Thursday, January 21, 2010

Civil War Phrenological Profiles #2 - "Stonewall" Jackson - "Honesty of Purpose"

Another profile of a Civil War personality from the pages of the American Phrenological Journal (July 1863) in my collection! This one for Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, and all the more fitting in that today is his birthdate!

Note first the "disclaimer" explaining why a Confederate general found his way into the pages of the Journal:

"From our high scientific stand-point we look upon the subjects of our delineations as individuals - as men or women with human organizations, and the propensities, faculties, and sentiments, high and low, common to the genus homo - and not as patriots or rebels, republicans or democrats; nor do we knowingly or willingly permit our wn political or religious preferences to bias our statements."

Perhaps. But as you will see at the end of their profile, the Journal did comment on the general's cause. Given the issue date, this was - of course - a posthumous profile as well:

"The name of 'Stonewall' Jackson is as widely known as the Great rebellion, in connections with which it will claim a place in history. Was he intrinsically and by virtue of his organization a great man, or did he owe his position and celebrity to circumstances merely? He was regarded by friend and foe as brave, generous, just, high-minded, and pre-eminently religious. Was he rightly esteemed in these particulars? It remains for us to set forth here his true character as indicated by his organization."

Phrenological examinations were best done in person, of course. The Journal then states that they did not use the engraving shown in its pages, but rather a "life-like portrait in our possession and a carte de visite portrait taken a short time before his death." From both they inferred:

"That his physique - his bodily organization- was excellent...a large and well-formed chest...lungs and heart were large, his circulation and respiration perfect, his digestion good, and all the vital functions in healthy activity...Not being addicted to dissipation, and being, we believe, strictly temperate in all things, his bodily as well as his mental power was always available for immediate application to the work on hand."

His digestion good?! How do you explain the lemons, then?!

"That his brain was large, fine in texture, and of excellent quality. There was 'no mud in it' and no 'dormancy' in any of its organs. His head was decidedly broad at its base in the region of Destructiveness and Combativeness...Constructiveness was large, as was Secretiveness...Cautiousness was only moderate; and it was deficiency of this organ, perhaps, that led to his premature death...Large Mirthfulness is seen in the fullness on each side of the upper part of the forehead, as well as in the upward curve of the corners of the mouth. giving a cheerful expression to the face..."

The Journal then comments on his fitness for command...

"In the chin we observe indications of strong desires restrained and controlled by an extraordinary will-power. He was remarkably self-willed, and determined; aqlways perfectly master of himself, and therefore fitted to command others."

...and concludes with an assessment of the course he took in fighting for the Confederacy:

"Veneration, Conscientiousness, Hope, and Spirituality were all large; and whatever may be said or thought of the soundness of his judgment or the correctness of his views on any particular subject, there can be no doubt of the religious tendencies of his mind, the puritanic strictness of his moral code, or his integrity and honesty of purpose. Far in the wrong as he was, he must, from his organization, have pursued the course that seemed to him right. His was a zeal and earnestness worthy of a better cause."

Previous profiles can be found here:

#1 - Abraham Lincoln

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