University of Virginia Library


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E. Derek Taylor

Mary Astell (1666–1731) is probably best known today as the author of the
ubiquitously anthologized Some Reflections Upon Marriage (1700), a cunning
diatribe against the hypocritical marriage practices of early-eighteenth-century
England that well deserves its current reputation as one of the foundational texts
of Western feminism. Reflections was also popular in its day, reaching a fourth edi-
tion in England in 1730 when William Parker, who had taken over the stock of
Astell's longtime bookseller Richard Wilkin, agreed "to republish her most popu-
lar books" (Perry 315). Specifically, along with Reflections, Parker issued a "new"
third edition of The Christian Religion, As Profess'd by a Daughter of the Church of Eng-
(first edition 1705; second edition 1717), the pinnacle of Astell's sophisticated
philosophical and theological thought, while in the same year Edmund Parker
(no evident relationship to William) released a third edition of Astell's correspon-
dence with Neoplatonist John Norris of Bemerton (1656–1711), Letters Concerning
the Love of God
(first edition 1695; second edition 1705).[1] The popularity of Astell's
first published work, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694), had burned brightly, if
swiftly, as well; it reached its fourth and final edition in 1701, coupled with the
one significant work penned by Astell that never saw a subsequent edition, A
Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part II
(1697). Given the alacrity with which Wilkin
combined the two works—they first were published together in 1697, the same
year that Part II had earlier been issued seriatim—it would appear that Part II
simply did not sell well, and that the remainders of the original sheets made their
way into the combined editions of 1697 and 1701. This would explain why, even
in the combined edition of 1701, which contains the fourth and final revision of
Part I, the title page to Part II is unchanged—and why Patricia Springborg found
no discrepancies between this 1701 issue of Part II and the original printing of
1697 in her modern edition of Parts I and II. [2]

Perhaps Astell had misjudged her audience. In Part I (hereafter abbreviated
SPI) she had outlined in inspired terms her "serious proposal" to construct ex-
clusively female religious academies wherein women could advance their minds
and spirits secluded from a male-dominated culture that encouraged them, she
charged, to remain addle-brained and pretty. Although her detractors won the


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day by smearing the plan as closet Catholicism, Astell's argument, an admixture
of wide-eyed idealism and urgent practicality, caught on with a reading public
comprising ever more women, and would continue for decades to appeal to a
broad range of thinkers interested in the problems of (in particular) young women,
among them, to name a significant few, Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson.[3]
Part II (hereafter abbreviated SPII), written largely in response to the failure of
SPI to elicit requisite financial backing, attempted to provide in print what Astell
had been unable to secure in bricks and mortar. Ruth Perry has aptly charac-
terized SPII as "a training manual for Norris's brand of Christian Platonism,"
a "kind of 'how-to-do-it' manual to be used at home" by women interested in
self-education (83). Its erudite distillation of the philosophical principles of Des-
cartes and those who had variously taken up his mande (Antoine Arnauld, Pierre
Malebranche, Norris, and, in small measure, John Locke) is probably more true
to Astell's general tendencies as a thinker and writer than SPI—Norris, it should
be noted, was at first shocked to learn that his incisive interlocutor in Letters was
a woman, while Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester, admitted to a friend,
"I dread to engage her"[4] —but it was evidently unappealing to readers who had
been charmed with the romantic patina of Astell's initial proposal.[5] Many women
were likely enamored more with the idea of a safe-haven than with Astell's decid-
edly ambitious conception of a proper curriculum.

However much her audience may have resisted SPII, Astell, it turns out, did
not abandon it. Her work toward a second edition exists in the pastedowns, free
endpapers, and margins of her personal copy, now housed in the Northampton
Records Office, UK.

I discovered this copy of Astell's work by what might best be characterized
as an informed accident. At the time, I was investigating connections between
non-juror and Boehmean mystic William Law, novelist Samuel Richardson, and
Astell and Norris. I knew from A. Keith Walker's book (William Law, 1973) that
Law had once owned, as part of his public library in King's Cliffe, several of
Norris's works, including his and Astell's Letters, and I tracked the remainders of


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FIGURE 1. Astell's notes on the operating costs of Sutton's Hospital, on the recto of the final
rear free endpaper of her copy of A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part II.


Page 200
this library to the Northampton Records Office. From its catalogue of the Law-
Library Collection, I learned that several books contained inscriptions indicating
that they had once belonged to Astell herself.[6] Perry's excellent biography of
Astell enabled me to clear up this puzzling discovery; Elizabeth Hutcheson, who
along with Hester Gibbon joined Law in a life of religious meditation and service
in King's Cliffe in 1744, was Astell's close friend and executrix of her will (519,
note 27). Hutcheson, it seems clear, donated to Law's charitable library those
books Astell had left behind.

The copy of SPII I found in this collection contains no such inscription,
however, and so I began with the hypothesis that the substantial handwritten
annotations and textual corrections throughout the book pointed to Law, who,
according to Walker, frequently marked his texts. Perhaps he had considered
reintroducing the world to Astell's neglected treatise? Having found an example
of Law's handwriting,[7] however, I was forced to discard this hypothesis and to
pursue what I considered an unlikely, if tantalizing, possibility—namely, that the
additions had been penned (and penciled) by Astell herself. This possibility was
confirmed by Professor Perry when she explained in an email that looking over
the reproductions I had sent was like "bumping into an old friend after many
years." (A sample of Astell's handwriting in this volume appears in figure 1.)

In the remainder of this essay, I seek to accomplish three fundamental tasks:
(1) to provide a general account of Astell's notes, comments, and emendations to
her text; (2) to propose a likely timeframe for her additions and revisions; and,
(3) to offer some tentative suggestions regarding both Astell's purposes in revising
her text and the logic informing the changes she elected to make. I conclude by
suggesting ways that this text might qualify, even change, our understanding of
Astell, her development as a writer, and the nature of her social commitments as
a public—and female—intellectual.


Astell used both pen and pencil to make various additions, deletions, and
substitutions within the text of her copy of SPII; she also added significant pa-
ratextual comments and notes to the front and rear endpapers and pastedowns.
Many of the in-text changes follow a general pattern of revision evident in, for
instance, the single-word changes between the first and second editions of Let-
ters Concerning the Love of God
(1695; 1705). Stylistically, Astell almost invariably
revised "downwards," substituting less rarified words for her sometimes esoteric,
or archaic, terminology. Thus, in letter 3 of Letters, Astell replaced "recondite"


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with "hidden," and "Benevolence" with "Good-will." In letter 5, "meliorating"
becomes "improvement," while "sapid" becomes "relishing." In letter 7, "de-
faulting" and "peccant" are replaced by "taking" and "sinful," while in letter 9
"Diagnostick" is changed to "Mark."[8] This same tendency is apparent in Astell's
revisions of SPII; "lost its haut goust" becomes "lost its relish," "than a Bon-mien"
is changed to "than a good mien," "Nutrition" becomes "Nourishment," "Acu-
men" becomes "Sharpness," and "fill up my Vacuities" is replaced by "supply
my Wants."[9]

In all of her major works, Astell was necessarily attempting to strike a delicate
balance between accessibility and erudition; her changes thus reflect, at least in
part, a conscious attempt to narrow the distance between herself and those less-
educated women she hoped to reach. As she explains in the preface to Letters,
Astell was "far … from coveting the Fame of being singular" as an "ingenious
Woman"; she had a true rationalist's faith that any woman, "by employing her
Faculties the right way"—i.e., by receiving a proper education—could achieve
a high level of intellectual acuity (66). On the other hand, Astell was a gifted
thinker, and, in a sense, her own best witness. The smarter her writing, the more
convincing her argument that women's minds differed from men's in application,
not substance. In short, Astell needed to impress without putting off—a particu-
larly difficult line to negotiate given the vast discrepancy between the most and
least educated members of her intended audience, and one that became even
more pronounced with the onset of satires on Astell's "singularity" as a thinker
in the first decade of the eighteenth century.[10]

All of Astell's in-text notes and emendations have been recorded in Appendix 1.
It is certain that she made many of these changes after 1714, when the three-
volume The Ladies Library appeared in print. Volume one of this work contains
an extensive selection stolen, with some editorial changes, from chapter three of
SPII; Astell interlaces with pen and pencil many, but not all, of these unsolicited
editorial changes into her text and margins.

It is conceivable that a few in-text changes may have been made as the first
issue was still being printed in 1697. For instance, Astell's printed text reads
"we grope in the dark"; Astell has crossed out "grope" in ink and inserted in
the margin "stumble." While the copy of SPII in the British Library also has
the original "grope," Patricia Springborg's copy text in the Folger Library has
"stumble," indicating that stop-press changes must have been made along the


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way.[11] It is possible, then, that Astell made this change in 1697 for the original
compositors to follow; but it is also possible, and I think more likely, that this an-
notation and others like it reflect a later attempt on Astell's part to bring the text
into accord with the final state of the first printing. This would explain why Astell
made in-text corrections to errors already included in the list of errata.[12]

Surrounding the text are various but, I believe, related additions. I have
transcribed these in a series of appendices, as follows:

  • Appendix 2. Front pastedown—references to The Ladies Library; biography of Fénelon; ref-
    erence to "changes."
  • Appendix 3. First front free endpaper, recto and verso—note on English statutes relating
    to the "erection of hospitals," etc.
  • Appendix 4. Penultimate rear free endpaper, recto—quotation from a sermon by George
  • Appendix 5. Final rear free endpaper, recto and verso—accounts for "Sutton's Hospital."

Throughout, I have recorded Astell's comments as faithfully as possible. Illegible
words or phrases have been denoted as such in brackets, except where a plausible
guess could be made, in which case any uncertain word is preceded by an itali-
cized question mark. I have provided a brief introduction to each appendix.


See Letters, pp. 79, 80, 87, 91, 100, 100, 112. For a full recording of such emendations,
see Letters, Appendix One (167–183).


See below, Appendix 1, entries for 12.12 (75.9), 12.14 (75.1O), 24.14 (81.9fb), 24.2fb
(81.4fb), and 29.8–9 (83.17). These and all further references to Astell's in-text emendations
have been keyed by page and line number first to Astell's copy of the 1697 edition, then, in
parentheses, to Springborg's modern edition (Pickering and Chatto, 1997). The abbreviation
"fb" stands for "from the bottom of the page."


Susanna Centlivre in The Basset Table (1705) and either Richard Steele or Jonathan
Swift in two numbers of The Tatler (1709; nos. 32 and 63) each satirized Astell through the cre-
ation of an otherworldly, unnaturally intellectual, and otherwise weird character named "Ma-
donella." See Perry, III and 228–230. Donald F. Bond, it should be noted, thinks it unlikely
that Swift is the author of either number; see the notes on "Authorship" in his 1987 edition of
The Tatler, vol. 1, pp. 236 and 434.


