Perhaps the most remarkable case in the table of great men's brains is that of Gambetta, who was behind none of his compeers in ability, and yet had the smallest brain of all. The first table of the "Average Weight of the Human Body and Mind," compiled from Dr. Boyd's researches among the sane, which was based on more than two thousand post-mortem examinations, gives 45.9 ounces as the average brain weight of boys from seven to fourteen years of age, and 40.2 ounces as that of boys and 40.1 ounces of girls from four to seven years of age. And this little brain of 40.9 ounces appertained to a man, "a lofty, commanding, mental figure, standing out in bold relief from the crowd of mediocrities which he dwarfs and shadows," the embodiment of the French Republic, who steered it through one of its most perilous crises, "the foremost Frenchman of his time," who "established his claim to be placed in the very front rank of European statesmen," and whose untimely death was spoken of as "nothing less than the sudden extinction of a powerful individual force, one of the most powerful, indeed, of such forces hitherto operating in Europe."
In illustration of the association of large brains with small minds, we have compiled from various sources of recognized authority a list of one hundred and twenty-five persons of ordinary or weak minds, idiots, imbeciles, and criminals, whose brains were generally larger than those of the distinguished men subjects of the preceding notes. Of these, Rustan, an ignorant and unknown workman, appears with a brain weighing 78.3 ounces; the dwarfed Indian squaw who follows him, of 73.5 ounces; an illiterate and weak-minded man had a brain of 71.3 ounces; and a congenitally imbecile person cited by Dr. Ireland, with one of 70.5 ounces. Another imbecile cited by Dr. Ireland had a brain of 63.2 ounces, and the brain of an idiot with a large head, eighteen years old, who had an idiotic sister, weighed 62.8 ounces. The brain of the idiot, No. 56 of the men in the table, 59.5 ounces, is exceeded in size by those of only five on the list of famous men, while eleven persons recorded as idiots, imbeciles, and children had brains heavier than his. An idiot boy of fourteen years, very malicious, who never spoke, and who nearly killed his sister with a pick, had a brain weight of 57.5 ounces. Thirty men out of three hundred and seventy-five examined in the West Riding Asylum gave brain weights of 55 ounces and upward, showing that such weights are not so rare as some have supposed. In another
- Brain Weight of Man. By Dr. Bischoff. Bonn, Germany, 1880, p. 137.
- Authority for this weight is the Medical Army Museum, Washington, D. C.
- This brain is kept in and its weight is recorded on the glass jar in the Pathological Museum at Munich, Germany.
- Idiocy and Imbecility. By Dr. Ireland. London, 1877, p. 75.