John Locke.

The works of John Locke (Volume 9) online

. (page 23 of 51)
Online LibraryJohn LockeThe works of John Locke (Volume 9) → online text (page 23 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

precife idea. The idea of I3eing, in general, is the idea
of Being abflradled from whatever may limit or deter-
mine it to any inferiour fpecics ; fo that he that thinks
always of being in general, thinks never of any parti-
cular fpecies of being; unlefs he can think of it with
and without preciiion, at the fame time. But if he
means, that he thinks of being in general, whenever

•he thinks of this or that particular being, or fort of
being; then it is certain he may always think of being

(23) Sec Rfaibn atKl Religion. Part II. Contcmpl. II. K 37. p. 21 r
(2^)lbid. ^3b. i>. 216, 217. (^5)il^^^'y3yp. -2i7, 2il


Remarks upon Mr. Norris^s Books, &c, 259

in general, till he can find out a way of thinking on


34. Being in general, is being, (26) abd-radled from
wifdom, goodnefs, power, and any particular fort of
duration ; ancj I have as true an idea of being, when
thefe are excluded out of it, as when extf'nfion, pi ice,
folidity, and mobility, are excluded out of my idea.
And therefore, if being in general, and God, be the
fame, I have a true idea of God, when I exclude out of
it pov.^er, goodnefs, wifdom, and eternity.

2^. As if there was no difference (27) between
*^ man's being his own light," and ^' hot feeing things
*' in God." Man may be enlightened by God, though
it be not by '^ feeing all things in God."

The finidiing of thefe hafty thoughts mufl be defer-
red to another feafon.

Oates, 1693. John Locke.

(26) Reafon and Religion, Part II, Contemfl, II. § 40. p. 2ig.

(27) Ibid. §43»P-223.





A N T ri. COLLINS, Flq;



A Letter from Mr, Locke to Mr, Oldeul/inj^ concaniug
a poi/onous Fujh about the Bahama Ijlands,


IHr.RE\viTii fend you an account, I lately received
tVom New Providence, one of the Bahama Iflands,
concerning a filh there ; w hich is as tbllowcch :

** I have not met with any rarities here, worth your
•' acceptance, ''hou<^h I have been diligent in inquiring
** after them. Of thofe, which 1 have heard of, this
*' fccms mod: remarkable to me. The filli, which arc
** here, arc many of them poifonous, bringing a great
•^ pain on their joints who eat them, and continue for
" ibmc Ihort time ; and at lafl, with two or three days
*' itching, the j^ain is rubbed off. 'Ihofc of the lame
*' fpecies, fize, Jhapc, colour, tadc, arc, one of them
** poifon; the other not in the leafl hurtful : and thofc
•' that arc, only to fome of the company. The diftem-
** per to iTJcn never proves mortal. Dogs and cats
!L* ibipctimcs cat their lalt. Men^ who have once had

«' that

Several Letters. 261

'' that difcafe, upon the eating of fiHi, though it he
'*^ thofc which are wholefome, the poifonoLis ferment
*' in their body is revived thereby, and their pain in-
'' creafcd."

Thus far the ingenious perfon, from whom I had this
rchtion, w^ho having been but a very little while upon
the iOand, w'hen he writ this, could not fend fo pcrfed:
an account of this odd obfervation, as one could wifli,
or as I expedt to receive from him, in anfwer to fome
queries I lately fent him by a fnip bound thither.
When his anfw er to my hand, if there be any
thing in it, which may gratify your curiofity, I Iliall
be glad of that or any other occafion to afllire you that
I am,

SIR, Your mofl humble fervant,

John Locke.

A Letter to Anthony CollinSy Efq;

S I R, Gates, 4 May 1703.

NONE of your concerns are of indifference to me.
You may from thence conclude I take part in your late
great lofs. But I confider you as a philofopher, and a
chriilian; and fo fpare you the trouble of reading from
jrie, what your ov.n thoughts will nmch better fuggeft
to you.

