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“Friend of man--of God, the servant;
Advocate of truths divine;
Was thy worship at her shrine !"-PIERPONT.
John Gasper Spurzheim was born on the 31st of December, 1776, at Longuich, a small village on the river Moselle, a branch of the Rhine, and within the bounds of the Prussian empire. His father was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and appears to have been a man of considerable standing in society, though little is known respecting his character, or that of the family. Young Spurzheim acquired the first rudiments of Latin and Greek in his own native village, and afterwards obtained a thorough collegiate education at the University of Treves, where he matriculated in 1791, in the fifteenth year of his age. Being destined by his parents to the clerical profession, he entered upon the study of divinity and philosophy, of both of which branches he became a profound master.
While Spurzheim was pursuing his studies at Treves, the southern parts of Germany and Prussia were invaded by the republican armies of France, and many of the inhabitants were compelled to flee their native country. Spurzheim retired to Vienna, the capital of Austria, where he was received into the family of Count Spangen, who entrusted to him the education of his sons. At that time, Dr. Gall was a settled physician in Vienna, and had under his charge many of the hospitals, and other public institutions requiring medical superintendence. His own house was also open to every one who desired any information respecting his new discoveries. He delivered his first private course of lectures in 1796, but it does not appear
that Spurzheim attended his lectures till near the close of the year 1799. In the mean time, he had made considerable advancement in medical studies, and, by some means with which we are not made acquainted, he became interested in Dr. Gall's discoveries. occurred in the twenty.third or fourth year of his age. As Gall's time was greatly occupied in his professional duties, he employed a student, by the name of Niclas, to make his dissections ; but the anatomical investigations of this individual were conducted so much in accordance with the old school of anatomy, and with such mere mechanical views, that they proved entirely unsatisfactory. During this period, Spurzheim was a regular attendant on the lectures of Dr. Gall, and had become well acquainted with his views on the anatomy and functions of the brain. He was soon associated with Gall as his assistant, and took special charge of the anatomical department; and in their public and private demonstrations, he always made the dissections, and Gall explained them to the students. Spurzheim afterwards made many discoveries in the anatomy of the brain, as well as other important improvements, to which Dr. Gall was greatly indebted for his success.
In the year 1802, Dr. Gall was prohibited from delivering lectures on this subject, by an edict from the Austrian government. He remained in Vienna, however, three years after this prohibition, remonstrating with the officers of government, and his friends interceding in his behalf; but all their efforts proved unavailing, and Dr. Gall, seeing that there was no longer any prospect of propagating his new discoveries in Austria, determined to leave the empire. Accordingly, in the year 1805, on the 6th of March, says Dr. Spurzheim, “we left Vienna for Berlin, where we repeated our anatomical demonstrations in the presence of the medical professors and numerous auditors. Outlines of our anatomical and physiological propositions were published during that spring by Professor Bischoff. From Berlin we went to Potsdam, then to Leipsic, where Dr. Knoblanch published an account of our doctrines of the brain. Then the usual demonstrations and lectures were delivered in Dresden, where Mr. Blode published outlines of our anatomical and phy. siological views. From Dresden we went to Hallé, where Professors Reil and Loder, and numerous gentlemen of the profession, honoured us with their presence at the public lectures and demonstrations. We then continued to lecture and demonstrate the brain, that very same year, in Weimar, Jena, Gotringen, Brownschweig, Hamburgh, Kiel, and Copenhagen. In the year 1806, anatomical demonstrations were made in Bremen, Munster in Westphalia, Amsterdam, Leyden, Frankfort, Heidelberg, Manheim, Stuttgard, and Friborgh.