Gall told me that Napoleon's hatter assured him that the head of that ruthless destroyer of human life grew to the age of thirty-five. Phrenologists know that different parts of the head grow differently at different ages, and that the forehead in particular parts of it sometimes grows very much in young adults. Casts have now been taken of the same individuals at various ages in many instances, and the changes of the different parts of the skull, and therefore of the cerebral organs, are very great; for the hard parts depend much for their size and form upon the soft, and the skull exactly represents the brain when in a healthy state, and before decline begins. In some instances, it is said that accidental exercise has caused the increase. But generally this has been the result of natural tendency to developement. No amount of exercise will make a giant of a dwarf, make a small eye large, or lengthen a limb or a finger. Exercise will make an organ plump--make it thicker and more vigorous; but it is limited in its power by the limits of nature."


Criminal Jurisprudence.-The Hon. Joel Parker. Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for New Hampshire, introduced indirectly the subject of phrepology in a charge on insanity, delivered September, 1838. He recognised not only intellectual insanity, but added that the propensities and sentiments may also become deranged;" and among the diseases to which they are liable, he included "an irresistible propensity to steal," "an inordinate propensity to lying," "a morbid propensity to incendiarism," and "a morbid propensity to destroy.” We have here distinctly recognised the morbid states of Acquisitiveness, Secretiveness, and Destructiveness.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Phrenology in Italy.-Says Mr. Combe in his address at the late meeting of the Phrenological Association, “On my arrival from America in June last, I found a waiting me a little work entitled 'Memoirs regarding the Doctrine of Phrenology, and other sciences connected with it. by Dr. Luigi Ferraresse, Professor of Medicine in Naples, read before the Royal Academy of Sciences in that city. It was published with full permission from the royal censor of the press. The censor, in his report on the work, certifies that it'is very instructive and useful, and contains nothing offensive to religion, or to the rights of the king."

The editor of the “Law Journal," of Boston, is an able and zealous phrenologist, and in his work advocates its application to criminal jurisprudence.

The Institution for the Blind in Boston is ably conducted by Dr. Howe, a phrenologist, who has actually printed in raised letters an "Outline" of the science, which he teaches to his pupils.

The prize essay of the Central Society of Education in London was recently presented to a Mr. Lalor, who acknowledges, in explicit terms, the obligations of education to phrenology.

Lady Blessington, in some of her late works, has spoken in favourable terms of phrenology.

"I am happy to say that there is at King's College, as well as at University College, a professor who has for many years been a decided pbrenologist, and avows his conviction."- Dr. Elliotson, London,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

PHRENOLOGY AND ANTI-PHRENOLOGY. « Select discourses on the functions of the nervous system in opposition to PHRE

NOLOGY, Materialism and Atheism, to which is prefixed a Lecture on the diversities of the human character, arising from physiological peculiarities. By John Augustine SMITR, M. D., member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons for the University of the State of New York, and professor of Physiology in that Institution. New York, D. Appleton & Co., 200 Broadway, 1840.

Judicious, temperate, investigating, truth-loving men, are, day by day, giving in their adherence to the doctrines of Phrenology. Tcachers of the young, superintendants of the insane, members of the learned professions, students of mental and moral philosophy, of jurisprudence, of political economy and of history, acknowledge that it is a light to their path and a cheerer of their labors. It is supported by the leading medical journals of the world. The Medico-Chirurgical Review, The British and Foreign Medical Review and The Lancet. In this country it is advocated by The Electic Journal of Medicine, The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, and The Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery. Within a few months the leading scientific periodical of the new world, The American Journal of Science and Arts, has cast its name, character and influence into the phrenological scale. In view of these facts, mature indeed ought to have been the deliberation of Professor Smith, weighty his reasons, strong his convictions, before declaring Phrenology to be “A freak of the imagination, a fanciful toy." (pp. 142.)

Widely, indeed, do we differ in opinion from the professor. We look upon phrenology as the first of human sciences in interest and importance, as a science which not only furnishes us with the true physiology of the brain, but which embraces the entire ground of mental and moral philosophy, and forms the true basis of Education, Legislation and Jurisprudence; as a science pregnant with more important influences than the revelations of Galileo, of Harvey, or of Newton; making known

VOL. III.-19.

as it does, the mental constitution of man; exposing, as it does, the instruments of thought, the secret springs of emotion and impulses of action; enabling us, as it were, to throw our own and external nature into one mighty syllogism and educe human duty, human rights, and human destiny.

We are fully aware that the foregoing language may seem the emanation of exaggerating enthusiasm to those who are unacquainted with the true nature, scope and utility of our science. We express it, however, with the deep conviction that it is the language of sober reality; and such being our conviction, shall we not be permitted to insist that it be not condemned on ex parte evidence, and that it would be unjust to take for established, the grave charge of our assailants, that “whenever a phrenologists appeals to cerebral organization, fancy is evoked to furnish the facts." (pp. 101.) We think we can prove that all the evidence he adduces to support this charge, is erroneous or insufficient. Nay, further, we hope not only to clear phrenology, but to show conclusively that the professor's objections are in truth, "freaks of the imagination, fanciful toys." But whatever may be the result of the contest, we shall endeavor to conduct it with mildness and courtesy. Truth left free to combat error, is ever too strong for its antagonist. And phrenology, being true, needs not the aid of angry phrases nor contemptuous epithets. Its opponents often merit them, indeed, but the phrenologist can afford to be generous and forgiving. Professor Smith may rest assured, therefore, that we, at any rate, shall neither attempt to enforce our statements nor fortify our arguments by that peculiar species of rhetoric which, if the wit of Mr. Addison is to be believed, " distinguishes, beyond any other part of her majesty's dominions, that portion of the British metropolis where they speak the plainest English and sell the freshest fish.”

