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THE

CONSTITUTION OF

OF MAN

CONSIDERED IN

RELATION TO EXTERNAL OBJECTS.

BY

GEORGE COMBE.

Vain is the ridicule with which one sees some persons will divert themselves,
upon finding lesser pains considered as instances of divine punishment. There is
no possibility of answering or evading the general thing here intended, without
denying all final causes.-Butler's Analogy.

ALEXANDRIAN EDITION."

HARTFORD:

PUBLISHED BY SILAS ANDRUS & SON.

PREFACE

TO THE EDINBURGH EDITION,

pas

sun.

This Essay would not have been presented to the But, although my purpose is practical, a theory of public, had I not believed that it contains views of the Mind forms an essential element in the execution of constitution, condition, and prospects of Man, which the plan. Without it, no comparison can be instituted deserve attention ; but these, I trust, are not ushered between the natural constitution of man and external forth with any thing approaching to a presumptuous objects. Phrenology appears to me to be the clearest, spirit. I lay no claim to originality of conception. most complete, and best supported system of Human My first notion of the natural laws were derived from Nature, which has hitherto been taught; and I have an unpublished manuscript of Dr SPURZHEIM, with the assumed it as the basis of this Essay. But the practiperusal of which I was honoured some years ago ; and cal value of the views now to be unfolded does not all my inquiries and meditations since have impressed depend on Phrenology. This theory of Mind itself is me more and more with a conviction of their impor- valuable, only in so far as it is a just cxposition of what tance. The materials employed lie open to all. Taken previously existed in human nature. We are physical, separately, I would hardly say that a new truth has organic, and moral beings, acting under the sanction been presented in the following work. The parts have of general laws, let the merits of Phrenology be what all been admitted and employed again and again, by they, may. Individuals will, under the impulse of writers on morals, from Socrates down to the present sion, or by the direction of intellect, hope, fear, wonday. In this respect, there is nothing new under the der, perceive, and act, whether the degree in which

The only novelty in this Essay respects the rela- they habitually do so, be ascertainable on phrenological tions which acknowledged truths hold to each other. principles or not. In so far, therefore, as this Essay Physical laws of nature, affecting our physical condi- treats of the known qualities of Man, it may be instruction, as well as regulating the whole material system tive even to those who contemn Phrenology as unof the universe, are universally acknowledged, and founded ; while it can prove useful to no one, if it constitute the elements of natural philosophy and che- shall depart from the true elements of mental philosoinical science. Physiologists, medical practitioners, phy, by whatever system these may be expounded. and all who take medical aid, admit the existence of I have endeavoured to avoid all religious controversy. organic laws; and the science of government, legisla- The object of Moral Philosophy,' says Mr STEWART, tion, education, indeed our whole train of conduct is to ascertain the general rules of a wise and virtuous through life, proceed upon the admission of laws in conduct in life, in so far as these rules may be discomorals. Accordingly, the laws of nature have formed vered by the unassisted light of nature; that is by an an interesting subject of inquiry to philosophers of all examination of the principles of the human constituages; but, so far as I am aware, no author has hitherto tion, and of the circumstances in which man is placed.' attempted to point out, in a combined and systematic By following this method of inquiry, Dr HUTCHESON, form, the relations between these laws and the constitu- | Dr Adam Smith, Dr REID, Mr STEWART, and Dr tion of Man; which must, nevertheless, be done, be- THOMAS Brown, have, in succession, produced highly fore our knowledge of them can be beneficially applied. interesting and instructive works on Moral Science; The great object of the following Essay is to exhibit and the present Essay is a humble attempt to pursue these relations, with a view to the improvement of edu

the same plan, with the aid of the new lights afforded cation, and the regulation of individual conduct.

by phrenology.

* Outlines of Moral Philosophy, p. 1. EDINBURGH, 9th Juno, 1828

ESSAY

ON

THE CONSTITUTION OF MAN,

AND ITS RELATIONS TO EXTERNAL OBJECTS.

ON NATURAL LAWS.

