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In the first place, we remark, on the above paragraph, that its statements entirely nullify the doctrine of size, both absolute and relative. Education, it appears, may cause the same organs in different individuals to exhibit their faculties with so much difference of energy, that characters totally diversified will be the result. It is also evident that the organs which are most active, are to be the representatives of the mind of every individual. It will not be contended that this can only happen where the brains of two persons are of the same size, or the different organs of an individual developed in an average proportion, relative to each other; because, it is obvious, that small brains and small organs can be improved by education, and thus be brought to be equal or superior to large brains and large organs; and the counteracting influence of the superior activity, in this way conferred, will essentially modify the mental character; and, consequently, we never can discover the peculiarities of the mind of any individual by an examination of the size and shape of the head alone.: We must take into the account the effects of education. The kind of education being either entirely unknown, or, if known, the amount of its influence being undiscoverable, it follows that our conclusions must be purely conjectural.
In the second place, the doctrine of the above, paragraph destroys the distinction which phrénologists attempt to make between power and activity; and many other passages might be pointed out, where they equally lose sight of this distinction. 6. Activity,” they tell us," means the rapidity with which the faculties may be manifested.” Now; it is apparent that Mr. Combe does not speak simply of an action more or less rapid, slower or faster, but of one, the power of which is different. This is rendered clear, by the nature of the modification of the character, which is the consequence. It is not that the same acts are performed with greater or less rapidity, sooner or later, but the acts themselves are totally different. “ The practical conduct of the two individuals," he informs us, "might be very different, in consequence of this difference of training.”
The truth, however; is, that this distinction; which is attempted to be made between power and activity, is absurd ; and therefore it is not surprising that confusion occurs in its practical application. It is absurd; not because we cannot observe that the minds of some men act more slowly than those of others, but on account of the great stress which is laid upon so unimportant a feature; and the impossibility of keeping it separate from power, when attempting to use it. The organs of causality and comparison have a certain amount of power. Of what consequence is it, whether they act with greater or less rapidity. If they act slowly, a little longer time will be required; but the
same amount of power will be exhibited. So of the sentiments. The organ of veneration has a certain amount of
and as a consequence, there is a given tendency to the performance of devotional exercises. The only result which we can perceive, of a greater rapidity of manifestation of this faculty, would be a more hurried manner of worshiping the Deity. So of the propensities. The organ of destructiveness has a certain amount of power; and there is a given tendency to commit murder. The only consequence of greater rapidity of manifestation of this faculty, would be the more speedy despatch of the victim. We might thus go over all the organs, and we should find, that it is not the rapidity, but the power of the manifestation which is the important point to be considered.
Another difficulty, in the way of the employment of phrenology, arises from the doctrine of the various combinations of size. We are told, that “as there are three kinds of faculties, animal, moral, and intellectual, which are not homogeneous, it may happen that several large animal organs are combined in the same individual, with several moral and intellectual organs highly developed. The rule; then, will bė, that the lower propensities will take their direction from the higher powers; and such a course of action will be habitually followed as will be calculated to gratify the whole faculties whose organs are large."
The amount of the doctrine; Here taught, is, that certain organs may be large; but in consequence of certain other organs being also large; the character will be greatly modified; the one set counterbalancing the other. This combination of size being of indefinite extent and variety, it follows that the diversity of character produced by: it, will also be without limit. This surpasses the modifications of disease produced by the various combinations of the four humours and eight qualities of Hippocrates, which amount to only four hundred and seventynine million, one thousand and six hundred. The study of the Chinese language is a trifle in comparison-it having only about thirty-five thousand characters.
We are now arrived at the place where we may ask, can it be matter of astonishment to hear phrenologists continually exclaiming against tyros, for endeavouring to exhibit peculiarities of character by an examination of the head.
It is so exceedingly difficult, they inform us, to make correct observations, that none but men of superior abilities, whose heads have the formation adapted to this purpose, and who have gone through a long course of preparatory training, are competent to discharge the duties of the practical phrenologist. When we take into consideration the numerous points to which the attention must be directed—none of which are founded upon certainty, and many of them undiscoverable; some of which are VOL. XX.--NO. 40.
incompatible, and others inconsistent and contradictory-we inust allow that none but a master of the art of guessing is capable of making correct observations. When we consider that we have to take into the calculation, absolute size, and relative size, of brain and organs; and all the diversified combinations of the various sizes of the organs; power and activity, with all their combinations; temperaments, with all their combiuations; fineness and coarseness of texture of the brain; and education or training, with its prodigious effects; it is not surprising that phrenologists are but little satisfied with most of ihe observations made by the cultivators of the science.
What, then, is the use of phrenology ? We are informed that “it is to enable us to discover the natural qualities of living individuals prior to experience of their conduct, and thus to appreciate their tendencies before becoming the victim of their incapacity or passions.” Does any one believe that this can be done, with a degree of accuracy entitled to confidence? Is it not manifest, that whenever phrenologists have stated any thing approximating to the peculiar character of an individual, it has been a fortunate conjecture founded upon the fact, that similar faculties, animal, moral, and intellectual, are found in every healthy individual of the race, differing only in degree, and in their various combinations ? : Any accurate observer of the human countenance, tolerably familiar with the varieties of human character, can scarcely: fail to hit some of the predominant qualities of mind of those who present themselves to his notice; especially if he is acquainted with their previous history; which is an indispensable prerequisite, as has been seen in the progress of our discussion.
