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Our correspondent does not allude to the method of teaching by monitors, which is the grand distinctive feature of Dr Bell's system, and which we believe to have been strictly invented by him, not borrowed from the Hindoos.
HANWELL LUNATIC Asylum.-In our last number, we copied from the Athenæum an account of a visit to this Asylum by a scientific gentleman in England, in which reference was niade to a description of the same establishment in Tait's Magazine, by Miss H. Martineau. Having ourselves visited Han. well, we intended to have then offered some remarks of our own, but want of time prevented us. We now refer to the subject for the purpose of adding, that while Miss Martineau does no more than justice to Hanwell, she underrates the advance made in other asylums throughout the country, and speaks of them as if they were all in the same dreary and prison-like condi. tion in which they existed twenty or thirty years ago. This is so far unjust, that some have complained of the injury done them. Generally speaking, an immense improvement has taken place. We pointed out the error at the time to some of Miss Martineau's friends, and had determined to correct it, but it was somehow overlooked. We know one instance, however, of a public establishment, to which even the worst of her censure was then far from being inapplicable.
A FIELD FOR PHRENOLOGISTS IN SWITZERLAND._“ At the site of the cemetery of Zug is a Golgotha, where are thousands of skulls piled upon one another, each with a label bearing the name of the owner. What a field this for the Phrenologist! And with such advantages, what a blaze of light would be thrown upon the science by the establishment of a Phrenological Society at Zug!"- Switzerland, fc. in 1830, by Derwent Conway, vol. i. p. 49. (The foregoing statement is not perfectly accurate ; for comparatively few of ihe skulls have labels on them.)
ORGAN OF FORM.—The following paragraph, which bears to be extracted from the Chester Courant, fell several months ago under our notice. If the case be authentic, it deserves the attention of the Liverpool phrenologists. Supposing the brain to be healthy, the manifestations are those of a large organ of Form.—“ The celebrated child, Wm. Manual, who is able, at the age of 34 years, to read with fluency either Welsh or English placed before him in the usual or in an inverted position, on Monday was brought to our oflice, by his father, who is a miner from Holywell, and with much ease read passages from books in four different positions; but he appears to prefer reading upside down. His father stated that his attention was first attracted by the reading of this singularly gifted child when only two years of age, and he has continued to make progress to the present period without any particular instruction, not having been at school a single day. He is a fine child, the picture of good health. During the past week he has been examined by the Bishop of the diocese and most of the gentry in the neighbourhood, who have all expressed their astonishment and pleasure. It is sometimes with difficulty he is persuaded to read, as he takes great delight in running about : but when his reluctance is overcome he appears to read with great avidity." See an an. alogous case in our 34th number, vol. viii. p. 65.
Reviews of Abbot's “ Teacher" and Mr Dean's “ Lectures on Phrenology,” with several other articles intended for this number, are unavoidably postponed. - We have not yet succeeded in adapting Mr Hun's excellent essay for publication in our not exclusively medical Journal.—The letter of a “ Phrenologist" in Paris, relative to Dr Foissac's article on General Lamarque in the fifth number of the Journal of the Phrenological Society of that city, would not be intelligible to any but those who have read the article alluded to. The writer thinks that the Doctor “ha; shewn too much nationality and party spirit," and that “some parts of the General's lite are far from favourable to Conscientivusness.". -We have in types a notice of “Chambers's Informa. tion for the People, No. 45,” where Phrenology is treated with great candour ; also a short article about Rammohun Roy.
EDINBURGII, 1st December 183 1.
REASONS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE FUNCTION ATTRI.
