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 genus of faculties embraces certain feelings which correspond to the "emotions" of the metaphysicians. They differ from intellectual perceptions, in being accompanied with a peculiar vividness, which every one understands, but which it is impossible to express by any verbal definition.1 They may be excited by the presentment of the external objects naturally related to them, as danger is to fear, and august appearance to reverence ;-or by the spontaneous activity of the organs. Dr Spurzheim has named these faculties Sentiments, because they produce an emotion or feeling of a certain kind, joined with a propensity to act ; but, as shewn in the Appendix No. II., the detail of his classification is here by no means accurate. Several of them are common to man and the lower animals ; others are peculiar to man. The former, styled the Inferior or Lower Sentiments, shall be first treated of.

1 Lectures by Dr Thomas Brown. Lecture 52.

( 341 )

1. Sentiments common to Man and the lower Animals.


this organ is situated at the back part of the mesial region of the vertex, where the coronal surface begins to decline towards the occiput, and above the posterior or sagittal angle of the parietal bones. Dr Vimont (tome ii. p. 398) considers that Dr Gall has carried its inferior margin rather too low in the head. When it is large, the head rises high upward and backward from the ear, in the direction of it.

Dr Gall gives the following account of the discovery of the organ. A beggar attracted his attention by his extraordinary manners. He reflected on the causes which, independently of an absolutely vicious conformation of brain, or of misfortunes, could reduce a man to mendicity, and believed that he had found one of the chief of them in levity and want of foresight. The form of the head of the beggar in question confirmed him in this opinion. He was young and of an agreeable exterior, and the organ of Cautiousness was very little developed. Dr Gall moulded his head, and, on examining it with attention, remarked, in the upper and


back part of the middle line, a prominence extending from above downwards, which could arise only from development of the cerebral parts there situated. He had not previously observed this prominence in other heads ; and, on this account, he was anxious to discover what it indicated. The head, moreover, was small, and announced neither strong feelings nor much intellect. After many questions, addressed to him with a view to discover the remarkable traits of his character, Dr Gall requested him to relate his history. The beggar said that he was the son of a rich merchant, from whom he had inherited a considerable fortune ; that he had always been so proud as not to be able to condescend to apply to business, either for the preservation of his paternal fortune, or to acquire a new one ; and that this unhappy pride was the only cause of his misery. This, says Dr Gall, " called to my recollection those persons who forbear to cut their nails, with the view of supporting the idea that they never need to work.'3 He made several remarks to the beggar, and shewed him that he doubted his veracity ; but the man always reverted to his pride, and seriously stated, that even now he could not resolve to follow any kind of labour. Although it was difficult to conceive how pride should cause any one to prefer begging to working,1 yet Dr Gall was led by this person's reiterated assurances, to reflect upon the sentiment, and to observe the organ ; and he found, at length, incontrovertible proofs of their connection.

He mentions a variety of cases in illustration, of which I select only the following :-

A young man endowed with faculties above mediocrity, had manifested, from his infancy, insupportable pride. He constantly maintained that he was of too good a family to work, or apply himself to anything. Nothing could free him from this absurdity ; he was even placed for eighteen months

1 From the description given of this individual's head, it is plain that he must have approached to idiocy ; and his beggary seems to have been the result of a general imbecility of mind, accompanied with an inordinate endowment of Self-Esteem,


in a house of correction at Hainar. A physician of Vienna, an otherwise amiable man, carried the feeling of pride to such a height, that every time when called to a consultation, even with practitioners older than himself, or with public professors, he regularly took the precedence, both in entering and coming out of the apartment. When any document was to be subscribed, he insisted on affixing his signature first. He had connected himself with the director of the great hospital, but solely, as he himself told afterwards, for the purpose of supplanting him. At Heidelberg Dr Gall saw a girl of eighteen, of a remarkable character. Every word or gesture in the least familiar revolted her. She called on God on every occasion, as if He took a special interest in her affairs. When she spoke, assurance and presumption were painted in her features ; she carried her head high, and a little backwards, and all the movements of her head expressed pride. She was not capable of submission ; when in a passion she was violent, and disposed to proceed to all extremities. Although the daughter of only a quill-merchant, she spoke her native language with extraordinary purity, and communicated with none but persons of a rank superior to her own. In all these individuals the organ of Self-Esteem was very largely developed. Dr Gall mentions, that he had examined also the heads of a number of chiefs of brigands, remarkable for this quality of mind, and that he had found the organ large in them all.

