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British Phrenological Association.--The next annual meeting of this Association is to be held in London during the first week in June. We have been politely furnished with a circular, by one of the committee, M. B. Sampson, Esq., London. Among the thirty gentlemen composing this committee, we find the following well known names : E. Barlow, M. D., R. Beamish, F. R. S., J. Conolly, M. D., B. Donkin, F. R. S., J. Ellitson, M. D. F. R. S., Professor Evanson, M. D. M. R. I. A., Lord Hallyburton, M. P., Geo. Combe, Esq., Sir G. Mackensie, Bart. F. R. S. L., A. Cox, M. D., W.C. Trevelyan, F. R. S. E. The objects of this Association are the advancement of the science of Phrenology, and the promotion of intercourse amongst phrenologists, by means of annual meetings, for the reading of papers, the exhibition of casts, crania, and other specimens, and discourses calculated to illustrate facts, and lead to new discoveries—to point out the importance of phrenology as the true philosophy of the mind, and its several applications in Education, Jurisprudence, and Medicine—to correct misrepresentations respecting the science and to awaken an extended interest in its cultivation.
Man's Original Nature.—An unknown correspondent sends us from Connecticut, some excellent thoughts on the original nature of man the substance of which we briefly present in our own language. The nature of man when considered physiologically and phrenologically, harmonizes with the scripture account of his creation. We read that man was created in the “ image and likeness of God," and that with every other portion of creation, he was pronounced “ very good," i. e. fitted to secure the great ends of his existence as well as fulfill the designs of his Creator. Every organ of his body, and every faculty of his mind, was created perfect-each being exercised in accordance with its nature, and, therefore, in obedience to the will of God. While every thought and act thus served only to enhance the happiness of the creature, the Creator was glorified in all things his will or laws being perfectly obeyed. This was Natural Religion, and, had man always remained in this state, there never would have been any need of a written Revelation. The relations which God then established between himself and his creatures, was his first covenant-called also the covenant of works, in contra-distinction from the new covenant or covenant of grace through Redemption.
Man retains now the same number of physical organs, and the same number of mental faculties which he received at his creation, though great changes have taken place in the uses which he has made of these powers from what God designed; there has also taken place more or less change in their strength as well as in the harmony or balance that originally existed between them. Now the reat object of Revelation, of the mission of Christ, the means of grace, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, is to restore to man the image and likeness of God”--that is, to make him again perfect in his nature, both physically and mentally.
And in the accomplishment of this glorious object, we do not deem it irreverant or visionary to indulge the belief that phrenology will become an efficient hạndmaid of true Religion.
Massachusetts State Lunatic Hospital.--For a copy of the eighth annual Report of this Institution, we are indebted to the politeness of Dr. Woodward, its Superintendent. As we hope ere long to present an article on Insanity, referring to this and other Institutions for the Insane, we copy only a single paragraph from the Report before us. To what extent the changes which are described in the following extract have been brought about by means of the discoveries of phrenology, we are not now prepared to discuss: “A generation has not yet passed away since insanity was regarded as synonymous with demonomy; and hence the neglect or cruel treatment of the insane. The idea that human skill was unavailing in a disordered mind, was not confined to the unenlightened merely. Physicians and learned men either concurred in the sentiment or were controlled by it. Under these views the great object was to protect the community from those who were supposed to be possessed," and confinement in darkness, dungeons and caves, away from the pleasant light of heaven, the beauty of earth, and the cheerful face of manwith terror, blows and chains—these were the means employed in those dark days of error and superstition. But more enlightened views, and the brilliant light thrown on the brain by modern science, and consequently on the doctrine of mental phenomina, have greatly dispelled these illusions, and a derangement of the intellectual functions is now regarded as disease—disease, indeed, involving the higher faculties of man—but yet susceptible of successful treatment by means in delightful accordance with the benevolence of the Divine Author of the mind, and means which he has graciously committed to his chosen ministers here on earth.”
Phrenology in Italy.-In the Boston Mercantile Journal of April 13th, (edited by J. S. Šleeper, Esq., Secretary of the Boston Phrenological Society,) we find the following statement respecting the progress of Phrenology in Milan, Italy:
“In Europe, phrenology is rapidily making its way, in spite of obstaeles, which, from the nature of our government, it can never meet with in this country. Even in Italy it has gained a foothold. A letter is now before us, written by a gentleman in Milan, in which he gives an accouni of the progress of phrenology in that quarter within the last two years. Previous to that time, nothing had been done in relation to practical phrenology. Two gentlemen, Dr. Caminosi and Professor Molossi had written upon phrenology, but dealing chiefly in theory, had not succeeded in awakening much attention to the subject. On the arrival of a medical gentleman, Dr. C., from this country, in Milan, he succeded in exciting an interest among the members of the medical profession, and commenced giving lectures and examinations gratuitously, until the whole community became convinced of the importance of the science. And after having delivered three hundred lectures, and made more than two thousand examinations, phrenology may be said to be established in Milan.
PerENOLOGY AND ANTI-PURENOLOGY; or Review of Select Discourses on the func.
tions of Nervous System in opposition to Phrenology, &c.; by Dr. Smith, of New York.
