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Extracts from The reasonableness of Christianity   (1703/04)

Location:   Bodleian Library, MS. Locke c. 27, ff. 224-229.

Description:   A review of the second edition (1696) of Locke’s The reasonableness of Christianity, by an unknown author. It consists primarily of extracts from the text, with some connecting comments and favourable remarks. The manuscript is in an unknown hand, but is endorsed (f. 29v) “Reasonableness Christianity Extract 03/4”.

The manuscript consists of three folded sheets, 302 × 182 mm. Two of the sheets have been folded so that the second leaf of each sheet comes first; the pencilled folio numbers represent the correct order, but the order of binding is ff. 225, 224, 226, 227, 229, 228. The title (bibliographic details commonly preceding a review) is on f. 224r and the endorsement on f. 229v.


  1. John Locke and Christianity : contemporary responses to The reasonableness of Christianity / edited and introduced by Victor Nuovo. – Bristol ; Dulles, Va. : Thoemmes Press, 1997. – (Key issues ; no. 16). – pp. 1-19.

Discussions:   Nuovo, publication #1 above, p. xxvii.

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Isaac Newton’s comments on Locke’s Paraphrase on the Epistle to the Romans   [1704 early winter?]

Location:   National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Yah. Var. 1 / Newton Papers 8.2, f. 4.

Description:   Locke solicited his friend Isaac Newton’s opinion of his paraphrase of the epistles to the Corinthians, most likely during Newton’s visit to Oates in the autumn of 1702. Newton returned Locke’s draft with his comments (Newton to Locke, 15 May 1703 [De Beer, viii. 3287]). Locke also apparently asked Newton to comment on part of his paraphrase of the epistle to the Romans, for a draft of Newton’s comments survive among his theological papers. Locke sent Newton the first sheet of his paraphrase (MS. Locke e. 2, ff. 1-4) in the late autumn of 1703; Newton returned the draft with his comments in the early winter of 1704. Newton’s comments deal particularly with Romans 1:3-4 and demonstrate Newton’s unorthodox views on the Trinity; the fact that Locke’s final version was revised based on Newton’s suggestions sheds light on Locke’s own views on the Trinity.


  1. “Newton, Locke and the Trinity : Sir Isaac’s comments on Locke’s A paraphrase and notes on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans / Kim Ian Parker. // IN: Scottish journal of theology. – 62 (2009):51-52.

Discussions:   Parker, publication #1 above.

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Weather register, December 9, 1691-December 31, 1692   (1704 March?)

A fair copy written in March (?) 1704.   See description under 1691.

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Locke’s will   (1704 April 11, with a codicil, September 15)

Location:   Bodleian Library, MS. Locke b. 5, no. 14.

Description:   Locke’s papers contained a copy of his will, probably made by an officer of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (De Beer). The will itself is dated “this eleaventh day of April in the third year of the Reign of our Soveraigne Lady Queen Ann Anno Domini 1704” and is witnessed by Roger Hazard, Peter Coste, and Thomas King. Apart from individual bequests, it names his cousin Peter King as his heir and as executor of his will.

In a codicil dated 15 September 1704 and witnessed by Roger Hazard and Thomas King, Locke makes some additional bequests, including the gift of his hitherto unacknowledged writings to the Bodleian Library.


  1. [Jean Le Clerc], The life and character of Mr. John Locke, author of the Essay concerning humane understanding. The third edition enlarged. London, printed for J. Clarke, and E. Curll. 1714. Pages 29-34.
  2. [part of the codicil] The life of John Locke : with extracts from his correspondence, journals and common-place books / by Lord King. – London : H. Colburn, 1829. – pp. 266-267.
  3. The correspondence of John Locke / edited by E.S. de Beer. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1976-89. – vol. 8:419-427. [Locke #847]

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Draft of A fourth letter for toleration   (1704 July-August)

Location:   Bodleian Library, MS. Locke d. 4.

