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John Locke – early manuscript transcriptions

An early 18th-century commonplace book, 8vo, contemporary calf fairly worn, spine label renewed, c.220 pp., closely hand-written in legible ink throughout, with notes, transcribed essays, letters, sermons and biblical commentary, etc.

A Letter concerning Toleration, London: Awnsham Churchill, 1690, complete ms transcription (97 pp.), with an extract from A Third Letter concerning Toleration (12 pp.) and much other ms material on religion and theology.

Besides the early transcriptions of Locke’s famous and influential arguments for religious toleration, the items in this manuscript book include:

(1) ‘A Paraphrase upon the Epistles to the Romans & Galatians’, probably the writer’s original work – at any rate definitely not a transcription from Locke’s similar Paraphrases, these being strikingly more lucid and helpful to the reader than Locke’s. 98 pages.

(2) Biblical commentary – certainly the writer’s own – on thirteen books of the Old Testament and four books of the New Testament. Many dozens of argumentative remarks and queries, arranged by chapter and verse, ‘which may be supposed to arise in the mind of a careful unlearned reader of the historical parts of scripture which he desires to have solved by the learned’. 63 pages.

(3) Transcription from Daniel Scott (1694-1759), ‘An Essay towards a Demonstration of the Scripture-Trinity’, 1725. 40 pages.

(4) Transcription from Samuel Clarke (1675-1729), ‘Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity’, 1712. 5 pages.

(5) Transcription dated 20 December 1725: ‘Searching amongst old cast off papers I happened on a letter of some years’ standing from an ingenious friend at London which gives so fair an account of the Reverend Mr William Whiston’s case [in his trial at Cambridge for heresy] as I thought worth preserving. I therefore have transcribed it as follows verbatim’. 5 pages.

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