excitable, and want the typeW reason ; but they differ 
essentially in this, that in the healthy boy, the irritability of 
the encephalon is normal, and tends to diminution as the 
region that presides over intellectual operations acquires 
gradually a predominance ; while, among insane persons, 
the irritability is morbid, and tends to deprave the organs 
of intellect, as well as of instinct. Neither the one or the 
other are in a stationary state ; but nothing more is neces- 
sary in the boy, than to favor the actual progress of organi- 
zation, while in the other, it is necessary to repress it.* 

When the agitation ceases, the time for repression is over, 
but not so the time for reclusion. The~patient must be 
watched, and it will soon be discovered whether he may 
prudently be released from confinement. Particular atten- 
tion must be paid to those who are afflicted with the mania 
of murder or suicide, for this propensity is apt to be renewed 
after long interruptions, and these maniacs know how to 
dissimulate to inspire confidence and obtain the liberty ne- 
cessary to execute their projects. Their coolness in this 
respect is surprising. As gastritis frequently brings on 
these atrocious inclinations, the physician should remove 
every trace of it. A cautery, or issue, placed under one or 
other of the hypochondria, may contribute to destroy these 
obstinate irritations. A seton in the nape of the neck, after 
sufficient bleeding, will also be useful where the insanity 
has become chronic, for the purpose of preventing those 
encephalic alterations which are apt to bring on dementia 
and general palsy. Pinel introduced the custom of classing 
the patients, and of keeping one class separate from another. 
His worthy successor, Dr. Esquirol, followed his example. 
The first division is that of the sexes : there should be also 
a division for furious madmen to whom a strait waistcoat is 
necessary, that they may be confined by bandages to a bed 
or a couch, constructed for the purpose. 2dly, a division 
for madmen, not dangerous, but agitated ; these may be 

*Consult the Traite de Manie of Pinel ; the large Dictionary of Medi- 
cal Sciences, the Dictionary of Medicine, in 1$ vols. (French,) and thr 
work of Jlof barter. 

[ 276 J 

merely shut up. 3Jly, a division for those affected by 
mental imbecility and alienation, ( dementia, ) including those 
who are dirty and paralytic, and to be governed as children. 
4thly, a division for insanity, complicated with accidental 
maladies, as pneumonies and intermittent fevers. Sthly, 
one for convalescents and quiet patients, who may be allow- 
ed to walk in the garden, and who return to their apart- 
ments of their own accord. Distinctions are necessary 
among these, for among them will be found monomaniacs ; 
and if you permit those who are insane upon the same topic 
to associate, they will excite each other either by applaud- 
ing or contradicting, and they may pass to a state of exalta- 
tion or violent anger that retards their cure. 

But as to the rest, we do not often remark this occurrence. 
Insane people are egoists, and avoid each other ; each is so 
much occupied with his own chimera, that he pays little 
attention to his companions in misfortune. One will walk 
with quick step, conducted by imaginary beings which he 
sees around him ; another retires into a corner to contem- 
plate at leisure, the fantastic objects of his imagination, and 
converse with them at his ease ; a third sits silent and 
immovable, seemingly absorbed in profound meditation, 
although he often thinks on nothing, as Dr. Esquirol has well 
said, in the picture he has drawn of a lunatic hospital. (See 
Dictionary of Medical Sciences. ) All of them are in a state 
of defiance as to the rest, they mutually despise each other, 
and each thinks himself the only reasonable being among 
them ; for they all know that they are in a house for luna- 
tics, but they regard it, as to themselves, as an injustice, 
and that it is by the contrivance of their enemies, or their 
relations, that they are detained. We must not, however, 
conclude from thence, that their remaining in such a place 
is an obstacle to their cure, or a reason of disgust to their 
families. Insane people pay too little attention to insane 
people to be unfavorably impressed on this score ; and if 
they were at home, they would act in the same manner 
toward their relations and friends ; for the circumstances of 
retention or reclusion, which they must submit to, would be 
sufficient to excite their resentment ; they would be equally 
enraged against the tyranny of their relations, and the diso- 
bedience of their inferiors ; their haughtiness would be 
humiliated by the resistance, or by the commanding tone of 
iheir domestics, &c. The quality of insanity is to deprave 

i *tt J 

the affections us well as the understanding, and experience 
proves that when they return to their senses, insane people 
retain no animosity against those who caused them to be 

So long as insane people do not lose their memory and 
attention, they quit their disordered series of ideas when 
they are questioned, and reply properly to the questions 
put, during some time longer or shorter. The persons thus 
circumstanced are not to be regarded as hopeless. Putting 
aside all the personified abstractions, called faculties or 
principles, and all merely ontological considerations, that 
we may dwell only on the facts observable, we find that a 
person becomes insane because his brain is over-excited. 
Of course, the first indication is to calm that organ by all 
the means that experience dictates. When this first indi- 
cation has been fulfilled, attentive observation teaches us, 
that although the brain has been over-excited, yet it may 
be possible to put the man's thoughts in the usual and nor- 
mal course by impressions to be made on his senses. We 
remark, that by operating on these impressions the under- 
standing becomes normal, but when it is exercised on recol- 
lections it becomes abnormal. In other words, we observe 
that by impressions on the senses, reasonable ideas are ex- 
cited, but when ideas are excited by recollection, they are 
not reasonable. The indication, therefore, is to act, as much 
as possible, by means of sensible impressions ; and as little 
as possible, by means of recollected ideas. This amounts to 
a removal of excitation, and a counter-excitation, a real re- 
vulsion, physical and moral ; still it operates in the ence- 
phalic nervous apparatus, too near to the locality excited, 
and may, therefore, lose his character of revulsion and coun- 
ter-excitation, and become a direct and hurtful mode of 
excitation, for endeavoring to divert the patient from his 
predominant ideas, they may become thus excited even to 
a state of violence. It is for this reason that we should 
give preference to muscular exercises, which are calculated 
to fix the attention of convalescents. Games that exercise 
the body, and gardening, have been much vaunted for this 
purpose. Gymnastics ought to occupy a chief place, and 
every lunatic asylum ought to be provided with the ma- 
chines invented and brought to perfection by Col. Amoros. 
We may find in these employments a double revulsion ; one 
which excites a series of ideas of a very different class from 

I s?8 ] 

those which connect themselves with that kind oi* innerva- 
tion which aids the operations of the intellect, of the memo- 
ry, and of the imagination ; one which directs innervation 
toward muscular exertion ; hence, this last is a revulsion 
which acts more at a distance from the locality of morbid 
irritation than any which could be obtained by exciting the 

As to discussions tending to prove to the insane that they 
are in error, we should abstain from them still more than 
from the bad practice of cherishing their chimera for the 
purpose of obtaining their good opinion. The first course 
of conduct irritates them at once; this is the direct irritation 
of which we have just now spoken : the second practice 
would finish in the same way, if we were to continue it too 
long. Our concessions to them should be momentary, and 
only to lead them to bodily exertion, and to divert the mor- 
bid course of their ideas. It is always dangerous to de- 
ceive them, for they discover and do not easily forgive it ; 
this discourages them, irritates them, and prevents that calm 
state of the nerves so necessary to their cure. 

All physicians who have contemplated insane people near- 
ly, agree that the first and surest hopes of cure are founded 
on the return of natural affections. The more the confined 
patient exclaims against persons formerly dear to him, and 
the more he misinterprets the cares of his physicians and 
keepers, the moreJie complains (if it be ivithout reason,) 
of injustice and bad treatment, the less confidence can we 
have in the return of his reason. The same conclusion fol- 
lows if he does not disapprove of his own conduct while 
insane; for the first movement of reason is to acknowledge 
his insanity and lament his extravagances, of which he sel- 
dom loses the recollection, but on the contrary will relate 
them in full detail, excepting those parts of his conduct 
which took place under the greatest degree of agitation, 
for the reason assigned before in pages 486 — 265. 

From the moment when the patients can no longer sus- 
tain a reasonable conversation, when their attention relaxes 
in listening to you, when they regard you with a silly look, 
when they fall again into their various chimeras and incohe- 
rences, or begin again with certain automatic movements, 
which they have been accustomed to indulge in, when they 
interrupt you, and when all this takes place in spite of the 
efforts which they seem to make to restrain themselves, to 

L MS j 

hear, and to comprehend what is said, you may conclude that 
the memory is enfeebled, that dementia has commenced, 
and the disease is incurable. But before we decide peremp- 
torily, we must recollect that an inability to think, and the 
most perfect stupidity may be the result of a temporary 
congestion. An insane person, therefore, must not be 
classed with patients under dementia, till he has passed 
through all the grades of the disorder. But if after be has 
exhibited proofs of excessive moral irritability, indicated 
externally by paleness, meagerness and wrinkles, he subse- 
quently loses memory and attention, puts on a calm counte- 
nance, fattens and looks fresh, dementia has surely taken 
place, physical and moral revulsions can do no more than 
keep him under good nourishment and prevent cerebral 
congestions. But if beside all this, speech should become 
difficult, and his walk tottering, general palsy is imminent, 
and all expectation from any form of revulsion is over. Still 
more hopeless will the case be, if the patient has had seve- 
ral incomplete apoplexies, if he has been epileptic, if he 
has lost the use of one of his senses, or any of his muscles. 

In such cases we are limited to precautions merely hygi- 
enic ; to all the means of cleanliness, and the prevention 
of those accidents to which such persons are subject. For 
example, an excess of sanguification may expose them to 
apoplexy, and bleeding or leeching may be necessary to pre- 
vent it. We must judge of the necessity of resorting to 
these means by the color in the face, and an increased tor- 
pidity of muscular movement, a greater disposition to som- 
nolency, to stuttering, attended by fulness of the pulse, &c. 
After a bleeding, the patient seems reanimated, his power of 
walking returns, and even slight mental attention, this gives 
rise to hope in persons not accustomed to the disorder, but 
hope soon vanishes. 

It is also possible that a gastro-duodenitis, on engorgement 
of the liver, or a difficulty of stercoration, may require the 
application of leeches to the epigastrium, to the hypochon- 
dria, or the use of a cathartic, but it will be dangerous to 
render the call for them habitual. 

Accessary disorders do not require peculiarity of treat- 
ment among the insane, but it is of prime importance to 
prevent these complications by guarding against cold, by 
woollen clothing, by preventing a practice common among 
them of undressing themselves, by watching over the clean- 

L 280 ] 

line-fs of their cells, taking care that moisture is not stagnant 
in them, and by warming their apartments to prevent this 
during the winter, by chimneys so disposed that the fire is 
out of their reach. 

Sometimes it becomes necessary to feed patients under 
dementia, by introducing victuals into the mouth to prevent 
their dying of hunger, and to clean them frequently in the 
day to get rid of their filth; but beds and chairs may be con- 
trived that will prevent their dirtying themselves. 

Sometimes also it is necessary to contrive beds so that the 
half paralytic patients may not fall out on the floor, and 
perish with cold, or contract some dangerous disorder. — 
None of these petty precautions ought to be neglected, for 
they prevent complications which too often abridge the lives 
of these unfortunate persons. 


This work was just finished when the "History of Phi- 
losophy, during the \Wi century," by M. Damiron, appear- 
ed and the "Lessons" of M. Cousin were put to press. 
Although superabundant information is to be found in the 
"Treatise on Irritation" to furnish a reply to what these 
authors have advanced in favor of a separate principle add- 
ed to the nervous system, we have thought it right to insist 
in this supplement on the two important points, which acord- 
ing to them, constitute the vital questions of philosophy: 
the one is the argument of Hume ; the other, the elements 
of reason, established by M. Cousin, in his 4th lesson of 
8th May, 1818. 

Hume asserts that what is actually and substantially set- 
tled in a sensible phenomenon does not include the rela- 
tion of an effect to its cause ; that this sensible phenome- 
non presents to us only an accidental coincidence and 
connection ; hence, according to the Ontological School, it 
necessarily results, that as the whole human race find this 
relation of cause and effect in every phenomenon which is 

t 281 ] 

an object of their senses, they can only make this discovery 
by their mind or understanding. For example, there are 
two balls on a billiard table, the one in motion, the other at 
rest ; the first strikes the second, which moves. They pre- 
tend that the mere sense of sight cannot give us the idea 
that the first ball in motion is the cause of the other's 
moving; inasmuch as this causality is an induction of rea- 
soning, not an object of sight or of touch. They use the 
same reasoning as to all the phenomena of nature, which 
they have deduced from the phenomena of art. Thus, 
there are alterations of rain and of fair weather, of heat and 
of cold ; there are earthquakes, hot springs, plants and ani- 
mals, that present to the observer different functions, &c. 
We have no sooner seen these phenomena than we are per- 
suaded that each has its separate cause, its design, its 
means, &c. although neither cause, or design, or means, 
strikes our senses. 

We have proved in page 97 of this work, that these de- 
ductions of causality as to the phenomena of nature, are only 
comparisons suggested by induction of numerous analagous 
facts. But the question here is, as to induction itself,* which 
is attempted to be made a phenomenon independent of the 
nervous system. The reason assigned is, that induction is 
not a fact of sight", of hearing, of touch, of taste, of smell. 
Well, gentlemen, who ever said it was? If the inductions 
you bring forward, and which constitute your reasoning and 
mine in the present discussion, arc not made by the senses, 
they are made by the brain, as will appear from the devel- 
opement of the nervous system, and the arguments stated in 
page 97 et seq. of this work. The objection then is re- 
duced to this, the fact of induction differs from the fact of 
perceiving a body. No doubt it does ; for induction is the 
result, the sequence of perception ; it is manifested after 
perception and in consequence of perception. But the brain 
is as necessary in the one case as it is in the other ; all the 
difference is, that perception occurs more easily and more 
frequently than induction. It belongs to observation after- 
wards to make us acquainted with the causes of these differ- 
ences so far as they can be known. 

* Broussaia uses induction here and afterwards, in the English sense of 
deduction. In English, we deduce, or infer a consequence from the in- 
duction of a number of particular instances : this is proof by induction. 
mo»n:' to infer, to deduce.— Trans, 


[ 28* J 

They say that induction, the equality oi' two quantities, 
for instance, as when we say that two on one side are equal 
to two on the other, is a relation not cognizable by the sen- 
ses, from which it escapes to the imagination, for it is in- 
visible, and has no concrete existence. No doubt ; but if 
we make the same affirmation concerning a simple percep- 
tion, we may do it just as easily. The perception of white 
and black, like round and square, are things neither visible 
or tangible or concrete ; the external body itself which 
gives rise to these perceptions, and our own bodies and 
sensible organs which concur in furnishing them, alone pos- 
sess these qualities. The ontologists agree, that we have 
ideas of bodies only because we have organs of sense ; 
why then do they not agree that we have induction 
only because we have a brain ? Proof enough of this 
they may find in this work. They do not acknowledge 
because they do not see it. They ought therefore to deny 
that the perception of a color is made by means of the brain, 
for without a brain the eye can give us no sensation of co- 
lor. Nor can we see any thing more of the perception of 
black and white, than we do of the phenomenon of induc- 
tion. But observations made by the senses on other per- 
sons after having made them on ourselves, teach us, that the 
perception of white, and the induction that it differs from 
black, are equally operations of the brain. But as we have 
shewn in the course of this work, the psychologists commit 
the mistake of judging concerning man by their own inter- 
nal feeling, instead of giving themselves the trouble of veri- 
fying their conclusions by the proof of sensations. 

After having inferred from the functions of the nervous 
system, inaccurately observed, the existence of some stran- 
ger principle within this nervous system, the ontological 
physiologists confide to this principle every thing that their 
ignorance of the facts that compose the history of man, does 
not enable them to explain. Having thus separated thought 
from the nervous system, they personify it ; they make 
it act like a being ; they entrust it with certitude, proof, 
reality ; they treat it as if it were all and all in man. Then, 
they imagine another entity with another name, of which 
thought itself is but the evidence and the expression. Such 
are the hypothetical metaphorsoses about which they have 
oo dread or hesitation; all that relates to the moral* phe- 

* This word includes thought, understanding 1 , volition, affections, pas- 
sions. &c. not merely morality in the English sesse of moral.— Trtms 

[ 263 } 

nomena, is treated in conformity to this basis of their sys- 

We now address them: you are the dupes of intellectual 
phenomena. Ypu take the word that recalls them to your 
memory, for the facts themselves which it designates. We 
have already proved this to you, by the history of the facts 
and of the instruments that produce them. We shall now 
furnish another mode of proof. You say, it is the soul 
( l'Esprit ) which is not nervous matter, it is this soul that per- 
ceives, feels, reasons, foresees, &c. We say, it is the ner- 
vous system itself that that does all this. You answer, 
how can the nervous system do this ? We reply, we know 
not ; we do not seek to know ; for we have ascertained and 
acknowledged, that it is impossible to be explained by us. 
You, are astonished at our resignation, and you add, we 
know; it is because the soul is within the nervous matter. 
Very well, (say we) shew us, then, how it goes to work. 
You then take up the subject and you make this soul of yours 
which is not matter, act exactly as a man would do who is 
matter : that is, you repeat, as if it were an explanation, 
every thing concerning the human functions, which we are, 
to the full, as well acquainted with as you are. In truth, 
whatever trouble you give yourselves to make of the soul 
acting, something different from the man acting, the identi- 
ty is perfect. It is a man of imagination that you locate in 
the brain, us we have shewn in the present work ; and you 
compel this imaginary man of your own creation, who, as 
you say, has nothing in common with the material man, but 
who in fact differs only in name — you make this, your man, 
do from the very beginning every thing which the material 
man does. I know not whether you perceive this substitu- 
tion ; but to take away the marks of resemblance, you at- 
tribute actions to your man which the common material man 
cannot perform. Sometimes you make him act like an ani- 
mal, sometimes like a plant, sometimes like some material 
body inert, or imponderable. When you want some more 
elevated being, some genius intermediate between God and 
man, you accumulate on him every thing that seems to you 
astonishing, or singular, in facts that can or cannot be ex- 
plained ; and full of lively emotion, you prostrate yourself 
before this prodigy. Words do not suffice to your enthu- 
siasm, for you are heated by the contemplation of your idol, 
and you give birth in yourselves to a real passion. 

[ 284 J 

Thus you act : and you think you go further then we do ; 
and that is true. You do go farther in hypothesis, and on 
the ideal road you travel. If, now, we should disengage 
from your pompous descriptions of Being, every thing w hich 
belongs to the bodies we are acquainted with — if we reduce 
your gratuitous multiplication of qualities to those which 
admit of proof — it will appear manifestly that you have either 
asserted nothing of youi pretended separate principle differ- 
ent from what is true of the nervous system, and which has 
not been said of man himself; or else, what you have assort- 
ed beyond this, being unsusceptible of proof, can only be 
considered as hypothetical and imaginary, if it ought not to 
be considered as absurd. We may safely conclude that 
you have advanced nothing certain as to the rationale, the 
how of perception, reasoning, willing ; nor is this how (the 
mode and manner in which they are produced and arise) 
any more known to you than to us. Let us therefore pro- 
ceed to the second point proposed to be discussed in this 

M. Cousin attempts to give perfection to the categories of 
Aristotle and Kant, to establish the elements of reason 
which is the principle of motion of his philosophy. The 
perfection thus needed, proves in the outset that in the on- 
tological schools, reason is not necessarily a single phenom- 
enon, observable by the senses, and whereon ail the world 
is agreed, but that it is some factitious entitity that varies 
according to the inclination of philosophers. M. Cousin 
will object, that his reason is that which his consciousness 
reveals to him. But we have already proved in this work, 
that consciousness is nothingbut the result of perceptions fur- 
nished by the senses, external and internal. We have acquired 
the right, therefore, of submitting the categories of the French 
philosopher to the experience of our senses ; that is to say, 
to enquire whether the perceptions of the senses are in fact 
the organ of these elements, and how these elements can pro- 
ceed from such perceptions. We shall be brief, not to swell 
this volume, especially as we may sately refer to the body 
of the work. 

The elements of M. Cousin are : 1st, In relation to 
number, unity and multiplicity. These are ideas resulting 
from the actions of the senses upon the brain, and the reac- 
tion of the brain after the influence of the senses ; and the 
comparisons made of numbers with each other, are deduc- 

L *86 J 

tions [inductions) which, like all other deductions possible, 
are also mere facts of cerebral action. The how, the man- 
ner in which all this comes to pass must remain unknown.* 

2d, In relation to space : it is determinate or bound- 
ed : or it is indeterminate or absolute. The idea of space 
bounded, is a production of sensitive perception. The idea 
of space unbounded does not exist as a simple idea. 
We can see in it nothing but an hypothetic deduction attest- 
ing our ignorance and our routine. 

3d, In relation to existence; the quality, absolute or 
relative. Our senses give us no information of relative ex- 
istence. Absolute existence is an hypothetical deduction 
which we cannot discuss without entering into romance. 

4th, in relation to time : it is determinate or it is ab- 
solute, which is the same as eternity. Our idea of time pro- 
ceeds from the succession of impressions made on our sen- 
ses, and we compare it always to a line traced in space, that 
is to say we materialize it in spite of ourselves. As to the 
rest, not having any sensitive idea of the precise duration of 
successive impressions which compose what we call time, 
we cannot speak of it except hypothetic-ally. Hence, when 
we say, that things have always existed, or will always exist, 

-x- \y- e b C g our readers not to forget that the point of difference be- 
tween the physiologists and spiritualists is placed here and nowhere else. 
The following is a summary of our mode of treating this question: we have 
proved by facts, that all the phenomena, instinctive and intellectual, are acts 
of irritability of the nervous system, but we have refused any explanation 
Juno this is brought about — (of the rationale of this hidden process :) we 
distinguish essentially the fact of the production of thought by means o* 
the brain, from the explanation of this fact; while the spiritualists deduce 
the impossibility of the fact itself from the impossibility of explaining it: 
and they place within the brain an entity, a being, for the sole purpose of 
furnishing this explanation. We reply to them, this being, this entity, is 
an hypothesis : ami here rests the whole question. It is treated at full 
length in the first part of this work, and all the answers which follow 
serve but to recall 'the demonstrations we have already given. 1st, That 
the opinions of the physiologists is an expression of undeniable facts. 2d, 
That the opinion of the spritualists rest upon an hypothesis. — Auth. 

This reasoning of M. Broussais appears to me conclusive. Life is the 
conjoint result of the functions performed by the various irritable parts 
of a vegetable, or of an animal : the word itself is the name we apply to 
designate the phenomena collectively, of growth, nutrition, assimilation, 
reproduction, &c. which are the results and consequences of the natural, 
normal action of the organs whereof a vegetable or an animal is com- 
posed. Who can tell the modus operandi of these organs ? Who can 
* satisfactorily explain how, in what precise manner, these organs act ? 
Bat is *his a reason for denying the reality of what we call life ?— Trans. 

L 2 ^ J 

or that they have had a beginning or that they will have an 
end, we say that which admits of no proof. We speak 
on two hypotheses; of which the hist is founded on our im- 
possibility of conceiving nothing or noiv entity, and as we 
have no example of non-entity, we think fit to deny it. The 
second hypothesis is founded on this, that we judge of the 
commencement of the universe from the commencement of 
some budy in this universe, without reflecting that all we 
see or know consists of transformations of bodies from one 
form of existence to another.* 

5th, in relation to forms ; they are finite, determinate, 
limited, measurable : but they have a principle ivhich is nei- 
ther limited, finite, or measurable. The ideas of form are 
derived from our sensitive perceptions. That of their prin- 
ciple is a deduction that enters into first causes. The author 
has said nothing of colors, of consistencies, of temperatures ; 
but they are on the same line with forms, although we at- 
tribute them to bodies different from those where we think 
we perceive them. All these words recall perceptions 
which we receive at the same time with the perception of 
the bodies themselves which struck our senses; perceptions 
which we have separated from each other, because the same 
bodies have moved us in different ways. But if we insu- 
late (separate) these perceptions from the bodies, they are 
no other than modifications of ourselves ; nor can we, with- 
out hypothesis, attribute to them an existence different from 
the bodies in which we perceived them, and different also 
from our nervous system, the seat of the perceptions. 

6th, In relation to motion ; we conceive it bounded^ 
secondary, and relative ; or absolute, and as the first cause, 
The idea of action is complex. It embraces a crowd of phe- 
nomena, which we comprehend completely or imperfectly 
as they are distant from, or near to the first cause. But in 
the preceding categories, we feel a tendency in us to judge 
of the unknown by the known. It is thus, (that is to say, 
by hypothetic induction and not otherwise) that we form an 
idea of the absolute (l'absolu) or first cause: nor can we 
say any thing intelligibly but in consequence of following this 
process. A wise man, therefore, abstains from all disscussion 
as to the nature of the first cause. 

* When we ascribe to a word any meaning other than some matter of 
fact cognizable by the senses — some object of perception — have we any 
authority for so doing? — Tram. 

7th, In relation to all the phenomena that take 
place within and without us. We have ideas of the 
manifestation or appearance, and of something which is not 
that ; that something, is the being within us : and thus ice 
distinguish appearance and reality. This proposition is 
dreadfully vague. We may well say that our senses do 
sometimes deceive us as to certain bodies, but we cannot 
assert generally that the bodies that strike our senses, are 
nothing but illusory appearances ; for this would make scep- 
tics of ourselves, and deprive us of the right of discussing the 
question. What do these philosophers mean by a being 
distinguished from its sensible appearance ? To abstract 
being from its appearance, is in this case (if we understand 
it) the same thing as to abstract from matter its powers or 
its original power. Abstraction here is only applied to ex- 
istence, instead of being applied to motion and the various 
changes and forms of matter. Moreover, having been fur- 
nished by our senses with no idea of a production ex nihilo, 
we can only speak of it by means of false comparisons ; if 
the question afterwards should be raised of that which is, 
considered in its production, we can know no more of this 
than what strikes our senses. Bodies are in a state of per- 
petual metamorphosis, striking our senses under different and 
successive forms, and they exist as multiform. This is all 
we know, for this is all the information that our senses com- 
municate. If hereafter we speak of some fixed and perma- 
nent being, who pre-exists and presides over all the charge- 
able and moveable bodies, as we can have no direct knowl- 
edge of such a being by means of our senses, we can only 
conceive of him through a process of comparative deduc- 
tion ; that is, we have the sentiment only ; we cannot discuss 
any thing about him, except hypothetically.* 

8th, In relation to Thought, our reason it is said con- 
ceives of relatives in reference to this, to that, and even to 

* Being 1 , abstracted from some distinct individually existing being, cog- 
nizable by some or other of my senses, is a non-entity, not a thing, but a 
word only. Again: I see a rose: it is not in my eye or in my brain. 
Nothing is certain to me about it when I reflect on this and all the parts 
of human knowledge connected with the question, but a motion of some 
kind excited in my brain which I perceive, and designate by the word 
rose. There are no objects of real and actual knowledge but our percep- 
tions; their similarities, differences, comparisons, and the results of these 
are perceptions also — They are motions in the brain perceived ; and when 
they differ, we recognize them and their differences by the different 
names we associate with them for that purpose. But the rnode of account 

[ 2S8 ] 

what may not exist ; moreover it conceives the principle of 
thought which 2>cisscs into all thoughts without stopping in 
any. Thought, being a mode of action of the brain, its ap- 
preciable principle can only be the irritable substance of the 
brain, put into action by excitements made on our senses, 
and its inappreciable principle, a first cause. It is meta- 
phorically and by some faulty comparison only, nothing being 
analagous to thought, that this principle can be abstracted, 
and made to pass successively- through several thoughts. 

9th, In relation to the moral, world, ive perceive the 
beautiful and the good ; and we refer to them by an invinci- 
ble tendency the categories of finite and infinite : that which 
assumes the form of imperfect and perfect, of ideal beauty 
and real beauty, of holiness in its unsullied purity. The 
expressions moral world, are figurative. They can only 
represent human thoughts, that is to say, brains acting in a 
certain manner by virtue of their irritability, and as we find 
herein, perceptions proceeding from the viscera as well as 
from our external senses, these expressions ought to recall 
the whole nervous apparatus in action under the influence 
of all the modifiers in nature. So considered, man has per- 
ceptions more or less agreeable by the general sensation of 
pleasure connected with them, more or less favourable to 
the exercise of his conservative functions, and to those of 
reproduction and of observation ; more or less proper to 
satisfy the want he experiences of self-contentment, and 
still agreeable under the two last classes of relation. The 
qualities of beautiful and of good, are first ascribed to 
bodies, then to the perceptions they excite, and at length to 
a factitious entity substituted in lieu of them. Then comes 
the habitude of hypothetic comparisons, which tempt men 
to multiply the qualities which from henceforward they 
have personified, just as they multiply space and time ; both 
of these intellectual operations, are really one and the same. 
Well, it is this hypothetical multiplication, that compels him 
to find out that what he deemed infinite, is really finite, and 
what he imagined perfect, to be really imperfect. This it is 
w r hich gives him abstract ideas of holiness, and of purity 
unsullied ; for he cannot believe that the cause of thore 
ing for these perceptions, by the existence of bodies or tilings external 
to us, and which act upon our senses and excite these perceptions, is as 
much a part of the essential facts belonging to the animal man and his an- 
imal frame and constitution, as the perceptions themselves. We cannol 
if we would, help accounting for them hi this manner Trans. 

[ ^9 1 

emotions of respect and veneration, can reside in beings not 
much his superiors. He resembles a lover who makes a 
divinity of his mistress, his self-love insinuating that a mere 
mortal is not capable of inspiring such a passion. But the 
ontologist goes farther, for he forms beings of all sorts, with 
qualities incorporeal, hypothetically multiplied ad infinitum, 
solely from the vivid excitement of his nervous system. 

Such also is the origin of the moral ideas opposed to the 
class already mentioned. I mean those of ugliness, wick- 
edness, impurity, profanity. They are at first suggested by 
the painful sensations he perceives during the exercise of 
his functions, and by the obstacles he finds to their accom- 
plishment. Like the foregoing, they ought to represent 
nothing but perceptions in connection with the bodies that 
produced them ; but when personified by some first hypo- 
thesis, man multiplies them by a second as he has done with 
the foregoing class, and he arrives at extreme ugliness, hor- 
rible, abominable, execrable, until the excess of his internal 
emotion is such, that he can find no corresponding expres- 
sion. But it is to be noted that the sorrowful emotions mul- 
tiply themselves far more than the agreeable ; and these last 
by their excess, convert themselves into sorrows, when they 
do not occasion the loss of all sentiment. Nature enforce? 
obedience by pleasure and by sorrow, but of these two min- 
isters of her commands, the last is incomparably the most 
powerful and the most occupied. This is the reason that 
religious sects in their promises for the future, have been so 
lavish of torments for criminals, and so sparing of enjoys 
ments for the good. 

We find in these physiological considerations, the explan- 
ation of the violence of fanatics, and the atrocious refine- 
ments of punishment invented for regicide and sacrilege. 

In truth, the more men accustom themselves to hypothesis, 
the more exaltation do they experience in all their interior 
emotions : a first hypothetical multiplication of the qualities 
they attribute to the creature of their imagination, produ- 
ced, a twentieth, a hundredth, and the emotions increase in 
the same proportion, for they are the causes of this hypo- 
thetical multiplication . But as agreeable emotions are much 
more limited in extent and duration than sorrowful ones the 
passions founded on sorrow and upon anger, are raised high- 
er than those of a joyful and happy character. After indul- 
ging: during a short period of youth in the pleasures of love, 

L 390 j 

and' we all know how far hypothesis contributes her share 
in this respect ; after having indulged in the pleasures of the 
table ; in the pleasures arising from a search after novelty ; 
in the pleasures of self-love, &c. a man feels new desires 
arise within him. He has not lost his relish for former en- 
joyments, but they do not fill up every instant of his time, 
for the illusions that prolonged the pleasures of love, of the 
table, of objects and sights of novelty, and the petty suc- 
cesses by which his vanity was flattered, are all necessarily 
dissipated by the inevitable effect of repetition. A remainder of 
activity there will be, to be employed, and it may take one or 
some of several directions. If unfortunately it be directed to- 
ward hypothetical investigations concerning first causes, a 
man will arrive almost of necessity, at intolerance, and even 
fanaticism and ferocity. He is led on to this by the contra- 
dictions to which he is exposed from those who think diffe- 
rently from himself on the same subjects. He arrives at this 
also, in defence of Kings and Governments, as well as of 
Gods : for this is the result of the same original abstraction, 
the same hypothetical multiplication which governs the met- 
amorphoses of all his complex ideas. Here is the first step 
taken, but when once the emotions connected with wounded 
self-love, and the anger that reacts in consequence of them, 
are strongly developed among the principal men of a nation, 
by the influence of multiplied hypotheses, these emotions 
transmit and propagate themselves among the mass of the 
people by the laws of imitation, and thus it is that ferocity 
becomes a popular feeling. The history of all nations, of 
whom even the most gentle have at least sacrificed human 
victims to their Gods, furnish proofs in superabundance. — 
We have even now under our eyes other proofs of the same 
kind, which it is useless to cite. We shall only add that the 
hateful and cruel passions are always in direct proportion to 
the irritability of the nervous system and by consequence 
of the encephalon ; we see the cause of this sufficiently ; 
and it is the same that explains to us why it is that the in- 
habitants of the south have always shewn themselves more 
ferocious and more fanatical than those of the north. 