See Appendix 1, entry for 47.4–5 (91.13).


See Appendix 1, entries for 22.8 fb (78.36) and 31.12 (84.8).


The vast majority of Astell's various handwritten comments, notes, and
emendations must have been added sometime during the final 16 years of her
life, i.e., sometime between 1715 and 1731. The first two references on the front
pastedown—to The Ladies Library (1714) and to the deceased Fénelon (d. January
1715)—do not, of course, definitively date the entirety of Astell's various inser-
tions and changes to her text (indeed, as noted above, there are a few possible
in-text exceptions to this time-frame). But inasmuch as the interrelated nature
of the additions suggest a rhetorical strategy on Astell's part—a point I hope to
establish in the course of this introductory essay—a reasonably focused period of
composition may safely be supposed. Astell began and ceased her editorial work
on SPII, I think, for a variety of related reasons that may be traced to a five-year
period, beginning after 1715 and ending around 1720.

It was during these years that Astell became centrally involved in securing the
future of the Chelsea school for girls she had founded in 1709—"Astell's project
from idea to execution," Perry explains (233). The school, which provided a rudi-
mentary education for "daughters of Chelsea Hospital veterans" (239), fits neatly
into a broad social pattern of benevolent engagement that spread throughout the
long eighteenth century, comprising figures from across the political and religious
spectrum. It is fully appropriate that Astell's copy of SPII would find a permanent
home in the King's Cliffe Library, where, to quote from the inscription above the
lintel, "Books of Piety are … lent to any Persons of this or ye Neighbouring Towns."[13]


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The library was only one of host of charitable projects conducted in the 1750s
by William Law, Elizabeth Hutcheson, and Hester Gibbon—including tenement
houses for elderly widows and, fittingly enough, schools for poor boys and girls.

If, in her choice of eleemosynary project, Astell was very much a woman of
her age—M. G. Jones claims of Astell's contemporaries, "the charity school was
their favorite form of benevolence" (3)—she was also, of course, quite literally
pursuing her own longstanding interest in promoting female education. It is true
that the Chelsea school differed in important ways from the unabashedly religious
academy Astell had envisioned in SPI, wherein women of family would have re-
tired, for various reasons and perhaps only for a while, into a veritable utopia of
female companionship and Christian rationalism; "no rhapsodies there," Perry
quips of the Chelsea school, "about Christian love and the need to bend one's
thought always to God" (239). Nevertheless, Astell's school did address the most
pressing concern she had underscored in SPI: the lack of an established venue
for female education. That these were poor girls instead of women of means, that
the school's curriculum consisted of practicing reading and writing rather than
meditating on Arnauld and Malebranche, that religious instruction dwindled
from rapturous to perfunctory–these were differences in degree to Astell, not in
kind (though, undoubtedly, the differences are pronounced). The Chelsea school
was the fruit, however bruised, however long in ripening, of the quite serious
proposal Astell had offered to the reading public over a decade before in her
first published work.

It is both fitting and telling that Astell's final original composition, Bart'lemy
Fair: Or, An Enquiry after Wit
(1709), appeared in the same year that the Chel-
sea school began operating—an indicator, as Perry has suggested, not only of
her waning popularity as a writer, but of a decided shift in her social commit-
ments.[14] However, despite her work on behalf of the Chelsea school during this
period—and despite the onset of a nagging cataract in 1710 (Perry 231)—Astell
nevertheless found time, if not to compose new proposals, reflections, or enqui-
ries, then to revise considerably at least one of her previously published works:
Wilkin published the second edition of her Christian Religion in 1717, a substantial
revision of the original edition of 1705.[15] Might Astell have caught the revision
bug at this period? Having turned the corrected pages of Christian Religion over
to her bookseller, perhaps Astell's momentum carried her to one final text need-
ful of editorial attention, one perfectly suited to carry her then current project
more fully into the public eye. She may already have "overstayed her welcome
in the world of letters," as Perry suggests (231), but Astell would seem to have
discovered good reason to linger a litde while longer.

At its opening, the Chelsea school was housed "in borrowed rooms on the
premises of the Royal Hospital" (Perry 240); there it remained and operated for


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153 years. A borrowed school, however, is not a school of one's own. "[F]rom
at least 1719," Perry explains, "Astell actively campaigned … for the land and
construction costs to build a separate establishment" (240). It was to this end,
I believe, that Astell made the various notes, addenda, and corrections in her
copy of SPII, a new edition of which, had it been published, might have stoked
public interest in her capital campaign on behalf of the Chelsea school. The
failure of her campaign, as Perry notes, may be adequately explained "by the
stock market crash of 1720" (240); then, as now, charitable organizations suf-
fered tremendously in times of economic stress. This fact alone might have been
enough to kill the new edition on which Astell was at work, but it was not alone.
In the same year that the South Sea Bubble burst, thereby siphoning away the
financial resources Astell's proposed schoolhouse desperately needed, Richard
Wilkin died, leaving Astell without the bookseller on whom she had depended
throughout her 25-year publishing career. The gradual petering out of emen-
dations to Astell's text—as shown below in Appendix 1, she made only a few
changes in the final 50 pages—may very well reflect the suffocating weight of
this confluence of discouraging events.


Quoted in Walker, 170. The library building is still standing, its inscription still vis-
ible. The contents of the library, as noted above, have been transferred to the Northampton
Records Office.


"Her last two works had not sold well," Perry notes, and "it would have been unseemly
to remain in public controversy" while soliciting support for her school—which, at any rate,
"entirely occupied [Astell's] attention in its early years" (231, 233).


Astell substantially revised the conclusion to her work, for instance, cutting several
sentences and adding an "Appendix" comprising passages formerly spread throughout the
first-edition text. She also added marginal headings clarifying the particular arguments of
individual sections.


It must be remembered that by the time Astell came to make the vast ma-
jority (quite possibly all) of the changes to and comments in her copy of SPII, it
had long ceased to exist as a text separate from SPI. In the final two of its three
issues (1697 and 1701), SPII had been bound with corrected new editions of SPI;
though a title page announced the work in "two parts," the separate title page
to SPII never changed from the initial printing of 1697. In other words, as Astell
pondered her revision, she likely would have been thinking of A Serious Proposal to
the Ladies Parts I and II,
not of the second part alone, even though the text in which
she recorded her changes and additions was not itself bound with SPI.

This fact may explain the nature of the paratextual additions Astell wrote
on the opening and closing blank leaves of her book, many of which would ap-
pear to be more directly related to the primary argument of SPI—i.e., the need
for the education of women through the establishment of academies—than to
that of SPII, which adduces a plan for self education. French theologian François
Fénelon, for example—a figure of evident interest to Astell during the period
in question[16] —mattered to Astell because the education of girls had mattered to
him; it is not coincidence that the brief biography of him she added to the front
pastedown (see Appendix 2) opens with a reference to his Traité de l'education des
(1687), wherein the influential French theologian had argued that custom,


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not nature, dictated against the academic instruction of girls, and that educating
children, rather than just boys, would have salubrious, not destructive, social re-
sults. The long passage Astell recorded on the recto of the penultimate rear free
endpaper from a 1684 sermon by Fénelon's English translator, George Hickes,
likewise underscores the importance of implementing a societal plan for female
education—i.e., of actually "building schools" (see Appendix 4).[17] Hickes's was
the sort of plan Astell herself would later propose in SPI, of course, perhaps with-
out thinking fully of the legal and logistical hurdles such an establishment would
need to clear. Now, however, she seems prepared to mount not only a moral,
but a legal justification for constructing female schools. On the recto and verso
of the first front free endpaper, Astell has transcribed from Sir Edward Coke's
The Second Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England (1641) the operative portions
of two English statutes (39. Eliz. Cap. 5. and 21. Jac. Cap. 1) that clear the way
for private citizens to build and incorporate charitable "hospitals" or "houses of
God" (see Appendix 3). By establishing this legal footing, Astell effectively aligns
her proposal with a demonstrably English and Protestant tradition of privately
sponsored charity, thereby justifying her campaign for establishing a separate
Chelsea school facility.[18] The Charterhouse school, also known as Sutton's Hos-
pital after its founder, Thomas Sutton (1532–1611), must have struck Astell as
exemplary of the sort of charitably funded institution she was hoping to found;
she has included an account of its operating costs on the recto and verso of the
final rear free endpaper (see Appendix 5 and figure 1).

For all of the practical ramifications a new edition would have entailed, how-
ever, Astell's motives were not purely benevolent. In pointing to Elizabethan and
Jacobean statutes legitimizing her proposal for female academies, for instance,
Astell belatedly answers the primary charge laid at her door by those who had
attacked SPI when it was first published some 20 years before—namely, that it
amounted to de facto Catholicism. (Astell, it should be noted, would never have
used the phrase "protestant nunnery" to characterize her proposed institutions.[19]


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John Locke (d. 1704), another of Astell's early opponents, also resurfaces in the
annotations within the text of SPII itself—though, it is important to note, her
references to him here are at worst ambiguous, at best respectful, and thus work
against Springborg's insistent reading of SPII as unrepentantly anti-Lockean in

Those behind The Ladies Library, first published in 1714,[21] were similarly in
Astell's sights, albeit in a decidedly complex fashion. A compilation of uncredited
excerpts from a host of writers, Astell among them, The Ladies Library claims on its
title page to have been "Written by a Lady" but "Published by Mr. Steele"; Sir
Richard Steele also provided the dedication and the preface to the first volume.
Astell held him responsible for the plagiarism—as she had for satiric attacks on
her in The Tatler—and his Whiggism would only further have inspired her invari-
ably Tory-leaning pen. (The actual author of The Ladies Library, George Berkeley,
was only definitively revealed in 1980 by Stephen Parks.[22] ) It is clear from the
front pastedown (Appendix 2) that Astell was looking for grounds on which to
confront Steele. The Ladies Library, she here correctly points out, "recom. Poetry
p. 22. & discomends it p. 25.V.1."—precisely the sort of obvious logical contra-
diction on which Astell liked to seize when on the attack.[23] And in pointing to
"p361–365 V.2," Astell may be expanding the charge of thievery beyond SPII, to
a more subtle borrowing of her arguments in Reflections Upon Marriage.[24]


Page 207

Yet, on the other hand, Astell appears either to accept or, at least, to consider
accepting a number of Berkeley's revisions to the excerpt he lifted from SPII. She
does not record every variant as she would have done, one assumes, were she
simply keeping track.[25] Instead, she seems to weigh his changes, both minor and
major, at times even revising his revision.[26] True, several of Astell's attempts to
comport her text with Berkeley's break down syntactically, the inchoateness of
the "revised" text suggesting a level of uncertainty, or perhaps haste, on her part.
And, to be sure, Astell's pointed reference in her Preface to the second edition of
Bart'lemy Fair (1722) to Steele's (as she thought it) piracy suggests, at the very least,
skepticism as to the value of the revisions: "[O]ur honest Compilator has made an
honourable Amends to the Author, (I know not what he has to the Book-Seller)
by transcribing above an hundred Pages in to his Ladies Library, verbatim; except
in a few Places, which if the Reader takes the Trouble to compare, perhaps he
will not find improv'd" (quoted in Perry 230).

