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ill  II 



761    011 



!                       °° 






11  SI  HI 




HENEY    MAUDSLEY,  M.D.   Lond. 








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[The  Right  of  Translation  and  Reproduction  is  reserved.] 

LOS  DOM  : 



rpHEEE  are  only  two  observations  which  it  seems  necessary  to 
make  by  way  of  preface  to  this  edition.  The  first  is,  that  it 
has  not  been  my  conscious  desire  or  aim  throughout  the  work  to 
discard  entirely  the  psychological  method  of  inquiry  into  mental 
phenomena,  although  the  earnest  advocacy  of  the  physiological 
method  has,  naturally  perhaps,  led  some  readers  to  assume 
such  a  design.  Hitherto,  it  must  be  remembered,  the  latter 
has  hardly  had  any  place,  the  former  having  been  exclusively 
employed,  in  the  study  of  mind.  Now  it  is  obviously  impossible 
to  set  forth  the  fruit-fulness  and  the  rich  promise  of  the  physio- 
logical method,  and  to  elevate  it  to  its  rightful  position,  without 
exposing  the  shortcomings  and  the  barrenness  of  the  psycho- 
logical method,  and  degrading  it  to  a  lower  rank  than  that 
which  it  has  unjustly  usurped.  The  second  observation  is,  that 
this  work  may,  by  virtue  of  its  plan  and  mode  of  execution, 
rightly  claim  to  be  judged,  not  in  parts,  but  as  a  whole. 
Statements  which  in  one  place  may  appear  too  absolute,  or 
entirely  unwarranted,  will  have  their  justification,  or  the  show 
of  it,  at  any  rate,  in  other  parts  of  the  book.  It  may  not  be 
amiss,  then,  to  allege  that  an  adequate  criticism  of  the  First 
Part  cannot  be  made  without  some  consideration  of  the  Second 
Part ;  and  that  in  like  manner  the  study  of  the  Second  or 
Pathological  Part  cannot  be  undertaken  to  the  best  advantage 
without  a  previous  study  of  the  First  or  Physiological  Part. 

This  edition  has  been  carefully  revised,  with  the  view  of 
removing  some  inaccuracies,  and  contains  additional  matter,  for 
the  purpose  of  elucidating  certain  obscurities,  which  occurred 
in  the  first  edition.  An  index  has  also  been  added  for  con- 
venience of  reference. 

Hanwell,  w. 

March  IG/h,  1868. 


THE  aim  which  I  have  had  in  view  throughout  this  work 
has  been  twofold:  first,  to  treat  of  mental  phenomena 
from  a  physiological  rather  than  from  a  metaphysical  point 
of  view  ;  and,  secondly,  to  bring  the  manifold  instructive  in- 
stances presented  by  the  unsound  mind  to  bear  upon  the 
interpretation  of  the  obscure  problems  of  mental  science. 
Indeed  it  has  been  my  desire  to  do  what  I  could  in 
order  to  put  a  happy  end  to  the  "  inauspicious  divorce " 
between  the  Physiology  and  Pathology  of  Mind,  and  to  effect 
a  reconciliation  between  these  two  branches  of  the  same 
science.  When  I  first  applied  myself,  upwards  of  ten  years 
since,  to  the  practical  study  of  insanity,  having  laid  up  before- 
hand some  store  of  metaphysical  philosophy,  it  was  no  small 
surprise  and  discouragement  to  find,  on  the  one  hand,  that 
the  theoretical  knowledge  acquired  had  no  bearing  whatever 
on,  no  discoverable  relation  to,  the  facts  that  daily  came 
under  observation,  and,  on  the  other  hand,  that  writers  on 
mental  diseases,  while  giving  the  fullest  information  concern- 
ing them,  treated  their  subject  as  if  it  belonged  to  a  science 
entirely  distinct  from  that  which  was  concerned  with  the 
sound  mind.  This  state  of  things  could  not  fail  to  produce 
an  immediate  mental  disquietude,  and  ultimately  to  give 
rise  to  the  endeavour  on  my  part  to  arrive  at  some  definite 
conviction  with  regard  to  the  physical  conditions  of  mental 
function,  and  the  relation  of  the  phenomena  of  the  sound 
and  unsound  mind.  Of  that  endeavour  the  present  work  is 
the  result.  It  can  claim  no  more  authority  than  what  is  due 
to  a  sincere  purpose  faithfully  pursued,  and  to  such  truth  as 
may  be  contained  in  it.  The  First  Part,  resting  as  it  does 
mainly  on  the  physiological  method  of  inquiry  into  mental 
phenomena,  will  certainly  not  command  the  assent  of  those 



who  put  entire  faith  in  the  psychological  method  of  interro- 
gating self-consciousness ;  it  must  appeal  rather  to  those  who 
have  made  themselves  acquainted  with  the  latest  advances 
in  physiology,  and  with  the  present  state  of  physiological 
psychology  in  Germany,  and  who  are  familiar  with  the  writ- 
ings of  such  as  Professor  Bain,  Mr.  Herbert  Spencer,  Dr. 
Laycock,  and  Dr.  Carpenter,  in  this  country.  The  Second  Part 
of  the  book  may  stand  on  its  own  account  as  a  treatise  on 
the  causes,  varieties,  pathology,  and  treatment  of  mental 
diseases,  apart  from  all  question  of  the  proper  method  to 
be  pursued  in  the  investigation  of  mental  phenomena.  Even 
those  who  advocate  the  psychological  method  of  interrogating 
self-consciousness  do  not  insist  on  the  application  of  it  to 
the  scientific  study  of  the  madman's  mind. 

In  laying  down  the  plan  of  this  work,  and  in  thus  entering 
upon  a  task  not  before  systematically  attempted,  I  could  not 
fail  to  experience  the  serious  disadvantage,  not  only  of  having 
no  guide  to  follow,  but  of  being  compelled  by  the  scope  of  the 
work  to  deviate  from  the  paths  already  made  in  metaphysics, 
physiology,  and  pathology  respectively.  In  order  to  bring 
the  results  of  the  cultivate-  of  these  different  branches  of 
science  into  any  sort  of  harmony,  it  was  plainly  necessary 
not  to  travel  too  far  on  paths  which  diverged  more  and  more 
with  every  step  forward.  For  this  reason  I  have  passed  by 
many  interesting  questions  which  have  long  occupied  a  large 
space  in  metaphysics,  and  have  deliberately  omitted  many 
discussions  which  were  at  one  time  intended  to  form  a  part 
of  the  book.  In  like  manner,  it  seemed  desirable,  when  treat- 
ing of  the  physiology  of  mental  action,  to  omit  anatomical 
description  of  the  nervous  system,  leaving  the  knowledge  of 
it  to  be  obtained  in  a  more  complete  and  satisfactory  form 
from  books  specially  dealing  with  the  subject.  Lastly,  the 
pathology  of  diseases  of  the  nervous  system  generally,  although 
throwing  much  light  on  the  pathology  of  mental  diseases, 
could  not  fin"  fitting  place,  and  was  after  some  hesitation 
sacrificed,  in  order  to  preserve  the  harmony  of  design,  and 
to  prevent  the  book  growing  to  an  immoderate  bulk.  Indeed, 
as  may  be  easily  conceived,  it  has  been  throughout  far  more 
difficult  to  determine  what  to  leave  out  than  what  to  put  in, 


the  proportion  of  material  collected  for  the  purposes  of  the 
project,  but  not  directly  used,  exceeding  that  which  has  been 
actually  used  in  its  execution.  I  am  fully  sensible  of  the 
disadvantages  resulting  from  these  omissions  :  an  amount  of 
knowledge  on  the  reader's  part  is  taken  for  granted  which  he 
may  not  have,  and  without  which  many  things  may  appear 
obscure  to  him,  and  many  assertions  unwarrantable.  It  may 
well  be,  too,  that  either  the  metaphysician,  or  the  physiologist, 
or  the  pathologist,  looking  at  the  work  from  his  particular 
standpoint,  will  see  reason  to  pronounce  it  defective.  "Whoso- 
ever will,  however,  be  at  the  pains  to  compare  the  discordant 
results  of  metaphysical,  physiological,  and  pathological  studies 
of  mind,  remembering  that  they  are  actually  concerned  with 
the  same  subject-matter,  cannot  fail  to  recognise  and  con- 
fess the  uselessness  of  an  exclusive  method,  and  the  pressing 
need  of  combined  action  and  of  a  more  philosophical  mode 
of  proceeding.  If  the  work  now  offered  to  the  public  be 
successful  in  its  aim,  it  will  make  evident  how  indispensable 
is  the  method  advocated,  and  how  full  it  is  of  promise  of  the 
most  fruitful  results. 

In  conclusion,  I  am  glad  to  add  a  sincere  expression  of  thanks 
to  my  friend  Dr.  Blandford,  for  his  advice  and  assistance 
during  the  passage  of  the  book  through  the  press. 

The  Lawx,  Harwell,  W. 
Feb.  5th,  1867. 


PAET   I. 




Aspects  of  nature  terrible  to  man  in  the  infancy  of  thought ;  whence  supersti- 
tious feelings  and  fancies  regarding  nature.  As  these  disappear  metaphysical 
entities  are  assigned  as  natural  causes,  and  man  deems  himself  the  "  measure 
of  the  universe."  Finally,  the  interrogation  and  interpretation  of  nature, 
after  the  inductive  method,  begin  ;  fruitful  results  of  this  method.  Is  the 
inductive  method,  objectively  applied,  available  for  the  study  of  Mind  ? 
Difficulties  in  the  way  of  such  application.  Development  of  biography,  and 
absence  of  any  progress  in  metaphysics,  are  evidences  of  its  value.  Psychological 
method  of  interrogating  self-consciousness  palpably  inadequate  ;  contradictory 
results  of  its  use,  and  impossibility  of  applying  it  inductively.  Self-conscious- 
ness unreliable  in  the  information  which  it  does  give,  and  incompetent  to  give 
any  account  of  a  large  part  of  mental  activity :  gives  no  account  of  the  mental 
phenomena  of  the  infant,  of  the  uncultivated  adult,  and  of  the  insane  ;  no 
account  of  the  bodily  conditions  which  underlie  every  mental  manifestation  ; 
no  account  of  the  large  field  of  unconscious  mental  action  exhibited,  not  only 
in  the  xmconscious  assimilation  of  impressions,  but  in  the  registration  of  ideas 
and  their  associations,  in  their  latent  existence  and  influence  when  not  active, 
and  in  their  recall  into  activity  ;  and  no  account  of  the  influence  organically 
exerted  upon  the  brain  by  other  organs  of  the  body.  Incompetency  of  self- 
consciousness  further  displayed  by  examination  of  its  real  nature.  Physiology 
cannot  any  longer  be  ignored  ;  henceforth  necessary  to  associate  the  Physiolo- 
gical with  the  Psychological  method ;  the  former  being  really  the  more  im- 
portant and  fruitful  method.  The  study  of  the  plan  of  development  of  Mind, 
the  study  of  its  forms  of  degeneration,  the  study  of  its  progress  and  regress, 
as  exhibited  in  history,  and  the  study  of  biography,  should  not  be  neglected. 
The  union  of  empirical  and  rational  faculties,  really  advocated  by  Bacon  aa 
his  method,  is  strictly  applicable  to  the  investigation  of  mental  as  of  other 
natural  phenomena.  The  question  of  relative  value  of  inductive  or  deductive 
reasoning  often  a  question  of  the  capacity  of  him  who  uses  it ;  difference 
between  genius  and  mediocrity. — Conclusion Page  1 — 40 



The  term  "Mind"  used  in  different  senses  :  in  its  scientific  sense  as  a  natural 
force  ;  and  in  its  popular  sense  as  an  abstraction  made  into  a  metaphysical 
entity.  The  brain  certainly  the  organ  of  the  Mind,  and  the  nervous  cells  the 
immediate  agents  of  mental  function.  Mental  power  an  organized  result  in 
the  proper  centres— a  mental  organization.  No  nerve  in  lowest  animal  forms ; 
perception  of  stimulus  being  the  direct  physical  effect  in  a  homogeneous  sub- 
stance. The  differentiation  of  tissues  in  higher  animals  demands  special 
means  of  intercommunication :  the  nervous  system,  at  first  very  simple,  sub- 


serving  this  function.  With  increasing  complexity  of  organization,  a  corre- 
sponding complexity  of  the  nervous  system.  Organs  of  special  senses  appear 
in  very  rudimentary  form  at  first ;  corresponding  central  nervous  ganglia 
constitute  entire  brain  in  Invertebrata.  Rudiments  of  cerebral  hemispheres 
and  rudimentary  ideation  in  fishes.  Convolution  of  the  grey  matter  of  the 
hemispheres  in  the  higher  mammals,  and  corresponding  increase  of  intelli- 
gence in  them.  Differences  in  the  size  of  the  brain,  and  in  the  complexity  of 
its  convolutions,  in  different  races  of  men,  and  in  different  individuals  of  the 
same  race  ;  corresponding  differences  in  intellectual  development.  Human 
embryonic  development  conforms  with  general  plan  of  development  of  Verte- 
brata.  Discrimination  of  nervous  centres  :  (a)  primary,  or  Ideational ;  (b) 
secondary,  or  Sensorial ;  (c)  tertiary,  or  Reflex  ;  (d)  quaternary,  or  Organic. 
The  evidence  of  the  different  functions  of  these  centres  is  anatomical,  physio- 
logical, experimental,  and  pathological.  Lockhart  Clarke  on  the  structure 
of  the  convolutions  in  man.  Discriminating  observation  of  mental  phe- 
nomena necessary,  and  metaphysical  conception  of  Mind  no  longer  tenable. 
Mind  the  most  dependent  of  all  the  natural  forces  ;  relations  of  mental  force 
in  nature.    Concluding  remarks Page  41 — 70 



Spinal  cord  contains  the  nervous  centres  of  many  reflex  or  automatic  movements. 
Earliest  movements  of  infant  are  reflex  ;  automatic  acts  of  anencephalic  infant 
and  of  decapitated  frog.  Analysis  of  Pfluger's  experiments  on  the  frog.  So- 
called  design  of  an  act  not  necessarily  evidence  of  consciousness.  Spinal  cord 
the  centre  of  many  acquired  or  secondary  automatic  movements ;  illustrations. 
The  motor  faculties  mostly  acquired  in  man  by  education  and  exercise,  but 
innate  in  many  animals.  Bearing  of  instances  of  acquired  adaptation  of  means 
to  end  on  the  doctrine  of  final  causes.  Motor  faculties  are  exhausted  by  exer- 
cise, and  require  periodical  rest  for  restoration  of  power  by  nutrition.  Quan- 
titative and  qualitative  relation  of  reaction  to  the  impression.  Hereditary 
transmission  of  acquired  faculties  implants  the  germ  of  innate  endowment. 
Pfluger's  laws  of  reflex  movements.  Causes  of  disorder  of  function  of  spinal 
cord  :  (a)  original  differences  of  constitution  ;  (b)  excessive  action  ;  (c)  quantity 
and  quality  of  the  blood  ;  (d)  eccentric  irritation  ;  (e)  interruption  of  its  con- 
nexion with  the  brain.  Close  sympathy  between  different  parts  of  the  nervous 
system.  Clear  conceptions  of  Um  functions  of  spiual  centres  indispensable  to 
the  study  of  the  functions  of  the  higher  nervous  centres  .     .     .  Page  71 — 98 



Collections  of  grey  matter  constituting  the  sensory  ganglia  intervene  between  the 
spinal  centres  and  the  supreme  hemispherical  ganglia.  Anatomical  relations 
of  different  grey  nuclei  yet  uncertain,  but  nerve-fibres  certainly  connected  with 
their  cells.  Sensory  ganglia  with  connected  motor  nuclei  the  centres  of  inde- 
pendent reaction — of  sensori-motor  movements :  examples.  Sensations  not 
innate  in  man,  but  acquired  by  gradual  formation  ;  difference  between  him 
and  the  animals  in  this  regard.  The  idea  of  organization  necessary  to  the 
just  interpretation  of  sensation ;  assimilation  and  differentiation.  Association 
of  sensations,  feensori-motor  acts  both  irregular  and  co-ordinate  ;  of  co- 
ordinate acts,  some  are  primary  automatic,  others  secondary  automatic. 
Persistence  of  sensori-motor  acts  in  animals  after  the  removal  of  their  cerebral 
hemispheres.  Acquired  sensori-motor  acts  constitute  a  great  part  of  the  daily 
action  of  life ;  illustrations.  Psychological  view  of  sensation  at  variance  with 
physiological  facts.  Subordination  of  the  sensoiy  centres  to  the  cerebral 
ganglia.  Causes  of  disorder  of  the  sensory  ganglia  :  -(a)  original  defects  ; 
(b)  excessive  stimulation  ;  (c^  quantity  and  quality  of  blood  ;  (d)  reflex  irrita- 
tion ;  (e)  influence  of  cerebral  hemispheres  (?).  Concluding  remarks  on  the 
analogy  between  the  functions  of  the  sensory  centres  and  of  the  spinal 
centres     .     .     .  ' Page  99— 122 




Cortical  cells  of  the  hemispheres  the  centres  of  Ideation.  No  certain  knowledge 
of  the  functions  of  different  convolutions.  Cortical  cells  the  centres  of  inde- 
pendent reaction  ;  of  ideomotor  movements,  which  may  take  place  without 
will  and  without  consciousness  :  illustrations.  Notion  of  innate  idea  unten- 
able. Idea  a  gradual  organization.  Different  signification  of  an  idea  according 
to  different  states  of  culture.  The  so-called  fundamental  or  universal  in- 
tuitions. Different  modes  of  action  of  idea :  (a)  on  movements,  voluntary 
and  involuntary,  conscious  and  unconscious ;  (b)  on  the  sensory  ganglia, — 
physiologically,  as  a  regular  part  of  mental  function ;  pathologically,  in  the 
production  of  hallucinations  ;  (c)  on  the  functions  of  nutrition  and  secretion  : 
illustrations ;  (d)  on  other  ideas :  reflection  or  deliberation.  Relation  of 
consciousness  to  Ideational  activity.  Comparison  of  ideas  with  movements  in 
regard  to  their  association,  their  relation  to  consciousness,  and  the  limited 
power  which  the  mind  has  over  them.  The  character  of  the  particular  asso- 
ciation of  Ideas  determined  by  (a)  the  individual  nature,  (b)  special  life- 
experience.  Need  of  an  individual  psychology.  General  laws  of  association 
of  ideas.  Concluding  remarks  on  the  illustration  of  Von  Baer's  law  of  progress, 
from  the  general  to  the  special  in  development,  afforded  by  the  development 
of  ideas Page  123—147 



Relation  of  emotion  to  idea.  Influence  of  the  state  of  nerve-element  on  emotion. 
Idea  favourable  to  self-expansion  is  agreeable  ;  an  idea  opposed  to  self-expan- 
sion disagreeable.  Appetite  or  desire  for  agreeable  stimulus,  and  repulsion  or 
avoidance  of  a  painful  one,  as  motives  of  action.  Equilibrium  between  indi- 
vidual and  his  surroundings  not  accompanied  with  desire.  Intellectual  life 
doeo  not  furnish  the  impulses  to  action,  but  the  desires  do.  Character  of 
emotion  determined  by  the  nature  of  external  stimulus,  and  by  the  condition 
of  nerve-element,  original,  or  as  modified  by  culture.  Ccenaesthesis.  Nervous 
centres  of  ideas  and  emotions  the  same  :  emotions  as  many  and  various  as 
ideas.  Psychical  tone  ;  how  determined  ?  The  conception  of  the  ego  and  the 
moral  sense.  Intimate  connexion  of  emotion  with  the  organic  life  ;  illustra- 
tion of  their  reciprocal  influence.  Action  of  disordered  emotion.  Primitive 
passions,  according  to  Spinoza.  Difficulties  of  the  psychological  method  of 
studying  emotion.  Hereditary  action  in  the  improvement  of  human  feeling. 
Law  of  progress  from  the  general  to  the  special,  exhibited  in  the  development 
of  the  emotions Page  147 — 167 



The  will  not  a  single,  undecomposable  faculty  of  uniform  power,  but  varies  as  its 
cause  varies  :  differs  in  quantity  and  quality,  according  to  the  preceding  reflec- 
tion. According  to  the  common  view  of  it,  an  abstraction  is  made  into  a 
metaphysical  entity.  Self-consciousness  reveals  the  particular  state  of  mind 
of  the  moment,  but  not  the  long  series  of  causes  on  which  it  depends  ;  hence 
the  opinion  of  free-will.  Examples  from  madman,  drunkard,  &c.  The 
design  in  the  particular  volition  is  a  result  of  a  gradually  effected  mental 
organization  :  a  physical  necessity,  not  transcending  or  anticipating,  but  con- 
forming with,  experience.  Erroneous  notions  as  to  the  autocratic  power  of 
will.  Its  actual  power  considered  (1)  over  movements,  and  (2)  over  the 
mental  operations.  1.  Over  movements  :  (a)  no  power  over  the  involuntary 
movements  essential  to  life  ;  (6)  no  power  to  effect  voluntary  movements 
until  they  have  been  acquired,  by  practice  ;  (c)  cannot  control  the  means,  can 
only  will  the  event.  2.  Over  mental  operations  :  (a)  the  formation  of  ideas, 
and  of  their  associations  independent  of  it ;  (b)  its  impotency  in  the  early  stages 
of  mental  development — in  the  young  child  and  in  the  savage  ;  (c)  cannot  call 
up  a  particular  train  of  thought,  or  dismiss  a  train  of  thought,  except  through 


associations  of  ideas  that  are  beyond  its  control,  and  sometimes  not  at  all.  As 
many  centres  of  volitional  reaction  in  the  brain  as  there  are  centres  of  ideas. 
Volition  built  up  from  residua  of  previous  volitions  of  a  like  kind.  To  the 
freest  action  of  the  will  there  are  necessary  an  unimpeded  association  of  ideas 
and  a  strong  personality.  Character  not  determined  by  the  will,  but  deter- 
mining it  in  the  particular  act.  Relation  of  emotion  to  volition.  Differences 
in  the  quality  and  energy  of  the  will.  Will  the  highest  force  in  nature  ;  its 
highest  function  creative — initiating  a  new  development  of  nature. 

Page  168—190 



Movements  leave  behind  them  residua  in  the  motor  centres,  whence  a  repository 
of  latent  or  abstract  movements.  Motor  residua  or  intuitions  intervene  be- 
tween motive  and  act,  and  are  related  to  conception  on  the  reactive  side  as 
sensation  is  on  the  receptive  side.  Actuation  proposed  for  the  psychological 
designation  of  this  department.  Motor  intuitions  mostly  innate  in  animals, 
acquired  in  man.  Illustrations  from  vision,  speech,  the  phenomena  of  hypno- 
tism, paralysis,  insanity,  &c.  Aphasia  in  its  bearings  on  motor  intuitions. 
Muscular  hallucinations.  Co-ordinate  convulsions.  The  muscular  sense  ;  its 
relation  to  the  motor  intuitions,  and  the  necessary  part  which  it  plays  in 
mental  function.  The  will  acts  upon  muscles  indirectly  through  the  motor 
nervous  centres.  Orderly  subordination  of  nervous  centres  in  the  expression 
of  the  will  in  action.  Natural  differences  between  different  persons,  in  the 
power  of  expression,  by  speech  or  otherwise Page  191 — 208 



Memory  exists  in  eveiy  organic  element  of  the  body — an  organic  registration  of 
impressions.  No  memory  of  what  we  have  not  had  experience,  and  no  expe- 
rience ever  entirely  forgotten.  Physiological  ideas  of  assimilation  and 
differentiation  necessary  to  the  interpretation  of  its  phenomena.  Power  of 
imagination  built  up  by  the  assimilation  not  only  of  the  like  in  ideas,  but 
also  of  the  relations  of  ideas.  Its  productive  or  creative  power  is,  in  its 
highest  display,  involuntary  and  unconscious  :  it  is  the  supreme  manifestation 
of  organic  evolution.  Relation  of  memory  to  imagination.  The  action  of 
imagination.  Differences  in  the  character  of  memory  in  different  persons. 
Manifold  disorders  to  which  memory  is  liable.  The  memory  of  early  youth 
and  of  old  age.     No  exact  memory  of  pain  :  why  ?     .     .     .     Page  209—  222 





Concurrence  of  causes  in  the  production  of  Insanity.  Moral  and  physical  causes 
cannot  be  exactly  discriminated.  Predisposing  causes :  the  influence  of  civili- 
zation ;  over-population  and  the  struggle  for  existence  ;  over-crowding  and 
insanitary  conditions ;  eager  pursuit  of  wealth,  and  deterioration  of  the 
moral  nature  ;  sex  ;  education  ;  religion  ;  condition  of  life  ;  age  and  period  of 
life  ;  hereditary  predisposition.  Proximate  causes  of  disorder  of  the  ideational 
centres  : — (1)  Original  differences  in  constitution — (a)  imperfectly  developed 
brains  of  the  microcephalic  type,  (b)  cretinism,  (c)  arrest  of  development  by 
disease,  (d)  the  insane  temperament,  or  neurosis  spasmodica ;  (2)  Quantity  and 
quality  of  the  blood — anaemia  and  congestion ;  alcohol,  opium,  and  other  medi- 
cinal substances,  organic  poison  introduced  from  without  or  bred  in  the  body, 
and  defective  development  of  the  blood  itself;  (3)  Reflex  irritation  or  patholo- 
gical sympathy — illustrations  ;  (4)  Excessive  functional  activity — overwork, 


CONTENTS.  xiii 

emotional  agitation,  depressing  passions,  physical  exhaustion,  &c.  ;  (5)  Injury 
and  disease  of  the  brain — abscess,  tumour,  tubercle,  syphilis.  Concluding 
remarks  on  the  special  causation  of  the  different  forms  of  insanity.  Mental 
derangement  a  matter  of  degree.  Appendix  of  cases,  illustrating  the  causation 
of  insanity Page  223—297 



Insanity  of  young  children  must  be  of  a  simple  kind,  the  mental  organization 
being  imperfect.  Convulsions  prove  fatal  at  the  earliest  age  :  more  or  less 
sensorial  insanity  associated  with  them  in  some  cases.  Comparison  of  infantile 
insanity  with  the  insanity  of  animals,  and  with  epileptic  fury.  The  organiza- 
tion of  sensory  residua,  and  hallucinations  of  the  senses  :  hallucinations  not 
uncommon  in  infancy ;  examples.  Choreic  insanity  and  the  phenomena  of 
somnambulism.  Organization  of  idea.  Incoherent  conversation  and  fallacious 
memory  of  children.  Delusions.  Resemblance  between  mania  of  children 
and  the  delirium  of  adults.  Hallucinations  produced  by  morbid  ideas.  The 
difference  between  fancy  and  imagination  corresponds  with  the  difference 
between  delirium  and  mania.  Forms  of  insanity  met  with  in  children 
grouped  : — (1)  Monomania,  when  there  is  a  powerful  impulse  to  some  act  of 
violence  ;  (2)  Choreic  mania — examples  ;  (3)  Cataleptoid  insanity — illustra- 
tions ;  (4)  Epileptic  insanity,  preceding,  taking  the  place  of,  or  following,  the 
usual  convulsions — examples;  (5)  Mania;  (6)  Melancholia;  (7)  Affective 
insanity — (a)  Instinctive  or  impulsive ;  perversions  of  the  instinct  of  self- 
conservation  and  the  instinct  for  propagation,  (b)  Moral  insanity — examples. 
The  insane  child  is  a  degenerate  variety  or  morbid  kind — never  reverts  to  the 
type  of  any  animal  :  theroid  degenerations  of  mankind  are  pathological  speci- 
mens. Concluding  remarks  upon  the  seeming  precocity  of  vice  in  some  insane 
children Page  298—334 



1.  The  insane  temperament — its  characteristics.  Eccentricity  and  insanity.  The 
relation  of  certain  kinds  of  talent  to  insanity  displayed  ;  also  the  wide  differ- 
ence between  the  highest  genius  and  any  kind  of  madness.  The  bodily  and 
mental  characters  of  a  strong  hereditary  predisposition.  The  different  varieties 
of  mental  disease  fall  into  two  great  divisions — Affective  and  Ideational. 
2.  Affective  Insanity:  (a)  Impulsive — the  nature  of  it  described  and  illus- 
trated by  examples  ;  enumeration  of  its  causes  and  exposition  of  its  frequent 
connexion  with  epilepsy  ;  (b)  Moral  Insanity — precedes  the  outbreak  of  other 
forms  of  insanity  sometimes,  and  persists  for  a  time  after  disappearance  of 
intellectual  disorder  ;  displayed  chiefly  in  the  degeneration  of  the  social  senti- 
ments :  examples.  Vicious  actc  not  proof  of  moral  insanity  ;  its  connexion 
with  other  forms  of  mental  derangement  and  with  epilepsy.  3.  Ideational 
Insanity :  (a)  Partial,  including  monomania  and  chronic  melancholia ; 
(b)  General,  including  mania  and  melancholia,  chronic  and  acute.  Modified 
classification  of  mental  diseases.  The  nature,  varieties,  symptoms,  and  course 
of  partial  ideational  insanity  discussed  and  illustrated  by  examples.  The 
nature,  varieties,  symptoms,  and  course  of  general  ideational  insanity. 
4.  Dementia,  acute  and  chronic.  Causes  of  acute  dementia,  and  examples. 
Chronic  dementia  ;  three  groups  of  cases  according  to  the  degree  of  mental 
degeneration.  5.  General  Paralysis — its  causes,  symptoms,  and  course. 
Note  on  the  classification  of  insanity.     Note  on  the  temperature  in  insanity. 

Page  335-427 


Absence  of  morbid  appearances  after  death  no  proof  of  the  absence  of  morbid 
changes :  illustrations  of  abolition  of  nervous  function  without  recognisable 
changes  of  structure.  1.  Summary  of  latest  physiological  researches  into 
nervous  function j  time-rate  of  conduction  ;  electro -motor  properties  of  nerve, 


and  the  changes  produced  by  the  electrotonie  state  ;  Katelectrotorms  and  Ane- 
lectrotonus  ;  chemical  changes  produced  by  functional  activity.  2.  Indivi- 
>luality  of  nerve  clement  considered  :  functional  relation  between  the  individual 
element  and  its  supply  of  blood  ;  state  of  the  cerebral  circulation  during 
sleep  ;  results  of  the  extreme  exhaustion  of  nerve  element,  and  of  the  effects 
of  poisons  upon  it  ;  its  modification  by  the  habit  of  exercise  through  the 
residua  of  previous  activity.  3.  Reflex  pathological  action  or  pathological 
sympathy — illustrations.  Morbid  anatomy  of  insanity  :  (1)  Morbid  products, 
such  as  Tumour,  Abscess,  Cysticercus,  <Lc;  iuternuttence  of  mental  symptoms, 
and  extreme  incoherence  of  them  when  they  occur  in  such  cases.  (2)  Morbid 
appearances  in  the  Brain  and  Membranes —m  acute  insanity  ;  in  chronic  in- 
sanity ;  in  general  paralysis ;  in  syphilitic  dementia.  Weight  and  specific 
gravity  of  the  brain  in  insanity.  Microscopical  researches,  and  interpretation 
of  the  results  of  them.  Summary  of  the  kinds  of  degeneration  met  with  in 
the  brain  after  insanity  :  (a)  Inflammatory  degeneration;  (b)  Connective  tissue 
degeneration;  (c)  Fatty  degeneration ;  (d)  Amyloid  and  colloid  degeneration  ; 
(e)  Pigmentary  degeneration;  (/)  Calcareous  degeneration.  (3)  Morbid  con- 
ditions of  other  organs  of  the  body — of  the  lungs,  the  heart,  the  abdominal 
organs,  and  the  sexual  organs.     Concluding  observations   .     .  Page  428 — 471 



The  difficulty  of  the  diagnosis  in  some  cases.  Acute  mania  :  diagnosis  from 
meningitis  ;  the  difference  between  acute  mania  caused  by  intemperance,  and 
delirium  tremens.  Chronic  mania  and  feigned  insanity.  Hysteria  and  mania. 
The  mode  of  detecting  partial  ideational  insanity,  monomaniacal  or  melan- 
cholic. Hypochondria  and  melancholia.  Eccentricity  aud  insanity — the 
important  differences  between  them.  The  .diagnosis  of  moral  insanity  and 
of  irresistible  homicidal  impulse.  The  detection  of  general  paralysis  in  its 
earliest  stages.  On  the  mode  of  conducting  the  examination  of  an  insane 
patient Page  472 — 184 

^  (  iiAPTER   VI. 


Insanity  reduces  the  mean  duration  of  life.  The  indications  of  a  fatal  termination. 
The  probability  of  recovery  depends  on  the  form,  the  duration,  and  the  cause 
of  the  disease.  Melancholia  the  most  curable,  acute  mania  coming  next.  The 
indications  of  recovery.  The  prognosis  very  bad  in  chronic  mania,  mono- 
mania, and  moral  insanity,  but  good  in  acute  dementia.  The  prognosis  in 
puerperal,  climacteric,  metastatic,  epileptic,  hysterical,  syphilitic  and  senile 
insanity.  The  causes  of  the  disease  influencing  the  prognosis.  The  age  most 
favourable  to  recovery.  The  proportion  of  recoveries,  relapses,  and  deaths. 
Evil  effects  of  injudicious  interference Page  485 — 491 



The  difficulties  in  the  way  of  treatment ;  the  working  of  the  Lunacy  Acts ;  the 
public  horror  of  insanity,  and  the  social  prejudices  regarding  it.  The  practice 
of  indiscriminate  sequestration  unjustifiable.  The  true  principle  to  have  in 
view  :  argument  in  favour  of  it.  The  treatment  of  the  insane  in  private 
dwellings.  Condition  of  the  Chancery  patients.  The  evils  of  monstrous 
asylums.  Necessity  of  early  treatment.  Moral  treatment  of  insanity  ;  change 
of  residence,  occupation,  amusements,  &c.  Medical  treatment:  warm  and 
cold  baths ;  blood-letting  ;  counter-irritants  ;  diet ;  stimulants  :  the  use  of 
opium  ;  digitalis  ;  hyoscyamus,  hydrocyanic  acid  and  bromide  of  potassium  ; 
tonics.     Concluding  remarks  upon  the  treatment  of  chronic  insanity. 

Page  492— -#16 



>(  V 

PART   I. 

Chapter  I.  On  the  Method  of  the  Study  of  Mind. 

„        II.  Mind  and  the  Nervous  System. 

„  III.  The  Spinal  Cord,  or  Tertiary  Nervous  Centres;  or  Nervous 
Centres  of  Reflex  Action. 

„  IV.  Secondary  Nervous  Centres,  or  Sensory  Ganglia  ;  Sensorium 

„  V.  Hemispherical  Ganglia;  Cortical  Cells  of  the  Cerebral 
Hemispheres  ;  Ideational  Nervous  Centres  ;  Primary 
Nervous  Centres;  Intellectorium  Commune. 

„      VI.  Emotion. 

„     VII.  Volition. 

„  VIII.  Motor  Nervous  Centres  or  Motorium  Commune,  and  Actu- 
ation or  Effection. 

IX.  Memory  and  Imagination. 





"  Ich  sag'  es  dir  :  ein  Kerl,  der  speculirt, 
1st  wie  ein  Thier,  auf  diirrer  Heide 
Von  einem  bosen  Geist  im  Kreis  heram  gefiihrt, 
Und  rings  umher  liegt  schone  griine  Weide." 


rpHE  right  estimate  of  his  relations  to  external  nature  has 
-*-  ever  been  to  man  a  matter  of  extreme  difficulty  and  uncer- 
tainty. In  the  savage  state  of  his  infancy  he  feels  himself  so  little 
in  the  presence  of  nature's  vastness,  so  helpless  in  conflict  with 
its  resistless  forces,  that  he  falls  down  in  abject  prostration  before 
its  various  powers.  The  earth  of  a  sudden  heaves  beneath  his 
trembling  feet,  and  his  shattered  dwellings  bury  him  in  their 
ruins ;  the  swelling  waters  overpass  their  accustomed  boundaries 
and  indifferently  sweep  away  his  property  or  his  life  ;  the  furious 
hurricane  ruthlessly  destroys  the  labour  of  years  ;  and  famine  or 
pestilence,  regardless  of  his  streaming  eyes  and  piteous  prayers, 
stalks  in  desolating  march  through  a  horror-stricken  people.  In 
the  deep  consciousness  of  his  individual  powerlessness  he  falls 
down  in  an  agony  of  terror  and  worships  the  causes  of  his 
sufferings  :  he  deifies  the  powers  of  nature,  builds  altars  to  pro- 
pitiate the  angry  Neptune,  and,  by  offering  sacrifices  of  that 
which  is  most  dear  to  him,  even  his  own  flesh  and  blood,  hopes 
to  mitigate  the  fury  of  Phoebus  Apollo  and  to  stay  the  dreadful 
clang  of  his  silver  bow.  Everything  appears  supernatural  because 
he  knows  nothing  of  the  natural ;  palsied  with  fear,  he  cannot 

2  OS  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

observe  and  investigate ;  himself  he  feels  to  he  insignificant  and 
helpless,  while  to  nature  he  looks  up  with  reverential  awe  as 
mighty  and  all-powerful.  Reflect  on  the  fearful  feelings  which 
any  apparent  exception  to  the  regular  course  of  nature  even  now 
produces,  on  the  superstitious  dread  which  of  a  certainty  follows 
such  unfamiliar  event,  and  it  will  not  be  difficult  to  realize  the 
extreme  mental  prostration  of  primitive  mankind. 

Through  familiarity,  however,  consternation  after  a  while  sub- 
sides, and  the  spirit  of  inquiry  follows  upon  that  of  reverence  , 
the  prostrate  being  rises  from  his  knees  to  examine  into  the 
causes  of  events.  Experience,  sooner  or  later,  reveals  the  uni- 
formity with  which  they  come  to  pass ;  he  discovers  more  or  less 
of  the  laws  of  their  occurrence,  and  perceives  that  he  can  by 
applying  his  knowledge  avoid  much  of  the  damage  which  he 
has  hitherto  suffered — that  he  can,  by  attending  to  their  laws, 
even  turn  to  his  profit  those  once  dreaded  physical  forces.  Now 
it  is  that  man  begins  to  feel  that  he  has  a  much  higher  position 
in  nature  than  in  his  infancy  he  had  imagined  ;  for  a  time  he 
looks  upon  himself  as  belonging  to  the  same  order  as  the  things 
around  hini ;  and  he  emancipates  himself  in  great  part  from  the 
dominion  of  the  priests  in  whom  he  had  hitherto  believed  as  the 
sacred  propitiators  of  the  gods  whom  his  fears  had  fashioned. 
"When  his  creeds  are  seen  to  spring  from  an  imperfection  of  the 
intellect,  the  prayers  founded  on  them  are  abandoned  as  marking 
an  imperfection  of  the  will. 

Thales  of  Miletus  is  said  to  have  been  the  first  who,  in  this 
advance  amongst  the  Greeks,  laid  aside  the  priestly  character 
and  stood  forth  as  a  pure  philosopher;  and  those  who  imme- 
diately followed  him,  and  constituted  the  Ionian  school  of  philo- 
sophy, having  an  instinctive  feeling  of  the  unity  between  man 
and  nature,  did  seek  objectively  for  a  first  principle  of  things — 
the  apxv— common  to  him  and  the  rest  of  nature.  This  slow  and 
tedious  method  was  soon,  however,  abandoned  for  the  easier  and 
quicker  method  of  deduction  from  consciousness :  abstractions 
were  made  from  the  concrete  by  the  active  mind ;  and  the 
abstractions,  being  then  projected  out  of  the  mind  and  converted 
into  objective  realities,  were  looked  upon  and  applied  as  actual 
entities  in  nature.  Anaximander,  diving  into  his  own  mind  and 
finding  something  inconceivable  there,  gave  to  it  the  name  of 

I.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  3 

the  Infinite,  and,  transferring  it  outwards,  was  thenceforth  quite 
content  to  pronounce  it  to  be  the  true  origin  of  all  things;  whilst 
Pythagoras,  going  perhaps  still  further  into  the  unmeaning,  pro- 
claimed numbers,  which  are  mere  arbitrary  symbols,  to  be  actual 
existences  and  the  essences  of  things^/ Thus  it  was  that  man, 
forgetful  of  his  early  humility,  rose  by  degrees  to  the  creation 
of  the  laws  of  an  external  world  after  the  pattern  of  his  own 
thoughts :  such  motives  as  he  felt  to  influence  his  own  actions 
were  held  also  to  be  the  principles  governing  the  relations  of 
external  objects :  and  natural  phenomena  were  explained  by 
sympathies,  loves,  discords,  hates.  As  the  child  attributes  life 
to  the  dead  objects  around  it,  speaking  to  them  and  thinking 
to  receive  answers  from  them,  so  mankind,  in  the  childhood  of 
thought,  assigns  its  subjective  feelings  to  objective  nature,  en- 
tirely subordinating  the  physical  to  the  metaphysical :  it  is  but 
another  form  of  that  anthropomorphism  by  which  the  Dryad 
was  placed  in  the  tree,  the  Naiad  in  the  fountain,  Atropos 
with  her  scissors  near  the  running  life-thread,  and  a  Sun-god 
enthroned  in  the  place  of  a  law  of  gravitation.  As  wras  natural, 
man,  who  thus  imposed  his  laws  upon  nature,  soon  lost  all  his 
former  humility,  and  from  one  erroneous  extreme  passed  to  the 
opposite :  as  he  once  fell  abjectly  down  in  an  agony  of  fear,  so 
now  he  rose  proudly  up  in  an  ecstasy  of  conceit. 

The  assertion  that  man  is  the  measure  of  the  universe  was  the 
definite  expression  of  this  metaphysical  stage  of  human  develop- 
ment. But  it  was  a  state  that  must  plainly  be  fruitless  of  real 
knowledge ;  there  could  be  no  general  agreement  among  men 
when  each  one  looked  into  his  own  mind,  and,  arbitrarily  making 
w7hat  he  thought  he  found  there  the  laws  and  principles  of  ex- 
ternal nature,  constructed  the  laws  of  the  world  out  of  the  depths 
of  his  own  consciousness.  Disputes  must  continually  arise  about 
words  when  words  have  not  definite  meanings  ;  and  the  unavoid- 
able issue  must  be  Sophistry  and  Pyrrhonism.  This  has  been  so ; 
the  history  of  the  human  mind  shows  that  systems  of  scepticism 
have  regularly  alternated  with  systems  of  philosophy.  Fruitful 
of  empty  ideas  and  wild  fancies,  philosophy  has  not  been  unlike 
those  barren  women  who  would  fain  have  the  rumbling  of  wind 
to  be  the  motion  of  offspring.  Convinced  of  the  vanity  of  its 
ambitious  attempts,  Socrates  endeavoured  to  bring  philosophy 



down  from  the  clouds,  introduced  it  into  the  cities,  and  applied 
it  to  the  conduct  of  human  life  ;  while  Plato  and  Aristotle, 
opposite  as  were  their  professed  methods,  were  both  alive  to  the 
vagueness  of  the  common  disputations,  and  both  laboured  hard 
to  fix  definitely  the  meanings  of  vvords.  But  words  cannot  attain 
to  definiteness  save  as  living  outgrowths  of  realities,  as  the  exact 
expressions  of  the  phenomena  of  life  in  the  increasing  speciality 
of  human  adaptation  to  external  nature.  As  it  is  with  life 
objectively,  and  as  it  is  with  cognition  or  subjective  life,  so  is  it 
with  the  language  in  which  the  phenomena  ere  embodied :  in 
the  organic  growth  of  a  language  there  is  a  continuous  differen- 
tiation, first  of  nouns  into  substantives  and  adjectives,  then  of 
the  latter  into  adjectives  proper  and  nouns  abstract ;  synonymes 
again  disappear,  each  getting  iU,  special  appropriation,  and  super- 
fluous words  are  taken  up  Iry  new  developments  and  combi- 
nations of  thought.  How,  then,  was  it  possible  that  a  one-sided 
method,  which  entirely  ignored  the  examination  of  nature,  should 
do  more  than  repeat  the  same  things  over  and  over  again  in 
words  which,  though  they  might  be  different,  Mere  yet  not  less 
indefinite  ?  The  results  have  answered  to  the  absurdity  of  the 
method ;  for,  after  being  in  fashion  for  more  than  two  thousand 
years,  nothing  has  been  established  by  it ;  "  not  only  what  was 
asserted  once  is  asserted  still  but  what  was  a  question  once  is  a 
question  still,  and  instead  of  being  resolved  by  discussion  is 
only  fixed  and  fed."^) 

Perhaps  if  men  had  always  lived  in  the  sunny  climes  of  the 
south,  where  the  luxuriance  of  nature  allowed  of  human  indo- 
lence, they  might  have  continued  vainly  to  speculate ;  but  when 
they  were  brought  face  to  face  with  Nature  in  the  rugged  north, 
and  were  driven  to  force  by  persevering  labour  the  means  of 
subsistence  from  her  sterile  bosom,  then  there  arose  the  necessity 
to  observe  her  processes  and  investigate  her  secret  ways.  There 
was  an  unavoidable  intending  of  the  mind  to  the  realities  of 
nature  ;  and  this  practice,  which  the  exigencies  of  living  first 
enforced,  became  in  the  fulness  of  time  with  those  who  had 
leisure  and  opportunity  the  disposition  consciously  to  interrogate 
and  interpret  Nature.  In  Roger  Bacon,  we  see  the  human  mind 
striving   unconsciously,  as   it  were,  after   the  true  method  of 

(*)  See  Notes  at  the  end  of  the  Chapters. 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  5 

development ;  while  in  the  Chancellor  Bacon,  who  systematized 
the  principles  and  laid  down  the  rules  of  the  inductive  philo- 
sophy, we  observe  it  doing  with  design  and  method  that  which 
it  had  hitherto  been  blindly  aiming  at.  But  as  it  is  with  the 
infant,  so  was  it  with  humanity  ;  action  preceded  consciousness, 
and  Bacon  himself  was  the  efflux  of  a  spirit  which  prevailed  and 
not  the  creator  of  it.  By  thus  humbling  himself  to  obey,  man 
has  conquered  nature;  and  those  plenteous  "fruits  and  invented 
works"  which  Bacon  confidently  anticipated  as  "  sponsors  and 
sureties"  for  the  truth  of  his  method,  have  been  reaped  in  the 
richest  abundance. 

It  seems  strange  enough  now  to  us  that  men  should  not  have 
sooner  hit  upon  the  excellent  and  profitable  method  of  induction. 
How  came  it  to  pass  that  when  they  surveyed  organic  nature,  as 
Aristotle  notably  did,  they  failed  to  perceive  the  progress  in 
development  from  the  general  and  simple  to  the  special  and 
complex,  which  is  evident  throughout  it  ?  Had  they  but  formu- 
larized  this  law  of  increasing  speciality  and  complexity  in  organic 
adaptation  to  external  nature,  then  they  had  scarcely  failed  to 
apply  it  to  conscious  human  development ;  and  that  would  have 
been  to  establish  deductively  the  necessity  of  the  inductive 
method.  Unfortunately,  Aristotle  stood  alone ;  and  it  remains 
his  particular  merit  to  have  foreseen  in  some  sort  the  value  of 
the  inductive  method.  Had  he  also  consistently  followed  it  in 
practice,  which  he  did  not,  there  was  an  impassable  hindrance 
to  its  general  adoption,  in  the  moral  errors  engendered  by  the 
metaphysical  or  subjective  method,  of  which  Plato  wras  so 
powerful  a  representative  and  so  influential  an  exponent.  Man, 
as  the  measure  of  the  universe,  esteemed  himself  far  too  highly 
to  descend  to  be  the  servant  and  interpreter  of  nature  ;  and  this 
erroneous  conceit  not  only  affected  his  conception  of  his  rela- 
tion to  the  rest  of  nature,  but  permeated  his  social  nature,  and 
vitiated  his  whole  habit  of  thought :  the  superstitious  reverence 
of  the  Greek  who  would  put  to  death  a  victorious  general  because 
he  had  left  his  dead  unburied  on  the  field  of  battle,  must  have 
prevented  Aristotle  from  anatomical  examination  of  the  structure 
of  the  human  body.  The  same  errors  are  continually  reappearing 
in  human  history:  what  happened  in  the  Middle  Ages  may  illus- 
trate for  us  the  habit  of  Greek  thought;  for  at  that  time  mistaken 

6  OX  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

religious  prejudice  allied  itself  most  closely  with  the  metaphy- 
sical method  which  exalted  man  so  much  over  the  rest  of  nature, 
opposing  most  virulently  the  birth  of  positive  science,  which 
seemed  to  threaten  to  degrade  Mm ;  and  for  a  time  it  was  almost 
doubtful  which  would  win.  Can  we  wonder,  then,  that  the 
erroneous  method  was  triumphant  in  Greece  in  the  fourth  cen- 
tury before  Christ,  when  it  is  only  recently  in  England,  in  the 
nineteenth  century  after  Christ,  that  the  barbarian's  reverence 
for  a  dead  body  has  permitted  anatomical  dissection,  and  when 
the  finger-bone  of  a  saint,  or  a  rag  of  his  clothing,  is  still  trea- 
sured up,  in  some  parts  of  the  world,  as  a  most  precious  relic 
endued  with  miraculous  virtues  !  The  evil  of  the  metaphysical 
method  was  not  intellectual  deficiency  only,  but  a  corresponding 
baneful  moral  error. 

The  adoption  of  the  inductive  method,  which  makes  man  the 
servant  and  interpreter  of  Nature,  is  in  reality  the  systematic 
pursuance  of  the  law  of  progress  in  organic  development ;  it  is 
the  conscious  intending  of  the  mind  to  external  realities,  the 
submitting  of  the  understanding  to  things — in  other  words,  the 
increasing  speciality  of  internal  adjustment  to  external  impres- 
sions ;  and  the  result  is  a  victory  by  obedience,  an  individual 
increase  through  adaptation  to  outward  relations,  in  accordance 
with  the  so-called  principle  of  natural    selection.     The  mental 
capacity  of  one  who  is  deprived  of  any  one  of  his  senses,  which 
are  the  inlets  to  impressions  from  without,  or  the  gateways  of 
knowledge,  is  less  than  that  of  one  who  is  in  the  full  posses- 
sion of  all  his  senses ;  and  the  great  advances  in  science  have 
uniformly  corresponded  with  the  invention  of  some  instrument 
by  which  the  power  of  the  senses  has  been  increased,  or  their 
range  of  action  extended.     Astronomy  is  that  which  the  eye  has 
been  enabled  to  see  by  the  aid  of  the  telescope ;  the  revelations  of 
the  inmost  processes  of  nature  have  been  due  to  the  increased 
power  of  vision  which  the  microscope  has  conferred  ;   the  ex- 
tremely delicate  balance  has  supplied   to  science  a  numerical 
exactness;  the  spectrum  lias  furnished  a  means  of  analysing 
the  constitution  of  the  heavenly  bodies ;  and  the  galvanometer 
already  gives  the  most  hopeful  presage  of  important  discoveries 
in  nervous  function.   Through  the  senses  has  knowledge  entered; 
and  the  intellect  has  in  turn  devised  means  for  extending  the 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  7 

action  and  increasing  the  discriminating  exactness  of  the  senses  : 
there  have  been  action  and  reaction  and  progressive  specialization 
and  complication  thereof.  The  two  aspects  of  this  relation  we 
designate,  in  their  highest  manifestations,  as  cognition  and 
action,  or  science  and  art. 

Thus  much  concerning  the  historical  evolution  of  the  induc- 
tive method.  But  now  comes  the  important  question,  whether 
it  is  available  for  the  study  of  the  whole  of  nature.  Can  we 
apply  the  true  inductive  and  objective  method  to  the  investiga- 
tion of  psychical  as  well  as  of  physical  nature  ?  In  the  latter 
case,  it  has  long  received  universal  sanction  ;  but  in  the  study  of 
a  man's  mind  it  is  still  a  question  what  method  should  rightly 
be  employed.  Plainly,  it  is  not  possible  by  simple  observation 
of  others  to  form  true  inductions  as  to  their  mental  phenomena  ; 
the  defect  of  an  observation  which  reaches  only  to  the  visible 
results  of  invisible  operations,  exposes  us  without  protection  to 
the  hypocrisy,  conscious  or  unconscious,  of  the  individual ;  and 
the  positive  tendency,  which  no  one  can  avoid,  to  interpret  the 
action  of  another  mind  according  to  the  measure  of  one's  own,  to 
see  not  what  is  in  the  object,  but  what  is  in  the  subject,  fre- 
quently vitiates  an  assumed  penetration  into  motives.  If  we  call 
to  our  aid  the  principles  of  the  received  system  of  psychology, 
matters  are  not  mended ;  for  its  ill-defined  terms  and  vague 
traditions,  injuriously  affecting  our  perceptions,  and  overruling 
the  understanding,  do  not  fail  to  confuse  and  falsify  inferences. 
It  must  unfortunately  be  added  that,  in  the  present  state  of 
physiological  science,  it  is  quite  impossible  to  ascertain,  by 
observation  and  experiment,  the  nature  of  those  organic  pro- 
cesses which  are  the  bodily  conditions  of  mental  phenomena. 
There  would  appear,  then,  to  be  no  help  for  it  but  to  have  entire 
recourse  to  the  psychological  method — that  method  of  interro- 
gating self-consciousness  which  has  found  so  much  favour  at  all 
times.  Before  making  any  such  admission,  let  this  reflection  be 
weighed :  that  the  instinctive  nisus  of  mankind  commonly  pre- 
cedes the  recognition  of  systematic  method  ;  that  men,  without 
knowing  why,  do  follow  a  course  which  there  exist  very  good 
reasons  for.  Nay  more  :  the  practical  instincts  of  mankind  often 
work  beneficially  in  an  actual  contradiction  to  their  professed 
doctrines.     When  in  the  Middle    Ages  faith  was  put   in   the 


8  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

philosophy  of  the  schools,  the  interrogation  of  nature  by  experi- 
ment was  going  on  in  many  places ;  and  the  superstitious  people 
that  believe  in  the  direct  interference  of  spirits  or  of  gods,  still 
adopt  such  means  of  self-protection  as  a  simple  experience  of 
nature  teaches.  Man  does  not  consciously  determine  his  method 
and  then  enter  upon  it ;  he  enters  blindly  upon  it,  and  at  a 
certain  stage  awakes  to  consciousness.  In  the  onward  flowing 
stream  of  nature's  organic  evolution,  life  first  becomes  self- 
conscious  in  man  :  in  the  slumbering  mental  development  of 
mankind,  it  is  the  genius  who  at  due  time  awakens  to  active  con- 
sciousness the  sleeping  century.  It  would  indeed  go  hard  with 
mankind  if  they  must  act  wittingly  before  they  acted  at  all. 

Two  facts  come  out  very  distinctly  from  a  candid  observation 
of  the  state  of  thought  at  the  present  day.  One  of  these  is  the 
little  favour  in  which  metaplry  sics  is  held,  and  the  very  general 
conviction  that  there  is  no  profit  in  it :  the  consequence  of  which 
firmly  fixed  belief  is,  that  it  is  cultivated  as  a  science  only  by 
those  whose  particular  business  it  is  to  do  so,  who  are  engaged 
not  in  action,  wherein  the  true  balance  of  life  is  maintained,  but 
in  dreaming  in  professorial  chairs ;  or  if  by  any  others,  by  the 
ambitious  youth  who  goes  through  an  attack  of  metaphysics  as 
a  child  goes  through  an  attack  of  measles,  getting  haply  an 
immunity  from  a  similar  affection  for  the  rest  of  his  life ;  or 
lastly,  by  the  untrained  and  immature  intellects  of  those  meta- 
physical dabblers  who  continue  youths  for  life.  A  second  fact, 
which  has  scarcely  yet  been  sufficiently  weighed,  is  the  extreme 
favour  in  which  biography  is  held  at  the  present  time,  and  the 
large  development  which  it  is  receiving. 

Let  us  look  first  at  the  import  of  biography.  As  the  business 
of  a  man  in  the  world  is  action  of  some  kind,  and  as  his  action 
undoubtedly  results  from  the  relations  between  him  and  his 
surroundings,  it  is  plain  that  biography,  which  estimates  both 
the  individual  and  his  circumstances,  and  displays  their  re- 
actions, can  alone  give  an  adequate  account  of  the  man.  What 
was  the  mortal's  force  of  character,  what  was  the  force  of  circum- 
stances, how  he  struggled  with  them,  and  how  he  was  affected  by 
them, — what  was  the  life-product  under  the  particular  conditions 
of  its  evolution : — these  are  the  questions  which  a  good  biography 
aspires  to  answer.     It  regards  men  as  concrete  beings,  acknow- 

!.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MLXD.  9 

ledges  the  differences  between  them  in  characters  and  capabilities, 
recognises  the  helpful  or  baneful  influence  of  surroundings,  and 
patiently  unfolds  the  texture  of  life  as  the  inevitable  result  of 
the  elements  out  of  which,  and  the  conditions  under  which,  it 
has  been  worked.  It  is,  in  fact,  the  application  of  positive 
science  to  human  life,  and  the  necessary  consequence  of  the 
progress  of  the  inductive  philosophy.  No  marvel,  then,  that 
biography  forms  so  large  a  part  of  the  literature  of  the  day,  and 
that  novels,  its  more  or  less  faithful  mirrors,  are  in  so  great 
request.  The  instincts  of  mankind  are  here,  as  heretofore,  in 
advance  of  systematic  knowledge  or  method. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  metaphysician  deals  with  man  as  an 
abstract  or  ideal  being,  postulates  him  as  a  certain  constant 
quantity,  and  thereupon  confidently  enunciates  empty  propo- 
sitions. The  consequence  is,  that  metaphysics  has  never  made 
any  advance,  but  has  only  appeared  in  new  garb  ;  nor  can  it  in 
truth  advance,  unless  some  great  addition  is  made  to  the  inborn 
power  of  the  human  mind.  It  surely  argues  no  little  conceit  in 
any  one  to  believe  that  what  Plato  and  Descartes  have  not  done, 
he,  following  the  same  method,  will  do.*  Plato  interrogated  his 
own  mind,  and  set  forth  its  answers  with  a  clearness,  subtlety, 
and  elegance  of  style  that  is  unsurpassed  and  unsurpassable; 
until  then  the  very  unlikely  event  of  a  better  mind  than  his 
making  its  appearance,  his  system  may  well  remain  as  the 
adequate  representative  of  what  the  metaphysical  method  can 
accomplish.  Superseded  by  a  mure  fruitful  method,  it  is  prac- 
tically obsolete;  and  its  rare  advocate,  when  such  an  one  is 
found,  may  be  said,  like  the  Aturian  parrot  of  which  Humboldt 
tells,  to  speak  in  the  language  of  an  extinct  tribe  to  a  people 
which  understand  him  not.f 

But  the  method  of  interrogating  self-consciousness  may  be 
employed,  and  is  largely  employed,  without  carrying  it  to  a 
metaphysical  extreme.     Empirical  psychology,  founded  on  direct    \S 

*  "It  would  be  an  unsound  fancy  and  self-contradictory,  to  expect  that  things 
which  have  never  yet  been  done  can  be  done,  except  by  means  which  have  never 
yet  been  tried." — Nov.  Org.  Aphorism  vi. 

T  "  There  still  lives,  and  it  is  a  singular  fact,  an  old  parrot  in  Maypures  which 
cannot  be  understood,  because,  as  the  natives  assert,  it  speaks  the  language  of  the 
Atures — an  extinct  tribe  of  Indians,  whose  last  refuge  was  the  locks  of  the 
foaming  cataract  of  the  Orinoco." — Humboldt,   Vieics  of  Nature,  i.  p.  172. 

10  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

consciousness  as  distinguished  from  the  transcend  ratal  conscious- 
ness on  which  metaphysics  is  based,  claims  to  give  a  faithful 
record  of  our  different  states  of  mind  and  their  mutual  relations, 
and  has  been  extravagantly  lauded,  by  the  Scotch  school,  as  an 
inductive  science.  Its  value  as  a  science  must  plainly  rest  upon 
the  sufficiency  and  reliability  of  consciousness  as  a  witness  of 
that  which  takes  place  in  the  mind.  Is  the  foundation  then 
sufficiently  secure  ?  It  may  well  be  doubted ;  and  for  the 
following  reasons : — 

(«.)  There  are  but  few  individuals  who  are  capable  of  attending 
to  the  succession  of  phenomena  in  their  own  minds  ;  such  intro- 
spection demanding  a  particular  cultivation,  and  being  practised 
with  any  degree  of,  or  pretence  to,  success  by  those  only  who 
have  learned  the  terms,  and  been  imbued  with  the  theories,  of 
the  system  of  psychology  supposed  to  be  thereby  established. 
And  with  what  success  ? 

(b.)  There  is  no  agreement  between  those  who  have  acquired 
the  power  of  introspection :  and  men  of  apparently  equal  culti- 
vation and  capacity  will,  with  the  utmost  sincerity  and  confi- 
dence, lay  down  directly  contradictory  propositions.  It  is  not 
possible  to  convince  either  opponent  of  error,  as  it  might  be  in  a 
matter  of  objective  science,  because  he  appeals  to  a  witness 
whose  evidence  can  be  taken  by  no  one  but  himself,  and  whose 
veracity,  therefore,  cannot  be  tested.  He  brings  forward  the 
factitious  deliverances  of  his  individual  consciousness,  but  no  fact 
which  is  capable  of  being  demonstrated  to  another  mind. 

(c.)  To  direct  consciousness  inwardly  to  the  observation  of  a 
particular  state  of  mind  is  to  isolate  that  activity  for  the  time,  to 
cut  it  off  from  its  relations,  and,  therefore,  to  render  it  unnatural 
In  order  to  observe  its  own  action,  it  is  necessary  that  the  mind 
pause  from  activity ;  and  yet  it  is  the  train  of  activity  that  is  to 
be  observed.  As  long  as  you  cannot  effect  the  pause  necessary 
for  self-contemplation,  there  can  be  no  observation  of  the  current 
of  activity  :  if  the  pause  is  effected,  then  there  can  be  nothing 
to  observe.  This  cannot  be  accounted  a  vain  and  theoretical 
objection,  for  the  results  of  introspection  too  surely  confirm  its 
validity :  what  was  a  question  once  is  a  question  still,  and 
instead  of  being  resolved  by  introspective  analysis  is  only  fixed 
and  fed.  {*) 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  1 1 

(d.)  The  madman's  delusion  is  of  itself  sufficient  to  excite 
profound  distrust,  not  only  in  the  objective  truth,  but  in  the 
subjective  worth,  of  the  testimony  of  an  individual's  self-con- 
sciousness. Descartes  laid  down  the  test  of  a  true  belief  to  be 
that  which  the  mind  could  clearly  and  distinctly  conceive :  if 
there  is  one  thing  more  clearly  and  distinctly  conceived  than 
another,  it  is  commonly  the  madman's  delusion.  No  marvel, 
then,  that  psychologists,  since  the  time  of  Descartes,  have  held 
that  the  veracity  of  consciousness  is  to  be  relied  upon  only  under 
certain  rules,  from  the  violation  of  which,  Sir  W.  Hamilton 
believed,  the  contradictions  of  philosophy  have  arisen.  Un  what 
evidence,  then,  do  the  rules  rest  ?  Either  on  the  evidence  of 
consciousness,  whence  it  happens  that  each  philosopher  and  each 
lunatic  has  his  own  rules,  and  no  advance  is  made ;  or  upon  the 
observation  and  judgment  of  mankind,  to  confess  which  is  very 
much  like  throwing  self-consciousness  overboard— not  otherwise 
than  as  was  advantageously  done  by  positive  science  when  the 
figures  on  the  thermometer,  and  not  the  subjective  feelings  of 
heat  or  cold,  were  recognised  to  be  the  true  test  of  the  indi- 
vidual's temperature. 

It  is  not  merely  a  charge  against  self-consciousness  that  it  is 
not  reliable  in  that  of  which  it  does  give  information ;  but  it  is 
a  provable  charge  against  it  that  it  does  not  give  any  account 
of  a  large  and  important  part  of  our  mental  activity :  its  light 
reaches  only  to  states  of  consciousness,  not  to  states  of  mind. 
Its  evidence,  then,  is  not  only  untrustworthy  save  under  con- 
ditions which  it  nowise  helps  us  to  fix,  but  it  is  of  little  value, 
because  it  has  reference  only  to  a  small  part  of  that  for  which  its 
testimony  is  invoked.  May  we  not  then  justly  say  that  self- 
consciousness  is  utterly  incompetent  to  supply  the  facts  for  the 
building  up  of  a  truly  inductive  psychology  ?  Let  the  following 
reasons  further  warrant  the  assertion  : — 

1.  It  is  the  fundamental  maxim  of  the  inductive  philosophy 
that  observation  should  begin  with  simple  instances,  ascent 
being  made  gradually  from  them  through  appropriate  generaliza- 
tions, and  that  no  particulars  should  be  neglected.  How  does 
the  interrogation  of  self-consciousness  fulfil  this  most  just  de- 
mand ?  It  is  a  method  which  is  applicable  only  to  mind  at  a 
high  degree  of  development,  so  that  it  perforce  begins  with  those 

12  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

most  complex  instances  which  give  the  least  certain  information; 
while  it  passes  completely  by  mind  in  its  lower  stages  of  develop- 
ment, so  that  it  ignores  those  simpler  instances  which  give  the 
best  or  securest  information.  In  this  it  resembles  the  philosopher 
who,  while  he  gazed  upon  the  scars,  tell  into  the  water  ;  "  for  if," 
as  Bacon  says,  "  he  had  looked  down,  he  might  have  seen  the  stars 
in  the  water,  but,  looking  aloft,  he  could  not  see  the  water  in  the 
stars."  (3)  "Where  has  the  animal  any  place  in  the  accepted  system 
of  psychology  ?  or  the  child,  the  direction  of  whose  early  mental 
development  is  commonly  decisive  of  its  future  destiny?  To 
speak  of  induction  where  so  many  important  instances  are  neg- 
lected, and  others  are  selected  according  to  caprice  or  the  ease 
of  convenience,  is  to  rob  the  word  of  all  definite  meaning,  and 
most  mischievously  to  misuse  it.  A  psychology  which  is  truly 
inductive  must  follow  the  order  of  nature,  and  begin  where  mind 
begins  in  the  animal  and  infant,  gradually  rising  thence  to  those 
higher  and  more  complex  mental  phenomena  which  the  intro- 
spective philosopher  discerns  or  thinks  he  discerns.  Certainly 
it  may  be  said,  and  it  has  been  said,  that  inferences  as  to  the 
mental  phenomena  of  the  child  can  be  correctly  formed  from  the 
phenomena  of  the  adult  mind.  But  it  is  exactly  because  such 
erroneous  inferences  have  hem  made,  that  the  mental  phenomena 
of  the  child  have  been  misunderstood  and  misinterpreted,  and 
that  psychology  has  not  received  the  benefit  of  the  correction 
which  a  faithful  observation  of  them  would  have  furnished.  It 
was  the  physiologist  who  by  a  careful  observation  of  the  lower 
animals,  "  having  entered  firmly  on  the  true  road,  and  submitting 
his  understanding  to  things,"  arrived  at  generalizations  which 
were  found  to  explain  many  of  the  mental  phenomena  of  the 
child,  and  which  have  furthermore  thrown  so  much  light  upon 
the  mental  life  of  the  adult.  The  careful  study  of  the  genesis  of 
mind  is  as  necessary  to  a  true  knowledge  of  mental  phenomena 
as  the  study  of  its  plan  of  development  confessedly  is  to  an 
adequate  conception  of  the  bodily  life. 

Again,  it  might  be  thought  a  monstrous  mistake  of  nature  to 
have  brought  forth  so  many  idiots  and  lunatics,  seeing  that 
the  introspective  psychologists,  though  making  a  profession  of 
induction  with  their  lips,  take  no  notice  whatever  of  the  large 
collection  of  instances  afforded  by  such  unwelcome  anomalies. 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  13 

Certainly  it  may  be  said,  and  no  doubt  it  has  been  said,  that  the 
mental  phenomena  of  the  idiot  or  lunatic  are  morbid,  and  do  not, 
therefore,  concern  psychology.  It  is  true  that  they  do  not  con- 
cern a  psychology  which  violently  separates  itself  from  nature. 
But  it  is  exactly  because  psychology  has  thus  unwarrantably 
severed  itself  from  nature — of  which  the  so-called  morbid  phe- 
nomena are  no  less  natural  a  part  than  are  the  phenomena  of 
health — that  it  has  not  sure  foundations ;  that  it  is  not  inductive; 
that  it  has  not  received  the  benefit  of  the  corrective  instances 
which  a  faithful  observation  of  the  unsound  mind  would  have 
afforded.  In  reality  the  phenomena  of  insanity,  presenting  a 
variation  of  conditions  which  cannot  be  produced  artificially — 
the  instantia  contradictoria — furnish  what  in  such  matter  ought 
to  have  been  seized  with  the  utmost  eagerness ;  namely,  actual 
experiments  well  suited  to  correct  false  generalization  and  to 
establish  the  principles  of  a  truly  inductive  science.  The  laws 
of  mental  action  are  not  miraculously  changed  nor  reversed  in 
madness,  though  the  conditions  of  their  operation  are  different ; 
and  nature  does  not  recognise  the  artificial  and  ill-starred 
divisions  which  men,  for  the  sake  of  convenience,  and  not 
unfrequently  in  the  interests  of  ignorance,  make. 

2.  Consciousness  gives  no  account  of  the  essential  material 
conditions  which  underlie  every  mental  manifestation,  and  de- 
termine the  character  of  it ;  let  the  function  of  an  individual's 
optic  ganglia  be  abolished  by  disease  or  otherwise,  and  he  would 
not  be  conscious  that  he  wras  blind  until  experience  had  con- 
vinced him  of  it.  On  grounds  which  will  not  easily  be  shaken 
it  is  now  indeed  admitted,  that  with  every  display  of  mental 
activity  there  is  a  correlative  change  or  waste  of  nervous 
element ;  and  on  the  condition  of  the  material  substratum  must 
depend  the  degree  and  character  of  the  manifested  energy  or  the 
mental  phenomenon.  Now  the  received  system  of  psychology 
gives  no  attention  to  these  manifold  variations  of  feeling  in  the 
same  individual,  which  are  due  to  temporary  modifications  of  the 
bodily  state,  and  by  which  the  ideas  of  the  relations  of  objects 
to  self  and  to  one  another  are  so  greatly  influenced.  The  quality 
of  the  ideas  which  arise  in  the  mind  under  certain  circumstances, 
the  whole  character  indeed  of  our  insight  at  the  time,  is  notably 
determined  in  great  part  by  the  feeling  which  may  then  have 


14  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap 

sway ;  and  that  feeling  is  not  always  objectively  caused,  but  may- 
be entirely  due  to  a  particular  bodily  condition,  as  the  daily 
experience  of  every  one  may  convince  him,  and  as  the  earlier 
phenomena  of  insanity  often  illustrate  in  a  striking  manner. 

Again,  Bacon  long  ago  set  dow  ;  individual  j^l/chologij  as  want- 
ins  :  and  insisted  on  a  scientific  and  accurate  dissection  of  minds 
and  characters,  and  the  secret  dispositions  of  particular  men,  so 
"  that  from  the  knowledge  thereof  better  rules  may  be  framed  for 
the  treatment  of  the  mind."  (4)  As  far  as  the  present  psychology 
is  concerned,  the  individual  might  have  no  existence  in  nature  ; 
he  is  an  inconvenience  to  a  system  which,  in  neglecting  the 
individual  constitution  or  temperament,  ignores  another  large 
collection  of  valuable  instances.  As  far  as  truth  is  concerned, 
however,  the  individual  is  of  -ome  moment,  seeing  that  he  often 
positively  contradicts  the  principles  arbitrarily  laid  down  by  a 
theoretical  system. 

AVhen  the  theologist,  who  occupies  himself  with  the  supersen- 
suous,  has  said  all  that  he  has  to  say  from  his  point  of  view ; 
when  the  jurist,  who  represents  those  principles  which  the 
wisdom  of  society  has  established,  has  in  turn  exhaustively 
argued  from  his  point  of  view, — then  the  ultimate  appeal  in  a 
concrete  case  must  be  to  the  physician,  who  deals  with  the  bodily 
life  ;  through  his  ground  only  can  the  theologist  and  jurist  pass 
to  their  departments  ;  and  they  must  accept  their  knowledge  of 
it  from  him  :  on  the  foundation  of  facts  which  the  faithful  inves- 
tigation of  the  bodily  nature  lays,  must  rest,  if  they  are  to  rest 
safely,  their  systems.  Certainly  it  is  not  probable  that  this  most 
desirable  and  inevitable  result  will  come  to  pass  in  this  day  or 
generation  ;  for  it  is  not  unknown  howr  slowly  the  light  of  know- 
ledge penetrates  the  thick  fogs  of  ignorance,  nor  how  furiously 
irritated  prejudice  opposes  the  gentle  advent  of  new  truth.  Hap- 
pily, it  is  certain  that  in  the  mortality  of  man  lies  the  salvation 
of  truth. 

3.  There  is  an  appropriation  of  external  impressions  by  the 
mind  or  brain,  which  regularly  takes  place  without  any,  or  only 
with  a  very  obscure,  affection  of  consciousness.  As  the  various 
organs  of  the  body  select  from  the  blood  the  material  suitable  to 
their  nourishment,  and  assimilate  it,  so  the  organ  of  the  mind 
unconsciously  appropriates,  through  the  inlets  of  the  senses,  the 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  15 

influences  of  its  surroundings.  The  impressions  which  it  thus 
receives  and  retains  do  not  produce  definite  ideas  and  feelings, 
but  they  nevertheless  permanently  affect  the  mind's  nature ;  so 
that  as  an  individual  consciously  provides  his  food,  and  then 
leaves  the  due  assimilation  of  it  to  the  unconscious  action  of  the 
organism,  in  like  manner  may  he  consciously  arrange  the  cir- 
cumstances in  which  he  will  live,  but  cannot  then  prevent  the 
unconscious  assimilation  of  their  influence,  and  the  correspond- 
ing modification  of  his  character.  Not  only  slight  habits  of 
movement  are  thus  acquired,  but  habits  of  thought  and  feeling 
are  imperceptibly  organized ;  so  that  an  acquired  nature  may 
ultimately  govern  one  who  is  not  at  all  conscious  that  he  has 
changed.  Let  any  one  take  careful  note  of  his  dreams,  and  he 
will  find  that  many  of  the  seemingly  unfamiliar  things  with 
which  his  mind  is  then  occupied,  and  which  apnear  to  be  new 
and  strange  productions,  are  traceable  to  the  unconscious  appro- 
priations of  the  day.  There  are  other  stories  on  record  like  that 
well-known  one  which  Coleridge  quotes  of  the  servant-girl  who, 
in  the  ravings  of  fever,  repeated  long  passages  in  the  Hebrew 
language,  which  she  did  not  understand,  and  could  not  repeat 
when  well,  but  which,  when  living  with  a  clergyman,  she  had 
heard  him  read  aloud.*  The  remarkable  memories  of  certain 
idiots,  who,  utterly  destitute  of  intelligence,  will  repeat  the 
longest  stories  with  the  greatest  accuracy,  testify  also  to  this  un- 
conscious cerebral  action  ;  and  the  way  in  which  the  excitement 
of  a  great  sorrow,  or  some  other  cause,  as  the  last  flicker  of  de- 
parting life,  will  sometimes  call  forth  in  idiots  manifestations  of 
mind  of  which  they  always  seemed  incapable,  renders  it  certain 
that  much  is  unconsciously  taken  up  by  them  which  cannot  be 
uttered,  but  which  leaves  its  relics  in  the  mind. 

It  is  a  truth  which  cannot  be  too  distinctly  borne  in  mind, 
that  consciousness  is  not  co-extensive  with  mind.  From  the 
first  moment  of  its  independent  existence  the  brain  begins  to 
assimilate  impressions  from  without,  and  to  react  thereto  in 
corresponding  organic  adaptations ;  this  it  does  at  first  without 

*  "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  native  language,  though  some  of  them,  he  was 
confident,  had  not  spoken  the  language  for  fifty  or  sixty  years." — Abeucrombie, 
On  the  Intellectual  Powers,  p.  148. 

16  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

consciousness,  and  this  it  continues  to  do  unconsciously  more 
or  less  throughout  life.  Thus  it  is  that  mental  power  is  being 
organized  before  the  supervention  of  consciousness,  and  that  the 
mind  is  subsequently  regularly  modified  as  a  natural  process 
"without  the  intervention  of  consci*.  usness.  The  preconscious 
action  of  the  mind,  as  certain  metaphysical  psychologists  in 
Germany  have  called  it,  and  the  unconscious  action  of  the  mind, 
which  is  now  established  beyond  all  rational  doubt,  are  assuredly 
facts  of  which  the  most  ardent  introspective  psychologist  must 
admit  that  self-consciousness  can  give  us  no  account. 

4.  Everything  which  has  existed  with  any  completeness  in  con- 
sciousness is  preserved,  after  its  disappearance  therefrom,  in  the 
mind  or  brain,  and  may  reappear  in  consciousness  at  some  future 
time.  That  which  persists  or  is  retained  has  been  differently 
described  as  a  residuum,  or  reJ  1c,  or  trace,  or  vestige,  or  again  as 
potential,  or  latent,  or  dormant  idea  ;  and  it  is  on  the  existence 
of  such  residua  that  memory  depends.  Not  only  definite  ideas, 
however,  but  all  affections  of  the  nervous  system,  feelings  of 
pleasure  and  pain,  desires,  and  even  its  outward  reactions,  thus 
leave  behind  them  their  residua,  and  lay  the  foundations  of  modes 
of  thought,  feeling,  and  action.  Particular  talents  are  sometimes 
formed  quite,  or  almost  quite,  involuntarily  ;  and  complex  actions, 
which  were  first  consciously  performed  by  dint  of  great  applica- 
tion, become  by  repetition  automatic  ;  ideas,  which  were  at  first 
consciously  associated,  ultimately  call  one  another  up  without 
any  consciousness,  as  we  see  in  the  quick  perception  or  intuition 
of  the  man  of  large  worldly  experience ;  and  feelings,  once  active, 
leave  behind  them  their  unconscious  residua,  thus  affecting  the 
general  tone  of  the  character,  so  that,  apart  from  the  ori«inal 
or  inborn  nature  of  the  individual,  contentment,  melancholy, 
cowardice,  bravery,  and  even  moral  feeling,  are  generated  as  the 
results  of  particular  life  experiences.  Consciousness  is  not  able 
to  give  any  account  of  the  manner  in  which  these  various  residua 
are  perpetuated,  and  how  they  exist  latent  in  the  mind ;  but  a 
fever,  a  poison  in  the  blood,  or  a  dream,  may  at  any  moment  recall 
ideas,  feelings,  and  activities  which  seem  for  ever  vanished.  The 
lunatic  sometimes  reverts,  in  his  ravings,  to  scenes  and  events  of 
which,  when  in  his  sound  senses,  he  has  no  memory  ;  the  fever- 
stricken  patient  may  pour  out  passages  in  a  language  which  he 

i.J  THE  STUDr  OF  MIND.  1  7 

understands  not,  but  which  he  has  accidentally  heard  ;  a  dream 
of  being  at  school  again  brings  back  with  painful  vividness  the 
school  feelings  ;"  and  before  him  who  is  drowning  every  event 
of  his  life  seems  to  flash  in  one  moment  of  strange  and  vivid 
consciousness.  Some  who  suffer  from  recurrent  insanity  re- 
member only,  in  their  lucid  intervals,  the  facts  of  former  lucid 
intervals,  and  in  their  paroxysms  the  ideas,  feelings,  and  events 
of  former  paroxysms.  Dreams  not  remembered  in  the  waking 
state  may  yet  affect  future  dreams,  appearing  in  them  as  vague 
and  confused  recollections. 

It  has  been  before  said  that  mind  and  consciousness  are  not 
synonymous  ;  it  may  now  be  added,  that  the  existence  of  mind 
does  not  necessarily  involve  the  activity  of  mind.     Descartes 
certainly  maintained  that  the  mind  always  thinks ;  and  others, 
resting  on  that  assumption,  have  held  that  we  must  always 
dream  in  sleep,  because  the  mind,  being  spiritual,  cannot  cease 
to  act ;  for  non-activity  would  be  non-existence.     Such  opinions 
only  illustrate  how  completely  metaphysical  conceptions  may 
overrule  the  best  understanding :  so  far  from  the  mind  being 
always  active,  it  is  the  fact  that  at  each  moment  the  greater  part 
of  the  mind  is  not  only  unconscious,  but  inactive.    Mental  power 
exists  in  statical  equilibrium  as  well  as  in  manifested  energy ; 
and  the  utmost  tension  of  a  particular  mental  activity  may  not 
avail  to  call  forth  from  their  secret  repository  the  dormant  ener- 
gies of  latent  residua,  even  when  most  urgently  needed :  no  man 
can  call  to  mind  at  any  moment  the  thousandth  part  of  his 
knowledge.     How  utterly  helpless  is  consciousness  to  give  any 
account  of  the  statical  condition  of  mind !     But  as  statical  mind 
is  in  reality  the  statical  condition  of  the  organic  element  which 
ministers  to  its  manifestations,  it  is  plain  that,  if  we  ever  are 
to  know  anything  of  inactive   mind,  it  is  to  the  progress  of 
physiology  that  we  must  look  for  information. 

5.  Consciousness  reveals  nothing  of  the  process  by  which  one 
idea  calls  another  into  activity,  and  has  no  -control  whatever  over 
the  manner  of  the  reproduction ;  it  is  only  when  the  idea  is  made 
active  by  virtue  of  some  association,  when  the  effect  solicits  or 
extorts  attention,  that  we  are  conscious  of  it ;  and  there  is  no 
power  in  the  mind  to  call  up  ideas  indifferently.  If  we  would 
recollect  something  which  at  the  moment  escapes  us,  confessedly 

18  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

the  best  way  of  succeeding  is  to  permit  the  mind  to  work 
unconsciously ;  and  while  the  consciousness  is  otherwise  occu- 
pied, the  forgotten  name  or  circumstance  will  oftentimes  flash 
into  the  memory.  In  composition,  the  writer's  consciousness  is 
engaged  chiefly  with  his  pen  and  wit!  the  sentences  which  he  is 
forming,  while  the  results  of  the  mind's  unconscious  working, 
matured  by  an  insensible  gestation,  rise  from  unknown  depths 
into  consciousness,  and  are  by  its  help  embodied  in  appropriate 

Not  only  is  the  actual  process  of  the  association  of  our  ideas 
independent  of  consciousness,  but  that  assimilation  or  blending 
of  similar  ideas,  or  of  the  like  in  different  ideas,  by  which  general 
ideas  are  formed,  is  in  no  way  under  the  control  or  cognizance  of 
consciousness.  When  the  like  in  two  perceptions  is  appropriated, 
while  that  in  wThich  they  differ  is  neglected,  it  would  seem  to  be 
by  an  assimilative  action  of  the  nerve-cell  or  cells  of  the  brain 
which,  particularly  modified  by  the  first  impression,  have  an 
attraction  or  affinity  for  a  like  subsequent  impression  :  the  cell 
so  modified  and  so  ministering  takes  to  itself  that  which  is  suit- 
able and  which  it  can  assimilate,  or  make  of  the  same  kind  with 
itself,  while  it  rejects,  for  appropriation  by  other  cells,  that  which 
is  unlike  and  which  will  not  blend.  Now  this  organic  process 
takes  place,  like  the  organic  action  of  other  elements  of  the  body, 
quite  out  of  the  reach  of  consciousness ;  we  are  not  aware  how 
our  general  and  abstract  ideas  are  formed;  the  due  material  is 
consciously  supplied,  and  there  is  an  unconscious  elaboration  of 
the  result.  Mental  development  thus  represents  a  sort  of  nutri- 
tion and  organization ;  or,  as  Milton  aptly  says  of  the  opinions 
of  good  men  that  they  are  truth  in  the  making,  so  we  may  truly 
say  of  the  formation  of  our  general  and  complex  ideas,  that  it  is 
mind  in  the  making.  When  the  individual  brain  is  a  well-con- 
stituted one,  and  has  been  duly  cultivated,  the  results  of  its  latent 
activity,  starting  into  consciousness  suddenly,  sometimes  appear 
like  intuitions ;  they  are  strange  and  startling,  as  the  products 
of  a  dream  ofttimes  are,  to  the  mind  which  has  actually  produced 
them.  Hence  it  was  no  extravagant  fancy  in  Plato  that  he  looked 
upon  them  as  reminiscences  of  a  previous  higher  existence.  Plato's 
mind  was  a  mind  of  the  highest  order,  and  the  results  of  its 
unconscious  activity,  as  they  flashed  into  consciousness,  might 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  19 

well  seem  intuitions  of  a  better  life  quite  beyond  the  reach  of 
present  will. 

But  the  process  of  unconscious  mental  elaboration  is  suffi- 
ciently illustrated  in  daily  experience.  In  dreams  some  can 
compose  vigorously  and  fluently,  or  speak  most  eloquently,  who 
can  do  nothing  of  the  sort  when  awake ;  schoolboys  know  how 
much  a  night's  rest  improves  their  knowledge  of  a  lesson  which 
they  have  been  learning  before  going  to  bed ;  great  writers  or 
great  artists,  as  is  well  known,  have  been  truly  astonished  at 
their  own  creations,  and  cannot  conceive  how  they  contrived  to 
produce  them ;  and  to  the  unconscious  action  of  the  mind  is 
owing,  most  probably,  that  occasional  sudden  consciousness, which 
almost  every  one  at  some  time  has,  of  having  been  before  in 
exactly  the  same  circumstances  as  those  which  are  then  present, 
though  the  thing  was  impossible  ;  but  the  action  of  the  mind 
in  the  assimilation  of  events  here  anticipates  consciousness, 
which,  when  aroused,  finds  a  familiarity  in  them.  Inventions 
seem,  even  to  the  discoverers,  to  be  matters  of  accident  and  good 
fortune;  the  most  voracious  plagiarist  is  commonly  the  most 
unconscious  ;  the  best  thoughts  of  an  author  are  always  the 
unwilled  thoughts  which  surprise  himself ;  and  the  poet  under 
the  inspiration  of  creative  activity  is,  so  far  as  consciousness  is 
concerned,  being  dictated  to.  If  we  reflect,  we  shall  see  that  it 
must  be  so ;  the  products  of  creative  activity,  in  so  far  as  they 
transcend  the  hitherto  experienced,  are  unknown  to  the  creator 
himself  before  they  come  forth,  and  cannot  therefore  be  the 
result  of  a  definite  act  of  his  will ;  for  to  an  act  of  will  a  con- 
ception of  the  result  is  necessary.  "  The  character,"  says  Jean 
Paul,  speaking  of  the  poet's  work,  "  must  appear  living  before 
you,  and  you  must  hear  it,  not  merely  see  it ;  it  must,  as  takes 
place  in  dreams,  dictate  to  you,  not  you  to  it ;  and  so  much  so 
that  in  the  quiet  hour  before  you  might  perhaps  be  able  to  fore- 
tell the  vjhat  but  not  the  Iiovj.  A  poet  who  must  reflect  whether 
in  a  given  case  he  shall  make  a  character  say  yes  or  no — to  the 
devil  with  him  :  he  is  only  a  stupid  corpse."* 

If  an  inherited  excellence  of  brain  has  conferred  upon  the  indi- 
vidual great  inborn  capacity,  it  is  well ;  but  if  he  has  not  such 
heritage,  then  no  amount  of  conscious  effort  will  completely  make 

*  Aesthetik. 


20  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

up  for  the  defect.  As  in  the  germ  of  the  higher  animal  there  is 
the  potentiality  of  many  kinds  of  tissue,  while  in  the  germ  of  the 
lower  animal  there  is  only  the  potentiality  of  a  few  kinds  of 
tissue ;  so  in  the  good  brain  of  a  happily  endowed  man,  there  is 
the  potentiality  of  great  assimilation  a,.iof  great  and  varied  de- 
velopment, while  in  the  man  of  low  mental  endowment  there  is 
only  the  potentiality  of  a  scanty  assimilation  and  of  small  develop- 
ment. But  it  is  ridiculous  to  suppose  that  the  man  of  genius 
is  ever  a  fountain  of  self-generating  energy ;  whosoever  expends 
much  in  productive  activity  must  take  much  in  by  appropriation  ; 
whence  comes  what  of  truth  there  is  in  the  observation  that 
genius  is  a  genius  for  industry.  To  believe  that  any  one,  how 
great  soever  his  natural  genius,  can  pour  forth  with  spontaneous 
ease  the  results  of  great  produc  cive  activity,  without  correspond- 
ing labour  in  appropriation,  is  no  less  absurd  than  it  would  be  to 
believe  that  the  acorn  can  grow  into  the  mighty  monarch  of  the 
forest,  without  air  and  light,  and  without  the  kindly  influence  of 
the  soil. 

It  has  been  previously  said  that  mental  action  does  not  neces- 
sarily imply  consciousness,  and  again,  that  mental  existence  does 
not  necessarily  involve  mental  activity  :  it  may  now  be  affirmed 
that  the  most  important  part  of  mental  action,  the  essential  pro- 
cess on  which  thinking  depends,  is  unconscious  mental  activity. 
"We  repeat,  then,  the  question  :  how  can  self-consciousness  suffice 
to  furnish  the  facts  of  a  true  mental  science  ? 

6.  The  brain  not  only  receives  impressions  unconsciously, 
registers  impressions  without  the  co-operation  of  consciousness, 
elaborates  material  unconsciously,  calls  latent  residua  again  into 
activity  without  consciousness,  but  it  responds  also  as  an  organ 
of  organic  life  to  the  internal  stimuli  which  it  receives  uncon- 
sciously from  other  organs  of  the  body.  As  the  central  organ  to 
which  the  various  organic  stimuli  of  a  complex  whole  pass,  and 
where  they  are  duly  co-ordinated,  it  must  needs  have  most  im- 
portant and  intimate  sympathies  with  the  other  parts  of  the 
harmonious  system ;  and  a  regular  quiet  activity,  of  which  we 
only  become  occasionally  conscious  in  its  abnormal  results,  does 
prevail,  as  the  consequence  and  expression  of  these  organic  sym- 
pathies. On  the  whole,  this  activity  is  even  of  more  consequence 
in  determining  the  character  of  our  feeling,  or  the  tone  of  our 

i.]  T11E  STUDY  OF  MINI).  21 

disposition,  than  that  which  follows  impressions  received  from 
the  external  world  ;  when  disturbed  in  a  painful  way,  it  becomes 
the  occasion  of  that  feeling  of  gloom  or  discomfort  which  does  not 
itself  give  rise  to  anything  more  than  an  indefinite  anticipation 
of  coming  affliction,  but  which  clouds  ideas  that  arise,  rendering 
them  obscure,  unfaithfully  representative,  and  painful.  The 
rapidity  and  success  of  conception,  and  the  reaction  of  one  con- 
ception upon  another,  are  much  affected  by  the  state  of  this  active 
but  unconscious  cerebral  life:  the  poet  is  compelled  to  wait  for 
the  moment  of  inspiration;  and  the  thinker,  after  great  but  fruit- 
less pains,  must  often  tarry  until  a  more  favourable  disposition  of 
mind.  In  insanity,  the  influence  of  this  activity  is  most  marked  ; 
for  it  then  happens  that  the  morbid  state  of  some  internal  organ 
becomes  the  basis  of  a  painful  but  formless  feeling  of  profound 
depression,  which  ultimately  condenses  into  some  definite  delu- 
sion. In  dreams  its  influence  is  no  less  manifest ;  for  he  who 
has  gone  to  sleep  with  a  disturbance  of  some  internal  organ  may 
find  the  character  of  his  dreams  determined  by  the  feeling  of 
the  oppression  of  self  of  which  the  organic  trouble  is  the  cause  : 
he  is  thwarted,  he  is  afflicted,  he  is  at  school  again,  or  under 
sentence  of  death ;  in  some  way  or  other  his  personality  is 
oppressed.  Most  plainly  of  all,  however,  does  the  influence  of 
the  sexual  organs  upon  the  mind  witness  to  this  operation ;  and 
it  was  no  wild  flight  of  "  that  noted  liar  fancy"  in  Schlegel,  but  a 
truly  grounded  creation  of  the  imagination,  that  he  represented 
a  pregnant  woman  as  being  visited  every  night  by  a  beautiful 
child,  which  gently  raised  her  eyelids  and  looked  silently  at  her, 
but  which  disappeared  for  ever  after  delivery.*  Whatever  then 
may  be  thought  of  the  theory  of  JBichat,who  located  the  passions 
in  the  organs  of  organic  life,  it  must  be  admitted  that  he  therein 
evinced  a  just  recognition  of  the  importance  of  that  unconscious 
cerebral  activity  which  is  the  expression  of  the  organic  sym- 
pathies of  the  brain. 

In  dealing  with  unconscious  mental  activity,  and  with  mind 
in  a  statical  condition,  it  has  been  a  necessity  to  speak  of  brain 

*  "  In  Schlegels — viel  zu  wenig  erkanntem — Florentin  sieht  eine  Schwangere 
immer  cin  schones  Wunderkmd,  das  mit  ihr  Nachts  die  Augen  aufschlagt,  ihr 
stumm  entgegen  lauft  u.  s.  w.  und  welches  unter  der  Entbindung  auf  iramer 
vurschwiudet." — Jeax  Pavl,  Acsthdik. 

22  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  \cbax. 

and  cerebral  action,  where  I  would  willingly,  to  avoid  offence 
that  might  be  taken  thereat,  have  spoken,  had  it  been  possible, 
of  mind  and  mental  action  ;  but  it  was  impossible,  if  one  was  to 
be  truthful  and  intelligible,  to  do  otherwise.  When  the  impor- 
tant influence  on  mental  life  of  the  bra:  ^as  an  organ  of  organic 
life,  comes  to  be  considered,  there'  are  no  words  available  for 
expressing  the  phenomena  in  the  language  of  the  received 
psychology,  which,  though  it  admits  the  brain  to  be  the  organ  of 
the  mind,  takes  no  notice  whatever  of  it  as  an  organ.  Let  us 
briefly  add,  then,  what  the  relations  of  the  brain  as  a  bodily 
organ  are. 

1.  The  brain  has,  as  previously  set  forth,  a  life  of  relation ; 
which  may  be  properly  distinguished  into — (a)  a  relation  with 
external  nature  through  the  inkts  of  the  senses ;  and  (6)  a  rela- 
tion with  the  other  organs  of  the  body,  through  the  nervous 
system  distributed  throughout  the  body.  These  have  already 
been  sufficiently  dwelt  upon  here ;  they  will  receive  fuller  atten- 
tion afterwards. 

2.  But  the  brain  has  also  a  life  of  nutrition,  or,  if  we  might  so 
call  it,  a  vegetative  life.  In  this,  its  true  organic  life,  there  is  a 
nutritive  assimilation  of  suitable  material  from  the  blood  by  the 
nerve-cell ;  a  restoration  of  the  statical  equilibrium  being  thereby 
effected  after  each  display  of  energy.  The  extent  of  the  nutri- 
tive repair,  and  the  mould  which  it  takes,  must  plainly  be  deter- 
mined by  the  extent  and  form  of  the  waste  which  has  been  the 
condition  of  the  display  of  function :  the  material  change  or 
waste  in  the  nerve-cell,  which  the  activity  of  an  idea  implies,  is 
replaced  from  the  blood  according  to  the  mould  or  pattern  of  the 
particular  idea  ;  statical  idea  thus  following  through  the  agency 
of  nutritive  attraction  upon  the  waste  through  functional  repul- 
sion of  active  idea.  The  elements  of  the  nerve-cell  grow  to  the 
form  in  which  it  energizes.  This  organic  process  of  repair  is 
not  usually  attended  with  consciousness,  and  yet  it  may  obtrude 
itself  into  consciousness :  as  the  function  of  any  organ,  which 
proceeds,  when  all  is  well,  without  exciting  any  sensation,  does, 
under  conditions  of  disorder,  give  rise  to  unusual  sensation  or  to 
actual  pain ;  so  the  organic  life  of  the  brain,  which  usually  passes 
peaceably  without  exciting  consciousness,  may  under  certain 
conditions  thrust  itself  forward  into  consciousness  and  produce 

i.]  TEE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  23 

anomalous  effects.  When  this  happens,  the  abnormal  effect  is 
not  manifest  in  sensation,  for  the  hemispheres  of  the  brain,  as 
physiologists  well  know,  are  not  sensitive  in  that  sense ;  but  it 
is  displayed  in  the  involuntary  appearance  of  emotional  ideas 
in  consciousness,  and  in  consequent  confusion  of  thought ;  the 
statical  idea  becomes  energy,  not  through  the  usual  train  of  asso- 
ciation, but  by  reason  of  the  abnormal  stimulus  from  the  inner 
life.  Thus  it  is  that  the  presence  of  alcohol,  or  some  other 
such  foreign  agent,  in  the  blood  will  excite  into  activity  ideas 
which  lie  out  of  the  usual  path  of  association,  which  the  utmost 
tension  of  consciousness  would  fail  to  arouse,  and  which  the 
will  cannot  repress  nor  control.  Whosoever  will  be  at  the  pains 
of  attending  to  his  own  daily  experience  will  find  that  ideas 
frequently  arise  into  consciousness  without  any  apparent  relation 
to  those  previously  active  ;  without,  in  fact,  any  possibility  of  ex- 
plaining, quoad  consciousness,  why  and  whence  they  come.  (5) 

To  what  has  been  before  said  of  unconscious  mental  action 
this  more  may  now  be  added — that  the  deep  basis  of  all  mental 
action  lies  in  the  organic  life  of  the  brain,  the  characteristic  of 
which  in  health  is,  that  it  proceeds  without  consciousness.  He 
whose  brain  makes  him  conscious  that  he  has  a  brain  is  not  well, 
but  ill ;  and  thought  that  is  conscious  of  itself  is  not  natural  and 
healthy  thought.  How  little  competent,  then,  is  consciousness 
to  supply  the  facts  of  an  inductive  science  of  mind  !  Pneuma- 
tology  was  at  one  time  subdivided  into  theology,  demonology,  and 
psychology ;  all  three  resting  on  the  evidence  of  the  inner  wit- 
ness. Demonology  has  taken  its  place  in  the  history  of  human 
error  and  superstition ;  theology  is  confessedly  now  best  sup- 
ported by  those  who  strive  to  ascend  inductively  from  nature's 
law  up  to  nature's  God;  and  psychology,  generally  forsaken, 
stays  its  fall  by  appropriating  the  discoveries  of  physiology, 
preserving  only  in  its  nomenclature  the  shadow  of  its  ancient 
authority  and  state.  On  what  foundation  can  a  science  of  mind 
surely  rest  save  on  the  faithful  observation  of  all  available 
instances,  whether  psychical  or  physiological  ? 

Why,  however,  it  will  naturally  be  asked,  repudiate  and  dis-     J 
parage  introspective  psychology,  now  that  it  evinces  some  dispo- 
sition to  abandon  its  exclusive  mode  of  procedure  and  to  profit 
by  the  discoveries  of  physiology  ?    Because  the  union,  as  desired 

04  OX  THE  METHOD  OF  [coat, 

by  it,  is  an  unnatural  and  unhallowed  union,  which  can  only 
issue  in  abortions  or  give  birth  to  monsters  ;  not  otherwise  than 
as  Man,  designing  impiously  to  embrace  Juno,  had  intercourse 
with  the' clouds  and  begat  centaurs.     It  is  not  a  mere  skimming 
of  physiological  text-books,  and  a  superficial  acquaintance  with 
the  nature  and  functions  of  the  nervous  system,  which  will  put 
meaning  into  the  vague  and  abstract  language  of  psychology  ; 
that  would  simply  be  to  subject  physiology  to  the  tortures  of 
Mezentius — to  stifle  the  living  in  the  embraces  of  the  dead  ;  but 
it  is  a  sound  general  knowledge  of  the  whole  domain  of  organi- 
zation, at  the  head  of  which  stands  the  nervous  system,  and  the 
final  achievement  of  which  is  mind,  that  is  indispensably  pre- 
requisite to  the  formation  of  fundamentally  true  conceptions  of 
mental  phenomena  on  a  physiological  basis.     These  conceptions, 
thus  vitally  impregnated,  and  the  language  in  which  they  are 
expressed,  cannot  be  reconciled  with  the  language  of  psychology, 
which,  borrowed  at  first  from  observation  of  the  senses,  has  now 
become  so  abstract  and  been  so  depraved  by  its  divorce  from 
nature,  as  to  be  empty  of  real  meaning.     Words  !  words  !  words  ! 
but  what  an  aching  vacuum  of  matter  !     The  question  between 
modern  physiology  and  the  old  psj'chology,  is  not  a  question  of 
eclectic  appropriation  by  the  latter  of  the   discoveries  of  the 
former,  but  a  fundamental  question  of  method  of  study. 

Such  are  the  charges  against  self-consciousness  whereon  is 
founded  the  conclusion  as  to  its  incompetency :  they  show  that 
he  who  thinks  to  illuminate  the  whole  range  of  mental  action  by 
the  light  of  his  own  consciousness  is  not  unlike  one  who  should 
go  about  to  illuminate  the  universe  with  a  rushlight.  A  reflec- 
tion on  the  true  nature  of  consciousness  will  surely  tend  to  con- 
firm that  opinion.  Whoever  faithfully  and  firmly  endeavours  to 
obtain  a  definite  idea  of  what  is  meant  by  consciousness,  will 
find  it  nowise  so  easy  a  matter  as  the  frequent  and  ready  use  of 
the  word  might  imply.  Metaphysicians,  faithful  to  the  vague- 
ness of  their  ideas,  and  definite  only  in  individual  assumption, 
are  by  no  means  agreed  in  the  meaning  which  they  attach  to  it ; 
and  it  sometimes  happens  that  the  same  metaphysician  uses  the 
word  in  two  or  three  different  senses  in  different  parts  of  his 
book  i  Sir  W.  Hamilton  uses  it  at  one  time  as  synonymous  with 
mind,  at  another  time  as  synonymous  with  knowledge,  and  at 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MINI).  25 

another  time  to  express  a  condition  of  mental  activity.  That 
there  should  be  such  little  certainty  about  that  upon  which  their 
philosophy  fundamentally  rests  must  be  allowed  to  be  no  small 
misfortune  to  the  metaphysicians. 

What  consciousness  is  will  appear  better  if  its  relations  be 
closely  examined  without  prejudice.     It  will  then  appear  that  it 
is  not  separable  from  knowledge ;  that  it  exists  only  as  a  part  of 
the  concrete  mental  act ;  that  it  has  no  more  power  of  withdraw- 
ing from  the  particular  phenomenon  and  of  taking  full  and  fair 
observation  of  it,  than  a  boy  has  of  jumping  over  his  own  shadow. 
Consciousness  is  not  a  faculty  or  substance,  but  a  quality  or 
attribute  of  the  concrete  mental  act ;  and  it  may  exist  in  differ- 
ent degrees  of  intensity  or  it  may  be  absent  altogether.     In  so 
far  as  there  is  consciousness,  there  is  certainly  mental  activity ; 
but  it  is  not  true  that  in  so  far  as  there  is  mental  activity  there 
is  consciousness  ;  it  is  only  with  a  certain  intensity  of  representa- 
tion or  conception  that  consciousness  appears.     AVhat  else,  then, 
is  the  so-called  interrogation  of  consciousness  but  a  self-revela- 
tion of  the  particular  mental  act,  whose  character  it  must  needs 
share  ?     Consciousness  can  never  be  a  valid  and  unprejudiced 
witness  ;  for  although  it  testifies  to  the  existence  of  a  particular 
mental  modification,  yet  when  that  modification  has  anything 
of  a  morbid  character,  consciousness  is  affected  by  the  taint  and 
is  morbid  also.     Accordingly,  the  lunatic  appeals  to  the  evidence 
of  his  own  consciousness  for  the  truth  of  his  hallucination  or 
delusion,  and  insists  that  he  has  as  sure  evidence  of  its  reality  as 
he  has  of  the  argument  of  any  one  who  may  try  to  convince  him 
of  his  error:  and  is  he  not  right  from  a  subjective  standpoint? 
To  one  who  has  vertigo  the  world  turns  round.   A  man  may  easily 
be  conscious  of  freewill  when,  isolating  the  particular  mental 
act,  he  cuts  himself  off  from  the  consideration  of  the  causes 
which  have  preceded  it,  and  on  which  it  depends.     "  There  is  no 
force,"  says  Leibnitz,    "in  the  reason  alleged  by  Descartes  to 
prove  the  independence  of  our  free  actions  by  a  pretended  lively 
internal  sentiment.     It  is  as  if  the  needle  should  take  pleasure 
in  turning  to  the  north ;  for  it  would  suppose  that  it  turned 
independently  of  any  other  cause,  not  perceiving  the  insensible 
motions  of  the  magnetic  matter."*     Is  it  not  supremely  ridicu- 

*  Essais  de  Theodicee,  Pt.  I. 

26  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [ch^p. 

lous  that,  while  we  cannot  trust  consciousness  in  so  simple  a 
matter  as  whether  we  are  hot  or  cold,  we  should  be  content  to 
rely  entirely  on  its  evidence  in  the  complex  phenomena  of  our 
highest  mental  activity  ?  The  truth  is,  that  what  has  very  often 
happened  before  has  happened  here :  t*M  quality  or  attribute  has 
been  abstracted  from  the  concrete,  and  the  abstraction  converted 
into  an  entity ;  the  attribute,  consciousness,  has  miraculously  got 
rid  of  its  substance,  and  then  with  a  wonderful  assurance  as- 
sumed the  office  of  observing  and  passing  judgment  upon  its 
nature  from  a  higher  region  of  being.  Descartes  was  in  this 
case  the  clever  architect;  and  his  success  has  fully  justified 
his  art :  while  the  metaphysical  stage  of  human  'development 
lasts,  his  work  will  doubtless  endure. 

That  the  subjective  method-  -the  method  of  interrogating  self- 
consciousness — is  not  adequate  to  the  construction  of  a  true 
mental  science,  has  now  seemingly  been  sufficiently  established. 
This  is  not  to  say  that  it  is  worthless ;  for  when  not  strained 
beyond  its  capabilities,  its  results  may,  in  the  hands  of  competent 
men,  be  very  useful.  D'Alembert  compares  Locke  to  Newton,  and 
makes  it  a  special  praise  to  him  that  he  was  content  to  descend 
within,  and  that,  after  having  contemplated  himself  for  a  long 
while,  he  presented  in  his  "  Essay"  the  mirror  in  which  he  had 
seen  himself;  "in  a  word,  he  reduced  psychology  to  that  which 
it  should  be,  the  experimental  physics  of  the  mind."  But  it  was 
not  because  of  this  method,  but  in  spite  of  it,  that  Locke  was 
greatly  successful ;  it  was  because  he  possessed  a  powerful  and 
well-balanced  mind,  the  direct  utterances  of  which  he  sincerely 
expressed,  that  the  results  which  he  obtained,  in  whatever 
nomenclature  they  may  be  clothed,  are  and  always  will  be  valu- 
able ;  they  are  the  self-revelations  of  an  excellently  constituted 
and  well-trained  mind.  The  insufficiency  of  the  method  used  is 
proved  by  the  fact  that  others  adopting  it,  but  wanting  his  sound 
sense,  directly  contradicted  him  at  the  time,  and  do  so  stilL 
Furthermore,  Locke  did  not  confine  himself  to  the  interrogation 
of  his  own  consciousness ;  for  he  introduced  the  practice— for 
winch  Cousin  was  so  angry  with  him — of  referring  to  savages 
and  children.  And  we  may  take  leave  to  suggest  that  the  most 
valuable  part  of  Locke's  psychology,  that  which  has  been  a 
lasting    addition  to  knowledge,   really  was   the  result  of  the 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  27 

employment  of  the  inductive  or  rather  objective  method.*  Nay- 
more  :  if  any  one  will  be  at  the  pains  to  examine  into  the  history 
of  the  development  of  psychology  up  to  its  present  stage,  he  may 
be  surprised  to  find  how  much  the  important  acquisitions  of  new 
truth  and  the  corrections  of  old  errors  have  been  due,  not  to  the 
interrogation  of  self-consciousness,  but  to  external  observation, 
though  it  was  not  recognised  as  a  systematic  method.  The  past 
history  of  psychology — its  instinctive  progress,  so  to  speak — no 
less  than  the  consideration  of  its  present  state,  proves  the 
necessity  of  admitting  the  objective  method. 

That  which  a  just  reflection  incontestably  teaches,  the  present 
state  of  physiology  practically  illustrates.  Though  very  im- 
perfect as  a  science,  physiology  is  still  sufficiently  advanced  to 
prove  that  no  psychology  can  endure  except  it  be  based  upon  its 
investigations.  Let  it  not,  moreover,  be  forgotten,  as  it  is  so  apt 
to  be,  that  the  divisions  in  our  knowledge  are  artificial;  that 
they  should  be  accepted,  and  used  rather,  as  Bacon  says,  "for 
lines  to  mark  or  distinguish,  than  sections  to  divide  and  separate ; 
in  order  that  solution  of  continuity  in  sciences  may  always  be 
avoided."  t  Not  the  smallest  atom  that  floats  in  the  sunbeam, 
nor  the  minutest  molecule  that  vibrates  within  the  microcosm  of 
an  organic  cell,  but  is  bound  as  a  part  of  the  mysterious  whole  in 
an  inextricable  harmony  with  the  laws  by  which  planets  move  in 
their  appointed  orbits,  or  with  the  laws  which  govern  the  mar- 
vellous creations  of  godlike  genius.  Above  all  things  it  is  now  v/ 
necessary  that  the  absolute  and  unholy  barrier  set  up  between 
psychical  and  physical  nature  be  broken  down,  and  that  a  just 
conception  of  mind  be  formed,  founded  on  a  faithful  recognition 
of  all  those  phenomena  of  nature  which  lead  by  imperceptible 
gradations  up  to  this  its  highest  evolution.  Happily  the  beneficial 
change  is  being  gradually  effected,  and  ignorant  prejudice  or 
offended  self-love  in  vain  opposes  a  progress  in  knowledge  which 
reflects  the  course  of  progress  in  nature :  the  stars  in  their 
courses  fight  for  such  truth,  and  its  angry  adversary  might  as 
well  hope  to  blow  out  with  his  pernicious  breath  the  all-inspiring 
light  of  the  sun  as  to  extinguish  its  ever-waxing  splendour. 

No  one  pretends  that  physiology  can,  for  many  years  to  come, 

*  Psychology  cannot,  in  fact,  be  truly  inductive  unless  it  is  studied  objec- 
tively. +  De  Augmentis  Scientiarum,  B.  iv. 

28  Off  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

furnish  the  complete  data  of  a  positive  mental  science  :  all  that 
it  can  at  present  do  is  to  overthrow  the  data  of  a  false  psychology. 
It  is  easy,  no  douht,  for  any  one  to  point  to  the  completeness  of 
our  ignorance,  and  to  maintain  that  physiology  never  will  securely 
fix  the  foundations  of  a  mental  science  just  as  it  was  easy  to  say, 
before  the  invention  of  the  telescope,  that  the  ways  of  the  planets 
could  never  be  traced  and  calculated.     The  confident  dogmatist 
in  this  matter  might  well  learn  caution   from  an  instructive 
example  of  the  rash  error  of  a  greater  philosopher  than  he  can 
claim  or  hope  to  be : — "  It  is  the  absurdity  of  these  opinions," 
said  Bacon,  "  that  has  driven  men  to  the  diurnal  motion  of  the 
earth  ;  which,  I  am  convinced,  is  most  false."  *  What  should  fairly 
and  honestly  be  weighed  is,  that  mind  is  the  last,  the  highest,  the 
consummate  evolution  of  nat  are's  development,  and  that,  there- 
fore, it  must  be  the  last,  the  most  complex,  and  most  difficult 
object  of  human  study.     There  are  really  no  grounds  for  ex- 
pecting a  positive  science  of  mind  at  present ;  for  to  its  estab- 
lishment the  completion  of  the  other  sciences  is  necessary ;  and, 
as  is  well  known,  it  is  "only  lately  that  the  metaphysical  spirit 
has  been  got  rid  of  in  astronomy,  physics,  and  chemistry,  and 
that  these  sciences,  after  more  than  two  thousand  years  of  idle 
and  shifting  fancies,  have  attained  to  certain  principles.     Still 
more  recently  has  physiology  emerged  from  the  fog,  and  this 
for  obvious  reasons :  in  the  first  place  it  is  absolutely  dependent 
upon  the  physical  and  chemical  sciences,  and  must,  therefore, 
wait  for  the  progress  of  them  fand,  in  the  second  place,  its  close 
relations  to  psychology  have  tended  to  keep  it  the  victim  of  the 
metaphysical  spirit.     That,  therefore,  which  should  be  in  this 
matter  is  that  which  is  ;  and  instead  of  being  a  cause  of  despair, 
is  a  ground  of  hope. 

But  let  it  not  be  forgotten  that  the  physiological  method  deals 
only  with  one  (I.)  division  of  the  matter  to  which  the  objective 
met  hod  is  to  be  applied  ;  there  are  other  divisions  not  less 
valuable : — 

II.  The  study  of  the  plan  of  development  of  mind,  as  exhibited 

in  the  animal,  the  barbarian,  and  the  infant,  furnishes  results  of 

the  greatest  value,  and  is  as  essential  to  a  true  mental  science  as 

the  study  of  its  development  confessedly  is  to  a  full  knowledge 

*  Dc  Aogmentu  Seientiarom,  B.  iii. 

i  J  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  29 

of  the  bodily  organism.  By  that  means  we  get  at  the  deep  and 
true  relations  of  phenomena,  and  are  enabled  to  correct  the 
erroneous  inferences  of  a  superficial  observation ;  by  examination 
of  the  barbarian,  for  example,  we  eliminate  the  hypocrisy  which 
is  the  result  of  the  social  condition,  and  which  is  apt  to  mislead 
us  in  the  civilized  individual. 

