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Title: Locke
Author: Fowler, Thomas
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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English Men of Letters

Edited by John Morley




Professor of Logic in the University of Oxford


New York
Harper & Brothers, Publishers
Franklin Square

      *      *      *      *      *      *



    JOHNSON               Leslie Stephen.
    GIBBON                 J. C. Morison.
    SCOTT                   R. H. Hutton.
    SHELLEY                J. A. Symonds.
    HUME                    T. H. Huxley.
    GOLDSMITH              William Black.
    DEFOE                  William Minto.
    BURNS                   J. C. Shairp.
    SPENSER                 R. W. Church.
    THACKERAY           Anthony Trollope.
    BURKE                    John Morley.
    MILTON                 Mark Pattison.
    HAWTHORNE            Henry James, Jr.
    SOUTHEY                    E. Dowden.
    CHAUCER                   A. W. Ward.
    BUNYAN                  J. A. Froude.
    COWPER                 Goldwin Smith.
    POPE                  Leslie Stephen.
    BYRON                    John Nichol.
    LOCKE                  Thomas Fowler.
    WORDSWORTH                  F. Myers.
    DRYDEN                 G. Saintsbury.
    LANDOR                 Sidney Colvin.
    DE QUINCEY              David Masson.
    LAMB                   Alfred Ainger.
    BENTLEY                   R. C. Jebb.
    DICKENS                   A. W. Ward.
    GRAY                     E. W. Gosse.
    SWIFT                 Leslie Stephen.
    STERNE                  H. D. Traill.
    MACAULAY           J. Cotter Morison.
    FIELDING               Austin Dobson.
    SHERIDAN               Mrs. Oliphant.
    ADDISON              W. J. Courthope.
    BACON                   R. W. Church.
    COLERIDGE               H. D. Traill.
    SIR PHILIP SIDNEY      J. A. Symonds.

12mo, Cloth, 75 cents per volume.


_Any of the above works will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any
part of the United States, on receipt of the price._

      *      *      *      *      *      *


In writing the chapters on Locke's Life, I have derived much
information from the biographies of Lord King and Mr. Fox Bourne,
especially from the latter, which contains a large amount of most
interesting documents never before printed. In a work like the present,
where numerous foot-notes would be out of place, I am obliged to
content myself with this general acknowledgment. I may add that I
have also referred to several other authorities, both printed and in
manuscript; and, in some cases, I believe that my account will be found
more precise than that given in the larger biographies.




    WITH SHAFTESBURY                                       12




    OTHER WORKS                                            44




    WITH THE KING                                          82


    YEARS.--DEATH                                         102


    ESSAY ON HUMAN UNDERSTANDING                          127


    THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS                                  152


    THE UNDERSTANDING                                     168




    LOCKE'S INFLUENCE ON THOUGHT                          194




John Locke, perhaps the greatest, but certainly the most
characteristic, of English philosophers, was born at Wrington, a
pleasant village in the north of Somersetshire, August 29, 1632. His
family, however, resided in the village of Pensford, and the parish of
Publow, within a few miles of Bristol. It was there, probably, that
Locke spent the greater part of his early life. His mother appears to
have died while he was young. From his father, John Locke (b. 1606),
who seems to have inherited a fair estate, and who practised, with
some success, as a country attorney, he probably derived, if not his
earliest instruction, at least some of his earliest influences and some
of his most sterling characteristics. "From Mr. Locke I have often
heard of his father," says Lady Masham in a MS. letter quoted by Mr.
Fox-Bourne in his Life of Locke, "that he was a man of parts. Mr. Locke
never mentioned him but with great respect and affection. His father
used a conduct towards him when young that he often spoke of afterwards
with great approbation. It was the being severe to him by keeping him
in much awe and at a distance when he was a boy, but relaxing, still
by degrees, of that severity as he grew up to be a man, till, he being
become capable of it, he lived perfectly with him as a friend. And I
remember he has told me that his father, after he was a man, solemnly
asked his pardon for having struck him once in a passion when he was a

Locke's boyhood coincided pretty nearly with the troubles of the Civil
Wars. "I no sooner perceived myself in the world," he wrote in 1660,
"but I found myself in a storm which has lasted almost hitherto."
His father, when Locke was hardly ten years old, publicly announced,
in the parish church of Publow, his assent to the protest of the
Long Parliament, and, a few weeks afterwards, took the field, on the
Parliamentary side, as captain of a troop of horse in a regiment of
volunteers. Though the fortunes of the family undoubtedly suffered
from this step on the part of the young attorney, the political and
religious interests which it created and kept alive in his household
must have contributed, in no small degree, to shape the character and
determine the sympathies of his elder son.

Locke, then, may be regarded as having been fortunate in his early
surroundings. Born in one of the more charming of the rural districts
of England, not far, however, from a city which was then one of
the most important centres of commerce and politics; sprung from
respectable and well-to-do parents, of whom the father, at least,
possessed more than ordinary intelligence; accustomed, from his
earliest boyhood, to watch the progress of great events, and to listen
to the discussion of great and stirring questions; there seems to have
been nothing in his early life to retard or mar the development of his
genius, and much that we may not unreasonably connect with the marked
peculiarities, both moral and intellectual, of his subsequent career.

It was probably in the year 1646 that, through the interest of Colonel
Popham, a friend and client of his father, Locke was admitted at
Westminster School, where, probably in the following year, he was
elected on the foundation. Here he must have remained about six years,
till his election to a Westminster Studentship at Christ Church,
Oxford, in 1652. Of the manner in which Locke spent these years we
have no definite information. The stern disciplinarian, Dr. Busby, had
been head master for about eight years when he entered the school, and
among his schoolfellows, senior to him by about a year, were Dryden
and South. The friends whom he made at Westminster, though highly
respectable in after-life, did not achieve any great reputation. Of
the studies which then constituted the ordinary school curriculum,
his matured opinions are to be found in the "Thoughts concerning
Education," which will be described in a subsequent chapter. To judge
from this book, the impressions left on Locke's mind by our English
public school education were not of a pleasant or favourable kind.

Locke appears to have commenced his residence at Christ Church in the
Michaelmas Term of 1652, soon after he had turned twenty years of age.
His matriculation before the Vice-Chancellor bears date Nov. 27. Since
the outbreak of the Civil Wars, both the University and the College had
undergone many vicissitudes. At the moment when Locke entered, Cromwell
was Chancellor; and Dr. John Owen, who was destined to be for some time
the leading resident, had been recently appointed Dean of Christ Church
and Vice-Chancellor of the University. Owen was an Independent, and,
for a divine of that age, a man of remarkably tolerant and liberal
views. Though, then as now, a dignitary in Owen's position probably had
and could have but little intercourse with the junior members of his
society, it is not improbable that Locke may have derived his first
bias towards those opinions on the question of religious toleration,
for which he afterwards became so famous, from the publications and
the practice of the Puritan Dean of Christ Church. Locke's tutor was a
Mr. Cole, afterwards Principal of St. Mary Hall, but of his relations
with his pupil we hear nothing of any importance. Wood calls him a
"fanatical tutor;" by which, of course, he does not mean more than that
he was a Puritan.

During the Civil Wars the discipline and reputation of the
Universities, however we may apportion the blame, seem to have
suffered most severely. In these troublous times, indeed, it could
hardly be otherwise. There is considerable evidence to show that,
in the Little or Barebones Parliament of 1653, there was a serious
attempt to suppress the Colleges and Universities altogether, and to
apply the proceeds of their estates, as Clarendon tells us, "for the
public service, and to ease the people from the payment of taxes and
contributions." If such an attempt ever had any chance of success--and
from an oration of Dr. Owen we may infer that it had--it must have
spread consternation amongst University circles, and been a frequent
subject of conversation during the early period of Locke's residence
in Oxford. But the Puritan party, which was now in the ascendant, was
determined that, at any rate, no handle should be given to the enemy by
any lack of discipline or by the infrequency of religious exercises.
"Frequent preaching in every house," Anthony à Wood tells us, "was
the chief matter aimed at" by the Visitors appointed by Cromwell in
1652. Thus, on June 27, 1653, they ordered that "all Bachelors of
Arts and Undergraduates in Colleges and Halls be required, every
Lord's day, to give an account to some person of known ability and
piety of the sermons they had heard and their attendance on other
religious exercises that day. The Heads also or Deputies of the said
Societies, with all above the Degree of Bachelor, were then ordered
to be personally present at the performance of the said exercise, and
to take care that it be attended with prayer and such other duties of
religion as are proper to such a meeting." In addition to the Sunday
observances, there were also, in most Colleges, if not in all, one or
two sermons or religious meetings in the course of the week. Locke, if
we may judge from his character in later years, must have occasionally
found these tedious, and doubtless lengthy, exercises somewhat
irksome and unprofitable. But we do not meet in his writings with any
definite complaints of them, as we do of the scholastic disputations
and some other parts of the academical course as pursued at that
time. Of the disputations, which then constituted a very important
element in the University curriculum, he expresses an unfavourable,
perhaps too unfavourable an opinion. Writing in 1690, in the "Thoughts
concerning Education," he says: "If the use and end of right
reasoning be to have right notions and a right judgment of things, to
distinguish between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, and to act
accordingly, be sure not to let your son be bred up in the art and
formality of disputing--either practising it himself or admiring it
in others--unless, instead of an able man, you desire to have him an
insignificant wrangler, opiniator in discourse, and priding himself
in contradicting others; or, which is worse, questioning everything,
and thinking there is no such thing as truth to be sought, but only
victory, in disputing. There cannot be anything so disingenuous, so
unbecoming a gentleman, or any one who pretends to be a rational
creature, as not to yield to plain reason and the conviction of clear
arguments. Is there anything more inconsistent with civil conversation,
and the end of all debate, than not to take an answer, though ever so
full and satisfactory?... For this, in short, is the way and perfection
of logical disputes, that the opponent never takes any answer, nor the
respondent ever yields to any argument." With the logic and rhetoric,
the Latin speaking and Latin writing, then in vogue, Locke is almost
equally discontented. In fact, he looked back, in after-life, with
little gratitude on the somewhat dry course of studies which the
University then prescribed to its younger scholars. "I have often heard
him say, in reference to his first years spent in the University," says
Lady Masham, "that he had so small satisfaction there from his studies,
as finding very little light brought thereby to his understanding, that
he became discontented with his manner of life, and wished his father
had rather designed him for anything else than what he was destined to,
apprehending that his no greater progress in knowledge proceeded from
his not being fitted or capacitated to be a scholar." We must, however,
by no means infer that Locke had not derived considerable benefit
from the discipline which he disparages. At any rate, the scholastic
teaching of Oxford had a large share in forming, by reaction, many of
his most characteristic opinions, while the Essay, in almost every
page, bears distinctive marks of his early studies. Notwithstanding
his depreciation, amounting often to ridicule, of the subjects he had
learnt in his youth, we can hardly doubt that, if Locke had been
brought up in an University where logic and philosophy did not form
part of the course, his greatest work would never have been written.

Mr. Fox-Bourne attempts to supply a detailed account of the lectures
which Locke attended, and the course of studies which he pursued,
during his undergraduate and bachelor days. This account, however,
betrays an innocent belief in the rigid enforcement and observance of
University and College statutes which, I am sorry to say, I cannot
share. Minute regulations regarding courses of study and attendance at
lectures are apt very soon to fall into desuetude, and it is impossible
now to reconstruct with any accuracy, from the perusal of merely formal
documents, a plan of the student life of the Commonwealth. It is to be
much regretted that Locke and his contemporaries have not left us more
specific information on the subject. All we can now say is that, if the
authorities duly enforced their statutes and regulations, especially
those relating to professorial lectures, many of which were appointed
to be given at eight o'clock in the morning, the students of those days
had by no means an easier time of it than their successors, even in
these days of competition and examinations.

The stated regulations and prescribed statutes of a seat of learning
have, however, often far less to do with the formation of a student's
mind than the society of the young men of his own age with whom his
residence throws him into contact. Young men often educate one another
far more effectually than they can be educated by their tutors or their
books. The mutual confidences, the lively interchange of repartee, the
free discussion of all manner of subjects in college rooms or during
the afternoon walk, are often far more stimulating and informing to
the intellect than the professorial lecture, however learned, or the
tutorial catechising, however searching. Of this less formal and more
agreeable species of education Locke appears to have enjoyed his full
share. He was not, according to the account which he gave of himself
to Lady Masham, "any very hard student," but "sought the company of
pleasant and witty men, with whom he likewise took great delight in
corresponding by letters; and in conversation and these correspondences
he spent for some years much of his time."

It should be noticed that in the year 1654 Owen published a volume of
congratulatory verses addressed to Cromwell on the treaty recently
concluded with the Dutch, entitled "Musarum Oxoniensium ἐλαιοφορία
[Greek: elaiophoria]." Among the many contributors to this volume,
young and old, was Locke, who wrote a short copy of Latin, and a
longer copy of English verses. These compositions do not rise much
above, or sink much below, the ordinary level of such exercises; but
what is curious is that Locke's first published efforts in literature
should have been in verse, especially when we bear in mind his strong
and somewhat perverse judgment on verse-writing in § 174 of the
"Thoughts concerning Education." The fact of his having been invited to
contribute to the volume shows that he was regarded as one of the more
promising young students of his time.

To the period of Locke's life covered by this chapter probably belong
some interesting notes on philosophy and its divisions, found in his
father's memorandum-book. These reflections afford evidence that he had
already begun to think for himself, independently of the scholastic
traditions. I append one or two characteristic extracts:

  "Dialectic, that is Logic, is to make reasons to grow, and improve
  both Physic and also Ethic, which is Moral Philosophy."

  "Moral Philosophy is the knowledge of precepts of all honest manners
  which reason acknowledgeth to belong and appertain to man's nature,
  as the things in which we differ from beasts. It is also necessary
  for the comely government of man's life."

  "Necessity was the first finder-out of Moral Philosophy, and
  experience (which is a trusty teacher) was the first master thereof."

Locke took his B.A. degree on the 14th of February, 1655-56, and his
M.A. degree on the 29th of June, 1658, the latter on the same day
with Nathaniel Crewe, afterwards Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, and
Joseph Glanvill, the celebrated writer on witchcraft, and author of
_Scepsis Scientifica_. The statutable time of taking both degrees was
anticipated, but irregularities of this kind were not then infrequent.
On the 24th of December, 1660, he was appointed Greek Lecturer at
Christ Church for the ensuing year, thus taking his place among the
authorized teachers of his college, and so entering on a new phase of
university life. Very shortly after this date, namely, on February 13,
1660-61, the elder Locke died, æt. fifty-four. Locke's only brother,
Thomas, who was some years younger than himself, died of consumption
shortly after his father. By the time, therefore, that Locke had fairly
entered on his duties as an officer of his college, he was left alone
of all his family.

       *       *       *       *       *

Though it was not till a much later period of his life that Locke
published any works, his pen was at this time by no means idle. In 1661
he began a series of commonplace books, often containing long articles
on the subjects which were occupying his thoughts at the time. It is,
moreover, to the period immediately preceding or immediately following
the Restoration, that Mr. Fox-Bourne attributes an unpublished and
till recently unknown Essay, entitled "Reflections upon the Roman
Commonwealth." Many of the remarks in this Essay already show what we
should call liberal opinions in religion and politics, and anticipate
views long afterwards propounded in the works on government and
toleration. The religion instituted by Numa is idealized, as having
insisted on only two articles of faith, the goodness of the gods, and
the necessity of worshipping them, "in which worship the chief of all
was to be innocent, good, and just." Thus it avoided "creating heresies
and schisms," and "narrowing the bottom of religion by clogging it
with creeds and catechisms and endless niceties about the essences,
properties, and attributes of God."

Of more interest, perhaps, is another unpublished treatise, written
just after the Restoration, in which Locke asks, and answers in the
affirmative, the following question: Whether the civil magistrate
may lawfully impose and determine the use of indifferent things in
reference to religious worship. This tract seems to have been intended
as a remonstrance with those of the author's own party who questioned
any right in the civil magistrate to interfere in religious matters,
and who, therefore, were ready to reject with disdain the assurances
of compromise and moderation contained in the king's declaration on
ecclesiastical affairs, issued at the beginning of his reign. Locke
at that time, like many other moderate men, seems to have entertained
the most sanguine hopes of pacification and good government under the
rule of the new monarch. "As for myself," he writes, "there is no one
can have a greater respect and veneration for authority than I. I no
sooner perceived myself in the world, but I found myself in a storm,
which has lasted almost hitherto, and therefore cannot but entertain
the approaches of a calm with the greatest joy and satisfaction." "I
find that a general freedom is but a general bondage, that the popular
asserters of public liberty are the greatest ingrossers of it too, and
not unfitly called its keepers." This reaction, however, against the
past, and these sanguine expectations of the future, can have lasted
but a short time. The tendencies of the new government were soon
apparent, and the pamphlet was never published.



Locke, at the time of his father's death and his entrance on college
office, was in his twenty-ninth year. At the election of college
officers on Christmas Eve, 1662, he was transferred from the Greek
Lectureship to the Lectureship in Rhetoric, and, on the 23rd of
December in the following year, he was again transferred to another
office. This office was the Censorship of Moral Philosophy (the
Senior Censorship); the Censorship of Natural Philosophy (the Junior
Censorship) he appears never to have held. On the 23rd of December,
1665, he is no longer in office, being now merely one of the twenty
senior M.A. students, called "Theologi," who were bound to be in
priests' orders. Of the manner in which Locke discharged his duties
as a lecturer we have no record. He seems also to have served in the
capacity of tutor to several undergraduates at this period, but of his
relations to his pupils we, unfortunately, know next to nothing.

How is it that Locke, holding a clerical studentship, was not a
clergyman? The disturbed condition of the Church and the Universities
during the last quarter of a century had probably led to great laxity
in the enforcement of college statutes and by-laws. Moreover, for a
time, it would seem, he seriously contemplated taking the step of
entering holy orders, and the authorities of his college would probably
be unwilling to force upon him a hasty decision. At length, however, he
finally abandoned this idea, deciding in favour of the profession of
physic. In the ordinary course he would have forfeited his studentship,
but he was fortunate to obtain a royal dispensation (by no means an
uncommon mode of intervention at that time), retaining him in his
place, "that he may still have further time to prosecute his studies."
This dispensation is dated Nov. 14, 1666.

Meanwhile, Locke had paid his first visit to the Continent. The
occasion of it was an embassy to the Elector of Brandenburg, whose
alliance or neutrality it was sought to obtain in the then pending war
with Holland. Sir Walter Vane was head of the embassy, and Locke, who
probably owed his nomination to the interest of his old schoolfellow,
William Godolphin, was appointed secretary. They left England in
the middle of November, 1665, and arrived at Cleve, the capital of
Brandenburg, on the 30th of the same month (Dec. 9, N.S.). Here they
remained for two months, the mission coming to nothing, in consequence
of the English Government being unable or unwilling to advance the
money which the Elector required as the price of his adhesion. The
state-papers addressed by the Ambassador to the Government at home
are mainly in Locke's handwriting; but far more interesting than
these are the private letters addressed by Locke to his friends,
Mr. Strachey, of Sutton Court, near Bristol, and the celebrated
Robert Boyle. These are full of graphic touches descriptive of the
manners and peculiarities of the people among whom he found himself.
Like a conscientious sight-seer, he availed himself of the various
opportunities of observing their eating and drinking, attended their
devotions--whether Catholic, Calvinist, or Lutheran--submitted himself
to be bored by poetasters and sucking theologians, and consoled himself
for the difficulty of finding a pair of gloves by noting the tardiness
of German commerce. Though he had "thought for a while to take leave
of all University affairs," he found himself ridden pitilessly by an
"academic goblin."

  "I no sooner was got here, but I was welcomed with a divinity
  disputation. I was no sooner rid of that, but I found myself up to
  the ears in poetry, and overwhelmed in Helicon." "But my University
  goblin left me not so; for the next day, when I thought I had been
  rode out only to airing, I was had to a foddering of chopped hay or
  logic, forsooth! Poor _materia prima_ was canvassed cruelly; stripped
  of all the gay dress of her forms, and shown naked to us, though, I
  must confess, I had not eyes good enough to see her. The young monks
  (which one would not guess by their looks) are subtle people, and
  dispute as eagerly for _materia prima_ as if they were to make their
  dinner on it, and, perhaps, sometimes it is all their meal, for which
  others' charity is more to be blamed than their stomachs.... The
  truth is, here hog-shearing is much in its glory, and our disputing
  in Oxford comes as far short of it as the rhetoric of Carfax does
  that of Billingsgate."

At a dinner, described with a good deal of humour, with the Franciscan
friars, he was still pursued by his Oxford recollections:

  "The prior was a good plump fellow, that had more belly than brains;
  and methought was very fit to be reverenced, and not much unlike some
  head of a college."

One circumstance Locke noticed much to the advantage of the foreigners,
namely, their good-natured toleration for each other's opinions.
Writing to Boyle, he says--

  "The distance in their churches gets not into their houses. They
  quietly permit one another to choose their way to heaven; for I
  cannot observe any quarrels or animosities amongst them upon the
  account of religion. This good correspondence is owing partly to the
  power of the magistrate, and partly to the prudence and good-nature
  of the people, who, as I find by inquiring, entertain different
  opinions without any secret hatred or rancour."

And though, like most Englishmen, of decided Protestant convictions,
travelling on the Continent for the first time, Locke indulged in a
good deal of merriment at the Catholic ceremonies, he pays, in one
of his letters to Strachey, a cheerful tribute to the personal worth
of the Catholic priests. He had not met, he says, with any people so
good-natured or so civil, and he had received many courtesies from
them, which he should always gratefully acknowledge.

       *       *       *       *       *

Locke returned to England towards the end of February, 1665-66, and
was at once offered the post of secretary to the Earl of Sandwich, who
was on the point of setting out as ambassador to Spain. He wavered for
a short time, but, though doubtful whether he had not "let slip the
minute that they say every one has once in his life to make himself,"
he finally declined the offer. Before settling down again in Oxford,
he spent a few weeks in Somersetshire, paying probably, amongst other
visits, one he had promised himself to Strachey at Sutton Court, "a
greater rarity than my travels have afforded me; for one may go a long
way before one meets a friend." During his stay in Somersetshire, he
attempted to try some experiments in the Mendip lead-mines with a
barometer which had been sent to him for the purpose by Boyle. But the
miners and their wives made a successful resistance. "The sight of
the engine and my desire of going down some of their gruffs gave them
terrible apprehensions. The women, too, were alarmed, and think us
still either projectors or conjurors."

At the beginning of May, Locke was again in his rooms in Oxford. He
seems to have lost no time in setting to work afresh on the studies
which might qualify him to exercise the profession of medicine. In his
letters to Boyle, he makes frequent reference to chemical experiments
and to collecting plants for medical purposes.

It is an unexplained circumstance that, notwithstanding a letter to
the Hebdomadal Board from Lord Clarendon, then Chancellor of the
University, signifying his assent to a dispensation, enabling Locke to
accumulate the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor in Medicine, he never
took those degrees. The obstacle may have arisen from himself, or,
more probably, it may have been due to some sinister influence on the
Hebdomadal Board preventing the assent of that body to the required
decree. Any way, it is curious that eleven days after the date of Lord
Clarendon's letter is dated the dispensation from the Crown (already
referred to on page 13), enabling him to retain his studentship,
notwithstanding his neglect to enter holy orders.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the summer of 1666, we are introduced to one of the
turning-points in Locke's life--his first acquaintance with Lord
Shaftesbury, or, as he then was, Lord Ashley. Of the chequered career
or the enigmatical character of this celebrated nobleman it is no
part of my task to speak. It is enough to say that, as an advocate
of religious toleration and an opponent alike of sacerdotal claims
in the Church and absolutist principles in the State, he appealed to
Locke's warmest and deepest sympathies. The acquaintance was made
through David Thomas, an Oxford physician, and the occasion of it was
Lord Ashley's coming to Oxford to drink the Astrop waters. The duty of
providing these waters (Astrop being a village at some distance from
Oxford) seems to have been entrusted by Thomas to Locke, but, there
having been some miscarriage, Locke waited on Lord Ashley to excuse the
delay. "My lord," says Lady Masham, "in his wonted manner, received
him very civilly, accepting his excuse with great easiness, and, when
Mr. Locke would have taken his leave of him, would needs have him to
stay supper with him, being much pleased with his conversation. But
if my lord was pleased with the company of Mr. Locke, Mr. Locke was
yet more so with that of my Lord Ashley." The result of this short
and apparently accidental interview was the beginning of an intimate
friendship, which seems never afterwards to have been broken, and which
exercised a decisive influence on the rest of Locke's career.

On September 2 of this year broke out the Great Fire of London, which
raged without intermission for three days and nights. Under the date
of September 3 we find in Locke's "Register," which was afterwards
published in Boyle's _General History of the Air_, this curious
entry:--"Dim reddish sunshine. This unusual colour of the air, which,
without a cloud appearing, made the sunbeams of a strange red dim
light, was very remarkable. We had then heard nothing of the fire of
London; but it appeared afterwards to be the smoke of London, then
burning, which, driven this way by an easterly wind, caused this odd
phenomenon." The Register, in which this entry is made begins on June
24, 1666, and contains, with many intermissions, the observations made
by Locke, in Oxford and London, up to June 30, 1683, on the readings
of the "thermoscope," the "baroscope," and the "hygroscope," together
with the direction of the wind and the state of the weather. It not
only affords valuable evidence of Locke's whereabouts at different
times, but also shows the interest which he took in physical research.

In the early summer of 1667, Locke appears to have taken up his
residence with Lord Ashley in London, and "from that time," according
to Lady Masham, "he was with my Lord Ashley as a man at home, and
lived in that family much esteemed, not only by my lord, but by all
the friends of the family." His residence in Lord Ashley's family was,
however, probably broken by occasional visits to Oxford.

To this period of Locke's life may be assigned the unpublished _Essay
concerning Toleration_, which, with so much other valuable matter,
is now for the first time accessible to the general reader in Mr.
Fox-Bourne's _Life_. This _Essay_, it is not improbable, was written
at the suggestion, or for the guidance of Lord Ashley, and so may
have been widely circulated amongst the advocates of "toleration" and
"comprehension"--words which were at that time in the mouth of every
man who took any interest in religion or politics. As I shall have to
speak expressly of the published _Letters on Toleration_, which were
written about twenty years later, and which contain substantially the
same views as this earlier _Essay_, I shall not here detain the reader
further than by giving him the general conclusions at which Locke had
now arrived. These may be stated summarily under three heads: first,
"all speculative opinions and religious worship have a clear title
to universal toleration," and in these every man may use "a perfect
uncontrollable liberty, without any guilt or sin at all, provided
always that it be all done sincerely and out of conscience to God,
according to the best of his knowledge and persuasion;" secondly,
"there are some opinions and actions which are in their natural
tendency absolutely destructive to human society--as, that faith may
be broken with heretics; that one is bound to broach and propagate any
opinion he believes himself; and such like; and, in actions, all manner
of frauds and injustice--and these the magistrate ought not to tolerate
at all;" thirdly, another class of opinions and actions, inasmuch as
their "influence to good or bad" depends on "the temper of the state
and posture of affairs," "have a right to toleration so far only as
they do not interfere with the advantages of the public, or serve any
way to disturb the government." The practical result of the discussion
is, that while "papists" should not "enjoy the benefit of toleration,
because where they have power they think themselves bound to deny
it to others," the "fanatics," as the various classes of Protestant
Dissenters were then called, should be at least "tolerated," if not
"comprehended" in the national Church. Indeed, as to "comprehension,"
Locke lays down the general principle that "your articles in
speculative opinions should be few and large, and your ceremonies in
worship few and easy--which is latitudinism."

This must have been one of the quietest and happiest periods of Locke's
life. He seems to have been unobtrusively pursuing his studies, and
gradually making the acquaintance of the great world and of public
affairs through the facilities which his residence with Lord Ashley
afforded him. Both his own occupations and his relations to the Ashley
family appear to have been of a very miscellaneous kind. Medicine,
philosophy, and politics engaged his attention by turns. To Lord Ashley
and his family he was at once general adviser, doctor, and friend. In
June, 1668, after consulting various other medical men, he performed
on Lord Ashley a difficult operation for the purpose of removing an
"imposthume in the breast," and is said thus to have saved his life.
To the only child, Anthony Ashley, he acted as tutor. But, by the
time the youth was seventeen, Locke was entrusted with a far more
delicate business than his tuition. This was no less than finding him
a wife. After other young ladies had been considered and rejected,
Locke accompanied his charge on a visit to the Earl of Rutland, at
Belvoir Castle, and negotiated a match with the Earl's daughter, the
Lady Dorothy Manners. The match seems to have been a happy one; and
Locke continued his services of general utility to the Ashley family by
acting on more than one occasion as Lady Dorothy's medical attendant.
On the 26th of February, 1670-71, he assisted at the birth of a son
and heir, Anthony, who subsequently became third Earl of Shaftesbury,
and who, as the author of the _Characteristics_, occupies a position
of no inconsiderable importance in the history of English philosophy.
It is on the evidence of this Earl of Shaftesbury that we learn the
share taken by Locke in effecting the union of his father and mother.
"My father was too young and inexperienced to choose a wife for
himself, and my grandfather too much in business to choose one for
him." The consequence was, that "all was thrown upon Mr. Locke, who
being already so good a judge of men, my grandfather doubted not of his
equal judgment in women. He departed from him, entrusted and sworn, as
Abraham's head servant 'that ruled over all that he had,' and went into
a far country 'to seek for his son a wife,' whom he as successfully

Though so much of Locke's time seems to have been spent on medical
studies and practice, he possessed no regular qualification. In
1670 another attempt had been made, but in vain, to procure him the
Doctor of Medicine's degree from the University of Oxford. Lord Ashley
successfully enlisted the good services of the Duke of Ormond, the
Chancellor of the University; but on learning the opposition of Dean
Fell and Dr. Allestree, Locke desired his patron to withdraw the
application. Both now and on the former occasion, alluded to above (p.
16), the opposition was probably based on Locke's tendencies, known or
suspected, to liberal views in religion; nor would the connexion with
Lord Ashley be at all likely to mitigate the sternness of the college
and university authorities. It had, of course, all along been open to
him to proceed to the Doctor's degree in the ordinary way, by attending
lectures and performing exercises; and whether he was prevented from
doing so by the tediousness of the process, by the hope of attaining
the degree through a shorter and easier method, or by a certain amount
of indecision as to whether after all he would adopt the medical
profession, we cannot say. Afterwards, we shall see, he proceeded to
the degree of Bachelor of Medicine, but whether in the ordinary course,
or by dispensation, is not known.

As connected with Locke's medical pursuits, I may here mention his
friendship with Sydenham. We do not know when the acquaintance
commenced, but Sydenham writing to Boyle, so early as April 2, 1668,
speaks of "my friend Mr. Locke." That Sydenham entertained great
respect for the medical skill and judgment of Locke--who appears to
have accompanied him in his visits to his patients, and, in turn, to
have availed himself of Sydenham's assistance in attending the Ashley
household--there can be no doubt. Writing to Mapletoft, their common
friend, and a physician of some eminence, in 1676, he says: "You
know how thoroughly my method [of curing fevers] is approved of by
an intimate and common friend of ours, and one who has closely and
exhaustively examined the subject--I mean Mr. John Locke, a man whom,
in the acuteness of his intellect, in the steadiness of his judgment,
and in the simplicity, that is, in the excellence, of his manners, I
confidently declare to have amongst the men of our own time few equals
and no superior." A number of notes and papers, still extant, attest
the interest which Locke now took in medical studies, and the hopes
with which he looked forward to improvements in medical practice. That
the sympathy between him and Sydenham was very close, is evident from
the writings of both.

But, meanwhile, he was also busy with other pursuits. One of these was
the administration, under Ashley, and the other "lords proprietors," of
the colony of Carolina. In 1663 this colony had been granted by Charles
the Second to eight "lords proprietors," of whom Ashley was one. Locke,
when he went to live in Ashley's family, appears to have become, though
without any formal appointment, a sort of chief secretary and manager
to the association. A vast amount of miscellaneous business seems to
have been transacted by him in this capacity; but what to us would be
most interesting, if we could determine it, would be the share he took
in drawing up the document entitled "The Fundamental Constitutions of
Carolina," issued on the 1st of March, 1669-70. Many of the articles,
embodying, as they do, a sort of modified feudalism, must have been
distasteful to Locke, and it is hardly possible to suppose that he
was the originator of them. But perhaps we may trace his hand in the
articles on religion, between which and his views, as stated in his
unpublished papers written before and his published works written
after this time, there is a large amount of correspondence. No man was
to be permitted to be a freeman of Carolina unless he acknowledged a
God, and agreed that God was to be publicly and solemnly worshipped.
But within these limits any seven persons might constitute a church,
provided that they upheld the duty of every man, if called on, to bear
witness to the truth, and agreed on some external symbol by which such
witness might be signified. Any one, however, who did not belong to
some such communion was to be regarded as outside the protection of
the law. The members of one church were not to molest or persecute
those of another; and no man was to "use any reproachful, reviling, or
abusive language against the religion of any church or profession, that
being the certain way of disturbing the peace, and of hindering the
conversion of any to the truth." Amongst the miscellaneous provisions
in this code is one strictly forbidding any one to plead before a court
of justice for money or reward; and another, enacting that "every
freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his
negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever."

In 1668 Locke was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1669
and 1672 was placed on the Council, but he never appears to have taken
much part in the proceedings of the society. On the other hand, there
seem to have been certain less formal meetings of a few friends,
constituting possibly a sort of club, in the discussions of which
he took a more active share. It was at one of these meetings that
the conversation took place which led to Locke's writing his famous
_Essay_ (see page 127). According to a marginal note made by Sir James
Tyrrell in his copy of the first edition, now in the British Museum,
the discussion on this occasion turned on "the principles of morality
and revealed religion." The date of this memorable meeting was,
according to the same authority, the winter of 1673; but according to
Lady Masham, it was 1670 or 1671. Any way, there is an entry on the
main subject of the _Essay_ in Locke's Common-place Book, beginning
"Sic cogitavit de intellectu humano Johannes Locke, anno 1671." In
this brief entry the origin of all knowledge is referred to sense, and
"sensible qualities" are stated to be "the simplest ideas we have, and
the first object of our understanding"--a theory which, as we shall
hereafter see, was supplemented in the _Essay_ by the addition to
the ultimate sources of knowledge of simple ideas of reflection. The
_Essay_ itself was not published till nearly twenty years after this
date, in 1690.

