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and the properties of life are indeed obvious to our senses, througlı the whole range of organized creation ; but, on what they depend, and how they are produced, never has been discovered, and, probably, never will. Mr. Abernethy, however, following the steps of the celebrated J. Hunter, elucidates his views on the subject, which have the high merit of attempting to explain but little, but which seem fairly derived from the most probable conclusions to which our reason can carry us; viz. that life, in general, is some principle of activity added by the will of Omnipotence to organized structure,---and that, in man, who is endowed with an intelligent faculty in addition to this vital principle possessed by other organized beings, to life and structure an immaterial soul is superadded.
• We perceive,' he says, an exact correspondence between those opinions which result from physiological researches, and those which so naturally arise from the suggestions of reason that some have considered them as intuitive. For most reflecting persons in all ages have believed, and indeed it seems natural to believe, what modern physiology also appears to teach, that in the human body there esists an assemblage of organs, formed of common inert matter, such as we see after death, a principle of life and action, and a sentient and rational faculty, all intimately connected, yet each apparently distinct from the other.
• So intimate, indeed, is the connection as to impose on us the opinion of their identity. The body springs and bounds as though its inert fabric were alive ; yet we have good reasons for believing that life is distinct from organization. The mind and the actions of life atlect each other. Failure or disturbance of the actions of life prevent or disturb our feelings, and enfeeble, perplex, or distract our intellectual operations. The mind equally affects the actions of life, and thus influences the whole body. Terror seems to palsy all its parts, whilst contrary emotions cause the limbs to struggle, and become contracted from energy. Now though these facts may countenance the idea of the identity of mind and life, yet we have good reasons for believing that they are perfectly distinct. Whilst, therefore, on the one hand I feel interested in oppugning those physiological opinions which tend to confound life with organization; I would, on the other, equally oppose those which confound perception and intelligence with mere vitality.' Enquiry, p. 77-79. He thus concludes.
my mind rests at peace in thinking on the subject of life, as it has been taught by Mr. Hunter; and I am visionary enough to imagine, that if these opinions should become so established as to be generally admitted by philosophers, that if they once saw reason to believe that life was something of an invisible and active nature superadded to organization; they would then see equal reason to believe that mind might be superadded to life, as life is to structure. They would then
indeed still farther perceive how mind and matter might reciprocally operate on each other by means of an intervening substance. Thus even would physiological researches enforce the belief which I may say is natural to man; that in addition to his bodily frame, he possesses a sensitive, intelligent, and independent mind: an opinion which tends in an eminent degree to produce virtuous, honorable, and useful actions.'- p. 94, 95.
Two years after the appearance of these lectures, Mr. Lawrence, who had recently been elected to the situation of colleague to Mr. Abernethy, delivered at the college his two introductory lectures on Comparative Anatomy and Physiology. Mr. Lawrence is, we understand, a young surgeon, who has acquired considerable reputation in his profession, and particularly by a diligent study of comparative anatomy, through the medium of foreign, for the most part German, writers and professors. He had been the pupil of Mr. Abernethy, and had lived for many years under his roof; and he speaks, in the warmest terms, of the invariable kindness and disinterested friendship with which that gentleman directed his early studies.
After giving, in his first lecture, an excellent sketch of the objects and the history of comparative anatomy, he proceeds, in the second, to develope his ideas concerning the principle of life. Here he assumes a very different character. Forgetting the encomiums which he had just passed on his benefactor and instructor, the respect which he owed to his professional situation and character, and, we hesitate not to add, the direct object of the professional station he was then filling, (a station expressly founded for displaying Mr. Hunter's noble Museum, purchased by Parliament for the use of the College, and of illustrating his physiological investigations,) he indulges in taunts and sarcasms, not of the most modest, or mild description, against Mr. Hunter's theory as maintained by Mr. Abernethy in the former year, and the manner in which he illustrated and supported it. In explaining his own opinions, Mr. Lawrence involves himself in much perplexity and confusion; but still he inculcates, in terms too plain to be misunderstood, the portentous doctrine that the principle of life, whether sentient or intelligent, is in all organized beings the same; that, whether we look to man, the highest of the animal creation, with all his faculties of invention, memory, imagination, or to an oyster or a cabbage, the vital properties are all derived from their organic structure, and that the difference of this structure constitutes the only difference in their faculties and powers. He mentions, p. 144, as if it were a known and acknowledged truth, that 'medullary substance is capable of sensation and of
thought.' And at p. 155, favours us with the following notable passage.
