John Locke and Rugged Individualism
[Reprinted from the American Journal of Economics
and Sociology, January 1965]
TRADITIONALLY, JOHN LOCKE has been regarded as the John the Baptist,
if not the Founding Father, of laissez-faire capitalism and rugged
individualism. Such a view ought to have been expressed with caution
since the Lockian corpus contains no treatise on economics comparable
to, say, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. I suspect that these
labelings of Locke were often based on fragmentary, out-of-context
readings. It is my view that a reading of the whole of Locke's
writings will incline one to a quite different interpretation of his
economics. Not that he was a socialist. But neither was he a
laissez-faire individualist. Rather his pronouncements on matters
economic anticipate in a remarkable way the practical principles of
our own mid-century American capitalistic society.
In an earlier article to which this is a companion piece, I have
described and defended Locke's theory of property in a state of
nature. Since Locke's critics are chiefly disturbed by the disparity
they find between his account of property in the natural state and his
account of property in civil society, I shall proceed now to an
examination of these charges of inconsistency as well as duplicity and
LOCKE ASSUMES that all of those who enter into the original covenant
by which civil society is instituted have their own personal
possessions in whatever extent. These items of property -- taking land
as an example -- have been carved out of the universal common;
originally somebody's labor made them "property." These
properties are brought into the commonwealth for their preservation,
i.e., to secure them from damage and loss. Though civil laws
can create personal property (as when a public common is distributed
by legal action), property as such is not dependent on civil society
for its existence.
The effect of incorporation is to remove a certain geographical area
from the original, universal, God-given common. So long as any of that
common anywhere in the world (the ocean, for example) remains
unincorporated, any man (be he citizen of any State or none at all)
has the right to create personal property therein by labor. Within the
State, that to which no individual has property rights (i.e.,
land unfilled and unclaimed) constitutes that particular
commonwealth's common. It will be subject to regulation in the public
interest; even so, the legislation may amount to no more than a
confirmation of the law of nature that any person (a subject of that
State, of course) may have the fruits of his labor thereon.
In civil society, men still have the right and duty to labor. By the
labor on their own land, they will add to their property. And their
labor, though for themselves, ought also to be for the common good.
Indeed, "every one ... is bound to labor [not necessarily
physical labor, of course] for the public good, as far as he is able,
or else he has no right to eat."
It may be that some of those who come into civil society already have
more money than they can use; it may be that they already have more
land than they or their families can use the product of. The law of
nature is not violated so long as nothing is wasted, and money cannot
possibly spoil. It may be that some of those who incorporate already
have hired servants or tenants to work their land, or creditors to use
their money. There is nothing in what Locke says anywhere that would
prevent such or that would originate any of these phenomena in civil
Civil laws "settle" the properties of the subject. That
of course was one of the ends of civil society -- to arbitrate
differences about ownership of property. This is scarcely possible
without agreement between one State and its neighbors as to the bounds
of their distinct territories, each State expressly or tacitly
disowning all claim and right to the land in the possession of its
neighbor. While the institution of civil society is intended to
preserve property negatively (i.e., from damage and loss), the
effect will be positive. Established in their properties, without fear
of dispossession, men will add immensely to their wealth. Men will
acquire and produce the materials of a comfortable preservation as
they have never done before.
In civil society, "the laws regulate the right of property, and
the possession of land is determined by positive constitutions."
But the government cannot itself take a man's property without the
owner's consent. For nobody has any real "property" in that "which
another may by right take, when he pleases, to himself." There
are exceptions, however. A criminal may be deprived of his property
for the purpose of reparation. A man's house may be torn down in order
to prevent the spread of a conflagration, as in the Great Fire of
London. Here the public interest takes precedence.
Those who become members of a given civil society annex to that
society all the property that they have or shall acquire which does
not already belong to some other commonwealth. Whoever thenceforth
inherits, purchases, or otherwise comes into possession of any of the
property so annexed, expressly or at least tacitly agrees to be
subject to the laws of that commonwealth.
Taxes are voluntary contributions based on a recognition of the
services that the government performs in the subject's behalf.
