Imágenes de páginas

quite the reverse. Persons thus constituted, are unable to see another bled, to hear an affecting incident related, or to behold any scene of sickness or distress; and who has not seen this exemplified, not in delicate women only, but in hale, healthy, and robust mon? Suppose a phrenologist, who had no other guide than the man's appearance, with all honesty of intention, were to examine the head of such a man, and give him his character written out in detail; it would read something like this, for something very analogous to it has been seen: ‘Your propensities are only moderate, the organs of the moral sentiments well developed, the intellectual organs large; consequently, you are disposed to reason correctly on whatever subjects are brought before you. Your mural courage is unflinching; whatever you believe it is your duty to do, you can do; your benevolence is great, and so is your firmness; you will therefore be always found where there is sickness and suffering; and dangers that appal others, only have the effect, upon you, to excite your courage the more, and enable you to carry out your plans, and accomplish your objects, in spite of all obstacles.'

I need not enter farther into this fancied delineation of character. Suffice it to say, that it is all totally erroneous, from the impossibility of recognising, from external appearances, this predominance of the nervous system.

Cases like these may be regarded by some as exceptions to a general rule; but whether they be so or not, they are far too frequent to be overlooked, or disregarded ; and they prove the position I have assumed, to wit, that the other parts of the body must be in harmony with the brain, in order that the mental faculties may be rightly manifested. We frequently meet with persons who present good cranial developments; but when we compare the head with the other portions of the body, we shall notice, at a glance, a marked disproportion in size.

There is, in the operations of the mind upon the body, a series of organs, or rather a continuous chain, necessary to produce the ultimate result. The brain is the first link in this chain of organs; the nerves are the media of communication between it and the executive agents, the various other organs. One is just as important as the other; and no matter which link is faulty or broken :

"Tenih, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.' The harmony of development, I repeat, must be perfect, or there is more or less of imperfection of mental character.

The reasoning which has been applied to the nerves, is equally applicable to all the other organs; but I need not enlarge upon this point, although this view of phrenology is highly important. Health is another item, which should come into our account, when making up the sum total of a character from cranial developments, and which is very generally overlooked. Every medical man knows the un. bounded influence which deranged health exerts over the mind; how it affects the character for benevolence, amiability, etc., and the capacity for continued application to business or study; and, in short, how it affects it in all the relations of life. Now it is extreme folly for any man, whether he be a quack, or a genuine, scientific phre. nologist, to attempt a delineation of character from an examination

of the head, without a perfect knowledge of the health of the person who is the subject of the examination.

Education is another consideration, which influences, to a great degree, the natural character ; so that one may have been compelled, by the force of circumstances, to cultivate one faculty at the expense of others more largely developed ; and thus have attained to eminence in some of the walks of life, while, perhaps, he would have been without an equal, if the dormant, neglected faculties had received the same degree of cultivation. All that a phrenologist can, or should

say, in such a case, is this : ‘You can or you may excel in such or such a thing,' instead of 'you do excel so and so.'

Education of the moral as well as the intellectual faculties should not be lost sight of, in estimating the moral worth of character. We all know the force of bad example and early habits; and we see many who are naturally inclined to go in the right path, seduced, step by step, into the broad road to ruin. It may be said, that by first ascertaining a man's habits, we can easily tell him his character; and some who profess to be phrenologists, insist that our science is particularly valuable in being able to ascertain, by feeling the head, what a man really is. Once more I take the liberty of saying, that this use, or rather abuse, of phrenology, has brought it and its disciples into disgrace. There is one most cogent reason, drawn from phrenology, why all really scientific phrenologists cannot become skilful in the examination of heads. To judge accurately of the cranial developments; to weigh one against another, and nicely to decide the preponderance; it is necessary that the phrenologist himself should have the organ of size largely developed ; otherwise, he should no more attempt to decide, upon character, than he should attempt to teach music, when the organs of time and tune are deficient. Thus we have a reason why there are discrepancies in the results given by practical phrenologists.

With great nicety of skill, acquired after much and varied experimental, practical phrenology, it is possible, in most instances, where there is a strongly marked character, to delineate its most striking features. But the principal use of the science, when applied to the examination of heads, is an aid, to assist in judging of the peculiarities of youth, and a guide to direct us in the choice of the course to be pursued in their education.

