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JMental Cultivation and Ercitement upon Health. By AMARIAH BRIGHAM, M.D. Philapelphia: Lea & Blanchard. THIs is the title of a small volume by Mr. Brigham, now Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum at Utica. It was published some years since, and was soon republished in Scotland, where it met with commendations from men of the highest intelligence. It discusses in a brief and lucid manner a variety of topics of the deepest interest to every parent and every
student. He settles at the outset, the brain
to be the material organ of the mind, from experiments that have been made upon the brain itself. Having established the connection between the material organ and the mind, he describes the state of an infant's brain, which from its mere physical condition condemns high or constant mental stimulants. Mr. Brigham's remarks here are excellent, and founded, in our opinion, in the closest practical wisdom. Especially in this country do we need instruction on this point. The steam-spirit is carried into everything, and we hurry our children into the mental excitement of study, thinking the sooner they begin and the harder they are driven, the more they will know. In the first place, this is not true. The best minds are not those which are early forced or early developed. In the second place, its want of truth is not its greatest objection. If it were a negative evil it might be endured. But this forcing the mind into unnatural action in infancy, acts on the body and lays the foundation of those after diseases of the nerves and heart that torture the life. Physical education has been left to take care of itself, and the result is—instead of securing vigorous minds, we are cursed both with weak minds and weak bodies. Take the life of our students and we find the greatest mental labor is required of them when they are least able to perform it. But the laws which govern our physical and spiritual natures do not clash, and the mental excitement the more matured mind loves, is favorable not only to its own growth but the health and strength of the brain itself. We cannot agree with Mr. Brigham, however, in placing the chief causes of dyspepsia in the brain, physician though he be, for if there be one fact palpable to the most common observer, it is that this most annoying of all diseases is almost universally brought on by bad diet and sedentary habits, rather than overtasking the mind. The nerves are affected, not because the brain, the center of them,
is diseased, but because the stomach, the receptacle of so many of them, has become irritated and inflamed. The stomach is not irregular because the brain has become unsteady, but the brain is disordered because the stomach no longer performs its appropriate functions. The latter acts on the former through the nerves that pass from one to the . This little book aims at no display of learning, nor does it weary the reader with long and tedious discussions. Avoiding technicalities, it seeks by the simplest and shortest method to secure the welfare of all. We cannot, in the few lines we devote to it, present half its merits. We can only express our convictions of the truth of its observations and the soundness of its logic. Its value was felt in Scotland, but it is far more important to us who are subject to more constant and higher excitement than any nation on the globe. This very excitement in ourselves and all around us, communicates itself to our systems of instruction and early training, and we task the mind in its first early struggles beyond its feeble powers, and not only disturb its balance but that of the whole physical system. The connection between a healthy state of mind and body, are made apparent by Mr. Brigham to the most unlearned reader. The influence of such works cannot be otherwise than healthful, and it is to them we attribute the change that has taken place within the last few years in public sentiment upon the subject of education. The chapter devoted to the causes of so much insanity in this country, possesses equal interest with those upon education. We believe that with no more precaution than has heretofore been used, we shall become an anomaly among nations in this respect. The inhabitants of other countries are often subjected to great excitement, but only for a limited period and with long intervals of quiet. But here it begins in childhood and continues till death. It is not caused by the introduction of disturbing elements into our social and political system, but is a necessary part of them. As head of the State Lunatic Asylum, Mr. Brigham's views of the causes of insanity in our country deserve attention, and we subjoin his summing up of his remarks on this point. The following he gives as the chief causes of insanity in the United States: “First. Too constant and too powerful excitement of the mind, which the strife for wealth, office, political distinction, and party success produces in this free country. “Second. The predominance given to the nervous system by too early cultivating the mind and exciting the feelings of children. “Third. Neglect of physical education, or the eager and proper development of all the organs of the body. “Fourth. The general and powerful excitement of the female mind. Little attention is given, in the education of females, to the physiological differences of the sexes. Teachers seldom reflect, that in them the nervous system naturally predominates, that they are endowed with quicker sensibility and far more active imagination than men; that their emotions are more intense and their senses alive to more delicate impressions; and they, therefore, require great attention, lest their exquisite sensibility, which, when properly and naturally developed, constitutes the greatest excellence of woman, should either become ercessive by too strong excitement, or suppressed by misdirected education.” Every one who has reflected on this subject and observed the effect of the constant stimulants our whole system of life furnish to the mind, and the, hitherto, almost utter neglect of physical education, must agree with Mr. Brigham in these remarks. A table is given at the close of the book of the ages of some 300 different literary men of ancient and modern days. Of this large number the two extremes are 50 and 109, making, as it will be perceived, an average nearly if not quite equal to the allowed threescore years and ten, thus showing that mental activity is not adverse to longevity. The connection between the mind and body, and the proper and equal development of both in childhood and youth, are, as yet, but little understood, and we hail the circulation of such works as the one before us with unfeigned pleasure. Prevention is better than cure, and the common sense which shuns evils, is of more practical value than the highest skill in effecting their removal when once incurred.
