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terial and organized part of his nature, and from man fö the animal and vegetable world, to ftones, foffils, semi-metals, and other inanimate bodies. — Confining ourselves to this generať view of our Author's plan, we all not follow him in his illura trations on space, time, the general properties of bodies, attraction, elasticity, cohesion and adhesion, which are treated in the firft fix chapters of his work, and which form the contents of this firit volùme.
ART. XIII. Essai sur la Physiognomie, &c. i. e. An Essay on Phyhognome (or the
Art of reading Faces) deîgned to promote the Knowledge and Love of Mankind. By JOHN GASPARD LAVATER, Citizen and Paftor of Zurich. Large 400. Vol. II. Hague. 1783.
E return with pleasure to this ingenious, singular, and entertaining work, in which all
men, women and children, nay all animal beings are concerned. The latter class act a part in this volume, and some of them come wonderfully near us in the line of phyfiognomical expression : nor could it be well otherwise, considering that man is supposed to be a composition of brute and angel, in which we know, to our cost, how the former predominates. The second volume, now before us and but just published, contains seventeeen fragments, seventyeight plates, and a considerable number of additions, illuftrared by heads, in outline, shadow, or fully finished. We are indebted for the French translation of this volume, which is elegant, clear, and carries the easy aspect of an original composition, tu the ingenious M. RENFNER, Secretary to the Prucian Minister at the Hague.
In the first Fragment, our Author answers the objection that has been drawn from the mistakes (real or supposed) of Physiognomists against the reality of their art or science. This objection, which we should have looked upon as trivial, he judges Serious. The mistakes of the mechanician do not prove that the science of mechanics has no principles ; and it would be absurd to affirm that reason is not a real faculty, which leads to the discovery of truth, because some men reason wrong. But our Author farther observes, that the Physiognomist may sometimes appear to be mistaken, when he really is not; and, not only so, " but the more he is an adept in his art, the more will he appear to be mistaken in some of his decisions, though they be just and well founded.” The wiselt and the most virtuous man carries in his nature the seeds of almost every vice, and his noblest affections may exceed proper bounde, or take a wrong direclion. A mild and benevolent man, who, on many occasions, has kept his temper amidst the sharpeft provocations, presents his countenance to the Physiognomist, who reads in it benignity and elevation of mind; and will perhaps warmly pronounce his meeknes unalterable. But the objector happens once to meet with this man in a fit of pallion, and here he takes his stand to attack Physiognomy, and to declare it a false, science. But it is the objector that is here miltaken, and not the Physiogncmist; the latter does not decide concerning a character, from one or even from several actions. The Physiognomift does not judge actions : he observes the dispositions of the moral agent, his cha. rácter, faculties, effential qualities and predominant powers, which, in certain circumstances, may appear in opposin to his conduct and actions. The remaining part of this Fragment thews more the feelings of a humane and charitable heart, than the precisicn of a logical head'; and we do not think that the Physiognomnist will be attacked, by any fenable man, with tae drguments against which our Author defends him.
In the 2d Fragment, M. LAVATER treats of difimulation, falschood, and candour. From the two first of these, very specious' arguments have been deduced against the certitude of the science under confideration, and here, indeed, good defensive weapons, or a conjuring:cap are required to repulie or enchant the adver: fary. Our Authot seems often to have both at his command. Icis ihen a fact, that the diffembler frequently deceives persons of the greatest sagacity, and sometimes even adepts in face reading. But here again, this is not the fault of the science, but of the Physiognomist: for, in the first place, the Structure of the bones, the arched or fat, the unequal or regular form of the fore-head, the colour, shape or position of the eye-brows, the size and forin of the lips, chin' and nose, the colour and situation of the eyes, and other appendages of the human head here mentioned, are ( as our Author promiles to prove afterwards) fure indications of the internal temper, conftitution and character, and cannot be changed or modified by the influence of artifice or dilinu ation. Besides, secondly, Diffimulation and falsehood announce themselves by sensible marks, though it be difficult to expres these marks by words or signs. The internal conflict that iubfists between the natural propensity of the heart to utter truth, and the laborious effort of artifice to conical it, must throw into confusion, more or less, the springs of exprefion and action; and the marks of this confufion will rarely escape a saga. cious, attentive, and experienced obferver: even where habit nas made artifice fit more easy, and enabled both finiulation and difguise to operate with less embarrassment and uncouthneis, there is still an internal condit, in which some feeble rays of the truth will escape from their confinement, and inform the Physiognom ft of | what is going on within.