You have exceedingly obliged mc, in the books of
yours that you have fent me, and thofc of mine you have
been at fo much trouble about. I received but jull
now the packet, wherein they and your obliging letter
were; that mud be my excufe for fo tardy a return of
my thanks.

[ am overjoyed with an intimation I have received
:ilfo, that gives me hopes of feeing you here the next
.vcck. You are a charitable good friend, and are re-
folvcd to make the decays and dregs of my life the
plcafantefl: part of it. For I know nothing calls me fo

S 3 much

Several Letters,

much back to a plcaHint fcnfc of enjoyment, and
makes my days fo gay and lively, as your good com-
pany. Come then, and multiply happy minutes upon,
and rejoice here in the good you do nic. For I am,
with a perfcd cftcem and rcrpc(^t,


Your niod: humble and moll obedient Servant,

John Locke.

'Jo the fame.

S I R, Oates, 3 June 1703.

IT is not enough to have heard from my coulin
King* that you got fafe to town, or from others that
you were fince well there. I am too much concerned
ill it, not to inquire of yourfelf, how you do. Befides
that I owe you my thanks, for the greatell favour I can
receive, the confirmation of your friendlliip, by the
vifit I lately received from you. If you knew what
fatisfaclion I feel fprcad over my mind by it, you would
take this acknowledgment as coming from fomething
beyond civility; my heart goes with it, and that you may
be fure of; and {o ufelefs a thing as I am have nothing
clfc to offer you.

As a mark that I think v.e are part: ceremonv, I here
fend you a new bookt in quires, with a defire you will
get it bound by your binder. In the pans of good bind-
ing befidcs folding, beatmg, and fcwing, will 1 count
Ilrong paflehoards, and as large margins as the paper
will poliibly afford ; and, for lettering, 1 delire it Ihould
be upon the fame leather blacked, and barely the name
of the author, as, in this cafe, Voffuis.

Pardon thi.^ liberty, and believe me with perfecfl fin-
ccrity and rcfpcct, 6cc.

* vSir IVttr ivin^ .

i ** G.J. V\)u.i Etymolo^icum Lingux Latinx." Amilelodami 1695.

Several Letters, iSi,

^0 the fame.

Sir, Oatcs, i8 June, 1703.

IT would be flrange, if after all thofe marks of friendr-
fhip and eftccm I have received from you, in the little
time I have had the honour of your acquaintance, I
fnould quarrel with you ; and lliould repay the conti-
nuance of yc'ur good offices, employed even in things
beneath you, with grumbling at you; and yet this I
can hardly forbear to do. Do not, I befeech you, take
this to be altogether ill-nature, but a due eftimate of
what I enjoy in you. And, fmce upon juft meafures I
count it the great treafure of my life, I cannot with pa-
tience hear you talk of condefcenfion in me, when I
flick not to wafte your time in looking after the bind-
ing of my books. If you pleafe, let us live upon fairer
terms ; and when you oblige me, give me leave to be
fenfible of it. And pray remember, that there is one
Mr. Collins, with whom, if I delire to live upon equal
terms, it is not that I forget hov/ much he is fuperi-
our to me, in many things wherein he will always
have the precedency ; but I aflume it upon the account
of that friendfliip that is between us ; friendfhip levelling
all inequalities between thofe whom it joins, that it
may leave nothing that may keep them at a diilance, and
hinder a perfeci: union and enjoyment.

This is what I would be at with you ; and were I not
in earnefb in it, out of a fmcere love of you, I would
not be fo foolifh to rob myfelf of the only way wherein
I might pretend to enter the lifls with you. I am old
and ufclefs, and out of the way; all the real fervices are
then like to be on your fide. In words, expreflions,
and acknowledgment, there might have been perhaps
fome room to have made fome offers of holding up to
vou. But I defire that nothing- of the court-^p-uile mav
mix in our converfation. Put not, I befeech you, any
thing into your letters to make me forget how much I
am obliged to you by the liberty }'ou allow me to tell
you that I am, 6cc^

s 4 r$

.264 Sfvrral Letters,

To the f.ime.
Sir, ' Oatcs, 24 June, 1703.