The faculty inspires with the sentiment of Self-Esteem or Self-love, and a due endowment of it produces only excellent effects. It imparts that degree of satisfaction with self, which leaves the mind open to the enjoyment of the bounties of Providence and the amenities of life ;-it inspires us with that degree of confidence, which enables us, in every situation in which we are placed, to apply our other powers to the best advantage. It also aids in giving dignity in the eyes of others ; and we shall find in society, that that individual is uniformly treated with the most lasting and sincere respect who esteems himself so highly as to contemn every action


unworthy of an exalted mind. By communicating this feeling of self-respect, it frequently and effectually aids the moral sentiments in resisting temptation to vice. Several individuals in whom the organ is large, have stated to me that they have been restrained from forming improper connections, by an overwhelming sense of the degradation which would result from doing so ; and that they believed their better principles might have yielded to temptation, had it not been for the support afforded to them by the instinctive impulses of Self-Esteem.1

When the organ is too small, a predisposition to humility is the result. In such a case, the individual wants confidence, and a due sense of his own importance. He has no reliance upon himself; if the public or his superiors frown, he is unable to pursue even a virtuous course, through diffidence of his own judgment. Inferior talents, combined with a strong endowment of Self-Esteem, are often crowned with far higher success, than more splendid abilities, joined with this sentiment in a feebler degree. Dr Adam Smith, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, remarks, that it is better, upon the whole, to have too much, than too little, of this feeling; because if we pretend to more than we are entitled to, the world will give us credit for at least what we possess ; whereas, if we pretend to less, we shall be taken at our word, and mankind will rarely have the justice to raise us to the true level.

It is only when possessed in an inordinate degree, and indulged without restraint from the higher faculties, that it occasions abuses. In children, it then shews itself in pettish-ness, and a wilful temper. Those children in whom the organ is small, are generally obedient, and easily directed according to the will of others. In later life a great development of the organ, with deficiency of the moral powers, produces arrogance, conceit, pride, egotism, and selfishness. The first thought of persons so endowed is, how the thing

1 See The Phrenological Journal. iii. 85.


proposed will affect themselves ; they see the world and all its interests only through the medium of self. When it is very large, and Love of Approbation small, it prompts the individual to erect himself into a standard of manners and morals. He measures himself by himself, and contemns the opinions of all who differ from him. Men of this character sometimes marry beneath their rank, through sheer Self-Esteem. They cannot risk the mortification of a refusal from a lady of their own grade, and therefore address an inferior. They also set the opinions of society proudly at defiance.

I have seen individuals mistake the impulses of the sentiment under discussion for the inspiration of genius, and utter common-place observations with a solemnity and emphasis suitable only to concentrated wisdom. The musician, under its predominating influence, is sometimes led to embellish a tune with decorations of his own inventing, till its character is changed, and the melody destroyed. In short, when the organ is inordinately large, it communicates to the individual a high sentiment of his own importance, and leads him to believe that whatever he does or says is admirable, because it proceeds from him. It inspires him with magnificent notions of his own respectability, and prompts him, on comparing himself with others, to depreciate them, in order to raise himself in the scale of comparative excellence. It is an essential element in the disposition to censorious-ness and envy. Persons who are fond of discussing the characters of their acquaintances, and feel the tendency to vituperate rather than to praise them, who are vexed when they are elevated, and pleased when they are humbled, will be found to have this organ large. It is the comparison with self, and a secret satisfaction at fancied superiority, that gives pleasure in this practice. Envy is the result of Self-Esteem, offended by the excellencies or superior happiness of others, and calling up Destructiveness to hate them.1 To

1 See Phren. Journ. ix. 413. Jealousy arises from the same combination with the addition of Secretiveness and Cautiousness-Ibid.


make way for this effect, however, Benevolence and Conscientiousness must be deficient. The bitter and envious tone, the sententious reflections, and the ill-concealed self-complacency of backbiters, all indicate an internal adulation of themselves, and a vivid desire of superiority, gratified even by depreciating others. A common form of abuse of the feeling is contempt entertained for other men. The mechanic contemns the domestic servant ; the wholesale merchant contemns the retail dealer ; the nobleman of ancient descent contemns the man who has acquired fortune and honours by his own virtues and talents ; children in hooting and pelting an idiot, gratify Self-Esteem and Destructiveness. The chief source of their pleasure is a vivid sense of their own superiority.

