ページの画像
PDF

a conduct which would have been absurd among troops of a more civilized stamp; but which, to the semi-barbarian Russians presented an image of the only manners that they could comprehend. The result of all these habits was an unparalleled devotion on the part of his soldiers, which accounts for the singular circumstance of his never being defeated during so long a career. They thought that their commander was an inspired being, and they would march to inevitable fate under his orders. He never carried money in his pocket, and would not even touch any. His fortune was enjoyed by his son, by his relations, and by the officers of his suite. A declared enemy to luxury, he caused every article of superfluous furniture to be removed from any apartment which was appropriated to him; and if a mirror had been left, he broke it in pieces forthwith, as an appendage unworthy of a man. The only things of which he was proud, were the diamonds and stars of orders that were conferred on him for his military exploits. They were very numerous, and had been chiefly the gift of the empress Catherine. They were carried near his person in a casket, and worn by him with great pomp on publick occasions. His ordinary dress was very plain, and consisted, in summer, of a cotton jacket, with scarlet lace, linen drawers, small, old fashioned boots, and a light casque on his head. “The court of Vienna, in appointing him to the chief command, wished it to be understood that the troops of the two nations, though both under his direction, should act separately. Suwarof would not admit any general stipulation to this effect, but showed by his arrangements a discriminating sense of their respective merits; employing the Austrians, on account of their tactical knowledge, in vanguards and detached corps, and relying on the Russians for desperate attacks. His staff was composed in great measure of Austrian officers; and on the chief of the staff reading over to him the plan of attack or of a march, he discovered exquisite discernment in retrenching what was superflous, or supplying what was deficient. He was never the advocate of defensive operations. His leading characteristicks were celerity in march, and boldness in attack; minor considerations, such as a change of position during action, or taking advantage of a particular locality, do not seem to have been familiar to him. Having once formed his plan, he pushed straight forwards to its execution. Posts and batteries indis. criminately were attacked at the point of the bayonet; and in front, without hesita

tion, if a ready access was not offered at the flank. He was accustomed to say to his officers: ‘If I sustain a loss of lives to day, it will cause a saving hereafter;' and to the soldiers, “balls are blind, but bayonets can discern.” He accustomed his troops to the performance of duty in spite of all obstacles, in the shape of weather, of privations, of fatigue, or of dangers. His officers, having once received an ore der, were not allowed to weigh the difficulties attending its execution, but were required to fulfil it promptly and completely. His custom was to take no notice of the attendant obstacles, but to prescribe distinctly the day, the hour, and the place. He could not bear to hear an officer say: “I do not know this,” or ‘I cannot do that.” He expected every one under his command to acquire a ready application of his powers, and had no patience with those who hesitated. To ascribe ferocity to him as an inherent quality is a vulgar errour; yet mildness as certainly did not enter into his composition. His retorts, even to his superiours, were bitter and poignant. He was often blunt and rude to the officers attached to his person, and not sufficiently attentive in aiding their promotion. It might be said that he treated the soldiers better than the officers, and the officers at large better than those who were under his immediate eye. He had an antipathy to the Prussians, on account of their boasting and military parade. The publick in general are strangely misinformed in respect to the extent of his knowledge. He has been pictured as an unlettered barbarian; but he possessed a stock of varied and profound erudition. He spoke the Russian, Turkish, Polish, Italian, German, and French languages. He was capable of writing German and French, and he read Greek, Latin, and Arabick. He could quote ancient and modern history with surprising accuracy; and he was qualified to carry on a conversation on subjects the most foreign to his profession. With a priest he would discourse on divinity; with a lawyer on jurisprudence; and with a surgeon on amatomy. He declined to accept any presents in property from the empress till after he had children; but eventually his fortune was augmented by these donations to a large amount. His family consisted of a son and a daughter. His son, count Italisky, is favourably known in the diplomatick world, and his daughter, the wife of general Zoubof, is a woman of great merit, and was the idol of her father, who would kiss her hand for hours together, and run about her room, thanking heaven for having given him such a daughter.”