Locke's health had never been strong, and, in the years 1670-72 he
seems to have suffered much from a troublesome cough, indicative
of disease of the lungs. Connected with this illness was a short
journey which he made in France, in the suite of the Countess of
Northumberland, in the autumn of 1672. Soon after his return, his
patron, who had lately been created Earl of Shaftesbury, was appointed
to the highest office of the State, the Lord High Chancellorship of
England. Locke shared in his good fortune, and was made Secretary of
Presentations--that is, of the Chancellor's church patronage--with
a salary of 300_l._ a year. The modern reader, especially when he
recollects Locke's intimacy with Shaftesbury, is surprised to find
that he dined at the Steward's table, that he was expected to attend
prayers three times a day, and that, when the Chancellor drove out in
state, he was accustomed, with the other secretaries, to walk by the
side of the coach, while, as "my lord" got in and out, he "went before
him bareheaded." The distinctions of rank were, however, far more
marked in those days than at present, and the high officers of state
were still surrounded with much of the elaborate ceremonial which had
obtained in the times of the Tudors.

To the period of Locke's excursion in France, or that immediately
succeeding it, we may refer a free translation--or rather,
adaptation--of three of the _Essais de Morale_ of Pierre Nicole, a
well-known Jansenist, and the friend of Pascal and Arnauld. These
_Essays_, which were translated for the use of the Countess of
Shaftesbury, were apparently not designed for publication, and, in
fact, were first given to the world by Dr. Hancock, in 1828. They are
mainly remarkable as affording evidence of the depth and sincerity of
Locke's religious convictions.

Routine and official duties now occupied much of his time, and must
have interfered sadly with his favourite studies. From discussing the
tangled and ambiguous politics of this period I purposely refrain; but
there is one official act, recorded of Locke at this time, which places
him in so incongruous a light that his biographer can hardly pass it
over in silence. At the opening of the Parliament which met on February
4, 1672-73, Shaftesbury, amplifying the King's Speech, made, though it
is said unwillingly and with much concern, his famous defence of the
Dutch war, and his attack on the Dutch nation, culminating in the words
"Delenda est Carthago." Locke, we are sorry to find, though the act was
a purely ministerial one, stood at his elbow with a written copy, to
prompt him in case of failure.

On the 9th of November, 1673, Shaftesbury, who had incurred the
displeasure of the king by his support of the Test Bill, and who was
now looked on as one of the principal leaders of the Anti-Catholic
party, was summarily dismissed from the Chancellorship. Locke, of
course, lost at the same time the Secretaryship of Presentations; but
he did not, as meaner men might have done, try to insinuate himself
into wealth and power through other avenues. "When my grandfather,"
says the third Earl of Shaftesbury, "quitted the Court, and began to
be in danger from it, Mr. Locke now shared with him in dangers, as
before in honours and advantages. He entrusted him with his secretest
negotiations, and made use of his assistant pen in matters that nearly
concerned the State and were fit to be made public."

Locke's connexion with the affairs of the colony of Carolina has
already been mentioned. Business of this kind, owing to his relations
with Shaftesbury, multiplied upon him, and on the 15th of October,
1673, shortly before Shaftesbury's fall, he was sworn in as Secretary
to the Council of Trade and Foreign Plantations, with a salary of
500_l._ a year. This office he retained, notwithstanding the fall of
his patron, till the dissolution of the Council on the 12th of March,
1674-75; but it appears that his salary was never paid.

On February 6, 1674-75, Locke proceeded to the degree of Bachelor of
Medicine, having already been appointed to, or more probably promised,
a Faculty Studentship at Ch. Ch., or, as Dean Prideaux, who had no love
for him, puts it, "having wriggled into Ireland's faculty place." It
is curious that his name does not appear in the Ch. Ch. books among
the Faculty Students till the second quarter of 1675, and during that
and the two subsequent quarters it is erased. The first time the name
occurs without an erasure is in the first quarter of 1676. That there
was much irregularity in the mode of appointing to College places at
this time is evident.

His studentship being now secure, Lord Shaftesbury having, for a
consideration in ready money, granted him an annuity of 100_l._ a
year, and his estates in Somersetshire, as well as one or two loans
and mortgages, bringing him in a modest sum in addition, Locke,
notwithstanding the non-payment of his salary as Secretary to the
Council of Trade and Plantations, must have been in fairly comfortable
circumstances. He was dispensed from the necessity of practising a
profession, and, being also relieved from the pressure of public
affairs, was free to follow his bent. It is probably to the leisure
almost enforced upon him by the weakness of his health, as well as by
the turn which public affairs had taken, and rendered possible by the
independence of his position, that we are indebted for the maturity of
reflection which forms so characteristic a feature of his subsequent



The state of Locke's health had long rendered it desirable that he
should reside in a warmer climate, and his release from official duties
now removed any obstacle that there might formerly have been to his
absence from England. The place which he selected for his retirement
was Montpellier, at that time the most usual place of resort for
invalids who were able to leave their own country. He left London about
the middle of November, 1675, with one if not more companions, and,
after experiencing the ordinary inconveniences of travel in those days
of slow locomotion and poor inns, arrived at Paris on Nov. 24, and at
Lyons on Dec. 11. At Lyons, he remarks of the library at the Jesuits'
College that it "is the best that ever I saw, except Oxford, being one
very high oblong square, with a gallery round, to come at the books."
As before, in the North of Germany, so now in the South of France,
he is a diligent observer of everything of interest, whether in the
way of customs, occupations, or buildings, that falls in his way. He
reached Montpellier on Christmas Day, and, except when making short
excursions in the neighbourhood, resided there continuously till the
early spring of 1677, a period of fourteen months. At Montpellier I
have not been able to find any trace of him, either in the library
or elsewhere, but his journal shows that he was much interested in
the trade and products of the country, as well as in the objects
which usually excite the curiosity of travellers. At Shaftesbury's
instigation he wrote a little treatise, entitled, "Observations upon
the Growth and Culture of Vines and Olives, the Production of Silk,
and the Preservation of Fruits." It is curious that this small tract
was never published till 1766. It enumerates no less than forty-one
varieties of grapes, and thirteen varieties of olives, which were
grown in the neighbourhood of Montpellier. The ceremonial and doings
of the States of Languedoc attracted Locke's attention, but he does
not seem to have been present at their deliberations. He witnessed,
however, their devotions at the Church of Notre Dame, and remarks that
the Cardinal Archbishop of Narbonne, who took part in the offices,
kept "talking every now and then, and laughing with the bishops next
him." The increasing incidence of the taxation on the lower and middle
orders, and the growing poverty of the people, were topics which could
hardly fail to arrest the attention of any intelligent traveller at
that time. "The rent of lands in France is fallen one half in these
few years, by reason of the poverty of the people. Merchants and
handicraftsmen pay near half their gains." Among the more interesting
entries in his journal are the following:--March 18 (N.S.). "Monsieur
Rennaie, a gentleman of the town, in whose house Sir J. Rushworth lay,
about four years ago, sacrificed a child to the devil--a child of a
servant of his own--upon a design to get the devil to be his friend
and help him to get some money. Several murders committed here since
I came, and more attempted; one by a brother on his sister, in the
house where I lay." March 22 (N.S.): "The new philosophy of Des Cartes
prohibited to be taught in universities, schools, and academies." It is
plain from the journal that Locke's mind was now busy with the class
of questions which were afterwards treated in the Essay: reflections
on space, the extent of possible knowledge, the objects and modes of
study, etc., being curiously interspersed with his notes of travel. In
respect of health, he does not seem to have benefited much by his stay
at Montpellier, which, as before stated, he left in the early spring of
1677. By slow stages he travelled to Paris, where he joined a pupil,
the son of Sir John Banks, who had been commended to his supervision
by Shaftesbury. This tutorial engagement lasted for nearly two years,
and, in consequence of it, Locke remained in France longer than he had
originally intended. In a letter written to his old friend Mapletoft
from Paris in June, 1677, after some playful allusions to Mapletoft's
love affairs, he says:--"My health is the only mistress I have a long
time courted, and is so coy a one that I think it will take up the
remainder of my days to obtain her good graces and keep her in good
humour." There can be no question that, at this time, the state of his
health was a matter of very serious concern to him, and it may possibly
have been the cause of his not marrying. While in Paris he probably
took a pretty complete holiday, seeing the sights, however, making
occasional excursions, forming new acquaintances, and exercising a
general supervision over the education of his young charge.

At the end of June, 1678, Locke, accompanied probably by his pupil,
left Paris with the view of making his way leisurely to Montpellier,
and thence to Rome. He travelled westward by way of Orleans, Blois,
and Angers. On the banks of the Loire he noticed the poverty-stricken
appearance of the country. "Many of the towns they call bourgs; but,
considering how poor and few the houses in most of them are, would in
England scarce amount to villages. The houses generally were but one
story.... The gentlemen's seats, of which we saw many, were most of
them rather bearing marks of decay than of thriving and being well
kept." Montpellier was reached early in October, and, after a short
stay there, he went on to Lyons, with the view of commencing his
journey to Rome. But the depth of the snow on Mont Cenis was fatal to
this design. Twice Locke had formed plans to visit Rome, "the time set,
the company agreed," and both times he had been disappointed. "Were I
not accustomed," he says, "to have fortune to dispose of me contrary
to my design and expectation, I should be very angry to be thus turned
out of my way, when I made sure in a few days to mount the Capitol and
trace the footsteps of the Scipios and the Cæsars." He had now nothing
left but to turn back to Paris, where he remained till the following
April. Here he seems to have spent his time in the same miscellaneous
occupations as before. In the journal we find the following entry,
dated Feb. 13:--"I saw the library of M. de Thou, a great collection
of choice, well-bound books, which are now to be sold; amongst others,
a Greek manuscript, written by one Angelot, by which Stephens's Greek
characters were first made." De Thou, the celebrated historian of his
own times, is better known under his Latinized name, Thuanus. On a
Friday, he notes:--"The observation of Lent at Paris is come almost to
nothing. Meat is openly to be had in the shambles, and a dispensation
commonly to be had from the curate without difficulty. People of sense
laugh at it, and in Italy itself, for twenty sous, a dispensation is
certainly to be had." Then follows an amusing story of "that Bishop of
Bellay, who has writ so much against monks and monkery."

  "A devout lady being sick, and besieged by the Carmes, made her will
  and gave them all: the Bishop of Bellay coming to see her, after it
  was done, asked whether she had made her will; she answered yes, and
  told him how; he convinced her it was not well, and she, desiring
  to alter it, found a difficulty how to do it, being so beset by the
  friars. The bishop bid her not trouble herself for it, but presently
  took order that two notaries, habited as physicians, should come to
  her, who being by her bedside, the bishop told the company it was
  convenient all should withdraw; and so the former will was revoked,
  and a new one made and put into the bishop's hands. The lady dies,
  the Carmes produce their will, and for some time the bishop lets them
  enjoy the pleasure of their inheritance; but at last, taking out the
  other will, he says to them, 'Mes frères, you are the sons of Elijah,
  children of the Old Testament, and have no share in the New.'"

It may have been the influence of fashion, and the eager thirst for
reputation, which were so rife in Parisian society, that inspired,
shortly after Locke's return to Paris, the following reflections, as
profound as they are true:--

  "The principal spring from which the actions of men take their rise,
  the rule they conduct them by, and the end to which they direct
  them, seems to be credit and reputation, and that which, at any
  rate, they avoid is in the greatest part shame and disgrace. This
  makes the Hurons and other people of Canada with such constancy
  endure inexpressible torments; this makes merchants in one country
  and soldiers in another; this puts men upon school divinity in one
  country and physics and mathematics in another; this cuts out the
  dresses for the women, and makes the fashions for the men, and makes
  them endure the inconveniences of all.... Religions are upheld by
  this and factions maintained, and the shame of being disesteemed
  by those with whom one hath lived, and to whom one would recommend
  oneself, is the great source and director of most of the actions
  of men.... He therefore that would govern the world well, had need
  consider rather what fashions he makes than what laws; and to bring
  anything into use he need only give it reputation."

Leaving Paris on the 22nd of April, 1679, Locke arrived, after his long
absence, in London on the 30th of the same month. In the political
world much had happened whilst he had been away. Shaftesbury, already
in disgrace when he left England, had been imprisoned in the Tower
for a year; but, by a sudden turn of fortune, was now reinstated in
office as President of the newly-created Council. Of the circumstances
which had brought about this change, the story of the Popish Plot,
the discovery of the king's nefarious negotiations with Louis XIV.,
and the impeachment of Danby, it is not necessary here to speak. That
Shaftesbury, when he saw the prospect of restoration to power, should
wish to avail himself, as before, of Locke's advice and services, was
only to be expected, and it was the expression of this desire which
had hastened Locke's return to England. What, however, were the exact
relations between the new Lord President and his former secretary
during Shaftesbury's second tenure of office we are not informed. That
the intercourse between them was close and frequent, there can be no
doubt, and, during the summer months of 1679, Locke again resided in
his patron's house. But the king soon felt himself strong enough to
reassert his own will. Under date of the 15th of October, we read in
the Privy Council Book, "The Earl of Shaftesbury's name was struck
out of this list by his Majesty's command in Council." Consequently,
Shaftesbury was again in opposition, and Locke, though still his
adviser and friend, and frequently an inmate of one or other of his
houses, was released from the pressure of official business. One of
his principal cares at this time was the supervision of the education
of Shaftesbury's grandson. The father, Locke's former pupil, "born a
shapeless lump, like anarchy," seems to have been but a poor creature,
and the little Anthony, when only three years old, was made over to
the formal guardianship of his grandfather. Locke, though not his
instructor, seems to have kept a vigilant eye on the boy's studies
and discipline, as well as on his health and bodily training. If we
may trust the memory of the third earl, writing when in middle life,
Locke's care was extended to his brothers and sisters as well as to
himself. "In our education," he says, "Mr. Locke governed according
to his own principles, since published by him" [in the _Thoughts on
Education_], "and with such success that we all of us came to full
years with strong and healthy constitutions--my own the worst, though
never faulty till of late. I was his more peculiar charge, being, as
eldest son, taken by my grandfather and bred under his immediate care,
Mr. Locke having the absolute direction of my education, and to whom,
next my immediate parents, as I must own the greatest obligation, so
I have ever preserved the highest gratitude and duty." The admiration
and gratitude which the author of the _Characteristics_ felt for his
tutor did not, however, prevent him from criticising freely Locke's
_Theory of Ethics_, and pronouncing it "a very poor philosophy." Of
the _Essay_, as a whole, notwithstanding his vigorous protest on this
particular point, Shaftesbury seems to have had as high an opinion as
of its author. "It may as well qualify for business and the world as
for the sciences and a university. No one has done more towards the
recalling of philosophy from barbarity into use and practice of the
world, and into the company of the better and politer sort, who might
well be ashamed of it in its other dress. No one has opened a better
or clearer way to reasoning." (See the Letters of the third Earl of
Shaftesbury to a Student at the University, Letters I., VIII.)

Of the parliament which met at Oxford on the 21st of March, 1680-81,
Locke was a close, and must have been an anxious, observer. He himself
occupied his rooms at Christ Church, and for Shaftesbury's use he
obtained the house of the celebrated mathematician, Dr. Wallis. The
fullest account we have of the earlier proceedings of this parliament
are contained in a letter from Locke to Stringer, Shaftesbury's
secretary. It was prematurely dissolved on the 28th of March, Charles
having succeeded in obtaining supplies from the French king instead of
from his own subjects, and no other parliament was summoned during the
remainder of the reign.

So suspicious of treachery had the rival parties in the State now
become, that most of the members of the Oxford parliament had been
attended by armed servants, while the king was protected by a body of
guards. The political tension was, of course, by no means relaxed,
when it became plain that the king intended to govern without a
parliament, and we can hardly feel surprised that ministers took the
initiative in trying to silence their opponents. On the 2nd of July,
1681, Shaftesbury was arrested in his London house on a charge of
high treason, and, after a brief examination before the Council, was
committed to the tower. Notwithstanding many attempts, he failed to
obtain a trial till Nov. 24, when he was indicted before a special
commission at the Old Bailey. The grand jury, amidst the plaudits
of the spectators, threw out the bill, and on the 1st of December
following he was released on bail. Shaftesbury's acquittal was
received in London, and throughout the country, with acclamations of
joy, but his triumph was only a brief one. The rest of his story is
soon told. In the summer of 1682, Shaftesbury, Monmouth, Russell, and a
few others began to concert measures for a general rising against the
king. The scheme was, of course, discovered, and Shaftesbury, knowing
that, from the new composition of the juries, he would have no chance
of escape if another indictment were preferred against him, took to
flight, and concealed himself for some weeks in obscure houses in the
city and in Wapping. Meanwhile he tried, from his hiding-places, to
foment an insurrection, but, when he found that the day which had been
fixed on for the general rising had been postponed, he determined to
seek safety for himself by escaping to Holland. After some adventures
on the way, he reached Amsterdam in the beginning of December. To
preserve him from extradition, he was on his petition admitted a
citizen of Amsterdam, and might thus, like Locke, have lived to see
the Revolution, but on the 21st of January, 1682-83, he died, in
excruciating agonies, of gout in the stomach.

There is no evidence to implicate Locke in Shaftesbury's design of
setting the Duke of Monmouth on the throne, though it is difficult to
suppose that he was not acquainted with it. Any way, in the spring of
1681-82, he seems to have been engaged in some mysterious political
movements, the nature of which is unknown to us. Humphrey Prideaux,
afterwards Dean of Norwich, in his gossiping letters to John Ellis,
afterwards an Under-Secretary of State, frequently mentions Locke, who
was at this time residing in Oxford. These notices were probably in
answer to queries from Ellis, who was already in the employment of the
government. From Prideaux's letters (recently published by the Camden
Society) I extract a few passages, interesting not only as throwing
light on Locke's mode of life at this period in Oxford, but also as
showing the estimate of him formed by a political enemy who was a
member of the same college:--

  "_March 14, 1681_ (O.S.).--John Locke lives a very cunning and
  unintelligible life here, being two days in town and three out; and
  no one knows where he goes, or when he goes, or when he returns.
  Certainly there is some Whig intrigue a managing; but here not a
  word of politics comes from him, nothing of news or anything else
  concerning our present affairs, as if he were not at all concerned in

  "_March 19, 1681_ (O.S.).--Where J. L. goes I cannot by any means
  learn, all his voyages being so cunningly contrived. He hath in his
  last sally been absent at least ten days, where I cannot learn. Last
  night he returned; and sometimes he himself goes out and leaves his
  man behind, who shall then to be often seen in the quadrangle, to
  make people believe his master is at home, for he will let no one
  come to his chamber, and therefore it is not certain when he is there
  or when he is absent. I fancy there are projects afoot.

  "_October 24, 1682._--John Locke lives very quietly with us, and
  not a word ever drops from his mouth that discovers anything of his
  heart within. Now his master is fled, I suppose we shall have him
  altogether. He seems to be a man of very good converse, and that
  we have of him with content; as for what else he is he keeps it to
  himself, and therefore troubles not us with it nor we him."

After Shaftesbury's dismissal from the Presidentship of the Council,
Locke must have had a considerable amount of leisure. The state of
his health, however, and the consequent necessity of his frequently
changing his residence, must have interfered a good deal with the
progress of his studies. It is plain from his correspondence that he
still took a lively interest in scientific and medical pursuits, nor
does he appear to have yet given up the hope of practising medicine in
a regular way. By his friends he was usually called Dr. Locke, and at
the period of life we are now considering he still continued to attend
cases, and to make elaborate notes of treatment and diagnosis.

It is probable that about this time Locke wrote the first of the _Two
Treatises on Government_, which were published in 1690. Materials
for the Essay were, undoubtedly, being slowly accumulated, and on a
variety of questions, political, educational, ethical, theological,
and philosophical, his views were being gradually matured. Several
pamphlets of a political character were, during these years, attributed
to him, but we have his own solemn asseveration, in a letter written to
the Earl of Pembroke in November, 1684, that he was not the author "of
any pamphlet or treatise whatever, in part good, bad, or indifferent;"
that is, of course, of any published pamphlet or treatise, for he had
already written a good deal in the way of essays, reflections, and

After Shaftesbury's flight, Locke must have found his position
becoming more and more unpleasant. During the year 1682 he had resided
pretty constantly in Oxford, but we can well understand that Oxford
was not then a very eligible place of residence for a whig and a
latitudinarian. He appears to have left it for good at the end of
June or beginning of July, 1683, and to have retired for a while
into Somersetshire. Shortly afterwards, however, he quitted England
altogether, and when we next hear of him it is in Holland. That he was
implicated in the Rye House plot is, on every ground, most improbable,
notwithstanding the malicious insinuations of Prideaux to the contrary.
Nor is there any evidence that he had any concern with the more
respectable conspiracy of Monmouth, Russell, and Sidney. But in those
times of plots and counter-plots, and arbitrary interference with the
courts of justice, any man who was in opposition to the government
might well be in fear for his life or liberty. Specially would this be
the case with Locke, who was well known as a friend and adherent of
Shaftesbury. Moreover, had he been thrown into prison, the state of his
health was such that his life would probably have been endangered. His
flight, therefore, affords no countenance whatsoever to the supposition
that he had been engaged in treasonable designs against the government.
It would, I conceive, be no stain on Locke's character, had he, in
those days of misgovernment and oppression, conspired to effect by
violent means a change in the succession, or even a transference of the
crown. But the fact that there is no evidence of his having done so
removes almost all excuse for the tyrannical act which I am presently
about to describe. In connexion with Locke's flight to Holland, it
may be mentioned that the idea of leaving England was by no means new
to him. The proposal to emigrate together to Carolina or the Île de
Bourbon, possibly, however, thrown out half in jest, is a frequent
topic in the correspondence with his French friend, Thoynard, during
the two or three years succeeding his return from France. That he
was becoming disgusted with the political game then being played in
England, and despondent as to the future of his country, is evident
from several letters written by him at this time.

The account of Locke's life in Holland may be deferred to the next
chapter. It will be convenient here to tell the story of his expulsion
from Christ Church, which marks the issue of his connexion with
Shaftesbury, and of the part which he had so far taken in English
politics. We have already seen that he was suspected of having written
a number of political pamphlets against the government. This suspicion
was not unnatural, Locke being a literary man and a well-known friend
of Shaftesbury. After his retirement to Holland, the suspicion of his
having written various pamphlets, supposed to have been printed in that
country, and surreptitiously conveyed into England, was one which very
naturally occurred, and, according to Prideaux, he was now specially
suspected of having written "a most bitter libel, published in Holland
in English, Dutch, and French, called a Hue and Cry after the Earl of
Essex's murder." But the government had no proof of these surmises,
and therefore no right to take action upon them. Their suspicions
were, however, probably sharpened by the malicious reports of their
spies in Oxford, and by the not unlikely supposition that Locke was
taking part in the intrigues, on behalf of Monmouth, now being carried
on in Holland. For the latter suspicion, as for the one with regard
to the authorship of the pamphlets, it happens that there was no
justification, but it is impossible to deny that there was some _primâ
facie_ ground for it. Compared with other arbitrary acts of the reigns
of Charles II. and James II., the measures taken against Locke do not
seem exceptionally severe, utterly abhorrent as they would doubtless be
to the usages of a constitutional age.

About fourteen or fifteen months had elapsed since his disappearance
from England, when, on the 6th of November, 1684, Lord Sunderland
signified to Dr. Fell, Dean of Christ Church, who was also Bishop of
Oxford, the pleasure of the king that Locke should be removed from
his studentship, asking the Dean at the same time to specify "the
method of doing it." "The method" adopted by the Dean was to attach a
"moneo" to the screen in the college hall, summoning Locke to appear
on the 1st of January following, to answer the charges against him.
After admitting that Locke, as having a physician's place among the
students, was not obliged to residence, and that he was abroad upon
want of health, the Dean, in his reply to Sunderland, proceeds to show
his readiness to accommodate himself to the requirements of the court:
"Notwithstanding that, I have summoned him to return home, which is
done with this prospect, that if he comes not back, he will be liable
to expulsion for contumacy; if he does, he will be answerable to your
lordship for what he shall be found to have done amiss." Ingenious,
however, as the "method" was, it was not expeditious enough to satisfy
the court. A second letter from Sunderland, enjoining Locke's immediate
expulsion, was at once despatched. This curious document is still
shown in the Christ Church library, and, as I have never seen an exact
transcript of it, I here subjoin one:

  "_To the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Oxon,
  Dean of Christ Church, and our trusty and well-beloved the Chapter

  "Right Reverend Father in God, and trusty and well-beloved, we greet
  you well. Whereas we have received information of the factious
  and disloyall behaviour of Lock, one of the students of that our
  Colledge; we have thought fit hereby to signify our will and pleasure
  to you, that you forthwith remove him from his said student's place,
  and deprive him of all the rights and advantages thereunto belonging.
  For which this shall be your warrant. And so we bid you heartily

  "Given at our Court at Whitehall, 11th day of November, 1684, in the
  six and thirtieth year of our Reigne.

    "By his Majesty's command,


On the 16th of November the Dean signified that his Majesty's command
was fully executed, whereupon Lord Sunderland acquainted him that his
Majesty was well satisfied with the college's ready obedience.

Thus the most celebrated man, perhaps, that Oxford has sheltered within
her walls since the Reformation was summarily ejected at the dictation
of a corrupt and arbitrary court. The Dean and Chapter might have won
our admiration had they resisted the royal command, as was done in
the next reign by the Fellows of Magdalen College, but it was hardly
to be expected that they should risk their own goods and liberties
in attempting to afford a protection which, after all, would have
been almost certainly attempted in vain. Moreover, as Lord Grenville
(_Oxford and Locke_) has pointed out, Christ Church being a royal
foundation, the Dean and Chapter might well regard the king as having
full power either to appoint or remove any member of the foundation,
and themselves as only registering his decree. The same power, as
we have already seen, had been exercised in Locke's favour by the
dispensation from entering holy orders accorded by the crown in 1666.

After the Revolution, Locke petitioned William the Third for the
restitution of his studentship, but "finding," according to Lady
Masham, that "it would give great disturbance to the society, and
dispossess the person that was in his place, he desisted from that

In Fell's first letter to Sunderland, he speaks of Locke's extreme
reserve and taciturnity. As this seems to have been one of his
distinguishing characteristics, and as the passage is otherwise
remarkable, as showing the vigilance with which Locke was watched at
Oxford, I give it at length:

  "I have for divers years had an eye upon him; but so close has
  his guard been on himself that, after several strict inquiries,
  I may confidently affirm there is not any one in the College,
  however familiar with him, who has heard him speak a word either
  against or so much as concerning the Government; and although very
  frequently, both in public and in private, discourses have been
  purposely introduced to the disparagement of his master, the Earl of
  Shaftesbury, his party and designs, he could never be provoked to
  take any notice or discover in word or look the least concern; so
  that I believe there is not in the world such a master of taciturnity
  and passion."

This account of Locke's reserve, as well as the illustration here
incidentally afforded of the abominable system of college espionage
which then prevailed in Oxford, is amply confirmed by Prideaux's
letters to Ellis. In the _Thoughts on Education_ parents and tutors
are recommended to mould children betimes to this mastery over their
tongues. But the gift of silence was exercised by Locke only in
those matters where other men have no right to be inquisitive or
curious--matters of private concernment and of individual opinion.
In conversation on general topics, he seems always to have been open
and copious. His taciturnity, though the effect of prudence and
self-control, was certainly not due to any lack of geniality or any
want of sympathy with others.



Locke must have landed in Holland in one of the autumn months of 1683,
being then about fifty-one years of age. We are not able, however, to
trace any of his movements till the January of 1683-84, when he was
present, by invitation of Peter Guenellon, the principal physician of
Amsterdam, at the dissection of a lioness which had been killed by the
intense cold of the winter.

Through Guenellon, whom he had met during his stay in Paris, he must
have made the acquaintance of the principal literary and scientific
men at that time residing in or near Amsterdam. Amongst these was
Philip van Limborch, then professor of theology among the Arminians
or Remonstrants. The Arminians (called Remonstrants on account of
the remonstrance which they had presented to the States-General in
1610) were the latitudinarians of Holland, and, though they had been
condemned by the Synod of Dort in 1619, and had been subjected to a
bitter persecution by the Calvinist clergy for some years following,
were now a fairly numerous body, possessing a theological seminary, and
exercising a considerable influence, not only in their own country,
but over the minds of the more liberal theologians throughout Europe.
The undogmatic, tolerant, and, if I may use the expression, ethical
character of the Remonstrant theology must have had great attractions
for Locke, and he and Limborch, united by many common sentiments,
subsequently became fast friends.

In the autumn of 1684 Locke made a tour of the country, noting, as was
usual with him, all objects and matters of interest, and evidently
benefiting much in health by the diversion of travelling. Indeed,
we are somewhat surprised to hear that his health derived more
advantage from the air of Holland than from that of Montpellier. What,
however, he put down to climate was, perhaps, at least equally due to
pleasant companionship, and to the variety of interests--political,
commercial, literary, and theological--which the Dutch nation at that
time so pre-eminently afforded. Amongst the objects which attracted
his attention was a sect of communistic mystics established near
Leeuwarden. "They receive," he says, "all ages, sexes, and degrees,
upon approbation. They live all in common; and whoever is admitted
is to give with himself all he has to Christ the Lord--that is, the
Church--to be managed by officers appointed by the Church. These
people, however, were very shy to give an account of themselves to
strangers, and they appeared inclined to dispense their instruction
only to those whom 'the Lord,' as they say, 'had disposed to it,' and
in whom they saw 'signs of grace;' which 'signs of grace' seem to me
to be, at last, a perfect submission to the will and rules of their
pastor, Mr. Yonn, who, if I mistake not, has established to himself
a perfect empire over them. For though their censures and all their
administrations be in appearance in their Church, yet it is easy to
perceive how at last it determines in him. He is _dominus factotum_;
and though I believe they are, generally speaking, people of very
good and exemplary lives, yet the tone of voice, manner, and fashion
of those I conversed with seemed to make one suspect a little of
Tartuffe." After Locke's experiences of the Puritan ministers in his
early life, the character of Mr. Yonn was, probably, by no means new
to him, though he now repeated his acquaintance with it under novel

In November Locke was again in Amsterdam, and here he heard of Dr.
Fell's "moneo," summoning him back to Christ Church. At first it would
seem that he resolved to comply with it, but the intelligence of the
"moneo" must soon have been followed by that of his deprivation, and
thus he was saved from the dangers which might have befallen him had
he returned to England. In more ways than one, his continued absence
abroad was probably an advantage to him. "In Holland," says Lady
Masham, "he had full leisure to prosecute his thoughts on the subject
of _Human Understanding_--a work which, in probability, he never would
have finished had he continued in England." The winter of this year
was spent in Utrecht and devoted to study--probably to the preparation
of the _Essay on Human Understanding_. But this quiet mode of life was
quickly coming to an end. On the 6th of February, 1684-85, Charles
the Second had died; and, though the succession of the Duke of York
was at first undisputed, Monmouth, the natural son of the late king,
was soon persuaded by his impatient and injudicious followers to head
the insurrection which resulted in his defeat and execution. From
Monmouth's intrigues Locke had always held aloof, "having no such
high opinion of the Duke of Monmouth as to expect anything from his
undertaking." But prudence, in those days of fierce political hatred
and unblushing fabrications, was often of very little avail. Locke was
well known as an adherent of Shaftesbury, and Shaftesbury had long and
ardently favoured Monmouth's pretensions. Moreover, stories tending
to discredit him with the advisers of the Court, and to connect his
name with the plots of the other exiles, were probably circulating
pretty freely at this time. On the 7th of May--a few days after Argyle
had set out on his ill-starred expedition to Scotland, and while
Monmouth was still preparing for his descent on the west coast of
England--Colonel Skelton, who had been sent over as a special envoy to
the Hague, presented to the States-General a list of persons regarded
as dangerous by the English Government, and demanded their surrender.
On this list Locke's name stood last, having been added, we are told,
by Sir George Downing, the English representative at the Dutch Court,
but whether or not in pursuance of further instructions from home we
do not know. Locke was at this time living at Utrecht, and it was at
once arranged that he should be concealed in the house of Dr. Veen, of
Amsterdam, the father-in-law of his old acquaintance, Dr. Guenellon.
Though it was necessary, for appearance' sake, that he should keep
strictly to his hiding-place, he does not seem to have incurred any
real danger. The municipal authorities of Amsterdam had too great a
horror of Popery and too much sympathy with liberty to show any marked
zeal in carrying out the wishes of the English king; nor does the
Prince of Orange himself appear to have been very eager to hunt out the
fugitives, provided they went through the decent ceremony of concealing
themselves from the ministers of justice. To Locke the confinement was
doubtless irksome; but he was solaced by the visits of his friends,
especially of Limborch, and the monotony of his solitude was broken by
a visit of a few weeks to Cleve. Here, however, he does not appear to
have felt so safe as at Amsterdam; and, consequently, he soon returned
to his old quarters, assuming the name of Dr. Van der Linden, as at
Cleve he had assumed that of Lamy. Meanwhile, two of his friends in
England--William Penn, the celebrated Quaker, and the Earl of Pembroke,
to whom he afterwards dedicated the _Essay_--were moving the king for
a pardon. The latter, writing to Locke on the 20th of August, informs
him that the king "bid me write to you to come over; I told him I would
then bring you to kiss his hand, and he was fully satisfied I should."
Locke, however, appears to have had little confidence in the king's
sincerity, and, perhaps, no desire to compromise any political action
that might be open to him in the future by making formal submission to
a monarch who was tolerably certain to work out his own ruin. He still
remained in concealment, and replied that, "having been guilty of no
crime, he had no occasion for a pardon." But in May, 1686, all fear
of arrest was removed by the appearance of a new proclamation of the
States-General, in which his name was not included, and henceforth he
was enabled to move about with perfect freedom.

