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You will easily guess the reason of this*; and when I have you here, I hope to convince you it will not be lost labour; only permit me to tell you, you must read them with something more than an ordinary appli
The samples you have sent met, I must conclude, from the abilities of the author, to be very excellent. But what shall I be the better for the most exact and best proportioned picture that ever was drawn, if I have not eyes to see the correspondence of the parts? I confess the lines are too subtile for me, and my dull sight cannot perceive their connexions. I am not envious, and therefore shall not be troubled, if others find themselves instructed with so extraordinary and sublime a way of reasoning. I am content with my own mediocrity. And though I call the thinking faculty in me, mind; yet I cannot, because of that name, equal it in any thing to that infinite and incomprehensible being, which, for want of right and distinct conceptions, is called mind also, or the eternal mind. I endeavour to make the best use I can of every thing; and therefore, though I am in despair to be the wiser for these learned instructions; yet I hope I shall be the merrier for them, when you and I take an air in the calash together. I am, &c.
To the same.
Dear Sir, Oates, July 23, 1704. THE gentlemen you speak of, have a great deal of reason to be pleased with the Discourse ‡ you mention;
* Mr. Locke writ this to Mr. Collins, in order to prepare him to read afterwards with him his Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Corinthians; which have been published since his death.
+ That is, out of Dr. Sherlock's Digression concerning Connate Ideas, or Inbred Knowledge, against Mr. Locke; inserted in the 3d section of the 2d chapter of his Discourse concerning the Happiness of good Men, and the Punishment of the Wicked, in the next World, &c. Lond. 1704, in 8vo.
Dr. Sherlock's Digression concerning Connate Ideas, &c. mentioned in the foregoing letter.
there being nothing ever writ in their strain and way more perfectly than it is; and it may stand for a pattern to those that have a mind to excel in their admirable use of language and method of talking; if, at least, there be any need of a pattern to those, who so naturally, and by a peculiar genius of their own, fall into that, which the profane illiterate vulgar, poor wretches, are strangers to, and cannot imitate. But more of this to make us merry, when the chaise brings us together.
I now every moment wish the chaise done; not out of any impatience I am for the machine, but for the man; the man, I say, that is to come in it. A man, that has not his fellow; and, to all that, loves me. If I regret my old age, it is you that make me, and call me back to the world just as I was leaving it, and leaving it as a place that has very little valuable in it; but who would not be glad to spend some years with you? Make haste, therefore, and let me engross what of you I can. I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, August 2, 1704. THOUGH I cannot, by writing, make you a surer title to myself than you have already; yet I cannot forbear to acknowledge, under my hand and seal, the great sense I have of the late favour you did me. Whether that, or any thing else, will be able to add any duration to my mouldering carcase, I cannot say; but this I am sure, your company and kindness have added to the length of my life, which, in my way of measuring, doth not lie in counting of minutes, but tasting of enjoyments. I wish the continuance and increase of yours, without stint, and am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, August 11, 1704. KIND and good-natured friends do, like you, bestow
their favours, and thank those that receive them. I was never more obliged, nor better entertained, than by your company here; and you heap upon me your acknowledgments, as if I had made a journey to London for your sake, and there done you I know not how many courtesies. This, however, has the effect you could wish upon me. I believe all that you would have me. And since one naturally loves as well those that one has done good to, as those whom one has received good from; I leave it to you, to manage the account as you please. So the affection and good-will between us doth but increase, whose hands lay most fuel on the fire, that warms us both, I shall not be nicely solicitous; since I am sure you cannot impute to me more than I really wish, but at the same time know that wishing in me is all, for I can do just nothing. Make no apologies to me, I beseech you, for what you said to me about the digression. It is no more, but what I find other people agree with you in; and it would afford as much diversion as any hunting you could imagine, had I strength and breath enough to pursue the chace.
But of this we may, perhaps, have better opportunity to talk, when I see you next. For this I tell you before-hand, I must not have you be under any restraint to speak to me, whatever you think fit for me to do; whether I am of the same mind or no. The use of a friend is to persuade us to the right, not to suppose always that we are in it. I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, August 16, 1704.
DEAR SIR, WHICH way soever I turn myself, I meet on all sides your friendship, in all manner of shapes, and upon all sorts of occasions, besetting me. Were I as averse, as I am pleased, with my happiness in your kindness; I must, however, yield to so powerful and constant at
* See above, page 293.
tacks*. But it is past that time of day. I have long since surrendered myself to you. And I am as certainly in your coach, as count Tallard in the duke of Marlborough's, to be disposed as you please; only with this difference, that he was a prisoner of war against his will; I am your captive, by the soft, but stronger, force of your irresistible obligations, and with the consent and joy of my own mind.
Judge then, whether I am willing my shadow should be in possession of one with whom my heart is; and to whom all that I am, had I any thing besides my heart, worth the presenting, doth belong. Sir Godfrey, I doubt not, will make it very like. If it were possible for his pencil to make a speaking picture, it should tell you every day how much I love and esteem you; and how pleased I am to be, so much as in effigy, near a person, with whom I should be glad to spend an age to come. I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, September 11, 1704. HE that has any thing to do with you, must own that friendship is the natural product of your constitution; and your soul, a noble soil, is enriched with the two most valuable qualities of human nature, truth and friendship. What a treasure have I then in such a friend, with whom I can converse, and be enlightened about the highest speculations! When one hears you upon the principles of knowledge, or the foundations of government, one would hardly imagine your thoughts ever descended to a brush, or a curry-comb, or other such trumpery of life; and yet, if one employ you but to get a pair of shoe-buckles, you are as ready and dexterous at it, as if the whole business of your life had been with nothing but shoe-buckles.
* Mr. Collins had desired Mr. Locke to let sir Godfrey Kneller come down into the country, to draw Mr. Locke's picture; which sir Godfrey did.
As to my lady's picture, pray, in the first place, see it, and tell me how you like it. In the next place, pray get sir Godfrey to write upon it, on the back-side, lady Masham, 1704; and on the back-side of mine, John Locke, 1701. This he did on Mr. Molyneux's and mine, the last he drew; and this is necessary to be done, or else the pictures of private persons are lost in two or three generations; and so the picture loses of its value, it being not known whom it was made to repre
To the same.
Oates, October 1, 1704.
To complete the satisfaction I have lately had here, there has been nothing wanting but your company. The coming of his father-in-law, joined with the straitness of the lodging in this house, hindered me from having my cousin King and you together; and so cut off one part of the enjoyment, which you know is very valuable to me. I must leave it to your kindness and charity, to make up this loss to me. How far the good company I have had here has been able to raise me into a forgetfulness of the decays of age, and the uneasiness of my indisposition, my cousin King is judge. But this I believe he will assure you, that my infirmities prevail so fast on me, that, unless you make haste hither, I may lose the satisfaction of ever seeing again a man, that I value in the first rank of those that I leave behind met.
* Sir Peter King's father-in-law.
+ Mr. Locke died on the 28th of October, 1704; that is, 27 days after the writing of this letter.