Abbildungen der Seite


ease. This is the fairest experiment that I have ever known made, and it certainly should have considerable bearing upon this interesting and obscure subject. I intend at an early period to make experiments with the poison vine growing in this region, and will communicate the result to the Editors of the Western Journal.

I am aware, that great discrepancy exists among physicians respecting milk-sickness, some even denying its existence, in toto, and others deeming it nothing more than a form of congestive fever. It certainly bears a remote resemblance to congestive fever; but by certain diagnostic symptoms, pointed out in the essay to which I have referred, the discriminating physician can never be at a loss to distinguish one. disease from the other. The remote cause of milk-sickness being buried in obscurity has no doubt induced many to question its existence. Such persons might as well doubt that man has a spleen, because the most acute anatomists have not yet discovered its use.

July 11th, 1840.


[ocr errors][merged small]


Art. V.-Crania Americana; or a comparative view of the

Skulls of various Aboriginal nations of North and South America: To which is prefixed an Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species._ Illustrated by seventy-eight plates, and a colored map. By SAMUEL GEORGE MORTON, M.D., Professor of Anatomy in the Medical Department of Pennsylvania College at Philadelphia; member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia; of the American Philosophical Society; of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; of the Boston Society of Natural History, &c., &c., Philadelphia; J. Dobson, Chesnut street. London; Lumpkin, Marshall & Co., 1839. Letter press, p. 296, folio.

In the last number of the Journal a promise was given, that, on renewing our remarks on this distinguished work, which, though the production of an individual, might well be called NATIONAL, we should endeavour to enrich our notice of it, with a greater amount of the special and detailed information which it contains, than was introduced into our former article respecting it. And our promise must be redeemed. . In effecting this redemption however, it is not our intention to deal exclusively in specialties and details. We shall not lose sight of those great principles of science, nor fail occasionally to refer to them, which constitute an essential element of liberal knowledge, and without which science would deservedly forfeit its name and character, and degenerate into disjointed and common-place intelligence.



In a special manner we shall not fail to bear in mind that fundamental and all-controlling truth in physiology, whose influence and value have been heretofore too little attended to, and too lightly appreciated, especially by anthropologists— that the nervous is the master-tissue of living organized matter, and that that portion of it called the brain is chiefly instrumental in creating distinctions between human individuals, as well as between varieties and races of men; and in giving to some of them a decided and permanent superiority over others. For, as intimated on a former occasion, that truth, when skilfully and ably employed, is calculated, far beyond any other, to shed light on the history and philosophy of man. Nor is its influence limited to the past and the present. To a certain extent it is also instinct with a spirit of foresight, and fitted to lift the curtain suspended in most cases between mankind and the future, and disclose to them somewhat of the destiny that awaits them.

Our reason for entertaining this opinion, which we know will not be likely to be favoured, at first view, with the belief of the multitude, may be succinctly stated. We can foresee what man would be, were he converted, by a well-conducted and thorough course of education and discipline, into a truly rational and moral being—were all his higher and nobler faculties we mean, so strengthened and trained, as to have the complete control of his inferior faculties, and his will so predominant as to have a corresponding mastery over them. And we can foresee what the condition of the world would be, were it peopled with beings so elevated and excellent. But were time allowed us, and were the discussion a suitable one for the present occasion, it would be easy to show, that a complete knowledge of the brain and nerves, and of the best scheme of exercising and improving them, would enable


mankind to produce in the world the state and condition of things, to which we have alluded. And that such knowledge and scheme, in no very limited degree, will be, in time to come, one of tne products of phrenology, is highly probable. The future then, under such circumstances, is in part at least revealed to them. Though they have not obtained possession of the land of promise, they enjoy an antepast of it in prospect from the Pisgah they have ascended.

Such a view of things cannot, we think, be regarded as either fanciful or extravagant. Far from it. Founded on acknowledged truth, and constructed of sound materials, it cannot be otherwise than substantial and lasting. But we must proceed, without further preface, to our task of analysis.

In our article contained in the preceding number of this Journal, it was observed that Dr. Morton commences his work with an “Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species.” And, for its extent, it is decidedly the most interesting and instructive we have ever perused. It contains the result of much and varied reading and research; its matter, though compressed within the narrowest limits, is rendered perfectly intelligible, by the simplicity, plainness, and perspicuity of the style; and, added to its historical information, it is interspersed with many striking and valuable remarks.

Alluding to the extensive, if not universal population of the earth, at the earliest epoch known to history, the writer correctly states, that “the oldest records seldom allude to an uninhabited country." Yet do some of those "records” go

” back to within a few centuries of the flood, and still find populous, powerful, and even cultivated nations. Indeed, according to our most accredited systems of chronology, within a single century and a year after the subsidence of the deluge,

the east was sufficiently populous, and the inhabitants suffi

ciently versed in the mechanical arts to erect the tower of Babel-a building believed to be superior in magnitude, and vastly superior in grandeur of design, to any architectural monument subsequently attempted. In about twenty-six years afterwards the Chaldean monarchy was founded by Nimrod—and in fourteen years more the Chinese monarchy, by some of the master spirits of the time. These facts bespeak an increase of the human family, at that period, far surpassing in rapidity any thing the world exhibits at present.

Dr. Morton farther states, with equal correctness, and as an evidence of great antiquity of residence, that so strong is the attachment of each variety and people to their own dwel. ling places, that they greatly prefer them to all others. “Thus, says he the Eskimaux, surrounded by an atmosphere that freezes mercury, rejoices in his snowy deserts, and has pined in unhappiness when removed to more genial climes. On the other hand, the native of the torrid regions of Africa, oppressed by a vertical sun, and delirious with thirst, thinks no part of the world so desirable and delightful as his own.” So truly might the poet have sung of the predilection for home inherent in the inhabitants of every region, whether hot or cold, parched or humid, as he did of that which he represented to be so vivid and glowing in those who are born and reared amid polar snows, and immediately beneath the path of the sun.


6. The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone,

Boldly proclaims the happiest home his own,
- Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
" And his long nights of revelry and ease;
“ The naked negro, panting at the line,
“ Boasts of his golden sands, and palmy wine;
“ Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
" And thanks his gods for all the good they gave."

« ZurückWeiter »