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of an abstruse, difficult science, as the investigation of a profound philosophical question, can never be much promoted by being made the object of mountibank displays. Edinburgh appears to be at present the grand center from which all these Phrenological transactions proceed. We naturally receive with a kind of intuitive distrust, whatever bears the name of philosophy, and emanates from that quarter; for the labours of our modern philosophers are seldom gratuitous, and no doubt they have discovered Phrenology to be great gain. At first they denominated themselves "Craniologists," but thinking that appellation not sufficiently elegant, they have now assumed the more classical and learned title of "Phrenologists.". This fine expression is derived from two greek words; — one signifying mind, the other a word, and the meaning of the compound term is, “retailers of words about the mind." For a short period before the last change of title, whilst the science was making rapid strides from the humble study of skulls, to the more lofty and dignified investigation of mind, they took the name "Cranioscopists" or "Inspectors of Skulls." But as the science is still progressing at a prodigious rate, we may naturally hope that its followers will in a short time prove themselves worthy of being styled "Phrenoscopists" or "Inspectors of Mind." Formerly the study of the mind was entered upon with a feeling of holy awe inspired by the solemn obscurity, in which it pleased the Creator to invest the hidden springs of our intellectual powers. Phrenology has raised the veil of darkness, and has made mind a most familiar, popular and amusing subject of observation. Every schoolboy who can purchase a few books, and procure for nine shillings the co-operation of a head as well stocked with ideas as his own, immediately becomes a moral philosopher of the first class. He decides with the air of a sage, upon the dispositions, propensities, and mental energies of his friends; he handles, measures, and controuls the different developements of the intellect, and so wonderful is the sagacity, and boundless the knowledge of our modern metaphysicians, that we may daily expect to hear that some lucky experimenter has caught a young mind, bottled it, and presented it to the museum of the Phrenological society.
. The second edition of Mr. Combe's Phrenology has just appeared, and as this work is the fullest and most perfect exposition of the doctrine, we will briefly enter into its merits, without at all adverting to the numerous controversial disputes which have already taken place upon the subject. Mr. Combe begins his preface by assuring his readers that he commenced the study of the system of Doctors Gall and Spurzheim, with a mind perfectly untroubled by any superfluous knowledge of the human frame. The perusal of one article in the Edinburgh Review, and an attendance upon one course of demonstrative anatomy, constituted the sum total of his scientific education. Innocent and uninfected by the dangerous learning of schools, he placed his maiden intellects under the care of Doctor Spurzheim. It is not very surprising that he should have devoted himself heart and soul to the cause of so impassioned a suitor as the German;with all the fervour of a first love, he embraced the study, and the event has proved him a pattern of the most devoted and unchanging affection;— enthusiastic in his adoration, he hurls the most angry defiance against those who dare to breathe a suspicion against the immaculate purity of the object of his attachment. Speaking of those writers, whose passion for Phrenology was not quite as overwhelming as his own, he says, "Some readers
may think that retributive justice required the continued republication of
"the attacks of the opponents, that the public mind, when properly enlight"ened, might express a just disapprobation of the conduct of those, who "so egregiously mislead it. But Phrenology teaches us forbearance; and besides, it will be misfortune enough to the individuals who have distin"guished themselves in the work of misrepresentation, to have their names "handed down to posterity, as the enemies of the greatest discovery ever
communicated to mankind." At the risk of being deemed enemies to the dearest interests of mankind, we most humbly ask, what is this great discovery? Is it that a man's wits are in his brains? Surely since men first wore heads, it has never been denied, that they could not conveniently think without them. Is it that the powers of the human mind, whereby we think and enjoy the faculty of reasoning are developed, and made manifest upon the skull? Really we must claim some indulgence, and be content to suffer a little longer under Mr. Combe's vehement denunciation before we yield implicit credence to this startling proposition.
The system of Phrenology is an amusing compound of facts, and of inferences deduced from the existence of these facts. In it there is a great deal new, and a great deal true, but the new is not true, and the true is not new. To those unacquainted with the real extent of physiological knowledge, and unaccustomed to the severe precision of logical reasoning, nothing can appear more rational and consistent-the judgment is appealed to through the imagination, and fancy supplies the evidence whenever experience fails-Ignorance is always credulous, and the more extended our knowledge of the human frame becomes, the more we feel, how very little indeed of its operations we really know. But Mr. Combe enjoys a happy exemption from all disagreeable doubts. In his introduction he feelingly deplores the erroneous practice of many once distinguished, but now extinguished authors, such as Locke, Hume, Reid, Stewart, Brown, &c., who, poor men, had the misfortune to spend their lives trying to unravel the mysteries of mind, unenlightened by the magical light of Cranioscopy. That we are neither much wiser nor much better from all the books which have been written upon metaphysics nobody will deny, but let us see how Mr. Combe makes the matter clearer.
