Memory, a mental faculty, which consists in the power of reviving former impressions of our ideas, or the particular circumstances which occasioned and accompanied them.
Memory may be divided into two species ; passive and active : the former is the remembering, or recalling of things or events to the mind with little or no effort ; the latter is the recollection of remote circumstances, or objects, which do not immediately or spontaneously occur. This is a talent of infinite importance to its possessor and many rules have been given for its direction, improvement, and preservation ; but the principal, and indeed the only effectual method, consists in the strictest temperance in eating, drinking, and sleep. Excess of every kind clouds the brain, and stupefies the mind : hence we rarely find an intemperate person, whose memory i» clear, quick, and tenacious.
Such, however, is the precarious basis of our mental powers, that notwithstanding every effort, it frequently happens that those ideas, which appear to us the most in-teresting and desirable to be retained, insensibly and irrecoverably vanish from the mind. To assist this inherent weakness, various methods have been proposed ; for instance, noting down in a memorandum-book, or journal, the substance of an essay we have perused ; or extracting the most important passages from the best authors ; or even registering such of our own ideas, as often intuitively or spontaneously occur, in consequence of sudden and unexpected events.
Expedients of this nature constitute the art of memory, and those of our readers, who are inclined to avail themselves of such assistance, and to try its effects, may resort to a treatise extant on the subjeft, and intitled A New Method of Artificial Memory.—Let it, however, be remembered, that it is not extraneous aid, but constant attention and exercise, which form the true art of memorv.