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than needs. As to a “treatise of morals," I must own to you that you are not the only persons (you and Mr. Burridge, I mean) who have been for putting me upon it; neither have I wholly laid by the thoughts of it. Nay, I so far incline to comply with your desires, that 1, every now and then, lay by some materials for it, as they occasionally occur, in the rovings of my mind. But when I consider, that a book of offices, as you call it, ought not to be slightly done, especially by me, after what I have said of that science in my essay; and that " nonumque prematur in annum,” is a rule more ne. cessary to be observed in a subject of that consequence, than in any thing Horace speaks of; I am in doubt, whether it would be prudent, in one of my age and health, not to mention other disabilities in me, to set about it. Did the world want a rule, I confess there could be no work so necessary, nor so commendable. But the gospel contains so perfect a body of ethics, that reason may be excused from that inquiry, since she may find man's duty clearer and easier in revelation, than in herself. Think not this the excuse of a lazy man, though it be, perhaps, of one who, having a sufficient rule for his actions, is content therewith, and thinks he may, perhaps, with more profit to bimself, employ the little time and strength he has, in other researches, wherein he finds himself more in the dark...
You put too great a value on my writings, by the design you own on Mr. Burridge, in reference to them. I am not to flatter myself, that, because they had the good luck to pass pretty well here, amongst English readers, that therefore they will satisfy the learned world, and be fit to appear in the learned language. Mr. Wynne's abstract of my essay is now published, and I have sent order to Mr. Churchill to send you one of them. Thus far in answer to yours of the 11th of March. I come now to that of the 24th of December.
My lord deputy and you did too great honour to the paper I sent you, and to me, upon that account. I know too well the deficiency of my style, to think it deserves the commendations you give it. That which makes my writings tolerable, if any thing, is only this,
that I never write for any thing but truth, and never publish any thing to others, which I am not fully persuaded of myself, and do not think that I understand. So that I never have need of false colours to set off the weak parts of an hypothesis, or of obscure expressions, or the assistance of artificial jargon, to cover an errour of my system, or party. Where I am ignorant (for what is our knowledge?) I own it. And though I am not proud of my errours; yet I am always ready and glad to be convinced of any of them. I think there wants nothing, but such a preference of truth to party-interest and vain-glory, to make any body out-do me, in what you seem so much to admire. X
Though sir Walter Yonge be an intimate friend of mine, yet I can assure you, I know nothing of those three prints he franked you, and so have no title to any part of your thanks.
I see by Mr. S.'s answer to that which was originally your question, how hard it is for even ingenious men to free themselves from the anticipations of sense. The first step towards knowledge is to have clear and distinct ideas; which I have just reason, every day more and more, to think few men ever have, or think themselves to want; which is one great cause of that infinite jargon and nonsense which so pesters the world. You have a good subject to work on; and therefore, pray let this be your chief care, to fill your son's head with clear and distinct ideas, and teach him on all occasions, both by practice and rule, how to get them, and the necessity of it. This, together with a mind active and set upon the attaining of reputation and truth, is the true principling of a young man. But to give him a reverence for our opinions, because we taught them, is not to make knowing men, but prattling parrots. I beg your pardon for this liberty; it is an expression of good-will, and not the less so, because not within the precise forms of goodbreeding. I am,
Mr. MOLYNEUX to Mr. Locke.
Dublin, June 6, 1696.
IT is a melancholy thought to me, that since I have had the happiness of your correspondence, there has hardly happened a year, when both you and I have not made it an apology for our long silence, that we have been indisposed in our health; yet it has pleased God, that so it has been, and so it is on my side at present. About four years and a half ago I was first seized by a violent colic, which then so weakened me, that, to this time, I lie so far under the effects thereof, as upon any cold to be very apt to relapse into the same. And so it has been with me, for a while past; but now, God be thanked, I am again well recovered. I had not otherwise so long deferred my answer to yours of March the 30th, which, after a long silence, brought me the assurance of your health, and therewith no small satisfaction; having, before that, entertained some painful thoughts of your indisposition, from some rumours I had heard. But, I find, heaven is not yet so angry with us, as to take you from amongst us.
