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the wisest and happiest Romans that lived in the age of Augustus, by means of the care he took to preserve himself clear of ambition and avarice, to keep his desires within bounds, and to cultivate the friendship of the greatest men of those times, without living in their dependence.
Mr. Locke also disliked those authors that labour only to destroy, without establishing any thing themselves : “ A building,” said he, displeases them. They find great faults in it ; let them demolish it, and welcome, provided they endeavour to raise another in its place, if it be possible.”
He advised, that, whenever we have meditated any thing new, we should throw it as soon as possible upon paper, in order to be the better able to judge of it by seeing it altogether; because the mind of man is not capable of retaining clearly a long chain of consequences, and of seeing, without confusion, the relation of a great number of different ideas. Besides, it often happens, that what we had most admired, when considered in the gross, and in a perplexed manner, appears to be utterly inconsistent and unsupportable, when we see every part of it distinctly.
Mr. Locke also thought it necessary always to communicate one's thoughts to some friend, especially if one proposed to offer them to the public; and this was what he constantly observed himself. He could hardly conceive how a being of so limited a capacity as man, and so subject to error, could have the confidence to neglect this precaution.
Never man employed his time better than Mr. Locke, as appears by the works he published himself; and perhaps, in time, we may see new proofs of it. He spent the last fourteen or fifteen years of his life at Oates, a country-seat of Sir Francis Masham's, about five and twenty miles from London, in the county of Essex. I cannot but take pleasure in imagining to myself, that this place, so well known to so many persons of merit, whom I have seen come thither from so many parts of England to visit Mr. Locke, will be famous to posterity, for the long abode that great man made there. Be that as it may, it was there that enjoying sometimes the conversation of his friends, and always the company of my Lady Masham, for whom Mr. Locke had long conceived a very particular esteem and friendship (in spite of all that lady's merit, this is all the eulogium she shall have of me now) he tasted sweets, which were interrupted by nothing but the ill state of a weakly and delicate constitution. During this agreeable retirement, he applied himself especially to the study of the Holy Scripture ; and employed the last years of his life in hardly any thing else. He was never weary of admiring the great views of that sacred book, and the just relation of all its parts; he every day made discoveries in it, that gave him fresh cause of admiration. It is strongly reported in England, that those discoveries will be communicated to the public. If so, the whole world, I am confident, will have a full proof of what was observed by all that were near Mr. Locke to the last part of his life; I mean, that his mind never suffered the least decay, though his body grew every day visibly weaker and weaker.
His strength began to fail him more remarkably than ever, at the entrance of the last summer; a season which, in former years, had always restored him some degrees of strength. Then he foresaw that his end was very near.
He often spoke of it himself, but always with great composure, though he omitted none of the precautions, which his skill in physic taught him, to prolong his life. At length his legs began to swell ; and, that swelling increasing every day, his strength diminished very visibly. He then saw how short a time he had left to live, and prepared to quit this world, with a deep sense of all the blessings which God had granted him, which he took delight in numbering up to his friends, and full of a sincere resignation to his will, and of firm hopes in his promises, built upon the word of Jesus Christ, sent into the world to bring to light life and immortality by his gospel.
At length, his strength failed him to such a degree, that, the 26th of October, 1704, two days before his death, going to see him in his closet, I found him on his knees, but unable to rise again without assistance.
The next day, though he was not worse, he would
continue a-bed. All that day he had a greater difficulty of respiration than ever, and about five of the clock, in the evening, he fell into a sweat, accompanied with an extreme weakness, that made us fear for his life. He was of opinion himself, that he was not far from his last moment. Then he desired to be remembered at evening prayers; thereupon my Lady Masham told him, that, if he would, the whole family should come and pray by him in his chamber. He answered, he should be very glad to have it so, if it would not give too much trouble; there he was prayed for particularly. After this, he gave some orders with great serenity of mind; and, an occasion offering of speaking of the goodness of God, he especially exalted the love which God showed to man, in justifying him by faith in Jesus Christ. He returned him thanks, in particular, for having called him to the knowledge of that divine Saviour. He exhorted all about him to read the Holy Scripture attentively, and to apply themselves sincerely to the practice of all their duties; adding, expressly, that “ by this means they would be more happy in this world, and secure to themselves the possession of eternal felicity in the other.” He passed the whole night without sleep. The next day he caused himself to be carried into his closet, for he had not strength to walk by himself; and there in his chair, and in a kind of dozing, though in his full senses, as appeared by what he said from time to time, he gave up the ghost about three in the afternoon, the 28th of October.
I beg you, Sir, not to take what I have said of Mr. Locke's character for a finished portrait. It is only a slight sketch of some few of his excellent qualities. I am told we shall quickly have it done by the hand of a master. To that I refer you. Many features, I am sure, have escaped me; but I dare affirm, that those, which I have given you a draught of, are not set off with false colours, but drawn faithfully from the life.
I must not omit a particular in Mr. Locke's will, which it is of no small importance to the commonwealth of learning to be acquainted with; namely, that therein he declares what were the works which he had published without setting his name to them. The occasion of it was this: some time before his death, Dr. Hudson, keeper of the Bodleian library at Oxford, had desired him to send him all the works with which he had favoured the public, as well those with his name as those without, that they might be all placed in that famous library. Mr. Locke sent him only the former; but in his will he declares he is resolved fully to satisfy Dr. Hudson, and to that intent he bequeaths to the Bod. leian library a copy of the rest of his works, to which he had not prefixed his name, viz. a Latin Letter concerning Toleration, printed at Tergou, and translated some time afterwards into English, unknown to Mr. Locke ; two other letters upon the same subject, in answer to the objections made against the first; The Reasonableness of Christianity, with two Vindications of that book; and Two Treatises of Government. These are all the anonymous works which Mr. Locke owns himself to be the author of.
For the rest, I shall not pretend to tell you at what age he died, because I do not certainly know it. I have often heard him say, he had forgot the year of his birth; but that he believed he had set it down somewhere. It has not yet been found among his papers; but it is computed that he was about sixty-six.
Though I have continued some time at London, a city very fruitful in literary news, I have nothing curious to tell you. Since Mr. Locke departed this life, I have hardly been able to think of any thing, but the loss of that great man, whose memory will always be dear to me; happy if, as I admired him for many years, that I was near him, I could but imitate him in any one respect! I am, with all sincerity,
Sir, your, &c.
CAR O L I N A.
Our sovereign lord the king having, out of his royal grace and bounty, granted unto us the province of Carolina, with all the royalties, properties, jurisdictions, and privileges, of a county palatine, as large and ample as the county palatine of Durham, with other great privileges, for the better settlement of the government of the said place, and establishing the interest of the lords proprietors with equality, and without confusion; and that the government of this province may be made most agreeable to the monarchy under which we live, and of which this province is a part; and that we may avoid erecting a numerous democracy: we, the lords and proprietors of the province aforesaid, have agreed to this following form of government, to be perpetually established amongst us, unto which we do oblige ourselves, our heirs, and successors, in the most binding ways that can be devised.