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the books, give matter of enlarging myself this evening. The common offices of friendship, that I constantly receive from you, in a very obliging manner, give me scope enough, and afford me large matter of acknowledgment. But when I think of you, I feel something of nearer concernment that touches me; and that noble principle of the love of truth, which possesses you, makes me almost forget those other obligations, which I should be very thankful for to another.

In good earnest, sir, you cannot think what a comfort it is to me to have found out such a man; and not only so, but I have the satisfaction that he is my friend. This gives a gusto to all the good things you say to me, in your letter. For though I cannot attribute them to myself (for I know my own defects too well), yet I am ready to persuade myself you mean as you say; and to confess the truth to you, I almost loathe to undeceive you, so much do I value your good opinion.

But to set it upon the right ground, you must know that I am a poor ignorant man, and, if I have any thing to boast of, it is that I sincerely love and seek truth, with indifferency whom it pleases or displeases. I take you to be of the same school, and so embrace you. And if it please God to afford me so much life as to see you again, I shall communicate to you some of my thoughts tending that way.

You need not make any apology for any book that is not yet come. I thank you for those you have sent me ; they are more, I think, than I shall use; for the indisposition of my health has beaten me almost quite out of the use of books; and the growing uneasiness of my distemper makes me good for nothing. I am, &c.

To the same.

Oates, January 24, 1703-4.

SIR, TILL your confidence in my friendship, and freedom with me, can preserve you from thinking you have need

* An asthma.



to make apologies for your silence, whenever you omit a post or two, when in your kind way of reckoning, you judge a letter to be due; you know me not so well as I could wish; nor am I so little burthensome to you as I desire. I could be pleased to hear from you every day; because the very thoughts of you, every day, afford me pleasure and satisfaction. But I beseech you to believe, that I measure not your kindness by your opportunities of writing; nor do suspect that your friendship flattens, whenever your pen lies a little still. The sincerity you profess, and I am convinced of, has charms in it, against all the little phantoms of ceremony. If it be not so, that true friendship sets one free from a scrupulous observance of all those little circumstances, I shall be able to give but a very ill account of myself to my friends; to whom, when I have given possession of my heart, I am less punctual in making of legs, and kissing my hand, than to other people, to whom that outside civility is all that belongs.

I received the three books you sent me. That which the author sent me deserves my acknowledgment more ways than one; and I must beg you to return it. His demonstrations are so plain, that, if this were an age that followed reason, I should not doubt but his would prevail. But to be rational is so glorious a thing, that two-legged creatures generally content themselves with the title; but will not debase so excellent a faculty, about the conduct of so trivial a thing, as they make themselves.

There never was a man better suited to your wishes than I am. You take a pleasure in being troubled with my commissions; and I have no other way of commerce with you, but by such importunities. I can only say, that, were the tables changed, I should, being in your place, have the same satisfaction; and therefore confidently make use of your kind offer. I therefore beg the favour of you to get me Mr. Le Clerc's Harmony of the Evangelists in English, bound very finely in

* Reasons against restraining the Press. London, 1704, in 4to.

calf, gilt, and lettered on the back, and gilt on the leaves. So also I would have Moliere's works (of the best edition you can get them) bound. These books are for ladies; and therefore I would have them fine, and the leaves gilt, as well as the back. Moliere of the Paris edition, I think, is the best, if it can be got in London in quires. You see the liberty I take. I should be glad you could find out something for me to do for you here. I am perfectly, &c.

To the same.


Oates, Feb. 7, 1703-4.

Ir is with regret I consider you so long in Essex, without enjoying you, any part of the time. Essex, methinks (pardon the extravagancy, extraordinary passions and cases excuse it), when you are to go into it, should all be Oates; and your journey be no whither but thither. But land and tenements say other things, whilst we have carcases that must be clothed and fed; and books, you know, the fodder of our understandings, cannot be had without them. What think you? are not those spirits in a fine state that need none of all this luggage; that live without ploughing and sowing; travel as easy as we wish; and inform themselves, not by a tiresome rummaging in the mistakes and jargon of pretenders to knowledge, but by looking into things themselves?

Sir, I forgot you had an estate in the country, a library in town, friends everywhere, amongst which you are to while away, as pleasantly, I hope, as any one of this our planet, a large number of years (if my wishes may prevail), yet to come; and am got, I know not how, into remote visions, that help us not in our present state, though they show us something of a better. To return therefore to myself and you, I conclude, by this time, you are got to town again, and then, in a little time, I shall hear from you. I am, &c.

To the same.


Oates, Feb. 21, 1703-4.

I MUST acknowledge it as an effect of your zeal to serve me, that you have sent me Le Clerc's Harmony, and Moliere's works, by the Bishop-Stortford coach; and I return you my thanks as much as if it exactly answered my purpose. I ought not to think it strange, that you in town, amidst a hurry of business, should not keep precisely in mind my little affairs; when I here, where I have nothing to disturb my thoughts, do so often forget. When I wrote to you to do me the favour to get these books for me carefully bound, I think I made it my request to you, I am sure I intended it, to write word when they were done, and then I would acquaint you how they were to be disposed of; for the truth is, they were to be disposed of in town. But whether I only meant this, and said nothing; or you forgot it; the matter is not much. I expect to receive the books to-morrow, and shall do well enough with them.

I should not have taken notice of this to you at all, did I not intend it for an excuse for an ill-mannered thing, very necessary in business, which perhaps you will find me use with you for the future; which is, to repeat the little circumstances of business which are apt to be forgotten in every letter till the danger be over. This, if you observe to do, will prevent many cross accidents in your affairs; I assure it you upon experience.

I desire you to stop your hand a little, and forbear putting to the press the two discourses you mention*. They are very touchy subjects at this time; and that good man, who is the author, may, for aught I know, be crippled by those, who will be sure to be offended

*A Discourse concerning the Resurrection of the same Body, with two Letters concerning the necessary Immateriality of a created thinking Substance. These pieces, written by Mr. Bold, were printed at London 1705, in 8vo.

at him, right or wrong. Remember what you say, a little lower in your letter, in the case of another friend of yours, "that in the way of reason they are not to be dealt with."

It will be a kindness to get a particular account of those proceedings; but therein must be contained the day, the names of those present, and the very words of the order or resolution; and to learn, if you can, from whence it had its rise. When these particulars are obtained, it will be fit to consider what use to make of them. In the meantime I take what has been done, as a recommendation of that book to the world, as you do; and I conclude, when you and I meet next, we shall be merry upon the subject. For this is certain, that because some men wink, or turn away their heads, and will not see, others will not consent to have their eyes put out. I am, &c.

To the same.

Oates, Feb. 24, 1703-4.

SIR, You know me not yet as you ought, if you do not think I live with you with the same confidence I do with myself, and with the same sincerity of affection too. This makes me talk to you with the same freedom I think; which though it has not all the ceremony of good breeding, yet it makes amends with something more substantial, and is of better relish in the stomach. Believe it, therefore, that you need not trouble yourself with apologies for having sent the books hither. You have obliged me as much by it, as you could by any thing of that nature, which I had desired; neither need you be concerned for the future.

* It was proposed, at a meeting of the heads of the houses of the university of Oxford, to censure and discourage the reading of Mr. Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding; and, after various debates among themselves, it was concluded, that each head of a house should endeavour to prevent its being read in his college, without coming to any public censure.

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