« PreviousContinue »
matter to their best advantage, those who nological orator, in setting forth the would at all avoid the most gross materi- various functions of the different parts of alism, and who partially admit the mind the cerebral empire, has as smooth a to be a spiritual substance, insist that the course before him as Counsellor Hurlbut parts thus set forth represent the whole discoursing on human rights. In the soul, and that it possesses no faculty midst, however, of all this display of elowhich does not act, or is not acted upon, quence and philosophy, the objection will through these divisions of the brain, or somehow creep into the mind of some inby means of a motion or excitement in telligent hearer, that all this looks very some one of these organs in which man much like making man a machine, and a is summed up. The lecturer will then machine too of a very low order. If proceed to describe to his astonished au- these propensities are blind—as Spurzdience, the province and action of each heim says they are—and act not simply organ. In so doing, he will make many through, but by matter, and act by fixed quotations from Shakspeare, both perti- natural laws, and invariably act when nent and impertinent, and will spread be- the object is present or imagined, and are fore us much useful information, a great in every respect as the organ for the time part of which, however, might be predi- being (just as vision will always be as cated on any other system as well as on the eye, and hearing as the ear,) and are phrenology. He will
, for example, tell all, in this respect, alike, from the seemus how this science has revealed the long inglyhighest to the lowest, being all, phyhidden truths, that man is governed by siologically, similar agitations in similar various motives, that there are striking pieces of the same fibrine substance—if differences in the intellectual and moral this is so, and these objections arise in the habits of different individuals-that if one mind (as they naturally will, while that is malevolent, he violates the law of common sense which God has given us charity—if he don't take care what he remains among mankind,) and the syseats, he will violate the law of the sto- tem is accordingly charged with destroymach; if a man has large veneration ing the foundation of accountable action combined with marvelousness, he will —the lecturer is ever ready with his be inclined to be religious, and very pro- stereotyped answer. With a confident bably fanatical ; if he have much im- smile of anticipated triumph over an opagination, the chance is, that he will be a position so frivolous and so easily put poet; if he have excessive combativeness, down, he will tell you, that a man can he will love to break heads, and if he and ought to control his propensities; has large causality, he will be inclined that he may do this by directing special to make steam engines and wooden clocks. attention to those which require it, or are
There is nothing on which the lecturer in danger of wrongfully getting the upper :-unless he is remarkably different from hand, and thus devouring the liberties every one that we have seen-will be so of the other members of the democracy. sure to enlarge, as on the evils of exces He can deny exercise to those that are sive Faith and Veneration, and to explain, too predominant, although the lecturer is at great length, how these organs, unless very careful not to explain how it can ever most carefully watched, are in great dan come to pass, that that, which is predomiger of becoming sources of most serious nant, shall be prevented from ruling. He mischief; so much so, that if he had not can call into action those that are defi. told us that all the faculties and propen- cient. He can balance the action of one sities were good, we might be almosi led that is salutary, against another that is to suppose, that he regarded these as the hurtful and destructive. When he finds worst in the collection. Along with all too strong a tendency in his cerebral state this there are also presented many sage to radicalism and anarchy, he can become directions, especially to mothers, in re conservative; if veneration is getting too gard to the proper cultivation of the or- wild, he can cure this mischievous excess gans, and a proper course of phrenologi- of religion, by giving the loose rein for cal education for young children. Finally, a season to acquisitiveness, or arousing the lecturer assures us, that every one of the action of his sleeping cautiousness. these propensities, moral sentiments, &c., And thus, says the lecturer, your objechas its own peculiar organ, and its own tion is triumphantly answered; thus man fixed mode of action, each one performing becomes an accountable being, and a subits own part and never obtruding into the ject of moral law. province of another
Brave words these, and bravely spoken. So far all is plain sailing. The phre- Who shall dare to charge such a system
with materialism. But hold! what does and royal family. Here was that which the quack mean by all this? What right could determine ranks and precedence. has the Samaritan so suddenly to use the Here was something of a nobler birth, Jew's language in place of his native which could speak such authority to the dialect of Ashdod ?" Is he not, we ask, rebellious tenants of the brain, which adopting a mode of speech utterly at war could, in truth, control, repress, exalt, with his own system and from which, by because its very right and nature was to his own hypothesis, he is certainly ex have the dominion. Here, in short, was cluded. The man can do so and so, can a power far above what Spurzheim he! He can repress; he can call out; he would style the predominating influence can balance; he can cultivate: he can for the time being of the majority of the exercise. And who is the man aside propensities. from these very organs which compose But, on the other scheme, where is this him? What is he apart from that loco- rightful supervisory power? Wherefoco rabble of sentiments and propensities, since we have got again into our old over which he is to exhibit such a mar habit of asking questions—where is the velous display of autocratic power ? State House of this phrenological em. Where is this identical Homo, this Ipseity, pire; if we should not rather inquire, this Avtoratoç as Aristophanes would style where is the demagogue speaker's stand in him, this wondrous he, who is to per- this phrenological mass meeting? Where form all these miracles, who cannot exist is the true Executive Power, which is to apart, and yet has no spare corner left in direct these blind moral sentiments ? for the brain for his peculiar residence, or an no position is regarded as more firmly esinch of ground, throughout his own do- tablished in phrenology than this, that all minions, on which he can plant his foot. the moral feelings act blindly,as Gall and Every lot has been taken up and mapped Spurzheim both tell us–Veneration, for out long ago for other purposes. On the example, being just as likely, of itself, to whole estate not a solitary acre is left for reverence an Indian taboo, or ichneuthe lord of the manor.
