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The Shepherd. That's a great havers to be sure, and nane but idiots wad hae thought o' sic trash; but what's the system now, I wad like to ken ? What kind o'nonsense do they teach in the College now about mind and metaphysics, that they gar the bits o’ student laddies pay their guineas for ? North. Shepherd, these are mysteries beyond your
ken. You should leave metaphysics, and stick to sheep and flyfishing
The Shepherd. O man, if I had done aye that I wad na hae written the Queen's Wake; and that's a better poem than you or ony o' your band can produce to match wi' it.
North. What is that he says?
Tickler. Never mind him, Kit. He is only praising his own poems, and you know he is privileged to do that, quibusdam in terris, but particularly in the land of Ambrose.
The Shepherd. But I want to be at the bottom o' thae metaphysics. I wish the professor wad but just publish a bit pamphlet booky, where we might hae it a' fairly set down for a matter of aughteen-pence.
Tickler. Oh-Outlines of his course. Stewart published Outlines.
The Shepherd. Ay. I wad like to see thae Outlines as ye ca' them. What for does na he gi'e us them? I wadna care to study metaphysics, if I could win to the far end of them in a rainy afternoon. But I hae nae broo oo ye’re muckle books, if it binna poetry.
North. Confound that twinge! I believe I am to have my old friend, podagra, again.
Tickler. Is it not rather in your stomach, North ? Methinks the Shepherd's prosing makes you wince. North. Shepherd, I tell you, you talk of what you
don't uriderstand. Metaphysics are above your pitch.
The Shepherd. What do you say is above my pitch? I say I can understand aught that has ony sense in it; and if metaphysics have ony I could understand it. But I'm in the mind it has nane.
North. We could show you the contrary of that.
The Shepherd. Weel, show it, and don't keep talking about it.
SPURZHEIM ON EDUCATION.
The objects of education, using the word in its widest and most legitimate sense, are, 1st, To increase the energy and activity of those faculties of the mind and body, which are naturally too weak. 2d, To repress the inordinate action of those which are naturally too strong; and, 3d, To give to the combined operation of the whole such a direction as shall most certainly and effectually increase the happiness and extend the sphere of usefulness of the individual.
To attain these ends, our efforts must be conducted in strict obedience to the laws which nature has established for the regulation of the functions of both mind and body. It is therefore particularly necessary that we should be previously in possession of a true theory of the human mind, capable of unfolding to us not only the number and functions of the primitive mental faculties themselves, but also the organic conditions which conduce to their greater or less degree of energy,—the laws which regulate their activity,and the effects produced upon the general character by their different proportional combinations. Accordingly, the want of such a theory of mind is the true reason why, in igno rance of Phrenology, the most profound writers on education are still so much occupied in discussing contested points of very secondary importance, instead of starting, as is recommended by Mr Stewart, from undeniable first principles, ob tained from “ a previous examination of those faculties and
principles of the mind, which it is the great object of edu
• A View of the Elementary Principles of Education, founded on the Study of the Nature of Man. By J. G. Spurzheim, M. D. Constable & Co. 12mo. pp. 360. 1821.
“ cation to improve ;"* and we are therefore disposed to regard it as in itself no small proof of the truth and value of the phrenological philosophy, that it already affords a sure, stable, and consistent basis for the erection of an improved system of education, and that it supplies the desiderata above stated.
In analyzing the valuable work now before us, and in conscientiously recommending it to the attentive consideration of our readers, it is proper to state, that, as Phrenology constitutes the basis upon which the fabric is reared, so an intimate acquaintance with its doctrines is necessary to the perception of the full value and to the adequate practical application of the precepts which it inculcates. But we can also state, that much of the important and interesting information contained in its pages is perfectly accessible to the common sense and good feelings of every reader; only the unphrenological will fail to perceive the links which connect the different parts of the chain, and will thus see each observation as an isolated fact, and not in its true and most valuable light.
