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former the pure classic language, and into those of the latter a vulgar dialect, it does not seem hazardous to ascribe to Buddhism a favorable influence, to some extent, upon this class of society, which the social and religious institutions of the East generally have assisted each other to degrade. In connection with Buddhist proponism, the opening of communi:
ion between China and the to TT-W-sīThrough Ü 9.
Torves also to be notices he earliest distinct account which we have of such intercourse, presents to our view missionaries of Buddha traversing those unexplored regions of the North, bearing their religion from the West to the ChiDese province of Chensi: this was two centuries before our era; and similar expeditions were repeatedly undertaken in later times. e oist pilgrims, seeking as they would every where to acquaint themselves with the condition of the countries through which they passtd, with reference to their great obkci and disseminating their religion,
** Able to communicate to the o much important Iniotina"...ifespecting the western regions; * they could turn their knowledge of influence to good account b
onling avenues wealth to the
# empire, op condition gi £ing protected and patronized i of His
religious dropa&nd sm. It is more than probable,
ial in this manner were established by degrees those extensive and intimate commercial relations of Chia with the West, which so long
enriched the nation, and perhaps contributed more than anything else to give splendor to the empire and to foster imperial pride, by attracting foreigners—the agents of the traffick—who were secretly regarded as so many bearers of tribute to the Son of heaven. From this brief estimate of the influence of Buddhism upon the world, it appears that we owe much of our knowledge of the East to this " religious revolution; and that, practically considered, it has in different ways promoted not slightly the civ. IlizatsOTOTTeastern nations; and, alsTOUgh its doctrines are sadly remote from the truth, we cherish the belief founded upon what we know, that the millions who profess faith in it have not been wandering in an entirely devious path, but unconsciously led by a Divine hand have, upon the whole, made actual progress under its influence ; and that
#########the propagation of Christianity i Eastern # more effectually than
WOu have been, had any other khöWTTorm of oriental religion gain:
ed a similar predomi How admirable is the benign wisdom of Providence, which thus brings good out of evil; and by the force of mere human enterprise, as seen in the great field of Buddhist propagandism, adjures those who bear the Christian name to be true to their Divine impulses, emulous to enlighten and quicken with the doctrine of Him who is indeed the Great Teacher, and to enlist mew energies in His cause of truth and righteousness.
CASE OF OPTICAL I LLUSION IN S I CKN ESS, WITH AN
Amherst, Feb. 10, 1842.
Dear Sir-You will probably recollect, that during a fever with which I was visited three years ago, I experienced some singular illusions, connected probably with a peliar state of the optic nerve. I gave a short account of these in a sermon soon after in the college chapel, and published in my “Wreath for the Tomb.” Within the last fortnight, it has pleased Providence to prostrate me again with the same disease, viz. a fever, connected with acute inflammatory action in the intercostal muscles. The same peculiar impressions, connected with vision, occurred at an early stage of my disease, and have been carried so much farther than before, as to lead me to address you at this time. You are well aware, that my time is chiefly devoted to physical science, and that I make no pretensions to skill in psychology. Whén these hallucinations, therefore, comimenced, and I saw that they were becoming interesting, I resolved, from the high respect I entertained for your attainments in mental science, to ask you to furnish me with some rules by which I might make experiments upon myself, that might be of some service to science ; but I quickly saw, that in the excitement of a fever, such a course must be hazardous. Yet, as these visions
* It will be perceived, that this article consists of a correspondence between Profs. Edward Hitchcock and N. W. Fiske, of Amherst College. It having fallen into our hands in the state in which it was written, without any view to publication, and being too long for insertion in a single number, we have taken the liberty of omitting personal compliments, moral reflections, and other parts not di. rected immediately to the explanation of the phenomena in question by the known laws of mind.—Ed.
were very numerous, and I did perform a few experiments, I venture to give you the details, with the request that you would furnish the philosophy of the subject; if, indeed, the facts are numerous and distinct enough to lead you back to general principles; and I seize the earliest moment in which I am able to dictate a letter, to make out the descriptions, as I find these scenes are rapidly fleeing from my memory. It will probably be an important preliminary to state, that during my sickness, my mind has been apparently free from any tendency to mental derangement. Except for a short time at the outset, I have felt scarcely a pain in my head, and a degree of clearness has existed in m mind, certainly as great as in health, although incapable of continued application, from bodily weakness. When the phenomena under consideration began to occur, I looked at them with as much curiosity and calmness, as if I were an indifferent spectator. [Here Prof. H. introduces a cer. tificate from Dr. Dorrance, his attending physician, to the effect that he manifested no signs of . during his sickness, but appeare constantly able to reason correctly respecting the visions and every thing else.—Ed.] I judge it important also to state a few facts respecting the principal scenes through which I have passed during a few months past; for, if I mistake not, they have formed the principal materials out of which fancy has constructed those very structures with which she has filled my mind. During our long winter vacation, most of my time was occupied in delivering lectures on scientific subjects, before large assemlies, in several of our cities and larger towns. They were the most delightful auditories that I ever addressed. During these lectures, I was constantly traveling from place to place, chiefly on railroads and in steamboats, and along the most crowded thoroughfares in the land; and this too at all hours of the day and the night. My imagination, therefore, could not but be deeply impressed with the idea of rapid motion, and of every place teeming with inhabitants. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that in traveling nearly one thousand miles in this manner, I met with no serious accident, to fill the mind with images of terror. It should be stated, too, that the subject on which I lectured most frequently was, the wonders of Science compared with the wonders of Romance, and that I gathered together, in this production, the most splendid facts which modern science could furnish. In one of my drawings, too, I exhibited the famous fossil Iguanodon of England, not less than seventy feet long, as well as Other extinct monsters. You will see, therefore, from these statements, that my imagination, during the winter, has been not only most actively, but most agreeably exercised. Nay, at no time had it been more exerted than during a few days previous to my sickness, brought on probably in a great measure by the over excitement of those days. These visions did not commence in the present, any more than in my former sickness, until several days after the attack, and when drastic medicines had subdued the severest part of the inflammatory action. In both cases, however, they succeeded the application of mustard to my side, which always produces extreme irritation in my system. I took morphine only once or twice, but think it rather increased the tendency to these hallucinations. Opium was not admitted in any of its forms, except occasionally as it exists in Doyer's powders.
