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sensations. Thus, a sleeping person will draw away a limb if tickled or irritated; turn aside the head from disagreeable and pungent vapours applied to the Dostrils, &c. The power of habit over sleep is very striking. Almost any one may acquire the habit of dividing his sleep, so as to take less at night, and a portion by day. Some become accustomed to have their rest broken at short intervals; and acquire the babit of waking at the least noise. Some, like Cæsar and Napoleon, can sleep at will, and wake at certain times. In the latter case, the mind unconsciously exerts its influence. After excessive fatigue, the desire of sleep becomes imperious and invincible. Thus, some of the Russian artillerymen were found asltep at their guns, amid the hideous din and sanguinary horrors of the siege of the Redan. Sleep, where either too brief or too prolonged, is highly detrimental both to mind and body; slowly, but surely, impairing their functions.
During sleep, false impressions on the senses are of frequent occurrence (subjective), which have the air of reality, from not being corrected, as in the waking state, by the judgment. The ideas thus produced in the mind associate loosely with each other. This is dreaming.
Dreaming appears nothing more than the occupation of the mind in sleep, with the pictorial world of fancy uncontrolled. That we never sleep without dreaming, is, I think, highly probable; not so much from reasoning on the unceasing presence and activity of the mind, as from the fact that whenever we are awakened we are conscious of an image just vanishing; and that we always fall asleep with dreams which we afterwards forget. As the organs of perception are, in sleep, not dead but dormant, external impressions, when strong enough to interrupt the internal play of the fancy, but not strong enough to dispel sleep, penetrate obscurely and slowly to the sensorium: the mind then lightly interweaves
them with its other images. For instance, if we are awakened by a noise as of a book falling, it may happen that in our dream we imagine a shamfight, which that noise terminates as a discharge of musketry. But, you will ask, how does it occur that we conceive the firing to be the result of an event which took place before we heard it? I can suggest but two solutions to this difficult problem. Either the fancy, with the rapidity of lightning, interweaves the impression on the senses in her ready weft (which seems incredible); or, the communication being checked in sleep, the internal perception follows, only after a while, the impression on the outer organ of hearing, so that we hear two noises as it were, and have time, by the power of imagination, to conjure up the scene of the sham-fight between the two.
Our ordinary ideas of time and space are entirely in abeyance in dreams. It is common to dream of a long chain of events apparently spread over a considerable period of time-hours, even days and weeks —when the whole time of our sleep has been but a few minutes. I will give two authentic illustrations : -Dr. Gregory gives the case of a gentleman, who from a disease of the nervous system, was for a long time liable to a feeling of suffocation whenever he slept in a recumbent posture ; and this was always accompanied by a dream of a skeleton grasping him by the throat. After trying several expedients in vain, he had at last a servant placed beside him, with orders to wake him whenever he sank down. Op one occasion, he was attacked by the skeleton, and a severe struggle took place, which he fancied lasted nearly an hour. On reproaching his attendant for allowing him to lie so long in such a state of suffering, he was assured that he had not lain one second, but had been awakened the moment he began to sink.
A friend of Dr. Abercombie, told him that he dreamed he crossed the Atlantic, and spent a fortnight in America. In embarking on his return, he fell into
the sca; awoke with the fright, and discovered (by a cxk in the room) that he had been asleep just ten alutes.
The same writer gives a striking instance of similar dreams being produced in two minds at the same Liuk, and from the same cause-an impression on the strine of hearing. It happened at a time when there was an alarm of a French invasion. The first notice of the landing of the enemy, which was hourly ex[ected, was to be given by a gun fired from Edinbro' Castle. The gentleman to whom the dream hapJeded, and who was a zealous volunteer, was in bed (De night, when he dreamed of hearing the report of a signal gun; and immediately he was at the castle, faw and heard a tumultuous bustle, troops, artilleryLuv I. &c., assembling.
