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Book Review

From: "Cum Tabulis Animum Censoris Sumet Honesti.—Hor.," The Port Folio 1, nos. 3 & 4 (1813): 226-239, 342-353.

Medical Inquiries and Observations upon Diseases of the Mind. By Benjamin Rush, M.D. Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Medicine, and of Clinical Practice in the University of Pennsylvania.

Wherever civilisation and science have united their influence to illuminate the mind, elevate the sentiments, and dignify the character of man, and even amid the gloom of barbarism itself, a sound intellect is esteemed the most valuable of earthly possessions. Far surpassing mere health of body, and all considerations relating to titles and wealth and power, it is the choicest blessing that heaven can bestow. It is with justice, therefore, that, physically speaking, madness is every where regarded as preeminent in the catalogue of human calamities. Fevers, convulsions, tortures, and wounds-corporeal maladies of whatever description-even death itself, in its most appalling form, are trifles when compared to the wreck of the mind. Of all objects which earth can present to the eye of sensibility, a shattered intellect is the most shocking.-It excites the liveliest commiseration and the deepest horror.-Reason tossed in ruin from her seat-Memory vitiated or entirely extinguished-Perception itself impaired and deceptive-the Understanding overthrown and broken, as it were, into glittering fragments-the Judgment paralysed, or acting only to err and mislead-the Imagination roused to the utmost extravagance, and abandoned to fancies the most wild and incoherent-the Passions let loose and ungovernable as the whirlwind, or Terror and despair benumbing and stiffening every faculty of the soul, while the balm of Repose is for months and years denied to the sufferer.-Such is a faint outline of the picture which mental derangement occasionally exhibits, and such the wretchedness which the volume before us professes to relieve. We mean not to speak irreverently when we say, that next, in its importance and beatific influence, to the conversion of the soul from a fallen to a regenerated state, is the reduction of the intellect from madness to reason.

On the American mind, the very title of work which we hold under our consideration, connected with the name of its venerable author, is calculated to produce a pleasing effect. The publication will be welcomed as an offering of the most consolatory promise. It will be associated with all the advantages which have been derived, in mental diseases, from the practice therein recommended, in almost every quarter of the United States. The contents of the volume are not now for the first time made known to the physicians of our country. For many years past they have been inculcated, with ample illustrations, in a course of lectures delivered by the professor to the medical students in the university of Pennsylvania. These young gentlemen, returning to their homes and commencing their medical career, have, in many instances, reduced them to practice, much to their own credit, and no less to he advantage of suffering humanity.

To those acquainted with the history of Dr. Rush as a practitioner and a teacher of medicine, it is well known that his labours and inquiries in relation to madness have been not only long since commenced, and pursued with a zealous and unrelaxing industry, but conducted on a scale of unusual extent. His knowledge of medical science, in its utmost latitude, had rendered him familiar with every thing that has been written on the diseases of the mind, while a wide range of private practice among persons insane, and an attendance of more than thirty years as physician to the Pennsylvania Hospital, the most extensive asylum for lunatics in the United States, have furnished him with the fruits of ample experience. It is evident, moreover, that the professor has bestowed on mental diseases an attention far beyond what belongs to common medical observation. He has studied them as a philosopher, no less than as a practitioner of the healing art-in their nature and secret causes, no less than in their symptoms and modes of treatment. His constant and determined aim has been, to fathom them, if possible, in all their depth, and to pursue them though all the intricacies of their character. To this he has been led, not only by his wish, as a philanthropist, to administer relief to the keenest miseries which man can endure, but, by his laudable desire of fame, as a writer, and by his responsible station as a public teacher, whose opinions are destined to have a wide range and a weighty influence on the medical mind of the United States. On the degree of success with which his efforts have been crowned in this arduous and highly beneficent undertaking, and the extent to which he has filled up the measure of public expectation, we shall not a present attempt to decide. It is sufficient for us to observe, and we hope to convince our readers, that we do not hazard the observation rashly, that the work contains much matter, which, whether it be entirely original or not, is interesting in its nature, and important in its relation to the welfare of man.

As our business, at present, is not so much with physicians, as with our fellow citizens at large, we deem it improper to trouble our readers with a view of the peculiar points of doctrine which Dr. Rush attempts to maintain, in his inquiry into the causes, the seat, and the nature of madness. Whether this be a disease originating and existing exclusively in the mind, or a malady of common origin, communicated, in all cases, to the mind from the body-Whether it consist in a morbid state of action in the blood vessels of the brain, or in some other portion of that important organ-Whether it is to be regarded as constituting an unit with rheumatism, peripneumony, and other diseases confessedly corporeal-Or whether it be an affection sui generic-These are matters of mere hypothesis, on which we do not conceive it our duty to dwell, much less our province to attempt to decide. Inasmuch as they could not be made intelligible to the generality of readers, so neither could they be rendered interesting to them by any excellence of discussion or felicity of expression. We cannot, however, conceal our apprehension, that, in relation to these topics, physicians of enlightened and independent minds will be slow in adopting the sentiments of our author, although urged with the zeal of an enthusiast, supported with much ingenuity, and sanctioned by all the weight of his character. With respect to ourselves, we wish it to be clearly understood, that however favourable our sentiments may be as to the intention and general scope of the work, and however high our estimation of the many accurate descriptions and excellent practical precepts with which it abounds, our approbation of these particulars is not to be received as any intimation of our assent to all the speculations and opinions which it contains. On the other hand, we feel a persuasion bordering even on conviction itself, that it would have lost nothing, either on the score of respectability or usefulness, had many of these opinions been suffered to slumber in the mind of the author. But whether all the opinions of the professor be tenable or not, there are none of them, perhaps, without their claim to some degree of consideration. In the general scope of his observations on the diseases of the mind he has certainly traveled over a wider field, and embraced a more extensive, at least, a more circumstantial view of the subject, than we have hitherto met with in the writings of any other author. Nothing appears to have escaped his notice which bears any real affinity to madness. Of the magnitude of the superstructure, some idea may be formed from the extent of the basis on which it is erected.

In analyzing the mind, the doctor enumerates as so many distinct and independent faculties, the understanding, the memory, the imagination, the passions, the principle of faith, the will, the moral faculty, conscience, and the sense of Deity. The chief mental operations he states to be sensation, perception, association, judgment, reasoning, and volition. An unsound condition of either of these he regards as a modification of intellectual derangement. Each several faculty and operation, moreover, he considers as subject to derangement in different degrees; each degree constituting a different form of disease. Hence the unusual extent and variety which necessarily characterize the scheme he has adopted.
Madness, according to the sentiments of our author, in which every physician of observation will concur, may be, in a twofold point of view, either partial or general. It is partial, either when a part only of the faculties of the mind are deranged, the rest retaining their usual sanity or when the same faculty is deranged on a few subjects, but correct in relation to all others. Mania, or general madness consists in an indiscriminate wreck-a chaos of all the intellectual faculties-and that without any distinction of subjects.

