Phrenological bust by LN FowlerPhrenological bust by LN FowlerThe History of Phrenology on the Web

by John van Wyhe

George Combe's A System of Phrenology, 5th edn, 2 vols. 1853.

Vol. 1: [front matter], Intro, Nervous system, Principles of Phrenology, Anatomy of the brain, Division of the faculties 1.Amativeness 2.Philoprogenitiveness 3.Concentrativeness 4.Adhesiveness 5.Combativeness 6.Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, Love of Life 7.Secretiveness 8.Acquisitiveness 9.Constructiveness 10.Self-Esteem 11.Love of Approbation 12.Cautiousness 13.Benevolence 14.Veneration 15.Firmness 16.Conscientiousness 17.Hope 18.Wonder 19.Ideality 20.Wit or Mirthfulness 21.Imitation.
Vol. 2: [front matter], external senses, 22.Individuality 23.Form 24.Size 25.Weight 26.Colouring 27.Locality 28.Number 29.Order 30.Eventuality 31.Time 32.Tune 33.Language 34.Comparison, General observations on the Perceptive Faculties, 35.Causality, Modes of actions of the faculties, National character & development of brain, On the importance of including development of brain as an element in statistical inquiries, Into the manifestations of the animal, moral, and intellectual faculties of man, Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Crime, Comparative phrenology, Mesmeric phrenology, Objections to phrenology considered, Materialism, Effects of injuries of the brain, Conclusion, Appendices: No. I, II, III, IV, V, [Index], [Works of Combe].


THIS organ is situated nearly along the temporal ridge of the frontal bone. Dr Gall gives the following account of its discovery.

The first poet whose head arrested his attention by its form, was one of his friends who frequently composed ex-

l There is a beautiful head of Christ in the " Last Supper," in the Dresden Gallery, No. 494, by Carlo Dolce. It admirably represents the natural language of Benevolence, meek submission to agonizing suffering, and high intellectual power. The eyes are raised upwards and towards the side, in the direction of the organ of Wonder ; and the soul is seen, by the expression of the countenance, to be holding converse in prayer with supernatural powers. The wine-cup and the bread stand before him on the table. One great excellence of the picture is this abstraction of the mind from earth, and the distinct expression of its being in the act of communicating with spirits above. An artist was copying this head, but, apparently from not understanding the natural language of the countenance, he had given the eyes a turn, not upwards and towards the side, as in the original (the natural language of "Wonder), but directly upwards (the natural language of Veneration) ; and by this change he removed every expression of supernatural intercourse, and rendered the picture indicative of simple devotion ; in short, he struck out the grandest feature in the work, and that by which the accurate observation and profound analytic power of the painter are most conspicuously displayed.


tempore verses when least expected to do so ; and who had thereby acquired a sort of reputation, although in other respects a very ordinary person. His forehead, immediately above the nose, rose perpendicularly, then retreated, and extended itself a good deal laterally, as if a part had been added on each side. He recollected having seen the same form in the bust of Ovid. In other poets, he did not find, as a constant occurrence, the forehead first perpendicular and then retreating, so that he regarded this shape as accidental ; but in all of them he observed the prominences in the anterior lateral parts of the head, above the temples. He then began to look upon these prominences as the distinctive marks of a natural talent for poetry ; but still he spoke to his hearers on the subject with a degree of doubt, especially as, at this period, he was not convinced that a talent for poetry depended on a primitive mental faculty. He waited, therefore, before deciding definitively, till he had made a greater number of observations.

A short time afterwards, he got' the head of the poet Alxinger, in which this part of the brain, and also the organ of Adhesiveness, were very much developed, while the other portions were so only in a small degree. A little after this, the poet Junger died, and Gall found the prominences also in his head. He found the same parts still larger in the poet Blumauer, with a large organ of Wit. At this time, Wilhelmine Maisch acquired reputation at Vienna by her poetry ; and the same enlargement above the temples was found in her head. Dr Gall observed the same organization in Madame Laroch, at Offenbach, near Frankfort ; in Angélique Kaufmann ; in Sophia Clementina of Merklen ; in Klopstock ; in Schiller, of whom he had a mask ; and also in Gesner of Zurich. In Berlin he continued to speak of this organ still with considerable reserve, when M. Nicolai invited him and Dr Spurzheim to see a collection of about thirty busts of poets in his possession. They found, in every one of them, the part in question projecting more or less considerably, according as the talent was manifested in


