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Full text of "Inquiries concerning the intellectual powers, and the investigation of truth. With additions and explanations to adapt the work to the use of schools and academies"

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Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 










Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, &c., and First 
Physician to His Majesty in Scotland. 









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by Jacob Abbott 
In tbe Clerk'* Office of the District Court of Ma8achu9U3. 


^^'^^V-^^-- |- 





The text ot the following work, strictly speakiag, is Dr. 
A.bercrombie's treatise on the Human Mind, entire. In 
connection with this treatise, however, the original edition 
has two articles attached to it by the author, for the sole 
benefit of the class whom he was addressing, viz. a class of 
medical students. The first to which we refer is a history 
of the science of Intellectual Philosophy, prefixed to the 
ivork ; the second, an admirable set of directions, to guide 
medical students in their professional inquiries. These trea- 
tises do not of necessity constitute a part of a treatise on 
the Philosophy of Mind. They are accordingly omitted in 
this edition. What, in the editor's opinion, constitutes the 
treatise itself, is published entire, without alterations or 
omissions, the editor holding his author's language sacred. 
The additions which have been made are intended, not to 
supply any supposed deficiencies in the original, but simply 
to adapt it to a purpose for which the book is, in the main, 
admirably suited : they are intended as nearly as was pos- 
sible to be such additional explanations as the editor con- 
ceived the author would hirij^self have made, if he had 
had in view, whilst preparing the book, the purpose to 
which it is now applied^ 

The practice of studying such a work as this by formal 
questions, the answet to which pupils commit to memory 
cannot be too severely censured. There seemed, however 


to be something necessary as a guide to the contents of the 
page, both for the pupil in reviewing the lesson, and for the 
teacher at the recitation. That minute and familiar ac- 
quaintance, not only with the doctrines taught in the lesson, 
but with the particular contents of every page and para- 
graph, so essential in enabling the teacher to ask his ques- 
tions with fluency, very few teachers have the time to se- 
cure. The editor has accordingly added an analysis of the 
page in the margin. This analysis is given sometimes in 
questions, and sometimes in topics or titles, which can easi- 
ly be put by the teacher into the form of questions if he 
pleases ; or, what will perhaps be better, they can, at the 
recitation, be given to the pupil as topics, on which he is to 
state in substance the sentiments of the author. 

In regard to the value of Dr. Abercrombie's treatise, there 
is, and there can be, but one opinion. Its useful tendency 
is most decided, both in making the pupil acquainted with 
his powers, and in guiding him to the most efficient and 
successful use of them. The effect of a proper study of 
this work must be highly salutary upon every mind brought 
under its influence ; and it is a kind of effect which is ex 
actly suited to guard against the peculiar dangers of the 

Tio:ton, Septem/fer, 183.*i 



Design of the Study 
Qualifications for engaging in it . 

1. Ability to understand the language of 

2. Ability to appreciate the Thoughts 

3. Willingness to make the proper eflbrt 
Method of pursuing the study 

Particular directions 


he Book 13 




Our Knowledge of Mind limited entirely to Facts . 25 

Ideal Theory of the Old Philosophy . . .2" 

Of IMaterialism ....... 28 

Grounds for considering Materialism as not only unfounded, 
but as in its nature opposed to the First Principles of Philo- 
sophical Inquiry ...... 29 

Grounds for believing that the Thinking Principle is in its Es- 
sence independent of the Bod)'', and will survive it . .30 
This Belief is entirely independent of our Speculations respect- 
ing the Immateriality of the Thinking Principle, and rests on 
a species of evidence altogether diflerent . . .32 






Of the Primary and Secondary Properties of Matter 
Knowledge ot the Properties of Matter by the Senses . 
Of our Knowledge of Distance and Blagnitude . 
Apparent improvement of some Senses after loss of others 
Of our Knowledge of the Nature of Perception . 
Remarkable Influence of Attention 
Habits of Attention and Inattention 
Of False Perceptions ..... 



t the Knowledge which we derive from Consciousness and Ee 
flection . . .... 

1. The Knowledge of our Mental Processes 

2. Compound Notions, as Time, Cause, Motion . 

3. First Truths, or Intuitive Articles of Belief 





Rules by which we estimate the Credibility of Testimony . b'j 

Confidence in Testimony in regard to statements at variance 
with our Personal Observation or Experience . . .62 

Objections which have been made to the Reception of such State- 
ment? on the Evidence of Testimony . . . . f)3 

Fallacy of these Objections, and Grounds of our Confidence in 
Testimony . . . . . . .64 

Distinction between Events which are marvellous and those 
which are miraculous ..... 67 



Moral Probe.Jility ot Miracles . . . . 68 
Miracles not a violation of the established order of Nature, bat 

referable to an agency altogether new and peculiar . . 71 
Grounds on which we estimate the Credibility of Testimony in 

regard to unusual or miraculous events . . 72 








Attention ..... 
Association .... 

1. Natural or Philosophical Association 

2. Local or Incidental Association . 

3. Arbitrary or Fictitious Association 

Artificial Memory 
Important Application of the Principle of Arbitrary 
Association in Commemorative Kites . . 96 

Conception, or the Memory of Perceptions . . .98 

Of the Culture and Improvement of A ttention, Reflection, and 
Memory ....... 102 

Of the Influence of Disease upon Attention and IMemory 108 

Of Extensive Cerebral Disease, without Sensible Derangement 
cf the Mental Functions - -119 

Influence of the Facts connected with this subject in 
showing the Independent Existence of the Tliinking 
Principle . - -120 

Nature and Application of Abstraction 121 

Disputes of the Nominalists and Realists 127 

Nature and Appl'Ciitions of Imagination 12<t 

Various Kinds of Artificial Combination to which it is applicable 13C 


Importance of a Proper Application of it in the Formxtion of 
Character ....... 

E ffects of Fictitious Narrative ..... 

Effects of aa ill-regulated Imagination .... 





Analysis of the Mental Process of which Reason ccnsists . 134 

Applications of Reason in the Investigations of Science, the 

Affairs of Common Life, and the Formation of Opinions . 138 

Man's Responsibihty for his Belief .... U2 

Farther Division of the Subject. Brief Outline of the System of 

Dr. Brown ...... 144 


Of First Truths, or Intuitive Articles of Belief, as the Founda^ 
tion of all Reasoning ..... 

1. A Belief in our ov/n Existence, and of Mind as some 

thing distinct from the Body 

2. A Confidence in the Information furnished by our 

Senses ...... 

3. A Confidence in our Mental Operations . 

4. A Belief of our Personal Identity 

5. A Conviction that every Event must have a Cause 

6. A Confidence in the Uniformity of Nature 

Uniformity of Physical Relations 
Uniformity of Moral Relations 

Application to the Question of Liberty and Ne 
cessity ..... 
Of the Nature and Importance of First Truths, and Sophisms 

connected with attempts to reason against them 
Laws of Investigation in any Department of Knowledge 

1. Of collecting Farts .... 

2. Of tracing the Relation of Cause and Effect 

3. Of deducing General Principles . 
Of Fallacies in Investigation 

Fallacies in regard to Facts . 

False Induction 

False Reasoning 
Of the Nature of Reasoning 
Of the Syllogism and its Use^ 








01 the Cautions in examining a Process of Reasoning or Inves 
ligation ....... 

Distinction between a Process of Rezisoning and a Process of In 
ve.^tigation ...... 

Of Fallacies in Reasoning . 

Of Mathematical Reasoning .... 

Difference between the Sound Exercise of Judgment anc^ the 
Art of Disputation ..... 

Of the Culture and Regulation of the Judgment . 

Influence of Attention .... 

Influence of Prejudice .... 

Influence of Passion, or State of IMoral Feelings 
Importance of a well-regulated Judgment . 







Nature and Effects of this Exercise of Reason . 

Peculiar Conditions connected with the Suspension of it 

I. Dreaming ...... 

Peculiar Condition of the INIind in Dreaming . 
Origin of the various Classes of Dreams. 

1. Recent Events .... 

2. Old Associations excited by Bodily Sensations 

3. Old Associations recalled by a Process of the 

Mind itself .... 

4. Mental Emotions imbodied into Dreams . 
Dreams consist chiefly of Real Objects of Concep- 
tion ...... 

Operations of an Intellectual Character in Dreams 

fl. Somnambulism ..... 
Various degrees of this Affection. 
Remarkable Condition, commonly called Double Con 
sciousness ..... 

HI. Insanity ..... 

Peculiar Condition of the Mind constituting Insanity 
Various Modifications of it, from Eccentricity to Ma- 
nia ...... 

Great Activity of the Mental Powers in many Cases 
Remarkable Loss of Recent Impressions, and sudden 

Revival of them on Recovery 
Hallucination confined to a single Point 
Probable Origin of the Peculiar Hallucinations. in dif- 
ferent cases of Insanity 















1. Propensities of Character 

2. Old Associations 

3. Old Fictions of the Imagination 

4. Bodily Feelings .... 

5. Undefined Impression of the new and peculiar 

Condition of the Mental Powers 
Melanr:holia. Propensity to Suicide 
Origin and Causes of Insanity . 
Cautions in deciding on slight or suspected Case. 
Liability of the Insane to Punishment . 
Moral Treatment of Insanity . 
Of Idiocy Difi'erence between it and Insanity 
Cretinism ..... 



iV. Spectral Illusions. 

Various Forms and Sources of them 




1. Habit of Attention 

2. Regulation of the Succession of Thoughts 

3. Activity of IMind . 

4. Habits of Association and Reflection 

5. Proper Selection of Objects of Pursuit 

6. Government of the Imagination . 

7. Culture and Regulation of the Judgment 

Observing and Inventive Genius 
8 Right Ccndition of the Moral Feelmgs 





The design of the study of Intellectual Philosophy 
is not merely, as in the case of most other studies, the 
acquisition of knoicledge. Something far more impor- 
tant, and far more difficult to attain, is in view. In the 
study of Chemistry, History, Geography, and other 
similar sciences, the main object is to obtain informa- 
tion to become acquainted with facts. But although 
the science of Mind does indeed present to view a most 
valuable and interesting class of facts, it is not merely 
with reference to these that the study is pursued. This 
science aims at a higher object. It is intended to intro- 
duce the pupil to a new range of thought, and. to bring 
out into action, and consoquently into more full deve- 
lopment, the mental faculties. It is its aim to ex- 
ercise and strengthen the thinking and reasoning pow- 
ers, to enable the mind to grasp abstruse and perplex- 
ing subjects, to think clearly and to reason correctly, 
in regard to truths that lie in those depths which the 
senses cannot explore. 

Design aftiho smdy, what? Compared with other studies. What i.s ita chiaf 


Of course, the study of Intellectual Philosophy is noi 
and cannot be an easy one. Its very difficulty is one 
source of the benefit to be derived from it ; for it is by 
encountering and overcoming this difficulty, that intel- 
lectual strength is acquired. In Gymnastics, the exer- 
tion necessary to perform the feats is the very means 
by which the advantage is secured, and it is to require 
this exertion that the whole apparatus is contrived. 
Now mathematicpJ and metaphysical studies are in- 
tended as a sort of intellectual gymnastics, in which the 
casks ought indeed to be brought fairly within the pow- 
ers of the pupil, but they ought nearly to equal those 
powers, so as to call them into active and vigorous ex- 
ercise, or the end will be lost. If, therefore, the writer 
of a treatise on such a subject comes down so complete- 
ly to the level of the young as to make the study mere 
light reading, he fails entirely of accomplishing what 
ought to be his highest aim. He destroys the difficul- 
ty and the advantage together. It is indeed true that 
a very useful book may be Avritten for children, with 
the design of merely giving titem information on some 
subjects connected with the structure of their minds. 
It might be entertaining, and to a considerable degree 
instructive, but it would answer few of the important 
purposes which ought to be in view, mth^ introduction 
of such a study into literary institutions. It would not 
develop the reasoning or thinking powers. It would 
awaken no new intellectual effort. 

Such being the nature of this study, it is plain that it 
ought not to be commenced by any pupil without a 
proper understanding of its object and design. Such an 
understanding is essential. That it may come more 
distinctly and definitely before the mind, I propose to 
enumerate the qualifications which each individual 
should see that he possesses, before he commences the 
study of this work. 

The study diPicult- Whj? Gymnaslics. Difierence between roading and study 
n this siibicct 


1. Ability to understand the language of the work. 
It is not a child's book. It was written b^^ a man, and 
was intended to be read by men. The editor has made 
no eiTort to alter it in this respect, so that the book stands 
on a level, as to its style and language, with the great 
mass of books intended to influence and interest the 
mature. It ought to be so ; for to be able to understand 
such writing is necessary for all, and if the pupil is far 
enough advanced in his education to study metaphysics, 
it is high time for him to be habituated to it. Let no 
pupil therefore, after he is fairly engaged in the study, 
complain that he cannot understand the lessons. This 
is a point which ought to be settled before he begins. 

Take for instance the following passage, which may 
perhaps be considered as a fair specimen. Let the pu- 
pil read it attentively, and see whether or not he can 
fully understand it. 

" There is a class of intellectual habits directly the re- 
verse of those now referred to ; namely, habits of inatten- 
tion, by which the mind, long unaccustomed to have the at- 
tention steadily directed to any important object, becomes 
frivolous and absent, or lost amid its own waking dreams. 
A mind in this condition becomes incapable of following a 
train of reasoning, and even of observing facts with accu- 
racy and tracing their relations. Hence nothing is more 
opposed to the cultivation of intellectual character ; and 
when such a person attempts to reason, or to follow out a 
course of investigation, he falls into slight and partial views, 
unsound deductions, and frivolous arguments. This state 
of mind, therefore, ought to be carefully guarded against in 
the young, as, when it is once established, it can be removed 
only by a long and laborious effort, and after a certain pe- 
riod of life is probably irremediable. 

" In rude and savage life remarkable examples occur of 
the effect of habits of minute attention to those circumstan- 
ces to which the mmd is intensely directed by their relation 
to the safety or advantage of the observer. The American 

First qualification what ? Langua/sre of the book. Mode of ascertaining the pupil'i 
)ility to understand it. Substance of the passage quoted what ? 



hunter finds his way in the trackless forests by attention to 
minute appearances in the trees, which indicate to him the 
points of the compass. He traces the progress of his ene- 
mies or his friends by the marks of their footsteps ; and 
judges of their numbers, their baitings, their employments, 
by circumstances which would entirely escape the observa- 
tion of persons unaccustomed to a mode of life requiring 
such exercises of attention. Numerous examples of this* 
kind are mentioned by travellers, particularly among the 
original natives of Ameriea." 

The pupil may read as attentively as be pleases. He 
may make use of a dictionary, or any other similar help. 
He may make occasional inquiries of a friend ; but if he 
cannot, with sucb assistance, really understand tbe train 
of thought presented in sucb a passage, and give a tole- 
rable account of it to bis teacher, he bad better for the 
present postpone tbe study of Intellectual Philosophy : 
his mind is too immature. 

n. Mental cultivation enough to he interested in the 
subject of the ivork. The subjects discussed, and the 
views presented, are of sucb a nature, that the undisc- 
iplined can take no interest in them. They cannot 
appreciate them. Urless tbe mind has made consi- 
derable progress in its development, and in its attain- 
ments in other branches, and unless it has, in some de- 
gree, formed habits of patient attention, it must fail in 
tbe attempt to penetrate sucb a subject as this. The 
pupil, in such a case, after going a little way, will say the 
book is dull and dry. He will attribute to tbe study, or 
to the mode in which it is treated, a failure, which really 
results from bis own deficiency. He ought to reflect 
Avben tempted to make this charge, that it cannot be 
possible that tbe study is, in itself, uninteresting. This 
treatise of Dr. Abercrombie's has been bought and read 
with avidity by tens of thousands in Great Britain and 
America, who could have been led to it by no motivf? 

Second qualification. Consequences of cominenciag the study without It. The stud 
raally interesting : how proved to be so. 


whatever, but the strong interest which the subject 
inspires. They, therefore, who are not interested in it, 
after making faithful efforts, fail of being so because 
their minds are not yet prepared to appreciate what they 
read ; and by complaining of the dryness or dullness of 
the book, they are really exposing their own incompe- 
tency to enter into the spirit of it. The teacher ought 
to take care that his pupils do not commence the work, 
until they are capable of feehng the interest which it is 
calculated to awaken. 

III. A ivilUngiiess to give to the subject the severe^ 
patient^ and jmrsevering study which it demands. 
Some will wish to take up such a branch merely 
for the sake of having something new. Others be- 
cause their vanity is flattered by the idea that they are 
studying Philosophy. Others still, because they wish 
for the honor of being in a class with certain individu- 
als known as good scholars. Beginning with such 
ideas and motives, will only lead to disappointment and 
failure. The pupil ought to approach this subject with 
a distinct understanding that though it is full of inte- 
rest, it will be full of difiiculty ; that it will try, to the 
utmost, his powers ; and that the pleasure which he is 
to seek in the pnrsuit of it, is the enjoyment of high 
intellectual effort, the interest of encountering and 
overcoming difficulties, and opening to himself a new 
field of knowledge, and a new scope for the exercise of 
his powers. 

I come now to describe a method of studying and 
reciting the lessons in such a work as this. I say a 
method, because it is only meant to be proposed for 
adoption in cases where another or a better one is not 
at hand. Experienced and skilful teachers have their 
own modes of conducting such studies, and the recita- 
tions connected with them, witli which there ought to 

Complaints of its dullness show what? Third qualification. Wrong motives fo/ 
commencing the study. Proper views of it. Method of studying ^why proposed 


be no interference. The plan about to be proposed 
may, however, be of use in assisting teachers who are, 
for the first time, introducing this study to their schools ; 
and the principles on which it is based are well worthy 
the attention of every pupil who is about to commence 
tliis study. 

1. When you sit down to the study of a lesson in 
this work, be careful to be free from interruption, and 
to have such a period of time before you, to be occu- 
pied in the work, as will give you the opportunity 
really to enter into it. Then banish other thoughts 
entirely from the mind, and remove yourself as far as 
possible from other objects of interest or sources of in- 
terruption. The habit into which many young persons 
allow themselves to fall, of studying lessons in frag- 
ments of time, having the book, perhaps, for some time 
before them, but allowing their attention to be con- 
tinually diverted from their pursuit, will only lead to 
superficial and utterly useless attainments. It is de- 
structive to all those habits of mind necessary for suc- 
cess in any important intellectual pursuit. It is espe- 
cially injurious in such a study as this. Intellectual 
Philosophy is emphatically the science of thought, and 
nothing effectual can be done in it without patient, 
continued, and solitary study. 

2. Ascertain before you commence any lesson what 
place it occupies in the general plan of the book, with 
which, at the outset, you should become very thorough- 
ly acquainted. Nothing promotes so much the forma- 
tion of logical and systematic habits of mind, and no- 
thing so effectually assists the memory, in regard to 
what any particular work contains, as the keeping 
constantly in view the general plan of the book ; look- 
ing at it as a whole, and understanding distinctly, not 
merely each truth, or system of truths brought to view, 
but the place which it occupies in the general design. 

First direction. A common but faullj mode of studying described. Its effecia 
what? Second direction. Eifecta of thia practice. 


3. This preparation being made, you are prepared to 
read the lesson, which should be done, the first time, 
with great attention and care, and with especial effort 
to understand the connection between each sentence 
and paragraph, and those which precede and follow it. 
It should always be borne in mind, that treatises on 
such subjects as these, present trains of thought and 
reasoning, not mere detached ideas and sentences. 
Every remark, therefore, should be examined, not by 
itself, but in its connections. This should be especially 
observed in regard to the anecdotes and illustrations, 
with which the work abounds. The bearing of each 
one on the subject should be very carefully studied. 
They are all intended to prove some point, or to illus- 
trate some position. After reading such narratives, 
then, you should not only take care to understand it as 
a story, but should ask yourself such questions as 
these: ''Why is the story introduced here? What 
does the author mean to prove by it 7 What principle 
does it illustrate ?" 

There is, for example, in the section on Memory, a 
story of the author's seeing the wife of one of his pa- 
tients, but he couLd not think who it was, until he ac- 
cidentally passed a cottage where he had attended the 
patient, when all the circumstances came to his mind. 
This is a very simple story to read and remember, 
merely as a story. But to do that alone is only light 
reading ; it is not study at all, far less the study of the 
Philosophy of Mind. But if you inquire what the nar- 
rative is designed to illustrate, by looking back a para- 
graph or two, you will see that the subject is Memory, 
as affected by Local Association, and that this incident 
is intended to show how events were recalled to the 
memory of the author, by his coming in sight of a cot- 
tage with which they were strongly associated^ although 
all his direct efforts failed to bring them to mind. 

Third direction. Connections of the passage. Anecdotes and illustrations, how toba 
tiidied 7 Exarple. Mode of studying it? Difference between reading and study. 


Thus it illustrates a principle; and careful effort to ditf 
cover and clearly to understand the principles thus 
illustrated, is what constitutes the difference between 
merely reading a story book, and studying the Philo- 
sophy of Mind. 

The pupil, too, should avail himself of collateral helps 
in understanding the lesson. Every geographical, or 
historical, or personal allusion should be examined with 
the help of the proper books. If a distinguished indivi 
dual is mentioned, find the account of his life in a bio- 
graphical dictionary. If a place is named, seek it on 
the map. There is one other direction which I am 
sorry to say it is absolutely necessary to mention. Look 
out all the v/ords, whose meaning you do not distinctly 
and fully imderstand, in a dictionary. Strange as it 
may seem, in nine cases out of ten, a pupil in school 
will find in his lesson a sentence containing words he 
does not understand, and, perplexing himself some 
minutes with it in vain, he will go to his recitation in 
ignorance of its meaning, as if he never had heard of 
such a contrivance as a dictionary. Now the habit of 
seeking from other books explanations and assistance 
in regard to your studies is of incalculable value. It 
will cause you some additional trouble, but it will mul- 
tiply, many fold, your interest and success. 

4. After having thus read, with minute and critical 
attention, the portion assigned, the pupil should next 
take a cursory review of it, by glancing the eye over the 
paragraphs, noticing the heads, and the questions or 
topics in the margin, for the purpose of taking in, as it 
were, a view of the passage as a whole. The order of 
discussion which the author adopts, and the regular 
manner in which the several steps of an argument, or 
the several applications of a principle, succeed one an- 
other, should be carefully observed. There are the 
same reasons for doing this, in regard to any particular 
chapter, as in regard to the whole v^rork. The connec- 

Collateral helps. Examples of this. Use of dictionary. Fourth direction. Rerien 
tf the le."?soni 


tion, too, between the passage which constitutes the 
lesson, and the rest of the book, i. e. the place which it 
occupies in the plan of the author, should be brought tc 
mind again. You thus classify and arrange, in youi 
own mind, what is learned, and not only fix it more 
firmly, but you are acquiring logical habits of mind, 
which will be of lasting and incalculable value. 

5. You will thus have acquired a thorough know- 
ledge of the lesson, but this is by no means all that is 
necessary. You must learn to recite it. That is, you 
must learn to express, in your own language, the ideas 
you have thus acquired. This is a distinct and an 
important point. Nothing is more common than for 
pupils to say, when they attempt to recite in such a 
study as this, "I know the answer, but I cannot ex- 
press it;" as if the power to express was not as impor- 
tant as the ability to understand. 

The pupil then must make special preparation for this 
part of his duty, that is, for expressing in his own lan- 
guage the thoughts and principles of the author. The 
best way, perhaps, of making this preparation, is to go 
over the lesson, looking only at the topics in the margin, 
and repeating aloud, or in a whisper, or in thought, the 
substance of what is stated under each. }3e careful 
that what you say makes complete and perfect sense of 
Itself, that it is expressed in clear and natural language, 
and that it is a full exposition of the author's meaning. 

Such a study as this ought not to be recited by mere 
question and answer. Whenever the subject will allow, 
It is better for the teacher to give out a subject or topic, 
on which the pupil may express the sentiments of the 
writer. This is altogether the pleasantest, as well as 
the most useful mode of recitation. Those unaccus- 
tomed to it will, of course, find a little difficulty at first. 
But the very eifort to surmount this difficulty will be as 
useful in developing and strengthening the intellectual 
powers, as any other eff'ort which the study requires. 

Connections of the lesson. Fifth direction. Learning to recite. What implied io 
this. Common excuse. Preparation how to be made. Mstie of questioning. 


You should go over the lesson, then, for the purpose 
of reciting- it by yourself as it were, by looking at the 
marginal titles, one by one, and distinctly stating to 
yourself the substance of the author's views upon each. 
If this preparation is made, and if the recitation is con- 
ducted on the same principles, the pupils will soon find 
themselves making very perceptible and rapid progress 
in that most important art, viz. expressing their senti- 
ments with fluency, distinctness, and promptitude. 

It will be evident, from what is said above, that the 
pupil ought not to commit to memory the language of 
the author. This practice may indeed be useful in 
strengthening the memory, and in some other ways, 
but very far higher objects ought to be in view in stu- 
dying such a work as this, which will be far better at- 
tained by the pupils depending entirely on themselves 
for the language in which they express their ideas. 
To illustrate distinctly the mode of recitation intended, 
I will give a specimen. The following passage will 
serve as text. 

" Memory is very much influenced by Attention, or a 
full and distinct perception of the fact or object, with a view 
to its being remembered ; and by the perception being kept 
before the mind, in this distinct manner, for a certain time. 
The distinct recollection of the fact, in such cases, is gene- 
rally in proportion to the intensity with which it has been 
contemplated ; and this is also very much strengthened by 
its being repeatedly brought before the mind. Most peo 
pie, accordingly, have experienced that a statement is more 
strongly impressed upon the memory by being several times 
repeated to others. It is on the same principle that memo- 
ry is greatly assisted by writing down the object of our 
knowledge, especially if this be done in a distinct and sys- 
tematic manner. A subject also is more distinctly conceiv- 
ed, and more correctly remembered, after we have instructed 
another person in it. Such exercises are not strictlv to 
be considered as helps to the memory, but as excitements 
to attention ; and as thus leading to that clear and full com- 

Advantage of this mode. Committing to memory. 


prehensfon of the subject which is required for the distinct 
remembrance of it. 

" It is familiar to every one that there are great diffe- 
rences in memory, both in respect to the facility of acquire- 
ment and the power of retention. In the former, there ap- 
pear to be original differences, but a great deal also de- 
pends upon habit. In the power of retention much de- 
pends, as we shall afterwards see, upon the habit of correct 
association ; but, besides this, there are facts which seem 
to show a singular connection with the manner in which the 
acquisition was made. The following fact was communi- 
cated to me by an able and intelligent friend, who heard it 
from the individual to whom it relates. A distinguished 
theatrical performer, in consequence of the sudden illness 
of another actor, had occasion to prepare himself, on very 
short notice, for a part which was entii;ely new to him ; and 
the part was long and rather difficult. He acquired it in 
a very short time, and went through it with perfect accura- 
cy, but immediately after the performance forgot every 
word of it." 

The titles or topics in the margin, attached to this 
passage, are the following: Attention Means of se- 
curing it Differences in memory Illustration. Now 
in hearing a recitation from it, the teacher will ordina- 
rily be gaided by, hut not confined to them, as you will 
see exemplified in the following dialogue. The pupil, 
too, will use his own language, which will vary very 
considerably from that of the author, as will be per- 
ceived by a comparison. 

Teacher. The first topic is attention. 

First Pupil. The author says that it consists m 
keeping the object distinctly before the mind, for a cer- 
tain time, so that it may make a strong impression. It 
assists very much in enabling us to remember it after- 

Teacher. The best means of confining the atten- 
tion to any object ? 

Tho niar:inal titlea how to be used ? Language of the pupil in recitation. 


(Second Pupil. There are several modes; one jbi 
by repeating the thing" several times to other persons; 
another is, by writing an account of it, especially if it is 
done systematically ; a third, endeavoring to explain it 
to others. 

Teacher. How is it these methods produce the ef- 

Second Pujnl. They help us to obtain clear and 
distinct ideas, and they fix the attention for some time 
on the subject. 

Teacher. "What does he say of differences in memo- 
ry ? 

Third Piqnl. There is a great difference in diffe- 
rent individuals ; in some cases it is natural, and in 
others acquired. 

Teacher. A stor}^ is told here to illustrate this sub 

Fourth Pnpil. An actor was obliged to learn a part 
once at a very short notice, and by making a great elibrt 
he succeeded, and went through it once, but he forgot it 
immediately afterwards. 

Teacher. What is the precise point which this fact u 
intended to illustrate? 

Fourth Pupil. I did not clearly understand. 

6. After the class has, in this thorough manner, gone 
through Avith one of the divisions of the book, they 
should pause, to review it ; and the best, as well as the 
pleasantest mode of conducting a review, is to assign to 
the class some written exercises on the portion to be 
thus re-examined. These exercises may be of variouc 
kinds ; I shall, however, mention only two. 

(1.) An abstract of the chapter to be reviewed: that 
IS, a brief exposition, in writing, of the plan of the chap- 
ter, with the substance of the writer's views on each 
head. Such an abstract, though it will require some 
labor at first, will be, with a little practice, a pleasant 

Sixth direction. Review how to be conducted. First method what? lu 


exercise ; and perhaps there is nothing which so effectu- 
ally assists in digesting the knowledge which the pupil 
has obtained, and in fixing it indehbly npon the mind, 
and nothing is so conducive to accnrate logical habits 
of thought, as this writing an analysis of a scientific 
work. It may be very brief, and elliptical in its style ; 
its logical accuracy is the main point to be secured. 
By devoting a single exercise at the end of each section 
to such an exercise, a class can go on regularly through 
the book, and, with very little delay, make an abstract 
of the whole. 

(2.) Writing additional illustrations of the principles 
brought to vicAV, illustrations furnished either by the 
exTjerience or observation of the pupil, or by what he has 
read in books. For example, in the chapter on dream- 
ing, the author enumerates four or five sources of the 
ideas which come to the mind in dreams. Now the 
teacher might, after finishing that chapter, require 
each one of tne class, for the next exercise, to write an 
account of a dream, and to stat at the end of it to 
which of the classes it is to be referred. Nothing could 
more effectually familiarize the mind of the pupil with 
the principles which the chapter contains than such an 
exercise. In many cases, perhaps in nearly all, the 
dreariiS would be complex, and must be analyzed, and 
the several parts separately assigned. The effect of 
such an effort is obvious. 

There are multitudes of other subjects discussed in 
the work, equally suitable for this purpose. Wherever 
anecdotes are told, illustrating the laws of the human 
mind, the pupil can add others ; for these laws are the 
same in all minds, and are constantly in operation. 
Writing these additional illustrations, especially if they 
are derived from your own experience, will have anoth- 
er most powerful effect. They Avill turn your attention 
within, and accustom you to watch the operations, and 

Style and manner. Second mode. Example. Advantages of it. Common misuar 
itrstanding in regir 1 to the nature of thus study 


Study the laws of your own minds. Many pupils do 
not seem to understand that it is the powers and move- 
ments of the immaterial principle within their own bo- 
soms, which are the objects of investigation in such a 
science. Because illustrations are drawn from the his- 
tories of men with strange names, who lived in othei 
countries, and a half a century ago, they seem insensi- 
bly to imbibe the idea, that it is the philosophy of these 
men^s minds which they are studying, not their own. 
Now the fact is, that appeals are made to the history 
and experience of these individuals, simply because they 
are more accessible to the writers of books. A perfect 
system of Intellectual Philosophy might be written, with 
all its illustrations drawn from the thoughts and feelings 
of any single pupil in the class. The mind is in its es- 
sential laws everywhere the same ; and of course you 
can find the evidence of the existence and operation of 
all these laws in your own breasts, if you will look 
there. What you cannot, by proper research, find con- 
firmed by your own experience, or your observations 
upon those around you, is not a law of mind. 

Such is substantially the course which is recommend- 
ed to those who shall commence the study of this work. 
It will be perceived that the object of it is to make the 
study of it, if possible, not what it too often is, the mere 
mechanical repetition of answers marked and commit- 
ted to memory, but an intellectual and thorough investi- 
gation of a science. If the book is studied in this way, 
it must have a most powerful ''nfluence in cultivating 
accurate and discriminating habits, in developing intel- 
lectual power, and in storing the mind with facts of 
the most direct and practical importance, in all the con- 
nections of society, and in all the business of life. 

Its true design. General object of this introduction. 






The mind is tliat part of our being wbicli thinks and wills, 
remembers and reasons : we know nothing of it except from 
these functions. By means of the corporeal senses it holds 
intercourse with the things of the external world, and receives 
impressions from them. But of this connection also we know 
nothing but the facts ; when we attempt to speculate upon its 
nature and cause, we wander at once from the path of philo- 
sophical inquiry into conjectures which are as far beyond the 
proper sphere as they are beyond the reach of the human 
faculties. The object of true science on such a subject, there- 
fore, is simply to investigate the facts, or the relations of 
phenomena, respecting the operations of mind itself, and the 
intercourse which it carries on with the things of the external 

This important rule in the philosophy of mind has been 
fully recognised in very modern times only, so that the sci- 
ence, as a faithful interpretation of nature, may be considered 
as of recent origin. Before the period now referred to, 
the investigation was encumbered by the most fruitless 
speculations respecting the essence of mind, and other dis- 
cussions which led to no discovery of truth. It was con- 
tended, for example, that the mind cannot act where it is 

Tho mind what? Its connection with the material world? Object of true sci- 
ence ? In what sense is the scieaco rcut? Nature of formr spculatioas. 



not present, and that consequently it cannot be said to per- 
ceive external objects themselves, but only their images, 
forms, or sensible species, which were said to be conveyed 
through the senses, and represented to the mind in the same 
manner in which images are formed in a camera obscura. 
By the internal functions of mind these sensible species were 
then supposed to be refined into phantasms, the objects of 
memory and imagination ; and these, after undergoing a 
further process, became intelligible species, the objects of 
pure intellect. By a very natural application of this doc 
trine, it was maintained by bishop Berkeley and the philoso- 
phers of his school, that as the mind can perceive nothing 
but its own impressions or images, we can derive no evi- 
dence from our senses of the existence of the external world; 
and Mr. Hume carried the argument a little further, by 
maintaining that we have as little proof of the existence of 
mind, and that nothing exists in the universe except impres 
sions and ideas. Of another sect of philosophers who arose 
out of the sam.e system, each individual professed to believe 
his own existence, but would not admit the existence of any 
other being; hence they received the appropriate name of 

The various eminent individuals by whom the fallacy of 
these speculations was exposed, combated them upon the 
principle that the doctrine of ideas is entirely a fiction of 
philosophers ; and that a confidence in the information con- 
veyed to us by our senses must be considered as a first 
truth, or a fundamental law of our nature, susceptible of no 
explanation, and admitting of no other evidence than that 
which is derived from the universal conviction of mankind. 
Nor does it, to common minds, appear a slight indication of 
the validity of this mode of reasoning, that the philosophers 
who supported this theory do not appear to have acted up- 
on their own system ; but in every thing which concerned 
their personal accommodation or personal safety, showed 
the same confidence in the evidence of their senses as othei 

The deductions made from the ideal theory by Berkeley 
and Hume seem to have been applications of it which its for- 

Supposed process by which we become acquainted with external objects. Errors re 
(wtting. Berkeley's opinion? Hume's opinion? How refuted. Didtheira philcao 
pliera really believe their own system ? 


mer advocates had not contemplated. But it is a singular 
fact, as stated by Dr. Reid, that nearly all philosophers, 
from Plato to Mr. Hume, agree in maintaining that the 
mind does not perceive external things themselves, but only 
their ideas, images, or species. This doctrine was founded 
upon the maxim that mind cannot act where it is not pre- 
sent ; and we find one writer only, who, admitting the max- 
im, called in question the apj)lication of it so far as to main- 
tain that the mind, in perceiving external things, leaves the 
body, and comes into contact with the objects of its percep- 

Such speculations ought to be entirely banished from the 
science of mind, as not only useless and unprofitable, but as 
referring to things entirely beyond the reach of the human 
faculties, and therefore contrary to the first principles of 
philosophical investigation. To the same class we are to 
refer all speculations in regard to the essence of mind, the 
manner in which thought is produced, and the means by 
which the intercourse is carried on between the mind and 
external objects. These remarkable functions were at one 
time explained by an imaginary essence called the animal 
spirits, which were supposed to be in constant motion, per- 
forming the office of messengers between the brain and the 
organs of sense. By another class of philosophers, of no 
very ancient date, thinking was ascribed to vibrations in 
the particles of the brain. The communication of percep- 
tions from the senses to the mind has been accounted for in 
the same manner by the motions of the nervous fluid, by vi- 
brations of the nerves, or by a subtile essence, resembling 
electricity or galvanism. The mind, again, has been com- 
pared to a camera obscura, to a mirror, and to a storehouse. 
In opposition, however, to all such hypotheses, which are 
equally incapable either of proof or of refutation, our duty 
is to keep steadily in view, that the objects of true science 
are facts alone, and the relations of these facts to each oth- 
er. The mind can be compared to nothing in nature ; it 
has been endowed by its Creator with a power of perceiving 
external things ; but the manner in which it does so is en- 
tirely beyond our comprehension. All attempts, therefore, 

Dr Reid's statement? Foundation of this doctrine. Author's opinion of such 
peculations ) Theory of animal ej irita. Thoor/ of vibrations. Various other th- 


to explain or illustrate its operations by a reference to any 
thing else, can be considered only as vain and futile. They 
are endeavors to establish a resemblance where there is 
not a vestige of an analogy ; and consequently they can 
lead to no useful result. It is only by a rigid adherence to 
this course of investigation that we can expect to make any 
progress in true knowledge, or to impart to our inquiries in 
any department of science the characters either of truth or 

The ideal theory, with all the doctrines founded upon it, 
may now be considered as gone by. But certain specula- 
tions are still occasionally brought out by writers of a par- 
ticular order, which are referable to the same class, name- 
ly, hypotheses which are to be treated, not merely as un- 
sound, but as being, by their very nature, directly opposed 
to the first principles of philosophical inquiry: Among 
these, the most prominent is the doctrine of materialism, of 
which it may be advisable to take a slight view in the com- 
mencement of this essay. On the principles which have 
been referred to, the following considerations may be sub- 
mitted as bearing upon the subject. 

The term matter is a name which we apply to a certain 
combination of properties, or to certain substances which 
are solid, extended, and divisible, and which are known to 
us only by these properties. The term mind, in the same 
manner, is a name which we apply to a certain combina- 
tion of functions, or to a certain power which we feel with- 
in, which thinks, and wills, and reasons ; and is known to 
us only by these functions. The former we know only by 
our senses, the latter only by our consciousness. In regard 
to their essence or occult qualities, we know quite as little 
about matter as we do about mind ; and in as far as our ut- 
most conception of them extends, we have no ground for 
believing that they have any thing in common. 

It is highly important that the pupil should entertain clear ideas 
of the distinction between the essence and the properties of bodies. 
Take, for an example to illustrate this, an orange. It has a peculiar 
color. This color is one of its properties. Imagine this to be taken 
away. It has taste, which is another property. Remove this also. 

Proper view of the nature of mind ? Doctrine of n alerialism. Reason for alluding 
to It, Proper applications of the terma' matter and mind? Distinction between e- 
ftnc and properties ? Illustrati^" 


It has solidity ; that is, it can be felt. Imagine, though it is diffi 
cult 10 do so, this property to be removed, so that the hand would 
pass through it without meeting with any resistance, as if it were a 
shadow, or an optical deception. Suppose that, in the same way, all 
other properties are removed, viz./orw?, smell rjeisht, &c. What would 
at last be left ? Is there an unknown somethmg, around which all 
these properties cluster ? To this something, the term essence is applied. 
Now all of which w? have, or can have any real knowledge, is the 
properties, both in the case of matter and mind. 

The true object of philosophy is simply to investigate the 
facts in regard to both ; and materialism is not to be view- 
ed only as unsound reasoning, but as a logical absurdity, 
and a total misconception of the first principles of philoso- 
phical inquiry. Does the materialist tell us that the princi- 
ple Avhich thinks is material, or the result of organization, 
we have only to ask him what light he expects to throw 
upon the subject by such an assertion ? For the principle 
which thinks is known to us only by thinking; and the sub- 
stances which are solid and extended are known to us only 
by their solidity and extension. When we say of the for- 
mer that it is immaterial, we simply express the fact that it 
is known to us by properties altogether distinct from the 
properties to which we have given the name of matter, and, 
as far as we know, has nothing in common with them. Be- 
yond these properties, we know as little about matter as 
we do about mind ; so that materialism is scarcely less ex- 
travagant than would be the attempt to explain any phe- 
nomenon by referring it to some other altogether distinct 
and dissimilar ; to say, for example, that color is a modifi- 
cation of sound, or gravity a species of fermentation. The 
assertion, indeed, would be fully as plausible, and calculat- 
ed to throw as much light upon the subject, were a person 
anxious to explain the nature of matter, to tell us that it is 
the result of a particular manifestation of mind. Something 
analogous to this, in fact, seems to be the foundation of the 
theory of Boscovich, who conceives all bodies to consist of 
uncxtended atoms or mathematical points endowed with a 
certain power of repulsion, and consequently makes the es- 
sence of matter to consist merely in the property of resist- 
ance. We have, in truth, the same kind of evidence for 

True philosophy what ? Its principles violated by materialists how ? Theory of 
Boscorich. Nature of the evidence of the existence both of matter and mind. 



the existence of mind that we have for the existence of mat- 
ter, namely, from its properties ; and of the two, the former 
appears to be the least liable to deception. " Of all the 
truths we know," says Mr. Stewart, " the existence of mind 
is the most certain. Even the system of Berkeley concern- 
ing the non-existence of matter is far more conceivable than 
that nothing but matter exists in the universe." 

A similar mode of reasoning may be applied to the modi- 
fication of materialism more prevalent in modern times, by 
which mind is considered as a result of organization, or, in 
other words, a function of the brain ; and upon which has 
been founded the conclusion, that, like our bodily senses, it 
will cease to be when the bodily frame is dissolved. The 
brain, it is true, is the centre of that influence on which de- 
pend sensation and motion. There is a remarkable con- 
nection between this organ and the manifestations of mind ; 
and by various diseases of the brain these manifestations 
are often modified, impaired, or suspended. We shall af- 
terward see that these results are very far from being uni- 
form ; but even if they were uniform, the facts would war- 
rant no such conclusion respecting the nature of mind ; for 
they accord equally with the supposition that the brain is 
the organ of communication between the mind and the ex- 
ternal world. When the materialist advances a single step 
beyond this, he plunges at once into conclusions which are 
entirely gratuitous and unwarranted. We rest nothing 
more upon this argument than that these conclusions are 
unwarranted ; but we might go further than this, and con- 
tend that the presumption is clearly on the other side, when 
we consider the broad and obvious distinction which exists 
between the peculiar phenomena of mind and those func- 
tions which are exercised through the means of bodily or- 
ganization. They do not admit of being brought into com- 
parison, and have nothing in common. The most exquis- 
ite of our bodily senses &re entirely dependent for their ex- 
ercise upon impressions from external things. We see not 
without the presence both of light and a body reflecting it ; 
and if we could suppose light to be annihilated, though the 
eye were to retain its perfect condition, sight would be ex- 
Modem materialism ? Conrection of the miad with tiie brain. Dependence of the 
enses on external objacts. 


tinguished. But mind owns no such dependence on exter- 
nal things, except in the origin of its knowledge in regard 
to them. When this knowledge has once been acquired it 
is retained and recalled at pleasure ; and mind exercises 
its various functions without any dependence upon impres- 
sions from the external world. That which has long ceas- 
ed to exist is still distinctly before it, or is recalled after 
having been long forgotten, in a manner even still more 
wonderful ; and scenes, deeds, or beings, which never ex- 
isted, are called up in long and harmonious succession, in- 
vested with all the characters of truth, and all the vividness 
of present existence. The mind remembers, conceives, 
combines, and reasons ; it loves, and fears, and hopes, in 
the total absence of any impression from without that can 
influence in the smallest degree these emotions ; and we 
have the fullest conviction that it would continue to exer- 
cise the same functions in undiminished activity, though all 
material things were at once annihilated. 

This argument, indeed, may be considered as only nega- 
tive, but this is all that the subject admits of. For when we 
endeavor to speculate directly on the essence of mind, we 
are immediately lost in perplexity, in consequence of our 
total ignorance of the subject, and the use of terms borrow- 
ed from analogies with material things. Hence the unsa- 
tisfactory nature of every physiological or metaphysical ar- 
gument respecting the essence of mind, arising entirely from 
the attempt to reason on the subject in a manner of which 
it is not susceptible. It admits not of any ordinary pro- 
cess of logic, for the facts on which it rests are the objects 
of consciousness only ; and the argument must consist in an 
appeal to the consciousness of every man, that he feels a 
power within totally distinct from any function of the body. 
What other conception than this can he form of that pow- 
er by which he recalls the past, and provides for the fu- 
ture ; by which he ranges uncontrolled from world to world, 
and from system to system ; surveys the works of all-creat- 
mg power, and rises to the contemplation of the eternal 
Cause ? To what function of matter shall he liken that 
principle by which he loves and fears, and joys and sor 

Independence of the mind. Examples. Inference from tliia. Essence of mind. 
Worth of reasoning about it. Real foundation of our belief that the soul is distiuct 
"Voni the body ? 


rows ; by which he is elevated with hope, excited by en* 
thusiasm, or sunk into the horrors of despair ? These chan 
ges also he feels, in many instances, to be equally indepen 
dent of impressions from without, and of the condition of 
his bodily frame. In the most peaceful state of every cor- 
poreal function, passion, remorse, or anguish may rage 
within ; and while the body is racked by the most frightful 
diseases, the mind may repose in tranquillity and hope. He 
is taught by physiology that every part of his body is in a 
constant state of change, and that within a certain period 
every particle of it is renewed. But, amid these changes, 
he feels that the being whom he calls himself, remains es- 
sentially the same. In particular, his remembrance of the 
occurrences of his early days he feels to be totally incon- 
eistent with the idea of an impression made upon a material 
organ, unless he has recourse to the absurdity of supposing 
that one series of particles, as they departed, transferred the 
picture to those which came to occupy their room. 

If the being, then, which we call mind or soul be, to the 
utmost extent of our knowledge, thus dissimilar to, and dis- 
tinct from, any thing that we know to be a result of bodily 
organization, what reason have we to believe that it should 
be affected by any change in the arrangement of material 
organs, except in so far as relates to its intercourse with this 
external world? The effects of that change which we call 
the death of an animal body are nothing more than a change 
in the arrangement of its constituent elements ; for it can 
be demonstrated, on the strictest principles of chemistry, 
that not one particle of these elements ceases to exist. 
We have, in fact, no conception of annihilation ; and out 
ivhole experience is opposed to the belief that one atom 
ivhich ever existed has ceased to exist. There is, there- 
fore, as Dr. Brown has well remarked, in the very decay 
of the body, an analogy which would seem to indicate the 
continued existence of the thinking principle, since that 
which we term decay is itself only another name for con- 
tinued existence. To conceive, then, that any thing men- 
tal ceases to exist after death, when we know that every 
thing corporeal continues to exist, is a gratuitous assump- 

Evidence of consciousness. The feelings of the mind in many cnsea independent ot 
bodily changes. Effect of death on the soul ? Dr. Brown's remark. 


tion, contrary to every rule of philosophical inquiry, and in 
direct opposition, not only to all the facts relating to mind 
itself, but even to the analogy which is furnished by the 
dissolution of the bodily frame. 

To this mode of reasoning it has been objected, that it 
would go to establish an immaterial principle in the lower 
animals, which in them exhibits many of the phenomena of 
mind. I have only to answer, be it so. There are in the 
lower animals many of the phenomena of mind ; and, with 
regard to these, we also contend, that they are entirely 
distinct from any thing we know as the properties of mat- 
ter, which is all that we mean, or can mean, by being im- 
material. There are other principles superadded to mate- 
rial things, of the nature of which we are equally ignorant ; 
such, for example, as the principle of vegetable life, and 
that of animal life. To say that these are properties of 
matter is merely arguing about a term ; for what we mean 
by matter is something which is solid, extended, ad divisi- 
ble. That these properties are, in certain individuals, com- 
bined with simple or vegetable life, in others, with anima^ 
life, that is, life and the powers of sensation and motion, 
and in others with animal life, and certain of those proper- 
ties which we call mind, are all facts equally beyond our 
comprehension. For any thing we know, they may all 
be immortal principles ; and for any thing we know, mat- 
ter itself may be immortal. The simple truth is, that we 
know nothing on the subject ; and while, on the one hand, 
we have no title to assume an essence to be mortal because 
it possesses only the properties of matter ; neither, on the 
other hand, have we any right to infer an essence to be im- 
mortal, because it possesses properties different from those 
of matter. We talk, indeed, about matter, and we talk 
about mind; we speculate concerning materiality and im- 
materiality, until we argue ourselves into a kind of belief 
that we really understand something of the subject. The 
truth is that we understand nothing. Matter and mind are 
known to us by certain properties ; these properties are 
quite distinct from each other; but in regard to both, it is 
entirely out of the reach of our faculties to advance a 
single step beyond the facts which are before us. Whether 

Objection to this reasoning ? Answer ? Mental phenomena in the lower aniniala 
Other principles. Our knowledge limited to whai ? 


in their substratum or ultimate essence they are the same, 
or whether they are different, we know not, and never can 
know in our present state of being. Let us, then, be satis- 
fied with the facts, w^hen our utmost faculties can carry us 
no farther ; let us cease to push our feeble speculations, 
when our duty is only to wonder and adore. 

These considerations, while they are directly opposed to 
the crude conclusions of the materialist, also serve to show 
us how much the subject is removed beyond our limited 
faculties ; and it is not on such speculations, therefore, that 
we rest the evidence for a future state of being. We know 
nothing of the nature or the essence of mind ; but whatever 
may be its essence, and whatever may be the nature and 
extent of that mysterious connection which the Deity has 
established between it and our bodily organization, these 
points have no reference whatever to the great question of 
Its future existence. This is a principle which seems to 
have been too much lost sight of in the discussion of this 
subject, namely, that our speculations respecting the inrjna- 
teriality of the rational human soul have no influence on 
our belief of its immortality. This momentous truth rests 
on a species of evidence altogether different, which address- 
es itself to the moral constitution of man. It is found in 
those principles of his nature by which he feels upon his 
spirit the aw^e of a God, and looks forward to the future 
with anxiety or with hope ; by which he knows to distin- 
guish truth from falsehood, and evil from good, and has 
forced upon him the conviction that he is a moral and re- 
sponsible being. This is the power of conscience, that 
monitor within which raises its voice in the breast of every 
man, a witness for his Creator. He who resigns himself to 
its guidance, and he who repels its warnings, are both com- 
pelled to acknowledge its power ; and, whether the good 
man rejoices in the prospect of immortality, or the victim ot 
remorse withers beneath an influence unseen by human eye, 
and shrinks from the anticipation of a reckoning to come, 
each has forced upon him a conviction, such as argument 
never gave, that the being which is essentially himself is 
distinct from any function of the body, and will survive in 

Immortality of the soul. Real evidence of it what? Conscience. Irrssialibls coo 
vktion on thia subject. 


undiminished vigor when the body shall have fallen into 

When, indeed, we take into the inquiry the high princi- 
ples of moral obligation, and the moral government of the 
Deity, this important truth is entirely independent of all our 
feeble speculations on the essence of mind. For though we 
were to suppose, with the materialist, that the rational soul 
of man is a mere chemical combination, which, by the dis- 
solution of its elements, is dissipated to the four winds of 
heaven, where is the improbability that the Power which 
framed the wondrous compound may collect these elements 
again, and combine them anew, for the great purposes of his 
moral administration ? In our speculations on such a mo- 
mentous subject, we are too apt to be influenced by our con- 
ceptions of the powers and properties of physical things; 
but there is a point where this principle must be abandoned, 
and where the soundest philosophy requires that we take 
along with us a full recognisance of the power of God. 

There is thus, in the consciousness of every man, a deep 
-impression of continued existence. The casuist may rea- 
son against it till he bewilder himself in his own sophis- 
tries; but a voice within gives the lie to his vain specula- 
tions, and pleads with authority for a life which is to come. 
The sincere and humble inquirer cherishes the impression, 
while he seeks for farther light on a subject so momentous ; 
and he thus receives, with absolute conviction, the truth 
which beams upon him from the revelation of God, that 
the mysterious part of his being, which thinks, and wills 
tnd reasons, shall indeed survive the wreck of its mortal 
tenement, and is destined for immortality. 

Does materialism, if admitted disprove immortality ? How illustrated Cq 
ludlug remarks. 




Among wT-iters on the science of mind, there was former- 
ly much controversy in regard to the origin of our ideas. 
Some maintained that they are derived entirely from per- 
ception, that is, through the external senses ; others con- 
sidered them as arising partly from perception and partly 
from consciousness, or reflection ; and some added a third 
class, which they called innate ideas, and which were sup- 
posed to exist in the mind itself, independently of and prior 
to the exercise either of perception or reflection. This 
phraseology had its origin in the ancient theory of ideas, 
according to which something was supposed to exist dis- 
tinct both from the mind and the external object of its per- 
ception. This, as we have formerly seen, was what phi- 
losophers meant by an idea. It was believed to be the im- 
mediate object of the mind's perception, but to be only a kind 
of image or representative of the object perceived. This 
hypothesis, which kept its place in the science of mind till a 
verjr recent period, is now generally admitted to have been 
a fiction* of philosophers ; and the phraseology respecting 
ideas is abandoned by the best practical writers ; because, 
though the ancient doctrine be exploded, and the term may 
be used only in a figurative sense, it still seems to imply 
something existing in the mind distinct from the mind itself. 
The impressions derived from external things are therefore 
to be considered as the occasions on which the various pow- 
ers of the mind are brought into action. These powers 
themselv^es then become the objects of consciousness or re- 
flection, and by their further exercise we acquire certain no- 
tions which arise out of the mental operations. This doc- 
trine gives no encouragement to the scheme of materialism, 
for it is clear that we cannot remember till we are furnish- 

Different opiniona. Ancient theory of ideaa ^what? Present opinion of this theory 
Modern view \Yhat ? 


ed with some fact to be remembered ; but this can never 
be supposed to affect our belief in the existence of the pow- 
er of memory before the fact was so furnished. If we could 
suppose the case^of a man who had lived all his life in the 
dark, he certainly could not see, but we should not say that 
the admission of light imparted to him the power of vision ; 
^t only furnished the circumstances which gave occasion to 
the exercise of yight. It has accordingly been shown by 
Mr. Stewart, that though we may not be conscious of our 
mental powers till they are called into action, yet this may 
arise from the most simple sensation, such as affords no 
evidence of the properties, or even of the existence of the 
material world. 

Through the senses, then, we acquire a knowledge 
of the facts relating to external things. The mental pro- 
cesses thus brought into action then become the subjects of 
consciousness, and we acquire a knowledge of the facts re- 
lating to them. By a further exercise of these powers on 
various facts referring to both matter and mind, we acquire 
certain notions arising out of our reflection upon the rela- 
tions of these facts, such as our notions of time, motion, 
number, cause and effect, and personal identity ; and we 
acquire, further, the impression of certain fundamental laws 
of belief, which are not referable to any process of reason- 
ing, but are to be considered as a part of our constitution, 
or a spontaneous and instinctive exercise of reason in eve- 
ry sound mind. 

The origin of our knowledge then is referable, in a philo- 
sophical point of view, to perception and reflection. But, 
in point of fact, the knowledge which is acquired by an in- 
dividual through his own perception and reflection is but a 
small part of what he possesses ; much of the knowledge 
possessed by every one is acquired through the perceptions 
of other men. In an essay, therefore, which s intended to 
be entirely practical, I shall include this last d(;partment un- 
der the head of Testimony. The division of this part of 
the subject will therefore be, 

1. Sensation and Perception. 

2. Consciousness and Reflection. 
S. Testimony. 

lUuslralion. Knowledge of external thing3--how acquired? Of their 
1'wo fmrep3 ) Additional source. Summary* 




We know nothing of perception except the fact that cor- 
tain impressions made upon the organs of sense convey to 
the mind a knowledge of the properties of external things. 
Some of the older speculations on this subject have already 
been referred to. In these the mind was compared to a 
camera obscura, and the transmission of the forms or ima- 
ges of things to it from the organs of sense was explained 
by the motion of the animal spirits, or the nervous fluid, or 
by vibrations in the substance of the nerves. All such 
speculations are now dismissed from the investigation, being 
considered as attempts to penetrate into mysteries which are 
beyond the reach of the human faculties, and consequently 
not the legitimate objects of a philosophical inquiry. 

Our first knowledge of the existence and properties of the 
material world is evidently of a complex nature. It seems 
to arise from the combined action of several senses, convey- 
ing to us the general notion of certain essences which are 
Bolid and extended, or possessed of those properties which 
characterize material things. Without this general know- 
ledge previously acquired, our various senses acting indi- 
vidually could convey to us no definite notion of the pro- 
perties of external things. A smell, that is, a mere odor, 
for example, might be perceived by us, but would convey 
nothing more than the sensation simply. It could not com- 
municate the impression of this being a property of an ex- 
ternal body, until we had previously acquired a knowledge 
of the existence of that body, and had come by observation 
to associate the sensation with the body from which it pro- 
ceeds. The same holds true of the other senses ; and wo 
are thus led at the very first step of our mquiry to a com- 
plicated process of mind without which our mere sensa- 
tions could convey to us no definite knowledge. 

Having thus acquired a knowledge of the existence and 

Former theorieg. How now considered ? Firat knowledge how obtained ? Sue- 
vwiing steps what ? 


general properties of material things, we next derive from 
our various senses a knowledge of their more minute cha- 
racters. These are generally divided into primary and se- 
condary. The primary qualities of material things are 
such as are essential, and must at all times belong to mat- 
ter ; such as solidity and extension. These properties ne- 
cessarily convey to us a conviction of something existing 
out of the mind, and distinct from its own sensations. The 
secondary qualities, again, are color, temperature, smell, 
taste, &c. These are not essential properties of matter, 
but qualities producing sensations in a sentient being ; they 
may or they may not belong to any particular body, or they 
may be attached to it at one time and not at another. 
Hence they convey to us primarily no definite notion in re- 
gard to the existence or properties of external things, ex- 
cept, as Mr. Stewart expresses it, " as the unknown cause 
of a known sensation." One of the quibbles or paradoxes 
of the scholastic philosophy was, denying the real exist- 
ence of these secondary qualities of matter. Every one is 
familiar with the humorous account given in the " Guardi- 
an " of the attainments of a youth from college, and his dis- 
play of them when on a visit to lady Lizard, his mother. 
'* When the girls were sorting a set of knots he would de- 
monstrate to them that all the ribands were of the same 
color, or rather of no color at all. My lady Lizard her- 
self, though she was not a little pleased with her son's im- 
provement, was one day almost angry with him ; for, hav- 
ing accidentally burnt her fingers as she was lighting the 
lamp for her teapot, in the midst of her anguish Jack laid 
hold of the opportunity to instruct her that there is no such 
thing as heat in the fire." Such speculations, which were 
at one time common in the schools of philosophy, had their 
origin wholly in an abuse of terms. The term heat, for 
example, has two meanings, which are quite distinct from 
each other. It means a sensation produced in a sentient 
being, and in this sense it may be said with truth that there 
Is no heat in fire ; but it means also a quality in material 
(substances capable of producing this sensation, and it is in 
this sense that we speak of heat as a property of matter. 

Classification of qualities. Definitions. Extract given in the Guardian. 


Notwithstanding this explanation of the different senses in which 
ihe word heat is used, many persons find it difficult to understand that 
there is any sense in which it can be said with truth that there is no 
heat in fire. But a little reflection will make it plain. 

If a man puts his hand among coals he feels a burning, painful sen- 
sation, which we call heat. Now when it is said there is no heat in 
fire, the meaniuff is that there is no such burning, painful sensation. 
And certainly no one can suppose that there is. There cannot te si/f- 
fering in tne fire, or even any feeling of warmth, or sensation of any 
kind^j and it is in this sense alone that the word is used, when the exis 
tence of heat in the fire is denied. So with all the other secondary 
qualities. Smells, tastes, sounds, &c. are a\\ feelings in us. The ex- 
ternal objects themselves cannot have these feelings, or any other* 
They have some peculiarity or property which excites these feelings 
in us, but not the feelings or sensations themselves. 

The process by which we acquire a knowledge of exter- 
nal things is usually divided into two stages, namely, sen- 
sation and perception ; the former implying the corporeal, 
the latter the mental part of it. Others apply the term per- 
ception to both ; and, according to Dr. Brown, sensation is 
the simple impression made upon the organs of sense ; per- 
ception is an association formed between this impression 
and an external substance which we have ascertained to be 
concerned in producing it. Our senses, by which this 
knowledge is acquired, are generally reckoned five, viz : 
sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Dr. Brown pro- 
poses to add our muscular frame, and apparently with good 
reason ; for there seems ground for believing that it is by 
resistance to muscular action that we acquire the notion of 
solidity, and that this could not be acquired by touch alone. 

Our first impression of the existence and solidity of ma- 
terial objects, then, seems to be derived from touch combin- 
ed with muscular resistance ; and at the same time we ac- 
quire the knowledge of temperature, roughness or smooth- 
ness, &c. There has been some difference of opinion in 
regard to the manner in which we acquire the notion of ex- 
tension, including figure and magnitude. It is evident that 
it cannot be acquired from touch alone ; but it may be ac- 
quired from touch combined with muscular motion, as when 
we move the hand over the surface of a body. This, how- 
ever, includes also the idea of time, for our notion of the 
extent of a surface when the hand moves over it is very 

Explanation. Secondary qualities; Iheir nature? Distinction between sensation 
aatl ptirception. Number of tlw senses. First notions how ol)taineil 7 



much influenced by the velocity with which the motion is 
made. Hence time has been supposed by some to be one 
of our very earliest impressions, and antecedent even to the 
notion of extension or space. It is probable, however, that 
the notion of extension may also be acquired in a more sim- 
ple manner from the combined operation of touch and vi- 
sion. If this opinion be correct, it will follow that our first 
knowledge of the existence and essential properties of ma- 
terial things is derived from the combined operation of 
sight, touch, and muscular action. 

With regard to all our senses, however, the truth seems 
to be, that the first notions conveyed by them are of a very 
limited and imperfect kind ; and that our real knowledge is 
acquired only after considerable observation and experi- 
ence, in the course of which the impressions of one sense 
are corrected and assisted by those of others, and by a pro- 
cess of mind acting upon the whole. The primary objects 
of vision, for example, seem to be simply light or color and 
expansion. But the judgments which we are in the daily 
habit of forming upon vision are of a much more extensive 
kind, embracing also distance, magnitude, and what has 
been called tangible figure, such as the figure of a cube or 
a sphere. This last, it is evident, cannot be considered as 
a primary object of vision, but as entirely the result of ex- 
perience derived from the sense of touch; for we never 
could have formed any conception of the figure of a cube 
or a sphere by vision alone. Distance and magnitude, also, 
are evidently not the primary objects of vision ; for persons 
who have been suddenly cured of congenital blindness, by 
the operation for cataract, have no conception of the dis- 
tance or magnitude of objects ; they perceive only simple 
expansion of surface with color. Our judgment of distance 
and magnitude by vision, therefore, is an acquired habit, 
founded upon the knowledge which we have received by 
other means of the properties of the objects. Accordingly, 
it is familiar to every one, that we have no idea of the dis- 
tance of an object, except we have some notion of its magni- 
tude ; nor, on the other hand, of its magnitude, except we 
have some knowledge of its distance. The application of 

First notions derived from the senses. Primary objects of vision T Ideas of distance 
%nt magnitude how obtained? Connection of these ideas 


this principle is also familiar in perspective drawing, in 
which the diminished size of known objects is made to con- 
vey the notion of distance. On the same principle, known 
objects seen through a telescope do not appear to be mag- 
nified, but to be brought nearer. In the same manner with 
regard to sounds ; we have no idea of their intensity, ex- 
cept we have some notion of their distance, and vice versa, 
A given degree of sound, for example, if we believed it to 
have been produced in the next room, we might conclude 
to proceed from the fall of some trifling body ; but if we 
supposed it to be at the distance of several miles, we should 
immediately conclude that it proceeded from a tremendous 

In regard to certain small distances, however, there is a 
power of judging by sight alone; and it appears to arise 
out of the degree of inclination which is given to the axis 
of vision in directing the two eyes to the object. Thus, in 
snufhng a candle, or carrying the finger to a small object 
within arm's length, it will be found that we are very apt 
to miss it if we look with one eye only, but can touch it 
with unerring certainty when both eyes are directed to it. 

This experiment may be easily tried. Hold some small object, a 
lead pencil for instance, with the point upwards at the distance of 
about a foot from the eye. Then, with one eye closed, endeavor to 
bring the end of the finger down exactly upon the point of the pencil. 
It will be found quite difficult to do it exactly, though with both eyes 
open it will be easy. 

It appears to be on the same principle that we enjoy in a 
greater degree the deception produced by a painting, when 
we look at it with one, eye, especially if we also look through 
a tube. By the former we cut off the means of correcting 
the illusion by the direction of the axis of vision ; and by 
the latter we remove the influence of all neighboring ob- 
jects. It is impossible to determine the precise distance to 
which we can extend this power of judging of distance by 
the inclination of the axis of vision, but it does not appear 
to be great ; and in regard to all greater distances, the judg- 
ment by vision is evidently an acquired habit, arising out of 
such a mental exercise as has now been referred to. 

Intensity and distance of eound Small distances judged of by sight alone. Expert 
meat wiih paintings. 