BUTED TO A FACULTY FOR MECHANICAL RESISTANCE,
(TO THE EDITO
TOR.) Sir,--Ten years ago I attempted a speculation upon the fundamental function of the faculty for mechanical Resistance, or, as it was then, and frequently still is, called, Weight; and three years thereafter was led to resume it, in consequence of the light thrown upon it by a then recent physiological discovery. Occasional short papers have appeared in the Phrenological Journal, with facts and illustrations, contributed from different quarters, confirmatory of the same views; so that the doctrine has been noticed in seven of the nine volumes which the work has reached.* I am now induced to revert to the subject, from a conviction that I have arrived at clearer views, with regard to both the function and its material instruments, than at either period alluded to I had attained. If truth shall be traced out with regard to this element of mind, Phrenology will have held the torch and explored the path ; and really, at least beneficially, discovered a power, although essential to animal existence, previously all but unsuspected and unknown. A few words on the successive steps of this inquiry are here called for.
Vol. ii. pages 297, 412, 645 ; iii. 211, 451 ; iv. 266, 314; v. 222; vi. 134, 343; vii. 106,
VOL. IX.NO. XLIII.
In the year 1811, Dr Thomas Brown, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, taught to his students the doctrine, that Resistance is a sensation, not cognised by the sense of touch, but having a specific sense, of which the entire muscular frame is the external organ.*
Dr Spurzheim in his “ Physiognomical System,” published in 1815, comes, so far, to the same conclusion, viz. that Resistance is not cognised by Touch ; but differs from Dr Brown in so far as he denies that its cognition is the result of an external sense, and refers it to an internal faculty. I beg it may be kept in mind that both philosophers, however they differ as to the nature of the power cognising, consider the thing cognised as ResistANCE. The use of such a power is partially and incidentally hinted at by both writers, as necessary for the guidance of our muscular frame, but by neither in a manner suitable to the extent and importance of the subject.t
I was accidentally led to think on the subject of the use, in the economy of nature, of a power for the cognition of Resistance, or Weight, by the occurrence of two very trivial incidents to be afterwards mentioned ; and on 15th April 1824, read to the Phrenological Society in Edinburgh, and subsequently to that of London, a paper entitled, “ Some reasons for concluding that the cerebral convolution hitherto called the organ of Weight, is the organ of that instinctive perception of equilibrium and the mechanical relations of matter, which is essential to the exertion of animal power." The speculation, with its accompanying illustrations, excited among phrenologists something like the interest of a discovery. It was at once felt that we must have a power or instinct by which we place our bodies in accordance with the laws of gravitation and mechanical resistance in general; that without such a faculty no animal could stand, walk, fly, or swim ; that in man, the same faculty is the foundation of mechanical skill, from the rudest use of tools up to the highest effort of the engineer and the mechanician ; that there is an appe
; tite or necessity for equilibrium, or that due balance of resistance and counter-resistance which is essential to the ease and comfort of every animal ; and that, even without relation to his own body, man is offended with any violation of mechanical equilibrium which he sees in external nature. It was im
• Dr Brown's Lectures, vol. i. page 496, published in 1820. + There is every reason to conclude that the doctrine of the cognition of Resistance being the function of a specific power, was an original thought in both philosophers. Although Dr Brown propounded it in his lectures in 1811, these lectures were not published till 1820; hence, Dr Spurzheim was not likely to have known of his views till five years after his own publication. The agreement between them being only partial, is an additional proof that the views of the one did not influence those of the other.
#Phrenological Journal, vol. ii. p. 412.
mediately seen and acknowledged by phrenologists that these views had an application as extensive as important; and that, as it was expressed by Mr Combe in his Letter to Mr Jeffrey, they “ added a chapter of some importance to the philosophy of Mind.” I endeavoured to confirm the conclusion that there exists a power to cognise and preserve equilibrium, by adducing some interesting instances of the suspension of it by disease. Miss S. L. for example, in a singular affection, experienced giddiness, believed floors and ceilings to have changed their horizontal for an inclined position, and felt the sensation of being lifted up, and of falling down, and forwards, “ as if she had been tipsy." Mr John Hunter, the great anatomist, when attacked by a particular affection, felt as if he had drunk too much; as if suspended in the air, whirled round with great rapidity, and sinking down : he also saw perpendiculars inclined, and did not receive from his own feelings information respecting bis centre of gravity.” The celebrated Opium-eater, among other dreadful feelings which resulted from his miserable habit, “ seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically, but literal. ly to descend, in chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which," says he, “it seemed hopeless that I could ever reascend; nor did I, by waking, feel that I had reascended.”
