Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

be taught young men, after grammar, as is the usual method, I think yet it should be nothing but proposition and syllogism. But that being in order to their disputing exercises in the university, perhaps I may think those may be spared too: disputing being but an ill (not to say the worst) way to knowledge. I say this not as pretending to change, or find fault with, what public allowance and established practice has settled in universities; but to excuse myself to you, from whom I cannot allow myself to differ, without telling you the true reasons of it. For I see so much knowledge, candour, and the marks of sơ much good-will to mankind in you, that there are few men, whose opinion I think ought to have so much authority with me as yours. But, as to the method of learning, perhaps I may entertain you more at large hereafter: only now let me ask you, since you mention logic and metaphysics in relation to my book, whether either of those sciences may suggest to you any new heads, fit to be inserted into my essay, in a second edition?

You have done too much honour to me in the recommendation I see you have given to my book; and I am the more pleased with it, because I think it was not done out of kindness to one so much a stranger to you as I then was. But yet, pray do not think me so vain that I dare assume to myself almost any part of what you say of me in your last letter. Could I find in myself any reason you could have to flatter me, I should suspect you resolved to play the courtier a little. But I know what latitude civil and well-bred men allow themselves with great sincerity, where they are pleased, and kindness warms them. I am sensible of the obligation, and in return shall only tell you, that I shall speedily set. myself to obey your commands in the last part of your letter. I beg your pardon for trespassing so much on your patience, and am,

SIR,

. .. sunt Your most humble and most obliged servant,

John Locke. Mr. Molyneux to Mr. Locke.

Dublin, March 2, 1692-3. Honoured Sir, YOURS of Jan. 20 came to my hands, just as I lay down on a bed of sickness, being a severe colic, that held me nigh five weeks, and brought me very weak; this was the more grievous to me, in that it hindered me from giving that ready answer to your letters, which I desired; being very covetous, on all opportunities, of keeping up a correspondence with one, for whom I had so great a respect. I am now, God be thanked, pretty well recovered; but yet weak, and have not yet stirred abroad. I know the bare signifying this to you is sufficient in my excuse; so that, relying on your pardon, I proceed to answer your last.

And first, sir, believe me, that whatever respect I have at any time used to you, has been the sincere thoughts of my heart, and not the vain compliments that usually pass between courtiers, and, how extravagant soever, are looked upon as the effects of good breeding, and pass only as such, by licence. I think I know a worthy man when I meet him, and they are so rare in the world, that no honour is too great for those that are such. And I must plainly say it to yourself, that so much humanity, candour, condescension, and good-nature, joined with so great judgment, learning, and parts, I have not met with in any man living, as in the author of the “ Essay concerning Human Understanding." You so favourably entertain all men's objections, you are so desirous to hear the sense of others, you are so tender in differing from any man, that you have captivated' me beyond resistance. What you propose to add in those places, which I intimated to you, as seeningly repugnant to unwary readers, p. 270 and 314, 315, is abundantly sufficient; unless you may think it convenient (for the prerention of all manner of scruple, and to show your readers, that you are aware of the objection that may be raised against these passages) to

add in the margin a little note to that purpose, specifying the seeming repugnancy that was in the first edition, and that, for the clearing thereof, you have thus farther illustrated it in this. But this, as every thing else, I propose with all submission to your better judgment. Mentioning the marginal note to you minds me to intimate, that I should think it convenient, in your next edition, to express the abstract or content of each section in the margin, and to spare (if you think fit) the table of contents at the latter end of the book, though I think both may do best. I can assure you, for my own reading, and consulting your book, I have put the table of contents to their respective sections throughout the whole. · I ain fully convinced, by the arguments you give me, for not turning your book into the scholastic form of logic and metaphysics; and I had no other reason to advise the other, but merely to get it promoted the easier in our university; one of the businesses of which places is to learn according to the old forms. And this minds me to let you know the great joy and satisfaction of mind I conceived, on your promise of the method of learning; there could be nothing more acceptable to me, than the hopes thereof, and that on this account ; I have but one child in the world, who is now nigh four years old, and promises well; his mother left him to me very young, and my affections (I must confess) are strongly placed on him: it has pleased God, by the liberal provisions of our ancestors, to free me from the toiling cares of providing a fortune for him; so that my whole study shall be to lay up a treasure of knowo ledge in his mind, for his happiness both in this life and the next. And I have been often thinking of some method for his instruction ,that may best obtain the end I propose. And now, to my great joy, I hope to be abundantly supplied by your method. And my bros ther has sometimes told me, that, whilst he had the happiness of your acquaintance at Leyden, you were upon such a work, as this I desire; and that too, at the request of a tender father, for the use of his only son. Wherefore, good sir, let me most earnestly intreat you, by no means to lay aside this infinitely 'useful work, till you have finished it; for it will be of vast advantage to all mankind, as well as particularly to me, your intire friend. And, on this consideration of use. fulness to mankind, I will presume again to remind you of your “discourse of morality;" and I shall think myself very happy, if, by putting you on the thought, I should be the least occasion of so great good to the world. What I have more to say, relating to your book, is of little or no moment: however, you so readily entertain all men's thoughts of your works, that futile as mine are, you shall have a remark or two more from me.

