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a talent for business, or for any of the practical arts of life, without actual experience. They fhew alfo, that mere experience, without theory, may qualify a man, in certain cafes, for diftinguishing himself in both. It is not, however, to be imagined, that in this way individuals are to be formed for the uncommon, or for the important fituations of fociety, or even for enriching the arts by new inventions; for, as their address and dexterity are founded entirely. on imitation, or derived from the leffons which experience has fuggested to them, they cannot poffibly extend to new combinations of circumftances. Mere experience, therefore, can, at beft, prepare the mind for the fubordinate departments of life; for conducting the established routine of business, or for a fervile repetition in the arts of common operations.
In the character of Mr. George Grenville, which Mr. Burke introduced in his celebrated Speech on American Taxation, a lively picture is drawn of the infufficiency of mere experience to qualify a man for new and untried fituations in the administration of government. The obfervations he makes on this fubject, are expreffed with his ufual beauty and felicity of language; and are of fo general a nature, that, with fome trifling alterations, they may be extended to all the practical pursuits of life.
"Mr. Grenville was bred to the law, which " is, in my opinion, one of the first and nobleft of "human sciences; a fcience which does more to "quicken and invigorate the understanding, than
all the other kinds of learning put together; but "it is not apt, except in perfons very happily born,
"to open and to liberalife the mind exactly in the "fame proportion. Paffing from that ftudy, he did "not go very largely into the world, but plunged
into business; I mean, into the business of office, "and the limited and fixed methods and forms "established there. Much knowledge is to be had, "undoubtedly, in that line; and there is no know"ledge which is not valuable. But it may be truly "faid, that men too much converfant in office, are "rarely minds of remarkable enlargement. Their "habits of office are apt to give them a turn to think "the fubftance of bufinefs not to be much more
important, than the forms in which it is con, <ducted. Thefe forms are adapted to ordinary "occafions; and, therefore, perfons who are nurtured "in office, do admirably well, as long as things go dc on in their common order; but when the high "roads are broken up, and the waters out, when a
new and troubled fcene is opened, and the file "affords no precedent, then it is, that a greater
knowledge of mankind, and a far more extenfive "comprehenfion of things, is requifite, than ever "office gave, or than office can ever give."
Nor is it in new combinations of circumstances alone, that general principles affift us in the conduct of affairs; they render the application of our practical skill more unerring, and more perfect. For, as general principles limit the utility of practical skill to supply the imperfections of theory, they diminish the number of cafes in which this fkill is to be employed; and thus, at once, facilitate its improvement, wherever it is requifite; and leffen the errors to
which it is liable, by contracting the field within which it is poffible to commit them.
It would appear then, that there are two opposite. extremes into which men are apt to fall, in preparing themselves for the duties of active life. The one arifes from habits of abftraction and generalifation carried to an excefs; the other from a minute, an exclufive, and an unenlightened attention to the objects and events which happen to fall under their actual experience.
In a perfect system of education, care should be taken to guard against both extremes, and to unite habits of abstraction with habits of business, in fuch a manner as to enable men to confider things, either in general, or in detail, as the occafion may require. Whichever of thefe habits may happen to gain an undue afcendant over the mind, it will neceffarily produce a character limited in its powers, and fitted only for particular ex ertions. Hence fome of the apparent inconfiftencies which we may frequently remark in the intellectual capacities of the fame perfon. One man, from an early indulgence in abstract fpeculation, poffeffes a knowledge of general principles, and a talent for general reasoning, united with a fluency and eloquence in the ufe of general terms, which feem, to the vulgar, to announce abilities fitted for any given fituation in life: while, in the conduct of the fimpleft affairs, he exhibits every mark of irrefolution and incapacity. Another not only acts with propriety, and fkill, in circumftances which require a minute attention to details, but poffeffes an acutenefs of reasoning, and a facility of expreffion on all fubjects, in which nothing
but what is particular is involved; while, on general topics, he is perfectly unable either to reafon, or to judge. It is this laft turn of mind, which I think we have, in most instances, in view, when we fpeak of good sense, or common fenfe, in oppofition to fcience and philofophy. Both philofophy and good fense imply the exercise of our reasoning powers; and they differ from each other only, according as these powers are applied to particulars or to generals. It is on good fenfe (in the acceptation in which I have now explained the term) that the fuccefs of men in the inferior walks of life chiefly depends; but, that it does not always indicate a capacity for abstract science, or for general speculation, or for able conduct in fituations which require comprehenfive views, is matter even of vulgar remark.
Although, however, each of these defects. has a tendency to limit the utility of the individuals in whom it is to be found, to certain ftations in fociety; no comparison can be made, in point of original value, between the intellectual capacities of the two claffes of men to which they characteristically belong. The one is the defect of a vigorous, an ambitious, and a comprehenfive genius, improperly directed; the other, of an understanding, minute and circumfcribed in its views, timid in its exertions, and formed for fervile imitation. Nor is the former defect, (however difficult it may be to remove it when confirmed by long habit,) by any means fo incurable as the latter; for it arises, not from original conftitution, but from fome fault in early education; while every tendency to the oppofite extreme is more or lefs characteristical
of a mind, useful, indeed, in a high degree, when confined to its proper fphere, but deftined, by the hand that formed it, to borrow its lights from another.
As an additional proof of the natural fuperiority which men of general views poffefs over the common drudges in business, it may be farther observed, that the habits of inattention incident to the former, arise in part from the little interest which they take in particular objects and particular occurrences, and are not wholly to be afcribed to an incapacity of attention. When the mind has been long accustomed to the confideration of claffes of objects and of comprehenfive theorems, it cannot, without fome degree of effort, descend to that humble walk of experience, or of action, in which the meanest of mankind are on a level with the greatest. In important fituations, accordingly, men of the most general views, are found not to be inferior to the vulgar in their attention to details; because the objects and occurrences which fuch fituations prefent, rouse their paffions, and intereft their curiofity, from the magnitude of the confequences to which they lead.
When theoretical knowledge and practical skill are happily combined in the fame perfon, the intellectual power of man appears in its full perfection; and fits him equally to conduct, with a mafterly hand, the details of ordinary bufinefs, and to contend fuccefsfully with the untried difficulties of new and hazardous fituations. In conducting the former, mere experience may frequently be a fufficient guide, but experience and fpeculation must be combined toge