"In the first place, then, the human mind, as it exists in this world, cannot, by itself, become an object of philosophical investigation. Placed in a material world, it cannot act or be acted upon, but through the medium of an organic apparatus. The soul sparkling in the eye of beauty does not transmit its sweet influence to a kindred spirit, but through the filaments of an optic nerve; and even the bursts of eloquence which flow from the lips of the impassioned orator, when mind appears to transfuse itself almost directly into mind, emanate from, and are transmitted to corporeal beings though a voluminous apparatus of organs. If we trace the mind's progress from the cradle to the grave, every appearance which it presents reminds us of this important truth. In earliest life the mental powers are feeble as the body, but when manhood comes, they glow with energy, and expand with power; till at last, the chill of age makes the limbs totter, and the fancy's fires decay.
Nay, not only the great stages of our infancy, vigour, and decline, but the experience of every hour reminds us of our alliance with the dust. The lowering clouds and stormy sky depress the spirits and enerve the mind; after short and stated intervals of toil, our weapied faculties demand repose in sleep; famine or disease is capable of levelling the proudest energies in the earth; and even the finest portion of our compound being, the mind itself, apparently becomes diseased, and leaving nature's course, flies to self-destruction to escape from pain.
These phenomena must be referred to the organs with which, in this life, the mind is connected; but if the organs exert so great an effect over the mental manifestations, no systein of philosophy is entitled to consideration, which would neglect their influence, and treat the thinking principle as a disembodied spirit. The phrenologist, therefore, regards man as he exists in this sublunary world; and desires to investigate the laws which regulate the
connexion betwixt the organs and the mind, but without attempting to discover the essence of either, or the manner in which they are united."
Mr. Combe here defines Phrenology to be, "an investigation of the laws which regulate the connexion between mind and matter, disregarding entirely the essence of both, and the manner in which they are united."-In other words he proposes to write a book upon two things, whose nature he confesses he does not understand, and whose manner of action he cannot pretend to explain.-What is the meaning of this word "essence?" It has come very much into use in metaphysical discussions. When a writer is preparing to flounder through a maze of perplexities, and hits, at the very outset, on something, which he feels nobody can swallow, he has recourse to his " sence," and if the stomach but bears that, there is no dose after too immoderate and unpalateable. The "essence" of Phrenology is infallibility;the Phrenologist avails himself of the mistakes and errors of the Philosophers who have preceded him, and protests, that regarding man only as he exists in this sublunary world he will, in his enquiry into human nature, steer a middle course between the metaphysicians and the materialists,-the metaphysician, he censures for having attempted to expound the laws of thought without paying sufficient attention to the organization, and the materialist he condemns, for teaching that mind is a combination of matter, and that its functions can be explained by supposed mechanical motions in its parts. In order to be decidedly right, he combines the doctrines of the two, and extracts the "essence" from the both. The whole phenomena "of life, he says, are the result of mind and body joined, each modifying each; and how can we explain a result without attending to ALL the causes which unite towards its production? This is an undeniable truism.-It is indeed rather difficult to give an intelligible and accurate explanation of a result, unless we understand something of all the causes which produce it. In explaining however the most obscure result which can possibly be presented, we are generously to make an exception in favour of Phrenology, and to allow its disciples to expound the laws of mind and matter, without giving us any information whatever, about the nature and action of either, or the manner in which they are united. the prici
The first chapter of Mr. Combe's book announces to be ples of the system.
"The Brain is admitted by Physiologists in general, to be the organ of the mind; but two obstacles have impeded the discovery of the uses of its particular parts.
1st, Dissection alone does not reveal the functions of any organ. No person, by dissecting the optic nerve, could predicate that its office is to minister to vision; or, by dissecting the tongue, could discover that it is the organ of taste. Anatomists, therefore, could not, by the mere practice of their art, discover the functions of the different portions of the brain.
2dly, The mind is not conscious of acting by means of organs; and hence the material instruments, by means of which it performs its operations in this life, and communicates with the external world, cannot be discovered by reflection or consciousness.
To avoid the difficulties attending these methods of investigation, the Phrenologist compares developement of brain with manifestations of mental power, for the purpose of discovering the functions of the biain, and the organs of the mind. This course is adopted, in consequence of the accidental discovery made by Dr. GALL, that certain mental powers are vigorously manifested, when certain portions of the brain are large, and vice versa, as detailed in the Introduction. It is free from the objections attending the anatomical and metaphysical modes of research, and conformable to the principles of the inductive philosophy.
No inquiry is instituted into the substance of the mind, or into the question, whether the mind fashions the organs, or the organs constitute the mind? The foregoing principles, shew the impossibility of arriving at philosophical conclusions on these points, and specu
lative reasoning concerning them, although it may amuse the fancy, cannot instruct the judgment. The only object of phrenology is to discover the Faculties of the Human Mind, the organs by means of which they are manifested, and the influence of the organs on the manifestations. It does not enable us to predict actions.
A mental organ is a material instrument, by means of which the Mind in this life enters into particular states, active and passive. Dr GALL's discovery directs us to the Brain as a congeries of such organs.”
