— 188 —
But not by their motion, but periodical appearances.       §20. For the freezing of Water, or the blowing of a Plant,
returning at equidistant Periods in all parts of the Earth, would as
well serve Men to reckon their Years by, as the Motions of the Sun:
and in effect we see, that some People in America counted their Years
by the coming of certain Birds amongst them at their certain
Seasons, and leaving them at others. For a Fit of an Ague; the Sense
— 189 —
of Hunger, or Thirst; a Smell, or a Taste; or any other Idea return-
ing constantly at equidistant Periods, and making it self universally
be taken notice of, would not fail to measure out the course of Succes-
sion, and distinguish the distances of Time. Thus we see that Men
born blind, count Time well enough by Years, whose Revolutions
yet they cannot distinguish by Motions, that they perceive not:
And I ask, whether a blind Man, who distinguished his Years, either
by heat of Summer, or cold of Winter; by the Smell of any Flower of
the Spring, or taste of any Fruit of the Autumn, would not have a
better measure of Time, than the Romans had before the Refor-
mation of their Calendar by Julius Caesar, or many other People,
whose Years, notwithstanding the motion of the Sun, which they
pretend to make use of, are very irregular: and it adds no small
difficulty to Chronology, that the exact lengths of the Years that
several Nations counted by, are hard to be known, they differing
very much one from another, and, I think, I may say all of them,
from the precise motion of the Sun: and if the Sun moved from the
Creation to the Flood constantly in the AEquator, and so equally
dispersed its light and heat to all the habitable Parts of the Earth, in
Days all of the same length, without its annual variations to the
Tropicks, as a late ingenious Author supposes, I do not think it very
easie to imagine, that (notwithstanding the motion of the Sun)
Men should in the Antediluvian World, from the beginning count
by years, or measure their time by Periods that had no sensible
marks very obvious to distinguish them by.
Locke Hum II, 14, §20, pp. 188-189