Samuel Bold

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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2359. Samuel Bold to Awnsham [and John?] Churchill, 15 December 1697 (2278, 2568)

B.L., MS. Locke c. 4, f. 17.

Steeple Decemb: 15th. 1697.

Worthy Sirs

I received the last week 12 of my Observations on the Animadversions etc.1 There are some Errata's, but I suppose it is too late now to send an account of them. I pray you send one of them to Mr Ollife2 if you can, or let one be delivered when He shal order It to be called for. and another for mr Webb, when He shal order It to be called for. I have run over the Bishop of Worcesters late Answer as it is called to mr Lock's second letter.3 But if I can make a Judgement conc⟨er⟩ninga It, and upon such a hasty perusal, I think he does not unde⟨r⟩standa mr Locks Essay, That what He hath writ is little other than downright sophistry, especially where He pretends to make the way of Idea's Inconsistent with It self. And I fancy his own Maxims, may be managed to his disadvantage, and wil reach to what He hath no mind they should. But how any man shal be rationally satisfied of the truth of His maxims, but by observing the agreement or disagreement of those Ideas whereof they consist, or how any man shal be satisfied of the proof of anything by these maxims, any other way than by observing the agreement etc of these Ideas with what is to be proved, is not very clear to me, unless the Maxims must be taken up gratis, and pg 271upon Authority, and deductions must be made from them afterwards without the help of Idea's, which I think will be a very peculiar way of Reasoning, and of coming to certainty. His Historical part I take to be the best, It affords some entertainment, but the greatest discovery It has yet made to me, is, that the several sorts of Philosophers, were at a loss, and did not really understand in what certainty of knowledg did consist. And what ever those (He speaks of) who talk'd of a Criterion, did make that to consist in, I suspect they could not place It in anything surer than the agreement or disagreement of Ideas is. which makes me a little wonder at his complaining for want of a Criterion, in mr Locks Essay. And his opposing other mens Ideas of things, to mr Lockes. And speaking of both parts of a Contradiction being true, when the Ideas are not the same. And several such things. but to help myself out, and get a better understanding of the Bishops meaning, I must when I have leisure, read his book over again, and bestow as much time upon his little book, as would have bin needful, if He had made it a great deal bigger, provided He had bin at the pains to have made his own thoughts in several places clearer, and had inserted fewer quotations, or have taken care that his quotations were really to his purpose, for I suspect some of these are not. Seeing his Lordship is so willing the controversy should End, It seem's something strange to me He should start new points. I am apt to think the Author of the Remarks on mr Locks Essay etc is He who writes the occasional letter, but who He is I do not know.1 I am a little surprized, to find men of parts making such a stir, and scattering Jealousies, and putting such kind of questions, when I cannot perceive the least ground for their suspicions, and mythinks they might easily learn from the Essay to answer their own questions. What it is, that makes a Cluster of writers appear as it were just at the same time (and so many years after the publication of the Essay) against the Essay, I do not know.2 But sure there is something at the bottom, which they do not yet speak out. Pardon this tryal and exercise of your patience, and I wil promise you not to trouble you to this degree for a while. give my pg 272humble service to Mr Lock, and to the Author of the Reasonableness etc. I cannot but resent the treatment they have mett with for their most worthy labours with some Indignation. I am

your humble servant. S. B.

Address: To Mr Awnsham Churchill

Endorsed by Locke: S: Bold 15 Dec. 97

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Editor’s Note
1 Observations on the Animadversions (lately printed at Oxford) on … The Reasonableness of Christianity, 1698. L.L., no. 376. For the Animadversions see pp.