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his inquiries, although, perhaps, he may not be at the trouble to state them to himself in words; and it would plainly have saved him much expence of time and thought, beside enabling him to conduct his researches on a more regular plan, if he had been taught them systematically at the commencement of his studies. The more varied, abstruse, and general investigations of the moderns, stand in need, in a much greater degree, of the guidance of philofophical principles ; not only for enabling us to conduct, with skill, our particular researches, but for directing us to the different methods of reasoning, to which we ought to have recourse on different occasions. A collection of such rules would form, what might be called with propriety, the logic of mathematics; and would probably contribute greatly to the advancement of all those branches of knowledge, to which mathematical learn. ing is subservient.

The observations which have been now made, on the importance of method in conducting physical and mathematical researches, particularly those which re. late to the last of these subjects, will not apply literally to our inquiries in metaphysics, morals, or politics ; because, in these sciences, our reasonings always confist of a comparatively small number of intermediate steps ; and the obstacles which retard our progress, do not, as in mathematics, arise from the difficulty of finding media of comparison among our ideas. Not, that these obstacles are less real, or more easily surmounted : on the contrary, it seems to require a still rarer combination of talents to surmount them; for how small is the number of individuals, who are

qualified

qualified to think justly on methaphysical, moral, or political subjects; in comparison of those, who may be trained by practice to follow the longest processes of mathematical reasoning. From what these obstacles arise, I shall not inquire particularly at present. Some of the more important of them may be referred to the imperfections of language; to the difficulty of annexing precise and steady ideas to our words ; to the dif

.. ficulry, in some cases, of conceiving the subjects of our reasoning; and, in others, of discovering, and keeping in view, all the various circumstances upon which our judgment ought to proceed ; and above all, to the prejudices which early impressions and associations create, to warp our opinions.

To illustrate these sources of error, in the different sciences which are liable to be affected by them, and to point out the most effectual means for guarding against them, would form another very interesting article, in a philosophical system of logic.

The method of communicating to others, the principles of the different sciences, has been as much neglected by the writers on logic, as the rules of investigation and discovery; and yet, there is certainly no undertaking whatever, in which their assistance is more indispensably requisite. The first principles of all the sciences are intimately connected with the philosophy of the human mind; and it is the province of the logician, to state these in such a manner, as to lay a solid foundation for the superstructures which others are to rear. It is in stating such principles, accordingly, that elementary writers are chiefly apt to fail. How unsatisfactory, for example, are the introductory

chapters

chapters in most systems of natural philosophy; not in consequence of any defect of physical or of mathematical knowledge in their authors, but in consequence of a want of attention to the laws of human thought, and to the general rules of just reasoning! The same remark may be extended to the form, in which the elementary principles of many of the other sciences are commonly exhibited; and, if I am not mistaken, this want of order, among the first ideas which they present to the mind, is a more powerful obstacle to the progress of knowledge, than is generally imagined.

I shall only observe farther, with respect to the utility of the philosophy of mind, that as there are some arts, in which we not only employ the intellectual faculties as instruments, but operate on the mind as a subject ; so, to those individuals who aim at excellence in such pursuits, the studies I have now been recommending are, in a more peculiar manner, interesting and important. In poetry, in painting, in eloquence, and in all the other fine arts, our success depends on the skill with which we are able to adapt the efforts of our genius to the human frame; and it is only on a philosophical analysis of the mind, that a solid foundation can be laid for their farther improvement. Man, too, is the subject on which the practical moralist and the enlightened statesman have to operate. Of the former, it is the professed object to engage the attention of individuals to their own best interest : and to allure them to virtue and happiness, by every consideration that can influence the understanding, the imagination, or the heart. To the latter is assigned the sublimer office of seconding the benevolent intentions of Providence in the administration of human af. fairs ; to diffuse as widely and equally as possible, among his fellow-citizens, the advantages of the social union; and, by a careful study of the constitution of man, and of the circumstances in which he is placed, to modify the political order, in such a manner as may allow free scope and operation to those principles of intellectual and moral improvement, which nature has implanted in our fpecies.

In all these cases, I am very sensible, that the utility of systematical rules has been called in question by philosophers of note; and that many plausible argu.. ments in support of their opinion, may be derived from the small number of individuals who have been regularly trained to eminence in the arts, in compari. son of those who have been guided merely by untutored genius, and the example of their predecessors. I know, too, that it may be urged with truth, that rules have, in some cases, done more harm than good; and have misled, instead of directing, the natural ex. ertions of the mind. But, in all such instances, in which philosophical principles have failed in producing their intended effect, I will venture to assert, that they have done so, either in confequence of errors, which were accidentally blended with them; or, in consequence of their possessing only that flight and partial influence over the genius, which enabled them to dea range its previously acquired habits; without regulating its operations, upon a systematical plan, with steadiness and efficacy. In all the arts of life, whether trifling or important, there is a certain degree of skill, which may be attained by our untutored powers, aided

þy

by imitation ; and this skill, instead of being perfected by rules, may, by means of them, be diminished or destroyed, if these rules are partially and imperfectly apprehended ; or even if they are not so familiarized to the understanding, as to influence its exertions uniformly and habitually. In the case of a musical performer, who has learnt his art merely by the ear, the first effects of systematical instruction are, I believe, always unfavourable. The effect is the same, of the rules of elocution, when first communicated to one who has attained, by his natural taste and good sense, a tolerable propriety in the art of reading. But it does not follow from this, that, in either of these arts, rules are useless. It only follows, that, in order to unite ease and grace with correctness, and to preserve the felicities of original genius, amidst those restraints which may give them an useful direction, it is necessary that the acquisitions of education should, by long and early habits, be rendered, in some measure, a second nature.

-The fame observations will be found to apply, with very flight alterations, to arts of more serious importance.—In the art of legislation, for example, there is a certain degree of skill, which may be acquired merely from the routine of business; and when once a politician has been formed, in this manner, among the details of office, a partial study of general principles will be much more likely to lead him astray, than to enlighten his conduct. But there is nevertheless a science of legislation, which the details of office, and the intrigues of popular afsemblies, will never communicate; a science, of which the principles must be fought for in the constitution of human nature, and

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