E. S. de Beer (ed.), The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: The Correspondence of John Locke: In Eight Volumes, Vol. 4: Letters Nos. 1242–1701

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1252. Locke to Charles Mordaunt, earl of Monmouth, later third earl of Peterborough, [February— March 1690?] (1150, 1411)

King, pp. 4–5. Excerpt, probably from a draft. Date: Locke was concerned about a 'Preceptor' for Monmouth's son in February 1690: N. Fatio de Duillier (p. 378) to Newton, 24 February 1690, in Sir Isaac Newton, Correspondence, ed. H. W. Turnbull, etc., 1959-, iii. 390. This date suits the draft, which appears to precede the publication of Some Thoughts Concerning Education.

pg 16Monmouth's son was John Mordaunt, c. 1680–1710; styled Lord Mordaunt from 1689; matriculated from Christ Church 1699; M.P. for Chippenham 1701–8: G. E. C.

I must beg leave to own that I differ a little from your Lordship in what you propose; your Lordship would have a thorough scholar, and I think it not much matter whether he be any great scholar or no; if he but understand Latin well, and have a general scheme of the sciences, I think that enough: but I would have him well-bred, well-tempered; a man that having been conversant with the world and amongst men, would have great application in observing the humour and genius of my Lord your son; and omit nothing that might help to form his mind, and dispose him to virtue, knowledge, and industry. This I look upon as the great business of a tutor;1 this is putting life into his pupil, which when he has got, masters of all kinds are easily to be had; for when a young gentleman has got a relish of knowledge, the love and credit of doing well spurs him on; he will with or without teachers, make great advances in whatever he has a mind to. Mr. Newton2 learned his mathematics only of himself; and another friend of mine, Greek3 (wherein he is very well skilled) without a master; though both these studies seem more to require the help of a tutor than almost any other.

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Editor’s Note
1 Locke attached great importance to the selection of tutors: Some Thoughts, A §§ 88–90; C §§ 90–4.
Editor’s Note
2 For Newton see p. 155. Among Locke's papers there is a copy by Sylvester Brounower of a demonstration by Newton, 'That the Planets, by their gravity towards the sun, may move in ellipses'; it is endorsed 'Mr. Newton Mar 89/90': B.L., MS. Locke c. 31, ff. 101–4; printed in King, pp. 209–14; Newton, Corr. iii. 71–7.
Editor’s Note
3 Locke considered Greek indispensable for a scholar but needless for a gentleman; but should the latter 'when he comes to be a Man' desire 'to look into the Greek Learning, he will then easily get that Tongue himself': Some Thoughts, A § 183; C § 195.
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