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Title: On the Nature of Thought - or, The act of thinking and its connexion with a perspicuous sentence
Author: Haslam, John, 1764-1844
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Printed by G. HAYDEN, Little College Street, Westminster,]




     _Polonius_--What do you read, my Lord?
     _Hamlet_--Words, words, words.--_Act 2d._

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Im Ganzen--haltet euch an Worte!
     Dann geht ihr durch die sichere Pforte
     Zum Tempel der Gewissheit ein."


     "Doch ein Begriff muss bey dem Worte seyn."


     "Schon gut! nur muss man sich nicht allzu ängstlich quälen,
     Denn eben wo Begriffe fehlen,
     Da stellt ein Wort zur rechten zeit sich ein.
     Mit Worten lässt sich trefflich streiten,
     Mit Worten ein System bereiten.
     An Werte lässt sich trefflich glauben,
     Von einem Wort lässt sich kein Iota rauben."--_Goëthe's Faust._

       *       *       *       *       *

     "And when I have enumerated these, I imagine I have comprehended
     almost every thing which can enter into the composition of the
     intellectual life of man. With the single exception of reason, (and
     reason can scarcely operate without the intervention of language,)
     is there any thing more important to man, more peculiar to him, or
     more inseparable from his nature than speech? Nature indeed could
     not have bestowed on us a gift more precious than the human voice,
     which, possessing sounds for the expression of every feeling, and
     being capable of distinctions as minute, and combinations as
     intricate as the most complex instrument of music; is thus enabled
     to furnish materials so admirable for the formation of artificial
     language. The greatest and most important discovery of human
     ingenuity is writing; there is no impiety in saying, that it was
     scarcely in the power of the Deity to confer on man a more glorious
     present than LANGUAGE, by the medium of which, he himself has been
     revealed to us, and which affords at once the strongest bond of
     union, and the best instrument of communication. So inseparable
     indeed are mind and language, so _identically one_ are thought and
     speech, that although we must always hold reason to be the great
     characteristic and peculiar attribute of man, yet language also,
     when we regard its original object and intrinsic dignity, is well
     intitled to be considered as a component part of the intellectual
     structure of our being. And although, in strict application, and
     rigid expression, thought and speech always are, and always must
     be, regarded as two things metaphysically distinct,--yet there only
     can we find these two elements in disunion, where one or both have
     been employed imperfectly or amiss. Nay, such is the effect of the
     original unity or _identity_ that, in their most extensive
     varieties of application, they can never be totally disunited, but
     must always remain inseparable, and every where be exerted in
     combination."--_Frederick Schlegel's Lectures on the History of
     Literature_, (_English Translation_, 1818,) _page 11_.

       *       *       *       *       *



_My dearest Daughter_,

_This Essay on_ THOUGHT _is appropriately dedicated to a lady of whom I
am constantly thinking:--whose dutiful conduct, and filial affection,
have rendered a protracted life the subject of consolation, under all
its contingent miseries_.

_33, Great Ormond Street,
June 1835._



_&c. &c. &c._

In our survey of the Creation endowed with life and intellect, we are
impelled to the conclusion, that the human mind is, beyond all
comparison, the most perfect specimen that the Divine Author has chosen
to allot to his creatures. The history of our species unfolds the
splendid catalogue of man's achievements: many monuments, reared by his
patriotism and piety, and elaborated by his tasteful ingenuity, that
have resisted the corrosions of time, and the spoliations of conquest,
remain in our possession: and we still preserve those intellectual
treasures that embalm the poetry, the eloquence, and the wisdom of the
enlightened nations of antiquity. These are, deservedly, the models we
have endeavoured to imitate, and they have even been considered the
boundaries of attainment: but a new epoch has arisen, distinguished for
the cultivation of that which tends to ultimate advantage, where the
mind, confiding in its native energies, and exercising its own thought
on human affairs, has been less disposed to submit to the dictates of

At this period we possess abundant facilities for the acquirement of
valuable knowledge: under this system, the mental faculties have been
directed to their proper objects, and the time consumed in teaching has
been considerably abbreviated. This abridgement of the usual course of
education has conduced to the neglect of that classical learning, which
required a painful and enduring attention, even for many years, to two
languages that have ceased to be spoken, and are only addressed to the
eye in written character. It is in no manner intended to under-rate the
value of classical literature, the constituent of a scholar, and the
passport and ornament of a gentleman; but to introduce a very probable
opinion, that few of those who have devoted many of the most productive
years of their existence to the Greek and Latin writers, ever attain a
critical knowledge of those tongues: and that the substance of morals,
wisdom, and even the elegant turns of expression, may be more certainly
conveyed through the medium of the best translations, which we now
possess, and the performance of which has occupied a large portion of
the time of accomplished scholars. This conversion of talent to that
which is useful, and productive of emolument, has given a more
energetic impulse to the mind, and accelerated that march of which we
now so justly boast: but it cannot be denied, that in the rapidity of
our advancement, and flushed with the ardent hope of arriving at our
destination, we have bestowed but little notice on the machinery that
urged us forwards, or contemplated the scenery through which we passed.

Most persons concur that the human mind is the noblest subject of
investigation; but few will be at the trouble of undertaking its
analysis. With the multitude there is neither leisure nor inclination,
and the doctrines that have been dictated concerning our intellectual
faculties and their operations, have tended rather to stifle than to
promote inquiry. It is therefore unnecessary to enumerate the catalogue
of illustrious names whose contradictory systems have created suspicion
and distaste in the student. The science that has been improperly termed
Metaphysics, ought to be considered a branch of human physiology, not
abstracted from, but in this state of existence, connected with the
phenomena of life. The citations on the reverse of the Title-page, to
which many more might have been added, clearly shew that the doctrine of
words being the elements of Thought, did not originate from my own
conjecture or inference, and, consequently, that the endeavour to
investigate its truth has been the sole object of my research; under
the persuasion that, if ideas were inadequate, words only remained to
afford the solution of this important process. The necessary connexion
of thought with the construction of a perspicuous sentence, has not, to
my knowledge, been previously noticed.

We are said to THINK on certain subjects, and this process is confessed
to require an intense exertion of our intellectual faculties: but for
this operation, the materials have not been clearly specified, nor the
manner of the elaboration defined. It has been held, that our thoughts
are produced by some mysterious assemblage and arrangement of IDEAS,
which the mind or soul performs by a dexterous and imperceptible
contrivance; although we are conscious of all our acts of intelligence,
and on a moment's consideration it will be evident, that such
intelligence would be useless without our consciousness.

