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would, like Hobbes, have been caressed by the court, but his doctrines would have been slighted by the nation. John Locke was born at Wrington in the north of
Somerset, August 29 (N.S.), 1632, the same John Locke (1632-1704).
year that gave birth to Spinoza. His father,
an attorney, was a man of independent character and strong principle, which he proved by accepting a commission in a Parliamentary regiment. Locke was elected to a foundation scholarship at Westminster in 1647, and to a studentship at Christ Church in 1652. He became M.A. in June, 1658, was appointed Greek Lecturer in 1660, and held other college offices. He wrote about this time two treatises as yet unpublished, one upon the Roman commonwealth, the other on the right of the civil magistrate to regulate indifferent matters touching the exercise of religion, which, under the influence of the hopes which moderate men entertained of the Restoration government, he was at the time inclined to allow. Having determined to study medicine, he obtained in 1666 a dispensation to enable him to hold his studentship, and in the same year the decisive bias was given to his life by his acquaintance with Shaftesbury, of whose family he became virtually a member in the following year. Shaftesbury was as yet neither the Shaftesbury of the Cabal nor the Shaftesbury of the Popish Plot, and there was no reason why Locke should hesitate in attaching himself to a statesman, who, whatever his astuteness and versatility, possessed by far the most enlightened and comprehensive mind of any public man of his day. The main bond which united the two was their agreement on the principle of toleration, for which Chillingworth had been denounced and Roger Williams persecuted, and which scarcely any one would then have subscribed as an abstract proposition, though Cromwell had gone a long way towards reducing it to practice. Influenced probably by Shaftesbury, Locke drew up in 1667 an Essay on Toleration, the first draft of his subsequent celebrated work, and which has itself been retrieved from oblivion by Mr. Fox Bourne. Considering the circumstances of the times, it can excite neither surprise nor censure that he should have argued in favour of denying the privileges of toleration to those who denied them to others, i.e., to Roman Catholics. Two years later he drew up, at Shaftesbury's instance, a constitution for the colony of Carolina, in which Shaftesbury was largely interested. His medical skill was exerted in relieving Shaftesbury from the effects of a serious complaint; and he acquitted himself successfully in a yet more delicate undertaking, the choosing a wife for his son. He also attended professionally at the birth of Shaftesbury's grandson, the future author of Characteristics. These services were fitly recompensed by secretaryships, both at the Great Seal and at the Board of Trade, but there is not the slightest proof of his having participated in any of his patron's plots; while it is not too much to say that the steady regard entertained for Shaftesbury by a man like Locke affords the strongest of all presumptions that this enigmatical personage was, after all, a patriot. During three and a half stormy years Locke was in France for the benefit of his health, making observations on the culture of the vine and olive, and noting, under the external splendour of Louis XIV.'s reign, symptoms of that distress among the industrial classes which was to issue in the Revolution. Returning, he found his patron just liberated from the Tower, and their intimate relations continued until Shaftesbury's flight to Holland in November, 1682, followed by his death in the succeeding January. Locke was thus a mark for the suspicions and animosities of the triumphant Court party. His usual place of residence was now Oxford, where he still enjoyed his Christ Church studentship, and curious letters are extant from Dean Prideaux, avowing practices akin to espionage, but admitting that John Locke is so close a man, and his servant such a phenix of discretion, that nothing can be made out. Locke wisely withdrew to Holland about the autumn of 1683, and in November, 1684, was arbitrarily 'ejected from his studentship by a royal mandate. He employed his exile in forming friendships with Limborch, Le Clerc, and other distinguished men, in composing his famous Letter on Toleration, published anonymously in 1689, and in active communication with William and Mary when the Deliverer's expedition was finally determined upon. He came to England with Mary in 1689, and received the most flattering offers of important diplomatic posts, which he declined on account of the weakness of his health. He accepted, however, a small appointment, but his principal public services were rendered as a referee on the various important questions submitted to him by Government; and as a man of letters, having nearly reached the age of sixty without publishing anything of importance, he produced within ten years the series of unadorned tracts which have made him, alike in the regions of philosophy and of politics, the most conspicuous representative of masculine, unimaginative, English common sense.
The Letter on Toleration, as already mentioned, had appeared anonymously in Holland in 1689. In 1690 the Essay on the Human Understanding was published, and also the two Treatises on Government ; the first, a reply to Filmer, the advocate of divine right, composed, in Professor Fowler's opinion, between 1680 and 1685; the second written during the last years of Locke's residence in Holland. The Letter on Toleration, the authorship of which was not acknowledged during Locke's lifetime, was
followed by three defences against assailants, two of which appeared respectively in 1690 and 1692, the third was posthumous. The Essay on the Human Understanding, adopted from the first as a text-book at Trinity College, Dublin, but ineffectually proscribed in the writer's own university, called forth criticisms from Norris of Bemerton, to which Locke replied in two essays allowed to remain unpublished during his life, 'for,' he said, 'I love not controversy.' He could not, however, avoid a controversy with John Edwards and Bishop Stillingfleet, on his Reasonableness of Christianity (1695). After writing five pamphlets, Locke ultimately remained in possession of the field, the drift of opinion being entirely in his favour, though few of the official ministers of religion ventured to come forward openly in his defence. The Treatise on Education (1693), written at the request of William Molyneux, excited comparatively little controversy. Another very important class of the productions of his affluent maturity were those on trade and finance, by which he rendered the utmost service to the state. By his Considerations on the Value of Money
. (1691), and other tracts, he contributed largely to the reform of the currency, the condition of which had become intolerable, but was in great danger of being corrected by remedies worse than the disease. Several other publications contributed to disseminate enlightened views on trade, manufactures, and the interest of money. He could not always be right; it is both painful and ludicrous to find so wise and good a man obliged ex officio as a Commissioner of Trade to find reasons for discouraging the woollen manufacture in Ireland; which Swift seems to ridicule in describing the Laputan philosophers who had devised means to remove the wool from a sheep's back, and hoped shortly to propagate the breed of naked sheep over the kingdom. This, nevertheless, is but a slight inconsistency with the general tenor of Locke's views on economical subjects, which, no less than his political and religious convictions, tended irresistibly towards unrestricted freedom. In 1700 he was released from public life, and spent his few remain. ing years undisturbed by controversy, in the society of the amiable family of Sir Francis Masham, of High Laver, Essex, of whose house he had long been an inmate. Lady Masham, singularly enough, was the daughter of Ralph Cudworth, the great English champion of the ideal school of philosophy, and therefore as far removed as possible from Locke in opinion. He died on October 28, 1704.
Locke's intellectual character must be considered along with his writings; of his moral character it may justly be said, that no English writer of equal eminence stands so high. Butler and Berkeley may have been equally faultless, and the latter, no doubt, possessed more of the spell of personal fascination ; but neither was, like Locke, exposed to the storms of a corrupt and factious age; neither was called upon to encounter such perils and make such sacrifices ; neither had the same opportunity of exercising fortitude in adversity and moderation in success. Whether as public patriot or private friend, Locke appears a spirit without spot,' and his resolute temper, his intellectual ardour, and his brilliant achievements, effectually preserve him from the insipidity which so frequently mars the moral physiognomies of good men. His countenance, indeed, is not illumined by the spirituality of a Channing; but the robuster virtues stand forth in even bolder relief, and his apparent exemption from the minor failings which beset even a Newton, is the more remarkable as he wanted neither for enemies nor biographers.
Locke's great work as a philosopher is the Essay on the Human Understanding, the best chart of the human mind,' says Hallam, one of the great representative