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CONDUCT

OF THE

UNDERSTANDING.

BY JOHN LOCKE, ESQ.

For a man to understand fully the business of his particular calling, and
of his religion, is usually enough to take up his whole time.

A NEW EDITION.

DIVIDED UNDER HEADS.

SEE SECT. XIX.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,

A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR SHERWOOD, NEELY, AND JONES,
PATERNOSTER ROW;

AND M. JONES, NO. 5, NEWGATE STREET.

1812.

3. G. BARNARD, SKINNER STREET, LONDON.

THE

LIFE

OF

JOHN LOCKE, ESQ.

What is biography in its fairest point of view?

A tribute paid by justice and esteem to genius and virtue.

HAYLEY.

THE biographer seldom contemplates a character which

he could dwell on with more satisfaction than the subject of these memoirs; less seldom are we enabled to ascertain, with equal precision, the life of a man so celebrated in the republic of letters.

This great philosopher, was born at Wrington, in Somersetshire, in 1632.

During his infancy, his education was conducted with paternal care and affection, but with much strictness and severity, by his father, who, being bred to the law, was a steward, or court-keeper, to colonel Alexander Popham; and, upon the breaking out of the civil wars, became a captain in the parliament's army.

The first part of his education he received at Westminster-school, where he remained till he was nineteen years of age, when he was removed to Oxford; and, being admitted of Christ-church, in 1651, became a student of that college, and distinguished himself by an ingenious epigram upon Cromwell's peace with the Dutch in 1653.

Having taken, at the regular times, both his degrees in arts, he put himself upon the physic line; to which profession he applied himself with great diligence, and prac tised therein a little at Oxford; but finding his constitution not able to bear the fatigue of much business, he forbore to push it; and being highly delighted with the philosophy of Des Cartes, which then began to grow in vogue, he thence took a fancy to that study. We have advanced this on the sole authority of Le Clerc, who, very possibly, might

have had it from our author's own mouth, being very intimate with him.

It appears likewise from the same respectable authority, that Mr. Locke found so little satisfaction in the method of study prescribed to the students at that time, that he wished his father had never sent him to Oxford.

In 1664, he had an opportunity of going abroad, in quality of secretary to Sir William Swan, who was appointed envoy to the elector of Brandenburgh, and some other German princes.

He was introduced to Anthony Ashley Cooper, then lord Ashley, afterwards earl of Shaftesbury, in the following singular manner :-His lordship having an abscess in his breast, occasioned by a fall, was advised to drink the Astrop waters. In this design he wrote to a physician at Oxford, to procure some of these waters to be ready against his arrival. That physician, being called away by other business, transferred his commission to his friend Mr. Locke, who found himself obliged to wait upon his lordship the day after his arrival, to excuse the disappointment of not having the waters ready. Lord Ashley, as his manner was, received him with great civility, declared himself well satisfied with his apology, and, being much pleased with his conversation, upon his rising to take leave, detained him to supper, and engaged him to dinner the next day, and even to drink the waters (Mr. Locke having expressed some design of doing it shortly) that he might have the more of his company.

Le Clerc tells us, that three or four of the noblemen who thus countenanced Mr. Locke, having met at lord Ashley's, rather for amusement than business, after some compliments, very little conversation had passed, when the butler brought in the cards. Mr. Locke looked on for some time while they were at play, and then taking out his pocket-book, began to write with great attention. One of the company observing this, asked him what he was writing? "My lord (says he) I am endeavouring to profit, as far as I am capable, in your company; for, having waited with impatience for the honour of being in an assembly of the greatest geniuses of the age, and having at length obtained this good fortune, I thought I could not do better than write down your conversation; and indeed I have set down the substance of what has been said for this hour or two." He had no occasion to read much of his dialogue; those noble persons saw the ridicule, and diverted themselves with improving the jest. They presently quitted their play, entered into a conversation more suitable to their characters, and spent the rest of the day in that man

ner.

In 1668, he attended the countess of Northumberland into France; but an unforeseen accident obliged him, after a short stay there, to return to England; where he conti. nued to reside with lord Ashley.

In 1670, and the following year, he began to form the plan of his "Essay on Human Understanding," but was hindered from making any great progress in that work by

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