Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Nothwithstanding of all these efforts, however, the science is steadily and rapidly advancing. The sale of phrenological 'works and casts is extensive and rapid, the desire for phrenological information is intense ; and even the scoffers give indications of envying the clear and precise views and extensive information concerning the human mind, in all its varieties of aspect, which they perceive the thorough phrenologist to possess, and the want of which they feel as humiliating even while they endeavour to force up a smile at the science.

ARTICLE XVII.

OUR FIRST NUMBER.

“ It is as bad as Blackwood,” says one; “ It is full of scur

rility,” says another ; “ That is not the way to teach phre“nology,” adds a third. By all this we have been vastly amused. In the first place, The name of our late adversary appears to have attained to the painful pre-eminence of being used as the worst degree of comparison. “ As bad as « Blackwood !" No more need be said this includes all literary delinquencies, actual and possible. But, in the second place, we deny the justice of the comparison : although phrenologists have been slandered, ridiculed, and abused in every form in which malignity could vent itself, not only as phrenologists, but as individuals, nevertheless there is not a syllable of ridicule against any individual in our first Number; nor shall there be any in our subsequent Numbers, unless offenders provoke such treatment by their own gross misconduct. In the third place, the real source of these complaints was the application to themselves, by the consciences of individuals, of the satire directed against the enemies of phrenology in general. This is just what we intended, and the little fretfulness excited by our jokes is a proof of returning good sense and good

feeling in those who experienced it. They are becoming ashamed of the parts which they ignorantly acted towards the science, and are displeased with themselves: not to injure their self-esteem too deeply, by an unreserved acknowledgment, they affect to be a little angry with us, and knowing, as we do, the whole process going on in their minds, we have humoured them in this Number, and have been grave, but, we trust, not dull, throughout.

The criticisms of our contemporaries have also been a source of phrenological entertainment. Each critic writes according to the impression made by our articles on his own combination of faculties, and gives forth his decision as wisdom in the abstract. The following contradictions are explicable on no principle, except that the authors of the dif. ferent paragraphs possessed widely different degrees of the organ of Causality.

CHARACTER OF MACBETH.

The most interesting article of all to the general reader is a paper On the Application of Phrenology to Criticism, and on Shakspeare's « Character of Macbeth," in which, it must be allowed, some new and

very curious light is thrown, and some very ingenious illustrations of character attempted.-Gentleman's Magazine, January 1824.

THE SAME SUBJECT, from Glasgow Free Press, * 13th January

1824.

There is one paper, however, of a sober, contemplative kind, which, before we conclude, we must take the liberty of noticing. It is No XI., which affects to shew the applicability of the science to the purposes of criticism. In our humble conception, it is the most important-looking picce of nonsense we ever met with. The writer takes the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and affects to dissect them by the rules of phrenology—the rules of stuff! “ A new species of criticism,” he calls it !-very new, indeed! One word to this gentleman-we shall be happy to receive a paper from

This newspaper has manfully avowed its conversion to phrenology ; which we are glad of, as a proof of spirit in the Editor, and of the progress of truth. He will never repent the decisive declaration of his belief. In fact, no subject more interests the public, and they do not like half-measures in matters of serious import.

him on the same subject, when he shall procure the skulls of these personages. THE SAME SUBJECT, from the Dundee Courier, January 1, 1824.

The most interesting aud elaborate paper in the Journal is, perhaps, the examination of the character of Macbeth by the principles of Phrenology; in which the critic endeavours to account for actions apparently anomalous by the combination of the lower propensities with the higher sentiments, in different degrees of relative strength, in the same individual. Though aware of the inconsistencies which exhibit themselves in the characters of mankind, the critic maintains that the doctrines of Phrenology explain whence these inconsistencies arise, which by the old systems of philosophy cannot be made intelligible.

The wit also of our first Number has been characterized as pleasing or displeasing, according to the side on which the reader stood. We have received letters from decided disciples, declaring it to be admirable. The Lectures of Doctor Donnerblitzenhausen have caused the initiated to ache with excessive laughter. Those, however, who class themselves among the scoffers, have pronounced us less successful in wit than in argument ; but no man admires the joke which cuts himself. The friends of phrenology are the best judges of our success in this point, and they have enjoyed the fun to our entire satisfaction. In short, the reception of our first Number has been altogether gratifying and satisfactory, and we shall strenuously endeavour to merit a continuance of the success which has attended it.