In common with other metaphysicians, our author considers the understanding as the noblest faculty of the mind, and represents it as most frequently the seat of derangement. With the consideration, therefore, of the diseases of this faculty he commences the practical part of his work.

Partial derangement of the understanding the professor divides into two different forms of disease. The first is hypochondriasis, which, in technical phraseology peculiar to himself, he denominates tristimania, because it is accompanied by painful apprehensions and dejection of mind. To the second he gives the name of amenomania (agreeable madness) because it is accompanied with pleasure, or is, at least, exempt from mental distress.

But instead of a formal analysis, which could, at best, furnish nothing but a feeble and mutilated picture, and would, besides, be more suitable for a professional than a literary journal, we shall, for the gratification of our readers, proceed, without further introduction, to lay before them a few extracts which appear to us worthy of their attention, and are, at the same time, calculated to afford them correct views of the general character and usefulness of the work. As these extracts will constitute of themselves by far the most valuable part of this paper, we hall attach but little importance either to the order in which they may be introduced, or the remarks with which they may be occasionally accompanied.

Of hypochondriasis or tristimania, our author gives the following interesting description:

The characteristic symptom of this form of derangement, as it appears in the mind, is distress, the causes of which are numerous, and of a personal nature. I shall enumerate some of them, as they have appeared in different people. They relate, 1, to the patient’s body. He erroneously believes himself to be afflicted with various diseases, particularly with consumption, cancer, stone, and above all, with impotence, and the venereal disease. Sometimes he supposes himself to be poisoned, or that his constitution has been ruined by mercury, or that the seed of the hydrophobia are floating in his system.

2. He believes that he has a living animal in his body. A sea captain, formerly of this city, believed for many years that he had a wolf in his liver. Many persons have fancied they were gradually dying, from animals of other kinds preying upon different parts of their bodies.

3. He imagines himself to be converted into an animal of another species, such as a goose, a cock, a dog, a cat, a hare, a cow, and the like. In this case he adopts the noises and gestures of the animals into which he supposes himself to be transformed.

4. He believes he inherits, by transmigration, the soul of some fellow creature, but much oftener of a brute animal. There is now a madman in the Pennsylvania Hospital who believes that he was once a calf, and who mentions the name of the butcher that killed him, and the stall in the Philadelphia market on which his flesh was sold, previously to his animating his present body.

5. He believes he has no soul. The late Dr. Percival communicated to me, many years ago, an account of a dissenting minister in England, who believed that God had annihilated his soul as a punishment for his having killed a highway man, by grasping him by the throat, who attempted to robe him. His mind was correct upon all other subjects.

6. He believes he is transformed into a plant. In the memoirs of the count de Maurepas, we are told this error took possession of the mind of one of the princes of Bourbon to such a degree, that he often went and stood in his garden, where he insisted upon being watered in common with all the plants around him.

7. The patient afflicted with this disease sometimes fancies he is transformed into glass.

8. He believes, that by discharging the contents of his bladder, he shall drown the world.

9. He believes himself to be dead.

It is worthy of notice, in all these cases of erroneous judgment, the patients reason correctly, that is, draw just inferences from their errors. Thus the prince of Bourbon, when he supposed himself to be a plant, reasoned justly when he insisted upon being watered. In like manner, they hypochondriac who supposes himself to be dead, reasons with the same correctness when he stretches his body and limbs upon a bed or a board, and assumes the stillness and silence of the shroud.

In illustration of the striking mental vicissitudes to which hypochondriac patients are frequently subject, the following paragraphs are entitled to the attention of the curious reader.

The hypochondriasis, or tristimania, like most other diseases, has paroxysms, and remissions or intermissions, all of which are influenced by many circumstances, particularly by company, wine, exercise, and, above all, the weather.

A pleasant season, a fine day, and even a morning sun, often suspend the disease. Mr. Cowper, who knew all its symptoms by sad experience, bears witness to the truth of this remark, in one of his letters to Mr. Haley. “I rise,” says he, “cheerless and distressed, and brighten as the sun goes on.” Its paroxysms are sometimes denominated “low spirits.” They continue from a day, a week, a month, a season, to a year, and sometimes longer. The intervals differ, 1, in being accompanied with preternatural high spirits. 2. In being attended with remissions only; and 3, with intermissions, or, in other words, with correctness, and equanimity of mind.

The extremes of low and high spirits which occur in the same person, at different times, are happily illustrated by the following case. A physician in one of the cities of Italy was once consulted by a gentleman who was much distressed with a paroxysm of this intermitting state of hypocondriasm. He advised him to seek relief in convivial company, and recommended to him in particular to find out a gentleman of the name of Cardini, who kept all the tables in the city, to which he was occasionally invited, in a roar of laughter. “Alas! Sir,” said the patient, with a heavy sigh, “I am that Cardini.” Many such characters, alternately marked by high and low spirits, are to be found in all the cities in the world.

The more advanced and inveterate stages of this terrible disease, are thus most feelingly and eloquently described:

The remission and intermissions which have been described, cease, and even the transient blaze of cheerfulness, which now and then escapes from a heart smothered with anguish, is seen no more. The distress; now becomes constant. “Clouds return after every rain.” Not a ray of comfort glimmers upon the soul in any of the prospects or retrospects of life. “All is now darkness without and within.” These poignant words were once uttered by a patient of mien with peculiar emphasis, while labouring under this stage of the disease. Neither nature nor art now possess a single beauty, nor music nor poetry a single charm. The two latter often give pain, and sometimes offence. In vain do love and friendship, and domestic affection, offer sympathy or relief to the mind in this awful situation. Even the consolations of religion are rejected, or heard with silence and indifference. Night no longer affords a respite from misery. It is passed in distracting wakefulness, or in dreams more terrible than waking thoughts; nor does the light of the sun chase away a single distressing idea. “I rise in the morning,” says Mr. Cowper in a letter to Mr. Haley, “like an infernal fog out of Acheron, covered with ooze and mud of melancholy.” No change of place is wished for that promises any alleviation of suffering. “Could I be translated to paradise,” says the same elegant historian of his own sorrow, in a letter to lady Hesketh, “unless I could leave my body behind me, my melancholy would cleave to me there.”

