Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

of

fit him for the place of a first-rate counting-house clerk. In his head, the organ of Number is now evidently smaller than in casts taken at four and six years of age. Innumerable instances of a like nature have fallen under Mr. Deville's observation. After detailing that of an idiot endowed with the talent for drawing, he proceeded to illustrate, by the following cases, the position that change of cerebral developement frequently follows change of training and pursuits.

1. Casts of the head of Mary Street were taken at twelve and fifteen years age. From eight to twelve, she displayed alternately two phases of character. Her memory was very extraordinary with regard to the Scriptures and history. When only six years old, she followed popular preachers about the eastern parts of London, whose sermons she would afterwards repeat to the neighbours, and criticise ; quoting Scripture, and illustrating her views in a most singular way. Thus she would go on, conducting herself morally, for six or eight months at a time; but then she would turn round, and for twoor three weeks would pilfer, destroy, lie, and perpetrate all kir", of mischief; after which the activity of the propensities ceased. She was brought to Mr. Deville, who predicated from her head the opposite qualities in her disposition, which would render her, though generally under the influence of the moral sentiments, liable to display extraordinary freaks of the propensities, 'some of which he described. He counseled her parents to divert her attention in a kind manner from subjects calculated to over-excite the sentiments; and to keep out of view whatever tended to gratify the propensities. This course was followed: after the first cast was taken, she exhibited but one slight freak of the propensities; and at the time of taking the second, her whole conduct was highly moral. A comparison of the casts shows a great increase of the organs of the moral sentiments in the second. This improvement of the brain rendered abstinence from vice more easy than before; and the case teaches us, that the moral and intellectual organs are, like the limbs, fatigued and weakened by too much exertion.

2. Casts of the head of a young man were taken at seventeen and a quarter and nineteen years of age. From the commencement of his education, about the age of seven, till eleven and a half years old, he went on tolerably well; he then became sullen, indolent, discontented, selfish, and unsocial. He would take no trouble to relieve distress or avoid giving pain; but was not inclined to go out of his way to inflict it. Having left home in order to get his own living, he met with no success; upon which, following Mr. Deville's advice, he began to study intensely, and a great amelioration of his conduct ensued. To acquire knowledge, it appeared necessary for him only to read; and

a

so completely altered was his behaviour, that he became highly loved and respected. He wrote some poetry in a correspondence with a young friend—much of it relating to his former behaviour. A comparison of the casts shows that, in the animal region of the brain, little or no alteration had taken place; whereas, in the coronal and intellectual regions the increase, measured from the ear, is from a half to three quarters of an inch.

3. The next case is that of Mr. George Bidder, who, in early life, was the celebrated Devonshire calculating boy, and is now the engineer to the Blackwall railway, and other great public works. Casts of his head were taken at the ages of 8, 13, 16, 19, 22), and 28. In the first, the forehead is nearly upright, but in the second, and still more in the third, its upper part has receded; the knowing organs, however, have expanded in width. Now, during the interval from eight to sixteen years of age, no education was given him ;—his father taking him about, exhibiting his wonderful calculating power, and in general putthd up at public-houses, where little culture of the reflective faculties was to be obtained. At length he arrived in Edinburgh, was patronised and placed at school, and from that time mixed in good society for about three and a half years, when he removed to London, and the fourth cast, showing a growth of the upper part of the forehead, was taken by Mr. Deville. After this, he was frequently thrown into high moral and intellectual society, with and by whom he was employed; and at the end of two and a half years so spent, the fifth cast was taken, from which we find that a general expansion had been going on. For about eight and a half years more, he continued in and near London, employed in similar society; and now there is manifest in the coronal region an increase of nearly half an inch, as measured from the ear; while the region of the knowing and reflective faculties also has increased nearly half an inch.

4. Mr. Dennison brought his son to Mr. Deville to get a phrenological opinion of him, and begged that it might be expressed freely, without fear of giving offence. The youth was nineteen years old, and a student of Trinity College, Cambridge. The inference from his head (a cast of which Mr. D. took at the time) was, that he possessed the basis of a useful mind, but was too positive and self-willed to go by the rules laid down for the acquirement of knowledge; would not methodise details, and consequently would have less knowledge at nineteen than he ought to have possessed at twelve or fourteen. This accorded minutely with the account which had previously been given to his father by his Cambridge tutor; and the youth was led to apply so energetically to his studies, that within the next twelve months he gained a wranglership. A second cast, taken two years and a half after the first, shows a diminution of fully half an inch at Self-esteem and Firmness, and a large increase of all the intellectual and moral organs. Mr. Dennison was so struck with Mr. Deville's observations at the time of the consultation, that he gave him liberty to make whatever use he pleased of his name and of the circumstances of the case ; as he considered that phrenology must be of great use in the training of the young. He sent to London casts of several of his family, and also of a relation, for the purpose of obtaining advice as to their education and moral direction. The young gentleman, when transmitting the second cast to Mr. Deville, wrote him a kind letter, stating that he had profited much by his advice, and requesting more. He is now studying for the bar. On the first occasion, his temperament appeared to be lymphatic principally, with a little of the sanguine and nervous ; now, Mr. Deville considers it to be bilious 55, nervous 30, sanguine 15.