But first to your query, whether I know any new heads from logic or metaphysics to be inserted in the second edition of your essay: I answer, I know none, unless you think it may not do well to insist more particularly, and at large, on “ æternæ veritates, and the “ principium individuationis.” Concerning the first, you have some touches, p. 281, § 31, p. 323, § 14, p. 345, § 14, and concerning the latter, p. 28, § 4, p. 40, § 12.

Page 96, sect. 9, you assert, what I conceive is an errour in fact, viz. “ that a'man's eye can distinguish of a second of a circle, whereof its self is the centre." Whereas it is certain, that few men's eyes can distinguish less than 30 seconds, and most not under a minute, or 60 seconds, as is manifest from what Mr. Hook lays down in his animadversions, on the first part of Hevelii machina coelestis, p. 8, 9, &c, but this, as I said before, is only an errour in fact, and affects not the doctrine laid down in the said section. · • Page 341, sect. 2, you say, “ the existence of all " things without us (except only of God) is bad by our « senses.” And p. 147, sect. 33, 34, 35, 36, you show how the idea we have of God, is made up of the ideas we have gotten by our senses. Now this, though no repugnancy; yet, to unwary readers, may seem one, and therefore perhaps may deserve a fuller expression. To me it is plain, that in page 341,.you speak barely of the existence of a God; and in p, 147, you speak of the ideas that are ingredient in thecomplex idea of God; ' that is, p. 147, you say, “ that all the ideas ingredient « in the idea of a God, are had from sense;" and p. 341, you only assert, “ that the existence of this God, “ or that really there are united in one being all these « ideas, is had, not from sense, but demonstration.” This to me seems your sense; yet perhaps every reader may not so readily conceive it; and, therefore, possibly you may think this passage, p. 341, worthy your farther consideration and addition.

I will conclude my tedious lines with a jocose problem, that, upon discourse with several, concerning your book and notions, I have proposed to divers very ingenious men, and could hardly ever meet with one, that, at first dash, would give me the answer to it which I think true, till by hearing my reasons they were convinced. It is this : “ Suppose a man born blind, and “ now adult, and taught by his touch to distinguish “ between a cube and a sphere (suppose) of ivory, “ nighly of the same bigness, so as to tell when he felt « one and t'other, which is the cube, which the sphere. “ Suppose then the cube and sphere placed on a table, “ and the blind man to be made to see; query, ' W'he6. ther by his sight, before he touched them, he could « now distinguish and tell, which is the globe, which “ the cube?' I answer, not: for though he has ob6 tained the experience of how a globe, and how a “ cube affects his touch; yet he has not yet attained " the experience, that what affects his touch so or so, “ must affect his sight so or so; or that a protuberant “ angle in the cube, that pressed his hand unequally, « shall appear to his eye as it does in the cube.” But of this enough; perhaps you may find some place in your essay, wherein you may not think it amiss to say something of this problem. · I am extremely obliged to you for Mr. Boyle's book of the air, which lately came to my hands. It is a vast design, and not to be finished but by the united labonrs of many heads, and indefatigably prosecuted for many years; so that I despair of seeing any thing complete therein. However, if many will lend the same helping

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »