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Reasonableness of Christianity.' Whether it be really so or not I will not presume to inquire, because there is no name to the book. This only I will venture to say on that head, that whoever is the author, or vindicator thereof, he has gotten as weak an adversary in Mr. Edwards to deal with as a man could wish. So much unmannerly passion and Billingsgate language I have not seen any man use.

“What you say of The Reasonableness of Christianity' Locke replied, “ gives me occasion to ask your thoughts of that treatise, and also how it passes amongst you there ”-in Dublin ; “for here, at its first coming out, it was received with no indifferency, some speaking of it with great commendation, but most censuring it as a very bad book.

What you say of Mr. Edwards is so visible that I find all the world of your mind."? "The Reasonableness of Christianity,'" Molyneux wrote back, “I do not find but 'tis very well approved of here amongst candid unprejudiced men that dare speak their thoughts. I'll tell you what a very learned and ingenious prelate said to me on that occasion. I asked him whether he had read that book, and how he liked it. He told me very well, and that, if my friend Mr. Locke writ it, 'twas the best book he ever laboured at; 'But,' says he, ( if I should be known to think so, I should have my lawns torn from my shoulders.''3

Locke had better excuse for desiring not to be known as the author either of this book or of the Letters concerning Toleration,' than can be found for the bishop who agreed with “The Reasonableness of Christianity,


" As to

1 • Familiar Letters,' p. 149; William Molyneux to Locke, 6 June, 1696. 2 lbid., p. 157; Locke to William Molyneux, 4 August, 1696. 3 Ibid., p. 163; William Molyneux to Locke, 26 Sept., 1696.

but dared not say so publicly, for fear of being unfrockel. He held no brief for the creeds and dogmas of the established church, and therefore could not be accused of secretly entertaining one set of opinions while professing another. But he knew that the Essay concerning Human Understanding' was his most important work, and the one most likely to be of permanent value to the world; and in it he had started so many heresies and provoked so many prejudices, that he was bound to protect it as far as possible from any additional prejudices that might be stirred up against it because of the additional heresies of its author.

Our review of Locke's miscellaneous occupations, as far as they can be traced, has been brought down only to the spring of 1692-3, when he began to be especially busy in literary ways. During the next two years or more he made good use of his retirement at Oates, as we have seen, in preparing old manuscripts for the press, and in doing much new work; and, though he paid many short visits to London, these appear to have been chiefly occupied in supervising printers' work and in other employment incidental to authorship. We have at any rate only stray notices of his engagement in other ways.

“I have for a long time been intending to send you a very full letter,” he wrote from London to Limborch, in June, 1693, “but have not been able to find leisure for it, and now that I have been called to town by pressing business, I can hardly get time for even this short note. I wrote to you last winter, enclosing a letter from the archbishop, and since then have heard nothing from you. I know not whether our letters crossed one another; but this I do know, that I could not have endured so long a silence, had I not felt quite sure of your friendship. Write as soon as you can to tell me that you are well and have not forgotten us, and let me know whether you received the volume of English sermons which the archbishop sent through me. Remember me to your excellent wife and


children.” 1 Locke was in London again in November, when he wrote another letter to Limborch, confessing that he had lately been a bad correspondent, but assuring him that his neglect was due not to any lack of friendly feeling, but to the constant strain of work upon his weakly body.” The work lasted through the winter, but, carefully looked after by Lady Mashan and the other members of the Oates household, his body seems to have been none the worse for it.

He was tempted in the spring to make London his home again, and, though he did not do that, the political changes that then occurred, by which the whigs were restored to the chief place in King William's councils, began, as we shall presently see, to provide fresh work for him in the service of the state. “Have you heard of our late whiggish promotion without admiration ?” the Earl of Monmouth wrote to him at Easter from Parson's Green. “Whether to congratulate with your friends, or to see the silly looks of the enemy,


suppose you will give us one week in town. There is a little philosophical apartment quite finished in the garden that expects you, and if you will let me know when you will come, it will not be the least inconvenience to me to send my coach

1 MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library; Locke to Limborch, 3 June, 1693. 2. Familiar Letters,' p. 347; Locke to Limborch, 10 Nov., 1693.

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twenty miles out of town to meet you, and make your journey more easy.'

Whether Locke accepted that invitation is not recorded; but he spent some two months in London in the early summer of 1694, and in the last week of June he took part in a very memorable business that was brought to completion in consequence of the “whiggish promotion."

William Paterson had for three years past been advocating his project for organising a corporation which should raise a sum of 1,200,0001. to be lent to the crown at eight per cent. interest, and which, in return for that sorely needed assistance, should have power to deal in bills of exchange, bullion, and forfeited notes, provided it carried on no other trade in its corporate capacity. This was the beginning of the Bank of England, established, amid much opposition, by an act of parliament which was endorsed by the king on the 25th of April, and endowed with a charter which was completed on the 27th of July, 1694. We are not told that Locke took much interest in the early history of this famous project; but this may almost be assumed from the very substantial interest that we know him to have taken in it when it was completed. The subscription list for the capital of the new bank was opened on the 20th of June. Tuesday last,” that is, on the 26th, he said in a letter written on the Saturday to Clarke, “I went to see our friend J. F."-apparently John Freke. Upon discourse with him, he told me he had subscribed 3001., which made me subscribe 500l. ; and so that matter stands. Last night the subscriptions amounted to 1,100,0001., and to-night I suppose they are all full. Mr. Freke talks of going out of town Monday,

1 Lord King, p. 237 ; Monmouth to Locke, 25 March, 1694.


and I shall go Tuesday.” It would almost seem that a main reason for Locke's paying this visit to London was his desire to take part in the establishment of the bank, of which he now became one of the original proprietors.

A letter that he wrote a few weeks after he had gone back to Oates reminds us that, amid all his other occupations, he still took a lively interest in medical affairs, and continued to cultivate the acquaintance of medical men. Dr. Hans Sloane, his junior by twentyeight years, and not made a baronet till 1716, was now a rising physician in London, and secretary of the Royal Society. He had probably been known to Locke for some time, but we are first informed of their acquaintance by this letter, in which he made precise inquiries concerning a disease from which a woman whom Sloane attended had died, and in which he also asked some questions about imperfect plants and equivocal generation in the vegetable kingdom. “It is very kindly done of you,” Locke said, " to send me some news from the commonwealth of letters into a place where I seldom meet with anything beyond the observation of a scabby sheep or a lame horse." That was hardly polite to Lady Masham, or her step-daughter Esther.

About Locke's intimate relations with Lady Masham we have too few details. But we just now obtain some welcome insight into his relations with the younger lady. Esther Masham, a bright and amiable girl, who lived to be a bright and amiable old maid, was nineteen years old in 1694. Full of life and fun, as well as of good sense and sober thought, as fond of serious study as of

* Additional MSS., no. 4290 ; Locke to Clarke, 30 June, 1694.
2 Ibid., no. 4052; Locke to Sloane, 14 Sept., 1694.

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