صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

may be alleged by the advocates of this system, is not denied,— nor is this impulse of disposition inconquerable. But such extenuation will appear as unmeaning as must other two statements of the poet on the same subject:—

"And binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will."

Inform any ordinary man that on such portions of bone are stamped his leading propensities, his powerful appetites; that you can tell his character from his skull; surely his apology will be immediate, and placing his hand on the part he will exclaim :

"The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent-No more!"

To impress on any person his master-disposition must be unnecessary, for surely he knows it; and often will he, who finds himself the subject of a prophecy, fulfil it. And what cannot accomplished diviners of this school prove? The character being given, they can find the name. The Edinburgh Phrenological Journal knows as much of Macbeth's head as though it had seen it brought in by Macduff: the murder of Duncan, with all the successive tragic horrors, arose, it informs us, from Macbeth's "love of approbation and cautiousness acting on defective concientiousness!!" To show that I am no caricaturist, I will quote from the preface to Foster's Phrenology his own eulogium on the science: "It is a method, the physical structure of the individual being given, to find the moral and intellectual character!!" Surely the men who compute the grounds of friendship and the qualities of esteem by the dimensions of a bone, must reduce them to a mean principle of gre gariousness. They have yet to learn what is meant by the high commerce of mind, the kindred soul, the bosom confidence. They should live by themselves; and sing their Anacreontics over the adhesiveness of their own fortunate skulls. I would, with Demosthenes, most fervently invoke the heavenly powers on their behalf :

“ Τυτοις βελτίω εινα ναν και φρονας ενθείητι."

But if these indulgences be refused, I cannot withhold his indignant imprecations :


“ Εἰ δ' αρα εχουσιν όντως ανιατως, τότους μεν αυτές καθ' εαυτούς ......


[ocr errors]

But, forsooth, there is to be a universal reign of candour when Craniology wins its triumph. We shall then make allowance for mutual misfortune! We shall beweep these callosities as the common source of human error and woe! Amiable specimens of this temper begin to appear! But for these unwearied philanthropists some of the most finished characters might have been unrecorded. They have rescued neglected excellence from the grave! What though premature death withdrew a Haggart from the present scene? They have embalmed his virtues! It was theirs, also, to honour a much-injured man; to throw a blaze of benevolence around his memory;— I speak of the lamented Thurtell! This sweet forbearance is exercised to all but to the unbelievers in Craniology. In the first number of the above-mentioned Journal, of course before any provocation, they divide their opponents into twelve equally elegant and charitable departments: "Wasps, butterflies, ants, geese, ducks, owls, parrots, monkeys, bears, swine, asses, and curs." Preachers of candour! Models of benevolence! "Tantæne animis celestibus iræ ?”

[ocr errors]

I would intimate in this place the propriety of disclosing the results of Craniological investigation rather more prudently than has been the habit of its professors. There are certain feelings which cannot be eradicated at once! There are particular scruples which must not be too abruptly shocked! Let the weak eye be strengthened by gradual allowances of light, ere it be required to endure the noontide sun! We have been gravely informed that there is a superadded portion of the brain by which we obtain a knowledge of the GREAT FIRST CAUSE." We are pleased at any recognition of the Deity in science, for it favours the testimony that only "the fool says in his heart there is no God." We may be informed that the head is incapable of such atheism. But I do solemnly protest against

Περί Στεφάνου.

the profane indecency of many recent attempts to connect the Omnipotent with peculiar studies. He is introduced as a poetical machine. His holy and reverend name is abused to sanction, while it is mixed up with, the most hideous incongruities. Is my indignation kindled of too earthly elements when I denounce a practice of as bad taste as of impious levity? That name is sufficiently blasphemed without any philosophical auxiliaries. Man has always possessed this "superadded portion;" but "by wisdom knew not God." Did Tully successfully discover the "nature of the gods," or the existence of the True One? Or did La Metherie, in our own day; who, giving a table of elective attractions, speaks of that particular combination and mode of chrystallization which constitutes the Divine Being? Thus men will leave the source of all religious knowledge to find it in a bone or a pulp; will turn from every manifestation of His nature with which the Supreme meets them, for the desperate hazard of one which he will never deign; and create the horror of thick darkness which descends upon them by extinguishing the only torch which could have dispelled it. With Priam I demand, "Quid petunt? quæ relligio ?"

