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244

AN EXILE AT AMSTERDAM.

Locke attached himself with tender fidelity; and with these fortunes his own brightened or grew dark. At the table of his noble friend he met the first Englishmen of the day; and when, in 1675, fears of consumption led him to seek health in the sunnier air of France, his residence at Montpelier and at Paris brought him into contact with many eminent French scholars and literary men. When Shaftesbury regained power in 1679, he called Locke to his side ; and when misfortune came, the Earl and his faithful friend found a refuge in hospitable Holland. There Locke lived for six years (1682–88), enjoying the society of learned friends,-especially the weekly meeting which they established for the discussion of philosophical questions,—and patiently bringing on towards its end the great book, which has made his name famous. It mattered little to the invalid scholar, in his quiet lodging at Amsterdam, that his name had, by command of the King, been blotted out from the list of Christ Church men. A real danger threatened him, when the English ambassador demanded that he, with many others, should be given up by the Dutch government, as aiders and abettors of Monmouth in that ill-fated invasion which ended on the field of Sedgemoor. But the clouds blew past, and the Revolution soon re-opened his native land to the exile. A man so distinguished would have been a strong pillar of William's throne, had his health permitted him to engage actively in the public service. As it was, he became a Commissioner of Appeals at £200 a year, and afterwards, for a short time, one of the members of the Board of Trade ; but London fog and smoke soon drove the poor asthmatic old man into the purer air of the country. Oates in Essex,

the mansion of his friend, Sir Francis Masham, opened 1704 its kindly doors to him ; and there, with his Bible in his

hand, he faded gently out of life. We cannot help lov

ing the simple and unpretending scholar, with a heart full of the milk of human kindness, who did life's work so humbly, yet so well.

Locke's Essay, published in 1690, was the fruit of nearly twenty years' laborious thought. One day, while he was conversing with five or six friends, doubts and difficulties rose so thick around the

A.D.

ORIGIN AND NATURE OF LOCKE'S "ESSAY."

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subject of their talk, that they could not see their way. Locke, to use his own words, proposed that “it was necessary to examine their own abilities, and see what objects their understandings were, or were not, fitted to deal with.” So the four books of the “Essay" began, and his exile enabled him to bring them to a close. In clear, plain, homely English, sometimes rather tawdrily dressed with figures of speech, he lays down his doctrine of ideas, which he derives from two great sources—sensation and reflection. The third book, which treats of words, their defects and their abuse, is considered to be the most valuable part of this celebrated work.

His chief minor works are, Letters concerning Toleration, written partly in Holland-two Treatises on Civil Government, designed to maintain the title of King William to the English throneThoughts concerning Education, in which he deals not only with book-learning, but with dress, food, accomplishments, morality, recreation, health, all things that belong to the development of the mind or the body of a child—and a sequel to this, called The Conduct of the Understanding, which was published after his death.

THE POWER OF PRACTICE.

Some men are remarked for pleasantness in raillery ; others, for apolognes, and apposite, diverting stories. This is apt to be taken for the effect of pure nature, and that the rather, because it is not got by rules, and those who excel in either of them, never purposely set themselves to the study of it as an art to be learnt. But yet it is true, that at first some lucky hit, which took with somebody, and gained him commendation, encouraged him to try again, inclined his thoughts and endeavours that way, till at last he insensibly got a facility in it without perceiving how ; and that is attributed wholly to nature, which was much more the effect of use and practice. I do not deny that natural disposition may often give the first rise to it; but that never carries a man far without use and exercise, and it is practice alone that brings the powers of the mind as well as those of the body to their perfection. Many a good poetic vein is buried under a trade, and never produces anything for want of improvement. We see the ways of discourse and reasoning are very different, even concerning the same matter, at court and in the university. And he that will go but from Westminster Hall to the Exchange, will find a different genius and turn in their ways of talking; and one cannot think that all whose lot fell in the city were born with different parts from those who were bred at the university or inns of court,

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WENTWORTA DILLON, Earl of Roscommon, born in 1634, was the nephew of Strafford. He wrote, according to Pope, the only unspotted poetry in the days of Charles II. His chief work is called An Essay on Translated Verse; he also translated Horace's Art of Poetry, and wrote minor poems. He died in 1685.

CHARLES SACKVILLE, Earl of Dorset, born about 1637, wrote, among other songs, one beginning, To all you ladies now at land, which he composed at sea the night before a battle. He held high posts at court under Charles II. and William III. His

were only occasional recreations. He is rather to be honoured for his patronage and aid of such men as Butler and Dryden than for his own compositions. He died about 1705.

