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usual discretion both in the sufferer and in his adviser, in order to prevent any mischief ensuing. Dr. Noble considers that in cases where it is difficult to ascertain the real state of a patient's mind, the surest test is found in his letters. When words and actions give no satisfactory clue, his letters will often betray the whole truth.
“ Some years ago," says Dr. Noble, “ I had to deal with a young man, about twenty-one years of age, who, for some weeks before I saw him, had become reserved, disdainful, and totally changed in general disposition. No perversion of ideas was apparent. Attempts to gain an elucidation of the circumstances were made in vain. Still the intuitive good sense of those about him suggested that he could not be in his right mind. Accident at length brought out the fact. This youth, the son of a publican, believed himself to have the Queen Adelaide for his true mother ; and was reasonably indignant-the premises being conceded—that he should, even for a time, be deprived of his birthright. The draft of a letter to his supposed parent was left open upon his table; this was read by his friends, and his eccentricities became explained. I have sometimes thought that the royal name of Charles Stuart, which the young man bore, might have had something to do with the direction which the delusion took in this instance."
We do not attempt to follow our author through all the chapters of his book, their details being sometimes too purely medical, and sometimes too painful, from the nature of the subject, to be interesting to the general reader; but the whole will well repay the study of all who take any peculiar interest in the question. We quote, however, a few of his conclusions as to the curability of this dreadful malady, which are worth every one's reading :
“ First, as regards sex, it is the generally-received opinion that with women the expectations of recovery are greater than with men ; an opinion which statistical tables, for the most part, support, and one in which my own experience leads me to coincide. In reference to age, the curability is commonly considered to be great in proportion to the youth of the patient. Esquirol fixes the ages between twenty and thirty as the periods of life when insanity is most amenable to treatment.
“ The general result of statistics is to show that, in large hospitals for the insane, about forty-five per cent of those admitted leave cured, the remainder either quitting the establishments or dying still deranged; and that, in private asylums, about fifty-four per cent leave cured. This more favourable result, I apprehend, is attributable to several circumstances; the patients are of a higher class, and, as a rule, presumably in better bodily condition ; then they come under treatment, generally speaking, at an earlier
period ; and, again, the numbers being limited, greater care and attention can be given to the particular circumstances of individual patients.
“Esquirol has embodied the circumstances of prognosis in a series of concise aphorisms, which I will here introduce, and with them close the present chapter. I believe them to be substantially sound and well-considered, like every thing else that has emanated from that distinguished authority.
Imbecility and idiocy are incurable.
• Monomania and melancholia are curable when they are recent and accidental, and when they do not depend upon organic lesion.
• Mania is more frequently cured than monomania and melancholia.
• Acute dementia is cured sometimes, chronic dementia very seldom, senile dementia never.
'Hereditary insanity is curable ; but relapses are more to be feared than with accidental insanity.
• Chronic insanity is cured with difficulty, especially after the second year; it is cured with the greater difficulty the longer the causes have been in operation prior to the outbreak.
• Of however long standing the mental alienation may be, a cure may be hoped for, so long as there exists some notable derangement in the functions of nutrition.
If moral causes have acted promptly in the production of insanity), the circumstance is favourable to recovery; but if their action has been slow, a cure is effected with difficulty.
• When excessive study has caused insanity, there is much fear that a cure will not be accomplished, especially if there has been corresponding irregularity in the diet and regimen.
. Insanity caused by, or associated with, religious ideas, or pride, is seldom cured.
Insanity associated with hallucinations is very difficult to
* Insanity in which patients reason readily upon their own condition offers many difficulties, if it is not speedily cured.
• When insane patients have recovered their general health, appetite, sleep, flesh, &c., without diminution of the intellectual disturbance, there is little expectation of cure.
• When the sensibility of insane patients is so weakened that they can look steadily at the sun, have lost taste, smell, and are insensible to all inconveniences, they are incurable.
Insanity is incurable when it is the sequel of a scorbutic or epileptic attack; the complication with these maladies, and with paralysis, leads inevitably to death.'”
BESTE'S TRAVELS IN AMERICA.
The Wabash, or Adventures of an English Gentleman's Family
in the Interior of America. By J. Richard Beste, Esq. London, Hurst and Blackett. 1855.
