Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

author may shelter himself under the jug- be dissolved by the very digestive juice gle of his own words, and tell us that he which it has just elaborated. We therefore speaks only of the transmission of our will receive with doubt the digestive experithrough the organs of the body. Let him, ment of our author. If it be true, we wilthen, write in more becoming language. lingly receive its evidence, while we reject But he closes with his own hands his only the beggarly conclusion he dares to draw door of escape. Electricity is almost as from it. metaphysical as ever mind was supposed to Again, all things living, whether vegetabe'... and yet electricity is a real thing, ble or animal, may be traced back to some an actual existence,' or, in other words, a elementary germ, which admits not even of material existence, (p. 317.*) 'So mental microscopic analysis. Therefore, the auaction may be imponderable and intangible, thor tells us, all things living have one and yet a real existence,'—that is, a ma- common fundamental and material germ. terial existence. In the same passage he In tracing backwards the organic structure tells us, that the brain is absolutely identi- of different species, we can mark a differcal with a galvanic battery! As well might ence at every step, so long as the things he say that the human will and the point before us are within the ken of sense, and of a needle are identical, because each of we can aid our senses by instruments of them can produce the contraction of a great power; but we lose ourselves at last muscle. Allowing that some of the functions among the ultimate germs of organic life. of the brain resemble galvanism, are we to Are we then to say that these ultimate and conclude that all its functions are galvanic? unknown gerns are all one and the same; We repudiate the rash conclusion. It may while the phenomena springing from them, be true that galvanic influence transmitted by stern unbending physical laws, are all through a nervous chord, soon after death, different? One who, like this author, can will produce muscular contraction; and it snatch at the conclusion, has a mind incamay be true that, after sudden death, elec- pable of inductive reasoning, and cheats tric action may be transmitted from the himself, at every turn of thought, by nothhollow of the cranium, down the nerves ing better than empty sounds. which supply the stomach, so as to contin- With thelike spirit he writes as follows: ue for a short time the operations of diges- "The fundamental form of organic being is a tion. But what is all this for the author's globule, having a new globule forming within purpose, unless he can re-animate a dead itself, by which it is in time discharged, and body, and continue the higher functions of which is again followed by another and anothlife, sensation, and volition? When he has er, in endless succession,' (p. 175.) Ifihis be done this, we will listen to his materialism; true in certain germs of organic life, we may but not till then. There is an immeasura- doubt whether it be true of all germs, vegetable difference between the material organ- ble and animal. But let us, for the sake of ic combinations of a body, and its associa- argument, accept this principle in all its fulted phenomena of life, sensation, and voli- ness, and then follow the author in the supertion; and there is not the shadow of a rea- natural consequences he draws from it. son why things so different in kind should Globules,' he tells us, can be produced in cease together at the very moment of death. albumen by electricity,' (p. 176.) 'If, thereThe doctrine of a 'vital principle may fore, these globules be identical with the have been pushed too far, and brought to cells, which are now held to be reproductive, the explanation of phenomena which are it might be said that the production of alburesolvable on the more vulgar principles men by artificial means is the only step in of ordinary chemical combination ; but the process wanting. The if and might of this is not our present question. It is said this precious sentence are words of marvelthat hair will continue to grow for several lous import. We believe the author cheats days after death. It is said also, in cases himself by empty sounds; and, because the of sudden death, when life is arrested while poverty of language expresses not the difevery organ is in a healthly state, that or- ference of things in appreciable by vulgar ganic action may for a while go on; and sense, confounds his fundamental organic that the dead stomach may, in such a case, globule with the inorganic globule of a

chemist. The passage of the electric fluid * We here repeat that we always refer to the through water will produce a set of aërial page of the third edition, except where the contra. globules in rapid and expansive movement; ry is expressed.