To fulfil definitively the object which we proposed to 
ourselves in this supplement, we shall infer from all the facts 
and all the reasonings presented in this work, 1st, that the 
explanations of the psychologists are romances which offer 
to us nothing new : 2dly, that they have no means ot giving 

i 091 ] 

to us the explanations they promise : 3rdly, that they are 
the dupes of words which they employ for the purpose of 
discussing things that are incomprehensible : 4thly, that the 
physiologists are the only class who are able to speak au- 
thoritatively concerning the origin of human ideas and hu- 
man knowledge : 5thly, that men who are strangers to the 
science of animal organization, ought to confine themselves 
to the study of the instinctive and intellectual phenomena, 
in connection with the customs and manners of social life in 
all its different varieties. 

Moreover this subject is quite extensive enough to occupy 
the whole life of a studious man, and interesting enough to 
inspire him with enthusiasm. One may write the history 
of philosophy as one may write the history of mankind, 
without presupposing any thing as to the manner how the 
human faculties which we must bring upon the scene, have 
been developed. All the abstract signs of language may 
be employed as formulae recalling certain scenes of life, and 
certain modifications of thought, without our being compel- 
led to personify these signs intentionally. A man may de- 
velope very extensive views of relation, embrace a vast col- 
lection of facts, display apian magnificently conceived, and 
communicate solid instruction to his auditors or his readers, 
without maintaining any a priori hypothesis concerning hu- 
man knowledge. The high interests, the powerful motives, 
the attractive images, will not be wanting in consequence 
of the want of such an hypothesis. Nor will any thing be 
lost on the score of elevation of sentiment ; for on the one 
hand the respect for the Supreme Being will not be weak- 
ened ; divinity gains nothing by being cloathed in the attri- 
butes of humanity ; on the contrary, it must appear to be 
degraded by such a travestie in the eyes of every real phi- 
losopher, and sooner or later the people will inevitably dis- 
cover the artifice. On the other hands there are in man, 
motives sufficiently powerful to lead him to what is good, 
just and sublime, and these motives are real, while those 
with which he is supplied by certain theological philosophers, 
will fall some day or other into discredit because they are in 
fact, not real, but hypothetical. The question here is not 
as to personal interest duly calculated, nor of pleasure, as 
a motive to our actions, but of something more true and 
more worthy the part we are assigned to fill in this universe. 
All the principles of benevolence, charity, devotedness, and 

[ 2»2 J 

of heroism the most sublime, are to^be found in that in stun- 
of affection which impels us toward our fellow creatures — 
in the necessity for our own self-esteem— and in that most 
delightful of all pleasures which we experience when we feel 
that we confer happiness on others. These principles are 
within us ; they are independent of all opinion which we 
may have learned or deduced as to the first cause ; they be- 
long to us as the result of the organization of our cerebral 
nervous system, and they are developed with it ; but they 
are found also side by side with motives that incite us to ac- 
tions that are blameable. Hence then, in lieu of construct- 
ing hypotheses as to their first cause, or of personifying 
instincts, an artifice which bad men discover and employ to 
justify their misdeeds, let us attach ourselves to the de velope- 
ment of the germs of public and private happiness, by a sys- 
tem of education founded on justice, on probity, on greatness 
of soul, on devotion to the happiness of mankind and the 
good of society ; in a word let us cherish the habit of doing- 
good; in this there is no deception, no hypothesis, no 
sophism, that a bad man can pervert in favour of his own 
bad tendencies. 

Paris, 11th May, 1828. 






One main intention of Dr. Broussais in the preceeding 
treatise, is to rescue the theory of Insanity from the suppo- 
sition that it is an affection of the mind or soul ; an entity 
hypothetically assumed, to account for the intellectual phe- 
nomena exhibited by the nervous system of the human body; 
whether in the exercise of its natural normal functions while 
in health, or in their aberrations from a natural, normal state 
when that system is acting under morbid irritation. Insanity, 
according to Broussais, is a disease not of the mind, but of 
the body ; and its seat is in the encephalon. Hence it be- 
came necessary for him to shew the total want of reasona- 
ble evidence attending the hypothesis of a soul, separate and 
distinct in its existence from the body, though by some 
means and in some manner supposed to be united with it so 
as to produce by that conjunction, the intellectual phenome- 
na, which constitutes the science of Idiology. The follow- 
ing tracts pursuing the same general train of reasoning, and 
having the same object, were written and published by me 
several years before the appearance of Broussais' work, and 
are here subjoined in confirmation of the physiological 
opinions he has adopted. This is not a mere metaphysical 
discussion ; it is far more important to physiology, and the 
theory and practice of medicine, than to metaphysics. 

In the year 1787, (44 years ago,) I published in England 
the first volume of Tracts, ethical, theological and 
political ; Warrington printed. Among these tracts was 
one containing a view and defence of the doctrine of Mate- 
rialism, first read at the Manchester Literary and Philosophi- 
cal Society ; the same in all essential respects with that 
here presented, and which last, is in fact, abridged from my 
early publication. The edition of those Tracts was well 
received, and soon sold off; but owing to other avocations 
I never re-published or continued them. 

In the year 1822, a clamour was raised in this State, ( South 
Carolina,) among some well meaning but not well informed 

I' UK 1' At E. 

people, against the heterodox opinions which it was suppo- 
sed I entertained ; as if it were not allowable in republican 
America, for any man to entertain any opinions which on 
due consideration he conscientiously believed to be well 
founded. This vague and general accusation preferred to 
the Legislature by two Grand Juries from a distant part of 
the State, instigated by some of the Clergy, was referred to 
a Committee of tha House of Representatives, who report- 
ed in substance, that whatever opinions I was presumed to 
entertain now, were known before I was appointed to the 
Presidency of the College, and being deduced from the 
Christian Scriptures, ought to form no objection to me at 
this time. The report was adopted and the Committee dis- 

In (he recklessness of accusation at that time, it was as- 
serted in some of the newspapers of this State, that Mr. 
Jefferson had been compelled to procure my dismissal from 
the honorable situation to which I had been appointed in 
the Virginia University, (the-joint professorships of Chem- 
istry and Law. ) It became proper for me, therefore, to be 
prepared to shew, if necessary, that my opinions on the sub- 
ject alluded to, were neither inconsistent with the Christian 
doctrines of the New Testament, or with sound philosophy. 
In the year 1823, I drew up the tracts here published, and 
sent them to Philadelphia, as the place most likely to afford 
their confirmation or confutation ; and I published them 
anonymously, that they might stand or fall by the intrinsic 
merit or demerit of the arguments employed. 

I adopted this course also, from a disinclination to publish 
any thing of a theological character in this State. I have 
from the time I came here, to the present moment, consci- 
entiously abstained from the expression of any theological 
opinion whatever, before or in the presence of any student 
of this College : my deliberate advice and direction having 
always been, and now is, that they ought to adopt and pro- 
fess the religious creed of their parents, till the laws of the 
land shall set them free from parental control. It will be 
time enough then for them to investigate these subjects, if 
they shall be inclined to do so. Young as they are, and 
Avhile students, they have not the preliminary requisites to 
do so fully, finally, and beneficially. For this reason, I shall 
send the present translation of Broussais to a distance, nor 
"ball I publish it in South Carolina. 


I cannot help thinking it a great disgrace to the country, 
that any objection should be made to the publication and 
free discussion of any opinion whatever ; for I know of no 
means of settling truth on a firm basis, but the perfect free- 
dom allowed to every body of presenting to the public eve- 
ry view that can be taken of a controverted doctrine. — 
Surely we cannot see the clearer for allowing one of our 
eyes to be closed, or be the wiser for looking at one side 
only of a disputed question and obstinately refusing to con- 
sider any other. When the gentlemen of the clerical pro- 
fession shew such morbid irritability at the discussion of 
metaphysical or theological doctrines which they would fain 
persuade us are too sacred to be disputed, they give rise by 
so doing, to the strong suspicion, that they themselves are 
not fully persuaded, that the doctrines they inculcate are 
clear of all doubt, and liable to no overthrow. Else why 
this irritation when some orthodox tenet is modestly doubted : 
Why not confute their opponents instead of abusing them, 
and exhibit to the world their own superiority by the mild- 
ness and calmness of their conduct and manner, and the 
temperate force of their arguments ? . 

But I fear this is not to be expected from men whoYegard 
a doubt of their doctrines as an attack upon themselves. A 
Priesthood, claiming to be a separate and a sacred order of 
men, hired and paid to teach and to preach certain doctrines 
and opinions, and adopting this mode of life as a trade— -a 
profession — as the sure road to comfort and consideration,^ 
not to affluence, and strictly imbued with the esprit de corps, 
the corporation spirit of the clerical order, cannot be expect- 
ed to come into the field of argument, without a strong bias 
in favour of the tenets by which they obtain their living, or 
without irritation and anger against those who in any man- 
ner oppose their influence over the people. If truth inter- 
feres with their interest, they can hardly be expected to look 
at it but with a jealous eye. This will happen even to wise, 
learned, and well disposed men, as many of them really are, 
when thus placed and situated : and the objection lays, not 
against the individual, but the order to which he belongs, 
and the trade by which he gets his living ; often forced upon 
him by circumstances over which he has had little Or no 


Hence has arisen the mischievous interference ot the 
Cler»y in Astronomy, Geolosv, Zoologv. Physiology, and 


Medicine ; and the check constantly pressing upon the friends 
of truth, who would willingly discuss all the questions con- 
nected with these branches of knowledge, fully, freely, and 
fairly. Bigotry is a continual spy upon science, and restrains 
that perfect freedom of discussion which the cause of truth 
and the good of the public absolutely requires upon every 
contested question. 

As to the doctrine of Materialism, I run no risk in pro- 
phecying that twenty years hence, it will be the prevailing 
doctrine among Physiologists and Physicians, not only in 
Europe but in this country. The views of the question taken 
by Priestley, Cabanis, Gall, Lawrence, and Broussais, I con- 
sider as pregnant with arguments impossible to be confuted : 
if they can be successfully opposed, it is high time the at- 
tempt should be made by the advocates of ancient opinions. 
Men of science begin now to revolt at the fetters which 
their clerical guides would willingly fix upon them ; and 
something more is required by public opinion, than outcries 
of heterodoxy and infidelity, and dread lest the enormous 
influence of the clergy should be exposed to danger. By 
whatever opprobious terms truth may be designated, those 
gentlemen may rely on it, that error is no longer sacred, and 
if they wish to preserve a reasonable influence among men 
of sense, they must resort more to argument and less to 

Being in the habit of transmitting to Mr. Jefferson my 
publications, I sent him the two tracts that follow : and I 
think my readers will not be displeased to peruse his opinion 
respecting them which I have accordingly subjoined. 

T. C. 









There are two doctrines of a religious nature, that seem to have 
a direct bearing on the welfare of society ; because they are deem- 
ed to furnish a sanction and incitement to moral conduct. 

The belief in an all-wise, good, and powerful Being, who super- 
intends the moral government of the universe ; and the belief in a 
state of future existence after the death of the body, wherein every 
human creature shall be punished or rewarded according to his 
good or bad conduct and habits, during the present life. 

Whether man will be punished or rewarded by means of a soul, 
or as in this life by means of his living body, seems to me to be a 
point of no practical consequence. The sanction — the incitement* 
consists in his"persuasion of the reality of the punishment and of 
the reward ; whether it be by the one means, or by the other.-- 
Accordingly, there are good and wise men in abundance— -pious 
and learned christians, who are of the one opinion and of the 
other : nor ought any good man to believe that his neighbour is 
the worse for adopting either. 

Circumstances, unnecessary to be detailed, have induced me to 
draw up my own opinions on the subject, and the arguments on 
which I rely to prove that Christ and his Apostles were Material- 
ists, a point about which I entertain no doubt j but the reader will 
judge for himself; I have no right to judge for him, or he for me. 




Two opinions are entertained respecting thought, intelligence, 
and the phenomena termed mental, or intellectual. One is, that 
they are to be ascribed to a being distinct from the body, having 
no property in common with matter (immaterial, spiritual,) inca- 
pable of corruption like the matter of our bodies, and in conse- 
quence thereof, immortal. This being, naturally distinct from the 
body, is the human soul ; united to the body during its life, set 
free from the body at death, and without whose union with the 
body, there would be nothing like thought, volition, or action. As 
the soul alone can act and suffer, this opinion of its separate exis- 
tence has been considered as essentially connected with the chris^ 
tian doctrine of a future state. Such is the prevailing opinion 
adopted by almost all the clergy ; and by them inculcated as an 
article of faith, essential to Christianity. 

The other opinion is, that all the phenomena termed mental or 
intellectual, are to be ascribed, not to any soul, distinct or sepa- 
rate from the body, but to the properties which God Almighty has 
been pleased to connect with the human frame — with the human 
system of organised matter. So that thought, volition, action, are 
the results of the circumstances to which God has been pleased 
that man, as an organised being, should be exposed, during his 
continuance in this life. It is also said, that there are manifest 
appearances of thought, volition, and, consequently action, in 
brute animals ; inferior greatly in complication and perfection to 
those that are observed in man, but not different in kind. The 
organization of brute animals being in many essential respects in- 
ferior to that of man. 

According to the first doctrine, man is a compound animal 
consisting of a soul immaterial, immortal, invisible, and of a body 
such as we see : This is Immaterialim. According to the se- 
cond doctrine, man is nota compound animal, but consists nierely 
ofthe parts and their properties, which are visible and apparent, 
and which can be made known to us by our senses : This is Ma- 
terialism. According to the first doctrine, when the body dies 
the soul survives; according to the second doctrine, when the 
body dies the whole man dies. 

t 304 J 

The present inquiry is, which of these two doctrines is most 
conformable to Christianity, as delivered to us in the four Gos- 
pels that furnish the details of the life, death, an9 precepts of Jesus 
Christ. If it shall appear on the balance of evidence, that Jesus 
Christ supported in precept and in practice, the one opinion or 
the other, then is it a christian duty to embrace that opinion which 
has received his sanction. 

I propose to shew, that the opinion denominated Materialism 
is — and that the opinion denominated Immaterialism, is not con- 
sistent with Christianity. 

It will be prudent at the outset to settle the ques 1 ion — 

What is Christian! i y " 

The Christianity of the Romish church, is one thing : of the 
Greek church, another. The Christianity of an Athanasian, of a 
Sabellian, of an Arian, of a Socinian, of a Priestleyan, are all dif- 
ferent : the variances relate to essential points. The Christianity 
of Calvin and the synod of Dort, was one thing : the Christianity of 
James Harmens (Arminius) was another. The Christianity of 
George Whitfield, like the thirty-nine articles of the church of 
England, admits the doctrine of election and reprobation ;. and 
Whitfield held the final perseverance of the saints. The Chris- 
tianity of John Wesley, and of the present church of England, 
from the bench and in the pulpit, excludes both the one and the 
other. The opinion of a Trinitarian appears to an Unitarian to be 
Polytheism and idolatry. The opinion of an Unitarian seems to 
a Trinitarian, little, if any thing, short of blasphemy. 

To a rigid Calvinist, mere morality, and the slightest value or 
efficacy allowed to good works, is setting up the works of the law 
over the precepts of the Gospel, and the pretensions of good con- 
duct and benevolent actions over faitli in Christ, and redeeming 
grace. To a Calvinist, all good works proceeding merely from 
the voluntary disposition, the kind affections, the due regard for 
character, and sense of social duty in a person not yet called 
through grace, and justified in Jesus, "doubtless (in the language 
of the thirty -nine articles) have in them the nature of sin." While 
to a man who professes to be governed in his conduct by a sense 
of moral rectitude, of obedience to the laws, and respect for his 
own standing in society among thp good and the wise with whom 
he lives, the Calvinistic decision of the quinquarticular controver- 
sy, or the five points, as they are called — the doctrine of final 
perseverance, election and reprobation, independent of moral 
conduct — and the efficacy of a death-bed repentance — assume 
the character of temptations and provocatives to all manner of 
crime, and are subversive (where they really operate) of all the 
bonds of civil and domestic society. That a life of crime may be 
fully expiated by a few minutes of repentance, may be Calvin's 
religion, but it is not a tenrt that society ousjht to encourage. 

[ 305 ] 

Amid these dissonances of opinion, where arc the genuine doc- 
trines of Christianity to be found ? In the Bible ? Alas ! all sects 
and all parties appeal indiscriminately to the Bible. Each con- 
stitutes himself sole authorised interpreter for, and infallible judge 
of his neighbor ; and sets up the paling of exclusive salvation 
within the narrow limits of his own creed. I have searched so 
much, so long, so ardently, so anxiously, to arrive at truth on these 
subjects, that I am sensibly alive to all the difficulties that sur- 
round it; to the dangers of discussing it ; and the certain punish- 
ment that awaits every man, who opposes predominant opinions^ 
Hence, I do not pretend that my opinions are true : I can only 
say that I believe they are. Hence, I have full charity for all 
seekers after truth who differ from me in opinion. Let them hold 
their opinions ; they have as much a right to them as I have to 
mine : their belief is as obligatory on them, as mine on me. But 
I hope I ask not too much, if I require, that the toleration shall 
be mutual. Whatever my own opinions may be, they have been 
the result of laborious inquiry — they have never conduced to my 
interest, but far otherwise — I have never taken them up as a 
trade — I have no motive of interest to adopt or avow them — I do 
not get my living by professing them. In saying this, I blame not 
those who do, but it manifestly furnishes a drawback from their 
authority. It renders them biassed and incompetent witnesses, 
according to the rules of every court of justice in every civilized 
community. Hence I object to the interference, and much more 
to the decision of men, who being hired and paid to propagate 
certain opinions, will of course maintain the doctrines by which 
they live and thrive. The motto of a hired and paid priesthood, 
is in all ages and in all countries the same : " Great is Diana of 
the Ephesians ;" and the worldly-minded among them will hoot 
out of society, if they can, all those who interfere with their trade. 
I know many worthy men of the clerical order, to whom this will 
not apply ; men whose sound learning, good sense, and kind dis- 
positions make them estimable exceptions to a general rule. But 
the general rule is as I have stated it ; and my reader knows it is 
so. If I state this strongly, it is because I have felt it deeply* 
Suppose an architect, a painter, a physician, called upon in a 
court of justice to give his professional opinion upon a profession- 
al point in litigation: suppose it should appear on the cross-exam- 
ination, that he was hired and paid for giving currency to the 
opinions he had advanced before the court — would the jury be- 
lieve him ? would the court allow any weight to his testimony ? 
But the clergy consider this objection almost as blasphemy: for 
they have always, and every where, arrogated exclusive privile- 
ges that their fellow-citizens dare not claim. In answering the 
question " what is Christianity?" 1 presume not, therefore, to do 
more than submit to the reader my own opinion, with the reasons 
on which it is founded; leaving him to judge of the one and of 

[ 30G ] 

the other. Requesting only, that until he can discover a probable 
and reasonable motive why I, a layman, should embrace opinion* 
so unpopular, unless it be the truth of them according to the lights 
I possess, he will impute to me error of the understanding only; 
and to this I shall willingly submit. It is with great reluctance I 
engage in this controversy, but the events of my neighborhood 
have rendered it a measure of defence. 

I lay it down as a known and acknowledged rule of evidence, 
that in ascertaining any fact, we are to require and resort to the 
highest and best evidence that the nature of the case will admit. 
We are not allowed to proceed upon hearsay testimony, where 
the original witness can be produced; — we must not produce a 
copy of a deed, when the deed itselfis at our command; — we must 
not aver against a record; — we must not bring the fleeting re- 
collection of verbal assertion, in opposition to declarations delibe- 
rately written and acknowledged; — and so on. 

I lay down also as known and acknowledged rules of evidence: 

That we cannot contradict or modify superior evidence by in- 
ferior: it" the testimony of B depend upon the evidence of A, it can 
neither add to nor detract from the value of A's evidence. 

That we need not resort to inferior evidence, if the superior be 
adequate to our purposes. 

That we are to rest our fact and all our conclusions from it on 
the best evidence that can be produced to establish it, and no other. 

That if the evidence thus admitted be clear in the main, and 
ambiguous in some parts, we are to construe the parts that seem 
ambiguous,in conformity with the main object and intention about 
which there is no ambiguity. 

Lastly, That Christianity being intended for all mankind, must 
necessarily consist of few propositions, and those plain and intelli- 
gible to any man of common learning and common understanding. 

And now to the application. 

Christianity is to be found in the doctrines and facts promul- 
gated in the New Testament. 

The New Testament consists of the doctrines and facts of 
Christ's ministry contained in the four Gospels; and of the doc- 
trines,and facts related of the apostles, after his resurrection. 

The doctrines and facts relating to Christ himself, as delivered 
to us by the four evangelists, are the highest and best evidence we 
possess of what Christianity is. 

1. Because Jesus Christ was the founder of Christianity. It 
rests upon what he said and did. 

2. Because all Christians acknowledge that Jesus Christ could 
not be deceived. He was not fallible like common men. 

3. Because his apostles, deriving all their knowledge from him, 
can neither add to, or diminish the authority ot his doctrines. 

Hence, I hold that no comments, apostolic or other, upon the 
doctrines of Jesus; are in themselves obligatory on his disciples. 

[ 307 j 

I rest exclusively on the best evidence the nature of the case will 
admit, — on what Jesus Christ said and did; — and I seek for Chris- 
tianity in the four evangelists, and in them only. A Christian is 
bound by all the precepts and doctrines of Christ Jesus: he ac- 
knowledges no other master and needs no other teacher. 

The reader is acquainted with the four Gospels of the evange- 
lists; appealing then to the reader, I say, that the only doctrines 
of Christianity plainly and clearly delivered by Christ himself, 
and which his apostles were enjoined on to propagate, are these: 

1. The doctrine of one God; God the father, as the only object 
of adoration, and as the only creator, preserver, and moral gover- 
nor of the universe; in opposition to the absurd notions of polythe- 
ism prevalent all over the world when Christ appeared. 

2. The resurrection from the dead, and a state of future re- 
wards and punishments distributed according to the past conduct, 
habits and dispositions of the dead person, who shall for this pur- 
pose be called up before the judgment seat at the great day. 

This doctrine is rendered necessary to complete the plan of the 
moral government of the universe; and to rectify the apparent ine- 
qualities of good and evil in the present life by the distributive 
justice of a future state of existence. This doctrine was not pre- 
valent among the learned of the heathen world; and it renders 
Christianity of unspeakable value to a Christian, because it puts a 
doctrine of the very highest importance and of the most salutary 
influence upon Christian foundations, resting upon evidence no 
where to be found but in the Christian scriptures. 

3. That, Jesus was a person sent of God, divinely commissioned 
to teach these most salutary doctrines, to confirm them by miracles 
while living, and by his own predicted resurrection after death: 
and he did so. 

Thus far all sects and orders of Christians agree: and I d;>fy the 
reader to shew me any other opinion delivered in the four Gospels, 
in which Christians do so agree. Surely those doctrines, which large 
portions of good, and wise, and pious, and learned men differ 
about, after eighteen centuries of laborious discussion, may well be 
considered as dubious. Do they agree in the nature and character 
of Christ himself, whether he was equal with the father or^nferi- 
or> — co-eternal, or of subsequent production? Are the doctrines 
of transubstantiation, of the immaculate conception, of original 
sin, of election and reprobation, of vicarious suffering, clearly and 
explicitly taught in language plain and free from the figurative 
ambiguity of eastern metaphor? Are any of the five points so la- 
boriously and abstrusely handled at the synod of Doit, clearly and 
explicitly laid down in the holy Gospels? No! they are not. It 
is notorious, that they are at this day, as in former days, disputed 
in every part of Christendom, by learned and grave men. As I 
consider the christian dispensation intended for the benefit of no 
part of mankind exclusively, but introduced for the present and 

308 ] 

etetyiaL welfare ohthe poor, the meek, the unlettered, at a> 
much as for the learned and the wise — 1 cannot consider any doc- 
trine essential to Christianity, that is not clear and intelligible to 
an unlearned man of common understanding. Hence, I throw 
out of the catalogue of Christian doctrines all those abstruse points 
that occupy the pens of learned theologians of the present day. 
What! shall a doctrine be deemed essential, that has been a sub- 
ject of controversy for near two thousand years and not yet set- 
tled? What! shall a doctrine be deemed essential, which none 
but learned men are capable of discussing? God forbid. Jesus 
Christ loved little children, he comforted the poor in spirit and 
the broken hearted, he honored the widow's mite: Would he mock 
his followers with doctrines too abstruse for the comprehension of 
the great mass of mankind, — of the very class he was accustomed 
to address? 

Moreover I consider no tenet as essential, that does not bear di- 
rectly on our moral conduct; that does not make us better men; 
that does not furnish a motive and a sanction to abstain from evil 
and do good; that does not tend to make each member of society 
more valuable to each other. The doctrines of one Supreme God, 
the moral governor ot the universe and a state of future rewards 
and punishments in another life according to our conduct and ac- 
quired habits in the present, have manifestly this good tendency. 
To Christians, there is no sufficient evidence of a future state, out 
of the Christian Scriptures, and independent of Jesus Christ, who 
brought life and immortality to light. The Christian therefore 
rests upon the Gospel facts with peculiar satisfaction. But what 
direct bearing on morality can we find in such questions — as 
whether the three persons in the Trinity be three separate per- 
sons, distinct intelligent agents, or three modes wherein the Su- 
preme Being exhibits his power and character; — whether the gen- 
eration of the son be eternal or not; — whether the holy ghost be a 
person or an attribute; — whether the holy ghost proceeded from 
the father only or from the father and the son; — whether the son 
be omoousion or omoiousiun (of the same or of similar substance) 
with tkp father; — whether all mankind deserve to be consigned to 
eternaTtorments because Eve tempted Adam to eat the forbidden 
fruit; — whether we arc to bear the pains and penalties of our own 
misconduct, or whether Christ bore them for us;* — whether the 
terms of redemption are availing for the benefit of all men, or for 

*Dr. Magee, of Trinity College, Dublin, has published a thick octavo 
in defence of the orthodox doctrine of vicarious suffering and atonement, 
crowded with learned references and quotations. If such a book be ne- 
cessary to prove the doctrine, then the Scriptures are insufficient for the 
purpose, and the doctrine is not worth the pains taken with it. Besides, 
can a doctrine be essential, which after near two thousand years of dis- 
cussion, requires at this day learned volumes to establish it ? The modern 

[ 309 J 

the benefit of the elect only; — whether the elect were chosen be- 
cause God foreknew how they would act, or whether their actions 
are guided and determined by God's predetermination; — whether, 
in the quaint phraseolgy of Gale, God predetermined man's voli- 
tion or gave only his "predeterminate concurse to the entitative 
act?" — whether a saint may fall from grace not only foully but 
finally; — whether good actions, performed before a sinner be call- 
ed through saving grace to repentance, have in them the nature of 
sin, &c. &c. I ask, is the great cause of morality furthered by 
these questions? 

I acknowledge therefore no disputations or disputable Christi- 
anity. I know nothing beyond the points I have mentioned as es- 
sential to the belief of a Christian. I see that all sects acknowl- 
edge these doctrines so far as they are here laid down; and as I 
know of no other theological opinion undisputed among Christians, 
I adhere to these and these only. 

If then it be asked, is Christ equal with God, or coeval with 
God, or inferior to him in power, was his generation from eter- 
nity or in time; is he an object of adoration equally with the fath- 
er; is he omoousion or omoiousion? I cannot tell: none of these 
points seem to be settled by an uniform series of plain and uncon- 
victing texts that leave no room for hesitation. I content myself 
therefore with what is plain, clear and indisputable. Jesus Christ 
was divinely commissioned for the duties lie fulfilled on earth, or 
he could not have worked miracles in proof of his doctrine. I un- ' 
derstand thus far; and there I stop. Well, but the resurrection 
from the dead: this is not so plain as to be free from doubts and 
difficulties even to a materialist. What kind of a body is it that 
will rise? The corrupted and corruptible mass of matter thrown 
into the grave? or some body more fit for the enjoyment of immor- 
tality? To all this I reply, that Jesus Christ having preached the 
resurrection of the body, 1 take it as he preached it. If I cannot 
explain all the difficulties that attend this opinion and resolve all 
the curious questions that can be raised on it, I am content. A 
Christian is content to believe Jesus Christ on his own terms, and 
after his own fashion, and no other. Had all these curious ques- 
tions required explanation, he would have given it: if rfe has not 
given it, we need it not. Such is my notion of Christianity. If I 
think that others believe too much, and if they think that I believe 
too little, I cannot help it. By the use we have made of the lights 
that have been afforded us, must we stand or fall; and may God 

doctrine of atonement and vicarious suffering- succeeded after and in place 
of the Roman Catholic doctrine of indigencies. 

Moreover, no doctrine can be essential, of winch the clergy would pro- 
hibit the discussion ; nor is it likely that an opinion is well founded, when 
they denounce those who controvert it. Like other men, they are timid 
whenever their cause is weak ; and when they want to scare away dis- 
cussion, it is a sure sign that they dread it. 

i 310 J 

forgive, as I hope and believe he will, the involuntary errors, on 
the one side and the other, of those who seek after truth. 

I shall now attempt to shew, that 
The Scripture Doctrine of the Resurrection, is what is 

nov/ called Materialism: and that it is inconsistent with 

the notion of a Separate, Immaterial, and Immortal Soul. 

The plainest account of the resurrection seems to be that deliv- 
ered by Jesus Christ in the 5th chap, of John, 24, &c. " Verily, 
verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on 
him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into 
condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily 
I say unto you, that the hour is coming and now is, when the dead 
shall hear the voice of the son of God, and they that hear shall 
live. For as the father hath life in himself, so has he given to the 
son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute 
judgment also, because he is the 6on of man. Marvel not at this, 
for the hour cometh in the which all that are in the graves shall 
hear his voice, and come forth; they that have done good to the re- 
surrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection 
of damnation" (condemnation.) 

The resurreetion of the Gospels, whether of Christ or others, is 
always spoken of as a resurrection of the dead Luke xxiv. 46. 
"Thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the 
third day." John xx. 9. That he must rise from the dead; and so 
on. I need not multiply passages on this point, which cannot be 

But on the modern hypothesis of an immaterial soul, that sur- 
vives the body and never dies — which is to be the future object of 
reward and punishment — the resurrection of the dead is not mere- 
ly an absurdity, but a falsehood. 

Again, if this supposed seat of thought, intelligence, volition, 
of all the passions and affections, do really exist, as is supposed, 
then is a resurrection useless and unnecessary. That being needs 
not be revived from the dead, which never dies. 

An immaterialist — a deist, needs not this manifestation of 
divine justice first revealed by Jesus Christ. Our body (they may 
say) is the passive instrument of the soul which is confined to it 
during this life ; it is meant to serve the purposes of this life only: 
when the body dies, then is our nobler and most essential part set 
at liberty ; and exerts its powers, free and untrammelled by the 
fleshy load to which it was conjoined. As it is of itself, and es- 
sentially immaterial and immortal, no future resurrection is neces- 
sary to its future existence. 

