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complexity of its organisation, and with our entire ignorance of the design and purposes of that organisation. This is more strikingly the case in examining the brain than in contemplating the other parts of the human frame. The ear and the eye also are subtly formed, but the principles of acoustics and vision are become objects of science-demonstrable science-which furnish us with a clue in examining the organs of sight and hearing. The organs of digestion, nutrition, &c. are also more simple, and have a reference to less complicated processes.

It is in the brain particularly that the physiologist follows the anatomist humbly at a distance, and for want of certain data and experience, is forced to indulge in general observation and vague analogy. At the same time, all who are really interested in the


of science, and who make liberal allowance for the imperfection of knowledge, gratefully receive the facts which the anatomist inakes known, even when there is no prospect of an immediately useful application of them. And they also indulgently listen to the speculations of the theoretical physiologist, in the conviction that it is only by the freest use of speculating and thinking powers, that the understanding can be disciplined to adjust and


appreciate the facts brought before it. In the formation of science, the observation of individual fact, and the theory of general notions, setting out from opposite quarters, tend to the same point; and it is by their union that science itself is established.

Thus, for instance, in respect to the brain and its functions, which form the object of this work : it is in general universally understood to be the organ of thinking. But thinking is only a general term, including a vast variety of intellectual phænomena, and the brain is, as we have seen, a very complicated organ. Shall we then rest contented with the general assertion, that the brain is the organ

of mind ? or shall we not rather, looking more narrowly into the structure of the brain, consider, apart, in their relation to mind, those of its parts which are anatomically shewn to be distinct, in the same manner as the brain, considered as one simple substance, has formerly been contemplated ? We shall perhaps find that this more minute research is but a reasonable pursuit of the enquiry suggested by the first general observation. It is this which constitutes the subject of the following pages. Dr. Gall professes to have made this enquiry, and to have found that we ought not to content ourselves with con


sidering the brain as the organ of thought, but as à congeries of distinct organs, the existence of which alone renders that great variety and diversity of talents possible, which distinguish the various individuals of the same species hardly less strikingly from each other, than man himself is distinguished from every other species of beings we know.

But before we enter into this enquiry it may


proper to notice an opinion that has of late years become popular, concerning the causes of that infinite diversity of intellectual power and moral character, which prevail in the world, which would, if established, render an examination into the physical organisation of man frivolous and useless. Helvetius has given currency to the notion, that men are born not only without character, but also absolutely indifferent to all character, without any tendency or disposition of any kind whatever. We all come into the world formed and disposed alike, and are purely the creatures of the circumstances in which we are placed. All the powers of the mind which have adorned but a few of our species, might (in spight of any thing corrtained in the first frame and organisation of the individual) have been the lot of every one of the thousands who daily come into


and go out of the world, without leaving any other traces behind them, than in their progeny.

This notion has been adopted by certain speculative men, from its imagined connection with the dogmata of materialism * and philosophical necessity : and in this country in particular, from its harmonising with the Hartleyan theory of association. But this notion could never gain credit with men in general; and for a reason stronger than all reasoning: We feel within us so decided a capacity for certain pursuits, and so utter a disability to follow others, that when we are told it might have been otherwise had we been otherwise placed in the world, the argument makes little impression ; and we think we have done enough by asking, How can you tell that? And in truth, the objection implied in the question is well founded. It is in vain that Helvetius tells stories upon

• It deserves remark, that the doctrine of Helvetius, though in fact it has been patronised by materialists, is much more easily reconcileable with the immaterial hypotheses. For we are more accustomed to think the soul, the immamaterial substance, to be simple and undivisable, than matter, which we know only as a compound substance. · And one would have imagined that materialists would have rather attributed to an original diversity of material organization, , the actual varieties in the character of men. This observation was made to me by a German friend; I am not aware that it has occurred to any of our English writers.


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stories (and they in fact alone have made his book popular) of a boy who used to be left alone in a room with a great clock, and afterwards became a great mechanic, &c. &c. The celebrated reply of Themistocles to his envious adversary, who ascribed his greatness alone to his being an Athenian, is a sufficient answer to all such tales. “ I should not have been great if I had not been an Athenian, nor would you, were you an Athenian, have become Themistocles." The argument of Helvetius proves nothing, and avails nothing, against the consciousness of unequal powers, added to the daily observation of the early display of decided talents. Mozart, when he was in his fourth year, was already an excellent performer, as well as accurate judge of music. Besides, Helvetius qualifies his assertion by a bien organisé (well organised), and this qualification renders the whole doctrine frivolous and insignificant. For why should we suppose this organisation to be susceptible of no other modification than a well, why not a very well, ill, very ill, &c. This opinion has been adopted by persons very averse from speculating metaphysically concerning man. John

for instance, (whom I quote here because he was not a man of science, though of great shrewdness in observation) considered Talents,


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