III.  The  study  of  the  degeneration  of  mind,  as  exhibited  in  the 
different  forms  of  idiocy  and  insanity,  is  indispensable  as  it  is 
invaluable.  So  we  avail  ourselves  of  the  experiments  provided 
by  nature,  and  bring  our  generalizations  to  a  most  searching  test. 
Hitherto  the  phenomena  of  insanity  have  been  entirely  ignored 
by' psychologists  and  most  grievously  misinterpreted  by  the  vul- 
gar, because  interpreted  by  the  false  conclusions  of  a  subjective 
psychology.  Had  not  the  revelations  of  consciousness  in  dreams 
and  in  delirium  been  constantly  neglected  by  the  professed  in- 
ductive psychologists,  truer  generalizations  must  perforce  have 
been  formed  ere  this,  and  fewer  irresponsible  lunatics  would  have 
been  executed  as  responsible  criminals.  Why  those  who  put  so 
much  faith  in  the  subjective  method  do  reject  such  a  large  and 
important  collection  of  instances  as  dreams  and  madmen  furnish, 
they  have  never  thought  proper  to  explain. 

IV.  The  study  of  biograpliy  and  of  autobiography,  which  has 
already  been  described  as  the  application  of  positive  science  to 
human  life,  will  plainly  afford  essential  aid  in  the  formation  of  a 
positive  science  of  mind.  Thus  we  trace  the  development  of 
the  mind  in  the  individual  as  affected  by  hereditary  influences, 
education,  and  the  circumstances  of  life.  Concerning  auto- 
biographies, however,  it  will  not  be  amiss  to  bear  in  mind  an 
observation  made  by  Feuchtersleben,  that  "they  are  only  of 
value  to  the  competent  judge,  because  we  must  see  in  them  not 
so  much  what  they  relate  as  what,  by  their  manner  of  relation, 
is  undesignedly  betrayed." 

V.  The  study  of  the  progress  or  regress  of  the  human  mind, 
as  exhibited  in  history,  most  difficult  as  the  task  is,  cannot  be 
neglected  by  one  who  wishes  to  be  thoroughly  equipped  for  the 
arduous  work  of  constructing  a  positive  mental  science.  The 
unhappy  tendencies  which  lead  to  individual  error  and  degene- 
ration are  those  which  on  a  national  scale  conduct  peoples  to 
destruction ;    and  the  nisus  of  an  epoch  is  summed  up  in  the 

30  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

biography  of  its  great  man  *  Freed  from  the  many  disturbing 
conditions  which  interfere  so  much  with  his  observation  of  the 
individual,  the  philosopher  may  perhaps  discover  in  history  the 
laws  of  human  progress  in  their  generality  and  simplicity,  as 
Newton  discovered,  in  the  motions  ^  the  heavenly  bodies,  the 
law  which  he  would  in  vain  have  looked  for  had  he  watched  the 
fall  of  every  apple  in  Europe.  Moreover,  in  the  language, 
literature,  art,  and  the  political,  social  and  religious  institutions 
of  men,  there  are  important  materials  fur  the  construction  of  a 
science  of  mind. 

May  we  not  then  truly  say  that  he  only  is  the  true  psycho- 
logist who,  occupied  with  the  observation  of  the  whole  of  human 
nature,  avails  himself  not  alone  of  every  means  which  science 
affords  for  the  investigation  of  the  bodily  conditions  which 
assuredly  underlie  eveiy  dispj  ly  of  function,  conscious  or  uncon- 
scious, but  also  of  every  help,  subjective  or  objective,  which 
is  furnished  by  the  mental  manifestations  of  animal  and  of 
man,  whether  undeveloped,  degenerate,  or  cultivated  ?  Here, 
as  everywhere  else  in  nature,  the  student  must  deliberately 
apply  himself  to  a  close  communion  with  the  external,  must 
intend  his  mind  to  the  realities  which  surround  him,  and  thus, 
by  patient  internal  adjustment  to  outward  relations,  gradually 
evolve  into  conscious  development  those  inner  truths  which  are 
the  unavoidable  expressions  of  the  harmony  between  himself 
and  nature.  By  diligent  colligation  of  facts,  patient  observation 
of  their  relations,  and  careful  consilience  of  inductions,  he  will 
attain  to  sound  generalizations  in  this  as  in  other  departments 
of  nature ;  in  no  other  way  can  he  do  so.  Of  old  it  was  the 
fashion  to  try  to  explain  nature  from  a  very  incomplete  know- 
ledge of  man;  but  it  is  the  certain  tendency  of  advancing 
science  to  explain  man  on  the  basis  of  a  perfecting  knowledge 
of  nature. 

Having  fairly  admitted  a  method,  it  behoves  us  to  take  heed 
that  we  are  not  too  exclusive  in  its  application.  To  this  there  is 
a  strong  inclination  :  even  in  the  investigation  of  physical  nature 
men  now  frequently  write  of  induction  as  Bacon  himself  never 

*  "  When  nature  has  work  to  be  done,"  says  Emerson,  "she  creates  a  genius 
to  do  it.  Follow  the  great  man,  and  you  shall  see  what  the  world  has  at  heart  in 
these  ages,     There  is  no  omen  like  that." 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  31 

wrote  of  it.  It  might  seem,  from  the  usual  fashion  of  speech, 
that  the  function  of  the  mind  was  merely  that  of  a  polished  and 
passive  mirror,  in  which  natural  phenomena  should  be  allowed 
simply  to  reflect  themselves ;  whereas  every  state  of  conscious- 
ness is  a  developmental  result  of  the  relation  between  mind  and 
the  impression,  of  the  subject  and  object.  What  Bacon  strove 
so  earnestly  to  abolish  was  that  method  of  systematically  looking 
into  the  mind  and,  by  torture  of  self-consciousness,  drawing 
thence  empty  ideas,  as  the  spider  forms  a  web  out  of  its  own 
substance, — that  ill-starred  divorce  between  mind  and  nature 
which  had  been  cultivated  by  the  Schoolmen  as  a  method. 
"What  he  wished,  on  the  other  hand,  to  establish  was  a  happy 
marriage  between  mind  and  matter,  between  subject  and  object, 
to  prevent  the  "  mind  being  withdrawn  from  things  farther  than 
was  necessary  to  bring  into  a  harmonious  conjunction  the  ideas 
and  the  impressions  made  upon  the  senses."  *     For,  as  he  says, 

*  "  Nos  vero  intellectual  longius  a  rebus  non  abstrahimus  quam  ut  rerum 
imagines  et  radii  (utin  sensufit)  coire  possint."  (Proleg.  Instaurat.  Magn.)  This 
passage,  as  usually  rendered,  is  not  intelligible ;  tbe  translation  in  the  text,  if  not 
literally  exact,  evidently,  as  the  context  proves,  expresses  Bacon's  true  meaning. 
He  had  objected  to  all  before  him  that  some  had  wrongly  regarded  the  sense  as 
the  measure  of  things,  while  others,  equally  wrongly,  "after  having  only  a  little 
while  turned  their  eyes  upon  things,  and  instances,  and  experience,  then  straight- 
way, as  if  invention  were  nothing  more  than  a  certain  process  of  excogitation, 
have  fallen,  as  it  were,  to  invoke  their  own  spirits  to  utter  oracles  to  them.  But 
we,"  he  goes  on,  "modestly  and  perseveringly  keeping  ourselves  conversant  among 
things,  never  withdraw  our  understanding,"  &c.  Mr.  Speddiug,  in  his  admirable 
edition  of  Bacon's  works,  translates  the  passage  thus: — "I,  on  the  contrary, 
withdraw  my  intellect  from  them  no  further  than  may  suffice  to  let  the  images 
and  rays  of  natural  objects  meet  in  a  point,  as  they  do  in  the  sense  of  vision." 
According  to  this  interpretation,  —  if  there  really  is  any  meaning  in  it — the  images 
and  rays  of  objects  express  the  same  thing.  Mr.  Wood's  translation,  in  Mr. 
Montagu's  edition,  is  : — "  We  abstract  our  understanding  no  further  from  them 
than  is  necessaiy  to  prevent  the  confusion  of  the  images  of  things  with  their 
radiation,  a  confusion  similar  to  that  we  experience  by  our  senses."  This  is  worse 
still ;  ut  possint  coire  means,  certainly,  "that  they  may  come  together,"  not  "that 
they  may  not  mingle  or  may  be  prevented  from  mingling."  After  all,  the  95th 
Aphorism  furnishes  the  clearest  and  surest  commentary  on  the  passage — "  Those 
who  have  treated  the  sciences  were  either  empirics  or  rationalists.  The  empirics, 
like  ants,  only  lay  up  stores  and  use  them  ;  the  rationalists,  like  spiders,  spin 
webs  out  of  themselves ;  but  the  bee  takes  a  middle  course,  gathering  her 
matter  from  the  flowers  of  the  field  and  garden,  and  digesting  and  preparing  it 
by  her  native  powers.  In  like  manner,  that  is  the  true  office  and  work  of  philo- 
sophy which,  not  trusting  too  much  to  the  faculties  of  the  mind,  does  not  lay 
up  the  matter,  afforded  by  natural  history  and  mechanical  experience,  entire  or 
unfashioned  in  the  memoiy,  but  treasures  it    after  being  first  elaborated  and 

32  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

the  testimony  and  information  of  the  senses  have  reference 
always  to  man,  not  to  the  universe ;  and  it  is  a  great  error  to 
assert  that  the  sense  is  the  measure  of  things.  But  by  his 
method  of  effecting,  as  completely  as  possible,  a  reconciliation 
between  the  subjective  and  objective  he  hoped  to  have  "  estab- 
lished for  ever  a  true  and  lawful  marriage  between  the  empirical 
and  the  rational  faculty,  the  unkind  and  ill-starred  divorce  and 
separation  of  which  has  thrown  into  confusion  all  the  affairs  of 
the  human  family."  The  mind  that  is  in  harmony  with  the  laws 
of  nature,  in  an  intimate  sympathy  with  the  course  of  events, 
is  strong  with  the  strength  of  nature,  and  is  developed  by 
its  force. 

A  contemplation  of  the  earliest  stages  of  human  development, 
as  exhibited  by  the  savages,  certainly  constrains  the  admission 
that  the  conscious  or  designed  co-operation  of  the  mind  in  the 
adaptation  of  man  to  external  nature  was  not  great.  The  fact 
is,  however,  in  exact  conformity  with  what  has  already  been 
asserted  with  regard  to  the  nature  and  domain  of  consciousness  ; 
assuredly  it  is  not  consciousness,  the  natural  result  of  a  due 
development,  which  gives  the  impulse  to  development  :  this 
coining  from  a  source  that  is  past  finding  out — from  the  primeval 
central  Power  which  hurled  the  planets  on  their  courses,  and 
holds  the  lasting  orbs  of  heaven  in  their  just  poise  and  move- 
ment. In  virtue  of  the  fundamental  impulse  of  its  being, 
mankind  struggles,  at  first  blindly,  towards  a  knowledge  of  and 
adaptation  to  external  nature,  until  that  which  has  been  insen- 
sibly acquired  through  generations  becomes  an  inborn  addition 
to  the  power  of  the  mind,  and  that  which  was  unconsciously 
done  becomes  conscious  method. 

It  were  well,  then,  that  this  idea  took  deep  and  firm  root 

digested  in  the  understanding.  And,  therefore,  we  have  a  good  ground  of  hope, 
from  the  close  and  strict  union  of  the  experimental  and  rational  faculty,  which 
have  not  hitherto  been  united."  In  the  very  place  where  the  obscure  passage 
occurs,  he  says,  after  speaking  of  the  inauspicious  divorce  usually  made  between 
mind  and  nature— "The  explanation  of  which  things,  and  of  the  true  relation 
between  the  nature  of  things  and  the  nature  of  the  mind,  is  as  the  strewing 
and  decoration  of  the  bridal  chamber  of  the  Mind  and  Universe,  the  Divine 
Goodness  assisting  ;  out  of  which  marriage  let  us  hope  (and  this  be  the  prayer 
of  the  bridal  song)  there  may  spring  helps  to  man,  and  a  line  and  race  of 
inventions  that  may  in  some  degree  subdue  and  overcome  the  necessities  and 
miseries  of  humanity." 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIXD.  33 

in  our  thoughts  :  that  the  development  of  mind,  both  in  the 
individual  and  through  generations,  is  a  gradual  process  of  orga- 
nization— a  process  in  which  Nature  is  undergoing  her  latest 
and  most  consummate  development.  In  reality  we  do  not  fail 
virtually  to  recognise  this  in  the  case  of  language,  whose  organic 
growth,  as  we  scientifically  trace  it,  is  the  result  of  the  unseen 
organization  of  thought  that  lies  beneath,  and  alone  gives  it 
meaning.  His  own  consciousness,  faithfully  interpreted,  might 
suffice  to  reveal  to  each  one  the  gradual  maturing,  or  becoming, 
through  which  a  process  of  thought  continually  goes  in  his 
mind.  So  has  it  been  with  mankind :  at  first  there  was  an 
instinctive  or  pure  organic  development,  the  human  race  strug- 
gling on,  as  the  child  does,  without  being  conscious  of  its  ego ; 
then,  as  it  reached  a  certain  stage  of  development,  it  became,  as 
the  youth  does,  exceedingly  self-conscious,  and  an  extravagant 
and  unhealthy  metaphysical  subjectivity  was  the  expression  of 
an  undue  self-feeling ;  and  finally,  as  the  happily  developing 
individual  passes  from  an  undue  subjectivity  to  a  calm  objective 
manner  of  viewing  things,  so  Bacon  may  be  said  to  mark  the 
epoch  of  a  corresponding  happy  change  in  the  development  of 
mankind.  Let  us  entirely  get  rid,  however,  of  the  notion  that 
the  objective  study  of  nature  means  merely  the  sensory  per- 
ception of  it ;  we  see,  not  with  the  eye,  but  through  it ;  and  to 
any  one  who  is  above  the  level  of  the  animal  the  sun  is  not  a 
bright  disc  of  fire  about  the  size  of  a  cheese,  but  an  immense  orb 
moving  through  space  with  its  attendant  planetary  system  at 
the  rate  of  some  400,000  miles  a  day*  Now,  such  is  the 
wondrous  harmony,  connexion,  and  continuity  pervading  that 
mysterious  whole  which  we  call  Nature,  that  it  is  impossible  to 
get  a  just  and  clear  idea  of  one  pure  circle  of  her  works  without 
that  idea  becoming  most  useful  in  flashing  a  light  into  obscure 
and  unknown  regions,  and  in  thus  aiding  the  conscious  estab- 
lishment of  a  further  harmony  of  adaptation  between  man  and 
n  at  ure.  f     The  brilliant  insight  or  intuition  of  the  man  of  genius, 

»  "  We  are  deluded  and  led  by  the  fallacies  of  the  senses,  for  instance,  to  believe 
that  it  is  the  eye  that  sees,  and  the  ear  that  hears  ;  although  the  eye  and  the  ear 
are  only  the  organs  or  instruments  through  which  the  soul  perceives  the  modes 
of  the  ultimate  world." — Swedenborg,  Animal  Kingdom,  ii.  336. 

t  "  Denn  wo  Natur  im  reinen  Kreise  waltet  ergreifen  alle  "Welten  sich." — 
Goethe,  Faust. 


34  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

who  so  often  anticipates  the  slow  result  of  systematic  investi- 
gation, witnesses  with  singular  force  to  that  truth.  Far  wiser 
than  many  of  his  commentators  have  been,  Bacon  accordingly 
failed  not  to  appreciate  clearly  the  exceeding  value  of  idea  in 
the  interpretation  of  nature.  -— 

But  if  the  due  co-operation  of  the  mind  is  necessary,  if  the 
harmony  of  subjective  and  objective  was  Bacon's  real  method,  in 
the  prosecution  of  physical  science,  how  much  more  useful  must 
the  just  union  of  the  empirical  and  rational  faculties  be  in  the 
study  of  mental  science  ;  the  task  then  being  to  apply  the  ideas 
of  the  mind  to  the  interpretation  of  the  mind's  processes  of 
activity.  It  must  assuredly  be  allowed  that  the  light  of  one's 
own  train  of  thought  is  often  most  serviceable  in  interpreting  the 
mind  of  another  ;  so  much  so.  indeed,  that  one  may  know  what 
is  passing  therein  with  not  less  certainty,  sometimes  even  with 
greater  certainty,  than  when  it  is  actually  uttered.  In  order  to 
be  successful  in  this  sort  of  intuition,  however,  not  only  good 
natural  insight,  but  a  large  experience  of  life  and  men,  is  most 
necessary,  else  the  most  grievous  mistakes  may  be  made  ;  here, 
as  elsewhere,  power  is  acquired  by  intending  the  mind  to  external 
realities,  by  submitting  the  understanding  to  things.  Plainly, 
too,  this  objective  application  of  our  ideas  to  the  interpretation 
of  another  mind  is  a  very  different  matter  from  the  deliberate 
direction  of  consciousness  to  its  own  states, — that  introspective 
analysis  of  the  processes  of  thought  whereby,  as  before  said,  the 
natural  train  of  ideas  being  interrupted  and  the  tension  of  a 
particular  activity  maintained,  an  artificial  state  of  mind  is  pro- 
duced, and  a  tortured  self-consciousness,  like  an  individual  put 
to  the  torture,  makes  confessions  that  are  utterly  unreliable.  The 
genuine  utterances  of  his  inner  life,  or  the  sincere  and  direct 
revelations  of  the  man  of  great  natural  ability  and  good  training, 
are  the  highest  truths — what  Plato  has  written  is  of  eternal 
interest ;  but  the  contradictory  anatomical  revelations  of  internal 
analysis  by  the  professed  psychologists  are  the  vainest  word 
jugglings  with  which  a  tenacious  perseverance  has  vexed  a  long- 
suffering  world.  They  should  justly  be  opposed,  as  by  Bacon  ; 
or  shunned,  as  by  Shakespeare ;  or  abhorred,  as  by  Goethe : — 
"  Ich  habe  nie  an  Denken  gedacht."  As  in  the  child  there  is 
no  consciousness  of  the  ego,  so  in  the  highest  development  of 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  35 

humanity,  as  represented  by  these  our  greatest,  there  seems  to 
have  been  reached  a  similar  unconsciousness  of  the  ego  ;  and  the 
individual,  in  intimate  and  congenial  sympathy  with  nature, 
carries  forward  its  organic  evolution  with  a  child-like  uncon- 
sciousness and  a  child-like  success. 

Before  concluding  this  chapter  it  may  be  well  distinctly  to 
affirm  a  truth  which  is  an  unwelcome  one,  because  it  flatters  not 
the  self-love  of  mankind ;  and  it  is  this,  that  there  is  all  the 
difference  in  the  world  between  the  gifted  man  of  genius,  who 
can  often  anticipate  the  slow  results  of  systematic  investigation, 
and  who  strikes  out  new  paths,  and  the  common  herd  of  mortals, 
who  must  plod  on  with  patient  humility  in  the  old  tracks,  "  with 
manifold  motions  making  little  speed:"  it  is  the  difference 
between  the  butterfly  which  flies  and  feeds  on  honey  and  the 
caterpillar  which  crawls  and  gorges  on  leaves.  Men,  ever  eager 
to  "  pare  the  mountain  to  the  plain,"  will  not  willingly  confess 
this ;  nevertheless  it  is  most  true.  Eules  and  systems  are 
necessary  for  the  ordinarily  endowed  mortals,  whose  business  it 
is  to  gather  together  and  arrange  the  materials  ;  the  genius,  who 
is  the  architect,  has,  like  nature,  an  unconscious  system  of  his 
own.  It  is  the  fate  of  its  nature,  and  no  demerit,  that  the  cater- 
pillar must  crawl :  it  is  the  fate  of  its  nature,  and  no  merit,  that 
the  butterfly  must  fly.  The  question,  so  much  disputed,  of  the 
relative  extent  of  applicability  of  the  so-called  inductive  and 
deductive  methods,  often  resolves  itself  into  a  question  as  to 
what  manner  of  man  it  is  who  is  to  use  them — whether  one  who 
has  senses  only,  who  has  eyes  and  sees  not,  or  one  who  has  senses 
and  a  soul ;  whether  one  who  can  only  collect  so-called  facts  of 
observation,  or  one  who  can  bind  together  the  thousand  scattered 
facts  by  the  organizing  idea,  and  thus  guarantee  them  to  be  facts. 
What  an  offence  to  the  chartered  imbecility  of  industrious  medio- 
crity that  Plato,  Shakespeare,  Goethe,  Humboldt,  Bacon  too,  and, 
in  truth,  every  man  who  had  anything  of  inspiration  in  him, 
were  not  mere  sense-machines  for  registering  observations,  but 
rather  instruments  on  which  the  melody  of  nature,  like  sphere 
music,  was  made  for  the  benefit  and  delectation  of  such  as  have 
ears  to  hear !  That  some  so  virulently  declaim  against  theory  is 
as  though  the  eunuch  should  declaim  against  lechery :  it  is  the 
chastity  of  impotence. 

d  2 

36  ON  TUB  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

So  rarely,  however,  does  nature  produce  one  of  these    men 
gifted  with  that  high  and  subtile  quality  called  genius— being 
scarce,  indeed,  equal  to  the  production  of  one  in  a  century— and 
so  self-sufficing  are  they  when  they  do  appear,  that  we,  gratefully 
accepting  them  as  visits  of  angels,  or  much  as  Plato  accepted 
his  super-celestial  ideas,  need  not  vainly  concern  ourselves  about 
their  manner  of  working.     It  is  not  by  such  anxious  troubling 
that  one  will  come  ;  it  is  not  by  introspective  prying  into  and 
torture  of  its  own  self-consciousness  that  mankind  evolves  the 
genius ;  the  mature  result  of  its  unconscious  development  flows 
at  due  time  into  consciousness  with  a  grateful  surprise,  and  from 
time  to  time  the  slumbering  centuries  are  thus  awakened.     It  is 
by  the  patient  and  diligent  work  at  systematic  adaptation  to  the 
external  by  the  rank  and  file  o'  mankind ;  it  is  by  the  conscien- 
tious labour  of  each  one,  after  the  inductive  method,  in  that  little 
sphere  of  nature,  whether  psychical  or  physical,  which  in  the 
necessary  division  of  labour  has  fallen  to  his  lot — that  a  con- 
dition of  evolution  is  reached  at  which  the  genius  bursts  forth. 
Tiresome,  then,  as  the  minute  man  of  observation  may  sometimes 
seem  as  he  exults  over  his  scattered  facts  as  if  they  were  final, 
and  magnifies  his  molecules  into  mountains   as  if  they  were 
eternal,  it  is  well  that  he  should  thus  enthusiastically  esteem  his 
work ;  and  no  one  but  will  give  a  patient  attention  as  he  reflects 
how  indispensable  the  humblest  unit  is  in  the  social  organism, 
and  how  excellent  a  spur  vanity  is  to  industry.    Not  unamusing, 
though  somewhat  saddening,  is  it,  however,  to  witness  the  painful 
surprise  of  the  man  of  observation,  his  jealous  indignation  and 
clamorous  outcry,  when  the  result  at  which  he  and  his  fellow- 
labourers  have   been  so  patiently,  though   blindly,  working— 
when  the  genius-product  of  the  century  which  he  has  helped  to 
create,  starts  into  life — when  the  metamorphosis  is  completed : 
amusing,  because  the  patient  worker  is  supremely  astonished  at 
a  result  which,  though  preparing,  he  nowise  foresaw  ;  saddening, 
because  individually  he  is  annihilated,  and  all  the  toil  in  which 
he  spent  his  strength  is  swallowed  up  in  the  product  which, 
gathering  up  the  different  lines  of  investigation  and  thought,  and 
giving  to  them  a  unity  of  development,  now  by  epigenesis  ensues. 
We  perceive,  then,  how  it  is  that  a  great  genius  cannot  come  save 
at  long  intervals,  as  the  tree  cannot  blossom  but  at  its  due  season. 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  37 

But  why  should  any  one,  great  or  little,  fret  and  fume  because 
he  is  likely  soon  to  be  forgotten  ?  The  genius  himself,  as  indi- 
vidual, is  after  all  of  but  little  account ;  it  is  only  as  the  birth  of 
the  travailing  centuries  that  he  exists,  only  so  far  as  he  is  a  true 
birth  of  them  and  adequately  representative  that  he  is  of  value : 
the  more  individual  he  is  the  more  transitory  will  be  his  fame. 
When  he  is  immortal,  he  has  become  a  mere  name  marking  an 
epoch,  and  no  longer  an  individual.  Whosoever,  in  a  foolish 
conceit  of  originality,  strains  after  novelty  and  neglects  the 
scattered  and  perhaps  obscure  labours  of  others  who  have  pre- 
ceded him,  or  who  are  contemporaneous  with  him ;  whosoever, 
over-careful  of  his  individual  fame,  cannot  carry  forward  his 
own  evolution  with  a  serene  indifference  to  neglect  or  censure, 
but  makes  puerile  demands  on  the  approbation  of  the  world — 
may  rest  content  that  he  is  not  a  complete  birth  of  the  age,  but 
more  or  less  an  abortive  monstrosity :  the  more  extreme  he  is  as 
a  monstrosity  the  more  original  must  he  needs  be.* 

Viewing  mental  development,  whether  in  the  individual  or  in 
the  race,  as  a  process  of  organization,  as  the  consummate  display 
of  nature's  organic  evolution,  and  recognising,  as  we  must  do, 
the  most  favourable  conditions  of  such  evolution  to  be  the  most 
intimate  harmony  between  man  and  nature,  we  may  rightly 
conclude,  so  far  as  concerns  the  rule  of  a  conscious  method  of 
inquiry,  with  the  ancient  and  well-grounded  maxim — "  Learn  to 
know  thyself  in  nature,  that  so  thou  mayest  know  nature  in 


1  (p.  4). — "  Insomuch  that  many  times  not  only  what  was  asserted 
once  is  asserted  still,  but  what  was  a  question  once  is  a  question  still, 
and  instead  of  being  resolved  by  discussion,  is  only  fixed  and  fed." — 
Bacon,  Proleg.  Inst.  Magn. 

2  (p.  10). — The  received  psychology  M.  Comte  calls  an  "illusory 
psychology,  which  is  the  last  phase  of  theology,"  and  says  that  it 

*  "  What  is  all  history  but  the  work  of  ideas,"  says  Emerson,  "a  record  of  the 
indisputable  energy  which  his  infinite  aspirations  infuse  into  man  ?  Has  any 
grand  and  lasting  thing  been  done  ?  Who  did  it  ?  Plainly  not  one  man,  but  all 
men  :  it  was  the  prevalence  of,  and  inundation  of  an  idea." 

38  ON  THE  METHOD  OF  [chap. 

"  pretends  to  accomplish  the  discovery  of  the  laws  of  the  human  mind 
by  contemplating  it  in  itself ;  that  is,  by  separating  it  from  causes  and 
effects."  (Miss  Martineau's  Translation,  p.  11.)  Again,  he  says  :  "  In 
order  to  observe,  your  intellect  must  pause  from  activity;  yet  it  is  this 
very  activity  that  you  want  to  observe.  K  ^pu  cannot  effect  the  pause, 
you  cannot  observe ;  if  you  do  effect  it,  there  is  nothing  to  observe. 
The  results  of  such  a  method  are  in  proportion  to  its  absurdity." 
(Ibid.  p.  11.) 

3  fa  12). — "  But  the  truth  is,  that  they  are  not  the  highest  in- 
stances which  give  the  best  or  securest  information,  as  is  expressed, 
not  inelegantly,  in  the  common  story  of  the  philosopher,  who,  while 
he  gazed  upon  the  stars,  fell  into  the  water ;  for  if  he  had  looked 
down,  he  might  have  seen  the  stars  in  the  water,  but,  looking  aloft,  he 
could  not  see  the  water  in  the  stars." — De  Augment.  Scient.  B.  ii. 

4  (p.  14). — Individual  Psyclwl^ay  Bacon  set  down  as  wanting ;  he 
enfojcos  its  study,  "so  that  we  may  have  a  scientific  and  accurate  dis- 
section of  mind  and  characters,  and  the  secret  dispositions  of  particular 
men  may  be  revealed,  and  that  from  the  knowledge  thereof  better 
rules  may  be  framed  for  the  treatment  of  the  mind." — De  Augment. 
Scient.  B.  vii. 

6  (p.  23). — "  It  is  to  be  regretted  that  he  (Dugald  Stewart)  had  not 
studied  (he  even  treats  it  as  inconceivable)  the  Leibnitzian  doctrine  of 
what  has  not  been  well  denominated  obscure  perceptions  or  ideas — that 
is,  acts  and  affections  of  mind,  which,  manifesting  their  existence  in 
their  effects,  are  themselves  out  of  consciousness  or  apperception.  The 
fact  of  such  latent  modifications  is  now  established  beyond  all  rational 
doubt ;  and  on  the  supposition  of  their  reality,  we  are  able  to  solve 
various  psychological  phenomena  otherwise  inexplicable.  Among 
these  are  many  of  those  attributed  to  habit."  (Sir  W.  Hamilton,  in 
his  edition  of  Reid,  p.  551.) 

"Ich  sehe  nicht,"  says  Leibnitz,  "dass  die  Cartesianer  jemals 
.  beweisen  haben  oder  beweisen  konnen,  dass  jede  Vorstellung  von 
Bewusstsein  begleitet  ist."  And  again  : — "  Darin  namlich  haben  die 
Cartesianer  sehr  gefehlt,  dass  sie  die  Vorstellungen,  deren  man  sich 
nicht  bewusst  ist,  fur  nichts  rechneten.  Das  war  auch  der  Grund, 
warn  in  sie  glaubten,  dass  nur  die  Geiste  Monaden  waren,  und  dass 
es  keine  Seelen  der  Thiere  oder  andere  Entelechien  gebe." — Leibnitz 
ah  Denier.  Ausivahl  seiner  Meinern  Aufsatze.  By  G.  Schellin<*. 
Pp.  108  and  115. 

Fichte,  in  his  Bestimmung  des  Mensclien — "  In  jedem  Momente  ihrer 
Dauer  ist  die  Natur  ein  zusaninienhangendes  Ganze;  in  jedem  Momente 

i.]  THE  STUDY  OF  MIND.  39 

muss  jeder  einzelne  Theil  derselbe  so  sein  wie  er  ist,  weil  alle  iibrigen 
sind  wie  sie  sind ;  und  du  konntest  kein  Sandkbrnchen  von  seiner 
Stelle  verriicken,  ohne  dadurch  vielleicht  alle  Tlieile  des  uuermesslichen 
Ganzen  hindurch  etvvas  zu  verandern.  Aber  jeder  Moment  dieser 
Dauer  ist  bestimmt  durch  alle  abgelaufenen  Momente,  und  wird 
bestimmen  alle  kiinftigen  Momente,  und  du  kannst  in  clem  gegen- 
wartigen  keines  Sandkbrne  Lage  anders  denken  als  sie  ist,  ohne  dass 
du  genbthigt  wiirdest  die  ganze  Vergangenheit  ins  Unbestimmte 
hinauf,  und  die  ganze  Zukunft  ins  Unbestimmte  herab  dir  anders  zu 
denken." — Sammtliche  Werke,  ii.  178. 

It  is  only  right  to  add,  that  the  fullest  exposition  of  unconscious 
mental  action  is  to  be  found  in  Beneke's  works.  A  summary  of  his 
views  is  contained  in  his  Lehrbuch  tier  Psyclwlogie  als  Naturwissenschaft. 

6  (p.  37). — Since  this  chapter  was  written,  and,  indeed,  separately 
published,  Mr.  J.  S.  Mill  has  made  a  powerful  defence  of  the  so-called 
Psychological  Method.  In  his  criticism  of  Comte  in  the  Westminster 
Review  for  April  1865,  and  in  his  "  Examination  of  Sir  W.  Hamilton's 
Philosophy,"  he  has  said  all  that  can  be  said  in  favour  of  the  Psycho- 
logical Method,  and  has  done  what  could  be  done  to  disparage  the 
Physiological  Method.  This  he  had  already  done  many  years  ago  in 
the  second  volume  of  his  "  System  of  Logic,"  and  he  is  now  only 
consistent  in  returning  to  the  charge.  ^Nevertheless,  the  admirers  of 
Mr.  Mill  may  well  experience  regret  to  see  him  serving  with  so 
much  zeal  on  what  is  a  so  desperately  forlorn  hope.  Physiology  seems 
never  to  have  been  a  favourite  study  with  Mr.  Mill — in  none  of  his 
writings  does  he  exhibit  any  indications  of  being  really  acquainted 
with  it ;  for  it  is  hardly  possible  to  conceive  that  any  one  having  a 
knowledge  of  the  present  state  of  this  science,  would  disparage  it  as 
he  has  done,  and  exalt  so  highly  the  psychological  method  of  investi- 
gating mental  phenomena.  The  wonder  is,  however,  that  he  who  has 
done  so  much  to  expound  the  system  of  Comte,  and  to  strengthen 
and  complete  it,  should  on  this  question  take  leave  of  it  entirely,  and 
follow  and  laud  a  method  of  research  which  is  so  directly  opposed  to 
the  method  of  positive  science.  Of  course,  I  speak  now  strictly  of  the 
method,  not  of  Comte's  application  of  it  in  his  unfounded  phreno- 
logical speculations,  which  are  scarcely  less  wild  and  absurd  than  his 
religious  delirium  appears  to  be.  However,  though  one  may  suspect 
Mr.  Mill  to  be  unfortunate  in  his  ignorance,  or  entirely  mistaken  in 
his  estimate,  of  the  physiological  method,  one  cannot  fail  to  profit  by 
the  study  of  his  arguments  on  behalf  of  the  psychological  method, 
and  by  his  exposition  of  its  merits.     By  parading  the  whole  force 


of  the  reasons  in  favour  of  it,  he  has  exhibited,  not  so  much  its 
strength  as  its  weakness,  and  has  undesignedly  given  important 
assistance  to  the  physiological  method.  For  the  reasons  why  he  has 
not  been  convincing,  and  why  this  chapter  has  been  left  unmodified, 
I  may  refer  to  the  arguments  set  forth  i;  ^a  review  of  his  "  Examina- 
tion of  Sir  W.  Hamilton's  Philosophy "  in  the  Journal  of  Mental 
Science  for  January  1866.  "Mr.  Mill,"  it  is  there  said,  "has  a  high 
opinion  of  the  psychological  method  of  inquiry  into  mental  phenomena, 
and  thinks  Comte  to  have  committed  a  great  error  in  discarding  it. 
"Whether  that  be  true  or  not  is  not  the  question  now ;  we  may  admit 
it  to  be  true,  and  still  ask  whether  it  is  a  sufficient  reason  for  ignoring 
those  important  results  of  the  physiological  method  of  research  which 
bear  vitally  on  psychology ;  whether,  in  fact,  because  a  certain  method 
has  some  worth,  it  can  therefore  afford  to  dispense  entirely  with  the 
aid  furnished  by  other  methods." 

And  again  :—  "  The  present  complaint  against  Mr.  Mill  is  that  he 
takes  no  notice  of  the  effects  of  recent  scientific  conceptions  on  the 
questions  referred  to  philosophy ;  that  he  goes  on  exactly  as  he  might 
have  gone  on  if  he  had  lived  in  the  days  of  Aristotle ;  that  at  a  time 
when  a  new  method,  highly  fertile  in  fact  and  of  more  fruitful  promise, 
was  available,  he  persists  in  trying  to  do,  by  the  old  method,  what 
Plato,  Descartes,  Locke,  Berkeley,  and  a  host  of  others  have  not  done. 
Now,  we  have  not  the  slightest  faith  that  ten  thousand  Mills  will, 
following  the  same  method,  do  what  these  great  men  have  not  done  ; 
but  there  can  be  no  question  that,  had  Mr.  Mill  chosen  to  avail 
himself  of  the  new  material  and  the  new  method,  which  his  great 
predecessors  had  not  in  their  day,  he  would  have  done  what  no  other 
living  man  could  have  done." 


"  That  which  perceives  is  a  part  of  nature  as  truly  as  the  objects  of  perception 
which  act  on  it,  and,  as  a  part  of  nature,  is  itself  an  object  of  investigation  purely 
-physical.  It  is  known  to  us  only  in  the  successive  changes  which  constitute  the 
variety  of  our  feelings  :  but  the  regular  sequence  of  these  changes  admits  of  being 
traced,  like  the  regularity  which  we  are  capable  of  discovering  in  the  successive 
changes  of  our  bodily  frame.  There  is  a  Physiology  of  the  Mind,  then,  as  there 
is  a  Physiology  of  the  Body — a  science  which  examines  the  phenomena  of  our 
spiritual  part  simply  as  phenomena,  and  from  the  order  of  their  succession,  or 
other  circumstances  of  analogy,  arranges  them  in  classes,  under  certain  general 
names ;  as,  in  the  physiology  of  our  corporeal  part,  we  consider  the  phenomena 
of  a  different  kind  which  the  body  exhibits,  and  reduce  all  the  diversities  of 
these  under  the  names  of  a  few  general  functions." — Sketch  of  a  System  of 
Philosophy  of  the  Human  Mind,  by  T.  Brown,  M.  1). 

THE  crude  proposition  of  Cabanis,*  that  the  brain  secretes 
thought  as  the  liver  secretes  bile,  has  been  a  subject  of  much 
ridicule  to  those  who  have  not  received  it  with  outcries  of  dis- 
approbation and  disgust.  Assuredly  it  is  not  an  exact  expression 
of  the  facts ;  one  may  rightly  admit  the  brain  to  be  the  principal 
organ  of  the  mind,  without  accepting  the  fallacious  comparison 
of  mental  action  with  biliary  secretion.  Here  as  elsewhere,  con- 
fusion is  bred  by  the  common  use  of  the  word  "  secretion"  to 
express,  not  only  the  functional  process  but  the  secreted  product, 
both  the  insensible  vital  changes  and  the  tangible  results  of 
them.  It  is  of  great  importance  to  try  to  fix,  with  as  much 
precision  as  possible,  what  we  mean  by  mind. 

In  the  first  place,  mind,  viewed  in  its  scientific  sense  as  a 

-natural  force,  cannot  be  observed  and  handled  and  dealt  with 

as  a  palpable  object ;  like  electricity,  or  gravity,  or  any  other 

*  "  Nous  concluons  avec  la  meme  certitude  que  le  cerveau  digere  en  quelque 
sort  les  impressions;  qu'il  fait  organiquement  la  secretion  dela  pensee." — Rapport 
da  Physique  et  du  Moral  de  V Homme,  par  P.  J.  G.  Cabanis. 

42  THE  MIND  [chap. 

of  the  natural  forces,  it  is  appreciable  only  in  the  changes  of 
matter  which  are  the  conditions  of  its  manifestation.  Few,  if 
any,  will  now  be  found  to  deny  that  with  each  display  of  mental 
power  there  are  correlative  changes  in  the  material  substratum ; 
that  every  phenomenon  of  mind  is  the  result,  as  manifest  energy, 
of  some  change,  molecular,  chemical,  or  vital,  in  the  nervous 
elements  of  the  brain.  Chemical  analysis  of  the  so-called  extrac- 
tives of  nerve  testifies  to  definite  change  or  "waste"  through 
functional  activity ;  for  there  are  found,  as  products  of  a  retro- 
grade metamorphosis,  lactic  acid,  kreatin,  uric  acid,  probably  also 
hypoxanthin,  and,  representing  the  fatty  acids,  formic  and  acetic 
acids.  These  products  are  very  like  those  which  are  found  in 
muscle  after  its  functional  activity :  in  the  performance  of  an 
idea,  as  in  the  performance  of  t  movement,  there  is  a  retrograde 
metamorphosis  of  organic  element ;  the  display  of  energy  is  at 
the  cost  of  the  highly-organized  matter,  which  undergoes  degene- 
ration or  passes  from  a  higher  to  a  lower  grade  of  being;  and 
the  retrograde  products  are,  so  far  as  is  at  present  known,  very 
similar  in  muscle  and  nerve.  "While  the  contents  of  nerves, 
again,  are  neutral  during  rest  in  the  living  state,  they  become 
acid  after  death,  and  after  great  activity  during  life  :  the  same  is 
the  case  also  with  regard  to  muscle.  Furthermore,  after  pro- 
longed mental  exercise,  the  products  of  the  metamorphosis  of 
nerve  element,  into  the  composition  of  which  phosphorus  enters 
largely,  are  Tecognised  in  an  increase  of  phosphates  in  the  urine; 
while  it  is  only  by  supposing  an  idea  to  be  accompanied  by  a 
correlative  change  in  the  nerve-cells  that  we  can  explain  the  ex- 
haustion following  excessive  mental  work  and  the  breaking  down 
of  the  brain  in  extreme  cases.  These  things  being  so,  what  is  it 
which  in  a  physiological  sense  we  designate  mind?  Xot  the 
material  products  of  cerebral  activity,  but  the  marvellous  energy 
which  cannot  be  grasped  and  handled.  Here,  then,  is  made 
manifest  a  fallacy  of  the  axiom  propounded  by  Cabanis :  it  is 
plain  that  the  tangible  results  of  the  brain's  activity,  the  waste 
matters  which  pass  into  the  blood  for  assimilation  by  tissues  of 
a  lower  kind,  and  for  ultimate  excretion  from  the  body,  might 
not  less  rightly  be  called  the  secretion  of  the  brain,  and  be  com- 
pared to  the  bile,  than  the  intangible  energy  revealed  in  the 
mental  phenomena. 


Secondly,  it  is  most  needful,  in  order  to  avoid  confusion,  to 
apprehend  the  exact  signification  of  what  is  understood  by  mind, 
according  to  the  common  and  vague  use  of  the  word.  It  is 
really  a  general  term  acquired  by  observation  of  and  abstraction 
from  the  manifold  variety  of  mental  phenomena :  by  such  obser- 
vation of  the  particular  phenomena  and  appropriate  abstraction 
from  them  we  get,  as  an  ultimate  generalization,  the  general 
conception,  or  the,  so  to  speak,  essential  idea,  of  mind.  An 
illustration  will  help  to  exhibit  what  we  mean.  The  steam- 
engine  is  a  complicated  mechanism,  of  the  construction  and 
mode  of  action  of  which  many  people  know  very  little,  but  it 
has  a  very  definite  function  of  which  those  who  know  nothing 
of  its  construction  can  still  form  a  sufficiently  distinct  con- 
ception ;  the  co-ordinate,  integral  action  of  the  steam-engine,  as 
we  conceive  it,  is  different  from  the  nicely-adjusted  mechanism 
or  from  the  action  of  any  part  of  it.  But  the  function  of  the 
engine  is  dependent  on  the  mechanism  and  on  the  co-ordinate 
action  of  its  parts,  cannot  be  dissociated  from  these,  and  has  no 
real  existence  apart  from  them,  though  it  may  exist  separately 
as  a  conception  in  our  minds.  By  observation  of  the  mechanism 
and  appropriate  abstraction  we  get  the  essential  idea  of  the 
steam-engine, — a  fundamental  idea  of  it,  which,  as  our  ultimate 
generalization,  expresses  its  veiy  nature  as  such,  containing, 
as  Coleridge  would  have  said,  "  the  inmost  principles  of  its 
possibility  as  a  steam-engine."  So  likewise  with  regard  to  the 
manifold  phenomena  of  mind ;  by  observation  of  them  and 
abstraction  from  the  particular  we  get  the  general  conception  or 
the  essential  idea  of  mind,  an  idea  which  has  no  more  existence 
out  of  the  mind  than  any  other  abstract  idea  or  general  term. 
In  virtue,  however,  of  that  powerful  tendency  in  the  human 
mind  to  make  the  reality  conformable  to  the  idea,  a  tendency 
which  has  been  at  the  bottom  of  so  much  confusion  in  philo- 
sophy, this  general  conception  has  been  converted  into  an  objec- 
tive entity,  and  allowed  to  tyrannize  over  the  understanding. 
A  metaphysical  abstraction  has  been  made  into  a  spiritual 
entity,  and  a  complete  barrier  thereby  interposed  in  the  way 
of  positive  investigation.  Whatever  be  the  real  nature  of 
mind — and  of  that  there  is  no  need  to  speak  here — it  is  most 
certainly  dependent  for  its  every  manifestation  on  the  brain 

44  THE  MIND  [chap. 

and  nervous  system ;  and  now  that  scientific  research  is  daily 
disclosing  more  clearly  the  relations  between  it  and  its  organ,  it 
is  plainly  most  desirable  to  guard  against  the  common  meta- 
physical conception  of  mind,  by  recognising  the  true  subjective 
character  of  the  conception  and  the  Mode  of  its  origin  and 

A  third  important  consideration  is,  that  mental  power  is 
truly  an  organized  result,  not,  strictly  speaking,  built  up,  but 
matured  by  insensible  degrees  in  the  course  of  life.  The  brain 
is  not,  like  the  liver,  the  heart  and  other  internal  organs,  capa- 
ble from  the  time  of  birth  of  all  the  functions  which  it  ever 
discharges  ;  for  while,  in  common  with  them,  it  has  a  certain 
organic  function  to  which  it  is  born  equal,  its  high  special 
character  in  man  as  the  orgai  of  conscious  life,  the  supreme 
instrument  of  his  relations  with  the  rest  of  nature,  is  developed 
only  by  a  long  and  patient  education.  Though  the  brain,  then, 
is  formed  during  embryonic  life,  its  highest  development  only 
takes  place  after  birth ;  and,  as  will  hereafter  appear,  the  same 
gradual  progress  from  the  general  to  the  special,  which  is 
exhibited  in  the  development  of  the  organ,  is  witnessed  in  the 
development  of  our  intelligence.  How  inexact  and  misleading 
in  this  regard,  therefore,  is  any  comparison  between  it  and 
the  liver! 

Nevertheless,  it  must  be  distinctly  laid  down,  that  mental 
action  is  as  surely  dependent  on  the  nervous  structure  as  the 
function  of  the  liver  confessedly  is  on  the  hepatic  structure : 
that  is  the  fundamental  principle  upon  which  the  fabric  of  a 
mental  science  must  rest.  The  countless  thousands  of  nerve- 
cells  which  form  so  great  a  part  of  the  delicate  structure  of  the 
brain,  are  undoubtedly  the  centres  of  its  functional  activity: 
we  know  right  well  from  experiment,  that  the  ganglionic  nerve- 
cells  scattered  through  the  tissues  of  organs,  as  for  example 
through  the  walls  of  the  intestines  or  the  structure  of  the  heart, 
are  centres  of  nerve  force  ministering  to  their  organic  action ;  and 
we  may  confidently  infer  that  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  brain, 
which  are  not  similarly  amenable  to  observation  and  experi- 
ment, have  a  like  function.  Certainly  they  are  not  inexhaustible 
centres  of  self-generating  force  ;  they  give  out  no  more  than 
what  they  have  in  one  way  or  another  taken  in  ;.  they  receive 


material  from  the  blood,  which 'they  assimilate,  or  make  of  the 
same  kind  with  themselves  ;  a  correlative  metamorphosis  of 
force  necessarily  accompanying  this  upward  transformation  of 
matter,  and  the  nerve-cell  thus  becoming,  so  long  as  its  equili- 
brium is  preserved,  a  centre  of  statical  power  of  the  highest 
vital  quality.  The  maintenance  of  the  equilibrium  of  nerve 
element  is  the  condition  of  latent  thought — it  is  mind  statical ; 
the  manifestation  of  thought  involves  the  change  or  destruction 
of  nerve  element.  The  nerve-cell  of  the  brain,  it  might  in 
fact  be  said,  represents  statical  thought,  while  thought  repre- 
sents dynamical  nerve-cell,  or,  more  properly,  the  energy  of 

So  far  from  discussing  whether  mind  is  the  function  of  the 
brain,  the  business  which  science  now  has  immediately  be- 
fore it  is  the  more  special  investigation  of  the  conditions  of 
activity  of  the  ganglionic  nerve-cell  or  groups  of  nerve-cells. 
If  we  look  to  those  humbler  animals  in  which  nervous  tissue 
makes  its  first  appearance,  it  is  plain  that  the  simple  mode  of 
its  existence  in  them  allows  of  no  other  manner  of  proceeding  ; 
if  we  trace  upwards  the  gradual  increasing  complication  of  the 
nervous  system  through  the  animal  kingdom,  it  is  evident  that 
such  manner  of  proceeding  is  the  only  one  to  furnish  the 
materials  of  a  comprehensive  and  sound  induction ;  and  if  we 
duly  weigh  the  results  of  physiological  experiment  and  patho- 
logical research,  it  is  no  less  certain  that  we  must  discard 
scientific  investigation  altogether,  in  cerebral  physiology,  if  we 
reject  the  ganglionic  nerve-cell  of  the  brain  as  a  centre  of 
mental  force. 

In  the  lowest  forms  of  animal  life  nerve  does  not  exist :  the 
Protozoa  and  many  of  the  Zoophytes  are  destitute  of  any  trace 
of  nervous  system.  The  most  simple  beings  consist  of  a  uniform, 
homogeneous  substance,  by  means  of  which  all  their  functions 
are  executed.  They  are  nourished  without  digestive  organs ; 
breathe  without  respiratory  organs ;  feel  and  move  without 
organs  of  sense,  without  muscles,  without  nervous  system. 
The  stimulus  which  the  little  creature  receives  from  without 
produces  some  change  in  the  molecular  relations  of  its  almost 
homogeneous  substance,  and  these  insensible  movements  would 
seem  to  amount  collectively  to  the  sensible  movement  which  it 

46  THE  MIXD  [chap. 

makes;  the  molecular  process  in  such  case  being  not  unlike 
that  which  takes  place  and  issues  in  the  coagulation  of 
the  blood,  when  the  fibrine  is  brought  in  contact,  as  some 
think,  with  a  foreign  substance.*  The  perception  of  the 
stimulus  by  the  creature  is  the  molecular  change  which  ensues, 
the  imperceptible  motion  passing,  by  reason  of  the  homo- 
geneity of  its  substance,  with  the  greatest  ease  from  element 
to  element  of  the  same  hind,  as  it  were  by  an  infection,  or 
as  happens  in  the  sensitive  plant ;  and  the  sum  of  the  mole- 
cular motions,  as  necessarily  determined  in  direction  by  the 
form  of  the  animal,  or  by  some  not  yet  recognised  cause,  results 
in  the  visible  movement.  The  recent  researches  of  Graham  into 
the  colloidal  condition  of  matter  have  proved  the  necessity  of 
considerable  modification  in  our  usual  conception  of  solid  matter  : 
instead  of  the  notion  of  impenetrable,  inert  matter,  we  must 
substitute  the  idea  of  matter  which,  in  its  colloidal  state,  is 
penetrable,  exhibits  energy,  and  is  widely  susceptible  to  external 
agents,  "its  existence  being  a  continued  metastasis."t  This  sort 
of  energy  is  not  a  result  of  chemical  action,  for  colloids  are 
singularly  inert  in  all  ordinary  chemical  relations,  but  a  result 
of  its  unknown  intimate  molecular  constitution ;  and  the  un- 
doubted existence  of  colloidal  energy  in  organic  substances 
which  are  usually  considered  inert  and  called  dead,  may  well 
warrant  the  belief  of  its  larger  and  more  essential  operation  in 
organic  matter,  in  the  state  of  instability  of  composition  in  which 
it  is  when  under  the  condition  of  life.  Such  energy  would 
then  suffice  to  account  for  the  simple  uniform  movements  of  the 
homogeneous  substance  of  which  the  lowest  animal  consists ; 
and  the  absence  of  any  differentiation  of  structure  is  a  sufficient 
reason  of  the  absence  of  any  localization  of  function  and  of  the 
general  uniform  reaction  to  different  impressions.  But  it  will 
be  observed  that  even  the  movements  of  these  simplest  crea- 
tures, in  which  there  is  not  the  least  indication  of  the  ele- 
ments of  a  nervous  system,  are  not  entirely  vague,  confused, 
and  indefinite ;  they  present  certain  indications  of  adaptation 
to  functional  ends. 

"With  the  differentiation  of  tissue  and  increasing  complexity 

*  Croonian  Lecture  Wfore  the  Royal  Society,  1863.     By  Professor  J.  Lister, 
F.B.S.  t  Philosophical  Transactions,  1862. 


of  organization,  which  are  met  with  as  we  ascend  in  the  animal 
kingdom,  the  nervous  tissue  appears,  but  at  first  under  a  very 
simple  form.  Its  simplest  type  may  be  represented  as  two  fibres 
that  are  connected  by  a  nerve-cell  or  a  ganglionic  group  of  nerve- 
cells  ;  the  fibres  are  apparently  simple  conductors,  and  might  be 
roughly  compared  to  the  conducting  wires  of  a  telegraph,  while 
the  cell,  being  the  centre  in  which  nerve  force  is  generated, 
may  be  compared  to  the  telegraphic  apparatus  ;  in  it  the  effect 
which  the  stimulus  of  the  afferent  or  centripetal  nerve  excites,  is 
transmitted  along  the  efferent  or  centrifugal  nerve,  and  therein 
is  displayed  the  simplest  form  of  that  reflex  action  which  plays 
so  large  a  part  in  animal  life.*  This  type  of  structure  is  re- 
peated through  the  complex  nervous  system  of  all  the  higher 
animals.  Cut  across  the  afferent  nerve,  or  otherwise  interrupt 
its  continuity,  the  impression  cannot  reach  the  centre  ;  cut  across 
the  efferent  nerve,  the  central  excitation  is  powerless  to  influence 
the  muscles  or  parts  to  which  it  is  distributed.  Not  all  the  passion 
and  eloquence  of  a  Demosthenes  could  force  its  way  outwards  into 
words,  if  the  motor  nerves  of  the  tongue  were  cut  across.  Owing 
to  the  differences  of  hinds  of  tissue,  and  to  the  specialization  of 
organs  in  the  more  complex  animal,  there  cannot  plainly  be  that 
intimate  molecular  sympathy  between  all  parts  which  there  is  in 
the  homogeneous  substance  of  the  simplest  monad  ;  the  easy 
motion,  as  by  an  infection,  from  particle  to  particle,  is  not  possible 
in  the  heterogeneous  body,  where  the  elements  are  of  a  different 
kind :  accordingly  special  provision  is  required  for  insuring 
communication  between  different  parts,  and  for  co-ordinating 
and  harmonizing  the  activity  of  different  organs.     The  animal 

*  T/ie  fibres  act  as  simple  conductors,  and  have  like  physiological  properties. 
Philippeau  and.  Vulpiau  (Comptes  Kendus,  vi.)  and  Kosenthal  (Centralblatt, 
No.  29,  1864)  have  succeeded  in  uniting  the  central  end  of  the  cut  lingual 
nerve,  the  sensory  nerve  of  the  tongue,  with  the  peripheral  end  of  the  cut  hypo- 
glossal, the  motor  nerve  of  the  tongue.  Stimulation  of  the  central  part  of  the 
lingual  produced  contractions  of  the  tongue,  such  as  normally  follow  stimulation 
of  the  hypoglossal.  Thus  it  is  proved  that  the  end  of  a  sensory  nerve  may  be 
united  with  the  end  of  a  motor  nerve,  and  when  the  union  is  complete,  excitation 
of  the  sensory  may  be  transmitted  to  the  motor  fibres.  Inversely,  stimulation 
of  the  peripheral  end  of  the  hypoglossal  produced  evidence  of  pain.  It  would 
seem  that  the  neurility  is  the  same  in  all  nerves  ;  the  difference  of  function  being 
due,  not  to  difference  of  physiological  properties,  but  to  difference  of  connexion 
of  the  fibres.  See  also  Lecons  sur  la  Physiologie  Ginerale,  et  comparee  du  Systeme 
Nerveux,  par  A.  Vulpian.     1866. 

48  TBS  KIND  [chap. 

must  be  rendered  capable  of  associating  a  number  of  distinct 
actions  for  definite  ends.  This  function,  necessitated  by  the 
physiological  division  of  labour,  the  nervous  system  subserves ; 
and  we  might  compare  it  to  that  which  the  gifted  general Lzer 
fulfils  in  human  development:  he  g*asps  the  results  of  the 
various  special  investigations  which  a  necessary  division  of 
labour  enforces,  brings  them  together,  and  elaborates  a  result 
in  which  the  different  lines  of  thought  are  co-ordinated,  and  a 
unity  of  action  is  marked  out  for  future  progress.  The  nervous 
system  effects  the  synthesis  which  the  specialization  of  organic 
instruments  in  the  analysis  of  nature  renders  necessary  ;  it  is 
the  highest  expression  of  that  principle  of  individuation  which 
is  the  characteristic  feature  of  life  in  all  its  forms,  but  most 
manifest  in  its  highest.  To  lliis  function  it  is  well  adapted, 
first,  by  the  extent  of  its  distribution,  and,  secondly,  by  its 
exceeding  sensibility,  whereby  an  impression  made  at  one  part 
is  almost  instantly  felt  at  any  distance. 

With  the  increasing  complexity  of  organization,  which  marks 
the  increasing  speciality  of  organic  adaptation  to  external  nature, 
or,  in  other  words,  which  marks  an  ascent  in  the  scale  of  animal 
life,  there  is  a  progressive  complication  of  the  nervous  system : 
special  developments  ministering  to  special  purposes  take  place. 
The  fibres  appear  to  preserve  their  characters  as  simple  conduc- 
tors, while  a  development  of  special  structures  at  their  peripheral, 
and  of  special  ganglionic  cells  at  their  central  endings,  reveals 
the  increasing  speciality  and  complexity  of  function.  Upon  the 
special  structures  at  the  peripheral  ends,  which  are,  as  it  were, 
the  instruments  of  analysis,  depends  the  kind  of  the  impression 
made  ;  and  by  the  nature  of  the  nerve-cells  with  which  the  cen- 
tral end  of  the  nerve  is  connected,  the  kind  of  impression  that 
is  perceived  and  the  character  of  the  reaction  thereto  are  deter- 
mined. Accordingly,  we  find  that,  with  the  appearances  of  the 
organs  of  the  special  senses,  as  we  mount  in  the  scale  of  animal 
life,  there  is  a  corresponding  increase  in  the  ganglionic  centres, 
which,  being  clustered  together,  form  the  primitive  rudiments  of 
a  brain,  and  represent,  in  the  main,  those  sensory  ganglia  which 
in  man  lie  between  the  decussation  of  the  pyramids  and  the 
floors  of  the  lateral  ventricles.  It  is  not  known  with  certainty 
when  the  different  organs  of  the  special  senses  severally  make 


their  first  appearance,  for  they  are  at  first  very  rudimentary ;  in 
the  starfish,  which  belongs  to  the  humble  Echinodermata,  there 
is  at  the  extremity  of  each  ray  a  small  red  spot  which  is  said  to 
present  the  characteristics  of  a  rudimentary  eye ;  but  whether 
this  be  so  or  not,  it  is  certain  that  special  structures,  adapted  to 
the  reception  of  particular  impressions,  as  of  light,  of  sound, 
of  touch,  render  the  higher  animal  capable  of  more  numerous, 
special,  and  complex  relations  with  external  nature.  There  is 
a  diffusion  through  the  entire  substance  of  the  simplest  creatures 
of  physiological  properties  which  are  specialized  and  localized  in 
the  higher  animals* 

Not  till  we  arrive  as  high  as  the  fishes,  and  not  then  in  the 
singular  Amphioxus,  do  we  discover  anything  more  in  the  brain 
than  sensory  ganglia  connected  with  the  origins  of  nerves ;  so 
far  there  is  no  trace  of  cerebral  hemispheres,  or  of  brain  proper. 
It  is  plain  then  that  the  cerebral  hemispheres  are  not  essential 
to  sensation  and  the  motor  reaction  to  sensation ;  for  they  are 
altogether  wanting  where  both  these  functions  are  displayed  in 
a  lively  and  vigorous  way.  To  the  simpler  relation  between  the 
individual  organism  and  external  nature,  which  is  denoted  by 
reflex  action,  there  now  succeeds  that  more  complex  relation 
of  sensory  perception  and  sensorimotor  reaction,  as  Dr.  Carpenter 
has  called  it ;  in  place  of  reaction  to  a  general  stimulus,  discri- 
minations of  impressions,  and  corresponding  special  reactions 
by  virtue  of  structures  specially  adapted,  are  witnessed.  This 
condition  of  the  development  of  the  nervous  system,  which  is 

*  When  a  special  sense  fails  in  man,  the  general  sensibility  may  partially 
replace  it.  "I  have  known  several  instances,"  says  Abercrombie,  "of  persons 
affected  with  that  extreme  degree  of  deafness,  which  occurs  in  the  deaf  and  dumb, 
who  had  a  peculiar  susceptibility  to  particular  kinds  of  sounds,  depending,  appa- 
rently, on  an  impression  communicated  to  their  organs  of  touch  or  simple  sensa- 
tion. 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." — On  the  Intellectual  Powers.  Kruse,  who  was  completely  deaf, 
nevertheless  had  a  bodily  feeling  of  music  ;  and  different  instruments  affected 
him  differently.  Musical  tones  seemed  to  his  perception  to  have  much  analogy 
with  colours.  The  sound  of  a  trumpet  was  yellow  to  him  ;  that  of  a  drum,  red ; 
that  of  the  organ,  green  ;  &c. — Early  History  of  Mankind,  by  J.  B.  Tylor.  In 
his  Reminiscences  of  the  Opera,  Mr.  Lumley  tells  of  a  friend  who  used  to  compare 
the  voices  of  the  different  celebrated  singers  to  different  colours,  distinguishing 
them  so.  It  is  an  old  saying  of  a  blind  man,  that  he  thought  scarlet  was  like  the 
sound  of  a  trumpet. 


50  THE  MIXD  [chap. 

natural  and  permanent  in  so  many  of  the  lower  animals,  cor- 
responds to  that  artificial  state  of  things  which  may  be  produced 
experimentally  in  a  higher  animal  by  depriving  it  of  its  hemi- 
spheres. The  kind  of  function  manifest  is  strictly  comparable  to 
the  early  brief  stage  of  the  infant's  meutal  life  before  the  cerebral 
hemispheres  have  come  into  action,  or  to  those  phenomena  of 
mental  life  sometimes  displayed  by  the  adult,  as  for  example 
by  the  somnambulists,  when  the  influence  of  the  cerebral  hemi- 
spheres is  suspended. 

Here  let  us  make  a  reflection :  how  important  it  is  clearly  to 
distinguish  and  denote  special  features,  which,  being  included 
under,  or  described  by,  a  general  term,  are  so  commonly  con- 
founded. What  different  perceptions  or  reactions,  for  example, 
are  confounded  by  the  loose  v.  ay  of  using  the  word  sensibility  ! 
The  infusorial  animalcule,  which  has  no  nervous  tissue,  is  said  to  be 
sensible  of  a  stimidus  ;  the  higher  animal,  with  its  special  senses, 
to  be  sensible  of  light,  or  of  sound,  as  the  case  may  be ;  and,  if 
made  to  suffer,  to  be  sensible  of  pain ;  while  it  is  common  enough 
to  speak  of  man  being  sensible  of  pleasure,  horror,  or  disgust, 
according  to  the  nature  of  the  active  ideas.  If  we  use  the  generic 
term  sensibility  to  express  the  fundamental  reaction,  as  we  may 
perhaps  properly  do,  it  is  highly  important  that  we  proceed 
further  to  distinguish  by  appropriate  terms  the  special  differences ; 
the  sensibility  of  pain  is  not  the  sensibility  of  sense,  nor  is  the 
sensibility  of  the  infusorial  animalcule  equivalent  to  either  of 
these.  So  far  we  have  taken  pains  to  distinguish  that  form  of 
sensibility  and  reaction  proper  to  the  lowest  animals,  and  which 
might  be  called  irritability;  that  form  of  reaction,  or  reflex 
action,  which  is  the  lowest  expression  of  nervous  function ;  and 
that  form  of  reaction  to  which  the  sensory  ganglia  minister,  and 
which  is  rightly  called  sensorial. 

It  is  in  fishes  that  the  rudiments  of  cerebral  hemispheres  first 
appear.  In  them  they  are  represented  by  a  thin  layer  or  projec- 
tion of  nervous  matter  in  front  of  the  corpora  quadrigemina, 
covering  the  corpora  striata  and  the  optic  thalami ;  in  the 
Amphibia,  they  have  already  increased  somewhat  in  size  ;*  in 
Birds,  the  corpora  quadrigemina  are  pushed  out  to  some  extent 

*  The  Perenni-hranchiatc  reptiles  retain  the  fish  character  of  brain  all  their 
lives  ;  the  Batrachians  have  it  only  during  their  tadpole  state. 


by  their  further  increase  ;  in  the  Mammalia,  they  begin  to  cover 
the  corpora  quadrigemina,  and,  as  we  ascend  in  the  scale  of  life, 
gradually  increase  backwards  until,  in  some  of  the  higher 
monkeys,  and  in  man,  they  entirely  cover  the  cerebellum. 

In  this  ascent  through  the  series  of  vertebrate  animals,  it  is 
found  that  the  relations  of  the  sensory  ganglia  remain  alike 
throughout,  the  chief  differences  being  differences  in  the  relative 
size  of  them.  Their  functions,  as  primary  constituents  of  the 
brain,  may  then  fairly  be  counted  the  same  in  all  the  vertebrata, 
and  indeed  in  all  the  animals  in  which  they  exist.  As  the 
hemispheres  appear  as  secondary  constituents — secondary,  be  it 
noted,  in  the  order  of  development,  but  primary  in  dignity — we 
may  rightly  conclude  their  function  to  be  secondary  to  that  which 
the  primary  constituents  or  sensory  ganglia  fulfil.  The  impres- 
sions received  by  the  sensory  centres,  when  they  do  not  react 
directly  outwards,  as  they  may  do  where  hemispheres  exist,  and  as 
they  must  do  where  hemispheres  do  not  exist,  are  in  fact  passed 
onwards  in  the  brain  to  the  cells  which  are  spread  over  the 
hemispheres,  and  there  further  fashioned  into  what  are  called 
ideas  or  conceptions.  Here  then  we  come  to  another  kind  of  sen- 
sib  ility,  with  its  appropriate  reaction,  to  which  a  special  nervous 
centre  ministers ;  and  it  is  known  as  perception,  or,  more  strictly, 
ideational  perception.  As  the  hemispheres  have  this  function, 
and  are  not  necessary  to  sensory  perception,  it  is  quite  in  accord- 
ance with  what  might  be  predicted,  that,  as  experiments  prove, 
they  are  insensible  to  pain,  and  do  not  give  rise  to  any  display 
of  that  kind  of  feeling  when  they  are  injured*  They  have, 
agreeably  to  their  special  nature,  a  sensibility  of  their  own  to 
the  ideas  that  are  fashioned  in  them  ;  so  that  these  may  be  plea- 
surable or  painful,  or  have  other  particular  emotional  qualities,  f 

Observation  of  the  mental  phenomena  of  those  animals  in 
which  cerebral  hemispheres  exist,  fully  confirms  the  foregoing 
view  of  their  function  and  import.  In  Fishes  there  is  the  first 
distinct  appearance  of  simple  ideas,  and  of  the  lowest  rudiments 
of  emotion ;  carp  will  collect  to  be  fed  at  the  sound  of  a  bell, 

*  An  animal — a  hen,  for  example — which  makes  violent  movements  while  the 
skin  is  being  cut  and  the  roof  of  its  skull  removed,  remains  quite  quiet  while  its 
hemispheres  are  being  sliced  away  bit  by  bit. 

t  Emotion  is  strictly,  perhaps,  the  sensibility  of  the  supreme  centres  to  ideas. 

E  2 

52  THE  M1XD  [chap. 

thus  giving  evidence  of  the  association  of  two  simple  ideas  ; 
and  a  shark,  suspicious  of  mischief,  will  avoid  the  baited  hook. 
In  Birds,  conformably  to  the  increased  development  of  the 
hemispheres,  the  manifestations  of  intelligence  are  much  greater ; 
the  tricks  which  some  of  them  may  bb  taught  are  truly  marvel- 
lous, and  those  who  teach  them  know  how  much  different  birds 
differ  in  intelligence  and  temper.  Nor  are  simple  emotional 
exhibitions  wanting  amongst  them  ;  very  evident  at  times  is  the 
feeling  of  rivalry  or  jealousy  in  canaries,  and  there  are  undoubted 
instances  on  record  in  which  an  orphan  bird  has  owed  its  life  to 
the  kindly  care  of  birds  of  a  different  species.*  In  Mammalia  a 
gradual  advance  in  intelligence  may  be  traced  from  very  lowly 
manifestations  up  to  those  highest  forms  of  brute  reason  which 
assuredly  differ  only  in  degree  from  the  lowest  forms  of  human 
intelligence.!  Consider  how  plainly,  in  the  dog,  a  conception 
often  intervenes  between  the  sensation  and  the  usual  respondent 
movement,  so  that  the  animal  refrains  from  doing  what  it  has  a 
strong  impulse  to  do ;  the  impression  has  been  passed  on  to  the 
hemispheres,  and  their  controlling  action  brought  into  play.  It 
is  needless  to  speak  of  the  various  emotions,  nay,  the  veritable 
moral  feeling,  displayed  by  the  dog  and  other  domesticated 
animals.  A  single  reflection  will  show,  what  anatomy  might 
lead  us  to  predicate,  how  limited  is  the  range  of  animal  intelli- 
gence :  if  the  fox,  cunning  as  it  is,  had  but  the  sense  to  learn  to 
climb  a  tree,  like  the  cat,  men  would  soon  give  up  hunting  it. 
But  the  fox,  like  so  many  men,  cannot  get  out  of  the  usual  groove 
of  thought,  cannot  originate  anything  ;  and,  like  not  a  few 
scheming  plotters,  it  wastes  a  great  deal  of  low  cunning  in 
efforts  Which  a  little  larger  view  of  things  would  render  quite 

As  we  ascend  through  the  Mammalian  series,  we  find  that  not 
only  do  the  hemispheres  increase  in  size  by  gradually  extending 
backwards,  but  that  the  grey  surface  of  them  is  further  increased 
by  being  thrown  into  folds  or  convolutions.  While  the  lower 
Mammals  are  entirely  destitute  of  such  convolutions,  these  are 
present,  as   a  rule,  in   simple   forms  in   the   Pauninantia  and 

,    *  Anatomic  comparee  do  Systeme  Nerveux,  par  Leuret  et  Gratiolet. 

t  For  examples  of  wonderful  intelligence  in  different  animals,  I  may  refer  to  a 
paper  by  me  on  tlie  Genesis  of  Mind  in  the  Journal  of  Mental  Science,  1862. 


Pachydermata ;  they  are  more  fully  developed  in  the  Carnivora, 
and  most  fully  developed  in  the  apes  and  in  man.  It  is  tvue 
that  we  cannot  at  present  unfold  an  exact  relation  between  the 
development  of  the  convolutions  and  the  degree  of  intelligence 
in  different  animals ;  for  the  brains  of  the  ass,  the  sheep,  and 
the  ox  are  more  convoluted  than  those  of  the  beaver,  the  cat, 
and  the  dog.  But  the  relative  size  of  the  animals  must  be  taken 
into  account  in  such  comparison.  The  volume  of  a  body  such 
as  the  brain,  which  increases  in  size,  increases  in  greater  propor- 
tion than  the  superficies,  and  the  latter  again  in  greater  proportion 
than  the  diameter.  Now  in  each  natural  group  or  order  of 
Mammalia,  the  head,  but  especially  the  capacity  of  the  skull, 
has  a  certain  relation  to  the  body,  a  relation  which  remains 
pretty  constant  in  different  species ;  the  head  of  the  tiger  or 
of  the  lion,  for  example,  has  about  the  same  relation  to  the 
body  as  that  of  the  cat's  head  to  its  body,  although  the  sizes 
of  the  animals  are  so  different.  It  follows  then  that,  the 
volume  of  the  brain  of  the  tiger  in  relation  to  the  size  of  the 
body  being  the  same  as  in  the  cat,  the  superficies  of  the  brain 
is  proportionately  greater  in  the  smaller  animal ;  and  that, 
consequently,  in  order  to  get  a  proportionate  extent  of  grey 
surface  in  the  larger  animal,  this  must  be  convoluted  in  it,  when 
it  may  remain  nearly  smooth  in  the  smaller  one.  If  in  two 
animals  of  equal  size,  and  of  like  form  of  structure,  the  con- 
volutions are  differently  fashioned,  then  it  may  be  said  with 
certainty  that  one  will  be  more  intelligent  than  the  other  in 
proportion  as  its  convolutions  are  more  numerous  and  com- 
plicated, and  the  sulci  deeper. 

That  proposition  is  true  of  man.  The  intellectual  differences 
which  exist  between  the  Bosjesman,  or  the  Negro,  and  the 
European  are  attended  with  differences  in  the  extent  and  com- 
plication of  the  nervous  substance  of  the  brain.  Gratiolet  has 
carefully  figured  and  described  the  brain  of  the  Hottentot  Venus, 
who  was  no  idiot;  and  what  is  at  once  striking  in  the  figure  is 
the  simplicity  and  regular  arrangement  of  the  convolutions  of  the 
frontal  lobe ;  they  present  an  almost  perfect  symmetry  in  the 
two  hemispheres,  "such  as  is  never  exhibited  in  the  normal 
brains  of  the  Caucasian  race,"  and  which  involuntarily  recalls 
the  regularity  and  symmetry  of  the  cerebral  convolutions  in  the 

54  TEE  MIND  [chap. 

lower  animals.  The  brain  of  this  Bosjeswoman  was,  in  truth, 
inferior  to  that  of  a  white  woman  arrived  at  the  normal  stage  of 
development :  "  it  could  be  compared  only  with  the  brain  of  a 
white  who  is  idiotic  from  arrest  of  cerebral  development." 
Moreover,  the  differences  between  it  ar-1  the  brain  of  the  white 
are  unquestionably  of  the  same  kind  as,  though  less  in  degree 
than,  those  which  exist  between  the  ape's  brain  and  that  of  man, 
as  Professor  Huxley  has  distinctly  pointed  out.*  Mr.  Marshall 
has  recently  examined  a  Bushwoman's  brain,  and  has  found  like 
evidence  of  structural  inferiority;  the  primary  convolutions, 
though  all  present,  were  smaller  than  in  the  European,  and  much 
less  complicated  ;  the  external  connecting  convolutions  were  still 
more  remarkably  defective ;  the  secondary  sulci  and  convolu- 
tions were  everywhere  decidedly  less  developed ;  there  was  a 
deficiency  of  the  system  of  transverse  commissural  fibres  ;  and  in 
size,  and  in  every  one  of  the  signs  of  comparative  inferiority,  "  it 
leaned,  as  it  were,  to  the  higher  quadrunianous  forms."  f  The 
brain  of  the  Negro  is  superior  to  that  of  the  Bushman,  but  still  it 
does  not  reach  the  level  of  the  wliite  man's  brain  ;  the  weight  of 
the  male  Negro's  brain  is  less  than  that  of  the  average  European 
female ;  and  the  greater  symmetry  of  its  convolutions,  and  the 
narrowness  of  the  hemispheres  in  front,  are  points  in  which  it 
resembles  the  brain  of  the  ourang-outang,  as  even  Tiedemann, 
the  Negro's  advocate,  has  admitted. 

Among  Europeans  it  is  found  that,  other  circumstances  being 
alike,  the  size  of  the  brain  bears  a  general  relation  to  the  mental 
power  of  the  individual,  although  apparent  exceptions  to  the 
rule  sometimes  occur.  The  average  weight  of  the  brain  in  the 
educated  class  is  certainly  greater  than  in  the  uneducated ;  and 
some  carefully-compiled  tables  in  a  valuable  paper  by  Dr. 
Thurnam  prove  that,  while  the  average  brain  weight  of  ordinary 
Europeans  is  49  oz.,  in  distinguished  men  it  is  54-6  oz.J  On 
the  other  hand,  the  brain  is  commonly  very  small  in  idiots  ; 

*  Man's  Place  in  Nature. 

+  Philosophical  Transactions,  1865. 

t  On  the  Weight  of  the  Human  Brain,  by  John  Thurnam,  M.D.  ;  Journal  of 
Mental  Science,  April  1866.  Professor  Wagner  has  carefully  figured  and  described 
the  brains  of  five  very  distinguished  men.  The  extremely  complex  arrangement 
of  the  convolutions  was  most  remarkable. — The  Convolutions  of  the  Huma,i 
Cerebrum,  by  W.  Turner,  M.B.     1866. 


the  parts  being  not  only  smaller,  but  less  complex,  and  the  con- 
volutions in  particular  being  simpler  and  less  developed.  Mr. 
Marshall  found  the  convolutions  of  the  cerebra  of  the  two  idiots 
which  he  examined  to  be  fewer  in  number  than  in  the  apes,  the 
brains  being  in  this  respect  more  simple  than  the  brain  of  the 
gibbon,  and  approaching  that  of  the  baboon.  In  fact,  there  are 
microcephalic  idiots  which  present  a  complete  series  of  stages  of 
descent  from  man  to  the  apes.  As  a  general  proposition,  it  is 
certainly  true  that  we  find  the  evidence  of  a  correspondence 
between  the  development  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres  and  the 
degree  of  intelligence,  when  we  examine  the  different  races  or 
kinds  of  men,  as  we  do  when  we  survey  the  scale  of  animal  life. 
As  in  the  series  of  the  manifold  productions  of  her  creative 
art  Nature  has  made  no  violent  leap,  but  has  passed  by  gentle 
gradations  from  one  species  of  animal  to  another,  and  from  the 
highest  animal  to  the  lowest  man,  it  is  not  surprising  that  the 
embryonic  development  of  man  should  present  indications  of  the 
general  plan.*  It  admits  of  no  question  that  man  does,  in  the 
course  of  his  development,  pass  through  stages  closely  resembling 
those  through  which  other  vertebrate  animals  pass ;  and  that 
these  transitory  conditions  in  him  are  not  unlike  the  forms  that 
are  permanent  in  the  lower  animals.  There  is  a  very  close  mor- 
phological resemblance  between  the  human  ovum  and  the  lowest 
animals  with  which  we  are  acquainted,  the  microscopic  Grega- 
rinida ;  f  in  both,  an  outer  membrane  contains  a  soft  semi-fluid 

*  "That  there  should  be  more  species  of  intelligent  beings  above  us,"  says 
Locke,  "than  there  are  of  visible  or  material  below  us,  is  probable  to  me  from 
hence  that  in  all  the  corporeal  world  we  see  no  chasms  or  gaps. "  But  how 
can  it  be  safe  to  apply  to  the  unseen  a  generalization  from  the  seen  ? 

+  "TheGregarinida,"  says  Huxley,  "are  all  microscopic,  and  any  one  of  them, 
leaving  minor  modifications  aside,  may  be  said  to  consist  of  a  sac,  comprised  of  a 
more  or  less  structureless,  not  very  well  defined  membrane,  containing  a  soft 
semi-fluid  substance,  in  the  midst  or  at  one  end  of  which  lies  a  delicate  vesicle ; 
in  the  centre  of  the  latter  is  a  more  solid  particle.  No  doubt  many  persons  will 
be  struck  with  the  close  resemblance  of  the  structure  of  this  body  to  that  which 
is  possessed  by  the  ovum.  You  might  take  the  more  solid  particle  to  be  the 
representative  of  the  germinal  spot,  and  the  vesicle  to  be  that  of  the  germinal 
vesicle  ;  while  the  semi-fluid  sarcodic  contents  might  be  regarded  as  the  yelk,  and 
the  outer  membrane  as  the  vitelline  membrane.  I  do  not  wish  to  strain  the 
analogy  too  far,  bxit  it  is  at  any  rate  interesting  to  observe  the  close  morphological 
resemblance  between  one  of  the  lowest  of  animals,  and  that  form  in  which  all 
the  higher  animals  commence  their  existence." — Led.  on  C'omp.  Anat.  1864. 

5G  THE  MIND  [chap. 

substance,  at  one  end  of  which  is  a  delicate  vesicle,  having  in  it 
a  solid  particle  or  spot.  At  the.  earliest  stages  of  its  develop- 
ment no  human  power  can  distinguish  the  human  ovum  from 
that  of  a  quadruped ;  and,  as  it  proceeds  to  its  destined  end, 
it  passes  through  similar  stages  to  t^ose  through  which  other 
vertebrate  embryos  pass.  That  which  is  true  of  the  whole  body 
is  true  also  of  the  development  of  the  brain.  The  brain  of  the 
human  foetus  at  the  sixth  week  consists  of  a  series  of  vesicles, 
the  foremost  of  which,  a  double  one,  representing  the  cerebrum, 
is  the  smallest,  and  the  hindmost,  representing  the  cerebellum, 
the  largest.  In  front  of  the  latter  is  the  vesicle  of  the  corpora 
quadrigemina ;  and  in  front  again  of  this,  the  vesicle  of  the  third 
ventricle,  which  contains  also  the  thalami  optici,  and  which,  as 
development  proceeds,  becomes  covered,  as  do  the  corpora  quad- 
rigemina, by  the  backward  gro-\\  th  of  the  hemispheres  in  front  of 
it.  At  this  stage  the  human  brain  resembles  the  fully-formed 
brain  of  the  fish,  more  closely  the  brain  of  the  fatal  fish,  in  the 
small  proportion  which  the  cerebral  hemispheres  bear  to  the 
other  parts,  in  the  absence  of  convolutions,  in  the  deficiency  of 
commissures,  and  in  the  general  simplicity  of  structure.  About 
the  twelfth  week  of  embryonic  life  there  is  a  great  resemblance 
to  the  brain  of  the  bird :  the  cerebral  hemispheres  are  much 
increased  in  size,  and  arch  back  towards  the  thalami  optici  and 
the  corpora  quadrigemina,  though  there  are  still  no  convolutions, 
and  the  commissures  are  very  deficient.  Up  to  this  time  the 
cerebral  hemispheres  represent  no  more  than  the  rudiments  of 
the  anterior  lobes;  they  do  not  yet  completely  cover  the  thalami 
optici,  nor  indeed  pass  the  grade  of  development  which  is  per- 
manent in  the  Marsupial  Mammalia.  During  the  fourth  and 
early  part  of  the  fifth  month,  the  middle  lobes  develop  back- 
wards and  cover  the  corpora  quadrigemina ;  and,  subsequently, 
the  posterior  lobes  sprout  out,  so  to  speak,  and  gradually  extend 
backwards  so  as  to  cover  and  overlap  the  cerebellum.  It  was 
upon  the  erroneous  assumption  that  the  posterior  lobes  were 
peculiar  to  man,  that  Professor  Owen  grounded  his  division  of 
the  Archcncephala  ;  but  it  has  now  been  proved  unquestionably 
that  the  posterior  lobes  exist  in  the  apes,  and  that  in  some  of 
them  they  extend  as  far  back  as  they  do  in  man.  It  is  easy  to 
perceive,  then,  that  an  arrest  of  development  of  the  human  brain 

ii.]  AND  THE  NERVOUS  Sl'STEM.  57 

may  leave  it  very  much  in  the  condition  of  an  animal  brain ; 
and  it  is  found  in  some  cases,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  that  congenital 
idiots  have  brains  very  like  those  of  the  monkeys. 

As  man  is  thus  a  sort  of  compendium  of  animal  nature, 
paralleling  nature,  as  Sir  Thomas  Browne  has  it,  in  the  cosmo- 
graphy of  himself,  all  the  different  modes  of  nervous  function 
are  exhibited  in  the  workings  of  his  organism.  The  so-called 
irritability  of  tissue,  whereby  it  reacts  to  a  stimulus  without  the 
help  of  nerve,  may  be  of  the  same  kind  as  that  molecular  energy 
of  matter  manifest  in  the  movements  of  the  humblest  animal : 
whether  the  nerve  ends  outside  the  sarcolemma  of  muscle,  or 
within  it,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  it  is  not  distributed  to 
every  part  of  the  sarcous  element;  and,  at  any  rate,  when  all 
nervous  influence  is  withdrawn,  an  energy  still  exists  sufficient 
to  produce  rigor  mortis  of  the  muscle.*  The  simplest  mode  of 
nervous  action  in  man,  comparable  to  that  of  the  lowest  animals 
that  possess  nerve,  is  exhibited  by  the  scattered  ganglionic  cells 
belonging  to  the  sympathetic  system,  which  are  concerned  in 
certain  organic  processes.  The  heart's  action,  for  example,  is 
due  to  the  ganglionic  cells  dispersed  through  its  substance ; 
Meissner  has  recently  shown  that  nerve -cells  disseminated 
through  the  tissues  of  the  intestines  govern  their  motions ;  and 
Lister  thinks  it  probable  that  cells  scattered  in  the  tissues  pre- 
side over  the  contractions  of  the  arteries,  and  even  the  remark- 
able diffusion  of  the  pigment  granules  which  takes  place  in  the 
stellate  cells  of  the  frog's  skin.  The  separate  elements  of  the 
tissue  are  co-ordinated  by  the  individual  nerve-  cells ;  and  these 
co-ordinating  centres,  again,  are  found  to  be  under  the  control  of 
the  cerebro- spinal  centres.  In  the  spinal  cord  the  ganglionic 
nerve-cells  are  collected  together,  and  so  united  that  groups  of 

*  It  has  furthermore  been  recently  maintained  by  Bilharz  and  Kiihne,  that 
the  nerves  pass  by  continuity  into  the  muscular  substance,  as  in  the  electric 
organs  of  the  fishes  they  pass  continuously  into  the  protoplasm  of  the  electric 
plates.  /The  controversy  respecting  the  manner  in  which  nerves  end  in  muscles 
seems,  then,  likely  to  terminate  in  the  conclusion  that  they  do  not  end  at  all,  but 
pass  by  continuity  of  substance  into  the  sarcous  elements.  The  observations  of 
Kiihne  and  Rouget  prove  that  the  nerve  fibre,  reduced  to  its  axis  cylinder, 
penetrates  the  sarcolemma,  and  is  lost.  The  nervous  filaments  of  insects  cannot 
sometimes  be  distinguished  from  the  other  elements  by  means  of  the  microscope. 
Pfliiger  has  discovered  that  the  nerves  to  the  glands  penetrate  the  walls  of  the 
cells,  and,  as  he  believes,  end  in  the  nuclei. 

58  THE  MIND  [chap. 

them  become  independent  centres  of  combined  movements  in 
answer  to  stimuli ;  this  arrangement  representing  the  entire 
nervous  system  of  those  animals  in  which  no  organs  of  special 
sense  have  yet  appeared.  Still  higher  in  the  scale  of  the  nervous 
system,  the  sensory  ganglia,  formed  of  multitudes  of  specially 
endowed  cells,  are  clustered  together,  and  form  a  very  important 
part  of  the  brain  of  man,  while  in  many  animals,  as  already 
seen,  they  constitute  the  whole  of  the  brain.  In  the  cerebral 
hemispheres  there  is  a  still  greater  specialization  of  structure 
with  corresponding  exaltation  of  function  ;  and,  conformably  to 
its  highest  degree  in  man,  there  are  in  him  the  highest  and  the 
most  complex  manifestations  of  mental  function.  In  the  human 
organism,  then,  is  summed  up  the  animal  kingdom,  which 
actually  presents  us  with  a  scrt  of  analysis  of  it;  for  in  the 
functions  of  man  we  observe,  as  in  a  microcosm,  an  integration 
and  harmonious  co-ordination  of  different  vital  actions  which 
are  separately  displayed  by  different  members  of  the  animal 

In  dealing  with  the  function  of  the  nervous  system  in  man, 
it  is,  then,  most  necessary  to  distinguish  the  different  nervous 
centres : — 

1.  There  are  the  primary  centres,  or  ideational  centres,  consti- 
tuted by  the  grey  matter  of  the  convolutions  of  the  hemispheres. 

2.  There  are  the  secondary  nervous  centres,  or  sensory  centres, 
constituted  by  the  collections  of  grey  matter  that  lie  between 
the  decussation  of  the  pyramids  and  the  floors  of  the  lateral 

3.  There  are  the  tertiary  nervous  centres,  or  centres  of  reflex 
action,  constituted  mainly  by  the  grey  matter  of  the  spinal  cord. 

4.  There  are  the  organic  nervous  centres,  as  we  might  call 
them,  belonging  to  the  sympathetic  system.  They  consist  of 
a  set  of  ganglionic  bodies  distributed  mainly  over  the  viscera, 
and  connected  with  one  another  and  with  the  spinal  centres 
by  internuntiant  cords. 

Each  distinct  centre  is  subordinated  to  the  centre  immediately 
above  it,  but  is  at  the  same  time  capable  of  determining  and 
maintaining  certain  movements  of  its  own  without  the  inter- 
vention of  its  supreme  centre.  The  organization  is  such  that  a 
due  independent   local  action   is   compatible  with   the  proper 


control  of  a  superior  central  authority.  The  ganglionic  cell  of 
the  sympathetic  co-ordinates  the  energy  of  the  separate  ele- 
ments of  the  tissue  in  which  it  is  placed,  and  thus  represents 
the  simplest  form  of  a  principle  of  individuation;*  through  the 
cells  of  the  spinal  centre  the  functions  of  the  different  organic 
centres  are  so  co-ordinated  as  to  have  their  subordinate  but 
essential  place  in  the  movements  of  animal  life, — and  herein 
is  witnessed  a  further  and  higher  individuation ;  the  spinal 
centres  are  similarly  controlled  by  the  sensory  centres,  and 
these,  in  their  turn,  are  subordinate  to  the  controlling  action  of 
the  cerebral  hemispheres,  and  especially  to  the  action  of  the 
will,  which,  properly  fashioned,  represents  the  highest  display 
of  the  principle  of  individuation.  The  greater  the  subordina-  1 
tion  of  parts  in  any  animal,  the  higher  arid  the  more  perfect  it 
is.j  Were  it  not  well  if  man  in  his  social  life  could  contrive  to 
imitate  this  excellent  organization  ?  - 

Most  important  and  varied  functions  having  been  assigned  to 
nerve-cells,  it  may  be  asked,  On  what  evidence  do  the  statements 
rest  ?  On  the  evidence  of  anatomical  investigation,  experiments 
upon  animals,  and  physiological  and  pathological  researches. 

(a)  Anatomical  Evidence. — It  is  certainly  not  possible  to  trace 
every  nerve  fibre  to  its  connexion  with  a  cell,  and  till  lately  no 
such  connexion  had  been  distinctly  seen  ;  but  it  has  now  been 
observed  in  many  instances,  and  most  investigators  believe  that 
neither  in  the  brain  nor  in  the  spinal  cord  does  there  exist  an 
isolated  apolar  nerve-cell ;  such,  if  supposed  to  be  seen,  being 
in  reality  one  which  has  had  its  processes  torn  away,  or  not 
being  a  nerve-cell  at  all,  but  a  connective  tissue  corpuscle. 
This  is  an  inference  which  has  scarcely  less  certainty  than  an 
observed  fact ;  it  is  not  necessary,  as  Goethe  has  said,  to  travel 
round  the  world  in  order  to  feel  sure  that  the  heavens  are 
everywhere  above  it. 

*  Coleridge,  in  his  "  Hints  towards  the  Formation  of  a  comprehensive  Theory 
of  Life,"  takes  from  Schelling  the  definition — "  Life  is  the  principle  of  Indi- 

t  After  speaking  of  an  organisn  as  a  collection  of  individual  elements,  Goethe 
goes  on  to  say  : — "  Je  unvolkommener  das  Geschbpf  ist  desto  mehr  sind  dieso 
Theile  einander  gleich  oder  ahnlich,  und  desto  mehr  gleichen  sie  dem  Ganzen. 
Je  volkommener  das  Geschbpf  wird,  desto  uuahnlicher  werden  die  Theile  einander. 
Je  ahnlicher  die  Theile  einander  sind,  desto  weniger  sind  sie  einander  subordinirt. 
Die  Subordination  der  Theile  deutet  auf  ein  volkommeneres  Geschbpf." 


60  THE  MIX  J)  [chap. 

Granting  the  constant  connexion  of  the  fibre  with  the  cell,  are 
the  ganglionic  cells  so  numerous  and  so  arranged  as  to  render  it 
conceivable  that  they  can  adequately  minister  to  the  manifold 
and  complex  manifestations  of  our  mental  life  ?  Most  certainly 
they  are :  Mr.  Lockhart  Clarke's  careful  and  valuable  researches 
into  the  structure  of  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres 
reveal  a  variety,  delicacy,  and  complexity  of  constitution  such 
as  answer  to  the  varied  and  complex  manifestations  of  mind. 
The  following  concise  summary  of  those  important  researches, 
for  which  1  am  indebted  to  Mr.  Lockhart  Clarke's  kindness,  will 
indicate  exactly  how  the  complexity  of  physical  structure  agrees 
with  the  complexity  of  mental  function : — 

"  In  the  human  brain  most  of  the  convolutions,  when  properly 
examined,  may  be  seen  to  consist  of  at  least  seven  distinct  and 
concentric  layers  of  nervous  substance,  which  are  alternately 
paler  and  darker  from  the  circumference  to  the  centre.  The 
laminated  structure  is  most  strongly  marked  at  the  extremity  of 
the  posterior  lobe.  In  this  situation  all  the  nerve-cells  are  small, 
but  differ  considerably  in  shape,  and  are  much  more  abundant  in 
some  layers  than  in  others.  In  the  superficial  layer,  which  is 
pale,  they  are  round,  oval,  fusiform,  and  angular,  but  not  nume- 
rous. The  second  and  darker  layer  is  densely  crowded  with 
cells  of  a  similar  kind,  in  company  with  others  that  are  pyrifarm 
and  pyramidal,  and  lie  with  their  tapering  ends  either  toward 
the  surface  or  parallel  with  it,  in  connexion  with  fibres  which 
run  in  corresponding  directions.  The  broader  ends  of  the  pyra- 
midal cells  give  off  two,  three,  four,  or  more  processes,  which  run 
partly  towards  the  central  white  axis  of  the  convolution  and  in 
part  horizontally  along  the  plane  of  the  layer,  to  be  continuous, 
like  those  at  the  opposite  ends  of  the  cells,  with  nerve  fibres 
rimning  in  different  directions. 

"  The  third  layer  is  of  a  much  paler  colour.  It  is  crossed, 
however,  at  right  angles  by  narrow  and  elongated  groups  of 
small  cells  and  nuclei  of  the  same  general  appearance  as  those 
of  the  preceding  layer.  These  groups  are  separated  from  each 
other  by  bundles  of  fibres  radiating  towards  the  surface  from 
the  central  white  axis  of  the  convolution,  and  together  with 
them  form  a  beautiful  fan-like  structure. 

"  The  fourth  layer  also  contains  elongated  groups  of  small 


cells  and  nuclei,  radiating  at  right  angles  to  its  plane ;  but  the 
groups  are  broader,  more  regular,  and,  together  with  the  bundles 
of  fibres  between  them,  present  a  more  distinctly  fan-like 

"  The  fifth  layer  is  again  paler  and  somewhat  white.  It  con- 
tains, however,  cells  and  nuclei  which  have  a  general  resem- 
blance to  those  of  the  preceding  layers,  but  they  exhibit  only  a 
faintly  radiating  arrangement. 

"The  sixth  and  most  internal  layer  is  reddish-grey.  It  not 
only  abounds  with  cells  like  those  already  described,  but  con- 
tains others  that  are  rather  larger.  It  is  only  here  and  there 
that  the  cells  are  collected  into  elongated  groups  which  give  the 
appearance  of  radiations.  On  its  under  side  it  gradually  blends 
with  the  central  white  axis  of  the  convolution,  into  which  its 
cells  are  scattered  for  some  distance. 

"  The  seventh  layer  is  this  central  white  stem  or  axis  of  the 
convolution.  On  every  side  it  gives  off  bundles  of  fibres,  which 
diverge  in  all  directions,  and  in  a  fan-like  manner,  towards  the 
surface  through  the  several  grey  layers.  As  they  pass  between 
the  elongated  and  radiating  groups  of  cells  in  the  inner  grey 
layers,  some  of  them  become  continuous  with  the  processes  of 
the  cells  in  the  same  section  or  plane,  but  others  bend  round  and 
run  horizontally,  both  in  a  transverse  and  longitudinal  direction 
(in  reference  to  the  course  of  the  entire  convolution),  and  with 
various  degrees  of  obliquity.  While  the  bundles  themselves  are 
by  this  means  reduced  in  size,  their  component  fibres  become 
finer  in  proportion  as  they  traverse  the  layers  towards  the  sur- 
face, in  consequence,  apparently,  of  branches  which  they  give  off 
to  be  connected  with  cells  in  their  course.  Those  which  reach 
the  outer  grey  layer  are  reduced  to  the  finest  dimensions,  and 
form  a  close  network  with  which  the  nuclei  and  cells  are  in 

"  Besides  these  fibres,  which  diverge  from  the  central  white 
axis  of  the  convolution,  another  set,  springing  from  the  same 
source,  converge,  or  rather  curve  inwards  from  opposite  sides,  to 
form  arches  along  some  of  the  grey  layers.  Th«se  arciform  fibres 
run  in  different  planes — transversely,  obliquely,  and  longitu- 
dinally— and  appear  to  be  partly  continuous  with  those  of  the 
divergent  set  which  bend  round,  as  already  stated,  to  follow  a 

62  THE  MIND  [chap. 

similar  course.  All  these  fibres  establish  an  infinite  number  of 
communications  in  every  direction  between  different  parts  of 
each  convolution,  between  different  convolutions,  and  between 
these  and  the  central  white  substance. 

"  The  other  convolutions  of  the  ce^  rubral  hemispheres  differ 
from  those  at  the  extremities  of  the  posterior  lobes,  not  only  by  the 
comparative  faintness  of  their  several  layers,  but  also  by  the 
appearance  of  some  of  their  cells.  We  have  already  seen  that, 
at  the  extremity  of  the  posterior  lobe,  the  cells  of  all  the  layers 
are  small  and  of  nearly  uniform  size,  the  inner  layer  only  con- 
taining some  that  are  a  little  larger.  But,  on  proceeding  forward 
from  this  point,  the  convolutions  are  found  to  contain  a  number 
of  cells  of  a  much  larger  kind.  A  section,  for  instance,  taken 
from  a  convolution  at  the  vertex,  contains  a  number  of  large, 
triangular,  oval,  and  pyramidal  cells,  scattered  at  various  inter- 
vals through  the  two  inner  bands  of  arciform  fibres  and  the  grey 
layer  between  them,  in  company  with  a  multitude  of  smaller 
cells  which  differ  but  little  from  those  at  the  extremity  of  the 
posterior  lobe.  The  pyramidal  cells  are  very  peculiar.  Their 
bases  are  quadrangular,  directed  towards  the  central  white  sub- 
stance, and  each  gives  off  four  or  more  processes  which  run 
partly  towards  the  centre  to  be  continuous  with  fibres  radiating 
from  the  central  white  axis,  and  partly  parallel  with  the  surface 
of  the  convolution  to  be  continuous  with  arciform  fibres.  The 
processes  frequently  subdivide  into  minute  branches,  which  form 
part  of  the  network  between  them.  The  opposite  end  of  the 
cell  tapers  gradually  into  a  straight  process,  which  runs  directly 
towards  the  surface  of  the  convolution,  and  may  be  traced  to  a 
surprising  distance,  giving  off  minute  branches  in  its  course,  and 
becoming  lost,  like  the  others,  in  the  surrounding  network. 
Many  of  these  cells,  as  well  as  others  of  a  triangular,  oval,  and 
pyriform  shape,  are  as  large  as  those  in  the  anterior  grey  sub- 
stance of  the  spinal  cord. 

"  In  other  convolutions  the  vesicular  structure  is  again  some- 
what modified.  Thus,  in  the  surface  convolution  of  the  great 
longitudinal  fissure,  on  a  level  with  the  anterior  extremity  of  the 
corpus  callosum,  and  therefore  corresponding  to  what  is  called 
the  superior  frontal  convolution,  all  the  three  inner  layers  of 
grey  substance  are  thronged  with  pyramidal,  triangular,  and  oval 

ii.]  ANT)  THE  NERVOUS  SYSTEM.  63 

cells  of  considerable  size  and  in  much  greater  number  than  in  the 
situation  last  mentioned.  Between  these,  as  usual,  is  a  multitude 
of  nuclei  and  smaller  cells.  The  inner  orbital  convolution,  situated 
on  the  outer  side  of  the  olfactory  bulb,  contains  a  vast  multitude 
of  pyriform,  pyramidal,  and  triangular  cells,  arranged  in  very 
regular  order,  but  none  that  are  so  large  as  many  of  those 
found  in  the  convolutions  at  the  vertex.  Again,  in  the  insula, 
or  island  of  Beil,  which  overlies  the  extra-ventricular  portion 
of  the  corpus  striatum,  a  great  number  of  the  cells  are  somewhat 
larger,  and  the  general  aspect  of  the  tissue  is  rather  different. 
A  further  variety  is  presented  by  the  temporo-sphenoidal  lobe, 
which  covers  the  insula  and  is  continuous  with  it ;  for  while  in 
the  superficial  and  deep  layers  the  cells  are  rather  small,  the 
middle  layer  is  crowded  with  pyramidal  and  oval  cells  of  con- 
siderable and  rather  uniform  size.  But  not  only  in  different 
convolutions  does  the  structure  assume,  to  a  greater  or  less 
extent,  a  variety  of  modifications,  but  even  different  parts  of 
the  same  convolution  may  vary  with  regard  either  to  the 
arrangement  or  the  relative  size  of  their  cells. 

"  Between  the  cells  of  the  convolutions  in  man  and  those 
of  the  ape  tribe  I  could  not  perceive  any  difference  whatever ; 
but  they  certainly  differ  in  some  respects  from  those  of  the 
larger  Mammalia — from  those,  for  instance,  of  the  ox,  sheep, 
or  cat."* 

Schroeder  van  der  Kolk  has  found  a  different  structure  of  the 
grey  substance  of  the  convolutions  in  the  anterior  and  posterior 
lobes  of  the  dog  and  the  rabbit :  in  the  anterior  lobes  of  the 
rabbit  there  are  bundles  of  fibres,  with  cells,  mostly  tripolar, 
between  them ;  in  the  posterior  lobes  there  is  a  regular  series  of 
pedunculated  cells,  which  are  placed  close  to  one  another,  like 
organ  pipes  ;  there  are  also  single  larger  cells.  As  the  result  of 
his  investigations,  continued  through  an  industrious  lifetime,  he 
states  positively  that,  wherever  there  are  differences  of  function, 
there  differences  of  structure  and  composition  and   connexion 

*  In  the  first  edition  of  this  work  an  error  occurred  in  the  brief  abstract  made 
of  Mr.  Clarke's  investigations,  as  they  appear  in  the  Proceedings  of  the  Royal 
Society,  vol.  xii.  1863.  I  regret  the  mistake  the  less,  as  it  has  been  the  occa- 
sion of  my  receiving,  from  Mr.  Clarke's  own  pen,  the  above  clear  and  concise 
description  of  his  latest  researches. 

64  THE  MIND  [chap. 

do  exist ;  "  microscopical  investigation  has  established  this  in 
the  completest  manner."* 

Although  there  are  observable  differences  in  the  size  and  con- 
figuration  of  the  cells  of  the  cortical  layer,  as  of  the  cells  of 
other  centres,  yet  it  is  clear  that  we  ca^ot  at  present  penetrate 
those  intimate  special  differences  in  constitution  or  composition 
which  the  variety  of  their  functions  implies.  These  essential 
differences  are  not  such,  indeed,  as  the  microscope  is  ever  likely 
to  reveal ;  for  they  probably  depend  on  the  intimate  chemical 
composition,  and  are  not  likely,  even  if  we  could  isolate  cells  as 
required,  to  be  disclosed  until  chemistry  has  arrived  at  a  micro- 
scopical application,  or  until  some  means  has  been  discovered  of 
penetrating  the  molecular  constitution  of  nerve  element.  Those 
who  may  be  disposed  to  think  it  impossible  that  such  important 
constitutional  differences  should  exist  in  so  small  a  compass, 
might  reflect  with  advantage  on  the  various  undetectable  con- 
ditions which  may  confessedly  exist  in  the  minutest  organic 
matter;  as,  for  example,  in  the  delicate  microscopic  spermato- 
zoon, or  in  the  intangible  virus  of  a  fever.  And  yet  it  is  from 
the  conjunction  of  a  minute  spermatozoon  with  a  minute  germinal 
vesicle  that  are  produced  the  muscles,  vessels,  nerves,  and  brain 
— the  intellectual  organs  of  a  Socrates  or  a  Csesar.  Consider, 
again,  the  infinite  littleness  of  the  odorous  particles  that  affect 
the  smell,  and,  more  wonderful  still,  the  marvellous  discri- 
minating susceptibility  of  sense  to  these  undetected  agents. 
The  exquisite  minuteness  and  consummate  delicacy  of  the 
operations  going  on  in  the  most  intimate  recesses  of  nature 
are  even  more  striking  and  wonderful  than  the  vastness  and 
grandeur  with  which  the  astronomer  is  concerned.  H  What  the 
immensity  is  to  the  astronomer  or  geologist,"  says  Sir  H. 
Holland,  "  such  are  these  infinitely  small  dimensions  of  matter 
in  space  to  the  physiologist."  Of  what  may  happen  in  a  world 
into  which  human  senses  have  not  yet  found  means  of  entering 
we  are  no  better  entitled  to  speak  than  the  blind  man  is  to  talk  of 
the  appearance  of  objects.  In  such  matter  it  would  be  more  wise 
to  adopt  Tertullian's  maxim,  "  Credo  quia  impossibile  est,"  than 

*  Die    Pathologie  und   Therapie    der    Geisteskrankheiten  auf   Anatomisch- 
Physiologischer  Grundlage.    Von  J.  L.  C.  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk.     1 863. 


that  which  is  so  much  favoured  by  the  conceit  of  human  igno- 
rance— that  a  thing  is  impossible  because  it  appears  to  be 

(b)  Experiments  on  Animals  have  distinctly  proved  the  differ- 
ences between  the  functions  of  the  ganglionic  cells  that  constitute 
the  principal  different  nervous  centres ;  but  such  results  will 
more  properly  find  their  place  afterwards.  Let  it  suffice  here  to 
say  that  the  sight  of  an  animal  may  be  destroyed  by  injury  to 
its  corpora  quadrigemina  as  surely  as  by  burning  out  its  eyes. 
Nothing,  however,  has  yet  been  done  by  experiments  towards 
distinguishing  the  functions  of  different  convolutions. 

(c)  Physiological  Evidence. — The  study  of  the  plan  of  develop- 
ment of  the  nervous  system  through  the  animal  kingdom,  with 
the  corresponding  progress  in  complexity  of  function,  undoubtedly 
furnishes  the  best  testimony  in  favour  of  differences  in  the 
constitution  and  function  of  the  nerve-cells.  That  evidence  has 
already  been  sufficiently  set  forth. 

The  hopeless  vanity  of  all  discussions  concerning  infinite  or 
absolute  truth  might  well  have  been  made  manifest  by  this 
physiological  reflection :  that  our  perception  of  external  nature 
is  the  effect  which,  the  object  produces,  through  an  adapted 
medium,  in  certain  of  our  central  nerve-cells,  an  effect  on  which 
we  can  exercise  no  influence.  Excite  that  condition  of  the 
central  cell  otherwise  than  by  the  stimulus  from  without,  the 
perception  does  not  fail  to  ensue :  a  blow  on  the  eye  produces 
flashes  of  light ;  on  closing  the  eyes  after  looking  at  the  sun  a 
spectrum  of  it  remains,  which,  as  it  slowly  fades  away,  may  be 
brightened  and  darkened  alternately  for  a  time  by  pressing  the 
eye  and  removing  the  pressure  ;  a  disturbance  of  the  circulation 
in  the  auditory  ganglia  gives  rise  to  noises  in  the  ears  :  in  fact, 
all  the  senses  may  be  excited  subjectively.  The  reason  is 
evident :  because  the  perception  depends  upon  the  special  nature 
of  the  central  cells  and  the  mechanism  by  which  the  stimulus 
is  conveyed  to  them.  The  idea  in  the  mind  is  the  result  of  an 
action  excited  in  the  nerve  centres ;  the  external  impression  not 
being  conveyed  to  them,  but  exciting  the  physiological  property 
of  the  nerve,  its  neurility,  w7hich  thereupon  gives  rise  in  them 
to  the  special  effect.  Accordingly,  the  effect  of  any  stimulus 
capable  of  affecting  one  of  the  special  senses  is  of  the  same  kind 


(35  THE  MIXD  [chap. 

as  that  produced  by  its  proper  stimulus  :  thus  the  effect  of  the 
electric  stimulus  on  the  optic  ganglia  is  to  cause  a  sensation  of 
light ;  on  the  olfactory  nerves,  some  kind  of  smell ;  on  the  gus- 
tatory nerves,  some  kind  of  taste.  This  is  as  clear  evidence 
as  any  one  can  desire  of  specific  differences  between  nerve-cells 
which  to  the  eye  often  appear  exactly  alike.  That  man  is  by 
nature  thus  limited  to  the  reception  of  certain  special  im- 
pressions through  a  few  avenues,  proves  how  limited  must  be 
his  knowledge  at  the  best :  it  may  well  be  that  there  are  many 
things  in  nature  of  which  he  has  not,  and  cannot  have,  any 
kind  of  knowledge  ;  and  that  a  new  sense  conferred  upon  him 
might  alter  the  whole  aspect  of  the  universe. 

What  is  true  of  the  cells  of  the  sensory  ganglia  is  probably 
no  less  true  of  the  cells  of  the  higher  centres  of  intelligence. 
There  is  reason  to  assume  differences,  not  merely  between  the 
samdionic  cells  of  one  lobe  of  the  brain  and  those  of  another,  but 
also  between  one  cell  or  group  of  cells  and  another  cell  or  group 
of  cells.     The  law  of  progress  from  the  general  to  the  special 
in  organic  development  does  not,  it  may  be  presumed,  cease  its 
action  suddenly  at  the  cerebral  hemispheres.     The  philosopher 
is  not,  it  is  true,  in  possession  of  more  senses  than  the  savage  ; 
but  he  unquestionably  has  more  numerous  and  complex  con- 
volutions, and,  therefore,  many   more   ganglionic  cells  in  the 
primary  centres  of  intelligence.     By  intending  his  mind  to  the 
realities  of  external  nature  he  acquires  information  through  the 
senses,  but  his   intelligence   reacts   advantageously  upon   the 
senses ;  he  constructs  instruments  which  extend  their  power  of 
observation, — thus  acquires,  as  it  were,  new  artificial  senses,  so 
that  hitherto  obscure  relations  of  external  nature  are  disclosed  to 
him,  and  he  attains  to  more  special  and  complex  relations  there- 
with.   If  in  the  nervous  centres  cortical  cells  of  a  higher  quality 
than  the  savage  has,  do  not  answer  to  this  increased  speciality 
and  complexity  of  external  relations,  it  is  contrary  to  all  the 
analogy  of  organic  development,  as  it  is  also  an  unintelligible 
freak  of  nature  to  have  crowded  the  hemispherical  ganglia  with 
nerve-cells  which  are  merely  repetitions  of  one  another. 
X  (d)  Pathological  Evidence. — This  will  be  brought  forward  in 

detail   at  a  later  period.      Let    it    suffice  here  to   say,   that 
Schroeder  van  der  Kolk  can  venture  to  assert  that  he  never 


failed  to  discover  pathological  changes  in  insanity,  and  that, 
when  intellectual  disorder  especially  has  existed,  he  has  found 
the  cortical  layer  under  the  frontal  bones  to  be  darker  coloured, 
more  firmly  connected  with  the  pia  mater,  or  softened  ;  in  melan- 
cholia, on  the  other  hand,  where  the  feelings  mainly  are  excited 
or  depressed,  the  pathological  changes  were  found  principally 
in  the  convolutions  of  the  upper  and  hind  lobes.  In  old  age 
when  the  memory  fails,  he  thinks  that  the  cells  of  the  cortical 
layers  are  visibly  atrophied.  The  very  many  and  various  dis- 
orders to  which  the  memory  is  liable,  failures  of  every  possible 
degree  and  character,  which  can  only  be  described  by  being  given 
in  detail,  surely  indicate  in  no  uncertain  way  the  different  nature 
of  different  cells  in  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres. 

Thus  much,  then,  by  way  of  setting  forth  facts  which  will  not 
easily  be  discredited.  What  is  the  unavoidable  conclusion? 
That  no  true  scientific  result  can  possibly  proceed  from  the 
vague  and  general  employment,  without  further  discrimination, 
of  mental  action  to  embrace  phenomena  of  such  manifestly 
different  nature.  If  the  psychologists  had  duly  minded  the  old 
but  wholesome  maxim,  that  whosoever  distinguishes  well  teaches 
well,  they  might  have  found  in  the  revelations  of  self-con- 
sciousness, when  interpreted  without  bias,  those  distinctions 
which  an  investigation  of  the  physiology  of  the  nervous  system 
in  man  and  animals  establishes  beyond  all  question.  But  the 
metaphysical  conception  of  mind,  the  abstraction  made  into  an 
entity,  has  overridden  all  discerning  observation,  and,  confound- 
ing well-marked  differences  in  a  vague  obscurity,  has  constructed 
a  loose  system  of  undefined  words  in  place  of  an  exact  and  posi- 
tive science  of  facts.  Instead  of  mind  being,  as  assumed,  a 
wondrous  entity,  the  independent  source  of  power  and  self-suffi- 
cient cause  of  causes,  an  honest  observation  proves  incontestably 
that  it  is  the  most  dependent  of  all  the  natural  forces.  It  is  the 
highest  development  of  force,  and  to  its  existence  all  the  lower 
natural  forces  are  indispensably  prerequisite. 

It  is  most  needful,  if  we  would  avoid  hopeless  confusion  and 
often-made  error,  once  for  all  to  form  a  just  and  definite  concep- 
tion of  what  we  mean  by  mental  force,  and  of  its  position  in 
nature.     To  deal  with  mind  apart  from  the  consideration  of  the    J 
matter  through  the  changes  of  which  it  is  manifested  is  truly  no 

f  2 

(J  (J  THE  MIND  [chap. 

less  vain  and  absurd  than  it  would  confessedly  be  to  attempt  to 
handle  electricity  and  gravitation  as  forces  apart  from  the  changes 
in  matter  by  which  alone  we  know  them.  As  there  are  different 
kinds  of  matter,  so  there  are  different  modes  of  force,  in  the  uni- 
verse ;  and  as  we  rise  from  the  common  physical  matter  in  which 
physical  laws  hold  sway  up  to  chemical  matter  and  chemical 
forces,  and  from  chemical  matter  again  up  to  living  matter  and 
its  modes  of  force,  so  do  we  rise  in  the  scale  of  life  from  the 
lowest  kind  of  living  matter,  with  its  corresponding  force  or 
energy,  through  different  kinds  of  histological  elements,  with 
their  corresponding  energies  or  functions,  up  to  the  highest  kind 
of  living  matter  and  corresponding  mode  of  force  with  which  we 
are  acquainted,  viz.  nerve  element  and  nerve  force.  But,  when 
we  have  arrived  at  nerve  element  and  nerve  force,  it  behoves  us 
not  to  rest  content  with  the  general  idea,  but  to  bestow  pains  on 
the  patient  and  careful  discrimination  of  the  different  kinds  of 
nerve-cells  in  the  nervous  system,  and  to  study  their  different 
manifestations  of  energy.  So  only  shall  we  obtain  the  ground- 
work of  a  true  conception  of  the  relations  of  mind  and  the 
nervous  system. 

