Page images

"Oh! sacred Truth! Thy triumph ceased awhile, And Hope, thy sister, ceased with thee to smile, When leagued Oppression pour' to northern wars Her whisker'd pandours and her fierce hussars, Waved her dread standard to the breeze of morn,

at its conclusion, presented to the public certain resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the class. Among

Peal'd her loud drum, and twang'd her trumpet these resolutions, let it suffice to quote


Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van,
Presaging wrath to Poland-and to man!

" Warsaw's last champion, etc."

"Another consisted of a patriotic Indian effusion, denouncing the white man's oppression. To the question, asked after his restoration, whether he was in the habit of reciting poetry, he answered in the negative. Certainly no one, from his general appearance, would have suspected him to be the least given to poetic declamation. Indeed, now, when the excitement was partially removed by operating on the antagonistic organs, he was unable to repeat the lines from Campbell without assistance in the way of having the first word of nearly every line; and when requested to declaim them as before, he mercly repeated, in a subdued voice, such parts as he recollected, expressing by his actions a want of interest in the subject.


"Whilst still under the influence of self-esteem, and some remains of the excitement produced by the organ of insanity, Mr. M. set forth his ideas at considerable length on various political subjects, for the special edification of Messrs. Bryant and O'Sullivan, he having just before learned that the latter was also an editor. He made an harangue against party politics and party editors, advising Mr. Bryant to confine his attention to literature, and especially poetry. From Mr. O'Sullivan, he attempted to exact a promise that he would publish in the Democratic Review,' an article which he would, on that condition, write in regard to the rights of man. In this request he was very strenuous and exacting, except for a few moments whilst Dr. Buchanan held his hand on the organ of humility, when, doubting his ability, he desired Dr. Buchanan to furnish him with a few ideas, and instruct him how to arrange them. The contrast apparent between the powers of expression and elevation of thought and sentiment, evinced by him while under the excitement of the intellectual organs, and the more dull and ordinary deportment when this excitement was removed, was very striking."

During the same period that these experiments were being conducted before this sub-committee, Dr. Buchanan was engaged in delivering a course of lectures before a private class of highly intelligent gentlemen, who,

the following:

[blocks in formation]

In view of the preceding observations, it may be asked-Whither is this new science to lead us? Are the old landmarks of knowledge to be set aside; and are we to pull down every system which has been built up upon consciousness, or upon the tedious gatherings of observation? Is this new system to subvert all its predecessors, and then be overwhelmed in turn by another theory-a still shorter royal road to wisdom?

We answer, No. Systems pass away, but truths survive; and every new truth added to our stock of knowledge, notwithstanding it may destroy some error, cannot crush or obscure a The new previously known truth. demonstrative school of metaphysics will, we are confident, develope and confirm many of the principles which heretofore, as no experimental mode of testing them was known, have been sustained by reason alone. We observe that memory has been restored to its rightful place in the catalogue of our faculties by the new system. Consciousness and abstraction are also recognized as special faculties dependent upon special organs. We expect to see many of the doctrines of Locke, Reid, Stewart and Brown established experimentally on the new physiological basis. We expect to see a subtle and intricately arranged philosophy spring up from these investigations, as different from the crude system of Gall as is the bright face of Nature with all her diversities of mountain, plain, forest, field, river, and sea, from the rudely sketched outline of a schoolboy's map.

But to what else will it lead? If impressibility is most frequently found among those of refined organization

why may it not be evinced by some man of genius? If so, may not the intellectual organs be stimulated to a higher degree of activity than results from ordinary influences? May not a cerebral power be generated, bordering upon the supernatural energy of insanity? And may not this intense intellectual excitement be directed to useful purposes in the investigation or illustration of truth? May not the student rouse his memory when it fails to recall the knowledge that it once possessed? May not the natu ralist and the artist have the external senses rendered more acute? May not the faculties of sight, touch, taste, and smell, be sharpened for minute investigation of physical science?

