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Commemoration of the Accession of William the Fourth.
It u usual for writing engraver* to select some popular topic that may afford an opportunity fur the display of skill in so beautiful an art as that which they profess. We have never seen a more
perfect specimen than the one before us, designed to commemorate " the Accession to the throne of oor patriotic and beloved King William the Fourth, whose seal and anxious wish lor a Reform in Parliament and for the prosperity and happiness of bis loyal and dutiful subjects, have endeared him to the heart of every Englishman."
PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETIES.
The council and officers elected for the ensuing year were as follows :—President, bis Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, K.G.; Treasurer, John William Lubbock, Esq.; Secretaries, Peter Mark Roget, M.D. John George Children, Esq.; Foreign Secretary, Charles Konig, Esq. Other members of the council, Peter Barlow, Esq. John Bostock, M.D. Rev. William Buckland, D.D. Samuel Hunter Christie, Esq. Rev. Henry Coddington, Charles Daubeney, M.D. George Dollond, Esq. Davies Gilbert, Esq. Joseph Henry Green, Esq. William George Matin, M. D. Roderick Impey Murchison, Esq. Rev. George Peacock, George Rennie, Esq. Captain W.H. Smyth, R.N. Rev. William Whewell, Nicholas A. Vigors, Esq.
LONDON PHRENOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
This Society met on Nov. 7th and 21st, when Dr. Elliotson, the president, read a paper respecting the attacks that had been made on phrenology since the last session. He first noticed the observations that had appeared in the Literary Gazette animadverting strongly on some experiments on living animals as detailed in an article in the Edinburgh Phrenological Journal: this led to a letter in the Times taking the same view of them. Dr. Elliotson observed, no one could deprecate such experiments more than he did, but he was happy to say that they had not been performed by a phrenolo
fitt, but by M. Bouilland, a disciple of M. lajendie, the great foe of phrenology. The next who appeared in the arena was Dr. Rvan, who urged objections against the principles of the science, as they tended, he said, to overturn and uproot all feeling of morality, religion, and good order, and deprived all classes of society of that support and control so necessary to their well-being. These assertions were clearly proved by Dr. Elliotson to be without foundation, first, by the fact that Dr. Ryan had not produced one instance of any writer on phrenology inculcating principles that in the least afforded any ground for his assumptions, and, secondly, by citing many passages from authors on the science, particularly from Dr. Gall, who has asserted that the system of phrenology placed morality and religion upon a more sure and certain foundation, as
it emancipated the mind of man from the metaphysical absurdities that had so long enveloped it. Dr. Elliotson then adverted to Mr. Godwin's remarks on Phrenology contained in his recent Thoughts on Man, and after observing that whatever opinion might be entertained respecting the objections brought against phrenology by the other foes he had spoken of, none could regard the present one as insignificant or obscure, or as prompted either by low desire to acquire favour with the multitude by administering to their prejudices, or any rancorous feeling. If ne wrote erroneously, he wrote what he believed, and solely for the purpose of disseminating what to him appeared truth, calculated to benefit mankind, and of acquiring honourable reputation. He then went on to state that Mr. Godwin regretted that the task of refuting phrenology had not fallen td another " whose studies were more familiar with all the sciences which bore more or less on the science, confessing his remarks to be nothing more than a few loose and undigested thoughts upon the subject." After this, could it be imagined that he would, in a subsequent page, take upon himself to assert that as phrenology "is perhaps the most rigorous and degrading system that was ever devised, so it is in almost all instances founded on arbitrary assumptions and confident assertions totally in opposition to the true spirit of patient, laborious investigation and sound philosophy ;"—verily is this strong objection, this hard judgment, nothing more than "the loose undigested thoughts" of one not very familiar with all the sciences which bear upon the topic 1 If he wished his arguments to have weight, they should have been consistent. Mr. Godwin then urges against phrenology that it has advanced too rapidly to be true; he acknowledges that there it a science in relation to the human mind that bears a similitude to Plato's predication of the statue hid in a block of marble, but considers that the man who without study and premeditation rushes in at once and expects to withdraw the curtain, will only find himself disgraced by the attempt; and yet how does he reconcile his admission "that Gall spent thirty years in private meditation and