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The flood-springs, and the eternal roots which bound The innermost secrets of this upper ground. Three days in bitterness of death he lay,
1he fourth the monster yielded up his prey.' pp. 5<—7.
The remainder of the poem is devoted to the death and entombment of " a greater than Jonah," of which the prophet's story is considered as a typical representation. This part of Mr. Smedley's production is entitled to no ordinary praise: it is every way worthy of a Christian poet. The portraits of the Mother ol our Lord, the Magdalene, and the beloved disciple, are very finely conceived, and in strict harmony with the Gospel narrative. On perusing these lines, we felt no disposi- ■tion to retract what we have remarked respecting the difficulty of treating scriptural subjects, but they convinced us still more strongly, that they are, after all, the finest which can employ the imagination, when no attempt is made, by the injudicious addition of poetical ornaments, to fill up the outline of inspired history, at the expense of its truth and severe simplicity.
We must make room for the concluding lines in the poem.
'So they—but he for whom they mourn'd had gain'd
The limit of this being, and remain'd
In that unknown, which never mortal eye
Sees till it closes on mortality.
Three days his body slept, and the cold tomb
Held him within its fearful bed of gloom.
Death hover'd over him, but on his face
The foulness of his touch could leave no trace,
Nor did his body see corruption; there
Sate living freshness, and the tranquil air
Of a light slumber, when high visions fill
The fancy, and exalt to Heaven the will;
As if embalm'dby his divinity,
When death began, his body ceas'd to die;
And when his earthly nature did not dwell
Within, the unearthly purified the shell;
Adorn'd it for his triumph, and resum'd
The veil of flesh more holy since entomb'd.
'The third day comes—Oh ! not within the grave Look for his body who has died to save; Seek not in earth the immortal flesh which holds A Spirit as immortal in its folds. Won is the Paradise to sin refus'd; The bruised heel the venom'd head has brats'd; . , , Gain'd is the victory now, the battle done; To us the living and the dead are one. , .Lo! on the ruins of the first there stands . ^A nobler temple, fashion'd without hands; And blazon'd on its everlasting shrine Beams to our eyes the Prophet Jonah's sign.
Act. X. 1. Report together with'the Minutes of Evidence, and an Appendix of Papers, from the Committee appointed to consider of Provision being made for the better Regulation of Madhouses in England. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, lira July. 18'5 Each Subject of Evidence arranged under its distinct Head, by J. B Sharpe. Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. Reprinted for Baldwin and Co. 47, Paternoster-Row. 8vo. pp. 399. Price 13s. 1815.
2. yt Letter addressed to the Chairman of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to enquire into the State of Madhouses; to which is subjoined Remarks on the Nature, Causes, and Cure of Mental Derangement. By Thomas Bakewell, Author of" A Domestic Guide in Cases of Insanity," and Keepe. of Spring Vale Asylum, near Stone, Staffordshire, pp.100 Stafford. 1815.
3* Practical Hints on the Construction and Economy of Pauper Lunatic Asylums. Including Instructions to the Architects who offered Plans for the Wakefield Asylum, and a Sketch of the most approved Design, By Samuel Tuke. pp. .55. York, 1815.
4% Observations on the Laws relating to Private Lunatic Asylums, and particularly on a Bill for their alteration which passed the House of Commons in the Year 1814. 8vo. pp 112. price 3s. 6d. Conder, London. 1816.
A FTER a sanguinary conflict, especially when it has been ■**• of unusual and unexpected severity, as in the case of the victory of Waterloo, we hear with horror of numbers, who, although not the immediate victims of death on the fi ■Id where they had fought and bled, nevertheless, subsequently lose their limbs and their lives for want of timely medicinal aid, and in consequence of that pressure and hurry in the business of healing, which directly succeed to the business of slaying. But the feelings which are excited by this consideration, must sink very low in comparison of those which are occasioned by the reflection, that mental soundness, and mental life, if we may so express it, are frequently lost for want of opportunity and of pecuniary resources, to preserve them. How many wretched beings do the wards of a public lunatic asylum enclose, who, having been once as we are, are now reduced to a state of worse than brutal ferocity, uttering horrid blasphemies, and denouncing malignant menaces on all who pass by ; but who, h id their circumstances been such as to command the exercise of tenderness and skill equal to the exigencies of their cases, might now have been taking their places in the social circle formed by sympathy and affection, thinking, and feeling, and acting, like ourselves! In the great round of human misery and wo, there cannot surely be found any case that comes at all near to this in dreadful and heart-appalling interest.
That this statement is not a figment of the imagination, but a recital of facts, has been repeatedly asserted with all the confidence of conviction; and if such be the shocking state of things, in reference to lunatic hospitals, no wonder that in this age of reformation and of public spirit, the attention of the legislature should have been called to the consideration of this momentous iuquiry —* Whether the circumstances and treat'ment of lunacy are susceptible of melioration and amend'ment.'
This question has indeed been recently agitated in the British Senate, with an earnestness and interest which will command the admiration of posterity
* The labours of Mr. Rose and his associates,' (as is well observed in one of the pamphlets before us) 'were labours of simple humanity and benevolence unmixed with party feeling, and of too partial an influence to produce them fame. While the unhappy objects of their compassion are shut out, perhaps for ever, from the world, and generally unable to express or even to feel gratitude. May they live (adds the writer) to receive the only reward they appear to aim at or desire, in the certainty that their completed deliberations and exertions have removed all the evils which occasioned them.'