CHAPTER I.

combined with the portion denoted by 2120 of that instrument, it rises into vapour or steam. Here water

and heat are the substances,—the freezing and rising A STATEMENT of the evidence of a great intelligent in vapour are the appearances or phenomena presented First Cause is given in the Phrenological Journal,’ by them; and when we say that these take place acand in the System of Phrenology. I hold this exist- cording to a Law of Nature, we mean only that these ence as capable of demonstration. By NATURE, I mean modes of action appear, to our intellects, to be estabthe workmanship of this great Being, such as it is re- lished in the very constitution of the water and heat, vealed to our minds by our senses and faculties. and in their natural relationship to each other; and that

In natural science, three subjects of inquiry may be the processes of freezing and rising in vapour are their distinguished. 1st. What exists? 2dly. What is the

constant appearances, when combined in these proporpurpose or design of what exists; and, 3dly. Why was tions, other conditions being the same. what exists designed for such uses as it evidently The ideas chiefly to be kept in view are, 1st. That subserves ? For example,--It is a matter of fact that all substances and beings have received a definite natuarctic regions and torrid zones exist,—that a certain ral constitution ; 2dly. That every mode of action, kind of moss is most abundant in Lapland in mid-win- which is said to take place according to a natural law, ter,—that the rein-deer feeds on it, and enjoys high is inherent in the constitution of the substance, or health and vigor in situations where most other animals being, that acts; and, 3dly. That the mode of action would die ; farther, it is a matter of fact that camels exist described is universal and invariable, wherever and in Africa ; that they have broad hoofs, and stomachs whenever the substances, or beings, are found in the fitted to retain water for a length of time, and that they same condition. For example, water, at the level of flourish amid arid tracts of sand, where the rein-deer the sea, freezes and boils, at the same temperature, in would not live for a day. All this falls under the in- China and in France, in Peru and in England; and quiry, What exists? But in contemplating the fore- there is no exception to the regularity with which it going facts, it is impossible not to infer that one object exhibits these appearances, when all its conditions are of the Lapland moss is to feed the rein-deer, and one the same: For cæteris paribus is a condition which perpurpose of the deer is to assist man : and that, in likevades all departments of science, phrenology included. manner, broad feet have been given to the camel to If water be carried to the top of a mountain 20,000 enable it to walk on sand, and a retentive stomach to

feet high, it boils at a lower temperature than 212°, fit it for arid places in which water is not found except | but this again depends on its relationship to the air, at wide intervals. These are inquiries into the use or and takes place also according to fixed and invariable purpose of what exists. In like manner, we may in- principles. The air exerts a great pressure on the waquire, What purpose do sandy deserts and desolate | ter. At the level of the sea the pressure is nearly the heaths subserve in the economy of nature ? In short, i same in all quarters of the globe, and in that situation an inquiry into the use or purpose of any object that the freezing points and boiling points correspond all exists, is merely an examination of its relations to other over the world; but on the top of a high mountain the objects and beings, and of the modes in which it affects pressure is much less, and the vapour not being held them; and this is quite a legitimate exercise of the down by so great a power of resistance, rises at a lower human intellect. But, 3dly, we may ask, why were degree of heat than 212o. But this change of appearthe physical elements of nature created such as they ances does not indicate a change in the constitution of are? Why were summer, autumn, spring, and winter the water and the heat, but only a variation of the cirintroduced? Why were animals formed of organized cumstances in which they are placed ; and hence it is matter? These are inquiries why what exists was not correct to say, that water boiling on the tops of made such as it is, or into the will of the Deity in crea- high mountains, at a lower temperature than 212°, is tion. Now, man's perceptive faculties are adequate to an exception to the general law of nature : there never the first inquiry, and his reflective faculties to the are exceptions to the laws of nature ; for the Creator second ; but it may well be doubted whether he has is too wise and too powerful to make imperfect or inpowers suited to the third. My investigations are con- consistent arrangements. The error is in the human fined to the first and second, and I do not discuss the mind inferring the law to be, that water boils at 2120 third.

in all altitudes; when the real law is only that it boils A law, in the common acceptation, denotes a rule of at that temperature, at the level of the sea, in all counaction; its existence indicates an established and con- tries; and that it boils at a lower temperature, the stant mode, or process, according to which phenomena higher it is carried, because there the pressure of the take place ; and this is the sense in which I shall use atmosphere is diminished. it, when treating of physical substances and beings. Intelligent beings exist, and are capable of modifyFor example, water and heat are substances; and wa- ing their actions. By means of their faculties, the ter presents different appearances, and manifests cer- laws impressed by the Creator on physical substances tain qualities, according to the altitude of its situation, become known to them ; and, when perceived, constiand the degree of heat with which it is combined. tute laws to them, by which to regulate their conduct. When at the level of the sea, and combined with that For example, it is a physical law, that boiling water portion of heat indicated by 320 of Fahrenheit's destroys the muscular and nervous systems of man. thermometer, it freezes os becomes solid ; when This is the result purely of the constitution of the

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