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THE CAUSE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION,
AND TO THE MEANS OF
PREVENTING AND OF CURING DISEASES.
CONDUCTED BY JOHN G. COFFIN, M.D.
The best part of the medical art is the art of avoiding pain.
184, WASHINGTON STREET.
Sehwaal 4-23:37 36155
We are perfectly disposed to admit that the care of the bodily health should be a primary object in the early periods of education; and we are certain, that by making this, in a proper manner, a primary object, the ulterior ends of education will be best accomplished; but then it should be pursued with a view to these ends; and if it be not, it will itself, in all probability, defeat its own purpose. An unrestrained mind in a vigorous body, cannot fail to be eventually a slave of the body. In subsequent periods of education, mental and moral culture may, and must be, the leading objects; but they too will, in a considerable degree, defeat their own ends, if pursued without reference to the bodily health and vigor. We would by no means intimate that debility of body, or extreme physical sensibility, is necessarily attended with ill effects on the moral and intellectual systems. Under judicious management, they often have led to high degrees of moral worth, and have not prevented very great progress in mental culture ; but their general tendency is, on the one hand, to produce debility of mind, and the moral qualities connected with it, cowardice, meanness, &c.; or, on the other, that extreme sensibility which will either speedily consume the powers of body and mind, or sink into selfishness of the most injurious kind, because it often wears the garb of benevolence.-Whatever be the nature of the immediate organs of the percipient principle, there can be no doubt that they depend greatly on the bodily system. Whatever be the nature of the organization on which sensation, retention, association, memory, and imagination depend, it is indisputable, that it is most intimately connected with the material organization which is connected with any of the operations of the mind. So far as the judgment depends on these sub. ordinate powers, this also must be affected by whatever affects them. That the elementary powers forming the memory and imagination, are very greatly dependent on the body, is a point so well ascertained, that we may assume it as a fundamental position ; and the close connexion, therefore, between the culture of the understanding and a sound and vigorous physical system, follows at once as a necessary consequence.-Lant Carpenter.