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CONSTITUTION OF MAN
RELATION TO EXTERNAL OBJECTS. .
“ Vain is the ridicule with which one foresees some persons will divert themselves, upon finding lesser pains
REVISED, CORRECTED, AND ENLARGED.
MACLACHLAN, STEWART & CO., AND JOHN ANDERSON JUX.;
SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.
Os 27th May 1829, the late W. R. Henderson, Esq., younger of Warrison and Eildon Hall, executed a deed of settlement, by which he conveyed to certain Trustees such funds should die possessed of; and, in the event of his dying without leaving children, he appointed them to pay certain legacies and annuities to individual friends, and gave the following instructions regarding the application of the residue of his funds :
" And, lastly, the whole residue of my means and estate shall, after answering the purposes above written, be applied by my said Trustees in whatever manner they may judge best for the advancement and diffusion of the science of Phrenology, and the practical application thereof in particular; giving hereby and committing to my said Trustees, the most full and unlimited power to manage and dispose of the said residue, in whatever manner shall appear to them best suited to promote the ends in view: Declaring, that if I had less confidence in my Trustees, I would make it imperative on them to print and publish one or more editions of an · Essay on the Constitution of Man considered in Relation to External Objects, by George Combe, '-in a cheap form, so as to be easily purchased by the more intelligent individuals of the poorer classes, and Mechanics’ Institutions, &c. ; but that I consider it better only to request their particular attention to this suggestion, and to leave them quite at liberty to act as circumstances may seem to them to render expedient; seeing that the state of the country, and things impossible to foresee, may make what would be of unquestionable advantage now, not advisable at some future period of time. But if my decease shall happen before any material change affecting this subject, I request them to act agreeably to my suggestion. And I think it proper here to de clare, that I dispose of the residue of my property in the above manner, not from my being carried away by a transient fit of enthusiasm, but from a deliberate, calm, and deep-rooted conviction, that nothing whatever hitherto known can operate so powerfully to the improvement and happiness of mankind, as the knowledge and practical adoption of the principles disclosed by Phrenology, and particularly of those which are developed in the Essay on the Constitution of Man, above mentioned.”
Mr Henderson having died on the 29th of May 1832, his trustees carried his instructions in regard to the present work into effect, and the impressions of it have been as follows :I. EDITION in 12mo.
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This Work would not have been presented to the Public, had I not believed that it contains views of the constitution, condition, and prospects of Man,which deserve attention. But these, I trust, are not ushered forth with anything approaching to a presumptuous spirit. I lay no claim to originality of conception. My first notions of the natural laws were derived from a manuscript work of Dr Spurzheim, with the perusal of which I was honoured in 1824, and which was afterwards published under the title of “ A Sketch of the Natural Laws of Man, by G. Spurzheim, M. D.” A comparison of the text of it with that of the following pages, will shew to what extent I am indebted to my late excellent and lamented master and friend for my ideas on the subject. All my inquiries and meditations since have impressed me more and more with a conviction of their importance. The materials employed lie open to all. Taken separately, I would hardly say that a new truth has been presented in the following work. The parts have nearly all been admitted and employed again and again, by writers on morals, from the time of Socrates down to the present day. In this respect, there is nothing new under the sun. The only novelty in this work respects the relations which acknowledged truths hold to each other. Physical laws of nature, affecting our physical condition, as well as regulating the whole material system of the universe, are universally acknowledged to exist, and constitute the elements of natural philosophy and chemical science : Physiologists, medical practitioners, and all who take medical aid, admit the existence of organic laws : And the sciences of government, legislation, education, indeed our whole train of conduct through life, proceed upon the admission of laws in morals. Accordingly, the laws of nature have formed an interesting subject of inquiry to philosophers of all ages; but, so far as I am aware, no author has hitherto attempted to point out, in a systematic form, the relations between those laws and the constitution of Man ; which must, nevertheless, be done, before our knowledge of them can be beneficially applied. Dr Spurzheim, in his “ Philosophical Principles of Phrenology,” adverted to the independent operation of the several classes of natural laws, and pointed out some of the consequences of this doctrine, but without entering into detailed elucidations. The great object of the following Treatise is to exhibit the constitution of Man, and its relations to several of the most important natural laws, with a view to the improvement of education, and the regulation of individual and national conduct.
But although my purpose is practical, a theory of Mind forms an essential element in the execution of the plan. Without it, no comparison can be instituted between the natural constitution of man and external objects. Phrenology appears to me to be the clearest, most complete, and best supported system of mental philosophy which has hitherto been taught; and I have assumed it as the basis of this work. But the practical value of the views to be unfolded does not depend entirely on Phrenology. The latter as a theory of Mind, is itself valuable only in so far as it is a just exposition of what previously existed in human nature. We are physical, organic, and moral beings, acting under general laws, whether the connection of different mental qualities with particular portions of the brain, as taught by Phrenology, be admitted or denied. Individuals, under the impulse of passion, or by the direction of intellect, will hope, fear, wonder, perceive, and act, whether the degree in which they habitually do so be ascertainable by the means which it points out or not. In so far, therefore, as this work treats of the known qualities of Man, it may be instructive even to those who contemn Phrenology as unfounded ; while it can prove useful to none, if the doctrines which it unfolds shall be found not to be in accordance with the principles of human nature, by whatever system these may be expounded.
Some individuals object to all mental philosophy as useless, and argue, that, as Mathematics, Chemistry, and Botany, have become great sciences without the least reference to the faculties by means of which they are cultivated, so Morals, Religion, Legislation, and Political Economy, have existed, have been improved, and may continue to advance, with equal success, without any help from the philosophy of mind. Such objectors, however, should consider that lines, circles, and triangles--earths, alkalis, and acids—and also corollas, stamens, pistils, and stigmas,-are objects which exist independently of the mind, and may be investigated by the application of the mental powers, in ignorance of the constitution of the faculties themselves—just as we may practise archery without studying the anatomy of the hand; whereas the objects of moral and political philosophy are the qualities and actions of the mind itself: These objects have no existence independently of mind; and they can no more be systematically or scientifically understood without the knowledge of mental