It is true, governments cannot be supported without
great charge, and it is fit every one who enjoys his share of the
protection should pay out of his estate his proportion for the
maintenance of it. But still it must be with his own consent, i.e.,
the consent of the majority, giving it either by themselves, or
their representatives chosen by them. . . .
Locke opposes arbitrary taxation. But he nowhere makes clear how
taxes are to be assessed. What he says suggests equality: since all
equally are protected, they should pay equal amounts. Yet it could
equally well be argued that since the rich have more (not of life and
liberty, but of material possessions) to be protected, they should pay
accordingly. This interpretation, however, would not occasion a
graduated income tax, but only a fixed uniform percentage.
Locke regards the incentive of private profit as compatible with --
indeed contributory to -- the public good; and he is no proponent of
an equal day's pay for an unequal day's work.
... It is not to be supposed that any one should be
refused to be employed by his neighbors while others are set to
work, but for some defect in his ability or honesty, for which it is
reasonable he should suffer, and he that cannot be set on work for
twelve pence per diem, must be content with ninepence or tenpence
rather than live idly.
Locke has no time for the lazy; throughout his works he praises the
industrious and shames the lazy, whether in mind or body. The "multiplying
of the poor" in his time he was sure was due to "the
relaxation of discipline and corruption of manners; virtue and
industry being as constant companions on the one side as vice and
idleness are on the other." He "was inclined to view the
problem of pauperism as more one of getting the poor to work than of
getting work for the poor." He said on one occasion that "labourers,
living generally but from hand to mouth; and, indeed, considered as
labourers in order to trade, may well enough carry on their part, if
they have but money enough to buy victuals, deaths, and tools. . .
Locke defends the "law" of supply and demand: ". . .
things must be left to find their own price; and it is impossible, in
this their constant mutability, for human foresight to set rules and
bounds to their constantly varying proportion and use, which will
always regulate their value." And so, in connection with the
question of money and interest, he says that the worth of money is and
ought to be what one can get for it.
Although money is not as such a political institution, it is no doubt
true that in advanced civil societies the use of money to make money
becomes progressively more important. Locke's position on interest (as
also on rent) has been thought to be an unconscious denial of his
labor theory of property. Locke is aware of the problem, at least with
respect to interest. Land, he says, "produces naturally something
new and profitable, and of value to mankind; but money is a barren
thing, and produces nothing; but by compact transfers that profit,
that was the reward of one man's labor, into another man's pocket."
Why, then, should one man who does not labor take advantage of
another's labor? Why does the borrower owe interest?
For the same reason, and upon as good consideration, as the tenant
pays tent for your land. For as the unequal distribution of land (you
having more than you can, or will manure, and another less) brings you
a tenant for your land; and the same unequal distribution of money (I
having more than I can, or will employ, and another less) brings me a
tenant for my money: so my money is apt in trade, by the industry of
the borrower, to produce more than six per cent to the borrower, as
well as your land, by the labour of the tenant, is apt to produce more
fruits, than his rent comes to; and therefore deserves to be paid for,
as well as land by a yearly rent."
This answer is hardly satisfactory, especially for those who will
argue that he who is skilled in trade but lacks money (the means
wherewith to exercise his ability) as well as he who is a skilled
farmer but lacks land should be given money or land out of another's
plenty instead of having to pay for its use. Granted that if land can
demand rent, so can money, and that if the borrower makes more than
the agreed-upon interest, he is not hurt by having to pay interest.
But why should he have to pay interest in the first place? Should I
not give what I cannot use to the man who can use it? I think Locke
would have defended himself on the ground of inheritance. A man's
property (land or money) belongs to his son after him. Inheritance is
a law of nature. In civil societies, properties are fixed, i.e.,
established in the hands of a given party and his heirs or assignees
in perpetuity. Even so, the law of use holds: that one must not waste
his property. The son may be in such circumstances that he cannot use
his father's money in trade. Yet he is entitled (indeed, required) to
use it. What better for him to do than let out his money on hire (as
also his land, if he has no knack for husbandry)? True, he, as
everyone, should work, insofar as he is able; but the work that he can
do may not be adequate to his support.
STRAUSS HAS ARGUED recently not only that Locke's doctrine is the
classic doctrine of the spirit of capitalism but that Locke engaged in
double talk to conceal this (then) revolutionary doctrine from the
general reader. I reproduce at some length Strauss's discussion, since
attention to it will clarify some common misunderstandings of Locke.
