Billeder på siden

ing of a very beautiful one, in the pos- and there to repress the voice of opsession of an honourable person in this position by the influence that might neighbourhood, and send it you, along accompany his immediate presence. with a few further remarks, if possi- On concluding his lectures at Bath ble, before the publication of your se- and Clifton, he there announced his cond Number. "Yours respectfully, intention of visiting this northern

J. M. capital ; at the same time exciting the Stockbridge, March 17, 1817. sympathy of his audience, by declar

ing, “ that he was going amongst his

enemies." At Clifton, particularly, THE CRANIOLOGICAL CONTROVERSY. he had gained many proselytes; and Some Observations on the late Pamph settling the manifestations of mind

so occupied were the ladies there in lets of Dr Gordon and Dr Spurzheim. from the bumps on each other's skulls, MR EDITOR,

that carefully to braid the hair, in orNo speculations have engaged more der to conceal wrong propensities, be attention, or have more frequently af- came a matter of very serious atten. forded a topic for conversation, since tion. The following fact, which acthe time of Joanna Southcote, than tually occurred at a party in Clifton, those of Drs Gall and Spurzheim. will shew with what a nice accuracy Your readers, I presume, have heard Dr Spurzheim had taught his fair disof these gentlemen and their doctrines, ciples to discover in their neighbours and perhaps may be amused by a few particular manifestations of mind ;remarks on the craniological controver- and I give it as a short lesson of causy. One of these learned persons, who tion to their sister craniologists in Edlately lectured in this city, has been inburgh, of which there are not a few. remarkably active in the promulgation A lady in a large party remarked of his new system, and has devoted pretty audibly, that on a certain head many years to its explanation, in all very near her, she perceived a suspithe principal cities and towns of Eu- cious bump. The lady to whom the rope. Of this system it is unnecessary head belonged, hearing this observahere to give any detailed account. Its tion, turned to the informant, and, deoutlines have been made so generally claring that she would instantly rew known by the unwearied eloquence of move this organ which had excited a Dr Spurzheim, in his writings and suspicion of a wrong propensity, imby his lectures, that I beg to refer the mediately took from her hair a small very few persons, who have not heard comb, which, lying concealed, had the latter to the perusal of the former. caused the manifestation. I shall here offer only some general Dr Spurzheim arrived in Edinburgh observations on a treatise lately pub- soon after the commencement of the lished on the subject by Dr Gordon, last summer session at this university. and on a pamphlet by Dr Spurzheim, He gave several demonstrations of a intended as a reply.

calf's and sheep's brain in Dr BarThe craniological system of Drs clay's lecture-room ; and as soon as he Gall and Spurzheim has been very could procure a human brain, he befully detailed and discussed in all the gan his demonstrations on that organ literary journals of this country, and in the class-room of Professor Thomthey have been very unanimous in son and Dr Gordon.

Here was a deciding on its merits. The Edin- fair opportunity to put to shame the burgh Review stood foremost in oppo- critics of Edinburgh, who had so se sition to this new system, and pointed verely ridiculed his system. This was out more fully and clearly than the the time to support his written disrest, the anatomical errors on which it coveries by actual demonstration. His was founded. Dr Spurzheim, en- new and superior mode of dissecting couraged by his success in England the human brain, could now readily relying, it may be also, on his per- be made manifest by a public exhi. sonal address, and on the plausible bition of his skill before some of the sophistry with which he explained his most eminent professors and practisystem--for its ready reception with tioners in the kingdom. A human the multitude of readers, who were of brain was placed before him ;-that course incapable of detecting its ere organ on which his system was foundrors-resolved to visit Edinburgh ; ed, and his alleged discoveries respecte

ing which had already gained him pointed, and which, if well founded, such celebrity. The interpreter of go very far to affect the credit and mind took up his scalpel, and the character of Dr Spurzheim. learned men of the city sat around in This gentleman and his colleague silent expectation. In such a situa- have asserted, that no anatomist betion, there was one course which, it fore themselves believed that the brain might be imagined, Dr Spurzheim was, throughout, of a fibrous struc.would certainly have pursued. As the ture. This, therefore, they claim as colleague of Dr Gall, he had been ac- a discovery peculiarly their own, and cused, in no very ambiguous terms, considering it one of high importance, by the Edinburgh Review, of wilful they style it, “ La premiere et la plus misrepresentation, and of gross ig- importante des decouvertes, celle sans norance in a science which he pre- la quelle toutes les autres seroient imtended to have enriched by new dis- parfaites.” Dr Gordon proves very coveries. These accusations, being satisfactorily, that from the time of anonymous, he certainly was not bound Malpighi in 1664, downwards, such to notice. Convinced, however, as he a fibrous structure was believed to exmust have been, that such heavy ist every where throughout the cerecharges against him were well known bral mass. To such proofs Dr Spurzto his audience, he surely must have heim, in his pamphlet, returns no anfelt peculiarly anxious to do away any swer.

