For the understanding, like the eye, judging of objects only by its own sight, cannot but be pleased with what it discovers, having less regret for what has escaped it, because it is unknown.
Thus he who has raised himself above the alms-basket, and, not content to live lazily on scraps of begged opinions, sets his own thoughts on work, to find and follow truth, will (whatever he lights on) not miss the hunter’s satisfaction; every moment of his pursuit will reward his pains with some delight; and he will have reason to think his time not ill spent, even when he cannot much boast of any great acquisition.
If thou findest little in it new or instructive to thee, thou art not to blame me for it.
It was not meant for those that had already mastered this subject, and made a thorough acquaintance with their own understandings; but for my own information, and the satisfaction of a few friends, who acknowledged themselves not to have sufficiently considered it.
Things in print must stand and fall by their own worth, or the reader’s fancy.
But there being nothing more to be desired for truth than a fair unprejudiced hearing, nobody is more likely to procure me that than your lordship, who are allowed to have got so intimate an acquaintance with her, in her more retired recesses.If thou judgest for thyself I know thou wilt judge candidly, and then I shall not be harmed or offended, whatever be thy censure.For though it be certain that there is nothing in this Treatise of the truth whereof I am not fully persuaded, yet I consider myself as liable to mistakes as I can think thee, and know that this book must stand or fall with thee, not by any opinion I have of it, but thy own.TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD THOMAS, EARL OF PEMBROKE AND MONTGOMERY, BARRON HERBERT OF CARDIFF, LORD ROSS, OF KENDAL, PAR, FITZHUGH, MARMION, ST.QUINTIN, AND SHURLAND; LORD PRESIDENT OF HIS MAJESTY’S MOSTHONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL; AND LORD LIEUTENANT OF THE COUNTY OF WILTS, AND OF SOUTH WALES.Mistake not this for a commendation of my work; nor conclude, because I was pleased with the doing of it, that therefore I am fondly taken with it now it is done.He that hawks at larks and sparrows has no less sport, though a much less considerable quarry, than he that flies at nobler game: and he is little acquainted with the subject of this treatise- the UNDERSTANDING- who does not know that, as it is the most elevated faculty of the soul, so it is employed with a greater and more constant delight than any of the other.This, my lord, shows what a present I here make to your lordship; just such as the poor man does to his rich and great neighbour, by whom the basket of flowers or fruit is not ill taken, though he has more plenty of his own growth, and in much greater perfection.Worthless things receive a value when they are made the offerings of respect, esteem, and gratitude: these you have given me so mighty and peculiar reasons to have, in the highest degree, for your lordship, that if they can add a price to what they go along with, proportionable to their own greatness, I can with confidence brag, I here make your lordship the richest present you ever received.This I am sure, I should write of the Understanding without having any, if I were not extremely sensible of them, and did not lay hold on this opportunity to testify to the world how much I am obliged to be, and how much I am, Your Lordship’s most humble and most obedient servant, JOHN LOCKE Dorset Court, 24th of May, 1689 I HAVE put into thy hands what has been the diversion of some of my idle and heavy hours.If it has the good luck to prove so of any of thine, and thou hast but half so much pleasure in reading as I had in writing it, thou wilt as little think thy money, as I do my pains, ill bestowed.