Imatges de pàgina

nour to the love of card-playing, gossiping, or agriculture ? Some men-nay some whole families, are notorious for lying -though addicted to no other immorality; some-- the natural prey of the former-are proverbial for credulity-some for inordinate merriment and laughter-some for envy-some for love of society-some for telling long stories-some for love of noise-some for their horror of it. Most of these, it appears to us, are quite as well entitled to the rank of primitive faculties or propensities, as any on the list of the Phrenologists. Undoubtedly they mark as conspicuously the character and manners of the persons to whom they belong, and are not in general so easily resolved into more general principles. Why then should they be excluded from the scheme of the Phrenologists, and left without any organs, in their improvident distribution of the skull? Nay, upon these principles, why should there not be a separate original faculty prompting us to the practice of skating, sailing, or planting ?-or towards the study of botany, mineralogy, anatomy, bookbinding, chemistry, gymnastics-or any of the other five hundred pursuits to which idle men are found to betake themselves, with an engrossing and often passionate partiality ?

It is quite as true of all these, as of the love of money, or of order, or of children, or of mechanics, that they are what practically distinguish the habits and character of men in society; and if we are not allowed to analyze or explain these propensities, either by resolving them into more general principles, or tracing them back to such accidental causes, as imitation, fashion, or education, they seem quite as well entitled to the honour of original principles of our nature, as most of those to which we are now required to concede it. It is no less true of them, too, that, when the habit, taste, or propensity is once acquired, it does indicate a certain state of mind, by which the individual is truly characterized; and, for any thing we can tell, some peculiar original aptitude for its acquisition. But then, this is as obviously true of the most insignificant, recent, and transitory, taste, trick, or habit, by which any one ever rendered himself ridiculous or remarkable. A taste for French wines, or black tea-for puns or charades—for pugilism, genealogy, prosody, whizgigs, or fish sauces—all mark a man's character and manners, while they last--and may all be said, in one sense, to proceed from a certain state of his mind, or balance of his powers and faculties. But is this a reason for assuming the existence of a primitive and separate faculty, common to all mankind, for every such trick or propensity ? Or is it not quite manifest, that such a supposition is as much opposed to the first rules of philosophizing as to the plainest dictates of common sense?

It is the peculiar business of philosophy, as it has hitherto been understood, to explain detached phenomena, by referring them to general laws; and then, if possible, to resolve the first laws so determined, into others still more simple and comprehensive. In metaphysical inquiries this is not perhaps so easy as in the sciences conversant with matter ; but the course to be pursued is, at all events, indicated with sufficient clearness; and, till the advent of the Phrenologists, no one ventured openly to desert it.

The problem always has been with how few primitive faculties intellectual phenomena could be explained. Some bolder spirits were of opinion, that the work might very well be done with the Perception of external objects, sensations of Pleasure and Pain, and the Memory of them; while others required the instrumentality of several other agents. But it certainly never occurred to any body, till the late revelation, that the primitive faculties might be multiplied on the principle of the Phrenologists, and that the consummation of philosophy was to account for every separate propensity, taste or talent, that a man had acquired, by setting it down to the predominance of some imaginary original faculty-created for the express purpose of accounting for it!

To what absurd and extravagant multiplication of the faculties this principle unavoidably leads, we have already endeavoured to show; and it is not necessary to go beyond some of those we have been led incidentally to mention, to prove on what shallow and preposterous grounds they have been assumed as primitive qualities of our nature. Because avarice is a vice of pretty common occurrence, it is raised into an original attribute of our nature, by the name of Acquisitiveness—which all men have in some degree, and the avaricious in excess. Now, as this acquisitiveness is merely the desire of possessing things useful or agreeable, what necessity can there be to suppose any other faculty than that of perceiving what is useful and agreeable, to account for such a desire ? A man who has suffered from the want of food or clothing, or enjoyed the timely supply of them, cannot well recall either of those sensations, without wishing at all times to possess a sufficiency of those valuable articles,—and to provide a separate sense or faculty merely to enable him to form such a wish, really seems to us as wasteful an exercise of creative power as we recollect ever to have met with, even in the prodigalities of poetry. Can any one really doubt that wealth is des ed as the means to an end ?_and if the end--which is comfort, influence, and security--is undeniably desirable, is it not utterly preposterous to invent a separate principle to explain how the means should be desirable also ? At this rate, we should have one faculty in our nature which led us to wish for warmth in cold weather-and another, quite separate and independent, which taught us to set a due value on coals!

If the principle itself be plainly a necessary result of experience and observation, the cases of its excess can of course occasion no difficulty-although nothing can illustrate more strikingly the dull dogmatism which the Phrenologists would substitute for philosophy, than to contrast the usual and rational explanations that are given of this particular phenomenon with their summary exposition of it. A man is avaricious, with them, whenever the organ of acquisitiveness is largely developed in him! and this is all they can tell of the matter : And they have the modesty to hold up this notable truism as rendering quite unnecessary or ridiculous the explanations which the uninitiated had previously attempted of this common propensity-as, by referring it, in particular instances, to early habits of necessary frugality- to distaste or alarm at the spectacle or experience of great profusion-to long continued precept and example-to the union of timidity and love of power-and, in almost all cases, to the gradual strengthening of the association between the actual gratifications which wealth may procure, and the wealth itself which represents them-till the two things are actually confounded in the apprehension. That the avarice of particular persons may often be traced to such causes, we apprehend to be matter of plain fact and observation; and that such causes have always a tendency to produce that propensity, we conceive to be quite undeniable; and, without saying much in exaltation of the sense or philosophy which furnished those plain suggestions, we really must be allowed to prefer them to the flat stupidity of the assertion, that men are avaricious, because they have an unusually large bump, of a rectangular form, a little above the ear,—and that this bump is the organ of a peculiar sense or faculty by which we get a notion of the value of property!