Mr. LOCKE, whose name can never be mentioned without a grateful
recollection for the instruction he has afforded us, and for the candour
with which he has recorded the difficulties that obstructed the progress
of his inquiries, has employed this ideal system most extensively: but
it is evident, that he felt the obscurity of his own definition. In his
Introduction to the Essay, p. 5, 6th edition, he says, "Before I proceed
on what I have thought on this subject, I must here in the entrance beg
pardon of my reader, for the frequent use of the word Idea, which he
will find in the following Treatise. It being that term which, I think,
serves best to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understanding,
when a man thinks. I have used it to express whatever is meant by
Phantasm, Notion, Species, OR WHATEVER IT IS, which the mind can be
employed about in thinking; and I could not avoid frequently using it."
Dr. REID follows nearly in the same track:--"It is a fundamental
principle of the Ideal system, that every object of thought, must be an
_impression_ or an _Idea_, that is, a _faint copy_ of some preceding
impression."--_Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common
Sense_, 1765, p. 41.

The doctrine of Innate Ideas having been deservedly exploded, it follows
that these Ideas must be derived from our intercourse with the world we
inhabit. For this purpose we are furnished with five senses, from each
of which we obtain a separate and different kind of intelligence, which
is denominated Perception. The perceptions of the Eye, under an
attentive inspection, leave on the Sensorium a phantasm or Idea of the
object, a vivid memorial of that which has been perceived; but the
other senses do not convey any similar phantasm.[1] The doctrine of
Ideas appears to have been countenanced, and reconciled under all its
difficulties, from a presumed spiritual operation and guidance in the
act of thinking, and especially to an implacable aversion to any
explanation that might be deemed to savour of _materialism_. This term,
the denunciation of the pious, the convenient obloquy of the ignorant,
being equal in its sweeping persecution, to the horrible word craven,
demands a brief and modest exposition. That we exist in a material
world, will scarcely be denied, and it is a fair inference, that the
annihilation of matter would involve our globe and its inhabitants in
equal destruction. Of this matter, the concentrated power of man cannot
create nor exterminate a single atom. The human body is a material
fabric: the brain and nerves, together with those delicate organs that
are the instruments of our perceptions,--whereby we receive light,
detect fragrance, apprehend sounds, relish viands, and enjoy the
gratifications of contact, are all of material structure: and when that
state, called Death, has ensued, their offices cease, and they undergo
the decompositions to which all animal matter is subjected.

The _Capacities_, by which we feel, experience pleasure and pain,
perceive, remember, exercise volition, and become conscious, may be
termed Spiritual, or if it be preferred, Divine endowments; and it is
not probable that we shall ever detect the immediate agency by which
these operations are performed. The state of _Life_, the indispensable
medium for the display of the phenomena of intelligence in our present
condition of existence, is equally inscrutable by human sagacity,
although different hypotheses have been adventured for its solution.

To account for the harmonious concurrence of motions and processes that
distinguish living animals, a MATTER OF LIFE has been supposed, and its
nature conjectured to be some modification[2] of electricity or
galvanism, and which being unsupported, is not deserving of further
comment. Another sect of physiologists has conceived that life is the
immediate result of a particular organization; but they are unable to
demonstrate that any arrangement of parts is consequently endowed with
vital actions. This arrangement of particular tissues, may be absolutely
necessary for the performance of various functions in the living state:
but this is altogether different from the energy or cause that excites
the action. A violin and its bow are prepared to "discourse most
excellent music," yet they are mute until guided by the skilful hands of
the performer. When death ensues from many diseases, the organization
remains, for without this concession our anatomical knowledge must be
very imperfect. Thus the nature of life, whether it be developed in the
vegetable creation, or display its admirable complications in the higher
animals, is inexplicable on any of the principles that regulate our
philosophy, and can only be referred to the contrivance and disposition
of infinite wisdom: yet the vehicle in which these stupendous operations
are conducted owns a material basis: even the confused mass that
composes the earth we tread on possesses certain intrinsic properties.
Every atom is subjected to definite regulation, and without
exaggeration, may be considered endowed with instinctive tendency to
coalesce or disunite under favourable opportunities, and the correct
observation of these habitudes, constitutes the foundations of chemical
science. When the power and intelligence of the supreme Artificer is
conspicuous in the ultimate particles of matter, we ought to be more
temperate in our invectives against the doctrine of materialism.

Ideas have been generally employed, and held competent, by many of the
tribe of metaphysicians, to explain the phenomena and operations of our
intellectual nature: but they have failed in the attempt. They have
endeavoured to confer on them an agency they do not possess, and have
given the mind a dominion over them that it cannot exert.[3] Ideas are
the memorial phantasms of visual perception, a largess bestowed, perhaps
exclusively, on the sense of sight, and this bounty contributes
essentially to the acquirement and retention of knowledge. They are the
unfading transcripts of vision, and they exhibit the original picture to
the retrospect of memory. They are but little under the immediate
direction of the will, and cannot be arbitrarily summoned or dismissed,
but owe their introduction to a different source, to be explained
hereafter. They perform important offices, although they are not the
materials to rear and consolidate the edifice of thought.