mons, or crocodiles, or old bones of saints, Here certainly seems to be a small diffi or whatever may come in its way, as any culty in the way of this first and best of higher object of worship. What, in short, sciences, whether regarded as applied to is to control the mob of propensities? the State or to the human soul. In sys- Can the subjects, or if any are fastidious tems of mental philosophy existing pre- about the term, can the citizens be held vious to this famous discovery that man accountable for sedition and disorder, is but a bundle of faculties and the State when there is no governor, and no law only a collection of people, there was out of themselves, to keep them in resomething regarded as Supreme, and straint ? therefore distinct from the inferior. There And which organ, as they are dewas held to be a true will, which, al- scribed and located by phrenologists, can though it might, in its fallen state, sub- rightly claim this preëminence—which ject itself to the propensities, was yet can with authority que!l the dangerous distinct from them, and might aspire to fanaticism of excessive Veneration, or recontrol them when it found its true strength strain the vagaries of excessive Hope ; in union with the Supreme and Holy which can say to Combativeness,“ peace, Will of the universe. It was a will, in be still,” and to Destructiveness, “ stay its rectified state, in perfect alliance with thy hand.” Counsellor Hurlbut somea reason, which was not carried about by times, it is true, talks of “ the superior each man individually, or had its location nature,” but nothing can be clearer, than in an inch of brain, hut of which the in- that, for this, he has no orthodox phredividual partook as of one common rea- nological authority, and that all such son, on that account justly styled uni- language, whatever blunders of speech versal, immutable, and eternal.
some of its inferior disciples may occaHere then was something truly su- sionally fall into, is directly opposed to preme-something which had an inalien- the inevitable conclusions of the science. able and indefeasible right to rule over In other places he agrees with his masters, the propensities, because it was not allied and is consistent with his philosophy, in to them by a common nature, but was, regarding them as all alike developments in truth, of a higher order of being. If of one nature, and all equally entitled to we dared to use such language in a dem- be gratified. “Wherever Nature,” he says, ocratic land, we would say it had a right (page 13,) " has ordained desire, we infer to reign, because it was of the divine the right to its indulgence, and hence,
THE RIGHTS OF MAN.'” Again he says What if Veneration be allowed to rule. “ In regard to the right of its exercise, This, as we have shown, is generally no question is involved but the existence set forth by phrenologists as one of the of the innate faculty, and the objects most dangerous of the organs, and represented by Nature for its gratification : quiring to be watched, by the others, the manner of its exercise is another with that eternal “ vigilance which is the thing—that presents a question of morals.” price of liberty." Counsellor Hurlbut,
But this trifling question of morals, too, according to the most perfect analogy, which our author skips over so lightly, seems to take the same view of religion and with so much indifference, is the and all divine sanctions in relation to the very pith of the whole matter. Here is State (see chap. 4). Shall Order, then, the unobserved torpedo which blows up or Ideality, or Benevolence say to Dehis whole theory. This little question structiveness, thou art vulgar, and to Ali. of morals, which the writer distinguishes mentiveness, thou art ignoble ? Shall from natural rights, brings us at once on some affect to be more spiritual than higher grounds, and presents a problem others? Why so ? The brain which for which his philosophy finds no means they occupy, as far as we can learn, is of solution. În phrenology, as well as no better brain than that possessed by in ultra democracy, the only rule of what they might style the lower facul. morals can be equal rights, and equal ties. Each has its seat in about the rank, and an equal portion for all.” If, same amount and about the same quality then, one inquire-Which, in this mass of phosphoric fat, of the same fibre, of meeting of faculties, is to be moderator, the same consistence, the same chemical which is to determine excess, define ranks structure. Their various occupations and precedence, declare what may be in. therefore, should give rise to no distincdulged, what is to be restrained, what is tions of rank ; just as all democrats are high and noble, what is mean and grov- equally good, although one writes pocling--the only answer can be, that, as etry, another conducts a Review, and anfar as we can learn, they are all on a par, other carries a hod. unless some element is brought in which The phrenologist may say, that some does not belong to phrenology. Physio- are by nature beiter; but what gives him logically, (and we have been told on the a right to affirm this, without resorting highest authority of this school that the (unconsciously perhaps) to some truths whole is a question of physics, and that out of his system? Unless he gets somemetaphysics has been totally exploded,) thing which, although pertaining to man physiologically, then, all are alike. The individually, is yet, at the same time, out difference, certainly, cannot be said to of and above him, something universal arise from the distance of a few inches and eternal, he cannot depart an inch to the right or left. Each has about an from his law of a necessary equality, equal space and an equal portion on the arising from the fact of that physiological brain. Each is independent in its own equality which is the basis of the whole dominions, and no one has more right scheme. The organs of causality and than another to step beyond its own de- conscientiousness, as they are styled, and partment, and become a Will.
