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JANUARY 1, 1849.
Art. I. — Des Pertes Seminales Involontaires. Par M. LALLEMAND,
Professeur à la Faculté de Médécine de Montpellier. Paris. A Practical Treatise on the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Sper
matorrhea. By M. LALLEMAND. Translated by HENRY J. McDouGALL, Esq., Member Roy. Col. Surg., England ; Fellow of the Royal Medico-Chir. Soc.; &c. &c. London, 1847.
THERE is extant in the world much unwholesome morality: there is much substitution of words for things: much false delicacy which is miscalled virtue: much traffic in
“ The False Commerce of Truth Unfelt:" much conventional lying: much conventional dissimulation. For want of the reverse of all this many fine minds are overthrown. There is nothing which is, which has actuality of existence, that should not be fathomed, and whose rocks and quicksands should not be placed, as in an unfolded map, conspicuously in sight. Upon subjects on which neither Religion nor Science disdain to treat, correct information should be diffused. Vindications of, and apologies for, entering upon a subject like that which we propose to elucidate are but concessions to weak minds. It lies within the scope of our volition to shun many of the first approaches to insanity; nay, even, although the first steps into error are those which are most easily retraced, to extricate others and ourselves from its labyrinths when deeply involved in them. Into these labyrinths we are usually misled by some of those passions and temptations which, not peculiar to a few, are common to our whole species. We cannot
know too much: and minds may be capable and yet unenlightened : hearts human, and yet: inawakened. Poetically, if not literally speaking, it certainly may be said with as much truth as Milton sung of
mars first disobedience” and the fatal “tree” of “the forbidden fruit,” that we have ventured upon the treatment of
“ Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme."
It is true that what Dante and others were to Milton, Lallemand has been to us; while we but profess to be to him as Dun Scotus and Bellarmine were to Aristotle, in so far as our treatise bears relation to natural science only. It is our purpose, however, to trespass over those limits of natural science which Lallemand has assigned himself, and to treat the subject in a manner more strictly and severely ethical, inasmuch as we can no otherwise trace out, link by link, the chain which connects it with insanity. It is a subject on which even sane minds are apt to entertain many misconceptions. There are psychological mysteries which it lies within the power of pathology to elucidate, and which would, without its aid, remain obscure. There have frequently been witnessed deviations from the perfectly correct in conduct, and amiable in manners; exhibitions of petulance of temper and trespasses against the minor moralities; to account for which, upon a post mortem examination, there have been discovered traces of painful and perhaps previously unsuspected organic disease. Among our currently nomenclatured diseases are some which peculiarly tend to generate gloom, and even in severe or long protracted cases, to incite to suicide. There are forms of gastric, hepatic, and cerebral disease which display these or like tendencies. Sometimes it is rather ill temper that is induced, as by attacks of gout. Anxiety of expression in the countenance is a symptom of enteritis, which, although having a physical origin, has not a physical character only, but implicates the condition of the mind. The mind in each of the varied forms of febrile excitement takes the peculiar course of wandering, surrounds itself with those peculiar groups of hallucinations, which characterise the existing state of the brain and sensory system. At the same time it may be observed, that the mind of the patient, individually, very considerably determines the mode in which various morbid states of the brain are manifested; and will be found, in a greater or less degree, unless when torpor and incapacity are superinduced, to vindicate its own idiosyncrasy. While under excitement, it frequently throws off such gigantic shadows of portions of its being as the oxyhydrogen microscope brings into view of the minuter textures of natural objects. We obtain glimpses of the very infusoria, so to speak, which are engendered in the reason and imagination of the patient. There are, on the other hand, diseases, and these of a fatal character, which,
during the most part of their course, do not disturb the temper or trouble the mind. Consumption, not always indeed, but frequently and commonly, deals in these respects very gently with her victims. Investing them as with the hues of perpetual youth, she leads them to the altar crowned with garlands. Not till their near approach to the sacrificial flame, does the bright eye lose its lustre, the hectic flush give place to paleness—do the hues fade, the garlands wither. They gradually, though still and evermore attended by Hope, become less and less tenacious of existence : they are gently weaned from the things of time and sense, and from the love of life: their hopes in life are displaced by hopes of the life beyond this life. We regard their fate almost with envy. After bereaved relatives have passed through the first bitterness of sorrow for their loss, their reminiscences of those near and dear to them who have died of this disease become almost pleasurable. The patience of sufferers under a long-sustained mortal affliction is naturally regarded in the most amiable light. But we must not forget, as psychologists, that comparatively with many of the “ills which flesh is heir to," this complaint occasions less of corporal suffering, and less severely tests the powers of endurance. We should remember this, not that we may cast a shadow of disparagement upon the characters of those who, having had something, probably much to endure, have endured it patiently, and left behind them a pleasing image of tranquil resignation to the will of heaven in the memories of survivors; but that we may be just to such as, having had more to suffer, have naturally, and almost inevitably, displayed more of irritability and impatience. We have noticed how bowel disease induces cerebral disturbance; how, through the medium of physical organization, the mind is made a party in the struggle. We thus see clearly instanced the influence of the body on the mind. The intense agonies attendant upon the passage of gall-stones, or upon a paroxysm of tic-doloureux, are