a higher or lower degree in each poet. From that moment he taught boldly, that the talent for poetry depends on a primitive faculty, and that it is connected with this part of the brain as its special organ. In Paris, Dr Gall moulded the head of Legouvé after his death, and found this organ large. He and Dr Spurzheim opened the head of the late Delille, and pointed out to several physicians who were present, the full development of the convolutions placed under the external prominences at this part ; these convolutions projected beyond all the others. Dr Gall preserved à cast of one of the hemispheres of the brain ; so that this statement may still be verified. In a pretty numerous assemblage, Dr Gall was asked what he thought of a little man, who sat at a considerable distance from him ? As it was rather dark, he said, that, in truth, he could not see him very distinctly, but that he nevertheless observed the organ of poetry to be greatly developed. He was then informed that this was the famous poet François, generally named Cordonnier from his having been bred a shoemaker.1 " If we pass in review," says Dr Gall, " the portraits and busts of the poets of all ages, we shall find this configuration of head common to them all ; as in Pindar, Euripides, Sophocles, Heraclides, Plautus, Terence, Virgil, Tibullus, Ovid, Horace, Juvenal, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Aretin, Tasso, Milton, Boileau, J. B. Rousseau, Pope, Young, Grosset, Voltaire, Gesner, Klopstock, Wieland," &c. Dr Bailly, in a letter, dated Rome, 30th May 1822, addressed to Dr Brayer, says : " You may tell Dr Gall that I have a mask of Tasso, taken from nature, and that, although part of the organ of poetry be cut off, nevertheless the lateral breadth of the cranium in this direction is enormous." Mr Lawrence Macdonald, sculptor, who visited Tasso's tomb at the Monastery of St Onofrio, in Rome, has favoured me

1 A cast of the head of this individual is in the Phrenological Society's collection, Edinburgh, and in Mr Deville's at London. The organ in question is large. Some particulars respecting him will be found in The Phrenological Journal, vi. 495.


with the following particulars : " In the library of the Monastery of St Onofrio, there is preserved, along with an original letter of the poet, a cast in wax of his head, evidently taken after death. The brain is very large in proportion to the face, and the head altogether is above the ordinary size. The knowing organs are very large, the reflecting large. The organs of the sentiments are full, those of the propensities large. The most striking characteristic, however, is the breadth at the region of Ideality, which is extremely large.5'

The bust of Homer presents an extraordinary development at this part of the head. It is doubted whether it be authentic ; but be it real or ideal, the existence of the prominence is remarkable. If it be ideal, why was the artist led to give this particular form, which is the only one in accordance with nature ? If he modelled the head of the most distinguished poet of his day, as the best representative of Homer, the existence of this development is still a fact in favour of the organ.

We owe to Dr Spurzheim the correct analysis of this faculty, and the elegant and appropriate name by which it is designated. " It is impossible," says he, " that poetry in general should be confined to one single organ ; and I therefore think that the name ' Organ of Poetry' (used by Dr Gall), does not indicate the essential faculty.1"-" In every kind of poetry, the sentiments are exalted, the expressions warm ; and there must be rapture, inspiration, what is commonly called imagination or fancy."1

This faculty produces the desire for exquisiteness, or perfection, and is delighted with what the French call "Le beau idéal." It gives inspiration to the poet. The knowing fa-

1 Dr Vimont defends Gall's view of the organ, and his name ' Organ of Poetry," and dissents from Dr Spurzheim's ideas. He maintains also that there is a separate organ, which he calls " Sens du Beau dans les Arts," which, he says, Gall and Spurzheim have confounded with that of Constructiveness. It lies above Constructiveness, and is distinct from it. A detailed account of his views will be given after " Ideality."


culties perceive qualities as they exist in nature ; but this faculty desires, for its gratification, something more exquisitely perfect than the scenes of reality. It desires to elevate and endow with a splendid excellence every object presented to the mind. It stimulates the faculties which form ideas, to create scenes, in which every object is invested with the perfection which it delights to contemplate. It is particularly valuable to man as a progressive being. It inspires him with a ceaseless love of improvement, and prompts him to form and realize splendid conceptions. When predominant, it gives a manner of feeling and of thinking, befitting the regions of fancy, rather than the abodes of men. Hence those only on whom it is largely bestowed can possibly be poets ; and hence the proverb, " Poe'ta nascitur, nonßt"

Those who experience a difficulty in conceiving what effect the faculty .produces, may compare the character of Blount with that of Raleigh in Kenilworth : "But what manner of animal art thou thyself, Raleigh." said Tressilian, "that thou holdest us all so lightly ?"-" Who I?" replied Raleigh, "An eagle am I, that never will think of dull earth, while there is a heaven to soar in, and a sun to gaze upon."-Or they may compare the poetry of Swift with that of Milton ; the metaphysical writings of Dr Reid with those of Dr Thomas Brown ; the poetry of Crabbe with that of Byron ; or Dean Swift's prose with that of Dr Chalmers.