to which he might perhaps appeal, are Counsellor Hurlbut says of the people, of the same origin, the same mechanical (page 37,) “ If one be a king, then all action, and of the same material, too, are kings; if one be a lord, then all are with their fellows. They have no more lords : whatever exists of natural right, right to control combativeness in the all are equally entitled to." Government, gratification of its delightful propensity, then, (by which he means in a State the than destructiveness has to destroy them. present will of a present majority, and of If the others refuse to obey, there is no course in the brain the majority of the higher arbiter to adjudge submission. organs or propensities,) can bestow no Even should we admit that the intuitive privileges without violating the sanctity moral reason is, in any way, or in the of natural rights, whose protection is its least degree, represented by their miseraonly function." Suppose, then, that some ble wooden-clock-making causality, still of these organs aspire to be a nobility its like location on the brain confines it among the rest; that what are called the down to a par with all the rest. It does moral sentiments, for example, seek to not seem to have as high or as good a elevate themselves above the others, and position as firmness, or obstinacy,) or affect distinctions between high and low, self-esteem, or love of approbation. refined and base, intellectual and sensual. There may, however, be differences; all
that we contend for is, that we must go dulge. He desires to eat, but will not. out of phrenology, and seek the aid of a Will, then, cannot be any fundamental higher light, to determine them.
power by itself,” &c. It is indeed delightBut this, after all, does not touch our ful to observe the naïve simplicity with main difficulty, namely, the want of a which this most remarkable sage selects distinct, separate and supreme will, or the dog as furnishing as good a demonacting personality. Reason, in any sense, stration of the want of a proper will, as is no substitute for that great power we could have been derived from man himhave so long been seeking in the physio- self. The comparison is really admirable. logical domains. The office of reason is Nothing could more beautifully or more judicial, and in a certain sense passive. clearly have illustrated this whole canine It decides upon matters brought before it. philosophy, whether regarded in its apIt deduces conclusions from acts and pre- plication to the soul or the State. mises presented to it. But where is the Every faculty in its turn becomes a executive power of the soul, which is to will.” Let us endeavor to expand the bring turbulent propensities before rea- precious truth, and the striking illustrason's tribunal, and carry into execution tion by which it is set forth. The dog, its decisions after they have been ren- for instance, is hungry. Here the dog's dered ? In itself it is as powerless as the organ of alimentiveness is the will
. But Supreme Court of the United States, when having been punished for eating the meat, what should have represented the execu- he, for fear of blows, does not indulge. tive will, identifying itself with the basest He desires but he wills not to eat. A more passions of the mob, refused to enforce overwhelming power has intervened. its mandamus against the State of Geor- Now the dog's cautiousness becomes will. gia.
And so on our philosopher might have We have dwelt on this at some length, continued bis illustration through the because it is the great objection which whole catalogue. If the dog seizes the applies equally to phrenology and to that meat, his destructiveness predominates; political system which Mr. Hurlbut has and if another dog interferes for a share, attempted to found on this flowing basis. his combativeness immediately becomes In neither can there be anything final, will. This divinest faculty of the soul, universal, or eternal. Neither has any. as it has been styled, this most purely thing ideal, in the true sense of that im- spiritual part of our nature, is the same, portant, yet much-abused term. Neither then, in men and dogs—in beings account. has, for human rights and human duties, able and unaccountable—in those that any sure foundation, which, although have a conscience, and those that have connected with, is distinct from, human not. It becomes anything, and everynature itself. The one has no State, aside thing, according to the organ which is from the present impulses of the present predominant. mass: the other has no man, distinct from The application which Doctor Spurzthe majority of his blind sentiments and heim and Counsellor Hurlbut might make unreasoning propensities.
