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culation has had time palpably to change its state. After awhile, however, this change will ensue; for not even a thought, we believe, passes through the brain without action, and a relative change in the condition of tissue. An abstract passive influence is a paradox; there is no such thing as mere metaphysical pathology.

Even a very remote nerve may be influenced by local irritation, without any evidence of this in the nervous tract which is traversed; just as the electric fluid may pass unperceived or unfelt through a wire and evince its power by the discharge of the jar. If we merely touch ourselves in one part, we frequently feel a sensation, perhaps, in the most distant point of the body. And here Sir George Lefevre has overshot, we think, our own mark, in observing that “ we cannot get to an individual nerve but through the circulation.”

There are still more impressive phenomena that very beautifully illustrate the remote influence of nerve in the potency of volition. The power of fixing the thought, or concentrating the will, is sometimes intense—we may almost term it miraculous. Thus Colonel Townsend possessed the wondrous faculty of arresting the action of his heart, which feat, indeed, at length, terminated in unintentional suicide. Almost equal power was possessed by Coma, as we learn from Valerius Maximus, who actually committed self-murder by the unique faculty he displayed, of stopping his breathing by the effort of his will.

We have seen very curious instances of the power which some possess, of influencing function, by the fixing of attention to the point. We may, indeed, often induce the bowels to act, by thinking of their action ; as we may also in reference to the emptying of the bladder; and this especially in a state of solitude. If the mind be distracted with the avocations of business, the call ceases, even if it has ever been excited; the disposition not recurring until the usual hour of the next morning.

During anxiety, and while the circulation of blood is in excess on the brain, equally by profuse sweating and the draining off of the fluids of the body, the bowels become apathetic and disobedient, constipation thence ensuing. The converse of this : there are states of the circulation, those associated with pleasurable or buoyant thought and feeling, or a favourite subject of study, that in some almost invariably induce peristaltic action. It is the free circulation of oxygenized blood that sets the healthy functions a-going.

In illustration of this we may adduce the following fact: the contemplation of a map, by a gentleman ardently attached to the study of topography, was speedily followed by intestinal action, especially if the map was that of a country celebrated for beauty or local interest.


In illustration of the effect of mental anxiety, or concentration of attention, Dr. Lefevre tells us of a gentleman who was forewarned by a homeopathist that he would spit blood on such a day : he was really affected suddenly with hæmoptysis. But was this more than coincidence, or, at most, the secret of the fulfilment of prophecy, from imparted impetus, so often referred to supernatural agency? If one in a million of warnings is fulfilled, of course it is vaunted as a prophecy. “We mark,” writes Lord Bacon, “what we hit, not what we miss."

Some of the inverted organic actions, however, are in some persons very suddenly induced by intensity of thought or emotion. A gentleman some years ago consulted us, whose stomach was instantly excited to eject its contents, whenever, on adjourning from the breakfast-table to his counting-house, he opened a letter containing disastrous or even merely unfavourable news.

From the same cause engorgement of the liver, or spasm of the biliary ducts, may also arise. When Murat, while he was in Russia, received bad news from Naples, he was very quickly affected by a severe fit of jaundice.

We believe that in many of these emotional influences, a revulsion of blood to the heart may ensue—the brain being anæmiated. sea-sickness, moral influence may be brought to bear with much advantage. If the mind can be induced to indulge in, or turn to thoughts of a happy or absorbing nature, the convulsive actions of the stomach may be thwarted. By this effort blood is sent in due quantity to the brain, as it is in the recumbent posture. We ourselves were witness of this power during a late very tempestuous voyage from France. In the saloon were ten gentlemen, of whom eight were very seriously indisposed. One of those who escaped kept under the qualms, which threatened once or twice to gain the mastery over him, by concentrating his reflections on the beautiful works of art he had been deeply contemplating the day before. The subject of sea-sickness is one of more than common interest, but we must waive its discussion heremerely observing, that it might well be classed among the neuroses of Cullen. The influence of thought on secretion and digestion is chiefly dependent on varied degrees of anæmia : in that organ in which the paramount action is then going on, there we should find hyperæmia, whether this action consist in increase of function, or physical excitement.

The mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, especially where sudden death, by disease or violence, has occurred, will be often seen of a bright or a deep scarlet hue—a condition which Haller and

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other pathologists erroneously believed to be the indication of inflammatory action, but which may, indeed, be deemed an essential state for the due function of those organs. When, however, we study deeply, directly after feeding, the brain is the organ in which nervous and vascular action is, as it were, concentrated. Digestion is impeded, not by deep thought, metaphysically, not by mere enervation, but by defect of its supply of blood. There is, in fact, a sort of struggle for the blood between the brain and the stomach, during which both play badly. Why do we not obey nature in this ?—for she does indeed indispose us for study after a meal, but if we will force or oppose her, we must take the consequences.

Some curious allusions are made, in the book under our notice, to the influence of accident—as concussion of the brain, for instance in suddenly changing the disposition. As one may be reduced to a state of fatuity, another may also, by some wondrous change in the circulation, be for a time rendered rational. Something of this we sometimes witness in the lighting up of reason just before dissolution. Among others, Dr. Hancock records the case of a Quaker, who had been long a drivelling idiot : shortly before he died, he became so perfectly rational, that he called together his family, and bestowed on them, with pathetic solemnity, his parting benediction. This illumination of the mind, this transient beam of reason, is finely employed by Mrs. Opie, in her tale of the “Father and Daughter."

