Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

ARTICLE XII.

ANTI-PHRENOLOGICAL FACTS.

A REPORT lately reached us, that Mr Graham Hutchison, merchant in Glasgow, had refuted Phrenology in a literary society in that city, by adducing one hundred facts against it. As we have desired nothing more ardently than to see an inductive opponent take the field against us, we received this communication with no small joy, expecting that our eyes were at last to be blessed by the appearance of a real philosopher among our foes. We accordingly wrote to Mr Hutchison as follows:

Edinburgh, 7th December, 1825. “ The Editor of the Phrenological Journal presents compliments “ to Mr Hutchison. The Editor has been informed, that, in a late “ discussion on Phrenology in a philosophical society in Glasgow, “ Mr Hutchison stated, that he had made many observations in na“ ture with a view of ascertaining the truth of that science, and “ had met with an hundred instances in opposition to its principles. As Mr H. is the only opponent that the Editor has heard of, “ who has proceeded on the truly philosophical principles of obser“ vation and induction in his examination of this subject, and, as “ cases in opposition must be highly interesting to a numerous body « of individuals who are much in want of some tangible ground on “ which they may rest their disbelief, and as such cases, besides, “ must be extremely instructive to Phrenologists in enabling them “ to rectify their errors, the Editor begs leave to solicit, as the great“ est favour that could be bestowed on bim, a distinct and de“ tailed report of Mr Hutchison's experience. As so important a “ communication cannot be too soon laid before the public, the “ Editor respectfully requests an early answer from Mr H., and “pledges himself to give it a place in the next Number of the « Journal.”

The answer was in the following terms :“SIR,— I have to return you my thanks for the opportunity offered me of communicating my sentiments to the public, regard“ing the doctrines of Phrenology, through the medium of the Jour“ nal. I am extremely sorry, that want of leisure at present pre“cludes me from taking advantage of your offer. I beg leave, “ bowever, to mention, that, after having made many observations, "and taken many measurements, and compared them carefully

“ with each other, and conducted my resea

searches, as far as I can judge, in the most likely way to ascertain the truth, I am con« vinced that the science of Phrenology, in its present state, is not “ only extremely defective, but is in a great measure unfounded in « nature.

“ As you seem to think that the reasons of my disbelief may be “ of more importance to the public, and particularly to Phrenolo“ gists, than I have been in the habit of considering them, should I “ find leisure in the course of next summer, even though very lit“ tle accustomed to composition, I may possibly attempt to commit

my ideas on the subject to paper, and if so, will send you a copy.

“ I am,

« Sir,

“ Your most obedient servant,

“ GRAHAM HUTCHISON. Glasgon, 9th Dec. 1825.” On this answer we have a few observations to make. 1st, If Mr Hutchison did not consider a hundred facts in opposition to Phrenology as a matter of some “importance to the public, and particularly to Phrenologists,” he must have entertained a very humble opinion either of the value of his facts, or of the pretensions of the science against which he took the trouble to collect them. 2d, We fear that Mr Hutchison's facts will never be laid before the public. 3dly, We venture to predict, that if they shall appear, they will be found to prove nothing but his unacquaintance with and neglect of the principles of Phrenology. We could give some amusing specimens of these facts; but do not wish to anticipate his promised publication : suffice it to say, that Mr Hutchison holds it to be quite unnecessary to estimate the size of an organ by ascertaining its length from the medulla oblongata to the surface, and its breadth by its peripheral expansion, although the plainest directions to this effect are given in the phrenological works. On the contrary, he measures Combativeness by the distance from 5 to 5, Wit by the distance from 32 to 32, and many other organs in the same way. He might as well measure the width of the Salt Market, and adduce the result to shew that Argyle Street is not so broad as stated in the plans of Glasgow. We could

add many more instances of total departure from the principles of the science, but shall reserve them till his own exposition appears. Our pages are open to him, and every oppo. nent who has either facts or reason to adduce against us.

ARTICLE XIII.

THE CEREBRAL DEVELOPMENT OF R. B. SHERIDAN,

COMPARED WITH HIS MENTAL MANIFESTATIONS.