The  chief  feature  to  be  noted  in  this  upward  transformation 
of  matter  and  correlative  metamorphosis  of  force  is,  that  the 
exaltation  or  transpeciation  on  each  occasion  represents  an 
increased  speciality  of  elements,  and  a  greater  complexity  of 
combinations,  in  a  smaller  space :  all  exaltation  of  matter  and 
force  is,  as  it  were,  a  concentration  thereof.  As  one  equivalent 
of  chemical  force  corresponds  to  several  equivalents  of  inferior 
force,  and  one  equivalent  of  vital  force  to  several  equivalents  of 
chemical  force ;  so  in  the  scale  of  tissues  the  higher  kind  repre- 
sents a  more  complex  elementary  constitution,  and  a  greater 
number  of  simultaneously  acting  forces,  than  the  kind  of  tissue 
below  it  in  dignity.  If  we  suppose  a  higher  tissue  to  undergo 
decomposition,  or  retrograde  metamorphosis  of  its  matter,  with 
which  must  necessarily  coincide  a  resolution  of  its  energy  into 
lower  modes,  then  we  might  say  that  a  single  monad  of  the 
higher  tissue,  or  one  equivalent  of  its  force,  would  equal  in  value 
several  monads  of  the  lower  kind  of  tissue,  or  several  equivalents 
of  its  force.  The  characteristic  of  living  matter  is  the  com- 
plexity of  combinations  and  the  variety  of  elements  in  so  small 


a  compass  that  we  cannot  yet  trace  them;  and  in  nerve  structure 
this  complication  and  concentration  is  carried  to  its  highest 
pitch.  Nervous  tissue  with  its  energy  is,  therefore,  dependent 
for  its  existence  on  all  the  lower  kinds  of  tissue  that  have  pre- 
ceded it  in  the  order  of  development :  all  the  force  of  nature 
could  not  develop  a  nerve-cell  directly  out  of  inorganic  matter. 
The  highest  energy  in  nature  is  really  the  most  dependent ;  in 
the  fact  that  it  is  so  dependent,  that  it  implicitly  contains  the 
essence  or  abstraction  of  all  the  lower  kinds  of  energy,  lies  the 
reason  of  the  powerful  influence  which  it  is  able  to  exercise  over 
all  the  lower  forces  that  are  subservient  to  its  evolution.  As  the 
man  of  genius  implicitly  contains  humanity,  so  nerve  element 
implicitly  contains  nature* 

What  is  the  progress  or  nisus  that  is  manifest  on  survey- 
ing nature  as  a  whole  ?  Is  it  not  the  struggle  to  arrive  at 
consciousness,  to  attain  to  self-communion?  In  the  series  of 
her  manifold  productions  man  was,  so  to  speak,  says  Goethe, 
the  first  dialogue  that  Nature  held  with  God.  Every  poet, 
then,  who  is  sensitive  to  a  hitherto  unrevealed  subtlety  of 
human  feeling,  every  philosopher  who  apprehends  and  reveals 
a  hitherto  unobserved  relation  in  nature,  is,  each  in  his 
place,  aiding  the  onward  progress ;  in  his  art  nature  is 
undergoing  evolution ;  in  him  the  world  is,  more  or  less, 

"  To  whom  the  winged  hierarch  replied  : — 
0  Adam,  one  Almighty  is,  from  whom 
All  things  proceed,  and  up  to  Him  return, 
If  not  depraved  from  good,  created  all 
Such  to  perfection,  one  first  matter  all, 
Indued  with  various  forms,  various  degrees 
Of  substance,  and  in  things  that  live,  of  life  ; 
But  more  refined,  more  spirituous,  and  pure, 
As  nearer  to  Him  placed,  or  nearer  tending, 
Each  in  their  several  active  spheres  assigned, 
Till  body  up  to  spirit  work,  in  bounds 
Proportioned  to  each  kind.     So  from  the  root 
Springs  lighter  the  green  stalk,  from  thence  the  leaves 

*  For  the  further  development  of  this  view  of  life,  I  may  refer  to  an  article 
on  the  "Theory  of  Vitality,"  in  the  British  and  Foreign  Med.-Chir.  Review, 
October  1863. 

70  THE  MIND  AND  THE  NERVOUS  SYSTEM.        [chap.  n. 

More  aery,  last  the  bright  consummate  flower 
Spirits  odorous  breathes  :  flowers  and  their  fruit, 
Man's  nourishment,  by  gradual  scale  sublimed, 
To  vital  spirits  aspire,  to  animal, 
To  intellectual ;  give  both  life  an A  sense, 
Fancy  and  understanding  ;  whence  the  soul 
Keason  receives,  and  reason  is  her  being, 
Discursive,  or  intuitive  ;  discourse 
Is  oftest  yours,  the  latter  most  is  ours, 
Differing  but  in  degree,  of  kind  the  same." 

Paradise  Lost,  B.  v. 


re£f*  y  c  U*, 



/^\MITTING  for  the  present  any  mention  of  the  organic 
^  nervous  centres  of  the  sympathetic  system — first,  because 
they  minister  chiefly  to  the  organic  life,  and  very  little  is 
definitely  known  about  them ;  and,  secondly,  because  something 
will  be  said  of  them  incidentally  when  treating  of  the  Passions 
— we  go  on  to  show  forth  the  functions  of  the  spinal  cord.  It 
is  not  a  conducting  organ  only,  but  contains  many  independent 
nerve  centres.  A  large  part  of  human  activity  notably  takes 
place  without  any  voluntary  control,  or  even  without  any  con- 
sciousness on  the  part  of  the  individual ;  and  of  these  un- 
conscious or  involuntary  actions  a  great  part  is  as  plainly  due  to 
the  independent  power  of  reaction  which  the  ganglionic  cells  of 
the  spinal  cord  have.  If  it  be  cut  across  at  a  spot  below  where 
the  respiratory  nerves  are  given  off,  all  sensation  and  motor 
power  are  lost  in  the  parts  of  the  body  below  the  section.  But 
if  the  sole  of  the  foot  be  then  tickled  with  a  feather,  the  leg  is 
drawn  up,  though  the  man  is  unaware  of  it  unless  informed  by 
others  of  what  has  happened.  Such  automatic  action  of  the 
spinal  cord,  manifest  enough  in  the  actions  of  man,  but  still  more 
so  in  those  of  the  lower  animals,  may  be  illustrated  both  from 
the  animal  kingdom  and  from  the  phenomena  of  human  life. 

When  the  earliest  actions  of  the  new-born  infant  are  observed, 
it  is  plain  that,  like  the  movements  of  the  foetus  within  the 
mother's  womb,  or  the  movements  of  many  of  the  lower  animals, 
they  are  simply  reflex  to  impressions,  and  take  place  without 
will,  or  even  without  consciousness.  The  anencephalic  infant,  in 
which  absence  of  brain  involves  an  absence  of  consciousness, 
not  only  exhibits  movements  of  its  limbs,  but  is  capable  also  of 

72  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap, 

the  associated  reflex  acts  of  sucking  and  crying.  A  decapitated 
frog,  to  the  thigh  of  which  acetic  acid  has  been  applied,  makes 
certain  movements  for  the  purpose  of  wiping  off  the  acid ;  and 
if  the  head  of  a  frog,  which  is  clinging  to  the  female  at  the  season 
of  copulation,  be  cut  off,  the  animal  still  holds  her  fast ;  nay,  if 
its  paw  be  afterwards  cut  off,  clings  to  her  with  its  bloody  stump. 
The  spinal  cord  is  plainly,  then,  not  only  a  centre  of  irregular 
reflex  movements,  but  it  is  also  a  centre  of  co-ordinate  or  so-called 
designed  actions.  Pfliiger  wetted  with  acetic  acid  the  thigh  of  a 
decapitated  frog  over  its  internal  condyle ;  it  wiped  it  off  with 
the  dorsal  surface  of  the  foot  of  the  same  side  :  he  thereupon  cut 
off  the  foot,  and  applied  the  acid  to  the  same  spot ;  the  animal, 
as  though  it  were  deceived,  as  the  man  who  has  lost  a  limb  at 
first  is,  by  an  eccentric  sensation,  would  have  wiped  it  off  again 
with  the  foot  of  that  side,  but  of  course  could  not.  After  some 
fruitless  efforts,  therefore,  it  ceased  to  try  in  that  way,  seemed 
unquiet,  "  as  though  it  were  searching  for  some  new  means,"  and 
at  last  it  either  made  use  of  the  foot  of  the  leg  which  was  left, 
or  it  so  bent  the  mutilated  limb  that  it  succeeded  in  wiping  it 
against  the  side  of  its  body.  So  much  was  Pfliiger  impressed  by 
this  wonderful  adaptation  of  means  to  an  end  in  a  headless 
animal,  that  he  actually  inferred  that  the  spinal  cord,  like  the 
brain,  was  possessed  of  sensorial  functions.  Others,  who  would 
scarce  admit  the  supposition  to  be  true  of  man,  have  thought 
that  it  might  be  so  of  some  of  the  lower  animals.  Instead  of 
rightly  grounding  their  judgment  of  the  complex  phenomena  in 
man  on  their  experience  of  the  simpler  instances  exhibited  by 
the  lower  animals,  they  applied  to  the  lower  animals  their  sub- 
jective misinterpretation  of  the  complex  phenomena  in  man^1) 

It  is  obviously  quite  possible  to  draw  another  inference  from 
Pfluger's  experiment:  that  the  so-called  design  of  an  act  does 
not  necessarily  witness  to  the  co-existence  of  will,  forethought, 
or  consciousness ;  that  actions  "  having  the  semblance  of  pre- 
designing  consciousness  "  may,  nevertheless,  be  unattended  with 
consciousness  *     No  doubt  there  is  a  definite  purpose  in  the 

*  Very  interesting,  in  relation  to  this  matter,  are  Prochaska's  observations, 
published  in  1784  : — "  Cam  itaque  precipua  funetio  sensorii  communis  eonsistat 
in  reflexione  impressionum  sensoriarum  in  motorias,  notandum  est  quod  ista 
rrflrxio  rcl  cmbmA  hwi'i  vcl  veto  animd  conscid  fiat."  He  gives  numerous 
examples,  often  given  sim-e  by  other  authors,  and  adds :— "  Omnes  ista1  aetiones 


movements  which  the  maimed  frog  makes,  as  there  is  definite 
purpose  in  the  movements  of  the  anencephalic  infant's  lips,  or  in 
the  respiratory  movements  of  man  or  animal ;  but  in  all  these 
instances  the  co-ordinate  activity  is  the  result  of  an  innate  nervous 
constitution,  an  original  endowment  of  the  nervous  centres. 
Accordingly  we  see  that  the  frog  which  has  lost  its  legs  acts  as  if 
the  limbs  were  still  there,  which,  were  there  intelligent  conscious- 
ness, it  plainly  should  not,  and  only  employs  other  means  when 
the  irritating  action  of  the  stimulus  continues  unaffected  by  its 
efforts.  As  the  movement  which  takes  place  in  the  sensitive 
plant — the  Mimosa  jmdica — when  it  is  irritated,  is  not  limited  to 
the  spot  where  the  irritation  acts,  but  extends,  if  this  be  sufficiently 
intense,  to  the  whole  plant ;  or,  as  in  certain  morbid  states  of  the 
human  organism,  the  continuance  of  an  irritation,  which  at  first 
only  causes  slight  reflex  action,  may  produce  a  more  general  in- 
voluntary reaction,  or  convulsions ;  so  in  the  frog,  the  enduring 
stimulus,  which  has  not  been  affected  by  the  customary  reflex 
movement,  now  gives  rise  to  those  further  physiological  move- 
ments which  would  have  been  made  use  of  had  the  creature 
still  possessed  its  brain.  In  the  constitution  of  the  spinal  cord 
are  implanted  the  capabilities  of  such  co-ordinate  energies ;  and 
the  degree  of  the  irritation  determines  the  extent  of  the  activity. 
There  takes  place  an  irradiation  of  the  stimulus.  But  this  happens 
without  consciousness  ;  and  all  the  design  which  there  is  in  the 
movement  is  of  the  same  kind  as  the  design  which  there  is  in 
the  formation  of  a  crystal,  or  in  the  plan  of  growth  of  a  tree. 
A  crystal  cannot  overstep  the  laws  of  its  form,  nor  can  a  tree 
grow  up  into  heaven ;  the  particles  of  the  crystal  aggregate  after 
a  certain  definite  plan,  and  thus  strictly  manifest  design.  Are 
we,  then,  to  assume  that,  because  of  the  design,  there  is  con- 
sciousness in  the  forming  crystal  or  the  growing  tree  ?  Certainly 
not ;  and  yet  it  is  to  such  extreme  conclusion  that  the  arguments 
of  those  who  look  upon  the  so-called  design  of  an  act  as  testifying 
to  consciousness  logically  lead.  The  design  of  an  act  is  nothing 
else  but  the  correlate  in  the  mind  of  the  observer  of  the  law  of 

ex  organismo  et  physicis  legibus  sensorio  communi  propriis  flunnt,  suntque  prop, 
terea  spontaDeae  et  automatics." — Commentatio  de  Fundionibus  Systematis 
Xcrcosi,  p.  88.  1784.  It  must  be  remembered  that  Prochaska  included  the 
spinal  cord  under  the  sensorium  commune. 

74  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

the  matter  in  nature ;  and  each  observer  will  see  in  any  event 
exactly  that  amount  of  design  which  he  brings  with  him  the 
faculty  of  seeing. 

Much  fruitless  theory  would  have  been  avoided  if  the  real 
nature  of  design  had  been  kept  distinctly  in  mind.  The  notion 
that  the  soul  works  unconsciously  in  the  building  up  of  the 
organism,  which  has  at  different  times  been  so  much  in  fashion, 
rests  entirely  upon  the  assumption  that  an  intelligent  principle 
or  agent  must  be  immanent  in  organic  matter  which  is  going 
through  certain  definite  changes.  But  if  in  the  formation  of  an 
organ,  why  not  also  in  the  formation  of  a  chemical  compound 
with  its  definite  properties  ?  The  function  is  the  necessary  result 
of  a  certain  definite  organic  structure  under  certain  conditions, 
and  in  that  sense  must  needs  minister  to  the  furtherance  of  its 
well-being.  But  an  organic  action,  with  never  so  beautifully 
manifest  a  design,  may,  under  changed  conditions,  become  as 
disastrous  as  it  is  usually  beneficial ;  the  peristaltic  movements 
of  the  intestines,  which  serve  so  essential  a  purpose  in  the  eco- 
nomy, may,  and  actually  do,  in  the  case  of  some  obstruction, 
become  the  cause  of  intolerable  suffering  and  a  painful  death. 
Where,  then,  is  the  design  of  their  disastrous  continuance  ?  The 
repair  of  a  ruptured  urethra  "will,  instead  of  restoring  the  integ- 
rity of  the  canal  and  then  ceasing,  go  on,  with  a  final  purpose  sin- 
gularly and  obstinately  mischievous,  to  produce  an  obliteration 
of  the  canal,  unless  human  art  come  to  the  rescue.  M.  Bert  has 
made  many  extremely  interesting  experiments  on  grafting  parts 
cut  from  the  body  of  one  animal  on  that  of  another.  For  example, 
he  cut  off  the  paw  of  a  young  rat,  and  grafted  it  in  the  flank  of 
another  rat ;  it  took  root  there,  and  went  through  its  normal 
growth.  "Where  was  the  design  of  its  going  through  its  regular 
development  there  ?  Or  what,  in  the  adoption  and  nutrition  of 
this  useless  member,  was  the  final  purpose  of  the  so-called  intelli- 
gent vital  principle  of  the  rat  on  which  the  graft  was  made? 
Whatever  design  we  recognise  is  really  an  idea  that  is  gradually 
formed  in  our  minds  from  repeated  experiences  of  the  law  of  the 
matter,  a  law  which  acts  necessarily,  fatally,  blindly.  Any  other 
kind  of  design  can  exist  only  in  the  creative  mind ;  and  into'  the 
question  of  what  exists  there  science  cannot  enter.  Those  who 
would  rashly  venture  to  do  so  might  call  to  mind  and  weigh  the 


sagacious  remark  of  Spinoza,  that  the  idea  of  a  perfect  God  is 
incompatible  with  the  conception  of  such  working  after  an 
aim,  "  because  God  would  then  desire  something  which  He 
was  without." 

It  will  not  be  amiss  to  take  note  here  of  the  very  different 
way  in  which  we  are  in  the  habit  of  regarding  dead  matter  and 
living  matter.  In  dead  matter  the  form  is  looked  upon  as  the 
attribute  of  the  matter,  whereas,  on  the  other  hand,  in  living 
bodies  the  matter  is  treated  as  the  attribute  of  the  form :  in 
inorganic  nature  the  matter  is  the  essential  thing,  in  the  organic 
creation  the  form  is  all  in  all  But  to  neglect  the  exact  con- 
sideration of  the  conditions  and  combinations  of  matter,  as 
determining  organic  form,  is  not  less  mischievous  than  it  is  to 
concentrate  all  attention  upon  the  matter  in  inorganic  nature.* 
What  are  inseparably  joined  together  in  nature  let  us  not  vainly 
attempt  to  put  asunder.  Mindful  of  this  maxim  we  shall  not 
be  so  much  tempted  to  fall  back  upon  that  vague  and  shifting 
doctrine  of  final  causes  which  has  done  so  great  harm  in  science, 
or,  as  Bacon  has  it,  has  strangely  defiled  philosophy,  and  which, 
though  often  rejected  absolutely,  and  now  banished  from  the 
more  advanced  sciences,  still  works  injuriously  in  biology,  where 
so  much  is  yet  recondite  and  obscure.  (2)  The  human  under- 
standing can  indeed  best  impose  its  own  rules  on  nature  there 
where  the  truth  is  most  inaccessible  and  least  known.  Not  only 
does  it  in  biology  look  for  a  final  cause  answering  to  its  own 
measure,  but,  having  found  this,  or  created  it,  proceeds  straight- 
way to  superadd  its  own  attribute  of  consciousness,  so  that 
wherever  evidence  of  design  is  met  with,  be  it  only  in  the 
function  of  the  spinal  cord  of  a  decapitated  frog,  there  con~ 
sciousness  is  assumed.  Is  it  not  a  marvel  that  no  teleologist  has 
yet  been  found  to  maintain  that  the  final  cause  of  the  moon  is 
to  act  as  a  "  tug"  to  the  vessels  on  our  tidal  rivers  ? 

There  can  be  no  difficulty  in  admitting  that  the  spinal  cord  is 
an  independent  centre  of  so-called  aim- working  acts  that  are  not 
attended  with  consciousness.  It  is  the  centre,  however,  not  only 
of  co-ordinate  action  the  capability  of  which  has  been  implanted 
in  its  original  constitution,  but  also  of  co-ordinate  action  the 

*  Indeed,  the  chemists  are  now  discovering  how  much  the  qualities  of  sub- 
stances are  determined  by  different  molecular  arrangements  of  the  same  atoms. 

7f)  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

power  of  which  has  been  gradually  acquired  raid  matured 
through  individual  experience.  Like  the  brain,  the  spinal  cord 
has,  so  to  speak,  its  memory,  and  must  be  educated  ;  the  reaction 
which  it  displays,  in  consequence -of  a  particular  impression 
conveyed  to  it  from  without,  does  not  vanish  issueless,  leaving 
the  ganglionic  cells  unmodified  after  its  force  has  been  expended. 
With  the  display  of  energy  there  is  a  coincident  change  or  waste 
of  nerve  element ;  and,  although  a  subsequent  regeneration  or 
restoration  of  the  statical  equilibrium  takes  place  by  the  quiet 
process  of  nutrition,  yet  the  nutritive  repair,  filling  up  the  loss 
which  has  been  made,  must  plainly  take  the  form  made  by  the 
energy  and  coincident  material  change.  Thereby  the  definite 
activity  is  to  some  extent  realized  or  embodied  in  the  structure 
of  the  spinal  cord,  existing  theje  for  the  future  as  a  motor 
residuum,  or  as,  so  to  speak,  a  jjotcntial  or  abstract  movement ; 
accordingly  there  is  thenceforth  a  tendency  to  the  recurrence  of 
the  particular  activity — a  tendency  which  becomes  stronger  with 
every  repetition  of  it.  Every  impression  which  is  made  leaves 
behind  it,  therefore,  its  trace  or  residuum,  which  is  again  quickened 
into  activity  on  the  occasion  of  an  appropriate  stimulus ;  the 
faculties  of  the  spinal  cord  are  thus  gradually  formed  and  matured. 
When  a  series  or  group  of  movements  are,  after  many  voluntary 
efforts,  associated,  they  notably  become  more  and  more  easy,  and 
less  and  less  separable,  with  every  repetition,  until  at  last  they 
are  firmly  fixed  in  the  constitution  of  the  cord,  become  a  part  of 
the  faculty  of  it,  and  may  be  accomplished  without  effort  or  even 
without  consciousness  :  they  are  the  secondary  or  acquired  auto- 
matic acts,  as  described  by  Hartley.  (3)  In  this  way  walking  be- 
comes so  far  a  reflex  or  automatic  act  that  a  man  in  a  profound 
abstraction  may  continue  to  walk  without  being  conscious  where 
he  is  going,  and  find  himself,  when  he  is  aroused  from  his  reverie, 
in  a  different  place  from  that  which  he  intended  to  visit.  In 
that  form  of  epilepsy  known  as  the  'petit  mal,  an  individual 
sometimes  continues  automatically,  whilst  consciousness  is  quite 
abolished,  the  act  which  he  was  engaged  in  when  the  attack 
seized  him  :  a  shoemaker  used  frequently  to  wound  his  fingers 
with  the  awl  as  he  went  on  with  his  work  during  the  attack, 
and  on  one  occasion  walked  into  a  pond  of  water  during  the 
suspension   of   consciousness ;   and    a   woman  whom  Schrocder 


van  der  Kolk  knew,  continued  eating  or  drinking,  or  the  occupa- 
tion she  was  about,  being  quite  unconscious  on  recovery  of  what 
had  happened.  Trousseau  mentions  a  young  amateur  musician 
subject  to  epileptic  vertigo,  who  sometimes  had  a  fit  lasting  for 
ten  or  fifteen  seconds  whilst  playing  the  violin.  Though  he 
was  perfectly  unconscious  of  everything  around  him,  and  neither 
heard  nor  saw  those  whom  he  was  accompanying,  he  still  went 
on  playing  in  time  during  the  attack.  The  same  author  also 
mentions  an  architect  who  had  long  been  subject  to  epilepsy, 
and  did  not  fear  to  go  up  the  highest  scaffoldings,  though  per- 
fectly aware  that  he  had  often  had  fits  while  walking  across 
narrow  planks  at  a  pretty  considerable  height.  He  had  never  met 
with  an  accident,  although,  when  in  a  fit,  he  ran  rapidly  over  scaf- 
foldings, shrieking  out  his  own  name  in  a  loud  and  abrupt  voice. 
A  quarter  of  a  minute  afterwards  he  resumed  his  occupation  and 
gave  his  orders  to  the  workmen  ;  but  unless  he  was  told  of  it,  he 
had  no  idea  of  the  singular  act  which  he  had  been  committing* 
In  fact,  if  any  one  attends  to  Ids  ordinary  actions  during  the  day, 
it  will  be  surprising  how  small  a  proportion  of  them  are  con- 
sciously willed,  how  large  a  proportion  of  them  are  the  results 
of  the  acquired  automatic  action  of  the  organism.  It  is  suffi- 
ciently evident  that  the  faculties  of  the  spinal  cord  are,  for  the 
most  part,  not  inborn  in  man,  but  gradually  built  up  by  virtue 
of  experience  and  education ;  in  their  formation  they  illustrate 
the  progress  of  human  adaptation  to  external  nature. 

Certainly  the  capability  of  certain  associated  voluntary  move- 
ments, or  the  germ  of  such  capability,  does  appear  to  exist  as  an 
innate  endowment  of  the  spinal  cord  even  in  man,  whilst  in 
the  lower  animals  it  is  very  evident.  As  the  young  animal, 
directly  it  is  born,  can  sometimes  use  its  limbs  with  complete 
effect,  or  as  the  infant,  previous  to  any  experience,  is  capable  of 
that  association  or  catenation  of  movements  necessaiy  to  crying, 
breathing,,  or  coughing,  so  likewise  does  there  appear  to  be,  as 
Mr.  Bain  argues,f  the  germ  of  a  locomotive  harmony  in  the 

*  "  The  condition  of  such  persons  may  be  compared  to  somnambulism,  or  to  what 
happens  in  the  case  of  certain  persons  who  answer  questions  during  sleep,  but  do 
not  recollect  anything  when  they  wake  up." — Trousseau,  Clinical  Lectures, 
vol.  i.  p.  59. 

t  The  Senses  and  the  Intellect,  2d  ed.  It  has  long  been  distinctly  recognised 
as  a  general  law  that  when  a  moderate  stimulus  excites  several  motor  nerves, 

78  THE  SPIXAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

original  conformation  of  the  nervons  centres  of  man.  Not  only 
does  the  analogy  of  the  lower  animals  favour  the  belief  in  the 
original  existence  of  such  an  asjociating  link,  but  the  tendency 
to  an  alternate  action  of  the  lower  limbs,  and  of  the  two  sides 
of  the  body,  observably  precedes  any  acquisition  of  experience. 
There  is,  furthermore,  a  proneness  to  the  involuntary  association 
of  the  motions  of  corresponding  parts  of  the  two  sides  of  the 
body ;  and,  as  Miiller  has  observed,  the  less  perfect  the  action  of 
the  nervous  system  in  man,  or  the  less  developed  volition  is,  the 
more  general  are  the  associate  movements.  It  would  be  a  fruit- 
less task,  however,  to  attempt  to  fix  the  value  of  this  pre-estab- 
lished arrangement  in  man,  where  it  is  obviously  at  best  rather 
a  potentiality  than  an  actuality ;  and,  for  all  practical  purposes, 
we  must  view  the  faculties  of  his  spinal  cord  as  acquired  by 
education.  The  child  certainly  has  the  capability  of  learning  to 
walk,  but  the  actual  process  of  learning  involves  the  expenditure 
of  much  time  and  energy,  and  represents  a  progressing  develop- 
ment of  the  spinal  cord  :  it  is  the  faculty  thereof  in  the  making. 
Of  course  it  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  the  spinal  centres  of 
themselves  ordinarily  suffice  for  all  the  complicated  movements 
of  walking,  although  they  may  do  so  :  all  that  is  claimed  is,  that 
they  are  the  automatic  centres  of  certain  associate  movements, 
which  have  been  acquired,  and  which  constitute  a  large  part  of 
our  daily  action.* 

these  are  physiologically  connected  :  first,  inasmuch  as  all  the  fibres  going  to  a 
particular  mu?ele  are  simultaneously  excited,  so  that  partial  movement  of  the 
muscle  does  not  take  place  ;  secondly,  as  the  regular  reflex  activity  implicates 
such  muscles  as  are  functionally  co-ordinated,  the  associated  action  of  which 
produces  certain  physiological  effects — e.g.  coughing,  sneezing,  swallowing.  In 
the  electric  fish,  the  malapterus,  the  nerve  going  to  the  electric  apparatus  is  at 
first  a  single  fibre  which  divides  and  subdivides  in  its  course,  until  it  furnishes  as 
many  branches  as  there  are  electric  plates  ;  so  that  the  creature  cannot  isolate  a 
part  of  the  apparatus,  but  must  put  all  the  plates  into  action  together.  Mr. 
Bain's  elaborate  but  vague  discussion  illustrates  the  difficulty,  one  might  say  the 
vanity,  of  attempting  to  treat  such  questions  satisfactorily  from  a  psychological 
point  of  view.  The  locomotive  harmony  is  the  result  of  the  connexions  of  certain 
cells  and  groups  of  cells  in  the  spinal  cord.  "  Si  l'homme,  le  lapin,  le  moi- 
neau,  le  pigeon,  ne  marchent  pas  des  leur  naissance,  e'est  uuiquement  a  cause 
du  developpement  incomplet  des  divers  organes,  et  surtout,  sans  doute,  des  centres 
nerveux.  Si  Penfant  naissait  en  presentant  uu  degre  de  developpement  egal  a- 
celui  qu'offre  le  cochon  d'Inde,  il  marcherait  des  le  premier  jour." — Vulpian  {op. 
cit.),  p.  529. 
*  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk,  after   saying  that  the  production  of  harmonized 


This  power  of  co-ordinate  action,  which  the  spinal  centres 
acquire  by  assimilation  of  the  influence  of  the  individual's 
surroundings  and  respondent  reaction  thereto,  is  plainly  a  most 
useful,  as  it  is  a  most  necessary,  provision  of  nature.  For  if  an 
act  became  no  easier  after  being  done  several  times,  if  the  care- 
ful direction  of  consciousness  were  necessary  on  every  occasion 
to  its  accomplishment,  it  is  evident  that  the  whole  activity  of  a 
lifetime  might  be  confined  to  one  or  two  deeds — that  no  progress 
could  take  place  in  development.  A  man  might  be  occupied  all 
day  in  dressing  and  undressing  himself;  the  washing  of  his 
hands  or  the  fastening  of  a  button  would  be  as  difficult  to  him 
on  each  occasion  as  to  the  child  on  its  first  trial ;  and  he  would 
furthermore  be  completely  exhausted  by  his  exertions.  For 
while  secondary  automatic  acts  are  accomplished  with  compara- 
tively little  weariness — in  this  regard  approaching  the  organic 
movements,  or  the  original  reflex  movements — the  conscious 
efforts  of  the  will  soon  produce  exhaustion.  A  spinal  cord  with- 
out memory  would  simply  be  an  idiotic  spinal  cord  incapable  of 
culture — a  degenerate  nervous  centre  in  which  the  organization 
of  special  faculties  could  not  take  place.  It  is  the  lesson  of  a 
gocd  education  so  consciously  to  exercise  it  in  reference  to  its 
surroundings  that  it  shall  act  automatically,  in  accordance  with 
the  relations  of  the  individual  in  his  particular  walk  of  life. 

The  phenomena  of  secondary  automatic  action  are  well  fitted 
to  exhibit  the  mode  of  origin  and  nature  of  what  we  call  design. 
It  is  here  observably  an  acquisition  that  is  gradually  organized 
in  respondence  to  particular  experience  and  education ;  repre- 
senting as  it  does  the  acquired  nature  of  nerve  element,  its  mani- 
festation is  the  simple  result  of  the  constitution  of  the  material 
substratum,  just  as  the  properties  of  any  chemical  element  are 
the  unavoidable  result  of  its  nature.    That  means  are  adapted  to 

movement  is  due  to  the  ultimate  connexion  of  certain  groups  of  ganglionic 
cells  in  the  spinal  cord,  goes  on  to  say — "  It  has  always  heen  incomprehensible 
to  me,  how  any  one  could  ever  have  referred  it  (co-ordination)  to  the  cere- 
bellum. If  the  cause  of  this  co-ordination  lay  in  the  cerebellum,  no  horizontal 
reflex  movements  could  take  place  in  a  decapitated  frog." — On  the  Minute 
Structure  of  Spinal  Cord  and  Medulla  Oblongata,  p.  72.  The  supposition  that 
the  cerebellum  is  the  sole  centre  of  co-ordination  is  now,  in  fact,  abandoned  as 
untenable.  There  never  was  any  real  scientific  evidence  to  support  it,  while  there 
was  positive  evidence  against  it  .(See  Versuch  einer  physiologischen  Pathologic 
der  Nerven,  von  G.  Valentin,  1861,  vol.  ii.  p.  68.) 

80  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

the  production  of  an  end  in  the  phenomena  of  life,  is  but  another 
way  of  saying  that  what  we  please  to  call  life  exists ;  for  if 
means  were  not  adapted  to  an  end,  there  could  plainly  be  no 
end ;  and  if  we  choose  to  assume  a  certain  result  to  be  the  end 
of  certain  means,  then  we  are  but  saying  that,  according  to  our 
experience,  certain  combinations  of  matter  have  certain  definite 
properties.  In  the  building  up  of  the  secondary  automatic  facul- 
ties of  the  spinal  centres,  we  are  thus  able  to  trace  through  the 
course  of  its  formation  in  individual  life  that  design  which  we 
meet  with  fully  formed  in  the  innate  faculties  of  so  many 
animals ;  but  which  even  in  that  case  has  been,  as  we  shall  here- 
after see,  gradually  organized  through  generations.  If  it  be  said 
that  the  gradual  building  up  by  education  of  this  embodied 
design  into  the  constitution  of  the  nervous  centres  is  itself  an 
evidence  of  design,  then  we  can  only  answer,  that  such  propo- 
sition is  merely  a  statement  in  other  words  of  the  fact  that 
things  exist  as  they  do,  and  add  the  expression  of  a  conviction 
that  science  cannot  enter  into  the  councils  of  creation.  The 
growth  of  a  cancer  until  it  kills  the  body,  or  of  a  vice  until  it 
ruins  the  mind,  are  neither  more  nor  less  evidence  of  design. 
Should  these  considerations  not  be  satisfactoiy  to  the  teleolo- 
gists,  it  will  be  sufficient  to  recall  to  them  the  already  given 
observation  of  Spinoza,  and  to  congratulate  them  on  their  power 
of  diving  into  "the  mysteries  of  things  as  if  they  were  God's 
spies."  "Were  it  not  well,  however,  that  they  should  condescend 
to  humble  things,  and  unfold  to  us,  for  example,  the  final  cause 
of  the  mammary  gland  and  nipple  in  the  male  animal? 

As  the  faculties  of  the  spinal  cord  are  built  up  by  organiza- 
tion, so  must  they  be  kept  up  by  due  nutrition.  If  not  so ' 
preserved  in  vigour,  if  exhausted  by  excesses  of  any  kind,  the 
ill  effects  are  manifest  in  degenerate  action  ;  instead  of  definite 
co-ordinate  action  ministering  to  the  well-being  of  the  individual, 
there  ensue  irregular  spasmodic  or  convulsive  movements,  which, 
though  inevitable  consequences  of  the  degenerate  condition  of 
the  nerve  centres,  serve  no  good  end,  but  have  strangely  forgotten 
their  beneficial  design.*     Mr.  Paget  has  rendered  it  extremely 

*  Tliey  have,  no  doubt,  their  design  quite  as  much  as  the  healthy  movements, 
in  so  far  as  they  accomplish  what  they  cannot  help  doing,  their  destiny — in 
other  words,  fulfil  the  law  which  necessitates  them. 


probable  that  the  rhythmical  organic  movements,  such  as  those 
of  the  heart,  of  respiration,  of  the  cilia,  are  due  to  a  rhythmical 
nutrition ;  that  is,  "a  method  of  nutrition  in  which  the  acting  parts 
are,  at  certain  periods,  raised,  with  time-regulated  progress,  to  a 
state  of  instability  of  composition,  from  which  they  then  decline, 
and  in  their  decline  discharge  nerve-force."  *  It  is  intelligible, 
therefore,  why  they  are  never  tired  when  acting  naturally  ; 
between  each  succeeding  act  of  function  a  nutritive  repair  takes 
place,  and  the  time  of  each  occurrence  of  the  movement  repre- 
sents the  time-rate  of  nutrition.  But  the  spinal  centres  are 
equally  dependent  on  nutrition  for  the  maintenance  of  their 
functions ;  the  structural  or  chemical  change  produced  by  the 
ordinary  activity  of  the  day  must  be  repaired  during  a  period  of 
cessation  of  action.  This  restoration  most  likely  takes  place 
during  sleep ;  and  there  is  some  reason  to  believe  that  the 
periodical  action  of  the  spinal  centres  is,  like  rhythmical  organic 
movement,  dependent  upon,  or  closely  related  to,  the  time-rate 
of  nutrition.  The  unconscious  quiet  manner  in  which  the  auto- 
matic action  of  the  spinal  centres  is  performed,  though  in  one 
way  or  another  the  work  is  continuous  during  waking,  might 
seem  at  first  sight  to  render  no  cessation  of  action  necessary ; 
but  a  little  reflection  shows  that  here,  as  elsewhere,  the  expendi- 
ture of  force  must  be  balanced  by  a  corresponding  supply.  If  no 
rest  be  allowed,  the  exhaustion  is  evinced,  first,  in  an  inability  to 
accomplish  successfully  the  most  delicate  or  complex  associated 
movements — in  a  loss,  that  is,  of  design ;  then  in  trembling 
incapacity,  which,  if  the  degeneration  increases,  may  pass  on  to 
actual  spasmodic  movements  and  finally  to  paralysis.  Therein 
we  have  sure  evidence  that  the  constitution  of  the  nerve  ele- 
ment has  suffered  from  the  drain  of  activity. 

A  reflection  which  occurs,  in  considering  the  nervous  mecha- 
nism by  which  the  action  and  reaction  between  the  individual 
and  nature  take  place,  is  as  to  the  disproportionate  exhibition  of 
force  by  the  organism  to  the  force  of  the  simple  impression  which 
may  happen  to  be  made  upon  it.  How,  with  due  regard  to  the 
principle  of  the  conservation  of  force,  do  we  account  for  this 
seeming  generation  of  energy?     In  the  first  place,  the  central 

*  Croonian  Lecture  before  the  Eoyal  Society,  1857. 

82  THE  SPIXAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

ganglionic  cell  is  not  a  simple  impassive  body,  which  merely 
reflects  or  passes  onwards  a  received  current  of  activity,  without 
affecting  it  or  being  affected  by  it :  on  the  contrary,  it  is  the 
complexly  constituted,  supremely  endowed  centre  in  winch  force 
is  released  or  evolved  on  the  occasion  of  a  suitable  stimulus  ;  and 
that  which  is  perceived,  as  it  were,  in  the  spinal  cord  is  not  the 
actual  impression  made  upon  the  afferent  nerve,  but  it  is  the 
effect  produced  in  the  particular  central  nerve  cell  or  cells. 
Is  it  not  plain  enough  how  this  force  or  energy  is  evolved,  or,  as 
it  were,  unfolded  in  the  cell  ?  By  the  disturbance  of  the  statical 
equilibrium  of  an  intensely  vital  structure  ;  by  a  change  of  the 
material  into  lower  kinds,  or  a  degeneration  of  it,  and  a  correla- 
tive resolution  of  its  force  into  lower  modes  and  larger  volu- 
metrical  display.  There  is  not  any  actual  generation  of  force ; 
there  is  a  transformation  of  the  high  quality  of  latent  force 
which  the  nervous  monad  implies  into  actual  force  of  a  lower 
quality  and  larger  display.  Consider  what  has  been  previously 
said  as  to  the  nature  of  nerve  element  and  its  position  in  the 
universe  :  it  will  then  be  sufficiently  evident  what  manner  of 
process  it  is  that  takes  place.  Slowly  and,  as  it  were,  laboriously, 
by  a  steady  appropriation  and  ascent  through  many  gradations 
of  vitality,  does  organic  element  arrive  at  the  complex  and 
supreme  nature  of  nerve  structure ;  quickly  and  easily  does 
nerve  element  give  back  force  and  matter  to  nature,  in  the 
rapid  resolution  which  the  accomplishment  of  its  function 
implies.  (4) 

Thus  much  concerning  the  inherent  force  of  the  spinal  cord  as 
a  nervous  centre.  In  the  second  place,  bear  in  mind  the  nature 
of  its  acquired  faculties,  and  the  great  expenditure  of  force  made 
upon  its  education.  In  the  registration  of  impressions  made 
upon  it,  in  the  assimilation  of  their  residua,  there  is  slowly 
embodied  a  quantity  of  energy  as  an  organic  addition  of  power ; 
force  is  being  stored  up  in  the  gradual  organization  of  its 
faculties.  The  exhaustion  which  we  feel  from  our  efforts  to 
acquire  any  particular  skill  of  movements,  as  in  learning  to 
dance,  the  labour  given  to  the  frequent  voluntary  repetition  of 
the  stimulus  and  adapted  reaction  thereto,  until  by  practice  the 
definite  relation  has  been  established,  and  the  desired  skill 
acquired  ;— these  testify  to  the  expenditure  of  so  much  force 


which  has  been  laid  up  as  statical  power  in  the  constitution  of 
the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  cord,  rendering  possible  for  the  future 
a  group  of  associated  movements  in  answer  to  a  moderate  and,  as 
might  often  seem,  disproportionate  stimulus  from  without.  Like 
the  brain,  the  spinal  cord  lays  up  good  store  of  power  in  its 
memory.  Man's  life  truly  represents  a  progressive  development 
of  the  nervous  system,  none  the  less  so  because  it  takes  place  out 
of  the  womb  instead  of  in  it.  The  regular  transmutation  of 
motions  which  are  at  first  voluntary  into  secondary  automatic 
motions,  as  Hartley  called  them,  is  due  to  a  gradually  effected 
organization  in  the  proper  centres  ;  and  we  may  rest  assured  of 
this,  that  co-ordinate  activity  always  testifies  to  stored-up  power, 
either  innate  or  acquired. 

The  way  in  which  an  acquired  faculty  of  the  parent  animal  is 
sometimes  distinctly  transmitted  to  the  progeny  as  a  heritage, 
instinct,  or  innate  endowment,  furnishes  a  striking  confirmation 
of  the  foregoing  observations.  Power  which  has  been  laboriously  y 
acquired  and  stored  up  as  statical  in  one  generation  manifestly 
in  such  case  becomes  the  inborn  faculty  of  the  next ;  and  the 
development  takes  place  in  accordance  with  that  law  of  in- 
creasing speciality  and  complexity  of  adaptation  to  external 
nature  which  is  traceable  through  the  animal  kingdom,  or,  in 
other  words,  that  law  of  progress  from  the  general  to  the  special 
in  development  which  the  appearance  of  nerve  force  amongst 
natural  forces  and  the  complexity  of  the  nervous  system  of  man 
both  illustrate.  As  the  vital  force  gathers  up  into  itself  in- 
ferior forces,  and  might  be  justly  said  to  be  a  development  of 
them,  or  as  in  the  appearance  of  nerve  force  simpler  and  more 
general  forces  are  gathered  up  and  concentrated  in  a  more  special 
and  complex  mode  of  energy  ;  so  again,  a  further  specialization 
takes  place  in  the  development  of  the  nervous  system,  whether 
watched  through  generations  or  through  individual  life.  Not 
by  limiting  our  observation  to  the  life  of  the  individual,  how- 
ever, who  is  but  a  link  in  the  chain  of  organic  beings  con- 
necting the  past  with  the  future,  shall  we  come  at  the  full 
truth ;  the  present  individual  is  the  inevitable  consequence  of 
his  antecedents  in  the  past,  and  through  the  examination  of  these 
alone  do  we  arrive  at  the  adequate  explanation  of  him.  It 
behoves  us,  then,  having  found  any  faculty  to  be  innate,  not  to 

6  2 

84  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

rest  content  there,  but  steadily  to  follow  backwards  the  line  of 
causation,  and  thus  to  display,  if  possible,  its  manner  of  origin. 
This  is  the  more  necessaiy  with  the  lower  animals,  where  so 
much  is  innate. 

And  now,  having  done  with  the  general  functions  of  the  spinal 
cord  as  an  aggregation  of  independent  nerve  centres  ministering 
to  the  animal  life,  let  us  add  that  they  were  distinctly  recognised 
by  the  physiologist  long  before  the  anatomist  was  in  a  condition 
to  give  the  physical  explanation.  It  is  only  recently  that  the 
nerve  fibres  which  pass  to  or  from  the  spinal  cord  have  been 
proved  to  be  connected  with  the  unipolar,  bipolar,  and  multi- 
polar cells  of  its  grey  substance  ;  and  this  so  plainly  as  to  justify 
the  belief  that  an  isolated  apolar  nervous  cell  does  not  exist  in 
the  spinal  cord  or  brain*  Fo\  the  conveyance  of  an  impression 
to  the  grey  centres,  and  for  the  passage  of  the  reacting  force 
outwards,  there  is  thus  revealed  a  definite  physical  path,  along 
which  the  current  of  activity  travels.  From  the  cells  with 
which  nerves  are  connected,  again,  other  processes  go  to  join 
neighbouring  cells,  and  thus,  forming  a  connecting  path  between 
them,  enable  them  to  act  together :  hundreds  of  ganglionic 
cells  are  yoked  together  by  such  anastomoses,  and,  functionally 
co-ordinated  thereby,  represent  the  centres  of  innervation  of 
corresponding  systems  of  motor  nerves.  By  similar  anastomoses 
the  ganglionic  cells  of  different  nervous  centres  are  connected, 
and  thus  a  means  is  afforded  for  the  communication  of  the 
activity  of  one  centre  to  another.  A  consideration  of  the 
nervous  system  of  the  Annelida  will  assist  in  the  conception 
of  the  physiological  nature  of  the  spinal  cord.  In  those  humble 
creatures  the  central  nervous  system  consists  of  a  ganglionic 
apparatus,  each  ganglion  of  which  is  united  to  that  which  pre- 
cedes it,  and  that  which  follows  it,  by  longer  or  shorter  nervous 
connexions.  Now  the  spinal  cord  of  the  Vertebrata  may  be 
considered  as  an  analogous  ganglionic  apparatus,  the  connect- 
ing cords  of  which  are  not  seen  by  reason  of  the  coalescence 
of  the  ganglia.  From  a  physiological  point  of  view,  therefore, 
the  grey  substance  may  be  considered  as  formed  of  distinct 
segments,  each  segment  consisting  of  a  group  or  association  of 

*  The  connexions  of  fibres  with  cells  have  been  observed  most  plainly  in  the 
lamprey  by  Owsjannikow,  and  by  Bidder  and  his  pupils  of  the  Dorpat  School. 


cells,  and  having  connected  with  it  the  roots  of  two  anterior 
motor  and  two  posterior  sensory  nerves.  Many,  therefore,  are 
the  channels  by  which  the  activity  excited  in  the  nerve-cell 
by  the  stimulus  of  the  efferent  nerve  may  be  disposed  of :  it 
may  at  once  be  reflected  on  an  efferent  nerve,  and  pass  into 
muscular  motion ;  or  it  may  pass  to  other  interconnected  cells, 
and,  acting  thus  upon  a  system  of  nerves,  produce  associated 
movements,  either  such  as  proceed  from  the  cord  nearly  on  the 
same  level  as  the  afferent  nerve  enters,  or  from  a  different  level ; 
or,  lastly,  it  may  pass  upwards,  and  excite  the  higher  functionally 
co-ordinated  centres. 

To  Pfliiger  belongs  the  merit  of  having  first  attempted  to 
systematize  the  laws  of  the  reflex  movements.      They  are  : — 
1.  The  law  of  simultaneous  conduction  for  one-sided  reflex  move- 
ments.    When  a  reflex  movement  takes  place  only  on  one  side 
of  the  body  in  consequence  of  a  stimulus,  it  is  always  on  the 
same  side  of  the  body  as  the  irritation  of  the  afferent  nerve ;  the 
reason  being  probably  that  the  motor  nerves  proceed  from  gan- 
glionic cells  which  are  in  direct  connexion  with  the  stimulated 
afferent  nerves. — 2.  The  law  of  symmetry  of  reflex  action.    When 
a  stimulus  has  produced  reflex  movements  on  one  side,  and  its 
continuance  or  its  further  extension  in  the  spinal  cord  produces 
movements  of  the  opposite  side,  then  the  corresponding  muscles 
only  of  this  side  are  affected.     This  is  owing,  no  doubt,  to  the 
commissural  system,  which  connects  together  the  corresponding 
ganglionic  cells  of  the  two  halves  of  the  cord. — 3.  The  unequally 
intense  reflex  action  of  the  two  sides  in  the  event  of  both  being 
affected.     When  the  reflex  action  is  stronger  on  one  side  than 
upon  the  other,  the  stronger  movements  take  place  upon  the  side 
of  the  irritation. — 4.  The  law  of  irradiation  of  reflex  action,  by 
which  an  extension  of  reflex  action  takes  place  from  the  nerves 
in  which  it  first  appears  to  neighbouring  ones,  owing  to  the 
communications  between  the  different  systems  or  groups  of  gan- 
glionic cells.     When  the  excitation  of  an  afferent  cereh*al  nerve 
is  transferred  to  motor  nerves,  we  observe  that  the  roots  of  both 
sorts  of  nerves  are  placed  nearly  upon  the  same  level  in  the 
central  organ,  or  that  the  motor  nerve  lies  a  little  behind  or 
below,  never  in  front  of  or  above,  the  afferent  nerve.      If  the 
reflex  action  spreads  further,  the  way  of  irradiation  is  downwards 

86  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OB  [ciiap. 

to  the  medulla  oblongata;  stimulation  of  the  optic  nerve,  for 
example,  produces  contraction  of  the  iris.  In  the  spinal  cord 
the  primarily  affected  motor  nei  :e  lies  nearly  on  the  level  of  the 
stimulated  sensory  nerve.  But  if  the  reflex  action  spreads,  then 
it  passes  v.jnvards  towards  the  medulla.  "When  the  irritation 
has  arrived  at  the  medulla,  then  it  may  pass  downwards  again. 
— 5.  The  reflex  action  produced  by  the  irritation  of  a  sensory 
nerve  can  only  appear  in  three  places,  whether  one-sided  or 
occurring  on  both  sides  of  the  body,  (a)  It  appears  in  the 
motor  nerves  which  lie  nearly  on  the  same  level  with  the 
excited  sensory  nerve,  (b)  If  reflex  action  implicates  the  motor 
nerves  on  a  different  level,  these  motor  nerves  are  constantly 
such  as  spring  from  the  medulla  oblongata :  tetanus  and  hys- 
terical convulsions,  in  conseqi;ence  of  local  irritations,  furnish 
examples,  (c)  The  reflex  action  affects  the  muscles  of  the  body 
generally;  the  principal  focus  of  irradiation  thereof  being  the 
medulla  oblongata, 

I  proceed  next  to  .indicate  briefly  the  causes  which  affect  the 
\    functional  activity  of  the  spinal  cord  : — 

1.  As  an  original  fact,  the  ganglionic  cells  may  have  a  greater 
or  less  stability  of  composition.  It  sometimes  happens  that  a 
child  is  born  with  so  great  a  natural  instability  of  nerve  element, 
that  the  most  violent  convulsions  ensue  on  the  occasion  of  very 
slight  irritation.  Or  the  evil  may  be  less  serious,  and  the  indi- 
vidual may  be  equal  to  the  ordinary  emergencies  of  a  quiet, 
favourably  spent  life ;  but  there  is  an  absence  of  that  reserve 
power  necessary  to  meet  the  extraordinary  emergencies  and 
unusual  strain  of  adverse  events.  When,  therefore,  an  unac- 
customed stress  is  laid  upon  the  feeble  nerve  element,  it  is 
unequal  to  the  demand  made  upon  it,  and  breaks  down  into  a 
rapid  degeneration.  This  innate  feebleness  is  evinced  by  an 
excessive  irritability ;  it  is  truly  an  irritable  weakness ;  and  its 
most  common  cause  is  an  unfortunate  inheritance,  the  curse  of 
a  bad  descent.  Any  sort  of  disease  of  the  nervous  system  in  the 
parent  seems  to  predispose  more  or  less  to  this  ill  condition  of 
the  child,  the  acquired  deterioration  of  the  parent  becoming  the 
inborn  organic  feebleness  of  the  offspring. 

The  degeneration  of  nerve  element  in  the  ganglionic  cells 
reveals  itself  in. a  disturbance  of  the  co-ordinate  or  aim-working 


activity  which,  as  we  have  already  seen,  marks  the  highest 
development  of  its  function.  Convulsions  are  the  sure  signs 
of  a  weakness  or  lowered  vitality  of  nerve  element, — a  defect 
which,  though  we  cannot  yet  ascertain  its  exact  nature,  certainly 
implies  an  unstable  equilibrium  of  the  organic  constitution.  Each 
central  nerve-cell  exists  in  close  relations,  physical  and  physio- 
logical, with  other  nerve-cells ;  when,  regardless  of  these  rela- 
tions, it  reacts  directly  outwards  on  its  own  account,  it  is  very 
much  like  an  individual  in  a  social  system  who,  by  reason  of 
madness,  is  unable  to  maintain  his  due  social  relations. 

Not  only  may  an  excess  of  irritability  be  a  defect  in  the  nature 
of  the  ganglionic  cell,  but  this  may  be  defective  also  by  reason 
of  a  great  insensibility  of  nature  and  a  want  of  power  of  assimi- 
lation. In  congenital  idiots  the  central  cells  of  the  cord  do 
plainly  sometimes  partake  of  the  degeneracy  of  the  brain,  and 
are  idiotic  also ;  they  are  incapable  of  receiving  impressions 
with  any  vividness,  and  of  retaining  the  traces  or  residua  of 
such  as  they  do  receive, — incapable  of  education.  Spasms  of 
the  limbs,  sometimes  limited  to  the  toe,  to  one  arm  or  leg,  at 
other  times  more  general ;  contractions  of  a  foot,  or  of  the  knees 
to  such  degree  as  to  make  the  heels  touch  the  buttocks ;  more 
frequent  still,  paralytic  conditions  of  varying  degree  and  extent, 
atrophied  limbs,  now  and  then  indulging  in  convulsive  move- 
ment ; — all  these  morbid  states  are  met  with  in  idiots,  and, 
though  in  part  attributable  to  the  brain,  are  certainly  in  part 
due  to  degeneration  of  a  spinal  cord  utterly  oblivious  of  its 
design  or  final  purpose  in  the  universe.  In  some  cases 
where  the  morbid  degeneration  is  not  so  extreme,  it  is  not 
impossible  to  teach  such  combinations  of  movements  as  are 
necessary  for  the  common  work  of  life.  It  may  be  observed 
incidentally  that  the  ease  and  rapidity  with  which  those  idiots 
who  have  by  perseverance  been  taught  difficult  feats  of  action, 
perform  them — the  machine-like  exactness  of  their  movements 
— display  well  the  important  functions  of  the  spinal  cord  as  an 
independent  nerve  centre ;  for  they  display  its  functions  in  a 
case  in  which  the  influence  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres  is  almost 

2.  The  functional  action  of  the  spinal  ganglionic  cells  may 
suffer  from  the  too  powerful  or  prolonged  action  of  an  external 

88  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

stimulus,  or  from  an  activity  continued  without  due  interval 
of  rest.  The  molecular  degeneration  or  waste,  which  is  the 
condition  of  functional  activity,  must  be  repaired  by  rest  and 
nutrition ;  the  nerve-cell  is  no  inexhaustible  fountain  of  force, 
but  must  take  in  from  one  quarter  what  it  gives  out  in  another ; 
and  if  due  time  be  not  allowed  for  the  development  of  its  highly 
vital  structure  by  assimilation  of  matter  of  a  lower  quality,  it  is 
certain  that,  notwithstanding  the  best  innate  constitution,  de- 
terioration must  ensue  as  surely  as  a  fuelless  •  fire  must  go  out. 
In  that  degeneration  of  the  spinal  cord  which  sometimes  occurs 
in  consequence  of  masturbation  or  great  venereal  excess,  one  of 
the  first  symptoms  is  a  loss  of  co-ordinating  power  over  the 
motions  of  the  legs — a  loss,  in  other  words,  of  that  which  is  the 
last  organized  faculty  of  the  spinal  centres.  The  startings  of  the 
limbs,  and  the  partial  contractions  of  certain  muscles  which 
may  follow,  do  not  evince  increased  power,  as  some  have  heed- 
lessly fancied,  but  are  the  indications  of  lowered  vitality ;  they 
are  the  incoherent  manifestations  of  a  degenerate  instability  of 
nerve  element.  When  such  a  morbid  condition  of  things  is 
brought  about,  there  is  necessarily  a  failure  in  the  power  of  the 
ganglionic  cells  to  receive  and  assimilate  impressions  :  hence  it 
is  that  in  general  paralytics,  in  whom  the  memory  of  each  inde- 
pendent nervous  centre  is  decayed,  there  is  not  only  an  inability 
to  accomplish  successfully  the  actions  to  which  they  have  been 
accustomed — as,  for  example,  an  inability  of  a  tailor,  whom  from 
his  conversation  one  would  deem  quite  capable  of  his  work,  to 
sew ;  but  there  is  also  the  impossibility  of  teaching  them  new 
combinations  of  movements.  In  other  sorts  of  lunatics  this  is 
often  possible :  though  mentally  much  degenerate,  and  actually 
lost  for  ever  to  the  world,  they  may  by  persevering  training  be 
made  useful  in  certain  simple  relations  to  which  they  grow  and 
react  as  automatic  machines,  their  own  cerebral  hemispheres  not 
interfering ;  the  general  paralytics,  in  whom  the  disease  has 
advanced  so  far  as  to  affect  the  cord,  cannot  thus  be  utilized. 

3.  The  supply  of  blood  and  the  condition  of  it  are  manifestly 
of  the  greatest  consequence  to  the  welfare  of  the  spinal  cells. 
The  grey  matter  of  the  cord  is  very  richly  supplied  with  capil- 
laries, to  the  end  that  there  may  be  a  quick  renewal  of  blood 
ministering  to  the  active  interchange  that  goes  on  between  the 


ganglionic  cell  and  the  nutrient  fluid ;  the  enormous  consump- 
tion of  force  in  nervous  function  demands  such  an  abundance  of 
supply.  When  the  supply  of  blood  is  suddenly  cut  off,  as  in 
the  well-known  experiments  of  Stannius,  Brown-Sequard,  and 
Schiff,  the  nervous  activity  is  presently  paralysed,  and  rigor 
mortis  of  the  muscles  ensues.  When  the  supply  of  blood  is 
soon  restored  to  a  part  in  which  rigor  mortis  has  taken  place, 
as  in  Brown-Sequard's  experiment  of  injecting  warm  blood 
into  the  stiffened  arm  of  an  executed  criminal,  the  muscles 
presently  regain  their  contractility,  and  the  nerves  their  irrita- 
bility. As  a  complete  cutting-off  of  the  blood  is  paralysis  of 
nerve  element,  so  a  deficiency  of  blood,  or  of  material  in  it  fitted 
for  the  nutrition  of  nerve,  is  to  the  extent  of  its  existence  a  cause 
of  degeneration  or  instability  of  nerve  element.  Such  deteriora- 
tion is  exhibited  by  cachectic  and  anaemic  persons  in  a  great 
irritability,  and  in  a  disposition  to  spasms  or  convulsions — an 
acquired  condition  not  unlike  that  which  is  sometimes  inherited. 

The  state  of  the  blood  may  be  vitiated  by  reason  of  the 
presence  of  some  foreign  matter  which,  whether  bred  in  it  or 
introduced  from  without,  acts  injuriously,  or  as  a  direct  poison 
on  the  individual  nerve-cells.  Strychnia  notably  so  affects  them 
that,  on  the  occasion  of  the  slightest  stimulus,  they  react  in 
convulsive  activity;  while  the  woorara  poison,  on  the  other 
hand,  produces  a  sort  of  stupor,  or  coma,  and  paralyses  all 
activity.  Moreover,  if  a  sufficiently  large  quantity  of  strychnia 
be  introduced  under  the  skin  of  a  frog,  the  effects  may  closely 
resemble  those  produced  by  the  woorara  poison ;  death  taking 
place  without  any,  or  with  only  very  feeble,  convulsions.  Opium, 
which  usually  produces  coma  in  man,  produces  convulsions  in 
frogs.  We  might,  were  it  needful,  accept  these  different  effects 
of  poisons,  which  are  alike  positively  injurious  to  the  integrity  of 
nerve  element,  as  evidence  that  convulsions  do  not  mean  strength, 
are  not  the  result  of  an  increase  in  the  proper  vital  activity  of 
parts,  but  the  result  of  degenerate  vital  action,  and  the  fore- 
runners of  paralysis.  These  vegetable  poisons  indicate  also,  by 
their  different  effects,  the  fine  differences  of  composition  in  the 
ganglionic  cells  of  the  central  nervous  system  ;  they  are  the 
most  sensitive  reagents  in  this  regard  which  we  yet  possess. 

There  is  reason  to  believe  that  the  presence  of  too  much  blood 


90  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

in  the  spinal  cord  may  be  as  baneful  as  an  insufficient  supply. 
All  the  symptoms  of  disorder  of  nerve  element  which  accom- 
pany anaemia  may  certainly  be  produced  also  by  congestion, 
or  hyperaenria.  However,  this  matter  will  be  more  properly 
and  more  fully  considered  when  we  come  to  the  pathology 
of  nerve. 

4  The  existence  of  a  persistent  cause  of  eccentric  irritation, 
whether  the  result  of  injury  or  disease  in  some  part  of  the  body, 
may  give  rise  to  a  morbid  state  of  the  spinal  nerve- cells  by  a 
so-called  sympathetic  or  reflex  action.  Volkmann  has  observed 
movements  to  be  produced  in  the  limbs  of  a  decapitated  frog  by 
stimulation  of  the  intestinal  canal ;  the  results  being  much  more 
evident  if  the  animal  has  previously  been  poisoned  with  strychnia. 
The  convulsions  which  sometimes  take  place  during  teething  in 
children,  or  owing  to  the  presence  of  worms  in  the  intestines,  are 
familiar  examples  of  such  secondary  effect  upon  a  susceptible 
growing  nervous  system.  It  is  necessary  to  distinguish  two 
kinds  of  effects  of  this  reflex  action — or,  perhaps,  different 
degrees  of  the  same  kind  of  effect — namely,  a  reflex  functional 
modification  and  a  reflex  nutritive  modification. 

The  irritation  of  a  decayed  tooth  may,  as  is  well  known,  give 
rise  to  a  contraction  of  the  muscles  of  one  side  of  the  neck,  or 
to  a  violent  facial  neuralgia,  or  to  blindness  or  deafness,  all 
which  presently  disappear  upon  the  removal  of  the  cause  of 
mischief.  A  functional  derangement  only  has  existed  so  far. 
But  the  irritation  of  a  bad  tooth  produces  a  greater  and  more 
lasting  effect,  when,  as  does  now  and  then  happen,  an  abscess  in 
the  glands  of  the  neck  takes  place  in  consequence  of  it,  and 
remains  an  incurable  fistula  until  the  removal  of  the  scarce  sus- 
pected cause.  The  nutritive  derangement  has  been  caused  and 
kept  up  by  the  reflex  irritation.  It  must  certainly  be  allowed 
that  the  functional  disorder,  when  it  alone  seems  to  exist,  does 
testify  to  some  kind  of  change  in  the  molecular  relations  of  the 
ganglionic  cells ;  but  as  the  abnormal  modification  vanishes  the 
moment  the  real  cause  of  mischief,  the  bad  tooth,  is  gone,  it  is 
scarcely  possible  to  view  the  disturbed  function  as  evidence  of 
any  serious  chemical  or  organic  derangement  in  the  nerve-cells. 
With  the  continuance  of  the  cause  of  irritation,  the  functional 
disorder  undoubtedly  may,  and  is  liable  to,  pass  into  disorder  of 


nutrition.  The  relations  of  these  different  degrees  or  kinds  of 
derangement  to  the  morbid  cause  are  such  that  we  might  not 
unfairly  represent  the  sole  existing  functional  derangement  as 
due  to  a  modification  of  the  polar  molecules  of  the  nerve  ele- 
ment, while  the  abnormal  nutrition  may  be  supposed  to  mark 
an  actual  chemical  change  in  its  constitution. 

Again,  as  the  spinal  centres  minister  both  to  our  animal  life 
and  to  our  organic  life,  they  necessarily  have,  in  the  former  case, 
a  periodical  function ;  in  the  latter  case,  a  continuous  function.* 
"When,  therefore,  a  morbid  condition  of  the  ganglionic  cells,  as 
subserving  the  animal  life,  exists,  the  functional  derangement 
will  probably  be  not  continuous  but  intermittent.  Thus,  in 
epilepsy,  it  appears  as  if  the  reacting  centres  must  be  gradually 
charged  until  they  reach  a  certain  tension  or  instability,  when 
the  statical  equilibrium  is  destroyed,  and  they  discharge  them- 
selves violently.  Something  of  the  same  kind  takes  place  in  the 
poisonous  action  of  strychnia  :  a  dog  so  poisoned  will  fall  down 
in  convulsions,  but,  according  to  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk, 
they  cease  after  a  time,  and  the  animal  seems  to  be  perfectly 
well ;  even  for  so  long  as  an  hour  it  may  be  touched  or  stroked 
without  harm;  after  which  the  susceptibility  again  becomes  so 
great,  that  by  simply  blowing  upon  the  skin  convulsions  are 
reproduced.  When,  on  the  other  hand,  the  function  of  the 
spinal  centres,  as  ministering  to  the  organic  life,  is  deranged? 
then  the  morbid  effect  will  not  unlikely  be  continuous.  The 
experiments  of  Lister,  showing  that  the  movements  of  the 
granules  in  the  pigment  cells  of  the  frog's  skin  are  under  the 
control  of  the  spinal  system,  and  the  investigations  of  Bernard, 
agree  to  prove  that  the  cerebro-spinal  axis  not  only  regulates 
the  contractions  of  the  small  arteries,  but  directly  influences 
the  organic  elements  engaged  in  nutrition  and  secretion.  The 
moment  food  is  introduced  into  the  mouth  there  is  a  flow  of 
saliva  and  of  gastric  juice.  Numerous  examples  have  been  of 
old  quoted  of  distant  modifications  of  nutrition  in  consequence 
of  some  irritation  of  a  centripetal  nerve:  a  large  secretion  of 
extremely  acid  gastric  juice  has  been  cured  by  the  extirpation  of 

*  They  have,  however,  a  continuous  action  upon  the  voluntary  muscles  in 
maintaining  their  tonicity,  as  also  upon  the  sphincters  in  keeping  up  their 

92  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

painful  piles ;  ptyalism  is  sometimes  produced  by  neuralgia,  as 
lachrymation  frequently  is  "by  neuralgia  of  the  fifth  nerve  ;  irrita- 
tion of  the  uterus,  or  of  the  skin  cf  the  breasts,  or  of  the  mucous 
membrane  of  the  vagina,  will  sometimes  give  rise  to  the  secretion 
of  milk  ;  and  menstruation  may  follow  irritation  of  the  ovaries, 
or  the  application  of  warm  poultices  to  the  breasts.  "We  witness 
phenomena  due  to  this  reflex  nutritive  action  again  in  the  sym- 
pathy which  one  eye  so  often  exhibits  with  disease  of  the  other  ; 
in  the  congestion  of  the  eye  or  the  actual  amaurosis  which  some- 
times accompanies  severe  neuralgia ;  in  the  paraplegia  due  to 
displacement  or  disease  of  the  uterus ;  and  in  many  other 
instances  too  numerous  to  be  mentioned.*  Pfliiger  quotes  from 
Dieffenbach  a  striking  case,  which  admirably  illustrates  the 
effects  of  an  eccentric  irritation  upon  the  spinal  cord.  A  young 
girl  fell  upon  a  wine-glass,  and  cut  one  hand  with  a  piece  of 
the  broken  glass  ;  for  years  afterwards  she  suffered  from  violent 
neuralgic  pains  and  emaciation,  with  contraction  and  complete 
uselessness  of  the  hand.  She  was  afflicted  also  with  severe 
attacks  of  epilepsy.  On  cutting  through  the  cicatrix  of  the  old 
wound,  a  minute  splinter  of  glass,  which  had  wounded  the  nerve, 
was  detected ;  the  nerve  was  also  thickened  and  hardened.  After 
removal  of  the  glass,  the  neuralgia  and  epilepsy  disappeared,  and 
the  girl  recovered  the  entire  use  of  her  hand. 

5.  Lastly,  the  severance  of  the  connexion  between  the  brain 
and  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  spinal  cord  seems  in  some  degree 
to  affect  their  function.  When  a  nerve  is  cut  across  in  the  living 
body,  the  peripheral  end  soon  undergoes  fatty  degeneration,  while 
the  central  end  remains  unchanged  after  years ;  and  this  degene- 
ration is  not  owing  solely  to  the  inactivity  of  the  nerve,  for  it 
still  takes  place  when  the  nerve  is  regularly  stimulated,  and 
takes  place  much  less  quickly  in  frogs  and  cold-blooded  animals 

*  It  is  customary  now  to  describe  as  reflex  the  modifications  of  sensation,  as 
well  as  those  of  nutrition,  secretion,  and  motion,  which  occur  in  a  distant  part 
by  reason  of  the  irritation  of  some  afferent  nerve  ;  but  it  is  a  question  deserving 
consideration  whether  the  old  word  sympathy  is  not  more  appropriate  to  designate 
the  modifications  of  sensation,  and  whether  the  word  "reflex"  should  not  be  applied 
specially  to  the  reflection  of  a  stimulus  from  an  afferent  on  to  an  efferent  nerve. 
The  motion  too  which  sometimes  occurs  in  a  part  not  from  direct  stimulation, 
but  sympathetically  with  motion  excited  in  some  other  part  of  the  body,  might 
not  improperly  be  described  as  synergy. 


than  in  warm-blooded  animals.  The  researches  of  Waller — which 
have  been  confirmed  by  Longet,  Schiff,  and  others — are  most 
important  in  regard  to  this  subject.  It  is  certainly  a  fair  conclu- 
sion from  them  that  the  nerve  fibres  have  their  nutrition  sub- 
jected in  some  measure  to  the  nerve  centres  ;  these  would  indeed 
appear  to  play  in  relation  to  them  the  part  of  nutritive  centres. 
After  apoplexy  in  or  about  the  corpus  striatum,  Turck  professes 
to  have  found  granular  cells  in  the  course  of  the  fibres  as  they 
pass  downwards,  so  that  such  cells  were  met  with  in  the  spinal 
cord  on  the  opposite  side  to  the  seat  of  disease.  It  is  known, 
too,  that  the  removal  of  the  brain  in  the  lower  animals  increases 
the  ease  with  which  reflex  movements  take  place ;  and  there  are 
many  cases  on  record  in  which  the  reflex  action  has  been  increased 
in  man  when  disease  or  injury  has  interrupted  the  continuity  of 
the  spinal  centres  with  the  brain.  May  we  not,  then,  conclude 
from  such  facts  that  a  positive  influence  is  exercised  by  the  brain 
upon  the  nutrition]  of  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  cord  and  the 
nerve  fibres  which  proceed  from  the  cerebro- spinal  axis,  as  well 
as  by  the  spinal  centres  on  the  nerve  fibres  which  proceed  directly 
from  them  ?  In  fact,  may  we  not  justly  conclude  that  such  an 
influence  is  exerted  by  every  nerve  centre  on  the  centre 
subordinate  to  it,  and  on  the  nerves  which  proceed  from  it  ?  The 
inference  would  be  agreeable  to  what  we  know  of  the  direct 
influence  of  the  functional  action  of  the  brain  upon  that  of  the 
cord  ;  the  reflex  acts  in  health  being  for  the  most  part  notably 
subordinate  to  the  control  of  the  will.  As  a  guiding  influence 
passes  from  above  downwards  when  the  cerebro-spinal  system  is 
ministering  to  the  functions  of  animal  life ;  so  it  is  not  impro- 
bable that  the  brain,  in  the  accomplishment  of  its  function  as  an 
organ  of  organic  life,  exerts  some  power  which  is  favourable  to 
the  nutrition  of  the  parts  which  lie  below  it,  and  which  are  the 
instruments  through  which  it  acts.  This  influence  being  with- 
drawn, an  exaggeration  of  the  excitability  of  the  cord  occurs, 
such  as  a  wound  causing  tetanus  may  produce,  or  such  as  was 
produced  by  Brown-S^quard  in  guinea-pigs,  when,  having  injured 
their  spinal  cord  two  or  three  weeks  before,  he  was  able  to 
excite  epileptiform  convulsions  at  will,  by  pinching  the  skin  of 
the  face.  It  is  true  that  some  have  thought  to  explain  in  another 
way  the  increase  in  the  reflex  movements  which  follows  the 


94  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

severance  of  communication  between  the  brain  and  cord ;  they 
have  attributed  it  to  the  augmented  energy  of  the  spinal  centres, 
and  to  the  concentration  of  the  stimulus,  now  that  a  path  for  the 
dispersion  of  its  force  is  cut  off.  Such  theory  is  not  innocent  of 
the  vulgar  error  of  regarding  as  increased  energy  that  which  is 
truly  a  diminution  or  deterioration  of  the  higher  vital  energy  of 
the  part.  Has  it  ever  yet  happened  to  any  one  to  discover  that 
the  co-ordinate  reflex  acts  were  made  more  energetic  or  effective 
by  cutting  off  the  influence  of  the  brain  ?  One  most  necessary 
function  of  the  brain  is  to  exert  an  inhibitory  power  over  the 
nerve  centres  that  lie  below  it,  just  as  man  exercises  a  beneficial 
control  over  his  fellow  animals  of  a  lower  order  of  dignity ;  and 
the  increased  irregular  activity  of  the  lower  centres  surely 
betokens  a  degeneration :  it  is  I'ke  the  turbulent,  aimless  action 
of  a  democracy  without  a  head. 

Such,  then,  are  the  disturbing  causes  which  may  affect  the 
activity  of  the  spinal  cord,  both  as  a  conducting  path  and  as  an 
independent  centre  of  the  generation  of  nerve-power.  When 
we  reflect  upon  the  great  proportion  of  the  daily  actions  of  life 
that  are  effected  by  its  unconscious  agency,  we  cannot  but  per- 
ceive how  most  important  is  the  due  preservation  of  its  integrity. 
No  culture  of  the  mind,  however  careful,  no  effort  of  the  will, 
however  strong,  will  avail  to  prevent  irregular  and  convulsive 
action  when  a  certain  degree  of  instability  of  nerve  element  has, 
from  one  cause  or  another,  been  produced  in  the  spinal  cells.  It 
would  be  as  absurd  to  preach  control  to  the  spasms  of  chorea,  or 
restraint  to  the  convulsions  of  epilepsy,  as  to  preach  moderation 
to  the  east  wind,  or  gentleness  to  the  hurricane.  That  which  in 
such  case  has  its  foundation  in  a  definite  physical  cause  must 
have  its  cure  in  the  production  of  a  definite  physical  change. 

So  certain  and  intimate  is  the  sympathy  between  the  indivi- 
dual nerve-cells  in  that  well-organized  commonwealth  which  the 
nervous  system  represents,  that  a  local  disturbance  is  soon  felt 
more  or  less  distinctly  throughout  the  whole  state.  When  any 
serious  degeneration  of  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  cord  exists 
there  is  not  only  an  indisposition  or  inability  to  carry  out  as 
subordinate  agents  the  commands  which  come  from  above ;  but 
there  is  a  complaint  sent  upwards — a  moan  of  discontent  or  pain 
reaches  the  supreme  authority.     That  is  the  meaning  of  the 


feelings  of  weariness,  heaviness,  achings  of  the  limbs,  and  utter 
lassitude  which  accompany  disorder  of  the  spinal  centres  ;  and 
the  convulsive  spasms,  the  local  contractions  or  paralysis  of 
muscles,  are  the  first  signs  of  a  coming  rebellion.  If  the  warn- 
ings do  not  receive  timely  attention,  a  riot  may  easily  become 
a  rebellion ;  for  when  organic  processes,  which  normally  go  on 
without  consciousness,  force  themselves  into  consciousness,  it  is. 
the  certain  mark  of  a  vital  degeneration.  If  the  appeal  is  made 
in  vain,  then  further  degeneration  ensues.  Not  only  is  there 
irregular  revolutionary  action  of  a  subordinate,  but  there  is  pro 
tanto  a  weakening  of  the  supreme  authority ;  it  is  less  able  to 
control  what  is  more  difficult  of  control.  When  due  subordina- 
tion of  parts  exists,  and  the  individual  cell  conforms  to  the  laws 
of  the  system,  then  the  authority  of  the  head  is  strengthened. 
A  foolish  despot,  forgetting  in  the  pride  of  his  power  that  the 
strength  and  worth  of  a  government  flow  from  and  rest  upon 
the  well-being  of  the  governed,  may  fancy  that  he  can  safely 
disregard  the  cry  of  the  suffering  and  the  oppressed ;  but  when  he 
closes  his  ears  to  complaints,  he  closes  his  eyes  to  consequences, 
and  finally  wakes  up  to  find  his  power  slipped  from  him,  and 
himself  entered  upon  the  way  of  destruction.  So  is  it  with  the 
nervous  system :  the  cells  are  the  individuals,  and,  as  in  the 
state,  so  here,  there  are  individuals  of  higher  dignity  and  of 
lower  dignity  ;  but  the  well-being  and  power  of  the  higher  indi- 
viduals are  entirely  dependent  upon  the  well-being  and  content- 
ment of  the  humbler  workers  in  the  spinal  cord,  which  do  so 
great  a  part  of  the  daily  work  of  life.  The  form  of  government 
is  that  of  a  constitutional  monarchy,  in  which  every  interest  is 
duly  represented  through  adequate  channels,  and  in  which,  con- 
sequently, there  is  a  proper  subordination  of  parts. 

I  have  lingered  thus  long  upon  the  spinal  cord,  because  most 
of  what  has  been  said  with  regard  to  its  functions  may,  with 
the  necessary  change  of  terms,  be  applied  to  the  other  nervous 
centres.  A  distinct  conception  of  the  nature  and  mode  of 
development  of  the  functions  of  the  spinal  centres  is  the  best,  is 
indeed  the  only  adequate,  preparation  for  an  entrance  upon  the 
study  of  cerebral  action ;  it  is  an  indispensable  prerequisite 
to  the  right  understanding  of  the  higher  displays  of  nervous 
function,  and  alone  fixes  the  sure  basis  whereon  to  build  a  true 

96  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  OR  [chap. 

mental  science.*  In  this  way  we  apply  the  laws  generalized 
from  the  more  simple  cases  to  disentangle  the  phenomena  of  the 
more  complex  cases.  Any  system  not  so  founded  follows  not 
the  order  of  development  in  nature,  and  must  be  unstable  and 
insecure  :  Nature  herself  protests  against  it  with  energetic  elo- 
quence when  she  makes,  as  she  unquestionably  sometimes  does, 
morbid  action  of  the  cells  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres  vicarious 
of  the  morbid  action  of  the  spinal  cells. 


1  {p.  72). — Pfliiger  compares  the  movements  of  a  decapitated  animal 
with  those  of  a  sleeping  man,  deeming  the  movements  in  both  to  be 
conscious.  He  tickled  the  right  nc&tril  of  a  sleeping  boy,  and  the  lad 
rubbed  it  with  his  right  hand  :  when  Pfliiger  tickled  the  left  nostril  the 
lad  rubbed  it  with  his  left  hand.  If  he  held  the  sleeper's  right  hand 
without  waking  him,  and  tickled  his  right  nostril,  the  boy  first  made 
attempts  with  his  right  hand  to  rub  it,  but  when  this  did  not  succeed, 
and  the  irritation  continued,  he  then  made  use  of  the  left  hand. 

For  a  fuller  discussion  of  the  assumed  consciousness  of  the  spinal 
cord  I  must  refer  to  my  review  of  Mr.  Bain  on  the  "  Senses  and  the 
Intellect,"  in  the  Journal  of  Mental  Science  for  January  1865,  pp. 
558,  559.  I  will  only  now  add  a  quotation  from  Spinoza,  as  translated 
by  M.  Saisset.  "Personne,  en  effet,  n'a  determine  encore  ce  dont  le 
corps  est  capable ;  en  d'autres  termes  personne  n'a  encore  appris  de 
l'experience  ce  que  le  corps  peut  faire  et  ce  qu'il  ne  peut  pas  faire,  par 
les  seules  lois  de  la  nature  corporelle  et  sans  recevoir  de  l'anie  aucune 
determination."  "This  is  not  astonishing,"  he  adds,  "as  no  one  has 
sufficiently  studied  the  functions  of  the  body,"  and  instances  the 
marvellous  acts  of  animals  and  somnambulists — "toutes  choses  qui 
montrent  assez  que  le  corps  humain,  par  les  seules  lois  de  la  nature, 
est  capable  d'une  foule  d'operations  qui  sont  pour  l'ame  jointe  a  ce 

corps  un  objet  d'etonnement J'ajoute  enfin  que  le  mecanisme 

du  corps  humain  est  fait  avec  un  art  qui  surpasse  infiniment  l'industrie 
humaine."  The  associating  link  of  many  movements — as,  for  example, 
of  those  of  the  heart,  of  the  eye,  of  breathing — plainly  exists  in  the 

*  In  the  "Archiv.  fur  Physiolog.  Heilkunde,"  1843,  there  is  an  excellent  paper 
by  Prof.  Griesinger,  "  Ueber  psychische  Reflexactionen,  mit  einem  Blick  auf  das 
Wesen  der  psychischen  Krankheiten  ; "  and  another  in  the  same  Journal  for 
1854,  "Neue  Beitrage  zur  Physiologie  und  Pathologie  des  Gehirns." 


conformation  of  the  nervous  centres ;  the  wisdom  or  design  is 
exhibited  in  the  primary  arrangement,  whereby  the  reactions  of  the 
organism  necessarily  following  do,  as  a  rule,  minister  to  the  further- 
ance of  its  well-being. 

2  (p.  75). — "And  therefore  it  was  a  good  answer,"  says  Bacon,  "  that 
was  made  by  one  who  when  they  showed  him  hanging  in  a  temple 
a  picture  of  those  who  had  paid  their  vows  as  having  escaped  ship- 
wreck, and  would  have  him  say  whether  he  did  not  now  acknowledge 
the  power  of  the  gods,  '  Ay,'  asks  he  again,  '  but  where  are  they 
painted  that  were  drowned  after  their  vows'?'"  Speaking  of  final 
causes,  upon  which  the  human  understanding  falls  back,  he  says  that 
they  "  have  clearly  relation  to  the  nature  of  man  rather  than  to  the 
nature  of  the  universe ;  and  from  this  source  have  strangely  defiled 
philosophy." — Nov.  Org.  Aphorism  xlviii. 

3  {p.  76). — "After  the  actions  which  are  most  perfectly  voluntary 
have  been  rendered  so  by  one  set  of  associations,  they  may,  by  another, 
be  made  to  depend  upon  the  most  diminutive  sensations,  ideas,  and 
motions,  such  as  the  mind  scarce  regards,  or  is  conscious  of ;  and  which, 
therefore,  it  can  scarce  recollect  the  moment  after  the  action  is  over. 
Hence  it  follows  that  association  not  only  converts  automatic  action 
into  voluntary,  but  voluntary  ones  into  automatic.  For  these  actions, 
of  which  the  mind  is  scarce  conscious,  and  which  follow  mechanically, 
as  it  were,  some  precedent  diminutive  sensation,  idea,  or  motion,  and 
without  any  effort  of  the  mind,  are  rather  to  be  ascribed  to  the  body 
than  the  mind,  i.e.  are  to  be  referred  to  the  head  of  automatic  action. 
I  shall  call  them  automatic  motions  of  the  secondary  kind  to  distin- 
guish them  from  those  which  are  originally  automatic,  and  from  the 
voluntary  ones;  and  shall  now  give  a  few  instances  of  this  double 
transmutation  of  motions,  viz.  of  automatic  into  voluntary,  and  of 
voluntary  into  automatic."  He  instances  the  manner  in  which  children 
learn,  and  especially  the  way  we  learn  to  speak,  to  play  on  the  harpsi- 
chord, &c.  "The  doctrine  of  vibrations  explains  all  the  original 
automatic  motions  ;  that  of  association,  the  voluntary  and  secondarily 
automatic  ones." — Hartley's  Tlieory  of  the  Human  Mind,  edited  by 
Priestley,  pp.  32,  39. 

4  {jp.  82). — "  Impressionum  sensoriarum  in  motorias  reflexio,  quae  in 
ensorio  communi  fit,  non  peragitur  juxta  solas  leges  physicas,  ubi 

angulus  reflexionis  sequalis  est  angulo  incidentise,  et  ubi,  quanta  fit 
actio,  tanta  etiam  sequitur  reactio ;  sed  leges  peculiares,  a  natura  in 
pulpani  medullarem  sensorii  quasi  scriptas,  sequitur  ista  reflexio  quas 
ex  solis   effectibus   tantum  noscere,  neutiquani  vero  assequi  nostro 


98  THE  SPINAL  CORD,  ETC.  [chap.  hi. 

ingenio  valenius.  Generalis  tamen  lex,  qua  commune  sensoriuni  im- 
pressiones  seusorias  in  motorias  reflectit,  est  nostri  conservatio  :  ita  ut 
impressiones  externas  corpore  nosL-o  noscituras  sequantur  certae  im- 
pressiones  niotoriae,  motus  producturae  eo  collimantes,  ut  monumentum 
a  corpore  nostro  arceatur,  amoveaturque ;  et  vice  versa  impressiones 
externas  seu  sensorias,  nobis  profuturas,  sequantur  impressiones  interna? 
seu  motorias,  motus  productura?  eo  tendentes,  ut  gratus  ille  status  ultro 
conservetur." — Prochaska,  op.  cit.  p.  88. 



rPHE  different  collections  of  grey  matter  which  exist  in  the 
-*-   medulla  oblongata,  and  at  the  base  of  the  brain,  the  con- 
tinuations of  the  grey  matter  of  the  spinal  cord,  consist  chiefly 
of  the  nervous  centres  of  the  higher  senses,  with  corresponding 
centres  of  motional  reaction.     Continuing  the  grey  substance  as 
high  as  the  floor  of  the  lateral  ventricles,  they  include  the  optic 
thalami,  the  corpora  striata,  the  corpora  quadrigemina,  and  the 
different  sensory  centres  that  are  placed  in  the  medulla  oblon- 
gata, the  tuber  annulare,  and   the   cerebral   peduncles.      The 
olfactory  bulbs,  which  lie  at  the  base  of  the  anterior  cerebral 
lobes,  must  also  be  included  in  the  sensorium  commune.     Any 
one  of  the  senses  may  be  destroyed  by  injury  to  its  sensory 
ganglion  as  surely  as  by  actual  destruction  of  its  organ ;  blind- 
ness is  produced  by  injury  to  the  corpora  quadrigemina,  smell 
is  abolished  by  destruction  of  the  olfactory  bulbs.     These  gan- 
glionic centres  are  thus  intermediate  between  the  higher  hemi- 
spherical ganglia  above  and  the  spinal  centres  below  them ;  to 
those  they  are  subordinate,  to  these  they  are  superordinate.     In 
many  of  the  lower  animals,  as  already  pointed  out,  the  brain 
consists  of  nothing  more  than  the  sensory  ganglia,  with  centres 
of  motional  reaction. 

It  is  not  the  place  here  to  enter  into  a  discussion  of  the 
different  opinions  which  have  been  entertained  regarding  the 
exact  centres  of  the  different  senses  ;  much  of  what  is  said  on 
these  difficult  questions  is  still  conjectural.  It  was  maintained 
by  Dr.  Todd,  who  has  been  supported  in  his  views  by  Dr.  Car- 
penter, that  the  seat  of  common  sensation  is  located  in  the 

h  2 


thalami  optici,  because  it  is  in  these  "bodies  that  the  anterior 
columns  of  the  spinal  cord  see.i  to  terminate;  and  that  the 
corpora  striata,  to  which  the  posterior  columns  of. the  cord  pass, 
are  the  corresponding  motor  centres.  Vnlpiao,  however,  has 
brought  forward  strong  arguments  in  favour  of  assigning  the 
seat  of  common  sensation  to  the  tuber  annulare.  After  the 
removal  of  the  corpora  striata,  the  tubercula  quadrigemina,  and 
the  cerebellum — the  tuber  annulare  and  the  medulla  oblongata 
being  the  only  parts  of  the  encephalon  left — he  found  that  dogs 
and  rabbits  evinced,  by  violent  agitation  and  decided  cries  of  suf- 
fering, the  pain  felt  when  severely  pinched  or  otherwise  irritated. 
Moreover,  injuries  of  the  thalami  optici,  pathological  or  experi- 
mental, do  not  weaken  sensibility,  but  do  often  produce  motor 
paralysis.  He  concludes  that  we  are  yet  in  entire  ignorance  of 
the  special  functions  both  of  the  thalami  optici  and  the  corpora 
striata.  Notwithstanding  this  opinion,  those  who  have  examined 
the  arguments  on  this  subject  will  probably  conclude  that 
Vulpian's  theory  concerning  the  tuber  annulare  has  blinded  him 
to  the  import  of  the  evidence  in  favour  of  the  thalami  optici  and 
the  corpora  striata  as  sensory  and  motor  centres  respectively. 
It  may  well  be  that  they  are  not  the  entire  centres,  and  that 
there  are  other  centres  of  sensibility  and  motion  in  the  tuber 
annulare  and  cerebral  peduncles ;  but  that  they  do  minister  to 
those  functions  it  is  hardly  possible  to  doubt.  Meanwhile  all 
that  concerns  us  here,  in  dealing  with  the  cerebral  functions 
from  a  psychological  point  of  view,  is  to  have  some  general 
term  to  embrace  and  designate  all  the  centres  of  sensation ; 
and  for  this  purpose  we  shall  employ  the  term  tenaorwm  com- 
mune, using  it  to  denote  the  common  centres  of  sensation,  and 
not,  as  Yulpian  and  some  others  have  misused  it,  to  designate 
the  centres  of  common  sensation.  In  a  similar  sense  we  shall 
subsequently  use  the  terms  motorium  commune  and  intcllectorium 

The  ganglionic  centres  of  the  sensorium  commune  are  formed 
of  numerous  nerve-celis,  which,  like  those  of  the  spinal  cord, 
are  in  connexion  with  afferent  and  efferent  nerves ;  the  afferent 
nerves  in  this  case  coming  mostly  from  the  organs  of  the  special 
senses.  The  impressions  which  the  afferent  nerves  bring  are, 
therefore,  special  in  kind,  as  also  are  the  grey  nuclei  to  which 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  101 

they  are  brought;  a  progressive  differentiation  of  structure 
and  function  is  manifest ;  and  we  might  describe  the  sen- 
sorium  commune  physiologically  as  a  spinal  cord,  the  afferent 
nerves  of  which  are  the  nerves  of  the  special  senses,  or  rather 
of  the  various  kinds  of  sensibility.  For  although  we  usually 
distinguish  only  between  the  special  senses  and  general  sensi- 
bility, yet  there  are  really  different  kinds  of  the  latter,  each 
probably  having  its  special  nucleus :  the  tactile  sense,  the  sense 
of  temperature,  the  muscular  sense,  and  the  peculiar  sensibility 
of  the  glans  penis,  differ  not  in  degree  only,  but  in  kind.  An 
exact  knowledge  of  the  anatomical  relations  of  the  different  grey 
nuclei  is  still  wanting,  notwithstanding  the  patient  investigations 
of  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk.  All  that  we  are  certain  of  is,  that 
the  fibres  of  the  nerves  are  connected  with  the  cells,  as  may  be 
most  easily  seen  in  the  case  of  the  auditory  nerve  and  ganglion ; 
that  manifold  connexions  exist  between  different  nuclei ;  and 
that  fibres  may  sometimes  be  traced  from  the  nucleus  of  a 
sensory  nerve  to  a  motor  nerve  upon  which  it  is  known  to  exert 
a  reflex  action.  The  trigeminus,  or  fifth  nerve,  for  example, 
passes  from  above  downwards  through  the  medulla,  and  in  its 
downward  course  forms  reflex  connexions  with  all  the  motor 
nerves  of  the  medulla  as  it  approaches  the  level  of  their  nuclei ; 
in  this  way  the  facial,  the  glossopharyngeal,  the  vagus,  the 
spinal  accessory,  and  the  hypoglossal  receive  communications 
from  it.  The  ganglionic  cells  of  different  nuclei  also  differ  in 
form  and  size ;  and  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk  holds  that,  as  a 
general  rule,  at  every  spot  where  fibres  are  given  off  for  the 
performance  of  any  special  function,  there  fresh  groups  of  gan- 
glionic cells  giving  origin  to  them  appear.  We  justly  conclude, 
then,  that,  as  we  should  a  priori  expect,  specially  constituted 
ganglionic  cells  minister  to  special  functions ;  that  the  central 
cells  are,  as  it  were,  the  workshops  in  which,  on  the  occasion 
of  a  suitable  stimulus,  the  peculiar  current  necessary  for  the 
performance  of  the  specific  action  is  excited.  A  message  is  sent 
up  to  them  by  the  appointed  channels,  and  they  reply  by  sending 
through  the  regular  motor  channels  the  particular  energies  which 
it  is  their  function  to  supply.  Charged  with  their  proper  force 
during  the  assimilating  process  of  nutrition,  it  exists  in  them  as 
statical  power,  or  latent  energy ;  and  the  condition  of  unstable 


vital  equilibrium  is  upset,  the  force  being  then  discharged,  as 
the  Leyden  jar  is,  when  a  certain  stimulus  meets  with  a  suffi- 
cient tension. 

The  natural  course  of  a  stimulus,  all  the  force  of  which  is  not 
reflected  upon  an  efferent  nerve  in  the  spinal  centres,  is  upwards 
to  the  sensorium  commune,  where  it  becomes  the  occasion  of  a 
new  order  of  phenomena ;  the  law  of  extension  of  reflex  action 
excited  by  a  spinal  nerve  observably  being,  as  Pfliiger  has  shown, 
from  below  upwards  to  the  medulla.  Having  arrived  at  the 
ganglionic  cells  of  the  sensorium  commune,  the  stimulus  may  be 
at  once  reflected  through  the  motor  nuclei  on  a  motor  nerve,  for 
which  there  is  provision  in  a  direct  physical  path,  and  involun- 
tary movements  may  thus  take  place  in  answer  to  a  sensation, 
just  as  involuntary  movements  take  place  from  the  spinal  centres 
without  any  sensation.  The  ganglionic  cells  of  the  sensory 
centres  are  unquestionably  centres  of  independent  reaction,  and 
in  association  with  their  proper  motor  nuclei  give  rise  to  a  class 
of  reflex  movements  of  their  own.  "When  a  man  lies  with  the 
lower  half  of  his  body  paralysed  in  consequence  of  injury  or 
disease  of  his  spinal  cord,  the  tickling  of  the  soles  of  Ms  feet  will 
sometimes  produce  reflex  movements  of  which  he  is  unconscious. 
"When  a  man  lies  with  no  paralysis  of  his  limbs,  but  with  a 
perfectly  sound  spinal  cord,  the  sudden  application  of  a  hot  iron 
to  his  foot  or  leg  will  give  rise  to  a  movement  quite  as  involun- 
tary as  that  which  takes  place  in  the  paralysed  limb,  but,  in  this 
case,  in  answer  to  a  painful  sensation ;  the  reaction  takes  place 
in  the  sensory  ganglia,  and  the  movement  is  sensori-rnotor.  Had 
the  hot  iron  been  applied  to  the  paralysed  limbs,  no  movement 
would  have  followed,  because  the  path  of  the  stimulus  was  cut 
off  as  completely  as  the  current  of  the  electric  stimulus  is  inter- 
rupted when  the  telegraphic  wires  are  cut  across.  Take  away 
that  part  of  the  brain  of  an  animal  which  lies  above  the  sensory 
ganglia,  and  it  is  still  capable  of  sensori-motor  movement,  like  as 
the  animal  which  possesses  no  cerebral  hemispheres  is  :  because 
the  ganglionic  cell  is  a  centre  of  independent  reaction — a  station 
on  the  line  which  may  either  send  on  the  message  or  send  off  an 
answer.*  Q)     Make  a  complete  transverse  section  of  the  nervous 

*  Mr.  James  Mill  clearly  recognised  this  class  of  movements.     "Innumerable 
facte  are  capable  of  being  adduced  to  prove  that  sensation  is  a  cause  of  muscular 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  103 

centres  in  the  rat  immediately  above  the  medulla  oblongata,  and 
pinch  its  foot  severely :  it  will  utter  a  short  sharp  cry  of  pain, 
which  is  reflex  or  sensori-motor.  Now  destroy  the  medulla 
oblongata,  and  again  pinch  the  foot :  there  will  be  reflex  move- 
ments, but  no  cry.  The  rat,  by  reason  perhaps  of  having  been 
hunted  through  so  many  generations,  is  a  very  fearful  animal, 
very  susceptible,  scampering  away  at  the  least  unusual  sound. 
If  its  cerebral  hemispheres,  its  corpora  striata,  and  optic  thalami 
be  removed,  it  remains  quiet ;  but  if  a  sharp  noise  be  made,  such 
as  a  cat  makes  sometimes,  the  animal  makes  a  bound  away,  and 
repeats  the  jump  each  time  that  the  noise  is  made.* 

Examples  of  sensori-motor  movements  are  to  be  found  in 
the  involuntary  closure  of  the  eyelids  when  the  conjunctiva  is 
touched,  or  when  a  strong  light  falls  upon  the  eye ;  in  the  dis- 
tortion of  the  face  on  account  of  a  sour  taste  ;  in  the  quick  with- 
drawal of  the  hand  when  it  is  touched  by  something  hot ;  in  the 
cry  which  excessive  pain  calls  forth  ;  in  the  motions  of  sucking 
which  take  place  when  the  nipple  is  put  between  the  infant's 
lips ;  in  coughing  and  sneezing ;  and  in  yawning  on  seeing  some 
one  else  yawn.  Illustrations  of  acquired  movements  of  this  class 
are  seen  in  the  adaptation  of  the  walk  to  the  music  of  a  military 
band,  in  dancing,  in  the  articulation  of  words  on  seeing  their 
appropriate  signs,  and  in  many  other  of  the  common  actions  of 
life  of  which  we  are  not  conscious  at  the  time,  but  of  the  neces- 
sity of  which,  were  there  no  power  of  automatically  performing 
them,  we  should  soon  become  actively  conscious.  The  instinctive 
actions  of  animals  fall  under  the  category  of  consensual  acts  : 
without  the  intervention  of  any  conception,  the  sensation  at  once 
excites  the  appropriate  movement,  and  the  animal  is  as  skilful 
on  its  first  trial  as  it  is  after  a  life  experience.  It  is  true  that 
the  instinctive  life  is  extremely  limited  in  man,  but  sensori- 
motor action  plays  a  large  part  in  such  manifestations  of  it  as 

action,"  p.  258.  After  instancing,  as  examples,  sneezing,  coughing,  the  con- 
traction of  the  pupils,  and  the  movements  of  the  eyelids,  he  says :  "  We  seem 
authorized,  therefore,  by  the  fullest  evidence,  to  assume  that  sensation  is  the 
mental  cause,  whatever  the  physical  links,  of  a  great  proportion  of  the  mus- 
cular contractions  of  our  frame  ;  and  that  among  those  so  produced  are  found 
some  of  the  most  constant,  the  most  remarkable,  and  the  most  important  of  that 
great  class  of  corporeal  phenomena." — Analysis  of  the  Human  Mind,  p.  265. 
*  Vulpian,  op.  cit.  p.  548. 


are  witnessed  ;  in  the  taking  of  food  the  movements  of  mastica- 
tion and  deglutition,  like  the  earlier  ones  of  sucking,  are  in 
answer  to  sensations,  as  also  are  some  of  the  co-ordinated  move- 
ments necessary  to  the  gratification  of  the  instinct  of  procrea- 
tion. The  adjustment  of  the  human  eve  to  distances,  which 
takes  place  with  such  marvellous  quickness  and  accuracy,  is 
effected,  according  to  the  best  authorities.  l>y  a  change  in  the 
convexity  of  the  lens  or  the  cornea,  and  an  alteration  in  the 
direction  of  the  axes  of  the  eyes.  It  is  not  a  voluntary,  not 
even  a  conscious  act,  but  a  consensual  act  in  respondence  to  a 
visual  sensation,  and  it  is  well  suited  to  convey  a  notion  of 
what  an  instinctive  act  in  an  animal  is.* 

It  was  said,  when  treating  of  the  spinal  cord,  that  its  faculties 
were,  for  the  most  part,  not  inn.ite  but  acquired  by  education ; 
and  the  same  thing  may  be  said  of  the  sensory  centres.  Sensa- 
tion is  not,  as  the  common  use  of  the  word  might  seem  to  imply, 
a  certain  inborn  faculty  of  constant  quantity,  bat  in  reality  a 
general  term  embracing  a  multitude  of  particular  phenomena 
that  exhibit  every  degree  of  variation  both  in  quantity  and 
quality.  The  sensation  of  each  sense  is  a  gradually  organized 
result  or  faculty  that  is  matured  through  experience ;  the  visual 
sensation  of  the  adult  is  a  very  different  matter  from  that  of  the 
child  whose  eyes  have  recently  opened  upon  the  world ;  Mr. 
Nunneley's  patient,  whose  sight  was  restored  by  operation,  held 
his  hands  before  his  face  to  prevent  objects  touching  his  eyes ; 
the  wine-taster's  cultivated  sense  is  nowTise  comparable  with  that 
of  a  man  who  knows  nothing  of  wine ;  the  tactile  sensation  of 
the  blind  man  differs  toto  codo  from  that  of  the  man  who  has 
always  had  the  full  use  of  his  eyes.  The  complete  and  definite 
sensation  is  slowly  built  up  in  the  proper  nervous  centres  from 
the  residua  or  traces  which  previous  sensations  of  a  like  kind 
have  left  behind  them  ;  and  the  sensation  of  the  cultivated 
sense  thus  sums  up,  as  it  were,  a  thousand  experiences,  as  one 
word   often   contains  the  accumulated  acquisitions  of  genera- 

*  For  the  best  summary  and  discussion  of  the  theories  of  vision,  see  Theorie 
des  Schcns  nnd  raiimlichcn  Vorstellens  vom  physikolischen,  physiologischen  v.nd 
payckologiachen  StcmdpunkttatubetraehteL  Halle.  1861.  ByC.  S.  Cornelius.  Also 
by  the  same  author,  Zur  Theorie  des  8ehen&  U  Rfcksicht  auf  die  neuesicn 
Arbeiten  in  diescm  Gebiete,  1864. 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  105 

tions  *  Simple  as  a  sensation  appears,  it  is  in  reality  infinitely- 
compound.  (2)  We  do  not  see,  hear,  or  otherwise  perceive  by 
sense  the  exact  impression  made  on  the  organ,  but  the  effect 
excited  by  the  impression  in  the  nerve  centre  ;  in  other  words, 
we  perceive  the  interpretation  of  the  impression  which  our 
previous  experience  has  made  familiar  to  us.  Vision,  Bishop 
Berkeley  aptly  says,  is  a  language  speaking  to  the  eye,  which 
we  are  not  conscious  to  have  learned  because  we  have  been 
learning  it  ever  since  we  were  born.  All  that  is  innate  in  the 
different  ganglionic  centres  is  a  specific  power  of  reaction  to 
certain  impressions  made  upon  organs  specially  adapted  to  re- 
ceive them ;  but  as  the  waste  following  activity  is  restored  by 
nutrition,  and  a  trace  or  residuum  is  thus  embodied  in  the  con- 
stitution of  the  nervous  centre,  becoming  more  complete  and 
distinct  with  each  succeeding  repetition  of  the  impression,  it 
comes  to  pass  that  an  acquired  nature  is  ultimately  grafted  by 
education  on  the  original  nature  of  the  cell.  In  the  common 
metaphysical  conception  of  sensation  as  a  certain  constant 
faculty,  what  happens  is  this :  the  abstraction  from  the  par- 
ticular is  converted  into  an  objective  entity  which  thenceforth 
leads  captive  the  understanding. 

Whether,  as  some  hold,  our  perception  of  the  form  and  dis- 
tance of  external  objects  be  due  to  our  muscular  experience,  or 
whether,  as  others  maintain,  our  visual  sensation  by  itself  may 
give  the  notion  of  extension  and  distance,  it  is  certain  that  our 
ordinary  estimates  of  distance  are  very  gradually  acquired.  But 
it  is  not  so  in  manv  animals :  the  young  swallow  can  seize  its 
small  prey  with  as  accurate  a  skill  as  the  old  one  can  after  a  life- 
experience  ;  and  there  is  a  fish  that  spurts  a  drop  of  water  at  the 
little  insect  moving  above  the  surface,  and  fails  not  to  bring  it 
down.  The  intuition  of  distance  is  obviously  in  such  cases 
complete  and  distinct  from  the  first.  It  is,  however,  conformable 
to  the  law  of  development  from  the  general  to  the  special  in  the 

*  In  regard  to  this  question,  an  experiment  by  Yolkmann,  quoted  by  Fick,  is 
interesting  and  instructive.  When  the  finger,  or  any  limited  portion  of  skin  on 
one  side  of  the  body,  is  frequently  experimented  upon  with  the  compasses,  in 
order  to  test  the  degree  of  sensibility,  and  its  tactile  sensibility  thereby  increased, 
as  it  notably  is,  above  the  level  of  that  of  neighbouring  parts,  the  symmetrical  part 
of  the  skin  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  body  will  be  found  to  be  almost  as  acute, 
— an  experimental  proof  of  the  same  kind  as  that  which  the  stereoscope  furnishes. 


organic  world,  that  what  is  innate  in  some  of  the  lower  animals 
should  be  acquired  by  man :  the  absence  of  such  limitation  in 
his  original  nature  marks  his  higher  freedom.  Still  it  is  most 
interesting  to  observe  how  much  even  he  is  indebted  to  original 
endowment  in  this  very  matter  of  estimating  distance.  For 
what  is  the  immediate  cause  that  determines  the  muscular 
adjustment  of  the  eye  to  distance  ?  The  act  is  consensual,  or, 
using  the  vaguer  term,  instinctive,  in  respondence  to  a  visual 
sensation  or  picture — an  act  of  which  there  is  no  direct  con- 
sciousness, and  over  which  the  will  has  no  direct  control. 
Though  the  process  is  confused  and  uncertain  at  first,  unlike 
in  that  regard  the  process  in  the  lower  animals,  yet  it  is  not 
long  before  the  proper  muscular  adaptations  are  acquired  and 
definite  muscular  intuitions  organized.  Plainly,  then,  very 
much  is  due  to  the  pre-arranged  constitution  of  the  nervous 
centres  even  in  man.  And  while  we  assert  that  sensation  is 
not  an  inborn  faculty  of  constant  value  in  man,  it  behoves 
us  not  to  forget  the  fact  that  there  are  implanted  in  the  con- 
stitution of  his  nervous  centres  the  capabilities  of  certain 
definite  associated  movements  answering  to  certain  sensations. 

The  idea  to  be  formed  and  fixed  in  the  mind  from  a  consi- 
deration of  the  phenomena  of  the  development  of  sensation,  and 
necessary  to  its  proper  interpretation,  as  indeed  to  the  interpre- 
tation of  every  manifestation  of  life,  is  the  idea  of  organization. 
The  mind  is  not  like  a  sheet  of  white  paper  which  receives  just 
what  is  written  upon  it,  nor  like  a  mirror  which  simply  reflects 
more  or  less  faithfully  every  object,  but  by  it  is  connoted  a 
plastic  power  ministering  to  a  complex  process  of  organization, 
in  which  what  is  suitable  to  development  is  assimilated,  what 
is  unsuitable  is  rejected.  By  the  appropriation  of  the  like  in 
impressions  made  upon  the  senses  we  acquire  a  sensation,  of 
which  we  might  speak,  as  we  do  when  speaking  of  idea,  as 
general  or  abstract;  it  henceforth  exists,  latent  or  potential,  as 
a  faculty  of  the  sensory  centres,  and  on  the  occasion  of  the 
appropriate  impression  renders  the  sensation  clear  and  definite — 
in  other  words,  gives  the  interpretation.  It  is  exactly  like  what 
happens  in  the  spinal  centres,  and  exactly  like  what  happens,  as 
we  shall  hereafter  see,  in  the  ideational  centres.  Coincidently 
with  the  assimilation  of  the  like  in  impressions,  there  is  neces- 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  107 

sarily  a  rejection  of  the  unlike,  which,  being  then  appropriated 
by  other  cells,  becomes  the  foundation,  or  lays  the  basis,  of  the 
faculty  of  another  sensation,  just  as  nutrient  material  which  is 
not  taken  up  by  one  kind  of  tissue  element  is  assimilated  by 
another  kind.  In  the  education  of  the  senses,  then,  there  takes 
place  a  differentiation  of  cells ;  tin  other  words,  a  discernment,  as 
well  as  an  improvement  of  the  faculty  of  each  kind  of  sensation 
by  the  blending  of  similar  residua.  There  is  an  analysis  sepa- 
rating the  unlike,  a  synthesis  blending  the  like ;  and  by  the 
two  processes  of  differentiation  and  integration  are  our  sensa- 
tions gradually  formed  and  developed.  The  process  illustrates 
the  increasing  speciality  of  individual  adaptation  to  external 
nature ;  and  the  length  of  childhood  in  man  is  in  relation  to 
the  formation  of  his  complex  sensations. 

The  organization  of  our  sensations  is  not,  however,  limited 
simply  to  the  formation  of  the  particular  sensation ;  by  it  is 
effected  also  the  association  or  catenation  of  sensations.  In 
animals  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  one  sensation  frequently  calls 
another  into  activity,  in  accordance  with  the  order  established 
among  them,  without  the  intervention  of  idea ;  they  are  much 
more  dependent  on  sensation  than  man  is,  and  therefore  the  asso- 
ciation of  sensations  in  the  causation  of  movements  is  more 
marked.  Hence  it  is  that  blinding  of  one  eye  produces  verti- 
ginous movements  in  pigeons,  as  Flourens  and  Longet  have 
shown,  and  that  section  of  the  semicircular  canals  of  the  ear 
also  produces  various  disturbances  of  movements.  The  trouble, 
inconvenience,  and  occasional  vertiginous  feelings  produced  for 
a  time  in  man  when  he  suddenly  loses  his  hearing  in  one  ear, 
probably  spring  from  the.  interruption  to  the  complex  associa- 
tion of  sensations  habitual  to  him  in  the  daily  movements  of 
life.  He  only  learns  how  much  he  depends  on  such  associations 
when  disorder  or  loss  of  them  occurs.  It  is  certainly  difficult 
in  him  to  eliminate  the  influence  of  the  higher  cerebral. centres, 
yet  in  those  functions  in  which  consensual  action  has  most 
part — in  the  taking  of  food,  for  example,  where  succeeding  sen- 
sations bring  into  successive  action  different  complex  muscular 
movements  and  again  in  the  sexual  act — there  is  abundant 
evidence  of  an  association  of  sensations. 

Thus  much  concerning  sensation,  viewed  on  its  passive  or 


receptive  side.  Let  us  say  something  more  of  the  active,  re- 
acting, or  distributive  side — of  the  movements  which  take  place 
in  answer  to  sensations.  These  reactions  may,  like  the  reflex 
movements  of  the  spinal  cord,  be  irregular,  as  when  a  wry  face 
is  produced  by  a  sour  taste,  or  a  general  start  of  the  body  follows 
a  sudden  loud  noise  ;  or  co-ordinate,  as  in  coughing  and  sneezing. 
Of  the  co-ordinate  or  designed  movements,  again,  some  are  innate, 
as  those  of  the  animals  mostly  are ;  others  are  acquired  or 
secondarily  automatic,  as  is  mostly  the  case  in  man. 

The  instinctive  acts  of  animals  are,  for  the  most  part,  innate 
sensori-motor  actions.  They  have  for  aim  the  preservation  of 
the  individual  and  the  propagation  of  the  species ;  and  are  com- 
parable to  such  movements  in  man  as  the  closure  of  the  eyelid 
when  the  conjunctiva  is  touched  or  the  eye  threatened,  the 
withdrawal  of  the  hand  when  suddenly  burnt,  the  sneezing  by 
which  an  offending  body  is  ejected  from  the  air-passages,  or  some 
of  the  movements  in  sexual  intercourse.  The  faculty  of  executing 
them  exists  in  the  pre-arranged  constitution  of  the  nervous 
centres,  and  is  entirely  independent  of  will  or  experience ;  so 
that,  if  we  chose  to  assume  a  consciousness  in  the  individual 
cells  ministering  to  them,  we  should  say  that  they  possessed  a 
notion  of  the  end  to  be  effected.  Now  the  cells  probably  possess 
such  notion  exactly  in  the  same  manner  as  the  elements  of  a 
chemical  compound  possess  a  notion  of  the  end  which  they  are 
going  to  accomplish,  or  as  the  wind  bloweth  where  it  listeth  ;* 
accordingly  they  do  not  fail  at  times  to  make  terrible  mistakes, 
and  perhaps  miserably  to  kill  an  individual  by  continuing  vio- 
lently a  reflex  action,  in  the  cessation  of  which  lay  the  only 
hope  of  life.  When  the  cerebral  hemispheres  are  experimentally 
removed  in  animals,  as  was  done  by  Flourens  and  Schiff,  the 
sensori-motor  acts  abide  :  the  animal  appears  as  if  in  a  sleep  or 
dream,  and  takes  no  notice  ;  yet  if  a  pigeon  so  treated  be  thrown 
into  the  air,  it  flies ;  if  laid  on  its  back,  it  gets  up ;  the  pupil 

*  "  Whoever  will  examine  the  language  of  mankind,  may  find  that  we  apply 
expressions  to  bodies  which  belong  properly  to  our  own  manner  of  proceeding  ; 
and,  how  well  soever  we  know  the  contrary,  speak  of  them  as  voluntary  ageuts, 
exercising  powers  of  their  own  ;  thus  it  is  said  that  the  wind  bloweth  where  it 
listeth,  and  we  say  of  water  that  it  will  not  mingle  with  oil,  that  it  will  force  its 
way,  &c.  :  terms  expressive  of  a  choice,  compliance,  and  resolution  similar  to 
those  exercised  by  man." — Tucker's  Light  of  Nature,  vol.  ii.  p.  5i5. 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  109 

contracts  to  light,  and  in  a  very  bright  light  the  eyes  are  shut ; 
it  will  dress  its  feathers  if  they  are  ruffled,  and  will  sometimes 
follow  by  a  movement  of  the  head  the  movement  of  a  candle 
hither  and  thither :  certain  impressions  are  plainly  received,  but 
they  are  not  further  fashioned  into  ideas,  because  the  nervous 
centres  of  ideas  have  been  removed ;  and,  as  has  been  aptly 
observed,  the  animal  would  die  of  hunger  before  a  plateful  of 
food,  although  it  would  swallow  the  food  if  put  far  enough  into 
its  mouth.  The  clenching  of  the  teeth  in  man  during  severe 
pain  is  sensori-motor,  and  only  a  less  degree  of  the  same  kind  of 
reflex  action  which  in  lockjaw  becomes  actual  spasm.  Schroeder 
van  der  Kolk  mentions  a  lady  who  had  her  breast  amputated 
under  chloroform,  and  who,  though  she  felt  no  pain,  wTas  per- 
fectly conscious  on  awakening  that  she  had  heard  herself  shriek ; 
and  he  has  witnessed  violent  shrieking  in  apoplexy,  where  there 
was  no  trace  of  consciousness.  Any  one  who  has  walked  through 
a  parrot  house,  and  heard  the  fearful  noise  which  these  scream- 
ing creatures  make,  must  surely  have  felt  an  involuntary  incli- 
nation to  shriek  also. 

