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MR. LOCKE'S REPLY
BISHOP OF WORCESTER'S ANSWER
Your lordship, in the beginning of the last letter you honoured me with, seems so uneasy and displeased at my having said too much already in the question between us, that I think I may conclude, you would be well enough pleased if I should say no more; and you would dispense with me, for not keeping my promise I made you to answer the other parts of your first letter. If this proceeds from any tenderness in your lordship for my reputation, that you would not have me expose myself by an overflow of words, in many places void of clearness, coherence, and argument, and that therefore might have been spared; I must acknowledge it is a piece of great charity, and such wherein you will have a lasting advantage over me, since good manners will not permit me to return you the like. Or should I, in the ebullition of thoughts, which in me your lordship finds as impetuous as the springs of Modena mentioned by Ramazzini, be in danger to forget myself, and to think I had some right to return the general complaint of length and intricacy without force; yet you have secured yourself from the suspicion of any such trash on your side, by making cobwebs the easy product of those who write out of their own thoughts, which it might be a crime in me to impute to your lordship.
If this complaint of yours be not a charitable warning to me, I cannot well guess at the design of it; for I
would not think that in a controversy, which you, my lord, have dragged me into, you would assume it as a privilege due to yourself to be as copious as you please, and say what you think fit, and expect I should reply only so, and so much, as would just suit your good liking, and serve to set the cause right on that side which your lordship contends for.
My lord, I shall always acknowledge the great distance that is between your lordship and myself, and pay that deference that is due to your dignity and person. But controversy, though it excludes not good manners, will not be managed with all that submission which one is ready to pay in other cases. Truth, which is inflexible, has here its interest, which must not be given up, in a compliment. Plato and Aristotle, and other great names, must give way, rather than make us renounce truth, or the friendship we have for her.
This possibly your lordship will allow, for it is not spun out of my own thoughts; I have the authority of others for it, I think it was in print before I was born. But you will say however, I am too long in my replies. It is not impossible but it may be so. But with all due respect to your lordship's authority (the greatness whereof I shall always readily acknowledge), I must crave leave to say, that in this case you are by no means a proper judge. We are now, as well your lordship as myself, before a tribunal to which you have appealed, and before which you have brought me: it is the public must be judge, whether your lordship has enlarged too far in accusing me, or I in defending myself. Common justice makes great allowance to a man pleading in his own defence; and a little length (if he should be guilty of it) finds excuse in the compassion of bystanders, when they see a man causelessly attacked, after a new way, by a potent adversary; and, under various pretences, occasions sought, and words wrested to his disadvantage.
This, my lord, you must give me leave to think to be my case, whilst this strange way your lordship has brought me into this controversy; your gradual accusations of my book, and the different causes your lordship
has assigned of them; together with quotations out of it, which I cannot find there; and other things I have complained of (to some of which your lordship has not vouchsafed any answer) shall remain unaccounted for, as I humbly conceive they do.
I confess my answers are long, and I wish they could have been shorter. But the difficulty I have to find out, and set before others, your lordship's meaning, that they may see what I am answering to, and so be able to judge of the pertinency of what I say; has unavoidably enlarged them. Whether this be wholly owing to my dulness, or whether a little perplexedness, both as to grammar and coherence, caused by those numbers of thoughts, whether of your own or others, that crowd from all parts to be set down when you write, may not be allowed to have some share in it, I shall not presume to say. I am at the mercy of your lordship and my other readers in the point, and know not how to avoid a fault that has no remedy.
Your lordship says, "the world soon grows weary of controversies, especially when they are about personal matters; which made your lordship wonder that one who understands the world so well, should spend above fifty pages in renewing and enlarging a complaint wholly concerning himself."
To which give me leave to say, that if your lordship had so much considered the world, and what it is not much pleased with, when you published your discourse in Vindication of the Trinity, perhaps your lordship had not so personally concerned me in that controversy, as appears now you have, and continue still to do.
Your lordship wonders "that I spend above fifty pages in renewing and enlarging my complaint concerning myself." Your wonder, I humbly conceive, will not be so great, when you recollect, that your answer to my complaint, and the satisfaction you proposed to give me and others in that personal matter, began the first letter you honoured me with, and ended where you said, “ you suppose the reason of your mentioning my words so often was now no longer a riddle to me; and so you proceeded to other par
ticulars of my vindication." If therefore I have spent fifty pages of my answer, in showing that what you offered in forty-seven pages for my satisfaction was none, but that the riddle was a riddle still; the disproportion in the number of pages is not so great as to be the subject of much wonder: especially to those who consider, that, in what you call personal matter, I was showing that my Essay, having in it nothing contrary to the doctrine of the Trinity, was yet brought into that dispute; and that therefore I had reason to complain of it, and of the manner of its being brought in: and if you had pleased not to have moved other questions, nor brought other charges against my book till this, which was the occasion and subject of my first letter, had been cleared; by making out that the passages you had, in your Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, quoted out of my book, had something in them against the doctrine of the Trinity, and so were, with just reason, brought by you, as they were, into that dispute; there had been no other but that personal matter, as you call it, between us.
In the examination of those pages meant, as you said, for my satisfaction, and of other parts of your letter, I found (contrary to what I expected) matter of renewing and enlarging my complaint, and this I took notice of and set down in my Reply, which it seems I should not have done the knowledge of the world should have taught me better; and I should have taken that for satisfaction which you were pleased to give, in which I could not find any, nor, as I believe, any intelligent or impartial reader. So that your lordship's care of the world, that it should not grow weary of this controversy, and the fault you find of my misemploying fifty pages of my letter, reduces itself at last in effect to no more but this, that your lordship should have a liberty to say what you please, pay me in what coin you think fit; my part should be to be satisfied with it, rest content, and say nothing. This indeed might be a way not to weary the world, and to save fifty pages of clean paper, and put such an end to the controversy as your lordship would not dislike.