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What I said concerning the Constitution of Man, were inerely reiterations of the statements of others; and, therefore, if I have unwittingly done an injustice to Mr Combe, I am very sorry for it. Dr Spurzheiin complained to me himself, and afterwards said to me, (in a letter which I still retain,) “ that Mr Combe still insisted on publishing on the Natural Laws,” &c. Nevertheless, I have myself always preferred the Constitution of Man to the Natural Laws, believing the former to be more generally useful, the diction and style being most popular, and most likely to obtain converts. The same might be said of Mr Simpson's “ Necessity for Popular Education," when compared with other works on Phrenology. But does this concession alter the truth that, in both these instances, the Phrenology of Gull and Spurzheim, and the philosophical deductions of the latter, are just as much used by these authors, and with the same latitude, as I have done in my work on Mental Culture ? An honest and impartial judge could not pronounce a different opinion.
My reviewer charges me with giving Spurzbeim's ideas, particularly in the practical part of the work. This is indeed a a greater compliment than he intended it should be, and a higher panegyric on Phrenology than he contemplated ! for I had never read either Spurzheim's Education or his Philosophical Principles, although I attended bis lectures, wherein he treats on both these subjects. Let me not be misunderstood. In studying Phrenology, I adopted the plan of reading men and their actions, (after I made myself acquainted with its philosophy,) and when I proposed writing on Education, I purposely avoided reading works upon the subject, believing, as I did then and do now, that as Phrenology furnishes true data for a system of mental philosophy, by applying its principles, either analytically or systematically, no one could err. My work was delayed more than a year after it was sent to the press, owing to my professional engagements, and many domestic calamities; and it was not until after it had been nearly printed, that I read works on education. I subsequently read Rousseau's Emile, &c., Helvetius, Mrs Moore, &c. &c., and was often surprised, that in these works I found many of the ideas which I had prized most had been already published by these authors.
In the reply of my reviewer in the Berkshire Chronicle, he endeavoured to substantiate the charges of misstating facts, &c., by saying " that Pizarro did not conquer Montezuma, and that the Phrenological Society had not a single Mexican skull," and similar specimens of hypercriticism ; and for these venial errors he would have allowed the phrenological public to believe that I purposely mutilated truth, and had given garbled and vitiated principles for phrenological doctrines. Again, this candid scribe
is quite unmerciful, because I said, when speaking of the brain, that it had diversified faculties, instead of saying diversified organs, &c. This may suit the dignified precision of a reviewer who splits hairs, but it does not invalidate the practical importance of the views I have advocated. One thing I have to thank this gentleman for,—that he has exculpated Messrs Combe and Simpson, and has said that the former never said or wrote concerning me but in kindness. It is a great error to be betrayed into anger, and this I have been guilty of; but in my cooler moments I have always felt gratitude to Mr Combe for his kind and epistolary communications ; and Dr Arnot assured me that Mr Simpson spoke of me with great kindness. To both gentlemen I owe, then, my best thanks; but if either of them had to alter or modify articles which appear in the Journal, I might have expected that they would have rendered me something more like justice than I experienced from the pen of the reviewerk. Allow me to ask, Sir, as an honourable judge, to whom I submit my cause, that supposing the reviewer's charges against me to be proved, that I have given Spurzheim's ideas, without rendering to him what was his due, in what have I dif fered from Mr Simpson? May not both of us have been actuated by the same motives?, May we not have been both induced to render Phrenology more in accordance with popular, language? And if in my case there is moral delinquency, surely the samel rod should castigate both. In my Mental Culture I acknowledge the importance of Pbrenology, and assert that no correct system of education can be generally acted apon, until its metaphysical views of man are universally adopted ; and the whole tenot of the work is an attempt to demonstrate these assertions. In Mr Simpson's work, which I read with pleasure, Phrenology is only incidentally mentioned in connexion with the Constitution of Man, although this gentleman bas given the whole of the philosophy of the mental faculties. It is most true that he has said, “the reader who is familiar with works on education, will scarcely discover a thought which in substance he has not met before," &c., yet this is not rendering into Cæsar what is Cæsar's due. For most ideas have been given or expressed in some form by others, could we become acquainted with the thoughts of men when contemplating subjects we may be treating of ; and the recent writer can only represent them in new
I very much regret, after what has occurred, that I did not publish, as I had proposed, an historical preface, because in it I had done ample justice to Gall and Spurzhe and all subsequent writers. friend who read the MS. said, “Why so publish the history of your data, when you ask the public to admit them without proof, &c. ;” and he added, “ If you still persist in doing so, the causual person will think the work a treatise on Phrenology, and will feel no interest in perusing it.” As a witness to this statement, I may appeal to my respected friend Urquhart of Liverpool, to whom I shewed the article when in that town in December last.
phases. If we have a correct knowledge of psychology, and we can comprehend the number of the mental faculties and their relative importance, the means of training these faculties seems to nie not a work of great labour.