These are the fair and inevitable conclusions from what it 
pleases the priesthood to call orthodoxy. 

Again : If it were true that the human being consisted of a ma- 
terial body incapable of thought, volition, feeling, intelligence — 

f 311 ] 

and of an immaterial and immortal soul conjoined to it during life, 
and set free from it at death — and if this were one of the essen- 
tial doctrines of the Christian religion, then would the declara- 
tions of Jesus Christ to this purpose, have heen plain, unambiguous, 
and explicit: but we have no such description of human nature 
laid down by Christ ; he has no where adopted or declared this 
opinion; he has no where described us as consisting of an immor- 
tal soul conjoined to a mortal body, or inculcated any thing like 
it is an article of faith ; he has uniformly declared, that the resur- 
rection he preached, was the resurrection, not of the compound 
creature man, consisting of body and soul — not of the human 
soul which is described as immortal — but of the human body, 
which died and was buried. I hope the expressions of Jesus Christ 
will be accepted as good authority for what is Christianity on this 
point; 1 have no better to offer. 

I repeat, that when Jesus Christ talks of the resurrection of the. 
dead, it must be the resurrection of that which is liable to death ; 
and it cannot mean the resurrection of that which is not liable to 
death, but being immortal, never dies. Matt. xxii. 23. Mark 
xii. 18. Luke xx. 33. The Sadducees put to him a question of 
matrimony under the Jewish law ; they asked, " therefore, in the 
resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven." Here was a 
fair opportunity for Jesus Christ to have explained the modern 
doctrine of immaterialism,and to have shewn that the institution 
of marriage was a corporeal rite, and had reference to the body 
only, and that the marriage of two immaterial souls, was an ab- 
surdity and an impossibility. But he gives no hint whatever of 
the soul ; only that, at the resurrection of the dead, there is nei- 
ther marrying or giving in marriage. 

Luke xxiv. 46. And he said unto them, thus it is written, and 
thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the 
third day. 

John xx. 9. For as yet they knew not the Scriptures, that he 
must rise again from the dead. 

John ii. 21. But he spake of the temple of his body. 

When Jesus had risen, the women who went to search for his 
body, found it not in the sepulchre ; for the body had risen from 
the dead. Luke xxiv. G. Why seek ye the living among the 
dead ? He is not here, but is risen. 

When Christ died upon the cross, many bodies of saints that 
slept, arose. Matt, xxvii. 52. Is it not strange, that in none of 
these passages relating to the resurrection from the dead, have wc 
any reference to the soul ? 

Again : The resurrection from the dead promised by Jesus, 
was exemplified by his own death, burial, and resurrectioi, such 
as was his resurrection, such will be ours; or he died to no pur- 
pose. If his personal exemplification of the resurrection from the 
dead, to which he appealed, was different in its kind and nature. 

[ 312 ] 

from thai which mankind are to undergo, it becomes no longer a 
type, an exemplification, and a proof of our resurrection. He 
arose expressly, after predicting that he would do so, to make 
manifest and illustrate by fact, the doctrine he had been preach- 
ing. Let us then consider the Scripture account of Christ's own 

John xx. 24. But Thomas, (one of the twelve,) called Didymus, 
was not with them when Jesus come. The other disciples said 
"unto him, we have seen the Lord : but he said unto them, except 
I shall sec in his hands the print of the nails, and put my fingers 
into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will 
not believe. And after eight days again, the disciples were with- 
in, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being 
shut, and stood in the midst, and said, peace be unto you. Then 
saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands ; 
and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side; and be not 
faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and saith unto 
him, my Lord and my God ! Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, be- 
cause thou hast seen me, thou hast believed ; blessed are they who 
have not seen me, and yet have believed. 

Other circumstances are mentioned by Luke xxiv. 38. in giving 
an account of Jesus appearing to his disciples after his resurrec- 
tion. " And he said unto them, why are ye troubled, and why do 
thoughts arise in your hearts. Behold my hands and my feet, that 
it is I, myself: Handle me and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and 
bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he 
shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they believed 
not for joy, but wondered, he said unto them, have ve here any 
meat ? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and a honey- 
comb, and he took it, and did eat before them." See the parallel 
passages, Matt, xxviii. Mark xvi. Luke xxiv. 39. 

This is the only account the Scriptures give us of the great and 
important proof, and manifestation of the resurrection of the dead, 
produced by Christ himself, as an example of that future miracu- 
lous destination of the human kind. 

If the belief in the separate existence of a soul, which dies not 
with the body, and its liability to reward and punishment at the 
great day, be an article of Clmstianity, was not this the proper, the 
last, the only occasion to explain it ? 

Is there one word of the human soul in this account? 

And when Christ appeals to his disciples, and describes what 
constitutes himself; does he not appeal to his visible, tangible body, 
and to that only ; does he mention or allude to the soul ? 

Does this account furnish a proof of any resurrection, but the 
resurrection of the body and the body only ? 

Does not Christ in effect negative the existence of any sepa- 
rate soul, when exhibiting his bodv, he savs, here, " this is I, 

t 313 ] 

Is any one required to believe in the existence of a separate 
soul, when it is no more noticed on this solemn occasion, than it 
it did not exist at all ? 

And why is it nut noticed ? Because it does not exist. Would 
such an occasion of explaining and inculcating the doctrine, have 
been passed by ? 

Again: Matt, xxvii. 53. "And the graves were opened, and 
many bodies of saints that slept arose, and came out of their graves 
after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared 
onto many.*' This is again a type and an exemplar of man's re- 
surrection : but not one word of the soul. 

How is it, some may ask that this corrupt, mortal, and putrefy- 
ing body, can be the object of the resurrection, and inherit immor- 
tality ? I answer, that in Luke xx. 36, Christ says, " the dead who 
are raised shall die no more." Of course some change will take 
place after the resurrection to fit them for immortality. What 
change, or how it is to be effected ; as Christ has not explained, 
neither do I; and with the promise as he has made it, a christian 
should be content. 

The only passage in the Gospels from which the existence of a 
scperate and immortal soul can apparently be inferred, is Matt. x. 
28, which in the translation runs thus: "Fear not them which kill 
the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, 
which is" able to destroy both soul and body in hell." To this I 
reply, that the word here translated soul, (a) is translated in 
very many other places indiscriminately, life and soul. Meaning 
always the life of the body, and never exclusively the soul. Thus, 
a little way before in Matt.Vi. 25, it is translated life: " to take no 
thought for your life." To the same purpose, Luke xii, 22. So in 
Marie iii. 4. " To save life or to kill." So in Luke xii. 23, " the 
life more than raiment." Matt. vi. 25. Matt. x. 39. Matt. xvi. 25. 
Mark viii. 36, 37, and in upwards of twenty passages more. In 
all these passages, the word translated indiscriminately soul and 
life, is one and the same word. So in Rev. xvi. 3, and every living 
«*0ul died in the sea. 

The meaning of the passages therefore, is, that Christ who wa$ 
appointed to teach and to preach the resurrection unto life, says, 
",fear not them who can kill the body, but him who can annihilate 
life itself, and destroy all your hopes of resurrection and a future 

I know not any other passage in the Gospels that can be plausi- 
bly dragged in aid of the immaterial hypothesis; and I will venture 
to say, there is not one passage in the bible, so strong in favour of 
that opinion, as the passage I have just considered: which is mani- 
festly a translation, made by men whose heads were full of the 
doctrines of a soul, and made with a view to that very opinion. 

Again: The following passages all tend to shew that there shall 
be no resurrection whatever, but as a miraculous interposition of 

(a) i!--/ 1 (pstiche). i0 

[ 311 J 

God Almighty, through Jesus Christ, who shall call the dead from 
their graves, at his own appointed time; until when there shall be 
no day of judgment: and or" course that without the promise of the 
Christian resurrection, the dead would forever remain dead. This 
is utterly inconsistent with the notion of the most essential and 
active part of man, immortal in itself, subsisting in a state of supe- 
rior intelligence and activity, when freed from the burthen and 
clog of the human body. When freed from the prison of the body, 
why, by miraculous interposition, raise up the body to imprison it 
again? Matt. xiii. 50 — 49. Matt. xvi. 9,7. Matt. xix. 28. Matt. 
xxiv. 31. Matt. xxv. 31, 32. Mark xiii. 26, 27. John vi. 40,44, 
54. John xvi. 22. I could add many more passages from the Acts 
and Epistles, but I purposely confine myself to the Evangelists. 

So far as plain fact, universal experience, and the declarations 
of the scriptures will bear us out, there is no pleasure, and no suf- 
fering independent of the animated body, either in this life, or in 
the life to come. Animation ceases when the body dies; and it 
will be restored when the'body is called up from the grave at the 
great day in conformity with the promises made to us in the Gos- 
pels of Christ. "Without those promises, confined to the human 
race — as a beast dieth, so dieth man; without further hope of sen- 
tient existence. At least, the arguments for a future state, are 
barely probable, independent of the Gospel, and Christ's example. 
So that to a materialist, the value of a Christian Gospel is un- 
speakable; to an immaterialist, it is superfluous and even con- 

One other argument I will urge, that seems to me to have great 
weight. The Jews were divided into two sects; the Sadducees 
who taught that there would be no resurrection, and the Pharri- 
sees,whoheldthat there would be one. Theinculpations and invec- 
tives of Christ, against the Pharisees are vehement, and frequent. 
Not so against the Sadducees. Among the various conversations 
and disputes he had with the Sadducees on the subject of a resur- 
rection from the dead, he not only never makes any use of the ar- 
gument, from the immaterial and immortal nature of the human 
soul, but he never introduces it at all — not a word is to be found 
on the subject: its existence is not hinted at. 

After this, can it be said, that the separate existence of an im- 
mortal soul is the doctrine of Christ? I am lost in utter astonish- 
ment at the presumptuous hardihood that can state this doctrine 
as an essential article of the Christian faith! at the impudent in- 
tolerance that can cry down a man's character and standing in so- 
ciety — can interdict him like the banished of old, from fire, water, 
and shelter — because examining Scripture for himself, he cannot 
conscientiously accept as divine truth, the metaphysical reveries of 
Calvinistic theology! 

The doctrine of a future state, stands on a much firmer basis, 
eft 1h* .supposition of the resurrection of the body, and the body 

L W6 i 

only, than on the resurrection of the soul, (if indeed tins last be 
not* as I take it to be, a manifest contradiction in terms.) The be- 
ing whom it shall please God, through Jesus Christ to raise from 
the dead — from the grave — will be the object of future rewards and 
punishments in another life, for its deeds, or misdeeds, transacted 
in this life. I know of no christian materialist who denies this, and 
I believe it is considered a doctrine probable, but not certain, inde- 
pendent of Scripture, from considerations connected with the mo- 
ral government of the universe but rendered certain by the Chris- 
tian Scriptures only. To an immaterialist, the Scripture doctrine 
of the resurrection'is superfluous; for his man is essentially im- 
mortal in his immortal soul! To a materialist, it is every thing; 
for it contains the only sure and certain proof of a resurrection, 
that is to be found within the compass of human knowledge. 

Aud here I take my stand. I hold it useless to urge any further 
argument. It would* be anticlimax in ratiocination. That which 
is°Bot Jesus Christ's Christianity is not my Christianity. The 
opinions of the apostles, of the fathers of the church, of grave and 
learned divines, can add no force to Gospel authority. You can- 
not fortify stronger evidence by weaker. If you say it may ex- 
plain or illustrate what is dubious, I deny that any of the essen- 
tial articles of Christianity, that I have stated, are dubious. You 
may dispute as much as you please about the human soul, which is 
not once mentioned in the Gospels, but you cannot deny the resur- 
rection of the body. You may dispute about the nature and grade 
of Christ's character, but you cannot as a christian dispute his di- 
vine mission. I require no other proof that any doctrine is unes- 
sential to Christianity, than that it is dubious. Jesus Christ does 
not require us on pain of eternal damnation to believe on doubtful 
evidence; although the priesthood does. Could the unlettered au- 
dience present at the sermon on the mount, have understood a 
sentence of the Assembly's Catechism? 

The sum and substance of my argument is this: 

(a) All that is essential to Christianity is contained in the four 
Gospels that give us an account of what Jesus taught and did; who 
certainly would omit nothing essential to his own plan. The doc- 
trine of an immaterial, immortal soul is no where to be found pro- 
mulgated, explained, or hinted at, in any part of the four Gospels, 
except in one solitary text where the ambiguity arises from the 

(b) The resurrection every where spoken of is the resurrection 
of the dead, — the resurrection of the body, not of the soul. 

(c) This avoiding any notice of the doctrine in question, is the 
more extraordinary, as frequent opportunities and occasions occur- 
red, that seem to have required, if this doctrine were true, that it 
should be enforced and explained. 

(d) This doctrine of a separate immortal soul, renders unneces- 
sary any miraculous interposition to produce the resurrection of 

t 316 | 

ihe dead, for the purpose of future reward and punishment; mas 
much as the soul never dies. It may therefore be a very good te- 
net for a Deist, but not for a Christian. 

(e) This doctrine of an immaterial immortal soul is to the doc- 
trine of the resurrection, a positive and unequivocal denial ; for 
there can be no resurrection of that which never dies. 

(f) The example and illustration presented to us by Christ's 
own resurrection, is a resurrection of the body only : not a syllabic 
is said about the soul. 

Here ends my argument: but for the sake of those who have, a 
higher opinion of human comments on the doctrines of Christ than 
I have, I add the following brief observations, tending to shew, 

1. That the doctrine of materialism is the doctrine of the 

2. That the doctrine of materialism was the doctrine of the 
fathers of the Christian church, during four hundred years, until 
the time of St. Augustine. 

3. That it is yet considered as a dubious point in the church 
of England among the dignitaries eminent for learning in that 

4. That the. doctrine of a separate soul has given rise to great 
errorsand deplorable abuses. 

If I should find it necessary (which I hope will not be the case) 
to come out again on this subject, I will treat these, points more at 
large : at present, my object is condensation and brevity. 

Let us now see ivhat the Apostles say. 

Acts xxiii. 6. Paul cried out, Of the hope and resurrection of 
the deadnml called in question. Jets xxiv. 15. That there shall 
be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust. 2 Cor. 
i. 9. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should 
not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead. If any 
declaration can be adverse to the existence of a separate soul, this 
is. 2 Cor. iv. 10. Always bearing about in the body the dying of 
the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest 
in our body. v. 14. Knowing that he which raised up the Lord 
Jesus shall raise us up also by Jesus. This implies similarity in 
the general resurrection of the human race, and that of our Lord. 
So in 1 Pet. i. 3 — 5. Messed be God, which according to his 
abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the 
resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance incorrupti- 
ble and undefined, that fadeth not away. Horn. iv. 17. God who 
quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that be not, as 
though they were. 1 Cor. xv. 42. So also is the resurrection of the 
dead. It is sown in corruption — it is raised in incorruption. What 
died? The Soul? No: the body died. What then is raised ? The 
Soul ? No : that which died, the body. When the body being raised 
from the dead, is endowed with incorruptibility, to fit it for its new 
■state of being, it still remains the same body, only no longer sub 

I 311 ] 

ject to death. .St. Paul calls the body thus changed a heavenh 
body, a spiritual body: still it is the body ; in all essential re- 
spects, the very body that died ; for no other is ever spoken of. 
2 Cor. v. 10. (a) For we must all appear before the judgment 
scat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his 
body, according to that he hath done whether good or bad. The 
literal and true version of tins passage is "may receive bodily,*' 
(ta dia ton somatos.) Hence, it is the body that is to receive reward 
or punishment, according to what the body hath deserved while 
alive. Not a word of a soul. Kphes. v. 23. Christ is the saviour of 
the body. Philip iii. 21. Who shall change our vile body (vile 
as being mortal and corruptible) and fashion it Uke unto his glo- 
rious bod j. Not a word of the soul : all relates to the body. 

I have looked into the original Greek of all the passages trans- 
lated soul, from Acts to Revelations, inclusive, and 1 find the word 
is psache. In most of these passages, it necessarily means 
life, and in all of them it is reasonably translated life; except, as 
some may think, in 1 Thess. v. 23, "That your whole spirit, and 
soul, and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of 
our Lord." 

The general meaning of the word here translated spirit, when 
applied to a man, is disposition, inclination : thus, 

Matt. xxvi. 41. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. 
That is, they have desire to keep awake, but they are overcome 
with fatigue. 

Luke viii. 55, Her spirit came again, and she arose straightway. 
That is, her life. 

John iv. 23. Shall worship the father in spirit and in truth. 
That is, in reality, with willingness and unfeignedly. 

John xi. 33. He groaned in spirit : John xiii. 21. He was trou- 
bled in spirit. 

Frequently it is put for beings intermediate between men and 
angels and that only appear occasionally, that being a popular 
opinion of the day : as when the disciples said he hath seen a spirit 
or an angel, — the Sadducees say there is no angel or spirit, — and 
the spirit said unto Philip, go near and join, &c. 

It is sometimes put for the power and operation of God. 

So the word translated soul, is far more frequently translated 
life, which is its true meaning. 

Hence, the meaning would be, God preserve your disposition, 
your life, and your body to the time of his coming. That is, I hope 
you will not change your character or quit this life till the coming 
of our Lord Jesus ; which some of the apostles mistakenly expect- 
ed to be very soon. But holding myself bound by the highest 
authority, I am bound by that only. Nor is the main doctrine of 
Christ in the Gospels to be shaken by a few figurative or pleonas- 
tic forms of expression among his disciples. The question is not, 

(n) ret hoc ra <?o^xl<&>. 

I 318 j 

is there am text in the Bible that seems to countenance the notion 
of a soul, (for the Bible was translated by persons who took thai 
doctrine for granted ;) — the question is, what is the general tenor 
of the doctrine on the subject laid down by Jesus Christ : does//r, 
countenance it r The apostles wrote and spoke very figuratively, 
and frequently in conformity and allusion to the previous notions 
of those they were addressing. To establish the doctrine of a soul 
as a Christian doctrine, do not refer me to a few texts that seem to 
countenance it; you must shew it me plainly, clearly, and un- 
doubtedly laid down, explained, and urged by Christ himself : and 
that I am sure cannot be done from the Evangelists. All else is 
evidence so inferior, as to have little weight on the question. 

All persons conversant with the Scripture, know, that the vari- 
ous and discordant tenets of metaphysical Christianity are found- 
ed, asserted, and denied on the license of figurative expression 
used by the apostles, and principally St. Paul. In this war of 
words I desire to take no part, and I therefore appeal exclusively 
to the Gospels. 

Of the Opinions of the Ancient Fathers. 

I am not yet possessed of the means of examining and referring 
to the original works of the fathers, as they are called. I must 
therefore be content with referring to some summary. Suchan one 
Dr. Priestley has given; but I am aware his authority may be ob- 
jected to. Lewis Ellis Dupin, and Lardner have not attended to 
this subject as a separate question, and Lardner's quotations are- 
very partial. The only author of repute who has examined all the 
writings of the Christian fathers with this view, is Beausobre, in 
his history of Manicheism; an author universally regarded as 
among the fairest and best qualified of modern days. He too is 
cited by Priestley, by Rees, and others. 

To avoid all reasonable objection, I referred to the article Im- 
materialism in the larger French Encyclopedic, manifestly written 
by one who is not a materialist. I translate briefly from that ar- 
ticle ; stating however, that his representation will coincide with 
that of M. Beausobre. 

" Some moderns suspect that as Athanagoras admitted a spirit, 
in the formation of the universe, he was acquainted with spiritu- 
ality, and did not admit a corporeal Deity, like almost all the other 
philosophers. But by the word spirit (pneumaj the Greek and 
Romans equally understood a subtile matter, extremely dilated, 
intelligent indeed, but extended, and consisting of parts. In effect, 
how can they believe that the Greek philosophers had any idea of 
a substance purely spiritual, when it is clear that all primitive fa- 
thers of the church made even God Almighty corporeal ; and their 
doctrine was perpetuated in the Greek church even to later times, 
and was never renounced by the Roman church till the time of 
St. Augustine," (about six hundred years after Christ.) 

[ 319 ] 

The author of the article proceeds, by means of quotations from 
their works, to shew that the following fathers were materialists, 
viz j Origen, whom Jerom reproaches for his notion that God 
himself was material ; Tertullian, who wrote a book De Anima 
expressly to prove the mortality and materiality of the human 
soul ; Arnobius ; St. Justin ; Tatian ; St. Clement of Alexandria ; 
Lactantius ; St. Hilarius ; St. Gregory Nazianzenus ; St. Gregory 
Nyssenus ; St. Ambrose ; Cassian ; and finally John of Thessalo- 
nica, who, at the Seventh Council, pronounced it as an opinion 
traditionally delivered by St. Athanasius, St. Basil, and St. Me- 
thodius, that neither angels, demons, nor human souls were -dis- 
engaged from matter. The writer forgot Melito, bishop of Sardis ; 
but here is a list quite long enough. It proves nothing except 
that in the early ages of the Christian church, and for near six 
hundred years, Materialism was not heresy, but quite otherwise. 
Indeed St. Austin says, that he himself was for a long time of this 
opinion ; owing to his difficulty of conceiving the pure spirituality 
of God himself — Are these metaphysics of any use or value to a 
Christian, on the one side or the o her. I consider them as vain 
speculations, unproductive of practical benefit. 

The Apostles' Creed of uncertain composition, but ancient, re- 
quires us to hold as an essential article of the Christian faith, 
what, the resurrection of the soul. No, " the resurrection of the 
body, and the life everlasting." Amen. 

That the doctrine of the non-existence of a separate 
immaterial soul, distinct from the human body, and dis- 
joined from it at death, is a doctrine published and 
avowed by dignitaries of the church of england. 

I apply this to the well meaning, but not well instructed por- 
tion of my fellow citizens. I am not about to prove my point by 
an appeal to the bench of bishops. But I say, that doctrine is not 
Atheism, Deism, or Infidelity, which some of the bench of bishops 
avow, which others doubt about, and which none complain of as 
heretical or dangerous. 

I)v. Edmund Law* Arch Deacon of Carlisle, Master of Pe- 
ter's College in the University of Cambridge, (a seminary for 
finishing the education of young men,) wrote a treatise on the na- 
ture and end of death. To the third edition of this work, now be- 
fore me, published in 1775, he added an appendix on the meaning 
of the original words translated soul and sph'it in the holy Scrip- 
tures ; shewing that no part of the bible gave countenance to the 
doctrine of a separate soul, or of an intermediate state of being 
between death and judgment. He refers to Bishop Sherlock, the 
Rev. Mr» Taylor of Norwich, and Mr. Hallet, in the following pas- 
sage closing that appendix. 
Father of the late Lord EUenborough, Chief Justice of the King's Bench. 

C &o J 

Extract from the Appendix to Considerations on the Theory of 
Religion. By Edmund Law, n. r>. Archdeacon of Carlisle, and 
Master of St. Peter's College, Cambridge, third edition, 1755 — 
with an appendix concerning the use of the word SOUL in Hohj 
Scripture, and the state of death there described. 

" The intent of this appendix, containing an examination of all 
the meanings that the words translated SOUL, in the Old or New 
Testament, appears to have, is to shew that the doctrine of a se- 
parate, immaterial, immortal soul, is not a Christian doctrine: that 
it is not fairly deducible from the Christian Scriptures; and is 
contrary to their general tenor." Dr. Law, after this summary, 
goes on to say, page 398, " This may serve for a specimen of such 
texts as are usually alleged on the other side of the question j (viz. 
by the Immaterialists,) all which will, I believe, appear, even from 
these short remarks upon them, to be either quite foreign to the 
point, or purely figurative ; or lastly, capable of a clear and easy 
solution on the principles above-mentioned. Nor can such ever 
fairly be opposed to the constant obvious tenor of the sacred wri- 
tings, and that number of plain express passages already cited." 
page 400. — Give me leave, says Dr. Law, to subjoin the sentiments 
of a very pious and worthy person, eminently skilled in Scripture 
language, the Rev.Mr. Taylor of Norwich, who is pleased to write 
as follows: " 1 have perused your papers, &c. They comprehend 
two points, one upon the nature of the human soul or spirit, so far 
as revelation give us any light ; the other concerning the state to 
which death reduces ns. From the collection of Scriptures under 
the first of these points, I think it appears, that no man can prove 
from Scripture, that the human soul is a principle which lives, 
and acts, and thinks, independent of the body. Whatever the 
metaphysical nature, essence, or substance of the soul may be, 
(which is altogether unknown to us,) it is demonstratively certain 
that its existence, both in the manner and duration of it, must be 
wholly dependent on the will and pleasure of God. God must 
appoint its connection with, and dependence on any other sub- 
stance, both in its operations, powers, and duration. All argu- 
ments, therefore, for the natural immortality of the soul, taken 
from the nature of its substance or essence, as if it must exist and 
act separate from the body, because it is of such a substance, &c, 
arc manifestly vain. If indeed we do find any thing in the 
faculties and operations of the mind to which we arc con- 
scious, that doth shew it is the will of God, we should exist 
in a future state, those arguments will stand good. But wc 
can never prove that the soul of man is of such a nature that 
it can and must exist, live, think, act, and enjoy, &c, separate 
from, and independent of the body. All our present experience 
shows the contrary. The operations of the mind depend con- 
stantly and invariably upon the state of the body, of the brain in 
particular. If some dying persons have a lively use of their raw 

[ 321 1 

tienal faculties to the very last, it is because death has invaded 
some other part, and the brain remains sound and vigorous. But 
what is the sense of REVEL ATION ? You have given a noble 
collection of texts, that shew it very clearly. The subject yields 
many practical remarks, and the warmest and strongest incite- 
ments <<> piety." 

After this extract from Mr. Taylor's letter, Dr. Law closes his 
appendix in these words : " But it might look like begging the 
question, should I draw out all these in form, together with the 
consequences of this doctrine in regard to either Papist or Deist, 
till the doctrine itself, so long decryed by the one, and so often 
disgraced by the other, shall appear free from the prejudices at- 
tending it, and be at last understood to have a fair foundation in 
Scripture, by which we Protestants profess to be determined: and 
when we have duly examined them, may possibly discern that the 
natural immortality of the human mind, is neither necessarily 
connected with, nor to a Christian any proper proof of a future 
state of rewards and punishments.'' 9 

After this, Dr. Law was raised to the See of Carlisle. 

Dr. Watson, Bishop of Landaflf, published a collection of tracts 
for the use of young clergymen. The following is an extract from 
his Preface. 

Extract from a preface to a collection of Theological Tracts,in 
six volumes. By Richard Watson, d. d. Bishop of Landaff, and 
Begins Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, 
1785. Dedicated to the Queen. 

Page 14, 15. — " Want of genuine moderation towards those 
who differ from us in religious opinions, seems to be the most 
unaccountable thing in the world. Any man who has any reli- 
gion at all, feels within himself stronger motives to judge right, 
than you can possibly suggest to him ; and if he judges wrong, 
what is that to you r To his own master he standeth or falleth : 
his wrong judgment, if it affect his own salvation, cannot affect 
yours! For, in the words of Tertullian, nee alii ohest aut prodest 
alterius religio. Still you will probably rejoin, there must be 
many truths in the Christian religion, concerning which no one 
ought to hesitate, inasmuch as without a belief in them, he cannot 
be reputed a Christian — reputed! by whom? by Jesus Christ his 
Lord and God, or by you ? Rash expositors of points of doubtful 
disputation; intolerent fabricators of metaphysical creeds, and 
incongruous systems of Theology! Do you undertake to measure 
the extent of any man's understanding except your own ; to esti- 
mate the strength and origin of his habits ot thinking ; to appre* 
ciate his merit or demerit in the use of the talent that God has 
given him, so unerringly, as to pronounce that the belief of this or 
that doctrine is necessary to his salvation?" 

Page 16 — "But there are subjects on which the academic <K 

[ 322 J 

rum epoche (a) may be admitted, I apprehend, without injuring tin 
foundations of our religion. Such are the questions which relate 
to the power of evil spirits to suspend the laws of nature, or to 
actuate the minds of men ; to the materiality or immateriality of 
the human soul ; to the state of the dead before the general resur- 
rection ; the resurrection of the same body ; the duration of future 
punishments ; and many others of the same kind" 

That the Doctrine of a separate Soul, has given rise to 
errors and abuses. 

The vulgar notion of apparitions — the worship of Saints — the 
doctrine of purgatory until the day of judgment — prayers for the 
dead, &c. — Had the opinion been credited, that when the man 
dies, he will remain dead till it shall please God at the great day to 
reanimate him, none of these opinions could have prevailed, nor 
could any of the abuses founded on them, have existed. 

I omit the many difficulties attending this opinion, as — how is 
an immaterial and immortal soul corporeally propagated ; when 
did it begin to exist ; how will you account for the undeniable 
marks of memory, intelligence, and volition, in dogs and other 
brute animals; have they souls also; how can the soul act upon 
matter if it have no property in common with matter; how does 
the soul differ from the life of the body; can you account for the 
life of a blade of grass by mere matter and motion, any more than 
the life or intellect of a human being; do not vegetable and animal 
life depend on organization ; what real evidence can be had of a 
being, which is in no respect the object of any sense we possess, 
only known by metaphysical conjecture, as an hypothesis to account 
for thought, &c. ? 

To all this, the Immaterialists say, that no mode or combination 
of matter and motion can produce thought: and this being impos- 
sible, there is an end of the question. But we see life connected 
with, and arising from a modification of matter and motion, as in 
vegetables ; what is life? We see life, sensation, thought, voli- 
tion, arising from a combination of matter and motion, as in ele- 
phants, dogs, horses, &c. ; if phenomena, exactly the same in kind, 
require a soul in the animal man, so they do when observed in an 
inferior degree, in inferior animals ; where will you stop ? Will 
you assign a soul to an opossum or an oyster? To a mite or a flea? 
All this peremptory dictation of what can be or cannot be, with 
our limited knowledge, appears to me dreadful arrogance ! 

I call then upon my opponent, and I ask him, 
From what source of knowledge is it, that you who know noth- 
ing about matter, but some of its properties, and nothing of its 
essence — that you, who gaining knowledge by your senses' only, 
cannot possibly know any thing of sp irit which is not cognizable 

(a) Ymoyji. 

[ 323 ] 

by the senses — presume to limit the omnipotence of the Almighty 
and declare that he is not able to endow matter with the properties 
of thought? 

Worm as you are, is Almighty power to be confined within the 
outline of your metaphysical creed ? Are you possessed of infinite 
intelligence, and entitled to say to the creator of the universe, thus 
far shalt thou go and no further ? 

Away with your arrogance, and your intolerance — with your 
cruel interdictions and denunciations; and permit a fellow crea- 
ture to be humble with impunity, though you disdain to be so! 


Civil society is intended to promote the mutual happiness of 
the members of it, while they live together here on earth. It does 
not extend to a future state of existence, which will take place 
under such regulations as the Almighty may think fit to appoint. 

Religion embraces all the motives to good conduct here, and all 
the means ot happiness hereafter. Civil society, therefore, has 
nothing to do with religion, but as it tends to mutual happiness 
while we live together here on earth. Hence, that religion which 
makes a man the best citizen, is the best religion for society. A 
religion that makes a man cruel, persecuting, and intolerant, is a 
bad religion for society; and the teachers and preachers of any re- 
ligion whatever, who are so, are bad men and bad citizens, wheth- 
er their opinions be true or false. I wish some one would un- 
dertake to shew how public morals are promoted by the doctrines 
of death-bed repentance, election, and reprobation, and the final 
salvation of backsliding saints. 

The wise men who framed the American constitutions, well 
knew the truth could only be discovered, and placed on a firm ba- 
sis, by permitting free discussion on every subject. If an opinion 
be erroneous, it requires discussion, that its errors may be expos- 
ed: if it be true, it will gain adherents in proportion as it is exam- 
ined. Is an opinion so manifestly wrong that every man must see 
it is so ? It can do no harm. Is it so plausible as to be likely to 
deceive mankind by its semblance to truth. The more need, then, 
of open and free discussion to expose fully the fallacy of it. 

