תמונות בעמוד

thinking, where the train, composed wholly of ideas, proceeds with an extreme flow pace : not only are the ideas few in number, but are apt to escape an after reckoning. The like false reckoning of time may proceed from an opposite state of mind : in a reverie, where ideas float at random without making any impression, time goes on unheeded, and the reckoning is loft. A reverie may be so profound as to prevent the recollection of any one idea : that the mind was bufied in a train of thinking, may in general be remembered : but what was the subject, has quite escaped the memory. In such a case, we are altogether at a loss about the time, having no data for making a computation. No cause produceth so false a reckoning of time, as immoderate grief: the mind, in that state, is vio. lently attached to a single object, and admits not a different thought: any other object breaking in, is instantly banished, so as scarce to give an appearance of succession. In a reverie, we are uncertain of the time that is past ; but, in the example now given, there is an appearance of certainty, that the time must have been short, when the perceptions are so few in number.

The natural measure of space, appears more obscure than that of time. I venture, however, to mention it, leaving it to be further prosecuted, if it be thought of any importance.

The space marked out for a house appears confiderably larger after it is divided into its proper


parts. A piece of ground appears larger after it is surrounded with a fence; and still larger when it is made a garden and divided into different compartments.

On the contrary, a large plain looks less after it is divided into parts. The sea must be excepted, which looks less from that very circumstance of not being divided into parts.'

A room of a moderate size appears large r when properly furnished. But, when a very large room is furnished, I doubt whether it be not lessened in appearance.

A room of a moderate size looks less by having a ceiling lower than in proportion. The same low ceiling makes a very large room look larger than it is in reality.

These experiments are by far too small a stock for a general theory: but they are all that occur at present; and, instead of a regular syltem, I have nothing for the reader's instruction but a few conjectures.

The largest angle of vision seems to be the natural measure of space : the eye is the only judge; and in examining with it the size of any plain, or the length of any line, the moit accurate method that can be taken is, to run over the object in parts: the largest part that can be seen with one sted fast look, determines the lar. gest angle of vision; and, when that angle is given, one may institute a calculation, by trying


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with the eye how many of these parts are in the whole.

Whether this angle be the same in all men, I know not: the smallest angle of vifion is ascertained ; and to ascertain the largest, would not be less curious.

But supposing it known, it would be a very imperfect measure; perhaps more so than the natural measure of time : for it requires great steadiness of eye to measure a line with any accuracy, by applying to it the largest angle of distinct vision. And supposing that steadiness to be acquired by practice, the measure will be imperfect from other circumstances. The space comprehended under this angle will be different according to the distance, and also according to the situation of the object : of a perpendicular this angle will comprehend the smallest space; the space will be larger in looking upon an inclined plain ; and will be larger or less in proportion to the degree of inclination.

This measure of space, like the measure of time is liable to several errors, from certain operations of the mind, which will account for some of the erroneous judgments above mentioned. The space marked out for a dwellinghouse, where the eye is at any reasonable distance, is feldom greater than can be seen at once, without moving the head : divide that space into two or three equal parts, and none of these parts will appear much less than what can



be comprehended at one distinct look; consequently each of them will appear equal, or nearly equal, to what the whole did before the division. If, on the other hand, the whole be very small, so as scarce to fill the eye at one look, its division into parts will, I conjecture, make it appear ftill less: the minuteness of the parts is, by an easy transition of ideas, transferred to the whole; and we pass the same judgment on the latter that we do on the former.

The space marked out for a small garden is surveyed almost at one view; and requires a motion of the eye so flight, as to pass for an object that can be comprehended under the largest angle of distinct vision : if not divided into too many parts, we are apt to form the same judgment of each part, and consequently to magnify the garden in proportion to the number of its parts.

A very large plain without protuberances is an object no less rare than beautiful; and in those who see it for the first time, it must produce an emotion of wonder. That emotion, however fight, imposes on the mind, and makes it judge that the plain is larger than it is in reality. Divide the plain into parts, and our wonder ceases; it is no longer considered as one great plain, but as so many different fields or inclosures.

The first time one beholds the sea, it appears to be large beyond all bounds. When it becomes fa. miliar, and ceases to raise our wonder, it appears ?rss than it is in reality. In a storm it appears large,



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being distinguishable by the rolling waves into a number of great parts. Illands scattered at confiderable distances, add in appearance to its fize: each intercepted part looks extremely large, and we insensibly apply arithmetic to increase the appearance of the whole. Many islands scattered at hand, give a diminutive appearance to the sea, by its connection with its diminutive parts: the Lomond lake would undoubtedly look larger without its islands.

Furniture increaseth in appearance the size of a small room, for the same reason that divisions increase in appearance the size of a garden. The emotion of wonder which is raised by a very large room without furniture, makes it look larger than it is in reality: if completely furnished, we view it in parts, and our wonder is not raised.

A low ceiling hath a diminutive appearance, which, by an easy transition of ideas, is communicated to the length and breadth, provided they bear any proportion to the height. If they be out of all proportion, the opposition seizes the mind, and raises some degree of wonder, which makes the difference appear greater than it real. ly is.

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