« FöregåendeFortsätt »
than an inaccurate species of observation and induction, without decisive experiment, its progress was slow, and its conclusions inaccurate and incapable of demonstration.
"ADDRESS TO THE FRIENDS OF SCIENCE.
"The class who have attended the private course of the lectures upon Neurology, given by Dr. Buchanan, explaining and illustrating the physiology of the brain in relation to mental manifestations, feel so strong an interest in the rapid diffusion of his discoveries, on account of their intrinsic importance to the welfare of man, that they deem it their duty to give their testimony publicly in behalf of the science. The lectures have been given to a class of about thirty persons, whose positions in relation to the experiments were such as to admit of the closest scrutiny. And all questions of doubt or difficulty arising in the minds of any, having been put with freedom, and answered with promptitude, we feel that no witnesses could have better opportunity for knowing the genuineness of all experiments tried in their presence. Many of us have tried the experiments in our own private circles with success, and thus confirmed what we had previously observed; and several have had not only the evidence, but actual experience of the excitability of the organs by feeling effects in their own persons. The science is publicly propagated by its founder only, and is evidently still in a course of rapid development. We wish it a hearty reception from the public, and hope its distinguished founder may meet, wherever he goes, a welcome which will cheer him onward in his arduous labors.
"It is for these, among other reasons, that we unite in this address to the public. We rejoice that his science has not yet been tarnished from being pushed before the public gaze by ignorant and mercenary itinerant public exhibitors. The intelligent and liberal of all classes can now investigate its claims to consideration without the imputation of merely indulging a morbid appetite for the marvellous.
"The science of physiology has hitherto been regarded by its professors and students, as uncertain and unsettled in a great many of its principles and details, so that every new work has been largely occupied with the history of opinions, and overthrow of supposed unsound doctrines. "It was evident that before it could advance to the state of a complete and settled science, it needed a new and more perfect method of investigation, and a resolution of the functions of that all important and all controlling organ, the encephalon.
"Phrenology, a recent and yet scarcely acknowledged science, gave us reason to hope that it would supply to the world a knowledge of the physiology of the brain. But its doctrines having no better basis
"The world had witnessed experiments in what has been called animal magnetism, and many had recognized a powerful, invisible agency, by which effects of a startling character could be elicited, such as somnambulism and relief from disease. This agency was often called an influence, and the believers in its effects were yet divided, as to the reality of any invisible aura, or whether it was a mysterious sympathy of minds without an intermediate agent.
"Dr. Buchanan had the sagacity to adopt the former conclusion, and demonstrate the existence and laws of action of this invisible agent, so far as to avail himself of it for the excitement of cerebral organs by contact of the finger with the part of the head or face through which the organs radiated their peculiar aura. This discovery at once opened to him the long desiderated method of investigation, and by its application he has discovered and demonstrated the functions of the brain in relation to mental manifestations, and also as connected with the physiology of the corporeal organs generally. The obscurities of Physiology, the deficiencies of Phrenology, and the vague wonders of Animal Magnetism, will thus be replaced by an exact and certain science.
"His methods of investigation are already complete, as applied to the class of persons who are so peculiarly impressible as to have their mental balance easily deranged by influences exerted upon them. As every person not deformed is a type of the race in the arrangement of his organization and the character of his normal functions, experiments made on impressible persons will develop physiological facts which are universal in their application to the race. We deem, therefore, the great discovery of Dr. Buchanan, of the methods of exciting the organs, as the most important ever made in relation to the study of mind; inasmuch as it is the key which opens to us the arcana of his nature, and demonstrates him to be what revelation had before assured us he was a 'being made in the image' and 'after the likeness of his Maker,' and possessing within himself powers more or less developed, by which he sustains his relations to all classes of created objects.
"Dr. Buchanan has already carried his investigations so far, by ascertaining the sources of innervation of the various parts of the body, as to have developed a mass of principles and facts which render
physiology a beautiful and philosophical science, capable of explaining the phenomena of the circulation of the blood, as varying in every part of the body, and the operation of the various causes of health and disease, which have heretofore been unintelligible in their actions. Physiology is thus presented in a philosophical form, which renders it a suitable basis for pathology and therapeutics.
"The beautiful principle of limitation and balance of organs of opposite functions, by the equable action of which men are, as it were, carried forward like the planets in their appropriate spheres and orbits, was discovered and developed by Dr. Buchanan. The double function of organs, the one mental and the other corporeal, modifying the circulation and health of the system, is also a discovery of his. This presents the science in a light of great usefulness, in its alleviation of distress of mind and body, and in its development of the true principles on which all methods of mental, moral and physical improvement, can be based.
"Many of us have applied the methods designated by Dr. Buchanan for the relief of head-ache, tooth-ache, neuralgia, dyspepsia, nausea, debility, and local pains and inflammations; and have met with decided success. We would especially recommend a study of the subject for its practical usefulness in families when a member is rendered uncomfortable by illness, deemed too slight to require medical aid not conveniently to be obtained.
"Dr. Buchanan's researches have enabled him to discover the principles on which the operations of me-merism are based, and render his a branch of physiological science, instead of a collection of wonderful facts elicited but not understood, and therefore so often rejected as fabulous.
