THEORY and practice principally distinguish science from arts, and accordingly most branches of knowledge pass under one or the other of these denominations; tho we must allow, that our ideas in this respect are not always sufficiently precise; for we are often at a loss in naming the branches of knowledge where speculation is joined with practice. There are rules for the operations of the mind, and others for those of the body; the latter being confined to external subjects, require no more than the assistance of the hand to perform them. Hence proceeds the distinction between the liberal and mechanic arts, and the preference given to the former, tho very unjustly in many respects. The mechanic arts depending upon manual operation, and confined to a certain beaten track, are assigned over to those whom prejudice places in a lower class: and necessity rather than taste and genius, compelling them to the exercise of these arts, the arts themselves in time became subject to contempt; whilst the free operations of the mind were claimed by others, who, because they were more exempt from indigence, possibly thought themselves more favoured by nature. But this assumed superiority of the liberal over the mechanic arts, from the former's employing only the attention of the mind, and from the difficulty of excelling therein, is sufficiently counter-balanced by the greater utility commonly arising from the latter.
Ralph Griffiths, George Edward Griffiths (1754) The Monthly Review. Vol 11. p. 490