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« idem inter se.” You may use the metaphorical term of agreement here instead of identity; but Mr. L. has told us, p. 153. That “ metaphorical expressions “ (which seldom terminate in truth) should be as much " as possible avoided, when men undertake to deliver 6c clear and distinct apprehensions, and exact notions
I do find that men's thoughts do not differ so much as their words, and that most men are of one mind, when they come to understand one another, and have the same views; and hence many controversies are only verbal. I doubt not but by my difference from Mr. L. in this matter may be of the same nature; and perhaps, if I had carefully read his book of Human Understanding, I might perceive it ; but I have neither opportunity, leisure, or inclination to do so, and believe a great part of the world to be in the same circumstances with me; and I verily believe, that the expressions I have noted in his reply, will seem unwary to them as well as to me,
I do find he claims a liberty that will not be allowed him by all, p. 92, « to please himself in his terms," so they be used constantly “in the same and a known « sense." I remember others have claimed the same liberty under the notion of making their own dictionary; but I reckon the changing a term, though I declare my sense, and forewarn the reader of it, to be a very great injury to the world; and to introduce a new one, where there is one altogether to signify the same thing, equally injurious; and that a man has only this liberty where he introduces a new thing, that has yet no name. And I believe you see my reasons for being of this opinion, and therefore shall not mention them. Let me only observe, that the want of this caution seems to me to have brought most of Mr. Li's trouble on him. Words were indeed arbitrary signs of things in those that first imposed them, but they are not to us. When we use the best caution we can, we are apt to transgress in changing them; and when we do so out of weakness, we must ask pardon, but must not claim it as liberty, it being really a fault. A
few minutes lying on my hands, has given you this trouble; and I know your kindness to Mr. L. will not make it ungrateful to you, whilst it assures you that I am
Your most affectionate humble servant.
I could never comprehend any necessity for a criterion of certainty to the understanding, any more than of one to the eye, to teach it when it sees. Let the eye be rightly disposed, and apply an object to it, if duly applied, it will force it to see: and so apply an object to an understanding duly qualified, and if the arguments or object be as they ought to be, they will force the understanding to assent, and remove all doubts. And I can no more tell, what is in the object, or arguments, that ascertains my understanding, that I can tell what it is in light, that makes me see, I must say, that the same God that ordered light to make me see, ordered truth, or rather certain objects, to ascertain my understanding; and I believe Mr. L. can hardly give any other reason why his agreement, &c. of ideas should cause certainty.
Mr. Molyneux's Answer to the Bishop.
Dublin, Oct. 27, 1697. I AM extremely obliged to your lordship, that having a few minutes lying on your hands in your retirement from this town, you are pleased to bestow them on my friend and me. I should have acknowledged the favour more early, had your servant staid for an answer when he delivered yours to me; but he was gone out of my reach before I was aware of it.
And now, my lord, all the answer I shall trouble your lordship with at present is this, that your lordship is much in the right on it, that had you read Mr. Locke's Essay of Human Understanding more carefully
and throughout, you had never made the objections you raise against him in your letter to me; for your lordship would have found his fourth book abundantly satisfactory in the difficulties you propose, and particularly the 2d and 18th chapters of the fourth book, are a full answer to your lordship’s letter.
But yourlordship says, you have neither opportunity, leisure, or inclination to read the Essay. My lord, I would not then have leisure or inclination to animadvert on a book, that I had not (if not inclination) at least leisure to read. This, with submission, I cannot but say is great partiality. If your lordship says, your letter relates to his reply to the bishop of Worcester; neither will, this do, in my humble opinion; seeing your lordship seems to surmise (as indeed you guess rightly) that the Essay might have set you right in this matter. I am,
Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. Locke.
Dublin, Dec. 18, 1697. IT is now above three months since I heard from you, your last being of Sept. 11. You will therefore excuse my impatience, if I can forbear no longer, and send this merely to know how you do. It is an anguishing thought to me, that you should be subject to the common frailties and fate of mankind; but it would be some alleviation to my trouble, that, if you are ill, I should know the worst of it. This has so wholly taken up my mind at present, that I have no inclination
to write one word more to you in this, but again to repeat my request to you, that you would let me know how you are; for till I know this, I am dissatisfied, I am extremely uneasy ; but for ever shall be
Your most affectionate admirer,
; and devoted servant,
Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.
Oates, Jan. 10, 1697-8. YOUR gentle and kind reproof of my silence, has greater marks of true friendship in it, than can be expressed in the most elaborate professions, or be suffici. ently acknowledged by a man, who has not the opportunity nor ability to make those returns he would. Though I have had less health, and more business since I writ to you last than ever I had for so long together in my life; yet neither the one nor the other had kept me so long a truant, had not the concurrence of other causes, drilled me on from day to day, in a neglect of what I frequently purposed, and always thought myself obliged to do. Perhaps the listlessness my indisposition constantly kept me in, made me too easily hearken to such excuses; but the expectation of hearing every day from Mons. Le Clerc, that I might send you his answer, and the thoughts that I should be able to send your brother an account, that his curious treatise concerning the chafers in Ireland was printed, were at least the pretences that served to humour my laziness. Business kept me in town longer than was convenient for my health : all the day from my rising was commonly spent in that, and when I came home at night, my shortness of breath, and panting for want of it,
made me ordinarily so uneasy, that I had no heart to do any thing: so that the usual diversion of my vacant hours forsook me, and reading itself was a burthen to me. In this estate I lingered along in town to Decem, ber, till I betook myself to my wonted refuge, in the more favourable air and retirement of this place. That gave me presently relief against the constant oppression of my lungs, whilst I sit still : but I find such a weak. ness of them still remain, that if I stir ever so little, I am immediately out of breath, and the very dressing or undressing me is a labour that I am fain to rest after to recover my breath; and I have not been once out of my house since I came last hither. I wish nevertheless that you were here with me to see how well I am: for you would find, that, sitting by the fire's side, I could bear my part in discoursing, laughing, and being merry with you, as well as ever I could in my life. If you were here (and, if wishes of more than one could bring you, you would be here to-day) you would find three or four in the parlour after dinner, who, you would say, passed their afternoons as agree ably and as jocundly as any people you have this good while met with. Do not therefore figure to yourself, that I am languishing away my last hours under an unsociable despondency and the weight of my infirmity, It is true, I do not count upon years of life to come; but I thank God I have not many 'uneasy hours here in the four-and-twenty; and if I can have the wit to keep myself out of the stifling air of London, I see no reason but, by the grace of God, I may get over this winter, and that terrible enemy of mine may use me no worse than the last did, which as severe, and as long as it was, let me yet see another summer.
What you say to me in yours of the 4th of Octo. ber, concerning the bishop of W... ..., you will, I believe, be confirmed in, if his answer to my second letter, of which I shall say nothing to you yet, be got to you.
Mr. Coste is now in the house with me here, and is tutor to my lady Masham's son. I need not, I think, answer your questions about his skill in mathematics