John Locke on the Toleration of Catholics

Euangelion | 1/22/2020 | Staff
normanorma (Posted by) Level 4
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You might be familiar with John Locke’s famous treatise A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), but a new manuscript has been discovered by Locke on The Toleration of Catholics (1667-68) which allegedly precedes his famous work on toleration.

See J. C. WALMSLEY and FELIX WALDMANN, “JOHN LOCKE AND THE TOLERATION OF CATHOLICS: A NEW MANUSCRIPT,” The Historical Journal (2019).

Communication - Manuscript - John - Locke - Manuscript

The following Communication presents a newly discovered manuscript by John Locke. The manuscript dates from 1667–8 and it deserves notice as the most significant example of Locke’s thought on the toleration of Catholics prior to the Epistola de tolerantia (1689). The manuscript, entitled Reasons for tolerateing Papists equally with others, reveals Locke’s engagement with Sir Charles Wolseley’s Liberty of conscience, the magistrates interest (1668) and significantly informs the compositional history of Locke’s Essay concerning toleration (1667–8).

According to the transcription, Locke concludes his argument:

Upon - Protestant - Punishing - Papists - Opinions

I doubt whether upon Protestant principles we can justifie punishing of Papists for their speculative opinions as Purgatory transubstantiation &c if they stopd there. But possibly noe reason nor religion obleiges us to tolerate those whose practicall principles necessarily lead them to the eager persecution of all opinions, & the utter destruction of all societys but their owne. soe that it is not the difference of their opinion in religion, or of their ceremonys in worship; but their dangerous & factious tenents in reference to the state. which are blended with & make a part of their religion that excludes them from the benefit of toleration · who would thinke it fit to tolerate either presbiterian or Independant, if they made it a part of their religion to pay an implicit subjection to a forraigne infallible power? Severity to Papists only, cannot make them unite with any other party. nor toleration disunite them among them selves.

I have to confess that I’ve always...
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