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out, and that of the imaciympathy, he
· Our Author, being apprehensive that his arguments may be evaded, and that many persons who cannot account for this fupposed operation of the imagination, will still maintain it to be the effect of some kind of sympathy, he endeavours to give us an explanation of that term.
• Sympathy between mankind must be considered either in the object which excites the sympathy, or in the person who experiences its power : in the object it is a disposition of the parts capable of exciting in the mind a lively agreeable sensation. In the person affected by it, it confifts in a rapid movement which inclines us towards the object which has excited in us this agreeable impression, and which is become the sole end of our desires, and affection. I have endeavoured, madam, to give you an idea of the source of this sympathy, by comparing the impression made by external objects on the mind, to the concords formed by an harpsichord. The shape, the features, the looks of a person strike us agreeably at first light, whatever effect it has produced in us, we cannot have seen the person by any other mechanism than that by which we perceive other objects, that is by the impressions begun at the bottom of the eye, and terminated by the motion of the fibres of the brain. This motion has inspired us with the combined idea of many good qua. lities in which we hope to find advantage and pleasure, powerful motives to animate our love, and make us eagerly pursue this object. Consult those who have experienced what they call sympathy, ask them by what power they have been so violently hurried away, they have perceived in one person at first sight an air of sweetness, of goodnature, of complaisance : in another marks of spirit, jollity and vivacity ; thus they give you an account of what they perceived instantaneously, and tell you what tones the harmony is formed of.
It is evident that the force of imagination cannot act upon the infant by this kind of sympathy, and its effect, if it had any, must terminate in inspiring either love or hatred in the infant. I can perceive no operation which could mark objects on the infant's body. . But as terms may be abused, and sympathy between diffe. rent inanimate bodies, be called a kind of conformity and afa finity in the disposition of their parts, in consequence of which they attract one another and easily unite; if the force of imagination is attributed to this kind of sympathy, some parts of the infant's body must be supposed to be disposed in such a manner as to attract the animal spirits which excited the idea, without their losing the movement which external objects caused in them. This supposition is absurd, but if the same movement of the animal spirits, could sublift after their passage through the whole mass of blood, this would be no other than a movement in a
pole brain and theount of the like not prodiecit could derinly.
strait line, destined for the vibration of a nervous fibre only. It delineates no image in the brain, and if it could delineate an image in the brain, still it could not produce the same effect on the skin, on account of the difference between the substance of the brain and the skin. And lastly, though all these effects were poffible, to decide them, we must suppose in fome one of the parts of the child a disposition independant of the mother's imagination. The marks then which appear on the skin of the child, cannot be attributed to the force of imagination.'
Our philosopher proceeds next to consider the cause of those strange accidents which are attributed to the force of imagination; asserting the analogy that subsists between the animal and vegetable creation, and that both spring from a feed which contains all their parts in miniature. We are apprehensive that he hath here waded a little out of his depth, and would for various reasons advise his fair readers by no means to follow him.
"We have seen every thing which vegetates, every thing which breathes inclosed without life, without action, in a very small space, in a seed, every thing exists there, though nothing appears distinguishable. Let us animate these beings, imprege nate these feeds and eggs, cover the fields with plants and trees, people the air, the earth and the water. We can easily do this, the business is only to make a liquid pass into the feed which raising lightly the partitions of it, facilitates the entrance of a thicker juice, which encreasing every day the first dilatation, nourishes and causes all these beings to grow.
o 'Tis in this alone, madam, that the whole mechanism of the impregnation of seeds confifts, they contain the entire plant or animal, but the parts of these different bodies are so closely pressed together that they cannot in this state afford entrance to a sufficient quantity of liquid, or to a Auid active enough to &retch them and unfold them entirely, they must be previously disposed thereto. It is necessary (to use the expression) to give a little light between the partitions, and in the canals of these minute vesels, it is necellary that a very small wedge should facilitate the entrance of a larger wedge. This first effort is what is meant by fecundation, a very thin fluid infinuates itself, penetrates the vessels destined to form the woody fibres, the leaves, the flowers, and in thort the whole tree. Then the seed, disposed by this first dilatation to receive thicker juices, and capable of a greater effort, unfolds itself by degrees, and at last arrives at the proper growth of its species.
. I have pursued this account in plants only, it is easy for your to apply what has been said to the eggs of animals, they contain in miniature the whole animal, in like manner as the feed contains the plant ; in the one and the other, you meet with the same minuteness, the same aciemblage, the same pressure of.
the parts together, consequently the same obstacles to the entrance of the nutritious juice. In such an exact resemblance, the method must be the same. The impregnation of the egg then, like that of the seed, must be effected by a very subile fluid, which separates the comprest tubes, and affords entrance for a thicker and more copious juice, on which depends the nourishment and growth of the animal ; thus nature which, preserving an exact timplicity, employs one same means only to maintain the different characteristics of plants, trees and animals, employs also but one same mechanism for the rendering fruitful the seeds of both.'
We find our Author here makes a mighty easy business of a subject, that has puzzled the philosophers for ages, and is still accounted one of the principal arcana of nature. The act of fecundation, it seems, is nothing more than making a little liquid pass into the seed, just as you would put a little falt or butter into an egg, or as the Indian devil served the egg of Oromases, when he impregnated it with fin.' But pray, most learned doctor, how is this Auid to be forced in ? and when it is in, why does it not lie quiet there? whence doth it derive its actia vity ? and how doth it act ? By partial motion, or universal dilatation?
