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facts upon which the objections are grounded, seem, instead of invalidating the fundamental principles of the new philosophy, to be clearly and unequivocally demonstrative of their truth; it may be useful to state such an abstract of the evidence itself, as shall enable even the unprofessional reader to determine how far it authorizes the inferences which have been deduced from it by our opponents. With this intention, I shall first make some observations on the testimony offered of the alleged integrity of all the mental faculties, in cases of extensive injury of the brain; and then examine anatomically, how far the extent, situation, and nature of the injuries sustained in the cases alluded to, authorize us to infer the partial or total destruction of any individual phrenological organ; and, lastly, I shall offer a few remarks on the possibility of discovering the functions of the brain, from noticing the effects of its injuries, a mode of proceeding lately recommended from high authority.
In proceeding to this inquiry, it must first be observed, that, without a single exception, all the cases alluded to are related by surgical authors, for purely professional purposes, without the remotest idea of their being afterwards founded on, to prove that entire preservation of the mental faculties may coexist with extensive disorganization of the organ of mind; consequently, in all of them, as will be seen by a reference to Dr FERRIAR's paper, in the 4th volume of the Manchester Memoirs, and to the 48th number of the Edinburgh Review, the state of the mind is mentioned merely incidentally, and in very vague and general terms, as it was, in reality, scarcely attended to. For instance, it is stated in one case, that "the senses were retained to the last ;" in another, that "there was no loss of sensibility;" in a third, that there was "no alienation of mind;" and, in a fourth, that "the patient remained quite well." The want of precision, indeed, and the utter inadequacy of the statements to establish the important conclusions deduced from them, are so palpably conspicuous, that even
the Reviewer already alluded to, hostile as he is to the doctrines of Phrenology, expresses a "wish to see cases more minute in all their details; and observed, with a view specially to this physiological inquiry, substituted for those we at present possess *," before he ventures to pronounce an irrevocable decree; and if he hesitates, it would surely be too much to expect us to pronounce, upon testimony rejected by him, a verdict against ourselves.
But, even granting that these cases had been observed, with a view specially to this physiological inquiry; still this testimony, to be of the slightest value in establishing the point contended for, necessarily supposes two conditions or requisites in those by whom they are narrated, which were manifestly not possessed, viz. 1st, A perfect knowledge of the number and nature of the primitive faculties of the human mind; and, 2dly, A previous knowledge of their relative degrees of endowment and energy during health, in the individual cases under consideration.
Now, as to the first of these, it is well known that scarcely any two metaphysicians who make the philosophy of mind their particular study, are agreed either upon the number or nature of the primitive mental powers. Much less, then, can we expect the surgeon, engaged in the hurry of general practice, to be better informed. "Certain crude ideas," says the Edinburgh Reviewer, in his notice of Sir E. HOME'S paper on the Functions of the Brain, “are attached to the words Intellectual Faculties; a vague conjecture arises as to the seat and nature of these faculties +." How, then, I would ask, can any one certify, even after the most scrupulous attention, that all the powers of the mind are retained, when he is ignorant what these powers are? When he is ignorant, for instance, whether the propensities of Destructiveness, Acquisitiveness or Secretiveness exist, and whether the sentiments of Veneration, Hope or Conscientiousness, are primitive emotions. The state of these, and other feelings and propensities, proved by Phre
Edinburgh Review, No. 48, p. 448.
+ Ib. p. 439.
nology to be primitive, is never once alluded to in the history of injuries of the brain; and, consequently, for any thing we are told to the contrary, they, along with their respective organs, might have been entirely wanting, in every one of the cases which are advanced as instances of entire possession of the faculties. The opponents never speak of any except intellectual faculties; and in expecting lesion of these powers, when, for instance, it is only the cerebellum, or posterior lobes of the brain, that are diseased, they display at once their own ignorance of the nature and number of the primitive faculties, and their most profound ignorance of the doctrines which they impugn. If any injury occurs in that portion of the brain lying under the most prominent part of the parietal bone, which the phrenologist states to be the organ of Cautiousness, and if we be in doubt as to the accuracy of the function assigned to it, and wish to have our observations confirmed or refuted by the phenomena attending such a case, one would naturally suppose that, as the organs are all double, we would begin by observing, whether the corresponding portion of brain on the opposite side partook in the disorganization or not; and that we would then proceed to investigate the state of that particular faculty, of which these parts constitute the organs, and thus ascertain whether the feeling of Cautiousness ever remained undiminished, where, from the extent of the disease, it ought, according to the ordinary laws of the animal economy, to have been either impaired, or entirely awanting.
