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elly placed before it.-In the time of the American Revolution, as the transaction was related by an officer who was present, a soldier, who had committed some crimne, was condemned to be shot. He was finally pardoned, without a knowledge of the pardon being communicated to him, since it was thought advisable that he should be made to suffer as much as possible from the fear of death. In accordance with this plan, he was led at the appointed time to the place of execution; the bandage was placed
l over his eyes; and the soldiers were drawn out, but were privately ordered to fire over his head. At the discharge of their inuskets, although nothing touched him, the man fell dead on the spot.-A criminal was once sentenced in England to be executed, when a college of physicians requested liberty to make him the subject of an experiment connected with their profession. It was granted. The man was told that his sentence was commuted, and that he was to be bled to death. On the appointed day several physicians went to the prison, and made the requisite preparations in his presence; the lancet was displayed, bowls were in readiness to receive the blood, and the culprit was directed to place himself on his back, with his arm extended, ready to receive the fatal incision. When all this was done, his eyes were bandaged. In the mean time, a sufficient quantity of lukewarm water had been provided ; his arm was merely touched with the lancet, and the water, poured slowly over it, was made to trickle down into the bowl below. One of the physicians felt his pulse, and the others frequently exchanged such marks as, . He is nearly exhaustedcannot hold out much longer-grows very pale,' &c.; and in a short time the criminal actually died from the force of imagination."
$ 334. This doctrine of use in explaining mental phenainena. These illustrations of the connexion existing between the body and mind, and of their influence on each other, are brought together here in order to prevent the necessity of hereafter interrupting our examination of other subject, by a particular recurrence to this. There might be a much more extended narration of facts, all tending to the same conclusion ; but we take it for granted that it is unnecessary: We shall accordingly hereafter regard
* As the statement is given in the Work entitled Popular Supersti
. it as a settled principle, whenever a particular effect in the mind is ascribed to an influence from the body, that such bodily influence is at least possible. We may perhaps mistake, in a given case, in assigning the true corporeal cause ; but this will not imply that there is no such thing as corporeal causes of mental action, or that such causes are inadequate to great effects. If we would understand the mind, we must also understand the body, not because they are identical, but because they are related. And for the same reason, if we would possess a sound mind, a mind capable of exertion corresponding to its capacity, we must endeavour to possess soundness of body. In another and future state of being, where the connexion which now exists will be broken, and the spiritual will be divorced from the material, it is possible that mental philosophy may be predicated on other principles; but, as matters now are, to attempt to explain the phenomena of the soul without a recognition of its relationship to the body, is a violation of fact and an absurdity in reason
EXCITED CONCEPTIONS OR APPARITIONS.
$335. Of excited conceptions and of apparitions in general. HAVING prepared the way by what has been said on the connexion existing between the mind and body, we shall now proceed in the examination of the painfully interesting subject before us, by giving some instances and explanations of EXCITED CONCEPTIONS or APPARITIONS. Conceptions, the consideration of which is to be resumed in the present chapter, are those ideas which we have of any absent object of perception. In their ordinary form they have already been considered in a former part of this Work. (See Chapter X., Part I.) But they are
. found to vary in degree of strength; and hence, when they are at the highest intensity of which they are susceptible, they may be denominated vivified or EXCITED CONCEPTIONS. They are otherwise called, particularly
. when they have their origin in the sense of sight, APPARITIONS.
