— 453 —
Therefore very various and uncertain.       §26. Since then it is evident, that we sort and name Substances
by their nominal, and not by their real Essences, the next thing to be
considered is, how, and by whom these Essences come to be made.
As to the latter, ’tis evident they are made by the Mind, and not by
Nature: For were they Nature’s Workmanship, they could not be
so various and different in several Men, as experience tells us they
are. For if we will examine it, we shall not find the nominal Essence
of any one Species of Substances, in all Men the same; no not of that,
which of all others we are the most intimately acquainted with. It
could not possibly be, that the abstract Idea, to which the name Man
is given, should be different in several Men, if it were of Nature’s
making; and that to one it should be Animal rationale, and to another
Animal implume bipes latis unguibus. He that annexes the name Man,
to a complex Idea, made up of Sense and spontaneous Motion,
join’d to a Body of such a shape, has thereby one Essence of the
Species Man: And he that, upon farther examination, adds rationality,
has another Essence of the Species he calls Man: By which means, the
same individual will be a true Man to the one, which is not so to
the other. I think, there is scarce any one will allow this upright
Figure, so well known, to be the essential difference of the Species
Man; and yet how far Men determine of the sorts of Animals, rather
by their Shape, than Descent, is very visible; since it has been
more than once debated, whether several humane Foetus should
be preserved, or received to Baptism, or no, only because of the
difference of their outward Configuration, from the ordinary Make
of Children, without knowing whether they were not as capable of
Reason, as Infants cast in another Mould: Some whereof, though of
an approved shape, are never capable of as much appearance of
Reason, all their Lives, as is to be found in an Ape, or an Elephant;
and never give any signs of being acted by a rational Soul. Whereby
it is evident, that the outward Figure, which only was found
wanting, and not the Faculty of Reason, which no body could know
would be wanting in its due Season, was made essential to the
— 454 —
humane Species. The learned Divine and Lawyer, must, on such
occasions, renounce his sacred Definition of Animal Rationale, and
substitute some other Essence of the humane Species. Monsieur
Menage furnishes us with an Example worth the taking notice of
on this occasion. When the Abbot of St. Martin, says he, was born, he
had so little of the Figure of a Man, that it bespake him rather a Monster.
Twas for some time under Deliberation, whether he should be baptized or no.
However, he was baptized and declared a Man provisionally [till time should
shew what he would prove.] Nature had moulded him so untowardly,
that he was called all his Life the Abbot Malotru, i.e. Ill shaped. He was
of Caen. Menagiana 278/430. This Child we see was very near being
excluded out of the Species of Man, barely by his Shape. He escaped
very narrowly as he was, and ’tis certain a Figure a little more odly
turn’d had cast him, and he had been executed as a thing not to be
allowed to pass for a Man. And yet there can be no Reason given,
why if the Lineaments of his Face had been a little alter’d, a rational
Soul could not have been lodg’d in him; why a Visage somewhat
longer, or a Nose flatter, or a wider Mouth could not have consisted,
as well as the rest of his ill Figure, with such a Soul, such Parts, as
made him, disfigured as he was, capable to be a Dignitary in the
Church.
Locke Hum III, 6, §26, pp. 453-454