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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4

Lecture V. On the Duties of Man as a Domestic Being

Lecture V. On the Duties of Man as a Domestic Being.

Origin of the domestic affections—Marriage, or connection for life between the sexes, is natural to man—Ages at which marriage is proper—Near relations in blood should not marry—Influence of the constitution of the parents on the children—Phrenology, as an index to natural dispositions, may be used as an important guide in forming matrimonial connections—Some means of discovering natural qualities prior to experience, is needed in forming such alliances, because after marriage experience comes too late.

The previous Lectures have been devoted to consideration of the duties incumbent on man as an individual;—those of acquiring knowledge and pre-serving health. My reason for thus limiting his individual duties is, that I consider man essentially as a social being; and that, with the exception of his duties to God, which we shall subsequently consider, he has no duties as an individual, beyond those 1 have mentioned, any more than a particular wheel of a watch has functions independently of performing its part in the general movements of the machine. I mean by this, that although man subsists and acts as an individual, yet that the great majority of his faculties bear reference to other beings as their objects, and shew that his leading sphere of life and action is in society. You could not conceive a bee, with its present instincts and powers of co-operation, to be happy, if it were established in utter loneliness, the sole occupant of an extensive heath or flower-bespangled meadow. In such a situation it might have food in abundance, and scope for such of its faculties as related only to itself; but its social instincts would be deprived of their objects and natural spheres of action. This observation is applicable page 26 also to man. His faculties bear reference to other beings, and shew that Nature has intended him to live and act in society. His duties as a member of the social body, therefore, come next under our consideration: and we shall first treat of his duties as a domestic being.

The domestic character of man is founded in, or arises from, the innate faculties of Amativeness, Philoprogenitiveness and Adhesiveness. These give him desires for a companion of a different sex, for children, and for the society of human beings in general. Marriage results from the combination of these three faculties* with the moral sentiments and intellect, and is thus a natural institution.

Some persons conceive that marriage, or union for life, is an institution only of ecclesiastical or civil law; but this idea is erroneous. Where the organs above enumerated are adequately and equally possessed, and the moral and intellectual faculties pre-dominate, union for life, or marriage, is a natural result. It prevailed among the ancient Greeks and Romans, and exists among the Chinese and many other nations who have not embraced either Judaism or Christianity. Indeed marriage, or living in society for life, is not peculiar to man. The fox, marten, wild cat, mole, eagle, sparrow-hawk, pigeon, swan, nightingale, sparrow, swallow, and other creatures, live united in pairs for life. After the breeding season is past, they remain in union; they make their expeditions together, and if they live in herds, the spouses remain always near each other.

It is true that certain individuals find the marriage tie a restraint, and would prefer that it should be abolished; also that some tribes of savages may be found, among whom it can scarcely be said to exist. But if we examine the heads of such individuals, we shall find that Amativeness greatly predominates in size over Adhesiveness and the Moral Sentiments; and men so constituted do not form the standards by which human nature should be estimated. Viewing marriage as the result of man's constitution, we ascribe to it a divine origin. It is written in our minds; and, like other divine institutions, it is supported by reward and punishment peculiar to itself The reward attached to it, is enjoyment of some of the purest and sweetest pleasures of which our nature is susceptible; and the punishment inflicted for inconstancy in it, is moral and physical degradation.

Among the duties incumbent on the human being in relation to marriage, one is, that the parties to it should not unite before a proper age. The civil law of Scotland allows females to marry at twelve, and males at fourteen; but the law of nature is widely different. The female frame does not, in general, arrive at its full vigour and perfection, in this climate, earlier than twenty-two, nor the male earlier than from twenty-four to twenty-six. Before these ages, maturity of physical strength and of mental vigour is not, in general, attained; and the individuals, with particular exceptions, are neither corporeally nor mentally prepared to become parents, or to discharge, with advantage, the duties of heads of a domestic establishment. Their corporeal frames are not yet sufficiently matured and consolidated: their animal propensities are strong; and their moral and intellectual organs have not yet reached their full development. Children born of such parents are inferior in the size and quality of their brains, to children born of the same parents after they have arrived at maturity; and from this defect, they are inferior in dispositions and capacity. It is a common remark, that the eldest son of a rich family is generally not equal to his younger brothers In mental ability; and this is ascribed to his having relied on his hereditary fortune for subsistence and social rank; and to his consequent neglect of accomplishments and education; but the cause is more deeply seated, in such instances, you will generally find that the parents, or one of them, have married in extreme youth, and that the eldest child inherits the imperfections of their immature condition.