Ultimately, then, one can only speculate as to Astell's plans for those of Berke-
ley's revisions she incorporated into her text. Given the fact that these changes
exist alongside other revisions unrelated to Berkeley's pilfering, and that Astell
tinkered with his changes even as she recorded them, I tend to think that she
would indeed have followed some of Berkeley's unsolicited editorial advice in a
new edition of SPII—probably with a requisite, and perfectly Astellian, satiric
jab at the original theft. One can easily imagine Astell "thanking" Steele in a new
preface for his editorial assistance, and noting that in acknowledging his minor
changes, she is doing more than he felt compelled to do when he copied an en-
tire chapter of her book. After all, she might have noted, unlike herself, Steele
had benefited from a free education at a respected institution—having been ac-
cepted by the respected Charterhouse school in 1684 as a gownboy, essentially a
scholar-in-residence. Surely, the product of Thomas Sutton's charitable bounty,
the evidence for which Astell had dutifully recorded down to the penny (see Ap-
pendix 5), would join her in soliciting charitable donations toward the Chelsea
school for girls. So subtle a response, however, would obviously have been pre-
cluded when Astell was forced to abandon her plans for a second edition in 1720,
which might explain her scoffing dismissal of the revisions two years later in
Bart'lemy Fair.


Page 208

How does this text affect our understanding of Astell? On the one hand, it
most assuredly does not clear up any sensational mysteries for which our post-
Possession sentiments hunger—Astell has scribbled in her book neither an an-
nouncement of sexual passion for another woman, nor the name of the "eminent
clergyman" (rendered, one fantasizes, in a clever but discernible anagram) to
whom George Ballard claims she had been affianced at a young age (385, note).
Nevertheless, it does work to flesh out, if only in small measure, the biogra-
phy of a woman who has discovered herself to us only, if at all, as in a glass,
darkly. (Even Ballard, writing in 1752, was forced to rely primarily on hearsay
in his brief account of her life.) Who knew, for instance, that Astell had read
works by René Rapin (Appendix 1, 89.10–16), yet another in a growing list of
Cartesian Catholics peopling her list of intellectual influences? Or the degree
to which she herself recognized, or came to recognize, the precedents in Fé-
nelon and Hickes for her arguments on behalf of women? And if we have come
to recognize Astell's derision for Locke and Steele, her equivocal treatment of
them in her copy of SPII will perhaps give us pause, for it may reveal a more
complex reaction on Astell's part to these erstwhile adversaries than heretofore

But more than anything else, Astell's book reveals a clue as to how its author's
mind was working at a critical point in her history—as well as a lesson in the
tenuous nature of book production at this time. If the dating I have proposed in
this essay is more or less correct, then the degree to which Astell relied on her
bookseller Richard Wilkin may have been even more pronounced than previ-
ously recognized. I do not pretend to know with certainty how Astell would have
used the material she recorded in her copy of SPII in a new edition. Perhaps,
taking as a model the substantial "Preface" Astell added to the third edition of
Some Reflections Upon Marriage (1706), her comments would have served as fodder
for a new introduction to her undeniably dated, but not outmoded, work. The
Chelsea school, I have suggested, must have struck Astell as the logical exten-
sion of her original hobby horse; and, however much one may be reminded of
Parson Adams's myopic faith in the value of his volumes of sermons in Henry
Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1742), she still believed—or wished to believe—in the
ability of her earliest works to communicate her sense of urgency on this score.
Indeed, in this respect, the piracy of The Ladies Library may very well have inspired
Astell to contemplate a new edition by showing her that the world continued to
be interested in the subject.

Although Astell's work toward a new edition of SPII did not make it into
print, she never abandoned the project that had in large measure stimulated her
revisions. Even as death, in the form of breast cancer, approached in 1730, she
was still actively seeking donations "towards building a charity school for the
teaching and instructing of the children of poor soldiers belonging to Chelsea


In a letter of 1-8-1720 (?) [Perry's question mark] Astell writes to Lady Ann Coventry,
"I have bin reading ye late A. Bp. of Cambrays Letters, wcḥ make me very sick of my own"
(repr. in Perry 389). Perry assumes that Astell is reading the Paris edition of 1718, and thus
must have "mastered" French at this point (389, note), but it should be noted that an English
translation of Fénelon's letters appeared in 1719: Private Thoughts Upon Religion, In Several Letters.
Written to His Royal Highness the Duke Regent of France. By the Archbishop of Cambray


Hickes was one of a number of non-juring High Churchmen interested in the "cause"
of "women's education," as Perry puts it (119). In fact, Perry notes, he "recommended Astell's
books in the 1707 edition of his translation of Fénelon's Traité de l'education des filles," in particular
SPI and II and Christian Religion (119, 498, note 60).


It is worth remembering the primary rhetorical function of SPI—to solicit charitable
contributions toward Astell's cause. Hence, in her peroration, Astell pointedly wonders, "Is
Charity so dead in the world that none will contribute to the saving their own and their neigh-
bours Souls?" (44–45).


Ballard explained that Astell's scheme had found significant support from "a certain
great lady" ready to "give ten thousand pounds"; Bishop Gilbert Burnet "powerfully remon-
strated against it" to the unnamed woman (perhaps, Perry suggests, Princess Anne [134]),
explaining that "it would look like preparing a way for popish orders [and] would be reputed
a nunnery, etc.," thereby effectively eviscerating the project (Ballard 383). In the course of her
sustained critique ofjohn Norris in Discourse of the Love of God (1696), John Locke's supporter and
friend Damaris, Lady Masham, also attacked Astell's proposal. Astell responded in her Christian
complaining, "what they seem most affraid of, is dispeopling the World and driving
Folks into Monasterys [Astell marginally cites Masham's Discourse, 120], tho' I see none among us
for them to run into were they ever so much inclin'd; but have heard it generally complain'd of
by very good Protestants, that Monasteries were Abolish'd instead of being Reform'd: And tho'
none that I know of plead for Monasteries, strictly so call'd, in England, or for any thing else
but a reasonable provision for the Education of one half of Mankind, and for a safe retreat so
long and no longer than our Circumstances make it requisite." See p. 235 of her "Appendix"
to the second edition of Christian Religion (1717), included as Appendix Three in my and Melvyn
New's modem edition of Astell and Norris's Letters (221 –258).


Of the two references, one may be read either as an attack on Locke or, more likely, as a
note of indebtedness; the other is almost certainly an acknowledgment of debt (see Appendix 1,
entry for 49.2fb–50.2 (92.13–14) and note; and entry for 133.10–14 (122.19–21) and note.
As I have argued elsewhere ("Astell's Ironic Assault"), Astell almost certainly composed SPII
before she had identified Locke as someone of any particular concern to her either personally
or intellectually; hence, her only direct textual reference to him in SPII—139 of Springborg's
edition—is both utterly tangential and blithely commendatory.


The Ladies Library actually appeared in (at least) two editions in 1714; see below, intro-
duction to Appendix 1. Unless otherwise noted, all references are to the earlier version.


See Parks, "George Berkeley." Parks includes a transcription of the 1713 agreement
between Berkeley, Steele, and Jacob Tonson (2). As Richard Dammers notes, "the paternity of
The Ladies Library was quickly attached to Steele"; as early as 1714 publisher Royston Meredith
"accused Steele of using [Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Holy Dying] without paying for it"


On p. 22 of Vol. 1, The Ladies Library calls on women to "despise those Arts which
have no Complacency for the Deficiencies of their Education, and take Pleasure and Profit
in such as freely lay open all their Stores to them, as do History, Poetry, and Eloquence."
Yet, on p. 25, it warns of "the Danger of reading soft and wanton Writings, which warm and
corrupt the Imagination," noting that "too much of this will be found among the Works of
Poetry and Eloquence, with which none but Ladies of good Taste and solid Judgment should be


In recommending that widows remain unmarried, The Ladies Library adduces a number
of decidedly "Astellian" arguments—e.g., "[I]t seems not very prudent to relinquish both Lib-
erty and Property, to espouse at the best a Subjection, but perhaps a Slavery"; and, "[W]herefore
'tis their Concern well to Ballast their Minds, and to provide that their Passion never get
the Ascendant over their Reason" (2: 361, 365). Astell does not register any awareness of
Berkeley's other definite "borrowing" from her works; Volume 1, pp. 438—447 excerpts SPI


On p. 113 of Springborg's edition, for instance, Astell writes, "And in order to the
restraining it we may consider …"; vol. 1 of The Ladies Library reads, "That we may the bet-
ter restrain it, let us consider …" (474). Similarly, on p. 130 of Springborg's edition, Astell
writes "rest and terminate," while Berkeley has only "terminate" (500). It is worth noting that
in both instances, Astell does record two other specific changes made by Berkeley on the page
in question, so it is clear that she did not somehow skip these pages; see Appendix 1, entries for
107.7fb (113.15) and 155.14–15 (130.13).


See, for instance, Appendix 1, entry for 138.7fb–6fb (124.15–16) and note. With
respect to the changes to Astell's text, Dammers characterizes the "editor" of The Ladies Library
as one "careful" to make "appropriate changes." Berkeley's revisions, Dammers believes, are
"generally designed to moderate an enthusiastic tone, to delete sentences referring to an earlier
section of A Serious Proposal, to improve awkward wording, or to summarize an entire section
into a few words" (533).


