Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

them into execution.” Cratalorus, in a Latin essay on physiognomy, says that those of large foreheads are dull or stagnant, and may be compared to oxen, but those of small foreheads are sprightly.

'These opinions of physiognomists coincide well with phrenology. In the cases which have been observed by these physiognomists, and in which they seem to agree so well with each other, with nature, and with Gall, the phrenological principles are very evident. The large moral developements of such heads overruling the animal forces, tend to produce a mild and feeble temperament, destitute of the vivacity and force which belong to the animal organs, while the deficiency of intellect produces slowness and dullness of apprehension. But even did not these opinions coincide with the doctrines of craniology, they would be worthy of our serious attention, as they relate to a mere matter of observation, and in all matters of simple observation, the unanimous testimony of observers is proof sufficient.

If the vertical forehead and prominent eye may, then, be often the indication of stupidity, they cannot be the indication of a talent for the languages, but must be rather the reverse, for the study of languages is not merely an exercise of the organ of Language, but is an exercise, in truth, of all the intellectual organs. The argument has sometimes been used as an objection to the study of the ancient languages, that it is the cultivation of only one intellectual organ to the neglect of all the rest—an unjust argument in behalf of a good cause. The study cultivates not only attention, but every phrenological species of perception, reflection, and recollection. Much as the study may be abused, and much harm as it has unquestionably done, we cannot deny the truth of the argument in it behalf, drawn from the excellent mental discipline that it affords when rightly pursued.

What is the study of language? The study of written language is the recognition of certain printed forms or marks called letters, and the association of these with the corresponding sounds, and the ideas which those sounds represent. It is also the study of their relations to each other, and the appropriate mode of connection. The science of the relations of words affords an exercise for the highest order of talent and profound reflection. To understand the construction, appreciate the beauty, and catch the spirit of language, requires a vigorous exercise of intellect—especially of Comparison, Causality, and the reflective organ called Wit. Printed letters are perceived and recollected by Colour, Form, Size, and Individuality. In recollecting or perceiving words, we also use Locality, Number, and Order, to understand the combinations of letters; while to understand their sound or utterance, we use Tune and Time. All visible objects are conceived and recollected by Form, Size, Colour, and Individuality;

VOL. III.-18

those who have these faculties in an eminent degree, can easily look at a line of writing or a book, and then, closing the eye, bring before the mind a vivid conception of the letters as seen upon the page. They are thus enabled to read them easily, forwards or backwards, as if they were looking on the book. It was in this manner that Buxton performed his astonishing mental calculations. He had the whole series of figures in the mind's eye, as if they had been written down upon a slate. Verbal memory, then, is greatly dependent upon these organs ; for verbal memory, in the case of a printed or written language, is chiefly dependent upon the ocular memory. (To those who remark that they can recollect faces very well, but not names, which is the case with nine tenths in the United States, I reply that they could recollect them very well by writing them down, or by seeing them on a sign, for they are then recollected like the faces, by the ocular memory.)

In addition to the ocular, we need the auricular memory—the memory of the sound of the word. This depends either upon the organ called Tune, or upon that called Language. That it depends upon the former, is the doctrine which I have taught for the last four years. Let us, however, speak of them together; for if we do not allow to the organ of Language the memory of vowel sounds, it at least claims that of the articulations—the memory of the consonants.

The study of language, then, being an exercise of all the intellectual organs, we should not confine our observations to the organ of Lan. guage, when we would determine the capacity for such studies. On the contrary, it is more important that the forehead should be prominent than the eye. Still, we must not overlook the importance of the organ of Language. The oculo-perceptive organs may recollect the forms or appearances of the letters the faculty of sound may recollect the spoken language, and the various intellectual faculties may associate the written and spoken language with the proper conceptions, but we need something more. These conceptions and forms must be associated with the vocal effort necessary for the utterance of the proper sound. This power of utterance must appertain to the organ of Language, and it seems probable that it is the sole function of that organ.

When we take away from the general faculty of Language, 1st, the portion contributed by the whole intellect—2d, by the oculo-perceptive organs-and 3d, by the organ of sound, we find nothing remaining for the function of that organ but the mechanical part of languagethe utterance of the sound. The organ that manages the muscles of articulation is thus the next neighbour of that which manages the

a

a

hands in all dexterous operations in other words, the convolution of Language runs into that of Constructiveness.

If the articulation be the sole function of the organ of Language, we may account for the fine verbal memory which is sometimes found in persons who have but a moderate developement of that organ. But we would expect to see a large developement of it in a speaker of remarkable fluency, as otherwise his utterance, incapable of keeping pace with his ideas, would be a source of much embarrassment, and he would prefer writing to speaking, when he would display his powers to the best advantage. Those who have a large developement of the organ of Language, become more fluent by excitement or irritation, and pour forth a torrent of words; while those who have it small, are liable, in moments of excitement, to become suddenly embarrassed in speech.

The highest degree of the faculty of Language is found in thos who have the broad, prominent forehead, with the depressed eye, and a fulness of the spheno-coronal suture, near an inch behind the external angle of the brow. The latter indication, though mentioned by Gall, has teen much neglected by later phrenologists; yet it is, according to my observations, the most important indication of the organ of Language.

