Detail from William Morgan’s 1682 Map of London.
Elsewhere in the “Explorations” section, there is a drawing of a provincial village, not unlike Locke’s birthplace. While Locke had one foot in the bucolic world of the English countryside, he was also a denizen of the new, thriving city. Locke spent much of his time in London, which had about five hundred thousand inhabitants, and was one of the world’s leading cities. This mapwas commissioned after London was rebuilt following the Great Fire of 1662 (Locke could seethe smoke from Oxford). While the majority of the map looks similar to our maps today, the portion shown here gives a more realistic depiction of the rebuilt city. Note, first of all, the city’s enormous size: we are no longer dealing with the polis of Aristotle, or the city-state of Machiavelli. Locke was writing political theory for a new age: an age of speedy transport,economic growth, and explosions in population.
Detail of entire map, from Wikipedia Commons