May we not by various excitements produce all the diseases and all the conditions to which the human mind and body are subject? May we not ascertain the condition of the mind and of the brain in insanity, sleep, dreaming, trance, and the act of dying? May we not determine the seat of life and discover in what portion of the brain the mental action is last perceived from what spot the soul takes its final departure? May we not be siege and torture Nature with ingenious and searching experiments, until we compel her to confess her secrets ?

We put these questions because they seem naturally to arise from the establishment of the fact, that we can compel the various fibres of the brain to manifest their functions; and thus we may interrogate Nature, as it were, by the most rigid examinations. We believe that all that we have hinted at, and much more, is comprehended in the system of Dr. Buchanan; and that these various points have been made the subject of experiment, we know. His views have not yet been embodied in a volume, to which we might refer for their nature and scope; but we know that he aspires to go as far as human intellect can pierce the almost impenetrable mysteries of life and mind. Should he ever present to the public that "higher psychological system of philosophy," of which he speaks as distinct from Neurology, we anticipate something of a still more strange and startling character.

If all the elements of humanity can be summoned up at the beck of the

skilful experimentalist, we cannot but believe that many a rare and strange feature of our common nature will be brought to light. The elements of genius, of poetry, of love, and of the mysterious sympathies of mind with mind, will be brought forth, and subjected, like the gay ornament of the skies, the rainbow, to philosophical analysis. As the natural philosopher explains its beautiful effect by the laws of that luminous medium, which, by passing through the drops of water, presents to the eye a brilliant spectrum; so will he perhaps explain how that higher medium-the Divine Aura of life and thought-passing through the white and grey matter of the cerebral convolutions, originates the affections and all the poetry of life. Would it be strange if he should discover through what medium the soul acts upon its corporeal tenement, or that there are media heretofore unknown and of a nature different from the galvanic and magnetic? Would it be incredible that faculties should be discovered in man which have been sometimes supposed to exist in the gifted few, but which are entirely unknown and unfelt by the multitude?

In the great ideal of Humanity in which we embody its dignity and its powers-worthy to be the servant and the agent of Divinity-we perceive that which we realize in no individual. There are none to be found who even approximate the great and perfect type of humanity. How far the noble nature of man has been debased cannot be told, nor how many of the worldknowing and world-conquering faculties bestowed by his Creator, have been enfeebled or destroyed. There are continual aspirations to something greater and better, which are not gratified, and which we cannot carry into execution; but which seem like vestiges to remind us of what we should be, and what may once have been the nature of man. In the system of Buchanan, these vestiges are recognized; a range of faculties has been discovered, which are now dormant, and which have been perhaps dormant for ages in the greater portion of the human race. These faculties giving a stimulus to the mind and expanding greatly its range of knowledge, may hereafter be developed as features of our common nature, and be made the means of obtaining a

loftier species of knowledge than has ever yet been obtained by human kind. We hope to be enabled to return to this fruitful theme, as soon as a sufficiency of facts shall have been published to warrant some general deductions. At the present time, we regard it indeed as altogether too early to attempt to organize a science on the basis of the phenomena as yet observed, so far, at least, as they are known to us. We have already stated, as participating in the Report above quoted from, the extent to which alone we consider ourselves able to draw deductions from the experiments we have witnessed.

Obloquy and ridicule, on the part of nine-tenths of the promiscuous public, must no doubt be the portion of those who will ever dare to venture on the responsibility of avowing their belief in the facts which have been attested, to their own close and suspicious inves tigations, by evidence of the most convincing character. This must, and easily can be borne with patienceuntil the arrival of the day, not, as we feel confident, very far distant, when all the world will recognize as familiar fact that which all the world will at first unite in deriding as the absurdest of fiction.




(With a fine Engruving on Steel.)

A SKETCH of the life of the eminent statesman whose portrait constitutes the embellishment of our present Number, has been before given in the pages of this work, in April, 1838, The rough outline etching which then accompanied it was, however, so far inferior to the present style in which this series of engravings is executed, that it is repeated in this improved form, as several others of those which thus appeared among the earlier numbers of our portrait gallery, either have been or will be repeated. The miniature from which this engraving has been copied is regarded by Mr. Calhoun's friends as the only good likeness of him which has been taken of late years, faithful in all but that beaming brightness of eye which marks the original, and which no counterfeit presentment can imitate.