It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  sensori-motor  reaction  may 
be  excited  not  only  by  the  stimulus  from  without,  but  also  by,  so 
to  speak,  sensation  from  within  the  body — by  the  organic  stimuli. 
Flourens  has  observed  birds  deprived  of  their  hemispheres  stand 
on  one  leg,  and  after  a  time,  owing  probably  to  a  sensation  of 
fatigue,  change  to  the  other  leg;  shake  their  heads,  and  put 
them  under  the  wings  for  sleep  ;  ruffle  their  feathers,  and  some- 
times plume  them  with  their  beaks.  Intelligence  and  will  can 
have  no  part  in  such  movements ;  they  are  sensori-motor,  and 
some  of  them  obviously  take  place  in  answer  to  sensations 
arising  within  the  body.  It  is  not  because  we  have  no  direct 
consciousness  of  the  operation  of  the  stimuli  that  they  do  not 
therefore  influence  the  mental  life.  In  animals,  the  actions 
respondent  to  them  constitute  the  principal  manifestations  of 
their  psychical  life ;  and  in  man,  when  the  influence  of  the 
higher  nervous  centres  is  weakened  by  disease,  or  when  an 
organic  stimulus  has  an  abnormal  activity,  as  happens  often  in 
insanity,  we  sometimes  see  the  instinct  for  food  or  the  sexual 
instinct  manifested  with  an  utter  shamelessness.  In  such  cases 
there  is  great  truth  in  an  observation  made  by  Jacobi,  that  the 

1 1  0  SECONDARY  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  OR  [chai». 

actions  of  the  insane  have  an  instinct-like  character,  as  their 
physiognomies  take  on  an  anii  lal-like  look.  The  great  revo- 
lution effected  in  the  mental  nature  of  man  at  the  time  when 
the  organs  of  reproduction  come  into  functional  activity,  affords 
a  striking  illustration  of  a  physiological  effect  which  in  less 
degree  is  common  to  all  the  organic  stimuli.  And  no  account  of 
the  sensori-motor  actions  can  be  complete  which  fails  to  give  due 
appreciation  to  the  influence  of  a  stimulas  arising  within  the 
organism  as  an  exciting  cause  of  certain  associated  or  aim- 

Of  more  importance  than  the  innate  sensori-motor  acts  in 
human  development  are  those  which  are  acquired,  and  which 
are  often  called  the  secondary  automatic  acts.  When  any  one 
moves  about  in  a  house  or  a  ro-  'in  with  the  objects  in  which  he 
is  quite  familiar,  he  is  scarce  more  conscious  of  the  greater  part 
of  his  movements  or  of  the  objects  around  than  he  is  of  the 
movements  of  his  breathing  or  of  his  particular  steps  in  walking; 
notwithstanding  which  he  does  not  run  against  the  chairs  nor 
stumble  at  the  stairs,  but  fairly  adapts  his  movements  to  the 
positions  of  objects.  But  if  some  new  piece  of  furniture  be 
placed  in  a  part  of  the  room  where  there  was  nothing  before,  the 
chances  are  that  he  does  stumble  against  it,  until,  by  familiarity 
or  habit,  the  sensation  of  its  presence  has  been  associated  with 
a  corresponding  movement.  It  will  sometimes  happen  that, 
when  the  mind  has  been  deeply  occupied,  a  person  has  walked 
from  one  place  to  another  through  busy  streets  and  yet  been 
unable,  on  reflecting  afterwards,  to  say  positively  which  way 
he  took,  though  he  has  undoubtedly  had  sensory  perceptions 
of  -the  objects  which  he  has  avoided  in  his  walk.  In  dancing, 
in  playing  some  musical  instrument,  in  writing,  in  that  grace 
and  ease  of  movement  acquired  by  social  cultivation,  we  have 
other  excellent  examples  of  acquired  consensual  acts.  A  more 
striking  instance,  perhaps,  than  any  of  these  is  the  association 
which  is  established  by  education  between  particular  sounds,  or 
particular  visual  sensations,  and  the  adapted  complex  movements 
for  the  articulation  of  the  appropriate  words.  Children  plainly 
exhibit  a  great  tendency  to  imitate  a  particular  sound,  when 
there  is  certainly  not  yet  any  idea  of  what  the  sound  means ; 
and,  as  every  one  knows,  it  is  sufficiently  easy  to  read  aloud 


without  the  slightest  attention  to  the  meaning  of  what  is  read, 
the  consciousness  being  otherwise  engaged.  A  story  is  told  of 
a  child  which  could  speak  both  in  English  and  German,  but 
which  always  replied  to  a  question  in  the  language  in  which  it 
was  addressed,  and  could  not  reply  to  an  English  question  in 
German,  or  to  a  German  question  in  English.  Without  doubt 
the  child  connected  definite  ideas  with  the  words  used ;  but  the 
fact  that  it  could  not  put  the  same  ideas  into  one  language  or 
the  other,  as  required,  showed  the  dominion  exercised  by  the 
sound  over  the  articulating  movements — the  mechanical  con- 
nexion established  between  sensation  and  movement.  Language, 
difficult  as  it  is  of  acquisition,  ultimately  gets  all  the  ease  of  a 
reflex  act,  and  so  many  waste  floods  of  fruitless  words  are  poured 
forth  without  fatigue  by  some  who,  like  Peter  proposing  to  build 
the  three  tabernacles,  know  not  what  they  say.  Consciousness  is 
not  a  necessary  accompaniment ;  talking  may  be  conscious,  semi- 
conscious, or  entirely  unconscious.  Secondary  automatic  acts  of 
a  like  kind  are  also  observably  acquired  by  animals,  although  in 
them  the  consensual  acts  are  mostly  innate ;  particular  habits 
or  tricks  being  observably  taught  to  them  or  acquired  by  them. 
How  many  of  the  common  actions  of  man's  everyday  life  fall 
under  the  category  of  consensual  acts,  few  people  sufficiently 

It  is  of 'the  utmost  importance  to  a  true  conception  of  the 
nature  of  mental  action  that  the  full  meaning  and  real  bearing 
of  the  foregoing  facts  should  be  distinctly  realized.  From  a 
physiological  point  of  view  they  are  readily  enough  admitted ; 
but  the  moment  sensation  is  viewed  as  a  mental  faculty,  an 
entirely  new  order  of  ideas  commonly  supervenes,  and  it  appears 
to  be  thought  monstrous  to  suppose  that  the  full  sensation  is 
not  innate,  but  gradually  matured  through  years  of  experience. 
Then,  again,  it  is  almost  impossible  to  make  those  who  take  the 
metaphysical  view  of  mental  action,  realize  the  organic  connexion 
which  is  established  between  the  stimulus,  or  the  sensation,  and 
certain  movements,  whereby  these  finally  become  mechanical  or 
automatic  :  when  any  end  is  accomplished,  they  fail  not  instantly 
to  assign  intelligence,  and  to  assume  design.  It  is  not  necessary 
to  repeat  here  what  was  said  of  design,  when  treating  of  the 
spinal  cord :  the  act,  with  whatever  of  design  it  contains,  is  the 


necessary  result  of  a  certain  constitution,  innate  or  acquired,  of 
the  nervous  centres.  In  the  hirubler  animals  the  life-aims  are 
merely  organic  ;  the  sensory  ganglia  suffice,  therefore,  as  nervous 
apparatus ;  and  the  faculties  of  them,  being  primordial,  are 
comparatively  few,  fixed,  and  simple.  In  man,  however,  whose 
relations  are  so  much  more  numerous  and  special,  whose  life-aims 
reach  far  beyond  the  mere  organic,  there  is  not  only  a  further 
complication  of  the  nervous  system  as  an  original  fact,  but  there 
is  an  acquired  adaptation  throughout  life  of  the  sensory  ganglia 
to  the  complex  external  relations,  so  that  their  functional  mani- 
festations are  more  numerous,  special,  and  complex.  But  in  the 
latter  case,  as  in  the  former,  the  action  is  ultimately  automatic, 
and  then  as  effectually  accomplished  without  consciousness  as 
with  it.  Until  the  psychologies  ground  their  conceptions  on 
these  simple  truths,  they  must  continue  to  struggle  fruitlessly  in 
the  maze  of  undefined  words. 

Observation  has  been  so  much  vitiated,  and  the  understanding 
so  enslaved,  by  the  influence  of  time-honoured  metaphysical 
conceptions  of  mental  phenomena  and  by  the  use  of  meta- 
physical language,  that  it  is  one  of  the  hardest  things  in  the 
world  to  observe  mental  acts  faithfully  and  accurately,  and  to 
interpret  them  naturally.  There  would  seem  to  be  a  positive 
inability  in  certain  minds  to  conceive  mental  action  of  any  kind 
taking  place  with  different  degrees  of  consciousness  or  with  no 
consciousness  at  all ;  and  this  constitutes  the  great  difficulty  in 
the  endeavour  to  set  forth  in  their  natural  order  the  phenomena 
of  sensation  and  sensori-motor  action,  and  to  appraise  their  real 
nature.  Now  it  admits  of  no  question  whatever  that  sensations 
and  their  respondent  movements,  which  excite  consciousness 
when  first  experienced,  gradually  become  completely  organized 
in  the  appropriate  nerve  centres,  and  then  take  place  without 
consciousness.  "We  cannot,  therefore,  strictly  speaking,  use  the 
word  memory  as  applicable  to  such  cases,  because  of  the  absence 
of  consciousness ;  the  memory  which  exists  is  an  unconscious 
memory.  Furthermore,  the  term  perception  is  very  apt  to  cause 
confusion  in  its  application  to  the  senses.  Where  there  is 
sensation,  it  is  said,  there  is  perception ;  and  where  there  is 
perception,  there  is  idea  or  intelligence :  how  then  can  you 
justly   discriminate  between  the   sensorial   functions   and   the 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  113 

ideational  functions?  The  fallacy  here  lies  in  the  vague  use 
of  the  word  "perception" — in  the  confounding  of  all  kinds  of" 
perception  under  the  one  general  notion.  There  are  in  reality 
different  kinds  of  perception — sensorial  perception  and  ideational 
or  intellectual  perception ;  the  former  a  kind  of  instinctive  act, 
the  latter  an  intellectual  act.  Though,  like  all  other  species  in 
nature,  these  run  into  one  another,  they  still  present  marked 
differences,  and  must  be  distinguished  in  a  true  science  of  mind. 
A  conception  of  the  kind  of  perception  which  animals  without 
cerebral  hemispheres  have,  or  of  that  which  the  somnambulist 
has,  the  functions  of  whose  cerebral  hemispheres  are  in  abeyance, 
will  materially  assist  us  in  the  apprehension  of  the  phenomena 
of  sensorial  perception  in  man  and  in  the  right  interpretation 
of  them.  What  degree  of  consciousness  accompanies  this  per- 
ception is  not  easily  determined ;  the  common  notion  of  con- 
sciousness, which  is  applied  in  all  cases,  is  taken  entirely  from 
reflective  consciousness,  or  self-consciousness,  the  seat  of  which 
undoubtedly  is  in  the  highest  ganglionic  centres — the  nerve 
centres  of  intelligence ;  but  a  reflection  upon  the  degree  of  con- 
sciousness which  any  one  has  of  the  different  steps  of  his  toilet, 
or  of  the  objects  in  a  room  among  which  he  moves  when  his 
mind  is  fully  occupied,  and  of  the  entire  unconsciousness  with 
which  a  sensation  of  light  causes  contraction  of  the  iris,  or  the 
distance  of  an  object  looked  at  causes  an  accommodation  of  the 
eye,  will  convey  an  idea  of  the  small  part  which  consciousness 
plays  in  the  ordinary  perception  of  the  senses,  and  in  the  motor 
reactions  thereto. 

If  those  who  are  disposed  to  take  the  metaphysical  view  of 
mental  action,  insist  on  seeing  an  act  of  intelligence  in  every 
kind  of  perception,  then  it  will  be  necessary  to  give  another 
name  to  that  sensory  perception  of  impressions  which  takes  place 
where  there  are  no  cerebral  hemispheres,  or  where  these  have 
been  removed,  which  takes  place  in  fact  without  the  animal 
perceiving  that  it  perceives.  Even  so  philosophical  a  writer  as 
Muller  thought  the  sensory  centres  to  be  endowed  with  some 
degree  of  voluntary  power,  because  of  the  remarkable  actions  to 
which  they  minister;  thus  unwarrantably  introducing  into  his 
observation,  and  applying  to  his  interpretation,  of  the  functions 
of  the  secondary  nerve  centres,  conceptions  derived  from  his 



knowledge  of  the  higher  or  primary  nerve  centres.  This  was  to 
reverse  the  natural  order  of  investigation,  and  to  apply  the 
complex  and  obscure  to  the  interpretation,  or  rather  the  misin- 
terpretation, of  the  more  simple,  instead  of  ascending  inductively 
through  the  simple  to  the  complex.  Those  who  maintain  every 
kind  of  perception  to  be  an  act  of  intelligence  are  guilty  of  the 
same  error  as  that  which  Muller  fell  into  ;  and  they  will  assuredly 
continue  to  stumble  into  confusion  and  error  until  they  modify 
in  some  degree,  or  get  entirely  rid  of,  the  metaphysical  notions 
of  consciousness. 

The  reaction  of  the  motor  ganglia  in  the  sensoriurn  commune, 
whether  designed  or  undesigned,  co-ordinate  or  irregular,  may 
be  excited  not  only  by  impressions  conveyed  to  them  by  afferent 
nerves,  and  by  the  so-called  organic  stimuli,  but  also  by  a 
stimulus  descending  from  above.  An  idea  or  an  impulse  of  the 
will,  coming  from  the  higher  nervous  centres,  may  act  upon  the 
ganglionic  secondary  centres,  and  call  forth  those  movements 
which  are  commonly  reflex  to  impressions  from  without.  In 
such  case  it  is  tolerably  certain  that  the  idea  or  volitional  im- 
pulse does  not  act  directly  on  the  motor  nerve-fibres,  but  that  it 
acts  indirectly  through  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  motor  nuclei, 
in  which  the  potentiality  of  the  movement  exists  latent,  statical, 
or  abstract;  the  stimulus  from  above  disturbing  the  organic 
equilibrium,  and,  as  it  were,  releasing  or  setting  free  the  move- 
ment together  with  whatsoever  of  design  there  is  in  it ;  the  same 
operations  are  performed,  and  through  the  same  means,  as  when 
the  impression  conveyed  by  the  afferent  nerve  from  without 
excites  the  movement.  Thus  the  will  is  entirely  dependent  for 
its  outward  realization  upon  that  mechanism  of  automatic  action 
which  is  gradually  organized  in  the  subordinate  centres ;  it 
cannot,  as  we  shall  hereafter  see,  at  once  instigate  successfully 
a  new  movement,  nor  can  it  execute  any  movement  without 
a  guiding  sensation  of  some  kind  :  the  cultivation  of  the  senses, 
and  the  special  adaptations  of  their  reactions,  which  are  gradually 
organized,  are  necessary  antecedents,  essential  prerequisites, 
to  the  due  formation  and  operation  of  will.  The  sensoriurn 
commune  represents,  in  fact,  various  independent  nervous 
centres,  and  never  does  act  merely  as  a  conductor  transmitting 
unmodified  the  stimulus,  whether  this  ascend  from  without,  or 

iv.]  SENSORY  GANGLIA,  ETC.  115 

descend  from  the  cerebral  hemispheres.  Bear  this  clearly  in 
mind,  and  the  memory  of  it  will  help  to  get  rid  of  some  diffi- 
culties, when  we  come  to  deal  with  the  will. 

It  is  not  needful  to  say  anything  here  of  the  seeming  dispro- 
portionate amount  of  force  given  out  in  the  movement  which  is 
respondent  to  a  moderate  stimulus  to  the  sensory  ganglia ;  inas- 
much as  what  was  said  in  this  regard  of  the  spinal  centres  is 
strictly  applicable  to  the  secondary  nervous  centres.  A  special 
investigation  would  only  serve  here,  as  elsewhere,  to  adduce 
needless  evidence  in  support  of  the  principle  of  the  conservation 
of  force. 

And  now  let  us  briefly  indicate  the  general  causes  of  disorder 
of  the  functions  of  the  sensory  ganglia :  they  are  mainly  such 
as  have  been  already  pointed  out  as  causes  of  disturbance  of  the 
functions  of  the  spinal  cord  : — 

1.  As  a  natural  fact,  there  may  be  an  innate  vice,  feebleness, 
or  instability  of  composition  of  the  ganglionic  cells.  Such  fault 
of  nature  is  commonly  owing  to  the  existence  of  some  nervous 
disease  in  the  hereditary  antecedents ;  but  it  may  of  course  be 
due  to  any  other  of  the  many  recondite  causes  of  degeneration 
of  nerve  element.  Hallucinations  of  vision  are  by  no  means 
un  frequent  amongst  some  children  at  an  early  age,  especially 
among  such  as  suffer  from  chorea.  And  in  those  rare  cases  in 
which  insanity  occurs  in  children  almost  from  the  time  of  their 
nativity,  it  is  chiefly  exhibited  in  violent  and  irregular  sensori- 
motor movements  ;  herein  resembling  essentially  the  insanity 
that  sometimes  ensues  in  animals.  The  unnatural  laughter, 
the  shrieking,  the  biting,  and  the  tearing  of  the  insane  infant 
assuredly  testify  to  a  degenerate  state  of  the  motor  and  sensory 
cells  in  the  sensorium  commune  :  one  might  even  venture  to  say 
that  there  was  a  true  sensorial  madness.  It  is  most  interesting 
to  add  that  the  disorder  may  alternate  with,  or  be  replaced  by, 
general  convulsions,  the  madness  ceasing  when  the  convulsions 
supervene,  and  supervening  when  the  convulsions  cease ;  there 
is  a  transference  of  the  disturbance  from  one  system  of  nervous 
centres  to  another. 

Again,  there  may  be  every  degree  of  deficient  sensibility  down 
to  actual  insensibility  of  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  sensory 
ganglia.     It  is  obvious  that  people  differ  naturally  in  the  acute- 



ness  of  their  senses  ;  and  in  idiots  the  senses  notably  partake  of 
the  general  stupidity.  In  them  the  hearing  is  frequently  defec- 
tive ;  smell  is  often  imperfect,  the  olfactory  bulbs  being  insuffi- 
ciently developed  ;  taste  absent  or  extremely  vitiated,  so  that 
they  will  eat  unconcerned  the  filthiest  or  the  most  pungent 
matters  ;  and  the  sensibility  of  the  skin  is  sometimes  extensively 
absent,  or  it  is  generally  dull,  so  that  they  suffer  very  little  pain 
from  injuries.  The  idiots  of  the  lowest  class  have  usually 
no  other  affection  but  that  of  hunger,  which  they  exhibit  by 
unrest,  grunting,  or  the  like;  but  even  some  of  these  miser- 
able creatures  have  at  times  attacks  of  fury,  without  evident 
reason,  in  which  they  scratch,  strike  and  bite,  as  the  insane 
infant  does. 

D ulness  of  sensibility,  when  not  nearly  reaching  the  stage  of 
idiotic  degeneration,  is  of  course  unfavourable  to  intellectual 
acquisition ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  a  very  acute  and  delicate 
sensibility  is  attended  with  evils  and  dangers  of  its  own.  In 
the  former  case,  although  there  is  a  hindrance  to  assimilation, 
yet  that  which  is  appropriated  is  commonly  retained  with  great 
persistency  ;  in  the  latter  case,  there  is  certainly  quick  reaction, 
but  no  lasting  appropriation,  and,  if  the  sensibility  is  intensified 
beyond  a  certain  point,  there  may  even  be  a  lapse  into  that 
degenerate  state  in  which,  not  the  special  sensation,  but  pain  is 
felt,  and  irregular  and  convulsive  reaction  takes  place.  It  is  of 
no  small  importance  that  these  natural  differences  in  the  consti- 
tution of  the  ganglionic  cells  should  be  plainly  recognised,  for 
they  unquestionably  are  at  the  root  of  certain  differences  in 
individual  character  and  intellect. 

2.  An  excessive  use  of  the  senses,  without  due  intervals  of  rest, 
produces  exhaustion,  or  actual  degeneration  of  them ;  here,  as 
elsewhere,  the  force  expended  must  be  restored,  if  the  energy  of 
the  matter  is  to  be  maintained.  A  too  powerful  impression 
made  upon  any  sense  may  also  diminish,  or  actually  destroy,  its 
power  of  reaction ;  immediate  paralysis  of  sight,  of  hearing,  or 
of  smell  has  followed  a  sudden  and  powerful  impression  upon  the 
particular  sense  ;  and  if  the  paralysis  is  not  complete,  the  sensi- 
bility of  the  sense  for  weaker  impressions  may  still  be  lowered  for 
some  time.  Moreover,  the  sensation  itself  may  persist  for  a  while 
after  the  cause  of  it  has  disappeared,  as  when  an  image  of  the 


sun  remains  after  we  have  ceased  to  look  at  it,  or  the  roar  of  the 
cannon  abides  in  the  ears  after  the  firing  has  ceased.  Such  per- 
sistence of  action  in  the  ganglionic  cell  will  serve  to  convey  a 
notion  of  the  condition  of  things  when  there  is  hallucination 
otherwise  caused. 

3.  The  state  of  the  blood  has  the  most  direct  effect  upon  the 
functions  of  the  sensory  ganglia.  Too  much  blood,  as  is  well 
known,  gives  rise  to  subjective  sensations,  such  as  flashes  of  light 
before  the  eyes,  and  roaring  ill  the  ears  ;  but  it  is  not  so  generally 
known  that,  when  the  abnormal  action  reaches  a  certain  intensity, 
movements  responsive  to,  or  sympathetic  with,  the  hallucina- 
tions may  take  place.  .Nevertheless,  they  may  :  as  the  sensory 
ganglia  have  an  independent  action  in  health,  so  also  may  they 
act  independently  in  disease  ;  and  as  in  health  there  is  co-ordinate 
or  designed  sensori-motor  action,  so  in  disease  there  may  be 
convulsive  sensori-motor  action  evincing  more  or  less  co-ordina- 
tion or  design.  Of  violent,  but  more  or  less  co-ordinate,  action 
we  have,  I  think,  a  good  example  in  the  raving  and  dangerous 
fury  which  often  follows  a  succession  of  severe  epileptic  fits,  and 
which  I  take  leave  to  describe  as  in  great  part  a  true  sensorial 
insanity.  The  patient's  senses  are  possessed  with  hallucinations, 
his  ganglionic  central  cells  in  a  state  of  convulsive  action ; 
before  the  eyes  are  blood-red  flames  of  fire,  amidst  wdiich  whoso- 
ever happens  to  present  himself,  appears  as  a  devil,  or  otherwise 
horribly  transformed ;  the  ears  are  filled  with  a  terrible  roaring 
noise,  or  resound  with  a  voice  imperatively  commanding  him  to 
save  himself;  the  smell  is  perhaps  one  of  sulphurous  stifling; 
and  the  desperate  and  violent  actions  are,  like  the  furious  acts 
of  the  mad  elephant,  the  convulsive  reactions  to  such  fearful 
hallucinations.  The  individual  in  such  state  is  a  machine  set  in 
destructive  motion,  and  he  perpetrates  the  extremest  violence 
or  the  most  desperate  murder  without  consciousness  at  the 
time,  and  without  memory  of  it  afterwards.  "When  we  come  to 
the  general  pathology  of  insanity,  we  shall  have  more  to  say 
upon  this  matter. 

A  deficiency  of  healthy  blood  is  a  cause  of  disorder  of  the 
sensory  centres.  A  great  loss  of  blood  powerfully  affects  the 
senses ;  the  ansemia  of  chlorotic  and  hysterical  women  is  the 
probable  cause  of  the  many  anomalous  sensations  and  motor 


disturbances,  which  disappear  as  the  condition  of  the  blood  im- 
proves ;  and  a  manifest  poverty  of  blood  often  accompanies  the 
chorea  of  children  with  its  hallucinations. 

A  perverted  condition  of  the  blood,  whether  from  something 
bred  in  the  body  or  introduced  from  without,  is  known  to  be  a 
powerful  cause  of  sensory  disorder.  Evidence  of  such  injurious 
influence  we  have  in  the  hallucinations  which  sometimes  follow 
for  a  time  certain  acute  diseases,  as  well  as  in  the  delirium  which 
occurs  in  the  course  of  them ;  in  the  effects  which  alcohol  pro- 
duces upon  the  senses ;  in  the  actions  of  poisons,  such  as  bella- 
donna and  aconite,  which  markedly  affect  the  senses ;  and 
especially  in  the  operation  of  haschisch,  a  poison  which  appears 
to  concentrate  its  action  upon  the  sensorium  commune*  Jn 
hydrophobia  the  presence  of  a  virus  in  the  blood  notably  gives 
rise  to  most  violent  nervous  disturbance  ;  the  sight  or  sound  of 
a  fluid,  a  movement  in  the  room,  or  a  current  of  air,  being  suffi- 
cient to  excite  terrible  convulsions. 

4.  An  irritation  operating  by  reflex  action  is  undoubtedly  the 
occasional  cause  of  sensorial  disturbance.  Pressure  upon  or 
wound  of  a  sensitive  nerve  has  sometimes  produced  extensive 
paralysis  of  sensibility ;  a  bad  tooth  may  notably  give  rise  to 
amaurosis  ;  vertigo,  hallucinations,  and  illusions  are  now  and 
then  plainly  the  result  of  an  irritation  proceeding  from  a  centri- 
petal nerve,  not  perhaps  felt  in  any  other  way  than  as  it  is 
testified  by  effects  which  disappear  with  the  removal  of  the  irri- 
tation. An  interesting  example  of  severe  disturbance  of  the 
nervous  centres  from  a  slight  eccentric  irritation,  is  related  by 
Dr.  Brown-Sequard,  to  whom  it  was  communicated  by  Mr. 
C.  De  Morgan.  A  lad,  aged  fourteen,  as  he  was  getting  up  in 
the  morning,  was  heard  by  his  father  to  be  making  a  great  noise 
in  his  bedroom.  On  the  latter  rushing  into  the  room,  he  found 
his  son  in  his  shirt,  violently  agitated,  talking  incoherently,  and 
breaking  to  pieces  the  furniture.  His  father  caught  hold  of  him 
and  put  him  back  into  bed,  where  at  once  the  boy  became  com- 
posed, but  did  not  seem  at  all  conscious  of  what  he  had  done. 
On  getting  out  of  bed  he  had  felt  something  odd,  he  said,  but 

*  Regarding  the  effects  of  haschisch,  I  may  refer,  in  addition  to  Moreau's  well 
known  experiments,  to  De  Luca  in  the  Journal  de  Pharmacie,  1862,  tome  xlii. 
p.  396. 

iv.l  SENSORY  0 AN GLI A,  ETC.  119 

he  was  quite  well.  A  surgeon,  who  was  sent  for,  found  him 
reading  quietly,  with  clear  tongue  and  cheerful  countenance,  and 
wishful  to  get  up.  He  had  never  had  epilepsy,  but  had  enjoyed 
good  health  hitherto.  He  was  told  to  get  up  ;  but  on  putting 
his  feet  on  the  floor,  and  standing  up,  his  countenance  instantly 
changed,  the  jaw  became  violently  convulsed,  and  he  was  about 
to  rush  forward,  when  he  was  seized,  and  pushed  back  on  to  the 
bed.  At  once  he  became  calm  again,  said  he  had  felt  odd,  but 
Mas  surprised  when  asked  what  was  the  matter  with  him.  He 
had  been  fishing  on  the  previous  day,  and  having  got  his  line 
entangled,  had  waded  into  the  river  to  disengage  it,  but  was  not 
aware  that  he  had  hurt  his  feet  in  any  way, — that  he  had  even 
scratched  them.  "  But  on  holding  up  the  right  great  toe  with 
my  finger  and  thumb,  to  examine  the  sole  of  the  foot,  the  leg 
was  drawn  up,  and  the  muscles  of  the  jaw  were  suddenly  con- 
vulsed, and  on  letting  go  the  toe  these  effects  instantly  ceased." 
There  was  no  redness,  no  swelling,  but  on  the  bulb  of  the  toe  a 
small  elevation,  as  if  a  bit  of  gravel,  less  than  the  head  of  a  pin, 
had  been  pressed  beneath  the  cuticle.  On  compressing  this 
against  the  nail  cautiously,  a  slight  convulsion  ensued  ;  there 
was  no  pricking  when  pressed,  but  he  said  something  made  him 
feel  very  odd.  The  slightly  raised  part  was  clipped  away ;  no 
gravel  was  found,  but  the  strange  sensation  was  gone,  and  never 

The  general  bodily  feeling  which  results  from  the  sum  of  the 
different  organic  processes  is  not  attended  with  any  definite 
consciousness,  or  idea,  of  the  causes  that  give  rise  to  it ;  the 
organic  stimuli  are,  in  fact,  organically  felt,  but  do  not  in  the 
natural  state  of  health  excite,  as  a  stimulus  to  one  of  the  special 
senses  does,  a  particular  state  of  consciousness ;  and  when  the 

*  Lectures  on  the  Physiology  and  Pathology  of  the  Central  Nervous  System,  by 
Dr.  Brown-Sequard,  1860.  A  case  singularly  like  the  one  above  related  is  quoted 
by  Burrows  (Commentaries  on  Insanity,  p.  215)  from  Hufeland.  A  boy  between 
thirteen  and  fourteen  years*  of  age  suddenly  began  to  talk  in  a  very  wild  and 
incoherent  way,  and  at  length  became  ungovernable.  This  state  was  assuaged  by 
soporifics.  But  the  paroxysm  was  observed  to  recur  whenever  he  was  placed  on 
his  feet.  On  examination,  a  reddish  spot  was  noticed  on  one  foot,  which,  when 
pressed,  always  occasioned  a  fresh  paroxysm.  Upon  an  incision  being  made,  a 
minute  piece  of  glass  was  discovered,  and  extracted.  During  the  operation  the 
patient  was  furious,  but  every  symptom  of  violence  vanished  when  the  offending 
cause  was  removed. 


organic  stimuli  do  force  themselves  into  consciousness,  as 
happens  in  disease,  then  it  is  in  pain  that  their  action  is  felt. 
In  respect  of  our  organic  feeling  ve  are,  in  reality,  not  unlike 
those  humble  animals  that  have  a  general  sensibility  without 
any  organs  for  special  discrimination  and  comparison.  Having 
no  idea  of  the  particular  cause  of  any  modification  in  this 
general  feeling,  we  are  plainly  most  favourably  placed  for  the 
generation  of  illusions  with  regard  to  the  cause.  Consequently 
it  is  not  surprising  to  find  that  the  insane  frequently  have 
extravagant  hallucinations  and  illusions  respecting  the  cause  of 
an  abnormal  sensation,  which  is  actually  due  to  a  morbid  state 
of  some  internal  organ ;  they  think  to  interpret  it  as  its  unusual 
character  seems  to  demand,  and  in  accordance  with  their 
experience  of  the  definite  perceptions  of  the  special  senses  ; 
and  accordingly  they  attribute  tbt  anomalous  feeling  to  frogs, 
serpents,  or  other  such  creatures  that  have  got  into  their 

5.  Whether  any  beneficial  influence  is  exerted  upon  the 
nutrition  of  the  nervous  centres  of  the  sensorium  commune  by 
the  centres  that  he  above  it,  must  remain  uncertain,  though  it  is 
extremely  probable.  No  trustworthy  conclusions  can  be  drawn 
from  experiments  in  which  the  cerebral  hemispheres  have  been 
removed,  for  the  mischief  done  is  far  too  great  to  warrant  any 
inference.  It  is  certain  that  an  area  of  morbid  activity  in  the 
cerebral  hemispheres  may  act  injuriously  upon  the  sensory 
centres,  and  give  rise  to  secondary  derangement  of  their 
functions ;  but  the  result  is  then  most  likely  due  to  reflex  or 
sympathetic  action,  the  morbid  centre  acting  as  a  morbid  centre 
of  irritation  in  another  internal  organ  notably  does. 

In  concluding  this  account  of  the  sensory  nervous  centres,  we 
have  only  to  add  that  a  review  of  their  relations  and  functions 
does  certainly  establish  a  close  analogy  with  the  relations  and 
functions  of  the  spinal  centres.  In  both  cases  there  are  nervous 
centres  which  have  the  power  of  independent  reaction,  though 
they  are  usually  subordinated  to  the  control  of  higher  centres ; 
in  both  cases  the  faculties  are  for  the  most  part  organized  in 
relation  to  outward  circumstances  through  the  plastic  power  of 
the  nervous  centres  ;  and,  in  both  cases,  the  independent  power 
of  action  of  the  centres  may,  by  reason  of  disease,  be  exhibited 

iv.]  SENSORY  OANGLIA,  ETC.  121 

in  explosive  demonstration.  The  convulsive  paroxysm  which 
seizes  on  the  cells  of  the  sensorium  commune,  and  drives  the 
furious  epileptic  on  to  desperate  violence,  is  as  little  within  his 
control  as  is  the  convulsion  of  his  limbs  that  is  owing  to  disease 
of  the  spinal  cord. 


1  (/>.102). — It  ought  not  to  be  forgotten  that  Dr.  Darwin  distinguished 
voluntary  from  sensori-motor  movements.  "  Many  common  actions  of 
life  are  produced  in  a  similar  manner  {i.e.  by  sensation).  If  a  fly 
settle  on  my  forehead,  whilst  I  am  intent  on  my  present  occupation,  I 
dislodge  it  with  my  finger  without  exciting  my  attention  or  breaking 
the  train  of  my  ideas." — Zoonomia,  vol.  i.  p.  40.  "  Other  muscular 
motions,  that  are  most  frequently  connected  with  our  sensations,  as 
those  of  the  sphincter  of  the  bladder  and  anus,  and  the  musculi 
erectores  penis,  were  originally  excited  into  motion  by  irritation,  for 
young  children  make  water,  and  have  other  evacuations,  without 
attention  to  these  circumstances — *et  primis  etiam  ab  incunabulis 
tenduntur  seepius  puerorum  penes,  amore  nondum  expergefacto.'  So 
the  nipples  of  young  women  are  liable  to  become  turgid  by  irritation, 
long  before  they  are  in  a  situation  to  be  excited  by  the  pleasure  of 
giving  milk  to  the  lips  of  the  child." — Ibid.,  p.  38.  "There  is  a 
criterion  by  which  we  may  distinguish  our  voluntary  acts  or  thoughts 
from  those  that  are  excited  by  our  sensations.  The  former  are  always 
employed  about  the  means  to  acquire  pleasurable  objects,  or  to  avoid 
painful  ones ;  while  the  latter  are  employed  about  the  possession  of 
those  that  are  already  in  our  power."  And  he  goes  on  to  say  that  the 
ideas  and  actions  of  brutes,  like  those  of  children,  are  almost  per- 
petually produced  by  their  present  pleasure  or  their  present  pains; 
they  seldom  busy  themselves  about  the  means  of  procuring  future 
bliss  or  avoiding  future  misery. — Ibid.,  vol.  i.  p.  184. 

2  (p.  105). — "  Alciphrox  : — If  vision  be  only  a  language  speaking 
to  the  eyes,  it  may  be  asked,  when  did  men  learn  this  language  ?  To 
acquire  the  knowledge  of  so  many  signs  as  go  to  the  making  up  a 
language,  is  a  work  of  some  difficulty.  Eut  will  any  one  say  he  hath 
spent  time,  or  been  at  pains,  to  learn  this  language  1 

"  Euphraxor  : — No  wonder  we  cannot  assign  a  time  beyond  our 
remotest  memory.  If  we  have  been  all  practising  this  language  ever 
since  our  first  entrance  into  the  world — if  the  author  of  nature  con- 
stantly speaks  to  the  eyes  of  all  mankind,  even  in  their  earliest  infancy, 


whenever  their  eyes  are  open  in  the  light,  whether  alone  or  in  company, 
it  doth  not  seem  to  be  at  all  strange  that  men  should  not  he  aware  that 
they  had  ever  learned  a  language  bejun  so  early,  and  practised  so  con- 
stantly as  this  of  vision.  And  if  we  also  consider  that  it  is  the  same 
throughout  the  whole  world,  and  not  like  other  languages,  differing  in 
different  places,  it  will  not  seem  unaccountable  tbat  man  should  mistake 
the  connexion  between  the  proper  objects  of  sight  and  the  things  sig- 
nified by  them  to  be  founded  in  necessary  relation,  or  likeness,  or  that 
they  should  even  take  them  for  the  same  things.  Hence  it  seems 
easy  to  conceive  why  men,  who  do  not  think,  should  confound  in  this 
language  of  vision  the  signs  with  the  things  signified,  otherwise  than 
they  are  wont  to  do  in  the  various  particular  languages  formed  by 
the  several  nations  of  men." — Bishop  Berkeley's  Minute  Philosopher, 
vol.  i,  p.  393. 



npHAT  the  nerve-cells  which  exist  in  countless  numbers  in  the 
■*  grey  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres  are  the  nervous 
centres  of  ideas,  is  fully  admitted  by  all  those  who  have  most 
studied  the  physiology  of  the  brain,  and  are  best  entitled  to 
speak  on  the  matter.  The  cerebral  hemispheres  represent,  in 
reality,  two  large  ganglia  that  lie  above  the  sensory  centres,  and 
are  superadded  in  man  and  the  higher  animals  for  the  further 
fashioning  of  impressions,  or  of  sensory  perceptions,  into  ideas 
or  conceptions.  This  important  step  in  the  evolution  of  the 
human  mind  consists  in  the  abstraction  of  the  essential  from  the 
particular  and  its  re-embodiment  in  idea ;  it  is  strictly  an  ideali- 
zation of  the  sensory  impressions,  and  represents,  so  to  speak,  an 
epigenetic  development  of  nature :  what  the  true  artist  does  in 
his  art  nature  does  continually  in  the  development  of  the  human 
mind.  Looking  not  at  the  individual  man  and  his  work  as  the 
end,  but  looking  at  him  as  a  small  and  subordinate  part  of  the 
vast  and  harmonious  whole,  as  a  means  to  a  far-off  end,  it  is  suf- 
ficiently evident  that  the  history  of  mankind  is  the  history  of 
the  latest  and  highest  organic  development — that  in  the  evolution 
of  the  human  mind  nature  is  undergoing  its  consummate  de- 
velopment through  man.  And  the  law  manifest  in  this  highest 
display  of  organic  development,  is  still  that  law  of  progressive 

*  "  "We  have  not  a  name  for  that  complex  notion  which  embraces,  as  one  whole, 
all  the  different  phenomena  to  which  the  term  '  Idea '  relates.  As  we  say  '  Sen- 
sation, '  we  might  also  say  '  Ideation  ; '  it  would  be  a  very  useful  word  ;  and  there 
is  no  objection  to  it,  except  the  pedantic  habit  of  decrying  a  new  term." — James 
Milt.,  Analysis  of  the  Human  Mind,  p.  42. 


specialization  and  increasing  complexity  which  has  been  trace- 
able through  the  long  chain  of  organic  beings.  So  exquisitely 
delicate,  however,  are  the  organic  processes  of  mental  develop- 
ment which  take  place  in  the  minute  cells  of  the  cortical  layers, 
that  they  are  certainly,  so  far  as  our  present  means  of  investiga- 
tion reach,  quite  impenetrable  to  the  senses ;  the  mysteries  of 
their  secret  operations  cannot  be  unravelled :  they  are  like  nebulae 
which  no  telescope  can  yet  resolve. 

The  cerebral  hemispheres  are  not  alone  the  nerve  centres  of 
ideas,  but  they  are  also  the  centres  of  emotion  and  volition. 
In  animals  that  are  deprived  of  their  hemispheres,  all  trace  of 
spontaneity  or  will  in  their  movements  disappears ;  this  effect 
being,  as  might  be  expected,  much  more  evident  in  experiments 
on  the  higher  than  on  the  lower  Vertebrata.  In  Fishes,  as  for 
example  in  the  carp,  scarcely  any  difference  is  observed  in  its 
swimming  after  its  hemispheres  have  been  removed  ;  but  if  its 
movements  be  watched  more  carefully,  and  compared  with  those 
of  a  carp  which  has  not  been  mutilated,  a  certain  change  will  be 
recognised.  According  to  Vulpian,  it  moves  forward  in  a  straight 
line,  never  turning  to  one  side  or  the  other  except  when  it  meets 
with  an  obstacle,  and  not  stopping  until  it  is  completely  fatigued ; 
it  seems  impelled  to  move  by  some  necessity,  a  necessity  oc- 
casioned probably  by  the  stimulus  of  the  water  on  its  body. 
The  more  marked  effects  produced  in  the  higher  Vertebrata  by 
the  removal  of  the  hemispheres  have  already  been  described. 

The  anatomists  believe  that  they  have  now  demonstrated  that 
the  nerve-tlbres  which  ascend  from  the  spinal  cord  through  the 
medulla  oblongata  do  not  pass  directly  to  the  surface  of  the 
hemispheres,  but  end  in  the  ganglionic  cells  of  the  corpora 
striata  and  optic  thalami ;  new  fibres  starting  from  these  cells, 
and  radiating  to  the  cortical  cells,  to  establish  the  communication 
between  the  primary  and  secondary  nervous  centres.*  There  is, 
then,  a  sufficient  anatomical  reason  for  an  inference  previously 
made  on  other  grounds,  which  is,  that  an  idea,  or  an  impulse  of 

*  Vulpian,  however,  believes  that  some  fibres  from  the  cerebral  peduncles  pass 
directly  to  the  cerebral  hemispheres  of  the  corresponding  side,  either  through  the 
corpus  striatum  or  beneath  it ;  founding  his  opinion  on  some  cases  in  which  he 
has  seen  lesion  of  the  hemispheres,  not  affecting  the  corpus  striatum,  followed  by 
a  descending  atrophy  of  nerve  fibres  analogous  to  that  which  follows  lesiou  of  the 
corpus  striatum. 


the  will,  cannot  act  directly  upon  the  motor  nerve-fibres  of  the 
body,  but  can  only  act  through  the  medium  of  the  proper  subor- 
dinate centres.     There  is  an  explanation  also  of  the  fact  that 
irritation  of  the  white  substance  of  the  brain  does  not  occasion 
either  movements  or  signs  of  pain.     It  is  extremely  probable, 
again,  that  different  convolutions  of  the  brain  do  discharge  dif- 
ferent functions  in  our  mental  life ;  but  the  precise  mapping  out 
of  the  cerebral  surface,  and  the  classification  of   the  mental 
faculties,  which  the  phrenologists  have  rashly  made,  will  not 
bear  scientific  examination.    That  the  broad,  high,  and  prominent 
forehead  indicates  great  intellectual  power  was  believed  in  Greece, 
and  is  commonly  accepted  as  true  now ;  the  examination  of  the 
brains  of  animals  and  idiots,  and  the  comparison  of  the  brain  of 
the  lowest  savage  with  the  brain  of  the  civilized  European,  cer- 
tainly tend  to  strengthen  the  belief.     Narrow  and  pointed  hemi- 
spheres assuredly  do  mark  an  approach  to  the  character  of  the 
monkey's  brain.     There  is  some  reason  to  believe  also,  that  the 
upper  part  of  the  brain  and  the  posterior  lobes  have  more  to  do 
with  feeling  than  with  the  understanding.     Huschke  has  found 
these  parts  to  be  proportionably  more  developed  in  women  than 
in  men ;  and  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk  thought  that  his  patho- 
logical researches  had  afforded  him  the  most  convincing  proofs 
that  the  anterior  lobes  of  the  brain  were  the  seat  of  the  higher 
intellectual    faculties,   while    the    upper    and    posterior    lobes 
ministered  rather  to  the  emotional  life.     Eecently  some  obser- 
vations have  been  made  with  the  view  of  establishing  a  theory, 
that  a  portion  of  the  anterior  lobe,  the  third  frontal  convolution 
of  the  left  hemisphere,  was  the  seat  of  language ;  but  the  obser- 
vations reported  are  unsatisfactory,  directly  contradictory  obser- 
vations are  overlooked  or  ignored,  and  it  is  contrary  to  the  first 
principles  of  psychology  to  suppose  that  language,  complex  and 
organic  as  it  is  in  its  intellectual  character  as  the  sign  or  symbol 
of  the  idea,  can  have  so  limited  and  defined  a  seat  in  the  brain. 
On  the  whole,  it  must  be  confessed  that,  so  far,  we  have  not  any 
certain  and  definite  knowledge  of  the  functions  of  the  different 
parts  of  the  cerebral  convolutions.     The  anatomists  cannot  even 
agree  on  any  convolution  as  peculiar  to  man ;  all  that  they  can 
surely  say  is,  that  his  convolutions  are  more  complex  and  less 
symmetrical  than  those  of  the  monkey.     "  If  man  was  made  in 


the  image   of   God,   he   was   also   made   in   the  image   of  an 

The  cortical  cells  of  the  hemispheres,  like  the  ganglionic  cells 
of  the  sensory  centres  and  of  the  spinal  cord,  may  certainly  act 
as  nervous  centres  of  independent  reaction.  Without  any  vo- 
lition, or  even  in  direct  defiance  of  volitional  effort,  an  idea 
which  has  become  active  may  pass  outwards,  and  produce  move- 
ment, or  some  other  effect  upon  the  body.  The  suddenly  excited 
idea  of  the  ludicrous,  for  example,  causes  involuntary  laughter ; 
the  idea  of  an  insult,  a  quick  movement  of  retaliation ;  the  idea 
of  a  beautiful  woman,  a  glow  of  amatorial  passion  ;  the  idea  of  a 
great  impending  danger,  or  of  a  sudden  terrible  affliction,  serious 
or  even  fatal  disturbance  of  the  organic  life;  the  idea  of  an 
object,  sometimes  an  actual  hallucination.  Most  of  the  earlier 
actions  of  children  are  prompted  by  ideas  and  feelings  which  are 
excited  by  suggestions  from  without,  and  which  immediately 
react  outwards.  In  the  phenomena  of  electro-biology  or  hyp- 
notism, the  mind  of  the  patient  is  possessed  with  the  ideas 
which  the  operator  suggests,  so  that  his  body  becomes  an  auto- 
matic machine,  set  in  motion  by  them.  Every  one's  experience 
will  recall  to  him  occasions  on  which  an  idea  excited  in  his 
mind  could  not  be  dismissed  therefrom  by  the  will,  and  perhaps 
would  not  let  him  rest  until  he  had  realized  it  in  action,  even 
though  such  realization  appeared  to  his  judgment  inadvisable. 
Those,  who  have  attended  carefully  to  the  course  of  their  own 
thoughts,  and  reflected  upon  their  actions,  will  readily  acknow- 
ledge that  an  idea  sometimes  arises  and  produces  a  movement 
without  there  having  been  any  active  consciousness  of  it,  the 
effect  being  that  which  first  arouses  consciousness,  if  it  be 
aroused  at  all.  How  many  of  the  daily  actions  of  life,  thus 
accomplished,  are  we  never  conscious  of  unless  we  set  ourselves 
deliberately  to  reflect.  It  is  most  certain  that  there  may  be  a 
reaction  outwards  of  an  ideational  nerve-cell,  independently  of 
volition,  and  even  without  consciousness. 

As  it  is  with  the  faculties  of  the  spinal  and  the  sensory 
centres,  so  is  it  with  the  faculties  of  the  ideational  centres  : 
they  are  not  innate,  but  are  developed  by  education.  The 
notion  of  innate  idea,  in  the  exact  meaning  of  the  word,  as  con- 

*  Hallam,  Introduction  to  History  of  Europe. 


natural  or  contemporary  with  birth,  is  not  less  untenable  and 
absurd  than  an  innate  pregnancy.  Q)  But  if  by  innate  is  only 
meant  that,  by  the  necessity  of  his  nature,  a  well-constituted 
individual  placed  in  certain  circumstances  will  acquire  certain 
ideas,  then  all  the  phenomena  of  a  man's  life,  bodily  or  mental, 
are  just  as  innate  or  natural.  It  is  necessary  here  to  distinguish 
between  what  is  predetermined  by  the  nature  of  things,  and  what 
is  preformed.  The  formation  of  an  idea  is  an  organic  evolution 
in  the  appropriate  nervous  centres,  a  development  which  is 
gradually  completed  in  consequence  of  successive  experiences  of 
a  like  kind.  The  impressions  of  the  different  properties  or 
qualities  of  an  object  received  through  the  different  senses,  are 
combined  in  the  compound  idea  of  it  which  is  gradually  matured 
in  the  mind ;  there  is  a  consilience  of  sensory  perceptions  in 
the  production  of  the  idea  ;  and  henceforth  we  can  make  asser- 
tions concerning  the  object  when  it  is  not  present  to  sense.  The 
cells  of  the  cerebral  ganglia  do,  in  reality,  idealize  the  sensory 
perceptions  :  grasping  that  which  is  essential  in  them,  and  sup- 
pressing or  rejecting  the  unessential,  they  mould  them  by  their 
plastic  faculty  into  the  organic  unity  of  an  idea,  in  accordance 
with  fundamental  laws.  Every  idea  is  thus  an  intuition,-  and 
implicitly  comprises  far  more  than  it  explicitly  displays.  It  is 
not  the  idea  of  any  particular  object  or  event,  but  the  idea  of 
every  object  and  event  of  a  particular  kind.  Herein  the  process 
of  ideation  only  follows  the  law  of  organic  development  as 
manifest  everywhere,  and  as  previously  illustrated  in  the  de- 
velopment of  nerve  element  itself.  Whosoever,  biassed  by  the 
metaphysical  conception  of  mind,  finds  it  difficult  to  realize 
this  process  of  the  organic  growth  of  idea,  let  him  reflect  upon 
the  manner  of  organic  growth  which  confessedly  takes  place  in 
the  language  in  which  our  ideas  get  embodiment.  Language 
was  not  innate  in  mankind ;  it  has  undergone  a  slow  develop- 
ment through  the  ages,  in  conformity  with  the  development 
of  thought ;  and  by  using  the  study  of  language  as  an  instru- 
ment of  the  analysis  of  ideas,  we  may  make  use  of  the  science 
of  what  is  seen  to  indicate  the  nature  of  processes  that  at 
present  are  unseen. 

Those  who  are  metaphysically  minded  have  done  with  idea  as 
they  have  done  with  sensation  :  they  have  converted  a  complex 


notion  or  general  term  summing  up  a  great  number  of  varied 
phenomena  into  an  actual  entity,  and  thenceforth  allowed  it  to 
tyrannize  over  the  thoughts.  It  \:  a  great  and  mischievous  error 
to  suppose  that  an  idea  of  the  same  object  or  event  has  always 
a  uniform  quantitative  and  qualitative  value  ;  and  the  May  in 
which  it  is  the  custom  to  speak  of  certain  abstract  ideas,  as  if 
they  were  constant  entities  admitting  of  no  variation,  nor  of  the 
shadow  of  a  change,  is  a  remarkable  example  of  that  self-decep- 
tion by  which  man  fondly  fools  himself  -with  many  words 
making  nothing  understood."  An  idea  may  be  definite,  clear, 
and  adequate,  or  it  may  be  indefinite,  obscure,  and  inadequate  ; 
it  by  no  means  follows,  therefore,  that  because  the  same  name 
is  given  to  an  idea  in  two  persons,  it  has  the  same  value  in  each. 
Certain  ideas  will  always  have  a  different  value  in  persons  at 
a  different  stage  of  cultivation ;  and  when  the  well-meaning 
traveller,  or  the  ardent  missionary  thinks  to  find  in  the  miser- 
able savage  the  idea  of  a  god,  he  should  take  heed  that  he  is  not 
erroneously  interpreting  the  savage  mind  by  the  text  of  his  own. 
The  ideas  of  virtue  and  vice,  for  which  the  Australian  savage 
confessedly  has  no  words  in  his  language,  cannot  be  implanted 
or  organized  in  his  mind,  until,  by  cultivation  contimied  through 
generations,  he  has  been  humanized  and  civilized.  (2) 

To  acquire  those  so-called  fundamental  ideas,  universal  in- 
tuitions, or  categories  of  the  understanding,  of  which  some  meta- 
physicians make  so  much,  as  constant  elements,  though  they 
differ  greatly  in  value  in  different  people,  there  is  no  other  need 
but,  using  Hobbes'  words,  "  to  be  born  a  man,  and  live  with  the 
use  of  his  five  senses."  (3)  Because  all  men  have  a  common  nature, 
and  because  the  nature  by  which  all  men  are  surrounded  is  the 
same,  therefore  are  developed  certain  ideas  which  have  a  universal 
application,  but  they  are  nowise  independent  of  experience  ;  on 
the  contrary,  the  universality  of  their  character  is  owing  to  the 
very  fact  that  in  every  experience  they  are  implicitly  suggested 
or  involved,  so  that  they  finally  become  fixed  as  endowments 
in  the  acquired  nature  or  organization  of  the  nervous  centres  ; 
conscious  acquisition  becoming  here,  as  elsewhere,  unconscious 
faculty,  by  virtue  of  an  organic  process.  But  their  absolute 
truth,  as  expressions  of  certain  fundamental  relations  between 
man  and  nature,  is  only  guaranteed  by  the  assumption  of  an 


unchanging  persistence  of  these  relations  ;  a  new  sense  conferred 
upon  him  would  entirely  change  the  aspect  of  things,  and  render 
necessary  a  new  order  of  fundamental  ideas.*  (4) 

Having  said  thus  much  concerning  the  manner  in  which  our 
ideas  are  acquired,  I  proceed  to  indicate  the  different  ways  in 
which  the  reaction  of  an  idea,  when  active,  may  be  displayed  : 
.having  considered  idea  as  statical,  it  now  remains  to  consider  it 
in  actual  energy. 

(a)  The  reflex  action  or  reaction  of  an  ideational  nerve-cell 
may  be  downwards  upon  the  motor  centres,  and  may  thus  give 
rise  to  what  has  been  called  ideomotor  movement.  +  (5)  The  energy 
may  be  exerted  either  upon  the  involuntary  or  upon  the  volun- 
tary muscles ;  and  in  the  latter  case,  it  takes  place  either  with 
consciousness  or  without  consciousness.  The  idea  that  the  bowels 
will  act  may  notably  sometimes  so  affect  their  involuntary 
peristaltic  movements  as  to  produce  evacuation  of  them ;  the 
idea  that  vomiting  must  take  place,  when  a  qualmish  feeling- 
exists,  will  certainly  hasten  vomiting;  the  idea  of  a  nervous 
man  that  he  cannot  effect  sexual  intercourse  assuredly  may 
render  him  incapable  of  it ;  and  there  is  a  very  remarkable 
instance  told  in  the  Philosophical  Transactions  of  a  man  who 
could  for  a  time  stop  the  motions  of  his  heart,  j      These  are 

*  "We  can  conceive  ourselves  as  endowed  with  smelling  and  not  enjoying  any 
other  faculty.  In  that  case,  we  should  have  no  idea  of  objects  as  seeable,  as 
hearable,  as  touchable,  or  tasteable.  We  should  have  a  train  of  smells  ;  the 
smell  at  one  time  of  the  rose,  at  another  of  the  violet,  at  another  of  carrion, 
and  so  on.  Our  life  would  be  a  train  of  smells." — J.  Mill,  Analysis  of  the  Human 

f  "To  prove  that  Ideas,  as  well  as  Sensations,  are  the  cause  of  muscular 
actions,  it  is  necessary  to  make  choice  of  cases  in  which  the  idea  is  in  no  danger 
of  being  confounded  with  that  state  of  mind  called  the  Will.  And  hardly  any 
case  will  answer  this  condition,  except  some  of  those  which  are  held  to  be 
involuntary,  for  the  Idea  itself  never  can  be  very  clearly  distinguished  from  the 
Will.  "—J.  Mill,  op.  tit.  p.  265.  He  instances  yawning  on  seeing  some  one  yawn, 
the  infectious  power  of  convulsions,  laughter,  sobbing,  the  swallowing  of  saliva, 
if  assured  that  you  cannot.  "  It  seems,  therefore,  to  be  established  by  a  simple 
induction,  that  muscular  actions  follow  ideas,  as  invariable  antecedent  and  con- 
sequent, in  other  words,  as  cause  and  effect ;  that,  whenever  we  have  obtained  a 
command  over  the  ideas,  we  have  also  obtained  a  command  over  the  motions  ; 
and  that  we  cannot  perform  associate  contractions  of  several  muscles,  till  we  have 
established,  by  repetition,  the  ready  association  of  the  ideas." — Ibid.  p.  274. 

%  ' '  There  is  an  instance  told  in  the  Philosophical  Transactions  of  a  man  who 
could  for  a  time  stop  the  motions  of  his  heart  when  he  pleased  ;  and  Mr.  D.  has 



examples  of  the  influence  of  idea  upon  the  involuntary  muscles, 
and  they  are  conformable  to  what  has  been  previously  said  of 
the  subordination  of  the  organic  nerve  centres  to  the  cerebro- 
spinal system.  Some  people  even  are  able,  through  a  vivid  idea 
of  shuddering,  or  of  something  creeping  over  their  skin,  to  pro- 
duce a  cutis  anserina,  or  goose's  skin :  the  immediate  effect  of 
the  idea  in  this  case,  however,  is  probably  to  excite  the  appro- 
priate sensation  which  thereupon  gives  rise  to  the  sequent 
phenomena.  Examples  of  the  action  of  idea  upon  our  voluntary 
muscles  are  witnessed  in  every  hour  of  our  waking  life.  Very 
few,  in  fact,  of  the  familiar  acts  of  a  day  call  the  will  into 
action :  when  not  sensori-motor  they  are  mostly  prompted  by 
ideas.  But  the  point  on  which  I  would  lay  stress  here  is,  that 
such  ideomotor  movements  may  take  place,  not  only  without 
any  intervention  of  the  will,  but  also  without  consciousness ; 
they  are  automatically  accomplished,  like  the  actions  of  the  sleep- 
walker, in  obedience  to  an  idea  or  a  series  of  ideas,  of  which  there 
is  no  active  consciousness.  It  may  seem  paradoxical  to  assert, 
not  merely  that  ideas  may  exist  in  the  mind  without  any  con- 
sciousness of  them — which  every  one  admits  in  their  dormant, 
latent,  or  statical  condition  they  may — but  that  an  idea,  or  a 
train  of  associated  ideas,  may  be  quickened  into  action,  and 
instigate  movements,  without  themselves  being  attended  to. 
But  it  is  unquestionably  so  :  a  great  part  of  the  chain  of  our 
waking  thoughts,  and  of  the  series  of  our  daily  actions,  actually 
never  is  attended  to  :  at  first  consciously  acquired,  these  have 
now  become  automatic.  Persons  who  have  a  habit  of  talking  to 
themselves  are  generally  unaware  that  they  are  talking,  and 
yet  they  are  performing  both  associated  ideas  and  associated 

It  is  surprising  how  uncomfortable  any  one  may  be  made  by 
the  obscure  notion  of  something  which  he  ought  to  have  said 
or  done  on  some  occasion,  but  did  not  say  or  do,  and  which  he 
cannot  for  the  life  of  him  now  remember.  There  is  a  dim  feel- 
ing of  some  impulse  unsatisfied,  an  effort,  as  it  were,  of  the  lost 
idea  to  get  into  consciousness  ;  this  activity  is  not  sufficient  to 

often  told  me  he  could  so  far  increase  the  peristaltic  motion  of  his  howels  by 
voluntary  efforts  as  to  produce  an  evacuation  by  a  stool  at  any  time  in  half-an- 
hour." — Zoonomia,  vol.  i.  p.  39. 


excite  consciousness,  but  sufficient  to  react  upon  the  unconscious 
mental  life,  and  to  produce  a  feeling  of  discomfort  or  vague 
unrest,  which  is  relieved  directly  the  idea  bursts  into  conscious- 
ness. Then,  again,  when  an  active  idea  has  once  taken  firm 
possession  of  consciousness,  how  hard  a  matter  it  is  to  dismiss 
it !  Some  weak-minded  persons  cannot  do  so  until  they  have 
expended  its  force  in  suitable  action  :  let  a  hysterical  woman 
get  a  vivid  idea  of  some  action  that  she  must  do  :  the  idea 
becomes  a  fate  which  she  must  sooner  or  later  obey,  not  other- 
wise than  as  in  electro-biology  or  hypnotism  the  patient  is 
governed  by  the  idea  which  the  operator  suggests.  Let  a  quick- 
tempered man  conceive  a  great  insult  suddenly  done  to  him  :  in 
a  moment,  without  any  intervention  of  the  will,  the  idea  reacts 
upon  the  muscles  of  his  body,  and  produces  more  or  less  general 
tension  of  them.  Let  a  man  engaged  in  a  fight  get  the  idea  that 
he  will  be  beaten :  his  muscular  energy  is  weakened,  and  he  is 
already  half  conquered. 

(b)  The  reflex  action  of  an  ideational  nerve-cell  may  operate 
downwards  not  only  upon  the  motor  nuclei,  but  also  upon 
the  sensory  ganglia.  As  the  idea  is  excited  into  activity  by 
the  impression  on  the  senses,  so  it  may  in  turn  react  down- 
wards upon  the  sensory  centres,  giving  rise  even  under  certain 
circumstances  to  illusions  and  hallucinations.  The  idea  of  a 
nauseous  taste  may  excite  the  sensation  to  such  a  degree  as  to 
produce  vomiting ;  the  sight  of  a  person  about  to  run  a  sharp 
instrument  over  glass  will  set  the  teeth  on  edge ;  the  images  of 
dreams  are  sometimes,  as  Spinoza  has  remarked,  really  visible 
for  a  while  after  the  eyes  are  open.  The  celebrated  Baron  von 
Swieten,  says  Dr.  Darwin,  who  illustrates  this  kind  of  ideational 
action  by  many  instances,  "  was  present  when  the  putrid  carcase 
of  a  dead  dog  exploded  with  prodigious  stench ;  and,  some  years 
afterwards,  accidentally  riding  along  the  same  road,  he  was 
thrown  into  the  same  sickness  and  vomiting  by  the  idea  of  the 
stench,  as  he  had  before  experienced  from  the  perception  of  it." 

The  action  of  idea  upon  our  sensory  ganglia  is  a  regular  part 
of  our  mental  life ;  for  the  co-operation  of  sensory  activity  is 
nothing  less  than  necessary  to  clear  conception  and  representa- 
tion. In  order  to  form  a  distinct  and  definite  conception  of  what 
is  not  present  to  sense,  we  are  compelled  to  form  some  sort  of 

k  2 


image  of  it  in  the  mind ;  the  sense  of  sight,  which  anatomically 
is  in  most  extensive  connexion  w'th  the  cerebral  ganglia,  afford- 
ing us  the  greatest  assistance  in  this  regard.  Men  differ  much 
in  the  power  which  they  have  of  thus  rendering  an  idea  sensible. 
Goethe  could  call  up  an  image  at  will,  and  make  it  undergo 
various  transformations,  as  it  were,  before  his  eyes ;  Shelley 
appears  to  have  been,  on  one  occasion  at  least,  the  victim  of 
positive  hallucinations  generated  by  his  id°as.  But  the  most 
remarkable  instance  of  a  habit  of  seeing  his  own  ideas  as  actual 
images  was  afforded  by  the  engraver,  William  Blake.  "  You 
have  only  to  work  up  imagination  to  the  state  of  vision,  and  the 
thing  is  done,"  was  his  own  account  of  the  genesis  of  his  visions* 
To  render  definite  the  creations  of  the  imagination,  and  to  give 
fit  expressions  to  them,  they  must  be  accompanied  by  some 
sensorial  representation.  The  great  writers  whose  vivid  descrip- 
tions of  scenery  or  events  hold  our  attention  and  stir  our  feelings, 
have  this  power  in  high  degree ;  they  create  for  themselves  a 
world  of  sense  by  the  influence  of  idea,  and  then  strive  to  present 
vividly  to  us  what  they  have  thus  represented  to  their  own  minds. 
Natural  endowments  being  equal,  those  writers  who  have  the 
greatest  number  of  residua  stored  up  in  consequence  of  much 
and  varied  experience,  are  best  qualified  to  call  up  vivid  images, 
and  best  qualified  to  call  up  such  as  are  truly  representative  of 
nature;  wiiilst  those  who  are  wanting  in  experience,  or  who 

*  "  Dr.  Ferriar  mentions  of  himself  that,  when  at  the  age  of  fourteen,  if  he 
had  been  viewing  any  interesting  object  in  the  course  of  the  day,  as  a  romantic 
ruin,  a  fine  seat,  or  a  review  of  troops,  as  soon  as  evening  came  the  whole  scene 
was  brought  before  him  with  a  brilliancy  equal  to  what  it  possessed  in  daylight, 
and  remained  visible  for  some  minutes." — Abercrombie,  On  the  Intellectual 
Powers.  Sir  I.  Newton  could  recall  an  ocular  spectrum  of  the  sun  when  he  went 
into  the  dark  and  directed  his  mind  intensely,  ' '  as  when  a  man  looks  earnestly 
to  see  a  thing  which  is  difficult  to  be  seen."  From  these  recollected  images  of 
objects  of  sense,  which  the  reason  duly  distinguishes  from  the  realities  around, 
we  meet  with  examples  marking  a  gradual  transition  to  those  spectral  images  or 
illusions  which  cannot  be  distinguished  from  realities,  which,  in  fact,  compel 
belief  and  excite  emotions  and  actions  in  accordance  with  their  character.  Aber- 
crombie  mentions  a  patient  who  had  the  power  of  creating  the  illusion  by  an 
effort  of  will,  but  had  no  power  of  removing  it.  A  step  farther,  and  there  is 
neither  the  power  of  calling  up  an  illusion  at  will — for  it  rises  in  spite  of  the  will — 
nor  of  distinguishing  it  from  realities,  nor  of  dismissing  it  at  will.  It  is  excited 
by  some  morbid  cause,  confounds  itself  with  realities,  compels  belief,  and  domi- 
nates the  conduct. 


have  not  sufficiently  cultivated  observation,  are  apt  to  become 
visionary,  vague,  and  unreal.  Even  in  matters  of  scientific 
research,  the  scientific  imagination  by  which  hypotheses  are 
successively  framed  until  a  fit  one  is  obtained,  its  verification 
completed,  and  a  discovery  thus  made,  is  based  upon  a  previous 
careful  training  of  the  senses  in  scientific  observation,  and  works 
by  means  of  sensory  representations.  Natural  endowments  not 
being  equal,  however,  we  then  perceive  the  wide  difference  which 
there  is  between  one  who  has  an  adequate  idea  and  one  who  has 
not.  The  latter,  in  describing  scenery  or  events,  will  give  a  tedious 
picture  characterised  by  minute  industry  and  overwrought  detail, 
in  which  there  is  no  due  subordination  of  parts,  no  organic  unity 
of  idea — in  which  truly  soul  is  wanting — and  from  which,  there- 
fore, no  one  can  carry  away  a  true  idea  of  the  whole :  unpregnant 
of  his  subject,  he  has  been  going  about  to  give  a  photographic 
copy  or  a  minute  delineation  of  what  cannot  be  photographed ; 
he  has  laboured  to  realize  the  appearance  until  at  last  only 
something  unreal  remains*  The  former,  on  the  other  hand,  pro- 
duces, by  virtue  of  the  plastic  power  of  idea,  a  picture  in  which 
the  unessential  is  suppressed,  the  essential  thoroughly  grasped 
and  moulded  into  an  organic  unity,  in  which  due  subordination 
and  co-ordination  of  parts  prevail,  and  from  which,  therefore,  a 
true  idea  of  the  whole  may  be  educed ;  truly  comprehending  or 
grasping  his  subject,  he  has  in  fact  idealized  the  sensory  per- 
ceptions, producing  the  illusion  of  a  higher  reality,  and  has 
displayed  a  real  development  of  nature.  This  sort  of  difference 
between  men  is  not  less  evident  in  scientific  working.  One  man 
records,  with  a  praiseworthy  but  tedious  industry,  the  uncon- 
nected impressions  made  upon  his  senses,  and  never  gets  further 
than  that :  fondly  thinking  that  he  sees  with  his  eye,  and  not 
through  it,  he  would,  were  he  set  to  describe  the  sun  for  the 
first  time,  describe  it  as  a  bright  disc  about  the  size  of  a  big 

*  "  For  facts,"  Lord  Shaftesbury  observes  in  his  Characteristics,  "  unably 
related,  though  with  the  greatest  sincerity  and  good  faith,  may  prove  the  worst 
sort  of  deceit :  and  mere  lies,  judiciously  composed,  can  teach  us  the  truth  of 
things  beyond  any  manner.  But  to  amuse  ourselves  with  such  authors  as  neither 
know  how  to  lye,  nor  tell  truth,  discovers  a  taste  which  methinks  no  one  should 
be  apt  to  envy.  The  greatest  critic  says  of  the  greatest  of  poets,  when  he  extols 
him  the  highest,  that  above  all  others  he  understood  hoiv  to  lye :  Ae5i8a<rxe  8e 
nd\«rTa"OfA.7ipos  Ka\  rovs  aWovs irfffvSfj  \eye7y  ws  Sci." 


cheese,  and  rest  content  for  the  future  with  this  sensory  repre- 
sentation of  it.  The  other  and  t~Tier  man  of  science  succeeds 
in  combining,  by  means  of  the  organizing  power  of  idea,  the 
scattered  impressions  made  upon  the  senses,  is  able  by  com- 
parison to  complement  or  correct  the  impression  made  on  a 
particular  sense,  and  to  form  to  himself  a  true  image  of  the  sun, 
not  as  a  mere  disc  of  fire,  but  as  an  immense  central  body 
moving  through  space,  with  its  attendant  planetary  system. 
Only  those  who  are  destitute  of  idea  would  dream  of  rejecting 
entirely  the  aid  of  idea  in  scientific  inquiries. 

These  observations  will  not  be  a  useless  digression  if  they 
serve  to  teach  how  essential  to  the  completeness  of  conception 
is  the  functional  action  of  the  sensory  ganglia,  how  much  our 
intellectual  development  depends  not  only  upon  the  cultivation 
of  careful  habits  of  observation,  but  also  upon  the  co-operation 
of  the  sensory  centres  in  the  subsequent  intellectual  action.  The 
excitation  and  cultivation  of  the  sensorial  cells  are  necessary 
antecedents,  in  the  order  of  mental  development,  to  the  activity 
of  the  ideational  cell ;  and  the  ideational  cell  in  turn  effects  its 
complete  function  in  the  formation  of  a  distinct  conception  by 
reacting  downwards  upon  the  sensory  centres.  This  secondary 
intervention  of  the  sensory  ganglia  is  not  peculiar  to  man,  being, 
perhaps,  more  evidently  displayed  in  some  of  the  lower  animals. 
"When  the  dog  scents  the  rabbit,  and  begins  to  scratch  furiously 
at  the  burrow,  it  is  plain  that  the  sense  of  smell  has  excited 
either  directly  the  visual  image  of  the  rabbit,  or  rather,  as  the 
dreaming  of  the  dog  would  seem  to  indicate,  the  idea  of  the 
rabbit,  which  idea  thereupon  calls  up  the  appropriate  image. 
It  is  worthy  of  remark  in  this  relation,  how  singularly  effective 
in  man  the  sense  of  smell  is  in  recalling  vividly  the  ideas  and 
images  of  forgotten  scenes  and  places.  The  reaction  of  ideas  upon 
the  senses  is  again  very  notable  in  dreams ;  and  in  insanity, 
when  the  nerve  centres  are  disordered  and  their  relations  dis- 
turbed, actual  hallucinations  of  a  sense,  such  as  cannot  be 
corrected  by  the  evidence  of  unaffected  senses,  or  by  reflection, 
are  sometimes  due  to  the  influence  of  morbid  ideas.  This  dis- 
ordered action  is,  after  all,  only  an  exaggeration  of  a  process 
which  is  natural  in  our  mental  life.  The  idea  cannot  receive 
its  stimulus  directly  from  the  external  world,  nor  can  it  react 



directly  upon  the  external  world ;  both  in  its  origin  and  in  its 
expression  are  the  senses  concerned. 

(c)  A  third  important,  though  little  recognised,  way  in  which 
idea  may  operate,  is  upon  the  functions  of  nutrition  and  secre- 
tion. Whether  the  idea  act,  as  is  probable,  directly  upon  the 
organic  elements  of  the  part  through  its  nerves,  or  indirectly 
by  an  effect  upon  the  vaso-motor  system,  it  is  certain  that 
the  influence  of  an  idea  may  increase  or  lessen  a  secretion, 
and  may  modify  nutrition.  The  idea  of  food  will  cause  a  flow 
of  saliva ;  a  sympathetic  idea,  a  flow  of  tears ;  the  idea  of  itching 
in  a  particular  spot  will  give  rise  to  an  itching  there ;  and  the 
•idea  that  a  structural  defect  will  certainly  be  removed  by  a  par- 
ticular act  does  sometimes  so  affect  the  organic  action  of  the 
part  as  to  produce  a  cure.  The  most  successful  physician  is  ever 
one  who  inspires  his  patient  with  the  greatest  confidence  in  the 
virtue  of  his  remedies.  Bacon  rightly,  therefore,  would  have  us 
inquire  into  the  best  means  to  "  fortify  and  exalt  the  imagina- 
tion." "  And  here,"  he  says,  "  comes  in  crookedly  and  danger- 
ously a  palliation  and  defence  of  a  great  part  of  ceremonial 
magic.  For  it  may  be  speciously  pretended  that  ceremonies, 
characters,  charms,  gesticulations,  amulets,  and  the  like,  do  not 
derive  their  power  from  any  tacit  or  sacramental  contract  with 
evil  spirits,  but  serve  only  to  strengthen  and  exalt  the  imagi- 
nation of  him  who  uses  them."* 

(d)  There  is  yet  another  path  which  the  energy  of  an  idea 
may  take.  As,  in  reflex  action  of  the  spinal  cord,  the  residual 
force  which  was  over  and  above  what  passed  directly  outwards 
in  the  reaction  travelled  upwards  to  the  sensorium  commune  and 
excited  sensation ;  and  as  in  seusori-motor  action  the  residual 
force  which  was  over  and  above  what  passed  outwards  in  the 
reaction  travelled  up  to  the  cortical  cells,  and  gave  rise  to  idea ; 
so  #in  ideational  action  the  force  which  does  not  pass,  or  the 
residual  force  which  may  be  over  and  above  what  does  pass, 
immediately  outwards  in  the  reaction,  abides  in  action  in  the 
cortical  centres,  and  passes  therein  from  cell  to  cell.  There  is 
no  superimposed  collection  of  cells  of  a  higher  kind  to  which  it 
might  now  ascend,  and  wherein  it  might  excite  a  higher  kind 
of  mental  activity ;  there  is,  instead,  an  infinite  multitude  of 

*  De  Augmentis  Scientiaruin,  B.  iv. 


nerve-cells  in  the  cortical  layers,  having  most  numerous,  varied, 
and  intricate  connexions,  whereby  excitation  may  be  communi- 
cated from  one  to  another.  This  communication  is  what  does 
take  place,  when  one  idea  calls  up  another  by  some  association, 
itself  partly  or  wholly  disappearing  in  the  act.  It  is  probable 
that  one  idea  can  only  call  another  into  activity  through  its  own 
partial  or  entire  disappearance  from  consciousness,  as  one  wave 
disappears  in  the  production  of  another ;  but  it  is,  perhaps, 
doubtful  wThether  this,  which  is  Miiller's  simile,  expresses  the 
condition  of  things  so  well  as  that  of  Hobbes,  who  looked  upon 
one  idea  as  obscured  by  the  more  active  one,  "  in  such  manner 
as  the  light  of  the  sun  obscureth  the  light  of  the  stars  ;  which 
stars  do  no  less  exercise  their  virtue,  by  which  they  are  visible, 
in  the  day  than  in  the  night."  *  (•)  There  is,  as  would  appear, 
not  only  a  transference,  but  a  transformation  of  force  from  cell 
to  cell  within  the  hemispherical  ganglia ;  and  the  energy  of  the 
particular  cell,  or  the  idea  for  the  moment  active,  is  attended 
with  consciousness.  "We  are  now  come,  then,  to  another  sphere 
of  mental  activity,  namely,  activity  within  consciousness,  or 

It  behoves  us  here  to  settle  clearly  in  our  minds  the  relation 
of  consciousness  to  ideational  function,  or  at  any  rate  to  be  on 
our  guard  against  considering  consciousness  as  co-extensive  with 

*  Dr.  Brown  (Physiology  of  the  Mind,  p.  223)  held,  however,  that  the  slightest 
attention  to  the  successive  states  of  mind  would  show,  "  that  a  conception,  after 
giving  rise  to  some  new  conception,  does  not  always  cease  to  he  itself  a  part  of  our 
continued  .consciousness."  He  thought  that  it  often  remained  so  as  to  co-exist 
with  the  conception  which  itself  had  induced,  and  might  afterwards  suggest  other 
conceptions,  or  other  feelings,  with  which  it  might  then  co-exist  in  a  still  more 
complex  group.  "  "We  compare,  we  choose,  in  our  internal  plans,  because 
different  objects  are  together  present  to  our  conceptions."  Sir  W.  Hamilton 
limited  to  six  the  number  of  objects  which  might  exist  in  consciousness  at  the 
same  time  ;  and  Mr.  J.  S.  Mill,  in  his  Examination  of  Sir  W.  Hamilton's 
Philosophy,  allows  a  "  great  multitude  of  states,  more  or  less  conscious,  which 
often  co-exist  in  the  mind!"  On  this  question  Sir  H.  Holland  has  some  excellent 
remarks  in  his  "  Chapters  on  Mental  Physiology  ; "  and  for  a  fuller  notice  of  it 
than  would  be  proper  here,  I  may  refer  to  a  review,  in  the  Journal  of  Mental 
Science  for  January  1866,  of  Mr.  J.  S.  Mill's  criticism  of  Sir  W.  Hamilton.  It 
would  appear  that  ideas  are  in  this  regard  like  movements  :  several  of  them  may 
be  in  simultaneous  action,  though  not  equally  present  to  consciousness.  Experience 
proves  again  that  a  more  acute  pain  will  frequently  obscure  or  suspend  a  less 
severe  one  before  existing,  though  the  causes  of  the  latter  are  still  active. 
Similarly  a  new  and  stronger  emotion  will  often  banish  weaker  one. 


such  function.  "When  the  whole  energy  of  an  idea  that  is  excited 
passes  immediately  outwards  in  ideomotor  action,  then  there  is 
scarce  any,  or  there  may  be  no,  consciousness  of  it ;  in  order  that 
there  may  be  consciousness  of  the  idea,  it  is  necessary  not  only 
that  its  excitation  reach  a  certain  intensity,  but  that  the  whole 
force  of  it  do  not  pass  immediately  outwards  in  the  reaction. 
The  persistence  for  a  time  of  a  certain  degree  of  intensity  of 
energy  in  the  ideational  cell  would  certainly  appear  to  be  the 
condition  of  consciousness.  Accordingly  when  the  process  of 
reflection  is  going  on,  quietly  and  rapidly,  through  the  regular 
association  of  ideas,  there  is  no  consciousness  of  the  steps  ;  in 
the  train  of  thought  one  idea  calls  another  into  activity  without 
being  itself  attended  to,  so  that  the  result  may  appear  as  if 
sudden  and  accidental,  and  it  may  be  very  difficult,  or  quite 
impossible,  to  retrace  the  steps,  or  take  up  the  successive  links, 
by  which  it  was  evolved.  In  the  course  of  a  day  how  many 
thoughts  or  ideas  do  thus  suddenly  start  into  consciousness,  or, 
as  we  may  say,  suddenly  strike  us  !  The  excitation  of  one 
ideational  cell  would  seem  to  be  communicated  immediately  to 
another,  and  the  energy  thus  to  run  through  a  series  by  a  con- 
tinuous transformation,  with  no  residual  persistence  at  any  of 
the  intermediate  stages. 

A  conception  of  the  way  in  which  a  group  or  series  of  move- 
ments are  observably  associated,  and  the  faculty  of  them  is 
firmly  organised  in  the  nervous  centres,  so  that  they  are  hence- 
forth automatically  performed,  will  be  found  most  serviceable 
in  the  interpretation  of  the  phenomena  of  ideational  activity. 
Like  muscular  motions,  ideas  are  associated  in  groups  or  series  ; 
like  them,  they  become  easier  with  repetition ;  like  them,  they 
are  excited  into  action  by  an  appropriate  stimulus ;  like  them, 
when  once  associated,  they  are  not  easily  separated ;  like  them, 
they  may  be  accomplished  without  consciousness;  like  them, 
they  demand  an  appreciable  time  for  their  accomplishment; 
and  like  them,  they  are  fatigued  by  prolonged  exercise.  The 
question  of  the  time  necessary  for  the  performance,  so  to  speak, 
of  an  idea  is  really  a  most  important  one,  which  has  not  hitherto 
received  sufficient  attention.  It  is  sometimes  not  less  than  the 
time  required  for  the  performance  of  a  muscular  motion  ;  for,  as 
Dr.  Darwin  observed,  a  musician  can  press  the  keys  of  a  harpsi- 


chord  with  his  fingers  in  the  order  of  a  tune  which  he  has  been 
accustomed  to  play,  in  as  little  a  time  as  he  can  run  over  those 
notes  in  his  mind.  Nay,  an  ide;.'  may  even  require  more  time 
than  a  movement :  how  many  times  in  a  day  do  we  cover  our 
eyes  with  our  eyelids  without  ever  perceiving  that  we  are  in 
the  dark?  In  this  case,  as  Dr.  Darwin  has  also  observed,  the 
muscular  motion  of  the  eyelid  is  performed  quicker  than  the 
idea  of  light  can  be  changed  for  that  of  darkness :  the  twinkling 
of  an  eye  being  quicker  than  thought.  (7)  The  interference  of 
consciousness  is  often  an  actual  hindrance  to  the  association  of 
ideas,  as  it  notably  is  to  the  performance  of  movements  that 
have  attained  the  complete  ease  of  an  automatic  execution. 
It  happens  that  we  try  hard  to  recall  something  to  mind,  and 
are  unable  by  the  utmost  effort  of  volition,  and  the  strongest 
direction  of  consciousness,  to  do  so :  we  thereupon  give  up  the 
attempt,  and  direct  our  attention  to  something  else ;  and,  after 
a  while,  the  result  for  which  we  strove  in  vain,  flashes  into 
consciousness  :  the  automatic  action  of  the  brain  has  worked  it 
out.  That  is  exactly  what  we  might  expect  to  happen :  for  if 
consciousness  implies  a  persistence  of  the  tension  of  a  nerve- 
cell's  energy,  then  in  proportion  to  the  degree  of  persistent 
tension  must  be  the  retardation  of,  or  hindrance  to,  the  process 
of  association  of  ideas,  which  is  effected  by  a  transference  of 
energy  from  one  to  another  of  the  catenated  cells.  An  active 
consciousness  is  always  detrimental  to  the  best  and  most  suc- 
cessful thought :  the  thinker  who  is  actively  attentive  to  the 
succession  of  his  ideas  is  thinking  to  little  purpose  ;  what  the 
genuine  thinker  observes  is  that  he  is  conscious  of  the  words 
which  he  is  uttering  or  writing,  while  the  thought,  unconsciously 
elaborated  by  the  organic  action  of  the  brain,  flows  from  unpene- 
trated  depths  into  consciousness.  Reflection  is  then,  in  reality, 
the  reflex  action  of  the  cells  in  their  relations  in  the  cerebral 
ganglia :  it  is  the  reaction  of  one  cell  to  a  stimulus  from  a 
neighbouring  cell,  and  the  sequent  transference  of  its  energy  to 
another  cell — the  reflection  of  it.  Attention  is  the  arrest  of  the 
transformation  of  energy  for  a  moment — the  maintenance  of  a 
particular  tension.  Bear  in  mind  what  was  said  of  the  varying 
value  of  an  idea  and  of  the  manner  of  its  gradual  organization 
in  the  nervous  centres,  and  the  applicability  of  the  term  dclibcra- 


tion  to  a  process  of  thought,  as  a  weighing  or  balancing  of  one 
reason  against  another,  will  be  evident.  Or  if  we  prefer  the 
term  ratiocination,  we  may  say,  with  Hobbes,  that  by  it  is  meant 
computation.  "  Now  to  compute  is  either  to  collect  the  sum  of 
many  things  that  are  added  together,  or  to  know  what  remains 
when  one  thing  is  taken  from  another.  Ratiocination,  therefore, 
is  the  same  with  addition  and  subtraction."  Subtract  the  energy 
of  an  opposing  idea  from  a  more  powerful  one,  and  the  energy 
left  represents  the  resultant  force  of  impulse  after  deliberation ; 
add  the  energy  of  a  like  idea  to  another,  and  the  sum  represents 
the  force  of  the  resolution.  After  severe  reflection  or  delibera- 
tion the  decision  or  resolution  may  be  held  to  signify  that  we 
have  resolved,  to  the  best  of  our  ability,  the  complex  equation 
set  us. 

Though  reflection  is  a  process  of  mental  activity  that  takes 
place  within  consciousness,  yet  consciousness  itself,  when  fairly 
examined,  will  show  how  limited  is  the  power  of  the  mind  over 
the  train  of  its  ideas.  The  formation  of  an  idea  is  an  organic 
process  that  takes  place  by  imperceptible  degrees  beyond  the 
range  of  consciousness  ;  the  idea,  when  formed,  exists  in  a  latent, 
quiescent  or  dormant  state ;  and  it  may  even  be  made  active, 
and  its  energy  duly  expended,  without  consciousness.  In  like 
manner  the  catenation  of  a  group  or  series  of  ideas  is  an  organic 
process  of  which  consciousness  has  no  knowledge,  and  over 
which  volition  has  no  control ;  once  the  train  is  firmly  linked 
together  by  this  organized  coherence,  the  excitation  of  one  must 
needs  bring  on  the  excitation  of  the  others,  one  after  another,  as 
it  traverses  its  appointed  orbit,  rising  above  the  mental  horizon 
into  consciousness,  and  in  due  order  again  sinking  below  it. 
The  power  of  the  mind  over  the  succession  of  its  states  is 
plainly  at  best  but  a  limited  faculty ;  herein  corresponding 
with  that  limited  control  which  an  individual  has  over  the 
phenomena  of  his  bodily  life,  where  conscious  and  uncon- 
scious, voluntary  and  involuntary,  acts  are  so  intimately  inter- 
mixed. To  make  states  of  consciousness  synonymous  with 
states  of  mind,  as  some  have  heedlessly  done,  is  scarcely  less 
unwarrantable  than  it  would  be  to  assert  all  bodily  acts  to  be 
conscious  acts. 

There  yet  remains  something  more  to  be  said  concerning  the 


association  of  ideas.  The  anatomical  connexions  of  a  nerve-cell 
in  the  cerebral  ganglia  do,  of  a  necessity,  limit  the  direction  and 
extent  of  its  action  upon  other  jells ;  it  cannot  act  on  other 
cells  indifferently ;  for  it  may  be  deemed  tolerably  certain  that 
as  the  conduction  in  nerve-fibres  demonstrably  does  not  pass 
from  one  to  another  except  by  continuity  of  tissue,  so  the 
activity  of  one  cell  cannot  be  communicated  to  another  except 
along  an  anastomosing  process.  Besides,  or  within,  this  neces- 
sary limitation,  which  exists  in  the  anatomical  constitution 
of  the  nervous  centres,  there  is  a  further  determination  of 
the  manner  of  association  by  the  individual  life  experience, 
just  as  is  the  case  with  movements.  "Not  every  thought  to 
every  thought  succeeds  indifferently  ;"  but,  as  all  ideas  have 
been  acquired  by  means  of  experience,  and  we  have  "  no  imagi- 
nation whereof  we  have  not  formerly  had  sense  in  whole  or 
in  parts,"  so  the  connexions  which  ideas  have  with  one 
another  in  the  brain  must  answer  in  some  manner  the  order 
of  experience ;  and  even  an  individual's  habit  of  association  of 
.ideas  will  witness  to  the  influence  of  his  particular  education 
and  surroundings.  Social  life  would  simply  be  rendered  impos- 
sible if  we  could  not  depend  upon  the  uniformity  of  the  laws 
of  nature  in  man  as  well  as  out  of  him  ;  if  one  idea  followed 
another  casually,  it  would  be  all  one  as  if  one  event  in  nature 
occurred  without  connexion  with  another.  That  one  idea  does 
seemingly  follow  another  casually,  or  at  any  rate  without  recog- 
nisable coherence,  justifies  us,  we  are  in  the  habit  of  thinking, 
in  shutting  a  man  up  in  a  lunatic  asylum ;  and  one  of  the  first 
signs  of  insanity  confessedly  is  an  unaccountable  change  in,  or 
disruption  of,  the  particular  uniformity  of  an  individual  charac- 
ter. The  foundation  of  our  laws,  and  the  maxims  of  life, 
entirely  rest  upon  the  constancy  of  laws  in  the  human  mind ; 
"  a  prisoner  who  has  neither  money  nor  interest,"  Hume  very 
aptly  says,  "  discovers  the  impossibility  of  his  escape  as  well 
when  he  considers  the  obstinacy  of  the  gaoler  as  the  walls  and 
bars  with  which  he  is  surrounded ;  and,  in  all  attempts  for  his 
freedom,  chooses  rather  to  work  upon  the  stone  and  iron  of  the 
one  than  upon  the  inflexible  nature  of  the  other."  Although 
ideas  are  thus  as  definitely  associated  in  the  mind  by  phy- 
sical necessity  as  are  cause  and  effect  in  external  nature ;  yet, 


because  sometimes  one  idea  lias  succeeded  another  in  our  ex- 
perience, and  sometimes  another,  it  is  not  certain  always  in  so 
obscure  and  complex  a  labyrinth  what  idea  shall  in  a  given 
case  ensue ;  only  this  is  certain,  that  it  shall  be  an  idea  that 
has  been  associated  with  it  at  one  time  or  another.  Neces- 
sity is,  in  truth,  confessed  in  every  deliberation  and  in  every 
act  of  our  life. 

Because  each  one  has  a  certain  specific  nature  as  a  human 
being,  and  because  the  external  nature  in  relation  with  which 
each  one  exists  is  the  same,  therefore  are  inevitably  formed  cer- 
tain general  associations  which  cannot  without  great  difficulty, 
or  anywise,  be  dissociated,  just  as  different  movements  are  so 
linked  together  in  all  men  that  they  cannot  be  dissociated. 
Such  are  what  have  been  described  as  the  general  laws  of  asso- 
ciation of  ideas — those  of  cause  and  effect,  of  contiguity  in  time 
and  space,  of  resemblance,  of  contrast ;  in  all  which  ways,  it  is 
true,  one  idea  may  follow  another,  though  also  in  many  other 
ways.  We  are  enabled,  however,  by  virtue  of  the  general  laws  of 
association  in  which  all  men  agree,  to  predict  the  general  course 
of  human  conduct,  and  to  establish  laws  for  the  regulation  of  the 
social  state.  Within  these  general  principles,  however,  there  are 
numerous  subordinate  differences;  the  special  character  of  an 
individual's  association  of  ideas  being  determined  partly  by  his 
original  nature,  and  partly  by  his  special  education  and  life- 

That  natural  differences  in  the  mental  susceptibilities  of  dif- 
ferent persons  do  influence  the  character  of  their  association  of 
ideas,  is  shown,  as  Dr.  Priestley  long  since  pointed  out,*  by  the 
greater  ease  with  which  some  men  associate  those  co-existences 
of  sensory  perceptions  which  combine  to  constitute  the  idea  of 
an  object,  while  others  associate  more  readily  those  successive 
sensory  impressions  which  go  to  form  the  idea  of  an  event. 
These  different  tendencies  and  dispositions  are  really  at  the 
foundation  of  two  different  types  of  mind.  In  the  former  case, 
there  is  a  mind  attentive  to  the  discrimination  of  impressions, 
skilful  in  discernment,  and  susceptible  to  the  pleasurable  and 
painful  properties  of  things — in  fact,  a  mind  good  at  description, 
and  fond  of  natural  history ;  in  the  latter  case,  there  is  a  mind 

*  In  his  Introduction  to  Hartley. 


observant  of  the  order  of  occurrence  of  phenomena,  prone  to  the 
investigation  of  the  genesis  of  things,  or  the  connexion  of  cause 
and  effect — in  fact,  a  philosophic  intellect,  affecting  science  and 
abstract  truth,  to  which  an  event  that  can  be  nowise  explained 
or  displayed  as  an  evolution  of  antecedent  causes,  is  a  painful 
tribulation.  Such  mind  is  at  the  opposite  end  of  the  scale  to 
that  of  the  "  poor  idiot  born,"  who,  by  reason  of  his  imperfect 
constitution,  has  but  few  ideas,  and  cannot  duly  associate  those 
few,  just  as  he  is  capable  of  but  few  imperfectly  associated 
movements.  Forget  not,  however,  that  between  the  idiot  at 
the  bottom  of  the  scale  of  human  life,  and  the  philosopher 
at  its  summit,  there  are  to  be  met  with  beings  representing 
every  grade  of  the  transition. 

Special  adaptations  to  particular  circumstances  of  life  also 
concur  to  lay  the  foundation  of  individual  habits  of  thought 
and  conduct.  The  successful  tact  or  skill  of  one  man  in  circum- 
stances in  which  the  awkwardness  or  failure  of  another  is 
striking,  is  the  consequence  of  a  rapid  association  of  ideas 
which  has,  from  repeated  special  experience,  become  so  familiar, 
so  much  a  habit,  as  to  appear  like  an  intuition.  In  such  case 
the  group,  or  series  of  ideas,  is  so  closely  united,  so  firmly 
organised,  as  to  behave  almost  as  one  idea ;  while  the  excitation, 
though  sufficient  for  the  desired  end,  does  not  take  place  to  such 
degree  as  to  produce  consciousness.*  Even  the  instantaneous 
and  acute  judgment  of  a  much  experienced  and  well-trained 
mind,  which  is  sometimes  so  rapid  as  to  look  like  an  instinct  or 
intuition,  is  founded  upon  a  previous  careful  training  in  obser- 
vation and  reflection ;  it  depends  in  reality  on  an  excellent 
association  of  ideas  that  has  been  organized  in  correspondence 

*  "  Not  only  do  simple  ideas,  by  strong  association,  run  together,  and  form 
complex  ideas  ;  but  a  complex  idea,  when  the  simple  ideas  which  compose  it  have 
become  so  consolidated  that  it  always  appears  as  one,  is  capable  of  entering  into 
combinations  with  other  ideas,  both  simple  and  complex.  Thus  two  complex 
ideas  may  be  united  together  by  a  strong  association,  and  coalesce  into  one,  in 
the  same  manner  as  two  or  more  simple  ideas  coalesce  into  one.  This  union  of 
two  complex  ideas  into  one,  Dr.  Hartley  has  called  a  duplex  idea.  Two  also  of 
these  duplex  ideas,  or  doubly  compounded  ideas,  may  unite  into  one ;  and  these, 
again,  into  other  compounds  without  end."  ....  "  How  many  complex  or 
duplex  ideas  are  all  united  in  the  idea  of  furniture  ?  How  many  more  in  the  idea 
of  merchandise  ?  How  many  more  in  the  idea  called  Every  Thing  ? " — J.  Mill, 
op.  cit.  p.  82. 


with,  or  adaptation  to,  the  series  of  co-existenees  and  succes- 
sions in  external  nature ;  and  thus  it  comes  to  pass  that  even 
the  judgment  of  an  individual  in  his  particular  relations  of  life 
becomes  almost  automatic.  "When  it  is  said,  again,  that  a  man's 
character  is  completely  formed,  we  express  thereby  the  fact  that 
he  has  acquired  certain  definite  combinations  and  associations 
of  ideas  which,  firmly  organized,  henceforth  avail  him  in  the 
different  circumstances  of  life.  It  is  evident,  then,  that  if  we 
had  a  complete  knowledge  of  the  inner  nature  of  an  individual, 
if  we  could  penetrate  that  most  exquisitely  organised  fabric  of 
thought  which  by  reason  of  his  particular  education  and  life- 
experience  has  been  grafted  on  the  original  capabilities,  it 
would  be  possible  to  foretell  with  certainty  his  mode  of  thought 
and  conduct  under  any  given  circumstances.  Is  not  this  a  pre- 
diction which,  as  it  is,  those  who  know  a  man  best  can  often 
make,  with  close  approximation  to  truth?  But  inasmuch  as 
no  two  minds  are  exactly  alike  originally,  and  as  no  two  persons 
have  precisely  similar  experiences,  the  speciality  of  human  con- 
ditions being  infinite  in  variety,  we  cannot  obtain  the  exact  and 
complete  elements  for  a  correct  and  definite  judgment  of  the 
operation  of  a  given  cause  upon  any  individual.  None  the  less 
true  is  it  that  every  cause  does  operate  definitely  by  as  stern 
a  necessity  as  any  which  exists  in  physical  nature. 

Once  more,  then,  is  it  rendered  evident  how  necessary  to 
a  complete  psychology  of  the  individual  is  the  consideration 
of  the  circumstances  in  which  he  has  lived,  and  in  relation  to 
which  he  has  developed,  as  well  as  the  observation  of  his  habits 
of  thought,  feeling,  and  action.  From  what  has  been  said  of 
ideas  and  their  associations,  it  is  obvious  that  in  the  same 
language,  when  used  by  different  people,  there  must  often  be 
considerable  difference  in  regard  to  the  fulness  and  exactness 
of  the  ideas  conveyed  by  it.  (8)  In  translation  from  one  language 
to  another  it  plainly  appears  that  ideas,  which  have  a  general 
resemblance,  have  yet  certain  special  differences  according  to 
the  depth  of  thought,  the  religion,  the  manners  and  customs 
of  the  different  nations;  it  is  as  hard  a  matter  to  convey 
adequately  in  the  French  language  the  meaning  of  German 
philosophy  as  it  is  to  express  adequately,  by  the  corresponding 
German  words,  the  exact  meaning  of  the  French  names   for 


different  shades  of  elegant  vice  or  elegant  cookery.  And  who- 
soever enters  upon  the  stuiy  of  psychology  with  the  assumption 
that  an  idea  deemed  or  called  the  same  has  always  the  same 
constant  value  in  different  people  of  the  same  nation,  will  be  led 
into  the  vainest  errors  by  so  false  a  metaphysical  conception. 
Do  not  men  owe  most  of  their  errors  and  disputes  to  the  fact 
that  they  cannot  come  to  a  right  understanding  of  words  ? 
How  should  they,  indeed,  when  by  the  same  word  is  frequently 
signified  an  idea  at  very  different  stages  of  its  evolution  ? 

It  remains  only  to  add  here,  that  the  successive  formation  of 
ideas  in  mental  development  and  the  progressive  complexity  of 
their  association  and  of  their  interaction  in  the  supreme  centres 
of  the  brain,  illustrate,  as  do  the  development  of  the  spinal 
centres  and  the  development  of  the  sensory  centres,  an  increas- 
ing organic  specialization  in  tho  relations  of  man  to  external 
nature;  that  Yon  Baer's  law  of  progress  from  the  general 
and  simple  to  the  special  and  complex  here,  as  elsewhere  in 
organic  development,  has  sway. 

Thus  far,  then,  we  have  exhibited  the  path  of  distribution  for 
the  energy  of  an  idea  when  it  does  not  pass  outwards  in  a  direct 
reaction  to  the  stimulus  from  without :  it  travels  from  cell  to 
cell  within  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres,  and  thus  gives 
rise  to  reflection.  But  at  the  end  of  all  this  wandering  or  of  the 
various  transformations,  as  the  final  result  of  reflection,  there 
may  still  be  a  reaction  downwards,  and  consequent  outward 
activity  of  the  individual.  "When  that  takes  place  it  is  voli- 
tional action :  the  will,  abstractly  speaking,  is  the  resultant  of 
the  complex  interaction  of  the  supreme  ganglionic  cerebral 
cells.  We  ascend  gradually  to  this  highest  manifestation  of 
force  by  tracing  upwards  the  fundamental  reaction  of  nerve-cell 
through  reflex  action,  sensori-motor  action,  and  ideo-motor 
action :  in  our  knowledge  of  the  more  simple  phenomena  we 
have  a  guide  with  which  to  enter  on  the  study  of  those  which 
are  more  complex  and  obscure.  As,  however,  there  is  usually 
present  in  the  action  of  w7ill  some  desire  of  a  good  to  be 
obtained,  or  of  an  evil  to  be  shunned,  it  will  be  proper,  before 
considering  the  nature  of  volition,  to  deal  with  the  emotions. 
To  them,  therefore,  shall  the  next  chapter  be  devoted. 



1  (p.  127). — "For  what  is  meant  by  innate  1  If  innate  be  equivalent 
to  natural,  then  all  the  perceptions  and  ideas  of  the  mind  must  be 
allowed  to  be  innate  or  natural,  in  whatever  sense  we  take  the  latter 
words,  whether  in  opposition  to  what  is  uncommon,  artificial,  or  mira- 
culous. If  by  innate  he  meant  contemporary  to  our  birth,  the  dispute 
seems  to  be  frivolous  ;  nor  is  it  worth  while  to  inquire  at  what  time 
thinking  begins,  whether  before,  at,  or  after  our  birth.  Again,  the 
word  idea  seems  to  be  commonly  taken  in  a  very  loose  sense  by  Locke 
and  others  as  standing  for  any  of  our  perceptions,  our  sensations  and 
passions,  as  well  as  our  thoughts.  Now,  in  this  sense,  I  should  desire 
to  know  what  can  be  meant  by  asserting  that  self-love,  or  resentment 
of  injuries,  or  the  passion  between  the  sexes,  is  not  innate  ? " — Hume, 
Essay  concerning  the  Human  Understanding. 

2  (p.  128). — "  I  cannot  but  think  that  the  two  main  articles  of 
belief  which  have  been  set  down  to  the  credit  of  the  Indian — namely, 
the  Great  Spirit  or  Creator,  and  the  Happy  Hunting-grounds  in  a  future 
world, — are  the  results  of  missionary  teaching,  the  work  of  the  Fathers 
Hennepin,  Marguette,  and  their  noble  army  of  martyred  Jesuit  fol- 
lowers." ....  The  Manitou,  which  we  are  obliged  to  translate 
"  Spirit,"  exists  everywhere ;  they  believe  there  is  a  manitou  in  water, 
in  fire,  in  stars,  in  grass,  &c. ;  it  is  the  essence  of  Fetishism.  "  It  is 
doubtful  whether  these  savages  ever  grasped  the  idea  of  a  human  soul." 
.  ..."  I  do  not  believe  that  an  Indian  of  the  plains  ever  became  a 
Christian.  He  must  first  be  humanized,  then  civilized,  and,  lastly, 
Christianized ;  and,  as  has  been  said  before,  I  doubt  his  surviving  the 
operation." — The  City  of  the  Saints,  by  E.  F.  Burton,  p.  133. 

3  (p.  128). — "There  is  no  other  act  of  man's  mind  that  I  can 
remember,  naturally  planted  in  him,  so  as  to  need  no  other  thing  in 
the  exercise  of  it,  but  to  be  born  a  man  and  live  with  the  use  of 
his  five  senses.  Those  other  faculties  of  which  I  shall  speak  by  and 
by,  and  which  seem  proper  to  man  only,  are  acquired  and  increased 
by  study  and  industry,  and  of  most  men  learned  by  instruction  and 
discipline  ;  and  proceed  all  from  the  invention  of  word  and  speech." — 
Hobbes,  Leviatlian,  ch.  iii. 

4  (p.  129). — "The  first  consideration  I  have  upon  the  subject  of 
the  senses  is  that  I  make  a  doubt  whether  or  no  man  be  furnished 
with  all  natural  senses.     I  see  several  animals  who  live  an  entire  and 



perfect  life,  some  "without  sight,  others  without  hearing ;  who  knows 
whether  to  us  also,  one,  two,  three,  or  many  other  senses  may  not  be 
wanting?  For  if  any  one  be  wanting,  our  examination  cannot  dis- 
cover the  defect."  "  'Tis  the  privilege  of  the  senses  to  be  the  utmost 
limit  of  our  discovery ;  there  is  nothing  beyond  them  that  can  assist  us 
in  exploration,  not  so  much  as  one  sense  in  the  discovery  of  another.". . . 

"  There  is  no  sense  that  has  not  a  mighty  dominion,  and  that  does 
not  by  its  power  introduce  an  infinite  number  of  knowledges.  If  we 
were  defective  in  the  intelligence  of  sounds,  of  harmony  and  of  the 
voice,  it  would  cause  an  unimaginable  confusion  in  all  the  rest  of  our 
science ;  for,  besides  what  belongs  to  the  proper  effect  of  every  sense, 
how  many  arguments,  consequences,  and  conclusions,  do  we  draw  to 
other  things,  by  comparing  one  sense  with  another  1  Let  an  under- 
standing man  imagine  human  nature  originally  produced  without  the 
sense  of  seeing,  and  consider  what  ignorance  and  trouble  such  a  defect 
would  bring  upon  him,  what  a  darkness  and  blindness  in  the  soul ;  he 
will  then  see  by  that  of  how  great  importance  to  the  knowledge  of 
truth,  the  privation  of  such  another  sense,  or  of  two  or  three,  should 
we  be  so  deprived,  would  be.  We  have  formed  a  truth  by  the  con- 
currence of  our  five  senses  ;  but,  perhaps,  we  should  have  the  consent 
and  contribution  of  eight  or  ten  to  make  a  certain  discovery  of  it  in  its 
essence." — Montaigne's  Essays. 

5  (p.  129). — It  would  appear  that  one  hemisphere  of  the  brain  can 
only  act,  whether  by  means  of  idea  or  volitionally,  on  the  limbs  of  the 
opposite  side,  that  it  cannot  act  upon  the  limbs  of  the  same  side  of  the 
body.  Philipeaux  and  Vulpian  injured  or  removed  portions  of  the 
left  hemisphere  in  dogs.  All  of  them  are  said  to  have  exhibited  a 
slight  degree  of  paralysis  of  the  right  side,  and  moved  in  a  circle 
when  forced  to  move.  The  hemiplegia  was  slight,  though  evident,  for 
the  animals  supported  themselves  on  the  enfeebled  limbs.  But  was 
there  a  true  hemiplegia?  Was  not  the  paralysis  spurious,  and  due 
really  to  the  loss  of  intelligence  and  volition  in  the  damaged  hemi- 
sphere, so  that  the  animal  only  had  sensori-motor  power  left  on  that 
side  ?  Accordingly,  as  the  left  side  continued  to  act  freely  under  the 
instigation  of  the  will  proceeding  from  the  right  hemisphere,  while  the 
left  depended  on  sensori-motor  action  only,  or  on  synergy  with  the 
right,  the  animal  was  made  to  move  in  a  circle. 

e  (p.  136). — "The  decay  of  sense  in  men  waking  is  not  the  decay 
of  the  motion  made  in  sense,  but  an  obscuring  of  it,  in  such  manner  as 
the  light  of  the  sun  obscureth  the  light  of  the  stars  ;  which  stars  do  no 
less  exercise  their  virtues,  by  which  they  are  visible,  in  the  day  than  in 


the  night.  But  because  among  many  strokes  which  our  eyes,  ears, 
and  other  organs  receive  from  external  bodies,  the  predominant  only  is 
sensible ;  therefore,  the  light  of  the  sun  being  predominant,  we  are 
not  affected  with  the  action  of  the  stars." — Leviathan,  ch.  vi. 

7  (]).  138). — "The  time  taken  up  in  performing  an  idea  is  likewise 
much  the  same  as  that  taken  up  in  performing  a  muscular  motion.  A 
musician  can  press  the  keys  of  an  harpsichord  with  his  fingers  in  the 
order  of  a  tune  he  has  been  accustomed  to  play  in  as  little  time  as  he 
can  run  over  these  notes  in  his  mind.  So  we  many  times  in  an  hour 
cover  our  eyeballs,  without  perceiving  that  we  are  in  the  dark ;  hence 
the  perception  or  idea  of  light  is  not  changed  for  that  of  darkness  in 
so  small  a  time  as  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  so  that,  in  this  case,  the 
muscular  motion  of  the  eyelid  is  performed  quicker  than  the  perception 
of  light  can  be  changed  for  that  of  darkness." — Zoonomia,  vol.  L  p.  24. 

8  (p.  143). — "It  will  easily  appear  from  the  observations  here  made 
upon  words,  and  the  associations  which  adhere  to  them,  that  the  lan- 
guages of  different  ages  and  nations  must  bear  a  general  resemblanee  to 
each  other,  and  yet  have  considerable  particular  differences ;  whence  any 
one  may  be  translated  into  any  other,  so  as  to  convey  the  same  ideas 
in  general,  and  yet  not  with  perfect  precision  and  exactness.  They 
must  resemble  one  another  because  the  phenomena  of  nature,  which 
they  are  all  intended  to  express,  and  the  uses  and  exigencies  of  human 
life,  to  'which  they  minister,  have  a  general  resemblance.  But  then, 
as  the  bodily  make  and  genius  of  each  people,  the  air,  soil,  and 
climate,  commerce,  arts,  science,  religion,  &c,  make  considerable 
differences  in  different  ages  and  nations,  it  is  natural  to  expect  that  the 
languages  should  have  proportionable  differences  in  respect  of  each 
other." — Hartley's  Tlieory  of  the  Human  Mind,  by  Dr.  Priestley. 

"Wherefore,  as  men  owe  all  their  true  ratiocination  to  the  right 
understanding  of  speech,  so  also  they  owe  their  errors  to  the  misunder- 
standing of  the  same ;  and  as  all  the  ornaments  of  philosophy  proceed 
only  from  man,  so  from  man  also  is  derived  the  ugly  absurdity  of  false 
opinions.  For  speech  has  something  in  it  like  to  a  spider's  web  (as  it 
was  said  of  old  of  Solon's  laws),  for  by  contexture  of  words  tender 
and  delicate  wits  are  ensnared  and  stopped  ;  but  strong  wits  break 
easily  through  them." — Hobbes,  vol.  i.  p.  36. 




MAN  is  patient  and  agent ;  he  suffers  certain  passions,  and 
does   certain   actions.      Passion  is   actual   suffering,  and 
depresses ;   action  is  the  cure  for  suffering,  and  elevates.     A 
calm  deliberation  involves  an  equilibrium  between  suffering  and 
doing ;  but  in  so  far  as  an  idea  is  attended  with  some  feeling, 
whether  of  pleasure  or  of  pain,  or  of  a  more  special  character, 
it  is  to  that  extent  emotional ;  and  if  the  feeling  preponderate, 
the  idea  is  obscured,  and  the  state  of  mind  is  then  called  an 
emotion  or  a  passion.     The  definite  farm  of  the  idea  in  the 
material  substratum  is  obscured  or  partially  lost  in  the  agitation 
or  commotion  of  the  nerve  elements.     Strictly  speaking,  all  con- 
scious psychical  states  are,  at  first,  feelings;  but,  after  having  been 
experienced  several  times,  they  are  adequately  and  definitely 
organized,  and  become   almost  automatic  or  indifferent  under 
ordinary  circumstances.   So  long  as  the  ideas  or  mental  states  are 
not  adequately  organized  in  correspondence  with  the  individual's 
external  relations,  more  or  less  feeling  will  attend  their  excita- 
tion :  they  will,  in  fact,  be  more  or  less  emotional.     When  the 
equilibrium  between  the  subjective  and  objective  is  duly  estab- 
lished, there  is  no  passion,  and  there  is  but  little  emotion.  (2) 

It  has  been  sufficiently  evident,  up  to  the  present  point,  that 
the  condition  of  the  nervous  centres  is  of  the  greatest  conse- 
quence in  respect  of  the  formation  of  the  so-called  mental 
faculties,  and  of  the  manifestation  of  their  functions;  it  will 
now  be  seen  that  this  condition  is  of  still  more  manifest  im- 
portance in  regard  to  the  phenomena  of  the  emotions.  Every 
one's  experience  teaches  him  that  an  idea  winch  is  at  one  time 
indifferent,  being  accompanied  by  no   feeling  of  pleasure   or 

chap,  vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  149 

discomfort,  may,  at  another  time,  be  attended  by  some  feeling  of 
discomfort,  or  become  positively  painful.  And  it  requires  no  very 
attentive  observation  of  men  to  discover  that  different  persons 
are  very  differently  affected  by  one  and  the  same  object,  and 
often  pass  very  different  judgments  upon  it  in  consequence.  So 
much  is  this  the  case  that  we  are  in  the  constant  habit  of  dis- 
tinguishing men  by  the  difference  of  their  emotional  disposition, 
or  of  the  temper  of  their  minds,  and  of  speaking  accordingly  of 
one  man  as  timid  ;  of  another  as  courageous  ;  of  one  as  irritable, 
quick-tempered ;  of  another  as  even-tempered,  placid.  One  of 
the  earliest  symptoms  of  an  oncoming  insanity,  and  one  that  is 
almost  universally  present  as  the  expression  of  a  commencing 
deterioration,  howsoever  caused,  of  the  nervous  centres,  is  an 
emotional  disturbance,  upon  which  follows  more  or  less  per- 
version of  judgment.  It  is  feeling,  or  the  affective  life,  that 
reveals  the  deep  essential  nature  of  the  man ;  for  it  expresses  the 
tone  of  his  nerve  element,  which  again  is  the  result  of  its 
actual  constitution  or  composition,  inherited  and  acquired. 