MR. Bold*, who leaves us to-day, intends to fee you;
and I cannot forbear going, as far as 1 can, to make
the third in the company. Would my health fecond
my defircs, not only my name, and a few Mords of
friendll.ip, fhould go with him to you ; but I myfelf
uould jz;et to horfe ; and had I nothing elfe to do in
town, 1 lliould think it worth a longer journey than it is
thither, to lee and enjoy you. But I muft fubmit to
the rcOraints of old age, and expedl that happinefs from
your charity.

It is but ^i\ days fmcc, that I writ to you ; and fee
here another letter. You are like to be troubled with
me. If it be To, why do you make yourlclf beloved ?
Why do you make yourfelf fo neccflary to me ? I thought
mylelf pretty loofc from t,he world, but I feel you begin
to fatten n^e to it again. For you make my life, fmce 1
have had your friendfliip, much more valuable to me
than it was before.

You thanked me in yourlafl, for the employment I
gave you ; I wiUi I do not make you re|X'nt it ; for you
are likely to have my cuflom. I defire you would do
me the favour to get me Dr. Barrow's Englifli works,
bound as Volrius's Etymologicum was. 1 am in no
manner of hade for them, and therefore you may get
them from your bookfeller in quires, when you go to
his (liop upon any other occalion ; and put them to your
binder at kifure. 1 h:ive them for my own uic already;

• Mr Samuel Bolil dtcil in Aiiguft 17.^7, aged 88, He had been
rcftor of Srrcplc, in Dorfot(Viirc, 56 years. He uas author of fcvcral
books ; and, among others, foinc in defence of Mr. Locke's ** EfTay
*' concrrniMg Human Undcrf^anciing," and his •* Rcafonablcncfs of
" ChriiHanity." He was imprifonal and j>crfccurcd in the reign of
James II. for a fermon a^uinfl pcrfecutinn, and for a pamphlet intitlcd,
•• A Plea for Moderation ;" dodrincs which neither the court nor prelates
of thofc times coultl ))car. He was a inan of true learning and genuine
pietv, of foimd do^lrlne and mnft exemplary life; a moll ufeful man in his
iUtion, and a zealous promotcx of true religion,


Several Letters. 265

thefe are to give away to a young lady here in the coun-
try. AVhcn they are bound, 1 defire your binder would
pack them up carefully, and cover them with paper
enough to keep their corners and edges from being hurt
in tliC carriage, l^'or carriers are a fort of brutes, and
declared enemies to books. I am, &c.

^0 the fame.
S I R, Gates, 9 July, 1703.

YOURS, of the 30th of June, I received juft now,
and cannot forbear a moment to tell you, that if there
were any thing in my lafh letter, that gave you an oc-
cafion, after having mentioned difguife, to fay, you
^' have made ufe of no way to fhow your efteem of mc,
*^ but ftiU your heart went with it,** I am very forry
for it. For, however I might think the exprelTions in
your letter above what I could defcrve, yet my blaming
your excefs of civility to me tended not to any doubt of
the (incerity of your'affedion. Had I not been fee urc
of that, I could not have talked to you with the fame
freedom I did, nor have endeavoured to perfuade you,
that you were lodged fo near my heart as you arc.
Though my friendfhip be of very little value, or ufe;
yet being the bell thing I have to give, I Ihall not for-
wardly beftow it, where I do not think there is worth
and lincerity ; and therefore, pray, pardon me the for-
wardncfs wherewith I throw my arms about your neck;
and holding you fo, tell you, you muft not hope, by any
thing that looks like compliment, to keep me at a
civiler, and more faihionablc diflance.

You comply with me, I fee, by the reft of your letter;
and you bear with my treating ypu with the familiarity
• of an eflablifhed friendfhip. You pretend you have got
the advantage by it. I wilh it may be f o ; for I Ihould
be very glad there were any thing, wherein I could be
ufeful to you. Find it out, I bcfeech you ; and tell me
of it, \\ith as little ceremony and fcruple, as you fee I
ufe with you.


c6^ Sevfral Lelld:.

