Native beams of light should shine out in their "full Lustre" in children, idiots, and savages.

— Locke, John (1632-1704)

Place of Publication
1690, 1694, 1695, 1700, 1706
Native beams of light should shine out in their "full Lustre" in children, idiots, and savages.
Metaphor in Context
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 not in the 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 borrowed Opinions; Learning, and Education, having not cast their Native thoughts into new Moulds; nor by super-inducing foreign 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 be very well 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, and 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 the most to do with, and which have made upon their Senses the frequentest and strongest Impressions.
Locke began composition as early as 1671 (Drafts A and B).

I find over 25 entries in the ESTC (1690, 1694, 1695, 1700, 1706, 1710, 1715, 1721, 1726, 1731, 1735, 1741, 1748, 1753, 1759, 1760, 1765, 1768, 1775, 1777, 1786, 1788, 1793, 1795, 1796, 1798). See also the many abridgements issued in the period.

First published as An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. In Four Books. (London: Printed by Eliz. Holt, for Thomas Basset, at the George in Fleetstreet, near St. Dunstan's Church, 1690). <Link to EEBO><EEBO-TCP>

Searching first in a Past Masters edition based on the 12th Edition of Locke's Works and proofread against the 1959 Fraser edition. More recent searches in EEBO-TCP.

Reading John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter Nidditch (Oxford, Oxford UP, 1975)--against which I have checked the text searched in Past Masters. Note, Nidditch's text is based on 4th ed. of 1700.
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.