But let me ask, who can trace any particular idea to the source from whence it has been derived, as nearly all our knowledge arises from the productions and experiences of others, which we mentally assimilate, (like the food we digest, and which in time forms part of our body,) so, ultimately, other persons' ideas form part and parcel of our mental constitution ? On this obvious truism I would rest my whole defence, and ask, what is the moral difference, then, between other writers on Pbrenology and myself? All I have written in all probability I owe to reading and conversation, and a habit of observing passing events, and therefore it is unjust to state that I have taken the mental property of others to adorn myself, and allow another writer to have done actually the same thing, and that he should enjoy an impunity, because he has the saving clause, the merely saying, most probably these ideas may have been met with in other works. Any impartial man will give me credit in reading my work, that in no instance does it appear that I have attempted to foist upon the public views which are only adopted ; he will recognise that my great object had been to render obvious the advantages of Phrenology. That this is no mere illusion of an excited Selfesteem, I may appeal to the talented members of the Manchester and Liverpool Phrenological Societies, (and I am sure they are well acquainted with all the phrenological works); and yet the latter society made me an honorary member, “ having proved the cui bono of the science,” &c. If the principle upon which I am so unjustly attacked be admitted, there is not a recent writer that would escape. Even Gall may be charged with receiving his first ideas of the true physiology of the brain from Herder's “ History of a Philosophy of Man." Herder makes many interesting observations, which might be strictly called phrenological* And Spurzheim may be charged with borrowing largely from the same source, and from Helvetius, Rousseau, and Volney, and from the writings of the Jewish philosopher, Mendlesohn ! But who would dare to charge these philosophers (Gall and Spurzheim) with wilful plagiarism ?
“I must apologise for the length of this article ; but, in conclusion, must request that the whole of it may be inserted in the
I will just trouble you with a single instance, it is as follows: “Great Parent Nature, with what trifles hast thou connected the fate of the human species ! With a change in the form of the head and brain, with a little alteration in the structure of the nerves and the organization, effected by climate, descent, and habit, the fate of the world, the whole sum of what mankind do and suffer throughout the earth, is also changed."- l'ide Herder on the Phi. losophy of a llistory of Man.
Journal, for I would not have any thing like a mere selection. In case it should be withheld, I shall deem the Journal as partial as it will prove itself unjust; and however repugnant to my feelings, shall he obliged to have recourse to some other channel for doing myself justice.--I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
J. L. LEVISON. P.S.-Having removed from London to this town was the cause of my not seeing the reply in the Berkshire Chronicle until a few days since, having sent for one after having read the notice in the September number of your Journal.
The foregoing communication, which we have no inducement to withhold, compels us, at the risk of being egotistical, to offer a few remarks.
On commencing the perusal of Mr Levison's book, we had the full expectation of thereby adding to our knowledge on the subject of education, or at least of finding previous ideas set in a new and striking light; and we had no doubt of discovering in it grounds for publishing—what it was our sincere wish to publish—a favourable opinion of its merits. We were, however, considerably disappointed ; and, though unwilling to cause uneasiness to Mr Levison, of course could not, consistently with that spirit of honesty and independence in which we have always endeavoured to act, bestow much commendation on his work. Accordingly, we spoke of it in the following terms—the mildest we felt ourselves authorised to employ :-“ Mr Levison's style is neither so accurate nor so precise as we should have liked to see it, and it is rather deficient in method; but the work exhibits not a few indications of good feeling and philanthropy, and contains some useful practical suggestions. Want of space prevents us from giving any thing like an analysis of its contents; but this is the less to be regretted, as the author's ideas seem, in many instances, borrowed from Dr Spurzheim. We can merely extract a few of the more instructive passages. We regret our inability to speak favourably of the phrenological portion of Mr Levison's treatise. It is far from being calculated to convey accurate notions concerning the mental faculties, or the evidence on which Phrenology rests. Facts as well as doctrines are occasionally misstated; a fault which it is the duty of every writer on controverted subjects like Phrenology to avoid with peculiar care.” (No. 40, pp. 647–649.)
These sentences were so unpleasant to Mr Levison, that, as mentioned in our last number, he published, in the Berkshire Chronicle of 14th June 1834, a hasty attack on the Edinburgh phrenologists in general; to this we replied in the same paper on 12th July, and also in our 41st number; and, finally, the pre
sent communication from Mr Levison has been elicited. We have marked in italics the two clauses which he has made the subject of animadversion.
With regard to the first of these, we would ask, what is the obvious meaning expressed by it? Simply, that as our readers were already acquainted with Dr Spurzheiin's views on education, from having either read his own work or the analysis of it given in this Journal, they had little cause to regret the want of an abstract of Mr Levison's book, in which the same ideas are expressed in an inferior manner. This is the sense in which the words were intended to be understood, and we humbly think they will bear no other interpretation.” Such being the statement of our meaning given in the 41st Number of this Journal, Mr Levison acts inconsiderately in persisting to argue on the assumption that we accused him of 's moral delinquency” and “ wilful plagiarism.” » We merely stated as a fact, that “ bis ideas seein, in many instances, borrowed from Dr Spurzheim ;" and that many of them are so borrowed, he fully admits, not only in the Berkshire Chronicle, but also in his present letter. In the former he says : -«With gratitude I confess, that my first clear notions upon mental philosophy and education, were obtained by attending the lectures of Spurzheim, and from viva voce communications with him.' When a man is charged with repeating the ideas he has received from the master 'he affectionately respected and honoured, it would be rather creditable to him than otherwise, particularly if he regarded the views as containing important truths.
A thirst for originality rather indicates the approbative man than one of great profundity of thought, there being often greater merit in illustrating subjects, and shewing them in new phases, than in furnishing fine shewy speculations. This is a most explicit admission of the whole amount of our averment, and, moreover, expresses sentiments in which we entirely concur. Thus, as we have never doubted the “obvious truism" on which Mr Levison “ rests his whole defence,” it is clear that, in the greater portion of his letter, he is fighting with a phantom which has no existence but in his own imagination.
The second ground of complaint is the averment, that “ facts as well as doctrines are occasionally misstated.” In using these words, our whole meaning was, that Mr Levison occasionally erred in his statement of phrenological doctrines and relative facts; but it never occurred to us either to suppose or to say that he had “ purposely mutilated truth,” nor did we cast the slightest " imputation on his moral character.” We have always believed that Mr Levison intended to give an accurate representation of facts and doctrines; and if our words have conveyed to any reader a different impression, we sincerely regret it. From