At this time he was roused 1. his wife, who awoke in a fright from a similar dream, connected with the supposed firing of a gun, and the enemy's landing. The origin of this singular Occurrence was discovered in the morning to be the boise proluced in the room above that in which the parties slept, by the fall of a pair of tongs. Dr. Reid rates a case where the application of a blister to a man's head, induced a dream of falling into the bands of the red-men, who scalped him. To this class of dreams, all caused by external impressions on the Senses, may be referred those remarkable cases where dreanis of a particular character may be produced by Bbwering in the ears of sleeping persons.
kant--that man of profond thought---observes, - Without the salutary pain of dreams, perhaps sleep would be death." And, in:leed, sleep destitute of i'reams «lifters from death only in the continuance of Oyunic life. Surely no man should commit himself to it without prayer.
Every one when dreaming, has his own world: pb-n awake, that of others. This inner world, too, is a distinct and coutined whole, not interfering 14h he waking world. For when awake, we scarcely
remember our visions of the night; whereas, in the dreams of to-day, we remember those of yesterday.
Dreaming--mental activity of all kinds during sleep, from the faintest and least distinct vision to actual somnambulism-is, as I have already said, a phenomenon attributable to partial and uncontrolled action of the brain. We meet in books, however, with a vast amount of verbiage and false reasoning on this subject. Mr. Colquhoun argued that in dreaming, the soul is struggling to act without the body. Lord Brougham in his "Discourse on Natural Theology,” in a passage which I think very unworthy of its great author, contends, that “the soul acts the better, the more the influence of the body is withdrawn; and that dreams are a proof of this."Dugald Stewart has advocated similar views. I cannot subscribe to these eminent authorities. If it be true that in dreams the soul is partially unfettered, and thinks for itself, it is surely matter for grave surprise that it should, in the great majority of cases, think so oddly, so inconsistently not to say so depravedly—and work so much worse, than when it has the full assistance of the bodily organs. Do we not, in fact, say commonly of a man who has talked or written nonsense, that he must be dreaming? The best of us frequently commit actions in our sleep, which are not only in direct violation of all religious and moral obligations, but would subject us, if perpetrated in a waking state, to punishment from a human tribunal. Many a man is a thief and assassin in his dreams, who would shrink with horror from the contemplation of the bare possibility of his committing such crimes by day. But a wiser and better man than myself, long ago refuted, by anticipation, such absurd and fanciful doctrines. Locke in his “Essay" (book II., chap. 1), says—“If its separate thoughts be rational, then these men must say that the soul owes its perfection of rational thinking to the body; if it does not, it is a wonder that our
dreams should be for the most part so frivolous and irrational, and that the soul should retain none of its more rational meditations."
From our consideration of this interesting subject, I think we may draw a very important inference, viz:-the folly and impropriety of a belief in the prophetic character of dreams. It appears almost self-evident, that the understanding, fettered as it is in dreams, can give no instruction to the understanding when in the waking state. The truly religious man—the Christian philosopher-he who loves freedom for its own sake, will pay no regard to his dreams, however interesting they may be ; even if they should here and there be verified in his future life. If a man pay attention to his dreams, he confesses himself a slave to superstition, and does not act, as he ought, from his own free resolve; but like a savage, is bound by his belief in the dark decrees of fate. Nevertheless, I think dreams may become mentally, morally, and physically of importance; and for these reasons :—it is often the oldest images in the memory, which had been thrust into the background in the waking state, that principally form the subject of dreams. Through this power, then, dreams may give us historical information concerning ourselves, and we may “divine like a prophet looking backwards." As, during the absence of the sun, the countless stars not visible in the day-time appear on the dark ground of the firmament,-so, at fancy's call, the forgotten images of bye-gone days rise up, and show the mind its former shape. We may be thus enabled to make the solemn comparison of ourselves at the present time, with ourselves in earlier days.
In its physical relations, I believe dreaming viewed in a scientific, medical, not a superstitious light, may often afford us important warnings. This idea, ancient as Hippocrates, Galen, and Albers, is one of the few not exploded by the strictness of modern