• The cerebral functions, which are much more numerous and diversified in the higher orders of the mammalia, than in any of the preceding divisions of the animal kingdom, receive their last development in man; where they produce all the phenomena of intellect, all those wonderful processes of thought, known under the names of memory, reflection, association, judgment, reasoning, imagination, which so far transcend any analogous appearance in animals, that we almost feel a repugnance to refer them to the same principle.--If therefore we were to follow strictly the great series of living bodies through its whole extent, we should see the vital properties gradually encreased in nuinber and energy from the last of plants, the mosses or the alge, to the first of animals, man!
Mr. Lawrence, it will be instantly recollected by every reader, whatever other merit may belong to him, has not that of being the inventor of these doctrines. They are as old as any on record, and have been advanced and confuted, and revived and driven into obscurity again and again. In the present instance, Mr. Lawrence has copied them, and even the terms in which he has expressed them, from the school of modern French philosophy. Indeed, this is not the first occasion on which he has consented to become a mere copyist, and for the purpose of propagating these worn-out but mischievous opinions : he is understood to be the writer of several articles on life, and other subjects connected with it, in the interminable Encyclopædia of Dr. Rees, in which the same principles are maintained, and in which Mr. Rennell has discovered, that he has translated whole sections from M. Bichat, without the slightest acknowledgment; and we have traced bim, in like manner, still more frequently transcribing into his own pages materials of the same description from the free-thinking physiologists of Germany.
In 1817, Mr. Abernethy delivered another course of Physiological Lectures, exhibiting a general view of Mr. Hunter's physiology, and of his researches into comparative anatomy, in which he affords an interesting detail of the course of study of that distinguished naturalist, of the additions which he made to our stock of useful knowledge in these departments, and of the valuable ends to which he directed his pursuits. At the same time, he took occasion to defend the theory which he had previously explained, from the miserable ribaldry with which it had been assailed, and to guard his hearers from the mischief of the sceptical principles promulgated in that lecture-room in the preceding year. With that view, he made some very just observations on the general tone and method of proceeding of persons
professing professing these principles, on the evil consequences arising to society from the unguarded adoption of them, and on the imputations which must attach to the medical profession, if a firm stand were not made against the conversion of the lecture-room of students in surgery into a school of infidelity. Exhibiting too the pious feeling of a well principled mind, he strove to elevate, as Hunter had ever done, the thoughts of the student from the contemplation of nature, to nature's God.
• It has been said that“ an undevout astronomer is mad;" yet he only contemplates the immensity and order of the works of Nature, and the causes of the varieties of light and seasons, so serviceable to the living beings which inhabit this planet, and, as he infers, to those of others. But what shall we say of the anatomist wbo observes the structure and functions of those beings, who examines their extreme variety, and regular gradation and connexion, without any feeling or perception that Intelligence has operated in ordaining the laws of nature?
We judge of others by ourselves, and assuredly, such a character must, by the bulk of mankind, be considered as possessing either a deficient or perverse intellect.
• The opinion that Intelligence must have ordained the order of Nature, is not only impressed by her decrees upon the bulk of mankind, but is confirmed by the observations and reflections of the most observant and intellectual individuals of the human race. Those who think that intelligence may exist distinct from organization, are disposed to admit that the intelligence with which they are endowed may have a separate existence. Those who think that perception is not essential to lite, but is an attribute of something different, are also disposed to admit the separate existence of perception and intelligence, and thus do these two opinions produce and support each other. Both opinions are natural to most men, and confirmed by the observations and consideration of the most intellectual of the human race.'— Physiological Lectures, p. 331, 332.
Mr. Lawrence sufficiently understood that these observations, though delivered in general terms, applied directly to himself; but, instead of taking the reproof in good part, expressed as it was without harshness or severity, he was unfortunately excited by it to a high pitch of angry feeling, and to a determination to shew his contempt for it by redoubling the offence. Accordingly, in his lectures, delivered in the ensuing year, (1818) under the pretence of defending himself, he indulges in the most coarse and virulent invective against his former patron. He talks, among other things, of being attacked with the odium theologicum, which he describes as the most concentrated essence of animosity, and rancour.' p. 10. However this be, Mr. Lawrence evinces, by his own example, that the odium anti-theologicum is of a far more dark and deadly character :-and if we are ever
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