Rome, as seen by a JVew Yorker. 1 Vol. Wiley and Putnam: New York.
This is the title of a volume written by Mr. Gillespie, of New York, designed as a surface sketch of Rome as it. The book opens with the shout of “Roma! Roma!' by the postillion, and we find ourselves suddenly passing into the Eternal City. After the enthusiasm of the first moment is pass
ed, the author takes up Rome in detail, and goes through the several departments of sight-seeing, methodically. He sees everything with his own eyes, and gives us his own impressions of the different objects that crowd with such rapidity on the spectator. St. Peters awakens all his enthusiasm, and he stands and gazes on that great temple with feelings of intense admiration. The Vatican with its wealth of statuary— the churches with their rich architecture and choice paintings—the palaces with their gems of art, come and go with great distinctness as the reader follows Mr. Gillespie in his rambles over the city. The Capitol and ancient Forum---the Palatine and Coliseum, stand out in strong relief in his picture. Art and artists receive also his attention; and Mr. Crawford draws from him a long eulogium on that artist's genius and works. It is well merited, though we cannot agree with Mr. Gillespie in his views of the proper scope of the American artist. We believe no man will obtain abiding fame, who follows merely in the track of the great masters. The modern sculptor cannot embody the form of cassic beauty in so great perfection as the classic sculptors. A man of genius should study the works of the old masters, not to rival them, but to use the knowledge and beauty he derives from them to embody the sentiment and spirit of the age he lives in. Genius creates rather than imitates, and, instead of believing that art has exhausted life of its forms or expressions of beauty, feels that it has only opened the portals to the great temple within. Modern Rome, its inhabitants—their customs and character, even to their restaurateurs and dishes, occupy also his attention. The style of the book is easy, finished, and agreeable. If it had less of the guide book arrangement it would please us better. It is not sufficiently impulsive to please the enuthusiast, but it is never stupid. It presents, on the whole, an excellent picture of Rome, as one finds it now, minus, its fêtes and great religious seremonies. It possesses high value to the traveller, while we know of no work from which a mere reader could get a clearer view of outer Rome. It is got up in a very neat style, such as the contents merit; and no one will rise from its perusal without knowing more of Rome than he knew before. We would like to make some extracts, exhibiting the style of the author, and the manner the different objects he describes, are presented to the reader, but must deny . ourselves the pleasure for want of room.
FOREIGN MISC E L L A NY.
