Billeder på siden





[blocks in formation]

The blood vessels, the absorbents, the stomach, and intestines (which might, without much impropriety, be called HOLLOW MUSCLES), are in constant action from the stimuli appropriated to them. The LOCOMOTIVE MUSCLES, when not acted upon by the nervous ele&tricity * darted into them by the will, are nevertheless in constant action, as is seen in the tremor of old men, in the pally of the head, and from the contraction of an

* The celerity of ele&ricity keeps pace with the celerity of volition, and therefore seems peculiarly adapted to explain the phænomena of the nervous system. When Louis the XVth, from a motive of curiosity, commanded a battalion of 2000 men to stand hand in hand, to receive the electric circuit through their bodies, the latt man felt the shock at the same inftant with the first. So in the act of volition, the moment the mind wills the hand to be moved; it is moved; but without our being conscious of the manner how; because it was not necessary we should know it was done by the mind directing the nervous electricity into the moving fibres of the part. Vide Part I. Sect, XII. VOL. III.


tagonist muscles, when those which counterpoise them are cut through, or lose their action (called by HALLER their vis insita), from a paralytic affection. Vide note*, Vol. I. page 128.

The IRRITABLE FIBRE therefore, from the moment of its existence to that of its dissolution, being constantly surrounded by principles which act upon it, and stimulate it, and upon which it re-acts, it follows, during the period of its existence, the IRRITABLE FIBRE is in continual action; that its existence consists in action, and that it is not in a passive state, as some authors have afferted,

The continued actions going on in organized animated beings expend the IRRITABLE PRINCIPLE in the fibre, whether THAT be,

ift, OXYGEN derived from the blood;

2d. ELECTRICITY; or some as yet

34. UNPERCEIVED POWER in the fibre,


« ForrigeFortsæt »