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The Argusent. How Peter became a Phrenologist, - His assiduity and earnestness in cultivating this sublime science, His great success, ánd the happy means of it.-How Phrenology powerfully grapples with Philosophy. How it aids History and Biography.Peter, through the discoveries of Phrenology, perceives among his friends new Shakespeares, and Newtons, Bacons, Swifts, and Goethes, and Schillers, and hopes highly of himself.--A musician startles Peter and his system...This 'science most useful in forming right matrimonial alliances.—Peter, pusuing his system, again startled by the view of Materialism.—How Peter profits by surveying, stealthily, the heads of public speakers, and prognosticates happily of the Bara-How Phrenology might improve Poetry, and highly benefit the Drama,-And how, by this, Peter's own genius and ambition are kindled up.Peter, for the advancement of his science, visits prisons and is edified ; but he also suffers loss. Peter, with his friends, foresee a mighty battle with the unenlightened, but they are prepared for it, and Peter sings a Paean. The great benefit of this science in choosing jurymen.---Peter again startled and alarmed by the application of the science to his own family, but closes by declaring his firmness, and his lasting allegiance to the mighty science.
MR EDITOR, I BELIEVE, Sir, I may be regarded as a striking exemplification of the an. cient truth, that our strongest biasses and fondest predilections frequently owe their first impulse and growth to some seemingly remote and uncona nected circumstances of accident. To some influences of this kind I owe it, that I first burst the shell, so to speak, and grew up the strongly-fledged Phrenologist which I now am. Being considerably past the meridian of life, I had for several years been gradually dropping-what Phrenologists regard as the greatest check of science-my hair. Some of the bolder fea-. tures of developement had been gradually stealing from beneath their covering, like the first specks of growing islands, from which the waters are imperceptibly receding. At length, however, the shock of nearly the total destitation of my løeks overtook me. I had 'gone to bed with my head in its usual state, but, in the morning, when I took off my night-cap, and put up my hand to spread and adjust my locks as usual, I felt nothing but a terrific and appalling smoothness on every side. The dignified eminence, if I may so say, had lost nearly every shred or patch of verdure. My hair had capriciously taken its leave; and while I stood upon the floor in my shirt, with my night-cap in my palsied hand, I felt, amidst my dejection and be wildermedt, that, like the Jewish champion of old--if I durst allude to what is sacred and venerable--my strength seemed to have departed with my locks. I remained, long after this lamented occurrence, in deep melanVOL. XTI.
choly and impervious concealment. I felt I should not speedily rise above a visitation, which had so strangely and calamitously transformed me. I could not endure the thoughts of feeing for shelter to a wig. I used to sit whole days, sorrowful, by the fire, sunk in silence and inaction, unless when some slight circumstance kindled the train of an inexhaustible magazine of bile and irritation. My fingers were ever wandering unconsciously, as it were, along the smooth and despoiled surface; and, amidst my numerous other regrets, I equally lamented the not being immediately recognised by my own mother, whose blindness makes her, like the Patriarch of old, discriminate by the touch ; and also, that, in my musical passion, I should be obliged for ever to relinquish my favourite duet of Jackson, " Time has not thinned my flowing hair," in performing a part in which I used to take such true delight. In this state of melancholy destitution and discomfort, the magic word Pbrenology first sounded in my ears. I became an enthusiastic disciple of this divine science. I speedily soared, in the exhilarating and fervid spirit of such pursuits, above the feeling of my unmanly dejection. The vigorous scientific pinions of Combe and Spurzheim, like the reebird of Sinbad, raised me triumphant above the dark and desolate region of my enervating disquietude. What I had regarded as a signal calamity I now viewed as a singular interposition of Phrenological fortune. I possessed a field for the cultivation of this admirable science, I might say, peculiarly 'my own. The roughnesses of no thick or tangled herbage, if I may so speak, interposed to cloud or deceive the nicety and directness of my scientific touch. After pursuing, during the day, my Phrenological studies, in their deeper and sublimer mysteries, I could still enjoy, amidst my enthusiasm, the delight of refreshing my science, even as I drew on my nightcap, and stepped into bed, like your musician, who, in laying aside his more difficult and arduous professional exercises, delights, often, before putting by his instrument, to yield to some graceful and unfettered dashes of sportive or scientific prelude. I now felt myself swimming amidst all the delicious and fervid mental intoxication which peculiarly attends the enthusiastic Phrenological proselyte. The great Curran believed, that, to commence with a certainty of success the career of the Irish Bar, it was indispensable that the young votary of the law should be without a shilling in his pocket; and, in regard to myself, I may ingeniously own, that in having now scarcely three hairs on my head, I proudly regard myself, in this state of capillary destitution, as peculiarly favoured with the most enviable and felicitous appliances, for the nurture and cultivation of Phrenological science.
