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Page 21. Organ of Prudence or Circumspection ...... 122 22. Loftiness co...
...... 124 23. Rhetorical Acuteness
127 24. Metaphysical Subtlety..
128 25. Wit
.......... 132 REMARKS BY DR. HUFELAND....
* The mark of Interrogation on the plate (?) denotes the seat of an organ, the function of which Dr. Gall has not yet ascertained.
It is a circunstance not very honourable to the state of science and literature in this country, that the recent discoveries, or prerended discoveries of a distinguished physician abroad, concerning the structure of the brain, as the receptacle of distinct organs of mind, and the form of tha skull, as the basis of a new science o physiognomy; should haye become an object of satire, before they have been fairly made a subject of examination. This new notion (for it does not pretend to be a system) of Craniology and Cranioscopy has become a theme of ridicule, and yet scarcely any thing has appeared in the English language on the subject, but some short essays in magazines, translated from German newspapers; which translated articles were written more in the stile of Mr. Bays's Comedy to " strike and astonish" than to convey a correct notion to
the anatomist or physician. That men of judgement should be inclined to smile at such accounts, is not to be wondered at; but we may regret, that they should be so ready to judge on such reports. - It is true, the judge can decide only from the evidence before him, but he ought to know when the evidence is closed, and not preclude future enquiry by a premature decision.
I have seen a different conduct pursued on the continent, where the doctrine originated. I saw no want of laughers there, and certainly more opponents than favourers of the
I heard Gall deliver his lectures before an audience prejudiced against him, whom he offended rather than conciliated, by a coarse bluntness of manners, impatience of contradiction, and an unnecessary attack upon
certain favorite metaphysical notions, which have but a very distant relation to purely physical doctrines : yet. Gall was listened to patiently and respectfully. : I found that men of the very highest distinction in general literature and science were curious to follow him in his discussions. I perceived that professional men of eminence were , divided in opinion concerning the merit of his pretended discoveries in anatomy; and that same allowed of the worth of his anatomical disquisitions, who would not admit of his theory of distinct organs. But I seldom heard the hard words and contemptuous epithets which have been so abundantly used in this country where so little is known. And amid the zealous opposition which he has had to encounter, his honesty and fairness as a reporter of facts within his practice and experience, have never been called in question : and from acquaintances (professional men) who have known in him Vienna, I hear that his practice is very large, and that he possesses the general esteem as a man and a physician.
Why then have the first reports of his doctrine been so unfavorably received here? This is doubtless owing, in a great measure, to the want of judgment in those reports themselves ; but I fear also, much may be imputed to the spirit of nationality. Gall is a German, and we are Englishmen. Now I have observed that my worthy countrymen entertain a general presumption, that whatever is produced, either in the severe sciences, or elegant arts, on the continent, is unworthy our notice; I say presumption; I do not accuse my compatriots of being blind to established facts; where is the Englishman, for instance, who would deny that Italy has pro
duced greater painters, and Germany greater musicians than ourselves ? But I impute to them a somewhat too strong persuasion a priori of their own deserts, and of the demerits of their neighbours : hence a disinclination to attend to evidence, and a slowness in receiving foreign improvements. In some departments of knowledge, which respect rather the luxuries than the necessaries of intellectual life; speculative philosophy, for instance, this may not be very injurious; but there are other walks of science, in which this obstinate inattention may occasionally become a serious evil.
That this is likely to be the case in respect to our author, I am by no means disposed to affirm. I am neither the admirer nor the partisan, nor even the judge of Gall : and have been induced to make this REPORT concerning his doctrine ; rather from a sense of the indirect advantages which may arise from it, than from an high esteem for the doctrine as Gall leaves it.
There is one point of view from which it is impossible to contemplate the new theory with indifference. It presents a new field for experiment and observation. It furnishes materials for discovery, which the anatomist and physician have always in their hands.