But the most awful symptom of this disease remains yet to be mentioned, and that is DESPAIR. The marks of the extreme misery included in this word are sometimes to be seen in the countenances and gestures of hypochondriacs in a hospital; but as it is difficult to obtain from such persons a history of their feelings, I shall endeavour to give some idea of them in the following account, communicated to me by a clergyman who passed four years an a half in that state of mind.

He said “he felt the bodily pains and mental anguish of the damned; that he slumbered only, but never slept soundly, during the long period that has been mentioned; that he lost his appetites, and passions, so as to desire and relish nothing; and to love and hate no one; that his feet were constantly cold, and the upper part of his body warm; that he lost all sense of years, months, weeks, days, and nights, and even of morning and evening; that in this respect, time was to him, no more.” During the whole period of his misery, he kept his hands in constant motion towards his head and thighs, and ceased not constantly to cry out, “wretched man that I am! I am damned; oh, I am damned everlastingly.”

The remedies for hypochondriasis the doctor divides into such as act directly upon the body, and such as act indirectly on the body, through the medium of the mind.

In the first class of remedies blood-letting stands preeminent. In relation to this our author communicates an interesting an important anecdote.

I was led to use it (blood-letting) by the following fact, communicated to me by the late Dr. Thomas Bond. A preacher among the friends called upon him, to consult him in this state of madness. He said he was possessed of a devil, and that he felt him constantly in aches and pains in every part of his body. The doctor felt his pulse, which he found to be full and tense. He advised him to sit down in his parlour, and persuaded him to let him open a vein in his arm. While the blood was flowing, the patient cried out, “I am relieved, I felt the devil fly out of the orifice in my vein as soon as it was opened.” From this time he recovered rapidly from his derangement.

Under the second class of remedies, viz. such as are directed to the body through the medium of the mind, he states some facts which are curious, and others of great importance, the knowledge of which cannot be too extensively diffused.

Terror once cured, for while, a patient of mine, of a belief that he had been poisoned by taking arsenic as a medicine, and that it had eaten out his bowels. A student of medicine, to whom he told this tale, attempted to convince him of his error, upon which he begged him to open him, and to satisfy himself by examining the cavity of his belly. After some preparation, the student laid him upon a table, and drew the back of a knife from one extremity of his belly to the other. “Stop, stop,” said my patient, “I’ve got guts,” and suddenly escaped form the hands of his operator. His cure would probably have been durable, after the use of this remedy, had not real distress from another cause brought back that which was imaginary.


A physician, formerly of this city, used to divert his friends, by relating the history of a cure which had been performed of a patient in this form of madness, who believed himself to be a plant. One of his companions, who favoured his delusion, persuaded him he could not thrive without being watered, and while he made the patient believe, for some time, he would pouring water from the spout of a tea pot, discharged his urine upon his head. The remedy in this case was resentment and mortification.

I have heard of a person afflicted with this disease, who supposed himself to be dead, who was instantly cured by a physician proposing to his friends, in his hearing, to open his body, in order to discover the cause of his death.

As a powerful remedy in this disease the doctor strongly recommends employment, and deprecates idleness as a source of the greatest mischief. Under the term, employment, he includes both exercise of the body and occupation of the mind.

I knew a lady, in whom this disease was brought on by a disappointment in love, who cured herself by translating Telemachus into English verse. The remedy here was, chiefly, constant employment.

Dr. Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, deliverers the following direction for its cure: “Be not idle; be not solitary.” Dr. Johnson has improved this advice by the following commentary upon it. “When you are idle, be not solitary; and when you are solitary, be not idle.” The illustrious Spinola, upon hearing of the death of a friend, inquired of what disease he died? “Of having nothing to do,” said the person who mentioned it. “Enough,” said Spinola, “to kill a general.”

The professor’s observations under this head generally, are peculiarly calculated both to amuse and instruct. The reader will be amply rewarded by a perusal of them, there being few persons who may not find something in them, applicable, at times, to their own cases.

From the following anecdotes, inferences highly important may be drawn.

A gentleman afflicted with this disease went with a loaded pistol into a tavern in London, with a design to destroy himself. To conceal his intention, he called for a small decanter of wine, and, after locking the door of the room into which he had been conducted, cocked his pistol, but before he discharged its contents through his head, determined to try to the quality of his wine. Perceiving it to be very good, he drank a second, and then a third glass, after which he uncocked his pistol, and finished the whole decanter. Finding such a prompt remedy for his despair in this cordial liquor, he continued to use it freely, and was thereby cured.

A maniac in the Pennsylvania Hospital, some years ago, expressed a strong desire to drown himself. Mr. Higgins, the present steward of the hospital seemed to favour this wish, and prepared the water for the purpose. The distressed man stripped himself and eagerly jumped into it. Mr. Higgins endeavoured to plunge his head under the water, in order, he said to hasten his death. The maniac, resisted, and declared he would prefer being burnt to death. “You shall be gratified,” said Mr. Higgins, and instantly applied a lighted candle to his flesh. “Stop, stop,” said he, I will not die now,” and never afterwards attempted to destroy himself, nor even expressed a wish for death.

Zacutus relates the history of a hypochondriac who had made several unsuccessful attempts to destroy himself by fire. His physician, in order to cure him, wrapped him in a fresh sheep skin, which he had previously wetted with spirit of turpentine. He applied fire to this skin, which instantly enveloped him in a blaze, that so terrified him, that he never attempted afterwards to put an end to his life.

In the memoirs of count Maurepas, it is related of the same prince of Bourbon who fancied himself to be a plant, that he sometimes supposed himself to be dead, at which time he refused to take any food, for which he said he had no further occasion. To cure this alarming delusion, they contrived to disguise two persons who were introduced to him as his grandfather, and marshal Luxemburg, and who, after conversing with him for some time about the shades that inhabited the place of the dead, invited him to dine with marshal Turenne. The prince followed them into a cellar prepared for the purpose, where he made a hearty meal, which immediately restored him to the belief that he was alive.

We invite the attention of our readers to the following extracts, as containing truths which are curious and important in themselves, and may prove interesting, in no ordinary degree, to the cause of humanity. They tend to exculpate from the charge of vice, individuals who are only subject to the most deplorable of misfortunes-they justly represent as under the influence of mental delusion, persons, who are oftentimes stigmatized as abandoned to habitual falsehood.

