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hands that you have done, I should be in hopes : and certainly there is not a chapter in all natural philosophy of greater use to mankind than what is here proposed.
Your most humble servant,
Mr. Locke to Mr. MOLYNEUX. .
London, 28 Mar. 1693, · YOUR silence, that spared me a great deal of fear and uneasiness, by concealing from me your sickness, 'till it was well over, is abundantly made amends for, by the joy it brings me, in the news of your recovery,
You have given me those marks of your kindness to me, that you will not think it strange, that I count you amongst my friends; and with those, desiring to live with the ease and freedom of a perfect confidence, I never accuse them to myself of neglect, or coldness, when I fail to hear from them, so soon as I expected or desired: though had I known you so well before as I do now, since your last letter, I should not have avoided being in pain upon account of your health.
I cannot at all doubt the sincerity of any thing you say to me; but yet give me leave to think, that it is an excess of kindness alone could excuse it from looking like compliment. But I am convinced you love your friends extremely, where you haye made choice of them, and then believe you can never think nor speak too well of them. I know not whether it belongs to a man, who gets once in print, to read in his book, that it is perfect, and that the author is infallible, Had I had such an opinion of my own sufficiency before I writ, my essay would have brought me to another, and given me such a sight of the weakness of my under. standing, that I could not fail to suspect myself of errour and mistake, in many things I had writ, and to desire all the light I could get from others to set me right. I have found you one of the likeliest to afford it me; your clearness and candour gave me the confidence to ask your judgment; and I take it for no small assurance of your friendship that you have given it me, and have condescended to advise me of the printer's faults, which gives me hopes you have not concealed any you have observed in the work itself. The marginal summaries you desire, of the paragraphs, I shall take care to have added, were it only for your sake; but I think too it will make the book the more useful.
That request of yours, you press so earnestly upon me, makes me bemoan the distance you are from me, which deprives me of the assistance I might have from your opinion and judgment, before I ventured any thing into the public. It is so hard to find impartial freedom in one's friends, or an unbiassed judgment any-where, that amongst all the helps of conversation and acquaintance, I know none more wanted, nor more useful, than speaking freely and candidly one's opinion upon the thoughts and compositions of another intended for the press. Experience has taught me, that you are a friend of this rank, and therefore I cannot but heartily wish that a sea between us did not hinder me from the advantage of this good office. Had you been within reach, I should have begged your severe examination of what is now gone to the printer, at your instance; I had rather I could have said upon your perusal, and with your correction. I am not in my nature a lover of novelty, nor contradiction; but my notions in this treatise have run me so far out of the common road and practice, that I could have been glad to have had them allowed by so sober a judgment as yours, or stopped, if they had appeared impracticable or extravagant, from going any farther. That which your brother tells you, on this occasion, is not wholly besides the matter. The main of what I now publish, is but what was contained in several letters to a friend of mine, the greatest part whereof were writ 'out of Holland. How your brother came to know of it, I have clearly forgot, and do not: remember that ever I communicated it to any body there. These letters, or at least some of them, have been seen by some of my acquaintance here, who would needs persuade me it would be of use to publish them; your impatience to see them has not, I assure you, slackened my hand, or kept me in suspense: and I wish now they were out, that you might the sooner see them, and I the sooner have your opinion of them. I know not yet whether I shall set my name to this discourse, and therefore shall desire you to conceal it. You see I make you my confessor, for you have made yourself my friend.
The faults of the press are, I find, upon a sedate reading over my book, infinitely more than I could have thought; those that you have observed, I have corrected, and return you my thanks; and, as far as I have gone in my review, lave added and altered several things; but am not yet got so far as those places you mark for the “ æternæ veritates, and principium indi. “ viduationis," which I shall consider, when I come to them, and endeavour to satisfy your desire. “ Male“ branche's hypothesis of seeing all things in God," being that from whence I find some men would derive our ideas, I have some thoughts of adding a new chapter, wherein I will examine it, having, as I think, something to say against it, that will show the weakness of it very clearly. But I have so little love to controversy, that I am not fully resolved. Some other additions I have made, I hope, will not displease you, but I wish I could show them you, before they are in print; for I would not make my book bigger, unless it were to make it better.
I thank you for advising me of the errour about sight, for indeed it was a great one in matter of fact, but it was in the expression; for I meant a minute, but by mistake called to of a degree a second. Your ingeni. ous problem will deserve to be published to the world.
The seeming contradiction between what is said page 147, and p. 341, is just as you take it, and I hope so. clearly expressed, that it cannot be mistaken, but by'a
very unwary reader, who cannot distinguish between an idea in the mind, and the real existence of something out of the mind answering that idea. But I heartily thank you for your caution, and shall take care how to prevent any such mistake, when I come to that place. My humble service to your brother. I am,
Your most humble servant,
Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. LOCKE.
Dublin, April 18, 1693. I HAVE lately received farther testimonies of your kindness and friendship to me, in your last of March 28; which brings withal the welcome news of your having committed your work of education to the press; than which, I know not any thing, that I ever expected with a more earnest desire. What my brother told me, relating to that treatise, he had from yourself in Holland; but perhaps you might have forgot what passed between you on that occasion. I perceive you fear the novelty of some notions therein may seem extravagant; but, if I may venture to judge of the author, I fear no such thing from him. I doubt not but the work will be new and peculiar, as his other performances; and this it is that renders them estimable and pleasant. He that travels the beaten roads may chance, indeed, to have company; but he that takes his liberty, and manages it with judgment, is the man that makes useful discoveries, and most beneficial to those that follow him. Had Columbus never ventured farther than his predecessors, we had yet been ignorant of a vast part of our earth, preferable (as some say) to all the other three. And, if none may be allowed to try the ocean of philosophy farther than our ancestors, we shall hare but little advancements, or discoveries, made in the “ mun." “ dus intellectualis;" wherein, I believe, there is much more unknown, than what we have yet found out. .
I should very much approve of your adding a chapter in your essay, concerning Malebranche's hypothesis. As there are enthusiasms in divinity, so there are in philosophy; and as one proceeds from not consulting or misapprehending the book of God; so the other from not reading and considering the book of nature. I look upon Malebranche's notions, or rather Plato's, in this particular, as perfectly unintelligible. And if you will engage in a philosophic controversy, you cannot do it with more advantage, than in this matter. What you lay down, concerning our ideas and knowledge, is founded and confirmed by experiment and observation, that any man may make in himself, or the children he converses with, wherein he may note the gradual steps that we may make in knowledge. But Plato's fancy has no foundation in nature, but is merely the product of his own brain. ...... · I know it is none of your business to engage in conc troversy, or remove objections, save only such as seem immediately to strike at your own positions, and therefore I cannot insist upon what I am now going to mention to you. However, I will give you the hint, and leave the consideration thereof to your own breast. The 10th chapter of your ivth book, is a most exact demonstration of the existence of God. But perhaps it might be more full, by an addition against the eternity of the world, and that all things have not been going on in the same manner, as we now see them, “ab « æterno." I have known a pack of philosophical atheists, that rely much on this hypothesis; and even Hobbes himself does somewhere allege (if I am not forgetful, it is his book “ De corpore,” in the chapter « de universo") “ that the same arguments, which are 4 brought against the eternity of the world, may serve “ as well against the eternity of the Creator of the 66 world." I am, .
Honoured SIR, . . Your most affectionate, devoted servant,