— 508 —
Seventhly, Figurative Speech also an Abuse of Language.
      §34. Since Wit and Fancy finds easier entertainment in the
World, than dry Truth and real Knowledge, figurative Speeches, and
allusion in Language, will hardly be admitted, as an imperfection or
abuse of it. I confess, in Discourses, where we seek rather Pleasure
and Delight, than Information and Improvement, such Ornaments
as are borrowed from them, can scarce pass for Faults. But yet, if
we would speak of Things as they are, we must allow, that all the
Art of Rhetorick, besides Order and Clearness, all the artificial and
figurative application of Words Eloquence hath invented, are for
nothing else but to insinuate wrong Ideas, move the Passions, and
thereby mislead the Judgment; and so indeed are perfect cheat: And
therefore however laudable or allowable Oratory may render them
in Harangues and popular Addresses, they are certainly, in all Dis-
courses that pretend to inform or instruct, wholly to be avoided;
and where Truth and Knowledge are concerned, cannot but be
thought a great fault, either of the Language or Person that makes
use of them. What, and how various they are, will be superfluous
here to take notice; the Books of Rhetorick which abound in the
world, will instruct those, who want to be informed: Only I can-
not but observe, how little the preservation and improvement of
Truth and Knowledge, is the Care and Concern of Mankind; since
the Arts of Fallacy are endow’d and preferred. ’Tis evident how
much Men love to deceive, and be deceived, since Rhetorick, that
powerful instrument of Error and Deceit, has its established Pro-
fessors, is publickly taught, and has always been had in great
Reputation: And, I doubt not, but it will be thought great boldness,
if not brutality in me, to have said thus much against it. Eloquence,
like the fair Sex, has too prevailing Beauties in it, to suffer it self ever
to be spoken against. And ’tis in vain to find fault with those Arts
of Deceiving, wherein Men find pleasure to be Deceived.
Locke Hum III, 10, §34, pp. 508-509