Imatges de pàgina

There is for example a principle, or at all events an occasional feeling, which is called Benevolence-a sympathy with the happiness of others—which some of our old philosophers considered as an ultimate fact or law of our constitution, and others sought to resolve into a complacent recollection of our own happiness, and an habitual conviction that it was best promoted when linked to that of all around us. But however that might be, they were all pretty well agreed that it was this same principle that was in every case at the bottom of our regard and affection for sentient beings of all descriptions; though it was variously modified by a consideration of the different qualities of the objects to which it was directed, and the different relations in which they might happen to stand to us :--And when their attention was called to the distinctions that might be pointed out between the kind of love they bore to their children and that they felt for their parents-or the attachment they cherished to their young female friends, as compared with their antient male ones

or to the worthies of their own country, and those of foreign lands-or to inferiors and superiors, of their own or of other

races, they thought all this pretty well explained by saying, that it was the general benevolent feeling-modified, in the case of children, by a sense of the weakness, innocence, and dependence of their condition; in the case of parents by respect for their experience and authority, and gratitude for the obligations they had conferred; in the case of young women, by emotions of sex; of our own countrymen, by the associations of patriotic partiality; and, in all cases, by the peculiar habits, tastes, and opinions to which the individual had been trained, by the education either of his preceptors or his society. With regard to the Constancy of these attachments, again, that was generally supposed to depend partly on the judgment or deliberation with which they had been formed, and partly on what might be called the firmness or gravity of the character to which they belonged. A man who was steady in his other pursuits was thought likely to be steady in his friendships, and one who was constant in his principles and opinions, to be constant also in his loves.

We do not mean to say that there was any thing very oracular or profound in this plain exposition of very familiar phe

On the contrary, its chief merit is, that it amounts to little more than a verbal statement of what every one must feel to be true. The Philosophy of Mind, we cannot help thinking, should be confined very much to its Natural History; and, instead of attempting to explain facts, which must ultimately be left inexplicable, our ambition might be advantageously limited to their clear enumeration. The old theory, to which we have


alluded, trespassed little on this maxim. In referring the common feeling of love or affection to one principle or capacity of our nature, it follows the great rule of philosophizing without unnecessary multiplication of suppositions, as correctly, as it adheres cautiously to observation and common sense, in explaining its subordinate variations by causes which cannot be overlooked.

In the eye of the Phrenologist, however, all this is mere drivelling and childishness. Benevolence, in general, is with him quite a different faculty or sentiment from love of women, or love of children -as different as seeing is from hearing or smelling. It is ascertained accordingly, he tells you, that they have separate and distinct organs in the brain ;-benevolence operating through a triangular bump on the upper part of the forehead - the love of children through a large roundish swelling on the hinder part of the skull—and love proper having its seat just above the nape of the neck! The constancy of these attachments, again, is a thing, we are assured, quite distinct from the attachments themselves. It is a separate and independent faculty of itself, to be known hereafter by the name of Adhesiveness; and may be found operating at any time through two oval protuberances on the posterior part of the cranium. We must take great care, however, not to imagine, that this adhesiveness has any thing to do with firmness of character in general—with perseverance in intellectual pursuits, or constancy to party or principle. Such an approximation to common sense would be a sad dereliction of phrenological originality. Adhesiveness is a faculty created expressly for keeping us steady in our personal attachments. Firmness, in general, is a totally distinct faculty; and has its organ, accordingly, on the very apex of the skull—while there is still another primitive faculty which helps to give intensity and vigour to the acts of the understanding, under the name of Concentrativeness—working by a large organ placed on the back of the head, between maternal love and vanity !

In like manner, Memory, upon the old system, was always regarded as one of the most distinct and observable faculties of our nature. In particular instances, it was held to depend very much on the degree of attention that had been given to the original impression; and as a general faculty, though different individuals were thought to possess it in different degrees, it was allowed to be capable in all cases of great improvement by exercise, and seldom to fail remarkably, upon subjects that had excited a great and habitual interest. It was supposed, in short, that there was such a thing as a good memory in general, depending for the most part on habits of attention and animated observation; and although it was no doubt observed, that some per

sons had a memory for dates, and others for stories, and others, again, for places, faces, or theories, it certainly did not occur to any one, that these were all separate and distinct faculties--and still less that there was no such power or faculty as memory at all, but that our recollection of past impressions was just a part of the same function by which we received them, or were led to take pleasure in them. Our old observers, speculating with a timid adherence to facts and common sense, were weak enough to suppose that they had explained the varieties of memory that were found to occur among men, by referring them to the obvious circumstances in the history or condition of each individual, which had recommended particular subjects to his notice and consideration. Sovereigns, who held levees and distributed nox tices in the circle, were found to have a singularly accurate recollection of faces and proper names--just as shepherds who had to separate their flocks on the mountains, had a mira. culous memory for the countenances of the sheep that composed them-while savages, who pursued their sport or warfare through trackless forests, had a strange memory for paths and places-and idle and opulent old gentlemen, for long stories and tiresome anecdotes of individuals.