At first my attention was called to the power in question as an internal faculty exclusively, and I concluded that it must be indicated by a corresponding cerebral organ. This organ had been conjectured by Dr Spurzheim to be the convolution of brain lying upon the orbitar plate between the organs of size and Colouring. The paper above alluded to adduced a great number of instances of eminent mechanicians in whoru that convolution is remarkable for its development, and of persons noted for skill in those arts and accomplishments—as billiards, bowls, archery, &c. —which imply a fine perception of mechanical relations. The organ was held by Dr Spurzheim to be conjectural only; but from the confirmatory observations of a number of phrenologists, it was about this time promoted into the grade of probable, and is so classed in the third edition of Mr Combe's System of Phrenology. Yet, though thus cautiously rated in the books, there can be no doubt that it has for some years been practically believed to be the organ of mechanical perception, with as much assurance as its neighbours on both sides have been trusted to for indicating their respective knowing faculties. The instances are too numerous to be noticed, in which talented engineers and mechanicians have been, at a glance, pointed out even by persons of moderate practice in organology, from the large and particularly easily observed development of this part of the brain. Deficiency has likewise been noticed ; though this, to be striking, is rare. Very large development is much more common than very
but a medium fulness is chiefly observable,-and there is a reason for this. An endowment under average in this power would be
. attended not only with suffering, but with danger : the sensibility to disturbed equilibrium must be acute, and the muscular response prompt and instantaneous, otherwise fatal accidents would often be the consequence. An individual may have a weak perception of some other qualities, such as colour, yet live in safety, and even not discover his defect ; but there is something to do in obedience to the calls of equilibrium, and an instant's delay may sometimes be fatal to life. In short, like the sense of sight, it is too important a faculty to admit of prevalent deficiency. Deficiencies are, however, sometimes observed. A very intelligible and valuable instance was furnished to the Phrenolo gical Journal by Mr Levison of Hull.* He observed in the forehead of a gentleman, with whom he travelled in a stagecoach, so great a depression at the organ of Weight, that the spot, according to Mr Levison, resembled a valley, bounded on one side by the high ground of Size, and on the other by the acclivity of Colouring; and the contrast gave a curious expression to the eyebrows, which were otherwise extremely fine. Mr Levison very judiciously resolved not to question the stranger directly, but to watch his manifestations. He had a large organ of Individuality, and manifested it in the extent of his knowledge and the accuracy of his observative power. “When we had nearly reached Grimsby, he expressed great regret that the rest of the journey to Hull must, per force, take place in a steam packet. My dislike, he said, does not spring from any sensation of fear; but I experience, when on the water, a kind of dizziness and nausea, very like that felt in intoxication ; I seem as if I could not balance myself.” Presuming this case to have been accurately observed, I consider it as one of the most pointed confirmations of the organ, of the many which have come to my knowledge. I may add, that Miss S. L. had acute pain in the spot where the organ exists, when the perplexing symptoms of its disease were experienced by her. ." I have anachronised a little in regard to the history of the organ, that I may dismiss it, and proceed unembarrassed with the faculty. Of the organ, I shall at present say no more than humbly to suggest, that, in respect of its claims being quite as good as those of its neighbours Colouring and Size, it may now be held to be very probable, if not established.
Dr Thomas Brown's doctrine, that the power in question is an external sense, had not attracted the particular attention of phrenologists : not themselves arrived at a discriminate knowsedge of the function of the power, they viewed Dr Brown's sense, and Dr Spurzheim's internal faculty, as only different expressions
• Vol. vi. p. 134.