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1805 he had been occupied, as leisure permitted, in perusing the works of Reid and some other metaphysicians. He was not altogether satisfied with their views respecting evidence and belief,-cause and effect ---and Love of Approbation was whispering, that he had taken views of his own more sound, and not unimportant, when Dr Brown's publication on the Lesliean controversy, or the first edition of his Essay on Cause and Effect, made its appearance. On perusal, he was mortified to find that Dr Brown had proceeded farther in the same track ; but mortification soon gave way to a better feeling -admiration ;-and, though anticipated and outstripped, he followed with alacrity and pleasure; for intellectual light and moral integrity were before him. From that time forward he had read greedily whatever Dr Brown wrote, and he had been rewarded not only with instruction in metaphysical science, but with the purest and best sort of moral gratification. What had struck bim (Mr R.), however, the moment he knew any thing of Phrenology, and what was more peculiarly deserving of attention from the meeting, was, that, in his metaphysical doctrines, the late Professor of Moral Philosophy approached very nearly to their own. The whole of them are based on the position, that laws and tendencies have been imposed upon and given to man, from which he cannot shake himself free, and which affect and substantially characterize his whole nature, physical, moral, and intellectual. Nor did he stop there. He saw, and consequently avowed, that there were constitutional and specific differences among individuals, both as to mind and dispositions. And what was this but the plain metaphysics of Phrenology? With the exception of Gall, Spurzheim, and their friend Mr Combe, indeed, Dr Brown had done more to place the philosophical doctrines of Phrenology on a sure basis than any other writer with whom he (Mr R.) was acquainted. Had this metaphysician lived he would no doubt have become a Phrenologist. His thirst for knowledge was too strong to have allowed the proofs which have now been
accumulated to escape his attention; he was too intrepid a thinker to shun the subject from fear; he was too honest a man to have felt a conviction of the truth of Pbrenology without proclaiming it. But whatever might be thought of this theory, they would all concur in admiring the character of the late Dr Brown. His intellect was acute and philosophical,--his moral feelings of the highest order,—for he was at once benevolent, intrepid, and conscientious. They had no longer the high privilege of enjoying the society of the man, but there still remained to them his writings, which stimulate the intellect, satisfy the judgment, and afford also a healing balm to the heart. In travelling through his pages, we walk as it were in moral sunshine, Ideality shedding its brightest rays over the most refined and excellent products of Benevolence and Conscientiousness. After proposing “ The memory of Dr Thomas Brown, late Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh,” which was received with very marked respect, Mr R. begged to mention two things more which had just occurred to him : the one was an anecdote of Dr Brown, the other a saying of his biographer. It was the practice of Dr Brown to make up his own views on each subject before reading the author who treated of it; and his object in doing so was, that, after perusal, he might settle where the truth lay,--what was the cause of the differences in opinion betwixt them,--whether it arose from accidental circumstances or the character of intellect. This was indeed being very nearly a Phrenologist. The felicitous saying of Mr Welsh, one of the ablest and most respected members of our own Society,-one who knew Dr Brown as well as he understood the profoundest of his speculations, was, That by means of the rare union of mental powers and moral worth to which I have feebly attempted to do justice, “ Dr Brown was able to make his house at once a school for the intellect, and a home to the heart."
The CHAIRMAN said, -He would now propose the health of a gentleman whose merit was only exceeded by his modesty. He alluded to Dr A. Combe, who, in his own peculiar department—the physiological,—had conferred great and lasting obligations on the cause of Phrenology. He need only mention the able and triumphant manner in which he had defended the science against the attacks of Dr John Gordon--of Dr Roget—of Dr Barclay—of Dr Rudolphi, –and, on the occasion of the recent attack in the Edinburgh Review, he believed it was to him they owed the vindication of the philosophical and physiological reputation of Grandmamma Wolf. (Applause.)
