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It has often occurred to us, that the lines of Darley's well known song, is descriptive of Idiocy.
Her mouth with a smile
Half open to view,
Impearld with the dew. If these remarks be true, then there is truth in physiognomy as a science. Indeed, if it be not so, what painter can delineate character? or who has not seen an actor on the stage harmonize his features to the expression of habitual, natural folly, and rustic ignorance? or who is there, who is not in fact to himself, a physiognomist by habit? who does not pass a mental verdict on the appearance of a stranger? we are all such:-nature has dictated the practice, and it is the business of art to scrutinize, observe, and methodize, the traces that nature presents to us. Is it not evidently so, that character is expressed by countenance, figure, motion and manners, not merely in the human species, but as we know from familiar practice and observation, in horses and dogs? In fact, how can mind show itself, but by means of body?
Since the publication of Dr. Spurzheim, I know of none but a small treatise in octavo, entitled an attempt to establish physiognomy upon scientific principles, by Dr. John Cross, of Glasgow. He gives us a discourse on the vital functions and on pathology preliminarily: he then treats physiognomically of the neck, the mouth and nose, the ears and eyes. There is much good sense in the book, but the language is careless; and it cannot boast of profound research.
Having now presented our readers with a slight sketch of the history of physiognomy, and the most reasonable of its pretensions, we proceed to the work before us. But we have little to say, in praise, either of the ingenuity of the plot, the novelty of the characters, the interest of the situations, the amusement, or instruction of the dialogue, or the elegance of the language. The person who gives name to the novel, is outrè; the distinguishing trait is described beyond the probabilities of common life; and all the other characters, are without any character at all, but what we find in almost every similar production that issues from the press. That our readers may in some degree judge for themselves, we offer for their perusal the following scene, wherein the physiognomist Mr. Ossaman, is introduced to a quaker family of the name of Bertie.
«« Thou hast a kind heart, Grace,” said Cyrus Bertie, affectionately, patting her head, and thanking her in his heart for thus defending what he himself felt to be InDEFENSIBLE.
“ But a weak head, I fear," added Mr. Ossaman, approaching the siniling Grace, and drawing out his paper of angles, cones, sections, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, &c. &c., to be more fully convinced that his opinion was correct. The next cap which Grace wore obstructed his view, and without hesitation he pulled it oft.
“ What art thou doing, friend?” said she indignantly.
“ Why uncoverest thou my daughter's head?” demanded Mrs. Bertie; “ verily, the damsel must not be insulted, neighbour; and, besides, thou hast thrust thy fingers through the muslin.”
“ Nonsense!” exclaimed Mr. Ossaman; “ I wish to be convinced if the young lady were likely to do honour to me if I patronized her.”
“ Why, surely, friend,” rejoined Grace, “thou couldst not ascertain that point by the colour of my hair; and surely for that reason thou didst pull off my cap."
" Miss Bertie—I say, miss Bertie-you have mistaken my design in toto. I wish to compare the linear compartments of the os cerebrale:I intend to measure the extent of the occipital line. I will minutely examine the region of propensities, and observe whether the organ of love of approbation, or of self-esteem is the more developed the upper and lateral part of the head, posteriorly, is the situation of the former; consequently, the line A. B. drawn in this direction, extending to the point C. on the posterior exterior angle formed by the points C. D. E., and the line F. G. crossing the line D. E., transversely, forming a second angle of the points E. F. G. the point B. being the central point; and - and
designating the point B. as the the Mr. Cyrus Bertie, you have embarrassed my ideas by incessantly shaking the table. I must begin my analysis again, or miss Bertie will not understand the demonstration.'
“ Thou needest not to trouble thyself again, friend," said Grace; « for verily, thy words are incomprehensible."
“So I feared, so I feared. You perceive, Mr. Cyrus Bertie, how your fidgetting motions disturb us."
“ Thy geometrical proofs advanced in support of an obscure question, would, perhaps, tend to convince. But, where no position is advanced, and where, consequently, no contradiction can be made, thy geometry is of no use; except, indeed, thou wishest to show thy skill,” said Grace, archly.
“ Ah! my estimate was correct,” said Mr. Ossaman decisively; “ your os frontis is sufficiently contracted to render further investigation unnecessary. Yes, you are destined to move in the ordinary tract. The atteinpi to rescue you from such contemptible security would be vain. Mr. Bertie, marry your daughter when you please, and to whom you please. I resign all hopes of her reflecting credit on me; therefore I cannot patronize her.”
