Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

and

he would be much in the habit of employing Secretiveness to shelter himself from the consequences of the ebullitions of his Destructiveness, acting sometimes by itself, but more frequently along with a powerful organ of Wit, and giving rise to all sorts of mischievous pranks.

I was then told that this was precisely the boy's character. That with brilliant talents, and great aptitude for acquiring ideas and for reflection, he possessed in fact an extraordinary dexterity in concocting the most plausible and consistent stories, and even in acting the part of a simple-minded in. telligent child, so as completely to obviate suspicion, and to set scrutiny almost at defiance; while his large Self-esteem and Love of Approbation, and big head, gave him the aspect

appearance of a person who was resolved not to be trifled with, but to be looked upon as a reasonable being. : The boy J. G., mentioned in the Phrenological Transactions, and the girl A. R., mentioned in a former Number of your Journal by Mr Carmichael of Dublin, as having allowed her arm to be cut off rather than acknowledge that she had put needles into it, are two other very striking examples of powerful intellect, rather encouraging than preventing in early life the lying and cunning arising from large Secretiveness and Imitation. And it is not wonderful that it should be so; because, if we suppose the same combination of propensities to exist with a slow and deficient intellect, it is quite obvious that, with all the desire in the world to deceive, the want of reflecting power will be an insuperable obstacle to ready invention or to consistency of narrative; and the only alternative, therefore, will be, either for the feeble intellect to tell exactly what happened, and which it knozes without inventing, or for the individual to take refuge in pure Secretiveness in the shape of absolute silence. So essential, indeed, is superior intellect to successful lying or deception, that it has become proverbial to say, that “it “ takes a very clever man to make a good liar."

Such then being the combination of this girl's faculties, and

such the facilities for deception afforded by her excellent intellect, the important question came to be, what chances of moral improvement did a development like hers hold out when the circumstances were changed to the better? My im-' pression was, that the natural character and capacities were such as to afford great encouragement; and that this was precisely the case where, from the possession of the natural qualities, education was calculated to produce a most beneficial and lasting effect; and that, if separation from her old associates could be secured, there would be little risk in the attempt, and great satisfaction in the success of the experi. ment, in saving her from ultimate misery and wretchedness.

Very much on the faith of the development, and of some redeeming manifestations of the faculties of Benevolence and Conscientiousness, which might be supposed to be least active, a trial has been resolved upon, and, as she is now in excellent hands, the result, which, whether favourable or unfavourable, I engage to communicate, will be very interesting. The organs of both Individualities are large and prominent, and the corresponding faculties, when powerful, give such a quickness in apprehension and in observation, such a distinctness and individuality to our conceptions, and such a power of retention and ready command of our ideas, that Dr Gall long ago gave to them the name of “ Sens de l'Educabilité." Dr G. adds, that he has uniformly remarked, in those who possessed a large development of these organs, an instinctive facility and proneness to receive and to follow, without much discrimination, the notions and conduct prevalent around them; and that, even in different races of animals, the same feature accompanied this peculiar development so closely, that he was generally able to determine their degree of tameability or perfectibility by the simple inspection of the anterior part of the head; and that in man, particularly when joined (as in this girl) with a large Imitation, the tendency to assimilation of character and actions was exceedingly strong. While, therefore, this combination of talents

[ocr errors]

info

[ocr errors]

and propensities explains one strong reason why this girl has
hitherto followed the example of her depraved associates, it
affords at the same time much encouragement, on the ground

that now, in more favourable circumstances, it will give her
sapequal facility in following a better course; and that the
permanence of the improvement will be the more assured,
that her higher sentiments and reflecting powers will now act
in the same instead of in the opposing scale.
She is said at present to display a quickness of conception,

iness of reply, and a power of relative suggestion, that Cureadiness o

are rare at any age, and more so at hers, and that would sur-
prise if not explained by the great development of the Indi-
vidualities and of Causality, both of which project at least
3-4ths of an inch beyond the line of Tune. Her reflecting
faculties enable her to judge for herself what ought to be
done without waiting for a direct admonition; and to modi-
fy the manner of doing a thing as circumstances vary. When
an end is to be accomplished she never rests till it is attained ;
and if the way pointed out to her is inadequate, she never
thinks of taking refuge in the excuse she is thus possessed of,
and which an unreflecting and unconscientious servant in-
variably lays hold of, to leave it undone, but she invents a
way of her own, and looks upon herself as deficient unless
the end is accomplished, or is really unattainable by any
means within her reach ; and in this, conscientiousness as
well as intellect is an essential element.

