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culty peculiar to a rational nature. This conclusion seems to be agreeable to fact; for, though the brutes discover marks of the faculty of conception, none of them exhibit proofs of their being able to form any new combinations. This, too, is what we should expect from their stationary condition contrasted with the progressive nature of man. To him imagination is the great stimulus to action and to improvement. To the brutes it could only be a source of discontent and misery.

To the want of imagination, combined with an incapacity to follow out connected processes of reasoning, we may also ascribe that remarkable contrast which the condition of the brutes exhibits to ours, in being guided merely by present impulses without any regard to remote consequences. Cicero has stated this contrast very precisely and forcibly in the following words: "Sed inter hominem et belluam hoc maximè interest; "quod hæc tantùm quantùm sensu movetur, ad id solum, quod "adest, quodque præsens est, se accommodat, paullulum admo"dum sentiens præteritum aut futurum : Homo autem quòd "rationis est particeps, per quam consequentia cernit, causas "rerum videt, earumque prægressus et antecessiones non igno"rat; similitudines comparat, et rebus præsentibus adjungit, "atque annectit futuras; facilè totius vitæ cursum videt, ad "eamque degendam præparat res necessarias."*

As some authors ascribe reason to Brutes, so others have endeavoured to show that Man, in all his actions, is guided by instinct; and that reason is only an instinct of a particular kind. Mr. Smellie, in his Philosophy of Natural History, has laboured to support this pardoxical play upon words; but the idea is of a much earlier date than his writings, being started long ago by Dr. Martin Lister, and perhaps by others before him. "Man," (says this last author) is as very an animal as any "quadruped of them all, and most of his actions are resolvable "into instinct, notwithstanding the principles which custom and education have superinduced." That it is possible, by the aid of arbitrary definitions, to say plausible things in defence of this, or of any other opinion, I will not deny. But still every person of good sense must feel and acknowledge, that the words Reason and Instinct, in their ordinary acceptations, convey two meanings which are perfectly distinct; nor is it difficult to point out (as I have already attempted to show) some of their characteristical differences. In general, I believe, it may be remarked, that although the multitude often confound things which ought to be distinguished, yet there are very few

* De Officiis, Lib. I. iv.

cases indeed, if there be any, in which men of different ages and countries have agreed to distinguish things by different names, which have been afterwards found, by an accurate philosopical analysis, to be the same in reality. I shall leave, therefore, this verbal quibble, without any farther comment, to the candid consideration of my readers. More than enough has, I trust, been said in the first section of this chapter to expose its futility.


• I copy the following passage from the article Ame des Bêtes, in the second volume of a French work, entitled Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles, (published at Paris in the year 1804.) The coincidence between the opinions of the author, (the illustrious Cuvier,) and those which I have stated in the preceding chapter and in other parts of these Elements, gives me a confidence in some of my conclusions which I should not otherwise have felt; and encourages me in the belief, that the Theory of Helvetius, which, not many years ago, was so prevalent in France, is now gradually giving way, among cautious and impartial inquirers, to a philosophy less degrading to the dignity of human nature, and more favourable to human happiness.

"On ne peut donc nier qu'il n'y ait dans les bêtes, perception, mémoire, juge"ment et habitude; et l'habitude elle-même n'est autre chose qu'un jugement de" venu si facile pour avour éte répété, que nous y conformons en action avant de nous étre aperçus que nous l'avons fait en esprit. Il nous paroit même qu'on " aperçoit dans les bêtes les mêmes facultés que dans les enfans; seulement l'en"fant perfectionne son état, et il le perfectionne à mesure qu'il apprend à parler, "c'est-à-dire à mesure qu'il forme de ses sensations particulières des idées géne "ralés, et qu'il apprend à exprimer des idées abstraites par des signes convenus. "Ce n'est aussi que de cette époque que date en lui le souvenir distinct des faits. "La mémoire historique a la même origine et le même instrument que le raisonnement; cet instrument, c'est le langage abstrait.

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"Pourquoi l'animal n'est-il point susceptible du même perfectionnement que "l'enfant ? pourquoi n'a-t-il jamais ni langage abstrait, ni réflexion, ni mémoire "détaillée des faits, ni suite de raisonnemens compliqués, ni transmission d'expé"riences acquises? ou, ce qui revient au même, pourquoi chaque individu voit-il 66 son intelligence renfermée dans des bornes si étroites, et pourquoi est-il forcé "de parcourir précisément le même cercle que les individus de la même espèce "qui l'ont devancé? Nous verrons à l'article Animal que les grandes différences "qui distinguent les espèces, suffisent bien pour expliquer les différences de leurs "facultés ; mais en est-il qui puisse rendre raison de l'énorme distance qui existe, quant à l'intelligence, entre l'homme et le plus parfait des animaux, tandis qu'il y en a si peu dans l'organisation ?"-Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles, Art. Ame des Bétes. (Note I.)