The world is not in a tread-mill, struggling to keep its place, nor are the nations that move over the earth simply marking time in their efforts to advance. They are forward to some goal, and the rapidity of the movement for the last century, has outstripped the slow progress of the tardy ages that preceded it. There is a law to mutations, and the whole enginery of nature does not strike more orderly than the world of thought and human actions move about us. The difficulty is, we cannot occupy a removed point of view, and graduate and fix their motion. Blended, ourselves, in the action which carries every thing forward, that is to us chaos, which, to a distant observer would be order. We are compelled to look back over the surface of centuries to see whither the race is tending. The line of march and the rate of progréss even then are difficult to distinguish. With the two thousand years since the Christian era commenced, for a scale, and whole centuries for degrees, the wisest head is puzzled to report definitely. Yet no one can doubt there is a law of progress working steadily and uniformly. It is equally true that not only every year, but every month, bears a part in the general movement, and were it possible to note distinctly these separate and short steps in our history, and settle as we go every inch we gain, our life would be fuller of excitement and interest, even, than it now is. But this we cannot expect, and the most that can be done is to jot down, on our passage through the year, such things as appear most prominent, which will serve as landmarks as we stand and review the past. We gather up the history of the months as they fly past us, and leave them as fragments for others to use.
Since we took our last monthly view of the different nations, a revolution has been effected in Mexico, and a new government established in place of the old. This can effect but a partial repose, to be disturbed in turn by some new usurper. The South American Republics still present the aspect of nations in their elementary state. They will acquire no fixedness until some military despot rises among them with sufficient power and skill to concentrate around himself the divided energies that now clash against each other, or foreign nations interfere to preserve peace while knowledge can be disseminated among the masses. It is with pleasure we hail the first movement in this latter policy in the union of England, France and Brazil, to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the contending factions along the banks of the
Rio de la Plata. Rozas and Oribe have kept the Montevidean government in a state of constant alarm and suffering by the Guerilla war they have carried on, but we may now hope for a state of quietness that will enable that country to develop its vast resources and wheel steadily into the rank of commercial nations. The last steamer brings nothing from England except the old news of general disquiet and agitation. The parliament opened on the 4th inst. which being the day the vessel sailed, the Queen's speech was not delivered in time to be received previous to its departure. The Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed a letter to those under his spiritual supervision, advising the suspension of all proceedings on controverted points respecting the rubrics, declaring that mutual confidence and harmony are more important than the things contended for. Repeal, in Ireland, has encountered a sudden check from a letter received from the Propaganda of Rome, by order of the Pope, admonishing all the ecclesiastics, especially those of Episcopal rank, to abstain from public meetings and dinners, and every thing which may “even lightly excite or agitate the flock committed to them.” O’Connell is thunderstruck at this movement on the part of Rome, which threatens with one blow to prostrate his ower. A delegation is to be appointed immediately, to lay the case before his Holi- . ness. This movement was doubtless set on foot by the English government, and is a consummate stroke of policy, and unless O'Connell can check it at once, through the influence he can bring to bear on the Pope, his career is ended. If the Pope can be induced to coöperate with the English government in crushing the effort for repeal, the struggle of Ireland for liberty is over for the present. The sagacity and consummate skill with which England has contended against the spirit of republicanism, that for the last half century has been making such steady encroachment on her feudal system, show the wonderful foresight and knowledge of her statesmen. Anti Corn Law leagues, chartist conventions, petitions for suffrage, conspiracies against her exchequer and popular outbreaks, have all been met and struggled against with a decision and moderation exhibited by no other government. She pushes herself to the verge of civil war, and then retires as slow and deliberate as she can without producing an explosion. The violent excitement which a few years ago threatened to overtop every thing in its rapid increase, has subsided, but not perished. Suffering and restrict