Amenomania is a common form of partial insanity. We see it in the enthusiastic votaries of all the pursuits and arts of man. The alchymists, the searchers after perpetual motion, the astronomers, the metaphysicians, the politicians, the knight errants, and the travellers, have all in their turns furnished cases of this form of derangement. I once met with a striking instance of it, from alchymical pursuits, in a gentleman, at the table of Mr. Wolfe, in London. He related the issue of several experiments, in which some of the base metals had been converted into gold, and he declared, further, his belief, that there was at that time a man living in India, whose life had been prolonged above 600 years by an elixir that had been discovered by an alchymist. Upon other subjects he was rational and well informed. Dr. Johnson has given a just picture of this disease in the character of the astronomer, in his Rasselas, prince of Abyssinia. Several of the nations of Europe have lately furnished instances of men deranged, from a belief in the possibility of producing perfection in human nature, and in civil government, by means of what they absurdly called the omnipotence of human reason. But we see this disease of the mind most frequently in the enthusiasts in religion, in whom it discovers itself in a variety of ways, particularly,

1. In a belief that they are the peculiar favourites of heaven, and exclusively possessed of just opinions of the divine will, as revealed in the scriptures.

2. That they see and converse with angels, and the departed spirits of their relations and friends.

3. That they are favoured with visions, and the revelation of future events. And,

4. That they are exalted into beings of the highest order. I have seen two instances of persons, who believed themselves to be the Messiah, and I have heard of each of the sacred names and offices of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, having been assumed at the same time by three persons, under the influence of this partial form of derangement, in a hospital in Mexico.

Our author’s extensive knowledge of insanity has enabled him to depict it in all its different varieties and forms. Some of the extraordinary effects of this disease he thus describes:

From a part of the brain being preternaturally elevated, but not diseased, the mind sometimes discovers not only unusual strength and acuteness, but certain talents it never exhibited before. The records of the wit and cunning of madmen are numerous in every country. Talents for eloquence, poetry, music, and painting, and uncommon ingenuity in several of the mechanical arts, are often evolved in this state of madness. A gentleman whom I atattended in our hospital in the year 1810, often delighted, as well as astonished, the patients and officers of our hospital, by his displays of oratory, in preaching from a table in the hospital yard every Sunday. A female patient of mine, who became insane after parturition in the year 1807, sang hymns and songs, of her own composition, during the latter stages of her illness, with a tone of voice so soft and pleasant, that I hung upon it with delight, every time I visited her. She had never discovered a talent for poetry nor music in any previous part of her life. Two instances of a talent for drawing, evolved by madness, have occurred within my knowledge; and where is the hospital for mad people, in which elegant and completely rigged ships, and curious pieces of machinery, have not been exhibited, by persons who never discovered the least turn for a mechanical art, previously to their derangement. Sometimes we observe in mad people an unexpected resuscitation of knowledge; hence we hear them describe past events, and speak in ancient or modern languages, or repeat long and interesting passages from books, none of which we are sure they were capable of recollecting, in the natural and healthy state of their minds.


Not only the ravings of mad people, for the most part, accord with their habitual tempers and dispositions, and the causes of their disease, but their conduct corresponds in like manner with their habitual occupations. The lawyer, the physician, and the minister of gospel, frequently employ themselves in the exercises of their several professions. The merchant spends much of his time in making out invoices, and in writing letters; the politician devours a daily newspaper; the poet writes verses; and the painter draws pictures upon the walls of their respective cells: the mechanic cuts out houses, ship, carriages, and bridges, from pieces of sticks, with his penknife; the sailor heaves his log or his line, and the soldier goes through his manual exercise with a can, and never fails to salute his visitors by lifting the back of his hand to the side of his head.

The professor introduces the chapter in which he treats the “remedies for madness,” by setting forth the various means necessary for “establishing a complete government over patients afflicted with that disease.” Of these directions all are, no doubt, practically useful, and, to most readers, some of them will have the additional merit of appearing curious and new. Of the latter description is that which relates to the influence of the eye.

The first object of a physician, when he enters the cell, or chamber of his deranged patient, should be to catch his EYE, and look him out of countenance. The dread of the eye was early imposed upon every beast of the field. The tyger, the mad bull, and the enraged dog, all fly from it: now a man deprived of his reason partakes so much of the nature of those animals, that he is for the most part easily terrified, or composed, by the eye of a man who possesses his reason. I know this dominion of the eye over mad people is denied by Mr. Halsam, from his supposing that it consists simply in imparting to the eye a stern or ferocious look. The may sometimes be necessary; but a much greater effect is produced, by looking the patient out of countenance with a mild and steady eye, and varying its aspect from the highest degree of sternness, down to the mildest degree of benignity; for there are keys in the eye, if I may be allowed the expression, which should be suited to the state of the patient’s mind, with the same exactness that musical tones should be suited to the depression of spirits in hypocondriasis. In favour of the power of the eye, in conjunction with other means, in composing mad people, I can speak from the experience of many years. It has been witnessed by several hundred students of medicine in our hospital, and once by several of the managers of the hospital, in the case of a man recently brought into their room, and whose conduct, for a considerable time resisted its efficacy.

The COUNTENANCE of a physician should assist in his eye and voice in governing his deranged patients. It should be accommodated to the state of the patient’s mind and conduct. There is something like contagion in the different aspects of the human face, and madmen feel it in common with other people. A grave countenance in a physician has often checked the frothy levity of a deranged patient in an instant, and a placid one has as suddenly chased away his gloom. A stern countenance in like manner has often put a stop to garrulity, and a cheerful one has extorted smiles even from the face of melancholy itself.

Under that class of remedies which Dr. Rush recommends as acting on the body through the medium of the mind, we solicit the attention of our readers to a few quotations.

A sudden sense of the ABSURDITY, FOLLY, OR CRUELTY of certain actions, produced by conversation has sometimes cured madness. The cure in this case bears a resemblance to the sudden reduction of a dislocated bone. Some years ago a maniac made several attempts to set fire to our hospital. Upon being remonstrated with, by Mr. Coats, one of its managers, he said, “I am a salamander,” “but recollect (said Mr. Coats) all the patients in the hospital are not salamanders,” that is true, said the mania, and never afterwards attempted to burn the hospital. Many similar instances of a transient return of reason, and some of cures, by pertinent and well directed conversations, are to be met with in the records of medicine.

