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Many of the effects observed are no doubt to be attributed, as the commissioners in 1784 observe, to the influence of imagination, imitation, and touch, on nervous and debilitated individuals ; some may be conceived with probability to be the result of understood arrangements between the magnetiser and magnetised ; and a third class bear on their faces marks of the strongest improbability. That the volition of one individual should put in motion the nerves and muscles of another individual—that ideas should thus be communicated from one to another by this medium alone and that even his own internal structure, or that of another, should be seen with the mind's eye of a somnambulist,—are propositions which could scarely be expected to be believed upon almost any testimony ; and hence perhaps the lentor or reluctance of the Academy to lay the report before the public. Were it otherwise, what an invaluable adjunct to our public hospitals would such a person as Mademoiselle Celine be, in detecting morbid structure, and pointing out the appropriate remedies ! How infinitely superior her clairvoyance to the obscure indications of the stethoscope, and the painful study of symptoms and appearances ! and what instructive materials might be thus furnished for comparison between the morbid structure in the living being and in the dead body!
It may be proper to notice here, that the power of imagination and sympathetic imitation in impressing the mind and producing convulsive motions in certain individuals, and particularly where numbers are assembled together, might have been illustrated from the meetings at Cambuslang in Scotland, in 1742,-- from the religious camp-meetings of North America,— and still more recently, from the singular exhibitions in some of the chapels of the metropolis and elsewhere. And the history of the Nuns of Loudun might have been quoted, as affording an example of alleged demoniacal possession, got up for the purpose of deception, and where simulated appearances, not very different from some of those narrated by the French committee, procured the condemnation and execution of an obnoxious priest.
Upon the whole, we feel much disposed to adopt, as to this Second Report on Magnetism, the opinion expressed by the late Dugald Stewart as to the merits of the report of 1784, on the proceedings of Mesmer and his associates. “ That these pretensions (says Mr Stewart), involved much of ignorance, or of imposture, or of both, in their authors, has, I think, been fully demonstrated in the very able report of the French academicians; but does it follow from this, that the facts witnessed and authenticated by these academicians should share in the disgrace incurred by the empirics who disguised or misrepresented them ? For my own part, it appears to me, that the general conclusions established
by Mesmer's practice, with respect to the physical effects of the principle of imitation and of the faculty of imagination, (more particularly in cases where they co-operate together,) are incomparably more curious, than if he had actually demonstrated the existence of his boasted fluid : Nor can I see any good reason why a physic cian, who admits the efficacy of the moral agents employed by Mesmer, should, in the exercise of his profession, scruple to copy whatever processes are necessary for subjecting them to his command, any more than he would hesitate about employing a new physical agent, such as electricity or galvanism.”-Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, Vol. iii. p. 221.
We now come to Mr Colquhoun's Appendix to this very amusing volume,-on the singular phenomenon of the transference of the faculties from their usual and appropriate organs to the epigastrium, and other parts of the nervous system, which has been occasionally observed to occur in cases of catalepsy and somnambulism. This forms an appropriate sequel to the French Report ; and indeed the strongest testimony to this transference of faculties is derived from the cases of the reporters. Mr Colquhoun, whose industry in collecting materials, places the whole subject before his readers, commences with the case of Van Helmont, who, after tasting the root of aconite, fancied that all the cerebral functions were transferred to the epigastrium, or pit of the stomach. At the distance of a century and a-half, M. Petetin, a physician of Lyons, made experiments upon an cataleptic patient, which demonstrated that she could read with the stomach even through an intervening body. Eight other patients exhibited the phenomena of the transference of the faculties to the epigastrium, and to the extremities of the fingers and toes. Dr Joseph Frank's work, Pra reos ledice Universe Præcepta, is quoted for a very curious case of catalepsy, where the patient heard through the medium of the stomach ; and a number of similar occurrences are gleaned from different medical writers. The case of Miss M-Avoy of Liverpool, which excited some interest many years ago, is narrated to show that she could read by feeling the letters of a book with her fingers.
On the discussion of these cases, we do not now enter, and terminate a hasty analysis of this very curious and interesting book with the concluding sentences of the author, which we take in excellent good part, though subjecting us perhaps to one of the prescribed alternatives :-“ If the phenomena observed are calculated to excite our wonder, and to call forth our scepticism, if they appear to be inexplicable and irreconcileable with any of our previous notions, let us remember that the cause of this may be found in the narrowness and imperfection of our preconceived systems; and this consideration should lead
us to a careful review of the principles of our knowledge, rather than to an obstinate and irrational denial of the facts presented to us by experience.”
ART. IV.- Recherches sur le Mechanisme de la Voix Humain, &c.—Researches on the Mechanism of the Human Voice, a work which obtained a Prize from the Society of Physical and Chemical Sciences at Paris ; to which is prefixed the Report of MM. Cuvier, Prony, and Savart, ut the Royal Academy of Sciences. By F. BENNATI, M. D., &c. Paris, 1832.
IT was not to be expected that a function so important as that of voice and speech, and which exercises an influence so remarkable and extensive on society, should, in the general progress of physiological experiment and research, be suffered to remain uninvestigated; and we accordingly find, that many distinguished anatomists and physiologists, during the last three centuries, have laboured assiduously to determine the exact part which each portion of the organs performs, to study the nature of the modifications which they undergo, and to explain the singular mechanism by which a set of organs, so simple in appearance and configuration, is made to produce effects so various, so complicated, and, in some particular instances, so won. derful.
