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more anxiety as to the grounds of action. In the same proportion, we may assume a growing and more direct regard to Casuistry: which is precisely the part of Ethics that will be continually expanding, and continually throwing up fresh doubts. Not as though a moral principle could ever be doubtful. But that the growing complexity of the circumstances will make it more and more difficult in judgment to de. tach the principle from the case; or in practice, to determine the application of the principle to the facts. It will happen therefore, as Mr Coleridge used to say happened in all cases of importance, that extremes meet: for Casuistical Ethics will be most consulted by two classes the most opposite to each other-by those who seek excuses for evading their duties, and by those who seek a special fulness of light for fulfilling them.
Strange it is, that moral treatises, when professing to lay open the great edifice of human duties, and to expose its very foundations, should not have begun with, nay, should not have noticed at all, those duties which a man owes to himself, and, foremost amongst them, the duty of cultivating his own health. For it is evident, that, from mere neglect of that one personal duty, with the very best intentions possible, all other duties whatever may become impossible; for good intentions exist in all stages of efficiency, from the fugitive impulse to the realizing self-determination. In this life, the elementary blessing is health. What! do we presume to place it before peace of mind? Far from it: but we speak of the genesis; of the succession in which all blessings de. scend: not as to time, but the order of dependency. All morality implies free agency: it presumes beyond all other conditions an agent who is in perfect possession of his own volitions. Now, it is certain that a man without health, is not uniformly master of his own purposes. Often he cannot be said either to be in the path of duty or out of it; so incoherent are the actions of a man forced back continually from the objects of his intellect and choice upon some alien objects dictated by internal wretchedness. It is true, that
by possibility some derangements of the human system are not incompatible with happiness; and a celebrated German author of the last century, Von Hardenberg-better known by his assumed name of Novalismaintained, that certain modes of ill health or valetudinarianism were prerequisites towards certain modes of intellectual development. But the ill health to which he pointed could not have gone beyond a luxurious indisposition; nor the corresponding intellectual purposes have been other than narrow, fleeting, and anomalous. Inflammatory action in its earlier stages, is sometimes connected with voluptuous sensations: so is the preternatural stimulation of the liver. But these states, as pleasurable states, are transitory. All fixed derangements of the health are doubly hostile to the moral energies; first, through the intellect, which they debilitate unconsciously in many ways; and next, both consciously and semi-consciously through the will. The judgment is perhaps too clouded to fix upon a right purpose: the will too enfeebled to pursue it.
Two general remarks may be applied to all interferences of the physical with the moral sanity; 1st, That it is not so much by absolute deductions of time that ill health operates upon the serviceableness of a man, as by its lingering effects upon his temper and his animal spirits. Many a man has not lost one hour in his life from illness, whose faculties of usefulness have been most seriously impaired through gloom or untuned feelings; 2dly, That it is not the direct and known risks to our health which act with the most fatal effects, but the semi-conscious condition, the atmosphere of circumstances, with which artificial life surrounds us. The great cities of Europe, perhaps London beyond all others, under the modern modes of life and business, create a vortex of preternatural tumult, a rush and frenzy of excitement, which is fatal to far more than are heard of as express victims to that system.
The late Lord Londonderry's nerVous seizure was no solitary or rare case. So much we happen to know. We are well assured by medical men of great London practice, that the case is one of growing frequency. In Lord Londonderry it attracted notice
for reasons of obvious personal interest, as well as its tragical catastrophe. But the complaint, though one of modern growth, is well known, and comes forward under a most determinate type as to symptoms, among the mer cantile class. The original predisposition to it, lies permanently in the condition of London life, especially as it exists for public men. But the im mediate existing cause, which fires the train always ready for explosion, is invariably some combination of perplexities, such as are continually gathering into dark clouds over the heads of great merchants; sometimes only teasing and molesting, sometimes menacing and alarming. These perplexities are generally moving in counteracting paths: some progressive, some retrograde. There lies a man's safety. But at times it will happen that all comes at once; and then comes a shock such as no brain already predisposed by a London life, is strong enough (but more truly let us saycoarse enough) to support.
