— 81 —
How Men commonly come by their Principles       §22. This, however strange it may seem, is that which every days
Experience confirms; and will not, perhaps, appear so wonderful, if
we consider the ways, and steps by which it is brought about; and
how really it may come to pass, that Doctrines, that have been
derived from no better original, than the Superstition of a Nurse, or
the Authority of an old Woman; may, by length of time, and consent
of Neighbours, grow up to the dignity of Principles in Religion or
Morality. For such, who are careful (as they call it) to principle
Children well, (and few there be who have not a set of those
Principles for them, which they believe in) instil into the unwary,
and, as yet, unprejudiced Understanding, (for white Paper receives
any Characters) those Doctrines they would have them retain and
profess. These being taught them as soon as they have any appre-
hension; and still as they grow up, confirmed to them, either by the
open Profession, or tacit Consent, of all they have to do with; or at
least by those, of whose Wisdom, Knowledge, and Piety, they have
an Opinion, who never suffer those Propositions to be otherwise
mentioned, but as the Basis and Foundation, on which they build
— 82 —
their Religion or Manners, come, by these means, to have the
reputation of unquestionable, self-evident, and innate Truths.
Locke Hum I, 3, §22, pp. 81-82