of this to the body politic is very obvious. We cannot conclude without intro- Very much in the same way as Spurzducing from Spurzheim a most appropri- heim, in the extract quoted several pages ate illustration of that doctrine of a will, back, speaks of a will distinct from the for which we formerly referred to his propensities, as being a mere invention pages. It contains the substance of this of old moralists and theologians, so might whole philosophy. The dog furnishes our political philosopher say, that former him with a common comparison, which politicians, in the old days of ignorance, seems, from the manner of his using it, had foolishly regarded the State as an to have been as great a favorite as the entity, distinct from the present mass, Shoemaker or the Pilot of Socrates. and law as something higher than the "That desire (says he, as we have pre- present balance of the present propensi. viously quoted, which overwhelms the ties of a majority. They had talked of others, is called will; and in this sense, something abiding and permanent, under every faculty in its turn becomes a will. the name of a doctela, or a constitution, A dog, for instance, (continues this most which represented the reason or fixed profound philosopher,) is hungry, but principles, in distinction from the everhaving been punished for eating the meat changing desires
. But this was all a misfound upon the table, he, (that is, the dog,) take. It all came from that miserable without ceasing to feel appetite, for fear philosophy, which prevailed in the world of a repetition of the blows, does not in. before “ man was demonstrated.” There
can be no such constitution, no such ab objection which would naturally arise to stract law. The people even, to say a theory of rights, founded on the indul. nothing of their representatives, cannot gence of every human propensity, and he bind themselves. The very thought is therefore hastens to guard it by a method contrary to liberty, and their inalienable similar to that of the phrenologist. He, rights. If the people should prescribe too, is compelled (without perhaps being the mode in which their fundamental law aware of it) to go out of his philosophy. should be changed, even this would not “Let no one, (he says, page 17,) fear that conclude them, because the impulses and dangerous conclusions may be drawn propensities of one moment, whether in from these premises. There is a wide individuals or in masses, have no right difference between the rational qualificato prescribe any restraints upon the im tion and the abusive indulgence. We pulses and propensities of any succeeding are not contending for the abuse but the moment. To talk in phrenological lan- enlightened gratification, &c.” We have guage, “ That desire which overwhelms seen how utterly inconsistent this lanthe other, is the will, and in this sense guage is with orthodox phrenology in the every propensity in turn becomes a will." case of the individual, and here too is then, As long as the dog is hungry, the desire in like manner, something silently as. of the bone is the sovereign power, sumed which is utterly at war with the
And so of the body politic. If the author's scheme. This looks somewhat propensities of a majority, or of those like an appeal to a national conscience, a who call themselves a majority, aim at permanent thing, destined from the prothe demolition of their own constitution, pensities of the
moment. And if a nathen destructiveness is will. If it seek tional conscience, then likewise a nation. to repudiate a debt, the national acquisi al religion ; a term which we cannot be tiveness is will. If it desire the instant oc deterred from using, because some shalcupation of Oregon, or the annexation of low demagogue, who knows no better, Texas, or California, then the national may confound it with something so widely combativeness, stimulated by every vile different as an established church. A napropensity of our nature, is will, and law, tional religion we say, without which no and constitution, and the very soul of the true national conscience can exist. What body politic, if such a corporation of loco- does the author mean by checking, confoco propensities can be justly
said to have trolling, &c., after he has so expressly dea soul, any more than Spurzheim's clared that there can be no fundamental quadruped, or any connection with that law or constitution above the violation of invisible state, in which law, conscience, the masses, and that they cannot even and religion are the eternally presiding bind themselves to such a constitution, power. Thus we might go on through page 50. An enlightened self-interest, the whole dog-like rabble of propensities, indeed! Has not all experience shown, finding everywhere the most exact and that this term is a contradiction, that selfapposite illustrations, but we feel that interest is ever blind, that selfishness is sufficient is presented to show the perfect that darkness, and has no light, that the analogy between the political system, present desire always will outweigh the and the psychology (if we may use here remote good in minds governed solely by so spiritual a term) on which it is the utilitarian principle, and that this is grounded.
even more apt to be the case with blind We have presented no caricature of and unmeaning masses than with indi. phrenology. Its best authorities never viduals ? What sort of a guide would hesitate to exhibit the skulls of animals, this enlightened self-interest be in oppoin proof of their
positions, as readily as sition to the acts of demagogues in a those of men. The whole difference is warmly contested presidential election? one of degree or of higher and lower de. What influence would it have over an velopment. The monkey tribe have the agrarian mob? Surely for such purposes, rudiments of every organ and faculty that there is need of something higher than we possess; and no reason can be assign- any thing contained in this system. But ed—we say it in all seriousness-why, topics are here suggested, which require a from these premises, a similar, if not the more thorough handling than we can besame scheme of rights and even duties, stow in the present number. At some might not be drawn out for the simia other time we hope to examine more family, or even for the whole animal thoroughly these and the kindred beaucreation, as is here deduced for man. ties of Mr. Hurlbut's system.
Our author seems himself aware of the