« VorigeDoorgaan »
dence and success in trade, and, by his estimable qualities, had gained the esteem of the little circle in which he moved. On examination, I found a fine nervous and sanguine temperament; a forehead greatly retreating indeed; but with a full development of the knowing organs; and, on turning to the region of the propensities and sentiments, the former were found in fair proportion, with an excellent development of the latter. Conscientiousness, Veneration, Benevolence, Love of Approbation, Adhesiveness, and Cautiousness, were all large; and the sources of his prudence, good sense, and amiable qualities, were at once apparent. To shew that Phrenology and the head were not at variance, I inquired into his powers of logical or profound argumentation; when his friend said, that, although he was fond of reading, his acquaintances were surprised that he never learnt the meaning of a great many plain words; and on asking what these were, they turned out to be abstract terms and expressions, referable for their signification to Causality and Comparison. The individual in question not only could not reason consecutively, but in ordinary discourse misapplied, and seemed not to understand, the terms now adverted to. This was exactly what a phrenologist would have predicted.
In describing, therefore, the effect of the Reflecting Faculties in ordinary life, I would say that the propensities and sentiments furnish the desires which prompt to action, and also the feelings which regulate conduct; while reflection, without being able to alter their nature, judges of the motives presented by them to its consideration; taking in an extent of view, greater or less, in proportion to the size of the intellectual organs. For example, if Cautiousness be excessively large, and Hope small, this combination will present dismal forebodings to the mind; and the understanding cannot alter the feelings so as to render cheery and brilliant, scenes which they tinge with melancholy and gloom. If Hope be very large, and Cautiousness very small, then the most delusive anticipations of felicity will be sug
gested, and the understanding will see objects under this impression. If, again, both Cautiousness and Hope be large, each will furnish its own emotions on the objects of contemplation; and the understanding now having two views, will possess elements for judging, and be able, by comparing, to come to a sound determination between them.
If these principles be correct, they enable us to explain why, among lawyers, a bad pleader sometimes makes a good judge, and vice versa. To a pleader, intellect and propensity are more essentially necessary than Conscientiousness; to a judge, on the other hand, great moral organs are indispensable; for without an ample development of them, his intellect is liable to be led astray by subtleties and false views, and in his decisions the grand element of justice will be wanting. I have noticed, that, where Conscientiousness is large in a lawyer, and he is pleading a bad cause, he betrays instinctively, by his natural manner, his impression that he is in the wrong. Another individual, in whom this organ is deficient, views all cases chiefly as questions of opinion, and contends for victory with that ardent spirit which the former can display only when advocating the cause of truth.
The same principles enable us to judge of the propriety of a very important regulation in one of the institutions of the country, I mean the requisite of unanimity in juries in civil causes. If two individuals were constituted umpires on a claim of damages for defamation, and if one of them possessed from nature an immense Love of Approbation, judging, from his own feelings, he would rather suffer death than live defamed; if the other was extremely deficient by natural constitution in this sentiment, he could pass his days unmoved by the censures or applauses of the world, and the two could not, by any efforts of their understandings, come to view the injury sustained by the plaintiff in the same light, nor agree about the amount of damages which would constitute an equitable compensation
for the slander. The one must either surrender his conscience to the other, or allow a third party to decide between them; for real unanimity is excluded by the very constitution of their minds. No exercise of the understanding will produce it. It is difficult to admire the wisdom of that legislature which is so ignorant of the human mind as to imagine that men can by argument, if they will, arrive at one conclusion in such cases: or which, if it knows that they cannot in nature agree, nevertheless conceives it profound and beneficial to require a verdict in direct opposition to the constitution of the mind; to produce an appearance of unanimity, when the substance is unattainable. Many voluminous arguments have been brought forward on the opposite sides of this question : but it appears to me, that the mode of judging of it afforded by Phrenology carries us to the ultimate principles at once. If it be naturally in the power of men, by honest efforts, to see questions of conduct, such as occur before Jury Courts, in the same light, then unanimity ought to be required; but if this perfect harmony of sentiment is excluded by nature, it is mere littleness and imbecility, to pretend to produce it by an act of Parliament; accordingly, nature prevails here as in every other case, for all sensible jurors before commencing their deliberations, arrange that the minority shall yield to the majority; and the only effects of the law are to put it in the power of some very obstinate or very wicked individual to concuss his fellow jurors into adoption of his opinion-which, on the ordinary chances, from his standing alone, will be placed at an extreme point in the scale of absurdity or else to defeat the object of the parties, by depriving them altogether of a verdict.