Another effect of a predominating Self-esteem, is to render the individual extremely well satisfied with whatever belongs to himself. An eminent phrenologist sailed as a passenger from the Clyde to a foreign port, in a vessel commanded by a person in whose head the organ was very largely developed, and saw many striking manifestations of it on the voyage. The captain said, that he estimated the vessel very lightly when he first saw her, but after commanding her for some time, he thought her the first ship belonging to the Clyde. This was evidently because she had become his vessel. On his voyage he assumed the most dictatorial airs ; told the passengers he would send them before the mast, that he was sole commander here, and that all must obey ; spoke habitually of himself, and seemed to have an insatiable appetite for power. He possessed little reflection, and was deficient in Conscientiousness.1

When Self-Esteem predominates, it gives an intense feeling of egotism ; there is a proneness to use the emphatic I: " I did this, I said the other thing." The faculty then gives a solemn gravity to the manners, an authoritative commanding tone to the voice, and a kind of oracular turn to the mind, which frequently shews itself in the most ludi-

1 See details in The Phrenological Journal, i. 250.


crous manner. Cobbett's whole life and writings indicate an excessively active Self-Esteem, aided by Combativeness;1 and he maintained, at different times, every variety of opinion that could enter the human imagination, and upon every point of his changeful creed he dogmatized with more than oracular assumption. Madame de Staël describes most graphically another illustrious example of the effects of an inordinate Self-Esteem, even on a powerful mind. Speaking of one of the heroes of the Revolution, she says, that he possessed considerable talents, " mais au lieu de travailler il s'étonnoit de lui-méme?' Some individuals manifest a solemn good-natured patronizing tendency towards others, indicated in discourse by epithets such as " my good sir, " my good fellow," and the like. This arises from Self-Esteem and Benevolence both large.

Self-Esteem enters largely into the composition of that intolerant zeal which is so frequently displayed by professing Christians on behalf of their sectarian views. " There is no grace," says Cowper in one of his Letters, " that the spirit of self can counterfeit with more success than a religious zeal. A man thinks he is fighting for Christ, and he is fighting for his own notions. He thinks that he is skilfully searching the hearts of others, when he is only gratifying the malignity of his own ; and charitably supposes his hearers destitute of all grace, that he may shine the more in his own eyes by comparison. When he has performed this notable task, he wonders that they are not converted : ' he has given it them soundly, and if they do not tremble, and confess that God is in him of a truth, he gives them up as reprobate, incorrigible, and lost for ever.' " On one occasion, I heard a very worthy clergyman utter from the pulpit, the following sentiment. ." When I shall be in heaven, my friends (which I hope to be), how I shall be grieved when I miss some of you there, to whom I have ministered on earth !" It was Self-Esteem and Benevolence which prompted him to use these expressions, and both organs were large in his head,

1 Phrenological Journal, ii, 216,


Under the influence of this faculty, some authors fall unconsciously into the excessive use of pronouns of the first person. The following example is taken from the works of Dugald Stewart, who was familiarly known among his friends by the appellation of " the amiable egotist.'' " When /first ventured to appear before the public as an author," says he, " /resolved that nothing should ever induce me to enter into any controversy in defence of my conclusions, but to leave them to stand or fall by their own evidence. From the plan of inductive investigation which / was conscious of having steadily followed, as far as / was able, / knew that whatever mistakes might be detected in the execution of my design, no such fatal consequences were to be dreaded to my general undertaking, as might have been justly apprehended, had / presented to the world a connected system, founded on gratuitous hypothesis, or on arbitrary definitions. The detections, on the contrary, of my occasional errors, would, /flattered myself, from the invariable consistency and harmony of truth, throw new lights on those inquiries which I had conducted with greater success j as the correction of a trifling misstatement in an authentic history is often found, by completing an imperfect link, or reconciling a seeming contradiction, to dispel the doubts which hung over the more faithful and accurate details of the narrative.,