There are some other circumstances, also, the result of 
experience, by which we are greatly influenced in all such 
cases, particularly the degree of illumination of the objects, 
and the degree of distinctness of their outline and minute 
parts. Thus, in a picture, distant objects are represented 
as faintly illuminated, and with indistinctness of outline and 
minute parts ; and vice versa. On this principle, objects 
seen through a fog, or in obscure light, are apt to appear 
much larger than they really are ; because, in the mental 
process which takes place in regard to them, we first as- 
sume them to be distant, from their imperfect outline and 
faint illumination, and then, judging from this assumed dis- 
tance, we conclude them to be of great size. On the other 
hand, objects seen in an unusually clear state of the at- 
mosphere appear nearer than they really are, from the 
greater distinctness of their outline. In our judgment of 
distance by sight, we are also greatly influenced by the eye 
resting on intermediate objects ; and hence the difficulty of 
judging of distances at sea. A striking illustration of the 
same principle is furnished by captain Parry, in regard to 
objects seen across a uniform surface of snow. " We had 
frequent occasion, in our walks on shore, to remark the 
deception which takes place in estimating the distance and 
magnitude of objects, when viewed over an unvaried sur- 
face of snow. It was not uncommon for us to direct our 
steps towards what we took to be a large mass of stone, at 
the distance of half a mile from us, but which we were able 
to take up in our hands after one minute's walk. This was 
more particularly the case when ascending the brow of a 
hill." Captain Parry adds, that this deception did not be- 
come less on account of the frequency with which its effects 
were experienced ; and a late writer has used this as an 
objection to the doctrine lately referred to, respecting the 
influence of experience on our judgment of distance by vi- 
sion. But this is evidently founded on a misconception of 
the effect of experience in such cases. Captain Parry could 
mean only, that he did not acquire the power of judging of 
the distance or magnitude of unknown objects. Had he 
been approaching an object by which he had once been de- 
Effects of distance what? Illustration from Parry 'a Journal. The deception noi 
iiminished by experience. Reason 


ceived, knowing it to be the same, he would not have been 
deceived a second time; but, judging from its known mag- 
nitude, would have inferred its distance. Thus the result of 
experience is to enable us to judge of the distance of an ob- 
ject of known magnitude, or of the magnitude of an object 
at a knoAvn distance; but, in regard to objects of which 
both the distance and magnitude are unknown, it teaches 
us only not to trust the indications of vision. 

In our judgment of vision by the magnitude of objects 
again, we are much influenced by comparison with other 
objects, the magnitude of which is supposed to be known. 
I remember once having occasion to pass along Ludgate 
Hill, when the great door of St. Paul's was open, and seve- 
ral persons were standing in it. They appeared to be very 
little children ; but, on coming up to them, were found to 
be full-grown persons. In the mental process which here 
took place, the door had been assumed as a known magni- 
tude, and the other objects judged of by it. Had I attend- 
ed to the door being much larger than any door that one is 
in the habit of seeing, the mind would have made allow- 
ance for the apparent size of the persons ; and, on the other 
hand, had these been known to be full-grown persons, a 
judgment would have been formed of the size of the door. 
On the same principle, travellers visiting the pyramids of 
Egypt have repeatedly remarked, how greatly the notion of 
their magnitude is increased by a number of large animals, 
as camels, being assembled at their base. 

There is something exceedingly remarkable in the man- 
ner in which loss or diminution of one sense is followed by 
increase of the intensity of others, or rather, perhaps, by 
an increased attention to the indications of other senses. 
Blind persons acquire a wonderful delicacy of touch ; in 
some cases, it is said, to the extent of distinguishing colors. 
Mr. Saunderson, the blind mathematician, could distinguish 
by his hand, in a series of Roman medals, the true from the 
counterfeit, with a more unerring discrimination than the 
eye of a professed virtuoso ; and, when he was present at 

What is really gained by experience. Influence of comparison in judgment by vision. 
Ilustration. Explanation. Itlustration from the pyramids. Effect of the loss or dimi- 
nution of a sense. Examplea. Saundersoot 


the astronomical observations in the garden of his college, 
he was accustomed to perceive every cloud which passed 
over the sun. This remarkable power, which has some- 
times been referred to an increased intensity of particular 
senses, in many cases evidently resolves itself into an in* 
creased habit of attention to the indications of all those 
senses which the individual retains. Two instances have 
been related to me of blind men who were much esteemed as 
judges of horses. One of these, in giving his opinion of a 
horse, declared him to be blind, though this had escaped 
the observation of several persons who had the use of their 
eyes, and who were with some difficulty convinced of it. 
Being asked to give an account of the principle on which 
he had decided, he said it was by the sound of the horse's 
step in walking, which implied a peculiar and unusual cau- 
tion in his manner of putting down his feet. The other 
individual, in similar circumstances, pronounced a horse to 
be blind of one eye, though this had also escaped the obser- 
vation of those concerned. When he was asked to explain 
the facts on which he founded his judgment, he said he felt 
the one eye to be colder than the other. It is related of 
the late Dr. Moyse, the well-known blind philosopher, that 
he could distinguish a black dress on his friends by its smell ; 
and there seems to be good evidence that blind persons have 
acquired the power of distinguishing colors by the touch. 
In a case of this kind, mentioned by Mr. Boyle, the indi- 
vidual stated that black imparted to his sense of touch the 
greatest degree of asperity, and blue the least. Dr. Rush 
relates of two blind young men, brothers, of the city of 
Philadelphia, that they knew when they approached a post 
m walking across a street, by a peculiar sound which the 
ground under their feet emitted in the neighborhood of the 
post ; and that they could tell the names of a number of 
tame pigeons, with which they amused themselves in a lit- 
tle garden, by only hearing them fly over their heads. I 
have known several instances of persons affected with that 
extreme degree of deafness which occurs in the deaf and 
dumb, who had a peculiar susceptibility to particular kinds 

Two blind men. Dr. Moyse Instances adduced by Dr. Rush. Certain sounds p*f 
%ived hy the dea 


of sounds, depending apparently upon an impression com- 
municated to their organs of touch or simple sensation. 
They could tell, for instance, the approach of a carriage in 
the street, without seeing it, before it was taken notice of by 
persons who had the use of all their senses. An analogous 
fact is observed in the habit acquired by the deaf and dumb, 
of understanding what is said to them by watching the mo- 
tion of the lips of the speaker. Examples still more won- 
derful are on record, but certainly require confirmation. A 
story, for instance, has lately been mentioned in some of the 
medical journals, of a gentleman in France who lost every 
sense, except the feeling of one side of his face ; yet it is 
said that his family acquired a method of holding communi- 
cation with him, by tracing characters upon the part which 
retained its sensation. 

Much ingenuity has been bestowed upon attempts to ex- 
plain how, with two eyes, we see only one object , and why 
that object is seen erect, when we know that the image on 
the retina is inverted. All that need be said upon the sub- 
ject, and all that can properly be said, appears to be, that 
such is the constitution of our nervous system. It is on the 
same principle, that by the sense of touch, in which may be 
concerned a thousand or ten thousand distinct points of con- 
tact, we receive the impression of only one body ; or, what 
perhaps may appear a more strictly analogous case, we re- 
ceive the impression of but one body, though we grasp the 
substance with two hands, or with ten distinct fingers. For 
the healthy perception in both these cases, however, a cer- 
tain arrangement is required, which we may call the natu- 
ral harmony of the nervous system ; and when this harmo- 
ny is disturbed, the result is remarkably altered. Thus, 
squinting produces the vision of a double image,"^ because 
the images fall upon what we may call unharmonizing points 
of the retina ; and the same principle may be illustrated in 
a very curious manner by a simple experiment with the 

This effect may easily be produced by pressing one of the eyes a little out of it* 
naniral posiiinn by means of the fin?er at the corner of it, while looking at a singla 
object. It will be made to appear double. 

Extraordinary case of a gentleman in France. Difficulty of explaining why th 
obiecl appears single and direct. Analogous case. Effect of squinting, what? 


sense of touch. If a small round body, such as a pea, be 
laid upon the palm of the one hand, and rolled about be- 
tween the first and second fingers of the other, in their 
natural position, one pea only is felt ; but, if the fingers are 
crossed, so that the pea is rolled between the opposite sur- 
faces of the two fingers, a most distinct impression of two 
peas is conveyed. 

Of the whole of the remarkable process of sensation and 
perception, we know nothing but the facts, that certain 
impressions made upon the organs of sense are followed by 
certain perceptions in the mind ; and that this takes place, 
m some way, tbjough the medium of the brain and nervous 
system. We are in the habit of saying, that the impressions 
are conveyed to the brain ; but, even in this, we probably 
advance a step beyond what is warranted. We know that 
the nerves derive their influence from their connection with 
the brain, or as forming along with it one great medium of 
sensation ; but we do not know whether impressions made 
upon the nervous fabric connected with the organs of sense 
are conveyed to the brain ; or whether the mind perceives 
them directly, as they are made upon the organs of sense. 
The whole subject is one of those mysteries which are 
placed above our reach, and in which we cannot advance 
a single step beyond the knowledge of the facts. Any at- 
tempt to speculate upon it is therefore to be considered as 
contrary to the first principles of philosophical inquiry. 
We must simply receive the facts as of that class which we 
cannot account for in the smallest degree ; and the evidence 
which we derive from our senses, of the existence and pro- 
perties of the things of the material world, is to be recog- 
nised as one of those fundamental laws of belief which ad- 
mit of no other proof than that which is found in the uni- 
versal conviction of mankind. 

Before concluding the subject of perception, it remains to 
be noticed that a certain voluntary effort is required for the 
full exercise of it ; or, at least, for that degree of perception 
which leaves an impression capable of being retained. It 
is familiar to every one, that when the mind is closely oc- 
cupied, numerous objects may pass before our eyes, and cir- 

Experment with the touch. Extent of our knowledge of sensation. The brain 
Uifficulty of the subject. Voluntary effort necessary. Evidence of it. 


cumstanees may be talked of in our hearing, of which we 
do not retain the slightest recollection ; and this is often in 
such a degree as implies, not a want of memory only, but 
an actual want of the perception cf the objects. We can- 
not doubt, however, that there was the sensation of them ; 
that is, the usual impression made upon the eye in the one 
case, and the ear in the other. What is wanting, is a cer- 
tain effort of the mind itself, without which sensation is not 
necessarily followed by perception ; this is what we call 
Attention. It is a state or act of the mind \vhich is exer- 
cised by different individuals in very different degrees. It 
is much influenced by habit ; and though it may not often 
be wanting in such a degree as to prevent the perception of 
objects, it is often deficient in a manner which prevents the 
recollection of them, and consequently has an extensive 
influence upon the intellectual character. 

The effect of attention is illustrated by various mental 
phenomena of daily occurrence. If we are placed in such 
a situation that the eye commands an extensive landscape, 
presenting a great variety of objects, or the wall of an 
apartment covered with pictures, we have the power of fix- 
ing the mind upon one object in such a manner that all the 
rest become to us nearly as if they did not exist. Yet we 
know that they are actually seen, as far as the mere sense of 
vision is concerned ; that is, images of all of them are formed 
upon the retina ; but they are not objects of attention, or of 
that peculiar voluntary effort of mind which is necessary for 
the full perception of them. In the same manner, a prac- 
tised musician can, in the midst of a musical performance, 
direct his attention to one part, such as the bass, can 
continue this for such a time as he pleases, and then again 
enjoy the general harmony of the whole. On the same 
principle, the mind may be so intensely fixed upon something 
within itself, as an object of conception or memory, or a 
process of reasoning, as to have no full perception of present 
external impressions. We shall afterward have occasion to 
refer to a state of mind in which this exists in such a de- 
gree, that objects of conception or memory are believed to 
have a real and present existence ; and in which this erro- 

!\ame of this ? EfFecl of al tention illustrated. In the sense of sight. Of hearing 



iieous impression is not corrected by inipression^lrom exter- 
nal things : this occurs in insanity. 

Attention is very much influenced by habit ; and con- 
nected with this subject there are some facts of great inte- 
rest. There is a remarkable law of the system, by which 
actions at first requiring much attention are after frequent 
repetition performed with a much less degree of it, or with- 
out the mind being conscious of any effort. This is exem- 
plified in various processes of daily occurrence, as reading 
and writing, but most remarkably in music. Musical per- 
formance at first requires the closest attention, but the ef- 
fort becomes constantly less, until it is often not perceived 
at all ; and a lady may be seen running over a piece of 
music on a piano, and at the same time talking on ano- 
ther subject. A young lady, mentioned by Dr. Darwin, 
executed a long and very difficult piece of music with the 
utmost precision, under the eye of her master ; but seemed 
agitated during the execution of it, and when she had con- 
cluded, burst into tears. It turned out that her attention 
had, during the whole time, been intensely occupied with 
the agonies of a favorite canary-bird, \vhich at last droppe^ 
dead in its cage. We see the same principle exemplified i 
the rapidity w4th which an expert arithmetician can run up 
a long column of figures, without being conscious of the 
individual combinations. It is illustrated in another mannc 
by the feats of jugglers, the deception produced by whici 
depends upon their performing a certain number of motions 
with such rapidity that the attention of the spectators does 
not follow all the combinations. 

In teaching such arts as music or arithmetic, this princi- 
ple is also illustrated ; for the most expert arithmetician or 
musical performer is not necessarily, and perhaps not gene- 
rally, the best teacher of the art ; but he who, w4th a com- 
petent knowledge of it, directs his attention to the individual 
minute combinations through which it is necessary for the 
learner to advance. 

In processes more purely intellectual, we find the influ- 
ence of habit brought under our view in a similar manner 

Influence of habits of alteniion. Illustrations. Anecdote of the young lady. Othei 
ttliistrations. Illustration of this principle from the art of teaching. Influence of habil 
ui fctciiitating intellectual processea. 


particularly in following the steps of a process of reason- 
ing. A person little accustomed to such a process advances 
step by step, with minute attention to each as he proceeds ; 
while another perceives at once the result, with little con- 
sciousness of the steps by which he arrived at it. For this 
reason, also, it frequently happens that in certain depart- 
ments of science the profound philosopher makes a bad 
teacher. He proceeds too rapidly for his audience, and 
without sufficient attention to the intermediate steps by 
which it is necessary for them to advance ; and they may 
derive much more instruction from an inferior man, whose 
mental process on the subject approaches more nearly to 
that which, in the first instance, must be theirs. We re- 
mark the same difference in public speaking and in writing ; 
and we talk of a speaker or a writer who is easily followed, 
and another who is followed with difficulty. The former 
retards the series of his thoughts, so as to bring distinctly 
before his hearers or his readers every step in the mental 
process. The latter advances without sufficient attention 
to this, and consequently can be followed by those only who 
are sufficiently acquainted with the subject to fill up the 
intermediate steps, or not to require them. 

There is a class of intellectual habits directly the reverse 
of those now referred to ; namely, habits of inattention, by 
which the mind, long unaccustomed to have the attention 
steadily directed to any important object, becomes frivolous 
and absent, or lost amid its own waking dreams. A min ^ 
in this condition becomes incapable of following a train of 
reasoning, and even of observing facts with accuracy and 
tracing their relations. Hence nothing is more opposed to 
the cultivation of intellectual character ; and when such a 
person attempts to reason, or to follow out a course of in- 
vestigation, he falls into slight and partial views, unsound 
deductions, and frivolous arguments. This state of mind, 
therefore, ought to be carefully guarded against in the 
young ; as, when it is once established, it can be removed 
only by a long and laborious effort, and after a certain peri- 
od of life is probably irremediable. 

In rude and savage life remarkable examples occur of 

Bad teaching. Public speaking. Habits of inattention. Consequonces ? Habits o< 
tteniion in savage life. 


the effect of habits of minute attention to those circi^m* 
stances to which the mind is intensely directed by their 
relation to the safety or advantage of the observer. The 
American hunter finds his way in the trackless forests by 
attention to minute appearances in the trees, which indicate 
to him the points of the compass. He traces the progress 
of his enemies or his friends by the marks of their footsteps ; 
and judges of their numbers, their baitings, their employ- 
ments, by circumstances which would entirely escape the 
observation of persons unaccustomed to a mode of life re- 
quiring such exercises of attention. Numerous examples 
of this kind are mentioned by travellers, particularly among 
Ihe aboriginal natives of America. 


Before leaving this subject, it is necessary to refer to 
some remarkable facts respecting perceptions taking place, 
without the presence of any external body corresponding 
with them. These arc called false perceptions, and they 
are usually referred to two classes ; namely, those arising 
in the organs of sense, in which the mind does not partici- 
pate ; and those which are connected with hallucination of 
mind, or a belief of the real existence of the object The 
former only belong to this part of the subject. The latter 
will be referred to in another part of our inquiry, as they 
do not consist of false impressions on the senses, but depend 
upon the mind mistaking its own conceptions for real and 
present existences. 

Of false perceptions, properly so called, the most familiar 
are the muscm volitantes floating before the eyes, and sounds 
in the ears resembling the ringing of bells, or the noise of a 
waterfall. Changes are also met with in the organs of 
sense giving rise to remarkable varieties of perception. 
Dr. Falconer mentions a gentleman who had such a morbid 
state of sensation that cold bodies felt to him as if they 
were intensely hot. A gentleman mentioned by Dr. Co- 
nolly, when recovering from measles, saAv objects dimi- 

Examples ? False perceptions what ? How classified ? Common examples. 


nished to the smallest imiginable size ; and a patient men- 
tioned by Baron Darry, on recovering from amaurosis, saw 
men as giants, and all objects magnified in a most remarka- 
ble manner : it is not mentioned how long these peculiari- 
ties continued. This last peculiarity of perception occurred 
also to a particular friend of mine in recovering from ty- 
phus fever. His own body appeared to him to be about 
ten feet high. His bed seemed to be seven or eight feet 
from the floor, so that he felt the greatest dread in attempt- 
ing to get out of it ; and the opening of the chimney of his 
apartment appeared as large as the arch of a bridge. A 
singular peculiarity of this case however was, that the per* 
sons about him with whom he was familiar did not appear 
above their natural size. But the most interesting pheno- 
mena connected with affections of this kind are furnished 
by the various modifications of spectral illusions. These 
are referable to three classes. 

I. Impressions of visible objects remaining for some time 
after the eye is shut, or has been withdrawn from them ; 
generally accompanied by some remarkable change in the 
color of the objects. Various interesting experiments of 
this kind are related by Dr. Darwin ; one of the most strik- 
ing is the following : " I cov^ered a paper about four inches 
square with yellow, and with a pen filled with a blue color 
wrote upon the middle of it the word BANKS in capitals ; 
and sitting with my back to the sun, fixed my eyes for a 
minute exactly on the centre of the letter N in the word. 
After shutting my eyes, and shading them somewhat with 
my hand, the word was distinctly seen in the spectrum, in 
yellow colors on a blue ground ; and then on opening my 
eyes on a yellowish wall at twenty feet distance, the magni- 
fied name of BANKS appeared on the wall written in gold- 
en characters." 

With a very little ingenuity, this land of spectral illusions can be 
easily produced in great variety. Take a common red wafer, and lay 
It upon a sheet of white paper. Bring the eye down to within six or 
eight inches of it, and gaze very steadily and intently upon it for the 
space of twenty or thirty seconds. On moving the eyes away, a beau- 
False perception of magnitude. Examples of this. Spectral illusions ; how many 
classes? Firitclass? Darwin's experiments? Easy mode of producing these illusions 


hful lijjht blue spot, of the size and shape of the -vvafer, Avill be seen on 
the sheet, and will follow the eyes as they move from side to side. By 
cutting the wafer in two, or notching its surface, or varying its form 
m any way, a corresponding variety in the form of the blue spot wii. 
be produced. The effect may be varied also by using wafers of 
different color, or even by bright pictures of various colors combined. 
The stronger the light, the more striking Avill be the effect. It ought to 
be added, that persons of weak eyes should be very cautious in trying 
these experiments. 

A friend of mine had been one day looking intensely at 
a small print of the Virgin and CWld, and had sat bending 
over it for some time. On raising his head he was startled 
by perceiving, at the farther end of the apartment, a female 
figure, the size of life, with a child in her arms. The first 
feeling of surprise having subsided, he instantly traced the 
source of the illusion, and remarked that the figure corre- 
sponded exactly with that which he had contemplated in 
the print, being what painters call a kit-cat figure, in which 
the lower parts of the body are not represented. The illu- 
sion continued distinct for about two minutes. Similar illu- 
sions of hearing are met with, though less frequently than 
those of vision. A gentleman recently recovered from an 
aflfection of the head, in which he had been much reduced 
by bleeding, had occasion to go into a large town a few 
miles from his residence. His attention was there attracted 
by the bugle of a regiment of horse, sounding a particular 
measure which is used at changing guard in the evening. 
He assured me that this sound was from that time never out 
of his ears for about nine months. During all this period 
he continued in a very precarious state of health ; and it 
was only as his health became more confirmed that the 
sound of the bugle gradually left him. In regard to ocular 
spectra, another fact of a very singular nature appears to 
have been first observed by Sir Isaac Newton, namely, 
that when he produced a spectrum of the sun by looking at 
it with the right eye, the left being covered, upon uncover- 
mg the left, and looking upon a white ground, a spectrum 
of the sun was seen with it also. He likewise acquired 
the power of recalling the spectra, after they had ceased, 
when he went into the dark, and directed his mind intensely, 

Modes of varying the experiments. Caution. Illusion produced by looking al a 
print? Illusions of hearing. Newton's experiments ? 


" as when a man looks earnestly to see a thing which is dif- 
ficult to be seen." By repeating these experiments fre- 
quently, such an effect was produced upon his eyes, " that 
for some months after," he says, " the spectrum of the sun 
began to return as often as I began to meditate upon the 
phenomena, even though I lay in bed at midnight with my 
curtains drawn." 

II. Impressions of objects recently seen returning after 
a considerable interval. Various interesting examples of 
this kind are on record. Dr. Ferriar mentions of hin.self, 
that when about the age of fourteen, if he had been viewing 
any interesting object in the course of the day, as a roman- 
tic ruin, a fine seat, or a review of troops, so soon as eve- 
ning came, if he had occasion to go into a dark room, the 
whole scene was brought before him with a brilliancy equal 
to what it possessed in daylight, and remained visible for 
some minutes. 

III. False perceptions arising in the course of some bodi- 
ly disorder, generally fever. A lady whom I attended some 
years ago, in a slight feverish disorder, saw distinctly a 
party of ladies and gentlemen sitting round her bedcham- 
ber, and a servant handing something to them on a tray. 
The scene continued in a greater or less degree for several 
days, and was varied by spectacles of castles and churches 
of a very brilliant appearance, as if they had been built of 
finely cut crystal. The whole was in this case entirely a 
visual phantasm, for there was no hallucination of mind. 
On the contrary, the patient had from the first a full im- 
pression that it was a morbid affection of vision, connected 
with the fever, and amused herself and her attendants by 
watching and describing the changes in the scenery. A 
gentleman who was also a patient of mine, of an irritable 
habit, and liable to a variety of uneasy sensations in his 
head, was sitting alone in his dining-room in the twilight, 
the door of the room being a little open. He saw distinct- 
ly a female figure enter, wrapped in a mantle, and the face 
concealed by a large black bonnet. She seemed to advance 

Second class ? Examples. Third class ? Example ; the sick lady. The mind, in 
what state, in Ihis case ? Second example ? 


a few steps towards him and then stop. He had a full 
conviction that the figure was an illusion of vision, and 
amused himself for some time by watching it , at the same 
time observing that he could see through the figure, so a? 
to perceive the lock of the door and other objects behind ii. 
At length, when he moved his body a little forward, it dis- 
appeared. The appearances in these two cases were en- 
tirely visual illusions, and probably consisted of the renewal 
of real scenes or figures, in a manner somewhat analogous 
to those in Dr. Ferriar's case, though the renewal took 
place after a longer interval. When there is any degree of 
hallucination of mind, so that the phantasm is believed to 
have a real existence, the aftection is entirely of a different 
nature, as will be more particularly mentioned under anoth- 
er part of our subject. 

False perceptions may be corrected by one of three me- 
thods ; by the exercise of other senses by a comparison 
with the perceptions of other persons and by an exer- 
cise of judgment. If I suspect that my eye deceives 
me, I apply the hand, with the perfect conviction of the 
improbability that the two senses should be deceived at 
once. If this cannot be done, I appeal to the impressions 
of some other persons, with an equally strong conviction 
that the same sense will not be deceived in the same man- 
ner in several persons at once. Or I may do it in another 
way, by a reference to some known and fixed object. 
Suppose, for example, I see two objects where I imagine 
there should be but one, and suspect a visual deception ; I 
turn my eyes to some object which I know to be single 
such as the sun. If I see the sun double, I know that there 
is a delusion of vision ; if I see the sun single, I conclude the 
original perception to be correct. These processes imply 
a certain exercise of judgment; and there are other cases 
in which the same conviction may arise from an exercise 
of judgment, without any process of this kind. In one of 
the cases now referred to, for example, the correction took 
place instantly, from observing that the lock of the door 
was seen as if through the figure. 

Explanaliona. Correcting false impressions, in what ways? Firat method? Secood 
methotl % 




Consciousness appears to mean, simply, the act of at- 
tending to what is passing in the mind at the time. That 
more extensive operation to which we ought to give the 
name of reflection, as distinguished from simple conscious- 
ness, seems to be connected with a power of remembering 
past perceptions and past mental processes, of comparing 
them with present feelings, so as to trace between them a 
relation, as belonging to the same sentient, being, and, fur- 
ther, of tracing the laws by which the mental processes 
themselves are regulated. It is employed also in tracing 
the relations and sequences of external things, and thus 
proves the source of certain notions expressive of these re- 
lations. It is therefore a compound operation of mind, in- 
cluding various mental processes, especially consciousness, 
memory, and the act of comparison ot judgment. The 
knowledge which we derive from this source, whether we 
call it consciousness or reflection, is referable to threp. 

I. A knowledge of the mental processes, and the laws 
and relations by which they are regulated ; a knowledge, 
for example, of the laws and facts relating to memory, con- 
ception, imagination, and judgment. These will be more 
particularly referred to in a subsequent part of our inquiry. 
In the same manner we acquire our knowledge of those 
which have been called the active and moral powers, as 
love, hope, fear, joy, gratitude, &;c. 

II. Certain notions arising out of the exercise of the 
mental processes, in reference to the succession and relations 
of things; our notion, for example, of time, arising out of 
memory and consciousness, our notion of cause of mo- 
Definition of consciousness? Distinction between it and reflection? Its nature J 

How many kinds of knowledge derived from it? First head; mental processes ? Se- 
cond head; certain abEtract ideas ? 


tion number duration extension or space. From sim- 
ple perception we seem to acquire a knowledge of external 
things as existing only at the moment ; and from simple 
consciousness a knowledge of a mental impression as exist- 
ing only at the moment. Our notions of the succession of 
things, as implying time and motion, require the exercise 
of consciousness and memory ; and our notions of cause, 
and the various other relations of things to each other, re- 
quire both memory and comparison. To the same head, in 
reference to another department of these faculties, belong 
our notions of truth and falsehood right and wrong. 
These result from a certain exercise of mind, aided by 
that remarkable principle in our constitution which com- 
monly receives the name of conscience. 

III. With this exercise of the mental functions there 
spring up in the mind certain convictions, or intuitive and 
instinctive principles of belief. They are the immediate 
result of a certain exercise of the understanding, but are 
not referable to any process of induction or chain of rea- 
soning, and can be considered only as an original and fun- 
damental part of our constitution. This is a subject of 
^reat and extensive importance, and the articles of belief 
which are referable to it are chiefly the following : 

(1.) A conviction of our own existence as sentient and 
thinking beings, and of mind as something distinct from 
the functions of the body. 

(2.) A confidence in the evidence of our senses in re- 
gard to the existence and properties of external things ; or 
a conviction that they have a real existence independent of 
our sensations. 

(3.) A confidence in our own mental processes that 
facts, for example, which are suggested to us by our me- 
mory, really occurred. 

(4.) A belief in our personal identity, derived from the 
combined operations of consciousness and memory ; or a 
remembrance of past mental feelings and a comparison of 
them with present mental feelings, as belonging to the same 
sentient beinsf. 

Third head ; intuitive convictions ? Eramplea ? 


(5.) A conviction that every event must have a cause, 
and a cause adequate to the eflect. 

(6.) A confidence in the uniformity of the operations of 
nature ; or that tlie same cause, acting in the same circum- 
stances, will always be followed by the same effect. 

These first or instinctive principles of belief will be referred 
to in a more particular manner when we come to speak of 
the use of reason in the investigation of truth. They are 
usually called First Truths, and will be seen to occupy a 
most important place as the foundation of all reasoning. 
Many ingenious but fallacious arguments were at one time 
wasted in attempts to establish them by processes of reason- 
ing. These again were assailed by sophistical and skep- 
tical writers, who easily succeeded in showing the fallacy 
of these arguments, and thus assumed the credit of under- 
mining the authority of the truths themselves. All this 
species of sophistical warfare is now gone by ; and the most 
important era in the modern science of reasoning was, 
when it was distinctly shown that these first truths admit of 
no other evidence than the conviction which forces itself 
upon the understanding of all classes of men. Since that 
period it has been generally allowed that they admit of no 
proof by processes of reasoning ; and, on the other hand, 
that they are entirely unafl^ected by the arguments by which 
all such reasoning was shown to be fallacious. 



A VERY small portion of our knowledge of externa, 
things is obtained through our own senses ; by far the 
greater part is procured through other men, and this is re- 
ceived by us on the evidence of testimony. But, in receiv- 
ing facts in this manner, w^e usually proceed with more 

Controversies respecting First Truths. Proper view of these controversies ? Evi 
Jenco of testimony, why necessary ? 


caution than when they come to us by our personal obser- 
vation. We are much influenced, in the first place, by our 
confidence in the veracity of the narrator, and our know- 
ledge of the opportunities which he has had of ascertSiin- 
ing the facts he professes to relate. Thus, if he be a per- 
son on whose testimony we have formerly received impor- 
tant statements, which have turned out to be correct, we 
are the more ready to receive his testimony again ; if he 
be a stranger to us, we receive it with greater caution ; if 
he has formerly misled us, we view it with suspicion, or 
reject it altogether. 

But there is another principle of very extensive applica- 
tion in such cases, and which is independent in a great 
measure of the character of the narrator. In receiving 
facts upon testimony, we are much influenced by their ac- 
cordance with facts with which we are already acquainted. 
This is what, in common language, we call their probabili- 
ty ; and statements which are probable, that is, in accor- 
dance with facts which we already know, are received 
upon a lower degree of evidence than those which are not 
in such accordance, or which, in other words, appear to us 
in the present state of our knowledge to be improbable. 
Now this is a sound and salutary caution, but we should 
beware of allowing it to influence us beyond its proper 
sphere. It should lead us to examine carefully the evi 
dence upon which we receive facts not in accordance with 
those which we have already acquired ; but we should be- 
ware of allowing it to engender skepticism. For, while an 
unbounded credulity is the part of a weak mind, which 
never thinks or reasons at all, an unlimited skepticism is 
the part of a contracted mind, which reasons upon imper- 
fect data, or makes its own knowledge and extent of obser- 
vation the standard and test of probability. An ignorant 
peasant may reject the testimony of a philosopher in regard 
to the size of the moon, because he thinks he has the evi- 
dence of his senses that it is only a foot in diameter; and 
a person, holding a respectable rank in society, is said to 
have received with contempt the doctrine of the revolution 

Conditions of confidence in testimony ? Wliat is meant by probability ? Its inilu 
ence ? Caution in regard to its influence Examples : reasoning in regard to the 
moon ? In regard to the revolution of the earth? 


of the earth on its axis, because he was perfectly satisfied 
that his house was never known to turn with its front to 
the north. When the king of Siam was told by a Dutch 
traveller that m Holland, at certain seasons of the year, wa- 
ter becomes so solid that an elephant might walk over it, he 
replied, "I have believed many extraordinary things which 
you have told me, because I took you for a man of truth 
and veracity, but now I am convinced that you lie." This 
confidence in one's own experience, as the test of probabi- 
lity, characterizes a mind which is confined in its views 
and limited in its acquirements ; and the tendency of it 
would be the rejection of all knowledge for which we have 
not the evidence of our senses. Had the king of Siam 
once seen water in a frozen state, he would not only have 
been put right in regard to this fact, but his confidence 
would have been shaken in his own experience as the test 
of probability in other things; and he would have been 
more disposed for the further reception of truth upon the 
evidence of testimony. 

Thus, progress in*knowledge is not confined in its results 
to the mere facts which we acquire, but has also an exten- 
sive influence in enlarging the mind for ^ the further recep- 
tion of truth, and setting it free from many of those preju- 
dices which influence men who are limited by a narrow 
field of observation. There may even be cases in which, 
without any regard to the veracity of the narrator, a culti- 
vated mind perceives the elements of truth in a statement 
which is rejected by inferior minds as altogether incredible. 
An ingenious writer supposes a traveller of rather doubtful 
veracity bringing into the country of Archimedes an ac- 
count of the steam-engine. His statement is rejected by 
his countrymen as altogether incredible. It is entirely at 
variance with their experience, and they think it much 
more probable that the traveller should lie, than that such 
a thing should be. But when he describes to Archimedes 
the arrangement of the machine, the philosopher perceives 
the result and, without any consideration of the veracity 
of the narrator, decides, upon the evidence derived from 
the relation of the facts themselves, and their accordance 

Reasoning of the king of Siam? Influence of general knowletlge on the belief of 
testimony ? Example, supposition in regard to Archimedea ? Ground of Archimedes' 
belief- what? 



with principles which are known to him, that the statement 
is unquestionably true. 

This illustration leads to a principle of the utmost prac 
tical importance. In judging of the credibility of a state- 
ment, we are not to be influenced simply by our actual 
experience of similar events ; for this would limit our re- 
ception of new facts to their accordance with those which 
we already know. We must extend our views much (ar- 
ther than this, and proceed upon the knowledge which we 
have derived from other sources, of the powers and pro- 
perties of the agent to which the event is ascribed. It 
is on this principle that the account of the steam-engine 
would have appeared probable to Archimedes, while it was 
rejected by his countrymen as absolutely incredible ; be- 
cause he would have judged, not according to his expe- 
rience of similar machinery, but according to his know- 
^dge of the powers and properties of steam. In the same 
manner, when the king of Siam rejected, as an incredible 
falsehood, the account of the freezing of water, if there 
had been at his court a philosopher who had attended to 
the properties of heat, he would have judged in a different 
manner, though the actual fact of the freezing of water 
might have been as new to him as it was to the king. He 
would have recollected that he had seen various solid bodies 
rendered fluid by the application of heat ; and that, on the 
abstraction of the additional heat, they again became solid. 
He would thus have argued the possibility, that, by a fur- 
ther abstraction of heat, bodies might become solid which 
are fluid in the ordinary temperature of the atmosphere. 
In this manner, the fact, which was rejected by the king, 
judging from his own experience, might have been received 
by the philosopher, judging from his knowledge of the pow- 
ers and properties of heat though he had acquired this 
knowledge from events apparently far removed from that to 
which he now applied it. 

The principle here referred to is independent altogether 
of the direct reliance which we have on testimony, in re- 
gard to things which are at variance with our experience, 
when we are satisfied that the testimony has the characters 

Important principle. How illustrated by the preceding anecdotes? How shoiird th 
king of Siam have reasoned '* 


of credibility; but, even on these grounds, we may per- 
ceive the fallacy of that application of the doctrine of 
probability which has been employed by some writers, in 
opposition to the truths of revealed religion, and to the 
means by which they were promulgated particularly the 
miracles of the sacred writings. Miracles, they contend, 
are deviations from the established course of nature, and 
are, consequently, contrary to our uniform experience. 
It accords with our experience that men should lie, and 
even that several men might concur in propagating the 
same lie ; and, therefore, it is more probable that the nar- 
rators lied, than that the statement respecting miracles is 
true. Mr. Hume even went so far as to maintain, that a 
miracle is so contrary to what is founded upon firm and un- 
alterable experience, that it cannot be established by any 
human testimony. 

Hume's celebrated argument against the resurrection of Christ, 
and of course against the Christian religion, stated a little more fully 
IS this : " Twelve witnesses," he says, though not exactly in these 
words, " I admit, agree in testifying that a man rose from the dead. 
I am consequently compelled to believe one of two things, either that 
twelve men agreed to tell a lie, or that a man rose from the dead. Ei- 
ther of these suppositions is, I confess, very extraordinary, but as one 
or the other must be true, I must admit the one that is least extraor 
dinary. Now it seems to me more probable that men should lie, th^ 
that one who had been several days dead should return to life again ; 
for it is a very common thing in this world for men to testify falsely ; 
but it is ' contrary to all experience' that a man should rise from the 

To this Christian writers reply, m substance, as follows : " We ad- 
mit the alternative, viz. that we must believe that twelve men have 
testified falsely, or that one man rose from the dead ; and we also ad- 
mit that we must believe the least improbable of the two. But Ave 
deny that the former is the least improbable. For it is not very impro* 
bable that the Creator should wish to make a communication to man 
kind ; and if so, restoring to life the messenger who brought it, would 
be a very suitable and a very probable mode of authenticating it. But 
it i$ contrary to all experience, and all probability, that twelve men, 
without motive, should conspire to fabricate and disseminate a lie. In 
regard to the mode by which the Creator would authenticate a message 
lo men, we have no experience ; and there is certainly no presumption 
against the one in question. In re^rd to men's falsifying their word, 

Hume's argument, what ? Extent to which he carried his reasonings ? Mr. Hume's 
argument stated more fully ? The alternative he offers ? Hia choice ? In reply, what 
do Christian writers admit ? Wliat do they deny ? 

64 TESTiMOx\Y. [part h 

m the cause, of virtue, and against their own interests, we have a great 
deal of experience, and it is all against it." 

This brief view of the question wull assist the pupil to understand 
more clearly the bearing of the reasoning which follows. 

The fallacy of M^*, Hume's argument may probably be 
maintained from the principles which have been stated. It 
is, in fact, the same mode of reasoning which induced the 
king of Siam to reject the statement of water becoming 
solid. This was entirely contradicted by his " firm and 
unalterable experience," and, therefore, could not be re- 
ceived, even upon the evidence of a man whom he had al- 
ready recognised as a witness of unquestionable veracity, 
and upon whose single testimony he had received as truth 
"many extraordinary things." He thought it much more 
probable that even this man lied, than that such a state- 
ment could be true. Strictly speaking, indeed, the objec- 
tion of Mr. Hume may be considered as little better than a 
play upon words. For what renders an occurrence miracu- 
lous is precisely the fact of its being opposed to uniform 
experience. To say therefore that miracles are incredible 
because they are contrary to experience, is merely to say 
that they are incredible because they are miracles. 

They who are imposed upon by such a sophism as this, 
do not, in the first place, attend to the fact, that the term 
experience, if so much is to be founded upon it, must be 
limited to the personal observation of every individual ; 
that is, it can apply, in each particular case, only to the last 
fifty or sixty years at most, and to events which have hap- 
pened during that period, at the spot where the individual 
was present. Whateve,r he knows of events which took 
place beyond this spot, or before that period, he knows, not 
from experience, but entirely from testimony : and a great 
part of our knowledge, of what we call the established 
course of nature, has been required in this manner. In the 
reception of new knowledge, then, an individual must either 
receive facts upon testimony, or believe nothing but that 
for which he has the evidence of his senses. It is unne 
cessary to state how much the latter supposition is at va- 

Its fallacy, how shown ? Hume's reasoning compared with that of the king of Siac 
Kxperience, how limited ? Necessity of placing confidence in testimony ? 


riance with the daily practice of every man ; and how much 
information we are in the constant habit of receiving upon 
testmiony, even in regard to things which are very much 
at variance with our personal observation. How many 
facts do we receive in this manner, with unsuspecting con- 
fidence, on the testimony of the historian, in regard to the 
occurrences of ancient times ; and on the testimony of the 
naturalist and the traveller, respecting the natural and civil 
history of foreign countries. How few persons have veri- 
fied, by their personal observation, the wonders which we 
receive on the testimony of the astronomer ; and, even of 
the great phenomena of nature on the surface of our globe, 
how much do we receive upon testimony in regard to things 
which are widely at variance with our own experience. I 
need only mention the boiling springs of Iceland, and the 
phenomena of earthquakes and volcanoes. But, on the 
principles of Mr. Hume, these could not be believed. On 
the contrary, if one of our intelligent Highlanders were 
hearing described to him the devastations of a volcano, he 
would point to his heath-covered mountain, as the basis of 
his " firm and unalterable experience," and declare it to be 
more probable that travellers should lie than that such a 
statement could be true. 

The reception of facts upon the evidence of testimony 
must therefore be considered as a fundamental principle of 
our nature, to be acted upon whenever we are satisfied that 
the testimony possesses certain characters of credibility. 
These are chiefly referable to three heads : that the indivi- 
dual has had sufficient opportunity of ascertaining the facts ; 
that we have confidence in his power of judging of their 
accuracy ; and that we. have no suspicion of his being influ- 
enced by passion or prejudice in his testimony, or, in other 
words, that we believe him to be an honest witness. Our 
confidence is further strengthened by several witnesses con- 
curring in the same testimony, each of whom has had the 
same opportunities of ascertaining the facts, and presents the 
same charaxiters of truth and honesty. On such testimony 
we are in the constant habit of receiving statements which 

Extent of confidence universally placed in it. Examples. Supposed reasoning ol 
Higlilandera on Hume's principle? Proper views of confidence in testimony. Or 
what three conditions ? Corroborating circumstances 1 



are much beyond the sphere of our personal observation, 
and widely at variance with our experience. These are the 
statements which, for the sake of a name, we may call mar- 
vellous. In regard to such, the foundation of incredulity, 
as we have seen, is generally ignorance; and it is inte- 
resting to trace the principles by which a man of culti- 
vated mind is influenced in receiving upon testimony, 
statements which are rejected by the vulgar as totally in- 

1. He is influenced by the recollection that many things 
at one time appeared to him marvellous which he now 
knows to be true : and he thence concludes that there may 
still be in nature many phenomena and many principles 
with which he is entirely unacquainted. In other words, he 
has learned from experience not to make his own knowledge 
his test of probability. 

2. He is greatly influenced by perceiving in the statement 
some element of probability, or any kind of sequence or 
relation by which the alleged fact may be connected with 
principles which are known to him. It is in this manner 
that the freezing of water, which was rejected by the king 
of Siam as an incredible falsehood, might have appeared 
credible to a philosopher who had attended to the properties 
of heat, because he would have perceived in the statement 
a chain of relations connecting it with facts which he knew 
to be true. 

3. He is much guided by his power of discriminating the 
credibility of testimony, or of distinguishing that species and 
that amount of it which he feels to be unworthy of abso- 
lute credit from that on which he relies with as implicit con- 
fidence as on the uniformity of the qourse of nature. The 
vulgar mind is often unable to make the necessary discrimi- 
nation in this respect, and therefore is apt to fall into one 
of the extremes of credulity and scepticism. Mr. Hume, 
indeed, himself admits that there is a certain amount of 
testimony on which he would receive a statement widely at 
variance with his own uniform experience, as in the hypo- 
thetical case which he proposes, the account of a total 
darkness over the whole earth, continuing for eight days, two 

Belief of marvellous accounts ? Considerations which influence cultivated minds in 
?ceiving testimony ? First ? Second ? Example. Third 7 


hundred years ago. The evidence which he requires for 
it is simply the concurrence of testimonies, namely, that 
all authors in all languages describe the event ; and thai 
travellers bring accounts from all quarters of traditions of 
the occurrence being still strong and lively among the peo- 
ple. On such evidence he admits that philosophers ought 
to receive it as certain. 

These principles may be considered as the elements of 
our belief in regard to statements which are new to us ; 
and it is interesting to remark how they balance and com- 
pensate each other. Thus, a statement which appears 
probable, or can be readily referred to known relations, is 
received upon a lower degree of testimony, as in the illus- 
tration respecting Archimedes and the steam-engine. Oth- 
ers, which we find greater difficulty in referring to any 
known principle, we may receive upon a certain amount of 
testimony which we feel to be worthy of absolute confidence. 
But there may be others of so very extraordinary a kind, 
and so far removed from, or even opposed to, every known 
principle, that we may hesitate in receiving them upon any 
kind of testimony, unless we can discover in relation to 
them something on which the mind can fix as an element 
of moral probability. 

This leads us to a very obvious distinction of extraordi- 
nary events, into those which are only marvellous, and 
those which are to be considered miraculous. A marvel- 
lous event is one which differs in all its elements from any 
thing that we previously knew, Avifiiout being opposed to 
any known principle. But a miraculous event implies much 
more than this, being directly opposed to what every man 
knows to be the established and uniform course of nature 
It is further required that such an event shall "be of so ob- 
vious and palpable a kind that every man is qualified to 
juge of its miraculous character, or is convinced it could 
not happen from the operation of any ordinary natural 

In receiving a statement respecting such an event, we 
require the highest species of testimony, or that on which 
we rely with the same confidence as on the uniformity of 

Application of these principles. Distinction of extraordinary events ; what two kind* 1 
Degree of testimony necessary to establish a miraculous event? 


the course of nature herself. But even with this amount of 
testimony a doubt may still remain. For we have two 
amounts of probability which are equally balanced against 
each other ; namely, the probability that such testimony 
should not deceive us, and the probability that there should 
be no deviation from the course of nature. The concurring 
evidence of numerous credible witnesses, indeed, gives a 
decided preponderance to the testimony ; and upon a cer- 
tain amount of testimony we might receive any statement, 
however improbable as in the case admitted by Mr. Hume 
.i)f a universal darkness. But, though in such a case we 
might receive the statement as a fact which we could not 
dispute, the mind would be left in a state x)f absolute sus- 
pense and uncertainty in regard to any judgment which we 
could form respecting it. Something more appears to be 
necessary for fixing the distinct belief of a miraculous inter- 
position ; and this is an impression of moral probability. 
This consists of two parts. (1.) A distinct reference of the 
event to a power which we feel to be capable of producing 
it; namely, a direct interposition of the Deity. (2.) The 
perception of an adequate object, or a conviction of high 
moral probability that an interposition of Divine power 
might be exerted in such circumstances, or for the accom- 
plishment of such an object. Such are the miracles of the 
sacred writings. As events opposed to the common course 
of nature, they are, by the supposition, physically improba- 
ble in the highest degree. Were they not so, were they 
in the lowest degree probable, according to our conceptions 
of the course of nature, they could not be miracles, and con- 
sequently could not answer the purpose for which they are 
intended. But notwithstanding this species of improbabili- 
ty, they carry with them all the elements of absolute credi 
bility ; namely, the highest species of testimony, supported 
by a moral probability which bears directly upon every ele- 
ment of the statement. This may be briefly referred to the 
following heads : 

1. The human mind had wandered far from truth re- 
specting God ; and on the great question of his character 
and will, a future state, and the mode of acceptance in his 

What necessary besides? Grounds of moral probability? Claasificatioa of the 
grounda of it^ in tliis case. Stale of the human race J 


sight, the light furnished by reason among the wisest of 
men was faint and feeble. On points of such importance 
there was the highest moral probability that the Deity 
would not leave mankind in this state of darkness, but would 
communicate to them some distinct knowledge. 

2. It is further probable, that if such a communication 
were made to man, it w^ould be accompanied by prodigies 
or miraculous events, calculated to show beyond a doubt 
the immediate agency of God, and thus to establish the di- 
vine authority of the record. 

3. There is no improbability that the power of the Deity 
should produce deviations from the usual course of nature 
capable of answering such a purpose. For what we call 
the course of nature is nothing more than an order of 
events which he has established ; and there is no improba- 
bility that for an adequate end he might produce a deviation 
from this order. 

4. An important branch of the moral probability of the 
whole statement of the sacred writings arises from the cha- 
racters of the truths themselves, challenging the assent and 
approbation of every uncontaminated mind. This part of 
the subject resolves itself into three parts; namely, the 
truths relating to the character and perfections of the Deity ; 
the high and refined morality of the gospel ; and the adap- 
tation of the whole provisions of Christianity to the actual 
condition of man as a moral being. The former carry a 
conviction of tlieir truth to the mind of every candid inqui- 
rer ; the two latter fix themselves upon the conscience or 
moral feelings of all classes of men with an impression which 
is irresistible. 

This mode of reasoning is not chargeable with that kind 
of fallacy which has sometimes been ascribed to it, that it 
professes first to prove the doctrine by the miracle, and then 
to try the miracle by the doctrine. The tendency of it is 
only to deduce from the various elements which really en- 
ter into the argument, a kind of compound evidence, the 
strongest certainly which on such a subject the human mind 
is capable of receiving. It is composed of the character of 
the truths the moral probTibility of a revelation of clear 

Necessity of evidence of a revelation ? Power sufficient. Internal evidence ? Char?' 
rf fallacy ) Reply. 


knowledge on subjects of such infinite importance andihe 
highest species of testimony for the miraculous evidence by 
which the revelation was accompanied. There are princi- 
ples in our nature calculated to perceive the manner in 
which the different parts of such an argument harmonize 
with each other ; and, upon every principle of the human 
mind, it is impossible to conceive any thing more highly 
calcuHted to challenge the serious attention and absolute 
conviction of every sound understanding. 

This imperfect view of a deeply interesting subject will 
be sufficient to show the fallacy of the objection which has 
been urged against the credibility of miracles, that they 
are contrary to our unalterable experience of the establish- 
ed course of nature. There might have been some de- 
gree of plausibility in the argument, if these events had been 
alleged to have taken place in ordinary circumstances ; but 
the case is essentially altered, and this kind of improbabili- 
ty is altogether removed, when in the alleged deviation a 
new agent is introduced entirely capable of producing it. 
Such, as we have seen, are the miracles of the sacred wri- 
tings ; and the question in regard to their probability is, 
not whether they are probable according to the usual course 
of nature, but whether they are probable in the circumstan- 
ces in which they are alleged to have taken place ; name- 
ly, in the case of a direct interposition of the Deity for cer- 
tain great and adequate purposes. In such a case, our es- 
timate of probability must be founded, according to the 
principles already stated, not upon our experience of simi- 
lar events, but on the knowledge which we derive from oth- 
er sources of the power of the agent to whom the event is 
ascribed. Now the agent to whom miracles are ascribed 
is the Supreme Being, the Creator of all things, the stupen 
dous monuments of whose omnipotent power are before us, 
and within us, and around us. What we call the establish- 
ed course of nature is merely an order of events which he 
has appointed ; and the question of probability is, whether 
it is probable that for certain adequate purposes he should 
produce a deviation from this order. For such a statement, 
indeed, we require strong, numerous, credible, and concur- 

General view of the queelion ? The real question in regard to the probability of mt 


ring testimonies ; but it comes to be simply a question of 
evidence ; and there is no real improbability that in these 
circumstances such events should take place. 

In this manner, then, there is entirely removed from the 
statement the improbability which is founded upon the uni- 
formity of the ordinary course of nature ; because it is not 
in the ordinary course of nature that the events are alleged 
to have taken place, but in circumstances altogeiher new 
and peculiar. The subsequent inquiry becomes, therefore 
simply a question of evidence ; this evidence is derived from 
testimony ; and we are thus led to take a slight view of the 
grounds on which we estimate the credibility of testimony. 

Testimony, we are told, is fallacious, and is liable to de- 
ceive us. But so are our senses ; they also may deceive, 
and perhaps have deceived us, as in the case of ocular spec- 
tra; but we do not on that account discredit the evidence 
of our eyes ; we only take means, in certain cases, for cor- 
recting their indications by other senses, as by touching the 
object, or by a comparison with the visual impressions of 
other men ; and, whatever probability there is that the eyes 
of one man may be deceived in any one instance, the proba- 
bility is as nothing that both his sight and touch should be 
deceived at once ; or that the senses of ten men should be 
deceived in the same manner at the same time. It is the 
same with regard to testimony. It may have deceived us 
in particular instances ;r but this applies to one species of 
testimony only ; there is another species which never de* 
ceived us. We learn by experience to separate distinctly 
the one from the other, and fix upon a species of testimony 
on which we rely with the same confidence as on the uni- 
formity of the course of nature. Thus, if we find a man 
who in other respects shows every indication of a sound 
mind, relating an event which happened under his own in- 
spection, and in such circumstances that he could not possi- 
bly be deceived ; if his statement be such as contributes in 
no respect to his credit or advantage, but, on the con- 
trary, exposes him to ridicule, contempt, and persecution , 
if. notwithstanding, he steadily perseveres in it, undel 

Form which the question assumes when the presumption against the fact is removed* 
Evidence of testimony and of the senses compared ? Example Case in which conf 
ience in testimony must be implicit ? 


every species of persecution, and even to the suffering of 
death ; to suppose such a testimony intended to deceive 
would be to assume a deviation from the established course 
of human character, as remarkable as any event which it 
could possibly convey to us. This might be maintained in 
regard to one such testimony ; but if we find numerous 
witnesses agreeing in the same testimony, all equally in- 
formed of the facts, all sho^^^ing the same characters of cre- 
dibility, and without the possibility of concert or connivance, 
the evidence becomes, not convincing only, but incontro- 

The grounds on which we receive with confidence the 
evidence of testimony, may, therefore, be briefly stated in 
the following manner : 

1. That the statement refers to a matter of fact, that 
the fact was such as couM be easily ascertained by the per- 
son who relates it, and that he had sufficient opportunity 
of ascertaining it. When the statement includes a point of 
opinion, the case comes under another principle ; and we 
require, in the first instance, to separate what is opinion 
from what is fact. 

2. That we have no reason to suspect the witness to be 
influenced by interest or passion in his evidence ; or that he 
has any purpose to answer by it, calculated to promote his 
own advantage. 

3. That various individuals, without suspicion of conni- 
vance, have concurred in the same statement. This is a 
point of the utmost importance ; and in cases in which we 
are satisfied that there could be no connivance, a degree of 
evidence is derived from the concurrence of testimonies, 
which may be often independent even of the credibility of 
the individual witnesses. For, though it were probable that 
each of them singly might lie, the chances that they should 
all happen to agree in the same lie, may be found to amount 
to an impossibility. On this subject there is also a furthei 
principle of the greatest interest, which has been well illus 
trated by Laplace, namely, that the more improbable a 
statement is in which such witnesses agree, the greater is th 
probability of its truth. Thus we may have two men whom 

Grounds of confidence in teatimony ? The subject ? Freedom from bias. Concur 
rsnce of witnesses ? Laplace's illustraUon ? 


we know to be so addicted to lying that we would not at- 
tach the smallest credit to their single testimony on any 
subject. If we find these concurring in a statement respect 
ing an event which was highly probable, or very likely to 
have occurred at the time whicli they mention, we may 
still have a suspicion that they are lying, and that they 
may have happened to concur in the same lie, even though 
there should be no supposition of connivance. But if the 
statement was in the highest degree improbable, such as 
that of a man rising from the dead, we may feel it to be 
Impossible that they could accidentally have agreed in such 
a statement ; and, if we are satisfied that there could 
be no connivance, we may receive a conviction from its 
very improbability that it must be true. In cases of con- 
curring testimonies, we expect that the witnesses shall agree 
in all essential and important particulars ; and, on the oth- 
er hand, evidence of the authenticity of testimony is some- 
times derived from the various witnesses differing in trifling 
circumstances in such a manner as, without weakening the 
main statement, tends to remove the suspicion of collusion 
or connivance. 

4. In all matters of testimony, we are greatly influenced 
by our confidence in a certain uniformity of human charac- 
ter. We attach much importance, for example, to our pre- 
vious knowledge of the narrator's character for veracity ; 
and a man may have acquired such a character in this re- 
spect, that we confide in his veracity in every instance in 
which his testimony is concerned, with a confidence equal 
to that with which we rely on the uniformity of the course 
of nature. In such a case, indeed, we proceed upon a uni- 
formity which applies only to a particular order, namely, 
those whom we consider as men of veracity. But there is 
also a principle of uniformity which applies to the whole spe- 
cies ; and in which we confide as regulating every man of 
sane mind. Thus, if the statement of a narrator contain 
circumstances calculated to promote his own advantage, we 
calculate on the probability of fabrication, and reject his evi- 
dence, except we had previously acquired absolute confi- 
dence in his veracity. But if, on the contrary, his state- 
ment operates against himself, conveying an imputation 

Examples. Oharacler ? Views of interest. 



against his own character, or exposing him to contempt, ri* 
dicule, or personal injury ; without any previous knowledge 
of his veracity, we are satisfied that nothing could make 
him adhere to such a testimony, but an honest conviction 
of its truth. 

5. A very important circumstance is the absence of any 
contradictory or conflicting testimony. This applies, in a 
striking manner, to the miraculous statements of the sacred 
writings ; for, even on the part of those who were most in- 
terested in opposing them, there is no testimony which pro- 
fesses to show, that at the time when the miracles are said 
to have taken place, they did not take place. It is, indeed, 
a remarkable circumstance, that the earliest writers against 
Christianity ascribe the miraculous events to the power of 
sorcery or magic, but never attempt to call them in question 
as matters of fact. 

6. Much corroboration of testimony may often be obtain- 
ed from our knowledge of facts of such a nature as, without 
directly bearing upon the statements to which the testimony 
refers, cannot be accounted for on any other supposition 
than the conviction of these statements being true. This 
principle applies, in a remarkable manner, to the miracu- 
lous histories of the sacred writings. We know, as an his- 
torical fact, the rapid manner in which the Christian faith 
was propagated in the early ages, against the most formida- 
ble opposition, and by means of the feeblest human instru- 
ments. We are told, that this was owing to the conviction 
produced by miraculous displays of Divine power; we feel 
that the known effect corresponds with the alleged cause ; 
and that it cannot be accounted for on any other principle. 

It does not belong to our present inquiry to allude more 
particularly to the direct evidence by which the miracles 
of the sacred writings are supported ; we merely refer, in 
this general manner, to the principles on which the evidence 
is to be estimated. A very interesting branch of the sub- 
ject will come under our view when we speak of memory 
and arbitrary association. We shall then see the irresisti 
ble importance of the commemorative rites of Christianity, 
by which the memory of these events has been transmitted 

Absence of opposing leslimony 7 Corroborating circumstancca ? IllustralJon ) R* 
narks upon the direct evidence of Christianity 7 


from age to age, or rather from year to year ; and by which 
our minds are carried backward, in one unbroken series, to 
the time when the events occurred, and to the individuals 
who witnessed them. In this manner, also, is entirely re- 
moved any feeling of uncertainty which may attach to tes- 
timony, as we recede from the period at w^^hich the events 
took place, and as the individuals are multiplied. Upon the 
whole, therefore, the evidence becomes so clear and conclu- 
sive, that we may say of those who reject it what the great 
Author of Christianity said on another occasion, " If they 
hear not these, neither will they be persuaded though one 
rose from the dead." 

Evkkass la proof of ChrhtiiuUty. 



Through the various sources referred to in the preced- 
ing observations, we acquire the knowledge of a certaia 
number of facts, relating either to the mind itself, or to 
things external to it. The next part of our inquiry refers 
to the operations (to use a figurative expression) which the 
mind performs upon the facts thus acquired. The term 
functions, or powers of mind, has often been applied to these 
operations ; but, as we are not entitled to assume that they 
are not in fact separate functions in the usual acceptation of 
that expression, it is perhaps more correct, and accords bet- 
ter with our limited knowledge of mind, to speak simply of 
the operations which it is capable of performing upon a 
given series of facts. These seem to be chiefly referablvi 
to the following heads. 

I. "We remember the facts ; and we can also recall them 
into the mind at pleasure. The former is Memory ; the 
latter is that modification of it which we call Recollection. 
But, besides this simple recollection of facts, we can recall 
a perception; that is, the impression of an actual scene 
which has been witnessed, or a person who has been seen, 
so as to place them, as it were, before the mind, with all 
the vividness of the original perception. This process is 
called Conception. It is often described as a distinct pow- 
er, or a distinct operation of the mind ; but it seems to be 
so nearly allied to memory that it may be considered as a 
modification of it. It is the memory of a perception. 

II. We separate facts from the relation in which they 

Subject. Classification? Memory. Omception. Abstraction. 


were originally presented to us, and contemplate some of 
them apart from the rest ; considering, for example, certain 
properties of bodies apart from their other properties. 
Among a variety of objects, we thus fix upon qualities which 
are common to a certain number of them, and so arrange 
them into genera and species. This process is usually 
called Abstraction. 

III. We separate scenes or classes of facts into their con- 
stituent elements, and form these elements into new combi- 
nations, so as to represent to ourselves scenes, or combina- 
tions of events, which have no real existence. This is Ibia- 


IV. We compare facts with each other, observe their 
relations and connections, and trace the results which fol- 
low particular combinations of them. We also observe 
their general characters, so as to deduce from the whole 
general facts or general principles. This is Reason or 

In this arrangement, it will be observed, I confine myself 
entirely to facts. I do not say that the mind possesses dis- 
tinct faculties, which we call memory, abstraction, imagina- 
tion, and judgment, for this at once leads into hypothesis ; 
but simply, that, in point of fact, the mind remembers, ab- 
stracts, imagines, and judges. These processes appear to 
constitute distinct mental acts, which every one is conscious 
of who attends to the phenomena of his own mind. But 
beyond the simple facts we know nothing, and no human in- 
genuity can lead us one step farther. Some of the follow- 
ers of Dr. Reid appear to have erred in this respect, by as- 
cribing to the mind distinct faculties or functions, somewhat 
in the manner in which we ascribe to the body distinct 
senses. Dr. Brown, on the other hand, has shown much in- 
genuity in his attempts to simplify the arrangement of the 
mental processes, by referring them all to his two princi- 
ples of simple and relative suggestion. But, without inquir- 
ing what has been gained to the science by this new phra- 
seology, and avoiding entirely any system which seems to 

Imagination. Judgment. Theories on this subject ? Dr. Rcid's ? Dri Brown'a 7 


suppose distinct functioTis of mind, I confine myself to facts 
respectmg the actual mental operations ; and it appears to 
answer best the purpose of practical utility to speak of these 
operations in the arrangement, and by the names, which 
are commonly used by the generality of mankind. 



By Memory Ave retain the impression of facts or events , 
and by Recollection we recall them into the mind by a 
voluntary effort. By Conception Ave recall perceptio:is, or 
the impression of actual scenes, persons, or transactions : 
thus a skilful painter can delineate from conception a land- 
scape a considerable time after he has seen it, or the coun- 
tenance of a friend Avho is dead or absent. These appear 
to be the leading phenomena Avhicli are referable to the head 
of memory. 

There seem to be original differences in the poAver of 
memory, some individuals being remarkable for retentive 
memory, though not otherAvise distinguished by their intel- 
lectual endoAvments. Thus, persons have been knoAA^n to 
repeat a long discourse after once hearing it, or even a se- 
ries of things without connection, as a long column of 
figures, or a number of words Avithout meaning. There 
is on record the account of a man who could repeat the 
Avliole contents of a ncAVspaper ; and of another Avho could 
retain Avords that Avere dictated to him, without any con- 
nection, to the amount of six thousand. A man mentioned 
by Seneca, after hearing a poet read a ncAv poem, claimed 
it as his OAvn ; and, in proof of his claim, repeated the poem 
from beginning to end, AA^iich the author could not do. A 
similar anecdote is told of an Englishman, AA'hom the king 
of Prussia placed behind a screen Avhen Voltaire came to 
read to him a new poem of considerable length. It has been 
alleged, that this kind of memory is generally connected 

Author's remarks ? Definitions? Original differences? Examples? 

MO MEMORY. [part HI 

with inferiority of the other intellectual powers : but there 
appears to be no foundation for this. For, though the mere 
memory of words may be met with in a high degree in 
persons of defective understanding, it is also true that men 
of high endowments have been remarkable for memory. 
It is said that Themistocles could name all the citizens of 
Athens, amounting to twenty thousand; and that Cyrus 
knew the name of every soldier in his army. 

The late Dr. Leyden was remarkable for his memory. 
I am informed, through a gentleman who was intimately 
acquainted with him, that he could repeat correctly a long 
act of parliament, or any similar document, after having once 
read it. When he was, on one occasion, congratulated by 
a friend on his remarkable power in this respect, he replied 
that instead of an advantage, it was often a source of great 
inconvenience. This he explained by saying, that when 
he wished to recollect a particular point in any thing which 
he had read, he could do it only by repeating to himself the 
whole from the commencement till he reached the point 
which he wished to recall. 

We may find a mere local memory combined with very lit* 
tie judgment; that is, the power of remembering facts in 
the order in which they occurred, or words in the order in 
which they were addressed to the individual ; but that kind 
of memory which is founded, not upon local or incidental 
relations, but on real analogies, must be considered as an 
important feature of a cultivated mind, and as holding an 
important place in the formation of intellectual character. 
The former kind of memory, however, is often the more 
ready, and is that which generally makes the greater show, 
both on account of its readiness, and likewise because the 
kind of facts with which it is chiefly conversant are usually 
those most in request in common conversation. 

The facts now referred to are matters of curiosity only. 
The points of real interest and practical importance, in re- 
gard to memory, respect the manner in which it is influ- 
enced by the intellectual habits of individuals, and the prin- 
ciples on which it may be improved. These are referable 

Influence on the other powers ? Dr. Leyden's memory. Inconveaieuce resulting 
trom it ? Different kinds of memory ? Two important points ? 

^E(: I.j ATTENTION. *5J 

chicdy to two heads, namely, Attention and Associa- 

Memory is very much influenced by Attention, or a full 
and distinct perception of the fact or object with a view to 
its being remembered ; and by the perception being kept 
before the mind, in this distinct manner, for a certain time. 
The distinct recollection of the fact, in such cases, is gene- 
rally in proportion to the intensity with which it has been 
contemplated ; and this is also very much strengthened by 
its being repeatedly brought before the mind. Most peo- 
ple, accordingly, have experienced that a statement is more 
strongly impressed upon the memory by being several times 
repeated to others. It is on the same principle, that me- 
mory is greatly assisted by writing down the object of our 
knowledge, especially if this be done in a distinct and sys- 
tematic manner. A subject also is more distinctly conceived, 
and more correctly remembered, after we have instructed 
another person in it. Such exercises are not strictly to be 
considered as helps to the memory, but as excitements to 
attention ; and as thus leading to that clear and full com- 
prehension of the subject which is required for the distinct 
remembrance of it. 