- Since [in civil society as Locke describes it] there is no
longer enough and as good left in common for e veryone, equity
would seem to demand that man's natural right to appropriate as
much as he can use should be restricted to the right to
appropriate as much as he needs, lest the poor be "straitened."
- since gold and silver are now immensely valuable, equity would
seem to demand that man should lose the natural right to
accumulate as much money as he pleases. Yet Locke teaches exactly
- the right to appropriate is much more restricted in the state
of nature than in civil society. . . . Money has introduced "larger
possessions and a right to them"; man may now, "rightfully
and without injury, possess more than he himself can make use of".
. . . According to the natural law -- and this means according to
the moral law -- man in civil society may acquire as much property
of every kind, and in particular as much money, as he pleases; and
he may acquire it in every manner permitted by the positive law,
which keeps the peace among the competitors and in the interest of
- Even the natural law prohibition against waste is no longer
valid in civil society.
Locke does not commit the absurdity of justifying the
emancipation of acquisitiveness by appealing to a nonexistent
absolute right of property.
- He justifies the emancipation of acquisitiveness in the only
way in which it can be defended: he shows that it is conducive to
the common good, to public happiness or the temporal prosperity of
society: Restrictions on acquisitiveness were required in the
state of nature because the state of nature is a state of penury.
They can safely be abandoned in civil society because civil
society is a state of plenty: "... a king of a large and
fruitful territory [in America] feeds, lodges, and is clad worse
than a day-labourer in England." The day laborer in England
has no natural right even to complain about the loss of his
natural right to appropriate land and other things by his labor:
the exercise of all the rights and privileges of the state of
nature would give him less wealth than he gets by receiving "subsistence"1'
wages for his work. . . . The emancipation of acquisitiveness is
not merely compatible with general plenty but is the cause of it.
Unlimited appropriation without concern for the need of others is
- If the end of government is nothing but "the peace, the
safety, and public good of the people"; if peace and safety
are the indispensable conditions of plenty, and the public good of
the people is identical with plenty; if the end of government is
therefore plenty; if plenty requires the emancipation of
acquisitiveness; and if acquisitiveness necessarily withers away
whenever its rewards do not securely belong to those who deserve
them -- if all this is true, it follows that the end of civil
society is "the preservation of property". . . . Men
enter society in order not so much to preserve as to enlarge their
possessions. . . .
Locke's doctrine of property is ... the classic doctrine of "the
spirit of capitalism". ...To say that public happiness requires
the emancipation and the protection of the acquisitive faculties
amounts to saying that to accumulate as much money and other wealth as
one pleases is right or just, i.e., intrinsically just or by
nature just. . . .
. . . Since in his [Locke's] age most people still adhered to the
older view according to which the unlimited acquisition of wealth is
unjust or morally wrong . . . Locke "so involved his sense, that
it is not easy to understand him" or went as much as possible "with
the herd," While therefore concealing the revolutionary character
of his doctrine of property from the mass of his readers, he yet
indicated it clearly enough. He did this by occasionally mentioning
and apparently approving the older view. . . . [But] the burden of his
chapter on property is that covetousness and concupiscence, far from
being essentially evil or foolish, ate, if properly channeled,
eminently beneficial and reasonable, much more so than "exemplary
charity." By building civil society on "the low but solid
ground" of selfishness or of certain "private vices,"
one will achieve much greater "public benefits" than by
futilely appealing to virtue, which is by nature "unendowed."
One must take one's bearings not by how men should live but by how
they do live.
Now to take up seriatim the points that I have numbered in
- Perhaps one reason why Locke does not consider it necessary
that appropriation in civil society be limited to need is that
charity is obligatory as a law of nature. Really, Strauss's first
point is plausible only on the assumption that even if the common
of civil society were divided up, there would not be enough for
all those who lacked. But that is not what Locke says. He declares
that the public common is restricted (no enclosure or
appropriation without the consent of all one's fellow commoners)
because the remaining common (after enclosure of any part by any
citizen) would not be as good to the rest of the commoners as it
was before such enclosure. Before incorporation no one's enclosure
could make such a difference. But this is not to say that there is
anyone who does not have enough. Those who already have land may
have "enough"; and the test may be allowed by consent to
carve out of the common "enough."
