« ZurückWeiter »
Art. IV.-A Case of Paralysis of the Bladder terminating fatally. By F. WALTON TODD, M.D., of Port-Gibson, Mississippi.
Dr. W. was called a few days since to see a negro man, who being delirious was unable to say what was the matter with him; and though he had a family it was not ascertained, that for several days he had not evacuated his urine. He seemed to be suffering intensely, and, in a way which was not intelligible, referred to some abdominal distress. Upon examination it was thought, that there was a preternatural distention of the urinary visicle, and a flexible catheter was introduced without difficulty; but no urine passed. A metalic instrument was then used, but with the same result; he was finally placed so that the water would gravitate, but all without effect. In a few hours he died, and upon examination the bladder was found immensely distended, with a thin, not unnatural fluid; the catheter which had been introduced was found to have penetrated the bladder successfully, which con. tained four or five pints of water. There were no traces of inflammation; no morbid appearances, within the bladder, prostrate gland, or urethra; no obstruction in the urinary passages, but a perfectly normal condition of the internal coat
, of the bladder and urethra. I look upon this case as one confirming the fact, that in paralysis of the bladder urine will often not pass by the catheter, without grasping and compressing the visicle, and sometimes cannot be drawn off except by paracentisis. I have since seen an analogous case reported by a Parisian writer to the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, where M. Cruveilhier had no better success with the catheter unaided by compression.
ART. V.-Crania Americana ; or a comparative view of the
Skulls of various Aboriginal nations of North and South America : To which is prefixed an Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species. Illustrated by seventy-eight plates, and a colored map. By SAMUEL GEORGE Morton, M.D., Professor of Anatomy in the Medical Department of Pennsylvania College at Philadelphia; member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia ; of the American Philosophical Society; of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; of the Boston Society of Natural History, &c., &c. Philadelphia; J. Dobson, Chesnut street. London ; Lumpkin, Marshall & Co., 1839. Letter press, p. 296, folio.
This volume is the product of a bold and somewhat original enterprise in the highest branch of natural science—we mean anthropology. And of that enterprise, wide and varied as are its scope and bearings, high its purposes, and important its aim, it is not unworthy. Nor does any thing perhaps contribute more to its attractiveness and value, than its simplicity and unpretendingness—its freedom we mean from self-glorifying theories and doctrines, and more especially from iron dogmas, and air-woven hypotheses. It consists almost exclusively of an immense body of facts, no inconsiderable portion of them new, collected in a laborious and protracted course of reading, observation, and multiform research, and neither misinterpreted, perverted, nor misapplied, in subservience to
the influence of preconceived notions. Instead of itself broaching or even propagating crude opinions, or giving existence and shape to any thing like a premature and ephemeral system, it aims at the ascertainment and confirmation of elementary truths, out of which, as imperishable materials, substantial and lasting opinions and systems may be hereafter constructed.
Dr. Morton, in the great work before us, has neither so restricted his scheme, as to fit it in all respects to the study of man, as an individual, nor so expanded it, as to suit it especially to that of mankind as a single body. He has given to it rather an ethnographical character-adapted it, we mean, to researches into the conditions, analogies, differences, and relative standing of mankind, as divided into tribes, families, and nations. And, if we mistake not, he has had, as a physiologist, the discernment to perceive, and the firmness and independence, as a man and a writer, to select and avow, the veritable ground, out of which those differences of human condition and standing essentially arise. In plain terms; without professing to be a phrenologist, and apparently, if not really, unconscious that he was so-and certainly without any predetermined intention to be either an advocate or an opponent of the new scheme of mental philosophy—under these circumstances, our author's production is as strictly phrenological, as any of the publications of Gall or his followers. And, as will appear hereafter, the entire and fast multiplying host of his facts, as far as they bear on the science, (and from their inordinate number, they might be called
legion") are expressly confirmatory of it. In no respect could its warmest advocates change them for the better, or even wish them changed—we mean as regards their phrenological bearing. In all time to come therefore, the Crania
Americana” will be referred to, by enlightened anthropologists, in proof and illustration of the truth and importance of the discoveries of Gall. But to come into closer contact with our subject.
That the organic structure of the human body, in its aggregate capacity, is composed of a number of subordinate structures, is known to every one. And to the anatomist and physiologist it is known, that, of these subordinates, the nervous structure, including the brain and spinal cord, holds the highest rank. Though several of the others are as essential to its existence and the efficiency of its condition, as it is to theirs, it is notwithstanding so far the master tissue, as to control the others, and so far predominant in its general influence, as to give to man his native supremacy and fitness for empire, and place him at the head of the animal creation. In all the other structures which enter into his organism, the more perfect of the inferior animals are the equals of man, and in some of them his superiors. In the character of his nervous tissue alone he is pre-eminent. And, in full acknowledgment and demonstration of that pre-eminence, the phrenologist pronounces and proves the brain, which is but a portion of the nervous tissue, to be the organ of the mind—to be that instrument, or rather array of instruments, (for it is strikingly multiplex in its structure as well as in its functions, by which alone the mind executes its purposes, and manifests its power. Nor, however different may have been the case, but a few years ago, does any physiologist now, who is worthy of the title, venture to question the truth of this position.
Such then is the foundation, (the supremacy we mean of the nervous tissue, on which phrenology rests; and on the same foundation rests essentially the work we are examining; and from that consideration arise, in an eminent degree, its
interest and value. Wherefore? The answer is plain, and easily rendered. It is the difference in the size, form, and general character of the brain, the great nervous centre, which constitutes the leading and most important differences between the several races and varieties of the human family. And to that source does our author virtually ascribe them. True, he refers also to the distinctions created between men by difference in size of body, complexion, hair, features, and personal configuration. These however, he justly considers as but minor points in the production of dissimilitudes. For that difference, which, Leing itself the chief one, imparts a broad and abiding distinction of constitution and character, he looks not to the blood vessels, muscles, or bones, nor yet to the viscera of the abdomen or thorax, (though they also are important elements) but to the volume, form, and condition of the brain, as manifested by the size and configuration of the head. Hence the title of his book—“ CRANIA AMERICANA”—tantamount, in its import, to CEREBRA AMERICANA.
But in collecting his materials for the volume before us, Dr. Morton did not confine his draughts to the aboriginal tribes and nations of America. Far from it. He framed and filled them under the influence of a more catholic spirit, and with less restricted views, and addressed them to sources much more extended, and more abundant in means. Conformably to this arrangement, he commences his work with an "Introductory Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species,” in which he has manifested, for an American writer engaged in the active and arduous duties of a profession peculiarly burdened by toils and interruptions, an amount of reading and application, labor and research, exceedingly unusual, if not unprecedented, and rarely equalled, and perhaps never exceeded on any given subject, and under similar circum