We shall not repeat the biographical memoir of the great Nullifier. His course through the past five years, since the publication of the former one referred to, is familiar to every reader of these pages. His present position among that foremost few from whom

the Democratic Party is at this moment hesitating in its choice of its next candidate for the Presidency, is apparent to every eye. As explained in another paper in our present Num ber, this is a point to be left to the unbiassed action of the great popular heart, and which it would be entirely foreign to the character and scope of this Review to discuss, as the advocate of any particular personal preference where no selection could go wrong. Whether Mr. Calhoun's great and glorious qualities and services have yet availed to overcome the prejudice left on the minds of a large portion of our party in other sections of the Union than his own, by former passages in his political life where right and wrong were so intermingled as to render the task of discrimination not easy to the common mind, sufficiently to make them yet able to respond to the enthusiasm with which the South appears disposed to urge his name upon the Convention, no means yet exist for a satisfactory decision. And be the issue of this question what it may, the country has already the am

plest guarantees that Mr. Calhoun will never allow his name to be used as an apple of destructive discord in the councils of his friends; and that if other considerations than the grateful admiration which no Democrat known to us, north or south of the Potomac, withholds from him, should on this occasion point the Democratic nomination in any different direction, he will 'support its choice with a zeal not inferior to that which his own name will command, if it is destined to be the watchword of our approaching struggle.

The following sketch of Mr. Calhoun, which was drawn in the winter of 1837-8, by a political and personal friend-himself a man of no humble fame-we reproduce for the sake of the masterly truth and force with which it presents the strongly marked features of his intellectual character:

"Mr. Calhoun has evidently taken Demosthenes for his model as a speakeror rather, I suppose, he has studied, while young, his orations with great admiration, until they produced a decided impression upon his mind. His recent speech in defence of himself against the attacks of Mr. Clay, is precisely on the plan of the famous oration De Corona, delivered by the great Athenian, in vindication of himself from the elaborate and artful attacks of Eschines. While the one says: Athenians! to you I appeal, my judges and my witnesses!'-the other says: In proof of this, I appeal to you, Senators, my witnesses and my judges on this occasion!" Eschines accused Demosthenes of having received a bribe from Philip, and the latter retorted by saying that the other had accused him of doing what he himself had notoriously done. Mr. Clay says, that Mr. Calhoun had gone over, and he left it to time to disclose his motives. Mr. Calhoun retorts: 'Leave it to time to disclose my motives for going over! I, who have changed no opinion, abandoned no principle, and deserted no party-I, who have stood still and maintained my ground against every difficulty, to be told that it is left to time to disclose my motive! The imputation sinks to the earth with the groundless charge on which it rests. I stamp it down in the dust. I pick up the dart which fell harmless at my feet. I hurl it back. What the Senator charges on me unjustly, he has actually done. He went over on a memorable occasion, and did not leave it to time to disclose his motive." In the conception and arrangement of the

[blocks in formation]

"Mr. Calhoun, in the simplicity and brevity of his sentences, throughout all his speeches, shows the model he has studied. In fact his whole character and life are eminently Greek. His striking and grand conceptions-with his unassuming and plain manners-his calm dignity and composure-his sternness and exemplary purity in private and public life, all show that he has bathed deep in the fountains of antiquity.

"In one faculty of the mind he surpasses any public man of the age, and that is in analysis. His power to examine a complex idea, and exhibit to you the simple ideas of which it is composed, is wonderful. Hence it is that he generalizes with such great rapidity, that ordinary minds suppose, at first, he is theoretical; whereas he has only reached a point at a single bound, to which it would require long hours of sober reflection for them to attain. It is a mistake to suppose that he jumps at his conclusions without due care and consideration. No man examines with more care, or with more intense labor, every question upon which his mind is called to act. The difference between him and others is, that he thinks constantly, with little or no relaxation. Hence the restless activity and energy of his mind always place him far in advance of those around him. He has reached the summit, while they have just commenced to ascend, and cannot readily discover the path which has lead him to his lofty and extensive view.