It is familiar to every one that there are great differences 
in memory, both in respect to the facility of acquix^ement and 
the power of retention. In the former there app ^ar to be 
original differences, but a great deal also depends upon ha- 
bit. In the power of retention much depends, as we shall 
afterwards see, upon the habit of correct association ; but, 
besides this, there are facts which seem to show a singular 
connection with the manner in which the acquisition was 
made. The following fact was communicated to me by an 
able and intelligent friend, who heard it from the individu- 
al to whom it relates. A distinguished theatrical perfor- 
mer, in consequence of the sudden illness of another actor, 
had occasion to prepare himself, on very short notice, for a 
part which was entirely new to him ; and the part was long 
and rather difficult. He acquired it in a very short time, 
and went through it with perfect accuracy, but immediately 
after the performance forgot every word of it. Characters 

Attention. Means of securing it ? Differences in memory. Illustration. Story o 
Ibe actor ? 

82 MEMORY. [part III 

which he had acquired in a more deliberate manner he ne- 
ver forgets, but can perform them at any time without a 
moment's preparation ; but in regard to the character now 
mentioned, there was the farther and very singular fact, that 
though he has repeatedly performed it since that time, he 
has been obliged each time to prepare it anew, and has ne- 
ver acquired in regard to it that facility which is familiar to 
him in other instances. When questioned respecting the 
mental process which he employed the first time he per- 
formed this part, he says, that he ost sight entirely of the 
audience, and seemed to have nothing before him but the 
pages of the book from which he had learned it ; and that 
if any thing had occurred to interrupt this illusion, he should 
have stopped instantly. 

That degree of attention which is required for the full re- 
membrance of a subject, is to be considered as a voluntary 
act on the part of the individual; but the actual exercise ot 
it is influenced in a great measure by his previous intellec- 
tual habits. Of four individuals, for example, who are giv- 
ing an account of a journey through the same district, one 
may describe chiefly its agricultural produce ; another, its 
mineralogical characters ; a third, its picturesque beauties; 
while the fourth may not be able to give an account of any 
thing except the state of the roads and the facilities for tra- 
velling. The same facts or objects must have passed before 
the sense? of all the four ; but their remembrance of them 
depends upon the points to which their attention was direct- 
ed. Besides the manner here alluded to, in whi';h the at- 
tention is influenced by previous habits or pursuits, some 
persons have an active inquiring state of mind, which keeps 
the attention fully engaged upon Avhatever is passing before 
them ; while others give way to a listless, inactive condi- 
tion, which requires to be strongly excited before the atten- 
tion is roused to the degree required for remembrance. 
The former, accordingly, remember a great deal of all that 
passes before them, either in reading or observation. The 
latter are apt to say that they are deficient in memory ; theii 
deficiency, however, is not in memory, but in attention , 
and this appears from the fact that they do not forget any 
thing which deeply engages their feelings, or concerns theii 

DifTerei^t ob jocta of attention 7 Fffect* of inaitantion 7 


The habit of listless inactivity of mind should be carefully 
guarded against in the young; and the utmost care should 
be taken to cultivate the opposite, namely, the habit of di- 
recting the mind intensely to whatever comes before it, ei 
ther in reading or observation. This may be considered as 
forming the foundation of sound intellectual character. 

Next to the effect of attention, is the remarkable influ- 
ence produced upon memory by Association. This princi- 
ple holds so important a place in relation to the mental 
operations, that some philosophers have been disposed to 
refer to it nearly all the phenomena of mind ; but without 
ascribing to it this universal influence, its eflects are cer- 
tainly very extensive, and the facts connected with it pre- 
sent a subject of peculiar interest. 

The principle of association is founded upoA a remarka- 
Dle tendency, by which two or more facts or conceptions, 
which have been contemplated together, or in immediate 
succession, become so connected in the mind that one of 
them at a future time recalls the others, or introduces a 
train of thoughts which, without any mental effort, follow 
each other in the order in which they were originally asso- 
ciated. This is called the association of ideas, and various 
phenomena of a very interesting kind are connected with it. 

But besides this tendency, by which thoughts formerly 
associated are brought into the mind in a particular order, 
there is another species of association into which the mind 
passes spontaneously, by a suggestion from any subject 
which happens to be present to it. The thought or fact 
which is thus present suggests another which has some 
kind of affinity to it ; this suggests a third, and so on, to the 
formation of a train or series which may be continued to a 
great length. A remarkable circumstance likewise is, that 
such a train may go on with very little consciousness of, or 
attention to it ; so that the particulars of the series are 
scarcely remembered, or are traced only by an effort. This 
singular fact every one must have experienced in that state 
of mind which is called a revery. It goes on for some time 
without effort and with little attention ; at length the atten- 
tion is roused, and directed to a particular thought which i? 

Caution to the young Association. Its foundation ? Trains of thoug'ht. Embncini 
Uiem 7 

84 MEMORY. [part HI. 

in the mind, without the person being at first able to recol- 
lect what led him to think of that subject. He then, by a 
voluntary effort, traces the chain of thoughts backwards, 
perhaps through a long series, till he arrives at a subject of 
which he has a distinct remembrance as having given rise 
to it. 

It is impossible distinctly to trace the principles which 
lead to the particular chain of thoughts which arise in a 
case of this kind. It is probably much influenced by the 
previous intellectual habits of the individual ; and perhaps 
in many instances is guided by associations previously 
formed. There are also among the facts or thoughts them- 
selves certain principles of analogy, by which one suggests 
another without that kind of connection which is established 
by previous proximity. These have usually been called 
pri7iciples of associatioii, or, according to the phraseology 
of Dr. Brown, principles of simple suggestion. They 
have been generally referred to four heads, namely, re- 
semblance, contiguity in time and place, cause and effect, 
and contrast : and others have reduced them to three, con- 
sidering contiguity and cause and effect as referable to the 
same head. On these principles, then, one thought may 
suggest another which has some relation to it, either in the 
way of resemblance, contiguity, cause, effect, or contrast. 
But still the question recurs, What gives rise to the occur- 
rence of one of these relations in preference to the others ? 
This may depend, in some instances, on previous habits of 
thought and peculiarities of mental temperament ; and in 
other cases associations may be more apt to occur, accord- 
ing as some analogous association may have been more 
recently formed, more lively, or more frequently repeated. 
When the common topic of the weather, for example, is 
introduced in conversation, or presented to the mind, tho 
agriculturist will naturally refer to its influence on vegeta- 
tion ; the physician to its effect on the health of the com- 
munity ; the man of pleasure may think only of its refer- 
ence to the sports of the field ; the philosopher may endea- 
vor to seek for its cause in some preceding atmospheric 
phenomena; and another person of certain habits of ob- 

Explanalion ? Principles of association ? Form used hy Dr. Brown ? Classific* 
tkin 7 Eirerta of b.'iU.t ' lUnstration 1 


servation may compare or contrast it with the weather of 
the same period in a preceding year. Thus, in five indi- 
viduals, the same topic may give rise to five trains of 
thought, perfectly distinct from each other, yet each de- 
pending upon a very natural and obvious principle of sug- 
gestion. In other instances it is impossible to trace the 
cause which leads the mind off into peculiar and unusual 
associations. The following example from Hobbes has 
been frequently referred to : " In a company in which 
the conversation turned on the civil war, what could be 
conceived more impertinent than for a person to ask ab- 
ruptly w lat was the value of a Roman denarius ? On a 
little reflection, however, I was easily able to trace the train 
of thought Avhich suggested the question ; for the original 
subject of discourse naturally introduced the history of the 
king, and of the treachery of those who surrendered his 
person to his enemies ; this again introduced the treachery 
of Judas Iscariot, and the sum of money which he received 
for his reward. And all this train of ideas passed through 
the mind of the speaker in a twinkling in consequence of 
the velocity of thought." Mr. Stewart adds, in relation to 
this anecdote, " It is by no means improbable, that if the 
speaker had been interrogated about the connection of 
ideas which led him aside from the original topic of dis- 
course, he would have found himself, at first, at a loss for 
an answer." 

In the mental process now referred to it is evident that 
the term suggestion is much more correct than association, 
which has often been applied to it. For in the cases which 
belong to this class, the facts or thoughts suggest each 
other, not according to any connection or association which 
the mind had previously formed between them, but accord- 
mg to some mental impression or emotion, which by a law 
of our constitution proves a principle of analogy or sug- 
gestion. We readily perceive how this takes place in re- 
gard to circumstances which are allied to each other by 
resemblance, contiguity, cause, or effect ; and the sugges- 
tion of contrast must also occur to every one as by no 
means unnatural. Thus, the sight of a remarkably fat 
man may recall to us the thought of another man we had 

Hnbhes' example ? Mr. Stewart's remark 7 Terms. Which preferable ? 


86 MEMORY. ^ [part III. 

lately seen, who was equally remarkable for his leanness 
the playfulness and mirth of childhood ma^ suggest the 
cares and anxieties of after life ; and an instance of con- 
duct w-hich we greatly disapprove may lead us to recollect 
how very differently another individual conducted himself 
in similar circumstances. 

In a practical view, the subject of association leads ur 
chiefly to a consideration of the manner in which facts are 
so associated in the mind as to be recalled by means of the 
connection ; in other words, the influence of association 
upon memory. In this view, associations are distinctly 
referable to three classes : 

I. Natural or philosophical association. 

II. Local or incidental association. 

III. Arbitrary or fictitious association. 

A variety of mental phenomena of the most interestmg 
kind will be found connected with the subjects referred to 
under these classes. The principle on which they all de- 
pend is simply the circumstance of two or more facts, 
thoughts, or events being contemplated together by the 
mind, though many of them may have no relation to each 
other except this conjunction. The strength of the associ- 
ation is generally in proportion to the intensity of the men- 
tal emotion ; and is likewise in a great measure regulated 
by the length of time, or the number of times, in which 
the facts have been contemplated in this connection. As- 
tonishing examples may be often met with of facts or oc- 
currences which have long ceased to be objects of simple 
memory, being brought up in this manner by association, 
though they had not passed through the mind for a very 
long time. 

I. Natural or Philosophical Association takes place 
when a fact or statement on which the attention is fixed, is 
by a mental process associated with some fact previously 
known to which it has a relation, or with some subject 
which it is calculated to illustrate. The fact so acquired 
is thus, to use a figurative expression, put by in its proper 

Why? Association, how classified ? Foundation of all. The strength cf it depend* 
n what J Philosophical association. 


place m the mind, and can afterward be recalled by means 
of the association. 

The formation of associations, in this manner, is of course 
influenced in a very great degree by previous mental ha- 
bits, pursuits, or subjects of reflection ; and, according to 
the nature and the variety of these pursuits or subjects of 
thought, facts which by some are passed by and instantly 
forgotten may be fixed upon by others with eager attention, 
and referred to some principle which they are calculated 
to illustrate. Examples of this kind must be familiar to 
every one; I may mention the following: In a party of 
gentlemen, the conversation turned on the warlike charac- 
ter of the Mahrattas, as compared with the natives of 
Lower India, and the explanation given of it by an author 
who refers it to their use of animal food, from which the 
Hindoos are said to be prohibited by their religion. A 
doubt was started respecting the extent to which Hindoos 
are prohibited from the use of animal food : some were of 
one opinion and some of another, and the point was left un- 
decided. Reading soon after the Journal of bishop Heber, 
I found it stated, that on one occasion during his journey, 
when a large supply of meat was brought to him, he or- 
dered three lambs to be sent to his Hindoo attendants, and 
that the gift was received with every expression of grati- 
tude. On another occasion such a fact might have been 
passed by without producing any impression ; or it might 
have been slightly associated with the good bishop's atten- 
tion to the comfort of all around him, but not remembered 
beyond the passing moment. In connection with the dis- 
cussion now mentioned it became a fact of great interest, 
and never to be forgotten ; and led to inquiry after more 
precise information on the subject to which it related. 

This trifling example may serve to illustrate the princi- 
ple, that the remembrance of insulated facts does not de- 
pend merely upon the degree of attention directed to them, 
but also on the existence in the mind of subjects of thought 
with which the new fact may be associated. Other facts, 
as they occur, will afterward be added from time to time, 
giving rise to a progressive increase of knowledge in a 

Influence of previous habits. Example ? Inference 7 Theory of progress ia 
knowledge ? 

SS MEMORY. [part HI. 

mind in which this mental process is regularly carried on. 
This habit of attention and association ought therefore to 
be carefully cultivated, as it must have a great influence 
on our progress in knowledge, and likewise on the forma- 
tion of intellectual character, provided the associations be 
made upon sound principles, or according to the true and 
important relations of things. It is also closely connected 
with that activity of mind which is ever on the alert for 
knowledge, from every source that comes within its reach ; 
and that habit of reflection which always connects with 
such facts the conclusions to which they lead, and the views 
Avhich they tend to illustrate. On this principle, also, every 
new fact which is acquired, or every new subject of thought 
which is brought before the mind, is not only valuable in 
itself, but also becomes the basis or nucleus of further im- 
provement. Minds which are thus furnished with the re- 
quisite foundation of knowledge, and act uniformly upon 
these principles of enlarging it, will find interesting matter 
to be associated and remembered, where others find only 
amusement for a vacant hour, which passes away and is 
forgotten. There is also another respect in which the 
habit of correct and philosophical association assists the 
memory, and contributes to progress in knowledge. For 
by means of it, when applied to a great mass of facts re- 
lating to the same subject, we arrive at certain general 
facts, which represent a numerous body of the individuals, 
and the remembrance of which is equivalent to the remem- 
brance of the whole 

The associations referred to under this first head arise 
out of the real relations of facts to each other, or to sub- 
jects of thought previously existing in the mind. The 
particular train of association, therefore, which is formed 
from the same facts by different individuals, may vary ex- 
ceedingly. Thus, the same facts may often admit of va- 
rio'is applications, or, in other words, of being associated 
in various ways, by different persons, according to their 
intellectual habits, or by the same person at different times, 
according to the subject of thought which happens to be 
more immediately present. 

Influence of correct habits of association ? Of previoua atlainmenu 7 Of cla 
Mfication 7 


When a variety of facts have been associated in the 
mind in the manner now referred to, they form a series 
which hang together and recall each other in a very re- 
markable manner. There are two ways in which this 
takes place, which may be called voluntary and spontane- 
ous. (1.) We call up facts by a voluntary effort, by di- 
recting the mind into particular trains of thought calculated 
to lead to those which we are in search of. This is what 
we call recollecting ourselves on a particular subject. We 
have an impression, perhaps, that the mind is in possession 
of information which bears upon the subject, but do not at 
the moment remember it ; or we remember some circum- 
stances, and wish to recall a more full and complete remem- 
brance. We therefore commence a mental process which 
consists in putting in motion, to speak figuratively, a train 
of thoughts, or a series of associated facts, which we think 
calculated to lead us to the facts we wish to recall. (2.) 
Associations recur spontaneously, either when particular 
topics naturally leading to them are brought before the 
mind, in reading or conversation, or in that state in which 
the mind is left to follow, without any effort, the current of 
thoughts as they succeed each other. In the healthy state 
of the mind, we can give way to this spontaneous succes- 
sion of thoughts ; or we can check it at our pleasure, and 
direct the mind into some new train connected with the 
same subject, or arising out of it ; or we can dismiss it al- 
together. While we allow it to go on, it does so, not only 
without effort, but often without consciousness ; so that 
when the attention is, after some time, arrested by a sub- 
ject of thought which is in the mind, we do not at first re- 
member what led us to think of it, and begin to recollect 
ourselves by tracing the series backwards. In this state 
of mind, it is most interesting to observe the manner in 
which old associations are revived, and old recollections 
renewed, which seemed to have been lost and forgotten ; 
and how facts and occurrences come into the mind which 
had not been thought of for many years. They are re- 
called, we scarcely know how, by some train of association 
which we can hardly trace, and which had long ceased to 

Recalling facta. First mode ? Second mode ? Our power to control our train o* 
'.houghl ? Old associations revived. 


90 MEMORY. [part IE. 

be the subject of any voluntary effort of attention. Wc 
shall again allude to this most interesting subject, in rela- 
tion to the manner in which associations, long forgotten, are 
sometimes brought into the mind in dreaming, and in cer- 
tain states of delirium. 

The voluntary power over the succession of thoughts 
and associations which has now been alluded to is a subject 
4f extreme interest. We shall have occasion to refer to 
it again when we come to speak of a remarkable condition 
in which it is lost ; and in which the mind is left entirely 
under the influence of the series of thoughts as they hap- 
pen to succeed each other, according probably to old as- 
sociations, without the power of arresting or varying it. 
This occurs in two very interesting mental conditions to be 
afterward more particularly mentioned ; namely, dreaming 
and insanity. 

II. Local or Incidental Association. In the mental 
process referred to under the preceding head, facts or 
thoughts are associated according to certain real relations ; 
though these, we have seen, may be various, and the par- 
ticular relation which is fixed upon, in particular cases, de- 
pends upon the intellectual habits of the individual. In the 
class now to be mentioned, the associations are formed ac- 
cording to no other relations than such as are entirely local 
or casual. Thus, a fact, a thought, or a mental impression 
is associated with the person by whom it was communi- 
cated, or the place where the communication was made ; 
and is recalled to the mind when the place or person is 
seen, mentioned, or thought of Some persons seem to 
form almost no other associations than those of this descrip- 
tion. When a place which they had visited, for example, 
is spoken of, they immediately relate, in connection with it, 
the persons whom they met there, incidents which occurred 
in their company, and opinions or statements which were 
mentioned in conversation with them ; and from this, per- 
haps, they may branch off to other circumstances relating 
to these individuals, their families, or connections. 

These mere local associations, however, often make a 

is the power over the succession of thoughts ever lost ? Jn what cases ? 
Mwociation. Definition? Examples. 


very deep impression upon the mind ; more vivid, certain- 
ly, than simple memory of the facts or transactions con- 
nected with them. Thus, we avoid a place which is as- 
sociated with some painful recollection ; yet the very fact 
of avoiding it shows that we have a full remembrance of 
the circumstances, and, at the same time, a conviction that 
the sight of the spot w^ould make the impression more vivid 
and more painful. After the death of a beloved child or a 
much valued friend, we may retain a lively remembrance 
of them, and even anxiously cherish the impression of their 
endearing qualities ; yet, after time has in some measure 
blunted the acuteness of feeling, the accidental discovery 
of some trifling memorial strongly associated with the la- 
mented object of our affection produces a freshness and 
intensity of emotion, known only to those who have expe- 
rienced it. This feeling is peculiarly strong if the memo- 
rial has been long lost sight of, and discovered by accident ; 
because, as has been well remarked by Dr. Brown, it in 
this case presents the unmixed image of the friend with 
whom it is associated ; whereas, a memorial which has be- 
come familiar to us is associated with other feelings not 
relating exclusively to him. Philosophers have endeavored 
to explain the mental phenomenon here referred to by sup- 
posing, that in such cases the mingling of mental emotion 
with actual perception gives a feeling of reality to the 
emotion, and for the time a kind of belief of the existence 
of the object of it. This is sufficiently plausible, but, after 
all, amounts to little more than expressing the fact in other 
words, without conveying any real explanation. 

Similar impressions, whether of a pleasurable or painful 
character, according to the original feeling which is thus 
recalled, are excited by the sight of a spot which we have 
visited while under the influence of strong emotion ; by a 
tune, a piece of poetry, an article of dress, or the most 
trifling object with which, from incidental circumstances, 
the association was made. The effect of a particular tune 
on the Swiss regiments in foreign service is familiar to every 
one ; and a similar effect has been remarked, from a simi- 
lar cause, among the Highland regiments of our own 

Vividness of some local associations. When peculiarly strong ? Proposed explana 
lioa ? Amount of it ? The Swiss soldiers. 

92 MEMORY. [part III 

country. The rr eiings thus produced may be so vivid as 
even to overpower present emotions ; to excite pleasure 
amid circumstances of pain or depression ; and to produce 
depressing and painful emotions, when all present circum- 
stances are calculated to give satisfaction. Hence, it is 
probable that the principle might often be employed with 
much advantage, as a moral remedy, in various circum- 
stances of depressing disease, as in the Ioav state of fever, 
and certain conditions of insanity. A pleasing anecdote 
of this kind is mentioned by Dr. Rush. " During the time 
that I passed at a country school in Cecil county in Mary- 
land, I often went on a holyday, with my schoolmates, to 
see an eagle's nest upon the summit of a dead tree, in the 
neighborhood of the school, during the time of the incuba- 
tion of the bird. The daughter of the farmer in whose 
field the tree stood, and with whom I became acquainted, 
married, and settled in this city about forty years ago. In 
our occasional interviews, we now and then spoke of the 
innocent haunts and rural pleasures of our youth, and among 
others, of the eagle's nest in her father's field. A few 
years ago, I was called to visit this woman when she was 
in the lowest stage of typhus fever. Upon entering the 
room, I cauofht her eye, and with a cheerful tone of voice 
said only, The eagle's nest. She seized my hand, without 
being able to speak, and discovered strong emotions of 
pleasure in her countenance, probably from a sudden as- 
sociation of all her early domestic connections and enjoy- 
ments with the words which I uttered. From that time she 
began to recover. She is now living, and seldom fails, 
when we meet, to salute me with the echo of ' The ea- 
gle's nest.' " 

There is even something in these mere local associations 
which fixes an impression upon the mind, almost indepen- 
dent of memory, and upon a principle with which we are 
little acquainted. The following anecdote is, I believe 
authentic, though I cannot at present refer to the work in 
which it is related. It is certainly one of the most extra- 
ordinary of its kind, and yet we see enough of the prmci- 
ple, in various instances, to give it a high degree of proba- 
bility. A lady, in the last stage of a chronic disease, was 

Story of the eagle's nest ? Permanence of these impressiona ? 


carried from London to a lodging in the country ; there her 
infant daughter was taken to visit lier, and, after a short 
interview, carried back to town. The lady died a few days 
after, and the daughter grew up without any recollection ot 
her mother, till she was of mature age. At this time, she 
happened to be taken into the room in which her moth-er 
died, without knowing it to have been so ; she started on 
entering it, and w4ien a friend who was along with her 
asked the cause of her agitation, replied, " I have a dis- 
tinct impression of having been m this room before, and 
that a lady, who lay in that corner, and seemed very ill, 
leaned over me and wept." 

The singular influence of local association is often illus- 
trated by the most trivial occurrences. Walking in the 
street lately, I met a lady whose face was familiar to me, 
but whom I could not name. I had, at the same time, an 
impression that I ought to have spoken to her, and to have 
inquired for some relative who had lately been my patient ; 
but, notwithstanding repeated efforts, I could not recognise 
her, and passed on. Some time after, in passing along the 
road a few miles from to\vn, my eye caught a cottage, to 
which I had been taken about six months before, to see a 
gentleman who had been carried into it in a state of insen- 
sibility, in consequence of being thrown from a gig. The 
sight of the cottage instantly recalled the accident, and the 
gentleman who was the subject of it ; and, at the same in- 
stant, the impression that the lady whom I had passed in 
the manner now mentioned was his wife. In this case no 
recollection was excited by the sight of the lady, even after 
repeated and anxious attempts ; and I believe I should not 
have recognised the patient himself, had he been long with 
her ; w^hereas the whole was recalled in an instant by the 
sight of the cottage. Similar illustrations must have oc- 
curred to every one. We meet a person in the street, who 
stops and speaks to us ; but we cannot recognise him. We 
are unwilling to tell him so, and walk along with him con- 
versing on various topics ; at length, he makes an allusion 
to some person or some circumstance, by means of which 
we instantly recollect who he is, and where we met with 
him. On the same principle, when we are endeavoring 

Anecdote illiiatrating it ? Aaecdoto of the author ? Common examjHes 7 

94 ' MEMORY. [pari III 

to remind a person of a transaction which he has forgotten, 
and wbich we are anxious to call to his recollection, we 
mention various circumstances connected with it, until at 
length we mention one Avhich, by association, instantly 
brings the whole distinctly before him. There are even 
facts which seem to show that the impression recalled by 
local association may affect the bodily organs. Van Swie- 
ten relates of himself, that he was passing a spot where the 
dead body of a dog burst and produced such a stench as 
made him vomit; and that, happening to pass the same 
spot some years after, he was affected by sickness and 
vomiting from the recollection. 

Finally, to the influence of local association we are to 
refer the impressions produced by the monuments of the 
illustrious dead ; the trophies of other times ; the remains 
of Greece and Rome ; or by the visitation of spots distin- 
guished by illustrious deeds, as Thermopylae, Bannockburn, 
or Waterloo. " Far from me," says Dr. Johnson, " and 
from my friends, be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct 
us, indifferent and unmoved, over any ground which has 
been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is 
little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force 
upon the plains of Marathon, or whose piety would not 
grow warmer among the ruins of lona." 

III. Arbitrary or Fictitious Association. This asso- 
ciation is generally produced by a voluntary effort of the 
mind ; and the facts associated are not connected by any 
relation except what arises out of this effort. The process 
is exemplified in the connection we establish between some- 
thing which we wish to remember, and something which 
we are in no danger of forgetting ; as in the common ex- 
pedients of tying a thread about the finger, or making a 
knot on the pocket-handkerchief. A Roman, for the same 
purpose, turned the stone of his ring inwards towards the 
palm of his hand. There is an analogous expedient which 
most people probably have employed for enabling them to 
remember the names of persons. It consists in forming an 
association between the name to be remembered and that 

Monuments ? Or what principle does their interest depend ? Arbitrary associatjoo 
Commo*' exaraj;]ea. 


of some intimate friend or public character of the same 
name, which is iamiliar to us. The remarkable circum- 
stance in these cases is, that whatever difficulty a person 
may have in simply remembering" a name, he never forgets 
who the individual was with whose name he formed the 

On this principle have been founded various schemes of 
artificial memory. One of the most ancient consisted in 
associating the divisions of a discourse to be delivered with 
the various apartments of a building, and the leading sen- 
timents with articles of furniture. This is said to have 
been much practised by the ancient orators, and to have 
given rise to the phraseology by which we speak of the 
divisions of a discourse, as the first place^ the second place^ 
&:c. I have repeatedly made experiments on this method 
in remembering the discourses of public speakers, and the 
effect is certainly astonishing ; for though it is many years 
since the experiments were made, I still find articles of fur- 
niture associated in the clearest manner with sentiments 
delivered by some of the speakers. Other systems of arti- 
ficial memory are founded upon the same general princi- 
ple, though the particular applications of it may vary ; and 
some of them are extremely absurd. One of the last which 
attracl>ed notice in this country was that of a German of 
the name of Feinagle, who delivered lectures on memory 
to crowded and fashionable audiences, about the year 1809 
or 1810. A leading part of his system was the memory 
of dates, and it consisted in changing the figures in the date 
into the letters of the alphabet corresponding to them in 
number. These letters were then formed into a word to 
be in some way associated with the date to be remembered. 
One example, which I happen to recollect, w^ill be sufficient 
to illustrate the peculiarity of the system, and at the same 
time its efficiency for its purpose. Henry IV., king of 
England, was born in the year 1366. This date, changed 
into letters, gives mff, which are very easily formed into 
the word muff. The method is not so obvious of establish^ 
ing with this a relation to Henry IV. " Henry IV.," says 
M. Feinagle, " is four hens, and we put them into the muff^ 

Artificial memory. Supposed practice of th ancients J Fainajle'e syetom ? Ek- 

96 MEMORY. [part 111. 

one in each corner." No one, certainly, after hearing this, 
IS in any danger of forgetting the date of the birth of 
Kenry IV.; but whether the remembrance is worth such 
a process is a separate question. 

There is a very obvious and decisive objection to all plans for re* 
016 mot ring history by means of any such artificial systems. It is this ; 
;he object of studying history is to enlarge and elevate the mind; to fill 
It with useful thoughts and clear conceptions, extended views of hu- 
man character and conduct, and interesting recollections of the past, 
[f history is read as a story, and remembered as a story, this is the 
effect ; but on M. Feinagle's plan, all this effect is destroyed, and 
the student of history stores his mind with many incongruous and 
ridiculous ideas. The name of Henry IV., for example, ought 
to bring to the recollection of the pupil the real events of his 
reign, the moral or political truths which it illustrates, and the im- 
portant persons or events with which it was connected. Instead of 
this, however, this system connects with the name of the monarch 
only the absurd and ridiculous idea of four hens in the four corners ot 
a muff. So with all the other applications of the system. It pro 
ceeds on altogetner erroneous ideas, or rather on a total forgetful- 
ness of the real design with which the history of the past is to be 
studied. The real objects ought to be the intellectual, moral and po- 
litical lessons which it teaches. A knowledge of names and dates 
is only of service in assisting the pupil to obtain clearer and more 
connected views, and thus in enabling him to feel more fully the moral 

It is unnecessary to enlarge upon the subject of arbitrary 
association, as the observation of every one will furnish 
numerous examples of it. There is one application of the 
principle, however, which deserves to be referred to in a 
more particular manner. I allude to the practice of com- 
memorative rites or periodical observances, for transmitting 
the remembrance of remarkable events. These are in their 
nature, in general, entirely arbitrary ; or, if they have any 
analogy to the events, the relation is only figurative. But 
the influence of such celebrations is of the most extensive 
and most important kind. If the events, particularly, are 
of a very uncommon character, these rites remove any 
feeling of uncertainty which attaches to traditional testi- 
mony, when it has been transmitted through a long period 
of time, and consequently through a great number of indi- 

Objeclion to system of artificial memory. Object of history ? Effect of Feina?le'a 
plan? Example; case of Henry IV. Error on which such Bystems are foundod ? 
Ojinraemoralive rites. Their influence. 


viduals. They carry us back, in one unbroken servos, to 
the period of the events themselves, and to the individuals 
who were witnesses of them. 

The most important application of the principle in the 
manner now referred to is in the observances of religion 
which are intended to commemorate those events which 
are connected with the revelation of the Christian faith. 
The importance of this mode of transmission has not been 
sufficiently attended to by those who have urged the insuf- 
ficiency of human testimony to establish the truth of 
events which are at variance with the common course of 
nature. We have formerly alluded to one part of this so- 
phism, and have stated the grounds on which we contend 
that no objection to the credibility of these events can be 
founded upon our observation of what we call the course 
of nature. We have admitted that a much higher species 
of evidence is required for them than would be required 
for events which correspond with our previous observation ; 
and this high and peculiar evidence is confirmed in a strik- 
ing manner by the periodical rites now referred to. By 
means of these we are freed entirely from every impression 
of the fallibility of testimony, and the possibility of the 
statements having been fabricated ; as we are conducted 
in one uninterrupted series to the period when the events 
took place, and to the individuals who witnessed them. 
This will appear if we state in a few words a hypothe- 
tical case. Let us conceive a person attempting to im- 
pose upon the world by an account of some wonderful or 
miraculous event, which he alleges occurred five hun- 
dred years ago. He, of course, exerts every possible inge- 
nuity in fabricating documents, and framing the appear- 
ance of a chain of testimony in support of his statement. 
It is quite possible that he might thus deceive a considera- 
ble number of credulous persons ; and that others, who did 
not believe his statement, might yet find difficulty in 
proving its fallacy. But if the report were further to bear, 
that ever since the occurrence of the alleged event it had 
been regularly and specially celebrated by a certain peri- 
odical observance, it is clear that this would bring the 

Important case. Case supposed for illustration. 


dS MEMORY. [part III. 

statement to the test of a fact open to examination, and that 
the fallacy of the whole would be instantly detected. 

On these principles it must appear that the statements of 
the sacred Avritings, respecting miraculous events which 
are said to have occurred upwards of 1800 years ago, could 
not have been fabricated at any intermediate era during 
that period. It is unnecessary to state how much more 
improbable it is that they could have been fabricated at the 
very time and place in which they are said to have oc- 
curred, and in the midst of thousands who are said to have 
witnessed them, many of whom were deeply interested in 
detecting their fallacy. This part of the question is not 
connected with our present inquiry, but it is impossi- 
ble to dismiss the subject without one reflection : that if 
we are to proceed upon the principle of probabilities, we 
must balance fairly the probabilities of fabrication. If we 
do so, we hesitate not to assert, that the probability of the 
world being imposed upon, under all the circumstances now 
alluded to, is more at variance with our firm and unalte- 
'able experience than all that we are called upon to be- 

It does not appear necessary to say much of that modifi- 
cation of memory which is called Conception. It is the 
recalling of a perception. If, for example, we have passed 
a person in the street whose face we think we have seen, 
but without being able to recognise him, we can recall the 
impression of his countenance, and endeavor to recollect 
who he is. By a higher exercise of this faculty a painter 
can draw from conception a landscape or a building long 
after he has visited them, and even the portrait of a friend 
who is dead or absent, and whom he has not seen for a con- 
siderable time. By another modification of this power we 
can imbody into a conception a scene, a figure, or a trans- 
action which has been described to us by another. The 
vividness of our conception, in such cases, does not depend 
upon the accuracy or even the truth of the description, but 
upon the degree of liveliness wdth which it is given, or the 
intensity with which our attention is directed to it. Thus, 

Argument. Conception, what? Examples. Important modification of this power 
Upon what the vividness depends. 


it has been remarked that we have a more clear conception 
of Don Quixote or Sancho than of any characters in real 
history, unless they have been made familiar to us by 
paintings. The business of the novelist being to create 
his hero, he gives a more full and graphic delineation of 
him than the authentic historian finds it necessary to do ^ 
hence, the former begins his narrative by an impression 
made upon our conception ; the latter disregards this, and 
proceeds at once to the facts which he has to address to 
our attention and memory. 

There is no intellectual habit which can be more immediately nn- 
proved by cultivation, than this power of painting distinctly to the 
mind scenes described by another. Both the enjoyment and the 
improvement which is derived from reading depend very much up- 
on it. One person will read a narrative, such a one for instance 
as the story of Robinson Crusoe, and the mental pictures, which the 
descriptions bring up in his mind, are cold, and meagre, and barren. 
Nothing comes to view which is not expressly described ; and even 
that is very faintly and confusedly sketched by the mind. In the case 
of another individual, all is clear and distinct. The slight sketch which 
the description gives is filled up by the imagination, and clothed with 
Deauty ; so that while the printed words which meet the eye, in both 
cases, are the same, the real scenes to which they introduce the rea- 
der are entirely dissimilar. This is one great cause of the diffe- 
rences of opinion about the interest excited by a story. One reader 
praises and one condemns. They speak of the book. But the real 
object of the censure and of the praise, is, on the one hand, the mea- 
gre conceptions of a reader whose imagination has not been culti- 
vated ; and on the other, the glowing pictures which are formed by a 
mind of higher imaginative powers. 

Now the habit of forming distinct and vivid conceptions of what 
an author describes, will not only very much increase the interest 
with which his description is read, but it will cause it to be very 
much m.ore strongly impressed on the memory. "What we see we 
remember much more distinctly than what we merely hear described ; 
but by the power of strong and vivid conception, we can sometimes 
almost realize the efiect of actual sight. 

There are two modes of cultivating this power. 1. Occasionally 
pausing and making an effort to paint distinctly to the mind the scenes 
described by an author. Think of it as a reality, and dwell upon it 
until you have completed it, in its details, and made all the parts 
consistent with one another, and with the whole. Practice of this 

Conceptions formed of imasinary persons ? Why more distinct ? Influence of ciilti- 
ration upon it ? Example of the diflference in different individuals. Effect of thi;3 on 
opinions about books ? Double advantage from the habit of forming rivid conceptions J 
Modes of cultivating this power ? First mode ? 

100 MEMORY. [part III 

kind will very soon lead to decided improvement. 2. Carefully ob- 
serving scener}', as exhibited in prints and in nature, and impressing 
its features, both of beauty and grandeur, upon the mind, so as to pro- 
vide the memory with a store of images, which are to be employed 
as elements or materials, to enter into the composition of imaginary 
scenes. Strictly speaking, there is nothing new or original in the 
conceptions we form of scenes described. They may be new com 
binations, but the elements from which they are composed are all 
furnished from memory. The memory then should be provided witlTa 

Conception, properly so called, or the recalling of a 
perception, does not appear to be necessarily connected 
with the impression of past time, but rather to be at first , 
accompanied by a feeling of the present existence of the 
object. Connecting the impression with past time seems to 
be a distinct act of the mind ; and the conception may be so 
strong, as, for the moment, almost to exclude all idea of the 
past. That degree of conception by which a painter can 
take the likeness of a friend who has been long dead, or 
delineate a scene visited at a remote period, must amount 
to something of this nature. In the active and healthy 
stale of the other faculties of the mind this impression is 
but momentary, being almost instantly corrected by im- 
pressions received from the external world. We shall af- 
terward have occasion to refer to a remarkable state of 
mind in which it is not thus corrected, but in which objects 
which exist only in conception are believed to have a real 
and present existence. On this condition depend many of 
the peculiarities of dreaming, insanity, and spectral illu- 

Different individuals possess the faculty of conception in 
different degrees ; and, connected with the degree of it, 
there is generally a corresponding talent for lively descrip- 
tion. The faculty itself, or the formation of the concep- 
tion, probably follows nearly the same laws with memory, 
and depends in a great measure upon the degree of atten- 
tion which was originally directed to the objects. This, 
again, is influenced, as in the case of memory, partly by 
the general activity of mind of the individual, and partly 
by his particular habits and pursuits. Thus, as formerly 

Sftiond mode ? Reason for ihia rule ? Connection of conception with the idea of 
lime. Conception, when most vivid } Power of conception in different individuab 
Depends upon what ? 


remarked, in describing the features of a country which 
they have passed over, one person will give a clear and 
lively description of its general characters, so as to place it, 
as it were, before you ; a second will describe chiefly its 
pastures and produce ; a third may include both ; while a 
fourth may not be able to give an intelligible account of 
any one feature of the scene. 

There are particular situations in which conception is 
apt to be most intensely brought into exercise, especially 
those of seclusion and the absence of all external impres- 
sions. A beautiful example of this occurs in the Life of 
Niebuhr, the celebrated Danish traveller. When old, blind, 
and so infirm that he was able only to be carried from his 
bed to his chair, he used to describe to his friends the 
scenes which he had visited in his early days with wonder- 
ful minuteness and vivacity. When they expressed their 
astonishment, he told them,. " that as he lay in bed, all vi- 
sible objects shut out, the pictures of what he had seen in 
the East continually floated before his mind's eye, so that 
It was no wonder he could speak of them as if he had seen 
them yesterday. With like vividness the deep intense sky 
of Asia, with its brilliant and twinkling host of stars, which 
he had so often gazed at by night, or its lofty vault of blue 
by day, was reflected, in the hours of stillness and darkness, 
on his inmost soul." This may perhaps be considered as an 
example of what we may call the highest degree of healthy 
conception. Something a little beyond this leads to that 
state on Avhich depends the theory of apparitions or spectral 

In concluding this brief allusion to the subject of concep- 
tion, I shall only add the following example of another 
application of this mental process. In the church of St. 
Peter at Cologne the altar-piece is a large and valuable 
picture by Rubens, representing the martyrdom of the 
apostle. This picture having been carried away by the 
French in 1805, to the great regret of the inhabitants, a 
painter of that city undertook to make a copy of it from 
recollection ; and succeeded in doing so in such a manner, 
that the most delicate tints of the original are preserved 

Power of description varioiia? Anecdote of Niebuhr? What ilUistrated by thia' 
Btory of the picture ? 


102 MEMORY [part III. 

with the most minute accuracy. The original painting has 
now been restored, but the copy is preserved along with it ; 
and even when they are rigidly compared, it is scarcely 
possible to distinguish the one from the other. I am not 
aware that this remarkable anecdote has been recorded by 
any traveller ; I am indebted for it to my friend Dr. Dun- 
can, of the university of Edinburgh, who heard it on the 
spot in a late visit to the Continent, and saw both the pic- 


The facts which have been briefly referred to, in regard 
to the phenomena of memory, lead to some remarks of a 
practical nature. These relate to the improvement of at- 
tention and memory in persons of adult years, and the cul- 
tivation of these powers in the education of the young. 

The rules from which benefit is to be derived for the 
improvement of memory, in persons of adult years, may 
be chiefly referred to the following heads. 

I. The cultivation of habits of attention, or of intense 
application of the mind to whatever is at the time its more 
immediate object of pursuit. 

II. Habits of correct association. These consist in the 
constant practice of tracing the relation between new facts 
and others with which we are previously acquainted ; and 
of referring facts to principles which they are calculated to 
illustrate, or to opinions which they tend to confirm, modi- 
fy, or overturn. This is the operation of what we call a 
reflecting mind ; and that information which is thus fully 
contemplated and associated is not likely to be forgotten. 

III. Intimately connected with both the former rules is 
the cultivation of that active, inquiring state of mind which 

Authority for it First rule ? Rule in regard to association, what ? Correct associa- 
tion, what 7 


is always on the watch for knowledge from every source 
that comes within its reach, either in reading, conversation, 
or observation. Such a mind is ever ready to refer newly- 
acquired knowledge to its proper place. It is thus easily 
retained, and made to yield those conclusions which are 
legitimately deduced from it. 

IV. Method; that is, the pursuit of particular subjects, 
upon a regular and connected plan. 

All these principles are opposed to that istless, inactive 
state of mind which is occupied with trifles, or with its 
own waking dreams ; or which seeks only amusement in 
desultory pursuits which pass away and are forgotten. 
They are likewise opposed to habits of irregular and de- 
sultory application, Avhich even intellectual persons are apt 
to fall into, by means of which the mind loses the train of 
investigation, or of argument, in which it had made some 
progress, and may not be able to recover it in a satisfactory 
manner. Nothing, indeed, appears to contribute more to 
progress in any intellectual pursuit than the practice of 
keeping the subject habitually before the mind, and of daily 
contributing something towards the prosecution of it. 

V. Attention and memory are greatly promoted by writ- 
ing on a subject, especially if it be done in a distinct and 
systematic manner ; also, by conversing on the subject, and 
by instructing others in it. These exercises, indeed, may 
perhaps be considered rather as aids to attention, or a clear 
comprehension of the subject, than to memory. For in re- 
gard to memory, it is remarkable how much its power is 
increased in many instances by that kind of exercise Jay 
which it is alone trusted to, without any aid from writing. 
I have known medical men, for example, who had to recol- 
lect numerous appointments, do so with perfect accuracy 
by trusting to memory, to which they had habituated them- 
selves, but blunder continually when they kept a written 
memorandum. The mental power which is in some cases 
acquired by constant and intense exercise, is indeed asto- 

Wliat slate of mind best promotes the memory ? Method. Habits of mind to which 
these rules ar opposed ? Influence of writing ? What its mode of operatioa 1 

lU'l MEMORY. [part III 

oishing-. Bloomfield the poet relates of himself, that nearly 
one half of his poem, the Farmer's Boy, was composed, re- 
vised, and corrected, without writing a word of it, while he 
was at work with other shoemakers in a garret. 

Similar rules apply to the cultivation of these powers in 
young persons. They may he chiefly referred to the fol- 
lowing heads : 

I. Exciting constant attention and constant interest. 
For this purpose it is of essential importance that whatever 
reading is presented to children shall be of a kind which 
they understand, and in which they can feel interest and 
pleasure. This will be greatly promoted by directing their 
attention to the meaning of words, and explaining them by 
familiar illustrations. The practice of setting tasks as 
punishments cannot be alluded to in terms adequate to its 
extreme absurdity. On this ground also it must be consi- 
dered as a great error in education, to make children at- 
tempt too much ; that is, more than they can do with close 
attention. When a sense of weariness or mental languor 
takes place, what follows is not merely a loss of time, but 
an important injury done to the mental constitution ; and 
it appears to be of the utmost consequence that the time of 
children should be as much as possible divided between in- 
tense attention and active recreation. By a shorter time 
occupied in this manner, not only is more progress made 
than by a longer, with listless and imperfect application, but 
an important part of mental discipline is secured, which by 
the other method is entirely neglected. Similar observa- 
tions, indeed, apply to persons at every period of life, and 
we are fully persuaded that progress in any intellectual 
pursuit does not depend so much upon protracted laborious 
study, as on the practice of keeping the subject habitually 
before the mind, and on the intensity of mental application. 

II. Cultivating habits of association, by pointing out to 
children the relation of facts to each other, the manner in 
which they illustrate one another, or lead to some general 

Anecdote of Bloomfield. Means of cultivating the memory in the young. Influenca 
of attention and interest? Errors in education ? Habits of association. 

SKC. I. 


conclusion. By directing them in this manner from any 
particular fact to recollect similar or analogous facts which 
had formerly passed before them, they will be trained at 
once to attention, memory and reflection. 

III. Cultivating that general activity of mind which 
seeks for information on every subject that comes in its way. 
The most common and trivial occurrences may thus be 
made the source of mental improvement : the habits of ani- 
mals ; the natural history of the articles that are constantly 
before us, in clothes, food, furniture ; articles of .jnanufac- 
ture from a watch to a pin ; the action of the mechanic 
powers, as illustrated by various contrivances in constant 
use ; the structure of a leaf, a flower, a tree. To those 
farther advanced, a constant source of interest may be found 
in history, geography, and memoirs of eminent individuals ; 
and in the leading principles of natural history, natural phi- 
losophy, and chemistry. Every new subject of thought 
which is thus presented to the mind is both valuable in it- 
self by the powers which it calls into action, and by proving 
a nucleus to which new facts may be afterward associated. 

IV. Memory and attention are greatly promoted in young 
persons by writing ; provided it be done, not merely in the 
form of extracts from books, but in their own words : in his- 
tory, for example, in the form of chronological tables ; and 
on other subjects in clear and distinct abstracts, neatly and 
methodically written. 

V. These exercises of mind are greatly promoted in the 
young by verbal communication. Hence the importance of 
frequent examination. The teacher is thereby enabled, 
not only to ascertain their progress, but to explain what 
they do not understand ; to impress upon them important 
points to which they may not have sufficiently attended ; 
to excite attention, inquiry, and interest ; and so to culti- 
vate the habits of association and reflection. These, in fact, 
ought to be the objects to be kept in view in all such exer- 
cises, as of much greater moment than the mere putting of 

Activity of mind. Means of awakening it ? Written exercises : of what kind ) Ver- 
ba' communication how secured ? Advantagea of it 7 

106 MEMORY. [part III 

questions. On the same principle, a most useful exercise 
for young persons is instructing others still younger, on sub- 
jects which they have themselves recently acquired. 

VI. In the cultivation of the mental powers in the young, 
a point of essential importance is the selection of proper and 
worthy objects of acquirement. In the general conduct 
of education in this respect, the chief error appears in gene- 
ral to have been, devoting too much time and attention in 
females to superficial accomplishments, and in males to mere 
acquirement in languages and mathematics ; and the great 
object to be kept in view from the very earliest period is the 
paramount importance of the actual knowledge of things 
on subjects of real utility, the actual cultivation of habits of 
observation, inquiry, association and induction ; and, as the 
foundation of the whole, the habit of steady and continued 
attention. The cultivation of these mental habits is of 
greater value by far than any one acquirement whatever; 
for they are the basis of all future improvement, and are 
calculated to give a tone to the whole character. 

In this brief outline I have said nothing on the subject of 
religious instruction ; for the same rules apply to it as to 
branches of inferior importance, in as far as it is to be con- 
sidered as engaging the intellectual powers. The chief er- 
ror here appears to be, the practice of trusting too much to 
the mere repetition of tasks or catechisms, without that kind 
of direct personal instruction which is calculated to interest 
the attention, to fix the truths upon the understanding, and 
to cultivate the habits of association and reflection. A lead- 
ing branch of this subject, the culture of the moral feelings, 
does not belong to our present inquiry ; but it is impossible 
to mention it without alluding to its intense interest even in 
a philosophical point of view. One of the most striking 
phenomena, certainly, in the science of the human mind, is 
the high degree of culture of which the moral powers are 
susceptible, even in the infant mind, long before the powers 
of intellect are developed for the investigation of truth. 

Mutual instruction. Influence of a proper selection of objects? Prevalent errors' 
What is really of paramount importance ? Reiigious instruction. Common error her* ) 
Cijltuie of moral feelinga? 


In reference to the whole science of education, nothing 
is of greater importance than the principle of association, 
which, we have formerly seen, exerts a most extensive in 
fluence, not in the remembrance of facts alone, but in per 
petuating and recalling mental emotions. We take a very 
limited view, indeed, of this great subject, if we confine 
education entirely or chiefly to the acquisition of know- 
ledge, or even to the culture of the intellectual powers. 
That system is deficient in its most essential part which 
does not carry on along with these a careful and habitual 
culture and regulation of the passions and emotions of the 
young ; their attachments and antipathies, their hopes and 
fears, their joys and sorrows ; the cultivation of the social 
and benevolent affections ; the habit of repressing selfish- 
ness, and bearing inconveniences and disappointments with- 
out murmuring ; a disposition to candor and ingenuousness, 
and a sacred regard to truth. Their future character as 
social and moral beings will be greatly influenced by the 
manner in which they are taught from an early period to 
regulate their emotions, by directing them to adequate and 
worthy objects, and controlling them by the great princi- 
ples of wisdom and virtue. In this important process the 
principle of association exerts a most extensive influence. 
The stern lessons of morality, and even the sublime truths 
of religion, may be rigidly impressed upon the minds of the 
young, and may, in after-life, recur from time to time, as a 
mere matter of remembrance ; but many must have experi- 
enced how different is the impression when they recur in 
close association with a father's affection and a mother's 
tenderness, with the lively recollection of a home, where 
the kindest sympathies of the human heart shed around the 
domestic circle all that is lovely in life, while a mild and 
consistent piety habitually pointed the way to a life which 
is to come. 

Infiuence of association in repard to the moral feelings? Essential objects to be sia 
luifid ? What principle most effectual in securing them"? Example. 



The preceding imperfect outline of the subject of memo- 
ry naturally leads us briefly tp investigate the manner in 
which this function is impaired in connection with bodily 
disease. This takes place chiefly from injuries of the head, 
afiections of the brain, fever, and diseases of extreme debi- 
lity. Similar eflects arise from intemperance and other 
habits of dissipation. Our present purpose, however, is, not 
to investigate the peculiar eflects of these various causes, 
but to endeavor to trace the manner in which attention and 
memory and we may include perception are afljected by 
any or all of them. 

The first mental function which is impaired by bodily 
disease, is usually the power of attention ; this we see illus- 
trated in all febrile aflections. The patient, in the early 
or milder stages, is incapable of fixing his mind upon any 
thing that requires much attention, of following out an ar- 
gument, or of transacting business which calls for much 
thought or consideration. He is acute and intelligent as to 
all common occurrences, and shows no want of recollec- 
tion or of the power of reasoning when his attention is ex- 
cited ; but he feels it an exertion that is painful to him. In 
a higher degree of this condition, he is still intelligent as to 
what is said or done at the time, or in recognising persons ; 
but in a short time forgets every thing in regard to the per- 
son or the occurrence. He is incapable of that degree of 
attention which is necessary for memory, though the pow- 
ers of perception are entire. In the next stage he becomes 
incapable of receiving the full impression from external 
things ; and, in consequence of this, he mistakes the objects 
of his own thoughts for realities. This is delirium, and 
there are various degrees of it. In some cases the atten 
tion of the patient can be roused for a time, and directed to 

What bodily affections influence the memory ? Object of this dif?cussion ? What 
funclion first impaired? First stage, effects what ? Second stage ? Third stage ? lu 
name ? 


the true relations of external things, though he relapses in- 
to his delirious impressions when he is left undisturbed : in 
others, tlie false impression is constant, and cannot be cor- 
rected by any effort which is made to direct the attention ; 
and in a third modification of this remarkable condition, he 
mixes up his hallucinations with external impressions in a 
most singular manner. He is still capable, howevei, of 
describing his impressions, that is, of talking so as to be 
understood, though what he speaks of relates only to his er- 
roneous conceptions, or mere bodily feelings. In the next 
stage he either does not attempt to express himself at all, or 
is entirely unintelligible. He is now cut off from commu- 
nication with external things and with other sentient beings ; 
and the highest degree of this is what we call coma, or stu- 
por, which resembles profound sleep. 

This description refers chiefly to the gradations in the 
state of the mental functions which we observe in continued 
fever. It is particularly interesting to trace them in this 
disease, because we see the various grades passing into one 
another, and thus showing in a connected series the lead- 
ing peculiarities which, in other affections, we have to con- 
template separately. These peculiarities may be chiefly 
referred to the following heads. 

It will be observed that these heads are substantially a repetitioiv 
and more full examination of those in the preceding paragraphs. The 
pupils will be very much assisted in understanding and remembering 
,hem, by calling to mind cases which have occurred within their own 
observation, and arranging them under their respective heads. 

I. A state in which the attention cannot be steadily di- 
rected to a long and connected train of thought, or to any 
thing requiring a continued effort of mind. This takes 
place, as already stated, in the earlier stages of all febrile 
diseases. It likewise occurs in connection with the debility 
which succeeds acute diseases, in persons broken down by 
intemperance, and in the first approaches of old age. It is 
also often observed in a remarkable degree in connection 
with a disordered state of the stomach. 

II. A state in which the impression made by external 

Three modifications of this stage ? Fourth stage ? Its name 7 In what disease 
most commonly observed. First slate? In what disease does it occur? Second 



things is not sufficient to produce remembrance, though 
there appears to be, at the time, a perfect perception. A 
person so affected understands what is said to him, and an- 
swers correctly, but very soon forgets what has passed ; he 
knows a friend, and is happy to see him, but in a short time 
forgets the occurrence. This is met with in a more ad 
vanccd state of febrile diseases, in the higher degrees of the 
condition which results from habitual intemperance, and in 
the more advanced periods of age. It also occurs in dis- 
eases of the brain, and iri cases of injuries of the head. A 
lady whom I attended some time ago, on account of an in 
jury produced by a fall from a horse, lay, for the first week, 
in a state of perfect stupor ; she then gradually revived, so 
as to be sensible to external impressions, and after somr 
time to recognise her friends. But afterward, when she 
was entirely recovered, she had no recollection of this peri- 
od of her convalescence, or of having seen various friends 
who then visited her, though, at the time, she recognised 
them, conversed with them sensibly, and was very happy to 
see them. 

III. The third condition is that in which external impres- 
sions are either not perceived at all, or are perceived in a 
manner which cannot convey any distinct notion of their 
relations to the mind. On this account the conceptions or 
trains of ideas existing in the mind itself are believed to be 
realities. This remarkable condition belongs properly to 
another part of our subject. It occurs in various forms of 
delirium, and constitutes the peculiar characters of insanity 
and dreaming. The ideas or conceptions which occupy 
the mind in this condition are various. They may be trains 
of thought excited by some passing event or some bodily 
sensation ; and frequently the patient repeats something 
which is said in his hearing, and then branches off into 
some other train to which that has given rise. In other cases 
the impression is one which has been brought up by some 
old associations, even rekting to things which the person 
when in health had not recollected. Of this kind there 
are various remarkable examples on record, especially in 

Describe the effects. Diseases in which it occurs ? Case described Third sta> 
wliat 7 Describe its effects 


regard to the memory of languages. A man, mentioned by 
Mr. Abernethy, had been born in France, but had spent the 
greater part of his life in England, and for many years had 
entirely lost the habit of speaking French. But when un- 
der the care of Mr. Abernethy, on account of the effects of 
an injury of the head, he always spoke French. A similar 
case occurred in St. Thomas' hospital, of a man who was 
in a state of stupor in consequence of an injury of the head. 
On his partial recovery, he spoke a language which nobody 
in the hospital understood, but which was soon ascertained 
to be Welsh. It was then discovered that he had been thir- 
ty years absent from Wales, and, before the accident, had 
entirely forgotten his native language. On his perfect re- 
covery, he completely forgot his Welsh again, and recover- 
ed the English language. A lady, mentioned by Dr. Pri- 
chard, when in a state of delirium spoke a language which 
nobody about her understood ; but which also was disco- 
vered to be Welsh. None of her friends could form any 
conception of the manner in which she had become acquaint- 
ed with that language ; but after much inquiry it was dis- 
covered, that in her childhood she had a nurse, a native of 
I district on the coast of Brittany, the dialect of which is 
closely analogous to the Welsh. The lady had at that time 
learned a good deal of this dialect, but had entirely forgot- 
ten it for many years before this attack of fever. The case 
has also been communicated to me of a lady who was a na- 
tive of Germany, but married to an English gentleman, and 
for a considerable time accustomed to speak the English lan- 
guage. During an illness, of the nature of which I am not 
informed, she always spoke German, and could not make 
herself understood by her English attendants, except when 
her husband acted as interpreter. A woman who was a 
native of the Highlands, but accustomed to speak English, 
was under the care of Dr. Macintosh of Edinburgh, on ac- 
count of an attack of apoplexy. She was so far recover- 
ed as ^o look around her with an appearance of intelli- 
gence, but the doctor could not make her comprehend any 
thing he said to her, or answer the most simple question. 

Case described by Mr. Abernethy ? The patient at St. Thomas' hospital. Tha 
lady mentioned by Dr. Prichard. Explanation of it ? The German lady. Dr, Mac- 
Vloah's patient. 

U2 MEMOKY. [part III 

He then desired one of her friends to address her in Gaelic, 
when she immediately answered with readiness and fiuen- 
cj'. An Italian gentleman, mentioned by Dr. Rush, who 
died of the yellow fever in New York, in the beginning of 
his illness spoke English, in the middle of it French, but on 
the day of his death he spoke only Italian. A Lutheran 
clergyman of Philadelphia informed Dr. Rush that Germans 
and Swedes, of whom he had a considerable number in his 
congregation, when near death always prayed in their na- 
tive languages, though some of them he was confident had 
not spoken these languages for fifty or sixty years. 

A case has been related to me of a boy, who at the age 
of four received a fracture of the skull, for which he under- 
went the operation of trepan. He was at the time in a state 
of perfect stupor, and after his recovery retained no recol- 
lection either of the accident or the operation. At the age 
of fifteen, during the delirium of a fever, he gave his mo- 
ther a correct description of the operation, and the persons 
who were present at it, with their dress, and other minute 
particulars. He had never been observed to allude to it 
before, and no means were known by which he could have 
acquired the circumstances which he mentioned. An emi- 
nent medical friend informs me, that during fever, without 
any delirium, he on one occasion repeated long passages 
from Homer, which he could not do when in health ; and 
another friend has mentioned to me, that in a similar situa- 
tion there were represented to his mind, in a most vivid 
manner, the circumstances of a journey in the Highlands, 
which he had performed long before, including many minute 
particulars which he had entirely forgotten. 

In regard to the memory of languages as influenced by 
these affections of the brain, a condition occurs, the reverse 
of that now mentioned, and presenting some singular phe- 
nomena : the cause of the difference is entirely beyond our 
researches. The late Dr. Gregory was accustomed to men- 
tion in his lectures the case of a clergj'man, who, while la- 
boring under a disease of the brain, spoke nothing but He- 
brew, which was ascertained to be the last language that he 
had acquired. An English lady, mentioned by Dr. Pri- 

Other examples. Case of the boy ? Things which he remembered ? Peculiar phe 
nomev\a connected with lUe memory of languages ? 


chard, in recovering from an apoplectic attack, always 
spoke to her attendants in French, and had actually lost the 
knowledge of the English language : this continued about 
9. month. 

IV. The fourth condition is the state of stupor, or co- 
ma, in which the mind is entirely cut off from intercourse 
with the external world. This occurs in the worst states 
of fever, in various diseases of the brain and injuries of the 
head ; and the same condition takes place, from a very dif- 
ferent cause, in the state of fainting. In such cases there 
is seldom any recollection of mental impressions ; yet there 
are facts which tend to show, that the patient is not in such 
a state of total insensibility to external things as his appear- 
ance would indicate. A gentleman whom I attended in a 
state of perfect apoplexy, from which he did not recover, 
was frequently observed to adjust his nightcap with the ut- 
most care, when it got into an uncomfortable state ; first 
pulling it down over his eyes, and then turning up the front 
of it in the most exact manner. Another, whom I saw 
lately in a state of profound apoplexy, but from which he 
recovered, had a perfect recollection of what took place 
during the attack, and mentioned, many things which had 
been said in his hearing when he was supposed to be in a state 
of perfect unconsciousness. A lady, on recovering from a 
similar state, said she had been asleep and dreaming, and 
mentioned what she had dreamed about. Facts are want- 
ing on this curious subject ; but there can be little doubt, 
that many of the stories related of things seen by persons in 
a state of trance are referable to this head, and that their 
visions consisted of the conceptions of the mind itself, oe- 
lieved for the time to be real, in a manner analogous to 
dreaming. That such impressions should not be more fre- 
quently remembered in the ordinary cases of stupor, proba- 
bly arises from the higher degree and greater permanency 
of the affection than that which occurs in sleep. For we 
have reason to believe that dreams which are remembered 
occur only in imperfect sleep, and that in very profound 

Fourth state what ? It occurs when ? The phenomena it exhibits ? Is the patient 
totally insensible? Facts in proof. Trances ; supposed explanation of them ? Thes* 
Impressions not always remembered, and why ? 

114 MEMORY. [part III 

sleep we do not remember any mental impressions, though 
we have satisfactory proof that they exist. Thus, a per- 
son will talk in his sleep so as to be distinctly understood by 
another, but without having the least recollection of the 
mental impression which led to what he said. 

In the preceding observations we have referred chiefly 
to the temporary influence of disease, in impairing or sus- 
pending the powers of attention and memory. But there 
is a part of the subject quite distinct from this, namely, the 
eflect of certain diseases in obliterating impressions former- 
ly received and long retained. The higher degrees of this 
condition amount to that state which we call idiotism, and 
this we find supervening both upon affections of the brain 
and protracted febrile diseases. The condition so pro- 
duced is sometimes permanent, but frequently is recovered 
from ; and recovery takes place in some cases gradually, 
in others very suddenly. A man, mentioned by Willis, on 
recovering from a putrid fever, was found to have so en- 
tirely lost his mental faculties, that he knew nobody, re- 
membered nothing, and understood nothing: *' vix supra 
brutum saperet." He continued in this state for two 
months, and then gradually recpvered. Some years ago I 
attended a young man, who, on recovering from a tedious 
fever, was found to be in a state bordering upon idiotism ; 
and this continued, even after his bodily health was entirely 
restored. In this state he was taken to the country, where 
he gradually recovered, after several months. A gentle- 
man, mentioned by Wepfer, on coming out of an apoplec- 
tic attack, was found to know nobody, and remember no- 
thing. After several weeks he began to know his friends, to 
remember words, to repeat the Lord's Prayer, and to read 
a few words of Latin, rather than German, which was his 
own language. When urged to read more than a few 
words at a time, he said that he formerly understood these 
things, but now did not. After some time he began to pay 
more attention to what was passing around him ; but, while 
thus making slight and gradual progress, he was, after a 
few months, suddenly cut off by an attack of apoplexy. 

Tliese observations refer to what 7 Another effect of disease ? Its name ? Caae 
mentioned. Point illustrated by all ? 


The sudden recoveries from this condition of the mental 
powers, are still more remarkable. Dr. Prichard, on the 
authority of the late Dr. Rush of Philadelphia, mentions an 
American student, a person of considerable attainments, 
who, on recovering from a fever, was found to have lost all 
his acquired knowledge. When his health was restored, 
ho began to apply to the Latin grammar, had passed through 
the elementary parts and was beginning to construe, when, 
one day, in making a strong effort to recollect a part of his 
lesson, the whole of his lost impressions suddenly returned 
to his mind, and he found himself at once in possession o( 
all his former acquirements. 

In slighter injuries of the head, accompanied by .^ss ot 
recollection, we observe the circumstances gradually re- 
called in a very singular manner. Some years ago I saw a 
boy who had fallen from a wall, and struck his head against 
a stone which lay at the foot of it. He was carried home 
in a state of insensibility, from which he soon recovered, 
but without any recollection of the accident. He felt that 
his head was hurt, but he had no idea how he had received 
the injury. After a short time he recollected that he had 
struck his head against a stone, but had no recollection how 
he had come to do so. After another interval, he recollect' 
ed that he had been on the top of a wall, and had fallen from 
it and struck against the stone, but could not remember 
Avhere the wall was. After some time longer, he recovered 
the recollection of all the circumstances. Dr. Prichard 
mentions a gentleman who suffered a severe injury by a fall 
from his horse, and who, on his recovery, had no recollec- 
tion of any thing relating to the accident, or for some time 
before it. A considerable time elapsed before his recollec- 
tion of it began to return, and it was only as he repeatedly 
rode over the country where the accident had happened, that 
the sight of the various objects gradually recalled the cir- 
cumstances of the journey in which it occurred, and of the 
accident itself. 

A still more remarkable phenomenon connected with 
cases of this kind, occurs in some instances in which there 
is perfect intelligence in regard to recent circumstances, but 

SliU more remarkable examples? The American student. Story of the boy. NaT 
rate all the circur.vstancea. 


an obliteration of former impressions. Of this I have re 
ceived the following striking example from an eminent me 
dical friend. A respectable surgeon was thrown from h'u 
horse while riding in the country, and was carried into ar 
adjoining house in a state of insensibility. From this h( ' 
very soon recovered, described the accident distinctly, anc 
gave minute directions in regard to his own treatment. Ir 
particular, he requested that he might be immediately bled 
the bleeding was repeated, at his own desire, after twc 
hours; and he conversed correctly regarding his feelings 
and the state of his pulse with the medical man who visitei 
him. In the evening he was so much recovered as to be 
able to be removed to his own house, and a medical friend 
accompanied him in the carriage. As they drew near 
home, the latter made some observation respecting precau- 
tions calculated to prevent unnecessary alarm to the wife 
and family of the patient, when, to his astonishment, he 
discovered that his friend had lost all idea of having either a 
wife or children. This condition continued during the fol- 
lowing day, and it was only on the third day, and after 
further bleeding, that the circumstances of his past life be- 
gan to recur to his mind. On the other hand, remarkable 
instances occur of the permanency of impressions made 
upon the mind previously to such injuries, though the men- 
tal faculties are entirely obscured as to all subsequent im- 
pressions. An affecting example is mentioned by Dr. Co- 
nolly : a young clergyman, when on the point of being 
married, suffered an injury of the head, by which his under- 
standing was entirely and permanently deranged. He lived 
in this condition till the age of eighty ; and to the last 
talked of nothing but his approaching wedding, and ex- 
pressed impatience for the arrival of the happy day. 

