Imatges de pÓgina
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areso unalterably perfect as are those produced by blind instinct operating according to the ordinances of overruling Intelligence.'

That organization is only one of the causes which create or determine the qualities of the brute, is manifest ; because animals are seen to be capable of acquired habits not common to the species,-capable of a sort of education, in which both rewards and punishments have their efficacy. So true is it, that did even the actions of men take place under a mechanical necessity similar to that which prompts the impulses of the brute, there would still be scope for a moral discipline, though not for moral probation; still a reason for the law which apportions reward and punishment to good or evil actions. If organization, then, is one of the causes which determine the tendencies of the animal, there can be no danger in admitting that it is one of the causes of predisposition in the human being. Regarding the brain as an instrument, (which is the

proper

idea of an organ,) we might expect to find a difference of adaptation in the organ, in relation to different intellectual processes; and a difference of adaptation must be considered as amounting to a predisposing cause. If we find the head more produced in

parts peculiar to man, it is reasonable then,' as Mr. Abernethy remarks,

that he will possess more of the intellectual character; and if in those parts common also to brutes, that he will possess more of those propensities in which he participates with the brute creation? We are all naturally physiognomists; and almost every observant person has remarked the amplitude of this part of the head to be indicative of intellectual power.'

That men should be born with brains of different capacity, with different degrees of intellectual capability, or with different animal propensities, is no more to be objected against, than that they should possess different powers of mind, be born in circumstances so immensely dissimilar, and grow up to maturity under such widely varying moral advantages and disadvantages. The supposed physical or mechanical necessity in the one case, is not more real or absolute than the moral necessity in the other. There is, on either view, a limiting, but not a necessitating cause; an inequality in the distribution of good, which runs through the whole economy of Nature, but no overruling determination of the will. An organization precluding the highest intellectual attainments, cannot at all events be the cause which prevents the development of the intellect up to that point of organic limitation; and till cultivation has done its utmost, it is impossible to say what the organic structure will admit of. In the case of the Negro, a configuration supposed to be unfavourable to the intellectual

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character, has been found to admit of far higber attainments than was suspected. A more perfect organization may be considered as a great physical advantage; but it will not be pretended that there are many instances in which the development of intellect has been carried as far as the physical structure would allow. Yet, till that point is reached, organization cannot be justly said to have come into operation as even a limiting cause.

Again, the mere existence of predisposition cannot account for the predominance of predisposition over those faculties and sentiments which, according even to Spurzheim's view of human nature, are designed, and are adequate to control those propensities.

Though the possession of original dispositions, faculties, and sentiments, may create a tendency to certain actions, yet Gall and Spurzheim admit, that it is education which produces knowledge and cbaracter: it is the disposition and ability to do what has been repeatedly done, and with progressive improvement, that gives us talents and habits of thinking, feeling, and acting in a particular manner.

It is repetition, or education, by which, also, motives are rendered so predominant that we feel the indispensable necessity of implicit and energetic obedience to their commands, which is called enthusiasm, and which has given rise to glorious deeds, dignifying and exalting human nature far above animal existence. Religious sentiment, conscientious justice, patriotism, and even personal honour, have induced mankind to bear the greatest evils, without betraying any of the unworthy propensities of our nature.

Even facts and opinions may, by repetition, acquire a prepondcrance and value that did not originally belong to them. Questionable assertions may by degrees obtain the authority and power of established facts; and opinions, which at first were doubtful, may in like manner acquire a delusive influence over his mind. On the other hand, we may suppress and bring into disuse, propensities and sentiments which may have been naturally strong, till they become inert and inoperative. No better proof of this can be required, or needs be adduced, than the complete change of character or conduct which is caused by the imitation of others, and by habits acquired from those with whom we associate; a change so generally known and recognised, that its effects have become proverbial." Don't tell me,” says Sancho Panza, " by whom you were bred, but with whom you are fed."'

Nothing, then, can evince a more perverted judgement, than to represent man as the creature of organization, whatever view we take of the physiological question, when it is so obvious and undeniable, that he is almost infinitely more the creature of habit; the moral cause being every day seen to triumph over the predisposing physical cause, and either to suspend or to annihilate its influence. How completely must professional studies have warped the mind of the man who imagines that he sees in any external signs of predisposition, a necessitating cause, or even an index to the future eharacter ! Yet, it is in these absurd inferences from the Craniological doctrine of Gall and Spurzheim, that all the mischief lies; while, no doubt, what has rendered the doctrine attractive to many persons is, the supposed aid which it gives to the mischievous dogmas of the Physiological Necessitarian. In point of fact, it yields them no countenance or support; and therefore, the system may be allowed to stand or fall according to its intrinsic merits.

Mr. Abernethy has no hesitation in admitting the proposition that the brain of animals ought to be regarded as the

organization by which their percipient principle becomes

variously affected:” he assigns the following reasons for his opinions.

Ist, Because, in the senses of sight, hearing, and smelling, 1 sec distinct organs for the production of each sensation. 2. Because the brain is larger and more complicated in proportion as the variety of affeotions of the percipient principle is increased. 3. Because diseases and injuries disturb or annul particular faculties and affections without influoncing others. 4. Because it seems to me more reasonable to suppose that whatever is perceptive may be variously affected by means of vital actions transmitted through a diversity of organization, than to suppose that such variety depends upon original differences in the nature of the percipient principle.'

