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The following allusion, in one of Mr. Home's tragedies, appears to me to unite almost every excellence :

Hope and fear, alternate, sway'd his breast;
“ Like light and shade upon a waving field,
« Coursing each other, when the flying clouds
« Now hide, and now reveal, the Sun."

Here the analogy is remarkably perfect; not only between light and hope, and between darkness and fear; but between the rapid succession of light and shade, and the momentary influences of these oppo. fite emotions : while, at the same time, the new image which is presented to us, recals one of the most pleafing and impressive incidents in rural scenery.

The foregoing observations suggest a reason why the principal stores of Fancy are commonly fupposed to be borrowed from the material world. Wit has a more extensive province, and delights to display it's power

of prompt and unexpected combination over all the various classes of our ideas : but the favourite excursions of Fancy, are from intellectual and moral subjects to the appearances with which our senses are conversant. The truth is, that such allusions please more than any others in poetry. According to this limited idea of Fancy, it presupposes, where it is pof. sessed in an eminent degree, an extensive observation of natural objects, and a mind susceptible of strong im. pressions from them. It is thus only that a stock of images can be acquired; and that these images will be ready to present themselves, whenever any analogous subject occurs. And hence probably it is, that poetical genius is almost always united with an exquisite fenfibility to the beauties of nature.


Before leaving the subject of Fancy, it may not be improper to remark, that its two qualities are, liveliness and luxuriancy. The word lively refers to the quickness of the association. The word rich or luxuriant, to the variety of associated ideas.

IV. Of Invention in the Arts and Sciences. To these powers of Wit and Fancy, that of Invention in the Arts and Sciences has a striking resemblance. Like them it implies a command over certain classes of ideas, which, in ordinary men, are not equally subject to the will: and like them, too, it is the result of acquired habits; and not the original gift of nature.

Of the process of the mind in scientific invention, I propose afterwards to treat fully, under the article of Reasoning ; and I shall therefore confine myself at present to a few detached remarks upon some views of the subject which are suggested by the foregoing inquiries.

Before we proceed, it may be proper to take notice of the distinction between Invention and Disco. very. The object of the former, as has been frequently remarked, is to produce something which had no existence before ; that of the latter, to bring to light something which did not exist, but which was concealed from common observation.

Thus we say, Otto Guerricke invented the air-pump; Sanctorius invented the thermometer; Newton and Gregory invented the reflecting telescope ; Galileo discovered the folar spots; and Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood. It appears, therefore, that improvements in the Arts are properly called inventions; and that facts brought to light by means of observation, are properly called discoveries.

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Agreeable to this analogy, is the use which we make of these words, when we apply them to subjects purely intellectual. As truth is eternal and im. mutable, and has no dependence on our belief or disbelief of it, a person who brings to light a truth formerly unknown, is said to make a discovery. A person, on the other hand, who contrives a new method of discovering truth, is called an inventor. Pythagoras, we say, discovered the forty-seventh propofition of Euclid's first book; Newton discovered the binomial theorem : but he invented the method of prime and ultimate ratios ; and he invented the method of fluxions.

In general, every advancement in knowledge is considered as a discovery ; every contrivance by which we produce an effect, or accomplish an end, is considered as an invention. Discoveries in science, therefore, unless they are made by accident, imply the exercise of invention; and, accordingly, the word invention is commonly used to express originality of genius in the Sciences, as well as in the Arts. It is in this general sense that I employ it in the following observations.

It was before remarked, that in every instance of invention, there is some new idea, or some new com. bination of ideas, which is brought to light by the inventor; and that, although this may sometimes happen, in a way which he is unable to explain, yet

when a man possesses an habitual fertility of invention in any particular Art or Science, and can rely, with confidence, on his inventive powers, whenever he is called upon to exert them; he must have acquired, by previous habits of study, a command over those claffes of his ideas, which are fubfervient to the particular effort that he wishes to make. In what manner this command is acquired, it is not poslible, perhaps, to explain completely ; but it appears to me to be chiefly in the two following ways. In the first place, by his habits of speculation, he may have arranged his knowledge in such a manner as may render it eafy for him to combine, at pleasure, all the various ideas in his mind, which have any relation to the subject about which he is occupied : or, secondly, he may have learned by experience, certain general rules, by means of which, he can direct the train of his thoughts into those channels in which the ideas he is in quest of may be most likely to occur to him.

1. The former of these observations, I shall not stop to illustrate particularly, at present ; as the same subject will occur afterwards, under the article of Memory. It is sufficient for my purpose, in this chapter, to remark, that as habits of speculation have a tendency to classify our ideas, by leading us to refer particular facts and particular truths to general prin. ciples; and as it is from an approximation and comparison of related ideas, that new discoveries in most instances result, the knowledge of the philosopher, even fuppofing that it is not more extensive, is arranged in a manner much more favourable to invention, than in a mind unaccustomed to syftem.

How much invention depends on a proper combination of the materials of our knowledge, appears from the resources which occur to men of the lowest degree of ingenuity, when they are pressed by any alarming difficulty and danger ; and from the unex. pected exertions made by very ordinary characters, when called to fituations which rouse their latent powers.

In such cases, I take for granted, that necessity operates in producing invention, chiefly by concentrating the attention of the mind to one set of ideas ; by leading us to view these in every light, and to combine them variously with each other. As the fame idea may be connected with an infinite variety of others by different relations ; it may, according to circumstances, at one time, fuggest one of these ideas, and, at another time, a different one. When we dwell long on the same idea, we obtain all the others to which it is any way related ; and thus are furnished with materials on which our powers of judgment and reasoning may be employed. The effect of the division of labour, in multiplying mecha. nical contrivances, is to be explained partly on the same principle. It limits the attention to a particular subject, and familiarises to the mind all the possi. ble combinations of ideas which have any relation to it.

These observations suggest a remarkable difference between Invention and Wit. The former depends, in most instances, on a combination of those ideas, which are connected by the less obvious principles of association ; and it may be called forth in almost any mind by the pressure of external circumstances. . The

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