See Astell's letter of 9 September 1730 to her patron and friend Lady Betty Hastings
acknowledging receipt of £50, a full 1/4 of her total commitment to the project (repr. in Perry


Page 209


Text of A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part II [1]


Astell made use of a variety of markings and methods for correcting or com-
menting upon her own text. Emendations are sometimes interlined within the
text itself, but more often are found in the margins and linked to particular points
in the text with corresponding asterisks. I have recorded as faithfully as possible
in the Original column all emendations, including Astell's abbreviations, using
a modified version of the system of bracketed transcription and editorial explana-
tion proposed by David L. Vander Meulen and G. Thomas Tanselle:

In our system, square brackets surround editorial record and comments; braces are used
for the next level of parenthesis when commentary is required for alterations within altera-
tions. The editorial statements are italicized and thereby differentiated from words quoted
from the document, which consequently do not need quotations marks…. Generally the
basic element in each editorial comment is a participle, such as canceled or inserted. (205)
Vander Meulen and Tanselle suggest emphasizing either the original or the re-
vised reading by consistently including within brackets either deleted or added
words; I have modified slightly their system by reporting within brackets all af-
fected words, i.e., both the original and the revised text. Astell's changes are
then standardized in an admittedly speculative New Edition? column in order
to provide a clean text of her revisions. Thus, where the opening entry in the
Original column reads "and Inconsiderate had [taken up inserted in left margin for
imbib'd] to," the same phrase in the New Edition? column reads "and
Inconsiderate had taken up to." Astell's marginal references to particular texts
or authors likewise have been recorded within brackets in the ORIGINAL column
following the italicized phrase marginal note inserted.

Astell made her changes and marginal comments primarily in pencil, but
sometimes in pen, and with no discernable pattern; in the emendation of 17.6
(76.2-1 fb), for instance, she crossed out two words, one in pencil, the other in
pen. All changes made in pen are recorded as such; where confusion might arise,
pencil markings are also explicitly noted. Editorial silence thus indicates that the
markings are in pencil.

The majority of the changes here transcribed stem from Astell's engagement
with Berkeley's revised plagiarism of the third chapter of SPII, which comprises
the bulk of his chapter on "IGNORANCE" in the first volume of The Ladies Li-
(1714), pp. 438-524 (Berkeley's appropriation of Astell covers pp. 447-524).
Her documentation of Berkeley's work is consistently three pages discrepant
from the copy I first consulted, "printed for J. T. and Sold by W. Mears … and
J. Brown," according to the title page. As it turns out, The Ladies Library was pub-
lished in two different editions in 1714, the other one, according to its title page,


Page 210
"printed for Jacob Tonson," without further amplification. This form does indeed
match the pagination provided in Astell's marginal citations, and it appears to
be the earlier of the two versions. Where appropriate, I have drawn attention in
my notes to revisions made in the second edition. Berkeley often changed Astell's
punctuation, capitalization, and spelling, but I have made note of such variants
only where they seem to have been of interest to Astell. Astell frequently cites
Berkeley's text by page in the margins; where she does not, I do so in a footnote.
In the footnotes I have also tracked significant departures from The Ladies Library
and made note of those occasions on which Astell herself seems to lose the thread
of her emendatory intentions.

All references are keyed by page and line number both to Astell's copy of
the 1697 edition of SPII and to Patricia Springborg's modern edition of A Serious
Proposal to the Ladies Parts I & II
(Pickering & Chatto, 1997); the 1697 edition is
given first, followed by the Springborg edition in parentheses. The abbreviation
"fb" stands for "from the bottom of the page."


Original   New Edition
4.11 (72.13-14)] and Inconsiderate had
[taken up inserted in left margin for canceled
imbib'd] to 
and Inconsiderate had taken up to 
5.3-4 (72.22-23)] which [in interlined]
Justice [should interlined above canceled
requires to] be paid 
which in Justice should be paid 
6.4fb (73.9)] nothing but [airy canceled]
nothing but Noise 
8.6fb (73.4fb-3fb)] tho I shou'd [?wth
?our Clearest Demonstration have
prov'd it easy inserted in bottom margin for
have prov'd it feasible with the
clearest Demonstration], and 
tho I shou'd with our clearest Demon-
stration have prov'd it easy, and 
12.12 (75.9)] lost its [relish inserted in left
margin for canceled haut goust
{previous two
words italicized in original
}]; Wisdom 
lost its relish; Wisdom 
12.14 (75-10)] than a [good interlined in
pen above canceled Bon
{previous word itali-
cized in original
}] -mien  
than a good-mien  
14.6fb (76.4)] Petitioners, [the comma
] who 
Petitioners, who 
17.6 (76.2fb-1 fb)] they've [per-
haps canceled in pencil] almost lost … 
they've almost lost … which were


Page 211
which [probably canceled in pen] were
22.1-2 (78.11 fb-10fb)] know [what it is
to be interlined in pen above canceled in pen
wherein the Nature of] a true Chris-
tian [consists canceled in pen]; and 
know what it is to be a true Christian;
22.8 fb (78.2fb)] duly serv'd [yet can-
celed in pen
][2] in 
duly serv'd in 
24.14 (81.10-9fb)] for its [Nourishmt
inserted in left margin for canceled Nutri-
tion], as 
for its Nourishment, as 
24.2fb (81.4fb)] much [Sharpness in-
serted in pen in left margin for canceled in
Acumen] and 
much Sharpness and 
26.7 (82.21-22)] them [is inserted in pen
in left margin
] he [is canceled in pen] to be
accounted [of interlined in pen], if 
them is he to be accounted of, if 
29.8-9 (83.17-18)] I do to [supply in-
serted in pen in right margin for canceled in
fill up] my [W written over V of next
] Va[nts interlined above canceled cu-
ities], to 
I do to supply my Wants, to 
31.12 (84.8)] precipitately, [not only
canceled in pen] without[, but against
canceled in pen][3] its 
precipitately, without its 
32.3 (84.16)] cou'd [deny his assent in-
serted in pen in bottom margin for canceled in
demur] to[4]  
cou'd deny his assent to 
41.14-19 (89.9-15)] Disengage….
search after Truth [marginal note inserted
Rapin Refl D 1 5.31][5]  


Page 212
47.4-5 (91-13)] we [stumble inserted
in pen in right margin for canceled in pen

grope][6] in 
we stumble in 
49.2fb-50.2 (92.13-14)] An Opinion …
thing considerable [marginal note inserted
68.9fb-7fb (99.1)] The perfection of the
Understanding consisting in the Clear-
ness [marginal note inserted in left margin
Liv'Libro p 448- v. 1][8]  
69.9 (99.9)] For being [as inserted in
right margin for canceled
that] we are, [the
comma inserted
] but [marginal note inserted
For being as we are, but 
70.3fb-1fb (100.5-6)] different, [as …
follows canceled].[9]  
71.8-11 (100.11-13)] things at once:
[There are som particular Truths of
wch inserted in right margin for canceled
And likewise, because] GOD has not
thought fit to communicate such Ideas
to us, as are necessary to the disquisi-
tion of [ym inserted in right margin for can-
some Particular Truths], [marginal
note inserted
things at once: There are some
particular Truths of which GOD has
not thought fit to communicate such
Ideas to us, as are necessary to the dis-
quisition of them. 
71.18 (100.16-17)] by [Intention inserted
in right margin for canceled
Intuition] or[10]  
by Intention or 


Page 213
78.7fb (102.1fb)] real [Vertues inserted
in left margin for canceled
Verities], if [mar-
ginal note inserted
real Vertues, if 
79.9-10 (103.8)] neither [is interlined for
do I think] there's [the 's can-
] any[11]  
neither is there any 
81.15-18 (104.1-2)] In a word …
proper Object. [marginal note inserted 15-
17? Rapin Ref D1-5 23][12]  
83.8fb-6fb (104.8fb-7fb)] what is truly
the Object of Faith, [marginal note in-
Rap D 1 5 23][13]  
84.10fb-9fb (105.5-6)] had? ¶ [In a wd
inserted for canceled To sum up all]: We[14]  
had? ¶ In a word: We 
86.1fb-87.4 (105.1fb-106.2)] estimate.
¶ [It is therefore very fit that after we
canceled] have [ing interlined] consider'd
the Capacity of the Understanding in
general, we [must inserted in right margin
for canceled
shou'd] descend [marginal
note inserted
estimate, ¶ Having consider'd the Ca-
pacity of the Understanding in general,
we must descend 
88.7-8 (106.16-17)] that [some inserted
for canceled
so we] may be [continually
inserted in left margin for canceled mutually]
useful [marginal note inserted 461] 
that some may be continually useful 
90.1fb (107.14-15)] train of [un inter-
lined for canceled
im at beginning of next
] immortified[15]  
train of unmortified 
93.14-16 (108.11-12)] except the little
[soules yt envy ym inserted in right mar-  
except the little Souls that envy them.
¶ To help 


Page 214
gin for canceled Soul'd Enviers of 'em].
¶ To help[16]  
94.7-8 (108.20-21)] for, [thereby can-
] to gratify [thereby inserted in left
] their Secret Envy, [as interlined
for canceled
by] diverting us from[17]  
for, to gratify thereby their Secret
Envy, as diverting us from 
95.2fb-96.5 (109.5-8)] him, [he con-
tradicts … bear canceled]. Their Gall
[marginal note inserted 466] 
him. Their Gall 
96.15-16(109.14)] a Wo on those [of in-
serted in left margin
] whom all Men shall
speak well [of canceled] so[18]  
a Wo on those of whom all Men shall
speak well so 
96.6fb (109.17)] commonly [has ye
Applause of ye world inserted for canceled
bears away the Bell]. If [marginal note
has the Applause of the world. If 
97.6fb-98.7 (109.8fb-2fb)] them. [But
is there. … beautify canceled]. If [then
canceled] instead of [Jostling and can-
] Disputing [& Laughing with ym
inserted in left margin for canceled with our
Fellow Travellers], of [marginal note in-
them. If instead of Disputing and
Laughing with them, of 
98.15-19 (110.3-5)] another. [What.…
rectify'd? canceled] We[20]  
another. We 
98.8fb-7fb (110.6-7)] reach, [& in-
serted for deleted
move … Sphere] not
reach, and not abuse 
98. 3fb-1fb (110.8-g)] others, [be …
'em canceled]. ¶ We[22]  
others. ¶ We 
99.2fb (110.21)] is [yn inserted in right
margin for canceled
thus] defective [mar-
ginal note inserted
is then defective 