" In this hope / was fortified by the following sentence of Lord Bacon, which / thought / might apply to myself, without incurring the charge of presumption : ' Nos autem, si qua in re vel male credidimus, vel obdormivimus et minus attendimus vel defecimus in via et inquisitionem abru-pimus, nihilo minus US MODIS RES NUDAS ET APERTAS EX-HIBEMUS, ut errores nostri notari et separari possint ; atque etiam, ut facilis et expedita sit laborum nostrorum conti-nuatio.'

" As this indifference, however, about the fate of my particular doctrines, arose from a deep-rooted conviction, both of the importance of my subject, and of the soundness of my plan, it was impossible for we to be insensible to such cri-


ticisms as were directed against either of these two fundamental assumptions. Some criticisms of this description I had, from the first, anticipated ; and I would not have failed to obviate them in the introduction to my former work, if / had not been afraid to expose myself to the imputation of prolixity, by conjuring up objections for the purpose of refuting them," &c.

Another amusing instance of a similar style of Writing will be found in an account of himself by Flechier, bishop of Nismes, prefixed to an edition of his " Oraisons Funèbres," printed at Paris in 1802. I infer this to arise from a great endowment of Self-Esteem. A portrait of the author last named is prefixed to his work, and a strong expression of Self-Esteem appears depicted on the countenance. The portraits of Gibbon also indicate this expression in a remarkable degree.1 By pointing out these tendencies of the faculty, persons in whom the organ is large will be put upon their guard to avoid such ludicrous modes of its manifestation.

Mr William Scott published, in the first volume of The Phrenological Journal, p. 378, an able exposition of the effects of a large Self-Esteem upon the character, when combined with each of the other faculties greatly developed ; and additional illustrations will be found in vol, ii. pp. 57, 58, 60, 213 ; iv. 495 ; viii. 306, 496, 592 ; ix. 64, 258, 412 ; vol. x. pp. 1,157,160,293,427, 608 ; xiv. p. 108 ; xv. pp. 199, 258, 357, 359, 362. Perhaps there is no faculty of which a weak endowment is so rarely found as of Self-Esteem.

1 A ludicrous example of egotism in an antiphrenological Essay by the Rev. R. W. Hamilton of Leeds, is quoted in The Phrenological Journal (vol. iii. p. 473), where the following remark is made by the editor. " We have heard of an author whose MS. was detained in the press from his printer wanting a sufficient stock of capital I's to set up a single sheet of his work ; but Mr Hamilton, it appears, far surpasses that famed composer. The present article has actually been returned to us, with an intimation, that it is difficult for our printers to find so many Roman capital I's, ME's and MY's as we had marked, and he has solicited to be allowed to use Italics. Our extracts extend to only four pages of Mr Hamilton's pamphlet ; what a store of I's the sheet would have required!"


The feeling of individual personality has been supposed by some phrenologists to arise from this faculty ; and they have been led to this conjecture by the undoubted fact, that the prominence which the first person assumes in the mind, bears a proportion to the size of the organ of Self-Esteem.

Self-Esteem is an ingredient in the love of uniques. The high value attached by some persons to objects which no other person can possess, seems resolvable, to a great extent, into a gratification of this feeling. In possessing the article they enjoy a superiority over the whole world, and the consciousness of this confers on it great value in their estimation. Acquisitiveness is the other element of the taste.

