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tion. The tie which keeps together the discordant members of our Legislature,-which prevents the Commons from insisting on a democracy, the Lords on an aristocracy, and the King on an absolute monarchy, is the temper by which they perceive the hopelessness of such objects. To press a general theorem at the risk of losing a practical advantage; to inculcate an alarming doctrine which prevents the success of a salutary measure, is the error of inexperience and intemperance. It is in the nature of those who are liable to such influences, to be violently intolerant; to suspect their friends; to unite their enemies; and to offend the indifferent. The Spanish Cortes having first provided that there should exist no check to their extravagance, always put themselves in a passion with every one who would not all go lengths with them; and condemned, by acclamation, the honest men who owned they had not got rid of their prejudices. *
Even when all these circumstances are favourable, there is nothing more difficult than to fix a newly established government, or, as the Spaniards call it, plantar la constitucion.' The old system must have many secret friends in the selfish, the prejudiced, and the indolent; and whilst the new rulers are led into inevitable blunders by inexperience, they want that solemn and habitual respect which is the best bulwark of a government. In the Tory language of Mr Hume, the sacred boundaries of the laws being once violated, nothing remains to confine the wild pro⚫jects of zeal and ambition; and every successive revolution becomes a precedent for that which follows.' A people in such a situation is also well described by Machiavel: - - - quel popolo non e altrimenti che uno animale bruto, il quale ancorche di natura feroce e silvestre, sia stato nutrito sempre in ⚫ carcere e in servitù; che dipoi lasciato a sorte in una campagna libero, non essendo uso a pascersi, ne sapendo le latebre dove se abbia à rifugire diventa preda del primo che cerca a ritenerlo. '-Discorsi, c. 16. l. 1.
Notwithstanding all these difficulties, we should be sorry to believe that nothing could have been done for liberty even in Spain. The people were, at first, open-mouthed against the misconduct of the Prince of the Peace; and said it was infamous that the King should be allowed to deceive himself into a surrender of his power to unworthy favourites. Here then was a good opportunity for calling a national assembly
See inftances of their violence, particularly with regard to the Bishop of Orenfe and the Marquis of Palacios, in feveral numbers of the Efpanol. We are forry to fee that this very fenfible and enlightened publication is difcontinued.
to assist his Majesty with their counsels and a body, we have no doubt, might then have been collected, composed of all that were powerful in the country, which would not have been so easily dispersed by General Whittingham's dragoons. The Grandees might have done good service on such an occasion; for, with immense estates, and great means of power, they had no political principles whatever. Accordingly, some have supported the Court, others the Constitution; but they have nowhere made a stand for their own privileges. A station suited to their vanity, where they might have received their impulse from others, would probably have ensured their support. The liberales,' indeed, would say, that this class of persons was totally unfit, from the limited nature of their understandings, to fill a place in the Legislature. But where was this to stop? If all the upper classes were to be rejected as unsound, there would either have been no revolution at all, or the whole fabric of society must have been dissolved, in the vain hope of discovering more suitable materials for its reconstruction. In Spain, above all other countries, such a proceeding would have been madness. Ferdinand the Seventh ought to have been acknowledged, without any schoolboy questions as to the right of dethroning him: and then, if a sufficient attention had been paid to the administration of justice, and to the purity of the management of the public revenue; if political offenders had been duly chastised, and real liberality displayed towards all sides, some progress might have been made in the great and gradual work of national amelioration: and at least it would have been impossible for Ferdinand to inflict any punishment on persons, or to pass any general censure upon principles. Such conduct, however, would have been more difficult to observe, than to decree that every one born in the Spanish dominions be called a Spaniard; and every Spaniard, free from African blood, a citizen. On the other hand, much time would have been saved to the Committee of the Constitution; for they might, without any injury to their country, have kept their Utopia in their pockets.
With respect to the prospect of future freedom in Spain, our hopes, we must confess, are very slender. In the first place, the poverty of the country is sufficient to repress any noble rage for freedom that might formerly have existed. Ill cultivated as it always was, great tracts are now left waste, that formerly produced corn. Their capital has been seized with an unsparing hand by the French; every farm house, almost every village, on the great and cross roads, has been burnt or destroyed. The price of land rapidly diminished during the war, al
though that of grain was so much enhanced by the waste of the armies, that families, formerly rich, were obliged to sell their furniture in order to subsist Even when the country was freed from the enemy, parties of robbers vexed the peasantry, and prolonged its anarchy: yet we must do the guerrillas the justice to say, that they were in general extremely active in pursuing malefactors, and restoring security to commerce. In the next place, the people are so exhausted with war, and so disgusted with their superiors, that men would hardly enlist for a new contest. During the last part of the late struggle, misery and want made the country impatient for rest on any terms. Feeling themselves betrayed by the Government in whom they had confided, they have imbibed suspicions of all who propose to lead them. But if the people would not willingly enter into a civil war for any cause, much less would they shed their blood to restrain the prerogative of Ferdinand. Had fortune favoured them against Charles V, they would probably have maintained, with jealousy, the rights and privileges they had wrested from his hands; but they are by no means disposed to reconquer them from his more popular successor. Whatever time may produce, we do not expect to see them speedily engaged in a contest for liberty; and we consider that event as retarded by the late premature attempt.
