John Locke

E. S. de Beer (ed.), The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: The Correspondence of John Locke: In Eight Volumes, Vol. 6: Letters Nos. 2199–2664

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2301. Locke to Esther Masham, 24 August 1697 (2124, 2327)

Newberry Library, Chicago: copy of the original letter by Esther Masham in her letter-book, pp. 23–4. Transcribed from microfilm. Printed in Fox Bourne, ii. 456; by Professor Maurice Cranston in Newberry Library Bulletin, 2nd ser., no. 4, July 1950, pp. 130–1. The explanatory notes were written by Esther.

London 24 August 1697

Deare Dab.

There was nothing wanting to compleat the Satisfaction your obligeing Letter of the 20th brought me, but the motive from your self of writeing. Had inclination procured me the favour and not the commands of another you had made me perfectly happy. However the good and kind things you say in it make a great amends for that defect, and I Should be very unreasonable if so many good words you have put into your Letter should not hinder me from complaining. They are more and better than I deserve and you may beleeve they have no ordinary charms in them since they go a great way towards reconciling me to my old and great enemie Winter. At least you wish for him with so peculiar a way of pg 180kindnesse to me that I cannot be Angry with you for doeing it. For since you think I cannot have your Company without his, I should be better pleas'd with his comeing than the Czars,1 and like him better, crownd as he is with Turnips and Carrots,2 than the great Duke with all his Rubies and Diamonds. This may convince you that whatever keeps me in Town it is not my Inclination. And your reproach of not comeing to you whilst I can live here is a little besides the matter. Did I stay here no longer than I lived here I should quickly be at your aTown without houses, for in this where there are so many too many, I do not live. To live is to be where and with whom one likes. Do not therefore Deare Dab any more reproach your Joannes on this point, as you will answer it an other day. You huddled up the end of your Letter to get to the man in bblack and the Mellon, which you relishd best, either the Discourse of the one or the taste of the other I shall know when I see you. For if you have no sweet sayings laid up by you of that days collection I know what I know, I long to be examining of you because I am

  • Deare Dab.
  • Your most humble and most obedient servant
  • Joannes

Pray present my humble service to Sir Francis my Lady and Deare Totty.

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Editor’s Note
1 Peter the Great, who was now in the United Provinces. Prior to Peter the sovereign of Russia was commonly styled in England the Great Duke of Muscovy.
Critical Apparatus
a Mr Locke use to laugh at Mr Low the Minister of our Parish for calling his Parish, his Town, when there is not two houses together in it
Critical Apparatus
b The man in black was Mr Low