תמונות בעמוד

ken by the philosopher shows, that he is in the habit of viewing things in their laws, connections, and dependencies. Another reason may be, that he is noticed so to frame his language, as to express

all that he means, and no more. The driver, on the other hand, narrates things at hap-hazard; and his language is apt to err, either by excess, defect, or obscurity.

Now, most men are greatly a prey to fleeting facts, which at any given moment make an impression upon them. Savages almost, and brutes absolutely, are, in this sense, slaves to them. It is the grand prerogative of the human mind, to gain the mastery over them, and act in view of their relations to things past, present, and to come. And the mind is great and perfect, in proportion as it has this power.

The question has been asked, why the speeches of Burke's friends, though not deficient in talent, experience, or historical knowledge, were short-lived, while his were immortal ? Says a writer, “the satisfactory solution is, that Edmund Burke possessed and had sedulously sharpened that eye which sees all things, actions, and events, in relation to the laws that determine their existence and circumscribe their possibility.” This is mind, in distinction from mere notices of things as existent. Now, education is the drawing out of the mind. It is the effort to awaken in it a power higher than that of being a mere passive receptacle or storehouse of facts,-a power of controlling, and assigning them to their proper places. We wish therefore to exercise it upon things in the abstract, and wisich demand powers purely mental; which require it to observe things in their connections and dependencies; which, in short, compel it to look at the laws that circumscribe their possibility.” Now, all this is done in the study of language. The determination on sure grounds, whether a phrase will precisely express a given idea, involves the whole. But, more particularly does translating from other languages involve it. The deliberation required to determine whether a hard passage should have one rendering or another, puts the learner to the stretch in judging what is possible or not possible, in view of all the laws bearing upon it, and the connection it has with other sentences.

Besides, in the common mode of recitation, students, in rendering, are obliged to take up a train of thought, and state it fully, correctly, and in proper order, to another person. This is a mark of education. The great business of education is two-fold, -to excite the power of thinking, and the power of unfolding and clearly setting forth thought to others. The study of the languages helps to do both. The ordinary routine of mathematical study does the same work in a different way. Indeed, Mr. Simpson himself testifies to the comparative superiority of the study of the languages for this purpose. He says, (p. 115,) that “classiyears

cal difficulties far beyond the simple exposition of natural truths, are mastered by boys of ten or twelve

of age.” But, it may be asked, if languages must be studied, why take the dead instead of the living? We answer: because they have been models to all nations, of beauty, precision, perspicuity and completeness. Because the most perfect ideals of oratory, poetry and philosophy, lie enshrined in them; and such giants in mind inspire veneration and humility, and excite to the noblest efforts, by presenting a stature of intellect, suited to fill with wonder, while it invites imitation. Because a large part of what has been written on philosophy, morals and religion, was originally written in those languages. Because, finally, they are ingrafted on the majestic trunk of our own language, and must be mastered, before there can be any sure and thorough knowledge of our mother tongue.

We will close this argument for the classics, by a single question: Do the professors in our law, medical and theological schools, find young men the greatest proficients, who have come fresh from the study of things in the field, shop, or even lyceum ; or those who have spent some years in drudging through the so called fruitless college course?

We come, 2dly, to phrenological improvements in moral and religious education. This is the department of duties, comprising both precept and practice. It is the noblest region of discovery, for it is the science of life, and aims to find out for man the true pole-star of bis being. The science which presides over duties, ought also to hold a supremacy over all other sciences. It is the crown and consummation of them all. They are worthless, except as in some point of view they minister to it, and go to make up the material of the arch, of which it is the key-stone and complement.

As this subject transcends all others in importance, so the phrenologists vaunt themselves most on their elucidations of it. It is here, that they put forth the most boastful pretensions, and assume the most magisterial airs. Here they become most vociferous about the ignorance of other men and other days, and rejoice with most exquisite and ecstatic joy, in the light emitted from the cloudy oracles of their science. Let them speak :

* It is universally admitted that the feelings and sentiments require cultivation, yet ever since the dawning of civilization they have been too much neglected, evidently because there existed no principle adapted to promote positive improvement, and because it was not known that those faculties were located in the brain.' Levison, p. 102.

· Hitherto all has been left to empirical plans, and hence the instances of failure must be attributed to a want of some certain principle or theory. Granting, for the sake of argument, that our physiological

views are not altogether so generally available as we assert them to be, still the metaphysics of phrenology open clearer views of the plans best adapted for moral culture than any other: for that science “ describes the nature of each fundamental power and its relative value; and develops the order of the mental processes, and the periods at which the different faculties are manifested.")

pp. 187, 188. • We shall instruct rulers how to govern, and subjects how to submit, and strike the just balance-as various as the races and the regions of the earth—between the sovereign and the people; and the first time that we inspire oppressed reason to demand her rights, and to demand no more--that we teach men how much liberty they can bear, how much privation they must yet endure, we shall have our full reward.' Chenevix, pp. 61, 62.