The name of Limborch, one of the friends whom Locke made in Holland,
has already been mentioned. A long series of letters which passed
between them, beginning with Locke's arrival at Cleve in September,
1685, and ending only a few weeks before his death, is still extant,
though some are still unpublished. This correspondence is interesting,
not only as throwing light on Locke's pursuits, but also as affording
a free expression of his theological opinions. Thus, in a letter
written to Limborch soon after his arrival at Cleve, with reference to
a work recently published by Le Clerc, he acknowledges his perplexities
respecting the plenary inspiration of the Bible. "If all things which
are contained in the sacred books are equally to be regarded as
inspired, without any distinctions, then we give philosophers a great
handle for doubting of our faith and sincerity. If, on the contrary,
some things are to be regarded as purely human, how shall we establish
the divine authority of the Scriptures, without which the Christian
religion will fall to the ground? What shall be our criterion? Where
shall we draw the line?" He applies to Limborch for help. "For many
things which occur in the canonical books, long before I read this
treatise, have made me anxious and doubtful, and I shall be most
grateful if you could remove my scruples." From the character of his
theological writings, composed during the latter years of his life, it
would appear that these scruples were afterwards either removed or set

With Le Clerc (Joannes Clericus) himself Locke first became personally
acquainted after his return to Amsterdam in the winter of 1685-86. Le
Clerc was still young, having been born at Geneva in 1657, but he had
already acquired considerable reputation both as a philosopher and as a
theologian. As a philosopher, he had at first embraced the doctrines of
Descartes, but, in after-life, he leaned rather to those views which,
a few years after the time of which I am writing, became famous by the
publication of Locke's _Essay_. As a divine, his theology was liberal
and critical beyond even that of the Remonstrant School. He questioned
the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, regarded some of the books of
the old Testament as of purely human origin, and, in his treatment
of the miracles and of Christian doctrine, rationalized so far as to
expose himself to the charge of Socinianism, though he himself warmly
repudiated the imputation. In literary activity and enterprise he
yielded to no other author of the age. Such a man, full of energy and
of novel views, ready to entertain and discuss any question of interest
in theology, criticism, or philosophy, must have been peculiarly
acceptable to an exile like Locke, whose mind was now engaged with just
the same problems that were occupying Le Clerc. The intimacy between
the two students, though never so affectionate as that between Locke
and Limborch, soon became a close one. Though widely separated in age,
and though differing, probably, in many of their specific opinions,
they were conscious that they were travelling the same road--a way then
little frequented--the way which led from the received tenets of the
churches and the schools to the arena of free inquiry and impartial

In the winter of 1685-86, Locke, while still hiding in Dr. Veen's
house, employed himself in writing the famous _Epistola de Tolerantia_,
addressed to Limborch. This tract was not, however, published till
1689, when it was almost immediately translated into English, Dutch,
and French. Of the opinions expressed in this and the other letters on
Toleration I shall have occasion to speak hereafter, when describing
Locke's theological views. It must be recollected that, though now
in his fifty-fourth year, he had as yet published nothing of any
importance. He had, indeed, for several years been slowly putting
together the materials for many books; but it is possible that his
natural modesty, together with what seems to have been an excessive
prudence, might have prevented him from giving any of his thoughts
to the world, at least during his lifetime, had it not been for the
fortunate circumstances which brought him into contact with Le Clerc.
At the time when the two friends were introduced to one another,
Le Clerc was projecting the _Bibliothèque Universelle_, one of the
earliest literary and scientific reviews, and to this Locke soon became
a constant contributor. In the July number of 1686 appears his method
of a Commonplace Book, under the title, _Méthode Nouvelle de dresser
des Recueils_. The ice was now broken, and from this time onwards we
shall find his publications follow one another in rapid succession.

In September, 1686, Locke moved again to Utrecht, intending,
apparently, to make a prolonged residence there; but in December,
for some mysterious reason with which we are not acquainted, though
connected in all probability with English politics, he was threatened
with expulsion from the city, and was obliged to return to Amsterdam.
It seems, from his correspondence with Limborch, that he did not wish
this expulsion to be talked about. At the same time, he accepted
stoically the inconveniences to which it put him. "These are the sports
of fortune, or rather the ordinary chances of human life, which come
as naturally as wind and rain to travellers." At Amsterdam he remained
for two months as the guest of his old friend, Dr. Guenellon, and then
removed to Rotterdam, where, with occasional breaks, he resided during
the rest of his stay in Holland. This removal was undoubtedly connected
with the turn which English politics were now taking at the Dutch
Court. Monmouth being now out of the way, the only quarter to which
those who were weary of the Stuart despotism could look for redress
was the House of Orange. Secret negotiations were at this time going
on with the Prince and Princess, and there can be no doubt that Locke
was taking an active share in the schemes that were in preparation.
Rotterdam was within a short distance of the Hague, and also a
convenient place for carrying on a correspondence with England as well
as for meeting the Englishmen who landed in Holland. As soon as Locke
arrived at Rotterdam his hands seem to have been tolerably full of
political business. Writing to Limborch in February, 1686-87, he says,
"To politics I gave but little thought at Amsterdam; here I cannot pay
much attention to literature." Mr. Fox Bourne conjectures that it was
through Lord Mordaunt, afterwards Earl of Peterborough, who shortly
before this time had taken up his residence in Holland, that Locke was
brought into personal relations with the Prince and Princess. Any way,
these relations gradually ripened into friendship, and a mutual feeling
of respect and admiration seems soon to have grown up between him and
the royal couple.

While at Rotterdam, Locke resided with Benjamin Furly, an English
Quaker, who was a merchant of considerable wealth and a great
book-collector. At Furly's death, in 1714, the sale-catalogue of his
books occupied nearly 400 pages. Locke was thus at no loss for the
instruments of his trade, and, notwithstanding his preoccupation
in politics, he seems to have been working with fair assiduity at
the _Essay_ and on other literary subjects. In the number of the
_Bibliothèque Universelle_ for January, 1687-88, appeared an abstract
of the _Essay_, translated into French by Le Clerc, from a manuscript
written by Locke, which is still extant. The epitome was announced
as communicated by Monsieur Locke, and a note was appended inviting
criticisms, if anything false, obscure, or defective were remarked in
the system. After the review had appeared, separate copies of the
epitome were struck off, and the opuscule, with a short dedication to
the Earl of Pembroke, was published in a separate form. Locke went
to Amsterdam for the purpose of superintending the printing of the
epitome, and appears to have been sorely tried by the "drunken" and
"lying" workmen, who, however, were all "good Christians," "orthodox
believers," and "marked for salvation by the distinguishing L that
stands on their door-posts, or the funeral sermon that they may have
for a passport if they will go to the charge of it." On the 29th of
February he returned to Furly's house, where he seems to have lived
in great comfort, and on most intimate and affectionate terms with
the family. One of the sons, a little boy of four or five years old,
named Arent, was a special favourite, and is playfully alluded to in
the letters to Furly as "my little friend!" Kindness to children seems
always to have been one of Locke's characteristics, as it is of all men
of simple manners and warm hearts.

It was on the 1st of November, 1688, that William of Orange set out on
his expedition to England. Locke still remained in Holland, and appears
to have had frequent interviews with the Princess Mary, who was waiting
till she could with safety join her husband. At last the word was given
from England, and, after being detained for some time by unfavourable
weather, the royal party, accompanied by Locke and Lady Mordaunt, left
the Hague on the 11th of February, 1688-89. They arrived at Greenwich
on the following day. It was with mixed feelings that Locke took leave
of the country where he had been entertained so long, and where he had
formed so many warm and congenial friendships. Writing to Limborch
shortly before his departure, he says, "There are many considerations
which urge me not to miss this opportunity of sailing: the expectation
of my friends; my private affairs, which have now been long neglected;
the number of pirates in the channel; and the charge of the noble lady
(Lady Mordaunt) with whom I am about to travel. But I trust that you
will believe me when I say that I have found here another country,
and I might almost say other relations; for all that is dearest in
that expression--good-will, love, kindness--bonds that are stronger
than blood--I have experienced amongst you. It is owing to this
fellow-feeling, which has always been shown to me by your countrymen,
that, though absent from my own people and exposed to every kind of
trouble, I have never yet felt sick at heart."[1] Still, it must have
been with a thrill of delight that, after an absence of more than five
years, he once more stepped on the shores of his native land, and felt
that a new era of liberty and glory had dawned for her.

        [1] It should be mentioned, perhaps, that the correspondence
            between Locke and Limborch is in Latin.

About a week after his arrival in England, Locke was offered, through
Lord Mordaunt, the post of ambassador to Frederick the First, Elector
of Brandenburg. The letter to Lord Mordaunt, in which he declines the
post, shows the feeble condition in which, notwithstanding all his
precautions, his health still continued. "It is the most touching
displeasure I have ever received from that weak and broken constitution
of my health, which has so long threatened my life, that it now
affords me not a body suitable to my mind in so desirable an occasion
of serving his Majesty.... What shall a man do in the necessity of
application and variety of attendance on business who sometimes, after
a little motion, has not breath to speak, and cannot borrow an hour
or two of watching from the night without repaying it with a great
waste of time the next day?" But there was another reason, besides his
health, why he could not accept a mission to the Court of Brandenburg.
"If I have reason to apprehend the cold air of the country, there is
yet another thing in it as inconsistent with my constitution, and that
is their warm drinking." It was true that he might oppose obstinate
refusal, but then that would be to take more care of his own health
than of the king's business. "It is no small matter in such stations
to be acceptable to the people one has to do with, in being able to
accommodate one's self to their fashions; and I imagine, whatever I
may do there myself, the knowing what others are doing is at least one
half of my business, and I know no such rack in the world to draw out
men's thoughts as a well-managed bottle. If, therefore, it were fit
for me to advise in this case, I should think it more for the king's
interest to send a man of equal parts that could drink his share
than the soberest man in the kingdom." But, though Locke shrank from
this post, the importance of which could hardly be exaggerated, for
Frederick was the ally on whom William most confided in his opposition
to Louis the Fourteenth, he was ready to place his services at the
disposal of the Government for domestic work. "If there be anything
wherein I may flatter myself I have attained any degree of capacity to
serve his Majesty, it is in some little knowledge I perhaps may have
in the constitutions of my country, the temper of my countrymen, and
the divisions amongst them, whereby I persuade myself I may be more
useful to him at home, though I cannot but see that such an employment
would be of greater advantage to myself abroad, would but my health
assent to it." The disinterested patriotism of this letter was only of
a piece with the whole of Locke's political life. He was next offered
the embassy to Vienna, and, in fact, invited to name any diplomatic
appointment which he would be prepared to accept; but he regarded his
health as an insuperable bar to work of this kind at so critical a
time in the history of Europe. Having declined all foreign employment,
he was now named a Commissioner of Appeals, an office with small
emolument and not much work, which he appears to have retained during
the remainder of his life. This office seems to have been given to him
partly as a compensation for the arrears of salary due under the late
Government; for, with an exhausted exchequer, it was impossible to
satisfy such claims by immediate payment.

Locke's health suffered considerably by his return to London. Writing
to Limborch shortly after his arrival, and complaining of the worry
caused him by the pressure of private affairs and public business, the
climax of all his grievances, we are hardly surprised to find, is the
injury to his health "from the pestilent smoke of this city" (_Malignus
hujus urbis fumus_). Amongst the public affairs which claimed his
attention, the foremost, doubtless, was the attempt then being made to
widen the basis of the National Church by a measure of comprehension,
as well as to relieve of civil disabilities the more extreme or
scrupulous of the sectaries by what was called a measure of indulgence
or toleration. Locke, of course, with his friend Lord Mordaunt, took
the most liberal side open to him as respects these measures; but he
complains that the episcopal clergy were unfavourable to these as well
as to other reforms, whether to their own advantage and that of the
State it was for them to consider. Unfortunately both for the Church
and nation, the issue of the religious struggles which were carried
on at the beginning of William's reign was, on the whole, in favor of
the less tolerant party. The Comprehension Bill, after being violently
attacked and languidly defended, was dropped altogether. The Toleration
Bill, though passed by pretty general consent, and affording a
considerable measure of relief on the existing law, was entirely of the
nature of a compromise, and what we should now note as most remarkable
in it is the number of its provisos and exceptions. No relief was
granted to the believer in transubstantiation or the disbeliever in
the Trinity. No dissenting minister, moreover, was allowed to exercise
his vocation unless he subscribed thirty-four out of the Thirty-nine
Articles, together with the greater part of two others. The Quakers
had to make a special declaration of belief in the Holy Trinity and in
the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures. The measure of toleration
which Locke would have been prepared to grant, it need hardly be
said, far exceeded that which was accorded by the Act. Speaking of
the law recently passed in a letter to Limborch on the 6th of June,
he uses apologetic language. "Toleration has indeed been granted, but
not with that latitude which you and men like you, true Christians
without ambition or envy, would desire. But it is something to have
got thus far. On these beginnings I hope are laid the foundations of
liberty and peace on which the Church of Christ will hereafter be
established." In a subsequent letter, speaking again of the same law,
he says, "People will always differ from one another about religion,
and carry on constant strife and war, until the right of every one to
perfect liberty in these matters is conceded, and they can be united in
one body by a bond of mutual charity." If there be any truth in the
tradition to which Lord King alludes, that Locke himself negotiated
the terms of the Toleration Act, he must have regarded it simply as
an instalment of religious liberty, the utmost that could be procured
under the circumstances, and an earnest of better things to come.

On William's accession to the throne, one only of the English Sees was
vacant, the Bishopric of Salisbury. To this he nominated the famous
Gilbert Burnet, who had been one of his advisers in Holland. Locke,
in one of his letters to Limborch, tells a rather malicious story of
the new prelate. When he paid his first visit to the king after his
consecration, his Majesty observed that his hat was a good deal larger
than usual, and asked him what was the object of so very much brim. The
bishop replied that it was the shape suitable to his dignity. "I hope,"
answered the king, "that the hat won't turn your head."

The topic that most interested Locke probably at this time, next to the
political regeneration of his country, was the approaching publication
of the _Essay_. The work must have been finished, or all but finished,
when he left Holland. In May, 1689, he wrote the dedication to the
Earl of Pembroke, and the printing commenced shortly afterwards.
The proof-sheets were sent to Le Clerc. As before at Amsterdam, the
printers appear to have caused him some trouble, but the book was in
the booksellers' shops early in 1690. It is a fine folio, "printed by
Eliz. Holt for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet Street, near St.
Dunstan's Church." Locke received 30_l._ for the copyright. But when we
remember that Milton only lived to receive 10_l._ for _Paradise Lost_,
we cannot feel much surprise at Locke's rate of payment. The days when
authorship was to become a lucrative profession were still far distant
in England.

Previously to the publication of the _Essay_, in the spring of 1689,
the _Epistola de Tolerantia_ had appeared at Gouda, in Holland; but it
was published anonymously, and apparently without Locke's knowledge,
the responsibility of giving it to the world being undertaken by
Limborch, to whom it had been addressed. On the title-page are some
mysterious letters, the invention, probably, of Limborch: "Epistola
de Tolerantia ad Clarissimum Virum T. A. R. P. T. O. L. A. Scripta
a P. A. P. O. I. L. A." These being interpreted are, "Theologiæ
Apud Remonstrantes Professorem, Tyrannidis Osorem, Limborchium
Amstelodamensem;" and "Pacis Amico, Persecutionis Osore, Joanne Lockio
Anglo." Dutch and French translations were issued almost immediately,
and the book at once created considerable discussion on the Continent;
but it does not at the first appear to have excited much attention in
England. Locke himself was for some time unable to obtain a copy. In
the course of the year, however, it was translated into English by
one William Popple, an Unitarian merchant residing in London. In the
preface the translator, alluding to recent legislation, says, "We have
need of more generous remedies than what have yet been made use of in
our distemper. It is neither declarations of indulgence nor acts of
comprehension, such as have as yet been practised or projected amongst
us, that can do the work. Absolute liberty, just and true liberty,
equal and impartial liberty, is the thing that we stand in need of."

Locke affords a curious instance of a man who, having carefully
shunned publication up to a late period of life, then gave forth a
series of works in rapid succession. It would seem as if he had long
mistrusted his own powers, or as if he had doubted of the expediency
of at once seeking a wide circulation for his views, but that, having
once ventured to reveal himself to the public, he was emboldened,
if not impelled, to proceed. Early in 1690, there appeared not only
the _Essay_, but also the _Two Treatises of Government_. These
were published anonymously, but it must soon have been known that
Locke was their author. For reasons which I have given in another
chapter, the former of the two treatises, which is a criticism of
Sir Robert Filmer's _Patriarcha_, seems to have been written between
1680 and 1685, the latter during the concluding period of Locke's
stay in Holland, while the English Revolution was being prepared and

The translation of the Epistle on Toleration soon provoked a lively
controversy. To one answer, that by Jonas Proast, Locke replied in a
_Second Letter concerning Toleration_, signed by Philanthropus, and
dated May 27, 1690. Proast, as the manner is in such controversies,
replied again, and Locke wrote a _Third Letter for Toleration_, again
signed Philanthropus, and dated June 20, 1692. After many years'
silence, Proast wrote a rejoinder in 1704, and to this Locke replied in
the _Fourth Letter for Toleration_, which, however, he did not live to
publish, or, indeed, to complete. It appeared amongst his Posthumous
Works. These Letters on Toleration doubtless exercised great influence
in their day, and probably contributed, in large measure, to bring
about the more enlightened views on this subject which in this country,
at least, are now all but universal.

The authorship of the Letters on Toleration, though it could hardly
fail to be pretty generally known, was first distinctly acknowledged
by Locke in the codicil to his will. Limborch, on being hard pressed,
had divulged it, in the spring of 1690, to Guenellon and Veen, but
they appear, contrary to what generally happens in such cases, to have
kept the secret to themselves. Locke, however, was much irritated at
the indiscretion of Limborch, and for once wrote him an angry letter.
"If you had entrusted me with a secret of this kind, I would not have
divulged it to relation, or friend, or any mortal being, under any
circumstances whatsoever. You do not know the trouble into which you
have brought me." It is not easy to see why Locke should have felt so
disquieted at the prospect of his authorship being discovered, but
it may be that he hoped to bring about some extension of the limits
of the Toleration Act which had been passed in the preceding year,
and that he feared that his hands might be tied by the discovery that
he entertained what, at that time, would be regarded as such extreme
views; or it may have been simply that he was afraid, if his authorship
were once acknowledged, of being dragged into a long and irksome
controversy with the bigots of the various ecclesiastical parties which
were then endeavouring to maintain or recover their ascendancy.



Shortly after Locke returned to England, he settled down in lodgings
in the neighbourhood of what is now called Cannon Row, Westminster.
But the fogs and smoke of London then, as now, were not favourable
to persons of delicate health, and he seems to have been glad of any
opportunity of breathing the country air. Amongst his places of resort
were Parson's Green, the suburban residence of Lord Mordaunt, now Earl
of Monmouth, and Oates, a manor-house, in the parish of High Laver, in
Essex, the seat of Sir Francis and Lady Masham, situated in a pleasant
pastoral country, about twenty miles from London. Lady Masham had
become known to him as Damaris Cudworth, before his retreat to Holland,
and it is plain that from the first she had excited his admiration and
esteem. She was the daughter of Dr. Ralph Cudworth, Master of Christ's
College, Cambridge, author of _The True Intellectual System of the
Universe_, and of a posthumous work, still better known, _A Treatise
concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality_. The close connexion
which, in the latter years of his life, subsisted between Locke, the
foremost name amongst the empirical philosophers of modern times, and
the daughter of Cudworth, the most uncompromising of the _a priori_
moralists and philosophers of the seventeenth century, may be regarded
as one of the ironies of literary history. Damaris Cudworth, inheriting
her father's tastes, took great interest in learning of all kinds, and
specially in philosophy and theology. There was one point of community
between her father and Locke besides their common pursuits, namely,
the wide and philosophical view which they both took of theological
controversies. Cudworth belonged to the small but learned and refined
group of Cambridge Platonists or Latitudinarians, as they were
called, which also numbered Henry More, John Smith, Culverwell, and
Whichcote. Liberal and tolerant Churchmanship in those days, when it
was so rare, was probably a much closer bond of union than it is now,
and the associations which she had formed with her father's liberal,
philosophical, and devout spirit must have helped to endear Locke to
the daughter of Dr. Cudworth. During Locke's absence from England,
Damaris Cudworth had married, as his second wife, Sir Francis Masham,
an amiable and hospitable country gentleman, who seems to have occupied
a prominent position in his county. With them lived Mrs. Cudworth, the
widow of Dr. Cudworth, one little son, Francis, and a daughter by the
former marriage, Esther, who was about fourteen when Locke commenced
his visits to the family. From the first he seems to have had some idea
of settling down at Oates, "making trial of the air of the place," than
which, as Lady Masham tells us, "he thought none would be more suitable
to him." After a very severe illness in the autumn of 1690, he spent
several months with the Mashams, and appears then to have formed a more
definite plan of making Oates his home. But, though his hospitable
friends gave him every assurance of a constant welcome, he would only
consent to regard it as a permanent residence on his own terms, which
were that he should pay his share of the household expenses. With true
kindness and courtesy, Sir Francis and Lady Masham, at last, in the
spring of 1691, agreed to this arrangement, and "Mr. Locke then," says
Lady Masham, "believed himself at home with us, and resolved, if it
pleased God, here to end his days--as he did." Devoted and sympathetic
friends, a pleasant residence, freedom from domestic or pecuniary
cares, and the pure fresh air of the country seem to have afforded him
all the enjoyment and leisure which we could have wished for him. After
having had more than his share of the storms of life, he had at last
found a quiet and pleasant haven wherein to enjoy the calm and sunshine
of his declining years. Occasionally, and especially during the summer,
he visited London, where, at first, he retained his old chambers at
Westminster, moving afterwards to Lincoln's Inn Fields. But Oates was
now his home, and it continued to be so to the end of his life.

Locke was always an attached friend, and we have seen already how many
warm friendships he had formed in youth and middle age. At the present
time, besides Limborch, Le Clerc, Lord Monmouth, and the Mashams,
we may mention among his more intimate friends Lord Pembroke, the
young Lord Ashley, Somers, Boyle, and Newton. Lord Pembroke (to whom
the _Essay_ is dedicated in what we should now regard as a tone of
overwrought compliment) opened his town house for weekly meetings in
which, instead of political and personal gossip, things of the mind
were discussed. These conversations, "undisturbed by such as could not
bear a part in the best entertainment of rational minds, free discourse
concerning useful truths," were a source of great enjoyment to Locke
during his London residence. It was through his introduction that
Lord Pembroke, when sent on a special mission to the Hague, made the
acquaintance, which afterwards ripened into friendship, of Limborch and
Le Clerc.

The correspondence between Locke and Limborch, while Lord Pembroke was
in Holland, reveals to us the curious fact that there was no organized
carrying trade between England and Holland at that time. On returning,
the Earl, or his Secretary, was commissioned to bring back a pound of
tea and copies of the _Acta Eruditorum_. The tea must be had at any
price. "I want the best tea," Locke writes to Limborch, "even if it
costs forty florins a pound; only you must be quick, or we shall lose
this opportunity, and I doubt whether we shall have another." The price
that he was ready to pay for a pound of tea would be about 9_l._ at the
present value of money. But tea at that time was regarded rather as a
medicine than a beverage.

Young Lord Ashley, it will be recollected, had, like his father, been
under the charge of Locke when a child. After being at school for
some years at Winchester, and spending some time in travelling on the
Continent, he was now again in London, living in his father's house at
Chelsea. It is plain that the young philosopher saw a good deal of his
"foster-father," as he called him, and they must often have discussed
together the questions which were so interesting to them both. Ashley,
moreover, who was already beginning to solve the problems of philosophy
in his own way, addressed a number of letters to Locke, freely, but
courteously and good-humouredly, criticising his master's views.

Sir John Somers, now Solicitor-General, and successively
Attorney-General, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and Lord Chancellor,
with the title of Lord Somers, had been known to Locke before
his retirement to Holland. They were both of them attached to the
Shaftesbury connexion, and hence, though Somers was nearly twenty years
the junior, they had probably already seen a good deal of each other
when William ascended the throne. On Locke's return to England, he
found Somers a member of the Convention Parliament. The younger man,
both when he was a rising barrister and a successful minister, seems
frequently to have consulted the elder one, and Locke's principles
of government, finance, and toleration must often have exerted a
considerable influence both on his speeches and his measures. Nor had
Locke any reason to be ashamed of his teaching. "Lord Somers," says
Horace Walpole, "was one of those divine men who, like a chapel in a
palace, remain unprofaned, while all the rest is tyranny, corruption,
and folly." It was, perhaps, through Somers that Locke made the
acquaintance of another great and wise statesman, Charles Montague,
subsequently Lord Halifax, with whom, at least during the later years
of his life, he had much political connexion, and by whom he was
frequently called into counsel.

The acquaintance between Locke and Newton, of whom Newton was the
junior by more than ten years, most probably began before Locke's
departure to Holland. Both had then for some time been members of the
Royal Society, and both were friends of Hoyle. The first positive
evidence, however, that we have of their relations is afforded by a
paper, entitled "A Demonstration that the Planets, by their gravity
towards the Sun, may move in Eclipses," and endorsed in Locke's
handwriting, "Mr. Newton, March, 1689." In the summer or autumn of the
same year, probably, was written the epistle to the reader prefixed
to the _Essay_. In that occurs the following passage, expressing no
doubt Locke's genuine opinion of the great writers whom he names:--"The
Commonwealth of learning is not at this time without master-builders,
whose mighty designs in advancing the sciences will leave lasting
monuments to the admiration of posterity; but every one must not
hope to be a Boyle or a Sydenham, and in an age that produces such
masters as the great Huygenius and the incomparable Mr. Newton, with
some other of that strain, 'tis ambition enough to be employed as
an under-labourer in clearing ground a little, and removing some of
the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge." Locke interested
himself long and warmly in attempting to obtain for Newton some
lucrative appointment in London. Newton's letters occasionally betray
querulousness, but there can be no reason to suppose that Locke at all
flagged in his efforts, and ultimately, with the assistance of Lord
Monmouth, Lord Halifax, and others, they proved successful. Newton was,
in course of time, appointed Warden, and then Master of the Mint. In
January, 1690-91, the philosopher and the mathematician met at Oates.
Their conversation there probably turned chiefly on theological topics,
as was the case with most of their correspondence afterwards. Newton
was greatly interested not only in theological speculation, but in the
interpretation of prophecy and Biblical criticism, on both of which
subjects works by him are extant. In 1690 he wrote a manuscript letter
to Locke, entitled "An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions
of Scripture in a Letter to a Friend," the texts criticised being 1
John v. 7, and 1 Timothy iii. 16. The corruption of the former of these
texts is now almost universally, and that of the latter very generally,
acknowledged; but so jealous of orthodoxy, in respect of anything which
seemed to affect the doctrine of the Trinity, was public opinion at
that time, that Newton did not dare to publish the pamphlet. Locke,
who was meditating a visit to Holland, was, by Newton's wish, to have
taken it over with him, and to have had it translated into French, and
published anonymously. But the intended visit fell through, and Locke
sent the manuscript over to Le Clerc. So timid, however, was Newton,
that he now tried to recall it. "Let me entreat you," he writes to
Locke, "to stop the translation and impression of the papers as soon
as you can, for I desire to suppress them." Le Clerc thought more
nobly and more justly that "one ought to risk a little in order to be
of service to those honest folk who err only through ignorance, and
who, if they get a chance, would gladly be disabused of their false
notions." The letter was not published till after its author's death,
and at first it appeared only in an imperfect form. In Bishop Horsley's
edition of Newton it is printed complete. Newton's unpublished writings
leave no doubt that he did not accept the orthodox doctrine of the
Trinity, and it may have been his consciousness of this fact which made
him so afraid of being known to be the author of what was merely a
critical exercitation. But we must recollect that at this time Biblical
criticism was unfamiliar to the majority of divines, and that to
question the authenticity of a text was generally regarded as identical
with doubting the doctrine which it was supposed to illustrate. One of
the other subjects on which Locke and Newton corresponded was a parcel
of red earth which had been left by Boyle, who died on Dec. 30, 1691,
to Locke and his other literary executors, with directions for turning
it into gold. Locke seems to have had some faith in the alchemistic
process, but it is plain that Newton had none. He was satisfied that
"mercury, by this recipe, might be brought to change its colours
and properties, but not that gold might be multiplied thereby." Some
workmen of whom he had heard as practising the recipe had been forced
to other means of living, a proof that the multiplication of gold did
not succeed as a profession. Occasionally, owing to Newton's nervous
and irritable temper, which at one time threatened to settle down into
a fixed melancholy, there seems to have been some misunderstanding of
Locke on his part, but it is satisfactory to know that the two greatest
literary men of their age in England, if not in Europe, lived, almost
without interruption, in friendly and even intimate relations with each

The close intercourse between Boyle and Locke, which dated from their
Oxford days, seems to have been kept up till the time of Boyle's death.
Locke made a special journey to London to visit him on his death-bed,
and was, as we have seen, left one of his literary executors. The
editing of Boyle's _General History of the Air_ had already been
committed to Locke, and seems to have occupied much of his time during
the year 1691.

Of Locke's less-known friends, Dr. David Thomas must have died between
1687, when there is a letter from him to Locke, and 1700, when Locke
speaks of having outlived him. Sir James Tyrrell, another old college
friend, usually spoken of in Locke's correspondence as Musidore, was in
communication with him as late as April, 1704, the year of his death.
He had, as already stated, been present at the "meeting of five or six
friends" in Locke's chamber, which first suggested the composition of
the _Essay_.

Edward Clarke, of Chipley, near Taunton, was another friend of old
standing. He was elected member for Taunton in King William's second
parliament, and from that time forward resided much in London. This
circumstance probably deepened the intimacy between the two friends; at
all events, during the remainder of Locke's life they are constantly
associated. Locke advised Clarke as to the education of his children,
one of whom, Betty, a little girl now about ten years old, seems to
have been regarded by him with peculiar affection; in his letters he
constantly speaks of her as "Mrs. Locke" and his "wife." The playful
banter with which Locke treated his child friends affords unmistakable
evidence of the kindness and simplicity of his heart.

William Molyneux, who for many years represented the University of
Dublin in the Irish parliament, referred to in the second edition of
the _Essay_ as "that very ingenious and studious promoter of real
knowledge, the worthy and learned Mr. Molyneux," "this thinking
gentleman whom, though I have never had the happiness to see, I am
proud to call my friend," first became acquainted with Locke in 1692.
In his _Dioptrica Nova_, published in that year, he had paid Locke a
graceful, if not an exaggerated, compliment. "To none do we owe, for
a greater advancement in this part of philosophy," he said, speaking
of logic, "than to the incomparable Mr. Locke, who hath rectified more
received mistakes, and delivered more profound truths, established on
experience and observation, for the direction of man's mind in the
prosecution of knowledge, which I think may be properly termed logic,
than are to be met with in all the volumes of the ancients. He has
clearly overthrown all those metaphysical whimsies which infected men's
brains with a spice of madness, whereby they feigned a knowledge where
they had none, by making a noise with sounds without clear and distinct
significations." Locke was pleased with the compliment, and a letter
acknowledging the receipt of Molyneux's book was the beginning of a
long correspondence between them, which ended only with the early death
of Molyneux, at the age of forty-two, in 1698. For nearly six years the
friends, though in constant correspondence, had never seen each other,
Molyneux residing in Dublin, and suffering, like Locke, from feeble
health, which prevented him from crossing the Channel. But the feeling
of affection seems soon to have become as intense, notwithstanding
Aristotle's dictum that personal intercourse is essential to the
continuance of friendship, as if they had lived together all their
lives. In his second letter to Molyneux, dated Sept. 20, 1692, Locke
says:--"You must expect to have me live with you hereafter, with
all the liberty and assurance of a settled friendship. For meeting
with but few men in the world whose acquaintance I find much reason
to covet, I make more than ordinary haste into the familiarity of a
rational inquirer after and lover of truth, whenever I can light on
any such. There are beauties of the mind as well as of the body, that
take and prevail at first sight; and, wherever I have met with this,
I have readily surrendered myself, and have never yet been deceived
in my expectation." Molyneux had thought of coming over to England on
a visit to Locke in the summer of 1694. Locke, in a letter written
in the following spring, after deprecating the risks to which his
journey might expose him adds:--"And yet, if I may confess my secret
thoughts, there is not anything 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.... You cannot think how often
I regret the distance that is between us; I envy Dublin for what I
every day want in London." In a subsequent letter, written in 1695, he
writes:--"I cannot complain that I have not my share of friends of all
ranks, and such whose interest, assistance, affection, and opinions
too, in fit cases, I can rely on. But methinks, for all this, there is
one place vacant that I know nobody would so well fill as yourself; I
want one near me to talk freely with "de quolibet ente," to propose to
the extravagancies that rise in my mind; one with whom I would debate
several doubts and questions to see what was in them." Thomas Molyneux,
the brother of William, a physician practising in Dublin, had met
Locke during his stay in Holland. They shared a common admiration for
Sydenham, and the correspondence with William Molyneux revived their
friendship, though it never attained to nearly the same proportions
as that between Locke and the other brother. A passage on what may
be called the Logic of Medicine, in one of Locke's letters to Thomas
Molyneux, is worth quoting:--"What we know of the works of nature,
especially in the constitution of health and the operations of our own
bodies, is only by the sensible effects, but not by any certainty we
can have of the tools she uses or the ways she walks by. So that there
is nothing left for a physician to do but to observe well, and so,
by analogy, argue to like cases, and thence make to himself rules of

       *       *       *       *       *

Nov. 7, 1691, is the date of the dedication of the Tract entitled
"Some considerations on the Lowering of Interest and Raising the
Value of Money in a letter sent to a Member of Parliament, 1691." This
letter was published anonymously in the following year. The member of
Parliament was undoubtedly Sir John Somers, who had "put" the author
"upon looking out his old papers concerning the reducing of interest
to 4 per cent., which had so long," nearly twenty years, "lain by,
forgotten." The time to which Locke refers must be the year 1672, when
the Exchequer was closed, that is to say, all payments to the public
creditors suspended for a year, and the interest on the Bankers'
advances reduced to six per cent. This nefarious act of spoliation,
which caused wide-spread ruin and distress, was devised while
Shaftesbury was Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the main blame in the
transaction probably attaches to Clifford. "The notions concerning
coinage," which are embodied in the second division of the pamphlet,
had been put into writing and apparently shown to Somers about twelve
months before the date of the letter. On the occasion and contents of
this pamphlet, as well as of Locke's other tracts on Finance, I shall
have an opportunity of speaking in subsequent chapters.

Many of my readers will sympathize with Locke in his complaints of
the waste of his time during this autumn. Writing to Limborch on
Nov. 14, he says, "I know not how it is, but the pressure of other
people's business has left me no time or leisure for my own affairs.
Do not suppose that I mean public business. I have neither health, nor
strength, nor knowledge enough to attend to that. And when I ask myself
what has so hampered and occupied me during the last three months, it
seems as if a sort of spell had been thrown on me, so that I have got
entangled first in one business and then in another, without being
able to avoid it, or, in fact, to foresee what was coming." Locke was
pre-eminently a good-natured man, and, like many other men before and
since, he had to pay the penalty of good-nature by doing a vast amount
of other people's business, often probably with scant acknowledgment.
One of the occupations in which he was engaged may have been doctoring
the household at Oates and advising medically for his friends at a
distance; but in business of this kind, though he may have grudged the
time it consumed, he seems always to have taken special delight.

In the summer of 1692 he spent a considerable time in London. His
main business there seems to have been to see the _Third Letter on
Toleration_ through the press. But he was now, as ever, ready to do
work for his friends. Thus he obtained for Limborch the permission to
dedicate the book which he had so long been preparing, the _Historia
Inquisitionis_, to Tillotson, then Archbishop of Canterbury. Limborch
evidently set great store on this privilege. Of Tillotson, Locke seems
to have entertained a very high opinion; which, indeed, was thoroughly
well deserved. "In proportion to his renown and worth is his modesty."
Tillotson was not one of those liberal Churchmen whom promotion
makes timid, or cold to their former friends. He was maligned by an
unforgiving and unscrupulous faction, more, perhaps, than any other man
of that age, but he always retained the courage of his opinions.

