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ponty has been generally attributed to the peculiar arrangement of the arteries on the right side, sending a greater quantity of blood to the right arm than to the left. This, as a cause, Sir Charles afirmos, is unequal to the effect. He is disposed to place the difference in question among the beneficent contrivances of the Crelor, having for its object the harmonies and conveniences of life. There certainly ought to be no time lost in deliberation, on any gren occasion, which hand should be used. The unequal power of the two limbs secures against the inconvenience which would result from hesitation. Not only the right arm, but the a hole right side is distinguished over the left, by its larger and more powerful muscles, and even by its higher and more vigorous vital endowments. The left side is less able to resist disease, or the effects of injury, than the opposite. The most difficult feats of opera-dancers are always performed with the right foot; though o their preparatory exercises, they bestow double attention upon the left

, (thus recognizing its natural inferiority,) in order to avoid the awkwardness, in their performances, which would be the result of giving an undue and ungraceful preference to the right limb. “In walking behind a person, it is very seldom that we see an equalized motion of the body ; and if we look to the left foot, we shall find that the tread is not so firm upon it, that the toe is not so much turned out as in the right, and that a greater push is made

The hand derives much of its importance from its being more especially the seat of touch ; which, joined with its natural associate, the muscular sense, is the inlet of our earliest and most important knowledge. It is by the united muscular and tactual sense, that we become first acquainted with the external worldt as it is ; with the fundamental properties of matter, -extension and resist

with it."*

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Thomas Brown,

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* Page 99. That this united sense is the source of our knowledge of the external world as it is, we see no reason to doubt; but that

it is the exclusive sense by which we u be made acquainted with exterior existence, as seems to be admitted by Dr.

we can by no means grant. If the interruption of an accustomed series of feelings, or the rise of a new and unexpected event as an effect, a ben the whole train of antecedents has been felt to be the same, is the origin of pour notion of something without, or besides ourself, as appears to be the fact ; then it is certain, that any

of our external senses, the eye, the ear, the taste, the stell, may be the source of this notion, as often as it is acted upon by outward objests. In every sensation, there is a violent breaking in upon a familiar train of feelings; that is, certain affections of miud have uniformly succeeded one another in a certain order, but this order is suddenly changed: the saine mental cause, or causes, is followed by a different effect. Hence it is instinctively in. ferred, that there is a cause which is not mental, wbich is the notion of exterior existence

. The knowledge of a material world, it is true, does not come in this way; for this knowledge supposes information concerning properties which is

as has already been said, from the inuscular and tac

derived exclusively,

Vol. VI.

toal sense.

9

ance.

very oby

And how admirably is this member suited to be the medium of this information !

The sense of touch, though more delicate in the hand, both naturally, and as the effect of cultivation, is not confined to it. For pus reasons,

is diffused over the whole surface of the body. It is designed, not only as the medium of a particular class of ideas, but as a defense against injury from external causes ; from the extremes of heat and cold, and mechanical violence. The skin lies along the outermost limits of the human body, guarding, as it were, the vital structures which lie beneath.

External agents, before reaching the internal and more important parts of the frame, must come in contact with it, and make there the first impression. Hence the necessity of its being endowed with a lively sensibility, that it may give the alarm and excite to measures of safety, on the first approach of danger. Thus endowed, it serves as a guard, on the outer walls of life's dominions, to defend the more central fortress, and to give warning when an enemy is near. When a hot substance or a sharp stick is pressed against the body, the sensible nerves of touch are affected in a certain specific manner in each case, and we have that feeling which is termed uneasiness, or more specifically, pain ; and which urges, sometimes even compels, to the removal of the irritating cause. These nerves often exercise their office unconsciously. They stimulate to, and cause to be executed, such acts as are necessary to the welfare of the economy, without at all withdrawing the mind from the train of thought with which it may happen to be occupied. A beautiful instance of what nature, (meaning always the God of nature,) is continually doing for us by means of a natural endowment, may be found in the book at the head of this article, quoted from the author's lectures to the College of Surgeons.

