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Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. Locke,
Dublin, Jan. 5, 1696-7. IT is now three months since I ventured to trouble you with a letter; you may see thereby that I have a regard to the public business you are engaged in; but I have not been all this while without the satisfaction of hearing that you are well; for, as all my friends know, that I have the most respectful concern for you in the world ; so they are not wanting, on all opportunities, from t'other side the water, to give me the acceptable tidings of your welfare. I have lately received a letter from Mr. Howard, that obliges me to make his acknowledgments for the favours he has rem ceived from you. This I can hardly do, without com. plaining of him at the same time, for not yet sending me your picture; but I suppose by this time, it is on the road hither, and I forgive him; and with all gratitude imaginable, return you my thanks on his account.
The enclosed piece of natural history I am desired by my brother to present to you, with his most affectionate humble service. If, upon perusing it, you think it may deserve it, you may send it by the penny-post to the Royal Society, to fill up an empty page in the Transactions. There is nothing to recommend it but its be. ing exactly true, and an account of a non-descript animal. Formerly I had a constant correspondence with the secretary of the society, but of late it has failed; and therefore we take the liberty of sending this through your hands. "
I have lately met with a book here of Mons. Le Clerc's, called The Causes of Incredulity, done out of French. It is the same Le Clerc that writes Ontologia, and dedicates it to you. I find thereby you are his acquaintance and friend; I should be very glad you would be pleased to give me some account of that gentleman, and his circumstances in the world, if you know them. To me he seems an impartial and candid inquirer after truth, and to have the true spirit of christianity in that his book. The reason why I inquire after him, is, be. cause I suppose him one of the refugees from France, and perhaps he may receive some encouragement to come into this kingdom. I am,
Your most affectionate servant,
Mr. Molyneux to Mr. Locke.
Dublin, Feb. 3, 1696-7. AS I had reason to rejoice on the nation's account, when you were first put on public business; so I find, on my own particular, I had cause to lament; for since that time (to my great concern) your letters have been less frequent, and the satisfaction I had in them abundantly diminished. Were I assured of the confirmed state of your health, I could more patiently submit to this, but knowing your sickly disposition, a month's silence puts me in pain for you; and I am very uneasy under the apprehensions of any danger that may attend you. Favour me, therefore, good sir, though it were but a line or two, in the crowd of your business; for that itself would be some contentment to me, in the want of those noble philosophical thoughts which sometimes you were pleased to communicate to me.
And now, sir, I shall beg a favour of you a little out of our common road of correspondence. We have here lately received the certainty of Mr. Methwin's being declared our lord chancellor; and truly, sir, all moderate and good men, I find, are very well pleased at it. I suppose, by your interest and acquaintance with my lord keeper of England, you have an acquaintance likewise with Mr. Methwin; and I beg the favour of you to mention me to him as your devoted friend and servant. I am sure, if he knows you rightly, I cannot be represented to him under a more advantageous character: and I know this will give me admittance to his graces, which I desire more, as I hear he is a good, than a great man; and, being one of the masters in chancery here, it is natural to covet the favour of him under whom I am to act.
I have lately met with a book of the bishop of Worcester's concerning the Trinity. He takes occasion therein to reflect on some things in your Essay; but truly, I think, with no great strength of reason. However, he being a man of great name, I humbly propose it to you, whether you may not judge it worth your while to take notice of what he says, and give some answer to it, which will be no difficult task. I do not intend hereby, that an answer, on purpose for that end only, should be framed by you; I think it not of that moment; but perhaps you may find some accidental occasion of taking notice thereof, either in the next edi. tion of your Essay, or some other discourse you may publish hereafter."
I have not yet received the satisfaction of having your likeness before me, and have therefore lately writ a very discontented letter about it to Mr. Howard. A great man here told me, I something resembled you in countenance; could he but assure me of being like you in mind too, it would have been the eternal honour and boast of
Your most devoted humble servant, .
and entirely affectionate friend,
. Will. MOLYNEUX.
I find, by a book I lately light on, of Mr. Norris's, that Mr. Masham and my son agree in one odd circumstance of life, of having both their mothers blind; for my wife lost her sight above twelve years before she died, and I find lady Masham is in the same condition.
Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.
Oates, 22 Feb. 1696-7. I FEAR you will be of an opinion, that I take my picture for myself, and think you ought to look no farther, since that is coming to you, or is already with you. Indeed we are shadows much alike, and there is not much difference in our strength and usefulness. Yet I cannot but remember, that I cannot expect my picture should answer your letters to me, pay the acknowledgments I owe you, and excuse a silence as great as if I were nothing but a piece of cloth overlayed with coJours. I could lay a great deal of the blame on business, and a great deal on want of health. Between these two I have had little leisure since I writ to you last. But all that will bear no excuse to myself, for being three letters in arrear to a person whom I the willingliest hear from of any man in the world, and with whom I had rather entertain myself, and pass my hours in conversa. tion, than with any one that I know. I should take it amiss if you were not angry with me for not writing to you all this while ; for I should suspect you loved me not so well as I love you, if you could patiently bear my silence. I hope it is your civility makes you not chide me. I promise you, I should have grumbled cruelly at you, if you had been half so guilty as I have been. But if you are angry a little, pray be not so very much; for if you should provoke me any way, I know the first sight of a letter from you, would allay all my choler immediately; and the joy of hearing you were well, and that you continued your kindness to me, would fill my mind, and leave me no other passion. For I tell you truly, that since the receipt of your letter in September last, there has scarce a day passed, I am sure not a post, wherein I have not thought of my obligation and debt to you, and resolved to acknowledge it to you, though something or other has still come between to hinder me. For you would have pitied me, to see how much of my time was forced from me this winter in the country,
(where my illness confined me within doors,) by crouds of letters, which were therefore indispensably to be answered, because they were from people whom either I knew not, or cared not for, or was not willing to make bold with; and 'so you, and another friend I have in Holland, have been delayed, and put last, because you are my friends beyond ceremony and formality. And I reserved myself for you when I was at leisure, in the ease of thoughts to enjoy. For, that you may not think you have been passed over by a peculiar neglect, I mention to you another very good friend of mine, of whom I have now by me a letter, of an ancienter date than the first of your three, yet unanswered.
However you are pleased, out of kindness to me, to rejoice in yours of September 26, that my notions have had the good luck to be vented from the pulpit, and particularly by Mr. Bentley; yet that matter goes not so clear as you imagine. For a man of no small name, as you know Dr. S is, has been pleased to declare against my doctrine of no innate ideas, from the pulpit in the Temple, and as I have been told, charged it with little less than atheism. Though the doctor be a great man, yet that would not much fright me, because I am told, that he is not always obstinate against opinions which he has condemned more publicly, than in an harangue to a Sunday's auditory. But that it is possible he may be firm here, because it is also said, he never quits his aversion to any tenet he has once declared against, 'till change of times, bringing change of interest, and fashionable opinions open his eyes and his heart, and then he kindly embraces what before deserved his aversion and censure. My book crept into the world about six or seven years ago, without any opposition, and has since passed amongst some for useful, and, the least favourable, for innocent. But, as it ! seems to me, it is agreed by some men that it should no longer do so. Something, I know not what, is at last spied out in it, that is like to be troublesome, and therefore it must be an ill book, and be treated accordo ingly. It is not that I know any thing in particular, but some things that have happened at the same time