Imatges de pÓgina

must have another, with a separate organ, to perceive form, is really not less extravagant than to suppose that, though we have already one sense by which we perceive squares, we must have another separate one, to enable us to perceive circles.

If we do not perceive colour by the sight, nor form by the sight and touch, what is it, we should like to know, that we do perceive by the help of these senses, or what functions are left them to perform? If we have two separate senses, each accommodated with its appropriate material organ expressly for giving these perceptions, what use have we for the sense of seeing, or the eye? The ambition of the phrenological adventurers, it must be confessed, is sufficiently comprehensive. They not only discover new faculties and organs—but they supersede and disable all that were known before. It is as if they were to maintain, that the light in a sunny parlour exsuded through certain little holes in the carpet and the wall, and that the windows, and the sun which shone through them, had nothing at all to do with it. The deep observation that the ex• ternal senses cannot form ideas,' is rather beyond our capacity. We really do not know what is meant here by ideas. Is it meant to be said that, by these senses, we have no perceptions? If this was meant, it should have been plainly stated—and we would then ask again, if they do not furnish us with perceptions, what is it that they do furnish us with ? It was never supposed, we believe, that they furnished any thing else. That we are enabled to recal these perceptions, is a fact no doubt-and this was commonly thought to be effected by a power or faculty called Memory; but, as the operation was purely mental, it did not occur to any one that it must be vided with a special material organ, or three or four organs, on the surface of the skull—which was the first discovery of the Phrenologists; and still less that it was a part of the business of the separate and newly imagined faculties, apart from sight and touch, by which we perceived colour, form, and other material qualities.

All that we have now said applies equally well to the supposed faculty of perceiving Size. No man who can clearly see a small wafer lying in a china plate, on a circular grass plot, can fail to perceive a difference in the sizes of these three circles. No man can embrace a goodly column, and then take up a slender wand, and not know, by his touch, the same difference. It is needless to dwell upon this. But the lucubrations of the Phrenologists on this original faculty are more than usually edifying. A lady,' says Mr Combe, with whom I i am acquainted, has Form large, and Size deficient; and in



« drawing, she copies the form of an animal or the human figure

easily and precisely, but is always at fault in the Size. She felt " this as a natural defect, and complained of it before she heard of

phrenology.' Now the mystery of this is admirable. Here is a lady who in drawing is always at fault as to size, and yet can make the figure of a man or animal perfectly! that is, she makes no fault at all in the relative size of the feet, hands, head, tail, ears, or horns of any one figure—but cannot observe proportion or uniformity in the total size of different figures ! There may be such a case; for we make no question either of Mr Combe's veracity, or that of the fair artist. But the defect plainly is not that of the organ of size--for, upon the statement, she judges perfectly of sizes, in by far the nicest and most difficult of their combinations. We would suggest as a very humble and vulgar solution of the specialty, that she has probably been more accustomed to draw single figures, than to group or combine them, and that a little practice in the latter branch of the art may go far to remove this supposed defect in her natural endowments. If Mr Combe disdains this suggestion, we think he has nothing for it but to make two organs and faculties of size,-one to take cognizance of the size of the different parts or members of a single body-and the other of the sizes of such bodies viewed complexly

Last of all comes Weight: A more unlucky subject for an original faculty could not well, we think, have been selected nor can any thing well be wilder than the work the Phrenologists have made of it. The perception of weight, we take it, is the perception of the tendency of all bodies to move, with more or less force, towards the centre of the earth; and it involves in it, as we think, the perception of three different phenomena: 1. The perception of downward motion, when heavy bodies are actually in a course of descent; 2. The perception of pressure, when the heavy body rests on the percipient; and, 3. The perception of resistance, when we raise or try to raise it. Now, it is very plainly by reasoning and observation, and not by the perception of any peculiar sense or faculty, that we refer all these phenomena to the operation of one cause-while the phenomena themselves are confessedly perceived by the senses of sight and touch, or the general sensibility of the body.

That they do not of themselves suggest the idea of weight or gravitation, but that this is the result of experience and observation merely, and is in fact the discovery of a very important general law of matter, we conceive to be obvious upon a very slight consideration. First of all, it would be rather strange if there was a faculty by which we directly recognised and distin

guished the motions produced by gravitation, from those produced by impulse or any other cause; and the fact is, that anterior to observation, we certainly do not so distinguish them. The motions themselves are in all cases perceived by sight or touch. Then, again, as to pressure, is it meant to be said that we have a special faculty by which we can certainly tell whether a pressure on our finger, or our whole body, is produced by the mere weight of the incumbent substance, or by the force of a screw, or by muscular exertion applied to it? If our sensations are indistinguishable in all these cases, there can be no sense of weight- but only of pain or pressure, for which Mr Combe has not thought it necessary to provide any new faculty—and which is manifestly quite different from the perception of motion. Finally, as to resistance, if we vainly endeavour to pull up a plank from the ground, is there really any faculty which will at once inform us whether the resistance is owing to its great weight--or to our happening ourselves to stand upon it, and, consequently, to the equal balance of the action and reaction? If there be, as there confessedly is, no such faculty, then it is quite plain that we do not get the notion of weight by the direct intimation of any separate sense, but by reasoning and înference from repeated observation of the common phenomena of motion, pressure, and resistance, under certain circumstances; Land of these diverse phenomena, it seems utterly extravagant to say, either that we are only percipient by this new faculty of Weight, or that we are not percipient of them exactly as in cases where they occur from other causes than gravitation, by our old vulgar endowments of seeing and touch.

