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ART. VII.-DOCTRINE OF TEMPERAMENTS.
1.-Gymnastique Médicale. Par Ch. LONDE. Paris. 2.-Rapports du Physique et du Moral de l'homme. Par CA
BANIS. 3. — The Book of Nature. By John Mason Good. 1828. Se
ries III. Lecture XI. 4.-A Treatise on Physiology applied to Pathology. By
F. J. V. BROUSSAIS, M. D. Translated from the French. By John BELL, M. D., and R. La Roche, M. D. Part II. Chapter XIV. Philadelphia: H. C. Carey & I. Lea. 1826.
The practical tendency of the age furnishes no cause of complaint, where it does not measure utility by too narrow a standard. The enthusiast cherishes no desire more fondly, than that of promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest number; and while he may often waste his efforts by mistaking his means, and, still more frequently, by forming a wrong estimate of those on whom he is to act, he is ready to follow the guidance of plain experience, if he can in this way be more securely led to the attainment of his object.
The metaphysicians, since the beginning of speculative science, have reasoned on the nature of morals; and yet have never been able to decide what virtue is: whether it is an independent principle, or merely a useful companion ; whether it is bright with an eternal lustre of its own, or does but catch a few gleams that are reflected from its works. They cannot tell whether goodness resides in the motive or in the deed; they are baffled in their search after the springs of evil; they cannot even decide on the moral liberty of man. The great problem of human existence, so far as speculative acuteness is concerned, has never been solved; and virtue and freedom and immortality are still, to the unaided power of human reason, enveloped in mysteries, which no philosophy has dispelled. By all the systems which have been invented, no secret avenue to the human mind has been discovered; no course of moral discipline, that can mould the spirit at will, has yet been revealed; no sacred talisman has been brought from the inner recesses of contemplation, to protect innocence and encourage virtue ; no mighty charm has been pronounced, which can still the fury of the passions and quell the storms in the human heart. Men, fond of philosophy, may themselves have been influenced by the character of their investigations. But their boasted schools of wisdom have, nevertheless, taught them little more than a melancholy or a modest
scepticism. Their systems, as changeable as the generations of men, have directly exercised no wide influence on mankind.
The same cannot be said of the attempts which have been made to reach the mind through the medium of the body. Generous sentiments and virtues have undoubtedly been promoted by a fit succession of healthful exercises, adopted in the period when the organization is still susceptible of modification. The practice of antiquity proves the vast influence which physical education may exercise on a whole community. Achilles, in the hands of the centaur, trained to arms and the course, and soothing the mind by the lulling influence of melody on the sense, was but a type of national character. The field of Olympia was to the Greeks the most sacred enclosure of the gods; and the games, which were there instituted to exercise and to honour the vigour and the coolness that ennobled the warrior, were, to those who engaged in them, the offices of religion. But why need we go to the ancients for examples, when the forests of our western territories show us, in what school nature trains her children to vigilance, speed, and bravery?
Among the ancients, many of their most philosophical minds were employed in tracing the connexion between the physical and moral nature of man. Hippocrates, an enlightened patriot, an ardent lover of liberty, a man who united the spirit of philosophy to the profession of medicine, and possessed genius for contemplative excellence beside his skill in the most benevolent of practical arts, owes much of his glory to his ingenious observations on this most interesting subject. The ancient physicians regarded it as having an intimate relation with their science; and that the moral character requires consideration in the treatment of disease, is a matter of daily experience. Our age has been busy in its efforts to resist the approaches of decline by raising strong defences round health itself; to reform the methods and perfect the means of education; to rescue infancy from the dangers of inconsiderate fondness, and age from the premature imbecility which ensues on defects in regimen. It has not failed to observe, that the principles to be learnt of the physiologist, may be applied with advantage to the regulation of diet and exercise. The principles of physical education are beginning to form an important branch of knowledge, of which the object is, to give the body its proper and natural perfection, that it may assist the mind to act with energy, and may form a basis for the support and exercise of manly virtues. The results of inquiries into the constitution of man are of value to any one who wishes to understand his own nature, to guard against the mistakes and errors to which he may be naturally prone, and do what art and prudence can do towards preserving a long suceession of healthful years. The guardian of the young, who con
siders the care of health as a sacred duty, and perceives that the worst vices of boyhood, corrupting life in its sources, are connected with errors in the regimen of the young, makes physical education an object of deep interest; not merely that he may find the means of imparting vigour to the frame, liveliness and activity to the organs of sense, skill and ease to the management of the limbs, but still more, that he may gain assistance in preserving the purity of morals, in disciplining and regulating the imagination, and in establishing the just proportion between the influence of the intellectual powers and the body.
It is probable, that the sum of human life might, by a moderate attention to the rules of medical gymnastics, be lengthened one-tenth in its duration. If we consider the number of anxious years, wearing cheerlessly away under the discomforts of languishing disease, which could easily have been prevented, the sufferings that result from a morbid state of the affections, for which exercise is a remedy, we shall be convinced, that human happiness would be increased in far more than an equal propor, tion. Health is happiness, and we might under proper limitations also say,
that health is virtue. As men have often been urged to crimes by bodily diseases, and misery has been widely spread by the fury of those atrocious passions, which obtain their deadly power only from the derangement of the system ; as the curse of constipation has driven many an inquisitive mind into the gloom of infidelity, and the inertness of the digestive organs has repeatedly staid the arm of mercy and urged the suffering tyrant to wanton ferocity and careless cruelty; or (to make our illustrations from examples of more frequent occurrence, though of less extensive evil,) as many have sacrificed their own lives to the influence of a despondency, which moderate motion would have dissipated, or have habitually indulged in faults of temper, peevish irritability, or cruel dispositions, by yielding to a native defect of temperament, which might have been corrected, it is manifest that public morals, equally with public happiness, would be benefited by a general observance of the rules of physical education.
