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Not innate, because they appear least, where what is innate shews it self clearest.       §27. That the general Maxims, we are discoursing of, are not
known to Children, Ideots, and a great part of Mankind, we have
already sufficiently proved: whereby it is evident, they have not
an universal assent, nor are general Impressions. But there is this
farther Argument in it against their being innate: That these
Characters, if they were native and original Impressions, should
appear fairest and clearest in those Persons, in whom yet we find no
Footsteps of them: And ’tis, in my Opinion, a strong Presumption,
that they are not innate; since they are least known to those, in
whom, if they were innate, they must needs exert themselves with
most Force and Vigour. For Children, Ideots, Savages, and illiterate
People, being of all others the least corrupted by Custom, or bor-
rowed Opinions; Learning, and Education, having not cast their
Native thoughts into new Moulds; nor by super-inducing foreign
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and studied Doctrines, confounded those fair Characters Nature
had written there; one might reasonably imagine, that in their
Minds these innate Notions should lie open fairly to every one’s
view, as ’tis certain the thoughts of Children do. It might very well
be expected, that these Principles should be perfectly known to
Naturals; which being stamped immediately on the Soul (as these
Men suppose) can have no dependence on the Constitutions, or
Organs of the Body, the only confessed difference between them
and others. One would think, according to these Men’s Principles,
That all these native Beams of Light (were there any such) should
in those, who have no Reserves, no Arts of Concealment, shine out
in their full Lustre, and leave us in no more doubt of their being
there, than we are of their love of Pleasure, and abhorrence of Pain.
But alas, amongst Children, Ideots, Savages, and the grosly Illiterate,
what general Maxims are to be found? What universal Principles of
Knowledge? Their Notions are few and narrow, borrowed only
from those Objects, they have had most to do with, and which have
made upon their Senses the frequentest and strongest Impressions.
A Child knows his Nurse, and his Cradle, and by degrees the Play-
things of a little more advanced Age: And a young Savage has,
perhaps, his Head fill’d with Love and Hunting, according to the
fashion of his Tribe. But he that from a Child untaught, or a wild
Inhabitant of the Woods, will expect these abstract Maxims, and
reputed Principles of Sciences, will I fear, find himself mistaken.
Such kind of general Propositions, are seldom mentioned in the
Huts of Indians: much less are they to be found in the thoughts of
Children, or any Impressions of them on the Minds of Naturals. They
are the Language and Business of the Schools, and Academies
of learned Nations, accustomed to that sort of Conversation, or
Learning, where Disputes are frequent: These Maxims being suited
to artificial Argumentation, and useful for Conviction; but not
much conducing to the discovery of Truth, or advancement of
Knowledge. But of their small use for the improvement of Know-
ledge, I shall have occasion to speak more at large, l. 4. c. 7.
Locke Hum I, 2, §27, pp. 63-64