Those writers on the human mind who have adhered to the doctrine of
Ideas, and have been the advocates for the Spirituality of Thought, have
insufficiently considered, or held in subordinate regard, Language; the
prominent criterion, by which a human being is proudly elevated above
the rest of the animated creation. Speech, and its representation by
characters, are exclusively comprehensible by man; and these have been
the sources of his vast attainments and rapid progression. The ear
receives the various intonations that convey intelligence, and the
characters or symbols of these significant sounds are detected by the
human eye. Some of the more docile animals have been supposed capable of
comprehending the meaning of a few individual words, but no one worthy
of belief, has affirmed that they could understand a sentence or
distinct proposition: still less, has any person, however confiding in
the marvellous, ever ventured to assert that they were able to read. The
important feature, and obvious utility of language, consists in the
commutation of our perceptions for a significant sound or word, which by
convention may be communicated to others, bearing a common and identical
meaning. In this manner we become intelligible to each other, by the
transmission and reception of these articulate and significant sounds.
Words are not only the representatives of the perceptions we receive
through the medium of our five senses, but likewise of many internal
feelings, passions, and emotions, together with all that the _Mind_ (the
aggregate of capacity and acquired intelligence) has elaborated. The
result of this commutation renders the word the intelligible substitute
for the thing perceived, so that the presence of the object recalls its
name, and the name when uttered excites the immediate recollection of
the absent object. This reciprocal substitution or mutual exchange,
forms the basis, and affords a reason for Language. Whoever will take
the trouble to watch the progress of the child from the commencement of
its efforts to speak, will be surprised with its display of curiosity
and intelligence. It feels delighted with the existence it enjoys, and
with the power its senses possess to examine the objects of the world
that surrounds it. Every organ, in succession, is occupied in noticing
the wonders and mysteries that are presented. This incessant, but silent
play of perception, proceeds until a sound, often repeated, interests
the sense of hearing, and although at first dimly comprehended, is meant
to represent some present object or person, and which, by an excitement
little understood, urges the effort of imitation. The success of
intelligible pronunciation impels it forward to other attempts, _vires
acquirit eundo_, and in a time comparatively short, it accumulates a
copious vocabulary. These are the incipient efforts to establish that
commutation of the object of perception for the word, on which the
structure of language is erected. It is unnecessary further to trace
these dawnings of speech, or to describe the satisfaction that is felt,
when the child by this commutation of perceptions for words, can
communicate the wonders it has seen, the delicacies it has tasted, or
the flattering commendations bestowed on its person and accomplishments.
This commutation confers additional satisfaction by being enabled to
invest the object of immediate perception with an appropriate and
intelligible name. Thus by the repeated exercise of this commutation,
which soon becomes confirmed into habit, we speak of the past, by the
assistance of memory, with the correctness and feeling of the present.
At a certain age we learn to discriminate the characters that compose
words, (letters)--the order in which they are placed, (orthography,) and
with greater difficulty, the position of these words, to convey a
definite and connected meaning. When reading has been fully attained, it
must be recollected that all the sentences in the volume we peruse, are
composed of individual words, that are examples of the commutation
mentioned; and although the objects are absent, and the actions have
been long since performed, often for centuries, we are interested in the
narrative, and bestow the appropriate tribute of sympathy or admiration.
Words, thus impregnated with definite meaning, become the floating
currency of the mind, are the efficient materials of Thought, and of its
perspicuous expression.

It has been frequently remarked, that the mind is more delighted by
making distant excursions, than in the examination of surrounding
objects, or of those directly obvious. Such immediate assistance for the
pursuit and development of this inquiry is presented in two remarkable
instances, where Nature digresses from her usual course, and which are
not of rare occurrence. 1st. Some persons are born with their ears
impervious to sound, and as language is acquired by imitation,[4] such
as are deaf, remain mute or dumb.[5] With the exception of the sense of
hearing, they are like animals the creatures of perception. Some have
displayed considerable curiosity in examining objects by the eye, and by
the organs of touch, taste, and smell: but they do not, with these
elements of knowledge, progressively advance in intelligence, until
they have been circuitously taught the characters that are the
constituents of words, and also to comprehend, that the word itself is
the commuted substitute for the object perceived. Notwithstanding these
deficiencies, and disqualifications for human intercourse, these deaf,
and consequently dumb persons, must be, in a very high degree, the
subjects of Ideas, or of those phantasms that are associated with visual

The second instance, is of those who are born blind, and continue
sightless through life. A person under such total privation of vision,
must be exempt from those phantasms or Ideas, that are connected with,
or are the residuary contingents on visual perception: yet the blind
acquire speech, when young, with equal facility, as the children who
enjoy sight; but visible objects must, to them, be abstract or complex
terms, as all such necessarily are, that cannot be the objects of
perception. The other sensitive organs, and especially the touch, to a
limited extent, become the substitutes for visual defect, although they
are no actual compensations for sight. By models the blind can become
acquainted with alphabetic characters, and unite them into words: and in
the same manner discriminate, and record the musical notes. Some of the
blind have become highly intelligent, and have excelled in
conversational acuteness; and as human beings have left the deaf and
dumb in the rear, notwithstanding the latter are furnished with all the
_Ideas_ that can be inherited from sight. This constant employment of
words, impregnated with meaning, affords the blind considerable facility
in acquiring information by pertinent questions, and enables him to
communicate his thoughts with precision and correctness. These words,
and the intelligence that resides in them, are the only sources of his
knowledge, (his perceptions being commuted for words,) and the meaning
they import is all that it is necessary for him to comprehend. It may
here be repeated that the capacity by which man exclusively exercises
the range of thought by sounds that are significant, and receives from
others the same oral intelligence, has no material basis that we can
possibly detect or logically infer: but must be considered an endowment
of infinite power and wisdom.

Before we attribute such vast powers to these Ideas or phantasms, the
shadows of visual perception, it will be convenient to inquire into
their nature, and endeavour to ascertain the laws by which they are
regulated. In that state of mental relaxation, when the intellect is not
intently occupied on any particular subject, numberless phantasms will
involuntarily intrude: for, during the time we are awake, the mind is
never wholly unoccupied, and such irregular presentations of Ideas
constitute our reveries. However these ignes fatui may glimmer in their
wanderings, tumultuously assemble, or abruptly depart; such confluence
or dispersion contributes nothing to effective thought. As far as these
Ideas or phantasms, the obsequious shadows of visual perception, can be
traced, they are incapable of being summoned to appear by any voluntary
command; but are consequently revived by the term or word for which the
perception is commuted. Thus, having previously noticed them with
attention, when we speak of St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey,
the attendant visions of these buildings immediately arise, and we are
impressed with a memorial picture in conjunction with, and through the
intervention of the word. The will possesses no power to unite or
separate Ideas; they adhere to, and remain the unalterable deposits of
perception. Let it next be asked, what human purpose can be effected by
their sole agency? On those solemn occasions when we address our prayers
to the Divine Source, can these effusions of grateful feeling, and
humble petition, be conveyed in phantasms? Does not the lamenting and
repentant sinner emphatically articulate his anxious supplications? Can
any human contract be concluded by mere Ideas, or any system of
jurisprudence be established on such visionary basis? Ideas therefore
cannot enable us to perform our duty towards God, or our neighbour.[6]