The love of power and dominion owes its origin to Self-Esteem. The organ is large in the busts of Augustus Caesar and of Bonaparte ; and I have observed that the same configuration occurs in those individuals who, in private life, aspire most eagerly to office, and who are most delighted with the possession of a little brief authority. From this faculty producing the love of power, it happens that those who are fondest of exercising dominion themselves, are the most violent opponents of authority when vested in other hands. They are the great advocates for liberty ; but are no sooner placed in possession of power themselves than they abuse it, and become tyrants. In short, when two individuals equally thirst for dominion, and when the one can rule only by the other obeying, it is easy to perceive that the subject will, in such a case, manifest little satisfaction under the yoke, and that his very love of authority will make him the most determined opponent of it in others. Self-Esteem gives rise to the spirit of independence.1

Nations differ with regard to the degrees in which they possess this organ. It is large in the Chinese and Hindoos, and the English have more of it than the French : hence the manner of a genuine Frenchman appears to an Englishman to be fawning and undignified ; while the manner of an Englishman appears to the French cold, haughty, and su-

' See The Phrenological Journal, iii. 224.


percilious. The great Self-Esteem of the English, and their consequent innate aversion to all stretches of power, is probably one important cause of their political liberty. Dr Adam Ferguson has recognised the operation of this sentiment in maintaining their freedom. Alluding to the habeas corpus act, he remarks, that " it requires a fabric no less than the whole political constitution of Great Britain, a spirit no less than the refractory and turbulent zeal of this fortunate people, to secure its effects,"1 Amongst savages, this organ is in general extremely active,2 ignorant persons being usually found to have the highest opinion of themselves.

Self-Esteem, when eminently powerful, and not combined with the higher sentiments equally strong, causes the individual to carry his head high and reclining backwards. It gives a cold and repulsive expression to his manners, and it is particularly offensive to other individuals greatly endowed with the same faculty.

Dr Reid and Mr Stewart treat of this sentiment under the designation of the Desire of Power. Dr Thomas Brown calls it " pride," and defines it as that feeling of vivid pleasure which attends the contemplation of our excellence.3 Dr Brown views the desire of power as a distinct primitive emotion ; but Self-Esteem appears to me to be the fundamental feeling, and the love of power to be only one of the forms of its manifestation. It is quite conceivable, that a private individual, removed from all means of acquiring public authority, may manifest little appetite for dominion over the nation, though Self-Esteem be large ; but he will be found to be proud, and to exercise a sovereign sway over his own household. This results from the same feeling differently directed. I have never seen a man fired with ambition for situations of command, in whom Self-Esteem was defective, or even moderate in size ; so that there appears no adequate

1 History of Civil Society, part iii. sect. 6.

2 See instances, collected by Mr Robert Cox, in The Phrenological Journal, viii. 305. :) Lectures, vol. iii. p. 297.


ground for assuming pride to be one primitive sentiment, and the love of power another and distinct original desire.

In treating of Acquisitiveness, I mentioned that the practical effects of that faculty are much modified by the endowment of Self-Esteem with which it is combined-selfishness being greatly increased by the combination of both in a large degree of development. Acquisitiveness desires to acquire wealth, and Self-Esteem to hold and apply it to selfish gratification. This organ appears to be possessed by the lower animals. The turkey-cock, peacock, horse, Sec. manifest feelings resembling pride or Self-Esteem. " The master-ox," says Lord Kames, " leads the rest into the stable, or into the fold, and becomes unruly if he be not let first out ; nay, he must be first yoked in the plough or waggon."1

Dr Gall, however, entertained views on this subject peculiar to himself. He mentions, that after having studied the sentiment of pride as a primitive mental quality, and its organ in the human race, he wished to ascertain whether his observations would be confirmed by the lower animals. He therefore examined the heads of such of them as we are accustomed to call proud-the race-horse, the cock, and the peacock. He did not find in any of these a remarkable development of the cerebral parts corresponding to the organ of Self-Esteem in man ; but he found a considerable development of these parts in animals in which he would never have thought of looking for it-that is to say, in those which voluntarily remain in the higher regions of the air, living on mountains and other elevated situations ; for example, in the roebuck, the chamois, the wild-goat, and certain species of eagles and falcons : and what struck him most was, that the parts in question were the more developed, in proportion to the greater height of the dwelling-places of the animals. Dr Gall himself was astonished at this observation. That a predilection for physical heights should, in animals, depend on the same organ as that to which the sentiment of Self-Esteem is referrible in man, appeared to him, at first, altogether improbable and inadmissible ; yet, says he, "I. have