It has been said, that the requisite of unanimity produces attention in the jury to the case, and discussion of the subject among themselves. This I have no doubt may be true, but even with every degree of attention and discussion, unanimity in general is morally impossible. Obvious questions of evidence or right, in which all men may agree, are
not those that come most frequently before courts of justice; but difficult cases, in which the most conscientious and enlightened men may differ in opinion. Out of twelve or fifteen persons there is always a risk that two or more may stand in the antipodes of moral and intellectual constitution to each other. Under the present system such individuals must yield unconvinced. It appears to me, that, by leaving out the extremes, and requiring a majority of three-fourths, or some such proportion, the advantages of discussion would be gained, and the evil of the great body of a jury being concussed into a verdict by one obstinate individual, might be avoided. A proposition to which nine men out of twelve would voluntarily assent, would be nearer truth than one modified by mutual concessions to conciliate (but not to satisfy) the whole.
Having now discussed the metaphysical faculties of Perception, Conception, Imagination, Memory and Judgment, and shewn them to be merely modes of activity of the phrenological faculties, with which the metaphysicians were unacquainted, I proceed to notice several other mental operations and affections, which make a figure in the common systems of mental philosophy, and to refer them also to their principles in this science.
CONSCIOUSNESS means the knowledge which the mind has of its own existence and operations. Dr THOMAS BROWN denies that it is a power, or any thing different from sensation, emotion, or thought, existing at any moment in the mind. It gives us no intimation of the existence of the organs, and reveals to us only the operations of our own minds, leaving us entirely in the dark regarding the mental affections of others, where they differ from our own. Hence, by reflecting on consciousness, which the metaphysicians chiefly did, as their means of studying the mind, we can discover nothing concerning the organs by which the faculties act, and run great danger of forming
erroneous views of human nature, by supposing mankind in general constituted exactly like ourselves.
Each organ communicates consciousness of the feelings and ideas which it serves to manifest; thus, if the organ of Tune be extremely deficient, the individual will not be able to attain consciousness of melody; a person in whom Conscientiousness is extremely deficient, will not be conscious of the sentiment of justice, nor of its obligations; one in whom Veneration is very feeble, will not be conscious of the emotion of piety, nor of the duties arising from it. If we should place individuals so constituted, in situations requiring vivid consciousness of these emotions, for the direction of their conduct, we shall be disappointed. This shews the great importance of a well constituted brain. On the other hand, when the organs are large and the temperament active, intense consciousness of the corresponding feelings and ideas is experienced; and some persons, mistaking the emotions arising in this manner from Wonder, Veneration, and other faculties, for supernatural communications, fall into fanaticism and superstition.
It has been argued by some sceptics, that the human mind possesses no certain knowledge, because not only the senses and understanding occasionally deceive us, but even Consciousness itself gives false intimations; thus, a man whose leg has been amputated, is sometimes conscious, years after the operation, of a pain in the toe of the lost foot; or a patient suffering under chronic disease of the liver, feels no uneasiness in it, but is conscious of a pain at the top of the right shoulder. The answer to this argument is, that each nerve and faculty has received a definite constitution, in virtue of which it gives certain intimations when affected in a certain manner; thus, when the nerve of the toe is affected, the nerve itself gives consciousness of pain, accompanied with an instinctive reference to its seat. After the leg has been amputated, part of the nerve remains, and when affected in the same manner as while the toe existed,