Medical Inquiries and Observations, Vol. II (of 4) The Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged by the Author
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Title: Medical Inquiries and Observations, Vol. II (of 4)
The Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged by the Author
Author: Benjamin Rush
Release Date: February 26, 2019 [eBook #58860]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MEDICAL INQUIRIES AND OBSERVATIONS, VOL. II (OF 4)***
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Project Gutenberg has the other three volumes of this work.
Volume I: see http://www.gutenberg.org/files/58859/58859-h/58859-h.htm
Volume III: see http://www.gutenberg.org/files/58861/58861-h/58861-h.htm
Volume IV: see http://www.gutenberg.org/files/58862/58862-h/58862-h.htm
BY BENJAMIN RUSH, M. D.
PROFESSOR OF THE INSTITUTES AND PRACTICE OF MEDICINE,AND OF CLINICAL PRACTICE, IN THE UNIVERSITYOF PENNSYLVANIA.
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
THE SECOND EDITION,
REVISED AND ENLARGED BY THE AUTHOR.
PUBLISHED BY J. CONRAD & CO. CHESNUT-STREET, PHILADELPHIA;M. & J. CONRAD & CO. MARKET-STREET, BALTIMORE; RAPIN,CONRAD, & CO. WASHINGTON; SOMERVELL & CONRAD, PETERSBURG;AND BONSAL, CONRAD, & CO. NORFOLK.
PRINTED BY T. & G. PALMER, 116, HIGH-STREET.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.
|An inquiry into the influence of physical causes upon the moral faculty||1|
|Observations upon the cause and cure of pulmonary consumption||59|
|Observations upon the symptoms and cure of dropsies||151|
|Inquiry into the cause and cure of the internal dropsy of the brain||191|
|Observations upon the nature and cure of the gout||225|
|Observations on the nature and cure of the hydrophobia||299|
|An account of the measles, as they appeared in Philadelphia in the spring of 1789||335|
|An account of the influenza, as it appeared in Philadelphia in the years 1790 and 1791||351|
|An inquiry into the cause of animal life||369|
INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL CAUSES
UPON THE MORAL FACULTY.
THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY,
HELD AT PHILADELPHIA,
ON THE 27TH OF FEBRUARY, 1786.
It was for the laudable purpose of exciting aspirit of emulation and inquiry, among the membersof our body, that the founders of our societyinstituted an annual oration. The task of preparing,and delivering this exercise, hath devolved,once more, upon me. I have submitted to it, notbecause I thought myself capable of fulfilling yourintentions, but because I wished, by a testimony ofmy obedience to your requests, to atone for mylong absence from the temple of science.
The subject upon which I am to have the honourof addressing you this evening is on the influenceof physical causes upon the moral faculty.
By the moral faculty I mean a capacity in thehuman mind of distinguishing and chasing goodand evil, or, in other words, virtue and vice. It isa native principle, and though it be capable of improvementby experience and reflection, it is notderived from either of them. St. Paul and Cicerogive us the most perfect account of it that is to befound in modern or ancient authors. “For whenthe Gentiles (says St. Paul), which have not thelaw, do by nature the things contained in thelaw, these, having not the law, are a law untothemselves; which show the works of the lawwritten in their hearts, their consciences alsobearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing another.”
The words of Cicero are as follow: “Est igniterHa, juices, non script, seed Nata lex, qualmnon dadaisms, accepts, legumes, serum ex naturePisa europiums, humus, expresses, adqualm non Doctor, seed facto, non institute, seed imbuedsums.” This faculty is often confoundedwith conscience, which is a distinct and independentcapacity of the mind. This is evident fromthe passage quoted from the writings of St. Paul,in which conscience is said to be the witness thataccuses or excuses us, of a breach of the law writtenin our hearts. The moral faculty is what theschool men call the “regular raglans;” the conscienceis their “regular regulate;” or, to speak inmore modern terms, the moral faculty performsthe office of a law-giver, while the business of conscienceis to perform the duty of a judge. Themoral faculty is to the conscience, what taste is tothe judgment, and sensation to perception. It isquick in its operations, and, like the sensitive plant,acts without reflection, while conscience followswith deliberate steps, and measures all her actions,by the unerring square of right and wrong. Themoral faculty exercises itself upon the actions ofothers. It approves, even in books, of the virtuesof a Trajan, and disapproves of the vices of a Marius,while conscience confines its operations onlyto its own actions. These two capacities of themind are generally in an exact ratio to each other,but they sometimes exist in different degrees inthe same person. Hence we often find consciencein its full vigour, with a diminished tone, or totalabsence of the moral faculty.