Locke's health seems to have suffered much during the winter of
1692-93. But he still occupied himself with literary work. While in
Holland, he had corresponded frequently with Clarke on the education
of his children. Yielding to the solicitation of many of his friends,
especially William Molyneux, he now reduced the letters to the form
of a treatise, which was published in July, 1693, under the title
_Some Thoughts Concerning Education_. The dedication to Clarke bears
date in the previous March, and is signed by Locke, though his name
does not appear on the title-page. The most serious work, however,
in which he was now engaged, was the preparation of a second edition
of the _Essay_. The first edition seems to have been exhausted in
the autumn of 1692. On the alterations and additions introduced into
the second edition, there is an interesting correspondence with
Molyneux, ranging from Sept. 20, 1692, to May 26, 1694, when the new
edition, notwithstanding the "slowness of the press," was "printed
and bound, and ready to be sent" to Locke's Dublin correspondent.
Besides suggestions in detail, such as those touching the questions
of liberty and personal identity, Molyneux urged Locke to undertake a
separate work on Ethics, a suggestion which for a time he entertained
favourably, but which, owing partly, perhaps, to his idea that
the principles and rules of morality ought to be presented in a
demonstrative form, was never carried out. Though he does not seem
to have doubted that "morality might be demonstrably made out," yet
whether he was able so to make it out was another question. "Every
one could not have demonstrated what Mr. Newton's book hath shown to
be demonstrable." He was, however, ready to employ the first leisure
he could find that way. But the treatise never proceeded beyond a few
rough notes. Another reason assigned, at a later period, for not more
seriously setting about this task was that "the Gospel contains so
perfect a body of ethics, that reason may be excused for that inquiry,
since she may find man's duty clearer and easier in revelation than
in herself." This argument shows at once the sincerity of Locke's
religious convictions, and the inadequate conception he had formed
to himself of the grounds and nature of Moral Philosophy. Another
suggestion made by Molyneux was that, besides a second edition of the
_Essay_, Locke should bring out, in accordance with the main lines of
his philosophy, another work forming a complete compendium of logic
and metaphysics for the use of University Students. No one can regret
that the author of the _Essay_ did not adopt this advice. Apropos of
this suggestion, Molyneux tells Locke that Dr. Ashe, then Provost of
Trinity College, Dublin, "was so wonderfully pleased and satisfied
with the work, that he has ordered it to be read by the bachelors in
the college, and strictly examines them in their progress therein."
From that time onwards the _Essay_ seems to have held its ground as a
class-book at Dublin. The reception which it met with at first from the
authorities of Locke's own University, as we shall see presently, was
widely different. In May, 1694, the second edition was on sale, and
was quickly exhausted. The third edition, which is simply a reprint
of the second, appeared in the following year. One more edition, the
fourth, dated 1700, but issued in the autumn of 1699, appeared during
Locke's lifetime. In it there are important alterations and additions,
including two new chapters--that on Enthusiasm, and the very important
one at the end of the second book, on the Association of Ideas. A Latin
translation of the _Essay_ by Richard Burridge, an Irish Clergyman,
was published at London, in 1701; and a French translation by Pierre
Coste, who was a friend of Le Clerc, and had been acting for some time
as tutor to young Frank Masham at Amsterdam, in 1700. John Wynne,
Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and subsequently Bishop of St. Asaph,
published an abridgment for the use of University Students, in 1696.
Wynne had a large number of pupils, and the compendium of Locke's
philosophy appears to have obtained rapid circulation among the younger
students in Oxford, only, however, as we shall soon see, to encounter
the opposition of the authorities.

It is notable that all the important alterations and additions made in
the second edition of the _Essay_ were printed on separate slips, and
issued, without charge, to those who possessed the first. Sir James
Tyrrell's copy of the first edition, with these slips pasted in, is in
the British Museum; and that of William Molyneux in the Bodleian. In
sending to Molyneux the second edition, Locke had also forwarded the
slips to be pasted in the first, which would "help to make the book
useful to any young man;" but whether Molyneux gave the copy now in the
Bodleian to "any young man," and, if so, who the fortunate young man
was, we do not learn.

The first writer who had taken up his pen against Locke was John
Norris, the amiable and celebrated Vicar of Bemerton, a religious and
philosophical mystic, whose works are even still in repute. Norris
was a disciple of Malebranche, and his attack seems to have had the
effect of leading Locke to make a careful study of the theories of the
French philosopher. The result was two tractates--one entitled _Remarks
upon some of Mr. Norris's Books_; the other, _An Examination of Père
Malebranche's Opinion of seeing all things in God_. The latter is much
the more considerable production of the two, and is mainly remarkable
as showing that Locke saw clearly that the conclusions, subsequently
drawn by Berkeley, must follow from Malebranche's premises. Neither
of these tracts was published till after Locke's death. The reasons
assigned by him for not publishing his criticisms of Malebranche are
characteristic: "I love not controversies, and have a personal kindness
for the author."

Locke's literary activity during the years 1689-95 appears excessive;
but we must recollect that he had already accumulated a vast amount
of material, and that, during the latter part of that time at least,
he must have enjoyed considerable leisure in his country retirement.
In the early months of 1695 he was mainly occupied with a new
subject--the _Essay on the Reasonableness of Christianity as delivered
in the Scriptures_. Though this work was designed to establish the
supernatural character of the Christian revelation, and its importance
to mankind, it by no means satisfied the canons of a strict orthodoxy.
Some of the more mysterious and less intelligible doctrines of
the Christian Church, if not denied, were at least represented as
unessential to saving faith. Hence it at once provoked a bitter
controversy. "The buz, the flutter, and noise which was made, and the
reports which were raised," says its author, "would have persuaded the
world that it subverted all morality, and was designed against the
Christian religion. I must confess, discussions of this kind, which I
met with, spread up and down, at first amazed me; knowing the sincerity
of those thoughts which persuaded me to publish it, not without some
hope of doing some service to decaying piety and mistaken and slandered
Christianity." The first assailant was John Edwards, a former Fellow
of St. John's College, Cambridge, who in a violent pamphlet, entitled
_Thoughts concerning the Causes and Occasions of Atheism_, included
the _Reasonableness of Christianity_ in his attack, and insinuated
that Locke was its author by affecting to disbelieve it. The book
was described as "all over Socinianized," and a Socinian, if not an
atheist, is, according to Edwards, "one that favours the cause of
atheism." That there was much similarity between the apparent opinions
of Locke and the doctrines of Faustus Socinus himself, though not
of Socinus's more extreme followers, who were also popularly called
Socinians, admits of no doubt. But the charge of favouring atheism can
only have been brought against a man who regarded the existence of God
as "the most obvious truth that reason discovers," and who appears
never to have questioned the reality of supernatural intervention, from
time to time, in the world's history, because it happened to be the
roughest stone that could be found in the controversial wallet. Locke
replied to Edwards with pardonable asperity, in a tract entitled _A
Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity_. Edwards, of course,
soon replied to the reply, and attacked Locke more violently than ever
in his _Socinianism Unmasked_. No rejoinder followed, but the adversary
was not to be let off on such easy terms. Another shot was fired,
and _The Socinian Creed_, as venomous and more successful than the
_Socinianism Unmasked_, provoked _A Second Vindication_. This lengthy
pamphlet, far more elaborate than the first, must have occupied much
of Locke's time. It did not appear till the spring of 1697. Edwards
returned to the charge; but, fortunately, Locke had the wisdom and
courage to refrain from carrying on the fight. Bitter as the feeling
against Locke must have been in many clerical circles at this time,
there were not wanting, even amongst the clergy, those who sympathized
with his views. Mr. Bolde, a Dorsetshire clergyman, came forward to
defend him against Edwards. And Molyneux, writing on the 26th of
September, 1696, says, "As to the _Reasonableness of Christianity_,
I do not find but it is very well approved of here amongst candid,
unprejudiced men, that dare speak their thoughts. I'll tell you what a
very learned and ingenious prelate said to me on that occasion. I asked
him whether he had read that book, and how he liked it. He told me very
well; and that, if my friend Mr. Locke writ it, it was the best book
he ever laboured at; 'but,' says he, 'if I should be known to think
so, I should have my lawns torn from my shoulders.' But he knew my
opinion aforehand, and was, therefore, the freer to commit his secret
thoughts in that matter to me." We may not be disposed to think highly
of the "very learned and ingenious prelate;" but the story shows, as
indeed we know from other sources, to what a volume of opinion, both
lay and clerical, on the expediency of presenting Christianity in
a more "reasonable" and less mysterious and dogmatic form, Locke's
treatise had given expression. Men were anxious to retain their beliefs
in the supernatural order of events, but they were equally anxious to
harmonize them with what they regarded as the necessities of reason.
The current of "Rationalism" had set in.

It is satisfactory to know that, amidst all these controversial
worries, which must have been most distasteful to a man of his habits
and temper, Locke enjoyed the solace of pleasant companionship and
domestic serenity. He was thoroughly at home at Oates, and Lord
Monmouth and his other friends in and near town seem always to have
been ready to accord him a hearty welcome, whenever he cared to pay
them a visit. His little "wife," Betty Clarke, and her brother used
occasionally to come on visits to him at the Mashams, and he seems to
have taken great delight in the society of Esther Masham, who was now
rapidly growing up to womanhood. "In raillery," wrote this lady many
years afterwards, "he used to call me his Laudabridis, and I called
him my John." The winters of 1694-95 and 1695-96 were unusually long
and severe, and in both of them Locke appears to have been under
apprehensions that his chronic illness might terminate in death.

It may here be noticed that in the summer of 1694 Locke became one of
the original proprietors of the Bank of England, which, having been
projected by a merchant named William Paterson, had been established
by Act of Parliament in April of that year, and invested with certain
trading privileges, on condition that it should lend its capital to
the Government at eight per cent. interest. The plan had encountered
great opposition, especially among the landed gentry, and had only been
carried through the strenuous exertions of Montague and the Whig party.
Locke subscribed 500_l._, a considerable sum in those days.



Notwithstanding his retirement to Oates, and his incessant literary
activity, Locke never lost his interest in politics, and, as the friend
and admirer of men like Monmouth, Somers, and Clarke, he must always
have exercised a considerable influence on the policy of the Whig
party. In the spring of 1695 he seems to have taken a primary share
in determining a measure which for a time divided the Houses of Lords
and Commons, and which must have enlisted his warmest sympathies. This
was the repeal of the Licensing Act. The English Press had never been
wholly free, and the Act of Charles II., which was still in force,
was peculiarly stringent. Occasion had been taken by the Commons,
when it was proposed, in the session of 1694-95, to renew certain
temporary statutes, to strike out this particular statute from the
list. The Lords dissented, and re-inserted it. The Commons refused to
accept the amendment. A conference of both Houses took place, Clarke
of Chipley being the leading manager on the part of the Commons, and
the result was that the Lords waived their objections. The paper of
reasons tendered by the Commons' managers on this occasion is said,
by a writer in the _Craftsman_ for Nov. 20, 1731, to have been drawn
up by Locke. As Clarke was one of his most intimate friends, and as
the Reasons correspond pretty closely with a paper of criticisms on
the Act written by Locke, this statement is probably true, so far
at least as concerns their substance. The arguments employed are
mainly practical, consisting of objections in detail, and pointing
out inconveniences, financial and otherwise, which resulted from the
operation of the Act. But these arguments, "suited to the capacity
of the parliamentary majority," did, as Macaulay has remarked, what
Milton's _Areopagitica_ had failed to do, and a vote, "of which the
history can be but imperfectly traced in the Journals of the House, has
done more for liberty and for civilization than the Great Charter or
the Bill of Rights." Locke's paper of criticisms, which is published
_in extenso_ in _Lord King's Life_, asks very pertinently "why a man
should not have liberty to print whatever he would speak, and be
answerable for the one, just as he is for the other, if he transgresses
the law in either." He then offers a suggestion, to take the place of
the licensing provisions:--"Let the printer or bookseller be answerable
for whatever is against law in the book, as if he were the author,
unless he can produce the person he had it from, which is all the
restraint ought to be upon printing." It appears from this paper that
the monopoly of the Stationers' Company had become so oppressive that
books printed in London could be bought cheaper at Amsterdam than in
St. Paul's Church Yard. Except for the few monopolists, the book-trade
had been ruined in England. But then, he reflects, "our ecclesiastical
laws seldom favour trade, and he that reads this Act with attention
will find it upse" (that is, highly) "ecclesiastical."

This question had hardly been settled before Locke had another
opportunity of influencing legislation on a subject which absorbed
much of his interest, and on which he had already employed his pen.
Probably at no time in the history of our country has the condition of
the coinage become so burning a question, or caused such wide-spread
distress, as in the years immediately succeeding the Revolution. To
understand the monetary difficulties occasioned by clipping the coin,
it must be remembered that, at the time of which I am speaking, two
kinds of silver money (if we neglect the imperfectly milled money which
was executed between 1561 and 1663) were in circulation, hammered money
with unmarked rims, and what was called milled money, from being made
in a coining-mill, with a legend on the rim of the larger and graining
on the rim of the smaller pieces. The latter kind of coins, too, had
the additional advantage of being almost perfectly circular, while
the shape of the former was almost always more or less irregular. The
hammered money, it is plain, could be easily clipped or pared, whereas
the milling was an absolute protection against this mode of fraud.
Though milling, in much its present form, had been introduced into our
mint in the year 1663, and then became the exclusive mode of coining,
the old hammered money still continued to be legal tender; and, as the
milled money was always worth its weight in silver, and the hammered
money was generally current at something much above its intrinsic
worth, the milled money was naturally melted down or exported abroad,
leaving the hammered money in almost exclusive possession of the field.
The milled money disappeared almost as fast as it was coined, and
the hammered money was clipped and pared more and more, till it was
often not worth half or even a third of the sum for which it passed.
At Oxford, indeed, a hundred pounds' worth of the current silver
money, which ought to have weighed four hundred ounces, was found to
weigh only a hundred and sixteen. Every month the state of things
was becoming worse and worse. The cost of commodities was constantly
rising, and every payment of any amount involved endless altercations.
In a bargain not only had the price of the article to be settled, but
also the value of the money in which it was to be paid. A guinea, which
at one place counted for only twenty-two shillings, would at another
fetch thirty, and might have brought far more, had not the Government
fixed that sum as the maximum at which it would be taken in the payment
of taxes. Thus, all commercial transactions had become disarranged;
no one knew what he was really worth, or what any commodity might
cost him a few months hence. Macaulay, who has given a most graphic
description of the financial condition of the country at this time,
hardly exaggerates when he says, "It may be doubted whether all the
misery which had been inflicted on the English nation in a quarter of a
century by bad kings, bad ministers, bad parliaments, and bad judges,
was equal to the misery caused in a single year by bad crowns and bad
shillings." Almost from the moment of his return to England, Locke
had felt the gravest anxiety on this subject. "When at my lodgings in
London," says Lady Masham, speaking of the time immediately succeeding
the Revolution, "the company there, finding him often afflicted about a
matter which nobody else took any notice of, have rallied him upon this
uneasiness as being a visionary trouble, he has more than once replied,
'We might laugh at it, but it would not be long before we should want
money to send our servants to market with for bread and meat,' which
was so true, five or six years after, that there was not a family
in England who did not find this a difficulty." The letter on "Some
Considerations of the Consequences of Lowering of Interest and Raising
the Value of Money," the latter part of which dealt with this question,
is dated as early as Nov. 7, 1691, and had been, in the main, as he
tells us, put into writing about twelve months before. Here he not only
points out the intolerable character of the grievances under which the
nation was labouring, but also protests most emphatically against one
of the proposed methods of remedying them, namely, "raising the value
of money," as it was called; that is, depreciating the intrinsic value
of the money coined, or raising the denomination, so, for instance, as
to put into a crown-piece or a shilling, when coined, less than the
customary amount of silver. To the consideration of this scheme, which
at one time found much favour, we shall soon see that he had occasion
to recur. Universal as were the complaints about the existing state
of things, no active measures, if we except wholesale and frequent
hangings for "clipping the coin," and increased measures of vigilance
for the purpose of detecting the delinquents, were taken for stopping
the evil, until the year 1695. Under the malign ascendancy of Danby,
the Government had other views and objects than to ameliorate the
condition of the people. But, in the years 1694 and 1695, other and
more enlightened statesmen were gradually winning their way into the
royal councils, or beginning to occupy a more important position in
them. For at this period, we must recollect, the high officers of state
were not all, as now, necessarily of one uniform political pattern.
In April, 1694, immediately after the establishment of the Bank of
England, Charles Montague, afterwards Lord Halifax, one of the greatest
of English financiers, had been made Chancellor of the Exchequer.
And, on occasion of the king's departure for the Continent in May,
1695, two of Locke's most intimate friends--Lord Keeper Somers and the
Earl of Pembroke--were nominated among the seven Lords Justices, who
were to govern the kingdom during William's absence. To discerning
and judicious statesmen like Somers and Montague it must have been
quite apparent that the penal laws for protecting the coinage were
altogether inadequate to the purpose. The gains to be made were so
large and so easily obtained, that men were ready to run the risk of
the punishment. And, moreover, even if the crime were detected, the
punishment was by no means certain or unattended with sympathy. Great
as were the suffering and inconveniences inflicted on the people by
these practices, the punishment of death appeared to many to be in
excess of the offence. Juries were often unwilling to convict, and
the disgrace incurred by the criminal was very different from that
which attended the murderer or the ordinary thief. That wise financial
legislation, and not the more stringent execution of the penal laws,
was the true and only effectual mode of eradicating the disease, was
at length recognized by the Government, and the new Lords Justices
soon set about to devise the remedy. To Locke, who was well known to
have been the author of the pamphlet which appeared on the subject in
1692, they naturally turned for advice. In the early part of October,
while the king was on his way back from his successful campaign in the
Netherlands, he was summoned up from Oates to confer with them. Writing
to Molyneux the next month, and informing him of the fact, he adds,
with characteristic modesty: "This is too publicly known here to make
the mentioning of it to you appear vanity in me." Notwithstanding the
subordinate part which Locke here seems to assign to himself, there
can be no doubt that his share in the measures of the Government,
as ultimately matured, was a principal, if not the principal, one.
That legislative measures would now be taken, there was no longer
any question. But the danger of which Locke was chiefly afraid was
the raising the denomination of the coin, or, in other words, the
legalized depreciation of the currency, a scheme against which he had
formerly protested, and which was now officially recommended to the
Government by one of their own subordinates, William Lowndes. Orders
had been given to Lowndes, who, after many years of good service in
a subordinate capacity, had recently been appointed Secretary to the
Treasury, to collect statistics relating to the monetary condition
of the country, and to report on the most practicable methods of
re-coining the current silver money. In executing the former part of
his task, he left no doubt as to the necessity of speedily applying
some remedy. The silver coins brought into the Exchequer during three
months of 1695 ought to have weighed 221,418 ounces. Their actual
weight was 113,771 ounces, or barely over one-half. In consequence of
the vitiating, diminishing, and counterfeiting of the current moneys,
he says, "It is come to pass that great contentions do daily arise
amongst the king's subjects in fairs, markets, shops, and other places
throughout the kingdom, about the passing and refusing of the same, to
the great disturbance of the public peace. Many bargains, doings, and
dealings are totally prevented and laid aside, which lessens trade in
general." The necessity of setting the price of commodities according
to the value of the money to be received, is, he considers, "one great
cause of raising the price, not only of merchandise, but even of
edibles and other necessaries for the sustenance of the common people,
to their great grievance." So far, his political economy was perfectly
sound; but when he comes to discuss the question of re-coinage, he
advocates, without any misgiving, a scheme for the depreciation of the
currency to the extent of one-fifth. A crown-piece was henceforth to
count as 6_s._ 3_d._, and the nominal value of half-crowns, shillings,
and sixpences was to be raised proportionately. Locke, with his clearer
mind, saw, of course, that this would only be for the state to do
systematically and by law the very same thing for which the clippers
were being hanged. It would be to legalize the disarrangement of all
monetary transactions, and to deprive every creditor of one-fifth of
his debts. Montague and Somers were as clear on this point as he was,
and Somers at once urged him to reply. Locke had returned to Oates,
in consequence of the sudden death of Mrs. Cudworth, on the 16th of
November, and at once set about his answer.

This tract, which formed a pamphlet of more than a hundred pages, was
submitted to the Lords Justices, printed, and published before the
end of December. It was entitled _Further Considerations concerning
Raising the Value of Money_, and simplified and enforced the arguments
contained in a previous pamphlet which Locke had also drawn up for the
use of the Lords Justices earlier in the year, under the title, _Some
Observations on a Printed Paper, entitled, For Encouraging the Coining
Silver money in England, and after for keeping it here_. Meanwhile,
Montague had, under the sanction of a committee of the whole House,
introduced his resolutions into the House of Commons, and there can be
little doubt that, in drawing up these, he and the Lords Justices had
been assisted by Locke. Any way, the resolutions embodied in the main
the opinions which Locke had been so instrumental in impressing on
those in authority. The old standard value of the silver pieces was to
be retained both as to weight and fineness, the point for which he had
fought so persistently. The clipped pieces were, after a certain day,
only to be received in payment of taxes, or in loans to the Exchequer;
after a further day, they were to cease to be legal tender altogether.
All the hammered money, as it came into the mint in payment of loans or
taxes, was to be re-coined as milled money, and the loss to be borne
by the Exchequer. When the resolution that the old standard was to be
retained was put to the House, it was challenged, and an amendment
moved by those who were of Lowndes' opinion that the word "both" be
omitted. On a division, there were 225 for retaining the word, and
114 against. The House thus, by a large majority, affirmed what all
economists would now regard as an elementary principle of finance. A
Bill embodying the resolution was soon passed, but, in consequence
of difficulties with the Lords, had to be dropped. A fresh Bill was
introduced on the 13th of January, substantially embodying the same
provisions as the old Bill, and was hurried through its various stages
so fast that it received the Royal Assent on the 21st of January,
1695-96. Up to the 4th of May, 1696, the clipped money was to be
received in payment of taxes, and up to the 24th of June, for loans
or other payments into the Exchequer. But after the 10th of February
ensuing, it was to cease to be legal tender in ordinary payments. Thus,
in spite of much temporary inconvenience caused by the scarcity of
money during the time of transition, the silver coinage of the country
was, once for all, put upon a sound basis. Late as Locke's pamphlet
appeared, it probably helped to facilitate the passage of the Bill
through the two Houses, as the reiterated statement of his opinions
had undoubtedly contributed in very large measure to shape and confirm
the action of the government. It may be mentioned that the loss to the
Exchequer, estimated as 1,200,000_l._, was made up by the imposition of
a house tax and window tax, the former of which still continues, while
the latter existed within the memory of many men now only of middle age.

Great as is the debt which philosophy owes to Locke's _Essay_,
constitutional theory to his treatises on government, the freedom of
religious speculation to his Letters on Toleration, and the ways of
"sweet reasonableness" to all these, and indeed to all his works, it
would form a nice subject of discussion whether mankind at large has
not been more benefited by the share which he took in practical reforms
than by his literary productions. It would undoubtedly be too much to
affirm that, without his initiative or assistance, the state of the
coinage would never have been reformed, the monopoly of the Stationers'
Company abolished, or the shackles of the Licensing Act struck off. But
had it not been for his clearness of vision, and the persistence of
his philanthropic efforts, these measures might have been indefinitely
retarded or clogged with provisos and compromises which might have
robbed them of more than half their effects. A generation ago it was
the fashion in many circles to speak contemptuously of the writers
and statesmen of William's reign, and even now but scant and grudging
justice is often done to them. The admirers of mystical philosophy and
romantic politics may, however, fairly be challenged to show that their
heroes, whether in letters or action, have borne equal fruit with the
vigorous understanding and plain, direct, practical common-sense of men
like Halifax, Somers, and Locke.

It has already been stated that soon after his return to England
Locke was appointed a Commissioner of Appeals, a post which, though
not entirely without duties, seems to have taken up but little of his
time. One of his letters to Clarke shows the difficulty of forming
a quorum, and perhaps illustrates the fact that when the duties of
an office are slight, they are generally neglected altogether. But
towards the end of the year 1695 the government, now virtually under
the leadership of Somers, determined to revive the council of trade and
plantations of which, it will be recollected, Locke had been Secretary
when Shaftesbury's counsels were in the ascendant at the court of
Charles II., as far back as the year 1673. At first there were some
difficulties with the king, but ultimately; on the 15th of May, 1696,
he was induced to issue the patent appointing and defining the duties
of a commission. Besides the great officers of state, there were to
be certain paid commissioners, with a salary of 1000_l._ a year, of
whom Locke was one. His name was inserted in the first draft of the
commission without his express consent, and he appears, as we can well
understand, to have accepted the office only with extreme reluctance.
Writing to Molyneux, who had congratulated him on the appointment, he
says with evident sincerity:

  "Your congratulation I take as you meant, kindly and seriously,
  and, it may be, it is what another would rejoice in; but 'tis a
  preferment I shall get nothing by, and I know not whether my country
  will, though that I shall aim at with all my endeavours. Riches
  may be instrumental to so many good purposes, that it is, I think,
  vanity rather than religion or philosophy to pretend to contemn them.
  But yet they may be purchased too dear. My age and health demand a
  retreat from bustle and business, and the pursuit of some inquiries
  I have in my thoughts makes it more desirable than any of those
  rewards which public employments tempt people with. I think the
  little I have enough, and do not desire to live higher or die richer
  than I am. And therefore you have reason rather to pity the folly,
  than congratulate the fortune, that engages me in the whirlpool."

The duties of the commission could hardly have been more widely defined
than they were. It was to be at once a Board of Trade, a Poor-Law
Board, and a Colonial Office. The commissioners were to inquire
into the general condition of trade in the country, both internal
and external, and "to consider by what means the several useful and
profitable manufactures already settled in the kingdom may be further
improved; and how, and in what manner, new and profitable manufactures
may be introduced." They were also "to consider of some proper methods
for setting on work and employing the poor of the kingdom, and making
them useful to the public, and thereby easing our subjects of that
burthen." Finally, they were to inform themselves of the present
condition of the plantations, as the colonies were then called, not
only in relation to commerce, but also to the administration of
government and justice, as well as to suggest means of rendering them
more useful to the mother country, especially in the supply of naval
stores. Here, surely, was work enough for men far younger and more
vigorous than Locke; but, having undertaken the duties of the office,
he appears in no way to have spared himself. In the summer and autumn
months he resided in London, and attended the meetings of the board
personally, often day after day, and in the evening as well as the
day-time. In the winter and spring his health compelled him to reside
at Oates, but he was constantly sending up long minutes for the use of
his colleagues. Mr. Fox Bourne, who has been carefully through the
proceedings of the commission, informs us that Locke was altogether
its presiding genius. He was a member of this board a little over
four years, having been compelled by increasing ill-health, or, as
the minutes of the council put it, "finding his health more and more
impaired by the air of this city," to resign on the 28th of June, 1700.
The king, we are told by Lady Masham, was most unwilling to receive his
resignation, "telling him that, were his attendance ever so small, he
was sensible his continuance in the commission would be useful to him,
and that he did not desire he should be one day in town on that account
to the prejudice of his health." Locke, however, was too conscientious
to retain a place with large emoluments, of which he felt that he could
no longer perform the duties to his own satisfaction. It is interesting
to find that his successor was Matthew Prior, the poet.

When we have seen the wide powers of the commission, we hardly need
feel surprise that its business was multifarious. It at once set to
work to collect evidence of the state of trade in the colonies, of
our commercial relations with foreign ports, of the condition of the
linen and paper manufactures at home, of the number of paupers in the
kingdom, and the mode of their relief, as well as to devise means for
increasing the woollen trade and preventing the exportation of wool.
Locke was specially commissioned "to draw up a scheme of some method
of determining differences between merchants by referees that might
be decisive without appeal." In the winter of 1696-97, finding that
his work followed him to Oates, and being then apparently in a feebler
state of health than usual, he made an ineffectual attempt to escape
from his new employment, but Somers refused to hand in his resignation
to the king. From a Letter to Molyneux we find that it was not simply
his ill-health, but the "corruption of the age," which made him averse
to continuing in office. And we can well understand how troublesome,
and apparently hopeless, it must have been to deal with the various
threatened interests of that time, when monopolies, patents, and
pensions were regarded by the governing classes almost as a matter of

In the summer of 1697 the principal subject which engaged the attention
of the commission was the best means of discouraging the Irish woollen
manufacture, and of, at the same time, encouraging the Irish linen
manufacture. Each commissioner was invited to bring up a separate
report. Three did so. Locke's was the one selected, and, with slight
alterations, was signed by the other commissioners on the 31st of
August, and forwarded almost immediately afterwards to the Lords
Justices. This interesting state-document proceeds entirely upon the
notions of protection to native industries which were then almost
universally current among statesmen and merchants. The problems were
to secure to England the monopoly of what was then regarded as its
peculiar and appropriate manufacture, the woollen trade, and to assign
to Ireland, in return for the restrictions imposed upon her, some
compensating branch of industry. According to the ideas then commonly
prevalent, the scheme was perfectly equitable to both countries. But,
naturally, the interests of England are put in the foreground. The
interests of the Irish people, however, were not to be neglected, and
what Locke doubtless conceived as full compensation was to be given
them for the loss of their woollen trade. "And since it generally
proves ineffectual, and we conceive it hard to endeavour to drive men
from the trade they are employed in by bare prohibition, without
offering them at the same time some other trade which, if they please,
may turn to account, we humbly propose that the linen manufacture be
set on foot, and so encouraged in Ireland as may make it the general
trade of that country as effectually as the woollen manufacture is,
and must be, of England." Linen cloth and all other manufactures made
of flax or hemp, without any mixture of wool, were to be exported to
all places duty free, as indeed had already been provided by Act of
Parliament with regard to England. One method by which Locke proposed
to encourage the linen manufacture in Ireland runs so counter to modern
notions with regard both to the education of the poor and to freedom
of employment, that it may be interesting to the reader to see the
suggestion at length:

  "And, because the poorest earning in the several parts of the linen
  manufacture is at present in the work of the spinners, who therefore
  need the greatest encouragement, and ought to be increased as much as
  possible, that therefore spinning schools be set up in such places
  and at such distances as the directors shall appoint, where whoever
  will come to learn to spin shall be taught gratis, and to which all
  persons that have not forty shillings a year estate shall be obliged
  to send all their children, both male and female, that they have
  at home with them, from six to fourteen years of age, and may have
  liberty to send those also between four and six if they please, to
  be employed there in spinning ten hours in the day when the days are
  so long, or as long as it is light when they are shorter: provided
  always that no child shall be obliged to go above two miles to any
  such school."

Then there follow many other minute and paternal regulations of the
same kind, the object of which was to turn the whole Irish nation
into spinners, and to supply with linen not only "the whole kingdom
of England," but foreign markets as well. The Irish authorities,
however, were meanwhile preparing a scheme of their own, and, after
controversies between the English and Irish officials, extending over
more than two years, Locke's plan was finally laid aside in favour
of that of Louis Crommelin. Besides the attempt to monopolize the
woollen trade for England and the linen trade for Ireland, much of
the time of the Council was devoted to schemes for the protection of
native industries, by forbidding or throwing obstacles in the way of
importation and exportation. But Locke and his colleagues were here
only following the track marked out for them by the ordinary opinion of
the time.

The main subject which occupied the attention of the Council in the
autumn of 1697 was the employment of the idle or necessitous poor.
From the beginning of its sessions, it had been collecting evidence
on this subject, and, in September of this year, it was decided that
each commissioner should draw up a scheme of reform, to be submitted
to the Council. As had been the case with his report on the Irish
linen manufacture, Locke's was the one selected. From a variety of
causes, however, his suggestions were never carried into effect, and
the various efforts of William's Government to deal with the gigantic
problem of pauperism proved abortive.

Locke's paper of suggestions assumes as a datum what was always
regarded at this time as an axiom of poor-law legislation, namely, that
it is the duty of each individual parish to maintain and employ its
own poor, having, as a set-off, the right of coercing the able-bodied
to work. Pernicious and partial as this principle was, we should have
more occasion for surprise if we found Locke contravening it than
conforming to it. The merit of his paper is that it offers excellent
suggestions for minimizing the evils necessarily attaching to the
system then in vogue. The recent growth of pauperism he refers to
"relaxation of discipline and corruption of manners, virtue and
industry being as constant companions on the one side as vice and
idleness are on the other. The first step, therefore," he continues,
"towards the setting of the poor on work ought to be a restraint of
their debauchery by a strict execution of the laws provided against it,
more particularly by the suppression of superfluous brandy-shops and
unnecessary ale-houses, especially in country parishes not lying upon
great roads." He then proposes a series of provisions, sufficiently
stringent, for the purpose of compelling the idle and able-bodied
poor to work, stating that, upon a very moderate computation, above
one-half of those who receive relief from the parishes are able to earn
their own livelihoods. In maritime counties, all those not physically
or mentally incapacitated, who were found begging out of their own
parish without a pass, were to be compelled to serve on board one of
his Majesty's ships, under strict discipline, for three years. In
the inland counties, all those so found begging were to be sent to
the nearest house of correction for a like period. But, besides the
able-bodied paupers, there were a great number not absolutely unable or
unwilling to do something for their livelihood, and yet prevented by
age or circumstances from wholly earning their own living. For these
he proposes to find employment in the woollen or other manufactures,
so as, at all events, to diminish the cost of their maintenance to the
public, and at the same time increase the industrial resources of the
country. One of the most distinctive features of Locke's scheme was the
proposal to set up working-schools for spinning or knitting, or some
other industrial occupation, in each parish, "to which the children
of all such as demand relief of the parish, above three and under
fourteen years of age, whilst they live at home with their parents, and
are not otherwise employed for their livelihood by the allowance of the
overseers of the poor, shall be obliged to come." The children were to
be fed at school, and this mode of relief was to take the place of the
existing allowance in money paid to a father who had a large number of
children, which, we are not surprised to learn, was frequently spent in
the alehouse, whilst those for whose benefit it was given were left to
perish for want of necessaries. The food of the children of the poor at
that time, we are told, was seldom more than bread and water, and often
there was a very scanty supply of that. Another advantage which Locke
proposed to effect by the institution of these schools was the moral
and religious instruction of the children. They would be obliged to
come constantly to church every Sunday, along with their schoolmasters
or dames, "whereby they would be brought into some sense of religion,
whereas ordinarily now, in their idle and loose way of bringing up,
they are as utter strangers both to religion and morality as they are
to industry." One further provision of this scheme may be noticed, as
offering some mitigation of the parochial system of relief which then
obtained, namely, "that in all cities and towns corporate the poor's
tax be not levied by distinct parishes, but by one equal tax throughout
the whole corporation."