Dr Spurzheim divides his work into two great sections. In the first he treats of the means to be employed for increasing the activity of the faculties; and, in the second, of the means to be employed for directing each faculty to its proper object. At present we shall confine ourselves to the consideration of the first section, reserving the second for another Number.
The chief circumstances which influence the activity of the faculties may be comprised under four heads or chapters : 1st, Original Constitution; 2d, Physical Education ; 3d, The mode in which each faculty is exercised ; and, 4th, Their mutual influence in exciting or repressing each other.
Original Constitution.-Dr Spurzheim goes a step farther back than most other writers on education, and taking observation for his guide, and finding the mental qualities and capacities of the progeny to be intimately connected with and
* Stewart's Essays.
dependent upon the bodily constitution inherited from the parents, and believing that education ought to be an imitation of nature's own lazos, and not an invention of ours, he strenuously insists that we ought to begin at the root, and that, after having ascertained, by careful observation, what qualities of mind and body in the parents are most likely to secure for their offspring the most favourable moral, intellectual, and corporeal constitution, we ought to seek for and combine these qualities, or the nearest approximation to them, which can be found. Nor is this a matter of little moment; for the more we examine nature, the more we shall be convinced that education operates invariably in subjection to the laws of organization, and that it is impossible to improve the mind beyond the limits imposed upon it by its connexion with its material organ, or even to alter materially such lineaments of the character as are strongly drawn by the hand of nature. It is at once an illustration of, and in obedience to this law, that we find great intellectual power and favourable moral dispositions as invariably connected with a large, healthy, well-developed brain, and feeble intellect and moral deficiency as invariably the attendants of a small or very defective brain, and different or opposite dispositions and talents as invariably accompanied with very different states or configurations of brain, as if mind were merely a function of matter. Hence, as the brain is a component part of the ani. mal system, and is subject to all the laws of living organized matter, its peculiarities, and the mental qualities consequent upon them, are transmitted from parents to children with as much certainty, because in obedience to the same laws, as features, noses, forms, or diseases.
It has indeed been long known as an abstract fact, in the natural history of man and animals, that the qualities of the mind as well as of the body descend from generation to generation, that children of weak and nervous parents are themselves delicate, easily agitated, and subject to convulsions,—that the idiots, or Cretins of Switzerland, produce a race inferior to themselves, that the children of
insane parents are generally, sooner or later, afflicted with the same disease, and that those of healthy, robust, and longlived ancestors, are in general distinguished for similar qualities; but, either from ignorance of the principle according to which it happens, and which demonstrates that it will happen again, or from an absurd fear of degradation, by admitting his own subjection to the laws which God has set over animal nature, Man has not chosen to act upon it in improving his own species, but has married and given in marriage, as if all the qualities of mind and body were directly under his own control ; and when overtaken by the consequences of his own neglect, and when Vice, Imbe. cility, and Disease usurp in his offspring the place of that Virtue, Talent, and Vigour, which he in vain expected to arise from good education alone, he looks upon himself as a hapless and devoted victim, who had no share in the production of his own misery, and whose only duty is to submit to the painful dispensations of a Superior Power, without making an effort to decipher and profit by the lessons which these inflictions are meant to convey. The laws of nature are ever the same ; and in the days of Moses we find them giving rise to restrictions on the marriage of blood-relations, for the very reason that they are either unfruitful, or productive of degenerate offspring. If a knowledge of the operation of these laws were deeply impressed upon the mind of our youth, it is scarcely conceivable that we should so often have to lament the extinction of whole families by consumption, the quickly-spreading miseries of Insanity and Imbecility, and the innumerable ills attending weak and infirm health.
The chapter on this subject is one of the most valuable in Dr Spurzheim's book, and to it we must refer the reader for further details. It is written with perfect good taste, delicacy, and propriety. We shall only add, that among other important requisites in parents, Dr S. mentions a sound constitution, untainted with any hereditary disease, and a sound, active, well-balanced mind, indicated by a large and well