investigation of the subject before he ventured to promulgate his system, and that nearly thirty- live years have elapsed since that period—surely this is not so very rapid an advance, such a rushing in to withdraw the curtain that he ought to find himself disgraced by the attempt. The science is not, as he asserts, of rapid growth like the ephemeral fly, born suddenly and soon extinct; as it exists still, and has endured longer than the fly, and never was supported by such a host of facts, and never owned so many votaries as at the present moment. Mr. Godwin considers it reasonable to believe "that a certain structure of the head is in correspondence with the faculties and propensities of the individual, but that there was a wide difference between this general statement and the conduct of Gall, who at once split the head into twentyseven compartments. ■ How does this agree with his prior admission of the time spent by Gall in developing this system? Mr. Godwin has also drawn a comparison between the advance of geography and phrenology, commending the plan of the ancients, who, when they laid down their maps, placed a monster to denote the parts they were ignorant of. True, Gall did not place a monster to mark those portions of the brain which he had been unable to locate; but, observed Dr. Klliotson, he puts a star or cross on those districts of which he had not had sufficient evidence before him to determine, but which have since been filled up by Spurzheim and other phrenologists. The president then dwelt with considerable eloquence upon die indefatigable zeal of Dr. Gall, pointing out with great minuteness the method he pursued in investigating the subject, and how the beautiful and philosophical arrangement of the organs of the faculties bore the impress of Divine design, those which were common to brutes and ourselves, those which ought to be in subjection to the higher faculties, being all situate below, while those which were more noble, the benevolent and rational, lie above, brute after brute rising in mental character, and likewise in the height of his organs, till man was reached, whose mental and intellectual faculties have all organs corresponding with their places above the rest in lofty elevation, so that to heaven he erects a front serene, Godlike, erect, and bears on his forehead the very stamp of superiority of mind. The mighty intellect of Gall could not devise this, he only could discover it, for the work was the operation of the Almighty, and if any one saw the wisdom and power of Divinity it was the phrenologist. He then concluded his remarks by observing that if Godwin's assertion was correct, that many of Gall's organs were a libel on our common nature, the declaration of Scripture, and most pages of history, must be objected to, as both were a libel on our common nature, but only ac
cording to English law, which makes truth a libel. The disposition of man, says Scripture, is deceitful and desperately wicked; out of the heart proceeds murder, lust, and all kinds of sin; and history was little more than a catalogue of wholesale murders and murderers styled battles and heroes, and a description of vice and error of every description.
Dr. Klliotson, after the lecture, laid on the table the four first numbers of Dr. Vimont's splendid work on Comparative Anatomy, compiled from the examination of 25U0 heads of animals for the purpose of refuting phrenology, but which ended in his being thoroughly convinced of its truth, and producing an imperishable store of facts proving the truth of the science. He also announced the establishment of a phrenological society in Paris, which reckoned amongst its members some of the most eminent men there, particularly Andral, Broussais, Cloquet, David the sculptor, Fabret, Fovdle, Rostan, lloyer, and Bouillaud, the very man who so cruelly experimented on living animals when not a phrenologist.
Dec. the 5th. Dr. Klliotson in the chair. Mr. H. B. Burlowe read a paper by Doctor James Brown, on some of the manifestations of the mind, as exemplified in the case of a man who was for a considerable time a patient in St. Thomas's hospital on account of a severe injury of the head. During his illness he spoke Welsh, though he had been absent from Wales upwards of thirty years, and prior to the accident had entirely forgotten his native language. This fact, observed Dr. Brown, in the first place, clearly demonstrates the plurality of the organs, and in the most satisfactory manner proves that the brain is the organ through whose means the different processes of the thinking principle are brought to light; if, therefore, it be injured, the thought it conveys must also suffer. But in this instance one faculty of the mind, namely language, was to a certain degree affected, while the others retained their usual sanity ;, thence, it is evident that an injury done to a portion of the brain, may destroy or impair the peculiar function of the part affected, and of which there are numerous instances; or it may, as in the present case, alter the abstract manifestation of a faculty, while the