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In the next place, we may ask this objector, how it has happened that the inequalities upon the cranium, the existence of which he admits, and which no person, with an eye to see, or a finger to feel,
can possibly deny-how were these inequalities produced? Did they come by chance? Are they effects without adequate causes? Is it perfectly a matter of accident, whether the skull be in the form in which we observe it, or in any other? Might it have been square or octangular? Is it not reasonable to suppose, that the shape, which, in so many different individuals, it assumes, is owing to the action of some internal power, the constant and incessant movement of which has fashioned the external shape, according to the extent of its force, energy, and continuance?
3. It is again objected, that—" the brain is not only uniform in level, but in structure, which ought not to be the case; for the organs of Destruction, Veneration, and Music, ought to differ as much in structure as the hand, the eye, or the ear. Dr. Spurzheim ought, on his principles, to be able to point out the different organs from their structure alone, were they all cut out of the brain, and laid on a table !"
The fallacy of this objection consists in confounding the external instruments with the internal faculty. The outward organs, called the hand, the eye, and the ear, are certainly distinct enough; but is not the blood, and are not the nerves, which communicate with the hand, the eye, and the ear, “ uniform in structure ?" and, therefore, if these external senses of touch, of sight, and hearing, operate by an internal organization of the same general nature, why should not the feeling of revenge, the sentiment of veneration, and the appreciation of music, be also received by instruments of a similar structure ?
The statement, that the Phrenologist ought to point out the organs, if laid upon a table, by their structure alone, scarcely needs a refutation. Suppose that all the fibres of the human body were cut out, and laid on a table,”—could the most skilful anatomist discriminate between those which form the sense of touch, and those of taste; or between those which constitute the scent, and those which form the sight? Whether Dr. Spurzheim “ be able or not to point out the different organs, from the structure alone, were they all cut out of the brain, and laid on a table,” I am not prepared to say; but I think it very unreasonable to require him to do it.
4. The fourth objection is, that—“a faculty, such as that of Destruction, when subdued, and rendered dormant by the efforts of other faculties, is not accompanied by a diminution of protuberance of the organ.”
This point, however, is not very positively stated; the
writer qualifies it by the expression, we believe :” a very convenient method by which the individual gains importance by imagined plurality : but, believed or not, the objection is futile. It assumes, that the subdued faculty is rendered dormant. Now, the excess of the destructive, or any other, propensity, may be subdued by benevolence, by caution, or conscientiousness, and yet not be “ rendered dormant” contrary, circumstances will occasionally arise to re-excite the passion, and arouse its supposed dormancy; and, there. fore, any diminution of protuberance ought not to be expected. It is, besides, a most irrational expectation, that the diminution should immediately or speedily accompany (as the objection evidently assumes) the reduction of the faculty.
And, should a change occur in the moral character of the individual, in a late era of life, it is still less reasonable to expect that such a diminution should, at an early period, take place; the impression, of course, remains long after the original cause which produced it has ceased to operate : the very nature and structure of the cranium naturally leads us to expect that no such sudden change can possibly arise.
Besides these considerations, it may be added, by way of illustration, that the senses of vision, hearing, and touch, (to which the writer himself refers for analogy) are frequently destroyed, without any apparent injury to the external organ: the ear of a deaf person continues in the same shape; a paralytic band is not altered in outward appearance; and even the eye, under one of the diseases to which it is subject, may look the same, although the power of sight be annihilated.
5. Again, it is objected, that the supposed protuberances of the skull could not be formed from corresponding protuberances of the brain, in Nos. 20, 23, and 29,” (that is, the organs of Form, Colour, and Language,) “ as they are quite disjointed from it by intervening bone."
This objection evidently does not touch the general principle: it applies only to a small part of its detail; but, even in this limited extent, I consider it ill-founded. Admitting the fact assumed, that there exists an intervening bone between the part of the brain in question and the exterior skull, still it does not follow that the brain should possess no power; it would only prove that it could not act in a direct manner: it still acts in an indirect one, namely, by impressing itself on this intervening bone, and the latter, of course, conveys that impression to the exterior; and this will be peculiarly obvious, when we look at the nature and situation of the bone in question. Independently of this, we must take into consideration the action of the external muscles, that action being, of course, produced by the internal faculties.
We must besides recollect, that the whole of the bony struc. ture inust depend upon the supply it receives from the circulating fluids; and there can be no doubt of the fact, that there exists a constant connexion and communication between the structure of the brain and that of the cranium.
6. It is next urged, that—" the inductions of the theorists are too scanty; for, like a quack medicine, which cures one, and kills a thousand, the successful examples are brought forward, and the unsuccessful overlooked, or kept in the background.”
This assumes, that the exceptions are more numerous than the rule; and, being a matter of bare assertion, without proof, can only be met by a flat denial. So far from the examples of success being only as one in a thousand, the instances of mistake are only in that proportion. We may suspect, indeed, that this critic has been making experiments as a practitioner in the new science, and is himself the quack he draws. Deficient in the organ of form, and of some others, which are essential to a perfect acquisition of the art, he has naturally blundered in his progress; and his organ of self-esteem prevents him from conceiving it possible that any one can be better acquainted with the subject than himself!
