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" never see anything else.”—P. 288. And again you say, “ Take the case of sight first. It is true, as we have already « observed, that we see nothing but colour; and accordingly, “ if all objects were of the same colour, both as to shade and in
tensity, we certainly should never perceive their forms by the eye.”—P. 289.
There is more ingenuity in these than in many of your other objections; but still they are easily answered. It is not asserted by Phrenologists that the eye alone is sufficient to perceive light. The statement is, that “ it only receives, modifies, and transmits the impressions of light;" of course, it transmits them to something else, which is stated to be the organ of Colouring. Assuming the position then, that light is colour, it will follow phrenologically, that light cannot be perceived without the joint operation of both the eye and the organ of Colouring; and, accordingly, nothing in opposition to this is stated in the phrenological works. . It is expressly mentioned in the “System,” p. 36, that “
every (sane) individual possesses all the organs in a greater or less degree.” Now, suppose that in two persons the eyes are equally perfect, but that in one the organ of Colouring is very large, and in the other very small, it will follow that the impressions of light will be conveyed to both equally ; but that they will excite in the former a strong and in the latter only a feeble perception of colours.
You object, however, that it is impossible that the latter can distinguish forms readily by the eye, because his perception of colour being imperfect, and light being mere colour, he must be as deficient in general vision as in discriminating hues. I reply, that mere difference of shade is sufficient to enable us to perceive forms by the eye, as is proved by the arts of black-chalk drawing and copperplate printing; and that for the perception of shales a much lower degree of the combined action of the eye and organ of Colouring will suffice than for acutely discriminating the relations of colours. This may be illustrated by the parallel case of sound. It is pretty generally admitted that mere sound is different
from melody, and yet melody is nothing but sound. It is sound, however, modulated in a particular manner ; and the perception of this modulation is a higher mental act than the perception of simple noise. Now, suppose the auditory apparatus and the organ of Tune to be both requisite for the perception of melody, it will follow phrenologically, that if two individuals possess the former equally, but differ in the degrees in which they enjoy the latter, they may both perceive sounds with acuteness, while the one may in addition have a great perception of melody, and the other very little. To refute this view it will not suffice to assert metaphysically, that melody is mere sound, and that therefore it is absurd to say that a man can hear acutely while he is insensible to music. It is a sufficient answer to say, that the one implies a higher degree of perception than the other ; that a person may enjoy the lower, and yet be deficient in the higher degree ; and that the fact in nature actually is 80. This, accordingly, is precisely what the Phrenologists teach in regard to colours. They maintain that perception of differences in shades arises from a low degree of combined action of the eye and organ of Colouring ; while discrimination of colours requires a higher degree of BOTH ; just as mere sound is perceived by a slender endowment of the auditory apparatus and organ of Tune, while a more ample portion of both is requisite for the perception of melody. It is therefore quite intelligible in theory how “ certain individuals, almost (not altogether, as " you seem to assume) destitute of the power of perceiving co
lours, may yet have the sense of vision acute, and readily “ perceive other qualities in external bodies, as their size and “ form." This is asserted to be a fact in the System of Phrenology, p. 296 ; and the explanation given is, that in them the organ of Colouring is not wanting, but small. But you do not grapple with the facts there stated, although the names and designations of several living individuals are furnished to you who are in this predicament. You pass all these over in silence; and, as a set-off to them, favour us with a
VOL. IV.No XIII.
It, however, is too precious and important to be dismissed without comment. In the System of Phrenology, p. 300, the following passage occurs :-“ Mr “ Jeffrey, in the article · Beauty,' already alluded to, informs us, « « That colour is, in all cases, absolutely indifferent to the eye;' " and adds, that it is no doubt quite true, that, among painters nand connoisseurs, we hear a great deal about the harmony " and composition of tints, and the charms and difficulties of a
judicious colouring. In all this, however, we cannot help “thinking that there is no little pedantry and no little jargon.
Speaking of the natural gamut of colours, he continues, We "'confess we have no faith in any of these fancies ; and be ' lieve, that if all these colours were fairly arranged, on a
plain board, according to the most rigid rules of this sup'posed harmony, nobody but the author of the theory would “perceive the smallest beauty in the exhibition, or be the " least offended by reversing their collocation.' It is a curi"ous fact, that the organ of Colouring in Mr Jeffrey's head is “ actually depressed ; and it appears that, in the usual manner “ of metaphysical writers, he has conceived his own feelings to “ be an infallible standard of those of human nature in general.”