and just as well might be call them also

organic bodies, as any other globules evolv- his habitation ; and the stone jelly to feed ed in a chemical experiment. He calls his little larva is quite affecting. But in this monstrous perversion of sound reason, the third edition, (and in violation of his 'a humble attempt to bring illustration own positive principles,) he follows the from a department of science, on which, lead of some hesitating critic, and adds, at present, much doubt and obscurity rest.' with graceful simplicity, that we should But if his principle be insecure, why build require further proof to satisfy us that the upon it a most complicated dognatic sys- matter here concerned was actually gelatem? He was not called upon to do so, tine.' We tell him not to doubt at allnor was he bound by any duty to desert that a few drops of acid, properly applied, the sober method of Induction. We must will gelatinize some of our hardest minetell him, and his readers, plainly, that he rals—and that rock jelly, floating in the cannot desert his fundamental organic glo- liquor silicum, is an admirable compound bule; and if he cannot create it by purely for a young and tender stomach-tható rock physical means, his whole system is gone, milk’ is one of the most vulgar substances and he has not so much as a mathematical wrung from nature's dugs; and, in the point to rest his foot upon. His fundamen- shape of chalk infusion, has been drunk for tal organic globule, and the petit corps géla- ages by the whole race of crowing gallinatineur of his great archetype, Lamarck, are ceous philosophers who were progressively one and the same thing, without which the developed in the central parts of our great authors have not the semblance of a start- southern capital; nay, that the same fecuning-point. The theory of Lamarck, though dating compound has found its way to the baseless as the fabric of a crazy dream, is west of Temple-Bar, and created by its better framed than the one before us. It animating power a celestial sky-blue philogives us, at least, a comprehensible cause sophy, which is soon to fill the world with of organic changes from one species to wonders. But we must leave these delightanother; while our author talks only of sul visions of future good, and come back developmenta word without sense or sig- to the analysis of our author's mind. nificance, if he fail to give us any material If he be sometimes led astray by the facts to gloss its meaning.

ears, as we have shown, he is sometimes One example more, and we have done also cheated by his eyes-a vulgar error, it with our exhibition of the idiosyncrasies of is true, but requiring from us a passing nohis most imaginative mind, which seem to tice. We affirm, then, that he is sometimes cheat his reason, to lead him by the ears, led astray by the most puerile resemblances, and to make him the dupe of idle sounds. (p. 160.) In the frozen vapor on the inside He tells us, (p. 189,) with some detail, and of a window he sees a vegetable form, great simplicity, that`Mr. Weeks, by the (and what child has not done the same action of a galvanic battery continued for thing a hundred times before him ?) In eleven months, created a multitude of in- the Arbor Diana of the chemist he sees a sects, (Acarus Crossii,) minute and semi- crystallization precisely resembling a shrub. transparent, and furnished with long bris- In the brush produced by an electrical detotles. The creatures thus created were nation, (we have ourselves seen one almost sometimes observed to go back into the pa- as big as a hearth-brush produced by Mr. rent Auid, and occasionally they devoured Crosse,) he sees the stem and branches of each other; and, soon after they had been a forest-tree; and then he presumes to tell called to life, they were disposed to extend us, that we can here see the traces of sectheir species in the vulgar way! So much ondary means, by which the Almighty Devifor the experiment; and let us next read ser might establish all the vegetable forms the comment of our author. "Toward the with which the earth is overspread ! Noone negative wire of the battery, dipped in the denies that the combination of chemical fluid, there gathered a quantity of gelatin- elements, and the crystalline forms mechanious matter-a part of the process which is cally resulting froin it, are connected with very striking, when we mention that gela-electricity; and every one knows, that if tine is one of the proximate principles, or the first attraction of the atoms be interruptfirst compounds, out of which animal bodies ed by a second set of disturbing forces, are formed,' &c.

there will result a new set of crystalline He cannot give up this experiment with forms, osten arborescent, but always of exout burying his whole household; for, in treme complication. The first set of forms truth, it is the only prop on which he builds can be anticipated, and their modifications