In pursuing this important subject, the candid confession of Mr. LOCKE
bewrays his distrust of the powers and efficiency of his favourite
Ideas. "To form a clear notion of _Truth_, it is very necessary to
consider Truth of Thought, and Truth of words distinctly one from
another: but yet it is very difficult to treat of them asunder. Because
it is unavoidable, in treating of mental propositions to make use of
words; and then the instances given of _mental_ propositions, cease
immediately to be barely mental, and become _verbal_. For a mental
proposition, being nothing _but a bare consideration of the Ideas_, as
they are in our minds _stripped_ of names, they lose the nature of
purely mental propositions, as soon as they are put into words. And that
which makes it _yet harder_ to treat of mental and verbal Propositions
separately, is, that most men, if not all, in their THINKING, and
reasonings within themselves, make use of WORDS, instead of Ideas, at
least when the subject of their meditation contains in it complex Ideas.
Which is a great evidence of the imperfection and uncertainty of our
Ideas of that kind, and may, if attentively made use of, serve for a
mark to shew us, what are those things, we have clear and perfect
established Ideas of, and what not."--_Vol._ II. _C._ 5, _p._ 195. Mr.
LOCKE was a patient and acute observer of that which passed in his own
mind, when he strictly meditated any particular subject: and in this
process he was likewise aware, in common with others, that he employed
_words_ instead of Ideas in his thinking and reasoning within himself.
By Ideas alone, he confesses that he could not advance; and for this
evident reason, because Ideas are incapable of being communicated to
others, or received by ourselves, excepting through a verbal medium.
There is no evidence of Thought without it be perspicuously expressed in
words addressed to the ear, or by their characters presented to the eye;
and the vain consciousness we may feel that our mind is teeming with
important Thoughts, is little to be relied on, until we are capable of
expressing them orally, or exhibiting them in writing. It has been a
prevailing opinion with those attached to the Ideal doctrine, and who
are advocates for the spiritual process of Thought, that the Idea is
first conceived mentally, and subsequently, by some process not
explained, invested with the corresponding expression. It is however
certain that the word itself, with the meaning that is attached to it,
must be previously acquired, and thoroughly comprehended, before the
abstract Idea, or naked Thought, can select the befitting expression,
and ransack the vast range of a copious vocabulary. The believers in the
extreme rapidity of thought to which we shall presently advert, must be
alarmed at this manner of explanation, which necessarily constitutes
Thought a two-fold process, and consequently would consume, at least
double the time for its disclosure. Perhaps in all instances the
phraseology we employ, like our manners, is derived from the society we
frequent: that which is imbibed from persons of good education bears the
stamp of superior discrimination and correctness, contrasted with the
rude dialect of the vulgar: but it still remains unsolved, by what means
these phantasms, or Ideas, accommodate themselves with the appropriate
words to express the Thoughts they have conceived.

Can it be supposed that the abstract, naked, and incommunicable
conception possesses an innate sagacity to clothe itself with a verbal
garb, at best of capricious and transient fashion?

     "Multa renascentur, quæ jam cecidere, cadentque
     Quæ nunc sunt in honore vocabula, si volet usus,
     Quem penes arbitrium est, et jus et norma loquendi."

It is certain that Ideas may exist in the mind, as the connected
results, and enduring phantasms of visual perception, independently of
words, and such condition is exemplified in those born deaf, who are
consequently dumb: to whom the business of life is a mere pantomime, who
only communicate the impulses of passion, and expose their want of

     "In dumb significants proclaim their Thoughts."--_Henry VIth._

From these examples it appears that a human being may possess a
multitude of Ideas, and yet be wholly ignorant of language: and in the
instances of those born blind, he may acquire speech to its fullest
extent without having any Ideas, which therefore cannot be considered
the necessary instruments of Thought. Thus, the presumed mutual
intercourse, and reciprocal correspondence between Ideas and words is a
very disputable conclusion.

When the Idea or phantasm that is connected with visual perception
appears, in consequence of the word being mentioned (which by
commutation is its substitute), the presentation is immediate. He who
has visited and attentively noted interesting scenes, mountainous
districts, cataracts or prospects, when they are mentioned, will have
their phantasms or pictured images occur to him, and he will be aware of
them, like the intrusion of a sudden flash. From this phenomenon the
generally received opinion of the _rapidity_ of _Thought_ may in all
probability have originated.

All popular and settled notions, however unfounded, like prejudices
early imbibed, are with difficulty eradicated. Among these may be
instanced the dictum of the astonishing rapidity of Thought, which is
almost proverbial, and generally believed: even Mr. TOOKE, Vol. I., p.
28, conforms to this established maxim. "Words have been called
_winged_: and they well deserve that name, when their abbreviations are
compared with the progress which speech could make without these
inventions; but when compared with the _rapidity_ of _thought_, they
have not the smallest claim to that title." By calculation, the progress
of light from the sun and other luminaries is said to be ascertained;
and likewise the rate at which sound travels: but hitherto no
contrivance has been fabricated to estimate the rapidity of thought. If
the succession of our thoughts should be more rapid than they can be
distinctly apprehended, confusion must ensue, and their rapidity would
render them useless. Our perceptions are regulated by the same law. If
the prismatic colours be painted on a surface which is revolved with
great rapidity, the individual colours will not be apparent. The
succession of sounds to a definite number, may be severally
distinguished, in a certain interval: but if the succession be
increased beyond the power of discrimination, they will impress the ear
as one uniform sound. The same principle must regulate our thoughts,
whether they be composed of Ideas or words, or, if it be possible, of
both jumbled together. It does not appear that our thoughts for any
useful purpose, which must imply their communication to others, or for a
record in written characters, _can_ be more rapid than the intelligible
pronunciation of the words themselves, and which, when delivered in
quick succession, leave the short-hand-writer behind.[7]

As Ideas can be nothing more than the mere phantasms attendant on visual
perception, which, like the perceptions of the other senses, are
commuted for words, that, by the aid of memory, recall in their absence
the objects that have been perceived; it would be difficult to suppose
that Ideas could fortuitously or voluntarily assemble in a more rapid
succession, than the words for which they have been commuted, without
producing confusion. It frequently happens to inexperienced persons, in
giving evidence before a legal tribunal, or in addressing a popular
assembly, that they cannot proceed; and they are generally disposed to
interpret this failure, to their thoughts occurring in a succession too
rapid for their utterance. Allowing the apology to be correct, it is a
proof that such rapidity is inconvenient, and renders the Thought wholly
useless if it cannot be communicated.