Dr Combe returned thanks for the honour done him, and begged to add, since Mr Scott had alluded to the subject, that he intended, on an early meeting in another place, to bring forward further evidence of a forcible kind in support of the physiological opinions of the venerable personage whose large eyes and long ears had been so unhappily attacked by a late celebrated and able antagonist. He regretted that he could not say so much in defence of the moral as of the physiological principles of that four-footed, sharp-sighted, and longeared authority ; but still he did not think that on that account alone her testimony was to be considered as proving absolutely the opposite of what she affirmed, especially when, as in the present case, they all knew, that, for once at least in her life, she was speaking the plain and simple truth.
Mr Lyon craved a toast, and said,- In rising to propose the health of the Clerical Members of the Society, I do not think that this is either the time or the place to enlarge on the importance and practical utility of Phrenology in guiding the labours of a pastor among his flock, and still less to advert to the harmony which exists between the truths of Phrenology and those of Christianity. I would rather embrace this opportunity of expressing our obligations, not merely to those of our clerical friends who have openly come forward and joined our ranks, but also to those clergymen, particularly of our national church, who have more or less avowed their conviction of the truth of our science, and who have had the honour of being sneered at as “ the learned theolo“gical doctors who are said to patronize this absurd theory.” This avowal, I am persuaded, has contributed in no small degree to the rapid progress which the science has made in this country. We know the powerful influence of the sentiment of Veneration. Many, particularly of the other sex, have had their prejudices softened or removed, and have been induced to examine the evidences of Phrenology, simply by knowing that some of our most eminent divines have either given the science their favourable regard, or have altogether embraced its doctrines. Many are the grounds on which the clergy of the church of Scotland claim our gratitude and respect; and I consider myself warranted to state this as an additional claim,-that among them a belief of the doctrines of our science is rapidly and extensively spreading. The present generation may not, but a future generation assuredly will record it to the honour of the clergy of Scotland, that they were the first to appreciate and to embrace a science which was scowled upon by the literati and dilletanti of the day; and when learned professors would overwhelm us with fatalism, materialism, nihilism, atheism, and I know not how many other isms, we may oppose authority to authority, and
, marvel how it should come to pass, that the defence of religion against the inroads of Phrenology should be maintained in Royal Societies, when our authorised teachers see in it nothing to dread, but much to commend.
Mr Welsh has already been mentioned as the founder of the Society; and when I think of the objections which have been made to our science, that it is not (or rather I should now say, was not) countenanced by the medical profession, and that it is hostile to religion and Christianity, let it be remembered, that the founders of the science itself were phy
sicians, and that the founder of the first Phrenological Society was a clergyman. I beg to propose the healths of “ Mr Welsh, Mr Grierson, Mr Stewart, Mr Buchanan, Mr Irvine, Mr Whitson, and Mr Wardlaw, the Clerical Members of the Society.”
The Rev. Mr GRIERSON of Dunblane returned thanks, and the Chairman then gave-" THE MEDICAL MEMBERS
OF THE Society."
Dr ROBERT HAMILTON returned thanks; and, adverting to the objection, that Phrenology was disowned by the medical profession, he remarked, that, to refute this assertion, it was necessary only to attend for a moment to facts. The founders of the science were medical men of no mean eminence in their profession; and the roll of every Phrenological Society, particularly those of London and Edinburgh, proved that the medical constituted no mean proportion of the total members. He pointed out the advantages that medical science was destined to reap from Phrenology; and congratulated the Society, that this important truth had been avowed and spiritedly maintained in a quarter which could not fail of influencing the medical profession in general ; he alluded to the late Analysis of Mr Combe's System in the Medico-Chirurgical Review. The Editor of that work (to the high merits and extensive influence of which he paid a just tribute), had unhesitatingly “ recognised in the science “ of its principles a legitimate and useful subject of profes“sional inquiry,” and boldly advocated “ the utility” of Phrenology “ to the true philosophy of medicine.” Dr Hamilton concluded by proposing “ The health of Dr John“ ston, Editor of the Medico-Chirurgical Review.” (Much applause.)
The CHAIRMAN observed, that Phrenology, as the science of human nature, was interesting and practically useful to