OF those remote, outward, ambient, necessary causes, I have sufficiently discoursed in the precedent member, the non-necessary follow; of which, saith Fuchsius, no art can be made, by reason of their uncertainty, casualty, and multitude; so called "not necessary" because according to Fernelius, "they may be avoided, and used without necessity." Many of these accidental causes, which I shall entreat of here, might have well been reduced to the former, because they cannot be avoided, but fatally happen to us, though accidentally, and unawares, at some time or other: the rest are contingent and inevitable, and more properly inserted in this rank of causes. To reckon up all is a thing impossible; of some therefore most remarkable of these contingent causes which produce melancholy, I will briefly speak and in their order.
From a child's nativity, the first ill accident that can likely befall him in this kind is a bad nurse, by whose means alone he may be tainted with this malady from his cradle, Aulus Gellius l. 12. c. 1. brings in Phavorinus, that eloquent philosopher, proving this at large, "that there is the same virtue and property in the milk as in the seed, and not in men alone, but in all other creatures; he gives instance in a kid and lamb, if either of them suck of the other's milk, the lamb of the goat's, or the kid of the ewe's, the wool of the one will he hard, and the hair of the other soft." Giraldus Cambrensis Itinerar. Cambriæ, l. 1. c. 2. confirms this by a notable example which happened in his time. A sow-pig by chance sucked a brach, and when he was grown, "would miraculously hunt all manner of deer, and that as well, or rather better, than any ordinary hound." His conclusion is, "that men and beasts participate of her nature and conditions by whose milk they are fed." Phavorinus urges it further, and demonstrates it more evidently, that if a nurse be "misshapen, unchaste, dishonest, impudent, cruel, or the like, the child that sucks upon her breast will be so too;" all other affections of the mind and diseases are almost ingrafted, as it were, and imprinted into the temperature of the infant, by the nurse's milk; as pox, leprosy, melancholy, &c. Cato for some such reason would make his servants' children suck upon his wife's breast, because by that means they would love him and his the better, and in all likelihood agree with them. A more evident example that the minds are altered by milk cannot be given, than that of Dion, which he relates of Caligula's cruelty; it could neither be imputed to father nor mother, but to his cruel nurse alone, that anointed her paps with blood still when he sucked, which made him such a murderer, and to express her cruelty to a hair: and that of Tiberius, who was a common drunkard, because his nurse was such a one. Et si delira fuerit (one observes) infantulum delirum faciet, if she be a fool or dolt, the child she nurseth will take after her, or otherwise be misaffected; which Franciscus Barbarus, l. 2. c. ult. de re uxoria, proves at full, and Ant. Guivarra. lib. 2. de Marco Aurelio: the child will surely participate. For bodily sickness there is no doubt to be made. Titus, Vespasian's son, was therefore sickly, because the nurse was so, Lampridius. And if we may believe physicians, many times children catch the pox from a bad nurse, Botaldus, cap. 61. de lue vener. Besides evil attendance, negligence, and many gross inconveniences, which are incident to nurses, much danger may so come to the child. For these causes Aristotle, Polit. lib. 7. c. 17. Phavorinus and Marcus Aurelius would not have a child put to nurse at all, but every mother to bring up her own, of what condition soever she be; for a sound and able mother to put out her child to nurse, is naturæ intemperies, so Guatso calls it, 'tis fit therefore she should be nurse herself; the mother will be more careful, loving, and attendant, than any servile woman, or such hired creatures; this all the world ackowledgeth, convenientissimum est (as Rod. a Castro de nat. mulierum, lib. 4. c. 12. in many words confesseth) matrem ipsam lactare infantem, "It is most fit that the mother should suckle her own infant"-- who denies that it should be so?-- and which some women most curiously observe; amongst the rest, that queen of France, a Spaniard by birth, that was so precise and zealous in this behalf, that when in her absence a strange nurse had suckled her child, she was never quiet till she had made the infant vomit it up again. But she was too jealous. If it be so, as many times it is, they must be put forth, the mother be not fit or well able to be a nurse, I would then advise such mothers, as Plutarch doth in his book de liberis educandis, and S. Hierom, li. 2. epist. 27. Lætæ de institut. fil. Magninus part. 2. Reg. sanit. cap. 7. and the said Rodericus, that they make choice of a sound woman, of a good complexion, honest, free from bodily diseases, if it be possible, all passions and perturbations of the mind, as sorrow, fear, grief, folly, melancholy. For such passions corrupt the milk, and alter the temperature of the child, which now being Udum et molle lutum, "a moist and soft clay" is easily seasoned and perverted. And if such a nurse may be found out, that will be diligent and careful withal, let Phavorinus and M. Aurelius plead how they can against it, I had rather accept of her in some cases than the mother herself and which Bonacialus the physician, Nic. Biesius the politician, lib. 4. de repub. cap. 8. approves, "Some nurses are much to be preferred to some mothers." For why may not the mother be naught, peevish drunken flirt, a waspish choleric slut, a crazed piece, a fool (as many mothers are), unsound, as soon as the nurse? There is more choice of nurses than mothers; and therefore except the mother be most virtuous, staid, a woman of excellent good parts, and of a sound complexion, I would have all children in such cases committed to discreet strangers. And 'tis the only way; as by marriage they are ingrafted to other families to alter the breed, or if anything be amiss in the mother, as Ludovicus Mercatus contends, Tom. 2. lib. de morb. hæred. to prevent diseases and future maladies, to correct and qualify the child's ill-disposed temperature, which he had from his parents. This is an excellent remedy, if good choice be made of such a nurse.