Life of R. B. Sheridan, by Thomas Moore, Esq., London,

1825. The name of Richard Brinsley Sheridan is one which has long filled a large space in the public eye, and is indissolubly connected with the literature and the politics of England during the greater part of the reign of George the Third. At a period fertile beyond most in our history in men of splendid talents, unaided by the advantages of birth, hereditary wealth or family connexions, without the assistance of learning, and even without an ordinary academical education, this extraordinary person contrived, by means as mysterious as they were successful, to rear for himself a structure of fame and fortune, as brilliant, at least, if not so solid, as that of any, even the greatest, of his cotemporaries. Not contented with the reputation of being the first dramatic poet of his time, he aimed at and acquired the still higher fame of one of our most eminent orators and statesmen, associated with nobles and princes, and might, as he himself expressed it, have “hid his head in a coronet," had he been contented to barter his independence for such honours as princes can bestow. Long, however, before his death his reputation, public as well as private, had been on the wane. Embarrassments and disgraces gradually thickened around him, and he

who had begun his career like a comet, advancing with great and accelerating rapidity into the full blaze of popular and royal favour, after he had passed his perihelion, run out with diminished force and lustre into the cold and ungenial regions of penury and distress, and ended in an obscurity almost as great as that from which he had at first so gloriously emerged.

We have here a life of this distinguished, but unfortunate man, from the pen of a writer of kindred genius, a countryman of his own, and one every way qualified to do justice to his subject. As far as we are able to judge, Mr Moore seems to have made a judicious use of the materials laid before him, and to have executed his task with spirit, discrimi. nation, and fidelity. The work is sufficiently minute without being tedious, and seems to preserve a medium between that sort of Dutch painting which we find so delightful in the pages of Boswell, and the loose, unsatisfactory, sketchy style of ordinary biographies. It would have swelled the work too much, without adding to its value, to have given us many details of the private life and conversation of the individual ;besides, that, unlike most literary men, so much of his life was spent in public, and it is connected so much with the great events which have, within the last thirty years, shaken Europe to its centre, that these, in a manner, run away with the imagination of the reader, and leave any ordinary private details in a great measure destitute of interest.

What renders this work of peculiar value in our eyes, is the information which it gives us of the true character and genius of Sheridan, and of the means by which, from beginnings rather unpromising than otherwise, he was able to surprise the world with so many dazzling miracles. What renders this information more peculiarly valuable, in a phrenological point of view, is, that we are so fortunate as to possess of Sheridan, what is so rarely to be obtained of a man of such celebrity,-a complete cast of his head taken from nature. The cast was taken after death, for the purpose of making a

statue, and by the liberality and good sense of those to whom it was intrusted,-a liberality which we hope will become more common, when the uses which it

may

subserve are more distinctly seen and appreciated, -it has been allowed to be published and sold as an ordinary bust. A copy of it is in the collection of the Phrenological Society, and from that copy the following measurements and note of development have been taken :

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

1. Amativeness, full. 2. Philoprogenitiveness, large. 3. Concentrativeness, large. 4. Adhesiveness, large. 5. Combativeness, very large. 6. Destructiveness, large. 7. Constructiveness, moderate. 8. Acquisitiveness, rather full. 9. Secretiveness, large. 10. Self-esteem, very large. 11. Love of Approbation, very large. 12. Cautiousness, rather large. 13. Benevolence, rather large. 14. Veneration, large. 15. Hope, large. 16. Ideality, full 17. Conscientiousness, rather full. 18. Firmness, rather large.

19. Lower Individuality, very large.
19. Upper ditto, large.
20. Form, moderate,
21. Size, large.
22. Weight, full.
23. Colouring, full.
24. Locality, rather large.
25. Order, moderate.
26. Time, moderate.
27. Number, small.
28. Tune, full.
29. Language, large.
30. Comparison, full.
31. Causality, rather full.
32. Wit, rather full.
33. Imitation, rather large.
34. Wonder, full.

It will be remarked from the measurements, and must be still more apparent to those who take the trouble to examine the cast, that the head is considerably elongated before the

VOL III.--No IX.

I

« AnteriorContinuar »