Aretæus accounts for this by asserting that “The system has thrown off many of its impurities, and the soul, left naked, is free to exercise such energies as it still possessed."

This impurity was probably some morbid state or oppression of blood. Thus, timely venesection might have prevented many a suicidal crime. We could refer to more cases than that of the illustrious statesman, who had rationally attempted to stanch the life-blood flowing from the wound he had inflicted in his neck. Dr. Marshall Hall records one of attempted suicide, in which the flow of blood directly changed the nature of thought—the disposition, as Sir George Lefevre would write. The observation which a person who committed suicide made to his surgeon, as he was recovering from a state of syncope, was striking: “Had you bled me a few days ago, I should not have done this act; my feelings are altered; I regard suicide with abhorrence.” An analogous case is recorded in the late work of Dr. C. M. Burnett.

We come now, somewhat suddenly, on sleep and dreaming; and we confess our disappointment at seeing so little discussion on these deeply interesting phenomena ; but perhaps so wide and hackneyed a field may have deterred Sir George Lefevre, who might think, as we do, that a very certain mode of inducing sleep in ourselves, would be to peruse the myriads of hypotheses, and hard words and definitions, contained in the writings of psychologists. Just for a few of these :—The exhausted irritability of Darwin, the diminished afflux of blood of Blumenbach, the lack of animal spirits of Haller, the cerebral collapse of Cullen, congestion of sinuses, reflux to the heart, a deposition of fresh matter on the brain, &c. &c. We have elsewhere discussed this interesting subject, so beautifully illustrative of the mutual influence of nerve and blood.

In quoting Sir Astley Cooper's case, in which pressure within a hole in the cranium, made by the trephine, induced sleep, we cannot agree with the term. The state thus induced was that of coma, a disorder, which sleep is not—it is the remedy for disorder. One point only on this subject we will refer to—the power of slumber in quickly altering the sentiments or the complexion of thought. We have often experienced this happy influence of a very transient slumber; and Sir George Lefevre knew a gentleman who was often disturbed by a confusion of ideas, which were constantly renovated or rectified by five or ten minutes' sleep. The exaltation of one sense, when vicarious of another impaired or lost, may almost realise the clairvoyance of the mesmerist. Practice and habit may do much, but something must be referred to the excess of that nervous and vascular energy once expended on the lost sense being superadded to the substitute.

The exquisite acuteness of touch in Professor Sanderson, of Dr. Blacklock, and Miss M'Avoy (written Macaulay by Sir George Lefevre), are well known. In Laura Bridgman, of Boston, the whole faculty of perception was concentrated in touch. In some rare instances, conversation has been kept up by tracing letters on the clothes of the back, or on one side of the face, or by a whisper slightly breathed on the pit of the stomach of a deaf woman. In Caspar Hauser, in whom there was very slight working of intellect to carry off power, the sense of touch was intensely acute. How far Sir George Lefevre is correct in referring to stricture of the intestines, in two ladies, extreme exaltation of the senses of vision and hearing, we will not presume to determine.

Our author next refers to a curious case, in which a convulsive malady so changed the integrity of vision, that red and yellow things appeared green. In some this faulty discrimination of colour, if so it be, is natural and permanent. This arises from the different power, in different primitive colours, of the ray of light, of refrangibility, on which depends the interesting optical law of accidental or complementary colour, whether this be referred to the optical apparatus or nerve of the eye. If the

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eye be strained on a red colour, it becomes at length insensible to it, perceiving only the yellow and blue rays, the blending of which is green. This is easily illustrated by a red wafer in a bright light.

One of the most interesting among the nervous diseases of the eye, is muscæ volitantes,” whether this proceed from systemic sensibility or over-exertion of the sense. The spectra are not, however, always depending on mere nervous causes—sometimes on vascular turgescence. The one will be often relieved very quickly by a glass of wine, the other will require depletion. We have at present under our care a gentleman whose aspect is the picture of health, but myriads of these black floats are constantly before his eyes. We refer this disorder to his almost incessant employment, during one season, in looking up to the heads of forest trees for the purpose of valuation. Depletion is always followed by relief; as yet, however, this relief has been merely transient.

Of the antipathies of smell and taste we have known very curious instances. The olfactory nerves may become so acutely sensitive as to be oppressed by even grateful odours, so that Pope scarcely exaggerates in his lines—

“ And quick effluvia darting to the brain,

Die of a rose, in aromatic pain.”

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The smell of strawberries, cheese, and malt liquors, is to some persons so nauseous, that we have known a gentleman of great energy on the verge of syncope during an attempt only to taste the beverage from one of Barclay's immense vessels, which others were eulogizing as the drink of the gods.

The Schneiderian membrane in some persons is endowed with peculiar sensitiveness to the vegetable odours. To this may chiefly be referred the disorder termed hay fever, but which is sometimes induced by the aroma of other flowers, as those of the blackthorn, &c.

The perversions of taste are sometimes very curious. We are informed of an old lady whose taste was saline, so that she did not require salt to her animal food.

Regarding the aid afforded by the nose to the palate, Sir George Lefevre writes, that we can taste but not flavour without our smell ; so we hold a child's nose when we give it physic. But the palate and nose are not always so discriminative; the eye is sometimes called in aid. It has been often proved that mutton and beef roasted cannot be certainly distinguished if the eyes be shut.

The morbid eccentricities of touch or feeling are among the most painful maladies of the neuroses. They are eminently characteristic of hysteria. A lady, who was for several years under our care for phthisis, was occasionally affected with intense hyperästhesia of the skin. Dur

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