Ourobjections to M. Laverne's book are of two kinds.He trespasses, sometimes, in the way of declamation, and, like many other biographers, he is apt to be transported into too vehement an admiration of the subject of his labours. Not that we would be understood to mean that he overrates Suwarof's military talents; but that he attributes to him, in other respects, feelings too refined for his situation. Knowledge, and even learning, to a great exten', were possessed by this extraordinary man; and a generous passion for the glory of his country was predominant in him, to the exclusion of all selfish views of private ambition: but to dwell on his sentiments of delicacy and humanity, as M. Laverne sometimes permits himself to do, is to ascribe to him qualities which are incompatible with his habits of life, and with the character of that society from which he took his impressions. Objectionable, however, as the book is in these respects, it is still such a production as we should rejoice to see proceed from the pen of an English officer.

We shall now offer a few remarks on a subject which M. Laverne could not venture to touch with an impartial hand—a comparison between Suwarofand Buonaparte. Each had from nature a most ardent mind, and each pursued his profession with intense assiduity. A remarkable resemblance prevails also in the character of their warfare. Both have owed their fame to battles, and not to manoeuvring; both have been distinguished for rapid movements; and both have been accused of want of variety in their tacticks. Buonaparte's education in an enlightened country had led to the attainment of a wider compass of scientifick knowledge; Suwarof's length of practical experience had procured him a more complete mastery over the machine which he directed. If we would imagine a situation in

which these, the greatest generals of the present age, were opposed to each other on equal terms, we must not assign to the one the power of France, and to the other that of Russia: that would indeed be an unequal opposition of means, which would place the resources of a vast and disjointed region against those of so populous and compact a country as France. To obtain a fair ground of parallel, we must suppose a case in which Buonaparte and Suwarof took the field with equal numbers and equal resources; the only distinction being that the one commanded Frenchmen, and the other Russians. In officers, Buonaparte would have had the benefit of science; Suwarof that of devoted attachment. In soldiers, Buonaparte would have possessed intelligence and activity; Suwarof, fearless intrepidity. Under such circumstances, the chances in a pitched battle. would have been in favour of Suwa

rof: but, in a protracted warfare, in

favour of Buonaparte. Had Buonaparte ventured to pursue towards his Russian antagonist the daring system by which he assailed the Austrians, he would soon have paid the forfeit of rashness; for had Suwarof commanded at Asperne, Buonaparte's army would never have recrossed the Danube. But we estimate his talents too highly, to believe that he would have hazarded bold measures against such an enemy. He appears to possess the tact of Hannibal in adapting his mode of operation to the character of his opponent; and we are no converts to the notion that his success in war has been owing either to the power of numbers or to fortune. He would have been wise enough to know that Suwarof was too vigilant to be surprised, and too strong to be overthrown; and he would have concluded that his only chance of success consisted in drawing the eager veteran into a snare. To yield partial successes to an enemy, and draw

them into a general engagement under circumstances of disadvantage, was early the plan of Buonaparte; and the impetuosity of Suwarof's temper, and the uniformity of his past successes, might have laid him open to such a system. He had fought with Turks and Poles, and was so much accustomed to chase his enemies before him, that it is doubtful whether he was prepared to make due allowance for the different character of the French; for the resources of their officers in the hour of pressure; and for the dexterity of their soldiers in recovering their order and repeating their attacks. On the one hand, we cannot doubt that the inventive mind of Buonaparte might have devised a combination of circumstances, which were calculated to draw

his antagonist into imminent danger: on the other hand, it would evidently have been very hazardous to concert the measures necessary to a complicated plan, within reach of an adversary who was accustomed to deal speedy destruction to all who were exposed to him. In short, Suwarof and his Russians formed an engine of such a nature as to bid defiance to calculation; for if we go so far as to suppose that Buonaparte had succeeded in bringing them to action under circumstances so unfavourable as to leave no chance to ordinary troops, still the energy of Suwarof, and the desperate fury of his soldiers, might have overturned the most skilful combinations, and have poured on the heads of the enemy the destruction which the latter had prepared for them.