This was homely enough philosophy, it might bemand did not give any very deep insight into the nature of memory in general. But it was sound so far as it went; and was commonly thought to go almost as far as the nature of the subject, and our wants and faculties admitted. In the fulness of time, however, comes Phrenology, with a new and marvellous revelation; and it is curious to observe by what fine gradations the mighty truth was at last evolved. The first discovery was—not that mes mory was no faculty at all--but that it was several separate and distinct faculties ! that there was a mem


for places, and a memory for words, and a memory for things in general; and that each of these was an independent and original faculty, and had a material organ, and several section of the brain set àpart for its peculiar use;-a discovery no less wonderful, we think, than it would be to announce that the faculty of seeing flowers was quite a different thing from that of seeing stones or stars; and that the organ of the one kind of sight was in the forehead, and of the other in the palm of the hand. Such, however, was the state of the science, when we first approach ed its mysteries, some twenty years ago, in the publications of Dr Spurzheim. All this, however, we are happy to find from Mr Combe, has now been discarded. The

organs mory and verbal memory have been discovered to be the

organs of Locality-whatever that may mean—and of Language respectively; and it has been ascertained, that there is no such facul

of local me

ty as Memory at all, and, of course, no part of the brain, or even of the skull, appropriated to the use of that imaginary function. It is merely, it seems, ' a certain state of activity' of certain other faculties: and the nature of it is oracularly explained by Mr Combe, when he assures us, that the organ

of Tune will recall notes formerly heard, and give the memory of music. Form will recall figures formerly observed, and give the

memory of persons, pictures, and crystals; and Individuality I will give the memory for facts, and render a person well skil

led in History, both natural and civil !’ This is perfect; and, of course, leaves nothing to be desired ;-and it follows by necessary consequence, that it is by the nose we remember smells, and by the eye that we have memory of colours.

Can it really be thought necessary to inquire into the alleged proofs of propositions so manifestly preposterous ? And is not the absurdity of their Metaphysics sufficient to excuse us from any examination of the Evidence relied on by the Phrenologists ? If any man can believe that there are, or can be, so many distinct powers

and faculties as we have now referred to, he may possibly be justified in seeking to be satisfied as to the existence and locality of their material organs. For ourselves, we see no occasion to


farther. But in reality, this inconceivable multiplication of original and separate faculties, affords, after all perhaps, a weaker argument against the truth of the phrenological system, than their unaccountable limitation does against its consistency. If their principles are right, the number of our faculties and organs ought truly to be infinite. The great boast of their philosophy is, that it does not rest on fantastical and arbitrary abstractions, but on a correct observation of the varieties of actual character-and is applied, not to a mere speculative and shadowy analysis of supposed qualities, but to the undeniable realities by which men are distinguished in common life. It takes no cognizance of such questionable existences as perception, memory, imagination, or judgment; but looks at once to the

peculiarities by which the conduct and characters of men in society are marked to ordinary observation; and, referring them as far as possible to primitive and original differences, endeavours to discover whether they are indicated by any external peculiarity of organization. Thus, it finds one man actuated in all his conduct by a strong desire of fame-and immediately it sets down • love of Approbation,' as an original principle in our nature, and looks about for a bump on some vacant part of the skull, by the size of which the strength of this propensity may be measured. Another is distinguished by his love of money, and so Acquisitiveness is established as a primitive and inherent pro

pensity! Another is a great talker-and forthwith Language is made a distinct and independent faculty; another has a turn for making nut-crackers and mouse-traps and what can be so natural as to refer this to the bulk of his organ of Constructiveness ? another shows a great love for children-without indicating much benevolence to any grown creature; and nothing consequently can be plainer than that Philoprogenitiveness is an original sentiment. Some are quick at arithmetical operationsand what explanation can be so satisfactory, as that they have the faculty of Number very prominent ? others remember all the cross-roads they have ever come through-and who can deny, therefore, that they are distinguished for their Locality ? some keep their papers, clothes and furniture, very nicely arranged—which can be attributed only to the degree in which they possess the faculty of Order; while there are others again, at least so Mr Combe assures us, whose genius consists in a peculiarly quick observation of the Size and Weight of external substances-for whose sake accordingly it has been thought reasonable to create the special original faculties-of Size and Weight!

This, we must admit, is sufficiently simple and bold. But where is it to stop ? If we are thus to take all the tastes, habits, accomplishments, and propensities by which grown men are distinguished, in the concrete, and forthwith to refer them to some peculiar original faculty or principle, imagined for the mere purpose of accounting for them, the 36 original faculties of the phrenologists may at once be multiplied to 360 or 36000— and room must be made upon the skull for as many new organs. Some men have a remarkable love for their children --and therefore we have a separate principle of Philoprogenitiveness. But other men have as remarkable a love for their parents-and why therefore should we not have a faculty of Philoprogenitorness, with a corresponding bump on some suitable place of the cranium ? The affections of others, again, are less remarkable in the ascending and descending lines, and spread most kindly in the collateral ;-Can it be doubted, then, that we should have a Philadelphic principle, to attach us to our brothers and sisters,— and another to keep us in charity with our first cousins? If the fact, that some men are distinguished for their love of Wealth, is a sufficient ground for assuming that Acquisitiveness is an independent and original principle of our nature, should not the fact of other men being distinguished for their love of Dogs and Horses justify us in referring this also to an inherent principle?-or upon what grounds can we refuse the same hoVOL. XLIV. NO. 88.


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