composed of parts appropriated to the exercise of muscular energy, or the manifestation of animal propensities, its possessor may be far inferior in understanding or sagacity to another animal, having a smaller brain, but composed chiefly of parts destined to manifest intellectual power*. Whales and elephants have a brain larger than that of man, and yet their sagacity is not equal to his; but nobody pretends that the parts destined to manifest intellect are larger, in proportion to the convolutions intended to manifest propensity, in these animals than in man; and hence the superior intelligence of the human species is no departure from the general analogy of nature.

In like manner, the brains of the monkey and dog are smaller than those of the ox, ass, and hog, and yet the former approach nearer to man in regard to their intellectual faculties. To apply the principles of Phrenology to them, it would be necessary to discover what parts manifest intellect, and what propensity, in each species; and then to compare the power of manifesting each faculty with the size of its appropriate organ. If size were found not to be a measure of power, then, in that species, the rule under discussion would fail; but even this would not authorise us to conclude that it did not hold good in regard to man; for human Phrenology is founded, not on analogy, but on positive observations. Some persons are pleased to affirm, that the brains of the lower animals consist of the same parts as the human brain, only on a smaller scale; but this is highly erroneous. If the student will procure brains of the sheep, dog, fox, calf, horse, or hog, and compare them with the human brain, or the casts of it sold in the shops, he will find a variety of parts, especially in the convolutions which form the organs of the moral sentiments and the reflecting faculties, wanting in the animals.

In commencing the study of Phrenology, it is of great importance to have a definite object in view. If the stu

• SPURZHEIM'S Physiognomical System, chap. 4.

dent desire to find the truth, he will consider first the general principles, developed in the introduction, and the presumptions for and against them, arising from admitted facts in mental Philosophy and Physiology. He will next proceed to make observations in nature, qualifying himself by previous instruction in the forms, situations, appearances, and functions of the organs.

The circumstances which modify the effects of size, are constitution, health, and exercise; and the student ought never to omit the consideration of these, for they are highly important. The first and second have already been considered on pages 32, 33, and 34, to which I beg leave to refer. In addition to what is there stated, I observe that the temperaments rarely occur simple in any individual, two or more being generally combined. The bilious and nervous is a common combination, which gives strength and activity; the lymphatic and nervous is also common, and produces sensitive delicacy of mental constitution, conjoined with indolence. The nervous and sanguine combined give extreme vivacity, but without corresponding vigour. Dr THOMAS of Paris has published a theory of the temperaments to the following effect. When the digestive organs filling the abdominal cavity are large, and the lungs and brain small, the individual is lymphatic; he is fond of feeding, and averse to mental and muscular exertion. When the heart and lungs are large, and the brain and abdomen small, the individual is sanguine; blood abounds and is propelled with vigour: he is therefore fond of muscular exercise, but averse to thought. thought. When the brain is large, and the abdominal and thoracic viscera small, great mental energy is the consequence. These proportions may be combined in great varieties, and modified results will ensue.

In some individuals the brain seems to be of a finer texture than in others; and there is then a delicacy and fineness of manifestation, which is one ingredient in genius. A harmonious combination of organs gives justness and

soundness of perception, but there is a quality of fineness distinguishable from this. BYRON possessed this quality in a high degree.

If, in each of two individuals, the organs of propensity, sentiment, and intellect, are equally balanced, the general conduct of one may be vicious, and that of another moral and religious. But the question here is not one of power, for as much energy may be displayed in vice as in virtue, but it is one of direction merely. Now, in cases where an equal development of all the organs exists, direction depends on external influences, and no phrenologist pretends to tell to what objects the faculties have been directed, by merely observing the size of the organs.

Suppose that two individuals possess an organization exactly similar, but that one is highly educated, and the other left entirely to the impulses of nature; the former will manifest his faculties with higher power than the latter; and hence it is argued, that size is not in all cases a measure of energy.

