British Library

Add. MS. 32,554

A medical commonplace book, titled “Adversaria physis” (f. 1). It is also referred to as “Adversaria 2”; the numeral “2” is written on the fore-edge. The volume is dated “25o Feb: 1659[/60] on the flyleaf; most of the entries appear to date from 1660 and 1661 (after MS. Locke f. 20 and f. 18 had been filled, but before Locke began to use MS. Locke f. 19 in about 1662); however, the notebook remained in limited use thereafter, the latest datable entry (p. 68) being from shortly after April 29, 1667. The notebook is organized and indexed according to Locke’s method of commonplacing, the first of his commonplace books to follow the method as described by Locke in “Nouvelle méthode ….” The index is on ff. 123v-124r.

8o. 145 × 89 mm. Not signed. Pages 1-249; page numbers written by Locke on most pages (several errors).

The volume was purchased at Sotheby’s, 20 June 1885.

For a description of the book and the dating of its contents, see Milton, “Locke’s Adversaria” (1987); and “John Locke’s medical notebooks” (1997).

Individual notes by Locke include:

pp. 17, 43, 55:


p. 25:

Intermittens [febris]

p. 30:


pp. 31, 67, 85, 95:


p. 77:


p. 79:

Hectica [febris]

p. 81:

Glandula cerebri

pp. 91, 93:


p. 133:


pp. 136-137:

Elasticus motus

pp 145, 185:


pp. 189, 211:


p. 212:


p. 213:

Acidulae Q[uery]

p. 216:

Hepatis usus

pp. 232-233, 237,246, 248-250:

Morbus (1666 or 1667)