Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Case X.—R. E., male, age 28, machinist. Family and personal history negative. Admitted to the institution September, 1906, when he showed verbigeration, decreased volitional impulses, was indolent, later developed marked negativism, became mute and refused food. Examination January, 1908, showed marked cyanosis, etc., blood pressure, sys. 130, dias. 105; red 6,000,000; whites 8500; blood clots in five minutes. Psychically, an extremely negativistic, mute catatonic with great emotional deterioration. Operated upon February 15, has remained in the same condition as existed previous to the operation.

Pathology.- Moderate struma parenchymatosa, with atrophic thyroid. Microscopical examination: Alveoli are not increased in size; the interstitital connective tissue is slightly increased, the organ is markedly hyperæmic and a moderate degree of hemorrhage present. The epithelial tissue is markedly increased in the alveoli in places.

Case XI.-F. T., female, age 25, clothing cutter. Family history negative. Personal history: She was always neurotic, and would be annoyed at trifles; at 17 commenced to worry over religion; continued in this way until 1907, when she developed attacks in which she would throw herself around for a long period of time; in November she became delusional and was admitted to the institution December, 1907. Physically showed cyanosis of extremities, otherwise negative. Psychically, hallucinations of hearing, poor attention, emotionally depressed and fearful, conduct very foolish, continuing she became mute, listless and careless in appearance. Examination January, 1909, she showed physically marked dermographism and cold, clammy skin; psychically in the same condition as above described. Blood pressure, sys. 140, dias. 100; blood clots in four minutes, red 5,000,000 ; whites 9000. Operated upon February 15, 1909, has remained in the same condition since operation.

Pathology.-Struma colloides, et hemorrhagica. Microscopical examination: Many of the alveoli are distended with colloid; the epithelium is thinned out and the cells flattened, in other places it is normal; there is marked hyperæmia and extensive hemorrhages into the interstitial tissue and alveoli; no ædema is found in the interstitial tissue; there are a few islands of parenchyma cells, a small parathyroid was noted.

Case XII.-C. H., age 23. Personal and family history negative; previous illness: Syphilis when 19. Admitted to the institution February, 1909. Physically in good condition; psychically very confused; showed marked emotional deterioration, took a long time to answer questions. He ran a course developing mutism, some negativism and became extremely careless as to appearance. The course was intercepted by numerous remissions lasting from a few minutes to several hours. Examination May 1, 1909, mentally in the state described above, physically showed cold, clammy skin, increased reflexes, blood pressure, sys. 130, dias. 80; blood clots in four minutes, reds 6,000,000; whites 10,000. Operated upon May 15. For the week following the operation he showed numerous remissions lasting several hours, since then he has reverted into his former condition of mutism and so continues.

WAS KING EDWARD THE SECOND A DEGENERATE?

1

[ocr errors]

A CONSIDERATION OF HIS REIGN FROM THAT POINT OF VIEW.

BY CHALFANT ROBINSON, Ph. D. “A greater ninny than Edward the Second never lived " is the opening sentence of Mackinnon's Life of Edward the Third. Bishop Stubbs in speaking of the death of the king, says: "Thus ended a reign full of tragedy, a life that may be pitied, but (which] affords no ground for sympathy. Strange infatuation, unbridled vindictiveness, recklessness beyond belief, the breach of all natural affection, of love, of honor, and of loyalty are here; but there is none who stands forth a hero.Again, he describes the reign, outside the great crises, as exceedingly dreary. “There is," he says, “a miserable level of political selfishness which marks without exception every public man; there is an absence of sincere feeling except in the shape of hatred and revenge.": Accurate and dispassionate as his estimate is, there still seems to be lacking a needed element to account satisfactorily for the life of the king, and to explain what gave to his reign its peculiar character. This needed element is the diseased brain of the king himself.

It is the purpose of the following article to interpret the reign of Edward the Second from this new point of view. For it is one which neither the chroniclers nor modern writers have considered. Indeed, when we adopt Edward's pathological condition as an hypothesis, many apparently trivial, as well as many plainly significant incidents, related by the chroniclers, assume a scientific character, and in them Bishop Stubbs' estimate of the reign finds an unsuspected explanation. If the annals of the reign are dreary, it is the dreariness of paralysis. If contemptible men are in power, it is because of the impaired vigor of the king's judgment in putting them there.' For the head is sick and the whole body is full of misery.

1

*Stubbs, Early Plantagenets, p. 288.
* Introd. to Chron. Edw. I & II, Vol. II, p. LXXV.

• Indignos quoque et ineptos ad gradus ecclesiasticos promovit, quod post modum sudes in occulos et lancea in latere sibi fuit. Higden's Polychronicon, Vol. VII, p. 298.

