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I am, on the contrary, persuaded that by imitation only, variety, and even originality of invention is produced. I will go further; even genius, at least what generally is so called, is the child of imitation. But, as this appears to be contrary to the general opinion, I must explain my position before I enforce it.

Genius is supposed to be a power of producing excellences which are out of the reach of the rules of art; a power which no precepts can teach, and which no industry can acquire.

This opinion, of the impossibility of acquiring those beauties which stamp the work with the character of genius, supposes that it is soinething more fixed than in reality it is; and that we always do, and ever did, agree in opinion with respect to what should be considered as the characteristic of genius. But the truth is, that the degree of excellence which proclaims Genius is different, in different times and different places; and what shows it to be so is, that mankind have often changed their opinion upon this matter.

When the Arts were in their infancy, the power of merely drawing the likeness of any object was considered as one of its greatest efforts. The common people, ignorant of the principles of art, talk the same language even to this day. But when it was found that every man could be taught to do this, and a great deal more, merely by the observance of certain precepts, the name of Genius then shifted its application, and was given only to him who added the peculiar character of the object he represented ; to him who had invention, expression, grace or dignity; in short, those qualities or excellences, the power of producing which could not then be taught by any known and promulgated rules.

We are very sure that the beauty of form, the expression of the passions, the art of composition, even the power of giving a general air of grandeur to a work, is at present'very much under the dominion of rules. These excellences were, heretofore, considered merely as the effects of genius ; and justly, if genius is not taken for inspiration, but as the effect of close observation and experience.

He who first made any of these observations, and digested them, so as to form an invariable principle for himself to work by, had that merit, but probably no one went very far at once; and, generally, the first who gave the hint, did not know how to pursue it steadily and methodically; at least not in the beginning. He himself worked on it, and improved it; others worked more and improved further; until the secret was discovered, and the practice made as general as refined practice can be made. How many more principles may be fixed and ascertained we cannot tell ; but, as criticism is likely to go hand in hand with the art which is its subject, we may venture to say, that, as that art shall advance, its powers will be still more and more fixed by rules.

But, by whatever strides criticism may gain ground, we need be under no apprehension that invention will ever be annihilated or subdued; or intellectual energy be brought entirely within the restraint of written law. Genius will still have room enough to expatiate, and keep always at the same distance from narrow comprehension and mechanical performance.

What we now call Genius, begins, not where rules, abstractedly taken, end; but where known vulgar and trite rules have no longer any place. It must of necessity be, that even works of Genius, like every other effect, as they must have their cause, must likewise have their rules ; it cannot be by chance that excellences are produced with any constancy or any certainty, for this is not the nature of chance; but the rules by which men of extraordinary parts, and such as are called men of Genius, work, are either such as they discover by their own peculiar observations, or of such a nice texture as not easily to admit being expressed in words ; especially as artists are not very frequently skilful in that mode of communicating ideas. Unsubstantial, however, as these rules may seem, and difficult as it may be to convey them in writing, they are still seen and- felt in the mind of the artist; and he works from them with as much certainty as if they were embodied, as I may say, upon paper. It is true these refined principles cannot be always made palpable, like the more gross rules of art; yet it does not follow, but that the mind may be put in such a train, that it shall perceive, by a kind of scientific sense, that propriety, which words, particularly words of unpractised writers, such as we are, can but very feebly suggest.

Invention is one of the great marks of genius ; but if we consult experience we shall find, that it is by being conversant with the inventions of others that we learn to invent, as by reading the thoughts of others we learn to think.

Whoever has so far formed his taste as to be able to relish and feel the beauties of the great masters, has gone a great way in his study; for, merely from a consciousness of this relish of the right, dhe mind swells with an inward pride, and is almost as powerfully affected as if it had itself produced what it admires. Our hearts, frequently warmed in this manner by the contact of those whom we wish to resemble, will undoubtedly catch something of their way of thinking; and we shall receive in our bosoms some radiation at least of their fire and splendor. - That disposition, which is so strong in children, still continues with us, of catching involun. tarily the general air and manner of those with whom we are most conversant, with this difference only, that a young mind is naturally pliable and imitative; but in a more advanced state it grows rigid, and must be warmed and softened, before it will receive a deep impression.