It is with equal certainty and sagacity we are informed, that the egg which before impregnation is inclosed in the mother's belly, has certainly no soul,' so that it appears, the impregnation of the male is absolutely necessary to give it a soul. We are astonished our learned Author did not see, what a vile inference might hence be deduced, in degradation of the fair sex. For is it not directly insinuating, that men only are poffeffed of souls, and that the women have none? we hope and believe, however, that he is not such a Turk as to maintain this horrid doctrine. Indeed it is by no means for his personal safety that he should ; for with all his philosophy, he may find, from the effects of female resentment, that though a woman may want a soul, the seldom wants for spirit. But to return to the writer's argument; " the body inclosed in the egg must be unfolded and take a dea terminate shape before a foul can be united to it. Its destination (meaning the egg] cannot change the means necessary for its impregnation; it must be previously disposed to receive a nourishment capable of making it grow. The pressure of this minute body opposes the entrance of this nourishment. It must then first of all be lightly raised up, which is effected by a more subtle fluid than the nutritious juice, a liquid, fluid enough to insinuate itself into the vessels which are so closely pressed together, and active enough to unfold them by degrees. This is a necessary mechanism, feeds and eggs are exactly in the same condition, and have occasion for the same aslistance. Would Rev. July, 1765.
not one be apt to imagine, by this circumstantiality and exactitude, that our Author must be well acquainted with the precife time, at which the body is sufficiently opened to receive the soul, or modelled of the proper determinate shape to admit of its union? A tract on this subject, by a philosopher possessed of such rare and uncommon knowledge, would be a curious tract indeed! But, to be serious, the received doctrine of generation, fuppofing it to be effected only by the dilatation of minute bodies already formed, by means of an active fluid, acting nobody knows how, is attended with numerous difficulties not easily removed. Thus our Author, in order to account for a child's being born mutilated, distorted or imperfect, supposes that some parts of the cvum may make too great a resistance to impregnation, and therefore, being deprived of nourishment, will waste away; while others maymake toolittle opposition, and become
bigger by exceffive growth.' Now it is notorious that, in cases of wixt copulation, the fætus takes its very form not only from the female, but also from the male ; so that on this hypothesis, the impregnating fluid must have a wonderful kind of activity, not only to dilate the parts of the egg, but to dispose them in a particular manner for growth. . .
With respect to what are yulgarly called claret-stains on the skin, imputed to the mother's longing for red wine, the letterwriter observes, that all cutaneous marks must either be brown or red. Now, if the imagination could produce colour, it is strange, says he, that we never see children marked with green currants or gooseberries, of which pregnant women are frequently to fund. If it be truc, continues he, that the imagination of the mother, when struck to a certain degree, will mark the child, it is also true that the child will always be marked when the imagination is so ftruck. But experience shews that the child is not always marked by that cause, and therefore it follows, that the child is never marked from it, for there must be a never-failing proportion between cause and effect." With due fubiision to this great philosopher, however, all this is very bad logic. That the effect always follows the cause is very certain ; but natural causes so feldoni operate singly, that it is not easy to judge, from apparent effects and causes, of the connection of those which are real. Some intervening cause, which we see and know nothing of, frequently prevents the succels of the most common philosophical experiments ; in which calc we should conclude, according to this Author's reasoning, that there was a cause without an effect. It is very unfair to conclude, that if the imagination does sometimes, or even generally, mark the child, it must therefore always do so : or, that bei aufe a child is not always marked by that cause, it thence
fo:lows follows that it never is. This method of arguing is inconclusive, and unworthy a philosopher.
As it is not, after all, to be denied that marks do frequently appear on the budies of children, after the mother has undergone some violent affection, or agitation, our Author endea. vours to account for them thus :
Objects affect the soul, and in consequence thereof the soul acts upon the body: we are ignorant of the means, but it is not the less true that our passions make very strong impressions on us. Hence our blood is agitated, circulates with violence, puffs up the vessels, and we feel the effort of its impulse in every part of the body. This violent impulse in the blood is sometimes fuperior to the resistance of the vessels destined to contain it, and ex. perience has frequently shewn us, that a spitting of blood, or an apoplexy, has been the consequence, according as the vessels (which were too weak to resist this effort) were situated in the breast or head. We are subje&t to passions through which the circulation of the blocd is suspended, this we experience in some moments of surprize and terror: when the heart is convulfedi it contracts itself with greater violence, and for a much longer space of time, than in it's natural state; hence the blood is thrown with greater rapidity towards the external parts, and cannot be freely returned, because this convulsive contraction of the heart opposes the dilatation of those cavities of the heart, into which the veins should return it, and an exceflive and unexpected joy may produce the same effects; the course of the blood might . even be entirely stopped, and death be the consequence.
• In these two extreams that the passions throw us, I mean either as to the excessive rapidity of the circulation of the blood, or as to the suspenfion of it's course ; it's effort acts generally on all the vessels, and on every particular part; if any of them are overpowered by this effort, it is not because it acted more violently on that part than another, but because that part was weaker; it is not the motion in general of the blood that fixes the place of the rupture or dilatation of the vesse!s, but it is the disposition of the vefiel that determines the effect.
The blood of the mother passes from her to the child, and returns from the child to the mother; if it's course is precipitate, or suspended in the body of the mother, the child must partake of these different sensations, and by a necessary consequence the blood of the child must make a greater effort upon all the vessels of its body, and those which form the umbilical chord, by which it is joined to the belly of it's mother. The effects are sometimes fatal, the child dies, or the hemorrhage causes a miscarriage.
• The effects of this general effort of the blood, so great on certain occasions, in forre is confined to the dilatation of the Da