- If "equity" has anything to do with the law of nature
requiring the preservation of all mankind (so far as possible) in
convenience and delight, then civil society should rather
encourage the natural right to accumulate as much money as one
pleases; for money introduces the desire for larger possessions,
and it is the desire for larger possessions that raises the
standard of living of all, such that in a developed State like
England a day laborer, even though he may lack land, is better off
materially than the king of a tribe in America, not far removed
from the state of nature.
- Locke does not say that the "right to appropriate is much
more restricted in the state of nature than in civil society."
Rather the opposite. For money is not necessarily an invention of
men in civil society. And if money were used in a state of nature,
its use would not be restricted by all the positive laws of State
and municipalities which limit the acquisition and use of
property. Although the right to appropriate is more restricted in
civil society, it is true that within that restricted right it
becomes possible to add more and more to one's possessions.
- Has the natural law prohibition of waste terminated on
man's entrance into civil society? We recall Locke's saying that
God never intended man to spoil or destroy anything. Have
God's intentions altered? Really,
amongst those who are counted the civilized part of
mankind, who have made and multiplied positive laws to determine
property, this original law of nature, for the beginning of
property, in what was before common, still takes place. . .
.Even amongst us, the hare that any one is hunting, is thought
his who pursues her during the chace. ...
Since it is in the immediately following section that Locke goes
on to state his injunction against waste, we may assume that the
law of use still holds today for anything taken out of common, nor
is there any reason to believe that Locke would relent his
prohibition of waste even with respect to that long since taken
out of common; i.e., even in the England of Locke's day, no man
would have a right to let his land lie fallow without some use in
- By Locke's account, money and increase of possessions can exist
outside of and prior to civil society. Therefore, the state of
nature is not necessarily "a state of penury." Strauss's
reference to the king in America is hardly evidence for his
theory, since where there is a king, there is a civil
society, and so we have a civil society that is not necessarily a
state of plenty. The day laborer has not lost "his natural
right to appropriate land and other things by his labor."
Rather his opportunity for exercise of this right has been
There is an inner inconsistency in Strauss's account here.
Suppose, as he asserts, that the "emancipation of
acquisitiveness" is justified as being the cause of the
public happiness. How, then, can Strauss say that the restrictions
on acquisitiveness "can safely be abandoned in civil society
because civil society is a state of plenty"? Rather
he should say that these restrictions must be abandoned in
order to make civil society a state of plenty. Else he is
saying that the plenty causes the emancipation of acquisitiveness.
However much the "emancipation of acquisitiveness"
contributes to the public happiness, is this contribution the only
justification for accumulating wealth? For Locke such a defense is
not sufficiently ultimate. The introduction of money, which opens
the way to enlarged possessions, is a human artifice which finds
its "rightfulness" in its being in accordance with the
law of property. Of course, if our approach is prudential, then we
can perhaps "justify" the device solely by its good
- The evidence that Strauss presents to establish Locke's
concealment (i.e., that he seemingly approves the older
tradition at the same time that he deliberately attacks it) will
not stand inspection. "Locke almost quotes the words of the
apostle, 'God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy,' and he
speaks of "God's blessings poured on [man] with a liberal
hand,' and yet 'nature and the earth furnish only the almost
worthless materials as in themselves.' " The solution to
this puzzle is provided by a passage (which Strauss does not
quote) where Locke refers to the "conveniences of life, the
materials whereof he [God] had so plentifully
provided for them... ." According to Strauss, Locke says
that "God is 'sole lord and proprietor of the whole world,'
that men are God's property, and that 'man's propriety in the
creatures is nothing but that liberty to use them which God has
permitted'; but he also says that 'man in the state of nature [is]
absolute lord of his own person and possessions.'"
Examination of the latter statement in its context will show
well enough that when Locke calls man "absolute lord" it
is with respect to other men, not God. Finally, Strauss points out
that Locke "says that 'it will always be a sin in any man of
estate to let his brother perish for want of affording him relief
out of his plenty.' But in his thematic discussion of property, he
is silent about any duties of charity." The silence is
not surprising, since in the chapter on property Locke's purpose
is to show how property is created, not how it is given away.
