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thing is on its face impossible. Such, are continually repeated; additional for example, is the clairvoyance notion, instances heaped on instances; but all with all its pretensions so many times on the same authority, and adding killed and brought to life again. The therefore nothing to the proof, as their thing is morally, physically, and sameness sheds no new light on the rationally impossible and ridiculous. theory: Townsend says in one place, Not but that we would believe it on that the mesmerised patient has no proof proportionate to the à priori dis- corporeal sensations but those of the belief: as, for instance, if a somnam- Mesmeriser; but, in other parts of his bulist would give us the English news, book, he makes them hear music, and and anticipate the steamers, or even feel hunger, and other sensations read us the Philadelphia papers, or entirely independently. So that he bring us from a distance any public evidently has no distinct idea himself and notorious news, he might thus how he means to represent the effect raise up such clouds of witnesses as of this sleep, which is the main sympto overcome all our preconceived no- tom and very embodiment of the influtions of possibility, and make us admitence he treats of. This mesmeric new ones instead of them. But the sleep very many persons believe in, occasion calls for this kind of public and no doubt it appears in many cases proof, it calls for an appeal to general to be produced in the way described experience, general in some large by the believers. But when produced, proportion to that experience which is whether by the imagination of the to be confuted. Such proof could be patient, or by the magnetic mummery, easily, and would be readily given, if it is a plain, simple, unapprehensive the thing were true; it is not given; stupor. This one circumstance pertherefore the thing is false. And in an haps exists, and on this has been built argument which calls for proof of this a superstructure in which all our ideas sort, it is not worth our while to attend of truth, possibility, and evidence, have at all to anything inferior; to details been mocked and set at defiance. about how such a one's house was Mesmerism lies under one great described to him five hundred miles disadvantage, which is, that in pracoff by a person who never saw it, and tice it affords no amusement. Nothing who did not know him; how the can be duller than trying to put a wrinkles were counted at that distance person to sleep, and failing, which in in the face of his aged grandmother, general is the most that can be made and the pieces of broken china enume- of our attempts to apply this science. rated which stood in the corner cup. In this respect, Phrenology is infinitely board. But what was the price of preferable, and it is even a more amuscotton that day in that same distant ing paradox for discussion, because its city, or whether it rained or snowed conclusions have a certain range of or shone, or anything else that the degree and modification, which, when public can take cognizance of, depo- they happen to be too abominably nent invariably saith not. To all these wrong, always admits of their being histories then, we answer, that one explained away. Here is acquisitiveman ha been duped in one way, ness bulging out like coach lamps on another in another, that some have the temples of the most liberal-minded deceived themselves, and some would man in the world; but then there is deceive us; and to conclude, that the benevolence, or veneration, or some whole thing is a hoax, and a very other mighty fine quality in such counchildish one. The seeing through teracting predominance; oh, that exsealed papers and into pockets, or in plains it entirely. And then, Phre. the dark, is an imposture still morenology leads to discussions of character, difficult to keep up, and is now pretty and observation of characteristic traits, generally scouted and abandoned. things naturally extremely interesting
Whoever has read Townsend's book and amusing. "It developes anecdote, on Mesmerism, may see in that the it affords good scope for satire; and, in difference between a true science and short, has in it many principles of fun, a false one. The book has no progres- which will infallibly make it immortal sion; any page or paragraph might be as a joke. But to treat of it seriously, either at the beginning, middle, or end to suppose that the brain, a perfectly of the work. The same sort of stories homogeneous mass, is divided into
organs by imperceptible lines and he was first to reach the goal, yet sevepartitions, that these organs, which ral competitors were pressing onward are none of them themselves protu. close behind him, and just ready to berant, and which produce no protu- touch it. Such is the history of the berances on the bone with which they integral calculus, of the circulation of come in contact, do yet produce them the blood, and even of the great theory on the exterior skull; all this is too of gravitation itself. Such, also, is the nonsensical for refutation. Some peo- condition of Neurology with respect to ple make money, or gain notoriety the great men above enumerated; for by asserting, nobody can get either really one sees that, from exciting the by contradicting it; and some prose- brain by touching the outside of the lytes having had this camel crammed head of a sleeping