Elizabeth Burnet [Blake, Berkeley]

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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2315. Mrs. Elizabeth Berkeley, later Burnet, to Locke, 22 September 1697 (2273, 2321)

B.L., MS. Locke c. 3, ff. 209–11; ff. 210–11 are identifiable as the enclosure by the mentions of it in f. 209, the letter. Answered by no. 2321.

22: Sep: 97:


I know I ought not to send you so ill write a letter that must pg 198give you trouble in the reading were the sense allowable, but transcribing is a task I want patiance for, at least very unwillingly undergo; but it will be more to my advantage in preserving those favourable thoughts you have too hastely intertained of me, if you will take my advise and not read the inclosed at all but burn or return it me again, I having hardly had time to read, I'm sure not to consider it as I ought before I troubled you with it; however I have observed your request in takeing a fredom that is not pardonable but as a proof of sincerity, 'tis not hard to express esteem where wee really find wee have it, and 'tis much easyer making excuses for my own deffects of which I'm so aboundantly sinsable; by sending a letter so faulty in sense English etc: I know I expose my ignorance, but I would be so humble to be content to be thought on as I am; I am sure a complement tho never so justly turned, could be of no service, and if the inclosed is as useless It is because I cant tell how to make any letter from me any otherwise, my intention has ben good and you must excuse the performance. I am not quite of your mind as to the necesity of your vindication, you owe it perhaps to your self and in that respect it is reasonable and fitt, but all things considered could you be content to dispence with your own right I think it would be most charitable and best to be silant; their being not a great many able and fewer willing to make a good and right use of this dispute.1 I hear my Lord has some thoughts of writing, but hope he will not, not having heard him speak of doing it, or of your Book, which I was glad of 'till I had sent this, that I might be the less biased, had I had opertunity to hear proper Judges discours of your Book my letter might have had fewer of such week inquieries, but you love to convers with childeren and see the naturall productions of the mind, unasisted by art, and unposest by others notions, mine is too much so, which will I hope be an apoligie for the deffects as well as pl⟨ain⟩a dealing of

  • Sir
  • Your Faithfull servent
  • E. B.

pg 199Address: For Mr Locke to be left at Mr Castle's1 Bookseller, next Scotlandyard by White Hall

Postmark: SE 24

Endorsed by Locke: E: Berkeley 22 Sept. 97 Answered Oct.



Being on a journy when your Book came first out I neither gott the favour of that you were pleased to send me nor time to read any other, indid I took one in sheets as I went throw Oxford and read great part of it but twas with so many inturuptions, that I was willing to give it a second reading which has defered my thanks longer then my obligations would otherwise have allowed; you have indid put the tryall of my Frindship on a pretty hard service not only in respect of my ignorance which is not my fault but misfortune, but in respect of the persons consarned in the dispute, and I can't tell how I could be impartiall did not the esteem I have for both make me so, but to satisfy you 'tis not lasyness or unwillingness to obey you I have sett down some reflections I made in my second reading your Book, which is the best way to convince you how incapable I am of being any more so tasked, being in a Frinds House I have not so much command of my time, or if I had should perhaps want skill to shorten this letter by useing any other method then taking the Book as I read it and refering you to the pages by which I hope you'll gess my meaning tho am sorry to give you so much trouble to so litle purpose; but being your own fault I ought to be excused at least forgiven. In severall places of your Book I thought you were a litle too Criticall in observeing small faults in the exactness of writing that did not imediatly relate to your self or matter of your complaint, to correct such errors in a Frind is kind and allowable, or to expose a vain pretender to knowledg, but my Lords reputation for laming is so justly established and of so publick a benefit, that all needless reflections ought to be avoided, sinse 'tis of less ill consequence to have it thought you mistook my L— then that my L— mistook the truth; and had you more willingly used your art to clear what was I owne too obscure in my Lords books then to make that pg 200obscurity more observable, you might I fancy have found less disagreement in your Ideas, and don what well became the generosity and disinterestness of Mr Locke tho it was more then the laws of a just defence obliged you to; and would both sides but take the same pains to find wherin they mean alike as they do to show wherin they defer or mistake truth in their maner of defending it, I can't but beleeve the oposistion would be reduced to a few perticulers; and the rest found only a dispute of words that seem to clash when both intend the same thing.—41: why the Author if you will beleeve me I have and do still hear my Lord speak of you with great esteem, but suppose the occation of atacking your book (which I confes I am very sorry for but is now past recal) was the considering it as the originall and foundation of what is called the new way of reasoning, and from whence they fecthed