Page 215
100.8fb-7fb (110.6fb)] have, [tho inserted
in left margin for canceled
till] clearness
[marginal note inserted 469] 
have, tho clearness 
101.11-4fb (111.3-11)] Imagination.
[But … of. canceled] They[23]  
Imagination. ¶ They 
105.5 (112.19-20)] shew of [very great
canceled] Ingenuity[24]  
shew of Ingenuity 
105.1 fb (112.10fb)] perfectly [perhaps
canceled] it[25]  
perfectly it 
107.7fb (113-15)] does not [next word
] choak [marginal note inserted
does not choque 
108.6-7 (113.21-22)] If then [for ye
Future inserted in left margin] we wou'd
[hereafter canceled] think [marginal note
If then for the Future we wou'd think 
109.6fb-110.13 (114.5-15)] System.
['Tis impossible … purpose. Canceled]
¶ [Volatileness of Thought occasions
inserted in left margin for canceled Doing so
we shall prevent] Rashness and Precip-
itation in our Judgments, [as also too
great a conceit of inserted in left margin for
which is occasion'd by that Vol-
atileness we have been speaking of, to-
gether with an over-weaning opinion]
of[28] our Selves. All the irregularities of
our Will proceed from those [e interlined
0 in the previous word] false Judgments
[we make canceled], thro [marginal note
System. ¶ Volitileness of Thought oc-
casions Rashness and Precipitation
in our Judgments, as also too great a
Conceit of our Selves. All the irregu-
larities of our Will proceed from these
false Judgments, thro 


Page 216
110.5fb-4fb (114.19-20)] Mind, [before
… Glory! Canceled]. But we seek[30]  
Mind. But we seek 
111.3-4 (114.15fb))] This Precipitation
is [wt inserted for canceled that which]
This Precipitation is what gives 
112.4-5 (114.1fb))] For [first four letters
canceled in the next word
] hereby [this
means inserted in left margin] the [marginal
note inserted
For by this means the 
112.4fb-113.11 (115.9-17)] them. [We….
him. ¶ In sum, canceled] whatever[32]  
them. Whatever 
113.5fb-3fb (115.22-24)] into, [nor …
Truth, canceled] The General Causes[33]  
into. The General Causes 
114.5-6 (115.11 fb)] And the best way
[that canceled] I[34]  
And the best way I 
114.8-9 (115.10fb-9fb)] Errors [proceed
from ever what inserted in left margin for
proceed they from what] Cause
they may[35]  
Errors proceed from ever what Cause
they may 
114.9fb-115.8 (115.5fb-116.4)] of any
[palbable {sic} inserted in left margin for
Culpable] Error, [we shou'd
inserted in left margin] Not [to canceled]
Judge of any thing which we don't Ap-
prehend, [we shou'd inserted in left mar-
gin for canceled
to] suspend our Assent
till we see just cause to give it, and to
determine nothing till the Strength and
Clearness of the Evidence oblige us to
it. [we shou'd inserted in left margin for can-
To] withdraw our selves as much
as may be from Corporeal things, that
pure Reason may be heard the better;
[we shou'd inserted in left margin for can-
to] make that use of our senses for 
of any palpable Error. We shou'd not
Judge of any thing which we don't Ap-
prehend, we shou'd Suspend our As-
sent till we see just Cause to give it, and
to determine nothing but the Strength
and Clearness of the Evidence oblige
us to it. We shou'd withdraw our
selves as much as may be from Cor-
poreal things, that pure Reason may
be heard the better; we shou'd make
that use of our senses for which they
are design'd and fitted, the preserva-
tion of the Body, but not to depend on
their Testimony in our Enquiries after
Truth. We shou'd particularly divest
ourselves of mistaken Self-love, little 


Page 217
which they are design'd and fitted, the
preservation of the Body, but not to
depend on their Testimony in our En-
quiries after Truth, [we shoud inserted
in right margin
] Particularly [to canceled]
divest our selves of mistaken Self-love,
little Ends, and mean Designs, and [we
shoud inserted in right margin for canceled
to] keep [marginal note inserted 477][36]  
Ends, and mean Designs, and we shou'd
115.4-5fb (116.8-12)] so. [we shoud in-
serted in right margin for canceled
But to]
be passionately in Love with Truth, as
being throughly sensible of her Excel-
lency and Beauty, [we shd inserted in
right margin for canceled
To] embrace her
how opposite soever she may some-
times be to our Humours and Designs,
to bring these over to her, and never
attempt to make her truckle to them.
[we shd inserted in right margin for canceled
To] be so[37]  
so. We shou'd be passionately in Love
with Truth, as being throughly sensi-
ble of her Excellency and Beauty. We
shou'd embrace her how opposite so-
ever she may sometimes be to our Hu-
mours and Designs, to bring these over
to her, and never attempt to make her
truckle to them. We shou'd be so 
116.2-4 (116.15-16)] Miscarriages.
[These are ye Tr inserted in left margin for
canceled For indeed] it concerns us most
to know [such Truths as these canceled],
it is not material [marginal note 478] 
Miscarriages. These are the Truths
it concerns us most to know, it is not
117.5-8 (116.g-8fb)] She does not treat
them so tenderly and [familiarly inserted
in right margin for canceled fawningly, with
so much Ceremony and Complaisance]
as [marginal note inserted 479] 
She does not treat them so tenderly
and familiarly as 
117.16-119.2 (116.3fb-117.18)] and Var-
nish. [But to…. ¶ Above all…. Ex-
cites them, canceled] ¶ §IV. As to[38]  
and Varnish. ¶ §IV. As to 
119.5-119.11 (117.18-21)] Thinking, [we
inserted in right margin for canceled if …
I] shall [39]  
Thinking, we shall 


Page 218
119.6fb-2fb (117.12-10fb)] For as a
[very canceled] Judicious Writer on this
Subject [of ye Art of Thinking inserted
in right margin for canceled
(to whose In-
genious Remarks and Rules I am much
obliged)] well observes[40]  
For as a Judicious Writer on this Subject
of the Art of Thinking well observes 
122.7 (118.20-21)] it. [And canceled]
since Truth [marginal note inserted 481] 
it. Since Truth 
123.13-15 (118.1fb-119.1)] shou'd Think
as Justly, [they can interlined above tho']
not as [Copiously inserted in right mar-
gin for canceled Capaciously
{previous word
italicized in original
}], as [marginal note
shou'd Think as Justly, tho' they can-
not as Copiously, as 
125.10 (119.14fb)] Equality between 2
[times interlined in ink above canceled in ink
and] 2 [& 4 interlined in ink]is[42]  
Equality between 2 times 2 and 4 is 
128.15-16 (120-9fb-8fb)] Words and
Actions as it becomes Wise Persons
and Good Christians [marginal note in-
?Rapns Refl D1 5 32][43]  
129.7fb-6fb (121.8-9)] Who [final three
letters in next word canceled
] cannot [bear
inserted for canceled endure] to be [mar-
ginal note inserted
Who can bear to be 
130.4fb-131.1 (121.23-25)] conse-
quently [how canceled] can we be Un-
derstood [? And canceled] if sometimes
we annex one Idea to a Word, and
sometimes another [? interlined for can-
] we [first letter of previous word capi-
] may [marginal note inserted 487][45]  
consequently can we be Understood
if sometimes we annex one Idea to a
Word, and sometimes another? We


Page 219
132.11-12 (122.6)] Thus [are inserted in
left margin for canceled
many times] our
Ideas [often inserted in left margin for can-
are] thought [marginal note inserted
Thus are our Ideas often thought 
132.6fb (122.11)] them. [Thus inserted
in left margin for? canceled
So that] after
[marginal note inserted 488][46]  
them. Thus after 
133.10-14 (122.19-21)] Always obser-
ving … highest Evidence and Convic-
tion [marginal note inserted Locke][47]  
134.1fb-135-1 (123.4-5)] Distinct, ¶
[open bracket before next word] That[48]  
135.16 (123.12)] as he ought. Thus
we may have [marginal note inserted Les
Princip de la Philos de M Des Car-tes
Pt 1 45][49]  
136.9-137.1 (123.17-8fb)] not. [And
were it…. complain of canceled]. ¶ As
not. ¶ As Judgments 


Page 220
138.7fb-6fb (124.15-16)] by Equiva-
lents, [the comma canceled] conversation
[marginal note inserted 492][51]  
by Equivalents conversation 
139.8-143.13 (124.15fb-126.4)] Bal-
lancing. [But….'em. canceled] ¶ But
Ballancing. ¶ But because 
141.13 (125.15-16)] regularly [cted in-
serted in pen in right margin for canceled in
nex'd in next word] connex'd[53]  
regularly connected 
143.7fb-4fb (126.7-10)] following Rules,
[which Rules, … of 'em. canceled] ¶We
following Rules. ¶We have 
144.11-18 (126.17-20)] Rule I. [And
therefore we shou'd in the first place,
canceled] Acquiant [y interlined at beginning
of next word
] our selves throughly with the
State of the Question, have a Distinct Notion
[y interlined at beginning of next word] our
Subject whatever it be, and of the Terms
interlined above next word] we make use of,
knowing precisely what it is [you interlined
above next word] we drive at: [that so we
may in the second canceled], [marginal
note added
Rule I. Acquiant your selves throughly with
the State of the Question, have a Distinct
Notion of your Object whatever it be, and of
the Terms you make use of, knowing precisely
what it is you drive at.
145.3fb-1fb (126.2fb-1fb)] Rule III.
[Our Business … {next word italicized
in original
} To canceled] conduct [y inserted
in left margin as first letter of next word
] our
Rule III. Conduct your Thoughts  
146.3-19 (127.1-10)] Compos'd. [I need
not … that canceled] Order makes ev-
erything, Easie, Strong and Beautiful,
and that the Superstructure is neither
like to Last or Please unless the Foun-
dation be duly laid, [for this is obvious 
Compos'd. Order makes everything,
Easie, Strong and Beautiful, and that
the Superstructure is neither like to
Last or Please unless the Foundation
be duly laid. Nor are they likely to
solve the Difficult, who have neglected 


Page 221
to the most Superficial Reader, canceled]
Nor are they likely to solve the Dif-
ficult, who have neglected or slightly
pass'd over the Easie Questions. [Our
Knowledge … more Abstruse, canceled]
¶Rule IV. [In this Method … {next two
words italicized in original
} Not to canceled]
leave any [56]  
or slightly pass'd over the Easie Ques-
tions. ¶Rule IV. Leave any  
147.1 (127.13)] Object, if we [read in-
serted in right margin for canceled
view] but
[marginal note inserted 494] 
Object, if we read but 
148.4 (127.11 fb)] Pieces: [And let us
take inserted in left margin for canceled
Ever taking] care to [marginal note in-
Pieces: And let us take care to 
148.9 (127.8fb)] Rule V. [To which pur-
pose we must canceled] Always keep [yor
inserted in left margin for? canceled our {pre-
vious word italicized in original
}] Subject [57]  
Rule V. Always keep your Subject  
149.9-12 (128.6-7)] Rule VI. [All
which … which is, {next word italicized
in original
} To canceled] judge no further
than we Perceive [58]  
Rule VI. Judge no further than we Perceive  
149.17 (128.10)] did so only, [the comma
] where[59]  
did so only, where 
151.8-9 (128.7fb)] found, [final letter of
next word canceled
] enjoyns us[60]  
found, enjoyn us 
151.11-15 (i28-5fb-4fb)] But by this we
may learn ([the open parenthesis canceled]
and so we may by every thing that such
weak and fallible Creatures as we are 
But by this we may learn and so we
may by every thing that such weak and
fallible Creatures as we are be sure to
think Candidly 