But there are other and higher functions, it seems, to which this sense of weight is destined by the Phrenologists. It enables men to play at quoits, and to be expert at archery-but, above all, it confers eminence in mechanical science, and leads to useful discoveries in engineering !-besides giving a man a prompt knowledge of his own centre of gravity! This, we confess, is rather too puerile. There is no human occupation, sportive or serious -- from ascending in balloons to working in stone quarries—in which we are permitted for a moment to forget the power of gravitation; and we really think that, in all, it is intensely and equally remembered. But what has this to do with mechanical Philosophy or contrivances ? Every man is equally aware that bodies have weight-and, in machinery, and mechanical philosophy, it is indisputably not by any tact, or the vague intimations of any sense or faculty, but by calculation according to fixed principles, that they proceed either to employ or to overcome it. One man may have a bet


any re

ter guess than another of the probable weight of a body that is to be moved : But did any body ever hear, or even imagine, that he would proceed to make a machine to move it, in liance on the accuracy of this estimation? or still less, that he would, in consequence of this, be more likely than another to devise a good machine for the purpose ? We are told indeed that Newton had the organ of this faculty very large—and that Professor Farish and Mr Whewell of Cambridge, who have both given great proofs of mechanical skill,' have it also large;and again, that it is large in a weaver of Saltcoats, who has spent much time in regulating the working of pumps-and, finally, that several persons have been met with, in whom it was smalland who at once acknowledged deficiency in mechanical talent, and awkwardness in their actions and movements !! It cannot be necessary, we should think, to make


observation on matter like this. It is not even alleged, it will be observed, that any of the great mechanical philosophers here mentioned, had, in point of fact, any different or more exact perceptions of weight, or of the ordinary phenomena from which the notion is derived, than the awkward individuals who acknowledged their deficiency in these branches of science. All that is alleged is, that the former had a small protuberance above the middle of the eyebrow, which was not observed in the latter. If it was necessary to make this out to be the organ of a particular faculty, we think it would have been a more likely guess to have construed it into the organ of Algebra, or of the Fluxionary faculty, than the organ of Weight. But we are tired of this and leave the rest of the speculation about reeling drunkards and Dr Hunter's fits of giddiness, together indeed with the whole remaining assortment of phrenological faculties, including Wit, Wonder and Causality, among many others, to the unassisted judgment of such readers as wish for farther acquaintance with them.

We have dwelt too long, we fear, on this branch of the inquiry : But, though in one sense it may be regarded as preliminary only, we confess it has always appeared to us substantially to exhaust the whole question, and to render it unneces. sary to go farther. The question being, whether it be really true, that certain bumps on the head are the Organs of certain primitive, distinct and universal Faculties, - we cannot but think ihat it is pretty well settled, if it be made out, Ist, that there is not the least reason to suppose that any of our faculties, but those which connect us with external objects, or direct the movements of our bodies, act by material organs at all, and that the Phrenological organs have no analogy whatever with

those of the external senses ; 2d, that it is quite plain that there neither are, nor can be, any such primitive and original Faculties as the greater part of those to which such organs are assigned by the Phrenologists; and, 3d, that if the 36, with the organs of which they have covered the whole skull, are admitted to exist, it seems impossible to refuse a similar existence to many hundreds or thousands of the same kind, for the organs and operations of which they have however left no room.

If these things be, as we humbly conceive them to be, it is plain enough that the Phrenological theory cannot possibly be true, as it has been hitherto maintained: And yet it does not follow, of absolute necessity, that the facts on wbich it is said to be grounded are consequently false. If there be no such primitive faculties as they allege, the bumps they have observed cannot indeed be the organs of such faculties; and there is an end, therefore, of the theory. Yet it may possibly be true, that the particular ba. bits, accomplishments and propensities, to which they have given the name of faculties, may be found in conjunction with these bumps. If the theory be once destroyed, the mere fact of such a conjunction must be allowed indeed to be in the highest degree improbable. But as the supposition of it implies no contradiction, it may possibly be true and we are bound therefore, even after demolishing the theory, to look a little at the evidence by which it is said to be established. It is possible that every man who is hanged for forgery would be found to have been born with a peculiar protuberance in the joints of his middle fingers-that every man who publishes a quarto volume, must always have had a tumour on the inside of his knees--and that every profound Greek scholar must have come into the world with a small wen on his tongue. We admit most readily, that all rational probability is against such apparently capricious coincidences-and we imagine that most people would think themselves justified in laughing at those who maintained them, and in refusing to look into their proofs. But still the things are possible--and if the proofs were perfectly clear, unequivocal and abundant, we could not but believe in their reality. Now, this we think is the true state of the case as to Phrenology. As its advocates appeal loudly to fact and observation, we are bound to look to their evidence;—and though we certainly think it altogether as improbable that every witty man must have been born with two triangular projections in front of his temples, and every kind mother with a large oval one on the back of her head, as that every skilful cook must have had particularly long heels, or every rich banker a very short nose-we certainly cannot take upon us to say that the facts are absolutely impossible, or that,

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