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Some Account of JAMES MITCHELL, a boy born Deaf and Blind. From the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. VII. Part First.*

THE Memoir which I am about to submit to the consideration of the Royal Society, relates to the melancholy history of

* The connexion of the following Appendix with the preceding chapter may not at first be apparent to a superficial reader; but will at once be acknowledged by all who are able to perceive how strongly the minute details which it contains bear on some of the most interesting questions which relate to the characteristical endowments of the human mind. Solitary as Mitchell is in the midst of society, and confined in his intercourse with the material world within the narrowest conceivable limits, what a contrast does he exhibit to the most sagacious of the lower animals, though surrounded with all the arts of civilized man, and in the fullest possession of all the powers of external perception! Even in his childish occupations and pastimes, we may discern the rudiments of a rational and improvable nature; more particularly in that stock of knowledge, scanty as it is, which he has been led to acquire by the impulse of his own spontaneous and eager curiosity. Some of the occupations here described I might almost dignify by the name of experiments.

The attentive inquirer will discover in this memoir, proofs of his possessing various other faculties and principles not to be found in any of the lower animals; a sense of the ludicrous, for instance, or, at least, a susceptibility of the emotion of laughter; an emotion of which Milton has justly said—

Smiles from reason flow,

To brutes denied:

But, above all, a capacity of carrying on intercourse with other rational beings by means of conventional signs. How far the culture of his intellectual powers might have been carried by the improvement and extension of these rudiments of language, it is difficult to conjecture.

The substance of this Appendix might, I am sensible, have been introduced here in an abridged form; but as the value of the particulars contained in it de

a boy who was born blind and deaf; and who, of consequence, has derived all his knowledge of things external from the senses of Touch, of Taste, and of Smell.

It is now considerably more than a year since I first heard of this case from my very ingenious friend, Mr. Wardrop, surgeon in London; a gentleman whose scientific attainments and professional skill it is unnecessary for me to mention to this audience. The information which he then communicated to me was extremely general; but more than sufficient to excite all my curiosity. “I have at present (says he) a patient under "my care, whose case is, I believe, unique. It is a boy four"teen years old, who was born blind and deaf, and of course "dumb. His senses of touch and smell have a wonderful de"gree of acuteness; for by these alone he has acquired a very "accurate knowledge of external things, and is able to know "readily his old acquaintances from strangers. The powers "of his mind are vigorous. He is evidently capable of re"flection and reasoning, and is warmly attached to his parents. "He has a most delicate palate, and partakes only of the most "simple food. I have couched one of his eyes successfully; "and he is much amused with the visible world, though he "mistrusts information gained by that avenue. One day I got "him a new and gaudy suit of clothes, which delighted him "beyond description. It was the most interesting scene of "sensual gratification I ever beheld.” *

The first idea which struck me on receiving this intelligence was, that so extraordinary a combination of circumstances might perhaps afford a favourable opportunity of verifying or of correcting, in an unequivocal manner, some of those details in Cheselden's celebrated narrative, about which considerable doubts have been lately entertained, in consequence of their disagreement with the results of Mr. Ware's experience.† A

pends entirely upon their authenticity and accuracy, it appeared to me more proper to reprint it literally as it was at first written. The reader will thus be enabled to judge for himself of the evidence on which every fact fests, which I have thought it of importance to record.

This letter was dated October 4, 1810.

† Mr. Ware's paper here alluded to, is to be found in the Philosophical Transactions for 1801. The argument which it has been supposed to afford against Cheselden (founded on the case of Master W.) has always appeared to me to prove nothing, in consequence of its aiming to prove too much. Of this patient, (a boy who was restored to sight at seven years of age, after he had been blind from very early infancy,) we are told, that two days after the operation, the handkerchief which was tied over his eyes having slipped upward, he distinguished the table, by the side of which his mother was sitting. "It was about a yard " and a half from him; and he observed, that it was covered with a green cloth, (which was really the case,) and that it was a little farther off than he was able " to reach."

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