A familiar instance will illustrate this characteristic of her
mind. When sent with a message to a particular house, she
found that the person had left it. Instead of returning home
with a literal fulfilment of her instructions, she set about trac-
ing him out, and after a difficult search, in conducting which
she was greatly aided by a large Locality, she succeeded, and,
having transacted the business, came home, and gave a most
distinct account of all her proceedings.

Although she seems to consider it no sin to pilfer for her own behoof, yet many proofs of the activity of Conscientious

ness are frequently occurring; for, in addition to a candid
openness of confession, which, where Secretiveness is large,
Conscientiousness alone secures, it leads her to protect her
employer's property and interests in other respects in a very
satisfactory manner. Pure selfishness is ever occupied with
considering the relations of every thing and of every body
solely to self, and Conscientiousness and Benevolence are the
chief sources of that habitual regard for the interests, and
rights, and happiness of others, for which some are so much
more remarkable than others. Of the latter qualities this
girl is by no means deficient, and their presence has been
shown even in trifles, and in circumstances in which desire for
effect could have no share. Once, when suffering severe pain
in her hand and arm from a festering finger, she was desired
to go and get a poultice put to it. When half out of the
room, she turned, and inquired if it would not do as well after
tea? Upon being asked her reason for delaying so long to
make an application which would speedily relieve her? she
answered, that it was because, if the milk for the poultice
was taken now, the cream for the tea would be lost.” This
in itself was a trifle, but it showed only the more clearly that
the human feelings, as the moral sentiments are emphatically
termed, were not inactive, and that she erred more from their
misdirection than from their positive deficiency. Exeur so

This case is instructive in another point of view. It shows indisputably the necessity of moral and intellectual education; and it places in a very conspicuous light the benefits likely to trombe conferred by infant schools devoted to the regular exercise. of the moral sentiments. Society is the true school for moral improvement; and practice and repetition are as essential to the development and harmonious activity of the moral sentiments (including of course Hope and Veneration) as they are to the bodily functions, or the merely intellectual faculties. In themselves reading and writing are comparatively small accomplishments when contrasted with the knowledge

of

and habitual fulfilment of the higher duties and relations of life, upon which happiness so directly depends.

If any fault is to be found with the otherwise most useful) Mechanics’ Institutions, schools, magazines, and libraries of useful knowledge, &c. now existing, it is unquestionably that they are too exclusively devoted to mere knowledge, to what interests the intellect and extends the physical power man, without paying due regard, or in truth any regard, to the much more important subject of increasing his happiness by carrying him forward in the path of moral and religious improvement.7-I am, &c.

A.

of

ARTICLE VIII.

PHYSIOLOGIE DES TEMPERAMENS OU CONSTITUTIONS, &c.;

par F. THOMA8, D. M. P. Paris, 1826.

In all ages mankind have been struck by the diversities of character and of activity that accompanied, and were by many supposed to depend on, differences of temperament or natural constitution of the body. So far back as the time of Hippocrates we find a classification of temperaments into four great divisions, which, more or less modified, have since been often set aside and often reproduced; but up to the present day, notwithstanding the most laborious inquiries of physicians, physiologists, and philosophers, we remain almost as ignorant as ever of the physical causes on which these varieties depend, of the phenomena by which they may be accurately distinguished, and of the circumstances by which they may be modified and controlled; and thus it may be truly said, that a rational, useful, and consistent theory of the temperaments is yet only in expectation.

« ПредишнаНапред »