Moreover, as the American legislators well knew the infirmities 
of human nature, and that no set of men had any pretensions to in- 
fallibility, they put all opinions upon the same footing as to each 
other, and left truth to prevail by its own force and intrinsic evi- 
dence. In no other country is the wise toleration established by 
law, so complete as in this. But in no country whatever, is a 
spirit of persecution for mere opinions, more prevalent than in the 
United States of America. It is a country most tolerant in theo- 
ry, and most bi«otted in practice. The laws control no man'* 

L 324 j 

opinions ; they control his conduct only. They guarantee lie 
dom of conscience, of profession, and of discussion to every creed 
and form of worship; the frame rs of tlicm, well knowing that the 
result of conflicting opinion and open discussion, can only be 
truth ; and that no opinion deserves to be protected, which cannot 
protect itself. 

But the clergy of this country, I hope not of all sects, the Calvin- 
istic clergy chiefly, are united in persecuting every man who calls 
in question any of their metaphysical opinions, or who hints at 
their views of ambition and aggrandizement. They dare not ac- 
tually stab him or burn him: but they raise the out-cry of mad 
dog ; they villify him ; they give him nick names ; they hoot at him 
as infidel, deist, atheist; they set the ignorant upon him to abuse 
his person, character, and conduct; they treat him with open re- 
vilings ; they urge him with clandestine falsehoods, and they in- 
terdict him as far as possible from all intercourse with society. 
Then it is they exult, when their secret lies have blasted his char- 
acter, and their open denunciations have blasted his prospects in 
society. There are individual exceptions to this picture; but it is 
faithful as a representation of the body. I know and have felt 
their unprovoked hostility, and their rancorous combinations. 
Cowardly and cruel, their machinations are private, and their en- 
mity unforgiving. "What earthly reason can a man have to dread 
discussion, but that his opinion will not bear it? What makes 
men cruel, but their cowardice? Calvin procured Servetus to be 
burnt to death. Whom did Jesus Christ burn? Yet has that 
gloomy murderer of Geneva more zealots devoted to his intole- 
rant creed in the United States, than in any other part of the globe. 
Why? because it is a fit instrument in the hands of the clergy, in 
proportion as it is intolerant and unintelligible. Weak minds 
have a vast opinion of the knowledge of those who pretend to be 
familiar with truths that appear so mysterious. It is in the fetters 
of mystery that the priesthood binds and bends the spirit and the 
consciences of their ignorant hearers. The religion of the Gospel 
is too plain and simple for their purposes ; hence their ardent ef- 
forts to establish their own mysterious creed. In what country 
has it been, that the priesthood as a body have not been cruel, and 
persecuting, dreading contradiction, hating discussion, and hold- 
ing every doubter as a concealed enemy? They are so here. 

Fellow citizens — The Presbyterians of these States, the Con- 
gregationalists, the Seceders, and in some places the Baptists, 
dragging after them the timid Episcopalians, have combined, and 
for many years have been steadily prosecuting the following 
schemes, with a perseverance and devotedness worthy of abetter 

They are steadily aiming at a Church Establishment ; at an 
alliance between church and state ; so as to bring the civil power 
in aid of their own plans of aggrandisement. 

[ 325 ] 

They are steadily aiming in their pamphlets and their preach- 
ings, to establish the religious obligation of paying TYTHES of 
all you possess ; in strong hopes of procuring this system to be es- 
tablished also by law. This will render them not only wealthy, 
but independent of their congregations, whom they consider as by 
right dependent upon them ; assuming openly the character of 
God's vicegerents, and branding all opposition to their ambitious 
designs as blasphemy. They are steadily aiming to obtain the 
entire control of every seminary of Education, throughout the 
United States; claiming the exclusive superintendence of them, 
as a matter of right. This is done with a view of infusing into 
the minds of the rising generation, an implicit reverence for 
the priesthood, and an attachment to the views and interests of 
the priesthood. 

They look with a jealous eye at every scientific discussion ; 
prohibiting, so far as they dare, all investigations that do not har- 
monise with their own theological creed. Their interference has 
been recent and violent, with respect to physiological, zoological, 
and geological discussions. No printer, no editor of a scientific 
journal, dare insert an article in favor of any opinion which the 
clergy have pronounced heterodox. Fanaticism has completely 
clipped the wings of science in this country. They have organ- 
ized a stupendous scheme of raising a pecuniary fund, to uphold 
their pretensions, by picking the pockets of the people under some 
or under all of the following pretences. 

The educating of pious young men (as they are called) to the 
ministry. That is, taking those who ought to be tillers of the 
ground, and hiring them, by a theological education, as slaves for 
life to the propogation of those tenets, by which the interest and 
the views of these sects are best promoted. After having been 
thus educated, apparently at the expense of these sectarians, and 
really by means of the funds extracted from the folly, the indo- 
lence, the timidity, or the good nature of the public, they hold 
themselves bound to the doctrines and interests of their precep- 
tors, and become the standing army of the church militant. The 
establishment of missionary societies, to furnish the East Indians, 
the American Indians, the Australasians, and the Africans, with 
parsons, who can neither speak the language of their hearers, or 
make themselves understood. The subscribers to these institu- 
tions, seldom or never look after the sums they subscribe, which 
are under the absolute control of these manufacturers of missiona- 
ries; whose object is not missionaries, so much as men devoted to 
their interest, when they shall come out in' favor of a church es- 
tablishment and tythes. 

Societies to make ministers of individual congregations trus- 
tees for life of these missionary societies; and of course, to have 
a voice in disposing of the sums thus elicited from the people's 
pockets. What the missionaries are, and how they live when 

L 326 J 

they can get the means, 1 hope some one will shew by exhibiting 
the style ofluxury of the Serampoor missionaries. 

Prayer Meeting Societies, which, by means of the weak and 
credulous females who attend them, furnish the priests with a sure 
source of influence and information over the domestic concerns of 
every family. 

Female benevolent and missionary societies ; female mite socie- 
ties; for no sum is too small for their acceptance; Juvenile socie- 
ties of children, who are cajoled out of their 6 cent and 12 cent 
pieces ; cheated out of their ginger-bread money, to give to insti- 
tutions of which they hardly know the name. No sum is too small 
for acceptance, and no plan too mean to acquire it. Missionary 
fields of corn, wheat and potatoes ; missionary hog societies ; mis- 
sionary rag-bag societies, and missionary scrap societies. All 
means of scraping together money, the most trifling and con- 
temptible, are employed by these men : not individually, but cor- 
porately, and en masse. 

But their most profitable concern, is that of becoming authors, 
printers, and booksellers. Composing, praising, recommending 
religious tracts, sermons, and almanacs. The Bible society, in- 
terfering with the regular printing trade, cannot have less than 
8150,000 engaged, which brings a good interest to the persons 
who conduct it. 

Such are the means of satisfying the craving for Money, Money, 
Money, employed by this ambitious, avaricious and crafty set of 
men. In all other respects, they are more devoid of useful knowl- 
edge than any other class of persons in the community. But 
they act in concert : they have thrown their fetters over the minds 
of the people — they have cowed the spirit of the community — the 
literary classes are compelled to succumb to them — they look 
forward to the day when they shall govern the Union in their own 
manner, and in mean time, take good care to plunge their hands 
deep in the pockets of those whom they can flatter or freighter! 
into acquiescence and submission. 

If the people do not keep the CLERGY under .control, they 
will bring the people into abject slavery, and keep them there. In 
every nation upon earth, they have done so; what should change 
their character here ? It is in the year 1822, that the clergy of 
Austria have persuaded the monarch over 40 millions of people 
to say, " I want no men of science, I want only obedient subjects. 
I want no education among my subjects, but what is given by the 
priesthood." Look at the priesthood in Fiance, Spain, Italy, 
Mexico, even in England : is not their general character one and 
the same? Already has the religious arrogance of this order ot 
men, tempted them to assume the character of God's immediate 
agents and vicegerants — placed at an immense distance from the 
herd ot inferior beings who compose their congregations. Look 
at New York and Philadelphia papers, for instance. " By divine 

Permission, on such a day the Rev. Mr. A. will perform divine sev« 
vice at such a place." Latterly (that is, within a few months) 
this style of annunciation has not been so frequent; but for a 
twelvemonth it was quite the fashion. 

In what part of the New Testament has Christ said, you cannot 
approach the Father but through the agency of men divinely com- 
missioned from among you for the purpose, and well paid for their 
services ? lias he not said, where two or three are gathered to- 
gether in my name, there am I in the midst of you ? And yet 
these men scruple not to declare that any religious exhortation 
by a layman, any usurpation of the functions usually performed by 
a hired and paid priest, is not only improper and indefensible, but 
a SIN ! and Dr. Jishbel Green, of Princeton, has recently denoun- 
ced such persons as presumptuous and sinful intruders on the 
rights of the priesthood ! They claim it as a right to be exclu- 
sively hired, and well paid ; and we patiently submit to it ! as if 
the God of Love, the kind Father and preserver of the human race, 
were a gloomy, haughty tyrant, not to be approached but through 
the intervention of these arrogant ministers of state, who take good 
care to be remunerated for their intercession. 

I have no objection to a ministry appointed as a convenient and 
expedient class of men, that the religious business of a district may 
be conducted decently and in order; but upon no other ground. 
And although 1 should prefer well educated and liberal men for 
this purpose, I see no reason for giving them an exclusive prefer- 
ence. In the purest times of Christianity, the elders of the church 
transacted the religious business of it. Did Jesus Christ choose 
his disciples whom he nominated to preachthe Gospel, from among 
the learned and the wise ? Mankind are pestered with the rights 
of the friesthood ! rights ! what rights ? who pays them, who sup- 
ports them ? who enables these drones in the'hive, to fatten on 
the labours of the industrious bee ? who seem to glory in being 
ignorant of all useful knowledge, and skilled only in the quarrel- 
some questions and senseless jargon of metaphysical divinity. 

It is the idleness, the pride, the aristocracy of rank and wealth, 
that has rendered a priesthood necessary. People are too indo- 
lent or too timid to pray for themselves, and they hire a priest to 
pray for them ! Then too, their ears must be tickled by eloquent 
discourses ; as if religion needed eloquence to enforce it ! surely 
all this is not neeessarily and essentially religion ! Fellow citi- 
zens, you aid these impostors to cheat you, by making them neces- 
sary to you. Let them know they are your servants ; that they 
are not as they claim to be, your masters; let them know that 
you hire them and you pay them ; and they will not be a whit the 
less pious for being more humble. 

These views of the subject are well worth your consideration. 
The priesthood in every age, in every country, forbid discussion, 
frown down all investigation ; they require, like other tyrants. 

I 328 ] 

passive obedience and non-resistance* They denounce every man 
who opposes their views : not merely their spiritual, but their 
temporal views. Their intent here, as elsewhere, is to fetter your 
minds first, and your bodies afterwards; and finally, to command 
your pockets. 

It is high time to warn the people, that their liberties are in 
danger; that they are about to be undermined by a crafty, perse- 
vering, insidious foe in the imposing garb of a heavenly friend. 
It is high time to call upon the honest citizens of this yet free 
country, and to sound the watch word 

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion! 

To Dr. Thomas Cooper. 

Montecello, Dkc. 11, 1823. 
Dear Sir : 

I duly received your favor of the 23d ult. as also the two pamphlets 
you were so kind as to send me. That on the tariff, I observed, was soon 
re-printed in Ritchie's Enquirer. I was only sorry he did not postpone it 
to the meeting of Congress, when it would have got into the hands of all 
the members, and could not fail to have great effect, perhaps a decisive 
one. It is really an extraordinary proposition that the agricultural, mer- 
cantile and navigating classes should be taxed to maintain that of manu- 

That the doctrine of Materialism was that of Jesus himself, was a new 
idea to me. Yet it is proved unquestionably. We all know it was that of 
some of the early Fathers. I hope the physiological part will follow ; in 
spite of the prevailing fanaticism, reason will make its way. I confess 
that its reign at present is appalling. General education is the true rem- 
edy, and that most happily is now generally encouraged. The story you 
mention as gotten up by your opponents, of my having advised the Trus- 
tees of our University to turn you out as Professor, is quite in their style 
of bare-faced mendacity. They find it so easy to obliterate the reason of 
mankind, that they think they may enterprise safely on his memory also : 
for it was the winter before the last only, that our annual report to the 
Legislature, printed in the newspapers, stated the precise ground on which 
we relinquished your engagement with our Central College. And, if my 
memory does not deceive me, it was on your own proposition, that the 
time of our setting into operation being postponed indefinitely, it was im- 
portant to you not to loose an opportunity of fixing yourself permanently i 
and that they should father on me too, the motion for this dismission, than 
whom no man living cherishes a higher estimation of your worth, talents 
and information. But so the world goes. Man is fed with fables thrtragh 

[ 329 ] 

Hfe, leaves it in the belief that he has known something of what has been 
passing, when in truth he has known nothing but what has passed under 
his own eye. And who are the great deceivers ? Those who solemnly 
pretend to be the depositories of the sacred truths of God himself! I will 
not believe that the liberality of the State to which you are rendering 
services of science which no other man in the Union is quilifiedto render 
it, will suffer you to be in danger from a set of conjurers. 

I note what you say of Mr. Finch; but the moment of our Commence- 
ment is as indefinite as it ever was. Affectionately and respectfully, 



Mr. Jefferson was not aware that Materialism is the real doc- 
trines of Jesus Christ, until I sent him the preceding tract : See 
his letter to W. Short, April 13, 1820, in the 4th volume of his 
correspondence, p. 320. "But while this syllabus is meant to place 
the character of Jesus in its true light as no imposter himself , but 
a great reformer of the Hebrew code of religion, it is not to be un- 
derstood that lam with him in all his doctrines. I am a Materi- 
alist ; he takes the side of Spiritualism," &c. &c. See also his 
letter toMr.J, Adams, Aug. 15, 1820, same volume, p. 331, 332. 

" When once we quit the basis of sensation, all is in the 
wind. To talk of immaterial existence is to talk of nothings. 
To say that the human Sold, Jlngels, God, are immaterial, is to sayt 
they are nothings, or that there is no God, no Jlngels, no Soul. I 
cannot reason otherwise. But I believe lam supported in my creed 
of Materialism by the Lockes, the Tracys, the Stewarts. At 
what age of the Christian Church this heresy of Immaterialism, 
or masked Atheism crept in, I do not exactly know ;* but a 
heresy it certainly is. Jesus taught nothing of it. He said, in- 
deed, God is a spirit, but he has not defined what spirit is, nor has 
he said it is not matter, &c. See also letter to J. Adams, April 
11, 1823— p. 364. 

The syllabus, he mentions in his letter to W. Short, was a brief 
view of the character, &c. summary of the doctrines, theological 
and moral, of Jesus Christ, taken from his own expressions. It 
was first sent, I believe, to Dr. Rush. It is worthy of notice, how 
careful he was that it should not get abroad among the public, 
owing to the rancorous hatred with which he was pursued durino- 
a great part of his most useful life by the clergy. It is melancholy 
to think that such a man should have reason to fear the publication 
of snch a work, in this enlightened country ! Pudet hose appro- 
bria nobis et did potuisse, et non potuisse refelli ! 

* At tho Council of Nice, A. D. 324. 








Uoiqcrov & cuiO^v ', $0$ tf o<pQu\poi<riv ibscQcci 
Kv $rj (poccc '/jxi ote<r<rov. 

Grant us day light and fair play. — Homer's III p. 646. 







The argument in favor of the separate existence of an im- 

Man consists of a body, which, when living, exhibits a peculiar 
organization, and certain phenomena connected with it, termed 
intellectual ; such as perception, memory, thinking or reasoning, 
and willing or determing. When the body ceases to live, it be- 
comes decomposed into carbon, azote, hydrogen, oxygen, phospho- 
rus, and lime ; and perhaps another substance or two : all of them 
similar to what we find in the inanimate material bodies around 
us. We differ from them, so far as we can judge by our senses, in 
no way, but in possessing a peculiar organization which those 
bodies have not. But as no configuration or disposition of the 
particles of which our bodies are composed, can amount to an) 
thing more than varieties of position — varieties of matter and mo- 
tion, we have no reason to ascribe perception, memory, thought, or 
will, to any form of matter and motion, however varied. From 
matter and motion, nothing but matter and motion can result. 
The phenomena of intellect are too dissimilar to allow us to con- 
sider them as the result of, or as varieties of matter and motion. 
We must, therefore, recur to some other principle as the source 
of intellect; and that cannot be the body. It must be some- 
thing different from mere matter and motion, something im- 
material, something that has no relation to matter : that something, 
be it a separate being, or a separate principle, is the Soul. Will 
any arrangement of carbon, azote, hydrogen and oygen, produce 
a syllogism ? Having no relation to matter, being essentially im- 
material, this source of intellect is not, like matter, liable to de- 
composition and decay : it is therefore immortal : it dies not when 
the body dies. It puts a future state therefore, out of doubt, for it 
lives when the body is no more. 

Such are the views generally taken of this question by those 
who believe in the separate existence of an immaterial Soul as the 
cause and origin of all the phenomena termed mental or intellec- 
tual. With them, it is absurd to ascribe the sublime fictions ot 
poetry, or the sublimer disquisitions of Newton and La Place, to 
a mere arrrangement of assimilated particles of the grossest kind ; 
possessing, before their entrance into the body, and when thrown 

[ 33G I 

by the exhalent vessels out of it, nothing approaching the nature 
of intellect under any of its denominations. 

In the present view of the subject, all arguments of a theological 
nature are excluded. They can be considered apart : and they 
are to the full as difficult of solution, as the arguments deduced 
from natural phenomena ; and are productive of as much practical 

The Immaterialists of modern days are led on still further. 
They say that the tendency to organization itself, and all the re- 
sults of that tendency, must have been originally imparted and 
communicated to inert matter, which could not have assumed this 
tendency by any effort of its own. That organization, lite, and 
the properties connected with life, as feeding, digestion, assimila- 
tion, excretion, &c. as well as the phenomena termed intellectual, 
cannot arise from any known property of matter as such ; and 
therefore must have been originally impressed by that Being to 
whom all creation is to be ascribed. That the phenomena termed 
intellectual, are clearly distinguishable from the other phenomena 
of living organized matter— they are peculiar to the human spe- 
cies—not to be accounted tor from the common properties of 
organization or life, and are therefore owing to a separate and 
distinct communication from the author of our common existence. 
That not being ascribable to any form of organization, or to be 
reo-arded as the result of it, they must of necessity be ascribed to 
some separate being of a different and superior nature from mat- 
ter ; destined during the present life to act by means of the bodily 
organs This separate being is the Soul. It is granted that we 
are not to argue from the possibility of any thing, to its actual 
existence, (a posse ad esse non valet consequent™,) but when the 
phenomena cannot be explained by any known properties of or- 
ganized or unorganized matter, we are of necessity driven to 
something else than— something beside matter— something which 
is not matter, to explain appearances that are not material. 

I do not know how to state better, more fairly, or more forcibly, 
the views taken of this question by the writers who contend tor 
the separate existence of the Soul, as a being perfectly immaterial, 
and by consequence incorruptible and immortal. 

The Materialists, who ascribe all the phenomena termed intel- 
lectual, to the body; and consider them as the properties of organ- 
ized matter, the result of that organization— reason as follows : 

Their arguments may be considered, as 1. Metaphysical, and 2. 

To begin with the first class. 

1. The only reason we have for asserting in any case that one 
thing is the property of another, is the certainty or universality 
with which we always find them accompanying each other. Thus, 
v.e say gold is ductile, becsuse wc have always found gold, when 

f 331 ] 

pure to be so. We assert that manure will nourish a plant — that 
muscular fibres are irritable — that the nerves are the instruments 
of sensation, &c. for the same reason. Let the reader sit down, 
and describe a mineral by its characters, and he will have no doubt 
of the truth of this assertion. 

Moreover, finding by experience that every thing we see has 
some cause of its existence, we are induced to ascribe the constant 
concomitance of a substance and any of its properties, to some ne- 
cessary connexion between them. Hence, therefore, certainty and 
universality of concomitance is the. sole ground of asserting or 
supposing a necessary connexion between two phenomena. And 
we cannot help believing that like consequences will invariably 
follow like antecedents under like circumstances. For thus we 
reason : if two circumstances, or things, always present themselves 
to our observation accompanying each other — the one always pre- 
ceding, the other always following — there must be some reason in 
the nature of things why it should be so. 

There is a necessary connexion between such a structure as the 
nervous system in animals, and the property of sensation, or as it 
is often called, Perception*— -the property of feeling, of being 
conscious of impressions made upon our senses. For there is pre- 
cisely the same reason for making this assertion, as there can be 
for any other the most incontestable; namely, the certainty and 
universality wherewith (in a healthy state of the system) we ob- 
serve perception and the nervous system accompany each other. 
The seat of perception, so far as we know from the facts of anatomy 
and physiology, is situated at the internal sentient extremity of 
the nerve impressed. But be it there or elsewhere, as it manifest- 
ly belongs to the nervous system, that is sufficient for the purpose. 
It must be somewhere. Let the reader, according to his best 
judgment from known facts, place it where he thinks fit, and it 
will equally serve the purposes of my argument. Perception, sen- 
sation, feeling, consciousness of impressions, (lor all these terms 
have been used synonymously ; I prefer the first,) is a property ot 
the nervous apparatus belonging to animal bodies in health and 
life. When the sentient extremities of a nerve are excited or 
impressed, perception is the certain instantaneous result, as surely 
as the peculiar weight, color, ductility, and affinities of gold are 
the result of gold, when obtained pure. These properties are inse- 
parable. You must define gold by them : in like manner, you must 
define the properties of the nervous system by perception — sensa- 

I consider this argument as conclusive ; unless it can be shewn 
how perception results necessarily from something distinct from, 
and independent of the nervous system; or that, w-hether this can 

*The French writers call it conscience, consciousness. The English 

■ ' 43 

[ 33$ J 

be shewn or not, the assertion that perception does so result, im 
plies a contradiction, and therefore is at all events inadmissible. 
As to the how— the mode and manner in which perception results 
from the stimulations of the nervous system — how or why it is, as 
we see it to be, a function of the brain — no one can pretend to 
shew or to explain ; any more than we can shew or explain how an 
immaterial soul can act on a material body without having one 
property in common with it. In the first case we feel in ourselves, 
and we know by observing others, that perception, feeling, or con- 
sciousness is a function of that visible organ ; but of the existence 
of a separate soul, we know nothing but by conjecture. We know 
that irritability and contractility are properties of the mus- 
cular fibre, but beyond the mere fact of its being thus, we know 
nothing. Can we explain the life and growth of a blade of grass ? 
That certainty and universality of concomitance is the sole 
ground for asserting a necessary connexion between two phenom- 
ena, or that the one is the result of the other, is so true, that if this 
be false, no argument from induction can possibly be true : for all 
proofs from induction imply the truth of this. And as no direct 
contradiction has ever been attempted to be shewn in the assertion 
that perception is the result of organization — as the matter of 
fact, so far as our senses can judge, is plainly so — anclas no im- 
materialist has ever yet pretended to account how perception re- 
sults from an immaterial rather than a material substance — there 
is nothing more requisite to prove that perception is really and 
truly the result of our organization. The argument then stands 
thus: Certainty and universality of concomitance between two or 
more phenomena, are the only direct reasons we have, for assert- 
ing or supposing a necessary connexion between them. The pro- 
perty of perception and a sound state of the nervous system un- 
der excitation, are certainly and universally concomitant. There- 
fore, this concomitance furnishes the only direct reason we have 
for asserting a necessary connexion between perception and the 
nervous system. But this reason is the same that we have for as- 
serting a necessary connexion between any other phenomena 
whatever. Therefore, we have the same reason for asserting a 
necessary connexion between the property of perception and a 
sound state of the nervous system, as for asserting the same thing 
of any other phenomena whatever. It will be understood of 
course, that the nervous system must be excited, before the ex- 
citement can be perceived; and whether we adopt Hume's phra- 
seology, or that of Dr. T.Brown in his Treatise on Cause and Ef- 
fect, the argument will be exactly the same. In all cases, where 
the necessaryconnection between two phenomena is such, that the 
one is denominated a. property, and the other the subject of which 
the first is a property, the property is universally deemed to result 
necessarily from the nature or essence of the subject to which it 
^plnno; a . But as perception must be a propertv of something : 

[ 339 ] 

and as it is uniformly connected with a sound state of the ner- 
tous system, perception is a property of that system, and results 
necessarily from the nature or essence thereof. 

Such is the proper and direct proof of the doctrine of Material- 
ism; which, so far as I am acquainted with the controversy, re- 
mains unanswered. But this doctrine will receive additional 
support, if the opposite doctrine of Immaterialism can be shewn 
impossible or improbable. I shall endeavour to do both. 
Of the Impossibility of the Existence of an Immaterial, Indiscerp- 
tible, Immortal Soul. 

2.— (a) The Soul hath all the properties of matter and no oth- 
er : or it hath some properties in common with matter, and some 
that matter hath not : or it hath no property in common with 

In the first is matter, and nothing else. 

In the second case, it is partially material. 

In the third case, it is in no respeet of degree material This 
the last case is the only one of the alternatives that the hypothesis 
of Immaterialism can consistently maintain : for in so far as the 
soul is material, it will be discerptible, mortal, and corruptible, 
as matter is. 

(&) But let the Soul have no property in common with matter. 
Then I say : Nothing can act upon another but by means of some 
common property. Of this we have not only all the proof that in- 
duction of known and acknowledged cases can furnish, but that ad- 
ditional proof also which arises from the impossibility of conceiv- 
ing how the opposite proposition can be true. You cannot erect 
the Colisceum at Rome by playing Haydn's Rondeau. You can- 
not impel a ray of light by the mace of a billiard table, and so on. 
This proposition is every where admitted, or assumed in treatises 
on natural philosophy. 

But by the proposition, the Soul hath no property in common 
with matter. Whereas by the universal acknowledgement of Im- 
materialists, the Soul acts upon and by means of the material bo- 
dy : but it is a contradiction to suppose that the Soul can and can- 
not, does and does not, act upon the material body: and therefore, 
the hypothesis involving this contradiction must fall to the ground. 

3. (a) Whatever we know, we know by means of its properties, 
nor do we, in any case, know certainly any thing but these. Gold 
is heavy, yellow, ductile, soluble in aqua regia, &c. Suppose gold 
deprived for an instant of all these properties — what remains, 
would it be gold ? If it have other properties, it is another sub- 
stance ; if it have no properties remaining, it is nothing; for noth- 
ing is that which hath no properties. Hence, if any thing lose all 
its properties, it becomes nothing; it looses its existence. 

(b) Now the existence of the soul is inferred like the existence 
of every thing else, from its supposed properties, which are the in 

[ 34U j 

tellectuul phenomena of the human being, perception, memory, 
judgment, volition. But in all cases of perfect sleep — of the 
operation of a strong narcotic — of apoplexy — of swooning — of 
drowning where the vital powers are not extinguished — of the ef- 
fects of a violent blow on the back of the head — and all other lei- 
pothymic affections — there is neither perception, memory, judg- 
ment or volition ; that is, all the properties of the Soul are gone, 
are extinguished ; therefore the Soul itself looses its existence for 
the time ; all evidences and traces of its existence are lost; pro 
hac vice, therefore, and during the continuance of these derange- 
ments of the nervous system, the Soul is dead, for all its proper- 
ties are actually extinguished. The Soul, therefore, is not immor- 
tal, and of consequence it is not immaterial. 

(c) This disappearance of all intellectual phenomena in conse- 
quence of the derangement of the nervous apparatus of the human 
system, is easily accounted for, if they be considered (as the Ma- 
terialists consider them) no other than phenomena dependent up- 
on the nervous system in its usual state of excitement by impres- 
sions ab extra, or motions dependent on the sensitive surfaces of 
the internal vicera, and on association originating ab intra. On 
this view of the subject, all is natural and explicable. Butif these 
intellectual phenomena are the evidences and properties of a sepa- 
rate immaterial being (the Soul) then comes the insuperable diffi- 
culty — where is the subject itself when all its properties, all evi- 
dences of its existence are annihilated ; though but for a day or an 
hour. A materialist can easily account for returning animation 
by renewed excitement from the unsuspended action of the func- 
tions of organic life. 

4. No laws of reasoning will free us from the bondage imposed 
by matters of fact. It is impossible to deny that all these intellec- 
tual phenomena, these peculiar properties of an immaterial Soul, 
these only evidences of its existence, are also properties of the bo- 
dy: for where there is no nervous apparatus, as in vegetables, 
they never appear ; nor do they appear in the embryo or the infant, 
till the encephalon is developed ; where the nervous system is de- 
ranged by violence, or by disease, or by medicine, these phenomena 
are also deranged, and even disappear ; when the body dies and the 
nervous system with it, all these phenomena cease, and arc irrevoca- 
bly gone ; we never possess after death, so far as our senses can 
inform us, the slightest evidence of the existence of any remaining 
being, which, connected with the body during life, is separated 
from it at death. This may be asserted, but there is not one soli- 
tary fact to prove it : when the body dies, no more perception, no 
more memory, no more volition. So far as we can see, these die 
with the body, and exhibit no proof of their subsequent existence. 
These phenomena, are phenomena then of the body : if they beal- 

'^Feelingr, Sensation, Consciousness, are the synonymous terms. T. C 

[ 341 ] 

>>o phenomena of the Soul, then is the Soul also, like the body, ma- 
terial ; for it has properties in common. 

(b) If it be said the .Soul may exist after the body is dead and 
decomposed, I reply, the soul may also not exist : one supposition 
i9 as good as the other. Remember, it is not allowable in fan- 
argument to take for granted the existence of a thing, merely be- 
cause it may possibly exist. If you assert its existence, you must 
prove your assertion. Jlffirmantis estprobare. A posse ad esse, non 
valet consequentia. 

(c) If anyone shall say these properties are only suspended for 
the time, I would desire him to examine what idea he annexes to 
this suspension; whether it be any thing more or less than they 
are made not to exist for the time. Either no more is meant, or it 
is plainly opposed to matter of fact. Moreover if more be meant, 
it may easily be proved to involve the archetypal existence of ab- 
stract ideas ; to approach to the Platonic absurdities modified by 
the pre-established harmony of Leibnitz, which, I apprehend, will 
not be considered as defensible at this day. It can also be shewn that 
such ulterior meaning will contradict the maxim impossibile est 
idem esse et non esse. It will involve the grammatical absurdity 
of making a noun adjective stand by itself. 

(d) If any one shall say farther, " These mental phenomena are 
not constituent parts, but acts of the soul, and evidences of its ex- 
istence; so that the soul may continue to exist when it no longer 
continues to act, or to act in this manner — that it does not follow 
that a man's power of working is annihilated because he has lost the 
tools or instruments with which he has usually worked."— I re- 
ply : 1. That whenever the evidences of the existence of a thing 
arise from the nature and structure of the thing itself, they 
are synonymous with its properties. Such are the phenom- 
ena of thinking with respect to the Soul: they are confes- 
sedly of its very essence. I cannot give a plainer illustra- 
tion than I have already given ; let my reader, if he be a 
mineralogist, sit down and describe a mineral ; and then let 
hiin suppose all his characters annihilated. 2. As these intel- 
lectual phenomena are all the evidences we have of the SouPs 
existence, when these are destroyed or extinguished, so is the con- 
clusion drawn from them. When all the evidences of the exis- 
tence of life fail, no one scruples to say that life itself is gone. 
3. The instruments with which a man usually works, are only a 
smalt part of, not all the evidences of his power of working. 
Were he to lose his senses, and his hands, and his powers of voli- 
tion, and of voluntary motion, which are also conjoint evidences 
of his power of working, every one would say he had lost that pow- 
er; that is, it no longer existed. 4. It is equally legitimate to 
assert of gold, for instance, that what are termed its essential and 
characteristic properties are nothing more than acts and evidences 
of the existence of the substance gold, which may continue to ex- 

[ 342 j 

ist, notwithstanding it no longer continues to exhibit any of those 
phenomena which are termed its properties, but are in fact only 
temporary evidences of its existence. Would any reasonable 
man acknowledge the justness of such an argument? 5. If this 
conclusion a posse ad esse — a potentiaad actum — from the remot- 
est of all possibilities of existence, be allowed — then can anything 
whatever be prove;! to exist in despite of all proof to the contra- 
ry. Would not a physician regard that man as a lunatic, who was 
seriously to say of a putrid dead body before them; "to be sure, 
none of the actions which are the evidences of life are exhibited 
at present, but life may exist notwithstanding?" 