It is chiefly in connection with attacks of an apoplectic 
nature that we meet with singular examples of loss of me- 
mory on particular topics, or extending only to a particular 
period. One of the most common is loss of the memory of 
words, or of names, while the patient retains a correct idea 
of things and persons. The late Dr. Gregory used to men- 
tion a lady who, after an apoplectic attack, recovered cor- 

Case of the surgeon. Narrate tho circumstances. The clergyman. V/hal disease 
occasions most numerous examples ? Case of the lady who forgot names ? 


rectly her ideas of things, but could not nanrie them. Ir 
giving directions respecting family matters, she was quite 
distinct as to what she wished to be done, but could make 
herself understood only by going through the house, and 
pointing to the various articles. A gentleman whom I 
attended some years ago, after recovering from an apoplec- 
tic attack, knew his friends perfectly, but could not name 
them. Walking one day in the street, he met a gentlcmar 
to whom he was very anxious to communicate something 
respecting a mutual friend. After various ineficctual at- 
tempts to make him understand whom he meant, he at last 
seized him by the arm and dragged him through several 
streets to the house of the gentleman of whom he was 
speaking, and pointed to the name-plate on the dcor. 

A singular modification of this condition has been relatec 
to me. The gentleman to whom it referred could not be 
made to understand the name of an object if it was spoken 
to him, but understood it perfectly when it was written. 
His mental faculties were so entire, that he was engaged 
in most extensive agricultural concerns, and he managed 
them with perfect correctness, by means of a remarkable 
contrivance. He kept before him, in the room where he 
transacted business, a list of the words which were most apt 
to occur in his intercourse with his workmen. When one 
of these wished to communicate with him on any subject, 
he first heard what the workman had to say, but without 
understanding him further than simply to catch the words. 
He then turned to the words in his written list, and when- 
ever they met his eye he understood them perfectly. These 
particulars I had from his son, a gentleman of high intelli- 
gence. Another frequent modification consists in putting 
one name for another, but always using the words in the 
same sense. An example of this also occurred in the gen- 
tleman last mentioned. He uniformly called his snuff-box 
a hogshead, and the association which led to this appeared 
to be obvious. In the early part of his life he had been in 
Virginia, and connected with the trade in tobacco ; so that 
the transition from snuff to tobacco, and from tobacco to a 
hogshead, seemed to be natural. Another gentleman affect- 
Case of recollecting writing, but not words. The patient's mode of understanding hia 
workmen 7 Mislaking names. 

118 MEMORY. [part in. 

ed in this manner, when he wanted coals put upon his fire, 
always called for paper, and when he wanted paper, called 
for coals ; and these words he always used in the same 
manner. In other cases, the patient seems to invent names, 
using words which to a stranger are quite unintelligible ; 
but he always uses them in the same sense, and his imme- 
diate attendants come to under<5tand what he means by 

Another remarkable modification of this condition of the 
mental powers is found in those cases in which there is loss 
of the recollection of a particular period. A clergyman, 
mentioned by Dr. Beattie, on recovering from an apoplectic 
attack, was found to have lost the recollection of exactly 
four years ; every thing that occurred before that period 
he remembered perfectly. He gradually recovered, partly 
by a spontaneous revival of his memory, and partly by 
acquiring a knowledge of the leading events of the period. 
A young lady who was present at a late catastrophe in 
Scotland, in which many people lost their lives by the fall 
of the gallery of a church, escaped without any injury, but 
with the complete loss of the recollection of any of the 
circumstances ; and this extended, not only to the accident, 
but to every thing that had occurred to her for a certain 
time before going to church. A lady whom I attended 
some years ago in a protracted illness, in which her memo- 
ry became much impaired, lost the recollection of a period 
of about ten or twelve years, but spoke with perfect consis- 
tency of things as they stood before that time. 

As far as I have been able to trace it, the principle in 
such cases seems to be, that when the memory is impaired 
to a certain degree, the loss of it extends backwards to 
some event or some period by which a particularly deep 
impression had been made upon the mind. In the lady last 
mentioned, for instance, the period of which she lost the 
recollection was that during which she had resided in Edin- 
burgh, and it extended back to her removal from anothei 
city in which she had lived for many years. During her 
residence in the latter, she had become the mother of a 
large family, and other events had occurred likely to make 

Loss of recollection of a particular period. What example ? General principle f 
regard to such cases ? Proposed explanation. 


a deep impression on her mind. The period of her resi- 
dence in Edinburgh had been uniform and tranquil, and 
without any occurrence calculated to excite much attention 
in a person of rather slender mental endowments. I do 
not know whether we can give a similar explanation of 
cases in which the loss of memory has extended only tc 
particular subjects ; namely, by supposing that these sub- 
jects had been more slightly impressed upon the mind than 
those which were retained. A gentleman is mentioned by 
Dr. Beattie, who, after i blow on the head, lost his know- 
ledge of Greek, and did not appear to have lost any thing 

While we thus review the manner in which the manifes- 
tations of mind are affected, in certain cases, by diseases 
and injuries of the brain, it is necessary that we should re- 
fer briefly to the remarkable instances in which the brain 
has been extensively diseased without the phenomena of 
mind being impaired in any sensible degree. This holds 
true both in regard to the destruction of each individual 
part of the brain, and likewise to the extent to which the 
cerebral mass may be diseased or destroyed. In another 
work I have mentioned various cases which illustrate this 
fact in a very striking manner ; particularly the case of a 
lady in whom one-half of the brain was reduced to a mass 
of disease ; but Avho retained all her faculties to the last, 
except that there was an imperfectipn of vision, and had 
been enjoying herself at a convivial party in the house of a 
friend a few hours before her death. A man, mentioned 
by Dr. Ferriar, who died of an affection of the brain, re- 
tained all his faculties entire till the very moment of death, 
which was sudden : on examining his head, the whole right 
hemisphere, that is, one-half of his brain, was found 
destroyed by suppuration. In a similar case recorded by 
Diemerbroek, half a pound of matter was found in the 
brain ; and in one by Dr. Heberden, there was half a 
pound of water. A man, mentioned by Mr. O'Halloran, 
suffered such an injury of the head that a large portion of 

Applicability of it to other cases? Is disease of the braia always attended by 
disorder of tho mind ? Case of the lady. Did she enjoy all her faculties 7 Case 
mentioned by Dr. Ferriar. These cases similar, ir. what respect? Frequency ol 
uch cases ? 

120 MEMORY. [part III. 

the bone was removed on the right side ; and extensive 
suppuration having taken place, there was discharged at 
each dressing, through the opening, an immense quantity 
of matter mixed with large masses of the substance of the 
brain. This went on for seventeen days, and it appears 
that nearly one-half of the brain was thrown out mixed 
with the matter ; yet the man retained all his intellectual 
faculties to the very moment of dissolution ; and through 
the whole course of the disease, his mind maintained uni- 
form tranquillity. These remarkable histories might be 
greatly multiplied if it were required, but at present it seems 
only necessary to add the very interesting case related by 
Mr. Marshall. It is that of a man who died with a pound 
of V7ater in his brain, after having been long in a state of 
idiocy, but who, a very short time before death, became 
perfectly rational. 

The facts which have been thus briefly referred to, pre- 
sent a series of phenomena of the most remarkable kind, 
but on which we cannot speculate in the smallest degree 
without advancing beyond the sphere of our limited faculties ; 
one thing, however, is certain, that they give no counte- 
nance to the doctrine of materialism, which some have pre- 
sumptuously deduced from a very partial view of the influ- 
ence of cerebral disease upon the manifestations of mind. 
They show us, indeed, in a very striking manner, the mind 
holding intercourse with the external world through the 
medium of the brain and nervous system ; and, by certain 
diseases of these organs, they show this intercourse impair- 
ed or suspended ; but they show nothing more. In particu- 
lar, they warrant nothing in any degree analogous to those 
partial deductions which form the basis of materialism. On 
the contrary, they show us the brain injured and diseased 
to an extraordinary extent, without the mental functions 
being affected in any sensible degree. They show us, fur- 
ther, the manifestations of mind obscured for a time, and 
yet reviving in all their original vigor, almost at the very 
moment of dissolution. Finally, they exhibit to us the 
mind, cut off* from all intercourse with the external world, 

Danger of speculating on these facts. Certain inference from them what ? They 
show us what 7 Summary of the facta stated in this section. 


recalling its old impressions, even of things long forgotten; 
and exercising its powers on those which had long ceased 
to exist, in a manner totally irreconcilable with any idea we 
can form of a material function. 



By Abstractio'n we separate various facts from each 
other, and examine them individually. We separate, for 
example, the qualities of a substance, and contemplate one 
of them apart from the rest. This act of the mind is em- 
ployed in two processes of the utmost importance. By the 
one, we examine a variety of objects, select the properties 
in which certain numbers of them a^ree, and thus arrange 
them into classes, genera, and species. By the other, we 
take a more comprehensive view of an extensive collection 
of facts, and select one which is common to the whole. 
This we call generalizing, or deducing a general fact or 
general principle ; and the process is of extensive applica- 
tion in all philosophical inquiries. The particular points to 
be attended to in conducting it, will come under view in 
another part of our subject. The most important is, that 
the fact assumed as general really belongs to all the indi- 
vidual instances, and has not been deduced from the exami- 
nation of only a part of them. 

The process of classification is of so great practical importance 
I hat it deseiib?s to be carefully considered. To show how the defini- 
tion given above applies, let us take a particular case. 

A person has made, we will imagine, a large collection of sea- 
shells, which lie promiscuously on tables before him. He proposes to 
classify them. This, according to the definition, consists '' in examining 
ihem with reference to selecting the properties in which certain numbers 
of them agree, that they may be arranged in classes according to their 

Let us suppose the property he first examines is color. He looks 

It3 definition. Classification what ? Generalization what ? Example iUustra4ring 
.'he proc33 of classification. Definition what ? How applicable ? 


over the whole, and takes out all that are spotted, and places them by 
themselves. He next takes all which are white, and forms ol" thera 
another class, and so on, arranging them in classes, according as they 
agree m the property of color. Or they might, in the same way, be 
classified with reference to any other property, or, as the more com- 
mon phrase is, on any other principle. Take, for example, form. 
All those which are in two parts, as the oyster, the clam, &:c., might 
be arranged by themselves, in one class, and those which consist of a 
single part, in another. These classes might be easily subdivided on 
the same principle, i. e., with reference to form alone. All the spiral 
shells might form one division, the conical ones another, and those of 
some different form still, a third. This would be classifying them on 
the principle of form. 

Now it must be observed that this classification would entirely 
break up and destroy the other. For the spotted shells, which were 
before arranged together, in one class, would now be scattered among 
several, accijrding to their various forms. In other words, they 
agreed in the property of color, so that when considering them with 
reference to color they were put together ; but they disagree in respect 
to form. 

The principle of dnssificatiou, which is thus adopted in the case of any 
collection of individual objects, may be varied almost indefinitely. 
The shells, for example, might be classified with reference to the habits 
of the animals, i. e., all which lived in fresh water might form one di 
vision, and salt water shells another. Each of these might be subdi- 
vided with reference to the food or the habits of the animal. 

Or the principle of classification might be geographical. Those 
from Africa might be placed on one shelf, those from Asia on another, 
and American specimens on a third. Thus the principle might be va- 
ried indefinitely. 

In determining on the principle of classification to be adopted in an) 
case, that is, the property or peculiarity in which those placed toge 
ther are to be similar, we must have regard to the object in view 
Sometimes it is necessary to classify the same individual objects in 
several different ways, for different purposes. Words, for example 
are classified in a common dictionary M'ith reference to similarity in 
the initial letters in a rhyming dictionary, the sound of the last syl- 
lable determines their place in a grammar and in a spelling book, 
tAvo other principles are adojited, entirely distinct from the preceding, 
and each other. Thus the same things, that iS; the woi|j|p of the Eng- 
lish language, are classified on four entirely diffei"ent principles, ac- 
cording to the end in view. 

In some cases it is very difficult to determine what principle of 
classification will best answer the purpose. A common case of this 
kind is the question of arranging the books of a library. Shall ihey 

First mode of classification ? Based upon wViai property ? Second mode ; on <Fh.nt 
property 7 Subdivision on the same pririci|)le. how effected .' Relation of tttese 
modes to one another 1 Extent to which the principle of classification may Ijc varied i 
Examples. Geographical arrangement? Various classifications of words, why made } 
Arranging a library ; what difficulty 7 


be classified according to the subjects of the works, or m the alpha- 
betical o/der of their titles, or in the alphabetical order of the authors' 
names, or according to the languages or countries in which they 
were written. It is plain that a library may be arranged in perfect 
order on each of these plans, though each is entirely different from 
the rest, and altering the arrangement from one to the other would 
perhaps change the place of every book in the whole collection. Each, 
too, would have its ground of pref< rence over the others, depending 
on the object which the reader has in view in consulting the collec- 
tion. The advantages of all are sometimes in a good degree secured 
by arranging the books, on the shelves, on one principle, and making 
out two or three catalogues, in which the other metho-is cf classifica- 
tion are respectively adopted. 

A classification cannot, however, in any case, be carried into full 
efiect, except in the exact sciences ; for, from the very nature of the 
case, the several classes will run into each other, whatever may be 
the principle adopted, and consequently there will be many individu- 
al objects, of which it will be impossible to say unhesitatingly where 
they belong. Some shells will be neither decidedly white nor deci- 
dedly spotted, but something between. A librarian may be perplex- 
ed in considering whether to class JMarshall's Life of Washington as 
history or biography, and a writer on English grammar may, in the 
same manner, hesitate whether to call a certain word a pronoun or an 
adjective, when it partakes of the nature of both. This difficulty 
does not apply to the exact sciences. If a figure is either a triangle 
or a quadrangle, it will be very clear which of the two it is. It can- 
not be intermediate. It must have either three sides or four. In the 
exact sciences, therefore, the classification may be exact, but in others 
it cannot always be, and in doubtful cases we may arrange the object 
in either cf the classes which seem to claim it. There are often, in 
such cases, very idle disputes, especially on the subject of grammar. 
True philosophy, in such cases, requires us to consider either as right, 
when the nature of the case leaves it doubtful. 

These remarks, then, naturally lead us to the folloAving practical 
rules, which are worthy of very careful consideration, since there is 
perhaps no i)rocess, a thorough understanding of which is more essen- 
tial to a well disciplined mind than classification. 

1. In determining upon a principle of classification, there should be 
ft careful reg^[d to the object in view, in making the classification 
itself. ^ , 

2. The classes should be bounded by as distinct and well defined 
hnes as the nature of the case will allow. 

3. The classes should be such as to include all the individuals, i.e., 
BO that every individual object shall belong to some one or other of 

Various modes. How may they be combined 1 Pifficulty in carrying a classificalion 
into full effec/;. Examples. Exact sciences. Example ? Inferences from these re- 
marks ? Rules, To ttie boundaries. 


4. The classification, when completed, should be considered in its 
true light, viz. as an artificial arrangement, resorted to meiely as a 
matter of convenience, and therefore not a proper subject for angry 
disputes. Questions arising from this source are substantially no 
more nor less than this, whether a mineral in a cabinet shall be 
placed on one shelf or another, when it is admitted that it is doubtful 
to which it belongs. 

" Generalizing is to be distinguished from classification, though the 
mental process concerned is in both essentially the same. We class 
together a certain number of substances by a property in which they 
agree ; and, in doing so, we specify and enumerate the individual sub- 
stances included in the class. Thus, we may take a number of sub- 
stances difi'ering widely m their external and mechanical properties, 
some being solid, some fluid, and some gaseous, and say they are all 
acids. The class being thus formed, and consisting of a defined 
number of substances which agree in the property of acidity, we may 
next invef^tigate some other property Mhich is common to all the indi- 
viduals of the class, and belongs to no other, and say, for example, 
that all acids redden vegetable blues. The former of these opera- 
tions is properly classification ; the latter is generalizing in reference 
to the class. In the former, we take or exclude individual substances, 
according as they possess or not the property on which the classifi 
cation rests ; in performing the latter, the property which is assumed 
must belong to all the individuals without a single exception, or, if it 
does not, it must be abandoned as a general fact or general princi 
pie in reference to the class. In classifying, we may use every free- 
dom regarding individuals in taking or excluding them. In gene- 
ralizing, we must not exclude a single individual ; for the principle 
which does not include every one of them, that is, the proposed 
fact which is not true of all the individuals, is not a general fact, and 
consequently cannot be admitted as a general principle. For in 
physical science, to talk of exceptions to a general rule, is only to 
say, in other words, that the rule is not general, and, consequently, 
is unworthy of confidence. If one acid were discovered which does 
not redden vegetable blues, it would belong to a history of these sub- 
stances to state that a certain number of them have this property; but 
the property of reddening vegetable blues would require to be aban- 
doned as a general fact or general principle applicable to the class of 
acids. , ip 

"A general law, or general principle, then, is nothing more than a 
general fact, or a fact which is invarably true of all the individual 
cases to which it professes to apply. Deducing such facts is the 
great object of modern science ; and it is by this peculiar character 
that it is distinguished from the ancient science of the schools, thfe 
constant aim of which was to discover causes. The general law of 

Proper view of the nature and object of classification 1 Distinction between general- 
izing and classification. Process in forming a class 1 Process in deducing its proper- 
ties ? DiflTerences resulting from this distinction? Exceptions to a general law ? 0\> 
vects of modern science ? Uf ancient science ? Eiampla. 


gravitation, for example, is nothing more than the general tact, or 
fact invariably true, that all bodies when left unsupported fall to the 
ground. There were at one time certain apparent exceptions to the 
universality of this law, namely, in some very light bodies, which 
were not observed to fall. But a little farther observation showed 
that these are prevented from falling by being lighter than the atmos- 
phere, and that in vacuo they observe the same law as the heaviest 
bodies. The apparent exceptions being thus brought under the law, 
it became general, namely, the fact universally true, that all unsup- 
ported bodies fall to the ground. Now, of the cause of this pheno- 
menon we know nothing ; and what we call the general law, or gene* 
ral principle of gravitation, is nothing more than a universal fact, or 
a fact that is true without a single exception. But having ascertain- 
ed the fact to be invariably and universally true, we assume it as a 
part of the established order of nature, and proceed upon it with as 
much confidence as if we knew the mysterious agency on which the 
phenomenon depends. The establishment of the fact as universal 
brings us to that point in the inquiry which is the limit of our pow- 
ers and capacities, and it is sufficient to the purposes of science. On 
the same principle, it is familiar to every one that extensive discove- 
ries have been made in regard to the properties and laws of heat ; 
but we do not know what heat is, whether a distinct essence, or, as 
has been supposed by some philosophers, a peculiar motion of the mi 
nute atoms of bodies. 

"In the same manner, the person who first observed iron attracted by 
the magnet, observed a fact which w^as to him new and unaccounta- 
ble. But the same phenomenon having been observed a certain num- 
ber of times, a belief would arise that there existed between it and the 
substances concerned a connection of cause and efl'ect. The result 
of this belief would be, that when the substances w^ere brought toge- 
ther, the attraction would be expected to take place. Observations 
w^ould theruprobably be made wath other substances ; and farther ob 
servations with the same substances ; and it being found that the at- 
traction took place between iron and the magnet only, and that be- 
tween these it took place in every instance, the general principle would 
be deduced, or the fact universally true in all instances, that the mag- 
net attracts iron. The same observation applies to the other remarka- 
ble property derived from the magnet, namely, pointing to the north. 
The phenomenon received the name of magnetism, and the laws were 
then investigated by which it was regulated ; but what we call magnet- 
ism is still nothing more than a mode of expressing the universal fact, 
that the magnet attracts iron, and points to the north. 

'' On what hidden influence these remarkable phenomena depend, we 
are still as ignorant as the man who first obsei-ved them ; and, how- 
ever interesting it would be to know it, the knowledge is not necessary 
to the investigation of the laws of magnetism, 

" These may, perhaps, be considered as fair examples of the inductive 
philosophy, as distinguished from the hypothetical systems of the era 

Law nf gravitation. A^^parent exceptions. Another example ; nature and effects of 
iieat. Tlie magnet. Process for ascertaining its general laws. In wi^at respect art 
re still ignorant in regard to it ? 



which preceded it. According to these, the constant aim of the in 
quirer was the explanation of phenomena ; and in the case before us 
a theory would have been constructed calculated to account for the at- 
traction by the fluxes and refluxes of some invisible fluid or ether, 
which would have been described with as much minuteness as if there 
had been real ground for believing it to exist. Strikingly opposed to 
all such speculations is the leading principle of the inductive philoso- 
phy, that the last object of science is to ' ascertain the universality cf 
a fact.' " Abercrombie on Medical Science. 

There have been disputes among writers on the science of 
mind, whether abstraction is to be considered as a distinct men- 
tal operation, or is referable to judgment. But I have al- 
ready stated that my object in this outline is to avoid all 
such discussions, and to allude simply to the actual processes 
of the mind in a practical view. One thing at least is clear, 
namely, that our abstractions must be corrected by reason, 
the province of which is to judge whether the process is 
performed correctly, and on sound principles. This, how- 
ever, is distinct from the primary act of the mind to which 
I now apply the term abstraction, which is simply the pow- 
er of contemplating one property of a substance apart from 
its other properties. It thus disjoins things which by nature 
are intimately united, and which cannot be separated in any 
other manner. Reason does not appear to be immediate- 
ly concerned in this, though it is most closely connected 
with the purposes to which the process is afterward ap- 
plied ; namely, classifying substances according to a cer- 
tain agreement of properties, and fixing upon those which 
are coramori to all the individuals of a numerous series, in 
the act of generalizing, or deducing a general fact or gene- 
ral principle. 

I have formerly alluded to a period in the science of 
mind when our ideas of external things M'-ere supposed to 
be certain actual essences, separated from the substances 
and conveyed to the thinking principle. In connection with 
this theory there arose a controversy, whether, when we 
perform the mental act of generalizing, there exists in na- 
ture any essence corresponding to a general idea ; or whe- 
ther, in generalizing, we merely make use of an abstract 

Method by which the subject of magnetism would probably have been treated in 
former times ? Disputes on this subject. The author avoid* them, how ? Connection 
of abstraction with reason. Distinction between them? Former dispute on thio 
ubject ? 


term ; whether, for example, in using the word man, we 
only employ a term, or whether we have the power of form- 
ing an idea of man in the abstract, without thinking of any 
individual man ; and, in the same manner, whether we can 
reason respecting a class of substances, without thinking of 
any of the individuals composing it. Hence arose two 
sects, whose disputes make a most remarkable figure in the 
History of intellectual science, namely, the Nominalists and 

The controversies of these sects we now consider as little 
more than a matter of historical curiosity ; but, for several 
centuries, they divided the learned of Europe, and were 
often carried on with an asperity amounting to actual perse- 
cution. " The Nominalists," says Mosheim, " procured the 
death of John Huss, who was a Realist ; and in their letter 
to Lewis, king of France, do not pretend to deny that he 
fell a victim to the resentment of their sect. The Realists, 
on the other hand, obtained, in the year 1479, the condem- 
nation of John de Wesalia, who was attached to the party 
of the Nominalists. These contending sects carried their 
fury so far as to charge each other with the sin against the 
Holy Ghost." " The dispute," says Mr. Stewart, " was 
carried on with great warmth in the universities of France, 
Germany, and England, more particularly in the two for- 
mer countries, where the sovereigns were led by some po- 
litical views to interest themselves deeply in the contest, 
and even to employ the civil power in support of their fa- 
vorite opinions. The emperor Lewis, of Bavaria, in return 
for the assistance which in his disputes with the pope Oc- 
cam had given him by his writings, sided with the Nominal- 
ists ; Lewis the Eleventh, of France, on the other hand, 
attached himself to the Realists, and made their antagonists 
the objects of a cruel persecution." 

We find some difficulty in believing, in the present day, 
that the controversy which thus embroiled the continent of 
Europe in all the rancor of actual persecution, related to 
the question, whether, in employing general terms, we use 
words or names only, or whether there is in nature any 

Example. Names of the sects what ? These controversies, how now considered? 
Tlieir violence ? Results of it ? In what countries chiefly carried on ? Connection 
with politics. Real question at issue ? 


thing corresponding to what we mean by a general idea. It 
is well designated by Mr. Stewart as " one of the most curi- 
ous events which occur in the history of the human mind." 
The question is one of no practical importance, and when 
it is cleared from its connection with the ancient doctrine 
of ideas, appears to be one of no difficulty. Without sup- 
posing that there is in nature any actual essence corre- 
sponding to a general idea, the truth seems to be, that we 
do form a certain notion or conception of a quality in which 
several substances agree, distinct from any one substance 
to which the quality belongs. Hence some have proposed 
the term Notionalist, or Conceptualist, as designating opi- 
nions distinct from those both of the Nominalist and Real- 
ists. But, according to the principles of modern science, 
we cannot consider the discussion as any thing more than 
an ingenious arguing on points of no real importance. The 
process which the mind really carries on in that mental 
operation to which these remarks have referred, consists 
simply in tracing relations or points of resemblance in 
which certain individual things agree, though they may in 
others be remarkably different. We then give a name to 
this common quality, and thus form the individuals into a 
class of which this quality is the distinguishing character. 
Thus we may take a number of animals differing remarka- 
bly from each other, and say they are all quadrupeds. We 
may take a number of substances very dissimilar in their 
external and mechanical properties, and say they are all 
acids. Some of these substances are solid, some fluid, and 
some gaseous ; but the property of acidity is common to 
them all, and this accordingly becomes the name and the 
distinguishing character of the class into which we now 
arrange them. 

Character of the controreray ? What is the real process in sych a case ? Examplea 




In the exercise of Imagination, we take the component 
elements of real scenes, events, or characters, and combine 
them anew by a process of the mind itself, so as to form 
compounds which have no existence in nature. A painter, 
by this process, depicts a landscape combining the beauties 
of various real landscapes, and excluding their defects. A 
poet or a novelist, in the same manner, calls into being a 
fictitious character, endowed with those qualities with which 
it suits his purpose to invest him, places him in contact with 
other beings equally imaginary, and arranges, according to 
his will, the scenes in which he shall bear a part, and the 
line of conduct which he shall follow. The compound in 
these cases is entirely fictitious and arbitrary ; but it is ex- 
pected that the individual elements shall be such as actu- 
ally occur in nature, and that the combination shall not 
differ remarkably from what might really happen. When 
this is not attended to, as in a picture or a novel, we speak 
of the work being extravagant or out of nature. But, 
a\oiding combinations which are grossly at variance with 
reality, the framer of such a compound may make it supe- 
rior to any thing that actually occurs. A painter may draw 
a combination of beauties in a landscape superior to any 
thing that is actually known to exist ; and a novelist may 
delineate a more perfect character than is met with in real 
life. It is remarked by Mr. Stewart, that Milton, in his 
garden of Eden, " has created a landscape more perfect, 
probably, in all its parts, than has ever been realized in 
nature, and certainly very different from any thing that 
this country exhibited at the time when he wrote." " It 
is a curious remark of Mr. Walpole," he adds, " that Mil- 
ton's Eden is free from the defects of the old English 
garden, and is imagined on the same principles which 

Nature of imagination? Examples. How much fictitious, and how much true I 
Superiority of such creations. Examples. Stewart's remark ? 


it was reserved for the present age tc carry into exe- 

The mode of artificial combination which results from 
the exercise of imagination is applicable chiefly to four 
kinds of composition. 

1. Fictitious narrative, in which the author delineates 
imaginary scenes or transactions ; and paints imaginary 
characters, endowing them with such qualities as may suit 
the purpose which he has in view. 

2. Composition or verbal address, directed to the pas- 
sions, and intended to excite particular mental emotions. 
To this head are referable many of the combinations of the 
poet, and addresses calculated to operate upon the feelings 
of a popular assembly ; also, those which derive their cha- 
racter from the language of trope and metaphor. The ge- 
nius of the orator, and the inventive powers of the poet, are 
exhibited in the variety and the novelty of the analogies, 
resemblances, illustrations, and figures, which he thus brings 
to bear upon his subject. 

3. Those unexpected and peculiar associations which 
form the basis of wit and humor. 

4. Combinations of objects of sense, calculated to pro- 
duce mental emotions of a pleasurable or painful kind, as 
our impressions of the sublime, the beautiful, the terrible, or 
the ludicrous. The combinations of this class are chiefly 
referable to the head of objects of taste, or the fine arts ; 
and are exemplified in the inventions of the painter and the 
statuary, in decorative architecture and artificial gardening, 
we may add, theatrical exhibitions and music. 

The facility of rapidly forming in these several depart- 
ments combinations calculated to produce the effect which 
is intended, constitutes what we call inventive geniiis. Si- 
milar powers of invention, founded on an exercise of ima- 
gination, may also be applied to the investigations of sci- 
ence. It may be employed, for example, in the contrivance 
of experiments calculated to aid an investigation or to 
illustrate a doctrine ; and in the construction of those legi- 
timate hypotheses which have often led to the most impor- 
tant discoveries. 

Kindsof composition, how many and what "J First kind, what ? Second kind) How 
3ifferent from the first ? Third kind ? Fourth kind ? Examples Inventive geniys, 
wliat ? How applicable to science 7 


The union of elements, in all such productions of the 
imagination, is regulated by the knowledge, the taste, and 
the intellectual habits of the author; and, we must add, by 
his moral principles. According to the views, the habits, 
and the principles of him who frames them, therefore, they 
may either contribute to moral and intellectual improve- 
ment, or they may tend to mislead the judgment, vitiate 
the taste, and corrupt the moral feelings. 

Similar observations apply to the conduct of the imagina- 
tion in individuals, and its influence in the cultivation of mo- 
ral and intellectual character. There is certainly no *iower 
of the mind that requires more cautious management and 
stern control ; and the proper regulation of it cannot be too 
strongly impressed upon the young. The sound and proper 
exercise of it may be made to contribute to the cultivation 
of all that is virtuous and estimable in human character. It 
leads us, in particular, to place ourselves in the situation of 
others, to enter into their feelings and wants, and to parti- 
cipate in their distresses. It thus tends to the cultivation of 
sympathy and the benevolent affections ; and promotes all 
those feelings which exert so extensive an influence in the 
duties of friendship and the harmonies of civil and social 
intercourse. We may even say that we exercise imagina- 
tion when we endeavor to act upon that high standard of 
morals which requires us " to do to others as we would that 
they should do unto us :" for in this mental act we must 
imagine ourselves in the situation of other men, and, in their 
character, judge of our own conduct towards them. Thus 
a man deficient in imagination, though he may be free from 
any thing unjust or dishonorable, is apt to be cold, con- 
tracted, and selfish, regardless of the feelings and indiffer- 
ent of the distresses of others. Further, we may be said 
to exercise imagination when we carry our views beyond 
present and sensible objects, and endeavor to feel the power 
of " things which are not seen," and the reality of scenes 
and times which are yet to come. On the other hand, 
imagination may be employed for calling into being evils 
which have no existence, or for exaggerating those which 

The exercise of imagination, how regulated? Effecfs ? Importance of a proper 

gsgulation of it? Its u:-ful effects? Moral cffecls of a deficiency of imaginatioD J 
erverted imagination. Its effects ? 


are real ; for fostering malevolent feelings, and for im 
puting to those with whom we are connected motives and 
intentions which have no foundation in truth. Finally, an 
ill-regulated imagination may be employed in occupying the 
mind with waking dreams and vain delusions, to the exclu- 
sion of all those high pursuits which ought to employ the 
faculties of a rational being. 

There has been considerable difference of opinion in re- 
gard to the effects produced upon the mind by fictitious nar- 
rative. Without entcr^g minutely upon the merits of this 
controversy, I think it may be contended, that two evils are 
likely to arise from much indulgence in works of .Action. 
The one is a tendency to give way to the wild play of the 
imagination ; a practice most deleterious, both to the intel- 
lectual and moral habits. The other is a disruption of the 
harmony which ought to exist between the moral emotions 
and the conduct, a principle of extensive and important 
influence. In the healthy state of the moral feelings, for 
example, the emotion of sympathy excited by a tale of sor- 
row ought to be followed by some efforts for the relief of 
the suflerer. When such relations in real life are listened 
to from time to time without any such efforts, the emotion 
gradually becomes weakened, and that moral condition is 
produced which we call selfishness, or hardness of heart. 
Fictitious tales of sorrow appear to have a similar tenden- 
cy ; the emotion is produced without the corresponding 
conduct ; and when this habit has been much indulged the 
result seems to be, that a cold and barren sentimentalism is 
produced, instead of the habit of active benevolence. If 
fictitious narratives be employed for depicting scenes of 
vice, another evil of the greatest magnitude is like]y to re- 
sult from them, even though the conduct exhibited should 
be shown to end in remorse and misery : for by the mere 
familiarity with vice an injury is done to the youthful mind, 
which is in no degree compensated by the moral at the 

Imagination, therefore, is a mental power of extensive 
influence, and capable of being turned to important purposes 

Fictitious narrative. Two evils resulting from it? Example. What evils from 
f5ctUiou3 tales uf sorrow 7 From fictitious tales of vice ? Inference from iheaa 


in the cultivation of individual character. But to be so, it 
must be kept under the strict control both of reason and of 
virtue. If it be allowed to wander at discretion, -through 
scenes of imagined wealth, ambition, frivolity, or pleasure 
it tends to withdraw the mind from the important pursuits 
of life, to weaken the habit of attention, and to impair the 
judgment. It tends, in a most material manner, to prevent 
the due exercise of those nobler powers which are directed 
to the cultivation both of science and virtue. The state of 
a mind which has yielded itself to the influence of this de- 
lusive habit cannot be more forcibly represented than in the 
words of an eloquent writer: " The influence of this habit 
of dwelling on the beautiful fallacious forms of imagination 
will accompany the mind into the most serious speculations, 
or rather musings, on the real world, and what is to be done 
in it, and expected ; as the image which the eye acquires 
from looking at any dazzling object still appears before it 
wherever it turns. The vulgar materials that constitute 
the actual economy of the world will rise up to its sight in 
fictitious forms, which it cannot disenchant into plain reality, 
nor will even suspect to be deceptive. It cannot go about 
with sober, rational inspection, and ascertain the nature and 
value of all things around it. Indeed, such a mind is not 
disposed to examine with any careful minuteness the real 
condition of things. It is content with ignorance, because 
environed with something more delicious than such know- 
ledge in the paradise which imagination creates. In that 
paradise it walks delighted, till some imperious circum- 
stance of real life call it thence, and gladly escapes thither 
again when the avocation is past. There every thing is 
beautiful and noble as could be desired to form the residence 
of an angel. If a tenth part of the felicities that have been 
enjoyed, the great actions that have been performed, the 
beneficent institutions that have been established, and the 
beautiful objects that have been seen in that happy region, 
could have been imported into this terrestrial place, what 
a delightful thing it would have been to awake each morn- 
ing to see such a world once more."^ 

Foster's Essays. 

Stale of mind induced by a perverted imagination? Foster's description of ha 
tffects 7 


134 REASON. [part III. 

To the same purpose are the words of another writer of 
the highest authority : " To indulge the power of fiction, 
and send imagination out upon the wing, is often the sport 
of those who delight too much in silent speculation. He 
who has nothing external that can divert him must find 
pleasure in his own thoughts, and must conceive himself 
what he is not, for who is pleased with what he is? He 
then expatiates in boundless futurity, and culls from all ima- 
ginable conditions that which for the present monient he 
should most desire ; amuses his desires with impossible en- 
joyments, and confers upon his pride unattainable dominion. 
The mind dances from scene to scene, unites all pleasures 
in all combinations, and riots in delights which nature and 
fortune, with all their bounty, cannot bestow. In time, 
some particular train of ideas fixes the attention ; all other 
intellectual gratifications are rejected ; the mind, in weari- 
ness or leisure, recurs constantly to the favorite conception, 
and feasts on the luscious falsehood whenever she is offended 
with the bitterness of truth. By degress the reign of fancy 
is confirmed ; she grows first imperious, and in time des- 
potic. Then fictions begin to operate as realities, false 
opinions fasten upon the mind, and life passes in dreams of 
rapture or of anguish."^ 



The most simple view which we can take of reason pro- 
bably is, that it is the exercise of mind by which we com- 
pare facts with each other, and mental impressions with 
external things. The applications of this mental process 
may be referred to the following heads : 

T. We compare facts with each other, so as to trace their 
relations, connections, and tendencies; and to distinguish 

Johnson's Rasselas. 
Johnson's description. Defniilion of reason ? How many general applicatioro ? 

6EC. IV.] SEASOxN. 135 

the connections which are incidental from those which are 
fixed and uniform. 

What we call the relations of things, whether referring 
to external events or mental processes, comprehend all those 
facts which form the great objects of human knowledge, 
with respect either to the individuals, or their tendencies 
towards each other. They may be briefly enumerated in 
the following manner : 

1. Kelations of character, or those marks, characters, 
or properties by which a substance may be recognised, and 
may be distinguished from all others ; for example, the bo- 
tanical characters of a plant the chemical properties of a 
mineral the symptoms of a disease sensible properties 
of color, taste, smell, &;c. the mental endowments and 
moral qualities of individual men. 

2. Relations of resemblance and analogy, arising out of a 
comparison of the qualities of various individual substances 
or events. These admit of various degrees. When there is 
a close agreement between two events or classes of events 
it constitutes resemblance : when there are points of differ- 
ence, it is analogy. In the latter case, we then trace the 
degrees of analogy, depending upon the number of points in 
which the resemblance holds and the number of points in 
which there is a difference. On the relations of resemblance 
also depend the arts of arrangement and classification ; 
and the use of those general terms by which we learn to 
express a great number of individual objects by a single 
term, derived from certain characters in which they agree, 
such as solids, fluids, quadrupeds, &c. We find a certain 
number of substances which agree so much in their proper- 
ties, that we class them together as one species. We then 
find other substances, which agree with these in a certain 
number of their properties, but differ in others. We dis- 
miss the latter, and retain those only in which they all 
agree, and so form the whole into a genus. The individuals 
forming the genus are still found to agree in some of their 
properties with various other substances, and by leaving out 
of vievv those in which they differ, we again form this still 
larger number into a class or order. 

J'irst ? What comprehended under the phrase relations of things ? First class ) 
Examples? Second class? Distinction between resemblance and analogy ? Arts de 
ending upon these relations ? 'xocesa of classification. 

IS6 REASON. [part III. 

3. Nearly connected with the former, but still more ex 
tensive, is that important process by which, among a great 
series of facts, we trace an accordance, and thus deduce from 
the whole a general fact or general principle. 

4. Relations of composition ; comprehending the resolu- 
tion of a substance into its elements or constituent parts, 
the connection of the parts as constituting a whole of the 
whole to the parts, and of the parts to each other. 

5. Relations of causation, or the tendencies of bodies to 
produce or be followed by certain actions upon each other 
in certain circumstances. These refer chiefly to that uni- 
form sequence of events from which we derive our idea of 
the one being the cause of the other. But the class like- 
wise includes other relations arising out of the same sub- 
ject ; such as the relation of two events as the joint cause? 
of a common effect, or the joint effects of a common cause ; 
or as forming links in a chain of sequences in Avhich we 
have still to look for other events as the true antecedents 
or final results. It includes also that most important men- 
tal process by which, from the properties of a known ef- 
fect, we infer the powers and properties of an unknown 

6. Relations of degree and proportion, as in those truths 
and relations which are the subjects of mathematics. 

7. The important question of moral relations, which 
does not properly belong to the present part of our inqui- 
ry including the relation of certain actions to the great 
standard of moral rectitude, and to those principles which 
bind men together in the harmonies of social and domestic 

These appear to include the principal relations of things 
which the mind requires to investigate in an intellectual 
point of view. The facts respecting them are acquired by 
attention and memory ; but it is the province of reason to 
separate from the mass so acquired those which are inci- 
dental and temporary from those which are uniform, to 
ascertain, for example, those characters by which a sub- 
stance may be certainly recognised, the symptoms by 

Third class? Relations of composition ? Relations of causation ? Wliat included J 
Relations of degree and proportion ? Moral relations ? Province, of reason, as distia- 
guished from that of attention and memory ? 

I.e. IV.] REASON. 137 

which a disease may be distinguished fro*-' i/ther diseases 
which resemble it, and the actions which a substance may- 
be confidently expected to produce upon other substances in 
particular circumstances. When the mental process re- 
quired for doing so is performed in a legitimate manner, the 
deduction constitutes tricth, in regard to the particular point 
which is the immediate subject of it ; when the contrary, it 
leads to fallacy or falsehood. Hence reason has sometimes 
been defined that exercise of mind by which we distinguish 
truth from falsehood. 

II. Having by the preceding processes ascertained the 
uniform tendencies of bodies to be followed by certain ac- 
tions upon each other, we bring these tendencies into ope- 
ration for the production of certain results. Hence reason 
has been considered also to be that power by which we 
combine means for accomplishing an end ; but this, per- 
haps, may be regarded rather as the practical application 
of the knowledge to which reason leads us, than as a pri- 
mary part of the province of reason itself. 

III. We compare mental impressions with external things, 
so as to correct the impressions of the mind in regard to the 
external world. Mental processes of the most important 
kind are connected with this application of reason. 

Reason or judgment, when duly exercised, conducts us 
through these various mental operations, and guides us to- 
wards the discovery of truth. It does so by enabling us to 
compare facts with facts, and events with events ; to w^eigh 
their relations, bearings, and tendencies ; and to assign to 
each circumstance its proper weight and influence in the 
conclusions wdiich we are to deduce from them. The person 
who does so we call a man of sound judgment, whose opi- 
nions and conclusions we receive with confidence. On the 
contrary, we receive with distrust and suspicion the con- 
clusions of a man of an opposite character, who forms his 
opinions and deductions hastily, that is, from a limited 
number of facts, or a hasty and imperfect examination of 
their relations. 

Truth and falsehood? Second general application of reason 7 Third general appli 
cation ? General view of reason ? 


IS8 REASON. [part IH. 

A distinction has sometimes been made between the term 
reason, as used in the language of science, and as employed 
in the common affairs of life ; but there seems, to be no 
real ground for the distinction. 

Eeason, in the language of intellectual science, appears 
to be that process by which we judge correctly of the true 
and uniform relations of facts, or events, and give to each 
circumstance its due influence in the deductions. It is 
chiefly opposed to imagination, in which the mind is al- 
lowed to ramble through chains of events which are con- 
nected by loose and casual associations, leading to no true 
results. It is also distinguished from simple memory, in 
which facts or events are connected in the mind by certain 
principles of association, without a full view of their rela- 
tions. Thus, when we find a person remembering an ex- 
tensive collection of facts, and forming certain combinations 
among them, or deductions from them, without attending to 
points of difference which tend to other deductions, we say, 
his memory is better than his judgment. 

Reasoning, again, appears to be the continued exercise 
of reason, when applied to the investigation of a particular 
subject, or a certain series of facts or events, so as to trace 
their relations or to establish a particular conclusion as de- 
duced from such a series. This process, however, which 
is commonly called the discursive faculty, is to be distin- 
guished from the simple exercise of reason. It ought to be 
guided by reason ; that is, by a full view of the real rela- 
tions of the facts about which it is exercised ; but it is 
often allowed to fix on a slight and partial view of them ; 
or is applied ingeniously to discover relations of a particular 
kind only. Thus, we speak of a man who reasons closely, 
or with a correct attention to the real relations of things, 
and the true weight of every fact in the investigation ; of 
another who reasons loosely, or who is led away by casual 
relations and partial views, affording no true deductions ; 
and of a third, who reasons ingeniously and plausibly, but 
not soundly, that is, who argues on one side of a question, 
and contemplates facts in particular relations only, or as 

Distinction commonly made? Ground for it? Reason as opposed to imagination 1 
To memory ? Reasoning in contradistinction from reason ? Kinds of reasoning ? 

SEC. IV.] REASON. 139 

supporting particular opinions, neglecting those views of 
them which tend to a different conclusion. This art of in- 
genious reasoning or disputation, accordingly, we shall af- 
terward have occasion to show, is not only to be distin- 
guished from the sound exercise of reason or judgment, but 
is often found directly opposed to it. 

In the language of theology, reason is distinguished from 
revelation ; and means that exercise of the mind by which 
we deduce a certain knowledge of the Deity from the power 
and wisdom displayed in the works of creation, apart from 
any direct revelation of his character and will. 

In the language of common life, the mental process 
which we term reason or judgment appears to be the same, 
though the facts on which it is exercised may be different. 
A reasonable man is one who, both in the formation of his 
opinions and the regulation of his conduct, gives the due 
weight and influence to all the facts and considerations 
which ought to influence his decision. A man of the op- 
posite character is one who takes up his opinions upon 
slight, partial, and inadequate grounds ; and then cannot, 
or will not, admit the impression of facts or arguments 
which are calculated to correct these unsound deductions ; 
or who, in the regulation of his conduct, is led away by hasty 
impressions, or feeble and inadequate motives, without giv- 
ing due consideration to those which are calculated to lead 
him into a different course. The former we call a reason- 
able, considerate, thinking man ; the latter we say is an 
unreasonable, inconsiderate man, who cannot or will not 
think. It also very often happens that the latter, having 
formed his conclusions, is obstinately tenacious of them ; 
while the former is still open to the true and full impression 
of any new fact or argument that is proposed to him. So- 
lomon has expressed in a very striking manner the leading 
features of two such characters, namely, of the man who 
takes up opinions with little examination, and then adheres 
to them with inaccessible pertinacity ; and him who forms 
them only after full and candid examination, and with a 
clear conception of the grounds on which they are formed : 

Disputation. Reason as distinguished from revelation? Reason compared with 
jndgment. C'mracier of a reasonable man ? The opposite character ? Toiiaciiy 
with which the two characters hold their opinions ? Solomon's remark J 

140 REASON. [part 111. 

* The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men 
that can render a reason." 

The process of mind which we call reason or judgment, 
therefore, seems to be essentially the same, whether it be 
applied to the investigation of truth, or the affairs of com- 
mon life. In both cases, it consists in comparing and weigh- 
ing facts, considerations, and motives, and deducing from 
them conclusions, both as principles of belief and rules of 
conduct. In doing so, a man of sound judgment proceeds 
with caution, and with a due consideration of all the facts 
which he ought to take into the inquiry. Having formed 
his conclusions, he is still open to the influence of new facts, 
by which they may be corrected or modified ; but he is not 
to be shaken in his confidence by trivial statements or frivo- 
lous objections. Opposed to this there are two modifica- 
tions of character which present an interesting subject for 
observation. Both form their conclusions hastily, and with- 
out due examination of the facts and considerations which 
ought to influence them ; but their subsequent conduct is 
widely different. The one is shaken in his conclusions by 
every new fact that is presented to him, and every slight 
objection that is brought against his inductions ; and the 
consequence is, that his opinions and his principles of con- 
duct are constantly changing. The other, having framed 
his opinions, though on grounds the most inadequate, ad- 
heres to them with inaccessible firmness ; and seems total- 
ly proof against the force of any facts or arguments that 
can be brought against them. The former is the more 
hopeful character of the two, his error consisting in a 
want of attention, rather than of judgment ; or in a ha- 
bit of framing his conclusions too hastily. By education 
or attention on his own part, his habit may be corrected in 
a greater or less degree ; but the latter appears to labor 
under a radical defect of judgment, which makes him insen- 
sible to the due force of the considerations and arguments 
which influence other men. In the affairs of life, the for- 
mer, after perhaps committing various indiscretions, ac- 
quires wisdom from experience ; that is, by having the fal- 
?acy of his conclusions in many instances forced upon him. 

Operation of sound judgment ? Characters opposed to this 1 Fickleness and obeti 
aacy compared ? Which character most hopeful ? Why ? 


The latter remains unchanged; retaining the same confi- 
dence in his own conclusions, and the same contempt fo^ 
every thing that can be opposed to them. This unfortu- 
nate condition of mind, though it may have had its origin 
in peculiarity of mental constitution or deficient education. 
is fostered and increased by indulgence, and by a neglect of 
cultivating the important habit of calm and candid investi- 
gation. The man seems at last to become totally insensi- 
ble to the motives and evidences which influence other men ; 
and the more striking and convincing these are to others, 
the more remarkable appears the condition of that mind 
which does not feel or estimate their importance. This 
state of mind is emphatically ascribed, in the sacred wri- 
tings, to the man who denies the existence of a great First 
Cause : " The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." 
By some process of mind, known to himself, he has arrived 
at this conclusion ; and he is totally insensible to the mani- 
fold evidence, which meets him wherever he turns his eye, 
of its futility and folly. And surely, if there be in human 
things an affecting representation of a mind lost to every 
function of a healthy understanding, incapable of rising from 
effects to causes, or of tracing the relations of things, a 
mind deserted by its rightful guardian, and left the unpro- 
tected victim of every wild delusion that flutters by, it is 
to be found in him who, possessed of the senses of a living 
man, can stand before the fair face of creation, and say in 
his heart, " There is no God." 

In every exercise of judgment, it is of essential impor- 
tance that the mind shall be entirely unbiassed by any per- 
sonal feeling or emotion which might restrain or influence 
its decisions. Hence the difficulty we feel in deciding on 
a subject in which we are deeply interested, especially if 
our inclinations and the facts and motives presented by the 
case be in any degree opposed to each other. Thus, we 
speak of a man who allows his feelings to influence his judg- 
ment ; and of another, of a cool head, who allows no feel- 
mg to interfere with his decisions. Any particular emo- 
tion, which has been deeply indulged and fostered, comes 

Results of the latter character. Instance mentioned in the Bible? Circumstance es- 
ential to the exercise of the judgment ? Sources of bias > 


in this manner to influence the judgment in a most extraor- 
dinary degree. It is thus that a vitiated and depraved state 
of the moral feelings at last misleads the judgment, in re- 
gard to the great principles of moral rectitude ; and termi- 
nates in a state of mind emphatically described in the sa- 
cred writings, in which a man puts evil for good and good 
for evil, and is left to the influence of strong delusion, so 
that he " believes a lie." This remarkable condition of 
the power of reasoning and judging we cannot refer to any 
principle with which we are acquainted ; but we must re- 
ceive it as a fact in the history of our moral constitution 
which is not to be questioned. A poet has sung, that vice, 
which at first is hated as an odious monster, is, when seen 
too oft, endured, then pitied, then embraced : and he has 
only added his evidence to a fact which has been received 
upon the testimony of the philosopher and the moralist in 
every age, and is acted upon as a fixed and uniform prin- 
ciple of our nature by all classes of men. 

Upon the grounds which have been briefly referred to 
in the above observations, it will appear that the principles 
on which a man should form his opinions are essentially the 
same with those by which he ought to regulate his conduct. 
If this conclusion be admitted, it will enable us to perceive 
the fallacy of a dogma which has often been brought for- 
ward with much confidence, that a man is not responsible 
for his belief. When taken abstractly, this is true ; but in 
the practical application of it there is a great and danger- 
ous fallacy. In the opinions which a man forms on any 
particular subject, he is indeed influenced, not by his own 
will, but by the facts or evidence by which the doctrines are 
supported ; and, in this sense, a man may justly be said not 
to be responsible for his belief. But when we apply the 
principle to practical purposes, and especially to those 
truths of religious belief to which the dogma has been point- 
ed, it may easily be seen to be as fallacious as it is danger- 
ous. A man is undoubtedly responsible for the care with 
which he has informed himself of the facts and evidences 
by which his belief on these subjects ought to be influ- 
enced; and for the care and anxiety with which he gives to 

Responsibility of a man for his belief? Common dogma in regard to it ? In whas 
"wiise true ? In what sense not true J For what is a man really responsible? 

SEC. IV.] REASON. 143 

each of these facts and evidences its due weight in the mo- 
mentous inquiry. He is further responsible for any degree 
of that vitiated and corrupted state of the moral feelings by 
which his judgment may have been biassed, so as to pre- 
vent him from approaching the subject with the sincere de- 
sire for truth of a pure ind uncontaminated mind. If, in 
this sense, we say that a man is not responsible for his be- 
lief, we may quite as reasonably allege that he is not re- 
sponsible for his conduct, because he chooses on some slight 
and partial grounds to frame for himself principles of ac- 
tion, without taking into consideration those fundamenta 
rules of moral rectitude by which mankind in general are 
expected to be influenced. We may as well contend that 
the man is not responsible for his conduct who, by long fa- 
miliarity with vice, has lost sight of its malignity, and has 
come to approve and love that which he once contemplated 
with abhorrence. 

It appears, then, that the exercise of reason is precisely 
the same, and is guided by the same laws, whether it be ap- 
plied to the investigation of truth vir to the regulation of 
conduct. The former is more particularly connected with 
the further prosecution of our inquiry : but the leading prin- 
ciples apply equally to the great questions of morals, and 
the important subject of religious belief. In prosecuting 
the subject as a branch of intellectuil science, it seems to 
resolve itself into two parts : 

I. The use of reason in the investigation of truth. 

IL The use of reason in correcting the impressions ot 
the mind in regard to external things. 

Before proceeding to these branches of the subject, how- 
ever, this may perhaps be the proper place for again stat- 
ing, in a few words, that in the preceding observations my 
object has been to confine myself to facts, respecting the 
processes which the mind actually performs, without enter- 
mg on the question how it performs them. On this sub- 
ject we find great differences among philosophers, which I 
have alluded to only in an incidental manner. Some ap- 

Ck)nsequences resulting from any other view. Reason as applied to opinions and to 
tonduct ? Grand divisions of this subject ; Uow many and what 7 

144 REASON. [part III. 

pear to have spoken in too unqualified terms respecting va- 
rious and distinct faculties of the mind, and have enu- 
merated a variety of these, corresponding to the various 
mental operations. Dr. Brown, on the other hand, has fol- 
lowed a very difierent course, by referring all our mental 
processes to the two principles of simple and relative sug- 
gestion. According to this eloquent and ingenious writer, 
we have no direct voluntary power over the succession of 
our thoughts ; but these follow each other in consequence 
of certain principles of suggestion, by which conceptions, 
m certain circumstances, call up or suggest other concep 
ions, which are in some manner related to them. We have 
the power only of fixing the mind more intensely upon some 
images of this series, when they arise, in consequence of 
approving of them, as referring to some subject of thought 
which is before us, while we disapprove of others of the se- 
ries as less allied to it. The former become more fixed and 
vivid in consequence of this approbation, while the latter 
are allowed to sink back into oblivion. What systematic 
writers have called the faculty of conception is, according 
to this system, the simple presence in the mind of one of 
these suggested or recalled images. Memory is this sim- 
ple suggestion combined with the impression of past time. 
In imagination, again, which has been considered as a 
voluntary power of forming conceptions or images into new 
combinations by a peculiar mental process. Dr. Brown- be- 
lives that we have only the power of perceiving images as 
they are brought up by established principles of suggestion, 
approving of some which thus become fixed, and disapprov- 
ing of others which thus pass away. In thus approving 
or disapproving of the suggested images, we are guided 
by a perception of their relation to any particular sub- 
je( t which is before us, and which we may desire to cul- 
tivate or illustrate. According to this writer, therefore, 
what is usually called conception is simple suggestion ; 
memory is simple suggestion with a feeling of past time ; 
imagination is simple suggestion combined with desire and 
with a perception of relation. The relative suggestion of 
Dr, Brown, again, is that perception of relations arising out 

Differences among philosophers ? Dr. Brown's view ? His view of conception ? Of 
memory ? Of imagination ? 


of the comparison of different facts or objects which we 
have treated of under the more familiar name of judgment; 
and the mental process usually called abstraction he re- 
solves simply into a perception of resemblances. Various 
objections might be urged against this system ; and we may, 
perhaps, be allowed to doubt wliiether by means of it any 
thing has been gained to the science of mind. But the plan 
which I proposed to myself in this outline does not lead me 
into any consideration of it, or of those systems to which it 
IS opposed. My object has been simply to inquire zz/'/^a? the 
mind does, without entering on the question how it does so. 
On this ground, the division which has been adopted of dis- 
tinct mental operations, not distinct faculties, appears to be 
that best calculated for practical utility. 

h I. 


In applying our reason to the investigation of truth in 
any department of knowledge, we are, in the first place, to 
keep in mind that there are certain intuitive articles of be- 
lief which lie at the foundation of all reasoning. For, in 
every process of reasoning, we proceed by founding one 
step upon another which has gone before it ; and when we 
trace such a process backwards, we must arrive at certain 
truths which are recognised as fundamental, requiring no 
proof and admitting of none. These are usually called 
First Truths. They are not the result of any process of 
reasoning, but force themselves with a conviction of infalli- 
ble certainty upon every sound understanding, without re- 
gard to its logical habits or powers of induction. The force 
of them is accordingly felt in an equal degree by all classes 
of men ; and they are acted upon with absolute confidence 
m the daily transactions of life. This is a subject of great 
and extensive importance. The truths or articles of 

Remarks upon this system? The foundation of all reasoning? Name giren w 
these truths ? Their universal authority. 


146 REASON. [part III 

belief which are referable to it were briefly mentioned m 
a former part of our inquiry ; they are chiefly the follow- 
ing : 

I. A conviction of our own existence, as sentient and 
thinking beings ; and of mind, as something distinct from 
the functions of the body. From the first exercise of per- 
ception we acquire a knowledge of two things ; namely, 
the thing perceived, and the sentient being who perceives 
it. In the same manner, from the exercise of any mental 
operation, such as memory, we acquire an impression of the 
thing remembered, of an essence or principle which remem- 
bers it, and of this essence as something entirely distinct 
from any function of the body. This last conviction must 
be considered as a first truth, or intuitive article of belief, 
standing on the same ground with the other truths which 
are referable to this class. It does not, as was formerly 
stated, rest upon any metaphysical or physiological argu- 
ment, but upon an appeal made to the conviction of every 
man who attends to what is passing within. It resolves 
itself into a consciousness of the various mental processes, 
impressions, and emotions, as referable to one permanent 
and unchanging essence, while the body is known to be i 
a constant state of change ; and of these processes as beii 
exercised without any necessary dependence upon presei- 
impressions from external things. Like other truths o\. 
this class, it is, consequently, unaffected by sophisms which 
are brouofht agrainst it ; and the answer to these does not 
properly consist in any process of reasoning, but in this ap- 
peal to every man's absolute conviction. If brought into 
comparison, indeed, the evidence which we have for the ex- 
istence of mind is perhaps less liable to deception than that 
which we Jiave for the existence of matter. 

II. A confidence in the evidence of our senses in regard 
to the existence and the properties of external things ; or a 
conviction that they have a real existence independently of 
our sensations. We have formerly referred to a celebrated 
Joctrine, by which it was maintained that the mind perceives 

How many classes ? First ? intuitive conviction ? Nature and foundation of our be- 
lief of our own existence ? Proper anavver to sophisms against it? Second conylc 


only its own ideas or impressions ; and that, consequently, 
we derive from our senses no evidence of the existence of 
external things. The only answer to such a sophism is, 
that a confidence in the evidence of our senses is a first 
truth, or intuitive principle of belief, admitting of no other 
proof than that which is derived from the universal con- 
viction of mankind. 

III. A confidence in our own mental processes ; that facts, 
for example, which are suggested to us by our memory re- 
ally occurred. 

IV. A belief in our personal identity. This is derived 
from the combined operation of consciousness and memory ; 
and it consists in a remembrance of past mental feelings, 
and a comparison of them with present feelings as belong- 
ing to the same sentient being. There were formerly many 
disputes on this subject ; some maintaining that the notion 
of personal identity is inconsistent with the different states 
in which the mind exists at different times, as love and ha 
tred, joy and sorrow ; and also with the remarkable changes 
of character which often take place at different periods of 
life. This was one of the sophisms of the schools, founded 
upon an obscure analogy with changes which take place in 
material things, and is not at all applicable to mind. The 
only answer to the paradox is, that every man, under every 
variety of mental emotion, and every possible change of 
character, retains an absolute conviction that the sentient 
being whom he calls himself remains invariably the same ; 
and that in all the affairs of life, whether referring to the 
past or the future, every man acts upon this conviction. 

V. A conviction that every event must have a cause, and 
ji cause adequate to the effect ; and that appearances, show- 
ing a correct adaptation of means to an end, indicate de- 
sign and intelligence in the cause. These, as fundamental 
truths, are quite distinct from the question relating to the 
connection of any two specified events as cause and effect. 
The latter belongs to another part of our inquiry. 

Answer to sophisms against it? Third conviction? Fourth conviction, relating to 
peraoiial identity ? Former disputes ? Answer ? Fifth conviction, relating to cauas 
uiJ eflfect 


VI. A confidence in the uniformity of nature ; or, that 
the same substance will always exhibit the same charac" 
ters ; and that the same cause, under the same circumstan- 
ces, will always be followed by the same effect. This, as a 
first truth, is a fundamental and instinctive conviction. The 
province of experience, we have already seen, is to ascer- 
tain the particular events which are so connected as to be 
included under the law. 

Our confidence in the uniformity of nature is the founda- 
tion of all the calculations which we make for the future in 
regard to our protection or comfort, or even for the continu- 
ance of our existence ; and without it the whole system of 
human things would be thrown into inextricable confusion. 

It is referable to the two heads now stated ; namely, uni- 
formity of characters, and uniformity of sequences or ope- 

By uniformity of characters, in any substance, we mean 
that the substance will always continue to exhibit the same 
combination of characters ; so that, when we have ascer- 
tained its presence by some of them, we conclude that it 
also possesses th6 others. These characters may be nume- 
rous, and referable to various classes ; such as the botanical 
characters of a plant, the chemical properties of a mineral, 
sensible qualities of smell, taste, and color, and capabilities 
of action upon other bodies. Such is our confidence in 
the undeviating uniformity of nature, that whatever num- 
ber of these qualities we have ascertained to belong to a 
substance, we expect to find in every specimen of it in all 
time coming. For example, I find a substance which, by 
its smell and color, I know to be opium. Without any fur 
ther information, I decide with confidence on its taste, its 
composition, its chemical affinity, its action on the human 
body, and the characters of the plant from which it was de- 
rived ; and 1 never calculate upon the possibility of being 
deceived in any of these particulars. 

Our confidence in the uniformity of the sequences or ope- 
rations o5 nature resolves itself into a conviction of the con- 
tinuance of that order which experience has shown us to 

sixth conviction, relating to the uniformity of nature ? What calculations founded 
upon it? How many branches, and what? Uniformity of charactera ? Examples* 
Dniformity of operatioas ? 


exist in a uniform manner in the succession of phenomena. 
The conviction itself is an original or instinctive principle, 
felt and acted upon by all classes of men in the daily trans- 
actions of life. It is from experience that we learn the par- 
ticular cases to which we are warranted in applying it ; or, 
in other Avords, the successions of phenomena which, there 
is sufficient ground for believing, have occurred in a certain 
order in time past. These we expect with perfect confi- 
dence to continue to be equally uniform, or to occur in the 
same order in time to come. The error to be guarded 
against in such investigations is, assuming the past uniformi- 
ty of phenomena on insufficient gTounds ; or, in other words, 
concluding that events have always occurred in a certain 
order because we have seen them occur in that order in a 
few instances. A principle assumed in this manner may 
of course disappoint us if applied to future phenomena ; but 
in this case there is no deviation from the uniformity of 
nature ; the error consisted in assuming such a uniformity 
where none existed. 

The uniformity of the sequences of phenomena is the 
foundation of our idea of causation in regard to these phe- 
nomena ; that is to say, when we have observed one event 
uniformly follow another event, we consider the first as 
cause, and the second as effect ; and, when this relation has 
been ascertained to be uniform, we conclude that it will 
continue to be uniform ; or that the same cause in the same 
circumstances will always be followed by the same effect. 
This expectation will of course disappoint us if we have 
assumed the relation on inadequate grounds ; or have con- 
sidered two events as cause and effect which have been only 
accidentally combined in a few instances. To entitlo us to 
assume that the relation will be uniform in time to come, 
we must have full and adequate grounds for believing that 
It has been uniform in time past. 

In the great operations of nature a very extensive obser- 
vation often enables us to trace a remarkable uniformity 
even in regard to events which at first sight appear to be 
most irregular and uncertain. Thus, the most uncerta in of 

Error to be guarded against ? Foundation of our idea of cause and effect. Cautiop 
necessary ? Remarkable uniformity among events apparently irregular ? Example. 
Duration of human life ? 


loO REASON. [part III. 

all things is human life, as far as respects individuals ; but 
the doctrine of the continuance of life in regard to a large 
body of men is, by extensive observation, reduced almost to 
a certainty. Nothing is more uncertain than the proportion 
of males and females that shall be born in one family ; but 
in great communities this also is uniform. There is much 
uncertainty in the character of different reasons, but there 
are facts which give probability to the conjecture that in a 
long series of years there may also be discovered a remark- 
able uniformity. An impression of this kind was carried so 
far by the ancients as to lead to the doctrine of the Annes 
Magnus, or Platonic year, in which it was believed that the 
whole series of human events would be acted over again. 

The uniform successions of phenomena are, with reason- 
able care, easily ascertained in regard to material things ; 
and when they are ascertained, we rely upon their uniform 
continuance ; or, if we find a deviation in any instance, we 
easily ascertain the incidental cause by which the sequence 
is interrupted, and can provide against the interference of 
the same or any similar cause in future instances. There is 
greater uncertainty when our researches refer to the pheno- 
mena of mind, or the actions of living bodies. The causes 
of this uncertainty were formerly mentioned. It arises 
partly from the greater difficulty of a^scertaining the true 
relations ; that is, of tracir"- causes to their true effects, and 
effects to their true causes ; and partly from the tendency 
to these being interrupted in future instances by some new 
cause, in regard to which we cannot calculate either the 
existence or the precise effects. Hence, for example, the 
uncertainty of human laws ; one of the contingencies by 
which they are interrupted being the chances of evading 
hem. If we could conceive a case in which every crime was 
with certainty detected, and every criminal brought to pu- 
nishment, it is probable that the effect of human laws would 
be nearly as certain as the operation of material causes. But 
the criminal, in the first instance, calculates on the chance 
of evading detection, and, even in the event of detection, of 
escaping punishment ; and thus the tendency of the wisest 
laws is constantly interrupted in a manner which no human 

Proportion of males and females ? Notion of the ancients ? Facility of asrertaining 
the laws of material things ? The laws of mind ? Why more difficult ? Opejation c 
buman laws ? Calculation of the criminal in violating them f 


wisdom can calculate upon or prevent. There is often a 
similar uncertainty in human character in other situations : 
for example, in judging how an individual will act in 
particular circumstances, or be influenced by' particular 
motives ; for a motive which we have found to induce a 
particular line of conduct in one individual may fail in 
producing the same result in another, being prevented by 
circumstances in his moral condition which entirely elude 
our observation. 