1 Sketches, B ii. Sk. 1. 8


laid down the rule to communicate the progress of my observations, as well as the manner in which they have given rise to my opinions. Opinions which have not facts for their basis, if not erroneous, are at least very likely to be so ; and a natural historian ought to be less ashamed of committing an error in his interpretations of facts, than of founding his opinions on reasoning alone.'1 He accordingly enters into some interesting observations on the various dwelling-places of animals ; directing the attention of his readers both to those which inhabit elevated regions, and to others which prefer the lowest situations ; and he states, that, in all animals which have their abodes in high places, there is a lengthened eminence in the middle of the head, immediately above the organ of Philoprogenitiveness, and which entirely resembles the organ of Self-Esteem in man.1

Dr Spurzheim holds that this prominence in the brains of the lower animals corresponds to the organ No. III. in man (named by him Inhabitiveness, and in this work Concentrativeness) ; and, while he admits the accuracy of the facts stated by Dr Gall, he differs from his conclusions, and says, that it is not the same organ which produces in man the sentiment of Self-Esteem, and, in the lower creatures, the love of physical heights ; but that there are distinct organs both in man and the lower animals for these separate mental qualities. It appears to me, that Dr Spurzheim is correct in maintaining that the organ No. III. is distinct from that of Self-Esteem, both in the lower animals and in man ; and the real extent of the difference between him and Dr Gall is this -Dr Spurzheim admits two organs lying between Firmness and Philoprogenitiveness, but Dr Gall only one : Dr Gall considers the whole of the intermediate cerebral parts as the organ in man of Self-Esteem, and, in animals, of the love of physical elevation ; while Dr Spurzheim regards the upper portion of these parts as the organ of Self-Esteem, and the lower portion as the organ of Inhabitiveness, in both cases. Dr Vimont considers that three organs lie between Philo-

1 Sur les Fonctions du Cerveau, tome iv. p. 279.



progenitiveness and Firmness, namely, Concentrativeness, Inhabitiveness, and Self-Esteem, and I am disposed to agree with him. See Concentrativeness, p. 232.

When Self-Esteem becomes excited by disease, the individual imagines himself to be a king, an emperor, a transcendent genius, or even the Supreme Being. Dr Gall mentions the case of a Monsieur B., in whom the organ was very large and who was accidentally wounded by a nail in this part of the brain. While labouring under the influence of the wound, he felt himself as it were elevated above the clouds and carried through the air, retaining, at the same time, and also manifesting during his convalescence, the same proud and haughty manners which had distinguished him during health.

" The organ,'' says Dr G., " was equally conspicuous in an insane patient at Baden, near Rastadt. This man's insanity consisted in believing himself a major. He had a small head, and the only organ which was developed in a high degree was that of Self-Esteem ; the whole other convolutions of the brain being very small. In the charity workhouse of Fribourg, we saw an insane man who was extremely proud-He declared, in a vehement 'and pathetic tone, ' qu'il est la souche' by the aid of which God created and preserves the world ; that he has been crowned by Jesus Christ ; that he is the young man whom the Queen of Heaven has selected for her spouse. His attitude is that of an arrogant despot. Deeply inspired with sentiments of his high importance, he crosses his arms, and, to give an idea of the astonishing power which he possesses, he strikes his breast and sides with violence. In general, he stands with one foot placed before the other, the body erect, and a little inclined backwards. When I requested him," continues Dr Gall, " to allow me to touch his head, he replied, with astonishing arrogance, ' Ich habe keinen Kopf, sondern ein Haupt ;' I have no head such as common men possess, but a Haupt, or head peculiar to kings and gods. He turned away, holding us to be totally unworthy of approaching him. "We observed'


however, distinctly, that he had the organ of Self-Esteem very largely developed."