The statement of the evidence and consequences of this law belongs to physiology: here I can only remark, that if nature has prescribed ages previous to which marriage cannot be undertaken with advantage, we are bound to pay deference to its enactments; and that civil and ecclesiastical laws, when standing in opposition to them, are not only absurd but mischievous. Conscience is misled by these erroneous human statutes; for a girl of fifteen has no idea that she sins, if her marriage be authorized by the law and the church. In spite, however, of the sanction of acts of Parliament, and of clerical benedictions, the Creator punishes severely if his laws be infringed. His punishments assume the following, among other forms:

The parties, being young, ignorant, inexperienced, and actuated chiefly by passion, often make unfortunate selections of partners, and entail lasting unhappiness on each other;

They transmit imperfect constitutions and inferior dispositions to their earliest born children: And

They often involve themselves in pecuniary difficulties, in consequence of a sufficient provision not having been made before marriage, to meet the expenses of a family.

These punishments indicate that a law of nature has been violated; in other words, that marriage at too early an age is forbidden by the Author of our being.

There should not be a great disparity between the ages of the husband, and wife. There is a physical, and mental mode of being natural to each age;: whence persons whose organs correspond in their condition, sympathize in their feelings, judgments and pursuits, and form suitable companions for each other. When the ages are widely different, not only is this sympathy wanting, but the offspring also is injured. In such instances it is generally the husband who transgresses; old men are fond of marrying young women. The children of such unions often suffer grievously from the disparity. The late Dr. Robert Macnish, in a letter addressed to me, gives the following illustration of this remark. "I know says he, "an old gentleman, who has been twice married. The children of his first marriage are strong, active, healthy people, and their children are; the same. The offspring of his second marriage are very inferior, especially in an intellectual point off view; and the younger the children are, the more rff this obvious. The girls are superior to the boys, both physically and intellectually, Indeed, their mother told me that she had great difficulty in rearing her sons, but none with her daughters. The gentleman himself, at the time of his second marriage, was upwards of sixty, and his wife about twenty-five. This shews very clearly that the boys have taken chiefly off the father and the daughters off the mother."

Another natural law in regard to marriage is, that the parties should not be related to each other in blood. This law holds good in the transmission of all organized beings. Even vegetables are deteriorated, if the same stock be repeatedly planted in the same ground. In the case of the lower animals, a continued disregard of this law is almost universally admitted to be detrimental, and human nature affords no exception to the rule. It is written in our organization, and the consequences of its infringement may

* Dr Vimont says that there is special organ next to Philoprogenitiveness giving a desir for union for life.

Gall on the Functions of the Brain, vol. iii., p. 482.

page 27 be discovered in the degeneracy, physical and mental, of many noble and royal families, who have long and systematically set it at defiance. Kings of Portugal and Spain, for instance, occasionally apply to the Pope for permission to marry their nieces. The Pope grants the dispensation; the marriage is celebrated with all the solemnities of religion, and the blessing of heaven is invoked on the union. The real power of his Holiness, however, is here put to the test. He is successful in delivering the king from the censures of the church, and the offspring of the marriage from the civil consequences of illegitimacy: but Nature yields not one jot or tittle of her law. The union is either, altogether unfruitful, or children miserably constituted in body, and imbecile in mind, are produced; and this is the form in which the Divine displeasure is announced. The Creator, however, is not recognised by his Holiness, nor by priests in general, nor by ignorant kings, as governing, by fixed laws, in the organic world. They proceed as if their own power were supreme. Even when they have tasted the bitter consequences of their folly, they are far from recognising the cause of their sufferings. With much self-complacency, they resign themselves to the event, and seek consolation in religion. "The Lord giveth, "say they, "and the Lord take the way; blessed be the name of the Lord;" as if the Lord did not give men understanding, and impose on them the obligation of using it to discover His laws and obey them; and as if there were no impiety in shutting their eyes against His laws, in acting in opposition to them, or, when they are undergoing the punishment of such transgressions, in appealing to him for consolation !