This mode of proceeding, plain and simple as it appears, is not that pursued by the opponents of Phrenology. The opponent does not care, and does not inquire, whether it is one side only, or both sides, which are diseased: he makes no inquiry about the presence or absence of the manifestations of the sentiment of Cautiousness: he proceeds at once to the state of the intellectual powers, with which Phrenology most distinctly teaches that that part of the brain has no direct connexion; and finding none of the
faculties which he calls Attention, Perception, Memory or Imagination at all impaired, he, with great confidence, concludes, that the part in question cannot be the organ of Cautiousness; and so satisfied is he with his own reasoning, that he thinks himself entitled to ridicule those who do not see its cogency as clearly as he does himself. On any other subject, this mode of reasoning would be looked upon as proceeding from a very blameable and lamentable degree of ignorance; but such was once the state of the public mind, that, when directed against Phrenology, it was hailed almost universally as highly philosophical and satisfactory.
Even supposing, however, that the number of primitive faculties was known, still no dependence can be placed upon cases not observed, with a view "specially to this physiological inquiry;" for daily experience proves, that whenever a patient is able to return a rational answer to any simple question about his health, the surgeon and attendants, whose attention is not directed to the point, invariably speak of him as in full possession of all his faculties, although he is as unable to think or reason on any serious subject, with his accustomed energy and facility, as a gouty or rheumatic patient is to walk with his accustomed vigour. In one sense, no doubt, the former may be said to be in possession of all his faculties, just as the latter, merely because he can drag himself across a room, may be said to possess the power of muscular motion; but then the power of exercising the faculties may be, and is, as much diminished in the one case, as that of using the muscles in the other. Even take a convalescent from any acute disease, in which there has been no particular affection of the brain, and introduce a subject which requires a train of thinking, and concentration of mind, to which, in health, he is fully equal, so far from retaining his powers undiminished, he will soon be reminded of his enfeebled state, by painful confusion in the head, and other disagreeable symptoms. But, confine his attention to any thing which re
quires no effort on his part, and you benefit rather than barm him by such exercise, for it is then suited to the diminished vigour of his mind. Now, this is precisely the kind of discourse which the judicious surgeon permits to his patient, and from it alone he forms his own opinion of the state of the mind; and, therefore, a person in such state is uniformly said "to retain his faculties," &c. In like manner, the convalescent, gouty or rheumatic patient, if gently exercised by strolling about his room, reaps benefit and strength; but suppose you force him to an effort beyond what his muscular energy is calculated to support, the same bad effect is produced as in the case of the mind, and as well might this person be said to retain his power of voluntary motion undiminished, as the other all his force of intellect unimpaired.
That the evidence as to the state of the mind, after wounds or alteration of the cerebral mass, is really so vague and unsatisfactory, may easily be shewn from Dr FERRIAR'S paper, and from the Edinburgh Review, the text-books of the opponents. Besides the objection of extreme latitude in such expressions, as "no loss of sensibility," "no loss of voluntary motion," &c. &c., when used to indicate the condition of all the mental faculties, it may be remarked, that Dr FERRIAR speaks of one man as retaining all his faculties entire, who, it appears, had laboured under hypochondriasis for ten years; a disease, the very existence of which implies a morbid activity of some of the mental feelings, and which, consequently, ranks in the list of insanities; and of a girl who, with evident symptoms of oppressed brain, is also said to have retained her faculties; and that the reviewer speaks of a lady, who, "the day before her death, was capable of being roused from her stupor, and was then in possession of all her senses." But the idiot from birth, when roused from his natural stupor by the exaltation of a fever, appears sometimes to gain a considerable share of intellectual power, only to be lost upon recovery. Will he, too, then, be said to be in full posses