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

submitted to geometrical rule. The second a general comparison, and all their nobler
set are utterly beyond the reach of all anal- organs deseribed under common names.
ysis; and it is among them that creative fan- Each animal is perfect of its kind; and its
cy may take delight in conjuring up fantas- parts are so related and fitted to one anoth-
tical resemblances. An old woman may er, that the existence of one part (when
see a shroud in a candle, or a coffin in a thoroughly understood) implies the exist-
fake of soot; and every child will see ence of all the rest, under the rigid gov-
steeples, and houses, and the faces of its ernment of a positive organic law. A nat-
friends, in the flame of the fire or the va- uralist may, iherefore, start almost from
por of the sky; and these unsubstantial any point he pleases, and reason consistent-
fancies are every whit as real as the vege- ly through the whole structure of an animal
table coatings and the forest-trees of our to all its higher vital functions; and he
imaginative author. Comparisons of this may go on from animal to animal, till he
kind are childish or superstitious-poetical, has arranged them all in one consistent
witty or absurd-according to the manner scheme of mutual relations. But if all
in which we use them; but we are certain good systems of arrangement be, in a cer-
that they belong not to the stern realities tain sense, natural, in another sense all of
of science. We believe that organic struc-them are artificial, for every system implies
ture could not be matured without the some starting-point or principle of compar-
presence of imponderable agents, such as ison; and that which is best for the con-
heat, light, and electricity; but we give no ception of one set of animal structures,
creative power to these agents, any more may not be the best for another. Not one
than we give creative power to the carbon of them can for an instant be regarded as a
and oxygen, and other vulgar constituents type of what was in the prescient mind of the
of our bodies. The frozen vapor on our Creator when he called living nature into
window may imitate the outer forms of ve-being.
getable life, but it has neither organic If these remarks apply to arrangements
structure nor any inner principle of repro- of the animal kingdom like that of Cuvier,
duction; it grows by aggregation from still more do they apply to the Circular and
without, by the simple apposition of new and Quinary system of Mackay, who, not
crystalline matter like that which was laid content with the ascending and descending
down before; but a true living vegetable scale of older naturalists, and, following out
rises from a germ, and is elaborated by an a far wider series of analogies, has thrown
internal complicated organic and reproduc- the animated world into a circular arrange-
tive structure, fitted to the materials sur-ment, and in groups of five, and contrived
rounding it, and acting on them by organic to bring into a kind of orderly and geomet-
laws of endless complication.

rical comparison things in former times To perceive resemblances is the habit most widely put asunder. This scheme of a child ; and an excellent habit it is may have its uses, and may sometimes as while kept in its proper place. To perceive sist us in comprehending nature, by subthe differences of things is another faculty mitting new analyses to our view ; but it is essential to advancing knowledge. These intensely artificial, and is not accepted by truths our author seems neither to have our best physiologists and naturalists; and, studied nor thought of; and the passages on this account, is most unfit to form the we have now referred to, if they prove no- basis of one single speculation on the high thing else, at least prove this—that he has subject of a creative law. Its remote and a mind unfitted for the comprehension of sometimes most fanciful resemblances the severer lessons of science; and that by have a potent charm for this imaginative no effort will he be ever able to write a author; and led him, especially in his first system of philosophy which will be fit to ad- edition, into details offensive to every prinvance the cause of material truth, or give ciple of sound reason and good taste. Our a rational interpretation of what has been readers will find the passages to which we done by the labors of other men.