It is curious to observe the inconsistency of the enactments of legislators on this subject. According to the Levitical law, which we in this country have adopted, "marriage is prohibited between relations within three degrees of kindred, computing the generations through the common ancestor, and accounting affinity the same as consanguinity. Among the Athenians, brothers and sisters of the half-blood, if related by the father's side, might marry; if by the mother's side, they were prohibited from marrying.

"The same custom." says Paley, "probably prevailed in Chaldea, for Sarah was Abraham's half-sister. 4 She is the daughter of my father,' says Abraham, ' but not of my mother; and she became my wife.' Gen. xx. 12. The Roman law continued the prohibition without limits to the descendants of brothers or sisters."*

Here we observe Athenian, Chaldean, and Roman legislators prohibiting or permitting certain acts, apparently according to the degree of light which had penetrated into their own understandings concerning their natural consequences. The real Divine law is written in the structure and modes of action of our bodily and mental constitutions, and it prohibits the marriage of all blood-relations, diminishing the punishment, however, according as the remoteness from the common ancestor increases, but allowing marriages among relations by affinity, without any prohibition whatever. According to the law of Scotland, a man may marry his cousin-german, or his great niece, both of which connections the law of Nature declares to be inexpedient: but he may not marry his deceased wife's sister, against which connection Nature declares no penalty whatever, He might have married either sister at first without impropriety, and there is no reason in nature, why he may not marry them in succession, the one after the other has died. There may be other reasons of expediency for prohibiting this connection but the organic laws do not condemn it.

In Scotland, the practice of full cousins marrying is not uncommon, and you will meet with examples of healthy families born of such unions; and from these an argument is maintained against .he existence of the natural law which we are now considering. But it is only when the parents have both had excellent constitutions that the children do not attract attention by their imperfections. The first alliance against the natural laws brings down the tone of the organs and functions, say one degree; the second two degrees, and the third three; and perseverance in transgression ends in glaring imperfections, or in extinction of the race. This is undeniable; and it proves the reality of the law. The children of healthy cousins are not so favourably organized as the children of the same parents, if married to equally healthy partners, not all related in blood, would have been. If the cousins have themselves inherited indifferent constitutions, the degeneracy is striking even in their children. Besides, I have seen the children of cousins continue healthy till the age of puberty, and then suffer from marked imperfections of constitution. Their good health in childhood was looked on by the parents as a proof that they had not in their union infringed any natural law, but the subsequent events proved a painful retribution for their conduct. We may err in interpreting Nature's laws; but if we do discover them in their full import and consequences, we never find exceptions to them.

Another natural law relative to marriage is, that the parties should possess sound constitutions. "The punishment for neglecting this law is, that the transgressors suffer pain and misery in their own persons, from bad health, perhaps become disagreeable companions to each other, feel themselves unfit to discharge the duties of their condition, and transmit feeble constitutions to their children. They are also exposed to premature death; and hence their children are liable to all the melancholy consequences of being left unprotected and unguided by parental experience and affection, at a time when these are most needed. The natural law is, that a weak and imperfectly, organized frame transmits one of a similar description to offspring; and, the children inheriting weakness, are prone to fall into disease and die. indeed, the transmission of various diseases, founded in physical imperfections, from parents to children, is a matter of universal notoriety; thus, consumption, gout, scrofula, hydrocephalus, rheumatism, and insanity, are well known to descend from generation to generation. Strictly speaking, it is not disease which is transmitted, but organs of such imperfect structure that they are incapable of adequately performing their functions, and so weak that they are drawn into a morbid condition by causes which sound organs could easily resist.