ART. VI. An Inquiry into the Probability and Rationality of Mr Hunter's Theory of Life; being the surj ct of the first "Two Anatomical Lctures, delivered before ine Royal College of Surgeons. of London. By JOHN BEKNETHY, F.R. S. &c. Professor of Anatomy and Surgery to the College. 8vo. pp. 95, Longman & Co. London, 1814.
E profess to think very highly of all Mr Abernethy's contributions to the science of surgery; but really these Lectures appear to us exceedingly deficient, both in sound reasoning and good taste; and we have very much ovated the physiological proficiency of the learned body to whom they were originally addressed, if there were not mary among them who felt themselves somewhat scandalized by the instruction they conveyed. They are a collection of bad arguments, in det, ice of one of the most untenable speculations in physiology, interspersed with not a little bombast about genius, and electricity, and Sir Isaac Newton.
Those who are not much conversant in physiological studies,
will probably be surprised to learn, that physiologists are not yet agreed as to the precise grounds even of that most familiar of all classifications-the arrangement of Bodies into Living and Dead; and that, in the whole science of vital economy, (if so we may venture to call it), there is not, at this moment, a term which is used with greater ambiguity, than the term Life. We confess that this diversity of opinion is a little surprising to ourselves; for although we are perfectly aware that a very simple question may be made abstruse enough by the manner of treating it, yet this is one of those plain points, which we should have thought it difficult either for dullness or subtlety to render obscure.
In ascertaining the distinguishing characters of living bodies, it is not enough to compare them with bodies which have always been dead, as many physiologists have contented themselves with doing; we must contrast them also with those which, though at present dead, have once been alive. Now, it must be apparent, we think, on the slightest consideration, that these characters do not reside in any particular modification of form or organization. The forms of living bodies are infinite; in many of them no trace whatever of organization is perceptible; and in by far the greater number, both form and organization remain unchanged, long after the body possessing them has passed into the dead state. A tree, for instance, after it has ceased to live, retains for a time the same arrangement of trunk, and roots, and branches without, and the same intertexture of plates, and tubes, and fibres within, as before. The human body, even when it is laid in the grave, presents the same external shape and symmetry as when alive; and still preserves an internal organic structure, matchless alike for its delicacy and its beauty of adaptation.
Nor will it, surely, be maintained, that life consists merely in sensation, or thought, or voluntary motion. These are faculties, of which the whole class of living bodies called vegetables, are entirely destitute; and, although they do, indeed, constitute the distinguishing character of the animal kingdom, yet even animals may be deprived of them for a time, without becoming less entitled to the appellation of living, according to any views, either popular or physiological, with which we are acquainted. Were it otherwise, palsy would be death of a part of the body, and apoplexy, death of the whole; and the sailor whom Mr Cline had the merit of restoring to the full possession of his faculties, after he had lain for seven months totally bereft of sense and motion, might, in truth, be said to have died from a blow on the head in Minorca, and to have been raised to life, by the trepan, in London.
It would not be easy to state, with clearness and brevity, in the form of definition, what it is that really constitutes life; but it may be explained, in the way of example, in a very few words. It is that sort of appropriation of foreign matter which we observe in the human body, when it converts its food into bone, and muscle, and nerve, &c.; or in a plant, when it changes portions of the elements in which it is placed, into bark, and wood, and leaves, and so forth. Those bodies alone are entitled to the appellation of living, in which, some such addition and conversion of surrounding substances as this, is actually taking place: -all others are denominated Dead.
Now, that this appropriating process is, or is not, going on in a body, may be inferred from a variety of phenomena. In the first place, in all those animals which have a circulating system, it is abundantly certain that the process of appropriation is entirely dependent on the circulation of the blood, and that the circulation of the blood is subservient to the process of appropriation. The continuance, therefore, or the cessation of this function, may be regarded as a pretty unequivocal proof of the life or death of the individual. The human body is pronounced to be dead, the instant the heart ceases to beat; because we know that the contractions of this organ are necessary to the circulation. For the same reason, a fit of fainting, in which the action of the heart seems suspended for a time, may be called a temporary death. The moment the supply of blood to any particular part of the body is stopped, either by obstruction, or division, of its arteries, we conclude, that life has ceased in that part. When a carpenter, by a small mistake, chops off the point of his finger; or a man in a fray bites off the tip of his adversary's nose; and the surgeon, nevertheless, with a proper confidence in the Vis Medicatrix, replaces the separated part, and it adheres, and becomes as vigorous and sensible a tip as before;-such a case is a most satisfactory example of temporary death of a portion of the body, from its connexion with the general circulation being cut off,-and of the restoration of its vital functions from that connexion being reestablished.
When circumstances do not admit of our ascertaining the state of the circulation directly, we often judge that this function, and of course life, is going on in an animal, from observing merely that it is susceptible of feeling or thought; for, although the circulation may be performed independently of these phenomena, yet they have never been known to occur after this function has ceased. It is this constant dependence, too, of sensibility on the process of appropriation in the higher classes of anipials, that leads us to infer the existence of a similar process, in