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sorte; on peut dire qu'il y avait en lui quelque chose de Socrate ou au moins de Franklin.' When, in 1684, the tyrannical court wished for his expulsion from the university, gave orders to the servile Bishop Fell to find an occasion against him if possible, and commanded that his words and actions should be narrowly watched for this purpose, the too pliant and treacherous tool gives his 'friend' this testimony in his reply to Sunderland's application: 'Mr. Locke being, as your Lordship is truly informed, a person who was much trusted by the late Earl of Shaftesbury, and who is suspected to be ill-affected to the Government, I have for divers years had an eye upon him; but so close has his guard been on himself, that after several strict inquiries, I may confidently affirm there is not any one in the college, however familiar with him, who has heard him speak a word either against, or so much as concerning the Government; and although very frequently, both in public and in private, discourses have been purposely introduced, to the disparagement of his master, the Earl of Shaftesbury, his party, and designs, he could never be provoked to take any notice, or discover in word or look the least concern; so that I believe there is not in the world such a master of taciturnity and passion.'
His friends, we are told, in all sorts of affairs, repaired to him as to an oracle; which we may well believe, when we learn that Lord Ashley applied to him, bachelor as he was, to choose a wife for his son (a task which Locke happily accomplished), and that his sick friends took his prescriptions, though there are few things people like less than an amateur doctor. Involved, in the course of his life, in many perplexing and even dangerous situations, and often brought into contact with very queer political associates, he ap
pears never to have compromised his safety, nor forfeited his integrity. In early life, indeed, we are told that he was characterised by a trait which, of all, is the most inconsistent with prudence - he was rather choleric; but we are also told that he had taken immense pains to put down this propensity; and we may well believe that he was successful, since we are assured he was so anxious for its subjugation, that he was never so angry with another as he always was with himself for having been angry.
The sturdy independence and rectitude of his character were worthy accompaniments of his firm and truth-loving intellect. Ardently attached to the principles of true patriotism and true liberty, he showed on every occasion a consistent adherence to them. Familiar, in early life, with the spectacle of boundless political profligacy, brought into close relations with men of no very scrupulous political consciences, and enjoying considerable opportunities of benefiting himself during the reign of William, no shadow of a stain rests either on his private or his public conduct; no corrupt ends or mean compliances can be charged upon him. When his asthma rendered him incapable of fully discharging his public duties, he resigned his seat at the Board of Trade, in spite of the earnest entreaties of the Chancellor. Similar reasons induced him to decline another and seemingly more lucrative appointment, urged on him by the King himself, who hinted that he could receive the emoluments, and leave the duties to be partly discharged by deputy. Locke said he could not find it consistent with his conscience to retain public money for public duties which he was unable to perform.
Stewart speaks of a certain austerity of character in Locke, and attributes it to his puritanical educa
tion. It is hardly worth while to investigate the cause of a very problematical trait. He founds the charge, indeed, on two or three unwisely rigorous precepts in the treatise on Education; but the general tone of that treatise is full of a genuine spirit of humanity, and especially condemns, to use Hallam's expression, the then prevalent 'discipline of stripes.' As regards the above impression, (not certainly confined to Stewart,) it seems to have arisen principally from the evident want of enthusiasm in Locke's temperament, (he was never married, never, as far as we know, even in love,) from his perpetual 'utilitarian ' bias, his utter insensibility to every thing that was not practical, and probably also from the precision and formality with which his transaction of all business was marked. But Le Clerc bears witness that his social character was delightful. His pleasantry, he says, was abundant, but never offensive: he also gives one trait which we are confident never yet belonged to a morose man, -Locke so hated solitude, that when not hard at study, he always sought company, though it were that of a child. 'He liked exercise, but the complaint on his chest not allowing him to walk much, he used to ride after dinner; when he could no longer bear the motion of a horse, he used to go out in a wheel chaise; and he always wished for a companion, even if it were only a child, for he felt pleasure in talking with well-bred children. That he wanted not a feeling heart, his habitual, though, as might be expected in him, wisely dispensed and thoroughly considered charities, bore witness. It is impossible to have a doubt about the nobility and generosity of his disposition, after reading that remarkable letter in which he accepts Newton's confessions of having deeply wronged him. It is hard
to say in that correspondence (we can but refer the reader to it) which of the two appears the more mag
Let us also listen to a few traits given by Le Clerc.
'He considered civility not only as something agreeable and proper to gain people's hearts, but as a duty of Christianity which ought to be more insisted on than it commonly is.. His conversation was very agreeable to all sorts of people, and even to ladies; and nobody was better received than he was among people of the highest rank. Those who courted the acquaintance of Mr. Locke, to collect what might be learned from a man of his understanding, and who approached him with respect, were surprised to find in him not only the manners of a well-bred man, but also all the attention which they could expect. He was very charitable to the poor, provided they were not the idle or the profligate, who did not frequent any church, or who spent their Sundays in an alehouse. He felt, above all, compassion for those who, after having worked hard in their youth, sunk into poverty in their old age. He said that it was not sufficient to keep them from starving, but that they ought to be enabled to live with some comfort. He sought opportunities of doing good to deserving objects; and often in his walks he visited the poor of the neighbourhood, and gave them the wherewithal to relieve their wants, or to buy the medicines which he prescribed for them if they were sick, and had no medical aid.
He did not like any thing to be wasted; which was, in his opinion, losing the treasure of which God has made us the economists. He himself was very regular, and kept exact accounts of every thing. He was kind to his
servants, and showed them with gentleness how he wished to be served. He not only kept strictly a secret which had been confided to him, but he never mentioned any thing which could prove injurious, although he had not been enjoined secrecy; nor could he ever wrong a friend by any sort of indiscretion or inadvertency.'
It really seems impossible to imagine a social character more free from the imputed defect, nor a better exemplification of the fact that it is possible to combine an innocent cheerfulness with the gravity of philosophy, severely regulated habits and complete control of mere passion and enthusiasm, with ready sympathy for all that really claimed it.
But it is high time that we proceed to make our proposed remarks on Locke's philosophy.
It is impossible to deny that the immortal Essay' is disfigured by serious blemishes-by some errors, and many inconsistencies and ambiguities. The latter flowed chiefly from that figurative and popular style which is yet one of its most attractive, as well as serviceable features; but partly also from the desultory manner in which the Essay was composed, and the length of time (nearly twenty years) occupied in its completion. This allowed, it is true, time for elaboration; but it also allowed time for the 'sleepy nods' which proverbially overtake a man in a 'long work;' and for those variations which are sure to characterise every large edifice when it is an aggregate of accretions. Hence the apparent, and sometimes real inconsistencies and ambiguities of expression among the frequent repetitions and restatements of the same or similar thoughts. These have made it possible for critics to fight so long even over the fundamental principles of Locke's philosophy. Of errors, - some are the errors of that defective philosophy of his age which he did so much to correct; but others, as, for example, his infelicitous theory of personal identity, and his gratuitous speculation as to the possibility of 'thinking matter,' are his own unchallenged and unenvied property. But whatever the faults of his book,