— 706 —
First, Want of Proofs.
      §2. First, By Want of Proofs: I do not mean, only the Want of
those Proofs which are no where extant, and so are no where to be
— 707 —
had; but the Want even of those Proofs which are in Being, or
might be procured. And thus Men want Proofs, who have not the
Convenience, or Opportunity to make Experiments and Obser-
vations themselves, tending to the Proof of any Proposition; nor
likewise the Convenience to enquire into, and collect the Testi-
monies of others: And in this State are the greatest part of Mankind,
who are given up to Labour, and enslaved to the Necessity of their
mean Condition; whose Lives are worn out, only in the Provisions
for Living. These Men’s Opportunity of Knowledge and Enquiry,
are commonly as narrow as their Fortunes; and their Understandings
are but little instructed, when all their whole Time and Pains is
laid out, to still the Croaking of their own Bellies, or the Cries of
their Children. ’Tis not to be expected, that a Man, who drudges
on, all his Life, in a laborious Trade, should be more knowing in the
variety of Things done in the World, than a Pack-horse, who is
driven constantly forwards and backwards, in a narrow Lane, and
dirty Road, only to Market, should be skilled in the Geography of
the Country. Nor is it at all more possible, that he who wants
Leisure, Books, and Languages, and the Opportunity of Conversing
with variety of Men, should be in a Condition to collect those
Testimonies and Observations, which are in Being, and are neces-
sary to make out many, nay most of the Propositions, that, in the
Societies of Men, are judged of the greatest Moment; or to find out
Grounds of Assurance so great, as the Belief of the points he would
build on them, is thought necessary. So that a great part of Mankind
are, by the natural and unalterable State of Things in this World,
and the Constitution of humane Affairs, unavoidably given over to
invincible Ignorance of those Proofs, on which others build, and
which are necessary to establish those Opinions: The greatest
part of Men, having much to do to get the Means of Living, are
not in a Condition to look after those of learned and laborious
Enquiries.
Locke Hum IV, 20, §2, pp. 706-707