When we attentively measure the steps of our own minds in the act of
thinking, and also observe the progress of others, it will be found that
effective Thought does not result from this rapid and tumultuous rush of
Ideas; but is a very deliberate, and in many cases painful elaboration:
and must, when committed to writing, be subjected to subsequent revisals
and repeated corrections, and which must be applied to the _words_
constituting the sentence in which the thought is contained. From this
general view of the subject, it is concluded that Ideas, the residuary
phantasms of visual perception, cannot directly constitute or become the
immediate instruments of Thought.

The present Essay being considered an humble attempt to investigate a
portion of intellectual physiology, an apology will scarcely be deemed
necessary for a short digression to inquire into the powers and
faculties of the human mind: and which, when determined, may be viewed
as the alphabet of mental science.

Systems prematurely constructed, and under the impression of authority,
have been especial impediments to our intellectual progress: and this
truth has been remarkably exemplified in the works that have treated of
the human mind. In the numerous treatises on this subject that have
issued from the press, there is but little agreement concerning these
powers or faculties, and it is evident that a definite number must be
required: some writers enumerate more, others less, and it is not
unusual for some of these metaphysical projectors to split a single and
presumed faculty into a variety of subdivisions. To the acute and
patient observer, it will appear that the operations of Nature are
contrived with admirable simplicity; but man, in his endeavours to
explain them, has generally resorted to a mysterious and discouraging
complexity. Thus, as might be expected, the same faculty, according to
different authorities, has dissimilar energies,--one is detected to
encroach on the boundary of another, and when the mechanism of mind,
fabricated by these scholastic dictators, is attempted to be set in
motion, it is found incapable of working. For the grand moving power we
have an undefined, and consequently unintelligible doctrine of _Ideas_,
of supposed spiritual and directing agency; the admission of which
would destroy the responsibility of a human being both here and
hereafter, and degrade his ennobled condition to the instinct of the
speechless brute. To endow these insubstantial and reflected phantasms
with some activity and mimic play, a theory of the _association of
Ideas_ has been erected, without having previously established that they
are capable of such confederation. A wearisome catalogue of faculties,
many of which are conjectural, has been enumerated; Abstraction,
Conception, Contemplation, Consciousness, Comparison, Imagination,
Judgment, Memory, Recollection, Reminiscence, Retention, Perception,
Sensation, Reflection, Thought, Understanding, Volition, and many others
that caprice has created, or a subtle discrimination helped to multiply.
These are the materials out of which scholastic metaphysicians have
fashioned their unresembling model, and deserted Nature. It is not
intended in this abbreviated essay to settle the pretensions of these
numerous faculties, the discussion of which would require an ample
volume: and the award might probably be protracted, till the claim was
forgotten. When we contemplate the dexterities that the hand performs,
and the monuments of skill and taste that it has elaborated; it would
only create unnecessary distinctions to affirm that it possessed the
faculties of sculpturing, painting, writing, spinning, weaving, sewing,
and numberless other manipulations: besides those that ulterior
discoveries may enable it to accomplish. However profuse these
constructors of the mind may have been in the accumulation of its
component faculties, they appear to have little regarded language, its
most prominent and important feature; _the universal menstruum of
intelligence, and accredited currency for the circulation and exchange
of thought_. There are two faculties or capacities that are peculiar to
the human intellect, by which our species has attained a supremacy that
leaves all other animated beings in a distant rear: the possession of
which has rendered man a progressive being, and the race of animals so
nearly stationary, that however they may be tortured into improvement,
they feel no emulation to proceed, and the acquirement perishes where
the brute expires. These undisputed faculties are Speech, with its
recording characters, and the comprehension of numbers, the powerful
sources of that pre-eminence which man has already attained, and to
which he must be indebted for his further advancement.

As Ideas are wholly incompetent to explain the process of thought, the
next inquiry will be, whether words are capable of affording the
adequate solution. For this purpose, the simple experiment would be
sufficient; and as we are conscious, under due attention of all the acts
that the mind performs, every person, in proportion to his habits of
deliberately noting that which passes within himself, will be enabled
to institute this examination. It is however to be lamented, that
Thought is not the constant or habitual exercise of the mind on the
phenomena of Nature, the occurrences of life, or the subjects we listen
to and peruse: but is only occasionally awakened by difficulties,
excited by contention, or invoked by the promise of fame and by the hope
of emolument. The usual course of education is but little calculated to
promote the habitudes of thinking, and especially that teaching where
authority dictates, and demonstration is neglected. Much of this
instruction is enforced by degradation and terror; and the pupil, at an
early age, is compelled to swallow doctrines which he is unable to
comprehend, and consequently cannot digest, except through the peptic
assistance of the scourge: and which, when matured by manhood, and
enlightened by reason, he is forced to reject.

Thought requires knowledge as its basis, and in proportion to its extent
on any given subject, the investigation will be productive. This
knowledge may be acquired by conversation, reading, or experiment, and
these require Language, or a composition of words. Knowledge supplies
the materials for thought, and every thought must be a distinct
proposition, or sentence composed of words. A single word, although it
possesses a distinct meaning, cannot constitute a thought, which
implies a separate proposition or inference contained in a sentence:
still less can it be supposed to result from an individual phantasm or
Idea. When it is considered that language is composed of words adapted
by position to represent all the phenomena and contingencies of human
affairs, and that we employ them, _by commutation_, for all that we can
experience as sentient and intellectual beings, we shall be able to
understand that they are the mental currency previously described, and
that they are the only instruments of intelligence to which we can
resort for the communication of our thoughts, or for the process of
their elaboration. They must be expressed in words, and by words
prepared for such expression. Without attempting to investigate the
different kinds of words, or parts of speech, the province of general or
philosophical grammarians, whose unsettled disputes still perplex the
patient and modest inquirer, it will be sufficient to remark that we
possess words adapted to convey all the shades of opinion and degrees of
feeling: and when these words, under the guidance of acquired knowledge,
are perspicuously arranged into a proposition or sentence, they
constitute Thought: and the act of thinking consists in their correct
selection and arrangement for the purpose of promulgation by speech or
writing, and which is very properly termed composition. When we
reflect, that from our infancy to the natural decline of our
intellectual powers, we are employed, during our waking hours, in the
exercise of language;[8]--by conversation, often desultory, where we
range through a variety of topics, as the bird sports from branch to
twig; to the more deliberate act of composition, where the mind
enduringly broods on the subject;--or when we read, and attentively
consider the thoughts of others:--these occupations contribute to
augment our vocabulary, and fix the meaning of the words we employ. By
these words, and the intelligence that resides in them, although many
centuries have passed by, we participate, and feel impregnated with the
pure and exalted spirit that conceived the Iliad and Odyssey. Time has
not diminished the vigour or impaired the beauty of those memorials that
have survived the extinction of the Grecian states, and the glory of the
eternal city; and such is the luminous correspondence of Language, that
by transfusion into our vernacular idiom, we may receive a satisfactory
measure of the original inspiration. Let it be kept in view, that Ideas,
the frail associates of a perception, possess no permanence, are
incapable of being transferred, and must fade away when our existence
terminates. It is the word that forms the nucleus, and contains the
intellectual deposit, that may become the inheritance of future