In this inquiry, as in all others, it has not been always the simplest and most intelligible part of the process which has attracted most attention. Though this is the natural course of things, it is not always possible to recognize what is simplest ; and attention is too often engrossed by that which is most striking, most complex, and most wonderful.
Voice, or expressed sound, may be said to be of two sorts ;inarticulate or mere voice, the formation and utterance of sound, which is formed in the larynx, that is, laryngeal or thoracic voice, and articulate, or oral voice or spcech, or that species of interrupted or stopped sounds (voces limitatæ,) which are formed by the lips, tongue, and teeth stopping, as it were, and modifying the sounds formed in the larynx. Another distinction of much the same character, is one in which the popular notion corresponds pretty accurately with the scientific doctrine,—that of voice above the breath, or what may be styled, tracheo-laryngeal voice, which can only be formed in the windpipe and laryngeal chamber, and sibilous or whispering voice, or voice under the breath, (sottovoce of the Italians,) in which the individual
and forcihat apetrained "im and ca
cholt has beenped, whichunds, or the larynx
speaks in a whisper, chiefly by the use of the lips, tongue, and teeth.
Both these sorts of voice, laryngeal and oral, have been most minutely and accurately studied by anatomists and physiologists; and the functions which the different portions of the organ performs in each has been assigned and explained with a reasonable degree of clearness and precision.
It has been shown that mere voice or uttered sound must be formed in the larynx, and cannot be perfect without the free and unrestrained motion of the glottis, the contraction of that aperture by its muscular apparatus, and without the forcible propulsion of air through it from the windpipe and lungs. It has been further ascertained, that if by any means the glottis is prevented from moving and vibrating to its due extent, the voice becomes low, suspirious, and extinct. It is known in the third place, that the larynx can only produce and utter voice, or vocal sounds, or those peculiar sounds unchecked and unstopped, which are denominated by grammarians vowels.
It has been shown in the next place, that to the formation of checked or stopped sounds, (voces limitatae,) so as to produce articulate speech, the motions of the tongue, teeth, lips, and cheeks, must variously concur; that as each predominates in checking them, a different sort of sound is produced, constituting respectively the gutturals, labials, and dentals of the grammarian; and that, according as each class of these parts concurs, the sounds thus formed are variously checked, so as to constitute those varieties which have been distinguished into mutes, explosives, nasals, liquids, and gutturals.
Both these departments of the mechanism of sound have been fully studied and elaborately explained; and the reader will find in the writings of Ammann, Haller, Soemmering, Blumenbach, Bichat, and Magendie, all the necessary steps and results in the inquiry.
Of a third variety of sounds, however, though very singular in effect and combination, the production and mechanism has been less investigated than the two already mentioned. We allude to what is named modulated sound, or the formation and utterance of musical tones in such succession as to bear certain harmonic relations to each other. This has been generally represented to be the result of the motions of the larynx drawn upwards and downwards by opposite forces, and made to vibrate with a greater degree of tension than during speech. The whole of the muscles of the larynx are supposed to be kept in action during singing, so that the larynx is accurately balanced between all, and the modulated sounds are produced not in a state of quiescence, but in a state of vibrating equilibrium.
Though this view, which is the opinion of Haller and Socm
mering, and most other physiologists, is correct so far as it goes, it by no means embraces the whole subject, or explains all the facts. The ingenious author of the essay before us has shown very clearly, that, while the larynx alone, even in this state, is inadequate to the production of modulated sound, and requires the active and simultaneous concurrence of the tongue, cheeks, teeth, and lips, the process of singing would be still imperfect and extremely limited without the aid of the uvula and palate, and that the motions which these parts undergo, and the positions which they assume, not only concur powerfully to modify the whole of the modulated sounds produced by the larynx, but also are themselves essential in the production of the whole of those tones which ascend above the natural pitch of the larynx, or the notes which have been distinguished by the name of falsetto.
At this conclusion Signor Bennati has not arrived without infinite care and study in observing the motions of the larynx and tongue, the uvula and palate ; and while he has investigated this part of the subject with the eye of the anatomist and physiologist, he has been enabled to pursue the inquiry with facilities which few physiologists can be supposed to possess, by being himself a very successful cultivator of the art, the phy. siological principles of which it is the chief object of the present Memoir to explain.
In order to understand the exact weight of the observations and arguments by which Signor Bennati supports the validity of his theory, it is requisite to follow him in his observations on the motions of the larynx in singing.
It has been admitted, that the contraction of the hyo-thyroid muscle taking place at the same time with that of the lateral crico-arytenoid muscles, of the oblique ary tenoid, of the transverse arytenoid, and the thyro-epiglottic, must produce at once contraction of the glottis, abbreviation of the laryngeal and tracheal cavity, and depression of the epiglottis ; and hence would result exclusively the production of acute sounds, the modulation of which would be owing to the more or less marked play of these parts united.
If, on the contrary, the contraction of the sterno-thyroid muscles take place simultaneously with that of the crico-thyroidei, or anterior dilators of the glottis, of the crico-arytenoidei postici, or posterior dilators of the glottis, it would effect the inverse of what takes place as to acute notes, namely, enlargement of the glottis, elongation of the cavity of the tracheo-laryngeal canal, and elevation of the epiglottis, and, consequently, the production of grave notes, the modulation of which will
VOL. XL. NO. 116.