But, that reason and the nobler sentiments of our nature arise from organization or mere vital actions, and that the organs themselves are perceptive-are notions which he deems it impossible for any rational being seriously to entertain. It is an unanswerable objection to the supposition of the Materialist, that it militates against the unity of that which is perceptive, rational, and intelligent.

• The perceptive and intellectual phenomena cannot be rationally ac- counted for upon the supposition that the brain is an assemblage of organs, each possessing its own perceptiveness, intelligence, and will, There must be a common centre, as I may 'express it, to which all the vital actions tend, and from which all attention, ratiocitation, decision, and volition proceed. Our attention may be so inactive or absent, so occupied by our own imaginations and thoughts, or abstracted, that we are scarcely conscious there is any thing surrounding us. Though we possess extensive perceptions by means of vital actions, yet we attend to but one subject at a'time. We can direct our attention to any of oar various sensations and feelings, to the operation of any of our faculties and sentiments; and, therefore, if Gall and Spurzheim's opinions of the structure of the brain be true, that which is attentive must have communication with all parts of the organ.?

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character, has been found to admit of far higher attainments than was suspected. A more perfect organization may be considered as a great physical advantage; but it will not be pretended that there are many instances in which the development of intellect has been carried as far as the physical structure would allow. Yet, till that point is reached, organization cannot be justly said to have come into operation as even a limiting cause.

Again, the mere existence of predisposition cannot account for the predominance of predisposition over those faculties and sentiments which, according even to Spurzheim's view of human nature, are designed, and are adequate to control those propensities.

Though the possession of original dispositions, faculties, and sentiments, may create a tendency to certain actions, yet Gall and Spurzheim admit

, that it is education which produces knowledge and characier : it is the disposition and ability to do what has been repeatedly done, and with progressive improvement, that gives us talents and habits of thinking, feeling, and acting in a particular manner. It is repetition, or education, by which, also, motives are rendered so predominant that we feel the indispensable necessity of implicit and energetic obedience to their commands, which is called enthusiasm, and which has given rise to glorious deeds, dignifying and exalting human nature far above animal existence. Religious sentiment, conscientious justice, patriotism, and even personal honour, have induced mankind to bear the greatest evils, without betraying any of the unworthy propensities of our nature.

* Even facts and opinions may, by repetition, acquire a preponderance and value that did not originally belong to them. Questionable assertions may by degrees obtain the authority and power of established facts; and opinions, which at first were doubtful, may in like mapper acquire a delusive influence over his mind. On the other hand, we may suppress and bring into disuse, propensities and sentiments which may bave been naturally strong, till they become inert and inoperative. No better proof of this can be required, or needs be adduced, than the complete change of character or conduct which is caused by the imitation of others, and by habits acquired from those with whom we associate ; a change so generally known and recognised, that its effects have become proverbial. “Don't tell me,” says Sancho Panza, " by whom you were bred, but with whom you are fed.”'

Nothing, then, can evince a more perverted judgement, than to represent man as the creature of organization, whatever view we take of the physiological question, when it is so obvious and undeniable, that he is almost infinitely more the creature of habit; the moral cause being every day seen to triumph over the predisposing physical cause, and either to suspend or to annihilate its influence. How completely must professional studies have warped the mind of the man who ment or of intellectual character, they might be known as rules of observation, while the coincidence should remain wholly unu accounted for. The shape of the skull, confessedly, does not answer to the external figure of the brain : it cannot, therefore, be determined by it. These convex knobs are not concavities designed to make room for its action. They can only be considered as hieroglyphic sculptures on the case which encloses the machinery; and if Dr. Spurzheim can decipher them, well and good. But he must not call them organs, or take it for granted that there are local organs answering to every knob.

Of the existence of strong intellectual predispositions and animal propensities in mankind, we entertain no doubt. We are also tempted to believe that there is some correctness in Dr." Spurzheim's craniological observations with regard to the signs of many of those propensities; that they have some foundation in fact. For otherwise, we should find it impossible to account for the vast number of instances in which his craniological rules have led to the detection of individual characteristics. The coincidences have been toonumerous and striking to admit of being slightly disposed of. Because they have been employed to prove too much, it does not follow that they prove nothing. What we chiefly dislike in the System is, the mixing, up of intellectual with moral predispositions, and connecting the latter also with the brain. The classification is unnatural, and, we think, unsound. An organization adapted to the faculty of constructiveness, or to that of calculation, or to that of imaginative combination, we can understand. But organs of benevolence, of veneration, or of other moral qualities, appear to us terms without meaning. So far as the predisposition to good or evil qualities has any existence in the physical constitution of man, and since it exists in the brute animal, we see no room for denying that it may have a physical origin,) such predisposition must be regarded as having a connexion with the temperament, not with the cerebral structure. On this point, we are sorry to be at issue with Mr. Abernethy, who expresses his satisfaction with Gall and Spurzheim's arrangement, because it' places the sentiments and dispositions in their real

situation--the head.' And he expresses his surprise that an anatomist so eminent as Bichat, should represent the heart to be the seat of feeling, the head of thought. We will not contend about the exact seat of feeling; but of this we are well persuaded, that what Bichat calls the organic life, is chiefly implicated, as a system of functions, in those predispositions to certain passions or tempers which frequently discover themselves before thought could possibly give birth to them. And we entertain no doubt that the simple circumstance of health in the

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