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see, sir, what a veneration I have for your writings, and
Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.
Oates, 8 Mar. 1694-5. • YOU will, I fear, think me frozen up with this long winter, or else with a negligence colder than that, haying two very obliging letters of yours by me, the one ever since January, the other February last, I make you no answer to either, till thus far in March. The truth is, expecting ever since I received your last letter an account from London, concerning something I had a mind to put into my letter, and after writing four times about it, being yet delayed, I can forbear no longer to return you my thanks, and to beg your pardon that I have been so slow in it. If you interpret it right, you will look upon it as the effect of a friendship got past formalities, and that has confidence enough to make bold with you, where it is without neglect of you, or prejudice to either. I was not a little rejoiced with the news you sent me in the first of your letters, of your safel recovery of a fever. Had I known it before the danger was over, that iyou had been ill, it would have been no small fright and pain to me. For I must assure you that, amongst all the friends your kindness or worth has procured you, there is not any one who values you more than I do, or does more interest him. self in all your concerns. This makes me, that though I have a long time extremely desired to see you, and propose to myself an infinite satisfaction in a free conversation with you; yet what you tell me, that you were coming last summer into England, to make me a visit, makes me dread the satisfaction of my own wishes. And methinks I ought not to purchase one of the greatest happinesses I can propose to myself at so dear and dangerous a rate. I have received many and great obligations from you before; but they were such as, though I had no title to, I thought I might accept from one whom I love, and therefore was glad to find kind to me. But when I reflect on the length of the way, and the sea between us, the danger of the one, and the fatigue of both, and your no very robust constitution, as I imagine, I cannot consent you should venture so much for my sake. If any harm should happen to you in the journey, I could never forgive it myself, to be the occasion of so great a loss to the world and myself. And if you should come safe, the greatness of the hazard, and an obligation out of all propor:
ion to what I either ought to receive, or was capable w return, would overwhelm me with shame, and hinder my enjoyment. And yet, if I may confess my secret thoughts, there is not any thing which I would not give, that some other unavoidable occasion would draw you into England. A rational free-minded man, tied to nothing but truth, is so rare a thing, that I almost worship such a friend; but when friendship is joined to it, and these are brought into a free conversation, where they meet, and can be together; what is there can have equal charms? I cannot but exceedingly wish for that happy day, when I may see a man I have so often longed to have in my embraces. But yet, though it would endear the gift to receive it from his kindness, I cannot but wish rather that fortune alone would throw him into my arms.
This cold winter has kept me so close a prisoner within doors, that, 'till yesterday, I have been abroad but once these three months, and that only a mile in a coach. And the inability I am in to breathe London air in cold weather has hindered me yet from the happiness of waiting on Dr. Ashe; but I hope to get to London before he leaves it, that I may, to a person whom you have an esteem for, pay some part of the respects I owe you. I had last week the honour of a visit from an ingenious gentleman, a member of your college at Dublin, lately returned from Turkey. He told me he was a kinsman of yours; and though his other good qualities might have made him welcome any-where, he was not, you may be sure, the less welcome to me, for being known and related to you. He seems to me to have been very diligent and curious in making observations whilst he has been abroad, and more inquisitive than most of our people that go into those parts. And, by the discourse I had with him the little time we were together, I promise myself we shall have a more exact account of those parts, in what I hope he intends to publish, than hitherto is extant. Dr. Huntington, who was formerly at Aleppo, and is my old acquaintance, and now my neighbour in this country, brought Mr. Smith hither with him from his house. But yet I must acknowledge the favour to you, and desire you to thank him for it when he returns to Dublin. For the friendship he knew you had for me, was I take it, the great inducement that made him give himself the trouble of coming six or seven miles in a dirty country.
You do so attack me on every side with your kind. ness to my book, to me, to my shadow, that I cannot but be ashamed I am not in a capacity to make you any other acknowledgment, but in a very full and deep sense of it. I return you my thanks for the corrections you
have sent me, which I will take all the care of I can if the next edition, which, my bookseller tells me, he thinks will be this summer. And if any other fall under your observation, I shall desire the continuance of your favour in communicating them.
I must own to you that I have been solicited from beyond sea to put my essay into Latin; but you guess right, I have not the leisure to do it. It was once translated by a young man in Holland into Latin; but he was so little master of the English or Latin tongue, that when it was showed me, which he did not till he had quite done it, I satisfied him that it would be very little for his credit to publish it; and so that was laid by. Since that, my bookseller was, and had been for some time seeking for a translator, whom he would have treated with to have undertaken it, and have satisfied for his pains. But a little before the coming of your letter, he writ me word he had been disappointed, where he expected to have found one who would have done it, and was now at a loss. So that what you call a bold, is not only the kindest, but the most seasonable proposal you could have made. You understand my thoughts as well as I do myself, and can be a fit judge, whether the translator has expressed them well in Latin or no; and can direct him, where to omit or contract any thing where you think I have been more large than needed. And though in this I know you intend, as you say, some good to the world; yet I cannot but take it as a very particular obligation to myself, and shall not be a little satisfied to have my book go abroad into the world with strokes of your judicious hand to it. For, as to omitting, adding, altering, transposing any thing in it, I permit it wholly to your judgment. And if there be any thing in it defective, or which you think may be added with advantage to the design of the whole work, if you will let me know, I shall endeavour to supply that defect the best I can. The chapter “ of “ Identity and Diversity'' which owes its birth wholly to your putting me upon it, will be an encouragement to you to lay any the like commands upon me. I have had some thoughts myself, that it would not be possibly
amiss to add, in lib. iv. cap. 18, something about enthusiasm, or to make a chapter of it by itself. If you are of the same mind, and that it will not be foreign to the business of my essay, I promise you, before the translator you shall employ shall be got so far, I will send you my thoughts on that subject, so that it may be put into the Latin edition. I have also examined P. Malebranche's opinion concerning “ seeing all things in God;" and to my own satisfaction laid open the vanity, inconsistency, and unintelligibleness of that way of explaining human understanding. I have gone almost, but not quite through it, and know nof whether I now ever shall finish it, being fully satisfied myself about it. You cannot think how often I regret the distance that is between us; I envy Dublin for what I every day want in London. Were you in my neighbourhood, you would every day be troubled with the proposal of some of my thoughts to you. I find mine generally so much out of the way of the books I meet with, or men led by books, that were I not conscious to myself that I impartially seek truth, I should be discouraged from letting my thoughts loose, which commonly lead me out of the beaten track. However, I want somebody near me, to whom I could freely communicate them, and without reserve lay them open. I should find security and ease in such a friend as you, were you within distance. For your judgment would confirm and set me at rest, where it approved; and your candour would excuse what your judgment corrected, and set me right, in. As to your request you now repeat to me, I desire you to believe that there is nothing in your letters which I pass over slightly, or without taking notice of; and if I formerly said nothing to it, think it to be, that I thought it the best way of answering a friend, whom I was resolved to deny nothing that was in my power. There are some particular obligations that tie me up in the point, and which have drawn on me some displeasure for å time, from some of my friends, who' made me a somewhat like demand. But I expect to find you more reasonable, and give you this assurance, that you shall be the first that shall be satisfied in that