--

FROM THE BRITISH critic K.

Observations on Madness and Melancholy, including Practical Remarks on those Dis. eases, together with Cases, and an Account of the morbid Appearances on Dissec. tion By John Haslam, late of Pembroke hall, Cambridge, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and Apothecary to Bethlem Hospital. The second Edition, considerably enlarged. 8vo. pp. 345.9s. 1809.

THE malady which forms the subject of this volume is peculiarly interesting. The frequency of its occurrence, and the derangement of civil association which it occasions, render an acquaintance with its characteristicks essential to people of every condition. How frequently are men, totally ignorant of the laws of organick being, and of the human mind, called upon to decide whether an individual shall be torn from his family and his friends, to be immured within the walls of a lunatick asylum! How frequently have the cloquence, the argumentative skill, and the ready wit of an advocate, determined the fate, the fortunes, and the character of a man of sound mind, but of eccentrick habits; or on the plea of madness have set aside the intentions of a testator!

How frequently have madmen been suffered to perpetrate acts of monstrous impropriety, because no one would pronounce them insane; and how many instances of suicide have been committed, because the friends of the unfortunate victim of rashness were not apprized of the distinguishing signs of the disorder, which poisoned all his sources of happiness! We were therefore gratified with the appearance of this publication. The author, in his capacity of apothecary to the Bethlem Hospital, has long enjoyed extensive opportunities of investigating the complaint, and he possesses many requisites for such an undertaking.

In the present edition, Mr. Haslam has declined giving a definition of madness, and in this we think he is perfectly right. Although medical practitioners may determine that a person is mad, it would be utterly impossible to comprise, in a few words, the characteristick signs of a complaint which appears in such various forms. We are less satisfied with the cursory manner in which the author has treated of the mental faculties. He deems it peculiarly incumbent on him who undertakes to write of them in their distempered state, to have a thorough knowledge of their nature, extent, and rectitude; and considers it important that the medical practitioner should be enabled to establish the state of the patient’s case, as a departure from that which is reason. We admit the difficulty of establishing a satisfactory theory of the human mind, and concede to this author, that “it does not possess all those powers, and faculties with which the pride of man has thought proper to invest it.” But we utterly deny the latter part of the sweeping conclusion which immediately follows, that “by our senses we are enabled to become acquainted with objects, and we are capable of recollecting them in a greater or less degree; the rest affears to be merely a contrivance of language.” p. 9. According to this supposition, the vast intellectual difference which obtains between men placed in similar circumstances, and pursuing similar means of acquiring information, would depend solely on the acuteness of their perceptive faculty, and the power of their memory; but we sometimes observe these faculties, in an eminent degree, in men who are not remarkable for wisdom, or for sound judgment. We have known an ideot possessed of memory; and have seen children wholly devoid of the power of reasoning, who were gifted with an accurate perception and extensive memory; in short, we must regard these as subordinate faculties, by which we are enabled merely to acquire and retain the rudiments of knowledge. The reasoning which Mr.

Haslam has adduced to support his hypothesis is more ingenious than conclusive. If he could not satisfy himself of the nature and being of the human mind, before he promulgated his sceptical tenets, he should have been prepared with more substantial arguments than those which he has brought forwards. He thinks, that

“If mind were capable of the operations attributed to it, and possessed of these powers, it would necessarily have been able to create a language expressive of these powers and operations. But the fact is otherwise. The language which characterizes mind and its operations, has been borrowed from external objects, for mind has no language peculiar to itself, A few instances will sufficiently illustrate this position. After having committed an offence, it is natural to say that the mind feels contrition and sorrow. Contrition is from cum and tero, to rub together, which cannot possibly have any thing to do with the operations of the mind, which is incapable of rubbing its ideas or notions together. Contrition is a figurative expression, and may possibly mean the act of rubbing out the stain of vice, or wearing down by friction the prominences of sin.” p. 9.