general manifestation remains—for the latter, namely language, was perfect, but the former, namely the kind of language, was altered. Prom this it would appear, that to acquire a new language, the portion of brain allotted to that function must be subjected to increased excitement, which gradually induces such a change in its structure as accommodates it to the new impression, whilst the former language, which had been acquired without the same mental exertion, recedes before the new occnpant. and only resumes its station when that has again vanished. Dr. Brown, in accounting physiologically for this action, considered the injury inflicted on the man's brain caused an alteration of texture in a particular portion of it, which rendered it unfit to be the vehicle of the English language, but placed it in a state capable of recalling the original dialect of the individual. In fact, the structure was the same as before the acquirement of the new language: of course such a change in texture could not be demonstrated, yet the circumstances of the case in question authorised the assertion that it so originated. Dr. Brown, after some powerful arguments in support of his position, adduced several instances of the acquirement of peculiar powers during temporary disease of the brain, bat which generally disappeared on its restoration to health; proving to demonstration that the brain of the same individual may be at one time in a state fit to develope any of the mind's attributes, while at another it loses all recollection of the mode in which it before proceeded. He then concluded his paper, by observing that he confidently looked forward to the time when the vague speculations of metaphysics would be abandoned for the self-evident demonstrations of phrenology; for though it was impossible for phrenologists to seize the light which illumes the innermost chamber of the labyrinth, they could, at least, by the assistance of its beam, safely trace each winding avenue, and even behold the flame, though they must sometimes confess their inability to discern the different areolae which composed it; whilst the metaphysicians see only its reflection—grasp at it as a reality—find themselves deceived —become confused, and search in vain for the lost treasure.
THEATRE OP ANATOMY AND ZOOLOGY.
Professor Dewhurst has commenced a course of popular lectures on the anatomy, physiology, and mechanical structure of the human body, contrasted with the formation of the various orders of animals. In the discourse forming the first lecture, which was introductory to the sciences of zoology and comparative anatomy, the Professor paid a just tribute to the Lord Chancellor, inasmuch as it was through the exertions of that illustrious character and Dr. Birkbeck, that the sciences he was about to teach were considered as deserving to be made comprehensible to a mixed audience. He then pointed out the advantages to be derived from the medical student being acquainted with the structure of the various classes and orders of the inferior animals, particularly as it aided their studies of the human body, and formed the basis of all zoological classification. The
system of arrangement laid down by Linnaeus he considered as erroneous. This great naturalist had classified the cuttle-fish, earth-worm, and hydatid, thus forming a genus of animals having not the least possible alliance with each other. The same objection occurred in his class mammalia, where instead of placing Man at the head of the animal kingdom, (which has been done by modern zoologists,) he had associated him with the bat, thus placing two animals together in whom we find no circumstance of agreement, except in the situation of the mammee, which Linna?us makes characteristic of this class. In the other orders he has associated the elephant, triehecus or walrus, sloth, and ant-eaters, animals extremely different in their form, organization, and habitude. In the order ferffi, he included with the real beasts of prey the phoca or seal, whose mode of life and structure is so peculiar, with the hedgehog, mole, and shrew, which are really fugitive animals; and in the order bellure, we find the hippopotamus, hog, and tapir, whose uncouth figure, slow, and heavy gait, and general economy declare their relation more with the rhinoceros and elephant, (with whom they should have been united) rather than with that fleet and finely-proportioned quadruped the horse.
The Professor then enlarged on the importance of a correct arrangement of animals, and stated that a great reformation had been made by Baron Cuvier, Blumenbach, La Cepede, Vigors, C. Buonaparte, Kennie, Yarrell, Joshua Brookes, Audobon, and Wilson. The lecturer then illustrated his remarks by referring to the tables of Linnaeus, Daubenton, Virey, Baron Cuvier, and the late Mr. Bennett; and concluded his observations by stating the peculiarities in the various classes of organized beings, which were illustrated by beautiful and appropriate specimens and drawings. The lecture met the approbation of a crowded audience, which was partly composed of ladies.