This subject also belongs to physiology. I have treated of it in the Constitution of Man, and it is largely expounded by Dr. A. Combe, in his works on Physiology and the Management of Infancy, and by many other authors. I trouble you only with the following illustrations, which were transmitted to me by Dr. Macnish, who was induced to communicate them by a perusal of the Constitution of Man. "If your work, "says he, "has no other effect than that of turning attention to the laws which regulate marriage and transmission of qualities, it will have done a vast service; for on no point are such grievous errors committed. I often see in my own practice, the most lamentable consequences resulting from, neglect of these laws. There are certain families which I attend, where the constitutions of both parents are bad, and where, when any thing happens to the children, it is almost impossible to cure them. An inflamed gland, a common cold,

* Paley's Moral Philosophy, p. 228.

page 28 hangs about them for months, and almost defies removal. In other families, where the parents are strong and healthy, the children are easily cured of almost any complaint. I know a gentleman, aged about fifty, the only survivor of a family of six sons and three daughters, all of whom, with the exception of himself, died young, of pulmonary consumption. He is a little man, with a narrow chest, and married a lady of a delicate constitution, and bad lungs. She is a tall, spare woman, with a chest still more deficient than his own. They have had a large family, all of whom die off regularly as they reach manhood and womanhood, in consequence of affections of the lungs. In the year 1833, two sons and a daughter died within a period of ten months. Two still survive, but they are both delicate, and there can be no doubt, that, as they arrive at maturity, they will follow the rest. This is a most striking instance of punishment under the organic laws."

As to the transmission of mental qualities, I observe, that form, size, and quality of brain, descend, like those of other parts of the body, from parents to children: and that hence dispositions and talents, which depend upon the condition of the brain, are transmitted also—a fact which has long been remarked both by medical authors, and by observant men in general.

The qualities of the stock of each parent are apt to reappear in their children. If there be insanity in the family of the father or mother, although both of these may have escaped it, the disease, or some imperfection of brain allied to it, frequently reappears in one or more of their children. The great characteristic qualities of the stock, in like manner, are often reproduced in distant descendants.

While the father's constitution undoubtedly exerts an influence, the constitution of the mother seems to have much effect in determining the qualities of the children, particularly when she is a woman possessing a fine temperament, a well organized brain, and, in consequence, an energetic mind. There are few instances of men of distinguished vigour and activity of mind, whose mothers did not possess a considerable amount of the same endowments; and the fact of eminent men having so frequently children far inferior to themselves, is explicable by the circumstance, that men of talent often marry women whose minds are comparatively weak. When the mother's brain is very defective, the minds of the children are feeble. "We know," says the great German physiologist Haller, "a very remarkable instance of two noble females who got husbands on account of their wealth, although they were nearly idiots, and from which this mental defect has extended for a century into several families, so that some of all their descendents still continue idiots in the fourth and even the fifth generation."* In many families, the qualities of both father and mother are seen blended in the children. "In my own case," says a medical friend, "I can trace a very marked combination of the qualities of both parents. My father is a large-chested, strong, healthy man, with a large, but not active brain; my mother was a spare, thin woman, with a high nervous temperament, a rather delicate frame, and a mind of uncommon activity. Her brain I should suppose to have been of moderate size. I often think that to the father I am indebted for a strong frame and the enjoyment of excellent health, and to the mother for activity of mind, and excessive fondness for exertion." Finally, it often happens that the mental qualities of the father are transmitted to some of the children, and those of the mother to others.