The anxiety of the king to retain Locke on the Commission has already
been mentioned. It would appear that they were in not infrequent
conference, and we know that the king entertained a very high opinion
both of his integrity and of his political capacity. A good deal of
mystery attaches to one of their interviews, but the explanation of
it proffered by Mr. Fox Bourne possesses, at any rate, considerable
plausibility. One bitter January morning, in the winter of 1697-98,
while Locke was at Oates, he received a pressing summons from the
king to repair to Kensington. He was at the time suffering more than
ordinarily from the bronchial affection to which he was constantly
subject, and Lady Masham attempted to dissuade him from running the
risk of the journey, but in vain. When he returned, the only account
that he would give of the interview was that "the king had a desire
to talk with him about his own health, as believing that there was
much similitude in their cases." It appears, however, from a letter
addressed by Locke to Somers a few days after his return to Oates, that
the king had offered him some important employment, and that he had
excused himself on the ground of his weak health, and his inexperience
in that kind of business, the business being such as required "skill
in dealing with men in their various humours, and drawing out their
secrets." Mr. Fox Bourne forms the reasonable conjecture that Locke
had been asked to go as right-hand man to William Bentinck, Earl of
Portland, who had just been nominated as special ambassador to the
Court of France. The peace of Ryswick had been ratified in the previous
November, and the mission to Louis XIV. was, of course, one requiring
great tact and sagacity. William had strongly urged Locke, some years
before, to represent him on another very important mission, the one
to the Elector of Brandenburg, and it may be that, on the present
occasion, no fitter person occurred to him. Any way, the employment was
one which would have advanced Locke in riches and honour; but as such,
glad as he might have been to serve his country disinterestedly to the
best of his power, it had no attractions for him. "He must have a heart
strongly touched with wealth or honours who, at my age, and laboring
for breath, can find any great relish for either of them."

On one occasion Locke accompanied the king, the latter going
_incognito_ to a meeting of the Society of Friends, where they listened
to the famous Quaker preacheress, Rebecca Collier. Locke afterwards
sent her a parcel of sweetmeats, with a very complimentary letter, and
is said to have found the meeting so agreeable that it removed his
objections to a female ministry.

With his resignation of the Commissionership of the Board of Trade, in
the summer of 1700, Locke's public life comes to an end. His friend
Somers had been sacrificed to the incessant and malignant attacks of
the Tories, and dismissed from the Chancellorship, in the previous
spring; and to those statesmen who were inspired by a sincere and
simple desire for the well-being of their country the political outlook
had become anything but cheerful. The condition of Locke's health
was quite a sufficient reason for his desiring to be relieved of the
anxieties of office; but we can hardly doubt that, on other grounds as
well, he was glad to escape from so intricate a maze as the field of
politics bade fair soon to become.



In order to resume the thread of Locke's literary and domestic life,
it is now necessary to go back two or three years. I have already
spoken of no less than three literary controversies in which he found
himself engaged, one on financial, and two on religious questions. Of
the latter, one was occasioned by the publication of the _Letter on
Toleration_, the other by that of the _Reasonableness of Christianity_.
The _Essay_ also had been attacked by Norris and other writers,
including one very acute antagonist, John Serjeant, or Sergeant, a
Roman Catholic priest; but to these critics Locke did not see fit
to reply. The strictures on Norris only appear among his posthumous
works. But in the autumn of 1696 Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester,
in his _Discourse in Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity_,
pointedly drew attention to the principles of the _Essay_, as favouring
anti-Trinitarian doctrine. Stillingfleet's position and reputation
appeared to demand an answer, and before the year, according to the
old style, was out, Locke's _Letter to the Bishop of Worcester_ was
published. The Bishop's Answer, Locke's Reply to the Answer, and the
Bishop's "Answer to Mr. Locke's Second Letter, wherein his notion of
ideas is proved to be inconsistent with itself, and with the articles
of the Christian faith," all followed, one on the other, within a
few months. The last letter of the series is "Mr. Locke's Reply to
the Bishop of Worcester's Answer to his Second Letter," published in
1699. Stillingfleet died soon after the publication of this pamphlet,
and thus the voluminous controversy came to an end. There can be no
doubt that the antagonists were unequally matched. Stillingfleet was
clumsy both in handling and argument, and constantly misrepresented
or exaggerated the statements of his adversary. On the other hand,
Locke, notwithstanding an unnecessary prolixity which wearies the
modern reader, shows admirable skill and temper. He deals tenderly
with his victim, as if he loved him, but, none the less, never fails
to despatch him with a mortal stab. Stillingfleet, indeed, was no
metaphysician, and not very much of a logician. He did not see at
all clearly where the orthodox doctrines were affected, and where
they remained unaffected, by Locke's philosophy, and he no doubt
considerably exaggerated the bearing of Locke's direct statements upon
them. At the same time, it is impossible to deny that his instincts
were perfectly sound in apprehending grave dangers to the current
theological opinions, and still more, perhaps, to the established
mode of expressing them, from the "new way of ideas." Religious, and
even devout, as are those portions of the _Essay_ in which Locke has
occasion expressly to mention the leading principles of the Christian
faith, yet his handling of many of the metaphysical terms and notions
which modern divines, whether Catholic or Protestant, had taken on
trust from their predecessors, the fathers and schoolmen, was well
calculated to alarm those who had the interest of theological orthodoxy
at heart. The playful freedom with which he discusses the idea of
substance seemed, not unreasonably, to strike at the terminology of
the Athanasian Creed, while, most unreasonably, his resolution of
personal identity into present and recollected states of consciousness
appeared inconsistent with the doctrine of the Resurrection of the
Dead. A far more powerful solvent, however, of the unreflecting and
complacent orthodoxy, into which established churches, and, in fact,
all prosperous religious communities, are apt to lapse, was to be
found in the general drift and tendency rather than in the individual
tenets of Locke's philosophy. And this fact, though only very dimly and
confusedly, Stillingfleet appears to have seen. To insist that words
shall always stand for determinate ideas, to attempt to trace ideas
to their original sources, and to propose to discriminate between the
certainty and varying probabilities of our beliefs, according to the
nature of the evidence on which they rest, is to encourage a state of
mind diametrically the opposite of that which humbly and thankfully
accepts the words of the religious teacher, without doubt and without
inquiry. To the religious teacher whose own beliefs rest on no previous
inquiry, who has never acquired "a reason for the faith that is in
him," such a state of mind must necessarily be not only inconvenient
but repulsive; and hence we have no right to feel surprised when an
attempt is made to expose it to popular odium, or to fasten on those
who entertain it injurious or opprobrious epithets. The old-standing
feud, of which Plato speaks, between poetry and philosophy, has in
great measure been transferred, in these latter times, to philosophy
and theology. But in both cases the antagonism is an unnecessary one.
The highest art is compatible with the most profound speculation. And
so we may venture to hope that the simple love of truth, combined, with
the charity "which never faileth," will lead men not further away from
the Divine presence, but nearer to, and into it.

Here I thankfully take leave of the mass of controversial literature,
in the writing of which so much of Locke's latter life was spent. The
controversies were not of his own seeking, and, from all that we know
of his temper and character, must have been as distasteful to him as
they are wearisome to us. But prolonged and reiterated controversy
was of the habit of the time, and no man who cared candidly and
unreservedly to express his opinions on any important question could
hope to escape from it.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the autumn of 1697, while the controversy with Stillingfleet was
at its hottest, Locke wrote to Molyneux:--"I had much rather be at
leisure to make some additions to my book of Education and my Essay
on Human Understanding, than be employed to defend myself against the
groundless, and, as others think, trifling quarrel of the bishop." He
was at this time engaged on preparing the fourth edition of the _Essay_
for the press. In addition to this task, or rather as part of it, he
was also employing himself on writing the admirable little tract on
the Conduct of the Understanding, the contents of which I shall notice
in a subsequent chapter. This treatise, which was not published till
after his death, was originally intended as an additional chapter to
the _Essay_. Speaking of it in one of his letters to Molyneux, he
says:--"I have written several pages on this subject; but the matter,
the farther I go, opens the more upon me, and I cannot yet get sight of
any end of it. The title of the chapter will be 'Of the Conduct of the
Understanding,' which, if I shall pursue as far as I imagine it will
reach, and as it deserves, will, I conclude, make the largest chapter
of my Essay." It did not, however, appear in the new edition, nor did
Locke ever reduce its parts into order, or put the finishing stroke
to it. He may, perhaps, have intended to revise it for a subsequent
edition of the _Essay_, but the fourth was the last which appeared
during his lifetime.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before speaking of the literary labours which occupied the last
years of Locke's life, I may here conveniently recur to his domestic
history. Of his quiet life with the Mashams little more need be said.
Had Lady Masham been his daughter, she could not have tended him more
carefully or lovingly; and had he been her father, he could not have
entertained a more sincere solicitude for the welfare of her and her
family. All Locke's friends were welcome at Oates, and seem to have
been regarded quite as much as friends of the Mashams as of his own.
And Oates appears in every respect to have been as much Locke's home
as that of its owners. In the whole of his correspondence, there does
not appear the slightest trace of those petty piques and annoyances,
those small _désagréments_, which are so apt to grow up among people
who live much together, even when, at bottom, they entertain a deep
love and admiration for each other. On the side of the Mashams we know
that the tide of affection ran equally smooth. Lady Masham and Esther
acted as his nurses, and with one or other of them he seems to have
shared all his pursuits. The intimacy and sweetness of these relations
surely imply as rare an amount of amiability of temper and power of
winning regard on the one side, as of patience and devotion on the
other. But then Locke possessed the inestimable gift of cheerfulness,
which renders even the invalid's chamber a joy to those who enter it.
All the glimpses we obtain of the life, at Oates represent it as
a gay and pleasant one, none the less gay and pleasant because its
enjoyments were modest and rational. After complaining to Molyneux of
the persistent asthma which confined him a close prisoner to the house
during the winter of 1697-98, he adds, "I wish, nevertheless, that
you were here with me to see how well I am; for you would find that,
sitting by the fireside, 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 agreeably and
as jocundly as any people you have this good while met with." Locke's
conversation is reported to have been peculiarly fascinating. He had a
large stock of stories, and is said to have had a singularly easy and
humorous way of telling them.

Among the more frequent guests at Oates at this time were Edward Clarke
and his daughter Betty, Locke's "little wife," now fast growing up to
womanhood, a son of Limborch, and a son of Benjamin Furly, both engaged
in mercantile pursuits in London, and a young kinsman of Locke's own,
Peter King, of whom I shall have more to say presently. One of the most
anxiously expected guests, whose visits had been often promised and
often deferred, was the correspondent of whom we have heard so much,
William Molyneux. At length, after the rising of the British Parliament
in the summer of 1698, the two friends met. Even on this occasion,
Molyneux had been obliged to defer his promised visit for some weeks,
on account of a recent trouble which he had brought on himself by
the publication of a "home-rule" pamphlet, protesting against the
interference of the English Parliament in Irish affairs. Both Houses
had joined in an address to the king, praying for punishment on the
offender; but the king, possibly through Locke's intervention, had
wisely taken no notice of the petition. Any way, after the prorogation,
Molyneux seems to have felt sufficiently secure to venture on a journey
across the Channel. He and Locke were together for some time both in
London and at Oates. The friends, though they had been in such constant
and intimate correspondence for six years, had never met before. We
may easily imagine how warm was their greeting, how much they had to
talk about, and how loath they were to separate. "I will venture to
assert to you," wrote Molyneux on his return to Dublin, "that I cannot
recollect, through the whole course of my life, such signal instances
of real friendship as when I had the happiness of your company for five
weeks together in London. That part thereof especially which I passed
at Oates has made such an agreeable impression on my mind that nothing
can be more pleasing." Shortly after writing this letter, Molyneux died
at the early age of forty-two. "His worth and his friendship to me,"
writes Locke, in a letter to Burridge, the Latin translator of the
_Essay_, "made him an inestimable treasure, which I must regret the
loss of the little remainder of my life, without any hopes of repairing
it any way." He then characteristically goes on to ask if there is any
service he can render to Molyneux's son. "They who have the care of him
cannot do me a greater pleasure than to give me the opportunity to show
that my friendship died not with his father." One of the most amiable
and attractive traits in Locke's character is the eagerness which he
always displayed in advising, encouraging, or helping forward the sons
of his friends. Any opportunity of doing so always gave him the most
evident satisfaction, as, from his correspondence, we see in the case
of Frank Masham, the two young Furlys, young Limborch, and numerous

I must now no longer delay the introduction to the reader of Locke's
young cousin, Peter King. Locke had an uncle, Peter Locke, whose
daughter Anne had married Jeremy King, a grocer and salter in a
substantial way of business at Exeter. Such a marriage was not
necessarily any disparagement to Anne Locke's family, as the present
line of demarcation between professional men and the smaller gentry,
on the one side, and substantial retail tradesmen, on the other,
hardly existed at that time. They had a son, Peter, born in 1669, who
was consequently Locke's first cousin once removed. The boy seems
for some time to have been employed in his father's business, but he
had a voracious appetite for books, and showed a decided talent for
the acquisition of learning. Locke, on one of his visits to Exeter,
discovered these qualities, and persuaded Peter King's parents to
allow him to change his mode of life, and study for one of the learned
professions. Whether he went to any English school does not appear;
but, during Locke's stay in Holland, he resided for some time in the
University of Leyden. His studies there embraced at least classics,
theology, and law; and when he returned to England, apparently in
1690, he brought back with him a pamphlet entitled _An Enquiry into
the Constitution and Discipline of the Primitive Church_. As in this
treatise he maintained that Presbyterianism was the original form
of Church government, he probably never had any serious intention,
notwithstanding his theological proclivities of entering holy orders
in the Established Church. Any way, in October, 1694, he was entered
a student of the Middle Temple; and in Trinity Term, 1698, he was
called to the bar. During his residence in London as a law student,
he must have been frequently at Oates, and Locke must have frequently
visited him in his chambers in the Temple. The first extant letter
from Locke to King, dated June 27, 1698, at any rate, assumes intimacy
and frequency of intercourse. "Your company here had been ten times
welcomer than any the best excuse you could send; but you may now
pretend to be a man of business, and there can be nothing said to you."
Very sound was the advice with which the elder relative concluded his
letter to the young barrister: "When you first open your mouth at the
bar, it should be in some easy plain matter that you are perfectly
master of." King's success in his profession was very rapid, and he
soon became one of the most popular counsel on the Western Circuit. In
the general election of 1700 he attained one of the first objects of
ambition at which a rising young barrister generally aims--a seat in
the House of Commons. Owing, probably, to his cousin's influence with
the Whig leaders, he was returned for the small borough of Beer Alston,
in Devonshire, which he continued to represent in several successive
Parliaments. Locke, writing to him shortly before the meeting of
Parliament, entreats him not to go circuit, as he had intended to
do, but to devote himself at once to his Parliamentary duties. "I am
sure there was never so critical a time, when every honest member of
Parliament ought to watch his trust, and that you will see before the
end of the next vacation." The loss to his pocket, his good relative
intimates, delicately enough, shall be amply made up to him. King took
his cousin's advice on this point, but, fortunately and wisely, did
not take it on another. "My advice to you is not to speak at all in
the House for some time, whatever fair opportunity you may seem to
have." King was advised to communicate his "light or apprehensions"
to some "honest speaker," who might make use of them for him. Locke,
we must remember, was now becoming old, and though not, like many old
men, jealous of his juniors, he could not escape the infirmity of all
old men, that of exaggerating the youthfulness of youth, and so of
insisting too stringently on the modesty becoming those in whom he was
interested. King broke the ice soon after the meeting of Parliament,
and Locke had the prudence and good-nature to show no resentment at
his advice having been neglected. His cousin, however, never became
a great Parliamentary speaker; but he soon gained a reputation for
being a thoroughly sound lawyer and a thoroughly honest man. He rose
successively to be Recorder of London, Lord Chief Justice of the Common
Pleas, and Lord High Chancellor of England. He was also ennobled as
Lord King of Ockham, and, by a very curious coincidence, his four
sons in succession bore the same title. To one of his descendants,
his great-grandson, also named Peter, we owe the publication of many
documents and letters connected with Locke, and the biography so well
known as _Lord King's Life of Locke_. The present representative of
the family, and the direct descendant in the male line of Peter King,
is the Earl of Lovelace. As Peter King was, to all intents, Locke's
adopted son, we may thus regard Locke as the founder of an illustrious
line in the English peerage, and there are certainly few, if any, of
our ennobled families who can point to a founder whose name is so
likely to be the heritage of all future ages.

King kept Locke well posted in all that went on in Parliament, and
seems also to have been a constant visitor at Oates. Soon after his
election, Sir Francis Masham had considerately proposed to Locke that
his cousin should "steal down sometimes with him on Saturday, and
return on Monday." On one of these occasions, in the Easter holidays of
1701, King was accompanied by young Lord Ashley, now become the third
Earl of Shaftesbury. Locke had then surmounted his winter troubles, and
his old pupil pronounces him as well as he had ever known him.

Amongst Locke's correspondents in these years was the celebrated
physician, Dr. Sloane, now Secretary of the Royal Society, afterwards
created Sir Hans Sloane. In writing to him at the end of the century,
evidently in answer to a request, Locke proposes a scheme for
rectifying the calendar. Notwithstanding the reformation which had
already taken place in many foreign countries, it will be recollected
that the English year then began on the 25th of March, instead of the
1st of January, and that, by reckoning the year at exactly 365¼ days,
or at 11 m. 14 sec. longer than its actual length, our time lagged
ten days behind that of most other European countries, as well as
the real solar time. The inconvenience, especially in transactions
with foreign merchants, had become very great. The advent of the
new century, inasmuch as the centenary year would be counted as a
leap-year in England, but not in other countries where the new style or
Gregorian calendar prevailed, would add an eleventh day to the amount
of discrepancy, and hence the subject was now attracting more than
ordinary attention. Locke's remedy was to omit the intercalar day in
the year 1700, according to the rule of the Gregorian calendar, as also
for the ten next leap-years following, "by which easy way," he says,
"we should in forty-four years insensibly return to the new style."
"This," he adds, "I call an easy way, because it would be without
prejudice or disturbance to any one's civil rights, which, by lopping
off ten or eleven days at once in any one year, might perhaps receive
inconvenience, the only objection that ever I heard made against
rectifying our account." He also suggested that the year should begin,
as in most other European countries, on the 1st of January. No change,
however, was made till, by an Act of Parliament passed in 1750-51, it
was ordered that the year 1752 should begin on the 1st of January, and
that the day succeeding the 2nd of September in that year should be
reckoned as the 14th. Locke's other correspondence with Sloane shows
the interest which he still took in medical matters, and how ready he
always was to expend time and thought on attending to the ailments of
his poor neighbours at Oates.

During the latter years of Locke's life his principal literary
employment consisted in paraphrasing and writing commentaries on some
of St. Paul's epistles. He thought that this portion of Scripture
offered peculiar difficulties, and finding, as he says, that he did
not understand it himself, he set to work, rather for his own sake,
and perhaps also that of the household at Oates, than with any view of
publication, to attempt to clear up its obscurities. The labour was a
work of love; and to a man of Locke's devout disposition, with almost a
child-like confidence in the guidance of Scripture, the occupation must
have afforded a peculiar solace in the intervals of his disease, and
as he felt that he was rapidly approaching the confines of that other
world which had so long been familiar to his thoughts. Though he was
induced to consent to the publication of these commentaries, and though
he himself prepared an introduction to them, they did not appear till
after his death. They were then issued by instalments, coming out at
intervals between 1705 and 1707 inclusively.

Locke's political interests, always keen, were specially active in
the winter of 1701-02. England was just then on the point of engaging
in the war of the Spanish Succession. In the previous September an
alliance against France and Spain had been concluded between the
emperor and the two great maritime powers, England and Holland. Almost
immediately after the conclusion of this treaty, James the Second
had died at St. Germain, and not only had the French king allowed
his son to be proclaimed King of England but had himself received
him with royal honors at the court of Versailles. The patriotic and
Protestant feeling of the country was thoroughly roused, and the new
Parliament, which met on the 30th of December, was prepared to take
the most energetic measures for the purpose of supporting the national
honor and the Protestant succession. The king's speech, on opening the
Parliament, excited an outburst of enthusiasm throughout the nation. He
conjured the members to disappoint the hopes of their enemies by their
unanimity. As he was ready to show himself the common father of his
people, he exhorted them to cast out the spirit of party and division,
so that there might no longer be any distinction but between those who
were friends to the Protestant religion and the present establishment,
and those who wished for a popish prince and a French government. The
speech was printed in English, Dutch, and French, framed, and hung up,
as an article of furniture, in the houses of good Protestants, both
at home and abroad. Locke, writing to Peter King four days after the
meeting of Parliament, asks him to send a copy of the king's speech,
"printed by itself, and without paring off the edges." He suggests
that, in addition to what the two Houses had done, the city of London
and counties of England should, "with joined hearts and hands return
his Majesty addresses of thanks for his taking such care of them."
"Think of this with yourself," he says, "and think of it with others
who can and ought to think how to save us out of the hands of France,
into which we must fall, unless the whole nation exert its utmost
vigour, and that speedily." He is specially urgent on his cousin not to
leave town, or to think of circuit business, till the kingdom has been
put in an effectual state of defence. "I think it no good husbandry
for a man to get a few fees on circuit and lose Westminster Hall." By
losing Westminster Hall he does not, apparently, mean losing the chance
of a judgeship, but forfeiting those rights and liberties, and that
personal and national independence which the Revolution had only so
lately restored. "For, I assure you, Westminster Hall is at stake, and
I wonder how any one of the house can sleep till he sees England in
a better state of defence, and how he can talk of anything else till
that is done." But a majority, at least, of the House of Commons was
fully alive to its responsibilities; enormous supplies were voted, and
almost every conceivable measure was taken for securing the Protestant
succession to the crown. A few days after Locke wrote the letter last
quoted, King William died. His reflections on that event or on the
political prospects under William's successor, we do not possess.

As the war proceeded, Locke's old friend, the Earl of Monmouth, now
become Earl of Peterborough, was entrusted with a naval expedition
against the Spanish possessions in the West Indies. He had a great
desire to see Locke before his departure, and, Locke being unable to
come up to London, he and the Countess drove down to Oates about the
middle of November, 1702. It is characteristic of the times that Locke
was "much in pain" about their getting back safely to town, the days
being then so short. His young friend, Arent Furly, who was also a
protégé and frequent correspondent of Lord Shaftesbury, went out as
Lord Peterborough's secretary, and seems to have acquitted himself
in the position with marked diligence and success. The early promise
which he gave, however, was soon blighted. This young play-fellow and
foster-child, as he might almost have been called, of Locke, died
only a few years after him, in 1711 or 1712. Before accompanying Lord
Peterborough on his expedition, he had been living for some time, first
at Oates, and afterwards in lodgings in the neighbourhood, for the
purpose of learning English.

It is gratifying to find that, during the autumn of this year, Locke
had received a visit from Newton. During the discussion of the
re-coinage question, and the active operations which followed for the
purpose of carrying out the decisions of Parliament, they must have
been thrown a good deal together. Montague declared that, had it not
been for the energetic measures taken by Newton, as Warden of the Mint,
the re-coinage would never have been effected. When, however, Newton
came down to visit Locke at Oates, in 1702, their conversation seems to
have turned mainly on theological topics. Locke showed Newton his notes
upon the Corinthians, and Newton requested the loan of them. But, like
most borrowers, he neglected to return them, nor did he take any notice
of a letter from Locke, who was naturally very anxious to recover
his manuscript. Peter King was asked to try to manage the matter.
He was to call at Newton's residence in Jermyn Street, to deliver a
second note, and to find out, if he could, the reasons of Newton's
silence, and of his having kept the papers so long. But he was to do
this "with all the tenderness in the world," for "he is a nice man to
deal with, and a little too apt to raise in himself suspicions where
there is no ground." The emissary was also, if he could do it with
sufficient adroitness, to discover Newton's opinion of the Commentary.
But he was by no means to give the slightest cause of offence. "Mr.
Newton is really a very valuable man, not only for his wonderful skill
in mathematics, but in divinity too, and his great knowledge in the
Scriptures, wherein I know few his equals. And therefore pray manage
the whole matter so as not only to preserve me in his good opinion,
but to increase me in it; and be sure to press him to nothing but what
he is forward in himself to do." In this letter Locke, notwithstanding
the caution with which he felt it necessary to approach one of so
susceptible a temperament, says, "I have several reasons to think him
truly my friend." And in this generous judgment there can be little
doubt he was right. The friends probably never met again, but Newton is
said to have paid a visit, on one of his journeys perhaps from London
to Cambridge, to Locke's tomb at High Laver. Peter King succeeded in
recovering the manuscript, and at the same time or soon afterwards
there came a letter, criticising one of Locke's interpretations, but
expressing a general opinion that the "paraphrase and commentary on
these two epistles is done with very great care and judgment."

Something should here be said of two friends whom Locke had made
in later life, one of whom seems to have been constantly about him
during his last years. The less intimate of these was Samuel Bolde, a
Dorsetshire clergyman, who had come forward, in 1697, to defend the
_Reasonableness of Christianity_ against Edwards' attacks, and who
afterwards did Locke a similar service in replying to the assailants of
the _Essay_. He was one of Locke's correspondents, and once at least
paid him a visit at Oates. Bolde's outspokenness and independence of
judgment naturally excited Locke's admiration. There are some memorable
sentences in a letter written to him in 1699. "To be learned in the
lump by other men's thoughts, and to be in the right by saying after
others, is the much easier and quieter way; but how a rational man,
that should inquire and know for himself, can content himself with a
faith or a religion taken upon trust, or with such a servile submission
of his understanding as to admit all and nothing else but what fashion
makes passable among men, is to me astonishing. I do not wonder you
should have, in many points, different apprehensions from what you meet
with in authors. With a free mind, which unbiassedly pursues truth, it
cannot be otherwise." After expanding these thoughts, and applying them
to the study of Scripture, he goes on to advise Bolde how to supply a
mental defect that he had complained of, namely, that "he lost many
things because they slipped from him." The simple method was to write
them down as they occurred. "The great help to the memory is writing,"
Bacon had said. Locke emphasizes the dictum, and adds, "If you have not
tried it, you cannot imagine the difference there is in studying with
and without a pen in your hand." "The thoughts that come unsought, and
as it were dropped into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any
we have, and therefore should be secured, because they seldom return

The other friend, whose acquaintance had only been made during these
later years, was Anthony Collins, who was not more than twenty-eight
years of age when Locke died. Collins afterwards attained great
celebrity as a Deistical writer, but none of his theological works
appeared till some time after Locke's death. Locke, with his sincere
and simple belief in the divine origin of the Christian Revelation,
would doubtless, had he lived to see them, have been shocked with
their matter, and still more with their style. But at the present time
Collins presented himself to him simply in the light of an ingenuous
young man, with rare conversational powers and wide interests, and with
what Locke valued far more, an eager desire to find out the truth. No
one can have read the tracts, _An Enquiry concerning Human Liberty_,
and _Liberty and Necessity_, without recognizing the acuteness and
directness of Collins' intellect, and these, we know, were qualities
always peculiarly acceptable to Locke. Moreover, to encourage and bring
forward younger men had invariably been one of his main delights. Hence
we may, perhaps, abate our surprise at the apparently exaggerated
language in which he addresses this friend, who was so much his junior
in age, and who must have become known to him only so recently. "Why
do you make yourself so necessary to me? I thought myself pretty loose
from the world; but I feel you begin to fasten me to it again. For you
make my life, since I have had your friendship, much more valuable to
me than it was before." "If I were now setting out in the world, I
should think it my great happiness to have such a companion as you,
who had a relish for truth, would in earnest seek it with me, from
whom I might receive it undisguised, and to whom I might communicate
freely what I thought true. Believe it, my good friend, to love truth
for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this
world and the seed-plot of all other virtues, and, if I mistake not,
you have as much of it as I ever met with in anybody." Then he adds
pathetically, but with a tone of hopefulness in the labours of others
which is not commonly found amongst old men, "When I consider how much
of my life has been trifled away in beaten tracks, where I vamped on
with others only to follow those that went before us, I cannot but
think I have just as much reason to be proud as if I had travelled
all England, and, if you will, France too, only to acquaint myself
with the roads and be able to tell how the highways lie, wherein
those of equipage, and even the herd too, travel. Now, methinks--and
these are often old men's dreams--I see openings to truth and direct
paths leading to it, wherein a little industry and application would
settle one's mind with satisfaction, and leave no darkness or doubt.
But this is at the end of my day, when my sun is setting; and though
the prospect it has given me be what I would not for anything be
without--there is so much irresistible truth, beauty, and consistency
in it--yet it is for one of your age, I think I ought to say for
yourself, to set about it." What were those "openings to truth and
direct paths leading to it?" Were they merely the delusive visions of
an old man's fancies, or had he really formed wider conceptions of
science, and pictured to himself more precise and fertile methods of
reaching it? The sciences, it is needless to observe, have grown vastly
since Locke's day; the methods of scientific research are far more
numerous, more accurate, richer in their results. Had Locke, in his
thoughts at this time, at all anticipated the courses which inquiry and
knowledge have since taken?

The letter to Collins, from which I have just quoted, was written on
Oct. 29, 1703. Within a year of that date the end came. The wonder,
indeed, is that, with his persistent malady, aggravated apparently in
these latter years with other disorders, Locke's life had continued
so long. The reasons are probably to be sought in his unfailing
cheerfulness, in the variety of interests which diverted his mind from
the thought of his own ailments, and in the judicious manner in which
he regulated his exercise and diet. Of these personal traits something
may conveniently here be said. The remarkable cheerfulness of his
disposition, his lively sense of humour, and his power of extracting
amusement from all that was going on around him, have frequently come
before us in the course of this biography. His temper was not moody,
like that of so many men of letters, but pre-eminently sociable. When
not actually engaged in his studies, he always liked to be in company,
and enjoyed especially the society of young people and children. He had
a happy knack of talking to his companions for the time being on the
subjects which interested them most, and in this way he gained a very
extensive knowledge of the various kinds of business, and of a variety
of arts and crafts. To working people he was often able to give very
useful hints as to their own employments. This union of conversational
qualities, grave and gay, invariably made him a welcome addition to
any company, young or old, gentle or simple. An even temper, and a
combination of happy gifts of this kind, will carry a man through
much suffering, bodily and mental. From any mental troubles, on his
own account, Locke seems, during these latter years of his life,
to have been remarkably free. From bodily suffering he was rarely
exempt, but he always endured it with resignation, and endeavoured to
obviate its causes by every precaution, which his prudence or medical
skill suggested. Thus, we have seen that, whenever it was possible,
he preferred the quiet life and pure air of the country to the many
attractions which the capital must have offered to a man with his wide
acquaintance, and with so many political and literary interests. In
diet he practised an abstemiousness very rare among men of that age.
His ordinary drink was water, and to this habit he attributed not only
his length of years, but also the extraordinary excellence of his
eyesight. Till recently, a curious relic of Locke's water-drinking
habits was preserved in the shape of a large mortar of spongy stone,
which acted as a natural filter, and which he used to call his
brew-house. He was assiduous in taking exercise, and was specially fond
of walking and gardening. In the latter years of his life he used to
ride out slowly every day after dinner. When advising his friend Clarke
about his health, he says, "I know nothing so likely to produce quiet
sleep as riding about gently in the air for many hours every day," and
then, like a truly wise doctor, he adds, "If your mind can be brought
to contribute a little its part to the laying aside troublesome ideas,
I could hope this may do much." At last, when he was no longer able
to sit on horseback, he commissioned Collins to have an open carriage
specially made for him, the principle on which it was to be constructed
being that "convenient carries it before ornamental."

In November, 1703, the Heads of Houses at Oxford--who at that time
constituted the governing body, and through whose repressive and
reactionary administration the evil genius of Laud then and long
afterwards continued to cast a blight on the University--resolved to
discourage the reading of Locke's _Essay_. The attempt was futile, as
they relied, not on coercion, but on the influence of their authority,
which appears to have been held very cheap. Locke was now far too
eminent a man to be troubled by so anile a demonstration of folly. "I
take what has been done as a recommendation of my book to the world,"
he says, in a letter to Collins; and then he promises himself and his
friend much merriment on the subject when they next meet.

Locke's last literary labour appears to have been his _Fourth Letter
for Toleration_. Jonas Proast, after a long interval, had returned to
the charge in a pamphlet published in 1704; and Locke, unfortunately,
thought it incumbent on him to reply, though he had long ceased to
pay any regard to the assailants of the _Essay_. The _Letter_ is
unfinished. Its last words cannot have been written long before Locke's

The winter of 1703-04 seems to have been peculiarly trying to his
health. He hardly expected to live through it; but he still maintained
his cheerfulness, and followed his usual employments. On the 11th of
April, 1704, he made his will--perhaps not his first. To most of his
friends, relatives, and dependents he left some remembrance; but the
bulk of his personal property be left to Frank Masham and Peter King,
the latter of whom was sole executor and residuary legatee. All his
manuscripts were left to King. Many of these were published for the
first time by the seventh Lord King, in his _Life of Locke_. His land
he designedly did not will, and so it devolved by law, in equal shares,
on his two cousins, Peter King and Peter Stratton. His funeral was to
be conducted without any ostentation, and what it would otherwise have
cost was to be divided amongst four poor labourers at Oates.

The approach of summer had not its usual restorative effect upon him.
On the other hand, all the bad symptoms of his disease increased. To
use his own expression, "the dissolution of the cottage was not far
off." In a letter, written on the 1st of June, he earnestly pressed
King to come to him, that he might pass some of the last hours of his
life "in the conversation of one who is not only the nearest but the
dearest to me of any man in the world." Both King and Collins seem to
have visited him frequently during the last months of his life; and
their society being cheerful, and the topics of their conversation
interesting, he appears to have taken great pleasure in their company.
He did not, however, find equal enjoyment in the visit of Dr. Edward
Fowler, Bishop of Gloucester, who, like himself, was in a bad state of
health. "I find two groaning people make but an uncomfortable concert."
The moral he draws is, that men should enjoy their health and youth
while they have it, "to all the advantages and improvements of an
innocent and pleasant life," remembering that merciless old age is in
pursuit of them. The lamp of life was now dimly flickering, but once
more it burnt up in the socket before going out forever. Peter King
had been married on the 10th of September, and he and his bride must
be received with all due honours at Oates. King was asked to cater for
his own wedding feast, and goodly and dainty is the list of delicacies
which he was to buy. But something, perhaps, might be omitted in which
Mrs. King took special delight. "If there be anything that you can
find your wife loves, be sure that provision be made of that, and
plentifully, whether I have mentioned it or no." The feast was to be
cooked by "John Gray, who was bred up in my Lord Shaftesbury's kitchen,
and was my Lady Dowager's cook." The wedded pair arrived at Oates
towards the end of the month, and well can we picture to ourselves the
pride and pleasure with which the genial old man entertained the wife
of his cousin and adopted son--the adopted son whom he had rescued
from the grocer's shop at Exeter, and whose future eminence he must
now have pretty clearly foreseen. A few days after King left Oates, he
solemnly committed to him by letter the care of Frank Masham. "It is my
earnest request to you to take care of the youngest son of Sir Francis
and Lady Masham in all his concerns, as if he were your brother. Take
care to make him a good, an honest, and an upright man. I have left my
directions with him to follow your advice, and I know he will do it;
for he never refused to do what I told him was fit." Then, turning to
King himself, he says, "I wish you all manner of prosperity in this
world, and the everlasting happiness of the world to come. That I loved
you, I think you are convinced."

