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tions, as of reason, judgment and volition. Idiots never know how to reason, reflect, or judge, and the ideas which they have are very confused and indistinct. The whole machinery of the body, in this case, appears to be defectively constructed, and the mind embarrassed and impeded in all its functions. Madmen, on the other hand, it would seem, have all the powers of their nature in full perfection, but from a great variety of causes, a deranged action is introduced into them, and an incalculable variety of singular phenomena are exhibited. While idiots are almost entirely destitute of ideas, or have their minds occupied only with the most crude and misshapen conceptions, and are utterly incapable of any intellectual exertion, madmen are not unfrequently seen, to discover no common share of ingenuity and acuteness. While their heads are filled with the wildest conceptions, and the most ridiculous chimeras usurp the possession of them, they are still capable of exercising the faculties of judgment, reasoning, invention, and a variety of talents. One supposes himself to be a goose, a cock, a dog, or a cat, and he imitates those animals in his voice and ges. tures; another, that he has died, and he stretches his body and limbs upon a bed, or a board, and assumes the stillness and silence of a corpse. A third, who was a prince of the house of Bourbon in France, imagined himself a plant, and placed himself in the garden in order to be watered; while a fourth, is fully impressed with a conviction, that he is a king, assumes the air and port of majesty, and demands from all around him the homage due to a sovereign. In all these cases, they appear capable of deducing just inferences from false principles. The wildness, extravagance and absurdity of their pretensions, are not a little remarkable. A young man in the Philadelphia hospital, as we are informed by Dr. Rush, was impressed with a full conviction that he was once a calf, and mentioned the butcher's name who had slaughtered him; another felt equally assured, that he had a wolf within him, which was devouring his liver.
Several imagined themselves the Messiah, or assumed the character and claims of the three persons of the Trinity. A clergyman of Elizabethtown, in New Jersey, while upon every other subject, he was a rational and intelligent man, and was regarded by his flock as a very able and successful preacher, had his mind so disordered with the expectation of the millenium, that it deprived him of his character and influence as a Pastor. On one occasion, so satisfied was he of the truth of his calculation from the Scriptures, that he gave public notice from his pulpit, of the day and hour, in which the coming of Christ was to take place, and invited his congregation to assemble in the church, for the purpose of meeting their Saviour. Many of them did so, some at. tracted by that curiosity so natural on such occasions, and others not a little anxious and alarmed, lest his prediction should be accomplished. Detecting the error of his calculations, undeceived the people as to the character and pretensions of their pastor, but never cured his insanity, for he continued to be affected with the same or similar derangement to the end of life. I myself was acquainted with a young man, who lived at that time in the city of Philadelphia, and was in the habit of frequenting some of the best company, who, after I had known him for a short time, and looked upon him as a sensible and well-informed youth, ore day desired to speak to me in private in my study. Somewhat surprised at the request, I yielded to his proposal, and con-, ducted him into my study, when he communicated to me, what he considered as a very important secret, viz. that he was the son of general Washington. Astonished at the intelligence, I knew not at first what to think, and began strictly to interrogate him about the particulars of his birth. He had contrived to frame a very coherent and plausible story, mentioned an English lady of rank as his mother, who I had
reason to believe had been in habits of intimate acquaintance with general Washington's family; but when he came to describe the particulars of the striking resemblance between himself and our president, and the honours, which on some occasions had been paid him by the military, who recognized those resemblances, his derangement stood revealed to me. In every other matter, this young man was intelligent and respectable. The object of this youth in speaking to me upon the subject, was, that he might be introduced to Judge Bushrod Washington, the relative and heir of the president, and through his means, obtain his portion of the family estate, and have his rank and dignity acknowledged by the American nation. Here we again perceive that his error lay in his principle, and not in the consequences which he deduced from it. It would seem, from facts of this nature, as if the human mind, by dwelling habitually upon any one object, whether that object awakes either very strong apprehension and pain, or very anxious desire, may, at length, become completely disordered about it, may bring itself to believe that its fears or its hope, will surely be realised. If ambition was the ruling passion of the maniac, and blasted expectations disarranged the powers of his understanding, his irritated spirit either writhes with inward anguish, or finds its solace in forming a visionary fabric of its own greatness, and in imagination he becomes a hero, a prince, or a king. If disappointed love has driven him to madness, he spends his time in moping melancholy, or if he have any talent for poetry, in pouring forth his sorrows in regular numbers. Avarice in the maniac displays itself, in his supposing himself possessed of inexhaustible wealth, or in perpetual lamentations at the prospect of coming to poverty; while that insanity, which is brought on by excessive indulgence of the passions, or by the perpetration of atrocious guilt, often inflicts upon the miserable sufferer a dreadful penalty, he endures even in this world all the horrors of the damned, feeling himself, in the language of the poet, “bound upon a wheel of fire.” The wretched sufferers in a mad-house, while they awake all our best sympathies in their behalf, and merit all the succours which humanity prompts us to extend to them, should furnish us with awful admoni. tions, against giving too loose a reign to the passions. Anger rendered one of the kings of France insane, and our hospitals are filled with the victims of revenge, grief, despair, inordinate ambition, inextinguishable avarice, and uncontrolled lust.
There is one more circumstance only in reference to madness, which is particularly worthy of the attention of philosophy. Dr. Rush was frequently surprised to find, that madness often led to the development of talents, which had never appeared before. “The records of the wit and cunning of madmen," says the Dr., " 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 attended 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 stage 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 know ledge; 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 mind."
These effects are, undoubtedly singular, but may be accounted for upon the ordinary principles of human nature, and are reconcileable with its ordinary laws. These very circumstances, it is probable, gave rise to that ridiculous superstition with which some barbarous nations regard madmen. Seeing new powers of mind and body developed by insanity, and being unable from their ignorance of human nature to account for it, they were easily led to believe that such persons received these unexpected powers by supernatural agency, But surely madness can confer no new faculty or talent upon mankind. The utmost that those changes in the corporeal and mental system which are produced by madness, would seem capable of, is to give excitement to the mind, and call into exercise those faculties, which without this exciting cause would have lain dormant. Dr. Rush has undertaken to show that the proximate cause of inadness, is in the blood vessels of the brain; and he has furnished very powerful arguments in support of his theory. Whatever may be the immediate cause, it is certain, that great changes are produced in the brain by this greatest infirmity of our nature. A new and violent action is effected in those organs of the body, that more immediately minister to the highest operations of the mind. May not this action, dreadful and violent as it is, set all the powers of the mind into strenuous operation, and thus disclose to us many talents that otherwise would forever have been buried in oblivion, as a volcanoe or an earthquake in the natural world discloses to us many precious materials which are concealed in the bowels of the earth? We are assured that some unusual and most