In the histories of the time this conclusion finds ample justification. For the chroniclers in describing the most marked traits of King Edward have unconsciously given us many characteristic symptoms of a disease which medical science recognizes under the general name of degeneracy. That he must be classed as a degenerate seems beyond doubt. That the character of his reign was largely determined by this fact seems equally clear. That the great men of his realm could so signally fail to give him either confidence or loyalty, that he should be dominated first by Pierre Gaveston, and later by the Despensers, that in an access of passion he should butcher his kinsman, the Earl of Lancaster, with many of his followers, that his wife should leave him, and refuse to return to him, and that he should be set aside finally for his son are all circumstances which may be readily explained by the assumption of a diseased condition of his brain. This was a condition to such degree abnormal that it rendered him at times gentle and winning in manner, at others violent in speech and in denunciation, cruel and bloody in action, or apathetic, hysterical or morose, and bestial perhaps, in the revolting character of his vices. From his life history, indeed, it seems reasonably evident that what he did in a large measure he could not help doing, and whether this mental condition was an inheritance from his grandfather, Henry the Third, or from his more remote Norman-Angevin ancestors, the effect upon Edward was the same. He was not, of course, an idiot, but the traits of character which attracted the especial attention of the chroniclers point to the conclusion that he was a degenerate.

The term degenerate is used in its scientific sense to designate individuals afflicted with hereditary taint in their physical and mental condition. Among them are idiots and imbeciles, who rep

* This conclusion is based upon a comparison, point by point, of the recognized manifestations of degeneracy with what the records and chronicles tell us of the king. The discussion of the medical side of the subject is taken mainly from a concise and authoritative article in volume thirteen of La Grande Encyclopédie by Dr. Saury, the French alienist, confirmed by the writings of other scientists, especially Clinical Psychiatry, by A. Ross Diefendorf, M. D., 1907, pp. 518 et seq. The writer is under further obligation to Dr. Diefendorf and to Dr. Charles A. Tuttle, of New Haven, for personal advice upon this article.

resent the most complete forms of this deterioration, but in the variety of its gradations it is assumed that there may be found all the different stages between idiocy and normal mental development. For, in spite of apparent distinctions, all the groups exhibiting the characteristic symptoms of degeneracy belong to the same family, and all are united by similar manifestations. All have their foundation in anatomical and physiological lesions relating in varying degrees to the cerebro-spinal axis. These lesions may reduce the individual to a mere vegetative existence, that is, to the reflex actions of the spinal column; or, when the lesion is less extended, sensation and instinct may find place. Nevertheless, the difference is one of degree only.

Such considerations in no way discredit the familiar description of Edward as a man of great physique and surpassing muscular strength.' For a vigorous body and great strength may be present with very little mentality.

For convenience, the most constant and uniform of the pathological symptoms of degeneracy as they are enumerated by Dr. Saury, are here tabulated and compared with what the king did:

(a) In childhood, degenerate children are cruel, perverse, easily angered, violent and indomitable.

(a) In his early manhood and throughout his reign, Edward's cruelties were notorious even in a cruel age, and his vicious life a matter of public gossip and indignation. Easily angered, he apparently could not restrain his passionate outbursts of invective and insult. For example, in 1305, when he was a young man of twenty-two, he broke into the deer park of the Bishop of Chester, and killed some of the deer. When the bishop remonstrated with him, the Lord Edward so outrageously affronted him by his language and violence of manner that the king, his father, forbade

Edward was one of the most powerful men of his realm.” Sir Thomas Gray's Scalachronica, p. 45. Trans. by Sir Herbert Maxwell, Glasgow, 1907.

“Rex Edwardus .... fuit corpore quidem elegans, viribus praestans, sed moribus, ut vulgo dicitur, multum discrepans.”

Chron. Edw. I & II, Vol. II, p. 91.
Chron. de Melsa, Vol. II, p. 286.

* The great men had ill-will against him for h's cruelty and the debauched life which he led.” Gray's Scalachronica, p. 70.

him to appear at court for several months.” When he became king himself, he had the bishop thrown into prison. “The reason for the hostility which the king had cherished for a long time against thie bishop, was that during the lifetime of his father, in his stead (the bishop), had jokingly drawn him away from his acts of insolence, in which he too readily indulged, by gently arguing, by entreating oftentimes, by lightly chiding, and by restraining him from unnecessary expenditures.". Among other things, the account is interesting because of the picture it gives of the goodnatured toleration with which the bishop treated the ungovernable young man, as if for some reason, allowance should be made for him. This attitude perhaps showed too plainly what was in the bishop's mind, for it aroused the quick resentment of the prince.

(6) Some degenerates find themselves arrested in their mental development, and are unable to master anything but the most elementary instruction.

(b) In spite of the great pains which his father took to train hini, Edward could not, or would not learn, and remained an uneducated man. When he was crowned he took the oath in the French form provided for a king who did not know Latin."

(c) Lack of education may find compensation sometimes in the acquirement of a facility for imitation in the mechanical arts. Here the lack of power of reasoned determination directs the inclination of degenerates to automatism. Their easily adopted determinations engage them often in indeterminate tasks, nor do they apply their real aptitude except to satisfy their passionate impulses. Degenerates, that is to say, may exhibit for a short time a purposeful activity when roused to it by the sting of wounded vanity which in them would be hypersensitive.

(c) In June, 1313, a certain fellow had announced that he was the first-born son of the late king, and that the then King Edward was not at all of the royal blood. “When this was rumored abroad," says the Chronicle of Lanercost, “ the land wondered a great deal,

8

Blaauw, in Vol. II, Sussex Archaeological Society Collections, pp. 81, 84, 86.

Trokelowe's Annales, p. 63. •T. F. Tout, Political Hist. Eng., Vol. III, pp. 236, 237. Same, Dict. Nat. Biog., Article on Edw. II.

Rymer's Foedera, Vol. IV, p. 36, Edit. 1818.

10

« ÎnapoiContinuă »