Yet there is a uniformity in moral phenomena which, 
though it may be ascertained with greater difficulty than 
the order of natural phenomena, we calculate upon Avith 
similar confidence when it has been ascertained. Thus, a 
man may have acquired such a character for integrity, that 
we rely upon his integrity in any situation in which he may 
be placed, with the same confidence with which we rely on 
the uniformity of nature ; and there is a m-in distinguished 
by veracity and fidelity to his promise, of whom we say, in 
common language, that his word is as good as his bond. 
In such examples as these, indeed, our confidence is found- 
ed, not upon any laws which have been observed in regard 
to the whole species, but on a uniformity which has been 
observed in regard to the individuals, or rather a class to 
which the individuals belong. There are also, however, 
laws which apply to mankind in general, and on which 
we rely as far as they go, namely, principles of conduct 
in which we confide, as regulating every man of a sane 
mind, whatever may be our knowledge of his previous 
hat:ts of judging or acting. It is in this manner, for ex- 
ample, as formerly stated, that we regulate our confidence 
in testimony. If a man who is either a stranger to us or 
bears a character of doubtful veracity, relates circumstances 
which tend greatly to promote his own purposes, we cal- 
culate on the probability of fabrication, and reject his testi- 
mony ; and if we even suspect that he has a purpose to 
serve, a similar impression is produced. If, on the contra- 
ry, we are satisfied that the circumstances are indifierent 
to him, and that he has no purpose to answer, we give 
greater credit to his testimony. If, further than this, we 

Similar uncertainty in other cases? Can the uniformity of moral phencraena be 
relied upoa in any casea ? Example. General principles of kuman conduct. 

152 REASON. [part III. 

perceive that the statement operates against himself, con- 
veying an imputation against his own conduct, or exposing 
him to contempt, ridicule, or personal injury, we are satis- 
fied that nothing could make him adhere to such a testimo- 
ny but an honest conviction of its truth. Under the former 
circumstances, we believe only a man whom we consider as 
a person of known and established veracity ; under the lat- 
ter, we believe any man whom we consider to be of a sane 
mind. Thus, in both instances, we proceed upon a certain 
uniformity of moral phenomena ; only that we refer them 
to two classes, namely, one which is ascertained to be 
uniform in regard to the whole species, and another which 
IS uniform only in regard to a certain order, that is, all men 
of integrity and veracity. In the one case, we rely upon 
the uniformity in every instance ; in the other, we do not 
rely upon it until we are satisfied that the individual exam- 
ple belongs to that order in which the other kind of moral 
uniformity has been ascertained. 

There are other inquiries closely connected with the 
uniformity of moral relations ; but at present we must al- 
lude to them very briefly. We have every reason to be- 
lieve that there are moral causes, that is, truths and mo- 
tives, which have a tendency to influence human volition 
and human conduct with a uniformity similar to that with 
which physical agents produce their actions upon each 
other. These moral causes, indeed, do not operate in 
every instance, or in all circumstances ; but neither do 
physical causes. Substances in chemistry, for example 
have certain tendencies to act upon each other, which are 
uniform and necessary; but no action takes place unless 
the substances are brought into certain circumstances Avhich 
are required for bringing these tendencies into operation. 
They must, in the first place, be brought into contact ; 
and, besides this, many of them require other collateral 
circumstances, as a particular temperature, or a particular 
state of concentration or dilution. It is the same with 
moral causes : their tendencies are uniform, and there are 
principles in the mind of man which these are adapted for 

Example; laws of testimony ? Influence of the circumstances of the case on the 
credibility of witnesses ? Other cases of the uniformity of moral relations ? Moral and 
physical causes compared. Influence of circumstances in both cases? 


acting u}>on. But they require certain circumstances in 
the man on whom they are expected to act, without which 
they produce no influence upon him. It is necessary, for 
example, that lie be fully informed in regard to them as 
truths; and that his attention be directed to them Avith 
such a degree of intensity as shall bring him fully under 
their influence as statements addressed to his understand- 
ing ; also, that there be a certain healthy state of his 
moral feelings, for this has a most extensive influence 
on the due operation of moral causes. Without these the 
most powerful moral causes may produce no effect upon 
a man ; as the most active chemical agents may fail en- 
tirely of their actions, if the substances are not placed in 
the requisite circumstances of temperature, dilution, or 

These considerations seem to bear an important refer- 
ence to a question which has been much argued, namely, 
that respecting liberty, necessity, and the freedom of the 
will. On a subject on which some of the wisest and the 
best of men have been found on opposite sides, I would ex- 
press myself with becoming caution and diflB.dence; but 
perhaps some of the obscurity in which the question has 
been involved arises from the want of a clear definition of 
the terms in which it has been argued ; and by not fully 
distinguishing between will or simple volition, and desire or* 
incliiiation. Will, or simple volition, is the state of mind 
which immediately precedes action ; and the action follow- 
ing upon this is not only free, but it is absolutely impossible 
to suppose it should be otherwise. A man is not only free 
to do what he wills, but we cannot conceive a case in which 
he could exert a power of not doing what he wills, or of 
doing what he wills not. Impulse or restraint from with- 
out, acting upon his bodily organs, could alone interfere 
with his following, in this sense, the tendency of his will, 
or simple volition. The only idea, indeed, that we can 
form of free agency, or freedom of the will, is, that it con- 
sists in a man being able to do what he wills, or to ab- 
stain from doing what he wills not. Necessary agency, on 

Circumstances essential to the full operation of moral causes ? Important question 
connected with this subject ? Terms used ? Distinction between them ? The will 
vlial ? Proper idea of free agency ? Necessary agency ? 

154 REASON. [part IlL 

the other hand, would consist in the man being compelledj 
by a force from without, to do what he wills not, or pre- 
vented from doing what he wills. 

The real bearing of the inquiry does not lie in this con- 
nection between the volition and the act, but in the origin 
or cause of the volition, or in the connection between the 
volition and the desire ; and this will be seen to be entirely 
distinct. A man, for example, may desire, or have an in- 
clination to, that which he has not the power to will ; be- 
cause he may be under the influence of motives and princi- 
ples which prevent the inclination from being followed by 
volition, with as absolute a necessity as we observe in the 
sequences of natural phenomena. Thus, also, we may say 
to a man of strict integrity and virtue that he has not the 
power to commit murder or robbery, or any act of gross 
injustice or oppression. He may reply that he has the 
power to do it if he willed ; and this is granted, for this 
is free agency ; but it is not the question in dispute. We 
do not say that he has not the power to do any or all of 
these acts if he willed, but that he has not the power to 
will such deeds. He is under the influence of motives and 
principles which make it as much a matter of necessity for 
him not to will such acts, as it is for a stone not to rise from 
the earth's surface contrary to its gravity. Such a neces- 
sity as this, if we must retain the term, so far from being 
unfavorable to the interests of virtue and morals, or op- 
posed to the practice of exhorting men to virtue, seems, on 
the contrary, to hold out the strongest encouragement in 
doing so ; and to be, in fact, the only scheme on which we 
can expect an argument or motive to have any influence 
upon human conduct. For it represents man as possessed 
of certain uniform principles in his nature which are capa- 
ble of being acted upon by certain moral causes, truths^ 
laws, or motives, with a uniformity similar to that which 
we observe in physical phenomena, provided he can be 
brought under their influence, and into those circumstances 
which are required for their due operation. These cir- 
cumstances are, that the moral causes, laws, motives, or 

Real point of inquiry ? Distinction between desire and will ? Exampleg. Control- 
ling influence of motives in such cases. Is this necessity? Influence of it on virtu 
and morals ? How does this view represent man ? Circumstances essential ? 


truths, shall be brought before his understanding ; tbat he 
shall direct his attention to them with suitable intensity ; 
and that he is free from that degree of corruption of hia 
moral feelings, or any of those distorted moral habits which 
we know to produce a most extensive influence on the ope- 
ration of moral causes. To suppose a kind of moral liberty 
opposed to such a necessity as this, would be to represent 
man as a being possessed of no fixed or uniform principles, 
not to be calculated upon as to his conduct in any in- 
stance, and not capable of being acted upon by any motive 
or principle except the blind caprice of the moment. To 
endeavor to act upon such a being, by persuading him to 
virtue or dissuading him from vice, would be like expecting 
fixed results in chemistry, by bringing substances to act 
upon each other, the actions of which we had previously 
found to be without any kind of uniformity. This is, in 
fact, precisely the situation of the maniac, whom, accord- 
ingly, we never expect to guide or influence by motives or 
arguments, but by external restraint. He may act harm- 
lessly, or he may act mischievously ; but we never can cal- 
culate upon his actions in any one instance; we therefore 
shut him up, so as to prevent him from being dangerous to 
the community. 

Necessity, then, as applied to the operation of moral 
causes, appears simply to correspond with the uniformity 
which we observe in the operation of physical causes. We 
calculate that a man of a certain character will act in a par- 
ticular manner in particular circumstances, or that he will 
be acted upon in a certain manner by particular truths and 
motives, when they are presented to him, by a principle 
of uniformity similar to that with which we expect an acid 
to act in a particular manner upon an alkali. The action 
of the acid we know to be uniform, but we know also, that 
no action will take place till the substances are brought 
fully in contact, and in certain circumstances Avhich are 
required for their action ; and the action of moral causes 
is uniform, but they exert no influence on a man till he is 
fully acquainted with them, directs his attention to them 

Is man possessed of any moral liberty, inconsistent with this view? Why not 
Uniform ity of tlie operations of moral causes ? Compared with physical ? Example, 

156 REASON. [part III. 

rvith suitable care, and is besides in a certain healthy 
state of moral feeling. It is thus that we calculate on the 
full and uniform operation of moral causes on some indi- 
viduals, and not on others ; namely, by having previously 
ascertained that the former are in those intellectual and 
moral circumstances which are required for their action. 
When, in another individual, we find these causes fail in 
their natural actions, we endeavor, as far as may be in 
our power, to supply those collateral circumstances, by 
instructing him in the facts, truths, or motives ; by rousing 
his attention to their importance ; by impressing them 
upon him in their strongest characters, and by all such ar- 
guments and representations as we think calculated to fix 
the impression. All this we do under a conviction, that 
these causes have a certain, fixed, uniform, or necessary 
action, in regard to human volition and human conduct ; 
and it is this conviction which encourages us to persevere 
in our attempts to bring the individual under their influence. 
If we had not this conviction, we should abandon the at- 
tempt as altogether hopeless ; because we could have no 
ground on which to form any calculation, and no rules to 
guide us in our measures. Precisely in the same manner, 
when we find a chemical agent fail of the efl^ect which we 
expect from it, we add it in larger quantity, or in an in- 
creased state of concentration, or at a higher temperature, 
or with some other change of circumstances calculated 
to favor its action ; and we persevere in these measures, 
under a conviction that its action is perfectly uniform or 
necessary, and will take place whenever these circumstances 
have been provided for. On the same principle, we see 
how blame may attach to the intelligent agent in both 
cases, though the actions of the causes are uniform and 
necessary. Such is the action of chemical agents, but 
blame may attach to the chemist who has not provided 
them in the necessary circumstances as to quantity, con- 
centration, and temperature. Such is the action of moral 
causes, but deep guilt may attach to the moral agent, who 
has been proof against their influence. There is guilt in 
ignorance, when knowledge M^as within his reach; there 

Practical use of these principles. Conviction upon which such practice is based 
The same with physical processes. What conaiiuites ^ui!t ? 


.s guilt in heedless inattention, when truths and motives of 
the highest interest claimed his serious consideration ; 
there is guilt in that corruption of his moral feelings which 
impedes the action of moral causes, because this has origi- 
nated, in a great measure, in a course of vicious desires, 
and vicious conduct, by which the mind, familiarized Avith 
vice, has gradually lost sight of its malignity. During the 
whole of this course, also, the man felt that he was a free 
agent ; that he had power to pursue the course which he 
followed, and that he had power to refrain from it. When 
a particular desire was first present to his mind, he had the 
power immediately to act with a view to its accomplish- 
ment ; or he had the pawer to abstain from acting, and to 
direct his attention more fully to the various considerations 
and motives which Avere calculated to guide his determina- 
tion. In acting as he did, he not only withheld his atten- 
tion from those truths which were thus calculated to ope- 
rate upon him as a moral being ; but he did still more direct 
violence to an impulse within, which warned him that he 
was wandering from the path of rectitude. The state of 
moral feeling which gradually results froni this habitual 
violation of the indications of conscience, and this habitual 
neglect of the serious consideration of moral causes, every 
individual must feel to be attended with moral guilt. The 
efl^ect of it is not only to prevent the due operation of moral 
causes on his future volitions, but even to vitiate and dis- 
tort the judgment itself, respecting the great principles of 
moral rectitude. Without attempting any explanation of 
this remarkable condition of the mental functions, its actual 
existence must be received as a fact in the constitution of 
human nature, which cannot be called in question ; and it 
oifers one of the most remarkable phenomena that can be 
presented to him who turns his attention to the moral eco- 
nomy of man. 

Before concluding this incidental allusion to a much con- 
troverted subject, I may be allowed to remark, that the 
term necessity, as applied to moral phenomena, is not for- 
tunate, and perhaps not philosophical ; and something 
would perhaps be gained in conducting the inauiry, if, for 

In what sense the individual is free ? Guilt of habitually vidating conscience. Be 
marlcs upon the term necessity. 


158 REASON. [part III. 

necessity, we were to substitute uniformity. In strict pro- 
priety, indeed, the terms necessity and necessary ought to 
be applied only to mathematical truth. Of physical rela- 
tions, all that we know is the fact of their uniformity ; and 
It would appear equally philosophical to apply the same 
term to mental phenomena. On this principle, therefore, 
we should say, that the tendency of moral causes or mo- 
tives is not necessary, but uniform ; and that on this de- 
pends all our confidence in the uniformity of human cha- 
racter, and in the power of truths, motives, or arguments, 
to produce particular results on human conduct. To sup- 
pose the mind possessed of a power of determining, apart 
from all the influence of moral causes or motives, would be 
to overthrow this confidence, and to reduce our whole cal- 
culations on human character to conjecture and uncertain- 
ty. When, indeed, we talk of a self-determining power of 
the will, we seem to use a combination of words without 
any definite meaning. For the will is not distinct from the 
being who wills ; and to speak of an individual determining 
his will, is only saying, in other words, that he wills. He 
wills some act. for some reason, which is known to himself; 
if communicated to another, the reason might not appear a 
satisfactory one ; but still it is to him the reason which in- 
duced him to will the act, and this appears to be all that we 
can make of the subject. A power of determining, without 
any reason, appears to be not only unphilosophical, but, in 
point of fact, inapplicable to any conceivable case. Igno- 
rance, inattention, or gross perversion of the moral feelings 
may make the worse reason appear the better ; but we 
cannot conceive a case, in which an individual could exert 
a power of determining without any reason, or according 
to what appears to him at the time to be a weaker reason, 
in opposition to one which appears a stronger. It will also, 
I think, be found that the warmest advocates for philosophi- 
cal liberty, and a self-determining power, in actual practice 
recognise as much as others the principle of the uniformity 
of moral causes. Thus, if we find a person acting in a 
manner widely different from that which we expected from 
him, all men concur in saying, " what motive could induce 

Proposed substitute ? Self-determining power of the will ? Objections to that ln- 
fuage 7 Uniformity of moral causes admitted in practice 7 


him to act in that manner?" and if we cannot reconcile his 
conduct to any conceivable motive, we say, " it really looks 
like insanity." Another may remark, " his conduct indi- 
cates a singular want of consideration ;" thus clearly re- 
cognising the existence of certain motives or moral causes, 
which would have led the man into a different line of con- 
duct, had he allowed his attention to fix upon them. The 
doctrine of a self-determining power should remove every 
difficulty in such a case to those who believe in it ; but I 
am ilot aware that it ever was made use of for such a pur- 
pose. It will also be found to agree with the universal 
conviction of mankind, that the circumstance which gives 
to an action the character of merit or demerit is entirely 
the motive from which it was done ; and that if we could 
conceive such a thing as an action performed by the im- 
pulse of a free self-determining power apart from any influ- 
ence of motives or moral causes, no man of sane mind 
would for a moment allow to such an act the character of 
virtue. On the contrary, it is familiar to every one, that 
we often find in a man's motive an excuse for conduct in 
which we think he has acted wrong. We say, he erred in 
judgment, but his motive was good; and this mode of 
reasoning meets with the cordial concurrence of the whole 
mass of mankind. 

The First Truths, or intuitive principles of belief, 
which have been the subject of the preceding observations, 
are of the utmost practical importance, as they furnish the 
true and only answer to many of the sophisms of the scho- 
lastic philosophy, and to many sceptical arguments of more 
modern times. They admit of no other evidence than an 
appeal to the consciousness of every man, that he does and 
must believe them. " We believe them," says Dr. Brown, 
" because it is impossible not to believe them." "In all 
these cases," says Mr. Stewart, " the only account that 
can be given of our belief is, that it forms a necessary part 

Evidence of it? Moral character of an action without motiye? Only evidence of 
these First Truths ? Dr. Brown'a remark ? 

160 REASON. [PART in 

of our constitution, against which metaphysicians may ar- 
gue, so as to perplex the judgment, but of v^iiich it is im- 
possible to divest ourselves for a moment, when we are 
called to employ our reason, either in the business of life or 
in the pursuits of science." 

It is likewise to be kept in mind, as was formerly stated, 
that our idea of reasoning necessarily supposes the existence 
of a certain number of truths, which require and admit of 
no evidence. The maxim, indeed, is as old as the days of 
Aristotle, and has never been called in question, " that, ex- 
cept some first principles be taken for granted, there can be 
neither reason nor reasoning; that it is impossible that 
every truth should admit of proof, otherwise proof would 
extend in infinitum, which is incompatible with its nature ; 
and that, if ever men attempt to prove a first principle, it 
is because they are ignorant of the nature of proof. '"^ As 
these truths, therefore, do not admit of being called in 
question by any sound understanding, neither do they ad- 
mit of being supported by any process of reasoning ; and, 
when paradoxes or sophisms in opposition to them are 
proposed, any attempt to argue with such, upon logical 
principles, only leads to discussions as absurd as them- 
selves. Of attempts of both kinds many examples are to 
be met with among the writers of the si'^.teenth and seven- 
teenth centuries, as Des Cartes and Hobl^es; and even some 
eminent persons, of more modern times, are not entirely 
free from them. Thus, Des Cartes, Malebranche, and 
others, thought it necessary to prove that external objects, 
and the sentient beings with whom we are connected, have 
a real existence whether we think of them or not, and are 
not merely ideas in our own minds. Berkeley showed the 
weakness of this argument, and on this founded the well- 
known doctrine by which he denied the real existence of 
material things. 

Many of the dogmas of modern sophistical writers, such 
as Mr. Hume, have consisted of attempts to overturn, by 
processes of argument, these fundamental or first truths. 

Aristotle's Metaphysics, book iv. 

Mr. Stewart's remark ? Impossibility of reasoning without the admission of such 
truths. They can neither be proved nor called in question. Former attempts to prove 
them ? Example. Attempts to disprove them ? 


On the other hand, the unsatisfactory nature of some of 
the replies to these sophisms, depends upon the attempts to 
combat them having been made by reasonings, of which 
the subject is not susceptible. For these principles admit 
of no proof by processes of reasoning, and, consequently, 
are in no degree affected by demonstrations of the fallacy 
of attempts to establish them by such processes. An inte- 
resting illustration of this has been reserved by Mr. Stew* 
art, in a correspondence between Mr. Hume and Sir Gilbert 
Elliot. "^ " From the reply to this letter," says Mr. Stew- 
art, " by Mr. Hume's very ingenious and accomplished 
correspondent, we learn that he had drawn from Mr. 
Hume's metaphysical discussions the only sound and philo- 
sophical inference : that the lameness of the proofs offered 
by Des Cartes and his successors, of some fundamental 
truths, universally acknowledged by mankind, proceeded, 
not from any defect in the evidence, but, on the contrary, 
from their being self-evident, and consequently unsuscepti- 
ble of demonstration." The same view of Mr. Hume's 
sceptical reasonings was taken by other eminent persons, 
by whom his system was attacked, particularly Reid, 
Beattie, and Oswald ; and on the continent, the nature and 
importance of these first truths had been at an earlier 
period illustrated in a full and able manner by father Buf- 

Various characters have been proposed, by which these 
primary and fundamental truths may be distinguished. One 
of those given by father Buffier appears to be the best, 
and to be alone sufficient to identify them. It is, that their 
practical influence extends even to persons who affect to 
dispute their authority ; in other words, that in all the 
affairs of life, the most sceptical philosopher acts, as much 
as the mass of mankind, upon the absolute belief of these 
truths. Let a person of this description, for example, be 
contending very keenly, in regard to something which 
deeply concerns his interest or his comfort, he would scarce- 
ly be satisfied by being told, that the thing about which 

Introductory Essay to the Appendix of the Encycloptedia Britannica. 

Illustration of this 7 Effect of Hume's reasoning upon Elliot's mind ? Upon othei 
tuds ? Distinctive characters of these primary truths ? Buffier's ? Example 7 


162 REASON. [part III 

he contends has no real existence, and that he who con- 
tends about it so eagerly is himself a nonenity, or, at best, 
nothing more than an idea. Let him be taking cognizance 
of an offence committed against him ten years ago, he 
never doubts that he is still the person against whom the 
offence was committed. Let him lay plans for future ad- 
vantage or comfort, it is done under a full conviction that 
he is still to continue the individual who may enjoy them. 
Has a building started up on his premises, which he did not 
expect to see, he immediately asks who ordered the ma- 
sons, and would be very ill-satisfied by being told, that the 
thing had appeared without any known cause, by a fortui- 
tous combination of atoms. However much he may reason 
to the contrary, he shows no doubt, in his own practice, 
that every event must have an adequate cause. The same 
mode of reasoning will be seen to apply to the other truths 
which belong to the class under consideration, namely, that 
those who argue against them act in all cases on a belief 
of their truth. 

The distinction between a process of reasoning and the 
act of the mind in arriving at these fundamental and in- 
stinctive truths, is a principle of the utmost practical im- 
portance. For a chain of correct reasoning requires logi- 
cal habits, and a certain cultivation of the mental powers ; 
and, consequently, it is confined to a comparatively small 
number of mankind. But the process here referred to is 
the spontaneous and immediate induction of the untutored 
mind, and a correct exercise of it requires only that the 
mind shall not be debased by depravity, nor bewildered by 
the refinements of a false philosophy. The truths which 
we derive from it accordingly do not concern the philoso- 
4)her alone, but are of daily and essential importance to 
ihe whole class of mankind. Let us take, for example, the 
principle referred to under the fifth head, namely, our intui- 
tive convictio\i that every change or event must have an 
adequate cause. This is a principle of daily application, 
and one which is acted upon with absolute confidence in 
the ordinary affairs of life by all classes of men. By the 

Practical admissions of them in various cases ? Important distinction ? What es- 
sential to correct reasoning ? to intuitive belief? Universal influence of these truths) 
Example, inferring a cause from an etfect. 


immediate and unconscious exercise of it, we infer the skill 
oi one workman from works indicating skill, and the vigor 
of another from works indicating strength. We infer from 
every work, not only a cause, but a cause which, both in 
degree and kind, is exactly proportioned to the effect pro- 
duced. From a chronometer, which varies only a second 
in a year, we infer exquisite skill in the artist ; and from 
the construction of the pyramids of Egypt, the united 
strength of a multitude of men. We never supposed for a 
moment that the minute skill of the artist raised the pyra- 
mid, or that the united force of the multitude constructed 
the chronometer ; still less, that these monuments of art 
started into their present condition without a cause. We 
infer with absolute certainty in both cases an adequate 
cause ; that is, a cause distinguished in the one case by de- 
sign and mechanical power, in the other, by design, adap- 
tation, and exquisite skill. 

The principle which is thus acted upon, in the ordinary 
affairs of life, with a conviction of infallible certainty, is 
precisely the same by which, from the stupendous works 
of creation, we infer by the most simple step of reasoning 
the existence of a great First Cause. This cause also we 
conclude to be a designing and intelligent mind, infinite in 
wisdom and boundless in power ; and by a very slight and 
natural extension of the same principle, we arrive with 
equal certainty at the conviction of this cause being the 
first, not arising out of any thing preceding it, conse- 
quently self-existent and eternal. All this is not such a 
process of reasoning as requires logical habits, and admits 
of debate, deliberation, or doubt ; the metaphysician may 
bewilder himself in its very simplicity ; but the uncontami- 
nated mind finds its way to the conclusion with unerring cer- 
tainty, and with a conviction which is felt to be not only 
satisfactory, but irresistible. 

When we proceed from these first or intuitive articles of 
belief to the further investigation of truth in any department 
of knowledge, various mental processes are brought into 

Instances in common life ? Instance in regard to the worka of creation. 

164 REASON. [part HI. 

operation ; but in regard to all of them reason is our ulti- 
mate guide in judging whether they are performed in a le- 
gitimate manner, and upon principles calculated to lead to 
the discovery of truth. These processes may be chiefly 
referred to the following heads : 

I. To make a careful collection of facts relating to the 
subject, and to abstain from deducing any conclusions till 
we have before us such a series as seems calculated to war- 
rant them. The first operation of reason therefore is, to 
judge when we have a sufficient number of facts for this 

II. To separate from the mass those facts which are con- 
nected with it incidentally, and to retain those only which 
we have reason to consider as uniform and essential. In 
some sciences this is accomplished by repeated and varied 
experiments ; and in those departments which do not admit 
of this, it is done by cautious and extensive observation. 
Our object in both cases is to ascertain how many of the 
circumstances observed, and what particular combinations 
of them uniformly accompany each other, or are really con- 
nected with the effects which are produced. In this care- 
ful clearing of our statement from all incidental combina- 
tions consists that faithful observation of nature which forms 
the first step in every scientific investigation. It is oppos- 
ed to two errors, both equally to be avoided, namely, leav- 
ing out of view, or not assigning an adequate value to, im- 
portant and essential facts ; and giving a place and an im- 
portance to those which are incidental and trivial. In eve- 
ry scientific investigation this is a process of the utmost 
importance ; and there is another nearly connected with it, 
namely, to judge of the authenticity of the facts. This al- 
so is a mental process of the utmost delicacy. In conduct- 
ing it, there are two extremes from which the exercise of 
sound judgment ought equally to guard us, namely, receiv- 
ing facts upon imperfect evidence, and rejecting those which 
have a sufficient title to credit ; in other words, credulity 
and scepticism. Both these extremes are equally unwor- 
thy of a mind which is guided by sound reason. 

Classification of mental processes necessary for the investigation of truili ? First 
l\(;a(l ; collectingr facts. Second head ; selecting those which are essential. Two er 
-ii-s- to he p.voided ? Two extremes in regard to the admission of facta ? 


in. To compare facts with each other, so as to trace 
their resemblances, or to ascertain those characters or pro- 
perties in which a certain number of facts or substances 
agree. We thus arrange them into classes, genera, and 

IV. To compare facts or events with each other, so as 
to trace their relations and sequences ; especially that re- 
lation of uniform sequence on whicn is founded our notion 
of cause and effect. This delicate and most important pro 
cess consists entirely in a patient observation of facts, and 
of their relation to each other. When, in a certain num- 
ber of instances, we find two events following one another 
without any exception, we come to consider the sequence 
as uniform, and call the one cause, and the other effect ; and 
when, in otiier instances, we are disappointed in finding such 
a succession, this confidence is shaken, unless we can dis- 
cover a cause by which the sequence was interrupted. 
Reason, acting upon extensive observation, must here guide 
us ; on the one hand to judge of the uniformity of the se- 
quences, and, on the other, to account for apparent devia- 

V. To review an extensive collection of facts, so as to 
discover some general fact common to the whole. This is 
the process which we call generalizing, or the induction of 
a general principle. The result of it is the last and greatest 
object of human science, and that to which all the other 
steps are preliminary and subservient. An ordinary mind 
is satisfied with the observation of facts as they pass before 
it, and those obvious relations which obtrude themselves up- 
on its notice ; but the philosopher analyzes the phenomena, 
and thus discovers their riiore minute relations. His ge 
mus is distinguished above the industry of the mereobservei 
of facts, when he thus traces principles of accordance 
among facts which, to the vulgar eye, appear remote and 
dissimilar. A remarkable example of this is familiar to 
every one. Between the fall of an apple from a tree and 

Third head ; comparison of facta with reference to their nature. Fourth head ; com- 
parison of facta with reference to their causes and relations. Fifth head generaiizinj 
The operatioii of an ordinary and of a philosophical mind compared. 

166 REASON. [part IIL 

the motions of the heavenly bodies a common mind would 
have been long ere it discovered any kind of relation ; but 
on such a relation Newton founded those grand principles 
by which he brought to light the order and harmony of the 
universe. For it was this simple fact that first suggested 
to him the great principle of physical science, that matter 
attracts matter in the reciprocal ratio of their masses. 

In a practical view, these processes may be referred to 
three heads, namely, collecting authentic facts, tracing 
causation, and deducing general principles. Here vari- 
ous mental operations are brought into action, especially 
attention, memory, conception, and abstraction ; but it is 
the province of reason to judge whether these are conduct- 
ed in a legitimate manner, or, in other words, to distinguish 
truth from falsehood. It may, therefore, be important to 
keep in mind what those circumstances are in which consist 
truth and falsehood, in reference to any department ot 

I. In collecting facts, it is required in the first place that 
they shall be authentic ; secondly, that the statement shall 
include a full and fair view of all the circumstances which 
ought to be taken into our investigation of the case ; and 
thirdly, that it shall not include any facts which are not 
connected with the subject, or whose connection is only in- 
eidental. When we have thus formed a collection of facts, 
authentic, full, and essential, the statement, in as far as re- 
lates to the facts, constitutes truth. When any of the facts 
are not authentic ; when important facts are left out of the 
statement, or misrepresented ; or when facts are taken into 
it which, though true, have no real relation to the subject; 
this constitutes fallacy or falsehood. 

II. In considering two events as connected in the man- 
ner of cause and effect ; when this relation is deduced from 
a full and extensive observation of the sequence being uni- 
form, this is truth. When it is assumed upon inadequate 
grounds, that is, from the observation of a connection which 
is only incidental or limited, this is either falsehood or hy- 

Example ? More general classification of these processes ? Three principles to be 
observed in collecting facta. Principles to be observed ia determming the relation of 
cause and effect ? 


pothesis; for the relation may be assumed upon grounds 
which, though not actually false, are yet not sufficient to 
establish it as true namely, on observation which is too 
limited in extent. This is conjecture or hypothesis ; and it 
is in some cases a legitimate process, provided it be used 
only as a guide for further observation, and be not received 
as true until such observation shall have been sufficient to 
confirm it. 

III. In deducing from a large collection of facts a gene 
ral fact or general principle ; when this induction is made 
from a full examination of all the individual cases to which 
the general fact is meant to apply, and actually does apply 
to them all, this is truth. When it is deduced from a small 
number of observations, and extended to others to which it 
does not apply, this is falsehood. As in the former case, 
however, a general principle may be produced hypothcti- 
cally or by conjecture ; that is, it may be assumed as gene- 
ral so far as we at present know. This process is often le- 
gitimate and useful as a guide in further inquiry, if it be 
employed for this purpose only, and the result be not re- 
ceived as truth until it be established by sufficient observa- 
tion. A great and not unfrequent error is, that when such 
hypothetical principles are proposed in a confident manner, 
they are very often received as true ; and the consequence 
is, that a degree of observation is required for exposing their 
fallacy, perhaps as extensive as, if properly employed, might 
have been sufficient to discover the truth. Those who are 
acquainted with the history of medical doctrines will be best 
able to judge of the accuracy of this observation, and to 
estimate the extensive influence which this error has had in 
retarding the progress of medical science. 

The proper rules to be observed, in deducing a general 
principle, are therefore opposed, in the first place, to the er- 
ror of hasty generalizing, or deducing such a principle from 
a limited number of facts. They are further opposed to 
another error, prevalent in the hypothetical systems of the 
old philosophy, by which phenomena Avere referred to prin- 
ciples altogether fictitious and imaginary, or, in other words. 

Principles to bo observed in deducing general laws. Falge deductions. Hypothesis J 
Va legitimate use 7 Abuse of it ? Commoa errors } 

168 REASON. [part III. 

which could not be shown to be facts. In opposition to both 
these errors the great rule of induction in modern science 
is, that the principle which is assumed as general shall be 
itself a fact, and that the fact shall be universal. Thus, 
what we call the law of gravitation is primarily nothing 
more than the fact that bodies fall to the earth ; and that 
this is true of all bodies, without a single exception. Of the 
cause of this fact, or the hidden principle on which it de- 
iends, we know nothing, and all the investigations of New* 
.on were carried on independently even of the attempt to 
discover it. " When Newton," says Mr. Stewart, " show- 
ed that the same law of gravity extends to the celestial 
spaces, and that the power by which the moon and planets 
are retained in their orbits is precisely similar in its effects 
to that w^hich is manifested in the fall of a stone ; he left 
the efficient cause of gravity as much in the dark as ever, 
and only generalized still further the conclusions of his 

False investigation may be briefly referred to three heads 
fallacies in facts, false inductions, and false reason- 

I. Fallacies in Facts. A statement of facts is falla- 
cious when any of the alleged facts are not true, when 
it includes facts not relating to the subject, and when im- 

fjortant facts are omitted. This last error is most frequent- 
y exemplified in those cases in which facts are collected 
on one side of a question, or in support of a particular doc- 
trine. To the same class we may likewise add those in- 
stances in which statements are received as facts which are 
not facts, but opinions. 

II. False Induction includes false causation and false 
generalization. False causation is, when two events are 
considered as cause and effect without sufficient reason 
and which are, in fact, only incidentally combined ; when 
events are considered as cause and effect which are only 
joint effects of a common cause ; and when, of two event? 
really connected as cause and effect, we mistake the ordei 

Great rule of induction ? Examples. False investigation ; referred to how mau} 
tnd what heads ? First head ? Second head } 


of the sequence, considering that as the cause which is real- 
ly the effect, and that as the effect which is really the 
cause. The error of false causation is most apt to occur 
in those sciences in which there is peculiar difficulty in 
tracing effects to their true causes, and causes to their true 
effects. These, as formerly mentioned, are exemplified by 
medicine and political economy. A physician, for exam- 
ple, ascribes the cure of a patient to a remedy which he has 
taken, though it perhaps had no influence on his recovery ; 
and a political declaimer refers some circumstance of na- 
tional distress or commercial embarrassment to certain pub- 
lic measures v/hich happened to correspond in time, but 
were in fact entirely unconnected. False generalization, 
again, as was lately stated, includes general principles which 
are deduced from a limited number of facts ; and hypothe- 
ses which cannot be shown to be facts, but are entirely fic- 
titious and imaginary. 

III. False Reasoning. This consists either, in ap- 
plying to the explanation of facts principles which are un- 
sound, in applying sound principles to facts which have 
no relation to them, or in deducing conclusions which do 
not follow from these facts and principles. 

Reasoning is usually divided into two parts, which have 
been called the intuitive and the discursive. Intuitive rea- 
soning, or intuitive judgment, is when the truth of a propo- 
s-ition is perceived whenever it is announced. This applies 
to axioms or self-evident truths, and to first truths or fun- 
damental articles of belief, formerly referred to, which rest 
upon the absolute conviction of the whole mass of mankind. 

In discursive reasoning, again, some of these axioms or 
first truths are applied to particular facts, so as to deduce 
from the connection new conclusions. Thus, when we say 
that " every event must have an adequate cause," we state 
a principle of intuitive judgment. When we then collect 
fiom the phenomena of nature various examples of adapta- 
tion and design, and, applying that intuitive principle to 
these facts, arrive at the conclusion that the universe is thg 
work of an intelligent and designing First Cause, this is 

Examples? Third head 7 Reasoning, how divided ? Intuitive reasoning ? Diacui 
*',vo reasoning ? Example of each ? 


IT'O ifOEAsom 


discursive reasoning. The new principle or conclusion 
thus deduced may be applied in a similar manner to the de- 
duction of farther conclusions, and so on through what we 
call a chain of reasoning. Any particular piece of reason- 
ing, then, may generally be resolved into the following ele- 
ments :-~ 

1. Certain principles or propositions which are stated ei- 
ther as axioms, as first truths, or as deductions from some 
former process of reasoning. 

2. Certain facts or relations of facts, derived either from 
observation or testimony, which are stated as true, and to 
which the principles are to be in some manner applied. 

3. Certain new conclusions deduced from the application 
of the principles to the facts. 

In examining the validity of such a process, we have not 
only to attend to the correctness of the principles, and the 
authenticity of the alleged facts, but likewise to inquire 
whether the facts are of that class to which the principles 
are legitijnatelj'' applicable ; for the principles may be true 
and the facts authentic, and yet the reasoning may be un- 
sound, from the principles being applied to the facts U 
which they have no relation. 

This method of examining, separately, the elements 
an argument, appears to correspond with the ancient sylh 
gism ; and this, accordingly, when divested of its systematit 
shape, is the mental process which we perform, whenever 
we either state or examine any piece of reasoning. If ] 
say, for example, " the greatest kings are mortal, for they 
are but men ;" I appear to state a very simple proposition ; 
bu* it is in fact a process of reasoning which involves all 
the elements of the syllogism ; namely, 

1. The general fact or proposition that all men are 

2. The fact referable to the class of facts which are in 
eluded under this proposition, that kings are men. 

3. The deduction from this connection, that kings are 

Elenunts of reasoning? Axioms. Facts. Conclusions. Points to be attended to? 
Nature of the ancient syllogism. Example of simple reasoning and analysis of it 
How many and what parts ? 


For the validity and efficacy of such a process, two things 
are necessary, namely, 

1. That the general proposition which forms the first 
part of the statement, or, in logical language, the major pro- 
position, be absolutely and universally true, or true with- 
out exception in regard to facts of a certain class, and be 
admitted as such by those to whom the reasoning is ad- 

2. That the fact referred to it, or the minor proposition, 
be admitted or proved to be one of that class of facts which 
are included under the general proposition. 

The conclusion then follows by a very simple process. 
If either of the two former propositions be deficient or un- 
true, the argument is false. Thus, if I had varied the state- 
ment as follows, " Angels, like other human beings, are 
mortal ;" there is a fallacy which, when put into the syl- 
logistic form, is immediately apparent ; thus, 

All human beings are mortal, 
Angels are human beings ; 
Therefore, angels are mortal. 

The general or major proposition here is true ; but the 
minor is not one of the class of facts which are included 
under it ; therefore the conclusion is false. If I had said, 
again, " Angels, like other created beings, are mortal ;" the 
fallacy is equally apparent, though from a different source ; 

All created beings are mortal, 
Angels are created beings ; 
Therefore, angels are mortal. 

Here the minor proposition is true, or is a fact included 
under the first ; but the first, or major, is not true, for we 
have no ground to believe that all created beings are mor- 
tal. On the other hand, when a general fact is assumed 
as true of a certain class of cases, we must not assume the 
converse as true of those which are not included in the class ; 
thus, from the proposition, that all human beings are mor- 

What necessary for the validity of the process ? The syllogistic form rendering falsa 
reasoning apparent. Example. Names of the propositions ? 

172 REASON. [part HI. 

tal, we are not entitled to infer that angels, who are not hu- 
man beings, are immortal. Whether this conclusion be 
true or not, the argument is false ; because the conclusion 
does not arise out of the premises : for, from the admitted 
general fact, that human beings are mortal, it does not fol- 
low, that all who are not human beings are not mortal. 
Yet this will be found a mode of fallacious reasoning of very- 
frequent occurrence. The rule to be kept in mind foi 
avoiding such fallacies is, that a general truth, which ap- 
plies invariably to a certain class, may be applied to any 
individual which can be shown to be included in that class ; 
but that we are not entitled to extend it to any which can- 
not be shown to belong to the class ; and that we are not 
to assume the reverse to be true of those which do not be- 
long to it. On the other hand, we are not to assume a 
property as belonging to a class, because we have ascer- 
tained it to belong to a certain number of individuals. This 
error comes under another part of our subject, and has been 
already alluded to under the head of false generalization. 
The syHogism, therefore, cannot properly be considered an 
engine for the discovery of truth, but rather for enabling us 
to judge of the application of, and deductions from truths 
previously ascertained. For, before we can construct such 
a process as constitutes the syllogism, we require to have 
premised that most important process of investigation by 
which a fact is ascertained to be general in regard to all 
the individuals of a class ; and, likewise, that certain indi- 
viduals specified in the argument belong to this class. 
Thus, the syllogism was nothing more than that process of 
mind which we exercise every time when we examine the 
validity of an argument, though we may not always put it 
into this systematic form. And yet there may often be ad- 
vantage in doing so, as it enables us to examine the ele- 
ments of the arguments more distinctly apart. It is relat- 
ed of an eminent English barrister, afterward a distinguish- 
ed judge, that, on one occasion, he was completely puzzled 
by an argument adduced by his opponent in an impor- 
tant case, and that he did not detect the fallacy till he 
went home and put it into the form of a syllogism. Though 

General rules in all such -easoning ? Real nature of the syllogism ? Advantage of 
n 7 Anecdote of the English lawyejf. 


a syllogism, therefore, may not lead to any discovery of 
truth, it may be an important instrument in the detection 
of sophistry, by directing the attention distinctly and sepa- 
rately to the various elements which compose a statement 
or an argument, and enabling us to detect the part in which 
the sophistry is involved. 

In every process of reasoning there are two distinct ob- 
jects of attention, or circumstances to be examined, before 
we admit the validity of the argument. These are, the 
premises or data which the reasoner assumes, and which he 
expects us to admit as true, and the conclusions which he 
proposes to found upon these premises. The premises again 
consist of three parts, which we require to examine sepa- 
rately and rigidly. These are, 

1. Certain statements which he brings forward as facts, 
and which he expects to be admitted as such. 

2. Certain principles or propositions which he assumes 
as first truths, or articles of belief universally admitted. 

3. Certain other propositions which he refers to, as de- 
ductions from former processes of investigation, or processes 
of reasoning. 

If the statements referable to these three heads are ad- 
mitted as true, the argument proceeds, and we have only to 
judge of the validity or correctness of his farther deduc- 
tions. If they are not at once admitted, the argument can- 
not proceed till we are satisfied on these preliminary points. 
If we do not admit his facts, we require him to go back to 
the evidence on which they rest. If we no not admit the 
general propositions which he assumes, we require the pro- 
cesses of reasoning or investigation on which these are 
founded. When we are at last agreed upon these premises, 
we proceed to judge of the conclusions which he proposes 
to deduce from them. 

The circumstances now referred to may be considered 
as the essential parts of a process of reasoning, in a logical 
view ; but there is another point which we require to keep 
carefully in mind in examining such a process, and thai is. 

Utility of the syllogism ? Objects of attention in reasoning ? How many *nij 
what ? Premises ; how many parts 7 Examination of these premises ? U o/ 


174 REASON. [part III. 

the use of terms. Much of the confusion and perplexity in 
reasoning- consists in the ambiguity of the terms ; this is re- 
ferable to three heads, namely : 1. Terms of a vague and 
indefinite character, the precise import of which has not 
been defined. 2. Terms employed in a sense in some re- 
spect different from their common and recognised accepta- 
tion. 3. Varying the import of a term, so as to use it in 
different meanings in different parts of the same argument ; 
or employing it at different times in degrees of comprehen- 
sion and extension. 

In examining the validity of a process of reasoning, then, 
the mental operation which we ought to perform may be 
guided by the following considerations : 

1. What statements does the author propose as matters 
of fact ; are these authentic ; are they all really bearing 
upon, or connected with the subject ; do they comprise a 
full and fair view of all the facts which ought to be brought 
forward in reference to the inquiry : or have we reason to 
suspect that any of them have been disguised or modified, 
that important facts have been omitted or kept out of view, 
that the author has not had sufficient opportunities of ac- 
quiring the facts which he ought to have been possessed of, 
or that he has been collecting facts on one side of a ques- 
tion, or in support of a particular opinion ? 

2. What propositions are assumed, either as first or in- 
tuitive truths, or as deductions arising out of former pro- 
cesses of investigation ; and are we satisfied that these are 
all legitimate and correct ? In particular, does he make any 
statement in regaird to two or more events being connected 
as cause and effect ; and is this connection assumed on suffi- 
cient grounds : does he assume any general principle as 
applicable to a certain class of facts ; is this principle in it- 
self a fact, and does it really apply to all the cases which 
he means to include under it ; have we any reason to be- 
lieve that it has been deduced from an insufficient number 
of facts ; or is it a mere fictitious hypothesis, founded upon 
a principle which cannot be proved to have a real existence ? 

3. Do these assumed principles and facts really belong 

Sources of ambiguiy ? Considerations which should guide in examining- reasoning? 
Ah to matters of fact? Cautions? Proposition assumed ? Cautions in regard tot" 
Connection between the principles and facts J 


to the same subject, or, in other words, do the facts belong 
to that class to which the principles apply ? 

4. Are the leading terms which he employs fully and dis- 
tinctly defined as to their meaning ; does he employ them 
in their common and recognised acceptation ; and does he 
uniformly use them in the same sense ; or does he seem to 
attach different meanings to the same term in different parts 
of his argument ? 

5. What are the new conclusions which he deduces from 
the whole view of the subject ; are these correct and valid ; 
and do they really follow from the premises laid down in 
the previous part of his argument ? For on this head it is 
always to be kept in mind that a conclusion may be true, 
while it does not follow from the argument which has been 
brought to prove it ; in such a case the argument is false. 

IVJuch of the confusion, fallacy, and sophistry of reason- 
ing arises from these points not being sufficiently attended 
to, and distinctly and rigidly investigated. An argument 
may appear fair and consecutive, but when we rigidly exa- 
mine it we may find that the reasoner has, in his premises, 
contrived to introduce some statement which is not true in 
point of fact, or some bold general position which is not 
correct, or not proved ; or that he has left out some fact, or 
some principle, which ought to have been brought forward 
in a prominent manner, a?s closely connected with the in- 
quiry. Hence the necessity for keeping constantly in view 
the various sources of fallacy to which every process of 
reasoning is liable, and for examining the elements rigidly 
and separately before we admit the conclusion. 

A process of reasoning is to be distinguished from a pro- 
cess of investigation ; and both may be illustrated in the 
following manner: All reasoning must be founded upon facts, 
and the ascertained relations of these facts to each other. 
The nature of these relations has already been mentioned, 
as referable to the various heads of resemblance, cause, ef- 
fect, &c. The statement of an ascertained relation of two 
facts to each other is called a proposition, such as, that A 

Use of terms ? Conclusions ? Importance of attending to these points 7 Distinction 
between reasoning and investigation? Foundation of reasoning? Propi>sition, wliatf 

170 REASON. [part Til. 

is equal to B ; that C has a close resemblance to D ; that 
E is the cause of F, &c. These statements, propositions, 
or ascertained relations are discovered by processes of in- 
vestigation. In a process of reasoning, again, we take a 
certain number of such propositions or ascertained relations, 
and deduce from them certain other truths or relations, aris- 
ing out of the mutual connection of some of these proposi- 
tions to each other. Thus, if I state as propositions, ascer- 
tained by processes of investigation, that A is equal to B, 
and that B is equal to C, I immediately decide by a single 
step of reasoning that A is equal to C, in consequence of the 
mutual relation which both A and C have to B. Such a 
process may be rendered more complicated in two ways. 

1. By the number of such ascertained relations, which 
we require to bear in mind and compare with each other 
before we arrive at the conclusion. Thus the relation that 
A is equal to E might rest on such a series of relations as 
the following : A is equal to B ; B is the double of C ; C 
is the half of D ; D is equal to E ; therefore A is equal 

2. By propositions which are the conclusions of one or 
more steps in a process becoming the premises in a subse- 
quent step. Thus, I may take as one process A is equal 
to B, and B is equal to C ; therefore A is equal to C ; 
and, as a distinct process, C is equal to D, and D is equal 
to E ; therefore C is equal to E. The conclusions from 
these two processes I then take as the premises in a third 
process thus : it has been proved that A is equal to C, and 
that C is equal to E ; therefore A is equal to E. 

In examining the validity of such processes, there are 
two circumstances or objects of inquiry which we ought to 
keep constantly in view. (1.) Have we confidence in the 
accuracy of the alleged facts, and ascertained relations, 
which form the premises ? Can we rely on the process of 
investigation by which it is said to have been ascertained 
that A is equal to B, and that B is equal to C, &c. ? (2.) 
Are the various propositions in the series so related as to 

Example ? Province of investigation ? Province of reasoning? Ways in which th 
process becomes complicated. First way, what? Example. Second way ? Exam* 
pl. 3b jects of inquiry in examining the validity of such processes ? 


bring out a new truth or new relation? For it is to be 
kept in mind that a series of propositions may all be true, 
and yet lead to nothing ; such propositions, for example, as 
that A is equal to B, C is equal to D, E is equal to F. 
There is here no mutual relation, and no new truth arises 
out of the series. But when I say A is equal to B, and B 
is equal to C, a new truth is immediately disclosed in con- 
sequence of the relation which both A and C have to B j 
namely, that A is equal to C. 

Inventive genius, in regard to processes of reasoning 
consists in finding out relations or propositions which are 
thus capable of disclosing new truths or new relations ; and 
in placing them in that order which is calculated to show 
how these new relations arise out of them. This is the 
exercise of a reflecting mind; and there may be much 
acquired knowledge, that is, many facts accumulated by 
memory alone, without any degree of this exercise or habit 
of reflection. But both arc required for forming a well- 
cultivated mind ; the memory must be stored with informa- 
tion, that is, ascertained facts and ascertained relations ; 
and the power of reflection must be habituated to discover 
new truths or new relations by a comparison of these facts 
and ascertained relations with each other. For the dis- 
covery of new truths may consist either of new facts or of 
new relations among facts previously known. Thus, it 
might happen that we had long been familiar with two 
facts, without being aware that they had any particular 
connection. If we were then to ascertain that the one of 
these was the cause of the other, it would be a real and 
important discovery of a new truth, though it would consist 
only of a new relation between facts which had long been 
known to us. 

A process of reasoning, as we have seen, consists of two 
parts, namely, the premises, and the conclusion deduced 
from them. If the premises be admitted as true, the re- 
maining part of the process becomes comparatively simple. 
But it often happens that a reasoner must begin by esta- 
blishing his premises. This is most remarkably exemplified 

Inventive genius in reasoning ? Knowledge of facts. Necessity of both ? Aproceaa 
of reasoning consists of how many, and whaC parts ? 

178 REASON. [part III 

in what we call a chain of reasoning, consisting of nume- 
rous distinct arguments or steps, so arranged that the con- 
clusion from one step becomes an essential part of the 
premises in the next ; and this may be continued through a 
long series. The process then becomes much more compli- 
cated, and in judging of the accuracy of the reasoning we 
require to examine carefully every part of it as we proceed, 
to guard against the introduction of fallacy. Without this 
attention it may often happen that the more advanced parts 
of an argument may appear fair and consecutive, while a 
fallacy has been allowed to creep into some part of it, 
which, in fact, vitiates the whole. In the preceding obser- 
vations we have endeavored to point out some of the lead- 
ing cautions to be observed in this respect, especially in 
regard to the admission of facts, the assumption of causation, 
and the deduction of general principles : and also the 
sources of fallacy to be kept in view in conducting these 
processes. But there is another class of fallacies which, 
though less immediately connected with our inquiries, it 
may be right briefly to point out in relation to this subject. 
These are what may be called logical fallacies, or perver- 
sions of reasoninf?. In reo^ard to them, as well as to those 
formerly mentioned, it is to be kept in mind, that however 
obvious they may appear when simply stated, this is by no 
means the case when they are skilfully involved in a long 
process of reasoning. The fallacies of this class may be 
chiefly referred to the following heads : 

I. When a principle is assumed which, in fact, amounts 
to the thing to be proved ; slightly disguised, perhaps, by 
some variation in the terms. This is commonly called peti- 
tio prijicipii, or begging the question. When simply stated^ 
it appears a fallacy not likely to be admitted; but will be 
found one of very frequent occurrence. It is indeed remark* 
able to observe the facility with which a dogma, when it 
has been boldly and confidently stated, is often admitted by 
numerous readers, withou.'. a single inquiry into the evidenca 
on which it is founded. 

Chain of reasoning ? Cautions necessary. Two classes of fallacies. Logical fail*- 
ties how divided ? Begging the question. 


A verj' common example of this is when a man's promises or state- 
ments are received with some suspicion, and he attempts to (bitity 
them by asserting that he never told a falsehood or broke a piomise 
m his life, or by solemn assurances that he would on no account 
violate his word. This, or something like this, is very common 
among men of doubtful veracity. The reasoning, however, when ana- 
lyzed, is ' begging the question." The very doubt is about the autho- 
rity of his statements, and he offers you that very authority in pror)f of 

II. When a principle is assumed without proof; when 
this is employed to prove something else ; and this is again 
applied in some way in support of the first assumed princi- 
ple. This is called reasoning in a circle ; and the difficulty 
of detecting it is often in proportion to the extent of the 
circle, or the number of principles which are thus made to 
hang upon one another. 

Such an argument as the following would be a fair example of thir- 

1 . The Bible must be true, because miracles Vv'-ere wrought in attes 
tation of it. 

2. The miracles must have been wrought, because twelvo hones 
men agree in bearing testimony to them, 

3. "VVe know^ that twelve honest men did unite in this testb'nony, foi 
the Bible says that they did. 

Here the reader will perceive that we come round exactly to our first 
position. The first proposition is proved by the second, the second 
by the third, and the third rests on the truth of the Bible, which is 
the very point to be proved. The propositions thus depend upon one 
another, and are without any common foundation. 

To make the reasoning sound, the last proposition must be establish- 
ed on independent evidence ; which is the course always pursued by 
writers on the subject, the fact that twelve honest men did thus testify 
being established by peculiar evidence, entirely distinct from the mere 
assertion of the book itself. 

III. A frequent source of fallacy is when a reasoner 
assumes a principle, and then launches out into various il- 
lustrations and analogies, which are artfully made to bear 
the appearance of proofs. The cautions to be kept in mind 
in such a case are, that the illustrations may be useful and 
the analogies may be of importance, provided the principle 
lias been proved ; but that if it has not been proved, the il- 
lustrations must go for nothing, and even analogies seldom 

Example of it ? Resisoning in a circle. Example of it ? What necessary in order to 
eorrect this reasoning ? Declaration instead of reasoning. 

180 REASON. [part HI. 

have any weight which can be considered as of the nature 
of evidence. Fallacies of this class are most apt to occur 
in the declamations of public speakers ; and when they 
are set off with all the powers of eloquence, it is often diffi- 
cult to detect them. The questions which the hearer 
should propose to himself in such cases are, Does this re- 
ally contain any proof bearing upon the subject, or is il 
mere illustration and analogy, in itself proving nothing? 
if so, has the reasoner previously established his principle 
or has he assumed it, and trusted to these analogies as hi 
proofs ? 

IV. A fallacy somewhat analogous to the preceding con- 
sists in arguing for or against a doctrine on the ground of 
its supposed tendency, leaving out of view the primary 
question of its truth. Thus, a speculator in theology will 
contend in regard to a doctrine which he opposes, that it is 
derogatory to the character of the Deity ; and, respecting 
another which he brings forward, that it represents the 
Deity in an aspect more accordant with the benignity of his 
character. The previous question in all such cases is, not 
what is most accordant with our notions respecting the Di- 
vine character, but what is truth. 

V. When a principle which is true of one case, or one 
class of cases, is extended by analogy to others which differ 
in some important particulars. The caution to be observed 
here is, to inquire strictly whether the cases are analogous, 
or whether there exists any difference which makes the 
principle not applicable. We have formerly alluded to a 
remarkable example of this fallacy in notions relating to 
the properties of matter being applied to mind, without at- 
tention to the fact that the cases are so distinct as to have 
nothing in common. An example somewhat analogous is 
found in Mr. Hume's objection to miracles, that they are 
violations of the established order of nature. The cases, we 
have seen, are not analogous ; for miracles do not refer to 
the common course of nature, but to the operation of an 
agency altogether new and peculiar. Arguments founded 

Tests to be applied. Arguing from tendencies? False reasoning from analogy? 
txamplcG ? Mr. Hume's argument. 


^pon analogy, therefore, require to be used with the utmost 
caution, when they are employed directly for the discovery 
or the establishment of truth. But there is another purpose 
to which they may be applied with much greater freedom, 
namely, for repelling objections. Thus, if we find a per- 
son bringing objections against a particular doctrine, it is a 
sound and valid mode of reasoning to contend that he re- 
ceives doctrines which rest upon the same kind of evidence ; 
or that similar objections might be urged with equal force 
against truths which it is impossible to call in question. It 
is in this manner that the argument from analogy is em- 
ployed in the valuable Avork of bishop Butler. He does not 
derive from the analogy of nature any direct argument in 
support of natural or revealed religion; but shows that 
many of the objections which are urged against the truths 
of religion might be brought against circumstances in the 
economy and course of nature which are known and un- 
doubted fact^. 

VI. A fallacy the reverse of the former is used by sophis- 
tical writers ; namely, when two cases are strictly analogous 
they endeavor to prove that they are not so by pointing out 
trivial differences not calculated in any degree to weaken 
the force of the analogy. 

VII. When a true general principle is made to apply ex- 
clusively to one fact, or one class of facts, while it is equally 
true of various others. This is called, in logical language, 
the non-distribution of the middle term. In an example 
given by logical writers, one is supposed to maintain that 
corn is necessary for life, because food is necessary for life,- 
and corn is food. It is true that food is necessary for life, 
but this does not apply to any one particular kind of food; it 
means only, that food of some kind or other is so. When 
simply stated, the fallacy of such a position is at once ob- 
vious, but it may be introduced into an argument in such a 
manner as not to be so immediately detected. 

VIII. When an acknowledged proposition is inverted, 

Proper use of analogy ? Butler's use of it ? The reverse of the former ' Nrta-distrl- 
bution of the middle term ? Example. 


182 REASON. [part IIL 

and the converse assumed to be equally true. We may 
say, for example, that a badly governed country must be 
distressed ; but we are not entitled to assume that every 
distressed country is badly governed ; for there may be 
many other sources of national distress. I may say, " alJ 
wise men live temperately," but it does not follow that 
every man who lives temperately is a wise man. This fal- 
lacy was formerly referred to under the syllogism. It is, 
at the same time, to be kept in mind that some propositions 
do admit of being inverted, and still remain equally true. 
This holds most remarkably of propositions which are uni- 
versally negative, as in an example given by writers on 
logic. " No ruminating animal is a beast of prey." It 
follows, as equally true, that no beast of prey ruminates. 
But if I were to vary the proposition by saying, "all ani- 
mals which do not ruminate are beasts of prey," this would 
be obviously false ; for it does not arise out of the former 

IX. A frequent source of fallacy among sophistical writ- 
ers consists in boldly applying a character to a class of 
facts, in regard to which it carries a general aspect of truth, 
without attention to important distinctions by which the 
;tatement requires to be modified. Thus, it has been ob- 
jected to our belief in the miracles of the sacred writings, 
that they rest upon the evidence of testimony, and that tes- 
timony is fallacious. Now, when we speak of testimony 
in general, we may say with an appearance of truth that it 
is fallacious ; but, in point of fact, testimony is to be re- 
ferred to various species ; and, though a large proportion of 
these may be fallacious, there is a species of testimony on 
which we rely with absolute confidence ; that is, we feel 
it to be as improbable that this kind of testimony should 
deceive us, as that we should be disappointed in our expec- 
tation of the uniformity of nature. The kind of sophism 
now referred to seems to correspond with that which logical 
writers have named the fallacy of division. It consists in 
applying to facts in their separate state what only belongs 

Inversion of a proposition ? Examples? Can any propositions be inverted safely 7 
fnattention to important distinctions? Example Reply lo this ? fallacies of division 
and composition ? 


to them collectively. The converse of it is the fallacy of 
composition. It consists in applying to the facts collec- 
tively what belongs only to them, or to some of them, in 
their separate state ; as if one were to show that a certain 
kind of testimony is absolutely to be relied on, and thence 
were to contend that testimony in general is worthy of ab- 
solute confidence. 

X. A frequent fallacy consists in first overturning an un- 
sound argument, and thence reasoning against the doctrine 
which this argument was meant to support. This is the 
part of a mere casuist, not of a sincere inquirer after truth ; 
for it by no means follows that a doctrine is false because 
unsound arguments have been adduced in support of it. We 
have formerly alluded to some remarkable examples of this 
fallacy, especially in regard to those important principles 
commonly called first truths ; which, we have seen, admit 
of no processes of reasoning, and consequently are in no 
degree affected by arguments exposing the fallacy of such 
processes. We learn from this, on the other hand, the im- 
portance of avoiding all weak and inconclusive arguments, 
or doubtful statements ; for, independently of the opening 
which they give for sophistical objections, it is obvious that 
on ether grounds the reasoning is only encumbered by 
them. It is the part of the casuist to rest the weight of his 
objections on such weak points, leaving out of view those 
which he cannot contend with. It may even happen that a 
conclusion is true, though the whole reasoning may have 
been weak, unsound, and irrelevant. The casuist, of course, 
in such a case attacks the reasoning, and not the conclu- 
sion. On the other hand, there may be much in an argu- 
ment which is true, or which may be conceded ; while the 
most important part of it is untrue, and the conclusion false. 
An inexperienced reasoner, in such a case, thinks it neces- 
sary to combat every point, and thus exposes himself to 
sound replies from his adversary on subjects which are of 
no importance. A skilful reasoner concedes or passes over 
all such positions, and rests his attack on those in which 

Confounding an arsjument with the doctrine it was intended to support. Practical 
liireclion arising fron^ this? Course to be taken in regard to weak points. Skilful 

184 REASON. [part in, 

the fallacy is really involved. An example illustrative of 
this subject is familiar to those who are acquainted with 
the controversy respecting our idea of cause and effect. 
Mr. Hume stated in a clear manner the doctrine that this 
idea is derived entirely from our experience of a uniform 
sequence of two events; and founded upon this an argument 
against our belief in a great First Cause. This led to a 
controversy respecting the original doctrine itself; and it is 
not many years since it was contended by respectable indi- 
viduals that it is nothing less than the essence of atheism 
to maintain that our notion of cause and effect originates in 
the observation of a uniform sequence. It is now, perhaps, 
universally admitted that this doctrine is correct, and that 
the sophism of Mr. Hume consisted in deducing from it 
conclusions which it in no degree warranted. This impor- 
tant distinction we formerly alluded to ; namely, that our 
idea of cause and effect in regard to any two individual 
events is totally distinct from our intuitive impression of 
causation, or our absolute conviction that every event must 
have an adequate cause. 

XI. A sophism somewhat connected with the former con 
sists in disproving a doctrine, and on that account assuming 
the ojiposite doctrine to be true. It may be true, but its 
truth does not depend upon the falsehood of that which is 
opposed to it ; yet this will be found a principle of not un- 
frequent occurrence in unsound reasonings. 

XII. Fallacies are often introduced in what may be 
termed an oblique manner ; or, as if upon a generally 
admitted authority. The effect of this is to take off the 
appearance of the statement being made directly by the 
author, and resting upon his own authority, by which we 
might be led to examine its truth. For this purpose it 
is put, perhaps, in the form of a question ; or is intro- 
duced by such expressions as the following : " it is a 
remarkable fact," '* it is somewhat singular," " it has 

Example. Mr. Hume's doctrine, and hia inference from it ? Former opinion of hia 
doctrine ? Present opinion of the doctrine and tlie inference ? Disproving a doctrine 
and inferring the opposite to be true ? Fallacies introduced in an oblique manner ? 


been argued with much justice," " it will he generally 
admitted," &;c. 

XIII. Fallacy may arise from leaving the main subject 
of discussion, and arguing upon points which have but a 
secondary relation to it. This is one of the resources of 
the casuist when he finds himself in the worst of the argu- 
ment. Nearly allied to this is the art of skilfully dropping 
part of a statement, when the reasoner finds he cannot sup- 
port it, and going on boldly with the remainder as if he still 
maintained the whole. 

XIV. Much of the fallacy and ambiguity of processes of 
reasoning depends entirely, as formerly stated, on the use of 
terms. This may consist in two contending parties using 
the same word in different meanings without defining what 
their meanings are ; in one or both using terms in a sense 
different from their commonly recognised acceptation, or in 
using them in one sense in one part of the argument, and in 
another in a different part of it. Such disputes, according- 
ly, are often interminable ; and this mode of disputation is 
one of the great resources of the casuist, or of him who 
argues for victory, not for truth. The remedy is, that every 
reasoner shall be required clearly to define the terms which 
he employs ; and that in every controversy certain premises 
or preliminaries shall be fixed in which the parties are 
agreed. The ambiguity of terms is in fact so extensive a 
source of fallacy, that scarcely any sophistical argument 
will be found free from it; as in almost every language the 
same term is used with great diversity of meanings. Let 
us take, for example, the term faith. It means a mere sys- 
tem of opinions, confidence in testimony, reliance on the 
integrity, fidelity, and stability of character of other beings, 
an act of the understanding in regard to abstract truth pre- 
sented to it, and a mental condition by which truths of an- 
other description exert a uniform influence over the moral 
feelings, the will, and the whole character. In the contro- 
versies which have arisen out of this word, it will probably 
be found that these various meanings have not been suffi- 

Wandering from the question ? Wrong use of terms ? Coisequences of it ? Reme 
Jy ? Example ; term faith ? 