It was this faculty, " by whose aid" Shakspeare imagined the characters of Ariel said Prospero. Prosperous concluding speech in The Tempest, is a beautiful specimen of the style of writing which it produces.

" I have bedimmed

The noon-tide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds
And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault
Set roaring war ; to the dread rattling thunder
Have I giv'n fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt ; the strong based promontory
Have I made shake, and by the spurs pluckt up
The pine and cedar : graves at my command
Have wak'd their sleepers ; op'd and let them forth
By my so potent art. But this rough magic


I here abjure : and when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for; I'll break my staff;
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth ;
And, deeper than did ever plummet sound, I'll drown my book."-Act v. Sc, 6.

Individuals differ exceedingly with respect to the degree in which they possess this organ. According to the energy and activity of it, poetry is prized or relished. I have met with persons who declared that they could perceive no excellence in poetical compositions, and could derive no gratifications from them ; and yet they were endowed with every degree of understanding and penetration, according as they possessed the other faculties strongly or weakly, and were not uniformly deficient either in moral sentiment or in judgment, in proportion to their want of poetic fire. An amusing case of its deficiency is recorded in The Phrenological Journal, viii. 411.

This faculty gives a particular tinge to all the other faculties. It makes them, in every thing, aspire to exquisite-ness. A cast of the human head is a plain transcript of nature ; a bust is nature, elevated and adorned by the Ideality of a Canova, a Chantrey, or a Macdonald. Add a large development of this organ to the propensities, sentiments, and reflecting powers, and it will expand the field of their interest ; carry them outwards, and forwards, and upwards ; and cause them to delight in schemes of improvement. In common life, we easily distinguish those who have, from those who have not, a considerable endowment of it. The former speak, in general, in an elevated strain of language, and, when animated, shew a splendour of eloquence and of poetical feeling, which the latter are never able to command. It gives to conversation a fascinating sprightliness and buoyancy, the very opposite of the qualities expressed by the epithets dryness and dulness.

Some sects in religion, and, among others, that most re-


spectable body, The Society of Friends, declaim against ornament in dress, furniture, and other modes of life ; they renounce these as vanity, while they hold up the solid and the useful as alone worthy of rational and immortal beings. This is the natural feeling of persons in whom Benevolence, Conscientiousness, and Veneration are large, and Ideality very deficient ; and perhaps the original propounders of these notions possessed such a combination : but this is not the language of universal human nature, nor of physical nature either. Where Ideality exists to a considerable extent, there is an innate desire for the beautiful, and an instinctive love and admiration of it ; and so far from the arrangements of the Creator in the material world being in opposition to it, he has scattered, in the most profuse abundance, objects calculated, in the highest degree, to excite and gratify the feeling. What are the flowers that deck the fields, combining perfect elegance of form with the most exquisite loveliness, delicacy, and harmony of tint, but objects addressed purely to Ideality, and the subordinate faculties of Colouring and Form? They enjoy not their beauty themselves, and afford neither food, raiment, nor protection to the corporeal frame of man ; and on this account, some persons have been led to view them as merely nature's vanities and shows, possessed of neither dignity nor utility. But the individual in whom Ideality is large, will in rapture say, that these objects, and the lofty mountain, the deep glen, the roaring cataract, and all the varied loveliness of hill and dale, fountain and fresh shade, afford to him the banquet of the mind ; that they pour into his soul a stream of pleasure so intense, and yet so pure and elevated, that, in comparison with it, all the gratifications of sense and animal propensity sink into insipidity and insignificance. In short, to the phrenologist, the existence of this faculty in the mind, and of external objects fitted to gratify it, is one among numberless instances of the boundless beneficence of the Creator towards man ; for it is a faculty purely of enjoyment-one whose sole use is to refine, and exalt, and extend the range of our other powers, to confer on us


higher susceptibilities of improvement, and a keener relish for all that is great and glorious in the universe.

In conformity with this view, the organ is found to be deficient in barbarous and rude tribes of mankind, and large in the nations which have made the highest advances in civilization. It is small in atrocious criminals ; and I have observed, that persons born in the lower walks of life, whose talents and industry have raised them to wealth, are susceptible of refinement in their manners, habits, and sentiments, in proportion to the development of this organ, and that of Love of Approbation. "When it is small, their primitive condition is apt to stick to them through life ; when large, they make rapid advances, and improve by every opportunity of intercourse with their superiors.

This faculty, acting in combination with the intellectual powers and Constructiveness, gives a taste for painting, sculpture, architecture, and all the ornamental arts.

