WATSON, Hewett. 12806

£150

Description

A long Autograph Letter Signed [to Thomas Twining], discussing the subject of education, suggesting he study the reports of schools “giving a good, sound, real education to the children of the working classes”, considering the format of a questionnaire, the importance of connecting words with ideas while teaching, the power of speech, the importance of pronunciation, and much else. 7 pp. 7 x 4½ inches, fine. Thames Ditton, 28 January, no year given. Uncommon. Hewett Cottrell Watson (1804–81), phrenologist, botanist and evolutionary theorist. Watson edited the Phrenological Journal from 1837 to 1840 and the London Catalogue of British Plants from 1844 to 1874. Watson showed a remarkable command of the scientific questions of the day, including the importance of statistical methods in scientific enquiry, the asymmetric lateralisation of brain function and the transmutation of species (evolutionary theory). In 1836, he published a paper in the Phrenological Journal entitled What is the Use of the Double Brain ? in which he speculated about the differential development of the two human cerebral hemispheres. This was eight years before Arthur Ladbroke Wigan published his influential The Duality of Mind (1844). Watson was unusual among the phrenologists in explicitly disavowing phrenology in later life. In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin made generous acknowledgement of Watson as a vitally important source of scientific information and, in turn, on the publication of On the Origin of Species, Watson was one of the first to write to Darwin – on 21 November 1859 – congratulating him on his extraordinary achievement.