186 REASON. [part III. 

ciently distinguished from each other. A celebrated pas- 
sage in the " Spirit of Laws" has been justly referred to as 
a remarkable example of the same kind of sophism. " The 
Deity," says Montesquieu, " has his laws ; the material 
world, its laws; intelligences superior to man, their laws; 
the brutes, their laws; man, his laws." In this short pas- 
sage the term laws is employed, probably, in four senses, 
remarkably different. 

XV. There are various other sources of fallacy, consist- 
ing chiefly in the use of arguments which cannot be ad- 
mitted as relevant in regard to the process of reasoning, 
though they may carry a certain weight in reference to the 
individuals concerned. Among these may be reckoned 
appeals to high authorities, to popular prejudices, or to the 
passions of the multitude; and what is called the argumen- 
turn ad hominem. If a person, for example, be arguing in 
support of a particular rule of conduct, we may retort upon 
liim that his own conduct in certain instances was in direct 
opposition to it. This may be very true in regard to the 
individual, but can have no influence in the discussion of 
the question. 

XVI. One of the most common sources of fallacy con- 
sists of distorted views and partial statements ; such as 
facts disguised, modified, or collected on one side of a ques- 
tion , or arguments and authorities adduced in support of 
particular opinions, leaving out of view those which tend 
to different conclusions. Misstatement, in one form or an 
other, may indeed be considered as a most fruitful source 
of controversy ; and, amid the contests of rival disputants, 
the chief difficulty which meets the candid inquirer after 
truth, is to have the subject presented to his mind without 
distortion. Hence the importance, in every inquiry, of 
suspending our judgment, and of patiently devoting our- 
selves to clear the subject from all imperfect views and 
partial statements. Without the most anxious attention to 
this rule, a statement may appear satisfactory, and a de- 

Example from the " Spirit of Laws. " The argumentum ad hominem. Rxample of 
his J Incorrect views and statements ? Frequency of it ? 


duction legitimate, which are in fact leading us widely 
astray from the truth. 

After every possible care in any process of reasoning 
we may still find, in many cases, a degree of doubt, and 
even certain varieties of opinion in regard to the import 
and bearing of the argument. This arises partly fron; 
actual differences in the power of judging, or what we call 
in common language, vigor of mind; and partly froni 
differences in attention, or in the habit of applying the 
judgment closely to the elements of an inquiry. Hence 
the varieties of opinion that may be held by different indi- 
viduals on the same subject, and with the same facts before 
them ; and the degree of uncertainty which attends various 
processes of reasoning. There is one species of reasoning 
which is free from all this kind of uncertainty, namely, the 
mathematical ; and the superiority of it depends upon the 
following circumstances : 

1. Nothing is taken for granted, or depends upon mere 
authority ; and, consequently, there is no room for fallacy 
or doubt in regard to the premises on which the reasoning 
is founded. No examination of facts is required in any 
degree analogous to that which is necessary in physical 
science. The mathematician, indeed, proceeds upon as- 
sumptions of such a kind that it is in his own power to 
clear them from all ambiguity, and from every thing not 
connected with the subject. 

2. In the farther progress of a mathematical argument, 
if we have any doubt of a proposition which is assumed as 
the result of a former process, we have only to turn to the 
demonstration of it, and be immediately satisfied. Thus, 
if any step of a process be founded upon the principle that 
all the angles of a triangle are equal to two right-angles, or 
that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of 
the squares of the two sides, should we have any doubt of 
the truth of these conclusions, the demonstration of them is 
before us. But if an argument be founded on the principle 
that the heavenly bodies attract one another with a force 
which is directly as their quantity of matter, and inversely 

Some uncertainty unavoidable. Reason for it ? Exception. Grounds of the sup'iority 
of mathematical science ? Nature of the premises ? Evidence easily accessible i \]\'Vf 
traliona ofthi3? 

188 REASON. [rARl III. 

as the square of their distance ; this great principle must 
be received on the authority of the eminent men by whom 
It was ascertained, the mass of mankind having neither the 
power nor the means of verifying it. 

3. All the terms are fully and distinctly defined, and 
there is no room for obscurity or ambiguity in regard to 

4. The various steps in a process of mathematical reason- 
ing follow each other so closely and consecutively, as to 
carry a constant conviction of absolute certainty ; and, pro- 
vided we are in possession of the necessary premises, each 
single step is short, and the result obvious. 

5. The proper objects of mathematical reasoning are 
quantity and its relations ; and these are capable of being 
defined and measured with a precision of which the objects 
of other kinds of reasoning are entirely unsusceptible. It 
is, indeed, always to be kept in mind, that mathematical 
reasoning is only applicable to subjects which can be de- 
fined and measured in this manner, and that all attempts to 
extend it to subjects of other kinds have led to the greatest 

Notwithstanding the high degree of precision which thus 
distinguishes mathematical reasoning, the study of mathe- 
matics does not, as is commonly supposed, necessarily lead 
to precision in other species of reasoning, and still less to 
correct investigation in physical science. The explanation 
that is given of the fact seems to be satisfactory. The 
mathematician argues certain conclusions from certain as- 
sumptions, rather than from actual ascertained facts ; and 
the facts to which he may have occasion to refer are so 
simple, and so free from all extraneous matter, that their 
truth is obvious, or is ascertained without difficulty. By 
being conversant with truths of this nature, he does not 
learn that kind of caution and severe examination which is 
required in physical science, for enabling us to judge 
whether the statements on which we proceed are true, and 
whether they include the whole truth which ought to enter 
into the investigation. He thus acquires a habit of too 
great facility in the admission of data or premises, which is 

Uae of terms. Regular succession of steps. Objects of mathematical reasoning 1 
Effects of mathematical studies on the mind ? Common error ? Explanation of the facta 1 


the part of every investigation which the physical inquirer 
scrutmizes with the most anxious care, and too great con- 
fidence in the mere force of reasoning, without adequate 
attention to the previous processes of investigation on which 
all reasoning must be founded. It has been, accordingly, 
remarked by Mr. Stewart, and other accurate observers of 
intellectual character, that mathematicians are apt to be 
exceedingly credulous, in regard both to opinions and to 
matters of testimony ; while, on the other hand, persons 
who are chiefly conversant with the uncertain sciences, 
acquire a kind of scepticism in regard to statements, which 
is apt to lead them into the opposite error. These observa- 
tions, of course, apply only to what we may call a mere 
mathematician, a character which is now probably rare, 
since the close connection was established between the 
mathematical and physical sciences in the philosophy of 

In the various steps constituting a process of reasoning 
or a process of investigation, in any department of know- 
ledge, our guide is reason or judgment. Its peculiar pro- 
vince is to give to each fact or each principle a proper 
place and due influence in the inquiry, and to trace the real 
and true tendency of it in the conclusion. It is, of course 
assisted by other mental operations, as memory, conception, 
and abstraction, but especially by attention, or a deliberate 
and careful application of the mind to each fact and each 
consideration which ought to have a place in the inquiry. 
This is entirely a voluntary exercise of the mind, strength- 
ened and made easy by habit, or frequent exercise, and 
weakened or impaired by disuse or misapplication; and 
there is, perhaps, nothing which has a greater influence in 
the formation of character, or in determining the place 
which a man is to assume among his fellow-men. 

This sound exercise of judgment is widely distinct from 
the art of ingenious disputation. The object of the former 
is to weigh fully and candidly all the relations of things, 
and to give to each fact its proper weight in the inquiry ; 

Mr. Stewart's remark ? To what class does this remark apply ? The guide in rea- 
lioning. Other powers which assist. Distinction between sound judgment and ing 
oiousdisputation ? . 

190 REASON. [part m. 

the aim of the latter is to seize with rapidity particular re- 
lations, and to find facts bearing upon a particular view of 
a subject. This habit when much exercised tends rather to 
withdraw the attention from the cultivation of the former 
Thus, it has not unfrequently happened, that an ingenious 
pleader has made a bad judge ; and that acute and power- 
ful disputants have perplexed themselves by their own 
subtleties, till they have ended by doubting of every thing. 
The same observation applies to controversial writing ; and 
hence the hesitation with which we receive the arguments 
and statements of a keen controvertist, and the necessity of 
hearing both sides. In making use of this caution, we may 
not accuse the reasoner of any unsound arguments or false 
statements. We only charge him with acting the part of 
an ingenious pleader, who brings forward the statements 
and arguments calculated to favor one side of a question, 
and leaves those of the opposite side out of view. The can- 
did inquirer, like the just judge, considers both sides, and 
endeavors, according to the best of his judgment, to decide 
between them. To the same principle we trace the suspi- 
cion with which we receive the statements of an author, 
who first brings forward his doctrine, and then proceeds to 
collect facts in support of it. To a similar process we may 
ascribe the paradoxical opinions in which sophistical writers 
have landed themselves, often on subjects of the highest im- 
portance, and which they have continued to advocate, with 
much appearance of an honest conviction of their truth. It 
would be unjust to suppose that these writers have always 
intended to impose upon others ; they have very often im- 
posed upon themselves ; but they have done so by their 
own voluntary act, in a misapplication of their reasoning 
powers. They have directed their attention, exclusively or 
chiefly, to one view of a subject, and have neglected to 
direct it, with the same care, to the facts and considerations 
which tend to support the opposite conclusions. 

In regard to the sound exercise of judgment, it is farthei 
to be remarked, that it may exist without the habit of ob- 
serving the various steps in the mental process which is con- 
Comparison of the two. Influence of the habit of disputation. Difference between 
a keen disputer and a candid iaquireii. Self-deception common. Steps of a mental 
process sometimes unobserved. 


nected with it. Thus we find men of that character to 
which we give the name of strong sound sense, who form 
just and comprehensive conclusions on a subject, without 
being able to explain to others the chain of thought by which 
they arrived at them ; and who, when they attempt to do 
so, are apt to bewilder themselves, and fall into absurdities. 
Such persons, accordingly, are adapted for situations re- 
quiring both soundness of judgment and promptitude in 
action ; but they make a bad figure in public speaking or 
reasoning. They are, indeed, possessed of a faculty more 
valuable than any thing that metaphysics or logic can fur- 
nish ; but a due attention to these sciences might increase 
their usefulness, by enabling them to communicate to others 
the mental process which led to their decisions. A person 
of this description, according to a w^ell-known anecdote, when 
appointed to a judicial situation in one of the colonies, re- 
ceived from an eminent judge the advice to trust to his own 
good sense in forming his opinions, but never to attempt to 
state the grounds of them. " The judgment," said he, " will 
probably be right, the argument will infallibly be wrong." 
When this strong sound judgment and correct logical habits 
are united in the same individual, they form the character 
of one who arrives at true conclusions on any subject to 
which his attention is directed, and, at the same time, carries 
others along with him to a full conviction of their truth. 

We have, then, every reason to believe that, though 
there may be original differences in the power of judgment, 
the chief source of the actual varieties in this important 
function is rather to be found in its culture and regulation. 
On this subject there are various considerations of the high- 
est interest, claiming the attention of those who wish to 
hav^e the understanding trained to the investigation of truth. 
These are chiefly referable to two heads, namely, the man- 
ner in which the judgment suffers from deficient culture; 
and the manner in which it is distorted by want of due regu- 

I. The judgment is impaired by deficient culture. This 

Example. Such individuals qualified for wliat duties? Means of increasing their 
asefulnesa ? Anecdote. Importance of cultivation ? Division of the subject ? De 
icient culture 7 

192 REASON. [part III. 

is exemplified in that listless and indifferent habit of the 
mind in which there is no exercise of correct thinking, or 
of a close and continued application of the attention to sub- 
jects of real importance. The mind is engrossed by frivo- 
lities and trifles, or bewildered by the wild play of the ima 
gination ; and, in regard to opinions on the most important 
subjects, it either feels a total indifference, or receives them 
from others without the exertion of thinking or examining 
for itself. The individuals who are thus affected either be- 
come the dupes of sophistical opinions imposed upon them 
by other men, or spend their lives in frivolous and unworthy 
pursuits, with a total incapacity for all important inquiries. 
A slight degree removed from this condition of mind is 
another, in which opinions are formed on slight and partial 
examination, perhaps from viewing one side of a question, 
or, at least, without a full and candid direction of the atten- 
tion to all the facts which ought to be taken into the in- 
quiry. Both these conditions of mind may perhaps origi- 
nate partly in constitutional peculiarities or erroneous edu- 
cation; but they are fixed and increased by habit and 
indulgence, until, after a certain time, they probably be- 
come irremediable. They can be corrected only by a dili- 
gent cultivation of the important habit which, in common 
language, we call sound and correct thinking ; and which 
is of equal value, whether it be applied to the formation of 
opinions, or to the regulation of conduct. 

II. The judgment is vitiated by want of due regulation; 
and this may be ascribed chiefly to two sources, prejudice 
and passion. Prejudice consists in the formation of opi- 
nions before the subject has been really examined. By 
means of this, the attention is misdirected, and the judgment 
biassed, in a manner of which the individual is often in a 
great measure unconscious. The highest degree of it is 
exemplified in that condition of the mind in which % man 
first forms an opinion which interest or inclination may 
have suggested ; then proceeds to collect arguments in sup 
port of it ; and concludes by reasoning himself into the be 
lief of what he wishes to be true. It is thus that the judg- 

Its particular effects ? Conditions of mind formed by it ? Remedy. Want of regu- 
lation. Sources? Prejudice what ? 


ment is apt to be misled, in a greater or less degree, by par- 
ty spirit and personal attachments or antipathies ; and it is 
clear that all such influence is directly opposed to its sound 
and healthy exercise. The same observations apply to pas 
sion, or the influence exerted by the moral feelings. The 
most striking example of this is presented by that depraved 
condition of the mind, which distorts the judgment in regard 
to the great principles of moral rectitude. " A man's un- 
derstanding," says Mr. Locke, " seldom fails him in this 
part, unless his will would have it so ; if he takes a wrong 
course, it is most commonly because he goes wilfully out of 
the way, or at least chooses to be bewildered ; and there 
are few, if any, who dreadfully mistake, that are willing to 
be right." 

These facts are worthy of much consideration, and they 
appear to be equally interesting to all classes of men, what- 
ever may be the degree of their mental cultivation, and what- 
ever the subjects are to which their attention is more parti- 
cularly directed. There is one class of truths to which they 
apply with peculiar force, namely, those which relate to 
the moral government of God, and the condition of man as 
a responsible being. These great truths and the evidence 
on which they are founded, are addressed to our judgment 
as rational beings ; they are pressed upon our attention as 
^Jreatures destined for another state of existence ; and the 
sacred duty from which no individual can be absolved, is a 
voluntary exercise of his thinking and reasoning powers, 
it is solemnly, seriously, and deliberately to consider. On 
these subjects a man may frame any system for himself, and 
may rest in that system as truth ; but the solemn inquiry is, 
not what opinions he has formed, but in what manner he 
has formed them. Has he approached the great inquiry 
with a sincere desire to discover the truth ; and has he 
brought to it a mind neither misled by prejudice, nor dis- 
torted by the condition of its moral feelings ; has he direct- 
ed his attention to all the facts and evidences with an in- 
tensity suited to their momentous importance ; and has he 
conducted the whole investigation with a deep and serious 
feeling that it carries with it an interest which reaches into 

Passion ? Locke's remark. Important application of ihcae principles. The real 
luestion in regard to our opinions ? 


HM REASON. [part in. 

eternity ? Truth is immutable and eternal, but :t may elude 
the frivolous or prejudiced inquirer: and, even when he 
thinks his conclusions are the result of much examination, 
he may be resting his highest concerns in delusion and 

The human mind, indeed, even in its highest state of cul- 
ture, has been found inadequate to the attainment of the true 
knowledge of the Deity ; but light from heaven has shone 
upon the scene of doubt and of darkness, which will conduct 
the humble inquirer through every difficulty, until he arrive 
at the full perception and commanding influence of the 
truth ; of truth such as human intellect never could have 
reached, and which, to every one who receives it, brings its 
own evidence that it comes from God. 

Finally, the sound exercise of judgment has a remarka- 
ble influence in producing and maintaining that tranquillity 
of mind which results from a due application of its powers, 
and a correct estimate of the relations of things. The want 
of this exercise leads a man to be unduly engrossed with the 
frivolities of life, unreasonably elated by its joys, and unrea- 
sonably depressed by its sorrows. A sound and well regu- 
lated judgment tends to preserve from all such dispropor- 
tioned pursuits and emotions. It does so, by leading us to 
view all present things in their true relations, to estimate 
aright their relative value, and to fix the degree of atten- 
tion of which they are worthy ; it does so, in a more espe- 
cial manner, by leading us to compare the present life, 
which is so rapidly passing over us, with the paramount 
importance and overwhelming interest of the life which is 
to come. 

The truth within the reach of every mind. Effect of sound judgment in producing 
itai tranouilUty. How does it produce this effect ? 

SEC. rV.J REASON. 195 


This subject leads to an investigation of great and exten- 
sive interest, of which I cannot hope to give more than a 
slight and imperfect outline. My anxiety is, that what is 
attempted may be confined to authentic facts, and the most 
cautious conclusions ; and that it may be of some use in 
leading to farther inquiry. 

We have seen the power which the mind possesses of re- 
calling the vivid impressions of scenes or events long gone 
by, in that mental process which we call conception. We 
have seen also its power of taking the elements of actual 
scenes, and forming them into new combinations, so as to 
represent to itself scenes and events which have no real ex- 
istence. We have likewise observed the remarkable man- 
ner in which persons, events, or scenes, long past, perhaps 
forgotten, are recalled into^ the mind by means of associa- 
tion ; trains of thought taking possession of the mind in a 
manner which we often cannot account for, and bringing 
back facts or occurrences which had long ceased to be ob- 
jects of attention. These remarkable processes are most 
apt to take place when the mind is in that passive state 
which we call a revery ; and they are more rarely observed 
when the attention is actively exerted upon any distinct and 
continued subject of thought. 

During the presence in the mind of such a representation, 
whether recalled by conception or association, or fabricated 
by imagination, there is probably, for the time, a kind of 
belief of its real and present existence. But, on the least 
return of the attention to the affairs of life, the vision is in- 
stantly dissipated ; and this is done by reason comparing 
the vision with the actual state of things in the external 
world. The poet or the novelist, it is probable, feels him- 

Caution in regard to the ensuing discussion ? Conception ? Imagination 7 Associa- 
Uon? In what state of mind are these processes most frequently performed? Belief 
of the reality of these representations. How disoelled ? 

196 REASON. [pari IH, 

self, for the time, actually imbodied in the person of his he- 
ro, and in that character judges, talks, and acts in the scene 
which he is depicting. This we call imagination ; but were 
the vision not to be dissipated on his return to the ordinary- 
relations of life, were he then to act in a single instance 
in the character of the being of his imagination, this would 
constitute insanity. 

The condition of mind here referred to does actually take 
place ; namely, a state in which the visions or impressions 
of the mind itself are believed to have a real and present 
existence in the external world, and in which reason fails to 
correct this belief by the actual relations of external things. 
There are two conditions in which this occurs in a striking 
manner; namely, insanity and dreaming. Considered as 
mental phenomena, they have a remarkable affinity to each 
other. The great difference between them is, that in in- 
sanity the erroneous impression being permanent, affects 
the conduct ; whereas, in dreaming, no influence on the 
conduct is produced, because the vision is dissipated upon 
awaking. The difference, again, between the mind under 
the influence of imagination, and in the state now under 
consideration, is, that in the former the vision is built up by 
a voluntary effort, and is variecf or dismissed at pleasure ; 
while in dreaming and insanity this power is suspended 
and the mind is left entirely under the influence of the chain 
of thoughts which happens to be present, without being able 
either to vary or dismiss it. The particular chain or series 
seems, in general, perhaps always, to depend upon associa- 
tions previously formed ; the various elements of which 
bring up one another in a variety of singular combinations, 
and in a manner which we often cannot trace, or in any 
degree account for. The facts connected with this branch 
-f the subject form one of the most interesting parts of this 

There are some other affections which come under the 
same class ; but insanity and dreaming are the two extreme 
examples. In dreaming, the bodily senses are in a great 
measure shut up from external impressions ; and the mflu- 
ence of the will upon bodily motions is also suspended, so 

Example. The vision somelimes not dissipated. Two cases ? State of the mind 10 
these cases ? State of the bodily senses in dreaming J 

SEC. IV.] REASON. 197 

that no actions in general follow. We shall afterward see 
that there are exceptions to this ; but it is the common state 
in dreaming. In insanity, on the other hand, the bodily- 
senses are awake to impressions from without, and bodily- 
motion is under the influence of the will ; hence the maniac 
acts, under his erroneous impressions, in a manner which 
often makes him dangerous to the community. There is 
an affection which holds an intermediate place between 
these two extremes, and presents a variety of interesting 
phenomena. This is somnambulism. It differs from dream 
ing, in the senses being, to a certain degree, awake t<i 
external things ; though that power is suspended by which 
the mental impressions are corrected by the influence of 
the external world. Thus, the somnambulist often under- 
stands what is said to him, and can converse with another 
person in a tolerably connected manner, though always 
with some reference to his erroneous mental impressions. 
He acts, also, under the influence of these ; but the remark- 
able difference between him and the maniac is, that the 
somnambulist can be roused from his vision, and then the 
whole is dissipated. There are cases, indeed, in which the 
hallucination is more permanent, and cannot be at once in- 
terrupted in this manner : these of course come to border 
on insanity. 

There is still a fourth condition connected with this curi- 
ous subject ; *amely, that in which a person awake, and in 
other respects in possession of his rational powers, perceives 
spectral illusions. This, we shall see, is allied in a singu- 
lar manner to the affections now referred to. 

The subject, therefore, divides itself into four parts, which 
will form the separate topics of the following observa- 
tions : 

1. Dreaming. 

2. Somnambulism. 

3. Insanity. 

4. Spectral Illusions. 

The causes of these remarkable conditions of the mental 
functions are entirely beyond the reach of our inquiries ; 

In insanity ? SomnambulLsm. Its nature ? Illustration of this. More or less per 
manent. Fourth condition ? Recapitulation. 


198 REASON. [part IH 

but the phenomena connected with them present a subject 
of most interesting investigation. 


The peculiar condition of the mind in dreaming appears 
to be referable to two heads : 

1. The impressions which arise in the mind are believed 
to have a real and present existence ; and this belief is not 
corrected, as in the waking state, by comparing the concep- 
tion with the things of the external world. 

2. The ideas or images in the mind follow one another 
according to associations over which we have no control ; 
we cannot, as in the waking state, vary the series, or stop 
it at our will. 

One of the most curious objects of investigation is to 
trace the manner in which the particular visions or series 
of images arise. When considered in this view, a great 
variety may be observed in dreams. Some of those which 
we are able to trace most distinctly, appear to be the fol- 
lowing : 

I. Recent events, and recent mental emotions, mingled up 
into one continuous series with each other^ or with old 
events, by means of some feeling which had been in a 
greater or less degree allied to each of them, though in 
other respects they were entirely unconnected. We hear, 
perhaps, of a distressing accident ; we have received some 
unpleasant news of an absent friend ; and we have been 
concerned in some business which gave rise to anxiety : a 
dream takes place, in which all these are combined toge- 
ther ; we are ourselves connected with the accident ; the 
absent friend is in our company ; and the person with whom 
the business was transacted also appears in the scene. 
The only bond of union among these occurrences was, 
that each of them gave rise to a similar kind of emotion ; 
and the train Avas probably excited by some bodily feeling 
of uneasiness, perhaps an oppression at the stomach, at the 

('ondition of the mind in dreaming, how referred ? Sources of the images which ariai 
c dreaming ? Recent events or emotions. Examples ? 


time when the dream occurred. Without this, the particu- 
lar series might not have take place at all ; or some of tho 
elements of it might have occurred in a totally different 
association. The absent friend might have appeared in 
connection with old and pleasing recollections, combined 
perhaps with persons and events associated with these, and 
without any reference to the painful intelligence by which 
the attention had been directed to him. We meet a person 
whom we have not seen for many years, and are led to in- 
quire after old friends, and to allude to events long past. 
Dreams follow, in which these persons appear, and othei 
persons and occurrences connected with them ; but the in- 
dividual, whose conversation gave rise to the series, does 
not appear in it, because he was not connected with the 
particular chain of events which was thus recalled into the 

A woman who was a patient in the clinical ward of the 
infirmary of Edinburgh, under the care of Dr. Duncan, 
talked a great deal in her sleep, and made numerous and 
very distinct allusions to the cases of other sick persons. 
These allusions did not apply to any patients who were in 
the ward at that time ; but, after some observation, they 
were found to refer correctly to the cases of individuals 
who were there when this woman was a patient in the ward 
two years before. 

II. Trains of images brought up by association with 
bodily sensations. Examples of this kind are of frequent 
occurrence. By the kind attention of my friend Dr. James 
Gregory, I have received a most interesting manuscript by 
his late eminent father, which contains a variety of curious 
matter on this subject. In this paper. Dr. Gregory men- 
tions of himself that, having on one occasion gone to bed 
with a vessel of hot water at his feet, he dreamed of walk- 
ing up the crater of mount Etna, and of feeling the ground 
warm under him. He had at an early period of his life 
visited mount Vesuvius, and actually felt a strong sensation 
of warmth in his feet when walking up the side of the cra- 
ter ; but it was remarkable that the dream was not of Ve- 

Story of Dr. Diuican's patient. Images brought up by bodily sensations ? Story of 
the effect of hot water at the feet. 


Buvius, but of Etna, of which he had only read Brydone'a 
description. This was probably from the latter impression 
having been the more recent. On another occasion, he 
dreamed of spending a winter at Hudson's Bay, and of 
suffering much distress from the intense frost. He found 
that he had thrown off the bed-clothes in his sleep ; and, a 
few days before, he had been reading a very particular 
account of the state of the colonies in that country during 
winter. Again, when suffering from toothache, he dreamed 
of undergoing the operation of tooth-drawing, with the ad- 
ditional circumstance that the operator drew a sound tooth, 
leaving the aching one in its place. But the most striking 
anecdote in this interesting document is one in which simi- 
lar dreams were produced in a gentleman and his wife, at 
the same time, and by the same cause. It happened at the 
period when there was an alarm of French invasion, and 
almost every man in Edinburgh was a soldier. All things 
had been arranged in expectation of the landing of an ene- 
my ; the first notice of which was to be given by a gun 
from the castle, and this v/as to be followed by a chain of 
signals calculated to alarm the country in all directions. 
Further, there had been recently in Edinburgh a splendid 
military spectacle, in which five thousand men had been 
drawn up in Prince's street, fronting the castle. The gen- 
tleman to whom the dream occurred, and who had been a 
most zealous volunteer, was in bed between two and three 
o'clock in the morning, when he dream.ed of hearing the 
signa' gun. He was immediately at the castle, Avitnessed 
the proceedings for displaying the signals, and saw and 
heard a great bustle over the town from troops and artillery 
assembling, especially in Prince's street. At this time he 
was roused by his wife, who awoke in a fright in conse- 
quence of a similar dream, connected with much noise and 
the landing of an enemy, and concluding with the death of 
a particular friend of her husband's, .who had served with 
him as a volunteer during the late Avar. The origin of this 
remarkable concurrence was ascertained, in the morning, 
to be the noise produced in the room above by the fall of 
a pair of tongs which had been left in some very awkward 
position in support of a clothes-screen. Dr. Reid relates 

Other examples. Story of the Edinburgh gentleman and his wife ? 

vEC. rV.] DREAMING. 21 I 

of himself, that the dressing applied after a blister on his 
head having become ruffled so as to produce considerable 
uneasiness, he dreamed of falling into the hands of savages 
and being scalped by them. 

To this part of the subject are to be referred some re- 
markable cases in which, in particular individuals, dreams 
can be produced by whispering into their ears when they 
are asleep. One of the most curious as well as authentic 
examples of this kind has been referred to by several wri- 
ters : I find the particulars in the paper of Dr. Gregory, 
and they were related to him by a gentleman who witness- 
ed them. The subject of it was an officer in the expedition 
to Louisburg in 1758, who had this peculiarity in so re- 
markable a degree, that his companions in the transport 
were in the constant habit of amusing themselves at his 
expense. They could produce in him any kind of dream 
by whispering into his ear, especially if this was done by 
a friend with whose voice he was familiar. At one time 
they conducted him through the whole progress of a quarrel, 
which ended in a duel ; and, when the parties were sup- 
posed to be met, a pistol was put into his hand, which he 
fired, and was awakened by the report. On another occa- 
sion they found him asleep on the top of a locker or bunker 
in the cabin, when they made him believe he had fallen 
overboard, and exhorted him to save himself by swimming. 
He immediately imitated all the motions of swimming. 
They then told him that a shark was pursuing him, and 
entreated him to dive for his life. He instantly did so with 
such force as to throw himself entirely from the locker upon 
the cabin floor, by which he was much bruised, and awaken- 
ed of course. After the landing of the army at Louisburg, 
his friends found him one day asleep in his tent, and evi- 
dently much annoyed by the cannonading. They then 
made bim believe that he was engaged, when he expressed 
great fear, and showed an evident disposition to run away. 
Against this they remonstrated, but at the same time in- 
creased his fears by imitating the groans of the wounded 
and the dying ; and when he asked, as he often did, who 
was down, they named his particular friends. At last they 

Effect of a blister ? Producing dreams, in particular individuala ? Case of the officer > 

Various experiments tried upon liim. 

20J REASON. [part III. 

told him that the man next himself in the Ime had fallen, 
when he instantly sprang from his bed, rushed out of the tent, 
and was roused from his danger and his dream together by 
falling over the tent-ropes. A remarkable circumstance in 
this case was, that after these experiments he had no distinct 
recollection of his dreams, but only a confused feeling of 
oppression or fatigue ; and used to tell his friends that he 
was sure they had been playing some trick upon him. A 
case entirely similar is related in Smellie's Natural Histo- 
ry, the subject of which was a medical student at the uni- 
versity of Edinburgh. 

A singular fact has often been observed in dreams which 
are excited by a noise : namely, that the same sound 
awakes the person, and produces a dream which appears to 
him to occupy a considerable time. The following example 
of this has been related to me : A gentleman dreamed that 
he had enlisted as a soldier, joined his regiment, deserted, 
was apprehended, carried back, tried, condemned to be 
shot, and at last led out for execution. After all the usual 
preparations a gun was fired ; he awoke with the report, 
and found that a noise in an adjoining room had both pro- 
duced the dream and awakened him. The same want of 
the notion of time is observed in dreams from other causes. 
Dr. Gregory mentions a gentleman, who, after sleeping in a 
damp place, was for a long time liable to a feeling of suffo- 
cation whenever he slept in a lying posture ; and this was 
always accompanied by a dream of a skeleton which grasp- 
ed him violently by the throat. He could sleep in a sitting 
posture without any uneasy feeling; and after trying 
various expedients he at last had a sentinel placed beside 
him, with orders to awake him w^henever he sunk down. 
On one occasion he was attacked by the skeleton, and a 
severe and long struggle ensued before he awoke. On 
finding fault with his attendant for allowing him to lie so 
long in such a state of suffering, he was assured that he 
had not lain an instant, but had been awakened the mo- 
ment he began to sink. The gentleman after a considera- 
ble time recovered from the affection. A friend of mine 

His rccolleciions afterwards 7 Remarkable fact respecting persons awakened by a 
noise. Example ? Dr. Gregory's instance ? Instances illustrating mistakes as to timu 
In Bleep ? 


Jreamed that he crossed the Atlantic, and spent a fortnight 
in America. In embarking on his return, he fell into the 
sea ; and, having awoke with the fright, discovered that he 
liad not been asleep above ten minutes. 

III. Dreams consisting of the revival of old associations 
respecting things which had entirely passed out of the mind, 
and which seemed to have been forgotten. It is often im- 
possible to trace the manner in which these dreams arise ; 
and some of the facts connected with them scarcely appear 
referable to any principle with which we are at present ac- 
quainted. The following example occurred to a particular 
friend of mine, and may be relied upon in its most minute 
particulars : 

The gentleman was at the time connected with one of 
the principal banks in Glasgow, and was at his place at the 
teller's table, where money is paid, when a person entered 
demanding payment of a sum of six pounds. There were 
several people waiting, who were, in turn, entitled to be 
attended before him ; but he was extremely impatient, and 
rather noisy ; and, being besides a remarkable stammerer, 
he became so annoying, that another gentleman requested 
my friend to pay him his money and get rid of him. He 
did so, accordingly, but with an expression of impatience at 
being obliged to attend to him before his turn, and thought 
no more of the transaction. At the end of the year, which 
was eight or nine months after, the books of the bank could 
not be made to balance, the deficiency being exactly six 
pounds. Several days and nights had been spent in endea- 
voring to discover the error, but without success ; when, at 
last, my friend returned home, much fatigued, and went to 
bed. He dreamed of being at his place in the bank, and 
the whole transaction with the stammerer, as now detailed, 
passed before him in all its particulars. He awoke under a 
full impression that the dream was to lead him to a dis- 
covery of what he was so anxiously in search of; and, on 
examination, soon discovered that the sum paid to this 
person in the manner now mentioned, had been neglected 
to be inserted in the book of interests, and that it exactly 
accounted for the error in the balanc^. 

Revival of forgotten associationa. Case of the teller of a bank. 

204 REASON. [part IH. 

This case, upon a little consideration, will appear to be 
exceedingly remarkable, because the impression recalled in 
this singular manner was one of which there was no con- 
sciousness at the time when it occurred; and, consequently, 
we cannot suppose that any association took place which 
could have assisted in recalling it. For the fact upon 
which the importance of the case rested was, not his hav- 
ing paid the money, but having neglected to insert the 
payment. Now of this there was no impression made upon 
the mind at the time, and we can scarcely conceive on 
what principle it could be recalled. The deficiency being 
six pounds, we may, indeed, suppose the gentleman endea- 
voring to recollect whether there could have been a pay- 
ment of this sum made in any irregular manner which could 
have led to an omission, or an error ; but in the transac- 
tions of an extensiv^e bank, in a great commercial city, a 
payment of six pounds, at the distance of eight or nine 
months, could have made but a very faint impression ; and 
upon the whole, the case presents, perhaps, one of the most 
remarkable mental phenomena connected with this curious 
subject. The following is of the same nature, though much 
less extraordinary, from the shortness of the interval ; and 
it may perhaps be considered as a simple act of memory, 
though, for the same reason as in the former case, we can- 
not trace any association which could have recalled the 
circumstance : A gentleman who Avas appointed to an 
office in one of the principal banks in Edinburgh found, on 
balancing his first day's transactions, that the money under 
his charge was deficient by ten pounds. After many fruit- 
less attempts to discover the cause of the error, he went 
home, not a little annoyed by the result of his first experi- 
ment in banking. In the night he dreamed that he was at 
his place in the bank, and that a gentleman who was per- 
sonally knoAvn to him presented a draught for ten pounds. 
On awakmg, he recollected the dream, and also recollected 
that the gentleman who appeared in it had actually receiv- 
ed ten pounds. On going to the bank, he found that he 
had neglected to enter the payment, and that the gentle- 
man's order had by accident fallen among some pieces of 

Remarkalilo circumstance in this case '^ Another similar example. 


paper, which had been thrown on the floor to be swept 

I have formerly referred to some remarkable cases in 
which languages long forgotten were recovered during a 
state of delirium. Something very analogous seems to oc- 
cur in dreaming, of which I have received the following 
example from an able and intelligent friend. In his youth 
he was very fond of the Greek language, and made consi- 
derable progress in it ; but afterwards, being actively en- 
gaged in other pursuits, he so entirely forgot it that he can- 
not even read the words. But he has often dreamed of 
reading Greek works which he had been accustomed to use 
at college, and with a most vivid impression of fully under- 
standing them. 

A further, and most interesting illustration of the class of 
dreams referred to under this head, is found in an anecdote 
lately published by the distinguished author of the Waverly 
novels, and considered by him as authentic : " Mr. R. of 
Bowland, a gentleman of landed property in the vale of Ga- 
la, was prosecuted for a very considerable sum, the accumu- 
lated arrears of teind, (or tithe,) for which he was said to 
be indebted to a noble family, the titulars, (lay impropria- 
tors of the tithes.) Mr. R. was strongly impressed with 
the belief that his father had, by a form of process peculiar 
to the law of Scotland, purchased these lands from the titu- 
lar, and therefore that the present prosecution was ground- 
less. But after an industrious search among his father's 
papers, an investigation of the public records, and a care- 
ful inquiry among all persons who had transacted law-busi- 
iness lor his father, no evidence could be recovered to sup- 
port his defence. The period was now near at hand when 
he conceived the loss of his lawsuit to be inevitable, and he 
had formed his determination to ride to Edinburgh next day, 
and make the best bargain he could in the way of compro- 
mise. He went to bed with this resolution, and with all 
the circumstances of the case floating upon his mind, had 
a dream to the following purpose : His father, who had 
been many years dead, appeared to him, he thought, and 
asked him why he was disturbed in his mind. In dreams 

Knowledge of languages revived in dreams. Example. Anecdote related by Walter 
*<coit. Nari-ate all the circumstances. ' 


206 REASOxV. [part hi 

men are not surprised at suck apparitions. Mr. R. thought 
that he informed his father of the cause of his distress, add- 
ing that the payment of a considerable sum of money Avas 
the more unpleasant to him, because he had a strong con- 
sciousness that it was not due, though he was unable to re- 
cover any evidence in support of his belief. * You are 
right, my son,' replied the paternal shade; 'I did acquire 
right to these teinds, for payment of which you are now 
prosecuted. The papers relating to the transaction are in 

the hands of Mr. , a writer (or attorney) who is now 

retired from professional business, and resides at Inveresk, 
near Edinburgh. He was a person whom I employed on 
that occasion for a particular reason, but who never, on 
any other occasion, transacted business on my account. It 

is very possible,' pursued the vision, ' that Mr. may have 

forgotten a matter w^hich is now of a veryold date ; but 
you may call it to his recollection by this token, that when 
I came to pay his account, there was difficulty in getting 
change for a Portugal piece of gold, and that we were 
forced to drink out the balance at a tavern.' 

" Mr. R. awoke in the morning, with all the words of 
his vision imprinted on his mind, and thought it worth while 
to ride across the country to Inveresk, instead of going 
ttraight to Edinburgh. When he came there he waited 
on the gentleman mentioned in the dream, a very old man; 
without saying any thing of the vision, he inquired whether 
he remembered having conducted such a matter for his 
deceased father. The old gentleman could not at first 
bring the circumstance to his recollection; but, on mention 
of the Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon his 
memory ; he made an immediate search for the papers, and 
recovered them, so that Mr. R. carried to Edinburgh the 
documents necessary to gain the cause which he was on 
the verge of losing." 

There is every reason to believe that this very interest- 
ing case is referable to the principle lately mentioned : that 
the gentleman had heard the circumstances from his father, 
but had entirely forgotten them, until the frequent and in- 
tense application of his mind to the subject with which they 
were connected at length gave rise to a train of associa* 

Principle illustrated by this case ? Explanation of it ? 


tion which recalled them in the dream. To the same prin- 
ciple are referable the two following anecdotes, which 1 
have received as entirely authentic. A gentleman of the 
law in Edinburgh had mislaid an important paper, relating 
to some affairs on which a public meeting was soon to be 
held. He had been making most anxious search for it for 
many days ; but the evening of the day preceding that on 
which the meeting was to be held had arrived, without his 
being able to discover it. He went to bed under great anx- 
iety and disappointment, and dreamed that the paper was 
in a box appropriated to the papers of a particular family, 
with which it was in no way connected : it was accor- 
dingly found there in the morning. Another individual, 
connected with a public office, had mislaid a paper of such 
importance, that he was threatened with the loss of his 
situation if he did not produce it. After a long but unsuc- 
cessful search, under intense anxiety, he also dreamed of 
discovering the paper in a particular place, and found it 
there accordingly. 

IV. A cla'ss of dreams which presents an interesting sub- 
ject of observation includes those in which a strong pro- 
pensity of character, or a strong mental emotion, is imbodi- 
ed into a dream, and by some natural coincidence is fulfil- 
led. A murderer mentioned by Mr. Combe had dreamed 
of committing murder some years before the event took 
place. But more remarkable still are those instances, many 
of them authentic, in which a dream has given notice of 
an event which was occurring at the time, or occurred soon 
after. The following story has been long mentioned in 
Edinburgh, and there seems no reason to doubt its authen- 
ticity: A clergyman had come to this city from a short 
distance in the country, and was sleeping at an inn, when 
he dreamed of seeing a fire, and one of his children in the 
midst of it. He awoke with the impression, and instantly 
left town on his return home. When he arrived within 
sight of his house, he found it on fire, and got there in time 
to assist in saving one of his children, who, in the alarm 
and confusion, had been left in a situation of danger. With- 

Case of the Edinburgh lawyer. Dreams resulting from some strong propensity of 
character. Case mentioned by Mr. Combe ? Ca^e of the clergyman ? 

2J)8 REASON. [rAKT U). 

out calling in question the possibility of supernatural com- 
munication in such cases, this striking occurrence, of which 
I believe there is little reason to doubt the truth, may per- 
haps be accounted for on simple and natural principles. Let 
us suppose, that the gentleman had a servant who had 
shown great carelessness in regard to fire, and had often 
given rise in his mind to a strong apprehension that he 
might set fire to the house. His anxiety might be increased 
by being from home, and the same circumstance might 
make the servant still more careless. Let us farther sup* 
pose that the gentleman, before going to bed, had, in addi- 
tion to this anxiety, suddenly recollected that there was on 
that day, in the neighborhood of his house, some fair or pe- 
riodical merry-making, from which the servant was very 
likely to return home in a state of intoxication. It was 
most natural that these impressions should be imbodied in- 
to a dream of his house being on fire, and that the same 
circumstances might lead to the dream being fulfilled. 

A gentleman in Edinburgh was affected with aneurism of 
the popliteal artery, for which he was under the care of two 
eminent surgeons, and the day was fixed for the operation. 
About two days before the time appointed for it, the wife of 
the patient dreamed that a change had taken place in the 
disease, in consequence of which the operation would not 
be required. On examining the tumor in the morning, the 
gentleman was astonished to find that the pulsation had en- 
tirely ceased ; and, in short, this turned out to be a sponta- 
neous cure. To persons not professional it may be right to 
mention that the cure of popliteal aneurism without an ope- 
ration is a very uncommon occurrence, not happening in one 
out of numerous instances, and never to be looked upon as 
probable in any individual case. It is likely, however, that 
the lady had heard of the possibility of such a termination, 
and that her anxiety had very naturally imbodied this into 
a dream ; the fulfilment of it at the very time when the 
event took place is certainly a very remarkable coinci- 
dence. The following anecdotes also I am enabled to give 
as entirely authentic. A lady dreamed that an aged female 
relative had been murdered by a black servant, and the 
dream occurred more than once. She was then so in? 

Explanation of it ? The Edinburgh patient. Narrate the circumstancea. 

fU:. IV.] DREAMING. 20*J 

pressed by it that she went to the house of t\i'- lady to 
whom it related, and prevailed apon a gentleman to watch 
in an adjoining room during the following night. About 
three o'clock in the morning, the gentleman, hearing foot- 
steps on the stairs, left his place of concealment, and met 
the servant carrying up a quantity of coals. Being ques- 
tioned as to where he was going, he replied, in a confused 
and hurried manner, that he was going to mend his mis- 
tress' fire, which, at three o'clock in the morning, in the 
middle of summer, was evidently impossible ; and, on further 
investigation, a strong knife was found concealed beneath 
the coals. Another lady dreamed that a boy, her nephew, 
had been drowned along with some young companions with 
whom he had engaged to go on a sailing excursion in the 
Frith of Forth. She sent for him in the morning, and, with 
much difficulty, prevailed upon him to give up his engage- 
ment ; his companions went and were all drowned. A 
gentleman dreamed that the devil carried him down to the 
bottom of a coal-pit, where he threatened to burn him, un- 
less he would agree to give himself up to his service. This 
he refused to do, and a warm altercation followed. He was 
at last allowed to depart, upon condition of sending down an 
individual whom the devil named, a worthless character 
wll known in the neighborhood. A few days after, this 
.person was found drowned, and under circumstances which 
gave every reason to believe that his death had been volun- 
tary. A lady in Edinburgh had sent her watch to be re- 
paired : a long time elapsed without her being able to reco- 
ver it, and, after many excuses, she began to suspect that 
something was wrong. She now dreamed that the watch- 
maker's boy, by whom the watch was sent, had dropped it 
in the street, and injured it in such a manner that it could 
not be repaired. She then went to the master, and, with- 
out any allusion to her dream, put the question to him di- 
rectly ; when he confessed that it was true. 

Such coincidences derii^e their wonderful character from 
standing alone and apart from those numerous instances in 
which such dreams take place without any fulfilment. An 
instance of a very singular kind is mentioned by Mr. Joseph 

Dream of a murder. Dann:er of drowning apparently foretold by a dream. Other 
tasaa ? The lady and her watch. 

2l0 REASON. [part FIl. 

Taylor, and is given by him as an undoubted fact. A young 
man who was at an academy a hundred miles from home 
dreamed that he went to his father's house in the night, 
tried the front-door, but found it locked ; got in by a back- 
door, and finding nobody out of bed, went directly to the 
bedroom of his parents. He then said to his mother, whom 
he found awake, " Mother, I am going a long journey, and 
am come to bid you good-bye." On this she answered, 
under much agitation, " Oh, dear son, thou art dead!" He 
instantly awoke, and thought no more of his dream, until, 
d few days after, he received a letter from his father inquir- 
ing very anxiously after his health, in consequence of a 
frightful dream his mother had on the same night in which 
the dream now mentioned occurred to him. She dreamed 
that she heard some one attempt to open the front-door, 
then go to the back-door, and at last come into her bed- 
room. She then saw it was her son, who came to the side 
of her bed, and said, " Mother, I am going a long journey, 
and am come to bid you good-bye ;" on which she exclaim- 
ed, " Oh, dear son, thou art dead !" But nothing unusual 
liappened to any of the parties. The singular dream must 
have originated in some strong mental impression which 
had been made on both the individuals about the same time ; 
and to have traced the source of it would have been a mat- 
ter of great interest. 

On a similar principle, we are to account for some of the 
stories of second sight : a gentleman sitting by the fire on 
a stormj' night, and anxious about some of his domestics 
who are at sea in a boat, drops asleep for a few seconds, 
dreams very naturally of drowning men, and starts up with 
an exclamation that his boat is lost. If the boat returns in 
safety, the vision is no more thought of. If it is lost, as is 
very likely to happen, the story passes for second sight ; 
and it is, in fact, one of the anecdotes that are given as the 
most authentic instances of it. 

It is unnecessary to multiply examples of the fulfilment of 
dreams on the principles which have now been mentioned ; 
but I am induced to add the following, as it is certainly of 
a very interesting kind, and as I am enabled to give it as 

Case of the academy student ? Relate the circumstances. Explanation. Secon.l 
ight, how explained. 


entirely authentic in all its particulars. A most respectable 
clergyman in a country parish of Scotland, made a collec- 
tion at his church for an object of public benevolence, in 
which he felt very deeply interested. The amount of the 
collection, which was received in ladles carried through the 
church, fell greatly short of his expectation ; and, during 
the evening of the day, he frequently alluded to this with 
expressions of much disappointment. In the following 
night he dreamed that three one-pound notes had been left 
in one of the ladles, having been so compressed that they 
had stuck in the corner when the ladle was emptied. He 
was so impressed by the vision, that at an early hour in the 
morning he went to the church, found the ladle which he 
had seen in his dream, and drew from one of the corners of 
it three one-pound notes. This interesting case is perhaps 
capable of explanation upon simple principles. It appears, 
that on the evening preceding the day of the collection 
the clergyman had ben amusing himself by calculating 
vcrhat sum his congregation woiRd probably contribute, and 
tiiat in doing so he had calculated on a certain number of 
families, who would not give him less than a pound each. 
Let us then suppose that a particular ladle, which he knew 
to have been presented to three of these families, had been 
emptied in his presence, and found to contain no pound 
notes His first feeling would be that of disappointment ; 
but, in afterward thinking of the subject, and connecting it 
with his former calculation, the possibility of the ladle not 
having been fully emptied might dart across his mind. This 
impression, which perhaps he did not himself recollect, 
might then be imbodied into the dream, which, by a natural 
coincidence, was fulfilled. 

The four classes which have now been mentioned appear 
to include the principal varieties of dreams ; and it is often 
a matter of great interest to trace the matiner in which the 
particular associations arise. Cases of dreams are indeed 
on record, which are not referable to any of the principles 
which have been mentioned, and which do not admit of 
explanation on any principles which we are able to trace. 

The clergyman and the charitable collection. Relate the whole case. Do thesa 
classes include all ? Other cases on record ? 

212 REASON. [part m 

Many of these histories, there is every reason to believe, 
derive their marvellous character from embellishment and 
exaggeration ; and in some instances which have been re- 
lated to me in the most confident manner, I have found 
this to be the case after a little investigation. Others, 
however, do not admit of this explanation, and we are com- 
pelled to receive them as facts which we can in no degree 
account for. Of this kind I shall only add the following 
example ; and I shall do so without any attempt at expla- 
nation, and without any other comment than that its accu- 
racy may be relied on in all its particulars. Two ladies, 
sisters, had been for several days in attendance upon their 
brother, who was ill of a common sore throat, severe and 
protracted, but not considered as attended with danger. At 
the same time, one of them had borrowed a watch from 
a female friend, in consequence of her own being under 
repair ; this watch was one to which particular value was 
attached on account of some family associations, and somr 
anxiety was expressed that it might not meet with any in 
wry. The sisters were sleeping together in a room com 
municating with that of their brother, when the elder oi 
them awoke in a state of great agitation, and having roused 
the other, told her that she had had a frightful dream. " I 
dreamed," said she, " that Mary's watch stopped ; and 
that, when I told you of the circumstance, you replied, much 
worse than that has happened, for 's breath has stop- 
ped also," naming their brother who was ill. To quiet 
her agitation, the younger sister immediately got up, and 
found the brother sleeping quietly, and the watch, which 
had been carefully put by in a drawer, going correctly. The 
following night the very same dream occurred, followed by 
similar agitation, which was again composed in the same 
manner, the brother being again found in a quiet sleep, 
and the watch going well. On the following morning, 
soon after the fanoily had breakfasted, one of the sisters v/aa 
sitting by her brother, while the other was writing a note 
in the adjoining room. When her note was ready for 
being sealed, she was proceeding to take out, for this pur 
pose, the watch alluded to, which had been put by in hei 

Their credibility. Are some unaccountahle ? Example ; the two ladies. Relate th 
whole story 


writing-desk, she was astonished to find it had slopped. 
At the Game instant she heard a scream of intense distress 
from her sister in the other room, their brother, who had 
still been considered as going on favorably, had been seized 
with a sudded fit of suffocation, and had just breathed 
his last 

There are various other circumstances relating to the 
philosophy of dreams, which may be mentioned very 
briefly. It has been alleged that we never dream of ob- 
jects which we have not seen. On this I cannot decide ; 
but we certainly dream of things in combinations in which 
they never occurred to us. Our dreams appear to be very 
much influenced by the intensity of our conceptions, and, 
in this respect, there is great variety in regard to the ob- 
jects of the different senses. Our most vivid conceptions 
are certainly of objects of sight ; and they appear to be 
much less distinct in regard to tastes, smells, and even 
sounds. Accordingly, I think dreams -are chiefly occupied 
with objects of sight ; and I am not sure that we dream of 
tastes, or smells, or even of sounds, except when a sound 
actually takes place, as in several instances which have been 
mentioned. This, indeed, only applies to simple sounds, 
for we certainly dream of persons speaking to us, and of 
understanding what they say ; but I am not sure that this 
is necessarily accompanied with a conception of sound. I 
am informed by a friend, who is a keen sportsman, that he 
often dreams of being on shooting excursions ; that he 
starts his game, and points his gun, but never succeeds in 
firing it. It sometimes seems to miss fire, but in general 
there appears to be something wrong with the lock, so that 
it cannot be moved. A gentleman, mentioned by Dr. Dar- 
win, had been for thirty years so deaf that he could be con- 
versed with only in writing, or by forming letters with the 
fingers. He assured Dr. Darwin, that he never dreamed 
of persons conversing with him, except by the fingers or 
in writing, and that he never had the impression of hearing 
them speak. Two persons who had long been blind also 

Other principles relating to the philosophy of dreams. Dreams occupied principally 
with what objects ? Why ? CeiBe of the sportsman. Poiat illustrated by it ? The 
deaf gentleman's dreams. 

^14 REASON. [part IH. 

informed him, that they never dreamed of visible objects 
since the loss of their sight. Mr. Bew, however, in the 
Manchester Memoirs, mentions a blind gentleman who 
dreamed of the figure, though he could not distinguish the 
varieties, of the human countenance ; and Smellie men- 
tions of Dr. Blacklock, who lost his sight at the age of a 
few months, that in his dreams he had a distinct impression 
of a sense which he did not possess when awake. He de- 
scribed his impression by saying that when awake there 
were three w^ays by which he could distinguish persons, 
namely, by hearing them speak, by feeling the head and 
shoulders, and by attending to the sound and manner of 
their breathing. In his dreams, however, he had a vivid 
impression of objects in a manner distinct from any of these 
modes. He imagined that he was united to them, by a kind 
of distant contact, which was effected by threads or strings 
passing from their bodies to his own. 

On a similar principle, probably, we may explain the fact 
that dreams refer chiefly to perscms or events which we have 
actually seen, though they are put into new combinations ; 
and that we more rarely dream of objects of simple memory 
unless they have been strongly associated with some object 
of conception. Thus we seldom, dream of events or charac- 
ters in ancient history. Dr. Beattie, indeed, mentions hav- 
ing dreamed of crossing the Alps with Hannibal ; but such 
dreams, I think, are very rare. It would be curious to 
observe their occurrence, and to trace the train that leads to 

It appears, then, that the mental operations which take 
place in dreaming consist chiefly of old conceptions and old 
associations, following one another according to some prin- 
ciple of succession over which we have no control. But 
there are facts on record which show mental operations in 
dreams of a much more intellectual character. Many 
people have been conscious of something like composition 
in dreams. Dr. Gregory mentions that thoughts which 
sometimes occurred to him in dreams, and even the particu- 
lar expressions in which thej'" were conveyed, appeared to 

The blind man's dreams. To what persons and things do our dreams chiefly refer > 
Exception ; Dr. Beattie's dream. Inference from these cases. Composition m dreams ? 
Dr. Gregory. 


him afterward when awake so just in point of reasoning and 
illustration, and so good in point of language, that he has 
used them in his college lectures, and in his written lucu- 
brations. Condorcet related of himself, that when engaged 
in some profound and obscure calculations, he was often 
obliged to leave them in an incomplete state, and retire to 
rest ; and that the remaining steps, and the conclusion of 
his calculations, had more than once presented themselves 
in his dreams. Dr. Franklin also informed Cabanis that 
the bearings and issue of political events, which had puzzled 
him when awake, were not unfrequently unfolded to him in 
his dreams. A gentleman of Edinburgh, whose name is 
deeply associated with the literature of his country, had 
been one day much amused by reading a very witty epigram 
by Piron on the French Academy. In a dream the follow- 
ing night he composed a parody or imitation of it, much at 
the expense of a learned society in Edinburgh, and some 
individuals of this city. A gentleman had been reading 
an account of cruelties practised upon some Christians in 
Turkey by the mutilation of their noses and ears. In a 
dream the following night he witnessed the execution of a 
punishment of this kind, and heard a Turk who was stand- 
ing by address the sufferer in some doggerel rhymes, which 
he distinctly recollected and repeated in the morning. 
Another gentleman invented a French verb in a dream. 
He thought he was in a very close sort of penthouse with 
such a number of y)ersons that they were threatened with 
suffocation, as there appeared no way of letting in air. In 
this state he called out, '' il faut detoiter.'" There is no 
such word, but it was evidently formed from toit, the roof 
of a building. 

The following anecdote has been preserved in a family 
of rank in Scotland, the descendants of a distinguished 
lawyer of the last age : This eminent person had been 
consulted respecting a case of great importance and much 
difficulty; and he had been studying it with intense anxie- 
ty and attention. After several days had been occupied 
in this manner, he was observed by his wife to rise from 
his bed in the night and go to a writing-desk which stood 

Condorcet. Franklin. A literary gentleman of Edinburgh. Other cases. Anecdote 
if the Scotch lawyer. 

215 REASON. [part Hi 

in the bedroom. He then sat downi ana wrote a long 
paper, which he put carefully by in the desk, and returnee 
to bed. The following morning he told his wife that he 
had a most interesting dream; that he had dreamed of 
delivering a clear and luminous opinion respecting a case 
which had exceedingly perplexed him ; and that he would 
give any thing to recover the train of thought which had 
passed before him in his dream. She then directed him to 
the writing-desk, where he found the opinion clearly and 
fully written out, and which was afterward found to be 
perfectly correct. 

There can be no doubt that many dreams take place 
which are not remembered, as appears from the fact of a 
person talking in his sleep so as to be distinctly understood 
without remembering any thing of the impression that gave 
rise to it. It is probable, also, that the dreams which are 
most distinctly remembered, are those which occur during 
imperfect sleep, or when the sleep begins to be broken by an 
approach towards waking. Another very peculiar state 
has perhaps occurred to most people, in which there is a 
distressing dream, and at the same time an impression that 
it probably is only a dream. This appears to take place 
in a still more imperfect state of sleep, in which there is the 
immediate approach to waking, and to the exercise of the 
reasoning powers. But there are some very singular facts 
on record of this kind of reasoning being applied to dreams 
tor the purpose of dissipating them. Dr. Beattie mentions 
of himself, that in a dream he once found himself standing 
in a very peculiar situation on the parapet of a bridge. Re- 
collecting, he says, that he never was given to pranks of 
this nature, he began to fancy that it might be a dream, and 
determined to throw himself headlong, in the belief that this 
would restore his senses, which accordingly took place. 
In the same manner Dr. Reid cured himself of a tendency 
to frightful dreams, with which he had been annoyed from 
his early years. He endeavored to fix strongly on his 
mind the impression that all such dangers in dreams are 
but imaginary ; and determined, whenever in a dream he 
found himself on the brink of a precipice, to throw himself 

Forgotten dreams. What dreams probably most distinctly remembered 1 Peculial 
Btate of mind in dreams Dr. Seattle's case Dr. Reid. 


over, and so dissipate the vision. By persevering in this 
method he so removed the propensity that for forty years 
he was never sensible of dreaming, though he was very 
attentive in his observation on the subject. 

Some persons are never conscious of dreaming ; and a 
gentleman, mentioned by Locke, was not sensible of dream- 
ing till he had a fever at the age of twenty-six or twenty- 

A leading peculiarity in the phenomena of dreaming, is 
the loss of power over the succession of our thoughts. We 
have seen that there are some exceptions to this, but the 
fact applies to by far the greater number of dreams, and 
some curious phenomena appear to be referable to it. Of 
this kind are probably some of those singular instances of 
imaginary difficulties occurring in dreams on subjects on 
which none could be felt in the waking state. It is not un- 
common for a clergyman to dream that he is going to 
preach, and cannot find his text ; or for a clergyman of the 
Church of England, that he cannot find the place in the 
prayer-book. This, I think, can only be explained by sup- 
posing that in the chain of ideas passing through the mind, 
the church and prayer-book had come up, but had then led 
off into some other train, and not into that of actually going 
on with the service ; while, at the same time, there arose 
in the mind a kind of impression that, under these circum- 
stances, it ought to have been gone on with. 

The remarkable analogy between dreaming and insanity 
has already been referred to ; and I shall only add the fol- 
lowing illustration : Dr. Gregory mentions a maniac who 
had been for some time under his care, and entirely recover- 
ed. For a week after his recovery he was harassed during 
his dreams by the same rapid and tumultuous thoughts, 
and the same violent passions by which he had been agitated 
during his insanity. 

The slight outline which has now been given of dream- 
ing, may serve to show that the subject is not only curious 
but important. It appears to be worthy of careful investi- 

Persona unconscious of dreams. Power over the succession of thoughts lot ic 
dreams. Common troubles. Analogy between dreaming and msanity 7 Example Ulus- 
irating it. 


418. REASON. [part III. 

gation, and there is much reason to believe that an exten- 
sive collection of authentic facts, carefully analyzed, would 
unfold principles of very great interest in reference to the 
philosophy of the mental powers. 


.Somnambulism appears to differ from dreammg chiefly 
in the degree in which the bodily functions are affected. 
The mind is fixed in the same manner as in dreaming upon 
its own impressions as possessing a real and present exis- 
tence in external things ; but the bodily organs are more un- 
der the control of the will, so that the individual acts under 
the influence of his erroneous conceptions, and holds con- 
versation in regard to them. He is also, to a certain de- 
gree, susceptible of impressions from without through his 
organs of sense; not, however, so as to correct his errone- 
ous impressions, but rather to be mixed up with them. A 
variety of remarkable phenomena arise out of these pecu- 
liarities, which will be illustrated by a slight outline of this 
sinjTular affection. 

The first degree of somnambulism generally shows itself 
by a propensity to talk during sleep ; the person giving a 
full and connected account of what passes before him in 
dreams, and often revealing his own secrets or those of his 
friends. Walking during sleep is the next degree, and that 
from which the affection derives its name. The phenome- 
na connected with this form are familiar to every one. The 
individual gets out of bed ; dresses himself; if not prevert- 
ed, goes out of doors , walks frequently over dangerous 
places in safety ; sometimes escapes by a window, and gels 
to the roof of a house ; after a considerable interval, returns 
and goes to bed ; and all that has passed conveys to his 
mind merely the impression of a dream. A young noble- 
man, mentioned by Horstius, living in the citadel of Bres 
lau, was observed by his brother, who occupied the same 
room, to rise in his sleep, wrap himself in a cloak, and 
escape by a window to the roof of the building. He there 

Difference between somnanibulism and dreaming. State of the senses ? Firat de 
{fee of somriambulisra ? Next degree ? Instance of it ? 


tore in pieces a magpie's nest, wrapped the young birds in 
his cloak, returned to his apartment, and went to bed. Ic 
the morning he mentioned the circumstances as having oc- 
curred in a dream, and could not be persuaded that there 
had been any thing more than a dream, till he was shown 
the magpies in his cloak. Dr. Prichard mentions a man 
who rose in his sleep, dressed himself, saddled his horse, 
and rode to the place of a market which he was in the habit 
of attending once every week ; and Martinet mentions a 
man who was accustomed to rise in his sleep and pursue 
his business as a saddler. There are many instances on 
record of persons composing during the state of somnambu- 
lism; as of boys rising in their sleep and finishing their tasks 
which they had left incomplete. A gentleman at one of 
the English universities had been very intent during the 
day in the composition of some verses which he had not 
been able to complete : during the following night he rose 
in his sleep and finished his composition ; then expressed 
great exultation, and returned to bed. 

In these common cases the affection occurs during ordi- 
nary sleep ; but a condition very analogous is met with, 
coming on in the daytime in paroxysms, during which the 
person is affected in the same manner as in the state of 
somnambulism, particularly with an insensibility to exter- 
nal impressions : this presents some singular phenomena. 
These attacks in some cases come on without any warning ; 
in others, they are preceded by a noise or a sense of con- 
fusion in the head. The individuals then become more or 
less abstracted, and are either unconscious of any external 
impression, or very confused in their notions of external 
things. They are frequently able to talk in an intelligible 
and consistent manner, but always in reference to the im- 
pression which is present in their own minds. They in 
some cases repeat long pieces of poetry, often more correct 
ly than they can do in their waking state, and not unfre- 
quently things which they could not repeat in their state 
of health, or of which they were supposed to be entirely 
Ignorant. In other cases, they hold conversation with 
imaginary beings, or relate circumstances or conversations 

Other examples ? Case of the English scholar. Attacks in the daytime. Varioua 
sflbcts produced. 

820 REASON. [part III. 

which occurred at remote periods, and which they were 
supposed to have forgotten. Some have been known to 
sing in a style far superior to any thing they could do in 
their waking state ; and there are some well-authenticated 
instances of persons in this condition expressing themselves 
correctly in languages with which they were imperfectly 
acquainted. I had lately under my care a young lady who 
is liable to an affection of this kind, which comes on re- 
peatedly during the day, and continues from ten minutes to 
an hour at a time. Without any warning, her body be- 
comes motionless, her eyes open, fixed, and entirely insensi- 
ble ; and she becomes totally unconscious of any external 
impression. She has been frequently seized while playing 
on the piano, and has continued to play over and over a 
part of a tune with perfect correctness, but without advanc- 
ing beyond a certain point. On one occasion, she was 
seized after she had begun to play from the book a piece 
of music which was new to her. During the paroxysm, 
she continued the part which she had played, and repeated 
it five or six times with perfect correctness ; but, on coming 
out of the attack, she could not play it without the book. 
During the paroxysms the individuals are, in some instan- 
ces, totally insensible to any thing that is said to them ; but 
in others they are capable of holding conversation with 
another person with a tolerable degree of consistency, 
though they are influenced to a certain degree by their 
mental visions, and are very confused in their notions of 
external things. In many cases, again, they are capable 
of going on with the manual occupations in whicji they had 
been engaged before the attack. This occurred remarkably 
in a watchmaker's apprentice mentioned by Martinet. The 
paroxysms in him appeared once in fourteen days, and 
commenced with a feeling of heat extending from the epi- 
gastrium to the head. This was followed by confusion of 
thought, and this by complete insensibility ; his eyes were 
open, but fixed and vacant, and he was totally insensible to 
any thing that was said to him, or to any external im- 
pression. But he continued his usual employment, and was 
always much astonished, on his recovery, to find the change 

The author's patient. Insensibility during the paroiysma. The watchmaker's ap 
prentice. Point illustrated by this case ? 


that had taken place in his work since the commencement 
of the paroxysm. This case afterward passed into epi 

Some remarkable phenomena are presented by this sin 
gnlar affection, especially in regard to exercises of memory 
and the manner in which old associations are recalled into 
the mind ; also in the distinct manner in which the individu 
als sometimes express themselves on subjects with which 
they had formerly shown but an imperfect acquaintance 
In some of the French cases of epidemic " extase," this has 
been magnified into speaking unknown languages, predict- 
ing future events, and describing occurrences of which the 
persons could not have possessed any knowledge. These 
stories seem in some cases to resolve themselves merely 
into embellishment of what really occurred, but in others 
there can be no doubt of connivance and imposture. Some 
facts however appear to be authentic, and are sufficiently 
remarkable. Two females, mentioned by Bertrand, ex- 
pressed themselves during the paroxysm very distinctly 
in Latin. They afterward admitted that they had some 
acquaintance with the language, though it was imperfect. 
An ignorant servant-girl, mentioned by Dr. Dewar, during 
paroxysms of this kind, showed an astonishing knowledge 
of geography and astronomy ; and expressed herself in her 
own language in a manner which, though often ludicrous, 
showed an understanding of the subject. The alternations 
of the seasons, for example, she explained by saying that 
the earth was set a-gee. It was afterward discovered that 
her notions on these subjects had been derived from over- 
hearing a tutor giving instructions to the young people of 
the family. A woman who was some time ago in the in- 
firmary of Edinburgh, on account of an affection of this 
iind, during the paroxysms mimicked the manner of the 
physicians, and repeated correctly some of their prescrip- 
tions in the Latin language. 