5. — (a) All relative terms imply the existence of their corre- 
lates: a man cannot be a father without having a child, a husband 
without a wife, &c. Hence when either of two relatives cease to 
exist, the other does so likewise. 

(b) All those ideas which make up our idea of the Soul, or in 
other words, all those properties from whence we infer its existence, 
are relative; their correlates are ideas. Thus, there can be no 
perception without ideas to be perceived; no recollection without 
ideas to be remembered ; no judgment without ideas to be com- 
pared; no volition without ideas of the object on which it is ex- 

(c) Locke has shewn that we have no innate ideas ; that all 
our ideas are ideas of sensation or reflection ; and that the ideas 
of reflection are no other than the operations of the mind on our 
ideas of sensation : that is, all our ideas proceed from, and arc 
founded on the impressions made upon our senses. The doctrine 
of the ancient school was the same, nil unquam fuit in intellectu, 
quod non prius erat in sensu, including the internal as well as the 
external senses; which is not the less true for being -acknowledged 
as true by the wisest men of antiquity.* I am aware of the "fa- 

* That the bett informed of modern writers hold the same doctrine , 
and that the whole phenomena termed mental are merely excitations of 
the nervous system perceived, I assert, on the authority of Cabanis, of 
Bichat, of Bluinenbach, of Rieherand, of Majendie ; as well as Hartley, 
Darwin, Priestley, and Lawrence. The elementary works of Bichat, 
Rieherand, Blumenbacb, and Magendie, being usually read in all our 
medical schools, I subjoin the references. 

See Bichat, Phys. Res. (Dr. Watkins' Edit 1809. Philad.) p. 105, prope 
finem. Rieherand, (Dr. Chapman's Edit 1813, Philad.) p. 390—392 and 
p. 400. Blumenbach, (Dr. Caldwell's Edit. 1795, Philad.) p. 195 of Vol. 
1. Magendie, (Dr. Revere's Edit. Baltim. 1822,) p. 102, 103.. Brous- 
sais' sur l'irrit. et la Folie, p. 448. 

The reader will find that the best informed and most approved elemen- 
tary writers on physiology adopt the Latin axiom in the text, verbatim, 
or in substance. So Haller, Phys. § 556, describes a sensation as an af- 
fection of the brain perceived. Primae Lineae, Edmb. 1767. 

No man is qualified to write on metaphysics and the phenomena of in- 

I 343 j 

culties of the mind," the numberless brood of the Scotch meta- 
physicians. I cannot and will not condescend to reply to the 
dreadful nonsense on this subject assumed as true by Dr. Reid 
and Dr. Beattie, or to the shallow sophisms of Dr. Gregory, or the 
prolix pages of inanity of Dr. Dugald Stewart, or the ignorant 
hardihood of assertion of Dr Barclay in his late inquiry. We are 
all before the public, and I am content. In the mean time, let the 
reader ask himself, how he could acquire ideas of vision without 
the eye and its apparatus — of odour without the nostrils — of 
taste without the papillae on the tongue and palate, &c. Let him 
say what ideas a man could have, all whose senses were entirely 
wanting. This is enough. 

In tact, people begin to doubt whether a man can by any possi- 
bility, receive satisfactory evidence of the existence of any thing 
whatever, not cognizable by any of the human senses. 

(rf) But if all our ideas proceed from impressions made on our 
senses, as these are entirely corporeal, we never could have at- 
tained ideas without the body; that is, there would have been 
none of the phenomena of perception, recollection, judgment, or 
volition without the body: that is, there would have been none of 
those phenomena of thinking from whence we deduce the existence 
of the Soul — none of the properties of the Soul, without the body: 
in other words, there would have been no Soul without the body. 
So that the commencement of the existence of the Soul depends 
on the commencement of the existence of the body. Such is mat- 
ter of fact. 

(e) But the Immaterialists say, the Soul is distinct from and 
independent of the body as to its existence : hence, it is both de- 
pendent and independent of the body: that is, it does not exist, 
for contradictions cannot co-exist. 

tellect, who is not well versed in physiology, a branch of knowledge in 
which the Scotch school of metaphysicians arc sadly deficient. 

I would not willingly include Dr. T. Brown in this tirade against his 
superficial and dogmatic predecessors. I agree with him, that power and 
causation arc words only, and inseparable from the real and actual antece- 
dents and consequents to which they relate : and that our belief of the in- 
variable attendence of like consequents on like antecedents, under like 
circumstances, is rather intuitive than a process of reasoning. I much 
fear, however, he has not succeeded in obviating the difficulty of Hume's 
argument against miracles ; for all that writer's argument applies to the 
introduction of new antecedents, the permanent character of the usual 
and natural course of phenomena; and the difficulty of establishing this 
introduction by testimony which remains just as before. Dr. Brown has 
substituted one form of defence for another, but he has not substantially 
altered the state of the case. Brown, however, is acleai sighted and able 
metaphysician, but of the Scotch school ^whose characteristic is, a dread- 
ful ignorance of all physiological facts. T. C. 

[ 344 ] 

The Immortality, a parte ante, of the Soul being null, let us ex* 
amine its Immortality a parte post. 

6. (a) all impressions made on our senses can be traced up to 
the internal sentient extremity of the nerve impressed, and no 

(b) When an impression has been made on our senses by means 
of external objects, we have the property of perceiving the effects 
of that impression at a distance of time, and after the original im- 
pression has ceased. This is memory and recollection. Hence, 
although all our ideas have been caused by impressions made on 
our senses originally, we may lose one or two of our senses, and 
yet remember the ideas which are the effect of the impressions 
formerly made on them. 

(c) But ideas can no more be remembered without the nervous 
system, than they could have been caused originally without the 
senses. All this is plain matter of fact. 

(d) At death, however, not only all our senses are destroyed, 
(the only sources of original ideas) but the nervous system itself 
is destroyed, which is the sine qua non to the existence of ideas 
already caused. At dqath, therefore, all our ideas of every kind 
are destroyed. 

(e) But there can be none of the properties of the Soul without 
ideas: for these are relates and correlates; and if all the proper- 
ties of the Soul are destroyed, the Soul itself is destroyed. 

(/) Therefore, whatever may be the case during the life of the 
body, the Soul did not exist previous thereto, and is destroyed 
when that is destroyed. 

(g) And when it is considered that many circumstances during 
the life of the body may totally destroy for a time all the proper- 
ties of the Soul, the little of existence that remains is hardly worth 
contending for. 

(h) But when it is further considered, that the natural immor- 
tality of the Soul is supposed a necessary consequence of its im- 
materiality, it will be a necessary consequence that this imma- 
terial soul does not exist at all. 

6. If the Soul exist at all, it must exist somewhere, for it is im- 
possible to frame to one's self an idea of any thing existing which 
exists no where, and yet whose operations are limited as to space. 

(b) But if the Soul exist somewhere, by the terms it occupies 
space; and therefore is extended; and therefore has figure or 
shape, in common with matter. 

(c) Moreover by the supposition of every Immatcrialist (except 
Malbranche, Leibnitz, and Berkley) the Soul acts upon the body; 
that is upon matter. That is, it attracts and repels, and is at- 
tracted and repelled ; for there is no conceivable affection of mat- 
ter, but what is founded upon, and reducible to, attraction and re- 

[ 345 ] 

pulsion. It it be attracted and repelled, its re-action must be at- 
traction and repulsion. This implies solidity. 

(d) The Soul then possesses extension, figure, solidity, attrac- 
tion, repulsion. But these comprise all the properties by which 
matter is characterized, and the Soul therefore, whatever else it 
be, is a material being. 

(e) But it cannot be both material and immaterial at the same 
time, and therefore it does not exist. 

7. Those truths which we derive from the evidence of our sen- 
ses, carefully observed and sufficiently repeated, are more weighty 
than such as are mere deductions of reason and argument. If 
I feel that by beating a large stone with my fist I shall hurt 
my knuckles, I cannot doubt of that after a sufficient number 
of trials. If I find that a large quantity of strong wine will 
render me intoxicated, I cannot disbelieve the result of expe- 
rience. I see that the mental phenomena arc in fact connect- 
ed with the organization of the human body, by means of the ner- 
vous apparatus which is a part of it. I know by observation and 
experience, that if you destroy that part of the nervous system 
which supplies any one of the organs of sense, as the optic nerve 
of the eye, the organs of that sense no longer supply me with the 
same feelings as before. All this is matter of fact, ascertainable in 
the same way that we ascertain the effect of a bottle of Madeira ; 
by the use of our senses. About all this we can no more doubt, 
than about our existence. But what evidence can we possibly 
have of the existence of the Soul. It is not cognizable by any of 
our senses — by any of the common inlets of knowledge — it is, by the 
hypothesis, immaterial, it hath no relation to matter. By the very 
nature of it, we can have no sensible proof of its existence. It is 
an hypothesis, a supposed being, introduced to account for appear- 
ances manifestly connected with our bodily organs, which so far 
as we know, cannot take place without them, whether there be a 
soul or not. This connexion we see, hear, feel, and know to exist, 
though we do not exactly know how to trace it. But the Soul has 
no existence for our senses — it is a being whose existence is as- 
sumed because the present state of knowledge does not enable us 
(perhaps) to account for the precise mode of connexion between 
intelligence and our nervous system. I shall by and by shew, 
that we arc ju6t as much at a loss to account for the growth of a 
blade of grass, or the life of a tree, as for the reasoning of an 

But let the reader reflect for a moment, and ask himself if this 
hypothetical introduction of an immaterial soul to solve the diffi- 
culties that our inevitable ignorance produces, be not a manifest 
breach of the acknowledged axiom, a posse ad esse non valet con- 
sequentia? A mere refuge for present ignorance of a connexion 
^•hich future knowledge may or may not unravel. 

A THSPr.Y explains unknown facts by the laws and properties of 

146 ] 

known facts. Newton applied the cause which makes a stone fall 
to the earth to the tendency of the planets toward the sun. Here 
was nothing new assumed to aid the reasoning. Had he said that 
as it was impossible to explain the tendency of the planets toward 
the sun, by any properties of the planets or the sun, and therefore 
it must be owing to some angel whose duty it was to impel the 
planets in their proper direction, this would have been hypothe- 
sis : just like our notions of the Soul to account for the phenome- 
na of the body. 

So that we not only have no direct and satisfactory evidence of 
the existence of the Soul, and from the presumed nature of it never 
can have, but the clear, direct, undeniable evidence of our senses 
is all the other w ay. 

Is it not singular, moreover, that we cannot talk about this im- 
material soul, its existence, its properties, its mode of action, but 
in language suggested by and borrowed from the bodily senses? 
Can we think or speak of immaterial beings in any other words or 
expressions than those which our senses have suggested to us, and 
which belong to our corporeal senses alone? 

"I see" (says Mr. Hallet, in his discourses) "a man move, and 
hear him speak for some years. From his speech, I certainly in- 
fer that he thinks as I do. I see, then, that a man is a being who 
thinks and acts. After some time, the man falls down in my 
sight, grows cold and stiff- He speaks and acts no more. As the 
only reason I had to believe that he did think, was his motion and 
speech, so now that they cease, I have lost the only way I had of 
proving that he had the power of thought. Upon this sudden 
death, the one visible thing, the one man, is greatly changed. 
Whence could I infer that the same he consists of tw r o parts, and 
that the inward part continues to Jive and think, and flies away 
from the body, while the outward part ceases to live and mover 
It looks as if the whole man was gone, and that all his powers 
cease at the same time. So far as I can discern, his motion and 
thought die together. 

" The powers of thought, speech, and motion equally depend on 
the body, and run the same fate in case of men's declining old 
age. When a man dies through old age, I see his powers of 
motion and thought decay and die together, and each of them by 
degrees :* the moment he ceases to move and breathe, he appears 
to cease to think too. 

" When I am left to mere reason, it seems to me, that my power 
of thought depends as much on my body, as my power of sight and 
hearing. Icouldnotthinkininfancy. My powers of thought, of sight, 
and of feelingare equally liable to be obstructed by the body. A blow 
on the head has deprived a man of thought, who could yet see, and 
feel, and move. So that naturally the power of thinking seems to 

* TJte reader will recollect Gil Bias' Archbishop of Toledo 

i 341 ;, 

belong as much to -the body, as any power of men whatsoevei 
Naturally there appears no more reason to suppose a man can 
think out of the body than that he can hear sounds or feel cold out 
of the body.'* 

If this be the case (which cannot be denied) — if there neither 
be in fact, nor from the nature of the thing ever can be, any direct 
evidence for the existence of an immaterial, distinct, inde- 
pendent soul — still further, if all the direct and positive evi- 
dence that there can be of any thing whatever, all that the present, 
case can in the nature of it admit, is against the existence of such 
a soul — how strong, how absolutely irrefragable, how evident ought 
that reasoning to be, by which its existence is inferred ! Even 
the possibility of its being fairly and honestly disputed, is a strong- 
presumption against its conclusiveness. Who can fairly and hon- 
estly dispute the dependence of thought on the body ? 

8. I apprehend all the phenomena termed mental or intellectu- 
al, are explicable as phenomena of the body. Hartley, and Des- 
tut Tracey, the one in his first volume on Man, and the other. in. 
his Ideologic, have done it to my satisfaction. I cannot enter in- 
to their reasonings; they must speak for themselves. The public 
by and by will give to these authors that fair play which the or- 
thodoxy of the moment will not concede to them. 

9. We have not the slightest proof of any kind, that ideas can 
arise or can exist independently of corporeal organization. W r e 
have never known them so to exist. Weknow not, norhave we from 
facts the slightest reason to believe that they can. But the Soul 
itself has been invented to account for them. They are (by those 
who believe in a separate Soul) considered as essential to that 
being — the peculiar property and result of the Soul's operations. 
But where is the proof that ideas can exist in the Soul without the 
body? W r here is thought when- the body dies? Where was 
thought before the body began to exist ? De non apparentibus et 
non e.vistentibus eadem est ratio. All assertions are equally true 
concerning that which doth not exist, and that of whose existence 
there is no evidence. 

Such are the arguments of an abstract and metaphysical nature, 
on which I ground my opinion that an immaterial, immortal Soul, 
separate from the body, does not and cannot exist : and it appears 
to me, from what has' been said, that there is the same proof for 
the truth of the doctrine of Materialism, as that gold is heavy, ink 
black, water fluid, or any other indubitable assertion. Also, that 
there is the same proof that the opposite doctrine cannot he true, 
as that contradictory assertions cannot be both true. 

I come now to a class of arguments that assume a physiological 
rather than a metaphysical character. But before 1 enter upon 
this branch of the subject, I beg leave to state some physiological 
propositions relating to the animal system, that bear upon the 
subject in question. 

[ 348 

ihe objects around u-, have been conveniently classed into tin 
mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. The particles of the 
bodies whereof each kind of substance is composed, have peculiar 
active properties; by which they arrange themselves, when free 
from the obstacle of pressure by foreign bodies, into some peculiar 

The particles of a mineral substance, when they have full time 
and room to arrange themselves according to their respective pro- 
pensities, assume certain figures, usually prismatic ; of which the 
number of sides, and size of the angles, are determined within 
certain limits by the chemical constitution of the mineral in ques- 
tion. Hence, the determination of mineralogical species, has 
within these twenty years, been made to rest on the form of a 
crystal, particularly by all the mineralogists of the French school. 
The general fact is indubitable; but the limitations and tlie precise 
relations between chemical composition and the figure of the min- 
eral nucleus, have not yet been accurately determined. 

Minerals increase in size by the crystallization of adventitious 
particles round a crystallized nucleus,'producing secondary forms ; 
but they do not devour, decompose, digest, assimilate, secrete, 
excrete, grow, and propagate. They do not seem to have any 
property to which the term life can fairly be applied, or to suffer 
any thing like what we call death; although it is impossible to 
doubt that they are endowed with active properties.* Like all 
other substances, they are liable to chemical decomposition, and 
consequent disintegration. They are utterly devoid of sensation 
and volition ; and have no apparatus connecting them with sur- 
rounding bodies. 

Vegetables are substances that have a peculiar organization or 
arrangement of solid, tubular, cellular, and fluid parts: by means 
of which they feed, digest, assimilate, secrete, excrete, grow, and 
propagate their kind. They die of violence, of disease, of old age. 
They are not locomotive, being fixed by their roots. No nervous 
apparatus has hitherto been discovered in them; but certain of 
their fibres are irritable and contractile. Having no nervous ap- 
paratus, they have no perception (sensation) or volition ; they do 
not think. No vegetable has hitherto been clearly ascertained to 
appear, but as the offspring of a former vegetable : and though, by 
process of assimilation, inorganic aed lifeless matter is converted 
into organic and living matter, the vegetable life (so far as wc 
know) must pre-exist. The chief use of vegetables seems to be 
the furnishing of food for animals, and partially preparing lifeless 
and inorganic matter to become sentient and capable of pain and 
pleasure. With the exception of less than one part by weight in 
a thousand, vegetables are resolvable into carbon, hydrogen, oxy- 

•• Crystallization, chemical affinity, polarity of light, electrical, and 
-.otic attractions and repulsions, are all active properties. T. C. 

:m j 

seti, with a »mall portion of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, 
The earths found in them do not seem to be essential to then- 

jJnimals are substances that have a peculiar organization or ar- 
rangement of solid, tubular, cellular, and fluid parts ; by means 
whereof, they devour, digest, assimilate, grow, secrete, excrete and 
propagate. They die of violence, of disease, of old age. When 
dead, they are decomposed into azote or nitrogen, carbon, hydro- 
gen, oxygen, lime, and phosphorus. They are locomotive. They 
have a muscular apparatus for that purpose ; and they have a ner- 
vous apparatus for the purposes of sensation and volition, by which 
they are connected with surrounding objects, animate and inani- 
mate. By assimilation, they convert inorganic and lifeless into 
organic, living, and sentient matter.* It has not yet been clearly 
shewn, that any animal has arisen unless as successor to some 
similar animal, his immediate progenitor. The nisus forma- 
tivus of Blumenbach, the theories of Darwin, and La Marck, arc 
not impossible, but have as yet few converts. The doctrine of 
equivocal generation seems to have the weight of fact against it. 
TheZoophytic animals, the animalcules infusoria;, the worms and 
other parasites that prey on the internal parts of living animals, 
form difficulties, but perhaps no exceptions ; just as the vegetable 
.•{florescences, the mosses, the confervse, and other minute vegeta- 
tions do in Phytology. 

Every vertebrous animal has (a) an organic system destined to 
support the mere life of the animal, and which is analogous to the 
organic system of a vegetable: (b) a mus:ular system destined in 
part for internal action, in part for locomotion ; (c) a nervous sys- 
tem, in part subservient peculiarly to sensation and volition, and 
our relations to other beings. 

The involuntary muscles possess, by means of secretion suppli- 
ed by the organic system and the nervous apparatus appropriated 
to it, a power of contraction, or of becoming thicker and shorter, 
on the application of stimulus. Stimulus may be either the natu- 
ral stimulus of the nervous system, or of the blood, or it may be 
artificial. The actions of the involuntary muscles go on, without 
being felt or perceived. The voluntary muscles are stimulated 
naturally by that portion of the nervous system which is appropria- 
ted to sensation and volition, viz, by the brain and cerebral in- 
nervation : one part or fibre of a nervous fasciculus transmitting 
innervation to, and another from the brain. Galvanic processes 
have to a certain degree been found a substitute for the nervous 
stimulus of the muscles, voluntary and involuntary. 

It has been ascertained, that the muscular power resides in the 
muscles, and is a property of the muscular fibre, and is distinct 

* How this is done, we know not, and perhaps never shall know. But 
is a fact because we cannot explain it. T. C. 

j JjU I 

from the nervous power which ,acts merely as one or" the stimuli 
to muscular irritability. Muscular irritability and contractility 
may exist in a separated muscle. It lias been ascertained that the 
nervous power destined to the purposes ofinvoluntary, insentient, 
organic life, is distinct from the nervous power destined to the 
purposes of sensation and volition; for each can be shewn sepa- 
rate from the other. It has been made highly probable, that the 
first mentioned portion of the nervous system is confined to the 
medulla oblongata and the ganglionic plexuses: the latter and 
more important portion, to the brain as its centre. 

I am aware of my friend Dr. Ferriar's collection of cases in the 
Manchester transactions, in a letter to myself; of Sir Everard 
Home's collection of cases in the Philosophical Transactions; and 
of many other cases not included in the papers of these gentle- 
men, where lesions of the brain have occurred without much appa- 
rentinjury to intellect. No physiologist regards them as weighing 
a feather against the supposition of the brain being the centre of 
the nervous system appropriated to sensation and volition : for we 
do not yet know, by experiment, what portions of the brain are 
exclusively so ; nor is a general fact established by induction of 
innumerable particulars, to be set aside, on account of a few appa- 
rent anomalies of difficult explanation. The theory comprises 
those parts of the brain that are essential to sensation and voli- 
tion ; and not the more bulky mass which appears merely as a 
subservient envelope. The experiments of Sir Everard Home on 
the connexion of memory with the cortical substance, and the more 
important " Researches" of M. Flourens, promise to throw light 
on this difficult subject, which only requires patient and pursued 
investigation. Some internal sentient extremity there must be 
to each main branch of the nerves of the senses. In relation to 
the present inquiry, place it where you please, or where the best 
settled facts point out. 

The above views that I have taken of the mineral, vegetable, 
and animal economy, I offer to the reader not as any deductions of 
theory, but as expressions of separated and ascertained fact, which 
a well read modern physiologist will hardly venture to gainsay, 
under the limitations I have used in stating them. 1 refer to 
Bichut, Richerand, Magendie, Dr. Wilson Philips, Sir Everard 
Home, and the Physical Researches of M. Flourens in p. 299 of 
vol. xx. of Ann. de Chim. 

I proceed to my second class of arguments. 
1. The propensity of the minute particles of quartz to unite 
together in a six-sided prism terminated by six-sided pyramids — 
of the z-irconite to assume a tetrahedral prism terminated by tetra- 
hedral pyramids — of the diamond and garnet to appear as dodeca- 
hedrons— of pyrites as a cube — of carbonate of lime as a rhomboid, 
&c. &c. so that their particles seek out an union with adjacent 
particles, not indiscriminate and promiscuous, but in the peculiar 

,1 j 

manner proper to form these figures — is either a property of the 
material particles themselves, or it is owing to some separate be- 
ing or principle who impresses on the particles the necessary force 
in the necessary direction on each occasion. No one hitherto, 
however, has thought of asrribingthis propensity but to some pro- 
perty belonging and essential to the particles themselves. 

The arrangement of the nutritious matter taken in by a vege- 
table, in the peculiar form which that vegetable affects, and by 
which it is characterized, has usually been attributed to the effect 
of vegetable life as connected with vegetable organization. No 
one hitherto has advanced the hypothesis of a vegetable soul — 
distinct from the plant, but regulating and governing it — a being 
superior to, and surviving, the vegetable. Yet there is no more 
difficulty in supposing perception a property of a nervous system, 
or christallization of a mineral system. We see them all, like 
other properties, intimately and essentially connected, as antece- 
dents and consequents, with the subject to which they are refer- 
red ; and we refer them accordingly, as in all other cases of simi- 
lar connexion. How is life of any kind the result of mere matter 
and motion ? Yet the fact is undeniable. Does it not exist by 
stimulation ? 

We see in the human frame a nervous apparatus that is essen- 
tially connected with sensation and volition, and from which these 
properties arise — that serves no other purpose than to give birth 
to them — we see them in infancy in a state approaching to non- 
entity ; forming gradually and slowly; growing with the growth 
of the being to which they belong, and improving by degrees — 
we see the"m vary in kind and intensity according to our educa- 
tion and the nature of the society in which we are thrown — we 
see them dependent for almost all their characters on the manner 
in which that part of, the nervous system is excited ab extra; so' 
that a man born and educated in Constantinople will have one set 
of impressions and associations, one habit of sensation and voli- 
tion, and a man with a similar arrangement of nervous apparatus 
born and educated among the Quakers at Philadelphia will have 
another. All this is the result of generating causes extraneous to 
system — owing to specific peculiarities of excitement that causes 
the nervous apparatus to act in this manner rather than in that, 
and to assume different habits. I say, we see all this to be in eve- 
ry case, undeniable matter of fact. How then can we deny sensa- 
tion and volition to be the result of the stimulated nervous sys- 
tem ? There is the same connexion of phenomena, the same uni- 
form result of that connexion, presenting no more difficulty in the 
case of sensation and volition, than in the case of glandular secre- 
tion ; or animal heat; or muscular motion ; or sanguification; or 
the secretion of resin in the pine, and sugar in the maple from the. 
same introsuscepted fluid. All the processes are equally inexpli- 
rable from any d priori arrangement of matter and motion known 

L 342 ] 

to us ; all of them stand in equal need for explanation of an iui 
material principle ; for although we see clearly that these are the 
phenomena of an organized matter in each case, yet in no case can 
we explain the rationale by any of the known properties of other 
inorganized matter. Hence according to the psychological doc- 
trines, we must resort to some distinct and superadded being; to 
the anima intellectualis ; the anima sensitiva, and the anima vi- 
talis of the ancients — or to the seperate faculties of the Scotch 
school of metaphysics, a species of entities most accomodating, 
ready for all work, and always in waiting — or to some being of 
analogous existence to the immaterial Soul of the orthodox. ,For 
I assert, and appeal to matter of fact, that, 

There is exactly the same evidence that sensatiou or perception, 
and volition, are properties of the nervous apparatus of the human 
system, that there is of contractility being a property of muscular 
fibre, or sight the property of the eye. 

On the truth of this proposition, I should (were it necessary) be 
willing to rest the controversy. In the one case and the other, 
constant concomitance is the sole foundation for ascribing neces- 
sary connexion. If it b%» sufficient in any one of the cases, it is 
sufficient in all. It is not necessary that we should be able to ex- 
plain the quomodo : it is enough that our senses, under careful ob- 
servation, assure us of the fact. Future facts and the future im- 
provement of the human intellect may enable our posterity to do 
that which our more imperfect knowledge will not enable us to 
accomplish : just as the present generation are able to explain 
what remained an enigma to their forefathers. 

2. I have said above, that our perception, volition, and in fact 
our other intellectual faculties, begin from nothing in infancy, 
grow with our growth, improve with our experience, vary with 
our education, and differ, not merely as to the nervous systems 
excited, but in consequence of the habitual difference in the stimu- 
li applied. Suppose the original intellect of two infants exactly 
the same; educate the one among the thieves of broad St. Giles 
in London, and the other among the best class of Philadelphian 
Quakers, would their intellect be the same at one and twenty ? 
But is the soul thus mouldable and changeable ? Is the Soul in- 
fantile as well as the body? 

3. If the intellectual phenomena depended entirely on the soul, 
then we should be unable to produce, annihilate, alter, or modifv 
them by any mere mode of action operating merely on the bodv. 

Our ideas are frequently produced and commonly modified by 
the internal state of our bodily organs, particularly of the internal 
viscera — and by the state and condition of our organic life: hence 
the phenomena of dreaming, of delirium, and the hallucinations of 
hypochondria; and the alterations produced in our sensations 
anq ideas by our state of internal health., Our ideas also are pro- 

r 353 ] 

duced and modified by substances exhibited to us acting medicin- 
ally ; as by wine, by opium, by cantliarides, &c. But as Judge 
Cooper has said in his Medical Jurisprudence, how can you ex- 
hibit a dose of glauber salts to the Soul? 

If then sensations, ideas, reasonings, and volitions are produc- 
ed, modified or extinguished, by the condition of the involuntary 
parts ot our organic system — by disease — by medicine: if they be 
(as we know they are) greatly under the command of the physi- 
cian who acts only on the body — are not these effects thus pro- 
duced by means of the body, bodily effects ? What has the Soul 
to do with them ? Are not these effects, however, the only evi 
dences of the Soul's existence — the essential, incommunicable 
properties of the Soul, according to the Immaterialists ? Yet are 
they manifestly produced on the body; and so far as we can see, 
on the body alone, by means of material stimuli calculated to act 
solely on the body? 

If it be said, the body is no more than the instrument of the 
Soul, which can only act according to the condition of that body 
with which it is connected, and when the body is altered, the in- 
tellectual phenomena which it is calculated to exhibit, are altered 
also — then it follows, from the evidences of what takes place, that 
the very nature of the Soul is altered by altering the condition of 
the body, and the Soul therefore is under the control of accident, 
of disease, of medicine, and may be just what a physician chooses to 
make it. For if a physician can control the intellectual phenome- 
na of sensation, memory, judgment, and volition, (as he can) 
then are all the essential properties of the Soul itself subject to the 
articles of the Materia Medica, and slaves of the Pharmaco- 

4. I have already said, that no phenomena of mere matter and 
motion — no principle of mechanical or chemical philosophy can 
account for the phenomena of life and stimulus — for digestion, 
assimilation, secretion, reproduction. These are just as difficult 
as sensation, memory, or volition: the interposition of an imma- 
terial Soul is as necessary to vegetable life, as to the human fa- 
culties, if this be denied, shew me where and by whom they 
have been explained, or explain them if you can* 

5. I appeal to any physician accustomed to cases of insanity ; 
and I ask whether all the intellectual appearances in that disease 
are not manifestly the result of the morbid state of the bodily or- 
gans? Is not this the case from the most violent symptoms of 
mania, to that almost imperceptible obliquity, from which in some 
degree or other, hardly any of us are free ? In fact, such as is the 
?tate of our system, such arc the mental phenomena wc exhibit ; 
the latter arc the result of the former. Can you put a male mind 
into a female body, or vice versa ? Let a parent decide this ques- 
tion; he will answer at once, No. Can you put an old head on 
voting shoulders ? No. 


[ 354 ] 

If a morbid intellect be the result of a morbid state of the en- 
cephalon, then is a sane intellect the result of a sane state, for 
like reason : and the intellect is what the encephalon is. 

6. But there are no mental phenomena exhibited by the human 
species that are not also exhibited by the brute species. The 
difference is concomitant with difference of organization. The 
superiority cf the human being arises from his larger, more ex- 
panded, and more perfect cerebralapparatus ; from his erect posi- 
tion ; from the skill with which he can use his hands ; and from 
the faculty of speeeh. These give rise to the manipulations of 
art, and to the preservation and propagation of knowledge. For 
want of these, one generation of brutes is little wiser than the 
preceding. There is with them no means of accumulating 

When a dog has lost his master, does he not seek him at the 
places his master has been accustomed to frequent? I know by 
oft repeated facts in my own case, that he does. Does not this 
imply memory, ratiocination, volition ? So many volumes of in- 
stances of the sagacity of animals, particularly of the canine spe- 
cies, have been collected, and instances are so familiar, that I would 
not condescend to argue with a man who would have hardihood 
cucugh to deny it. All these are intellectual phenomena of the 
same kind with such as we exhibit ; the difference is in complica- 
tion and degree only. They are evidences therefore of an imma- 
terial, immortal, distinct Soul, producing them. What say you. 
to the immortal Soul of an opossum or an oyster ? 

I see no possibility of denying the facts, or avoiding the con- 
clusions ; and I leave the difficulty to be overcome by those who 
choose voluntarily to encounter it. 