Really, in his chapter on property Locke mentions concupiscence not
at all, and covetousness is mentioned but once,28 and there with
discredit. In his Thoughts concerning Education he holds that "covetousness,
and the desire of having in our possession, and under our domination,
more than we have need of [is] the root of all evil. . . . And yet
it may be significant that Locke does not set about proving that
covetousness is excluded :by the law of nature. Locke paraphrases
Romans 7:7 as follows: "... the law [the Mosaic law] . . . tied
men stricter up" from sin, forbidding concupiscence, which they
did not know to be sin, but by the law. For I had not known
concupiscence to be sin, unless the law [the Mosaic law] had said,
Thou shalt not covet."
The end of civil society is the preservation of property, but, as I
have said before, Locke makes it very clear that by "property"
he means more than material possessions and thus departs from common
usage. In the chapter specifically addressed to the theme of "the
ends of political society and government," Locke in the very
first section explains that men create government "for the mutual
preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by
the general name, property." And Locke closes the chapter
still proclaiming that the intention of a man who enters civil society
is to better "preserve himself, his liberty and property. . .
Locke certainly says that one can accumulate as much money as one
pleases -- if one does not violate other laws of nature in so doing.
He believes that one must take his bearings by how men should live,
not by how they do live. We are too prone to an exclusive sort of
self-love, "all injustice generally springing from too great love
of ourselves, and too little of others." Children should be
taught "to part with what they have, easily and freely to their
friends; and let them find by experience," Locke counsels, "that
the most liberal has always most plenty, with esteem and commendation
to boot, and they will quickly learn to practise it." Having
discovered that liberality has its own rewards, it will in time
be-'come a habit and a pleasure for its own sake.
LOCKE is NOT ONE to despise wealth, and considers the incentive
of private profit to be contributory to the public good; but,
despite all such capitalistic-sounding views, examination of Locke's
discourses on money and interest turns up several passages that throw
considerable doubt on the propriety of casting Locke in the role of
the rugged individualist. For, although he argues against "some
over-scrupulous men" that taking interest is equitable, not only
does he agree to the desirability of a statute regulating interest,
but he agrees to it as a countermeasure to monopolistic tendencies,
i.e.,/i>, in order that
in the present current of running cash, which now takes
its course almost all to London, and is engrossed by a very few
hands in comparison, young men, and those in want, might not too
easily be exposed to extortion and oppression; and the dexterous and
combining money-jobbers not have too great and unbounded a power, to
prey upon the ignorance and necessity of borrowers.
Not only is Locke opposed to concentration of economic power; he is
not necessarily happy about its wide dispersion. Thus, he favors legal
"suppression of superfluous brandy shops and unnecessary
Locke believed in (indeed, would have thought it strange to think
otherwise) and had a hand in promoting government intervention in
economic affairs. The doctrine of absolute or unlimited property
rights is not to be found in Locke. There is no right to do what one
wills with one's own. The interest of property holders is
restricted by natural law.
... God ... has given no one of his children such a
property in his peculiar portion of the things of this world, but
that he has given his needy brother a right to the surplusage of his
goods; so that it cannot justly be denied him, when his pressing
wants call for it: and therefore no man could ever have a just power
over the life of another by right of property in land or
possessions; since it would always be a sin, in any man of estate,
to let his brother perish for want of affording him relief out of
his plenty. As justice gives every man a title to the product of his
honest industry, and the fair acquisitions of his ancestors
descended to him; so charity gives every man a title to so much out
of another's plenty as will keep him from extreme want, where he has
no means to subsist otherwise: and a man can no more justly make use
of another's necessity to force him to become his vassal, by
with-holding that relief God requires him to afford to the wants of
his brother, than he that has more strength can seize upon a weaker,
master him to his obedience, and with a dagger at his throat offer
him death or slavery.
One who knew Locke intimately testified that
people who had been industrious, but were, through age or
infirmity, past labour, he was very bountiful to; and he used to
blame that sparingness with which such were ordinarily relieved, "as
if it sufficed only that they should be kept from starving or
extreme misery; whereas they had," he said, "a right to
living comfortably in the world."
