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fernal senses, and in the mechanical capacities of the body. All these elements of practical skill, it is obvious, are to be acquired only by habits of active exertion, and by a familiar acquaintance with real oc. currences; for, as all' the practical principles of our nature, both intellectual and animal, have a reference to particulars, and not to generals, so it is in the active scenes of life alone, and amidit the details of bu. Giness, that they can be cultivated and improved.

The remarks which have been already made, are sufficient to illustrate the impoffibility of acquiring a talent for business, or for any of the practical arts of life, without actual experience. They fhew also, that mere experience, without theory, may qualify a man, in certain cases, for distinguishing 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 situations of society, or even for enriching the arts by new inventions ; for, as their address and dexterity are founded entirely on imitation, or derived from the lessons which experience has fuggested to them, they cannot possibly extend to new combinations of circumstances. Mere experience, therefore, can, at best, prepare the mind for the fubordinate departments of life ; for conducting the established routine of business, or fur a servile 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 insufficiency of mere experience to qualify a nian for new and untried situations in the adminiftration of government. The observations he makes on this subject, are expressed with his usual beauty and felicity of language ; and are of fo general a nature, that, with fome trifling alterations, they may be ex: tended to all the practical pursuits of life.

“ Mr. Grenville was bred to the law, which is, in:

my opinion, one of the first and noblest of human " sciences ; a science which does more to quicken " and invigorate the understanding, than all the oth“ er kinds of learning put together ; but it is not

apt, except in persons very happily born, to open 6 and to liberalise the mind exactly in the same pro

portion. Paffing from that study, he did not go “ very largely into the world, but plunged into bu. “ finess ; I mean, into business of office, and the lim66 ited and fixed methods and forms established “there. Much knowledge is to be had, undoubted. “ ly, in that line; and there is no knowledge which “ is not valuable. But it may be truly faid, that “ men too much conversant in office, are rarely “ minds of remarkable enlargement. Their habits “ of office are apt to give them a turn to think the “ fubftance of business not to be much more impor “ tant, than the forms in which it is conducted. « These forms are adapted to ordinary occasions ; “ and, therefore, persons who are nurtured in office, “ do admirably well, as long as things go on in their “ common order ; but when the high roads are bro “ ken up, and the waters out, when a new and “ troubled scene is opened, and the file affords no

precedent, then it is, that a greater knowledge of “ mankind, and a far more extensive comprehention " of things, is requisite, than ever office gave, or than 66 office can ever give."

Nor is it in new combinations of circumstances alone, that general principles affist 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 cases in which this skill is to be em. ployed ; and thus, at once, facilitate its improvement, wherever it is requisite; and leflen the errors

to which it is liable, by contracting the field within which it is possible to commit them.

It would appear then, that there are two opposite extremes into which men are apt to fall, in prepar. ing themselves for the duties of active lite. The one arises from habits of abstraction and generalisation carried to an excess; the other from a minute, an exclusive, 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 abftraction with habits of business, in such a manner as to enable men to confider things, either in general, or in detail, as the occasion may require. Whichever of these habits may happen to gain an undue ascendant over the mind, it will necessarily produce a character limited in its powers, and fitted only for particular exertions. Hence some of the apparent inconfiftencies which we may frequently remark in the intellectual capacities of the same perfon. One man, from an early indulgence in abftract speculation, pofsefses a knowledge of general principles, and a talent for general reasoning, united with a fluency and eloquence in the use of general terms, which seem, to the vulgar, to announce abili. ties fitted for any given fituation in life: while, in the conduct of the simplest affairs, he exhibits every mark of irresolution, and incapacity. Another not only acts with propriety, and skill, in circumstances which require a minute attention to details, but poffeffes an acuteness of reasoning, and a facility of expression on all subjects, in which nothing but what is particular is involved; while, on general topics, he is perfectly unable either to reason, or to judge. It is this last turn of mind, which I think we have, in most instances, in view, when we speak of good fense, or common sense, in opposition to science and philosophy. Both philosophy and good sense 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 sense (in the acceptation in which I have now explained the term) that the success of men in the interior 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 situations which require comprehensive views, is matter even of vulgar remark.

Although, however, cach of these defects has a tendency to limit the utility of the individuals in whom it is to be found, to certain stations in focie. ty ; no comparison can be made, in point of origin. al 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 comprehensive genius, improperly directed ; the other, of an understanding, minute and circumscribed in its views, timid in its exertions, and formed for servile imitation. Nor is the for. mer 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 constitution, but from some fault in early eduration ; while every tendency to the opposite extreme is more or less characteristical of a mind, useful, indeed, in a high degree, when confined to its proper sphere, but destined, by the hand that formed it, to borrow its lights from another.

As an additional proof of the natural superiority 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 ascribed to an incapacity of attention. When the mind has been long accustom. ed to the consideration of classes of objects and of comprehensive theorems, it cannot, without some degree of effort, defcend 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 such situations present, rouse their passions, and interest their curiosity, from the magnitude of the consequences to which they lead.

When theoretical knowledge and practical skill are happily combined in the fame person, the intellectual power of man appears in its full perfection ; and fits him equally to conduct, with a masterly hand, the details of ordinary business, and to con. tend successfully with the untried difficulties of new and hazardous situations. In conducting the for. mer, mere experience may frequently be a sufficient guide, but experience and speculation must be com. bined together to prepare us for the latter.

« Expert men,” fays Lord Bacon, “ can execute and * judge of particulars one by one; but the general “ counsels, and the plots, and the marshalling of af“ fairs, come beft from those that are learned.”

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Continuation of the fame Subject.-Use and Abuse of gen

eral Principles in Politics.*

THE foregoing remarks, on the dangers to be apprehended from a rath application of general prin

* The events which have happened since the pablication of the former edition of this volume in 1792, might have enabled me to

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