"Mr. Calhoun evidently has studied our system of government very profoundly and philosophically, on the leading ideas of the school of Jefferson. His great speech in reply to Mr. Webster, on the federative principle of the Constitution, and the sovereignty of the States, is one of the most profound and finished commentaries upon that noble instrument and its formation, that has ever been produced by the genius of man. On that remarkable occasion, he simplified the points of controversy with his distinguished antagonist to such a degree, that he compelled him to deny that our system of Government was a constitutional compact; and finally forced him to the position, that the Government itself had substantive and

[blocks in formation]

independent rights, as if the Government was not made by the Constitution, and had no existence, in a single attribute, without it. This debate was managed with great power and ability on both sides. Both speakers saw that the whole argument turned upon the point whether the Constitution was a compact or not. If it was admitted, the wit of man could not avoid the conclusion, that each party to the compact must of necessity judge of its provisions and infractions, or surrender up their original character as sovereign contracting parties, to a government with power to define its own limitations, and, of necessity, to make and unmake the compact at the will and pleasure of those who might chance to give it impulse and vitality. This subject eminently suited Mr. Calhoun's mind and habits of thought, and he consequently exhibited a power of argument a distinctness of analysisand a luminous investigation of the attributes and nature of government-which will stand a monument to his fame, as long as the American eagle shall present to the world that bright constellation of independent States which now glitter and blaze around its brow. No human being can read that speech without feeling that it contains the same doctrines which were proclaimed in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of '98, and in the immortal report of Mr. Madison, around which the Republican party rallied with the devotion of those who felt the liberties of their country to be involved.

“As a public speaker and debater, Mr. Calhoun is energetic and impressive to the highest degree. Without having much of the action of an orator, yet his compressed lip―his erect and stern attitudes his iron countenance, compressed lip, and flashing eye-all make him at times eloquent in the full sense of the

word. No man can hear him without

feeling. His power is in clear analysis suppressed passion, and lofty earnestness. As to the great questions connected with the currency of the present day, it is vain and idle to contend with him. It has been the subject of his daily thoughts for more than twenty years. He is before his age, but he will triumph, and posterity will be astonished at the profoundness and the sagacity of his views. Many suppose


that he has an absorbing ambition; but this is a mistake, and it arises from the natural activity of his mind on all questions of much interest, and his constant and ardent patriotism. Devotion to the honor and liberties of his country is his consuming passion, and his ardent pursuit of what he conceives to be her interests is mistaken by the superficial observer for overweening ambition. Ambition he has, but it is high and noble, and like the Roman's, identified with love for Rome. His nullification, so much misunderstood and misrepresented, was with him a pure and enthusiastic devotion to the true spirit of the Constitution and the permanent interest of the whole Union, according to his understanding of them. His greatest weakness, if weakness it can be called, is his free and unreserved confidence in those who are not his friends. This arises from the natural integrity and unsuspecting character of his heart. Another weakness perhaps is, that he talks too much, forgetting that there is often dignity and power in impressive silence, particularly after a man has acquired fame. This arises, however, from the simplicity of character and great love of truth, which makes him eager to present her to others, that they may receive and love her too, with veneration equal to his own."

We have seen with a regret__in which there are few of our readers who will not participate, Mr. Calhoun's recent letter of resignation. It is no disparagement to the recognized greatness of any of his past or present peers in that high national council, to say that in the loss of him the Senate will be shorn of one of its beams, unsurpassed in brilliancy by any that have of the land. We yet indulge the hope ever shone there, as the beacon lights that that determination may be reconsidered. If Mr. Calhoun should be adopted as the Presidential candidate of the Democracy, there is no necessary incompatibility between the two positions; if such should not prove the case, he cannot be spared from his present one.

« PreviousContinue »