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in this matter we think but little, especially when those eyes are affected with the malady of not marking objectionable points; and we attribute much of the success of Phrenology to this very cause.
Of the principal phrenological writers, including Gall and Spurzheim, and with one exception in favor of Mr. Combe, who appears to us to have allowed his natural acuteness and prosessional tendency to hair-splitting to bias his better judgment, we can say with sincerity, that to judge from their works, they are alike deficient in learning and accuracy. They appear to us to have picked up by casual association with well-informed persons, a mass of odds and ends of information, which they have engrafted on their system, without much solicitude about their exact fitness. They have been at the feast of learning and stolen the scraps.
The convenient paganism of ancient Rome, in her march towards universal dominion, took care, that the worshipper every where should find his own Deity among the Gods of the empire. And in like manner this doctrine is ready to adopt without scruple whatever any body happens to think wise and interesting, and call it Phrenology, careless so long as a multitude can be found to throw up their caps at the word of their leader, whether they know or believe the peculiar doctrines, whether they worship the hawk-billed divinities of Dendera, or the Jupiter of the Capitol.
Another peculiarity of these doctrines is, that depending more upon the imagination than the judgment of their disciples, they dwell more upon the grand prospects of Phrenology, than its actual results ; upon the path which it opens, rather than the path which it has trod. Some amusing observer of human nature, we believe the author of William Meister, makes bis hero, in his youthful days, dwell with exceeding interest upon his preparations for a theatrical entertainment, and devote a great deal of time to arranging for results, about which, when the period arrived, he was utterly indifferent; and thus it is with the grown up children of Phrenology ;-their home is the land of fancy, rather than of fact: as Johnson said of Macklin's conversation, it is a perpetual renewal of hope, with constant disappointment. There is a continual heaving and straining at the foundations, without the least advance towards a superstructure; it is all promise and no performance,-all action and no go.
ART. IV.-Cushing's Reminiscences of Spain. 1. Reminiscences of Spain, the Country, its People, His
tory and Monuments. By CALEB Cushing. 2 vols.
12mo. Boston. 1833. 2. Letters descriptive of public Monuments, Scenery, and
Manners in France and Spain. 2 vols. 12mo. Newbury port. 1832.
We are glad to perceive, among those of our countrymen who have occasion to visit foreign parts, an increasing disposition to communicate to the public, in one way or another, on their return, the result of their observations. Within the last five or six years, a very considerable number of works of this description have been published among us, many of them of great value. We may instance, particularly, the Year in Spain by Lieut. Slidell, and Mr. Irving's beautiful sketches of the same country Considering how remote that once celebrated kingdom is from the ordinary track of travellers, it may appear a little singular, that we should have, in the works now before us, two more descriptions of it, which, in interest and substantial merit, will very well bear a comparison with those that have preceded them. We feel ourselves under a more than ordinary obligation to take an early notice of the labors of Mr. Cushing, inasmuch as we have long had the honor of reckoning him among our contributors. Two of the best articles in his work, which have for their subjects the lives of Columbus, and of Amerigo Vespucci,--are in fact reprinted, with some variations, from the pages of this journal.
In presenting the results of his visit to Spain, Mr. Cushing has not adopted the form of a simple and direct narrative, but has moulded them into a sort of miscellany, made up of historical and geographical sketches, moral essays, tales and poems. In taking this course, he probably had an eye to the brilliant success of Mr. Irving's Sketch Book, which has exercised a pretty strong influence upon the direction of our whole contemporary literature. It is rather a dangerous experiment, -as we had occasion to remark in our notice of another recent publication,- for a young author to bring himself into direct comparison with a justly popular model, but if he have merit enough to sustain this test, the honor is of course so much the greater. Mr. Cushing, if he have not, on this first essay, surpassed, or even fully equalled, his distinguished exemplar, has produced a work which will be read with great pleasure, and which, should be continue to devote himself to letters, holds out a high promise of future excellence. The best parts are, we think, the descriptions of places and persons : the least successful are the poems, which are yet not without considerable merit. They are mostly translations from the Spanish, and exbibit in some instances a remarkable facility of versification. The tales are very interesting, particularly Isabel of Castile, which had already appeared in the Token under the title of the Stolen Match, and Garci Perez. The moral essays, though a little too loosely connected with what must be regarded as the real subject of the work, are full of just thoughts and generous sentiments. We proceed to offer some extracts, as specimens of the different styles of composition to which we bave just alluded.
The following passage contains a description of the Convent of San Lorenzo el Real, commonly called, from the name of the village in its imrnediate neighborhood, the Escorial, which is regarded by every true-born Spaniard as the tenth wonder of the world.