ARTICLE XVIII.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE PHRENOLOGICAL SOCIETY.

season.

1823, Nov. 13.—The Society met for the first time this

An essay was read by a member, shewing the application of phrenology to criticism, in an analysis of Shakspeare's character of Macbeth. A Circassian skull, procured by Mr W. Scott, and a notice of the dispositions which it indicated, by Mr A. Combe, were submitted to the Society.

2

Mr G. Combe laid before the meeting a notice of the state of phrenology in London, communicated by Dr Elliotson.

1823, Nov. 27.—Mr Lyon read an Essay on the Harmony of Phrenology with the Scripture Doctrine of Conversion. A cast, taken by permission of Dr Monro, from the head of Robert Scott, the murderer of two men at Fanns, in Berwickshire, was presented to the meeting.

1823, Dec. 8.—This day the annual general meeting of the Society for the election of office-bearers was held. At the close of the ballot the following gentlemen were declared duly elected :

Dr Richard Poole, President.
Vice Presidents George Combe, James Simpson,

Melville Burd,

Council. David Bridges, jun. William Waddell, James Bridges, Andrew Combe, Patrick Neill, Samuel Joseph. William Scott, Secretary.—Thomas Lees, Clerk.

Luke O ́Neill, jun. Figure-Caster.

|

1823, Dec. 11.-Sir George Mackenzie read, “ Remarks “ on the Faculties of Locality, Individuality, and Phenome« na." Mr G. Combe read a notice respecting John Hepburn, who accompanied Captain Franklin in the arctic expedition, with a statement of the cerebral development of Mr Hepburn, illustrative of his dispositions as represented by Captain Franklin.

Mr James Tod, W.S. was balloted for and admitted as an ordinary member.

1824, Jan. 8.-Mr G. Combe read a Phrenological Analysis of Mr Owen's New Views of Society. Mr Robert Ellis exhibited and described a craniometer invented by him. An instrument intended to answer the same purpose, upon a less complicated construction, made by Mr William Gray, was also laid

• Part of the integuments had been cut before this cast was taken, and the report on it is delayed, until the skull, now undergoing maceration, be examined.

before the meeting. The Society remitted to these two gentlemen to adjust an instrument comprising the advantages of both. A letter from Dr Forster to the Secretary, containing some interesting statements regarding the science, was read. On a ballot, John Scott, M. D. was unanimously admitted.

Jan. 22.-Dr Poole read Phrenological Observations on the Origin and Nature of Language. A letter from Dr Spurzheim, expressing his highest approbation of the Transactions of the Society, and returning his thanks for the copy presented to him, was read. Also a letter from Dr Forster to Sir George Mackenzie, offering to present the Society with a small collection of skulls and some phrenological communications. A letter from the Secretary of the Phrenological Society of London, intimating, that that Society had elected the members of the Phrenological Society corresponding members of the London Institution, was read by the Secretary. The thanks of the Society were returned, and the members of the London Society unanimously elected corresponding members of the Phrenological Society. Mr John O‘Donnell, L. B., one of the Presidents of the Medical Society, also Mr William Gray, Gorgie-Mains, were admitted as ordinary members.

The following books, presented to the Society by the author, were laid before the meeting, viz.-Observations on the Casual and Periodical Influence of particular States of the Atmosphere on Human Health and Diseases. By THOMAS FORSTER, M.D.F.L.S., &c. &c. Somatopsychonoologia, being an Examination of the Controversy concerning Life. Essay on the Application of the Organology of the Brain to Education. The thanks of the Society were returned for this donation.

1824, Feb. 5.-Mr William Scott read a Phrenological Analysis of the Character and Genius of Raphael, illustrated by a cast of his skull. The Secretary read a letter from Dr Gall, expressing his high approbation of the Transactions of the Society and the Phrenological Journal ; returning thanks

« AnteriorContinuar »