This first and most important bad impression they might have made, of their discoveries turns out, thereby a minute and clear exposition of fore, to be no discovery at all—and his leading doctrines, and a decisive it will be seen that all the others are demonstration of the correctness of his indeed " imparfaites.” anatomical views. Strong in his own Drs Gall and Spurzheim wished to integrity, and in the soundness of his appropriate to themselves the method system, we can conceive him gladly of scraping the brain, as a mode of preparing to confound his enemies, by dissection peculiar to themselves, and appealing to the testimony of their best calculated to display its structure. own senses, and claiming, for an ac- Dr Gordon asserts, that this method tual exhibition of new anatomical facts, was not invented by them. To this a belief in the theories which he had assertion Dr Spurzheim assents by his deduced from their existence. How silence. Dr. Spurzheim availed himself of One of the most important points such an opportunity is well known in his and Dr Gall's anatomical disto all who witnessed his dissection. coveries, concerns, as we are told by Far from establishing his claims to Dr Spurzheim, the two orders of fipretended discoveries by actual de- bres, viz. diverging, and converging or monstration, it appears that he in- uniting. It is in fact upon the existence volved himself and his system in of these peculiarly arranged fibres, and further discredit, by his visible ina- upon the proof of a statement which has bility to display the new structure he been positively advanced, that the had so confidently described. He left brown matter secretes the white, that very little doubt, I believe, on the the whole system of Drs Gall and minds of his audience, as to the merits Spurzheim depends. I beg your readof craniology. In order, however, stillers particularly to notice that it is upfurther to obviate misrepresentation, on the communication between the and to place the claims of all and brown matter and the white medullary Spurzheim in a proper light, Dr Gor- substance, to which it serves as a covdon drew up a treatise, entitled, “Ob- ering, that the doctrines of craniology servations on the Structure of the depend for their chief support. ImaBrain, comprising an estimate of the gine no such communication to exist, claims of Drs Gall and Spurzheim to and the brown capsule of the brain, discovery in the anatomy of that or- and cerebellum, is nothing more than gan. On the title-page of this treat- an unconnected covering to the white ise he placed his name. This, let it substance beneath. Now, in this case, be observed, was no anonymous attack if mind can be manifested by external which an individual could pass over signs on the head, these signs being without notice. It is a treatise in caused by swellings, or a peculiar conwhich the author personally brings formation of some substance within forward accusations most! direct and the cranium-that substance must


be the brown matter, and the brown amination of the Objections made in matter alone. The white medullary Britain against the Doctrines of himsubstance, with all its curious cavities self and Colleague.” We sat down to and arrangements, has nothing to do a perusal of it with a considerable dein such mental manifestations, and the gree of curiosity, and we closed it, whole nervous system is alike exclud- quite satisfied as to the merits of these ed. Dr Spurzheim, however, main- far-famed craniologists. tains, that the whole medullary sub- Never was there a more evident at. stance is secreted by the brown, and tempt to evade the overwhelming force that a communication can be shewn to of unwelcome facts, than has been exist between them by a system of di- made by Dr Spurzheim on this “ verging and converging fibres. Sure- amination.” Instead of meeting fairly he must have discovered these fi- ly and decisively the objections so bres by an actual dissection-his writ- strongly urged against him ;-instead ings assert this ;-their existence is a of a clear refutation, or a mạnly consine-qua-non to his whole system.- fession of mistake and error ;-there is Now Dr Gordon distinctly states, that little else in this pamphlet but a most Spurzheim never did demonstrate such general and unconnected repetition of communication between the brown his former theories and assertions. and nervous matter-he did not de- We see in it only the signs of an immonstrate these diverging and con- becile irritability,---evidently sensible verging fibres when called upon to do to reproach ;-conscious that it is but so; and moreover, Dr Gordon posi- too well founded,—but unwilling to tively denies that any such arrange- confess its justice, and unable to avoid ment can be shewn to exist in the its sting. cerebral mass. How does Dr Spurz- At p. 37, Dr Spurzheim wishes to heim attempt to parry this home- amuse,” his readers by an anecdote, thrust, which goes to terminate his which we must not forget to notice. craniological existence ? Very simply, It is an account of a dissection which by an exclamation of "