person, to doing the down their throats, the way is widen- same to a waking one, was but a step, ed for more, and more are bred and not a long one. Still, a short step expressly to drive down. One man may sometimes be made by a longpolarises the organs, that is, he dis- legged man; and such it appears, by covers that each bump or protuberance the article on Neurology in your last, is on the head has its opposite pole, the case in the present instance. I do where also all its own characteristics not call this in question ; Dr. Buchanan are developed. These organic poles, may be all that he is there represented by some sirange notion of sphericity, to be, but I deny entirely that he is are all found to be in the face, and proved to be so by this discovery of the thus they constitute a new system of Neuraura, or by anything connected physiognomy. Here is a flood of new with the doctrines as whose advocate light poured out upon the world; here he is here chiefly known. And allow is risen up a new and great name in me to say to you, Mr. Editor, having a Israel, a profound thinker, deep and certain misgiving that you will print patient scholar, and rival of Coper. this philippic of mine reluctantly, if at nicus, John Locke, Franklin and all, allow me to say that I think the Pythagoras-admission to his lectures, other side of this very disputable mathalf-a-dollar. Another comes forward ter has a right to be heard, after the with a galvanic battery, and offers to full hearing you gave the assertors in excite your combativeness, or discom- your last. The other side should be pose your organ of order, in the most heard in a full and unrestrained outconvincing manner, having usually pouring, not limited by respect of provided subjects himself if his audi- persons,—a principle which, when ences decline to furnish any, on whom extended to the things those persons the experiment may be made. Another patronize, is subversive of all freedom will excite the phrenological organs of discussion. It would please me during the magnetic sleep, and make much better could I put this thing in them give unequivocal proofs of their the light I believe to be its true one, own existence and powers. Here is without displeasing anybody, but my the penultimate effort of these gropings object is not now to be cautious and after truth, the night growing ever friendly,” but to be just. I deal absodarker till the day begins. Now comes lutely with what is before the public, the final flourish :
and I speak out with regard to that
my whole meaning, and insinuate “ Cedite, Romani scriptores, cedite, Graii nothing that I do not say. Dr. BuNescio quid majus nascitur Iliade."
chanan, then, is the gentleman who has
made this notable step, not from the Which may be Englished in the poet- sublime to the ridiculous, yet neverical prose of Melmoth by the Madman's theless to the same end. He it is who parable—“ Colonel Harrison is come discovers that the brain can be excited out of the West, riding on a sky- by touching the skull, at any time and colored mule, which signifies Instruc- in any manner that can be desired or tion.” Indeed, we
to be imagined. Hope, Fear, Hunger, Thirst, instructed with a vengeance !
Childhood, Old Age, Insanity, Genius, Many great discoveries which have Folly, Physical Strength and Weakness, been made in this world, have seemed Virtue and Vice, and good and evil pasto be bestowed like the prize at a race, sions;-he has them all at his fingers' where the winner finds that, though ends, and plays them on your head as
if its bumps were piano keys, and he a mature buman being may be made the tuner of the instrument. But, in- to act like that of a child. Experience asmuch as everybody knows this is is gone, memory is gone, and all that not so, it becomes necessary to get rid time has written there, and the chaof the contradiction of universal expe- racteristics also which belong to the rience; and this is done by setting up physical condition of a child's brain, against it the experience of a class of lightness, buoyancy, and versatility, persons denominated “impressible,” are all restored! I am not an anatowho are said to exist among us in the mist, but I know that the brain underproportion of one to a thousand. That goes a progressive change from infancy ihere are such persons, and that they to age in every human being. It grows have such experience, is a position less in volume and weighi, and also which rests, so far as the New York eventually specifically lighter, changing public are concerned, chiefly on the no doubt in faculties and properties in assertions of three or four individuals, a correspondent degree; and are we of whose characters that public knows now to be told that, with a touch of a nothing, -indeed, in most instances, it finger, all this effect can be undone ? has not been told their names. These The Spirits in Manfred had “no power people testify, as may be seen in the upon the past,” nor Jove in Horacearticle I am answering, both by parole
“ Non tamen irritum and by pantomime, that when Dr. Buchanan touches their heads, his neu
Quodcunque retro est efficiet, neque
Ditlinget insectumque reddet raura or nervous fluid passes into and
Quod fugiens semel hora vexit." excites their cerebral organs, producing effects which, if in fact so produced, But here comes a man who sets Jupiter are very marvellous. But as none of and Nemesis aside, razes out these effects are such as might not
