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The whole episode relating to Professor Ptthmllnsprts, the chief professor of necrobioneopalasonthydrochthonanthropopithekology, in the new university which the King of the Cannibal Islands has founded, should be perused by every savant, especially by every anthropologist. We must pass it over here, as well as many other brilliant passages. Careful perusal, and a thorough scientific education, are preliminaries to the study of this work, which, like the Gargantua of Rabelais, or the Suenos of Quevedo (especially the latter, in Sir Roger l'Estrange's inimitable translation), inculcates lessons of the highest import in language which must gratify every one who has reflected on the generalizations to which modern science has arrived.
Dr. William Latjder Lindsay, long favourably known as an alienist and as a toxicologist, devoted, in his capacity of physician to James Murray's Asylum for Lunatics, a large proportion of his Annual Report in 1860 to a careful examination of the theories of phrenologists, as tested by the observed cranial development and psychical manifestations of the patients committed to his care. Those who, from previous study of this author's writings, are aware of his sedulous adherence to exactitude, his accuracy of logical deduction, and the wide and prolonged experience which he possesses, will feel no surprise that the work before us is one of the most trenchant and severe attacks on the tenets of phrenologists which has ever appeared. It will, however, we hope, not be our task to wade through the tedious controversy respecting the truth or falsehood of phrenological deductions. Anthropology, in the year 1863, has a more scientific task before it. But a few of the more telling passages of Dr. Lindsay's brochure demand our repetition. Before the author proceeds to illustrate, chiefly by means of statistical tables, the bearings of meteorology on psychopathy, i.e., the relationship "between
* Thirty-Third Annual R«port of tho Directors of James Murray's Royal Asylum for Lunatics, near Perth, Juno 1860. 8vo. Perth: 1860.
sudden changes in the phases of insanity and certain atmospheric conditions or changes," he states generally adverse conclusions, derived from his observation of the cognate science of phrenology.
As respects some particular organs, Dr. Lindsay's conclusions are as follows:—
"Benevolence.—Table I. shows that it was very large in 5 males; very small in no case; large in 72 cases (41 males and 31 females); small in 46 cases (20 males and 26 females). Table II. shows that, of 4 patients who were characterized by excessive liberality of disposition (3 males and 1 female), this organ was large in all; while in 45 patients, chiefly cases of Chronic Dementia, who were characterized by facility of disposition (29 males and 16 females), it was very large or very small in none; large in 20 cases (14 males and 6 females) ; and small in 16 cases (10 males and 6 females). Table III. shows that, of the 5 patients in whom it was very large the actual character was confirmatory in only one. 'In Insanity, Gall states this organ is manifested by excessive liberality and profusion, and by a desire to give away everything of which the individual is possessed. He observes that, in idiocy, it produces good nature and harmlessness; while, where it is small, and Destructiveness large, the unfortunate is prone to fits of rage, and becomes dangerous. . . He does not detail the evidence on which [his observations] proceed, and does not pretend that the cerebral parts, to whose action he attributes the phenomena, were examined or found diseased [!]. The profusion which he attributes to an over action of Benevolence may proceed from general fatuity, from vanity, from small Acquisitiveness and Cautiousness, joined with general prostration of reflecting intellect; in short, from a thousand [!] sources, instead of that on which he founds his conjectures. We have the more reason to view, with the utmost distrust, Gall's observations upon this subject, when we find that he designated this organ the seat of the faculty of justice and moral obligation. While he does so, he very coolly details a great variety of facts relating to its function, totally at variance with his leading definition.'—[Smith, p. 149]. Here, again, phrenologists are at issue with a vengeance, and their statements are so confused and contradictory, that it need not detain us to say whether or not our statistics bear any of them out.
"Individuality.—Smith very properly mentions, as a caution in estimating the size of this organ, that it is the 'chief seat of the frontal sinus in adults' (p. 186). By external manipulation, how much of the size of the 'organ' to refer to the sinus in question [which varies greatly in thickness and extent], and how much to the 'easily distinguished' convolutions of the brain, which are limited to the manifestation of the phenomena of Individuality, it is for phrenologists, and not for us, to indicate!"
The following abstract is given by Dr. Lindsay of his third Table:—
The fourth Table is " introduced to meet an objection that may possibly be brought against our statistics, viz., that by isolating the particular 'organs,' and giving results depending on their absolute or actual size, very unfair deductions may be drawn. Accordingly here, in a series of cases, selected on account of their characters presenting certain peculiarities readily recognized and remembered, is given the size of all the organs, or at least all the more important or more conspicuous and easily measured 'organs;' whereby phrenologists or others may judge for themselves of the relative size or ' development' of the said organ, and of the connection (if any) between such size or development and the actual character of the patients. In not one of the 20 cases selected (10 of either sex) did the actual character correspond with what the phrenological examination of the head would have led us to expect."