The  first  occurring  observation  is,  that  an  idea  which  is  favour- 
able to  the  impulses  or  strivings  of  the  individual,  to  self-ex- 
pansion, is  accompanied  by  a  feeling  of  more  or  less  pleasure ; 
and  that  an  idea  which  betokens  individual  restriction,  which  is 
opposed  to  the  expansion  of  self,  is  attended  with  a  feeling  of 
more  or  less  discomfort  or  pain.  As  the  organic  germ  does, 
under  circumstances  favourable  to  its  inherent  developmental 
impulse,  incorporate  matter  from  without,  exhibiting  its  gratifi- 
cation by  its  growth,  and,  under  unfavourable  conditions,  does 
not  assimilate,  but  manifests  its  suffering  or  passion  by  its 
decay ;  so  likewise  the  ganglionic  nerve-cell  of  the  hemi- 
spheres attests  by  a  pleasant  emotion  the  furtherance  of  its 
development,  and  declares  by  a  painful  feeling  of  discomfort  the 
restriction  or  injury  which  it  suffers  from  an  unfavourable 
stimulus.  Even  in  the  earliest  sensation,  therefore,  the  exist- 
ence of  pain  or  pleasure  is  a  sort  of  obscure  judgment  on  its 
advantage  or  disadvantage  to  the  personality  or  self — a  judgment 
in  which,  as  Herbart  has  observed,  the  subject  cannot  yet  be 
separated  from  the  predicate  that  expresses  praise  or  blame.* 

*  "  Ein  Urtheil,  in   dem  irar  das   Vorgestellte  sich  noch    nicht  von  dem 
Predicate,  das  Beifall  oder  Tadel  ausdriickt,  sondern  lasst. " — Herbart. 

150  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

Among  so  many  clangers,  then,  "  to  have  a  care  of  one's  self  is," 
in  the  words  of  Hobbes,  "  so  far  from  being  a  matter  scornfully 
to  be  looked  at,  that  one  has  neither  the  power  nor  wish  to  have 
done  otherwise.  For  every  man  is  desirous  of  what  is  good  for 
him,  and  shuns  what  is  evil,  but  chiefly  the  chiefest  of  natural 
evils,  which  is  death ;  and  this  he  doth  by  a  certain  impulsion 
of  nature,  no  less  than  that  whereby  a  stone  moves  downwards."  (2) 
Children  and  savages  best  exhibit  in  a  naked  simplicity  the 
different  passions  that  result  from  the  affection  of  self  by  what, 
when  painful,  is  deemed  an  ill ;  when  pleasurable,  a  good. 

It  is  necessary  to  bear  in  mind  that  a  stimulus,  which  in 
moderation  gives  rise  to  a  pleasant  idea,  or  rather  emotion,  will, 
when  too  prolonged  or  too  powerful,  produce  discomfort  or  pain, 
and  consequent  efforts  to  escape  from  it.  There  is  then  a  desire 
to  shun  the  stimulus,  like  as  one  altogether  noxious  is  shunned  ; 
the  desire  becoming  the  motive  or  spring  of  action.  The  impulse 
in  such  case  is  described  as  desire,  because  there  is  consciousness 
of  it ;  but  it  is  without  doubt  the  equivalent  in  a  higher  kind  of 
tissue  of  that  effort  which  the  lowest  animal  organism  exhibits, 
without  consciousness,  in  getting  away  from  an  injurious  stimu- 
lus. In  both  instances  there  is,  in  truth,  the  display  of  the 
so-called  self-conservative  impulse  which  is  immanent  in  all 
living  matter — an  impulse  or  instinct,  which,  whatever  deeper 
facts  of  intimate  composition  may  be  connoted  by  it,  is  the 
essential  condition  of  the  continued  existence  of  organic  element. 
Such  reaction  of  organic  element  is  as  natural  and  necessary  as 
the  reaction  of  any  chemical  compound,  because  as  much  the  con- 
sequence of  the  properties  of  matter  thus  organically  combined. 
"When  the  stimulus  to  a  hemispherical  nerve-cell  is  not  in 
sufficient  force  to  satisfy  the  demands  of  the  latter, — when,  in 
fact,  it  is  inadequate, — then  there  is  the  manifestation  of  an 
affinity  or  attraction  by  the  nervous  centre,  an  outward  impulse, 
appetency,  or  striving,  which,  again,  as  it  occurs  in  consciousness, 
is  revealed  to  us  as  desire,  craving,  or  appetite.  There  is  no 
difference,  indeed,  as  Spinoza  observes,  between  appetite  and 
desire,  except  in  so  far  as  the  latter  implies  consciousness ; 
desire  is  self-conscious  appetite.  (3)  Because  we  have  an  appetite 
or  desire  for  something,  therefore  we  judge  it  to  be  good :  it 
certainly  is  not  because  a  thing  is  judged  to  be  good  that  we 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  151 

have  an  appetite  or  desire  for  it.  Here,  again,  there  is  an 
exact  correspondence  with  that  attraction,  impulse,  or  striving 
of  organic  element  towards  a  favourable  stimulus  manifested 
throughout  nature,  and  the  necessary  correlate  of  which  is  a 
repulsion  of  what  is  unfavourable.  Because  the  affinity  is 
exhibited  in  vital  structure,  we  are  prone,  when  observing  it, 
to  transfer  our  own  states  of  consciousness  to  the  organic  element, 
and,  therefore,  to  represent  it  on  all  occasions  as  striving,  by 
means  of  a  self-conservative  impulse  or  instinct,  for  the  stimulus 
favourable  to  its  growth.  But  the  attraction  is  no  less  a  physical 
necessity  than  the  attraction  of  an  acid  for  an  alkali,  of  the 
needle  to  the  pole,  or  of  positive  for  negative  electricity ;  if 
there  were  no  stimulus,  there  would  be  no  reaction  on  the  part 
of  the  organic  element ;  if  the  stimulus  were  in  injurious  excess, 
or  otherwise  unfavourable,  there  must  be  disturbance  of  the 
statical  equilibrium,  and  a  reaction  of  repulsion ;  and  when  the 
stimulus  is  favourable  but  deficient,  the  reaction  is  evinced  in 
an  attraction  or  affinity  for  an  additional  amount,  like  as  a  non- 
neutralized  acid  will  take  up  more  alkali,  or  as  unsatisfied 
appetite  craves  more  nutriment.  Now,  it  is  most  important 
that  we  do  not  allow  the  presence  of  consciousness  to  mislead  us 
as  to  what  is  the  fundamental  condition  of  things  in  the  gan- 
glionic cells  of  the  brain.  Here,  as  elsewhere,  healthy  organic 
element  manifests  its  fundamental  properties,  pursuing  the  good, 
eschewing  the  ill ;  and  consciousness  is  something  superadded, 
but  which  nowise  abolishes  them.  The  striving  after  a  pleasing 
impression,  or  the  effort  to  avoid  a  painful  one,  is  at  bottom  a 
physical  consequence  of  the  nature  of  the  ganglionic  cell  in  its 
relation  to  a  certain  stimulus  ;  and  the  reaction  or  desire  becomes 
the  motive  of  a  general  action  on  the  part  of  the  individual  for 
the  purpose  of  satisfying  a  want,  or  of  shunning  an  ill.  The 
care  of  himself  no  man  in  good  health  has  the  power  of  neglect- 
ing. To  cease  to  strive  is  to  begin  to  die,  physically,  morally, 
and  intellectually. 

It  is  obvious  then,  not  only  how  desires  become  the  motives 
of  action,  but  how  they  are  gradually  evolved  into  their  complete 
form  out  of  the  unconscious  organic  appetites.  In  the  desire  of 
the  adult  there  is  necessarily  some  sort  of  conception  of  what  is 
desired,  though  it  is  at  times  a  not  very  definite  one  ;  but  in 

152  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

the  child,  as  in  the  idiot,  we  frequently  witness  a  vague  restless- 
ness evincing  an  undefined  want  of,  or  desire  for,  something  of 
which  itself  is  unconscious,  but  which,  when  obtained,  presently 
produces  quiet  and  satisfaction :  the  organic  life  speaks  out  with 
an  as  yet  inarticulate  utterance.     Most  striking  is  that  example 
of  the   evolution   of  organic  life  into   consciousness  which  is 
observed  at  the  time  of  puberty,  when  new  organs  come  into 
action  ;    then   vague   and   ill-understood    desires   give   rise  -  to 
obscure  impulses  that  have  no  defined  aim,  and  produce  a  rest- 
lessness which,  when   misapplied,  is   often   mischievous  :    the 
amorous  appetite  thus  first  declares  its  existence.     But  to  prove 
how  little  it  is  indebted  to  the  consciousness  which  is  a  natural 
subsequent  development,  it  is  only  necessary  to  reflect  that  even 
in  man  the  desire  sometimes  attair.s  to  a  knowledge  of  its  aim, 
and  to  a  sort  of  satisfaction,  in  dreams  before  it  does  so  in  real 
life.     This  simple  reflection  might  of  itself  suffice  to  teach  psy- 
chologists how  far  more  fundamental  than  any  conscious  mental 
state  is  the  unconscious  mental  or  cerebral  life.     Given  an  ill- 
constituted  or  imperfectly  developed  brain  at  the  time  when  the 
sexual  appetite  makes  its  appearance,  and  what  is  the  result  ? 
None  other  tnan  that  which  happens  with  the  lower  animal, 
where  love  is  naked  lust,  and  the  sight  of  the  female  excites  a 
desire  that  immediately  issues  in  uncontrollable  efforts  for  its 
gratification.     Given,  on  the  other  hand,  a  well  constituted  and 
naturally  developed  brain,  the  sexual  desire  undergoes  a  complex 
development  in  consciousness  :  from  its  basis  are  evolved  all 
those  delicate,  exalted,  and  beautiful  feelings  of  love  that  consti- 
tute the  store  of  the  poet,  and  play  so  great  a  part  in  human 
happiness  and  in  human  sorrow.     What,  however,  is  true  of 
these  particular  desires  is  true  of  all  our  desires  :  it  may  be 
fitly  said,  with  Bacon,  "  that  the  mind  in  its  own  nature  would 
be  temperate  and  staid,  if  the  affections,  as  winds,  did  not  put  it 
in  tumult  and  perturbation;"  or,  with  Nova' is,  that  "life  is  a 
feverish  activity  excited  by  passion." 

When  the  circumstances  are  exactly  adapted  to  the  capacity 
of  the  organic  element,  then  are  they  most  favourable  to  the 
development  of  the  latter;  and  a  steady  growth  of  it  fails  not  to 
testify  to  the  complete  harmony  of  the  relations.  Or,  adopting 
the  language  proper  in  such  case  to  the  highest  relations  of  man, 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  153 

there  is  an  equilibrium  between  the  subjective  and  the  objective, 
and  no  passion :  there  is  neither  a  painful  feeling  with  consequent 
desire  to  avoid  a  suffering,  nor  is  there  a  feeling  of  insufficient 
satisfaction  with  consequent  desire  to  increase  or  continue  an 
enjoyment;  but  a  steady  assimilation,  promoting  the  evolution  of 
idea,  goes  favourably  on  :  intellectual  development  is  then  most 
favoured.  As  there  is  no  outward  striving  or  craving  in  such 
case,  the  energy  of  the  response  to  the  stimulus  is  expended  in 
the  growth  of  the  idea  and  in  the  reaction  of  it  upon  other  ideas, 
— in  other  words,  in  intellectual  development.  Conception  and 
desire,  therefore,  stand  in  a  sort  of  opposition  to  one  another, 
although  in  every  mental  act  they  co-exist  in  greater  or  less 
relative  degree ;  in  every  conception  there  is,  or  has  once  been, 
as  previously  said,  some  feeling ;  and  again,  in  every  distinct 
desire  there  is  a  conception  of  something  desired.  But  the  oppo- 
sition between  them  is  in  reality  a  matter  of  the  degree  of  for- 
mation of  the  idea  or  conception ;  for,  whatever  its  nature,  there 
is  always  more  or  less  feeling  with  it  when  first  experienced, 
which,  however,  disappears  in  proportion  as  it  becomes  definitely 
organized ;  and  even  though  some  little  feeling  or  desire  remains 
connected  with  the  idea,  it  may  often  remain  in  consciousness, 
or  only  modify  reflection,  not  being  of  sufficient  degree  to  pass 
into  outward  manifestation.  May  we  not  then  justly  affirm,  as 
we  clearly  perceive,  that  the  intellectual  life  does  not  supply  the 
motive,  or  impulse,  to  action  ;  that  the  understanding,  or  reason, 
is  not  the  cause  of  our  outward  actions,  but  that  the  desires  are  ? 
A  strong  desire  or  longing  for  a  certain  object  in  life  often  brings 
•  its  own  accomplishment.  The  desire  is  the  expression  of  the 
individual's  character,  the  manifestation  of  the  essential  affinities 
of  his  nature  ;  accordingly  he  strives  with  all  his  might  to  attain 
unto  the  aim  which  he  sets  before  him,  and  probably  succeeds 
either  in  a  direct  or  a  circuitous  way.  Thus  it  is  that  aspirations 
are  often  prophecies,  the  harbingers  of  what  a  man  shall  be  in  a 
condition  to  perform.  Men  of  great  reasoning  powers,  on  the 
other  hand,  are  notoriously  not  unfrequently  incapacitated  thereby 
from  energetic  action;  they  balance  reasons  so  nicely  that  no  one 
of  them  outweighs  another,  and  they  can  come  to  no  decision : 
with  them,  as  with  Hamlet,  meditation  paralyses  action.  In  fact, 
the  power  of  the  understanding  is  reflective  and  inhibitory,  being 

154  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

exhibited  rather  in  the  hindrance  of  passion-prompted  action, 
andin  the  guidance  of  our  impulses,  than  in  the  instigation 
of  conduct ;  its  office  in  the  individual  as  in  the  race  is, 
as  Comte  observed,  not  to  impart  the  habitual  impulsion,  but 
deliberative.  (4) 

As  there  are  two  factors  which  go  to  the  production  of  an 
emotion — namely,  the  organic  element  and  the  external  stimulus 
— it  is  plain  that  the  character  of  the  emotional  result  will  not 
be  determined  only  by  the  nature  of  the  stimulus,  but  will 
depend  greatly  also  upon  the  condition  of  the  organic  element. 
The  equilibrium  between  the  individual  and  his  surroundings 
may,  in  fact,  be  disturbed  by  a  subjective  modification,  or  an 
internal  commotion,  as  well  as  by  an  unwonted  impression  from 
without.  When  some  bodily  derangement  has  affected  the  con- 
dition of  the  cells  of  the  cerebral  ganglia,  either  directly  or  by 
a  sympathetic  action,  then  an  idea  arising  is  accompanied  with 
certain  emotional  qualities,  though  it  is  an  idea  which,  in  health, 
is  commonly  indifferent ;  just  as  when  a  morbid  state  of  an  organ 
of  sense,  or  of  its  sensory  ganglion,  renders  painful  an  impression 
which  in  health  would  be  indifferent  or  even  agreeable.  Every 
one's  experience  teaches  how  much  his  tone  of  mind  varies  ac- 
cording to  his  bodily  states.  The  drunken  man,  at  a  certain 
stage  of  his  degradation,  gets  absurdly  emotional ;  and  the 
general  paralytic,  whose  supreme  nervous  centres  are  visibly 
degenerate,  is  characterised  by  great  emotional  excitability,  as 
well  as  by  intellectual  feebleness.  The  general  feeling  of  well- 
being  which  results  from  a  healthy  condition  of  all  the  organs  of 
the  body,  which  is  indeed  the  expression  of  a  favourably  pro- 
ceeding organic  life,  is  known  as  the  coencesthcsis,  and  is  some- 
times described  as  an  emotion  :  but  it  is  not  truly  an  emotion ; 
it  is  the  body's  sensation  or  feeling  of  its  well-being,  and  marks 
a  condition  of  things,  therefore,  in  which  activity  of  any  kind 
will  be  pleasurable — in  which  an  idea  that  arises  will  be 
pleasantly  emotional,  not  otherwise  than  as  bodily  movement 
is  then  pleasurable.  On  the  other  hand,  the  general  feeling  of 
discomfort  which  follows  upon  a  visceral  disturbance,  or  some 
other  cause,  is  a  condition  in  which  activity  of  any  kind  will  be 
rather  painful  than  otherwise  ;  there  is  a  restricted  or  hindered 
personality,  and  an  idea  arising  is  apt  to  be  gloomily  emotional. 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  155 

It  plainly  amounts  to  the  same  thing,  whether  an  excessive 
stimulus  acts  upon  nerve  element  when  in  a  stable  and 
healthy  state,  and  produces  suffering;  or  whether  a  natural 
stimulus  acts  upon  it  when  in  an  enfeebled  or  unstable  con- 
dition, and  similarly  gives  rise  to  suffering :  in  both  cases, 
there  is,  physically  speaking,  a  disturbance  of  the  equilibrium 
of  the  nervous  element,  or  a  resolution  of  it  into  lower  but 
more  stable  compounds ;  or,  psychologically  speaking,  there  is, 
in  both  cases,  an  idea  excited  which  is  attended  with  painful 
emotional  qualities — an  idea  unfavourable  to  individual  expan- 
sion. The  pain  which  is  occasioned  is  the  cry  of  organic  ele- 
ment for  deliverance.  The  greater  the  disturbance  of  nerve 
element,  however  produced,  the  more  unstable  is  its  state ;  and 
an  instability  of  it,  signifying,  as  it  does,  a  susceptibility  to  rapid 
molecular  or  chemical  retrograde  metamorphosis,  furnishes  the 
most  favourable  conditions  for  the  production  of  emotion,  passion, 
or  commotion,  as  the  term  was  of  old.  It  is  easy  to  perceive, 
then,  how  it  is  that  great  emotion  is  exceedingly  exhausting — 
for  the  same  reason,  in  fact,  that  repeated  electrical  discharges 
by  the  gymnotus  or  torpedo  produce  exhaustion ;  it  is  easy  to 
perceive,  also,  that  whatever  cause,  moral  or  physical,  works  an 
exhausting  or  depressing  effect  upon  an  individual,  inclines  him 
to  become  emotional. 

The  original  nature  of  nerve  element  is,  however,  as  nothing 
in  the  determination  of  the  special  character  of  the  higher 
emotions,  compared  with  its  acquired  nature  as  this  has  been 
slowly  organized  by  education  and  in  relation  to  the  circum- 
stances of  life.  Much  discussion  has  taken  place  as  to  whether 
an  emotion  is  merely  a  feeling  of  pleasure  or  pain  accompanying 
a  particular  idea ;  whether,  for  example,  benevolence  is  nothing 
more  than  the  pleasant  feeling  that  accompanies  the  idea  of 
accomplishing  the  good  of  another,  malice  the  feeling  that  attends 
the  idea  of  injuring  another,  and  so  on.  But  there  is  some 
danger  here  of  being  confused  or  misled  by  words  ;  it  certainly 
must  be  allowed  that  there  is  something  in  the  emotion  more 
special  than  the  general  feeling  either  of  pleasure  or  pain:  such 
feeling  is  present,  no  doubt,  but  it  does  not  determine  the  special 
character  of  the  emotion;  it  is  something  superadded,  which 
determines   only  the  agreeableness  or  disagreeableness  of  the 

156  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

emotion.  It  is,  in  reality,  the  specific  character  of  the  idea 
which  determines  the  specific  character  of  the  emotion ;  and 
accordingly  emotions  are  as  many  and  various  as  ideas.(5)  And 
it  has  been  before  shown  that  the  character  of  the  idea  is  deter- 
mined by  the  nature  of  the  impression  from  without,  and  by  the 
nature,  as  it  has  been  modified  by  a  life  experience,  of  the 
reacting  nervous  centre :  this  now  containing  an  organization 
of  ideas  as  its  acquired  nature,  or  as  the  expression  of  its  due 
development.  How  difficult  it  is  to  explain  matters  from  a 
psychological  point  of  view,  is  easy  to  perceive ;  while  we 
are  considering  the  relation  of  emotion  to  idea,  they  are  both 
concomitant  effects  of  a  deeper  lying  cause.  As  there  are 
subjective  sensations,  so  also  are  there  subjective  emotional 
states.  It  depends  upon  the  nature  of  the  fundamental  ele- 
ments, the  internal  reacting  centre  and  the  external  impression, 
whether  in  a  given  case  we  shall  have  a  definite  idea  with  little 
or  no  emotional  quality,  or  whether  we  shall  have  the  emotional 
quality  so  marked  that  the  idea  is  almost  lost  in  it.  The  hemi- 
spherical cells  are  confessedly  not  sensitive  to  pain  ;  but  they 
have  a  sensibility  of  their  own  to  ideas,  and  the  sensibility 
which  thus  declares  the  manner  of  their  affection  is  what  we 
call  emotional.  And  as  there  may  be  a  hyperesthesia  or  an 
anaesthesia  of  sense,  so  also  there  may  be  a  hyperesthesia  or  an 
anaesthesia  of  ideas.  Certainly  there  do  not  appear  to  be  satis- 
factory grounds  either  in  psychology  or  physiology  for  supposing 
the  nervous  centres  of  emotion  to  be  distinct  from  those  of  idea. 
As  we  justly  speak  of  the  tone  of  the  spinal  cord,  by  the 
variations  of  which  its  functions  are  so  much  affected,  so  we 
may  fairly  also  speak  of  a  mental  or  psychical  tone,  the  tone  of 
the  supreme  nervous  centres,  the  variations  of  which  so  greatly 
affect  the  character  of  the  mental  states  that  supervene.  And 
as  it  appeared  when  treating  of  the  spinal  cord  that,  apart  from 
its  original  nature  and  accidental  causes  of  disturbance,  the 
tone  of  it  was  determined  by  the  totality  of  impressions  made 
upon  it,  and  of  motor  reactions  thereto,  which  had  been  organized 
in  its  constitution  as  faculties ;  so  with  regard  to  the  supreme 
centres  of  our  mental  life,  from  the  residua  of  past  thoughts, 
feelings,  and  actions,  which  have  been  organized  as  mental 
faculties,  there  results  a  certain  psychical  tone  in  each  indi- 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  157 

vidual.  This  is  the  basis  of  the  individual's  conception  of  the 
ego — the  affections  of  which,  therefore,  best  reveal  his  real 
nature — a  conception  which,  so  far  from  being,  as  is  often  said, 
fixed  and  unchanging,  undergoes  gradual  change  with  the 
change  of  the  individual's  relations  as  life  proceeds.  Who- 
soever candidly  reflects  upon  the  striking  modification,  or  rather 
evolution,  of  the  ego,  which  happens  at  the  time  of  puberty 
both  in  men  and  women,  will  surely  not  find  it  hard  to  con- 
ceive how  the  self  may  imperceptibly  but  surely  change  through 
life.  The  education  and  experience  to  which  any  one  is  sub- 
jected likewise  modify,  if  less  suddenly,  not  less  certainly,  the 
tone  of  his  character.  By  constantly  blaming  certain  actions 
and  praising  certain  others  in  their  children,  parents  are  able  so 
to  form  their  character  that,  apart  from  any  reflection,  these 
shall  ever  in  after  life  be  attended  with  a  certain  pleasure ; 
those,  on  the  other  hand,  with  a  certain  pain.  Experience 
proves  that  the  customs  and  religions  of  different  nations  differ 
most  widely ;  what  one  nation  views  as  crime  another  praises  as 
virtue ;  what  one  nation  glorifies  in  as  a  legitimate  pleasure, 
another  reprobates  as  a  shameful  vice :  there  is  scarcely  a  single 
crime  or  vice  that  has  not  been  exalted  into  a  religious  observ- 
ance by  one  nation  or  other  at  one  period  or  other  of  the  world's 
history.  The  prayer  of  the  Thug  was  a  homicide,  his  sacrifice  a 
corpse.  How  much,  then,  is  the  moral  feeling  or  conscience  de- 
pendent upon  the  due  educational  development  of  the  mind  !  (6) 

The  manner  in  which  music  affects  some  people,  producing  a 
lively  feeling  of  immediate  pleasure,  calming  mental  agitation 
and  exalting  the  mental  tone,  and  thereby  indirectly  much 
affecting  mental  activity,  affords  an  excellent  example  of  a 
marked  effect  upon  the  psychical  tone  by  physical  agency; 
it  might  be  adduced,  if  it  were  necessary,  to  attest  the  cor- 
poreal nature  of  the  process.  Such  sentiments  as  the  love  of 
wife  and  the  love  of  children,  various  as  they  are  in  kind  and 
degree  in  different  persons,  are  not  definite  emotions  so  much 
as  the  general  tone  of  feeling  resulting  from  certain  relations  in 
life;  they  represent  a  mental  state  in  which  ideas  in  harmony 
with  the  tone  of  mind  will  be  attended  with  a  pleasant  emotion, 
and  discordant  ideas  with  a  painful  emotion,  just  as  harmony  in 
music  produces  pleasure  and  discord  produces  pain.    So  also  of 

158  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

the  gentle  feeling  of  social  propriety,  which  is  easily  recognised 
in  one  who  has  it,  and  the  absence  of  which  cannot  be  con- 
cealed, is  indeed  made  more  evident  by  the  pretence  of  it; 
there  is  not  a  definite  emotion,  but  a  disposition  or  tone  of 
mind  with  which  certain  thoughts,  feelings,  and  actions  har- 
monize so  as  to  occasion  pleasure.  The  refreshing  and  invi- 
gorating influence  of  some  writers  does  not  depend  so  much 
on  the  actual  sense  of  the  words  as  upon  the  tone  of  mind 
produced  by  them.  Again,  the  higher  aesthetic  feelings  are 
without  question  the  result  of  a  good  cultivation,  conscious 
development  having  imperceptibly  become  a  sort  of  instinctive 
endowment,  a  refinement  to  which  vulgarity  of  any  kind  will  be 
repugnant ;  they  are  the  bloom  of  a  high  culture,  and,  like  the 
ceensethesis,  represent  a  general  tone  of  mind  which  cannot  be 
described  as  definite  emotion,  but  in  which  certain  ideas  that 
arise  will  have  pleasant  emotional  qualities.  Reflect,  again,  on 
the  powerful  effects  which  the  aspects  of  nature  produce'  upon 
philosophic  minds  of  the  highest  order.  The  vague  mysterious 
feelings  which  such  minds  have,  as  instinctive  expressions  of 
their  fellowship  with  nature,  thrills  of  that  harmonious  sympathy 
with  events  whereby  they  are  transported  with  an  indefinite 
feeling  of  joy  in  view  of  certain  of  her  glories,  or  oppressed  by 
a  dim  presentiment  of  evil  under  different  relations — these  are 
vague  psychical  feelings  that  in  reality  connote  the  highest  intel- 
lectual acquisition;  they  are  the  consummate  inflorescence  of 
the  highest  psychical  development,  the  supreme  harmonies  of 
the  most  exalted  psychical  tone.  (") 

It  is  most  necessary  clearly  to  realize  how  much,  not  the  cere- 
bral centres  only,  but  the  whole  system  of  bodily  nerves,  are 
concerned  in  the  phenomena  of  the  emotional  life.  The  beatings 
of  the  heart,  the  movements  of  respiration,  the  expressions  of  the 
countenance,  the  pallor  of  fear,  or  the  flush  of  anger,  and  the 
effects  upon  all  the  secretions  and  upon  nutrition — all  these  evince 
with  certainty  that  the  organic  life  participates  essentially  in  the 
manifestation  of  emotion.  Before  definite  paths  of  association  of 
ideas,  and  groups  of  ideas,  have  been  organised  through  culture 
and  experience,  every  emotion  tends  to  react  directly  outwards, 
either  upon  the  organs  of  the  organic  life  or  upon  the  instruments 
of  the  animal  life.    In  children  and  savages  simple  emotions  are 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  159 

observably  easily  excited,  and  as  readily  manifested  in  outward 
display  ;  it  is  only  when  a  strong  character  has  been  fashioned 
that  the  power  exists  to  retain  the  emotional  energy  within  the 
sphere  of  the  intellectual  life ;  and  even  in  the  strongest  character 
it  sometimes  happens  that  an  emotion,  too  powerful  or  too  sud- 
denly excited,  will  escape  control.  It  has  now  been  sufficiently 
demonstrated,  by  observation  and  experiment,  that  the  cerebro- 
spinal system  does  exercise  an  influence  over  the  ganglia  imme- 
diately concerned  in  the  phenomena  of  the  organic  life ;  and  it 
is  quite  in  accordance  with  physiological  observation,  therefore, 
to  admit  that  the  commotion  in  the  nerve  element  of  the  supreme 
centres,  which  an  emotion  implies,  will  affect  the  nervous  centres 
of  the  organic  life,  and  through  them  the  organic  movements,  or 
the  more  intimate  processes  of  nutrition*  In  fact,  the  experi- 
ments of  Pfluger,  Bernard,  and  others,  on  the  influence  of  the 
cerebro-spinal  system  over  the  small  arteries ;  and  those  of 
Lister,  on  the  movement  of  the  pigment  granules  in  the  stellate 
cells  of  the  frog's  skin, — may  be  said  to  have  experimentally 
demonstrated  what  has  long  been  popularly  observed  of  the 
manner  of  action  of  the  emotions.  A  joyous,  hopeful,  enthu- 
siastic feeling  has  an  enlivening  influence  on  the  bodily  life  : 
when  moderate,  producing  a  quiet,  equable  effect ;  but  when 
lively  giving  rise  to  more  evident  results,  as  brilliancy  of  the 
eyes,  an  accelerated  pulse,  increased  warmth,  and  an  inclination 
to  laugh  or  sing.  Though  a  moderate  stimulation  of  the  cerebro- 
spinal system  appears  to  favour  or  increase  the  action  of  the 
organic  centres,  yet  it  admits  of  no  question  that  an  excessive 
irritation  of  the  higher  centres  produces  an  inhibitory  effect  upon 
their  functions ;  wherein,  again,  we  may  perceive  a  sufficient 
reason  of  the  disease  in  an  organ  which  is  sometimes  the  result 
of  a  prolonged  depressing  passion,  especially  of  depression  in 
its  highest  degree — hopelessness.f      And    because  the  weak 

*  It  is  hard  to  conceive  how  it  should  fail  to  do  so,  if  it  he  true  that  nerves  end 
hy  an  actual  continuity  of  substance  in  the  parts  which  they  supply,  as  is  now 

t  Lister  says,  as  the  result  of  his  experiments  on  what  Pfltiger  calls  inhibitory 
nerve  phenomena  {Proceedings  of  the  Royal  Society,  No.  xxxii.  p.  367)  "  that  one 
and  the  same  afferent  nerve  may,  according  to  its  operating  mildly  or  energeti- 
cally, either  exalt  or  depress  the  functions  of  the  nervous  centres  on  which  it 
acts.     It  is,  I  believe,  upon  this  that  all  inhibitory  influence  depends." 

160  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

organ  is  ever  the  sufferer,  because  here,  as  elsewhere,  to  be  weak 
is  to  be  miserable,  the  effect  of  a  passion  is  generally  experienced 
in  his  affected  organ  by  one  who  is  the  subject  of  any  local 
idiosyncrasy  ;  it  more  easily  sympathises  with  the  centric  com- 
motion. Passion,  in  its  essential  nature,  really  betokens  the 
sympathy  of  the  whole  nervous  system ;  and  a  great  disposition 
to  passion  means  a  great  disposition  to  such  sympathy.  It  is 
true  that,  in  consequence  of  a  certain  elective  affinity  and  of  culti- 
vation, the  effects  of  an  emotion  are  usually  limited  to  a  certain 
group  of  muscles,  or  to  some  other  definite  activity ;  but  the 
less  the  culture,  the  more  general  are  the  visible  effects  of 
emotion  or  passion  :  in  the  idiot  an  explosion  of  passion  is 
sometimes  an  explosion  of  convulsions. 

But  there  is  another  important  consideration  with  regard  to 
our  emotions.  When  we  fix  the  countenance  in  the  expression, 
or  the  body  in  the  attitude,  which  any  passion  naturally  occa- 
sions, it  is  most  certain  that  we  acquire  in  some  degree  that 
passion.  In  fact,  as  we  complete  our  intellectual  activity  by 
the  participation  of  the  sensory  centres,  thereby  rendering  our 
abstract  ideas  definite  through  a  sensory  representation  of  them, 
so  in  our  emotional  life  any  particular  passion  is  rendered  stronger 
and  more  distinct  by  the  existence  of  those  bodily  states  which 
it  naturally  produces,  and  which  in  turn,  when  otherwise  pro- 
duced, tend  to  engender  it.  There  can  be  little  doubt  that  each 
passion  which  is  special  in  kind  has  its  special  bodily  expres- 
sion ;  this  being  truly  an  essential  part  of  it.  Mr.  Braid  found, 
by  experiment  on  patients  whom  he  had  put  in  a  state  of  hyp- 
notism, that  by  inducing  attitudes  of  body  natural  to  certain 
passions  he  could  excite  those  passions.  We  perceive,  then, 
how  close  is  the  sympathy  or  connexion  between  the  bodily 
system  and  the  emotional  or  affective  life,  which  supplies  the 
habitual  impulsion  to  action ;  while  the  intellectual  life  which, 
as  deliberative  or  regulative,  controls  and  directs  the  activity  of 
the  individual,  has  the  closest  relations  with  the  senses.  From 
want  of  attention  to  the  essential  intervention  of  the  whole  of  the 
bodily  in  the  mental  life — a  neglect  springing  from  the  unjustifi- 
able contempt  of  the  body  inherited  from  the  theologists — the 
physical  expressions  of  our  mental  states  have  not  been  properly 
studied.    As  the  Indian  savage  surely  tracks  the  footsteps  of  his 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  \Q] 

enemy  where  the  uneducated  European  eye  can  see  no  trace  ;  or 
as  the  American  hunter,  by  careful  attention  to  the  appearances 
of  the  trees,  guides  himself  safely  through  pathless  forests  in 
which  the  greatest  philosopher  would  lose  his  way  and  perish ; 
so  it  is  probable  that  any  competent  observer  who  devoted 
himself  to  study  scientifically,  with  patient  care  and  sedulous 
attention,  the  manners  of  a  large  number  of  persons,  the  different 
expressions  of  their  features  and  of  their  actions,  might  discover 
a  certain  clue  to  their  character,  and  often  be  able  to  read  off 
with  ease  their  feelings  and  desires.  It  was  the  recognition  of 
the  intimate  connexion  and  mutual  reaction  between  the  pas- 
sions and  the  bodily  life  that  moved  Bichat  to  locate  them 
as  the  ancients  did,  and  in  common  language  is  now  sometimes 
done,  in  the  organs  of  the  organic  life.  But  although  there  was 
in  this  view  the  just  acknowledgment  of  a  truth,  it  was  only 
of  part  of  a  truth ;  for,  in  the  first  place,  not  the  organs  of  the 
organic  life  only,  but  those  also  of  the  animal  life,  are  con- 
cerned in  the  expression  and  production  of  passion ;  and,  in  the 
second  place  the  feeling  of  the  passion  unquestionably  takes 
place  in  the  brain.  It  is  the  display  of  its  organic  sym- 
pathies. Consequently  it  is  found  that,  as  the  effect  of  a 
depressing  passion  is  felt  by  the  victim  of  a  local  idiosyn- 
crasy in  his  weak  organ,  so  inversely  the  effect  of  a  weak 
or  diseased  organ,  is  felt  in  the  brain  by  an  irritability  or 
disposition  to  passion,  a  disturbance  of  the  psychical  tone. 
The  phenomena  of  insanity  furnish  the  best  illustrations  of 
this  sympathetic  interaction. 

The  study  of  disordered  emotions  will  naturally  find  a  place 
afterwards,  when  we  come  to  treat  of  the  pathology  of  mind. 
Suffice  it  here  to  say  that  disordered  emotion  may  act  upon  the 
animal  life,  the  organic  life,  and  the  intellectual  life.  It  may 
grave  itself  in  the  lineaments  of  the  countenance,  or  declare 
itself  in  the  habit  of  the  body ;  it  may  initiate  or  aggravate 
organic  disease,  producing,  according  to  its  duration,  a  transient 
or  lasting  derangement,  and  it  may  temporarily  obscure,  or  per- 
manently vitiate,  the  intelligence.  When  the  emotions  are 
disordered,  as  they  are  particularly  in  some  forms  of  insanity, 
and  generally  at  the  commencement  of  insanity,  pleasuie  is  felt 
from  objects  and  events  which  should  naturally  excite  pain,  or 


162  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap. 

pain  from  causes  which  should  naturally  occasion  pleasure  in 
a  healthy  mind :  scenes  of  disorder,  excess,  and  violence,  are 
grateful  to  the  perverted  feelings ;  order  and  moderation  irri- 
tating and  repugnant. 

It  may  be  thought,  perhaps,  that  it  would  not  be  amiss  if 
something  were  now  said  of  the  difference  between  passion  and 
emotion,  inasmuch  as  the  terms  have  hitherto  been  used  almost 
indifferently.  This,  however,  is  scarcely  necessary  in  dealing 
only  with  their  general  nature,  which  is  fundamentally  the  same  ; 
every  so-called  emotion,  when  carried  to  a  certain  pitch,  becomes 
a  veritable  passion.  If  it  were  thought  well  to  distinguish  them 
in  a  special  analysis  of  the  particular  emotions,  as  it  doubtless 
would  be,  the  ground  of  distinction  would  be  in  the  egoistic  or 
altruistic  character  of  them — names  by  which  Comte  distinguishes 
respectively  those  feelings  which  have  entire  reference  to  self 
and  those  which  have  reference  to  the  good  of  others.  Spinoza, 
whose  admirable  account  of  the  passions  has  never  yet  been, 
and  certainly  will  not  easily  be,  surpassed,  only  recognises  three 
primitive  passions,  on  the  basis  of  which  all  others  are  founded — 
joy,  sorrow,  and  desire,  (a)  Desire,  he  says,  is  the  very  nature 
or  essence  of  the  individual,  whence  it  is  that  the  joy  or  sorrow 
of  each  individual  differs  from  that  of  another  as  the  nature  or 
essence  of  one  differs  from  that  of  another,  (b)  Joy  is  the  passage 
from  a  less  degree  of  perfection  to  a  greater  degree  of  perfec- 
tion, and  accompanies,  therefore,  all  actions  that  are  called  good, 
(e)  Sorrow  is  the  passage  from  a  greater  degree  of  perfection  to 
a  less  degree  of  perfection,  and  accompanies  all  acts  that  are 
called  evil.  It  will  easily  be  understood,  from  what  has  been 
already  said,  how  much  the  particular  character  of  a  passion 
will  depend  upon  the  education  ;  how,  according  to  the  difference 
cf  his  education  and  circumstances,  one  man  may  repent  bitterly 
of  an  act  of  which  another  boasts  exultantly. 

Here,  again,  it  is  rendered  evident  how  impossible  it  is  to 
deal  satisfactorily  with  the  emotions  by  considering  them  only 
as  accomplished  facts,  and  grouping  them  according  to  their 
characters  as  we  observe  them  in  the  adult  of  ordinary  culti- 
vation. We  are  driven  by  the  psychological  method  to  study 
emotion  under  hopeless  disadvantage ;  for  we  are  constrained  to 
examine  the  complexity  of  an  advanced  development  instead  of 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  163 

following  up,  as  is  the  true  method,  the  genesis  of  emotion  or 
the  plan  of  its  development.  In  the  classification  of  the  animal 
kingdom,  the  study  of  its  plan  of  development  is  now  acknow- 
ledged to  be  the  only  valid  method  of  determining  the  true  rela- 
tions between  one  animal  and  another :  in  like  manner  the  inter- 
pretation of  the  phenomena  of  mind  cannot  be  rightly  grounded 
except  on  an  analysis  of  their  development.  Whosoever  aspires 
to  give  an  adequate  account  of  the  emotions  should  devote  him- 
self, then,  to  a  careful  investigation  of  their  simplest  manifesta- 
tions in  the  higher  members  of  the  animal  kingdom;  to  the 
study  of  the  different  grades  of  their  evolution  in  the  savage 
and  the  civilized  person,  in  the  child  and  the  adult,  the  woman 
and  the  man,  the  idiot  and  him  who  is  in  his  right  mind  ;  to 
the  patient  delineation  of  their  special  bodily  expressions ;  and 
should  patiently  unfold  that  progressive  specialization  and  in- 
creasing complexity  which  prevail  here  as  in  every  other  depart- 
ment of  organic  development.  Like  as  ideas  are  blended,  or 
coalesce,  and  connected  in  groups  and  series  so  that,  by  complex 
development,  a  character  is  formed,  so  are  the  feelings  belonging 
to  the  ideas  and  the  desires  accompanying  them  blended  and 
grouped  in  a  corresponding  complexity,  and  inclinations  or  dis- 
inclinations of  every  variety  and  complexity  are  thus  formed  as 
a  part  of  the  character.  Again,  the  desire  naturally  attaching 
to  a  certain  aim  is  often  transferred  after  a  time  to  the  means 
by  which  that  aim  is  attained,  so  that  there  ensue  in  this  way 
manifold  secondary  formations  :  the  end  of  wealth  is  to  give 
enjoyment  and  comfort ;  but  how  often  does  a  passion  for  the 
means  oversway  the  end !  By  looking  to  a  desirable  end,  an 
act  naturally  very  distasteful,  but  which  is  necessary  as  means, 
may,  by  habituation,  be  rendered  indifferent  or  even  pleasing ; 
and  some  consummate  scoundrels  are  thus  gradually  fashioned, 
themselves  unaware  of  the  grievous  issue  in  which  many  slight 
effects  have  insensibly  culminated.* 

*  Nemo  repente  fuit  turpissiimis  is  really  the  expression  of  the  physical  nature 
of  the  growth  of  character. 

"  Custom         .... 

Constrains  e'en  stubborn  Nature  to  obey  ; 
Whom  dispossessing  oft,  he  doth  essay 
To  govern  in  her  right ;  and  with  a  pace 

So  soft  and  gentle  does  he  win  his  way,  [That 

M   2 

164  THE  EMOTIONS,  [chap. 

As  it  is  in  the  individual,  so  it  is  through  generations.  The 
internal  organic  adaptations  which  take  place  in  correspondence 
with  differences  in  the  external  conditions  of  existence,  are 
sometimes  observedly  propagated  through  generations,  and  that 
which  was  a  conscious  acquisition  in  the  parent  becomes  more 
or  less  an  innate  endowment  of  the  offspring.  It  seems  to 
admit  of  little  doubt  that  this  law  works  in  the  improvement 
of  the  human  brain  in  the  course  of  generations  :  as  those  who 
migrate  from  their  native  land  to  other  and  different  climes 
do  in  course  of  time  endow  their  progeny  with  an  inherent 
adaptability  to  the  new  conditions,  so  that  they  do  not  perish, 
but  flourish  in  them;  or  as  the  young  fox  or  young  dog  inherits 
as  an  instinct  the  cunning  which  its  ancestors  have  slowly  ac- 
quired by  experience ;  so  the  records  which  are  available  prove 
that  the  brain  of  man  has  undergone  considerable  develop- 
ment in  the  course  of  generations.  Between  the  inborn  moral 
nature  of  the  well-constituted  civilized  person  and  the  brutal 
nature  of  the  lowest  savage,  all  question  of  education  and  culti- 
vation put  aside,  the  difference  as  a  physical  fact  is  not  less 
than  that  which  often  exists  between  one  species  of  animal 
and  another.  The  exalted  ideas  of  justice,  virtue,  mercy — 
which  are  acquired  in  the  course  of  a  true  civilization,  and 
which  the  lowest  savage  has  not — do,  without  doubt,  add  some- 
thing to  the  nervous  endowment  of  succeeding  generations  ;  not 
only  is  there  in  their  constitution  the  potentiality  of  such  ideas, 
which  there  is  not  in  the  lowest  savage,  but  there  is  generated 
an  instinctive  quality  of  mind,  an  excellent  tone  of  feeling, 
which  rebels  against  injustice  of  any  kind  ;  there  is  formed  the 
potentiality  of  a  so-called  moral  sense.  Thus  it  is  that  the  indi- 
vidual rightly  developing  in  his  generation  is,  by  virtue  of  the 
laws  of  hereditary  action,  ordaining  or  determining  what  shall 
be  pre-ordained  or  pre-determined  in  the  original  nature  of  the 
individual  of  a  future  age.  But  are  we  then  to  lose  sight  of 
the  physical  aspect  of  this  development?  Certainly  not:  the 
moral  feeling  betokens  an  improved  quality,  or  higher  kind  of 

That  she  unawares  is  caught  in  his  embrace, 

And  tho'  deflowered  and  thralled  nought  feels  her  foul  disgrace." 

Stanza  of  Gilbert  West,  quoted  by  Coleridge  iu  his 
Biogiaphia  Litcraria. 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  165 

nerve  element,  which  ensues  in  the  course  of  a  due  develop- 
ment, and  which  may  easily  again  be  disturbed  by  a  slight 
physical  disturbance  of  the  nervous  element.  In  the  exaltation 
of  mankind  through  generations,  in  the  progress  of  humanization, 
so  to  speak,  this  height  of  excellence  is  reached :  in  the  dete- 
rioration or  degeneration  of  mankind,  as  exhibited  in  the  down- 
ward course  of  insanity  proceeding  through  generations,  ODe  of 
the  earliest  evil  symptoms  is,  as  we  shall  hereafter  see,  the  loss 
of  this  virtue — the  destruction  of  the  moral  or  altruistic  feeling. 
Insane  persons  are  entirely  wrapped  up  in  self,  though  the  self- 
feeling  may  take  many  guises. 

The  intimate  and  essential  relation  of  emotions  to  the  ideas, 
which  they  equal  in  number  and  variety,  is  sufficient  to  prove 
that  the  lav/  of  progress  from  the  general  and  simple  to  the 
special  and  complex  prevails  in  their  development.  If  such 
relation  were  not  a  necessary  one,  it  would  still  be  possible 
from  a  consideration  of  the  emotions  themselves  to  display  that 
manner  of  evolution.  And  the  recognition  of  this  increasing 
specialization  and  complexity  in  the  function  compels  us  to 
assume  a  corresponding  development  in  the  delicate  organi- 
zation of  the  nervous  structure,  although  by  reason  of  the 
imperfection  of  our  means  of  investigation  we  are  not  yet  able 
to  trace  a  process  of  such  delicacy  in  these  inmost  recesses  to 
which  our  senses  have  not  gained  entrance. 


1  (p.  148). — "Notre  ame  fait  certaines  actions  et  souffre  certaines 
passions ;  savoir :  en  tant  qu'elle  a  des  idees  adequates,  elle  fait  cer- 
taines actions ;  et  en  tant  qu'elle  a  des  idees  inadequates,  elle  soufl're 
certaines  passions." — Spinoza,  Des  Passions,  Prop.  i. 

2  (p.  150). — "Among  so  many  dangers,  therefore,  as  the  natural  lusts 
of  men  do  daily  threaten  each  other  withal,  to  have  a  care  of  one's  self 
is  so  far  from  being  a  matter  scornfully  to  be  looked  upon,  that  one 
has  neither  the  power  nor  wish  to  have  done  otherwise.  For  every 
man  is  desirous  of  what  is  good  for  him,  and  shuns  what  is  evil,  but 
chiefly  the  chiefest  of  natural  evils,  which  is  death ;  and  this  he  doth 
by  a  certain  impulsion  of  nature,  no  less  than  that  whereby  a  stone 
moves  downwards." — Hobbes,  vol.  ii.  p.  8. 

166  THE  EMOTIONS.  [chap- 

3  (p.  150). — "Le  desir,  c'est  l'appetit,  avec  conscience  Je  lui-merne. 
II  resulte  de  tout  cela  que  ce  qui  fonde  l'effort,  le  vouloir,  l'appetit,  le 
desir,  ce  n'est  pas  qu'on  ait  juge  qu'une  chose  est  bonne :  niais,  au 
contraire,  on  juge  qu'une  chose  est  bonne  par  cela  meme  qu'on  y 
tend  par  l'effort,  le  voidoir,  l'appetit,  le  desir." — Spinoza,  Des  Passions, 
SchoL  to  Prop.  ix. 

4  (p.  154). — "But  -we  must  frankly  admit,  on  consideration,  that  the 
political  rule  of  intelligence  is  hostile  to  human  progression.  Mind  must 
tend  more  and  more  to  the  supreme  direction  of  affairs ;  but  it  can 
never  attain  it,  owing  to  the  imperfection  of  our  organism,  in  which 
the  intellectual  life  is  the  feeblest  part ;  and  thus  it  appears  that  the 
real  office  of  mind  is  deliberative ;  that  is,  to  moderate  the  material 
preponderance,  and  not  to  impart  its  habitual  impulsion." — Comte, 
Positive  Philosophy,  vol.  ii.  p.  240. 

5  (p.  156). — "For  it  is  not  his  disputations  about  pleasure  and  pain 
that  can  satisfy  tbis  inquiry  ;  no  more  than  he  who  should  generally 
handle  tbe  nature  of  light  can  be  said  to  handle  the  nature  of  par- 
ticular colours ;  for  pleasure  and  pain  are  to  the  particular  affections 
as  bight  is  to  particular  colours." — Bacon,  De  Augment.  Scient. 

"  Autant  il  y  a  d'espece  d'objets  qui  nous  affectent,  autant  il  faut 
reconnaitre  d'especes  de  joie,  de  tristesse,  et  de  desir;  et  en  general 
de  toutes  les  passions  qui  sont  composees  de  celles-la,  comme  la  fluc- 
tuation, par  exemple,  ou  qui  en  derivent,  comme  1' amour,  la  haine, 
l'esperance,  la  crainte,"  &c. — Spinoza,  Des  Passions. 

6  {p.  157). — "  Mais  il  faut  en  outre  remarquer  ici  qu'il  n'est  nullement 
surprenant  que  la  tristesse  accompagne  tous  les  actes  qu'on  a  continue 
d'appeler  mauvais,  et  la  joie  tous  ceux  qu'on  nomme  bons.  On 
congoit  en  effet  par  ce  qui  precede  que  tout  cela  depend  surtout  de 
l'education.  Les  parents,  en  blamant  certaines  actions,  et  repri- 
mandant  souvent  leurs  enfants  pour  les  avoir  commises,  et  au  contraire 
en  louant  et  en  conseillant  cFautres  actions,  ont  si  bien  fait  que  la 
tristesse  accompagne  toujours  celles-la  et  la  joie  toujours  celles-cL 
L'experience  confirme  cette  explication.  La  coutume  et  la  religion  ne 
sont  pas  les  memes  pour  tous  les  hommes  :  ce  qui  est  sacre  pour  les 
uns  est  profane  pour  les  autres,  et  les  choses  honnetes  chez  un  peuple 
sont  honteuses  chez  un  autre  peuple.  Chacun  se  repent  done  ou  se 
glorifie  d'une  action  suivant  l'education  qu'il  a  regue." — Spinoza,  Des 
Passions,  p.  159. 

7  (p.  158). — Many  illustrations  might  be  adduced  from  Shakspeare's 
plays  of  the  wonderful  harmony  between  the  highest  human  feelings 
and  the  aspects  of  nature ;  some  of  these  I  have  pointed  out  in  an 

vi.]  THE  EMOTIONS.  167 

essay  on  "  Hamlet"  in  the  Westminster  Review  of  January  1865.    The 
best  known  passage  is  that  in  the  "  Merchant  of  Venice  : " — 

"  Sit,  Jessica.     Look  how  the  floor  of  heaven 
Is  thick  inlaid  with  patines  of  bright  gold. 
There's  not  the  smallest  orb  which  thou  behold'st 
But  in  his  motion  like  an  angel  sings, 
Still  quiring  to  the  young-eyed  cherubin  : 
Such  harmony  is  in  immortal  souls  ; 
But  whilst  this  muddy  vesture  of  decay 
Doth  grossly  close  it  in,  we  cannot  hear  it." 

Again,  Milton  in  his  A  rcades : 

"  But  else  in  deep  of  night,  when  drowsiness 
Hath  locked  up  mortal  sense,  then  listen  I 
To  the  celestial  Sirens'  harmony, 
That  sit  upon  the  nine  enfolded  spheres, 
And  sing  to  those  that  hold  the  vital  shears, 
And  turn  the  adamantine' spindle  round, 
On  which  the  fate  of  gods  and  men  is  wound. 
Such  sweet  compulsion  doth  in  music  lie, 
To  lull  the  daughters  of  necessity, 
And  keep  unsteady  Nature  to  her  law, 
And  the  low  world  in  measured  motion  draw 
After  the  heavenly  tune,  which  none  can  hear 
Of  human  mould  with  gross  unpuiged  ear." 

Sir  T.  Browne,  in  his  Religio  Medici,  says  :  "  It  is  my  temper,  and 
I  like  it  the  better,  to  affect  all  harmony  :  and  sure  there  is  music  even 
in  the  beauty  and  the  silent  note  which  Cupid  strikes,  far  sweeter  than 
the  sound  of  an  instrument :  for  there  is  music  wherever  there  is 
harmony,  order,  or  proportion  ;  and  thus  far  we  may  maintain  the 
music  of  the  spheres  ;  for  these  well-ordered  motions,  and  regular  paces, 
though  they  give  no  sound  to  the  ear,  yet  to  the  understanding  they 
strike  a  note  most  full  of  harmony.  ....  It  is  a  hieroglyphical  and 
shadowed  lesson  of  the  whole  world,  and  creatures  of  God;  such  a 
melody  to  the  ear,  as  the  whole  world,  well  understood,  would  afford 
the  understanding."  Passages  of  like  import  might  be  quoted  from 
Goethe,  Jean  Paul,  Humboldt,  Emerson,  Carlyle,  and  many  other  men 
of  genius. 




"  Les  homines  se  trompent  en  ce  point  qu'ils  pensent  etie  libres.  Or,  en  quoi 
consiste  nne  telle  opinion  ?  En  cela  seulement,  qu'ils  ont  conscience  de  leurs 
actions  et  ignorent  les  causes  qui  les  determinent.  L'idee  que  les  homines  se 
font  de  leur  liberte  vient  done  de  ce  qu'ils  ne  connaissent  point  la  cause  de  leurs 
actions,  car  dire  qu'elles  dependent  de  la  volonte,  ce  sont  la  des  mots  auxquels  on 
n'attache  aucune  idee.  Quelle  est  en  elM  la  nature  de  la  volonte,  et  comment 
meut-elle  le  corps,  e'est  ce  que  tout  le  monde  ignore,  et  ceux  qui  elevent  d'autres 
pretentions  et  parlent  des  sieges  de  Tame  et  de  ses  demeures  pretent  k  rire  ou 
font  pitie." — Spixoza. 

"  En  tout  ce  que  je  puis  dire  a  ceux  qui  croient  qu'ils  peuvent  parler,  se  taire,  en 
un  mot,  agir  en  vertu  d'une  libre  decision  de  1'ame,  e'est  qu'ils  reVent  les  yeux 
ouverts." — Ibid. 

IT  is  strange  to  see  how  some,  "who  confidently  base  their 
argument  for  the  existence  of  a  God  on  the  ground  that 
everything  in  nature  must  have  a  cause,  are  content,  in  their 
zeal  for  free-will,  to  speak  of  the  "will  as  if  it  were  self-deter- 
mined and  had  no  cause.  As  thus  vulgarly  used,  the  term  "Will 
has  no  definite  meaning,  and  certainly  is  not  applicable  to  any 
concrete  reality  in  nature,  where,  in  the  matter  of  will,  as  in 
every  other  matter,  we  perceive  effect  witnessing  to  cause,  and 
varying  according  as  the  cause  varies. 

Previous  considerations  must  have  sufficiently  proved  the 
necessity  of  modifying  the  notion  commonly  entertained  of  the 
will  as  a  single,  undecomposahle  faculty  of  constant  and  uniform 
power ;  for  they  have  shown  that  under  the  category  of  voluntary 
acts,  as  commonly  made,  are  included  very  different  kinds  of 
actions,  proceeding  from  different  nervous  centres.  A  consider- 
able proportion  of  the  daily  actions  of  life  is  confessedly  due  to 
the  automatic  faculty  of  the  spinal  cord ;  the  sensory  centres  are 
clearly  the  independent  causes  of  other  actions  ;  while  many  of 
the  remaining  actions  that  would  by  most  people  be-  deemed 

chap,  vii.]  VOLITION.  169 

volitional,  are  really  respondent  to  an  idea  or  emotion.  This 
just  discrimination  is,  notwithstanding,  entirely  neglected  by 
those  who  take  the  metaphysical  view  of  will ;  by  them,  as 
usual,  an  abstraction  from  the  particular  is  converted  into  an 
entity,  and  thenceforth  allowed  to  tyrannize  in  the  most 
despotic  manner  over  the  understanding.  The  metaphysical 
essence  thus  created  has  no  other  relation  to  a  particular  or  con- 
crete act  of  will,  than,  using  Spinoza's  illustration,  stoneness  to  a 
particular  stone,  man  to  Peter  or  Paul. 

It  is  obviously,  then,  of  importance,  in  the  first  place,  to  get 
rid  of  the  notion  of  an  ideal  or  abstract  will  unaffected  by 
physical  conditions,  as  existing  apart  from  a  particular  concrete 
act  of  will,  which  varies  according  to  physical  conditions.  When 
a  definite  act  of  will  is  the  result  of  a  certain  reflection,  it  repre- 
sents physically  an  available  or  a  liberated  force,  consequent  on 
the  communication  of  activity  from  one  cell  or  group  of  cells  to 
other  cells  or  groups  of  cells  within  the  cortical  layers  of  the 
hemispheres.  Any  modification,  therefore,  of  the  condition  of 
these  centres  may,  and  notably  does,  impede  reflection,  and 
affect  the  resultant  power  of  will — a  power  which,  in  reality,  is 
seen  to  differ  both  in  quantity  and  quality  in  different  persons, 
and  in  the  same  person,  according  to  the  varying  conditions  of 
the  nervous  substratum.  On  the  other  hand,  speaking  psycholo- 
gically, the  definite  will  is  the  final  issue  of  the  process  of  reflec- 
tion or  deliberation  which  a  man's  life-culture  has  rendered  him 
capable  of;  it  represents  a  conception  of  the  result  with  desire, 
such  as  have  been  determined  by  the  character  of  the  reflection. 
A  man  can  never  will  a  virtuous  end  into  whose  reflection  ideas 
of  virtue  do  not  enter,  nor  can  any  one  will  a  bestial  act  of  vice, 
whose  appetites  or  desires  have  not  been  vitiated,  and  whose 
mind  is  not  familiar  with  lewd  ideas.  The  will  appears,  then, 
to  be  nothing  but  the  desire,  or  aversion,  sufficiently  strong  to 
produce  an  action  after  reflection  or  deliberation — an  action 
that,  as  Hartley  observes,  is  not  automatic  primarily  or 
secondarily.*  Q)     Since,  then,  it  is  generated  by  the  preceding 

*  "  Appetite,  therefore,  and  aversion  are  simply  so  called  as  long  as  they  follow 
not  deliberation.  But  if  deliberation  have  gone  before,  then  the  last  act  of  it,  if 
it  be  appetite,  is  called  will ;  if  aversion,  unwillingness. " — Hobbes. 

"In  a  series  of  valuable  articles  On  the  Nature  of  Volition,  in  the  Psycholo- 

170  VOLITION.  [chap. 

association,  it  must  needs  differ  greatly  in  quality  and  quantity, 
according  to  the  extent  and  character  of  the  association,  as  this 
has  been  established  by  cultivation,  or  is  temporarily  modified 
by  bodily  conditions!  Every  one  can  easily  perceive  this  to  be 
true  of  the  will  of  an  idiot  or  a  child,  which  is  palpably  a  very 
different  matter  from  that  of  a  well-cultivated  adult ;  and  he 
must  be  very  much  blinded  by  metaphysical  conceptions,  who 
fails  to  recognise  the  infinite  variations  in  the  power  of  will 
which  any  given  individual  exhibits  at  different  times  or  in 
different  relations.  When  one  of  the  higher  senses  is  wanting 
in  any  one,  he  necessarily  wants  also  the  ideas,  feelings,  desires, 
and  will,  which  arise  out  of  the  perceptions  of  this  sense.  The 
blind  man  cannot  know  the  variety  and  beauty  of  colouring  in 
nature,  nor  can  he  will  in  regard  to  those  external  relations 
which  are  revealed  only  through  the  sense  of  sight.  Because, 
however,  he  knows  not  what  he  lacks,  he  does  not  consider  his 
will  inferior  in  quality,  less  complete,  or  less  free.  Were  an 
additional  sense  conferred  upon  any  one,  it  would  doubtless 
soon  teach  him  how  much  might  yet  be  added  to  the  will,  how 
little  his  boasted  freedom  is,  and  might,  perhaps,  make  him 
wonder  much  that  he  should  ever  have  thought  himself  free. 

When  is  it  that  man  is  most  persuaded  that  he  speaks  or  acts 
with  full  freedom  of  will  ?  When  he  is  drunk,  or  mad,  or  is 
dreaming.  It  may  be  a  reflection,  then,  worth  dwelling  upon, 
that  man  thinks  himself  most  free  when  he  is  most  a  slave  ;  but 
at  any  moment,  in  whatever  mood  he  be,  he  would  affirm  that 
he  is  free.  A  person  when  under  the  influence  of  drink  judges 
very  differently  from  what  he  does  in  his  sober  senses,  but  is 
he  in  his  own  estimation  less  free  at  the  time  ?  Passion  noto- 
riously perverts  the  judgment,  warping  it  this  way  or  that; 
but  will  any  appeal  to  the  man  who  is  in   a  passion   elicit 

gical  Journal  for  1863,  Mr.  Lockhart  Clarke  enters  into  an  able  analysis  of  the 
different  forms  of  volition,  and  shows  that  in  each  case  the  process  consists  in 
the  co-operation  of  two  of  the  psychical  elements  which  together  constitute  our 
personal  integrity ;  namely  the  intellectual  or  regulative  element,  and  the 
sesthetic  or  dynamic  element,  the  latter  being  either  a  sensation,  an  appetite,  or 
emotion.  What  are  called  "  motives "  to  the  "  will  "  consist  of  our  various 
sensations,  appetites,  and  emotions,  when  subjected  to  the  judgment  of  the 
understanding  in  deliberation.  The  "will,"  therefore,  as  a  peculiar  power,  comes 
into  existence  only  at  the  time  of  acting,  by  the  combination  and  co-operation  of 
its  constituent  elements. 

vii.  j  VOLITION.  171 

from  him  a  confession  that  he  is  not  acting  with  perfect 
liberty  ?  Place  the  very  same  arguments  before  a  man  when  he 
is  elated  by  some  joyous,  or  depressed  by  some  grievous  event; 
when  he  is  in  the  full  flow  of  vigorous  health,  or  when  he  is 
prostrate  on  the  bed  of  sickness,  or  of  death,  and  how  different 
would  be  his  judgment  upon  them :  but  whatever  others  may 
think  of  him,  he  will  hold  for  certain  the  conclusion  of  the 
moment,  just  as  a  man  in  his  sleep  is  fully  persuaded  of  the 
reality  of  his  dreams.  While  the  looker-on  can  often  predict 
how  a  madman  will  act  under  certain  circumstances,  with  as 
much  certainty  as  he  can  predict  an  event  conformable  to  a 
known  law  of  nature, — who  thinks  himself  so  free  as  does  the 
madman  ?  Whence  comes  this  false  opinion  ?  It  arises  plainly 
from  this :  that  consciousness  reveals  the  particular  state  of 
mind  of  the  moment,  but  does  not  reveal  the  long  series  of  causes 
on  which  it  depends.  It  is  a  deliberate  fooling  of  one's  self  to 
say  that  actions  depend  upon  the  will,  and  then  not  to  ask  upon 
what  the  will  depends  !  It  is  as  though,  says  Leibnitz,  the  needle 
should  take  pleasure  in  moving  towards  the  pole,  not  perceiving 
the  insensible  motions  of  the  magnetic  matter  on  which  it 
depends.  As  in  nature  we  pass  from  event  to  cause,  and  from 
this  cause  again  to  an  antecedent  one,  and  so  on  till  we  are 
driven  to  a  great  first  cause,  so,  in  the  sincere  observation  of  the 
mind,  we  see  that  it  is  determined  to  will  this  or  that  by  a  cause 
or  motive,  which  again  is  determined  by  another,  this  again  by 
another,  and  so  on  till  we  have  gone  through  the  whole  series  of 
desires,  aversions,  hopes,  and  fears — the  sum  of  which  is  delibe- 
ration— that  have  preceded  the  last  appetite  or  aversion,  which 
we  call  an  act  of  will.  Those  who  fondly  think  they  act  with 
free  will,  says  Spinoza,  dream  with  their  eyes  open. 

Now,  if  the  final  reaction  after  deliberation,  which  we  call 
will,  is,  like  other  modes  of  reaction  of  nerve  element  previously 
described,  a  resultant  of  a  certain  molecular  change  in  a  definitely 
constituted  nervous  centre,  then  all  the  design  exhibited  in  any 
given  act  of  will  must,  like  the  design  displayed  in  the  function 
of  the  spinal  cells,  or  the  cells  of  the  sensory  centres,  be  a  physi- 
cal result  of  a  particular  and  intimate  constitution  or  organiza- 
tion of  nervous  matter.  In  other  words,  the  act  of  will  which 
is  the  final  expression  of  a  process   of  reflection  must  needs 

1 72  FOLITIOX.  [cnAr. 

contain  a  conception  of  the  end  desired — such  a  conception  as 
has  been  determined  by  the  nature  of  the  reflection  ;  the  con- 
ception of  the  result,  or  the  design,  in  the  act  of  will  constituting, 
in  fact,  the  essential  character  of  the  particular  volition.     In 
order  that  desire  may  become  action  for  its  gratification,  a  con- 
sciousness of  the  result  of  the  action  is  necessary — that  is,  a 
conception  of  the  aim  of  it.   The  desire,  therefore,  gives  the  special 
impulse  which  is  directed  or  regulated  by  reflection,  and  the  par- 
ticular act  of  will  is  not  the  determining  agent,  but  is  the  result 
determined  by  the  impulse  acting  in  conformity  with  the  concep- 
tion of  the  aim  to  be  attained.    The  design,  then,  which  a  looker- 
on  discovers  in  any  act  of  will— and,  be  it  remembered,  there  is 
no  actual  volition  apart  from  the  particular  volition — will  depend 
upon  the  nature  of  the  individual  whom  he  is  observing,  as  that 
nature  has  been  inherited,  and  subsequently  developed  by  the 
experience  of  life.     The   idiocy  of  any  one,  or  his  congenital 
inability  to  adapt  himself  to  external  relations  by  correspondences 
of  internal  cerebral  reaction,  is  a  physical  fact :  there  is  no  design 
in  many  of  the  idiot's  conscious  acts,  because  such  quality  or 
property  has  not  been  built  up  by  cultivation  as  a  faculty  of  the 
supreme  nervous  centres,  a  congenital   defect   of  constitution 
having  made  such  organization  impossible ;  in  other  words,  the 
idiot  is,  by  defect  of  nature,  incapacitated  from  acquiring  reflec- 
tion, and  cannot,  therefore,  have  in  his  mind  the  conception  of  a 
result  to  be  attained,  cannot  display  conscious  design.     But  the 
design  manifest  in  any  voluntary  act  of  the  best  cultivated  mind 
is  likewise  physical  necessity :  in  consequence  of  reacting  cerebral 
adaptations  to  the  varieties  of  external  impressions,  reflection 
has,  as  already  set  forth,  been  organized  as  a  development  of  the 
supreme  nervous  centres,  or,  in  other  words,  as  a  faculty  of  the 
mind;  and  according  to  the  extent  and  kind  of  the  reflection 
will  be  the  completeness  of  the  conception  of  the  end  to  be 
attained,  or  the  degree  of  design  discoverable  in  any  act  of  will. 
The   particular  volition   and  whatever  it  contains,  whether  of 
folly  or  design,  is   a  product   of  the  organized  residua  of  all 
former  like  volitions,  excited  into  activity  by  the  appropriate 
stimulus.     For  volitions,  like  sensations  and  ideas,  leave  behind 
them  their  residua  which  are  organized  in  the  nerve  centres, 
and  thus   render  future   volitions  of   a   like   kind  more  easv. 

.vii.]  VOLITION.  1 73 

In  this  sense  only  are  we  warranted  in  speaking  of  abstract 

It  has  been  necessary  to  lay  stress  upon  this  vague  and  trouble- 
some question  of  design,  because  mistaken  notions  with  regard 
to  it  appear  to  have  been  at  the  bottom  of  much  error  in  phi- 
losophy. The  design  manifest  in  a  mental  act  has  been  supposed 
to  evince  a  power  which  transcended  or  anticipated  experience, 
instead  of  one  that  actually  conforms  in  its  genesis  to  experience ; 
and  the  metaphysical  conception  of  will  as  a  fixed  and  undecoin- 
posable  entity,  in  which  was  no  variability  nor  the  shadow  of  a 
turning,  is  greatly  indebted  for  its  origin  to  that  error.  The 
mischievous  doctrine  of  final  causes  which  Bacon,  Comte,  Spinoza, 
Descartes,  and  others  scarcely  less  great,  all  agree  to  have  done 
so  much  harm  in  philosophy,  has  sprung  from  erroneous  views 
of  the  nature  of  design.  Supposing  that  the  argument  from 
design  as  to  the  existence  of  will  as  a  metaphysical  entity  were 
pressed  to  its  logical  consequences,  what  must  be  the  result  ? 
Nothing  less  than  this, — that  the  animal,  with  its  marvellous 
instinct  of  instant  adaptation  to  the  most  complex  and  unfamiliar 
conditions,  is  possessed  of  a  higher  immaterial  principle  than  the 
helpless  child  or  the  erring  adult.  We  know  right  well,  however, 
that  the  instinct  of  the  animal  is  sometimes  positively  traceable 
to  the  acquired  power  of  former  generations ;  that  it  has  been 
observably  built  up  in  the  constitution  of  the  nervous  centres, 
and  transmitted  to  succeeding  generations  as  an  innate  endow- 
ment. It  is  exactly  the  same  with  the  design  that  is  formed 
within  the  term  of  an  individual  life,  and  which  ever  testifies  to 
the  previous  cultivation  of  the  individual;  the  more  cultivated 
the  mind  and  the  more  varied  the  experience,  the  better  de- 
veloped is  the  will  and  the  stronger  its  co-ordinating  power  over 
the  thoughts,  feelings,  and  actions,  not  otherwise,  in  truth,  than 
as  the  co-ordinate  reflex  action  of  the  spinal  cord  is  developed 
by  experience  and  culture.  Design,  therefore,  when  its  nature 
is  fairly  analysed,  so  far  from  tending,  to  make  the  will  a  fixed 
metaphysical  entity,  goes  really  to  prove  that  the  will  is  an  in- 
sensibly organized  result,  of  varying  value,  quantitative  and 

Having  now  adduced  sufficient  reasons  to  prove  that  the  will 
is  not  a  self-generating,  self-sufficing  force  of  constant  quantity, 

174  VOLITION.  [chap. 

but,  on  the  contrary,  a  force  varying  in  quantity  and  quality, 
and,  like  every  other  natural  force,  determined  by  antecedent 
causes,  we  may  proceed  to  consider  what  power  it  actually  has 
in  our  mental  and  bodily  life.  It  is  manifestly  ordained  that 
the  will,  as  the  highest  mode  of  energy  of  nerve  element,  should 
control  the  inferior  modes  of  energy  by  operating  downwards 
upon  their  subordinate  centres  :  the  anatomical  disposition  of 
the  nervous  system  is  in  conformity  with  what  psychological 
observation  teaches.  But  the  undoubted  fact,  that  the  will  of  a 
man  can  and  does  control  inferior  functions  has  led  to  a  very 
extravagant  and  ill-founded  notion  as  to  its  autocratic  power ; 
and  it  must  be  allowed  that  not  a  little  windy  nonsense  has 
been  written  concerning  its  authority.  Assuredly  it  is  no  irre- 
sponsible despot  in  any  mind,  but  is  ever  most  obedient  where 
it  has  most  power ;  it  conquers  by  obeying.  Let  us,  then,  con- 
sider what  the  power  of  the  will  is  (1)  over  the  movements,  and 
(2)  over  mental  operations,  the  two  departments  in  which  its 
rule  is  felt. 

1.  (a)  The  will  has  no  power  whatever  over  certain  move- 
ments that  are  essential  to  the  continuance  of  life.  Not  only  do 
such  motions  as  those  of  the  heart  and  the  intestines  go  on 
without  any  co-operation  of  the  will  and  in  spite  of  any  inter- 
vention on  its  part,  but  movements  that  are  only  microscopically 
visible,  such  as  to  contractions  of  the  small  arteries,  which  are 
of  so  great  importance  in  nutrition,  are  not  under  its  direct 
influence.  Nature  has  been  far  too  prudent  to  rely  upon  such 
an  uncertain  and  comparatively  late  appearing  force  for  the 
movements  essential  to  the  continuance  of  life,  or  to  admit  its 
capricious  interference :  let  a  man  try  to  asphyxiate  himself  by 
voluntarily  restraining  the  respiratory  movements,  and  he  will 
learn  a  lesson  as  to  the  impotency  of  will  which  he  might  use- 
fully remember  when  studying  mental  phenomena.  "We  say 
nothing  here  of  those  insensible  molecular  movements  of  the 
physiological  elements  which,  like  thermal  oscillations,  are  yet 
impenetrable  to  sense,  but  which  are  undoubtedly  at  the  foun- 
dation of  all  visible  vital  actions. 

(b)  The  will  has  no  power  to  effect  movements  that  are  con- 
fessedly voluntary,  until  they  have  been  very  carefully  acquired 
by  practice.     Every  one  knows  that  the  theory  of  a  particular 

vii.]  VOLITION.  175 

skill  of  movement  is  a  very  different  matter  from  the  practice  of 
it,  and  that  the  complete  capacity  of  accomplishing  the  act  is 
gained,  not  simply  by  desiring  and  willing  it,  hut  by  patient 
exercise  and  cultivation ;  the  faculty  of  the  movement  is  thus 
gradually  organized  in  the  proper  nervous  centre.  A  special  and 
complex  act,  never  hitherto  attempted,  will  be  as  little  likely  to 
be  carried  out,  in  obedience  to  the  commands  of  the  so-called 
"  autocrat  of  the  mind,"  as  a  determination  to  fly.* 

(c)  When  the  will  does  dictate  a  movement,  it  is  the  event 
which  is  determined  ;  it  sets  free,  so  to  speak,  the  movement 
which  has  been  organized  in  the  motor  nerve  centre  ;  there  is  no 
direct  volitional  control  over  the  means  by  which  the  result  is 
effected ;  so  that  it  may  even  happen,  and  does  sometimes 
happen,  that  in  a  man  struck  with  a  palsy  of  his  limbs,  all  un- 
aware of  its  impotency,  the  will  commands  a  result  which  never 
takes  place.  Questionless,  in  face  of  such  an  experience,  some 
would  still  not  shrink  from  affirming  that  consciousness  never 
deceives.  When  the  will  dictates  a  certain  event,  its  power  is 
propagated,  first  through  certain  nerves,  and  then  through  them 
to  certain  muscles,  in  a  manner  of  which  we  have  no  conscious- 
ness whatever :  all  we  do  know  is,  that  if  we  wish  to  select  a 
certain  muscle,  and  put  it  singly  in  action,  we  have  not  the 
power  to  do  so,  and  that,  if  certain  movements  have  been 
habitually  associated,  it  is  a  very  hard  matter  to  dissociate  them 
— a  thing  which  a  simple  effort  of  the  will  certainly  will  not  do, 
but  which  a  disease  like  chorea  will  sometimes  do  in  spite  of 
the  will. 

2.  The  extent  of  voluntary  power  over  the  mental  operations 
is  not  nearly  so  great  as  is  commonly  assumed  -r  much  the  same 
thing  happening  here  as  in  its  influence  over  movements.  It 
will  not  be  difficult  to  understand  how  this  should  be  so,  if  we 
reflect  that  the  immediate  action  of  the  will,  even  when  dictating 
movements,  is  not  upon  muscles,  but  upon  the  motor  grey  nuclei, 
or  the  nervous  centres  of  movement ;  that  in  both  cases,  there- 

"  We  know  how  slowly  the  child  acquires  the  power  of  so  balancing  his 
body  as  to  hold  it  erect."  ....  "We  observe  how  slowly  the  child  learns  to 
perform,  with  the  requisite  precision,  the  contractions  on  which  the  operation  of 
walking  depends."  ....  "  There  is  another  very  familiar  instance,  that  of 
learning  to  write." — J.  Mill,  Analysis  of  the  Human  Mind,  pp.  271 — 273. 

176  VOLITION.  [chap. 

fore,  the  immediate  operation  is  alike  upon  ganglionic  cells, 
which  are,  in  one  case,  the  associated  centres  of  ideas,  in  the 
other  the  associated  centres  of  movements.  (2) 

(a)  As  the  formation  of  our  ideas  gradually  takes  place 
through  experience,  and  as  the  association  between  ideas  is  also 
effected  in  accordance  with  experience,  both  processes  being 
based  in  the  organic  life  and  beyond  the  domain  of  consciousness, 
it  is  plain  that  the  will  does  not  determine  either  the  material  of 
thought  or  the  laws  of  the  interworking  of  ideas  :  it  must  accept 
as  accomplished  facts,  as  organized  results,  the  ideas  and  the 
manner  of  their  association.  As  with  movements,  so  here,  the 
will  has  no  control  over  the  means  by  which  it  works  ;  it  cannot 
dissociate  firmly  established  connexions,  nor  can  it  determine  a 
new  train  of  ideas  without  the  first  link  of  it  being  in  the 
thoughts ;  and  when  the  first  link,  however  originated,  is,  so  to 
speak,  grasped,  the  train  of  ideas  initiated  is  not  irregular  and 
alterable  at  will,  but  definite,  in  stern  accordance  with  an  order 
and  system  previously  established  by  cultivation.*  It  is  true 
that  as  it  is  with  the  power  of  will  over  movements,  so  it  is 
with  its  power  over  mental  states — it  is  a  power  which  may 
be  greatly  enlarged  and  increased  by  exercise  and  cultivation. 
While  some  persons  seem  quite  incapable  of  regulating  the 
association  of  their  ideas,  and  can  hold  to  no  subject  consecu- 
tively, others  are  distinguished  by  the  mastery  which  they  have 
over  the  subject  and  course  of  their  thoughts,  by  their  powers  of 
dismissing  what  is  frivolous  or  irrelevant,  and  of  adhering  singly 
and  steadily  to  the  matter  on  which  the  mind  is  employed.  The 
will,  however,  always  presupposes  definite  and  fixed  series  of 
ideas  formed  in  the  mind,  series  in  which,  without  individual 
co-operation,  one  idea  must  definitely  and  of  necessity  follow 
another  as  one  wave  necessarily  produces  another  as  itself  dis- 
appears. There  is  an  order  or  a  necessity  in  the  mental  organi- 
zation of  a  sane  person,  then,  reflecting  the  order  or  necessity  in 

*  ' '  Deliberation  and  investigation  are  like  the  hunting  of  a  hound  ;  he  moves 
and  sniffs  about  by  his  own  activity,  but  the  scent  he  finds  is  not  laid,  nor  the 
trail  he  follows  drawn  by  himself.  The  mind  only  begins  a  train  of  thinking,  or 
keeps  it  in  one  particular  track,  but  the  thoughts  introduce  one  another  suc- 
cessively ....  which  shows  they  have  a  motion  of  their  own  independent  of 
the  mind,  and  which  they  do  not  derive  from  its  action,  nor  will  lay  aside  upon 
its  command." — Tuckeb's  Light  <>/  Nature,  vol.  i.  p.  14. 

vii.]  VOLITION.  177 

the  co-existence  and  succession  of  events  in  external  nature ; 
and  the  will  can  as  little  control  the  fundamental  laws  of  the 
one  as  it  can  those  of  the  other.  Certainly  it  is  not  absolutely 
powerless  in  the  mind,  any  more  than  it  is  absolutely  powerless 
in  nature  ;  by  recognition  of  the  laws  which  govern  mental  deve- 
lopment we  can  so  arrange  the  conditions  of  their  operations 
as  to  produce  secondarily  considerable  modification  of  effects ; 
the  will  may  thus  avail  itself  of  these  laws  for  its  own  profit, 
using  their  power  in  an  enlightened  manner  to  aid  its  develop- 
ment :  in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other  it  conquers  only  by  obeying. 
True  liberty,  as  Milton  expresses  it, — 

"Always  with  right  reason  dwells 
Twinn'd,  and  from  her  hath  no  dividual  being." 

(b)  Thus  we  come  to  a  second  consideration  in  regard  to  the 
power  of  the  will :  it  is  that  those  who  so  unduly  exalt  it 
unwarrantably  derive  their  arguments  entirely  from  the  self- 
consciousness  of  a  well-cultivated  mind,  and  altogether  neglect 
the  instances  of  its  simplest  manifestations.  It  is  merely  justice 
to  insist  upon  a  reference  to  the  earlier  stages  of  development 
of  cultivated  mind,  or  to  mind  in  its  least  cultivated  state,  as 
offering  the  simplest  and  most  favourable  instances  for  the 
formation  of  a  sound  induction.  Will  any  one  be  so  bold  as  to 
maintain  that  there  exists  in  the  young  child  or  in  the  idiot 
volitional  control  over  the  thoughts  ?  Is  any  one  so  ignorant  of 
the  genesis  of  mind  as  to  uphold  the  existence  of  true  volition 
in  the  earliest  stages  of  mental  development  ?  The  child  notably 
lives  in  the  present,  and  its  actions  are  direct  reactions  to  the 
feelings  and  ideas  that  are  excited  in  its  mind. 

(c)  But  as  the  will  cannot  originate  an  idea  or  a  train  of 
thought  in  the  mind,  so  likewise  it  is  unable  sometimes  to 
dismiss  one  when  desirous  of  doing  so.  A  painful  idea  will,  as 
every  one's  experience  must  have  taught  him,  return  again  and 
again  into  consciousness  notwithstanding  every  effort  of  the  will 
to  get  rid  of  it,  just  as  a  movement  may  take  place  in  spite  of 
the  will.  The  command  which  a  man  has  over  his  thoughts  is 
very  different  at  different  times,  and  one  person  may  be  able  to 
dismiss  a  troublesome  reflection  when  another  cannot  for  the 
life  of  him  do  so.  We  can  give  no  exact  reasons  for  these 
variations  ;  the  causes  of  them  lie  deeper  than  consciousness  can 


178  VOLITION,  [chap, 

reach  or  will  control.  So  far,  then,  from  the  will  being  autocratic, 
it  is  at  the  mercy  of  unknown  conditions,  which  may  seriously 
affect  at  any  moment  its  power  or  energy.  Moreover,  when  an 
unwelcome  idea  is  dismissed  from  the  mind,  it  is  not  done  by  a 
simple  despotic  order  of  the  will ;  but  by  fixing  attention  on 
some  other  idea  which  arises — by  maintaining  the  tension  of  it, 
the  latter  is  made  consciousness  ;  and  inasmuch  as  two  ideas 
cannot  exist  in  consciousness  at  the  same  time,  or  at  any  rate 
cannot  co-exist  in  equal  intensity,  that  implies  the  dismissal  of  the 
former  idea  into  the  background  and  the  initiation  of  a  new  cur- 
rent of  reflection — a  current  which,  however,  is  not  uncommonly 
inteiTupted  by  the  irruption  of  the  old  idea,  which  refuses  to 
become  latent  or  dormant.  Volitional  control  exercised  over  the 
thoughts  manifestly  presupposes  the  existence  of  many  ideas  in 
the  mind,  and  the  possibility  of  some  of  these  latent  ones  arising 
to  influence  those  that  maybe  active.  Dcnken  maclit  fni.  What 
power  it  is  by  which  one  idea  calls  up  another  we  do  not  know, 
but  we  do  know  that  it  is  not  by  the  will. 

Locke  is  admitted  to  have  made  a  great  advance  in  psychology 
when  he  demonstrated  that  there  were  no  innate  ideas  in  the 
mind,  but  that  all  its  ideas  were  formed  by  observation  and 
reflection.  The  necessary  consequence  of  his  demonstration 
plainly  is,  what  the  foregoing  considerations  have  shown,  that 
there  is  no  inborn  will  in  the  human  mind.  It  would  be  a  very 
difficult  matter  to  fix  that  period  in  the  child's  mental  development 
when  volition  might  be  acknowledged  to  have  distinctly  mani- 
fested itself.  Whence  and  when  the  first  volition  comes,  would 
indeed  be  perplexing  questions  if  the  will  were  admitted  to  be  a 
special  faculty  of  the  mind,  distinct  from  other  faculties,  of  con- 
stant quality,  and  never  falling  below  a  certain  level  of  energy. 
Why  is  it  that  we  are  powerless  to  fix  the  time  of  the  first 
volition  ?  Because  the  will  is  not  one  and  constant,  but  infinitely 
variable  in  quantity  and  quality,  having  many  nervous  centres, 
and  not  having  any  existence  apart  from  the  concrete  act.  There 
are  in  reality  as  many  centres  of  volitional  reaction  in  the  brain 
as  there  are  centres  of  idea ;  and  to  assume  one  constant  will  is 
a  part  of  that  metaphysical  system  of  making  abstractions  into 
entities  by  which  also  is  made  one  understanding,  one  reason,  and 
the  mind  is  mischievously  parcelled  out  into  faculties  that  have 

vii.]  VOLITION.  179 

no  existence  in  nature.     It  is  utterly  at  variance  both  with  psy- 
chological analysis  of  the  nature  of  will,  and  with  physiological 
observation  of  the  constitution  of  the  supreme  nervous  centres, 
to  assume  a  single  nervous  centre  from  which  will  proceeds ;  if 
we  must  make  a  definite  statement  on  so  obscure  a  matter,  it  is 
that  every  centre  of  idea  may  be  a  centre  of  voluntary  reaction. 
For  consider  this  :  although  we  describe  the  effect  as  ideomotor, 
when  an  idea  reacts  directly  outwards,  yet  if  the  energy  of  the 
idea  is  not  instantly  so  expended,  but  persists  in  the  mind  for  a 
moment,  so  as  to  produce  a  clearer  consciousness  of  it  before 
passing  outwards,  and  especially  if  there  is  some  feeling  or  desire 
attending  it,  then,  when  it  does  pass  outwards,  we  commonly 
describe  the  effect  as  volitional.   As  consciousness  may,  however, 
exist  in  every  degree  of  intensity,  it  is  plain  that  we  cannot  defi- 
nitely fix  a  stage  at  which  ideational  reaction  may  be  supposed  to 
become  volitional,  nor  determine  the  nature  of  the  change  which 
then  ensues.     "The  will  and  the  intelligence  are  one  and  the 
same  thing,"  is  the  corollary  of  Spinoza  from  his  close  reasoning. 
Let  us  imagine  the  first  appearing  idea  in  the  infant's  mind 
to  react  outwards,  and  to  leave,  as  it  will  do,  a  residuum  in  its 
nervous  centre ;   when  the  idea  occurs  again,  there  will  be  a 
tendency  to   a   similar  reaction.      Suppose,  however,  that  the 
action  causes  pain  to  the  child,  and  thereupon  a  second  idea  is 
formed  in  its  mind,  the  energy  of  which  is  opposed  to  that  of 
the  first.     When  the  first  idea  appears  again,  it  will,  instead  of 
passing  outwards  at  once,  excite  into  activity  the  second  idea, 
which  is  inhibitory  or  preventive.      That  is  the  simplest  case 
of   volition :   the  child   has   voluntarily  refrained   from   doing 
something,  or  voluntarily  done  something  else ;  and  the  impulse 
that  has  prompted  the  choice  is  not  any  abstract  power,  but 
springs  from  that  fundamental  property  of  organic  element  by 
which  what  is  agreeable  is  sought,  what  is  painful  is  shunned. 
Bear   in   mind,   when   weighing  volition,   that    there   is   often 
more  power  demanded  for  preventing  or  inhibiting  action  than 
for  producing  it.     As  ideas  multiply  in  the  mind,  and  groups  or 
series  of  ideas  are  associated,  of  course  the  process  becomes 
more  and  more  complicated;  the  residua  of  volitions,  like  the 
residua  of  sensations  or  ideas,  remain  in  the  mind  and  render 
future  volitions  of  a  like  kind  more  easy  and  more  definite ; 


180  I'OLITWX.  [chap. 

abstract  or  general  volitions,  as  it  were,  are  formed  as  the  repre- 
sentatives of  certain  trains  or  groups  of  ideas,  or  as  the  expres- 
sion of  their  due  co-ordinate  activity ;  and  by  their  persistence 
in  the  mind,  when  not  in  consciousness,  and  their  interaction 
there,  the  character  of  our  thought,  feeling,  and  action  is 
modified  in  a  way  which  we  cannot  comprehend.  Every  one 
must  have  felt  that  an  act,  which  was  at  first  disagreeable  and 
demanded  a  painful  effort  of  will,  may  become,  in  fact  invariably 
does  become,  after  several  repetitions,  much  less  disagreeable  or 
even  an  easy  habit.  Not  only,  however,  does  that  particular 
act  lose  its  pamful  equalities,  but  all  acts  of  a  like  kind  are 
made  easier ;  and  our  manner  of  feeling  with  regard  to  them, 
and  even  our  judgment  concerning  them,  are  greatly  modified. 
Though  we  can  give  no  explanation  of  the  way  in  which  we 
are  aided  by  the  traces  of  past  volitions,  it  is  plain  enough  that 
we  are  so  aided;  conscious  acquisition  becomes  unconscious 
power;  and  by  an  organic  assimilation  of  some  kind,  even  the 
will  becomes  automatic  in  certain  relations. 

Three  conclusions  are  then  to  be  distinctly  established  from 
the  foregoing  considerations :  first,  that  the  will  is  not  an  innate 
and  constant  faculty,  but  a  gradual  and  varying  organization ; 
secondly,  that  wherever  an  afferent  nerve  passes  to  a  cell  or 
series  of  cells  in  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres,  and  an 
efferent  nerve  issues  from  the  cell  or  series  of  cells,  there  is  the 
possible  or  actual  centre  of  a  particular  volition ;  and  thirdly, 
that  volition  or  will,  used  in  its  general  or  abstract  sense,  does 
not  denote  any  actual  entity,  but  simply  expresses  the  due  co- 
ordinate activity  of  the  supreme  centres  of  mental  force,  not 
otherwise  than  as  the  co-ordinate  activity  of  the  spinal  cord  or 
medulla  oblongata  might  be  said  to  represent  its  will — the 
faculty  in  both  cases  being  commonly  an  acquired  one  in  man. 
"When  the  animal  acts  in  answer  to  some  stimulus  with  direct 
and  definite  purpose,  or,  as  we  are  in  the  habit  of  saying,  in- 
stinctively, it  does  so  by  virtue  of  an  endowment  of  its  nerve 
centres  which  is  original  in  it ;  but  in  the  formation  of  human 
volition  we  observe  this  power  of  intelligent  action  in  gradual 
process  of  acquirement — we  witness  an  illustration  of  design  in 
the  making ;  and  if  we  only  go  far  enough  back  through  gene- 
rations, the  acquisition  by  the  animals  may  sometimes  be  traced. 

vii.  j  VOLITION.  181 

It  would  belie  observation  less  to  place  an  ideal  entity  behind 
the  innate  instinctive  impulse  of  the  animal  than  behind  the 
gradually  fashioned  will  of  man. 

To  the  fullest  action  of  will  in  an  individual  two  conditions 
are  obviously  necessary :  first,  an  unimpeded  association  of 
ideas  whereby  one  conception  may  readily  call  up  another,  and 
complete  deliberation  ensue  ;  and  secondly,  a  strong  personality 
or  character  to  give  the  decision  between  conflicting  ideas  and 
desires.     We  shall  say  something  of  the  second  condition  first. 

The  strong  or  well-formed  character  which  a  well-fashioned 
will  implies,  is  the  result  of  a  good  training  applied  to  a  well- 
constituted  original  nature;  and  the  character  is  not  directly 
determined  by  the  will,  but  in  any  particular  act  directly  deter- 
mines the  will  *  The  way  in  which  the  will  does  operate  upon 
the  character,  or  affect  the  ego,  is  indirectly  by  determining  the 
circumstances  which  subsequently  gradually  modify  it ;  we  may 
place  ourselves  voluntarily  in  certain  conditions  of  life,  but  all 
the  energy  of  the  strongest  will  cannot  then  prevent  some 
degree  of  modification  of  character  by  them — cannot  prevent  an 
equilibration  taking  place.  In  any  future  act  of  will  the 
altered  character,  or  acquired  nature,  is  expressed;  and  while 
we,  perhaps,  all  unaware  of  any  change,  strenuously  uphold 
our  constancy,  a  looker-on  clearly  perceives  the  difference. 
What  we  by  a  mental  abstraction  call  the  ego,  is  in  reality  a 
combination  in  which  are  contained  the  residua  of  all  former 
feelings,  thoughts,  volitions, — a  combination  which  is  continually 
changing  and   becoming   more   and   more   complex.      That   it 

*  Common  language,  Tucker  observes,  implies  two  wills  or  more,  opposing, 
impeding,  restraining,  and  mastering  one  another ;  when  an  inordinate  passion 
interferes  with  the  prosecution  of  some  design,  we  still  regard  it  as  a  voluntary 
result,  because  sensible  of  the  instigation.  ' '  But  if  we  listen  to  the  common 
discourses  of  mankind,  we  shall  find  them  speaking  of  several  wills,  several 
agents,  in  the  same  person,  resisting,  counteracting,  overpowering,  and  control- 
ling one  another ;  hence  the  so  usual  expressions  of  the  spiritual  and  carnal  wills, 
of  the  man  and  the  beast,  of  self-will  and  reason,  of  denying  our  wills,  subduing 
our  passions,  or  being  enslaved  by  them,  of  acting  unwillingly  or  against  the 
will,  and  the  like.  All  which  takes  rise  from  a  metonyme  of  the  cause  for  the 
effect ;  for  our  actions  being  constantly  determined  either  by  the  decisions  of  our 
judgment,  or  solicitations  of  our  desires,  we  mistake  them  for  the  will  itself ;  nor 
is  it  a  little  confirmation  of  the  will  being  actuated  by  motives,  to  find  them  so 
intimately  connected  therewith,  that  a  common  eye  cannot  distinguish  them 
apart." — Light  of  Nature,  i.  547. 

182  VOLITION.  [cHAr. 

differs  at  different  times  of  life,  and  in  consequence  of  different 
external  relations,  those  who  would  most  zealously  uphold  its 
so-called  identity  do  unconsciously  admit  when  they  acknow- 
ledge that,  by  religious  influence  or  otherwise,  any  one  may 
be  made  "quite  another  man,"  may  be  "converted,"  or  be 
"regenerate."  The  will  of  Saul  of  Tarsus  was  not  the  will 
of  Paul  the  apostle  to  the  Gentiles.  When  the  ego  is  trans- 
formed in  correspondence  with  changed  external  circumstances, 
the  changes  are  so  gradual  as  to  be  imperceptible  at  the  time ; 
but  a  rapid  transformation  of  the  ego  may  sometimes  be  effected 
by  a  great  event,  internal  or  external, — as,  for  example,  when, 
with  the  development  of  puberty,  new  ideas  and  impulses 
penetrate  the  old  circle  of  thought,  and  become  constituent 
parts  of  it,  producing  no  little  subjective  disturbance  until 
the  assimilation  is  completed  and  an  equilibrium  established. 
When  a  great  and  sudden  revolution  in  the  ego  is  produced 
by  an  external  cause,  it  is  most  dangerous  to  the  mental 
stability  of  the  individual,  and  very  apt  to  become  pathological : 
nothing  is  more  dangerous  to  the  equilibrium  of  a  character 
than  for  any  one  to  be  placed  in  entirely  changed  external  cir- 
cumstances without  his  inner  life  having  been  gradually  adapted 
thereto  ;  and  madness,  when  its  origin  is  fairly  examined,  always 
means  discord  between  the  individual  and  his  circumstances.  He 
who  has  unexpectedly  received  a  sudden,  great  exaltation  in  life, 
and  is  not  made  mad  by  his  good  fortune,  cannot  realize  his  new 
position  for  some  time,  but  gradually  grows  to  it ;  he  who,  from 
some  subjective  cause,  believes  that  he  has  received  a  great 
exaltation  in  life,  while  external  circumstances  are  not  correspon- 
dent, is  mad — the  transformation  of  his  ego  being  pathological.* 

*  Dr  Channing,  in  a  sermon  On  the  Evil  of  Sin,  speaking  of  tthe  absurdity  of 
the  notion  that  in  changing  worlds  we  shall  change  onr  character,  says  : — "In 
the  first  place  it  contradicts  all  our  experience  of  the  nature  and  laws  of  the 
miud.  There  is  nothing  more  striking  in  the  mind  than  the  connexion  of  its 
successive  states.  Our  present  knowledge,  thoughts,  feelings,  characters,  are  the 
result  of  former  impressions,  passions,  and  pursuits.  We  are  this  moment  what 
the  past  has  made  us,  and  to  suppose  that  at  death  the  influences  of  our  whole 
past  course  are  to  cease  on  our  minds,  and  that  a  character  is  to  spring  up  alto- 
gether at  war  'with  what  has  preceded  it,  is  to  suppose  the  most  important  law  or 
principle  of  the  mind  to  be  violated,  is  to  destroy  all  analog}'  between  the  present 
and  future,  and  to  substitute  for  experience  the  wildest  dreams  of  fancy.  In 
truth,  such  a  sudden  revolution  in  the  character  as  is  here  supposed  i- 

tii.  J  VOLITION.  183 

The  history  of  a  man  is  the  true  revelation  of  his  character  • 
what  he  has  done  indicates  what  he  has  willed ;  what  he  has 
willed  marks  what  he  has  thought  and  felt,  or  the  character  of 
his  deliberations;  what  he  has  thought  and  felt,  has  been  the 
result  of  his  nature  then  existing  as  the  developmental  product 
of  a  certain  original  construction  and  a  definite  life  experience. 
Objectively  considered,  the  identity  of  the  ego  is  neither  more 
nor  less  than  the  identity  of  the  full-grown  oak  with  the  first 
slight  shoot  from  the  acorn :  subjectively  considered,  the  strong 
and  sure  conception  which  every  one   has  of  the  ego,  is  not 
surprising,  inasmuch  as  it  is  the  most  frequently  active  idea, 
being  concerned  with  more  or  less  consciousness  in  every  event 
of  his  life,  being  that  to  which  every  action  has  fundamental 
reference.     The  fashioning  of  the  will  is  the  fashioning  of  the 
character;  and  this  can  only  be  done  indirectly  by  fashioning 
the  circumstances  which  determine  the  manner  of  its  formation. 
But,  however  formed,  it  is  the  character  which  determines  what 
the  judgment  shall  decide  to  be  most  eligible,  the  inclination 
prompt  as  most  desirable,  and  the  will  effect.     If  it  were  pos- 
sible for  any  one  to  enter  thoroughly  into  the  inmost  character 
of  another  person,  and  to  become  exactly  acquainted  with  the 
moving  springs  of  his  conduct  in  his  particular  relations  of  life, 
it  would  be  possible  not  only  to  predict  his  line  of  action  on 
every  occasion,  but  even  to  work  him,  free  will  notwithstanding, 
like   an   automaton,  by  playing   on  his  predominant  passion, 
interest,  or  principle. 

Secondly,  there  is  manifestly  required  for  the  free  action  of 
the  will  an  unimpeded  association  of  ideas,  so  that  the  due 
materials  for  the  formation  of  a  sound  judgment  may  be  avail- 
able. But  the  ease,  completeness,  and  character  of  such  asso- 
ciation depend,  as  already  shown,  on  the  condition  of  the 
nervous  element,  very  slight  disorders  of  which  accordingly 
quickly  declare  themselves  in  a  deterioration  of  the  will.  As 
the  secondary  automatic  faculties  of  the  spinal  centres  soon 
suffer  from  any  disorder  of  nerve  element,  and  reveal  their 
suffering  in  the  loss  of  co-ordinate  power  over  the  movements, 
so  in  the  loss  of  co-ordinating  power  over  the  ideas  and  feelings, 

a  man's  identity.     The  individual  thus  transformed  can  hardly  seem  to  himself 
or  to  others  the  same  heing.     It  is  equivalent  to  the  creation  of  a  new  soul." 

184  VOLITION.  [chai-. 

in  their  irregular  and  independent  reactions,  is  revealed  the 
deterioration  of  the  will  And  as,  when  the  disorder  of  the 
spinal  centres  is  still  greater,  all  co-ordination  is  lost  and  con- 
vulsions ensue  ;  so  in  the  supreme  ganglionic  cells  of  the  hemi- 
spheres, when  the  disturbance  is  great,  there  is  no  co-ordination 
of  the  thoughts  and  feelings,  convulsive  reactions  of  the  cells 
take  place,  and  the  individual  is  a  raving  lunatic,  or  a  dan- 
gerous one  dominated  by  a  few  persistent  morbid  ideas.  Voli- 
tion is,  as  it  were,  resolved  into  the  inferior  constituents  out  of 
which  it  is  in  the  due  course  of  things  compounded,  as  a  ray 
of  white  light  may  be  decomposed  into  several  coloured  rays ; 
and  in  place  of  the  definite,  calm,  co-ordinate  activity  of  well- 
formed  will,  there  is  the  aimless,  irregular,  explosive  display 
of  inferior  activity.  It  is  obvious,  however,  that  even  in  the 
sound  mind  the  quantity  and  quality  of  the  volition  depend 
upon  the  fulness  of  the  reflection,  and  that  any  hindrance  to 
the  due  association  of  ideas  will  pro  tanto  affect  the  will :  if 
the  particular  volition  were  to  be  resolved  by  a  retrograde 
metamorphosis  into  its  component  elements,  there  would  be  an 
explication  or  unfolding  of  all  the  ideas  and  desires  which  had 
gone  to  form  it;  and  going  still  further  back  in  the  analysis, 
there  would  be  a  revelation  even  of  those  particular  relations 
in  life  which  have  helped  to  determine  the  individual's  definite 
organization  of  ideas,  the  character  of  his  ego. 

It  will  be  proper,  before  finishing  with  the  consideration  of 
the  will,  to  say  something  of  the  relations  of  the  emotions  to  it. 
Independently  reacting,  as  an  emotional  idea  tends  to  do,  it  so 
far  weakens  the  will ;  duly  controlled  and  co-ordinated  in  reflec- 
tion, as  is  the  case  after  a  just  mental  cultivation,  it  strengthens 
the  will.  Before  many  ideas  have  been  acquired,  and  their 
multitudinous  associations  fixed,  as  in  the  young  child;  or 
where  the  state  of  the  development  of  the  brain  precludes  in- 
tellectual development,  as  in  the  idiot  and  in  the  animal, — the 
emotions  excited  immediately  expend  their  energy  in  outward 
manifestation ;  and  when  in  the  cultivated  adult  there  exists, 
from  some  cause,  an  unstable  condition  of  nerve  element,  or 
when  the  tension  of  the  emotion  or  passion  is  exceedingly  great, 
it  will  also  react  directly  outward  in  spite  of  the  will :  the  law, 
admitting  this,  would  count  it  therefore  no  great  crime  for  a 

vii.]  VOLITION.  185 

husband  to  have  slain  a  man  whom  he  had  surprised  in  the  act 
of  adultery  with  his  wife.  But  whosoever  takes  careful  note  of 
his  own  mental  states  may  call  to  mind  occasions  on  which 
an  emotion  suddenly  excited  strongly  prompted  a  particular 
action,  which  he  nevertheless  withstood  for  an  instant,  and 
might,  if  necessary,  have  restrained  altogether ;  but  perceiving, 
with  quick  intuition,  that  he  might  do  well  to  manifest  the 
emotion,  he  afterwards  allowed  the  action  to  take  place.  The 
looker  on,  perhaps,  sees  only  an  impulse  and  rashness ;  and  yet 
the  rashness  was  in  some  sort  deliberate — an  indiscretion  which 
served  the  end  when  wiser  plots  might  have  failed.  Emotion 
was  the  real  motive  force,  but  an  emotion  acting  under  the 
direction  of  reason,  and,  therefore,  in  accordance  with  prudent 
insight  into  the  external  relations.  The  individual  might  have 
done  the  same  action  in  obedience  to  a  calm  resolution  of  the 
will,  and  better  so,  perhaps,  if  he  had  been  operating  upon 
inanimate  objects  ;  but  in  dealing  with  men  it  may  sometimes 
be  that  a  prudent  exhibition  of  feeling  much  aids  the  success  of 
the  ends  designed.  Only  let  a  man  beware  that,  however  he 
impose  upon  others,  he  deceive  not  himself  by  his  passion, 
allowing  it  to  obscure  his  reason,  and  pervert  his  judgment : 
restrained  within  the  supreme  centres,  it  is  apt  to  do  that  in 
all  minds,  and  sure  to  do  so  in  weak  minds;  but,  duly  subor- 
dinated and  co-ordinated  in  reflection,  it  adds  force  to  resolution, 
liestrained  passion,  acting  under  the  calm  control  of  reason,  is 
verily  a  most  potent  force ;  it  gives  a  white  heat,  as  it  were,  to 
the  expression  of  thought,  an  intensity  to  the  will. 

An  emotional  person  certainly  often  produces  great  effects  in 
the  world,  and  especially  such  effects  as  are  destructive  of  some 
existing  system  or  belief;  it  is,  indeed,  commonly  their  great 
self-feeling  that  gives  to  the  reformers  their  abandonment, 
energy,  and  consequent  success.  But  an  evil  often  outweighing 
these  advantages  is  that  there  is  no  guarantee  that  they  are 
right ;  for,  necessarily  one-sided,  they  see  but  a  part  of  a  truth. 
It  is  certain  that  a  great  principle  has  often  suffered  seriously 
from  the  hasty,  violent,  and  ill-considered  action  of  its  sincere 
and  earnest  advocates  :  adverse  events  or  circumstances,  which 
they  in  their  passion  could  not  recognise,  but  which,  as  rational 
beings,  it  behoved  them  to  have  recognised,  have  swept  them 

186  VOLITION.  [chap. 

away,  and  the  truth  which  they  have  been  upholding  has  been 
for  a  while  the  victim  of  their  indiscretion.  As  in  the  mental 
phenomena  of  the  individual  the  power  of  reflection  is  often 
best  exhibited  in  the  prevention  of  action  prompted  by  feeling — 
in  an  inhibitory  function,  so  amongst  men  in  the  social  state 
the  power  of  a  good  understanding  is  sometimes  best  shown  by 
not  pressing  an  immature  reform.  But  it  is  a  very  hard  matter 
for  a  reformer  who  feels  strongly  to  perceive  that  what  is  theo- 
retically desirable  and  right  may  also  practically  be  undesirable 
and  wrong  under  existing  social  conditions  ;  he  is  apt  to  treat 
adverse  circumstances  as  if  they  were  accidents  or  anomalies 
in  nature,  having  no  right  of  existence,  and  thus  more  or  less 
wilfully  shuts  his  eyes  to  the  force  of  events  on  which  he 
proposes  to  operate,  and  which  will,  in  any  case,  operate  upon 
his  principle.  He  hurls  a  favourite  principle,  which  may  be  a 
very  just  one,  into  the  world  not  sufficiently  prepared  for  it, 
not  having  reached  the  due  level  of  its  evolution,  and  which, 
therefore,  is  necessarily  hostile  to  it ;  and  if  his  truth  is  oppressed 
and  seemingly  extinguished  by  the  opposition  which  it  meets 
with,  then  he  is  disheartened  and  complains,  or  is  angry  and 
rails :  he  is  like  the  boy  sending  his  paper  boat  on  the  lake 
the  wraters  of  which  are  lashed  by  a  storm.  However,  it  is  not 
nature  which  is  wrong,  if  there  be  any  wrong,  but  himself — the 
reformer.  The  fact  that  he  did  not  succeed  proves  that  he  did 
not  deserve  to  succeed ;  he  has  not  rightly  estimated  the  cha- 
racter and  weighed  the  force  of  circumstances  which  have  been 
too  strong  for  his  truth,  and  by  a  simple  law  of  nature  have,  for 
a  time  at  least,  quenched  its  light.  A  great  advance  can  never  be 
superimposed  upon  a  people  miraculously ;  in  order  to  be  per- 
manent it  must  be  a  natural  evolution  from  pre-existing  events 
— must  grow  out  of  them;  and  that  which  most  effectually 
demolishes  an  old  error  is  not  a  passionate  attack  upon  it  by  the 
intensely  feeling  reformer,  but  a  new  and  better  creation,  which 
quietly  undermines  it  so  that  it  falls  without  trouble.  Creation  is 
a  far  higher  order  of  work  than  destruction ;  it  is  the  quiet,  self- 
contained  activity  of  definite  productive  aim — in  other  words, 
of  will  in  its  highest  development — as  opposed  to  the  explosive 
and  dissipated  play  of  an  inferior  and  mostly  destructive  emo- 
tional force.     But  as  the  calm  intellectual  contemplation  of 

vii.]  VOLITION.  187 

events,  viewing  all  the  relations  of  them,  is  attended  with  no 
great  spur  to  any  particular  activity,  but  marks  an  equilibration 
between  the  individual  and  his  environment,  it  is  easy  to  under- 
stand how  excellent  a  thing  to  put  the  will  in  motion  in  a  par- 
ticular case  is  some  feeling  or  desire  of  good  to  be  attained  or 
of  ill  to  be  shunned,  in  order  to  establish  an  equilibration.  Then 
the  will,  enlightened  by  an  adequate  reflection  upon  all  the  co- 
operating conditions,  is  able  to  act  with  a  calm,  steady,  intel- 
ligent and  most  potent  energy. 

The  difference,  in  quality  and  immediate  energy,  between 
the  will  which  is  urged  by  strong  desire  and  the  will  which 
proceeds  from  a  calm  and  full  reflection,  is  strikingly  evident 
in  the  character  of  the  work  done  by  two  kinds  of  reformers. 

k  Surveying  the  men  who  have  exercised  great  effects  on  the 
progress  of  mankind  in  this  capacity,  they  appear  broadly 
divisible  into  two  classes  :  the  men  of  wide  intellectual  grasp, 
vast  knowledge,  and  serene  energy,  and  the  men  of  limited 
vision,  intense  feeling,  and  impetuous  energy — the  extensive  or 
many-sided,  and  the  intensive  or  one-sided  men.  The  former, 
taking  a  comprehensive  survey  of  events,  seeing  in  them  the 
simple  operations  of  natural  law,  recognising  the  character  and 
the  import  of  existing  relations,  and  the  true  value  of  the  pre- 
sent question,  often  exaggerated  by  its  immediate  urgency,  have 
their  feelings  subordinated  to  their  reason,  and  do  not  abandon 
themselves  to  an  unrestrained  impetuosity.  They  may  do  great 
work,  but  they  do  it,  not  like  lightning,  rapidly  and  tumultuously, 
but  like  light,  slowly,  quietly,  and  silently ;  their  work  is  con- 
structive, not  destructive  :  they  are  reformers  of  opinion  rather 
than  of  practice ;  and  the  fertilizing  influence  of  their  thought 
is  felt  through  many  generations.  The  latter,  on  the  other  hand, 
are  possessed  with  a  conviction  so  tremulous  with  intense  self- 
feeling  that  it  seems  the  one  important  thing  in  the  world,  and 
they  are  more  or  less  blind  to  everything  else  ;  they  put  all  their 
energy  into  explosive  action,  which,  like  lightning,  is  destructive ; 
they  are  iconoclasts  who  beat  down  furiously  the  idols  that  are 
worshipped  in  order  to  set  up  another  in  their  places ;  they  are 
reformers  of  practice  rather  than  of  thought ;  and  though  they 
effect  a  great  immediate  practical  result,  they  have  little  or  no 
fertilizing  influence  upon  the  intellectual  development  of  the 

188  VOLITION.  [chap. 

future.  The  earnest  desire  which  inspires  their  energy  springs 
from  a  basis  of  strong  self-feeling. 

"Without  doubt  the  will  is  the  highest  force  in  Nature,  the 
last  consummate  blossom  of  all  her  marvellous  efforts.  The 
natural  product  of  the  highest  and  completest  reflection,  it 
represents  the  exquisitely  and  subtly  adapted  reaction  of  man 
to  the  best  insight  into  the  relations  in  which  he  moves.  Hence 
the  vast  power  of  the  human  will  witnessed  in  the  lives  of  those 
eminent  men  of  practical  genius  who  have  exhibited  its  highest 
evolution.  They  were  in  harmony  with  the  current  of  events 
among  which  they  lived ;  co-ordinating  in  themselves  the  forces 
that  were  at  work  around  them,  they  accomplished  what  the 
world  had  at  heart  in  that  age.  Thus  the  force  which  they  dis- 
played was  a  force  not  their  own  :  the  power  of  the  universe  was 
behind  them,  and  they  became  the  organs  of  its  manifestation. 
If  we  reflect  upon  the  way  in  which  the  social  and  intellectual 
forces  of  an  age  are  thus  co-ordinated  in  the  work  of  genius, 
and  again  upon  the  manner  in  which  the  actions  of  the  different 
nerve  centres  of  the  body  are  subordinated  and  co-ordinated  in 
the  manifestation  of  will, — how  there  are,  as  it  were,  a  gathering 
together  and  a  concentration  of  different  forces  into  one  definite 
mode  of  action,  a  unifying  of  their  energies, — we  may  be  able  to 
form  a  conception,  by  help  of  what  we  can  thus  observe,  of  the 
mode  of  that  exaltation  or  transpeciation  of  force  and  matter 
throughout  nature  which  we  cannot  follow  through  its  inmost 

By  the  power  of  a  well-fashioned  will  man  reacts  with 
intelligent  success  upon  the  external  world,  brings  himself  into  a 
complete  harmony  with  its  surroundings,  assimilates  and  incor- 
porates nature,  and  thus  carries  forward  its  organic  evolution. 
The  highest  action  of  the  will  is  therefore  truly  creative,  for 
in  it  is  initiated  a  new  development  of  nature ;  it  adumbrates 
the  possibilities  of  mankind,  as  a  rudimentary  organ  in  a  lower 
species  of  animal  obscurely  foretells  the  higher  species  in  which 
it  will  have  full  development.  If  we  ask  whence  comes  the 
impulse  that  displays  itself  in  this  upward  nisus,  we  can  only 
answer  lamely  that  it  comes  from  the  same  unfathomable  source 

•  Transpeciation  is  a  word  used  by  Sir  Thomas  Browne  which  might  be  fouud 
useful  at  the  present  day. 

vii.]  VOLITION.  189 

as  the  impulse  that  inspires  or  moves  organic  growth  throughout 


1  (p.  169). — "  Sixthly,  the  will  appears  to  he  nothing  hut  a  desire  or 
aversion  sufficiently  strong  to  produce  an  action  that  is  not  automatic 
primarily  or  secondarily.  At  least  it  appears  to  me  that  the  substitu- 
tion  of  these  words  for  the  word  will  may  be  justified  by  the  common 
use  of  language.  The  will  is,  therefore,  that  desire  or  aversion  which 
is  strongest  for  the  present  time.  Since,  therefore,  all  love  and  hatred, 
all  desire  and  aversion,  are  factitious  and  generated  by  association,  i.e. 
mechanically,  it  follows  that  the  will  is  mechanical  also." — Hartley's 
Theory  of  the  Human  Mind,  p.  205. 