The Ncu Tcftamcnt, you mention*, I fliall be glad io
fee, linccMr. Bold has told you how dcfirous I was to
fee it. I have expected one of thcni from Holland ever
lince they have been out; and U) 1 hope to reliore it to
>ou again in a Lw days.

The other book, you mentioned f, I have feen ; and
am fo well fatislied, by his 5 th feci ion, what a doughty
•fquire he is like to prove in the rell, that I think not
to trouble m)felf to look farther into him. He has
there argued very weakly againlt his adverfary, but very
flrongly againlt himfelf.

But this will be better entertainment for you when wc
meet, than matter for a letter, wherein 1 make it my
bulincfs toafiure you, that I am, ^c.

Tb the fame,

S T R, Oates, 10 September, 170J,

YOURS of the 7th, which I jufl: now received, is the
only letter 1 have a long time willied for, and the w el-
comefl that could come; for I longed to hv.\rthat you
were well, that you were returned, and that I might
have the opportunity to return you m,y thanks for the
books you fent me, which came fafc ; and to acknow-
ledge my great obligations to you for one of the moft
villainous books, that, I think, ever was printed J. It
is a prefent that I highly value. I had heard fomething
of it, when a young man in the univerlity; but poilibly

• Mr. Ix! CIcrc's French Tranflation of the New Teftameiu.

i •* Pfychologi.i ; or, an Account of the Nature of the Rational
Soul/Wc. By Julin Broughton, M. A. Chaplain to his Grace the Duke
of Marlborough. Lond. i703,inSvo.

X Chillingworthi Noviflinia. Or the ficknefs, herefy, death, and
burialof William Chillingworth, (in his own phrafc) clerk, of Oxford,
and in the conceit of his fellow-foldicrs, the (^lecn's arch-engineer and

;;rand intelligencer By Francis Cheynell, late fellow of Mcrton

College. Lond. 1644, in 4to.'* Seethe article of Mr. Chillingworth,
in my *• Attempt towards an hiftorical and critical Knglilh Didion;iry."


Several Letlers. 267

fhould never have fecn this quintefTencc of railing, but
for your kindncfs. It ought to be kept as the pattern
and ftandard of that fort of writing, as the man he
fpends it upon, for that of good temper, and clear and
itrong arguing. I am, &c.

^0 the fame,

S I R, Gates, i Ocftober, 1703.

YOU are a good man, and one may depend upon
your promife. This makes me pafs my days in com-
fortable hopes, when I remember you are not far off.
I have your word for it, and that is better than city-
fecurity. But for fear villainous bufinefs fliould im-
pertinently Hep in again, between you and your kind
purpofes to us here ; give me leave to beg the favour
of you, that if you write again, before I have the hap-
pinefs to fee you, you will do me the favour to fend niC
a note of what you have laid out for me, that I may
pay you that part of the debt I am able, of what I owe
you, and may not have fo much to interrupt the advan-
tages I am to reap from your converfation, when you
honour me with your company, as an apology to be
made, if I am not out of your debt before we meet.

Doth Mr. Le Clerc's New Teflament make any noifL'
amongft the men of letters or divinity in your town?
The divines of Brandenburg or Clcve have got the king
of PrulTia to prohibit it in his dominions ; and the
Walloon divines in Holland are foliciting the fame at
the Hague, but it is thought will not prevail *. I have
not yet heard what are the exceptions made in particular,
cither by the one, or the other. If there be need of au-
thentic interpreters of the word of God, what is the
way to find them out ? That is worth your thinking of,
unlefs you would have every one interpret for himfelt ;

*See Mr. Bayle's " Entretiens de Maxime etde Themifte; 011 Rcfponfc
" a ce que Mr. Le Clerc a ecrit dans fon X. tome de la Bibliotheque
♦« Choifie centre Mr. Ba) le" A. Rotterdam 1 707, in 8vo. page 70 Si fuiv.


