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met in the street, would lay down their loads, open their sacks, and hold conversation for an hour together, then put up their imple. ments, help each other to resume their burdens, and take their leave."*
I cannot but think, that, to a genius like that of Swift, a finer subject of philosophical ridicule, than the mere difficulty which his sages felt in carrying a sufficient stock of things about with them, might have been found in their awkward attempts to make these things supply the place of abstract language. In his own great field of political irony, for example, how many subjects of happy satire might he have found in the einbleins, to which his patriots and courtiers, in their most zealous professions of public devotion, might have been obliged to have recourse; the painful awkwardness of the political expectant of places and dignities, who was outwardly to have no wish but for the welfare of his country, yet could find nothing but mitres, and maces, and seals, and pieces of stamped metal, with which to express the purity of his disinterested patriotism; and the hurrying eagerness of the statesman, to change instantly the whole upholstery of language in his house, for new political furniture, in consequence of the mere accident of his rem from office.
Without the use of any such satirical demonstration of the doctrine, however, it is sufficiently evident, that if man had no general terms, verbal language could be but of very feeble additional aid to the language of natural signs; and, if the situation of man would be thus deplorable without the mere signs of general notions, how infinitely more so must it have been, if he had been incapable of the very notions themselves. The whole conduct of life is a perpetual practical application of the intuitive maxim, that similar antecedents will be followed by similar consequents, -which implies the necessity, in every case, of some rude classification of objects as similar. The fire which the child sees today, is not the fire which burnt him yesterday; and if he were insensible of the resemblance, to the exclusion, perhaps, of many circumstances that differ, the remembrance of the effect of the fire of yesterday would be of no advantage in guarding him against similar exposure. It is in consequence of notions of little gene
* Gulliver's Travels, Part III. c. .
ra and species of good and evil, which he has formed mentally long before he distinguishes them by their appropriate general terms, that the infant is enabled to avoid what would be hurtful, and thus to prolong his existence to the period at which, in applying the multitude of words in his language, in all their varieties of inflexion, he shews, that he has long been philosophizing, in circumstances, that seemed to indicate little more than the capacity of ani. mal pleasure or pain, and innocent affection. What, indeed, can be more truly astonishing, than the progress which a being so very helpless, and apparently so incapable of any systematic effort, or even of the very wish which such an effort implies, makes, in so short a time, in connecting ideas and sounds that have no relation but what is purely arbitrary, and in adapting them, with all those nice modifications of expression, according to circumstances, of which he can scarcely be thought to bave any conception so distinct and accurate as the very language which he uses. cannot instruct them," it has been truly remarked, “ without speaking to them in a language which they do not understand; and yet they learn it. Even when we speak to them, it is usually without any design of instructing them; and they learn, in like manner, of themselves, without any design of learning. We never speak to them of the rules of syntax; and they practise all these rules without knowing what they are. In a single year or two, they have formed in their heads a grammar, a dictionary, and almost a little art of rhetoric, with which they know well how to persuade and to charm us.''*“ Is it not a hard thing,” says Berkeley, “ that a couple of children cannot prate together of their sugar-plumbs and rattles, and the rest of their little trinkets, till they have first tacked together numberless inconsistencies, and so formed in their minds abstract general ideas, and annexed them to every common name they make use of ?? All this early generalization, admirable as it is, is certainly not, as he says, a hard thing, -for it is the result of laws of mind, as simple as the laws on which the very perception of the sugar-plumbs and rattles depended; but it is a beautiful illustration of that very principle of general nomenclature which Berkeley adduced it to disprove. If children can discover two rattles, or two sugar-plumbs, to be like each other,—and the possibility of this surely no one will deny,
Andre, p. 221.
who may not, in like manner, deny the possibility of those sensations by which they perceive a single rattle, or a single sugar plumb; they must already have formed those abstract general notions, which are said to be so hard a thing,—for this very feeling of similarity is all which constitutes the general notion,-and when the general notion of the resemblance of the two objects has arisen, it is as little wonderful that the general term rattle or sugarplumb should be used to express it, as that any particular name should be used to express each separate inhabitant or familiar visitor of the nursery, or any other word of any other kind to express any other existing feeling.