This process, in no manner or degree tends to subvert the spiritual
nature of Thought, which has its source in the capacities whereby we
perceive, remember, and comprehend that significant sounds or words are
the commuted representatives of the objects of intelligence. The
perceptive organs of many animals are more exquisitely endowed than man,
and their local memory more retentive; yet they are wholly incapable of
comprehending language or calculating numbers;--capacities by which the
Creator has exclusively dignified the human race.

It may excite some surprise that an Essay on Thought should be connected
with the construction of a perspicuous sentence. To explain this
conjunction, it may be urged, that there can be no evidence of thought,
until it is promulgated by speech or written character: and, on all
important occasions, such communications of meaning become absolutely
necessary. Acquiescence or dissent may indeed be tacitly conveyed, by
holding up the hand, or by ballot, without condescending to offer any
verbal reasons for the adoption or rejection of the proposed measure.
Affirmation or negation does not in any manner constitute Thought; such
determination may result from caprice, from ignorance, or from
prejudice, without the slightest consideration. Thought requires some
proposition clearly conceived and perspicuously expressed in a sentence;
and the clearness of the Thought will be ascertained by the perspicuity
of its verbal expression. There may be some difficulty respecting the
precise meaning of individual words, arising from the corruptions of the
ignorant; but more especially from the perversions of writers who have
been deemed authorities. This distortion of the original sense, is, in a
certain degree, incidental to all living languages, which being in
childhood acquired by the ear, the learner is compelled to adopt the
signification of words, and employ the current phraseology of those with
whom he associates. When he is subsequently taught to speak and write by
rule, or grammatically, generally at an age anterior to the exercise of
reason, he is coerced to imbibe that which is forced in the way of
instruction. Even at a more advanced period the student cannot readily
comprehend how a perspicuous sentence is formed by the position of
individual words, each bearing a distinct signification, which it is
presumed must be the fact: but Mr. DUGALD STEWART, in his _Philosophical
Essays_, _p._ 155, has introduced a doctrine entirely opposite to this
well-founded position. "So different is all this from the fact, that our
words when examined _separately_, are _often_ as completely
insignificant as the letters of which they are composed: deriving their
meaning _solely_ from the connexion, or relation in which they stand to

For the memory of Mr. STEWART, in common with his surviving pupils, I
feel the reverence that is due to a learned, eloquent and amiable
instructor, although I may now differ with him in many essential points
relating to his philosophy of the human mind. The fact, that every word
possesses a distinct meaning, appears to constitute one of the
foundations of language: and it is impossible to conceive that any word,
in itself completely insignificant, can impart signification to others;
that which it does not contain cannot be communicated. The reservation
contained in the word _often_, implies that some words really are
significant; but no directions are given how to discover, and select
from the copious vocabulary of our language, such as are impregnated
with meaning, in order to expunge those that are insignificant. When we
consult Dr. JOHNSON'S Dictionary, we find that the greater part of the
words enumerated in his ample collection, instead of being senseless,
enjoy an exuberance of meaning. Thus the verb to think has ten
significations; the substantive Thought (the preterite of the verb), 12;
Something, n. s., 5; Nothing, n. s., 11; Smooth, adj., 6; Rough, adj.,
12; To stand, v. n., 69; To run, v. n., 62; Empty, adj., 9; Full, adj.,
15; Beginning, n. s., 5; End, n. s., 20; Before, prepos., 12; After,
prep., 6. However strange, or perhaps ludicrous, these numbers may seem,
yet, in the progress of language from barbarism to refinement, from the
assumed authority of writers, this accumulation of meanings is
inevitable. However precise the primitive signification of words may
have been, imagination, passion, or feeling would readily train them to
deflect from their original import, under the effusions of the "poet,
the lunatic, or the lover." A correct etymology would unfold the rude
and simple origin of many words, that our Anglo-saxon, and Norman
ancestors have bequeathed to us; although we are now but little sensible
of the legacy; as the great mass feels no inclination to revert to the
source of derivation. Many have been distorted by corruption, and these
are the most difficult to trace: to which may be added, that the terms
we now employ to express our feelings and passions, and all that depicts
mind and its operations, are of a figurative or metaphorical origin.
Instead of any word being insignificant, there is no one but may become
the keystone in a sentence; and therefore a word blotted out in a
perspicuous, that is, a properly constructed sentence, would render it
unintelligible. To the composition of a sentence, whatever may be the
thought, certain words are absolutely necessary, each containing an
individual meaning; which, like a sum in addition, composed of different
units, each possessing a separate and intrinsic value, may, when added
together, produce the total. To those who have not attentively
considered the subject, there is considerable difficulty in
understanding how a determinate number of words can include the
intelligence contained in a proposition or sentence: and especially how
these components of separate significations can become connected for
such general and comprehensive meaning. It should be recollected that
such is the amazing inclosure of language, that it comprehends all the
living and inanimate materials of this world, all that perception can
detect, memory recall, or thought elaborate. This exposition includes
the present posture of human affairs, and the movements we
observe:--much that has heretofore occurred, which the characters of
language have preserved unfaded from dark and remote ages: and are
competent to transmit to a distant posterity, with accumulated interest:
all that experience has amassed, accompanied with the consoling
promises of the future, which Revelation has unfolded. The extended
empire of speech, and its perpetuating characters, embrace this
prodigious range; but their comprehension is exclusively limited to the
human race. When words can represent all that is evident and all that is
conjectural--the works of Omnipotence, and the fabrications of man--we
need to seek no further for the necessary materials of thought. The
difficulty that has perplexed many persons respecting the compactness
and unity of intelligence that a sentence contains, principally arises
from their ignorance of the precise meaning of individual words.
Etymologists would employ them in their original sense, and consider
themselves justified by referring to their primitive import: others
would use them according to their ordinary acceptation, which may be
perverted; for in the currency of language, much is defective and
counterfeit: but in general the authority of writers who are accredited,
however they may disagree, is adopted. The intrinsic meaning of many
words, especially the particles, will appear obscure; because they are
disguised abbreviations of other words, and, in some instances, are sunk
so deeply, that they cannot be fathomed. A protracted life might now be
consumed in the investigation of these convenient and necessary
particles, including the voluminous efforts of those illustrious
grammarians who have terminated their discordant labours, without
arriving at their primitive signification. The chemical elements of
matter have undergone various reforms, and actual revolutions, and still
await ulterior confusion.

