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Extra resources for Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Transcendentalist Years, 1838-39
Emerson, as an accomplished scholar, an agreeable and entertaining lecturer, a highminded and honorable man, a free and independent spirit, willing to utter himself, and be himself, and not another. We reverence his honesty, his independence, his boldness. In this respect we shall always be ready to enroll ourselves among his friends, and to the best of 3 our ability defend his character. But when it concerns Mr. Emerson’s peculiar religious and philosophical views, it is quite another affair. We are not always sure that we understand him, and when we feel confident that we do catch his 1 [Ed.
See also Chapter 19 in this volume, p. 423. Introduction 37 former George Combe (1788-1858). Spurzheim had come to the United States to spread the phrenological word, and in fact died in Boston on a lecture circuit. Combe had published a number of texts which were read in the United States, and in 1837 and 1838 he lectured in Boston and elsewhere in the United States. Brownson had read some of Combe’s works and had attended his Boston lectures on phrenology. Gall had proposed that the skull’s configuration was a good indicator of individual character traits, and intellectual and moral capacities.
60 In January of 1838 Brownson’s friend Bancroft had become the leader of the Massachusetts Democratic party, and in 1839 the left wing was able to elect Marcus Morton (1784-1864) governor of Massachusetts. That wing had made some significant advances in Massachusetts but they had lost ground in New York. And, from Brownson’s perspective, there was a bit of confusion in the current political scene because some conservative Democrats had supported Whig ideas while some Whigs were toting democratic slogans.