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the mind itself will be found to be affected also; and oftentimes in a high degree.

Facts of this description will help us, in some measure, in the explanation of those states of the mind, which are called APPARITIONS; but with whatever light may be derived from this source, the whole subject still remains in some obscurity and open to many further inquiries.

§. 95. This subject illustrated from Shakespeare.

The definition, which we give of apparitions, is, that they are appearances, which seem to be real, but which exist only in the imagination. But how does it happen, that they are merely imaginary, when they have so much the appearance of reality? The answer is, that they are ideas or conceptions, in no ways differing from ordinary conceptions but this, that they are more vivid; and it is in consequence of being so much more vivid than common, that the conceptions are mistaken for the thing conceived of, a state of the mind, which is brought about on the principles of association, for the real object, which was originally the cause of that state of mind. The conception of the man, of the mountain, the temple, or the procession, is so intense, so extremely vivid, that we as firmly believe them to be really in our view, as when at some former period we truly beheld them.

In many cases, this great intensity and vividness of conceptions may be traced to some affection of the bodily system, as has already been intimated; when, for instance, a person has inhaled a quantity of nitrous oxide gas, when there is a general strong excitement of the nervous system, or when it so happens, that the blood vessels of the brain. are overcharged. There are, however, some instances of apparitions, which baffle the efforts of any solution of this


Few persons have exhibited a more intimate acquaintance with the principles of the mental constitution, than Shakespeare. He was not ignorant of the fact, that the human mind, under certain circumstances, is in such a po

sition, that imaginary appearances impress it as strongly, and seem to be as truly and really before it, as any objects whatever, which are actually beheld by us.

Thus, when Macbeth is preparing to slay Duncan, hẹ beholds the apparition of a dagger.

"Is this a dagger, which I see before me,

"The handle towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee,

"I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

It was not true, that Macbeth saw any thing, although, if he had clutched the dagger in his hand, he would not have believed more firmly in its existence and presence, than he did.

From this tragedy and also from others, we have evidence of what has been stated,

(1) That Shakespeare befieved and knew, that there are APPARITIONS or mental conceptions so vivid, as to be mistaken for realities;

(2) And also that he considered apparitions to be owing to a disordered state of the mind, whatever might be the cause of that mental derangement, whether bodily or in the mind itself.

In the present instance, he seems to me obscurely to intimate an opinion, that the APPARITION was to be ascribed to an inordinate determination of the blood to the brain;

"A dagger of the mind, a false creation

Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain.

§. 96. Appearance of Caesar's ghost to Brutus.

Before the last battle on the plains of Philippi, a spectre somewhat larger, but not less distinct than the life, appeared to Marcus Junius Brutus ;-the same spectre is said to have appeared to him once before. This incident, which is related by the early biographers of the patriotick Roman, is more recently taken notice of by Shakespeare also, in the play of Julius Caesar; he takes the liberty of a poet, however, in placing it before the death of Cassius.

Brutus is represented, as sitting in his tent late at night, and the only one awake. He is just taking up a book to read, when Caesar's unwelcome spirit enters.

"How ill this taper burns! Ha! Who comes here?

"I think it is the weakness of mine eyes,

That shapes this monstrous apparition.
"It comes upon me;-Art thou any thing?

"Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil?

The English dramatist well knew, whether the historical account of the incident were true or false, there was nothing impossible and perhaps not improbable in the circumstance, that Brutus should have been under the influence of that mental delusion, which is termed APPARITION; and have thus been led firmly to believe in the presence of the spectre.

In explanation of the spectre, which appeared to Brutus, there is to be considered,

(1) His bodily fatigue. Oppressed as he was with the principal cares of the army, we may well suppose, that his bodily system was in a measure worn down, and in such an unsettled and feverish state, as to detract not inconsiderably from the due and consistent exercise of the intellectual faculties.

(2) It is only a natural supposition also, that he was in great mental excitement, independent of any intellectual derangement arising from his great fatigue; foreseeing the misery, which would come upon himself, if he were defcated, on his family, and the whole Roman people, and remembering, in particular, that he had plunged the dagger into the bosom of his friend for freedom, and that the freedom, which he had thus sought, was likely to be lost.

Thus there was combined, with an over-wearied and feverish condition of the bodily system and the natural effects on the mind arising from this source, a strong and fearful mental agitation from other causes; and then it is to be remembered also;

(3) That, in the instance of which we are now speaking, it was the night before the battle, it was in its depth of stillness and darkness, and his lamp was burning dimly beside him.

These circumstances, although we do not pretend to offer them as a full solution, justify us in the opinion, not that he had a dream, which some have supposed, but that his waking conception of the dead Caesar was so vivid, as to lead him to mistake the image for the reality.

It will be deemed pardonable, if I pass from this instance of antiquity, briefly to comment on a remark, which is to be found in one of those interesting little narratives, which detail the sufferings of the early settlers in our country when taken captive in the Indian wars. I allude to the narrative of the captivity of a Mrs. Howe and her seven chil dren, who in 1775 were taken prisoners at Hinsdale in New Hampshire by a party of the St. Francois Indians. Once coming into the company of a number of savages, after having been absent from them some little time, she saw them smile at each other, and asked what was the matter? They replied, 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 exceedingly troubled with strange and awful ideas. I often imagined for instance, that I plainly saw the naked carcases 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," &c.

It needs but a little reflection to assure one, that these conceptions or ideas were of that intensely vivid kind, which are here denominated apparitions, the mind being thrown into an unnatural and feverish posture by the great degree of mental and bodily suffering.

NOTE. The remarks in relation to Caesar's spectre may be applied also in explanation of the appearance of Banquo's ghost in the tragedy of Macbeth.

§. 96. Confessions of an English opium-eater.

There is a book entitled CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER; not without merit in point of style, but chiefly valuable for affording some facts in respect to the

mind. This person seems to have been naturally of a feeling and imaginative turn, and this intellectual vivacity was greatly increased by an inordinate use of opium; so that in the end his intellect was thrown into an unnatural and disorderly posture. In the middle of eighteen hundred and seventeen, the faculty of forming apparitions, that is, as the terms are to be understood in his case, the power of painting all sorts of phantoms on the darkness, became so frequent and effective, as to be positively distressing to him. At night when he lay awake in bed, vast processions passed along in mournful pomp; friezes of never-ending stories, that to his feelings were sad and solemn, he informs us, as if they were stories drawn from times before Ocdi, pus or Priam, before Tyre, before Memphis. Whenever the night shades had fallen, whatever he happened to think upon, whether it were landscapes, or palaces, or armies in battle array, in a word, whatever was a subject of thought, and was capable of being visually represented, formed themselves into phantoms of the eye and swept before him in order and in distinctness, no less marked and imposing, than if the real objects themselves had been present.

This was a state of mind, without doubt, in many respects, similar to that which framed the spectre of Cæsar, the imaginary sword of Macbeth, and suspended before the bewildered sight of the American captive the bodies of her lifeless children.

§. 97. Of temporary mental excitements.

Very much resembling the states of mind, which have been mentioned, and differing in degree rather than in any other respect, are certain temporary mental excitements, to which literary men, especially those of a vived and powerful genius, have been too much subject.

The late lamented Professor Fisher of New-Haven has made a statement on this point, drawn from his own experience, as follows;

"To whatever subject I happened to direct my thoughts,

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