This book has been favourably received by the public and the critics, and we have great pleasure in adding our testimony to the correctness of their verdict. Had our space permitted, we would have given an earlier notice to this work of a fellowCatholic, whose creditable contribution to the literature of the season should serve as an incentive to others to imitate his example. We should be glad to have more frequent occasion to record the appearance of English Catholics in the field of general literature. We hold that every Catholic who distinguishes himself in any art or science, in any trade or profession, or in any department of the republic of letters, does good service not only to his country but to his fellow-Catholics, and is deserving of the special support and approbation of the organs of Catholic opinion. The fact is (such is the power of prejudice) that until a Catholic has obtained some reputation for ability and character unconnected with his religion, his most powerful efforts in defence either of the religious or civil rights of Catholics have no influence upon the mind of the nation, which simply refuses either to read or listen to his statements; while one who has obtained recognition as an historian, like Lingard, as a lawyer, like Butler, or as a poet, like Moore, stands already on a platform from which he can make his voice beard whenever a grievance requires redress, or an attack requires to be repelled. And there is no doubt that we have amongst us at this moment many-whether we refer to the eminent naturalist, whose style has charmed, while his observations have instructed thousands; or to the physician, who having founded his fame on a work which has made science popular and philosophy attractive, has more recently bestowed on us valuable inventions of practical and domestic utility; or to the genial artist, whose keen humour and happy fancy have illustrated a thousand shades of life and character, without ever soiling the purity of the most sensitive or lowering the elevation of the most generous mind ;—there are many, we repeat, whose advocacy or remonstrance on a question of Catholic rights would meet with a more favourable reception and make a more powerful impression than any thing of equal merit that might be ushered
forth in the name of the collective Catholic nobility of England.
But if this be true of success obtained in any other calling, it is still more strikingly exemplified in the case of those who establish a reputation in general literature. For there are few books on miscellaneous subjects written by Protestants which are not disfigured by the ignorance or prejudice of the author on the subject of Catholicity; while it is almost impossible for an educated Catholic to write a book which, besides the negative virtue of freedom from these stains, shall not directly or indirectly counteract soire absurd impression or refute some preposterous slander.
These considerations naturally heighten the pleasure with which we welcome Mr. Beste's work as one of the most truthful, readable, and entertaining books of travel which for some time has been laid upon our table.
The “ Wabash,” in which word Mr. Beste epitomises the adventures of an English gentleman's family in the interior of America, is a title which we fear will sound as mysterious to many of our readers as we confess with shame it did unto ourselves. The variety of speculations provoked by this title go some way to justify by themselves the publication of the book. For the “ Wabash" is not an Indian wigwam, nor the Backwoodsman's vernacular for a buffalo ; it is not the Sioux or Pawnee for a tomahawk; and it is not intended to suggest adventures like Captain Mayne Reid's Scalphunters, nor Fenimore Cooper's Nathaniel Bumpo. The Wabash is an American river, which, rising in the state of Ohio, flows in a westerly direction across the whole breadth of the state of Indiana, till it reaches the soil of Illinois, when turning to the south it forms the boundary between the two latter states, till it reaches the Ohio at a point some hundred miles above the junction of that river with the Mississippi. The junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi will have a place in the memory many
of our readers as the site of the great city of Cairo, which, while it was yet under water, some quarter of a century back, was the property and one of the favourite possessions of a great Catholic capitalist and speculator, whose predictions in its regard as the future capital of America, and emporium of the new world, have not yet been fulfilled.
We have said that the very title of the book justified its publication by revealing to us the ignorance under which we Taboured. But not only is the scene somewhat new; in the composition, circumstances, and motives of the travelling party we have an agreeable departure from routine. The party consisted of the author and his wife and eleven children, varying
from_two to nineteen years. The motives of the journey Mr. Beste shall explain for himself:
“The reader must become acquainted with my children. It was for those boys that we were about to undertake the voyage to America. From the time of the birth of my second son I had determined that emigration to the Backwoods would be the happiest lot for all of them during my life; for all, but the eldest, after
Fond of a country life myself, I had resolved that the chances of happiness were greater to young men who (first endowed with classical education such as is given in Europe) should occupy lands of their own in the New World, and see their children grow up around them to a similar lot, than they would be to the same young men if harnessed to any of the professions in England, through which they perhaps might, by the time they were sixty, earn a competence on which to marry and breed up another race of aspiring paupers. Right or wrong, this had been my ettled conviction through life ; and we would now take an opportunity of visiting the country with them, and of becoming acquainted with their future home while our daughters were not old enough to require our residence elsewhere.'
Mr. Beste has had able auxiliaries in his task. He has borrowed largely from the journals kept by his daughters at his desire; and certain it is that one of the principal charms of the book is due to these clever and natural records of impressions made on youthful minds among scenes so trying, and persons and incidents so novel.
“ I make no apology for giving these frequent extracts from the records of my children. These pages profess to recount the impressions and adventures of a family in a new country. Those impressions can be best conveyed in the language of the several members of the party. Let me not be told that the observations of my children are trivial: trivial observations, such as might escape the notice of the censorious reader or of myself, best show the every-day habits and life of those upon whom they are made. Great historians may write down the great deeds of sovereigns, and heroes may write history as it has been delivered down to us; but for want of the records of a different class of observers, how little do we know of the manners and feelings of the people of those very times of which we fancy that we have learned the history! I have undertaken to write the history of a family, during a few, to it eventful months. I appeal to the sympathy of the reader under no false pretences. I myself know, that by following the little adventures of that family, he will acquire a more intimate knowledge of the people amongst whom they occur than he could gather from whole volumes of professedly descriptive research: but if his pride revolts from such a means of acquiring information; if he cannot be taught out of the mouths of babes and sucklings; if he cannot suffer little children to