Great care should be taken by a physician, to suit his conversation to the different and varying states of the minds of his patients in this disease. In its furious state, they should never be contradicted, however absurd their opinions and assertions may be, nor should we deny their requests by our answers, when it is improper to grant them. In the second grade of this disease, we should divert them from the subjects upon which they are deranged, and introduce, as if it were accidentally, subjects of another, and of an agreeable nature. When they are upon the recovery, we may oppose the opinions and incoherent tales by reasoning, contradiction, and even ridicule. I attended a lady some years ago in our hospital, in whom this practice succeeded to my wishes. In the first and raving state of her disease, she said the spirit of general Washington visited and conversed with her every night. I took no notice of this assertion, but prescribed only for the excited state of her pulse. After this was reduced, I entered into conversation with her, and instantly obtruded a subject foreign to the nightly visits of the spirit of general Washington, whenever she mentioned it. One day, when she appeared rational upon all the subjects upon which we conversed, she lifted up the skirt of her silk gown, and said, “See what a present general Washington made me last night!” O fie! Said I, Madam, I thought you had more understanding than to suppose general Washington would leave his present abode, to bring a silk gown to any lady upon the face of the earth. She laughed at this rebuke, and never mentioned the name of general Washington to me afterwards, nor discovered any other mark of the remains of her disease.

TERROR acts powerfully upon the body, through the medium of the mind, and should be employed in the cure of madness. I once advised gentle exercise upon horseback, in the case of a lady in Virginia who was deranged. In one of her excursions from home, her horse ran away with her. He was stopped after a while by a gate. The lady dismounted, and when her attendants came up to her, they found her, to their great surprise and joy, perfectly restored to her reason, nor has she had since the least sign of a return of her disease. The fall down a steep ridge cured a mania of twenty years continuance. Dr. Joseph Cox relates three cures of madness by nearly similar means. Dr. M. Smith, of Georgia, informed me that a madman had been suddenly cured in Virginia, by the breaking of a rope by which he had been let down into a well that was employed as a substitute for a bathing tub. He was nearly drowned before he was taken out.

The following excellent observations, which appear to be the result of a thorough knowledge of mental derangement, cannot be too seriously dwelt on by individuals, nor too forcibly inculcated on the minds of a humane, and an enlightened community.

I cannot conclude this part of the subject of these Inquiries, without lamenting the want of some person of prudence and intelligence in all public receptacles of mad people, who should live constantly with them, and have the exclusive direction of their minds. His business should be to divert them from conversing upon all the subjects upon which they had been deranged, to tell them pleasant stories, to read to them select passages from entertaining books, and to oblige them to read to him; to superintend their labours of body and mind: to preside at the table at which they take their meals, to protect them from rudeness and insults from their keepers, to walk and ride with them, to partake with them in their amusements, and to regulate the nature and measure of their punishments. Such a person would do more good to mad people in one month, than the visits, or the accidental company, of the patient’s friends would do in a year. But further. We naturally imitate the manners, and gradually acquire the temper of person with whom we live, provided they are objects of our respect and affection. This has been observed in husbands and wives, who have lived long and happily together, and even in servants, who are strongly attached to their masters, and mistresses. Similar effects might be expected from the constant presence of a person, such as has been described, with mad people, independently of his performing for them any of the services that have been mentioned. We render a limb that has been broken, and bent, straight, only by keeping it in one place by the pressure of splints and bandages. In like manner, by keeping the eyes and ears of mad people under the constant impressions of the countenance, gestures, and conversation of a man of a sound understanding, and correct conduct, we should create a pressure nearly as mechanical upon their minds, that could not fail of having a powerful influence, in conjunction with other remedies, in bringing their shattered and crooked thought into their original and natural order.

In reviewing the slender and inadequate means that have been employed for ameliorating the condition of mad people, we are led further to lament the slower progress of humanity in its efforts to relieve them, than any other class of the afflicted children of men. For many centuries they have been treated like criminals, or shunned like beasts of prey; or, if visited, it has been only for the purpose of inhuman curiosity and amusement. Even the ties of consanguinity have been dissolved by the walls of a mad house, and sons and brothers have sometimes languished or sauntered away their lives within them, without once hearing the accents of a kindred voice. Happily these times of cruelty to this class of our fellow creatures, and insensibility to their sufferings, are now passing away. In Great Britain, a humane revolution, dictated my modern improvements in the science of the mind, as well as of medicine, has taken place in the receptacles of mad people, more especially in those that are of a private nature. A similar change has taken place in the Pennsylvania Hospital, under the direction of its present managers, in the condition of the deranged subjects of their care. The clanking of chains, and the noise of the whip, are no longer heard in their cells. They now taste of the blessings of air, and light and motion, in pleasant and shaded walks in summer, and in spacious entries, warmed by stoves in winter, in both of which the sexes are separated, and alike protected from the eye of the visitors of the hospital. In consequence of these advantages they have recovered the human figure, and, with it, their long forgotten relationship to their friends and the public. Much, however, remains yet to be done for their comfort and relief. To animate us in filling up the measure of kindness which has been solicited for them, let us recollect the greatness of its object. It is not to feed nor clothe the body, nor yet to cure one of its common diseases; it is to restore the disjointed or debilitated faculties of the mind of a fellow creature to their natural order and offices, and to rivive in him the knowledge of himself, his family, and his God.

The following extract from the constant conversation of a young lunatic, of an excellent education and respectable connextions, will not, we flatter ourselves, be unacceptable to our readers. It exhibits a most melancholy and affecting view of the dismal wreck which the intellect sustains under an attack of insanity.

“No man can serve two masters. I am king Philip of Macedonia, lawful son of Mary queen of Scots, born in Philadelphia. I have been happy enough ever since I have seen general Washington with a silk handkerchief in High-street. Money commands sublunary things, and makes the mare go; it will buy salt mackerel, made of ten-penny nails. Enjoyment is the happiness of virtue. Yesterday cannot be recalled. I can only walk in the night time, when I can eat pudding enough. I shall be eight years old to-morrow. They say R.W. is in partnership with J.W. I believe they are about as good as people in common-not better, only on certain occasions, when, for instance, a man wants to buy chincopins, and to import salt to feed pigs. Tanned leather was imported first by lawyers. Morality with virtue is like vice not corrected. L.B. came into your house and stole a coffee pot, in the twenty-fourth year of his majesty’s reign. Plumb-pudding and Irish potatoes make a very good dinner. Nothing in man is comprehensible to it. Born in Philadelphia. Our forefathers were better to us than our children, because they were chosen for their honesty, truth, virtue, and innocence. The queen’s broad R originated from a British forty-two pounder, which makes too large a report for me. I have no more to say. I am thankful I am no worse this season, and that I am sound in mind and memory, and could steer a ship to sea, but am afraid of the thiller. ***** ****** son of Mary queen of Scots. Born in Philadelphia. Born in Philadelphia. King of Macedonia.”