Lord Londonderry's case was precisely of that order: he had been worried by a long session of Parliament, which adds the crowning irritation in the interruption of sleep. The nervous system, ploughed up by intense wear and tear, is denied the last resource of natural relief. In this crisis, already perilous, a new tempest was called in of all the most terrific-the tempest of anxiety: and from what source? Anxiety from fear, is bad: from hope delayed, is bad: but worst of all is anxiety from responsibility, in cases where disease or weakness makes a man feel that he is unequal to the burden. The diplomatic interests of the country had been repeatedly confided to Lord Londonderry: he had justified that confidence: he had received affecting testimonies of the honour which belonged to such a situation. But a short time before his fatal seizure, in passing through Birmingham at a moment when all the gentlemen of the place were assembled, he had witnessed the whole assembly
no mob, but the collective good sense of the place by one impulse standing bareheaded in his presence,—a tribute of disinterested homage which affected him powerfully, and which was well understood as offered to his foreign diplomacy. Under these circumstances could he bear to transfer or delegate
the business of future negotiation ? Could he suffer to lapse into other hands, as a derelict, the consummation of that task which thus far he had so prosperously conducted? Was it in human nature to do so? He felt the same hectic of human passion which Lord Nelson felt in the very gates of death, when some act of command was thoughtlessly suggested as belonging to his successor-" Not whilst I live, Hardy; not whilst I live." Yet, in Lord Londonderry's case, it was necessary, if he would not transfer the trust, that he should rally his energies instantly: for a new Congress was even then assembling. There was no delay open to him by the nature of the case: the call was-now, now, just as you are, my lord, with those shattered nerves and that agitated brain, take charge of interests the most complex in Christendom: to say the truth, of interests which are those of Christendom.
This struggle, between a nervous system too grievously shaken, and the instant demand for energy seven times intensified, was too much for any generous nature. A ceremonial embassy might have been fulfilled by shattered nerves; but not this embassy. Anxiety supervening upon nervous derangement was bad; anxiety through responsibility was worse; but through a responsibility created by grateful confidence, it was an appeal through the very pangs of martyrdom. No brain could stand such a siege. Lord Londonderry's gave way; and he fell with the tears of the generous even where they might happen to differ from him in politics.
Mean time, this case, belonging to a class generated by a London life, was in some quarters well understood even then; now, it is well known that, had different remedies been applied, or had the sufferer been able to stand up under his torture until the cycle of the symptoms had begun to come round, he might have been saved. The treatment is now well understood; but even then it was understood by some physicians; amongst others by that Dr Willis who had attended George the Third. In several similar cases overpowering doses had been given of opium, or of brandy; and usually a day or two had carried off the oppression of the brain by a tremendous reaction.
In Birmingham and other towns, where the body of people called Quakers are accumulated, different forms of nervous derangement are developed; the secret principle of which turns not, as in these London cases, upon feelings too much called out by preternatural stimulation, but upon feelings too much repelled and driven in. Morbid suppression of deep sensibilities must lead to states of disease equally terrific and perhaps even less tractable; not so sudden and critical perhaps, but more settled and gloomy. We speak not of any physical sensibilities, but of those which are purely moral-sensibilities to poetic emotions, to ambition, to social gaiety. Accordingly it is amongst the young men and women of this body that the most afflicting cases under this type occur. Even for children, however, the systematic repression of all ebullient feel. ing, under the Quaker discipline, must be sometimes perilous; and would be more so, were it not for that marvellous flexibility with which nature adapts herself to all changes-whether imposed by climate or by situation-by inflictions of Providence or by human spirit of system.
These cases we point to as formidable mementos, monumenta sacra, of those sudden catastrophes which either ignorance of what concerns the health, or neglect in midst of knowledge, may produce. Any mode of life in London, or not in London, which trains the nerves to a state of permanent irritation, prepares a nidus for disease; and unhappily not for chronic disease only, but for disease of that kind which finishes the struggle almost before it is begun. In such a state of habitual training for morbid action, it may happen—and often has happened -that one and the same week sees the victim apparently well and in his grave.
