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Mercantile men, in whom this organ predominates, occasionally conceal their circumstances, so that wife and children proceed in the unsuspecting enjoyment of imagined prosperity, till bankruptcy, like the explosion of a mine, involves them in instantaneous ruin. These individuals generally plead in excuse, a pretended regard to the feelings of their relatives: but the distrust implied in such conduct, is a greater injury to sensitive minds, than the evils they attempt to hide. The real sources of their conduct are an overweening Self-esteem, which cannot stoop to acknowledge misconduct or misfortune, and an inordinate Secretiveness, inspiring them with an instinctive aversion to candid and unreserved communication. A favourite maxim with such men, is, that secresy is the soul of trade. It is so, only in narrow minds misguided by this propensity.
Persons in whom this organ is large, and who believe that they really conceal their true character from the world, are much startled at the exposure which Phrenology is said to make of the dispositions of the mind, and they feel great difficulty in believing it practicable to compare genuine mental feelings with development of brain, because they imagine that real motives and dispositions are never exhibited in conduct. Such persons err, however, in their estimate even of their own powers of concealment; for, Secretiveness does not alter the aim, but affects only the means of obtaining gratification of our ordinary desires; and, besides, if disguise be really the forte of their character, Phrenology has the advantage of them still; for it exhibits the organ of Secretiveness large, and in their very concealment they will manifest most powerfully the faculty whose organ is most fully developed.
Innumerable abuses of this propensity occur in the ordinary intercourse of society. How polite, acquiescent, and deferential, are some persons in their manners to all who are present; and how severe in their vituperations, when the same individuals are gone! This conduct results from Secretiveness addressing itself to Love of Approbation in
others, and endeavouring to please them by professions of feigned respect. Many persons would not, for any consideration, mention a disagreeable truth to an acquaintance. This also arises from an abuse of the same faculty, combined with great Love of Approbation.
To Mr Scott is due the merit of throwing great light on the influence of Secretiveness in producing humour. The power of representing, with a face of perfect gravity, some ludicrous incident, is one species of humour. In this, the grave exterior, the command over the outward expression of the face, while the most ludicrous ideas are internally perceived, is just a species of slyness, and is clearly attributable to Secretiveness. This kind of humour also is absolutely addressed to Secretiveness in others. We, as spectators, see the internal absurdity through the external gravity, and this gratifies our Secretiveness, which likes to penetrate disguises assumed by others, as well as to disguise itself. Another species of humour consists in detecting and exposing little concealed purposes and intentions in our friends, and holding them up to view in all their nothingness, when they are mystifying or concealing them as matters of real importance. "The man of humour," says Mr SCOTT, " delights in detecting these little pieces of deception: and the ludicrous effect of this seems to arise from the incongruity which appears between the real and the assumed character, the contrast between what is intended to be apparent at the surface, and that which is seen to be at the bottom." It is proper to observe, however, that Secretiveness affords only the slyness, the savoir faire, together with the tact of detecting little concealed weaknesses implied in humour; and that the faculty of Wit is necessary, in addition, more or less, to produce ludicrous effect in the representation. Thus, a person with much Wit, and little Secretiveness, will not excel in humour, although he may shine in pure wit. A person, on the other hand, with much Secretiveness, and moderate Wit, may excel in humour, although, in intellectual witty combinations, he may make but an indifferent figure. It is
a curious fact, that the Italians and English, in whom Secretiveness is large, delight in humour, while the French, in whom the organ is moderate, can scarcely imagine what it is. In conformity with these differences in national development, the English and Italians practise a prudent reserve in their intercourse with strangers, while the French are open to excess, and communicate even their private affairs to casual acquaintances. The French also delight to live, and even to die, in public; while the Englishman shuts himself up in his house, which he denominates his castle, and debars all the world from observing his conduct. Other faculties contribute to these varieties of taste, but Secretiveness is an essential element in the relish for retirement.
