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them up in certain cells or repofitories, to remain there till we had occafion for them. But thoughts cannot occupy space; nor be conceived to have any other exiftence, than what the mind gives them by meditating upon them. Yet, that which has been long forgotten, nay, that which we have often endeavoured in vain to recollect, will fometimes, without any effort of ours, occur to us, on a fudden, and, if I may fo fpeak, of its own accord. A tune, for example, which I hear to-day, and am pleased with, I perhaps endeavour to remember to-morrow, and next day, and the day following, without fuccefs: and yet, that very tune fhall occur to me, a month after, when my mind is taken up with fomething else. Where, if I may ask the queftion, were my ideas of this tune, when I wished to recollect them, and could not? How comes it, that they now present themselves, when I am not thinking of them at all? These questions no man can answer: but the fact is certain.

Often, when we do not immediately call to mind what we wish to remember, we fet ourfelves, as it were, to farch for it; we meditate on other things or perfons, that feem to be like it, or contrary to it, or contiguous, or to bear any other relation to what we are in queft of; and thus, perhaps, we at laft remember it. This continued effort of voluntary remembrance is called Recollection. It resembles the procedure of thofe, who, miffing fomething valuable, look for it in every place where they think they might

* Διὸ καὶ τὸ ἔρεξης θηρεύομεν νοήσαντες ἀπὸ τὸ νῦν, ἢ ἄλλα τινὸς καὶ ἀφ ̓ ὁμοίου, η εναντία, ἢ τὰ συνέργυς, διὰ τὸ το γὰρ ἡ ἀναμνησιν. Ariftot. de Memoria et Reminifcentia, cap. 2.

have been when they dropped it; and thus recover what they had loft. For the laft mentioned fact it is eafy to account. A jewel, or a piece of coin, is a visible, tangible, and permanent thing, and must remain in its place till it be removed: and, if we come to that place, and examine it with attention, we can hardly fail to find what we are in queft of. But, where a thought should be, when it is forgotten; how it should have any permanency or any existence, when it is no longer in the mind; and what fhould reftore it to our memory, after a long interval of forgetfulness; are points, whereon human wisdom can determine nothing.

Is it not wonderful, that old men fhould remember more accurately what happened fifty years ago, than the affairs of laft week? And yet that, in many cafes, our remembrance of any fact fhould be accurate in proportion to its recency? It may be faid, indeed, that the more we attend, the better we remember; and that old men are forgetful of thofe things only, to which they are inattentive; for that not one of them ever forgot the place where he had depofited his money. All this is true, as Cicero remarks in his book on Old Age: but how we come to remember that beft, to which we are most attentive, we can no otherwife explain, than by faying, that fuch is the law of our nature.

To account for this, and other phænomena of Memory, by intermediate caufes, many authors, both antient and modern, were fain to fuppofe, that every thing perceived by us, whether a thought of the mind, or an external object, every thing, in a word, that we remember,


makes upon the brain a certain impreffion, which, remaining for fome time after, is taken notice of by the mind, and recognized, as the mark of that particular fenfation or idea; and that this fenfation or idea, thus obtruded upon us anew, gives rife to remembrance. They fuppofed further, that attention to the thing perceived deepens this impreffion, and, confequently, makes it more durable; while that, to which we flightly attend, makes but a flight impreffion that foon wears out. When the brain itfelf is difordered, by disease, by drunkenness, or by other accidents, thefe philofophers are of opinion, that the impreffions are disfigured, or inftantly erased, or not at all received; in which cafe, there is either no remembrance, or a confused one: and they think, that the brains of old men, grown callous by length of time, are like hard wax, equally tenacious of old impreffions, and unfufceptible of new. Many plaufible things may indeed be faid, for folving the difficulties above mentioned, if we will only admit this theory. But it muft, notwithstanding, be rejected; and that for feveral good reasons.

The human brain is a bodily fubftance; and fenfible and permanent impreffions made upon it must fo far refemble thofe made on fand by the foot, or on wax by the feal, as to have a certain fhape, length, breadth, and deepnefs. Now fuch an impreffion can only be made by that, which has folidity, magnitude, and figure. If then we remember thoughts, feelings, and founds, as well as things vifible and tangible, which will hardly be denied; thofe founds, thoughts, and feelings, must have body, and,


confequently, fhape, fize, and weight. What then is the fize or weight of a found? Is it an inch long, or half an inch? Does it weigh an ounce, or a grain? Does the roar of a cannon bear any resemblance to the ball, or to the powder, in shape, in weight, or in magnitude? What figure has the pain of the toothach, and our remembrance of that pain? Is it triangular, or circular, or of a fquare form? The bare mention of thefe confequences may prove the abfurdity of the theories that lead to them.

Moreover; fuppofing impreffions to be made on the brain, I would afk, bow the mind perceives them, and why at one time more than at another? Does the human foul go up to the pia mater, as a housewife does to her garret, only at certain times? Or, if the make it her place of abode, are there any corners of it which he is unacquainted with, or neglects to look into? Nay, admitting this fuppofition, we fhould be apt to conclude, from the facts already fpecified, that fome of these impreffions do occafionally force themfelves into notice, when the foul is differently employed; and that the often looks for others, without being able to find them, as if they were loft, or mislaid.-To all which we may add, that the theory in queftion ought not to find a place in philofophy, because incapable of proof from experience; it being impoffible, with bodily eyes, to discover, in what way the human brain may be affected by thinking and perceiving.-And therefore, without employing more time in vain inquiries after the cause of remembrance, let us be fatisfied, if, from what we certainly know of this faculty, we can propofe any rules for its improvement.


But, before I proceed to a more particular account of its appearances and laws, it may be proper to remark, that a sound state of the brain does in fact feem to be neceffary to the right exercise of Memory, as well as of our other intellectual powers. Memory is often fufpended during fleep, and is alfo impaired by diftemper, by old age, and by sudden and violent accidents. Thucydides, in his account of the plague at Athens, relates, that fome perfons furvived that dreadful disease, with fuch a total lofs of memory, that they forgot their friends, themselves, and every thing elfe. I have read of a perfon, who, falling from the top of a house, forgot all his acquaintance, and even the faces of his own family; and of a learned author, who, on receiving a blow on the head by a folio dropping from its shelf, loft all his learning, and was obliged to study the alphabet a fecond time. There goes a story of another great scholar, who, by a like accident, was deprived, not of all his learning, but only of his Greek.-One may question fome of these facts: but what follows is certainly true. I know a clergyman, who, upon recovering from a fit of apoplexy about twenty years ago, was found to have forgotten all the tranfactions of the four years immediately preceding; but remembered as well as ever what had happened before that period. The newspapers of the time were then a great amufement to him; for almost every thing he found in them was matter of furprise: and, during the period I fpeak of, fome very important events had taken place, particularly the acceffion of his prefent Majefty, and many of the victories of

It was, I think, in the year, 1761.


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