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“tems of education (I use the word in its widest sense) are deficient, “ because they do not seem to be founded upon a true knowledge of " the pature of man, by presupposing equal natural abilities in all, “and holding, that education alone is competent to make a youth “a mechanic, a lawyer, an orator, or a divine. But, experiencing “ in our families the truth of the poet's observation, that
6.« The hand of Nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a different bias,' we resolved to study Phrenology, and finding it (as far as our li"mited observations went,) to be in accordance with nature, we “formed ourselves into a society, that we might the more easily ob“tain the necessary, books, busts, and apparatus, and, by our united "observations, aid each other in sooner acquiring a knowledge of “the science.' We have now procured your Elements' and 'Sys;
tem,' a set of busts and callipers, and two or three of our num. " ber are finishing craniometers for our use, which will enable us to o take more correct measurements. We have drawn up a few re“gulations, but have not yet printed them, hoping we may procure "a copy of those belonging to your society, which might suggest
some new mode of procedure, as it is our wish to have every thing as wisely ordered as possible to disarm our opponents, of which we “are honoured with a few, who industriously circulate Gordon's "critique upon the science amongst themselves a work which, I “am told, is as full of opprobrious epithets as of sound philosophy. “We have chosen the name of Mechanics, &c. partly because it is a “ true designation, and partly to distinguishours from the one “ formed by our
" who will doubtless contribute to “ throw new lights upon Phrenology by their discoveries; while we, “ from our stations, must be content to receive its lights, happy if "we succeed in rendering them practically useful for restraining “ the propensities, nourishing the higher sentiments, and training “ the faculties of our youth into activity, thereby rendering them - useful and virtuous citizens, fitted to adorn
“The mild majesty of private life,
| Where peace with ever-blooming olive crowns the gate.' “ Should your other avocations permit, we would feel proud of a “ continuance of the countenance with which you have already ho“ noured us, which, I beg to assure you, would be gratefully re. “ceived by, respected Sir, your very obedient servant,
« ALEXANDER TAYLOR, Secy." The Secretary's second letter, dated 10th October, 1826, is as follows. « RESPECTED SIR,
Dundee, 10th October, 1826. " In consequence of the increase of members to the Phrenological
Society of this quarter, we find it necessary, in order to meet the “ demand of the younger members, to have other two copies of your st se System, and one copy of the Elements. I have, therefore, at
" their request, taken the liberty of applying to you, through the “medium of the guard of the Champion coach, for them, who has' “ instructions to pay you for them; and, should it be convenient, “ we would be ,obliged much by their being sent by return of the “ the coach, as there is a meeting to-morrow evening I remain, re“pected Sir, your obedient servant, ALEXANDER TAYLOR."
Here, then, is evidence, that, notwithstanding of most efforts, and not of yours alone, but those of nearly the whole periodical press of Europe, Asia, and America, Phrenology has extended itself into all these regions of the globe, and now embraces among its votaries men of every rank and profession, from the senator to the mechanic. One would imagine that such facts, if known to you, might have made you pause, and doubt of the infallibility of your own philosophy. The degree of knowledge which has forced its way into your mind has, indeed, modified the style of the present Review greatly to the better. Pbrenologists were formerly "quacks," "empirics," “ itinerant philosophers," “ mountebanks," " and “ cunning craniologers;" now they are men of “ more than “ common acuteness ;" but their doctrines are still “ crude," " shal"low," " puerile," " fantastic," " dull," “ dogmatic,” “ incredibly absurd,”
,'« foolish,” “ extravagant,” and “ trash.” How, then, does it happen that a gentleman of your acknowledged talent and courtesy should be betrayed into such a dismal situation as you now occupy ? for, after twenty-three years' experience of defeat, you are still denouncing a large number of intelligent men as lost in utter stupidity, because, after full examination, they believe in what you admit is, after all, a pure question of fact ! This is easily explained without disparagement either to your, sentiments or intellect. Your opinions were formed in a different school, before Phrenology was heard of; and you have never been able to overcome the force of your first impressions so far as to study it with an impartial mind.
Locke, in adverting to persons in a similar condition, says, “What probabilities are sufficient to prevail in such a case? And “who ever, by the most cogent arguments, will be prevailed upon a to disrobe himself at once of all his old opinions and pretensions “to knowledge and learning, which with hard study be hath all his
of time been labouring for, and turn himself out stark naked in quest “ of fresh notions ? All the arguments that can be used will be as “ little able to prevail as the wind did with the traveller to part " with his cloak, which he held only the faster.” (Book iv. c. 20. $ 11.) That the phrenological doctrines do appear to your
mind enveloped in all the incongruity and absurdity which you have so lavishly expressed, is explicable, without the alternative necessarily following that these qualities really belong to them. When a new proposition is submitted to our consideration, we compare it with principles which we regard as established, and if we are able to connect it consistently with them, we admit it to be true, and give it our assent. If it appear at variance with our previous opinions, we are disposed to reject it as erroneous, and rarely possess the magnanimity to enter upon a serutiny of our first impressions, so as to discover whether they, or the new ideas, coincide most closely with nature, the only authoritative standard of physical truth. On the contrary, we too frequently regard received opinions with an undoubting and superstitious veneration, and reject new propositions as intrinsically absurd, not because we have ascertained them to be in opposition to facts, but because they do not coincide with what we previously believed to be true. Dr Thomas Brown has justly remarked, that to those who « have not sufficient elementary knowledge of science, to feel any «interest in physical truths, as one connected system, and no habi“tual desire of exploring the various relations of new phenomena, ๕
many of the facts in nature, which have an appearance of incongruity, as at first stated, do truly seem ludicrous.” It now be
endeavour to show that this sentence of Dr Thomas Brown very accurately describes your mental condition on the subject of Phrenology.
