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the temperature of the climate of various regions, in periods far beyond all human history and tradition; and, by bringing to our assistance the sciences of anatomy and botany, we can even restore anew the forms of the animals and vegetables which flourished on the earth, wben our present continents were engulfed beneath the depths of the ocean.
The interest and importance of this branch of natural philosophy are now so highly appreciated by all, save those minds which are alike destitute of all capacity and relish for intellectual pursuits, that I feel it to be wholly unnecessary for me to offer one remark on its practical utility, or on the lofty and sublime pleasures which its investigations afford. An eminent astronomer has, however, cited, as an example of the value of physical knowledge in teaching us to avoid attempting impossibilities, so remarkable an instance in which ignorance of the first principles of geology led to an expensive and abortive undertaking, in a part of Sussex which we shall hereafter have occasion to describe, that I am induced to subjoin the relation in the words of the distinguished author. “ It is not many years since an attempt was made to establish a colliery at Bexhill, in Sussex. The appearance of thin seams and sheets of fossil wood and wood coal, with some other indications similar to what occur in the neighbourhood of the great coal beds in the North of England, having led to the sinking of a shaft, and the erection of machinery on a scale of vast expense; not less than 80,0001. are said to have been laid out in this project, which, it is almost needless to add, proved completely abortive, as every geologist would at once have declared it must: the whole assemblage of geological facts being adverse to the existence of a regular coal bed in the Hastings strata ; while this on which Bexley is situated, is separated from the coal measures by a series of interposed beds of such enormous thickness, as to render all idea of penetrating through them absurd. The history of mining operations is full of similar cases, where a very moderate acquaintance with the usual order of nature, to say nothing of theoretical views, would have saved many a sanguine adventurer from utter ruin.”
The importance of geology, to say nothing of its interest, thus appears to be of a practical kind, coming home, as it were, to the feelings of every man, and calculated, like most other sciences, to vary the multiplied means which mankind are blessed with, of enjoyment in this world.
ART. VII.—The Infirmities of Genius Illustrated, by referring
the Anomalies in the Literary Character to the Habits and Constitutional Peculiarities of Men of Genius. By R. R. MADDEN, Esq., Author of “ Travels in Turkey,” &c. In 3 vols.
8vo. London: Saunders and Otley. 1833. The very peculiar subject which Mr Madden has selected for illustration, is undoubtedly one which was hitherto very imperfectly understood, and it is a fortunate circumstance that the task of supplying so very great a desideratum to our literature should have been assumed by a gentleman who, particularly, on account of his profession, is well calculated to do it justice.
Mr. Madden sets out with a very acute examination of the causes why it is that literary men should have been so generally distinguished as an irritable race, subject to numerous infirmities of mind as well as body, and seldom blessed with the advantages of prospe. rity and happiness as the result of their labours. He says that in general the knowledge of the world found in the minds of literary men is very limited indeed, because more of their time has been spent in the closet than in mixing with the business of life. Hence they bring with them, on their occasional visits to society, a spirit of uncompromising independence; a sense of self-superiority, which must necessarily influence their behaviour in such a way as to offend the pride and excite the aversion of those with whom they associate. But even this misfortune is trifling, compared with those calamities which more particularly affect the physical and moral faculties of the literary man, and which are to be attributed entirely to excessive mental application. These effects too often consist of waywardness of temper, testiness of humour, and capriciousness of conduct, which operate in rendering the man of genius obnoxious to strangers, and at last very fatiguing to his friends. But the misfortunes to which the studious man is liable do not end here ; his enthusiasm in some particular pursuit will induce him, sooner or later, to lessen the interval appointed for his repose ; this he does by degrees, until at last the whole night is habitually sacrificed. The necessary consequence of the repeated privation of sleep is great exhaustion of the vital powers, which, in too many instances, are sought to be restored to their natural tone by stimulants; and thus between the depression on the one hand, and the artificial excitement on the other, life degenerates into an eccentric principle as it were,-a comet, whose movements are governed by no certain laws. The process whereby excessive mental labour produces a considerable derangement of the regular physical state of the body may be shortly explained in the language of Tissot: the brain is in action when the mind is thinking; the prolongation of the employment of the mind tends to fatigue it, and as no organ which is weakened by whatever cause can perform its functions with the same success as it did in the healthy state, so is there a derangement of the conditions of all those parts over which the brain has an influence. But the brain is the centre from which the nerves of the body proceed, and therefore a disturbance of the function of the brain is followed by a corresponding change throughout the whole extent of the living system.
