Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page



MERTHYR LITERARY INSTITUTION. At a meeting of the members of this Society Thursday se'nnight, Mr. John Thomas in the chair, Mr. Ltnnley delivered a lecture upon the science of phrenology. The lecture was very interesting—the matter well digested—and the arrangement clear and scientific. We, for this reason, greatly regret that great pressure of other matter compels us to confine our report of it to little else than a mere outline. Phrenology is a Greek term, signifying the doctrme of the mind. Phrenologic science, founded by Dr. Gall about fifty years ago, was perfected by Dr. Spurzheim and by their joint exertions it has been disseminated over all Europe and the United States of America. The fundamental principle of phre- nology is, that the brain is the organ of the mind—as where there is no brain, there are no mental manifestations. One question for our discussion is, whether the brain is a single organ, or an aggregation of parts, each acting independent of the other. Every organ has its definite function to perform the heart's business is to circulate the Mood the stomach's to digest food the eye's to see the ear's to hear and the nose's to smell. The various portions of the human frame have definite offices and this is the case with the brain; and its respective organs have separate spheres of action. Every day's ebserva- tion verifies the truth of this statement; for genius varies in different individuals. ÜDe has a talent for music, another for mechanics, and another for languages and that these various aptitudes arise from peculiar organic developements, is proved by the fact that partial injury to the brain only affects the men- tal manifestations corresponding to the organs located in the in- jured part, and does not in any way interfere with others, proves the correctness of the division of organs. These are divided into three principal sections, corresponding to three great "lasses of mental phenomena and they are called animal propensities, moral sentiments, and intellectual faculties. The brain itself is divided into the posterior, middle, and an- terior lobes; and to the anterior or front part are referred the intellectual faculties the propensities are referred to the back part of the head, and the sentiments occupy the middle. By comparing these partr together, and ascertaining which predominates, we are enabled to form an estimate of individual character and that the opinions formed by phrenologists from those data are correct, may be proved by thousands of instances. When we find a head full in the back part, and with a low fore- head, we may conclude the possessor to be a licentious and self- ish being, indulging much in the animal passions a full frontal developement, on the contrary, indicates intelligence and hu- manity. The contrast of these two characters is very forcibly perceived in Melancthon the reformer, and in that disgTaee to hnman nature, Pope Alexander the Sixth. [The lecturer ex- hibited drawings of these two heads.] The whole soul of the one was devoted to doing good, and furthering the cause of free opinions whereas the other delighted in nothing but mere animal gratifications, and the amassing of wealth formed his chief ambition. The shape of the brain corresponds to that of the external head; and phrenology teaches us that men with large frontal heads possess more mental ability than those with small, for a convincing proof of which we need only refer to the various races of mankind. In the first rank, of intelligence, we find the large heads of the Caucasian races, while the unintellectual Malay forms the lowest liuk in the chain of which the American, Ethiopian, and Mongolian varie- ties fill up the intermediate spaces. The fine foreheads of the distinguished characters of our own country furnish proofs equally striking of the triumphs of phrenology. Generally speaking, the male head is larger than the female but where the weaker sex rule, the cause will be found to be a larger intel- lectual development; and the same explanation may be given where younger sons command the submission of the older branches of the family. It has been objected to phrenology, that men with small heads exhibit more mental energy than some who are possessed of larger; but this is easily accounted for by differences of temperament, and, so far from showing this science to be unfounded, proves it almost to demonstration. Temper- aments are intimately connected with mental activity and in forming opinions of individual character, this ought never to be lost sight of. The temperaments are four in number-the lym- phatic, sanguineous, bilious, and nervous. Men of lymphatic temperaments are slow and phlegmatic in their habits their intellects are generally sluggish, and their physical frames bulky. The sanguine are men of slight complexions, active, fond of society, and generally loquacious, agreeable companions. The bilious are of dark complexions, persevering characters, and pos- sessed of great mental powers; and the nervous are men of spare bodies, sensitive, and quick-minded. Having concluded this exposition of the science, the lecturer deferred entering into the detail of the individual organs to another time and, assumir; the science to be true, directed his attention to the applications of phrenology to the education of chil- dren. Of this valuable part, we have space only for a short extract. Every member of the human family enters the world with a peculiar cerebral organization, which, according to the circum- stances in which he is placed, will be either repressed or stimu- lated. This science teaches that the organs of children exhibit a growth or development proportioned to the frequency or in- tensity with which they are called into action. From this signi- ficant fact, we are therefore to derive a very important lesson. It is easy to ascertain the leading propensities of a child and if the child is placed in circumstances calculated to stimulate thwm, the organs will acquire increased power for good or evil, and habits, which might have been foreseen and obviated, become in the course of time fixed and ineradicable. The