refer in his first edition, (pp. 268-271,) but While on the philosophy of resemblances, our limits prevent us from quoting them. we may say a few words of the system of If our author be cheated by his eyes and arrangements in Natural History, and espe- ears, and misled by his outer senses, he alcially of the vertebrate classes. These so has an inner principle which continually classes are formed on one harmonious plan, misleads him. He is not only, as we have so that they may be readily brought under said, intensely hypothetical, but intensely

credulous: A drowning man will catch at maid, sitting down to a quiet game of a feather or a straw to save himself from whist with a new-fashioned dummy in the sinking; but one who resolutely plunges form of a solemn poodle; while a lively into the water because he sees such things spitz, or fawning spaniel, is raised on its Aoating, would be counted a madman. Yet hind-quarters at the corner of the sofa taour author plunges into the very deepest ble, and teaching the knight's move to the streams of human speculation, without one younger ladies of the household ! quality fitted to bear him up except a blind But to go on with our enumeration. He belief in his own buoyancy; and he then believes that he is a great metaphysician catches at any thing and every thing that —that mind and soul (as our fathers unfloats about him upon the surface. A hypo- derstood the word) are all a dream-that thetical spirit is a good spirit, if it be prop- material organs are all in all--that he can erly tempered with knowledge, honesty and weigh a mind as a butcher does a joint, by sagacity. It is but a perpetual upward ten- a steelyard-that he can measure the dency, and a craving for some higher prin- length and breadth of psychology' by tanciple, to bind together new phenomenagents, as a tailor does a piece of broadand disconnected facts. When thus tem- cloth-that he has annulled all difference pered, it leads us not to worship our first between physical and moral—that Gall and imaginations, and to made all nature bend Spurzheim are the only mental philosoto them, but it makes them bend to nature. phers since the days of Plato-hat he can We may carry as much sail as we please, if swallow their whole system without any we have but proper ballast, and a willing grumblings among his digestive organs, hand ready to turn the helm whenever we that Comte is a great mathematician—and are steering on a shoal. This has been the that photography throws a bright light on governing principle of the two Herschels, the faculty of the memory. He believes father and son, of Black, of Davy, of Dal- that the human family may be (or ought to ton, and other great names in modern dis-be) of many species, and all sprung from covery.

apes— that while he bestializes men and But we must turn again to our author to humanizes beasts, he is a great moralistaffirm, that he has neither knowledge to and that while he tries to set up a system justify the positions he has taken, nor saga- wbich destroys all semblance of any final city to discover any new means of defending cause,' he is a good theist. Lastly, and them; but that he presses into his service above all, while he rejects the Word of every kind of force that will hoist his co- God, (which tells him that God made man lors for an hour. His credulity is quite on and woman in bis own image, and breathed a level with his rashness. Of these quali- into their nostrils the breath of life,) and ties we must give a few examples; but, for thinks he can make man and woman far want of space, it must be in the way only better by the help of a baboon, he believes of simple enumeration. We believes that that he may still remain a good Christian. Mr. Crosse has, by help of his galvanic bat- It may be so; for men are full of strange tery, made an Acarus well fledged and full contradictions. This author is at least of eggs; and he believes that he can build consistent in his own materialism; and as a stable system of aniinated nature upon its he has adopted a scheme of nature against back. He believes that, by a double pro- common sense, reason, and experience, so cess of incubation, he can hatch a rat from may he have embraced a scheme of religion a goose's egg—that a seven month's child that is against the vulgar teaching of his has the brain of a beast-that dogs can own philosophy. It is our business to anaplay admirably at dominoes—and that he is lyze his mind, and to expose his system himself a great philosopher, and born 'to when we think it wrong, and not to reconimprove the knowledge of mankind, and cile his contradictions. But let no man through that medium their happiness!' or woman be cheated by the pipings of his (p. 387.) Let him, then, no longer com- organ of veneration, and believe his pose in solitude, and almost without the work, on that account, not to be offensive cognizance of a single fellow-being,' but and mischievous. Many a stagnant shallow set up at once a new school of sky-blue pool will reflect the images of the sky; but philosophy, and he will fill the fashionable if we stoop down to drink it, we only fill world with wonders. Under his celestial our mouths with nastiness. teaching we may live to see a grizzly dow- As we have alluded to phrenology, we ager, a wheezing bachelor, and a withered may add a word or two upon it before we VOL. VI.-No. I. 4