· Without meaning to impute to you inattention, or restlessness, I may request you to observe how every one occasionally changes his position, and shifts the pressure of the weight of his body; were you constrained to retain one position during the whole hour, you would rise stiff and lame. The sensibility of the skin is here guiding you to that, which if neglected, would be followed even by the death of the part. When a patient has been received into the hospital with paralysis of the lower part of the body, we must give especial directions to the nurse and attendants, that the position of his limbs should be changed at short intervals, that pillows should be placed under his loins and hams, and that they should be often shifted. If this be neglected, you know the consequence to be inflammation of the parts that press upon the bed; from which come local irritation, then fever, and mortification, and death.

Thus you perceive that the natural sensibility of the skin, without disturbing your train of thought, induces you to shift the body so as to

permit the free circulation of the blood in the minute vessels ; and that kben this sensibility is wanting, the utmost attention of friends and the watchfulness of the nurse, are but a poor substitute for this protecbon which nature is continually affording. If you suffer thus lying on a soft bed, when deprived of the sensibility of the skin, how could you encounter without it the rubs and impulses incident to an active life? Fou must now acknowledge that the sensibility of the skin is as much a protection to the frame generally, as the sensibility of the eye-lids is to the eyes, and gives you a motive of gratitude which probably you sever thought of.' pp. 121, 122.

When the nerves of touch are paralized, an event which sometimes happens when muscular motion is complete, (as muscular motion is bestowed by different and distinct sets of nerves,) the most senous accidents sometimes occur. A person thus affected will walk about, executing all his usual bodily movements; but as he s insensible to the changes of temperature, and to injury from mechanical violence, he is in constant danger of exposing himself to too much heat or cold, or other detrimental influences. He takes up deliberately an iron so hot as to destroy the skin, and extensive sloughing, or loss of limb, or life, is the consequence. Thus He may see how that susceptibility, which is the source of pain, is a beneficent and wise provision, having for its object the life, health, and happiness of man; bow, when it is absent, a guarding and guiding power is taken away, for which the art and assiduity of men cannot compensate. At the same time, how perfect and simple is the endowment which is thus, as a wall of protection, thrown round about US,—which watches over our interests with a vigilance that never tires

, never sleeps !-an endowment which enables the mind to perceive the smallest variations of heat and cold, -the least scratch or prick of a pin. Those who would complain of pain as an eril, forget the incalculable advantages which it secures, and the dreadful and continual accidents which it prevents,-its indispensable necessity to the perfection of an organic frame, in our present state of existence. The capacity to feel pain is a part of a system which would be defective, which indeed would go quickly to ruin without it ;-a system which is the best conceivable one, perhaps the best possible, to secure the end of human life. Were this capacity destroyed, not only would those instinctive motions, which are every moment necessary to preserve us from harm, tease ; but a motive to intelligent action would be taken away, which is as constantly necessary to direct and control human conduct. Were the fear of pain removed from its important place anong our principles of action, instant disorder would be introduced into all the departments of this beautiful system. The wheels of life would be stopped, or thrown from their places and crushed, or scattered around. Nor is it recollected by those who

or

would object to the susceptibility of bodily pain as an error the constitution of organic beings, how much this susceptibility necessary to the existence of pleasure. It is impossible, in tl very nature of things, that pleasure in its popular sense, a lively emotion, should long exist without a feeling with which i contrast or compare it. Our organization is such, that it is impo: sible to sustain a vivid feeling for any length of time; it soon fade: merely because it is vivid. The most delightful impression, if cor tinued uninterruptedly and long enough, would become positivel disagreeable, even intolerable. To be obliged to live on sweet and dainties, without a taste of coarser and more wholesome fare would be accounted a sore punishment. A high tone of enjoy ment, uniform and protracted, is what no man ever experienced though health flowed freely in his veins, and the wealth and strength of the world were at his command. Hence the common and very just remark, that happiness is almost equally distributed among the sons of earth, notwithstanding the striking difference in their external circumstances. This remark applies even to the sick and disabled, much oftener than is suspected. Those who have visited hospitals, even such as are appropriated to the most desperate cases of disease, assert that they are very commonly the abodes of composure and cheerfulness! Soldiers in actual service, whose lives are perhaps in jeopardy every hour, are distinguished, to a proverb, for their abundant flow of spirits.