Ideality is one element in correct taste. Great Love of Approbation may give a passion for finery ; but if Ideality be deficient, intended ornaments, through want of skill in their selection and arrangement, may produce an unpleasing effect. If, on the other hand, we enter a house in which exquisite taste reigns in every object ; in which each particular ornament is made subservient to the general effect, and the impression from the whole is that of a refined and pleasing elegance ; we may be certain of finding Love of Approbation combined with large Ideality in one or both of the possessors. Indeed, where the degree of wealth is equal in different persons, we might almost guess at the extent of these two faculties, by the different degrees of splendour in their domestic establishment; and in cases where homeliness is the prevailing feature, while affluence is enjoyed, we may predicate a very moderate development of Ideality. I have frequently observed, in persons who, from an humble origin have become rich by commerce, an intense passion for domestic splendour ; and, without a single exception, I have remarked Love of Approbation and Ideality largely developed in their heads.


The figures represent the organ large in Chaucer, and deficient in Locke.

chaucer. locke.

The relish for poetry and the fine arts is generally in proportion to the development of Ideality. Temperament, however, modifies the effects of this as well as of all the other organs. The nervous temperament, being most favourable -to refinement and susceptibility, greatly enhances the practical effects of this faculty. The tone of voice suitable to tragedy, is elevated and majestic, and Ideality is essential to enable the performer to feel and express the greatness of the personages whom he represents. In some individuals the front part of this organ is most developed, in others the back part ; and from a few cases which I have observed, there is reason to believe that the latter is a separate organ. The back part is left without a number on the bust, and a mark of interrogation is inscribed on it, to denote that the function is a subject of inquiry. The back part touches Cautiousness ; and it seems probable that excitement of this organ, in a moderate degree, is an ingredient in the emotion of the sublime. The roar of thunder, or of a cataract-the beetling cliff suspended high in air, and threatening to cause ruin by its fall-impress the mind with


feelings of terror ; and it is only such objects that produce the sentiment of sublimity. It would be interesting to take two individuals with equal Ideality, but the one possessed of much and the other of little Cautiousness, to the vale of Glencoe, the pass of Borrowdale, the cave of Stafla, or some other scene in which the elements of the sublime predominate, and to mark their different emotions. I suspect that the large Cautiousness would give the more profound and intense emotions of sublimity. Since the last edition of this work, containing the foregoing remarks, was printed, however, I have met with a gentleman in whom Veneration, Wonder, and this unascertained organ, were all large, Ideality was moderate, and Cautiousness deficient ; and he assured me that he had always been vividly alive to the sublime, and when a boy, had, at considerable peril, frequented scenes where it reigned paramount. It is difficult to determine to what extent his emotions of the sublime were referable to Wonder, and to what extent to the organ in question ; but his case seems to indicate that fear is not a necessary element in that emotion. This is the only example of that combination which I have seen, and one case is not sufficient to determine the point. An ingenious correspondent, in whom the organ is large, conjectures it to produce the " feeling for the past.'1 His letter appeared in The Phrenological Journal, vol. x., p. 671. Mr Hytche (vol. xi. 284,) concurs in this opinion : but in page 412, several cases are stated in favour of the view, that the organ is connected with the sublime. See also vol. xii., p. 355.

Like all other faculties Ideality may be abused. When permitted to take the ascendency over the other powers, and to seek its own gratification to the neglect of the serious duties of life,-or when cultivated to so great an excess as to produce a finical and sickly refinement,-it becomes a source of great evils. It appears to have reached this state of diseased excitement in Rousseau. " The impossibility of finding actual beings (worthy of himself), threw me," says he, " into the regions of fancy ; and seeing that no existing ob-


ject was worthy of my delirium, I nourished it in an ideal world, which my creative imagination soon peopled to my heart's desire. In my continual ecstasies, I drank in torrents of the most delicious sentiments which ever entered the heart of man. Forgetting altogether the human race, I made society for myself of perfect creatures, as celestial by their virtues as their beauties, and of sure, tender, and faithful friends, such as I have never seen here below. I took such delight in gliding along the air with the charming objects with which I surrounded myself, that I passed hours and days without noticing time ; and, losing the recollection of every thing, scarcely had I eaten a morsel, but I burned to escape," and return to this enchanted world. The theory of this condition of mind appears to be, that Rousseau invigorated and refined every faculty in his imaginary personages, till it reached the standard of excellence fitted to please his large Ideality, and then he luxuriated in contemplating the perfection which he had created.

