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offspring ? Take into account, also, the influence of the mother, and the well-known fact, that men of genius rarely select the highly-gifted in the opposite sex for their partners through life, and then say whether high talent can reasonably be expected to emanate from parents, one of whom—the mother-rises at best only to mediocrity, and the other—the father--falls temporarily to or below it, from sheer exhaustion of mind and broken health. Would it not rather be wonderful, is, in such untoward circumstances, the genius were to descend in unabated splendour even to the first line of the posterity ? It is not from such materials that living genius has sprung, and never will be ; for even were the child to inherit all the father's fire, he would receive along with it a morbid delicacy, and irritability of temperament, which would render it impossible for him to survive the period of early infancy. A genius might, in some favourable moment, be born to such a father; but he would die before the world could tell that a genius had lived. The circum. stances in which the highest order of minds most frequently appear, are, where the father is healthy and active, and the mother unites an energetic character with vigorous bodily health, or with some high and sustaining excitement, animating all her mental and bodily functions. The mother of Bonaparte was of this description; and the mothers of most of ou celebrated men will be found to have been more or less distinguished for similar characteristics; and, accordingly, how often in the biographies of men of genius do we remark, that it was the mother who first perceived and fanned the flame which burst into after brightness! Taking the whole circumstances, then, into consideration, the influence of the father, although often less strong than that of the mother, remains unquestionable, and the exception in the case of men of genius is not real, but only apparent from being imperfectly understood.
The last conditions which I shall mention as affecting the health of the future infant, are the state of mind, health, and conduct of the mother during pregnancy-conditions which are very little taken into account, but which are so vitally important, and so directly within the scope of the present work, that I shall devote a separate chapter to their consideration.
THE PRINCETON REPERTORY versus PHRENOLOGY.
This quarterly contained, about two years since, a most violent and abusive attack upon phrenology. Among other charges brought against the science, it was asserted by the writer, that if its principles were true, they could be of no use, because there were so many faculties, and their combinations being so numerous and diversified, they could never be applied. This same charge has also been brought against it from other sources. Mr. 0. S. Fowler has very handsomely answered this objection in the following note, appended to a new edition of his work on phrenology:
“A would-be-mathematico-anti-phrenological writer in the Princeton Review for April, 1838, page 313, employs the following knockdown argument against phrenology. He says,
"Now the possible permutations of thirty-five different quantities surpass our powers of conception; the number which expresses them contains forty-one places of figures. The difficulty of proving that any particular one out of this infinite number of possible permutations in the organs is actually marked upon the skull, is so great that we may, without presumption or discourtesy, pronounce it insurmountable. Ages upon ages of observation would be necessary to verify any particular hypothesis ; and in the mean time, phrenology is not entitled to assume at best any higher character than that of a lucky guess.'
“Now let us apply this same argument, 'mutatis mutandis,' to the other natural sciences. Will the mathematical professor who penned this article please inform the world how many stars there are throughout the vast fields of space, and also all the motions and distances of each, together with every thing appertaining to each? You find the difficulty insurmountable,' do you? Then, by parity of reasoning, astronomy is no science, and all its predictions as to the rising, setting, eclipses, distances, &c. &c. of the sun, moon, planets, and all the heavenly bodies—all its predictions touching their courses, revolutions, motions, &c. are only so many lucky guesses.' Suppose all the phenomena of nature, all the chymical and philosophical, all the geological and botanical, and all the other changes, and conditions, and operations of nature, animate and inanimate, that ever have occurred, or are daily occurring, or ever will or can occur, with all their actual and possible modifications and conditions, were enumerated, think you that the number which expresses them would be contained in' twice 'forty-one places of figures ? Would not all these not merely possible but actual permutations of nature, equally with those of the phrenological organs, 'surpass our powers of conception ? And if so, are not chemistry and natural philosophy, geology and natural history, together with all the established laws and operations of nature, equally with phrenology, and for the same reason, too, 'entitled to assume at best no higher character than that of lucky guesses ? and do they not also equally require ages upon ages of observation to verify their hypotheses? The plain fact is, that all God's works are infinite, whilst man is finite, and therefore incapable of comprehending the whole of any one branch of them. Your argument would unscience every science, rendering all our knowledge of astronomy, of chemistry, of natural philosophy, of anthropology, of phrenology, each and all equally merely lucky guesses ;' and we rejoice that this is no more true of phrenology than it is of every work of God.
“ Will this same mathematical professor please inform us how many different shades and phases of ideas and emotions, of senti. ments and desires, of opinions and practices, of likes and dislikes, of feelings and talents, a single son or daughter of Adam is capable of experiencing, and actually dues experience, in all the changes in regard to family, friends, property, objects of desire and pursuit, and ways and means of effecting his ends, throughout a long life of three. score years and ten? How many emotions throb through his heart? how many thoughts Ait across his breast? how many desires and feelings arise in his mind, both musing, and walking, and talking, and sleeping? Hundreds of millions, to say the least. Another has a set of ideas, opinions, likes, repugnances, feelings, &c. entirely different throughout.