Description:   In June 1704, after more than a dozen years of silence, Jonas Proast published A second letter to the author of the three letters for toleration. Locke’s response was left incomplete at his death in October 1704.

The present manuscript is a draft in Locke’s hand, written on letter covers. The latest endorsement is “8 Aug. [17]04” (f. 8v). The manuscript is comprised mostly of single sheets, c. 240 × 185 mm or smaller; a few are mere scraps of paper. The pages are marked “4th” and signed A-T (ff. 1-19) and E-L, O-T (ff. 20-32).

The text differs from that published in Posthumous works; most significantly, the final paragraph of the printed text is missing in the draft. Lord King (pp. 364-365) prints a short passage crossed out in the draft (pp. 26-27) and not printed in Posthumous works. These differences indicate that the printed text was not derived directly from this manuscript; as was his habit, Locke may have had an amanuensis make a clean copy, to which he made additions and corrections; it is likely that this revised version, or a copy of it, was the source of the printed text.


  1. “Part of a fourth letter for toleration, &c.” // IN: Posthumous works of Mr. John Locke: … London, printed by W.B. for A. and J. Churchill, 1706. 8o. Pages 233-277. [Locke #92]
  2. The life of John Locke : with extracts from his correspondence, journals and common-place books / by Lord King. – London : H. Colburn, 1829. – pp. 364-365 (1858 ed.).

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Memoirs relating to the Life of Anthony First Earl of Shaftesbury

Location:   National Archives, PRO 30/24/42, no. 62, ff. 9-16 [Locke’s autograph];
Bodleian Library, MS. Locke b. 4, ff. 109-114 [copy].

Description:   The original manuscript of the Memoirs relating to the life of Anthony first Earl of Shaftesbury, in Locke’s Interview with Tinahand was among Locke’s papers at the time of his death in October 1704. In his letter to his executor, Peter King, Locke noted: “You will find two or three sheets of Memoires, they were writ at the request of a Person you will easilye guess to preserve the memory of some facts which he thought he might some time or other have use of. I had gon on farther if my time and health would have permitted. What there is of them pray deliver to him.” [Letter #3647; De Beer, viii. 415] The “Person you will easilye guess” was the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, and on 9 December 1704, King informed his Lordship of the Memoirs [NA, PRO 30/24/47/24]; the autograph was conveyed to Shaftesbury and is now among the Shaftesbury papers in the National Archives.

The date of the Memoirs is uncertain, although variations in writing and ink indicate that it was written over time. Most likely, it is the work of Locke’ final years, interrupted abruptly in mid-sentence probably sometime in 1704.

The manuscript consists of four sheets of paper, each folded to form 16 pages, each leaf measuring 312 × 196 mm. The sheets are signed A–D. Each page was divided vertically into two columns; the text of the Memoirs is written in the left-hand column, with the right-hand column left blank for additions and revisions. One such addition occurs on the final page of sheet A (f. 10v): Locke’s epitaph for Shaftesbury.

A scribal copy by William Shaw, Locke’s last manservant, is preserved among Locke’s papers, probably a copy made for, and retained by, King. It consists of three sheets of paper, folded once to form 12 pages, each leaf measuring 313 × 199 mm; the bifolia are signed A–C; the paper is endorsed “Mr Locks Memoires” in an unknown hand.

The Memoirs were first printed in French. Shaftesbury asked Pierre Coste to prepare the translation; this he sent to Jean Le Clerc, who printed it in the Bibliothèque choisie in 1705, not without making modifications that upset Shaftesbury and Coste. The folowing year, the Memoirs appeared in English in Posthumous works of Mr. John Locke, using a copy of Locke’s autograph supplied by Shaftesbury.


  1. Literary and historical writings / John Locke ; edited by J. R. Milton. – Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2019. – (The Clarendon edition of the works of John Locke). – Pages 337-356

For the printed versions, see the entries in John Locke Bibliography.

Discussions:   P. Milton, publication #1 above, pages 109-141, 167-174.

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Codicil to Locke’s will   (1704 September 15)

See description above.

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