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by very full and decisive evidence, such a preestablished harmony may not be ascertained. If the matter be taken up however on this footing, or indeed on any other footing than that of a superstitious credulity, and gaping propensity to wonder, the Phrenologists must be aware that it will not bear handling.
Suppose that we were merely to allege that, so far as our observation went, their facts seemed all to be imaginary—that it was matter of notoriety that men with large heads were not generally of superior endowments, nor those with small, deficient in understanding—that in the circle of our acquaintance there were many kind mothers without any protuberance on the lower part of their skulls, many men of wit with no triangular prominences beyond the temples, and many eloquent and loquacious persons of both sexes, with no unusual projection of the eyes—that in fact we had never happened to meet with any one individual in whom a marked peculiarity of character or disposition was accompanied by any of their external indications, and that we daily saw remarkable enough bumps on the heads of very ordinary people—that most of those with whom we conversed had made the same observations, and concurred in the same results; and that several who had been at first rather taken with the new doctrines, had, by more careful observation, been thoroughly convinced of their fallacy-that we had ourselves known some, and heard from good authority of many, cases of flagrant and ridiculous blunders committed by Phrenologists of the greatest eminence, which they had neither the candour to acknowledge, nor the confidence to deny—that we had met with very few persons of judgment who did not treat the whole matter as a ridiculous fancy, or imposture—and that very many of its most zealous advocates were persons who seemed to have been seduced into the belief, by having had organs discovered on their heads for talents and yirtues which they had never been suspected of possessing-so that impartial observers generally required no other proof of the falsehood of their doctrines, than an exhibition of the crania of those very individuals who were warmest in asserting their truth.
Suppose we were merely to say these things—as we might certainly say them with the most perfect conscientiousness and good faith—what would be the reply of the Phrenologists? Why, that their experience and observations were in= consistent with ours, and that the world must judge between us. To this of course we could have no objection. But our Phrenologists, we suspect, would not stop there. They would call on us to name our instances, and would cavil at them when they were named; or, because we declined submitting the heads of respectable ladies and gentlemen to an impertinent palpation, and their characters, temper and manners, to a still more impertinent discussion because we did not choose to offend many worthy people by pointing them out as the owners of bumps, without the corresponding faculties—or to engage in a quarterly wrangle about the ideality of Dr Chalmers or the adhesiveness of Mrs M‘Kinnon, they would complain that we made allegations which we refused to verify, and contend that nothing but a fair scrutiny was wanting to their success. We certainly shall not gratify them, therefore, by any such specification ;-and we make them heartily welcome to any advantage they can derive from our declinature. All we propose, by making these general allegations, in which they know well enough that the great body of the public concur with us, is to show, in the beginning, that the proofs upon which they rely cannot possibly be of the clear and conclusive nature which the case so obviously requires : Since, in a matter in itself abundantly simple, and open to the observation of all mankind, so many persons of unquestioned veracity and candour have come to conclusions so directly opposed to them. If it were really true, that certain very visible and well defined bumps on the skull were the necessary organs of all our faculties and propensities,- just as our eyes are of sight, and our ears of hearing, -it is, in the first place, inconceiveable that the discovery should have remained to be made in the beginning of the 19th century; -and, in the second place, still more inconceiveable, that after it was made, there should be any body who could pretend to doubt of its reality. The means of verifying it, one would think, must have been such as not to leave a pretext for the slightest hesitation ; and the fact that, after twenty years preaching in its favour, it is far more generally rejected than believed, might seem to afford pretty conclusive evidence against the possibility of its truth.
The fact, however, not only is so—but, from the very nature of the case, it could not well have been otherwise. Their pretended Organs, unfortunately, are not such as can ever be proved to be organs, by any decisive, or even intelligible test; and the presence or absence, the strength or weakness, of their pretended Faculties, are equally incapable of being determined by any precise observation or experiment.
It is very material to remark here, that the Phrenologists do not even pretend to have been guided to the discovery of their organs by any direct observation of their being actually used, when the faculties which they serve are exerted. The only way they find them out is, by comparing the size of the organ, in persons who have the faculty in un
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usual strength, with its size in other cases. If all men had their faculties therefore nearly in an equal degree, it could never have been known or suspected that they had any such organs at all: and, as their observations must have been made on men, whose unusual strength of endowment may have been derived from culture and education, what assurance could they possibly have that the bumps on their heads had any thing to do with it? This is obviously a most fatal weakness in their case-and amounts, of itself, to an exclusion of all good evidence. Where should we be, for example, as to any proof of the locality of our organs of sense, if our only ground for inferring their existence was a conjecture, that some particular part of the body was larger in those who had any particular sense in unusual perfection ?-and what a contrast would this present to the state of our actual knowledge? Take, for instance, the Eye, the organ of sight. How prominently and conspicuously is it pointed out, by its form, structure, and distinct apparatus, as an organ of perception !--and how immediately and unerringly are its exclusive functions ascertained, either by placing the hand upon it, and finding vision instantaneously impeded, or by observe ing that light may be directed to all the other parts of the body, without being in the least perceptible! But suppose that, instead of such a conspicuous and unequivocal organ, it had been merely conjectured that our perceptions of sight were transmitted by the instrumentality of a small excrescence on the solid and continuous bone of the skull, though it had never been observed that these perceptions ceased when that ex. crescence was touched or covered,-upon what possible ground could it be said to be proved, that this was the organ of sight, or had any thing to do with its perception ? A vague surmise might be raised on an allegation, that where this excrescence was unusually large, the sight had been frequently found more than usually clear or strong—but as to any thing like proof of its being the proper organ of the faculty, there would plainly be none.