4. A gentleman had his cast taken, purposely during Mr. Deville's absence from London, and left it for examination, with the announcement that he moved in the higher circles, and was well educated. Combativeness, Destructiveness, and the basilar region generally, were large; Self-esteem, Love of Approbation, and Firmness, very large. The whole of the posterior region was full ; and the coronal region, though in some parts full and in other large, was, in Mr. Deville's opinion, not sufficiently balanced to regulate duly the lower feelings. Alternation of good with inferior conduct was hence deduced, and the inference proved to be correct. It was inferred that he would be too positive and self-willed to move smoothly in the walk of life which his circumstances and education entitled him to frequent, as nobody in good society would submit to his dogmatism and unqualified expression of opinion ; that, owing to the activity of the posterior region of the brain, he would like society where he could command personal attention, and be the leader of the company, and would be addicted to female society of a similar character; that he would find it difficult to deliver an oration to persons of his own class, for although he would not be at a loss for words or ideas, he could not readily connect and arrange them; and that his brain must undergo a considerable alteration before he could do this, or be able to move in good society with comfort to himself.

The gentleman acknowledged that the whole of these inferences were but too true; adding, that his health had suffered in consequence, and he was going abroad for a few years to break off his low connections, and improve his mind and manners. After spending four years in Germany, during which he entered into highly moral society, and successfully studied works on moral philosophy, he no longer felt a difficulty in addressing his own class, and repudiated that with which he had

a

formerly associated. He is no longer the positive, self-willed being, but anxious to hear, and to give reasons for his opinions ; feeling no wish to be considered—nay, loathing the idea of being considered—the leader of such society, male or female, as he formerly delighted in. A second cast, taken after his return to London, shows an alteration corresponding with the change of his character. At Self-esteem, Firmness, and the basilar region, there is a diminution, in some parts, of fully half an inch; while the intellectual region is found to have increased.

5. Casts of the head of a medical gentleman were taken at the ages of twenty-nine and thirty-five. Shortly before the former period, he had attemped to settle in a large provincial town, where he soon became a political partisan, and, being a fluent writer, wrote so strongly against his opponents, that an action was brought against him for libel, and abandoned only on condition of his leaving the neighbourhood. He then came to London, stated to Mr. Deville the difficulties he was in, and solicited some advice. On his head being examined, Self-esteem, Firmness, Love of Approbation, and Combativeness, were found all large or very large; Cautiousness moderate, and the reflecting faculties and Ideality only full; with indications of a command of words and the power of arranging them. That the inordinate strength of the four faculties first enumerated might be lessened and counteracted, he was advised to remove from the metropolis, and reside for a year or two with some respectable family, studying philosophy and ethics, cultivating his reflective faculties, and getting his Self-esteem and Firmness diminished before he again attempted practice. He did so; and has now a very fine practice in one of our largest county towns, where he is highly respected by his neighbours. In the second cast, Self-esteem and Firmness have subsided nearly half an inch, while, at the reflective organs, the head is nearly half an inch larger; the intellectual region generally has increased ; and there is an enlargement also of Ideality and the whole coronal region.

6. In 1815, Dr. Spurzheim took a cast of the head of the late Mr. Oldham, formerly mechanist to the Bank of Ireland, and latterly, until his death, to the Bank of England. Mr. Oldham was, in 1815, about forty-five years of age. On comparing the cast with another taken after death, in 1840, an increase is seen in the whole of the intellectual region, agreeing with the increase of talent manifested by him in many ways during the interval, as is well known to engineers and scientific men.

Finally, in five cases where two casts of each have been taken at different ages (viz. twenty-six and thirty, twenty-six and thirty-twn, thirty-six and forty, thirty-six and forty-five, and forty-five and fifty),

and where the individuals have engaged in no new studies, nor been subjected to the influence of altered circumstances, no change of form or size is observable. In one instance, where casts of the head of a young gentleman were taken at twelve and fourteen years of age, it was found to have increased a little in size, but to be unaltered in shape. His mother reported, that during the two intervening years he had gone on as before, making progress in no one attainment more than another, and preserving his dispositions and morals as they had been for several years before.

ARTICLE III.

VIMONT ON COMPARATIVE PHRENOLOGY.

6

Dr. Elliotson, of London, in the new edition of his large work on Human Physiology, gives the following interesting account of the labours of Vimont, who is now one of the most distinguished naturalists in France :- Dr. Vimont, of Caen, has carried his researches into the phrenology of brutes with extraordinary perseverance, and produced a most magnificent work. Attracted in 1818 by the prize offered by the French Institute to the author of the best memoir upon the anatomy of the brain in the four classes of the vertebrated animals, he began his researches into the subject without any reference to phrenology, for he had not read Gall, and had seen him spoken of in books, and heard of him only as a charlatan; however, he thought it incumbent upon him to read Gall's work among others. Hardly,' says he, had I begun to read it, when I found I had to do with one of those extraordinary men whom dark envy endeavous to exclude from the rank to which their genius calls them, against whom it employs the weapons of the coward and the hypocrite. High cerebral capacity, profound penetration, good sense, varied information, were the qualities which struck me as distinguishing Gall. The indifference which I first felt for his writings, therefore, soon gave way to the most profound veneration.'

" In 1827, Dr. Vimont presented to the Royal Institute a memoir, containing a fragment of the researches on which he had then spent so many years, together with 2500 heads of brutes of various classes, order, genera, and species. Among them, 1500 belonged to brutes with whose habits he had been individually well acquainted before they died, or were killed; 400 wax representations of the brain, modeled after nature, and an atlas of more than 300 figures of the brain and cranium, executed with the strictest accuracy of dimensions,

« VorigeDoorgaan »