Were men to find themselves in a state of extreme scarcity, Locke
would insist that since the fundamental law of nature is that all, as
much as may be, should be preserved, therefore no one ought to harm
another in his possessions. A man may not, unless it be to do justice
to an offender, take away what tends to the preservation of the life
of another, such that in a situation where not all can be preserved,
the safety of the innocent should be preferred.
Government may art to make effective these natural law limitations on
the use of property. Locke was concerned with the injustice suffered
in his own day by various segments of the economy (e.g.,
artisans) and proposed alleviating legislation.
... It is past question that all encouragement should be
given to artificers; and things so ordered, as much as might be,
that those who make should also vend and retail out their own
commodities, and they be hindered, as much as possible, from passing
here at home, through divers hands to the last buyer. Lazy and
unworking shopkeepers in this being worse than gamesters, that they
do not only keep so much of the money of the country constantly in
their hands, but also make the public pay them for their keeping of
it. Though gaming too, upon the account of trade (as well as other
reasons), may well deserve to be restrained; since gamesters, in
order to their play, keep great sums of money by them. . . .
In one of his notes on the administration of the colonies Locke
proposed that "he or she that has ten children living shall be
exempted or free from all public taxes and levyings," and
that the tithing man on the basis of his visits to the houses of his
tithing should "inform the judge of any person or family [that]
through sickness, age, charge of children or otherwise be not able to
maintain himself that . . . order may be taken." As the
leading member of the Board of Trade in its formative years, the poor
law became the object of Locke's intensive interest. He proposed that
it be reformed by setting up a system of educating (in the main
vocationally) and apprenticing the children of the poor so that they
might be temoved from the paupers' rolls and come to earn a
comfortable living. It is an indication of Locke's feeling that
while the State may and should intervene in the economic realm, its
intervention should not have the effect of making the people wards of
the State but rather of making them independent of it.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
- Henry Moulds, "Private
Property in John Locke's State of Nature." Am. J. Econ.
Scoiol., 23 (July, 1964)
- John Locke, letter to
Molyneux, 19 January 1693/94 (The Works of John Locke
[10th ed., London: J. Johnson et al., 1801], DC, 332). In
subsequent footnote references to Locke's writings, the title of
the particular work will appear, followed by the appropriate book,
chapter, and section number (where Locke uses such divisions).
Then in parentheses will appear the reference to the exact volume
and page number of the Tenth Edition (1801) of Locke's Works.
The only exceptions to this rule will be those of his writings not
appearing in the Works.
- Locke, Two Treatises of
Government, II, 38 (V, 360); 45 (V, 364).
- Ibid., II, 50 (V,
- Ibid., II, 140 (V,
- Ibid., II, 140 (V,
422-3). The short title Treatises will be used in
subsequent references to the Two Treatises of Government.
- Locke, Paper on Poor Law
Reform. H. R. Fox Bourne, The Life of John Locke (London:
Henry S. King & Co., 1876), II, 381.
- Ibid., II, 378.
- Paschal Larkin, Property
in the Eighteenth Century with Special Reference to England and
Locke (Cork: Cork University Press, 1930), p. 72.
- Locke, Some Considerations
of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and Raising the
Value of Money (V, 24). In subsequent footnote references the
short title Considerations of Interest will be used.
- Ibid., (V, 34). This
general rule has its exceptions. See infra.
- Ibid., (V, 36). It was
on the basis of this observation of Locke's that Marx (Karl Marx,
Theories of Surplus Valves, trans. G. A. Bonner and Emile
Burns [New York: International Publishers, 1912], p. 26) concluded
that "the ownership of a greater quantity of means of
production than one person can put to use with his own labour is,
according to Locke, a political device which contradicts
the law of nature on which property or the right to private
property is founded.
- Locke, Considerations of
Interest, (V, 36).
- Evidently an allusion to Treatises,
- Leo Strauss, Natural Right
and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp.
- Evidently in illusion to Considerations
of Interest (V, 71).
- Strauss, op. cit., pp.
242-3. If this be "true" charity, then what of Locke's
own statement (Considerations of Interest [V, 11]) that "common
charity teaches, that those should be most taken care of by the
law, who are least capable of taking care for themselves"?