And now I most heartily congratulate you, both on the recovery of your health, and on the honourable preferment you have lately received from his majesty. In your writings concerning money, you have given such demonstrative proofs of your reach, even in the business of the world, that I should have wondered, had the king overlooked you. And I do as much wonder, that, after what you have published on that subject, there should remain the least doubt with any man, concerning that matter. But, I fancy, it is only those who are prejudiced by their interest, that seem to be dissatisfied ; such as bankers, &c. who made a prey of the people's ignorance in this great affair. But, I think, you have cleared up the mystery, and made it so plain to all men's capacities, that England will never again fall into the like inconveniencies. 'Till you writ, we used money as the Indians do their wampompeek; it served us well enough for buying and selling, and we were content and heeded it no farther ; but for the intimate nature, affections, and properties thereof, we did no more understand them than the Indians their shells.
I have read over Mr. Wynne's abridgment of your essay. But I must confess to you, I was never more satisfied with the length of your essay, than since I have seen this abridgment; which, though done justly enough, yet falls so short of that spirit, which every-where shows itself in the original, that nothing can be more different. To one already versed in the essay, the abridgment serves as a good remembrancer; but, I believe, let a man, wholly unacquainted with the former, begin to read the latter, and he will not so well relish it. So that, how desirous soever I might have formerly been, of seeing your essay put into the form of a logic for the schools, I am now fully satisfied I was in an errour; and must freely confess to you, that I wish Mr. Wynne's abridgment had been yet undone. That strength of thought and expression, that every-where reigns throughout your works, makes me sometimes wish them twice as long.
I find, by some little pieces I have lately met with, that you are the reputed author of the Reasonableness of Christianity; whether it be really so, or not, I will not presume to inquire, because there is no name to the book; this only I will venture to say, on that head, that whoever is the author, or vindicator thereof, he has gotten as weak an adversary in Mr. Edwards to deal with, as a man could wish ; so much unmannerly passion, and billingsgate language, I have not seen any man use. In so much, that were Mr. Edwards to de. fend the best cause in the world, should he do it in that manner, he would spoil it. Were an angel of heaven to justify a truth, with virulence and heat, he would not prevail.
And now, my ever honoured friend, with much relụctance, I am to tell you, that I cannot be so happy this summer as to see you in England. It is needless
to trouble you with a long detail of the reasons hereof; but what between my, own private affairs, and a little place I have in the public, so it is, and I cannot help it. But as a small repair to myself of this disappointment, I shall beg the favour of you to admit a young gentle. man, whom I shall send to you within a wbile, only to look on you, and afterwards look on a picture of yours, which I hear is at Mr. Churchill's. The young gentleman's name is Howard, a modest and ingenious youth, and excellently skilled both in the judicious and practi. cal part of painting; for his advancement wherein, he is now kept at London, and designs soon for Italy. He is the eldest brother to my brother's wife, of a good fortune and family. If, by his report, I understand that that picture of yours at Mr. Churchill's be an excellent piece, and like you, he will procure it to be finely copied for me, and I may save you the trouble of sitting; but if it prove otherwise, and be not worth copying, I will then make it my request to you, that, at your leisure, you would spare me so many hours time, as to sit for such a hand as Mr. Howard shall procure to take your picture. This I thought fit to intimate to you before-hand, that when he waits on you, you may be forewarned of his business.
I doubt not but, by this time, you have heard of our lord deputy Capel's death. We are now under a most unsettled government, and our eyes are fixed on England for relief. Some here wish for your noble patron, my lord Pembroke; and go so far as to say, that he will be the man. I am confident we should be happy under one that favoured you; and if there be any thing in this report, you would highly favour me, by letting his lordship know, that here he will find me, amongst se. veral others, that are your admirers; for that I reckon the most advantageous character I can come, recommended under, to his lordship.
Mr. Burridge has been lately so taken up with his ecclesiastic affairs in the country, that (as he writes me word) he has hitherto made but little farther progress in the translation of the essay, but he promises now to set about it earnestly. I wish you would give