On this statement you make the following commentary in the Review :—“ It is worth while perhaps to observe, that “ in treating of this faculty, Mr Combe is pleased (at page 301) "" to notice the case of an individual with whose speculations
on the beauty of colours he does not agree, and whose errors “ on the subject he triumphantly accounts for by recording it '« as a curious fact, that in his head the organ of Colouring “is absolutely depressed !' A more complete case of destitution *“ of the faculty could not of course be imagined; and, accord
ingly, the learned author proceeds most reasonably to infer, " that he must be in the condition of those unfortunate persons "who cannot distinguish dark-brown from scarlet, or buff "'from orange.' Now, without meaning to call in question “ the fact of the depression in his skull, we happen to know " that the individual here mentioned has a remarkably fine and “exact perception of colours, so as to be able to match them " from memory with a precision which has been the admira“tion of many ladies and dress-makers. He has also an un" common sensibility to their beauty; and spends more time " than most people in gazing on bright flowers and peacocks' “ necks, and wondering, he hopes innocently, what can be the
cause of his enjoyment. Even the Phrenologists, we think, “must admit, that, in his case, it cannot be the predominance “ of the appropriate faculty ; since they have ascertained that “ he is totally destitute of the organ. But this belongs properly to the chapter of evidence.'
This certainly does “ belong to the chapter of evi“dence ;” and as one of the grand elements of credibility in a witness is consistency, I shall enter your case as an exception to Phrenology whenever you reconcile the palpable discrepancies of these statements. How could you assert in the Encyclopædia, that “ Colour is in “all cases absolutely indifferent to the eye,” if you were conscious, when you wrote, of possessing “an uncommon sensi“ bility to their beauty ?” How could you stigmatize as pedantry and jargon” the doctrine of “the harmony and composition of tints, and the charms and difficulties of a
judicious colouring,' and assert, “ that if all those colours “ were fairly arranged, on a plain board, according to the most
rigid rules of this supposed harmony, nobody but the author “ of the theory would perceive the smallest beauty in the exhibi“tion, or be the least offended by reversing their collocation,” “ when all the time you enjoyed in yourself “ a remarkably fine “and exact perception of colours, so as to be able to match them " from memory with a precision which has been the admira: “tion of many ladies and dress-makers !!!” Why, you must either have acquired a new talent since you wrote the article Beauty, now some ten years ago, and in that case the organ may have increased; or must we adopt, as the only other alternative, the conclusion which you have drawn in regard to me, in the following terms ?—“We really have
great difficulty in believing the author to be in good faith “ with us, and suspect that few reflecting readers will be able “ to get through these statements’ without many starts of im
patient surprise, and a general uneasy surmise that they are
a mere exercise of intellectual ingenuity, or an elaborate ex“periment on public credulity."-Review, p. 253.
The limits necessarily prescribed to this Letter render it impossible for me to follow you through your long and confused objections to the organs of “ Size, Order, and “ Weight,” and to analyze and expose all the inconsistencies into which you have fallen. In the spirit of partizanship, already commented on, you omit, or very briefly notice, the faculties stated by Phrenologists as ascertained, and fix upon those which they themselves distinctly mention as
still subjects of inquiry, and represent them as fair examples of their general science. This is particularly the case with Size and Weight; the first of which is stated in the work you review to be only “probable," and the second as “ con“jectural.” You omit, too, all mention of the facts by which the opinions advanced are supported ; and, in short, leave no means untried to mislead your readers as to the real merits of the System. In treating of Weight, you have done great injustice to the views of Mr Simpson on that subject. His essay is printed at full length in the Phrenological Journal, vol. II. p. 412, and is pretty fully quoted in my work; and, with all deference to your sagacity, it is impossible to read that production, and to attend impartially to the facts by which the principles of it are supported, without being satisfied of the high probability of both faculty and organ. Phrenologists recognize the views of that paper as a valuable contribution to their science; and it will be impossible for reflecting men, who are not absolutely blinded by prejudice, to peruse it without perceiving that it is a chapter of some importance added to the philosophy of mind.
Passing over, therefore, ten pages of loose wrangling in the Review, let us approach your observations on the effects of Size in the organs, on the manifestations of the mind. You say, “Their proposition is, that their thirty-six bumps are “the organs of so many separate faculties, and that the “strength of the endowment is in exact proportion to the size “ of the bump. Now, independent of all flaws in the theory,
we think it can be proved, by facts that admit of no denial, “ that this proposition neither is nor can by possibility be true.
“ In the first place,” you continue, "let us say a word about “ Size.
That the mere bulk or quantity of matter, in such won“ derful and delicate structures, should be the exclusive mea“ sure of their value, without any regard to their quality or con“ dition, certainly must appear on the first statement to be a very “ improbable allegation.” This is a complete misrepresentation of the phrenological doctrine, which is, that, cæteris paribus, Size is a measure of power. You studiously omit the qualification of other things being equal, although this is constantly kept