The Educational Writings of John Locke: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Notes

By James L. Axtell; John Locke | Go to book overview

I
THE BOOK

In 1683 the quiet though active life of an English gentleman which John Locke had led for almost twenty years since leaving Oxford was abruptly truncated. Tories, once the main fare of power- hungry Whigs, now again strode the corridors of government with a proprietary air and commanded the benches of Parliament. A year earlier they had wrenched the political control of London from Whig hands and, in doing so, stripped Anthony Ashley Cooper, first earl of Shaftesbury, leader of the Whigs and Locke's patron, of the last remnant of his power. Sensing his position, Shaftesbury disguised himself as a Presbyterian minister and fled to the tolerance of Amsterdam. There on 21 January 1683, less than two months after his escape, he died of complications of the gout. The news of the death of the moving force behind the Whig Exclusion efforts brought no small amount of satisfaction to the Tories in Whitehall. But to the middle-aged bachelor who had prompted the speeches of the former Lord Chancellor from behind his chair, walked beside his coach wherever he went, and worked in the closest intellectual proximity on many of the aspects of governmental policy, it was news as alarming as sad: the loss of his powerful patron meant the loss of further suitable employment in England. Furthermore, his precarious health was not improving in the cold dampness of the English Midlands, where he had returned to occupy his fellow's place at Christ Church, Oxford, nor were his relations with the college where he was put under political scrutiny at the high table. The constraint and suspicion he must have felt and the misgivings he already had about the university in general--coupled with a lack of employment and poor health--persuaded him in September to sail in his patron's wake for Holland.1 It was there

____________________
1
I owe this information, which modifies the widely held view that Locke exiled himself solely for political reasons, to Dr E. S. de Beer. Dean John Fell of Christ Church, the Court's agent in Oxford for watching Locke's movements, reported to his superior on 8 November 1684 that 'he is now abroad upon want of health'. This report preceded by 8 days Locke's expulsion from the college by the king's orders. P.R.O. 30/24/47/22, Fell to Sunderland; quoted in Cranston, 1957, pp. 246-7.

-3-

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The Educational Writings of John Locke: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Notes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • NOTE ON REFERENCES TO SOURCES AND AUTHORITIES xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Book 3
  • 2 - The Tutor and his Pupils 18
  • 3 - The 'Education' in Context 49
  • 4 - Locke and Scientific Education 69
  • 5 - Pierre Coste and the European 'Education' 88
  • EEDITORIAL NOTE TO THE TEXT 105
  • Some Thoughts Concerning Education 114
  • The Collation 326
  • Appendixes 399
  • Bibliography 423
  • Index 437
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