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selves, have poisoned the fountain :"-" and then, perhaps too late, would be glad to get out those weeds which their own hands have planted, and which now have taken too deep a root to be easily extirpated." "I desire to know what vice can be named which rents, and those about children, do not season them with, and drop into them the seeds of, as soon as they are capable to receive them?" "The foundations on which several duties are built, and the fountains of right and wrong from which they spring, are not perhaps easily to be let into the minds of grown

men."

I have made these quotations from Locke's work on Education, not to criticise the opinions, most of which are excellent; but to ascertain the true sense in which he used the words "seeds of vice" and "fountains of right and wrong." It may be observed that he clearly admits natural and constitutional diversities among mankind, which shew themselves almost from the cradle and are therefore indepen dent of any kind of education. These constitute the foundation of peculiarities in human character.

He also speaks of certain humours appearing almost as soon as children are born, which he calls "the first original of most vicious habits, that are ordinary and natural," in other words-" the roots of injustice and contention." These must be supposed to constitute the original seeds of vice. For it is plain, they cannot be acquired; as they are universal, and appear too early to be the effect of

education. They are the "native propensities" which lead to "stubbornness, lying," &c. and, in order to counteract these, Locke is led to contrast the force of an acquired principle, such as the influence of parental authority, with that of what he terms the principles of nature," or "a natural principle." But when we consider that in his Essay, Locke has denied the existence of any innate principle, we are at a loss to comprehend what the expression natural principle' can mean; unless we forget his theory and call it simply, if a vicious propensity, the seed of

vice.

For we are told, as may be seen above," the love of dominion and of possession," which is not in itself evil," is yet the first original of most vicious habits that are natural." Consequently this original of vice must be an innate seed; because its budding appears long before education can have any happy influence. Nay, it might be said, that most parents resist it from the very beginning.

Now, these propensities, humours, or natural principles, appearing so early, and leading all men so directly to vicious habits, even with the advantages of a watchful education, might be supposed, naturally enough, to constitute the seeds of vice, without any superaddition, but that of bad example. But we find that Locke has used the expression of "parents dropping into their children's minds the seeds of vice;" and we also find the expression "letting into the mind the foundations and fountains of right and

wrong.

And hence arises some difficulty in apprehending how much, in the view of Locke, was original and how much acquired,-what seeds were natural and what were sown by art. If the native bias of the mind be to evil, and to shew its vicious propensities from the cradle, it would be superfluous to fill the mind with artificial seeds when it has already a native stock, and only requires to be placed in a fit soil to ripen them into all the various forms of wickedness and depravity. But it is a lamentable truth, if Locke's expressions clearly indicate the existence of original propensities to vice, and of none to virtue it is a lamentable picture of human nature, I say, if such be the fact, that, while a natural principle or innate propensity is urging the mind to evil, it has to depend on an acquired rule or adventitious principle to direct it to good-having no innate bias to virtue! Yet the expression, "corrupting the principles of nature in their children" cannot apply with truth to evil principles, but to those which would lead to good: because, to corrupt evil principles would involve an absurdity. But to corrupt good natural principles would imply the existence of such originally, that is, of their seeds; and therefore Locke's own expression, upon a more full examination, may perhaps defend him from the conclusion, which would follow from the supposition of there being a native propensity to vice, and none to virtue. His language, at the same time, clearly indicates that there are some original

implanted tendencies, native propensities, roots or seeds of vice; and it would not perhaps be difficult to take the other side and shew, how early children discover the buddings from the native seeds of virtue.

But, it must be observed, that although we use the words seeds of vice and virtue, as being naturally in the mind, we speak only of propensities to action; and it is not meant that the seeds or principles which lead to vice, do therefore constitute vice; or that the seeds and principles which lead to virtue consti. tute virtue. It is the fruit and not the seed that degrades or dignifies; for due care may correct or extirpate what is hurtful, as it may train and strengthen what is good.

CHAP. V.

OF FIRST PRINCIPLES AND INNATE IDEAS.

We shall now consider more particularly the First Principles from which all Knowledge and Moral Feeling spring. We have concluded from analogy, as well as from the phenomena, that the intellectual and moral powers are at first in an undeveloped state. In conformity, therefore, with this view of the mind, we might be prepared to expect that these powers should at first only be capable to receive the simplest truths, and comprehend the plainest axioms. We find this, accordingly, to be the case. In every branch of human knowledge, the rudiments or elements can only at first be acquired, because the capacity is small; and the expansion or progress from Truth to Truth is afterwards as imperceptible, and I may add as unintelligible, as the evolution of a germ into its leaf and blossom.

Now, as far as regards the origin of our knowledge and the question of Innate Ideas, about which so

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