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"Never believe a man to be clever on the authority of any of his acquaintances. These reputed geniuses are very often blockheads."
"Those who are most ardently solicitous of obtaining praise, and make the greatest efforts to attain it, are generally less successful than those who give themselves no trouble about the matter. The latter often do unconsciously what procures this kind of incense; while the extreme care and anxiety of the former very often defeat the purpose they have in view,—so perversely do people refuse a man what he longs for, and give him what he is indifferent about."
"There are some persons whose wrath is felt to be formidable, and excites respect, even when grounded upon no rational provocation. There are others, in whom the display of this passion, though ever so justifiable, only gives rise to laughter, and is felt to be utterly ridiculous. Nor does this necessarily depend upon the appearance and physical strength of the individual,-for I have seen strong men whose anger, like that of a child, was matter of derision, and excited neither respect nor fear; while that of others, weak in body and insignificant in aspect, was at once acknowledged to impress the spectators with both feelings, and to inspire them with emotions of involuntary respect. All this depends upon the force of the individual's character. A dwarf with a great share of such energy may excite more respect than a giant who is destitute of it. Had Frederick the Great moved in ordinary life, the unimposing slightness of his appearance would not have stood in the way of making his resentments be powerfully felt. It is owing to such causes that there are some men whom people are indifferent about angering, and others whom they would not offend for almost any consideration."
"The most difficult thing in the world is to talk good nonsense. No person can do it but one of first-rate ability. The nonsense of a man of genius is better than other people's sense." "I never knew a person with a badly developed head who was a believer in Phrenology."
"Great power of mind, and great elegance of manners, are nearly incompatible. It is difficult for a man of genius to be an adept in the graces of the drawing-room. Powerful minds have an originality and intractability about them, which render it extremely difficult for them to fall into that ease and conventional politeness, which are considered to constitute the finished gentleman. The politeness of a man of genius is more that of nature than of art."
"It was a good remark of Swift's, that a man was too proud to be vain. Vanity and pride are the moral antipodes of each other: there is not the slightest affinity between them. A really
proud man has such a high opinion of himself, as to be indiffe rent about what others think of him: a vain man has such misgivings about himself, that he is constantly on the qui vive for approbation, and for ever doing what he conceives will procure it."
"Great linguists are, for the most part, great blockheads. I say nothing of Sir William Jones, the Admirable Crichton, and other exceptions to the rule; but, generally speaking, what I state holds true. To master a variety of languages, requires only one talent, and that by no means a high one, viz. a good verbal memory, which is sometimes possessed in great perfection even by simpletons and idiots. It is difficult for men of very strong and original minds to become good linguists; they are so much taken up with substantialities, that they think little about words. Res, non verba, quæso, is their motto. The knowledge of a number of languages does not communicate a single new idea; it only gives the power of expressing what you already know, in a variety of ways. I would rather,' as Spurzheim says, 'acquire one new idea than twenty ways of expressing an old one.' If men of great genius are occasionally formidable as linguists, they are so in spite of their genius, which rather stands in their way than assists them; and they would have been still greater linguists, if they had possessed their powerful verbal memory accompanied with less original talent." "If you hear a man pretending to be very stupid, depend upon it he thinks himself a very clever fellow."
"Persons with small, fine, compressed lips, have generally much sensitiveness of character, accompanied with great irritability, and a tendency to be finical and particular."
"Should you meet with a young man who is exceedingly sensible, and neither talks nor can relish nonsense, you may rely upon it he has no genius of any kind. If, in addition to his great load of sense, he is a theatrical critic, and bores the company about acting, actors, and such stuff, you may safely pronounce him a blockhead."
"Decision of character is often confounded with talent. This is particularly the case with the fair sex. A bold, masculine, ɛctive woman always gets the name of clever, although her intellect may be of an humble order, and her knowledge contemptible."
"Never judge of a man's honesty or talents by the certificates he produces. Such documents are just as likely-or rather much more so-to be false as true. The greatest knave can, at all times, obtain them in proof of his integrity; and any illiterate blockhead may, by their means, make himself appear one of the most learned and accomplished men of the age. No de
gree of knavery or stupidity is the least bar in the way of obtaining the most splendid and unqualified testimonials."
"The most obvious inferences often escape the observation of the most sensible men. Take the following as an example :Sir William Hamilton thought he had the phrenologists by the heels when he discovered that Voltaire, who despised religion, had a large organ of Veneration. This was absurd. Voltaire was a notorious free-thinker. He did not believe in Christianity, and consequently could not venerate it."
"One of the greatest mysteries is the expression of the human eye. It depends upon something beyond mere organization, for I have seen the eyes of two persons which in their structure and colour were, apparently, quite the same, and yet the ocular expression of each individual was perfectly different Some owe the expression of their countenance chiefly to the eyes, others to the mouth; nor is it, upon the whole, easy to say which feature is the most expressive. The intellect, I believe, is more especially communicated by the eyes, and the feelings by the mouth. I never knew a man of imaginative genius who had not fine eyes,"
"It has been the occasion of surprise to many, that Switzerland, the most romantic country in Europe, has never produced a poet. They imagine that the scenery should generate poetry in the minds of the inhabitants; but this is confounding the cause with the effect. It is not the scenery which makes the poet, but the mind of the poet which makes poetry of the scenery. Holland, perhaps the tamest district in the world, has produced some good poets; and our own immortal Milton was born and brought up amid the smoke of London. Spenser, the most fanciful of poets, was also a Cockney."