The passion for dress, ornament, and finery, which in some individuals goes beyond all reasonable bounds, and usurps the place of the serious and respectable virtues, results from an abuse of Ideality, Wonder, and Love of Approbation, and is generally accompanied by a deficient development of the organs of Conscientiousness and Reflection.

In an hospital, Dr Gall found this organ considerably developed in a man who was insane ; and remarked to the physicians who accompanied him, that he observed the external sign which indicated a talent for poetry. The patient, in point of fact, possessed this talent ; for in his state of alienation, he continually composed verses, which sometimes were not deficient in point and vigour. He belonged to the lowest class, and had received no education. In the collection of M. Esquirol, Dr Gall saw a mask of an insane person, who also was habitually occupied in versifying ; and in it the organ in question is considerably larger than any of the others. Dr Willis mentions a patient of his, who, during his paroxysms of insanity, which were anxiously expected, was con-


scious of the most delightful and elevated emotions, and wrote poetry and prose with equal facility. This state of feeling always disappeared when the fit went off.

' The sentiment of Ideality corresponds in some degree to that of " Taste," admitted by Mr Stewart ; only he regards taste as one of the powers acquired " by habits of study or of business."

Mr Stewart has written an Essay on Beauty, in which he arrives at the conclusion, that this word does not denote one single and simple emotion, but that external objects are said to be beautiful in a variety of instances in which they excite agreeable feelings, although the kinds of emotion which they call forth are very different. Thus, it is correct speech to call a mathematical theorem beautiful, a rose beautiful, and a lovely woman beautiful ; yet the qualities of these three objects, and the kinds of emotion which they excite, are so different, that they have no common property, except that of the feeling excited by all of them being agreeable.

Mr Stewart appears to be correct in this observation, and it is valuable, in so far as it directs our attention to the vagueness of the word beauty ; but it throws no light on the theory of the beautiful itself. Phrenology, however, enables us to supply Mr Stewart's deficiency in this respect. Every faculty is gratified with contemplating the objects to which it is naturally related. A grand and solemn hymn pleases the faculty of Veneration, and is, on account of raising this delight, pronounced to be beautiful. A symmetrical figure gratifies the faculty of Form, and, on account of the pleasure it produces, is also termed beautiful. A closely logical discourse delights Causality and Comparison, and on this account is in like manner said to be beautiful. Hence, the inventors of language, little prone to nice and metaphysical distinctions, framed the word beauty, to express only the general emotion of pleasure, of a calm and refined nature, arising in the mind on contemplating outward objects of various kinds ; and in this sense a person may be alive to beauty, who enjoys a very imperfect endowment of Ideality.



But the function of this faculty is to produce a peculiarly exquisite and intense emotion of pleasure, on surveying certain qualities in external objects ; and it surpasses so vastly in strength and sublimity the perceptions of beauty communicated by the other faculties, that it may itself be regarded as the fountain of this delightful emotion, and be styled the Faculty of the emotion of Beauty. "When active from internal causes it desires beauty, splendour, grandeur, and perfection, for its gratification, and prompts the other faculties to seek out and produce objects invested with these qualities.

Dr Thomas Brown1 treats of the sentiment of beauty as-an original emotion of the mind ; and his doctrine might, with the change of names, almost be adopted by a phrenologist in speaking of Ideality. According to our doctrine, the knowing faculties perceive objects as they exist-such as-a landscape, a statue, or a Grecian temple ; and the faculty of Ideality, excited by their features, glows with a delightful and elevated emotion ; and to the qualities in the external objects which kindle this lively sentiment of pleasure, we ascribe the attribute of beauty. Beauty, therefore, though appreciated in the first instance by the perceptive faculties,-is enjoyed as a strong emotion, only when these act in conjunction with Ideality. If the intellect act alone, Ideality remaining quiescent, the feeling of beauty experienced will be less vivid. Hence, although many objects in external nature may appear, to a person deficient in Ideality, to be invested with certain pleasing attributes of form, proportion, and colouring, yet he will never thrill with that sublime emotion, or that ecstatic delight, which prompts the beholder to exclaim that the object contemplated is exquisitely beautiful. Dr Thomas Brown, in accordance with this doctrine, says-" You are now in no danger of confounding that view of beauty, which regards it as an emotion, dependent on the existence of certain previous per-

1 Vol. iii. p. 134-5.

H h


ceptions or conceptions, which may induce it, but may also, by the operation of the common laws of suggestion, induce, at other times, in like manner, other states of mind, exclusive of the emotion,-with the very different doctrine, that regards beauty as the object of a peculiar internal sense, which might therefore, from the analogy conveyed in that name, be supposed to be as uniform in its feelings, as our other senses, on the presence of their particular objects, are uniform, or nearly uniform, in the intimations afforded by them. Such a sense of beauty," says he, " as a fixed regular object, we assuredly have not ; but it does not follow, that we are without such an original susceptibility of a mere emotion, that is not, like sensation, the direct and uniform effect of the presence of its objects, but may vary in the occasions on which it rises, like our other emotions ; love, for example, or hate, or astonishment, which various circumstances may produce, or various other circumstances may prevent from arising."

