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Chronology of John Locke’s Life

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Source: John Locke, A Letter concerning Toleration and Other Writings, edited and with an Introduction by Mark Goldie (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010). Chapter: Chronology of Locke's Life.

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CHRONOLOGY OF LOCKE’S LIFE

1632

Born at Wrington, Somerset, 29 August

1642

Outbreak of the Civil Wars

1643

Troops of Col. Popham, Locke’s future patron, despoil Wells Cathedral

1645

Defeat of Charles I at Naseby by Oliver Cromwell

1647

Admitted to Westminster School, London

1648

Treaty of Westphalia ends European Thirty Years’ War

1649

Execution of Charles I; England a republic

1651

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

1652

Elected a Student of Christ Church, Oxford

1652–67

Usually resident in Oxford

1655

Graduates as a bachelor of arts

1658

Graduates as a master of arts; death of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell

1660

Restoration of monarchy under Charles II

1660–62

Writes Two Tracts on Government, against toleration (published 1967)

1661–64

Lecturer in Greek, rhetoric, and moral philosophy

1662

Act of Uniformity reimposes Anglicanism; dissenting worship illegal

1663

Attends chemical and medical lectures

1663–64

Writes Essays on the Law of Nature (published 1954)

1665–66

Embassy secretary sent to the Elector of Brandenburg at Cleves (Kleve)

1666

Licensed to practice medicine

 

Granted dispensation to retain Studentship without taking holy orders

 

Great Fire of London

1667

Joins Lord Ashley’s household; usually resident in London until 1675.

 

Writes Essay Concerning Toleration (published 1876)

1668

Oversees lifesaving operation on Ashley

 

Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society

1669

Helps draft The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina

1670

Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

1671

Secretary to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina (until 1675)

 

First drafts of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

1672

Ashley created Earl of Shaftesbury and Lord Chancellor

 

Appointed secretary for ecclesiastical presentations (to 1673)

 

First visit to France

 

Samuel Pufendorf, On the Law of Nature and Nations

1673

Secretary to the Council of Trade and Plantations (to 1674)

 

Charles II’s brother and heir, James, Duke of York, converts to Catholicism

 

Shaftesbury ousted from office; begins to lead opposition

1675

Shaftesburian manifesto, A Letter from a Person of Quality

 

Graduates as a bachelor of medicine

 

To France; chiefly resident at Montpellier until 1677; then mainly Paris

1676

Translates three of Pierre Nicole’s Essais de Morale

1677

Repeal of writ De haeretico comburendo, abolishing burning for heresy

 

Andrew Marvell, An Account of the Growth of Popery

1678

Popish Plot revealed; executions of Catholics follow (to 1681)

1679

Returns to England

 

Habeas Corpus Act

1679–81

Exclusion Crisis; Whigs seek to exclude Catholic heir from the throne

 

Whig victory in three general elections, but Whigs outmaneuvered by the king

1680

Signs London’s “monster petition,” demanding sitting of Parliament

1679–83

Resides in London, Oxford, and Oakley (James Tyrrell’s home)

 

Writes Two Treatises of Government

1681

Writes a defense of toleration against Edward Stillingfleet

 

Assists Shaftesbury at the Oxford Parliament

 

Oxford Parliament dismissed; Charles summons no more parliaments

 

Beginning of royal and Tory backlash against Whigs and dissenters

 

Shaftesbury accused of treason; charge dismissed by a Whig grand jury

1682

Court coup against Whigs in City of London; Shaftesbury flees to Holland

1683

Death of Shaftesbury in Holland; Locke attends funeral in Dorset

 

Whig Rye House Plot, to assassinate the king, exposed

 

Executions of Lord William Russell and Algernon Sidney

 

Earl of Essex’s suicide in the Tower; Whigs suspect state murder

 

Judgment and Decree of Oxford University against seditious doctrines

1683–89

Exile in Holland; lives mainly in Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam

1684

Expelled in absentia from Studentship of Christ Church

1685

Death of Charles II; accession of James II and VII

 

Abortive rebellion of the Whig Duke of Monmouth; his execution

 

Louis XIV revokes Edict of Nantes; persecution of Huguenots

 

Writes Epistola de Tolerantia (Letter Concerning Toleration)

1686

Pierre Bayle, Philosophical Commentary on religious persecution

1687

James II issues Declaration of Indulgence (edict of toleration)

1688

Reviews Newton’s Principia Mathematica for Bibliothèque universelle

 

Culmination of resistance to James II’s Catholicizing policies

 

“Glorious Revolution”: invasion of England by William of Orange

 

James II overthrown and flees to France

1689

National Convention installs King William and Queen Mary

 

Nine Years’ War against Louis XIV opens

 

Toleration Act: freedom of worship for Protestant dissenters

 

Returns to England; declines an ambassadorship

 

Appointed Commissioner of Appeals in Excise

 

Publication of A Letter Concerning Toleration

 

Publication of Two Treatises of Government

 

Publication of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

1690

Battle of the Boyne: William defeats Jacobites in Ireland

 

Letter Concerning Toleration attacked by Jonas Proast

 

Publication of A Second Letter Concerning Toleration

1691

Publication of Some Considerations of the . . . Lowering of Interest

 

Settles at Oates in Essex in Damaris Masham’s household

1692

Publication of A Third Letter for Toleration

 

Memorandum on the naturalization of immigrants

1693

Publication of Some Thoughts Concerning Education

1694

Founding of the Bank of England; invests 500

 

Triennial Act, requiring regular parliamentary elections

1695

Advises on the ending of press censorship and the recoinage

 

Publication of The Reasonableness of Christianity

 

The Reasonableness attacked by John Edwards; publishes Vindication

 

Publication of Further Considerations Concerning . . . Money

1696

Appointed a member of the Board of Trade and Plantations (to 1700)

 

The Essay attacked by Bishop Edward Stillingfleet

 

John Toland, Christianity not Mysterious

 

Pierre Bayle, Historical and Critical Dictionary

1697

Treaty of Ryswick: temporary peace with France

 

Publication of Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity

 

Publication of two replies to Stillingfleet in defense of the Essay

 

Composes An Essay on the Poor Law

 

Composes report on the government of Virginia

 

Composes The Conduct of the Understanding

 

Thomas Aikenhead hanged at Edinburgh, Britain’s last heresy execution

1698

Molyneux’s Case of Ireland cites Two Treatises in defense of Ireland

 

Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government (posthumous)

1701

Act of Settlement, ensuring Protestant (Hanoverian) succession

 

Renewal of war against France

1702

Final visit to London

 

Composes A Discourse on Miracles

 

Death of William III; accession of Queen Anne

 

World’s first daily newspaper, in London

1703

First major critique of Two Treatises, by Charles Leslie

1704

Completes A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul

 

Battle of Blenheim: Duke of Marlborough’s victory over France

 

Capture of Gibraltar begins Britain’s Mediterranean naval dominance

 

Dies at Oates, 28 October; buried in High Laver churchyard, Essex

1705–7

Publication of A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul

1706

Publication of the unfinished Fourth Letter for Toleration

1710

First French and German editions of A Letter Concerning Toleration

1714

First edition of the Works of Locke

1743

First American edition of A Letter Concerning Toleration

1764

Voltaire’s edition of A Letter Concerning Toleration

1765

Thomas Hollis’s edition of the Letters Concerning Toleration

Last modified April 10, 2014