The succeeding chapters on the nature of the nervous influence offer nothing but speculations, which do not appear to be of sufficient interest to be worthy of detailed notice. We proceed, therefore, to the curious record which Mr. Madden has formed of the average influence of different studies, on the longevity of those engaged in them. The record consists of a tabular arrangement, in which are
several series of the most celebrated authors in the various departments of intellectual labour. Twenty persons are included in each list; the names and ages of each are given, and from the united amount of the latter, is taken the average age to which the members of each of the classes survive. These tables no doubt are curious, but how far they can be relied on as affording unequivocal evidence of the exact influence on the body, of mental fatigue, is altogether another question, upon which we shall presently say a few words. The first table includes natural philosophers, whose names and ages are as follow :-Bacon (Roger), 78; Buffon, 81; Copernicus, 70; Cuvier, 64; Davy, 51, Euler, 76'; Franklin, 85; Galileo, 78; Dr. Halley, 86; Herschell, 84; Kepler, 60; Lalaude, 75; Leplace, 77; Lewenhoeck, 91 ; Leibnitz, 70; Linnæus, 72; Newton, 84; Tycho-brahe, 55; Whiston, 95; Wollaston, 62..
The second table is that of poets,-Ariosto, 59; Burns, 38; Byron, 37; Camoeus, 55; Collins, 56; Cowley, 49; Cowper 69; Dante, 56; Dryden, 70; Goldsmith, 44; Gray, 57 ; Metastasio, 84; Milton, 66 ; Petrarch, 68; Pope, 56 ; Shenstone, 50; Spencer, 46; Vasso, 52; Thomson, 48; Young, 84.
The contents of the remaining tables are as follow :Moral PHILOSOPHERS—Bacon, 65; Bayle, 59; Berkeley (G.), 79; Condorcet, 51 ; Condillac, 65; Descartes, 54; Diderot, 71; Ferguson (A.), 92; Fichte (J. T.), 52; Hartley (D.), 52; Helvetius, 57; Hobbes, 91; Hume, 65; Kant, 80; Kaimes, 86 ; Locke, 72; Malebranche, 77; Reid (T.), 86; Stewart (D.), 75; St. Lambert, 88.
DRAMATISTS—Alfieri, 55; Corneille, 78; Goethe, 82; Massinger, 55; Marlow, 32; Otway, 34; Racine, 60; Schiller, 46 ; Shakspear, 52; Voltaire, 84 ; Congreve, 59; Colman (G.), 61; Crebillon, 89; Cumberland, 80; Farquhar, 30; Goldoni, 85; Jonson (B.), 63; Lope de Vega, 73; Moliere, 53; Murphy, 78.
AUTHORS ON LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE-Bentham, 85; Blackstone, 57; Butler (C.), 83; Coke, 85; Erskine, 73; Filangieri, 36; Gifford, 48; Grotius, 63; Hale, 68; Holt, 68; Littleton, 75; Mansfield, 88; Montesquieu, 66; Redesdale, 82; Romilly, 61; Rolle, 68; Tenterden, 78; Thurlow, 74; Vatel, 53 ; Wilmot, 83.
MiscelLANEOUS AND NOVEL WRITERS —Cervantes, 70; Le Sage, 80; Scott, 62 ; Fielding, 47; Smollet, 51; Rabelais, 70 : Defoe, 70; Ratcliffe, 60; Richardson, 72; Sterne, 56 ; Johnson, 75; Addison, 48; Warton, 78; Steele, 59; Tickell, 54; Montaign, 60; Bathurst (R.), 84 ; Thornton, 44; Hawkesworth, 59 ; Hazlitt, 58.
AUTHORS ON REVEALED Religion-Baxter, 76; Bellarmine, 84; Butler (John), 60; Bossuet, 77 ; Calvin, 56 ; Chillingworth, 43; Doddridge, 54 ; Fox (G.), 67, Knox (John), 67; Lowth, 77; Luther, 63; Massillon, 79 ; Melancthon, 64 ; Paley, 63 ; Porteus, 77; Priestley, 71; Sherlock, 67 ; Wesley, 88; Whitefield, 56; Wycliffe, 61.
Authors on NATURAL RELIGION—Annett, 55; Bolingbroke, 79; Cardan, 75; Chubb, 65; Drummond (Sir W.), 68; Dupuis, 67 ; Freret (N.), 61; Gibbon, 58; Herbert (Lord), 68; Jacobi, 56 ; Paine, 72; Pomponatius, 63; Rosseau, 66; Spinoza, 45; St. Pierre, 77 ; Shaftesbury, 42; Tindal, 75; Toland, 53; Vanini, 34 ; Volney, 66.
MEDICAL Authors—Brown (J.), 54; Corvisart, 66; Cullen, 78; Darwin, 72; Fordyce, 67; Fothergill, 69; Gall, 71; Gregory (John), 48; Harvey, 81; Heberden, 92; Hoffman, 83; Hunter (J.), 65; Hunter (W.), 66; Jenner, 75; Mason Good, 64; Parcelsus, 43; Pinel, 84; Sydenham, 66; Tissot, 70; Willis (T.), 54.