The clearness of the thought will be manifested by the perspicuity of
the sentence that expresses it. Whatever may be related, is most readily
comprehended, when detailed in the strict order of its occurrence. If a
procession be described, the exact sequence of its train must be noted,
otherwise it will become a confused mixture of persons, or a mob. The
same regularity is required in the construction of a sentence; and it
appears fortunate that the English language reconciles this direct
location of words, on which, its conformity to natural events and human
transactions principally depends. From this straight-forward expression
of meaning we may expect a future excellence of composition, and a more
direct elaboration of thought. This distant prospect which imagination
paints, and hope promotes, can only be realized under a system where
light streams uncontrolled, and the atmosphere we breathe is free. The
spirit of liberty must preside where improvement is expected. When we
have acquired the power and habit of original thinking, the most
important part of education, the mind is emancipated, and its
independence commences: we cease to be espaliers, and become standards.
Hitherto we have been principally trained according to the ancient
models. The Greek and Latin historians, orators, and poets, have
consumed, to a great extent, the docile season of youth: when perception
is active, and memory most permanently retains its various deposits, to
the dereliction of the great presentations of Nature, the operations of
numbers, the foundations of science, and more especially the exercise of
thought. After we have quitted school, and commenced our career of
profitable employment, these studies are seldom continued, and from
desuetude are soon forgotten; or only revived, perhaps unaptly, in an
occasional quotation. Even a living language, when not exercised, fades
from the recollection. The indirect location of words which prevails in
Latin, can be no model for English composition, where regular and
consecutive meaning constitute the perspicuity of the sentence; and
according to the reasoning that has been adopted, of the thought itself.
Words, and the meaning which resides in each individual, are the only
media by which our thoughts can be conveyed; and if these, which are
connected by sense and subject, are so separated, or dislocated, that it
becomes a puzzle to reduce them to their natural order, such distraction
ought not to be considered an example for the process of thinking, and
its development by composition or construction of sentences in the
English language. The connexion that exists in a perspicuous sentence,
is the conjunction of meaning, a further proof of the individual
signification of words, and which bearing a definite sense, are selected
for the purpose of that composition, which we term the process of
thinking. To this connexion we are directed by the knowledge we possess
of any particular subject, when we are intently occupied in its
investigation, with a view to confute or confirm it, or by a more
successful effort to arrive at discovery: and these acts of thought
involve the continuation of meaning by the addition of words adapted to
fulfil such intention.

Connexion, in a great degree, is the contrivance of our own minds, and
has been frequently confounded with successive occurrences, many of
which, on examination, are detected to be in no manner related; most
persons link together circumstances that ought to be kept apart, and
which often prove the source of unsurmountable prejudices.

It will scarcely be contended, that the order of time establishes such
concatenation, although it forms the basis of historical narrative. Each
portion of time must be individual and distinct, and essentially
consists in its subdivisions: indeed, if we were to fuse together hours,
days and years, our existence would only amount to a tedious dream. The
letters of the alphabet are insulated symbols, and have no natural
connexion with each other, but may be arranged to constitute words,
which possess a definite meaning. Words are in the same situation, there
is no connexion in a vocabulary; they resemble the individuals of our
species. Each is a separate being, charged with his own propensities and
peculiar character; but he may become connected with others in
friendship, in interest, or as the member of a society for particular
objects: he may confederate with immense bodies, for the protection of
his rights, or become part of an army for the destruction of his
neighbours. Thus one philosophical system, in pamphlets or in formidable
volumes, endeavours to overturn another: but the words are individual,
and have no tendency to associate until they are enlisted and
disciplined into the composition of sentences.

When the proposition or sentence is formed, it ought to bear evidence of
the most direct connexion, for the purposes of being readily
comprehended and enduringly retained. From the nature of our minds, we
recollect events, however unconnected, in the order of their occurrence,
and we acquire by heart any passage, of level construction, with greater
facility than where the natural sequence is disarranged; we repeat
lines from Pope with superior fidelity than quotations from MILTON.

To compress this Essay into the smallest compass, citations have been
studiously avoided; yet there is a temptation to illustrate this subject
by the introduction of an Epigram from MARTIAL, _Lib. 5, Epig. 1._

      13   14     18    15     17      16    18
     "Hoc tibi Palladiæ seu collibus uteris Albæ,

       2   19  20     22      21      23    24
     Cæsar et hinc Triviam prospicis inde Thetin:

      25 28     26        27     28       26
     Seu tua veridicæ discunt responsa sorores,

      30      31     29   32    30   31
     Plana suburbani qua cubat unda freti:

      33   30    35    34    37   38    39
     Seu placet Æneæ nutrix, seu filia solis,

      40       42        41     41    42
     Sive salutiferis candidus anxur aquis;

        12    1   6     3     8     5    4
     Mittimus o rerum felix tutela salusque,

        7     7    12      8      10    9
     Sospite quo gratum credimus esse Jovem."

The figures pointing out the "_ordo verborum_" are according to the
subjoined interpretation of Mons. COLLESSON, who prepared this Delphine
edition. The same figures have been placed where the adjective agrees
with the substantive or pronoun; and for this clew to the consecutive
arrangement of these disbanded and dispersed members of the sentence,
some young gentlemen at school, and many who have finished their
education, will be under considerable obligations.