From these considerations, which a little of your own reflection will carry a great way further, it appears of what great consequence it is, that our minds should be habituated to the contemplation of excellence; and that, far from being contented to make such habits the discipline of our youth only, we should, to the last moments of our lives, continue a settled intercourse with all the true examples of grandeur. Their inventions are not only the food of our infancy, but the substance which supplies the fullest maturity of our vigor.

The mind is but a barren soil; a soil which is soon exhausted, and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter.

When we have had continually before us the great works of art to impregnate our minds with kindred ideas, we are then, and not till then, fit to produce something of the same species. We behold all about us with the eyes of those penetrating observers whose works we contemplate; and our minds, accustomed to think the thoughts of the noblest and brightest intellects, are prepared for the discovery and selection of all that is great and noble in nature. The greatest natural genius cannot subsist on its own stock; he who resolves never to ransack any mind but his own will soon be reduced, from mere barrenness, to the poorest of all imitations; he will be obliged to imitate himself, and to repeat what he has before often repeated. When we know the subject designed by such men, it will never be difficult to guess what kind of work is to be produced.

It is vain for painters or poets to endeavor to invent without materials on which the mind may work, and from which invention must originate. Nothing can come of nothing.

Homer is supposed to be possessed of all the learning of his time; and we are certain that Michael Angelo and Raffaelle were equally possessed of all the knowledge in the art which had been discovered in the works of their predecessors.

A mind enriched by an assemblage of all the treasures of ancient and modern art will be more elevated and fruitful in resources, in proportion to the number of ideas which have been carefully collected and thoroughly digested. There can be no doubt but that he who has the most materials has the greatest means of invention; and, if he has not the power of using them, it must proceed from a feebleness of intellect, or from the confused manner in which those collections have been laid up in his mind.

The addition of other men's judgment is so far from weakening our own, as is the opinion of many, that it will fashion and consolidate those ideas of excellence which lay in embryo, feeble, illshaped, and confused, but which are finished and put in order by the authority and practice of those, whose works may be said to have been consecrated by having stood the test of ages.


JEREMY BENTHAM. (JEREMY BENTHAM, in many respects one of the most distinguished men of the reign of George III., was born in 1747. He died in 1832. His first publication was a “ Fragment on Government,” which appeared in 1776. Or Mr. Bentham's labors as a philosophical writer, it would be impossible to give any notion, without minute details. His later style was remarkable for many peculiarities, which in some degree injured the value of his thoughts

but his early writings are forcible and elegant-admirable specimens of pure English. His works have been collected under the superintendence of his executor, Dr. Bowring. The following is from “The Principles of the Civil Code.")

This inestimable good is the distinctive mark of civilization ; it is entirely the work of the laws. Without law there is no security; consequently no abundance, nor even certain subsistence. And the only equality which can exist in such a condition is the equality of misery.

In order rightly to estimate this great benefit of the laws, it is only necessary to consider the condition of savages. They struggle, without ceasing, against famine, which sometimes cuts off, in a few days, whole nations. Rivalry with respect to the means of subsistence produces among them the most cruel wars; and, like the most ferocious beasts, men pursue men, that they may feed on one another. The dread of this horrible calamity destroys amongst them the gentlest sentiments of nature: pity connects itself with insensibility in putting the old persons to death, because they can no longer follow their prey.

Examine, also, what passes at those periods during which civilized societies almost return into the savage state ;-I refer to a time of war, when the laws which give security are, in part, suspended. Every instant of its duration is fruitful in calamity : at every step which it imprints upon the globe, at every movement which it makes, the existing mass of riches—the foundation of abundance and subsistence—is decreased, and disappears: the lowly cottage and the lofty palace are alike subject to its ravages; and often the anger or caprice of a moment consigns to destruction the slow productions of an age of labor.

Law, alone, has accomplished what all the natural feelings were not able to do; Law, alone, has been able to create a fixed and durable possession, which deserves the name of Property. The law, alone, could accustom men to submit to the yoke of foresight, at first painful to be borne, but, afterwards, agreeable and mild; it alone could encourage them in labor-superfluous at present, and which they are not to enjoy till the future. Economy has as many enemies as there are spendthrifts, or men who would enjoy without taking the trouble to produce. Labor is too painful for idleness; it

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