Perhaps, Sir, I need scarely observe, that nearly the whole of my time is dedicated to the pursuit of this great and admirable science. I allow it, to say the truth without restraint, to occupy and engross my whole soul. I am not desirous of diversifying my studies, lest, while I might seem to divide, I should perhaps enfeeble the strength of my mental energies; I would wish to concentrate the hottest rays of my genius upon the yet cold, and somewhat-unexplored surface of so inviting a science. I like not the method of those excursive, intellectual pioneers, whose every hour is oecupied with some differing novelty of pursuit, and with whom science seems, vainly and ceaselessly, to chase science, and the mind, like a field whose fair and soft herbage a too-constant succession of footsteps has beat down, remains arid and sterile, and without the delicious medicinal unction of some darling and prevailing predilection. It is for this reason that I cherish this master-passion of my soul, like Jacob of old the child of his later years; and that I should as little seek to diminish its divine fervour and strength, as I should to scatter idly and fruitlessly abroad, in a thousand feeble rills, the full and majestic stream which flowed past niy dwelling. To be candid, Sir, I fear my scientific enthusiasm is at times troublesome and impertinent to others ; I am somewhat, in the spirit of my prevailing passion, like the enthusiastic breeches-maker in “ Chrysal," who was ever stretching forth, as it were, unconsciously, his hand, to catch the measure of those who sat near him. My hand often, amid the entrancement of my scientific musings, wanders from my own head to those of my next neigh, bour's; and the consequence might often be sufficiently calamitous and distressing, were not those who feel the unexpected touch of my Phrenological hand good-humoured enough to forgive these evidences of my hallucina. tion.
I have now, I think, acquired considerable skill in this truly-inviting science. I can at once put my practised hand upon the complicated india cation of every peculiarity of mind ; I know as exactly the extent of the mental riches as I do the number of pigeons within my dovecot. Like the fingers of a musician running the chromatic or diatonic scale, I can glide through the minutest semitones of the intellectual faculties, and, in my own way, finely inodulate, if I may so say, between the the organ of ideality and that of secretiveness, or soften the harsh discords of combativeness and destructiveness, by the resolution of the sweeter and gentler attributes of tune, or amativeness. Catalani cannot ran the gamut inore fleetly than what we more advanced Phrenologists can, amidst all the hostility and contrariety of nobs and bumps, quickly decypher, and drag into Phrenological light, every shifting and varied aitribute of human character. I once entertained a true veneration for the most distinguished cultivators of the philosophy of mind. I used to consider those inquiries, which sought to elucidate or detect the movements and impulses of the ever-active and subtle spirit within us, which seems to recede from, and, as it were, elude the investigation of itself, and the deep and inexhaustible well-spring of whose activity seems, if I may so speak, to flow beneath so dark and impervious & shade, as the most noble and sublime of any., My Phrenology, however, has wholly dissipated the illusion of such mistaken views; the Phrenologist now seems to me to stand upon a much prouder and more dignified eminence than the metaphysician. Seated in my arm-chair, I can run the changes through the whole arcana of mind; I grasp at once at the decided marks of the human character, and holding up my results, laugh at shadowy and vain speculation ; I can feel the indicative pulses of the mental faculties moving and throbbing, as it were, beneath my Phrenological finger; I can heave out my philosophic plummet, if I may so say, from the promontory of destructiveness or amativeness, and determine their aggregate depth, and the force or intensity of their current. I cannot, indeed, at times, amidst the delicious chuckle and effervescence of my Phrenological pride, refrain from exclaiming, “ What a pity that Locke, and Reid, and Leibnitz, in their sterile and shadowy science, should have drivelled so pertenaciously, so idly, and so acutely!” The philosophy of mind seems to me, I must honestly say, to be indubitably on the wane, and to be gradually sinking before the resistless growth and ascendancy of a nobler and more decisive science. I do not, indeed, despair of seeing, at no distant day, the fate of Polyphemus of old, if I may be allowed the allusion, realized upon it, and of beholding the resolute and invincible arm of Phrenology prog out the eyes of this grim and aged monster, who has so long, beneath so many varieties of disguise, ensnared, bewildered, and terrified the prying and inquisitive world.
I begin now, Sir, to see somewhat of a sublime pbilosophy in the custom of those savages, who carefully preserve the skulls of their dead. I have a strong suspicion that they must be skilful Phrenologists, and that, being singularly fond of biography, they take this way of accurately. perpetuating the qualities for which their relatives, and most distinguished heroes, have been remarkable. I have no doubt they thus escape much of that questionable dubiety and indecision which unfortunately pervade our biography, and that their stated eulogies of the dead, with these awful interpreters before them, are as remarkable for their truth, as the rapid precision with which they are given.
Were, Sir, an untutored Indian to behold me engaged in this divine and exhilarating study, with some dozen or two of skulls before me, over which I occasionally darted my practised fingers, like a dexterous player on the musical-glasses, he would, I have no doubt, sink down before me in awe