It is of considerable moment that this question should be fully
discussed in order to be finally determined. The groundwork is
physiological, the superstructure involves some moral considerations:
and the conclusions will have an extensive influence on the system of
education that ought to be adopted. If the perceptions of the eye, and
its associated phantasms, or memorial visions, under the name of IDEAS,
are to be viewed as the effective materials of our Thoughts; such
inference is directly confuted by the instances of those born blind, and
continue through life without sight, and who must necessarily be
deficient of such materials. If Thought be the result of any immediate
spiritual dictation, which the difficulty of accounting for it without
such mysterious agency, has led many to suppose: and of which we are not
conscious, the responsibility of our species is destroyed. If Thought be
effected by the selection and arrangement of words, each of which
possesses a definite meaning, and is capable when conjoined with other
words, of adding to their significance: of which process, and the
individual steps that compose it, we _are_ conscious under due
attention, the mystery vanishes, and the act of thinking becomes
unfolded in the progressive formation of a perspicuous sentence.


[1] The eye is the only organ of sense that affords a connected
phantasm, vision or Idea. In the other senses, there is a memorial
connection, by which the perception is recognised as having previously
occurred, and consequently a consciousness of former perception. Without
these adjuncts the repetition of these perceptions would be useless as
instruments of knowledge. Avoiding a lengthened detail concerning the
other senses, it will be sufficient to instance the olfactory organ. If
we scent the essences of rose or jasmine, on the second presentation,
they are recognised as having occurred before: should we have smelled
the same perfumes from the living plants that exhale them, and by the
_eye_ noticed them, we should experience a phantasm or Idea of the
figure of the plants, but there would be no phantasm of the odour. The
excitation of the phantasm associated with the perception, and the
recollection of the perception without the phantasm, by the attribution
of a name, is, for the present, purposely concealed.

[2] Modification. A word of useless application, unless the _modus in
quo agit_, be defined.

[3] Of the supposed operations of these Ideas, and the purposes to which
they are subjected, a few, among abundant instances, are selected from
Mr. Locke's Essay. "Some Ideas _forwardly_ offer themselves to all men's
understanding; some sorts of truths result from any Ideas, as soon as
the mind puts _them_ into propositions: other Truths require a _train_
of Ideas _placed in order_."--_Vol._ I. _p._ 63.

"When the understanding is once stored with these simple Ideas, it has
the power to _repeat_, _compare_, and _unite_ them, even to an almost
infinite variety, and so can make at pleasure _new_ complex
Ideas."--_Vol._ I. _p._ 81.

"The next operation we may observe in the mind about its Ideas, is
COMPOSITION, whereby it puts together several of those simple ones it
has received from sensation and reflection, and _combines_ them into
complex ones."--_Vol._ I. _p._ 118.

"If either by any sudden very strong impression, or long fixing his
fancy upon one sort of thoughts, _incoherent_ Ideas have been _cemented_
together so powerfully, as to remain united."--_Vol._ I. _p._ 121.

"But there are degree of Madness as of folly, the disorderly _jumbling_
Ideas together, in some more, and some less." _Vol._ I. _p._ 122.

"The acts of the mind wherein it exerts its power over its simple Ideas,
are chiefly three. 1st. Combining several simple Ideas into one
_compound one_, and _thus_ all complex Ideas are made. The second, is
bringing _two Ideas_, whether simple or complex together, and _setting_
them by one another, so as to take a view of them _at once_, without
uniting them into one; by which way it gets all its Ideas of relations.
The third, is _separating_ them from all other Ideas that _accompany_
them in their real existence; this is called Abstraction."--_Vol._ I.
_p._ 124.

[4] The acquirement of language does not wholly consist in the
imitation of the word, but likewise in the comprehension that the
articulate sound is the representative of the object perceived. There
are some persons of defective intellect that I have seen, whose hearing
was perfect, and who could whistle some tunes, but who were unable to
learn their native language so as to understand what was said to them,
and consequently incompetent to afford an answer. In this particular
they approximate to the state of animals.

[5] "Nec missas audire queunt, nec reddere voces."

[6] On consulting the Concordance of CRUDEN, it does not appear
that the word IDEA, is to be found in our Translations of the Old and
New Testament. CRUDEN, although deemed a Lunatic, was a man of
persevering research and scrupulous accuracy.

[7] It is very probable that MARTIAL, in his eulogy of the
Roman Notarius, may have exceeded the actual performance.

     "Currant verba licet, manus est velocior illis:
     Nondum linga suum, dextra peregit opus."
                                       _Lib. 14, Epig. 208._

[8] In imitation of the Auburn (American) prison, the Middlesex
magistrates, in their judicial wisdom, have adopted an entirely opposite
system; by imposing an awful silence in their house of correction. This
penance must press sorely on the criminals of the softer sex, to whom
tea and conversation (errors excepted) constitute the principal comforts
of life. CATULLUS seems to allude to this infernal art of exasperating
the miseries of incarceration.

     "Nulla fugæ ratio, nulla spes: OMNIA MUTA,
     Omnia sunt deserta: ostentant omnia Lethum."


       *       *       *       *       *




MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE, as it relates to Insanity, according to the Law
of England. Octavo, 1817.



SOUND MIND. Octavo, 1819.

Intellect. Octavo, 1823.



       *       *       *       *       *

(_Shortly will be published_)


A WORK on the TREATMENT of INSANITY conducive to its CURE.

This Treatise will contain the practical experience of forty years.
Three preliminary Dissertations will be prefixed. 1st. How far Insanity
ought to be considered a _mental_ affection. 2d. On the influence which
individuals are capable of exerting on the minds of others, both in the
sane and insane state: the latter of course becomes the basis of that
regulation which is termed _moral management_. 3d. On the connexion
between the sexual organs and the mind, including the disorders that
have been termed nymphomania, furor uterinus, puerperal insanity,
barrenness, impotence, and the attacks that supervene at the period of
cessation. On the disorders that resemble and are not unfrequently
confounded with Insanity, viz. Delirium, Hypochondriasis, Morbid
Activity of Mind, certain degrees of Paralysis, and various nervous
affections. An investigation of the existing laws that apply to
Lunatics, Idiots, and persons denominated of _Unsound_ Mind: with an
accurate examination of the degree of incapacity or imbecility that
ought to subject them to legal protection. Reflections on the
parliamentary inquiries relating to insane persons, and the regulations
enacted respecting the houses in which lunatics are confined. Candid
remarks on the establishment and duties of the Metropolitan
Commissioners. Estimate of the probability of the lives of insane
persons, and of those who have been visited with mental derangement;
calculated for the guidance of assurance offices.

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