Subsequently the Professor delivered a lecture on the manner in which the skeletons of various animals were mechanically constructed ; the architecture of the skull of man, the arched and elastic form of the human foot, and of most animals were described, as also the necessity of this construction proved necessary, which was illustrated by referring to a drawing of the foot of a Chinese lady, in whom the back part of the heel as found in Europeans, and where the tendo-achillis is inserted, was inverted and made the basis of the posterior part of the arch, which in this drawing was beautifully preserved; the original specimen being in the possession of Mr. Bransby Cooper. In the formation of the head of the various races of man, some interesting particulars were stated, especially as regards the flattening of the foreheads of the infants of the Carib Indians by the shingle or wooden tile; this the Professor stated had been denied by some authors, but his statement was supported by Mr. Joshua Brookes, and recently by Mr. Ross Cox in his valuable work on " The Columbia River," &c. an extract from which he
Suoted respecting a tribe of Indians hilerto unknown, by whom a similar process was performed to distinguish this peculiar race from others, and by whom the flat forehead was considered a beauty, the direct contrary of the beau ideal of the European. The characteristics between the skulls of man and monkeys were then pointed out, as also the peculiarities in the skulls of the various classes and orders of quadrupeds, birds, and reptiles. The Professoi then described the improved nomenclature he had adopted for the sutures of the skull, which he stated had met universal approbation, and Dr. Kirby and several other eminent anatomists in Dublin adopted his system in their lectures on anatomy.
The other lectures have chiefly been upon the structure and physiology of the heart and its blood-vessels, the circulation of the blood, and importance of the due supply of the arterial or vital portion of this fluid, as necessary to the preservation of animal life; but if, from the respiration of carbonic-acid gas, generated either from charcoal, limekilns, mines, &C. the venous blood, instead of becoming regenerated and purified in the respiratory organs, becomes thrown into the arterial system, and as the venous blood contains substances dangerous to vital existence, the lungs are unable to perform their office, and the individual expires from suffocation. This proves the great necessity for free ventilation of all crowded buildings, particularly hospitals, of which the professor stated he did not believe there existed one among the many in this metropolis that could be said to have this process properly performed.
These truisms the professor illustrated, and then proceeded to demonstrate the analysis of the blood itself. Afterwards, the respiratory organs underwent a careful investigation, wherein the lecturer exploded the old test of the buoyancy of the lungs as a test of infanticide, considering it both fallacious and erroneous.
ROVAL crOGRAPlUCAL SOCIETY.
On the 14th of Nov. a meeting of this society proceeded to the special business of the evening, viz. to confer the royal premium for last year on Mr. Richard Lander for his discoveries in Africa; and to receive a report from the council relative to the union of the African Association with the Society.
Regarding the first of these, the noble President observed, " that his Majesty having graciously and munificently bestowed an annual donation of fifty guineas on the society, to constitute a royal premium for the encouragement of geographical science and discovery, it gave him, and he was certain it would give the society, great pleasure to find itself called on, the first time this was conferred, to bestow it on so worthy an individual. Mr. Lander was one of those men of whom England had so frequently to boast, who derived no advantages from birth or education, but who, by his own patience, spirit, temper, and perseverance, had achieved celebrity, and ultimately succeeded in placing himself in the foremost rank of modern discoverers. He had, therefore, the greatest pleasure in conveying this prize to him—he fully deserved it."* Mr. Lander made a short but appropriate reply. Lord Goderich's address was very happily expressed. He spoke with gTeat feeling, and was much cheered by the meeting, which seemed cordially to sympathise with its noble chairman in the sentiments he so impressively uttered, and to take a deep interest in the passing scene. Sure we are, that the public bestowal of such honours must have an excellent effect; and we regret they have been so unfrequent amongst us. "As regarded the African Association," his Lordship then proceeded, "that body had made overtures within the last few months to join the society, on condition that such of its members as were not already members also of the Royal Geographical Society should become such, on payment of the usual fees, without form of ballot; and the council had eagerly accepted an offer so honourable and so gratifying. The labours of the African Association were well known, and its character stood so high as to make inquiry almost superfluous as to the individuals thus introduced. But when he further read the names of Lord Clive, Henry Bankes, Esq., Charles Hoare, Esq., H. H. Hoare, Esq., and John Motteux, Esq., as being the gentlemen in question, he was persuaded the society would most cordially approve of the act of council which had provisionally admitted them as members." Which was accordingly carried by acclamation, and the meeting adjourned.
* We rejoice to have to add, that Lord Goderich's and the Government's countenance of Lander has not been confined to honorary distinctions. That enterprising and singularly deserving traveller has, at the earnest recommendation of his Lordship to Mr. Edward KUice, been appointed to a situation in the Customs, sufficient to enable him to pass the remainder of his days in comfort and respectability.