Another very singular phenomenon, presented by some 
instances of this affection, is what has been called, rather 
incorrectly, a state of double consciousness. It consists in 

Phenomena in regard to the memory. French cases ? Explanation of tham. Cast 
.f I wo femalea. The oervant-girl. Explanation of these cases ? 

^SZ2 REASON. [pi.iiT m, 

the individual recollecting, during a paroxism, circum- 
stances which occurred in a former attack, though there 
was no remembrance of them during the interval. This, 
.as well as various other phenomena connected with the affec- 
tion, is strikingly illustrated in a case described by Dr. 
Dyce of Aberdeen, in the Edinburgh Philosophical Trans- 
actions. The patient was a servant-girl, and the affection 
began with fits of somnolency, which came upon her sud- 
denly during the day, and from which she could, at first, 
be roused by shaking, or by being taken out into the open 
air. She soon began to talk a great deal during the at- 
tacks, regarding things which seemed to be passing before 
her as a dream ; and she was not at this time sensible of 
any thing that was said to her. On one occasion she re- 
peated distinctly the baptismal service of the Church of 
England, and concluded with an extemporary prayer. In 
lier subsequent paroxysms she began to understand what 
was said to her, and to answer with a considerable degree 
of consistency, though the answers were generally to a 
certain degree influenced by her hallucinations. She also 
became capable of following her usual employments during 
the paroxysm ; at one time she laid out the table correctly 
for breakfsist, and repeatedly dressed herself and the chil- 
dren of the family, her eyes remaining shut the whole time. 
The remarkable circumstance was now discovered that 
during the paroxysm she had a distinct recollection of what 
took place in former paroxysms, though she had no remem- 
brance of it during the intervals. At one time she was 
taken to church while under the attack, and there behaved 
with propriety, evidently attending to the preacher ; and 
she was at one time so much affected as to shed tears. In 
the interval she had no recollection of having been a+ 
church ; but in the next paroxysm she gave a most distinct 
iccount of the sermon, and mentioned particularly the part 
)f it by which she had been so much affected. 

This woman described the paroxysms as coming on with 
1 cloddiness before her eyes and a noise in the head. 
Durmg the attack her eyelids were generally half-shut ; 
her eyes sometimes resembled those of a person affected 

Double consciousness ? Case described by Dr. Dyce. Relate the circumstancea. 
Symptoms preceding and attending the attack ? 


With amaurosis, that is, with a dilated and insensible state 
of the pupil, but sometimes they were quite natural. She 
had a dull vacant look; but, when excited, knew what was 
said to her, though she often mistook the person Avho was 
speaking; and it was observed, that she seemed to discern 
objects best which were faintly illuminated. The parox- 
ysms generally continued about an hour, but she could 
often be roused out of them ; she then yawned and stretched 
herself, like a person awaking out of sleep, and instantly 
knew those about her. At one time, during the attack, she 
read distinctly a portion of a book which was presented to 
her ; and she often sung, both sacred and common pieces, 
incomparably better. Dr. Dyce affirms, than she could do 
in the waking state. The affection continued to recur for 
about six months, and ceased when a particular change took 
place in her constitutioQ. 

Another very remarkable modification of this affection 
is referred to by Mr. Combe, as described by major Elliot, 
professor of mathematics in the United States' Military 
Academy at West Point. The patient was a young lady 
of cultivated mind, and the affection began with an attack 
of somnolency, which was protracted several hours beyond 
the usual time. When she came out of it, she was found to 
have lost every kind of acquired knowledge. She imme- 
diately began to apply herself to the first elements of edu- 
cation, and was making considerable progress, when, after 
several months, she was seized with a second fit of somno- 
lency. She was now at once restored to all the knowledge 
which she possessed before the first attack, but without the 
least recollection of any thing that had taken place during 
the interval. After another interval she had a third attack 
of somnolency, which left her in the same state as after the 
first. In this manner she sufiered these alternate condi- 
tions for a period of four years, with the very remarkable 
circumstance that during the one state she retained all her 
original knowledge ; but during the other, that only which 
she had acquired since the first attack. During the healthy 
interval, for example, she Was remarkable for the beauty 
of her penmanship, but during the paroxysm wrote a poor 
awkward hand. Persons introduced to her during the 

Kesult of this Ciise. Case at West Point ? Her hand-writing ? 

224 KEASON. [part m, 

paroxysms she recognised only in a subsequent paroxysm, 
but not in the interval ; and persons whom she had seen for 
the first time during the healthy interval she did not recog- 
nise during the attack. 

In reference to this very curious subject, the author is in- 
duced to add a fact which has been recently communicated 
to him. A young woman of the lower rank, aged nineteen, 
became insane about two years ago ; but was gentle, and 
applied herself eagerly to various occupations. Before 
tier insanity she had been only learning to read, and to 
form a few letters ; but during her insanity she taught her- 
self to write perfectly, though all attempts of others to 
teach her failed, as she could not attend to any person who 
tried to do so. She has intervals of reason, which have 
frequently continued three weeks, sometimes longer. Dur- 
mg these she can neither read nor write ; but immediately 
on the return of her insanity she recovers her power of 
writing, and can read perfectly. 

Of the remarkable condition of the mental faculties, ex- 
emplified in these cases, it is impossible to give any expla- 
nation. Something very analogous to it occurs in other 
afiections, though in a smaller degree. Dr. Prichard men- 
tions a lady who was liable to sudden attacks of delirium, 
which, after continuing for various periods, went off as sud- 
denly, leaving her at once perfectly rational. The attack 
was often so sudden that it commenced while she was en- 
gaged in interesting conversation, and on such occasfons it 
happened, that on her recovery from the state of delirium 
the instantly recurred to the conversation she had been en- 
gaged in at the time of the attack, though she had never re- 
ferred to it during the continuance of the affection. To such 
a degree was this carried, that she would even complete an 
unfiinished sentence. During the subsequent paroxysm, 
again, she would pursue the train of ideas which had occu- 
pied her mind in the former. Mr. Combe also mentions a 
porter, who in a state of intoxication left a pnrcel at a wrong 
house, and when sober could not recollect what he had done 
with it. But the next time he got drunk, he recollected 
where he had left it, and went and recovered it. 

Her acquaintances ? The insane girl. Possibility of an explanation of these cases! 
Analogous case mentioned by Dr. Prichard. The intoxicated porter. 



Reason we have considered to be that exercise of mind 
by which we compare facts with each other, and mental 
impressions with external things. By means of it we are 
enabled to judge of the relations of facts, and of the agree- 
ment between our impressions and the actual state of things 
in the external world. We have seen also that peculiar 
power which is possessed by the mind in a healthy state, 
of arresting or changing the train of its thoughts at plea- 
sure, of fixing the attention upon one, or transferring it to 
another, of changing the train into something which is 
analogous to it, or of dismissing it altogether. This power 
is, to a greater or less degree, lost in insanity ; and the re- 
sult is one of two conditions. Either the mind is entirely 
under the influence of a single impression, without the 
power of varying or dismissing it, and comparing it with 
other impressions ; or it is left at the mercy of a chain of 
impressions which have been set in motion, and which suc- 
ceed one another according to some principle of connection 
over which the individual has no control. In both cases 
the mental impression is believed to have a real and present 
existence in the external world ; and this false belief is not 
corrected by the actual state of things as they present 
themselves to the senses, or by any facts or considerations 
which can be communicated by other sentient beings. Of 
the cause of this remarkable deviation from the healthy 
state of the mental functions we know nothing. We may 
trace its connection with concomitant circumstances in the 
bodily functions, and we may investigate certain effects 
which result from it; but the nature of the change and the 
manner in which it is produced are among those points in 
the arrangements of the Almighty Creator which entirely 
elude our researches. 

It appears, then, that there is a remarkable analogy be- 
tween the mental phenomena in insanity and in dreaming ; 
and that the leading peculiarities of both these conditions 
are referable to two heads : 

Reason; its definition ? Power over the succession of thoughts. Effecta of insanity 1 
Ciiuee I Analogy between insanity and dreaming. 

226 REASON. [part III. 

1. The impressions which arise in the mind are believed 
to be real and present existences, and this belief is not cor- 
rected by comparing the conception with the actual state of 
things in the external world. 

2. The chain of ideas or images which arise follow one 
another according to certain associations over which the in- 
dividual has no control ; he cannot, as in a healthy state, 
vary the series or stop it at his will. 

In the numerous forms of insanity, we shall see these 
characters exhibited in various degrees ; but we shall be 
able to trace their influence in one degree or another 
through all the modifications ; and, in the higher states, or 
what we call perfect mania, we see them exemplified in the 
same complete manner as in dreaming. The maniac fan- 
cies himself a king possessed of boundless power, and sur- 
rounded by every form of earthly splendor ; and, with all 
his bodily senses in their perfect exercise, this hallucination 
is in no degree corrected by the sight of his bed of straw 
and all the horrors of his cell. 

From this state of perfect mania the malady is traced 
through numerous gradations to forms which exhibit slight 
deviations from the state of a sound mind. But they al. 
show, in one degree or another, the same leading charac- 
ters, namely, that some impression has taken possession of 
the mind, and influences the conduct in a manner in which 
it would not affect a sound understanding ; and that this is 
not corrected by facts and considerations which are calcu- 
lated immediately to relieve the erroneous impression. 
The lower degrees of this condition we call eccentricity 
and, in common language, we often talk of a man being 
crazed upon a particular subject. This consists in giving 
to an impression or a fancy undue and extravagant impor- 
tance, without taking into account other facts and consider- 
ations which ought to be viewed in connection with it. The 
man of this character acts with promptitude upon a single 
idea, and seems to perceive nothing that interferes with it 
he forms plans, and sees only important advantages which 
would arise from the accomplishment of them, without 
perceiving difficulties or objections. The impression itself 

Two leading peculiarities? When most completely exemplified ? Leading charac 
ters the same in all stages. Lower sUge, what? Nature of eccentricity 


may be correct, but an importance is attached to it dispro- 
portioned to its true tendency; or consequences are deduc- 
ed from, and actions founded upon it, which would not be 
warranted in the estimate of a sound understanding. It is 
often difficult to draw the line between certain degrees of 
this condition and insanity ; and, in fact, they very often 
pass into each other. This will be illustrated by the fol- 
lowing example : 

A clergyman in Scotland, after showing various extrava- 
gances of conduct, was brought before a j ury to be cog- 
nosced ; that is, by a form of Scotch law to be declared in- 
capable of managing his own affairs, and placed under the 
care of trustees. Among the acts of extravagance alleged 
against him was, that he had burnt his library. When he 
was asked by the jury what account he could give of this 
part of his conduct, he replied in the following terms : 
*' In the early part of my life I had imbibed a liking for a 
most unprofitable study, namely, controversial divinity. 
On reviewing my library, I found a great part of it to con- 
sist of books of this description, and I was so anxious that 
my family should not be led to follow the same pursuit, that 
I determined to burn the whole." He gave answers equal- 
ly plausible to questions which were put to him respecting 
other parts of his conduct ; and the result was that the 
jury found no sufficient ground for cognoscing him ; but in 
the course of a fortnight from that time he was in a state 
of decided mania. 

It is, therefore, incorrect to say of insanity, as has been 
said, that the maniac reasons correctly upon unsound data. 
His data may be unsound, that is, they may consist of a 
mental image v/hich is purely visionary, as in the state of 
perfect mania lately referred to ; but this is by no means 
necessary to constitute the disease ; for his premises may 
be sound, though he distorts them in the results which he 
deduces from them. This was remarkably the case in the 
clergyman now mentioned. His premises were sound and 
consistent, namely, his opinion of the unprofitable nature of 
the study of controversial divinity, and his anxiety that his 
family should not prosecute it. His insanity consisted in 

Ciiae of the clergyman. His defence before the jury. Erroneous theory of insanity. 
Illustrated by the preceding case. 

22S REASON. [part HI. 

the rapid and partial view which he took of the means for 
accompUshing his purpose, burning his whole library. 
Had he sold his library or that part of it which consisted 
of controversial divinity, the measure would have been in 
correct relation to the object which he had in view ; and if 
we suppose that in going over his library he had met with 
some books of an immoral tendency, to have burnt these to 
prevent them from falling into the hands of any individual 
would have been the act both of a wise and virtuous man. 
But to burn his whole library to prevent his family from 
studying controversial divinity, was the suggestion of in- 
sanity, distorting entirely the true relation of things, and 
carrying an impression, in itself correct, into consequences 
which it in no degree warranted. 

A remarkable peculiarity in many cases of insanity is, a 
great activity of mind, and rapidity of conception, a ten- 
dency to seize rapidly upon incidental or partial relations of 
things, and often a fertility of imagination which changes 
the character of the mind, sometimes without remarkably 
distorting it. The memory, in such cases, is entire, and 
even appears more ready than in health ; and old associa- 
tions are called up with a rapidity quite unknown to the 
individual in his sound state of mind. A gentleman, men- 
tioned by Dr. Willis, who was liable to periodical attacks 
of insanity, said that he expected the paroxysms with im- 
patience, because he enjoyed during them a high degree of 
pleasure. " Every thing appeared easy to me. No ob- 
stacles presented themselves, either in theory or practice. 
My memory acquired all of a sudden- a singular degree of 
perfection. Long passages of Latin authors occurred to 
my mind. In general I have great difficulty in finding 
rhythmical terminations, but then I could write verses with 
as great facility as prose." " I have often," says Pinel, 
" stopped at the chamber door of a literary gentleman who, 
during his paroxysms, appears to soar above the mediocri- 
ty of intellect that was familiar to him, solely to admire his 
newly acquired powers of eloquence. He declaimed upon 
the subject of the revolution with all the force, the dignity, 
and the purity of language that this very interesting subject 

Examiiiaiion of his reasoning. Remarkable effects of insanity in some cases, 
mentioned by Dr. WiUu ? By Pinel ? 

^EC. IV.] INSANITY. 229 

jould admit of. At other times he was a man of very ordi- 
nary abihties." 

It is this activity of thought and readiness of association 
that gives to maniacs of a particular class an appearance 
ftf great ingenuity and acuteness. Hence they have been 
said to reason acutely upon false premises ; and one author 
has even alleged that a maniac of a particular kind would 
make an excellent logician. But to say that a maniac 
reasons either soundly or acutely is an abuse of terms. 
He reasons plausibly and ingeniously; that is, he catches 
rapidly incidental and partial relations ; and from the ra- 
pidity with which they are seized upon, it may sometimes 
be difficult at first to detect their fallacy. He might have 
made a skilful logician of the schools, whose ingenuity con- 
sisted in verbal disputes and frivolous distinctions ; but he 
never can be considered as exercising that sound logic, the 
aim of which is to trace the real relations of things, and the 
object of which is truth. 

The peculiar character of insanity, in all its modifications 
appears to be that a certain impression has fixed itself upon 
the mind in such a manner as to exclude all others ; or to 
exclude them from that influence which they ought to have 
on the mind in its estimate of the relations of things. This 
impression may be entirely visionary and unfounded ; or it 
may be in itself true, but distorted in the applications which 
the unsound mind makes of it, and the consequences which 
are deduced from it. Thus a man of wealth fancies himself 
a beggar, and in danger of dying of hunger. Another takes 
up the same impression who has, in fact, sustained some 
considerable loss. In the one, the impression is entirely 
visionary, like that which might occur in a dream ; in the 
other, it is a real and true impression, carried to conse- 
quences which it does not warrant. 

There is great variety in the degree to which the mind 
IS influenced by the erroneous impression. In some cases 
it is such as entirely excludes all others, even those imme- 
diately arising from the evidence of the senses, as in the state 
of perfect mania formerly referred to. In many others. 

Results of ihU in many cases. The reasoning of a maniac. Peculiar character OT 
tepanityV Examples. Changes of character effected by it. 


230 REASON [part TEL 

though in a less degree than this, it is such as to change the 
whole character. The particular manner in which this 
more immediately appears will depend, of course, upon the 
nature of the erroneous impression. A person formerly- 
most correct in his conduct and habits may become obscene 
and blasphemous ; accustomed occupations become odious 
to him ; the nearest and most beloved friends become ob- 
jects of his aversion and abhorrence. Much interesting 
matter of observation often arises out of these peculiarities : 
and it is no less interesting to observe during convalescence 
the gradual return to former habits and attachments. A 
young lady, mentioned by Dr. Rush, who had been for somo 
time confined in a lunatic asylum, had shown for several 
weeks every mark of a sound mind except one, she hated 
her father. At length, she one day acknowledged with 
pleasure the return of her filial attachment, and was soon 
after discharged, entirely recovered. Even when the erro- 
neous impression is confined to a single subject, it is remark- 
able how it absorbs the attention, to the exclusion of other 
feelings of a most intense and powerful kind. I knew a 
person of wealth who had fallen into a temporary state of 
melancholic hallucination, in connection with a transaction 
in business which he regretted having made, but of which 
he real effect was of a trifling nature. While in this situ- 
ation, the most severe distress occurred in his family, by 
the death of one of them under painful circumstances, with- 
out his being affected by it in the slightest degree. 

The uniformity of the impressions of maniacs is indeed 
so remarkable that it has been proposed by Pinel as a test 
for distinguishing real from feigned insanity. He has seen 
melancholies confined in the Bicetre for twelve, fifteen, 
twenty, and even thirty years ; and through the whole of 
that period their hallucination has been limited to one sub- 
J2Ct. Others, after a course of years, have changed from 
one hallucination to another. A man, mentioned by him, 
was for eight years constantly haunted with the idea of 
being poisoned : he then changed his hallucination, became 
sovereign of the world and extremely happy, and thus con- 
tinued for four years. 

The sudden revival of old impressions, after having been 

Dr. Hush's patienu Uniformity of the iraoressions of maniaca. 


long entirely suspended by mental hallucinations, presents 
some of the most singular phenomena connected with this 
subject. Dr. Prichard mentions an interesting case of this 
kind from the American Journal of Science. A man had 
been employed for a day with a beetle and wedges in split- 
ting pieces of wood for erecting a fence. At night, before 
going home, he put the beetle and wxdges into the hollow 
of an old tree, and directed his sons, who had been at work 
in an adjoining field, to accempany him next morning to 
assist in making the fence. In the night he became mani- 
acal, and continued in a state of insanity for several years, 
during which time his mind was not occupied with any of 
the subjects with which he had been conversant when in 
health. After several years his reason returned suddenly, 
and the first question he asked was whether his sons had 
brought home the beetle and wedges. They, being afraid 
of entering upon any explanation, only said that they could 
not find them ; on which he arose from his bed, went to the 
field where he had been at work so many years before, and 
found where he had left them the wedges and the iron 
tings of the beetle, the wooden part being entirely moul- 
dered away. A lady, mentioned in the same journal, had 
oeen intensely engaged for some time in a piece of needle- 
work. Before she had completed it, she became insane, 
and continued in that state for seven years, after which her 
reason returned suddenly. One of the first questions she 
asked related to her needle-work, though she had never 
alluded to it, so far as was recollected, during her illness. 
I have formerly alluded to the remarkable case of a lady 
who was liable to periodical paroxysms of delirium, which 
often attacked her so suddenly, that in conversation she 
would stop in the middle of a story, or even of a sentence, 
and branch off' into the subject of her hallucination. On 
the return of her reason, she would resume the conversation 
in which she was engaged at the time of the attack, begin- 
ning exactly where she had left off', though she had never 
alluded to it during the delirium ; and on the next attack 
of delirium she would resume the subject of hallucination 
with which she had been occupied at the conclusion of the 

Rerival of old impressions Story of the beetle and wedges. Tl e piece of needl 
ork. Other cases. 

^32 REASON. [part IH 

former paroxysm. In some cases there is a total loss of 
the impression of time respecting the period occupied by 
the attack, which on the partial recovery of the patient 
shows itself by singular fancies. A man, mentioned by 
Haslam, maintained that he had seen the seed sown in 
a particular field, and on passing it again three or four 
days after saw the reapers at work cutting down the 
corn. The interval of which he had thus lost entirely 
the impression, had been spent in a state of furious insa- 
nity ; from this he had in so far recovered as, by a mere 
act of observation and memory, to form this notion, but not 
so far as, by an act of comparison or judgment, to perceive 
its absurdity. 

Among the most singular phenomena connected with in- 
sanity we must reckon those cases in which the hallucina- 
tion is confined to a single point, while on every other sub- 
ject the patient speaks and acts like a rational man : and he 
often shows the most astonishing power of avoiding the sub- 
ject of his disordered impression, when circumstances make 
it advisable for him to do so. A man, mentioned by Pinel, 
who had been for some time confined in the Bicetre, was on 
the visitation of a commissary ordered to be discharged as 
perfectly sane, after a long conversation in which he had 
conducted himself with the greatest propriety. The officer 
prepared the proch verbal for his discharge, and gave it 
him to put his name to it, when he subscribed himself Jesus 
Christ, and then indulged in all the reveries connected with 
that delusion. Lord Erskine gives a very remarkable 
history of a man who indicted Dr. Munro for confining him 
without cause in a mad house. He underwent a most ri- 
gid examination by the counsel of the defendant without 
discovering any appearance of insanity, until a gentleman 
came into court who desired a question to be put to him 
respecting a princess with whom he had corresponded in 
cherry-juice. He immediately talked about the princess in 
the most insane manner, and the cause was at an end. But 
this having taken place in Westminster, he commenced 
another action in the city of London, and on this occasion 
no eflbrt could induce him to expose his insanity ; so that 

Case mentioned by Haslam ? Derangement on a single point. The prisoner in Iho 
Bicetre. Case given by Lord Erskine. 


the cause was dismissed only by bringing against him the 
evidence taken at Westminster. On another occasion Lord 
Erskine examined a gentleman who had indicted his brother 
for confining him as a maniac, and the examination had 
gone on for great part of a day without discovering any 
trace of insanity. Dr. Sims then came into court, and in- 
formed the counsel that the gentleman considered himself as 
the Savior of the Avorld. A single observation addressed to 
him in this character showed his insanity, and put an end 
to the cause. Many similar cases are on record. Several 
years ago a gentleman in Edinburgh who was brought be- 
fore a jury to be cognosced, defeated every attempt of the 
opposite counsel to discover any trace of insanity, until a 
gentleman came into court who ought to have been present 
at the beginning of the case, but had been accidentally de- 
tained. He immediately addressed the patient by asking 
him what were his latest accounts from the planet Saturn, 
and speedily elicited proofs of his insanity. 

Of the nature and cause of that remarkable condition of 
the mental faculties which gives rise to the phenomena of 
insanity, we know nothing. We can only observe the facts, 
and endeavor to trace among them some general principle 
of connection : and even in this there is great difficulty, 
chiefly from the want of observations particularly directed 
to this object. There would be much interesting subject of 
inquiry in tracing the origin of the particular chain of ideas 
which arise in individual cases of insanity ; and likewise the 
manner in which similar impressions are modified in different 
cases, either by circumstances in the natural disposition of 
the individual, or by the state of his bodily functions at the 
time. From what has been observed, it seems probable that 
in both these respects there is preserved a remarkable ana- 
logy to dreaming. The particular hallucinations may be 
chiefly referred to the following heads : 

I. Propensities of character, which had been kept under 
restraint by reason or by external circumstances, or old habits 
which had been subdued or restrained, developing themselves 
without control, and leading the mind into trains of fancies 

Otnar similar cases. Cause of insanity ? Our knowledge oa the subject confined ta 
what? Classes of hallucinations ? Old habits or propensities. 


234 REASON. [part m. 

arising out of them. Thus a man of an aspiring, ambitious 
character may imagine himself a king, or great personage * 
while in a man of a timid, suspicious disposition, the mind 
may fix upon some supposed injury, or loss either of pro- 
perty or reputation. 

II. Old associations recalled into the mind, and mixed up 
perhaps with more recent occurrences, in the same manner 
as we often see in dreaming. A lady mentioned by Dr. 
Gooch, who became insane in consequence of an alarm from 
a house on fire in her neighborhood, imagined that she 
was the Virgin Mary, and had a luminous halo around her 

III. Visions of the imagination which have formerly been 
indulged in, of that kind which we call waking dreams, or 
castle-building, recurring to the mind in this condition, and 
now believed to have a real existence. I have been able to 
trace this source of the hallucination. In one case, for ex- 
ample, it turned upon an office to which the individual ima- 
gined he had been appointed; and it was impossible to per- 
suade him to the contrary, or even that the office was not 
vacant. He afterward acknowledged that his fancy had at 
various times been fixed upon that appointment, though there 
were no circumstances that warranted him in entertaining 
any expectation of it. In a man mentioned by Dr. Morison, 
the hallucination turned upon circumstances which had been 
mentioned when his fortune was told by a Gipsey. 

IV. Bodily feelings giving rise to trains of associations, 
in the same extravagant manner as in dreaming. A man, 
mentioned by Dr. Rush, imagined that he had a Caffire in 
his stomach, who had got into it at the cape of Good Hope, 
and had occasioned him a constant uneasiness ever since. 
In such a case, it is probable that there had been some 
fixed or frequent uneasy feeling at the stomach, and that 
about the commencement of his complaint he had been 
Btrongly impressed by some transaction in which a Caffre 
was concerned. 

Old associations. Visions of imaginalion. Case? Bodily feelings. Dr. Rush's 


V. There seems reason to believe that the hallucinations 
of the insane are often influenced by a certain sense of the 
new and singular state in which their mental powers really 
are, and a certain feeling, though confused and ill-defined, 
of the loss of that power over their mental processes which 
they possessed when in health. To a feeling of this kind 
I am disposed to refer the impression so common amon^ 
the insane of being under the influence of some supernatu 
ral power. They sometimes represent it as the working of 
an evil spirit, and sometimes as witchcraft. Very often 
they describe it as a mysterious and undue influence which 
some individual has obtained over them, and this influence 
they often represent as being carried on by means of elec- 
tricity, galvanism, or magnetism. This impression being 
once established of a mysterious agency, or a mysterious 
change in the state and feelings of the individual, various 
other incidental associations may be brought into connection 
with it, according as particular circumstances have made- 
a deep impression on the mind. A man mentioned by Pinel, 
who had become insane during the French revolution, ima- 
gined that he had been guillotined; that the judges had 
changed their mind after the sentence was executed, and had 
ordered his head to be put on again ; and that the persons 
intrusted with this duty had made a mistake, and put a wrong 
head upon him. Another individual, mentioned by Dr. 
Conolly, imagined that he had been hanged, and brought to 
life by means of galvanism ; and that the whole of his life 
had not been restored to him. 

Out of the same undefined feeling of mental processes 
very different from those of their healthy state probably 
arises another common impression, namely, of intercourse 
with spiritual beings, visions, and revelations. The particu- 
lar character of these, perhaps, arises out of some previous 
processes of the mind, or strong propensity of the character ; 
and the notion of a supernatural revelation may proceed 
from a certain feeling of the new and peculiar manner in 
vvhich the impression is fixed upon the mind. A priest, 
mentioned by Pinel, imagined that he had a commission 
from the Virgin Mary to murder a certain individual, who 

Influence of a sense of their state on the insane. Cases mentioned? Ideas of c>a 
munication with supernatural beings. Story ofthe priest ? 

236 REASON. [part iil 

was accused of infidelity. It is probable that the patient in 
this case had been naturally of a violent and irascible dis* 
position ; that he had come in contact with this person, and 
had been annoyed and irritated by infidel sentiments uttered 
by him ; and that a strong feeling in regard to him had 
thus been excited in his mind, which, in his insane state, 
was formed into this vision. 

When the mental impression is of a depressing charac- 
ter, that modification of the disease is produced which is 
called melancholia. It seems to differ from mania merely 
in the subject of hallucination, and accordingly we find the 
two modifications pass into each other, the same patient 
being at one time in a state of melancholic depression, and 
at another of maniacal excitement. It is, however, more 
common for the melancholic to continue in the state of de- 
pression, and generally in reference to one subject ; and the 
difference between him and the exalted maniac does not 
appear to depend upon the occasional cause. For we 
sometimes find persons who have become deranged in con- 
nection with overwhelming calamities, show no depression, 
nor even a recollection of their distresses, but the highest 
state of exalted mania. The difference appears to depend 
chiefly upon constitutional peculiarities of character 

The most striking peculiarity of melancholia is the pre- 
vailing propensity to suicide; and there are facts connected 
with this subject which remarkably illustrate what may be 
called the philosophy of insanity. When the melancholic 
hallucination has fully taken possession of the mind, it be- 
comes the sole object of attention, without the power of 
varying the impression, or of directing the thoughts to any 
facts or considerations calculated to remove or palliate it. 
The evil seems overwhelming and irremediable, admitting 
neither of palliation, consolation, nor hope. For the pro- 
cess of mind calculated to diminish such an impression, or 
even to produce the hope of a palliation of the evil, is pre- 
cisely that exercise of mind which, in this singular condition, 
is lost or suspended ; namely, a power of changing the sub- 
ject of thought, of transferring the attention to other facts 

Melancholy. How distinguished from mania ? Most striking peculiarity of melan 
choly ? Overwhelming influence of the melancholy feelinga. 


and considerations, and of comparing the mental impression 
with these, and with the actual state of external things. 
Under such a conviction of overwhelming and hopeless 
misery, the feeling naturally arises of life being a burden, 
and this is succeeded by a determination to quit it. When 
such an association has once been formed, it also fixes itself 
"upon the mind, and fails to be corrected by those considera- 
tions which ought to remove it. That it is in this manner 
the impression arises, and not from any process analogous 
to the determination of a sound mind, appears, among other 
circumstances, from the singular manner in which it is 
often dissipated ; namely, by the accidental production of 
some new impression, not calculated in any degree to influ- 
ence the subject of thought, but simply to give a momentary 
direction of the mind to some other feeling. Thus a man, 
mentioned by Pinel, had left his house in the night with the 
determined resolution of drowning himself, when he was 
attacked by robbers. He did his best to escape from them, 
and, having done so, returned home, the resolution of sui- 
cide being entirely dissipated. A woman, mentioned, I 
believe, by Dr. Burrows, had her resolution changed in the 
same manner, by something falling on her head after she 
had gone out for a similar purpose. 

A very singular modification occurs in some of these 
cases. With the earnest desire of death, there is combined 
an impression of the criminality of suicide ; but this, instead 
of correcting the hallucination, only leads to another and 
most extraordinary mode of effecting the purpose ; namely, 
by committing murder, and so dying by the hand of justice. 
Several instances are on record in which this remarkable 
mental process was distinctly traced and avowed ; and in 
which there was no mixture of malice against the individu- 
als who were murdered. On the contrary, they were gene- 
rally children ; and in one of the cases, the maniac distinctly 
avowed his resolution to commit murder, with a view of 
dying by a sentence of law, and at the same time his deter- 
mination that his victim should be a child, as he should thus 
avoid the additional guilt of sending a person out of the 
world in a state of unrepented sin. The mental process in 

TVhy they cannot be removed 7 Case mentioned by Pinel 't Singular modification 
of the disease 7 Instances ? 

238 REASON. [part III. 

such a case presents a most interesting subject of reflection- 
It appears to be purely a process o^ association, without the 
power of reasoning. I should suppose that there had been 
at a former period, during a comparatively healthy state of 
the mental faculties, a repeated contemplation of suicide, 
which had been always checked by an immediate convic- 
tion of its dreadful criminality. In this manner, a strong 
connection had been formed, which, when the idea of suicide 
afterward came into the mind during the state of insanity, 
led to the impression of its heinousness, not by a process of 
reasonhig, but by simple association. The subsequent 
steps are the distorted reasonings of insanity, mixed with 
some previous impression of the safe condition of children 
dying in infancy. This explanation, I think, is strongly 
countenanced by the consideration, that had the idea of the 
criminality of suicide been in any degree a process of rea- 
soning, a corresponding conviction of the guilt of murder 
must have followed it. I find, however, one case which is 
at variance with this hypothesis. The reasoning of that 
unfortunate individual \vas, that if he committed murder 
and died by the hand of justice, there would be time for 
making his peace with the Almighty between the crime 
and his execution, which would not be the case if he should 
die by suicide. This was a species of reasoning, but it was 
purely the reasoning of insanity. 

Attempts have been made to refer insanity to disease of 
bodily organs, but hitherto without much success. In some 
instances we are able to trace a connection of this kind ; 
but in a large proportion we can trace no bodily disease. 
On this subject, as well as various other points connected 
with the phenomena of insanity, extensive and careful ob- 
servation will be required before we are entitled to advance 
to any conclusions. In regard to what have been called 
the moral causes of insanity, also, I suspect there has been 
a good deal of fallacy, arising from considering as a moral 
cause what was really a part of the disease. Thus we find 
so many cases of insanity referred to erroneous views of 
religion, so many to love, so many to ambition, &c. But 

Explanation. Exception Erroneous theory of insanity. Can any connection b 
traced * Common fallacy ? 

8EC. IV*] INSANITY. 239 

perhaps it may be doubted whether that which was in these 
cases considered as the cause, was not rather, in many in- 
stances, a part of the hallucination. This, I think, applies 
m a peculiar manner to the important subject of religion, 
which, by a common but very loose mode of speaking, is 
often mentioned as a frequent cause of insanity. When 
there is a constitutional tendency to insanity, or to melan- 
choly, one of its leading modifications, every subject is dis- 
torted to which the mind can be directed, and none more 
frequently or more remarkably than the great questions of 
religious belief. But this is the effect, not the cause ; and 
the frequency of this kind of hallucination, and the various 
forms which it assumes, may be ascribed to the subject 
being one to which the minds of all men are so naturally 
directed in one degree or another, and of which no man 
living can entirely divest himself. Even when the mind 
does give way under a great moral cause, such as over- 
whelming misfortunes, we often find that the hallucination 
does not refer to them, but to something entirely distinct : 
striking examples of this are mentioned by Pinel. 

Insanity is, in a large proportion of cases, to be traced to 
hereditary predisposition ; and this is often so strong that 
no prominent moral cause is necessary for the production of 
the disease, and probably no moral treatment would have 
any effect in preventing it. We must, however, suppose, 
that where a tendency to insanity exists, there may be, in 
many cases, circumstances in mental habits or mental dis- 
cipline calculated either to favor or to counteract the ten- 
dency. Insanity frequently commences with a state in 
which particular impressions fix themselves upon the mind 
in a manner entirely disproportioned to their true relations; 
and in which these false impressions fail to be corrected by 
the judgment comparing them with other impressions, or 
with external things. In so far as mental habits may be 
supposed to favor or promote such a condition, this may be 
likely to result from allowing the mind to wander away 
from the proper duties of life, or to luxuriate amid scenes of 
the imagination; and permitting mental emotions, of what- 
ever kind, to be excited in a manner disproportioned to the. 

Is religious melancholy the cause or effect of insanity ? Hereditary predisposition 
Influence of mental habits in promoting it? 

240 REASON. [PAllT IH. 

true relations of the objects which give rise to them ; in 
short, from allowing the mind to ramble among imaginary 
events, or to be led away by slight and casual relations, in- 
stead of steadily exercising the judgment in the investiga- 
tion of truth. We might refer to the same head habits of 
distorting events, and of founding upon them conclusions 
which they do not warrant. These, and other propensities 
and habits of a similar kind, constitute what is called an ill- 
regulated mind. Opposed to it is that habit of cool and 
sound exercise of the understanding by which events are 
contemplated in their true relations and consequences, and 
mental emotions arise out of them such as they are really 
calculated to produce. Every one must be familiar with 
the difference which exists among different individuals in 
this respect ; and even in the same individual at different 
times. We trace the influence of the principle in the im- 
pression which is made by events coming upon us suddenly 
and unexpectedly ; and the manner in which the emotion 
is gradually brought to its proper bearings, as the mind ac- 
commodates itself to the event, by contemplating it in its 
true relations. In such a mental process as this, we observe 
the most remarkable diversities among various individuals. 
In some, the mind rapidly contemplates the event in all 
Its relations, and speedily arrives at the precise impression 
or emotion which it is in truth fitted to produce. In 
others, this is done more slowly, perhaps more imperfectly, 
and probably not without the aid of suggestions from other 
minds ; while, in some, the first impression is so strong and 
so permanent, and resists in such a manner those considera- 
tions which might remove or moderate it, that we find diffi- 
culty in drawing the line between it and that kind of false 
impression which constitutes the lower degree of insanity. 
Habits of mental application must also exert a great influ- 
ence; and we certainly remark a striking difference be- 
tween those who are accustomed merely to works of ima- 
gination and taste, and those whose minds have been rigidly 
exercised to habits of calm and severe inquiry. A fact 
is mentioned by Dr. Conolly which if it shall be con- 
firmed by farther observation, would lead to some most im- 

Habits which tend to avert it? Diversities among individuals. Influence of habit* 
3l mental application ? Dr. Conolly's testimony ? 


portant reflections. He states that it appears froir* the re- 
gisters of the Bicetre, that maniacs of the more educated 
classes consist almost entirely of priests, artists, painters, 
sculptors, poets, and musicians ; while no instance, it is said, 
occurs of the disease in naturalists, physicians, geometri- 
cians, or chemists. 

The higher degrees of insanity are in general so distinct- 
ly defined in their characters as to leave no room for doubt 
in deciding upon the nature of the affection. But it is 
otherwise in regard to many of the lower modifications ; 
and great discretion is often required in judging whether 
the conduct of an individual, in particular instances, is to be 
considered as indicative of insanity. This arises from the 
principle, which must never be lost sight of, that in such 
cases we are not to decide simply from the facts themselves, 
but by their relation to other circumstances, and to the pre- 
vious habits and character of the individual. There are 
many peculiarities and eccentricities of character which do 
not constitute insanity ; and the same peculiarities may af- 
ford reason for suspecting insanity in one person and not in 
another ; namely, when in the former they have appeared 
suddenly, and are much opposed to his previous uniform 
character ; while, to the latter, they have been long known 
to be habitual and natural. Thus, acts of thoughtless pro- 
digality and extravagance niay, in one person, be considered 
entirely in accordance with his uniform character ; while 
the sanfie acts, committed by a person formerly distinguished 
by sedate and prudent conduct, may give good ground 
for suspecting insanity, and in fact constitute a form in 
which the affection very often appears. In ordinary cases 
of insanity, a man's conduct is to be tried by a comparison 
with the average conduct of other men; but, in many of 
the cases now referred to, he must be compared with his for- 
mer self. 

Another caution is to be kept in mind, respecting the 
mental impressions of the individual in these slight or sus 
pected cases of insanity ; that an impression which gives 
reason for suspecting insanity in one case, because we know 

Higher degrees of insanity well marked. Lower degrees. Necessity of caution. 
Mental poc iliarities whicli are sometimes mistaken for insanity. Another caution ? 


i42 REASON. [part 111. 

it to be entirely unfounded and imaginary, may allow of no 
such conclusion in another, in which it has some reasonable 
or plausible foundation. Insane persons indeed often relate 
stories which hang together so plausibly and consistently, 
that we cannot say whether we are to consider them as in- 
dicative of insanity, until we have ascertained whether they 
have any foundation, or are entirely imaginary. In one 
instance which was referred to in the discussions respecting 
a late remarkable case, the principal fact alleged against 
the individual was, his having taken up a suspicion of the 
fidelity of his wife. But it turned out to be a very general 
opinion among his neighbors that the impression was well- 
founded. The same principle applies to the antipathies 
against intimate friends which are often so remarkable in 
the insane. They may be of such a nature as decidedly to 
mark the hallucination of insanity, as when a person ex- 
presses a dislike to a child, formerly beloved, on the ground 
that he is not really his child, but an evil spirit which has 
assumed his form. This is clearly insanity ; but if the anti- 
pathy be against a friend or relative, without any such rea- 
son assigned for it, we require to keep in view the inquiry, 
whether the impression be the result of hallucination, or 
whether the relative has really given any ground for it. In 
all slight or doubtful cases, much discretion should be used 
in putting an individual under restraint, and still more in 
immediately subjecting him to confinement in an asylum 
for lunatics. But there is one modification in which all 
such delicacy must be dispensed Avith, namely, in those me- 
lancholic cases which have shown any tendency to suicide. 
Whenever this propensity has appeared, no time is to be 
lost in taking the most effectual precautions ; and the most 
painful consequences have very often resulted, in cases of 
this description, from misplaced delicacy and delay. 

The subject of hallucination in insanity we have seen 
may be either entirely imaginary and groundless, or may 
be a real event viewed in false relations, and carried to false 
consequences. This view of the subject bears upon an im- 
portant practical point which has been much agitated, name- 
stories related by the insane. Some impressions conclusive proof of feiBaniC/. Tap 
iency to suicide. Subjects of hallucination twofold. 


iy, the liability of maniacs to punishment; and which has 
been ably and ingeniously argued by Lord Erskine in his 
defence of Hatfield, who fired at his majesty King George 
III. The principle contended for by this eminent person is 
that when a maniac commits a crime under the influence of 
an impression which is entirely visionary, and purely the 
hallucination of insanity, he is not the object of punishment ; 
but that, though he may have shown insanity in other things, 
he is liable to punishment if the impression under which he 
acted was true, and the human passion arising out of it was 
directed to its proper object. He illustrates this principle 
by contrasting the case of Hatfield with that of Lord Fer- 
rers. Hatfield had taken a fancy that the end of the world 
was at hand, and that the death of his majesty was in 
some way connected with important events which were 
about to take place. Lord Ferrers, after showing various 
indications of insanity, murdered a man against Avhom he 
was known to harbor deep-rooted resentment, on account 
of real transactions in which that individual had rendered 
himself obnoxious to him. The former, therefore, is consi- 
dered as an example of the pure hallucination of insanity , 
the latter as one of human passion founded on real events 
and directed to its proper object. Hatfield, accordingly, 
was acquitted, but Lord Ferrers was convicted of murdei 
and executed. The contrast between the two cases is suffi- 
ciently striking ; but it may be questioned whether it wih 
bear all that Lord Erskine has founded upon it. There 
can be no doubt of the first of his propositions, that a person 
acting under the pure hallucination of insanity, in regard 
to impressions which are entirely unfounded, is not the 
object of punishment. But the converse does not seem to 
follow ; namely, that the man becomes an object of punish- 
ment merely because the impression was founded in fact, 
and because there was a human passion directed to its pro- 
per object. For it is among the characters of insanity not 
only to call up impressions which are entirely visionary, 
but also to distort and exaggerate those which are true, and 
to carry them to consequences which they do not warrant 
in the estimation of a sound mind. A person, for instance, 

Important practical point ? Argument of Lord Erskine ? His positions ? His illu 
nation of it ? Relate the case. Author's view of this subject ? 

244 REASON. [part IlL 

who has suffered a loss in business which does not affect 
his circumstances in any important degree, may imagine, 
under the influence of hallucination, that he is a ruined 
man, and that his family is reduced to beggary. Now, were 
a wealthy man under the influence of such hallucination to 
commit an outrage on a person who had defrauded him of 
a trifling sum, the case would afford the character mention- 
ed by Lord Erskine, namely, human passion founded upon 
real events, and directed to its proper object : but no one, 
probably, would doubt for a moment that the process was 
as much the result of insanity as if the impression had been 
entirely visionary. In this hypothetical case, indeed, the 
injury, though real, is slight ; but it does not appear that the 
principle is necessarily affected by the injury being great, 
or more in relation to the result which it leads to according 
to the usual course of human passion. It would appear 
probable, therefore, that in-deciding a doubtful case, a jury 
ought to be guided, not merely by the circumstances of the 
case itself, but by the evidenae of insanity in other things. 
This, accordingly, appears to have been the rule on which 
a jury acted in another important case mentioned by Lord 
Erskine, in which an unfortunate female, under the influ- 
ence of insanity, murdered a man who had seduced and 
deserted her. Here was a real injury of the highest de- 
scription, and human passion founded upon it and directed 
to its proper object ; but the jury, on proof of derangement 
in other things, acquitted the prisoner, who accordingly 
soon passed into a state of " undoubted and deplorable insa- 
nity." In the case of Lord Ferrers, also, it would appear 
that the decision proceeded, not so much upon the principle 
of human passion directed to its proper object, as upon an 
impression that his lordship's previous conduct had been 
indicative of uncontrolled violence of temper, rather than 
actual insanity. 

Some of the points which have been briefly alluded to 
seem to bear on the practical part of this important subject, 
the moral treatment of insanity. Without entering on any 
.engthened discussion, some leading principles may be re- 
ferred to the folio w^ing heads : 

Illustration of it? Lord Erskine's reasoning examined. Considerations which 
should influence a jury ? Case of the female murderer. Practical part of this 


I. It will be generally admitted that every attempt to 
reason with a maniac is not only fruitless, but rather tends 
to fix more deeply his erroneous impression. An impor- 
tant rule in the moral management of the insane will there- 
fore probably be, to avoid every allusion to the subject of 
their hallucination, to remove from them every thing calcu- 
lated by association to lead to it, and to remove them from 
scenes and persons likely to recall or keep up the erroneous 
impression. Hence, probably, in a great measure arises 
the remarkable benefit of removing the insane from their 
usual residence, friends, and attendants, and placing them 
in new scenes, and entirely under the care of strangers. 
The actual effect of this measure is familiar to every one 
who is in any degree conversant with the management of 
the insane. That the measure may have its full effect, it 
appears to be of importance that the patient should not, for 
a considerable time, be visited by any friend or acquaint- 
ance ; but should be separated from every thing connected 
with his late erroneous associations. The danger also is 
well known which attends premature return to home and 
common associates ; immediate relapse having often fol- 
lowed this, in cases which had been going on for some time 
in the most favorable manner. 

II. Occupation. This is referable to two kinds, namely, 
bodily and mental. The higher states of mania in general 
admit of no occupation ; but, on the contrary, often require 
coercion. A degree below this may admit of bodily occu- 
pation ; and when this can be accomplished in such a man- 
ner as fully to occupy the attention and produce fatigue 
there is reason to believe that much benefit may result from 
it. Dr. Gregory used to mention a farmer in the north of 
Scotland who had acquired uncommon celebrity in the 
treatment of the insane ; and his method consisted chiefly in 
having them constantly employed in the most severe bodily 
labor. As soon, also, as the situation of the patient will 
admit of it, mental occupation must be considered as of the 
utmost importance : it should not consist merely of desulto- 

Principles of the moral treatment of the insane. Reasoning fruitless. Removing 
them from the scenes to which they have been accustomed. Occupation The Scotch 


246 REASON. [part III. 

ry employment or amusement, but should probably be regu- 
lated by two principles : 1. Occupations calculated to lead 
the mind gradually into a connected series of thought. 
When the mental condition of the patient is such as to make 
it practicable, nothing answers so well as a course of his- 
tory, the leading events being distinctly written out in the 
form of a table, with the dates. Thus the attention is fixed 
in an easy and connected manner ; and in cases which ad- 
mit of such occupation being continued the effect is often 
astonishing. 2. Endeavoring to discover the patient's for- 
mer habits and favorite pursuits, at a period previous to the 
hallucination, and unconnected with it ; and using means 
for leading his attention to these. I have already alluded to 
the complete suspension of all former pursuits and attach- 
ments which often takes place in insanity, and to a return 
of them as being frequently the most marked and satisfac- 
tory symptom of convalescence. This is, in such cases, to 
be considered as a sign, not a cause of the improvement; 
but there seems every reason to believe that the principle 
might be acted upon with advantage in the moral treatment 
of certain forms of insanity. On a similar principle, it is 
probable that in many cases much benefit might result from 
moral management calculated to revive associations of a 
pleasing kind, in regard to circumstances anterior to the 
occurrence of the malady. 

III. Careful classification of the insane, so that the mild 
and peaceful melancholic may not be harassed by the ravings 
of the maniac. The importance of this is obvious ; but of 
still greater importance it will probably be, to watch the 
first dawnings of reason, and instantly to remove the patient 
from all associates by whom his mind might be again be- 
wildered. The following case, mentioned by Pinel, is cer- 
tainly an extreme one, but much important reflection arises 
out of it in reference both to this and the preceding topic : 
A musician confined in the Bicetre, as one of the first 
symptoms of returning reason, made some slight allusions to 
his favorite instrament. It was immediately procured for 
him ; he occupied himself with music for several hours 

Mental occupation ; when expedient ? Hcv to be regulated. Classification of ihs 
lusane. Case of the musician 


every day, and his convalescence seemed to be advancing 
rapidly. But he was then unfortunately allowed to come 
frequently into contact with a furious maniac, by meeting 
him in the gardens. The musician's mind was unhinged ; 
his violin was destroyed ; and he fell hack into a state of 
insanity which was considered as confirmed and hopeless. 

Cases of decided insanity in general admit of little moral 
treatment, until the force of the disease has been broken in 
some considerable degree. But among the numerous modi- 
fications which come under the view of the physician, there 
are various forms in which, by judicious moral management, 
a great deal is to be accomplished. Some of these affec- 
tions are of a temporary nature, and have so little influence 
on a man's general conduct in life, that they are perhaps 
not known beyond his own family, or confidential friends. 
In some of these cases the individual is sensible of the sin- 
gular change which has taken place in the state of his 
mental powers, and laments the distortion of his feelings 
and affections. He complains, perhaps, that he has lost his 
usual interest in his family, and his usual affection for them ; 
and that he seems to be deprived of every feeling of which 
he was formerly susceptible. The truth is, that the mind 
has become so occupied by the erroneous impression as to 
be inaccessible to any other, and incapable of applying to 
any pursuit, or following out a train of thought. 

A most interesting affection of this class often comes un- 
der the observation of the physician, consisting of deep but 
erroneous views of religion, generally accompanied with 
disturbed sleep and considerable derangement of the sys- 
tem, and producing a state of mind closely bordering upon 
insanity. It occurs most commonly in young persons of 
acute and sus&eptible feelings, and requires the most deli- 
cate and cautious management. Two modes of treatment 
are frequently adopted in regard to it, both equally erro- 
neous. The one consists in hurrying the individual into 
the distraction of company, or a rapid journey ; the other, 
in urging religious discussions, and books of profound divi- 
nity. Both are equally injudicious, especially the lattei : for 
every attempt to discuss the important subject to which the 

Moral treatment in decided cases. Interesting form of isisanity? Its character) 
Common modes of treatment ? Their effects ? 

248 KEASON. [part la 

distorted impression refers only serves to fix the hallucina- 
tion more deeply. The mode of treatment Avhich I have 
always found most beneficial consists of regular exercise, 
with attention to the general health ; and in enforcing a 
course of reading of a nature likely to fix the mind, and 
carry it forward in a connected train. Light reading or 
mere amusement will not answer the purpose. A reguli-.r 
course of history, as formerly mentioned, appears to succeed 
best, and fixing the attention by writing out the dates and 
leading events in the form of a table. When the mind hns 
been thus gradually exercised for some time in a connected 
train of thought, it is often astonishing to observe how it 
will return to the subject which had entirely overpowered it, 
with a complete dissipation of former erroneous impressions. 
A frequent complaint at the commencement of such an ex- 
ercise is that the person finds it impossible to fix the atten- 
tion, or to recollect the subject of even a few sentences : 
this is part of the disease, and by perseverance gradually 
disappears. This experiment I have had occasion to make 
many times, and it has always appeared to me one of ex- 
treme interest. I do not say that it has uniformly succeed- 
ed, for the affection frequently passes into confirmed insani- 
ty ; but it has succeeded in a sufficient number of instances 
to give every encouragement for a careful repetition of it. 
The same observations and the same mode of treatment 
apply to the other forms of partial hallucination. The plan 
is, of course, to be assisted by regular exercise, and atten- 
tion to the general health, which is usually much impaired. 
The affections are particularly connected in a very intimate 
manner with a disordered state of the stomach and bowels, 
and with derangements in the female constitution. Means 
adapted to these become, therefore, an essential part of the 

There has been considerable discussion respecting the. 
distinction between insanity and idiocy. It has been snii 
that the insane reason justly on false premises; and thai 
idiots reason falsely on sound premises. This does not 
seem to be well founded. It would appear that a maniac 
may reason either upon false or true premises ; but that in 

Proper mode of treatment? Difficulty, and remedy for it. Distinction between 
Insanitrf and idiocy ? 


either case his reasoning is influenced by distorted views of 
the relations of things. The idiot, on the other hand, does 
not reason at all ; that is, though he may remember the 
facts he does not trace their relations. Idiocy appears to 
consist, in a greater or less degree, in a simply impaired oi 
weakened state of the mental powers ; but this is not in- 
sanity. On the contrary, we have seen that, in the insane^ 
certain mental powers may be in the highest state of activi- 
ty, the memory recalling things long gone by, the ima- 
gination forming brilliant associations, every faculty in 
the highest activity except the power of tracing correct re- 
lations. I have already referred to a gentleman mentioned 
by Pinel, who possessed during the paroxysm a brilliancy 
of conception and readiness of memory which were not na- 
tural to him. Another, mentioned by the same writer, who 
was infatuatfed with the chimera of perpetual motion, con- 
structed pieces of mechanism which were the result of the 
most profound combinations, at the time when he was so 
mad that he believed his head to have been changed. A fe- 
male, mentioned, I believe, by Dr. Rush, sang with great 
beauty and sweetness, which she could not do when she was 
sane; and a musician played, when insane, much better 
than when he was well. 

In that remarkable obliteration of the mental faculties, 
on the other hand, which we call idiocy, fatuity, or dimentia, 
there is none of the distortion of insanity. It is a simple 
torpor of the faculties, in the higher degrees amounting to 
total insensibility to every impression ; and some remarka- 
ble facts are connected with the manner in which it arises 
Mdthout bodily disease. A man, mentioned by Dr. Rush, 
was so violently aflected by some losses in trade that he was 
deprived almost instantly of all his mental faculties. He 
did not take notice of any thing, not even expressing a de- 
sire for food, but merely taking it when it was put into 
his mouth. A servant dressed him in the morning, and 
conducted him to a seat in his parlor, where he remained 
the whole day, with his body bent forward, and his eyes 
fixed on the floor. In this state he continued nearly five 
years, and then recovered completely and rather suddenly. 

The idiot' Slate of the faculties in insanity ? Remarkable instancea. State of th 
faculties in idiocy ? Case mentioned by Dr. Rush. 

250 REASON. [part III. 

The -account which he afterward gave of his conditiou 
during this period was, that his mind was entirelj^ lost ; 
and that it was only about two months before his final re- 
covery that he began to have sensations and thoughts of 
any kind. These at first served only to convey fears and 
apprehensions, especially in the night-time. Of perfect 
idiocy produced in the same manner by a moral cause an 
affecting example is given by Pinel : Two young men, 
brothers, were carried off by the conscription, and, in the 
first action in which they were engaged, one of them was 
shot dead by the side of the other. The survivor was in- 
stantly struck with perfect idiocy. He was taken home to 
his father's house, where another brother was so affected by 
the sight of him, that he was seized in the same manner ; 
and in this state of perfect idiocy they were both received 
into the Bicetre. I have formerly referred to \*arious exam- 
ples of this condition supervening on bodily disease. In 
some of them the affection was permanent ; in others it 
vas entirely recovered from. 

The most striking illustration of the various shades of 
idiocy is derived from the modifications of intellectual con- 
dition observed in the cretins of the Vallais. These singu- 
lar beings are usually divided into three classes, which re- 
ceive the name of cretins, semi-cretins, and cretins of the 
third degree. The first of these classes, or perfect cretins, 
are in point of intellect scarcely removed above mere ani- 
mal life. Many of them cannot speak, and are only so far 
sensible of the common calls of nature as to go, when ex- 
cited by hunger, to places where they have been accustom- 
ed to receive their food. The rest of their time is spent 
either in basking in the sun or sitting by the fire, without 
any trace of intelligence. The next class, or semi-cretins, 
show a higher degree of intelligence ; they remember com- 
r^on events, understand what is said to them, and express 
themselves in an intelligent manner on the most common 
sabject3. They are taught to repeat prayers, but scarcely 
appear to annex any meaning to the words which they 
employ ; and they cannot be taught to read or write, or 

His own account of his condition ? Idiocy produced by a moral cause : the brothers, 
fhe cretins of the Vallais. Classes of them. First class ? Their condi'ion? Second 
Jass I Their condition ? 


even to number their fino;ers. The cretins of the third de- 
gree learn to read and write, though with very little under- 
standing of what they read, except on the most common 
topics. But they are acutely alive to their own interest, 
and extremely litigious. They are without prudence or 
discretion in the direction of their affairs, and the regula- 
tion of their conduct ; yet obstinate, and unwilling to be ad- 
vised. Their memory is good as to what they have seen 
or heard, and they learn to imitate what they have observ- 
ed in various arts, as machinery, painting, sculpture, and 
architecture; but it is mere imitation without invention. 
Some of them learn music in the same manner ; and others 
attempt poetry of the lowest kind, distinguished by mera 
rhyme. It is said that none of them can be taught arithn;e- 
tic, but I do not know whether this has been ascertained to 
be invariably true ; there is no doubt that it is a very gene- 
ral peculiarity. 

The imbecile in other situations show characters very 
analogous to these. Their memory is often remarkably 
retentive ; but it appears to be merely a power of retain- 
ing facts or words in the order and connection in which 
they have been presented to them, without the capacity of 
tracing relations, and forming new associations. In this 
manner, they sometimes acquire languages, and even pro 
cure a name for a kind of scholarship ; and they learn to 
imitate in various arts, but without invention. Their defi- 
ciency appears to be in the powers of abstracting, recombin- 
ing, and tracing relations ; consequently they are deficient 
in judgment, for which these processes are necessary. The 
maniac, on the other hand, seizes relations acutely, rapidly, 
and often ingeniously, but not soundly. They are only 
incidental relations, to which he is led by some train of as- 
sociation existing in his own mind ; but they occupy his at- 
tention in such a manner that he does not admit the consi- 
deration of other relations, or compare them with those 
rvhich have fixed themselves upon his mind. 

The states of idiocy and insanity, therefore, are clearly 
.listinguished in the more complete examples of both ; but 
many instances occur in which they pass into each other, 

Third class? De?crii>ij them. The imbecile. Their memory ? In what deficient J 
The maniac compared with them ? Distinction between idiocy and insanity ? 

252 REASo^. [part m 

and where it is difficult to say to which of the affections the 
case is to be referred. I believe they may also be, to a cer- 
tain extent, combined ; or that there may be a certain dimi- 
nution of the mental powers existing along with that distor- 
tion which constitutes insanity. They likewise alternate 
with one another, maniacal paroxysms often leaving the 
patient, in the intervals, in a state of idiocy. A very inte- 
resting modification of another kind is mentioned by Pinel : 
Five young men were received into the Bicetre, whose in- 
tellectual faculties appeared to be really obliterated ; and 
they continued in this state for periods of from three to up- 
wards of twelve months. They were then seized with pa- 
roxysms of considerable violence, which continued from 
fifteen to twenty-five days, after which they all entirely re- 

Idiocy can seldom be the subject either of medical or mo- 
ral treatment ; but the peculiar characters of it often be- 
come the object of attention in courts of law, in relation to 
the competency of imbecile persons to manage their own 
affairs; and much difficulty often occurs in tracing the line 
between competency and incompetency. Several years 
ago a case occurred in Edinburgh, which excited much dis- 
cussion, and shows, in a striking manner, some of the pe- 
culiarities of this condition of the mental faculties: A gen- 
tleman of considerable property having died intestate, his 
heir-at-law was a younger brother, who had always been 
reckoned very deficient in intellect ; and, consequently, his 
relatives now brought an action into the court of session, 
for the purpose of finding him incompetent, and obtaining 
the authority of the court for putting him under trustees. 
In the investigation of this case, various respectable persons 
deponed that they had long known the individual, and con- 
sidered him as decidedly imbecile in his understanding, and 
incapable of managing his affairs. On the other hand, most 
respectable evidence was produced, that he had been, when 
at school, an excellent scholar in the languages, and had re 
peatedly acted as a private tutor to boys ; that he was re 
markably attentive to his own interest, and very strict in 

Sometimeg connected. Remarkable case of five young men? Treatment for idio- 
cy'? Difficult question Hi regard to them? Case in Edinburgh. Evidence on both 
idea 1 


making a bargain ; that he had been proposed as a candi- 
date for holy orders, and, on his first examination in the 
languages, had acquitted himself well ; but that, in the sub- 
sequent trials, in which the candidate is required to deliver 
a discourse, he had been found incompetent. The court of 
session, after long pleadings, decided that this individual 
was incapable of managing his affairs. The case was ther 
appealed to the house of lords, where, after farthei pro 
tracted proceedings, this decision was affirmed. I was well 
acquainted with this person, and was decidedly of opinion 
that he was imbecile in his intellects. At my suggestion 
the following experiment was made in the course of the in- 
vestigation. A small sum of money was given him, with 
directions, to spend it, and present an account of his dis- 
bursement, with the addition of the various articles. He 
soon got rid of the money, but was found totally incapable 
of this very simple process of arithmetic, though the sum did 
not exceed a few shillings. This individual, then, it would 
appear, possessed the simple state of memory, which ena- 
bled him to acquire languages ; but was deficient in the 
capacity of combining, reflecting, or comparing. His total 
inability to perform the most simple process of arithmetic 
was a prominent character in the case, analogous to what I 
h^tve already stated in regard to the cretins. In doubtful 
cases of the kind, I think this might be employed as a nega 
tive test with advantage ; for it probably will not be doubted 
that a person who is incapable of such a process is incompe 
tent to manage his affairs. 

It is a singular fact that the imbecile are, in general, ex- 
tremely attentive to their own interest, and perhaps most 
commonly cautious in their proceedings. Ruinous extrava- 
gance, absurd schemes, and quixotic ideas of liberality and 
magnificence are more allied to insanity ; the former may 
become the dupes of others, but it is the latter who are most 
likely to involve and ruin themselves. 

Before leaving the subject of Insanity, there is a point of 
great interest which may be briefly referred to. It bears, in 
a very striking manner, upon what may be called the patho- 
logy of the mental powers ; but I presume not to touch 

Decision? Appeal and final decision. Experiment with liim ? Its result? Singular 
fict in reward to the imbecile ? 

254 REASON. [part III 

upon it except in the slightest manner. In the language 
of common life, we sometimes speak of a moral insanity, in 
which a man rushes headlong through a course of vice and 
crime, regardless of every moral restraint, of every social 
tie, and of all consequences, whether more immediate or 
future. Yet, if we take the most melancholy instance of 
this kind that can be furnished by the history of human de- 
pravity, the individual may still be recognised, in regard to 
all physical relations, as a man of a sound mind ; and he 
may be as well qualified as other men for the details of busi- 
ness, or even the investigations of science. He is correct 
in his judgment of all the physical relations of things ; but, 
in regard to their moral relations, every correct feeling ap- 
pears to be obliterated. If a man, then, may thus be cor- 
rect in his judgment of all physical relations, while he is lost 
to every moral relation, we have strong ground for believing 
that there is in his constitution a power distinct from rea- 
son, but which holds the same sway over his moral powers 
that reason does among his intellectual ; and that the influ- 
ence of this power may be weakened or lost, while reason 
remains unimpaired. This is the moral principle, or the 
power of conscience. It has been suy)posed by some to be a 
modification of reason, but the considerations now referred 
;o appear to favor the opinion of their being distinct. That 
this power should so completely lose its sway while reason 
remains unimpaired, is a point in the moral constitution of 
man which it does not belong to the physician to investi- 
gate. The fact is unquestionable ; the solution is to be 
sought for in the records of eternal truth. 


