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light; its ignorance is forgetfulness; and whatever we can perceive of truth, or imagine of beauty, is but a reminiscence of our former more glorious state of being. He who reverences the gods, and subdues his own passions, returns at last to the blest condition from which he fell. But to talk, or think, about these things with proud impatience, or polluted morals, is like pouring pure water into a miry trench; he who does it disturbs the mud, and thus causes the clear water to become defiled. When Odysseus removed his armour from the walls, and carried it to an inner apartment, invisible Pallas moved before him with her golden lamp, and filled the place with radiance divine. Telemachus, seeing the light, exclaimed, “Surely, my father, some of the celestial gods are present.” With deep wisdom, the king of Ithaca replied, “Be silent. Restrain your intellect, and speak not."
“I am rebuked, O Plato,' answered Phidias; and from henceforth, when my mind is dark and doubtful, I will remember that transparent drops may fall into a turbid well. Nor will I forget that sometimes, when I have worked on my statues by torch-light, I could not perceive their real expression, because I was carving in the shadow of my own hand.'
“• Little can be learned of the human soul, and its connexion with the Universal Mind,' said Anaxagoras. These sublime truths seem vague and remote, as Phæacia appeared to Odysseus like a vast shield floating on the surface of the distant ocean.
". The glimmering uncertainty attending all such speculations, has led me to attach myself to the Ionic sect, who devote themselves entirely to the study of outward nature.'
And this is useful,' rejoined Plato: "The man who is to be led from a cave will more easily see what the heavens contain by looking to the light of the moon and the stars, than by gazing on the sun at noonday.'” — pp. 43 – 49.
ART. VI.-1. A Treatise on Insanity, and other Disorders
affecting the Mind. By JAMES COWLES PRICHARD,
M. D., F. R. S., &c. &c. London. 1835. 2. On Insanity; its Nature, Causes, and Cure.
WILLIAM B. NEVILLE, Esq., of Earl's Court House.
London. 1836. 3. Observations on the Principal Medical Institutions of France, Italy, and Germany. By Edwin Lee, Mem
LEE ber of the Royal College of Surgeons. London. 1835. 4. Annual Reports of the Lunatic Hospitals in the United
INSANITY, or the derangement of the mental faculties by disease, has always been a matter of interesting inquiry to reflecting men. of late, however, it has awakened more general attention; and its causes, and methods of cure and prevention, have become of such serious interest, that no apology need be offered for devoting some pages to the subject.
There is reason to apprehend, that insanity is increasing in this, and all civilized countries ; that the very freedom of our government and of our institutions, by opening to every individual the avenues to wealth, office, and distinction, by creating competition, and increasing the mental activity and excitement of all classes, tends to produce this most deplorable malady. « The more there is of liberty,” says M. Pariset, physician to the largest lunatic hospital in the world, “the more numerous are the chances of mental derangement; though this does not prevent our allowing, that liberty is favorable also to the expansion of human reason."
As M. Esquirol remarked many years ago, insanity belongs almost exclusively to the civilized races of men.
It is nearly unknown in savage and barbarous nations. Baron Humboldt informed Dr. Rush, that he did not hear of a single instance of this disease among the uncivilized Indians of South America. Other travellers assure us it is very rare among the Indians of North America. There is but little insanity among the uneducated blacks of Africa, of the West Indies, and of this country. Dr. Winterbottom says, “ Mania
seldom or never occurs among the African tribes near Sierra Leone. I could not make them comprehend the meaning of the term, though they were acquainted with the delirium of drunkenness.” Inquiry was made during the last session of Congress, of several members from the slave-holding States, respecting the frequency of insanity among the blacks. These gentlemen said it was extremely rare. Some of them had never heard of a single case.
In countries where the government is despotic, where there is but little mental excitement among the mass of the people, the intellectual faculties are inactive, and the passions torpid; and here are but few cases of insanity. Travellers inform us, that madness is an uncommon disease in Russia, though it prevails more in the large towns than among the peasantry of the country. There is but little in Spain and Portugal, though according to Sir A. Halliday, malformations of the head, and idiocy, are common in both countries. The inhabitants of China appear to be nearly exempt from this disease. Dr. Scott, who accompanied Lord McCarthy in his embassy to that country, heard but of a single instance. It is uncommon in Persia, Hindostan, and Turkey. Dr. Madden, in his Travels in Turkey, after remarking, that “in countries where the intellect is most cultivated, there insanity is most frequent,” adds, “there is no nation where madness is so rare as in Turkey, where the people of all others think the least.”