ed rights lie at the bottom of it all, and the mighty feeling they send, wave-like, under the iron frame-work of the feudal system which is stretched over the masses, must sooner or later rend it asunder. England stands foremost in this struggle of the democratic principle against the tyranny that has so long held the world at its feet. To chronicle the progress of this spirit, is to us more important than all other things put together. France seems now to be troubled most with the contest between the opposition and the existing minority. An effort is made to withdraw the present Cabinet on account of its alleged sympathy with England. The manner in which the Tahiti affair was settled, is the ground of this opposition, and the existence or dissolution of the present ministry, seems to be very nearly a question of peace or war with England. Guizot has announced that England has consented to appoint commissioners to meet those of France, to settle the question of the right of search. The paragraph in the king's speech relating fo the Tahiti affair, was proposed in the Chamber of Deputies, and, on a division, the ministry was found to have only the miserable majority of eight. On the announcement of this, Marshal Soult went to the king and tendered his resignation, which was refused. The power of the ministry is to be tested in the Chamber by the introduction of the secret service money bill; the result of which will doubtless seriously affect the present administration of France. Spain presents no new aspect. Zurbano, the rebel chief, has been taken and shot. The Cortes of Portugal was opened on tho 2d of January, without any speech from the Queen, she being too sick to attend. The country is quiet, and the credit of the government is improving. Italy presents many features of interest, but it is painful to witness the struggle of the revolutionary spirit in her despotic governments. The Liberty Party will, and can effect nothing, simply from its own rashness and want of harmony. The difficulty of overthowing these weak despotisms rests not in the strict police regulations so much as in the folly of the opressed. In Naples, a constant beacon is efore the conspirators in the person of Bozzelli, who is pining away his life in the castle of St. Elmo, merely for being mentioned by name, in a letter from one friend to another known to hold constitutional opinions. Rome is at present agitated by the illness of the Pope. It is probably his last sickness, he being now in his S0th year. As soon as he is buried in state, the bench of Cardinals will be shut up on the Quirina till they agree by a majority of two thirds, on the two hundred and fifty-eighth suc
cessor of the great Apostle. The Cardinals dread this confinement, and there is a great deal of caucusing and electioneering beforehand among the different branches and friends of the princely families of Italy, in order to have the successful candidate taken from their number. Wearied with their long imprisonment, and finding it impossible to reconcile the clashing wishes of the different parties, they frequently, as a last resort, pitch on some unknown, old and feeble man, and elect him by common consent, each hoping that by the next election, circumstances will be more favorable to his friend's success. Thus, the present imbecile Pope was elected. The revenue of the Papal States is almost entirely eaten up by the expense of collecting, and the interest of the public debt. The latter is increasing, so that the credit of his Holiness is .. low in foreign markets, and we fear is successors will be in no more favorable position. The people are taxed to starvation, which in return reduces the value of property, and consequently the amount of revenue. Notwithstanding the vigilance of despotism in the different kingdoms of Italy, the principles of freedom begin to leak out through her literature Writers have learned wisdom from experience, and instead of boldly owning their principles and expiating their rashness in a dungeon, they attempt to secure their end in a more cautious and indirect way—by baffling the censors of the press, and forcing them to allow their works to circulate, or declare themselves unmitigated tyrants. Thus we find Botta's History has been recently published entire, in Lombardy, under the eye and with the sanction of the Austrian Government. The history of the struggle of the Thirteen States against the oppression of England, is now open to the Italian public. This single fact argues good in two ways—first, that Young Italy, will learn from our example, prudence and caution and harmony, in her attempts to rejuvenate Old Italy—and second, that the Government finds it no longer expedient to strangle literature and thought as it has hitherto done. The only kingdom in Italy where liberal principles are allowed to be discussed in any way, is Tuscany. The Duke is exceedingly popular, and were it not for Austria's iron mandate, would seek to establish a free constitutional government. The consequence is, the public mind is comparatively tranquil, and the elements of revolution are not to be found there, but in Naples, where the poor still remember Massaniello—in Bologna, where they talk of Orioli, still an exile in Corfu-and in Genoa, where they recall the days of Spinola. Thus poor Niccolini has found a refuge in Florence, who, in any other kingdom of Italy, would have seen the deepest dungeon of a prison. His “Arnold of Brescia,” was like a trumpet call to the Italians. It thundered against the oppression of Cesar and Peter in their unholy alliance, with a terror and truth that made the Vatican tremble. It was immediately prohibited throughout the entire peninsula. Tuscany was compelled to join in the prohibition—still, three thousand copies were sold in Florence in a few weeks, while the bold poet lives there in tranquillity, and has just finished and published an edition of his entire works, in three 8vo. volumes. Niccolini is an earnest minded and vehement patriot, though, like all of the “Liberty Party,” holding narrow and contracted opinions in connection with his free principles, that injure their success. Still, he has a bold speech that finds a responsive echo in many an Italian heart. Thus, he makes Arnold say to Adrian:—
“Tut' inganni, Adrian Langue il terrore,
“Thou art deceived Adrian, the terrors of the thunderbolts of Rome languish, and reason is loosening the bonds thou didst wish to be eternal.” And again—
“Assai dal vostro pastoral percossa
“Mankind, smitten by thy shepherd's staff, has been arrested long enough in its course. Wherefore hast thou, in the name of heaven, crushed beneath thy feet, man the last son of the thought of God.”