go on to graver matters. We reject the ted, in a general way, by three correspondpeculiarities of the system, because they ing developments of the brain, so as to afare unsustained by any direct anatomical fect the outer form of the head. But when proof. We have several times seen the men go on with their most artificial partihuman brain dissected, (and twice by Dr. tions of the brain, and thus proceed to Spurzheim himself,) and we affirm that build a regular psychological system on neither he nor any one else has been able their own inventions, they may become not to demonstrate any subdivisions of its struc-only ridiculous but very mischievous. Such ture corresponding to the organ, theory. a system may give us the ready change of But some one may tell us that it is proved hard technical words, with certain material by a wide induction of facts of another notions to fix their meaning. But let no kind, derived from the external forms of man fancy, when he has mastered these the cranium. This we also deny; and we watchwords and party symbols, that he has need not repeat opinions en forced in former reached the philoscphy of the mind. He may articles of this Journal, but refer to them. know no more about it than a stammering Let is, however, remark in passing, that boy does of oratory from having learned by there is one substantial reason why phre- rote the jargon of an old beck of rhetoric; nology should maintain its ground with or than a bellows blower, or sexton, does of those who have a large capacity of belief, Handel's glorious harmonies, after he has or an obstinacy in maintaining their first counted all the keys or gilded pipes of his opinions. It starts with the assumption of parish organ. certain qualities of the mind, which belong, The questions between the materialist with greater or less prominence to every and the inmaterialist are not, in truth, affecthuman being. These qualities were knowned by the phrenological hypothesis. They before phrenology was ever thought of; but remain in their old places. It matters not it gives them a local habitation, and some- whether all the brain be subservient to every times a new name. When, therefore, a acı of the mind, or particular parts of the credulous neophyte presents himself for brain to particular acts. What we call manipulation, and from the bumps upon mind is that principle which binds our the outside of his head is told of that which thoughts together, and makes us intellectupasses in the inside of it, we consider it ally what we are; giving us a unity of conmorally and physically impossible that the sciousness not transferable to another, or oracular response should not touch some separable into parts—a unity of knowledge, prominent points of character, of which the a unity of responsibility, and a unity of aspatient must needs be conscious if he have piration after future good. Common lanany character at all. It is, in such a case, guage does not confound such things under the property of human nature to be taken names descriptive of dead matter, and its with good hits, and to overlook the many actions on things dead and inorganic ; bemistakes and blunders; and so may the cause common language is the voice of huoracles of .phrenology, like some others, man nature, and not the echo of an hypothhave their hierophants and their votive of- esis. Spurzheim was a clever and honest serings for many generations.

man ; but ridden to death by an hypothesis, In a limited sense, we are all of us phre- as many a good man before him. He was nologists : we all of us believe that the sen- not a vulgar inaterialist, whatever may be sible impressions of external nature are some of his followers ; and we know, for conreyed, through the nervous system to we have discussed this point with him, that the brain, and ihere apprehended by the the theory of spontaneous generation and mind; and we believe that in a reverse or- transmutation of species found no faror der, the intentions of the will are conveyed with him, because he believed it utterly unfrom the brain to the organs of the body. true. This is no new doctrine; and we may ac- A most wretched system of psychology, cept a lofty expanded forehead, and other ending in a chilling physical fatalism, deouter characters of the cranium, as indica- structive of law and social order, or, at tions (though by no means sure ones) of least, depriving them of their purest sanchigh capacity. We will even go a step fur- tions, has been reared on the doctrines of ther, and allow, should it ever be sanction- Gall; and it is on this account that we owe ed by good evidence, (which we very them a grudge. And the system is quite greatly doubt,) that the intellectual, moral, natural if the longings of the soul are to be and animal qualities of a man may be indica- satisfied with dry technicalities, and not al

« ZurückWeiter »