The connexion between the mind and the body can never be explained. As yet, the first principles on which it depends, have Anot been discovered. Nature, in her mysterious operations, eludes the sagacity of the most careful observers. Her venerable form is concealed by a veil, which no mortal has been permitted to raise. The first cause is “that which hath been, which is, and which shall be, and which no man has comprehended.” We can but notice the connexion between one set of appearances and another. We can only hope to observe and to be benefited by the practical application of our observations. By them we are led to regard the body, not as the temporary habitation of the soul,
but also as the instrument by which the soul acquires its know. ledge; not merely as the temporary abode of a spiritual nature, but as the power by which that nature gains its conceptions and executes its purposes. No idea of the external world finds its way to the mind but through the senses; and while an influence is thus exercised over the manner in which the world is
represented, the action of the internal organs excites the passions, modifies the operations of thought, and imparts peculiarities to the moral nature.
The union and reciprocal influence of the mind and body are established before the period for observation has arrived. If the reasonings of physiologists are just, the infant at its birth is already possessed of a consciousness of its being. It has its passions, its desires, its propensities; and not only its physical organization is decided, but also the complexion of its moral character. There remains room for education to accomplish her high designs in developing its powers, in confirming its advantages, in counteracting its faults, in supplying its deficiencies, in tempering the elements which are offered by nature. But there are certain limits, within which this influence of art is restrained, certain bounds which never can be passed. The features of the mind, as of the face, are fixed beyond the power of change. Free opportunity is left for the culture of morals; but it is also decided, by what vices the child, on ripening to manhood, will be most liable to be assailed, and in what virtues he is constitutionally fitted to excel.
To illustrate and establish the native peculiarities of individuals, we will enumerate and classify those which the experience of man has shown to exist. The difference of sex renders a difference of moral character inevitable. But not to dwell on this universal division of mankind, there may clearly be observed in every individual, at least five sources of difference, residing in his original organization.
The human family, which now occupies the earth, is composed of different races. Some illustrious physiologists have, it is true, contended that strictly speaking there is but one; and it is an article of our religious faith, that men, descended from common parents, have been formed into these different races, if not by particular acts of Providence, by the various and continued influence of climate and regimen. In the heart of Northern Asia, our accurate Ledyard believed he recognised but another form of the American savage. But while speculative observation leads to the belief in a common origin, and our religion decides the question beyond a doubt, the difference at present actually exists; and the child at its birth inherits the physical and moral characteristics of the race to which it belongs. The Englishman and the Hindoo are unlike in external VOJ.. V.NO. 9.
lineaments and in natural endowments; and their children, though born within the same city, are from birth unlike in mind and in feature.
But the same race has been variously modified in different ages of the world. The Greek of the Byzantine Empire was not as the Greek of the Athenian democracy. The Roman of to-day, is not the Roman of the Commonwealth. A German baron of the present time, is all unlike the feudal robber of the middle ages. Each generation bears marks by which it may be distinguished from any former one. And as these differences, though they are the result of the state of society in its influence on the individuals who compose it, are nevertheless in some measure transmitted; the new-born child is affected by the age in which its existence commences. This difference between successive generations is further established by analogies, drawn from the whole animal creation.
The peculiarity last mentioned is common to all, who, belonging to the same race, are born in the same period. But races are distinguished into nations, and nations have their characteristics, which are transmitted from one generation to another. The infant, therefore, receives with its original frame the peculiarities of its nation. To what degree this modification of character extends, it is difficult to determine. It probably reaches further than we may at first thought be ready to believe, and not only inclines the mind to certain habits and particular sentiments, to such virtues as valour and prudence, but also to such vices as rapacity and cruelty, to cunning, to effeminacy, to superstition, to servile obedience. It gives an aptitude for acquiescing in certain forms of society and
government, and a facility for the acquisition and use of a particular language. The Frenchman is born with a natural predisposition to cheerfulness; the American Indian with an innate passion for the chase ; the Arab of the desert with a propensity to plunder. Who will hesitate to ascribe the bravery of the Cossacks to a peculiarity common to their nation, and transmitted by descent? Who will doubt, that there are tribes of men naturally unwarlike? Is it not to be believed, that the physical organization of many a Tartar tribe inclines them to a wandering life? Could any possible education make of the next generation of the serfs in Russia good citizens of a free, popular government? We may often observe animals show peculiar skill in matters, to which not they, but their parents, have been trained. The books of the naturalists furnish well-attested examples of qualities thus inherited. In like manner we may believe, that the ancient adorers of leeks and onions, or the present worshippers of the Grand Lama, were, from their birth, predisposed to superstition; that the Turk is naturally given to stern composure, and faith in the power of destiny ; that