It is worthy of remark, that throughout his whole work, the author of the “Select Discourses" does not refer to the labors of his predecessors; there is nothing said from which it could be inferred that phrenology has been attacked by Gordon, Roget, Stewart, Barclay, Rudolph, Hamilton, Prichard, Jeffrey, Magendie, Bostock, Bell, or Sewall. How is this? Are the writings of these gentlemen so erroneous in facts and inconclusive in argument, that the professor is ashamed of them? Does he agree with us that they are so little creditable to their authors that, for fame's sake, they had better be forgotten? How else can we account for this profound silence! Anti-phrenological writers generally, indeed, manifest very little respect for each other's labors. Each one seems to regard as entirely successful, his own attempt at refutation, whilst he agrees with us that the attempts of others are futile and fallacious. Thus Dr. Bostock in his attack (Bostock's Physiology) says, “It must be acknowledged that the opponents of phrenology have been more characterized by the brilliancy, or, perhaps, flippancy of their wit, than by the soundness of their arguments." Yet unfortunately for his discernment, he has produced no objections which will stand the test of enlightened scrutiny.

Dr. Prichard remarks in one of his attacks, (Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine,) that“ nearly all that has been said of late against phrenology, was advanced many years since, in the most forcible manner, by the author of a critique in the Edinburgh Review. Similar objections," he adds, " are still frequently repeated, though most persons have become, or might have become, aware of their inconclusiveness," Yet the objections of Dr. Prichard are equally inconclusive with those of his predecessors.

Dr. Sewall, too, in his attack, (Examination of Phrenology,) rebukes our opponents for the unphilosophical weapons employed against us. Unfortunately, however, for the reputation of his philosophy, he commits, among other blunders, the fatal one of attempting to generalize pathological facts into a physiological conclusion; but it is clear, that if the individual facts be pathalogical, the general fact must, of necessity, be pathological. To deny, as he in effect does, that it is impossible, in the general run of cases, to judge, with closely approximating accuracy, of the size of the brain, from the size of the skull, because in disease the cranium sometimes differs greatly in thickness, is no more philosophical than it would be to deny that the liver ordinarily secretes bile, because in disease it sometimes secretes pus.

Nay, so true is the old saying about the mote and the beam, that Dr. Reese, even, acknowedges that by “the ridicule and persecution of its votaries, phrenology has alone or chiefly been opposed,” (Humbugs of New York.) But then, as if fully determined that the future should not change the character of the opposition, he proceeds in a strain that in coarseness though not in wit, would have been creditable to Timon of Athens, to denounce phrenology as a “vile imposition on public credulity," as "sublimated impiety, materialism and fatalism," and to denounce phrenologists as “skeptics or free-thinkers, deists or atheists, neologists or materialists." We suppose that no man of science or education, whatever be his opinions of phrenology, will give much weight to Dr. Rees' remarks in general, however clearly he may consider him to have demonstrated two of his propositions, namely, those in which he asserts that

“There are many fools who are wise in their own conceit," and

that there are persons "whose organ of Self-esteem reaches from head to heel."

Professor Smith, as we have said, does not refer to the writings of his coadjutors; he does, however, refer to two objections which have been frequently urged and violently charged upon phrenology, by some who profess to be humble disciples of the meek and lowly Teacher of Nazereth, but who, nevertheless, arrogate to themselves the incommunicable unerringness of the Deity; denounce as opposers and contemners of the Creator, those who dissent from their dogmas and interpretations, as though they had a monopoly of special Divine illumination. What is the best of men but a foolish and erring creature ? then whence obtain they the right to denounce their fellow man for the reason that in seeking for truth he departs from the beaten track; a track, it may be, that has sunk beneath the common level of rationality. · Unlimited freedom in religious, political and philosophical inquiry is the first, the most important, the most sacred right of man. But instead of respecting this right, they condemn unheard the master minds of every age, and almost every discovery which rises above ordinary mechanical appliances, be it the doctrine of the earth’s revolution, the facts of geology, or the physiology of the brain. They forget that all truth is of God, that if the earth revolves, it is by His appoinment, that in whatever way it were formed, it was by His power and wisdom; that whatever may be the functions of the brain, He is their author and finisher. That every discovery which is made, is in truth a new revelation of His power, His wisdom, and His will.

The two great objections charged upon phrenology by the class of men to which we refer, are that it destroys moral responsibility and involves the materiality of mind. It is quite interesting to see the manner in which Professor Smith treats these objections: “It has been alledged,” says he, “that the phrenological speculations weaken our con'victions of human responsibility, while they strengthen the cause of materialism. Both charges appear to me to be groundless. The phrenological hypothesis involves nothing, with regard to the constitution of man, which, in reference to that constitution merely, may not safely be granted. * The organs in fact hold precisely the same relation to the mind which is conceded to the eye and ear.” (pp. 85.) And as to the other charge, he declares that phrenologists “ are constrained with irresistible force TO OPPOSE materialism.” After giving these quotations, we would remind the author of the wrong he has done to phrenology by the association in which, in his title page, he has so prominently placed it, "Select Discourses in opposition to Phrenology,

« VorigeDoorgaan »