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I did not, if it please God I live to see you here again, I will show it you*; and some other things. If you will let me know before-hand, when you design us that favour, it will be an addition to it. I beg your pardon for holding you so long from better employment. I do not, you see, willingly quit your conversation. If you were nearer me, you would see it more, for I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, 3 April, 1704. In good sooth, sir, you are an obstinate lover; there is no help for it, you must carry your point. Only give me leave to tell you, that I do not like the puling fit you fall into, at the lower end of the page ; where you tell me, “ I have given you an argument against presuming so far again upon the liberty I allow you.” That is to say, you may give me books, you may buy books for me, you may get books bound for me, you may trudge up and down with them on my errand to ladies ; but my book you may not presume to read, use your judgment about, and talk to me freely of; though I know nobody that understands it so well, nor can give me better light concerning it. Away with this squeamishness, I beseech you; and be assured, that, among the many good offices you daily do for me in London, there is none whereby I shall reap so much profit and pleasure, as your studying for me; and let us both, without scruple or reserve, help one another the best we can, in the way to truth and knowledge. And whenever you find me presume, that I know all that belongs to the subject of my own book, and disdain to receive light and instruction from another, though of much lower form than you ; conclude that I am an arrant coxcomb, and know nothing at all.
* That Dissertation was published in Mr. Locke's Posthumous Works; Lond. 1706, in 8vo.
You will see by the enclosed, that I can find business for you at Oxford, as well as at London. I have left it open, that you may read it before you seal and deliver it. In it you will see what he writ to me, on that affair. He is well acquainted with them in the university; and if he has not, may be prevailed on by you to fish out the bottom of that matter, and inform you in all the particulars of it. But you must not take his conjectures for matter of fact; but know his authors, for any
matter of fact he affirms to you. You will think I intend to engage you in a thousand disputes with him ; quite the contrary. You may avoid all dispute with him ; if you will but say after him ; though you put him upon things that show you question all he says.
If Mr. Wynne of Jesus-College, who epitomised my book*, be in the university, it is like you will see him, and talk to him of the matter. Pray, give him
But be sure, forget me not, with all manner of respect, to Mr. Wright, for whom I have, as I ought, a very peculiar esteem.
I hope you will be pleased with me ; for you see I have cut out work for you; and that is all that is left for me to do, to oblige you. I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, 19 May, 1704. Nothing works so steadily and effectually as friend ship. Had I hired a man to have gone to town in my business, and paid him well, my commissions would not have been so soon, nor so well despatched, as I find, by yours of the 16th, they have been by you. You speak of my affairs, and act in them with such an air of interest and satisfaction, that I can hardly avoid thinking, that I oblige you with employing you in them. It is no small advantage to me, to have found such a friend, at the last
Mr. Wynne, afterwards lord bishop of St. Asaph, was the author of An Abridgment of Mr. Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding. Lond. 1696, in 8vo.
scene of my life ; when I am good for nothing, and am grown so useless, that I cannot but be sure that, in every good office you do me, you can propose to your . self no other advantage but the pleasure of doing it.
Every one here finds himself obliged, by your late good company. As for myself, if you had not convinced me by a sensible experiment, I could not have believed I could have had so many happy days together. I shall always pray that yours may be multiplied. Could I, in the least, contribute any thing thereunto, I should think myself happy in this
poor decaying state of my health ; which, though it affords me little in this world to enjoy, yet I find the charms of your company make me not feel the want of strength, or breath, or any thing else.
The bishop of Glocester came hither the day you went from hence, and in no very good state of health. I find two groaning people make but an uncomfortable concert. He returned yesterday, and went away in somewhat a better state. I hope he got well to town.
Enjoy your health, and youth, whilst you have it, to all the advantages and improvements of an innocent and pleasant life ; remembering that merciless old age is in pursuit of you, and when it overtakes you, will not fail
, some way or other, to impair the enjoyments both of body and mind. You know how apt I am to preach. I believe it is one of the diseases of old age. friends will forgive me, when I have nothing to persuade them to, but that they should endeavour to be as happy as it is possible for them to be ; and to you I have no more to say, but that you go on in the course you are in. I reflect often upon it, with a secret joy, that you promised I should, in a short time, see you again. You are very good, and I dare not press you. But I cannot but remember how well I passed my time, when you were here.
I am, &c.
But my To the same.
Oates, 25 May, 1704. When you come to my age, you will know that, with us old fellows, convenient always carries it before ornamental. And I would have as much of the free air when I go abroad in it *, as is possible. Only I ask whether those, which fall back, so as to give as free a prospect behind as before, be as easily managed, and brought over you again, in case of need, as in a shower; as one that falls back, upon two standing corner pillars? And next, whether that which falls back so well, doth, when it is drawn up over you, come so far over your head, when it is erected, as to shelter it from the dew, without shutting you up from the free open air? For I think sometimes in the evening of a warm day to sit abroad in it, to take the fresco ; but would have a canopy over my head, to keep the dew off. If this be so, I am plainly, and without balancing, for that which falls flattest. One question more, and I have done. Pray, what place is there for a footman in any of them? Most of my time being spent in sitting, I desire special care may be taken, in making the seat broad enough, and the two cushions soft, plump, and thick enough.
You know I have great liking to be canonical; but I little thought, that you, of all others, was the man to make me so. I shall love it the better for your sake; and wish that canonical were ready, that you might have the handselling of it hither speedily. If I did not take you for myself, as you have taught me to do, I should not be thus free with you.
Count me in your turn all yourself, except my age and infirmities, those I desire to keep to myself; all the rest of me is yours.
* That is, in a chaise, which Mr. Locke desired to have made for him.
To the same.
Oates, 26 May, 1704. My letter yesterday went away without an answer to one of your demands; and that was, whether I would have any brass on the harness? To which, give me leave to tell you, that, in my whole life, I have been constantly against any thing that makes a show ; no maxim being more agreeable to my condition and temper, than “qui bene latuit bene vixit.” I like to have things substantially good of their kind, and useful, and handsomely made, and fitly adapted to their uses; for, if either were necessary, I had rather be taken notice of for something that is fashionably gaudy, than ridiculously uncouth, or for its poorness and meanness remarkable. Therefore, if you please, let the harness, and all the whole accoutrements be of as good materials, and as handsomely made and put together as may be; but for ornaments of brass, or any such thing, I desire it may be spared.
One question more comes into my mind to ask you, and that is, whether the back of those, that fall down so flat, are so made that, when it is up, one may lean and loll against it at one's case, as in a coach or a chariot; for I am grown a very lazy fellow, and have now three easy chairs to lean and loll in, and would not be without that relief in my chaise.
You see I am as nice as a young fond girl, that is coming into the world, with a face and a fortune, as she presumes, to command it. Let not this, however, deter you ; for I shall not be so hard to be pleased. For what
you do will be as if I did it myself. I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, 29 May, 1704. How should I value the chaise you take so much pains about, if I could hope I could have your company