Take, again, the pretended sense or faculty of Order, or that principle of our nature by which we delight in the symmetrical arrangement and nice distribution of things around us--Might it not suffice to account for such a phenomenon, that such orderly arrangements were found to be extremely convenient, in one set of cases—and that they suggested agreeable impressions of human power and ingenuity, in another ? If a man keep his books, papers, and clothes, in a state of confusion, he will infallibly have a great deal of trouble whenever he wishes to make use of them; and if he does not like trouble, he must come to regard that good order by which alone he can be saved from it, with some degree of pleasure and approbation. To suppose, therefore, that he must have a peculiar, independent faculty, to give him a sense of the value of order, is about as rational, as to say, that a man who had been cured of colic by laudanum, could not have a proper esteem for the virtues of that drug, unless, in addition to his memory and common sense, he had been endowed with a separate, original faculty, to be entitled Laudanum-or perchance Philanodyneness !

As to the degree in which different individuals are found to possess this love of order, we willingly leave it to our readers to determine, whether it is most rationally accounted for by the Phrenologists, who say it depends entirely on the relative size of a small protuberance near the outer angle of the eyebrow, or by the less gifted observers who refer it to the habits in which the said individuals have been trained; the irrisistability or easiness of temper which make small annoyances of more or less importance to them; and the nature of their pursuits and occupations, as more or less consistent with the recurrence of such annoyances. As to the taste for symmetry, in buildings, furniture, &c., which is quite a different thing from the love of order in things about one's person, we humbly conceive that this is sufficiently explained by

its being plainly indicative of art and successful ingenuity, and being associated with the established models of taste, fitness, or magnificence. That we have no absolute or inherent relish for mere order or uniformity, is apparent, accordingly, from the obvious fact, that it ceases to be agreeable whenever it is disjoined from those suggestions of ingenuity or fitness. The uniformity that is pleasing in the two sides of a room or a building, would be monstrous in the two sides of a landscape. What we require in the pillars of a collonade, would not be endured in the trees of a grove, or even of an avenue. It is merely in works of Art in short, and only in such of them as ostentatiously claim this character, that methodical or symmetrical dispositions are pleasing. They would be quite the reverse in the far greater number of beautiful and sublime objects with which we are surrounded. What should we think of mountains in regular cubes, lakes in parallelograms, and clouds, forests, or constellations in correct mathematical forms, and relative positions ? And yet we have a primitive and inherent faculty for admiring these things ! and it is one and the same faculty which leads an orderly man of business to tie up his papers in well doce

quetted bundles, and a notable housewife to arrange her linen in nice wardrobes and accurate inventaries !

It would be easy to deal, in this way, with almost all of the primitive faculties of the Phrenologists; and to show, not only that they may be resolved into more general and familiar principles, but that they must be multiplied an hundred fold, if the views are sound on which we are now required to admit them. We are rather inclined, however, to think that this is unnecessary; and really cannot help feeling, that this serious and systematic way of treating their pretensions is somewhat unsuitable to their character, — and is not well calculated to give the uninstructed reader an adequate idea of the excessive crudity, shal lowness, and puerility of their metaphysical theory. To do full justice to this, it is necessary to recur to their own exposition of it; and we cannot begin more auspiciously, than by a few extracts from Mr Combe's chapter on Concentrativeness, '—a faculty of much note and importance in his scheme, having a goodly organ in the back part of the head, just above love of children, and below self-esteem. The oracles of Phrenology are unluckily divided as to the true nature of the faculty which acts by this posterior protuberance :-and it may help to give some idea of the certainty and maturity which this science of observation has attained, just to mention, that Dr Gall opines it to indicate pride in men, and a love of high situations in the inferior animals !—while Dr Spurzheim is confident that, in both, it merely marks what he is pleased, very luminously, to denominate a particular disposition with regard to their dwell

ing places; '-and Mr Combe thinks it clear, that it points out only the power of concentrating our thoughts.' This, to be sure, is very edifying; but it is well worth while to see how these sages dispute the matter with each other. After observing that the existence and locality of the organs are

6 well ascertained,' Mr Combe informs us, that

· Dr Gall conceives it to be connected in animals with the love of physical elevation, and in man with pride or Self-Esteem. Dr SPURZHEIM observed it to be large in those animals and persons who seemed attached to particular places. I consider,” says he, “ in animals, the cerebral part immediately above the organ of Philoprogenitiveness, as the organ of the instinct that prompts them to select a peculiar dwelling, and call it the organ of Inhabitiveness. My attention has been, and is, still directed to such individuals of the human kind as shew a particular disposition in regard to their dwelling place. Some nations are extremely attached to their country, while others are readily induced to migrate. Some tribes wander about without fixed habitations, while others have a settled home. Mountaineers are commonly much attached to their native soil, and those of them who visit capitals or foreign countries,

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