Of the mental disease denominated Demence or Dissociation, our author has been so fortunate as to give us an account, which, while it instructs, does not fail no furnish us with amusement. Speaking of the malady, he says,

It consists not in false perceptions, like the worst grade of madness, but of an association of unrelated perceptions, or ideas, from the inability of the mind to perform the operations of judgment and reason. The perceptions are generally excited by sensible objects; but ideas, collected together without order, frequently constitute a paroxysm of the disease. It is always accompanied with great volubility of speech, or with bodily gestures, performed with a kind of convulsive rapidity. We rarely meet with this disease in hospitals; but there is scarcely a city, a village, or a country place, that does not furnish one or more instances of it. Persons who are afflicted with it are good tempered and quarrelsome, malicious and kind, generous and miserly, all in the course of the same day. In a word, the mind in this disease may be considered as floating in a balloon, and at the mercy of every object and thought that acts upon it. It is constant in some people, but it occurs more frequently in paroxysm, and is sometimes succeeded by low spirits. The celebrated Lavater was afflicted with it; and although he wrote with order, yet his conversation was a mass of unconnected ideas, accompanied with bodily gestures, which indicated a degree of madness. I shall insert an account of a visit paid to him at Zurich, by the Rev. Dr. Hunter, an English clergyman, in which he exemplified the state of mind I wish to describe.

“ I was detained,” says he, “the whole morning by the strange, wild, eccentric Lavater, in various conversations. When once he is set a going, there is no such thing as stopping him till he runs himself out of breath. He starts from subject to subject, flies from book to book, from picture to picture, measures your nose, your eye, your mouth with a pair of compasses; pours forth a torrent of physiognomy upon you; drags you, for a proof of his dogma, to a dozen closets, and unfolds ten thousand drawings; but will not let you open your lips to propose a difficulty; crams a solution down your throat before you have uttered half a syllable of your objection.
“He is as meager as the picture of famine; his nose and chin almost meet. I read him in my turn, and found little difficulty in discovering, amidst great genius, unaffected piety, unbounded benevolence, and moderate learning, much caprice and unsteadiness; a mind at once aspiring by nature, and groveling through necessity; an endless turn to speculation and project; in a word, a clever, flighty, good natured, necessitous man.”

In speaking of drunkenness, which the Professor considers as a disease in the will, he gives the following directions in relation to its treatment.

The REMEDIES for this disease have hitherto been religious and moral, and they have sometimes cured it. They would probably have been more successful, had they been combined with such as are of a physical nature. For an account of several of them, the reader is referred to the first volume of the author’s Medical Inquiries and Observations, to that account of physical remedies I shall add one more, and that is, the establishment of a hospital in every city and town in the United States, for the exclusive reception of hard drinkers. They are as much objects of public humanity and charity, as mad people. They are indeed more hurtful to society, than most of the deranged patients of a common hospital would be, if they were set at liberty. Who can calculate the extensive influence of a drunken husband or wife upon the property and morals of their families, and of the waste of the former, and corruption of the latter, upon the order and happiness of society? Let it not be said, that confining such persons in a hospital would be an infringement upon personal liberty, incompatible with the freedom of our governments. We do not use this argument when we confine a thief in jail, and yet, taking the aggregate evil of the greater number of drunkards than thieves into consideration, and the greater evils which the influence of their immoral example and conduct introduce into society than stealing, it must be obvious, that the safety and prosperity of a community will be more promoted by confining them, than a common thief. To prevent injustice or oppression, no person should be sent to the contemplated hospital, or SOBER HOUSE, without being examined and committed by a court, consisting of a physician, and two or three magistrates, or commissioners appointed for that purpose. If the patient possess property, it should be put into the hands of trustees to take care of it. Within this house the patient should be debarred the use of ardent spirits, and drink only, for a while, such substitutes for them, as a physician should direct. Tobacco, one of the provocatives of intemperance in drinking, should likewise be gradually abstracted from them. Their food should be simple, but for a while moderately cordial. They should be employed in their former respective occupations, for their own, or for the public benefit, and all the religious, moral, and physical remedies, to which I have referred, should be employed at the same time, for the complete and radical cure of their disease.

A propensity to believe every report which reaches the ear, whether true or false, probable or improbable, our author denominates a “disease in the principle faith.” Whether our readers will concur in regarding this state of mind as a real disease or not, they can entertain no doubt as to its existence, nor will they deny that it frequently operates as a public nuisance. The following is an excellent description of it.

Persons affected with this disease in the principle of faith, as far as relates to human testimony, believe and report every thing they hear. They are incapable of comparing dates and circumstances, and tell stories of the most improbable and incongruous nature. Sometimes they propogate stories that are probable, but false; and thus deceive their friends and the public. There is scarcely a village or city, that does not contain one or more persons affected with this disease. Horace describes a man of that character in Rome, of the name of Apella. The predisposition of such persons to believe what is neither true, nor probable, is often sported with by their acquaintances, by which means their stories often gain a currency through whole communities.
It is probable the confinement of persons afflicted with this malady, immediately after they hear any thing new, might cure them. Perhaps ridicule might assit this remedy. I think I once saw it effectual in an old quidnune during the revolutionary war.

Our author’s chapter on “Derangement of the Memory,” is replete with curious and interesting matter. We regret that our limits forbid us to enrich the pages of the Port Folio with copious extracts from it. The following brief ones, which we have selected, will furnish our readers with some idea of its character and merit.

There is an oblivion of names and vocables, and a substitution of a word no ways related to them. Thus I knew a gentleman, afflicted with this disease, who, in calling for a knife, asked for a bushel of wheat.
There is an oblivion of the names of substances in a vernacular language, and a facility of calling them by their proper names in a dead, or foreign language. Of this Wepfer relates three instances. They were all Germans, and yet they called objects around them only by Latin names. Dr. Johnson, when dying, forgot the words of the Lord’s prayer in English, but attempted to repeat them in Latin. Delirious persons, from this disease in the memory, often address their physicians in Latin, or in a foreign language.

There is an oblivion of all foreign and acquired languages, and a recollection only of a vernacular language. Dr. Scandella, an ingenious Italian, who visited this country, a few years ago, was master of the Italian, French, and English languages. In the beginning of the yellow fever, which terminated his life, in the city of Newyork, in the autumn of 1798, he spoke English only; in the middle of his disease, he spoke French only; but on the day of his death, he spoke only in the language of his native country.

There is an oblivion of the sound of words, but not of the letters which compose them. I have heard of a clergyman in Newburyport, who, in conversing with his neighbours, made it a practice to spell every word that he employed to convey his ideas to them.

There is an oblivion of the mode of spelling the most familiar words. I once met with it as a premonitory symptom of palsy. It occurs in old people, and extends to an inability, in some instances, to remember any more of their names than their initial letters. I once saw a will subscribed in this manner, by a man in the eightieth year of his age, who, during his life, always wrote a neat and legible hand.