We do not profess to understand the last sentence, and are unwilling to renounce our belief, that the mind possesses faculties distinct from matter, because the author cannot discover that it has any language peculiar to itself. If Mr. Haslam can explain that power which wills, and which thinks, and which determines our actions, and regulates our conduct, by any of the known laws of matter, we shall endeavour to refute his doctrine, or to relinquish our own opinions.

But although we totally dissent from Mr. Haslam's metaphysical speculations, we give him due credit for his able investigation and clear account of the distemper on which he has written. He adopts the usual terms, mania and melancholia, to distinguish the forms under which insanity occurs, but does dot regard them as opposite diseases. He thus describes the sympto IllS:

[ocr errors]

“On the approach of mania, they [the patients] first become uneasy, are incapable of confining their attention, and neglect any employment to which they have been accustomed; they get but little sleep, they are loquacious, and disposed to harangue, and decide promptly and positively upon every subject that may be started. Soon after, they are devested of all restraint in the declaration of the opinions of those with whom they are acquainted. Their friendships are expressed with fervency and extravagance; their enmities with intolerance and disgust. They now become impatient of contradiction, and scorn reproof. For supposed injuries, they are inclined to quarrel and fight with those about them. They have all the appearance of persons inebriated; and those who are unacquainted with the symptoms of approaching mania, generally suppose them to be in a state of intoxication. At length suspicion creeps in upon the mind, they are aware of plots, which had never been contrived, and detail motives that were never entertained. At last, the succession of ideas is too rapid to be examined; the mind becomes crowded with thoughts, and confusion ensues.” p. 41.

“Those under the influence of the depressing passions will exhibit a different train of symptoms. The countenance wears an anxious and gloomy aspect, and they are little disposed to speak. They retire from the company of those with whom they had formerly associated, seclude themselves in obscure places, or lie in bed the geatest part of their time. Frequently they will keep their eyes fixed to some object for hours together, or continue them an equal time ‘bent on vacuity.” They next become fearful, and conceive a thousand fancies; often recur to some immoral act which they have committed, or imagine themselves guilty of crimes which they never perpetrated; believe that God has abandoned them, and, with trembling, await his punishment. Frequently they become desperate, and endeavour, by their own hands, to terminate an existence which appears to be an afflicting and hateful incumbrance.” p. 44.

Next follow some important observations on the nature of a lucid interval, which is defined “ to be a complete recovery of the patient’s intellects, ascertained by repeated examinations of conversation, and by constant observation of his con

duct, for a time sufficient to enable the superintendant to form a correct judgment.” The cunning which some patients exhibit on these occasions is remarkable, and has even, at times, deceived the penetration of Mr. Haslam himself. Memory is the first power which decays, and this author observes, that “ insane people, who have been good scholars, after a long confinement, lose, in a wonderful degree, the correctness of orthography. When they write, above half the words are frequently mis-spelt; they are written according to the pronunciation.” Deafness and tinnitus aurium are frequent symptoms, and occasion many curious delusions. Mr. Haslam has related several interesting cases of insanity, with the appearances on dissection. In all these the brain showed unequivocal marks of organick disease. He divides the causes of insanity into physical and moral.

“Under the first are comprehended repeated intoxication; blows received upon the head; fever, particularly when attended with delirium; mercury, largely and injudiciously administered; cutaneous eruptions repelled, and the suppression of periodical or occasional discharges and secretions; hereditary disposition, and paralytick affections.” p. 209.

Amongst the moral causes are enumerated—

“The long endurance of grief; ardent and ungratified desires; religious terrour; the disappointment of pride; sudden fright; fits of anger; prosperity humbled by misfortunes: in short, the frequent and uncurbed indulgence of any passion or emotion, and any sudden or violent affection of the mind.” p. 210.

Many ingenious hypotheses respecting the moon's influence on maniacks have been maintained. Mr. Haslam, who takes nothing for ganted without full proof, kept a register for more than two years, and, in the course of his very extensive practice, did not find, “ in

« 前へ次へ »