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spoke of by others: but I perfectly agree with you concerning general theories, that they are, for the most. part, but a sort of waking dreams, with which, when men have warmed their own heads, they pass into unquestionable truths, and then the ignorant world must be set right by them: though this be, as you rightly observe, beginning at the wrong end, when men lay the foundation in their own fancies, and then endeavour to suit the phenomena of diseases, and the cure of them, to those fancies. I wonder that, after the pattern Dr. Sydenham has set them of a better way, men should re, turn again to that romance way of physic. But I see it is easier, and more natural, for men to build castles in the air, of their own, than to survey. well those that are to be found standing. Nicely to observe the history of diseases in all their changes and circumstances, is a work of time, accurateness, attention, and judgment, and wherein if men, through prepossession or oscitancy, mistake, they may be convinced of their error by unerring nature and matter of fact, which leaves less room for the subtlety and dispute of words, which serves very much instead of knowledge, in the learned world, where, methinks, wit and invention has much the preference to truth. Upon such grounds as are the established history of diseases, hypotheses might with less danger be erected, which I think are so far useful, as they serve as an art of memory to direct the physician in particular cases, but not to be relied on as foundations of reasoning, or ve rities to be contended for, they being, I think I may say all of them, suppositions taken up gratis, and will so remain, till we can discover how the natural functions of the body are performed, and by what alteration of the humours, or defects in the parts, they are hindered or disordered. To which purpose, I fear the Galenists' four humours, orthechemists' sal, sulphur, and mercury, or the late prevailing invention of acid and alkali, or whatever hereafter shall be substituted to these with new applause, will, upon examination, be found to be but 80 many learned empty sounds, with no precise determinate signification. 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 works 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 practice: and he that is this way most sagacious will, I imagine, make the best physician, though he should entertain distinct hypotheses concerning distinct species of diseases, subservient to this end, that were inconsistent one with another; they being made use of in those several sorts of diseases, but as distinct arts of memory, in those

And I the rather say this, that they might be relied on only as artificial helps to a physician, and not as philosophical truths to a naturalist. But, sir, I run too far, and must beg your pardon for talking so freely on a subject you understand so much better than I do. I hoped the way of treating of diseases, which, with so much approbation, Dr. Sydenham had introduced into the world, would have beaten the other out, and turned men from visions and wrangling to observation, and endeavouring after settled practices in more diseases ; such as I think he has given us in some. If my zeal for the saving men's lives, and preserving their health (which is infinitely to be preferred to any speculations ever so fine in physic) has carried me too far, you will excuse it in one who wishes well to the practice of physic, though he meddles not with it. I wish you and your brother, and all yours, a very happy new year, and am,

Your most humble and faithful servant,


Dr. Molyneux to Mr. Locke.


Dublin, Nov. 4, 1693. For a while I deferred making any return for the favour of your last letter, on the account I understood, VOL. IX.



by one of yours to my brother, that I was suddenly to expect another obligation from you, by the receipt of your Treatise of Education, which yesterday first came to my hands; and now I return you my hearty thanks for both your kindnesses together, of which should I express the real thoughts I have, I should seem to run either into extravagant compliment, or gross flattery: but thus much I must needs say, that as your letter

, certainly contains, in short, the only true method for the prosecuting the curing part of the practice of physic, and the sure way of improving it, -a matter of the chiefest good, in relation to men’s bodies,—so your book of education lays down such rules for the breeding of youth as, if followed, must necessarily prove of the greatest advantage to the better part of man, the mind, by insensibly disposing it to an habitual exercise of what is virtuous and laudable, and the acquisition of all such knowledge as is necessary for one's own good, or that of others whom we are to converse with. Whence I cannot but think, had those of our own countries but a thorough persuasion, and a right sense of the great benefit that redounds from a cheerful education, so as universally to put it in practice, without question, we should soon become a nation as remarkably different from the rest of the world, for the inward endowments of our minds, and the rectitude of our manners, as the negroes are from the rest of mankind, for their outward shape and colour of body. But this, I fear, is a happiness only to be wished for; however, he that makes it his endeavour to promote so great a good, by showing the certain way to it, if they will follow him, justly

deserves the high esteem of all that know how to value a truly public spirit.

I hope, sir, you have your health better, and that we may suddenly have abroad your Essay of Human Understanding, with those farther additions and alterations you have some time since designed for the press: I am confident it is impatiently expected by all that are acquainted with your writings, and that peculiar


clear manner of delivering truth you are so much master of, but by none more than,


Your most faithful humble servant,


Dr. Molyneux to Mr. Locke.


Dublin, Oct. 25, 1697. I should oftener make acknowledgments to you for your favours, and express the great esteem I bear you, but that this barren place affords little else to say; and this I cannot think reason enough to trouble one so busy and usefully engaged as you always are. Yet I would not omit thanking you, by this worthy gentleman, Mr. Berrisford, your acquaintance, for a present of a book, I understand by my brother, you designed

, for me, though I was so unlucky as to miss of it; and

I also communicate to you the enclosed letter, which the bishop of Clogher was pleased (perhaps out of his too partial friendship) to tell me deserved to be made public, and desired me accordingly to transmit it to Dr. Sloane: but this I would not do, unless it have your approbation also ; so that it is wholly at your disposal to do with it as you please, as is likewise,

Sir, Your very

affectionate friend,

and humble servant,


Mr. Locke to Dr. Molyneur.


Oates, Oct. 27, 1698. DEATH has, with a violent hand, hastily snatched from you a dear brother. I doubt not but, on this oc

, casion, you need all the consolation can be given to one unexpectedly bereft of so worthy and near a relation. Whatever inclination I may have to alleviate your sorrow, I bear too great a share in the loss, and am too sensibly touched with it myself, to be in a condition to discourse you on this subject, or do any thing but mingle my tears with yours. I have lost, in your brother, not only an ingenious and learned acquaintance, that all the world esteemed; but an intimate and sincere friend, whom I truly loved, and by whom I was truly loved: and what a loss that is, those only can be sensible who know how valuable, and how scarce, a true friend is, and how far to be preferred to all other sorts of treasure. He has left a son, who I know was dear to him, and deserved to be so as much as was possible, for one of his age. I cannot think myself wholly incapacitated from paying some of the affection and service that was due from me to my dear friend, as long as he has a child, or a brother, in the world. If, therefore, there be any thing, at this distance, wherein I, in my little sphere, may be able to serve your nephew or you, I beg you, by the memory of our deceased

, friend, to let me know it, that you may see that one who loved him so well, cannot but be tenderly concerned for his son, nor be otherwise than I am,

Your most humble, and
most affectionate servant,

John Locke.

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