"Knowing, then, as we do, and testifying, as cautious and impartial witnesses to the truth of the science of Neurology, we perceive distinctly, even with our imperfect knowledge of the subject, that it will introduce a revolution in all sciences that relate to man. Let us consider what are the real additions which have been made to our knowledge of anthropology.
"1. Phrenology began with Gall, who discovered the functions of twenty-seven organs, without giving them a very correct definition or locality. Spurzheim added to the catalogue nine organs. Several of the successors of Gall and Spurzheim have, by observation or con
jecture, made some slight additions to the phrenological system. The whole of their discoveries now appear to constitute the rudiments of an imperfect system, rather than the foundation of a complete science. By the discoveries of Dr. Buchanan, which we have seen demonstrated, it appears that the several functions are governed by laws now for the first time developed, and that several hundred distinct functions may be displayed, as the subdivisions of the organs may be carried to an indefinite extent. He has, therefore, presented a complete system of Phrenology, capable of explaining all the various phenomena of human nature.
"2. Physiology has heretofore presented a strange deficiency in the most important department. The physiology of the brain was almost entirely unknown. Its phrenological functions are but half, and by no means the most important half, of its offices, in a practical point of view. The physiology of the brain, or the explanation of the effects of its various organs upon the circulations, secretions, &c., which constitutes the key of physiology, is a new science, occupying an unexplored field, and exclusively the discovery of Dr. Buchanan. As a specimen of its principles we would remark, that the discovery of the circulation of the blood, by Harvey, presented but a single obvious mechanical fact, and gives no explanation of the laws which modify that circulation to produce health, disease, and all the organic action of the human body. The laws of this circulation in every part, of the modification of the pulse, and of the vigorous performance of each function, are fully developed by Dr. Buchanan's system of cerebral physiology. If, then, we have received from Dr. Buchanan a profound system of phrenology, which is as great an improvement upon that of Gall, as the physiology of the present day is upon that of Hippocrates, we deem the discovery an important event in the history of man. This discovery, however, is perhaps less important in its results than the development of a system of physiology based upon the action of the encephalon, which constitutes a solid foundation for the science of medicine.
"For these discoveries we tender our gratitude to Dr. Buchanan, and doubt not that an intelligent and generous public will fully appreciate their importance, and will not, as has happened in other cases, leave this act of justice to be performed by posterity."
POLITICAL PORTRAITS WITH PEN AND PENCIL.
SILAS WRIGHT, JR.,
OF NEW YORK.
(With a fine Engraving on Steel.)
FRIEND or foe-Democrat or Whigfrom none is ever to be heard a voice of dissent from the unanimous tribute accorded by the public judgment of the country to that vigorous and efficient intellectual power, that matchless skill and clearness of logic, that unswerving consistency and integrity, and that imperturbable good-temper and gentlemanliness, which constitute the outline of the mental portraiture of the distinguished statesman of whose features and countenance we are happy to present the accompanying excellent resemblance. Mr. Wright's name was introduced in a much earlier number of this series, but without the illustration of an engraving, no portrait of him being then in existence, or at least accessible. A very recent miniature by Blanchard-one of his best -supplies this desideratum; by which we have hastened to profit, well assured that there is no individual among the men now prominent on the stage of political life whose likeness will be looked upon with higher satisfaction, by those thousands of our readers who have never probably been favored with an opportunity of seeing for themselves the great New York Senator.
Silas Wright, Jr., was born in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, on the 24th of May, 1795. Both his parents were natives of the county of Hampshire. They had nine children -five sons and four daughters-two of whom died in infancy; the rest now living. The elder Mr. Wright was by trade a tanner, currier, and shoemaker; which occupation he followed until March, 1796, when he removed to the town of Weybridge, Addison county, Vermont, where he purchased a farm, and where he has ever since devoted himself exclusively to its cultivation. All the family, except Silas and his youngest sister, still reside in Vermont. The brothers,
one only of whom is a graduate of a college, are all likewise farmers. The sisters married farmers, and one of them, a widow, now carries on a farm with the assistance of her sons; so that the whole family may most emphatically be regarded as the children of the plough,-than which we know no more honorable designation that wealth or rank could bestow.
Mr. Wright, the father, was indentured as an apprentice to his trade at an early age, and never was at school a day in his life. When he had "served out his time," he could neither read nor write; but with the assistance of his fellow journeyman, he soon qualified himself both to read and to write, as well as to keep accounts and transact business with accuracy and facility. After his marriage his wife became his instructress-a service which she performed with all a woman's devotion and alacrity, and with a success proportionate to her own interest in the labor of love, and to the willing docility of her pupil.
Silas, like most of the rising youth of New England, attended the common schools in winter, and worked on the farm in summer, until he had passed his fourteenth year, when he was placed at an academy, that he might be prepared to enter college. The father perceived that his son was rarely endowed by nature, and was therefore the more anxious that he should enjoy the benefits of education denied by circumstances to himself. The tradition is, that he always regarded him with peculiar pride and delight, as destined to be the chief hope and ornament of the family.
În August, 1811, Mr. Wright became a student of the college at Middlebury, Vermont, where he remained until the summer of 1815, when he received the first degree of Bachelor of Arts.
The elder Mr. Wright has always