“written troubles,” expels our “perileasily be counterfeited or imagined, the ous stuff,” and opens anew to our disbelievers of neuraura, so long as ravished eyes the regretted vision of such remain, will of course resort to childhood! Can human credulity go these explanations to support their in- this length? Can it admit a system credulity. Fingers have come in con- whose witnesses bear witness to this? tact with heads in all possible ways Why then since the creation until now, and the
“ Believers of incredible creeds impressible one in each thousand has Whose faith inshrines the monsters that always failed to be excited. Three or
it breeds; four hundred people there must now Who bolder even than Nimrod seek to he in this great city, who are highly rise impressible, and many thousands of By nonsense piled on nonsense to the persons have been set to make ex skies, periments by the notoriety of this You have your miracles; aye, sound ones doctrine; but we hear of no discoveries
tooof good subjects by anybody but Dr. Seen, heard, attested; everything but true. Buchanan. I shall animadvert here briefly on
Which simple votaries shall on one experiment performed before the
While craftier feign belief-till they investigating sub-committee, whose
believe!" " cautious but candid” Report is the subject of the review in your last. It Dr. Buchanan has brought forward is omitted, and I think judiciously, by one other idea, having no necessary the cautious and candid reviewer, but connection with neuraura, of medicine it was set forth in the original Report, acting on the system by external and the purport of it was, that, by application, in the palm of the hand exciting a certain organ on the head of or otherwise. The experiments dea lady, known to us as “ Mrs. R.," she tailed by the sub-committee on this was carried back to the feelings and subject appear very wonderful; and, condition of childhood. She played although fraud and good luck in guessinfantine antics, wanted pretty books ing might in some degree explain with pictures in them, &c., &c. Twenty, them, if supposed, yet such supposi. thirty, or forty years, may be thus tion is not satisfactory, and the thing stricken off at á blow, and the brain of seems to merit further investigation
But such investigation having been been done, and bringing testimony to publicly challenged and declined, I prove that, rather than by freely and can only remark on this, that it is a frequently repeating the experiments phenomenon perfectly distinct from and showing the recurrent phenomena. the Phrenologico-Mesmerico-Neurau- No questions of veracity ever arose rico-physiological theory, and that it is about gravitation; none about logaquite impossible to prove or corroborate rithms or the life of the blood. Men that by taking physic through the palm verified the calculations and experiof your hand.
ments in the absence of the originator, Something has been said about ridi- and could do them as well as he ; his cule and obloquy, with a slant toward personal character was nothing to the the hackneyed adage that ridicule is argument, nor the characters of his not the test of truth. Yet truth is opponents. It was quite otherwise in never ridiculous, and among the doc- a case which I am about to narrate, in trines which have stood the test of which a great man hatched suddenly time, there are none, as far as I know, out of a small one rose up to fame which even in their earliest infancy and eminence and sunk again, feared ridicule. But charlatanism does
“ Leaving a gap in the clouds.” naturally fear and hate it; could she cease to be ridiculous, she would be His life was a continual battle, not sublime, for there is but a step, every- usually about his theory, for that was body knows, from the latter quality to not of a nature to be easily contrathe former. No, there is but a step; dicted, or much argued on; but about but do the charlatans consider that that collateral issues. The question always step was never made backward ? Re- was, was this or that man to be verse the idea-how far is it from the believed ?-was this or that attack ridiculous to the sublime? and who within the reasonable bounds of civil ever passed through that distance ? controversy ? Questions of veracity
In conclusion, Mr. Editor, while I and courtesy, varied by attempts to am quite willing that in comparison make out that his opponents were enewith these last discoveries, those of mies to all faith and all law, wore out Gall and Spurzheim should " dwindle the great man's time, talents, money, into insignificance," I object decidedly and reputation. Envy and malignity to your coupling with these iwo names attended every step of his career, that of Sir Charles Bell, as if the detraction obscured his noonday three stood in one rank as “benefactors brightness, and hastened his decline. of their race." Let us keep the Withering neglect at length dug his substantial and unsubstantial separated early grave, ridicule pushed him into by a line; and, at all events, wait for it, and I wrote his elegy and epitaph further advisement before classing as follows: Gall and Spurzheim with men whose
I knew a certain Dr. Budge, and he was discoveries are of daily, practical, and
a singular fellow, universal application; or Sir Charles Study had turned his nose sky-blue, and Bell with these questionable suns that the tips of his eyebrows yellow; shine only for the elect.