- Strauss, op. cit., pp.
- Locke, Treatises, II,
31 (V, 356).
- Ibid., II, 30 (V,
- Locke, Thoughts concerning
Education, 116 (IX, 113): ". . . people should be
accustomed ... to spoil or waste nothing at all." The
immorality of waste was on Locke's mind when in the late Sixteen
Seventies he jotted down in his Journal occasional thoughts on the
governance of the colonies. He advocated sumptuary laws (Ernesto
dc Marchi, "Locke's 'Atlantis,'" Political Studies,
III [June, 1955], p. 165) "not as a means for keeping social
classes apart . . . but rather as a device to prevent waste and
extravagant expenditure by the very rich, particularly land
- Strauss, op. cit., p.
- Locke, Treatises, I,
41 (V, 242).
- Strauss, op. cit., p.
- Locke, Treatises,/i>,
- Strauss, op. cit., p.
- Section 34.
- Locke, Thoughts concerning
Education, 110 (IX, 100).
- Locke, A Paraphrase and
Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Gatatians, Corinthians,
Romans, Ephesians (VIII, 315}.
- Locke, Treatises, II,
123 (V, 412).
- Ibid., II, 131 (V,
- That is the point of Locke's
observation in the "Epistle to the Reader" of the second
edition of the Essay (Locke, An Essay Concerning Human
Understanding ed. Alexander Campbell Fraser [Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1894], I, 18-9) that it is one thing to note
what men call good and another thing to refer to the law of
nature, that unalterable rule by which men ought to judge.
- Locke, Thoughts concerning
Education, 139 (IX, 131).
- Ibid., 110 (IX, 100).
Of interest is Locke's paraphrase (Paraphrase and Notes on the
Epistles of St. Paul [VIII, 70]) of the familiar passages in
Galatians (6:8) -- "For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of
the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall
of the Spirit reap life everlasting," which Locke takes to
mean that "He, that lays out the stock of good things he has,
only for the satisfaction of his own bodily necessities,
conveniences, or pleasures, shall, at the harvest, find die fruit
and product of inch husbandry to be corruption and perishing. But
he, that lays out his worldly substance, according to the rules
dictated by the Spirit of God in the gospel, shall, of the Spirit,
reap life everlasting." Also the paraphrase (Ibid.
[VIII, 134] of I Corinthians 10:24 -- ''Let no man seek his own:
but every man another's wealth" -- as "No one must seek
barely his own private, particular interest alone, but let every
one seek the good of others also."
- Locke, letter to Molyneux, 2
July 1696 (IX, 384): "Riches may be instrumental to so many
good purposes, that it is, I think, vanity, rather than religion
or philosophy to pretend to contemn them."
- See, e.g., Locke,
Paper on the Encouragement of Irish Linen Manufacture, Board
of Trade Papers, cited by Bourne, op. cit., II,
363-72; Paper on Poor Law Reform, Bourne, op. cit., II,
- Locke, Considerations of
Interest (V, 64)
- Locke, Paper on Poor Law
Reform, Board of Trade Papers, cited by Bourne, op.
cit., II, 378.
- Lady Masham (Bourne, op.
cit., II, 536) wrote of Locke that "waste of anything he
could not bear to see, and he often found fault that people were
generally so little instructed as to think they might do what they
would with what was indeed their own. ..."
- Locke, Treaties, I, 42
(V, 242-43). Locke's statements enjoining charity and relief of
the needy, though not unambiguous lend themselves more readily to
the interpretation that rather than the rich making land (as the
means of production) available to the needy, the more fortunate
are to share their surplus of the fruits of the earth (the means
of consumption) with the needy.
- Lady Masham (Bourne, op.
cit., II, 536).
- Locke, Treatises, II,
16 (V, 347).
- Locke, Considerations of
Interest (V, 28-9).
- Locke, "Atlantis,"
Journal for 4 January 1679, Charles Bastide, John Locke: Ses
Theories Politiques et Leur Influence en Angleterre (Paris: Ernest
Leroux, 1906), Appendice I, p. 378.
- Ibid., Journal for 20
February 1679, p. 377.
- Locke, Paper on Poor Law
Reform, Bourne, op. cit., II, 377-91.