I have uniformly found Secretiveness large in the heads of actors and artists, and, of these, I have been permitted to examine a considerable number. In the cast of Miss CLARA FISHER's head, it will be seen amply developed. The theory of its effects in aiding the former seems to be this: The actor must conceal or shade his real character, and put forth the natural language of an assumed one. Now, Secretiveness will enable him to suppress or withhold all the faculties which are not essential to the personage whom he, for the time, represents; while, by withdrawing its restraints from other faculties, it will allow them to manifest themselves with full energy. Thus, suppose an actor, in whom Benevolence and Conscientiousness are large, to be called on to play IAGO, a character in which selfishness and villany predominate, then Secretiveness will enable him to suppress the natural language of his own superior faculties, while, by withdrawing its influence from Combativeness, Destructiveness, and Self-Esteem, it will permit the most forcible expression of these in looks, tones and gestures; and this will be IAGO to the life. It aids the artist in a similar way. It is known, that a painter or sculptor, in working a figure, studies first the mental feelings which it is intended to pourtray, then goes to a
mirror, and produces the expression of them in his own person, and copies it in his picture or block of marble. In this process, he resembles an actor, and Secretiveness assists him in the manner before explained. In this analysis, I differ in one point from Mr SCOTT. He thinks that Secretiveness confers not only the negative power of suppressing the real character, but also the positive power of calling up, at will, the natural language of such faculties as we wish to exhibit for the time. Thus, some persons are able to load others with expressions of great esteem, attachment, and good will, when internally they hate them. Mr SCOTT conceives that Secretiveness enables such individuals not only to disguise their real enmity, but to call up for the occasion the natural language of Adhesiveness, Benevolence, Veneration, and Love of Approbation, and to use these as instruments of deception. This latter effect appears to me to depend on Imitation.
When Secretiveness and Cautiousness are both very large, there is a great tendency to extreme reserve, and even, when little knowledge of the world is possessed, to suspicion and terror of dark designs and sinister plots, hatching on every hand against the unhappy possessor of this combination. In general, these plots have no existence beyond the internal feelings produced by those faculties.
Secretiveness, with small Conscientiousness, predisposes to lying, and, combined with Acquisitiveness, to theft. Indeed, Secretiveness is more invariably large in thieves than Acquisitiveness; and it prompts to this crime, probably by the feeling of secrecy which it generates in the mind. It gives the idea that all is hidden, and that no eye sees, and no intellect will be able to trace the fraud. It produces also that capacity for sly cunning which is essential to a thief. An excellent elucidation, by Dr ANDREW Combe, of the effects of Secretiveness, as a constituent element in the character of a thief, will be found in the Phrenological Journal, vol. i. p. 611. The organ is large in DAVID Haggart, and in a variety of executed thieves, whose casts have been
obtained. It is large, also, in JOHN GIBSON, a boy who manifested very extraordinary powers of deception at eight years of age. His case is reported at full length, by Mr DAVID BRIDGES junior, in the Phrenological Transactions, vol. i. p. 289. On 3d December 1823, I visited in Edinburgh jail, JOHN REID, a lad of sixteen, under sentence of death (but subsequently respited), for housebreaking and theft. His head was uncommonly large for his years, and the organ of Secretiveness, in particular, was enormously developed. Acquisitiveness also was large, and Conscientiousness deficient. The Reverend Mr PORTEOUS, chaplain to the jail, mentioned, that REID's power of concealing his thoughts and feelings was most extraordinary, and that daring and secrecy were manifested in his crime, in a degree that was almost inconceivable. He had mounted on the shoulders of an accomplice to the second storey of a dwelling-house, entered by a window, and, although persons slept in the bed-rooms of that floor, and the lamp in the lobby was burning, he proceeded down stairs, reached the dining-room, robbed the side-board of plate, and got clear off without being heard.
Another effect of great Secretiveness, especially when aided by much Firmness, is to produce the power of repressing, to an indefinite extent, all outward expression of pain, even when amounting to positive torture. ANN ROSS (whose case is reported by Mr RICHARD CARMICHAEL of Dublin *), with a view to excite the compassion of some pious and charitable ladies, thrust needles into her arm to produce disease, and carried the deception so far as to allow her arm to be amputated without revealing the cause. The needles were found on dissection, and she was more mortified by the discovery of the trick, than afflicted by the loss of her arm. She manifested the same faculty in a variety of other deceptions. I examined her head, and
Phren. Journ. No. v.