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not to be met with in actual life. His unprincipled characters are too unvariably unprincipled, and too unreserved in the expression of their contempt of every thing that resembles integrity. It is not true, as one would be led to suppose from the perusal of this book, that mankind, with a few rare exceptions, are utterly destitute of humanity and honesty, and ready to avow the low estimation in which they hold these unprofitable qualities. Kind offices and upright motives are ever of good repori in the mouths of men; and the humanity that should provide for a superannuated domestic, and the integrity that should refuse to defraud the revenue by a legal evasion, would not, we think, be misunderstood or ridiculed either in this country or in France, even by those who were least inclined to imitate the example. The falsest of our race sometimes let pass occasions of treachery, the unkindest sometimes perform acts of mercy; how much oftener, then, the great mass of mankind, in whom good and bad qualities are mingled in every variety of proportion? How many good offices do we receive daily from those whom we suspect of an unfriendly disposition towards us, and how many trusts are faithfully executed by those who are reputed unworthy of confidence. The most, perhaps, that can be said of such people, is, that you have no security for their virtue, no certainty that opportunity and temptation will not overcome those who have already found them too strong to be resisted. There is a rational medium between believing too well, and too ill of mankind : it is as great a mistake to suppose them all knaves, as to suppose them all fools. He who thinks worst of others, generally thinks well enough of himself; but to imagine all virtue concentrated in one's own person, is, to say the least, a proof of quite as much vanity as penetration.
If the author has made those by whom Dercy is surrounded too uniformly unprincipled and designing, he has also represented Dercy himself as too credulous and too easily duped. He is not deficient in good sense and sound judgment on most subjects, possesses a prompt capacity for intellectual acquisitions, and ready talents for business, and takes in certain instances, most wise and judicious measures to extricate his friends from difficult and unpleasant emergencies. That such a man should not have at length learned a lesson so often repeated—that he should suffer himself to be deceived again and again, by those of whose treachery he had received so many proofs—evinces an incapacity for drawing conclusions, and of profiting by experience, not altogether consistent with the measure of intellect allowed him. This strong mixture of credulity and simplicity in the character of Dercy, heightens, notwithstanding its improbability, the effect of the work. Had he been made to possess less understanding, we should respect him less ; had he possessed less credulity, he must have met with fewer embarrassments, and would attract less sympathy.
. From the multitude of bad translations from French authors, . executed both in this country and in England, we are tempted
to suppose that the booksellers entrust this employment to those who are thought to be deeply versed in a foreign language, because they are ignorant of their own; on the ground that every man is to be deemed a master of one language at least. The translator of Le Niais, though not chargeable with that tremendous and parricidal mangling of his mother tongue of which some others stand guilty, is not such a translator as the work deserves, and has performed his task in a very hasty and negligent manner. .
ART. XXX.—Remarks on the Disorders of Literary Men, or
an Inquiry into the means of preventing the Evils usually incident to Sedentary and Studious Habits. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard & Co. 1825.
No class of men among us need more often to be reminded, that there is a certain blessing of no inconsiderable value, called health, which certain habits are pretty sure to destroy, and which certain others have a tendency to preserve, than those who devote their industry to literary pursuits. One would be apt to imagine that those who are so greedy after knowledge, would not neglect that, which is so necessary to its acquisition, and without whose continuance its acquisition is but useless. It might be thought, that the scholar would not be unwilling to add to his other learning, an acquaintance with the best methods of preserving the health; and that he who would feel ashamed not to know, or not to practise other means of erudition, would never show himself ignorant or careless of this. With his high respect for the intellectual part of his nature, upon which he is continually heaping gifts and ornaments, it might be expected, that he would take care to provide it, if possible, with a sound and safe habitation. We should think little of the conjugal kindness of that husband, who, satisfied with seeing his wife well dressed and well fed, should insist upon lodging her in a crazy ruinous garret, ready to fall upon her head, there to listen to the voices of the winds, and receive the visits of the storms. It was a poor conceit of Waller's, that light was let in upon the soul through the chinks and breaches in its battered cottage ;-had he pursued the metaphor a little farther, as he would doubtless have done, being one of the metaphysical poets, if he had liked the conclusion to which it must have led him, he would have told of the agues and rheumatisms, the wastings and weaknesses to which the inhabitant of the wretched tenement was exposed. Our literary men, how- · ever, do not seem to pay much attention to these considerations. They do not seem to suppose that the peculiar nature of their pursuits requires a peculiar set of habits, and a peculiar regimen. The scholar will eat as if he had the task of a day-labourer to perform, and then exercise as little as if he had dined at the table of an anchorite. He will keep his body for hours in a constrained position, and never think of making nature amends for the violence he is doing her. He will shut himself up from the enjoyment of the pure air, and wonder at the bodily debility and mental sluggishness which he is doomed to experience. He fi els the craving of nature for some physical excitement, and instead of refreshing himself with exercise under the open sky, he will stimulate his jaded nerves with a vile narcotic. The former of these practices is perhaps least injurious in early life, when nature demands a larger quantity of nourishment for the growth and compacture of the body. With the age of manhood, however, it brings a train of evilsthe system, which has then no other way to dispose of the superfluous nourishment, converts it into the materials of disease. Pope was naturally of an infirm constitution, and according to Spence, he weakened the tone of his stomach, by the use of unnatural stimulants. At the age of fifty-six, having eaten too freely of a dish of potted lampreys, he was seized with a disorder, and fell a victim to the immoderate indulgence of his appetite. His contemporary and friend Warburton was wiser. In composing his learned and elaborate works, this great scholar would shut himself up in his chamber for months together, constantly occupied in study, and taking scarcely any exercise. To prevent the bad consequences of this mode of life, he confined himself, although of a powerful and athletic frame and a strong appetite, to the most rigid and monastic abstinence. In this way he preserved his health unbroken, and prolonged his life to the ripe age of eighty-one years. There can be little doubt, that the state of mental labour, and bodily inactivity to which literary men are in some measure obliged, is an unnatural one, and that, therefore, it requires peculiar precautions. Emotions, by a law of our nature, are but the springs of action; agitation of mind generally manifests itself by restlessness of
body; and those impulses which lead us to plan and to calculate, lead us also to execute. The literary man, in the retirement of his closet, disjoins things which were meant to be connected as the effect and the cause ; he gives himself up to emotions which exhaust themselves without producing their natural fruit of corporeal exertion, and fatigues the mind with labours in which the body is not permitted to accompany it. It is not our object, however, to lay down dogmas, or to deliver precepts, but to examine the book before us.