too great to be borne by any human being with tranquillity. We remember having overheard some severe and unkind comments passed upon a clergyman who could not refrain from manifestations of impatience under extreme suffering from the former mentioned cause. It was inferred that he came short of his duty as a Christian minister in not setting his flock a better example. There is no degree of strength of mind which disease and pain may not master. We have thought it necessary in this exordium to our subject to adduce examples of the influence of the body on the mind; some notice of the influences of the mind on the body should also be subjoined. There are the various passions which inspire, exalt, and debase humanity. There are painful or agreeable surrounding circumstances. These take each its part in influencing the health; these constitute some of the links which unite physiology and pathology with psychology. There is also to be considered the influence of one mind upon another, which is great ; as likewise its power as exercised within and upon itself, as well as upon the body. There is what is of a loftier order than even intellectual, there is moral power: there is strength of will, of an inferior order to both, but capable of greater ostensible achievements than either. There are none who have not observed the effect of hope as a cordial, of fear as a depressant, upon invalids. Health and longevity depend much upon circumstances, much upon the due management of the mind. A man who upon a sick bed is disturbed by the reflection that he has not succeeded in making a due provision for his family, may be inclined to give himself up to despair, and actually suffer himself to die; or his want of resignation to his fate, his cherished designs for the future, his sanguine determinations to carry out his views upon his recovery, may conduce to his convalescence. The subject is one, not of great only, but of universal interest. To pursue it further here would be to expatiate over far too wide a field. We propose in this paper to segregate for investigation but a small portion of it. We shall devote it, for the most part, to the consideration of the connexion between genital physiology and pathology and psychology. It seemed necessary to adduce, first, a few familiar examples of the connexion generally subsisting between the condition of the body and that of the mind, by way of introduction to the special consideration of one of not the least important links in the chain that unites them. Lady Mary Wortley Montague says, in one of her Letters, “ that she had heard speak of many sorts of persons; but that, for her part, she had only met with two sorts—men and women.” It is partly upon this hint that we are about to speak, hoping that all due allowances will be made for us as for pioneers who are engaged in breaking up fresh ground. The station we are about to occupy exhibits a point d'appui between kindred sciences which has hitherto been seldom, if ever, approached. We shall have to descend from generalities to particulars, some of them sufficiently agreeable objects of regard, but others of them wearing a far from fascinating aspect. We shall, first, enter upon the more agreeable and least laborious department of our duty. We shall find ourselves traversing a pleasantenough path and in pleasant company, that of poets, sages, and of the sainted among Christian, as well as the renowned among heathen, moralists. We shall have to travel to Milford Haven with Imogen, to thread the mazes of the forest of Ardennes with Rosalind, to gather violets and cowslips and primroses with Perdita. We shall have to follow with Charles Lamb, haud passibus equis, at a distance, the steps of Shakespeare ; we shall have to follow the steps of a greater even than Shakespeare—of Dame Nature. We may, going higher yet, pursue to its earliest earthly sources, the sacred fount of all inspiration, and undergo ideally with him the seven years' service for love of the Hebrew patriarch. We may go everywhere and anywhere, and find, without seeking, illustrations of our subject. Without looking into the world without, it is much if we cannot most of us look within ourselves with a fair prospect of obtaining considerable information upon the subject. To proceed,-it has been shown how close an affinity subsists between certain physical and psychological phenomena : and, while it has to be conceded that there are diseases which act but slightly and inappreciably as disturbing forces upon the mind, it will be perceived that this concession can least of all be held to apply to organic disease or functional disorder of the generative system; not genital disease indeed only, but the ordinarily fulfilled functions of the reproductive organs while in their normal state much influencing the mind, and producing, as the status of puberty becomes established, absolute and plainly perceptible changes in its character. The same truths admit of being expressed in the rude and uncourtly terms of science, which have given vitality to the poetry of every language. Science, Philosophy, and Song concur in telling the same tale, only that what the latter generalize, Science expounds and specifies: they speak of the master passion, and hymn its eulogy or lament its pangs of discomfiture; Science, of its more gross and corporeal elements.
“ Love lives; Thought dies not: the heart's music still
Prolongs its cadences from age to age;
Through each voluptuous leaf of Nature's page !"
Man perishes; but the passions common to human nature will endure as long as the world exists ; hence the interest in them never ceases, never becomes obsolete; hence our sympathy with the joys and sorrows of the long since dead, as if they were yet among the living. The passions, and among these the master passion especially, supply us with countless examples of the agency of the body on the mind, of the mind on the body; of the re-agency of each on the other. With the advance of life, their development becomes more complete, their tendencies and objects more clearly understood. As in the female sex the frame becomes more womanly, a thousand new graces come into view; the mind itself, in becoming more mature, becomes more feminine: in both sexes, the distinctions of sex become more marked and definite. In the male sex, not the aspect and voice only, but the mind undergoes a change. Those changes in persons of both sexes which are of a psychological character are matters of as plain recognition as those which are physical; and so also are any pauses in the march of nature towards