ページの画像
PDF

any instance, that the alterations of the human intellect correspond with, or were influenced by, the vicissitudes of this luminary.” p. 217. Sometimes, indeed, by shining brightly into the apartments of the insane, the moon may prevent them from sleeping, and thus augment the violence of their symptoms; but a lighted candle would produce a similar effect. Mr. Haslam very successfully ridicules the commonly received opinion, that intellectual labour becomes a cause of insanity. He discusses the important question of the hereditary disposition of madness with acuteaess and great candour. We would most seriously impress the following observations of this author on the minds of our readers:

“Parents and guardians, in the disposal or direction of the choice of their children in marriage, should be informed, that an alliance with a family, where insanity has prevailed, ought to be prohibited. Having directed some attention to inquiries of this nature, I am enabled truly to state, that, where one of the parents have {has] been insane, it is more than probable that the offspring will be similarly af. fected.”

Although the author has enumerated moral agents amongst the causes of insanity, he still evinces great reluctance in considering them as such. From what he has stated, indeed, we may fairly infer, that he denies the existence of mind, and kaughs at “a disease of ideas.” His dissections have always discovered more or less of organick disease, and he seems rather to suppose this altered condition of the organ is a cause, and not an effect of the disease. In some instances, unquestionably, this is the case, as when the complaint is consequent upon extermal violence. But surely the most sceptical mind must admit, that when a person becomes insane from sudden joy, from long continued brooding over misfortune, from a malicious spirit of hatred, or of revenge, from

disappointed love, or in short, from any passion of the mind, some derangement (and we will not flinch from the question) some “disease of ideas,” occurs previously to any morbid change in the brain itself. Some people are subjected to temporary insanity from the least determination of blood to the head, or from the least contradiction or opposition to their wishes being offered; and in these the increased flow of blood in the organ most probably induces the complaint; the agent continuing to operate, the disease becomes permanent, and is then followed by inflammation in the brain, or its membranes. But this, in our opinion, is a secondary effect. All that Mr. Haslam has been able to establish, is, that where insanity has existed for a considerable time, after death, the brain or its membranes

have evinced the marks of having

been subjected to inflammation. This also is often the case in patients who have died from fever. We therefore think it would have been more philosophical if the author had simply stated the facts which he had ascertained. The present state of our anatomical knowledge does not warrant us to draw any positive conclusions respecting the causes of insanity; and we wish Mr. H. had exercised his ingenuity in tracing the first aberrations from sense, and in endeavouring to connect them with some of the moral causes which he has assigned, and which we cannot doubt sometimes produce the disease before the evidences of inflammation can be established, although ultimately they may be found. Again, insanity is not unfrequently consequent upon a diseased state of the abdominal viscera; is present at some periods during the pregnancy of certain females, and occurs in some young people at the period when certain changes in the genital organs take place, yet many of such patients have recovered when the irritating cause has ceased to operate; and in some of those who have died, no marks of a morbid affection have been detected in the brain, or its membranes. Pussin and Pinel have recorded many instances which have occurred in their patients in the hospitals Bicêtre, and Salpêtrière, where no organick disease was supposed to exist, and which were cured, not by medicines, but by what Cabanis terms “Thygienne morale.” Our limits preclude us from stating ‘many interesting particulars respecting the probable event of the disease. But we cannot forbear noticing what Mr. Haslam has most forcibly advanced on the subject of “religious madness,” which is seldom cured. After a short and animated description of the nature and objects of religion, the author concludes:

“It is, therefore, sinful to accuse religion, which preserves the dignity and integrity of our intellectual faculty with being the cause of its derangement. The mind becomes refreshed and corroborated by a fair and active exercise of its powers, directed to proper objects; but when an anxious curiosity leads us to unveil that which must ever be shrouded from our view, the despair which always attends those impotent researches, will necessarily reduce us to the most calamitous state.”

He then expresses his veneration for the established church, and its learned and liberal minded pastors. The methodists are severely chastised.

“But what,” says this author, “can be rxpected when the most ignorant of our

race attempt to inform the multitude; when the dregs of society shall assy me the garb of sanctity, and the holy office; and pretend to point out a privy path to heaven, or cozen their feeble followers into the belief that they possess a picklock for its gates? The difficulty of curing this species of madness will be readily explained, from the consideration, that the whole of their doctrine is a base system of delusion, rivited on the mind by terrour and despair; and there is also good reason to suppose, that they frequently contrive, by the grace of cordials, to fix the waverings of belief, and thus endeavour to dispel the gloom and dejection which these hallucinations infallibly excite.” p. 267.

