« PředchozíPokračovat »
with several of the Greek and Latin fathers; and the physician succeeded in identifying so many passages with those taken down at the young woman's bedside, that no doubt could remain in any rational mind concerning the true origin of the impressions made on her nervous system.'
Mr. Coleridge observes, that this authenticated case furnishes both proof and instance that relicks of sensation may exist, for an indefinite time, in a latent state, in the very same order in which they were originally impressed; for it cannot be supposed that, in a case like this, the feverish state of the brain would act in any other way than as a stimulus. Mr. Coleridge therefore thinks it probable that all thoughts are in themselves imperishable, and that if the intelligent faculty should be rendered more comprehensive, it would require only a different and apportioned organization, the body celestial instead of the body terrestrial, to bring before every human soul the collective experience of its whole past existence. "And all this," he adds, "perchance is the dread book of judgment, in whose mysterious hieroglyphics every idle word is recorded."
We fear that this extraordinary story will not greatly benefit the science of metaphysics; for, in the first place, all we know of it is, that it is said to have occurred in a Catholic town in Germany, a year or two before Mr. Coleridge's arrival in Gottingen, and on such a vague and indefinite state
ment, no true philosopher could, we think, venture to found any serious speculation. But, in the second place, the power or faculty here ascribed to the young German girl seems to remain altogether unaccounted for by any theory-whether of Hartley →→ Aristotle or Mr. Coleridge. Had this girl been taught by the old Protestant Pastor a number of Hebrew words and sentences, and afterwards seemingly forgotten them,-till, in a nervous fever, she again uttered them in her delirious ravings,the fact would have been curious,—and, even with+ out satisfactory explanation, would have been cres dible. For it would have amounted only to this,
the sudden resuscitation of ideas apparently dead, and the sudden reappearance of impressions appa→ rently effaced. But as the story stands, we are forced to believe that this girl possessed, in her delirium, a knowledge which she never did possess >at any previous period of her life. The Hebrew language is not to be acquired by any young servant girl whatever, when at work in the kitchen, from the recitations of her learned master declaiming rabbinical wisdom to and fro before the said kitchen-door. Doubtless a word or two might so be picked up but that long sentences and harangues from the Rabbins, and the Greek and Latin Fathers, afterwards capable of filling whole sheets with ravings, should have been distinctly, and accurately, and grammatically committed to memory by a girl who could neither read nor write, and under such cir
cumstances, cannot be thought possible but by the most credulous. Mr. Coleridge does not seem to think the acquisition of such knowledge, in the first case, any way remarkable; at least he makes no allusion to so wonderful a phenomenon. We suspect, indeed, that he is of opinion that the girl repeated, in her delirium, that which she never could repeat in her sound senses. If so, we do not comprehend his philosophy. The sounds uttered by a Protestant Pastor struck the ear of the girl, an impression was therefore made on her sense of hearing. But does Mr. Coleridge believe that this impression was that of distinct and separate sounds, of syllables, words, sentences, periods? It could not so have been. Her ravings must have borne some resemblance to the impression formerly received. But, if in her delirium she spoke good Hebrew and excellent Greek, she must have spoken what she never could have learned. This story, therefore, seems to us to prove a great deal too much-certainly much more than that relicks of sensation may exist for an indefinite time in a latent state. If it be a true story, the wonder seems to us greater, that the girl should have ever acquired such knowledge by such means, than that the knowledge having been seemingly lost, should, in delirium, have been restored.
BLACKWOOD'S Magazine. ¿
EPITAPH ON COLONEL CHARTERIS,
BY DR. ARBUTHNOT.
HERE continueth to rotta s
The Body of FRANCIS CHARTERIS;">
In spite of AGE and INFIRMITIES,
29 In the practice of EVERY HUMAN VICES 4 Excepting PRODIGALITY and HYPOCRISY; </ His Insatiable AVARICE exempted him from the first, His Matchless IMPUDENCE from the second vi Nor was he more singular
In the undeviating pravity of his manners,
all For, without TRADE OR PROFESSION, Ana Without trust of PUBLIC MONEY, VIBANJ And without BRIBE-WORTHY Service, no He acquired, or, more properly, created, bongadido. A MINISTERIAL ESTATE.
He was the only person of his time
Who could CHEAT without the Mask of HONESTY, Retain his primeval MEANNESS
F. When possessed of TEN THOUSAND a-year; And having deserved the GIBBET for what he did, Was at last condemned to it for what he could not do.
O indignant reader!
Think not his life useless to mankind!
A conspicuous PROOF and EXAMPLE
By his bestowing it on the most UNWORTHY
This man was infamous for all manner of vices. While he was an ensign in the arniy, he was drummed out of the regiment for a cheat; he was next banished BRUSSELS, and drummed out of Ghent, on the same account. After an hundred tricks at the gaming table, he took to lending of money at exorbitant interest and great premium, and accumulating premium, interest, and capital into new capital, and seizing to a minute when the payments became due; in a word, by a constant attendance on the wants, vices, and follies of mankind, he acquired an immense fortune. His house was the scene of every iniquity. He was twice condemned for rapes, and pardoned; but the last time not without imprisonment in Newgate, and large confiscations.
It is said to be his portrait which Hogarth has introduced into the first plate of the "Rake's Progress."
He died in 1731, aged 62. The populace at his