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come dexterrus in the application of it. Another, of more ingenuity, will examine the principle of the rule before he applies it to use, and will scarcely take the trouble to commit to memory a process, which he knows he can, at any time, with a little reflection, recover. The consequence will be, that, in the prac. tice of calculation, he will appear more flow and hef. itating, than if he followed the received rules of arithmetic without reflection or reasoning.
Something of the same kind happens every day in conversation. By far the greater part of the opinions we announce in it, are not the immediate result of reasoning on the spot, but have been previ. oufly formed in the closet, or perhaps have been adopted implicitly on the authority of others. The promptitude, therefore, with which a man decides in ordinary discourse, is not a certain test of the quickness of his apprehension ;* as it may perhaps arise from those uncommon efforts to furnish the memo. ry with acquired knowledge, by which men of flow parts endeavor to compensate for their want of invention; while, on the other hand, it is pofsible that a consciousness of originality may give rise to a' manner apparently embarrassed, hy leading the person who feels it, to trust too much to extempore exertions.
* Memoria facit prompti ingenii famam, ut illa quæ dicimus non domo attulisse, sed ibi protinus sumpsisse videamur.
QUINCIIL. Inst. Orat. lib. xi. cap. 2.
# In the foregoing observations it is not meant to be implied, that originality of genius is incompatible with a ready recollection of acquired knowledge; but only that it has a tendency unfavorable to it, and that more time and practice will commonly be necessary to familiarise the mind of a man of invention to the ideas of others, or even to the conclusions of his own understanding, than are requisite in ordinary cases. Habits of literary conversation, and, still more, habits of extempore discussion in a popular assembly, are peculiarly useful in giving us a ready and practical com
In general, I believe it may be laid down as a rule, that those who carry about with them a great degree of acquired information, which they have always at command, or who have rendered their own discoveries so familiar to them, as always to be in a condition to explain them, without recollection, are very feldom possessed of much invention, or even of much quickness of apprehension. A man of origin. al genius, who is fond of exercising his reasoning powers anew on every point as it occurs to him, and who cannot submit to rehearse the ideas of others, or to repeat by rote the conclusions which he has deduced from previous reflection, often appears, to superficial observers, to fall below the level of or dinary understandings; while another, destitute both of quickness and invention, is admired for that promptitude in his decisions, which arises from the inferiority of his intelicaual abilities.
It mult indeed be acknowledged in favor of the last description of men, that in ordinary conversation they form the most agreeable, and perhaps the most instructive, companions. How inexhaustible foever the invention of an individual may be, the variety of his own peculiar ideas can bear no proportion to the whole mass of useful and curious information of which the world is already possessed. The conversation, accordingly, of men of genius, is sometimes extremely limited ; and is interesting to the few alone, who know the value, and who can distinguish the marks of originality. In consequence too of that partiality which every man feels for his own speculations, they are more in danger of being dogmatical and disputatious, than those who have no system which they are interelted to defend.
mand of our knowledge. There is much good sense in the following aphorism of Bacon: “ Reading makes a full man, writing a “ correct man, and speaking a ready man.” See a commentary on this aphorism in one of the Numbers of the Adventurer.
The same observations may be applied to authors. A book which contains the discoveries of one individual only, may be admired by a few, who are intimately acquainted with the history of the science to which it relates, but it has little chance for popularity with the multitude. An author who possesses industry sufficient to collect the ideas of others, and judgment sufficient to arrange them skilfully, is the most likely person to acquire a high degree of literary fame : and although, in the opinion of enlightened judges, invention forms the chief characteristic of genius, yet it commonly happens that the objects of public admiration are men who are much less diftinguished by this quality, than by extensive learning and cultivated taste. Perhaps too, for the mul.-titude, the latter class of authors is the most useful; as their writings contain the more folid discoveries which others have brought to light, separated from those errors with which truth is often blended in the first formation of a fyftem.
Analysis of Imagination.
IN attempting to draw the line between Conception and Imagination, I have already observed, that the province of the former is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have formerly felt and
perceived ; that of the latter, to make a selection of qualities and of circumstances from a variety of different objects, and by combining and disposing these, to form a new creation of its own.
According to the definitions adopted, in general, by modern philosophers, the province of imagination would appear to be limited to objects of light. “ It is the fenfe of fight,” (says Mr. Addison,)“ which “ furnishes the Imagination with its ideas; so that by the pleasures of
Imagination, I here mean such s6 as arise from visible objects, either when we have “ them actually in view, or when we call up their 166 ideas into our minds, by paintings, statues, def
criptions, or any the like occasions. We cannot, s indeed, have a single image in the fancy, that did “ not make its firit entrance through the fight.” Agreeably to the same view of the subject, Dr. Reid oblerves, that “ Imagination properly lignifies a live
ly conception of objects of light; the former pow.
er being distinguished from the latter, as a part * from the whole."
That this limitation of the province of imagination to one particular class of our perceptions is altogether arbitrary, seems to me to be evident ; for, although the greater part of the materials which Imagination combines be supplied by this sense, it is nev. ertheless indisputable, that our other perceptive faculties also contribute occasionally their share. How many pleasing images have been borrowed from the fragrance of the fields and the melody of the groves; not to mention that fifter art, whose magical influ. ence over the human frame, it has been, in all ages, the highest boast of poetry to celebrate ! In the fol. lowing passage, even the more gross sensations of Taste form the subject of an ideal repast, on which it is impoflible not to dwell with some complacency; particularly after a perufal of the preceding lines, in which the Poet describes “ the wonders of the Tor. rid Zone."
Bear me, Pomona! to thy citron groves ;
What an afsemblage of other conceptions, differ. ent from all those hitherto mentioned, has the genius of Virgil combined in one diftich !
Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori,
These observations are sufficient to show, how inadequate a notion of the province of Imagination (considered even in its reference to the sensible world) is conveyed by the definitions of Mr. Addison and of Dr. Reid.—But the sensible world, it must be remembered, is not the only field where Imagination exerts her powers. All the objects of human knowl. edge supply materials to her forming hand; diver. fifying infinitely the works fhe produces, while the mode of her operation remains effentially uniform. As it is the same power of Reasoning which enables us to carry on our investigations with respect to individual objects, and with respect to claffes or gene.
so it was by the same processes of analysis and
* Thomson's Summer.