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11. Enthusiasm (1695-1697)


MS Locke e.1, pp. 1, 2-6, 7, 9, 10-30. Draft for the chapter ‘Of Enthusiasm’, included in the fourth edition of the the Essay, IV.xix. Section numbers inserted by the editors, taken from the fourth edition. Locke’s autograph (G) is collated with the fourth edition of the Essay (4) (copy Bodleian Library L2742).


[1] See [28], [45], [47], [49], [50], and [86].


[2] MS Locke e.1, pp. 1, 2-6, 7, 9, 10-31; see MS Locke e.1 [1]-MS Locke e.1 [10].

Relation with the Essay

[3] Draft for Essay, IV.xix, ‘Of Enthusiasm’. The draft was included in the fourth edition of the Essay, but there are substantive differences between the fragment in MS Locke e.1 and the text included in the Essay. This suggests that the copy-text used for the Essay was not MS Locke e.1, but a later manuscript that has been lost. See the collation of the text with the fourth edition of the Essay. The present text contains no clear examples of errors that are typical of copying from a previous version, hence it is possible that this is the first version.

Section numbers

[4] The section numbers supplied by the editors are taken from the fourth edition of the Essay. Although sections 2, 9, 15 and 16 do not mark the start of a new paragraph in MS Locke e.1, new paragraphs have been set up at these points in the present edition; these instances have been marked in the critical apparatus.

Loose quires

[5] MS Locke e.1 was not originally one single note book. It consists of a collection of quires of unequal size (see MS Locke e.1 [2]). These quires had been tied together already at some time before they were transferred to the Bodleian Library (see MS Locke e.1 [4]). However, this was not yet the case when Locke started writing. If it had been, he would have had no reason to mark both the first and the last page of most quires with their relevant signature. So, there is good reason to assume that at least not all the quires of MS Locke e.1 were tied together when Locke started entering text on their pages. The leaves of each of the quires A-N were kept together by the provisional device of a pin (see MS Locke e.1 [4]).

Chronological order

[6] Since MS Locke e.1 was originally not a note book but a series of unbound quires, we should at least consider the possibility of Locke discussing different subjects on different quires at the same time, resulting in a non-chronological order of the texts after the pages of MS Locke e.1 had been bound together. But this is not a likely possibility. Had this been the case, then one would expect to see the start of new subjects on the verso side of the first leaf of some quires and a gap between such a new entry and the end of the text on the previous quire. Yet the verso side of the first leafs of all quires from A onwards simply continue the text of the verso side of the last leaf of the previous quire. No quire marks any break in the running sequence of the text. (An exception is quire H; the verso side of its first leaf, p. 114, starts with two introductory paragraphs to the ‘Conduct’, par. 2 and 3 of the present edition. This entry ends on p. 116, leaving a blank space, after which the text of the next paragraph, par. 43, starts on p. 118. These introductory paragraphs stand isolated from what comes before and after. However, the text on the verso side of the last leaf of the previous quire G is continued – not on the verso side of the first leaf of quire H, but on its recto side.) Since Locke used the verso sides of the leafs for the entry of regular text, while he reserving the recto sides for additions and corrections, he started writing in MS Locke e.1 on p. 2 rather than p.1 (p. 1, and also pp. i-vi, were used for later additions, see 1. Of the Conduct of the Understanding (1697-1704) [15]). To summarize: the impression is that Locke entered his text chronologically, as if the quires of MS Locke e.1 already formed a note-book, i.e. that he started writing on the first page of the first quire and ended on the last (written) page of the last quire, even although the final pattern was complicated by numerous corrections and additions.

Relative order of ‘Enthusiasm’ and ‘ Ballance’

[7] Locke started with ‘Enthusiasm’ on MS Locke e.1, pages 2, 4, and 6; then he wrote ‘Ballance’ on pages 6, 8 and 10, including its additions on pages 7, 9, and 11; the additions to ‘ Enthusiasm’ on pages 7 and 9 were entered after the additions to ‘Ballance’, also on pages 7 and 9; when Locke had written ‘Ballance’, he continued with ‘Enthusiasm’ on page 10.