268 Severaf Lettn-s.

and uhat work Mould that make ? Betwixt thcfe two'
find fonicthing if you can ; for the world is in want o*
pence, which is much better than cverhlling Billingf-


I thought not to have troubled you with hard quef-
tions, or any thing that ihould h'lvc required a ferious
thought, any farther than what day you fliould pitch
on to come hither. But cverlalling wrangling, and
calling of names, is fo odious a thing, that you will
pardon me, if it puts me out of temper a little. But I
think of you, and fome few fuch as you in the world,
and that reconciles me to it; or elfc- it would not be
worth (laying in an hour. I am. Sec,

A Letter to the Lady Calverlcy in TorkJInre.


WHATEVER reafon you have to look on mc, as
one of the flow men of London, you have this time
given me an excufe for being fo; for you cannot expect
a quick anfwer to a letter, which took me up a good
deal of time to get to the beginning of it. I turned and
turned it on every iide ; lo9ked at it again and again, at
the top of every page ; but could not get into the fcnfc
and fecret of it, till I applied myfelf to the middle.

You, Madam, \\ ho are acquainted with all the fkill
and methods of the ancients, have not, I fuppofe, taken
up with this hieroglyphical way of writing for nothing ;
and fince you were going to put into your letter thing*
that might be the reward of the higheft merit, you
would, by this myfiical intimation, put me into the
way of virtue, to deferve them.

But whatever your ladyfhip intended, this is certain,
that, in the heft words in the world, you gave me the
grcateft humiliation imaginable. Had I as much vanity
as a pert citi'/xn, that fcts up for a wit in his parifli, you
have faid enough in your letter to content me ; and if I
could be fwoln that way, you have taken a great deal
of pains to blow mc up, and make mc the fincf^ g^vidy


Several Letters, ^69

bubble in the world, as I am painted by your colours,
I know the emperors of the Eaft- fulTer not flrangcrs to
appear before them, till they are drelTed up out of their
own wardrobes ; is it fo too in the empire of wit ? and
mud you cover mc w ith your own embroidery, that I
may be a fit objcdfor your thoughts and converfation?
This, Madam, may fuit your greatnefs, but doth not at
all fatisfy my ambition. He^ who has once flattered
himieif with the hopes of your friendlhip, knows nor
the true value of things, if he can content himfelf with
rhefe fplendid ornaments.

As foon as I had read your letter, I looked in my
glafs, felt my pulfe, and lighcd ; for I found, in neither
of thofe, the promifes of thirty years to come. For at
the rate I have hitherto advanced, and at the difbance,
I fee, by this complimcntal way of treatment, I fliii
am, I iliall not have tim>e enough in this world to get
to you. I do not mean to the phice where you now fee
the pole elevated, as you fay, 54 degrees. A poft-horfe,
or a coach, would quickly carry me thither. But when
fliall we be acquainted at this rate? Is that happinefs
referved to be completed by the goflipping bowl, at
your grand-daughter's lying-in ?

If I were fure that, when you leave this dirty placcy
I fhould meet you in the fame ftar where you are to fliinc
next, and that you would then admit me to your con-
verfation, I might perhaps have a little more patience.
But, methinks, it is much better to be fure of fome-
thing, than to be put off to expectations of fo much un-
certainty. If there be different elevations of the pole
here, that keep you at fo great a diRance from thoie
who languifh in your abfcnce ; vvho knows but, in the
other world, there are different elevations of pcrfons ?
And you, perhaps, will be out of fight, among the fera-
phims, while we are left behind in fome dull planet.
This the high flights of your elevated genius give us juff
augury of, whilll you are here. But yet, pray take not
your place there before your time ; nor keep not us poor
mortals at a greater diflancc than you need. AVhen yo»i
have granted me all the nearncfs that acquaintance and
friendihip can give, you have otlier advantages enouj^h
- - liili

270 Several Letters.

Hill to make me fee how much I am beneath yoil. Thi^
\\'ill be only an enlargement of your goodnefs, without
Icffening the adoration due to your other excellencies.

