« PreviousContinue »
few further additions, by Bishop Law, for the edition of the Works' published in 1777, and in that shape has been frequently reprinted, epitomised, or adapted in biographical dictionaries and other publications. Even the late Lord King did little more than repeat the statements made by Le Clerc, ignoring Bishop Law's fuller sketch, in . The Life of John Locke, with Extracts from his Correspondence, Journals, and Common-place Books,' which he published (4to, pp. 407) in 1829, and again, with some fresh matter (2 vols., 8vo., pp. 480, 375), in 1830.
As a lineal descendant of Locke's cousin and legatee, Lord King had in his possession an extremely valuable collection of documents, and in publishing portions of these he rendered an important service to the world. Considerably more than half of his work is occupied with selections from Locke's cominon-place books and journals, and transcripts and extracts from his correspondence fill more than a quarter. These materials, however, only serve to illustrate some passages in Locke's life, and some phases in his character; and Lord King, notwithstanding the title of his work, seems to have made no effort at all to string them together in any order, or to combine with them such information as he could procure from other sources. The writing of an orderly and comprehensive biography of the author of 'An Essay concerning Human Understanding 'is for the first time attempted in the following volumes.
In preparing them I have made free use of Lord
King's book, as well as of all other publications bearing on the subject which I have been able to meet with, including, of course, the two collections of Locke's correspondence printed in most editions of his works.? By placing these already published materials in their proper connections, I hope that I have greatly enhanced their value as helps to an understanding of Locke's life and character. But more than half of the contents of this work are derived from hitherto unused manuscripts; and by them, in addition to their independent worth, altogether new light is thrown on most of the information that is not actually new.
I have been careful in foot-notes to indicate my authorities for all the important statements and quotations here made and given ; but it may be well to point out very briefly the chief original and unprinted sources from which they are mainly drawn.
The least explored and almost the richest mine at which a student of Locke's biography can work is the splendid collection of family documents accumulated by the Earls of Shaftesbury. Locke having been a member of the first earl's household during many years, a very
1. Some Familiar Letters between Mr. Locke and several of his Friends,' first published (8vo, pp. 540) in 1708; and Several Letters' included in • A Collection of several Pieces of Mr. John Locke' (8vc, pp. 362), which appeared in 1720. These and other sources furnish two hundred and fiftyeight letters or extracts from letters written by or to Locke, in addition to the ninety-eight printed or referred to by Lord King. I have been able to make use of two hundred and eighteen letters-one hundred and seventysix written by and forty-two written to Locke-which have never before been printed.
large quantity of his correspondence and memoranda, apparently lost sight of by him during the political turmoil that caused him to take shelter in Holland, was mixed up with the Shaftesbury Papers. Besides a great many letters written by and to him throughout the middle period of his life, and numerous other papers illustrating his career before and during that period, I have found in this collection the originals, in his handwriting, of several important essays and fragments of essays on political, religious, medical and other topics. As these documents, along with all the others inherited by the present Earl of Shaftesbury, have been generously placed by him at the disposal of all inquirers, and are now in the custody of the deputy keeper of the Public Records, I have been able to examine them much more easily and thoroughly than might have been possible had they remained, as formerly, at St. Giles's House.
I have made prolonged and careful search among the State Papers, both Domestic and Foreign, in the Public Record Office, and have extracted therefrom some material of value ; but my examination of those collections has been far less successful than I had hoped that it would be. From some miscellaneous collections in the Record Office, however, especially from the old Board of Trade Papers, I have obtained a great deal of information about Locke and his work as the most energetic of William the Third's commissioners of trade.
Some of the manuscripts by and concerning Locke in the library of the British Museum have already been printed; but by far the larger portion have never yet been made public, or, as far as I know, referred to in any publication, and they have therefore been quite new material for my work. Among these may be enumerated several documents elucidating Locke's family history, and, more slightly, his own early life, a collection of medical notes made by him, a volume containing his journal for one year, and a great number of letters written during the last thirty-five years of his career.
From the Bodleian Library and the records of Christ Church, Oxford, from the Lambeth Library, and from other public collections, I have derived much valuable matter; and many documents of great interest have been kindly placed at my disposal by their possessors in various parts of the country.
In the Remonstrants' Library at Amsterdam I had access to a large and very important collection of Locke's correspondence with friends in that city. Thence I have obtained thirty-five new letters, and have recovered a great number of paragraphs omitted, because of their personal nature, from the published correspondence between Locke and Limborch which is contained in Some Familiar Letters.' It will be readily understood that, though immediately after Locke's death these paragraphs were excluded trivial in comparison with the theological and philo
sophical discussions that forin the staple of this correspondence, they are now of special value to a biographer. At Amsterdam I also discovered a great many letters containing interesting references to Locke and illustrations of his life in Holland, the most important of all these latter documents being Lady Masham's long letter, telling all she knew or cared to tell about her friend, which furnished most of the material of Le Clerc's 'Eloge. This letter, much more naïve and graphic in its original English than Le Clerc's French translation, and containing some passages that Le Clerc did not translate, supersedes the Eloge,' and is so interesting that nearly the whole of it has been copied at intervals into these volumes.
Finally, I must acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Alexander Burrell, who has placed in my hands copious notes and extracts from parish registers and various other local sources of information, collected by him during his pilgrimages to the haunts of Locke, both in England and on the continent.
15th March, 1876.