[8] Locke suggested the possibility of including an additional chapter on enthusiasm in his letter of 8 March 1695 to William Molyneux (see [45]). He does not indicate whether he had already started to put his ‘some thoughts’ to paper, but March 1695 seems an acceptable terminus a quo for the first part of ‘Enthusiasm’ in MS Locke e.1, pp. 1, 2-6, 7, 9. MS Locke e.1 was filled in chronological order (see [6]). Work on ‘Enthusiasm’ was interrupted by work on ‘Ballance the difficulties’. Work on ‘Ballance’ probably did not start much earlier then 11 May 1697 (see 12. Ballance the difficulties (1697) [4]), so the part of ‘Enthusisiasm’ in MS Locke e.1 after ‘Ballance’, i.e. pp. 10-30, was probably not entered before April-June 1697. ‘Enthusiasm’ in MS Locke e.1 was entered before the ‘Conduct’, which was probably entered in MS Locke e.1 later in 1697 (see 1. Of the Conduct of the Understanding (1697-1704) [6]). So, a likely terminus ad quem for ‘Enthusiasm’ is a moment later in 1697.


[9] The present manuscript version of ‘Enthusiasm’ has not been printed earlier.

Yolton, John Locke a Descriptive Bibliography, nr. 249, p. 299.
MS Locke c.24, fol. 285r, letter 3188, Corr. viii, pp. 676-677.
Cf. Greetham, Textual Scholarship, p. 172 and pp. 211-213.
Cf. Locke’s farewell letter to P. King, 4 and 25 October 1704, letter 3647, Corr. viii, p. 416: ‘If my Paraphrase and notes on the Ephesians are not wholy transcribed before I dye (as I fear they will not. For however earnestly I have pressed it again and again I have not been able to prevaile with Will to dispatch the two first Chapters in three months) you must get it to be transcribed out of my filed papers after I am dead, that so it may be in a condition to be in a condition to be printed. Will after all I think be the fitest to transcribe them because he can read my hand and knows my way of writeing with the use of the references.’
Corr. viii, p. 424.
MS Locke c.35, fol. 6v.
Letter 3647, Corr. viii, p. 417, n. 1.
MS Locke f.10, p. 495.
MS Locke c.1, p. 342.
MS Locke f.10, p. 492.
Op. cit. no page number.
This fact confirms the assertion of the editors that MS Locke c.28 did not function as printer’s copy for PW.
For what probably amounts to an internal reference to the Essay that was left unchanged, see par. 64: ‘this essay’.
That pp. 52-56 give a part of the ‘Conduct’ seems to have escaped Long, A Summary Catalogue, although he remarks, p. 30: ‘The draft [containing both the Essay-part and the ‘Conduct’-part] is longer than the printed version [containing only the Essay-part].’
‘Introduction’ to Locke, Conduct, ed. Yolton, p. vii.
For the relation between the paragraph numbers of the ‘Conduct’ in the present edition and the source manuscripts, the Essay and PW see Table 3).
See Milton, ‘Pierre Des Maizeaux’, pp. 274-278.
Alternative dates: see Sargentich, ‘Locke and Ethical Theory’, p. 24: ‘Although the first manuscript piece, “Morality”, is undated, since it is highly hedonistic, it was probably written relatively late in Locke’s life.’ But ‘pleasure’ is a pervasive element in practically all of Locke’s ethical fragments, so its appearance does not contribute much towards dating the fragment. Goldie, p. 267 suggests as dates c. 1677-1678, but does not give a reason for his choice.
The last part of ‘Ethica C’, captioned under ‘Law’, is dated c. 1693 by Goldie, p. 328, but Goldie does not give a reason for his choice.
Cf. Essay, notes on p. 640 and p. 454 respectively.
See Works, 4, p. 184.
‘Liberty’ is included as letter 1798 in Corr. v, 159-160.
Cf. ‘Enthusiasm’, Essay, IV.xix.15, p. 705: ‘These and several the like Instances to be found among the Prophets of old, are enough to shew, that they thought not an inward seeing or perswasion of their own Minds without any other Proof a sufficient Evidence, that it was from GOD, though the Scripture does not every where mention their demanding or having such Proofs.’
See Milton, ‘Manservant as Amanuensis: Sylvester Brounower’, p. 79, note 4.
See Essay,IV.iii.6; see also ‘Ballance’.