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THE following letters, offered to your perusal, are the genuine productions of those gentlemen, to whom they are attributed
They contain not only such civil and polite conversation, as friendship produces among men of parts, learn. ing, and candour; but several matters relating to literature, and more particularly to Mr. Locke's notions, in his “ Essay concerning human understanding," and in some of his other works: and therefore I cannot doubt of your thanks for the present I make you. For, though the curiosity of some, to see whatever drops from the pens of great men, and to inform themselves in their private characters, their tempers, dispositions, and manner of conversing with their friends, would perhaps have justified me, in publishing any letters of Mr. Locke's, and of his friends to him, that were not letters of mere business; yet my regard to what I take to be the more general judgment of the public, has determined me to publish such only, as have relation to this twofold view, and shall determine me hereafter, if gentlemen, that have any letters of Mr. Locke's by them, think fit to communicate them to me.
FAMILIAR LETTERS, &c. ..
Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.
London, July 16, 1692. THOUGH the extraordinary compliment you were pleased to make me, in the epistle dedicatory*, easily persuaded me, from whom that present was likely to come; when, at my coming to town, I found your book left for me, by Mr. Tooke, at my bookseller's; yet my consciousness, how little I could deserve the one, or the other, from you, made me fear some mistake till inquiring of Mr. Tooke himself, he assured me of the favour you had done me. I will not pretend to return you such thanks as I ought, till I can write such, a book as yours is. Only give me leave to say, that if my trifle could possibly be an occasion of vanity to me, you have done most to make it so, since I could scarce forbear to applaud myself, upon such a testimony from one who so well understands demonstration, did I not
* Before A Treatise of Dioptrics, printed at London 1692, wherein it is said, " that to none do we owe, for a greater advancement in this part “ of philosophy (viz. logic) than to the incomparable Mr. Locke, who, in « his Essay of Human Understanding, hath rectified more received mis. “ takes, and delivered more profound truths, established on experience " and obseryation, for the direction of man's mind in the prosecution of
knowledge, (which I think may be properly termed logic,) than are to « be met with in all the volumes of the ancients. He has clearly over" thrown all those metaphysical whimsies, which infected men's brains “ with a spice of madness, whereby they feigned a knowledge where " they had none, by making a noise with sounds, without clear and “ distinct significations."
see that those, who can be extreme rigorous and exact in the search of truth, can be as civil and as complaisant in their dealing with those whom they take to be lovers of it. But this cannot keep me from being out of countenance at the receipt of such obligations, without the hopes of making such returns as I ought. Instead of that, give me leave to do what is next to it, and let you see that I am not sorry I am obliged to you. The bearer hereof, Dr. Sibelius, is a friend of mine, who comes to Dublin with a design to settle there, and I beg your assistance of him, in what lies in your way. I shall take it as a favour done to me. And methinks I have reason now to expect it of you, since you have done me, more than once, very great ones, when I had no reason to expect any at all. Sir, you have made great advances of friendships towards me, and you see they are not lost upon me. I am very sensible of them, and would make such an use of them as might assure you I should take it for a new favour, if you would afford me an occasion wherein I might, by any service, tell you how much I am,
I had the honour to know one of your name at Leyden about seven or eight years since. If he be any rea lation of yours and now in Dublin, I beg the favour of you to present my humble service to him.
Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. LOCKE... SIR, UPON the arrival of our lord lieutenant in this place (which was on the 25th instant) I had the favour of a detter from you by the hands of Dr. Sibelius. '. I.cannot easily tell you how grateful it was to me, having the highest esteem for him that sent it, from the first moment that I was so happy as to see any of his writ. ings; and therefore it was, that I was so ambitious of making a friendship with you, by presenting you one of my trifles, which I ordered my bookseller to lay before you, under this character, “ as a mean testimony of the « great respect I had for the author of the Essay of « Human Understanding." And since I find, by yours to me, that my ambition is not fallen short of its design; but that you are pleased to encourage me, by assuring me that I have made great advances of friendship towards you ; give me leave to embrace the favour with all joy imaginable. And that you may judge of sincerity by my open heart, I will plainly confess to you, that I have not in my life read any book with more satisfaction than your essay; insomuch, that a repeated perusal of it is still more pleasant to me.
And I have endeavoured, with great success, to re. commend it to the consideration of the ingenious, in this place. Dr. King, bishop of Derry, when he read it, made some slight remarks on the foremost parts of the book; but his business would not permit him to go through it all. What he did, rough as it was, he gave to me, and they are at your commands, when you please.
One thing I must needs insist on to you, which is, that you would think of obliging the world with “ A “ Treatise of Morals," drawn up according to the hints you frequently give in your essay, of being demonstrable according to the mathematical method. This is most certainly true. But then the task must be undertaken, only by so clear and ạistinct a thinker as you are. This were an attempt worthy your consideration. And there is nothing I should more ardently wish for than to see it. And therefore, good sir, let me beg of you to turn your thoughts this way; and if so young a friendship as mine haye any force, let me prevail upon you. · Upon my reading your essay, I was so taken with it, that when I was in London, in August 1690, I made inquiry amongst some of my learned friends for any