The perception of objects,-the feeling of their resemblance in certain respects,—the invention of a name for these circumstances of felt resemblance,—what can be more truly and readily conceivable than this process! And yet on this process, apparently so very simple, has been founded all that controversy as to universals, which so long distracted the schools; and which far more wonderfully,—for the distraction of the schools by a few unintelligible words scarcely can be counted wonderful,-continues still to perplex philosophers with difficulties which themselves have made,—with difficulties which they could not even bave made to themselves, if they had thought for a single moment of the nature of that feeling of the relation of similarity which we are now considering.
My further remarks on the theory of general notions I must defer till my next Lecture.
Having brought to a conclusion my remarks on the phenomena of Simple Suggestion, I entered, in my last Lecture, on the consideration of those states of mind which constitute our feelings of relation, the results of that peculiar mental tendency to which, as distinguished from the simple suggestion that furnishes the other class of our intellectual states of mind, I have given the name of Relative Suggestion. The relations which we are thus capable of feeling, as they rise by internal suggestion, on the mere perception or conception of two or more objects, I divided,,in conformity with our primary division of the objects of physical inquiry,—into the relations of coexistence, and the relations of succession, according as the notion of time or change is not or is involved in them; and the former of these,-the relations that are considered by us without any regard to time,–1 arranged in subdivisions, according to the notions which they involve, 1st, Of Position ; 2d, Resemblance, or difference; 3d, of Degree ; 4th, Of Proportion; 5th Of Comprehensiveness, or the relation which a whole bears to the separate parts that are included in it.
These various relations 1 briefly illustrated in the order in which I have now mentioned them, and shewed, how very simple that mental process is by which they arise ; as simple indeed, and as easily conceivable, as that by which the primary perceptions themselves arise. On some of them, however, I felt it necessary to dwell with fuller elucidation ; not on account of any greater
mystery in the suggestions on which they depend, but on account of that greater mystery which has been supposed to hang about them.
A great part of my Lecture, accordingly, was employed in considering the relation of resemblance, which, by the general notions and corresponding general terms that flow from it, we found to be the source of classification and definition, and of all that is valuable in language.
A horse, an ox, a sheep, have, in themselves, as individual beings, precisely the same qualities, whether the others be or be not considered by us at the same time. When, in looking at them, we are struck with their resemblance in certain respects, they are themselves exactly the same individuals as before,--the only change which has taken place being a feeling of our own mind. And, in like manner, in the next stage of the process of verbal generalization, when in consequence of this feeling of relation in our own minds, we proceed to term them quadrupeds or animals, po quality has been taken from the objects which we have ranged together under this new term, and as little has any new quality been given to them. Everything in the objects is precisely the same as before, and acts in precisely the same manner on our senses, as when the word quadruped or animal was uninvented. The general terms are expressive of our own internal feelings of resemblance, and of nothing more,-expressive of wbat is in us, and dependent wholly on laws of mind, not of what is in them, and directly dependent in any degree on laws of matter.
That, in looking at a horse, an ox, a sheep, we should be struck with a feeling of their resemblance in certain respects,-that to those respects, in which they are felt to resemble each other, we should give a name, as we give a name to each of them individually, comprehending under the general name such objects only as excite, when considered together with others, the feeling of this particular relation,—all this has surely nothing very mysterious in it. It would, indeed, be more mysterious, if, perceiving the resemblances of objects that are constantly around us, we did not avail ourselves of language, as a mode of communicating to others our feeling of the resemblance, as we avail ourselves of it in the particular denomination of the individual, to inform others of that particular object of which we speak; and to express the common