These, indeed, are extreme cases: though still such as threaten many more than they actually strike; for, though uncommon, they grow out of very common habits. But even the ordinary cases of unhealthy action in the system, are sufficient to account
for perhaps three-fourths of all the disquiet and bad temper which disfigure daily life. Not one man in every ten is perfectly clear of some disorder, more or less, in the digestive systemnot one man in fifty enjoys the absolutely normal state of that organ; and upon that depends the daily cheerfulness, in the first place, and through that (as well as by more direct actions) the sanity of the judgment. To speak strictly, not one man in a hundred is perfectly sane even as to his mind. For, though the greater disturbances of the mind do not take place in more than one man of each_thousand,* the slighter shades that settle on the judgment, which daily bring up thoughts such as a man would gladly banish, which force him into moods of feeling irritating at the moment, and wearing to the animal spirits,-these derangements are universal.
From the greater alike and the lesser, no man can free himself but in the proportion of his available knowledge applied to his own animal system, and of the surrounding circumstances, as constantly acting on that system. Would we, then, desire that every man should interrupt his proper studies or pursuits for the sake of studying medicine? Not at all: nor is that requisite. The laws of health are as simple as the elements of arithmetic or geometry. It is required only that a man should open his eyes to perceive the three great forces which support health.
They are these: 1. The blood requires exercise: 2. The great central organ of the stomach requires adaptation of diet: 3. The nervous system requires regularity of sleep. In those three functions of sleep, diet, exercise, is contained the whole economy of health. All three of course act and re-act upon each other: and all three are woefully deranged by a London life-above all, by a parliamentary life.
As to the first point, it is probable that any torpor or even lentor in the blood, such as scarcely expresses itself sensibly through the pulse, renders that fluid less able to resist the first actions of disease. As to the second,
*"One man of each thousand :" in several nations that has been found to be the average proportion of the insane. But this calculation has never been made to include all the slighter cases. It is not impossible that at some periods the whole human race may have been partially insane.
a more complex subject, luckily we benefit not by our own brief experience exclusively every man benefits practically by the traditional experience of ages, which constitutes the culinary experience in every land and every household. The inheritance of knowledge, which every generation receives, as to the salubrity of this or that article of diet, operates continually in preventing dishes from being brought to table. Each man's separate experience does something to arm him against the temptation when it is offered; and again, the traditional experience far oftener intercepts the temptation. As to the third head, sleep, this of all is the most immediately fitted by nature to the relief of the brain and its exquisite machinery of nerves:-it is the function of health most attended to in our navy; and of all it is the one most painfully ravaged by a London life.
Thus it would appear, that the three great laws of health, viz. motion, rest, and temperance, (or,,by a more adequate expression, adaptation to the organ,) are, in a certain gross way, taught to every man by his personal experience. The difficulty is-as in so many other cases-not for the understanding, but for the will-not to know, but to execute.
Now here steps in Casuistry with two tremendous suggestions, sufficient to alarm any thoughtful man, and rouse him more effectually to the perform ance of his duty.
First, that under the same law (whatever that law may be) which makes suicide a crime, must the neglect of health be a crime? For thus stand the two accounts:- -By suicide you have cut off a portion unknown from your life years it may be, but possibly only days. By neglect of health you have cut off a portion unknown from your life days it may be, but also by possibility years. So the practical result may be the same in either case; or, possibly, the least is suicide. "Yes," you reply, "the practical results-but not the purpose-not the intention ergo, not the crime." Certainly not: in the one case the result arises from absolute predetermination, with the whole energies of the will; in the other it arises in spite of your will, (meaning your choice)-it arisesout of human infirmity. But still the difference is as between choosing a crime
for its own sake, and falling into it from strong temptation.