SIR CHARLES SEDLEY, born in 1639, was in his prime during the reign of Charles II. His Plays, and especially his Songs, are sparkling, light and graceful, with perhaps more of the true Cavalier spirit in them than the works of contemporary lyrists display. He took a prominent part in bringing about the Revolution of 1688. Thirteen years later (1701) he died.

JOHN WILMOT, Earl of Rochester, was born in 1647. His early death at thirty-three, brought on by his own wild and drunken profligacy, left him but a short time to win a writer's fame.

OTWAY, PRIOR, PHILIPS.

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as

Yet some of his Songs have lived, though most of them are stained too deeply with the vices of the man who wrote them, to permit their circulation in our purer days.

THOMAS OTWAY, the greatest dramatic name of Dryden's age, was born in 1651, at Trotting in Sussex. The son of a clergyman, he was educated at Winchester and Oxford. From the halls of Oxford he passed to the London stage ; but had only small success

an actor. Not so when he took up the dramatist's pen. Almost the only gleam of prosperity that favoured the poet shone in 1677, when, by the interest of the Earl of Plymouth, he was made a cornet of dragoons, and shipped off to Flanders. But he soon lost his commission by dissipation, and returned to his playwriting. He died in 1685, a poor and wasted debauchee, who had yet, by his tragedies, greatly surpassed the laboured dramas of Dryden, and had come not far short of the most pathetic scenes in Shakspere. Three years before his death he produced Venice Preserved, the play for which his name is still honoured on the English stage. The Orphan is a powerful but indelicate tragedy.

MATTHEW PRIOR, born in 1664, at Abbot Street in Dorsetshire, rose from humble life—his uncle kept a tavern at Charing Crossto be secretary at the Hague, ambassador to the Court of Versailles, and a Commissioner of Trade. The kindness of the Earl of Dorset, who found the little waiter of the Rummer Inn reading Horace one day, enabled him to enter St. John's, Cambridge, of which college he became a Fellow. He won his place in the diplomatic service by writing, in conjunction with Montagu, The Town and Country Mouse, a burlesque upon Dryden's “Hind and Panther.” Prior's best known poems are light occasional pieces of the Artificial school. His longest and most laboured work is a serious poem, called Solomon. After having lain, untried, in prison for two years, accused by the Whigs of treasonable negotiation with France, he lived on the profits of his poems and the bounty of Lord Oxford, at whose seat of Wimpole he died in 1721.

John PHILIPS, author of The Splendid Shilling and other works,

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PROSE WRITERS OF THE FIFTH ERA.

was born in 1676, the son of the Archdeacon of Salop. During his short life-he died in 1708, aged thirty-two-he wrote several poems in the intervals of his medical studies. “The Splendid Shilling” imitates and tries to parody the style of Milton.

PROSE WRITERS.

HENRY MORE, born in 1614, lived a hermit-life at Cambridge, much as the poet Gray did in later days. He was a great admirer of Plato, and wrote much on metaphysical subjects, of which the mistier kind had a strong attraction for his pen. The Mystery of GodlinessThe Mystery of IniquityThe Immortality of the Soul are among the themes he dealt with. More died in 1687. He wrote poems also, of which the principal is called Psychozoia, or Life of the Soul.

JOHN OWEN, born in 1616, at Stadham in Oxfordshire, was a great favourite with Cromwell, who took him to Dublin and to Edinburgh, and caused him to be made Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. He was long the leading minister of the Independent body. Among his numerous, but far from graceful writings, we may name An Exposition of the Hebrews; A Discourse of the Holy Spirit; and The Divine Original of the Scriptures. This amiable and learned man, whom even his opponents could not dislike, died in 1683.

EDWARD STILLINGFLEET, whose life extended from 1635 to 1699, became Bishop of Worcester in 1689. He wrote Origines Sacrae, or a Rational Account of Natural and Revealed Religion, and also a Defence of the Trinity; the latter in reply to part of Locke's Essay. Stillingfleet's Sermons, too, are justly remembered for their good sense and force of style.

Thomas BURNET, Master of the Charter-house, was born in 1635, and died in 1715. His chief work, originally in Latin, but rendered into English in 1691, was The Sacred Theory of the Earth. Written in a day when geological science was yet unborn, it is, of course, full of error and wild speculation ; but its eloquence and picturesque grandeur of style redeern it from oblivion. Burnet's other principal works were, Archæologia Philosophica-On Christian Faith and Duties—and The State of the Dead and Reviving. He

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