Our Author illustrates this second manner of discovering diffimulation and falsehood, by a case which happened lately, and in
which being concerned as judge, he had a fair field for the exertion of his physiognomonical powers. Two young persons appeared before him : the one said to the other, You are the father of my child; the reply was, I am not. Nothing can be more beautifully picturesque, nothing can discover a finer touch of pencil, nor a more penetrating eye, than the moral drawings of innocence and guilt, that were the result of M. LAVATER's observations in this case. We conceive, in his description, even those lines of character that spurn expresion, the open countenance and the look of surprise, the mild firmness and simplicity, that say, with such energy, can you--dare you deny it? the clouded forehead, the rude and arrogant, but more feeble and faultering accent, which answers, Yes, I dare deny it. The mo. tions of their hands, the attitude and gait with which the pleaders entered and left the chamber are not omitted. The downcast look of the one, the warit of composure and repose in the lines of his counte ince, the motion of the tip of his tongue towards his lips, at the moment when M. LAVATER represented the awful nature of the oath that was to be administered, the serene and steady aspect of the other, turned into astonishment, when the guilty pleader offered to swear; all these lines, which our Author describes well, but felt better, discovered the truth amidst all the wiles and efforts of diffimulation.- We do not find that upon this occasion, he made any use of the first criterion of character mentioned above, viz. the bony or cartilaginous structure of the foreheads, noses, chins, ears, lips, &c. of the two pleaders. Perhaps they would not have antwered his purpose ; for it is possible, that the inconstant lover, who is taken here in an act of diflimulation and falsehood, may have had a good general character, and was only exhibiting an exception to the usual tenor of his conduct. It is our Author's general principle, that all good men have the feeds of evil, and all bad men the seeds of good. In the rest of this fragment there are several excellent and ingenious observations on candour and on the air of unfaithfulness and diffimulation, which the countenance sometimes receives from timorousness and weakness of mind.
The Liberty of Man, and its limits, is the subject of the 3d FRAGMENT. Man, says M. LAVATER, is free, just as the bird is in its cage ; that is,' he has a certain fphere of activity and sensibility, beyond which he cannot go. This sphere is determined, though we know not its precise bounds : “ Each phyfiognomy, every character, is indeed susceptible of great alterations and various aspects, but these have their determination from the eflential nature of each individual. Every man has a large sphere of activity, and is at full liberty to cultivate his field according to the nature of the foil : but he can only low APP. REV. Vol. LXVIII.
