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The faith placed in the Review being thus shaken, I attended the next course of Dr SPURZHEIM's Lectures, for the purpose of hearing from himself a correct account of his doctrines. The Lectures satisfied me, that the system was widely different from the representations given of it by the Reviewer, and that, if true, it would prove highly important; but the evidence was not conclusive. I therefore appealed to Nature by observation, and at last arrived at complete conviction of the truth of Phrenology.
In 1818, the Editor of the “ Literary and Statistical Magazine for Scotland,” invited me to a free discussion of the merits of the system in his work, and I was induced to offer him some Essays on the subject. The notice these attracted led to their publication in 1819, in a separate volume, under the title of “ Essays on Phrenology.” A second edition of these Essays has since been called for, and the present volume is offered in compliance with that demand. Work, I have adopted the title of a “System of Phrenology,” on account of the wider scope, and closer connexion, of its parts; but pretend to no novelty in principle, and to no rivalry with the great founders of the science.
In the present
The controversial portions of the first edition are here almost entirely omitted. As the opponents have
quitted the field, these appeared no longer necessary, and their place is supplied by what I trust will be found more interesting matter.
Some readers may think that retributive justice required the continued republication of the attacks of the opponents, that the public mind, when properly enlightened, might express a just disapprobation of the conduct of those who so egregiously misled it; but Phrenology teaches us forbearance; and, besides, it will be misfortune enough to the individuals who have distinguished themselves in the work of misrepresentation, to have their names handed down to posterity, as the enemies of the greatest and most important discovery ever communicated to mankind.
In this work, the talents of several living characters are adverted to, and compared with the development of their mental organs, which is a new feature in philosophical discussion, and might, without explanation, appear to some readers to be improper : But I have founded such observations on the printed works, and published busts or casts, of the individuals alluded to; and both of these being public property, there appeared no impropriety in adverting to them. In instances in which reference is made to the cerebral development of persons, whose busts or casts are not published, I have ascertained that the observations will not give offence.
The call for a third edition of this work, notwithstanding the strenuous opposition of a highly influential part of the periodical press, and the continued neglect of another portion of it, is a proof that the public continues to take an interest in the subject of which it treats. In this edition, a full exposition of the principles on which Phrenology is founded, is given in the introduction ; and I respectfully solicit reflecting individuals, whose prejudices give them a dislike to the study, to peruse this portion of the work, before yielding finally to their prepossessions. It has been written expressly for readers in this condition. In other parts of the work, considerable additions, and I hope some improvements, have been made. Figures have been introduced to illustrate the forms of several of the heads described. These, although far from being sufficient to convey complete and correct notions of the objects represented, will be useful in giving more precision to
the reader's conceptions, and may induce him to resort to nature. It was my wish to have had all the figures drawn to a scale, but the engraver has not been successful in realizing this intention. The outline is accurate, and there is an approximation to one standard of proportion in the different figures; but it is not such as enables me to exhibit a scale.
Two subjects treated of in the second edition, are omitted in this, 1st, “On the Harmony of the Mental Faculties with each other, and with the Laws of Physical Nature;” and 2dly, “On Insanity and Criminal Legislation.” The first is now embraced in my work, “On the Constitution of Man and its relations to external objects,” in which the practical application of Phrenology to conduct, education, and the science of morals, is treated of; and the second is more amply discussed in Dr SPURZHEIM's work on Insanity, and in Dr ANDREW COMBE's treatise on the same subject.
Since the publication of the second edition, some opponents, who deny the truth of Phrenology, have ascribed its success, which on the principle of its being false is anomalous, not to its inherent merits, but to the talent with which, as they are pleased to say, I have advocated its cause ; and they have reminded the public, that I am known in the literary world only as a Phrenologist.