"In the modern education of children, too much time is devoted to the cultivation of the mind, and too little to that of the body. What is the consequence? The intellect, from such premature and excessive exertion, and the body, from an opposite cause--a want of exertion-are both injured. The mind should never be forced on, but allowed to acquire strength with the growth of the body; and the invigoration of the latter, above all, ought to be encouraged, as upon it depends most materially the future health of the individual. Education should be made a pastime with children, and not a task. The young mind, when forcibly exerted, becomes weakened, and a premature decay of its energies takes place. It is scandalous, as well as absurd, to see the manner in which children are confined several hours together within the walls of a school-house. Some parents declare that they cannot bear to see their offspring idle; but when a child is enjoying itself in the open air, and acquir
ing health, it cannot be said to be idle. With health comes strength of body, and with strength of body strength of mind.
"If you wish to impose upon stupid people, be very mysterious and unintelligible. The less you are understood, the more highly will you rise in their estimation. The great secret of the success of many popular preachers, consists in bamboozling their hearers. Sensible, intelligible preachers are seldom popular. This may be received as an uncontrovertible fact.”
"When a man is offended at being called a blockhead, it is a proof that he is so in reality. Clever men only laugh at being so denominated."
"There are some people upon whom it is impossible to affix a nickname: there is a propriety or force of mind about them, which repels the soubriquet, and makes it recoil with shame upon the contriver. There is an essential want about a man upon whom a nickname is easily fastened; he is either very weak, or has some very absurd point in his character.”
"If you see a man extremely and systematically grave, the chances are that he is a blockhead, who, conscious of his deficiencies, wishes to make his gravity pass for profound wisdom. None have less gravity than men of genius. They are not afraid to unbend and become playful and sportive, as is the case with the pompous and the stupid."
"Never praise or talk of your children to other people, for, depend upon it, no person except yourself cares a single farthing about them."
"Two servants who have much Combativeness and Self-esteem in their dispositions seldom agree together. A sharp colloquial fire, with a graceful touch of Billingsgate, may, in such a case, be expected between the parties. One servant, however, of this temperament, and one who is not, may not only live in the most perfect harmony, but come to like each other very much, the milder unconsciously giving way to, and acknowledging the supremacy of the stronger spirit."
"There is perhaps not an instance of a man of genius having had a dull woman for his mother, though many have had fathers stupid enough, in all conscience. Talent, therefore, is much more communicable to the offspring from the maternal side than from the other. If a man wishes to have clever children, this may perhaps serve him as an apology for marrying a woman of talent, should all other excuses be wanting."
"A story-teller, or dealer in anecdote, is an abomination that ought to be expelled from all well-regulated societies. A man of an original and truly powerful mind never deals in anecdotes, unless it be for the purpose of illustrating some general principle. Weak-minded people are all addicted to the vice. If a person of this description begins to annoy a company with his or her
twaddle, a good cure for it is to affect deafness-a very conve nient infirmity at times. Another is-as soon as he begins to tell a story, pretend that you have already heard, and are familiar with all its particulars. A dose or two of this is a sickener.”
"Cleverness imposes much more upon an ordinary person than talent. The former is a light, smart, manageable commodity, and can shew to advantage in a hundred situations, where the latter cannot be brought to bear. A clever man is smart, lively, talkative, and self-conceited: a man of talent is seldom either the one or the other. The former is more popular with the million, because his intellect approaches more nearly to the caliber of their own."
"The English have obtained the reputation of being the most suicidal nation in Europe. This is inaccurate : our neighbours, the French, are infinitely more addicted to the crime of self-murder. Let any one who doubts this visit the Morgue in Paris."
NECESSITY OF POPULAR EDUCATION, AS A NATIONAL OBJECT; WITH HINTS ON THE TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS, AND OBSERVATIONS ON HOMICIDAL INSANITY. BY JAMES SIMPSON, Advocate. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black; and Longman & Co. London. 1834. 12mo. pp. 402.
EDUCATION has for many years been a favourite study with Mr Simpson: it is a subject on which he has read, and thought, and written much; while, at the same time, as an active Director of the Edinburgh Infant School, and the father of a family, he has had ample opportunity of submitting his opinions to the ordeal of experience. It was Phrenology which first directed Mr Simpson's attention in a particular manner to education; and from that science have been derived this most important views. The present work is phrenological throughout; but the author has carefully refrained from alluding to Gall and Spurzheim, and from employing technical terms, in order that the phrenological notions might find their way without obstruction into quarters from which prejudice would otherwise have completely debarred them. He lays no claim to originality of thought, but only to the merit of arranging and putting together scattered materials previously in existence. "The reader," says he, "who is familiar with works on education, will scarcely discover in these pages a thought which in substance he has not met with before; but if he shall find known thoughts in combinations different from any in which he may hitherto have recognised them, and better adapted to the great end to which