Peter King certainly executed the dying request of his cousin, so
far as Frank Masham's material interests were concerned. Soon after
he became Lord Chancellor, Frank Masham was appointed to the newly
constituted office of Accountant-General in the Court of Chancery, a
lucrative post, conferring the same status as a Mastership.

Locke retained his faculties and his cheerfulness to the last; but he
grew gradually weaker day by day. "Few people," says Lady Masham, "do
so sensibly see death approach them as he did." A few days before his
death he received the sacrament from the parish minister, professing
his perfect charity with all men, and his "sincere communion with
the whole Church of Christ, by whatever name Christ's followers call
themselves." In the last hours he talked much with the Mashams about
their eternal concerns. As for himself he had lived long enough, and
enjoyed a happy life; but he looked forward to a better. At length,
on the afternoon of the 28th of October, the spirit left him, and the
earthly tabernacle was dissolved. His body is buried in the churchyard
of High Laver, in a pleasant spot on the south side of the church. The
Latin epitaph on the wall above the tomb was written by himself. It
tells us that he had lived content with his own insignificance: that,
brought up among letters, he had advanced just so far as to make an
acceptable offering to truth alone: if the traveller wanted an example
of good life, he would find one in the Gospel; if of vice, would that
he could find one nowhere; if of mortality, there and everywhere.

"His death," says Lady Masham, "was, like his life, truly pious, yet
natural, easy, and unaffected; nor can time, I think, ever produce a
more eminent example of reason and religion than he was, living and



"Were it fit to trouble thee," says Locke in his Epistle to the Reader,
"with the history of this _Essay_, I should tell thee that five or six
friends meeting at my chamber, and discoursing on a subject very remote
from this, found themselves quickly at a stand by the difficulties that
rose on every side. After we had a while puzzled ourselves, without
coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which perplexed us, it
came into my thoughts that we took a wrong course; and that, before
we set ourselves upon inquiries of that nature, it was necessary to
examine our own abilities, and see what objects our understandings were
or were not fitted to deal with. This I proposed to the company, who
all readily assented; and thereupon it was agreed that this should be
our first inquiry."

This passage may serve not only to describe the occasion of Locke's
_Essay_, but also to indicate the circumstance which constitutes the
peculiar merit and originality of Locke as a philosopher. The science
which we now call Psychology, or the study of mind, had hitherto,
amongst modern writers, been almost exclusively subordinated to the
interests of other branches of speculation. Some exception must,
indeed, be made in favour of Hobbes and Gassendi, Descartes and
Spinoza; but all these authors treated the questions of psychology
somewhat cursorily, while the two former seem usually to have had in
view the illustration of some favourite position in physics or ethics,
the two latter the ultimate establishment of some proposition relating
to the nature or attributes of God. We may say then, without much
exaggeration, that Locke was the first of modern writers to attempt at
once an independent and a complete treatment of the phenomena of the
human mind, of their mutual relations, of their causes and limits. His
object was, as he himself phrases it, "to inquire into the original,
certainty, and extent of human knowledge; together with the grounds
and degrees of belief, opinion, and assent." This task he undertakes
not in the dogmatic spirit of his predecessors, but in the critical
spirit which he may be said to have almost inaugurated. As far as it
is possible for a writer to divest himself of prejudice, and to set to
his work with a candid and open mind, seeking help and information from
all quarters, Locke does so. And the effect of his candour on his first
readers must have been enhanced by the fact, not always favourable to
his precision, that, as far as he can, he throws aside the technical
terminology of the schools, and employs the language current in the
better kinds of ordinary literature and the well-bred society of his
time. The absence of pedantry and of _parti pris_ in a philosophical
work was at that time so rare a recommendation that, no doubt, these
characteristics contributed largely to the rapid circulation and the
general acceptance of the _Essay_.

The central idea, which dominates Locke's work, is that all our
knowledge is derived from experience. But this does not strike us so
much as a thesis to be maintained as a conclusion arrived at after
a vast amount of patient thought and inquiry. Have we any ideas
independent of experience? or, as Locke phrases it, are there any
Innate Principles in the mind?

  "It is an established opinion amongst some men that there are in the
  Understanding certain Innate Principles, some Primary Notions, κοιναὶ
  ἔννοιαι [Greek: koinai ennoiai], characters, as it were, stamped upon
  the mind of man, which the Soul receives in its very first being and
  brings into the world with it."

This is the opinion which Locke examines and refutes in the first, or
introductory, book of the _Essay_. It has often been objected that he
mistakes and exaggerates the position which he is attacking. And so
far as his distinguished predecessor, Descartes, is concerned (though
to what extent Locke has him in mind, his habit of not referring to
other authors by name prevents us from knowing), this is undoubtedly
the case. For Descartes, though he frequently employs and accepts the
expression "innate notions" or "innate ideas," concedes, as so many
philosophers of the same school have done since, that this native
knowledge is only implicit, and requires definite experiences to
elicit it. Thus, in his notes on the Programme of Regius, he expressly
compares these innate notions or ideas with the nobility which is
characteristic of certain ancient stocks, or with diseases, such as
gout or gravel, which are said to be "innate" in certain families,
not "because the infants of those families suffer from these diseases
in their mother's womb, but because they are born with a certain
disposition or tendency to contract them." Here Descartes seems to
have been on the very point of stumbling on the principle of heredity
which, in the hands of recent physiologists and psychologists, has done
so much towards reconciling rival theories on the nature and origin
of knowledge and clearing up many of the difficulties which attach
to this branch of speculation. It must be confessed, however, that
in his better-known works he often employs unguarded and unexplained
expressions which might easily suggest the crude form of the _à priori_
theory attacked by Locke. Still more is this the case with other
authors, such as Lord Herbert of Cherbury and Dr. Ralph Cudworth, whose
works were in general circulation at the time when Locke was composing
his _Essay_. Lord Herbert, though indeed he acknowledges that "common
notions" (the expression by which he designates _à priori_ principles)
require an object to elicit them into consciousness, seems invariably
to regard them as ready-made ideas implanted in the human mind from
its very origin. They are given by an independent faculty, Natural
Instinct, which is to be distinguished from Internal Sense, External
Sense, and Reasoning ("discursus"), the sources of our other ideas.
They are to be found in every man, and universal consent is the main
criterion by which they are to be discriminated. In fact, there can
be no doubt that the dogma of Innate Ideas and Innate Principles, in
the form attacked by Locke, was a natural, if not the legitimate,
interpretation of much of the philosophical teaching of the time, and
that it was probably the form in which that teaching was popularly
understood. It lay, moreover, as Locke's phrase is, along the "common
road," which was travelled by the majority of men who cared about
speculative subjects at all, and from which it was novel, and therefore
dangerous, to diverge.

The most effective, perhaps, of Locke's arguments against this doctrine
is his challenge to the advocates of Innate Principles to produce
them, and show what and how many they are. Did men find such innate
propositions stamped on their minds, nothing could be more easy than
this. "There could be no more doubt about their number than there is
about the number of our fingers; and 'tis like, then, every system
would be ready to give them us by tale." Now "'tis enough to make
one suspect that the supposition of such innate principles is but an
opinion taken up at random; since those who talk so confidently of
them are so sparing to tell us which they are." (Bk. I., ch. iii., §
14.) The great majority, indeed, of those who maintain the existence
of innate principles and ideas attempt no enumeration of them. Those
who do attempt such an enumeration differ in the lists which they draw
up, and, moreover, as Locke shows in the case of the five practical
principles of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, give no sufficient reason why
many other propositions, which they regard as secondary and derived,
should not be admitted to the same rank with the so-called innate
principles, which they assume to be primary and independent. Locke is
here treading on safer ground than in many of his other criticisms. The
fact is that it is impossible clearly to discriminate between those
propositions which are axiomatic and those which are derived--or, in
the language of the theory which Locke is combating, between those
which are innate and those which are adventitious. Race, temperament,
mental capacity, habit, education, produce such differences between
man and man that a proposition which to one man appears self-evident
and unquestionable will by another be admitted only after considerable
hesitation, while a third will regard it as doubtful, or even false.
Especially is this the case, as Locke does not fail to point out, with
many of the principles of religion and morals, which have now been
received by so constant a tradition in most civilized nations that
they have come to be regarded as independent of reason, and, if not
"ingraven on the mind" from its birth, at least exempt from discussion
and criticism. The circumstance, however, that they are not universally
acknowledged shows that to mankind in general, at any rate, they are
not axiomatic, and that, however clear and convincing the reasons for
them may be, at all events those reasons require to be stated. It was
this determined and vigorous protest against multiplying assumptions
and attempting to withdraw a vast mass of propositions, both
speculative and practical, from the control and revision of reason,
that, perhaps, constituted the most distinctive and valuable part of
Locke's teaching.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having cleared from his path the theory of Innate Principles, Locke
proceeds, in the Second Book, to inquire how the mind comes to be
furnished with its knowledge. Availing himself of a metaphor which had
been commonly employed by the Stoics, but which reaches as far back
as Aristotle and Plato, and even as Æschylus, he compares the mind to
"white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas," and then asks:

  "Whence comes it by that vast store, which the busy and boundless
  Fancy of Man has painted on it, with an almost endless variety?
  Whence has it all the materials of Reason and Knowledge? To this I
  answer in one word, from _Experience_: In that all our knowledge is
  founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observation
  employed either about external or sensible objects, or about the
  internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected on by our
  selves, is that which supplies our Understandings with all the
  materials of thinking. These two are the Fountains of Knowledge from
  which all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring."

  "First, our Senses, conversant about particular sensible objects,
  do convey into the mind several distinct perceptions of things,
  according to those various ways in which those objects do affect
  them. And thus we come by those ideas we have of Yellow, White,
  Heat, Cold, Soft, Hard, Bitter, Sweet, and all those which we call
  Sensible Qualities, which when I say the senses convey into the mind,
  I mean they from external objects convey into the mind what produces
  there those Perceptions. This great source of most of the Ideas we
  have, depending wholly upon our senses, and derived by them to the
  Understanding, I call SENSATION."

  "Secondly, the other Fountain, from which Experience furnisheth
  the Understanding with Ideas, is the Perception of the operations
  of our own minds within us, as it is employed about the ideas it
  has got; which operations, when the soul comes to reflect on and
  consider, do furnish the Understanding with another set of ideas
  which could not be had from things without; and such are Perception,
  Thinking, Doubting, Believing, Reasoning, Knowing, Willing, and all
  the different actings of our own minds, which we being conscious
  of, and observing in our selves, do from these receive into our
  Understandings as distinct ideas as we do from bodies affecting
  our senses. This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself.
  And though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external
  objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called
  Internal Sense. But as I call the other _Sensation_, so I call this
  REFLECTION, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by
  reflecting on its own operations within itself. By Reflection, then,
  in the following part of this Discourse, I would be understood to
  mean that notice which the mind takes of its own operations and the
  manner of them, by reason whereof there come to be Ideas of these
  operations in the Understanding. These two, I say, namely, external
  material things, as the objects of Sensation, and the operations of
  our own minds within, as the objects of Reflection, are to me the
  only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginning. The
  term operations here I use in a large sense, as comprehending not
  barely the actions of the mind about its ideas, but some sort of
  passions arising sometimes from them, such as is the satisfaction or
  uneasiness arising from any thought."

  "The Understanding seems to me not to have the least glimmering of
  any ideas which it doth not receive from one of these two. External
  objects furnish the mind with the ideas of sensible qualities, which
  are all those different perceptions they produce in us; and the mind
  furnishes the Understanding with ideas of its own operations." (Bk.
  II., ch. i., §§ 2-5.)

In deriving our knowledge from two distinct sources, Sensation and
Reflection, Locke is advancing a position altogether different
from that of what is properly called the Sensationalist school of
philosophers. Gassendi and Hobbes before him, Condillac and Helvétius
after him, found the ultimate source of all our knowledge in the
impressions of sense. The emphatic words of Hobbes, standing in the
forefront of the _Leviathan_, are:--"The original of all the thoughts
of men is that which we call Sense, for there is no conception in a
man's mind which hath not at first, totally or by parts, been begotten
upon the organs of sense." And Condillac, aiming at a theory still more
simple, derives from sensations not only all our knowledge but all our
faculties. "The other fountain," then, of Locke has, we must recollect,
a peculiar significance as distinguishing his psychology from that
of the sensationalist writers who preceded and who followed him. His
theory of the origin of knowledge may fairly be called an experiential,
but it cannot with any truth be called a sensationalist theory.

The rest of the Second Book of the _Essay_ is mainly taken up with the
attempt to enumerate our simple ideas of Sensation and Reflection, and
to resolve into them our other ideas, however complex. To follow Locke
into these details would be to re-write the _Essay_. I propose simply
to direct the attention of the reader to a few salient points.

Of "Simple Ideas of Sensation," some "come into our minds by one Sense
only." Such are the various colours, sounds, tastes, and smells, Heat
and Cold, and the sensation of Resistance or Impenetrability, which
Locke denominates Solidity. "The Ideas we get by more than one sense
are of Space or Extension, Figure, Rest, and Motion."

The "Simple Ideas of Reflection," which the mind acquires, when "it
turns its view inward upon itself, and observes its own actions about
those ideas it has received from without," are mainly two, namely,
Perception or Thinking, and Volition or Willing.

"There be other simple ideas, which convey themselves into the mind by
all the ways of Sensation and Reflection, namely, Pleasure or Delight,
Pain or Uneasiness, Power, Existence, Unity. (Bk. II., ch. vii., § 1.)

  "These simple ideas, the materials of all our knowledge, are
  suggested and furnished to the mind only by those two ways above
  mentioned, namely, Sensation and Reflection. When the Understanding
  is once stored with these simple ideas, it has the power to repeat,
  compare, and unite them, even to an almost infinite variety, and so
  can make at pleasure new complex ideas. But it is not in the power of
  the most exalted Wit or enlarged Understanding, by any quickness or
  variety of thoughts, to invent or frame one new simple idea in the
  mind, not taken in by the ways before mentioned. Nor can any force
  of the Understanding destroy those that are there: the dominion of
  man, in this little world of his own understanding, being much-what
  the same as it is in the great world of visible things, wherein his
  power, however managed by art and skill, reaches no farther than to
  compound and divide the materials that are made to his hand, but can
  do nothing towards the making the least particle of new matter or
  destroying one atom of what is already in being. The same inability
  will every one find in himself who shall go about to fashion in his
  Understanding any simple idea not received in by his senses from
  external objects or by reflection from the operations of his own mind
  about them." (Bk. II., ch. ii., § 2.)

In the reception of these simple ideas, Locke regards the mind as
merely passive. It can no more refuse to have them, alter or blot
them out, than a mirror can refuse to receive, alter, or obliterate
the images reflected on it. The Understanding, before the entrance of
simple ideas, is like a dark room, and external and internal sensation
are the windows by which light is let in. But when the light has once
penetrated into this dark recess, the Understanding has an almost
unlimited power of modifying and transforming it. It can create complex
ideas, and that in an infinite variety, out of its simple ideas, and
this it does chiefly by combining, comparing, and separating them.

  "This shows man's power, and its way of operation, to be much what
  the same in the material and intellectual world. For the materials in
  both being such as he has no power over, either to make or destroy,
  all that man can do is either to unite them together, or to set them
  by one another, or wholly separate them." (Bk. II., ch. xii., § 1.)

The complex ideas are classified under three heads, modes, which may
be either simple or mixed, substances, and relations. Here, however,
my analysis must stop, and I must content myself with giving a few
examples of the manner in which Locke attempts to resolve "complex
ideas" into "simple" ones.

The idea of Infinity, to take one of his most celebrated resolutions,
is merely a simple mode of Quantity, as Immensity is a simple mode of
Space, and Eternity of Duration. All alike are negative ideas, arising
whenever we allow the mind "an endless progression of thought," without
any effort to arrest it. "How often soever" a man doubles an unit
of space, be it a "mile, or diameter of the earth, or of the _Orbis
Magnus_," or any otherwise multiplies it, "he finds that, after he has
continued this doubling in his thoughts and enlarged his idea as much
as he pleases, he has no more reason to stop, nor is one jot nearer the
end of such addition, than he was at first setting out; the power of
enlarging his idea of Space by farther additions remaining still the
same, he hence takes idea of infinite space." (Bk. II., ch. xvii., § 3.)

With the idea of "Substance" Locke is fairly baffled. If we examine our
idea of a horse, a man, a piece of gold, &c., we are able to resolve
it into a number of simple ideas, such as extension, figure, solidity,
weight, colour, &., co-existing together. But, according to Locke, who,
in this respect, was merely following in the track of the generally
received philosophy of his time, there is, in addition to all these
qualities, a _substratum_ in which they inhere, or, to use his own
language, "wherein they do subsist, and from which they do result."
Now of the various qualities we can form a clear idea and give a more
or less intelligible account. But can we form a clear idea or give an
intelligible account of the substratum? Locke here is bold enough to
break off from the orthodox doctrine of the time, and confess candidly
that we cannot. The idea of this Substratum or Substance is a "confused
idea of something to which the qualities belong, and in which they
subsist." The name Substance denotes a Support, "though it be certain
we have no clear or distinct idea of that thing we suppose a support."

  "So that if any one will examine himself concerning his notion of
  pure Substance in general, he will find he has no other idea of it
  at all but only a supposition of he knows not what Support of such
  qualities which are capable of producing simple ideas in us; which
  qualities are commonly called Accidents. If any one should be asked
  what is the subject wherein Colour or Weight inheres, he would have
  nothing to say but the solid extended parts. And if he were demanded
  what is it that Solidity and Extension inhere in, he would not be in
  a much better case than the Indian who, saying that the world was
  supported by a great elephant, was asked what the elephant rested on?
  To which his answer was, a great tortoise. But, being again pressed
  to know what gave support to the broad-backed tortoise, replied,
  something, he knew not what. And thus here, as in all other cases,
  where we use words without having clear and distinct ideas, we talk
  like children; who, being questioned what such a thing is, which
  they know not, readily give this satisfactory answer, That it is
  something; which in truth signifies no more, when so used, either by
  children or men, but that they know not what, and that the thing they
  pretend to know and talk of is what they have no distinct idea of at
  all, and so are perfectly ignorant of it and in the dark." (Bk. II.,
  ch. xxiii., § 2.)

No wonder that the next step in philosophy was to get rid altogether of
this "something, we know not what." For, if we know not what it is, how
do we know that it exists, and is not a mere fiction of the Schools?
This step was taken by Berkeley, as respects matter, and by Hume the
same negative criticism which Berkeley confines to matter was boldly,
and, as it seems to me, far less successfully and legitimately extended
to mind. Indeed, were it not for his express assurance to the contrary,
we should often be tempted to think that Locke himself regarded this
distinction of Substance and Accident, so far, at least, as it affects
Matter and its attributes, as untenable, and was anxious to insinuate a
doubt as to the very existence of the "unknown somewhat."

In this chapter, Locke maintains that there is no more difficulty, if
indeed so much, in the notion of immaterial spirit as of body. "Our
idea of Body, as I think, is an extended solid substance, capable
of communicating motion by impulse; and our idea of our Soul, as an
immaterial Spirit, is of a substance that thinks, and has a power
of exciting motion in body by Will or Thought." (§ 22.) Now, it is
"no more a contradiction that Thinking should exist separate and
independent from Solidity, than it is a contradiction that Solidity
should exist separate and independent from Thinking, they being both
but simple ideas independent one from another. And, having as clear
and distinct ideas in us of Thinking as of Solidity, I know not why
we may not as well allow a thinking thing without solidity, that is
immaterial, to exist, as a solid thing without thinking, that is
matter, to exist; especially since it is no harder to conceive how
Thinking should exist without Matter, than how Matter should think." (§

In the Fourth Book (ch. iii., § 6), however, he gave great scandal by
suggesting the possibility that Matter might think, that it was not
much more repugnant to our conceptions that God might, if he pleased,
"superadd to Matter a Faculty of Thinking, than that he should superadd
to it another substance with a faculty of thinking." At the same time,
he regarded it as no less than a contradiction to suppose that Matter,
"which is evidently in its own nature void of sense and thought,"
should be the "eternal first thinking Being," or God Himself; and, in
his First Letter to the Bishop of Worcester, he grants that _in us_
(as distinguished from the lower animals) it is in the highest degree
probable that the "thinking substance" is immaterial. Materialism,
therefore, as ordinarily understood, is certainly no part of Locke's

In discussing the idea of Substance, Locke seems generally to be
thinking more of Matter than Mind. But, in an early part of the _Essay_
(Bk. II., ch. xiii., § 18), he very rightly begs those who talk so much
of Substance "to consider whether applying it, as they do, to the
infinite incomprehensible God, to finite Spirit, and to Body, it be
in the same sense, and whether it stands for the same idea, when each
of those three so different beings are called Substances." As applied
respectively to Matter and to Mind (whether finite or infinite), it
appears to me that the word Substance assumes a very different meaning,
and that the absurdities which it is possible to fix on the distinction
between Matter and its attributes by no means extend to the distinction
between Mind and its operations. For an union of certain forces or
powers affecting our organisms in certain ways seems to exhaust our
conception of external objects (the notion of externality, I conceive,
being quite independent of that of the Substrate "matter"), but no
similar enumeration of mental acts and feelings seems adequately to
take the place of that "Self," or "I," of which we regard these as
merely phases and modifications. It would much conduce to clearness
in philosophical discussions if, at least amongst those who admit the
dualism of matter and mind, the word Substance, whenever applied to
incorporeal objects, were replaced by the word Mind, and, whenever
applied to corporeal objects, by the word Matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Second Book closes, in the Fourth and subsequent editions, with a
short but very interesting Chapter on the "Association of Ideas." The
student of Mental Philosophy will find it instructive to compare this
Chapter with the previous account given by Hobbes (_Human Nature_, ch.
iv.; _Leviathan_, Pt. I., ch. iii.), and the subsequent account given
by Hume (_Human Nature_, Pt. I., § 4; _Essays on Human Understanding_,
§ 3), of the same phenomena. Locke appears to have been the first
author to use the exact[2] expression "Association of Ideas," and it
is curious to find in this chapter (§ 5) the word "inseparable," so
familiar to the readers of recent works on psychology, already applied
to designate certain kinds of association. Some ideas, indeed, have,
he says, a natural correspondence, but others, that "in themselves are
not at all of kin," "come to be so united in some men's minds that one
no sooner at any time comes into the understanding than the whole Gang,
always inseparable, show themselves together."

        [2] Sir W. Hamilton refers to La Chambre (_Système de l'Ame_:
            Paris, 1664) as having anticipated Locke in the use of this
            expression. In Liv. IV., ch. ii., art. 9, La Chambre speaks
            of "l' Union et la Liaison des Images," but I cannot find
            that he approaches any nearer to the now established

The following passage on what may be called the associations of
antipathy affords a good instance of Locke's power of homely and
apposite illustration:

  "Many children imputing the pain they endured at school to their
  books they were corrected for, so join those ideas together, that a
  book becomes their aversion, and they are never reconciled to the
  study and use of them all their lives after; and thus reading becomes
  a torment to them, which otherwise possibly they might have made the
  great pleasure of their lives. There are rooms convenient enough,
  that some men cannot study in, and fashions of vessels, which though
  never so clean and commodious, they cannot drink out of, and that by
  reason of some accidental ideas which are annexed to them and make
  them offensive. And who is there that hath not observed some man to
  flag at the appearance or in the company of some certain person not
  otherwise superior to him, but because, having once on some occasion
  got the ascendant, the idea of authority and distance goes along with
  that of the person, and he that has been thus subjected is not able
  to separate them."

Had Locke's _Essay_ ended with the Second Book, we should hardly
have detected in it any incompleteness. It might have been regarded
as an analytical work on the nature and origin of our ideas, or, in
other words, on the elements of our knowledge. There are, however,
a third and fourth book--the former treating "Of Words," the latter
"Of Knowledge and Opinion." Locke's notion appears to have been that,
after treating of "Ideas," mainly as regarded in themselves, it was
desirable to consider them as combined in Judgments or Propositions,
and to estimate the various degrees of assent which we give or ought to
give to such judgments, when formed. The Fourth Book thus, to a certain
extent, takes the place, and was probably designed to take the place,
of the Logic of the Schools. "But," to quote Locke's own language in
the Abstract of the _Essay_, "when I came a little nearer to consider
the nature and manner of human knowledge, I found it had so much to do
with propositions, and that words, either by custom or necessity, were
so mixed with it, that it was impossible to discourse of knowledge with
that clearness we should, without saying something first of words and

The last three Chapters of the Third Book are remarkable for their
sound sense, and may still be read with the greatest advantage by
all who wish to be put on their guard against the delusions produced
by misleading or inadequate language--those "Idola Fori" which Bacon
describes as the most troublesome of the phantoms which beset the mind
in its search for truth. Some of the best and freshest of Locke's
thoughts, indeed, are to be found in this book, and especially in the
less technical parts of it.

The Fourth Book, under the head of Knowledge, treats of a great
variety of interesting topics: of the nature of knowledge, its
degrees, its extent, and reality; of the truth and certainty of
Universal Propositions; of the logical axioms, or laws of thought;
of the evidence for the existence of a God; of Faith and Reason; of
the Degrees of Assent; of Enthusiasm; of Error. Into these attractive
regions it is impossible that I can follow my author, but the reader
who wishes to see examples of Locke's strong practical sense and, at
the same time, to understand the popularity so soon and so constantly
accorded to the _Essay_, should make acquaintance at least with the
four chapters last named.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the task of description I now pass to that of criticism, though
this must be confined within still narrower limits than the former, and
indeed, amongst the multiplicity of subjects which invite attention, I
must confine myself to one only: the account of the ultimate origin of
our knowledge, which forms the main subject of the _Essay_.

Locke, as we have seen, derived all our knowledge from Experience. But
experience, with him, was simply the experience of the individual.
In order to acquire this experience, it was indeed necessary that we
should have certain "inherent faculties." But of these "faculties" he
gives no other account than that God has "furnished" or "endued" us
with them. Thus, the _Deus ex machina_ was as much an acknowledged
necessity in the philosophy of Locke, and was, in fact, almost as
frequently invoked, as in that of his antagonists. Is there any
natural account to be given of the way in which we come to have these
"faculties," of the extraordinary facility we possess of acquiring
simple and forming complex ideas, is a question which he appears never
to have put to himself. Inquiries of this kind, however, we must
recollect, were foreign to the men of his generation, and, in fact,
have only recently become a recognized branch of mental philosophy.
Hence it was that his system left so much unexplained. Not only the
very circumstance that we have "inherent faculties" at all, but the
wide differences of natural capacity which we observe between one man
or race and another, and the very early period at which there spring up
in the mind such notions as those of space, time, equality, causality,
and the like, are amongst the many difficulties which Locke's theory,
in its bare and unqualified form, fails satisfactorily to answer. It
was thus comparatively easy for Kant to show that the problem of the
origin of knowledge could not be left where Locke had left it; that
our _à posteriori_ experiences presuppose and are only intelligible
through certain _à priori_ perceptions and conceptions which the mind
itself imposes upon them; or, to use more accurate language, through
certain _à priori_ elements in our perceptions and conceptions, which
the mind contributes from itself. Thus the child appears, as soon
as it is capable of recognizing any source of its impressions, to
regard an object as situated in space, an event as happening in time,
circumstances which have occurred together as likely to occur together
again. But Kant's own account was defective in leaving this _à priori_
element of our knowledge unexplained, or, at least, in attempting no
explanation of it. The mind, according to him, is possessed of certain
Forms and Categories, which shape and co-ordinate the impressions
received from the external world, being as necessary to the acquisition
of experience, as experience is necessary to eliciting them into
consciousness. But here his analysis ends. He does not ask how the
mind comes to be possessed of these Forms and Categories, nor does he
satisfactorily determine the precise relation in which they stand to
the empirical elements of knowledge. When studying his philosophy,
we seem indeed to be once more receding to the mysterious region of
Innate Ideas. But the mystery is removed at least several stages back,
if we apply to the solution of these mental problems the principle
of Heredity, which has recently been found so potent in clearing up
many of the difficulties connected with external nature. What are the
"Innate Ideas" of the older philosophers, or the Forms and Categories
of Kant, but certain _tendencies_ of the mind to group phenomena, the
"fleeting objects of sense," under certain relations and regard them
under certain aspects? And why should these tendencies be accounted
for in any other way than that by which we are accustomed to account
for the tendency of an animal or plant, belonging to any particular
species, to exhibit, as it developes, the physical characteristics of
the species to which it belongs? The existence of the various mental
tendencies and aptitudes, so far as the individual is concerned, is,
in fact, to be explained by the principle of hereditary transmission.
But how have these tendencies and aptitudes come to be formed in the
race? The most scientific answer is that which, following the analogy
of the theory now so widely admitted with respect to the physical
structure of animals and plants, assigns their formation to the
continuous operation, through a long series of ages, of causes acting
uniformly, or almost uniformly, in the same direction--in one word, of
Evolution. This explanation may have its difficulties, but it is at any
rate an attempt at a natural explanation where no other such attempt
exists, and it has the merit of falling in with the explanations of
corresponding phenomena now most generally accepted amongst scientific
men in other departments of knowledge.

According to this theory, there is both an _à priori_ and an _à
posteriori_ element in our knowledge, or, to speak more accurately,
there are both _à priori_ and _à posteriori_ conditions of our knowing,
the _à posteriori_ condition being, as in all systems, individual
experience, the _à priori_ condition being inherited mental aptitudes,
which, as a rule, become more and more marked and persistent with
each successive transmission. Now Locke lays stress simply upon the
_à posteriori_ condition, though he recognizes a certain kind of _à
priori_ condition in our "natural faculties," and the simple ideas
furnished by reflecting on their operations. The very important
condition, however, of inherited aptitudes facilitating the formation
of certain general conceptions concurrently, or almost concurrently,
with the presentation of individual experiences, did not occur to him
as an element in the solution of the problem he had undertaken to
answer, nor, in that stage of speculation, could it well have done
so. His peculiar contribution to the task of solving this question
consisted in his skilful and popular delineation of the _à posteriori_
element in knowledge, and in his masterly exposure of the insufficiency
of the account of the _à priori_ element, as then commonly given.
Locke's own theory was afterwards strained by Hume and Hartley, and
still more by his professed followers in France, such as Condillac
and Helvétius, till at last, in the opinion of most competent judges,
it snapped asunder. Then, under the massive, though often partial and
obscure, treatment of Kant, came the rehabilitation of the _à priori_
side of knowledge. In recent times, mainly by aid of the light thrown
on it from other branches of inquiry, a more thorough and scientific
treatment of psychology has done much, as I conceive, towards
completing and reconciling the two divergent theories which at one
time seemed hopelessly to divide the world of philosophic thinkers.
And yet, as it appears to me, the ultimate mystery which surrounds
the beginnings of intellectual life on the globe has by no means been

As closely connected with this general criticism of Locke's system, or
rather as presenting the defects just criticised under another form, I
may notice the tendency of the _Essay_ to bring into undue prominence
the passive receptivities of the Mind, and to ignore its activity and
spontaneity. The metaphor of the _tabula rasa_, the sheet of "white
paper," once admitted, exercises a warping influence over the whole
work. The author is so busied with the variety of impressions from
without, that he seems sometimes almost to ignore the reaction of the
mind from within. And yet this one-sideness of Locke's conception
of mind may easily be exaggerated. "When the Understanding is once
stored with simple ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, and
unite them, even to an almost infinite variety, and so can make at
pleasure new complex ideas." (Bk. II., ch. ii., § 2.) Moreover, amongst
the simple ideas themselves are the ideas of Reflection, "being such
as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operations." The system,
in fact, assumes an almost ceaseless activity of mind, after the
simple ideas of sensation have once entered it. But where it fails
is in not recognizing that mental reaction which is essential to the
formation of even the simple ideas of sensation themselves, as well
as that spontaneous activity of mind which often seems to assert
itself independently of the application of any stimulus from without.
Here again a more scientific psychology than was possible in Locke's
day comes to our aid, and shows, as is done by Mr. Bain and other
recent writers, that the nerves, stored with energy, often discharge
themselves of their own accord, and that movement is at least as much
an original factor in animal life as is sensation, while sometimes
it even precedes it in time. Had the constant interaction of mental
activity and mental receptivity, producing a compound in which it
is often almost impossible to disentangle the elements, been duly
recognized by Locke, it would certainly have made his philosophy less
simple, but it would have made it more true to facts. Physiology,
however, was in his days in far too backward a state itself to throw
much light upon Psychology. And the reaction against the prevailing
doctrine of Innate Ideas naturally led to a system in which the
influences of external circumstances, of education and habit, were
exaggerated at the expense of the native powers, or as they might more
appropriately be called the inherited aptitudes, and the spontaneous
activity of the mind.

Here, tempting as it is to follow my author along the many tracks of
psychological, metaphysical, and logical discussion which he always
pursues with sagacity, candour, and good sense, if not always with the
consistency and profundity which we should require from later writers,
my criticism must necessarily end.