And with intensity of thought, the tail of It would be utterly 'impossible to his curly queue start a doctrine so wild and absurd Was twisted up behind his head, in the that it should not, in the hands of a shape of the letter U. clever man, find witnesses and prose- But the Doctor, with all his study and lytes, --witnesses, too, who should thought, had brought very little to believe what they said in some cases, pass, and who should in others act their And only his intimate friends believed, paris so well as to deceive their very And his prospects faint and fainter grew,
that he wasn't a stupid ass; instructor. Fancy and caprice play strange tricks, and all they lack is
of making a ground to claim
A sinecure under government, or a niche order, and persistance, and repetition,
in the Temple of Fame. and universality, to make their evidence So, as a last resource, he tried to find out resemble that of truth. In insulated something new, cases the resemblance is often perfect, To improve upon Redfield like Espy, or and hence it is that questionable doc Mesmer and Gall like Buines are always maintained by insist- Chanan; but these being occnpied, to the s on what has been or is said to hare
field of invention alone
He went to grub and endeavor to find But as negation nothing proves, I'll show,
some plant he might call his own. without more apology, And this was the mighty theory that The way to prove something, or anything, Budge resolved to teach,
particularly New-Ology. That pokers have souls as well as men, And how, whosoever wants witnesses to and the faculty of speech;
a scientific fact, And this he would prove, by finding men From every thousand may pick out one, to testify 'twas true,
if he has but a little tact. And if you denied or doubted it, he would You say to a man, I think, my friend, lay the fault on you.
there's a faculty in you; On one in a thousand, the Doctor said, Then you gravely touch his nose with does Heaven this gift bestow,
yours, and add, Indeed 'tis true; The ideas that float in a poker's head by I think you can hear what the poker says, word of mouth to know;
just take it up and see, The other nine hundred and ninety-nine If you can, it's a rare and precious gift, my one may thus defy
and a good one for you and me. I say the poker speaks to me, how can Now, if you have chosen your subject you prove I lie ?
well, he'll have an imagination The theory took; the Doctor blazed in which may readily take its own effects lecture and in column,
for a poker's inspiration; And he was a distinguished man, and the But failing of this, he will comprehend, truth he preached was solemn.
unless his ideas are dim, Sweetly and gently I said, I doubt; but That the time he devotes to experiments he gave me gall for honey,
is not to be lost for him, And told me I was an Infidel and resister And this is the true New-Ology; and this of testimony.
is the mother science, Now I am a very quiet man, and I stay by Of a brood now somewhat numerous, which my own fireside,
bids Common Sense defiance; In a parlor which, for the sake of peace, For the art of producing witnesses, when my wife and I divide;
once well understood, And the poker and I stay cheek by jowl From Spurzheim's bumps to Brandreth's till we get very weary both,
pills, makes every humbug good. Bat the devil a word do we say to each other, of that I'll take my oath.
NOTE.—We have thus proved our witty friend mistaken in his doubts as to the insertion of his pungent and high-peppered paper; though, with the exception of some of its general remarks, there is but little in it to which we are disposed to assent. As a “Democratic Reviewer,” he is entitled-certainly, at least, welcome-to some liberties of speech in addressing us and our readers, which it may perhaps require a little effort of magnanimity to concede. Respecting Dr. Buchanan, and the philosophical investigations in which he is engaged, it is proper that the same occasion that carries forth the strong and severe satire which we have not shrunk from inserting, should carry with it the renewed expression of our well-assured confidence in the integrity and intelligence of that gentleman, as well as in the general views of the Article in our last, which has elicited this replication from our very clever and caustic correspondent. By a coincidence of time wbich suggests a duty of justice to Dr. Buchanan not to be disregarded, while the present sheet is passing through the press we find in the New York Evening Post (January 14) the following communication, which may be fairly set off as a per contra to the reasoning, if not to the satire, of Irenæus. The members of the class referred to are, as we are saisfactorily informed, persons of intelligence and respectability, many of them physicians or medical students, and cultivators of science for its own sake, whose testimony as to facts and observations is entitled to all respect, whatever each reader may choose to think for himself as to their deductions.-Ed. D. R.