duty of pa- rents is, therefore, to ascertain what is likely to be the character of the child, and repress his propensities by giving no opportu- nities to indulge them, and by devoting his time to other pur- poses, or diverting his mind to other pursuits. It is of the utmost importance for a teacher to know the bent of his pupil's mind, and by causing him to apply his mind betimes to the sphere in which nature intended he should excel, save a great quantity of time which, wanting that knowledge, is too frequently wasted. In all stations, it is useful knowledge, but chiefly so in selecting a partner for life; and by supplying a man with a guide to the formal ion of a prudent choice, enabling him to ensure for himself long enduring matrimonial happiness." At the close of the lecture, a debate took place upon the truth or error of phrenologic science. Mr. Stephens assailed it in a torrent of wit, satire, and logic, concluding with an elabo- rate expose of the present state of scientific opinion upon the matter to which Mr. Shellard replied in a very effective speech, replete with powerful arguments and displaying M intimate ac- quaintance with the best writers on phrenology. Mr. Shellard will deliver at the next meeting a lecture upon "Phrenology applied to Education." We are happy to find that the very spirited supporters of this society are making very rapid pro- gress, and charming very numerous and respectable audiences. B. C.D. CEFN BRYN MOUNTAIN AND ARTHUR'S STONE, GOWER. —Whilst at Swansea during the late Quarter Sessions, we were prevailed upon to accompany a few friends from England on a tour through certain districts of Gower; and among other places we visited Cefn Bryn Mountain and the far-famed Arthur's Stone. Our English friends seemed par- ticularly captivated with the magnificent view from the summit of the hill, and also with the district generally. Arthur's Stone attracted their deep attention for a considetable time; and as it is, unquestionably, an object of great curiosity, we give the give following description of it from a work pub- lished some yearg ago, which description will probably not be unacceptable :—" About ten miles west of Swansea, on the top of a mountain called Cefyn Bryn, in the district of Gower, is a Cromlech, known by the name of Arthur's Stone; most probably from the practice into which the common paople naturally fall, of connecting everything remarkable for its antiquity, the origin of which is obscure or unknown, with the most prominent character in some memorable period of their history.* Cefyn Bryn, in English—* the ridge of the moun- tain,' is a b01d eminence, called by Llwyd in his additions to Camden's Glamorganshire, the most noted hill in Gower' overlooking the Severn Sea, and upon the north-west point of this the cromlech stands. It is (ormed of a stone, is fourteen feet in length and seven feet two inches in depth, being mnch thicker, as supposed, than any similar remains in Wales. Generally speaking, its shape is irregular, but one side has been rendered flat and perpendicular by detaching large pieces to form mill stones. It has eight perpendicular supporters one of which, at the north-west end IS four feet ten inches in height, the entire, height of the structure is therefore eleven feet fottr inches. The supporting stones terminate in small points, on which the whole weight (which cannot be less than twenty five tons) of the cromlech rests. Some few otherstones stand under it apparently intended as supporters, but not now in actual contact. All the component stones are of a hard com • pact] apis molaris (mill stone) of wbich the substratum of the mountain is said to consist. Immediately under the cromlech is a spring of clear water, or 'holy well,' which has obtained the name in Welsh of Our Lady's Well;' a spring thus situated plainly shows that the monument is not sepulchral. The foun- tain and cromlech are surrounded by a heap of loose stones piled in an amphitheatrical form. As we know that the Druids consecrated groves, rocks, caves, lakes, and fountains, to their superstitions, there is little doubt but that Arthur's Stone was erected over one of their sacred springs; it afterwards became a place of Christian assembly for instruction and prayer; and as the adoration of the Virgin began, in the darker ages to vie with, if not altogether eclipse, that of the Saviour of Mankind, the fountain has obtained the name of 'Our Lady's Well.' Arthur's Stone is celebrated in the Welsh Triads, (which are notices of remarkable historical events and other matters conjoined in threes) as one of the stupendous works effected in Britaia; of which Stonehenge ia ¡illother, and Selbury Hill perhaps the tbird. In the Triads it is called the Stone of Sketty, from a place of that name in its neighbourhood, and 'like the works of the Stone of Sketty' has grown into a Welsh proverb to express under- takings of great difficulty. The people who elevated these tnormous masses have left us no written records of their own immediate limes, although their descendants were not slow in lighting their torch at the fiame of human learning. We gather what may be considered but obscure sketches of their customs from the contemporary poets and historians of more polished nations, yet they have scattered British soil with imperishable monuments of existence against which the stomas of two thousand years have wreaked their fury in vain. Though silent witnesses, the antiquary considers them as a link in the tangible records of human history, which connects us in some degree, with the postdiluvian times." In Anglesea, in the northern part of the isle, on the lands of Llugwy, is a s upeadous cromlech, of the hombordal form, called" Arthur s Quart." The greatest diagonal measures seventeen feet two inches, the lesser is fifteen feet, its thick- ness is three feet nine inches. It has several supporting stones, but is not more than two feet from the ground. In Llugwy Woods are several Druidical circles, nearly contiguous to each other.


iUbtcto of Booftg*


l&atlfo,™ iXottccs.

Great Eastern and Western…

Worcester and Leominster Railway,…

Great Gwentlraeth Vale and…


Stripping Eutciiigriirr. t…