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vation of crania connected with the manifestation of mental character.
Dissatisfied with the views of Phrenologists as to the faculty of Wit giving not only the power of discrimination, but likewise the feeling of the ludicrous, and impressed with the belief that in these views they were not borne out by a correct observation of facts, we have been for a considerable time in the habit of from time to time observing the conformation of head in the region of Wit in connexion with the manifestation of both the functions ascribed to this faculty ; and the result of these observations, together with the conclusion to which they have led us, we will state as briefly as is consistent with perspicuity.
We have observed, for instance, one person whose forehead is full over the region of Wit, indicating the possession of an organ of Wit which might be called large, and accompanied with an acuteness in the power of discrimination in due proportion to the size of the organ. Immediately above the organ of Wit the forehead retreats rather suddenly towards the region of Wonder. Though this person manifests a considerable share of acuteness in the power of discrimination, answerable, as we have said, to the size of the
organ, possesses little or nothing of the power of infusing the feeling of the ludicrous into his conversation and gesture ; certainly nothing in proportion to the measure in which he is endowed with the faculty of discrimination. Now, if the power of discrimination and that of giving the feeling of the ludicrous were both the function of one and the same faculty, they should be found invariably both in an equal degree of endowment, and both in equal proportions to the size of the organ. In this, however, and in many other instances which might be adduced, these two functions are not by any means in equal endowment,-a proof, we think that they are not the functions of the same faculty.
Again, we have observed persons having their foreheads depressed at the region of Wit, indicating a small organ,
and, in correspondence with this appearance of the forehead, manifesting a marked deficiency in the power of discrimination. In these persons we have likewise observed the head rise rather abruptly above the region of Wit, giving the countenance, in extreme cases, the appearance that it would probably assume were a pair of horns about to make their
appearance on the upper, anterior, lateral parts of the head. Such persons invariably, so far as we have observed, either manifest a comical expression of countenance, or infuse a feeling of drollery into their conversation.
We have seen, we think, a similar conformation of head, accompanied with a similar manifestation of mind, even in little children, as well as in other young persons in whom the reflective faculties have not yet come to maturity, or to the size to which they are destined. We know two gentlemen, the shape of whose heads seems to differ from each other in every other point but in those to which we are now adverting; in which points, viz, the upper, anterior, lateral parts of the head above the organ of Wit, (which organ in both is small,) there is a considerable resemblance, both being elevated in that region similarly and almost in an equal degree. Now, in correspondence with this conformation of head, there appears to be a difference in the manifestation of almost
every point in the character except in these two points, viz. a very moderate endowment of the discriminating faculty, and a considerable supply of the power of infusing the essence of drollery into what they say, in which they both agree. So much does this ludicrous feeling pervade their stories, that though we have little respect for the understanding of either, we are irresistibly disposed to laugh at their drollery, though quite aware that, apart from the ludicrous feeling with which it is combined, what they say would not of itself be capable of exciting a single smile.
Now, if these phrenological observations be correct, if it be true, as in the first case adduced, that the organ of Wit may be large, and the discriminating faculty connected with it exist in proportional endowment, while there is little or nothing of the power of infusing the feeling of drollery into conversation; and if, vice versa, it likewise be true, that the power of manifesting the ludicrous, as in the last cases referred to, may be very considerable, while the power of discrimination is very inconsiderable ; does it not appear evident that the one function bearing no proportion to the other, they are not and cannot be the functions of the same faculty, but that they are the functions of two distinct faculties, the one referable to the class of intellect, and the other to that of sentiment ?
