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great parties of religion, both laity and clergy, ready and forward to deliver up the rights and liberties of the people, and to introduce an absolute dominion; so that tyranny might be established in the hands of those that favoured their way, and with whom they might have hopes to divide the present spoil, having no eye to posterity, or thought of future things. One of the last scenes of this confusion was general Lambert's seizing of the government in a morning by force of arms, turning out the parliament and their council of state, and in their room erecting a committee of safety. The news of this gives a great surprise to general Monk, who commanded the army in Scotland. *
To the D. of York.
Sir, I HUMBLY confess I never thought my person or my principles acceptable to your royal highness; but at that juncture of time and occasion when I was committed, I had no reason to expect you should be my severe enemy. Reputation is the greatest concern of great dealers in the world; great princes are the greatest dealers ; no reputation more their interest than to be thought merciful, relievers of the distressed, and maintainers of the ancient laws and rights of their country. This I ever wish may attend your royal highness, and that I may be one instance of it.
To the Lord
My LORD, I had prepared this for your meeting in December; but that being adjourned to the 3d of April, an age to an old infirm man, especially shut up in a winter's prison; forgive me if I say you owe yourself and your posterity, as well as me, the endeavouring to remove so severe a precedent on one of your members ; such as I may truly say is the first of the kind, and I pray heartily may be the last. Your intercession to his majesty, if it be general, is not like to be refused ; if you are single, yet you have done honourably, and what I should have done for you.
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 to me.