Furthermore, it should not be forgotten, by those who think pain an unnecessary element in the economy of the world, that pleasure in its better sense, is little more than the consciousness of having practiced some painful virtue of self-denial,—of having endured misfortune, provocation and suffering, with becoming fortitude.

Notwithstanding the acute sensibility of the skin, there are some species of injury to which it is liable, which are accompanied with little or no pain. A wound made by a very quick stroke is hardly felt. The penetration of a bullet, while at the top of its speed, occasions no suffering. Those who are shot in battle frequently do not know it at the time, unless bodily motion is crippled. The reason of this, we think, is obvious : it will be found in the benevolence of the Creator. All nature bears testimony to the fact, that pain, in itself considered, is an evil, an undesirable thing. It is never admitted into the constitution of living beings, except as a means (apparently the only means) of securing some important end, advantage, or blessing. It is never a superfluous element in the composition of a system. It is given for a specific object, which is always supposed to be attainable. If it is inadequate to the compassing of this object, it is withheld. If there is a species of injury against which pain would be no protection, it is accom

panied by none. If pain, as when attendant on the piercing of a bulet, could in no way operate as a safeguard, a preventive, or an atidote against such accidents; if it could not effectually serve as a prorapter and guide to such organic, or instinctive, or rational porements as would secure from harm the more vital parts which ile beneath the surface; or, with greater certainty prevent the recurrence of a similar misfortune, at some future time, it would very evidently be a superfluous thing,—the evidence of a weak or maderolent, not of an all-powerful or benevolent Creator. Now, it seems to us very clear, that a painful affection of the skin, under the circumstances in question, let it be ever so acute, could an• søer none of these purposes. A motion so inconceivably rapid as that of a flying bullet, supposes a propelling force which is irresistible, which entirely transcends the power of mortals to meet or avert. Let a hard body be driven on by such a force, and, though there were sufficient warning of its approach, though the sentinel on the outer walls gave a loud and long report, there would be no means of escape. The flesh would be penetrated in its deepest parts. Were the eye a hundred times more acute, so that it could see a moving musket-ball, and muscular motion a thousand times more rapid, that it might escape it when approaching, or dart away from it, in the instant that it pressed upon the skin, then there would be an obvious utility in a different constitution from the present. It would be well that the touch of the leaden messenger be felt; that its touch be felt too as distinctly antecedent to its penetration. But, as such are not the endowments of our organs, and cannot be in consistency with the present system of things,-cannot be, without a destruction of the correspondence and relations which exist among the parts of this living mechanism,—the propriety of the existing constitution and properties of the cutaneous surface,

abundantly obvious. The same general mode of reasoning may apply to that species of injury which is caused by a very high temperature, -of iron, for example, at a white heat. Such a degree of heat applied to the skin is not acutely painful, as we have had occasion to know; while every one is familiar with the exquisite suffering which accompanies an ordinary burn. The reason of this difference will be readily perceived. A wbite heat supposes a power which entirely surpasses our feeble means of resistance. Its

very touch is instant destruction to all with which it comes in contact. Though it were to excite pain, in exact proportion to its deadly effects, those organic and muscular movements which would follow, would be too late to stop the progress of the mischief. Besides, such severe suffering would endanger life, or permanent detriment to the constitution. Pain, as the attendant of such an injury, could not be necessary to secure against future exposure ; for this end is accom

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