In our opinion, if the character of a physiognomist is to be successfully delineated, he must not be painted as a silly dupe, or an offensive madman. The situations to be interesting, must be drawn from the mistakes and eccentricities of a fine mind, warped, but not deranged by intense application to an object of science, whose doubts have vanished before ardour of pursuit; and where plain sense has given up the reins to the extravagancies of a warm imagination. Mr. Ossaman offends us too much, by his constitutional folly, and his disgusting ignorance. We feel no interest in a blockhead born to be a dupe. We cherish no pity for him, and no indignation at the bungling knavery by which he is plundered and deceived. A novel cannot be a good one, where the principal character is without interest, and his conduct beyond the limits of common probability. Such is the physiognomist portrayed be
ART. VI.-Notoria; or Miscellaneous Articles of Philosophy,
Literature, &c. The following remarkable epitaph on the Spanish Constitution, was composed
not long since in Madrid by a Spaniard, and lately reached this country enclosed in a private letter.
Que por la uniformidad de sentimientos y de impulso
à un pueblo
El primer esfuerzo
al mundo y la posteridad,
prole de la libertad
Manifestó al genero humano
precoz y indigesta,
Un majestuoso edificio
podria haber sido elevado.
y sus derechos respetados;
las artes protegidas
de una Nacion
y poniendose a si misma
Aprended en este exemplo VOL. XII.
La instabilidad de todas las instituciones mundanas,
y estad seguros
Virtud, Libertad, y Independencia,
The Remains of the political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy. Born amid the convulsive throes of a Revolution,
which by an unity of sentiment and action Broke the chains of despotism, and gave liberty to
to a people,
The first effort
to the world and posterity,
Offspring of liberty
have satisfied mankind,
Yet, with all its faults,
a noble structure
Could have been raised.
and their rights respected;
the Arts patronized,
of a Nation, voluntarily embracing Despotism, And fixing on themselves
the shackles of
Learn from this
and be assured
Virtue, Liberty, and Independence.
The following letter on Spanish affairs port our forces to the ungrateful colo.
is translated from one of the numbers nies; the magnificent fleets of cedar, for July last, of the Minerve Fran- which, towards the end of the last cencaise, a periodical work of high au- tury, rode so majestically in the har. thority published at Paris.
bours of Cadiz and Carthagena, and Madrid, June 1818. promised us destinies so splendid, no I write to you without having any longer exist. news to give you: the most apathetic Our late unhappy divisions have left men of a country, where you find the behiod many bitter recollections. Exvery sublime in the way of apathy, be- ile has deprived us of a multitude of gin to be sensible of the sterility of our distinguished citizens, who might still single and unique Gazette. The situa- serve their country. Others who had tion of Spain would furnish rather a given way to an excessive enthusiasm, chapter for history, than an article for which it is difficult to condemn, when the Minerva. The ensemble of things the epoch and the motives are consimay be very well worthy of attention; dered, are equally cut off from society. but the details do not deserve to be ao- Our finances have experienced no ticed.
amelioration, and the grave personaAll Europe is at peace, Spain alone ges charged with sounding the depths excepted. She is condemned, by the of their wounds, maintain an ominous usual fatality of her fortunes, to wage silence. Is it, in fact, possible to recal war without any real object and almost the royal decrees which, in 1814, reswithout hope of success. We are fight- tored to the religious orders all the proing in the provinces of New Grenada perty and estates which they had losi?and in Peru;--the insurgents of the ri. We are abridging our military estab, ver Plate persist in proclaiming their lishments; what remains is scarcely independence, and publish ponderous sufficient for garrisoning our strong and vehement manifestoes against the places in time of peace. mother country, who is idly boasting of Nevertheless, the old peninsula opthe good she has done thein;—Spanish poses a coinpact mass, an impenetrable blood, after having flowed in torrents in surface to all these strokes of fate. the peninsula, daily drenches the vast She resists; she does not succumb. The plains of the two Americas;—the Uni- idea of a new and general contribution ted States seem to ask war from us as bas not alarmed us. The nobility, clerthe only favour we have to bestow on gy, people, manifest the same resigna. them:--the court of Brazil even, with tion. We are so much accustomed to which we had just contracted close fa- the depreciation, the nullity of the pubmily ties, bas taken possession of one of lic debt, that no measure of whatever our most important posts, and, as it kind with respect to it, would excite would appear, covets the neighbouring complaint or surprise. Is this the efterritories within her reach;--our Eu- fect of a consciousness of real wealth ropean coasts are infested and insulted and strength, in Spaniards? or does it by buccaniers, in whom we can distin- spring from a general torpor? It is very guish rebellious children of our own difficult to know public opinion, if, infamily, by their language and their ha- deed, there buany such thing in a counbits;-we are reduced to the wretched try like this. Impounded from village necessity of carrying the most desolat- to village, from province to province, ing hostilities into the countries to isolated in body and mind, we can hold which we gave the civilization which no communication with one another. they enjoy;--we have been obliged The inhabitant of Arragon is more to receive from the navy-yards of stranger to the inhabitant of G. Cronstadt some iew fir-ships to trans- of Andalusia, than a quaker