We must here distinguish most accurately between facts generally admitted, and the assumptions upon which modern Phrenology rests. The opinion "that manifestations of mental power are imperfect, unless there be a certain developement of brain," is most antient, and has scarce ever been impugned. To infer from that, that by comparing different heads, we ascertain the functions of the brain, and the organs of the mind, is the assumption upon which the modern doctrines are founded. 'Organ," in this sense, is a most vague and unsatisfactory term. An organ is defined to be a natural instrument, as the eye is the organ of vision, consisting of many parts, co-operating with, and dependant on each other, and all necessary to the perfect performance of the intended operation, for which the organ was formed. We readily admit the brain to be an organ of many parts, but we deny that the functions of any of these parts have yet been ascertained. The Phrenologists however, decide the separate duties of each part and portion of this most unknown organ, and as the assertions come from them, it is incumbent upon them to demonstrate most clearly the truth of what they urge. Much ingenuity is shown in evading what may be deemed the most essential point at the outset ;---" Whether the mind fashions the organs, or the organs constitute the mind." If either of these propositions were once demonstrated, then indeed we may form some idea of what a seperate mental organ really is, and acquire some conception whereupon to ground a doctrine. It is unfortunately too much the nature of speculative enquiry, that those who pursue it with ardour, as soon as they have arrived at the certainty of a few points, are induced to transgress the limits of fact and experience, and to fly off into the regions of fiction and extravagance. Reasoning by analogy, is of all means of ascertaining truth, the most delusive and unsatisfactory, unless we possess the most perfect notions of the things from which we deduce the analogy;---but the analogy of comparisons, obscure, imperfect, and often most fanciful, requires no ordinary degree of credulity to pass as logic. The Phrenologists decide by a far fetched and supposed analogy, the functions of each part of the cerebral matter, without paying any attention to its action as a whole, and they demonstrate the separate and individual organs of the mind, by means of inequalities upon the skull, whilst they cannot prove them to be separate organs of the mind at all, except by comparing them with one another, for which comparison they cannot institute any determinate standard.---To conceal this palpable absurdity, an exquisitely philosophical obscurity of diction is assumed,---they assure us that they only compare "developement of brain" with "manifestations of intellect." A Phrenologist strong in faith, may perhaps find this an easy task;---but let one of the uninitiated 'study for a time the anatomy of the brain, and reflect upon the nature of the intellectual powers,---let him when properly prepared for it, establish a comparison between a given quantity of intellect, and a well defined portion of brain, and see what a just and accurate notion he will acquire of the first great principle and elementary foundation of the modern science of Phrenology.
The three great objections to the system have always been eluded, but, never satisfactorily answered-First--The external figure of the skull does not demonstrate the form of the superficies of the brain.-There are at least ten anatomists who assert that it does not, for one who maintains* that it does-Second-Two Phrenologists rarely form the same notion, and deliver the same opinion of the degree of developement in any one. organ.-Always guessing, they must by the doctrine of chances, be sometimes right, and they take good care never to publish any but their lucky cases.-Third-The Passions are not proved to be developed in the cerebral mass-The other nervous systems of the body possess an influence to which most Physiologists attribute the excitement which produces the Physical passions, which influence the Phrenologists totally discard. We very much question whether all the operations and manipulations which a Phrenologist could safely perform upon the head would effect so certain and permanent a revolution in the moral propensites of a man, as the changes which disease and art may effect in the system of organic life.-The experience of Pinel is decidedly opposed to the inferences of the Phrenologistsamongst the many maniacal cases which he inspected, he almost invariably found traces of diseases in the various organs of the body, whilst the morbid appearances of the brain were trivial and obscure.
It is unnecessary to enter into a discussion on the practical application of the assumed principle, "that by comparing brain and intellect, we ascertain the separate organs of the mind, and determine their functions." If the principle itself be not most clearly demonstrated true, no sophistry however ingenious, no coincidences however remarkable, ought, in the present limited state of our knowledge, to induce a calm dispassionate person to consider it as other, than a very curious and a very amusing hypothesis. But the zeal of our modern Phrenologists will not be restrained-confi dent, that they alone have discovered the true springs of the human intellect, they indulge in the most boundless anticipations, and triumphantly predict that the impulse which their labours must give to public feeling, will ultimately effect a wonderful revolution in the social and moral system. On this subject Mr. Combe gives free scope to a lively and poetic imagination. There is not an occurrence of real life, nor an emotion of which the heart can be susceptible, that he does not subject to the test of laws founded upon his Phrenological opinions.-His reveries in some instances may perhaps excite a smile, but when he arraigns the most solemn moral obligations with a tone of presumptuous arrogance, and condemns the most sacred institutions of society for not being made subservient to the decrees of infatuated visionaries, we must not hesitate to express, in no very measured language, how earnestly we reprobate the unworthy perversion of science, by speculations, which are either puerile or mischievous. Mr. Combe illustrates his doctrines by a series of elegant extracts from the Newgate calendar; we shall briefly quote one example, with his observations upon it. "In October 1818, Robert "Dean was committed to prison in London, for the murder of Mary "Albert an infant of five years old, for whom he had always testified the "greatest affection. Having bought her some apples he cut her throat "and absconded. A few days after he surrendered himself at the watch"house, and confessed the crime-he said he had been induced to give "himself up to justice, from the strong impression that a sermon which "he heard immediately after committing the dreadful act, produced upon