Many who do not understand phrenology, and some of our opponents, believe that, by destroying the bumps' in infancy, as is the practice among various tribes of Indians, you destroy the sum and substance of phrenology. And accordingly

, the Flat-head Indians, who have been recently exhibited in this city by the missionaries, are cited as triumphant examples of the overthrow of phrenology. Said an old acquaintance, a few days since: Well, doctor, what do you say now? — your phrenology is all killed.' 'Indeed; what has killed it?' 'Why,' said he, ‘hav ’nt you heard about these Flat-head Indians? Yes, and what then? Why,' replied he, they are said to be very clever fellows; very intelligent, notwithstanding their bumps have all been destroyed by having their heads flattened; and now how can your doctrine be true, if they have no bumps? Now, so far from the flat heads of the Indians being an argument against

our science, I believe that if a few of the same tribe of Indians were allowed to grow up with their heads of a natural shape, so that they could be contrasted with the others, we should draw a strong argument in favor of phrenology. And if post mortem examinations could be made of their heads, not only phrenology, but physiology and anatomy, would have additional light thrown upon them, and doubtless we should derive strong proofs of the truths of the doctrines in which we believe. What, let me ask, are the mechanical effects of compression upon the brain, in these cases? Those who are acquainted with the anatomy of the infant, know that the bones of the head are not then perfectly formed; the skull is not, at this age, a solid bony case, there being considerable spaces between the several bones, occupied by an elastic membrane. The skull may at this time be considered a sack, for such it truly is, and subject to the same mechanical laws that a sack would be, composed of a material like Indiarubber. This is well exemplified in those cases where the head is enormously distended; where there is an effusion of water in the brain, constituting dropsy of the head. Some cases of this kind have occurred, where the head has been distended to twice its natural size. The heads of the Indians are flattened, as we know, by being compressed between two pieces of board. If an elastic, closed sack, filled with a fluid, is compressed, by force applied to opposite sides, there will be a yielding, corresponding to the force applied, in those parts where the compression is not made. So that the capacity of the sack is not diminished. If it would hold four quarts, before compression was made, it would hold the same quantity afterward, although its relative dimensions might be greatly altered; that is, the diameter from the forehead to the occiput would be diminished, but in all other directions it would be increased. It is possible that the pressure may prevent, or retard, the development of some of the organs; it is probable that it does, and so far as it produces this effect, it proves phrenology to be true, by proving that the alteration of the brain alters the mental character. But, if it be admitted that the characters of the Flat-head Indians are not materially different from the character of other tribes, who do not distort the head, although in the one case the cranial developments are destroyed, our opponents gain nothing; for the facts in the case show conclusively that

still exist, and still perform their functions, although artificially removed from their local habitation.' We shall notice other arguments brought against phrenology, in a resumption and conclusion of the subject, in another number.

the organs


Nought of this subtle principle

Is known, but its effects;
Who seeks it in its citadel,

Destroys, but not detects.
This lamp, which lightens all that lives,

Like some that guard the dead,
E'en by the intruder's entrance is
To utter darkness sped.



[blocks in formation]


Full twenty years have passed away, since thou, beloved one !
With darkening eye to heaven upraised, the last time blessed thy son;
And meekly closing thy thin hands, with mine between them pressed,
Fled, with my name upon thy lips, to thine eternal rest.

My first, my last, my only friend! - if aught the ransomed know
of the dark thoughts and sinful deeds that stain the world below,
How hath thy gentle spirit grieved, as but a mother's can,
To see thy precepts to the boy, neglected by the man!

But no ; tbou art beatified !- on yonder radiant shore,
The sins and sorrows of thy child can trouble thee no more ;
And if, in thy refulgent home, thou thinkest of me now,
'T is with my childhood's innocence yet beaming on my brow!

So would I have thee see thy son; the wrecked of passion's storm
With prematurely wrinkled brow, pale cheek, and stooping form,
To thy soul's gaze, immortal one! would ever present be,
The same fair child of guileless heart, that gambolled at thy knee.