"  Appetite,  therefore,  and  aversion,  are  simply  so  called  as  long  as 
they  follow  not  deliberation.  But  if  deliberation  have  gone  before, 
then  the  last  act  of  it,  if  it  be  appetite,  is  called  will;  if  aversion, 

unwillingness Neither  is   the   freedom   of  willing   or  not 

willing  greater  in  man  than  in  other  living  creatures.  For  where 
there  is  appetite  the  entire  cause  of  appetite  hath  preceded ;  and, 
consequently,  the  act  of  appetite  could  not  choose  but  follow  :  that  is, 
hath  of  necessity  followed.  And,  therefore,  such  a  liberty  as  is  free 
from  necessity  is  not  to  be  found  either  in  the  will  of  men  or  of 
beasts.  But  if  by  liberty  we  understand  the  faculty  or  power,  not  of 
willing,  but  of  doing  what  they  will,  then  certainly  that  liberty  is  to 
be  allowed  to  both,  and  both  may  equally  have  it,  whensoever  it  is  to 
be  had." — Hobbes,  vol.  i.  p.  409. 

"  The  whole  sum  of  desires,  aversions,  hopes,  and  fears,  continued 
till  the  thing  be  either  done  or  thought  impossible,  is  that  we  call 
Deliberation." — Leviathan,  vii. 

2  (p.  176). — I  extract  the  following  remarks  of  Hume  : — 

1.  "But  do  we  pretend  to  be  acquainted  with  the  nature  of  the 
human  soul,  and  the  nature  of  the  idea,  or  the  aptitude  of  one  to  pro- 
duce the  other  1  .  .  .  .  We  only  feel  the  event,  namely,  the  existence 
of  an  idea,  consequent  to  a  command  of  the  will.  But  the  manner  in 
which  this  operation  is  performed,  the  power  hy  which  it  is  produced, 
is  entirely  beyond  our  comprehension." 

2.  "  The  command  of  the  mind  over  itself  is  limited  as  well  as  its 
command  over  the  body ;  and  these  limits  are  not  known  by  reason. 

Will  any  one  pretend  to  assign  the  ultimate  reason  of  these 

boundaries,  or  show  why  the  power  is  deficient  in  one  case,  not  in 

190  VOLITION.  [chap,  m 

3.  '•  Self-command  is  very  different  at  different  times Can  we 

give  any  reason  for  these  variations,  except  experience  1  Is  there  not 
here,  either  in  a  spiritual  or  material  substance,  or  both,  some  secret 
mechanism  or  structure  of  parts,  upon  which  the  effect  depends,  and 
which,  being  entirely  unknown  to  us,  renders  the  power  or  energy  of 
the  will  equally  unknown  and  incomprehensible  1 " 

4.  "  The  motion  of  our  body  follows  upon  the  command  of  our 
will.  Of  this  we  are  every  moment  conscious.  But  the  means  by 
which  this  is  effected,  the  energy  by  which  the  will  performs  so 
extraordinary  an  operation ;  of  this  we  are  so  far  from  being  imme- 
diately conscious,  that  it  must  for  ever  escape  our  most  diligent 

After  explaining  that  volition  does  not  act  directly  on  a  limb  itself, 
but  through  certain  muscles  and  nerves,  through  which  the  motion  is 
successively  propagated,  he  askt — "  Can  there  be  a  ruore  certain  proof 
that  the  power  by  which  this  whole  operation  is  performed,  so  far 
from  being  directly  and  fully  known  by  an  inward  sentiment  or  con- 
sciousness, is  to  the  last  degree  mysterious  and  unintelligible.  Here 
the  mind  wills  a  certain  event ;  immediately  another  event  unknown 
to  ourselves,  and  totally  different  from  the  intended,  is  produced. 
This  event  produces  another  equally  unknown  ;  till,  at  last,  through  a 
long  succession,  the  desired  event  is  produced." — Inquiry  concerning 
the  Human  Understanding. 



rTlHUS  far  we  have  been  engaged  in  considering  the  formation 
Jf  of  the  so-called  mental  faculties  by  the  organization  of 
residua,  afe  this  takes  place  in  the  production  of  simple  or  pre- 
sentatfve  ideas  out  of  sensory  impressions, — that  is,  in  apprehen- 
sion ;  in  the  production  of  representative  ideas  or  conceptions  by 
abstraction  from  the  simple  ideas, — that  is,  in  comprehension ; 
and  in  the  production  of  volition  as  the  result  of  the  complex 
interworking  of  desires  and  conceptions.  But  it  is  not  man's 
function  in  life  merely  to  think  ;  his  inner  life  he  must  express 
or  utter  in  action  of  some  kind.  Consequently  there  are  other 
residua  besides  those  already  dealt  with,  which  enter  as  con- 
stituents into  his  mental  life — the  residua,  namely,  that  are  left 
behind  by  movements  or  actions.  The  movements  that  are 
instigated  or  actuated  by  a  particular  nerve  centre  do,  like  the 
idea,  leave  behind  them  their  residua,  which,  after  several 
repetitions,  become  so  completely  organized  into  the  nature  of 
the  nerve  centre  that  the  movements  may  henceforth  be  auto- 
matic. There  is  then,  intervening  between  the  volitional  impulse 
and  the  action,  a  department  or  repository  of  motor  residua, 
in  which  exist  the  immediate  agents  of  movements — a  region, 
psychologically  speaking,  of  abstract,  latent,  or  potential  move- 
ments. If  recourse  be  had  to  physiology,  it  is  found  that, 
conformably  with  what  psychological  analysis  teaches,  there  are 
numerous  special  motorial  nervous  centres,  or  nuclei  of  ganglionic 
cells,  cerebral  and  spinal,  from  which  motor  nerves  proceed, 
and  by  the  experimental  irritation  of  which  movements  may 

192  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap. 

be  artificially  excited.  The  term  which  we  have  taken  leave  to 
use  for  the  purpose  of  designating  psychologically  the  common 
centres  of  movement  is  themotorium  commune. 

This  region  of  motor  residua,  or,  if  we  may  venture  so  to 
call  it,  this  motorium  commune,  is  related  to  conception  on  the 
reactive  side  of  human  life,  as  sensation  is  on  the  receptive  side. 
As  the  residua  of  sensorial  activity,  as  already  seen,  minister 
and  are  necessary  to  a  definite  representative  conception,  so 
the  residua  of  motor ial  activity  in  their  turn  enter  into  concep- 
tion, and  are  indispensable  to  its  realization  in  action.  It  may 
not  be  amiss,  then,  to  take  notice  here,  again,  how  the  highest 
mental  action  comprehends  or  contains  the  whole  bodily  life. 
The  sensory  life  enters  essentially  into  conception ;  the  organic 
life,  as  previously  set  forth,  participates  in  the  emotional  quality 
of  it ;  and  the  motorial  activity  of  the  body  is  essential  to  its 
due  effectuation.  How  mischievously  unjust,  then,  is  the 
absolute  barrier  set  up  between  mind  and  body !  How  mis- 
leading the  parcelling  out  of  the  mind  into  separate  faculties 
that  answer  to  nothing  in  nature ! 

What  name  may  most  properly  be  given  to  this  neglected  but 
important  motorial  region  of  our  mental  life  ?  The  motor  residua 
that  mingle  in  our  conceptions  have  been  called,  in  Germany, 
motor  intuitions  (Bewegungs-anschauungen) ;  but  this  description, 
though  admirably  expressing  their  intervention  in  conception,  is 
perhaps  too  psychological  to  convey  an  adequate  idea  of  their 
physiological  importance  as  the  immediate  agents  or  faculties  of 
all  movements.  The  motor  intuition,  furthermore,  intervenes 
not  alone  between  conception  and  respondent  action,  but  also 
between  sensation  and  the  motor  reaction  thereto,  and  even  be- 
tween the  stimulus  and  the  resultant  reflex  action ;  so  that  the 
term  intuition  is  not  altogether  suitable,  and  may  perhaps  pro- 
duce confusion.  More  appropriately  might  this  region  of  motor 
residua  be  described  generically  as  the  department  of  actuation ; 
a  department  containing  the  powers  or  faculties  through  which 
the  nervous  centres,  excited  into  activity,  act  upon  the  muscular 
system,  and,  by  thus  uttering  or  expressing  their  energies,  restore 
the  equilibrium.  It  contains  the  means  by  which  will,  idea,  or 
sensation  actuates  definite  movements,  or  prevents  their  occur- 
rence.    To  describe  it  as  the  locomotive  faculty  would  bring  us 

viii.]  OR  MOTORIUM  COMMUNE.  1<)3 

to  the  inconsistency  of  calling  locomotive  that  the  aim  of  which 
is  often  inhibitory  or  preventive  of  motion,  and  would  scarcely 
include  the  organic  reflex  movements. 

However  it  be  named,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  such  a 
region  of  mental  activity  exists,  and  that  in  it  are  contained, 
predetermined  and  co-ordinated,  the  faculties  of  different  groups 
and  series  of  movements.  It  is  easy  to  perceive,  then,  why  the 
will  can  only  determine  the  result — cannot  determine  the  action 
of  a  particular  muscle,  or  the  combined  actions  of  certain 
muscles  which  have  not  acted  together  before.  All  it  can 
do  is  to  will  the  event,  and  thereupon  the  proper  nerve-fibres 
and  muscles  are  put  in  action  through  the  medium  of  the  motor 
intuition.  If  the  result  wished  is  a  new,  unfamiliar  one,  no 
residua  thereof  from  previous  experiences  existing  in  the  motor 
centres,  then  the  will  is  unequal  to  the  accomplishment  of  it ; 
there  is  not  an  exact  and  definite  idea  of  the  end  to  be  effected, 
the  necessary  motor  intuition  being  wanting.  After  repeated 
trials,  the  desired  skill  is  firmly  acquired,  and  the  movement  is 
henceforth  automatic,  the  motor  intuition  having  been  gradually 
organized  in  the  proper  nervous  centres :  the  result  stored  up 
strictly  corresponds  with  that  which  in  other  nervous  centres  we 
describe  as  abstract  idea.  Here  again  we  are  taught  that  the 
design  manifest  in  any  act  of  will  is  due  to  organic  processes 
similar  to  those  which  build  up  the  design  in  the  nerve 
centres  of  sensori-motor  action  and  of  reflex  action ;  it  is  only 
because  of  its  being  attended  with  consciousness  that  we  describe 
the  energy  of  one  of  these  definitely  organized  residua  in  the 
highest  centre  as  a  conception  or  notion  of  the  result — speaking 
psychologically  rather  than  physiologically.  But  even  here  con- 
sciousness disappears  when  the  organization  is  complete. 

In  the  animals  the  motor  intuitions,  like  their  other  faculties, 
are  mostly  innate.  There  are  no  distinct,  clear  conceptions 
accompanying  their  instinctive  actions;  but  obscure  sensations 
and  feelings  excite  the  motor  intuitions,  .which  then  determine 
the  action  of  the  proper  muscles.  In  man,  on  the  other  hand, 
although  the  faculties  of  certain  co-ordinate  movements  do  exist, 
preformed  in  the  nervous  centres,  the  motor  intuitions  are 
mostly  acquired ;  in  this  regard  corresponding  with  the  forma- 
tion of  his  other  mental  faculties.     Our  ideas  of  distance,  size, 


194  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap. 

and  solidity  furnish  striking  examples  of  the  manner  in  which 
we  are  indebted  to  our  muscular  intuitions,  and  of  the  difference 
in  respect  of  them  between  us  and  the  animals.  The  young 
swallow's  intuition  of  distance  appears  to  be  as  perfect  when  it 
begins  to  fly  as  it  is  after  a  life-experience ;  but  it  is  not  so  with 
the  young  child,  which  cannot  for  some  time  tell  how  far  off  or 
how  near  an  object  is.  In  the  first  instance,  the  child's  body 
moves  with  the  eyes,  when  these  are  fixed  upon  a  light  that  is 
moved  about.  After  a  few  weeks  the  moving  light  is  followed 
by  a  motion  of  the  head  only  ;  next  the  eye-ball  itself  is 
turned  also ;  and  ultimately  objects  are  followed  with  the  eye 
without  any  motion  of  the  head.  As  this  is  going  on,  there  is 
acquired  gradually  a  recognition  of  the  distance  of  an  object, 
and  the  convergence  of  the  axps  of  the  eyes  is  seen  to  change 
regularly  and  quickly  with  the  distance  of  the  object.  Now  it 
is  well  known  that  the  accommodation  of  the  eyes  to  distance 
takes  place  through  a  convergence  of  their  axes  and  an  accom- 
modation of  their  lenses,  two  actions  which  are  from  the  first 
very  firmly  associated ;  so  much  so  that  a  congenital  defect  in 
the  lens  is  now  recognised  to  be  the  frequent  cause  of  squinting 
in  children.  But  these  accommodating  movements  are  not 
determined  by  any  act  of  will,  nor  are  they  within  conscious- 
ness; they  are  consensual  movements  in  respondence  to  the 
visual  sensation,  and  strictly  comparable  with  the  instinctive 
movements  of  the  animals.  It  is  not  the  visual  sensation  directly 
which  gives  us  the  idea  or  intuition  of  distance,  but  the  motor 
intuition  of  the  accommodating  movement  which,  though  un- 
certain and  confused  at  first  in  man,  soon  gets  precision  and 
distinctness.  In  this  example  we  have  a  type  of  that  which 
happens,  with  greater  or  less  rapidity,  in  the  case  of  every  move- 
ment in  the  body.  The  infant  at  first  kicks  out  its  leg — whether 
from  a  so-called  spontaneous  outburst  of  energy,  or  by  reason  of 
some  organic  or  external  stimulus,  matters  not — and  bringing  it 
in  contact  with  some  external  object,  gets  thereby  a  sensation, 
in  respondence  to  which,  as  in  the  consensual  accommodation  of 
the  eyes,  adaptations  of  movements  take  place,  and  muscular 
intuitions  are  more  or  less  quickly  and  completely  organized. 
Certain  sensations  and  certain  movements  are  thus  associated, 
and  the  residua  of  the  muscular  movements,  or  the  muscular 

viii.]  OR  MOTORIUM  COMMUNE.  195 

intuitions,  are  henceforth  essential  constituents  of  our  mental 
life,  whether  we  are  distinctly  conscious  of  them  or  not.  Con- 
sider, if  further  illustration  be  needed,  the  gradual  acquisition  of 
the  complex  movements  of  speech,  and  the  intimate  connexion 
which  they  have  with  the  formation  of  our  conceptions.  A 
weak-minded  person,  or  a  person  of  low  cultivation,  often  cannot 
content  himself  with  the  mental  representation  of  a  word,  or 
clearly  comprehend  a  question  put  to  him,  without  bringing  the 
actual  movement  to  his  assistance ;  he  must  utter  the  word  or 
repeat  the  question  aloud,  in  order  to  get  his  conception  dis- 
tinctly; the  essential  importance  of  the  articulating  movements 
to  conception  is  furthermore  attested  by  the  frequent  deficiency 
of  them  in  idiots.  It  is  most  necessary,  however,  to  guard  against 
the  strong  disposition  which  there  is  to  look  upon  certain 
movements,  those  of  the  eye  and  the  tongue,  as  having  a  special 
connexion  with  the  mental  life  which  other  movements  of  the 
body  have  not ;  they  have  a  specially  intimate  connexion,  but 
not  a  special  kind  of  connexion.  Unwarrantably  separating  by 
an  absolute  barrier  the  mind  from  the  body,  and  then  locating  it 
in  a  particular  corner  of  the  latter,  as  is  commonly  done,  we  are 
prone  to  forget  that  in  mental  action  the  whole  bodily  life  is 
comprehended — that  every  muscular  intuition,  therefore,  has  its 
due  place  and  influence  in  our  mental  life. 

Another  consideration  which  it  is  necessary  to  bear  well  in 
mind  is,  that  there  is  no  fundamental  difference  in  organic 
nature  between  those  motor  intuitions  that  are  original,  or  pri- 
marily automatic,  and  those  which  are  acquired  in  the  natural 
order  of  development,  or  are  secondarily  automatic.  Between 
the  stimulus  and  the  definite  reflex  action,  whether  innate  or 
acquired,  between  the  sensation  and  its  assemblage  or  succession 
of  muscular  movements,  the  definite  motor  intuitions  intervene 
as  necessarily  as  between  the  conscious  conception  and  the 
answering  movement ;  though  in  the  latter  case  only  have  we  the 
consciousness  of  effort  or  motive  energy.  That  the  former  may 
take  place  without  consciousness,  proves  that  the  motor  residua 
have  been  definitely  and  adequately  organized  in  the  proper  motor 
centres ;  so  that  so  far  from  design  implying  consciousness,  as 
metaphysical  psychologists  have  thought,  consciousness  altogether 
vanishes  when  the  design  is'  firmly  fixed  in  the  nature  of  the 


196  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap. 

nervous  element.  Consider  only  the  manifold  co-existent  and 
successive  movements  of  the  many  muscles  of  the  tongue,  the 
palate,  the  pharynx,  and  the  jaws,  in  mastication  and  deglutition 
— complex  movements  which  the  will  could  never  effect,  of  which 
we  have  little  or  no  consciousness,  and  before  which  human 
ingenuity  is  mute — and  it  will  be  abundantly  evident  how  much 
we  depend  in  our  active  life  upon  the  region  of  motor  intuitions. 
But  it  should  not  be  overlooked,  it  should  indeed  be  prominently 
held  in  remembrance,  that  these  external  motor  manifestations 
only  represent  what  is  contained  internally  in  the  appropriate 
nervous  centres ;  that  what  is  outwardly  displayed  exists  in  the 
innermost ;  that  every  motor  intuition  is,  consciously  or  uncon- 
sciously, an  essential  part  of  the  mental  life. 

The  foregoing  observations  are  greatly  strengthened  by  certain 
morbid  phenomena,  in  which  a  variation  of  the  circumstances 
furnishes  an  excellent  test  of  the  principles  enunciated.  In 
that  condition  which  Mr.  Braid  called  "  hypnotism,"  it  has  been 
pointed  out  already  that  if  the  face  or  limbs  of  the  patients  are 
placed  in  an  attitude  which  is  the  normal  expression  of  a  certain 
emotion,  thereupon  that  emotion  is  actually  excited ;  the  motor 
intuition  immediately  awakening  the  appropriate  conception. 
This  is  in  accordance  with  what  we  frequently  observe  in  watch- 
ing the  genesis  of  mind  in  young  children,  where  it  is  plain 
that  an  attitude  or  gesture,  unconsciously  or  involuntarily  pro- 
duced, sometimes  awakens  in  the  mind  the  correlative  idea  or 
emotion,  and  where,  on  the  other  hand,  every  thought  is  imme- 
diately translated  into  some  movement.* 

The  condition  of  disease  known  as  aphasia,  which  has  been 
so  much  studied  during  the  last  few  years,  is  especially  interesting 
in  its  bearing  on  the  doctrine  of  motor  intuitions.  A  person 
loses  the  power  of  expressing  his  thoughts  by  articulate  language  ; 
and  although  in  the  majority  of  cases  in  which  this  happens 
there  is  hemiplegia  of  one  side,  generally  of  the  right,  there 
may  be  no  paralysis  at  all.  Moreover,  in  those  cases  in  which 
there  is  hemiplegia  there  is  not  any  paralysis  of  the  muscles  of 

*  Vulpian  {op.  cit.  p.  290)  formularizes  the  general  physiological  law,  that 
every  excitation  of  a  nerve,  at  any  point  in  its  length,  is  transmitted  immediately 
ami  simnltaneonsly  both  in  a  centripetal  and  centrifugal  direction. 

vni.]  OR  MOTORIUM  COMMUNE.  197 

articulation ;  the  loss  of  speech  is  not  due  to  any  defect  in  the 
actual  instruments  of  utterance,  nor  is  the  loss  of  power  of 
intelligent  expression  by  speech  owing  in  all  cases,  or  entirely  in 
any  case,  to  the  loss  of  intelligence,  though  it  is  certainly  true 
that  there  is  in  many  cases  of  hemiplegia  some  degree  of  mental 
failure — some  degree  of  enfeebled  intelligence  and  of  emotional 
excitability.  Intelligence,  however,  often  fails  or  is  lost  without 
loss  of  the  power  of  speech ;  and  there  are  said  to  be  met  with 
occasional  instances  of  the  latter  defect  without  any  appreciable 
loss  of  intelligence — instances  in  which  the  patient  is  able  to 
communicate  his  thoughts  by  gesture-language,  or  by  writing. 
It  is  important  to  bear  in  mind,  in  regard  to  this  question,  that 
language  consists  essentially  in  the  establishment  of  a  definite 
relation  between  the  idea  and  the  sign  by  which  it  is  outwardly 
manifested ;  that  it  may  be  verbal,  vocal,  graphic,  or  mimic ; 
and  that  the  general  faculty  of  language  includes  all  these 
modes  of  expressing  the  thoughts.  The  persistence  of  these 
other  modes  of  expression,  where  the  faculty  of  speech  is  lost, 
proves  that,  notwithstanding  the  intelligence  is  most  probably 
decidedly  weakened  in  all  cases  of  aphasia,  it  is  certainly  not 
weakened  to  such  an  extent  that  the  loss  of  speech  can  be  due 
to  the  abolition  of  ideas.  When,  however,  an  aphasic  person 
cannot  succeed  in  learning  some  language  of  signs  so  as  to  be 
able  to  make  himself  understood,  it  can  hardly  admit  of  doubt 
that  he  has  either  no  ideas  to  express,  or  at  any  rate  not  suffi- 
cient intelligence  to  learn  a  language  which  it  is  not  difficult  for 
any  person  of  common  intelligence  to  acquire. 

Where,  then,  does  the  .immediate  mischief  in  aphasia  lie  ? 
Is  it  not  most  probably  in  the  centres  of  the  motor  residua 
of  speech,  whereby  the  necessary  motor  intuitions  fail,  and  the 
patient  cannot  for  the  life  of  him  bring  to  mind  the  words  which 
he  wants  to  use,  and  perhaps  uses,  wittingly  or  unwittingly, 
wrong  words  ?  The  essential  connexion  and  interaction  between 
the  sign  and  the  thought  signified,  between  the  centres  of  the 
motor  residua  of  speech  and  the  centres  of  ideation,  is  cut  off, 
either  by  some  interruption  of  the  function  of  their  internuntiant 
fibres  or  by  injury  to  the  functions  of  the  motor  centres  them- 
selves ;  whence  it  is  easily  conceivable  that  a  loss  of  power  of 
the  ideas  to  play  upon  their  appropriate  signs  will  be  occasioned 

198  Jiui of,  z;l^,  uUS  CENTRES,  [ciiai\ 

— an  inability  to  utter  by  speech  the  thoughts,  a  loss  of  memory 
of  the  appropriate  words.  The  failure  is  not  strictly  mental,  nor 
is  it  strictly  motor,  but  lies  in  that  intermediate  region  between 
mind  and  movement  which  is  essential  to  the  due  performance 
of  both  motor  and  mental  functions ;  without  which,  indeed, 
thought  cannot  attain  to  expression — cannot  attain  to  know- 
ledge of  itself — movement  cannot  accomplish  definite  purpose. 
"  Herein  lies  the  necessity  of  utterance,  the  representation  of 
thought,"  says  Heyse.  "  Thought  is  not  even  present  to  the 
thinker,  till  he  has  set  it  forth  out  of  himself.  Man,  as  an 
individual  endowed  with  sense  and  mind,  first  attains  to 
thought,  and,  at  the  same  time,  to  comprehension  of  himself, 
by  setting  forth  out  of  himself  the  contents  of  his  mind ; 
and  in  this  his  free  production,  he  comes  to  the  knowledge  of 
himself,  his  thinking  '  I.'  He  comes  first  to  himself  in  uttering 

Having  regard,  then,  to  the  important,  indeed  the  essential,  part 
which  the  motor  intuitions  play  in  the  mental  life,  it  is  impossible 
to  conceive  the  loss  of  them  taking  place  without  secondary  injury 
to  the  ideational  functions — to  the  intelligence;  these  may  not 
be  primarily  affected  by  the  disease,  but  they  cannot  fail  to  suffer 
secondarily.    Even  though  the  patient  may  not  be  himself  aware 
of  any  mental  failure,  and  may  feel  convinced  that  it  is  only  the 
words  to  express  his  ideas  that  he  lacks,  yet  it  is  not  unlikely 
that  his  condition  resembles  somewhat  that  of  a  person  in  a 
dream,  who  fancies   that  he  is  thinking   most   logically,   and 
discoursing  most  eloquently,  when  his  thoughts  are  confused 
and  his  words  incoherent.      The  history  of  cases  of  aphasia 
prove  that  this  is  certainly  so  sometimes.     It  is  easy  to  compre- 
hend the  disputes  which  arise  among  onlookers  who  endeavour 
to  test  the  intelligence  in  these  cases  :  when  the  regular  channel 
by  which  intelligence  expresses  itself  is  closed,  it  must  obviously 
be  very  difficult  to  appraise  accurately  the  degree  of  intelligence. 
The  simple  questions  which  are  usually  put,  for  this  purpose, 
to   aphasic  patients  certainly  do  not  decide  the  question  :  a 
demented  person  whose  mental  faculties  were  almost  abolished, 
might  answer  sensibly  when  he  was  asked  what  he  would  do  if 
the  room  were  on  fire ;  and  many  patients  in  lunatic  asylums 
whose  intelligence  is  in  a  very  shattered  state,  are  able  to  play 

vin.]  OR  MOTORIUM  COMMUNE.  199 

cards  and  draughts  skilfully.  It  is  certainly  quite  possible  for 
an  aphasic  patient  to  make  intelligent  responses  to  simple  ques- 
tions and  obvious  suggestions  when  lie  has  lost  all  power  of 
sustained  and  definite  thought.  And,  apart  from  all  theoretical 
considerations,  the  evidence  which  exists  at  present  is  in  favour 
of  the  opinion  that  the  intelligence  is  decidedly  weakened  in 

There  is  one  observation  more  to  make  before  passing  from 
this  subject.  Some  writers  are  in  the  habit  of  affirming  that  it 
is  in  names  we  think,  and  that  they  are  the  indispensable 
instruments  of  thought.  "I  therefore  declare  my  conviction," 
says  Max  Midler,  "whether  right  or  wrong,  as'  explicitly  as 
possible,  that  thought  in  one  sense  of  the  word,  i.e.  in  reasoning, 
is  impossible  without  language."  This  sounds  too  absolute  a 
statement :  the  example  of  Laura  Bridgman,  who  was  deaf, 
dumb,  and  blind,  as  her  case  is  admirably  described  by  Dr. 
Howe,  proves  that  a  person  may  have  human  thought  without 
being  able  to  speak ;  the  instances  of  aphasic  patients  who  can 
express  their  ideas  in  writing  point  in  the  same  direction;  but 
neither  these  instances,  nor  the  case  of  Laura  Bridgman,  can  be 
used  to  prove  that  it  is  possible  to  think  without  any  means  of 
physical  expression.  On  the  contrary,  the  evidence  is  all  the  other 
way.  Laura  Bridgman's  fingers  worked,  making  the  initial  move- 
ments for  letters  of  the  finger-alphabet,  not  only  during  her 
waking  thoughts,  but  in  her  dreams.  If  we  substitute  for  "names" 
"  the  motor  intuitions,"  or  take  care  to  comprise  in  language  all 
the  modes  of  expressing  thoughts,  whether  verbal,  vocal,  writing 
or  gesture-language,  then  it  is  unquestionable  that  thought  is 
impossible  without  language.  In  man  the  tongue  has  been 
almost  exclusively  appropriated  for  the  expression  of  thought, 
but  there  is  no  absolute  reason  why  his  fingers,  hands,  and  arms 
might  not  be  used,  like  the  antennas  of  ants,  to  express  all  the 
results  of  mental  action.  The  reasons  why  the  tongue  has  been 
specially  selected  for  this  purpose  are  obvious :  first,  because  of 
its  connexion  with  the  vocal  organs,  whereby  its  movements,  in 
conjunction  with  those  of  the  lips,  modify  in  a  great  variety  of 
ways  the  different  sounds,  and  thus  make  audible  language, 
which  is  plainly  on  the  whole  more  useful  to  man  than  visible 
language  ;  secondly,  because  of  the  great  variety  and  complexity 

200  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap. 

of  movements  of  which  the  numerous  muscles  of  the  tongue  are 
capable  in  so  small  a  space  ;  and,  thirdly,  because  the  movements 
of  the  hands  are  required  for  other  purposes,  while  it  is  difficult 
to  perceive  what  other  purpose  the  wonderful  variety  of  the 
tongue's  movements  could  have  served,  when  it  was  not  engaged 
in  the  taking  and  mastication  of  food. 

The  influence  of  the  motor  department  of  mental  action,  the 
region  of  actuation,  might  receive  further  illustration  from  the 
phenomena  of  insanity  and  of  certain  convulsive  diseases.  It 
scarcely  admits  of  question  that  some  of  the  delusions  of  the 
insane  have  their  origin  in  what  may  justly  be  called  muscular 
hallucinations  :  a  disorder  of  the  nervous  centres  of  the  muscular 
intuitions  generates  in  consciousness  a  false  conception,  or  delu- 
sion, as  to  the  condition  of  the  muscles,  so  that  an  individual 
lying  in  his  bed  believes  himself  to  be  flying  through  the  air, 
or  imagines  his  legs,  arms,  or  head,  to  be  separated  from  his 
body,  just  as  he  has  hallucinations  of  sense  when  the  sensorial 
centres  are  disordered.*  In  dreams  we  may  sometimes  ob- 
serve the  same  kind  of  thing,  as  when  from  hindered  respiratory 
movements  a  person  suddenly  wakes  up  with  the  idea  that  he  is 
falling  over  a  precipice.  Illusory  movements,  or  illusory  posi- 
tions, are  the  characteristic  traits  of  vertigo ;  other  subjective 
sensations,  such  as  noises  in  the  ears,  flashes  before  the  eyes, 
and  painful  sensations  in  the  head,  accompanying  them.  In 
dreams,  and  also  in  drunkenness,  there  is  no  power  of  correcting 
these  subjective  muscular  experiences ;  and  the  brain  or  mind, 
rendering  them  conscious,  converts  them  into  false  conceptions 
of  space.  Such  muscular  illusions,  or  hallucinations,  can  of 
course  only  ensue  when  the  reaction  of  the  disordered  motor 
intuition  is  into  consciousness ;  if,  as  may  happen,  and  commonly 
does  happen,  the  reaction  takes  place  outwards,  there  are 
irregular  or  convulsive  movements,  but  no  delusion  is  generated. 
In  fact,  when  the  motoriwm  commune  is  disordered,  its  morbid 

*  "  I  had  some  years  since,"  Dr.  Whytt  writes,  "a  patient  affected  with  an 
erysipelas  in  his  face,  who,  when  awake,  was  free  from  any  confusion  in  his  ideas  ; 
but  no  sooner  did  he  shut  his  eyes,  although  not  asleep,  than  his  imagination 
began  to  be  greatly  disturbed.  He  thought  himself  carried  swiftly  through  the 
air  to  distant  regions  ;  and  sometimes  imagined  his  head,  arms,  and  legs,  to  be 
separated  from  his  body,  and  to  fly  off  different  ways." — Obs.  on  Nahire,  Causrs, 
and  Cure  of  Nervous,  Hypochondriacal,  and  Hysteric  Disorders.   1765. 

viii.]  OR  MOTORIUM  COMMUNE.  201 

function  may  be  displayed  in  irregular  or  convulsive  muscular 
action,  and,  if  the  deterioration  proceed  far  enough,  in  paralysis  ; 
or  it  may  react  upon  the  mental  life,  and  give  rise  to  disorder  of 

The  phenomena  of  convulsions,  properly  examined,  will  serve 
to  illustrate  the  existence  and  to  exhibit  the  independent  nature 
of  the  motor  intuitions.  Every  kind  of  movement  which  may  be 
normally  excited  by  the  will  may  occur  as  a  convulsive  act, 
when,  of  course,  there  is  no  question  of  the  exercise  of  will,  and 
when  there  is  often  an  entire  absence  of  consciousness.  As  the 
individual  in  sound  health  must  give  intense  attention  in  order 
to  isolate  a  certain  muscular  movement,  which  usually  takes 
place  as  a  part  of  a  complex  series,  and  then  cannot  always 
succeed,  it  is  not  surprising  that  there  should  often  be  more  or 
less  co-ordination  of  movements  in  spasmodic  or  convulsive 
muscular  action,  the  design  in  the  centres  of  motor  intuition  not 
being  eDtirely  abolished.  In  cases  of  cerebral  haemorrhage,  it 
sometimes  happens  that  the  articulating  movements  of  single 
sounds,  or  of  a  certain  series  of  sounds,  syllables,  or  words,  are 
produced  without  any  mental  act,  or  even  against  the  will  of 
the  patient.  Eomberg  relates  a  remarkable  case  of  what  he  calls 
rotatory  spasm  in  a  girl  ten  years  of  age,  and  another  case  of 
co-ordinated  spasm  in  combination  with  chorea,  which  occurred 
in  a  boy  aged  six,  who  was  occasionally  attacked  with  an  irre- 
sistible desire  to  climb  in  spite  of  every  impediment;  in  the 
intervals  he  was  affected  with  chorea.  Consciousness  is  not 
always  entirely  abolished ;  and  then  patients  are  able  to  give  an 
account  of  the  impulse  which  instigates  the  movements,  and 
which  they  are  unable  successfully  to  resist.  It  is  well  known 
that  the  idea  of  convulsions,  whether  excited  by  present  percep- 
tion or  by  memory,  may  express  itself  in  convulsive  movements 
— movements  which,  nevertheless,  often  display  a  considerable 
amount  of  co-ordination.  It  is  evident  enough  how,  in  a  healthy 
person,  swallowing,  coughing,  and  yawning  are  excited  by  the 
observation  of  these  acts  in  another ;  and  as  instances  of  simi- 
larly produced  morbid  actions,  Eomberg  adduces  those  dancing 
epidemics  of  the  Middle  Ages,  in  which  co-ordinate  spasmodic 
movements  were  notoriously  excited  in  delicate  women  to  an 
extent  and  for  a  period  such  as  the  strongest  man  could  not 

202  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap. 

have  endured  in  health.  It  behoves  ns  to  keep  in  mind  that  as 
so  many  of  our  co-ordinate  actions  are  automatically  done  in 
health,  so  there  may  be  considerable  co-ordinate  automatic 
action  in  disease. 

There  yet  remain  further  important  considerations.  Let  a 
man  have  the  will  to  command  or  effect  a  certain  movement, 
and  a  notion  of  the  result  desired,  without  any  paralysis  of 
motor  power,  and  he  may  still  be  impotent  to  perform  the  move- 
ment. And  why?  Because  there  may  be  a  paralysis  of  sensi- 
bility in  the  muscles,  by  reason  of  which  he  has  no  means  of 
knowing  what  is  the  condition  of  the  muscles  of  the  part,  the 
instruments  which  he  has  to  use — cannot  tell  whether  they  are 
acting  or  not ;  he  lacks  that  information  which  the  muscular 
sense  should  rightly  afford  him.  In  order  that  the  will  may 
actuate  a  movement,  there  are  necessary,  then,  not  only  a  con- 
ception of  the  end  desired  and  a  motor  intuition  of  the  muscular 
movements  subserving  that  end,  but  also  a  sense  of  the  action  of 
the  muscles.  Any  psychological  arguments  as  to  the  value  of 
this  guiding  muscular  feeling  are  rendered  needless  by  patho- 
logical experience,  which  plainly  proves  that,  when  the  muscular 
sense  is  paralysed,  the  movements  cannot  be  performed  except 
some  other  sense  come  to  the  rescue.  The  sense  of  sight  usually 
does  this :  a  woman  whom  Sir  Charles  Bell  saw,  who  had  lost 
the  muscular  sense  in  her  arm,  could  nevertheless  hold  her  child 
when  she  kept  her  eyes  upon  it ;  but  the  moment  she  turned 
her  eyes  away  she  dropped  the  child.  I  have  seen  a  similar 
instance  recently  of  a  woman,  epileptic  in  consequence  of 
syphilis,  who  had  lost  the  muscular  sense  in  her  left  arm,  and 
who  did  not  know,  except  she  looked  at  the  limb,  whether  she 
had  got  hold  of  anything  with  her  hand  or  not ;  if  she  grasped 
a  jug,  she  could  hold  it  quite  well  as  long  as  she  looked  at  it, 
but  if  she  looked  away  then  she  dropped  it :  she  had  no  loss  of 
tactile  sensation.  In  such  morbid  states  the  difference  between 
tactile  sensation  and  the  muscular  sense  is  well  marked.  "  Olli- 
vier  details  a  case  in  which  the  patient  had  lost  the  cutaneous 
sense  of  touch  throughout  the  side  in  consequence  of  concus- 
sion ;  at  the  same  time  he  was  able  to  form  a  correct  estimate 
of  the  weight  of  bodies  with  his  right  hand.  The  physician 
observed  by  Marcet,  who  was  affected  with  anaesthesia  cutanea 

viii.]  OR  MOTORWM  COMMUNE.  203 

of  the  right  side,  was  perfectly  able  to  feel  his  patient's  pulse 
with  the  fingers  of  the  right  hand  and  to  determine  its  frequency 
and  force,  hut  in  order  to  determine  the  temperature  of  the  skin 
he  was  obliged  to  call  in  the  aid  of  his  left  hand."  Anaesthesia 
of  the  muscle,  without  loss  of  tactile  power,  does,  according  to 
Bomberg,  invariably  accompany  the  disease  called  tabes  dorsalis .* 
The  eyes  of  patients  so  affected  are  their  regulators  or  feelers, 
and  consequently  their  helplessness,  when  their  eyes  are  shut,  or 
they  are  in  the  dark,  is  extreme ;  if  told  to  shut  their  eyes  while 
in  the  erect  posture,  they  begin  to  oscillate  until  they  fall  down, 
unless  supported.  The  skin  remains  sensitive  except  during  the 
last  stage  of  the  disease. 

Eomberg,  'Duchenne,  and  others  have,  moreover,  described 
similar  morbid  conditions  in  anaemic  and  hysterical  women, 
which  can  hardly  be  called  paralysis,  as  they  are  manifest  only 
in  the  night  or  when  the  eyes  are  shut :  the  patients  can  perform 
movements,  but  these  do  not  answer  accurately  to  the  will ; 
they  are  deceived  as  to  the  amount  of  force  necessary  to  be  put 
forth,  and  sometimes  cannot  undertake  the  movement  of  a  limb 
without  the  help  of  sight.  In  these  cases  there  is  the  desire  to 
effect  a  certain  action,  there  is  the  motor  intuition  of  the  move- 
ment necessary  to  the  end  desired,  but  there  is  wanting  the 
guiding  sensation  of  the  muscular  sense  ;  and  accordingly  the 
action  cannot  be  done  unless  the  sense  of  sight  takes  upon  it 
the  function  of  the  defective  muscular  sense. 

"What  relation  has  the  muscular  sense  to  the  motor  intuition? 
It  is  not  an  easy  question  to  answer  either  from  a  psychological 
or  from  a  physiological  basis.  The  relation  appears  to  be  not 
unlike  that  which  the  sensation  of  a  special  sense  has  to  the 
corresponding  idea :  as  the  sensation  of  the  special  sense  is 
necessary  to  the  formation  of  the  idea,  but,  once  formed,  not 

*  It  must  be  remembered  that  simple  loss  of  muscular  feeling  is  not  Tabes 
Dorsalis  ;  in  tliis  disease,  the  characteristic  phenomenon  is  a  loss  of  the  power  of 
co-ordination  of  the  muscles,  and  the  morbid  appearances  are  those  of  degeneration 
of  the  posterior  columns  of  the  spinal  cord — the  motor  repository  or  centres  of 
co-ordination  of  the  movements  of  the  limbs.  Hence  the  disease  is  now  more 
properly  called  Progressive  Locomotor  Ataxy.  Loss  of  muscular  feeling  is  a 
symptom  that  may  occur  in  different  diseases  ;  if  another  sense  takes  its  place, 
movements  are  still  effected  ;  so  that  the  power  of  movement,  the  repository  of 
motor  residua,  is  not  affected. 

204  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap. 

necessary  to  its  existence  or  function,  so  tlie  muscular  feeling 
would  seem  to  be  an  essential  prerequisite  to  the  formation 
of  the  motor  intuition,  but,  once  formed,  not  necessary  to  its 
latent  existence,  or  indeed  to  its  active  function,  provided  only 
another  sense  furnish  the  guiding  information.  Like  other  senses, 
the  muscular  sense  is  receptive ;  it  ministers  to  the  building  up 
of  the  fundamental  ideas  of  solidity,  size,  figure,  and  distance, 
through  the  impressions  which  it  receives  from  without  and 
conveys  inwards,  and  the  subsequent  internal  adaptations  which 
take  place ;  and  in  the  outward  intelligent  reaction  of  the 
individual  upon  external  nature,  by  virtue  of  these  ideas,  it 
furnishes  the  guiding  feeling  by  which  he  is  enabled  to  direct 
the  action  and  to  regulate  the  amount  of  force  applied  in  any 
given  case.  How  admirably  graduated  is  the  application  of  force 
by  the  skilful  hand  in  delicate  handicraft  operations  !  How 
clumsy  and  incapable  is  the  beginner  in  such  crafts  until,  by  fre- 
quent practice,  the  requisite  motor  intuitions  have  been  acquired ! 
Consider  how  awkward  any  one  is  at  so  simple  a  matter  as 
winding  up  a  watch  even  for  the  first  time ;  and  how  quick, 
easy,  and  certain  the  operation  afterwards  becomes.  Observa- 
tions made  upon  persons  born  blind  prove  that  there  is  nothing 
essential  to  the  highest  intellectual  processes  that  may  not  be 
acquired  in  the  absence  of  sight,  mainly  through  the  muscular 
feeling  in  combination  with  touch. 

Because  the  muscular  feelings  gradually  build  up  the  motor 
intuitions  in  accordance  with  the  order,  synchronous  or  succe°- 
sive,  of  our  experience,  it  is  not  difficult  to  deceive  them  by 
a  new  experience  modifying  or  reversing  that  order.  It  is  well 
known  that,  if  the  middle  finger  be  crossed  over  the  fore-finger, 
and  a  pea  or  a  like  round  body  be  put  between  them,  while 
the  eyes  are  turned  away,  there  will  be  the  sensations  of  two 
bodies  ;  the  impression  on  that  side  of  the  fore-finger  which  is 
habitually  associated  in  action  with  the  thumb  excites  indepen- 
dently its  residua,  and  that  side  of  the  middle  finger  which  is  ac- 
customed to  act  with  the  third  finger  excites  also  its  residua  ;  and 
the  consequence  is  a  feeling  of  two  bodies  which  it  requires  the 
evidence  of  another  sense  to  correct.  So  closely  and  definitely, 
however,  are  our  different  senses  associated  in  their  functions,  that 
they  may,  instead  of  aiding  and  correcting  one  another,  as  is  their 

viii.]  OR  MOTOR  WM  COMMUNE.  205 

proper  function,  sometimes  actually  help  to  deceive  one  another. 
When  the  metal  potassium  was  first  shown  to  an  eminent 
philosopher,  he  exclaimed,  on  taking  it  into  his  hand,  "Bless  me, 
how  heavy  it  is  ! "  and  yet  potassium  is  so  light  as  to  float  on 
water.  The  metallic  appearance  had  suggested  a  certain  resist- 
ance, or  the  putting  forth  of  so  much  muscular  energy  as 
previous  experience  of  substances  having  a  similar  look  had 
proved  necessary ; ,  and  for  a  moment  the  suggestion  of  the 
visual  sense  overswayed  the  actual  experience  of  the  muscular 
sense  :  the  latter  was  deceived  as  the  man  is  who  concludes 
that  a  certain  co-existence  or  succession  in  nature  must  always 
exist  because  he  has  observed  it  in  a  great  many  instances  ;  or 
as,  at  the  disinterment  of  a  body  suspected  to  have  been 
murdered,  one  of  the  spectators  who  fainted  on  account  of  the 
bad  smell  was  deceived ;  for,  when  the  coffin  was  opened,  it  was 
found  to  be  empty. 

The  perfect  function  of  the  muscular  sense  is  not  only  of 
essential  importance  to  the  expression  of  our  active  life,  but,  like 
the  function  of  any  one  of  the  special  senses,  it  has  its  due  part 
in  our  mental  life.  In  the  general  paralysis  of  the  insane  there 
are  two  prominent  characteristics  :  the  first  is  the  general  para- 
lysis in  greater  or  less  degree  of  the  muscles  of  the  body ;  and 
the  second  is  the  extraordinary  delusions  of  grandeur.  It  is  a 
question  well  worth  consideration,  whether  these  characteristic 
symptoms  do  not  stand  in  some  degree  of  causal  connexion  to 
one  another.  A  tailor  who  is  suffering  from  general  paralysis 
will  readily  promise  to  make  a  magnificent  waistcoat,  and,  if  the 
materials  are  supplied  to  him,  will  at  once  set  to  work.  It  is 
not  improbable  that,  deceived  by  his  quiet  assurance,  and  know- 
ing that  to  sew  is  his  business,  one  may  believe  that  he  can  make 
the  waistcoat.  But,  in  a  little  while,  it  will  be  found  that  his 
stitches  are  most  unequal  in  size,  and  are  placed  in  the  most 
disorderly  way ;  and  it  is  made  clear  that,  whatever  he  himself 
may  think,  he  certainly  cannot  sew.  He  has  a  sufficient  desire 
to  accomplish  the  result,  an  adequate  general  notion  of  the  end 
desired,  a  full  belief  in  his  ability  to  effect  it;  but  he  fails 
because  his  muscular  feeling  is  very  deficient,  and  because  he 
cannot  regulate  the  action  of  the  necessary  muscles.  That  is 
not  all,  however :  as  the  sleeper,  whose  external  senses  are  so 

206  MOTOR  XERFOUS  CEXTRES,  [chap. 

closed  as  to  shut  out  the  controlling  influence  of  external  objects, 
often  does  in  his  dreams  the  most  wonderful  things,  and  finds 
little  or  no  hindrance  to  an  almost  miraculous  activity,  intel- 
lectual or  bodily;  so  the  general  paralytic,  whose  defective 
muscular  feeling  cuts  him  off  from  the  due  appreciation  of 
external  relations,  has  engendered  in  his  mind  the  most  extrava- 
gant notions  as  to  his  personal  power ;  he  dreams  with  his  eyes 
open.*  As  we  owe  to  the  muscular  sense  the  development  of 
our  fundamental  ideas  of  resistance,  form,  size,  and  space,  it 
will  easily  be  understood  that,  when  this  sense  is  deficient 
throughout  the  body,  as  in  the  general  paralytic,  there  can 
not  be  that  intelligent  accord  between  the  inner  life  and 
the  outward  relations  which,  when  in  a  perfect  state,  it  main- 
tains. Here,  again,  we  perceive  bow  impossible  it  is  to  separate 
the  mental  from  the  bodily  life  ;  how  plainly,  when  we  scan  the 
deeper  relations  of  things  in  their  genesis,  there  are  displayed 
the  closest  connexion  and  continuity  of  parts  and  functions. 

To  the  action  of  the  will,  as  already  pointed  out,  a  conception 
of  the  result  is  essential,  whether  the  volitional  exertion  be  for 
the  purpose  of  causing  a  movement,  of  preventing  or  checking  a 
movement,  or  of  dismissing  a  painful  idea  from  the  mind.  When 
a  sensation  excites  a  co-ordinate  movement  in  so-called  sensori- 
motor action,  we  do  not  say  there  is  a  conception  of  the  result, 
because  of  the  absence  of  consciousness ;  but  at  the  same  time 
we  must  admit  that  there  is  a  motor  intuition  of  the  result, — in 
other  words,  that  there  is  a  definitely  organized  residuum  in  the 
proper  motor  nervous  centre  which,  as  it  were,  implicitly  con- 
tains the  movement.  Now  it  is  important  to  bear  in  mind  that, 
when  the  will  excites  that  co-ordinate  movement  which  a  sen- 
sation alone  may  do,  as  not  unfrequently  happens,  it  cannot 
operate  directly  on  the  motor  nerves,  but  must  necessarily 
operate  through  the  medium  of  the  same  motor  intuition  as 
that  through  which  the   sensation  acts :   in  other   words,  the 

*  At  the  present  time  I  have  under  my  care  a  general  paralytic  who,  occa- 
sionally much  excited,  then  believes  that  he  is  fighting  great  battles,  and  winning 
great  victories  with  his  fists ;  he  believes,  too,  that  he  wins  immense  sums  of 
money  as  wagers  on  his  prowess.  The  disorder  of  his  motorium  commune  enters 
into  his  thoughts  and  engenders  corresponding  delusions.  He  is  confined  to  his 
bed  or  couch  by  reason  of  having  lost  one  leg,  or  he  would  be  a  violent  and 
dangerous  lunatic. 

viii.]  OR  MOTORIUM  COMMUNE.  207 

movement  in  both  cases  proceeds  directly  from  the  motor  ner- 
vous centre  in  which  the  movement  is  latent.  If  we  could 
excite  these  centres  artificially,  not  over-exciting  and  injuring 
them,  as  in  our  gross  experiments  we  necessarily  do,  then  we 
should  not  fail  to  set  free  the  definite  movements.  Speaking 
psychologically,  the  conception  of  the  result  becomes  in  the 
execution  of  voluntary  movements  the  motor  intuition,  and  the 
motor  intuition  excited  into  activity  expresses  itself  in  the 
designed  movement.  Thus,  then,  it  appears  that,  as  in  the  action 
of  nature  upon  man,  the  stimulus  which  is  not  reflected  in 
the  spinal  cord  passes  upwards  and  excites  sensation,  and  the 
stimulus  which  is  not  reflected  in  sensori-motor  action  passes 
upwards  and  becomes  idea,  and  the  stimulus  which  is  not 
reflected  in  ideomotor  action  passes  from  cell  to  cell  in  the 
hemispheres  and  excites  reflection ;  so  in  the  reaction  of  man 
upon  nature,  the  force  of  the  will  passes  downwards  through  the 
subordinate  centres  in  an  opposite  direction  :  the  will  involves 
a  conception  of  the  result  or  a  definite  ideational  action;  the 
conception  of  the  result  demands  for  its  further  transforma- 
tion the  appropriate  motor  intuition ;  and  the  motor  intuition, 
in  whatever  motor  centre,  spinal  or  cerebral,  it  is  organized, 
demands  for  its  due  expression  in  movement  the  perfect  function 
of  the  muscular  feeling,  and  the  integrity  of  the  motor  nerves 
and  muscles.  There  is  an  orderly  subordination  of  the  different 
nervous  centres,  a  chain  of  means  such  as  is  revealed  in'  every 
department  of  nature.  Viewing  the  different  sciences,  we  per- 
ceive that  chemistry  is  dependent  on  physics,  while  physics 
are  independent  of  chemistry  ;  physiology  is  dependent  on  che- 
mistry, while  chemistry  is  independent  of  physiology  ;  social 
science  is  dependent  on  physiology,  while  physiology  is  indepen- 
dent of  social  science  :  and  so  the  just  analysis  of  our  mental  life 
proves  that  sensori-motor  action  is  dependent  on  reflex  action, 
while  reflex  action  is  independent  of  sensori-motor  action  ;  ideo- 
motor action  dependent  on  sensori-motor  action,  while  sensori- 
motor action  is  independent  of  ideomotor  action ;  the  will 
dependent  on  ideomotor  action,  while  ideomotor  action  is  in- 
dependent of  the  will.  These  different  epochs  in  the  order  of 
development  of  the  nervous  system  are  represented  by  different 
classes  of  the  lower  animals  :  and  it  is  interesting  to  note  that, 

208  MOTOR  NERVOUS  CENTRES,  [chap.viii. 

as  in  man  there  is  a  subordination  of  parts,  and  the  will,  as  the 
highest  energy,  controls  the  inferior  modes  of  nervous  energy, 
so  in  the  animal  kingdom  there  is  a  subordination  of  kinds,  and 
the  mind  of  man,  as  the  highest  development,  controls  and  uses 
the  inferior  minds  of  many  of  the  lower  animals. 

If  execution  has  been  in  any  wise  answerable  to  conception, 
we  have  now  said  enough  to  prove  the  importance  of  that  region 
of  mental  activity  in  which  dwell  the  motor  residua,  and  which 
may  properly  be  named  the  region  of  actuation.  We  have  only 
to  add  that  men  differ  much  naturally  as  to  the  perfection  of 
this  as  of  other  mental  faculties.  There  are  some  who,  with 
great  intellectual  power,  never  can  attain  to  the  ability  of  suc- 
cessfully expressing  themselves  :  and  there  are  others,  on  the 
other  hand,  who  can  pour  forth  endless  talk  with  the  most  facile 
fluency.  The  art  of  expression  in  speech,  or  in  writing,  or  even 
in  eloquence  of  action,  is  one  which,  if  there  is  not  an  innate 
faculty  for  it,  can  never  be  acquired  in  its  highest  perfection : 
unseen  fetters  hinder  the  full  utterance,  and  lame  execution  falls 
far  short  of  ambitious  conception :  with  the  distinct  conception 
of  what  they  would  say,  and  the  best  will  to  say  it,  there  is 
something  wanting  in  the  region  of  actuation,  whereby  they  are 
prevented  from  doing  justice  to  their  thoughts,  and  are  com- 
pelled, like  Moses,  to  delegate  that  function  to  others.  "  There 
is  Aaron  :  he  shall  be  thy  speaker,  and  thou  shalt  be  to  him 
instead  of  God."  (Exodus  iv.  16.)* 

*  And  a  greater  than  Moses  or  Aaron  was  so  gifted  with  the  faculty  of 
excellent  expression,  that  it  was  justly  said  of  Him  that  "  Never  man  spake  as 
this  man  speaks." 



"You  tell  me  it  consists  of  images  or  pictures  of  things.  Where  is  this 
extensive  canvas  hung  up  ?  or  where  are  the  numerous  receptacles  in  which  these 
are  deposited  ?  or  to  what  else  in  the  animal  system  have  they  any  similitude  ? 
That  pleasing  picture  of  objects  represented  in  miniature  on  the  retina  of  the  eye 
seems  to  have  given  rise  to  this  illusive  oratory.  It  was  forgot  that  this  repre- 
sentation belongs  rather  to  the  laws  of  light  than  to  those  of  life  ;  and  may  with 
equal  elegance  be  seen  in  the  camera  obscura  as  in  the  eye  ;  and  that  the  picture 
vanishes  for  ever  when  the  object  is  withdrawn." — Db.  Darwin,  Zoonomia. 

THOUGH  Memory  lias  not  hitherto  been  specially  treated  of 
as  a  faculty  of  the  mind,  its  true  nature  has  been  none  the 
less  discussed  largely,  though  incidentally,  in  the  foregoing  pages. 
It  may  be  desirable,  however,  to  bring  together  into  one  body 
the  fundamental  facts  concerning  it.     There  is  memory  in  every 
nerve-cell,  and,  indeed,  in  every  organic  element  of  the  body. 
The  permanent  effects  of  a  particular  virus  on  the  constitution, 
as  that  of  small-pox,  or  that  of  syphilis,  prove  that  the  organic 
element  remembers   for  the  rest  of  life  certain  modifications 
which  it  has  suffered ;  the  manner  in  which  the  scar  on  a  child's 
finger  grows  as  the  body  grows  evinces,  as  Mr.  Paget  has  pointed 
out,  that  the  organic  element  of  the  part  does  not  forget  the 
impression  that  has  been  made  upon  it ;  and  all  that  has  so  far 
been  said  respecting  the  different  nervous  centres  of  the  body 
cannot  fail  to  demonstrate  the  existence  of  memory  in  the  nerve- 
cells  which  lie  scattered  in  the  heart  and  in  the  intestinal  walls, 
in  those  that  are  collected  together  in  the  spinal  cord,  in  the  cells 
of  the  sensory  and  the  motor  ganglia,  and  in  the  ideational  cells 
of  the  cortical  layers  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres.    The  residua 
by  which  our  faculties,  as  already  shown,  are  built  up,  are  the 



organic  conditions  of  memory.  These  organized  residua  of  the 
cerebral  centres,  which,  when  excited  into  activity  by  some  ex- 
ternal impression,  enable  us  to  perceive  distinctly,  or  apprehend 
the  object,  appear,  when  excited  by  some  internal  cause,  as 
memory  or  recollection.  When  an  organic  registration  has  been 
completely  effected,  and  the  function  of  it  has  become  automatic, 
we  do  not  usually  speak  of  the  process  as  one  of  memory,  because 
it  is  entirely  unconscious.  Thus,  for  example,  when  a  beginner 
is  learning  his  notes  on  the  pianoforte,  he  has  deliberately  to  call 
to  mind  each  note  ;  but  when,  by  frequent  practice,  he  has 
acquired  complete  skill  in  playing  on  that  instrument,  there  is 
no  conscious  memory,  but  his  movements  are  automatic,  and  so 
rapid  as  to  surpass  the  rapidity  of  succession  of  conscious  ideas. 
As  with  such  movements,  so  it  is  with  many  ideas,  which  are  so 
completely  organized  that  they  are  automatically  and  quickly 
performed  in  our  mental  life  without  conscious  memory.  (x) 

The  organic  registration  of  the  results  of  impressions  upon  our 
nervous  centres,  by  which  the  mental  faculties  are  built  up,  and 
by  which  memory  is  rendered  possible,  is  the  fundamental  pro- 
cess of  the  mental  life.  There  can  be  no  memory  of  that  whereof 
we  have  not  had  experience  in  whole  or  in  parts ;  and  nothing 
of  which  we  have  had  experience  can  be  absolutely  forgotten. 
But  it  is  most  mischievous  to  regard  mental  phenomena  as  mere 
pictures  of  nature,  and  the  mind  as  a  vast  canvas,  on  which 
they  are  cunningly  painted.  Such  representation,  as  Darwin 
well  observes,  belongs  rather  to  the  laws  of  light  than  to  those  of 
life  ;  the  real  process  is  one  of  organization,  and  is  rightly  con- 
ceivable only  by  the  aid  of  ideas  derived  from  the  observation  of 
organic  development, — namely,  the  fundamental  ideas  of  Assimi- 
lation and  Differentiation. 

There  is  in  mental  development,  then,  the  organic  registration 
of  the  simple  ideas  of  the  different  senses ;  there  is  the  assimila- 
tion of  the  like  in  ideas  which  take  places  in  the  production  or 
organic  evolution  of  general  ideas  ;  there  is  the  special  organiza- 
tion, or  differentiation,  or  discrimination,  of  unlike  ideas ;  and 
there  is  the  organic  combination  of  the  ideas  derived  from  the 
different  senses  into  one  complex  idea,  with  the  further  manifold 
combinations  of  complex  ideas  into  what  Hartley  called  duplex 
ideas.     In   fact,   no  limit  is   assignable  to   the   complexity   of 


combinations  which  may  go  to  the  formation  of  an  idea.  Take, 
for  example,  the  idea  of  the  universe.  But  how  comes  it 
to  pass  that  a  new  creation  of  the  mind,  to  which  nothing  in 
nature  answers,  is  effected  ?  By  a  similar  organic  process  to 
that  by  which  like  residua  are  blended,  and  general  or  abstract 
ideas  formed.  There  are  no  actual  existences  answering  to  our 
most  abstract  ideas,  which  are,  therefore,  so  far  new  creations  of 
the  mind.  In  their  formation  there  is  a  comparison  of  our  ideas, 
and  a  blending  or  coalescence  of  their  like  relations  takes  place 
— the  development  of  a  concept.  There  is,  as  it  were,  an  extrac- 
tion of  the  essential  out  of  the  particular,  a  sublimation  of  the 
concrete  ;  and,  by  the  creation  of  a  new  world  in  which  these 
essential  ideas  supersede  the  concrete  ideas,  the  power  of  the 
mind  is  most  largely  extended.  Although  there  is  no  concrete 
object  in  nature  answering  to  these  abstract  ideas,  yet  they  are 
none  the  less,  when  rightly  formed,  valid  and  real  subjective 
existences  that  express  the  essential  relations  of  things,  as  the 
flower  which  crowns  development  expresses  the  essential  nature 
of  the  plant.  Thus  it  is  that  we  rise  from  the  particular  idea  of 
a  man  to  the  general  idea  of  man,  and  then  again  to  the  abstract 
idea  of  virtue ;  so  that  for  the  future  we  can  make  use  of  the 
abstract  idea  in  all  our  reasoning,  without  being  compelled  to 
make  continual  reference  to  the  concrete.*  Herein,  be  it  remem- 
bered again,  we  have  a  process  corresponding  with  that  which 
ministers  to  the  production  of  our  motor  intuitions ;  the  acquired 
faculty  of  certain  co-ordinate  movements  by  means  of  which 
complicated  acts  are  automatically  performed,  and  we  are  able 
to  do,  almost  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  what  would  cost  hours 
of  labour  if  we  were  compelled  on  each  occasion  to  go  delibe- 
rately through  the  process  of  special  adaptation,  is  the  equivalent, 
on  the  motor  side,  of  the  general  idea  by  which  so  much  time 
and  labour  are  saved  in  reasoning :  in  both  cases  there  is  an 
internal  development  in  accordance  with  fundamental  laws,  and 
the  organized  result  is,  as  every  new  phase  of  development  is, 
a  new  creation.  Creation  is  not  by  fits  and  starts,  but  it  is  con- 
tinuous in  nature. 

*  But  it  should  not  be  forgotten,  as  it  is  so  apt  to  be,  that  the  meaning  of  the 
general  or  abstract  is  to  be  sought  in  the  concrete,  not  the  interpretation  of  the 
concrete  in  the  general  or  abstract. 



These  considerations  are  of  importance  in  respect  of  the  nature 
of  Imagination,  which  must  ever  be  incomprehensible  on  the 
mischievous  assumption  of  ideas  as  pictures  or  images  of  things 
painted  on  the  mind.  Though  imagination  is  certainly  depen- 
dent on  memory,  is  it  not,  it  may  be  asked,  more  than  reproduc- 
tive,— is  it  not,  in  fact,  'productive  ?  Productive,  we  reply,  as  to 
form,  but  certainly  only  reproductive  as  to  material.  When  any 
one  affirms  that  he  can  imagine  something — as,  for  example, 
some  animal  of  which  he  has  not  had  experience,  what  he  does 
is  to  combine  into  one  form  certain  selected  characters  of  dif- 
ferent animals  of  which  he  has  had  experience ;  creating  in 
this  way,  as  nature  is  continually  doing,  new  forms  out  of  old 
material.  When  the  artist  embodies  in  ideal  form  the  result  of 
his  faithful  observation,  he  has,  by  virtue  of  that  mental  process 
through  which  general  ideas  are  formed,  abstracted  the  essential 
from  the  concrete,  and  then  by  the  shaping  power  of  imagination 
given  to  it  a  new  embodiment.  In  every  great  work  of  art  there 
is  thus  an  involution  of  the  universal  in  the  concrete:  it  is 
pregnant  in  its  meaning,  yielding  a  wide  range  to  the  action 
of  another's  imagination  when  he  contemplates  it.  So  it  is 
that  high  art  does  not  express  anything  essentially  evanescent : 
it  confers  on  the  moment  the  stedfastness  of  eternity,  repre- 
senting the  "snows  of  nature  frozen  into  a  motionless  im- 
mortality." The  man  of  science,  who  unlocks  the  secrets  of 
Nature  by  means  of  observation,  experiment,  and  reflection,  thus 
systematically  training  his  mind  in  conformity  with  Nature  by 
exact  interrogation  and  faithful  interpretation  of  her  works,  has 
recourse,  when  he  proceeds  to  react  upon  nature,  to  a  scientific 
imagination  thus  carefully  cultivated,  and  is  enabled  to  construct 
wonderful  works  of  art  that  are  truly  an  advance  upon,  or  a 
development  of,  nature — new  creations.  What  else  then,  funda- 
mentally, is  the  true  imagination  but  the  nisus  of  nature's 
organic  development  displaying  itself  in  man's  highest  function  ? 
What  is  human  art  but  nature  developed  through  man  ?  There 
is  going  on  a  recreation  of  nature  by  human  means,  but  nature 
makes  the  means  *    The  productive  or  creative  power  of  Imagi- 

*  "  Yet  nature  is  made  better  by  no  mean, 

But  nature  makes  that  mean ;  so,  over  that  art, 
"Which,  you  say,  adds  to  nature,  is  an  art 


nation,  which  seems  at  first  sight  to  be  irreconcilable  with 
knowledge  gained  entirely  through  experience,  is  then  at  bottom 
another,  though  the  highest,  manifestation  of  that  force  which 
impels  organic  development  throughout  nature ;  and  the  imagi- 
nation of  any  one  either  creates  truly,  or  brings  forth  abortions 
and  monstrosities,  according  as  the  mind  is  well  stored  with 
sound  knowledge  and  has  true  concepts,  or  as  it  is  inadequately 
furnished  with  knowledge  and  has  erroneous  concepts — accord- 
ing, in  fact,  as  the  individual  is  or  is  not  in  harmony  with  nature: 
As  imagination  thus  exhibits  an  evolution  of  the  mental  organi- 
zation, so  the  well-grounded  imagination  of  the  pliilosopher  or 
the  poet  is  the  highest  display  of  nature's  organic  evolution, 
and  works,  like  nature,  unconsciously* (2) 

How  much  of  what  we  call  memory  is  in  reality  imagination  ! 
When  we  think  to  recall  the  actual,  the  concrete,  it  is  often  the 
ideal,  the  general,  that  we  reproduce  ;  and  when  we  believe  that 
we  are  remembering,  we  are  often  ?7mremembering,  being  in- 
fluenced by  the  feelings  of  the  moment,  and  unable  to  reproduce 
the  feelings  of  the  past.  The  faculty  by  which  we  recall  a  scene 
of  the  past,  and  represent  it  vividly  to  the  mind,  is  at  bottom 
the  same  faculty  as  that  by  which  we  represent  to  the  imagina- 
tion a  scene  which  we  have  not  witnessed.  "  For  ^avra^eaOt 
and  meminisse,  fancy  and  memory,  differ  only  in  this,  that 
memory  supposes  the  time  past,  which  fancy  doth  not."  Me- 
mory, indeed,  has  been  called  the  grave  of  the  past,  imagina- 
tion the  womb  of  the  future ;  but  the  grave  of  the  past  ever  is 
the  womb  of  the  future.  How  much  of  our  perception  even  is 
actually  imagination  !  The  past  perception  unavoidably  mingles 
in  the  present  act,  prevents  us  often  from  discriminating  minute 
differences  which  exist,  and  thus  causes  us  to  perceive  wrongly 

That  nature  makes 

This  is  an  art 

Which  does  mend  nature — change  it,  rather  :  but 
The  art  itself  is  nature." — Winter's  Tale. 

*  "  All  power  is  of  one  kind,"  says  Emerson,  "  a  sharing  of  the  nature  of  the 
world.  The  mind  that  is  parallel  with  the  laws  of  nature  will  be  in  the  current 
of  events,  and  strong  with  their  strength.  One  man  is  made  of  the  same  stuff  of 
which  events  are  made  ;  is  in  sympathy  with  the  course  of  things ;  can  predict 


or  observe  incorrectly.  What  shall  be  admitted  as  a  fact  in 
scientific  observation,  depends  entirely  upon  the  observer's  pre- 
vious knowledge  and  training.  So  strong  is  the  disposition  to 
assimilate  a  present  observation  with  a  past  perception,  to  blend 
together  the  like  in  two  ideas,  that  we  are  apt  to  overlook  those 
special  differences  which  demand  a  discrimination  or  organic 
differentiation ;  there  is,  indeed,  almost  as  great  a  danger  of 
hasty  generalization  in  perception  as  there  is  in  reasoning.  If  a 
new  observation  will  not  easily  assimilate  vith  existing  ideas, 
there  is  a  feeling  of  dissatisfaction  and  of  positive  discomfort, 
and  one  is  apt  to  pass  the  unwelcome  fact  by.  But  if  a  proper 
mental  training  prevents  such  neglect,  the  fact  is  deliberately 
appropriated  or  registered  as  a  special  fact,  although  small  satis- 
faction is  felt  in  the  martyrdom  of  thus  registering  it,  isolated 
as  it  appears ;  after  a  while,  however,  other  observations  cluster 
about  it,  some  blending  with  it,  others  connecting  it  with 
ideas  to  which  it  seemed  entirely  unrelated,  until  this  pariah  of 
the  mind  is  found  perhaps  to  fill  up  a  gap  in  knowledge,  and 
organically  to  unite  distant  ideas.  It  is  a  most  necessary  habit 
to  acquire  in  the  true  cultivation  of  the  mind,  that  of  observing 
accurately,  of  carefully  noting  minute  differences,  and  of  scru- 
pulously registering  them,  so  as  to  effect  an  exact  internal 
correspondence  with  external  specialities. 

As  we  perceive  more  accurately,  so  shall  we  remember  more 
correctly,  judge  more  soundly,  and  imagine  more  truly.  The 
habit  of  hasty  and  inexact  observation,  the  unwarranted  blending 
of  residua  that  are  not  truly  like,  is  necessarily  the  foundation 
of  a  habit  of  remembering  wrongly ;  and  the  habit  of  remem- 
bering wrongly  is  of  necessity  the  cause  of  an  incorrect  judgment 
and  erroneous  imagination  :  exact  internal  correspondence  to 
external  relations  being  the  basis  of  an  imagination  true  to 
nature, — in  other  words,  of  a  true  organic  mental  development. 
For  these  reasons,  "  the  whole  powers  of  the  soul  may,"  as 
Hartley  observes,  "  be  referred  to  the  memory,  when  taken  in 
a  large  sense.  Hence,  though  some  persons  may  have  strong 
memories  with  weak  judgments,  yet  no  man  can  have  a  strong 
judgment  with  a  weak  original  power  of  retaining  and  remem- 
bering." Infinite  mischief  and  confusion  have  been  caused  by 
the  habit  of  speaking  of  ideas  as  if  they  were  the  mechanical 


stamps  of  impressions  on  the  memory,  instead  of  as,  what  they 
truly  are,  organic  evolutions  in  respondence  to  definite  stimuli ; 
our  mental  life  is  not  a  copy  but  an  idealization  of  nature,  in 
accordance  with  fundamental  laws. 

As  organic  growth  and  development  take  place  in  obedience 
to  the  laws  of  nature,  and  yet  constitute  an  advance  upon  them, 
so  it  is  with  the  well-cultivated  or  truly  developed  imagination, 
which  brings  together  images  from  different  regions  of  nature^ 
yokes  them  together  by  means  of  their  occult  but  real  relations, 
and,  thus  making  the  whole  one  image,  gives  a  unity  to  variety  : 
there  is  an  obedient  recognition  of  nature,  and  there  is  a  develop- 
mental advance  upon  it.  This  esemplastic  faculty,  as  Coleridge, 
following  Schelling,  named  it,  is  perhaps  indicated  by  the  Ger- 
man word  for  imagination,  namely,  Einbildung,  or  the  one-making 
faculty*  Its  highest  working  in  our  great  poets  and  philoso- 
phers really  affords  us  an  example  of  creation  going  steadily  on 
as  a  natural  process ;  and  creative  or  productive  activity  is 
assuredly  the  expression  of  the  highest  mental  action :  whosoever 
has  such  capacity  has  more  or  less  genius ;  whosoever  has  it  not 
will  do  nothing  great,  though  he  work  never  so  hard.  What  an 
amount  has  been  unwisely  written  by  the  sedulous  followers  of 
a  so-called  inductive  philosophy  in  disparagement  of  imagination 
and  in  favour  of  simple  observation  !  "  Men  should  consider," 
says  Bacon,  "  the  story  of  the  woman  in  iEsop,  who  expected 
that  with  a  double  measure  of  barley  her  hen  would  lay  two 
eggs  a  day ;  whereas  the  hen  grew  fat  and  laid  none."  It  were 
as  wise  in  a  man  to  load  his  stomach  with  stones  instead  of 
food  as  to  load  his  mind  with  facts  which  he  cannot  digest  and 
assimilate.  It  is  in  the  great  capacity  which  it  has  of  assimi- 
lating material  from  every  quarter,  and  of  developing  in  pro- 
portion, that  the  superiority  of  genius  consists ;  and  it  is  in  the 
excellence  of  its  imagination,  whether  poetical,  artistic,  philo- 
sophic, or  scientific,  that  its  superior  energy  is  exhibited. 

Because  the  least  things  and  the  greatest  in  Nature  are  indis- 
solubly  bound  together  as  equally  essential  parts  of  the  myste- 
rious but  harmonious  whole,  therefore  the  intuition  into  one 

*  More  correctly,  perhaps,  Ein  for  en  (in),  and  Bildung  (formation, — internal 
image,  i.e.  imagination. 

216  MEMORY  AND  IMA  GINATION.  [chap. 

pure  circle  of  her  works  by  trie  high  and  subtile  intellect  of  the 
genius  contains  implicitly  much  more  than  can  be  explicitly 
displayed  in  it.  Hence  it  comes  to  pass  at  times  that,  in  the 
investigation  of  a  new  order  of  events  by  such  an  intellect,  the 
law  of  them  will,  as  by  a  flash  of  intuition,  explicitly  declare 
itself  in  the  mind  after  comparatively  few  observations  :  the 
imagination  successfully  anticipates  the  slow  results  of  patient 
and  systematic  research,  flooding  the  darkness  with  the  light  of 
a  true  interpretation,  and  thus  illuminating  the  obscure  relations 
and  intricate  connexions.  Therein  a  well-endowed  and  well- 
cultivated  mind  manifests  its  unconscious  harmony  with  nature. 
The  brightest  flashes  of  genius  come  unconsciously  and  without 
effort :  growth  is  not  a  voluntary  aet,  although  the  gathering  of 
food  is. 

Certainly  the  intuition  of  truth  can  never  be  the  rule  amongst 
men,  inasmuch  as  the  genius  capable  of  intuition,  so  far  from 
being  common,  is  a  most  rare  exception  amongst  them.  And 
the  result,  however  brilliantly  acquired,  can  never  be  safely 
accepted  as  lasting,  until  it  has  been  further  subjected  to  the 
tests  of  observation,  experiment,  and  logical  reasoning, — until  it 
has  undergone  verification.  The  man  of  genius  who  has  revealed 
a  great  truth  may  probably,  on  some  other  occasion,  promulgate 
an  equally  great  error.  Happily  his  errors  are  indirectly  most 
useful ;  for  the  experiments  and  observations  provoked  and 
directed  by  them,  and  prosecuted  for  the  purpose  of  displaying 
their  instability,  often  lead  to  valuable  discoveries.  Mischief  is 
undoubtedly  wrought  by  the  rash  promulgation  of  ill-grounded 
theories  on  the  part  of  those  who  have  neither  superior  original 
capacity,  nor  a  mind  well  stored  with  the  results  of  observation, 
nor  an  imagination  properly  cultivated.  It  is  the  ignorant  only, 
however,  whom  such  persons  deceive :  those  who  possess  an 
adequate  knowledge  of  the  subject  can  always  recognise  in  the 
unwarranted  theory  the  exact  amount  of  knowledge  which  its 
authors  have  had,  and  the  character  of  the  defect  in  their  reason- 
ing. Those,  again,  who  take  a  philosophical  view  of  things,  and 
look  upon  the  progress  of  human  knowledge  as  a  development 
that  is  going  on  continuously  through  the  ages,  will  find  it  con- 
formable to  their  experience  of  every  other  form  of  vital  growth 
that  there  should  be,  coincidently  with  advance,  a  retrograde 


metamorphosis,  degeneration  or  corruption  of  that  which  is  not 
fitted  for  assimilation,  and  which  is  ultimately  rejected :  as  the 
body  dies  daily  as  the  condition  of  its  life,  so  false  theories  and 
corrupt  doctrines  are  conditions  of  the  progress  of  knowledge.* 
That  there  is  a  deep  distrust  of  hasty  generalization  is  a  mani- 
festation of  the  self-conservative  instinct ;  it  prevents  the  human 
mind  from  being  led  astray  by  vain  and  windy  doctrines,  and 
thus  promotes  a  true  development.  It  is  not,  however,  in 
the  individual,  where  so  much  active  change  takes  place  in  so 
short  a  time,  that  the  regular  corruption  and  decay  of  false  doc- 
trines will  be  clearly  perceived,  but  in  the  historical  development 
of  the  race,  where  the  gradual  evolution  of  the  mind  may  be 
better  traced. 

Thus  much  concerning  memory  and  imagination,  which,  when 
properly  examined,  reveal,  better  perhaps  than  the  analysis  of 
any  other  of  the  so-called  mental  faculties,  the  complex  organi- 
zation which  mind  really  is.  It  remains  only  to  add  here,  that 
the  manifold  disorders  to  which  memory  is  liable  illustrate  in 
the  most  complete  manner  its  organic  nature.  Its  disorders  are 
numberless  in  degree  and  variety ;  for  there  is  not  only  every 
degree  of  dulness,  but  there  is  met  with  every  variety  of  partial 
loss,  as  of  syllables  in  a  particular  word,  of  certain  words,  places, 
names.  So  various  and  numerous  are  its  possible  defects,  that 
it  has  not  yet  been  possible  to  reduce  them  to  any  system, 
although  it  is  probable  that  a  careful  classification  of  them 
might  be  very  useful.  All  that  we  can  at  present  conclude 
from  them  is,  first,  that  memory  is  an  organized  product ;  and, 
secondly,  that  it  is  an  organization  extending  widely  through  the 
cortical  layers  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres.  It  is  interesting  to 
observe  that  differences  exist  in  different  persons  in  the  character 
of  the  organic  function  which  ministers  to  memory :  one  man, 

*  I  may  make  the  following  quotation  from  an  article  by  me,  on  "  Eecent 
Metaphysics,"  in  the  Journal  of  Mental  Science,  January  1866: — "As  in  the 
growth  and  development  of  the  body  there  is  a  correlative  degeneration  or  retro- 
grade metamorphosis  of  organic  element  going  on — a  daily  death  in  strict  relation 
with  the  activity  of  life  ;  so  in  the  organic  growth  of  thought  through  the  ages, 
there  is  a  corresponding  decay,  or  corruption  of  erroneous  doctrines — a  death  of 
the  false  in  strict  relation  with  the  growth  of  the  true ;  thus  healthy  energy 
throws  offv  effete  matter,  which,  in  the  very  act  of  becoming  effete,  gives  up  force 
that  is  available  for  the  development  of  the  living  element  of  truth." 



for  example,  has  a  good  memory  for  particular  facts,  but  is  no 
way  remarkable  for  reasoning  power,  or  is  even  singularly 
deficient  therein — the  registration  of  the  concrete  impressions 
taking  place  with  the  greatest  ease,  but  the  further  digestion  of 
the  residua  not  being  accomplished ;  another,  on  the  other  hand, 
has  no  memory  for  particular  isolated  facts, — they  must  have 
some  relation  to  ideas  already  appropriated,  or  must  fall  under 
some  principle,  if  he  is  to  recollect  them ;  the  digestion  of 
residua  is  well  effected,  so  that  there  exists  a  great  power  of 
generalization.  The  latter  is  the  memory  of  intellect ;  the 
former  is  not  unfrequently  the  memory  of  idiots. 

Some  flaw  in  the  memory,  some  breach  in  its  exquisite  organi- 
zation, is  ever  one  of  the  first  indications  of  a  disorder  or  dege- 
neration of  nerve  element.  But  its  slight,  early  affections  are 
very  apt  to  be  overlooked,  forasm  ach  as  they  do  not  reveal  them- 
selves in  a  conscious  inability  to  remember  something,  but  in  an 
unconscious  deterioration  of  the  power  of  abstract  reasoning, 
and  of  the  moral  sense  that  is  so  closely  connected  therewith. 
The  most  delicately  organized  residua,  representing  the  highest 
efforts  of  organic  assimilation,  are  here  the  first  to  attest  by  their 
sufferings  any  interference  with  the  integrity  of  nerve  element, 
just  as  disorders  of  the  finest  associated  movements  of  the  spinal 
cord  are  the  first  to  declare  the  commencing  degeneration  of  its 
centres.  Long  before  there  is  any  palpable  loss  of  memory  in 
insanity,  even  before  an  individual  is  recognised  to  be  becoming 
insane,  there  is  a  derangement  of  his  highest  reasoning  and  of 
his  moral  qualities ;  his  character  is  more  or  less  altered,  and, 
as  it  is  said,  "  he  is  not  himself."  If  the  degeneration  of  nerve 
element  proceeds,  we  witness  successively  every  stage  of  declen- 
sion in  the  disorder  of  the  complex  organization  of  the  memory; 
namely,  manifest  perversion  of  the  higher  social  feelings,  then 
greater  or  less  destruction  of  the  organic  connexions  of  ideas, 
whence  follows  incoherence  of  thought,  and,  finally,  general  for- 
getfulness,  declining  into  complete  abolition  of  memory. 

It  is  not  difficult  to  understand  how  it  is  that  the  old  man 
sometimes  has  a  tenacious  memory  of  the  past,  and  can  reason 
tolerably  correctly  with  regard  to  it,  when  he  cannot  duly  appro- 
priate and  rightly  estimate  the  present.  The  brain,  like  every 
other  organ  of  the  body,  suffers  a  diminution  of  power  of  activity 


with  the  advance  of  age  ;  it  reacts  to  impressions  with  less  and 
less  vigour  and  vivacity,  and  there  is  less  and  less  capacity  to 
assimilate  the  influence  of  them,  so  that  there  are  a  dulness  of 
perception  and  an  incorrect  appreciation  of  events.  Meanwhile, 
however,  the  past  is  a  part  of  the  organic  nature  of  the  brain, 
and  may  be  sufficiently  remembered,  though  perhaps  with  less 
vivacity  than  formerly.  It  is  easy,  again,  to  perceive  how  it  is 
that  children,  like  animals,  live  almost  entirely  in  the  present ; 
they  have  no  store  of  ideas  organized  in  the  mind  which  might 
be  called  into  activity  to  influence  the  present  idea,  and  they  react 
directly  to  the  impressions  made  upon  them.  The  best  possible 
evidence  of  the  gradual  process  of  mental  organization  is  indeed 
afforded  by  the  mental  phenomena  of  young  children ;  for  the 
residua  of  impressions  not  being  completely  organized,  their 
memory  is  fallacious,  and,  a  firm  organic  association  between 
ideas  not  being  established,  their  discourse  is  incoherent.  The 
old  man  and  the  child  both  fail  in  judgment :  the  former,  because 
he  has  forgotten  more  or  less  of  the  past,  and  has  lost  the 
standard  by  which  to  measure  the  present  perception,  or  because 
he  cannot  take  in  accurately  the  present  perception,  and  measures 
it  entirely  by  the  past ;  the  latter,  because  it  has  not  yet  any 
past.  By  the  necessity  of  the  case  almost,  an  old  man  becomes 
conservative  and  the  laudator  temporis  acti;  for  the  evolution  of 
events  goes  on  when  his  nature  has  ceased  to  assimilate  and 
develop ;  he  has  accordingly  no  sympathy  with  them,  but,  re- 
treating within  the  shell  of  a  calcified  past,  obstinately  brands  as 
revolutionary  what  is  truly  evolutionary.  How  different  with  the 
youth !  The  curtain  of  life  rises,  and  he  is  fascinated  with  the 
show ;  his  nature  expands  trustfully,  and  though  he  may  often 
mistake  fleeting  illusions  for  lasting  truths,  and  come  to  no  little 
sorrow  thereby,  yet  he  assimilates,  grows,  and  develops. 

Lastly,  it  will  not  be  amiss  to  bear  in  mind,  in  regard  to  the 
organic  nature  of  memory,  that  we  cannot  remember  pain.  It  is 
certainly  possible  to  remember  that  we  have  suffered  a  particular 
pain ;  but  vividly  to  recall  the  pain  as  we  can  a  definite  idea 
is  not  possible.  And  why?  Because  the  idea  is  an  organized 
product  which  abides,  while  the  disorganization  or  disturbance 
of  nerve  element  which  pain  implies,  passes  away  with  the 
restoration  of  the  integrity  of  the  nerve  centre.    Tor  the  same 


reason,  we  cannot  easily  or  adequately  recall  a  very  powerful 
emotion  in  which  the  idea  or  the  form  has  been  almost  entirely 
lost  in  the  commotion — where,  in  fact,  the  storm  among  the 
intimate  elements  has  been  so  great  as  to  be  destructive  of  form  : 
Shakspeare's  words,  "formless  ruin  of  oblivion,"  admirably 
expressing  the  state  of  things.  When  we  do  strive  to  bring  to 
mind  a  particular  sensation  or  emotion,  it  is  by  vivid  representa- 
tion of  its  cause,  and  consequent  secondary  excitation  of  it :  we 
remember  the  idea,  and  the  idea  generates  the  emotion  or  the 
sensation.  But  the  sensation  of  pain  is  a  very  different  matter 
from  the  sensation  of  one  of  the  senses ;  it  is  the  outcry  of 
suffering  nerve  element,  and  cannot  be  generated  by  any  idea  ; 
it  is  not  the  result  of  organization,  but  the  token  of  disorgani- 
zation.    How,  then,  should  it  be  accurately  remembered  ? 


1  {p.  210). — "  The  truth  that  memory  comes  into  existence  when  the 
connexions  among  psychical  states  cease  to  be  perfectly  automatic  is  in 
complete  harmony  with  the  obverse  truth,  illustrated  in  all  our  expe- 
rience, that  as  fast  as  the  connexions  of  psychical  states  which  we  form 
in  memory  become,  by  constant  repetition,  automatic,  they  cease  to  be 
part  of  memory.  "We  do  not  speak  of  ourselves  as  remembering  those 
relations  which  become  organically,  or  almost  organically,  registered ; 
we  remember  those  relations  only  of  which  the  registration  is  not  yet 
absolute.  No  one  remembers  that  the  object  at  which  he  is  looking 
has  an  opposite  side ;  or  that  a  certain  modification  of  the  visual 
impression  implies  a  certain  distance  ;  or  that  the  thing  which  he  sees 
moving  about  is  a  living  animal.  It  would  be  a  misuse  of  language 
were  we  to  ask  another  whether  he  remembers  that  the  sun  shines, 

that  fire  burns,  that  iron  is  hard,  and  that  ice  is  cold And 

similarly,  though,  when  a-  child,  the  reader's  knowledge  of  the  meaning 
of  successive  words  was  at  first  a  memory  of  the  meanings  he  had 
heard  given  to  them ;  yet  now  their  several  meanings  are  present  to 
him  without  any  such  mental  process  as  that  which  we  call  remem- 
brance."— Herbert  Spencer,  Principles  of  Psychology,  p.  551. 

2  (p.  213). — Jean  Paul  Fuchter,  in  one  of  his  Letters,  says :  "The 
dream  is  an  involuntary  art  of  poetry :  and  it  shows  that  the  poet 
works  more  with  the  bodily  brain  than  another  man.     How  is  it  that 


no  one  has  wondered  that  in  the  detached  scenes  of  dreaming,  he  puts 
in  the  mouth  of  the  actors  the  most  appropriate  language,  the  words  most 
exactly  characteristic  of  their  nature ;  or  rather  that  they  prompt  him, 
not  he  them  ?     The  true  poet  even  is  in  writing  only  the  listener,  not 

the  language-teacher  of  his  characters Victor's  observation  that 

the  opponent  of  his  dreams  often  put  before  him  more  difficult 
objections  than  a  real  bodily  one,  may  be  made  of  the  dramatist,  who 
can  in  no  manner  be  the  spokesman  of  his  company  without  a 
certain  inspiration,  though  he  is  at  the  same  time  easily  the  writer  of 
their  parts.  That  dream-forms  surprise  us  with  answers  with  which 
we  ourselves  have  inspired  them  is  natural ;  even  when  awake  every 
idea  springs  forth  suddenly  like  a  spark  of  fire,  though  we  attribute  it 
to  our  attention ;  but  in  dreams  we  lack  the  consciousness  of  attention, 
and  we  must  thus  ascribe  the  idea  to  the  figure  before  us,  to  which 
also  we  ascribe  the  attention."  Again  : — "  Das  Machtigste  in  Dichter, 
welches  seinen  Werken  die  gute  und  die  bose  Seele  einblaset,  ist 
gerade  das  Unbewusste." — Aesthetik. 

Carlyle,  whose  writings  exhibit  in  a  marked  degree  the  influence  of 
Jean  Paul  and  Goethe,  says  of  Shakspeare  : — "  Shakspeare  is  what 
I  call  an  unconscious  intellect ;  there  is  more  virtue  in  it  than  he  is 
himself  aware  of.  His  dramas  are  products  of  Nature,  deep  as  Nature 
herself.  It  is  Nature's  highest  reward  to  a  true,  simple,  great  souL 
that  he  gets  thus  to  be  a  part  of  herself.  Such  a  man's  works,  whatever 
he  with  utmost  conscious  exertion  and  forethought  shall  accomplish, 
grow  up  withal  unconsciously  from  the  unknown  deep  in  him,  as  the 
oak-tree  grows  from  the  earth's  bosom,  as  the  mountains  and  waters 
shape  themselves." 

Dr.  Brown  (Philosophy  of  the  Mind,  p.  200),  when  enumerating 
what  he  calls  the  Secondary  Laws  of  Suggestion,  lays  much  stress  on 
constitutional  differences  in  individuals — the  differences  of  Genius, 
Temper,  or  Disposition.  The  tendencies  in  some  minds  are  wholly  to 
suggestions  of  proximity  ;  in  other  minds  there  is  a  powerful  tendency 
to  suggestions  of  analogy.  It  is  in  this  latter  tendency  to  the  new 
and  copious  suggestions  of  analogy  that  the  distinction  of  genius 
appears  to  consist ;  a  mind  in  which  it  exists  is  necessarily  inventive  ', 
"  for  all  to  which  we  give  the  name  of  invention,  having  a  relation  to 
something  old,  but  a  relation  to  that  which  was  never  before  suspected 
or  practically  applied,  is  the  suggestion  of  analogy."  There  would  be 
nothing  new  if  objects  were  to  suggest  only,  according  to  proximity, 
the  very  objects  that  had  co-existed  with  them;  but  there  is  a 
perpetual  novelty  of  combination,  when  the  images  that  arise  after 

222  MEMORY  AND  IMAGINATION.  [chap.  ix. 

each  other,  by  that  shadowy  species  of  resemblance  which  we  are 
considering,  are  such  as  never  existed  before  together  or  in  immediate 
succession.  Hence  the  rich  figurative  language  of  poetry — the 
expressions  of  resemblances  that  have  arisen  silently  and  spontaneously 
in  the  mind ;  hence  the  discoveries  and  inventions  of  science,  &c. 
He  goes  on,  too,  to  point  out  that  this  novelty  of  combination  in 
imagination  cannot  depend  upon  the  will.  It  is  absurd,  he  says,  to 
suppose  that  we  can  will  directly  any  conception,  since,  if  we  know 
what  we  will,  conception  must  be  already  a  part  of  consciousness. 

"  Hence,  in  proportion  as  the  memory  is  enriched  and  provided 
with  materials,  in  the  same  proportion  the  rational  mind,  if  backed  by 
a  happy  genius,  will  be  able  skilfully,  felicitously,  and  approximately, 
and  agreeably  to  the  truth,  to  distribute  its  analysis  into  series,  to 
adjust  and  conclude  them,  of  many  analytic  conclusions  again  to  form 
new  analyses,  and  in  the  end  to  evolve  its  ultimate  analyses." — 
Swedenborg's  Animal  Kingdom,  vol.  ii.  p.  348. 

In  a  note  he  adds — "  This  is  corroborated  by  the  common  opinion, 
that  the  knowledge  and  intelligence  of  an  individual  are  in  proportion 
to  the  furniture  of  his  memory.  But  it  does  not  follow  from  this, 
that  a  powerful  memory  is  always  accompanied  with  ability,  or  by  an 
understanding  of  equal  grasp.  For  the  faculty  of  reducing  the  con- 
tents of  memory  to  order  is  a  fresh  intellectual  requisite.  An  edifice 
is  not  built  simply  by  the  accumulation  of  implements,  bricks,  tiles, 
and  the  materials.  These  and  skill  must  be  tasked  to  put  all  things 
together  in  their  places." 

PART    II. 

Chapter  I.  On  the  Causes  of  Insanity. 

II.  On  the  Insanity  of  Early  Life. 

III.  On  the  Varieties  of  Insanity. 

IV.  On  the  Pathology  of  Insanity. 
V.  On  the  Diagnosis  of  Insanity. 

VI.  On  the  Prognosis  of  Insanity. 
VII.  On  the  Treatment  of  Insanity. 


fTlHE  causes  of  insanity,  as  usually  enumerated  by  authors,  are 
-*-  so  general  and  vague  as  to  render  it  a  very  difficult  matter 
to  settle  in  the  mind  what  they  really  are.  But  it  is  hardly  less 
difficult,  when  brought  face  to  face  with  an  actual  case  of  in- 
sanity, and  when  there  is  every  opportunity  of  investigation, 
to  determine  with  certainty  what  have  been  the  causes  of  the 
disease.  It  is  a  question,  however,  asked  over  and  over  again  of 
the  physician  by  the  members  of  an  insane  person's  family,  who 
appear  sometimes  more  anxious  to  know  what  can  have  caused 
the  disease  than  to  know  what  will  cure  it.  The  uncertainty 
springs  from  the  fact  that,  in  the  great  majority  of  cases,  there  is 
a  concurrence  of  conditions,  not  one  single  effective  cause.  All 
the  conditions  which  conspire  to  the  production  of  an  effect  are 
alike  causes,  alike  agents ;  and,  therefore,  all  the  conditions, 
whether  they  are  in  the  individual  or  in  the  circumstances  in 
which  he  is  placed,  which  in  a  given  case  co-operate  in  the  pro- 
duction of  disease,  must  alike  be  regarded  as  causes.  When  we 
are  told  that  a  man  has  become  deranged  from  anxiety  or  grief, 
we  have  learned  very  little  if  we  rest  content  with  that  state- 
ment. How  does  it  happen  that  another  man,  subjected  to  an 
exactly  similar  cause  of  grief,  does  not  go  mad  ?  It  is  certain 
that  the  entire  causes  cannot  be  the  same  where  the  effects 
are  so  different ;  and  what  we  want  to  have  laid  bare  is  the 
conspiracy  of  conditions,  internal  and  external,  by  which  a 
mental  shock,  inoperative  in  one  case,  has  had  such  serious 
consequences  in  another.  A  complete  biographical  account  of 
the  individual,  not  neglecting  the  consideration  of  his  hereditary 


226  OX  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXITY.  [<  hap. 

antecedents,  would  alone  suffice  to  set  forth  distinctly  the  causa- 
tion of  his  insanity.  If  all  the  circumstances,  internal  and 
external,  were  duly  scanned  and  weighed,  it  would  be  found  that 
there  is  no  accident  in  madness ;  the  disease,  whatever  form  it 
might  take,  by  whatsoever  complex  concurrence  of  conditions,  or 
by  how  many  successive  links  of  causation,  it  might  be  gene- 
rated, would  be  traceable  as  the  inevitable  consequence  of  certain 
antecedents,  as  plainly  as  the  explosion  of  gunpowder  may  be 
traced  to  its  causes,  whether  the  train  of  events  of  which  it  is 
the  issue  be  long  or  short.  The  germs  of  insanity  are  sometimes 
latent  in  the  foundations  of  the  character,  and  the  final  outbreak 
is  the  explosion  of  a  long  train  of  antecedent  preparations. 

When  the  causation  of  insanity  may  thus  extend  over  a  life- 
time, it  is  easy  to  perceive  how  little  is  taught  by  specifying  a 
single  moral  cause,  such  as  grief,  vanity,  ambition,  which  may 
after  all  be,  and  often  is,  one  of  the  earliest  symptoms  of  the 
disease.  Do  we  not,  in  sober  truth,  learn  more  of  its  real  causa- 
tion from  a  tragedy  like  "  Lear  "  than  from  all  that  has  yet  been 
written  thereupon  in  the  guise  of  science?  An  artist  like 
Shakspeare — penetrating  with  subtile  insight  the  character  of  the 
individual,  and  the  relations  between  him  and  his  circumstances, 
discerning  the  order  which  there  is  amidst  so  much  apparent 
disorder,  and  revealing  the  necessary  mode  of  the  evolution 
of  the  events  of  life — furnishes,  in  the  work  of  his  creative 
art,  more  valuable  information  than  can  be  obtained  from  the 
vague  and  general  statements  with  which  science,  in  its  present 
defective  state,  is  constrained  to  con.Nnt  itself.  Because  of  these 
difficulties,  I  believe  that  I  shall  help  +o  accomplish  my  task 
of  conveying  distinct  notions  of  the  causation  of  insanity  by 
bringing  forward  in  an  appendix,  as  illustrations,  the  notes  of 
some  cases,  the  histories  of  which  I  have  thoroughly  in- 
vestigated. Before  doing  this,  however,  it  is  necessary  to  make 
some  general  observations  in  order  to  establish  certain  principles, 
and  to  prevent  repetition  afterwards. 

It  is  the  custom  to  treat  of  the  causes  of  insanity  as  physical 
and  moral,  though  it  is  not  possible  thus  to  discriminate  them 
with  exactness.  Where  hereditary  taint  exists,  for  example,  and 
is  the  cause  of  some  defect  or  peculiarity  of  character  which 
ultimately  issues  in  insanity,  one  person  might  describe  the 


cause  as  moral  while  another  would  describe  it  as  physical. 
Certainly,  where  there  existed  manifest  defective  development 
of  the  brain  in  consequence  of  inherited  mischief,  as  in  some 
cases  of  idiocy,  every  one  would  agree  as  to  its  physical  nature ; 
but  where  there  was  no  observable  morbid  condition  in  the 
brain,  and  the  evil  only  declared  itself  in  a  vice  of  disposition  in 
the  individual,  most  people  would  consider  it  of  a  moral  nature, 
though  really  as  certainly  due  to  physical  conditions  as  idiocy 
confessedly  is.  In  reality,  every  moral  cause  operates  through 
the  physical  changes  which  it  produces;  and  in  the  great 
majority  of  cases  in  which  the  cause  has  been  pronounced  moral 
there  has  been  something  in  the  physical  constitution  by  the  co- 
operation of  which  the  result  has  been  brought  about.  "Life  in 
all  its  forms,  physical  or  mental,  morbid  or  healthy,  is  a  relation  ; 
its  phenomena  result  from  the  reciprocal  action  of  an  individual 
organism  and  external  forces  :  health,  as  the  consequence  and 
evidence  of  a  successful  adaptation  to  the  conditions  of  exist- 
ence, implies  the  preservation,  well-being,  and  development  of 
the  organism,  while  disease  marks  a  failure  in  organic  adaptation 
to  external  conditions,  and  leads,  therefore,  to  disorder,  decay, 
and  death.  Now  it  is  obvious  that  the  harmonious  relation 
between  the  organism  and  the  external  world,  which  is  the  con- 
dition of  health,  may  be  disturbed  either  by  a  cause  in  the 
organism,  or  by  a  cause  in  the  external  circumstances,  or  by  a 
cause,  or  rather  a  concurrence  of  causes,  arising  partly  from  one 
and  partly  from  the  other.  When  it  is  said  that  mental  anxiety, 
produced  by  adverse  circumstances,  has  made  any  one  mad, 
there  is  implied  commonly  some  infirmity  of  nerve  element 
inherited  or  acquired,  which  has  co-operated  :  were  the  nervous 
system  in  a  state  of  perfect  soundness,  and  in  possession  of  that 
reserve  power  which  it  then  has  of  adapting  itself,  within  certain 
limits,  to  the  varying  external  conditions,  it  is  probable  that  the 
most  unfavourable  circumstances  would  not  be  sufficient  to  dis- 
turb permanently  the  relation,  and  to  initiate  mental  disease. 
But  when  unfavourable  action  from  without  conspires  with  an 
infirmity  of  nature  within,  then  the  conditions  of  disorder  are 
established,  and  a  discord,  or  madman,  is  produced. 

From  what  has  been  said,  it  would  seem  that  it  cannot  con- 
duce to  exact  knowledge  to  maintain  the  violent  distinction 

Q  2 

228  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

between  physical  and  moral  causes  of  insanity.  This  will  appear 
more  plainly  if  we  call  to  mind  the  conclusions  established  in 
the  First  Part  of  this  book.  There  it  was  distinctly  shown  that 
thoughts,  feelings,  and  actions  leave  behind  them  certain  residua 
which  become  organized  in  the  nervous  centres,  thenceforth 
modifying  the  manner  of  their  development  so  as  to  constitute 
an  acquired  nature ;  consequently,  the  moral  manifestations 
throughout  life  inevitably  determine  physical  organization  ;  and 
a  slowly  operating  moral  cause  of  insanity  is  all  the  while  pro- 
ducing physical  changes  in  the  occult  recesses  of  the  supreme 
nervous  centres  of  the  mental  life.  In  fact,  the  brain  which  is 
exercised  so  habitually  in  a  given  manner  as  to  acquire  during 
health  a  strong  peculiarity  or  bias  of  action  is  sometimes  more 
liable  to  disorder  in  effect  of  thii ;  and,  when  the  disorder  is  pro- 
duced by  an  independent  cause,  this  bias  or  habit  may  aggravate 
its  effects.  When  insanity  occurs  as  the  consummate  exaggera- 
tion of  a  particular  vice  of  character,  as  it  sometimes  does,  the 
morbid  mental  manifestations  mark  a  definite  habit  of  morbid 
nutrition  in  the  supreme  nervous  centres, — a  gradually  effected 
modification  of  the  mental  organization.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
brain  which  is  habitually  exercised  in  the  best  possible  way 
acquires  a  strong  and  healthy  habit  of  thought  and  volition 
which  counteracts  the  effects  of  a  morbid  cause. 

I  shall  deal  first  with  the  consideration  of  those  general  con- 
ditions which  are  thought  to  predispose  in  any  way  to  insanity, 
and  which  may  be  summed  up  as  its  remote  or  predisposing 
causes.  Of  so  vast  a  subject  it  is  plainly  impossible  to  treat 
here  in  any  but  the  most  summary  way ;  to  attempt  to  traverse  the 
wide  field  over  which  the  predisposing  causes  of  human  degene- 
racy extend  would  be  to  enter  upon  a  survey  of  human  history. 

Predisposing  Causes. — There  are  general  causes,  such  as  the 
state  of  civilization  in  a  country,  the  form  of  its  government  and 
its  religion,  the  occupation,  habits,  and  condition  of  its  inha- 
bitants, which  are  not  without  influence  in  determining  the  pro- 
portion of  mental  diseases  amongst  them.  Eeliable  statistical 
data  respecting  the  prevalence  of  insanity  in  different  countries 
are  not  yet  to  be  had  ;  even  the  question  whether  it  has 
increased  with  the  progress  of  civilization  has  not  been  posi- 
tively settled.     Travellers  are  certainly  agreed  that  it  is  a  rare 

L]  on  the  causes  OF  INSANITY.  229 

disease  amongst  barbarous  people,  while,  in  the  different  civi- 
lized nations  of  the  world,  there  is,  so  far  as  can  be  ascertained, 
an  average  of  about  one  insane  person  in  five  hundred  inha- 
bitants. Theoretical  considerations  would  lead  to  the  expectation 
of  an  increased  liability  to  mental  disorder  with  an  increase  in 
the  complexity  of  the  mental  organization :  as  there  are  a  greater 
liability  to  disease,  and  the  possibility  of  many  more  diseases,  in 
a  complex  organism  like  the  human  body,  where  there  are  many 
kinds  of  tissues  and  an  orderly  subordination  of  parts,  than  in  a 
simple  organism  with  less  differentiation  of  tissue  and  less  com- 
plexity of  structure  ;  so  in  the  complex  mental  organization, 
with  its  manifold,  special,  and  complex  relations  with  the  ex- 
ternal, which  a  state  of  civilization  implies,  there  is  plainly  the 
favourable  occasion  of  many  derangements.  The  feverish  activity 
of  life,  the  eager  interests,  the  numerous  passions,  and  the  great 
strain  of  mental  work  incident  to  the  multiplied  industries  and 
eager  competition  of  an  active  civilization,  can  scarcely  fail,  one 
may  suppose,  to  augment  the  liability  to  mental  disease.  On 
the  other  hand,  it  may  be  presumed  that  mental  sufferings  will 
be  as  rare  in  an  infant  state  of  society  as  they  are  in  the  infancy 
of  the  individual.  That  degenerate  nervous  function  in  young 
children  is  displayed,  not  in  mental  disorder,  but  in  convulsions ; 
that  animals  very  seldom  suffer  from  insanity ;  that  insanity  is 
of  comparatively  rare  occurrence  among  savages  ;  all  these  are 
circumstances  that  arise  from  one  and  the  same  fact — a  want  of 
development  of  the  mental  organization.  There  seems,  there- 
fore, good  reason  to  believe  that,  with  the  progress  of  mental 
development  through  the  ages,  there  is,  as  is  the  case  with  other 
forms  of  organic  development,  a  correlative  degeneration  going 
on,  and  that  an  increase  of  insanity  is  a  penalty  which  an  increase 
of  our  present  civilization  necessarily  pays. 

So  far  as  facts  are  available  for  the  determination  of  this 
question,  they  confirm  the  foregoing  theoretical  considerations. 
The  sort  of  insanity  most  common  amongst  savages  is  imbe- 
cility, or  idiocy,  for  the  same  reason  that  idiocy  is  the  most 
common  form  of  insanity  in  children :  where  the  mind  is  not 
developed,  varied  degeneration  of  it  cannot  take  place,  though 
it  may  obviously  remain  morbidly  arrested.  It  is  plainly  im- 
possible,  for   example,   that  the  most  typical   moral   insanity 

230  ON  TEE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITT.  [chap. 

should  occur  where  no  moral  development  has  taken  place ; 
before  the  native  Australian  savage — who  has  not  in  his 
language  any  words  for  vice  or  justice,  nor  in  his  mind  any- 
such  ideas  as  these  words  convey  to  an  intelligent  European — 
could  become  morally  insane,  he  must  first  be  humanized  and 
then  civilized  ;  development  must  precede  retrograde  meta- 
morphosis, mental  organization  precede  mental  disorganization. 
Another  fact  which  deserves  serious  consideration  is,  that  there 
has  undoubtedly  been  a  very  large  increase  of  late  years  in  the 
number  of  the  insane  who  have  come  under  care  and  observa- 
tion. The  reports  of  the  Lunacy  Commissioners  show  that,  on 
the  1st  of  January,  1849,  there  were  14,560  patients  in  the 
hospitals,  asylums,  and  licensed  houses  of  England  and  "Wales ; 
that  six  years  afterwards,  on  the  1st  of  January,  1855,  there  were 
20,493  insane  ;  that  ten  years  afterwards,  on  the  1st  of  January, 
1865,  there  were  29,425  insane  under  certificates  ;  and  that  on 
the  1st  of  January,  1866,  the  number  had  risen  to  30,869.  Now 
it  is  certain  that  only  a  small  proportion  of  this  large  increase  is 
to  be  attributed  to  an  increase  of  insanity  in  the  population ;  it 
is  undoubtedly  mainly  owing  (1)  to  the  large  number  of  cases, 
formerly  unreported,  which  more  stringent  legislation  has 
brought  under  observation ;  (2)  to  the  larger  number  of  insane, 
especially  of  paupers,  who  are  now  sent  to  asylums  ;  and  (3)  to 
the  prolongation  of  life  in  those  who  have  been  brought  under 
proper  care.  In  fact,  it  might  be  said  roughly,  that  the  greater 
part  of  this  large  increase  in  the  insane  population  of  England 
and  Wales  is  due  to  the  facts  that  nowadays  more  people  are 
thought  and  declared  mad  than  would  formerly  have  been 
thought  so  ;  that  more  persons  are  admitted  into  asylums, 
where  they  live  longer  ;  and  that  fewer  persons  are  discharged, 
either  by  death  or  by  being  thought  to  have  recovered,  than 
formerly.  But,  when  all  due  allowance  has  been  made  for  these 
causes,  it  must  be  admitted  that  a  steady  increase  of  about 
1,000  a  year  in  the  insane  population  of  England  and  Wales 
for  the  last  seventeen  years,  does  seem  to  point  to  an  actual 
increase  in  the  production  of  insanity,  and  even  to  an  increase 
more  than  proportionate  to  an  increasing  sane  population. 

If  we  admit  such  an  increase  of  insanity  with  our  present 
civilization,  we  shall  be  at  no  loss  to  indicate  causes  for  it. 



Some  would  no  doubt  easily  find  in  over-population  the  prolific 
parent  of  this  as  of  numerous  other  ills  to  mankind.  In  the 
fierce  and  active  struggle  for  existence  which  there  necessarily  / 
is  where  the  claimants  are  many  and  the  supplies  are  limited, 
and  where  the  competition  therefore  is  severe,  the  weakest  must 
suffer,  and  some  of  them,  breaking  down  into  madness,  fall  by 
the  wayside.  As  it  is  the  distinctly  manifested  aim  of  mental 
development  to  bring  man  into  more  intimate,  special,  and 
complex  relations  with  the  rest  of  nature  by  means  of  patient 
investigations  of  physical  laws,  and  a  corresponding  internal 
adaptation  to  external  relations,  it  is  no  marvel,  it  appears 
indeed  inevitable,  that  those  who,  either  from  inherited  weak- 
ness or  some  other  debilitating  causes,  have  been  rendered  un- 
equal to  the  struggle  of  life,  should  be  ruthlessly  crushed  out  as 
abortive  beings  in  nature.  They  are  the  waste  thrown  up  by 
the  silent  but  strong  current  of  progress ;  they  are  the  weak 
crushed  out  by  the  strong  in  the  mortal  struggle  for  develop- 
ment ;  they  are  examples  of  decaying  reason  thrown  off  by 
vigorous  mental  growth,  the  energy  of  which  they  testify. 
Everywhere  and  always  "  to  be  weak  is  to  be  miserable." 