the feed that has been given him, and cultivate the ground og which he is placed. This thought is designed to few, that every man has a distinctive character. It is illustrated by metaphor upon metaphor, which makes pleasant reading, and exhibits splendid marks of wit and fancy, and it is the basis of PHYSIOGNOMONY; a term we have adopted in our account of the first volume of this work, to express the science of FaceReading. In the Additions to this Fragment we have a great number of heads and figures, of which the Author gives us the most minute and characteristical interpretations : but it is here that we wish to be behind the curtain, and to be initiated in the mysteries of the science. In the first plate there are fix heads. Now, though the Author is modest enough to declare, that it would be ridiculously presumptuous to pretend to determine all the qualities of which such heads are capable or incapable, yet he is minute enough in his description of the qualities, which (according to him) they must palpably indicate to an accurate and afliduous observer, io get out of our fight far and away. Take a sample, Reader. Suppose M. LAVATER fitting or ftanding at a table (like Mr. G. Alex. Stevens, but witbout joking) with his fix heads before him. “ Gentlemen, This first head announces a great and liberal mind,-more memory than any of the following,-a superior capacity of taking in a great number of objects, and of retaining the impressions they make.”-In good time, Sir, it may be fo :-aye-we really think or hope, that we begin to perceive that the head may announce some qualities of this kind." The second head—This man does not so easily adopt an opinion, as the former, nor does he maintain it so tena. ciously, as the third head.”– Where the duce do you see this, good M. Lavater? a degree MORE or less, of attachment to an opinion, is such a subtile line of a part of a quaníity of a quality, that though we conceive the thing in thought, we are at a loss to see it in the visible head." The third head, Gentlemen, is expressive, and remarkably so, of coldness of character; it announces a person that is not susceptible of tenderness except in the moments of devotion, (we suppose this head was sketched when the man it represents was saying his prayers) but who is totally incapable of infincerity or falsehood, properly so called.”—The fourth headlet us fee_" This is a man, who calculates, abstracts, arranges; but he does not stop here : he is susceptible of all the kinds and degrees of love, from the highest fights of Platonic refinement, down to the lowest instances of sensuality ; and it is probable, that the permanent character will fix itself in the middle point between these two extremes.” This certainly is reading deep-let us look once more at the head !--it is a good, agreeable sensible face, and that is all we can fee in it.-The sixth head, is expressive of talents, says our Author, and characterizes a man,
who perceives things clearly, without looking into them deeply, and the higher regions of Metaphyfics do not appear to be bis walk : (This is not a Monboddo-head) he receives sensible and moral ideas with great quickness; they are his nourishment and his delight.
Thele examples, as being the shortest, we have given as a Specimen of our Author's manner of interpretation, and of the intrepid facility with which he points out the nicest shades and distinctions of character, from a view of the structure, forms, and positions of bones, fesh, and muscles. That these indicate strong paffions, stupidity and sagacity, ferenity and perplexity, good and ill. humour, and several other qualities, is not to be questioned ; and so far all men are phyfiognomists : but that such a head should announce genius and sagacity, but without taste- and such another a capacity for mechanics, or analytical investigations, and so on ;-this is the mystery in which we are not yet initiated. Be that as it may, while we are writing this article, we enjoy great entertainment, and receive, we hope, fome instruction, from contemplating the heads of this Fragment, which are indeed expressive. At each head we begin by guelling what we can make out of it, and then we read our Author's interpretations, which sometimes flatter our fagacity and often mortify, or, at least, humble our vanity. One face ftruck us mightily; we thought we had discovered in it a character of serenity, firmness, elevation, and dignity ; we went to our oracle, which spoke these words : “ The fore-head in this figure leans too much backwards to express a proper degree of firmness and constancy of mind. For the rest, taking the whole of the countenance together, its form is not common or vulgar. It announces a person, not so capable of observing, as of judging of the observations that have been already made
This last idea never came into our heads, and we cannot get it in yet. Of six buits and four heads, we hit off five tolerably well, so that we are getting on, and it is really a very agreeable pastime. A gentleman or lady, who is pretty well acquainted with his or her LAVATER, will go to the Pantheon with peculiar advantages, and may find a new and philosophical amusement in reading such of the faces of that miscellaneous affembly, as do not tell, too plainly and palpably, their own story. M. LAVATER generally in forms us, whether the heads represent persons known or unknown to bim; and his judgment of the latter is pronounced as boldly as if their characters had been his old acquaintance. We have met with interpretations of some few heads sent to him, and certainly unknown to him, but known to us; and, as far as we can judge, his interpretations seem accurate and faithful, one excepted, which is chargeable with exaggeration. It is amazing what a variety there is in T + 2