Finally, I say, that the phenomena termed mental, have been so 
well explained by Hartley, Cabanis, and Destut Tracey, that no 
man conversant with their writings, can hesitate to allow this. I 
say it is not possible for a fair man, conversant with physiology, to 
deny, that a sensation from recent impression, and an idea from 
recollection, are motions in the brain (or common sensory) per- 
ceived. As all our intellectual phenomena consist of sensations 
or ideas, which are the materials and substrata of memory, judg- 
ment, and volition, all of them consist in motions communicated 
to the corporeal nervous system — to the common sensory ; wheth- 
er by external impression, by association, or by internal sympa- 
thetic action, (innervation.) They are, therefore, corporeal phe- 
nomena, and no more. Destut Tracey has shewn this so clearly, 
and so well explained the phenomena of memory, judgment, de- 
sire, volition, as mere names given to various states and condi- 
tions of our brain, that I do not expect any refutation will or can 
be given to the view of the subject he has taken. Orthodox On- 
tology is in the scat of authority now, but truth will prevail al 

E 355 j 

In speaking of the brain as the common sensory, 1 speak ac- 
cording to the language of physiologists of repute, who seem not 
to be shaken by the anomalous cases to the contrary. Ferriars 
collection is good for little, because his authorities are sometimes 
deficient in accuracy of observation, and sometimes in credibility. 
Neurology in his day, was very deficient, and still more so in the 
days of the authors he relies on. But whether the internal senti- 
ent extremities of the sensorial nerves terminate in the brain or 
elsewhere, is of no moment whatever to the argument; they must 
terminate somewhere ; and where they do terminate, is, for my 
purpose equivalent to the brain ; and this word may be used for 
the sensorium, wherever that may be. 

In arranging the preceding arguments, facts are repeated ; but 
the point of view in which they are placed, authorizes me as I have 
thought, to distribute them under distinct heads. 

I know the obloquy to which Mr. Lawrence, the surgeon, has 
been exposed, in consequence of his having advanced the opinion 
of the materiality of the Soul, or rather the singleness of human 
nature as consisting of the organized body only; but the obloquy 
that results from clerical persecution, popular bigotry, and pro- 
fessional jealousy, cannot detract from the reasoning of a man on 
all hands confessed to be among the most able and best informed 
anatomists and physiologists of the day. I give, therefore, the fol- 
lowing extract copied with some few omissions and unimportant 
alterations from his lecture on the Functions of the Brain. Mr. 
Lawrence's book has been widely disseminated in England; but 
it is comparatively unknown in the United States ; for not one 
bookseller in the Union is hardy enough to publish it ! * Such is 
the state of the press in this country of boasted freedom, and such 
the tyranny exercised by the orthodox clergy over the minds of 
the people ! A tyranny that I have a right to exclaim against, be- 
cause I feel it, and have felt it. 

" There would be little inducement to compare together the 
various animal structures, to follow any apparatus through the 
whole animal series, unless the structure were a measure and cri- 
terion of the function. Just in the same proportion as organiza- 
tion is reduced, life is reduced: exactly as the organic parts are di- 
minished in number and simplified, the vital phenomenabecome few- 
er and more simple; and each function ends when the respective or- 
gan ceases. This is true throughout zoology : there is no exception in 
behalf of any vital manifestations. 

" The same kind of facts, the same reasoning, the same sort of 
evidence altogether, which shew digestion to be the function of the 
alimentary canal, motion to be the function of the muscles, the va- 
rious secretions of their respective glands — prove that sensation, 
perception, memory, judgment, reasoning, thought, in a word^all 

:: " It has been published since. T. C. 

J 356 j 

the manifestations called mental or intellectual, are the animal 
{"unctions of their- appropriate organic apparatus, the central or- 
gan of the nervous system. No difficulty or obscurity attends 
the latter case, which does not equally affect all the former instan- 
ces : no kind of evidence connects the living process with the 
material instruments in the one, which does not apply just as 
clearly and forcibly to the other. 

" Shall I be told that thought is inconsistent with matter ; that 
we cannot conceive how medullary substance can perceive, re- 
member, judge, reason ? I acknowledge we are entirely ignorant 
how the parts of the brain accomplish these purposes; we know 
only the fact : we are equally ignorant how the liver secretes bile, 
how the muscles contract, or how any other living purpose is 
effected : and so we are how heavy bodies are attracted to the 
earth, how iron is drawn to the magnet, or how two salts decom- 
pose each other. Experience is, in all these cases, our sole, if not 
sufficient instructress,and the constant conjunction of phenomena, 
as exhibited in her lessons, is the sole ground for affirming a ne- 
cessary connexion between them. If we go beyond this, and come 
to inquire the manner how — and attempt to discover the mechan- 
ism by which these things are effected, we shall find every thing 
around us equally mysterious, equally incomprehensible : from 
the stone which falls to the earth, to the comet traversing the hea- 
vens — from the thread attracted by amber or sealing wax, to the 
revolutions of planets in their orbits — from the formation of a mite 
in cheese, or a maggot in putrid flesh, to the production of a New- 
ton or a Franklin. 

" In opposition to these views, it has been contended, that 
thought is not an act of the brain, but of an immaterial substance, 
residing in, or connected with it. This large and curious structure, 
which, in the human subject, receives one-fifth of all the blood 
sent out from the heart; which is so delicately and peculiarly 
organized, so nicely enveloped in successive membranes, and se- 
curely lodged in a solid bony case, is by this supposition left 
almost without an office : being barely allowed to be capable of 
sensation. It has, indeed, under this hypothesis, the easiest lot in 
the animal economy ; it is better fed, clothed, and lodged, than 
any other part, and has less to do. But its office ('only one remove 
from a sinecure,) is not a very honorable one: it is a kind of por- 
ter, instructed to open the door, and introduce new comers to the 
master of the house, who takes on himself the entire charge of re- 
ceiving, entertaining, and employing them. 

" Let us survey the natural history of the human mind — its rise, 
progress, various fates, and decay — and then judge whether these 
accord best with the hypothesis of an immaterial agent, or with 
the plain dictates of common sense, and the obvious analogy of 
every other organ and function, throughout the boundless extent 
of living beings. 

[ Sot ] 

"But you must bring to this physiological question, a sincere 

and earnest love of truth : dismissing from your minds all the pre- 
judices and alarms which have been so industriously connected 
with it. lfyou enter on this inquiry in the spirit of the bigot and 
the partisan — suffering a cloud of fears and hopes, desires and 
aversions, to hang round your understandings, you will never dis- 
cern objects clearly ; their colors, shapes, and dimensions, will be 
confused, distorted, and obscured by the intellectual mist. Our 
business is to inquire what is true, not which is the finest theory— 
not what will supply the best topics of pretty composition and 
elegant declamation addressed to the prejudices, passions, and 
ignorance of our hearers. We need not fear the result of inves- 
tigation : reason and free inquiry are the only effectual antidotes 
of error. Give them full scope, and they will uphold the truth, by 
bringing false opinions, and all the spurious offspring of ignorance, 
prejudice, and self-interest, before their severe tribunal, and sub- 
jecting them to the test of close examination. Error alone needs 
artificial support ; truth can stand by itself. 

" Sir Everard Home, with the assistance of Mr. Bauer and his 
microscope, has shewn us a man eight days old, from the time of 
conception ; about as broad and a little longer than a pin's head. 
He satisfied himself that the brain of this homunculus was discerni- 
ble. Could the immaterial mind have been connected with it at 
this time? Or was the tenement too small even for so etherial a 
lodger? Even at the full period of utero-gestation, it is still diffi- 
cult to trace any vestiges of mind ; and the believers in its sepa- 
rate existence have left us quite in the dark on the precise time 
when they suppose this union of soul and body to take place. 
Some endeavor to account for the entire absence of mental pheno- 
mena at the time of birth by the senses and brain not having been 
i/et called into action, by the impressions of external objects. The 
senses and brain begin to be exercised as soon as the child is born; 
and a faint glimmering of mind is dimly perceived in the course 
of the first months of existence ; but it is as weak and infantile as 
the body. 

" As the senses acquire their powers, and the cerebral mass 
becomes firmer, the mind gradually strengthens, advances slowly 
with the body through childhood to puberty, and becomes adult 
when the development of the frame is complete ; it is, moreover, 
male and female, according to the sex of the body. ('The propen- 
sities, the modes of thinking and acting, are manifestly influenced 
by sex.J In the perfect period of organization, the mind is seen 
in the plenitude of its powers ; but this state of full vigor is short 
in duration, both for the intellect and the corporeal fabric. The 
wear and tear of the latter is evidenced in its mental movements: 
with the decline of organization the mind decays; it becomes de- 
crepit with the body ; and both the one and the other are, at the 
same moment, extinguished by death. 

L 35* j 

" NY hat can we inter from this succession of phenomena? The 
existence and action of a principle entirely distinct from the body ? 
Or a close analogy to the history of all other organs and functions? 

"The number and kind of the intellectual phenomena in differ- 
ent animals, appear to correspond closely to the degree of devel- 
opement of the brain. The mind ('mental or intellectual faculties^ 
of the Negro, Hottentot, Calmuck, and Carib, is inferior to -that of 
the European ; and their organization also is less perfect. The 
large cranium and high forehead of the ourang-outang lift him 
above his brother monkeys ; but the development of his cerebral 
hemispheres, and his mental manifestations, are both equally below 
those of the Negro. The gradation of organization and of mind 
passes through the monkey, dog, elephant, horse, to other quadru- 
peds : thence to birds, reptiles, and fishes; and so on to the low- 
est links of the animal chain.* 

" In ascending these steps of one ladder, following in regular 
succession at equal intervals, where shall we find the boundary of 
unassisted organization? Where place the beginning of the im- 
material principle called in aid ? In that view which assimilates 
the functions of the brain to those of other organic parts, this case 
has no difficulty. As the structure of the brain is more exquisite, 
perfect, and complex, its functions ought to be proportionally so. 
It is no slight proof of the doctrine now enforced, that the fact is 
actually thus : that the mental powers of brutes, so far as we can 
see, are proportional to their organization. 

" We cannot deny to animals all participation in rational en 
dowments, without shutting our eyes to the most obvious facts; to 
indications of reasoning which the unprejudiced observation of 
mankind has not failed to recognize and appreciate. Without 
adverting to the well known instances of comparison, judgment, 
and sagacity in the elephant, the dog, and many other animals, let 
us read the character drawn by Humboldt, of the South-American 
mules : ' When the mules feel themselves in danger, they stop, 
turning their heads to the right and to the left. The motion ol 
Iheir ears seems to indicate that they reflect on the decision they 
ought to take. Their resolution is slow, but always just, if it be 
free ; that is to say, if it be not crossed or hastened by the impru- 
dence of the traveller. It is on the frightful roads of the Andes, 
during journies of six or seven months, across mountains furrowed 
by torrents, that the intelligence of horses and beasts of burthen 
displays itself in an astonishing manner. Thus the mountaineers 
are heard to say, *I will not give you the mule whose step is the 
easiest, but him who reasons best.' 5 Pers. Narr. 111. If the 

* This is well illustrated, so far as the facial angle is concerned, in the 
plate at the beginning of Mr. White of Manchester's Essay on the Grada- 
tions of Man. His plate is taken from Camper and Blumenbach. Law- 
rence's plates also are from the same sources. T. C, 

[ 359 ] 

intellectual phenomena of man require an immaterial principle 
superadded to the brain, we must equally concede it to those more 
rational animals which exhibit manifestations differing from some 
of the human only in degree. If we grant it to these, we cannot 
refuse it to the nest in order, and so on in succession to the whole 
series; to the oyster, the sea anemone, the polype, the microsco- 
pic animalcules. Is any one prepared to admit the existence of 
immaterial principles in all these cases? If not, he must equally 
reject it in man. 

" It is admitted that an ideot with a mal-formed brain, has no 
mind : that the sagacious dog, and half reasonable elephant do not 
require any thing to be superadded to their brains : it is admitted 
that a dog or elephant excels inferior animals, in consequence of 
possessinga more perfect cerebral structure ; it is strongly suspect- 
ed that a Newton and a Shakspeare excelled other mortals only 
by a more ample developement of the anterior cerebral lobes ; by 
having an extra inch of brain in the right place;* yet the Imma- 
terialists will not concede the obvious corollary ofall these admis- 
sions, viz. that the mind ol man is merely that more perfect exhibi- 
tion of mental phenomena which the more complete development 
of the brain would lead us to expect; but they still perplex us with 
the gratuitous difficulty of their immaterial hypothesis. Thought, 
it is positively and dogmatically asserted, cannot be an act of mat- 
ter. Yet no feeling, no thought, no intellectual operation, has 
ever been "seen but in conjunction with a brain; and living matter 
is acknowledged by most persons to be capable of what makes the 
nearest possible approach to thinking. The strongest advocate 
for Immaterialism seeks no further than the body for his explana- 
tion of all the vital processes of muscular contraction, nutrition, 
secretion, &c. operations quite as different from any affection of 
inorganic substance, as reasoning or thought : he will even allow 
the brain to be capable of sensation. 

" Who knows the capabilities of matter so perfectly, as to be 
able to say, that it can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel, but cannot 
possibly reflect, imagine, judge ? Who has appreciated them so 
exactly, as to be able to decide that it can execute the mental func- 
tions of a dog, an elephant, or an ourang-outang, but cannot per- 
form those of a Negro or a Hottentot ? To say of a thing known 
only by negative properties, that is, an immaterial substance, which 
is neither evidenced by any direct testimony, nor by any indirect 
proof from its effects, that it does exist and can think, is quite con- 

* I do not think with, Mr. Lawrence, that the mere size of the brain is 
alone sufficient to account for difference of intellect: the greater or less 
irritability of the whole nervous system— the aptness of the nervous sys- 
tem to admit associations— the facility with which ideas of former impres- 
sions arc called up by association — the greater permanence and more 
extensive associations of particular classes of impressions and ideas, &c 
&c. are probably powerful sources of difference. T. C 

[ 3(i0 ] 

sistent in those who deny thought to animal structures, where wu 
see it going on every day ! 

"If the mental processes do not constitute the function of the 
brain, what is its office? In animals which possess only a small 
part of the human cerebral structure, sensation exists, and in ma- 
ny cases is more acute than in man : what employment shall we 
find for all that man possesses over and above this portion — for 
the large and prodigiously developed human hemispheres ? Are 
we to believe that these serve only to round the figure of the or- 
gan, or to fill the cranium ? 

" It is necessary for you to form clear opinions on this subject, 
as it has a direct and immediate reference to an important branch 
of pathology. They who consider the mental operations as acts of 
an immaterial being, and thus disconnect the sound state of the 
mind from organization, act very consistently in disjoining insani- 
ty also from corporeal structure, and in representing it as a dis- 
ease not of the brain, but of the mind for Soul.,) Thus we come 
to a disease of an immaterial being ! for which, suitably enough, 
moral treatment has been recommended. 

"I firmly believe, on the contrary, that the various forms of in- 
sanity — all the affections comprehended under the general term, 
mental derangement — are no other than evidences of cerebral af- 
fections. They are disordered manifestations of those organs 
who se healthy action produces the phenomena called mental ; 
they are, in short, symptoms of a diseased brain. These symp- 
toms have the same relation to the brain, as vomiting, indigestion, 
heart burn, to the stomach; cough, asthma, to the lungs; or any 
other deranged functions to their correspondent organs. 

"If the bilary secretion be increased, diminished, suspended, or 
altered, we have no hesitation in referring it to changes in the con- 
dition of the liver as the immediate cause of the phenomena. We 
explain the state of respiration, whether slow, hurried, impeded 
by cough, spasm, &c. by the various conditions of the lungs and 
other parts concerned in breathing. These explanations are 
deemed perfectly satisfactory. 

" What should we think of a person who told us that the organs 
had nothing to do with the business : that cholera, jaundice, hepa- 
titis, are diseases of an immaterial hepatic being; that asthma, 
cough, consumption, are affections of a subtle pulmonary matter; 
or that, in each case, the disorder is not in the bodily organs, but 
in a vital principle? If such a statement should be deemed too 
absurd for any serious comment in the derangements of the liver, 
lungs, and other organic parts, how can it be received in the 
brain ? 

" The very persons who use this language of diseases of the 
mind, speak and reason correctly respecting the other affections 
of the brain. When it is compressed by a piece of bone, or by ef 
fused blood or serum, and when all intellectual phenomena are 

[ 361 J 

more or less completely suspended, they do not say that the mind 
is squeezed — that the immaterial principle suffers pressure. For 
the ravings of delirium and frenzy, the excitation and subsequent 
stupor of intoxication, they find an adequate explanation in the 
state of the cerebral circulation, without fancying that the mind is 
delirious, mad, or drunk. In these cases, the seat of the disease, 
the cause of the symptoms, is too obvious to escape notice. In 
many forms of insanity, the affection of the cerebral organization 
is less strongly marked, slower in its progress, but generally very 
recognisable, and abundantly sufficient to explain the diseased 
manifestations; — to afford a material organic cause for the phe- 
nomena — for the augmented or diminished energy, or the altered 
nature of the various feelings and intellectual faculties. 

" I have examined, after death, the heads of many insane per- 
sons, and have hardly seen a single brain which did not exhibit 
obvious marks of disease. In recent cases, loaded vessels, in- 
creased serous secretions : in all instances of longer duration, un- 
equivocal signs of present or past increased action ; blood vessels 
apparently more numerous, membranes thickened and opaque; 
depositions of coagulable lymph forming adhesions or adventitious 
membranes ; watery effusions; even abscesses. Add to this, that 
the insane often become paralytic, or are cut off by apoplexy* 

" Sometimes, indeed, the mental phenomena are disturbed with- 
out any visible deviation from the healthy structure of the brain; 
as digestion or biliary secretion maybe impaired or altered, with- 
out any recognisable change of structure in the stomach or liver. 
The brain, like other parts of this complicated machine, may be 
diseased sympathetically ;* and we see it recover. Thus we find 
the brain, like, like other parts, subject to what is called function- 
al disorder; but although we cannot absolutely demonstrate the 
fact, we no more doubt that the material cause of the symptoms 
or external signs of disease is in this organ, than we do that im- 
paired biliary secretion has its source in the liver, or faulty diges- 
tion in the stomach. The brain does not often come under the 
inspection of the anatomist in such cases of functional disorder 5 

* As in puerperal cases. To this reasoning of Lawrence, I would add, 
that diseased brain may depend on the connexion between the brain, the 
stomach, and bowels. Thus, we see diseased digestion and morbid ac- 
tion of the intestines produce hypocondria and melancholy ; such is often 
the case from worms. Drunkenness affects the brain by means of the 
btomach, and prussic acid kills by destroying the functions of the ner- 
vous system. The as yet untraced connexion of all the parts of that sys- 
tem, by means of which, when one part is disordered, a distant part be- 
comes disordered also, is physiologically termed sympathy. Thereby in- 
tending that the connexion is as yet only known by its effects, and not 
anatomically shewn. 

Dr. Haslam's publications on insanity corroborate strongly all Law- 
rence's reasoning. T C. 

[ 362 J 

l>ut I am convinced from my own experience, that very tew heads 
of persons dying deranged will be examined after death, without 
shewing diseased structure, or evident signs of increased vascular 
activity. The effect of medical treatment completely corrobo- 
rates these views. Indeed they who talk of, and believe in, dis- 
eases of the mind, are too wise to put their trust in mental reme- 
dies. Arguments, syllogisms, discourses, sermons, have never yet 
restored any patient ; the moral pharmacopeia is quite inefficient; 
and no real benefit can be conferred without vigorous medical 
treatment, which is as efficacious in these affections as in the dis- 
eases of other organs.* 

" In thus drawing your attention to the physiology of the brain, 
I have been influenced not merely by the intrinsic interest and 
importance of the subject, but by a wish to exemplify the aid which 
human and comparative anatomy and physiology are capable of 
affording each other ; and to shew how the data furnished by both, 
tend to illustrate pathology. I have purposely avoided noticing 
those considerations of the tendency of certain physiological doc- 
trines which have sometimes been industriously mixed up with 
these disquisitions. In defence of a weak cause, and in failure of 
direct arguments, appeals to the passions and prejudices have 
been indulged ; attempts have been made to fix public odium on 
the maintainers of this or that opinion ; and direct charges of bad 
motives and injurious consequences, have been reinforced by all 
the arts of misrepresentation, insinuation, and innuendo. 

" To discover truth, and to represent it in the clearest and 
most intelligible manner, seem to me the only proper objects of 
physiological, or indeed any other inquiries. Free discussion is 
the surest way not only to disclose and strengthen what is true, 
but to detect and expose what is fallacious. Let us not then pay 
so bad a compliment to truth, as to use in its defence foul blows 
and unlawful weapons. Its adversaries, if it have any, will be 
despatched soon enough, without the aid of the stiletto or the 
bowl. The argument against the expediency of divulging an opin- 
ion, although it be true, from the possibility of its being perverted, 
has been so much hackneyed, so often employed in the last resort 
by the defenders of all established abuses, that every one who is 
conversant with the controversy, rejects it immediately, as the 
sure mark of a bad cause — as the last refuge of retreating error." 

So far Mr. Lawrence. Lectures on Phvsiology, Zoology, and 
the Natural History of Man. 8vo. London, 1819. Pages 105 — 
115. I have already assigned my reasons for making this ex- 
tract so long. 

* Moral medicine can only act by introducing and exciting new trains 
of ideas and of thought: but these are affections of the brain in fact ; and 
are therefore medicines operating directly on that organ. All ideas of 
whatever kind, are motions excited in the brain, and there felt or perceiv 
ed, T. I 

The following extract 1'rom Mr. Sawrey's edition of Dr. Mai 
-hall's Morbid Anatomy of the Brain, London, 1815, p. 209, will 
express my notion of the functions of the brain and nerves very 
well, except that he has omitted the sympathetic action of the ner- 
vous system of excited or depressed states of the parts destined 
to internal organic life, when different from their usual and natu- 
ral states. A morbid excitement or derangement of any viscus 
will affect the state of the nerves belonging to it, and by sympa- 
thy (that is innervation) with them, the general nervous system. 
Hence, the state of the brain, and the ideas that arise in it, will be 
more or less modified by the state of the organic and internal ap- 
paratus destined to keep up life. Hence dreams from indigestion. 
Hence hypochondria from morbid action of stomach and bowels. 
Hence, the associations will, to a certain degree, be modified by, 
and depend on the internal state of the body, as well as on exter- 
nal impressions; and the sensations arising from external impres- 
sion will, to a certain degree, vary with the general health or dis- 
ease. Hence sensations, ideas, and associations may arise from 
the state of the internal organs, and are not exclusively dependent 
on external impression. 

The following extract from Dr. Andrew Marshall will shew the 
generally received doctrine relating to the functions and proper- 
ties of the nerves, the brain, aud the nervous system; and prove 
that my views of the subject are the same with that of all well in- 
formed physiologists of the present day :— • 

Observations on the functions of the Brain and Nerves, p. 209. 
"The primary functions of the brain and nerves consist in their 
rendering us conscious of the existence and properties of sur- 
rounding objects: and while in this world, of the existence and 
properties of ourselves. For although things exist with all their 
properties independent of us, and therefore when a man perishes, 
not the smallest particle of surrounding nature is annihilated, or 
in the least unhinged by his dissolution, yet it is by our possess- 
ing brain nerves, that the independent existence and properties 
of surrounding objects come home to our perceptions. Matter of 
the same form with that of the human body (except the brain and 
nerves) might exist and be animated, but without these organs, it 
would be unconscious of its present existence, or of the properties 
and various conditions of surrounding nature. 

"Living systems destitute of brain shew no signs of their being 
impressed with any feeling or consciousness. The polypus, ac- 
cording to the observations of Haller and others, has no brain or 
nerves: accordingly it appears to perform the motions requisite 
to its preservation by a necessity of which it seems to be uncon- 
scious. Vegetables also are living systems, but having no brain 
they appear°lestitute of sense. They take in, assimilate, and ap- 
ply nourishment, perform secretions, generate and separate heat, 
preserve their own substance from putrefaction, perform motions 

[ 364 j 

j 11 consequence of irritations, and produce prolific seed. But all 
these actions seem to be performed from blind necessity, and with- 
out any sort of intelligent consciousness. 

"But in living systems furnished with a brain and nerves, so 
long as they are entire, and in the condition which health gives 
and requires, the animal remains sensible of the existence ot sur- 
rounding nature, or susceptible of that consciousness ; but when 
injury is done to the brain, the consciousness of the impressions 
resulting from the contact of external matter (of which kind are 
both light and air) is, according to the degree of injury, perverted, 
suspended, or extinguished. Yet injuries inflicted on other organs 
of the body, in no wise affect the sense, unless when they syrnpto- 
matically involve the brain. The same comparison, leading to 
the same conclusion, may be made in respect to the diseases of 
the brain and other parts. 

"It must be admitted, that in order to produce peculiar sensa- 
tions, there must be the health and entire structure of the nerves 
in connexion with the brain. For to destroy the extremities of 
nerves, destroys the peculiar sensations which these nerves exhi- 
bit while remaining sound. If the retina be injured or destroyed, 
vision is impaired or lost ; if the ultimate distribution of the olfac- 
tory nerves be destroyed, there is no more smell. 

"Although light should be properly refracted, yet if it should 
fall on the optic nerve before it expands into retina, it would not 
occasion any vision ; nor would odours, if conveyed to the olfacto- 
ry nerves within the scull, probably, give occasion to smell ; nor 
is it probable that sapid substances would excite a sense of taste, 
if applied to any part of the nerves of taste other than the nervous 
papillse of the tongue. 

" But necessary as the extremities of the nerves are to the pro- 
duction of peculiar sensations, they cannot be reckoned sentient: 
for if their connexion with the brain be interrupted by compres- 
sion, no peculiar sensation arises from impression on the extremi- 
ties ; but if the compression be removed, the power of giving the 
peculiar sensation returns. Yet though the compression of the 
nerves interrupts or destroys the peculiar sensations usually re- 
ferred to their extremities, a sense of feeling in different modes, 
subsists between the part compressed and the brain : so that the 
power of contributing to a certain degree of sense, which would 
be lost between the ligature and the extremities, survives between 
the seat of the injury and the brain. The sort of feeling so re- 
maining is sometimes a sense of obscure touch, sometimes a sense 
of pricking or a sense of pain. 

" We therefore conclude that there is no manner of sensibility 
in nerves but in connexion with the brain. That the power by 
which we see, hear, feel, &c. is a power of the brain, the nerves 
being only a conditio sine qua non of particular sensations refer- 
red to nervous extremities, and the brain being rather the efficient 

[ 365 j 

cause of these sensations, and giving susceptibility to a certain 
degree at least to that portion of nerve left connected with it : — 
may it be added, that independent of any conditional impression 
on the nerves, the brain itself, from impressions immediately on 
itself, is sentient ; for let any set of nerves whatever be destroy- 
ed, or let no particular impression, whatever, be made on the 
nerves, a sense of head-ache, vertigo, noise, colors, &c. may be, 
and often is produced by disease.* 

" The sphere of cerebral power exerted in conjunction with, or 
in consequence of impressions made on the nerves, is great. By 
the brain being affected through the medium of the eyes, we are 
made acquainted with the color, figure, magnitude, and motion of 
external things placed at a greater or less distance from us. 1 his 
is the sense of seeing : an inlet to human knowledge, at once ne- 
cessary to preservation, and to open a view of the striking and 
beautiful phenomena of nature. 

" The existence, degree of distance, hardness, and several other 
interesting qualities of objects placed at a distance, seen or unseen, 
come home to our perceptions, through tremors of the air affect- 
ing the brain through the ear. This is the sense of hearing; by 
which we are warned of unseen danger, perceive operations of 
nature though unseen, and comprehend the signs or words em- 
ployed by our fellow creatures to express their sensations and 

" The qualities of sapid substances, which we are interested in 
perceiving, their sweetness, acidity, bitterness, saltness, and aro- 
matic nature, are perceived, when these qualities, through the 
medium of the tongue, excite the proper sensations in the brain. 
This is the sense of taste. The qualities suggested by taste, con- 
stitute a sort of index of the salutary, innocent, or pernicious 
nature of substances presented as food, rather than point out the 
actual composition of these substances. This sense seems given 
chiefly with a view to the preservation of the animal ; for by it, 
man is induced to take in wholesome food, and to avoid improper 
and hurtful food : the former being in general agreeable, and the 
latter, disagreeable, at least to a taste not corrupted by luxury. 
It is a common, yet curious observation, that the same nerves 
which are susceptible of impressions from sapid substances, are 
also nerves of touch ; so that a substance in the mouth, is both 
tasted and felt; its superficial qualities of hardness, smoothness, 

* The experiments of Sir Everard Home and M. Fleurens shew this. 
Moreover, as I have observed before in this tract, the organic functions, 
which in a healthy state go on without producing sensation, in a diseased 
state, or in a state of great excitement, do produce sensation, by affect- 
in^ generally the whole nervous apparatus. In a state of over healthy 
excitement, (if I may so express myself,) dreams are sometimes more in- 
tensely vivid than their analogous waking sensations. So, deranged 
stomach and bowels, and worms, may produce hypochondria, idiocy, and 
even mania. T. C. 

[ 366 J 

&c. being also perceh ed. This conjunction of both senses, seems 
requisite in the tongue, since a substance taken into the mouth, 
may be as hurtful from its superficial qualities, as its roughness, 
angles, edges, &.c. is from its acrid, saline, or putrid qualities. 

" The nourishment and refreshment of the body, are farther as- 
sisted by our being enabled to perceive certain qualities of sapid 
substances before we take them into the mouth. This is done by 
volatile particles of the substances affecting the internal parts of 
the nose, and through these the brain. Thus, the sense of smell- 
ing is auxiliary to taste, as it admonishes us of the quality of sapid 
substances, before we use them too freely ; as it induces us to 
take in proper food, which is generally of a pleasant smell, if it 
smells at all ; and as it keeps us from unwholesome food, which is 
generally of a disagreeable odour. Odours are the object of this 
sense; and different odours aifecting the brain through the nose, 
produce different sensations of smell, as either pungent, sweet, 
or putrid, &c. These suggest in some degree, what may be ex- 
pected from swallowing or applying the substance ; but express 
nothing concerning its internal structure or composition. Air is 
the vehicle of odour. 

" To assist vision, and to make amends for its defects, there is a 
consciousness implanted in us of the contact of external things.* 
The nerves that receive the impression from which this conscious- 
ness results, are almost universally present in the body: and it' 
they remain every where free and connected, in a healthy state, 
with an entire and healthy brain, the contact of external things, 
and internal changes, are perceivable in almost every part of the 
body. Several modes of feeling may be marked : 1st. by the con- 
tact of external things with the extremities of the ne"rves of feel- 
ing, we acquire a perception of the hardness, softness, roughness, 
smoothness, heat, cold, figure, magnitude, pressure, and weight of 
whatevei is within our reach. This is the sense of touch, proper- 
ly so called; the most correct and extensive of all the senses, 
subservient to self-preservation, and supplying man with exact and 
enlarged conceptions of what takes place in nature. 

"2dly. Certain parts of the body occasionally fall into a state 
which gives rise to a particular mode of feeling, followed by cer- 

* That is, we feel them when they approach us near enough to give 
rise to this sensation. There is no consciousness different from feeling 
or perception. When the retina is excited by the light of a candle, and 
the motion is propagated along the optic nerve to its extremity within the 
brain, I feel, I perceive, I am conscious, of the impression. We cannot 
be conscious of the actual contact of the bodies, because no particles of 
matter are in absolute contact. They recede without solution of continu- 
ity by heat, they contract by cold. A ray of light impinging on alooking 
glass, is reflected, as Sir Isaac Newton has shewn, at the 127th part of 
an inch previous to contact. All this is well illustrated by the diagram 
nf Father'Boscovich. T.C. 

[ 367 J 

tain propensities. These give occasion to actions, which being- 
exerted relieve the propensity. Thus a certain languid state ot 
the circulation through the lungs, gives a peculiar uneasy sensa- 
tion that produces yawning. A sense of irritation in the nose 
gives rise to sneezing ; a sense of irritation about the glottis to 
coughing ; a sense cf tickling of the skin to laughter, &c. Some 
of these peculiar modes of sensation have names, and some have 
not. Like other sensations, they admit of no definition. Their 
final intention is evident.since they tend to throw oflfthe offending 
cause that produces them. 