Your article contains five or six distinct annunciations, that you have completely refuted" the science, and to the surprise of your readers, it tugs and toils on at a new ånd additional refutation. This, while it shows that you are ill at ease as to your own success, renders an answer within moderate limits extremely difficult; and I hope, therefore, to
be excused for bringing your objections on each point into a focus, and condensing the reply to the narrowest limits consistent with perspicuity. It shall be my earnest endeavour not to mistake or misrepresent your meaning, but to quote your own words. If you had done this by me, the present reply might have been spared; for I observe, that you have generally preferred giving your own paraphrases of my statements, and have refuted these, leaving the real propositions quite unassailed. In truth, there is no review of the system of Phrenology, and no reader could form an accurate conception of that work from your representation of it. The article is a special pleading, all on one side, and its author resembles a party on his defence much more than a judge administering impartial justice.
You decline bringing Phrenology to the test of observation, because “ A proposition, in point of fact, may “biguous or unintelligible ; and before inquiring how it is " proved, we must ascertain whether it has any meaning, and “ what that meaning truly is. When it is affirmed, that certain “ projections on the skull, or the brain, are the organs of all the "faculties and dispositions of the mind, it will not do to pro“ceed at once to the alleged proofs of this assertion; we must “ first determine what is meant by organs, and what by facul“ ties, and in what sense these terms are here to be undero stood.”—P. 255.
First, then, as to the organs. “Upon what grounds," you ask, the name of organs be applied to the bumps of the
Phrenologists? or in what sense is it really intended that this
name should be received in their science? The truth, we do “not scruple to say it, is, that there is not the smallest reason for
supposing that the mind ever operates through the agency of any “material organs, except in its perception of material objects, or in the
spontaneous movements of the body which it inha“ bits; and that this whole science rests upon a postulate or as“sumption, for which there is neither any shadow of evidence, “nor any show of reasoning.”—P.267. The same proposition is repeated in p. 293, and in several other parts of the Review. The proofs adduced are the following:—“INSECTS CON
TINUE TO PERFORM ALL THEIR FUNCTIONS AFTER THEIR “ HEADS ARE OFk; and cold-blooded animals live and move " in the same predicament !?'. In a subsequent page (312)
you inform us, that "the writer of these observations is not “ learned in anatomy," -a modest declaration indeed; but one which was scarcely necessary after this specimen of physiológical wisdom. The Creator erred, then, in adding the superfluous appendage of a head to insects: you would have managed the matter better, by retrenching this unmeaning ex-; crescence !
As to cold blooded animals living and moving in the same predicament, I would ask, how long do they perform these acts? But we have the authority of your own Journal against your grand proposition. “His Imperial Majesty,” says the Reviewer of 1803, “ has had of late too many good opportunities “ of knowing that a man cannot continue to march, and load, and
fire, when he has left his head behind him; and the redoubtable “ lecturer of Vienna has said little more. It may
be wrong," continues he, “ to allow a daring demonstrator of processes and “ sinuosities to assert that the mind remembers, imagines, and “ judges, only by the intervention of certain parts of the brain; “ but it is a piece of forbearance, at least as dangerous, to al“ low a single cellar to be open in the taverns of Vienna, or
memory, imagination, and judgment, to be all set to sleep by a "few grains of a' very common and simple drug."-Edinburgh Review, vol. II., p. 148. Memory, imagination, and judgment then, are neither acts of “perception of material ob“jects, nor spontaneous movements of the body;" yet wine and opium first stimulate, and finally overpower them. How does this accord with your doctrine, “ that the mind “ never operates through the agency of material organs” in performing these functions ?
This authority might be relied on as settling the question with you; but to convey to persons, who are not familiar with
, these topics, some idea of the recklessness of your assertion, a few passages from the most common medical and physiological authors
máy be cited. Dr Cullen says, " we cannot doubt that “ the operations of our intellect always depend upon certain motions “ taking place in the brain, &c." Practice of Physic, vol. II., $ 1538_9. 11. Pa se*
Dr Gregory, speaking of the internal faculties of the mind, says, “Omnes hæ facultates (videlicet memoria, imaginatio,