Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/22

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Mr. Carlisle's Lecture

By this simple disposition, the medullary substance of nerve is spread through all organized, sensible, or motive parts, forming a continuity which is probably the occasion of sympathy. Peculiar nerves, such as the first and second pairs, and the portio mollis of the seventh, terminate in an expanse of medullary substance which combines with other parts and membranes, still keeping the sensible excess of the peculiar medullary matter.

The peculiar substance of nerves must in time become inefficent; and, as it is liable to injuries, the powers of restoration, and repair, are extended to that material. The reunion of nerves after their division, and the reproduction after part of a nerve has been cut away, have been established by decisive experiments. Whether there is any new medullary substance employed to fill up the break, and, if so, whether the new substance be generated at the part, or protruded along the nervous theca from the brain, are points undetermined: the history of the formation of a fœtus, the structure of certain monsters, and the organization of simple animals, all seem to favour the probability, that the medullary matter of nerves is formed at the parts where it is required, and not in the principal seat of the cerebral medulla.

This doctrine, clearly established, would lead to the belief of a very extended commixture of this peculiar matter in all the sensible and irritable parts of animals, leaving the nerves in their limited distribution, the simple office of conveying impressions from the two sentient masses with which their extremities are connected. The most simple animals in whom no visible appearances of brain or nerves are to be found, and no fibrous arrangement of muscles, may be considered of this