Upon the management and treatment of insane persons many judicious observations occur, for which we must refer to the volume itself, which, however imperfect in some respects, contains the best and most practical account of insanity that we are acquainted with. The most prominent defect in Mr. Haslam, is his complete originality, which has led him to disdain the labours of other writers, and depend solely on his own experience. The facts which he has stated on the subject cannot be disputed, and thus the materials for forming a more complete history of the complaint, are augmented. We think, if the author will condescend to bestow some pains on the study of metaphysicks, and inform himself of the recent improvements. which have been made in physiology, he may yet present us with what, has long been wanting, a comprehensive and scientifick work on insanity.

FROM THE Montitly REvi Ew.

A Series of Letters to a Man of Property, on the Sale, Purchase, Lease, Settlement, and Devise of Estates. By Edward Burtenshaw Sugden, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law. 8vo. pp. 126. 58. Boards. 1809.

THE present is the most amusing law production which ever fell in our way. It proceeds in a uniform, easy flow, abounds in lively Vol. Ivo, 2 K.

turns, and is seasoned with piquant anecdotes. Truly glad should we be. to see Tidd and Wyatt, Mitford and Çhitty, dressed out in the same easy. and attractive attire. There would then be some chance of occasionally finding a lawbook in the hands of even the most fashionable of the youths in our Inns of Court. From the specimen now before us, we are warranted in concluding that, if Mr. Sugden, instead of pursuing the most forbidding branch of a dry and plodding profession, had devoted himself to letters, he would have excelled in productions of wit and humour. His Letters to a Man Property, contain the marrow and

essence of the elaborate and valuable treatise on the law of Vendor and Vendee; and, although he strictly confines himself to the superficies of his subject, his pages exhibit unequivocal proofs of extensive knowledge, sound judgment, and singular aeuteness. It is remarkable, however, that this well written tract should be headed by an incorrect title page, in which lease and devise are made to bear the sense of leasing and devising.

FIROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.

The Assassin of St. Glenroy; or the Axis of Life. A novel. By Anthony Frederić Holstein. 12mo. 4 vols. 11, boards. 1810.

WE paid a tribute to the inventive powers of this author in our account of his sir Owen Glendower; but the present publication, without lessening our opinion of his talents, excites our regret, by an avowal which may, perhaps, be attractive to some readers; namely, that he has attempted portrait painting in several of the characters. We think that this practice of introducing living personages into the novels of the day is both ungenerous und unjustifiable; and though it may produce a transient curiosity, it seldom increases the intrinsick merit of a work. The lady Orina of this tale is, however, so common a character, that it would be difficult to make any individual application of it; while “The Tishmonger of Dorsetshire,” is so dull, and so indelicate, that we cannot but rejoice at having no acquaintance with the original.

A few inelegant expressions occur, such as “ regularly mouldered features,”—“ he was obligated to entreat,”—“Your ladyship appears quite in the dolorous,” &c. We also object to the profusion of French

which is introduced. The author not only makes all his fashionable characters talk, French with great fluency, but, in order to confirm his own assertion, that he has himself moved in the same sphere, he intersperses French sentences very perseveringly in the narrative. These passages do not always possess idiomatick propriety; as when we are told of sir Felix Guildford, that “ in temporary amour he ever had continued;’ and they are very seldom correctly written. We read of the heroine’s “ sojour” in a place in which she was entertained with “fetite soufiers” and a “grande ambigu,” and of her displaying to her lover “ some of the bijou” with which she had ornamented her boudoir.

We have, however, the pleasure. of stating that the merits of this novel overbalance its defects; the incidents are interesting and well imagined; some of the characters are original, and ably supported; and the dialogue, though too flowery, is always animated, and occasionally witty.

SPIRIT OF THE MAGAZINES.

MEMOIR OF THE LATE CELEBRATED COL. FERDIN AND WON scHIL.

FERDINAND VON SCHILL, the youngest of four sons, was born in 1773, at Sothoff, an estate which then belonged to his father, and is situated near Rosenberg, in Upper Silesia. His father, who is still living, and upwards of eighty years of age, was originally in the Austrian service, which he afterwards exchanged for the Saxon; and on the taking of the Saxon army at the commencement of the seven years’ war, he raised a corps of partisans which executed some important enterprises, and rendered itself particularly formidable to the corps of Turks, which the duke of Brunswick had at that time organized. On the breaking out of the war respecting the Bavarian succession, he entered, in consequence of an invitation to that purpose, into the Prussian service; but, from the short duration of hostilities, he had no opportunity of signalizing himself.