In his preface, the author very properly disavows any claim to the merit of originality, and contents himself with that of having complied à convenient manual for men of letters. Most, if not allof the precepts here given, are to be found scattered up and down in other authors, and not a few are culled from Armstrong's Art of Preserving Health, a work which, although choice poetry, contains nearly as much truth as some that are written in prose. Indeed it is almost impossible that the precepts in such a book should be original; if they were, they could hardly be just. It is only by experience and observation, that their propriety can be tried; and he must have attended very little to his own sensations, and have looked with a very negligent eye upon the world around him, who cannot verify most of the positions laid down in this book, or in any other sensible treatise upon the subject. The most that can be expected in such a work, is, that the compiler should collect and illustrate the knowledge already gained, and this is done with sufficient cleverness in the one before us. .
It seems to have been the intention of the author to treat the subject in a popular manner, without any affectation or parade of science. The first chapter treats of the manner in which the disorders of men of letters are contracted. We agree with the writer in the following observations : .
“ We suspect there are few men, if any, in this country, who injure themselves by study. A person who has been familiar with the habits of our most learned men, and those too who are esteemed the most studious and indefatigable, would be astonished at the intense application of the scholars of Europe ; and yet the latter are much less liable to disease than the former. We are constantly exclaiming against the studious habits of our men of letters ; yet the truth is, that application is the only thing wanting to make them as learned and as eminent as any in the transatlantic world ; and proper regimen is the only thing wanting to make them as healthy. Nothing contributes more to health than a constant and an habitual use of the intellectual faculties. The good will of the world is too apt to attribute the ills of sedentary men to the intenseness of their thoughts, and to overlook, or neglect, or even encourage those habits, in which all their worst maladies originate."---pp. 3,4.
His notions on this subject, which seem to us very sensible and rational, are more fully set forth in the following passages.
“The longer intense thought is continued, the more does the vital energy become accumulated in the brain, and deficient in every other part of the body ; this is exemplified by the fact familiar to every student, that when he has been thinking a long time, his thoughts are more vivid, and flow every hour more smoothly and rapidly along ; but when that train is ended, a burning heat is felt in the brain, and extreine languor in every other part. This tendency produces, according to other circumstances, various kinds of inflammation, tumours, dropsy, bea'ach, delirium, convulsions, lethargy or apoplexy. It is from this cause that learned divines in preaching, and learned professors in delivering their lectures, have sometimes expired in their chairs; and it was thus too that king Altalus died, in the assembly of Thebes, whilst he was animating the Bæotians by an harangue, to enter into an alliance with the Romans. Morgagni mentions a preaching monk who was seized with an apoplexy before his congregation ; and a professor at Berne, deeply versed in the oriental languages,-a man in the prime of life, but of indefatigable industry, sunt into a state of idiocy in consequence of pressure on his brain. Numerous other examples inight be nientioned, of the fatal results of this determination to the head, which is produced by study, and which is favoured by the bending position usually and almost necessarily assumed by literary men.
If then it is found that the exercise of one organ, and the position which is required, produces an accumulation of blood in that organ, what depth of physiological learning is required to teach us that a change of position, and the exercise of other organs, will produce a determination of that fluid to them, and thus restore the equilibrium of health. If then our students would only study as much as they do, and exercise more, we should not be called so often to mingle in the sorrows of society for the loss of its most beloved and most learned members; and if they would only be careful to exercise as i'uch as they study, they might study much more than they do, and yet enjoy perfect health.
When the brain labours constantly, and alone, it robs not only the organs of locomotion, but of digestion ; and nothing but general exercise can restore justice to both. After a luxurious meal, the stomach requires so much of the vital energy, that it can spare but little to other parts of the body ; and if it be forcibly abstracted by mental exertion, the food lies a heavy, imperfectly digested mass, on an organ with which the system sympathizes more readily than with any other part of the whole animal economy. Hence we see why luxurious living is totally inconsistent with much reflection.
Violent exercise immediately after a full meal, retards the process of digestion almost as much as intense study."---pp. 8---11.
5Some hours after a temperate meal, when the stomach is not loaded, the mechanical effect, and the invigorating nature of bodily exercise, are required to promote the digestive functions ; but after a luxurious banquet, more rest and more subsequent exercise are necessary. With a proper degree of abstemiousness, this extra time might be devoted to study, and thus not only much be gained for application, but all the evils avoided, which result from filling the stomach with too great a quantity or variety of food. If, then, with this strict regard to temperance, sufficient exercise be taken daily to restore the equilibrium of the vital energy, great