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A society was organized in this city, in 1835, styled the “New-York Academy of Sacred Music,' of which the Rev. Dr. SPRING is President, and Mr. Thomas Hastings and Mr. ABNER JONES, Professors. It has not, however, as we have reason to fear, been conducted in such a manner as to insure extensive benefits. Yet we cannot but hope that the well-known and commendable zeal of the denomination to whose patronage it is entitled, will be exerted to place it upon a right basis, and render it what its name purports -- a nursery for sacred music.
We are glad to learn, from a circular lately issued, that another institution, called the ‘New-York Protestant Episcopal Church Music Society,' has been formed, which, it is earnestly to be hoped, may accomplish something creditable to the church under whose auspices the society proposes to go forward, in carrying out its designs. We notice among its officers the names of the Rev. Drs. HAWKS, ANTHON, Rev. J. F. SHROEDER, and B. M. Brown, and C. H. ROACH, Esqrs., — names which are a sufficient guaranty, that the operations of the society will be conducted with judgment and energy, should that patronage be extended which is solicited in their circular.
Secular music has attained to a high degree of perfection. It asks and it receives a liberal patronage — for the public love music; and genius brings its offering, and talent lends its aid, and skill exerts its power, in that department only where genius, and talent, and skill, meet their deserved reward.
The institutions last named are devoted to the interests of sacred music, exclusively. Their efforts are to be directed to the reclaiming of church music from the merited disgrace into which, through neglect alone, it has fallen. We shall see whether the Christian community will sustain them.
The New-York Sacred Music Society' is the senior institution of the city. Its objects are distinct from those above named, and confined to the oratorial department. In that way it has effected much for the cause. Many excellent entertainments have been given, and they have been well attended. An opportunity has thus been afforded to those who might have refused their countenance elsewhere, to hear the best professional talent, both vocal and instrumental, which could be procured. It may be questioned whether such a course has not tended to repress the efforts of talent among its members, and to create in the public a taste somewhat too fastidious; although it must be granted, that fine specimens of execution have occasionally been exhibited. The chorus singers belonging to the society are numerous; but they should be better trained, as the instruments are compelled to lead — a fault which is sure to prevail, where vocal instruction is not especially attended to.
Allefforts for musical culture and entertainment, however, are greatly impeded in this city, by the want of a Music Hall, suited to all the purposes of instruction, practice, and exhibition.
The ‘Handel and Haydn Society' of the · Town of Boston,' find in Faneuil Hall, a spacious and elegant room, suited to the grand scale of its operations; and the spirited and energetic government of “The Boston Academy of Music' have in the 'Odeon'the capacity of a theatre for their accommodation, fitted up in a style which
displays much taste, and great liberality. The consequences of such efforts are, to draw together talenied and eíficient professors, who, through their pupils, and by their publications, are exerting an influence over the musical taste of the whole nation, enriching themselves and the establishments with which they are connected, by the sale of more than three-fourths of all the music-books now used in the United States. If this be doubted, let the reader look at the imprint of the music books in the market.
But the Hall — the Hall! Will not the citizens of this great metropolis sustain such an enterprise ? Who would not be proud to point the distinguished stranger from the old world, to an edifice such as should grace the first city of the new world, and say, 'That is the Musical College of New York ? Were such a Hall provided, and proper facilities afforded for instruction in those departments of the art which are acknowledged to be useful, the moral benefits would soon be found to far outweigh the required expenditure, and the ultimate results would exceed all calculation. *
* It is known to the writer of this article, that a gentleman of enlarged philanthrophy planned such an enterprise, and opened a negotiation a few months since, which, had it been successful, would have secured all that is wished. It was necessarily broken off, but it has not yet passed the possibility of accomplishment, should it be demanded by the public.
A LETTER FROM Doctor BRIGHAM TO DAVID M. REESE, M. D., Author of 'Phrenology Known by its Fruits.' pp. 24.
The author of ' Phrenology Known by its Fruits' is exhibited, by this Letter of Dr. BRIGHAM, in a most humiliating and ridiculous aspect. By copious extracts from his work, and from the book it professes to review, he is convicted of gross professional mistakes; of using language which would disgrace a political libeller; of altering and mutilating sentences he professes to quote, so as entirely to pervert their original meaning; of ascribing to Dr. Brigham passages which are quotations in his work, and are marked as such; and even of inserting as extracts from his book, sentences and sentiments, the substance of which, cither in meaning or language, is not to be found in that volume. Dr. Brigham asserts, and so far as we have examined, he proves, that every one of Dr. Reese's charges against his work, is based upon some palpable misstatement of his recorded opinions, or misquotation of his words. The' Fruits of Phrenology' was evidently intended by its author for circulation among those who would probably never see the work it affects to refute. The misquotations are too glaring, to be accounted for on any other theory. And no doubt the author's end will in a measure be attained, since his book will be read by many who may never see the work it pretends to discuss, nor the modest vindication contained in this Letter; and the charges of ignorance,'' stupidity,''infidelity,'' heresy,' and 'falsehood,' so rudely made, will pass unrefuted. So far at least, however, as the twenty or thirty thousand readers of this Magazine are concerned, it is our intention to obviate this result.
