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For a full hour I was left alone with the fire, which burnt without and within, whilst I mused, interrupted only by quick, high voices, which occasionally reached me from another part of the house. At length my friend stepped softly in. He was sorry the scene had occurred; his wife was sorry also; was aware of the weakness she had shown before a stranger ; had not been very well, lately ; desired to be excused for the rest of the evening. Then followed a pause, broken first by Philip.
“Your Anti-Slavery friends would, I snppose, make much of such an incident as this."
“There are some subjects, it would seem, that the river Styx can not keep down, Philip,” I said, wishing him to open and direct the conversation. • There are, I know there are, a great many evils about the system. Many evils beset every position, however well defended, [and here I saw the vision of the young wife, with arm encircling the slave's neck, mingling her tears with hers, ] which is outside the protection of the holy mother, Liberty."
My friend gave an equivocal smile.
“ And yet for this Cant I have untwined so many arms of affection, unclasped so many warm hands which held mine, that I must ask you to believe it something more, Philip!”
Forgive me,” he answered, with a slight tremor in his voice, “I do not mean to distrust you. But, truly, this idea of Liberty seems to me more or less a phantom. I can feel concerned for special cases of oppression and cruelty, and admire special cases of heroic rebellion against injustice and arbitrary power; but Liberty, in itself, is vague : few persons, on earth, are free, and those by no means happiest or most furnished with the means of doing good.” I might reply to this last remark in the lines of the poet, –
He that feeds men serveth few;
He serves all who dares be true. It is as true of an idea as of a man. But pray bear with me whilst I disclose what it is that we mean, and show
that idea of Liberty is no speculation or enthusiasm, but a positive, historic, and mathematical necessity."
“ That is just what I have never seen." “ Observe, then, that it has become an axiom of natural his
tory, that the higher the organization the greater the freedom. The animals of lowest structure fasten themselves to rocks, or in the river-shallows, for protection ; they move about slowly and with difficulty ; their lives are at the mercy of external elements, their only escape from which is in the prison of a shell. Each step in the scale of rising life differs from the first only in greater independence of external things by the growth of a stronger selfsustaining apparatus ; each higher animal form, as it came forth in the ages, was simply a revolution for Freedom. Thus you see the idea of Liberty is as ancient as the most conservative could desire, and began with the primal pulses of Nature. Is it wonderful that man should inherit it; that what was in the stem should prevail in the fruit ? For the naturalist shows us that man's form is the triumph of physical Freedom.
“Now, then, at this point, we enter another sphere that of man, wherein stratum rises on stratum, with the same old music. Here we find the axiom, The higher the race, the greater the freedom. The races of men are classified with regard of their historical efforts toward Freedom, and the false assertion of the ignorant concerning the lowest races, that they are fit only to be slaves, reveals that this is the test of higher and lower. We say of the AngloSaxon, he is highest, because he has never submitted to be a slave. The Jew in Palestine is a nobler man than the Jew in Egypt.
“Then we pass into a higher formation,-into inward and spiritual life. Thought is thought by reason of Freedom. The structural bondage of the animal to the earth is an outer sign of the inner trammel to animal instincts; but an animal which should show that it could act as a free agent, from rational and conscientous motives, would be kuman, though a quadruped, and would be so recognized ; and, on the other hand, if any one, apparently human, shows that he is unemancipated from the animal, he can not be treated as a freeman,-such being the case with idiots and criminals. Moral, intellectual, and personal Freedom are, then, as essential conditions of any true, upright manhood, as the preservation of the centre of gravity is essential to the upright posture of the body.
" And so upward, quite through the Universe, runs the law All superiority, heroism, genius, are but greater Freedom; that is, they are the results of extreme individuality, which is Freedom. This progress of animal forms, froin the imprisonment of a mol
lusk to the liberty of man, is at the same time a progress from without inward; the sun and air were the nerves of the jelly-fish, but the fish has nerves gathered in independent centres; the shell of the oyster is absorbed into the skeleton of the reptile. What else is genius but the latest workings of this law, where the mind originates ideas, whereas lower minds fasten on others as barnacles ? What else is character than self-sustaining force, in contrast with servility and conventionality ?