Young Schill was destined, from his earliest infancy, for his father's profession, and, at the age of six years, entered the corps of cadets. In 1789, he was made cornet in Schimmelpfenning’s hussars, and was the year following, removed to the queen's dragoons. He was not pleased with the petty service in the garrison, and he could not prevail upon himself to pay such attention to trifles as he saw his comrades do. It is well known that, in the German armies, there were numbers of officers who considered it

the most important duty of a soldier to keep his hair in proper trim, and his buttons highly polished. Men of this description doubtfully shook their heads respecting young Schill, or even went so far as to deny that he had any military talents. Some, at the present day, when informed of his recent exploits, have been heard to exclaim: “Good God! who could ever have supposed that Schill would become such a man!” Schill was meanwhile forming plans for

futurity, and his ever active mind

panted for opportunities to distinguish himself, especially as the strict subordination, which affords the young officer but little scope for the exertion of superiour powers, must have been to him a species of restraint that prevented him from folkowing the impulse of his nature; which, however, acquired from his very opposition, increased strength and energy. Giving himself up to his own way of thinking, he is said to have avoided, as much as possible, the society of his comrades, which occasioned disputes that always ended in duels. He was a principal in twenty-two of these affairs, in five of which he was wounded. At the commencement of hostilities between France and Prussia, in 1806, Schill was sub-lieutenant. On the disastrous 14th of October, he was stationed with a picquet at Eckartsberg. Here he was surrounded by the enemy, and summoned to surrender, which he refused. Thé. French rushed upon him from all sides, and he received so severe a wound on his head as to deprive him of sense. He must infallibly have been killed, had not his horse saved him by springing aside. His comrades afterwards found him, without signs of life, upon the ground. They took care of him, bound up his wounds, and in this state, conveyed him to Magdeburg. In this helpless situation, he was received by M. Berr, teacher of the French language, who, with his wife, nursed him with the utmost philanthropy. He had made no great progress in his recovery, when he learned that Magdeburg was on the point of surrendering to the enemy. Nothing was now capable of detaining him in that city—regardless of his wounds, and faithful to his sovereign, even to death itself, he hastened to Colberg, where he arrived in the most violent fever. No sooner had he recovered, than he manifested the most ardent desire to be actively employed in the service of his country. Before this wish was gratified, he had great obstacles to surmount; obstacles thrown in his way by envy, mistrust, and mean jealousy. He proposed to make excursions about the fortress; but the number of men placed at his disposal was so small as to indicate a wish to get rid of, rather than to support him. He, nevertheless, took several military chests and magazines, which were in the neighbouring towns, and, by his stratagems, kept off the enemy for a considerable time from the fortress. An affair which he had at Gulzow, a small place, situated to the south of Kamin, near the Frische Haff, with a far superiour number of the enemy, was particularly brilliant. He was in hopes of surprising the French, but his approach had been betrayed. On his arrival in the night before Gulzow he found sixty men belonging to the troops of Baden drawn up with artillery to receive him. Schill

had no more than ten foot soldiers, and six cuirassiers. The former he posted in the churh-yard in order of battle, and with the latter he galloped to the opposite side of the town, in which were sixty of the enemy's horse, totally unprepared for an attack, and consequently in great disorder. Schill boldly charged them, and at the first onset was fortunate enough to kill their commander. With a voice of thunder he then cried out: “Cossacks, push on P’ and to this presence of mind alone was indebted for the victory. The enemy's cavalry having lost their leader, and conceiving that a much stronger corps was advancing against them, fled with precipitation, and Schill thus gained time to drive out the infantry likewise, and to render his victory complete.— People could scarcely believe their eyes, when they saw him return with his little corps, bringing thirty-three prisoners whom he had taken at Gulzow. This achievement procured the valiant Schill the favour of his sovereign in a high degree. He rewarded him with the Order of Merit, which never more deservedly decorated the breast of a soldier. Schill continued to collect the horses, cattle, and arms from the environs of Colberg, and to convey

them into the fortress; to elude the

vigilance of the enemy; to cut off his convoys; to take his military chests; and to harass him in every possible way. His name became feared and respected by the troops of France, and of the Rhenish confederacy. Numerous detachments were sent out to take him, but he contrived matters so well, that all their endeavours proved ineffectual.

The success which attended all his enterprizes; the talents which he displayed on every occasion; the marks of respect that were shown him by the king, at length, procured him greater consideration at Colberg. His advice was asked, and he

« 前へ次へ »