after 1704

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Desmaizeaux’s annotated copy of A Letter from a Person of Quality   (late 1710s?)

Location:   British Library, Add. MS. 4224, ff. 228-243.

Description:   In preparation for its inclusion in A Collection of several pieces of Mr. John Locke (1720), Pierre Desmaizeaux cut the leaves containing A Letter from a Person of Quality out of the 1689 State tracts and then cut most of the leaves in half horizontally. These half leaves he then proceeded to annotate, first with corrections based on a collation with the first edition, then with copies of the second edition.


Used in the edition of the Letter in: An essay concerning toleration and other writings on law and politics, 1667-1683 / John Locke ; edited with an introduction, critical apparatus, notes and transcription of ancillary manuscripts by J.R. Milton and Philip Milton. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 2006. – (The Clarendon edition of the works of John Locke). – pp. 335-376.

Discussions:   Milton & Milton, Introduction to publication #1 above, pp. 212-216.

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Memoir of Locke’s life   (1718 or 1719?)

Location:   British Library, Add. MS. 4222, ff. 245r-247r.

Description:   Among the papers of Pierre Desmaizeaux preserved by Thomas Birch is an anonymous memoir of Locke’s life written in Frech in Desmaizeaux’s hand. It is headed “Jean Locke” (f. 245r) and “J Locke” (f. 247r).

In preparation for his edition of A Collection of several pieces of Mr. John Locke (1720), Desmaizeaux probably solicited biographical information from acquaintances of Locke. The present memoir probably dates from 1718 or 1719 and contains information ascribed to “Mr. T” – whom Waldmann tentatively identifies as Locke’s friend James Tyrrell. The memoir is unusually candid and in particular insists on Locke’s fascination with Thomas Hobbes.


  1. “John Locke as a reader of Hobbes’s Leviathan : a new manuscript” / Felix Waldmann. // IN: Journal of modern history. – 93 (2021):271-273, with an English translation (pages 273-277).

Discussions:   Waldmann, publication #1 above.

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