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creation either of the mind or the senses, and will admit no man to be insane who does not believe in the reality of ideas, which have no existence except in his imagination. This is not the philosophical, the medical, or the psychological test of insanity. If positive delusions of the mind are not engendered by the system of treatment, great impairment of the intellectual powers, often amounting to imbecility, are, in many cases, the inevitable, the natural, and melancholy sequel. A priori reasoning must force such convictions on the mind. It is an undeniable axiom in physiology, that the brain is the material organ of the mind; and, without discussing the metaphysical question as to the mind being a principle per se, capable of a separate and independent existence, no person formed by education to arrive at just conclusions on a subject, necessarily involving in its consideration scientific details, could, for a moment, hesitate in admitting the truth of the position, that the human mind, during its present state, is entirely dependent for its manifestations on the condition of the material organ or organs with which it is associated. The brain is the physical medium through which the mental powers are developed. Such being the fact, the state of the mind is dependent on the condition of the cerebral apparatus. Any agents, be they physical or moral, directly or indirectly interfering with the natural-the healthy action of the brain, must, as a natural consequence, derange or weaken its functions. To guarantee health of mind, it is an indispensable condition that the brain should be regularly exercised. Occupation is essential to the integrity of the mind. The brain, like the organ of digestion, requires food. Mental assimilation must be progressing, materials must be supplied, otherwise the mind will either prey upon itself, or the brain, for want of a stimulus (the stimuli of ideas), will become deteriorated in its physical condition, producing great debility, perhaps imbecility of mind.

To preserve the intellectual powers in a state of health (setting aside altogether the idea of insanity), they must be subjected to regular exercise. If a person be placed in such a position, that he is excluded from all intercourse with his fellow-men, no attempt being made to call the powers of the mind into operation, the brain will fall into a state of atrophy, and great weakness of mind will result, as the natural physiological consequence. This position is undeniable.

This position is undeniable. Experienced men have frequent opportunities of witnessing cases of “impaired mind" (often the most distressing cases to treat), the effect of the mind (or brain) not being sufficiently exercised. Instances, presenting the following characteristics, are not of uncommon occurrence :

A man accustomed, from early life, to active mercantile pursuits, accumulates a fortune sufficient to enable him to support his family in affluent circumstances. He retires from his counting-house with the determination of spending the remainder of his days in domestic felicity, free from all the anxieties and annoyances incident to the life of a man engaged in the pursuits of commerce. At the commencement of his new career everything looks promising ; he appears a contented man. In a short period, he feels the want of something; the mind is not at ease ; he is dissatisfied with his position. He then discovers that his ill-health and disturbed mind are the consequences of an abstraction from his accustomed stimuli. He is advised to return to his counting-house, and to resume his former occupation. He does so, and the mind is soon restored to its healthy equilibrium, and he is again a cheerful and a happy man. The above case (which is not a hypothetical one) will illustrate my position, in reference to exercise of mind being an indispensable condition of mental health. I will leave the supporters of the solitary system to prove how this condition can be complied with, under the painful circumstances in which criminals are placed who are subjected to this mode of punishment.

There is another view of the question, which appears to be entirely overlooked. The fact of a man being a criminal is prima facie evidence, not of his being insane, but of his having, if not a predisposition to mental derangement, at least a very irregular, ill-governed, and, it may be, an unhealthy mind. This irregularity of mental operation—this perversion of the moral principle—is often associated with latent insanity ; is frequently but one of the many phases which the minds of those assume who are hereditarily predisposed to mental aberration. A man is not necessarily insane, because he is guilty of an atrocious crime ; but the tendency to crime is so repeatedly connected with deranged conditions of the mind, that common humanity would induce us to inquire, whether the criminal offence is not the first overt act of insanity?

A woman suddenly jumps up from the breakfast-table, and endeavours to precipitate herself from the window. She is prevented from doing so. To her family and friends she has given no previous indications of insanity. She was calm, collected, and rational in conversation. Apparently, her ideas were not perverted. She engaged zealously in all the active duties of life ; in fact, was considered and treated as a person in the possession of a perfectly sound mind. The attempt on her life was thwarted, but from that moment she gave unequivocal indications of a mind greatly disturbed. She was a furious lunatic. Apparently, the attempt at suicide was the first manifestation of her disorder. Had this poor girl (whose case was under my care) succeeded in destroying herself, a verdict of felo-de-se might with justice have been recorded. By parity of reasoning, may not an extremely vicious propensity or act

be the commencement or premonitory sign of insanity? I have not the least doubt it is so in many cases. As mental aberration often manifests itself in acts which the law considers criminal—as crime is so frequently associated with derangement of mind, and with a constitution predisposed to insanity, it becomes the sacred duty of the Legislature to protect criminals from being exposed to the influence of agents, known both to generate disorders of the mind, and to develop those affections in persons constitutionally liable to them. The time, I trust, is not very remote when more philosophical, and, as a sequence, more liberal views will be taken of those actions designated criminal, and when, without exhibiting any maudlin sentimentality towards those who violate the conditions which bind society together, we shall, in the spirit of our common Christianity, look with great leniency on the faults and failings of our fellow-men.



