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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838, by
OLIVER G. STEELE, In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York.
The principal object of this volume is, to lay before the public the results of several years' phrenological study and observation. When 1 commenced teaching phrenology, I followed in the footsteps of Gall and Spurzheim. My only object was, to disseminate among my fellow countrymen, the sublime truths which were discovered by those illustrious men. 1 adopted their doctrines, and imitated, as well as I could, their manner of teaching and illustrating them. I also adopted their favorite maxim, that we should study things rather than words—res non verba quaeso.” I determined to admit nothing which was not based upon facts, and capable of being philosophically demonstrated. It was by observation, that I first satisfied myself of the truth of the essential facts upon which the system of Spurzheim was based; and by continuing to pursue this same course, I have been enabled, as I believe, to remodel and improve that system. Admonished by the history of the past, it is without any feeling of presumption, that I present to the notice of the scientific public my New System of Phrenology; conscious that it must contain many errors which future experience and just criticism cannot fail to detect. I appeal with confidence to the justice and candor of phrenologians. I invite their criticisms as a favor; and when I am convicted of error, either in facts or conclusions, I shall take great pleasure in making acknowledgements. It is ny intention to correct, in a future edition, all mistakes that I shall discover in this; and shall be happy to receive judicious communications, * from any quarter, which may be calculated to advance a science in which I feel so deep an interest. I have made a free use of the works of my predecessors, and have given credit accordingly. I should state however, that after the articles on
*Communications on the subject of Phrenology, addressed to me at Buffalo, during my absence, will be referred to the Executive Committee of the Phrenological Society, and receive from them all due attention.
X and III were printed, I received from my friend, Dr. Ganson, of Batavia, N. Y., a copy of “ Brousais' Phrenology,” published in 1836, in French, and I am happy to find that he coincides with me in attributing X to animals. From him I also learned, for the first time, that Vimont considers Vitativeness as a propensity to preserve the body—" to avoid danger without reflection,” and locates it where I do III. The idea, however, that it is the organ which feels pain, does not seem to have occurred to him.
Brousais has attempted, when speaking of each organ, to show with what other organs it naturally combines, and also which are natural antagonists. But, although I have taken some trouble to show that certain organs naturally act together, I cannot countenance the idea that some organs were intended as antagonists to others. They all act in harmony; and though some are more intimately related than others, no one, unless abused, counteracts the proper effects of another. Brousais also, in common with all other phrenologians, has adopted the classification of Spurzheim, and therefore, whatever merit or censure may be accorded to the innovations contained in this volume belongs to the author alone. Spurzheim remarked, that the organs of analogous powers are regularly in each other's vicinity. He observed that the first four Socials, and also several of the lower Ipseals are related. Other Phrenologians have been struck with the same facts; but the well informed reviewers will perceive, that nothing like the classification in this work has ever before been attempted; and I leare it to them also to determine how far 1 have been successful.
The study of human nature has in all ages been deemed of the very first importance, and called into vigorous action the master minds of every civilized nation. But the numerous systems that have been successively produced and abandoned, afford sufficient evidence that the great fundamental principles of human nature had never been discovered. Some philosophers have shut themselves in their closets, and endeavored, by reflecting upon the operations of their own minds, to frame a system of mental philosophy, which would apply to all mankind: but the result was, that they only acquired an imperfect history of a few of their own mental powers, while they remained in total ignorance of the causes which produce the great diversity of human character. Others endeavored to acquire a knowledge of man by travelling, and mingling with all classes and conditions of the human
These were more successful; but however much knowledge might, by the experience of a whole life, be acquired in this manner, it necessarily died with the individual, as it was of such a nature that it could not be communicated. Anatomical investigation, was another mode of studying human nature; but although this led to more correct notions concerning the functions of the body, it shed no light upon the nature of the mind.
The study of Physiognomy, is another method which has been pursued, from the time of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Zopyrus, among the ancients, to the attempts of Camper and Lavater in our own day. But all the real success which has ever attended the labors of physiognomists, is owing to their approximation to the great truths of Phrenology; though they were utterly ignorant of this science. By examining the works of Camper and Lavater, it will be found, that the few useful truths which they contain, are based upon the principles which are explained in this work.
The foundation of Phrenological science, was laid by the discoveries of F. J. Gall, a native of Germany, who was born March 9, 1757. His attention was first directed to the subject while a schoolboy, from the circumstance, that those who committed the words of their lessons to memory with the greatest ease, had prominent eyes. He next observed that those who excelled in the memory of places, had a peculiar prominence upon the forehead. After he left the University, he commenced the practice of medicine. He was now a man of science-his very profession led him to study human nature in connection with the human constitution-and he began to reflect-- If the prominence of one part of the head indicates one talent, and the prominence of another part indicates another, may not all the talents and dispositions of men be indicated by the developement of different parts of the head?" The suggestion seemed plausible; and he accordingly, after having in vain examined all the different authors on mental philosophy, betook himself to the observation of the heads of peculiar characters. He was successful, even beyond his most ardent hopes; for he soon discovered external indications of talents for painting, poetry, and the mechanic arts, besides several of the moral and animal propensities. Gall's first publication on the subject, was made in 1798. He very naturally failed to give system to the facts which he had discovered; and the names which he gave to the organs were unphilosophical. In 1801, fortunately for the science, John Gasper Spurzheim, also a German, became the pupil of Gall, and in 1804 was admitted as his partner. Spurzheim greatly improved the nomenclature and classification of the organs; and also contributed much towards giving a more philosophical account of the anatomical structure of the brain.
In 1802, the lectures of Dr. Gall at Vienna, which had continued during five years, were prohibited by an order of the government, obtained through the influence of the clergy. In 1805, Gall and Spurzheim left Vienna, and travelled to some of the other cities of Europe, lecturing upon, and disseminating their doctrines. In 1807, Gall arrived at Paris, and remained there until his death, which took place in 1828.
Spurzheim dissolved his partnership with Gall in 1813, and in 1814 visited Great Britain, and lectured in the principal cities. During his visit to Edinburgh, he had the good fortune to make a convert of Geo. Combe, Esq., a gentleman who has since distinguished himself as an able and eloquent phrenological author and lecturer. In 1817, Spurzheim returned to Paris. In 1824, the lectures of Gall and