It is pleasing to observe, that, in W¨rtemberg, Baden, and some other German States, there are two excellent laws calculated to improve the moral and physical condition of the people. First, "It is illegal for any young man to marry before he is twenty-five, or any young woman before she is eighteen." Here the human legislator pays much more deference to the Divine Lawgiver, than he does in our country. Secondly, "A man, at whatever age he wishes to marry, must shew to the police and the priest of the commune where he resides, that he is able, and has the prospect, to provide for a wife and family." This also is extremely judicious.

It has been argued that these prohibitions only encourage immorality. During a residence in Germany, I observed, that where the individuals had average moral and intellectual organs, the law gave them the right direction, and produced the best effects. One of my own female servants was engaged to be married to a young man who was serving his three years as a soldier; and nothing could exceed the industry and economy which both practised, in order to raise the requisite funds to enable them to marry on his discharge. When the organs of the propensities predominated, there, as here, the parties rushed recklessly to indulgence. In this case, in Germany, the intercourse is illicit; in this country, it is often the same; or the substitute for it is an ill-assorted and miserable marriage. The German legislators, by giving their sanction to the dictates of reason and morality, at least discharge their own duty to their people; while our legislators lead us, by their authority, into error.

Another natural law in regard to marriage, is, that the mental qualities and the physical constitutions of the parties should be adapted to each other. If their dispositions, tastes, talents, and general habits harmonize, the reward is domestic felicity,—the greatest enjoyment of life. If these differ so widely as to cause jarring and collision, the home, which should be the palace of peace, and the mansion of the softest affections of our nature, becomes a theatre of war; and of all states of hostility, that between husband and wife is the most interminable and incurable, because the combatants live constantly together, have all things in common, and are continually exposed to the influence of each other's dispositions.

The importance of this law becomes more striking when we attend to the fact, that, by ill assortment, not only are the parties themselves rendered unhappy, but their immoral condition directly affects the dispositions of their children. It is a rule in nature, that the effects even of temporary departures from the organic laws, descend to offspring produced during that state, and injure their constitutions. Thus—children produced under the influence of inebriety, appear to receive an organization which renders them liable to a craving appetite for stimulating fluids. Children produced when the parents are depressed with misfortune, and suffering under severe nervous debility, are liable to be easily affected by events calculated to induce a similar condition; children produced when the parents are under the influence of violent passion, inherit a constitution that renders them liable to the same excitement: and hence, also, children produced when the parents are happy, and under the dominion of the higher sentiments and intellect, inherit qualities of body and brain that render them naturally disposed to corresponding states of mind. I have stated various facts and authorities in support of these views in the "Constitution of Man," to which I refer. These phenomena are the result of the transmission to the children of the mental organs modified in size, combination, and condition, by the temporary condition of the parents. This law is

* Elem. Physiol. Lib., Sec. 2 §8.

page 29 subject to modifications from the influence of the hereditary qualities of the parents, but its real existence can hardly be doubted.

In my second Lecture, I laid down the principle, that man's first duty as an individual, is to acquire knowledge of himself, of external nature, and of the will of God and I beg your attention to the application of this knowledge when acquired. If organic laws relative to marriage be really instituted by the Creator, and if reward and punishment be annexed to each of them, of what avail is it to know these facts abstractly, unless we know also the corresponding duties, and are disposed to perform them? We want such a knowledge of the human constitution as will carry home to the understanding and the conscience, the law of God written in our frames, and induce us to obey it. The sanction of public sentiment, religion, and civil enactments, are all necessary to enforce the observance of that law; and we need training also, to render obedience habitual.