You feem to have fome thoughts of the town again.
Jf the parliament, or the term, which draw fome by the
name and appearance of bufmefs ; or if company, and
mufic-meetings, and other fuch entertainments, which
have the attractions of pleafure and delight, were of any
confideration with you ; you would not have much to
fay for Yorkflure, at this time of the year. But thefe
are no arguments to you, who carry your own fatis-
fa(ition, and I know not how many worlds always about
you. I would be glad you would think of putting all
thefe up in a coach, and bringing them this way. For
though you fliould be never the better ; yet there be a
great many here that would, and amongft them

The humbled of your Ladyfhip's fervants,

John Locke.

A Letter to Anthony Collins y Efq.

S I R, Gates, October 29, i 703.

Y O U, in yours of the 2 1(1, fay a great many very
kind things ; and I believe all that you fay ; and yet I
am not very well fatisfied w ith you. And how then is
it polhble to pleafe you ? w ill you be ready to fay.
Think that I am as much pleafed with your company,
as much obliged by your converfation, as you are by
mine; and you fet n\e at refi:, and 1 am the moft latis-
ficd man in the world. You complain of a great many
dcfecls ; and that \ery complaint is the highell recom-
mendation I could defire, to make me love and elleem
you, and deiire your friend flii p. And if I were now
fettingout in the world, I Ihonld think it my great hap-
pincfs to have fuch a companion as you, w ho had a true
relilh of truth, would in carneft feek it w ith mc, from
whom I might receive it undifguifed, and to whom I
might communicate what 1 thought true freely.


Several Letters, 2yi

■ Believe it, my good friend, to love truth, for truth's
fake, is the principal part of human perfedtion in this
"World, and the feed-plot of all other virtues; and, if I
miftake not, you have as much of it as ever I met with
in any body. What then is there w anting to make you
equal to the befl: ; a friend for any one to be proud of?
Would you have me take upon nie, bccaufe I have the
flart of you in the number of years, and be fupercilious,
conceited, for having in a long ramble travelled fome
countries, which a young voyager has not yet had time
to fee, and from whence one may be fure he will bring
larger collections of folid knowledge?

In good earnefb. Sir, when I confider how much of
my life has been trifled away in beaten tracls, where I
vamped on with others, only to follow thofe that went
before us ; I cannot but think I have juft as much rcafon
to be proud, as if I had travelled all England, and (if
you will) France too, only to acquaint myfelf with the
roads, and be able to tell how the highways lie, wherein,
thofe of equipage, and even the herd too, travel.

Now, methinks, (and thefe are often old men's
dreams) I fee openings to truth, and direct paths lead-
ing to it ; wherein a little induftry and application
would fettle one's mind with fatisfacHon, even in thofe
matters which you mention, and leave no darknefs or
doubt, even with the moit fcrupulous. But this is at
the end of my day, when my fun is fetting. And
though the profpecl it has given me be what I would
not, for any thing, be without; there is fo much irre-
fiftible truth, beauty, and confiftency, in it; yet it is
for one of your age, I think I ought to fay for yourfclf,
to fet about it, as a work you would put into order, and
oblige the world with.

You fee whither my jufb thoughts of you have led me;
and that I lliall have no quarrel with' you, if you will
ceafe to fet me, as you do, on the higher ground, and
to think that I have not as much pleafurcand fatisfac-
tion from your company as you have from mine. If I
were able to live m your neighbourhood in town, I
Ihould quickly convince you of that; and you cfcape
being haunted by me only by being out of my reach.

'a httle

1272 Several Letters.

A little better acquaintance will let you fee that, in the
communication of truth, between thofc who receive it
in the love of it, he that anfvvers, is no lefs obliged,
than he who atks the- quedion ; and therefore you owe
nie not thofe mighty thanks you fend me, for having the
good luck to fav Ibmcthing that pleafed you. If it
were good Cecd, I am fure it was fown in good ground,
and may expect a great increafc.

I think you have a familiar, ready to difpatch what

Online LibraryJohn LockeThe works of John Locke (Volume 9) → online text (page 23 of 51)