If  we  want  a  striking  illustration  of  the  operation  of  this 
hard  law,  we  may  see  it  in  the  appropriation  by  man,  the 
stronger  sex,  of  all  the  means  of  subsistence  by  labour,  to  the 
almost  entire  exclusion  of  women,  the  feebler  sex.  Because, 
however,  women  are  necessary  to  *  the  gratification  of  man's 
passions,  indispensable  to  the  comfort  of  his  life,  they  are  not 
crushed  out  of  existence,  they  are  only  kept  in  a  state  of  sub- 
jection and  dependence.  The  woman  who  can  find  no  opening 
for  her  honourable  energies  in  the  present  social  system,  is  yet 
willingly  permitted  to  gain  a  precarious  livelihood  by  selling 
the  charms  of  her  person  to  gratify  the  lusts  of  her  lord  and 
master.  Under  the  institution  of  marriage  she  has  the  position 
of  a  subordinate,  herself  debarred  from  the  noble  aims  and 
activities  of  life,  but  ministering,  in  a  silent  manner,  to  the 
comfort  and  greatness  of  him  who  appropriates  the  labour  and 
enjoys  the  rewards.  Practically,  then,  woman  has  no  honour- 
able outlook  but  marriage  in  our  present  social  system  :  if  that 
aim  is  missed,  all  else  is  missed.  Through  generations  her 
character  has  been  formed  with  that  chief  aim  ;    it  has  been 

232  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

made  feeble  by  long  habit  of  dependence ;  by  the  circumstances 
of  her  position  the  sexual  life  has  been  undesignedly  developed 
at  the  expense  of  the  intellectual.  Now,  therefore,  when  the 
luxuries  thought  necessary  in  social  life  are  so  many  and  costly 
that  marriage  is  much  avoided  by  men,  there  is  a  cruel  stress 
laid  upon  many  a  gentle  nature.  In  this  disappointment  of 
their  life-aim,  and  the  long  train  of  consequences,  physical  and 
moral,  which  it  unconsciously  draws  after  it,  there  is,  I  believe, 
a  fertile  source  of  insanity  among  women.  It  is  not  only  that 
women  of  the  better  classes,  not  married,  have  no  aim  in  life  to 
work  for,  no  opening  for  the  employment  of  their  energies  in 
outward  action,  and  are  driven  to  a  morbid  self-brooding,  or  to 
an  excessive  religious  devotion  or  a  religious  enthusiasm  which 
is  too  often  the  unwitting  cloak  of  an  exaggerated  and  un- 
healthy self-feeling ;  but,  through  the  character  produced  by 
the  position  which  they  have  so  long  held  in  the  social  system, 
their  organic  life  is  little  able  to  withstand  the  consequences  of 
an  unsatisfied  sexual  instinct.  Disturbances  of  all  sorts  ensue, 
and  social  customs  debar  them  from  the  means  of  relief  which 
men  have  both  in  active  employment  and  in  illicit  sexual  indul- 
gence. Masturbation  is  undoubtedly  sometimes  provoked,  and 
aggravates  the  evil  for  which  it  was  sought  as  a  relief.  Let  it 
not  be  supposed,  however,  that  all  these  things  take  place  con- 
sciously in  the  woman's  thoughts,  feelings,  and  actions  :  the 
sexual  passion  is  one  of  the  strongest  passions  in  nature,  and 
as  soon  as  it  ^omes  into  activity,  it  declares  its  influence  on 
every  pulse  of  the  organic  life,  revolutionizing  the  entire  nature, 
conscious  and  unconscious ;  when,  therefore,  the  means  of  its 
gratification  entirely  fail,  and  when  there  is  no  vicarious  outlet 
for  its  energy,  the  whole  system  feels  the  ill  effects,  and  exhibits 
them  in  restlessness  and  irritability,  in  a  morbid  self-feeling 
taking  a  variety  of  forms,  and  sometimes  in  an  act  of  self-abuse 
which,  on  the  first  occasion,  may  be  a  sort  of  instinctive  frenzy, 
of  the  aim  of  which  there  is  only  the  vaguest  and  most  dim 

Another  way  in  which  over-population  leads  to  deterioration 
of  the  health  of  a  community  is  by  the  overcrowding  and  the 
insanitary  condition  of  dwelling-houses  which  it  occasions  in 
towns.     Not   fevers   only,  but  scrofula,  perhaps  phthisis,   and 


certainly  general  deterioration  of  nutrition,  are  thus  generated 
and  transmitted  as  evil  heritages  to  future  generations :  the 
acquired  ill  of  the  parent  becomes  the  inborn  infirmity  of  the 
offspring.  It  is  not  that  the  child  necessarily  inherits  the  parti-  V 
cular  disease  of  the  parent,  for  diseases  unquestionably  undergo 
transformation  through  generations ;  but  it  does  often  inherit 
a  constitution  in  which  there  is  a  certain  inherent  aptitude  to 
some  kind  of  morbid  degeneration,  or  a  constitution  destitute  of 
that  reserve  power  necessary  to  meet  the  trying  occasions  of 
life.  Lugol  found  insanity  to  be  by  no  means  rare  amongst 
the  parents  of  the  scrofulous  and  tuberculous ;  and  in  one 
chapter  of  his  work  on  Scrofula  treats  of  hereditary  scrofula 
from  paralytic,  epileptic,  and  insane  parents.  Schroeder  van 
der  Kolk  was  also  of  opinion  that  a  hereditary  predisposition  to 
phthisis  might  develop  into  or  predispose  to  insanity ;  and,  on 
the  other  hand,  that  insanity  predisposed  to  phthisis.  It  is 
certain  that  there  are  very  intimate  relations  between  phthisis 
and  insanity :  one-fourth  of  the  deaths  in  asylums  are  caused 
by  phthisis ;  and  Dr.  Clouston,  who  found  that  there  is  here- 
ditary predisposition  in  7  per  cent,  more  of  the  cases  of  insanity 
with  tubercle  than  of  the  insane  generally,  has  described  a 
certain  form  of  insanity  as  phthisical  insanity.  Watching  the 
decay  of  a  family,  it  is  often  seen  that  phthisis  and  insanity  are 
of  frequent  occurrence  amongst  its  members ;  and  when  ex- 
tinction of  it  occurs,  when  the  last  of  the  family  dies,  he  not 
seldom  dies  insane  or  phthisical  or  both.  When  we  reflect  that 
a  disease  is  not  a  specific  morbid  entity  that,  like  some  evil 
spirit,  has  taken  mischievous  possession  of  the  body,  or  of  a 
particular  part  of  it,  but  a  condition  of  more  or  less  degenera- 
tion from  healthy  life  in  an  organism  whose  different  parts  con- 
stitute one  harmonious  whole,  it  will  be  sufficiently  evident  that 
a  disease  of  one  part  of  the  organism  will  not  only  affect  the 
whole  sympathetically  at  the  time,  but  may  lead  to  a  more 
general  infirmity  in  the  next  generation — to  an  organic  infirmity 
which  shall  be  determined  in  its  special  morbid  manifestations 
according  to  the  external  conditions  of  life. 

Perhaps  one,  and  certainly  not  the  least,  of  the  ill  effects 
which  spring  from  some  of  the  conditions  of  our  present  civili- 
zation, is  seen  in  the  general  dread  and  disdain  of  poverty,  in 

234  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

the  eager  passion  to  become  rich.  The  practical  gospel  of  the 
age,  testified  everywhere  by  faith  and  works,  is  that  of  money- 
getting  ;  men  are  estimated  mainly  by  the  amount  of  their 
wealth,  take  social  rank  accordingly,  and  consequently  bend  all 
their  energies  to  acquire  that  which  gains  them  esteem  and 
influence.  The  result  is  that  in  the  higher  departments  of  trade 
and  commerce  speculations  of  all  sorts  are  eagerly  entered  on, 
and  that  many  people  are  kept  in  a  continued  state  of  excite- 
ment and  anxiety  by  the  fluctuations  of  the  money  market  In 
the  lower  branches  of  trade  there  is  the  same  eager  desire  for 
petty  gains ;  and  the  continued  absorption  of  the  mind  in  these 
small  acquisitions  generates  a  littleness  of  mind  and  meanness 
of  spirit,  where  it  does  not  lead  to  actual  dishonesty,  which 
are  nowhere  displayed  in  a  more  pitiable  form  than  by  certain 
petty  tradesmen.  The  occupation  which  a  man  is  entirely  en- 
gaged in  does  not  fail  to  modify  his  character,  and  the  reaction 
upon  the  individual's  nature  of  a  life  which  is  being  spent  with 
the  sole  aim  of  becoming  rich,  is  most  baneful.  It  is  not  that 
the  fluctuations  of  excitement  unhinge  the  merchant's  mind  and 
lead  to  maniacal  outbreaks,  although  that  does  sometimes 
happen  ;  it  is  not  that  failure  in  the  paroxysm  of  some  crisis 
prostrates  his  energies  and  makes  him  melancholic,  although 
that  also  is  occasionally  witnessed  ;  but  it  is  that  the  exclu- 
siveness  of  his  life-aim  and  occupation  too  often  saps  the  moral 
or  altruistic  element  in  his  nature,  makes  him  become  egoistic, 
formal,  and  unsympathetic,  and  in  his  person  deteriorates  the 
nature  of  humanity.  "What  is  the  consequence  ?  If  one  con- 
viction has  been  fixed  in  my  mind  more  distinctly  than  another 
by  observation  of  instances,  it  is  that  it  is  extremely  unlikely 
such  a  man  will  beget  healthy  children ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is 
extremely  likely  that  the  deterioration  of  nature  which  he  has 
acquired  will  be  transmitted  as  an  evil  heritage  to  his  children. 
In  several  instances  in  which  the  father  has  toiled  upwards  from 
poverty  to  vast  wealth,  with  the  aim  and  hope  of  founding  a 
family,  I  have  witnessed  the  results  in  a  degeneracy,  mental  and 
physical,  of  his  offspring,  which  has  sometimes  gone  as  far  as 
extinction  of  the  family  in  the  third  or  fourth  generation.  When 
the  evil  is  not  so  extreme  as  madness  or  ruinous  vice,  the  savour 
of  a  mother's  influence  having  been   present,  it  may  still  be 


manifest  in  an  instinctive  cunning  and  duplicity,  and  an 
extreme  selfishness  of  nature — a  nature  not  having  the  capacity 
of  a  true  moral  conception  or  altruistic  feeling.  Whatever 
opinion  other  more  experienced  observers  may  hold,  I  cannot 
but  think,  after  what  I  have  seen,  that  the  extreme  passion  for 
getting  rich,  absorbing  the  whole  energies  of  a  life,  does  pre- 
dispose to  mental  degeneration  in  the  offspring — either  to  moral 
defect,  or  to  moral  and  intellectual  deficiency,  or  to  outbreaks  of 
positive  insanity  under  the  conditions  of  life. 

Without  going  on  to  enumerate  other  causes  which  arise  out 
of  our  present  civilization,  and  appear  to  favour  the  increase  of 
insanity,  it  will  be  sufficient  to  say  that  any  condition  that  is 
injurious  to  mental  or  bodily  health,  though  it  does  not  produce 
insanity  directly,  may  so  far  predispose  to  it  in  the  next  gene- 
ration ;  determining  in  the  present  what  shall  be  predetermined 
in  the  future.  But  while  giving  due  weight  to  this  consideration, 
it  is  necessary  to  kbear  in  mind  that  an  increase  in  the  number 
of  insane  persons  in  a  country  does  not  necessarily  mean  the 
degeneracy  of  the  people  :  the  capability  of  development  is  the 
capability  of  degeneration,  and  where  the  general  progress  is 
going  on  actively  the  retrograde  action  in  the  elements  must  be 
going  on  also  :  the  particular  is  sacrificed  to  the  general,  "  the 
individual  withers,  and  the  race  is  more  and  more."  If  this  be 
so,  may  we  not  then  say  that  an  increase  of  insanity  is  after  all 
a  testimony  of  development,  that  a  great  apparent  evil  is  but  a 
phase  in  the  working  out  of  good  ?  may  we  not,  indeed,  ask  with 
the  prophet,  "  Shall  there  be  evil  in  a  city,  and  the  Lord  hath 
not  done  it  ? "  * 

Sex. — Esquirol  and  Haslam  thought  insanity  to  be  of  more 
frequent  occurrence  among  women  than  men,  but  authors  are 
now  generally  agreed  that  the  converse  is  true.  Esquirol  omitted 
in  his  calculations,  as  Dr.  Thurnam  has  pointed  out,  to  take  into 
account  the  preponderance  of  females  in  the  population,  and 
moreover  drew  his  conclusions  from  a  comparison  of  existing 
cases,  instead  of  from  cases  occurring  in  the  two  sexes/f    Female 

*  Amos  iii.  6.  Again,  Isa.  xlv.  7  :  "I  form  the  light,  and  create  darkness  :  I 
make  peace,  and  create  evil :  I  the  Lord  do  all  these  things." 

+  Of  the  excess  of  about  4  per  cent  of  females  in  the  population  Esquirol  was 
aware  ;  "  but  he  does  not  appear  to  have  known  that,  from  twenty  to  fifty  years 

236  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

patients  accumulate  iu  asylums  more  than  males ;  for  the  pro- 
portion of  relapses  is  greater  in  them,  and  the  probability  of 
death  is  less  :  general  paralysis,  which  is  particularly  fatal,  being 
almost  confined  to  men.  Dr.  Thurnam  affirms  men  to  be  more 
liable  to  mental  disorder  than  women  ;  and  Dr.  Jarvis  came  to 
the  same  conclusion  from  an  examination  of  the  statistics  of 
different  countries.  Recently  it  has  been  said  that  the  female 
sex  is  more  liable  to  suffer  from  hereditary  insanity.  If  my  ex- 
perience were  large  enough  to  be  of  any  value,  it  would  give  the 
preponderance  to  the  women  :  of  106  persons  whom  I  admitted 
into  a  lunatic  hospital,  there  were  50  men  and  56  women.  This 
result  agrees  closely  with  the  statistics  of  the  number  of  people 
confined  in  asylums  in  England  and  Wales :  on  the  1st  of 
January,  1855,  there  were  in  the  hospitals,  asylums,  and  licensed 
houses  10,885  females  and  9,608  males,  and  on  the  1st  of  January, 
1866,  15,437  females  and  13,988  males — the  numbers  giving  a 
preponderance  of  from  about  five  to  six  per  cent,  to  women.  On 
whichever  side,  male  or  female,  the  uncertain  difference  lies,  it 
is  probably  inconsiderable.  There  is  hardly  sufficient  ground  to 
maintain  positively  that  there  is  by  simple  reason  of  sex  any 
inborn  liability  to  insanity.  The  female  sex  is  certainly  the 
weaker,  and  on  this  account  will  be  more  likely  to  suffer  from  the 
adverse  circumstances  of  life,  especially  in  a  complex  social  state 
where  it  is  precluded  so  much  from  active  work,  suffers  from  a 
bad  system  of  education,  has  so  few  resources,  and  is  enfeebled 
by  dependence ;  it  has  moreover  conditions  which  in  some  regard 
favour  disturbance  in  the  revolutions  effected  in  the  system  at 
puberty,  during  pregnancy,  by  the  puerperal  state,  and  at  the 
climacteric  period.  These  conditions,  in  concurrence  with  the 
circumstances  of  female  life,  may  possibly  become  the  cause  of 
more  frequent  insanity  amongst  women ;  and  one  is  the  more 
apt  to  think  so  when  one  calls  to  mind  that  causes  which 
undoubtedly  act  more  frequently  amongst  men — intemperance 
and  other  excess,  for  example— do  not  avail  to  notably  increase 

of  age  (when,  in  this  country  at  least,  insanity  chiefly  occurs  for  the  first-  time), 
there  is  a  still  greater  excess  of  females  ;  an  excess  which  is  higher  from  twenty 
to  thirty  years  of  age  than  it  is  subsequently  ;  it  being  12  per  cent,  from  twenty 
to  thirty,  6  per  cent,  from  thirty  to  forty,  and  4  per  cent,  from  forty  to  fifty, 
years  of  age.  Thus,  assuming  only  a  like  liability  of  the  two  sexes  to  insanity, 
we  should  expect  to  find  a  much  greater  number  of  cases  amongst  women." — 
Thuhnam,  Statistics  of  Insanity,  p.  146. 


the  proportion  of  insanity  amongst  them.  On  the  whole  I 
should  be  disposed  to  hold  that,  while  the  number  of  men  and 
of  women  who  become  insane  appears  to  differ  but  little,  as  the 
causes  actually  operate,  there  is  in  woman,  by  virtue  of  her  sex, 
a  slightly  greater  predisposition  to  insanity  than  in  man. 

Education. — Next  to  the  inherited  nature  which  every  one 
has,  the  acquired  nature  which  he  owes  to  the  circumstances  of 
his  education  and  training  is  most  important  in  determining  the 
character.  I  mean,  not  the  education  which  is  called  learning 
alone,  but  that  education  of  the  nature  of  the  individual,  that 
development  of  the  character,  which  the  circumstances  of  his 
life  have  determined.  There  are  in  every  nature  its  particular 
tendencies  or  impulses  of  development  which  may  be  fostered  or 
checked  by  the  conditions  of  life  ;  and  which,  therefore,  according 
to  their  good  or  evil  nature,  and  the  external  influences  which 
they  meet  with,  may  minister  to  the  future  weal  or  woe  of  the 
individual — may  lead  to  a  stability  of  character  which  prevents 
the  mental  equilibrium  ever  being  seriously  disturbed,  or  to  such 
an  instability  of  character  that  the  smallest  adversity  may  destroy 
it  for  ever.  How  often  one  is  condemned  to  see,  with  pain  and 
sorrow,  an  injudicious  education  sorely  aggravate  an  inherent 
mischief!  The  parent  not  only  transmits  a  taint  or  vice  of 
nature  to  the  child,  but  fosters  its  evil  growth  by  the  influence 
of  a  bad  example,  and  by  a  foolish  training  at  the  time  when 
the  young  mind  is  very  susceptible,  and  when  the  direction  given 
to  its  development  is  sometimes  decisive  for  life.  Where  there 
is  no  innate  taint,  evil  may  still  be  wrought  by  enforcing  an 
unnatural  precocity,  wherein  is  often  planted  the  germ  of  future 
disease.  Parents  who  labour  to  make  their  children  prodigies 
of  learning  or  talent  often  prepare  for  them  an  early  death  or 
an  imbecile  manhood — "  In  pueritia  senex,  in  senectute  puer." 
Parental  harshness  and  neglect — repressing  the  child's  feelings, 
stifling  its  need  of  love,  and  driving  it  to  a  morbid  self- 
brooding,  or  to  take  refuge  in  a  world  of  vague  fancies — is  not 
less  pernicious  than  a  foolish  indulgence  through  which  it  never 
learns  the  necessary  lessons  of  renunciation  and  self-control. 
The  aim  of  a  good  education  should  be  to  develop  the  power  / 
and  habit  of  what  the  events  of  life  will  not  fail  to  rudely 
enforce — renunciation  and  self-control,  and  to  lead  to  the  con- 

238  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

tinned  transference  of  thoughts  and  feelings  into  external  actions 
of  a  beneficial  kind.  By  the  habitual  encouragement  of  self- 
feeling,  and  by  an  egoistic  development  in  all  the  relations  of 
life,  a  character  may,  by  imperceptible  degrees,  be  so  framed 
that  insanity  is  the  natural  and  consummate  evolution  of  it, 
while  every  step  taken  in  such  deterioration  will  so  far  pre- 
dispose to  insanity  under  adverse  circumstances  of  life.  It  is  by 
the  influence  of  a  good  education  and  a  sound  training  that  we 
may  expect,  not  only  to  neutralize  a  predisposition  to  insanity  in 
the  individual,  but  to  counteract  that  tendency  to  an  increase 
of  mental  disease  in  the  community,  which  is  attributable  to 
some  of  the  concomitant  evils  of  civilization.  The  external  ad- 
vantages of  civilization  should  naturally  lead  to  a  better  internal 
culture,  so  that  in  its  higher  stages  a  remedy  may  be  furnished 
for  some  of  the  evils  which  it  produces  in  its  earlier  stages. 

It  is  hardly  necessary  to  point  out  how  ill  adapted  the  present 
system  of  female  education  is  to  store  the  mind  with  usefid 
knowledge,  and  to  train  up  a  strong  character.  It  is  peculiarly 
fitted  for#he  frivolous  purposes  of  female  life  ;  but  that  it  is  so 
is  its  greatest  condemnation.  "  Those  who  have  seriously  con- 
templated," Feuchtersleben  remarks,  "the  female  education  of 
our  times  (undoubtedly  the  partie  lionteuse  of  the  moderns)  will 
find  it,  in  this  etiological  respect,  much  more  influential  than 
that  of  the  other  sex.  It  combines  everything  that  can  heighten 
sensibility,  weaken  spontaneity,  give  a  preponderance  to  the 
sexual  sphere,  and  sanction  the  feelings  and  impulses  that  relate 
to  it."  As  the  education  of  women  is  widened,  deepened,  and 
improved,  other  and  better  resources  will  be  discovered  and 
earnestly  used,  and  the  reaction  of  a  higher  mode  of  life  on 
female  education  and  female  nature  cannot  fail  to  be  most 

Religion. — I  have  said  that  the  practical  religion  of  the  day, 
the  real  guiding  gospel  of  life,  is  money-getting :  the  professed 
religion  is  Christianity.  Now,  without  asserting  that  riches  are 
not  to  be  gotten  by  honest  industry,  it  may  be  maintained  that 
the  eager  passion  to  get  rich — honestly  it  may  be,  but  if  not, 
still  to  get  rich — is  often  inconsistent  with  the  spirit  of  the 
gospel  professed.  The  too  frequent  consequence  is,  that  life 
becomes  a  systematic  inconsistency,  or  an  organized  hypocrisy. 

i  ]  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  239 

With  a  profession  of  faith  that  angels  might  adopt,  there  is  too 
often  a  rule  of  practice  which  devils  need  not  disdain.  I  do  not 
speak  here  of  those  whose  religion  is  a  mere  social  observance, 
which  it  beseems  a  man  of  respectability  willing  to  stand  well 
with  his  neighbours  to  conform  to.  Such  persons  will,  in  all  pro- 
bability, belong  to  the  Church  of  England,  which  is  eminently 
the  religion  of  success  in  life  and  of  a  respectable  social  position ; 
it  does  not  demand  any  exhibition  of  zealous  earnestness  from, 
nor  does  it  impose  any  galling  yoke  upon,  its  members ;  it  desires 
to  avoid  anything  that  is  extreme,  and  insists  only  on  the  main- 
tenance of  the  social  proprieties ;  it  is  the  established  religion, 
and,  in  close  alliance  with  the  governing  classes,  it  aims  at  the 
preservation  of  the  established  state  of  things.  But  it  may  be 
questioned  whether  the  Church  of  England  really  reaches  the 
poor  and  struggling,  those  who  truly  need  a  gospel  of  life.  Those 
of  them  who  have  any  religion  at  all  belong,  for  the  most  part, 
to  two  religious  bodies  into  which  the  two  extreme  parties  in 
the  English  Church  insensibly  merge — to  Eoman  Catholicism 
and  Methodism.  When,  therefore,  we  have  to  consider  a  religion 
really  influencing  life,  when  we  have  to  weigh  its  effect  on  cha- 
racter as  predisposing  or  not  to  insanity,  we  have  practically  to 
deal  with  Roman  Catholicism,  actual  or  abortive,  or  with  Dissent 
in  some  of  its  forms.  I  do  not  hesitate  to  express  a  conviction 
that  the  excitement  of  religious  feelings,  and  the  moroseness  of 
the  religious  life,  favoured  by  some  of  the  Dissenters,  are 
habitually  injurious  to  the  character,  and  sometimes  a  direct 
cause  of  insanity.  Young  women  who  fail  to  get  married  are 
apt  to  betake  themselves  fervently  to  religious  exercises,  and 
thus  to  find  an  outlet  for  repressed  feeling  in  an  extreme  devo- 
tional life ;  having  of  necessity  much  self-feeling,  they  naturally 
fly  to  a  system  which  expressly  sanctions  and  encourages  a  habit 
of  attention  to  the  feelings  and  thoughts — a  self-brooding — and 
which  attracts  to  them  the  sympathy  and  interest  of  others. 
This  is  not,  nor  can  it  come  to,  good :  as  the  man  whose  every 
organ  is  in  perfect  health  scarcely  knows  that  he  has  a  body, 
and  only  is  made  conscious  that  he  has  organs  when  something 
morbid  is  going  on,  so  a  healthy  mind,  in  the  full  exercise  of  its 
functions,  is  not  conscious  that  it  has  feelings,  and  is  only 
awakened  to   self-consciousness  by  something  morbid  in  the 

240  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

processes  of  its  activity.  To  fly  for  refuge  to  the  contemplation 
of  one's  own  feelings  and  thoughts  is  in  direct  frustration  of 
the  purposes  of  one's  being  as  an  element  in  nature,  and  in  the 
direct  way  of  predisposing  to  insanity.  It  is  only  in  actions 
that  we  truly  live,  and  by  our  actions  that  we  can  truly  know 
ourselves.  How  mischievous,  then,  any  encouragement  of  a 
morbid  self-feeling,  religious  or  otherwise,  is  likely  to  be,  it  is 
easy  to  perceive.  Among  the  cases  of  mental  disease  that  have 
come  under  my  care,  there  are  some  in  which  the  cause  of  the 
outbreak  has  been  satisfactorily  traceable  to  religious  influence 
injudiciously  exerted.  Xot  amongst  Dissenters  only,  but  amongst 
those  members  of  the  High  Church  party  in  the  Church  of 
England  who  are  so  much  addicted  to  playing  at  Eoman  Catho- 
licism, the  most  baneful  effect  is  sometimes  produced  on  women 
through  the  ignorant  influence  and  misapplied  zeal  of  priests, 
who  mistake  for  deep  religious  feeling  what  is  really  at  times  a 
morbid  self-feeling,  arising  out  of  an  unsatisfied  sexual  instinct, 
and  what  is  many  times  accompanied  by  hysterical  excitement, 
and  sometimes  even  by  habitual  self-abuse.  The  fanatic  religious 
sects,  which  every  now  and  then  appear  in  a  community  and 
disgust  it  by  the  offensive  way  in  which  they  commingle  religion 
and  love,  are  really  inspired  by  an  uncontrolled  and  disordered 
sexual  instinct.  They  are  compounds  of  systematic  knavery 
and  of  vain  folly  verging  on  madness  :  on  the  one  hand,  the 
cunning  of  a  hypocritical  rogue  (who  may,  perhaps,  have  so 
grown  to  the  habit  of  his  knavery  as  to  deceive  himself  as  well 
as  others)  using  the  weaknesses  of  weak  women  to  minister  to 
his  vanity  or  his  lust  under  a  religious  guise ;  on  the  other 
hand,  an  exaggerated  self-feeling,  rooted  often  in  sexual  passion, 
which  is  fostered  Tinder  a  spiritual  cloak,  and  drives  its  victim 
on  to  madness  or  to  sin.  The  holy  kiss  of  love  owes  all  its 
warmth  to  the  sexual  impulse  which  inspires  it,  consciously  or 
unconsciously,  and  the  mystical  religious  union  of  the  sexes 
leads  directly  to  a  less  spiritual  union. 

The  Eoman  Catholic  religion  cannot,  I  believe,  be  justly 
charged  with  any  such  positive  influence  for  evil  on  those  who 
have  been  born  and  bred  up  within  its  pale.  On  them  its  effect 
is  rather  to  arrest  mental  development  by  imposing  the  divine 
authority  of  the  Church,  and  thus  keeping  the  mind  in  leading- 


strings.  The  unquestioning  faith  demanded  and  accorded  as  the 
habit  of  life  is  not  calculated  to  predispose  to  insanity.  But  the 
influence  of  Roman  Catholicism,  as  represented  by  some  of  the 
over-zealous  perverts  from  the  English  Church,  is  in  the  highest 
degree  mischievous :  it  is  a  hotbed,  fostering  the  weaknesses  of 
weak  women,  the  morbid  tendencies  of  those  who  are  half  insane, 
and,  too  often,  the  evil  impulses  of  the  vicious.  It  becomes  the 
congenial  refuge  of  those  who  are  so  afflicted  with  restless 
passions,  ill-regulated  feelings,  and  selfish  impulses,  that  they 
are  unable  to  conform  long  to  their  social  duties  and  relations, 
and  are  ever  eager  for  change,  excitement,  and  attention,  at 
whatever  cost.  "Without  doubt  a  hot  religious  perversion,  and 
the  earnest  display  of  a  feverish  religious  zeal,  are,  in  some 
instances,  really  a  phase  in  the  manifestations  of  a  morbid 
disposition,  not  unlikely  to  pass  at  some  time  into  actual  mental 

The  question  of  religion  generally,  apart  from  any  particular 
form  of  religion,  as  an  agency  influencing  in  a  powerful  manner 
for  good  or  evil  the  minds  of  men,  and  therefore  predisposing  or 
not  to  mental  degeneracy,  I  must  leave  untouched,  not  only  be- 
cause of  the  difficulty  and  the  delicacy  of  the  subject,  but  because 
of  the  impossibility  of  doing  justice  to  a  matter  of  such  tran- 
scendent importance  in  a  brief  and  incidental  manner.  It  would 
be  necessary  to  attempt  soberly  and  faithfully  to  estimate  the 
influence  of  religious  belief,  not  upon  any  particular  mind  nor 
at  any  particular  time,  but  upon  the  common  mind  of  mankind, 
upon  its  development  through  time.  Three  great  questions 
would  naturally  present  themselves  for  discussion : — First,  what 
influence  a  belief  in  the  supernatural,  as  commonly  entertained, 
has  had  upon  the  growth  and  progress  of  human  thought ; 
whether  the  tendency  of  it  has  been  to  strengthen  or  to  enervate 
the  intellect?  Secondly,  what  has  been  the  practical  effect 
worked  on  the  hearts  of  men  by  the  fear  of  punishment  and 
the  hope  of  reward  after  death  ;  whether  their  feelings  and 
desires  have  been  beneficially  affected,  and  how  far  affected,  by 
possibilities  which  always  seem  so  far  off;  or  whether,  as  some 
argue,  their  feelings  have  thereby  been  deadened  and  their  intel- 
ligence blinded  to  the  certain  laws  by  which  their  sins,  or  errors, 
or  crimes,  are  always  avenged  in  this  world  on  themselves  or  on 


242  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

others  ?  Thirdly,  what  has  been  the  practical  effect  produced 
on  the  character  and  conduct  of  the  many  by  the  belief  that 
through  prayer  they  might  obviate  the  effects  of  their  own  want 
of  foresight,  or  want  of  self-renunciation,  and  rely  upon  super- 
natural aid  where  the  will  failed  ?  It  would  be  necessary  also, 
in  considering  the  vast  influence  which  the  moral  code  incul- 
cated by  all  religions  has  exerted  upon  the  conduct  of  mankind, 
to  weigh  the  actual  effect  upon  character  of  the  profession  of 
moral  maxims  and  precepts  which  have  sometimes  been  too 
exalted  to  be  reconciled  with  the  exigencies  of  practical  life. 
But  these  are  all  questions  which  we  must  now  pass  over. 

In  weighing  the  effect  on  the  mind  of  any  form  of  religion,  it 
is  necessary  to  bear  in  mind  that  a  person's  particular  creed  is 
to  some  extent  the  result  of  his  character  and  mode  of  develop- 
ment. The  egoist  whose  vanity  and  self-love  have  not  other 
outlets  of  display  will  manifest  his  disposition  in  his  religious 
views  and  practice.  The  victim  of  a  morbid  self-feeling,  or  an 
extreme  self-conceit,  will  find  in  a  certain  religious  zeal  the  con- 
venient gratification  of  an  egoistic  passion,  of  the  real  nature 
of  which  he  himself  is  ignorant.  Those  who  make  it  their 
business  to  get  rich  by  over-reaching  and  deceiving  others,  in- 
variably end  by  over-reaching  and  deceiving  themselves  in  the 
sincere  assumption  of  religious  observances  entirely  inconsistent 
with  the  tenor  of  their  daily  lives.  When  such  persons  become 
insane,  we  cannot  truly  say  that  religion  has  been  the  cause  of 
the  disease,  although  it  can  admit  of  no  question  that  the 
mental  degeneration,  which  has  been  the  natural  issue  of  the 
mode  of  development  of  the  character,  has  found  circumstances 
very  favourable  to  its  increase  in  the  religious  views  and  prac- 
tices adopted. 

Condition  of  Life. — The  statistics  hitherto  collected  with 
reference  to  this  point  are  of  little  or  no  value.  Whether  a 
particular  profession  or  trade  favours  the  production  of  insanity, 
is  generally  a  question  of  the  habits  incidental  to  its  pursuit, 
— whether  those  who  follow  it  live  soberly  and  temperately,  or 
whether  they  are  addicted  to  intemperance  and  riotous  living. 
On  the  whole,  however,  those  who  work  with  the  head  are  more 
liable  to  mental  disease  than  those  who  work  with  the  hand, 
and  they  are  less  likely  to  recover  when  once  attacked  :  the 


more  complex  mental  organization  of  the  former,  and  the 
greater  activity  of  function,  will  render  it  conceivable  how 
this  may  be.  The  aristocratic  or  privileged  classes  of  every 
country  have  in  their  privileges  the  elements  of  corruption 
and  decay ;  and  degeneracy  of  one  sort  or  another  is  sure, 
sooner  or  later,  to  become  rife  in  them.  There  is  grave  reason 
to  suspect  that  insanity  is  of  disproportionate  frequency  amongst 
the  aristocracy  of  this  country.  Other  things  being  equal,  it  is 
certain  that  insanity  is  more  frequent  amongst  the  unmarried 
than  amongst  the  married. 

Age  and  Period  of  Life. — Insanity  is  rare  before  puberty, 
although  it  is  certain  that  every  form  of  it,  except  general 
paralysis,  may  occur  even  so  early  in  life.  Idiocy  is  the  most 
common  form  of  mental  defect  in  the  early  years  of  life  ;  and 
even  the  cases  of  mania  met  with  occasionally  in  children 
partake  much  of  the  character  of  idiocy,  and  might  not  im- 
properly be  described  as  examples  of  excited  idiocy.  The 
mental  organization  has  not  been  completely  accomplished,  and 
the  symptoms  of  its  degeneration  are  therefore  somewhat 
uniform  in  character.  Between  the  ages  of  sixteen  and  twenty- 
five,  insanity  is  far  more  frequent ;  but  it  is  the  most  frequent 
of  all  during  the  period  of  full  mental  and  bodily  development 
— from  twenty-five  to  forty-five — when  the  mental  functions  are 
most  active,  and  when  there  is  the  widest  exposure  to  its  causes. 
The  internal  revolution  which  takes  place  in  women  at  the 
climacteric  period  leads  to  many  outbreaks  of  a  melancholic 
insanity  in  them  between  forty  and  fifty.  In  the  male  there 
appears  to  be  a  climacteric  period  between  fifty  and  sixty,  when 
insanity  sometimes  supervenes.  In  old  people  symptoms  of 
mental  derangement  sometimes  precede  for  a  time  softening  of 
the  brain  and  dementia ;  an  old  man  may  be  found  to  be  keep- 
ing a  mistress  in  secret,  or  to  be  making  foolish  proposals  of 
marriage,  when  sensual  impulses  only  mock  extinct  sexual 

Hereditary  Predisposition. — The  more  exact  and  scrupulous 
the  researches  made,  the  more  distinctly  is  displayed  the  in- 
fluence of  hereditary  taint  in  the  production  of  insanity.  It  is 
unfortunately  impossible  to  get  exact  or  accurate  information 
on   this  subject.     So  strong  is  the  foolish  feeling  of  disgrace 


244  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAMTY.  [chap. 

attaching  to  the  occurrence  of  insanity  in  a  family,  that  people, 
not  apt  usually  to  say  what  is  not  true,  will  disclaim  or  deny 
most  earnestly  the  existence  of  any  hereditary  taint,  when  all 
the  time  the  indications  of  it  are  most  positive ;  yes,  when  its 
existence  is  well  known,  and  they  must  know  that  it  is  well 
known.  To  elicit  an  acknowledgment  of  the  truth  in  some  of 
these  cases  would  be  as  difficult  a  task  as  to  elicit  from  an 
erring  woman  a  confession  of  her  single  frailty.  Not  even  its 
prevalence  in  royal  families  has  sufficed  to  make  insanity  a 
fashionable  disease.  The  main  value,  indeed,  of  the  many 
doubtful  statistics  collected  in  reference  to  the  question  of  the 
frequency  of  hereditary  taint  is  to  prove  that,  with  the  increase 
of  opportunities  of  obtaining  exact  information,  the  greater  is  the 
proportion  of  cases  of  insanity  in  which  its  presence  is  detect- 
able. The  proportion  is  put  by  some  authors — as  Moreau — as 
high  as  nine-tenths,  by  others  as  low  as  one-tenth  ;  the  most 
careful  researches  agreeing  to  fix  it  as  not  lower  than  one-fourth, 
if  not  so  high  as  one-half.  Of  fifty  insane  persons,  taken  with- 
out any  selection,  the  family  histories  of  whom  I  was  able  to 
trace  with  considerable  precision,  there  was  strongly  marked 
hereditary  predisposition — that  is,  there  was  the  positive 
evidence  of  an  inherited  predisposition  to  insanity — in  fourteen 
cases ;  while  in  ten  more  there  was  sufficient  evidence  of  an 
inborn  defect  of  nerve  element,  not  due  to  actual  insanity  in 
any  of  the  immediate  ancestors,  but  to  an  infirmity  acquired  by 
them  in  consequence  of  degenerative  influences  at  work.  Two 
important  considerations  in  regard  to  this  question  should  have 
full  weight  given  them :  first,  that  the  native  infirmity  or  taint 
may  be  of  very  different  degrees  of  intensity,  so  as,  on  the  one 
hand,  to  conspire  only  with  certain  more  or  less  powerful  ex- 
citing causes,  or,  on  the  other  hand,  to  give  rise  to  insanity  even 
amidst  the  most  favourable  external  circumstances ;  secondly, 
that  not  insanity  only  in  the  parents,  but  any  form  of  nervous 
disease  in  them — epilepsy,  hysteria,  and  even  neuralgia — may 
predispose  to  insanity  in  the  offspring,  as,  conversely,  insanity 
in  the  parent  may  predispose  to  other  kinds  of  nervous  disease 
in  the  offspring.  Whatever,  then,  may  be  the  exact  number  of 
cases  in  which  hereditary  predisposition  is  positively  ascertained, 
it  may,  I  think,  be  broadly  asserted  that,  in  the  great  majority 


of  cases,  whether  there  has  been  observable  madness  or  not  in 
father  or  mother,  or  some  remoter  relative,  there  has  been  some 
constitutional  instability  or  infirmity  of  nervous  element  in  the 
individual  whereby  he  has  been  unable  to  rally  against  adver- 
sity, and  has  broken  down  in  insanity.  Infinitely  various  as 
the  constitutional  idiosyncrasies  of  men  notably  are,  it  is  easy 
to  perceive  how  impossible  it  is  that  statistics  should  ever  give 
exact  information  concerning  the  causation  of  insanity  ;  here,  as 
in  so  many  instances  of  their  application,  their  value  is  that 
they  settle  distinctly  the  existence  of  a  certain  tendency,  so  to 
speak,  which,  once  fixed,  affords  a  good  starting-point  for  further 
and  more  rigorous  researches :  they  indicate  the  direction  of 
future  investigation. 

Careful  inquiries  into  the  sundry  and  manifold  causes  of 
nervous  degeneration  could  not  fail  to  attract  attention  to  the 
metamorphoses  which  diseases  undergo  in  hereditary  trans- 
mission, as  a  matter  demanding  exact  study.  We  certainly  dis- 
tinguish in  our  nomenclature  the  different  nervous  diseases,  but, 
as  we  actually  meet  with  them  in  practice,  the  disorders  of  the 
different  nervous  centres  may  occasionally  blend,  or  combine,  or 
replace  one  another  in  a  remarkable  manner,  so  as  to  give  rise 
to  varieties  of  disease  intermediate  between  those  which  are 
commonly  regarded  as  typical.  Now  this  circumstance,  mani- 
fest enough  in  individual  life,  is  much  more  plainly  displayed 
when  we  trace  the  history  and  progress  of  nervous  disease 
through  generations.  If,  instead  of  limiting  attention  to  the 
individual,  we  scan  the  organic  evolution  and  decay  of  a  family 
— processes  which,  as  in  the  organism,  are  sometimes  going  on 
simultaneously — then  it  is  made  sufficiently  evident  how  close 
are  the  fundamental  relations  of  nervous  diseases,  how  artificial 
the  divisions  between  them  sometimes  appear.  Epilepsy  in  the 
parent  may  become  insanity  in  the  offspring,  or  insanity  in  the 
parent  epilepsy  in  the  child ;  and  chorea  or  convulsions  in  the 
child  may  be  the  consequence  of  great  nervous  excitability, 
natural  or  accidental,  in  the  mother.  In  families  in  which  there 
is  a  strong  predisposition  to  insanity,  it  is  not  uncommon  to  find 
one  member  afflicted  with  one  form  of  nervous  disease,  and 
another  with  another  ;  one  suffers  perhaps  from  epilepsy  or 
chorea,  another  from  neuralgia  or  hysteria,  a  third  may  commit 

246  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

suicide,  and  a  fourth  become  maniacal  or  melancholic*  General 
paralysis  is  a  disease  which  is  usually  the  result  of  continued 
excesses  of  one  sort  or  another ;  but  it  may  unquestionably 
occur  without  any  marked  excesses,  and  when  it  does  so  there 
will  mostly  be  discoverable  a  hereditary  taint  in  the  individual. 
More  than  this  :  an  innate  taint  or  infirmity  of  nerve  element 
may  modify  in  a  striking  manner  the  mode  of  manifestation  of 
other  diseases  ;  where  it  exists,  gout  flying  about  the  body  may 
produce  obscure  nervous  symptoms,  so  as  greatly  to  puzzle  the 
inexperienced  practitioner;  and  the  syphilitic  poison  is  similarly 
apt  to  seize  upon  the  weak  part,  and  to  give  rise  to  severe 
nervous  symptoms.  On  the  other  hand,  it  can  admit  of  no 
question  that  a  parental  disease  which  does  not  specialty  affect 
the  nervous  system,  may,  notwithstanding,  be  at  the  foundation 
of  a  delicate  nervous  constitution  in  the  offspring :  phthisis, 
scrofula,  syphilis,  probably  also  gout  and  diabetes,  sometimes  act 
thus  banefully.  An  interesting  circumstance  in  connexion  with 
diabetes,  which  affords  a  certain  argument  in  favour  of  its 
nervous  origin,  is  that  it  has  been  observed  to  occur  in  families 
in  which  there  existed  a  predisposition  to  nervous  or  mental 
diseases.  Again,  it  is  a  disease  which  appears  to  be  sometimes 
caused  in  man  by  mental  anxiety,  while  it  may  be  produced 
artificially  in  animals  by  irritation  of  the  floor  of  the  fourth 
ventricle  and  of  other  adjacent  parts  of  the  nervous  system. 

The  interesting  researches  of  Morel  into  the  formation  of 
degenerate  or  morbid  varieties  of  the  human  race  have  served  to 
furnish  a  philosophical  view  of  the  chain  of  events  by  which 
causes  that  give  rise  to  individual  degeneracy  continue  their 
morbid  action  through  generations,  and  finally  issue  in  the 
extinction  of  the  family.     "When  some  of  the  evil  influences 

*  "  I  saw  very  recently  a  boy,  set  14,  who  was  afflicted  with  extremely 
severe  tic,  thvowing  his  head  sideways  with  an  excessively  abrupt  gyratory 
motion,  and  uttering  a  short  sharp  cry.  I  had  seen  him  before  during  the 
summer  of  1860,  and  he  then  used  to  utter  fierce  cries  every  moment,  without 
his  mind  seeming  to  be  in  the  least  impaired.  His  eldest  brother  had  for  several 
years  suffered  from  facial  spasm,  characterised  by  grimaces  during  which  all  the 
muscles  of  his  face  were  violently  convulsed.  His  father  has  been  affected  with 
locomotor  ataxy  for  the  last  twenty  years.  His  paternal  grandfather  committed 
suicide  in  a  fit  of  monomania,  and  several  of  his  relatives  on  his  mother's  side 
have  been  insane." — Trousseau,  Clinical  Lecture*. 

i.]  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  IN  SAN  IT  V.  247 

which  notably  give  rise  to  disease — whether  the  poisoned  atmo- 
sphere of  a  marshy  district,  or  the  unknown  endemic  causes  of 
cretinism,  or  the  overcrowding  and  starvation  of  our  large  towns, 
or  persistent  intemperance  of  any  kind,  or  frequent  inter- 
marriages in  families,  or  any  other  of  the  sources  of  human 
degeneracy — have  engendered  a  morbid  variety,  the  evil  will, 
unless  counteracted  by  better  influences  brought  to  bear,  increase 
through  generations,  until  the  degeneration  has  gone  so  far  that 
the  continuance  of  the  species  is  impossible.  Indeed,  insanity 
of  what  form  soever,  whether  mania,  melancholia,  moral  insanity, 
or  dementia,  is  but  a  stage  in  the  descent  towards  sterile  idiocy, 
as  may  be  experimentally  proved  by  the  intermarriage  of  men- 
tally, unsound  persons  for  a  generation  or  two,  and  as  is  some- 
times demonstrated  by  the  disastrous  consequences  of  frequent 
intermarriages  in  foolish  families.  Morel  relates  the  history  of 
one  family,  which  may  be  adduced  as  a  typical  example  of  the 
course  of  degeneration  proceeding  unchecked,  and  which  may  be 
summed  up  thus  : — 

First  generation.  —  Immorality.  Alcoholic  excess.  Brutal 

Second  generation.  —  Hereditary  drunkenness.  Maniacal  at- 
tacks.    General  paralysis. 

Third  generation.  —  Sobriety.  Hypochondria.  Lypemania. 
Systematic  mania.     Homicidal  tendencies. 

Fourth  generation.  —  Feeble  intelligence.  Stupidity.  First 
attack  of  mania  at  sixteen.  Transition  to  complete  idiocy,  and 
probable  extinction  of  the  family. 

In  this  degeneration  going  on  through  generations  we  have  a 
retrograde  movement  which  is  the  opposite  of  that  progressive 
specialization,  and  increasing  complexity  of  relation  with  the 
external,  which  have  already  been  described  as  characteristic  of 
advancing  development.  In  place  of  sound  and  proper  elements, 
which  may  take  their  due  place  and  perform  their  function  har- 
moniously in  the  social  organism,  there  are  produced  morbid 
varieties  fit  only  for  .excretion.  For,  in  truth,  we  may  not  im- 
properly compare  the  social  fabric  to  the  bodily  organism  in  this 
regard :  as  in  bodily  disease  there  is  a  retrograde  metamorphosis 
of  formative  action,  and  morbid  elements  are  produced,  so  in  the 
appearance  of  insanity  in  individuals  we  have  examples  of  the 

248  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

formation  of  morbid  varieties  in  the  social  organism,  and  the 

evidence  of  a  degeneration  of  the  human  kind.     And  as  in  the 

body  morbid  elements  cannot  minister  to  healthy  action,  but,  if 

not  got  rid  of,  give  rise  to  disorder,  and  even  death ;  so  in  the 

social   fabric   morbid  varieties   are  themselves   on  the  way  of 

'  death,  and  if  not  sequestrated  in  the  social  system,  or  extruded 

from  it,  inevitably   engender   disorder   incompatible   with    its 

J  stability.     But,  however  much  man  may  degenerate  from  his 

high  estate,  he  never  really  reverts  to  the  exact  type  of   the 

animal,  though  he  may  sink  lower  than  it :  the  so-called  tJicroid 

degeneration,  spoken  of  by  some  writers,  signifies  no  more  than 

a  resemblance  to  the  animals.     As  it  is  among  plants,  where 

degeneration  of  species  notably  gives  rise  to  a  new  morbid  kind, 

so  it  is  in  man :  lunatics  and  idiots  represent  new  morbid  kinds  : 

the  mighty  are  fallen,  but  the  might  is  manifest  even  in  the 


Baillarger  has  confirmed  what  Esquirol  had  observed,  that 
insanity  descends  more  often  from  the  mother  than  the  father, 
and  from  the  mother  to  the  daughters  more  often  than  to  the 
sons.  From  a  Report  presented  to  the  French  Government  by 
M.  Behic,  it  appears  that  of  1,000  admissions  of  each  sex  into 
French  asylums,  264  males  and  266  females  had  suffered  from 
hereditary  predisposition  to  insanity;  of  the  264  males  128 
inherited  the  disease  from  their  father,  110  from  the  mother, 
and  26  from  both  parents;  of  the  266  females,  100  inherited 
from  the  father,  130  from  the  mother,  and  36  from  both  parents. 
Children  born  before  the  outbreak  of  an  attack  are  less  likely  to 
suffer  than  those  born  after  an  outbreak. 

Thus  much  concerning  the  remote  or  predisposing  causes  of 
insanity ;  it  remains  now  to  set  forth  the  direct  or  proximate 
causes  of  defect  or  derangement  of  the  supreme  centres  of  intel- 
ligence. In  doing  this  it  will  be  most  convenient,  and  in  the 
end  most  philosophical,  to  describe  them  under  similar  divisions 
to  those  under  which  have  already  been  grouped  the  causes  of 
disorder  of  the  sensori-motor  and  spinal  centres — in  other  words, 
to  treat  of  the  causation  of  insanity  from  a  pathological  point 
of  view. 



1.  Original  Differences  in  the  Constitution  of  the  Supreme  Ner- 
vous Centres. — It  is  most  certain  that  there  exist  great  natural 
differences  between  different  people  in  respect  of  the  develop- 
ment of  their  cerebral  convolutions.  In  the  lower  races  of  men 
these  are  visibly  less  complex  and  more  symmetrical  than  in 
the  higher  races ;  the  anatomical  differences  corresponding  with 
differences  in  intellectual  capacity.  Place  a  Bushman,  with  his 
inferior  type  of  brain,  in  the  complex  circumstances  of  civilized 
life  ;  and  though  he  may  represent  a  high  grade  of  development 
of  his  lower  type,  he  is  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  as  Gratiolet 
allows,  an  idiot,  and  must,  unless  otherwise  cared  for,  inevitably 
perish  in  the  severe  competition  for  existence.  And  if  a  person, 
from  some  arrest  of  the  natural  development,  is  born  amongst 
civilized  people  with  a  brain  of  no  higher  order  than  the  natural 
brain  of  the  Bushman,  it  is  plain  that  he  will  be  more  or  less  of 
an  idiot ;  a  higher  type  of  brain,  arrested  by  morbid  causes  at 
a  low  grade  of  development,  is  brought  to  the  level  of  a  lower 
type  of  brain  which  has  arrived  at  its  full  development.  As  Von 
Baer  long  ago  pointed  out,  the  actual  position  of  a  particular 
animal  in  the  scale  of  life  is  determined,  not  by  the  type  alone, 
nor  by  the  grade  of  development  alone,  but  by  the  product  of 
the  type  and  the  grade  of  development. 

The  principal  varieties  of  defective  brain  met  with  may  be 
briefly  indicated  here  as  falling  under  one  of  the  following 
divisions  : — 

(a)  There  are  idiots  of  the  microcephalic  type,  in  whom  an 
arrest  of  cerebral  development  has  taken  place,  and  a  palpably 
defective  brain  is  met  with  in  consequence.  Malacarne  was  at 
the  pains  carefully  to  count  the  laminae  of  the  cerebellum  in 
idiots  and  in  men  of  intelligence,  and  he  found  them  to  be  less 
numerous  hi  the  former  than  in  the  latter.  Now,  these  laminae 
are  less  numerous  in  the  chimpanzee  and  the  orang  than  in  man, 
and  still  less  numerous  in  other  monkeys  ;  so  far,  therefore,  there 
is  an  approximation  in  some  idiots  to  the  simian  type  of  brain. 

250  ON  THE  C J  USES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

Mr.  Paget  mentions  an  idiot's  brain  in  which  there  had  been 
a  complete  arrest  of  development  at  the  fifth  month  of  fetal  life : 
there  were  no  posterior  lobes,  the  cerebellum  being  only  half- 
covered  by  the  cerebral  hemispheres.     Gratiolet  found  in  the 
brain  of  a  microcephalic  idiot,  aged  seven,  the  under  surface  of 
the  anterior  lobes  much  hollowed,  with  great  convexity  of  the 
orbital  arches,  as  is  the  rule  in  the  monkey*     Mr.  Marshall  has 
carefully  examined,  and  described  in  an  elaborate  paper,  the 
brains  of  two  idiots  of  European  descent :  the  convolutions  were 
fewer  in  number  than  in  the  apes,  individually  less  complex, 
broader,  and  smoother — "  In  this  respect,"   he  observes,  "  the 
idiots'  brains  are  even  more  simple  than  the  brain  of  the  gibbon, 
and  approach  that  of  the  baboon  (Cynocephalus)  and  sapajou 
(Ateles)."f  Though  he  agrees  with  other  observers  that  the  con- 
dition of  the  cerebra  in  the  idiots  ti  neither  the  result  of  atrophy, 
nor  of  a  mere  arrest  of  growth,  but  consists  essentially  in  an 
imperfect  evolution  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres  or  their  parts, 
dependent  on  an  arrest  of  development,  he  points  out  the  strong 
grounds  there  are  for  inferring  that,  after  the  cessation  of  evolu- 
tional changes,  the  cerebra  experience  an  increase  of  size  gene- 
rally, or  a  mere  growth  of  their  several  parts.    Consequently  the 
cerebra  are  much  larger  than  fcetal  cerebra  in  which  the  convo- 
lutional  development  is  at  a  similar  stage ;  whilst  the  individual 
convolutions  themselves,  though  the  same  in  number,  are  neces- 
sarily broader  and  deeper.      Not  only  is  the  brain-weight  in 
microcephalous  idiocy  very  low  absolutely,  as  the  instructive 
tables  of  Dr.  Thurnam  show,  but  the  relative  amount  of  brain 
to  body  is  "extraordinarily"  diminished.    Thus  in  the  two  idiots 
described  by  Mr.  Marshall,  the  proportion  of  brain  to  body  was 
only  as  1  to  140  in  the  female,  and  as  1  to  67  in  the  male,  the 
normal  proportions  being  as  1  to  33  and  as  1  to  14  respectively. 
It  is  not  necessary  that  I  quote  more  authorities  to  prove  that 
small-headed  idiots  have  small  brains,  and  sometimes  even  fewer 
and  more  simple  convolutions  than  the  chimpanzee  and  the 
orang;   that  man,  thus  made  a  morbid  kind,  by  an  arrest  of 
development,  is  brought  to  a  lower  level  than  that  of  his  nearest 

*  Aiiatomie  comparee  du  Syst^me  Nerveux. 
t  Philosophical  Transactions,  toe.  nt. 


related  fellow  animal.*  A  strict  examination  of  the  stories  of 
wild  men,  as  of  Peter  the  Wild  Boy,  and  the  young  savage  of 
Aveyron,  has  proved  that  these  were  really  cases  of  defective 
organization — pathological  specimens.f 

(b)  In  idiots  or  imbeciles  of  the  Cretin  type,  where  the  morbid 
condition  is  endemic,  the  defect  seems  to  depend  on  certain 
morbid  changes  which  primarily  affect  the  skull  rather  than  the 
brain.  Injurious  influences,  affecting  the  general  processes  of 
the  bodily  nutrition,  prevent  the  normal  growth  of  the  bones, 
and  lead  to  a  premature  ossification  of  the  sutures,  and  a  con- 
sequent narrowing  of  the  skull  at  the  part  where  this  happens. 
Secondary  wide  interference  with  the  development  of  other  parts 
of  the  skull  and  compensating  enlargements  in  other  directions 
follow  the  primary  evil,  and  give  rise  to  cranial  deformities  of 
various  kinds.  Of  necessity  the  natural  growth  of  the  brain  is 
hindered  by  those  morbid  changes  ;  and  it  is  no  wonder  that 
the  deformed  head  of  the  Cretin  is  accompanied  with  a  torpid 
apathetic  character  and  with  great  mental  deficiency.  As  the 
evil  changes  are  commonly  not  manifest  until  a  year  or  more 
after  birth,  an  objection  might  well  be  made  to  the  description 
of  them  as  original  defects ;  but  whatever  the  nature  of  the 
unknown  morbid  influence  which  is  the  cause  of  cretinism, 
whether  malarious  or  not,  it  can  admit  of  no  question  that  it 
acts  upon  the  mother  perniciously,  and  predetermines  the  cre- 
tinism of  the  child. 

(c)  It  is  obvious  that  an  arrest  of  the  development  of  the 
brain  occurring  soon  after  birth  may  give  rise  to  idiocy  just  as 
certainly  as  an  arrest  occurring  some  time  before  birth.  And 
although  an  objection  might  here  again  be  made  to  the  de- 
scription of  such  a  defect  as  original,  yet  if  we  reflect  that  the 
important  development  of  the  brain  as  the  supreme  organ  of  the 
conscious  life,  as  subserving  the  mental  organization,  does  really 

*  Absence  or  defect  of  the  corpus  callosum  has  been  sometimes  met  with  after 
death ;  and  in  most  of  the  cases  of  this  sort,  there  was  some  degree  of  mental 
weakness  or  idiocy  during  life.  Dr.  Julius  Sander  has  collected  ten  cases,  which 
appear  to  be  all  the  cases  hitherto  recorded  of  this  defect,  and  described  them  in 
Griesinger's  Archiv.  fiir  Psychiatric  und  Nervenkrankheiten,  b.  i.  1868. 

+  Observations  on  the  deranged  Manifestations  of  the  Mind.  By  J.  S.  Spurz- 
heim,  M.D.     Also,  Lectures  on  Man.     By  W.  Lawrence,  F. R.S. 

252  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

take  place  after  birth,  we  may  admit  a  defect  rendering  such 
development  impossible,  to  be,  though  not  congenital,  practically 
original.  There  are  many  idiots  in  whom  the  brain  and  body 
appear  to  be  well  formed,  while  the  mental  development  remains 
at  the  lowest  stage.  Accidental  affections  of  the  brain  arresting 
its  development  after  birth,  while  the  rest  of  the  body  goes 
through  its  normal  growth,  have  occurred  in  some  of  these  cases  ; 
epilepsy  is  not  uncommonly  such  a  cause  of  idiocy ;  but  it  is 
impossible  in  some  cases  to  assign  any  definite  cause  of  the 
arrest.  Other  idiotic  creatures  have  the  development  of  the 
body  as  well  as  mind  arrested  :  the  extremest  cases  of  this  kind 
are  those  in  which  there  has  been  a  complete  cessation  of  growth 
at  an  early  period  of  childhood,  without  any  observable  deformity. 
Dancel  has  recorded  the  case  of  a  girl,  aged  twenty-four,  who  had 
developed  normally  up  to  the  age  of  three  and  a  half  years,  after 
which  no  further  growth  took  place  until  she  reached  eighteen 
and  a  half  years,  her  bodily  and  mental  condition  being  that  of 
a  child  of  three  and  a  half  years  old.  At  twenty-one  she  in- 
creased a  little  more  in  size,  and  then  remained  unchanged  for 
the  rest  of  life.  Baillarger  exhibited,  in  May  1857,  to  the  French 
Academy  of  Medicine,  a  young  woman  aged  twenty-seven,  who 
only  had  the  intelligence  and  inclinations  of  a  child  four  years 
old,  and  who  was  about  three  feet  high.  I  have  seen  a  some- 
what similar  instance  in  an  idiot  boy.  These  extreme  and 
singular  cases  are  well  calculated  to  excite  surprise  and  curiosity ; 
they  are,  however,  only  the  manifest  consequences  of  a  deficiency 
in  developmental  power  which  is  not  unfrequently  met  with  in 
less  marked  degree,  and  which  is  actually  witnessed  in  every 
sort  of  degree.  In  any  large  idiot  asylum  there  are  to  be  found 
some  who,  without  any  particular  deformity,  without  any  ob- 
servable disease  of  brain  or  defective  development  of  it,  are 
generally  sluggish  both  in  bodily  and  mental  development ;  their 
size  is  small ;  their  sexual  development  takes  place  late  in  life, 
or  perhaps  does  not  take  place  at  all ;  they  often  exhibit  some 
peculiarity  of  countenance,  perhaps  a  squint ;  in  mental  capacity 
they  are  in  advance  of  the  true  idiots,  for  they  can  learn  a  little, 
are  capable  of  remembering,  and,  perhaps,  imitate  cleverly  :  some 
of  them  constitute  the  "show-cases"  of  the  idiot  asylum  when 
they  are  in  it  ;  and  when  they  are  not,  they  may  become  difficult 


cases  for  medico-legal  inquiry,  in  which  the  decision  come  to, 
whatever  it  be,  may  be  challenged  not  without  reason.  All  the 
concern  that  we  have  with  them  here  is  to  draw  from  them  the 
certain  conclusion  that  there  may,  by  reason  of  unknown  con- 
ditions affecting  nutrition,  be  every  degree  of  imperfect  develop- 
ment of  mind  and  body  down  to  actual  incapacity  to  develop 
at  all. 

The  causes  of  the  defective  cerebral  development  which  is  the 
physical  condition  of  idiocy  are  often  traceable  to  parents. 
Frequent  intermarriage  in  families  may  undoubtedly  lead  to  a  de- 
generation which  manifests  itself  in  individuals  by  deaf  mutism, 
albinonism,  and  idiocy.*  Parental  intemperance  and  excess,  ac- 
cording to  Dr.  Howe,  hold  high  places  as  causes  of  convulsions, 
idiocy,  and  imbecility  in  children ;  out  of  300  idiots  in  the  State 
of  Massachusetts,  whose  histories  were  carefully  investigated,  as 
many  as  145  were  the  offspring  of  intemperate  parents.f  Here, 
as  elsewhere  in  nature,  like  produces  like  ;  and  the  parent  who 
makes  himself  a  temporary  lunatic  or  idiot  by  his  degrading  vice, 
propagates  his  kind  in  procreation,  and  entails  on  his  children 
the  curse  of  the  most  hopeless  fate.  Again,  the  natural  term  of 
insanity  proceeding  unchecked  through  generations  is,  as  Morel 
has  shown,  sterile  idiocy.  When  men  wilfully  frustrate  the 
noble  purposes  of  their  being,  and  selfishly  ignore  the  laws  of 
hereditary  transmission,  nature  takes  the  matter  out  of  their 
hands,  and  puts  a  stop  to  the  propagation  of  degeneracy. 
During  foetal  life  great  fright  or  other  mental  agitation  affect- 
ing the  mother,  or  irregularities  and  excesses  on  her  part,  and 
during  parturition  injury  to  its  head,  may  occasion  a  congenital 
mental  defect  in  the  child.  But  many  of  the  causes  of  idiocy 
operate  after  birth  up  to  the  third  or  fourth  year.  They  are 
epilepsy,  the  acute  exanthemata,  perhaps  syphilis,  and  certainly 
starvation,  dirt,  and  overcrowding. 

When  there  are  no  such  signs  of  degeneracy  as  to  warrant 
the  mention  of  idiocy  even  in  its  mildest  form,  there  is  still 
abundant  room  for  physical  causes  of  psychical  defect,  without 
our  being  able  to  recognise  them.     The  exceeding  sensibility  of 

*  On  Consanguineous  Marriages.  By  Arthur  Mitchell,  M.D. — Edinburgh 
Medical  Journal,  1865. 

+  Report  on  the  Causes  of  Idiocy  in  the  State  of  Massachusetts. 

254  OX  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXITY.  [chap. 

nervous  structure,  whereby  an  impression  made  at  one  point  is 
almost  instantaneously  felt  at  any  distance,  is  the  sure  testimony 
of  delicate,  active,  but  occult  movements  of  its  molecules  which, 
like  thermal  oscillations  or  undulations  of  light,  or  the  intimate 
molecular  conditions  of  colour,  belong  to  that  inner  life  of  nature 
that  is  still  impenetrable  to  our  most  delicate  means  of  investi- 
gation, still  inaccessible  to  our  most  subtile  inquiries.  "Who  can 
say  what  is  the  nature  of  those  hidden  molecular  activities  which 
are  the  direct  causes  of  our  different  tastes  and  smells  ?  Could 
we  but  ascertain  what  these  intimate  operations  essentially  are, 
we  might  perhaps  attain  to  some  knowledge  of  the  intimate 
constitution  of  bodies ;  indeed  it  seems  not  improbable  that  in 
the  scientific  cultivation  and  development  of  the  senses  of  taste 
and  smell,  as  the  eye,  the  ear,  and  the  touch  have  been  cultivated 
and  developed,  we  may  ultimately  gain  some  means  of  insight 
into  the  inner  recesses  of  nature. 

A  second  reason  why  there  may  be  numerous  and  serious 
defects  of  nervous  structure  without  its  being  possible  to  recog- 
nise them,  is  based  upon  the  infinitely  complex  and  exquisitely 
deHcate  structure  of  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres.  It 
would  certainly  be  most  unwarrantable  to  assume  that  the 
physical  paths  of  nervous  function  in  the  supreme  centres  may 
not  be  actually  obliterated  without  our  being  any  the  wiser,  when 
it  was  only  yesterday,  so  to  speak,  that  men  succeeded,  after 
infinite  patient  research,  in  demonstrating  a  direct  communication 
between  the  different  nerve-cells,  and  between  nerve  fibres  and 
cells.  The  obliteration  of  such  a  physical  communication  in  the 
supreme  centres  would  simply  render  impossible  a  certain  asso- 
ciation of  ideas,  or  the  transference  of  the  activity  of  the  idea  to 
a  nerve-fibre — the  function  and  the  expression  of  mind. 

Thirdly,  it  must  be  admitted  that,  all  question  of  defect  of 
physical  structure  put  aside,  the  extremest  derangement  of 
function  might  be  due  to  chemical  changes  in  nerve  element 
— changes  which,  in  the  present  state  of  knowledge,  are  still 
less  discoverable  in  so  complex  a  compound  than  physical 
changes.  Examine  the  cells  of  a  man's  brain  at  the  end  of  a  day 
of  great  mental  activity,  and  at  the  beginning  of  a  day  after  a 
good  night's  rest ;  what  difference  would  be  detectable  ?  Xone 
whatever  ;  yet  the  actual  difference  is  between  a  decomposition 


and  a  recomposition  of  nerve  element — between  a  capacity  and 
an  incapacity  of  function. 

It  is  beyond  question,  then,  that  there  may  be  modifications  of 
the  polar  molecules  of  nerve  element,  changes  in  its  chemical 
composition,  and  defects  in  the  physical  constitution  of  nervous 
centres,  entirely  undetectable  by  us,  all  of  which  do  nevertheless 
gravely  affect  function,  and  are  thus  most  surely  testified. 

To  affirm,  then,  that  all  men  are  born  equal,  as  is  sometimes 
heedlessly  done,  is  to  make  about  as  palpably  untrue  a  propo- 
sition as  it  is  possible  to  make  in  so  many  words.  There  is  as 
great  a  variety  of  minds  as  there  observably  is  of  faces  or  of 
voices  :  as  no  two  faces  and  no  two  voices  are  exactly  alike,  so 
are  no  two  minds  exact  counterparts  of  one  another.  Men  differ 
greatly  both  in  original  capacity  and  in  quality  of  brain.  In 
some  there  is  the  potentiality  of  great  and  varied  development, 
whilst  in  others  there  is  the  innate  incapacity  of  any  develop- 
ment ;  and  between  the  two  extremes  every  gradation  exists. 
There  are  important  differences  also  in  the  quality  of  the  brain 
in  different  people  :  in  some  the  mental  reaction  to  impressions 
is  sluggish  and  incomplete,  and,  without  being  idiots,  they  are 
slow  at  perception  and  stupid;  in  others,  the  reaction,  though 
not  quick,  is  very  complete,  and  they  retain  ideas  very  firmly, 
although  they  are  slow  at  acquiring  them  ;  in  some,  again,  the 
reaction  is  rapid  and  lively,  but  evanescent,  so  that,  though 
quick  at  perception,  they  retain  ideas  with  difficulty ;  while  in 
others,  that  just  equilibrium  between  the  internal  and  external 
exists  by  which  the  reaction  is  exactly  adequate  to  the  impres- 
sion, and  the  consequent  assimilation  is  most  complete.  These 
natural  differences  in  the  taking  up  of  impressions  plainly  hold 
good  also  of  the  further  processes  of  digestion  and  combination 
of  idea,  which  in  the  progress  of  mental  development  follow 
upon  the  concrete  perception.  It  is  easy  surely  to  perceive  that 
we  have,  as  original  facts  of  nature,  every  kind  of  variation  in 
the  quality  of  mind  and  in  the  degree  of  reasoning  capacity. 

So  long  as  we  are  unable  to  discover  any  explanation  of  the 
causation  of  a  fact  which  yet  seems  to  stand  out  very  distinctly, 
it  is  wonderful  how  difficult  it  is  to  accept  it  heartily,  how  easy 
indeed  it  becomes  to  overlook  it  habitually ;  but  as  soon  as  we 
have  attained  to  a  knowledge  of  its  cause  and  relations,  then  the 

256  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXI1T.  [chap. 

recognition  of  it  becomes  a  part  of  our  habit  of  thought  and  per- 
ception :  it  has  entered  into  our  mental  organization.  Because 
it  has  been  the  fashion  to  look  upon  an  individual  as  if  he 
were  the  product  of  an  independent  creative  act,  and  a  self- 
sufficient  being — because  men  commonly  look  not  beyond  a 
single  link  in  the  chain  of  causation — therefore  it  has  been 
impossible  hitherto  to  uproot  the  erroneous  notion,  explicitly 
declared  or  implicitly  held,  that  each  one  is  endowed  by  nature 
with  a  certain  fixed  mental  potentiality  of  uniform  character. 
But  now  that  observation  reveals  more  and  more  clearly  every 
day  how  much  the  capacity  and  character,  bodily  and  mental,  of 
the  individual  is  dependent  upon  his  ancestral  antecedents,  it  is 
impossible  to  deny  that  a  man  may  suffer  irremediable  ill  through 
the  misfortune  of  a  bad  descent.  Each  one  is  a  link  in  the  chain 
of  organic  beings,  a  physical  consequent  of  physical  antecedents; 
the  idiot  is  not  an  accident,  nor  the  irreclaimable  criminal  an 
unaccountable  casualty  ;  the  laws  of  causality  have  sway  here 
as  elsewhere  in  nature.  It  cannot,  therefore,  but  be  of  the 
utmost  importance,  when  tracing  the  causation  of  insanity,  to 
weigh  closely  the  elements  of  the  individual  character. 

Viewed  on  its  physical  side,  as  it  rightly  should  be  viewed,  a 
predisposition  to  insanity  means  nothing  less  than  an  actual 
defect  or  vice  of  some  kind  in  the  constitution  or  composition  of 
the  nerve  element  of  which  the  mental  phenomena  are  functional 
manifestations  ;  there  is  an  instability  of  organic  composition 
which  is  the  direct  result  of  certain  unfavourable  physical  ante- 
cedents. The  retrograde  metamorphosis  of  mind,  manifest  in  the 
different  kinds  of  insanity,  and  proceeding  as  far  as  actual  ex- 
tinction in  extreme  examples  of  dementia,  is  the  further  physical 
consequence  of  the  hidden  defect  of  constitution  or  composition 
of  nerve  element.  It  is  easy  enough,  no  doubt,  to  point  on  the 
one  hand,  to  the  nervous  substance  of  the  infertile  idiot's  brain, 
and  on  the  other  hand,  to  that  of  the  philosopher's,  and  to  main- 
tain that  the  kind  of  organic  element  of  which  they  are  con- 
stituted is  the  same,  as  it  certainly  appears  to  be ;  but  so  long 
as  we  have  no  exact  knowledge  of  the  constitution  of  nerve 
element,  such  an  assertion  is  an  unwarrantable  assumption  ; 
and,  while  the  functional  effects  are  so  vastly  different  in  the 
two  cases,  there  are  the  most  valid  reasons  for  contradicting  it. 


The  conclusion,  then,  at  which  we  have  arrived  is,  that  when 
an  individual  is,  by  reason  of  a  bad  descent,  born  with  a  pre- 
disposition to  insanity,  he  has  a  native  constitution  of  nerve 
element  which,  whatever  name  may  be  given  to  it,  is  unstable 
or  defective,  rendering  him  unequal  to  bear  the  severe  stress  of 
adverse  events.  In  other  words,  the  man  has  the  insane  tempera- 
ment ;  he  is  liable  to  whimsical  caprices  of  thought  and  feeling ; 
and,  although  he  may  act  calmly  and  rationally  for  the  most  part, 
yet  now  and  then  his  unconscious  nature,  overpowering  and  sur- 
prising him,  instigates  eccentric  or  extravagant  actions  ;  while 
an  extraordinary  and  trying  emergency  may  upset  his  stability 
entirely.  If  it  were  thought  desirable  to  give  a  name  to  this 
temperament  or  diathesis,  as  in  algebra  we  employ  a  letter  to 
represent  an  unknown  quantity,  it  might  properly  be  described 
as  the  Diathesis  spasmodica  or  the  Neurosis  spasmodica;  such 
names  expressing  very  well  an  essential  character  of  the  tem- 
perament,— that  is,  the  tendency  to  independent  and  spasmodic 
action  on  the  part  of  the  different  nervous  centres.  There  is,  in 
fact,  some  inherent  instability  of  nervous  element,  whereby 
the  mutual  reaction  of  the  nerve-cells  in  the  higher  walks  of 
nervous  function  does  not  take  place  properly,  and  due  consent 
or  co-ordination  of  function  is  replaced  by  irregular  and  purpose- 
less independent  reaction  outwards  :  there  is,  as  it  were,  a  loss  of 
the  power  of  self-control  in  the  individual  nerve-cell,  an  inability 
of  calm  self-contained  activity,  subordinate  or  co-ordinate,  and 
its  energy  is  dissipated  in  an  explosive  display,  which,  like 
the  impulsive  action  of  the  passionate  man,  surely  denotes  an 
irritable  weakness.  Here,  as  elsewhere,  co-ordination  of  function 
signifies  power,  innate  or  acquired,  and  marks  exaltation  of 
organic  development.  Assuredly  the  worst  of  all  tyrannies  is 
the  tyranny  of  a  bad  organization,  the  best  of  all  inheritances 
the  inheritance  of  a  good  descent. 

Is  it  not  very  plain,  then,  how  impossible  it  is  to  do  full  justice 
to  any  individual,  sane  or  insane,  by  considering  him  as  an 
isolated  fact  ?  Beneath  his  conscious  activity  and  reflection 
there  lies  the  unconscious  inborn  nature  which  all  unawares 
mingles  continually  in  the  events  of  life— the  spontaneity 
whence  spring  the  sources  of  desire  and  the  impulses  of  action  ; 
for  the  conscious  and  the  unconscious,  like   warp  and  woof, 


258  OX  THE  CAUSES  OF  [XSAX1TY.  -    [char 

together  constitute  the  texture  of  life.  Xo  one,  be  he  ever  so 
cunning  in  dissimulation  or  crafty  in  reticence,  can  conceal  or 
misrepresent  himself;  in  spite  of  art  his  real  nature  reveals 
itself  in  every  movement  of  the  part  which  he  plays,  in  every 
pulsation  of  his  life.  The  inborn  nature  constitutes  the  founda- 
tion upon  which  all  the  acquisitions  of  development  must  rest, 
the  substratum  in  which  all  conscious  mental  phenomena  are 
fundamentally  rooted.  When  it  is  radically  defective,  no  amount 
of  systematic  labour  will  avail  to  counterbalance  entirely  the 
defect:  it  were  as  hopeless  to  attempt  to  rear  the  massive  struc- 
ture of  a  royal  palace  upon  foundations  dug  only  for  a  cottage  as 
to  impose  the  superstructure  of  a  large,  vigorous,  and  complete 
culture  upon  the  rotten  foundations  which  an  inherited  taint  of 
nerve  element  implies:  something  will  always  be  wanting,  some 
crack  in  the  building  will  discover  the  instability  of  the  founda- 
tions, even  when  the  whole  structure  does  not  fall  "  in  ruin 
hurled."  Any  mental  philosophy  which  takes  no  notice  of  the 
foundations  of  the  character,  but  ignores  the  important  individual 
differences  of  nature,  does  not  truly  reflect  the  facts,  and  cannot 
fail  to  be  a  provisional  and  transitory  system.  It  is  guilty,  in 
fact,  of  the  same  error  as  that  into  which  an  introspective 
psychology  falls,  when,  isolating  the  particular  state  of  mind,  and 
neglecting  the  antecedent  conditions  upon  which  it  has  followed, 
it  pronounces  the  will  to  be  free ;  by  isolating  the  individual, 
and  forgetting  that  he  is  but  a  link  in  the  long  chain  of  nature's 
organic  evolution,  it  transforms  him  into  an  abstract  and  im- 
possible entit}-,  and  often  judges  his  actions  with  a  most  unjust 

2.  Quantity  and  Quality  of  the  Blood. — The  grey  centres  of 
the  brain,  and  especially  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemispheres, 
are  well  known  to  be  richly  supplied  with  blood-vessels,  even 
when  comparison  is  made  with  the  notably  abundant  supply  of 
the  spinal  centres.  The  ideational  cells  demand  for  the  due 
exercise  of  their  functions  a  rapid  renewal  of  arterial  blood,  and 
there  is  obviously  an  active  interchange  of  some  kind  con- 
tinually going  on  between  the  blood  and  the  nervous  elements. 
The  quantity  and  quality  of  the  blood,  therefore,  circulating 
through  the  supreme  centres,  must  affect  their  functions  in  an 
important   manner,  especially  as  they  are  the  most  sensitive 

i.]  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  IN  SAN irr.  259 

elements  of  the  body  in  this  regard.  When  the  most  skilful 
chemist  is  unable  to  detect  anything  unusual  in  the  atmosphere 
of  a  room  in  which  are  many  people,  a  delicate  woman  may  get 
a  headache  and  actually  faint  away.  Send  through  the  brain  of 
any  one  blood  charged  with  carbonic  acid,  and  destiny  could  not 
doom  Mm  not  to  die  ;  whilst  a  mixture  of  air  and  carbonic  acid 
in  certain  proportions,  inspired  like  chloroform,  will,  like  it,  act 
as  an  anaesthetic,  paralysing  consciousness. 

When  there  is  a  rapid  flow  of  healthy  blood  through  the 
supreme  cerebral  centres,  a  quick  interchange  goes  on  between 
the  nerve-cells  and  the  blood,  and  the  excitation  and  inter- 
action of  ideas  proceed  with  great  vivacity.  The  effect  of  active 
thought  is  to  produce  such  a  determination  of  blood,  which  in 
turn  is  the  necessary  condition  of  the  continuance  of  the  active 
function.  But  when  a  natural  determination  of  blood  degene- 
rates into  a  greater  or  less  stasis  or  congestion,  as  it  may  easily 
do  when  intellectual  activity  is  too  much  prolonged,  or  when 
congestion  is  otherwise  produced,  then  there  is  an  inability  to 
think ;  confusion  of  thought,  emotional  depression  and  irrita- 
bility, swimming  in  the  head,  disturbance  of  sight  and  of  hearing, 
testify  to  a  morbid  condition  of  things.  It  is  striking  how  com- 
pletely a  slight  congestion  of  the  brain  may  incapacitate  any  one 
for  mental  activity,  and  how  entirely  the  strong  man  is  prostrated 
thereby :  an  afflicting  stagnation  of  ideas  accompanies  the  stagna- 
tion of  blood ;  and  he,  heretofore  so  strong  and  confident,  realizes 
in  vivid  affright  on  how  slight  a  thread  hangs  the  whole  fabric 
of  his  intellect.  If  the  morbid  state  should,  instead  of  remaining 
passive,  or  passing  away  altogether,  become  active,  as  it  does 
when  actual  inflammation  occurs,  then  the  functional  activity  of 
the  cerebral  cells  becomes  most  irregular  and  degenerate;  the 
co-ordination  of  function  maintained  in  health  is  lost,  as  that  of 
the  spinal  cord  is  under  like  circumstances,  and  a  wild  and  in- 
coherent delirium  witnesses  to  the  independent  and,  if  we  might 
so  speak,  convulsive  action  of  the  different  cells :  the  delirious 
ideas  are  the  expression  of  a  condition  of  things  in  the  supreme 
centres  which  is  the  counterpart  of  that  which  in  the  spinal 
centres  utters  itself  in  spasmodic  movements  or  convulsions. 
With  the  destruction  of  that  co-ordination  of  function  which 
volition  implies   the  will  is  necessarily  abolished ;    and  such 


2(30  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

purposeless  or  dangerous  acts  as  the  delirious  being  executes  are 
dictated  by  the  morbid  ideas  that  automatically  arise.  Some 
with  inconsiderate  haste  speak  of  this  degenerate  activity  in  its 
earlier  stages  as  increased  mental  activity,  as  they  also  speak  of 
active  inflammation  as  increased  vital  action  ;  not  otherwise 
than  as  if  convulsions  were  accounted  the  sure  signs  of  strength, 
or  as  if  the  tale  of  an  idiot,  because  it  is  full  of  sound  and  fury, 
though  signifying  nothing,  were  the  safe  index  of  a  high  mental 
activity.  Dr.  Mason  Cox  pointed  out  long  ago  that  in  certain  of 
the  insane  the  pulse  in  the  radial  and  carotid  arteries  sometimes 
differed,  being  soft  and  weak  in  the  former  when  full  and  hard 
in  the  latter.  Of  no  small  interest,  in  relation  to  the  influence 
of  the  supply  of  blood  to  the  brain,  are  the  vigour  and  renewal 
of  action  sometimes  imparted  by  an  attack  of  fever  to  a  brain 
enfeebled  by  chronic  insanity;  patients  in  an  advanced  state  of 
insanity  even  becoming  quite  rational  for  a  time  during  fever, 
and  relapsing  after  its  subsidence ;  or  a  demented  patient,  who 
usually  exhibits  no  spark  of  intelligence,  then  quickening  into 
a  certain  mental  activity* 

Since  the  time  of  Hippocrates  it  has  been  known  that  when 
there  is  too  little  blood  in  the  brain  symptoms  are  exhibited 
similar  to  those  which  are  produced  by  a  congestion  of  blood : 
pains  and  swimming  in  the  head,  confusion  and  incapacity  of 
thought,  affections   of  the  senses  and  of  movement,  occur  in 

*  Examples  of  such  revival  of  cerebral  functions  during  fever  have  been  related 
by  various  authors.  The  following  may  suffice  here  : — "  The  following  case, 
related  to  me  by  a  medical  friend,  will  serve  to  show  that  even  in  idiocy  the  mind 
may  be  rather  suppressed  than  destroyed.  A  young  woman,  who  was  employed 
as  a  domestic  servant  by  the  father  of  the  relater  when  he  was  a  boy,  became 
insane,  and  at  length  sunk  into  a  state  of  perfect  idiocy  (dementia).  In  this  con- 
dition she  remained  for  many  years,  when  she  was  attacked  by  a  typhus  fever ; 
and  my  friend,  having  then  practised  some  time,  attended  her.  He  was  sur- 
prised to  observe,  as  the  fever  advanced,  a  development  of  the  mental  powers. 
During  that  period  of  the  fever  when  others  are  delirious,  this  patient  was 
entirely  rational.  She  recognised,  in  the  face  of  her  medical  attendant,  the  son 
of  her  old  master  whom  she  had  known  so  many  years  before  ;  and  she  related 
many  circumstances  respecting  the  family,  and  others  which  had  happened  to 
herself  in  her  earlier  days.  But,  alas  !  it  was  only  the  gleam  of  reason ;  as  the 
fever  abated,  clouds  again  enveloped  the  mind  ;  she  sank  into  her  former  de- 
plorable state,  and  remained  in  it  until  her  death,  which  happened  a  few  years 
afterwards." — Description  of  the  Retreat  near  York,  p.  137.  By  Samuel  Tuke. 


consequence  of  anaemia  of  the  brain  as  certainly  as  they  do  in 
consequence  of  congestion.  In  both  cases  the  due  nutrition  of 
the  nerve-cell,  which  is  the  agent  of  cerebral  function,  is  greatly 
hindered  ;  and  much  of  the  ill  effect  is  similar  though  the  cause 
appears  to  be  so  different.  In  reality,  however,  the  causes  are 
not  so  different  when  we  proceed  to  analyse  the  conditions 
comprised  under  the  terms  anaemia  and  congestion.  In  that 
continued  relation  between  the  organic  element  and  the  blood 
by  which  the  due  reparative  material  is  brought  and  waste 
matter  carried  away,  it  amounts  to  much  the  same  thing  whether, 
through  stasis  of  the  blood,  the  refuse  is  not  carried  off  and 
reparative  material  brought  to  the  spot  where  it  is  wanted, 
or  whether  the  like  result  ensues  by  reason  of  a  defective  blood 
and  deficient  circulation  :  it  is  little  matter  to  the  inhabitants 
whether  the  street  is  almost  blocked,  or  whether  its  entrance  is 
almost  closed,  so  long  as  free  circulation  is  prevented.  If  the 
carotid  arteries  of  a  dog  be  tied,  and  pressure  be  then  made  on 
its  vertebral  arteries,  as  was  done  by  Sir  A.  Cooper,  the  functions 
of  the  brain  are  entirely  suspended — the  animal  falls  into  a  deep 
coma,  its  respiration  ceases  in  a  few  moments,  and  it  appears  to 
be  dead ;  but,  if  the  pressure  be  removed  from  the  vertebral 
arteries,  the  manifestations  of  life  reappear,  and  the  animal  regains 
rapidly  the  integrity  of  its  cerebral  functions.  Brown-Sequard 
has  made  this  experiment :  he  severed  the  head  of  a  dog  from 
its  body,  and,  at  the  expiration  of  about  eight  or  ten  minutes, 
when  all  traces  of  excitability  had  disappeared  in  the  medulla 
oblongata  and  the  rest  of  the  encephalon,  he  made,  by  means 
of  a  suitable  apparatus,  repeated  injections  of  defibrinated  and 
oxygenated  blood  into  the  carotid  and  vertebral  arteries.  At  the 
end  of  two  or  three  minutes,  after  some  irregular  movements,  he 
found  the  manifestations  of  life  reappear;  there  were  visible, 
in  the  muscles  of  the  eyes  and  of  the  face,  movements  which 
appeared  to  indicate  that  the  cerebral  functions  were  re-estab- 
lished in  the  head  separated  from  the  body. 

Temporary  irregularities  in  the  supply  of  blood  to  the  supreme 
nervous  centres  may,  and  often  do,  pass  away  without  leaving 
any  ill  consequences  behind  them ;  but  when  they  recur  fre- 
quently, and  become  more  lasting,  their  disappearance  is  by 
no  means  the  disappearance  of  the  entire  evil :  the  effect  has 

262  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSAXITT.  [chap. 

become  a  cause  that  continues  in  action  after  the  original  cause 
has  been  removed ;  and  permanent  mental  disorder  may  be  thus 
established.  Once  the  habit  of  morbid  action  is  fixed  in  a  part, 
it  continues  as  naturally  as,  under  better  auspices,  the  normal 
physiological  action.  It  is  ever,  therefore,  of  the  first  importance 
to  give  timely  heed  to  the  earliest  warning  which  morbid  action 
gives ;  but  it  is  of  especial  importance  to  do  so  in  the  case  of 
organic  element  so  exceedingly  susceptible  and  so  exquisitely 
delicate  as  is  nerve  element 

A  perverted  condition  of  the  blood  quickly  exercises  a  marked 
effect  upon  the  function  of  the  supreme  cerebral  cells.  The 
influence  of  alcohol  upon  the  mental  function  furnishes  the  sim- 
plest instance  in  illustration  of  the  action  of  a  foreign  matter 
introduced  into  the  blood  from  without :  here,  where  each  phase 
of  an  artificially-produced  insanity  is  successively  passed  through 
in  a  brief  space  of  time,  we  have  the  abstract  and  brief  chronicle 
of  the  history  of  insanity.  The  first  effect  of  alcohol  is  to  pro- 
duce an  agreeable  excitement,  a  lively  flow  of  ideas,  and  a  general 
activity  of  mind — a  condition  not  unlike  that  which  sometimes 
precedes  an  attack  of  mania ;  then  there  follows,  as  in  insanity, 
the  automatic  excitation  of  ideas  which  start  up  and  follow  one 
another  without  order,  so  that  more  or  less  incoherence  of  thought 
and  speech  is  exhibited,  while  at  the  same  time  passion  is  easily 
excited,  which  takes  different  forms,  according  to  the  individual 
temperament ;  after  this  stage  has  lasted  for  a  time,  in  some 
longer,  in  others  shorter,  it  passes  into  one  of  depression  and 
maudlin  melancholy,  as  convulsion  passes  into  paralysis ;  the 
last  scene  of  all  being  one  of  dementia  and  stupor.  The  different 
stages  of  mental  disorder  are  compressed  into  a  short  period  of 
time  because  the  action  of  the  poison  is  quick  and  transitory  ; 
we  have  only  to  spread  the  poisonous  action  over  years,  as  the 
regular  drunkard  does,  and  we  may  get  a  chronic  and  enduring 
insanity  in  which  the  scenes  above  described  are  more  slowly 
acted.  The  chronic  insanity  so  produced  has  been  called  the 
insanity  of  alcoholization :  its  most  constant  symptoms  are  hal- 
lucinations of  hearing,  and  sometimes  of  touch,  leading  to  the 
belief  in  persecution  by  spies,  mesmeric  action,  magnetic  in- 
fluence, and  like  evil  agencies  ;  the  memory  is  usually  much 
enfeebled,  the   intellect   dull,  and   the   higher   sentiments    are 


blunted.  Or,  if  death  cuts  short  the  career  of  the  individual, 
and  puts  a  stop  to  the  full  development  of  the  tragedy  in  his 
life,  we  may  still  not  be  disappointed  of  seeing  it  played  out  in 
the  lives  of  his  descendants  ;  for  the  drunkenness  of  the  parent 
sometimes  observably  becomes  the  insanity  of  the  offspring, 
which  thereupon,  if  not  interfered  with,  goes  through  the  course 
of  degeneracy  already  described.  It  is  worth  while  to  take  note 
here  how  differently  alcohol  affects  different  people,  according 
to  their  temperaments,  ever  bringing  forward  the  unconscious 
real  nature  of  the  man :  of  one  it  makes  a  furious  maniac  for 
the  time  being;  another  it  makes  maudlin  and  melancholic; 
and  a  third  under  its  influence  is  stupid  and  heavy  from  the 
beginning.  So  it  is  with  insanity  otherwise  caused  :  the  par- 
ticular constitution  or  temperament,  rather  than  the  exciting 
cause  of  the  disease,  determines  the  form  which  the  madness 
takes.  An  exact  differential  pathology  would  involve  the  know- 
ledge of  what  constitutes  individual  temperament. 

Many  other  poisons  besides  alcohol,  as  opium,  belladonna, 
Indian  hemp,  stimulate  and  ultimately  derange  the  function  of 
the  supreme  cerebral  cells.  It  is  deserving  of  remark  that  the  dif- 
ferent nervous  centres  of  the  body  manifest  elective  affinities  for 
particular  poisons  :  while  the  spinal  centres  have  a  special  affinity 
for  strychnine,  the  cerebral  centres  seem  to  be  unaffected  by  it ; 
belladonna,  on  the  other  hand,  seems  rather  to  depress  spinal 
activity,  but  produces  a  great  effect  upon  the  centres  of  conscious- 
ness, giving  rise,  at  an  early  period  of  its  action,  to  delirium 
characterised  by  extreme  delusions ;  and  Indian  hemp  concen- 
trates its  action  mainly  on  the  sensory  centres,  exciting  remark- 
able hallucinations.  That  medicinal  substances  do  display  these 
elective  affinities  is  a  proof,  at  any  rate,  that  there  are  important 
though  delicate  differences  in  the  constitution  or  composition  of 
the  different  nervous  centres,  notwithstanding  that  we  are  unable 
to  detect  the  nature  of  them.  It  may  be  also  that  there  is  shadowed 
out  in  these  different  effects  of  poisons  on  the  nervous  system  a 
means  which  may  ultimately  be  of  use  in  the  investigation  of 
the  constitution  of  the  latter.  Though  the  rapid  recovery  from 
the  effects  of  these  poisons  proves  that  the  combination  which 
they  form  with  nerve  element  is  temporary,  it  must  be  borne  in 
mind  with  regard  to  them,  as  with  regard  to  alcohol,  that  the 

264  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

nervous  system,  when  repeatedly  exposed  to  their  poisonous 
influence,  acquires  a  disposition  to  irregular  or  morbid  action, 
even  when  they  are  not  present ;  so  that  more  or  less  delirium, 
hallucinations,  and  insanity  are  the  results  of  their  continued 
abuse — they  are  efficient  to  initiate  a  degeneracy  which  then 
proceeds  of  itself. 

But  the  condition  of  the  blood  may  be  perverted  by  reason  of 
something  bred  in  it,  or  by  reason  of  the  retention  in  it  of  some 
substance  which  should  rightly  be  excreted  from  it.  Without 
any  change  whatsoever  having  taken  place  in  his  external  rela- 
tions, the  presence  of  bile  in  his  blood  may  drive  any  one  to 
regard  his  surroundings  and  his  future  in  the  gloomiest  light 
imaginable ;  he  may  know  that  a  few  hours  ago  things  looked 
quite  differently,  and  may  believe  that  in  a  few  hours  more  they 
will  again  have  a  different  aspect,  yet  for  the  time  being  he  is 
the  victim  of  a  humour  which  he  cannot  withstand.  Philosophy 
is  of  no  avail  to  him ;  for  philosophy  cannot  remove  that  con- 
dition of  nervous  element  which  the  impure  blood  has  engendered, 
and  which  is  the  occasion  of  his  gloomy  feelings  and  painful 
conceptions.  Carry  this  morbid  state  of  nervous  element  to  a 
further  stage  of  degeneration,  there  ensues  the  genuine  melan- 
cholia of  insanity.  In  like  manner  the  presence  of  some  urinary 
product  in  the  blood  of  a  gouty  patient  gives  rise  to  an  irritability 
which  no  amount  of  mental  control  can  remove,  though  it  may 
succeed  sometimes  in  repressing  its  manifestations.  The  mental 
tone  being,  as  already  set  forth,  the  expression  of  a  physical 
condition  of  nervous  element,  is  beyond  conscious  determination 
just  as  the  delirium  and  convulsions  of  the  patient  dying  from 
uremic  poisoning  are  beyond  control.  All  writers  on  gout  are 
agreed  that  a  suppressed  gout  may  produce  severe  mental  dis- 
order, and  that  the  sudden  disappearance  of  a  gouty  swelling  is 
sometimes  followed  by  an  outbreak  of  insanity.  Lord  Chatham, 
who  was  so  great  a  martyr  to  that  disease,  had  an  attack  of  dis- 
tressing melancholy  lasting  for  nearly  two  years,  from  which  he 
only  recovered  after  an  attack  of  the  usual  gouty  paroxysm.  I 
have  recently  seen  two  cases  of  severe  melancholia  in  elderly 
persons  of  the  gouty  diathesis,  in  which  the  best  results  followed 
the  treatment  suitable  to  gout ;  and  in  one  old  lady,  who  Mas 
deeply  melancholic,  rheumatism  seemed  finally  to  take  the  place 


of  the  mental  unsoundness.  It  can  admit  of  no  question  that 
every  degree  of  mental  disorder,  from  the  mildest  feeling  of 
melancholic  depression  to  the  extremest  fury  of  delirium,  may 
be  due  to  the  non-evacuation  from  the  blood  of  the  waste 
matters  of  the  tissues ;  but  as  we  know  very  little  at  present 
of  the  nature  of  those  waste  products  of  the  retrograde  meta- 
morphosis, and  of  the  different  transformations  which  they 
undergo  before  they  are  eliminated,  we  must  rest  content  with 
the  general  statement,  and  set  ourselves  in  practice  to  prosecute 
rigorous  inquiries  into  the  particular  instances.  The  irregulari- 
ties of  menstruation,  which  are  so  common  in  insanity,  are  of 
great  importance  in  regard  to  this  question :  the  return  of  the 
menses  at  their  due  season  not  unfrequently  heralds  recovery ; 
and,  on  the  other  hand,  severe  exacerbations  of  epilepsy  and 
insanity  sometimes  coincide  with  the  menstrual  period.  In  one 
case  of  a  demented  epileptic  under  my  care,  the  fits  always  came 
on  at  the  time  of  menstruation,  and  continued  in  severe  form 
during  the  progress  of  that  function ;  but  there  were  commonly 
no  fits  in  the  intervals :  on  the  other  hand,  many  cases  are  on 
record,  more  or  less  like  that  well-known  one  related  by  Esquirol, 
where  an  insane  girl,  whose  menses  had  ceased  for  some  time, 
recovered  her  senses  directly  they  began  to  flow. 

When  we  reflect  that  the  blood  is  itself  a  living,  developing 
fluid, — that,  "burnished  with  a  living  splendour,"  it  circulates 
through  the  body,  supplying  the  material  for  the  nutrition  of 
the  various  tissues,  receiving  again  their  waste  matter  and 
carrying  it  to  those  parts  where  it  may  either  be  appropriated 
and  removed  by  nutrition  or  eliminated  by  secretion, — it  is  plain 
that  multitudinous  changes  are  continually  taking  place  in  its 
constitution  and  composition ;  that  its  existence  is  a  continued 
metastasis.  There  is  the  widest  possibility,  therefore,  of  abr 
normal  changes  in  some  of  the  manifold  processes  of  its  complex 
life  and  function,  such  as  may  generate  products  injurious  or 
fatal  to  the  nutrition  of  the  different  tissues.  The  blood  itself 
may  not  reach  its  proper  growth  and  development  by  reason  of 
some  defect  in  the  function  of  the  glands  that  minister  to  its 
formation,  or,  carrying  the  cause  still  further  back,  by  reason  of 
wretched  conditions  of  life ;  there  is  in  consequence  a  defective 
nutrition  generally,  as  in  scrofulous  persons,  and  the  nervous 

266  ON  WE  CAUSES  OE  1XSAXITV.  [chap. 

system  shares  in  the  general  delicacy  of  constitution,  so  that, 
though  quickly  impressible  and  lively  in  reaction,  it  is  irritable, 
feeble,  and  easily  exhausted.  In  the  condition  known  as  anae- 
mia, we  have  an  observable  defect  in  the  blood  and  palpable 
nervous  suffering  in  consequence ;  headaches,  giddiness,  low 
spirits,  and  susceptibility  to  emotional  excitement  reveal  the 
morbid  effects.  Poverty  of  blood,  it  can  admit  of  no  doubt, 
plays  the  same  weighty  part  in  the  production  of  insanity  as  it 
does  in  the  production  of  other  nervous  diseases,  such  as  hysteria, 
chorea,  neuralgia,  and  even  epilepsy.  The  exhaustion  produced 
by  lactation  is  a  well-recognised  cause  of  mental  derangement ; 
and  a  great  loss  of  blood  during  childbirth  has  sometimes  been 
the  cause  of  an  outbreak  of  insanity.  But  while  we  can  thus 
detect  an  evil  so  manifest  as  a  great  loss  of  blood  or  a  deficiency 
of  iron  in  the  blood,  there  are  good  reasons  to  think  that  other 
graver  defects  in  its  constitution  or  development,  of  which  we 
can  give  no  account,  do  exist  and  give  rise  to  secondary  nervous 
degeneration.  It  is  in  this  way  probably  that  ill  conditions  of 
existence, — as  overcrowding,  bad  air,  insufficient  food,  intem- 
perance,— lead  to  defects  of  nervous  development,  or  to  actual 
arrest  thereof,  and  thus  produce  mental  as  well  as  physical 
deterioration  of  the  race. 

There  is  no  want  of  evidence  that  organic  morbid  poisons, 
bred  in  the  organism  or  in  the  blood  itself,  may  act  in  the  most 
baneful  manner  upon  the  supreme  nervous  centres.  That  these 
organic  poisons  do  act  in  a  definite  manner  on  the  organic 
elements,  and  give  rise  to  definite  morbid  actions,  is  proved  by 
the  symptoms  of  such  diseases  as  syphilis  and  small-pox.  Xow, 
tho  general  laws  observable  in  the  actions  of  morbid  poisons 
appear  for  the  most  part  similar  to  those  which  govern  the 
action  of  medicinal  substances  ;  and  as  the  "NVoorara  poison 
completely  paralyses  the  nerves  and  does  not  affect  the  muscles, 
or  as  strychnia  poisons  the  spinal  centres,  and  leaves  the  cere- 
bral centres  unaffected,  so  it  may  be  presumed  that  a  particular 
organic  virus  may  have  a  predominant  affinity  for  a  particular 
nervous  centre,  and  work  its  mischievous  work  there.  It  is 
certain  that  in  some  states  of  the  constitution  an  organic  virus 
is  generated  in  the  blood,  or  elsewhere  in  the  organism,  which 
almost  instantaneously  proves  fatal  to  the  life  of  nerve  element. 


— which  is,  indeed,  as  surely,  though  not  as  quickly,  fatal  as 
a  poisonous  dose  of  prussic  acid.  With  what  marvellous  de- 
structive force  certain  morbid  materials  bred  in  the  blood,  or 
passing  into  it,  may  act,  is  shown,  as  Mr.  Paget  has  pointed 
out,  in  certain  cases  of  so-called  putrid  infection  in  which  the 
patient  dies  after  an  injury  or  a  surgical  operation  before  there 
has  been  time  to  feel  the  after- consequences,  or  in  some  cases 
of  malignant  typhus  where  the  virus  is  directly  fatal  to  nerve 
element  before  the  fever  has  had  time  to  develop  itself.  It  is 
easily  conceivable  that  a  virus  which,  when  concentrated,  pro- 
duces fatal  results,  may,  when  acting  with  less  intensity,  give 
rise  to  nervous  derangement  which  stops  short  of  death.  The 
syphilitic  virus  usually  affects  the  nervous  system  more  or  less 
severely  at  one  period  or  other  of  its  action ;  but  in  some 
instances  it  appears  to  select  the  nervous  system  specially  for 
its  pernicious  influence,  or  to  concentrate  its  action  upon  it,  so 
as  to  produce  a  hopeless  insanity.  There  are  cases  on  record 
again,  in  which  mental  derangement  has  appeared  as  the  inter- 
mittent symptoms  of  ague  ;  instead  of  the  usual  symptoms  the 
patient  has  had  an  intermittent  insanity  in  regular  tertian  or 
quartan  attacks,  and  has  been  cured  by  the  treatment  for  inter- 
mittent fever.*  Sydenham  observed  and  describes  a  species  of 
mania  supervening  on  an  epidemic  of  intermittent  fever ;  con- 
trary to  all  other  kinds  of  madness,  he  says,  it  would  not  yield  to 
plentiful  venesection  and  purging  ;  slight  evacuations  prodvicing 
the  relapse  of  a  convalescent,  and  violent  ones  inevitably  render- 
ing the  patients  idiotic  and  incurable.   Griesinger  directs  special 

*  A  young  man  in  an  agueish  district  suffered  from  five  brief  attacks  of  mental 
derangement,  one  occurring  every  other  day.  The  attacks  began  with  an  in- 
describable feeling  of  pain  in  the  region  of  the  heart,  and  with  strong  pulsations 
of  the  heart.     This  was  the  starting  point  of  the  delirium,  from  which  the  patient 

recovered  after  a  deep  sleep.     He  was  cured  by  quinine. A  strong  peasant, 

aged  thirty,  who  had  never  had  ague  though  he  lived  in  an  agueish  district,  was 
suddenly  attacked  with  insanity.  He  believed  himself  to  be  Jesus  Christ,  and 
those  near  him  to  be  witches,  and  acted  with  violence  towards  them.  His  head 
was  hot ;  his  eyes  were  red  and  wild  ;  his  pulse  was  quick  and  his  tongue  white. 
After  cupping  and  the  application  of  ice  to  the  head,  he  recovered,  and  for  two 
days  remained  quite  sound  in  mind.  On  the  fourth  day,  however,  exactly  at  the 
same  time,  he  had  a  similar  attack,  and  again  a  third,  after  three  days  more. 
He  was  ctired  by  quinine. — Die,  Pathologic  und  Therapie  der  psychischen  Krank- 
heiten.     Von  Dr.  W.  Griesinger. 

268  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

attention  to  cases  in  which  mental  disorder  has  occurred  in  the 
course  of  acute  rheumatism,  the  swelling  of  the  joints  mean- 
while  subsiding  ;  and  Arnold  has  known  cases  of  people  subject 
to  frequent  fits  of  gout  who  have  had  none  while  suffering  from 
an  attack  of  insanity.  The  viruses  of  acute  fevers,  as  typhus 
and  typhoid,  may  notably  act  in  the  most  positive  manner  on 
the  supreme  nervous  cells,  giving  rise  to  an  active  delirium  or 
sometimes  to  a  more  or  less  enduring  insanity  ;  and,  where  they 
do  not  act  directly  at  the  height  of  the  fever,  they  may  still 
predispose  to  an  outbreak  of  insanity  during  the  decline  of  the 
acute  disease.  Not  only  may  a  morbid  poison  thus  attack  the 
nervous  system,  or  a  part  of  it,  but  it  should  be  borne  in  mind 
that  a  particular  virus  will  most  likely  produce  its  special  effects, 
not  otherwise  than  as  tea  ana  coffee  commonly  produce  wake- 
fulness while  opium  produces  sleep. 

The  earliest  and  mildest  mental  effect  by  which  a  perverted 
state  of  blood  declares  itself  is  not  in  the  production  of  positive 
delusion  or  of  incoherence  of  thought,  but  in  a  modification  of 
the  mental  tone.  Feelings  of  discomfort  or  depression,  of  irri- 
tability or  imeasiness,  testify  to  some  modification  of  the  statical 
condition  of  nervous  element ;  and  a  great  disposition  to  emo- 
tional subjectivity  is  the  psychical  manifestation  of  this  state. 
It  may  exist  in  different  degrees  of  intensity,  from  the  slight 
irritability  or  gloom  which  attends  upon  a  sluggish  liver,  or  the 
greater  irritability  which  the  urea  in  the  blood  of  the  gouty 
subject  produces,  to  that  profound  depression  which  we  describe 
as  melancholia,  or  that  active  degeneration  of  function  which  we 
designate  mania.  Though  there  may  be  no  active  delusion,  the 
emotional  perversion  existing  by  itself,  yet  the  ideas  which  arise 
under  such  circumstances  do  not  fail  to  experience  the  influence 
of  the  morbid  feeling,  but  are  strongly  tinctured  by  it ;  they  are 
obscure,  or  painful,  or,  at  any  rate,  not  faithfully  representative 
of  external  circumstances.  The  morbid  character  of  the  depres- 
sion lies,  not  in  the  depression  itself,  which  would  be  natural  or 
normal  so  long  as  there  was  an  adequate  external  cause  of  it, 
but  in  its  existence  "without  any  external  cause,  in  the  discord 
between  the  individual  and  his  circumstances.  But  as  there  is 
an  irresistible  disposition  in  the  mind  to  represent  its  feelings  as 
qualities  of  the  external  object,  as  in  all  Our  mental  life  we  con- 


tinually  make  this  projection  outwards  of  our  subjective  states, 
it  commonly  happens  after  a  while  that  the  victim  of  an  in- 
ternally caused  emotional  perversion  seeks  for  an  objective 
cause  of  it,  and,  thinking  to  find  one,  gets  a  delusion  :  being 
in  discord  with  the  external,  he  establishes  an  equilibrium  be- 
tween himself  and  it  by  creation  of  a  surrounding  in  harmony 
with  his  inner  life.  The  form  which  the  delusion  takes  may  be 
a  natural  crystallization  or  condensation,  so  to  speak,  of  the  par- 
ticular morbid  emotion  which  prevails,  or  it  may  be  suggested, 
as  it  often  is,  by  some  prominent  external  event.  What  we 
have  to  bear  in  mind  with  regard  to  the  organic  nature  of  the 
delusion  is,  that  a  series  of  ideational  cells  have  now  entered 
upon  the  habit  of  a  definite  morbid  action ;  that  the  general 
commotion  of  nerve  element,  which  the  emotional  disturbance 
implied,  has  now  centred  in  a  particular  form  of  diseased  action, 
not  otherwise  than  as  general  inflammatory  disturbance  of  some 
part  of  the  organism  issues  in  a  definite  morbid  growth  there. 
For  although  a  temporary  emotional  disturbance  produced  by 
bad  blood  may  completely  pass  away  with  the  purification  of 
the  blood,  yet  the  prolonged  continuance  or  frequent  recurrence 
of  such  morbid  influence  will  inevitably  end  in  the  ideational 
nerve-cell,  as  elsewhere,  in  chronic  morbid  action,  which,  once 
established,  is  not  easily  got  rid  of.  Thus,  then,  it  appears  that 
the  first  effect  of  the  chronic  action  of  impure  blood  is  to  pro- 
duce a  general  disturbance  of  the  psychical  tone  or  indefinite 
morbid  emotion ;  and  the  further  effect  of  its  continued  action 
is  to  engender  a  chronic  delusion  of  some  kind — a  systematiza- 
tion  of  the  morbid  action.  But  a  third  effect  of  its  more  acute 
action,  as  witnessed  in  the  effects  of  acute  fevers  and  of  certain 
poisons,  is  to  produce  more  or  less  active  delirium  and  general 
incoherence  of  thought :  the  poison  is  distributed  generally 
through  the  supreme  centres  by  the  circulation,  and,  acting 
directly  upon  the  different  cells,  excites  ideas  rapidly  and  with- 
out order  or  coherence :  the  delirium  is  not  systematic,  and 
there  is  good  hope  of  its  passing  away.  The  approaches  of  this 
sort  of  delirium  in  fever  illustrate  many  of  the  phenomena  of 
insanity.  First,  there  are  wandering  images  or  thoughts,  known 
to  be  unreal,  and  often  described  by  the  patient,  who  recognises 
their  character,  as  nonsense ;  then  there  follows  vague  rambling 

270  ON'  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXITY.  [chap. 

talk,,  from  which  he  may  be  aroused  by  talking  to  him,  though 
he  falls  back  into  it  as  soon  as  he  has  answered  ;  afterwards  the 
state  of  complete  delirium  comes  on,  when  the  mind  is  entirely 
possessed  by  unreal  images  and  false  thoughts  uncontrolled  by 
impressions  from  without.  A  general  incoherence  equally  un- 
systematized, but  which  never  can  pass^  away  save  with  life 
itself,  is  the  natural  issue  of  long-continued  chronic  morbid 
action  in  the  supreme  centres  :  it  is  the  chronic  dementia  fol- 
lowing continued  insanity,  and  marking  mental  disorganization. 
I  mention  it  here  in  order  to  render  pathologically  intelligible 
the  very  different  prognosis  in  acute  dementia  from  that  in 
chronic  dementia. 

It  is  before  all  things  necessary  to  keep  stedfastly  in  view 
that  the  relation  between  the  supreme  nervous  centres  and  the 
blood  is  fundamentally  of  the  same  kind  as  that  between  other 
parts  of  the  body  and  their  blood  supply,  and  that  the  dis- 
ordered mental  phenomena  are  the  functional  indications  of 
morbid  organic  action.  Firmly  grasping  this  just  conception, 
as  we  may  do  by  calling  to  mind  the  mode  of  nutritive  action 
in  other  parts  of  the  body,  we  get  rid  of  the  notion  of  a  de- 
lusion as  some  abstract,  ideal,  and  incomprehensible  entity, 
and  recognise  it  as  the  definite  expression  of  a  certain  form  of 
morbid  action  in  certain  of  the  supreme  centres,  neither  more 
nor  less  wonderful  than  the  persistence  of  a  definite  morbid 
action  in  any  other  organ.  If  there  is  defective  or  disordered 
nutrition  of  the  brain,  and  some  striking  event  or  some  powerful 
shock  produces  a  great  impression  on  the  mind,  constraining  it 
into  a  particular  form  of  activity — in  other  words,  engrossing 
its  whole  energy  in  a  particular  gloomy  reflection — what  more  in 
accordance  with  analogy  than  that  this  should  take  on  a  chronic 
morbid  action,  and  issue  in  the  production  of  a  delusion  ?  Any 
great  passion  in  the  sound  mind  notably  calls  up  kindred  ideas, 
which  thereupon  tend  to  keep  it  up;  and  it  is  plain  that  the 
morbid  exaggeration  of  this  natural  process  must  lead  to  the 
production  of  delusion. 

3.  Sympathy  or  Reflex  Irritation. — Like  every  other  nervous 
centre,  or  like  any  other  part  of  the  organism,  the  supreme 
cells  of  the  ideational  centres  may  be  deranged  by  reason  of 
a  morbid  cause  of  irritation  in  some  other  part  of  the  body. 


Why  such  morbid  effect  should  be  produced  at  one  time  and 
not  at  another,  or  in  one  person  and  not  in  another,  it  is  im- 
possible to  say,  just  as  it  is  impossible  to  explain  how  it  is 
that  a  wound  in  the  hand  or  elsewhere  at  one  time  gives  rise 
to  tetanus  and  at  another  time  to  no  such  desperate  conse- 
quence, or  why  epilepsy  should  be  caused  by  an  eccentric  irri- 
tation in  one  case  and  not  in  another.  "  A  fever,  delirium,  and 
violent  convulsions,"  says  Dr.  Whytt,  "  have  been  produced  by  a 
pin  sticking  in  the  coats  of  the  stomach ;  and  worms  affecting 
either  this  part  or  the  intestines  occasion  a  surprising  variety 
of  symptoms."*  These  effects  were  of  old  attributed  to  a 
sympathy  or  consent  of  parts, — terms  which  were,  though 
equally  void  of  any  real  explanation,  quite  as  expressive  as 
the  modern  reflex  irritation. 

Amongst  many  other  instances  which  might  be  quoted  in 
illustration  of  this  manner  of  pathological  action,  a  case  recorded 
by  Baron  Larrey  is  a  striking  example.  A  soldier,  who  had 
been  shot  in  the  abdomen,  had  a  fistulous  opening  on  the 
right  side,  which  passed  inwards  and  towards  the  left.  When  a 
sound  was  introduced  into  this  opening  and  made  to  touch  the 
deeper  parts,  immediately  singular  attacks  supervened :  first 
there  was  a  feeling  of  coldness  and  oppressive  pain,  then  a  con- 
vulsive contraction  of  the  abdomen  and  spasm  of  the  limbs ; 
after  which  the  man  fell  into  a  sort  of  somnambulism,  and 
talked  incoherently,  this  stage  ending  after  about  thirty  minutes 
in  a  melancholy  depression  which  from  the  time  of  the  wound 
had  been  habitual.  Larrey  attributed  the  hypochondria  and 
other  nervous  symptoms  to  the  injury  which  the  caeliac  axis 
had  suffered  from  the  ball.  The  direct  effect  of  the  sympa- 
thetic system  upon  the  brain,  which  this  case  so  strikingly 
illustrates,  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk  once  verified  in  his  own 
experience,  f  After  great  mental  exertion  and  an  unaccustomed 
constipation  of  a  few  days,  he  was  attacked  with  a  fever,  for 
which  his  physician,  deeming  it  nervous,  would  not  sanction 
any  purging.     After  a  continuance  of  the  fever  for  two  days, 

*  Observations  on  the  Nature,  Causes,  and  Cure  of  Nervous,  Hypochondriacal, 
or  Hysteric  Orders.     By  Robert  Why tt,  M.  D.     1765. 

t  Die  Pathologie  und  Therapie  der  Geisteskrankheiten  auf  Anatomisch-Physi- 
ologischer  Grundlage.     Von  J.  L.  C.  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk.     1863. 

272  ON  THE  C J  USES  OF  INSANITY.  I  [chap. 

hallucinations  of  vision  occurred ;  he  saw  a  multitude  of  people 
around  him,  although  quite  conscious  that  they  were  only  phan- 
tasms. These  continued  for  three  days  and  increased,  until  he 
got  a  thorough  evacuation  of  a  quantity  of  hardened  fneces  from 
his  bowels,  when  all  the  morbid  phenomena  vanished  in  a 
moment.  A  man  who  came  under  my  observation,  having 
suffered  for  more  than  a  year  with  profound  melancholia,  and 
who  had  become  greatly  emaciated,  passing  at  intervals  pieces 
of  tape-worm,  recovered  almost  immediately  after  the  expulsion 
of  the  whole  of  the  worm  by  means  of  a  dose  of  the  oil  of  male 
fern.*  Many  like  cases  are  on  record  in  medical  books  ;  but  it 
is  not  necessary  to  multiply  instances  in  order  to  prove  that 
morbid  action  in  some  part  or  organ  of  the  body  may  be  the 
cause  of  secondary  functional  and  organic  disorder  of  the 
supreme  nervous  centres.  It  may  be  well  to  add,  however, 
that  affections  of  the  uterus  and  its  appendages  afford  notable 
examples  of  a  powerful  sympathetic  action  upon  the  brain,  and 
not  unfrequently  play  an  important  part  in  the  production  of 
insanity,  especially  of  melancholia.  M.  Azam  investigated  the 
histories  of  seven  cases  of  lypemania  with  suicidal  tendencies, 
of  one  case  of  simple  lypemania  with  dangerous  tendencies, 
and  of  one  case  of  hysteromania.  There  were  granulations  of 
the  neck  of  the  uterus  in  five  cases ;  there  was  anteversion  of 
the  uterus,  with  congestion  of  its  neck  and  ulceration  of  the 
inferior  lip,  in  one  case ;  in  three  cases  there  were  fungous  and 
fibrous  growths  of  the  uterus ;  and  in  one  case  there  was  painful 
engorgement  of  it  with  leucorrhcea.  Schroeder  van  der  Kolk 
relates  the  case  of  a  woman  profoundly  melancholic,  who  suf- 
fered at  the  same  time  from  prolapsus  uteri,  and  in  whom  the 
melancholia  used  to  disappear  directly  the  uterus  was  restored 
to  its  proper  place ;  Flemming  relates  two  similar  cases  in  which 

*  Griesinger  has  seen  deep  melancholia  arise  in  an  hysterical  woman  after 
accidental  wound  of  the  eye  hy  a  splinter.  Herzog  relates  an  instance  of  insanity 
after  the  operation  for  strabismus.  Jbrdens  tells  of  a  boy  who  was  attacked 
with  furious  insanity  in  consequence  of  a  splinter  of  glass  in  the  sole  of  his  foot, 
which  disappeared  directly  it  was  removed. — Op.  cit.,  p.  183. 