At a meeting of the same society on the 28th November, a letter was read from a gentleman lately returned from Java, giving an account of a remarkable valley, called th— Guevo Upas, or Poison Valley, which was communicated by Mr. Barrow, and illustrated by extracts from a letter written by W. H. Hamilton, Esq., V.P. of the society, who, when British minister at the Couit of Naples, visited the Lago di Amsancto (Amiancti vatlfs of Virgil, ,-Eneid, lib. vii. 1. 865, into which the fury Alecto threw herself, after having, at the command of Juno, sown the seeds of discord among the Italian cities,) the phenomena of which closely resembled those of the valley in Java.
"On approaching within a few yards of the latter," says the narrative, "we experienced a strong nauseous, sickening, and suffocating smell; but on coming close to the edge, this left us, and we were lost in astonishment at the scene before us. The valleyappeared half a mile in circumference, oval, the depth from thirty to thirty-five feet, the bottom quite flat, without vegetation, and the whole covered with the skeletons of human beings, tigers, pigs, deer, peacocks, ficc. interspersed with large stones, without any appearance of vapour, or opening in the ground, which appeared to be of a hard, stony substance. The sides of the valley, from the top to the bottom, were covered with trees and shrubs. Having lighted our cigars, we prepared to descend; and, with the assistance of bamboos, went down within eighteen feet of the bottom. We then fastened a dog to a bamboo, and sent him in, having our watches in our hands; and in fourteen seconds he fell on his back, nor ever moved his limbs, or turned to look round, though he continued to breathe for eighteen minutes. We then sent in another, or rather he got loose from the bamboo, and walked in to where the other dog lay; and in ten seconds he fell on his face, and only continued to breathe for seven minutes. A fowl was then tried, which died in a minute and a half; and another seemed to expire before even touching the ground. On the opposite side of the valley was lying a human skeleton, which I was most anxious to get, but the attempt would have been madness. The bones, from exposure to the air, were bleached as white as ivory. The human skeletons are supposed to have been rebels, who, pursued from the main road, may have sought shelter here, ignorant of the fatal properties of the place. The contiguous range of mountains is volcanic, and two craters are at no great distance; but in the valley itself there is no smell of sulphur, nor any appearance of eruption having ever taken place.
"The Lago di Amsancto," says Mr. Hamilton, "is of a rhomboidal form, about twenty paces in its shortest, and thirty in its longest dimensions. The water is of a deep ash colour, almost black, and bubbles up over a large proportion of the surface, with an explosion resembling distant thunder, and to the height of two feet, more or less. On one side of the lake there is also a constant and rapid stream, of the same blackish water, running into it from under the barren rocky hill; but the fall is not more than a foot or two: and a little above are some holes, through which warm blasts of sulphuretted hydrogen gas are continually issuing, with moie or less noise, according to the sizes of the openings. Some are oblong, others perfectly round. On the opposite side of the lake is another smaller pool of water, on the surface of which are continually floating, in rapid undulations, thick masses of carbonic acid gas, which are visible a hundred yards off. This pool is called the Coccaio, or cauldron; the larger lake is called Mefite; and the openings on the slope above Mefitinelle. These openings you will recognise as the tttvi spiracuta Ditit, and the cauldron as the spectts horrendum of Virgil.
"The mephitic vapours arising from these waters are at times very fatal, particularly when the wind is strong, and they are borne in a body in one direction. When calm, as when we were there, the danger is much less, as the carbonic acid gas will not, in its natural state, rise above a couple of feet from the ground; and we were thus enabled to walk all round the lake and cauldron, and even step across some parts, taking great care, however, not to stumble so as to fall; as a very short time, with our noses and mouths too near the ground, would have fixed us to the spot asphyxiit. Many insects lay dead around us; and birds are said often to fall in like manner into the lake and on the banks.
"The gaseous products of these waters are, 1. Carbonic acid gas; 2. Sulphuretted hydrogen gas; 3. Sulphurous acid gas; and 4. Carburetted hydrogen gas. When evaporated, their deposit has been found to cure the scab, or rot, among the neighbouring sheep; and an attempt has been made to establish a sulphur manufactory here, as on Solpaterra, but without success. The banks have thus been much changed since the days of Virgil; but the great features still remain sabstantially the same, though, on again reading his description, I do not think it that of a person who had visited the spot. It is curious enough, that although the earth is here much blackened, there is no appearance of volcanic soil in the adjoining country."