Page images

8th of January-a day on which we best prefer that it should be read-a day on which we trust it will not be found tedious, whatever might be our success in interesting the reader's attention on any other.

Was General Jackson, at the time of these proceedings, or has he been since, guilty of any misconduct which can weigh against his just claim upon the country for relief and remuneration? Even Mr. Conrad pays him a tribute of admiration for his ready submission to the judicial authority represented in the person of Judge Hall. It is a tribute which no man can in his own heart withhold, when he reflects that the General felt these proceedings as a wanton outrage on his property and reputation. Totally differing from Mr. Conrad as to the merits of Judge Hall, we yet look upon the concluding scene of these proceedings in his court, as one of the most morally sublime spectacles ever described by the pen of history.

Here came the General in obedience to the summons of the Court, flushed with victory, surrounded by devoted friends and admiring thousands, who looked upon the conduct of the Judge as ungrateful, tyrannical, and cruel. Excited to the utmost, they needed but an encouraging word, gesture, or look, to take justice into their own hands, and punish the magistrate who, actuat ed as they believed by personal considerations, was about to inflict an outrageous wrong on one whose only crime was the most disinterested devo tion to the service of his country.

There sat the Judge trembling with terror at the excitement which prevailed around him, and, upon an open outbreak of applause bestowed upon the conquering hero on his approach, announcing his purpose to adjourn the Court under plea of personal insecurity. Instantly, at a word from the venerated Chief, the murmuring crowd was hushed to silence; and turning to the Judge, he then said, " Go on-the arm which has protected the city from invasion, will protect this Court in the discharge of what it conceives to be its duty, or perish in the attempt." Thus protected, the Judge announced his decision to be a fine of one thousand dollars. It was paid on the spot.

On retiring from the court house, the General was most unwillingly

lifted into a carriage and drawn by men to his lodgings amidst the most enthusiastic shouts; and there, having begged the attention of the crowd, he implored them, if they had any regard for him, to refrain from every act of insult or outrage upon the judicial authorities, assuring them of his firm reliance on his government and country for redress of the wrong he had just suffered at their hands. To the noble course of this great man on that trying occasion, was Judge Hall indebted for his personal safety; and to that course is our country indebted for a page of its history more brilliant than the record of the preceding military achievements.

To parry the blow as far as was in their power, the ladies of New Orleans, by a subscription limited to a dollar each, immediately raised the amount, and tendered it to their protector. He accepted the sum thus nobly offered, not for himself, nor as a reimbursement of the unjust fine, but for the widows and orphans who had been made such in the defence of the city, among whom it was accordingly distributed.

Is there anything in all this which should make our Members of Congress tenacious to retain in the Treasury, the money thus wrongfully exacted?

And what in this respect has been the conduct of the General since? Has he availed himself of a popularity and power over the public mind exceeded only by those of Washington, to secure personal advantages to himself, or even obtain a return of the money unrighteously exacted? Instead of harassing Congress with appeals to do him justice, he did not while in power, we verily believe, breathe a wish to his most confidential friends. Though surrounded since his retirement by pecuniary difficulties most painful to one who has ever considered his honor involved in fidelity to every promise, his course was the same, until some of his grateful countrymen bethought themselves that one more act of justice was due to their great benefactor, and spontaneously appealed to their representatives to render it.

In this delicate and proud reserve as to all that was personal when he had unparalleled power and influence, is there anything which should prevent Congress from doing justice at this late day, and atoning for the only remaining

act which the dying patriot feels as a wrong inflicted upon him by the authorities of his beloved country? Whatever others may think, with us the desire that this old man shall die with the consciousness that in every thing, the most minute, as well as the most important, his country has done him complete justice, would constitute a consideration decisive on any question of doubt.

To the Members of Congress, of whatever party, we say, let not this good and great man die with a feeling that his country has been in the least unjust or ungrateful to him. No man can at

this day doubt his perfect devotion to her institutions in the acts complained of, and all his important public acts since, however mistaken in his objects or his means. What beyond pure motives and entire devotion to her interests and glory, can a country ask of its public servants? The time has not come when man is infallible; and when error of opinion comes to be punished as crime, no honest man will accept stations of high trust and heavy responsibility, or in them dare to act up to the level of the critical occasions when countries are to be saved or lost.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]



FALLEN? No, thou art not! Rather would I share
Thy consciousness of truth, unshrinking trust
That right shall yet be might, and from the dust
The poor man's honest cause arise, than wear
The venal honors that the proud prepare

For those who serve their craft and gainful lust.
Thou dost retire, like him of old, the JUST,
For crime of too much worth, and thou shalt bear
Home to thy quiet farm no self-disgust;
Each patriot heart shall keep thee in its prayer,
Believing that the People e'en in wrong
Are honest still, and nobly shall declare
Their sense of error, hailing thee ere long
More glorious from the shade, and from defeat more strong.

Written, Philadelphia,

March 4, 1841.



In surveying the history of discover ies in natural science, one of the most peculiar facts that strike the view is the circumstance that for years, aye and even ages, preceding the develop ment of some important principle, many of the leading phenomena had been repeatedly observed; and when the grand conclusion deduced from these phenomena was once announced to the world, the result excited less astonishment than the circumstance of its having been so long unperceived. Men of the most exalted genius would seem often to stumble over these facts, and even not unfrequently to pick them up and handle them, and still fail to discover their most obvious bearing. Hence it has always occurred that at tempts have been made to rob the discoverer of his honors, however well merited, on the ground that certain of the essential facts had been previously well known. Thus has it been with the kindred subject of Phrenology, whose enemies, failing in the effort to subvert its principles, endeavored to show that what was true in it was not new, and what was new was not true. And in illustration of the circumstance just adverted to, that the tendency of natural phenomena often by no means appreciated even by the most acute observers, it may be mentioned that Gall himself once struck accidentally upon one of the most important facts of " Neurology" without discovering the general law to which it most obviously pointed. The same remark is applicable to the experiments without number performed during the last fifty years in France, Germany, England, and the United States, upon subjects put into the somnambulic state by means of the Mesmeric process.