(Continued from page 357.) Another argument founded on anatomical considerations, and urged by Professor Smith, is the following: “Nature adheres to the model which she may have adopted, with a pertinacity proportioned to the importance of the part.” “'The arrangement of the interior of the brain is, in different persons, uniform, notwithstanding its superficiał convolutions meander in a manner by no means constant. 'The inference, therefore, would appear to be, that the former constitute the efficient and the latter supplemental and unimportant portions of the sensorium. Yet upon those the phrenologist lays no stress whatever, while these he designates as his organs. Has he erred, or is nature inconsistent ?" or, it may be added, is Dr. Smith in ignorance and error?
Were we disposed to adopt the professor's mode of procedure, we should say that, according to Sir Charles Bell, “Whatever we observe on one side of the brain, has a corresponding part on the other; and an exact resemblance and symmetry is preserved in all the latéral discoveries." We might thus leave these two of our opponents to settle the difficulty between them. But wė prefer the exact truth, which is that there is not in the convolutions of the opposite sides an “exact” but a general resemblance and symmetry—a symmetry as great as between corresponding parts of any other portion of the body.
It is not true that “ the phrenologist lays no stress whatever" on the internal parts of the brain. Every part is to him the object of careful study, from the medulla oblongata to the peripheral surface of the convolutions. But he endeavors to discover the true nature of every part. He is careful not to magnify the importance of slight deviations from exact symmetry, and especially does he guard against speaking of differ
ent parts of the same as though they constituted essentially different organs, or as though any part of nature's noblest work were unimportant. The phrenologist finds the pyramidal bodies commencing together at the upper part of the motory tract of spinal nerves, proceeding together and increasing in size equally. He finds that their fibres decussate, plunge into or through the annular protuberance, receive many additional fibres from its cineritious matter, emerge from the pons greatly augmented in volume form the anterior and outer two thirds of the cerebral crura and proceed, increasing as they go, until they reach their destination in the convolutions, which convolutions on each side essentially correspond in size, number and form. In like manner he perceives fibres arising in the corpora olivaria pass on, form the posterior and interior parts of the crura, plunge into the so called optic thalami and become greatly increased, unite, at the superior part of the bodies, into bundles, and diverge like rays; the anterior bundles, however, traversing the striated bodies and becoming still more enlarged, the extremities of these rays he finds covered with cineritious matter, thus forming the convolutions. In like manner he traces the corpora restiformia to their ultimate expansion in the cerebellum. He sees, too, that when the pyramidal bodies are large, the convolutions into which they ramify are large, and when small, that the corresponding convolutions are small. He perceives the same correspondence between the optic thalami and the size of the convolutions forming their ultimate expansion, and between the annular protuberance and the cerebellum, and thus comes to the conviction of an intimate connection, a mutual dependence, a continuity of parts between the internal portions of the brain and the convolutions ; and he maintains as the rational presumption that these internal parts are rudimentary, accumulative and communicative, and consequently subsidiary in their character, chiefly tending to the formation, perfection and association of the convolutions, which he considers the more immediate seat of mental action. This view is corroborated by the researches of phathologists who observe the arachnitis of the periphery or convexity of the brain is early characterized by prominent and violent symptoms of delirium, whereas arachnitis of the deep seated parts of the brain is of a more latent, insidious and comatose character, delirium being often entirely absent. In view of such facts, the phrenologist, whilst acknowledging the difficulty of the inquiry and liability to errror, cannot bring his reason to approve or even to tolerate the supposition of Professor Smith that the convolutions form merely “supplemental and unimportant" portions of the brain.
But let us take another view of this position of the professor. It is a well known fact that the number, form and arrangement of the internal parts of the brain are alike in man and many of the lower animals.". The internal structure of man's brain may be learned from the brain of a sheep; while the convolutions are more complicated and volumi. nous in man than in any other being, and he has some which in no other being exist. Now, as the professor maintains that the brain is the instrument of every mental act, we would ask whether the material cause or medium of man's mental superiority must be looked for in those parts of the brain which in man and animals agree, or in those in which they differ? in the internal parts in which the sheep is man's fellow, or in the convoluted portions in which man is so much the superior ? Surely there can be but one answer to this question, and that by no means favorable to the notion that the convolutions are " supplemental and unimportant."
That the convolutions of the brain are somewhat important; may be gathered from the phenomena of idiocy and genius. What may be noticed in the brains of idiots, in the meagre brains of “thirty ounces or less," of which the professor speaks? Any less symmetry in the internal parts than in the brains of men of genius ? Certainly not. But shrunken, shallow, imperfect or deficient convolutions. And what is observed in the brains of men of high mental power ? Read the post mortem examinations of the brains of such men as Byron, Scott, Cuvier, and Dupuytren. Any remarkable symmetry of the internal parts ? No! but we are told of “convolutions of extraordinary size and depth.” Does nature err, or Dr. Smith?
Intimately connected with this subject, is an anatomical fact of great interest. It is this. Throughout nature the complexity of the brain increases with the complexity of an animal's mental functions; in those animals the brains of which are convoluted, the convolutions increase in size and number as the mental powers and capacity of the animals increase; in short, to use the language of Dr. Roget in the Encyclopedia Britanica, “ There is no part of the brain found in any animal which does not exist also in man; whilst several of those which are found in man, are either extremely small or altogether absent in the brains of the lower animals;” or to use that of Dr. Conolly in the 94th number of the Edinburgh Review, as an animal ascends in the scale of mentality, so does “its brain improve in structure and augment in volume, cach addition being marked by some addition or amplification of the powers
* That these internal parts in man and animals differ in size and in the nature of many of their constituent fibres, we of course fully believe. But the professor's objections are founded solely on considerations of form and symmetry.