"3dly. Certain parts of the body are constantly in a healthy 
state, peculiarly susceptible of impression ; such as the glands 
penis, and some other parts ; the final cause whereof, is also evi- 

"4thly. All the parts of the body, supplied with nerves, arc 
susceptible of impression which gives occasion to sense of pain. 
The impression here arises from whatever hurts, destroys, or 
forms disease ; and the sense excited by it, makes us take pains 
to avoid injury, and get rid of disease. 13y-the-byel taking man 
as he is, and admitting the laws of nature at present established, 
to be wise and good, pain is not an evil, but the result of a wise 
and benificent providence ; since it tends to preserve our exist- 
ence more unerringly and directly than any other mode of sense 
with which we are endowed. The exciting cause of pain is the 
impression of injurv or disease : the efficient cause, the connexion 
of the part so injured or disordered with the brain; and the final 
cause, the preservation of the animal. These are some of the 
modes of feeling : each of the other senses is also a genus, under 
which are included various modes of the sensation referred to the 

" When we compare the different senses together, two or three 
observations occur to us ; one is, that the first four senses take 
place only when certain due degrees of impression are made on 
the extremities of the nerves distributed to that organ. If the im- 
pression be too slight, no peculiar sense arises; if it exceed in 
measure, instead of the sense of seeing, hearing, &c. there is mere- 
ly a sense of pain. Thus, the first four senses, when their organs 
are injured, agree with the sense of feeling. Another observation 
is, that as the sense of feeling arises from impressions made in 
those parts of the bod}', so it is more difficult to destroy than the 
other senses. When the extremities of the nerves of the other 
senses are destroyed, peculiar sensations connected with them, 
also cease: but the remaining body of nerves retains a sense of 
feeling: and the extremities of the nerves appropriated to feeling- 
only, being destroyed, the extremities of the portion left, resume 
the peculiar susceptibility of the original extremities : tiius, ui the 
case of W. Scott, whose penis was carried off by a gun-shot, the 
stump of it, which was even with the skin of the pubis, resumed 

[ 368 ] 

the peculiar sensibility of the glans penis: also the cicatrix of 
sores in other parts of the body, becomes susceptible to impres- 
sions of touch. 

" But extensive as the sphere of sensation is, and how much 
soever of the universe, it unfolds to human comprehension, the 
powers of the brain are not confined to mere sensation. The brain 
is likewise the corporeal organ, whose health and entire structure 
are necessarily connected with all intellectual powers, all inter- 
nal senses, and all the passions. 

" Memory depends on the brain. After living but a few weeks 
in the world, exposed to the contact of surrounding things, and to 
light reflected from their surfaces, we cannot avoid recognizing 
sensations, as being mere repetitions of similar impressions from 
the same forms of matter. We recognize the similar sensations, 
and feel within ourselves, that formerly we were affected exactly 
in a similar manner by the impression on the organ of sense. 
This recognizing of sensations and belief of their being repetitions, 
happens by the same physical necessity with which tlie first sen- 
sations of the kind we ever had, arose from the original and first 
impressions. We cannot but taste, when sapid substances are 
applied to the tongue ; nor can we pass by the consciousness, that 
there is a repetition when the same taste is renewed. This is the 
simplest form of memory : it occurs in an infant a month old, 
when it begins to recognize its nurse. After living longer, con- 
tinually affected with the true sense and impressions of external 
things, and after being masters of more certain experience, we 
naturally improve upon the simple memory of a single sensation, 
and acquire gradually a power of recalling a train of sensations, 
in the order and circumstances in which they were originally per- 
ceived. They are recalled with a belief that they were formerly 
impressed upon us, by objects which do not now affect us. This 
is memory in greater perfection. A faculty which, spiritual as it 
may seem, is seldom exerted, but when it sets off' from the vantage 
ground of some assembling, contrary, or otherwise related actual 
sensation of a present object.* 

"Judgment is another power naturally founded in sensation. 
For to compare two sensations together, to glide insensibly into a 
belief that they are compatible, or incompatible in the same sub- 
ject, are as necessary consequencesof having formed thesensation, 
as the sensations were the consequences of the brains havingbeen 
affected by the impression. Thus, if you present a red rose, to a 

* Hume, in his Essay on the Connexion and Association of Ideas, and 
Lord Kame in his Elements of Criticism, (Chaper on Ideas occurring in 
a train) have seen the same facts and reasoned in the same way. But 
Dr. Hartley has treated the subject so plainly, and yet so profoundly, that 
he has, in my opinion, exhausted it : the objections of modern sciolists to 
that qreat man notwithstanding. T. C. 

[ 369'"] 

child who never has seen one before, but who has seen a white lias immediately the complete sensation of a red rose: and 
it it can speak it will express a judgment and belief that it is a 
red rose. This is the birth of judgment. 

" The power of reasoning in like manner grows out of sensa- 
tion. For, let a youth after some experience of the properties of 
things, be supposed master of two distinct independent percep- 
tions, but not to have experience enough to incline him to a belief, 
that they are naturally and properly compatible in the same ob- 
ject, what resource has he ? If the determination interests him, 
he naturally and immediately recollects a known third percep- 
tion, with which one of the two sensations is known from experi- 
ence to agree : and with this third recollected perception, he is 
insensibly drawn to compare the other perception. 

" Let it be inquired, will the eating of the berries of the deadly 
nightshade kill me ? I run back to some conception allied to the 
question ; as that these berries poisoned one of my neighbors. I 
know that I am of the same nature with that neighbor; so that as 
the berries poisoned him, and I am of the same nature with him, 
I conclude, as a matter of experience, that they will kill me. 

" In the same manner might we trace fancy ; the power of ab^ 
stvaction ; and the power ot classing things, to their origin from 
actual sensation ;* but that is at present declined. I would only 
remark, that all intellectual powers whatever, depend as much on 
the brain for their e.xertion, as simple sensation does : for living 
systems furnished with no brain, discover as little reason, &c. as 
they do sense : and injuries done to the brain of the nature of 
those enumerated above, while they hurt or suspend sense, hurt, 
suspend, or pervert the powers of memory, reason, judgment, &c. 
Nay, in some injuries and diseases of the brain, the powers of in- 
tellect are more deranged than those of pure sensation. Maniacs, 
in whom it has been proved, that the brain is topically affected, 
and probably always in fault, are often exact in particular sensa- 
tions, but err widely in judgment and reasoning. A sufferer too 
under the operation of the trepan, is found sometimes possessing 
feeling, but erring in reason ; and refers the whole operation, and 

all that is said and done, to some other person,! 

* * * # * *• a 

" All the internal senses also depend on the brain, and on the 
perceptions which we cannot help receiving, as we live under the 
continual contact and impression of external things. These are 
naturally stems, from which the various additional senses called 
internal, branch off". We cannot hear sounds agreeable in com- 

* Destut Tracey has done this. — T. C. 

f I have omitted here a disquisition of about a page and a half on the 
nature of our sense of beauty ; which did not appear to me necessary to 
the chain of reasoning. . T. C. 


L 3?° ] 

bi nation, without a sense of harmony. We cannot see the form 

of regularity of parts, ami the color "of most flowers, without be- 
lieving them to be beautiful : nor understand the signs by which 
our fellow creatures express or betray their feelings, without a 
belief, that they in return comprehend our signs : nor witness 
their actions without approving some of them, and blaming others. 
This is the physical birth of the senses called internal, which 
seem to be peculiar to man : and they also depend on the brain. 
For not to dwell on other instances, if the most delicate and 
chaste female be seized with a phrenitis, she loses her habitual 
sense of delicacy : and if injury or disease in the brain induces 
mania, the maniac ceases to feel the obligations of morality. 

" The distinction of sense into external and internal, does not 
go to discriminate the two sets of sense; for they are equally in- 
ternal and external. Nothing farther can be understood than 
that the one set of internal senses is excited when external 
things affect the organs of sense: but the other does not immedi- 
ately require the impression of external things to produce them. 

" Lastly, all the passions and appetites depend on the brain, for 
their corporeal organ. Objects whose properties come home to us 
through the primary sensations, do not leave us in a state of in- 
difference. The primary perceptions give birth to senses called 
internal; and the internal senses to appetites, passions and vo- 
litions. These depend upon the brain : not only because they 
grow out of sense, which depends on that organ, but because when 
the brain is injured or diseased, it is found equally or more se- 
verely to alter, pervert, or extinguish passions and appetites. 

" In phrenitis, no alteration is more remarkable than alteration 
and disorder in the passions. This will appear from an unusual 
apprehension of imaginary evils, an unusual anxiety about friends, 
and unusual hatred againstenemies. I once saw a phrentic patient 
with Dr. Pitcairn, some of his senses were lost; taste in particu- 
lar. But his regard for his wife was expressed in a tempest of 
passion; it was the rage of love: at other times he had the most 
delicate, yet groundless jealousy. Maniacs in the exacerbation of 
their complaints, are preternaturally irasicible or furious; they go 
into fits of devotion with a fervour and religious awe, of which 
sound reason is hardly susceptible. 

" There is a remarkable peculiarity in the state of the brain, 
observed as a law of the animal economy, which is, that the exer- 
tion is subjected to a periodical suspension more or less complete, 
called sleep. It is a complete suspension of the power of the 
five senses, and of the action of the voluntary muscles ; for in sound 
sleep, particular sensations do not occur, nor are the powers 
which grow out of sensations exerted. But, in unquiet nights, 
though no actual sensation occurs, no immediate impression on 
any organ of a peculiar sense being perceived, the powers of 
memory, fancy, reason, and judgment, with various internal sen- 

t 371 | 

ses and passions, arc diffidently cxei ted. They proceed in an 
unusual way, not for want df reason, but from want of actual sen- 
sations to correct wrong judgments and to direct all these pow- 
ers according to the reality of things.* 

" The effect of sleep is to restore the power of the brain and nerves. 

* The brain, as the chief seat of the nervous apparatus, is liable to be 
affected by impressions made by external objects on the senses — by any 
preternatural or morbid state of the organ itself— by any sympathetic af- 
fection with the internal organs or vicera— and by the state in which it is 
put by the various associations of past impressions. Hence when mor- 
bidly excited, as in the lower states of phrenitis, apoplexy, or gout, sensa- 
tions arise both sleeping and waking, that would not occur in its common 
state ; the impressions and associations are altered and modified, and all 
intellectual processes are correspondently deranged. Why ? Becauso 
according to the acknowledged axioms of the schools, the character of 
the recipient determines the mode of reception of the thing received : 
quicquid recipitur, recipilur ad madam recipientis. Hence Mr. Owen of 
Lanark is right in supposing that man is the creature of the circumstances 
in which he is placed. Suppose four human beings with organs similar- 
ly constituted in all respects at ten years of age, one bred up among the 
Brachmins of Hindostan, one as a Mussulman at Constantinople, one 
among the straitest sect of Calvinistic Seceders, and one among the Sa- 
vans of Paris : it is manifest, the impressions and associations to which the 
nervous systems of these beings would be respectively exposed from the 
age often to the age of fifty would be extremely different: their intellec- 
tual powers would be different, and the effect of motives and of evidence 
upon them, would be as various as their various educations. For I sub- 
mit the following reasoning as unanswerable. The brain (place the seat 
of sensation wherever you please) is subject to the laws of the animal 
economy : it is passive in receiving impressions : the state of the brain is 
modified by the impressions it receives : the state of its associations of 
impressions with ideas, of ideas with ideas, depends upon the actual state 
of the brain, however produced : all the intellectual powers consist of, and 
depend on, the associations of ideas (that is, of associated motions excit- 
ed or occurring in the seat of sensation:) hence all intellectual powers 
and processes, whether in potentia or in aetu, arc dependent on the state 
of the brain or seat of sensation ; and therefore on the circumstances 
which have produced this involuntary state of the organ, whatever those 
circumstances may have been. But let us take for granted a Soul. 
Then if the brain can thus modify the Soul, and the Soul thus modify the 
brain, are not both the one and the other material — subject to the laws of 
organic matter ? What then do you gain by introducing this creature of 
metaphysical fancy — this hypothesis which adds no force, and removes no 
difficulty ? Which must act upon matter, and be actrd on by matter, to 
make its existence evident ? Which those who believe in it, acknowl- 
edge to be a mere ens rahonis? Which has never been seen, felt, 
heard, or understood ? Which is not cognizable by any human inlet of 
knowledge ? Whose introductions and pretensions can be well traced 
to the power it affords the clergy over the conduct and belief of their 
fellow creatures? And which can derive no countenance from the words 
or actions of Christ or his Apostles, or the general belief of the Christian 
world for at loa*r four centuries after Christ ? T (' 

[ 3rl J 

Independent of the sealing up of actual sensation, the muscular 
parts in themselves require periodical suspension or abatement of 
their energy. Long continued actual sensations, strong sensations 
lasting but for a short time, suffering of moderate pain for a long 
time, or intense pain for a short time, much thinking, pursuing a 
long train of abstract reasoning, great exertions of memory, &c. 
gradually blunt the powers of the brain and nerves, and a cessa- 
tion of actual sensation occurs : and, if in this insensible state, oth- 
er powers of the brain be exerted, their exertion is less fatiguing 
than when we are awake, because in sleep, their exertion is not 
fixed or regulated by attention, which is one of the most fatiguing 
powers of the brain. In like manner, long continued muscular 
action of the voluntary muscles, induces a sort of inability in them, 
and in sleep their energy is restored. On avvaking after a due 
length of time spent in sleep, all the powers of the brain, and the 
energy of the muscles are restored in a proper degree. 

"1 cannot quit this part of the subject witiiout observing that 
all the powers proved to belong to the brain, are equally peculiar 
in their nature. To be conscious of the figure of a circle, or the 
colour of a flower, is as refined and wonderful a power as reason- 
ing is. And though these powers to the vulgar belief are a neces- 
sary consequence of an impression on the organ of sense, they 
have as little resemblance to such impressions, as reasoning in an 
abstract manner has.* 

"There arc yet two other questions, which seem necessary to 
be considered. First, whether the brain properly so called, and 
the cerebellum, medulla spinalis, &c. possess equal sentient pow- 
ers?! No doubt can remain that they do, when we consider that 

* This passage seems to allude favorably to Berkely's hypothesis. In 
fact, the external world is an hypothesis to account for our sensations ; 
but an hypothesis to which we are irresistibly driven by the laws of the 
animal economy, which compel us to resort to it. . Doubtless, as our au- 
thor says, there is as much difficulty involved in the fact of sensation or 
perception, as in any process of reasoning. They are both processes de- 
pending on the properties of the bodily organ employed in them : proper- 
ties, which we can no more explain than we can explain the cause of 
life, electricity, or gravitation. These are all properties belonging to the 
substance with which we rind them connected. In like manner, percep- 
tion or sensation, thought, volition, &c. are properties of the substances 
with which Ave find them connected. If the latter require a Soul to ex- 
plain them, so do the former ; no good reason exists in one case, that 
does not in the other. If gravitation be an essential property of any giv- 
en mass or matter, so is perception and thought of the nervous apparatus 
of the human being ; and for the like reason in both cases, viz : we see 
them constantly accompanying each other. T. C. 

f Further experiments are necessary to determine this. Those of 
Sir Everard Home and M. Fleurens, if followed up, would assuredly 
throw light on the functions peculiar to the various parts of this organ. 

T. C. 

373 J 

injuries or disease in whichever of these integrant, portions ot the 
whole mass they happen, equally occasion stupor and insensibility, 
or are accompanied with violent exertions or' the muscular pow- 
ers. 15ut the muscular disorder is most obvious, when those parts 
are affected which give origin to nerves, that supply the involun- 
tary muscles. Also, injuries or disease prove equally fatal, wheth- 
er in the brain, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, or medulla spina- 
lis. A man is killed by being shot through the head. The fier- 
cest bull is instantly killed by thrusting a knife through between 
the first vetebra, and the posterior edge of the foramen magnum 
oecipitisinto the beginning of the medulla spinalis. 1 An elephant 
is killed in the same manner. Robert Walker, a soldier, was 
killed by a shot through the cauda equina. Lastly, the equal sen- 
tient power of these different portions is evinced, by their giving 
origin to nerves of particular organs of sense. The brain gives 
nerves to the nose and eyes; the cerebellum to the skin, muscles 
of the face, the tongue and the teeth. The medulla oblongata 
gives nerves to the ear; the medulla spinalis to the muscles and 
skin of most of the body. 

" The second question is, whether the whole substance of the 
brain, cerebellum, be equally sentient? The nerves proceed 
from the medullary, not the cineritious part. This continuity of 
substance, compared with the effects of tying, dividing, or destroy- 
ing nerves, rendersit probable, that it is principally the medullary 
parts of the brain, which are the origin of the power ascribed to it.t 
The medullary substance of all the portions form one continuous 
mass, is apparently fibrous, the fibres being incredibly minute,:;: 
convolved in regular intricacy, apparently without beginning,and 
ending no where but in the extremities of the nerves. The two 
hemispheres of the brain communicate by transverse medullary 
bands, and by the union of their crura ; while the medullary crura 
of cerebellum, blend with the medullary crura of cerebrum, &c. 

« In the next place, in Haller's experiments on living animals, 

-This experiment of Vesalius, Dr. W. Hunter used to cxhibi' to his 
class on a jackass. It is the Spanish mode of killing-, not only at their bull 
li edits, but among their butchers ; and it is doubtless a humane one. T. C. 
°f There are some facts of lesions of the brain, that have not yet been 
explained. Many are collected on dubious authority by Dr. Ferriar, in 
his letter to Th. Cooper, Esq. in the fourth volnme of the Manchester 
Transactions : and many on better authority by Sir Everard Home. 
Anatomists and physiologists, however, agree in considering these anom- 
alies as not militating against the general position. Future experiments 
may well explain them. We are in the infancy of medullary physiology 

t Gall & Spurzheim's anatomical exhibitions of the structure of the 
brain I apprehend, have settled the fibrous nature of the medullary sub- 
stance, in the way nearly as Marshall has stated it. The other parts of 
their craniology are not yet so clear. T. C. 

[ 374 | 

instituted to determine the different degree of sensibility of dift'er- 
cnt parts of the body, it .appeared that the victim of his inquiry, 
manifested most evident signs of pain, and fell into most violent 
convulsions, when the medullary substance of the brain was 
pierced or broken down : but that these symptoms were less con- 
siderable when the injury was confined to (he cineritous sub- 
stance." Accidental injuries seem also to hurt or disorder sense, 
according as they extend their effects to the medullary substance. 
A blow on the upper part of the head, does not stun so suddenly, 
as a blow near the base of the scull ; the cineritious substance 
abounding in the upper part ; the medullary being exterior in the 
basis of the encephalum. 

" If judgment may be formed from one or two cases, a fracture 
with depression of the osfrontis, causes less stupor than a fracture 
with depression of the parietal bones — the anterior lobes of the 
brain being supported on the orbitar processes of the frontal 
bones : but the middle part of the hemispheres gravitating on the 
whole medullary substance below, the compression must extend 
its influence to the whole. These opinions are strengthened by 
the case of a soldier, who recovered alter being shot through the 
fore part of the cranium ; and from another in whom a piece ot 
the barrel of a gun, was beaten into the fissura magna sylvii, where 
it remained two days without any violent symptoms, being lodged 
chiefly in the cineritious substance. 

" From these circumstances, it is concluded, that the medulla- 
ry substance at the origin of the nerves, is principally concerned 
in the functions ascribed to the brain ; and if it would throw great- 
er light on the subject to determine the seat of the soul, we would 
allege that the whole medullary substance is that seatt 

" So much we have advanced respecting the precise functions 
of the brain. It is established we hope, beyond all doubt, that the 
brain so far as a corporeal organ is concerned, gives sensation, 
intellect, volition, appetite, and passion. Beyond these, its pow- 
ers seem not to extend as we shall endeavor to shew. By the 
brain, man is rendered speculative and capable of understanding 

*I refer to Sir Everard Home's experiments before 4 alluded to. — T. C. 

f He says well, if it would throw greater light on the subject. What 
light can be thrown on the functions of the brain, by the supposition of 
its connexion with a being totally and essentially dissimilar in its nature, 
and having no common property with the matter of which the brain is 
composed;'' But if the seat of the Soul be in the medullary substance, 
then has the Soul all the properties of matter, and is material. For having 
relation to, and occupying space, and space too of a determinate form, 
then has the Soul solidity, extension, and figure : and as the Soul is placed 
there to act upon the brain, she has the common properties of all matter, 
attraction and repulsion, into which all action upon matter (by common 
consent) can be resolved. " T. (', 

L 375 ] 

and at the same time inclined to action : and is thus fitted tor the 
place he holds in the system of nature." 

" It is unnecessary, we presume, to guard the account given, by 
subjoining that when we call the brain the sole organ of sensation, 
and of all the powers superadded to sensation, we only mean the 
sole corporeal organ. For reason and the testimony of God de- 
clare, that in man there is an immaterial substance, which has a 
share in perception, thinking, and reasoning, &c. — a mind united 
Avith the brain. But an inquiry into ihe human Soul, is not with- 
in the design of this paper. In this account of the brain, no men- 
tion is made of the Soul, because it is only the corporeal organ of 
the powers explained, that we are considering. That there is a 
soul within us, as well as an omnipotent spirit, that fills, sustains, 
and actuates the universe, I firmly believe. No less do I believe 
so from reason, than from the sacred monuments of divine inspi- 
ration. But it is to be observed, that in this state of our existence, 
no act of die mind, can be, or ever is exerted, without a corres- 
ponding condition of power in the brain. Brain and Soul, though 
it is unknown to us, how they are united, are joint agents in this 
world. The power and health of the former, in every exercise of 
sense, judgment, memory, passion, &c. is indispensably necessary, 
and equally so with the presence of the mind. Besides, the brain, 
and not the Soul, is the proper object of medical or surgical treat- 
ment. Had we introduced the mind into our discussion, we must 
have thrown the brain into the back ground ; or have encumbered 
the narration, with a constant coupling of brain and mind."t-p. 244. 
Thus far, Dr. Marshall, on the functions of the brain and nerves. 
It is manifest that he, like Dr. Rush, and many others, was a mate- 
rialist; but was restrained by popular prejudice, from bringing 
the whole truth into open day. I cannot blame him. Who can 
see the obloquy connected with the character of Mr. Lawrence, 

* Here ends the physiology of this sensible writer ; to all of which (sub- 
ject to the limitations which I have expressed in these notes) I subscribe, 
as an excellent compendium of that branch of Metaphysics called Ideolo- 
gy ; and beyond all comparison conveying that real knowledge which 
Dr. Dugald Stewart, with his metaphysical predecessors of the same 
school at his heels, was so grossly deficientin. More is to be learntfrom 
this summary of Dr. Marshall, of genuine physiological metaphysics, than 
from all the pages of inanity of the writers so much in vogue among those 
who read without thinking. A man who will separate metaphysics from 
physiology, is not to be reasoned with. T. C. 

1 1 consider all that follows of Dr. Marshall from the end of this para- 
graph, as a sacrifice on the altar of prudence to popular prejudice. Law- 
rence is cried down for refusing to pay this homage to the priesthood ; and 
most disgraceful it is to Aberndhy to have encouraged this hue and cry of 
ignorance and bigotry against a fellow professor, in practical knowledge 
of his profession at least his equal, and in professional reading so decided- 
ly his superior. T. C. 

[ 376 ] 

notwithstanding his eminent learning, industry, and professional 
skill and knowledge, without excusing the writers, who shelter 
themselves from the veilings of the bigots, set on by priests whose 
interest it is to cry out, " Great is Diana of the Kphesians ?" If 
the present clerical combinations in which all sects join, however 
discordant on other subjects, should succeed to bring on again the 
night of ignorance, (which I much tear will be the case,) the advo- 
cates of truth, must rest contented with having deserved the suc- 
cess thev could not obtain. 


I received, a day or two ago, a small pamphlet on Materialism, without 
any indication from what quarter it came : but I knew there was but one 
person in the United States capable of writing it, and therefore am at no 
loss to whom to address my thanks for it and assurances of my high es- 
teem and respect. 

Monticello, March 29, 1824. 







So little attention has been paid of late days to that profound 
and important book, Hartley's observations on man, first published 
in two vols. 8vo. 1749, that I am tempted to state some of the 
leading facts relating to the Association of Ideas, so well explain- 
ed in that treatise. Dr. Jos. Priestley brought this work into no- 
tice among his followers ; and the Zoonomia of Dr. Darwin is main- 
ly founded on the doctrines of Hartley, Brown, and Girtanner. 
The doctrine of association has received also much attention in 
the writings of Condillac ; but I do not find that Hartley's book is 
noticed by any of the modern French ideologists or physiologists, 
Cabanis, Destut Tracey, Richerand, Majendie, Adelon or Brous- 
sais : but there seems to be almost as much neglect and ignorance 
among the French physiologists of what the English have done, as 
there is of what the French have done, among the English. 

The following brief sketch will by no means supercede the ne- 
cessity which I consider every well informed physiologist and 
ideologist to be under, of perusing with attention the first volume 
of Hartley's work ; to which, notwithstanding its hypothetical su- 
perfluities, hardly know any book in the language superior, in pro- 
found and accurate reasoning, and extent of application. Priest- 
ley abridged it ; but the book itself is so condensed in matter and 
manner, that it should be read as Hartley wrote it. His theory of 
vibrations first suggested by Sir Isaac Newton, misconceived and 
misrepresented by superficial readers, may be true or not true ; 
I incline to agree to it; but the facts relating to the extensive as- 
sociation of sensations with sensations, of sensations with ideas, 
of ideas with ideas, and of both with muscular and other corpore- 
al motions both antomatic and voluntary, instinctive and intellec- 
tual, healthy and diseased, are perfectly undeniable: they are not 
• theory, but fact. 

The association of ideas was first noticed by Mr. Gay in a dis- 
sertation prefixed to King's Origin of Evil, and afterwards by Mr. 
Locke in his Treatise on the Human Understanding, book II. di. 
S3. Hartley's book is noticed by the Scotch metaphysicians in 
the superficial and flippant manner that might be expected from 
persons who cither could not or would not take the pains of un- 

[ 380 j 

derstanding it. But Messrs. Reid, Oswald, Beattie, Dugatd 
Stewart, and Thomas Brown, have had their day. They are fa- 
vorites with the clergy, for they are of the orthodox school of ide- 
ology; they are ontologists and psychologists; they offend no 
popular prejudices; they run counter to no clerical doctries ; they 
express due horror at the tendencies of heterodox metaphysics ; 
their style of writing is for the most part good, frequently marked 
by elegance and taste; while the dogmatism that pervades their 
pages of inanity is well calculated to impose upon the numerous 
class of readers who are content to read without thinking. But 
the progress of accurate physiology, has destroyed them : the 
thinking part of the public which ultimately gives the tone to the 
much larger part that does not think, is wearied with toiling 
through pages after pages of figurative words and phrases without 
distinct meaning, and calls aloud for facts in the matter, and pre- 
cision in the language. I was induced to draw up the following 
sketch originally, from perusing the elements of criticism of Dr. 
Blair and Lord Kame, during my course of lectures on this sub- 
ject, in the college over which I preside ; and from observing how 
much more satisfactorily the principles they attempt to developc 
might have been explained and illustrated, had they known any 
thing of the doctrine of the Association of Ideas. Thus, all the 
confusion and obscurity in Lord Kame's account of ideas occur- 
ring in a train, and connected with preceding ideas — his labour- 
ed and not very clear explanation of what he calls ideal pres- 
ence — of emotions, passions, sympathies and sympathetic emotions 
—of emotions similar to each other — of emotions connected witli 
music — and many others, rank among the plainest cases of asso- 
ciation. Dr. Jos. Priestley was aware of the influence of this doc- 
trine on these subjects, and has noticed its application in his 
"Lectures on Oratory and Criticism" which have added nothing 
else to Blair and Karnes. Although aware of its utility, he has 
made but little use in his lectures of this doctrine compared with 
its manifest extent of application, for want as I conjecture of suffi- 
cient acquaintance with physiology. 

In stating the following outline of the "Association of Ideas,*' I 
do not profess to advance any theory either of my own, or of oth- 
ers. I state plain, well known, undeniable facts; familiar to eve- 
ry physiologist who has overturned his attention to the catenation 
of stimulations and motions in the nervous fibre, but utterly dis- 
regarded by the tribe of metaphysical logomachists, who never 
dream that the phenomena of the body, are of any use in explain- 
ing or accounting for the phenomena of mind. This class of wri- 
ters, are content to decry an opinion, if its tendency, immediate or 
remote, be what the clergy call heterodox, and dangerous; as all 
opinions are, whose tendency is to lesson the influence of that or- 
der of men, or expose the management by which they hold the igno- 
rant in subjection. What is orthodoxy, and what is heterodoxy ? 

I 381 | 

said Lord Sandwich in a debate upon the corporation and test acts. 
Orthodoxy my lord, said JJishop Warburton, is my doxy ; hetero- 
doxy is another man's doxy. It is high time to discard the en- 
quiry, what is the tendency of an opinion, and substitute in lieu of 
it, the question, what is the fact and the truth? these can never 
have a bad tendency ; though the bigots who imprisoned Galileo, 
and discarded Lawrence and Macartney, thought otherwise. 
What is the motto of truth ? Give us day light and fair play. 

The outline of the doctrine of the Association of Ideas, then, is 
as follows: 

When an impression, or stimulation, is applied to any sentient 
extremity, it is propagated by some kind of motion along the 
course ot the nerve to the brain. The motion thus propagated 
along the course of the nerve toward the brain, has been subject 
to the following suppositions : 

1st. That it is a vibratory motion — an oscillation ot the body 
or cord of the nerve. But this is not the ..opinion of Sir Isaac 
Newton, or Dr. Hartley, or of any author of note with whom I am 
acquainted ; though it has ignorantly been imputed to Hartley : 
and it is unlikely in itself, since the nerves are nothing like the 
stretched cords of a harpsichord : they are comparatively soft 
bodies imbedded in soft bodies. 

2dly. That the minute particles of which the nerves are com- 
posed, are put into a vibratory motion which is propagated along 
the whole substance of the nerve in the same way. This seems 
to have been Hartley's opinion. It may be so, but we have no 
sufficient proof to establish the existence of this kind of motion in 
the nerve. He calls in aid Sir Isaac Newton's Ether ; but that is 
* Sdly. The nerves have been supposed to secrete a very subtle 
fluid, which is the subject of these successive impulses or vibra- 
tions ; but this fluid has never been shewn, or its nature ascertain- 
ed, or its mode of receiving and communicating impressions, in 
any satisfactory manner explained. 

4thly. It is rendered probable, (but by no means certain) that 
the galvanic fluid is the agent on this occasion : from the electric 
powers of the torpedo, gymnotus electricus, silurus electricus — 
from the experiments on digestion, and respiration by Dr. Wilson 
Philips, Dutrochet, and others — and from the observations of M. 
LeGallois. But this opinion is yet an opinion only, founded, so 
far as it goes, more distinctly upon facts than the others, but by 
no means ascertained. 

Yet, as the table can make no impression on the medullary sub- 
stance of which my brain is composed, but by some medium of 
communicated motion, it is absolutely certain, that the motion ot 
some thin 0, or other moved on this occasion, must of necessity take 
place. There can be no motion but of something moved. By the 
brain, I mean those portions of medullary substance so called, that 

382 j ■ 

the facta observed point outas including the scat of intellect: the 
cerebrum, or fore part of the brain — the cerebellum, or hind pan. 
and the medulla oblongata : altogether, forming the encephalon. 
The brain (as is said) appears from observations on the foetus, to 
be gradually formed by elongation of the spinal marrow. The 
nerves are for the most part in pairs, and the brain also is for the 
most part duplicate, as Gall and Spurzheim have observed. As 
yet, no apparatus has been traced, by means wher.eof the electrical 
or the galvanic fluid is secreted, or accumulated in land animals, 
as it is in the fishes before mentioned. When the motion, whate- 
ver it be that takes place, is in some way or other communicated 
from the sentient extremity of the finger, for instance, to the me- 
dullary substance of the brain, (as above explained) it is there felt, 
or as the now adopted phrase is, perceived. Every sensation, 
therefore, is essentially, a motion in the brain perceived. 
This is so true, that it is expressly acknowledged and taught by 
all the late physiologists of repute ; and may be found distinctly 
stated in Richerand and Majendie, the two latest and most ap- 
proved elementary authors in use among us ; and I consider it 
as demonstrated by Dr. Darwin in his Zoonomia, Sect. 3, and 
elsewhere. The motion thus communicated — how and by what 
means is it felt or perceived ? There are two opinions on this 
subject principally agitated, to which a third may be added. 

