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An infant there doth rest;
The sheltering hillock is the mother's grave.
If these may make a hallow'd spot of earth
"Ah! what a warning for a thoughtless man,
Upon the pathway, of her mournful tread;
Was hapless Ellen:-No one touch'd the ground
"She loved, and fondly deem'd herself beloved.
The weakness painful and most pitiful,
By which a virtuous woman, in pure youth,
Such fate was hers."
We end with the opinion with which we set out: this poem "will never do" for persons without poetical enthusiasm, nor for persons without devotional warmth. The great, vulgar, and the small, will not understand it; and by consequence it will Hot please them. But the writer may watch with calmness and confidence the fluctuations of taste; and despise, without any emotion of anger, the sarcasms of petulant conceit, sitting in judgment on superior intellect. If the present age be not fitted to receive his poem with reverence and gratitude, that age assur edly will come.
ART. IV. The Physiognomical System of Drs. Gall and Spurzheim founded on an anatomical and physiological Examination of the Nervous System in general, and of the Brain in particular; and indicating the Dispositions and Manifestations of the Mind By J. G. Spurzheim, M. D. Being at the same time a Book of Reference for Dr. Spurzheim's Demonstrative Lectures. Illustrated with nineteen copper-plates. 8vo.
DR. GALL is a native of Suabia, and commenced his literary studies at the University of Strasburgh, where, on the completion of his academical pursuits, he took the degree of a Doctor in Medicine. At an early period of life he broached the bold and novel tenet, that the form of the skull is, in every instance, characteristic of the propensities and permanent affections of the mind; that all the varieties of the latter are accompanied by correspondent varieties in the former, and consequently that physiognomy is capable of being reduced to a demonstrative science; in short that he who is well versed in the lines and angles, the depressions and prominences, of an individual human cranium, may thence unerringly deduce the qualities, faculties, and propensities of him to whom such cranium belonged, or does belong mat
The audacity of this tenet, supported, as it has been, from the first, with great zeal and enthusiasm on the part of its propounder, and a plausible appeal to a variety of incontrovertible principles both of anatomy and physiology, soon excited universal curiosity, and obtained for it a high degree of popularity. As early as the summer of 1805, Dr. Gall appears to have made a very general impression in his favour over all the northern states of Germany, and was hailed at almost every university. Dr. Spurzheim, the author of the work before us, was an early convert to the new hypothesis, and the list, if we mistake not, was soon swelled with the names of Dr. Bojames, Professor Böttiger of Dresden, and Dr. Hufeland of Berlin, all of whom have been writers in support of Dr. Gall's speculations. But the day of triumph was short; the eagerness of curiosity soon ran itself out of breath; the general judgment paused only to recant; the caprice of fashion shifted its current, and the founder of the new doctrine, after having been idolized at colleges and at courts, at Jena, Torgau, Berlin, Dresden, and Copenhagen, and been expressly commanded to lecture before the royal family of Prussia; after having had all the jails and all the hospitals of the different towns he passed through thrown open to afford him subjects for the display of his art, and the guilt or innocence of prisoners sometimes summarily settled by the testimony of the skull alone; after having been panegyrized by Wieland and Kotzebue, in eulogies that would have caused a disturbance of the brain of any ordinary philosopher, he had the mortification to find himself excluded from Vienna, and the character of his philosophy giving way to the imputation of dungerous heterodoxies, especially that of materialism. His sudden exaltation declined beneath attacks, some serious, and others satirical, by which it was perpetually assailed: among which we may particularly mention the Bemerkungen of Bartell, the Anti-Gall, which, if we mistake not, found its way into the Berlin journal, denominated Der Freymütige, or, "The Plain Dealer," at one time peculiarly favourable to the Gallian doctrine; and especially two anonymous publications under the titles of Darstellung und Beleuchtung des Gallichen System, "Exposition and Illustration of the Gallian System;" and Reisen einer Schädellehrers, "Travels of a Craniologist." Walter successfully opposed him in the Prussian capital, Scherman at Heidelburg; at Mauburg, and various other places, he found his popularity woefully on the decline in 1805; and in the ensuing year was incapable of mustering a sufficient number of pupils for a single course of lectures at Munster, Cologne, or Frankfort.