"Quæque ipse vidi."

in the city of New York to establish a priority of claim, based upon experi ments made in the latter part of the same year. But by this time the announcement of Dr. Buchanan's discoveries had spread by means of the journals of the day, over the whole extent of our wide domain. "These experiments," in the words of their author, "occupied the whole ground of Phrenology; more than doubled the number of distinct organs; and established propositions in physiology and therapeutics, of much more importance than the Phrenological doctrines which had been thus established." Instead of hastening to our Atlantic cities, in the reasonable hope that here a discovery of such magnitude would be more speedily and fully appreciated, Dr. Buchanan remained in the far West, quietly prosecuting his investigations to the end of perfecting his system of Neurology. So far as regards cerebral excitability, he could not but be aware that others would, by this process, attract the public mind, and that it would be caught up even for popular exhibitions; but justly considering this as entirely subordinate to the science he aimed to establish by this means, he directed his efforts solely to the accomplishment of the scientific end in view.

As these discoveries embrace, in their wide range, not only the mental physiology of the brain, constituting Phrenology, but also the physiology of every corporeal organ as dependent upon special portions of the cerebral mass, it follows that it was necessary to substitute a new term. Were the functions of the brain exclusively mental, the term Phrenology would be sufficiently comprehensive; but as its control over the corporeal functions is not less decided and important, the term Neurology, or science of the ner vous substance, has been judiciously selected as expressive of all the phe nomena comprised within its wide limits. These two classes of functions, Dr. Buchanan distinguishes by the terms psychological and physiological.

The earliest knowledge that we have of these discoveries in "Neurology" on the part of Dr. Buchanan, is, that in April, 1841, he was giving public lectures and experiments on the subject at Little Rock, Arkansas. We are the more particular in referring to this date, as an attempt has been made

which are, indeed, quite expressive in their more popular acceptation; but, as the phenomena of the mind, in our present existence, can be manifested only through cerebral structure, we cannot see that this class of functions is less physiological than the other. This double function of the brain, as demonstrated by Dr. Buchanan, we consider as its mental and corporeal physiology.

To Dr. Buchanan is due the distinguished honor of being the first individual to excite the organs of the brain by agencies applied externally directly over them, before which the discoveries of Gall, Spurzheim, or Sir Charles Bell-men who have been justly regarded as benefactors of their racedwindle into comparative insignificance. This important discovery has given us a key to man's nature, moral, intellectual, and physical; for, by this means, in" impressible" subjects, have become discoverable the various cerebral organs which are not only connected with the phenomena of thought and feeling, but control the corporeal functions. As man is pervaded by the imponderable and invisible fluids, which radiate from him unceasingly, such as the electric, galvanic, magnetic, and (according to Dr. Buchanan) "neurauric,' ," the laws of these he would seem also to have demonstrated. He has likewise clearly established the general truths of phrenology, corrected many errors of detail, and developed the subject with such a degree of minuteness that it now may be said to resemble the full-grown adult as compared with the child.

convenience of instruction, I demonstrate usually not more than one hundred. With a subject of large brain, well cultivated mind, and high susceptibility, I have no doubt that even as many as two hundred might be shown distinctly."

The agent employed most generally by Dr. Buchanan to excite the various functions of the nervous system, is the same as that used in the operations termed Mesmerism or Animal Magnetism, viz., the aura of the nervous system, which is radiated and conducted freely from the human hand. Instead, however, of putting the subject first into the Mesmeric somnambulic condition, which renders the phenomena that follow highly deceptive and inac curate, Dr. Buchanan operates upon his subject in the waking state, free from the mental delusions which may be supposed to pertain to somnambulism. This impressible class, which is a very limited one, may not only have a portion of the brain so energetically stimulated, by the touch of another, as to manifest its particular function predominantly; but the individual becomes equally excited when he places his fingers on the cranial regions of the cerebral organs of another person.

These characteristic and leading principles of Dr. Buchanan's system are here adverted to merely in a general way, as they will be again brought under notice by us, both in a sketch of the principles of Neurology by Dr. Buchanan himself, and in the diversified experiments of a committee, appointed by a public audience in the city of New York, for the purpose of investigating the pretensions of Dr. Buchanan to the claim of having enlarged the boundaries of anthropological science.

These announcements are, indeed, of a startling character, extraordinary to all, and to many wholly beyond credence. Had Dr. Buchanan lived in an earlier age of the world, when philosophy had not yet asserted its noble prerogative of releasing the mind from the bondage of superstition, instead of being regarded as a bold and original thinker and an untiring searcher after truth, he would have been dreaded, or perhaps persecuted, as a necromancer casting his magic spells over the body and soul of his victim. But, notwithstanding the wise

"Neurology," says Dr. Buchanan, "while it incorporates the entire mass of Physiology with Phrenology, makes a revolution in the latter science. Although the greater portions of the organs discovered by Gall and Spurzheim, have been, in the main, correctly described, yet experiment has proved about one-third of the number to have been incorrectly understood. Nor does the catalogue of Gall, Spurzheim, Combe, or Vimont, embrace a sufficient number of functions to explain the diversified phenomena of human charThe number of independent functions which may thus be demonstrated by experiment with an adequately susceptible person, amounts to one hundred and sixty-six; but, for


« PreviousContinue »