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which you have exhibited in these sixty-six pages of your Review, fetver refutations would have sufficed to lay them prostrate at your feet ;- you would not have required to direct against them a first, a second, and a third assault, separated by periods of twelve years, and still to wonder that their doctrines were not utterly exploded. Acting upon your own principle, I might be justifiable in maintaining, that as you have finally exhibited great ignorance of the principles of human nature, mental and physiological, admitted by the most celebrated philosophers, and established by the most incontestable facts, all your previous criticisms in belles lettres, morals, and philosophy, and your eloquent speeches, too, in support of political liberty and the dearest interests of mankind, ought to be regarded as a mere collection of absurdities, -as entirely destitute of philosophic principle, and, in consequence, all of them utterly unworthy of the admiration and regard of an enlightened age. This conclusion would be even more logical, and capable of being supported by a greater show of reason, than your inferences from the errors of Phrenologists; because your mistakes relate to fundamental principles, and wherever these are vitiated, the whole superstructure, it may be argued, must be unsound. But I altogether disclaim any such rule of judgment. The fire of genius and a naturally acute understanding have conferred upon you an instinctive sagacity that has led you right, and given intrinsic value to your speculations, wherever you have not been blinded and misled, as in the case of Phrenology, by a vast and overwhelming prejudice; and it would be as unjust in any one to seek to dim the lustre of your otherwise well-merited re, putation by this one error, egregious although it be, as it is unhandsome in you to urge the mistakes of individual Phrenologists as objections against the science which they cultivate.
I regret, that, in addition to all the other points of your article, which it has been imperative on me to controvert, I am obliged to call in question, and reject, an indirect
compliment which you are pleased to bestow upon my work, not, as, perhaps, you anticipate, because it is not sufficiently flattering to my Self-esteem, but because it is ill-founded and unjust. You say, that Phrenology, in my hands, has “ assumed, FOR THE FIRST TIME, an aspect not absolutely “ ludicrous, by my retrenching many of the ridiculous illus“ trations and inconsistent assumptions of its inventors," &c. Such an assertion could be made only in utter ignorance of the writings of Drs Gall and Spurzheim,-men whose profound intellects and extensive information place them in the highest rank of philosophical authors.
This letter, like your review, has turned out rather long and desultory; and I beg leave, in concluding, briefly to recapitulate the topics on which it has touched. I have endeavoured then, to shew that Phrenology is more widely extended, and deeply rooted in the public estimation, than you appear to be aware of ;-that your grand proposition, of the internal mental faculties not acting by means of organs at all, is refuted, by the known effects of opium and wine, and also discountenanced by the authority of your own review, of Cullen, Gregory, and Magendie;—that your objection to the assignment of separate faculties to the mind, is obviated by Mr Welsh’s metaphysical answer, and absolutely refuted by the successive appearance of the mental powers in youth, by the phenomena of partial genius, of dreaming, somnam. bulism, idiocy, and monomania;- that in your denial of the phrenological faculties, as primitive principles of mind, you stand opposed to Reid, Kames, Stewart, Brown, and the greatest metaphysicians of Britain, who admit of faculties simi lar to seven-tenths of them ;--that in your attempts to resolve several of these faculties into one, as the love of young women, of children, &c., into Benevolence, and Hope and Fear into mere negations of each other, you refute yourself ;--that your objections to Concentrativeness, Individuality, Size, and Weight, are founded on erroneous representations of the phrenological statements and conclusions ;--that on Colouring, the phreno
logical theory is consistent in itself, and with nature; while your doctrine in the Encyclopædia, and fact in the Review, on this point, are at variance with each other ;-that your objections to Size in the organs, as a measure of power in the case of the external senses, are refuted by the authority of Blumenbach, Sæmmering, Monro, &c.; all of whom teach, that this rule holds, in regard to the nerves of the senses, confirming thereby the opinions of “grand-mamma wolf,” and upsetting yours ;-that Magendie teaches the same doctrine, in regard to the brain and internal faculties ;-—that the reality of the distinction between power and activity, as separate qualities of mind, which you deny, is supported by the opinion of Bonaparte, and proved, besides, by examples of characters on the stage ;-that this distinction holds even in the case of colouring, as is established by the power displayed by Titian, Rubens, and Audubon on canvass, contrasted with the activity of an assorter of ribbons, or of a miss selecting threads for her sampler ;that your objections, founded on the effects of education and disease in the mental faculties, are rendered plausible, solely by your omitting the qualification, constantly stated by the Phrenologists, that Size determines power, only when other THINGS ARE EQUAL; and by misrepresenting their doctrine, which is this, that if the same education, or the same sti. mulus of disease is