If this, however, would be the case, even with so pecu. liar and distinct a faculty as that of Seeing, how infinitely must the difficulty increase as to those that go by that name among the Phrenologists? If there be no sight, there can be no substitute for it—and no doubt or mistake, therefore, can ever exist as to the fact. If the eyes be once closed or obstructed, there is indisputably an end of Seeing for the time; and there is no other faculty whose intimations can be mistaken for it, or supply its peculiar perceptions; while, if the eyes are open, and in a sound state, their perceptions cannot be affected by the operations of any other faculty. The phrenolo
gical faculties, however, almost all play into each other's hands; and can in most cases either supply each other's places, or counterfeit their functions; while in other cases they are controlled, impeded, and rendered indistinguishable by the action of other faculties. Thus, the functions of Combativeness and Destructiveness coincide so nearly, that the extinction of one would scarcely be missed, if the other was in great vigour. Amativeness and Benevolence together, might, for a time at least, entirely supply the want of Adhesiveness. In many situations Cautiousness might do the work of Veneration, and, joined with Imitation, or love of Approbation, might make a very tolerable substitute for Conscientiousness itself,—while Individuality, according to the description, might occasionally sustain the part either of Causality, Size, or Figure.
Still farther, there is nothing, it must always be remembered, but the size of the organ, by which the vigour of the faculty is to be determined. But the phrenologists admit, first of all, that the vigour of the faculty may be increased by culture and education, without any increase of the organ; 2. that it may be also increased by morbid or occasional excitement; and, 3. that all its manifestations may be suppressed or neutralized by the operation of some other antagonist or inconsistent faculty, whose organ is more predominant. It is quite plain, we think, that these admissions render all proper proof impossible, exclude the application of any decisive rule or experiment, and in fact reduce this whole science of observation,' to a series of mere evasions and gratuitous suppositions.
We produce, for example, a person whose whole conduct indicates great Benevolence, but who happens to have a very small bump in the place where the organ of that propensity is said to be situated. Is not this a proof of the fallacy of the system? Oh no—by no means. The individual has had the good luck to be trained up among very benevolent people, and has had his small original stock prodigiously increased by their precepts and example, aided perhaps by his own large endowment of the faculty of Imitation !-or, his organ of benevolence has perhaps been excited to a diseased activity by some internal inflammation,-or at allevents, as he has Love of Approbation and Cautiousness very large, nothing is so probable as that his apparent benevolence is merely put on, to gain the good opinion of the world, or to secure some advantage to himself! We next produce another person with an enormous bump of Benevolence on his forehead; and, offering to prove that he is, notwithstanding, notoriously cruel, oppressive, and uncharitable, we ask, again, how this is to be reconciled with the truth of the sys
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tem? O, nothing in the world so easy! First of all, he has probably had no training in the paths of benevolence, and the field, though naturally fertile, has therefore been actually barren; But besides, you have only to look, and you will most probably find the organs of Combativeness, and Destructiveness, and Acquisitiveness, still larger than that of Benevolence. These, of course, make him quarrelsome, and cruel, and avaricious :and how then can his poor benevolence find means to display itself ?-though, after all, if you attend carefully to his proceedings, you will find certain stifled traits of benevolence, even in his cruelty !-certain indications that there are kind propensities in his nature, though unluckily overborne, and obscured to common observation, by opposite propensities! It is thus apparent that the phrenological theory, though absolutely incapable of any clear or satisfactory proof, abounds in those equivocations and means of retreat, by which it may often escape from direct refutation: And accordingly, whenever we come to actual proof and experiment, we find that the truth of the theory is very quietly assumed as a fundamental principle-all contradictory instances, however conclusive, explained on that assumption--and no case, in short, allowed to have any application which does not make in its favour. When we add to this, that the art of correct observation is stated to be extremely difficult and indeed that no person should be allowed to exercise it, whose head is not of a certain conformation, we may have some idea of the sort of evidence on which its gifted disciples now pretend that it is established.
After becoming familiar,' says Mr Combe, 'with the general size and configuration of heads, the student may proceed to the observation of individual organs; and, in studying them, the real dimensions, and not the mere prominence of each organ, should be looked for. The whole organs in a head should be examined, and their relative proportions noted. Errors may be committed at first ; but, without practice, there is no expertness. Practice, with at least an average endowment of the organs of Form, Size, and Locality, are necessary to qualify a person to make observations with success. Individuals whose heads are very narrow between the eyes, and little developed at the top of the nose, where these organs are placed, experience great difficulty in distinguishe ing the situations and minute shades in the proportions of different organs.' p. 41.
This is alarining enough. But what follows shows, we think, that even persons with great breadth between the eyes must now and then be in imminent hazard of mistakes.
. If one organ,' proceeds the oracular author, “ be much developed, and the neighbouring organ very little, the developed organ presents an elevation or protuberance; but if the neighbouring organs be developed in proportion, no protuberance can be perceived, and the surface is