A Memoir presented to the Academy of Sciences at Paris, on the 29th of November, 1847, by Dr. Michéa.

(Continued from No. III.)


Insanity-Absence of maniacal agitation, and ambitious monomania

- Imperfect general paralysis - Involuntary excretions - Augmentation of the globules-Diminution of the albumen. CASE 1.-M-, a hatter, aged 38, of a robust constitution, and a sanguineous temperament; has been at Bicêtre from the month of December, 1846.

On the 25th of June, 1847, he presented the following condition. He answered correctly all questions addressed to him on his age, his profession, and family, but was unable to indicate the day of the week, the present month, or the year. Easily excited to tears on any mention of his wife and children; absence of agitation, and of all delirious ideas regarding fortune or grandeur.

Marked embarrassment of pronunciation, trembling of the lips and hands; tottering gait; good appetite; involuntary excretion of urine and fæcal matter. The urine not rendered turbid by heat or on the addition of some drops of nitric acid.

26th.-Standing was almost impossible. Four hundred grammes of blood ordered to be drawn.


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27th.—The same state as the evening before; the pulse strong and full, seventy-six beats in a minute. Three hundred grammes of blood drawn. The blood taken on this last occasion has alone been examined.

Analysis of 1000 parts of blood.


1386414 Fihrin

3-658 Solid matters of the serum



{ inorganic 10.333 The number 138 which here represents the quantity of the globules, is below what it would have been if four hundred grammes of blood had been drawn twenty-four hours before that which was made the object of our analysis. Although a little too low from this same reason, the number representing the organic materials of the serum is nevertheless absolutely low, independently of the first venesection. It is further to be remarked that the urine does not contain any trace of albumen, and that the diminution of this principle of the blood was not accompanied by any form of dropsy. Feebleness of memory-Maniacal excitement-Incoherence of ideas,

with predominance of ambitious monomania-General paralysis,

Involuntary excretionsSlight diminution of albumen. CASE 2.-S—, clerk, aged 40, of a robust constitution, and sanguineous temperament. Has been at Bicêtre since the month of June, 1846.

At the present time (10th of June, 1847) he is in the following condition: very considerable loss of memory, being unable to remember his name or age ; strongly marked loquacity; incoherence in his speech, with a predominance of ambitious ideas; he declares that he has the little Buonaparte in his knee (dans son genou); that he had humbugged his father; is rich; has the monopoly of all the white bread and truffles and Thorins wine consumed in Paris. He appears happy; says he has good health and a good digestion. Occasionally he sings.

Much embarrassment in his pronunciation, trembling of the upper and lower extremities; involuntary excretion of urine; voracious appetite, and an incessant wish to indulge it. Pulse of ordinary strength, 72 in the minute. Two hundred grammes of blood drawn.

Analysis of 1000 parts of blood.

58-212 Solid matters of the serum


804 439

2 634


Insanity - Absence of ambitious monomania - Imperfect general

paralysis - Involuntary excretions - Convulsions and epileptic attacks— FeverDeath— The meninges adhering to the cerebral convolutionsInjection of the vessels of the pia-materAbundant serosity at the base of the cranium, in the lateral ventricles, and in the cellular sub-arachnoid tissue, the gray matter abounding in red specksDiminution of the water-Augmentation of the fibrin, and

of the solid matters of the blood. CASE 3.-Lourmant, aged forty-two, entered Bicêtre in 1845. Is of a strong constitution, and sanguineous temperament; and has all the characteristics of embonpoint.

Embarrassment of speech ; standing and walking accompanied by tottering ; excessive trembling of the upper extremities. Calm, but manifesting feebleness of memory with respect to events of recent date ; absence of delirious ideas concerning fortune and greatness ; involuntary discharge of urine and fæces; voracious appetite.

On the 17th of May, 1847, sudden loss of consciousness; convulsive epileptic movements of the whole body, but principally of the muscles of the face. (Venesection prescribed.) The 18th, the patient makes no reply to the questions asked him; continued spasmodic convulsions, which recur every four or five seconds, and are always more marked in the face than in the other parts of the body; a supine posture is adhered to; there is no voluntary movement, and no sign of sensibility when the skin is pinched; hiccup; the face, neck, and limbs are purplish red; the pulse moderately full, a hundred in a minute. 150 grammes of blood were drawn during one of these epileptic attacks.

The 19th, he died.

Appearances after Death.— The brain appeared to escape on cutting through the cerebral membranes, which adhered to the convolutions at several points. The layer of arachnoid which covers the inner surface of the hemispheres and their convexity was raised up by serosity. Below this membrane the pia-mater was infiltrated with a great quantity of limpid serosity, which flowed forth at all parts. The encephalic vessels were injected. The lateral ventricles and the base of the brain were full of serosity. There was no ramollissement, but a decided excess of red specks of the


matter. The blood drawn at the second time of venesection was alone analyzed.

Analysis of 1000 parts of blood.


10:75 Solid matters of the serum.





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