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operations.” In continuing, therefore, to employ upon this subject that language which has been consecrated by the practice of our best philosophical writers in England, I would not be understood to dispute the advantages which might be derived from the introduction of a new phrase, more precise and more applicable to the fact.

The ingenious author whom I last quoted, seems to think that the association of ideas has no claim to be considered as an original principle, or as an ultimate fact in our nature. “I believe," says he,“ that the original principles of the mind, of which we can give no account, but that such is our constitution, are more in number than is commonly thought. But we ought not to multiply them without necessity. That trains of thinking which by frequent repetition have become familiar, should spontaneously offer themselves to our fancy, seems to require no other original quality but the power of habit.”

With this observation I cannot agree, because I think it more philosophical to resolve the power of habit into the association of ideas, than to resolve the association of ideas into habit.

The word habit, in the sense in which it is commonly employed, expresses that facility which the mind acquires in all its exertions, both animal and intellectual, in consequence of practice. We apply it to the dexterity of the workman, to the extemporary fluency of the orator, to the rapidity of the arithmetical accountant. That this facility is the effect of practice, we know from experience to be a fact, but it does not seem to be an ultimate fact, nor incapable of analysis.

In the Essay on Attention, I showed that the effects of practice are produced partly on the body, and partly on the mind. The muscles which we employ in mechanical operations become stronger, and become more obedient to the will. This is a fact, of which it is probable that philosophy will never be able to give any explanation.

But even in mechanical operations, the effects of practice are produced partly on the mind; and, as far as this is the case, they are resolvable into what philosophers call the association of ideas, or into that general fact which Dr. Reid himself has stated, “ that trains of thinking, which, by frequent repetition, have become familiar, spontaneously offer themselves to the mind.” In the case of habits which are purely intellectual, the effects of practice resolve themselves completely into this principle: and it appears to me more precise and more satisfactory, to state the principle itself as a law of our constitution, than to slur it over under the concise appellation of habit, which we apply in common to mind and to body.

The tendency in the human mind to associate or connect its thoughts together, is sometimes called (but very improperly) the imagination. Between these two parts of our constitution, there is indeed a very intimate relation; and it is probably owing to this relation that they have been so generally confounded under the same name.

When the mind is occupied about absent objects of sense, (which, I believe, it is habitually

I in the great majority of mankind,) its train of thought is merely a series of conceptions, or, in common language, of imaginations. In the case, too, of poetical imagination, it is the association of ideas that supplies the materials out of which its combinations are formed; and when such an imaginary combination is become familiar to the mind, it is the association of ideas that connects its different parts together, and unites them into one whole. The association of ideas, therefore, although perfectly distinct from the power of imagination, is immediately and essentially subservient to all its exertions.

The last observation seems to me to point out, also, the circumstance which has led the greater part of English writers to use the words Imagination and Fancy as synonymous. It is obvious that a creative imagination, when a person possesses it so habitually that it may be regarded as forming one of the characteristics of his genius, implies a power of summoning up, at pleasure, a particular class of ideas,—and of ideas related to

1 Accordingly, Hobbes calls the train of thought in the mind, “Consequentia sive series imaginationum."

seriem imaginationum intelligo successionem unius cogitationis ad aliam.”Leviathan, cap. iii.


each other in a particular manner,—which power can be the result only of certain habits of association which the individual has acquired. It is to this power of the mind, which is evidently a particular turn of thought, and not one of the common principles of our nature, that our best writers (so far as I am able to judge) refer, in general, when they make use of the word fancy : I say, in general; for in disquisitions of this sort, in which the best writers are seldom precise and steady in the employment of words, it is only to their prevailing practice that we can appeal as an authority. What the particular relations are, by which those ideas are connected that are subservient to poetical imagination, I shall not inquire at present. I think they are chiefly those of resemblance and analogy. But whatever they may be, the power of summoning up at pleasure the ideas so related, as it is the ground-work of poetical genius, is of sufficient importance in the human constitution to deserve an appropriated name; and, for this purpose, the word fancy would appear to be the most convenient that our language affords.

Dr. Reid has somewhere observed, that “the part of our constitution on which the association of ideas depends, was called, by the older English writers, the fantasy or fancy,—a use of the word, we may remark, which coincides, in many instances, with that which I propose to make of it. It differs from it only in this, that these writers applied it to the association of ideas in general, whereas I restrict its application to that habit of association, which is subservient to poetical imagination.