If, having a forehead thus happily constituted for lingual purposes, we leave the special organ of Language untouched in large developement, and shorten the front lobe by taking off a section in front, we will at once interfere materially with the faculty of Language. Whenever the lower part of the front lobe has been sufficiently curtailed, Language will be affected. I have sometimes found in schools that the worst readers—those who read with the greatest slowness or difficulty, and who required the longest time to acquire the art-were well developed in the organ of Language, and had the salient eye with the short front lobe. The deficiency of the perceptive organs in such cases, makes it very difficult for them to acquire a printed language. They are slow in becoming familiar with the forms of the letters, and never acquire so perfect or ready a familiarity. In glancing at the page, they recognise but a small number of the letters at once, and a vigorous attention is necessary for them to conceive and combine a sufficient number of letters to form a word. Their reading, therefore, is a laborious discovery of word after word; whereas, the boy possessing a large developement of the lower half of the forehead, looking carelessly at the page, perceives by a glance all the letters or words of the line, and utters them easily with the rapidity which best suits his taste or powers of utterance.

The foregoing remarks are of especial importance to young prac

a

a

tical phrenologists, whom I have sometimes observed greatly embarrassed by finding the salient eye in men defective in the faculty of Language. The common impression that phrenology ascribes great intellect to a high broad forehead, has been the cause of much doubt as to the truth of the science; for there are many stupid men who have such foreheads, that most of those who have a vague idea of the science have seen sone such case. If the lower, which may indeed be considered the more important portion of the forehead, be highly developed, it would require an immense developement of the organs of the abstract intellect to produce a high vertical forehead; hence the receding forehead is of the most symmetrical and most common form. The vertical forehead shows a disproportion between the abstract and the practical intellect, and frequently accompanies a deficiency of the latter.

(To be continued.)

ARTICLE V.

PHRENOLOGY AND CHRISTIANITY.*

Galileo was told from high authority in the church, that his doctrine of the revolution of the globe was obviously at variance with Scripture, and therefore that it could not be true ; but as his opinions were founded on physical facts, which could neither be concealed nor denied, they necessarily prevailed. If there had been a real opposition between Scripture and nature, the only result would have been a demonstration, that Scripture in this particular instance was erroneously interpreted, because the evidence of physical nature is imperishable and insuperable, and cannot give way to any authority whatever. The same consequence will evidently happen in regard to phrenology. If it were possible that any facts in physiology did actually and directly contradict any interpretation of Scripture, it is not difficult to perceive which must yield. The human understanding cannot resist evidence founded on nature; and even if it did resist, nature would not bend, but continue to operate in her own way in spite of the resistance, and a new and more correct interpretation of Scripture would ultimately become inevitable. This opposition we sincerely believe to be in itself impossible, when the facts in nature are correctly observed, and divine truth is correctly interpreted; but

• From the 30th number of the Edinburgh Phrenological Journal.

we put the case thus strongly to call the serious attention of religious persons to the mischievous consequences to religion, of rashly denouncing any doctrine professing to be founded on natural facts, as adverse to revelation. Every instance in which the charge is made falsely, is a mortal stab to revelation itself, and tends to lead men to regard Scripture as an obstacle to the progress of science and civilisation, instead of being a system of divine wisdom, in harmony with all natural truth.

Some persons are anxious that we should avoid all discussion of the relations between phrenology and religion, as tending to create uneasiness, and being unnecessary to the progress of the science; and if we could view the matter in this light, we should be happy to act as they advise; but as it appears to us certain, that phrenology is destined to exercise an important influence on the religious opinions of mankind, it is a duty to state this fact. If the diffusion of the principles of this science will strengthen, purify, and advance religion, which we firmly believe, the sooner the relationship between the two is made known the better. If it were possible that phrenology should weaken religious truth, or impede its progress, it would be dishonest, whilst suspecting this result, to propagate its doctrines, and conceal their tendency. In either view, therefore, it is the duty of a candid and benevolent mind to speak openly. In all earnestness and sincerity, therefore, we announce to religious professors of every denomination, that the day is on the wing, when they shall find their doctrines sifted and tried by the principles of this science. We are convinced that true religion will gain great strength and power by the ordeal; but we are prepared to expect modifications of many existing opinions.

One of the most important and fundamental questions in morals and religion, is the inherent capability of the human mind, by the developement and proper application of its own elements, and those of external nature, to rise in the scale of improvement; we do not say to perfection, but to a condition fairly calculated to satisfy the reasonable demands of our moral and intellectual faculties. If we assume the negative side of this question to be the true state of the fact, we shall be led by our principles to treat lightly the natural qualities of the human mind, and to look for success in improving mankind chiefly from spiritual influences. Some sects in religion have not only denied the capability of human nature to improve itself, but repre-' sented its constitution, and that of the external world, as positively adverse to such improvement; so much so, that they consider the chief value of revelation to consist in proving this to be man's true natural condition, and in providing a spiritual remedy for his inherent defects. Accordingly, the general train of clerical instruction proceeds

« VorigeDoorgaan »