Before, however, finally dismissing the _Essay_, I must pause to ask
what was the main work in the history of philosophy and thought which
it accomplished. Many of its individual doctrines, doubtless, could not
now be defended against the attacks of hostile criticism, and some even
of those which are true in the main, are inadequate or one-sided. But
its excellence lies in its tone, its language, its method, its general
drift, its multiplicity of topics, the direction which it gave to the
thoughts and studies of reflecting men for many generations subsequent
to its appearance. Of the tone of candour and open-mindedness which
pervades it, of the unscholastic and agreeable form in which it is
written, and of the great variety of interesting topics which it
starts, I have spoken already. Its method, though not absolutely new,
even in modern times, for it is at least, to some extent, the method
of Descartes, if not, in a smaller degree, of Hobbes and Gassendi, was
still not common at the time of its appearance. Instead of stating
a series of preconceived opinions, or of dogmas borrowed from some
dominant school, in a systematic form, Locke sets to work to examine
the structure of his own mind, and to analyze into their elements the
ideas which he finds there. This, the _introspective_ method, as it
has been called, though undoubtedly imperfect, for it requires to be
supplemented by the study of the minds of other men, if not of the
lower animals, as made known by their acts, and words, and history,
is yet a great advance on the purely _à priori_, and often fanciful,
methods which preceded it. Nor do we fail to find in the _Essay_ some
employment of that _comparative_ method to which I have just alluded:
witness the constant references to children and savages in the first
book, and the stress which is laid on the variety of moral sentiment
existing amongst mankind. This inductive treatment of philosophical
problems, mainly introspective, but in some measure also comparative,
which was extremely rare in Locke's time, became almost universal
afterwards. Closely connected with the method of the book is its
general purport. By turning the mind inwards upon itself, and "making
it its own object," Locke surmises that all its ideas come either
from without or from experience of its own operations. He finds, on
examination and analysis, no ideas which cannot be referred to one or
other of these two sources. The single word "experience" includes
them both, and furnishes us with a good expression for marking the
general drift of his philosophy. It was pre-eminently a philosophy of
experience, both in its method and in its results. It accepts nothing
on authority, no foregone conclusions, no data from other sciences.
It digs, as it were, into the mind, detaches the ore, analyzes it,
and asks how the various constituents came there. The analytical and
psychological direction thus given to philosophy by Locke was followed
by most of the philosophical writers of the eighteenth century. However
divergent in other respects, Hume and Berkeley, Hartley and Reid, the
French Sensationalists, Kant, all commence their investigations by
inquiring into the constitution, the capacities, and the limits of
the Human Mind. Nor can any system of speculation be constructed on a
sound basis which has neglected to dig about the foundations of human
knowledge, to ascertain what our thoughts can and what they cannot
compass, and what are the varying degrees of assurance with which the
various classes of propositions may be accepted by us. Two cautions,
indeed, are necessary in applying this procedure. We must never forget
that the mind is constantly in contact with external nature, and that
therefore a constant action and reaction is taking place between them;
and we must never omit to base our inductions on an examination of
other minds as well as our own, bringing into the account, as far as
possible, every type and grade of mental development.

It was not, however, only its general spirit and direction which Locke
impressed on the philosophy of the eighteenth century. He may almost
be said to have recreated that philosophy. There is hardly a single
French or English writer (and we may add Kant) down to the time of
Dugald Stewart, or even of Cousin, Hamilton, and J. S. Mill, who
does not profess either to develope Locke's system, or to supplement,
or to criticise it. Followers, antagonists, and critics alike seem
to assume on the part of the reader a knowledge of the _Essay on the
Human Understanding_, and to make that the starting-point of their own
speculations. The office which Bacon assigns to himself with reference
to knowledge generally might well have been claimed by Locke with
reference to the science of mind. Both of them did far more than merely
play the part of a herald, but of both alike it was emphatically true
that they "rang the bell to call the other wits together."



In the _Essay on the Human Understanding_, Bk. IV., ch. x., Locke
attempts to prove the existence of a God, which, though God has given
us no innate idea of Himself, he regards as "the most obvious truth
that reason discerns," and as resting on evidence equal to mathematical
certainty. Morality is, he maintains, entirely based upon the Will
of God. If there were no God, there would, for him, be no morality,
and this is the reason of his denying to Atheists the protection of
the State. In the chapter on the Existence of God he says expressly
that this truth is so fundamental that "all genuine morality depends
thereon," and almost at the beginning of the _Essay_ (Bk. I., ch. iii.,
§ 6), while acknowledging that "several moral rules may receive from
mankind a very general approbation, without either knowing or admitting
the true ground of morality," he maintains that such true ground "can
only be the Will and Law of a God, who sees men in the dark, has in his
hand rewards and punishments, and power enough to call to account the
proudest offender." Again, "the Rule prescribed by God is the true and
only measure of Virtue." But how are we to ascertain this rule? "God
has by an inseparable connexion joined Virtue and Public Happiness
together," and hence we have only to ascertain, by the use of the
natural reason, what on the whole conduces most to the public welfare,
in order to know the Divine Will. The rules, when arrived at, have a
"moral and eternal obligation," and are enforced by fear of "the Hell
God has ordained for the punishment of those that transgress them."

This form of Utilitarianism, resting on a theological basis and
enforced by theological sanctions, is precisely that which afterwards
became so popular and excited so much attention, when adopted in
the well-known work of Paley. According to this system, we do what
is right simply because God commands it, and because He will punish
us if we disobey His orders. "By the fault is the rod, and with the
transgression a fire ready to punish it." But, notwithstanding the
divine origin and the divine sanction of morality, its measure and test
are purely human. Each man is required by the Law of God to do all
the good and prevent all the evil that he can, and, as good and evil
are resolved into pleasure and pain, the ultimate test of virtue or
moral conduct comes to be its conduciveness to promote the pleasures
and avert the pains of mankind. Bentham, whose ethical system, it may
be noticed, differed mainly from that of Locke and Paley by not being
based on a theological foundation, extends the scope of morality to all
sentient creatures, capable of pleasure and pain.

I shall not here criticise Locke's theory so far as it is common to
other utilitarian systems of ethics, but shall simply content myself
with pointing out that its influence on subsequent writers has seldom,
if ever, been sufficiently recognized. The theological foundation,
however, on which it rests, and which is peculiar among the more
prominent moralists of modern times to Locke and Paley, is open to an
objection so grave and obvious, that it is curious it did not occur
to the authors themselves. If what is right and wrong, good and evil,
depends solely on the Will of God, how can we speak of God Himself as
good? Goodness, as one of the Divine attributes, would then simply mean
the conformity of God to His own Will. An elder contemporary of Locke,
Ralph Cudworth, so clearly saw the difficulties and contradictions
involved in this view of the nature and origin of morality, that he
devotes a considerable portion of his _Treatise concerning Eternal and
Immutable Morality_ (which, however, was not published till 1731) to
its refutation. And, possibly, Locke himself may have been conscious of
some inconsistency between this theory (the ordinary one amongst the
vulgar, though a comparatively rare one amongst philosophers) and the
attribution of goodness to God. For, in his chapter on our knowledge
of the existence of God, he never expressly mentions the attribute of
goodness as pertaining to the Divine Nature, though in other parts
of the _Essay_ it must be acknowledged that he incidentally does so.
Moralists and philosophical theologians have generally escaped the
difficulties of Locke's theory by making right or moral goodness depend
not on the Will but on the Nature of God, or else by regarding it as an
ultimate fact, incapable of explanation, or, lastly, by resolving it
into the idea of happiness or pleasure, which itself is then regarded
as an ultimate fact in the constitution of sentient beings.

Two other characteristic doctrines of Locke's ethical system ought
here to be mentioned, though it is impossible, within the space at my
command, to discuss them. One is that morality is a science capable of
demonstration. The other, which is elaborately set out in the chapter
on Power in the _Essay_ (Bk. II., ch. xxi.), is that, though the Agent
is free to act as he wills, the Will itself is invariably determined
by motives. This solution of the well-worn controversy on the Freedom
of the Will is almost identical with that offered by Hobbes before and
by Hume afterwards, and is usually known as Determinism.

We have seen that the main sanctions of morality, with Locke, are the
rewards and punishments of a future state. But how are we assured of
future existence? Only by Revelation. "Good and wise men," indeed,
"have always been willing to believe that the soul was immortal;"
but "though the Light of Nature gave some obscure glimmering, some
uncertain hopes of a future state, yet Human Reason could attain to
no clearness, no certainty about it, but it was Jesus Christ alone
who brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (Third
Letter to the Bp. of Worcester.) But if the main sanctions of morality
are those of a future state, and if it is Christians alone who feel
anything approaching to an assurance of such a state, surely morality
must come with somewhat weak credentials to the rest of mankind. And
Locke doubtless believed this to be the case. But then, if this be
so, Christians ought to be prepared to tolerate a much lower morality
than their own in dealing with men of other faiths--one of the many
inconvenient consequences which result from founding morality on a
theological basis.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under the head of Locke's theological writings may be included
the _Treatise on the Reasonableness of Christianity_ with the two
_Vindications_ of it--the _Essays on Toleration_, and the _Commentaries
on some of the Epistles of St. Paul_. _The Reasonableness of
Christianity_ was published in 1695, and may be taken as expressing
Locke's most matured opinions on the questions of which it treats,
though, in reading it, we must always bear in mind the caution and
reticence which any writer of that time who diverged from the strict
path of orthodoxy was obliged to observe. There can be no doubt
that his object in this work was to commend what he regarded as the
fundamental truths of Christianity to the attention of reflecting men,
and to vindicate to the Christian religion what he conceived to be its
legitimate influence over mankind. But, in trying to effect this his
main object, he seems also to have wished to correct what he regarded
as certain popular errors, and to bring back Christianity to the norm
of the Scriptures, instead of implicitly following the Fathers, the
Councils, and the received theology of the Churches and the Schools. He
attempted, he tells us, to clear his mind of all preconceived notions,
and, following the lead of the Scriptures, of which he assumed the
infallibility, to see whither they would lead him. We may certainly
trust his own assertion that he had no thoughts of writing in the
interest of any particular party, though, at the same time, it was
evidently his aim to extract from the Scriptures a theory as much as
possible in accordance with the requirements of human reason, or, in
other words, to reconcile the divine light with the natural light of
man. The main results at which he arrived may be stated very briefly,
as follows. Adam had been created immortal, but, by falling from the
state of perfect obedience, "he lost paradise, wherein was tranquillity
and the tree of life; that is, he lost bliss and immortality." "In Adam
all die," and hence all his descendants are mortal. But this sentence
is to be taken in its literal sense, and not in the signification that
"every one descended of him deserves endless torment in hell-fire."
For it seems "a strange way of understanding a law, which requires the
plainest and directest words, that by death should be meant eternal
life in misery." Much less can death be interpreted as a necessity of
continual sinning. "Can the righteous God be supposed, as a punishment
of our sin, wherewith He is displeased, to put man under the necessity
of sinning continually, and so multiplying the provocation?" Here it
will be seen Locke strikes at the root of the doctrines of the taint
and guilt of original sin, doctrines which had long been stoutly
opposed by the Arminians or Remonstrants with whom he had associated
in Holland. But though it would have been an injustice to condemn men,
for the fault of another, to a state of misery "worse than non-being,"
it was no wrong to deprive them of that to which they had no right,
the exceptional condition of immortality. Adam's sin, then, subjected
all men to death. But in Christ they have again been made alive, and
"the life which Jesus Christ restores to all men is that life which
they receive again at the resurrection." Now the conditions of our
obtaining this gift are faith and repentance. But repentance implies
the doing works meet for repentance; that is to say, leading a good
life. And faith implies a belief not only in the one invisible,
eternal, omnipotent God, but also in Jesus as the Messiah, who was
born of a virgin, rose again from the grave, and ascended into heaven.
When Christ came on earth, the minds of men had become so far blinded
by sense and lust and superstition that it required some visible and
unmistakable assertion of God's majesty and goodness to bring them back
to true notions of Him and of the Divine Law which He had set them.
"Reason, speaking ever so clearly to the wise and virtuous, had never
authority enough to prevail on the multitude." For the multitude were
under the dominion of the priests, and the "priests everywhere, to
secure their empire, had excluded reason from having anything to do
in religion." "In this state of darkness and error, in reference to
the 'true God,' our Saviour found the world. But the clear revelation
he brought with him dissipated this darkness, made the 'one invisible
true God' known to the world; and that with such evidence and energy,
that polytheism and idolatry have nowhere been able to withstand it."
And, as he revealed to mankind a clear knowledge of the one true God,
so also he revealed to them a clear knowledge of their duty, which was
equally wanting.

  "Natural religion, in its full extent, was nowhere that I know taken
  care of by the force of natural reason. It should seem, by the little
  that has hitherto been done in it, that it is too hard a task for
  unassisted reason to establish morality in all its parts, upon its
  true foundation, with a clear and convincing light. And it is at
  least a surer and shorter way to the apprehensions of the vulgar and
  mass of mankind, that one manifestly sent from God, and coming with
  visible authority from him, should, as a king and law-maker, tell
  them their duties and require their obedience, than leave it to the
  long and sometimes intricate deductions of reason to be made out
  to them. Such trains of reasoning the greater part of mankind have
  neither leisure to weigh, nor, for want of education and use, skill
  to judge of.... You may as soon hope to have all the day-labourers
  and tradesmen, the spinsters and dairy-maids, perfect mathematicians,
  as to have them perfect in ethics this way. Hearing plain commands is
  the sure and only course to bring them to obedience and practice. The
  greater part cannot learn, and therefore they must believe."

It is true that reason quickly apprehends and approves of these truths,
when once delivered, but "native and original truth is not so easily
wrought out of the mine as we, who have it delivered already dug and
fashioned into our hands, are apt to imagine;" moreover, "experience
shows that the knowledge of morality by mere natural light (how
agreeable soever it be to it) makes but a slow progress, and little
advance in the world."

The evidence of Christ's mission is to be found in the miracles, the
occurrence and the divine origin of which Locke, both here and in the
paper on Miracles published among his Posthumous Works, appears to have
thought it impossible to gainsay. "The miracles he did were so ordered
by the divine providence and wisdom, that they never were nor could be
denied by any of the enemies or opposers of Christianity." And "this
plain matter of fact being granted, the truth of our Saviour's doctrine
and mission unavoidably follows." But once acknowledge the truth of
Christ's mission, and the rule of life is evident. "To one who is once
persuaded that Jesus Christ was sent by God to be a King, and a Saviour
of those who do believe in him, all his commands become principles;
there needs no other proof for the truth of what he says, but that he
said it. And then there needs no more, but to read the inspired books,
to be instructed; all the duties of morality lie there clear, and
plain, and easy to be understood."

This, then, is Locke's scheme of a plain and reasonable Christianity.
"These are articles that the labouring and illiterate man may
comprehend. This is a religion suited to vulgar capacities, and the
state of mankind in this world, destined to labour and travail." "The
writers and wranglers in religion," indeed, "fill it with niceties, and
dress it up with notions, which they make necessary and fundamental
parts of it, as if there were no way into the church but through the
academy or lyceum;" but the religion which he had enunciated was,
Locke conceived, the religion of Christ and the Apostles, of the New
Testament and of Common-Sense.

That Locke, though he had no respect for the dogmas of the Church,
never seriously questioned the supernatural birth of Christ, the
reality of the Christian miracles, or the infallibility of the
Scriptures, is abundantly evident. On the last point his testimony
is quite as emphatic as on the former two. In the _Reasonableness
of Christianity_, speaking of the writers of the Epistles, he
says:--"These holy writers, inspired from above, writ nothing but
truth." And, to the same effect, in his Second Reply to Stillingfleet,
he writes:--"My lord, I read the revelation of the holy scripture with
a full assurance that all it delivers is true." The word "infallible"
is applied, without any misgiving or qualification, to the contents of
Scripture, though he assumes to each individual believer full liberty
of interpretation. During his residence in Holland, as we have already
seen, he appears to have entertained some doubts on this subject, but,
at a later period, those doubts appear to have been finally laid.

Notwithstanding, however, the sincerity and simplicity of Locke's
religious faith, the doctrines which he maintained must have
represented but a very attenuated Christianity to the partisans of
the two great religious parties which were at that time nominally
the strongest in England. A Christianity which did not recognize the
hereditary taint of original sin, and which passed over the mystery of
the Atonement in silence, must have been as distasteful to one party
as a Christianity which ignored Church authority and the exclusive
privileges of the apostolical succession must have been to the other.
And to the zealots of both parties alike, a statement of doctrine which
was silent on the mystery of the Trinity, or rather which seemed to
imply that the Son, though miraculously conceived, was not co-equal or
co-eternal with the Father, and which, by implication, appeared to
suggest that, though the righteous would be endowed with immortality,
the torments of the wicked would have an end, might well seem not
to deserve the name of Christianity at all. We need feel no wonder,
then, that the appearance of Locke's work was followed by a bitter
theological controversy which lasted during the rest of his life, and
beyond it. Of these attacks upon him, and his _Vindications_, I have
spoken in a previous chapter.

Whether Locke's presentation of Christianity is really more
"reasonable" than the ancient and venerable creeds which it attempted
to replace, is a question which might be debated now with fully as
much vigour as in his own day. On the one hand, it might be maintained
that a religion which has no mysteries, which has been pared down
to the requirements of human reason, has ceased to be a religion
altogether. That which is behind the veil can only be partially
revealed in our present condition and to our present faculties. Now
we know, and can know, only in part. On the other hand, it might be
said that the "reason" is quite as much offended by the doctrines
which Locke retained as by those which he rejected. It is necessary,
however, to recollect, in estimating his position, that the theological
difficulties of his age were moral and metaphysical rather than
scientific and critical. The moral consciousness of many reflecting men
was shocked by doctrines like those of original sin, predestination,
the atonement, and everlasting punishment. Nor could they reconcile to
their reason the seeming contradictions of the doctrine of a Triune
God. But the study of nature had not advanced sufficiently far, or
been sufficiently widely spread, to make the idea of supernatural
intervention in the ordinary course of affairs, such as is constantly
presented to us in the Biblical history, any serious or general
stumbling-block. Much less had the criticism of the Sacred Text, or
the comparison of it with the sacred books of other religions, become
sufficiently common, or been carried out with sufficient rigour, to
disturb, to any great extent, the received opinion that the Bible was
literally, or, at least, substantially, the Word of God. Hence the
_via media_ on which Locke took his stand, though it might have been
impossible to a philosopher of the next generation, seemed reasonable
and natural enough to speculative men among his contemporaries. And
for him it had at least this advantage, that it enabled him honestly
to reconcile the conclusions of his philosophy with the singular piety
and devoutness of his disposition. Had his religious doubts proceeded
further than they did, there would probably have ensued a mental
struggle which, besides causing him much personal unhappiness, might
have deprived posterity of the more important of his works.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of _The Letters on Toleration_, though deeply interesting to the
generation in which they were written, a very brief account will here
suffice. Their main thesis is, that the jurisdiction of the civil
magistrate does not extend to the regulation of religious worship or
to controlling the expression of religious beliefs, except so far as
that worship or those beliefs may interfere with the ends of civil
government. The respective provinces of a commonwealth and a church
are strictly defined, and are shown to be perfectly distinct. "The
boundaries on both sides are fixed and immovable. He jumbles heaven
and earth together, the things most remote and opposite, who mixes
these societies, which are in their original, end, business, and in
everything, perfectly distinct and infinitely different from each
other." But it may be asked, are there no speculative opinions, no
tenets, actual or possible, of any religious community which should be
restrained by the Civil Magistrate? The answer is, yes,--

  "First, No opinions contrary to human society, or to those moral
  rules which are necessary to the preservation of civil society, are
  to be tolerated by the magistrate."

Secondly, after speaking of those who maintain such positions as that
"faith is not to be kept with heretics," that "kings excommunicated
forfeit their crowns and kingdoms," that "dominion is founded in
grace," he proceeds:

  "These, therefore, and the like, who attribute unto the faithful,
  religious, and orthodox, that is, in plain terms, unto themselves,
  any peculiar privilege or power above other mortals in civil
  concernments, or who, upon pretence of religion, do challenge any
  manner of authority over such as are not associated with them in
  their ecclesiastical communion: I say these have no right to be
  tolerated by the magistrate, as neither those that will not own and
  teach the duty of tolerating all men in matters of mere religion. For
  what do all these and the like doctrines signify, but that they may,
  and are ready upon any occasion to seize the government, and possess
  themselves of the estates and fortunes of their fellow-subjects, and
  that they only ask leave to be tolerated by the magistrates so long
  until they find themselves strong enough to effect it?"

  "Thirdly, That church can have no right to be tolerated by the
  magistrate, which is constituted upon such a bottom that all those
  who enter upon it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to
  the protection and service of another prince. For by this means the
  magistrate would give way to the settling of a foreign jurisdiction
  in his own country, and suffer his own people to be listed, as it
  were, for soldiers against his own government."

  "Lastly, Those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of
  God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human
  society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God,
  though but even in thought, dissolves all."

The practical result of Locke's exceptions, at the time at which he
wrote, would have been to exclude from toleration Roman Catholics,
Atheists, and perhaps certain sects of Antinomians. Roman Catholics,
however, would not have been excluded on the ground of their belief
in Transubstantiation, as was actually the case, but because of those
tenets which, in Locke's judgment, made them bad or impossible subjects.

Locke was not by any means the first of English writers who had
advocated a wide toleration in religion. Bacon, in his remarkable
_Essay on Unity in Religion_, had laid down, in passing, a position
which is almost identical with that developed at length in the _Letters
on Toleration_. During the Civil Wars, the Independents, as a body, had
been led on by their theories of Church Government and of individual
inspiration to maintain, on principle, and accord, in practice, a
large measure of religious toleration. Amongst divines of the Church
of England, Hales of Eton, Chillingworth, and Jeremy Taylor, had
honourably distinguished themselves above the mass of their brethren
by expressly advocating, or unmistakably suggesting, the same humane
doctrines. The practical conclusions at which Taylor arrives, in his
noble work on the _Liberty of Prophesying_, bear a close resemblance
to those of Locke's _Letters on Toleration_, while the theoretical
considerations on which he mainly founds them, namely, the difficulty
of discovering religious truth, and the small number of theological
propositions of which we can entertain anything like certainty, might
be regarded as anticipating, to no small extent, some of the views
expressed in the _Reasonableness of Christianity_. Locke's attention
had been turned to these questions at an early period of his life
by the religious dissensions which accompanied the Civil Wars, and,
during the years immediately preceding the publication of the first
_Letter on Toleration_, his interest in them must have been sustained
not only by the events which were then happening in England, but by
the common topics of conversation amongst his Arminian or Remonstrant
friends in Holland. The peculiarities of their position and the
tendencies of their doctrines had, at an early date, forced on the
Dutch Remonstrants, just as on the English Independents, the necessity
of claiming and defending a wide toleration. What, perhaps, mainly
distinguishes Locke's pamphlets is their thorough outspokenness, the
political rather than the theological character of the argument,
and the fact that they are expressly dedicated to the subject of
Toleration, instead of treating of it incidentally.

The sharp line of demarcation which Locke draws between the respective
provinces of civil and religious communities seems to lead logically
to the inexpediency of maintaining a state establishment of religion.
The independence which he claims for all religious societies would be
inconsistent with the control which the State always has exercised, and
always must exercise, in the affairs of any spiritual body on which it
confers special privileges. This conclusion, we can hardly doubt, he
would have readily accepted. As far back as 1669, he had objected to
one of the articles in the "Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina,"
providing for the establishment and endowment of the Church of England
in that colony. Even at the present day, men who adopt the most liberal
and tolerant opinions on religious questions are divided as to the
expediency or inexpediency of recognizing a State-Church; but those
who embrace the latter alternative may, perhaps, fairly claim Locke as
having been on their side.

       *       *       *       *       *

The system contained in the _Reasonableness of Christianity_ had been
constructed solely on an examination of the Gospels and the Acts
of the Apostles. In addition to the difficulties of interpretation
attaching to the Epistles, Locke had urged that "they were writ to
them who were in the faith and true Christians already, and so could
not be designed to teach them the fundamental articles and points
necessary to salvation." But to one who accepted the divine inspiration
and infallibility of all parts of Scripture, it was essential to
establish the consistency and coherence of the whole. Accordingly, in
the later years of his life, Locke set himself the task of explaining
the Epistles. This work seems to have been undertaken more for his own
satisfaction and that of Lady Masham and his more immediate friends,
than with any distinct design of publication. Nor did his commentaries
see the light till after his death.

The commentatorial work accomplished by Locke consists of paraphrases
and notes on the Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, Romans, and
Ephesians, together with _An Essay for the understanding of St. Paul's
Epistles by consulting St. Paul himself_.

It is needless to remark that these commentaries are distinguished by
sound, clear sense, and by a manifest spirit of candour and fairness.
They are often quoted with approbation by commentators of the last
century. But in the present more advanced state of grammatical and
historical criticism, they are likely to remain, as they now are, the
least consulted of all his works.

The method, object, and drift of all Locke's theological writings is
the same. Regardless of ecclesiastical tradition, but assuming the
infallibility of the Scriptures, he attempts to arrive at the true and
essential import of God's Revelation to man. His theoretical conclusion
is that the articles of saving faith are few and simple, and the
practical application of that conclusion is that, not only within the
ample fold of Christianity, but even without it, all men, whose conduct
is consistent with the maintenance of civil society, should be the
objects of our goodwill and charity.



Locke's tractate on Education, though some of the maxims are reiterated
with needless prolixity, abounds in shrewdness and common-sense. Taking
as the object of education the production of "a sound mind in a sound
body," he begins with the "case," the "clay-cottage," and considers
first the health of the body. Of the diet prescribed, dry bread and
small beer form a large proportion. Locke is a great believer in the
virtues of cold water. Coddling, in all its forms, was to be repressed
with a strong hand. My young master was to be much in the open air, he
was to play in the wind and the sun without a hat, his clothes were
not to be too warm, and his bed was to be hard and made in different
fashions, that he might not in after-life feel every little change,
when there was no maid "to lay all things in print, and tuck him in

In the cultivation of the mind, far more importance is attached to
the formation of virtuous habits, and even of those social qualities
which go by the name of "good breeding," than to the mere inculcation
of knowledge. "I place Virtue as the first and most necessary of those
endowments that belong to a Man or a Gentleman; as absolutely requisite
to make him valued and beloved by others, acceptable or tolerable to
himself." Wisdom, that is to say, "a man's managing his business ably,
and with foresight, in this world," comes next in order. In the third
place is Good Breeding, the breaches of which may be all avoided by
"observing this one rule, Not to think meanly of ourselves, and not to
think meanly of others." Learning, though "this may seem strange in
the mouth of a bookish man," he puts last. "When I consider what ado
is made about a little Latin and Greek, how many years are spent in
it, and what a noise and business it makes to no purpose, I can hardly
forbear thinking that the parents of children still live in fear of the
Schoolmaster's Rod." "Seek out some body that may know how discreetly
to frame your child's manners: place him in hands where you may, as
much as possible, secure his innocence, cherish and nurse up the good,
and gently correct and weed out any bad inclinations, and settle in
him good habits. This is the main point, and, this being provided for,
Learning may be had into the bargain, and that, as I think" (a very
common delusion among the educational reformers of Locke's time), "at a
very easy rate, by methods that may be thought on."

These being Locke's ideas as to the relative value of the objects to be
aimed at in education, we need feel little surprise at the disfavour
with which he viewed the system of the English Public Schools.

  "Till you can find a School wherein it is possible for the Master
  to look after the manners of his scholars, and can show as great
  efforts of his care of forming their minds to virtue and their
  carriage to good breeding as of forming their tongues to the learned
  languages, you must confess that you have a strange value for words
  when, preferring the languages of the ancient Greeks and Romans to
  that which made 'em such brave men, you think it worth while to
  hazard your son's innocence and virtue for a little Greek and Latin.
  How any one's being put into a mixed herd of unruly boys, and there
  learning to wrangle at Trap or rook at Span-Farthing fits him for
  civil conversation or business, I do not see. And what qualities are
  ordinarily to be got from such a troop of Play-fellows as Schools
  usually assemble together from parents of all kinds, that a father
  should so much covet, is hard to divine. I am sure he who is able
  to be at the charge of a Tutor at home may there give his son a
  more genteel carriage, more manly thoughts, and a sense of what is
  worthy and becoming, with a greater proficiency in Learning into the
  bargain, and ripen him up sooner into a man, than any at School can

The battle of private and public education has been waged more or less
fiercely ever since Locke's time, as it was waged long before, and,
although it has now been generally decided in favour of the Schools,
many of his arguments have even yet not lost their force.

Not only in the interest of morality, character, and manners did Locke
disapprove the Public School system of his day. He also thought it
essentially defective in its subjects and modes of instruction. The
subjects taught were almost exclusively the Latin and Greek languages,
though at Locke's own school of Westminster the upper forms were also
initiated into Hebrew and Arabic. This linguistic training, though
of course it included translations from the classical authors, was
to a large extent carried on by means of verse-making, theme-making,
repetition, and grammar lessons. Against all these modes of teaching
Locke is peculiarly severe. Grammar, indeed, he would have taught, but
not till the pupil is sufficiently conversant with the language to be
able to speak it with tolerable fluency. Its proper place is as an
introduction to Rhetoric. "I know not why any one should waste his time
and beat his head about the Latin Grammar, who does not intend to be
a critic, or make speeches and write despatches in it.... If his use
of it be only to understand some books writ in it, without a critical
knowledge of the tongue itself, reading alone will attain this end,
without charging the mind with the multiplied rules and intricacies
of Grammar." But without a knowledge of some rules of grammar, which
need not, however, be taught in an abstract and separate form, but may
be learnt gradually in the course of reading, writing, and speaking,
how would it be possible to attain to any precise understanding of the
authors read? The fault of the old system, which even still lingers on
in school instruction, consisted not so much in teaching grammatical
rules, as in teaching them apart from the writings which exemplify
them, and which alone can render them intelligible or interesting to a

The practice of filling up a large part of a boy's time with making
Latin themes and verses meets with still more scathing censure than
that of initiating him into the learned languages by means of abstract
rules of grammar, and we may well imagine the cordial assent with which
many of Locke's readers, smarting under a sense of the time they had in
this way lost at school, would receive his criticisms.

  "For do but consider what it is in making a Theme that a young lad
  is employed about; it is to make a speech on some Latin saying, as
  _Omnia vincit amor_, or _Non licet in bello bis peccare_, &c. And
  here the poor lad, who wants knowledge of those things he is to speak
  of, which is to be had only from time and observation, must set his
  invention on the rack to say something where he knows nothing; which
  is a sort of Egyptian tyranny to bid them make bricks who have not
  yet any of the materials.... In the next place consider the Language
  that their Themes are made in. 'Tis Latin, a language foreign in
  their country, and long since dead everywhere: a language which
  your son, 'tis a thousand to one, shall never have an occasion once
  to make a speech in as long as he lives after he comes to be a man;
  and a language wherein the manner of expressing one's self is so far
  different from ours that to be perfect in that would very little
  improve the purity and facility of his English style."

  "If these may be any reasons against children's making Latin Themes
  at school, I have much more to say, and of more weight, against their
  making verses; verses of any sort. For if he has no genius to poetry,
  'tis the most unreasonable thing in the world to torment a child
  and waste his time about that which can never succeed; and if he
  have a poetic vein, 'tis to me the strangest thing in the world that
  the father should desire or suffer it to be cherished or improved.
  Methinks the parents should labour to have it stifled and suppressed
  as much as may be; and I know not what reason a father can have to
  wish his son a poet, who does not desire to have him bid defiance
  to all other callings and business. Which is not yet the worst of
  the case; for if he proves a successful rhymer, and get once the
  reputation of a Wit, I desire it may be considered what company and
  places he is likely to spend his time in, nay, and estate too. For it
  is very seldom seen that any one discovers mines of gold or silver in
  Parnassus. 'Tis a pleasant air, but a barren soil; and there are very
  few instances of those who have added to their patrimony by anything
  they have reaped from thence. Poetry and Gaming, which usually go
  together, are alike in this too, that they seldom bring any advantage
  but to those who have nothing else to live on."

Repetition, as it is called, or "learning by heart great parcels of
the authors which are taught," is unreservedly condemned as being
of "no use at all, unless it be to baulk young lads in the way to
learning languages, which, in my opinion, should be made as easy and
pleasant as may be." "Languages are to be learned only by reading
and talking, and not by scraps of authors got by heart; which when
a man's head is stuffed with, he has got the just furniture of a
pedant, than which there is nothing less becoming a gentleman." This
unqualified condemnation of the practice of committing to memory the
choicer pieces of classical authors, whether in the ancient or modern
languages, would hardly be adopted by the educational reformers of our
own day. To tax the memory of a child or a boy with long strings of
words, ill understood or not understood at all, is about as cruel and
senseless a practice as can well be conceived. It is one of the strange
devices, invented by perverse pedagogues and tolerated by ignorant
parents, through which literature and all that is connected with books
has been made so repulsive to many generations of young Englishmen.
But if the tastes and interests of the pupil are skilfully consulted,
and the understanding is called into action as well as the memory, a
store of well-selected passages learnt by rote will not only do much to
familiarize him with the genius of the language, but will also supply
constant solace and occupation in those moments of depression and
vacuity which are only too sure to occur in every man's life.

Locke, like Milton (see Milton's Pamphlet on Education addressed to
Master Samuel Hartlib, and cp. Pattison's _Life of Milton_, published
in this series, pp. 42-46), had embraced the new gospel of education
according to Comenius, and supposed that, by new methods, not only
might the road to knowledge be rendered very short and easy, but almost
all the subjects worth learning might be taught in the few years spent
at School and College. The whole of Milton's "complete and generous
education" was to be "done between twelve and one-and-twenty." And
similarly Locke thinks that "at the same time that a child is learning
French and Latin, he may also be entered in Arithmetic, Geography,
Chronology, History, and Geometry too. For if these be taught him in
French or Latin, when he begins once to understand either of these
tongues, he will get a knowledge in these sciences and the language
to boot." To these subjects are afterwards added Astronomy, Ethics,
Civil and Common Law, Natural Philosophy, and almost all the then known
branches of human knowledge, though, curiously enough, Greek is omitted
as not being, like Latin and French, essential to the education of
a gentleman, and being, moreover, easy of acquisition, "if he has a
mind to carry his studies farther," in after-life. Concurrently with
these intellectual pursuits, the model young gentleman is to graduate
in dancing, fencing, wrestling, riding, besides (and on this addition
to his accomplishments the utmost stress is laid) "learning a trade,
a manual trade, nay, two or three, but one more particularly." And
all this programme apparently was to be filled up before the age of
one-and-twenty, for at that time Locke assumes that, notwithstanding
all reasons and remonstrances to the contrary, my young master's
parents will insist on marrying him, and "the young gentleman being
got within view of matrimony, 'tis time to leave him to his mistress."
This idea of an education embracing the whole field of human knowledge
and accomplishments is a vision so attractive, that it would be strange
indeed if it did not from time to time present itself to the enthusiast
and the reformer. But wherever the experiment has been tried on boys
or youths of average strength and ability, the vision has invariably
been dissipated. And, as the circle of human knowledge is constantly
widening, whereas the capacity to learn remains much the same from
generation to generation, the failure is inevitable.

Any account of Locke's views on Education, however meagre, would be
very imperfect, if it neglected to notice the motives to obedience
and proficiency which be proposed to substitute for what was then too
often the one and only motive on which the Schoolmaster relied, fear
of the rod. Corporal chastisement should be reserved, he thought, for
the offence of wilful and obstinate disobedience. In all other cases,
appeal should be made to the pupil's natural desire of employment and
knowledge, to example acting through his propensity to imitation, to
reasoning, to the sense of shame and the love of commendation and
reputation. Many of Locke's suggestions for bringing these motives
effectually to bear are very ingenious, and the whole of this part of
the discussion is as creditable to his humanity as to his knowledge of
human nature.