Page 222
[be sure inserted for canceled perform])
[the close parentheses canceled] to think
Candidly [marginal note inserted 497][61]  
152.5 (129.5-6)] Idea. ¶ [For ?canceled]
Idea, ¶ If 
153.1 (129.17)] But if it be [made can-
] a Question [marginal note inserted
But if it be a Question 
153.9fb (129.13fb)] This. [If therefore
inserted in right margin for canceled So that]
if we[63]  
If therefore we 
154.2fb-1fb (130.5-6)] Being. ¶ [For in
the first place, canceled] what ever[64]  
Being, ¶ What ever 
155.14-15 (130.13)] Nor can they derive
[their inserted in right margin for canceled
either] Being [& interlined above canceled
or] Perfection [marginal note inserted
Nor can they derive their Being and
157.10-11 (130.1fb-131.1)] hastning? ¶
[To Sum up all: canceled] Since[65]  
hastning? ¶ Since 
158.4 (131.10)] must needs [entertain
inserted in left margin for canceled contain]
in [marginal note inserted 502] 
must needs entertain in 
158.10-1fb (131.14-22)] necessary, ¶
[Perhaps these Arguments…. forgot
again. But canceled] if some[66]  
necessary. ¶ If some 
159.8fb-7fb (131.7-6fb)] Happy must
be Rich, and [all canceled] who are Rich
[marginal note inserted 502] 
Happy must be Rich, and who are
160.16-18 (132.7-8)] Happy ([the open
parenthesis canceled
] in the Enjoyment… 
Happy in the Enjoyment … Silver,


Page 223
Silver,) [the close parenthesis closed]
160.7fb-161.15 (132.8-20)] disting-
uish'd. [& inserted for canceled ¶We may
further…. we find, that] we cannot
[marginal note inserted 503] 
distinguish'd and we cannot 
162.6fb-5fb (132.2fb-1fb)] Banners
[final letter of previous word canceled] of
Banner of Error 
163.1fb-164.17 (133.15-24)] Truth. ¶
[Neither…. of 'em. ¶ But canceled]
Truth. ¶ It 
167.1-4 (134.19-20)] We all pretend ¶
to this [it's true ?canceled], and think
our selves Injur'd if it be not believed
[semicolon interlined for canceled that] we
are Disninterss'd [marginal note inserted
We all pretend to this, and think our
selves Injur'd if it be not believed; we
are Disinterss'd 
168.17-18 (135.3-4)] of Education,
Capacity, [ye inserted in pen for canceled
of] Leisure, and [ye interlined in pencil]
of Education, Capacity, the Leisure,
and the Opportunity 
169.9-10 (135.13)] not conclude [it
inserted in right margin for canceled in]
not conclude it such 
169.2fb-1fb (135.21)] Present Interest,
[wch inserted for canceled which is that
which] weighs [marginal note inserted
Present Interest, which weighs 
173.6 (136.11fb)] expect. [So that can-
] when we [marginal note inserted 511] 
expect. When we 


Page 224
173.14-15 (136.7fb)] us ([the open pa-
renthesis canceled
if other Considerations
will not) [the close parenthesis canceled]
to be[74]  
us if other Considerations will not to
174.4-5 (137-3)] hereafter, [semicolon in-
serted in left margin
] When [first letter of
previous word crossed through
] we[75]  
hereafter; when we 
174.9 (137.5)] Encouragement, [the
comma changed to a period
] how [first letter
of previous word capitalized
] low[76]  
Encouragement. How low 
175.12-13 (137.19-20)] Beauty. [So
that… well observes, canceled] all[77]  
Beauty. All 
178.1fb-179.1 (138.8fb-7fb)] we're [ye
inserted in right margin] then [the final letter
of the previous word canceled
] perplext and
Obscure Writers [marginal note inserted
we're the perplext and Obscure
179.12-13 (138.1fb)] yet not [verbose in-
serted for? canceled
Wordy] and tedious[79]  
yet not verbose and tedious 
179.2fb-1fb (139.7)] believe, [the pe-
riod changed to a semicolon
] [also inserted
in right margin
] Always [marginal note in-
believe; also always 
180.7fb-181.6 (139.17-24)] meant it.
[But this…. Minds. ¶In a word, can-
] I know[80]  
meant it. ¶ I know 
183.4-6 (140.13)] Meditations, [yt in-
serted in right margin for canceled
affects a Grave that a Florid Style [mar-
ginal note inserted
Meditations. That affects a Grave that
a Florid Style 


Page 225
183.14-16 (140.18)] Reason, the [parity
inserted for canceled purity] and propri-
ety of Expression [marginal note inserted
517] [82]  
Reason, the parity and propriety of
184.13 (140.8fb)] were [first letter of next
word underlined] Impartial [marginal note
inserted 518][83]  
were impartial 
184.2fb-1fb (140.1fb-141.1)] us. ¶ [In
doing this inserted for canceled And if we
do so I believe] we shall[84]  
us. ¶ In doing this we shall 
188.2fb-190.4 (142.17-34)] recommend
it. ¶ [And since Piety…. do good to.
¶[Besides, by being canceled] [marginal
note inserted 521] True Christians [we
canceled] have Really that Love for oth-
ers which all who desire to perswade
must pretend to; [they have inserted for
canceled we've] that [marginal note inserted
recommend it. ¶True Christians have
Really that Love for others which all
who desire to perswade must pretend
to; they have that 
191.9 (143.13-14)] Provoke, [now
arriv'd to a more scandalous degree of
Rage & Insoln yn ever inserted in ink in
top margin
] whence [marginal note inserted
in pencil
Provoke, now arriv'd to a more scan-
dalous degree of Rage and Insolence
then ever whence 
193.8 (144.3-4)] we. ¶ [I've said can-
] nothing [has been sd inserted in
right margin] of [marginal note inserted
we. ¶ Nothing has been said of 
194.6-7 (144.16-17)] Conversation ¶
But for [marginal note inserted thus for L
216.2fb-1fb (153.15-16)] them, ¶ [For
inserted in left margin for canceled But] as 
them, For as 


Page 226
293.9 (180.2fb)] disagreeableness [in
them interlined]? 
disagreeableness in them? 
298 (182[87] )] ERRATA. [marginal note in-
p 107 cho / que][88]  

Springborg correctly notes that "yet" is marked for deletion in the list of errata, and she
brackets it accordingly; Astell nevertheless has crossed through the word several times. Both Astell's
copy and the British Library copy show a comma not recorded in Springborg: "serv'd, yet."


Astell again crosses through words marked for deletion in the list of errata; as before,
Springborg brackets these words.


An emendatory road not taken: in the left margin of this passage, Astell has written, and
scratched out, "find fault"—another possibility for the rejected "demur."


René Rapin (1621-1687), French Jesuit, influential neoclassical critic, and prolific au-
thor of theological and philosophical tracts, many of which were translated into English. Astell's
passage parallels in both logic and phrasing section 5 of his Some Christian Reflections (1673):
"All the wisest among the antient Philosophers have believed they knew nothing: In summe,
the uncertainty of the Senses which are such deceivers, the natural obscurities of the Heart of
man, the weakness of his Spirit, Education, Custom, Opinion, the tumult of ordinary Passions,
and those prepossessions no power can surmount, have so utterly effaced all those footsteps of
Truth which remained in man, that the most common Secrets of Nature appear inconceiveable
[sic] to the most wise and knowing" (203-204).


Astell crossed out the original, "grope," heavily in pen, and added "stumble" in the
margin. The British Library copy also has "grope." Springborg's copy-text (held in the Folger
Shakespeare Library), however, had "stumble," suggesting a stop-press change.


The "new way of ideas" John Locke had presented in An Essay Concerning Human Under-
(1690) had been attacked most famously by Bishop Stillingfleet, of course, but also by
Astell in her Christian Religion (1705). Assuming this pencil note, like the others, was made after
1715, Astell may be pointing to Locke as representative of those thinkers who valued novelty
over truth, and/or as one who disables his own truth claims by refusing the Platonic concept of
divine ideas. It is also possible, however, that Astell is simply noting her own Lockean dismissal
of historical consensus as a necessary arbiter of truth.


Astell here signals the beginning of the section of SPII George Berkeley plagiarized in
The Ladies Library (1714). This passage actually begins in the final line of 447.


Ladies Library 449.


Ladies Library 449.


Ladies Library 454.


Rapin's comment in section 17 of his Reflections does indeed adumbrate perfectly
Astell's argument in this section: "We ought to know how to distinguish the knowledge of things
by their Principles; that is to say, to know Sensible things by Sense, Intellectuals by Reason,
and Supernatural and Divine things by Faith" (211 [misnumbered as 112]). I have been unable
to decipher what the later portion of Astell's reference might indicate.


Again, Astell's citation would seem to refer to Rapin's Reflections, wherein he too com-
plained that "Philosophers," by "accustoming their Spirits too much to knowledges palpable,
sensible, and evident," have rendered themselves "very unfit for the Submissions of Faith." In
a paradox Astell would readily have accepted, Rapin argued that in order truly "to be reason-
able," a person must recognize the need for "Reason" to "be submitted to Faith." See sections 15
and 16, pp. 210-211 [misnumbered as 112].


Ladies Library 459.


Ladies Library 463.


Ladies Library 464.


Astell has tinkered with the revision she found in Ladies Library: "to gratify thereby their
secret Envy, diverting us from …" (465).


Ladies Library 466.


Springborg explains that Berkeley's substitution is a paraphrase of Astell's colloquial-
ism (188, note 73).


Ladies Library 467-468.


Ladies Library 468.


Ladies Library 468.


Ladies Library 469.


Ladies Library 472.


Ladies Library 472.


Astell underlined this word in pencil. The erroneous "choak" is a solecism for
"choque," an archaic form of "shock" (see OED, s.v. shock). It seems likely that "err" refers to
the now updated list of errata; see the entry for 298 (182) and note.