Knowledge of the constitutions of individuals about to marry, can be attained only by the study of the structure, functions, and laws of the body. If anatomy and physiology, and their practical applications, formed branches of general education, we should be led to view this subject in all its importance, and, where our own skill was insufficient to direct us, we should call in higher experience. It is a general opinion, that all such knowledge will ever be useless, because marriage is determined by fancy, liking, passion, interest, or similar consideration, and never by reason. Phrenology enables us to judge of the force of this objection. It shews that the impulses to marry come from the instinctive and energetic action of the three organs of the domestic affections. These are large, and come into vigorous activity in youth, and frequently communicate such an influence to the other mental powers, as to enlist them all for the time in their service. The feelings inspired by these faculties, when acting impulsively and blindly, are dignified with various poetic names, such as fancy, affection, love, and so forth. Their influence is captivating, and not a little mysterious; which quality adds much to their charms with young minds. But Phrenology, without robbing them of one jot of their real fascinations, dispels the mystery and illusions, and shews them to us as three strong impulses, which will act either conformably to reason, or without its guidance, according as the understanding and moral sentiments are enlightened or left in the dark. It shews us, moreover, disappointment and misery, in various forms, and at different stages of life, as the natural consequences of defective guidance; while happiness of the most enduring and exalted description, is the result of the wise and just direction of them.

Believing, as I do, that the Creator has constituted man a rational being, I am prepared to maintain that the very converse of the objection under consideration is true—namely, that average men, if adequately instructed and trained, could not avoid giving effect to the natural laws in forming marriages. I say average men; because Phrenology shews to us that some human beings are born with animal organs so large, and moral and intellectual organs so small, that they are the slaves of the propensities, and proof against the dictates of reason. These individuals, however, are not numerous, and are not average specimens of the race. If, before the organs of the domestic affections come into full activity, the youth of both sexes were instructed in the laws of the Creator relative to marriage, and if the sanctions of religion, and the opinion of society, were added to enforce the fulfilment of them, it is not to be presumed that the propensities would still hurry average men to act in disregard of all these guides. This assumption would imply that man is not rational, and that the Creator has laid down laws for him which he is incapable, under any natural guidance, of obeying;—a proposition which to me is incredible.

I have introduced these remarks, to prepare the way for the observation, that before the discovery of Phrenology, it was impossible to ascertain the mental dispositions and capacities of individuals prior to experience of them in actions, and that there was, on this account, great difficulty in selecting, on sound principles, partners really adapted to each other, and calculated to render each other happy in marriage. I know that a smile is sometimes excited when it is said that Phrenology confers the power of acting rationally, in this respect, on individuals who could not be certain of doing so without its aid; but a fact does not yield to a smile.

Not only is there nothing irrational in the idea that Phrenology may give the power of obtaining the requisite knowledge; but, on the contrary, there would be a glaring defect in the moral government of the world, if the Creator had not provided means by which human beings could ascertain, with reasonable accuracy, the mental dispositions and qualities of each other, before entering into marriage. He has prompted them, by the most powerful and fascinating of impulses, to form that connection, He has withheld from them discriminating instincts, to enable them always to choose right; and yet he has attached tremendous penalties to their errors in selection. If He have not provided some means, suited to the rational nature of man, to enable him to guide his impulses to proper objects, I cannot conceive how his government can be reconciled to our notions of benevolence and justice. We must believe that He punishes us for not doing what He has denied us the capacity and the means of accomplishing.

No method of discovering, prior to experience, the natural dispositions of human beings, has hitherto been practically available. The general intercourse of society, such as is permitted to young persons of different sexes before marriage, reveals, in the most imperfect manner, the real character; and hence the bitter mortification and lasting misery in which some prudent and anxious persons find themselves involved, after the blandishments of a first love have passed away, and when the inherent qualities of the minds of their partners begin to display themselves without disguise and restraint. The very fact that human affection continues in this most unhappy and unsuccessful condition, should lead us to the inference that there is some great truth relative to our mental constitution undiscovered, in which a remedy for these evils will be found. The fact that a man is a rational creature—who must open up his own way to happiness—ought to lead us, when misery is found to result from our conduct, to infer that we have been erring, through lack of knowledge, and to desire better as well as more abundant information.