There is an oblivion of the qualities or number of the most familiar objects. I know a man in this city, who has never been able to remember the difference between a jug and a pitcher.

Whatever sentiments or percepts have for their object to counteract the infirmities, or to mitigate the evils usually attendant on the evening of life, cannot fail to be received with a most cordial welcome by a benevolent public. Of this description are the observations of our author in relation to fatuity arising from old age. While these observations constitute an interesting article in the natural history of the human intellect, they hold forth an important rule of conduct to persons declining into the vale of years. We would deem ourselves unfaithful to our vocation, were we to decline presenting them to the readers of the Port Folio.

Fatuity from old age cannot be cured, but it may be prevented, by employing the mind constantly in reading and conversation, in the evening of life. Dr. Johnson ascribes the fatuity of Dean Swift to two causes: 1, to a resolution he made in his youth, that he would never wear spectacles, from the want of which he was unable to read in the decline of life; and 2, to his avarice, which led him to abscond from visitors, or to deny himself to company, by which means he deprived himself of the only two methods by which new ideas are acquired, or old ones renovated. His mind, from these causes, languished from the want of exercise, and gradually collapsed into idiotism, in which state he spent the close of his life in a hospital founded by himself for persons afflicted with the same disorder; of which he finally died.

Country people, who have no relish for books, when they lose the ability to work, or of going abroad, from age or weakness, are very apt to become fatuitous, especially as they are too often deserted in their old age by the younger branches of their families, in consequence of which their minds become torpid, from the want of society and conversation. Fatuity is more rare in cities than in country places, only because society and conversation can be had in them upon more easy terms; and it is less common among women than men, only because they seldom survive their ability to work, and because their employments are of such a nature, as to admit of their being carried on by their fire sides, and in a sedentary posture.

The illustrious Dr. Franklin exhibited a striking instance of the influence of reading, writing, and conversation, in prolonging a sound and active state of all the faculties of his mind. In his eighty-fourth year he discovered no one mark, in any of them, of the weakness or decay usually observed in the minds of persons at that advanced period of life.

I cannot dismiss this subject without remarking, that the moral faculties, when properly regulated and directed, never partake of the decay of the intellectual faculties in old age, even in persons of uncultivated minds. It would seem as if they were thus placed beyond their influence, not only of time, but often of diseases and accidents, from their exercises being so indispensably necessary to our happiness, more especially in the evening of life.

The Rev. Dr. Magaw, I said formerly, had lost, with his memory for events, his consciousness of place and time, by a paralytic disease, ad yet in this situation he retained, for several years, so high a sense of religious obligation, that he performed his devotions morning and evening, and at his meals, with as much regularity and correctness, as ever he did in the most vigorous and healthy state of mind.

Dr. Rush illustrates the diseases (as he considers it) of Reverie, or absence of mind, by the history of the Rev. George Harvest, late minister of Thames Ditton in England. As this biographical fragment may afford amusement to such of our readers as have not heretofore had an opportunity of perusing it, we shall make no apology for introducing it to their notice.

Mr. George Harvest, minister of Thames Ditton was one of the most absent men of his time; he was a lover of good eating, almost to gluttony; and was further remarkable as a great fisherman; very negligent in his dress, and a believer in ghosts. In his youth he was contracted to a daughter of the bishop of London; but on his wedding day, being gudgeon fishing, he overstaid the canonical hour, and the lady, justly offended at his neglect, broke off the match. He had at that time an estate of 3001. per annum, but, from inattention and absence, suffered his servants to run him in debt so much, that it was soon spent. It is said that his maid frequently gave balls to her friends and fellow servants of the neighbourhood; and persuaded her master that the noise he heard was the effect of wind.

In the latter part of his life no one would lend, or let him a horse, as he frequently lost his beast from under him, or at least out of his hands, it being his practice to dismount and lead his horse, putting the bridle under his arm, which the horse sometimes shook off, and sometimes it was taken off by the boys, and the parson seen drawing his bridle after him.

Sometimes he would purchase a penny-worth of shrimps, and put them in his waistcoat pocket, among tobacco, worms, gentles for fishing, and other trumpery: these he often carried about him till they stunk so as to make his presence almost insufferable. I once saw such a melange turned out of his pocket, by the dowager lady Pembroke. With all these peculiarities, he was a man of some classical learning, and a deep metaphysician, though generally reckoned a little cracked.

Such was his absence and distraction, that he frequently used to forget the prayer days, and to walk into his church with his gun, to see what could have assembled the people there.

In company he never put the bottle round, but always filled when it stood opposite to him; so that he very often took half a dozen glasses running. That he alone was drunk, and the rest of the company sober, is not therefore, to be wondered at.

One day Mr. Harvest, being in a punt on the river Thames with Mr. Ostow, began to read a beautiful passage in some Greek author, and throwing himself backwards in an ecstasy, fell into the water, whence he was with difficulty fished out.

Once being to preach before the clergy at the visitation, he had three sermons in his pocket: some wags got possession of them; mixed the leaves, and sewed them all up as one: Mr. Harvest began his sermon, and soon lost the thread of his discourse, and got confused, but nevertheless continued, till he had preached out first all the church-wardens, and next the clergy; who thought he was taken mad.

Characters of this description are to be met with in every country. We have ourselves been intimately acquainted with a clergyman of great talents and erudition, the Rev. James Archibald, of North Carolina, who, in absence of mind, was scarcely inferior to the celebrated Mr. Harvest.

This gentleman never, perhaps, in the whole course of his life, dressed himself completely, without some one to act as a monitor and an assistant. His coat, his waistcoat, his cravat, or some other article of clothing was always omitted. On rising in the morning, even during cold weather, he frequently forgot to put on his shoes and stockings, till reminded of it by his wife, or some other member of his family. He oftentimes wore stockings of different colours, such as a blue and a gray, or a black and a white, and went sometimes abroad with a boot on one foot and a shoe on the other. He lived about six miles from the place where he was accustomed to preach. We have known him frequently to walk that distance, having, through forgetfulness, left his horse standing saddled at his door. At another time he would ride to church and return home on foot, leaving his horse near the place of worship, tied to a bush, or the limb of a tree. By a third act of inadvertency, he would occasionally lead his horse to church and home again, without ever recollecting to mount him.

It was not the custom in the part of the country where this gentleman resided, for the congregation to proved a church-bible. The officiating clergyman always brought his bible along with him. This custom proved a source of no little inconvenience to Mr. Archibald. Frequently on his arrival at church, sometimes even after ascending the pulpit, he found himself without a bible, and was obliged to despatch a messenger to a house in the neighbourhood to borrow one. We once witnessed a scene at a baptismal ceremony, under the direction of this gentleman, of so ludicrous a nature, as to discompose the gravity of the whole congregation. The water to be used on the occasion was handed to him in a pewter bason, containing certainly not less than a quart. Instead of dipping his hand into the water, and sprinkling the face of the infant, he suddenly emptied on it the whole contents of the vessel, to the great annoyance of its clothes, and the no small danger of strangulation.