If Dr Brown had added to his theory the statement, that some individuals possess from nature a great susceptibility of experiencing the emotion of beauty, while others appear almost insensible to it (as is the case also with the emotions of love, hate, and astonishment, which he mentions),-and that this constitutional difference depends, caeteris paribus, on the size of a particular organ in the brain,-he would have rendered his explanation of the phenomenon nearly complete.

The question has been much agitated, What constitutes poetry? The answer afforded by Phrenology is, that the elements of poetry are all the feelings and perceptions of the human faculties, embued with the quality of Ideality. Ideality itself is a primitive emotion, which may be described but cannot be defined. It harmonizes, and may therefore blend, with every emotion and conception, the character of which is not in opposition to its own. As it is the feeling of the beautiful, it naturally combines with the highest and


best manifestations of the other faculties, and stands opposed to all imperfection.

By communicating the desire of perfection, Ideality erects a high standard in the mind, by which to compare actual attainments. Viewed in this light, it appears to be an important element in the mental constitution of man, as a progressive being. To the lower animals, which cannot pass beyond their primitive condition, a desire of arriving at a more perfect state would have been a source of pain ; whereas to man, with an undefined scope of improvement before him, no feeling could be more useful and delightful. When regulated by reason, the perfection which it aims at is not that which belongs to God or to superior beings ; but that which results from the best action of all the faculties of man as a being of limited power.

Lord Jeffrey's article on Beauty, in the Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica- appears to me to proceed on a misconception of the theory of Dr Brown, and to be unsound and inconsistent with human nature. His Lordship conceives that all " emotions of beauty and sublimity must have for their objects the sufferings or enjoyments of sentient being ;" and he rejects, " as intrinsically absurd and incredible, the supposition, that material objects which obviously do neither hurt nor delight the body, should yet excite, by their mere physical qualities, the very powerful emotions which are sometimes excited by the spectacle of beauty." Accordingly he lays it down as doctrine, that the pleasure we enjoy in contemplating a Highland landscape, arises from associating, with the wilds which we gaze upon, ideas of the rude sons of the mist and the mountain who inhabit them ; from our conjuring up, while we look upon their scenes, recollections of their loves, their hates, their strifes, their shouts of victory, and their lamentations over the dead ; and from our ascribing the delight occasioned by these emotions to the external objects themselves, as their cause, and conceiving them to possess the quality of beauty, when in truth they

1 Page 181.


are only the occasions which excite these other emotions in our minds. In the bust of Lord Jeffrey, Ideality is not the most prominent feature ; but the organs of Eventuality, Comparison, and Causality are large : and this combination would produce precisely such a state of mind, on surveying a mountain-pass, as that which he here de scribes. Ideality not being very energetic, the emotions of sublimity and grandeur would be only secondary in power ; whereas Eventuality, Comparison, and Causality, being more vigorous, and in ceaseless activity, would suggest a thousand incidents, and their relations, connected with the scene. This state of mind, however, would be peculiar to persons possessing this combination.

To put this theory to the test of experiment, I accompanied a French gentleman to the Trosachs, and marked his emotions as he stood on the gorge of the pass leading towards Loch Katrine. He was comparatively a stranger to the manners, customs, and history of Scotland ; although, at the same time, from acquaintance with English literature, he had some few ideas concerning the inhabitants of the mountains, which he might have associated with the rocks which he beheld. He possessed considerable Ideality, and a cultivated understanding. When the scene burst upon him in the full effulgence of its glory, he stood in mute astonishment and delight, until I asked him what ideas were passing in his mind. His answer was, " Mon Dieu, je sens, et je ne pense pas." I explained to him the motive of the question, and he declared that he experienced only feelings of the most intense and elevating description ; that every nerve thrilled with pleasure, and that he thought of nothing, but resigned himself entirely to these delightful emotions.

On analyzing them, he said that he felt his mind excited to rapture by the richness and exquisite elegance of the trees and shrubs with which the mountains were clothed ; that his soul was awed into sublimity, by the stupendous and broken cliffs which towered in magnificence to the clouds ; and that even the chill of fear crept silently along his nerves, as the


projecting precipices were, perceived threatening to fall, and to cut off communication with the world around : and again he declared, that he thought not, and cared not who inhabited the wilds, until the force of the first and most exquisite emotion was spent ; after which his mind began to be occupied with ideas of collateral objects, or coolly to think ;-and that then the emotion diminished rapidly in intensity, till at last it ceased entirely to exist.

