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The most evident blemish of the work, and the only one that need now be referred to, was the occasional vagueness and inconsistency of its phraseology. Locke

against such misunderstandings as the people of those times were likely to fall into. Questions of morals and metaphysics differ from physical questions in this, that their aspect changes with every change in the human mind. At no two periods is the same question embarrassed by the same difficulties, or the same truth in need of the same explanatory comment. The fallacy which is satisfactorily refuted in one age reappears in another in a shape which the arguments formerly used do not precisely meet, and seems to triumph until some one, with weapons suitable to the altered form of the error, arises and repeats its overthrow. These remarks are peculiarly applicable to Locke's essay. His doctrines were new and had to make their way; he therefore wrote not for learners, but for the learned ; for men who were trained in the systems antecedent to his—in those of the schoolmen or of the Cartesians. He said what he thought necessary to establish his own opinions, and answered the objections of such objectors as the age afforded ; but he could not anticipate all the objections which might be made by a subsequent age; least of all could he anticipate those which would be made now, when his philosophy has long been the prevalent one; when the arguments of objectors have been rendered as far as possible consistent with his principles, and are often such as could not have been thought of until he had cleared the ground by demolishing some received opinion which no one before him had thought of disputing. To attack Locke, therefore, because other arguments than it was necessary for him to use have become requisite to the support of some of his conclusions is like reproaching the Evangelists because they did not write evidences of Christianity. . . . No work, a hundred and fifty years old, can be fit to be the sole or even the principal work for the instruction of youth in a science like that of mind. In metaphysics every new truth sets aside or modifies much of what was previously received as truth. Berkeley's refutation of the doctrine of abstract ideas would of itself necessitate a complete revision of the phraseology of the most valuable parts of Locke's book. And the important speculations originated by Hume and improved by Brown, concerning the nature of our experience, are acknowledged, even by the philosophers who do not adopt in their full extent the conclusions of those writers, to have carried the analysis of our knowledge and of the process of acquiring it so much beyond the point where Locke left it as to require that his work

had a healthy contempt for the meaningless definitions and pompous nonsense of the scholastic writers whom he chiefly opposed; but that contempt caused him to err in too much effort to set forth his thoughts in words with which every one was familiar, and thus, from an opposite motive, sometimes to commit the same sort of blunder for which he blamed his adversaries.

“I am apt to think,” he said, “that inen, when they come to examine them, find their simple ideas all generally to agree, though in discourse with one another they perhaps confound one another with different names. I imagine that men who abstract their thoughts, and do well examine the ideas of their own minds, cannot much differ in thinking, however they may perplex themselves with words according to the way of speaking of the several schools or sects they have been bred up in, though amongst unthinking men, who examine not scrupulously and carefully their own ideas, and strip them not from the marks men use for them, but confound them with words, there must be endless dispute, wrangling and jargon, especially if they be learned bookish men, devoted to some sect and accustomed to the language of it.” No one was ever more careful than Locke to avoid wrangling and jargon; but in his determination to do that he often fell into slipshod ways of writing, and, what was more serious, even of thought. “It is not easy for the mind,” he said, “ to put off those confused notions and prejudices it has imbibed from custom, inadvertency and common conversation; it requires pains and assiduity to examine should be entirely recast."-An article on 'Professor Sedgwick's Discourse on the Studies of the University of Cambridge, in the London Review, April, 1835; reprinted in Dissertations and Discussions,' vol. i. (1867), pp. 114-117.

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its ideas, until it resolves them into those clear and distinct simple ones out of which they are compounded, and to see which, amongst his simple ones, have, or have not, a necessary connection and dependence one upon another. Until a man doth this in the primary and original notion of things, he builds upon floating and uncertain principles, and will often find himself at a

loss." I

Had Locke been careful to observe his own canon, he might have saved himself from much controversy in later years, or at least have compelled those opponents who built frivolous arguments upon his verbal inconsistencies to find some better groundwork for their attacks.

Though much hindered by other work which he deemed more urgent, and also by the damage which that work caused to his health, Locke was anxious, after his return to England, to publish the essay which he had been so

1. Concerning Human Understanding,' b. ii., ch, xüï., 28. It would be hypercritical to make much complaint about Locke's uncertain use even of the most important word in the title of his work ; but this illustrates the frequent vagueness of his phraseology. His purpose was evidently to make a searching inquiry “concerning human understanding," that is, concerning man's faculty or faculties of receiving and forming ideas and thus acquiring knowledge ; but bis treatise is made one “concerning the human understanding," that is, the mind or intellect, the thing that understands. Some psychologists, of course, would say that there is no difference between "understanding” and “the understanding," that the mind is simply a bundle of ideas, and only comes into existence by the aggregation of thoughts and feelings derived from bodily sensations ; but Locke did not think so: the mind to him was at starting a “ tabula rasa," or a "yet empty cabinet," a something capable of taking in ideas, and he ought therefore to have steadily discriminated in his book between the understanding and its powers of understanding.

long in writing. He wrote his “ epistle dedicatory” to the Earl of Pembroke, in May, 1689,' and he set the printers to work as soon as he could.

Very little is doing now among us in the republic of letters," he wrote to Limborch in August;

we are all so busy about politics; but in this dearth of books I am submitting my treatise 'de intellectu' to the criticism of those friends who are weak enough to read it. I have sent"-evidently the proof-sheets of—“the first book to Mr. Le Clerc." 2 To-day,” he wrote on the 3rd of December, “I hope that the last sheet will be in type : so at least the printers have promised, but whether any reliance is to be placed on the word of these sort of men I cannot say. I wish the work were written in such a language that, now that it is in a complete form, you could pass judgment upon it: for I know your perfect honesty and wonderful acuteness. If it comes to be translated into Latin, I fear you will find many faults in it. But the die is cast, and I am now launched on the wide ocean.” I sent Mr. Le Clerc,” he added in the same letter, “my second and third books, as well as I can recollect, in September. I shall send him the rest very soon, and I hope he will return the proofs as quickly as he can, in order that I may adopt his corrections. Finito jam termino exspecto,' as our special pleaders say. As

i The dedication is not dated in the first edition, but “Dorset Court, 24th of May, 1689," appears in the second and later editions. According to Rufthead, Pope's biographer, “ Mr. Pope used to say the only thing he could never forgive his philosophic master was the dedication to the * Essay.'” Seeing how much it was the rule to write fulsome dedications, Locke may certainly be forgiven ; but every one must regret that he thought fit to publish such exaggerated compliments.

2 MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library; Locke to Limborch, 7 Aug., 1689.

soon as I receive the proof of the table of contents I shall write to Mr. Le Clerc.” 1

Those sentences show with what careful interest Locke was arranging for the publication of his · Essay concerning Human Understanding.' The first edition was in the booksellers' shops early in 1690. Locke's name was not on the title-page, but appended to the dedication. It was “printed by Eliz. Holt, for Thomas Basset, at the George in Fleet Street, near St. Dunstan's Church.'

For the copyright of the work which he had been preparing during so many years Locke received £30.?

I MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library ; Locke to Limborch, 3 Dec. (1689). • Lord King, p. 265.

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