صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني




cannot be alleged in excuse for another. This reason, ⠀ how good soever, cannot, I think, be used by me, as not reaching my case; for what has this to do with consciousness? Nay, it is an argument against me, for if a man may be punished for any crime which he committed when drunk, whereof he is allowed not to be conscious, it overturns my hypothesis. Your case of shooting a man by chance, when stealing a deer, being made capital, and the like, I allow to be just; but then, pray consider, it concerns not my argument; there being no doubt of consciousness in that case, but i only shows, that any criminal action infects the consequences of it. But drunkenness has something peculiar in it, when it destroys consciousness; and so the instances you bring justify not the punishing of a drunken fact, that was totally and irrecoverably forgotten; which the reason that I give being sufficient to do, it well enough removed the objection, without entering into the true foundation of the thing, and showing how far it was reasonable for human justice to punish a crime of a drunkard, which he could be supposed not conscious! of, which would have uselessly engaged me in a very large discourse, and an impertinent digression.. For I ask you, if a man, by intemperate drinking, should get a fever, and in the frenzy of his disease (which lasted" not, perhaps, above an hour), committed some crime, would you punish him for it? If you would not think this just, how can you think it just to punish him for any fact committed in a drunken frenzy, without a fever? Both had the same criminal cause, drunkenness, and both committed without consciousness. I shall not enlarge any farther into other particular instances, that might raise difficulties about the punishing, or not o punishing, the crime of an unconscious, drunken man; which would not easily be resolved, without inquiring into the reason upon which human justice ought to pro ceed in such cases, which was beyond my present busi ness to do. Thus, sir, I have laid before you the reasons why I have let that passage go, passage go, without any addition made to it. I desire you to lay by your friend




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ship to me, and only to make use of your judgment in considering them. And if you are still of opinion, that I need give the reason too, that one crime cannot be alleged in excuse of another, I beg the favour of you to let me know it as soon as you can, that I may add what is necessary in this place, amongst the errata, before my book comes out, which advances now apace, and I believe there are, by this time, near 150 pages of it printed. And now, sir, though I have not agreed with your opinion in this point; yet I beseech you, believe I am as much obliged to your kindness in it as if you had shown me what, upon your reason, had appeared to me the grossest mistake; and I beg the favour of you, whenever you cast your eye upon any of my writings, to continue and communicate to me your remarks.

You write to me as if ink had the same spell upon me that mortar, as the Italians say, has upon others, that when I had once got my fingers into it, I could never afterwards keep them out. I grant, that methinks I see subjects enough, which way ever I cast my eyes, that deserve to be otherwise handled, than I imagine they have been; but they require abler heads, and stronger bodies than I have, to manage them. Besides, when I reflect on what I have done, I wonder at my own bold folly, that has so far exposed me, in this nice and critical, as well as quick-sighted and learned age. I say not this to excuse a lazy idleness, to which I intend to give up the rest of my few days. I think every one, according to what way Providence has placed him in, is bound to labour for the public good, as far as he is able, or else he has no right to eat. Under this obligation of doing something, I cannot have a stronger to determine me what I shall do, than what your desires shall engage me in. I know not whether the attempt will exceed my strength. But there being several here, who join with you to press me to it (I received a letter with the same instance, from two of my friends at London, the last post), I think, the first leisure I can get to myself, I shall apply my thoughts to it; and

however I may miss my aim, will justify myself in my obedience to you, and some others of my ingenious friends.

I am exceedingly obliged to capt. Monk, for his kind remembrance, and to you for sending it me, and letting me know he is alive. I have, as I ought, all the esteem for him, that you know so modest and good a man deserves. Pray, when you see him, present my humble service to him, and let him know that I am extremely glad to hear that he is well, and that he has not forgot me, and should be much more so, to see him here again in England. Pray give my humble service to your brother. I am,

Dear sir,

Your most humble and most faithful servant,

Mr. Molyneux to Mr. Locke.


Dublin, Feb. 17, 1693-4.

I AM SO very sensible of the great caution, and deep consideration you use, before you write any thing, that I wonder at my own hardiness, when I venture to object any thing against your positions. And when I read your answers to any such of my objections, I much more admire at my own weakness in making them. I have a new instance of this in your last of January 18th, which came not to this place before yesterday. This has most abundantly satisfied me, in the doubt I lay under concerning the case of a drunken man; which you have cleared up to me, in three words, most convincingly. So that I think you have no reason in the least to alter that paragraph, unless you may think it convenient to express that matter a little plainer; which, I think, indeed, your last letter to me does

better than your twenty-second section of that chapter. That section runs thus:

22." But is not a man, drunk and sober, the same person? Why else is he punished for the fact he commits when drunk, though he be never afterwards conscious of it? Just as much the same person as a man -that walks and does other things in his sleep, is the same person, and is answerable for any mischief he shall do in it. Human laws punish both with a justice suitable to their way of knowledge; because, in these cases, they cannot distinguish certainly what is real, what counterfeit. And so the ignorance in drunkenness or sleep is not admitted as a plea," &c.

Now I conceive that which makes the expression herein not so very clear, is, "suitable to their way of knowledge;" some will be apt to mistake the word their, to refer to the drunken or sleeping man, whereas it refers to the laws, as if you had said, "suitable to that way of knowledge or information which the laws have established to proceed by."

This, in your letter, is very manifest in a few words. There you say "punishment is annexed to personality, personality to consciousness. How then can a drunkard be punished for what he did, whereof he is not conscious? To this I answer, human judicatures justly punish him, because the fact is proved against him, but want of consciousness cannot be proved for him." This, sir, is most full in the case you are there treating of. So I have nothing more to offer in that matter.

Only give me leave to propose one question more to you, though it be foreign to the business you are upon, in your chapter of identity. How comes it to pass, that want of consciousness cannot be proved for a drunkard as well as for a frantic? One, methinks, is as manifest as the other; and if drunkenness may be counterfeit, so may a frenzy. Wherefore to me it seems, that the law has made a difference in these two cases, on this account, viz. "that drunkenness is commonly incurred voluntarily and premeditately; whereas a frenzy is

commonly without our consent, or impossible to be prevented." But enough of this.

I should not have troubled you with this, but that, according to your usual candour and goodness, you seemed to desire my farther thoughts thereon, as speedily as I could. I am,

Most worthy Sir,

Your most obliged humble servant,

Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.


London, May 26, 1694. THE slowness of the press has so long retarded my answer to your last obliging letter, that my book, which is now printed and bound, and ready to be sent to you, must be an excuse for my long silence. By the obedience I have paid to you in the index and summaries, ordered according to your desires, you will see it is not want of deference to you, or esteem of you, that has caused this neglect. And the profit I have made by your reflections, on several passages of my book, will, I hope, encourage you to the continuance of that freedom, to a man who can distinguish between the censures of a judicious friend, and the wrangling of a peevish critic. There is nothing more acceptable to me than the one, nor more, I think, to be slighted than the other. If, therefore, as you seem to resolve, you shall throw away any more of your time in a perusal of my essay; judge, I beseech you, as severely as you can, of what you read. I know you will not forsake truth to quarrel with me; and, whilst you follow her, you will always oblige me, by showing me my mistakes, or what seems to you to be so. You will find, in this second edition, that your advice, at any time, has not been thrown away upon me. And you will see, by the errata, that, though

« السابقةمتابعة »