Such language is more startling than the roar of rebel cannon, for it speaks to the mind and heart of a people, and to the conscience and fear of their oppressors Heaven be thanked that there is one city on the classic ground of Italy, where Niccolini can breathe without inhaling the air of a dungeon. He is now at work on the history of the House of Hohenstauffen, and threatens to let down Raumer a step or two from his eminence.
But perhaps the most remarkable thing in the present history of Italy, is the free circulation of a book called “Delle Speranze d'Italia,” (the Hopes of Italy,) in the kingdom of Sardinia. Carlo Alberto, the present king of Sardinia, is the most unmitigated despot and complete villain among the crowned heads of Europe. Once enrolled among the conspirators for the restoration of Italy, he betrayed his confederates and gave a list of them to his father, and thus secured a more general massacre and proscription. Now he permits the
circulation of this work, the main design of which is to prove that the only hope of Italy is the expulsion of the Austrians. The writer has the right of it here, for Austria, by her garrison at Ferrara, overawes the Papal States and marches her soldiers down on the first rebel company that organizes itself, keeps Tuscany in subjection, and tramples on Lombardy. The only reason why this Carlo Alberto, this dark hearted and bloody tyrant favors this book, is that it recommends all Italy to be gathered under one prince, and him to be that prince. Balbo is the name of the author, a native of Piedmont. Young Italy has too keen a memory of this Carlo Alberto, whom even his Genoese subjects treat with disdain, to countenance any plan that proposes to place him at the head of their country's regeneration. There is an association in Italy, called the “Scientific Association of Italy,” which meets annually, and is doing much towards awakening a right spirit. They were first introduced by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who is working, in perhaps the only safe way, to regenerate his adopted country. The annual meeting of this association or congress has been held at Milan and passed off rather coldly from the amount of Austrian feeling that governed it. Bonaparte, or the Prince di Canino, as he is called, a man of extensive acquirements, and perhaps the best Zoologist of Europe, gave an address which was received with great applause, though some passages of it relating to free discussion were stricken out by the Censors of the Press before it was allowed to be printed. This association is divided into sections, embracing as many different departments of science The next meeting is to be held at Naples. The Pope would crush these associations to-morrow if he dared. The son of Charles Lucien has the private papers of Joseph Bonaparte, which he cannot publish in five years. So we must wait for the revelations that Bonaarte will make of the times in which he ived. Sismondi's history of the Italian Republics cannot be found entire in the city of Genoa, so strict is the censorship of the press; and perhaps of all the petty despotisms of Italy, that of Sardinia is on the firmest foundation. Its police is almost perfect, while its standing army is large and well disciplined. Were it not for Genoa, which remembers the days of her republican glory, Carlo Alberto might sit down in peace on his traitor throne. Every month brings us tidings of this struggling spirit in different parts of the old empire of the Caesars. Crossing the Alps into the mountain home and cradle of liberty, we find a spirit in Swizerland, almost as ruinous as that of tyranny—the spirit of faction. The Catholic and Pro