Ladies Library: "If for the future then…." Astell keeps her original positioning of


Astell should also have canceled this "of" to avoid repetition of the preposition—an


Slightly revised in the second edition of Ladies Library, which has "and" for "as also"
and a colon rather than a period between "selves" and "All" (472). For an account of the two
versions of Berkeley's text, see the introduction to this Appendix.


Ladies Library: "Mind. We seek … "(475).


Ladies Library 475.


Ladies Library 476-477.


Ladies Library: "into, the general Causes …" (477). Astell has made a note in the right
margin reading "The General Causes," the capitalization perhaps indicating her dissatisfaction
with Berkeley's decision to join the two sentences into one.


Ladies Library: "The best way I … "(477).


Ladies Library: "Errors, whatever Cause they proceed from …" (477).


Astell does not substitute "and determine" for her "and to determine" or "not depend"
for her "not to depend." The awkwardness of the current phrasing suggests an oversight on
Astell's part, not a deliberate rethinking of Berkeley's changes.


Ladies Library 478. The final passage has been revised in the second edition of Ladies
"… Designs, we should labour to bring these over to her, and …" (475).


Ladies Library 479.


Ladies Library 479.


Ladies Library: "For, as the judicious Author of The Art of Thinking well observes …"
(480). Astell had cited Arnauld's work marginally in her original and would likely have done
so again; her new phrasing would appear to stress the aptness of Arnauld's title to its subject


Ladies Library: "shou'd think as jusdy, tho' not as copiously …" (482).


Unlike the vast majority of the changes in this section of the text, this correction is
made in ink. Astell's revision is an obvious improvement on her original tautology.


Perhaps a reference to Rapin's argument in section 15 of Reflections that religious faith
provides the foundation both for morality and for epistemology.


Although "can" maintains parallel syntax, it vitiates the meaning of the rhetorical
question. The second edition of Ladies Library makes the correction: "cannot bear" (483).


Berkeley actually keeps the "how" that Astell elects to cut: Ladies Library reads "con-
sequently, how…" (487).


Astell neglects to mark the words she would need to cancel (and which Berkeley did
cancel) to insert, as she does, Berkeley's "Thus." An oversight seems likely.


Compare Astell's paragraph to Locke's Essay: "Some of the Ideas that are in the Mind,
are so there, that they can be, by themselves, immediately compared, one with another: And in
these, the Mind is able to perceive, that they agree or disagree, as clearly, as that it has them….
And this, therefore, as has been said, I call Intuitive Knowledge; which is certain, beyond all Doubt,
and needs no Probation, nor can have any; this being the highest of all Humane Certainty. In
this consists the Evidence of all those Maxims, which no Body has any Doubt about, but every
man (does not, as is said, only assent to, but) knows to be true, as soon as ever they are proposed
to his Understanding" ( Astell would appear to acknowledge her debt to Locke
on this point, though she, unlike Locke, held to the Augustinian guarantee for the validity of
such self-evident ideas by maintaining that "all Truth is Antient, as being from Eternity in the
Divine Ideas" (SPII92).


Astell opens a bracket before "That" but never closes it. See Ladies Library 490, where
the first portions of Astell's paragraph are significantly cut and rewritten. Perhaps Astell had
second thoughts about considering Berkeley's substantial revision?


Astell adds the citation to Descartes just where her quotation of him ends (at "he
ought"); this correction is indicated in the list of errata—it calls for the citation to be placed
at the beginning of the quotation, not the end—and Springborg adds it to her edition ac-
cordingly (though without the close quotation mark—an oversight). In the British Library
copy of Astell's work, the correction has been made to the text and is included in the list of
errata—another indication of stop-press changes. Compare this discrepancy with 47.4-5
(91.13), where Springborg's text shows the correction but neither the British Library copy nor
Astell's copy does the same. It would appear that corrected and uncorrected sheets were mixed
in no discernable pattern as copies of SPII were being compiled, a process which Melvyn New
and I encountered in our work with the first edition of Astell and John Norris's Letters Concerning
the Love of God
(1695); see Letters, "A Note on the Text" (50-52).


Ladies Library 490.


Ladies Library: "equivalent Conversation." Astell's rejection of the singular "equivalent"
may be deliberate; Berkeley's revision borders on nonsensical. Indeed, Astell's original comma
helps, though she follows Berkeley in deleting it.


Astell brackets these two pages for deletion as per Berkeley (492).


One of the few corrections in this section not inspired by Berkeley—and one of the few
made in ink. Note that the previous emendation would render this change pointless—another
clue that Astell corrected her text at different points in time.


Ladies Library 492.


Ladies Library 494.


Ladies Library 494. Berkeley's revision includes the syntactically necessary "strong and
beautiful. That Superstructure" as well as a shift to second-person necessary to maintain paral-
lelisms "Leave no part of your Subject unexamin'd…." Given Astell's attempts elsewhere to follow
Berkeley's emendations of her first—person plural to the second person—and note the inconsis-
tent "any" for Berkeley's "no"—it seems likely that Astell simply lost track of the changes she
was attempting to record.


Ladies Library 495. Astell neglects to cancel "our" to match her insertion of "yor,"
surely an oversight.


Ladies Library 496: "Judge no farther than you perceive…." Again, Astell inadvertently
neglects to follow Berkeley's shift to second person.


Ladies Library 496.


Ladies Library 497. The second edition of Ladies Library reverts to Astell's original,
"enjoyns" (494). The syntactical question is whether "Reason … enjoyns" or "Enquiries …
[they] … enjoyn."


In Ladies Library commas separate these clauses, though the phrasing—as in the
original—remains opaque: "But by this we may learn, and so we may by every thing, that such
weak and fallible Creatures as we are, be sure to think candidly…."


Ladies Library 498. Astell provides a close bracket around "For," but neglects to provide
an open bracket—an oversight.


Ladies Library 499. Astell neglects to cancel the "if" rendered redundant by her


Ladies Library 500.


Ladies Library 501.


Ladies Library 502.


Ladies Library 503.


Ladies Library 504.


Ladies Library 505.


Astell's intentions here are difficult to decipher. She has inserted a "Q," in the margin
before the first word of this passage ("We"), and she fails to close the bracket she opens around
"its true," a canceled phrase in Berkeley. Ladies Library reads as follows: "'Tis true, we all pre-
tend to this, and think our selves injur'd if it be not believ'd; we are disinterested…."


As in several other cases, the correction in pen answers to the fist of errata, "the" for
"of" in this case; Springborg includes the corrected reading in brackets. The correction in
pencil is an improvement on Berkeley, "the" for "that" (Ladies Library 508).


Ladies Library 508.


Ladies Library: "present Interest, is what weighs…." The line actually falls at the very
bottom of 508.


Ladies Library 511.


Ladies Library 511.


Ladies Library 511.


Ladies Library 512. Unlike Berkeley, Astell would likely have retained her marginal
acknowledgement of the quotation from Arnauld.


Astell's corrections prove redundant—the marginal insertion of "ye" and the emenda-
tion of "then" record the same change. The second edition of Ladies Library further revises this
passage: "we are perplext and obscure Writers" (512).


Ladies library 515. Astell does not cancel "Wordy," surely an oversight given her inser-
tion of "verbose."


Ladies Library 516. Astell excises her laudatory reference to Locke, but it is important
to note that she is following Berkeley's lead.


The second edition of Ladies Library has "this affects a grave, that a florid Style …"


Again, Astell's citation is off by a page; this passage falls at the very top of 518. OED,
s.v. parity: "3. Equality of nature, character, or tendency; likeness, similarity, analogy; parallel-
ism; as in parity of reason or reasoning."


Berkeley frequently changes the capitalization of Astell's original; that Astell here
makes note of it suggests that she may indeed be looking for changes that improve her text.


Ladies Library 519.


This is the single place where Astell records any of Berkeley's emendations in ink, and
even here, as usual, she cites the page number in pencil.


Astell pencils in a close bracket after "Conversation"; indeed, Berkeley's pilfering does
end on this word (524). Springborg's note on this fact (192, note 146) mistakenly has 534.


Springborg has incorporated into the text the changes noted in the list of Errata and
so does not include the list itself; it falls at the bottom of the page in the 1697 edition, just after
the end of the text of SPII.


See above, 107.7fb (113.15) and note 26. It is not clear why Astell makes the change
here instead of making it, as elsewhere, directly to the text. It is possible that this represents a
very early change that Astell had hoped to include in the list of errata—but it should be noted
that this change, unlike other potentially early changes, is made in pencil; cf. the entry for
47.4-5(91.13) and note 6.


I am extremely grateful to Jacqui Minchinton for her careful and thorough recording
of Astell's in-text emendations and comments.


Front Pastedown


Astell makes several direct references to The Ladies Library (1714) at the top
of the page. Though many of her words are smudged beyond recognition, the
still legible points of reference suggest that she was fishing for ammunition to use
against it and its author.

In the middle of the page, Astell has penned a brief biography of François
Fénelon, including the date of his death, a significant fact when considering the
possible dating of Astell's additions to her text.

Astell often uses asterisks to mark her in-text emendations; this would appear to
be the purport of the phrase "allowing all changes" which follows the asterisk here.

At the bottom of the page is the shelfmark (3 D 17) used by William Law's
library in King's Cliffe.


  • Ladys Library recom. Poetry p. 22. & discomends it p. 25. V.1. See [two words illegible] of
    Lad [word illegible] P361-365 V.2
  • [word illegible] made of pt.3-V3 [the citation appears to have been superimposed over a citation which
    may have read
    pt.3-p. 337]
  • Mr. Fenelon wrot L'Educ. des. Filles at ye reqt of ye Duke of Beauvilliers afterwards Gov-
    ernor to ye D. of Burgundy 1689. (He also wrot Sur le Ministere des Pasteurs) L'abbe
    de Langeron was Reader, & D. Le Valois Jesuit, Confessor ?to ye Prince, L'abbe de
    Flenoy sub Preceptor. 6 y ye A. Bp liv'd a Favorite at Court wth out any Benefice (ex-
    cept a small Priory his Uncle had resign'd) & yn ye K. gave him ye Abby of St Valery
    & a little after ye A. Bpr of Camb wch he wou'd not accept but on condition to be
    9 moneths there & 3 wth ye Princes, & gave up St Vallery & his Priory. His Maxims of
    ye S wrote in 1697. Banish'd ye [illegible] Aug. 1697. Banish'd wn ye D. of Burg. was
    15. Died Jan 8 1715/16.
  • * allowing all changes


Page 227


First Front Free Endpaper, Recto and Verso


Astell summarizes the opening portion of Edward Coke's exposition of an
Elizabethan statute pertaining to the incorporation of charitable institutions (Sec-
ond Part
[fifth ed. 1671]). Many of her phrases come directly from Coke's legal
commentary; see 720-725, especially 722-723.