The mere excitement of the passions, however, of a savage uncivilized race of men, seldom produces derangement of the mental faculties, unless the brutal ferocity they manifest towards their enemies may be so considered; but in the communities where the mass of the people have received some intellectual culture, whatever strongly affects the mind, whatever greatly excites the feelings and passions, hopes and fears, whether it be political or religious commotions and revolutions, or sudden loss or accession of fortune, disposes many to insanity. Esquirol says it was frightfully increased during the first French Revolution ; that even women strongly alfected by the events of that exciting time, bore children whom the slightest cause rendered insane. Dr. Rush tells us it was rendered more frequent in the United States by our war of independence.
The reformation of Luther much augmented it on the continent of Europe, and the revolution of the early part of the
sixteenth century in England. Esquirol says, that during the late wars of France, the number of the insane was increased at each departure of the conscripts, either among the conscripts themselves or their parents and friends. When France was invaded by the allied army, terror multiplied the disease among the French, and Gerinan writers make the same observation respecting its increase in Germany, when the French entered that country.
The noted South Sea scheme in England, about 1720, when large fortunes were suddenly made and lost, when all minds were intensely agitated with hopes and fears, multiplied the inmates of madhouses. And it is a curious fact, that more were made crazy by the sudden acquisition of great wealth, than by the loss of it.
Peculiarities of insanity, or the particular delusions of the insane, are determined by the state of general intelligence, or by the kind of excitement that produced the disease. Thus during the ignorance and superstition of the middle ages, the belief was universal that mankind were in the power of evil spirits or demons, and demonomania was a common form of insanity. In modern times the belief in demons, and the fear of them, has generally subsided ; but the fear of the power of the government, of the police, and the prison, has increased, especially in Europe. Esquirol remarks, that in France many are now sent to the lunatic hospitals, whom the fear of the police has made crazy, that would in former times have been hung because they feared the devil.
Any event that excites much feeling in the community, will be sure to produce some cases of insanity. Such was the consequence of the excitement a year or two since, respecting the removal of the government funds from the Bank of the United States. We witnessed one
The individual affected was not in any way personally interested in the occurrence; but was excited by reading and talking upon the subject to such a degree, that he forsook his usual business, and sallied forth on a crusade through the country, to instruct the people. When Napoleon made and unmade kings and queens with great rapidity, kings and queens increased in the French madhouses. When the Pope came to Paris, an event that excited the religious community of that country, cases of religious insanity became more numerous. great has been the influence of our political commotions,"
says Esquirol, “ that I could give the history of France from the taking of the Bastile to the last appearance of Bonaparte, by that of the insane in the hospitals, whose delusions related to the different events of that long period of history.”
Insanity has increased as knowledge and the arts of civilized life have advanced, and is now most prevalent in the countries most enlightened and free. The exact number of the insane of any country is not known, as in none have they been enumerated in such a manner as to insure correctness. In some countries, those only are reckoned that are in the public institutions, or in some way supported at the public expense. In others, in addition to such, those that are known to the magistrates, clergymen, or physicians of the different districts, are also enumerated. But in this way, many would undoubtedly be omitted, as families usually endeavour to conceal, as long as possible, the fact that one of their number is deranged in mind. According to the most recent estimates, there is in France one insane person to 1000 of the population, " Wales,
800 « England,
782 « Scotland,
574 These statements show, that insanity is very prevalent in France and England ; yet they are, we apprehend, considerably too low. Dr. Prichard, the latest, the most elaborate, and in our opinion the most able writer on insanity, speaking of the number of lunatics in France, observes; “Unfortunately no satisfactory sources of information on this subject exist, and France is much behind England and some other countries, in all the materials for statistical researches on the frequency of mental derangement.” He believes the estimate for England much too low ; and the following facts appear to confirm his opinion. The Quakers, or Society of Friends in England, have accurate knowledge of the insane belonging to their society. From statements furnished by themselves, it appears there is one insane person to 358 of their number. When it is considered, that there are but few cases of religious insanity among the Quakers, and extremely few from intemperance, and that there are no known causes for a greater frequency of this disease with them, than the other inhabitants of England, we are forced to the conclusion, which Mr. Tuke, of the Retreat near York, and Dr. Prichard appear to have come " that the returns of the number of the insane for