The pamphlet before us is written with such condensation as to render it difficult to make any satisfactory abstract. Dr. Brigham, in his former work, examined the influence of religious rites upon the physical condition of mankind, in all ages and in all countries. Among these, he discussed the fanatical proceedings of some Christian sects, in former times and at the present day; taking care to avow his belief in the 'divine origin' of Christianity-in its 'inconceivable beauty and philanthropy;' and averring that it alone' was sufficient for man's salvation. These expressions, though there are many others of similar import, were sufficiently explicit, in a treatise not theological, but purely medical. Dr. Reese endeavors to create the impression that Dr. Brigham treated only of the Christian religion, in its purest forms, and charged to its legitimate influence the horrid rites of human sacrifices, mutilations, etc. These enormities,' says Dr. Brigham, in reply, “I never thought of attributing to true religion, and your motives for attempting to make your readers suppose I have done so, I leave you to explain.'
Dr. Reese's book is entitled, 'Phrenology Known by its Fruits ;' and these fruits, as contained in the work of Dr. Brigham, are said to be infidelity,''falsehood,' stupidity,' and 'an assault upon medical truth.' The Letter before us contains a summary of the peculiar doctrines of phrenology, as given by Professor Dunglinson, in his Physiology, and conclusively shows, that not one of those doctrines is contained in his book. On the contrary, he adds, that he has never been a full believer in phrenology;' that observation has compelled him to believe in the plurality of the intellectual faculties, and of the organs of the brain by which they are exhibited ; but that he has had neither time nor opportunity to verify the other doctrines of this science, though he confesses, in the words of Dr. Abernethy, his inability to offer any rational objections to Gall and Spurzheim's system of phrenology, as affording a satisfactory explanation of the nature of human actions. It is evident, therefore, that the conclusions of Dr. Brigham are not the ‘Fruits of Phronology,' whatever else they may be. Indeed, Dr. Reese's knowledge of that science is rendered very questionable, by sundry absurd mistakes in his allusions to it. For instance, he asserts that Dr. Gall
located the organ of memory in the eyes! and that all phrenologists agree in attributing the faculty of speech, and the power of articulating sounds, to the eyes! These are mistakes which would hardly be made by any one of common reading, much less by a physician and a 'phrenologist !"
It was remarked by Dr. Brigham, tható excitement of the mind increases the action of the brain.' It might be supposed that no respectable physiologist or metaphysician could entertain a doubt of the truth of this proposition. Not so Dr. Reese. He expends a considerable portion of his work in denouncing it — particularly the "action of the brain.' He calls it 'a dogma of phrenology,' 'an imp of phrenology,' a fiction of phrenological theory,''anatomically and physiologically false,''a visionary fable,'' a physical impossibility,' and a'metaphysical absurdity! The Letter under notice very cooly refutes these polite denunciations, by pointing out a similar use of the same phraseology, by a host of the best medical writers; by the illustrious Cabanis, by Vicq-d'Azyr, Richerand, Prichard, and Magendi; by Drs. Rush, Jackson, and Dunglinson, in this country, as well as by the best medical journals in Europe and America. After thus adducing the authority of nearly all the standard writers on physiology, he adds another - a very poor one, he admits — namely, Dr. Reese himself!---and then leaves him in the dilemma of choosing 'between ignorance of the best writers in his profession, or intentional misstatement.'
Several pages of the Letter are chiefly filled with examples of sentences, either mis. quoted, or so altered as entirely to change their meaning. The mangled paragraphs are marked as quotations of Dr. Brigham's own words. We shall extract but two or three examples. They are of so gross a character, that their exposure may be a warning against other similar attempts.
The following sentence is marked as a quotation from Dr. Brigham's book, and is denounced with great asperity. When a barbarian abolishes, of his own accord, polygamy, the mutilation of the body, castes, slavery, tyranny, and fanaticism, these absurdities once gone, the barbarian becomes a Christian ! The nearest parallel sen. tence in Dr. Brigham's book is as follows: 'No sooner does its (the Gospel's) morality enter into the hearts of barbarians, than they abolish, of their own accord, polygamy, the mutilation of the body, the usage of castes, slavery, tyranny, which is the contempt of man, and funaticism, which is the ignorance of God. These abominations once gone, what stands before the heathen idols, in the individual? What but a Christian ? And this sentence, the reader must furthermore be told, is a quotation by Dr. Brigham from a work of Aimè-Martin, which is spoken of by the Foreign Quarterly Review, as a 'production which teems with morality and real religion!'
Doctor Brigham cited from an article of Esquirol, in ‘Le Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicaies,' the following passage: 'When Christianity appeared, it directed the minds of men to the unity of God — silenced the Oracles, by enlightening men, and consecrated and extended the opinion of Plato and Socrates, as to the existence of