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ables, which we possess. But philosophers, pitying the credu
, lity of the vulgar, resolve to have no faith but what is founded on reason. They apply to philosophy to furnish them with reason for the belief of those things which all mankind have believed without being able to give any reason for it. And surely one would expect that, in matters of such importance, the proof would not be difficult: but it is the most difficult thing in the world; for these three men-Descartes, Malebranche, and Locke wwith the best good will, bave not been able, from all the treasures of philosophy, to draw one argument that is fit to convince a man that can reason, of the existence of any one thing without him. Admired philosophy !_daughter of light! -parent of wisdom and knowledge ! Lif thou art she, surely thou hast not yet arisen upon the human mind, nor blessed us with more of thy rays than are sufficient to shed a visible upon the human faculties, and to disturb that and serenity which happier mortals-enjoy, who never approached thine altar, nor felt thine influence. But if indeed thou hast not power to dispel those clouds and phantoms which thou hast discovered or created, withdraw this pernicious and malignant ray-I despise philosophy, and renounce its guidance ; let my soul dwell with common sense.' These are no doubt severe expressions of reproof from one of the most eminent inquirers into the nature of mind in modern times, but they are obviously no less just than severe. Professor Dugald Stewart has admitted with the Abbé de Bonald that diversity of doctrine has increased from age to age, with the numbers of masters, and with the progress of knowledge ; and Europe, which at present possesses libraries filled with philosophical works, and which reckons up almost as many philosophers as writers, poor in the midst of so much riches, and uncertain with the aid of all its guides, which road it should follow-Europe, the centre and focus of all the lights of the world, has yet its PHILOSOPHY only in expectation.
After thus giving his opinion as to the value of the labours of the metaphysicians, and alluding with approbation to the recent works of Dr Abercrombie, the author proceeds to notice “the extraordinary exertions which for the last few years have been made by the phrenologists, whose system of mind, laying the question of its physiological origin and alleged foundation en tirely aside, has perhaps better claims to notice than many who are repelled by the startling question as to that origin may be aware of.” A short account of the rise and progress of Phrenology is then given, and a high eulogium is pronounced on Mr Combe's Treatise on the Constitution of Man. The author observes, that, " as if disposed to compensate the credulity which their ancestors displayed respecting alcheniy and astrology, the public bave been perhaps too eager to condemn a science which, though at first sight one of the same order, never yet has made any pre tensions that were not based on observation of facts patent to the senses. So much we can say in a spirit of fairness, without having ourselves so much acquaintance with the organological, part of the science as to say whether it is to be believed or not. Since the publication of Mr Combe's Essay, which has been understood and practically applied by multitudes without regard to particular localities in the brain, the case has evidently been much altered. Phrenology may now be taken into consideration, not as a means of vaticinating upon the characters of men by an inspection of their heads, but as a scheme of the mental constitution ; in short, a system of metaphysics, and, consequently, of morals. Considered in this light, it appears to us to have, in the first place, the important quality of intelligibility, which no other system altogether has. It seems for the first time to make plainthe perplexing mixture of tendencies, feelings, and powers, which has heretofore rendered man such a riddle to himself, This it does by, rigidly traeing the powers of mind to their primitive funetions, and reducing then to a kind of demoeratic level, allowing each an agency independent of the rest, but which may be exerted in company with others; and dividing the whole into three great classes-propensities, moral sentiments, and intellectual faculties."
Finally, the writer concludes by quoting at full length from Mr Simpson's work on Popular Education, the account there given of the powers of the human mind; and Phrenology is thus made to occupy three-eighths of the whole sheet.
We cannot refrain from here expressing our bigh estimate of the bold and independent spirit which has induced Messrs Chambers to publish their favourable opinion of doctrines so generally hooted at by persons who find it more easy to ridicule than to investigate. Not having studied the physiological department of Phrenology, they, with characteristie good sense, offer no opinion regarding itsvalidity. A tree, however, is known by its fruit. If the metaphysical superstructure of Phrenology be so excellent, it is difficult to escape from the conclusion that the physiology on which it is based cannot be unsound.
MR J. L. LEVISON. SINCE the publication of our last number, the following communication has been received from Mr Levison :
« LEEDS, Dec. 10. 1834. “ TO THE EDITOR OF THE EDINBURGH PHRENOLOGICAL JOURNAL. * Sir-I shall not trouble you with any further remarks on am,
the injustice of the review of my work on Mental Culture, or your comment on my last letter in your Journal, but shall request you to insert all the misstated facts and doctrines which you have promised to do, should I wish it: that I am not taxing your courtesy too much, I refer you to the last number of your Journal, page 187, where you say, — From delicacy to Mr Levison, no details were originally entered into regarding the mistakes and inaccuracies, and, from the same motive, they re still withheld. Should Mr Levison, however, request' us to
. publish them, this shall be instantly done." I shall, therefore, expect to see a list of the mistakes, &c., in the next Journal . I &c.
, In compliance with Mr Levison's request, we shall now exbibit, at some length, the grounds on which we said that, in his book, “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. ?' 11---lj.si
Speaking of the mode in which the activity of Acquisitiveness may be allayed, Mr Levison says:-"İt would be advisable to treat a covetous child in the following manner ; viz., never to excite the tendency, but always to praise generous and disinterested acts; and thus, if we cannot eradicate the feeling, we have it in our power to give it a better and more salutary direction. Induce the little being to desire the acquisition of knowledge, by initiating it in some department of natural history, for instance; you may gratify the feeling without any demoralization, and thus a propensity, otherwise tending to vice, may be rendered a means of instruction and intellectual advantage, acting in concert with the moral and reflective qualities of the mind, and exercising a salutary influence on the character.” — (P. 137.)