When thou wert taken to thy rest, dear mother! there was none
To bid me'neath God's chastening hand, exclaim Thy will be done!'
No sheltering arms to which to fee, when by temptation tried ;
A link was broke 'twixt me and heaven, when thou my mother died !

And he to whom thy parting soul bequeathed the solemn trust,
To fit me for that world of peace, the heirdom of the just,
Forgot, when thou wert lowly laid, his promise to fulfil,
And left, alas! thy wayward child to his own reckless will.

Through pleasure's halls of rosy light, I danced by night and day,
But guilt, disguised in angel plumes, beguiled me by the way;
Long, in' a wild and fevered dream, I walked beneath his wing,
Till conscience, on destruction's brink, awoke me with its sting.

Then, mother ! did I think of thee; thy blessed dying words
Seemed warbling in my spirit's ear, like songs of morning birds ;
My first wild terror passed away; I felt there yet was balm,
And I took thy Biele on my knee, and read till I was calm.

And better thoughts are with me now; thy face more cheerful seems,
Than it was wont in darker hours, to meet me in my dreams;
O! surely 't is an omen dear, that my repentant prayer
Hath reached thy heavenly dwelling-place, and found acceptance there!

Sometimes my vision pictures thee, as stooping from on high,
The light of love ineffable illumining thine eye ;
Then soaring up, on snowy wings, that brighten as they rise,
I hear thy soft voice calling me to meet thee in the skies !
I know that this is but a dream; that I can never see
Thy spirit, until mine shall wear the garment of the free ;
That'i is my own imaginings that visit me by night,
But surely heaven the image clothes with something of its light!
Yes, mother! in thy holy home, death's gloomy valley past,
A hope hath risen in my heart, that we shall meet at last;
There these faint glimmerings of day, from yonder sphere untrod,
Shall be exchanged for perfect light – the effluence of God!




All Gaul, if we may credit Julius Cæsar, was divided into three parts. In the division of Tabbyville, there was one part less ; a small stream flowing directly through its centre. It was of sufficient depth, however, to have prevented many a social visit between the dwellers of each moiety, had they not thrown over it a wooden bridge. Upon this bridge, the traveller who might have loitered early one evening in December, Anno Domini, 1838, would at one time have had serious cause for alarm, and have moved with accelerated step in the direction of terra firma. The whole structure, though its piles were imbedded in the ice, was suddenly shaken to its centre; and then it undulated, as if the ground on which it rested were laboring with volcanic fires. This was caused by the passage of two double sleighs, with horses paired not matched, followed by five single ones, each of them crowned with the aristocracy of Tabbyville.

On the same evening, numerous lights were seen in a mansion situated on the border of the village, and on its highest elevation. This mansion, both in the style of its architecture and in color, being a gabled roof, one story, and of a dingy yellow, harmonized with the rest of the village ; and it farther demonstrated that there was but one master spirit in that section, to whom was conceded a large organ of constructiveness. In two particulars, this mansion towered above its fellows. It had certain indicia, which plainly told the traveller that the owner thereof was well to do in the world. These indicia were the green blinds and the brass knocker.

In this instance, they certainly told the truth, for the mansion was the residence of Squire Peebles, a retired grocer, of the late respectable firm of Peebles and Tarbox. Why he had selected this spot, in which to while away the last years of his pilgrimage, was a matter of wonder; for it was in opposition to the advice of all his friends, with the exception of Dr. Snagys. True, it commanded a view of the forest north, of the forest east, of the forest west, and of the forest south, for Tabbyville was in the very heart of a forest. But it was in the bleakest spot of that bleak region; and Squire Peebles, being very asthmatic, seldom extended his walk around one of its corners, without an addition to his wheeze. For many years he had been a widower, and being childless, his sister, Miss Peebles, had done the honors of his table. The baptismal name of this lady was Mercy, but having been deeply imbued with the contents of five crculating libraries, she had altered it, when some years younger, and was usually addressed as Mercellina. Her brother, however, like the hair of Bob Acres when in curls, did not take it kindly. Owing either to the treachery of his memory, or to some derangement of the larynx, he invariably called her Marcy.' Now this was very vexatious, and she had frequently threatened to leave him to his solitude, if he persisted in that barbarous appellation. From the records of the town clerk, it appeared that the age


« AnteriorContinuar »