7. It is further stated, that—" when a puzzling case occurs, such as the organ of destructiveness being strong in a man of gentle disposition, the theorists evade the objection, by shuffling off to some counteracting organ, which they never would have thought of, but for the objection."
Now, supposing that the explanation would not have occurred had the ingenuity of our antagonists been less distinguished, still it is but an imputation of deficient wisdom and foresight, and does not affect the scientific truth. It happens, however, that the principle of counteraction forms a part of the theory itself, and is stated and explained in the very first publication of Dr. Spurzheim. This, indeed, is no new invention in the study of human character; for at all times it has been allowed, that one passion or affection has the effect of controlling the operation of another. Character, indeed, must necessarily be estimated by its aggregate elements, and not from any single part, or a limited number. This courteous antagonist admits, indeed, that the explanation evades the objection, and the essence of the remark is, that it is "shuffling off.”
8, and 9. The next two objections have been often stated, and as often refuted. The one is, that_“the system, notwithstanding the express denial of its advocates, is clearly built upon materiali:m; for it identifies the dispositions of the mind with aninal appetites :" and the other point is, that—“ it sup
ports the most diabolical features of fatalism, and the inimoral doctrines of German novelists."
To these objections, it may be enough here, briefly, to state, that the system contends only, that the mind acts by material organs, and that, upon their activity and excellence, depend its skill and efficiency. The mind, like the sovereign of a kingdom, acts through the intervention of his ministers and agents. If they be wise, virtuous, and powerful, the affairs of the community are well conducted: if they be weak, wicked, and foolish, the results are commensurate with their incapacity; and so it is with the mind. It is not true that the system “identifies the dispositions of the mind with animal appetites. The mind is influenced only by them; and it is the office of the superior faculties, and of the moral sentiments, to control the appetites; whilst the latter impart activity to the former; and out of this union of the whole constitution of man, when well poised, arises his perfection,-as harmony is produced by the blending of concordant notes with occasional discords.
Such is the beautiful and wise system of nature ! but, whether beautiful and wise, or not, it is the system of nature, and the objection can only be founded upon a censure which partakes, in no small degree, of the arrogant, if not the impious.
The doctrine of fatality has no necessary connection with the system ; and the very principle of control, which has been discussed in a former paper, is a sufficient answer to this position,-a principle, which gives all that the advocates of free-will can reasonably require. The phrase regarding 66 the immoral doctrines of German novelists,” serves well to round the period, but resolves itself precisely into the same objection.
10. The last objection of this writer is, that—"even if the system were true, its prevalence would be most injurious to society.” To support this position, some instances are referred to,“ An innocent lad was accused of theft,”_" Several families will not hire a servant, without scrutinizing the head,"_" Several merchants look after those with whom they have transactions.” And it is contended, that if this were to go on, universal distrust would be the consequence; and the system must be suppressed by law, as it was at Vienna.'
Leaving aside the discussion of the question that the knowledge of truth can ever be injurious, let us look to the instances which are relied upon to bring this science within the scope of such an objection. The accusation of the innocent lad was surely a consequence, not of a knowledge of the system, but of an ignorance of its principles or a mistake in their application; and it proves only that those who are not sufficiently acquainted with the art, ought not to attempt its practice. Whether there are any families, or any merchants, "s who scrutinize or look sharply after heads," or not, I am not prepared to say. I was not aware that the subject had advanced into such general practice. But, supposing it to be SO,
these mistakes are as likely to arise from the misapprehension by these families and merchants of the principles of phrenology, as from any deficiency in the principles themselves.
The supposition that universal distrust would be the consequence, if these things were to go on, is really a most happy thought. It supposes a complete change will be wrought by this wonderful system in the human character. Where does this learned Theban ascertain that mankind are ever likely to become universally distrustful ? I thought that their prevalent failing was to confide rather too much in the truth and honesty of the world. And it is upon the well known accuracy of this opinion, that a certain number of persons successfully calculate and reap their unlawful gains.
Why should it be supposed that phrenologists, in their investigations, will discover nothing but causes of universal distrust? That nothing but evil can be distinguished in the character of man? There is an opinion entertained by many persons that, notwithstanding many faults and imperfections, the good qualities of human nature are decidedly predominant; and, if this be so, we may depend they will be discovered, and instead of exciting distrust, will create confidence and inspire esteem. It is besides very much to be questioned whether any discoveries which phrenology could make in the elucidation of mortal depravities, would surpass the catalogue which has been already exhibited upon the most approved methods of the antique system; and the objection is liable to the remark, that it first assumes predominant causes of dis· trust, and next concludes that the knowledge of the truth would be pernicious.
It seems that, whatever the legislature of Vienna might think of the consequences, they at least had a good opinion of the plausibility of the system, its capacity to gain proselytes, and disseminate its principles. They seem to have anticipated a measure of success which could scarcely have been expected from a tissue of falsehoods and errors. They thought it true, but considered it dangerous. The danger, however, appears to be chimerical, and the truth established.
It has been also objected, though not by this writer, that there is not a clear and decisive correspondence between the external and internal parts of the skull; that the convexity of