'San Lorenzo is built of a dark, gray granite. It consists of a vast assemblage of buildings, so constructed as to represent the humble utensil of a gridiron, it being that which served as the instrument of the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. It might seem to require some ingenuity to construct an edifice on such a mod. el; but Juan Bautista escaped all difficulty by turning the gridiron upside down; and after that every thing was easy of arrangement. The edifice consists of an oblong square, divided into chequers by buildings which cross each other at right angles, thus making a great number of interior courts, and figuring forth the bars of the gridiron. Towers, distributed with symmetry and taste at the angles, are the legs of the instrument; and a range of building, which stretches out from one of the fronts of the main edifice, and is used as the royal habitation, represents the handle. Fantastic and absurd as such a model might appear to be, the skill of the artist has removed all traces of bad taste from the work as executed ; and the sublime proportions and sumptuous decorations of the edifice are suitable to the most pure and classical design.
'Some persons, says Laborde, who have never viewed this
monument of the piety, grandeur, magnificence, pride, and perhaps fear of Philip II., have ascribed to it whatever an excited imagination could suggest of ridiculous and false : they have multiplied, beyond reason, the number of its gates, windows, pilasters, and columns; they have lavished upon it gold, silver, porphyry, precious stones, ornaments the most diversified, delicate, and rich, with unstinted prodigality. Others, directed by unjust prejudices, have seen in it nothing but enormous and confused piles of stone, a heavy, monotonous, fatiguing mass, without taste or elegance. They have alike erred in their estimation of its merits. The Escorial, without being a marvel, is nevertheless a beautiful, noble, majestic edifice, imposing by its mass, astonishing by the riches it contains, remarkable for the beauty and regularity of its execution, and worthy, by its magnificence, of the greatness of the monarch who caused it to be constructed. And the judgment, thus passed upon it by Laborde, seems to me to be dictated by good sense and sound taste, and entirely conformable to the truth.
• There is, within the walls of the Escorial, such a multitude of courts, galleries, and passages, that it would be vain for a stranger to attempt to find his way through the more public parts of the edifice. We therefore obtained, at the fonda, a guide to conduct us to the cell of the father, Fray Antonio Guadalupe, whose appointed duty it was to attend visiters through the various apartments; and this guide, strange as it may seem, was a blind man, a hanger-on at the fonda, who cheerfully afforded us his services for a trifling reward. Our guide led us directly to the proper gate of entrance, and through a long arched passage into the interior, and thence into the patios of the monastery, numerous as they are, with a precision-altogether wonderful. He knew all the doors which led to this or that place, the cells of the different friars, the sacristy, staircases, and other localities, and arrived at them without hesitation or uncertainty. Even windows, which opened upon particular prospects or spots of interest, he selected and raised, just as if he possessed the use of sight. It so happened that Fray Antonio was not in his cell at the moment; and in seeking or waiting for him, our blind leader conducted us over a very considerable portion of the edifice, entertaining us meanwhile with his explanations and remarks.
'Students of the college were loitering in one of the courts, as I suffered some expressions of impatience to escape me, on finding that it was necessary to trouble one of the fathers to accompany us, and that he was not at hand. The by-standers appeared anxious that a foreigner should have no cause of complaint or dissatisfaction in visiting the place, and several of them hastened away in different directions to look for Fray Antonio, lest any imputation of discourtesy should rest upon the house. In fact, the arrangement is not a very convenient one for strangers, who are continually arriving, and would find it agreeable to be attended by a cicerone, whose time they might command without scruple and for a price. Or, if the good fathers deem it unfit their house should be shown, as it were, for money, a Suisse might be employed in this task, as in the palaces and other public establishments in France. But, in Spain, they have different notions of these things; and why should we complain of arrangements, the reasons of which we may not perfectly comprehend, and' which, at any rate, are designed in a hospitable and friendly
• Certain it is, that when Father Guadalupe at last made his appearance, and especially after becoming acquainted with him, I deeply reproached myself for having indulged in a single word or sentiment of impatience upon the subject. He expressed his regret, on account of the delay we had suffered, in the most amiable and cordial manner, and instantly won upon my regard, by the mild and gentle yet intellectual cast of his clear pale face, his tall erect form and air of dignity, so entirely free from the gross and sensual appearance, which I have observed too often among the monks of Madrid. Under his guidance, and with Bermejo's minute Descripcion de San Lorenzo in my hand, I gave up myself to the gratification of examining, too cursorily indeed, the grandeur and riches of this noble edifice.
‘San Lorenzo abounds in splendid pictures of the great masters, in canvass and fresco. Most of them are in good preservation, although some of the paintings in fresco are injured by damp, and not a few of the large pieces in the open galleries have been disfigured, partly by the French, but still more by idle and illbred youths placed here for education, who, in the same wretched spirit of vulgar mischief, which is apt to disgrace the inmates of other places of instruction, have scratched, defaced, or written upon the lower part of the panels. France, it would seem, is almost the only country, where the young and uneducated pay such entire respect to these national monuments of art, that nothing need be apprehended from rendering them freely accessible to all classes and ages.
Of these paintings, such as are in fresco, that is, upon the interior walls and vaulted ceilings of the Escorial, in the chapel, library, sacristy, cloister, and stair-cases, and of course painted for the special decoration of the edifice, are of the highest merit and by eminent masters, such as Carducho, Giordano, Pellegrino dei Pellegrini, and Caravajal. But splendid as these