It appears, then, that phrenology has opened a new world of light upon morals, religion and legislation. Governors, guardians and preachers, have a new work to perform. They must take lessons of these new-lights, before they themselves shall be competent to guide those under them. In order to appreciate such reforms aright, we are curious enough to look a little into their origin and genealogy. They will be found to be a scion from their innovations in the science of mind. They are determined to be consistent, and to push their theories into practice; and as their premises are false, so their inference will turn out to be a homogeneous addition to the same system of error. It will be remembered, that the great error which they have introduced into mental science, is, the leveling of the mind's high powers essentially to the grade of instincts. Those moral qualities, the absence of which in any man is guilt, to possess which is a duty, are states or self-begotten determinations of the will. This will is the source of its own acts. Were the case otherwise ; were it a mere passive instrument, in the hands of some other being, instead of holding its own reins; then the ideas of guilt, merit and accountability, would be effaced from our minds. Nor do we see why the conscience of each person would not bear bim out in making God the author of his sins,-a feeling which it now judges to be rank impiety. It tells each person in whose bosom it resides, “ Thou art the man," and for the plain reason, that he is so. This faculty, which enters into the very conception of a moral being, the phrenologists substantially discard. Indeed, they deny its possibility. Dr. Spurzheim says, “it cannot be the same faculty that make us love ourselves and our neighbors.” It is plain, then, that these men are ignorant of the clementary notion of will. They give us, in place of it, a set of propensities, bound up in different masses of the brain, and subject to its laws. Thus we have a propensity to reverence: if the mass of brain in which it resides be small or feeble, the victim possessing it is doomed to

lack the power of respecting what he ought to respect, honoring whom he should honor, and adoring whom he should adore. On the other hand, if this piece of brain be excessive in size or activity, there is no getting rid of a leaning toward the superstitious. In short, with Mr. Chenevix, inan is a "bundle of instincts.” Men act according to organization, by necessity, as brutes do.

Hence their idea is, that all bad dispositions and criminal acts are referable rather to disease than guilt. All wrong character is a braindisorder, as much as fever is a disease of the body, and it would be alike absurd, to think of willing either out of the way. Such ideas as sin, wickedness, punishment, have utterly crept out of their nomenclature, except the latter, against which they loudly and incessantly protest. Punishment, they say, cannot destroy a faculty. It irritates and inflames the more the propensity which it was meant to check. We might as well undertake to whip a sore, or beat the typhus-fever out of the body, or steady a wild and runaway horse with spurs. The only effect will be, to chafe the disorder into greater malignity. The true course, therefore, is, to treat a transgressor as a patient or a lunatic in the hands of a physician, rather than as a culprit deserving punishment. Capital punishments should be forthwith abolished; prisons should be hospitals; the rod of the parent and instructor should give place to the lancet or the pill-box; or the over-strained organs should be laid to rest, and suffered to languish in ipaction, while their neighbors should be fed and drilled till they resume their proportionate sway. Punishment for crime, and reward for well-doing, are utterly foreign to their system. Both appeal to animal feelings, such as cautiousness and self-esteem, while the former awakens combativeness. They therefore defeat their own end, which is, to set the moral feelings on the throne. As man's actions are at the bidding of "cerebral instruments," there is little wickedness in doing wrong, and no merit in doing right; at least, if we understand the following passages :

Punishments. Instead of the salutary plans for moral culture recommended in the preceding pages, various punishments are substituted ; and by a strange infatuation, these chastisements differ in each case, but are all of them so modified as if they were intended to oppose (for the mere sake of opposition) any peculiar animal propensity in a child; and therefore they frustrate the genuine object of all punishment, by tending to render that a permanent defect which might have been only a temporary aberration : for, since each improper manifestation of conduct, whether it be gluttony, or anger, or lying, or any other, depends on a naturally strong propensity acting as an irresistible instinct, it is obvious, that by inflicting a punishment which causes pain, and thereby arouses the feeling to greater activity, whilst no higher motive is addressed, we render the correction not a means of amendment, but a

source of greater and more inveterate delinquency.' Levison, pp. 143, 149.

• When, by an enlightened age, penitentiaries shall be held to be hospitals for moral patients, and not engines to protect society, by holding out the spectacle of the sufferings of perfectly free agents, either paying back that loss which their actions have occasioned, or deterring others from crimes, by their exarnple, the duration of the convict's detention will depend, not upon the mere act which brought bim there, but upon

the continuance of his disease. Simpson, p. 194. Mr Levison's whole book, indeed, is a detail of a scheme of moral culture carried on in the light of this idea. Mr. Simpson's improvements in criminal legislation are based entirely upon it. His plan of “efficient protection from crime," is, to lay hold of the offender, on the first out-breaking of his morbid appetite, and keep him until the remedial process of waking up better idstincts is completed. Murder comes from “homicidal insanity," or “ diseased destructiveness." To kill or torment the murderer, will not annihilate this propensity in others. The only remedy is, to stile the disease, by exciting the other propensities into predominance.

Of course, this aspect of the subject would naturally lead both Mr. Levison and Mr. Simpson to descant largely on the importance of mildness and benevolence in magistrates and guardians, and the absence of any thing like passionateness or rage. Pity is a temper more fit than indignation toward the victims of misfortune. Now it is very true, that rage


revenge are fiendish, and will neutralize the power of all corrections applied under their incitement. It is also true, that they too often paralize the force of all rebukes and punishments, and as such, deserve reprehension. This has always been maintained by religious teachers. Doubtless, too, the phrenologists have said much that ought to be said against them. But we hold, also, that sin and crime are of such a nature, that genuine love and kindness prompt every virtuous mind to display toward them decided displeasure and indignation. Did such minds cease to frown upon them with rebuke and punishment, the tie that binds together the moral universe would instantly break asunder; for it is God's ordinance from everlasting to everlasting, that sin and punishment shall go together. He has promulgated his holy law, and instituted his kingdom of righteousness, and appointed his Son to die therefor, and afterward to reign therein, that he might subdue all creation under his feet, and make every knee bend in allegiance to himself. He has given us faculties and revelations of himself, such as correspond, and make us know that they correspond, with the allotment of misery to the wicked and blessedness to the holy. Such they are, that we cadnot but feel, that if sin prospers, and righteousness is afflicted,

« הקודםהמשך »