For this reason I spoke to you of Liberty as the holy mother of all earthly good. I speak but the refrain of the chorus of all the best men who have lived ; for not one great man is known in history who has not, in some form, borne witness in favor of Freedom. The early Christians had a motto, Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty; the old British bards were named, Those who are free throughout the world ; the mission of America, on earth, is to realize the full glory of these words : All men are created free and equal! For of all these, Liberty has been, and is the miracle-working Genius."
A few years have passed since this night. My friend lived on and gave no sign. Recently he died; and the following is the substance of a note received from his wife : “ Perhaps it would please you to know that, by his will, Philip has emancipated his slaves. I think the lesson of poor Sally, which occurred during your visit, was never lost upon him. When he was dying, he took the hands of both our little boys and mine, and said, “Dear Margaret, teach them as I had intended to do hadi I lived — to live for Freedom and hate Slavery, at any cost.' These were his last words.”
I have concluded that I have been too often impatient of rudiments - to which, in this case, I was led by personal feeling. Have you not been so also, brother? I have somewhere read fine German epigram of the witless man, who, when fortune is near his right hand, is sure to thrust out his left. Perhaps Fogyism is not the only folly; and surely God could have created no mind without some handle, which is at the command of whatever grasp of evidence and truth is adapted to it.
AN APRIL ORPHIC.
I WALKED to-day to the mountain-ledge
Skirting a gorge where dark alders grow, And, climbing close to the dangerous edge,
I saw a pale, sweet flower below.
There it had blossomed year by year,
Cheering the home of the newt and toad; Never had mortal step drawn near
To break its ancient solitude.
Shut from the sunlight, hid from the dew,
And shunned by the winds it loves so well Yet its rhythm of beauty daily grew
To a wondrous golden canticle.
“() pitiful flower," at once I cried,
“Blooming where never an eye can see!” I heard no voice, but something replied,
And this was the purport that came to me:
Man, proud-hearted and unresigned,
Beating in vain thy spirit-bars !
The shining stairway that leads to the stars.
“Learn, O soul by Ambition tossed,
Content is forever to Joy the key!” – Truth and Beauty are never lost,
Teacheth the little Anemone.
CONCERNING PHRENOLOGY *
What is there of truth in phrenology ? This science has been and still is laughed at by some, spurned by others, treated as materialism by great minds, considered by many as a cabalistic science, and on the other hand vaunted and extolled by its adepts; but for the greater number it is but a problem - a vague question about which one knows not what to think - a ground on which there has been much fighting in the dark, and where the light has not yet shone. In this state of things, here is a learned and religious man, calm in his bearing, skilful in his practice, who brings a torch upon the ground and invites us to see.
One first reflection presents itself in opening M. Cubi's work: Why should pbrenology exist ?
In all things we must begin at the beginning - that is to say, by the end ; for the end of a thing is its aim, its why and wherefore, its reason of existence.
Man, they tell us, is above all a creature of education : a child, he is educated by his parents and his teachers; a man grown, he educates himself. Now all education supposes the knowledge of the capacities of the subject, and every master begins necessarily by ascertaining those of his pupil : whether for good or for evil as regards their tendency, then their energy or vivacity, in order that he may calculate his measures of encouragement, repression, or modification. So the gardener studies the nature and force of young plants, to trim the stem if it bend, to thin the branches that draw too much sap, to trim for fruit this bongh which can produce it, or spare the other which appears too feeble.
To know the tendencies of the subject is the first step of education. This knowledge may be drawn from four sources : hereditary transmission, circumstances, actions, and the physical constitution. Let us neglect the first three, and pause at the physical structure. This is the ground of phrenology.
The skilful phrenologist feels the head of your child, and in five
* Lessons of Scientific and Practical Phrenology, by Don Mariano Cubi I Soler, Translated from the Spanish. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris: J. B. Ballière. 1858.