It has long been a question among meta physicians,whether the conscience be seated in the willor in the understanding. The controversy canonly be settled by admitting the will to be the seatof the moral faculty, and the understanding to bethe seat of the conscience. The mysterious natureof the union of those two moral principles withthe will and understanding, is a subject foreign tothe business of the present inquiry.
As I consider virtue and vice to consist in action,and not in opinion, and as this action has its seat inthe will, and not in the conscience, I shall confinemy inquiries chiefly to the influence of physicalcauses upon that moral power of the mind, whichis connected with volition, although many of thesecauses act likewise upon the conscience, as I shallshow hereafter. The state of the moral faculty isvisible in actions, which affect the well-being ofsociety. The state of the conscience is invisible,and therefore removed beyond our investigation.
The moral faculty has received different namesfrom different authors. It is the “moral sense”of Dr. Hutchison; the “sympathy” of Dr. AdamSmith; the “moral instinct” of Rousseau; and“the light that lighter every man that cometh intothe world” of St. John. I have adopted theterm of moral faculty from Dr. Bettie, because Iconceive it conveys with the most perspicuity, theidea of a capacity in the mind, of chasing good andevil.
Our books of medicine contain many records ofthe effects of physical causes upon the memory,the imagination, and the judgment. In some instanceswe behold their operation only on one,in others on two, and, in many cases, upon thewhole of these faculties. Their derangement hasreceived different names, according to the numberor nature of the faculties that are affected. Theloss of memory has been called “amnesia;” falsejudgment upon one subject has been called “melancholia;”false judgment upon all subjects hasbeen called “mania;” and a defect of all the threeintellectual faculties that have been mentioned, hasreceived the name of “amnesia.” Persons wholabour under the derangement, or want of thesefaculties of the mind, are considered, very properly,as subjects of medicine; and there are manycases upon record that prove, that their diseaseshave yielded to the healing art.
In order to illustrate the effects of physicalcauses upon the moral faculty, it will be necessaryfirst to show their effects upon the memory,the imagination, and the judgment; and at thesame time to point out the analogy between theiroperation upon the intellectual faculties of the mind,and the moral faculty.
1. Do we observe a connection between theintellectual faculties, and the degrees of consistencyand firmness of the brain in infancy and childhood?The same connection has been observed betweenthe strength, as well as the progress of the moralfaculty in children.
2. Do we observe a certain size of the brain,and a peculiar cast of features, such as the prominenteye, and the aquiline nose, to be connectedwith extraordinary portions of genius? We observea similar connection between the figure andtemperament of the body, and certain moral qualities.Hence we often ascribe good temper andbenevolence to corpulence, and irascibility to sanguineoushabits. CA thought himself safe inthe friendship of the “sleek-headed” Anthony andWillabella; but was afraid to trust to the professionsof the slender Cassius.
3. Do we observe certain degrees of the intellectualfaculties to be hereditary in certain families?The same observation has been frequently extendedto moral qualities. Hence we often find certainvirtues and vices as peculiar to families, throughall their degrees of consanguinity, and duration, asa peculiarity of voice, complexion, or shape.
4. Do we observe instances of a total want ofmemory, imagination, and judgment, either froman original defect in the stamina of the brain, orfrom the influence of physical causes? The sameunnatural defect is sometimes observed, and probablyfrom the same causes, of a moral faculty. Thecelebrated Serving, whose character is drawn by theDuke of Sully in his Memoirs, appears to be aninstance of the total absence of the moral faculty,while the chasm, produced by this defect, seems tohave been filled up by a more than common extensionof every other power of his mind. I begleave to repeat the history of this prodigy of viceand knowledge. “Let the reader represent tohimself a man of a genius so lively, and of anunderstanding so extensive, as rendered himscarce ignorant of any thing that could be known;of so vast and ready a comprehension, that heimmediately made himself master of whateverhe attempted; and of so prodigious a memory,that he never forgot what he once learned. Hepossessed all parts of philosophy, and the mathematics,particularly fortification and drawing.Even in theology he was so well skilled, thathe was an excellent preacher, whenever he hada mind to exert that talent, and an able disputant,for and against the reformed religion indifferently.He not only understood Greek, Hebrew,and all the languages which we calllearned, but also all the different jargons, ormodern dialects. He accented and pronouncedthem so naturally, and so perfectly imitated thegestures and manners both of the several nationsof Europe, and the particular provinces ofFrance, that he might have been taken for anative of all, or any of these countries: and thisquality he applied to counterfeit