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LECTURE I.

ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL
INFLUENCES OF THE PROFESSIONS
ON THE CHARACTER.

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SOME ancient writer relates of the celebrated Hannibal, that during his stay at some regal court, the evening entertainment on one occasion consisted of a discourse, (what we in these days should call a "lecture,") which an aged Greek Philosopher, named Phormio, if I remember rightly, had the honour of being permitted to deliver before the king and courtiers. It was on the qualifications and duties of a General. The various high endowments-the several branches of knowledge, and the multifarious cares and labours appertaining to an accomplished military leader, were set forth, as most of the hearers thought, with so much ability and elegance, that the discourse was received with general applause. But, as was natural, eager inquiries were made what was thought of it by so eminent a master in the art military, as Hannibal. On his opinion being asked, he replied with soldierlike bluntness, that he had often heard old men talk dotage, but that a greater dotard than Phormio he had never met with.

He would not however have been reckoned a dotard--at least he would not have deserved it, (as he did,)—if he had had the sense, instead of giving instructions in the military art to one who knew so much more of it than himself, to have addressed an audience of military men, not as soldiers, but as human beings; and had set before them correctly and clearly, the effects, intellectual and moral, likely to be produced on them, as men, by the study and the exercise of their profession.

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For, that is a point on which men of each profession respectively are so far from being necessarily the best judges, that, other things being equal, they are likely to be rather less competent judges than those in a different walk of life.

That each branch of study, and each kind of business, has a tendency to influence the character, and that any such tendency, if operating in excess, exclusively, and unmodified by other causes, is likely to produce a corresponding mental disease or defect, is what no one, I suppose, would deny. It would be reasonable as an antecedent conjecture; and the confirmation of it by experience is a matter of common remark. I have heard of a celebrated surgeon, whose attention had been chiefly directed to cases of deformity, who remarked that he scarcely ever met an artisan in the street but he was able to assure himself at the first glance what his trade was. He could perceive in persons not actually deformed, that particular gait or attitude that particular kind of departure from exact symmetry of form-that disproportionate development and deficiency in certain muscles, which distinguished, to his anatomical eye, the porter, the smith, the horse-breaker, the stonecutter, and other kinds of labourers, from each other. And he could see all this, through, and notwithstanding, all the individual differences of original structure, and of various accidental circumstances.

Bodily peculiarities of this class may be, according to the degree to which they exist, either mere inelegancies hardly worth noticing, or slight inconveniences, or serious deformities, or grievous diseases. The same may be said of those mental peculiarities, which the several professional studies and habits tend, respectively, to produce. They may be, according to the degree of them, so trifling as not to amount even to a blemish; or slight, or more serious defects; or cases of complete mental distortion.

You will observe that I shall throughout confine myself to the consideration of the disadvantages and dangers pertaining to each profession, without touching on the intellectual and

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