Some of the instances in this Table are very interesting. We extract a few of the more striking contrasts :— Phrenological development. Observed psychological character.
1, Firmness very large; Most inconsistent in his private walk
Veneration and Wit and conversation; affects great sancsmall tity; fond of drollery, especially of the
coarse sort j is a good comic actor.
3. Constructiveness, mode
4. Concentrativeness, large
5. Ideality, small
8. Combativeness, mode
9. Alimentiveness, small
Observed psychological character. Was at one time a most ingenious mechanician and accurate draughtsman.
Fickle and capricious in his occupations and amusements.
Was formerly, when excited during the night, addicted to ringing bells, tearing bed clothes, knocking at doors, smashing windows, and other acts of violence.
Fancies himself possessed of great wealth, which he is disposed to distribute most lavishly.
Is an excellent dancer, and has a good ear for time.
Most imaginative, telling with the greatest ease and pleasure the most extravagant stories.
Affected by the occasional visits of his wife and children, but never speaks of them during their absence.
Most pugnacious and vicious when excited.
Always fond of a "good feed," but by no means a glutton.
Voracity notorious; has a large allowance of food for himself, but is always ready to eat that of his neighbours; is cunning and stealthy, and has more than once managed to escape from his gallery to the private rooms of the officers, and in a few minutes to swallow a meal of several courses, intended for several people; in summer, in addition to large quantities of ordinary food, he loses no opportunity of consuming enormous quantities of grass—in short, he appears able to eat and digest anything, and from similar unusual meals his health has never suffered, he being one of the most healthy men in the Institution.
Has several children, of whom she never speaks, and all remembrance of whom she seems to have lost.
Fond of coarse droller)'; satirical. A good mimic; sarcastic; fond of all kinds of coarse drollery. Dr. Lindsay's fifth Table is of equal value. His conclusions are :—
12. Wit, small 15. Wit, small
"That, while the head was apparently large in 26 cases, it was apparently small in 40. These figures are, however, of little value, unless compared with the actual measurements of the head given in our report for 1858 (pp. 17, et seq.) In regard to shape, there are a few noteworthy points, viz.,—that the head was well formed in 39 cases, and narrow laterally in 40. The latter peculiarity does not necessarily imply diminution in size, such heads being generally longer in the antero-posterior diameter. The forehead was prominent, high, broad, or square, in 17 cases ; low in 32; narrow in 43; sloping or receding in 36. A low, narrow, sloping forehead seems, therefore, to have predominated; but that such a conformational peculiarity does not necessarily indicate deficient mentalization is admitted by some phrenologists themselves, and is, to a certain extent, supported by the comparatively average development of the intellectual faculties, as is shown in the abstract of Table I. The coronal region was shallow or flattened in 57 cases, high in 25; the region of the sentiments was, therefore, more than twice as often low as high. It is supposed by some phrenologists 'that when the coronal surface of the cranium is high, the individual is exalted in his morality; and that when the forehead is low, and the skull small he is unreflecting or idiotic.'—[Smith, p. 25.] None of these statements does our experience enable us to corroborate except to a very limited extent. The occiput was prominent, broad, or projecting in 43 cases; narrow in 4. On the whole, it was prominent or well marked in the majority of cases. The basal region, lastly, or that immediately above the ears, was broad in 28 cases, and narrow in only I."
His summary of the results of his observations are expressed as follows:—
"The general conclusions, to which our phrenological investigations have led us, are the following:—
"1. That, while there is apparently much truth in Phrenology, especially in regard to some of its general laws or doctrines, there is unquestionably more error.
'* 2. That, while protuberances or depressions on the skull at the site of what are pointed out by phrenologists as the ' organs' of which the human brain is composed, sometimes co-exist with the manifestation or non-manifestation of the propensities, sentiments, or intellectual powers, ascribed as the functions of such 'organs,' there is, at least, as frequently, and probably more frequently, no confirmatory evidence; or discrepancies or contradictions abound to such an extent, that the exceptions are more numerous than the rules.
"3. That the size or development of the protuberances and depressions—in other words, of the ' organs ' above referred to—throws no light on our knowledge of the forms and phases of insanity.
"4. That hence the confident predictions of phrenologists, as to the value of Phrenology in the diagnosis of insanity and the classification of Psychopathies, have not been fulfilled: and
"5. That, on the whole, the reporter is not yet prepared to recommend to his brother Alienists the use of" the phrenological systems.