the "hoarding appetite. Man," says his Lordship, "is by nature a hoarding animal, having an appetite for storing up things of use; and the sense of property is bestowed on men for securing what they thus store up

He adds,

that "the appetite for property, in its nature a great blessing, degenerates into a great curse, when it transgresses the bounds of moderation."

The observer of the passion of avarice in real life, is not satisfied with the theories of Mr STEWART and Dr BROWN. Dr KING, in the Political and Literary Anecdotes of his own time, remarks, that an avaricious man" is born and framed to a sordid love of money, which first appears when he is very young, grows up with him, and increases in middle age, and, when he is old, and all the rest of his passions have subsided, wholly engrosses him." He mentions Lord Chancellor HARDWICK, the Duke of MARLBOROUGH, Sir JAMES LOWTHER, Sir THOMAS COLBY, and Sir WILLIAM SMITH, as remarkable instances of it.

The metaphysical notions of Mr STEWART fail entirely to explain the phenomena of avarice, under which passion no enjoyment is sought, except that of accumulating wealth. The character of TRAPBOIS, as drawn in the "Fortunes of Nigel," and admirably represented on the Edinburgh stage by Mr MASON, is a personification of the faculty of Acquisitiveness, operating as a blind animal instinct, exalted to the highest degree of energy and activity, and extinguishing every feeling of the mind, except that of fear; which it had cultivated and increased to minister to its protection. This character is recognised as natural; highly coloured, indeed, but true to life in its leading features. It appears absurd, therefore, to ascribe, as the metaphysicians do, so intense a passion to a mere law of association as its source, to an error of the understanding, in mistaking wealth for the objects which it is fitted to obtain. The very essence of the character is a desire for wealth, independent of every purpose of application. Phre

Sketches, B. i. sect. 2.

nologists have observed, that the intensity of the desire to acquire, is in proportion to the size of a certain part of the brain, and they, therefore, regard it as an original propensity of the mind. The organ was discovered in the following manner:

When Dr GALL was employed in comparing mental manifestations with cerebral development, he was in the habit of collecting in his house numbers of the lower orders, with the view of more easily discovering the different primitive propensities, which he supposed would be found to operate in them with greater simplicity and vigour, than in persons of a higher rank. On many of these occasions, the individuals assembled, encouraged by him to familiarity, accused each other of petty larcenies, or of what they styled chiperies, and took great pleasure in pointing out those who excelled in such practices; and the chipeurs themselves advanced in front of their companions, proud of their superior savoir-faire. What particularly attracted his attention was, that some of these men shewed the utmost abhorrence of thieving, and preferred starving to accepting any part of the bread and fruit which their companions had stolen, while the chipeurs ridiculed such conduct, and thought it silly.

To discover whether this tendency to pilfer was connected with any particular cerebral organ, Dr GALL divided the persons whom he had assembled into three classes; the first included the chipeurs; the second, those who abhorred the very idea of stealing; and the third, those who seemed to regard it with indifference. On comparing the heads of these three classes, he was much surprised to find, that the most inveterate chipeurs had a long prominence extending from the organ of Secretiveness, almost as far as the external angle of the superciliary ridge, and that this region was flat in all those who shewed a horror of theft, while in those who were indifferent about it, the part was sometimes more and sometimes less developed, but never so much as in the professed thieves ;

and on repeating the experiment again and again with a new assemblage, he found the same results uniformly present themselves.

Having thus ascertained the constancy of the facts, the idea naturally occurred to the mind of Dr GALL, that the propensity to appropriate must be somehow connected with the peculiarity of cerebral configuration, which had so strongly attracted his notice. It could not be the effect of education, for most of the subjects of his observations had received none. They were the children of nature left to their own resources. Some who detested stealing happened to be precisely those whose education had been most completely neglected. The wants and circumstances of all of them were nearly the same,-the examples set before them were the same,-and to what cause, therefore, could the difference be ascribed, if not to an original difference of mental constitution?