So far from its being incredible, therefore, that a method has been provided by the Creator, whereby the mental qualities of human beings may be discovered, this supposition appears to be directly warranted by every fact which we perceive, and every result which we experience, connected with the government of the world. If God hat placed within our reach the means of avoiding unhappy marriages, and if we neglect to avail ourselves of his gift, then we are ourselves to blame for the evils we endure. I cannot too frequently remind you, that every fact, page 30 physical and moral, with which we are acquainted, tends to shew that man is comparatively a recent inhabitant of this globe; that, as a race, he is yet in his infancy; and that we have no more reason to be astonished at new and valuable natural institutions, calculated to promote human enjoyment and virtue, evolving themselves from day to day to our understandings, than we have to wonder at the increasing intelligence of an individual as he passes from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood.

I am equally at a loss to discover any reason why it should be absurd, that the means of d scriminating natural qualities should be presented to us through the medium of the brain. Dr. Thomas Brown has justly remarked, that to those who have not sufficient elementary knowledge of science, to feel any interest in physical truths, as one connected system, and no habitual desire of exploring the various relations of new phenomena, many of the facts in nature, which have an appearance of incongruity as at first stated, do truly seem ludicrous;" but the impressions of such minds constitute no criterion of what is really wise or unwise in nature.

It has been ascertained by measurement that ahead not more than thirteen inches in horizontal circumference is invariably attended by idiocy, unless the frontal region be disproportionately large. Dr. Voison, of Paris, lately made observations on the idiots under his care at the Hospital of Incurables in that city, and found this fact uniformly confirmed, and also that, cœteris paribus, the larger the head was, the more vigorously were the mental powers manifested.

It is worthy of remark, that—almost as if to shew an intention that we should be guided by observation of the size and configuration of the brain—the cerebral development in man is extensively indicated during life by the external aspect of the head; while in the lower animals this is much less decidedly the case. In the hog, elephant, and others, the form and magnitude of the brain are not at all discoverable from the living head. The brutes have no need of that knowledge of each other's dispositions which is required by man: instincts implanted by nature lead them into the proper path; and, as it is presumable that a different arrangement has not been adopted in regard to man without an object and a reason, subsequent generations may contemplate Phrenology with different eyes from those with which it has been regarded in our day.

To illustrate the possibility of discriminating natural dispositions and talents by means of observations on the head, I may be permitted to allude to the following cases. On the 28th October 1835, I visited the jail at Newcastle, along with Dr. George Fife (who is not a phrenologist) and nine other gentlemen, and the procedure adopted was this: I examined the head of an individual criminal, and, before any account of him whatever was given, wrote down my own remarks. At the other side of the table, and at the same time, Dr. Fife wrote down an account of the character and conduct of the same individual, as disclosed by the judicial proceedings and the experience of the jailor. When both writings were finished, they were compared.

"The first prisoner was a young man about 20 years of age, P. S. After stating the organs which predominated and those which were deficient in his brain, I wrote as follows:—' My inference is, that this boy is not accused of violence; his dispositions are not ferocious, nor cruel, nor violent; he has a talent for deception, and a desire for property not regulated by justice. His desires may have appeared in swindling or theft. It is most probable that he has swindled; he has the combination which contributes to the talent of an actor.' The remarks which Dr. Fife wrote were the following :—' A confirmed thief; he has been twice convicted of theft. He has never shewn brutality, but he has no sense of honesty. He has frequently attempted to impose on Dr Fife; he has considerable intellectual talent; he has attended school, and is quick and apt; he has a talent for imitation.'

"The next criminal was also a young man, aged 18, T. S. I wrote:—' This boy is considerably different from the last. He is more violent in his dispositions; he has probably been committed for an assault connected with women. He has also large Secretiveness and Acquisitiveness, and may have stolen, although I think this less probable. He has fair intellectual talents, and is an improvable subject.' Dr Fife wrote :—' Crime, rape. * * * No striking features in his general character; mild disposition; has never shewn actual vice.'

