It is necessary that the reader should understand the temperament and constitution of the body and symptoms of diseases
that they may intelligently diagnose the case.
Man has thinking, warming, nourishing, and moving powers. For the performance of each of these great functions, he has organs of the best possible construction.
For Thinking, he has a brain. If this be large in proportion to his other organs, it gives a character, a cast, a peculiarity to his whole organization. Everything about him is subordinate to his brain. We recognize him, at once, as a thinking and feeling being. He has an intellectual look. There is a delicacy, a refinement, a sensitiveness, a studious habit, an air of thoughtfulness about him, which determine his traits, his tone, his temper, his whole character. Hence it is proper to say he has a cephalic or thinking temperament.
The Lungs and Heart, devoted to renewing and circulating the blood, are placed in the chest or thorax. If these be large in man in proportion to other organs, he is characterized by great activity of circulation, by a large supply of red blood, and by the general inclinations of a full, warm, and bounding life. This activity gives him his tone and temper, and shows that his is the thoracic or calorific temperament.
In the Great Cavity of the Abdomen is done the work of receiving, digesting, and disposing of the materials which nourish the body. If the organs which do this work be large in proportion to others, the body is fed to repletion, and the whole organization speaks of the table. The habit, the look, the temper, are all sluggish. This is the abdominal or alimentary temperament.
The Bones and Muscles are instruments by which the movements of the body are performed. If these be the largest, in proportion, of any in the body, then the locomotive powers are in higher perfection than any others. There is largeness of person, energy of movement, and greatness of endurance. The whole cast of the person partakes of the strength and coarseness of bone and muscle. This is the muscular or locomotive temperament.
This gives us four temperaments, as follows:
I. The Cephalic Temperament, denoted by large brain, activity of mind, and general delicacy of organization.
II. The Thoracic Temperament, indicated by a large chest, force of circulation, redness of skin, great activity, warmth of temper, and fullness of life.
III. The Abdominal Temperament, denoted by a large development of the stomach, liver, bowels, and lymphatics; by a fullness of belly, fondness of high living, and a disposition to float sluggishly upon the current of the world, rather than to struggle against it.
IV. The Muscular Temperament, indicated by largeness of frame and limbs, coarseness of structure, and great power of locomotion and endurance.
There are some reasons for reckoning but three temperaments instead of four, by reducing the thoracic and abdominal to one, after the manner of the phrenological Fowlers, especially as the organs in the chest, and their appendages, take an important part in the process of nutrition. But as the heart and lungs are placed in one cavity, and the stomach, liver, etc., in another, and as one set of these organs may be largely developed, and the other defectively, I have thought it most convenient, on the whole, and quite as philosophical, to retain the four temperaments.
These temperaments seldom or never appear single and pure. They mix and cross with each other in all possible ways.
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copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071