At this time Dr GALL was physician to the Deaf and Dumb Institution, where pupils were received from six to fourteen years of age, without any preliminary education. M. MAY, a distinguished psychologist, then director of the establishment, M. VENUS, the teacher, and he, had it thus in their power to make the most accurate observations on the primitive moral condition of these children. Some of them were remarkable for a decided propensity for stealing, while others did not shew the least inclination to it,— some of them were easily reformed, but others were quite incorrigible. The severest punishments were inflicted upon one of them, but without any effect. As he felt himself incapable of resisting temptation, he resolved to be a tailor, because, as he said, he could then indulge his inclination with impunity. On examining the heads of all these boys, the same region was found to be uniformly developed, in proportion to the endowment of the propensity. He made casts of those of them who were confirmed thieves, in order to compare them with such other heads of thieves or robbers as might afterwards fall in his way.

About this time, also, Dr GALL met with another very decisive proof of the connexion between this propensity and a particular development of brain. In the House of Correction he saw a boy of fifteen years of age; who had been a notorious thief from his earliest infancy. Punishment having had no effect upon him, he was at last condemned to confinement for life as absolutely incorrigible. In a portrait of him in the 26th plate of Dr GALL's work, a remarkable prominence in the lateral region of the head is conspicuous, corresponding to what is now ascertained to be the organ of Acquisitiveness. The forehead is low, narrow, and retreating, and his intellect is stated to be weak and defective to a great degree; and hence the ascendency and activity of the propensity in question are casily explained.

The instinctive appetite for accumulation, produced by this faculty, viewed only in itself, presents a mean and vulgar aspect, and we are apt to regard the individual, in whom it predominates, as a base and sordid being, cased in selfishness, and dead to every generous feeling. But when we view it in its results, it rises vastly in dignity and importance. The first demand of nature is to live and to enjoy; and without Acquisitiveness the other feelings of the mind would prompt man to kill and eat, or to weave and wear, for the satisfaction of his present wants. But if he bounded his industry by his necessities, and lolled in idleness while not employed in indispensable pursuits, although he might not starve while in possession of health and strength, he would never become rich. Wealth consists of the savings of industry, after supplying immediate demands: Now, according to the metaphysicians, there is no instinctive propensity in man, prompting him, by a natural impulse, to save and to accumulate; they imagine that the calls of nature for immediate gratification, or the love of power, are the only motives to such exertions. In the faculty of Acquisitiveness, however, the Phrenologist perceives an instinct prompting the human being, after his ap


petites of hunger and thirst are appeased, and his protected against the elements of heaven, to labour from the mere delight of accumulating; and to the ceaseless industry which this instinct produces, is to be ascribed the wealth with which civilized man is everywhere surrounded. It prompts the husbandman, the artizan, the manufacturer, the merchant, to activity in their several vocations; and, instead of being necessarily the parent only of a miserable and degraded appetite, it is one of the sources, when properly directed, of the comforts and elegancies of life. Its regular activity distinguishes civilized man from the savage. The prodigal, who consumes the last shilling which he can command, dies and leaves not a trace of his existence behind him. The laborious artizan, on the other hand, who, under the impulse of this faculty, consumes only half the produce of his labour, leaves the other half, as a contribution to the stock of national capital, to maintain and set in motion the industry of generations unborn. These, if animated by the same spirit, will leave it with new accessions to their posterity; and thus the stream of public prosperity will be swelled, in an increasing ratio, to the remotest periods of time. When, however, the pursuit of wealth becomes the business of life, Acquisitiveness usurps the place of the moral sentiments, perverts the intellect, and becomes the source of the greatest evils.

The faculty produces a general tendency to acquire, which takes its particular direction from the other faculties with which it is combined. In a great collector of objects of natural history, this organ and Individuality are large : in a collector of pictures, this organ, Constructiveness, and Ideality, are full; in a collector of old coins, Acquisitiveness and Veneration are large. In short, in no instance where the desire to acquire and possess is strongly manifested, is this organ deficient; while, on the other hand, in those in whom there is no appetite for accumulation, who allow their substance to slip through their hands, through

« VorigeDoorgaan »