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TO THE READER.
THE following letters, offered to your perusal, are the genuine productions of those gentlemen to whom they are attributed.
They contain not only such civil and polite conversation, as friendship produces among men of parts, learning, and candour; but several matters relating to literature, and more particularly to Mr. Locke's notions, in his Essay concerning Human Understanding, and in some of his other works: and therefore I cannot doubt of your thanks for the present I make you. For, though the curiosity of some, to see whatever drops from the pens of great men, and to inform themselves in their private characters, their tempers, dispositions, and manner of conversing with their friends, would perhaps have justified me in publishing any letters of Mr. Locke's, and of his friends to him, that were not letters of mere business; yet my regard to what I take to be the more general judgment of the public, has determined me to publish such only as have relation to this twofold view, and shall determine me hereafter, if gentlemen, that have any letters of Mr. Locke's by them, think fit to communicate them
FAMILIAR LETTERS, &c.
Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.
London, July 16, 1692. THOUGH the extraordinary compliment you were pleased to make me, in the epistle dedicatory*, easily persuaded me, from whom that present was likely to come; when, at my coming to town, I found your book left for me, by Mr. Tooke, at my bookseller's; yet my consciousness, how little I could deserve the one, or the other, from you, made me fear some mistake, till, inquiring of Mr. Tooke himself, he assured me of the favour you had done me. I will not pretend to return you such thanks as I ought, till I can write such a book as yours is. Only give me leave to say, that if my trifle could possibly be an occasion of vanity to me, you have done most to make it so, since I could scarce forbear to applaud myself, upon such a testimony from one who so well understands demonstration, did I not
Before A Treatise of Dioptrics, printed at London 1692, wherein it is said, " that to none do we owe, for a greater advancement in this part of philosophy, (viz. logic) than to the incomparable Mr. Locke, who, in his Essay of Human Understanding, hath rectified more received mistakes, and delivered more profound truths, established on experience and observation, for the direction of man's mind in the prosecution of knowledge, (which I think may be properly termed logic) than are to be met with in all the volumes of the ancients. He has clearly overthrown all those metaphysical whimsies, which infected men's brains with a spice of madness, whereby they feigned a knowledge where they had none, by making a noise with sounds, without clear and distinct significations."