On another occasion I accompanied a gentleman, also of education and a cultivated understanding, but with little Ideality, to the same spot. He looked calmly around, and exclaimed,-" Pretty trees these ! High hills ! Terrible uproar of elements been here ! Difficult pass for the Highlanders !" &c. ; but he exhibited no emotion, and no deep-toned sentiment of the beautiful and sublime, like the other.

The former of these instances shewed, that the supposition " that material objects, which obviously do neither hurt nor delight the body, should yet excite, by their mere physical qualities, the very powerful emotions which are sometimes excited by the spectacle of beauty,'1 is not quite so " intrinsically absurd and incredible" as Lord Jeffrey imagines ; while the second instance indicated that Ideality is truly the faculty which feels the beautiful and the sublime, and that, where it is not powerful, the most magnificent scenes may be regarded with pleasure, but with no intense emotions of beauty.

In composition, this faculty imparts splendour and elevation to the style, and it manifests itself in prose as well as in poetry. The style of Lord Bacon is remarkably imbued with the splendour of Ideality, sometimes to excess, while that of Locke is as decidedly plain ; and the portraits of both shew that their heads corresponded with these different manifestations. Hazlitt's head indicated a large development of Ideality, and the faculty glows in his compositions. It was the sustaining power which gave effect to his productions ; for he was eminent for neither sound principles, correct observations, nor extensive knowledge. He


seems to have relied chiefly on his imagination and language for success ; and his works are already sinking into the shades of oblivion. In Lord Jeffrey's head, as it appears in the bust, Ideality does not predominate. The report was current at the time, that the review of Lord Byron's Tragedies, which appeared in No. Ixxii. of the Edinburgh Review (February 1822), was the joint production of these two celebrated authors ; and keeping in view the fact that Mr Hazlitt's Ideality is larger than Lord Jeffrey's, it would not be difficult, by a careful analysis of the article, to assign to each the sentences which he wrote. Lord Jeffrey's predominating intellectual organs are Eventuality, which treasures up simple incidents or events ; Comparison, which glances at their analogies and relations ; and Causality, which gives depth and logical consistency to the whole. Hazlitt, on the other hand, possessed a large Comparison, respectable Causality, with a decidedly large Ideality, elevating and adorning his intellectual conceptions. Proceeding on these views, I should attribute the following sentence to Lord Jeffrey's pen, as characteristic of his manner. Speaking of the qualities of Shakspeare's writings, the reviewer says : " Though time may have hallowed many things that were at first but common, and accidental associations imparted a charm to much that was in itself indifferent, we cannot but believe that there was an original sanctity which time only matured and extended, and an inherent charm from which the association derived all its power. And when we look candidly and calmly to the works of our early dramatists, it is impossible, we think, to dispute, that, after criticism has done its worst on them ; after all deductions for impossible plots and fantastical characters, unaccountable forms of speech, and occasional extravagance, indelicacy, and horrors ; there is a facility and richness about them, both of thought and of diction ; a force of invention, and a depth of sagacity ; an originality of conception, and a play of fancy ; a nakedness and energy of passion, and, above all, a copiousness of imagery, and a


sweetness and flexibility of verse, which is altogether unrivalled in earlier or in later times ; and places them, in our estimation, in the very highest and foremost place among ancient or modern poets."* In this passage, we have the minuteness of enumeration of Eventuality, the discrimination of Comparison and Causality, and the good taste of a fair, but none of the elevation, ornament, and intensity, of a large, Ideality. In another part of the same review,2 we find the following sentences : In Byron, " there are some sweet lines, and many of great weight and energy ; but the general march of the verse is cumbrous and unmusical. His lines do not vibrate like polished lances, at once strong and light, in the hands of his persons, but are wielded like clumsy batons in a bloodless affray... He has too little sympathy with the ordinary feelings and frailties of humanity, to succeed well in their representation. ' His soul is like a star, and dwells apart.' It does not ' hold the mirror up to nature,' nor catch the hues of surrounding objects ; but, like a kindled furnace, throws out its intense glare and gloomy grandeur on the narrow scene which it irradiates." Here we perceive the glow of Ideality ; the simplicity of the former style is gone, and the diction has become elevated, figurative, and ornamental. I am not informed regarding the particular sentences which each of the above-named gentlemen wrote in this review ; but these extracts will serve as brief examples of the differences produced on the style, when Ideality sheds few or many beams on the pen of the author ; and I regard the probabilities as very strong, that the passages are assigned to their actual sources. The organ is regarded as ascertained.