When warmed with preaching, we have frequently seen him, with a view to cool himself, pull off, first his coat, then his waistcoat, and lastly his cravat. These articles of clothing he would lay down in the pulpit, and, unless reminded of it, seldom think of putting them on again when the service was finished.

When riding through the country to visit his parishioners, to preach to a neighbouring congregation, or for any other purpose, his reveries were productive of great inconvenience and loss of time. On halting at the house of a friend to breakfast, dine, or pass the night, he would frequently, on setting out again, give his horse’s head a wrong direction, and never discover his error, till made sensible of it by his arrival at his own door. When on these tours he always rode the same horse, a very sagacious animal, to which he had give the name of Old Dun. This beast had an excellent memory, and seldom passed a stable at which he had been formerly fed, without paying a visit. But his master was as forgetful as he was retentive of places and favours. This discrepancy of character between the horse and his rider was oftentimes a source of ludicrous occurrences, and once of an accident somewhat serious. When Old Dun would halt at the stable, his master supposing him to be still pursuing his journey, frequently retained his seat, sometimes even in the midst of rain, until discovered by the ostler or some other person, and requested to dismount. On one occasion, the horse finding the stable door open, entered without ceremony, and struck his rider’s head with such force against the wall, as brought him with considerable injury to the ground. When setting out from a tavern, where several travellers had halted as well as himself, he once mounted, by mistake, another gentleman’s horse instead of his own, and was pursued and actually arrested for felony. As soon, however, as recognised, he was set at liberty, for no man sustained a more spotless reputation.

This gentleman being an excellent scholar, taught, for a while a very respectable grammar school, at which we were ourselves in the number of his pupils. When plunged in a reverie, we once recited to him an entire lesson in Horace, giving him, in the meantime, a Homer to look over, without his being at all sensible of the trick. When at table, he ate voraciously of whatever dish stood immediately before him, seldom even looking at any thing else. At his own table, unless reminded of his duty by his wife, he rarely paid any attention to his guest, but, wrapt within himself, allowed them to shift entirely for themselves. If a plate were handed to him to be passed to a third person, he would frequently set it down and, if not prevent, hastily devour its whole contents.

Many other instances might be mentioned of the inadvertency and blunders of this singular character. His absence of mind proved ultimately fatal to him. Travelling in the western part of South Carolina, he came to a stream, a branch, we believe, of Broad River, fordable in common times, but swollen then by a fall of rain. Unconscious of the change, although he had frequently crossed the stream before, he plunged in, was swept from his horse and drowned.

The last quotation we shall lay before our readers, sets forth our author’s sentiments as to the best method of extinguishing, or at least, of mitigating the force of inordinate envy, malice, and hatred.

I once thought that medicine had not a single remedy in all its stores, that could subdue or even palliate the diseases induced by the baneful passions that have been described (envy, malice, and hatred) and that an antidote to them was to be found only in religion; but I have since recollected one, and heard of another physical remedy, that will at least palliate them. The first is, frequent convivial society between persons who are hostile to each other. It never fails to soften resentments, and sometimes to produce reconciliation, and friendship. The reader will be surprised when I add, that the second physical remedy was suggested to me by a madman in the Pennsylvania Hospital. In conversing with him, he produced a large collection of papers, which he said contained his journal. “Here (said he) I write down every thing that passes in my mind, and particularly malice and revenge. In recording the latter, I feel my mind emptied of something disagreeable to it, just as a vomit empties the stomach of bile. When I look at what I have written a day or two afterwards, I feel ashamed and disgusted with it, and wish to throw it in the fire.” I have no doubt of the utility of this remedy for envy, malice, and hatred, from its salutary effects in a similar case. A gentlemen in this city informed me, that after writing an attack for the press upon a person who had offended him, he was so struck with its malignity, upon reading it, that he instantly destroyed it. The French nobility sometimes cover the walls and ceiling of a room in their houses with looking-glasses. The room thus furnished, is called a Boudoir. Did ill-natured people imitate the practice of the madman and gentleman I have mentioned, by putting their envious, malicious, and revengeful thought upon paper, it would form a mirror, that would serve the same purpose of pointing out, and remedying the evil dispositions of the mind, that the boudoirs in France serves, in discovering and remedying the defects in the attitudes and dress of the body.

To persons who are not ashamed, nor disgusted with the first sight of their malevolent effusions upon paper, the same advice may be given, that Dr. Franklin gave to a gentleman, who read part of a humorous satyre which he had written upon the person and character of a respectable citizen of Philadelphia. After he had finished reading it, he asked the doctor what he thought of publishing it? “Keep it by you, said the Doctor, for one year, and then ask me that question.” The gentleman felt the force of this answer, and went immediately to the printer, who had composed the first page of it, took it from him, and consigned the whole manuscript to oblivion.

In works of a professional character, as well as in those devoted to science, mere style has never been regarded as other than a matter of secondary consideration. Provided obscure expressions and ambiguous terms be cautiously avoided, and the meaning of the author be clear and definite, a want of all the higher qualities of style is usually considered as a venial fault. To this sentiment as a general truth, we have no hesitation in giving our assent. We cannot, however, so far adopt it, as not to admit that it is liable to exceptions. It should, in no case, be so far extended; it was never designed to be prostituted to a purpose so signally injurious, as to serve as a cloak for slovenliness and neglect. An author who is capable, without any unusual effort or consumption of time, of clothing his ideas with classical elegance, should be considered as under an obligation to do so, whether his subject appertain to science, history, or polite literature. Respect for the public, and the still higher consideration of the influence of example, impose this on him as an indispensable duty.

It will not be denied that these remarks apply with peculiar fitness to Dr. Rush. In him, to write with the chasteness and elegance of a scholar, as well as with the force of a man of genius, is nothing but the exercise of a common capacity. Standing therefore, as he does, at the head of the medical writers of his country, and conscious as he must be, that the influence of his example will be weighty and lasting, he is without excuse, should he ever descend to loose composition, and colloquial phraseology. That he has thus descended, and that repeatedly is a charge against him which might be amply substantiated by innumerable extracts from the volume before us. In a second edition of this interesting work, which will, no doubt, be eagerly called for by the public, we hope that a careful revision will render the style, in all respects, worthy of the matter it contains.

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