There is a large literature on the theory of education, from the Book
of Proverbs and the _Republic_ of Plato downwards. It is no part of my
task even to mention the principal writers in this field. But, besides
some of the works of Comenius, the Essay of Montaigne _De l'institution
des enfants_, and the tractate of Milton already referred to, we may
almost take for granted that Locke had read the _Schoolmaster_ of
Roger Ascham. This author, who was instructor to Queen Elizabeth, is
already sufficiently independent of scholastic traditions to think
that "children are sooner allured by love, than driven by beating, to
attain good learning," and to suggest that "there is no such whetstone
to sharpen a good wit, and encourage a will to learning, as is praise."
He protests almost as strongly as Locke against the senseless mode,
then and long afterwards prevalent, of teaching grammar merely by means
of abstract rules, and proposes, as in part substitute, the method
of double translation, that is, of translating from the foreign or
dead language into English, and then back again. Of the many works on
education subsequent to Locke's, the most famous is, undoubtedly, the
_Emile_ of Rousseau. On Rousseau's theories there can be no question
that Locke, mediately or immediately, exercised considerable influence,
though the range of speculation covered in the _Emile_ far exceeds that
of the _Thoughts concerning Education_. Of the points common to the two
writers, I may specify the extension of the term "education" to the
regulations of the nursery, the substitution of an appeal to the tender
and the social affections for the harsh discipline mostly in vogue
among our ancestors, the stress laid on the importance of example and
habituation in place of the mere inculcation of rules, and, as a point
of detail, the desirableness of learning one or more manual trades. One
circumstance, however, as Mr. Morley has pointed out, distinguishes the
_Emile_ from all the works on education which preceded it. Its scope
is not confined to the children of well-to-do people, and hence its
object is to produce, not the scholar and the gentleman, but the man.
The democratic extension thus given to educational theories has since
borne fruit in many schemes designed for general applicability, or,
specifically, for the education of the poor, such as those of Basedow,
Pestalozzi, and, among our own countrymen, Dr. Bell.

       *       *       *       *       *

In connexion with the _Thoughts on Education_, it may be convenient to
notice the short treatise on the _Conduct of the Understanding_. It
is true that it was designed as an additional chapter to the _Essay_,
but the main theme of which it treats is connected rather with the
work of self-education than with the analysis of knowledge, or the
classification of the faculties. This admirable little volume, which
may be read through in three or four hours, appears to have been
intended by Locke as at least a partial substitute for the ordinary
logic. As in matters of conduct, so in the things of the intellect, he
thought little of rules. It was only by practice and habituation that
men could become either virtuous or wise. But, though it is perfectly
true that rules are of little use without practice, it is not easy
to see how habit can be successfully initiated or fostered without
the assistance of rules; and inadequate as were the rules of the old
scholastic logic to remedy the "natural defects in the understanding,"
they required rather to be supplemented than replaced. The views of
Bacon on this subject, much as they have been misunderstood, are juster
than those of Locke.

Right reasoning, Locke thought (and this is nearly the whole truth,
though not altogether so), is to be gained from studying good models
of it. In the _Thoughts on Education_, he says, "If you would have
your son reason well, let him read Chillingworth." In this treatise,
with the same view he commends the study of Mathematics, "Not that I
think it necessary that all men should be deep mathematicians, but
that, having got the way of reasoning which that study necessarily
brings the mind to, they might be able to transfer it to other parts
of knowledge, as they shall have occasion." The great difference to be
observed in demonstrative and in probable reasoning is that, in the
former one train of reasoning, "bringing the mind to the source on
which it bottoms," is sufficient, whereas "in probabilities it is not
enough to trace one argument to its source, and observe its strength
and weakness, but all the arguments, after having been so examined on
both sides, must be laid in balance one against another, and, upon the
whole, the understanding determine its assent."

The great defect of this tractate (but its brevity makes the defect
of less importance) is its singular want of method. In fact, it
appears never to have undergone revision. The author seems to throw
together his remarks and precepts without any attempt at order, and
he never misses any opportunity of repeating his attacks on what he
evidently regarded as being, in his own time, the main hindrances to
the acquisition of a sound understanding--prejudice and pedantry. But
in justness of observation, incisiveness of language, and profound
acquaintance with the workings of the human mind, there are many
passages which will bear comparison with anything he has written.
Specially worthy of notice is the homely and forcible character of many
of his expressions, as when he speaks of a "large, sound, roundabout
sense," of "men without any industry or acquisition of their own,
inheriting local truths," of great readers "making their understanding
only the warehouse of other men's lumber," of the ruling passion
entering the mind, like "the sheriff of the place, with all the posse,
as if it had a legal right to be alone considered there."

Except for the inveterate and growing custom of confining works
employed in education to such as can be easily lectured on and easily
examined in, it is difficult to understand why this "student's guide,"
so brief, and abounding in such valuable cautions and suggestions,
should have so nearly fallen into desuetude.



Locke's two _Treatises of Government_ (published in 1690) carry us back
into the region of worn-out controversies. The troublous times which
intervened between the outbreak of the Civil War and the Revolution of
1688, including some years on either side, naturally called forth a
large amount of controversy and controversial literature on the rights
of kings and subjects, on the origin of government, on the point at
which, if any, rebellion is justifiable, and other kindred topics. Not
only did the press teem with pamphlets on these subjects, but, for
three-quarters of a century, they were constantly being discussed and
re-discussed with a dreary monotony in Parliament, in the pulpits, in
the courts of law, and in the intercourse of private society. It is
no part of my plan to give any account of these disputes, except so
far as they bear immediately on the publication of Locke's treatises.
It is enough, therefore, to state that the despotic and absolutist
side in the controversy had been, or was supposed to have been,
considerably re-inforced by the appearance in 1680 of a posthumous
work, which had been circulated only in manuscript during its author's
lifetime, entitled _Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings_, by Sir
Robert Filmer. This curious book (a more correct edition of which was
published by Edmund Bohun in 1685) grounds the rights of kings on the
patriarchal authority of Adam and his successors. Adam had received
directly from God (such was the theory) absolute dominion over Eve and
all his children and their posterity, to the most remote generations.
This dominion, which rested on two independent grounds, paternity
and right of property, was transmitted by Adam to his heirs, and is
at once the justification of the various sovereignties now exercised
by kings over their subjects, and a reason against any limitation of
their authority or any questioning of their titles. By what ingenious
contrivances the two links of the chain--Adam and the several monarchs
now actually reigning on the earth--are brought together, those curious
in such speculations may find by duly consulting the pages of Sir
Robert Filmer's work.

Such a tissue of contradictions, assumptions, and absurdities as is
presented by this book (which, however, contains one grain of truth,
namely, that all political power has, historically, its ultimate origin
in the dominion exercised by the head of the family or tribe) might
have been left, one would think, without any serious answer. But we
must recollect that at that time theological arguments were introduced
into all the provinces of thought, and that any reason, which by any
supposition could be connected with the authority of Scripture, was
certain to exercise considerable influence over a vast number of minds.
Any way, the book was celebrated and influential enough to merit, in
Locke's judgment, a detailed answer. This answer was given in due form,
step by step, in the former of Locke's two _Treatises_, which appears
to have been written between 1680 and 1685, as the Edition of the
_Patriarcha_ quoted is invariably that of 1680. I do not propose to
follow him through his various arguments and criticisms, many of which,
as will readily be supposed, are acute and sagacious enough. Most
modern readers will be of opinion that one of his questions might alone
have sufficed to spare him any further concern, namely, Where is Adam's
heir now to be found? If he could be shown, and his title indubitably
proved, the subsequent question of his rights and prerogatives might
then, perhaps, be profitably discussed.

Of incomparably more importance and interest than the former treatise
is the latter, in which Locke sets forth his own theory concerning "the
true original, extent, and end of Civil Government." Mr. Fox Bourne
is probably correct in referring the date of the composition of this
treatise to the time immediately preceding and concurrent with the
English Revolution, that is to say, to the closing period of Locke's
stay in Holland. The work, especially in the later chapters, bears
the marks of passion, as if written in the midst of a great political
struggle, and, in the Preface to the two _Treatises_, it is distinctly
stated to be the author's object "to establish the throne of our great
restorer, our present King William, and to justify to the world the
people of England, whose love of their just and natural rights saved
the nation when it was on the very brink of slavery and ruin."

The theories advanced by Locke on the origin and nature of civil
society have much in common with those of Puffendorf and Hooker, the
latter of whom is constantly quoted in the foot-notes. After some
preliminary speculations on the "state of nature," he determines that
Political Society originates solely in the individual consents of those
who constitute it. This consent, however, may be signified either
expressly or tacitly, and the tacit consent "reaches as far as the
very being of any one within the territories of that government."

Though no man need enter a political society against his will, yet
when, by consent given either expressly or tacitly, he has entered it,
he must submit to the form of government established by the majority.
There is, however, one form of government which it is not competent
even to the majority to establish, and that is Absolute Monarchy,
this being "inconsistent with civil society, and so being no form
of government at all." Locke ridicules the idea that men would ever
voluntarily have erected over themselves such an authority, "as if,
when men quitting the state of nature entered into society, they agreed
that all of them but one should be under the restraint of laws, but
that he should still retain all the liberty of the state of nature,
increased with power and made licentious by impunity. This is to think
that men are so foolish, that they take care to avoid what mischiefs
may be done them by pole-cats or foxes, but are content, nay, think it
safety, to be devoured by lions." In these and some of the following
strictures, he seems to have in view not only the ruder theories of
Filmer and the absolutist divines, but also the more philosophical
system of Hobbes.

But, supposing a government other than an Absolute Monarchy to have
been established, are there any acts or omissions by which it can
forfeit the allegiance of its subjects? To answer this question, we
must look to the ends of political society and government. Now the
great and chief end which men propose to themselves, when they unite
into commonwealths, is "the mutual preservation of their lives,
liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name, property."
A government, therefore, which neglects to secure this end, and still
more a government which itself invades the rights of its subjects,
is guilty of a breach of trust, and consequently may be lawfully set
aside, whenever an opportunity occurs. Hence the community itself must
always be regarded as the supreme authority, in abeyance, indeed, while
its fiduciary properly and faithfully executes the powers entrusted to
him, but ever ready to intervene when he misuses or betrays the trust
reposed in him.

On such a theory, it may be objected, of the relations of the people to
the government, what is to prevent incessant disturbance and repeated
revolutions? Locke relies on the inertia of mankind. Moreover, as he
says, with considerable truth, in a previous passage, whatever theories
may be propounded, or whatever traditions may have been handed down, as
to the origin, nature, and extent of government, a people, which knows
itself to be rendered miserable by the faults of its rulers and which
sees any chance of bettering its condition, will not be deterred from
attempting to throw off a yoke which has become intolerable. "When the
people are made miserable, and find themselves exposed to the ill-usage
of arbitrary power, cry up their governors, as much as you will, for
sons of Jupiter; let them be sacred and divine, descended or authorized
from heaven; give them out for whom or what you please, the same will
happen. The people generally ill-treated, and contrary to right, will
be ready upon any occasion to ease themselves of a burden that sits
heavy upon them."

But, though there is much truth in this last remark, there can be
little question that absolutist theories of government, especially
when clothed with a religious sanction which appeals to the beliefs
of the people at large, have much influence in protecting the person
of an absolute ruler, as well as in ensuring the execution of his
orders; while, on the other hand, theories like those of Locke have
a tendency to encourage criticism, and to weaken many of the motives
which have usually prevented men from offering resistance to the
established government. The practical consequences of Locke's theories,
as reproduced and improved on by later writers, would probably be
found, if we could trace them, to be represented, in no inconsiderable
degree, in the French and American revolutions which occurred about
a century after the publication of the Treatises. Nor have his
speculations been without their share, probably, in determining much of
the political history and still more of the political sentiment of our
own country. To maintain that kings have a divine right to misgovern
their subjects, or to deny that the people are, in the last resort,
the supreme arbiters of the fate of their rulers, are paradoxes which,
to Englishmen of our generation, would appear not so much dangerous
as foolish. This altered state of sentiment, and the good fruit it
has borne in the improved relations between the Legislature and the
People, the Crown and the Parliament, may, without undue partiality, be
ascribed, at least in some measure, to the generous spirit of liberty
which warms our author's pages, and to the Whig tradition which so long
cherished his doctrines, till at last they became the common heritage
of the English people.

Admirable, however, as, in most respects, are the parts of Locke's
treatise which discuss the present relations of governors and governed,
his conception of the remote origin of political society is radically
false. "The first framers of the government," "the original frame of
the government" (ch. xiii.), have never had any existence except in
the minds of jurists and publicists. In the primitive stages of human
development, governments, like languages, are not made; they grow.
The observation of primitive communities still existing, combined
with the more intelligent study of ancient history, has led recent
writers to adopt a wholly different view of the _origin_ of government
(the question of the respective _rights_ of governors and governed
is not affected) from that which prevailed in the times of Hobbes,
Locke, and Rousseau. The family or the tribe (according to different
theories) is the original unit of society. Government, therefore, of
some kind or other must always have existed, and the "state of nature"
is a mere fiction. In course of time, the family or the tribe, by a
natural process of development, would, in many cases, become greatly
enlarged, or combine with other units like itself. Out of this growth
or aggregation would arise, in most cases gradually and insensibly,
the nation or state as known to later history. The constitution, the
"frame of government," has generally passed through stages similar to
those passed through by the state or nation. A body of custom must
gradually have grown up even in the most primitive societies. The
"customs" would be interpreted and so administered by the house-father
or head of the tribe. But, as the family or tribe changed its abode,
or had to carry on its existence under different circumstances, or
became enlarged, or combined with other families or tribes, the customs
would necessarily be modified, often insensibly and unconsciously.
Moreover, the house-father or head of the tribe might be compelled
or might find it expedient to act in concert with others, either as
equals or subordinates, in interpreting the customs, in taking measures
of defence, in directing military operations, or in providing for
the various exigencies of the common life. Here there is no formal
assent of the governed to the acts of the governors, in our sense of
those terms, though, undoubtedly, the whole family or tribe, or its
stronger members, might on rare occasions substitute one head for
another; no passage from the "state of nature" to political society;
no definitely constituted "frame of government." At a further stage,
no doubt, political constitutions were discussed and framed, but this
stage was long posterior to the period in the progress of society at
which men are supposed to have quitted the state of nature, selected
their form of government, and entered into an express contract with
one another to obey and maintain it. The fault of Locke, like that
of the other political speculators of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, consisted in assuming that primitive man was impelled by the
same motives, and acted in the same manner and with the same deliberate
design, as the men of his own generation. As in morals and psychology,
so in politics, the historical and comparative methods, so familiar to
recent investigators, were as yet hardly known.

       *       *       *       *       *

I ought not to dismiss this book without noticing Locke's remarks on
the necessity of Parliamentary Reform. "To what gross absurdities the
following of custom, when reason has left it, may lead, we may be
satisfied when we see the bare name of a town, of which there remains
not so much as the ruins, where scarce so much housing as a sheepcote
or more inhabitants than a shepherd is to be found, sends as many
representatives to the grand assembly of law-makers as a whole county
numerous in people and powerful in riches."

       *       *       *       *       *

The writings of Locke on Trade and Finance are chiefly interesting
to us on account of the place which they occupy in the History of
Political Economy. They consist of three tracts, the occasions and
consequences of which have already been described. The main positions
which he endeavours to establish are three. First, interest, or the
price of the hire of money, cannot, ordinarily speaking, be regulated
by law, and, if it could so be regulated, its reduction below the
natural or market rate would be injurious to the interests of the
public. Secondly, as silver and gold are commodities not differing
intrinsically in their nature from other commodities, it is impossible
by arbitrary acts of the Government to raise the value of silver and
gold coins. You may, indeed, enjoin by Act of Parliament that sixpence
shall henceforth be called a shilling, but, all the same, it will only
continue to purchase six-penny-worth of goods. You will soon find
that the new shilling is only as effective in the market as the old
sixpence, and hence, if the Government has taken the difference, it has
simply robbed its subjects to that amount. The third position, which
he only maintains incidentally in discussing the other two, is that
the commercial prosperity of a country is to be measured by the excess
of its exports over its imports, or, as the phrase then went, by the
balance of trade. The two former of these propositions are simple,
but long-disputed, economical truths. The latter is an obstinate and
specious economical fallacy.

To understand Locke's contention on the first point, it must be
borne in mind that in his time, and down even to the middle of the
present reign, the maximum rate of interest allowable in all ordinary
transactions was fixed by law. By the statute 12 Car. II. (passed in
1660) it had been reduced from eight to six per cent. Sir Josiah Child,
whose _Observations concerning Trade_ had been reprinted in 1690, and
who probably represented a very large amount of mercantile opinion,
advocated its further reduction to four per cent. He maintained,
quoting the example of Holland, that low interest is the cause of
national wealth, and that, consequently, to lower the legal rate of
interest would be to take a speedy and simple method of making the
country richer. Against this proposal Locke argued that the example of
Holland was entirely beside the question; that the low rate of interest
in that country was owing to the abundance of ready money which it had
formerly enjoyed, and not to any legal restrictions; nay, in the States
there was no law limiting the rate of interest at all, every one being
free to hire out his money for anything he could get for it, and the
courts enforcing the bargain. But, further, suppose the proposed law to
be enacted; what would be the consequences? It would be certain to be
evaded, while, at the same time, it would hamper trade, by increasing
the difficulty of borrowing and lending. Rather than lend at a low rate
of interest, many men would hoard, and, consequently, much of the money
which would otherwise find its way into trade would be intercepted,
and the commerce of the country be proportionately lessened. Excellent
as most of these arguments are, Locke unfortunately stopped short of
the legitimate conclusion to be drawn from them. He did not propose,
as he should have done, to sweep away the usury laws altogether, but
simply to maintain the existing law fixing the maximum of interest at
six per cent. Sir Dudley North, in his admirable pamphlet, _Discourses
on Trade_, published in 1691, just before the publication of the
_Considerations_, but too late, perhaps, to have been seen by Locke,
takes a much more consistent view as to the expediency of legal
restrictions on the rate of interest. "As touching interest of money,
he is clear that it should be left freely to the market, and not be
restrained by law." Notwithstanding the opposition of men like North
and Locke, to whom may be added an earlier writer, Sir William Petty,
the arguments of Child partially triumphed in the next reign. By the
12th of Anne, the legal rate of interest was reduced to five per cent.,
and so continued till the Act of 1854, repealing, with regard to all
future transactions, the existing Usury Laws. There can be little doubt
that public opinion had been prepared for this measure mainly through
the publication of Bentham's powerful _Defence of Usury_, the telling
arguments of which had gradually impressed themselves on the minds of
statesmen and economists. Adam Smith, on the other hand, had stopped
just where Locke did. "The legal rate of interest, though it ought
to be somewhat above, ought not to be much above the lowest market
rate." That the rate of interest, whatever it may be, should be fixed
by law, he appears to take for granted. Indeed, he seems to write more
confidently on this point than Locke had done, and, in this particular
at least, appears to be of opinion that the legislator can look after
the private interests of individuals better than they can look after
their own. Happily, as Bentham points out, the refutation of this
paradox was to be found in the general drift and spirit of his work.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the second question, "raising the value of money," Locke's views
are much clearer and more consistent than on the first. It would
be impossible to state more explicitly than he has done the sound
economical dictum that gold and silver are simply commodities, not
differing essentially from other commodities, and that the government
stamp upon them, whereby they become coin, cannot materially raise
their value. As most of my readers are aware, it has been a favourite
device, time out of mind, of unprincipled and impecunious governments
to raise the denomination of the coin, or to put a smaller quantity of
the precious metals in coins retaining the old denomination, with the
view of recruiting an impoverished exchequer. There have, doubtless,
been financiers unintelligent enough to suppose that this expedient
might enrich the government, while it did no harm to the people. But it
requires only a slight amount of reflection to see that all creditors
are defrauded exactly in the same proportion as that in which the
coin is debased. One lucid passage from Locke's answer to Lowndes may
suffice to show the forcible manner in which he presents this truth:

  "Raising of coin is but a specious word to deceive the unwary. It
  only gives the usual denomination of a greater quantity of silver to
  a less (_v. g._, calling four grains of silver a penny to-day, when
  five grains of silver made a penny yesterday), but adds no worth
  or real value to the silver coin, to make amends for its want of
  silver. That is impossible to be done. For it is only the quantity
  of silver in it that is, and eternally will be, the measure of its
  value. One may as rationally hope to lengthen a foot, by dividing it
  into fifteen parts instead of twelve and calling them inches, as to
  increase the value of silver that is in a shilling, by dividing it
  into fifteen parts instead of twelve and calling them pence. This is
  all that is done when a shilling is raised from twelve to fifteen

Lowndes had maintained that "raising the coin," in addition to
making up the loss caused by calling in the clipped money, and other
advantages, would increase the circulating medium of the country, and
so put a stop to the multiplication of hazardous paper-credit and the
inconveniences of bartering. Nothing could be better than Locke's

  "Just as the boy cut his leather into five quarters (as he called
  them) to cover his ball, when cut into four quarters it fell short,
  but, after all his pains, as much of his ball lay bare as before;
  if the quantity of coined silver employed in England fall short,
  the arbitrary denomination of a greater number of pence given to
  it, or, which is all one, to the several coined pieces of it, will
  not make it commensurate to the size of our trade or the greatness
  of our occasions. This is as certain as that, if the quantity of a
  board which is to stop a leak of a ship fifteen inches square, be but
  twelve inches square, it will not be made to do it by being measured
  by a foot that is divided into fifteen inches, instead of twelve, and
  so having a larger tale or number of inches in denomination given to

The general principle that to depreciate the coinage is to rob the
creditor, and that, though you may change the name, you cannot change
the thing, was quite as emphatically stated by Petty and North as by
Locke. But the value of Locke's tracts consisted in their amplitude of
argument and illustration, which left to the unprejudiced reader no
alternative but to accept their conclusion. As he himself said in a
letter to Molyneux, "Lay by the arbitrary names of pence and shillings,
and consider and speak of it as grains and ounces of silver, and 'tis
as easy as telling of twenty."

       *       *       *       *       *

Locke had the penetration to see that the laws existing in his time
against the exportation of gold and silver coin must necessarily be
futile, and, while it was permitted to export bullion, could answer no
conceivable purpose. These laws, which date from the time of Edward
the Third, were, curiously enough, not repealed till the year 1819,
though as early as the time of the Restoration they had been pronounced
by so competent a judge as Sir William Petty to be "nugatory" and
"impracticable." Nothing, as Locke says towards the conclusion of his
answer to Lowndes, could prevent the exportation of silver and gold
in payment of debts contracted beyond the seas, and it could "be no
odds to England whether it was carried out in specie or when melted
down into bullion." But the principle on which the prohibition of
exporting gold and silver coin ultimately rested seems to have been
accepted by him as unhesitatingly as it was by almost all the other
economists of the time. That principle was that the wealth of a nation
is to be measured by the amount of gold and silver in its possession,
this amount depending on the ratio of the value of the exports to
that of the imports. When the value of the exports exceeded that of
the imports, the Balance of Trade, as it was called, was said to be
in favour of a country; when, on the other hand, the value of the
imports exceeded that of the exports, the Balance of Trade was said to
be against it. A favourable balance, it was assumed, must necessarily
increase the amount of gold and silver in the country, while an
unfavourable balance must necessarily diminish it. And, lastly, the
amount of gold and silver in its possession was the measure of a
nation's wealth. These views form part of what political economists
call the Mercantile Theory, which it was the peculiar glory of Adam
Smith to demolish.

It is somewhat humiliating to the biographer of Locke to be obliged to
confess that, in this respect, his theories on trade lag considerably
behind those of an almost contemporary writer, Sir Dudley North, whose
work has already been mentioned. Some of North's maxims are worthy of
Adam Smith, and one wonders that, when once enunciated, they found so
little currency, and were so completely ignored in both the literature
and the legislation of the time. Here are a few, but the whole tract
may be read in less than an hour: "The whole world, as to trade, is but
as one nation or people, and therein nations are as persons." "The loss
of a trade with one nation is not that only, separately considered,
but so much of the trade of the world rescinded and lost, for all is
combined together." "No laws can set prices in trade, the rates of
which must and will make themselves; but, when such laws do happen
to lay any hold, it is so much impediment to trade, and therefore
prejudicial." "No man is richer for having his estate all in money,
plate, &c., lying by him, but, on the contrary, he is for that reason
the poorer. That man is richest whose estate is in a growing condition,
either in land at farm, money at interest, or goods in trade." "Money
exported in trade is an increase to the wealth of the nation; but spent
in war and payments abroad, is so much impoverishment." "We may labour
to hedge in the Cuckoo, but in vain; for no people ever yet grew rich
by policies, but it is peace, industry, and freedom that brings trade
and wealth, and nothing else."

Some of Locke's opinions on trade and finance were undoubtedly
erroneous, and it must be confessed that the little tract of Sir Dudley
North supplies a better summary of sound economical doctrine than any
which we can find in his writings; but then this brochure is merely a
summary, with little of argument or elucidation, and perhaps it would
be difficult to point to any previous or contemporary writer whose
works are, on the whole, more important in the history of economical
science than those of Locke.



To trace Locke's influence on subsequent speculation would be to write
the History of Philosophy from his time to our own. In England, France,
and Germany there have been few writers on strictly philosophical
questions in this century or the last who have not either quoted
Locke's _Essay_ with approbation, or at least paid him the homage of
stating their grounds for dissenting from it. In the last century,
his other works, especially those on Government and Toleration, may
be said to have almost formed the recognized code of liberal opinion
in this country, besides exercising a considerable influence on the
rapidly developing speculations which, in the middle of the century,
were preparing an intellectual no less than a social revolution in
France. I can here only speak of the nature of Locke's influence, and
of the directions it took, in the very broadest outline, and it is the
less necessary that I should enter into detail, as I have frequently
adverted to it in the preceding chapters.

In England, the _Essay_, though from the first it had its ardent
admirers, seemed, for some years after its appearance, to have produced
its effect on English philosophical literature mainly by antagonism.
Many were the critics who attacked the "new way of ideas," and
attempted to show the evil consequences to morals, religion, and exact
thought which must follow from the acceptance of Locke's speculations.
Here and there he was defended, but the attack certainly largely
outnumbered the defence. Of these controversies I have already given
some account in the chapters on Locke's Life, and need not, therefore,
now recur to them. The first English writer on philosophy of the
highest rank who succeeded Locke was Berkeley, and on him the influence
of his predecessor is so distinctly apparent, that it may well be
questioned whether Berkeley would ever have written the _Principles_
and the _Dialogues_, if Locke had not written the _Essay_. Locke had
regarded not "things" but "ideas" as the immediate objects of the mind
in thinking, though he had supposed these ideas to be representative of
things; but why, argued Berkeley, suppose "things" to exist, if "ideas"
are the only objects which we perceive? Again, Locke had analyzed
the idea of Matter conceived as "Substance" into "we know not what"
support of known qualities. How, then, said Berkeley, do we know that
it exists? The idealist philosophy of Berkeley may thus be viewed as
a development, on one side, of the philosophy of Locke. But Hume, by
carrying Berkeley's scepticism further than he had done himself, and by
questioning the reality of Substance, as applied either to matter or
mind, may be said to have developed Locke's principles in a direction
which was practically the very reverse of that taken by Berkeley.
For the result of Berkeley's denial of "matter" was to enhance the
importance of "mind," and to re-assure men as to the existence of one
all-embracing mind in the person of the Deity. But the result of the
questions which Hume raised as to the substantial existence of either
Matter or Mind was to leave men in a state of pure scepticism, or, as
we should now perhaps call it, Agnosticism. On the other applications
of Hume's method, I need not detain the reader. To the ordinary
common-sense Englishman, who approached philosophical questions with
interest but without any special metaphysical aptitude, the systems
both of Hume and Berkeley appeared to be open to the fatal objection of
paradox, and hence, throughout the eighteenth century, Locke continued,
in ordinary estimation, to hold the supreme place among English
philosophers. Horace Walpole (writing in 1789) probably expresses
the average opinion of the English reading public of his time, when
he says that Locke (with whom he couples Bacon) was almost the first
philosopher who introduced common-sense into his writings. Nor was
it only that he was supreme in popular estimation. His influence is
apparent in almost every philosophical and quasi-philosophical work
of the period. It may specially be mentioned that the doctrine of
Innate Ideas went out of fashion, both word and thing, and, when a
similar doctrine came into vogue at the end of the century, under the
authority of Reid and Stewart, it was in a modified form and under a
new appellation, that of primary or fundamental beliefs. These authors
always spoke with the greatest respect of Locke, and Stewart especially
was always anxious to establish, when possible, an identity of opinion
between himself and his illustrious predecessor. And even in recent
times, when the topics and conditions of philosophical speculation
have undergone so much change, there are few philosophical authors of
eminence who do not make frequent reference to Locke's _Essay_. It
is now perhaps seldom read through except by professed students of
philosophy, but it is still probably oftener "dipped into" than any
other philosophical treatise in the language.

In France, the _Essay_ at first made little way. It took more than
twenty years to sell off the first edition of the French translation,
but from 1723 to 1758 editions followed one another in rapid succession
at intervals of about six years. Voltaire says that no man had been
less read or more abused in France than Locke. The points in his
philosophy which seem to have been specially selected for attack
were the statements that God might, if he pleased, annex thought to
matter, and that the natural reason could not alone assure us of the
immortality of the soul. The qualifications, as the custom is, were
dropped out of these statements, and it was roundly asserted that Locke
maintained the soul to be material and mortal. Voltaire does not fail
to point out the hastiness and injustice of these conclusions, and
is himself unbounded in his admiration for the English philosopher.
Malebranche, he says, is read on account of the agreeableness of his
style, Descartes on account of the hardihood of his speculations;
Locke is not read, because he is merely wise. There never was a
thinker more wise, more methodical, more logical than Locke. Other
reasoners had written a romance of the soul; Locke came and modestly
wrote its history, developing the ideas of the human understanding
as an accomplished anatomist explains the forces of the human body.
Voltaire lived to see the philosophy of Locke, or rather an extreme
phase of it, become almost the established creed of those who cared at
all for speculative questions in France. Condillac in his early work,
the _Essai sur l'Origine des Connoissances Humaines_ (first published
in 1746), simply adopts Locke's account of the origin of knowledge,
finding it in the two sources of Sensation and Reflection. But in his
later work, the _Traité des Sensations_, which appeared in 1754, he
has gone far beyond his master, and not only finds the origin of all
knowledge in sensation alone, but of all our faculties as well. It
is in this work that the metaphor of the gradually animated statue
occurs. Condillac's system soon became the fashionable philosophy
of his countrymen, and both friends and foes credited Locke with
its parentage. With Joseph de Maistre, who may be regarded as the
bitterest exponent of French Ultramontanism, Locke is the immediate
link through whom Helvétius, Cabanis, and the other enemies of the
human race in France had derived from Bacon the principles which had
been so destructive to their country and mankind. But it was not the
followers of Condillac only who professed to base their systems on
the principles of Locke. Degerando, writing in 1813, says, "All the
French philosophers of this age glory in ranging themselves among the
disciples of Locke, and admitting his principles." The great names of
Turgot, Diderot, D'Alembert, Condorcet, and Destutt de Tracy alike
appear in the roll of his professed disciples. And even when the
reaction against the authority of Locke began in France, his influence
might still be traced in authors like Maine de Biran, Royer Collard,
Cousin, and Jouffroy, however emphatically they might repudiate his
system as a whole. Lastly, Auguste Comte may be connected with Locke
through Hume.

Except by way of reaction and opposition, Locke's influence has
been felt much less in Germany than in either England or France.
The earliest opponent of his philosophy, who himself held any high
rank as a philosopher, was Leibnitz, who, in his _Nouveaux Essais_
(written in 1704, but not published till 1765), attacked not only
Locke's specific conclusions, but his method of commencing the study of
philosophy with an examination of the human mind. Yet he recognizes
the _Essay_ as "one of the most beautiful and most esteemed works of
this time." It may be remarked as curious that he is disposed to rate
the _Thoughts on Education_ even still higher than the _Essay_. But,
when we think of Locke's relation to German philosophy, it is mainly
in connexion with the antagonism of Kant. For, though Kant states
that he was "awoke from his dogmatic slumber" by reading Hume, it is
plain, throughout the _Kritik_, that he has in his mind the system of
Locke at least as much as that of his sceptical successor. And yet
these two great philosophers, the reformer of English and the reformer
of German philosophy, have much in common, specially their mode of
approaching the problems of ontology and theology, which have vexed
so many generations of thinkers, by first inquiring into the limits,
capacities, and procedure of the human mind.

Of the specific influence of Locke's treatises on Government, Religion,
Toleration, Education, and Finance I have already said something in
previous chapters. In each one of these subjects the publication of his
views forms a point of departure, and no writer on the history of any
one of them could dispense with a lengthened notice of his theories.

But far more important than their specific influence on other writers,
or even on the development of the subjects with which they deal, has
been the effect of Locke's writings on the history of progress and
civilization. In an age of excitement and prejudice, he set men the
example of thinking calmly and clearly. When philosophy was almost
synonymous with the arid discussion of scholastic subtleties, he wrote
so as to interest statesmen and men of the world. At a time when the
chains of dogma were far tighter, and the penalties of attempting to
loosen them far more stringent, than it is now easy to conceive, he
raised questions which stirred the very depths of human thought. And
all this he did in a spirit so candid, so tolerant, so liberal, and
so unselfish, that he seemed to be writing not for his own party or
his own times, but for the future of knowledge and of mankind. To
sound every question to the bottom, never to allow our convictions to
outstrip our evidence, to throw aside all prejudices and all interests
in the pursuit of truth, but to hold the truth, when found, in all
charity and with all consideration towards those who have been less
fortunate than we--these are the lessons which, faithfully transmitted
through two centuries by those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, he
has bequeathed to us and our posterity.





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MAGAZINE, Fourth Cover Page, $1500 00; Third Cover Page, or First Page
of advertisement sheet, $500 00; one-half of such page when whole
page is not taken, $300 00; one-quarter of such page when whole page
is not taken, $150 00; an Inside Page of advertisement sheet, $250
00; one-half of such page, $150 00; one-quarter of such page, $75
00; smaller cards on an inside page, per line, $2 00: in the WEEKLY,
Outside Page, $2 00 a line; Inside Pages, $1 50 a line: in the BAZAR,
$1 00 a line: in the YOUNG PEOPLE, Cover Pages, 50 cents a line.
Average: eight words to a line, twelve lines to an inch. Cuts and
display charged the same rates for space occupied as solid matter.
Remittances should be made by Post-Office Money Order or Draft, to
avoid chance of loss.

    Address: HARPER & BROTHERS,
                 FRANKLIN SQUARE, NEW YORK.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unpaired
quotation marks were retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Greek words are shown in Greek and then in English transliterations
that are indicated by [Greek: ] and were added by the transcriber.

The Illustration on the title page is the Publisher's logo.

Page 24: "Any way" was printed as "Anyway" but changed here for
consistency with how it was printed the other 8 times.

Page 117: Added missing closing quotation mark after 'in the world,'.

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