1st. From the great difficulty of conceiving how perception, 
thought, and intellect, can arise from any particular arrangement 
or disposition of parts which are previously devoid of all these 
qualities, and consist merely of inert, unfeeling, unconscious mat- 
ter — philosophers, especially divines, have been strongly led to 
the hypothesis of a being, or principle, distinct from the body, 
having no quality in common with it, immaterial, not dependent 
upon it or dying with it, but surviving it, and supernaturally ad- 
ded to our system ot organized matter; by which union, we are 
enabled to exhibit the phenomena of intellect. This immaterial 
being, or principle, is the Soul. According to this opinion, the 
motions that take place in our nervous system, are perceived or 
felt by the soul, and become the subjects of its operations ; all the 
phenomena termed mental or intellectual, proceeding essentially 
from the faculties of the soul as a distinct being; and from this 
conjunction of soul and body, they become developed and appa- 
rent in the compound being called man; in whom the body is 
perishable and destructible — the soid, imperishable, indestructible 
and immortal. This has been for many ages the prevailing opin- 
ion among men of learning and reflection. It is the opinion of a 
very large majority of the divines of our day; to them, a very 
convenient and lucrative one; it is the common opinion among 
writers on metaphysics also, particularly in Scotland. This is 
the opinion taught as true in every university and collegiate semi- 
nary in England, on the continent of Europe, and in our country. 

[ 383 J 

It has, therefore, the decided suffrage of modern authority in its 
favor ; but it has been artificially kept up, and at present is'fast 
losing ground. 

2dly. Another class of philosophers, chiefly in England and 
France, are of opinion that all the mental or intellectual phenome- 
na can be explained from the properties of the organized body, 
without the intervention of any distinct immaterial principle, such 
as the soul is described to be, provided the property of perception 
or feeling, be allowed to belong to, or arise from our organization, 
as the fact appears at least to be. They say, that life and percep- 
tion, are as much the result of our peculiar organization, as any 
one property is the result of any system whatever. They say, 
that there is no foundation, but constant concomitance, on which 
we can build an} r case of necessary connection, whatever, or as- 
sert in any case, that one thing is" the property of another: that 
the phenomena termed mental, must be considered as arising from, 
appertainingto, and as essential properties of animal organization; 
because they have never been observed, unless in conjunction 
with a corporeal organized system — are always found to accom- 
pany it ; to grow with its growth, to be of a higher perfection as 
the organization of the animal is more perfect; to depend on the 
healthy state of the nervous system ; to become disordered by 
nervous disease or derangement ; to decline as the body and its 
organization declines ; to grow old with the body ; and to cease 
to be, when the body dies. They assert, that there is no evidence 
whatever, for the existence of the faculties of the soul, or any of 
them, but what arises within, and depends on the body. That it 
is plainly impossible for our material senses and organs to be im- 
pressed by, or have any idea of, a being that has no one property 
of matter. That all the difference between man and other ani- 
mals, in point of intellect, is in proportion to their difference in 
point of organization. That the phenomena termed mental, are 
as really exercised by other animals, as by man ; but in degrees 
greatly inferior, from the very great inferiority of organization in 
other animals: and that they are in all cases reducible to corpo- 
real affections. Moreover, they assert as matter of indisputable 
fact, that compound bodies exhibit properties and results altoge- 
ther different from the properties of the component parts. 

This opinion prevails among many anatomists and physicians 
in England and France; and among the followers of the religious 
tenets of Dr. Priestley. A very serious objection has been urged 
to this doctrine, that it deprives us of the arguments for a future 
state of existence drawn from the natural immortality of the soul, 
To this, the Priestleyans reply, that a christian is not affected by this 
objection ; inasmuch as the resurrection clearly taught in the'New 
Testament, is the resurrection (not of the soul) but of the body. 
That this tenet is adopted as an article of faith in the Apostle^ 
creed, which only recognizes the resurrection of the body. That 

[ 38*j 

the scripturejanguage gives no encouragement to the existence of 
a distinct, immaterial, naturally immortal principle called the 
soul. That this is in fact acknowledged by learned divines and 
dignitaries of the English Episcopal Church, by Tillotson and 
Sherlock— by Watson, Bishop of Landaflf, who states it as ,'an 
unsettled question, and by Law, Bishop of Carlisle, who 
openly denies that the Old or the New Testament countenances 
this doctrine of a soul. To all which, I have nothing to say : 
those who really believe so, have a right to believe so; those who 
believe otherwise, have a right to believe otherwise : we may 
judge for ourselves, but not for them. 

3dly. Another opinion respecting intellectual phenomena, 
including^perception, is, that they are indeed phenomena of or- 
ganized matter, but as we know of no kind of matter capable of 
organizing itself into an animal form, unless in consequence of 
animal life, previously communicated by means of parentage, we 
have no authority for asserting that it actually is, or in any case 
can be so. They who hold this opinion, deny the doctrine of 
equivocal generation, or of life being the result of any form of 
organized matter to which it did not previously belong: and they 
will not admit that the few dubious instances suggested by Dr. 
Darwin, Mr. Baillie, and M. La Marck, or the nisus formations of 
Professor Blumenbach, or the late microscopic discoveries, are 
sufficient to establish a doctrine, contradicted by all the plain and 
distinct cases with which we are acquainted, and which manifest- 
ly points to a living principle, previously existing, imparted in all 
known instances, vegetable as well as animal, whose origin we can 
only refer to the Almighty Creator, who endowed us with it. I 
feel strongly the difficulties of this subject. But this is a ques- 
tion that I see no means, in the present state of our knowledge, of 
settling to universal satisfaction. 

Dr. Hartley thought the soul was some very fine etherial substance 
added to the body, and that survived it. But this unsupported 
opinion does not advarfte us one step. If it have the properties of 
matter, or any of them, it is so far matter ; if not, the old question 
recurs, how can one thing act upon another, withoutany common 
property ? This notion has been revived lately by Abernethy. 

Having thus disposed, as well as I can, of all the prelimi- 
nary questions that beset me in my progress, I proceed to 
state, the outline of the facts relating to the organized animal 
man, that arrange themselves under the law oFthe association of 
ideas. In'all our inquiries as to the phenomena of mind, we 
should endeavor (as I think) to ascertain, how many of them are 
explicable from the mere phenomena of the body; and call in the 
hypothesis of a superadded principle of intellect then only when 
the known properties of organized matter, will explain no more, 
^o far as I can yet see, every intellectual fact, by whatever form 
of phrase or figurative expression it may be described, is no othor 

f 385 ] 

than the usual normal function, or mode of action of the organ 
called the brain : some motion in, and modification of, the cere- 
bral or encephalic viscus. Thought, judgment, reason, reflection, 
the will, the understanding, the memory, &c. are words only, not 
distinct beings, or entities: they designate particular states, 
affections, or functions of the cerebral mass; that is, certain mo- 
tions that take place in it, of which we are conscious, as the 
French say — which we feel, or perceive, as the English say. The 
propensity to fiction, of the modern metaphysicians, have clothed 
these words with a separate existence, and personified them. But 
this poetry of metaphysics — this prosopopeia of orthodoxy, is not 

An additional question however, occurs ; when these motions 
along the course of the nerves reach the brain, is there in that or- 
gan any common sensorium — any seat of perception located in 
some peculiar part of the brain ? It has been a prevailing opinion 
that there is such a spot. Sir Isaac Newton and Dr. Hartley 
adopted it ; so does Broussais. I know of no proof that vvill estab- 
lish such a locality. That the motions communicated by the or- 
gans of the several senses respectively, do in fact modify each 
other, when associated synchronously or by short intervals of suc- 
cession, appears to be matter of fact beyond the reacb of denial ; 
but whether this be owing to their uniting at or near some termi- 
nal point in the brain, we have no means of ascertaining. I 
therefore use the term brain, to signify that portion of the nervous 
system, within the scull, and a small part of the spine, wherein 
the motions propogated from the sentient extremities of the 
nerves external or internal finally cease; and from whence, 
the motions propagated to the voluntary muscles, commence*, 
This may be for aught I know, a particular spot, in the medul- 
lary substance of the brain as 1 have defined it (cerebrum, cere- 
bellum and medulla oblongata) but I do not know that it is, 
from any anatomical or physiological fact as yet ascertained. Dr. 
Darwin's opinions make it pervade the whole nervous system, his 
sensorial power being co-extensive with nervous ramifications. 

Injuries have been done to various parts of the brain, without 
inducing an expected injury in the same propertion, either to life 
or intellect. Many of these cases, have been collected (not quite 
on satisfactory authority) by Dr. Feriar, and many upon somewhat 
better authority by Sir Everard Home. Whether it has been ow- 
ing to the more insignificant character of the part injured, or to 
the double character of the cerebral organs, or to the distinct func- 
tions of each part of the brain, that no more mental injury has 
accrued in the cases referred to, is not yet sufficiently known. 
The general fact, well established, is, that when the brain is in- 
jured, the intellect is injured also. The major part of apoplectic, 
lunatic and maniacal cases may be cited in Full proof of this 
Marshall, \bennethv and Abercromby furnish, them in abundance 


[ Sbii ] 

Having now traced the progress of sensations caused by exter- 
nal objects, from the sentient extremity of a nerve up to the brain, 
I have to notice the impressions that may be made on the brain 
by means of the internal state of the body, operating on that or- 
gan ; and which formerly have not received so much consideration 
as I think they are entitled to. Broussais terms this kind of ner- 
vous sympathy, innervation. 

Nerves proceed both from the brain and spinal marrow to sup- 
ply the heart, stomach, liver, intestines, and other parts whose 
functions while in a healthy state, go on instinctively, automatical- 
ly, and unperceived by us; exciting no sensation accompanying 
their actions. But as the nerves that supply these parts, are ex- 
tensively connected with the whole nervous system, any variation 
from an usual or healthy state of these or any of these viceral 
portions of the body, will affect the state of the brain and of the 
whole nervous system. Thus lunacy and ideocy may be produced 
by excessive hysterics; by worms in the intestines; melancholy in 
form of disease, by an irregular state of the bowels and vice ver- 
sa; mania by stimulating liquors, or narcotic vegetables; and the 
general state of uneasiness felt, when we have some unascertain- 
ed internal complaint, is undoubtedly owing to a series of morbid 
motions that take place in the viscera, transmitted to the brain, to 
which from their occurring but now and then, we have given no 
regular appellation ; nor have we any means of referring to their 
exact internal locality.* All our sensations and ideas, depend 
conjointly upon the objects that excite them, and the state of the 
organ in which the excitement takes place. So that if the state 
of the nervous system of one man differs from that of another, the 
same exciting causes, will not produce exactly the same internal 
motions and associations; but these will be modified not only by 
the great variety of synchronous associated circumstances, but also 
according to age, sex, original constitution, previous habits, visce- 
ral affections and the general state of health and disease. These 
considerations will well explain the different points of view, in 
which the same subjects appear to different persons; and furnish- 

* As the whole nervous system of organic life, is connected directly 
with the brain, by means of the spinal marrow, there can be no difficulty 
in referring those actions called sympathetic to this connection. As 
when the brain is partially paralysed by alcoholic potations taken into 
the stomach, or paralysed unto death by a strong dose of prussic acid, or 
when tetanus is produced by a wound with a rusty nail, &c. In this last 
case for instance, the nervous power over the muscles of voluntarity, is 
affected ; and therefore the source of the complaint must of necessity be 
in nervous communication; what Broussais calls innervation. In the 
case of the sympathetic action of medicines as it has been called, it is 
ascertained, that many of the cases have depended on absorption, and 
others on nervous communication, as no one could doubt who had read, 
Mr. TTrodir's essay on the operation of poison?. 

1 3S7 ] 

ea an adequate cause of many ot the differences in intellect and 
inclination. For the old metaphysical adage is literally true 
quicquid recipitur, vecipituv admodum recipientis. All those in- 
ternal operations of our system which in the ordinary state of per- 
fect health are not perceived, become sources of sensation when 
they recede from a healthy state; as a non-sentient surface be- 
comes painful in a state of inflammation. Hence the source of in- 
cubus or the night-mare from indigestion, and of dreams generally, 
■which are motions in the brain similar to such as have been excit- 
ed by external objects, and are then perceived under irregular 
associations in consequence of the half-wakefulness of imperfect 
sleep. They occur with little or no connection, because the unea- 
sy state of the internal organs which causes them, has few or no 
associations to furnish such a connection ; and therefore the law 
of association to be explained by and by, operates but partially 
and imperfectly : and in this partial and imperfect association, the 
strangeness of our dreams consists. 

The same law of nervous communicated motion, takes place in 
our internal vicera, as in other parts of the body. Thus, in the 
late experiments of Mr. Brodie, Dr. Wilson Philips, and others, if 
the eighth pair of nerves, or the sympathetic be cut or intercepted, 
the functions of the stomach, lungs, and the generation of animal 
heat, are affected also; and the parts are paralysed. 

I now go on to state a few of the general laws of association, as 
mere matters of fact, and physical observation ; referring to Hart- 
ley and Darwin for details. 

By a sensation is here meant a motion excited by some external 
object, at the sentient extremity of a nerve and thence propagated 
along the course of the nerve up to the brain, and there felt or per- 
ceived. Or, it may also be, a motion internally excited, in a 
nerve within the body, in consequence of some unusual or diseas- 
ed action in the part supplied by that nerve; and this motion is 
propagated along the course of the nerve up to the brain : as peri- 
odical hunger, want of exoneration, generation, &c. as the pain of 
gout in the toe, the stomach or kidnies ; of colic in the intestines ; 
the pain down the thigh in renal inflammation ; or under the shoul- 
der in affections of the liver, and innumerable others. 

By an idea is here meant a motion in the brain, similar in kind 
and in locality to a precedent sensation, and by means of which, 
the sensation is recollected. Ideas are the immediate objects of 
recollection and memory. An idea therefore is the representative 
of a previous sensation, morbid or healthy — external or internal. 
The first time a child sees u peach, it is a sensation ; when at some 
subsequent time the peach is remembered, it is an idea. That it 
is a cerebral motion see Darwin Zoon. sec. 3. 

Proposition 1. Any set of sensations A, B, C, &c. being associ- 
ated with each other a sufficient number of times, obtain such a 
power over their corresponding ideas a, b, c, &c. that any of the 

1! 3ss j 

sensations , A for instance) when impressed alone, shall be ableiu 
excite b, e, &c. the ideas of the rest. 

Suppose we are reading together in the same book at the same 
table; and that the cat jumping on the table and walking over the 
book, prevents our reading. If a twelvemonth hence you meet 
me, the sensations of my person will call up the ideas of the table, 
ot the place and situation, of the cat, and of the book ; i. e. they 
will be remembered. In what precise manner the mingled motions 
of these sensations, should excite a correspondent modification in 
that cerebral motion to which we give the name of ide;i, I cannot 
undertake to explain. It rests among the very many matters of 
fact, indubitable but inexplicable. But common experience es- 
tablishes the fact, as resulting from a general law of our nature. 
So, the name, the odour, the taste of a peach, to a person eating it 
in the dark, and who has seen and tasted them at other times, will 
suggest the form and colour of a peach; that is, its visible idea, 
and vice versa. 

Prop.2. If the sensations occur only in a certain order of suc- 
cession, the power they have of calling up ideas, will be exerted 
only in the order in which the original associations were made. If 
\, B, C,D,E,F, occur in that order, C will suggest d, e, f, but not 
a, b. We can say the Lord's prayer : which of us can say it 
backward ? 

Prop. 3. Simple ideas will run into complex ones by associa- 

Let A, B, C, D be frequently associated together in all varie- 
ties of combination, then will a, b, c, d recur so instantaneously 
and mechanically, as to form not a succession of ideas, but one 
mingled and complex idea. Let the size, the shape, the colour, 
the down, the odour, the flavour of a peach, be frequently associa- 
ted with the name ; as is the case in fact: then will the name sug- 
gest all the other ideas so mingled, as to form what we call the ab- 
stract idea of a peach : in which mingled and complex idea, those 
individual ideas which are most prominent and characteristic, will 
usually occur, and the others gradually be dropt and become evan- 
escent or nearly so. It is in this manner that what we call ab- 
stract ideas begin to be formed, as I think : to which for the conve- 
nience of writing and speaking we annex written and oral names, 
as virtue, vice, beauty, &c. which have of themselves no real exis- 
tence, and are mere inventions of language, to aid our reasoning 
or researches. 

Dr. Darwin illustrates the modification of cerebral motions in 
consequence of association, thus. You are desired to write the 
word man. You write it without thinking of the up-strokes and 
down-strokes necessary to form each seperate letter, or the diffi- 
culty you experienced in this respect, when you first were taught 
to write ; it occurs now, as one simple operation, never analysed. 
Yet when you consider the great variety of muscular motions of 

I 389 j 

the hand ami oi the eye, associated and catenated to enable you 
to perform this operation, there is nothing more difficult and "ab- 
struse in the most complex case of* the association of ideas. The 
one and the other are equally matters of undeniable fact. 

Where an idea is very complex, the combination may overpower 
the particular parts ; just as in well made punch, we do not recog- 
nize the acid, the sugar, the spirit, or the lemon flavour particu- 
larly, they are all merged in the combination. So, the seven pri- 
mary colours of the solar spectrum, moving connectedly and 
simultaneously with great rapidity, excite the sensation we call 
white. So in language the whole can be analysed into about 30 
simple sounds, which are lost in the complexity of their almost in- 
numerable combinations. 

In complex ideas, first the visible, next the audible idea, appears 
to have most power in suggesting; the others. Horace remarks 
tins : segnnis irritant amnios demissa per aures, quam qua? sunt 
oculis subjecta Jidelibus. 

Prop. 4. Language is cither written or oral : it is the most fa- 
miliar instance we possess of the association of ideas. The moth- 
er shews the child a peach ; she repeats over and over, " this is a 
peach;" till the oral sound and the sensation of the peach itself, be- 
come so completely associated, that one suggests the other. It is 
the same in written language ; wherein we first learn to associate 
oral sounds with written or printed letters, and that so frequently, 
that the suggestion of the one from the presence of the other, 
is instantaneous and complete. Hence, in reading a description, 
the words almost place the things themselves by association before 
the mind's eye. This is Lord Kame's ideal presence. Suppose I 
read a description of a Boa Constrictor or Anaconda, crushing a 
tyger. I have from pictures and descriptions of serpents and ty- 
gers a tolerably correct idea of them though I may never have seen 
either the one animal or the other. The ideas thus excited there- 
fore by the verbal description, form what Lord Kame not inapt- 
ly terms ideal presence; an ideal representation, excited and 
suggested by the associations connected with the written descrip- 

In the same way, sensations and ideas are suggested by looks, 
by tones, and by gestures ; for looks, tones, and gestures, are the 
natural marks of strong emotions. Hence the superiority of dra- 
matic representation to mere perusal ; more associations are 
brought into play, and the ideas are more vividly excited. Looks, 
tones and gestures, like metaphors and other figures of speech, are 
more common in the early ages of society, because the poverty of 
a nascent language, requires their aid. 

Prop. 5. When pain is associated with any sensation, it adds 
o-reatly to its vividness. It is upon this principle, that the ancient 
back-country practice is founded, of flogging a son, at each corner 
of a tract of land which he is destined to inherit, to enable him to 

i 390 ] 

remember the boundaries more accurately. And this is consen 
taneous both to theory and to fact, however rude the custom may 
be. The same reasoning will apply to the association of pleasure. 
These two last propositions will explain all Lord Kame's diffi- 
culties respecting sympathetic emotions, and emotions and pas- 
sions generally ■■ thus it' words, looks, tones, and gestures be (as 
they are) associated with emotions and passions, then are emotions 
and passions associated with words, looks, tones and gestures ;and 
the one calls up the other. This needs no illustration to those 
who have seen the representation of a ballet at the French or Eng- 
lish opera house, or who recollects the story of Cicero and the 
actor Roscius. 

Prop. 6. In sensations and ideas, the cerebraL^notion commu- 
nicated by the excited nerves, may be so gentle as to be nearly 
imperceptible ; or so moderate as merely to excite slight atten- 
tion ; or so vivid as to be pleasurable; or so intense as to be painful. 
This constitutes the foundation of Lord Kame's distinction be- 
tween emotions and passions. 

Prop. 7. The force and vividness of ideas, depend chiefly on 
the following circumstances, (not excluding others of minor influ- 
ence) : on the original excitability of the nervous system : on the 
vividness of the original sensation : on the quantity of sensorial 
power, as Darwin calls it, or of accumulated excitability, as Brown 
calls it, that is accumulated in the system at the time: on the 
force and vividness of the associated ideas, which explain to us 
the use of appropriate figurative language, and the effects of tones 
and gestures. Sometimes in a state of general morbid febrile 
irritation, the accumulation of sensorial power in the brain, not 
consumed by muscular action, produces a vividness of sensation 
and perception, that greatly increases for a time the mental capa- 
city ; and when in much excess, or too long continued, produces 
the hallucinations of the various kinds of lunacy. That is, when 
usual and natural stimulation and excitation are increased so as 
to become morbid irritation. 

Prop. 8. In considering the effect of words, Dr. Hartley's ar- 
rangement of them seems useful. 

"Words that have ideas only, and no definitions. tFhite. Sweet. 
Words that have descriptions, or definitions only, and no ideas. 

Monagynia. Axiom. Radius. 
Words that have descriptions, or definitions and ideas. Jl Peach, 

Jin Isosceles Triangle. 
"Words that have neither. The, To, and Of. 

It is manifest, that thegreatest effect is produced by the former 
class, in the fine arts that constitute tiie objects of criticism. 

It may well be doubted, if words that do not express a matter 
of fact cognizable by our senses, have any meaning whatever. 
We have no other source of knowledge but our sensations — sen- 
sations excited in the encephalon, either by objects external to us., 

[ -oi j 

or by our internal wants, and visceral affections. What meaning 
can be ascribed to soul, angel, devil, spirit, &c. — supposed enti- 
ties, not cognizable by our material senses, or any of them ? 
Abracadabra, maybe substituted for any or all of them. What 
evidence can we receive of a being who cannot be seen, heard, 
touched, or felt, and who is no object discernible by taste or smell? 
What can a word mean, which means nothing that we can receive 
any proof of — which does not exist for any of our inlets of know- 
ledge ? 

Prop. 9. Mr. Hume, in his section on the association of ideas, 
(vol. 2,) arranges all the general and abstract sources of associa- 
tion under contiguity of time or place — resemblance — and causa- 
tion. An habitual attention chiefly to the first set of associations, 
forms the historian : to the second, the poet and dramatist : to the 
third, the statesman and reasoner. 

Prop. 10. It is probable, from what we observe, that the pleas- 
ures of sensation are more numerous, and upon the whole overba- 
lance the pains of sensation. This, however, is frequently matter 
of accident, of health, or disease. But in intellectual pleasures 
and pains — those that depend on our ideas, and their combina- 
tions, and which are greatly in the power of our volition, the 
balance of pleasurable feeling in well educated persons, is mani- 
festly considerable ; and in the usual duration of life, it amounts 
to a quantity far exceeding our usual calculations. It should 
seem, therefore, to furnish a strong argument for study, and intel- 
lectual employments, which greatly increase in number and 
intensity all the ideal pleasurable associations. ■ Moreover, the 
pleasures and pains dependent on the external senses, being for 
the most part local, have a greater tendency to destroy the body, 
than the intellectual pleasures and pains, which are not so much 
calculated to affect any organ in particular ; and rather produce 
moderate exercise in the medullary substance, than any violent 
and destructive motion. 

Prop.11. The imperfect memory and judgment in children, 
and the dotage of old persons, may be explained from the imper- 
fect, and abnormal associations that take place owing to the 
imperfection and deterioration of the encephalic apparatus. 
Hence the propensity of children to falsehood, without being con- 
scious of the fault: and of old age, toforgetfulnessand repetition. 
Prop. 12. The imperfect, irregular, and incoherent intellect of 
ideots, lunatics, and maniacs, is manifestly dependent on the 
irregular associations that take place in the encephalic apparatus, 
owing to the irritated and morbid state of that portion of the ner- 
vous svstem. Thus, also, may be explained the morbid associa- 
tions, from a disordered state of the stomach and intestines, how- 
ever originating ; for the morbid irritations of the viscera arc 
transmitted by innervation to the cerebral centre, and produce 
morbid excitement (irritation) in that vi?cu<=. 

[ 3dZ \ 

Of Muscular Motion. Prop. 13. The motions of an animal 
body, are either instinctive, (that is, automatic) or voluntary, or 
associated. In the first case they are not attended by any sensa- 
tion : as the motion of the heart and arteries, the motion of the 
lungs and diaphragm, the puistaltic motion of the bowels, &c. 

The voluntary motions depend on that state of the brain, which 
we call volition. It is necessary, therefore, to examine in what 
volition consists; and what is that affection of the brain that ac- 
companies or constitutes volition. I say, accompanies or consti- 
tutes, because the expression adopted, will depend on the theory 
adopted to account for the phenomena of perception. A psycho- 
logist would say accompanies : I prefer the latter form of ex- 

Of Desire and Volition. Prop. 14. A child who has tasted a 
peach, so as to know what it is, sees a peach on a table out of his 
reach ; what takes place ? First, he has a sensation of the visible 
form of the peach, by the rays of light that passing into his eye, 
strike on the retinous expansion of the optic nerve; the motion 
there excited, is propagated along the optic nerve to its other 
extremity in the brain, and there it is perceived, forming the visi- 
ble sensation of the peach. But as the child has tasted peaches, 
the visible sensation excites by association the idea of the taste of 
the peach, and this is accompanied by a desire to obtain and to eat 
the peach which he sees before him. This state of the brain, which, 
when felt, we call desire,\sa.s real, and as really existent in that or- 
gan, as the visible sensation, or the associated idea of the taste of the 
peach; equally. and concomitantly felt. It always accompanies 
and forms part of the sensation of hunger. That desire, when 
it excites an effort to reach the peach, (cerebral innervation) is 
volition, and the consequent motion is voluntary. All these states 
of the brain, are felt or perceived equally as existing together, 
and arising from the same cause ; but being perceptibly distin- 
guishable from each other, we give different names to them. If 
the child have eaten as many peaches before hand as he could eat, 
the state of the brain called desire will not be excited ; the stom- 
ach will notinncrvateupon the brain, or call for its aid, and voli- 
tion and voluntary motion will not accompany it. This shews, 
that it is a mere corporeal feeling, dependent on the state of the 
bodily organs. Is not hunger always so ? and is not desire and 
volition absent or present in such a case, according as hunger is 
absent or present? Do we make an exertion to take food, if our 
appetite be already satisfied ? 

Again : my father desired me to meet him at home at a certain 
hour: as the hour approaches, the ideas of my promise, of my 
father, of home, are excited by association ; I feel the desire to 
obey him, and I get up to meet him accordingto the appointment. 
Here, desire, volition, and voluntary motion, are associated with 
the recollected ideas of past sensations. All those feeling's arc 

[ 393 ] 

simultaneous, or nearly so; they arc connected ; they are felt or 
perceived in the same manner, and referred (if referred at all) to 
the same source, the same organ, the same place of feeling. The 
voluntary motion would not have taken place, if the desire had 
not existed : the desire is one of the circumstances attendant on, 
and belonging to, the sensation of the peach, or the idea of my 
father, and the promise made to him. 

Dr. Darwin observes, (Sect. XI. 2 2,) that all our emotions and 
passions have their origin in sensation and volition. Pride, hope, 
joy, are the names of particular pleasurable sensations ; shame, 
despair, sorrow, of painful ones. Love, ambition, avarice, are the 
names of particular desires: Hatred, disgust, fear, anxiety, of 
particular aversions. The passion of anger includes the pain 
from a recent injury, and the hatred to the adversary who occa- 
sioned it. Compassion is the pain we feel at the sight of misery, 
with the desire of relieving it. 

All these, in whatever viscus they originate, are ultimately re- 
ducible to motions in the cerebral organs, there felt and perceived, 
and which arise from various complications of sensations and 
ideas into which the emotion and passion can be analysed. Take 
Love, for instance. A young man is frequently in company with 
a young woman, whose manners, looks, and tones, affect him with 
pleasurable sensations, and sensations of respect for her charac- 
ter and conduct; to these are joined the belief, or the strong 
hope, that he himself stands in a similar situation with respect to 
her sentiments toward him. All these are sensations and ideas, 
affording no difficulty in the analysis. They are clearly of the 
same nature as all other sensations and ideas, that being associa- 
ted together by simultaneous or successive occurrence, modify the 
affection of the brain where perception takes place, just like any 
other complex set of associations. When to these are joined the 
natural sensation of sexual desire, founded on the internal state 
of our corporeal system, the whole sensation thus complex is called 
love, which is nothing more than strong feelings of friendship 
toward a person of another sex, accompanied by sexual desire. 
Nor is there any thing more difficult in the analysis of this complex 
sensation or idea, (for it is the one or the other, depending upon 
the presence or absence of the object,) than in the complex sen- 
sation of the book now before me ; which is made up of the size, 
the form of the type, the proportion of margin, the color of the 
paper, the marbling or gilding of the leaves, the kind of binding, 
the gilt ornaments of the binding, and the peculiarity of the letter- 
ing ; all of which are also at this moment associated with the 
paragraph I am now writing. 

Moreover, in the complex sensation called love, is it not clear 

that the want, paralysis, or organic lesion of corporeal organs may 

preventits occurrence? Can it not be rendered more vivid by 

sexual abstinence, or even bv aphrodisiacs, as well as by the asso- 


L 394 ] 

clations of amatory description ? And when the mere animal 
sensation is thus rendered more vivid, is not the associated intel- 
lectual part of this passion rendered more vivid also ? 

Desire and volition, therefore, are not merely similar to, but 
actually are sensations and ideas. States of the brain felt or per- 
ceived, exciting to the muscular action called for by the existing 
want. Aversion is only another form of desire, it is the desire to 
avoid. Desire simply, is the desire to obtain. In a sensation, 
the commencement is at the extremity of the nerve farthest from 
the brain, and it terminates in the brain. In a volition the com- 
mencement is in the brain, and it terminates in the muscular 
organ of voluntary motion. 

I consider, and I state all this, as well known, incontrovertible 
fact — such as no physiologist will scruple to admit at once; and 
quite independent of any hypothesis relating to the cause, the 
seat, or the source of perception ; whether it be a cerebral func- 
tion arising from our system of animal organization, as some 
think, or belong to a separate being, (the soul) as others think. 

Prop. 15. Hence, we see in what way automatic and voluntary 
motions, may be associated with sensations, ideas, desires, and 
volitions. It maybe of use to dwell a little more on this part of 
the subject. First in a state of health. 

They may be associated with sensations, as when we cut our 
meat, pour out our wine, move from one room to another; when a 
lady sings and plays at the same time ; when we dance to the sound 
of music keeping time, &c. With ideas, as when a lady plays on 
the pianoforte a tune she remembers only ; when we go to a book- 
sellers for a book we stand in need of; when we ring the bell for 
a servant, &c. &c. The cases are so numerous and of such con- 
stant occurrence, that it is needless to enumerate them. With 
desires and volitions, as in the way described in proposition 12. 
These are in fact the preceding causes of all voluntary motions. 
So in a state of disease, when 1 turn to get rid of pain, it is a motion 
associated with (sensations); when I ask, if my physician become: 
with (ideas) ; when I call for drink, if a thirst, with (desires.) 

Many, perhaps most of our voluntary motions, were at first 
automatic. A child shuts his hand, or moves his foot, from the 
mere effect of muscular irritability, when touched. The motion of