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P H R E N O L O G Y.

President of the Western Phrenological Society, at Buffalo.

To him who in the love of nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language.—Bryant.








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 I 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. Admo. nished 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 my 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 10 the Executive Committee of the Phreno logical 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 Vinont 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 leave it to them also to determine how far I have been suc«. cessful.


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 attenipts 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.

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