The theory of spectral illusions is closely connected with 
that of the affections treated of in the preceding parts of 
this section; and I shall conclude this subject with a very 
brief notice of some of the most authentic facts relating t< 
them, under the following heads : 

T. False perceptions, or impressions made upon the senses 

Moral insanity Its character ? Moral nrin&i pie. Spectral illusions classes. FaIm 
ircentions ^ 



only, in which the mind does not participate. Of this 
class there are several modifications, which have been re- 
ferred to under the subject of perception. I add in this 
place the following additional examples : A gentleman of 
high mental endowments, now upwards of eighty years of 
age, of a spare habit, and enjoying uninterrupted health, 
has been for eleven years liable to almost daily visitations 
from spectral figures. They in general present human 
countenances ; the head and upper parts of the body are 
distinctly defined ; the lower parts are, for the most part, 
lost in a kind of cloud. The figures are various, but he 
recognises the same countenances repeated from time to 
time, particularly, of late years, that of an elderly woman, 
with a peculiarly arch and playful expression, and a daz- 
zling brilliancy of eye, who seems just ready to speak to 
him. They appear also in various dresses, such as that of 
the age of Louis XIV. ; the costume of ancient Rome ; that 
of the modern Turks and Greeks ; but more frequently of 
late, as in the case of the female now mentioned, in an old- 
fashioned Scottish plaid of Tartan, drav/n up and brought 
forward over the head, and then crossed below the chin, as 
the plaid was worn by aged women in his younger days. 
He can seldom recognise among the spectres any figure or 
countenance which he remembers to have seen ; but his 
own face has occasionally been presented to him, gradually 
unlergoing the change from youth to manhood, and from 
manhood to old age. The figures appear at various times 
of the day, both night and morning ; they continue before 
him for some time, and he sees them almost equally well 
with his eyes open or shut, in full daylight or in darkness. 
They are almost always of a pleasant character, and he 
seems to court their presence as a source of amusement to 
him. He finds that he can banish them by drawing his 
hand across his eyes, or by shutting and opening his eye- 
lids once or twice for a second or two ; but on these occa- 
sions they often appear again soon after. The figures arc 
sometimes of the size of life, and sometimes in miniature : 
but they are always defined and finished with the clearness 
and minuteness of the finest painting. They sometimes ap- 

Examplea. Form and appearance of the fijE^ures ? Costume? Timsa of tHeir appear 
\ns ? His command over them ? Their size '/ 

-'0 REASON. [part IH. 

pear as if at a considerable distance, and gradually ap 
proach until they seem almost to touch his face ; at other 
times they float from side to side, or disappear in ascending 
or descending. In general, the countenance of the spectre 
is presented to him ; but on some occasions he sees the 
back of the head, both of males and females, exhibiting va- 
rious fashions of wigs and head-dresses, particularly the 
flowing, full-bottomed Avig of a former age. At the time 
when these visions began to appear to him, he was in the 
habit of taking little or no wine, and this has been his com- 
mon practice ever since; but he finds that any addition to 
his usual quantity of wine increases the number and viva- 
city of the visions. Of the effect of bodily illness he can 
give no account, except that once, when he had a cold and 
took a few drops of laudanum, the room appeared entirely 
filled with peculiarly brilliant objects, gold and silver orna- 
ments, and precious gems ; but the spectral visions were 
either not seen or less distinct. Another gentleman, who 
died some time ago at the age of eighty, for several years 
before his death never sat down to table at his meals with- 
out the impression of sitting down with a large party 
dressed in the fashion of fifty years back. This gentleman 
was blind of one eye, and the sight of the other was very 
imperfect ; on tliis account he wore over it a green shade, 
and he had often before him the image of his own counte- 
nance, as if it were reflected from the inner surface of the 
shade. A very remarkable modification of this class of illu- 
sions has been communicated to me by Dr. Dewar of Stir- 
ling. It occurred in a lady who was quite blind, her eyes 
being also disorganized and sunk. She never walked out 
without seeing a little old woman with a red cloak and a 
crutch, who seemed to walk before her. She had no illu- 
sions when within doors. 

11. Real dreams, though the person was not at the time 
sensible of having slept, nor consequently of having dream- 
ed. A person, under the influence of some strong mental 
impression, drops asleep for a few seconds, perhaps with- 
out being sensible of it ; some scene or person connected 

Effect of wine? Effect of illness ? Another case ? Case of the blind lady ? Reai 


with the impression appears in a dream, and he starts up 
under the conviction that it was a spectral appearance. 1 
have formerly proposed a conjecture by which some of the 
most authentic stories of second sight may be referred to 
this principle ; others seem to be referable to the principles 
to be mentioned under the next head. Several cases men- 
tioned by Dr. Hibbert are also clearly of the nature of 
dreams. The analogy between dreaming and spectral illu- 
sions is also beautifully illustrated by an anecdote which I 
received lately from the gentleman to whom it occurred, an 
eminent medical friend. Having sat up late one evening, 
under considerable anxiety about one of his children, who 
was ill, he fell asleep in his chair, and had a frightful dream, 
in which the prominent figure was an immense baboon. He 
awoke with the fright, got up instantly, and walked to a 
table which was in the middle of the room. He was then 
quite awake and quite conscious of the articles around him; 
but close by the wall, in the end of the apartment, he dis- 
tinctly saw the baboon making the same horrible grimaces 
which he had seen in his dream ; and the spectre continued 
visible for about half a minute. 

III. Intense mental conceptions so strongly impressed 
upon the mind as for the moment to be believed to have a 
real existence. This takes place when, along with the men- 
tal emotion, the individual is placed in circumstances in 
which external impressions are very slight ; as solitude, 
faint light, and quiescence of body. It is a state closely 
bordering upon dreaming, though the vision occurs while 
the person is in the waking state. The following example 
is mentioned by Dr. Hibbert : A gentleman was told of the 
sudden death of an old and intimate friend, and was deeply 
affected by it. The impression, though partially banished by 
the business of the day, was renewed from time to time by 
conversing on the subject with his family and other friends. 
After supper, he went by himself to walk in a small court 
behind his house, which was bounded by extensive gardens. 
The sky was clear, and the night serene ; and no light was 
falling upon the court from any of the windows. As he 

Secojid sight. Cases. Example; dream of the baboon. Intense mental co;icepliona. 
^'iiiler whnt circumstances most frequent? Case of the apparition 

258 REASON. [part III. 

walked down stairs, he was not thinking of any thing con- 
nected with his deceased friend ; but when he had proceeded 
at a slow pace about half-way across the court, the figure 
of his friend started up before him in a most distinct manner 
at the opposite angle of the court. " He was not in his usual 
dress, but in a coat of a different color, which he had for 
some months left off wearing. I could even remark a figured 
vest whi^h he had also worn about the same time; also a 
colored silk handkerchief around his neck, in which I had 
used to see him in a morning; and my pow^ers of vision 
seemed to become more keen as I gazed on the phantom 
before me." The narrator then mentions the indescribable 
leeling which shot through his frame ; but he soon recovered 
himself, and walked briskly up to the spot, keeping his eyes 
intently fixed upon the spectre. As he approached the spot 
it vanished, not by sinking into the earth, but seeming to 
melt insensibly into air. 

A similar example is related by a most intelligent writer 
in the Christian Observer for October, 1829 : "An inti- 
mate friend of my early years, and most happy in his do- 
mestic arrangements, lost his wife under the most painful 
circumstances, suddenly, just after she had apparently 
escaped from the dangers of an untoward confinement with 
her first child. A few weeks after this melancholy event, 
while travelling during the night on horseback, and in all 
probability thinking over his sorrows, and contrasting his 
present cheerless prospects with the joys which so lately 
gilded the hours of his happy home, the form of his lost 
relative appeared to be presented to him at a little distance 
in advance. He stopped his horse, and contemplated the 
vision with great trepidation, till in a few seconds it va 
nished away. Within a few days of this appearance, while 
he was sitting in his solitary parlor late at night, reading by 
the light of a shaded taper, the door, he thought, opened, 
and the form of his deceased partner entered, assured him of 
her complete happiness, and enjoined him to follow her foot- 
steps." This second appearance was probably a dream ; 
the first is distinctly referable to the principles stated in the 
preceding observations. 

Effect on the observer ? Case described in the Cliristian Observer. First appear* 
ance? Second appearance ? Explanation of the two? 


An interesting case referable to this head is described by 
Sir Walter Scott, in his late work on Demonology and 
Witchcraft : " Not long after the death of a late illustrious 
poet, who had filled, while living, a great station in the eye 
of the public, a literary friend, to whom the deceased had 
been well known, was engaged during the darkening twi- 
light of an autumn evening in perusing one of the publica- 
tions which professed to detail the habits and opinions of 
the distinguished individual who was now no more. As the 
reader had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a con- 
siderable degree he was deeply interested in the publica- 
tion, which contained some particulars relating to himself 
and other friends. A visiter was sitting in the apartment, 
who was also engaged in reading. Their sitting-room 
opened into an entrance-hall rather fantastically fitted up 
with articles of armor, skins of wild animals, and the like. 
It was when laying down his book, and passing into this 
hall, through which the moon was beginning to shine, that 
the individual of whom I speak sav/ right before him, and 
in a standing posture, the exact representation of his de- 
parted friend, whose recollection had been so strongly 
brought to his imagination. He stopped for a single mo- 
ment, so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with which 
fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities 
of dress and posture of the illustrious poet. Sensible, how- 
ever, of the delusion, he felt no sentiment save that of won- 
der at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance, and 
stepped onwards towards the figure, which resolved itself, as 
he approached, into the various materials of which it was 
composed. These were merely a screen occupied by great- 
coats, shawls, plaids, and such other articles as usually are 
found in a country entrance-hall." 

On this part of the subject I shall only add the following 
example, which [ have received from Dr. Andrew Combe : 
A gentleman, a friend of his, has in his house a number of 
phrenological casts, among which is particularly conspicu- 
ous a bust of Curran. A servant-girl belonging to the fami- 
ly, after undergoing great fatigue, awoke early one morn- 
ing, and beheld at the foot of her bed the apparition of C ur- 
ease described by "Waller Scott. Narrate the circumstances. Apparition of Cur 

260 REASON. [part III 

ran. He had the same pale and cadaverous aspect as in 
the bust, but he was now dressed in a sailor's jacket, and 
his face was decorated with an immense pair of whiskers. 
In a state of extreme terror she awoke her fellow-servant 
and asked whether she did not see the spectre. She, how- 
ever, saw nothing, and endeavored to rally her out of her 
alarm ; but the other persisted in the reality of the appari- 
tion, which continued visible for several minutes. The 
gentleman, it appears, keeps a pleasure yacht, the seamen 
belonging to which are frequently in the house. This, per- 
haps, was the origin of the sailor's dress in which the spec 
tre appeared ; and the immense whiskers had also probably 
been borrowed from one of these occasional visiters. 

To the same principle we are probably to refer the stories 
of the apparitions of murdered persons haunting the mur- 
derer, until he was driven to give himself up to justice; 
many examples of this kind are on record. Similar effects 
have resulted in other situations from intense mental ex- 
citement. A gentleman, mentioned by Dr. Conolly, when 
in great danger of being wrecked in a boat on the Eddy- 
stone rocks, said he actually saw his family at the moment. 
In similar circumstances of extreme and immediate danger, 
others have described the history of their past lives being 
represented to them in such a vivid manner, that at a sin- 
gle glance the whole was before them., without the power 
of banishing the impression. To this head we are also to 
refer some of the stories of second sight : namely, by sup- 
posing that they consisted of spectral illusions arising out 
of strong mental impression, and by some natural coincidence 
fulfilled in the same manner as we have seen in regard to 
dreams. Many of these anecdotes are evidently embellish- 
ed and exaggerated ; but the following I have received from 
a most respectable clergyman, as being to his persona^ 
knowledge strictly true : In one of the Western Isles of 
Scotland, a congregation was assembled on a Sunday morn- 
ing, and in immediate expectation of the appearance of the 
clergyman, when a man started up, uttered a scream, and 
stood looking to the pulpit with a countenance expressive 

Itsdresa? Explanation? Explanation of apparitions of murdered persons ? Effect 
of strong mental excitement in other cases ? Stories of second sight. Autheutic nar 
lative of second sight? 


of terror. As soon as he could be prevailed on to speak, he 
exclaimed, " Do you not see the minister in the pulpit, 
dressed in a shroud ?' A few minutes after this occurrence 
the clergyman appeared in his place, and conducted the 
service, apparently in his usual health ; but in a day or 
two after was taken ill and died before the following Sunday. 

The effect of opium is well known in giving an impres- 
sion of reality to the visions of conception or imagination ; 
several striking examples of this will be found in the Con- 
fessions of an Opium-Eater. These are in general allied, 
or actually amount to the delusions of delirium, but they 
are sometimes entirely of a diflerent nature. My respected 
friend, the late Dr. Gregory, was accustomed to relate a 
remarkable instance which occurred to himself. He had 
gone to the north country by sea to visit a lady, a near re- 
lation, in whom he felt deeply interested, and who was in an 
advanced state of consumption. In returning from the visit, 
he had taken a moderate dose of laudanum, with the view 
of preventing sea-sickness, and was lying on a couch in the 
cabin, when the figure of the lady appeared before him \n 
so distinct a manner, that her actual presence could not 
have been more vivid. He was quite awake, and fully sen- 
sible that it was a phantasm produced by the opiate, along 
with his intense mental feeling, but he was unable by any 
effort to banish the vision. 

Some time ago I attended a gentleman affected with a 
painful local disease, requiring the use of large opiates, but 
which often failed in producing sleep. In one watchful 
night there passed before him a long and regular exhibition 
of characters and transactions connected with certain oc- 
currences which had been the subject of much conversation 
in Edinburgh some time before. The characters succeeded 
each other wdth all the regularity and vividness of a theat- 
rical exhibition ; he heard their conversation and long 
speeches that were occasionally made, some of which were 
in rhyme ; and he distinctly remembered, and repeated next 
day, long passages from these poetical effusions. He was 
quite awake, and quite sensible that the whole was a phan- 
tasm , and he remarked that when he opened his eyes the 

Effect of opium ? Case of Dr. Gregory ? Case obsei ved by the author ? 

262 REASON. [part m. 

vision vanished, but instantly reappeared whenever he 
closed them. 

IV. Erroneous impressions, connected with bodily dis- 
ease, generally disease in the brain. The illusions, in these 
cases, arise in a manner strictly analogous to dreaming, 
and consist of some former circumstances recalled into the 
mind, and believed for the time to have a real and present 
existence. The diseases in connection with which they 
arise are generally of an apoplectic or inflammatory charac- 
ter, sometimes epileptic ; and they are very frequent in the 
affection called delirium tremens, which is produced by a 
continued use of intoxicating liquors. Dr. Gregory used 
to mention in his lectures a gentleman liable to epileptic 
fits, in whom the paroxysm was generally preceded by the 
appearance of an old woman in a red cloak, who seemed to 
come up to him, and strike him on the head with her crutch; 
at that instant he fell down in the fit. It is probable that 
there was in this case a sudden attack of headache, con- 
nected with the accession of the paroxysm, and that this 
led to the vision in the same manner as bodily feelings 
give rise to dreams. One of the most singular cases on 
record of spectral illusions referable to this class, is that of 
Nicolai, a bookseller in Berlin, as described by himself, and 
quoted by Dr. Ferriar : By strong mental emotions he 
seems to have been thrown into a state bordering upon 
mania; and, while in this condition, was haunted con- 
stantly, while awake, for several months, by figures of men, 
women, animals, and birds. A similar case is mentioned 
by Dr. Alderston : A man who kept a dram-shop saw a 
soldier endeavoring to force himself into his house in a me- 
nacing manner ; and, in rushing forward to prevent him, he 
was astonished to find it a phantom. He had afterward a 
succession of visions of persons long dead, and others who 
were living. This man was cured by bleeding and pur- 
gatives : and the source of his first vision was traced to 
a quarrel which he had some time before with a drunken 
soldier. A gentleman from America, who is also men- 
Effects of disease. Common character of the diseased ? Example. Explana'.ioD 
Caae of Nicolai ? The keeper of the dram-shop. His cure ? 


tioned by Dr. Alderston, was seized with severe headache 
and complained of troublesome dreams; and, at the same 
time, had distinct visions of his wife and family, whom he 
had left in America. In the state of delirium trdmens such 
visions are common, and assume a variety of forms. I 
have known a patient describe distinctly a dance of fairies 
going on in the floor of the apartment, and give a most mi- 
nute account of their figures and dresses. 

Similar phantasms occur, in various forms, in feb.-ile dis- 
eases. A lady whom I attended some years ago on accoun* 
of an inflammatory affection of the chest, awoke her bus 
band one night, at the commencement of her disorder, and 
begged him to get np instantly.* She said she had distinct- 
ly seen a man enter the apartment, pass the foot of her bed, 
and go into a closet which entered from the opposite side 
of the room. She was quite awake, and fully convinced 
of the reality of the appearance ; and, even after the closet 
was examined, it was found almost impossible to convince 
her that it was a delusion. There are numerous examples 
of this kind on record. The writer in the Christian Ob- 
server, lately referred to, mentions a lady who, during a 
severe illness, repeatedly saw her father, who resided at the 
distance of many hundred miles, come to her bedside, and, 
withdrawing the curtain, address hor in his usual voice and 
manner. A farmer, mentioned by the same writer, in re- 
turning from a market, was deeply affected by a most ex- 
traordinary brilliant liglii, which he thought he saw upon 
the road, and by an apptMrani'o in the light, which he sup- 
posed to be our S.-ividp. Ho was greatly alarmed, ana 
spurring his horse, galloped hotno ; remained agitated dur- 
ing the evening ; was seized with typhus fever, then pre- 
vailing in the neighb()rlu)od, and died in about ten days. 
It was afterward nscertained that on the nu>rning of the day 
of the supposed vision, before he left home, he had com 
plained of headache and langtior ; and there, can be no 
doubt that the spectral appearance was connected with the 
commencement of the fever. Kntirely analogous to this 
but still more striking in its circumslant'es, is a case which 
I have received from an onnnent medical frienti and the 

Tlie American. Cases in febrile diseases T!ie autlun's natient. <;ase < /escribed to 
1^0 Chriatian Observer ? The apparitiiin ^ Ktrilanation ot it? 


subject of it was a near relation of his own, a lady about 
fifty. On returning one evening from a party, she went 
into a dark room to lay aside some part of her dress, when 
she saw distinctly before her the figure of death, as a skele- 
ton, with his arm uplifted, and a dart in hand. He instant- 
ly aimed a blow at her with the dart, which seemed to 
strike her on the left side. The same night she was seizecC 
with fever, accompanied by symptoms of inflammation in 
the left side; but recovered after a severe illness. So 
strongly was the vision impressed upon her mind, that even 
for some time after her recovery she could not pass the 
door of the room in which it occurred without discovering 
agitation ; declaring that it was there she met with her ill- 

A highly intelligent friend whom I attended several years 
ago, in a mild but very protracted fever, without delirium, 
had frequent interviews with a spectral visiter, who present- 
ed the appearance of an old graj'^-headed man, of a most 
'benignant aspect. His visits were always conducted exactly 
in the same manner : he entered the room by a door which 
was on the left hand side of the bed, passed the end of the 
bed, and seated himself on a chair on the right hand side : 
he then fixed his eyes upon the patient with an expression 
of intense interest and pity, but never spoke ; continued 
distinctly visible for some seconds, and then seemed to va- 
nish into air. His visits were sometimes repeated daily for 
several days, but sometimes he missed a day : and the ap- 
pearance continued for several weeks. The same gentle 
man on another occasion, when in perfect health, sitting in 
his parlor in the evening, saw distinctly in the corner of 
the room a female figure in a kneeling posture, who con- 
tinued visible for several seconds. 

In a lady, whose case is mentioned in the Edinburgh 
ournal of Science for April, 1830, there was an illusion 
affecting both sight and hearing. She repeatedly heard 
her husband's voice calling to her by name, as if from an 
adjoining room ; and on one occasion saw his figure most 
distinctly, standing before the fire in the drawing-room, 
when he had left the house half an hour before. She went 

The apparition of a skeleton. Effect upon the mind? The spectral visiter? Cir 
tumstances of his visits ? Double illusion. Circumstances of the case ? 


and sat down within two feet of the figure, supposing it to 
be her husband, and was greatly astonished that he did not 
answer when she spoke to him. Tiie figure continued visi 
ble for several minutes, then moved towards a window at the 
farther end of the room, and there disappeared. A few 
duys after this appearance, she saw the figure of a cat lying 
on the hearth-rug ; and, on another occasion, while adjust- 
ing her hair before a mirror, late at night, she saw the coun- 
tenance of a friend, dressed in a shroud, reflected from the 
mirror, as if looking over her shoulder. This lady had 
been fpr some time in bad health, being affected with pec- 
toral complaints, and much nervous debility. A remarka- 
ble feature of this case was the illusion of hearing; and of 
this I have received another example from a medical friend 
in England. A clergyman, aged fifty-six, accustomed to 
full living, was suddenly seized with vomiting, vertigo, and 
ringing in his ears, and continued in rather an alarming con- 
dition for several days. During this time, he had the sound 
in his ears of tunes most distinctly played, and in accurate 
succession. This patient had, at the same time, a very re- 
markable condition of vision, such as I have not heard of 
in any other case. All objects appeared to him inverted. 
This peculiarity continued three days, and then ceased gra- 
dually ; the objects by degrees changing their position, first 
to the horizontal, and then to the erect. 

V. To these sources of spectral illusions we are to add, 
though not connected with our present subject, those which 
originate in pure misconception ; the imagination working 
up into a spectral illusion something which is really a very 
trivial occurrence. Of this class is an anecdote, mentioned 
by Dr. Hibbert, of a whole ship's company being thrown 
into the utmost state of consternation by the apparition of a 
cook who had died a few days before. He was distinctly 
seen walking ahead of the ship, with a peculiar gait, by 
which he was distinguished when alive, from having one of 
his legs shorter than the other. On steering the ship to- 
wards the object, it was found to be a piece of floating wreck 
A story referable to the same principle is related by Dr, 

Various apparitions. The case of the clergjman ? His vision? Misconception 
A.necdote of Itie ship's company ? 



Ferriar : A gentleman travelling in the H'ghlands of Scot- 
land was conducted to a bedroom which was reported to be 
haunted by the spirit of a man who had there committed 
suicide. In the night he aw^oke under the influence of a 
frightful dream, and found himself sitting up in bed with a 
pistol grasped in his right hand. On looking round the 
room he now discovered, by the moonlight, a corpse dressed 
in a shroud reared against the wall, close by the window ; 
the features of the body, and every part of the funeral ap- 
parel, being perceived distinctly. On recovering from the 
first impulse of terror, so far as to investigate the source of 
the phantom, it was found to be produced by the moonbeam 
forming a long bright image through the broken window. 

Two esteemed friends of mine, while travelling in the 
Highlands, had occasion to sleep in separate beds in one 
apartment. One of them, having awoke in the night, sav 
by the moonlight a skeleton hanging from the head of hh 
friend's bed ; every part of it being perceived in the most 
distinct manner. He instantly got up to investigate the 
source of the illusion, and found it to be produced by the 
moonbeams falling upon the drapery of the bed, which had 
been thrown back, in some unusual manner, on account of 
the heat of the w^eather. He returned to bed and soon fell 
asleep. But having awoke again some time after, the ske- 
leton w^as still so distinctly before him, that he could not 
sleep without again getting up to trace the origin of the 
phantom. Determined not to be disturbed a third time, he 
now brought down the curtain into its usual state, and the 
skeleton appeared no more. 

The traveller in the Highlands, The apparition ? Explanation of it ? 



In concluding this outline of facts regarding; the intellec- 
tual powers and the investigation of truth, we may take a 
slight review of what those qualities are which constitute a 
well regulated mind, and which ought to be aimed at by 
those who desire either their own mental culture, or that of 
others who are under their care. The more important i',on- 
siderations may be briefly recapitulated in the following 
manner : 

I. The cultivation of a habit of steady and continuous 
attention ; or of properly directing the mind to any subject 
which is before it, so as fully to contemplate its elements 
and relations. This is necessary for the due exercise of 
every other mental process, and is the foundation of all im- 
provement of character, both intellectual and moral. We 
shall afterward have occasion to remark, how often sophis- 
tical opinions and various distortions of character may be 
traced to errors in this first act of the mind, or to a misdi- 
rection and want of due regulation of the attention. There 
is, indeed, every reason to believe that the diversities in the 
power of judging, in different individuals, are much less than 
we are apt to imagine ; and that the remarkable differences 
observed in the act of judging are rather to be ascrilied to 
the manner in which the mind is previoi {.ly directed to the 
facts on which the judgment is afterward to be exercised. 
It is related of Sir Isaac Newton that when he was ques 
tioned respecting the mental qualities which formed the pe 
culiarity of his character, he referred it entirely to thepow 
er which he had acquired of continuous attention. 

Subject of Part IV? First quality ? Its importance. Evils resulting fnni a war.t 
of it?' To what two causes may (lifferences in acts of iudging be ascribeil ' Which 
most commonly the '.rue cause 1 Newton's remarlc ? 


The following directions and cautions will very much assist the pu 
Tnl in acquiring this intellectual habit. 

1. Attempt but one thing at a time, and devote your whole attention 
exclusively to it. Blany young persons continually violate this princi- 
ple. They will try to study a lesson, and listen to an interesting con- 
versation at the same time, hoping to secure simultaneously the ad- 
vantage of the one and the pleasure of the other. But, in fact, the 
pleasure of the conversation is destroyed by the uneasy and distract- 
mg feeling which the circumstances occasion, and the attention to the 
book is of the most superficial and useless character ; so that both ob- 
jects are lost. In the same manner, a pupil engaged in some mathe- 
matical calculations will station himself at a window, where he may 
look down on some busy scene, the animating influences of which, he 
imagines, may cheer his labors ; whereas, in fact, in sucli a case, he 
can neither enjoy the prospect nor perform his work. 

2. Another most common way by which habits of inattention and 
wandering of mind are formed and fixed, is, not attempting exactly to 
do two things, but attempting one with the mind all the time per- 
plexed with doubt whether it ought not to be doing another. This is 
a very common source of injury. The most ruinous consequences to 
the intellectual habits of the young, especially, often result from it ; 
for they seldom have much plan or system in the arrangement of their 
time. He who acts from the impulse of the moment, must be always 
exposed to this difficulty ; for this impulse will continually fluctuate 
and vary. He will take up one book, and after reading a page will 
think another would be more interesting, and changing from one to the 
other Mill lose all the benefit of both. Or he will be employed in study- 
ing a lesson, with his mind all the time distracted with the question 
which he continually stops to consider, whether he shall not give up 
his lesson and read a story, or he will read the story with a secret con- 
viction that he ought to be studying a lesson. There cannot be prac- 
tices more destructive to present enjoyment, or more ruinous to the ha- 
bits of the mind. 

3. Another most common cause of careless and superficial habits of 
attention is, undertaking what is not fairly within the powers of the 
individual. If a reader cannot fully understand and appreciate the 
work which he has undertaken, he insensibly acquires the habit of 
running over it with his eye, while his mind is really occupied with 
something else. He receives perhaps a few ideas, he catches a little 
of the train of thought, but he enters not into the spirit of the work at 
all. Thousands and thousands of books are read in this way, the 
reader taking merely what lies upon the surface, and having no idea 
that there is any thing below. This too is destructive to all correct 
habits of attention. 

By these three precautions, viz. carefully confining the attention to 
the single object which for the time being is before it, regulating 
the selection of objects by some systematic principle, so that while we 

First principle ? Common modes of violating it. Consequences? Second principle 
Common ways of violating it ? Consequences. Third principle. Consequences of v> 
dating it ? Recapitulation of the three principles ? 


are pursuing one study no other neglected duty can come m to claim 
our attention and never undertaking what is not fairly within the 
reach of our powers, we may soon acquire habits of continuous and 
t;teady attention, at least in the study of books. But in order to form 
correct habits of attention in the highest sense, it is not enough foi 
(he individual to practise on books. He must practise on men and 
things. That is, he must not only, when engaged in reading, attend 
to his books, but when out in society, and surrounded by persons, 
and by the various objects of life, he must attend to them. That 
mind is as badly disciplined which loses itself in a revery when sur- 
rounded by society, as the one which continually wanders in search 
of amusement when its possessor is endavoring to confine it to books. 
In a word, give the whole attention with a vigor and earnestness to 
the object, rvhatever it may he, which, for the time being, is properly be- 
fore you. 

Faithful practice on these principles will soon give the pupil this first 
quality of a well regulated mind. 

II. Nearly connected with the former, and of equal im- 
portance, is a careful regulation and control of the succes- 
sion of our thoughts. This remarkable faculty is very much 
under the influence of cultivation, and on the power so ac- 
quired depends the important habit of regular and connect- 
ed thinking. It is primarily a voluntary act; and iii the 
exercise of it in diflferent individuals there are the most re- 
markable differences. In some the thoughts are allowed to 
wander at large without any regulation, or are devoted only 
to frivolous and transient objects; while others habitually 
exercise over them a stern control, directing them to sub- 
jects of real importance, and prosecuting these in a regular 
and connected manner. This important habit gains strength 
by exercise, and nothing, certainly, has a greater influence 
in giving tone and consistency to the whole character. It 
may not, indeed, be going too far to assert that our condi- 
tion, in the scale both of moral and intellectual beings, is in 
a great measure determined by the control which we have 
acquired over the succession of our thoughts, and by the 
subjects on which they are habitually exercised. 

The regulation of the thoughts is, therefore, a high con- 
cern , in the man who devotes his attention to it as a study 
of supreme importance, the first great source of astonish- 
ment will be the manner in which his thoughts have been 

To what applicable besides the study of bvioks? General principle ? Second quali- 
ty 1 How far voluntary ? Differences of character in this respect. Consequences d 
pending ? 



occupied in many an hour and many a day that has passed 
over him. The leading objects to wiiich the thoughts may 
be directed, are referable to three classes. (1.) The ordi- 
nary engagements of life, or matters of business, with which 
every man is occupied in one degree or another ; including 
concerns of domestic arrangement, personal comfort, and 
necessary recreation. Each of these deserves a certain de- 
gree of attention, but this requires to be strictly guided by 
its real and relative importance ; and it is entirely unwor- 
thy of a sound and regulated mind to have the attention 
solely or chiefly occupied with matters of personal comfort, 
or of trivial importance, calculated merely to afford amuse- 
ment for the passing hour. (2.) Visions of the imagination 
built up by the mind itself when it has nothing better to oc- 
cupy it. The mind cannot be idle, and when it is not oc- 
cupied by subjects of a useful kind, it will find a resource 
in those which are frivolous or hurtful, in mere visions, 
waking dreams, or fictions, in which the mind wanders from 
scene to scene, unrestrained by reason, probability or truth. 
No habit can be more opposed to a healthy condition of the 
mental powers ; and none ought to be more carefully guard- 
ed against by every one who would cultivate the high ac- 
quirement of a well regulated mind. (3.) Entirely oppos- 
ed to the latter of these modes, and distinct also in a great 
measure from the former, is the habit of following out a con- 
nected chain of thoughts on subjects of importance and of 
truth, whenever the mind is disengaged from the proper and 
necessary attention to the ordinary transactions of life. Th( 
particular subjects to which the thoughts are directed in 
cultivating this habit, will vary in different individuals ; but 
the consideration of the relative value of them does not be- 
long to our present subject. The purpose of these obser- 
vations is simply to impress the value of that regulation of 
the thoughts by which they can always find an occupation 
of interest and importance distinct from the ordinary trans- 
actions of life, or the mere pursuit of frivolous engage- 
ments ; and also totally distinct from that destructive habit 
by which the mind is allowed to run to waste amid visions 
and fictions unworthy of a waking man. 

Classification of the objects of thought? First class ? Its proper importanre J Se 
f-ond class ? Influence of this habit ? Third class. Influence of this habit ? 


In acquiring this second quality of a well regulated mind, there are. 
several ways in which the pupil may practise. It will of course be 
understood that this head refers to the employment of the thoughts 
when they are at liberty, as when the individual is walking, or sitting 
alone, or engaged in those employments which do not necessarily oc- 
cupy the mind. The following are some of the methods by which the 
mind can be m such cases usefully employed. 

1. Reviewing, and fixing in the memory, what has been read, or 
learned in any other way. You have been engaged, we will imagine, 
in a bock of travels ; now you can call up to mind the scenes described 
there. Commence the journey with the traveller in imagination, anew, 
and go regularly forward, calling up to mind as fully as possible all the 
adventures and incidents which the book described. The same may be 
done with any other work. 

2. Pursuing a connected train of thought on some useful subject 
selected for tliis purpose. You take, for instance, for your subject, 
" Common instances of Insincerity," and making a logical division of 
It, you consider one head at a time, regularly examining it in all its 
bearings and relations, as if you were going to write a treatise upon 
the subject. You first think, perhaps, of insincere professions for the 
sake of civility^ call to mind as many cases as you can, and arrange 
and classify them. In the next place you take cases of false appear- 
ances assumed from vanity, and pursue this in the same way. Thus 
the whole subject may be explored, and reduced to order and system in 
your own mind. The subjects which may in this way be examined 
are innumerable. 

3. Systematic and attentive observation. In this case, the thoughts 
are not engaged in reviewing past attainments, or in exploring a sub- 
ject of retlection, but in examining with interest and care visible ob- 
jects around. If riding through a new country he may study its geo- 
graphical features, or the pursuits and occupations of its inhabitants. 
If taking an evening walk, he can examine with care the plants or 
flowers he sees, or, by conversation with the various individuals he 
may meet with, increase his knowledge of human character and ac- 
tion. He may thus draw off" his thoughts from the field of mere reflec- 
tion, and apply them, with active interest, to the objects or the scene 

hrough which he moves. He may, if he chooses to regulate in some 
legree these studies, select some class of objects to examin.',, or 
some point towards which his observations shall tend. For example, 
when rambling in the fields, he may employ himself in finding as 
many proofs of contrivance, as he can in the v/orks of nature, and to 
this point dire:: all his inquiries and observations on his walk, whe 
iher he looks at an insect or a plant, or the form and structure ot 
ah. 11. 

Such are the various ways by which solitary thought may be regu 
lated. Reviewing past studies ; reflecting systematically on some new 

Way3 in which ihe thr>ughi3 may he employed. First mode. Example ? Second 
biode ? Example ? Third mode ? Examples ? Recapitulation ? 


subject ; and the scientific and active examination of nature. It must 
not be understood, however, that the writer recommends that every 
hour of reflection or solitude should be rigidly devoted to such purposes. 
There must be recreation, which such exercises will not afford ; for 
thought, guided by these principles, will be study, and in the case of the 
young, it will be study of the severest kind. It is, however, an effori 
which must be often made, or the mind will never acquire the full 
command of its powers. 

in. The cultivation of an active, inquiring state of mind 
which seeks for information from every source that comes 
within its reach, whether in reading, conversation, or per- 
sonal observation. With this state of mental activity ought 
to be closely connected attention to the authenticity of 
facts so received ; avoiding the two extremes of credulity 
and scepticism. 

IV. The habit of correct association ; that is, connecting 
facts in the mind according to their true relations, and to the 
manner in which they tend to illustrate each other. This, 
as we have formerly seen, is one of the principal means of 
improving the memory ; particularly of the kind of memory 
which is an essential quality of a cultivated mind ; namely, 
that which is founded not upon incidental connections, but 
on true and important relations. Nearly allied to this is 
the habit of reflection, or of tracing carefully the relations 
of facts, and the conclusions and principles which arise out 
of them. It is in this manner, as was formerly mentioned, 
that the philosophical mind often traces remarkable rela- 
tions, and deduces important conclusions ; while to the 
common understanding the facts appear to be very remote, 
or entirely unconnected. 

It is very important that the pupil should understand distinctly and 
precisely what is meant by this " correct association." Let us suppose 
a case. It may perhaps seem rather trivial, but no other one will fully 
illustrate the case. Suppose you are riding in the stage with a sea 
captain, who wears a M'hite hat. The conversation turns on the sub 
ject of the form of ships. You tell him you should suppose that ihe^ 
would make their way more easily through the water if they were 
made narrow across the bows or forward part, and gradually increas 

Recreation sometimes necessary. Third quality ? Fourth quality ? Correct aasoci 
ation ? The kind of memory essential to a cultivated mind ? Tracing the relations of 
facta ? Example to illustrate the two modes of a^sociatten ? 


ing towards the stern, so as to force open the water like a wedge. He 
tells you that this is found by experience to be a bad construction, 
for on this plan the friction of the water is great along the whole side, 
whereas by making the ship broad near the bows, and gradually ta- 
pering towards the stern, it opens a sufficient passage through the 
water at once, and the friction along the sides is relieved. In ether 
words, that it is more important to avoid friction along the sides, 
thin resistance at the bows. He tells you also that the Creator has 
formed rishes, and all animals who are intended to move in water, on 
this principle. 

Now after hearing such a conversation as this, a person of well 
disciplined mind will pause a moment, and connect these facts with 
his other knowledge on the ame subjects that is, the construc- 
tion of ships, the resistance of fluids, and the admirable mechanism 
of the Creator's works. And he will establish this connection so 
firmly, that when at a future time any of these subjects come up in 
conversation, this information will come up too ; and thus all his 
knowledge on such subjects, from whatever sources derived, will 
form one connected and harmonious whole. On the other hand, the 
person whose mind is undisciplined and unregulated, will perhaps 
have this knowledge associated in his mind with no other idea than 
that he was riding in a stage when he heard it, or that his informant 
wore a white hat. Perhaps he would not think of the subject again, 
until he meets, some weeks after, a gentleman in the street, wearing 
a white hat, the sight of which may remind him of his fellow-travel- 
ler, and the conversation about the construction of ships. Thou- 
sands of individuals have their ideas grounded on such principles as 

Such is the difference between correct scientific association, and that 
which is merely accidental and trivial. And a moment's reflection 
vill show the reader the immense superiority of the former, for all the 
purposes for which knowledge is to be used. We must of course learn 
facts and principles at various times, and under every possible variety 
of circumstances. But though they cannot in all cases be acquired 
in order, they may be put in order as soon as they are acquired. 
Every truth, as scon as it is possessed, must be carried to its proper 
place in the intellectual store-house, or else all will soon be inextricable 

V. A careful selection of the subjects to which the mind 
ought to be directed. These are, in some respects, different 
in different persons, according to their situations in life 
but there are certain objects of attention which are.peca 
liarly adapted to each individual, and there are some which 
are equally interesting to all. In regard to the latter, an 
appropriate degree of attention is the part of every wise 

Facts staled by the captain ? Proper mode of associating and remembering these 
facts? Improper mode ? Importance of correct habita of association. Fifth quality f 
^Selection of subjects. Principles which should guide. 


man; in regard to the former, a proper selection is the 
foundation of excellence. One individual may waste his 
powers in that desultory application of them which leads to 
an imperfect acquaintance with a variety of subjects ; while 
another allows his life to steal over him in listless inactivity, 
or application to trifling pursuits. It is equally melancholy 
to see high powers devoted to unworthy objects; such as 
the contests of party on matters involving no important 
principle, or the subtleties of sophistical controversy. For 
rising to eminence in any intellectual pursuit, there is not 
a rule of more essential importance than that of doing one 
thing at a time ; avoiding distracting and desultory occu- 
pations ; and keeping a leading object habitually before the 
mind, as one in which it can at all times find an interesting 
resource when necessary avocations allow the thoughts to 
recur to it. A subject which is cultivated in this manner, 
not by regular periods of study merely, but as an habitual 
object of thought, rises up and expands before the mind in 
a manner which is altogether astonishing. If along with 
this habit there be cultivated the practice of constantly 
writing such views as arise, we perhaps describe that state 
of mental discipline by which talents of a very moderate 
order may be applied in a conspicuous and useful manner to 
any subject to which they are devoted. Such writing need 
not be made at first with any great attention to method, but 
merely put aside for future consideration ; and in this man- 
ner the different departments of a subject will develop and 
arrange themselves as they advance in a manner equally 
pleasing and wonderful. 

VI. A due regulation and proper control of the imagi- 
nation ; that is, restricting its range to objects which har- 
monize with truth, and are adapted to the real state of 
things with which the individual is or may be connected. 
We have seen how much the character is influenced by this 
exercise of the mind; that it may be turned to purposes of 
the greatest moment, both in the pursuits of science and in 
the cultivation of benevolence and virtue ; but that, on the 

Frequent waste of intellectual powers. Essential principle? Effects of it? Wr'f 
kig ? Stxth quality ? The imagination, Viow to be regulated ? 


Other hand, it may be so employed as to debase both the 
moral and intellectual character. 

VII. The cultivation of calm and correct judgment ap- 
plicable alike to the formation of opinions, and the regu- 
lation of conduct. This is founded, as we have seen, upon 
the habit of directing the attention distinctly and steadily 
lo all the facts and considerations bearing upon a subject 
and it consists in contemplating them in their true relations, 
and assigning to each the degree of importance of which it 
is worthy. This mental habit tends to guard us against 
forming conclusions either with listless inattention to the 
views by which we ought to be influenced, or with atten- 
tion directed to some of these, while we neglect others of 
equal or greater importance. It is, therefore, opposed to 
the influence of prejudice and passion, to the formation of 
sophistical opinions, to party spirit, and to every pro- 
pensity which leads to the adoption of principles on any 
other ground than calm and candid examination, guided by 
sincere desire to discover the truth. In the purely physical 
sciences, distorted opinions are seldom met with, or make 
little impression, because they are brought to the test of 
experiment, and thus their fallacy is exposed. But it is 
otherwise in those departments which do not admit of this 
remedy. Sophisms and partial deductions are, accordingly, 
met with in medicine, political economy, and metaphysics ; 
and too often in the still higher subjects of morals and reli- 
gion. In the economy of the human mind, it is indeed 
impossible to observe a more remarkable phenomenon than 
the manner in which a man who, in the ordinary aflairs of 
life, shows the general characters of a sound understand- 
ing, can thus resign himself to the influence of an opinion 
founded upon partial examination. He brings ingeniously 
to the support of his dogma every fact and argument that 
an possibly be turned to its defence; and explains away 
or overlooks every thing that tends to a different conclu- 
sion ; while he appears anxious to convince others, and 
really seems to have persuaded himself, that he is engaged 
m an honest investigation of truth. This propensity gains 

Seventh quality ? Correct judgment. Founded on what? Effects of it? Opposed 
lo what ? In what sciences ia most caution required ? Ccunmon case of error on this 
poiut ? 


Strength by indulgence, and the mind, which has yielded to 
its influence, advances from one pretended discovery to 
another, mistaking its own fancies for the sound conclu- 
sions of the understanding, until it either settles down into 
some monstrous sophism, or perhaps concludes by doubting 
of every thing. 

The manner in which the most extravagant opinions ar 
maintained by persons who give way to this abuse of their 
powers of reasoning, is scarcely more remarkable than the 
facility with which they often find zealous proselytes. It 
is, indeed, difficult to trace the principles by which various 
individuals are influenced in thus surrendering their assent, 
with little examination, often on subjects of the highest im- 
portance. In some it would appear to arise from the mere 
pleasure of mental excitement ; in others, from the love of 
singularity, and the desire of appearing wiser than their 
neighbors ; while, in not a few, the will evidently takes the 
lead in the mental process, and opinions are seized upon 
with avidity, and embraced as truth, which recommend 
themselves to previously existing inclinations of the heart. 
But whatever may be the explanation, the influence of the 
principle is most extensive; and sentiments of the most 
opposite kinds may often be traced to the facility with 
which the human mind receives opinions which have been 
presented to it by some extrinsic influence. This influence 
may be of various kinds. It may be the power of party, 
or the persuasion of a plausible and persevering individual; 
it may be the supposed infallibility of a particular system , 
it may be the mere empire of fashion, or the pretensions of 
a false philosophy. The particular result, also, may differ, 
according as one or other of these causes may be in opera- 
tion. But the intellectual condition is the same ; and the 
distortion of character which arises out of it, whether bigot- 
ry, superstition, or scepticism, may be traced to a similar 
process ; namely, to an influence which directs the mind 
upon some other principle than a candid investigation of 
truth. In a similar manner we may perhaps account for 
the facts, that the lowest superstition and the most daring 

Consetiuences ? Tnfluenceof such powers on other minds ? Causes of ihia? Various 
fnrma of it ? Various ill effects ? Two opposite errors to which it leails ' 


scepticism frequently pass into each other ; and that the 
most remarkable examples of both are often met with in the 
same situations, namely, those in which the human mind is 
restrained from free and candid inquiry. On the other 
hand, it would appear that the universal toleration, and full 
liberty of conscience, which characterize a free and enlight- 
ened country, are calculated to preserve from the two ex- 
tremes of superstition and scepticism. In other situations, 
it is striking to remark how often those who revolt from 
the errors of a false faith take refuge in infidelity. 

The mental qualities which have been referred to in the 
preceding observations, constituting an active, attentive, 
and reflecting mind, should be carefully cultivated by all 
who desire their own mental improvement. The man who 
has cultivated them with adequate care, habitually exer- 
cises a process of mind which is equally a source of im- 
provement and of refined enjoyment. Does a subject occur 
to him, either in conversation or reflection, in which he 
feels that his knowledge is deficient, he commences, without 
delay, an eager pursuit of the necessary information. In 
prosecuting any inquiry, whether by reading or observation, 
his attention is acutely alive to the authenticity of facts, 
the validity of arguments, the accuracy of processes of in- 
vestigation, principles which are illustrated by the facts and 
conclusions deduced from them, the character of observers, 
the style of writers ; and thus, all the circumstances which 
come before him are made acutely and individually the 
objects of attention and reflection. Such a man acquires a 
confidence in his own powers and resources to which those 
are strangers who have not cultivated this kind of mental 
discipline. The intellectual condition arising out of it is 
applicable alike to every situation in which a man can be 
placed, whether the affairs of ordinary life, thq pursuits of 
science, or those higher inquiries and relations which con 
cern him as a moral being. 

In the affairs of ordinary life, this mental habit constitutes 
what we call an intelligent thinking man, whose attention 
is alive to all that is passing before him, who thinks acutely 

Remedy? Effects of cultivating these qualilies 7 On the individual's own charac 
ter 7 On his success In life ? Character formed by these habit.^ in ordinary life J 



and eagerly on his own conduct and that of others, and 
is constantly deriving useful information and subjects of 
reflection from occurrences which, by the listless mind, are 
passed by and forgotten. This habit is not necessarily con- 
nected with acquired knowledge, or with what is commonly 
called intellectual cultivation ; but is often met with, in a 
high degree, in persons whose direct attainments are of a 
very limited kind. It is the foundation of caution and 
prudence in the affairs of life, and may perhaps be consider- 
ed as the basis of that quality, of more value to its posses- 
sor than any of the sciences, which is commonly called 
sound good sense. It is the origin, also, of what we call 
presence of mind, or a readiness in adapting resources to 
circumstances. A man of this character, in whatever emer 
gency he happens to be placed, forms a prompt, clear, and 
defined judgment of whatever conduct or expedient the 
situation requires, and acts with promptitude upon his de- 
cision. In both these respects he differs equally from the 
listless inactivity of one description of men, and the rash, 
hasty, and inconsiderate conduct of another. He differs 
not less from characters of a third class, who, though they 
may be correct in their judgment of what ought to be done, 
arrive at their decision or act upon it too slowly for the 
jircumstances, and consequently are said, according to a 
common proverb, to be wise behind time. The listless and 
torpid character, indeed, may occasionally be excited by 
emergencies to a degree of mental activity which is not 
natural to him; and this is, in many instances, the source 
of a readiness of conception and a promptitude in action 
which the individual does not exhibit in ordinary circum- 

In the pursuits of science these mental qualities constitute 
observing and inventive genius, two conditions of mind 
which lie at the foundation of ail philosophical eminence. 
By observing genius I mean that habit of mind by which 
the philosopher not only acquires truths relating to any sub- 
jects, but arranges and generalizes them in such a manner 

Is extensive knowledge eesential to it ? Results of It; caution arfi prudence. Pre- 
sence of mind. Conduct in emergencies ? I hree classes of men, in respect to energy 
of action? Character formed by these habits ais-iien title pursuits. Observing genius, 


as to show how they yield conclusions which escape the 
mere collector of facts. He likewise analyzes phenomena, 
and thus traces important relations among facts which, to 
the common mind, appear very remote and dissimilar. I 
have formerly illustrated this by the manner in which 
Newton traced a relation between the fall of an apple from 
a tree, and those great principles which regulate the move- 
ments of the heavenly bodies. By inventive genius, again, 
I mean that active, inquiring state of mind, which not only 
deduces, in this manner, principles from facts Avhen they 
are before it, but w^hich grasps after principles by eager 
anticipation, and then makes its own conjectures the guides 
to observation or experiment. This habit of mind is pecu- 
liarly adapted to the experimental sciences ; and in these, 
indeed, it may be considered as the source of the most im- 
portant discoveries. It leads a man not only to observe 
and connect the facts, but to go in search of them, and to 
draw them, as it were, out of that concealment in which 
they escape the ordinary observer. In doing so, he takes 
for his guides certain conjectures or assumptions which 
have arisen out of his own intense contemplation of the 
subject. These may be as often false as true ; but if found 
false, they are instantly abandoned ; and by such a course 
of active inquiry he at length arrives at the development of 
truth. From him are to be expected discoveries which 
elude the observation, not of the vulgar alone, but even of 
the philosopher who, without cultivating this habit of inven- 
tion, is satisfied with tracing the relations of facts as they 
happen to be brought before him by the slower course of 
testimony or occasional observation. The man who only 
amuses himself with conjectures, and rests satisfied in them 
without proof, is the mere visionary or speculatist, who 
injures every subject to which his speculations are directed. 
In the concerns which relate to man as a m.oral being, 
this active, inquiring, and reflecting habit of mind is not less 
applicable than in matters of minor interest. The man 
who cultivates it directs his attention intensely and eagerly 
to the great truths which belong to his moral condition, 
seeks to estimate distinctly his relation to them, and to feel 

Example? Newton. Inventive genius, what? His guides? pDper use of th8> 
ries ? Character formed by these habits in respect to moral progrees ? 


their influence upon his moral principles. This constitutes 
the distinction between the individual who merely professes 
a particular creed, and him who examines it till he makes it 
a matter of understanding and conviction, and then takes 
its principles as the rule of his emotions, and the guide of 
his conduct. Such a man also contemplates in the same 
manner his relations to other men ; questions himself rigidly 
regarding the duties which belong to his situation, and his 
own observance of them. He contemplates others tvith a 
kind of personal interest, enters into their wants and feelings, 
and participates in their distresses. In all his relations, 
whether of justice, benevolence, or friendship, he acts not 
Orom mere incidental impulse, but upon clear and steady 
principles. In this course of action many may go along 
with him when the requirements of the individual case are 
pointed out and impressed upon them ; but that in which 
the mass of mankind are wanting, is the state of mental ac- 
tivity which easily contemplates its various duties and rela- 
tions, and thus finds its way to the line of conduct appro 
priate to the importance of each of them. 

VITI. For a well regulated understanding, and particularly 
for the application of it to inquiries of the highest import, 
there is indispensably necessary a sound condition of the 
moral feelings. This important subject belongs properly 
to another department of mental science ; but we have seen 
its extensive influence on the due exercise of the intellectual 
powers ; and it is impossible to lose sight of the place 
which it holds in the general harmony of the mental func- 
tions required for constituting that condition, of greater 
value than any earthly good, which is strictly to be called 
a well regulated mind. This high attainment consists not 
in any cultivation, however great, of the intellectual pow- 
ers ; but requires also a corresponding and harmonious cul- 
ture of the benevolent affections and moral feelings ; a due 
regulation of the passions, emotions, and desires; and a full 
recognisance of the supreme authority of conscience over 
the w^hole intellectual and moral system. Cold and con 
traded, indeed, is that view of man which regards his ur. 

Important distinction in regard to the adoption of moral and religious principin' 
Proper views of one's own duties? Of the interests of others ? Of the relations tl 
tife / Eighth quality ? Importance of it ? What implied in it l 


derstanding alone; and barren is that system, however 
wide its range, which rests in the mere attainment of truth. 
The highest state of man consists in his purity as a moral 
being; and in the habitual culture and full operation of 
those principles by which he looks forth to other scenes and 
other times. Among these are desires and longings which 
nought in earthly science can satisfy ; which soar beyond 
the sphere (d sensible things, and find no object worthy of 
their capacities until, in humble adoration, they rest in the 
contemplation of God. Truths then burst upiyn the mind 
which seem to rise before it in a progressive series, each 
presenting characters of new and mightier import. The 
most aspiring understanding, awed by the view, feels the 
inadequacy of its utmost powers ; j'-et the mind of the hum- 
ble inquirer gains strength as it advances. There is now 
felt, in a peculiar manner, the influence of that healthy con- 
dition of the moral feelings which leads a man not to be 
afraid of the truth. For, on this subject, we are never to 
lose sight of the remarkable principle of our nature formerly 
referred to, by which a man comes to reason himself into 
the belief of what he wishes to be true ; and shuts his mind 
against, or even arrives at an actual disbelief of, truths 
which he fears to encounter. It is striking, also, to remark 
how closely the philosophy of human nature harmonizes 
with the declarations of the sacred writings ; where this 
condition of mind is traced to its true source, in the corrup- 
tion of the moral feelings, and is likewise shown to involve 
a high degree of guilt, in that rejection of truth which is 
its natural consequence : " This is the condemnation, that 
light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one 
that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the 
light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth 
truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made 
manifest, that they are wrought in God." 

This condition of mind presents a subject of intense inte- 
rest to every one who would study his own mental condi- 
tion, either as an intellectual or a moral being. In each in- 

Ths highest state of man? Influence of lofty moral aims? Correspondence be- 
tween the philosophy of human nature and the declarations of Scripture ? Passage 
quoted ? 



dividual mstance, it may oe traced to a particular course of 
thought and oi conduct, by which the mind went gradually 
more and more astray from truth and from virtue. In this 
progress, each single step was felt to be a voluntary act ; 
but the influence of the whole, after a certain period, is to 
listort the judgment, and deaden the moral feelings on the 
great questions of truth and rectitude. Of this remarkable 
phenomenon in the economy of man, the explanation is be- 
yond the reach of our faculties ; but the facts are unques- 
tionable, and the practical lesson to be derived from them is 
of deep and serious import. The first volition by which the 
mind consciously wanders from truth, or the moral feelings 
go astray from virtue, may impart a morbid influence which 
shall perpetuate itself and gain strength in future volitions, 
until the result shall be to poison the whole intellectual and 
moral system. Thus, in the wondrous scheme of sequen- 
ces which has been established in the economy of the hu- 
man heart, one volition may impart a character to the fu- 
ture man, the first downward step may be fatal. 

Every candid observer of human nature must feel this 
statement to be consistent with truth ; and, by a simple and 
legitimate step of reasoning, a principle of the greatest 
interest seems to arise out of it. When this loss of harmony 
among the mental faculties has attained a certain degree, 
we do not perceive any power in the mind itself capable of 
correcting the disorder which has been introduced into the 
moral system. Either, therefore, the evil is irremediable 
and hopeless, or we must look for an influence from without 
the mind, \vhich may afford an adequate remedy. We are 
thus led to discover the adaptation and the probability of 
the provisions of the Christian revelation, w^here an influ- 
ence is indeed disclosed to us capable of restoring the har- 
mony which has been destroyed, and of raising man anew 
to the sound and healthy condition of a moral being. We 
cannot perceive any improbability, that the Being who ori- 
ginally framed the wondrous fabric, may thus hold inter- 
course with it, and provide a remedy for its moral disorders ; 
and thus a statement, such as human reason never could 

Gradual progress away from virtue. Its influence upcn moral sensibility ? Conse- 
quences of a first step 7 Condition hopeless at last without foreign aid. From what 
qi>'"ter aid is to be sought. Presumption iw favor of the gospel. 


have anticipated, comes to us invested with every element 
of credibility and of truth. 

The sound exercise of the understanding, therefore, is 
closely connected with the important habit of looking with- 
in ; or of rigidly investigating our intellectual and moral 
condition. This leads us to inquire what opinions we hav^ 
formed, and upon what grounds we have formed them 
what have been our leading pursuits, whether these have 
been guided by a sound consideration of their real value, 
or whether important objects of attention have been lightly 
passed over, or entirely neglected. It leads us further to 
contemplate our moral condition, our desires, attachments, 
and antipathies ; the government of the imagination, and 
the regimen of the heart ; what is the habitual current of 
our thoughts ; and whether we exercise over them that con- 
trol which indicates alike intellectual vigor and moral pu- 
rity. It leads us to review our conduct, with its principles 
and motives, and to compare the whole with the great 
standards of truth and rectitude. This investigation is the 
part of every wise man. Without it, an individual may 
make the greatest attainments in science, may learn to 
measure the earth, and to trace the course of the stars, 
while he is entirely wanting in that higher department, 
the knowledge of himself. 

On these important subjects, I would more particularly 
address myself to that interesting class for whom this work 
is more particularly intended, the younger members of the 
medical profession. The considerations which have been 
submitted to them, while they appear to carry the authority 
of truth, are applicable at once to their scientific investiga- 
tions, and to those great inquiries, equally interesting to 
men of every degree, which relate to the principles of moral 
and religious belief. On these subjects, a sound condition 
of mind will lead them to think and judge for themselves 
with a care and seriousness adapted to the solemn import 
of the inquiry, and without being influenced by the dogmas 
of those who, with little examination, presume to decide 
with confidence on matters of eternal moment. Of the 
modifications of that distortion of character which has com 

Se!f-examinalion necessary. What implied in it ? Opinions tail pursuits. FeeliDg& 
Condurt. Address to young" students. 


monly received the name of cant, tiie cant of hypocrisy has 
been said to be the worst ; but there is another which may 
fairly be placed by its side, and that is the cant of infidelity, 
the affectation of scoffing at sacred things by men who 
have never examined the subject, or never with an attention 
in any degree adequate to its momentous importance. A 
well regulated mind must at once perceive that this isalike 
unworthy of sound sense and sound philosophy. If we re- 
quire the authority of names, we need only to be reminded, 
that truths which received the cordial assent of Boyle and 
Newton, of Haller and Boerhaave, are at least deserving of 
grave and deliberate examination. But we may dismiss 
such an appeal as this ; for nothing more is wanted to chal- 
lenge the utmost seriousness of every candid inquirer, than 
the solemn nature of the inquiry itself. The medical ob- 
server, in an especial manner, has facts at all times before 
him, which are in the highest degree calculated to fix his 
deep and serious attention. In the structure and economy 
of the human body he has proofs, such as no other branch 
of natural science can furnish, of the power and wisdom of 
the Eternal One. Let him resign his mind to the influence 
of these proofs, and learn to rise in humble adoration to 
the Almighty Being of whom they witness ; and, familial 
as he is with human sufl^ering and death, let him learn to 
estimate the value of those truths which have power to heal 
the broken heart, and to cheer the bed of death with the 
prospect of immortality. 

Infidelity. Dislingiiished advocates of Christianity ? Higher eyidence of it ? C<m- 
clc8u;a } 



(Successor to COLLINS & BKOTHER,) 

An introduction to Natural Philosophy ; designed as a text- 
book for the use of the students in Yale College. B} 
Denison Olmsted, L. L. D. 

An introduction to Astronomy; designed as a text-book for 
the students in Yale College. By Denison Olmsted^ 
L. L. D. 

These two works, originally prepared by Professor Olmsted, for the use 
of the students of Yale College, and adopted as text-books in a majority|of 
the American Colleges, and higher seminaries of learning, are so well 
known to the public, and so highly appreciated, that it is unnecessary to 
adduce individual testimonials to their merit, although it would be easy to 
multiply those of the highest authority. The latest editions of the Astrono- 
my are enriched with several new articles embracing the recent discoveries 
in the science. 


Introduction to Practical Astronomy, designed as a supple- 
ment to Olmsted's Astronomy ; containing special rules 
for the adjustment and use of Astronomical instruments, 
together with the calculation of eclipses and occultations, 
and the methods of finding the latitude and longitude. 
By Ebejiezer Porter Mason, 

This supplement may be had either separately, or bound up with the As- 

A compendium of Astronomy ; containing the elements of 

i ^\^^^^ c :i: 1-, i_: i i :ii.._i i-j !xl ii__ 

Robert B. Collins' Publications. 

latest discoveries. Adapted to the use of schools and 
academies, and of the general reader. By D. Olmsted, 
L. L. D. 

The introduction of this work into many of the best academies of the 
country, as a text-book, and the extensive and increasing demand for it 
attest the high estimation in which it is held as a class book. It is deemed 
superfluous to present recommendations of a work so generally known and 

Rudiments of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy; design- 
ed for the younger classes in academies, and for common 
schools. By D. Olmsted, L. L. D. 
DC/^ Each part also bound by itself and sold separately. 

This beautiful little volume is the latest of the series of text-books in 
Natural Philosophy and Astronomy prepared by' Professor Olmsted. Its 
leading object is to afford an easy explanation of ihose truths of these sci- 
ences, which are most important to be known by mankind in general, being 
truths of the greatest practical utility. No similar work, it is believed, ever 
contained, in the same compass, a greater amount of useful and interesting 
matter. This is rendered easy and intelligible by familiar illustrations and 
expressive diagrams, and is adapted to the comprehension ol young learn- 
ers, to a degree which can be attained by those only who, like the author, 
have had great experience in teaching. 

The approbation which this work has met with from teachers, is indica- 
ted by its having, within ten years of its lirst publication, passed through 
twenty editions. On account of its simplicity of style and happy way of 
illustrating profound truths, it has been published in the form of raised 
letters for the use of the blind in Massachusetts Asylum, at Boston, and has 
been widely circulated by the American Board among the Missionary 
Schools in distant paits of the earth. 

The publisher takes pleasure in submitting the following testimonials 
from qualified judges : 
From Cyrus Mason, Professor in Neio- York City University, and Rector 

of the University Grammar School, and Leiois H. Hobby, Head Master. 

" We are not accustomed to give testimonials of our approbation of books 
used m the Grammar School; but we are constrained to make an exception 
in favor of the * Rudiments of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy.' We 
have used this book from the day of its publication, with increasing pleasure 
to ourselves, and advantage to our pupils. It is pre-eminently adapted to 
the work of public instruction ; clear, methodical, comprehensive and satis- 
factory ; incapable of being used by a master who does not understand it, or 
nf beJnP' recited bv a nunil who has not comprehended its meaning. 

Robert B. Collins' Publications. - 3 

' In the preparation of this book, Professor Olmsted has made himself a 
benefactor of the schools of our country; and we cannot but hope that its 
wide and early circulation will fully reward his labors." 

F'rom the Journal of St. PauVs College^ College Pointt Long Island. 

"Of the publications of 1844, we have received the 'Rudiments of Nat- 
ural Philosophy and Astronomy, designed for the younger classes in Acad- 
emies and for Common Schools,' by Professor Olmsted, of Yale College, for 
which the author will accept our thanks. It is suited exactly to our purpose. 
For years past we have been obliged to depend upon oral instruction, for the 
lack of a good text-book, and have, in common with many others, wished 
that some accomplished gentleman would undertake to furnish us a book 
calculated for beginners. It is generally supposed that elementary works 
can be prepared by persons of partial acquirements, or that they require less 
research than works of a higher order. In one sense this is true ; but we 
maintain that a work adapted to the youthful mind, cannot be written by 
any other than by him who perfectly understands the subject in its higher 
departments. It is one of the signs of better times, that men of high talent 
are willing to give their attention to the preparation of elementary treatises. 

" The work which has suggested these remarks, is judiciously divided 
into short paragraphs, and filled with neat and useful diagrams. We re- 
commend it to the attention of all teachers in schools and academies." 

Prom the pen of a distinguished Clergyman {Albert Barnes.) 
"This is the title of a book (Rudiments, &c.) which has evidently been 
prepared with much care, and which is intended to be adapted to promote a 
very important object in schools and academies. Professor Olmsted has 
prepared on the same general subject, a Treatise on Natural Philosophy, 
in 8vo., a Treatise on Astronomy, in one vol. 8vo., a School Philosophy, 
and a School Astronomy, which have been received with great favor by the 
public, and which have passed through numerous editions. The liule 
work, whose title is given above, completes his plan, by adapting this kind 
of instruction to primary schools. He has some rare qualifications for the 
composition of such a work. Besides his eminence in this department of 
instruction in Yale College, and his entire familiarity with his subject, he 
has had the advantage of having been himself a teacher in a common 
school and in an academy, and of thus becoming acquainted with the best 
method of approaching the youthful mind. The work is prepared with 
great care, with eminent ability and judgment, and is well adapted to inter- 
est the class of youth for whom it is intended. 

'The writer of this notice, in commending this work to the favorable 
regards of the public, cannot but be struck with the difFerence between such 
a work and any one to which he had access in receiving his education, now 
almost forty years ago. At that time, no youth in the land had the advan- 
tage of a book so admirably adapted at once to cultivate the powers of reflec- 
tion and investigati '0. and to interest the mind on the subjects of great 

Robert B. Collins' Publications. 

importance to those entering on life. Nor does he now know of any work 
of this description, at once so comprehensive and so clear ; so full of import- 
ant principles of science, and so attractive to the youthful mind. Its intro- 
duction into the schools of this city, and the schools and academies of this 
commonwealth, he would regard as a circumstance arguing most favorably 
for the promotion of the best interests of educaiion. Indeed, many a man 
who graduatd at College, and who has entered on his professional life, 
would find it a work in which he would be greatly interested and profited.^' 
Philadelpkia North American. 

" This we consider among the most valuable offerings of the series qI the 
Professor to the youth of his country. Although professedly designed for 
the younger classes in academies and common schools, is written witl^ 
great ability and judgment, and is adapted to interest young persons of cul- 
tivated minds, and to secure their study." New-York Evangelist. 

In addition to the ioregoing recommendations, the publisher is in posses- 
sion of others, also commendatory, from individuals in different parts. All 
concur in expressing high approbation of this work, as eminently adapted to 
diffuse a taste for the studies of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy among 
the rising generation. 

Solar and Lunar Eclipses, familiarly illustrated and explain- 
ed, with the method of calculating them according to the 
theory of Astronomy, as taught in the New-England Col- 
leges. By Jas. 11. Coffin, A. M, 

Elements of Conic Sections and Analytical Geometry. By 
James H. Coffin, A. M., Prof. Math, and Physics, Lafa- 
yette College. 

From the numerous recommendations of the value of this work, the fol- 
lowing are selected. Prof. Mason, Bethany College, Va., says in a letter to 
the author : 

" I am happy to say that your book is better adapted to my present wants 
than any I have seen. I have, therefore, concluded to adopt it for my next 

Mr. J. S. Lebar, Principal of the High School, Hackensack, N.J. : 

'* It is just the work we need, and I shall adopt it in our Academy in pre- 
ference to other treatises upon these subjects. Your demonstrations are ad- 
mirable ; they are so concise, yet so simple, that no student can pass over 
them without fullv comorehendinsr them.'' ' 

^a\k#ii^< ^^iM^^ iVirMN <^ '* 1%/f ^/ 



BF Abercrombie, John 

111 Inqiiiries concerning the 

A3 intellectual powers