According to the explanation which has now been given of the word Fancy, the office of this power is to collect materials for the Imagination ; and, therefore, the latter power presupposes the former, while the former does not necessarily suppose the latter. A man, whose habits of association present to him, for illustrating or embellishing a subject, a number of resembling or of analogous ideas, we call a man of fancy; but for an effort of imagination, various other powers are necessary, particularly the powers of taste and of judgment, without which we can hope to produce nothing that will be a source of pleasure to others. It is the power of fancy which supplies the poet with metaphorical language, and with all the analogies which are the foundation of his allusions ; but it is the power of imagination that creates the complex scenes he describes, and the fictitious characters he delineates. To fancy, we apply the epithets of rich or luxuriant,—to imagination, those of beautiful or sublime.



The facts which I stated in the former Section, to illustrate the tendency of a perception, or of an idea, to suggest ideas related to it, are so obvious as to be matter of common remark. But the relations which connect all our thoughts together, and the laws which regulate their succession, were but little attended to before the publication of Mr. Hume’s writings.

It is well known to those who are in the least conversant with the present state of metaphysical science, that this eminent writer has attempted to reduce all the principles of association among our ideas to three : Resemblance, Contiguity in time and place, and Cause and Effect. The attempt was great, and worthy of his genius; but it has been shown by several writers since his time, that his enumeration is not only incomplete, but it is even indistinct, so far as it goes.

See, in particular, Lord Kames's does not immediately occur, are chiefly Elements of Criticism, and Dr. Gerard's three, [four]—Resemblance, Contrariety, Essay on Genius. See also Dr. Camp- and Contiguity." -- See Dissertations, bell's Philosophy of Rhcloric, vol. i. p. Moral and Crirical, p. 9; also, p. 145. 197.

The passage to which Dr. Beattie It is observed by Dr. Beattie, that refers is as follows: something like an attempt to enumerate "Οταν ούν αναμιμνησκώμεθα, κινούμεθα the laws of association is to be found in των προτέρων τινα κινήσεων, έως αν κινηAristotle ; who, in speaking of Recol- 9ωμεν, μεθ' ήν εκείνη είωθε. Διό και το lection, insinuates, with his usual bre- εφεξής θηρεύομεν νοήσαντες από του νυν, vity, that “the relations by which we ή άλλου τινός, και αφ' ομοίου, ή εναντίον are led from one thought to another, in ή του σύνεγγυς. Διά τούτο γίνεται η ανάμtracing out, or hunting after," as he --Aristot de Memor, el Reminisc. calls it, “any particular thought which

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It is not necessary for my present purpose that I should enter into a critical examination of this part of Mr. Hume's system ; or that I should attempt to specify those principles of association which he has omitted. Indeed, it does not seem to me that the problem admits of a satisfactory solution ; for there is no possible relation among the objects of our knowledge, which may not serve to connect them together in the mind; and therefore although one enumeration may be more comprehensive than another, a perfectly complete enumeration is scarcely to be expected.

Nor is it merely in consequence of the relations among things, that our notions of them are associated: they are frequently coupled together by means of relations among the words which denote them ; such as a similarity of sound, or other circumstances still more trifling. The alliteration which is so common in poetry, and in proverbial sayings, seems to arise, partly at least, from associations of ideas founded on the accidental circumstance of the two words which express them beginning with the same letter.

“But thousands die, without or this or that,
Die ; and endow a college, or a cat."

--Pope's Ep. to Lord Bathurst. “Ward tried, on puppies, and the poor, his drop.”—Id. Imitation of Horace.

" Puffs, powders, patches; bibles, billets-doux.”—Id. Rape of the Lock.

This indeed pleases only on slight occasions, when it may be supposed that the mind is in some degree playful, and under the influence of those principles of association which commonly take place when we are careless and disengaged. Every person must be offended with the second line of the following couplet, which forms part of a very sublime description of the Divine power :

“ Breathes in our soul, informs our niortal part,

As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart.”—Id. Essay on Jan, Ep. 1. To these observations it may be added, that things which have no known relation to each other are often associated, in consequence of their producing similar effects on the mind.

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