Page images
PDF
EPUB

was the day before the Prince of Orange made his final departure for England.

“I hope your son's health is not in such a state," Locke wrote a fortnight later to Limborch, “ that I may not speak of other things, especially when it is to tell you some good news. Our friend Furly had an interview with the prince before he went away, and urged him to put a stop to the persecution that has been attempted in this province at such an especially unseasonable time. He put the case so strongly that the prince wrote a letter to the bailiff of Kammerland, who, with the sanction of the synod, had ordered Foeke Floris, the minister of the Mennonite church, to leave the country within eight days. The history of this Foeke Floris you can learn from others better than from me ; for Furly knew nothing about him till this affair came to light. Believing, however, that the common interests of Christians were involved, he took up the matter with his usual zeal, and I believe the prince's letter will stop the persecution.' The history of Foeke Floris has not come down to us, and we are told nothing more concerning the troubles of the disciples of Simon Menno in their home among the dykes and dunes and swamps of Zeeland; but as they were peaceable and devout Christians, whose only crime was their belief in the simple humanity of Christ, we can understand why Furly and Locke took so much interest in this case.

✓ On the 1st of November, 1688, William of Orange started on his memorable voyage for England, having

1 MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library; Locke to Limborch, [144] 24 Nov.,

[ocr errors]

been detained a fortnight by bad weather. With him went Mordaunt and Locke's other friends, as well as Burnet and all the other chief advisers of the prince. Locke remained in Holland more than three months longer, and appears to have been in frequent attendance on the Princess Mary, who waited at the Hague till her husband should inform her that the time was come for her to join him. That information reached her near the end of January, 1688-9.

“ This sudden and not yet looked for departure of the princess," Locke wrote to Limborch from Rotterdam, on the 26th of the month, “disturbs all my thoughts, and hinders that which before all things I was anxious for—an opportunity of seeing you and all my other friends at Amsterdam before leaving the country. You cannot but be aware of the great advantage it would be for me to cross the channel, crowded as it is just now with ships of war, and infested with pirates, in such good company; but this would not induce me to hurry away and leave behind me the suspicion that I was unmindful of all your affection, and of the duties that I owe in return for it. A stronger reason compels me. An English nobleman ” -evidently Lord Mordaunt—“who went hither with the prince, has asked me to take care of his wife on her passage, with the princess, from the Hague, and I could not do less than accept the office. Neither she nor I expected that we should have to leave quite so soon. We intended to spend this week in Amsterdam. But you know what has happened, and with what incredible rapidity things are moving in England. Of the progress of these movements I was informed only three days ago, and I am as yet by no means prepared for the journey. It is necessity, not choice, that will prevent my

greeting and embracing you; that, I am sure, you will believe.” 1

A westerly wind detained the princess at the Hague for nearly a fortnight. “I still thought I should be able to see you in Amsterdam,” Locke wrote again on Wednesday, the 6th of February; “but fate seems determined to thwart my wishes. First the frost, and then my

hurried packing-up, and now the rain, have prevented me. I went last Saturday to the Hague, thinking I could induce the lady of whom I have told you to accompany me to Amsterdam, as we had before intended. But a violent storm burst on us at Delft, and lasted all the way to the Hague, so that when I got there I was drenched to the skin, and my friend not only refused to go on with me the same evening, but positively forbade my making the journey myself, urging that I should be certain to fall ill if I did so. At the court I found everything ready for immediate departure, and every one so impatient of delay that it seemed doubtful whether the princess's religious scruples would hinder her from embarking even on the Lord's day, if the wind were favourable. I should have presumed on those scruples, however, if I could have succeeded in spending a Sunday with you. But now we wait for nothing but the east wind. Last evening I returned hither”—to Rotterdam, hardly more than a two hours' ride from the Hague_" and know not how long I shall be delayed. I only know that it is dreadfully irksome to wait here doing nothing and not to be able to do what I so much desire.

“How I long," he continued, “ to spend just an hour or two, if no longer time were possible, with you! To

1 MSS. in the Remonstrants' Library; Locke to Limborch, [26 Jan.-] 5 Feb., 1688-9.

1689. Æt, 56.

see, to hear, to embrace one's friends, is a priceless joy to me. Our affection for one another needs no proof, and it could not be increased by the ceremony of a farewell; yet I do wish I could once more shake you by the hand, once more assure you by word of mouth that I am altogether yours. Many things tempt me home again ; the urgency of my friends in England, the necessity of looking after my own neglected affairs, and other matters. But in going away I almost feel as though I were leaving my own country and my own kinsfolk ; for everything that belongs to kinship, good-will, love, kindness—everything that binds men together with ties stronger than the ties of blood—I have found among you in abundance. I leave behind me friends whom I can never forget, and I shall never cease to wish for an opportunity of coming back to enjoy once more the genuine fellowship of men who have been such friends that, while far away from all my own connections, while suffering in every other way, I have never felt sick at heart. As for you, you best of men, most dearly and most worthily beloved, when I think of your learning, your wisdom, your kindness and candour and gentleness, I seem to have found in your friendship alone enough to make me always rejoice that I was forced to pass so many years among you. I know not how such a large portion of my life could elsewhere have been spent more pleasantly, certainly it could not have been spent more profitably. God give you heaped-up happiness, protect your country and your household, and enable you to go on in your good work for your church and all good men! To your excellent wife and to your children, to the Veens and the Guenellans, and all the rest, give my kindest good wishes and my heartiest thanks for all the services they have rendered me. Embrace them for me, and tell them I can never forget them, or their many, many proofs of unselfish affection. Farewell, most cherished of friends, and again farewell.” 1

In company with the Princess of Orange and Lady Mordaunt, Locke left the Hague on the following Monday, and next day, the 12th of February, he landed at Greenwich. He had spent nearly five and a half years in Holland.

1. Familiar Letters,' p. 325; Locke to Limborch, [6] 16 Feb., 1688-9.

.

« PreviousContinue »