applied to two brains, one large, and the other small, the effects produced will be great or small in the direct ratio of the size of the brain ;--that modifications of character to some extent are perfectly in accordance with phrenological principles; but that changes of talents and dispositions have their limits in nature, and in Phrenology also ; -that your objections to the phrenological organs not being radically distinct in their appearances, are equally applicable to many of the nerves, and particularly to the nerves of motion and feeling, which are as little distinguishable from each other in structure and appearance, as the organs in the brain, and yet are ascertained to perform separate functions; that your contempt of the anatomical discoveries of Drs Gall and Spurzheim, is founded in ignorance, and discountenanced by the greatest modern anatomists,—while your assignment of the merit of such part of them as you admit to be true, to Reil, is refuted by the testimony of Reil himself;
that the treatment which Phrenology has met with from you and other critical authorities, is accounted for by Professor Playfair, when discussing the reception given to the discoveries of Newton ;—that the Phrenologists have offered you means of verifying or refuting their facts, not inconsistent with either your dignity or delicacy, but of which you have sedulously declined to avail yourself ;—that most of the blunders imputed to Phrenologists are fictions of the opponents, while their real errors, although they may affect the reputation of individuals, constitute no valid objection against the science ;-and, finally, that, even in the indirect praise which you bestow on the System of Phrenology, the same lack of knowledge and just discrimination is conspicuous which characterizes all the other
GEO. COMBE. Edinburgh, October 31, 1826.
Note. The preceding Letter was originally written and printed for this Journal; and it was only in consequence of the interests of Pbrenology demanding a more speedy answer to Mr Jeffrey's criticism than could have been afforded by waiting the regular period of our publication, that a separate impression of a thousand copies was thrown off and sold to the public. Within four weeks a second edition of the Letter was required. Although many of our readers may have purchased it before receiving the present publication, yet, to our subscribers in distant parts of the country and abroad, it will, in all probability, be new; besides, we hope that . few will regret being presented with it in this more permanent form, as it constitutes an important step in the history of the science. Mr Combe has favoured us with an answer to one of Mr Jeffrey's objections which he reckoned too purely phrenological to be addressed to the public, but which he requests us to present to our
VOL. IV. -No XIII.
readers, who are better qualified to understand and appreciate it ;a new light is thrown by it on the admirable adaptation of the phrenological faculties to each other and to the external world, and on the degree of consistency and comparative completeness which the science has already attained. We subjoin the paragraph. Its place, if incorporated in the Letter, would have been after the quotation ending with®“ difficulty in the conception," on line 9th from the top of page 29.-EDITOR.
Mr Jeffrey says, that, with the exception of the external senses, " the other functions of mind do not connect us with matter," and that, therefore, there is not only no reason for supposing the existence of organs for them, but a “ corresponding difficulty in the con“ ception."
The answer to this is, that all the functions of mind occasionally connect us with matter, and have organs admirably adapted to their several uses.
We do not perceive wisdom and virtue exist. ing in the abstract; but see corporeal beings manifesting certain motives from which we infer the existence of these qualities in them. The faculties destined to the perception of the qualities of external objects bave organs in the brain, and also an apparatus to bring them into connexion with these qualities; thus the organ of Colouring is aided by the eyes, and the organ of Tune by the ears. The faculties again that appear more purely mental are subserved by all the organs and apparatus that take cognizance of external matter; Cautiousness, for instance, is aided by the eyes, and also by the organs of Form, Colouring, and Size, in receiving impressions from any material object or being threatening danger; while Conscientiousness is assisted by the foregoing organs, and also by those of Comparison and Causality, in giving rise to its peculiar emotions relative to human actions. Finally, these internal facul. ties are provided with an additional medium of communication, viz. the organ of Language, by which the sentiment of Veneration, for instance, in one man communicates its emotions to the same faculty in another. Language is to the internal faculties what the ears are to Tune; so that, in place of having no instruments of con, nexion with external objects, which Mr Jeffrey thinks ought to be their condition, they in fact possess a variety of modes of communication--an arrangement that appears wise in itself and well-suited to the importance of their functions.
P.S.--I have just heard it questioned, whether the copies of the sketch circulated by the “ Lady" were lithographed. My informa tion on this point was derived from a gentleman who had seen several copies of it so precisely similar in appearance, that he believed them to be lithographed. The fact of the version circulated by her being materially different from the original falls under my own knowledge.-G. C.
December 8, 1826.