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your remarks on the paragraphs you shall think fit; for I have a copy here.
You desired me too to enlarge more particularly about eternal verities, which, to obey you, I set about; but, upon examination, find all general truths are eternal verities, and so there is no entering into particulars; though, by mistake, some men have selected some, as if they alone were eternal verities. I never, but with regret, reflect on the distance you are from me, and am, .
Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. LOCKE.
Dublin, Sept. 16, 1693. Honoured Sir, I HAVE yours from Oates of Aug. 23, with your Chapter 6 of identity and diversity;" and I acknowledge myself extremely obliged to you, for being at all that thought, on my account. However, I repent not of the trouble I gave you therein, seeing the effects thereof, such clear reasoning, and profound judgment, that convinces and delights at once. And I protest, sir, it is to me the hardest task in the world, to add any thing to, or make any remarks upon, what you deliver therein; every thing you write therein is delivered with such convincing reason, that I fully assent to all. And to make remarks where I have no room to say any thing, would please neither you nor myself. And to show you that I would not wholly rely on my own examination of your chapter, I imparted it to others, desiring their censure of it; but still with the same event, all acknowledged the clearness of the reasoning, and that nothing more was left to be said on the subject.
The answer you make to what I writ on your Thoughts of Education, does fully satisfy me. But I assure you, sir, I was not the only person shocked at that passage. I find several stumble at it, as taking little play-things, that children are very apt to desire and ask for, to be matters of fancy and affectation within your rule. But seeing in your last letter, you confine desires of affectation and fancy to other matters, I am satisfied in this business.
I can say no more to the scheme you lay down of man's liberty, but that I believe it very just, and will answer in all things. I long to see the second edition of your essay; and then, if any thing offer, I will give my thoughts more fully.
I am very sensible how closely you are engaged, till you have discharged this work off your hands; and therefore I will not venture, till it be over, to press you again to what you have promised in the business of man's life, morality. But you must expect that I shall never be forgetful of that, from which I propose so great good to the world, and so much satisfaction to
Your most entirely affectionate humble servant,
Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. LOCKE.
Dublin, Dec. 29, 1698. I HAVE now read over your Essay of Human Un. derstanding a third time, and always make new discoveries therein of something profound. I should set upon it again, but that I will wait for your next edition, which I hope, by this time, is almost finished. The usual satisfaction I take in reading all things that come from you, made me lately again run over your chapter “ of identity and diversity;" concerning the justness whereof, I have yet the same opinion as formerly. But one thought suggested itself to me, which on my first reading did not occur. It relates to sect. 22, wherein the reason you give, why the law may justly punish a sober man, for what he did when drunk, or a waking man, for what he did when walking in his sleep, though it be true and full in the case of the night-walker: yet I conceive it not so full in the case of the drunken man. For drunkenness is itself a crime, and therefore no one shall allege it an excuse of another crime. And in the law we find, “ that killing a man « by chance-medley is not capital ;'' yet if I am doing an unlawful act, as shooting at a deer in a park, to steal it, and by chance-medley I kill a man unawares, this is capital, because the act wherein I was engaged, and which was the occasion of this mischief, was in itself unlawful, and I cannot plead it in excuse. In the case of the night-walker, your answer is true, full, and satisfactory; but that in the drunkard's case is somewhat short. The night-walking is a sort of distemper, not to be helped, or prevented, by the patient. But drunkenness is a deliberate act, which a man may easily avoid and prevent. Moreover, whatever the law appoints in this case, I think, were I on the jury of one, who walking in his sleep had killed another, I should not violate a good conscience if I acquitted him ; for he is certainly, during those fits, “ non compos mentis;" and it were easy to distinguish, by circumstances, how far he counterfeited, or not.
You will very much oblige me, by a line or two, to let me know how forward your work is, and what other things you have on the anvil before you: amongst which, I hope, you will not forget your “ Thoughts « on Morality.” For I am obliged to prosecute this request to you, being the first, I presume, that moved you in it.
There is a gentleman in this town, one capt. Henry Monk, a nigh relation of the Albemarles, who tells me he has been known to you long ago; and on all occa. sions mentions you with the highest respects. He
desired me, the other day, to give you his most humble service. I am,
Mr. Locke to Mr. MOLYNEUX.
Oates, 19 Jan.-93-4. Honoured Sir, ,, I CAN take it for no other, than a great mark of your kindness to me, that you spend so much of your time, in the perusal of my thoughts, when you have. so much better of your own to improve it. To which you had this farther obligation, that you read my book for my instruction, still taking notice to me of what you judge amiss in it. This is a good office that so few in the world perform in the way that you do, that it deserves my particular acknowledgment. And I own myself no less beholden to you, when I differ from you, than when, convinced by your better judgment, you give me opportunity to mend what before was amiss; your intention being that, to which I equally, in both cases, owe my gratitude.
You doubt, whether my answer be full in the case of the drunkard. To try whether it be or no, we must. consider what I am there doing. As I remember (for I have not that chapter here by me) I am there showing that punishment is annexed to personality, and per. sonality to.consciousness: how then can a drunkard be punished for what he did, whereof he is not conscious ? To this I answer, human judicatures justly punish him, because the fact is proved against him, but want of consciousness cannot be proved for him. This you think not sufficient, but would have me add the common reason, that drunkenness being a crime, one crime cannot be alleged in excuse for another. This reason, how good soever, cannot, I think, be used by me, as not reaching my case; for what has this to do with consciousness ? Nay, it is an argument against me, for if a man may be punished for any crime which he committed when drunk, whereof he is allowed not to be conscious, it overturns my hypothesis. Your case of shooting a man by chance, when stealing a deer, being made capital, and the like, I allow to be just; but then, pray consider, it concerns not my argument; there being no doubt of consciousness in that case, but only shows, that any criminal action infects the consequences of it. But drunkenness has something peculiar in it, when it destroys consciousness; and so the instances you bring, justify not the punishing of a drunken fact, that was totally and irrecoverably forgotten; which the reason that I give being sufficient to do, it well enough remove the objection, without entering into the true foundation of the thing, and showing how far it was reasonable for human justice to punish a crime of a drunkard, which he could be supposed not conscious of, which would have uselessly engaged me in a very large discourse, and an impertinent digression. For I ask you, if a man, by intemperate drinking, should get a fever, and in the frenzy of his disease (which lasted not, perhaps, above an hour) committed some crime, would you punish him for it? If you would not think this just, how can you think it just to punish him for any fact committed in a drunken frenzy, without a fever? Both had the same criminal cause, drunkenness, and both committed without consciousness. I shall not enlarge any farther into other particular instances, that might raise difficulties about the punishing, or not punishing, the crime of an unconscious, drunken man; which would not easily be resolved, without inquiring into the reason upon which human justice ought to proceed in such cases, which was beyond my present business to do. Thus, sir, I have laid before you the reasons, why I have let that passage go, without any addie tion made to it. I desire you to lay by your friendship to me, and only to make use of your judgment in con