Hey ho! is it took place in the Royal Infirmary last

December, and it will be seen how In another part of his pamphlet, slyly a very formidable accusation is indeed, p. 27, he offers to shew con- brought forward against Dr Gordon. verging fibres to any one who shall We know that this gentleman was procure a fresh brain;" and at p. present at this dissection ; but it hap38, mentioning the “ reinforcing fi- pened not to be the week in which his bres,” which Dr Gordon denies are official duty as one of the surgeons to susceptible of demonstration, he offers the Infirmary would have given him “ to demonstrate all these statements the superintendence. This duty beto any one who shall procure a fresh longed to one of his colleagues, the brain." Every one who knows the next in seniority. Dr Gordon had very great difficulty there is in pro- therefore no necessary concern with curing a recent brain, will easily per- this dissection—it was a point of eticeive that Dr Spurzheim is making quette not to interfere with it. We merry with his readers. He was pro- can assert, that the presence of Dr vided at his demonstration with a Spurzheim in the theatre was known brain in the most recent state,-why neither to Dr Gordon nor to the surdid he not then demonstrate all these geon who presided; no intentional obfacts ?”-he did not do so—he was struction could therefore be offered to unable to do so,--and his whole sys- his views by either of these gentlemen. tem falls to the ground.

We regret with Dr Spurzheim, that a “ Upon every occasion,” says Dr dissection so interesting as this really Gordon, “ where he was called upon was, afforded, as we are compelled to acto make good those affirmations which knowledge, so little gratification or imconstitute the leading features of his provement to the students who crowded system, he endeavoured to excuse him- the anatomical theatre. Why were the self from the task, by denying that he whole posse-comitatus of the hospital, had ever maintained any such struc- clinical and surgical clerks, assistture to be demonstrable.”-P. 114.

ant-surgeons, apothecaries, and dressAs a reply to such serious accusa- ers,-permitted to stand round the tions, Dr Spurzheim produced a dissecting table, and totally to prevent pamphlet, professing to be “ An Ex- the students from seeing the body?





The lower seat which surrounds the new beauty, it will be very soon forarea is particularly for the accommo- gotten. There is nothing indeed which dation of this medical suite, but on can make us regret the fall of this illthis occasion it was unoccupied ; and fated system. It seems to have been with heads and bodies, forming a pret- a mere exhalation of human thought, ty, opaque circle over and around the which has risen, and is passing away table, the view of several hundred stu- before us, in all its native duskiness; dents was completely intercepted. with no rainbow tinge to allure our

Since the brain has had its day as gaze by its beauty-not one celestial the basis of a system, we see no rea- hue to lighten the dull materiality of son why that organ in the human its aspect.

A. M. body, which is popularly supposed to Edinburgh, March 3, 1817. be the seat of passion, shall not in its turn serve to amuse the credulity of mankind. Why may not the human heart be registered in a good sized

PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT quarto volume, with plates and re- A FOUNDLING HOSPITAL IN ferences, and be made the basis to a system of CORDIOLOGY? Some in- MR EDITOR, quirer may arise, who is fond enough Many of your readers must be aware of travelling, and sufficiently anxious that Mr John Watson, Writer to the for a transient reputation to run over Signet, bequeathed a sum of money to Europe, and give lectures on its fibres trustees, to be applied,

" at the sight and emotions. He may surely dis- of the Magistrates of the city of Edincover such a difference in the twisting burgh, to such pious and charitable of these fibres ;- in the curvature of uses within the said city,” aš the trusits valves ;-the sweeping of its ar- tees should think proper ; and that teries ;-or the arrangement of its the trustees, after announcing it to be nerves ; as may afford a very amusing their final and unalterable resolution explanation of human passion. The to apply this bequest to the establishheart, indeed, is not just as open to ment of a Foundling Hospital, declarexamination in the living subject as the ed, That upon their decease, the manskull; and we doubt whether any lady agement of the charity should devolve could be found sufficiently in love upon the keepers and commissioners with science, and a new system, to of the Writers to the Signet. Mr expose her heart for the sake of either, Watson died in 1762, and his widow to the manipulation of a cordiologist. in 1779. The Writers to the Signet But comparative anatomy will supply became possessed of the trust-funds, us with data, and there needs but according to the destination of the tesa little inference, a little reasoning tator's trustees ; and after much litifrom analogy, and a great deal of sup- gation with the Magistrates of Edinposition, to help us out. From the burgh, their right to the management form of the chest we may presume

was confirmed by our Supreme Court. the structure of the heart within it; These funds, originally small, have --we might have some good manifese been so well employed at they are tations of passion by the jugular vein; said now to amount to more than and a great many mysteries commonly £60,000. referred to the human heart, may pro- Now, my object is to know whether bably be explained by peculiarities of this sum is to be applied to the esta palpitation, caused by a modification blishment of a foundling hospital and in the shape or bumpiness of its apex; if it be, when it is intended so to emor in the arrangement of its tranversé ploy it? or whether it be in contemfibres.

