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and I must therefore conclude, and I only rejoice that this will reach you so very soon, as a long-legged young collegian, who is hastening to the south, promises to carry it in the briefest space of time that such a journey ever was accomplished in.--I have the honour to be, dear Mr Editor,
The Laird's third cousin,
MICHAEL THE STAMMERER.
THEORY OF THE TEMPERAMENTS.
We stated in our last Number, that, by a new application of the universal principle, of size in an organ being a measure of its energy of function, Dr Thomas of Paris had succeeded in developing a rational, and, as to us it seemed, most important theory of the temperaments; thereby solving, in a clear and consistent manner, what had been so long felt as a hiatus in' medicine and in philosophy, and what had been so long a stumbling-block to the most zealous cultivators of mental and moral as well of physiological as medical science.
Since that time we have very often tried Dr Thomas's views by the test of experience, and have not hitherto met with any exception, but, on the contrary, have found them singularly felicitous in throwing light upon some previously obscure cases, and of great value in estimating the relative activity of the nervous system in different constitutions; and it is the conviction of their great practical importance that leads us to press them again on the attention of the reader. That they have been partially appreciated is evident from some of our best newspapers,—such as the Scotsman, the Morning Chronicle, and the Englishman,--having copied them from our pages; but that they are not yet sufficiently known
is obvious, from their still remaining unnoticed in most of the medical and literary journals of the kingdom.
Dr Thomas's principle is simply, that as size is a measure of power, and as the whole system is made up of the nervous, the sanguineous, and the digestive apparatuses, contained respectively in the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, so will the natural constitution differ in proportion to the relative equality or predominance of all or any of these three great divisions. Thus, a great size of brain and head, with small thorax and abdomen, will give a constitution characterized by a necessary predominance of the cerebral over the thoracic and abdominal functions, viz. great nervous energy, activity, and force of mind, with little aptitude for muscular efforts, and rather weak digestion ; and a large and capacious thorax, with small head and small abdomen, will give a constitution characterized by abundant sanguification, powerful respiration, and vigorous propulsion of the blood to the extreme points, and, consequently, by an aptitude for muscular efforts and active exercise, much more than for mental activity or active digestion. And, again, a capacious abdomen, with small head and narrow thorax, will give a constitution cha. racterized by great powers of nutrition, plumpness, and sloth, much more than by mental or bodily energy, or vivacity of motion. And the other compound combinations of them will produce constitutions participating in the qualities of their constituent elements, such as the cranio-thoracic, with large head and thorax and small abdomen ; the thoracico-abdominal, with large thorax and abdomen, and small head; and the cranio-abdominal, with large head and abdomen, and small thorax, &c., as already fully explained in our last Number.
Hitherto we have been greatly at a loss how to estimate the degree of activity of the brain, except by observing the manifestations; but we are inclined to think that Dr Thomas has provided us with the means of approximating, at least, if not of positively deciding Supposing the health to be good, if the head and brain be large and the thorax and abdomen relatively small, we shall find not only predominance of cerebral power, but also, so far as our observation goes, cerebral activity. Or, if the head and thorax are both large, with a small abdomen, we shall find mental power and muscular, energy combined; but, as part of the nervous energy will necessarily be expended in supporting the greater demand of the muscular system, the mental power will be less purely intellectual in its manifestations, and less capable of long. continued efforts of thought, and, consequently, the individual will make a less permanent impression of intellectuality; and, in our conceptions of his character, the thorax and locom motive manifestations will also be felt as constituting na small portion of the man. A big thorax cannot brook confinement and sedentary occupations, and is, consequently, not favourable to long-continued mental efforts.
A large brain, again, with a large abdomen, and strong powers of nutrition, will constitute another modification of temperament, in which the vivacity and permanence of the mental functions will be subdued still more than by a large thorax; and although the cerebral energy will still be felt, it will appear much more in fits of exertion than as a durable state, and, in our conceptions of the man, the abdomen will constitute a large proportion of the figure, and the animal appetites will be felt to consume, at least, as much of the ner. vous energy as the purely human or intellectual powers. 74.
The practical uses of these views are numerous and invaluable. Let us suppose that we want a man fitted to make, good general. If we choose a decidedly encephalic candidate, with small thorax and abdomen, we may find in him every intellectual and moral qualification that heart could desire; but how would he withstand the bodily fatigues of an active campaign? The feebleness of the thoracic functions, and the consequent inaptitude for active muscular exercise, would induce a drain upon his nervous energy to carry his body through space, that would deprive him, on emergencies, of half of his mental activity, and superiority; whereas, if we
select a man, like the Duke of Wellington, with an ample thorax added to a large brain, we have at the same time the power to endure fatigue without detracting too much from the nervous energy; and, consequently, we have the power of rapid mental combinations, undiminished, ready to take advantage of every opportunity. Or, if we select a man with a small head, joined to a large thorax and big abdomen, then we have the mere animal force, with only a glimmering of mind to guide and direct it.
In choosing a profession also, and we know not a more important question, Dr Thomas's theory is admirably useful. If the youth is remarkable for a fine broad chest, a moderatély-sized head, and full abdomen, no Phrenologist would ever recommend to him a sedentary profession requiring much confinement, whatever might be, in other respects, his cerebral qualifications; because he would see in this configuration the indelible stamp of nature, pointing out to him a more active field of usefulness, and threatening him with disgust and restlessness if he ventured on a sedentary course of life, so much at variance with his natural constitution.
If, again, the youth is remarkable for predominance of the cerebral over the thoracic and abdominal functions, the Phrenologist acquainted with the temperaments would never recommend a profession requiring much bodily activity and strength in addition to much intellectual superiority, because he would at once foresee the inability of such a frame to cope with the demands to be made upon it, and the miseries to which it would lead. As an advocate, solicitor,' or s banker, such a person might be happy and successful; whereas as an engineer, or any other profession requiring.' both mental and bodily vigour, he would be miserable.
In education the use of Dr Thomas's theory is equally obvious. In early life the temperaments may be modified more easily than at any future period, and hence the importance of attending to them in the young. A boy of a thoracic temperament will be prone to violent exercises, and comparatively
Vol. IV.--No XVI.
averse to mental occupation ; but, by a judicious and persevering superintendence, and by gradually and proportionally extending the latter, and withdrawing the incentives to the former, a very beneficial change may, there is every reason to believe, be ultimately accomplished. And, again, the encephalic boy, with weak chest and muscles, may in time, by withdrawing the incentives to and opportunities of too much mental exercise, and by a properly-regulated gymnastic training, and muscular exertion in the open air, be greatly, improved in bodily vigour, and yet retain his mental powers undiminished. And, lastly, the abdominal boy, whose belly is his god, may, by proper regulation of diet, and mental and bodily exercise, be brought within the pale of humanity; whereas, if left to himself, animal indulgence and mental sloth would be his portion for life.
In fact, while we write, examples of the applicability of this theory to education, to professional purposes, to morals, and to medicine, crowd in upon us; and, if we refrain for the present from proceeding further, it is with the view of securing the groundwork, by earnestly recommending our readers to go back to the analysis of Dr Thomas's book, given in our last Number, and not to leave it till they thoroughly understand it. We shall speedily return to the subject.
On the Functions of the Sense of Sight, considered chiefly in
its Relations to Ideas of Form, Colour, Magnitude, and Distance.
The object of the following pages is to show that the eye, or external organ of vision, serves only to receive and transmit the impressions of light, and not to form ideas of any kind, whether of colour, distance, or magnitude.