Phrenologists, in general, have agreed with Dr Gall in thinking, that in persons who manifest a talent for wit similar to that manifested by Rabelais, Cervantes, Boileau, Racine, Swift, Sterne, and Voltaire, the anterior, superior, lateral parts of the head are prominent and rounded, and Mr Combe may be considered as stating their sentiments when he adds,“ When this development is excessively large, it “ is attended with a disposition, apparently irresistible, to view
objects in a ludicrous light.” Now we would just suggest the question, whether it be not possible that, under this prominent and rounded development of the upper lateral parts of the forehead, there may not be two organs instead of one, the lower part of this prominent development being assigned to Wit, and the upper to the feeling of the ludicrous ? This question is suggested by what appears to be a fact, that in those persons who have evidently a large organ and faculty of Wit, the forehead retreating suddenly, and carrying away the upper part of the prominent and rounded development above-mentioned, there is little or nothing of the power of manifesting the feeling of the ludicrous either in language or in gesture ; and that in those in whom the power of manifesting the feeling of the ludicrous is superadded to a large endowment of the discriminating faculty, it will, perhaps, be observed, that the forehead does not retreat abruptly, as in the case first mentioned, immediately above the region of Wit, but that, perhaps, in part of the space assigned to Wonder, there is an elevation in proportion to the power of manifesting the feeling in question. If, then, we were to assign a place for the organ of the feeling of the ludicrous, it would be between the region of Wonder and that of Wit. Perhaps it might encroach somewhat on the region of Imitation, and also on that of Wit, phrenologically so called. Whether, in these conjectures, we have come even within sight of the truth, cannot at once be ascertained; of this, however, we feel confident, that there must be somewhere a separate organ for the ludicrous, and there appears to be no place so appropriate for it; no place where it is so likely to be discovered as in the place above pointed out, or sóne. where in the vicinity of Ideality, Wonder,' and Imitation. In this, perhaps, we may be but showing our ignorance ; like every other topic connected with the inductive science of Phrenology, however, these views must be refuted or confirmed by patient observation ; and if what has now been advanced shall lead some more skilful and experienced Phrenologist to such observations as shall result either in the discovery of the organ of the feeling of the ludicrous, or in the resolution of the feeling itself into some more original feeling, or into some peculiar combination of faculties, we shall have completely attained our object.
X. T. P. H.
CONTROVERSY WITH SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON.
Our readers have already been informed, that, in 1826, Sir William Hamilton read a first Essay against Phrenology before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and, in 1827, a second, which were loudly applauded by the opponents of the science, as complete refutations of its doctrines. By the rules of the Royal Society no reply to these Essays was permitted, and, in consequence, we repeatedly called on Sir William to publish his objections, that the Phrenologists might meet him on a fair field. He has not, however, done so; but, in April last, notice appeared in the newspapers, that he would deliver a popular Lecture against Phrenology, in a class-room in the University, for the benefit of the distressed operatives, tickets of admission 2s. 6d. each. This announcement gave
rise to the following correspondence between him and Mr George Combe. It is more extended than we could have wished, and than may be agreeable to many of our readers; but, considering the importance which the opponents have ascribed to Sir William Hamilton's objections, and his own rank as a professor, we could not with propriety overlook the discussion, and if we gave place to it at all, we were called on, by every principle of justice, to present it entire.
Mr Combe to Sir William Hamilton, Bart.
Edinburgh, 13th April, 1827. MY DEAR SIR,—I observe in the newspapers a notice, that you intend to repeat your demonstration of the evidence against Phrenology in a class-room of the University, on Wednesday, 18th April, at one o'clock, for the relief of the distressed operatives. I rejoice to see you come forward in this public manner, and highly approve of the benevolent purpose you have in view. At the same time the interests of truth seem so obviously to require a statement of both sides of the question, that I trust no apology is required, on my part, for presuming, as I now do, to solicit your permission to make a reply at the conclusion of the lecture. If this shall not be agreeable to you, might I then request the favour of your endeavouring to obtain for me the use of a class-room in the University, on Friday, 20th April, at one o'clock, when I shall be prepared to deliver a lecture (also for the benefit of the distressed operatives) in answer to such of your statements as may appear to be erroneous. By this proceeding the cause at once of truth and charity will be promoted. Believe me to remain, &c. GEORGE COMBE.