"The third criminal examined was an old man of 73, J. W. The remarks which I wrote were these:—" His moral dispositions generally are very defective, but he has much caution. I cannot specify the precise crime of which he has been convicted. Great deficiency in the moral organs is the characteristic feature, which leaves the lower propensities to act without control.' Dr Fife wrote:—'A thief; void of every principle of honesty; obstinate; insolent; ungrateful for any kindness. In short, one of the most depraved characters with which I have ever been acquainted.'"* Many examples of accurate description of natural dispositions and talents from examining the head, by other phrenologists, are on record, and before the public.

The two young men here described were rather well-looking and intelligent in their features, and if judged of simply by their appearance, would have been believed to be rather above than below the average youth of their own rank of life. Yet which of you will say, that if any relative of yours were to be addressed by men of the same dispositions, it would not be more advantageous to possess the means of discovering their real qualities before marriage, and consequently of avoiding them, than to learn them only by experience; in other words, after having become their victim?

I add another illustration. Upwards of ten years ago, I had a short interview with an individual who was about to be married to a lady with whom I was acquainted. In writing this piece of news to a friend at a distance, I described the gentleman's development of brain, and dispositions; and expressed my regret that the lady had not made a more fortunate choice. My opinion was at variance with the estimate of the lover made by the lady's friends from their own knowledge of him. He was respectably connected, reputed rich, and regarded as altogether a desirable match. The marriage took place. Time wheeled in its ceaseless course; and at the end of about seven years, circumstances occurred of the most painful nature, which recalled my letter to the memory of the gentleman to whom it had been addressed. He had preserved it, and after comparing it with the subsequent occurrences, he told me that the description of the natural dispositions coincided so perfectly with those which the events had developed, that it might have been supposed to have been written after they had happened.

I cannot here enter into the limitations and conditions under which Phrenology should be used for this purpose; such discussions belong to the general subject of that science. My sole aim is to announce the possibility of its being thus applied. If you will ask any lady who suffers under the daily calamity of

* Phrenological Journal.

page 31 a weak, ill-tempered, or incorrigibly rude and vulgar husband, and who, by studying Phrenology, sees these lm perfections written in legible characters in his brain, whether she considers that it would have been folly to have observed and given effect to these indications in avoiding marriage, her sinking and aching heart will answer, no! She will pity the flippancy that would despise any counsel of prudence, or treat with inattention any means of avoiding so great an evil, and declare that, had she known the real character indicated by the head, she could not have consented to become the companion of such a man for life. In fact, we find that sensible men and women, in forming matrimonial alliances, do, in general, avail themselves of the best information which they can obtain as a guide to their conduct; they avoid glaring bodily defects, and openly bad characters; and this is a complete recognition of the principle for which I am contending. The whole extravagance of which I am now guilty (if any of you consider it as such) consists in proposing to put you in possession of the means of obtaining more minute, accurate, and serviceable knowledge, than, in ordinary circumstances, you can, otherwise, attain. I am willing, therefore, to encounter all the ridicule which may be excited by these suggestions, convinced that those will laugh best who win, and that attention to them will render all winners, if they be founded, as I believe them to be, in the institutions of nature.

I stand before you in a singular predicament. Lecturers on recognised science are hailed with rapturous encouragement, when they bring forward new truths; and in proportion as these are practical and important, the higher is their reward. I appear, however, as the humble advocate of a science which is still so far from being universally admitted to be true, that the very idea of applying it practically in a department of human life, in which, hitherto, there has been no guide, appears to many to be ludicrous. It would be far more agreeable to me to devote my efforts to teaching you doctrines which you should all applaud, and which should carry home to your minds a feeling of respect for the judgment of your instructor. But one obstacle prevents me from enjoying this advantage. I have been permitted to become acquainted with a great, and, lately, an unknown region of truth, which appears to my own mind to bear the strongest impress of a divine origin, and to be fraught with the greatest advantages to mankind; and, as formerly stated, I feel it to be a positive moral duty to submit it to your consideration. All I ask is, that you will receive the communication with the spirit and independence of free-minded men. Open your eyes that you may see, your ears that you may hear, and your understandings that you may comprehend; and fear nothing.