Pinel, Foderé, and other writers on insanity, mention cases equally characteristic of disease of this organ. " A patient," says Pinel, " confined in a private asylum in Paris, during his fits, believed himself to be the prophet Mahomet, assumed an attitude of command, and the tone of the Most High; ses traits étaient rayonnans, et sa démarche pleine de majesté. One day when cannon were fired in Paris on account of some events of the Revolution, he persuaded himself that it was to render him homage ; he caused silence to be observed around him, and could not restrain his joy.'' " A woman,'1 continues the same author, " extremely imperious, and accustomed to make her husband obey with even more than docility, remained in bed part of the morning, and then insisted that he should come, and on his knees present her with drink. She ended by believing herself, in the ecstasies of her pride, to be the Virgin Mary.'1 I have seen many cases similar to the foregoing, some of which are reported in The Phrenological Journal, vol. vi. p. 80.1

In January 1839, Dr George M'Clellan of Philadelphia took me to see a young man of 21 years of age, a patient of his, whose case was briefly as follows. Nearly three years before, he had received a blow with a stone on the head, in the region of Self-Esteem. He was not stunned by it ; and as only a small swelling of the integuments ensued, he paid little attention to the injury. The swelling, however, continued to increase gradually, until at last it attained the size of about half of a turkey's egg, cut in the oblong direction. Dr Winn Bush now advised him to apply to Dr M'Clellan to have it removed. He did so ; and when this gentleman cut down on it, he found that the skull below it was disorganized, and that only one-half of the substance of the tumour stood above the level of the bone : the other half,

1 See also Dr A. Combe's Observations on Mental Derangement, p. 175.


having depressed the falx and the dura mater, descended downwards, as he at first supposed, into the substance of the brain itself. He made a large incision in the skull, touching the posterior edges of Firmness and Conscientiousness, passing along the middle of Love of Approbation on each side, and along the lower margin of Self-Esteem ; and he removed all the intermediate portion. He extracted the tumour, and saw a deep hollow, as he believed, in the brain. The patient sat upon a chair, and retained consciousness during the whole operation. He manifested great firmness. Dr Winn Bush believed that the organs of Firmness were those corresponding to the hollow. He communicated the case to me, immediately after the operation, as one strikingly at variance with Phrenology. I could offer no explanation, but requested to be allowed to see the patient, as soon as circumstances would permit, that I might judge for myself. A few days afterwards, Dr M'Clellan called and told me that Phrenology was not in so much danger as had been supposed, because the brain, since the operation, had risen up to the level of the skull, and obviously had never suffered any disorganization. It had only been depressed. At the next dressing of the wound, I was present. I then pointed out to these gentlemen, that the tumour had pressed on Self-Esteem and part of Love of Approbation, and only touched the posterior edges of Firmness and Conscientiousness. I saw the brain pulsating, and rising and falling with the respiration. I asked the patient, if any change had taken place in his feelings of Self-Esteem after the accident ; and he answered, No. That organ and also Firmness were both very large in him. His recovery proceeded rapidly, and in about six weeks after this interview, he called for me, in company with Dr M'Clellan, and told me that, when he answered my question in the negative, his mind was weak, and his memory confused ; but that, in point of fact, when in health, he had been remarkably self-willed, confident, and opinionative, so much so that lie left his father's house against his will, and become an actor and ventriloquist in the West. After


the accident, although he felt that he retained all his powers of execution, he became so diffident that he trembled when he went on the stage, and was forced to abandon the pursuit. The question was put to me at the time, how it happened that the pressure exerted on the brain by this tumour did not suspend consciousness entirely, as in cases of depression of the skull without laceration of the integuments. The answer which I ventured to give, was, that in this case the pressure was applied very slowly, so that the circulation of the brain did not suffer any violent shock. It accommodated itself gradually to the circumstances ; whereas, in the other cases alluded to, the injury was inflicted and attained its maximum instantaneously.

This organ is generally larger in men than in women ; and more males are insane through pride than females. The organ is regarded as established. It is large in Haggart, Bellingham, and Dempsey, and moderate in Dr Hette. Dr Spurzheim's Phrenology in Connexion with the Study of Physiognomy, contains many examples of its large development. See PL x. fig. 1 ; xv. 1 ; xvi. 1 ; xvii. 1 ; xxii. 1 : xxv. 2 ; xxvi. 2 ; xxvii. 1 ; xxviii. I and 2 ; xxix. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. The organ is represented small in PL X. fig. 2 ; and XV. 2.

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].

Back to home page

© John van Wyhe 1999-2011. Materials on this website may not be reproduced without permission except for use in teaching or non-published presentations, papers/theses.