"  In  two  instances,"  says  Dr.  Burrows,  in  his  Commeivtaries  on  Insanity,  "  I 
have  known  sudden  mania  originate  from  the  irritation  of  cutting  the  deatt$ 
sapientice."  .  .  .  "Violent  nausea  also  from  sea-sickness,  continued  for  a  few 
hours,  has  produced  mania  in  three  instances  within  my  knowledge." 

i.l  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANI1T.  273 

the  melancholia  was  cured  by  the  use  of  a  pessary,  in  one  of 
them  regularly  returning  whenever  the  pessary  was  removed ; 
and  I  have  in  one  instance  seen  severe  melancholia  of  two 
years'  duration  disappear  after  the  cure  of  a  prolapsus  uteri. 
Instances  are  on  record  in  which  a  woman  has  regularly  become 
insane  during  each  pregnancy ;  and,  on  the  other  hand,  Guislain 
and  Griesinger  mention  a  case  respectively  in  which  insanity 
disappeared  during  pregnancy,  the  patient  at  that  time  only 
being  rational  *  These  are  striking  examples  of  a- mode  of  reflex 
action  which  is  a  continual  function  of  the  organic  life  both  in 
health  and  in  disease.  Perhaps  the  best  opportunity  of  studying 
the  early  stages  in  the  genesis  of  melancholia  is  afforded  by  the 
mental  depression  that  commonly  accompanies  certain  uterine 
diseases.  On  the  other  hand,  there  is  equally  striking  evidence 
of  this  intimate  sympathy  of  parts  in  the  fact  that  morbid 
states  of  organs  favouring  a  certain  mental  disposition  may 
unquestionably  be  in  turn  caused  by  the  latter  when  it  is 
primary  and  of  long  standing. 

Perhaps  the  most  instructive  example  of  the  intimate  organic 
sympathy  of  parts  is  afforded  by  the  great  mental  revolution 
which  accompanies  the  development  of  the  sexual  system  at 
puberty — when  there  occurs,  as  Goethe  aptly  expresses  it,  "  an 
awakening  of  sensual  impulses  which  clothe  themselves  in 
mental  forms,  of  mental  necessities  which  clothe  themselves  in 
sensual  images."  The  great  moral  commotion  produced  at  this 
period  is  the  cause  of  an  unstable  equilibrium  of  mind,  which, 
if  hereditary  predisposition  exist,  may,  without  further  auxiliary 
cause,  issue  in  insanity.  In  any  case  it  constitutes  a  frame  of 
mind  favourable  to  the  action  of  other  causes  of  mental  de- 
rangement. Dr.  Skae  is  of  opinion  that  a  natural  group  or 
family  might  be  formed  of  the  cases  of  insanity  occurring  at 
the  period  of  pubescence,  and  dependent  apparently  upon  the 
changes  affecting  the  circulation  and  nervous  system  by  the 

*  Shenck  relates  the  history  of  a  pregnant  female,  in  whom  the  sight  of  the 
bare  arm  of  a  baker  excited  so  great  a  desire  to  bite  and  devour  it,  that  she 
compelled  her  husband  to  offer  money  to  the  baker  to  allow  her  only  a  bite  or 
two  from  his  arm.  He  mentions  another  pregnant  female,  who  had  such  an 
urgent  desire  to  eat  the  flesh  of  her  husband,  that  she  killed  him  and  pickled  the 
flesh,  that  it  might  serve  for  several  banquets.  (Prochaska  on  the  Nervous 
System,  Syd.  Soc.  translation.) 

274  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

development  of  puberty.  He  believes  that  the  insanity  then 
occurring  presents  certain  characteristic  features,  most  com- 
monly manifesting  itself  in  the  form  of  mania,  sometimes 
accompanied  by  epileptic  fits. 

It  is  uncertain  whether  the  puerperal  state  acts  as  the  occa- 
sional cause  of  a  maniacal  outbreak  by  this  kind  of  sympathetic 
action,  or  whether  it  acts  in  some  other  way ;  but  there  can  be 
no  doubt  of  the  fact  that  a  woman  is  sometimes  attacked  with 
mental  alienation  during  delivery,  and  that  her  child  may  fall  a 
victim  to  her  frenzy.  This  form  of  puerperal  insanity  is  different 
from  the  insanity  of  pregnancy  ;  different  again  in  regard  of 
causation  from  that  which  occurs  a  few  days  after  delivery,  and 
which  is  then  probably  due  to  blood-poisoning;  and  more 
different  still  from  that  mental  disorder  occurring  some  weeks  or 
months  after,  and  due  seemingly  to  the  exhaustion  produced  by 
lactation,  together  with  depressing  moral  influences.  Under  the 
name  of  Puerperal  Insanity  have  sometimes  been  confounded 
the  Insanity  of  Pregnancy,  Puerperal  Insanity,  and  Insanity  of 
Lactation.  Of  155  cases  of  so-called  Puerperal  Insanity  ad- 
mitted into  the  Edinburgh  Asylum,  28  or  18-06  per  cent,  were 
cases  of  the  Insanity  of  Pregnancy;  73  or  47  09  per  cent,  were 
cases  of  Puerperal  Insanity  proper ;  54  or  34-8  per  cent,  were 
cases  of  Insanity  of  Lactation.  !N"ow  these  varieties,  differently 
caused,  present  some  differences  of  features* 

However  it  be  that  disorders  of  menstruation  act,  certain  it  is 
that  they  may  exercise  great  influence  on  the  causation  and  the 
course  of  insanity.  Most  women  are  susceptible,  irritable,  and 
capricious  at  that  period,  any  cause  of  vexation  then  affecting 
them  much  more  seriously  than  usual;  some  exhibit  a  dis- 
turbance of  character  which  almost  amounts  to  disease  ;  and,  in 
the  insane,  exacerbations  of  the  disease  frequently  occur  at  the 
menstrual  periods.  In  a  few  rare  cases,  a  sudden  suppression  of 
the  menses  has  been  followed  by  an  outbreak  of  acute  madness  ; 
but  more  frequently  the  suppression  has  occurred  some  time 
before  the  insanity,  and  acted  as  one  link  in  the  chain  of 
causes.    It  should  not  be  forgotten  that  suppression  of  the  menses 

*  See  a  very  careful  paper  in  the  Edinburgh  Medical  Journal,  1865,  on  the 
Insanity  of  Pregnancy,  Puerperal  Insanity,  and  Insanity  of  Lactation,  by  Dr.  J. 
B.  Tuke. 


may  in  some  cases  be  an  effect  of  the  mental  derangement. 
When  menstruation  ceases  entirely  at  the  change  of  life,  a  revo- 
lution takes  place  in  the  system,  favouring  the  production  of 
insanity  in  those  predisposed  to  it,  and  sometimes  sufficing  to 
produce  it.  Most  women  suffer  some  change  of  moral  character 
by  the  revolution  which  the  whole  economy  of  the  constitution 
undergoes  at  the  change  of  life.  The  age  of  pleasing  is  past, 
but  not  always  the  desire  ;  and  it  is  now  that  jealousy,  extreme 
religious  sentiments,  and  a  propensity  to  stimulants  are  apt 
to  appear. 

The  earliest  and  mildest  effect  of  sympathetic  morbid  action 
will  be,  as  it  is  with  the  effect  of  vitiated  blood,  to  produce 
a  modification  of  the  tone  of  nerve  element,  which  is  functionally 
manifest  in  disordered  emotion.  But  the  continued  operation  of 
the  morbid  cause  will  be  apt  to  lead  to  a  systematized  disorder 
in  the  supreme  cerebral  centres  :  in  other  words,  to  the  produc- 
tion of  a  delusion  or  of  a  definite  derangement  of  thought,  which 
then  is  not  always  without  discoverable  relation  to  the  primary 
morbid  cause.  When,  for  example,  a  woman  with  morbid  irrita- 
tion of  the  sexual  organs  has  salacious  delusions,  or  with  uterine 
or  ovarian  disease  believes  herself  with  child  by  the  Holy  Ghost 
or  other  supernatural  means,  the  secondary  derangement  of  the 
cerebral  centres  testifies  to  the  special  effect  of  the  particular 
diseased  organ  ;  and  when  the  disordered  action  forces  itself  into 
consciousness,  the  interpretation  given  of  it  in  the  delusion  wit- 
nesses to  the  nature  of  the  primary  morbid  cause.  Dr.  Skae  has 
proposed  to  make  a  special  group  of  the  cases  of  insanity  asso- 
ciated with  ovarian  and  uterine  disease  ;  one  of  the  most  common 
symptoms  presented  by  them  being  sexual  hallucination.  There 
is  the  most  perfect  harmony,  the  most  intimate  connexion  or 
sympathy,  between  the  different  organs  of  the  body  as  the  ex- 
pression of  its  organic  life — a  unity  of  the  organism  beneath  con- 
sciousness ;  and  the  brain  is  quite  aware  that  the  body  has  a 
liver  or  a  stomach,  and  feels  the  effects  of  disorder  in  any  one  of 
the  organs,  without  declaring  it  directly  in  consciousness.  This 
unconscious,  but  not  unimportant,  cerebral  activity,  which  is 
the  expression  of  the  organic  sympathies  of  the  brain,  cannot 
fail,  when  rightly  appreciated,  to  teach  the  lesson,  already  much 
insisted   on,  that   every  organic   motion,  visible    or  invisible, 

T  2 

276  OX  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXITY.  [chap. 

sensible  or  insensible,  ministrant  to  the  noblest  purposes  or  to 
the  humblest  aims,  does  not  pass  away  issueless,  but  has  its  due 
effect  upon  the  whole,  and  thrills  throughout  the  most  complex 
recesses  of  the  mental  life.* 

Though  the  morbid  sympathetic  action  of  a  diseased  organ 
upon  the  brain  may  be  very  considerable  without  any  definite 
affection  of  consciousness,  yet  when  it  reaches  a  certain  intensity, 
or  when  it  is  long  continued,  the  effect  thrusts  itself  into  con- 
sciousness, just  as  physiologically  the  idea  does  when  its  energy 
reaches  a  certain  tension  ;  declaring  itself  in  the  sensational 
centres  by  pain  or  some  more  special  anomalous  feeling,  and  in 
the  cognitional  centres  by  emotional  perversion  or  actual  delu- 
sion. It  often  happens  that  no  information  is  given  until  the 
primary  and  secondary  mischief  are  far  advanced,  and  it  is  then 
only  given  indirectly ;  for  while  there  is  entire  unconsciousness 
of  the  primary  disease  in  the  distant  organ,  and  an  entire  un- 
consciousness of  the  secondary  morbid  action  in  the  brain,  the 
effect  may  nevertheless  be  positively  attested  by  melancholia, 
delusion,  or  some  other  form  of  mental  disorder.  Esquirol  gra- 
phically tells  the  story  of  a  woman  who  thought  she  had  in  her 
belly  the  whole  tribe  of  apostles,  prophets,  and  martyrs,  and 
who,  when  her  pains  were  more  than  usual,  railed  at  them  for 
their  greater  activity.  After  death,  her  intestines  were  found 
glued  together  by  a  chronic  peritonitis.  I  have  recently  seen  a 
patient  suffering  from  chronic  insanity,  who  fancies  that  he  has 
got  a  man  in  his  inside,  and  who,  when  his  bowels  get  much 
constipated,  as  they  are  apt  to  do,  makes  the  most  desperate 
attempts,  by  vomiting  and  otherwise,  to  get  rid  of  him.  After  a 
purgative,  however,  he  is  quite  comfortable  for  a  time,  and  his 
delusion  subsides  into  the  background.  In  the  insanity  attended 
with  phthisis  there  are  often  delusions  of  suspicion  which  appear 
to  have  their  foundation  in  the  anomalous  feelings  incident  to 

*  "  Man  is  all  symmetrie, 

Full  of  proportion  one  limb  to  another, 

And  all  to  all  the  world  besides, 

Each  part  calls  the  furthest  brother. 

For  head  with  foot  hath  private  amity, 

And  both  with  moon  and  tides." — George  Herbert. 

'* '  There  is,"  says  John  Hunter,  "  a  connexion  of  the  living  principle  in  the  powers 
of  one  part  with  those  of  another,  which  might  be  called  a  species  of  intelligence." 


the  advance  of  the  tubercle  :  one  such  patient  under  my  care 
fancied  that  he  was  maliciously  played  upon  by  secret  fire,  inter- 
preting in  this  way  the  actual  increase  of  bodily  temperature 
which  occurs  during  the  progress  of  phthisis  ;  he  also  imagined 
that  a  filthy  disease  had  been  produced  in  his  mouth,  the  delu- 
sion probably  having  its  origin  in  the  perversion  of  smell  or 
taste  resulting  from  the  disease.     Not  only  is  the  remote  patho- 
logical effect  of  a  diseased  organ  thus  evinced  by  the  occurrence 
of  some  form  of  insanity,  but,  as  already  pointed  out,  a  special 
effect  of  the  particular  morbid  organ  may  be  revealed  in  the 
character  of  the  delusion  engendered.     It  is  by  virtue  of  this 
sympathetic  action  that  dreams  sometimes  have  a  truly  prophetic 
character  in  regard  of  certain  bodily  affections,  the  early  and  ob- 
scure indications  of  which  have  not  been  sufficiently  marked  to 
awaken  any  attention  during  the  mental  activity  of  the  day,  or 
at  any  rate  to  do  more  than  produce  a  vague  and  formless  feel- 
ing of  discomfort ;  nevertheless  they  declare  themselves  in  the 
mental  action  of  dreaming,  when  other  impressions  are  shut  out. 
When  the  disease  ultimately  declares  itself  distinctly  in  our 
waking  consciousness,  then  the  prophetic  dream,  the  forewarning, 
is  recalled  to  mind  with  wonder.     The  return  of  a  certain  mood 
of  mind  before  an  outbreak  of  recurrent  insanity  or  of  epileptic 
fits,  such  as  has  been  displayed  before  former  attacks,  and  enables 
an  experienced  person  to  predict  with  certainty  what  is  coming, 
and  the  recurrence  of  particular  morbid  ideas,  feelings,  and  de- 
sires during  the  insane  outbreak,  may  be,  and  probably  often 
are,  owing  to  a  periodical  revival  of  the  morbid  irritation  in  the 
distant  organ.    There  is  abundant  reason  to  believe  that  the  brain 
retains  a  memory  of  the  impressions  received  from  the  organic 
life,  even  when  the  impressions  are  morbid.     In  those  women 
whose  mental  dispositions  are  much  affected  sympathetically  at 
the  menstrual  periods,  the  same  sort  of  feelings,  susceptibilities, 
caprices,  and  fancies  recur.     In  this  physiological  and  patho- 
logical action  may  lie  also  the  explanation  of  the  fact  before 
stated,  that  the  thoughts  and  feelings  of  dreams,  not  remembered 
in  the  waking  state,  may  still  appear  in  and  influence  the  course 
of  subsequent  dreams.     After  all,  however,  the  most  striking 
examples  of  this  kind  of  action  in  its  physiological  form  are  met 
with  in  the  marvellous  creations  of  dreams  originating  in  states 

278  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

of  the  sexual  organs* — "tensio  phalli  visa  muliere  nuda  etiam 
in  insomnio" — these  illustrating  admirably  the  close  sympathy 
which  prevails  ;  while  numerous  examples  of  this  kind  of  action 
in  its  pathological  form  are  furnished  by  the  salacious  delusions 
of  certain  of  the  insane  in  whom  there  is  derangement  of  the 
sexual  system.  In  every  large  asylum  are  to  be  met  with  women 
who  believe  themselves  to  be  visited  every  night  by  their  lovers, 
or  violently  ravished  in  their  sleep  ;  and  in  some  of  these,  as  in 
St.  Catherine  de  Sienne  and  St.  Theresa,  a  religious  ecstasy  is 
united  with  their  salacious  delusions.  Indeed,  a  religious  fana- 
ticism carried  to  a  morbid  degree  is  not  seldom  accompanied  by  a 
corresponding  morbid  lasciviousness ;  while  religious  feeling  of  a 
less  extreme  kind  in  some  women,  especially  certain  unmarried 
and  childless  women,  is  very  mru-h  a  uterine  affection. 

Between  the  organic  feelings  just  considered — the  vital  senses, 
as  they  are  sometimes  called — and  the  lower  special  senses,  there 
exist  the  closest  relations;  in  truth,  they  run  insensibly  into 
one  another.  Thus  the  digestive  organs  have  the  closest  sym- 
pathy with  the  sense  of  taste,  as  we  observe  in  the  bad  taste 
accompanying  indigestion,  and  especially  perhaps  in  the  avoid- 
ance of  poisonous  matters  by  animals  ;  the  respiratory"  organs 
and  the  sense  of  smell  are  in  bike  manner  intimately  associated ; 
and  the  sense  of  touch  has  close  relations  with  the  ccenaesthesis. 
In  insanity  we  find  these  physiological  relations  become  some- 
times the  occasions  of  delusions  :  derangement  of  the  digestive 
organs,  perverting  the  taste,  gives  rise  to  the  delusion  that  the 
food  is  poisoned  ;  disease  in  the  respiratory  organs  is  sometimes 
the  cause  of  disagreeable  subjective  smells,  which  are  thereupon 
attributed  to  an  objective  cause,  such  as  the  presence  of  a  dead 
body  in  the  room ;  and  more  or  less  loss  or  perversion  of  sensi- 
bility in  the  skin,  which  is  not  uncommon  amongst  the  insane, 
is  frequently  the  occasion  of  extravagant  delusions.  A  woman 
whose  case  Esquirol  relates,  had  complete  anaesthesia  of  the  sur- 
face of  the  skin  :  she  believed  that  the  devil  had  carried  off  her 
body.  A  soldier  who  was  severely  wounded  at  the  battle  of 
Austerlitz  considered  himself  dead  from  that  time  :  if  he  were 

*  "And  as  love  and  beauty  stir  up  heat  in  other  organs,  so  heat  in  the  same 
organs,  from  whatever  it  proceeds,  often  causeth  desire  and  the  image  of  an 
unresisting  beauty. " — Hobbes. 


asked  how  he  was,  he  invariably  replied,  that  "  Lambert  no 
longer  lives  ;  a  cannon-ball  carried  him  away  at  Austerlitz. 
AVhat  you  see  here  is  not  Lambert,  but  a  badly  imitated 
machine," — which  he  failed  not  to  speak  of  as  it.  The  sensi- 
bility of  his  skin  was  lost.  A  striking  instance  of  delusion  in 
connexion  with  defective  sensibility  occurred  in  an  amiable  and 
amusing  patient  who  was  under  my  care  suffering  from  general 
paralysis.  As  the  disease  approached  its  end,  the  end  of  life,  he 
had  severe  epileptiform  convulsions,  which  latterly  affected  the 
left  side  only,  and  finally  resulted  in  paralysis  of  that  side. 
But,  though  the  power  of  movement  and  feeling  were  entirely 
gone,  there  were  frequent  spasmodic  twitchings  of  the  muscles 
and  convulsive  contractions  so  strong  as  to  raise  the  arm  and 
leg  of  the  paralysed  side  from  the  bed.  The  poor  man  had  the 
most  singular  delusions  respecting  these  movements :  he  thought 
that  another  patient,  who  was  perfectly  demented  and  harmless, 
had  got  hold  of  him  and  was  tormenting  him,  and  accordingly, 
without  real  anger,  but  with  an  energy  of  language  that  was 
habitual  to  him,  he  thus  soliloquized  aloud : — "  What  a  power 
that  damned  fellow  has  over  me  ! "  Then  after  a  severe  convul- 
sion,— "  He  has  got  me  round  the  neck,  and  you  dare  not  touch 
him,  not  one  of  you.  Oh !  but  it  is  a  burning  shame  to  let  a 
poor  fellow  be  murdered  in  this  way  in  a  public  institution. 
It's  that  boy  does  this  to  me."  Told  that  he  was  mistaken,  he 
replied, — "  You  may  as  well  call  me  a  liar  at  once  :  he  has  got 
me  round  the  neck  and  he  has  me  tight.  Oh !  it  is  a  damned 
shame  to  treat  me  in  this  way — the  quietest  man  in  the  house." 
Then  after  a  while, — "  It's  a  strange  power  these  lunatics  have 
over  one.  That  boy  is  playing  the  devil  with  me  :  he  stinks 
worse  than  a  polecat :  he'll  take  my  life,  sure  enough."  And  so 
on  continually,  until  the  stupor  of  death  overpowered  him. 

Laudably  anxious  to  give  due  weight  to  the  perversions  of 
sensibility  which  are  met  with  in  insanity,  Griesinger  has  made 
five  groups  of  mental  disorder  connected  with  different  anomalies 
of  sensibility,  and  more  frequently  than  not  actually  dependent 
upon  them.  The  first  of  these  is  the  precordial  form,  where 
there  are  morbid  sensation,  sense  of  pressure,  or  pain  about  the 
epigastrium,  from  which  follow  fear  and  mental  anguish,  with 
corresponding  ideas  and  habits  of  thought.     The  second  is  the 

280  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

vertiginous  form,  in  which  some  anomaly  of  muscular  sensibility 
exists.  In  the  third,  which  he  calls  the  parccsthctical  form, 
there  are  anomalous  sensations  in  different  parts  of  the  body, 
attributed  by  the  patients  commonly  to  external  machinations. 
The  fourth  is  the  anxcsthctic  form,  in  which  absence  of  sensibility 
is  often  the  cause  of  self-mutilation.  Lastly,  there  is  the  halluci- 
natory form,  which  obviously  needs  no  further  explanation  here. 
It  is  undoubtedly  of  great  importance  to  bestow  scrupulous 
attention  upon  all  the  disorders  of  sensibility,  as  well  as  those  of 
nutrition  and  movement,  which  occur  in  the  different  sorts  of 
insanity ;  to  do  so  is  an  essential  part  of  the  physician's  duty  in 
studying  the  natural  history  of  the  disease ;  but  it  is  quite  im- 
possible to  make  perversions  of  sensibility  alone  the  basis  of  a 
system  of  classification.  Such  a  classification  could  not  fail  to 
have  an  extremely  artificial  character,  and  an  entirely  theoretical 
foundation.  All  that  it  seems  important  to  say  here  is,  that 
these  pathological  phenomena  confirm  in  a  striking  manner  the 
observations  made  in  the  First  Part  of  this  work  concerning  the 
comprehension  in  the  mental  life  of  the  whole  bodily  life. 

The  centre  of  morbid  irritation  which  is  so  apt  at  times  to 
give  rise  to  secondary  disorder  by  reflex  or  sympathetic  action 
need  not  be  in  some  distant  organ ;  it  may  be  in  the  brain 
itself.  A  tumour,  abscess,  or  local  softening  in  the  brain,  may 
nowise  interfere  with  the  mental  operations  at  one  time,  while 
at  another  time  it  produces  the  gravest  disorder  of  them ;  and 
it  is  not  uncommon  in  abscess  of  the  brain  for  the  symptoms  of 
mental  derangement,  when  there  are  any,  to  disappear  entirely 
for  a  time,  and  then  to  return  suddenly  in  all  their  gravity. 
"When  the  motor,  sensory,  and  ideational  centres  are  not  directly 
implicated  in  the  disease,  they  may  continue  their  functions  in 
spite  of  it,  and  it  does  accordingly  happen  that  they  sometimes 
do  so  even  when  there  is  the  most  serious  mischief  going  on 
in  the  brain ;  but  they  may  at  any  moment  be  affected  by  a 
sympathetic  or  reflex  action,  and  a  secondary  abolition  or  de- 
rangement of  function  may  thus  supervene  without  warning. 
Instances  now  and  then  occur  in  which  a  sudden  loss  of  con- 
sciousness, or  a  sudden  incoherence,  or  sudden  mania,  or  even 
sudden  death,  takes  place  where  no  premonitory  symptoms  have 
indicated  grave  local  disease  of  the  brain. 


Furthermore,  it  would  appear  tliat  a  limited  disorder  of  the 
ideational  cells,  such  as  is  functionally  manifest  in  the  fixed 
delusions  of  the  so-called  monomaniac,  will  not  usually  remain 
without  some  effect  upon  the  other  elements  in  the  supreme 
centres.  So  delicately  sympathetic  and  sensitive  as  nerve 
element  is,  it  is  hard  to  conceive  it  possible  that  a  centre  of 
morbid  action  should  fail  to  affect,  by  direct  or  by  reflex  action, 
neighbouring  parts  not  immediately  involved  in  the  disease.  As 
a  matter  of  observation  it  is  certain  that  a  greater  or  less  dis- 
turbance of  the  tone  of  the  whole  mind  does  commonly  accom- 
pany the  limited  delusions  of  a  partial  insanity;  in  fact,  the 
condition  of  things  is  that  which  has  already  been  described  as 
the  first  stage  of  the  affection  of  mind  by  other  causes  of  its 
derangement, — namely,  a  modification  of  the  mental  tone.  This 
baneful  effect  of  a  limited  local  disorder  is  in  strict  accordance 
with  the  analogy  of  what  we  observe  elsewhere.  Hereafter  we 
shall  have  occasion  to  describe  instances  of  the  sudden  and 
entire  transference  of  active  disorder  of  one  nervous  centre  to 
another  ;  for,  as  Dr.  Darwin  long  ago  observed,  "  in  some  con- 
vulsive diseases  a  delirium  or  insanity  supervenes  and  the  con- 
vulsions cease  ;  and,  conversely,  the  convulsions  shall  supervene 
and  the  delirium  cease."* 

It  is  necessary  here,  as  in  the  spinal,  sensory,  and  motor 
centres,  to  distinguish  between  the  degrees  of  secondary  patho- 
logical disturbance  to  which  a  morbid  cause  may  give  rise.  The 
sudden  way  in  which  extreme  mental  symptoms  appear,  and  the 
equally  sudden  way  in  which  they  sometimes  disappear,  as  in 
abscess  of  the  brain,  prove  that  extreme  derangement  may  be 
what  is  called  functional ;  for  it  is  impossible  to  suppose  that 
serious  organic  change  has  existed  in  such  cases.  Although, 
therefore,  the  functional  disorder  necessarily  implies  a  molecular 
change  of  some  kind  in  the  nervous  element,  the  change  may  be 
assumed  to  be  one  affecting  the  polar  molecules,  such  as  the 
experiments  of  Du  Bois  lieymond  and  others  have  proved  may 

*  In  what  is  called  metastasis  of  disease  the  primary  disease  disappears,  whereas 
in  sympathy  it  remains  in  action.  Old  writers  treat  also  of  the  conversion  of 
diseases — a  very  imperfectly  cultivated  department  which  is  just  beginning  to 
attract  attention  again.  Heberden  suggests  that  madness,  like  gout,  absorbs 
other  distempers,  and  turns  them  perfectly  to  its  own  nature. 

282  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

rapidly  appear  and  rapidly  disappear.  The  induction  of  recog- 
nisable temporary  changes  in  the  physical  constitution  and 
function  by  experiments  certainly  warrants  the  belief  in  similar 
modifications  by  causes  which  are  not  artificially  produced,  but 
which  are  just  as  abnormal  as  if  they  were  artificial.  This 
probable  modification  of  the  polar  relations  of  nervous  element, 
which  disappears  with  the  removal  of  the  cause,  will  not  fail,  if 
too  great  or  too  prolonged,  to  degenerate  into  actual  nutritive 
change  and  structural  disease,  just  as  au  emotion  which  observ- 
ably often  alters  a  secretion  temporarily  may,  when  long  en- 
during, lead  to  actual  nutritive  change  in  the  organ.  The  longer 
a  functional  derangement  is  allowed  to  continue,  the  more 
danger  is  there  of  structural  disease ;  and  this  serious  change 
once  definitely  established,  the  removal  of  the  primary  morbid 
cause  will  not  suffice  to  remove  an  effect  which  has  now  become 
an  independently  acting  cause. 

4.  Excessive  Functional  Activity. — As  the  manifestation  of 
function  is  the  wTaste  of  matter,  it  is  obvious  that,  if  the  due 
intervals  of  periodical  rest  be  not  allowed  for  the  restoration 
of  the  statical  equilibrium  of  nerve  element,  degeneration  of  it 
must  take  place  as  surely  as  if  it  were  directly  injured  by  a 
morbid  poison  or  a  mechanical  or  chemical  irritant.  It  is  sleep 
which  thus  knits  up  the  ravelled  structure  of  nerve  element ; 
for,  during  sleep,  organic  assimilation  is  restoring  as  statical 
force  the  power  which  has  been  expended  in  functional  energy. 
The  strongest  mind,  if  continually  overworked,  will  inevitably 
break  down ;  one  of  the  first  symptoms  that  foreshadows  the 
coming  mischief  being  sleeplessness.  That  which  should  heal 
the  breach  is  rendered  impossible  by  the  extent  of  the  breach. 
Like  Hamlet,  according  to  Polonius's  fruitful  imagination,  the 
individual  falls  into  a  sadness,  thence  into  a  watch,  thence  into 
a  lightness,  and,  by  this  declension,  into  the  madness  wherein  he 
finally  raves.  To  provoke  repose  in  him  is  the  first  condition  of 
restoration ;  the  power  of  it  often  closing  the  "  eye  of  anguish," 
and  curing  the  "great  breach  in  the  abused  nature"  of  nervous 

It  is,  however,  when  intellectual  activity  is  accompanied  with 
great  emotional  agitation  that  it  is  most  enervating — when  the 
mind  is  the  theatre  of  great  passions  that-  its  energy  is  soonest 


exhausted.  What  has  already  been  said  as  to  the  instability  of 
nerve  element  which  a  great  emotional  susceptibility  implies, 
will  enable  us  to  understand  how  this  destructive  effect  is  worked 
out.  When  an  exceedingly  painful  event  produces  great  sorrow, 
or  a  critical  and  uncertain  event  great  anxiety,  the  mind  is 
undergoing  a  passion  or  suffering ;  there  is  not  an  equilibrium 
between  the  internal  life  and  the  external  circumstances ;  and 
until  the  mind  is  able  duly  to  react,  the  passion  must  continue, 
— in  other  words,  the  wear  and  tear  of  nervous  element  must  go 
on.  Painful  emotion  is  in  reality  psychical  pain;  and  pain 
here,  as  elsewhere,  is  the  outcry  of  suffering  organic  element — 
a  prayer  for  deliverance  and  rest.  The  same  objects  or  events 
do  notably  produce  very  different  impressions  upon  the  mind 
according  to  the  condition  of  it  at  the  time — according  as  some- 
thing pleasant  or  something  unpleasant  has  just  happened.  If 
there  exist  a  temporary  depression  of  the  psychical  tone  by 
reason  of  some  misfortune  that  has  happened,  then  an  event, 
which  under  better  auspices  would  have  been  indifferent,  will 
excite  painful  emotion,  and,  calling  up  congenial  ideas  of  a 
gloomy  kind,  continue  and  add  to  the  mental  suffering,  just  as 
reflex  action  increased  by  a  morbid  cause  will  in  turn  sometimes 
aggravate  the  original  disorder.  If  there  be  a  lasting  depression 
of  the  psychical  tone  by  reason  of  some  morbid  cause,  then  every 
event  is  apt  to  aggravate  the  suffering,  and  one  particularly  un- 
favourable event,  or  a  series  of  painful  events,  may  lead  to  the 
degeneration  of  insanity.  After  a  piece  of  good  news,  or  after 
a  man  has  just  drunk  a  glass  of  sound  wine,  the  psychical  tone 
is  such  that  there  is  a  direct  and  adequate  reaction  to  an  un- 
favourable impression,  and  the  individual  will  not  suffer.  Herein 
the  supreme  centres  of  thought  do  not  differ  from  the  inferior 
nervous  centres;  when  the  spinal  centres  are  exhausted,  ex- 
citability is  increased,  and  an  impression  which  under  better 
auspices  would  have  produced  no  effect  gives  rise  to  degenerate 
activity  that  displays  itself  in  spasmodic  movements — an  ex- 
plosion not  unlike  that  which  in  the  higher  centre  is  manifest 
as  emotion,  or  as  an  ebullition  of  passion.  Excess  is,  however, 
a  relative  term  ;  and  a  stress  of  function  which  would  be 
nothing  more  than  normal  to  a  powerful  well-ordered  mind,  and 
conducive  to  its  health,  might  be  fatal  to  the  stability  of  a  feeble 

284  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSJXITY.  [chap. 

and  ill-regulated  mind  in  which  feeling  habitually  overswayed 
reason,  or  even  to  that  of  a  strong  mind  temporarily  prostrate. 
Thus  it  is  that  in  examining  into  the  causation  of  insanity  in 
any  case  it  is  not  sufficient  to  investigate  only  the  series  of 
influences  to  which  the  individual  has  been  subjected,  but  it 
is  necessary  also  to  ascertain  what  capacity  at  the  time  he  had 
of  bearing  them. 

It  is  evident  from  the  foregoing  reflections  that,  from  a  patho- 
/       logical  point  of  view,  the  so-called  moral  causes  of  insanity  may 
properly  fall  under  the  head  of  excessive  stimulation  or  excessive 
functional  action :  the  mind  is  subject  to  a  stress  beyond  that 
which  it  is  able  to  bear.    Of  necessity  the  depressing  passions  are 
the  most  efficient  causes  of  exhaustion  and  consequent  disease  : 
grief,  religious  anxiety,  disappointed  affection  or  ambition,  the 
wounds  of  an  exaggerated  self-love,  and,  above  all  perhaps,  the 
painful  feeling  of  being  unequal  to  responsibilities,  or  other  like 
conditions  of  mental  agitation  and  suffering,  are  most  apt  to 
reach  a  violence  of  action  by  which  the  equilibrium  is  lost. 
Great  intellectual  activity,  when  unaccompanied  by  emotion,  does 
not  often  lead  to  insanity  ;  it  is  when  the  feelings  are  anxiously 
engaged  that  the  mind  is  most  moved  and  its  stability  most 
endangered :  on  the  stage  of  mind  as  on  the  stage  of  the  world 
the  great   catastrophes  are   produced  by  passion.      Moreover, 
when  an  individual  has  by  a  long  concentration  of  thought, 
affection,  and  desire  on  a  certain  aim  or  object,  grown  into 
definite  relations  with  regard  to  it,  and  made  it,  as  it  were,  a 
part  of  the  inner  life,  a  sudden  and  entire  change,  shattering 
long  cherished  hopes,  is  not  unlikely  to  produce  insanity ;  for 
what  is  more  fraught  with  danger  to  the  stability  of  the  strongest 
mind  than  a  sudden  great  change  in  external  circumstances, 
without  the  inner  life  having  been  gradually  adapted  thereto? 
Thence  it  comes  that  a  great  exaltation  of  fortune,  as  well  as  a 
great  affliction,  rarely  fails  to  affect  for  a  time  the  strongest  head, 
and  sometimes  quite  overturns  a  weak  one;  the  strong  mind 
succeeding  after  a  time  in  establishing  an  equilibrium  between 
itself  and  its  new  surroundings,  which  the  feeble  mind  cannot 
do.     AVhen  depressing  passion  does  not  act  directly  as  the  cause 
of  a  sudden  outbreak  of  insanity,  it  may  still  act  mischievously 
by  its  long-continued  evil  influence  on  the  organic  life,  and  thus 


finally  produce  mental  derangement.  It  is  not  often  that  men 
become  insane,  though  they  sometimes  die,  from  excess  of  joy ; 
and  when  one  of  the  expansive  passions,  as  ambition,  religious 
exaltation,  overweening  vanity  in  any  of  its  Protean  forms,  leads 
to  mental  derangement,  it  does  not,  like  a  painful  passion,  act 
directly  as  the  cause  of  an  outbreak,  nor  indirectly  by  producing 
organic  disorder  and  subsequent  insanity ;  but  it  produces  its 
effects  by  degrees  as  an  exaggerated  development  of  a  certain 
peculiarity  or  vice  of  character. 

A  fatal  drain  upon  the  vitality  of  the  higher  nervous  centres 
may  in  certain  cases  be  produced  by  the  excessive  exercise  of 
a  physical  function — by  an  excessive  sexual  indulgence,  or  by 
continued  self-abuse.  Nothing  is  more  certain  than  that  either 
of  these  causes  will  produce  an  enervation  of  nerve  element 
which,  if  the  exhausting  vice  be  continued,  passes  by  a  further 
declension  into  degeneration  and  actual  destruction  thereof.  The 
flying  pains  and  heaviness  in  the  limbs,  and  the  startings  of  the 
muscles,  which  follow  an  occasional  sexual  excess,  are  signs  of 
instability  of  nerve  element  in  the  spinal  centres,  which,  if  the 
cause  is  in  frequent  operation,  may  end  in  inflammation  and 
softening  of  the  cord,  and  consequent  paralysis.  Nor  do  the 
supreme  centres  always  escape  :  the  habit  of  self-abuse  notably 
gives  rise  to  a  particular  and  disagreeable  form  of  insanity,  cha- 
racterised by  intense  self-feeling  and  conceit,  extreme  perversion 
of  feeling,  and  corresponding  derangement  of  thought,  in  the 
earlier  stages ;  and,  later,  by  failure  of  intelligence,  nocturnal 
hallucinations,  and  suicidal  or  homicidal  propensities.  The 
mental  symptoms  of  general  paralysis — a  disease  notably  pro- 
duced sometimes  by  sexual  excess — betray  a  degenerate  con- 
dition of  nerve  element  in  the  higher  centres,  which  is  the 
counterpart  of  that  which  in  the  lower  centres  is  the  cause  of 
the  loss  of  co-ordination  of  movement  and  of  more  or  less  spasm 
or  paralysis.  The  great  emotional  excitability,  the  irritable  fee- 
bleness, of  the  general  paralytic,  no  less  than  the  extravagance 
of  his  ideas,  marks  a  degeneration  of  the  ideational  cells  of  the 
supreme  centres  ;  there  is  accordingly  an  inability  to  co-ordinate 
and  perform  his  ideas  successfully,  just  as  there  is  an  inability 
to  perform  movements  successfully,  because  the  spinal  centres 
are   similarly   affected.      It  is  not  usual,  however,  for  sexual 

286  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXITT.  [chap. 

excesses  to  produce  insanity  unless  it  be  general  paralysis ;  they 
rather  tend  to  produce  epilepsy  or  some  kind  of  paralysis.  Self- 
abuse  is  a  cause  of  insanity  which  would  appear  to  be  more 
frequent  and  effective  in  men  than  in  women.  Apart  from  all 
question  whether  the  vice  be  so  common  among  women,  they 
bear  self-abuse,  as  they  do  sexual  excesses,  better  than  men. 
On  the  other  hand,  privation  of  sexual  function  is  more  injurious 
to  women  than  on  men. 

5.  Injuries  and  Diseases  of  the  Brain  and  Nervous  System  not 
necessarily,  but  occasionally,  producing  Insanity. — Injuries  of  the 
head,  when  not  followed  by  any  immediate  ill  consequences, 
may  still  lead  to  insanity  through  the  degenerative  changes 
which  they  ultimately  induce  in  the  cortical  layers  of  the  hemi- 
spheres.* Insolation  notably  acts  perniciously  on  the  supreme 
cerebral  centres,  either  by  causing,  as  some  imagine,  acute  hyper- 
emia and  cedema,  or,  as  is  more  probable,  over-stimulation  and 
consequent  exhaustion  of  nerve  element.  Abscesses  and  tumours 
of  the  brain,  cysticerci  and  effusions  of  blood,  do  not  directlj*  or 
commonly  produce  mental  derangement ;  when  they  do,  it  is 
probably  by  a  reflex  or  sympathetic  action.  Professor  Gerhardt 
mentions  one  case  in  which  mental  disorder  was  the  first  symptom 
of  an  embolism,  the  paralytic  phenomena  following  later ;  and  in 
a  case,  related  by  Dr.  L.  Meyer,  chronic  tubercular  meningitis 
gave  rise  to  mental  disorder.  It  has  been  already  said  that  there 
are  instances  on  record  in  which  insanity,  like  tetanus,  has  been 
caused  by  peripheric  injury  of  nerve,  obscure  as  the  mannsr  of 
operation  in  such  case  undoubtedly  is  ;  and  Dr.  Darwin  long  ago 

*  Professor  Schlager,  of  Vienna  (Zeitschrift  der  k.  k.  Gesellschaft  der  Aerzte  zu 
"Wien,  xiii.  1857),  has  made  some  valuable  researches  regarding  mental  disorder 
following  injur}'  of  the  brain.  Out  of  500  insane,  he  traced  mental  disorder  to 
injury  of  the  brain  in  49  (42  men  and  7  women).  In  21  cases  there  had  been 
complete  unconsciousness  after  the  accident ;  in  16,  some  insensibility  and  con- 
fusion of  ideas  ;  in  12,  simple  dull  headache.  In  19  cases  the  mental  disorder 
came  on  in  the  course  of  a  year  after  the  injury,  but  not  till  much  later  in  many 
others,  and  in  4  cases  after  more  than  ten  years.  In  most  of  the  cases  the 
patients  were  disposed  to  congestion  of  the  brain,  excitement  and  great  emotional 
disturbance,  from  the  time  of  the  injury,  on  taking  a  moderate  quantity  of 
spirituous  liquor  ;  frequently  there  was  singing  in  the  ears,  or  difficulty  of  hearing, 
or  hallucination  ;  and  very  commonly  the  disposition  was  changed,  and  the 
patient  was  prone  to  outbursts  of  anger  or  excesses.  The  prognosis  was  very  un- 
favourable ;  the  issue  in  7  cases  was  dementia  with  paralysis,  while  10  went  on  to 


made  the  observation  that  mental  derangement  sometimes  occurs 
as  the  transference  of  disorder  from  the  spinal  centres. 

Hysteria  in  some  instances  undoubtedly  produces  or  passes 
into  insanity.  An  acute  attack  of  maniacal  excitement,  with  great 
restlessness,  perverseness  of  conduct,  loud  and  rapid  conversation 
— sometimes  blasphemous  or  obscene,  laughing,  singing,  or  rhym- 
ing, may  follow  the  ordinary  hysterical  convulsions,  or  may  occur 
instead  of  these.  Or  the  ordinary  hysterical  symptoms  may 
pass  by  degrees  into  a  chronic  insanity  ;  the  patient  losing  more 
and  more  self-control,  becoming  more  fanciful  about  her  health, 
and  more  indifferent  to  what  is  going  on  around  her;  the  body 
becomes  anremic  and  emaciated,  and  there  are  usually  irregulari- 
ties of  menstruation.  An  erotic  element  is  sometimes  evinced  in 
the  manner  and  thoughts  ;  and  occasionally  ecstatic  states  occur. 
The  symptoms  are  often  worse  at  the  menstrual  periods. 

Under  this  division  of  exciting  causes  of  insanity  must  be 
placed  chorea  and  epilepsy,  although  what  may  be  their  exact 
seats  in  the  nervous  system  is  yet  uncertain.  Chorea  in  the 
adult  is  not  unapt  to  terminate  in  insanity.  It  is  necessary  to 
bear  in  mind  that  there  are  different  sorts  of  insanity  connected 
with  epilepsy.  When  the  fits  have  recurred  frequently,  and  the 
disease  has  continued  for  a  long  time,  it  undoubtedly  produces 
loss  of  memory,  failure  of  mental  power,  and  ultimately  com- 
plete dementia.  Again,  a  succession  of  severe  fits  may  be  fol- 
lowed by  a  condition  of  acute  dementia  which  lasts  for  a  short 
time,  or  by  an  acute,  violent,  and  most  dangerous  mania  which 
usually  passes  away  in  a  few  days.  Not  only  may  acute  mania 
thus  follow  epilepsy,  but  an  attack  of  acute  transitory  mania — 
a  true  mania  transitoria — may  take  the  place  of  the  epileptic 
paroxysm,  representing  a  masked  epilepsy.  Last]y,  in  some  cases 
a  profound  moral  disturbance,  an  irritability,  moroseness  and  per- 
version of  character,  lasting  for  months,  with  periodical  exacer- 
bations in  which  vicious  or  criminal  acts  may  be  perpetrated, 
precede  the  appearance  of  the  regular  epileptic  fits,  which  then 
throw  light  upon  the  hitherto  unaccountable  moral  perversion ; 
it  is  another  form  of  masked  or  suppressed  epilepsy. 

The  caries  of  the  bones  of  the  skull,  which  is  an  occasional 
effect  of  tertiary  syphilis,  may  lead  to  destructive  consequences 
by  extension  of  morbid  action  to  important  parts  beneath.   There 

288  OX  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAXITV.  [chap. 

are,  however,  other  ways  in  which  syphilis  is  now  known  to  lead 
to  mental  disorder :  a  syphilitic  node  formed  on  the  internal 
surface  of  the  skull  may  occasion  secondary  mental  disease  of 
a  grave  kind  ;  and,  again,  syphilis  may  give  rise  to  inflamma- 
tion of  the  membranes  of  the  brain,  followed  sometimes  by  a  low 
diffuse  exudation  in  or  between  the  membranes,  or  by  a  more 
or  less  defined  tumour  (syphiloma) ;  the  result  being  a  hopeless 
dementia,  with  gradually  increasing  paralysis.  The  syphilitic 
exudation  sometimes,  though  rarely,  takes  place  in  the  substance 
of  the  brain  itself;  its  starting-point  then  being  the  nuclei  of 
the  connective  tissue  which  exists  throughout  the  brain,  and  the 
destruction  of  the  nervous  cells  being  secondary.  But  of  this, 
more  hereafter. 


An  important  but  obscure  question,  of  which  little  thought  is 
ever  taken  now,  is  not  so  much  what  is  the  cause  of  the  insanity 
as  what  is  the  cause  of  the  particular  form  which  the  insanity 
takes.  The  inborn  temperament  of  the  individual  has  certainly 
great  influence  in  determining  the  kind  of  mental  disorder,  the 
same  external  cause  giving  rise  to  different  forms  of  disease 
according  to  the  constitutional  idiosyncrasy :  the  melancholic 
temperament  will,  it  may  be  presumed,  predispose  to  melancholic 
insanity,  the  sanguine  temperament  to  a  more  expansive  de- 
rangement. On  the  other  hand,  injury  of  the  head  will  tend  to 
produce  intellectual  disorder  rather  than  emotional  depression, 
while  abdominal  disease  will  favour  the  production  of  emotional 
depression;  for  the  organic  conditions  of  the  integrity  of  the 
intellectual  faculties  are,  as  Miiller  has  observed,  mainly  in  the 
brain  itself,  but  "  the  elements  which  maintain  the  emotions  or 
strivings  of  self,  in  all  parts  of  the  organism."  Furthermore,  it 
is  plain  that  the  degree  of  development  which  the  mind  has 
reached  must  determine  in  no  slight  measure  the  features  of  its 
disorder;  the  more  cultivated  the  mind  the  more  various  and 
complex  must  be  the  symptoms  of  its  derangement ;  while  it  is 
not  possible  that  the  undeveloped  mind  of  the  child  immediately 
after  birth  should  exhibit  ideational  disorder  of  any  kind.  Con- 
sider what  an  infinitely  complex  development  the  cultivated 
mind  has  been  shown  to  be,  and  what  a  long  series  of  processes 


and  what  a  variety  of  interworkings  of  so-called  faculties  even 
its  simpler  conceptions  involve  ;  it  will  then  be  easily  under- 
stood how  great  and  varied  may  be  the  confusion  and  disorder 
of  its  morbid  action.  The  different  forms  of  insanity  represent 
different  phases  of  mental  degeneration ;  and  in  the  disorgani- 
zation, degeneration,  or  retrograde  metamorphosis  of  the  mental 
organization — call  the  retrograde  change  what  we  will— there 
will  be  exhibited  the  wreck  of  culture.  The  morbid  mental 
phenomena  of  an  insane  Australian  savage  will  of  necessity  be 
different  from  the  morbid  mental  phenomena  of  an  insane 
European,  just  as  the  ruins  of  a  palace  must  be  vaster  and  more 
varied  than  the  ruins  of  a  log  hut.  For  the  same  reason  the 
insanity  of  early  life  always  has  more  or  less  of  the  character  of 
imbecility  or  idiocy  about  it :  as  is  the  height  so  is  the  depth,  as 
is  the  development  so  is  the  degeneration.  The  development 
of  the  sexual  system  at  puberty,  and  the  great  revolution  which 
is  thereby  effected  in  the  mental  life,  must  needs  often  give  a 
colour  to  the  phenomena  of  insanity  occurring  after  puberty. 
During  the  energy  of  mental  function  in  active  manhood  mania 
is  the  form  of  degeneration  which  appears  most  frequently  to 
occur,  while  as  age  advances  and  energy  declines  melancholia 
becomes  more  common.  Future  researches  will  probably  dis- 
cover the  definite  causes  of  the  special  features  of  many  of  the 
different  forms  of  insanity  in  the  bodily  disorders  which  cause 
them,  or  which  are  constantly  associated  with  them.  Then, 
instead  of  a  vague  psychological  classification  of  insanity,  we 
may  hope  to  attain  to  an  exact  medical  history  of  the  different 
forms  of  the  disease,  and  to  a  scientific  classification  of  them. 
At  present  we  are  only  on  the  threshold  of  positive  inquiry. 

Because  no  two  people  are  exactly  alike  in  mental  character 
and  development,  therefore  no  two  cases  of  mental  degenera- 
tion are  exactly  alike.  The  brain  is  different  in  the  matter  of 
its  development  from  other  organs  of  the  body ;  for  while  the 
development  and  function  of  other  organs  axe  nearly  alike  in 
different  individuals,  and  the  diseases  of  them  accordingly  have 
a  general  resemblance,  the  real  development  of  the  brain  as  the 
organ  of  mental  life  only  takes  place  after  birth,  and,  presenting 
every  variety  of  individual  function  in  health,  presents  also 
every  variety  of  morbid  function :    consequently,  two  cases  of 


290  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSAMTY.  [chap. 

insanity  may  resemble  one  another  in  the  general  features  of 
exaltation  or  depression,  or  in  the  character  of  the  delusion,  but 
will  still  have  their  special  features.  Insanity  is  not  any  fixed 
morbid  entity  ;  every  instance  of  it  is  an  example  of  individual 
degeneration,  and  represents  individual  mental  life  under  other 
conditions  than  those  which  we  agree  to  regard  as  normal  or 
typical.  No  more  useful  work  could  be  undertaken  in  psychology 
than  an  exact  study  of  individual  minds,  sound  and  unsound. 
Still,  although  different  cases  will  present  their  special  details, 
there  is  a  wonderful  sameness  about  insanity,  a  great  lack  of 
invention ;  delusions  repeat  themselves  in  all  lunatic  asylums, 
and  any  one  who  has  studied  well  the  patients  in  one  large 
asylum,  knows  the  general  features  of  the  madness  of  all  ages 
and  of  all  countries,  under  all  conditions  and  among  all  classes 
of  men.  Productive,  in  the  sense  of  creative,  activity  is  the 
highest  function  of  the  highest  and  healthiest  mind. 

Weigh  carefully  the  manner  of  its  causation,  and  it  will  appear 
that  mental  derangement  must  be  a  matter  of  degree.  There 
may  be  every  variety  (a)  of  deficient  original  capacity,  (b)  of 
deficient  development  of  the  mental  organization  after  birth,  and 
(c)  of  degree  of  degeneration.  Between  the  lowest  depths  of 
madness,  therefore,  and  the  highest  reach  of  mental  soundness, 
there  will  be  infinite  varieties  shading  insensibly  one  into 
another — a  very  gentle  gradient ;  so  that  no  man  will  be  able  to 
say  positively  where  sanity  ends  and  insanity  begins,  or  to 
determine  with  certainty  in  every  case  whether  a  particular 
person  is  insane  or  not.  The  question  of  an  individual's  respon- 
sibility must  then  plainly  be  a  most  difficult  one :  there  are 
insane  persons  who  are  certainly  responsible  for  what  they  do, 
and,  on  the  other  hand,  there  are  sane  people  who  under  certain 
circumstances  are  as  plainly  not  responsible  for  their  actions. 
A  madman  is  notably  capable  of  great  self-control  when  his 
interest  specially  demands  it ;  in  the  majority  of  cases  he  knows 
full  well  the  difference  between  right  and  wrong  ;  but,  knowing 
the  right,  he  is  instigated  by  the  impulses  of  his  morbid  nature 
to  do  the  wrong,  and  is  not  held  in  check  by  those  motives 
which  suffice  to  restrain  the  sane  portion  of  the  community. 

Again,  the  investigation  made  into  the  causation  of  mental 
disease  exhibits  the  necessity  of  taking  wider  views  of  its  origin 


and  import  than  is  commonly  done.  Insanity  marks  a  failure  ^/ 
in  organic  adaptation  to  external  nature :  it  is  the  result  and 
evidence  of  a  discord  between  the  man  and  his  surroundings :  he 
cannot  bend  circumstances  to  himself  nor  accommodate  himself 
to  circumstances.  The  lunatic  has  not  learnt,  nor  can  he  learn, 
how  much  more  noble,  more  conformable  to  Nature's  laws,  it  is 
to  merge  his  small  individual  discord  in  her  harmonious  unison, 
than  to  spoil  the  latter  by  it.  Now,  whosoever,  either  from 
inherited  weakness  of  nature  or  from  adverse  circumstances,  is 
unequal  to  the  predetermined  impulse  or  nisus  of  evolution 
which  is  immanent  in  mankind,  as  in  every  other  form  of  organic 
life,  must  fall  by  the  wayside  and  be  left  stranded.  For  as  in 
the  stupendous  progression  of  the  human  race  whole  nations 
drop  away  like  dead  branches  from  the  living  tree,  so  amongst 
nations  individuals  decay  and  perish  in  crowds  as  the  dead 
leaves  fall  from  the  living  branches.  Nature  indeed  counts 
individual  life  very  cheaply:  in  the  development  of  vegetable 
and  animal  life  she  sacrifices  numberless  seeds  and  germs,  of 
fifty  bringing  but  one  to  bear,  and  in  the  organic  evolution  of 
mankind  she  sacrifices  with  like  lavish  profusion  countless 
thousands  of  individual  lives  : 

"  So  careful  of  the  type  she  seems, 
So  careless  of  the  single  life." 

It  behoves  us  not  to  let  these  failures,  these  abortive  minds, 
pass  away  without  learning  the  lesson  which  their  history 
conveys  :  they  are  instructive  instances  well  fitted  to  teach  the 
causes  of  failure,  and  thus  to  indicate  the  method  of  a  successful 
adaptation  to  external  nature.  When  he  is  thus  brought  into 
harmony  with  nature,  the  development  of  the  individual  becomes 
the  consummate  evolution  of  nature. 


In  order  to  illustrate  more  fully  this  chapter  on  the  causation  of 
insanity,  I  append  here  the  short  notes  of  fifty  cases,  all  of  which  were 
under  my  care,  and  in  which  I  laboured  to  satisfy  myself  of  the  con- 
spiring causes  of  the  mental  disease  : — 

1 .  A  captain  in  the  army,  and  the  only  surviving  son  of  his  mother, 
who  was  a  widow.     She  suffered  very  much  from   scrofulous  disease, 


292  OX  THE  CAUSES  OF  IXSJXITY.  [chai\ 

and  he  was  wasting  away  with  phthisis.  Mental  state,  that  of  demented 
melancholia,  witli  manifold  delusions  of  suspicion.  He  was  the  last 
of  his  family  two  brothers  having  died  very  much  as  he  died.  His 
grandfather  began  life  as  a  common  porter,  ultimately  became  partner 
in  a  great  manufacturing  business,  and,  having  amassed  enormous 
wealth,  made  a  great  display  in  London  on  the  strength  of  it.  His 
high  hopes  of  founding  a  family  on  the  wealth  which  it  was  the  sole 
aim  of  his  life  to  accpuire  have  thus  issued. 

2.  There  was  direct  hereditary  predisposition,  and  the  temperament 
was  notably  excitable  through  life.  There  was  no  evidence  of  excesses 
of  any  kind,  but  there  had  been  many  business  anxieties.  The  mental 
disease  was  general  paralysis. 

3.  An  amiable  gentleman,  on  the  death  of  his  wife,  formed  a 
connexion  with  a  woman  of  loose  character.  Continual  sexual  ex- 
cesses, with  free  indulgence  in  wine  and  other  stimulants,  ended  in 
general  paralysis. 

4.  A  conceited  Cockney,  the  son  of  a  successful  London  tailor  and 
money-lender,  strongly  imbued  with  the  tradesman's  spirit,  and  with 
offensive  dissenting  zeal.  Hopelessly  addicted  to  masturbation,  and 
suffering  from  the  disagreeable  form  of  mental  derangement  following 
such  cause. 

5.  Two  ladies  of  middle  age,  unmarried,  and  cousins.  They  both 
suffered  from  extreme  moral  insanity,  both  revealing  in  their  conduct 
the  tyranny  of  a  bad  organization.  There  was  insanity  in  the  family, 
in  one  case  the  father  being  actually  insane ;  and  in  both  cases  the 
parents  being  whimsical,  capricious,  and  very  injudicious  as  parents. 
A  bad  organization,  made  worse  by  bad  training. 

6.  An  unmarried  lady,  aged  40,  addicted  to  the  wildest  and  coarsest 
excesses,  though  of  good  social  position  and  of  independent  means; 
justifying  in  every  respect  her  conduct,  though  it  more  than  once 
brought  her  to  the  gaol.  Family  history  not  ascertainable,  but  evidently 
not  good  organization  in  her.  No  aim  nor  occupation  in  life,  but 
extreme  egoistic  development  in  all  regards. 

7.  A  publican,  set.  31,  had  done  little  for  some  time  but  stupify 
himself  with  brandy  in  his  own  bar-parlour.  The  consequence  was 
furious  mania  and  extreme  incoherence  :  acute  mania  from  continued 
intoxication,  not  delirium  tremens. — Eecovery. 

8.  A  woman,  set.  47,  of  dark  bilious  temperament,  who  had  endured 
much  from  her  husband's  unkindness  and  domestic  anxieties,  under- 
went "  the  change  of  life,"  and  became  extremely  melancholic. — 


9.  Hereditary  predisposition  marked.  First  atta-k,  83t.  38,'whcn 
unmarried.  Second  attack,  set.  58,  she  having  a  few  years  before 
married  an  old  gentleman  in  need  of  a  nurse.  She  was  given  to 
taking  stimulants,  fancied  herself  ill,  and  must  always  be  having  the 
doctor ;  in  fact,  hypochondriacal  melancholia  gradually  grew  into 
positive  insanity. — Recovery. 

10.  A  married  lady,  set.  31,  without  children,  and  having  great  self- 
feeling.  She  went  on  one  occasion  to  a  Methodist  meeting,  was  much 
excited  by  a  violent  sermon,  and  immediately  went  mad,  fancying  her 
soul  to  be  lost,  and  making  attempts  at  suicide. — Recovery. 

11.  A  young  lady,  aet.  25,  who  had  some  anxieties  at  home,  suffered 
a  disappointment  of  her  affections.  Black  depression  running  into 
acute  dementia. — Recovery. 

12.  A  married  woman,  aet.  44,  of  dark  bilious  temperament,  had 
never  had  any  children.  At  the  "  change  of  life "  profound  melan- 
cholia came  on. 

13.  A  gentleman,  aged  60,  of  fine  sensitive  temperament,  whose 
mother  was  said  to  have  been  flighty  and  peculiar,  had  himself  been 
noted  for  slight  peculiarities.  He  became  profoundly  melancholic, 
thinking  himself  ruined,  and  intensely  suicidal.  Refusal  of  food. 
Everything  taken,  however,  was  vomited,  and  diagnosis  of  organic 
abdominal  disease,  probably  malignant,  was  made. — Death  from  ex- 

14.  A  bookseller,  set.  41,  temperate,  of  considerable  intellectual 
capacity,  but  of  inordinate  conceit ;  advocated  a  general  division  of 
property  and  other  extreme  notions.  He  ultimately  got  the  notion 
that  there  was  a  conspiracy  against  him  on  the  part  of  the  Govern- 
ment, and  tried  to  strangle  his  wife  as  a  party  to  it.  After  two  years 
he  died  of  phthisis,  with  many  of  the  symptoms  of  general  paralysis. 
The  bodily  disease  seemed  to  have  conspired  with  a  natural  vice  of 
character,  and  thus  to  have  made  the  mental  derangement  one  of  its 
earliest  symptoms. 

15.  A  married  man,  set.  50,  of  anxious  temperament.  Profound 
melancholia ;  refusal  of  food.  Second  attack.  -Apart  from  the  pre- 
disposition established  by  a  former  attack,  the  cause  seemed  to  be 
great  self-feeling,  assuming  a  religious  garb.  Very  fervent  always  in 
devotion,  but  intense  egoistic  feeling  ;  entire  reference  of  everything  to 
self,  and  natural  inability  to  form  altruistic  conceptions. — Recovery. 

16.  A  single  lady,  set.  38,  fancied  herself  under  mesmeric  influence, 
in  a  state  of  clairvoyance,,  and  had  a  variety  of  anomalous  sensations. 
Rubbed  her  skin  till  it  was  sore  in  places,  bit  her  nails  to  the  quick, 

294  OS  THE  CAUSES  Of  INSANITY,  [chap. 

scratched    her    face,    &c.       Quasi-hysterical  maniacal   exacerbations. 
Irregularity  of  menstruation,  and  suspected  self-abuse. — Recovery. 

17.  A  lady,  set.  45,  but  looking  very  much  older,  having  had  an 
anxious  life.  Hereditary  predisposition  ;  change  of  life ;  melancholic 
depression,  passing  into  destructive  dementia.  Convulsions,  paralysis, 
death.  Here  softening  of  the  brain  was  preceded  for  some  weeks  by 
mental  symptoms. 

18.  Hereditary  predisposition.  Great  intemperance.  General 

19.  Habitual  alcoholic  excesses ;  pecuniary  difficulties  :  mania. 
After  some  years  hemiplegia  of  right  side,  muscular  power  being 
partially  regained  after  a  time.  The  patient  lived  for  years  thus. 
Paralysis  of  long  duration  was  the  usual  family  disease  and  cause 
of  death. 

20.  Suicidal  insanity  in  a  married  lady.  Strong  hereditary  pre- 
disposition to  insanity.  Exhaustion  produced  by  lactation,  and  mental 
depression,  occasioned  by  the  long  absences  of  her  husband  from  home. 
- — Recovery. 

21.  Third  or  fourth  attack  of  acute  moaning  melancholia  in  a 
woman,  aged  40.  Intense  self-conceit  and  selfishness  natural  to  her. 
Gastric  derangement,  and  obstinately  constipated  bowels.  Whenever 
bodily  derangement  reaches  a  certain  pitch,  or  adversity  occurs,  it 
seems  to  upset  the  equilibrium  of  an  ill-balanced  mind,  predisposed  to 
disorder  by  former  attacks. — Recovery. 

22.  Gambling,  betting,  drinking,  and  sexual  intemperance.  General 

23.  A  bad  organization  plainly — not  due  to  insanity  in  family,  but 
to  the  absence  of  moral  element.  A  life  of  great  excitement,  and 
of  much  speculation  in  Australia,  Alcoholic  and  sexual  excesses  (?). 
General  paralysis. 

24.  A  widow,  *et.  58,  the  daughter  of  one  who  had  begun  life  as  a 
labourer  at  a  coal  wharf,  but  who  made  a  great  deal  of  money.  He 
was  without  education,  so  that  his  daughter,  brought  up  as  a  rich 
person,  but  without  social  cultivation,  did  not  get  opportunely  married : 
as  it  is  expressed  in  the  North,  "  she  was  too  high  for  the  stirrup,  and 
not  high  enough  for  the  saddle."  When  50  years  old,  she  married  an 
old  gentleman,  whose  former  manner  of  life  had  made  a  nurse  needful 
to  him.  He  died,  and  left  her  the  income  of  a  large  property  for  her 
life.  She  now  got  suspicious  of  his  relatives,  to  whom  the  property 
was  to  revert  on  her  death  ;  was  'harassed  with  her  money,  which  she 
did  not  know  what  to  do  with,  but  fancied  others  had  designs  on ; 


and  finally  went  from  bad  to  worse  until,  believing  all  the  world  was 
conspiring  against  her,  she  got  a  revolver,  and  threatened  to  shoot  her 
fancied  enemies. 

25.  The  daughter  of  a  common  labourer,  who  had  become  very  rich 
in  the  colliery  business,  a^t.  32,  single.  Her  father  being  dead  she 
was  very  wealthy  ;  she  was  without  any  real  education,  and  very  vulgar, 
and  spent  the  greater  part  of  her  time  in  drinking  gin  and  reading 
sensational  novels.  Great  hereditary  predisposition,  not  to  insanity 
only,  but  to  suicidal  insanity.  Suicidal  melancholia,  with  an  in- 
coherence approaching  dementia. 

26.  A  gentleman,  aged  34.  Steady,  quiet  drinking,  on  all  pos- 
sible occasions.  The  "  ne'er-do-weel "  of  the  family,  having  tumbled 
about  the  world  in  Mexican  wars  and  South  American  mines,  and  in 
other  places,  as  such  persons  do.  Feebleness  of  mind  and  loss  of 
memory.  An  uncle  had  been  very  much  the  same  sort  of  person,  and 
had  died  in  an  asylum. 

27.  A  married  woman,  aged  49,  gaunt,  and  seemingly  of  bilious 
temperament.  After  a  fever  of  five  weeks'  duration,  called  "  gastric," 
probably  typhoid,  acute  maniacal  excitement,  violence,  incoherence, 
&c. — Recovery  within  a  fortnight. 

28.  Dementia  after  epilepsy,  the  fits  occurring  at  the  catamenial 
pariod.  Brother  maniacal,  and  sister  without  the  moral  element  in 
her  disposition. 

29.  The  young  lady  before  mentioned  as  Ko.  1 1  was  removed  by  a 
penurious  father  from  medical  care  before  recovery  was  thoroughly 
established,  and  in  opposition  to  advice.  The  return  to  home 
anxieties  brought  on  an  attack  of  acute  mania,  with  gabbling  of 
endless  incoherent  rhymes. — Permanent  recovery  this  time. 

30.  A  warehouseman,  aged  35,  a  Primitive  Methodist,  grievously 
addicted  to  preaching.  He  had  accomplished  some  self-education, 
but  had  a  boundless  conceitf,  and  infinite  self-feeling.  Indigestion, 
pyrosis,  frequent  vomiting  after  meals.  Melancholia,  with  delusion 
that  he  had  committed  the  unpardonable  sin,  and  endless  moaning. 
Most  remarkable  is  the  evidence  of  self-feeling  in  such  patients — self- 
renunciation  not  being  a  word  that  enters  into  their  vocabulary.  This 
man,  for  example,  though  well  aware  that  vomiting  followed  eating, 
and  sufficiently  afflicted  thereby,  could  not  be  induced  to  regulate  his 
diet  voluntarily,  but  ate  gluttonously,  unless  prevented. 

31.  A  married  woman,  set.  32,  of  stout  habit  of  body,  and 
habitually  locked  secretions.  The  sudden  death  of  a  son  brought 
on  severe  moaning  melancholia. 

236  ON  THE  CAUSES  OF  INSANITY.  [chap. 

32.  A  single  lady,  aged  57,  who  had  been  insane  for  thirty  years. 
There  was  the  strongest  hereditary  taint. 

33.  A  young  man,  extremely  delicate,  aged  22,  had  acute  dementia, 
following  acute  rheumatism.  There  was  valvular  disease  of  the  heart, 
with  loud  mitral  regurgitant  murmur. — Issue  of  the  case  unknown. 

34.  Slight  hereditary  predisposition,  much  aggravated  by  injudi- 
cious education.  A  tradesman's  daughter,  set.  24,  brought  up  in  idle- 
ness. Domestic  troubles  and  anxieties  after  marriage.  Mania. — 

35.  A  woman,  set.  30,  Wesleyan,  single.  Suicidal  melancholia 
with  the  delusion  that  her  soul  is  lost.  Menstrual  irregularity. 
Extreme  devotional  excitement,  with  evidently  active  sexual  feelings. 
— Eecovery. 

36.  A  young  woman,  set.  25,  single,  "Wesleyan.  Mania.  Cause, 
same  probably  as  in  the  last  case. — Eecovery. 

37.  A  respectable,  temperate,  and  industrious  tradesman,  set.  40, 
AYesleyan,  a  teetotaller,  and  much  superior  to  a  vulgar  wife.  Second 
attack.  His  father  committed  suicide;  his  brother  is  very  nighty. 
General  paralysis. 

38.  A  sober,  hardworking,  respectable  bookseller,  not  given  to 
excesses  of  any  kind,  so  far  as  was  ascertainable.  Slight  hereditary 
predisposition.     General  paralysis. 

In  both  these  last  cases  there  was  general  paralysis  in  men  who  had 
never  been  intemperate.  In  both,  however,  there  were  large  families 
of  children,  and  the  struggle  of  life  had  plainly  been  very  anxious 
and  severe. 

39.  A  woman,  set.  32.  Acute  mania  came  on  two  months  after 

40.  A  lady,  set.  34,  single,  without  other  occupation  or  interest 
than  religious  exercises.  Suicidal  melancholia,  with  the  delusion  that 
she  had  sold  herself  to  the  devil.     Amenorrhoea. — Eecovery. 

41.  A  married  woman,  set.  40.  Sudden  outbreak  of  mania,  after 
going  to  a  revival  meeting.     Amenorrhoea. — Eecovery. 

42.  A  married  man  with  a  family,  set.  52,  a  Dissenter,  holding 
an  office  of  authority  in  his  church,  and  most  exact  in  his  religious 
duties.  Secretly,  he  kept  a  mistress,  however,  and  lived  a  rather  dissi- 
pated life.  Outbreak  of  acute  mania,  with  a  threatening  of  general 
paralysis. — Eecovery  ;  for  a  time  at  any  rate. 

43.  Acute  mental  annihilation  in  a  young  man  about  a  year  and  a 
half  after  marriage.  One  or  two  intervals  of  a  few  hours  of  mental 
restoration. — Death   in  epileptiform   convulsions.      Softening  of  the 


brain  in  extreme   degree,  but  limited  in  extent.      Excessive  sexual 

44.  A  married  woman,  set.  44,  who  has  had  several  children,  and 
who  has  become  insane  after  each  confinement.  Maniacal  incoherence 
and  excitement,  with  unconsciousness  that  she  has  had  a  child. — 

45.  Hereditary  predisposition.  A  Dissenter  of  extreme  views, 
narrow-minded,  and  bigoted.  He  was  married  when  thirty-six  years 
old,  and  became  melancholic  a  short  time  after  the  birth  of  his  first 
child. — Recovery. 

46.  Complete  loss  of  memory,  and  of  all  energy  of  character,  and 
failure  of  intelligence,  in  a  man,  set.  36,  single,  from  continual 
intemperance  in  drinking  and  smoking.  Has  previously  had  two 
attacks  of  delirium  tremens. 

47.  An  extremely  good-looking  young  widow,  who  had  been  a 
singer  at  some  public  singing-rooms,  and  the  mistress  of  the  proprietor 
of  them.     Sexual  excesses.     General  paralysis. 

48.  Attack  of  acute  violent  mania  in  a  young  surgeon,  aet.  27. 
Afterwards  three  days'  heavy  stertorous  sleep  ;  then  seeming  recovery 
for  twenty-four  hours ;  but  on  the  next  day  recurrence  of  mania,  fol- 
lowed soon  by  severe  epileptic  fits. — Recovery. 

49.  Extreme  moral  perversion,  with  the  most  extravagant  conceit 
of  self,  and  unruly  conduct  in  a  young  man,  a  clerk.  Alternations  of 
deep  depression  and  suicidal  tendency.     Cause,  self-abuse. 

50.  A  single  lady,  aged  41,  who,  on  her  return  from  school  when 
fifteen  years  old,  was  queer,  listless,  and  has  always  since  been  rather 
peculiar.  Hereditary  predisposition.  Acute  melancholia,  with  the 
delusion  that  she  is  lost  because  she  has  refused  an  offer  of  marriage 
by  a  clergyman,  such  offer  never  having  been  thought  of  by  him. 



IF  the  account  previously  given  of  the  gradual  evolution  of  the 
so-called  mental  faculties  be  correct,  the  insanity  met  with 
in  children  must  of  necessity  be  of  the  simplest  kind  ;  where  no 
mental  faculty  has  been  organized  no  disorder  of  mind  can  well 
be  manifest.  The  kind  of  mental  derangement  displayed  in 
early  life  will  in  reality  serve  as  a  searching  test  of  the  value  of 
the  principles  already  enunciated,  and,  if  found  to  be  in  strict 
accordance  with  them,  will  not  fail  to  afford  them  strong  sup- 
port. While  it  is  commonly  thought  sufficient  to  dismiss  all 
such  instances  as  singular  anomalies  in  nature,  inexplicable,  and 
belonging  to  the  regions  of  disorder — as  though  to  call  a  thing 
unnatural  were  to  remove  it  from  the  domain  of  natural  law — 
any  glimpse  of  law  or  order  discernible  in  such  confusion  will 
be  so  far  a  gain. 

The  first  movements  of  the  child  are  reflex  to  impressions 
made  upon  it;  but  so  quickly  does  sensorial  perception  with 
motor  reaction  thereto  follow  upon  these  early  movements,  that 
we  are  not  able  to  fix  a  distinct  line  between  the  reflex  and 
sensori-motor  actions.  The  aimless  thrusting  out  of  the  infant's 
limb  brings  it  in  contact  with  some  external  object,  whereupon 
it  is  probable  that  a  sensation  is  excited.  But  it  would  appear 
that  the  particular  muscular  exertion  must  be  the  condition  of 
a  muscular  feeling  of  the  act;  so  that  the  muscular  sense  of 
the  movement  and  the  sensation  of  the  external  object  become 
associated,  and  for  the  future  unavoidably  suggest  one  another  ; 
a  muscular  intuition  of  external  nature  is  in  fact  thus  organized, 
and  one  of  the  first  steps  in  the  process  of  mental  formation 
accomplished.     If  we  call  to  mind  how,  when  discussing  actua- 

chap,  ii.]  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  2!)  9 

tion,  it  was  shown,  in  the  case  of  the  eye  for  example,  that  a 
sensation  was  the  direct  cause  of  a  certain  accommodating  move- 
ment, and  that  the  movement  thereupon  gave  us  the  intuition  of 
distance,  we  may  perceive  how  the  organic  association  of  a  sen- 
sation from  without  with  a  respondent  or  associated  muscular 
act,  does  by  degrees  impart  definite  intuitions  of  external  objects 
to  the  young  mind.  Suppose  now  that  an  infant  becomes  insane 
immediately  after  birth,  what  sort  of  insanity  must  it  exhibit  ? 
The  extent  of  mental  disorder  possible  is  clearly  limited  by  the 
extent  of  existence  of  mental  faculty :  which,  as  we  have  seen, 
is  almost  nothing.  In  this  regard  the  observed  facts  agree 
with  theory;  when  a  child  is,  by  reason  of  a  bad  descent  or  of 
baneful  influences  during  uterine  life,  born  with  such  an  extreme 
degree  of  instability  of  nerve  element  that,  on  the  first  play  of 
external  circumstances,  its  nervous  centres  react  in  convulsive 
form,  it  mostly  dies  in  convulsions.  The  diseased  action  is  a 
diseased  action  of  the  nervous  centres  of  reflex  action — those 
which  alone  have  at  this  time  power  of  functional  action;  the 
convulsions  express  the  morbid  condition  of  them,  —  might, 
indeed,  be  said  to  represent  the  insanity  of  them  [as  insanity; 
on  the  other  hand,  truly  represents  sometimes  a  convulsive 
action  of  the  higher  nervous  centres. 

It  has  been  shown;  however,  that  it  is  impossible,  by  reason 
of  the  close  connexion  of  sensorial  action  with  reflex  action  in 
the  infant — the  actual  continuity  of  development  which  then 
exists — to  fix  a  distinct  period  during  which  its  functions  are 
entirely  reflex.  It  happens  consequently  that  in  the  earliest 
morbid  phenomena  of  nervous  centres  there  is  commonly  the 
evidence  of  some  sensori-motor  disturbance.  An  impression 
on  the  sense  of  sight,  for  example,  is  not  quietly  assimilated 
so  as  to  persist  as  an  organized  residuum  in  the  proper  nervous 
centre,  but  immediately  excites  a  reaction  outwards  of  the  un- 
stable cells  of  the  associate  motor  centres  ;  irregular  and  violent 
actions  prompted  by  sensations  attest  the  disorder  of  the  sen- 
sorial and  corresponding  motor  centres,  as  convulsions  testify  to 
the  disorder  of  the  centres  of  reflex  action.  The  phenomena  of 
a  true  sensorial  insanity  are  intermixed  with  the  morbid  mani- 
festations of  the  lower  nervous  centres ;  to  every  impression 
made  upon  the  infant  there  is  irregular  and  violent  reaction, 

300  INSAXITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chap. 

sensori-motor  and  reflex.  Instances  of  such  morbid  action  so 
soon  after  birth  are  certainly  rare ;  nevertheless  they  do  some- 
times occur,  and  have  been  recorded.  Crichton  quotes  from 
Greding  a  well-known  case  of  a  child  which,  as  he  says,  was 
raving  mad  as  soon  as  it  was  born.  "A  woman,  about  forty 
years  old,  of  a  full  and  plethoric  habit  of  body,  who  constantly 
laughed  and  did  the  strangest  things,  but  who,  independently  of 
these  circumstances,  enjoyed  the  very  best  health,  was,  on  the 
20th  January,  1763,  brought  to  bed,  without  any  assistance,  of  a 
male  child  wdio  was  raving  mad.  When  he  was  brought  to  our 
workhouse,  which  was  on  the  24th,  he  possessed  so  much  strength 
in  his  legs  and  arms  that  four  women  could  at  times  with  diffi- 
culty restrain  him.  These  paroxysms  either  ended  in  an  uncon- 
trollable fit  of  laughter,  for  wThich  no  evident  reason  could  be 
observed,  or  else  he  tore  in  anger  everything  near  him, — clothes, 
linen,  bed  furniture,  and  even  thread,  when  he  could  get  hold  of 
it.  We  durst  not  allow  him  to  be  alone,  otherwise  he  would 
get  on  the  benches  and  tables,  and  even  attempt  to  climb  up  the 
walls.  Afterwards,  however,  when  he  began  to  have  teeth  he 
died."  It  is  certainly  remarkable  that  a  child  so  young  should 
have  been  able  to  do  so  much ;  and  those  who  advocate  innate 
mental  faculties  might  well  ask  how  it  is  possible  under  any 
other  supposition  to  account  for  such  an  extraordinary  exhibition 
of  more  or  less  co-ordinate  power  by  so  young  a  creature.  Two 
considerations  should  be  borne  in  mind  with  regard  to  this  case: 
first,  that  the  mother  of  the  child  was  herself  peculiar,  so  that 
her  infant  inherited  an  unstable  condition  of  nerve  element,  and 
consequently  a  disposition  to  irregular  and  premature  reaction  on 
the  occasion  of  an  external  stimulus ;  and  secondly,  that  there 
does,  as  previously  set  forth,  exist  in  the  constitution  of  the 
nervous  system  the  power  of  certain  co-ordinate  automatic  acts, 
such  as  correspond  in  man  to  the  instinctive  acts  of  animals. 
Many  young  animals  are  born  with  the  power  of  immediately 
co-ordinating  their  muscles  for  a  definite  end,  and  the  human 
infant  is  not  destitute  of  the  germ  of  a  like  power  over  voluntary 
muscles,  while  it  has  complete  the  power  of  certain  co-ordinate 
automatic  acts ;  it  is  conceivable,  therefore,  that,  without  will, 
and  even  without  consciousness,  there  may  be  displayed  by  it,  in 
answer  to  sensations,  actions  which,  like  those  of  this  insane 

ii.]  ixsjxirr  of  early  life.  301 

infant,  have  more  or  less  semblance  of  design  in  them  *  By- 
reason  of  the  morbid  condition  of  nerve  element  we  have  a 
convulsive  manifestation  of  the  innate  co-ordinate  faculty — 
ii  regular,  violent,  and  destructive  movements,  and  the  premature 
and  extravagant  exhibition  of  acts  which  would  be  natural  in 
a  more  restrained  form  at  a  later  stage  of  normal  development, 
such,  for  example,  as  "  uncontrollable  fits  of  laughter  without 
any  evident  reason."-f- 

As  the  earliest  stages  of  the  infant's  mental  development  cor- 
respond in  a  general  way  with  the  permanent  condition  of  mind 
of  those  animals  all  the  actions  of  which  are  reflex  and  sensori- 
motor, it  is  no  wonder  that  the  phenomena  of  infantile  insanity 
should  be  comparable  with  those  of  animal  insanity.  In  both 
cases  the  morbid  phenomena  are  mainly  referable  to  disorder  of 
the  sensorial  and  associate  motor  nervous  centres ;  so  that  we 
might  almost  describe  the  insanity  as  sensorial.  The  elephant, 
usually  a  gentle  enough  creature,  is  subject  at  certain  seasons  to 
attacks  of  furious  madness,  in  which  it  rushes  about  in  the  most 
dangerous  way,  roaring  loudly,  and  destroying  everything  within 
its  reach ;  and  other  animals  are  now  and  then  affected  with 
similar  paroxysms  of  what  might  almost  be  called  an  epileptic 

*  "  That  they  do  this  by  instinct,  something  implanted  in  the  frame,  the 
mechanism  of  the  body,  before  any  marks  of  wit  or  reason  are  to  be  seen  in  them, 
I  am  fully  persuaded ;  as  I  am  likewise  that  nature  teaches  them  the  manner  of 
fighting  peculiar  to  their  species  ;  and  children  strike  with  their  arms  as  naturally 
as  horses  kick,  dogs  bite,  and  bulls  push  with  their  horns." — Mandeville's 
Fable  of  the  Bees,  vol.  ii.  p.  352. 

t  "  The  youngest  person  whom  I  have  seen  labouring  under  mania,"  says  Sir 
A.  Morison,  "  was  a  little  girl  of  six  years  old,  under  my  care  in  Bethlehem 
Hospital.  I  have,  however,  frequently  met  with  violent  and  unmanageable  idiots 
of  a  very  tender  age."  Dr.  Joseph  Frank  records  having  seen,  on  a  visit  to  St. 
Luke's  Hospital,  in  1802,  a  case  of  mania  occurring  at  the  age  of  two  years. — 
Lectures  on  Insanity,  by  Sir  A.  Morison,  M.D.  In  the  Appendix  to  one  of  the 
Reports  of  the  Scotch  Lunacy  Commissioners,  mention  is  made  of  a  girl  aged  six 
years,  who  was  said  to  be  afflicted  with  congenital  mania.  She  was  illegitimate, 
and  her  mother  was  a  prostitute.  She  could  not  walk,  paraplegia  having  come  on 
when  she  was  a  year  old  ;  she  was  incoherent,  and  subject  to  paroxysms  of  violent 
passion  ;  at  all  times  very  intractable  ;  slept  little,  and  ate  largely.  Dr.  Spurz- 
heim  (Observations  on  Derangement  of  Mind)  views  all  such  cases  as  partial  idiots 
from  birth.  The  cerebral  organization  at  so  early  an  age  is,  he  adds,  so  delicate 
that  it  does  not  bear  severe  morbid  affections  without  losing  its  fitness  for  mental 
development,  and  endangering  life.  Indeed,  it  might  fairly  be  said  of  the  oases  of 
insanity  in  very  young  children,  that  some  are  examples  of  intellectual  deficiency, 
the  rest  examples  of  moral  perversion  or  deficiency,  with  or  without  excitement. 

302  IXSAXITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chaf. 

fury.  There  is  far  more  power  in  the  insane  elephant  than  in 
the  insane  infant,  and  it  is  able  to  do  a  great  deal  more  mischief; 
but  there  is  really  no  difference  in  the  fundamental  nature  of 
the  madness ;  the  maddened  acts  are  the  reactions  of  morbid 
motor  centres  to  impressions  made  on  morbid  sensory  centres ; 
and  the  whole  mind,  whether  of  the  infant  or  of  the  animal, 
is  absorbed  in  the  convulsive  reaction.  The  morbid  phenomena 
of  mind  strictly  confirm  in  this  regard  the  principles  which  are 
established  by  an  inductive  study  of  the  plan  of  development 
of  mind. 

The  moment  we  have  recognised  the  existence  of  sensorial 
insanity,  we  become  sensible  .of  the  value  of  the  distinction. 
Not  only  does  it  furnish  an  adequate  interpretation  of  the  violent 
phenomena  of  the  insanity  of  the  animal  and  of  the  infant,  but 
it  alone  suffices  to  explain  that  desperate  fury  which  sometimes 
follows  a  succession  of  epileptic  attacks.  When  the  furious 
epileptic  maniac  strikes  and  injures  whatsoever  and  whomsoever 
he  meets,  and,  like  some  destructive  tempest,  storms  through  a 
ward  with  convulsed  energy,  he  has  no  notion,  no  consciousness, 
of  what  he  is  doing ;  to  all  intents  and  purposes  he  is  an  organic 
machine,  set  in  the  most  destructive  motion  ;  friend  or  foe  alike 
perish  before  him ;  all  his  energy  is  absorbed  in  the  convulsive 
explosion.  And  yet  he  does  not  rage  quite  aimlessly,  but  makes 
more  or  less  definite  attacks  upon  objects  :  he  sees  what  is  before 
him  and  destroys  it ;  there  is  some  method  in  his  madness ;  his 
convulsive  fury  is  more  or  less  co-ordinate.  These  desperate 
deeds  are  respondent  to  morbid  sensations ;  there  often  exist 
terrible  hallucinations,  such  as  blood-red  flames  before  the  eyes, 
loud  roaring  noises  or  imperative  voices  in  the  ears,  sulphurous 
smells  in  the  nostrils  ;  any  real  object  which  does  present  itself 
before  the  eyes  is  seen  with  the  strangest  and  most  unreal 
characters ;  lifeless  objects  seem  to  threaten  his  life,  and  the 
pitying  face  of  a  friend  becomes  the  menacing  face  of  a  devil ; 
his  movements  therefore  do  not  answer  to  the  realities  around 
him,  but  to  the  unreal  surroundings  which  his  disease  has 
created.*     There  exists  for  the  time  a  true  sensorial  insanity, 

*  An  epileptic,  under  my  eare,  usually  a  mild  and  gentle  being,  used  to  become 
a  most  violent  and  dangerous  maniac  after  a  series  of  fits,  and  to  commit  terrible 
destruction.  He  thought  at  these  tiim's  that  he  was  fighting  for  his  life  against 
a  lion. 

ii.]  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  308 

the  higher  nervous  centres  being  in  abeyance;  and  after  the 
frantic  paroxysm  is  over  there  is  complete  forgetfulness  of  it  as 
there  is  forgetfulness  of  sensorial  action  in  health.  There  are 
necessarily  points  of  difference  between  this  epileptic  fury  and 
infantile  insanity,  arising  out  of  the  residua,  sensory  and  motor, 
that  have  been  acquired  and  organized  through  experience  in 
the  nerve  centres  of  the  adult :  the  residua  in  the  sensory  ganglia 
of  the  adult  render  possible  those  special  hallucinations  which 
the  infant  cannot  have ;  while  the  residua  in  the  motor  centres, 
which  are  the  condition  of  the  secondary  automatic  faculties, 
render  possible  a  degree  and  variety  of  violence  which  the  infant, 
possessing  only  such  germs  of  co-ordinate  automatic  power  as 
are  original,  must  needs  fall  short  of. 

No  one  who  has  observed  himself  attentively  when  suddenly 
awaking  out  of  sleep  but  must  have  noticed  that  he  has  had  at 
times  hallucinations  both  visual  and  auditory.  He  has  heard  a 
voice,  which  no  one  else  could  hear,  distinctly  say  something, 
and  on  reflection  only  is  convinced  that  the  words  were  subjec- 
tive ;  or  he  has  waked  up  in  the  night  and  seen  around  him  the 
objects  of  his  dream,  and  been  positively  unable  for  a  time  to 
discriminate  between  the  real  and  the  unreal, — has  perhaps  laid 
down  and  gone  to  sleep  again  without  successfully  doing  so. 
When  the  integrity  of  nerve  element  has  been  damaged,  whether 
by  reason  of  continued  intemperance  or  from  some  other  cause, 
these  half-waking  hallucinations  acquire  a  vivid  reality,  and 
leave  behind  them  a  painful  feeling  in  the  mind.  If  we  could 
imagine  this  temporary  condition  to  last  some  time,  and  our 
actions  to  be  in  accordance  with  our  hallucinations,  then  we 
should  get  a  conception  of  what  is  the  real  state  of  things  in 
sensorial  insanity. 

After  a  child  has  lived  a  few  years,  the  residua  of  its  sen- 
sations have  been  so  far  organized  in  their  proper  nervous  centres 
that  on  the  recurrence  of  a  sensation  it  has  a  definite  character : 
in  other  words,  the  child  has  acquired  the  power  of  definite 
sensory  perception.  Suppose  now  that  some  morbid  cause,  such 
as  a  deranged  condition  of  the  blood,  excites  to  activity  these 
slumbering  or  quiescent  residua,  there  will  then  be  a  subjective 
sensation  or  hallucination,  which  may  remain  as  such,  or  lead  to 
an  answering  motor  reaction.    In  dealing  with  sensorial  insanity 

304  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chap. 

it  is  necessary  then  to  bear  in  mind,  as  was  done  when  treating 
of  the  physiology  of  sensation,  both  the  receptive  and  the  reactive 
side.  A  violent  and  convulsive  reaction  may  mask  all  other 
features  of  the  disease,  and  give  it  an  epileptiform  character ;  or 
the  active  sensory  residua  may  persist  in  consciousness  as  hallu- 
cinations, giving  rise,  if  they  give  rise  to  any  answering  move- 
ments, to  such  as  are  rather  of  a  choreic  character. 

A  variety  of  insanity  in  children,  then,  which  we  may  next 
consider,  is  that  form  of  sensorial  insanity  in  which  hallucina- 
tions occur,  and  in  which  the  motor  reactions  are  not  epilepti- 
form but  choreic.  There  is  some  reason  to  think  that  temporary 
or  fugitive  hallucinations  are  not  uncommon  in  infancy,  and 
that  the  child  stretching  out  its  hand  and  appearing  to  grasp  at 
some  imaginary  object  is  deceived  by  a  subjective  sensation. 
The  excitation  of  the  latent  residua  of  sensation  takes  place 
from  some  internal  cause,  and  bodily  states  thus  give  rise  to 
temporary  hallucinations  in  children,  without  there  being  any 
positive  disease.  Experimental  proof  of  this  manner  of  origin  is 
not  wanting :  Dr.  Thore  describes  the  case  of  an  infant,  aged 
fourteen  months  and  a  half,  which  had  accidentally  been  poisoned 
by  the  seeds  of  the  Datura  stramonium  ;  hallucinations  of  sight 
occurred,  as  shown  by  the  motions  of  the  child,  which  seemed 
to  be  constantly  seeking  for  some  imaginary  objects  in  front  of 
it,  stretching  out  its  hands  and  clinging  to  the  sides  of  the 
cradle  in  order  to  reach  them  better.*  The  most  remarkable 
examples  of  such  condition  of  hallucination  is  afforded,  how- 
ever, by  that  form  of  nightmare  which  some  children  suffer  so 
much  from :  they  begin  shrieking  out  in  the  greatest  terror 
without  being  awake,  though  their  eyes  are  wide  open ;  they 
tremble  with  fright,  and  do  not  recognise  their  parents  or  others 
who  attempt  to  calm  them ;  and  it  is  some  time  before  the 
paroxysm  passes,  and  they  can  be  pacified.  They  are  for  the 
time  possessed  with  a  vivid  hallucination,  which  terrifies  them 
beyond  measure,  and  which  does  not  readily  subside ;  in  the 
morning,  however,  they  know  nothing  of  their  fright,  but  have 
forgotten  it  as  the  somnambulist  forgets  his  midnight  walk,  or 
as  sensation  is  commonly  forgotten.    Strictly  speaking,  however, 

*  Annales  Medieo-Psychologique,  1849. 

".]  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  30.) 

it  is  not  proper  to  say  that  they  have  forgotten  their  mental 
state,  because  the  activity  was  all  the  while  sensorial ;  and,  as 
there  was  no  conscious  perception,  as  the  child  did  not  perceive 
that  it  perceived,  there  could  be  no  conscious  memory.  The 
undoubted  and  not  uncommon  existence  of  this  state  of  vivid 
hallucination  in  children,  when  the  matter  has  certainly  passed 
beyond  ordinary  dreaming,  will  serve  to  prove  how  possible  it 
is  that  children  may  have,  when  awake,  positive  hallucinations. 
Some  who  have  written  upon  this  subject  have  thought  such  a 
thing  entirely  impossible  or  exceptional,  having  been  misled  by 
the  ill-grounded  assumption  that  a  hallucination  must  have 
some  necessary  connexion  with  a  delusion.  Certainly  it  must 
be,  and  it  is,  rare  to  meet  with  positive  delusion  in  young  chil- 
dren, inasmuch  as  at  that  time  idea  has  not  been  fashioned  in 
the  mind ;  but  the  moment  a  child  has  acquired  a  definite  sen- 
sation, it  is  possible  for  it  to  have  a  hallucination. 

It  is  in  strict  conformity,  then,  with  physiological  principles, 
as  well  as  with  pathological  observation,  to  affirm  the  existence  in 
children  of  a  variety  of  sensorial  insanity,  which  is  characterised 
by  hallucinations,  most  frequently  of  vision,  and  sometimes  by 
answering  irregular  movements.  Fits  of  involuntary  laughter 
are  often  notable  in  such  cases :  the  laugh,  or  rather  smile,  of 
the  infant  is  an  involuntary  sensori-motor  movement  before  it 
has  any  notion  of  the  meaning  of  the  smile,  or  any  consciousness 
that  it  is  smiling  ;  consequently  we  meet  with  the  irregular  and 
convulsive  manifestation  of  this  function  as  one  of  the  expres- 
sions of  a  morbid  state  of  things.  Dr.  Whytt  relates  the  instance 
of  a  boy,  aged  10,  who,  in  consequence  of  a  fall,  had  violent 
paroxysmal  headaches  for  many  days.  After  a  time  there 
occurred  "  fits  of  involuntary  laughter,  between  which  he  com- 
plained of  a  strange  smell  and  of  pins  pricking  his  nose ;  he 
talked  incoherently,  stared  in  an  odd  manner,"  and  immediately 
afterwards  fell  into  convulsions.  He  recovered  on  this  occasion, 
but  two  years  afterwards  was  similarly  attacked :  he  had  severe 
headache,  saw  objects  double,  and  suffered  from  a  severe  pain  in 
the  left  side  of  his  belly,  confined  to  a  spot  not  larger  than  a 
shilling;  "sometimes  it  shifted,  and  then  he  was  seized  with 
fatiguing  fits  of  involuntary  laughter."  Ultimately  he  reco- 
vered partially,  but  never  completely*     It  is  always  desirable, 

*  Op.  cit.  p.  144. 

306  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chap. 

in  cases  of  hallucination  in  children,  to  make  a  close  examina- 
tion of  the  state  of  the  general  sensibility ;  for  perversions  or 
defects  of  it  will  frequently  be  found  both  where  there  are 
corresponding  perversions  of  a  choreic  character  on  the  motor 
side  and  where  there  is  no  evidence  of  motor  disorder.  Because 
this  form  of  sensorial  insanity  is  often  found  associated  with 
more  or  less  evidence  of  chorea,  and  because,  as  compared  with 
the  previously  illustrated  epileptiform  variety,  it  has  relations 
not  unlike  those  which  chorea  has  to  epilepsy,  it  may  be  de- 
scribed as  the  choreic  variety  of  sensorial  insanity. 

Perhaps  no  more  fitting  opportunity  than  the  present  will 
present  itself  for  reference  to  the  singular  state  of  somnambulism, 
the  phenomena  of  which  illustrate  in  a  striking  manner  that 
independent  action  of  the  sensorial  and  corresponding  motor 
centres  which  plays  so  important  a  part  in  the  early  mental 
life  of  the  child,  and  so  large  a  part  in  the  daily  life  of  the 
adult.  An  individual  appears  to  be  fast  asleep,  and  yet  executes 
complicated  acts  of  some  kind  which  he  could  hardly  do,  and 
certainly  could  not  do  better,  if  he  were  awake;  his  highest 
nervous  centres  are  in  partial  abeyance,  and  yet  his  movements 
are  as  skilful  as  if  they  were  under  the  cognizance  and  control 
of  these  supreme  centres.  But  the  man's  senses  are  not  entirely 
asleep,  and  the  organized  motor  reactions  to  impressions  on  these 
senses  are  not  asleep  :  he  is  a  sensori-motor  being,  and  very  much 
in  the  position  of  one  of  those  lower  animals  that  are  destitute 
of  cerebral  hemispheres,  and  which  notwithstanding  are  exceed- 
ingly active  in  their  movements ;  or  very  much  in  the  position 
of  a  child  before  the  higher  centres  of  idea  have  come  into  action. 
Eecently  there  has  come  under  my  observation  a  striking  instance 
of  somnambulism  in  a  young  woman  suffering  from  consumption, 
who  has  on  many  occasions  risen  from  her  bed  in  the  night,  gone 
through  a  sustained  series  of  rather  difficult  acts,  and  returned 
to  bed  without  ever  knowing  what  she  had  been  doing  ;  in  the 
morning  after  such  feats,  however,  she  feels  general  aching  in 
the  limbs,  exhaustion,  and  prostration,  such  as  from  her  descrip- 
tion of  her  suffering  would  appear  to  be  very  like  that  which 
follows  an  epileptic  fit  in  the  night.  One  example  of  what  she 
did  iu  her  sleep  may  be  adduced  here:  she  was  engaged  in 
quilting  a  petticoat  for  a  lady,  and  after  a  good  day's  work  went 


to  Led  at  night,  intending  in  the  morning  to  get  up  early  and 
finish  it ;  but,  when  the  morning  came,  she  was  so  weary  and 
prostrate  that  she  felt  quite  unable  to  rise;  she  called  her 
mother,  therefore,  and  told  her  to  say,  should  the  lady  send  for 
her  petticoat,  that  she  was  so  ill  that  she  had  not  been  able  to 
finish  it.  The  mother,  wishing  to  see  how  much  still  remained 
to  be  done,  fetched  the  petticoat,  when  it  was  found  to  be 
finished  :  the  poor  girl  had  been  up  in  the  night,  and,  seen  of  no 
one,  had  completed  her  task.  Soon  the  long  day's  task  of  life 
will  be  over  with  her,  and  she  will  sleep  well  where  no  troubles 
more  can  reach  her,  and  no  dreams  of  work  or  sorrow  disturb 
her  slumbers. 

If  it  were  possible  to  induce  artificially  a  temporary  disorder 
in  the  sensory  and  corresponding  motor  centres  of  the  somnam- 
bulist, such  as  would  give  rise  to  hallucinations  and  answering 
motor  reactions,  while  his  higher  centres  remained  in  abeyance, 
he  would  in  reality  be  put,  according  to  the  degree  of  disorder, 
either  in  the  condition  of  the  child  suffering  from  what  has  been 
described  as  the  choreic  variety  of  sensorial  insanity,  or  in  the 
condition  of  the  man  who,  after  a  succession  of  epileptic  fits,  is 
attacked  with  furious  sensorial  insanity.  Suppose,  however, 
that  after  a  moderate  disorder  had  been  artificially  excited  in  the 
somnambulist's  sensorial  centres,  such  as  might  engender  hal- 
lucinations, his  higher  centres  of  cognition  were  to  awake  to 
activity, — what  would  be  the  result  ?  Either  he  would  be  im- 
posed upon  by  the  false  sensations,  and  his  thought  thus  share  in 
the  disorder  of  his  sense ;  or  his  reflection  would  discover  the 
subjective  nature  of  the  hallucination,  and  he  would  then  be 
very  much  in  the  position  of  the  well-known  Nicolai,  of  Berlin, 
and  of  others,  who,  like  that  bookseller,  have  suffered  from  hal- 
lucinations of  the  nature  of  which  they  were  quite  conscious. 
Every  one  who  has  observed  himself  with  attention  must  have 
been  conscious  of  occasions  when  a  suddenly  occurring  hallu- 
cination has  caused  him  to  make  a  quick  respondent  movement, 
which,  recognising  the  hallucination,  he  has  discovered  to  be  un- 
necessary. But  it  is  different  with  a  very  young  child,  which,  if 
it  is  affected  with  hallucination,  must  believe  in  it;  it  cannot 
correct  sense  by  reflection,  because  the  higher  nervous  centres 
have  not  yet   entered   on   their  full  function.     Hallucinations 

x  2 

308  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chap. 

may,  therefore,  exist  temporarily  in  children  without  indicating 
any  serious  disturbance  ;  the  organic  residua  of  sensation  being 
quickened  into  activity  by  an  internal  cause,  before  any  distinct 
perception  of  the  cause  of  the  sensation  has  been  formed. 

Thus  far,  then,  it  is  certain  that  hallucination  may  occur 
in  a  child  before  it  has  acquired  a  definite  idea.  With  each 
succeeding  presentation  of  an  object  to  the  child,  however,  the 
impressions  made  on  the  different  senses  become  more  and 
more  combined,  so  that  an  idea  of  the  object  is  at  last  organized 
in  the  higher  ideational  centres ;  there  is  a  consilience  of  the 
sensory  impressions  into  an  idea,  which  henceforth  makes  it 
possible  for  the  child  to  think  of  the  object  when  it  is  not  present 
before  the  senses,  or  to  have  a  definite  and  adequate  perception 
of  it  when  it  is.  As  development  proceeds,  one  idea  after 
another  is  thus  added  to  the  mind  until  many  simple  ideas  have 
been  organized  in  it ;  but  for  a  long  time  these  ideas  remain 
more  or  less  isolated  and  imperfectly  developed ;  there  are  no 
definite  associations  between  them,  and  the  child's  discourse  is 
consequently  incoherent ;  there  is  not  moreover  a  complete  or- 
ganization of  residua,  and  its  memory  is  consequently  fallacious. 
Children,  like  brutes,  live  in  the  present ;  their  happiness  or 
misery  being  dependent  upon  impressions  made  upon  the  senses  : 
their  actions  are  direct  reactions  to  impressions ;  the  idea  or 
emotion  excited  does  not  remain  in  consciousness  and  call  up 
other  ideas  and  emotions,  but  it  is  directly  uttered  in  outward 
action.  Such  a  condition  of  development,  which  is  natural  to 
the  child  before  the  fabric  of  its  mental  organization  has  been 
built  up,  and  to  the  animal  in  which  the  state  of  the  nervous 
system  renders  further  development  impossible,  would,  were  it 
met  with  in  an  European  adult,  represent  idiocy,  or  an  arrest  of 
mental  development  from  morbid  causes. 

So  soon  as  a  definite  idea  has  been  organized  in  the  child's 
mind  a  delusion  is  possible.  But  as  ideas  are  at  first  com- 
paratively few  in  number,  and  as  they  are  very  imperfectly 
associated,  a  derangement  of  the  function  of  their  centres  must 
be  characterized  by  a  very  incoherent  delirium.  Divers  morbid 
ideas  will  then  spring  up  without  coherence ;  and  the  morbid 
phenomena,  wanting  system,  will  correspond,  not  so  much  with 
those  which  in  the  adult  we  describe  as  mania,  as  with  those 

ii.]  tXSJNITT  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  309 

described  as  delirium.  In  the  mania  of  the  adult  there  is  com- 
monly a  systematized  derangement,  some  coherence  between  the 
morbid  ideas,  some  method  in  the  madness ;  wfereas  in  the 
delirium  from  fever  or  other  cause,  ideas  spontaneously  arise  in 
consciousness  in  the  most  incoherent  way :  in  the  young  child  the 
ideas  are  equally  incoherent  by  reason  of  the  absence  of  an 
organic  association  between  the  residua.  Let  us  proceed  then  to 
test  these  principles  by  an  examination  of  such  facts  as  are 

As  a  morbid  idea  in  the  child's  mind  has,  by  the  nature  of 
the  case,  but  a  small  range  of  action  upon  other  ideas,  it  will 
tend  to  utter  itself  by  its  other  paths  of  expression ;  namely,  by 
a  downward  action  upon  the  sensory  ganglia  or  upon  the  move- 
ments. When  it  acts  downwards  upon  the  sensory  ganglia  it 
gives  rise  to  a  hallucination  ;  and  in  such  cases,  as  may  easily  be 
imagined,  it  will  not  always  be  possible  to  determine  whether 
the  hallucination  is  really  secondary  or  primary — whether  it  is 
engendered  indirectly  through  the  agency  of  the  morbid  idea  or 
directly  by  the  excitation  of  the  sensory  residua  by  some  organic 
cause.  When  a  child  of  only  a  few  years  old  sees  figures  of 
some  kind  on  the  wall,  which  have  no  real  existence,  but  dis- 
appear with  apparently  as  little  reason  as  they  came  there,  the 
hallucination  is  most  likely  owing  to  some  organic  cause  affect- 
ing directly  the  sensory  ganglia.  But  when  a  child  of  eight  or 
nine  years  old,  whose  head  has  been  wickedly  filled  with  foolish 
and  dangerous  notions  concerning  the  devil  and  hell,  suddenly 
sees  the  frightful  face  of  a  devil  appear  and  threaten  to  eat  him 
up,  and  shrieks  in  terrified  agony,  then  the  hallucination  is  un- 
doubtedly secondary  to  the  wilfully  implanted  delusion.  In  a 
few  moments  the  phantasm  disappears,  and  the  child  regains  its 
composure.  This  sort  of  idea-produced  hallucination  doubtless 
occurs  frequently  enough  in  those  nightmares  of  children  already 

This  secondary  generation  of  hallucinations  again  is  strikingly 
illustrated  by  the  occurrence  of  phantasms  before  the  eyes  of 
certain  precocious  children ;  these  appear  to  be  visible  represen- 
tations of  the  thoughts  that  are  passing  through  their  minds : 
what  they  think,  that  they  actually  see.  Accordingly  a  sort 
of  drama  is  evolved  before  their  eyes,  and  they  live  for  the 

310  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chap. 

time  in  a  scene  which  is  purely  visionary  as  though  it  were 
quite  real.  "  What  nonsense  are  you  talking,  child  ? "  the 
mother  perhaps  exclaims  ;  and  thereupon  the  pageant  vanishes. 
In  delicate  and  highly  nervous  children,  affected  with  mesen- 
teric tubercle — and,  perhaps,  also  with  meningeal  tubercle — 
it  sometimes  happens  that  great  anxiety  is  caused  to  the 
mother  by  the  strange  way  in  which,  during  the  night,  when 
outer  objects  are  shut  out  by  the  darkness,  they  will  talk  as 
if  they  were  surrounded  by  real  events,  or,  as  the  mother 
perhaps  puts  it,  as  if  they  were  light-headed.  They  are  dream- 
ing while  they  are  awake ;  though  the  outer  world  is  shut 
out,  the  morbid  deposit  within  acts  as  an  irritating  stimulus 
to  the  ganglionic  nervous  centres,  and  thus  gives  rise  to  an 
automatic  activity  of  them.  Such  hallucinations  may  un- 
doubtedly be  fugitive  events  in  the  history  of  any  child  en- 
dowed with  a  highly  nervous  temperament,  as  in  William 
Blake,  the  engraver,  and  may  not  denote  any  positive  disease ; 
but  if  the  habit  grows  upon  the  child  by  indulgence,  and  the 
phantasms  are  regularly  marshalled  into  a  definite  drama, —  as, 
for  example,  was  the  case  with  Hartley  Coleridge, — then  a 
condition  of  things  is  initiated  which  will  in  all  likelihood 
ultimately  issue  in  the  degeneration  of  some  form  of  insanity.* 
For  it  is  not  the  natural  course  of  mental  development  that 
ideas,  so  soon  as  they  are  fashioned  in  the  mind,  should  operate 
directly  downwards  upon  the  sensory  ganglia,  and  thus  create  a 
visionary  world;  but,  on  the  contrary,  it  is  necessary  in  the 
progress  of  mental  development  that  ideas  should  be  completely 
organized  within  the  centres  of  consciousness,  and  act  upon  one 
another  there ;  that  thus,  by  the  integration  of  the  like  in  per- 
ceptions and  the  differentiation  of  the  unlike,  accurate  con- 
ceptions of  nature  should  be  formed  and  duly  combined  in  the 
mental  fabric ;  and  that  the  reaction  upon  external  nature  should 
be  a  definite,  aim-working,  volitional  one.  Men  like  Hartley 
Coleridge  cannot  possibly  have  a  will,  because  the  energy  of 

*  "  Blake's  first  vision  was  said  to  be  when  he  was  eight  or  ten  years  old ;  it 
was  a  vision  of  a  tree  filled  with  angels.  Mrs.  Blake,  however,  used  to  say— 
'  You  know,  dear,  the  first  time  you  saw  God  was  when  you  were  four  years  old, 
and  He  put  His  head  to  the  window  and  set  you  screaming.'" — Gilchrist's 
Life  of  Blake. 

ii.]  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  31 1 

their  supreme  nervous  centres  is  prematurely  expended  in  the 
construction  of  toy- works  of  the  fancy;  the  state  of  things 
corresponding  in  some  sort  with  that  which  obtains  in  the 
spinal  centres  when,  by  reason  of  an  instability  of  nerve 
element,  direct  reactions  take  place  to  impressions,  so  that 
definite  assimilation  and  acquired  co-ordination  are  rendered 
impossible.  In  both  cases  an  arrest  of  development,  commonly 
the  forerunner  of  more  active  disease,  is  indicated ;  in  both  cases 
there  is  the  incapacity  for  a  true  education.  The  precocious 
imagination  of  childhood  should  always  be  restrained  as  an 
actual  danger,  not  fostered  as  a  wonderful  evidence  of  talent ; 
the  child  being  solicited  to  regular  intercourse  with  the  realities 
of  nature,  so  that  by  continued  internal  adaptation  to  external 
impressions  there  may  be  laid  up  in  the  mind  stores  of  material, 
and  that,  by  an  orderly  training,  this  may  be  moulded  into  true 
forms,  according  to  which  a  rightly-developed  imagination  may 
hereafter  work  in  true  and  sober  harmony  with  nature. 

The  difference  between  fancy  and  imagination,  as  Coleridge 
has  very  aptly  remarked,  corresponds  with  the  difference  be- 
tween delirium  and  mania.  The  fancy  brings  together  images 
which  have  no  natural  connexion,  but  are  yoked  together  by 
means  of  some  accidental  coincidence ;  while  the  imagination 
combines  images  seemingly  unlike  by  their  essential  relations, 
and  gives  unity  to  variety.  Now  the  precocious  imagination  of 
a  child,  which  sometimes  delights  foolish  parents,  cannot  pos- 
sibly be  anything  more  than  lying  fancy ;  and  this,  for  exactly 
the  same  reason  that  the  insanity  of  children  must  be  a  delirium, 
and  cannot  be  a  mania — the  incomplete  formation  of  ideas  and 
the  absence  of  definitely  organized  associations  between  them. 
Those  who  like  to  speak  of  faculties  of  the  mind  may  cer- 
tainly maintain  that  fancy  and  imagination  are  fundamentally 
the  same  faculty ;  if  so,  they  should  bear  in  mind  that  fancy 
indicates  the  faculty  working  wildly  and  often  mischievously, 
without  adequate  material  and  without  due  training,  and  that 
imagination  represents  the  working  of  the  faculty  when  duly 
supplied  with  proper  material  and  justly  developed  by  a  proper 
training.  In  like  manner,  those  who  consider  closely  and  with- 
out prepossession  the  fundamental  meaning  of  the  character 
which  the  delirium  of  children  has,  will  not  fail  to  recognise  in 

312  INSANITY  OF  EARLY  LIFE.  [chap. 

it  the  strongest  evidence  of  the  gradual  organization  of  our 
mental  faculty ;  the  fancy  of  the  sane,  and  the  delirium  of  the 
insane,  child  both  testify  to  the  same  condition  of  things — 
that  which  the  habitual  incoherence  of  a  child's  discourse  also 

In  order  to  exhibit  clearly  the  manner  of  action  of  morbid 
idea  in  children,  and  to  educe  therefrom  a  physiological  lesson, 
its  operation  has  been  somewhat  artificially  separated  from  other 
morbid  phenomena  which  usually  accompany  it.  In  young 
children  it  is  practically  rare  to  meet  with  disorder  confined  to 
the  supreme  nervous  centres ;  the  other  centres  are  almost 
certain  to  participate  more  or  less  markedly  in  the  morbid 
action.  In  chorea,  for  example,  besides  the  disordered  move- 
ments which  are  its  common  characteristic,  there  are  often 
hallucinations  marking  disorder  of  the  sensorial  centres,  and 
motiveless  weeping  or  laughing,  or  acts  of  mischief  and  violence, 
marking  disorder  of  some  of  the  higher  motor  centres ;  there  are 
furthermore  in  some  cases  mental  excitement  and  incoherence, 
which  may  pass  into  maniacal  delirium,  and  end  fatally,  or  into 
chronic  delirium,  and  end  in  recovery.  The  different  centres 
sympathize  with  one  another;  and,  according  as  they  minister 
to  ideation,  sensation,  or  movement,  express  their  disorder  in 
delirium,  hallucination,  or  spasmodic  movements. 

Let  us  now  proceed,  then,  to  arrange  in  groups  the  different 
forms  of  insanity  that  are  actually  met  with  in  children. 

1.  Monomania,