We refrain from inquiring to what extent the moral and reflective faculties are called into action by the study of natural history; and shall simply express our surprise that the word Acquisitiveness should have so far misled Mr Levison, as to make him believe that this propensity is gratified by the acquisition of knowledge. The function of Acquisitiveness, as correctly stated by Dr Spurzheim (to whose authority Mr Levison bows), is merely to give a desire for every sort of property", (Phrenology, 3d edit. p. 171); and, in the words of the same phrenologist, it is the intellectual faculties alone “ which procure to man or animals any kind of knowledge."-(Id.
“ We are told,” says Mr Levison on pp. 80, 31, “ that Pizarro, with a few Spaniards, conquered the kingdom of Montezuma; and it is a fact that the crania of the Peruvians have
bativeness small, whilst in the heads of the
Spaniards it is large. This phrenological test is further established by a similar comparison between the heads of the Mexicans and their conquerors. There are many Mexican and Peruvian skulls (Aborigines) in the excellent museum of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society. On the other hand, we find
of the natives who inhabit some of the Malacca Islands (the Caribbean Indians, for example) are notorious for their brutal courage, and their skulls form a striking contrast to those of the Lascars and Hindloos, both which people are proverbial for their timidity and cowardice.”
In this short paragraph are comprised several inaccuracies of which any writer ought to be ashamed. In the first place, It was not the kingdom of Montezuma (in other words, Mexico,) but that of Atahualpa (namely Peru), which was conquered by Pizarro. Secondly, No phrenological comparison has ever been made between the heads of the Mexicans and those of the Spaniards—there being in the museum of the Phrenological Society, instead of “ many” Mexican skulls, not one. And, thirdly, The geographical statement made by Mr Levison is very erroneous; for the Caribbean Indians do not inhabit “ some of the Malacca Islands,” but the Caribbee Islands in the West Indies, and the northern part of South America. Where, we take leave to ask, are “ the Malacca Islands ?" In the East Indies there is a peninsula called Malacca ; but as for the “ Islands,” their position on the face of the globe is not very apparent.
On page 35, Mr Levison affirms that the Hindoos have “ Benevolence large." Unless he is able to invalidate the evidence given to the contrary by Dr George Murray Paterson, * who made very extensive observations in India, and to annul the testimony afforded by about forty Hindoo skulls in the Phrenological Society's museum, we are entitled to say that his statement is not borne out by facts.
Such expressions as “ the size of the venerative faculty" * (p. 55); " This organ is situated laterally on each side of the last mentioned faculty” (p. 88); and, “ It should be remembered that the brain, composed of these diversified faculties," &c. (p. 109)—are unphilosophical and absurd; for faculties have neither size nor place, and it is of organs, not faculties, that the brain is composed. These absurdities were, we doubt not, uttered through mere carelessness; but such carelessness is very injurious' in a philosophical work. The whole book, it may be mentioned, bears obvious marks of negligence and haste; the reason of which may be partly found in a fact stated by Mr Levison in the Berkshire Chronicle, viz. that it “ was composed
• Transactions of the Phrenological Society, pp. 437, 438. VOL. IX. NO. XLII.
after his professional hours, and that in a very few months.” Respect for the public ought to have induced him to bestow more of the labor lima on an elementary treatise like this, where accuracy is of greater importance than in works intended for the advanced student.
“ When the head is very small,” he says on p. 20, “ (but accompanied with the nervous temperament), there is great general activity, but, at the same time, we feel that there is a mental feebleness. On the contrary, if the head be very large, then, with the same temperament, there is a corresponding superiority: the individual is impressively profound, driving all before him by the strength and energy of his genius, sometimes like a hurricane carrying desolation whenever he appears, or, as the glorious sun, enlightening and blessing mankind with the rays emanating from his moral and intellectual attributes : such a man was the great Lord Chatham.” Now, these last effects occur only when the organs of the moral sentiments and intellect are large, which either may or may not be the case in a very large head.
Mr Levison's statement, therefore, is too unqualified, and gives countenance to an error very prevalent among persons ignorant of phrenology—that a large and active brain, of whatever form, is, according to the cultivators of our science, always accompanied by genius. That Mr Levison meant otherwise, there can be little doubt; but the inaccuracy of his statement is certainly“ a fault which it is the duty of every writer on controverted subjects like phrenology to avoid with peculiar care."
Speaking of Combativeness, he says (p. 31):—“ In the well organized individual it is a feeling of great importance, infusing a moral courage which fits the possessor for the noblest acts, and urges him to make, if necessary, a sacrifice of personal ease, and even of life, in the cause of truth and virtue, from a stern sense of duty." Here is an obvious misapprehension. Combativeness no doubt gives the courage which enables men to act according to the dictates of higher powers, but it “ urges" no sacrifice whatever.
On Constructiveness, according to Mr Levison, “ depend all our powers of contrivance" (p. 43). The truth is, that the intellectual faculties are the contriving powers, and that Constructiveness merely gives the manual dexterity necessary
for carrying their contrivances into execution.
“ It guides,” says Dr Spurzheim,“ the practical part of construction, but does not determine the objects to be constructed." (Manual of Phrenology.) There are persons who, though excellent contrivers, are (as in a case mentioned on p. 207 of our present number,) obliged to employ other men to construct what they plan; and, on the other hand, many good constructers are almost, or even wholly, destitute of the power of contrivance.