Vol. III. 25
The first peculiarity in the state of my vision that I noticed, was precisely the same as that observed in my former sickness, viz. a disposition to connect almost every irregular object, on which my eye rested, into a delineation of the human countenance. This effect of course ceased as soon as the eyes were shut, and it was increased by the indistinctness of objects. Thus, a phrenological bust, about as large as life, stood upon a cupboard before me, as much as eight feet from the floor. A white flannel gown having been thrown over the foot bed-post, between me and the cupboard, the whole was converted, in the evening, into a beautiful bust, of colossal height, with the folds of the drapery arranged as gracefully as if done by the chisel of Canova. The only want of proportion appeared in the too small size of the head.
The most perfect examples of the vision that floated before me, I can hardly doubt should be referred to genuine dreams, in which waking consciousness was more or less entirely gone. And had they been confined to such a state, I should not trouble you with any further descriptions. But they occurred in every state, up to the fullest and most wakeful consciousness, in which there could have been nothing like what we call sleep; indeed, I strove in vain to excite the least tendency to sleep.
In regard to my dreams, those which occurred in the early part of the night were of a much duller and grosser kind than those which closed my slumbers usually about the dawning of the day. The two great elements of these dreams were motion and crowded masses of people, most of whom were also in motion. They seemed apparently to interfere with one another, and yet no actual interference occurred. I seemed to join one of the moving masses, and though the area around me was all crowded with human beings, or blocked up by rocks, trees, and mountains, yet no actual obstruction seemed ever to be in my way; but with a quiet and delightful motion, and with no jarring or collision, I seemed to be brought to the spot to which I was destined. Yet I never could see exactly how I moved ; nor did I ever get sight of a steamboat, a rail car, a carriage, or, except in one or two instances, of a horse, and scarcely saw any water, and yet, the splendid landscapes frequently presented before me appeared to be situated upon the coast. In no case but once, do I recollect to have parted from terra firma. In this case, a party of us in a barouche seemed to come in sudden proximity with a barouche of ladies dressed in white, whom I understood to be from Saturn, and my impression is that we met somewhere near the orbit of Jupiter. In making our mutual salam we came near overturning our barouches, and the alarm of seeing the ladies from that distant planet, who were very large, about being tossed into our vehicle, awakened me. I ought to confess that on the afternoon previous to that night, I had been persuaded to do what I had not done for ten or twelve years, viz. to take a cup of weak black tea; and I presume that had I taken only water, as usual, imagination could not have got me farther off than the orbit of the moon. I have been surprised at the pleasantness of nearly all the images that passed before me, and the absence of almost every thing disgusting. It is true that during the early part of the night they were often rather coarse; such sights for instance as a man often sees as he passes along the outer parts of a city when the tide is out, and dirty timber, old hulks, and often dirty sailors may be seen. Still it did not revolt the feelings merely to pass in my strange vehicle along such places, when in the next mo
ment elegant houses, columns and temples, with rocks, trees and mountains in the distance, appeared. In one instance the physician had administered assafoetida, in order to put a stop to these flights of fancy, and I went to sleep in the expectation that if my visions occurred, they must be of a disgusting kind. But instead of this, I fancied myself in some oriental land, (probably from the known origin of the drug.) in a sunny day, on the shores of an indented bay, reposing upon a sofa as in feeble health, while all around there stood in respectful silence, many well dressed in Turkish costume, as well as some Franks, and at a little distance I saw the French servant of some man of distinction coming to me with a message, who proved however to be Mrs. H. with a cup of medicine, and all my oriental magnificence vanished. * I had fallen into a slumber more deep than any during the severer part of my sickness. Mrs. H. made slight efforts to awaken me. She also applied a sponge to my parched mouth. The first thing I was conscious of, was a sudden commotion extending through all nature around me, which produced a cry, “the greatest discovery of the age.” It seemed as if all nature had been bound together immovably, and the discovery consisted in a fluid which loosed her bands. It was the water applied to my mouth which gave a start to the wheels in my system, which had almost stopped ; and this gave the idea of nature being bound together. But I doubt whether such cases have in them any thing of peculiar interest. I therefore proceed to other details. In the following cases, the dreaming state appears to have entered into the waking state. Mrs. H. brought me some medi. cine : my eyes were closed, but turning frequently in their sockets, and my head also was moving. At length I opened my eyes and said,