Page images

through Mordaunt's influence he was often brought into personal relations with the prince, and had much to say respecting the arrangements for the projected revolution. His subsequent position in regard to William and his leading counsellors cannot otherwise be understood.

For Locke-known to him only by report as the great friend of Shaftesbury, who had been the great supporter of Monmouth, and therefore an opponent of his own claims to the English succession, claims that he did not care to see denied, though he was for a long time not eager to enforce them—it is tolerably clear that William of Orange had not felt or shown much sympathy during his stay in Holland hitherto. Locke had certainly been in no hurry to court it. Other Englishmen, honest patriots or selfish adventurers, had crowded together at the Hague, anxious to win the favour of the prince who had so good a prospect of becoming king of England, while Locke took no pains to clear himself from a false accusation that was bringing upon him much personal inconvenience. But he was ready to take part in public work when his services were wanted and could be made useful to the world, and the time had now come for this. Whether William, understanding at last his real worth, sought him out, or whether accident or the intentional effort of mutual friends first brought them together, cannot be decided. We know, indeed, very little of their intercourse while they were in Holland, or of Locke's detailed share in the active measures that at this time were being adopted for placing the prince on the throne of James the Second ; but it is quite clear that while the revolution was being planned a hearty friendship grew up between Locke and William, and perhaps a yet heartier friendship between Locke and

[ocr errors]

William's amiable wife, the Princess Mary. It is quite clear also that, during the last two years of Locke's residence in Holland, he was intimately associated with some old friends of his, and with some new ones, in the efforts that were now being made in statesmanlike ways to bring about the revolution. Though there is not much to be said about it, there can be no doubt that political work devolved more and more upon him, and at last chiefly occupied his attention, while he was in Holland. But we have much fuller information concerning his private life among his friends.

[ocr errors]

During the two years which Locke spent chiefly at Rotterdam, he resided with a quaker, named Benjamin Furly, whose house was in the Scheepmakers-haven. Furly, who was born in 1636, had been one of George Fox's early converts, and had helped him to write at any rate one of his treatises, ' A Battel-door for Teachers and


All through the time of his residence in Holland Locke maintained an active correspondence, though only a few fragments of it are extant, with his friends in England, perhaps especially with James Tyrrell, whose gossiping letters must have been very welcome to him as sources of authentic information in those days, when newspapers told but little news, and

very little indeed that was authentic. Some specimens these letters are given by Lord King, pp. 169—172. Locke's most important political correspondence has not come down to us, and it was probably destroyed by himself, and by his friends at his request. To more than one of his letters to Limborch and others, in which he made some cautious allusion to public affairs, he appended a request that the persons to whom they were addressed would destroy them as soon as they had read them. If the request was not always complied with, the letters bearing it, which have reached us, were doubtless preserved only by accident, or because the recipients found in them nothing that there could be any possible danger in placing on record. We are bound to assume that, whenever the request was at all reasonable, they did comply with it.

Professors to learn Singular and Plural, You to many, and Thou to one.' His other writings show that he was an honest and earnest supporter of the tenets of the society of friends, but it is clear that he was not at all a fanatical member of the sect. Persecution or fear of persecution induced him to settle in Rotterdam, and there he became a wealthy merchant, a great student and collector of books on theology, philosophy, science, and nearly every other subject,' and a good friend to all men of parts, especially Englishmen, who happened to be in Holland.

Locke appears to have made his acquaintance by introduction from his friend Edward Clarke, of Chipley, soon after his arrival in the country; and it would seem that Furly acted as a sort of banker for him all through his stay there. “Bank money is here at 43,” Locke wrote from Amsterdam in February, 1687-8. “If you can secure so much for it there, draw on Dr. Peter Guenellon for 15,000 guilders in bank, and make your bill or bills payable at as short view as you please. Nay, if you

1 When Furly died, in 1714, his books were sold by auction, and the catalogue of the Bibliotheca Furleiana 'then published, filling nearly 400 pages, is a wonderful list of valuable works in print and manuscript.) Furly's correspondence was, of course, not then sold. It was retained by his family, and became the property of Dr. Thomas Forster in 1825, who ic 1830 published an avowedly garbled and very incomplete selection from. it as Original Letters of Locke, Algernon Sidney, and Anthony Lord Shaftesbury'; a second edition, with a few fresh letters, appearing in 1847. Careful search for this collection has been made by myself and others; but I cannot ascertain its whereabouts. Should any reader of this work be able to help me in discovering it, I should esteem his doing so a very great favour, as, from Dr. Forster's preface, it is evident that, besides what he has published, it contains a great deal that ought to see the light. In quoting from the published volume, I shall refer to it as Original Letters.'

cannot at 43, take 4; rather than fail, for it will be less trouble than to get the bank money sold here and then draw it in current money thither." Having at command as much money as he needed, it is clear that, while lodging with Furly at Rotterdam, as with Veen and Guenellon at Amsterdam, and with other friends elsewhere, Locke made suitable arrangements for defraying all the expenses of his maintenance.

It was probably from Furly's fine old house on the “haven” leading out into the Maas, that Locke wrote to Limborch shortly after his arrival and before he had arranged to have his English letters sent to him direct. “I wish,” he said, “ that there were many letters from England coming to me through you, in order that, if there were any unwelcome news in them, I might get in the same envelope something from your pen which, by its kindness, grace, and sweetness, would make the bad news easy to bear. Nothing is more refreshing, nothing more agreeable to me than your letters, in which even German theology is made attractive."2 Limborch seems to have written a great deal about German theology and its Socinian tendencies in his letters to his friend at this period. “I am entirely of your opinion about German theology,” Locke said in his next letter. “ There are and always have been a great many German writers, but among all their multitudinous productions there are few which do not disclose their nationality by their mode of thought. But you have a mode of thought too, which I have mastered, and it is not strange that my mind should

1. Original Letters '(ed. 1847), p. 25; Locke to Benjamin Furly, [104] 20 Feb. (1687-8].

MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library ; Locke to Limborch, [44] 14 Feb., 1686-7.

. Et. 54

be ruled and governed in harmony and sympathy with yours.

To tell the truth, I am your disciple, and, though an inexpert one, I rejoice that you have led me as you have done. I acknowledge your genius, and freely resign myself to its guidance.”

“Remember me to Mr. Le Clerc,” Locke wrote soon afterwards to Limborch, "and tell him that I have just received from England a new work of Sydenham's”vidently the “Schedula Monitoria de Novae Febris Ingressu,' which was published in 1686—" which I have not yet read. If he desires either the book or a review of it, I will gladly send him either.” ? Though that passage does not help us to decide whether the notice of Sydenham's treatise which subsequently appeared in the · Bibliothèque Universelle' was written by Locke or by Le Clerc, it makes it tolerably clear that Locke was in some sort responsible for much, if not all, of the attention paid by the Amsterdam periodical to English literature.

Of English books he was evidently a diligent reader while in Holland. One of these books was the curious * Theoria Telluris Sacra,' written by Dr. Thomas Burnet, who was senior proctor at Cambridge in 1668. The Latin treatise was published in 1681, and it so pleased William of Orange that he helped Burnet to publish an English version of it in 1684, and an English continuation of it in 1689. It was a strange contribution to geological science, and, though itself full of wild fancies and groundless theories, helped the growth of that science, then in its

[ocr errors]

1. Familiar Letters,' p. 308; Locke to Limborch, [27 Feb.] 8 March, [1686-7).

? MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library; Locke to Limborch, [31 March-] 10 April, 1687.

« PreviousContinue »