1 P. 416-17. '2 P. 420.


Sentiment of the Beautiful in the Fine Arts.

Dr Vimont makes the following observations on a new .organ which he says that he has discovered, and which gives the sense of the beautiful in the fine arts.

" I have been led,"" says he, " to the discovery of this faculty, in studying carefully the difference which exists between certain persons, when they pronounce a judgment on the productions of art or science. . . . Is the sense of the beautiful, or taste (faculties which appear to me to be identical) arbitrary, as some imagine, or the consequence of the progress of art and science, as others maintain ; or is it, as I am disposed to believe, a sentiment natural to man, inherent in his organization, which external circumstances may, develope, but which they cannot create? .... I do not think that the sense of the beautiful, or taste, should be ascribed to the poetical talent : Some great poets and painters, and some celebrated sculptors, are occasionally deficient in taste in their compositions. A few examples will shew still more strikingly the truth of this assertion. The productions .of literary men and poets, like those of artists, may present, together or separately, three well marked objects of contemplation, the successful combination of which constitutes a perfect production : 1. The materials; 2. The disposition or arrangement of the materials ; and, 3. Invention.

" The first results from the action of several of the perceptive powers and of the constructive faculty. The arrangement or disposition of the materials, appears to me to belong to the sentiment of the beautiful, or of taste ; finally, invention springs from a powerful development of all the reflecting faculties, often joined to the poetic talent. A great number of painters possess the faculties of the first and second order ; I should say that their productions are well executed, and shew good taste, but have no portion of the


third quality, which characterizes the man of genius. . . . Among the poetical productions of the ancients, those of Virgil appear to me to be superior to those of Homer in point of taste, although inferior in genius and strength. The pure, the correct, the beautiful Racine yields, undoubtedly, to Corneille in energy and elevation of expression. Shakspeare, whose poetic genius no one will deny, sins often against taste, even in his best compositions. How great a difference, also, is there in the sentiment of the beautiful, between Michael Angelo and Raphael. It is boldness and breadth of conception which astonish us in the first, while there is often a want of that correctness in the design and of that felicity of expression which captivate the spectator ; while the compositions of Raphael are distinguished equally by invention and by the exquisite taste and beauty which they exhibit.

" The Athenians among the ancients, and the French among the moderns, appear to me to be endowed with the sense of the beautiful in a high degree ; while it is much less developed in the Germans and English.

" The seat of the organ of the sentiment of the beautiful in art appears to me to be in the superior, lateral, and external portion of the frontal bone. Gall and Spurzheim confound it with the organ of Constructiveness ; especially when they say that sometimes the latter organ lies a little higher than usual. I hold it as demonstrated, that there are two organs on the lateral external part of the frontal bone, the lower, that of Constructiveness ; the upper, that of the sentiment now described ; which I consider myself to have discovered."

I have not been able to verify this organ. Taste in the arts appears to me to depend on a fine temperament and a harmonious combination of the organs which give a talent for art with those of the moral and intellectual faculties. See the section on Taste in Volume II. of this work.

Dr Cargill, without knowing of Dr Vimont's views, has

490 wit.

suggested the idea that Wit is the organ necessary to give completeness to the creations of art.l

1 Phrenological Journal, vol. xii. p. 194.

Vol. 1: [front matter], Intro, Nervous system, Principles of Phrenology, Anatomy of the brain 1.Amativeness 2.Philoprogenitiveness 3.Concentrativeness 4.Adhesiveness 5.Combativeness 6.Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, Love of Life 7.Secretiveness 8.Acquisitiveness 9.Constructiveness 10.Self-Esteem 11.Love of Approbation 12.Cautiousness 13.Benevolence 14.Veneration 15.Firmness 16.Conscientiousness 17.Hope 18.Wonder 19.Ideality 20.Wit or Mirthfulness 21.Imitation.
Vol. 2: [front matter], external senses, 22.Individuality 23.Form 24.Size 25.Weight 26.Colouring 27.Locality 28.Number 29.Order 30.Eventuality 31.Time 32.Tune 33.Language 34.Comparison, General observations on the Perceptive Faculties, 35.Causality, Modes of actions of the faculties, National character & development of brain, On the importance of including development of brain as an element in statistical inquiries, Into the manifestations of the animal, moral, and intellectual faculties of man, Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Crime, Comparative phrenology, Mesmeric phrenology, Objections to phrenology considered, Materialism, Effects of injuries of the brain, Conclusion, Appendices: No. I, II, III, IV, V, [Index], [Works of Combe].

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