Here, however, the requisite of cæteris paribus does not hold. An important condition is altered, and the phrenologist uniformly allows for the effects of education, before drawing positive conclusions *. It may be supposed, that, if exercise thus increases power, it is impossible to draw the line of distinction between energy derived from this cause, and that which proceeds from size in the organs, and hence that the real effects of size can never be determined. The answer to this objection is, that education may cause the faculties to manifest themselves with the highest degree of energy which the size of the organs will permit, but that size fixes a limit which education cannot surpass. DENNIS, we may presume, received some improvement from education, but it did not render him equal to POPE, much less to SHAKSPEARE or MILTON: therefore, if we take two individuals whose brains are equally healthy, but whose organs differ in size, and educate them

Phrenological Transactions, p. 308.


alike, the advantages in power and attainment will be greatest in the direct ratio of the size, in favour of the largest brain. Thus the objection ends in this,that if we compare brains in opposite conditions, we may be led into error-which is granted; but this is not in opposition to the doctrine that, cæteris paribus, size determines power. Finally extreme deficiency in size produces incapacity for education, as in idiots; while extreme development, if healthy, as in SHAKSPEARE, BURNS, MOZART, anticipates its effects, in so far that the individuals educate themselves.

In saying, then, that, cæteris paribus, size is a measure of power, phrenologists demand no concessions which are not made to physiologists in general; among whom, in this instance, they rank themselves.

There is a great distinction between power and activity of mind; and, as size in the organs is an indication of the former only, it is proper to keep this difference in view. In physics, power is quite distinguishable from activity. The balance-wheel of a watch moves with much rapidity; but so slight is its impetus, that a hair would suffice to stop it; the beam of a steam-engine traverses slowly and ponderously through space, but its power is prodigiously great.

In muscular action, these qualities are recognized with equal facility as different. The greyhound bounds over hill and dale with animated agility; but a slight obstacle would counterbalance his momentum, and arrest his progress. The elephant, on the other hand, rolls slowly and heavily along; but the impetus of his motion would sweep away an impediment sufficient to resist fifty greyhounds at the summit of their speed.

In mental manifestations (considered apart from organization) the distinction between power and activity is equally palpable. On the stage, Mrs SIDDONS senior and Mr John Kemble were remarkable for the solemn deliberation of their manner, both in declamation and action, and

yet they were splendidly gifted in power. They carried captive at once the sympathies and understanding of the audience, and made every man feel his faculties expanding, and his whole mind becoming greater under the influence of their energies. This was a display of power. Other performers, again, are remarkable for vivacity of action and elocution, who, nevertheless, are felt to be feeble and ineffective in rousing an audience to emotion. Activity is their distinguishing attribute, with an absence of power. At the bar, in the pulpit, and in the senate, the same distinction prevails. Many members of the learned professions display great felicity of illustration, and fluency of elocution, surprising us with the quickness of their parts, who, nevertheless, are felt to be neither impressive nor profound. They possess acuteness without power, and ingenuity without comprehensiveness and depth of understanding. This also proceeds from activity with little vigour. There are other public speakers, again, who open heavily in debate, their faculties acting slowly, but deeply, like the first heave of a mountain-wave. Their words fall like minute-guns upon the ear, and to the superficial they appear about to terminate ere they have begun their efforts. But even their first accent is one of power, it rouses and arrests attention; their very pauses are expressive, and indicate gathering energy to be embodied in the sentence that is to come. When fairly animated, they are impetuous as the torrent, brilliant as the lightning's beam, and overwhelm and take possession of feebler minds, impressing them irresistibly with a feeling of gigantic power.

ACTIVITY means the rapidity with which the faculties may be manifested. The largest organs in each head have the greatest, and the smallest the least, tendency to natural activity.

The temperaments also indicate activity. The nervous is the most active, next the sanguine, then the bilious, while the lymphatic is characterized by inactivity.

In a lymphatic brain, great size may be present, and few

« VorigeDoorgaan »