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* de rapinis et injustitis acquisita sunt. “ His auditis, Episcopus Romam impi
ger adiit, et Joanni Papæ (cui et ipse “ apparuit ille Benedictus 9. precans
idem, et dicens, 0 utinam Odilo Clu“ niacensis pro me rogaret!) fratris verba “ narravit, et episcopatum mox deposuit, " et monachatum induit.”
Lection. Memorab. et recondit. T. i. po
My observations on this subject may be strengthened, by observing the great prevalence of spectral delusions, during the inter-regnum, in this country, after the civil war, in 1649. The melancholic tendency of the rigid puritans of that period ; their occupancy of old family seats, formerly the residence of hospitality and good cheer, which in their hands became desolate and gloomy; and the dismal stories propagated by the discarded retainers to the ancient establishments, ecclesiastical and civil, contributed altogether to produce a national horror unknown in other periods of our history:
A curious example of this disposition is afforded, by the trial of Dr. Pordage, a Clergyman in Berkshire, which was published under the frightful title of • Demonium Meridianum, or Satan at Noon-day; ' among many charges brought against him, Dr. Pordage was accused of demoniacal visions, and of frequent apparitions in his house; one of which consisted in the representation of a coach and six, on a brick-chimney, in which the carriage and horses continued in constant motion for many weeks. It was said that a great dragon came into his chamber, with a tail of eight yards '
long, four great teeth, and did spit fire at him.
"That his own angel stood by him, 4 in his own shape and fashion, the same shape, band and cuffs, and that he
supported him in his combat with the • dragon.
: That Mrs. Pordage and Mrs. Flavel • had their angels standing by them also; "and that the spirits often came into tlie ? chamber, and drew the curtains when they were in bed.'
The developement of the story, which is not necessary
my purpose, exhibits the combined effects of mysticism, supperstition and sensuality, which evidently produced a disordered state of the sensorium, and gave rise to the visions, which were admitted by the parties. It is indeed, an awful truth, well known to physicians who see many lunatics, that religious melaneholy is one of the most frequent causes of the Damonomania.
The subject of latent lunacy is an untouched field, which would afford the
richest harvest to a skilful and diligent observer, Cervantes has immortalized himself, by displaying the effect of one bad species of composition on the hero of his satire,* and Butler has delineated the evils of epidemic religious and political frenzy ; but it remains as a task for some delicate pencil, to trace the miseries introduced into private families, by a state of mind, which “ sees more devils than vast hell can hold,” and which yet affords no proof of derangement, sufficient to justify the seclusion of the unhappy invalid.
* There are beauties, in the character of Don Quixote, which can only be understood by persons accustomed to lunatics. The dexterity and readiness with which he reconciles all events with the wayward system which he has adopted: his obstinacy in retaining and defending false impressions, and the lights of natural sagacity, and cultivated eloquence, which break frequently through the cloud that dims his understanding, are managed with consummate knowledge of partial insanity, though it is sometimes hardly perceptible to the general reader,
.This is a species of distress, on which no novelist has ever touched, though it is unfortunately increasing in real life ; though it may be associated with worth, with genius, and with the most specious demonstrations (for a while) of general excellence.
Addison has thrown out a few hints, on this subjeet, in one of the Spectators; it could not escape so critical an observer of human infirmities; and I have always supposed, that if the character of Sir Roger de Coverley had been left untouched by Steele, it would have exhibited some interesting traits of this nature. As it now appears, we see nothing more than occasional absence of mind; and the peculiarities of an humourist, contracted by retirement, and by the obsequiousness of his dependants.