Before we proceed to a more detailed account of this investigation and its results, we shall say a few words on the recently much agitated inquiry, which immediately and obviously arises out of the preceding one, and which was repeatedly urged by the members of the Committee of investigation in the course of their individual examinations. It is this—Whether is insanity under the control of remedial agents, in the same manner »s are those maladies which are more properly and strictly regarded affections of the bodily frame? Is madness to be cured by medicine? The remarkable discrepancy which was displayed before the Committee, in reference to this very important question, must have necessarily excited-some degree of scepticism, or at least of uncertainty, in the minds of those who entered upon the inquiry with anxious but unprejudiced minds. We are told by one person, a man of unquestioned talents and extensive experience, that he considers vomiting rather injurious than beneficial in cases of insanity; another, of equal experience, and of great name, stated his dependence upon the medicinal power of emetics; and in this opinion he is countenanced by a recent writer of great merit on the subject of mental affections. One physician, who has directed his knowledge and attention principally to these unhappy affections, approves generally of venesection; a second, similarly circum- ,stanced, describes this practice, as fraught with extreme danger. Purgatives are the sole dependence of some, alteratives and
tonics of others. This practitioner prescribes rearm, that, coldbathing. Some say little is to be dune by any curative means, others, with even greater confidence, assert that insanity is the most remedial of all the maladies to which man is heir.
The fact is, we believe, that a great deal of this diversity of sentiment and opinion, has arisen in consequence of regarding the subject in too empirical a manner. Medical men talk of curing lunacy, as the vulgar speak of curing a cough. Indeed, while a generic term is made to include so many varieties, in relation to the causes upon which derangement depends, it cannot in strict propriety be made a question, whether insanity is, or is not curable. When a man receives a sabre- wound on his skull, and consequently loses his senses, we are in the habit of considering the case without cure, from a general feeling founded upon obvious truth, that as an organic lesion has here been the occasion of the deranged state of the intellect, it cannot be set to rights, because it is not within tlr- compass of medicine or management to re-organize. Again, if part of the brain is annihilated by accident or disease, we cannoi restore
the lost material, nor by consequence its particular functions;or if a tumour grow in the interior of the encephaloii, the de
rangement of functions to which it gives rise, is irremediable, inasmuch as the cause of the derangement is itself untangible. Now, our knowledge of sentient and intellectual faculties, as connected with structure, is so extremely limited; the knife of the anatomist does so very little in clearing away the ob
scurities which hang over sentient organization, that we may conceive of alterations quite as effective, and quite as perma
nent, as those just supposed, although they may not, even by any artificial means, be capable of being detected by our senses; and, in that case, the mental malady might be quite as hopeless, in respect to any prospect of recovery, as in instances where it has been dependent upon such palpable causes as ob
Tionsly to place it out of the possibility of cure. Disordered intellect, therefore, having in its display to do with the sen
tient system, of which our knowledge is so confined, cannot be calculated upon, either in respect to its essential nature, or any probability of advantage to be derived from treatment, with any thing like the accuracy with which we predicate the remedial nature or fatal tendency of mere bodily ailment.
Although it is not within the scope or intention of the present paper, to pursue the subject of insanity in the way of regular dissertation, we shall, we trust, be excused for adverting to one particular feature in the phenomena of deranged intellect, which •-. wa conceive has not been sufficiently recognized or dwelt upon, in investigations relative to the rationale of mental alienations. We allude to the alternate, and, as it were vicarious manner, in
which diseases of the body and of the mind oftentimes anoceed to. and take place of each other. In a pamphlet which Mr. Tuke some lime since published, there is one remarkable example of this kind, which, from its very interesting nature, deserves recital.
'A young woman, who was employed as a domestic servant by the father of the relater, when he was a boy, became insane, and at length punk into a state of perfect idiocy. In this condition she remained for many years, when she was attacked by a typhus fever, and my friend, having then practised for some time, attended her. He was surprized to observe as the fever advanced, a development of the mental powers. During that period of the fever wire Others ivere delirious, this patient tvas entirely rational. She recognized in the face of her medical attendant the son of her old master, whom she had known so many years before; and she related many circumstances respecting his family, and others, which had happened to herself in her earlier days. But alas! it was only the gleam of reason; as the fever abated, clouds again enveloped her mind. She sunk into her former deplorable state, and remained in it till her death, which happened a few years afterwards.'
Although this case must be considered as very extraordinary, the records of medicine are not wanting in instances of that kind of succession and alternation of mental and bodily disorder to which we have above referred, and of which the example just narrated, is but a remarkable and forcible illustration. Dropsical and pulmonary affections have been seen to yield, in order to make way, in a manner, for the introduction of insanity; while this last has been expelled, in its turn, by the supervention and return of the original complaint. There is another circumstance, also, which is common to mental alienations, and which, indeed, is of so frequent occurrence, as to have been often noticed by many persons who were not professional observers; we allude to that sudden and transient restoration of the intellectual faculties, which not unfrequently immediately precedes bodily dissolution. After the mind has, to all appearance, been for years extinct, it bursts out from its corporal confinement, and casts a parting glance at the surrounding scene.
These facts demonstrate a frequent connexion between ailments of the body, and of the mind, as intimate as it is inscrutable; and serve to shew that the human frame may be subject to such varieties of condition as to be productive of mental hallucination, although the precise nature of such state shall elude every research of the pathologist. As we are ignorant, then, of the nature, we must also be ignorant of the extent and probable duration of the morbid change. When, therefore, we find, as in some of the publications before us, individuals asserting with confidence the curable nature of insanity, and hinting,