Apparitions, therefore, are appearances which seem to be external and real, but which, in truth, have merely an interior or subjective existence; they are merely vivid or excited conceptions. Accordingly, there may be apparitions not only of angels and departed spirits, which appear to figure more largely in the history of apparitions than other objects of sight; but of landscapes, mountains, rivers, precipices, festivals, armies, funeral processions, temples ; in a word, of all visual perceptions which we are capable of recalling.–Although there are excited conceptions both of the hearing and the touch, and sometimes, though less frequently, of the other senses, which succeed in reaching and controlling our belief with unreal intimations, those of the sight, in consequence of the great importance of that organ and the frequency of the deceptions connected with it, claim especial attention
Ø 336, Of the less permanent excited conceptions of sight. Excited conceptions, which are not permanent, but have merely a momentary, although a distinct and real existence, are not uncommon. In explanation of these there are two things to be noticed.-I. They are sometimes the result of the natural and ordinary exercise of that power of forming conceptions which all persons possess in a greater or less degree. We notice them particularly in children, in whom the conceptive or imaginative power, so far as it is employed in giving existence to creations that have outline and form, is generally more active than in later life. Children, it is well known, are almost constantly projecting their inward conceptions into outward space,
and erecting the fanciful creations of the mind amid the realities and forms of matter, beholding houses, men, towers, flocks of sheep, clusters of trees, and varieties of landscape in 'he changing clouds, in the
wreathed and driven snow, in the fairy-work of frost, and in the cmbers and flickering flames of the hearth. This, at least, was the experience of the early life of Cowper, who has made it the subject of a fine passage in the poem of the Task.
“Me oft has fancy, ludicrous and wild,
I gazed, myself creating what I saw." Beattie too, after the termination of a winter's storm, places his young Minstrel on the shores of the Atlantic, to view the heavy clouds that skirt the distant horizon
Where, mid the changeful scenery ever new,
Rocks, corrents, gulss, and shapes of giant size,
And glittering cliffs on cliffs, and fiery ramparts rise ” II. Again, excited conceptions which are not permanent are frequently called into existence in connexion with some anxiety and grief of mind, or some other modification of mental excitement. A person, for instance, standing on the seashore, and anxiously expecting the approach of his vessel, will sometimes see the image of it, and will be certain for the moment that he has the object of his anticipations in view, although, in truth, there is no vessel in sight. That is to say, the conception, idea, or image of the vessel, which it is evidently in the power
one to form who has previously seen one, is rendered so intense by feelings of anxiety, as to be the same in effect as if the real object were present, and the figure of it were actually pictured on the retina.-It is in connexion with this view that we may probably explain a remark in the narrative of Mrs. Howe's captivity, who in 1775 was taken prisoner, together with her seven childr n, by the St. François Indians. In the course of her captivity, she was at a certain time informed by the Indians that two of her children were no more; one having died a natural death, and the other being knocked on the head. “I did not utter many words,” says the mother, but my heart was sorely pained within me, and my mind excuedingly troubled with strange and awful ideas (meaning conceptions or images). I often imagined, for instance, that I plainly saw the naked carcasses of my children hanging upon the limbs of trees, as the Indians are wont to hang the raw hides of those beasts which they take in hunting."
§ 337. Of the less permanent excited conceptions of sound. In regard to excited conceptions of sound (we may remark incidentally, as we intend to consine ourselves chiefly to those of sight), they are not, as was seen in a former part of this Work ($ 115), so easily called into existence and so vivid as visual conceptions. Consequently, we have grounds for making a distinction, and for saying that only one of the remarks made in reference to the less permanent excited conceptions of sight will apply to those of sound. In other words, excited conceptions of sound (those which appear and depart suddenly without any permanent inconvenience to the subject of them) originate in connexion with a greater or less degree of mental excitement.--Persons, for instance, sitting alone in a room, are sometimes interrupted by the supposed hearing of a voice which calls to them. "But, in truth, it is only their own internal conception of that particular sound, which, in consequence of some peculiar mental state, happens at the moment to be so distinct as to control their belief, and impose itself upon them for a reality. This is probably the whole mystery of what Boswell has related as a singular incident in the life of Dr. Johnson, that while at Oxford he distinctly heard his mother call him by his given name, although she was at the very time in Litchfield. The same principle explains also what is related of Napoleon. Previously to his Russian expedition, he was frequently discovered half reclined on a sofa, where he remained several hours, plungeil in profound meditation. Sometimes he started up convulsively, and with an ejaculation. Fancying he heard his name, he would exclaim, Who calls me? These are the sounds, susceptible of being heard at any time in the desert air, which started Robinson Crusoe