“Now, sir, with these data for the basis of your mathematical problem, will you decipher the sum TOTAL of ALL the different feelings and mental manifestations of every nation, and kindred, and tongue under heaven' that ever has existed, or now exist, or may live hereafter, and then subtract from it your 'forty-one places of figures, and tell the world the remainder ? Tell us how many more changes are capable of being rung on the thirty-seven faculties than actually is, and has been, and can be rung upon the cords of the human heart. The fact is, your estimate falls far short of both the phrenological conditions and the mental manifestations, thereby forming an argument for phrenology instead of against it. How vastly more philo. sophical the phrenological hypothesis that this almost infinitude of mental phenomena should be exercised through thirty-seven media, compounded with, and modified by each other, than through their own boasted single medium? Phrénology is bound to make provision for all these phenomena, even though the phrenologist may be unable to observe all the conditions on which they depend.”
Thoughts on the Action and Influence of the Nervous System, and on
the means of strengthening and improving them. By CHARLES CALDWELL, M. D.
This is the title of an excellent essay in the Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery for September, which we can here only briefly notice. Dr. Caldwell, after making some general observations on the relative importance of the brain and nervous system, remarks:-“It is plain, therefore, that the improvement of the nervous system, to the utmosi pitch of which it is susceptible, should constitute the leading object of all sorts of education and training. And on the attainment of that object depend the future standing, achievements, and happiness of our race, and the prosperity and glory of the world.” Dr. C. here proceeds to point out the means by which so desirable an object may be attained ; and that is, by a proper cultivation and exercise of the brain. This organ must be supplied with wholesome, and well arterialised blood, and every distinct portion of it must be duly exercised on its own appropriate objects. The most certain and effectual way to elevate man in ihe scale of intelligence and civilisation, virtue and morality, is by correctly undersianding and obeying the laws of organic matter as cunnected with inind.
The relation which the brain sustains to the arterial system, and the necessity of the former's being well nourished with blood from the latter, is also discussed at some length. Dr. C. then considers the reciprocal influence which the exercise of the mental faculties has on the body, both in health and disease. The faculties of the mind operate as most powerful agents, either as camises or remedies of disease. And it is of ihe highest importance that every physician should be correctly and thoroughly informed on this subject. The opportunities for applying such knowledge are frequent and varied, and sometimes with the most beneficial results, when all other medicinal agents have proved entirely useless. Dr. C. introduces many interesting facts, where the state of the mind, or rather the exercise of certain mental faculties, proved effectual, either in preventing or curing various diseases. He attributes to this source, the remarkable cures which many quacks in medicine perform; it is effected by operating chiefly on the feelings of their patients. He calls such agents "moral remedies," and considers, other things being alike, that they “act more powerfully and successfully on persons of an active temperament, whose organs of Hope and Wonder, Benevo lence, Ideality, and Firmness, are largely developed. Hence, as respects this form of practice, the beneficial effects of an acquaintance with phrenology. It enables the physician to delect in his patients their greater or less fitness for moral treatment."
Important Expedition.-Dumoutier, of France, who is somewhat distinguished as an anatomist, a physiologist, and a naturalist, and who has lectured for several years past in Paris, on phrenology, sailed recently on a voyage round the world, in one of the discovery ships sent out by the French government. His object is to coilect crania of various nations and tribes, and take busts, casts, drawings, &c. of the natives, wherever the ships may stop, for the purpose of securing them as phrenological illustrations. He will undoubtedly return with a rich and valuable collection.
Application of Phrenology to Education.—Dr. A. Combe, in his recepi work on the “ Pysiological and Moral Management of Infancy," has an excellent chapter on education. The subject is treated in strictly a phrenological manner, though the technical language of the science is poi generally used. He thus, however, acknowledges his indebtedness 10 phrenology, and bears his testimony to its great importance and value when applied to education :
" Thanks to the invaluable discovery of Gall, we are now in a position to explain why the past efforts of mankind in the education of the higher portions of human nature-of the intellectual and moral powers-have been comparatively unsuccessful; and we are in possession of principles, by the judicious application of which, a great and steady advance may speedily be made, and by means of which a great improvement has already been effected. By demonstrating that the various propensities, and powers of emotion, observation, and thought, are independent and distinct in their nature; that they act each through the medium of an appropriate portion of the brain, commonly called its organ ;' that each mental faculty is, by its natural constitution, related to a different class of objects, and is prone to start into activity when these objects are presented; and, lastly, that we can no more cultivate the emotion of justice or of pity, ihan we can the sense of hearing or seeing, by a mere intellectual exposition of its propriety. Phrenology has thrown upon the science of education a flood of light which will not be duly appreciated for years to come, but for which posterity will assuredly be grateful, when the benefits resulting from it shall be widely felt. To enter upon the consideration of all the applications which may be made of phrenology to the improvement of infant training and general education, would lead me far beyond the limits assigned to the present work. But I should be insensible of what I myself owe to its assistance, were I not to express, in the strongest terms, my obligations to its guidance, and to affirm, that, in the hands of a rational and well-educated parent, it is calculated to remove many a discouraging difficulty, and to implant in the mind a profound, pervading, and unshaken, because eplightened, reliance on the goodness, stability, and wisdom of the Divine arrangement, as the safest, clearest, and best which can be followed in bringing up a child in the way in which he should go."
Lectures of John Augustine Smith, M. D. on the Functions of the
Nervous System, in opposition to Phrenology, Materialism, and Fatalism, 4-c. &c.
This is a new work just issued from the press, and is the production of Dr. Smith, President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, and Professor of Physiology in that institution. Dr. S. has always, we believe, been a decided and open opposer of phrenology.