In Vol. 2, chapter 12, 3rd paragraph (p. 117), there are a long couple paragraphs in French entitled “Madame de Stael upon Locke.” Could someone please translate that whole thing for me? I only know oui & adieu in French….
Here is the English translation of volume 2, p. 117 and 118, with many thanks to David Tulis, who is fluent in French and “makes profuse apologies for the following translation as it is perhaps so literal that the true meaning may be obscured.” The tenses of the verbs were not the same as today’s French, which made translation somewhat difficult.
Hobbes took literally the philosophy which held that all our ideas are impressions of the senses; He was not afraid in the least of the consequences of that. He heartily said that the soul was submitted to necessity as society is to despotism. The worship of all these elevated and pure sentiments is so consolidated in England by political and religious institutions that spiritual speculations turn around these imposing columns without ever tottering. Hobbes had thus few partisans in his country. The influence of Locke was more universal as his character was more moral and religious, he did not permit himself any corruptive reasonings which derived necessarily from metaphysics; and most of his compatriots in adopting it had, as he did, the noble inconsequence to separate the results of principles whereas Hume and the French philosophers, after having admitted the system, applied it in a much more logical manner.
The metaphysic of Locke didn’t have other effects on the spirits in England, than to tarnish a little their natural originality, dry up/wither the source of grand philosopical thinking, it didn’t know how to destroy religious sentiment, which know so well how to implore/entreat it; but this metaphysic was recieved in the rest of Europe, Germany excepted, was one of the principal causes of immorality, of which one made itself a theory for better assuring practice.