It was, probably, this circumstance that induced Dr. Spurzheim, who had hitherto been associated with Dr. Gall in the
: VOL. VI. NO. XI.
prosecution of his inquiries, to separate from his preceptor and colleague, and to seek in an untried soil for a richer harvest. Accordingly we find him soon afterwards unfolding the doctrines of the cerebral physiology, if we may so denominate it, to the learned and the unlearned of Paris. Every description of people caught at it; and so popular was the pursuit at one period, as we are credibly informed, that no man of fashion ventured abroad without a snuff-box engraved, and no lady of fashion without her fan painted, with a map of the human skull laid down, and divided into different regions, according to the newest discoveries of the art. It was here that Dr. Spurzheim published the first volume of his yet unfinished work On the Nervous System, which is highly creditable to his industry and ingenuity, and which so far attracted the attention of the National Institute, that a very intelligent Committee, consisting of MM.Tenon, Portal, Sebatier, Pinel, and Cuvier, was appointed to examine into the truth of the principles here laid down, and their connexion with the new system of physiology. To the latter their report was by no means favourable, though it spoke highly of the author's anatomical skill. It asserted, in few words, that his doctrine of the origin and action of the nerves was probably correct; but that this doctrine did not appear to have any immediate or necessary connexion with that part of Dr. Gall's theory, which relates to distinct functions possessed by distinct parts of the brain.
This was little less than a death-blow to the cerebral physiology in France; the men of science received it from this period with coldness and scepticism: as an ephemeral fashion it had already begun to decline as fatally as in Germany, and it was necessary to look out for a new theatre of action.
The respectability of Dr. Spurzheim's character, the honest enthusiasm with which he has pursued his subject through all vicissitudes, the accuracy of his anatomical knowledge, and, above all, the ingenuous boldness with which he was found to challenge objections, soon made a favourable impression on the minds of great numbers of well-informed and scientific individuals in the British metropolis; and if several of our public teachers of medicine and anatomy were not absolutely converted to the new physiological creed, which at present they do not seem very ready to allow, they were at least inclined to regard it as highly specious and plausible. Dr. Spurzheim's lectures have in England been so favourably received, that he has been induced to publish the general scope of them in one large octavo volume: thus submitting the different parts of the theory to the test of quiet and repeated examination. It is this work that we now propose to investigate. Its direct object is to unfold to us the principles of the cranioscopic physiology;
to furnish us with the means of discovering the predominant propensities, powers, or faculties, of the mind (for all these terms, as we shall show presently, are used synonymously), by certain marks, or indexes, in certain parts of the external frame. Such an attempt, under different modifications, is of high antiquity. Aristotle is, perhaps, the first who undertook to reduce the study to a semblance of consistency, to regulate it by determinate principles, and to distinguish it by the name of phy siognomy; under which name it has had an irregular alternation of popular favour and rejection from the time of that philosopher to the days of Lavater; sometimes limited, as by the Grecian sage, to its own particular province; and sometimes, as by the Rosicrusians, and the followers of Baptista Porta, heterogeneously connected with alchemy, magic, judicial astrology, and the doctrine of sympathies. It was Lavater who endeavoured to purge it from this foreign admixture; but the ardour of his own fancy led him to connect it with other philosophical whimsies, as extravagant and ridiculous.
In the work before us, the study of physiognomy is attempted to be revived; but upon new principles and more definite rules; for, while former professors resorted chiefly to the face, or forepart of the head, for fixed and permanent characters, Drs. Gall and Spurzheim carry us to the crown and back-part; within which range, extending from the basis of the cranium to the orbits, they place their field of observation; and there undertake, from some eminence, or commanding spot, to bring the soul and its properties within the horizon of their new metaphysics. In unfolding this " new system of physiology," craniology, "psychology," or cerebral organology," for its inventors have decorated it with as many titles, as a Persian minister, or a Spanish grandee, Dr. Spurzheim divides his work into two parts; the former relating to the anatomical, and the latter to the physiological conditions of the brain. There can be little doubt that, as in most other hypotheses, the practical part of the scheme, though last in delivery, was prior in conception.
The grand object of the author, in his anatomical introduction, is to render it probable, that the nerves, instead of issuing uniformly from the brain as their common source, issue partly from the brain and partly from the spinal marrow: those of the local senses, of intelligence, and moral sentiments, radiating from the former; and those of general feeling and muscular motion from the latter. He supports this opinion by arguments drawn from the disproportion which the brain, in many animals, bears to the nerves which are said to arise from it, and from the existence of acephalous or headless foetuses; as also from the nervous cord of insects being destitute of proper brain, and apparently possessing in