plation to apply to Parliament to auSuch patch-work systems of conjec- thorise its appropriation to such chariture and speculation are fortunately table purposes as may be thought, in destined, by the immutable and eter the present circumstances of society nal laws of truth, to last but for a sea- and of public opinion, to be more worson. Craniology has almost "lived its thy of encouragement ? little hour.” In this city we are certain, From the litigation to which this that, with the absence of Dr Spurz- part of Mr Watson's testamentary heim, and the introduction of some deed has given rise, and the very difother novelty, as a French-dance or a ferent opinions entertained as to the



merits of this destination of his pro- dels to copy. It was the growth of perty, as well as from many other in their own soil, rooted in their usages, stances of a similar description, it is laws, legends, mythology, and pecu. impossible not to perceive how little liar modes of thinking and conforencouragement is held out to such mation of character, and was native charitable, or, it may be, ostentatious to Greece as the vine to her moundonations. In the progress of society, tains. It was drawn directly from as in that of the age and fortune of nature, and the likeness was pleas, individuals, that which at one stage ing, because it was the faithful copy appears most interesting and praise- of a fair original; not, as too freworthy, is beheld at another with in- quently happens among the ancient difference or aversion.

I. Romans and the modern nations of March 1817.

Europe,-a servile imitation-a tame
copy of a copy; it was like nature
herself, fresh, and rich, and vigorous,

and unconstrained, ever varying and No I.

ever graceful.

On a first view of the Greek tra, (Æschyli Prometheus.) gedy, what strikes the reader, if he is

at all conversant in the drama of the The drama has formed an interest. moderns, is its simplicity. The charing and important part of the litera, acters are few, and the fable either ture of every nation into which it has intricate nor the incidents surprising. been introduced, and no nation that Its whole interest arises out of the has cultivated literature at all is en- simple expression of natural feeling in tirely without it. Among the Atheni- situations of suffering and sorrow; yet ans, scenical representations were fre- scanty as the materials are, by their quented with a degree of enthusiasm judicious arrangement, a beautiful of which we cannot easily form an superstructure is raised. It may be adequate notion. A successful play likened to a fine painting, in which was the most certain and the shortest the figures are correctly drawn and road to literary fame, and even to for- skilfully grouped--the costume aptune and preferment in the state. The propriate the

drapery easy and gracedramatic poets were men of eminent ful--the expression of the passions, genius, and not more remarkable for such as naturally flow from the cirthe qualities of mind that form the cumstances of the actors--the story poet, than for those that constitute the perspicuous--and the lights and shades philosopher. Euripides was the dis disposed with such art as to give to ciple and the friend of Socrates, who the whole the most pleasing effect. saw the important moral purposes to It has been often repeated, and as ofwhich the drama might be applied, ten acknowledged, that the composition and the divine philosopher did not of a tragedy is one of the most difficult think it beneath him to aid the poet of all the efforts of human intellect. It in the correction of his pieces. . In requires a knowledge of the nature of the Greek theatre, not only was the man, and of those general laws by taste of the people formed to a simple which he is governed in every stage of and natural style of composition, and society, which is the portion only of a their minds inspired with a love of gifted few,- of those main springs of virtue, but their piety and their ima- thought, and feeling, and action, that gination were equally improved by are universal, and of all the varieties the unfolding of the beauties of a of their modification produced by his poetical mythology: It was not mere- moral, physical, and political stateIy a place of public amusement, but the temperature or severity of climate rather a temple for the purification of the purity of religion or the grossness the national manners, and the worship of superstition-the exaltation of liberof the gods,

-more moral in its ten- ty or the degradation of slavery. The dency than their sacrifices and festi- dramatic writer must be endowed with vals. It is to be understood, that the eye that can unveil the human these observations apply only to tra, heart, detect the passions in their gedy, for the Greek comedy was often source, and trace them in their intrilicentious and immoral.

cate windings, and give to all fit utIt was fortunate for the Greeks that terance. He must be possessed of a in their literature they had no mo- pliancy of mind, by which he may

« ForrigeFortsæt »