Secondly, that in every case of duty unfulfilled, or duty imperfectly fulfilled, in consequence of illness, languor, decaying spirits, &c., there is a high probability (under the age of sixty-five almost a certainty) that a part of the obstacle is due to self-neglect. No man that lives but loses some of his time from ill health, or at least from the incipient forms of ill health-bad spirits, or indisposition to exertion. Now, taking men even as they are, statistical societies have ascertained that, from the ages of twenty to sixtyfive, ill health, such as to interrupt daily labour, averages from seven days to about fourteen per annum. In the best circumstances of climate, occupation, &c., one fifty-second part of the time perishes to the species-in the least favourable, two such parts. Con sequently, in the forty-five years from twenty to sixty-five, not very far from a year perishes on an average to every man-to some as much more. A considerable part even of this loss is due to neglect or mismanagement of health. But this estimate records only the loss of time in a pecuniary sense; which loss, being powerfully restrained by self-interest, will be the least possible under the circumstances. The loss of energy, as applied to duties not connected with any self-interest, will be far more. In so far as that loss emanates from defect of spirits, or other modes of vital torpor, such as neglect of health has either caused or promoted, and care might have prevented, in so far the omission is charged to our own responsibility. Many men fancy that the slight injuries done by each single act of intemperance, are like the glomeration of moonbeams upon moonbeams-myriads will not amount to a positive value. Perhaps they are wrong: possibly every act-nay, every separate pulse or throb of intemperate sensation-is numbered in our own after actions; reproduces itself in some future perplexity; comes back in some reversionary shape that injures the freedom of action for all men, and makes good men afflicted. At all events, it is an undeniable fact, that many a case of difficulty, which in apology for ourselves we very truly plead to be insurmountable by our existing energies, has borrowed its sting from previous acts or omissions
of our own: it might not have been
Let not the reader suspect us of the Popish doctrine, that men are to enter hereafter into a separate reckoning for each separate act, or to stand at all upon their own merits. That reckoning, we Protestants believe, no man could stand; and that some other resource must be had than any personal merits of the individual. But still we should recollect that this doctrine, though providing a refuge for past offences, provides none for such offences as are committed deliberately, with a prospective view to the benefits of such a refuge. Offend we may, and we must: but then our offences must come out of mere infirmity-not because we calculate upon a large allowance being made to us, and say to ourselves, "Let us take out our allow ance."
Casuistry, therefore, justly, and without infringing any truth of Christian ity, urges the care of health as the
basis of all moral action, because, in fact, of all perfectly voluntary action. Every impulse of bad health jars or untunes some string in the fine harp of human volition; and because a man cannot be a moral being but in the proportion of his free action, therefore it is clear that no man can be in a high sense moral, except in so far as through health he commands his bodily powers, and is not commanded by them.
CASE II.-Laws of Hospitality in collision with Civic Duties.
Suppose the case, that, taking shelter from a shower of rain in a stranger's house, you discover proofs of a connection with smugglers. Take this for one pole of such case, the trivial extreme ; then for the other pole, the greater extreme, suppose the case, that, being hospitably entertained, and happening to pass the night in a stranger's house, you are so unfortunate as to detect unquestionable proofs of some dreadful crime, say murder, perpetrated in past times by one of the family. The principle at issue is the same in both cases: viz. the command resting upon the conscience to forget private consideration and personal feelings in the presence of any solemn duty; yet merely the difference of degree, and
*With respect to the management of health, although it is undoubtedly true that, like the "primal charities," in the language of Wordsworth, in proportion to its importance it shines alike for all, and is diffused universally-yet not the less, in every age, some very obstinate prejudices have prevailed to darken the truth. Thus Dryden authorizes the conceit, that medicine can never be useful or requisite, because
"God never made his work for man to mend."
To mend! No, Glorious John, neither physician nor patient has any such presumptuous fancy; we take medicine to mend the injuries produced by our own folly. What the medicine mends is not God's work, but our own. The medicine is a plus certainly; but it is a plus applied to a minus of our own introducing. Even in these days of practical knowledge, errors prevail on the subject of health which are neither trivial nor of narrow operation. Universally, the true theory of digestion, as partially unfolded in Dr Wilson Philip's experiments on rabbits, is so far mistaken, and even inverted-that Lord Byron, when seeking a diet of easy digestion, instead of resorting to animal food broiled and underdone, which all medical men know to be the most digestible food, took to a vegetable diet, which requires a stomach of extra power. The same error is seen in the common notion about the breakfast of ladies in Elizabeth's days, as if fit only for ploughmen; whereas it is our breakfasts of slops which require the powerful organs of digestion. The same error, again, is current in the notion that a weak watery diet is fit for a weak person. Such a person peculiarly requires solid food. It is also a common mistake to suppose that, because no absolute illness is caused by daily errors of diet, these errors are practically cancelled. Cowper the poet delivers the very just opinion-That all disorders of a function (as, suppose, the secretion of bile,) sooner or later, if not corrected, cease to be functional disorders, and become organic.