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much this truly philosophical proceeding has contributed to the diffusion of the science, in Scotland at least, our readers do not need to be informed. There can be little doubt, indeed, that the truth of Phrenology and the importance of its practical applications would have ensured its ultimate reception in this country ; but had it not been for the unostentatious, but well-directed and indefatigable exertions of Mr Combe, it is difficult to say how long it might have been confined to a few isolated individuals without taking any hold of the public mind. By continually bringing the subject under general notice, by repelling the objections that, from time to time, were brought forward, by exhibiting a faithful view of the principles that Drs Gall and Spurzheim maintained, and by adapting the application of them to the habits and tastes of those whom he addressed, Mr Combe has succeeded beyond what the warmest friends of Phrenology could have anticipated ;-the speedy prevalence of the science is now no longer a matter of doubt, the load of ridicule and abuse that was once heaped upon it is now removed, and we have the satisfaction of hearing even our enemies allow that the subject is one that deserves attention.
We are in hopes that the present publication will produce a still greater impression in favour of Phrenology than any of Mr Combe's former writings. Though it appears as a second edition, it has received so many enlargements and alterations that it may be considered almost as a new work, and it is certainly the best of his productions. It is distinguished by all those qualities of plain and perspicuous statement, simple and satisfactory reasoning, straight forwardness of purpose, and quiet enthusiasm, by which our friend is already so well known to our readers. And we are happy to observe, that, though equal felicities of diction may be found in particular passages of his former writings, his style is more equable and unexceptionable throughout, his metaphysics also are becoming more consistent and intelligible, and his views of the boundaries and applications of the new science more definite and enlarged. His style, it must be allowed, still admits of improvement in the articles of terseness and elegance,-his minuteness occasionally borders upon tediousness, and his love of accuracy and distinctness sometimes betrays him almost into the ludicrous: he is apt also to satisfy himself with giving the sentiments of others, when we would be better pleased to have his own, and he frequently stops short of the last analysis. These, indeed, are not trivial defects ; but, upon the whole, the book contains such a variety of original views of human nature, so many ingenious discussions upon the most interesting questions in literature and morals, and there is over the whole such an impress of honesty and good feeling, that we have seldom read a work with greater pleasure, and even though the fundamental principles were erroneous, we conceive that it could scarcely be perused without pleasure and advantage. Indeed, we are inclined to think, that, by the general reader in our own country, this will be received as the most interesting work that has yet appeared upon the subject. Mr Combe has given a succinct view of all that is most interesting in the works of Drs Gall and Spurzheim ; to this he has added many valuable illustrations of his own, and his application of the general principles of the system to the current questions, in letters and ethics, is such as could not have been expected from the pen of a foreign writer. He has also presented the work in a form at once commodious and cheap; for it is but justice to observe, that the present edition contains more than double the matter of the first, and the price is not raised to the public.
In making these remarks, it is not our wish to make any invidious comparison between Mr Combe and the two great individuals whose names we have so often mentioned. It is of the comparative interest of their works, and not of the merits of the authors of which we speak ; and Mr Combe himself, we are sure, is the first that would take offence were we to say any thing that might seem to interfere with the originality or other high qualities of Drs Gall and Spurzheim. In so far as Dr Gall is concerned, it is unnecessary, perhaps, to have made this explanation. In his own science he never can have a rival. He has secured for himself one of those niches in the Temple of Fame reserved for a very few of the favoured of mankind, whom nature and fortune conspire to elevate. A man who is to be named only with the Harveys, and Galileos, and Newtons, has nothing to dread from any competitor ; and in his own department there never can be found any similis aut secundus. The proximos illi honores have certainly been occupied by Dr Spurzheim, and as Dr Johnson has remarked of Milton in regard to epic poetry, so it may be said of Dr S., that he is not the greatest of Phrenologists only because he is not the first. His contributions to the science betoken powers of the very first order; and his services to Phrenology no possible circumstance can ever make us forget or undervalue, nor will posterity ever forget or undervalue them. It must farther be allowed, that those two great individuals, besides opening up the path of discovery, and placing the torch of a pure philosophy in the hands of those who might be disposed farther to explore the hidden tracks, have made so many observations and accumulated