Philologists — Bentley, 81; Burton, 64; Casaubon, 55; Cheke, 44; Hartzheim, 70; Harman (J.), 77; Heyne, 84; Lipsius, 60; Parr, 80; Pauw, 61; Pighius, 84; Porson, 50; Raphelengius, 59; Salmatius, 66; Scaliger (J. J.), 69; Sigonius, 60; Stephens (H.), 71 ; Sylburgious, 51 ; Vossius, 73; Wolfius, 64.
Artists—Bandinelli, 72; Bernini, 82; Canova, 65; Donatello, 83; Flaxinan, 71; Ghiberti, 64; Giotto, 60; Michael Angelo, 96; San Sovino, 91; Verocchio, 56; Caracci (A.), 49; Claude, 82; David, 76; Guido, 67; Raphael, 37; Reynolds, 69; Salvator Rosa, 58; Titian, 96; Veronese (Paul), 56; West, 82.
Musical COMPOSERS-Arne, 68; Bach, 66; Beethoven, 57; Burney, 88; Bull, 41 ; Cimarosa, 41; Corelli, 60; Gluck, 75; Gretry, 72 ; Handel, 75; Haydn, 77 ; Kalkbrenner, 51 ; Keiser, 62; Martini, 78; Mozart, 36; Paisello, 75; Piccini, 71; Porpore, 78; Scarlatti, 78; Weber, 40.
The result, then, that we derive from these tables is, that natural philosophers have the longest lease of existence, the united ages of the twenty enumerated being 1504 years, which gives an average of 75 for each. The results in the other cases with respect to the united ages, and the average each, are-Moral philosophers united ages, 1417-average of the life of each, 70: sculptors and painters, 1412–70: authors on law and jurisprudence, 1394-69: medical authors, 1368–68: authors on revealed religion, 1350—67 : philologists, 1323—66: musical composers, 1284–64: novelists and miscellaneous authors, 1257—62: dramatists, 1249.-62: authors on natural religion, 1245–62: poets, 1144–57.
According to the results of this calculation, it would appear that those mental labours in which the imagination is most actively employed, are least conducive to long life. Other conclusions with respect to different occupations are drawn by Mr. Madden, who seems to be of opinion that an exact scale may be laid down, by which the particular occupation of any person being given, the pro
bable length of his life may be determined. We should willingly follow him through the elaborate chapters in which he argues in support of this scale, did we not feel that the whole of the superstructure thus raised rests on a feeble basis, as we think, may be readily made apparent.
It will be seen that Mr. Madden includes in each of the tables above quoted, the names of twenty selected persons. Now, in what manner, may we ask, can the fate of these individuals represent the effects of their own pursuits on the minds of all who cultivate them? Who are those personages, in almost every one of the lists, but men placed in very peculiar circumstances; men exalted in society, and who, perhaps, were under the influence of agencies ten thousand times more capable of shortening or prolonging their lives, than it was possible for any mental occupation to be. For example, is it fair to present Sir Humphry Davy as a victim to his devotion to chemical pursuits, when we know how much his death was hastened by the peculiarly mortifying state of his domestic circumstances? In truth, the reasoning of our author is built on a very narrow basis, it takes in much too partial a view of the facts which ought to have been contemplated, in order that a just inference might be fairly made out. We should have thought that the conclusion on such a subject most worthy of confidence could be drawn, only from one method of inquiry, namely, the enumeration of the ages of all persons who had surrendered their minds to a particular study for a given time, and that a careful distinction should be established between the natural influence of such employment, and the effects of accidental calamity. Then, and then only, shall we be in the right tract to determine the truth of the doctrine which assumes such positions as the author, with perfect self satisfaction, puts forward on his own authority. We turn therefore from these unsatisfactory speculations to other portions of the work, which offer materials of greater interest and utility.
It is not merely to gratify curiosity that we should be anxious to learn in what manner these human beings are affected who are endowed with any eminent perfection of mental power in the moment the most precarious of all, that which precedes the instant of death. As a general inference, it may be stated, that the more enlightened the mind, the less will be the terror of a death-bed. But the true view of the fear of death would lead us to consider it as one wholly springing from the imagination, as we can have no proof whatever that the process is at all attended with pain. On the contrary, the direct effect of death is to destroy any power of sensation, and without that power the animal body is not susceptible of pain. Professor Hufeland, of Germany, gives the true philosophy of this question, in a manner which is borne out by the universal testimony of the medical faculty. He says, that in proportion as the vital power decreases, we lose the power of sensation and of consciousness; and we cannot lose life without at the same