They who are acquainted with the publications of this school, will recollect the prevailing attempt of many to reconcile the system with Revelation. The position which the Divine Word rather assumes, than intends to argue, is the universal depravity of man. The great aim it proposes to itself, is to achieve a moral revolution in his condition and nature. Other dogmata are contained in it, which neither the tone nor compass of my theme can allow me to discuss. But Craniology assures us that it calls not for the surrender of these truths; that it provides their basis and ground-work; that it constitutes their evidence and rationale. It repeats the very ignorance of Nicodemus, and to be "born again" we ought, according to its doctrine of physical formation, to "enter the second time into our mother's womb, and be born." Thus the unwary are deceived; and the believers in Revelation are betrayed into a league with Materialists, Fatalists, and Infidels, against it.

"Lucernam fur accendit ex ara Jovis,
Ipsumque compilavit ad lumen suum.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

A remark may be introduced here touching the supposed organ of veneration. To what accidents may we trace its development or diminution! We know that this We know that this part is very yielding in birth: that the lamina of the infant head continue for a time unclosed: that very frequently a depression, a valley, is left upon the spot for life. Yet all of religion depends upon this formation!

I am not disposed to go into those objections which might be raised against this system on grounds of religion. These are not few nor trifling. It is one sneer at moral responsibility. The dispositions which it ascribes as necessarily belonging to us are incompatible with any state of innocence. Did they attach to man when he shone in his Maker's image? Has his structure, the index of his present dispositions, received a similar change of conformation since? Or, when his "soul is restored," when it is "renewed after God," often most suddenly-is this the true phrenology still? And is the organology preserved? And in disposition and signiference are we to mark the identity of the new creature?" Acquisitive the same, while consenting to "the loss of all things?" Secretive the same, while "going forth without the gate ?" Self-approving the same, while "not having on their own righteousness?" Combative the same, while "gentle unto all men ?" Imitative the same, while "walking not as others walk?" It is irksome to enlarge: it is an unpleasant contention for there can be no common principles between Craniologists and Christians!


We are in possession of facts strictly religious. Tens of thousands of the negro race have embraced Christianity. These have yielded themselves to its power. Of what are its disciples

Phædrus.-Lib: iv. Fab: 11.

in our latitudes capable, of which these do not present and prove an equal susceptibility? They alike with us can "love their neighbour," can "sing with the spirit and understanding,"

"search the Scriptures," can "walk orderly," can "deny ungodliness and worldly lust," can "hope to the end," can "die in the Lord." Mandingo, Eboe, Coromantin,-Foulah, Gambian, Angolan,—have lived in Christian piety and departed in Christian peace. Did a cranial scale forbid? They were chained as captives, yoked as beasts, branded as felons, bartered as chattels. All was done to break down their mind.* But they heard the call of the Gospel: they received “the truth, and the truth made them free." Conformation and tist, if difficulties to that reception, were instantly overcome. Christ has welcomed these sable converts, saying, "Behold, my mother and my brethren!" Depressed as is their brow, "His name is upon their forehead !”

Of the Intellectual Philosophy Craniologists speak in unmeasured terms of acrimony. How can it be pursued without them? What was ever accomplished by it before them? They are the only discoverers of body and mind! They have inserted the link! They have sprung the arch! For ourselves we affect no such trophies. We think the studies different, and shall not be disappointed if we never make them meet. Such an enquiry is indeed interesting, if not of very probable solution. We have done our utmost. Our consciousness, like a discovery-ship, is in full sail for that point, while dissection is a sort of expedi tion over land. "From what I have stated," says Spurzheim, “it results that the philosophy of the mind must be entirely changed!" A modest warning truly, and his recent lectures demonstrate his qualifications for the task. In them he has laid down one most novel position. "I repeat," says he, "the assertion, and it is an important one in the consideration of the philosophy of mind, that all the feelings are felt!" How far his phrenology supersedes the systems of Locke and Stewart, I will

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« السابقةمتابعة »