such a heap of facts, and made so many applications of their system, that all that has been added by their numerous disciples bears but a small proportion to their exertions. But we must not exalt the merits of the founders of the science at the expense of the science itself; and we have too great a respect for Phrenology not to suppose that it still presents an abundant harvest to crown the efforts of other labourers. No truth, indeed, of substantial importance can be viewed by different minds without receiving valuable accessions. Every new sphere of observation within which a new principle is applied suggests numerous views which, though not altogether original, have yet all the interest of novelty. The man, for example, who applies the theory of the tides to the ocean that washes his own shores, does not only confer a practical benefit upon navigators, but will add new illustrations to the theory itself, and modify or enlarge it. In this respect, much, we conceive, has been done by Mr Combe for Phrenology. Without claiming the merit of establishing principles absolutely new, he has suggested many valuable hints for carrying into practical effect the principles that he found already established; he has been most successful in detecting the workings of the simple springs of human action, in the complicated aspect presented in what Dr Chalmers would call the scene of every-day life; and has thus brought Phrenology home to “ the business and bosom “ of men." It is in this last respect that the chief value of this science consists,--the object that Dr Gall had in view rendered it necessary to multiply facts in regard to the functions of the faculties, and these generally as they operate singly and in extreme cases. Dr Spurzheim, on the other hand, is led to be sparing in his particular illustrations; and his chief object is accomplished when he establishes the primitive function of a faculty. It was necessary, perhaps, in the first place, that both of these methods should be followed, and each of them is attended with special, and, in their way, inestimable advantages. But then they left room for a third method, which has been judiciously occupied by Mr Combe, viz.,—to examine the morale of each faculty, to ascertain the sphere of its legitimate exercise, and to trace its workings not merely in uncombined and extreme operation, but also in the more ordinary circumstances of life. Even in this respect, he no doubt received very important aids from the works of Drs G. and S. But he has followed the method so systematically, and arrived at so many new conclusions, that we are disposed to look upon this as a new
era in the science.
But it is now time that we should proceed to give some account of the contents of this volume, that our readers may be able to form an opinion of its merits for themselves. It is not divided into chapters or sections, (which is inconvenient
for reference ;) but, though not numbered, the divisions are sufficiently distinct. The introductory part of the volume consists of a brief history of the science, and of a very excellent view of its principles and their application. The various faculties are then considered at great length in the order followed by Dr Spurzheim in his Physiognomical System. After the consideration of the faculties simply, there are many interesting sections upon their modes of activity. The objections to the system are ably combated, and some interesting views are given of the application that might be made of Phrenology in criminal legislation and insanity. From the chapter on criminal legislation we quote the following passage, which appears to us exceedingly curious :
“ When we examine a very small brain, and perceive general “ idiocy accompanying it, the effects of deficiency in size are easily “recognised, and mental weakness is then so palpable, that no one “ can doubt of its existence: but there is another case which oc'curs in life, in which the brain is quite sound in structure, in “ which certain of the organs are developed in an average degree, “ but in which others of them, say the whole intellectual region, are “ so extremely deficient in size, that an average strength of intellect “ is wanting. A case of this kind proves an enigma to courts, phi
losophers, and the vulgar, for the individual does not rave, nei“ther does he talk incoherently; on all matters connected with “ sentiment and propensity he commonly acts with propriety; and “ yet the general tenor of his actions betrays a deficiency of mind, “which renders him incapable of managing his own affairs. These “ remarks will be best illustrated by a case which occurred some years ago in the Court of Session.
student of divinity, having succeeded to some property on the death of a brother, the Court of Session, on 10th July 1816, appointed W- Ghis sister's husband, cura“ tor bonis, to manage his effects, (on the certificate of two medi“ cal practitioners that he was imbecile in mind.) In a year and a “ half afterwards, a petition was presented to the court in name of “ Mr Bhimself, and of certain persons as his interdictors, al“ leging that he was capable of managing his own affairs, and crav“ing that the curatory in favour of Mr G might be recalled. “ This brought on the question, whether he was imbecile or not ; “and the court remitted to the sheriff of Edinburgh, then Sir Wil“ liam Rae, to adduce evidence, and to report upon the subject. “ The following evidence was given, to shew that Mr Bwas
“J-W-, Solicitor of Supreme Courts, deposed, that he