John Locke. A Letter Concerning Toleration. 1757.


Locke's Two Treatises on Government (1690) is one of the classics of English constitutional writing. Its theme, which stems in part from Aquinas, is that civil rulers hold their power not absolutely but conditionally, government being essentially a moral trust, forfeited if the conditions are not held by the trustees. This presupposes an original law of the nature of reason, which was central to Locke's philosophy. It was also central to his Letter Concerning Toleration, and ideas common to both works influenced Locke's draft of the Fundamental Constitution of the Carolina Colony, written at the behest of Anthony Ashley-Cooper. The religious toleration partly inspired by Locke helped lead to the emmigration of an unusual variety of religious groups including French Hugenots, Sephardic Jews, and Irish Catholics. The resulting number and variety of churches in turn led to Charleston, Carolina's first capital city, being known as the "Holy City." [PMM] This rare edition was printed in Glasgow.

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