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more pains than they have been at hitherto, to ascertain the various effects which are produced on the memory by disease and old age. These effects are widely diversified in different cases. In fome it would seem that the memory is impaired, in confequence of a diminution of the power of atten. tion; in others, that the power of recollection is disturbed, in confequence of a derangement of that part of the constitution on which the affociation of ideas depends. The decay of memory, which is the common effect of age, seems to arise from the former of these caụses. It is probable, that, as we advance in years, the capacity of attention is weakened by some physical change in the constitution, but it is also reasonable to think, that it loses its vigor partly from the effect which the decay of our fensibility, and the extinction of our passions, have, in diminishing the intereft which we feel in the common occurrences of life. That no derangement takes place, in ordinary cases, in that part of the constitution on which the affociation of ideas depend's, appears from the distinct and circumstantial recollection which old men retain of the transactions of their youth.* In fome difeases, this part of the conftitution is evidently affected. A stroke of the palfy has been known, (while it did not destroy the power of speech,) to render the patient incapable of recollecting the names


* Swift somewhere expresses his surprise, that old men should remember their anecdotes so distinctly, and should, notwithstanding, have so little memory as to tell the same story twice in the course of the same conversation; and a similar remark is made by Montaigne, in one of his Essays : “ Surtout les Vieillards sont 66 dangereux, à qui la souvenance des choses passées demeure, et "ont perdu la souvenance de leurs redites."

Liv. i. chap. ix. (Des Menteurs.) The fact seems to be, that wil their old ideas remain in the mind, connected as formerly by the different associating principles; but that the power of attention to new ideas and new occurrences is impaired.

of the most familiar objects. What is still more remarkable, the name of an object has been known to suggest the idea of it as formerly, although the light of the object ceased to suggest the name.

In so far as this decay of memory which old age brings along with it, is a necessary consequence of a physical changein the constitution, or a necessary con. fequence of a diminution of sensibility, it is the part of a wise man to submit cheerfully to the lot of his nature. But it is not unreasonable to think, that fomething may be done by our own efforts, to obviate the inconveniences which commonly result from it. If individuals, who, in the early part of life, have weak memories, are sometimes able to remedy this defect, by a greater attention to arrangement in their transactions, and to classification among their ideas, than is necessary to the bulk of nankind, might it not be possible, in the same way, to ward off, at least to a certain degree, the encroachments which time makes on this faculty ? The few old men who continue in the active scenes of life to the last moment, it has been often remarked, complain, in general, much less of a want of recollection, than their cotemporaries. This is undoubtedly owing partly to the effect which the pursuits of business must necessarily have, in keeping alive the power

of attention. But it is probably owing also to new habits of arrangement, which the mind gradually and insensibly forms, from the experience of its growing infirmities. The apparent revival of memory in old men, after a temporary decline, (which is a cafe that happens not unfrequently,) seems to favor this supposition.

One old inan, I have, myself, had the good fortune to know, who, after a long, an active, and an honorable life, having begur to feel some of the usu. al effects of advanced years, has been able to find re. sources in his own fagacity, against most of the in.

conveniences with which they are commonly attended; and who, by watching his gradual decline with the cool eye of an indifferent observer, and employing his ingenuity to retard its progress, has converted

even the infirmities of age into a source of philofophical amusement,


Of the Varieties of Memory in different Individuals.

IT is generally supposed, that, of all our faculties, Memory is that which nature has bestowed in the most unequal degrees on different individuals; and it is far from being impossible that this opinion may be well founded. If, however, we consider, that there is scarcely any man who has not memory fuf, ficient to learn the use of language, and to learn to recognize, at the first glance, the appearances of an infinite number of familiar objects , besides acquiring such an acquaintance with the laws of nature, and the ordinary course of human affairs, as is ne. cessary for directing his conduct in life ; we shall be fatisfied that the original disparities among men, in this respect, are by no means fo immense as they seem to be at first view ; and that much is to be afcribed to different habits of attention, and to a difference of selection among the various objects and events presented to their curiosity.

As the great purpose to which this faculty is subservient, is to enable us to collect, and to retain, for the future regulation of our conduct, the results of our past experience ; it is evident that the de, gree of perfection which it attains in the case of different perfons, must vary ; first, with the facility of making the original acquisition ; fec

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ondly, with the permanence of the acquisition ; and thirdly, with the quickness or readiness with which the individual is able, on particular occasions, to apply it to use. The qualities, therefore, of a good memory are, in the first place, to be sufceptible ; secondly, to be retentive ; and thirdly, to be ready.

It is but rarely that these three qualities are united in the fame person. We often, indeed, meet with a memory which is at once susceptible and ready; but I doubt much, if {uch memories be commoniy very retentive : for, susceptibility and readiness are both connected with a facility of affociating ideas, according to their more obvious relations ; whereas retentiveness, or tenaciousness of memory, depends principally on what is seldom united with this facility, a disposition to system and to philosophical arrangement. These observations it will be ne. ceffary to illustrate more particularly.

I have already remarked, in treating of a different fubject, that the bulk of mankind, being but little accustomed to reflect and to generalize, associate their ideas chiefly according to their more obvious relations; thofe, for example, of resemblance and of analogy; and above all, according to the casual relations arising from contiguity in time and place : whereas, in the mind of a philosopher, ideas are commonly associated according to those relations which are brought to light in confequence of par. ticular efforts of attention ; such as the relations of Cause and Effect, or of Premises and Conclufion. This difference in the modes of affociation of these two claffes of men, is the foundation of some very striking diverfities between them in respect of intellectual character.

In the first place, in confequence of the nature of the relations which connect ideas together in the mind of the philosopher, it must necessarily happen, that when he has occasion to apply to use his acquired knowledge, time and reflection will be requisite to enable him to recollect it. In the case of those, on the other hand, who have not been accus. tomed to scientific pursuits; as their ideas are connected together according to the moft obvious relations; when any one idea of a class is presented to the mind, it is immediately followed by the others, which succeed each other spontaneously according to the laws of association. In managing, therefore, the little details of some subaltern employment, in which all that is acquired, is a knowledge of forms, and a disposition to observe them, the want of a fystematical genius is an important advantage; because this want renders the mind peculiarly susceptible of habits, and allows the train of its ideas to accommodate itself perfectly to the daily and hourly occurrences of its fituation. But if, in this respect, men of no general principles have an advantage over the philosopher, they fall greatly below him in another point of view; inafinuch as all the information which they possess, muft necessarily be limited by their own proper experience ; whereas the philosopher, who is accustomed to refer every thing to general principles, is not only enabled, by means of these, to arrange the facts which experience has taught him, but by reasoning from his principles synthetically, has it often in his power to determine facts a priori, which he has no opportunity of ascertaining by observation.

It follows farther, from the foregoing principles, that the intellectual defects of the philosopher, are of a much more corrigible nature, than those of the mere man of detail. If the former is thrown by accident into a scene of bufiness, more time will perhaps be necessary to qualify him for it, than would be requisite for the generality of mankind ; but time and experience will infallibly, fooner or later, fa

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