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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by


in the Clerk's Office of the Southern District ( New York.

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In undertaking to prepare the present volume, I was strongly influenced by a conviction of the practical importance of the subject. It is perhaps true, that the public mind is but little informed, certainly much less than it should be, in relation to the true doctrines of regular or normal mental action; but it is, undoubtedly, much more ignorant of the philosophy of defective and disordered mental action. Nor is it surprising that this should be the case, when we consider that but very few writers, even of those who have professedly devoted themselves to mental inquiries, have particularly investigated this portion of the Philosophy of Mind. It has, in fact, been almost totally neglected, except by a few learned and philosophical writers of the medical profession, who, in the discharge of their professional duties, could not well avoid giving some attention to this subject. But the books of these writers, of great value as they undoubtedly are, are for the most part taken up with the consideration of disordered mental action as it is connected particularly with the physical system, and with various practical directions having relation to the treatment of insane persons.

These works were not designed for popular circulation; nor, as a matter of fact, has this been the case.

Under these circumstances, it naturally suggested

itself to the proprietors of the Family Library that
something might be prepared on this subject which
would be both interesting and useful. In underta.
king this task, although I had for some time direct-
ed my attention to inquiries of this nature, I deeply
felt my inability to do justice to a subject hitherto
considered so doubtful in its principles, and univer-
sally acknowledged to be exceedingly complicated
in its relations. Believing, however, that such a
work might be practically useful, and that, in fact,
it was much needed, I was willing to do what I
could in the somewhat narrow limits which the
plan of the Family Library allowed me. I have
therefore laid down the outlines of this great sub-
ject in the manner which facts and nature seemed
to me to dictate, and with a sincere regard to what
seemed to me to be the truth. As the work is de-
signed for popular reading as much and even more
than for men of science, I have endeavoured to be
simple and natural in the plan of inquiry as well
as in style. I commit it to the reader in the hope
that he will accept whatever merit the work has,
and regard it leniently in, whatever it may fall
short of his reasonable expectations.

Bowdoin College, Oct., 1839.

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