Finally, if it is true that the facts of phrenology are fictions of the imagination, as we think has been shown, this pretended science has no just claim to be entitled “a system of philosophy.” If it could be demonstrated that the mind manifests its powers through separate and distinct portions of the brain, instead of acting through that organ as an unit, we should gain nothing of material importance, as is confessed by phrenologists themselves, unless we could distinguish the different degrees of vigour of the different faculties, by the external appearance of the organs, and this is the point which still remains to be proved. They tell us they have discovered primary faculties not recognised by metaphysical writers. Admitting this, it is quite as satisfactory to say, that the mind may exist in these new states, or be capable of these new operations, as to be informed that certain parts of the brain perform these functions. We must therefore refuse to call phrenology “a system of philosophy of the human mind,” until its facts are better established, and its usefulness in promoting some of the great objects of human happiness can be demonstrated.
ART. VI.Notre Dame de Paris. By Victor Hugo. Paris: 1834.
It is now, we believe, a generally conceded point that the idea of reducing taste to rule is absurd; and that the principle of life itself is not a deeper mystery than that of beauty. To say that, in order to please, a book should be written so and so, can only be allowed in the widest generalities, and for the purpose of excluding the grossest siris against common sense and feeling; and the very attempt to fix any principles at all on the subject, has led to the idea that a book written so and so must please, and that the secret once learned, any quantity of genius may be manufactured and wrought up into books for the market. Such attempts fail, because taste is above rule; the rule being inferred from the effect, is of course subject to it, and cannot by any contre-coup recreate its creator. But the higher we place the authority of taste, the greater necessarily is the condemnation of all who sin against it. Now, there are two orders of taste, and have been since there was a reading public; the first, vulgar and ephemeral ; 'the second, eclectic and permanent. Each successive age forgets, as it crowns certain of its favourites with bays, and calls them immortal, how much immortality has evaporated—how rare a new star is, but how common a Vauxhall firework, and for the moment, and for the bystanders, how dazzling: Yet we know, in general terms, that the one is calm, pure, bright, and universal; the other, local, sputtering, and smelling of powder; and having convinced ourselves that these differences exist, we may learn to recognise the rocket, and foretell its end the instant we see its light.
To return to the propositions laid down above, it is not possible to please by rule, and as a corollary to this, it may be asserted that the attempt to do so must infallibly be detected, and revolt the taste. Once, twice, or thrice, it may succeed; a temporary popularity may be founded on some newly-invented stage trick, or on some old one newly resuscitated, but imitators seize upon it, the reading world gets glutted, and the thing loses its vogue and is forgotten. Wherever, therefore, an author's great efforts are capable of being sorted, and referred to the principles of a system, wherever you can count upon your fingers a quantity of passages all wrought up in a certain way, and laboured to produce a certain effect; wherever there is any prodigality of monstrosity and improbability; there you hear the cracking of machinery, the fizzing of sulphur and turpentine; there may be talent in it all
, and invention and sleight of hand, but there is no creative genius.
The passages of Notre Dame de Paris are chiefly the following :First, the Esmeralda, the heroine; she is a girl stolen in childhood by gipsies, and a dancer in the streets
of Paris as herself a gipsy, at the opening of the story. She wears round her neck, in a little bag, as a charm, one of her own little shoes, stolen with her when an infant, and a token by which she hopes one day to find her parents. She dances daily in the open place in front of Notre Dame, and her mother, who had been driven nearly mad by her loss, is now the inhabitant of a cell, which has no door, but only a grated window, looking out opposite the church on this same place where she has remained in despair and devotion ever since her child was stolen. Of course, she has the other shoe; but, in the mean time, before the discovery is made, she hates all gipsies horribly, and Esmeralda, whom she sees every day, in particular, and she loads her accordingly with curses as often as she passes. There is an archdeacon in the church, Claude Frollo, who is devout and learned, eaten up with the zeal of God's house, and of science, but who falls in love with Esmeralda, notwithstanding. The bell-ringer of the church, Quasimodo, is a monster of supernatural ugliness, whom the gipsies, when they stole Esmeralda, left in her place; he was then about four years old, and is now twenty ; Esmeralda's mother sent him to the Foundlings; Claude Frollo took pity on him, and gave him an education and an employment; the bell ringing became a passion with him, but it burst his tympanum, and he is deaf to such a degree that he can only hear one bell, the largest of fifteen at Notre Dame, and a certain whistle which plays a part in the plot. There is no difficulty in accumulating names of ugliness; accordingly, poor Quasimodo has a square nose, a wart for one eye, a horse shoe mouth, a humpback, &c. He is also sometimes an idiot, or nearly so; at others, a very sensible, poetical, and sentimental man.
Now for the story. Claude Frollo attempts, by Quasimodo's aid, (as the monster is devoted to him,) to carry off Esmeralda in the street, as she is going home from her dance, with the earnings of a fête day. The guard come up and rescue her, and catch Quasimodo. Esmeralda is taken up upon the saddle of the captain of the guard, asks him his name, which he states to be Phæbus de Chateaupas, and she falls that moment in love with him, slips down from his grasp, and runs away in safety to her home, in the kingdom of Argot, the Alsatia, or St. Giles's of Paris. A poor houseless poet, Pierre Gringoire, gets in there in the course of the night, and the beggars prepare to hang him; she marries him to save his life. But she is an angel of purity, and she keeps Pierre Gringoire at a respectful distance, and he sinks to the rank of her domestic, the keeper of her learned goat, and her collector of sous when she dances in public. By a string of coincidences, any one of which, in ordinary life, would be next to miraculous, she happens to find her Phæbus again just