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marian who is to treat of their figns. Nor is he fingular in referring them all to the Senfes; and in beginning an account of Language in that manner *.

* Nihil in intellectu quod non prius in fenfu, is, as well as its converse, an antient and well known pofition.

Sicut in fpeculo ea quæ videntur non funt, fed eorum fpecies; ita quæ intelligimus, ea funt re ipsâ extra nos, eorumque fpecies in nobis. Eft enim quafi rerum fpeculum intellectus nofter; cui, nifi per fenfum reprefententur res, nibil fcit ipfe. J. C. SCALIGER, de caufis, L. L. Cap. lxvi.

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"I fenfi (fays Buonmattei) in un certo modo potrebbon dirfi Miniftri,

Nunzj, Famigliari, o Segretarj dello 'ntelletto. E acciochè lo Esempio "ce ne faccia piu capaci,—Imaginianci di vedere alcun Principe, ilqual fe "ne ftia nella fua corte, nel fuo palazzo. Non vede egli con gli occhi


propj, ne ode co' propj orecchi quel che per lo stato fi faccia: ma col "tenere in diversi luoghi varj Ministri che lo ragguagliono di cio che segue, "viene a fapere intender per cotal relazione ogni cofa, e bene fpeffo molto

piu minutamente e più perfettamente degli fteffi miniftri: Perchè quegli "avendo femplicemente notizia di quel che avvenuto fia nella lor città o "provincia, rimangon di tutto 'l refto ignoranti, e di facile poffon fin delle

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B. What

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cofe vedute ingannarfi. Dove il principe può aver di tutto il feguito "cognizione in un fubito, che fervendogli per riprova d' ogni particolar

riferitogli, non lo lafcia cofi facilmente ingannare. Cofi, dico, è l' In"telletto umano; ilquale effendo di tutte l' altre potenze e Signore e Prin

cipe, fe ne fta nella fua ordinaria refidenza ripofto, e non vede nè ode "cofa che fi faccia di fuori: Ma avendo cinque miniftri che lo ragguaglian "di quel che fuccede, uno nella region della vifta, un altro nella giurifdizion "dell' udito, quello nella provincia del gufto, quefto ne' paefi dell' odorato, " e queft' altro nel distretto del tatto, viene a fapere per mezzo del discorso


ogni cofa in univerfale, tanto piu de' fenfi perfettamente, quanto i fenfi " ciascuno

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What difference then do you imagine it would have made in Mr. Locke's Effay, if he had fooner been aware of the infeparable connexion between words and knowledge; or, in the language of Sir Hugh, in Shakespeare, that "the "lips is parcel of the mind?"


Much. And amongst many other things, I think he would not have talked of the compofition of ideas; but

"ciafcuno intendendo nella fua pura potenza, non poffon per tutte come lo "'ntelletto difcorrere. E ficcome il Principe, fenza lasciarsi vedere o fen"tire, fa noto altrui la fua volontà per mezzo degli steffi miniftri; cofi an

cora l'Intelletto fa intenderfi per via de medefimi Senfi."

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"Divers philofophers hold that the lips is parcel of the mind." Merry Wives of Windfor, A&t 1. Scene 4. Rowland Jones agrees with his countryman, Sir Hugh Evans. In his Origin of Language and Nations," Preface, page 17, he fays (after others)" I think that Language ought not to be confidered as mere arbi

trary founds; or any thing less than a part, at least, of that living foul " which God is faid to have breathed into man." This method of referring words immediately to God as their framer, is a short cut to escape inquiry and explanation. It faves the philofopher much trouble; but leaves mankind in great ignorance, and leads to great error.-Non dignus vindice nodus.-God having furnished man with fenfes and with organs of articulation; as he has also with water, lime and fand; it fhould feem no more neceffary to form the words for man, than to temper the mortar.

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BUONMATTEI. Tratt. 2. Cap. 2.


would have seen that it was merely a contrivance of Language: and that the only compofition was in the terms; and ; consequently that it was as improper to speak of a complex idea, as it would be to call a constellation a complex star : And that they are not ideas, but merely terms, which are general and abstract. I think too that he would have seen the advantage of " thoroughly weighing" not only (as he fays)" the imperfections of Language ;" but its perfections alfo: For the perfections of Language, not properly underftood, have been one of the chief causes of the imperfections of our philofophy. And indeed, from numberless paffages throughout his Effay, Mr. Locke feems to me to have suspected fomething of this fort: and especially from what he hints in his laft chapter; where, speaking of the doctrine of figns, he fays-" The confideration then "of Ideas and Words, as the great inftruments of know"ledge, makes no despicable part of their contemplation "who would take a view of human knowledge in the "whole extent of it. And perhaps, if they were distinctly "weighed and duly confidered, they would afford us another "fort of Logick and Critick than what we have hitherto "been acquainted with."


Do not you think that what you now advance will bear a difpute: and that fome better arguments than


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your bare affertion are neceffary to make us adopt your opinion?


Yes. To many perfons much more would be necessary; but not to you. I only defire you to read the Effay over again with attention, and fee whether all that its immortal author has justly concluded will not hold equally true and clear, if you fubftitute the compofition, &c. of terms wherever he has fuppofed a compofition, &c. of ideas. And if that shall upon ftrict examination appear to you to be the cafe, you will need no other argument against the compofition of Ideas: It being exactly fimilar to that unanfwerable one which Mr. Locke himself declares to be

fufficient against their being innate. For the fuppofition is unneceffary: Every purpose for which the compofition of Ideas was imagined being more easily and naturally answered by the compofition of Terms: whilst at the fame time it does likewise clear up many difficulties in which the fuppofed compofition of Ideas neceffarily involves us. And, though this is the only argument I mean to use at present, (because I would not willingly digrefs too far, and it is not the neceffary foundation for what I have undertaken) yet I will venture to fay, that it is an eafy matter, upon Mr. Locke's own principles and a physical confideration of the Senfes

Senfes and the Mind, to prove the impoffibility of the composition of Ideas.


Well. Since you do not intend to build any thing upon it, we may safely for the present suppose what you have advanced; and take it for granted that the greatest part of Mr. Locke's Effay, that is, all which relates to what he calls the composition, abstraction, complexity, generalization, relation, &c. of Ideas, does indeed merely concern Language. But, pray, let me afk you; If fo, what has Mr. Locke done in the Third Book of his Effay? In which he professedly treats of the nature, use, and fignification of Language?


He has really done little else but enlarge upon what he had said before, when he thought he was treating only of Ideas: that is, he has continued to treat of the compofition of Terms. For though, in the paffage I have before quoted, he fays, that "unless the force and manner of "fignification of words are firft well obferved, there can "be very little faid clearly and pertinently concerning "knowledge;"--and though this is the declared reason of writing his Third Book concerning Language, as distinct from:

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