The legal parameters here delineated clearly shaped Astell's plan for the Chel-
sea school. She is careful in her letter of 4 Sept. 1730 to Lady Betty Hastings to
distinguish between the £200 her aristocratic supporter had pledged "towards
building a charity school" and the "£200 more" she planned to raise "by benefac-
tions towards the use of the building" (reprinted in Perry 399; emphasis mine)—i.e., the
maximum initial endowment allowed without procuring a license of Mortmain,
essentially a tax paid to the monarch for the right to incorporate. Blackstone's dis-
cussion of this point in Commentaries (1765-69) is illuminating: "THE parliament,
we observed, by it's absolute and transcendent authority, may perform this, or any
other act whatsoever: and actually did perform it to a great extent, by statute 39
Eliz. c. 5. which incorporated all hospitals and houses of correction founded by
charitable persons, without farther trouble: and the same has been done in other
cases of charitable foundations. But otherwise it is not usual thus to intrench upon
the prerogative of the crown, and the king may prevent it when he pleases. And,
in the particular instance before-mentioned, it was done, as sir Edward Coke
observes, to avoid the charges of incorporation and licences of mortmain in small
benefactions; which in his days were grown so great, that it discouraged many men
to undertake these pious and charitable works" (1.18.462). Governmental concern
that too much privately held land was passing into charitable corporations—and
thereby rendered inalienable—led to the passing in 1736 of statute 9 George II
c.36, the so-called "Statute of Mortmain," which strictly limited the ability of own-
ers to make charitable dispositions of their properties. For an excellent account
of the imprecision with which concepts of charity and mortmain historically have
been conflated, see Chantel Stebbings, "Charity Land: A Mortmain Confusion,"
The Journal of Legal History 12.1 (1991): 7-19.


  • N. By 39 Eliz. c. 5. wch was made perpetual by 21. Jac. I. C. 1 Concerning ye Erection
    of Hospitals & Houses of Correction
    [two words scratched out] also Measons de dieu. &
    abiding places
    . [word scratched out] Any Person may erect such a house wthout licence
    of Mortmain, & endow it wth Manners, Lands, Tenemts hereditamts in fee-simple free-
    hold, to ye value of 200 £ & no more, nor less than 10£ p. annum. But if by improvemt,
    ye Land wch was not above 200 £ p an. at ye endowmnt, becomes worth more, they
    may enjoy its Goods and Chattels (real or personal) they may take of wt value soever.
    It cannot be erected by any other Instrument but by deed enrolled in ye Chancery,
    in Parchment. The Persons must be plac'd & nam'd wn ye Founder gives ym yr name
    of Incorporation, & yn ye Law by ye Act Incorporates ym.


Page 228


Penultimate Rear Free Endpaper, Recto


Astell excerpts a sizable passage from a sermon by non-juror George Hickes
(A Sermon Preached at the Church of St. Bridget [1684]). Hickes takes Hebrews 13.16
as his starting point: "But to do good, and to communicate, forget not; for with
such Sacrifices God is well-pleased."

Astell knew Hickes and so could have come at his sermon in any number of
ways. Her pagination reveals her source to be a copy of the sermon as published
individually in 1684 (the quoted material does indeed fall on pp. 26-27), but it is
worth noting the appearance in 1713 of A Collection of Sermons, Formerly Preached by
the Reverend George Hickes, D. D.,
2 vols.


  • I wou'd also put you in mind of establishing a Fund for endowing of poor Maids, who have
    liv'd so many years in Service, & of building Schools, or Colleges for ye Education
    of Young Women, much like unto those in ye Universitys, for ye Educations of Young
    Men, but not wth out some alteration in ye Discipline and Oeconomy, as ye nature of
    such an Institution wou'd require.
  • Such Colleges might be so order'd, as to become security to yE Daughters against all ye
    hazards to which they are expos'd at private schools, & likewise a Security to ye Gov-
    ernment, yt Daughters of ye Land shou'd be bred up according to ye Religion now
    establish'd in it, to ye unconceivable advantage of ye Public, in rooting out Enthusiasm
    with her Daughter Schism. Both which are upheld by nothing amongst us so much as
    by ye Women, who are so silly & deceiveable, for want of Ingenious [sic] & Orthodox
    Education & not for want of Parts methinks. Ye Rich & Honorable Lady's of ye Ch.
    Of Engl ye Elect Ladys of her Apostolical Communion, shou'd be Jealous to begin
    & carry on such a Work as this; wch upon more accounts yn I have mention'd, wou'd
    make ye Daughters of Israel be glad, & ye Daughters of Judah & Jerusulem Rejoyce.
    Dr. Hicks in his [word illegible] Sermon, Apr. 1 1684. P 26, 27.


Final Rear Free Endpaper, Recto and Verso


Astell records a financial record (see figure 1) for Sutton's Hospital, also
known as King James's Hospital, but better known then (and generally known
now) as the Charterhouse, a charitable institution created and supported by a
bequest in the will of Thomas Sutton (1532-1611). The "Brothers" to whom the
record refers speak to the Hospital's mission as a pensioners' home for elderly
men, many of them sailors who, to borrow a phrase from Gerald Davies, "had
served England well in the hours of her need and were now left high and dry to


Page 229
beg their bread in their old age" (223). The references to "Scholars" underscore
its other function as a school for promising boys of upstanding, but financially
limited, families. Not only Richard Steele, but Joseph Addison, John Wesley, and,
in the nineteenth century, William Thackeray would benefit from Sutton's gift.

The similarity between Sutton's dual-purpose foundation and Astell's Chel-
sea school for girls, itself an outgrowth of the Royal Hospital for elderly veterans,
would not have been lost on her. Along with 80 brothers, Sutton's will made pro-
visions for 40 scholars; Astell's Chelsea school, according to Perry, "was meant
to handle thirty poor girls" (238).

Astell's source for this account is almost certainly Samuel Herne's Domus Car-
(1677), which, on 145-153, transcribes in pounds, shillings, and pence the
Establishment for the Dyets, Liveries, Stipends, Wages, and other Charges and Expences […]
at the humble Petition, and only costs and charges of
Thomas Sutton, Esquire […].
Astell's handwriting here is particularly inscrutable; I devoted an embarrass-
ing number of months to discovering "Fuller's Hospital," another contemporary
almshouse near London (as it turns out), only to ascertain its utter incompatibility
with the numbers Astell recorded. I deciphered many of her other references only
by consulting Herne.

Astell records many of the specific entries she found in Herne, though she
does at times combine several entries into a single category or ignore single
entries entirely; she also renders Herne's roman numerals as arabic. Interlaced
through several of the entries in smaller print are Astell's attempts to arrive at
a "per person" figure, something Herne does only on occasion—a point of dif-
ference tracked, along with particularly archaic references, in the endnotes (ren-
dered as arabic to avoid, as much as possible, confusion). The money system in
Astell's day and for nearly three centuries beyond, it should be noted, consisted
of 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound.


Suttons Hospital

£s d 
8 At ye Masters Table weekly for Bread, 10[1]   4. 0. 0 
Beer, Diet, Detriments[2]  
80[3] at ye Brothers for etc.
?at 1s 7 a head (-10) 
7. 13. 4 
42 at ye Scholars  6. 18. 3½ 


Page 230
at 3s
10 at ye Manciples[4]
4s 5d  
2. 4. 2[5]  
2 of ye Kitchen & one Porter
4s 5d  
13. 0 
5 Attendts at ye ?Masters Table for
?76 Bread and Beer 9/14 
5. 10 

Weekly Beavors[6]

8 at ye Masters
1s 2d [7]  
9. 4 
Five Attendts
5. 10 
40 Schol one Butlr one Groom
16½ + 2½[8]  
16. 4 
80 Brothers in Money
a head 1.9 
7. 0. 0 
10 at ye Mancip 2 Kite One Por
ter in money
4.7½+ ½ 
3. 0. 0 
Dyet & Beav. Weekly
33. 6. 1.½
1731. 18. 6½ 
Exceeding days[9]   44. 9. 4 
1776. 7. 10½[10]  


80 Brothers 40s a piece  160. 0. 0 
40 Schol. 36s. 2d Gowns  72. 6. 8 


Page 231
their Summer suits 29s. 6  69. 0. 0[14]  
Winter suits 17s. 10d a piece  35. 13. 4 
Shoes & Stockings etc.  56. 0. 0[15]  
Books Paper - -  14. 0. 0 
Gowns for Organist etc.[12]
at 40s a ?piece 
8. 0. 0 
16 Grooms etc.[13]   16. 0. 0  
431. 0. 0 
Wages & Fees[16]   1066. 6. 0 

Ordinary Allowances

Masters Fuel  10. 0. 0 
Preachers  5. 0. 0 
Fuel for ye Hospital  152. 0. 0 
Renewing ye Housold stuff  50. 0. 0 
Candles  45. 0. 0 
Washing etc. in all[17]   432. 16. 0 
Ye Whole 3706 £ . 9s. 10½[18]  

At 10 shillings per person, the total does indeed come to 4 pounds.


OED, s.v. detriment: "4. pl. The name of certain small charges made by colleges and
similar societies upon their members. The 'detriments' at Cambridge corresponded to the
'decrements' at Oxford, and appear to have been originally deductions from the stipends of
foundation members on account of small extras for the table, etc., not included in their statu-
tory or customary commons; the charge was afterwards extended to all members and students
of die colleges. See Fowler Hist. C.C.C. (O.H.S.) 354."


Herne has "fourscore."


0ED, s.v. manciple: "1. An officer or servant who purchases provisions for a college, an
inn of court, a monastery, etc."


Astell properly converts Herne's 44 shillings, two pence.


It was in Davies that I learned "a 'hunk' of bread" was "called a bevor," and that the
word was "still in use in Suffolk in 1863 … amongst labourers for the ten or eleven o'clock
snack in the harvest-field" (256 and note). Cf. OED, s.v. bever: "3. A small repast between
meals; a 'snack,' nuncheon, or lunch; esp. one in the afternoon between mid-day dinner and
supper. Chiefly dial."


Astell correctly converts Herne's "xiiii d. a man."


I am unsure what these figures are meant to indicate.


I.e., holidays. Herne identifies "Twenty three Exceeding days," including Christmas,
New years, Kings-day, Michaelmas, and All Saints.


Astell provides the yearly total for, as Herne puts it, "all Dyets, Beavors, and exceed-
ing days" (147).


The per-person charges in this section are included in Herne.


Astell corrects an error in Herne, who has "ix" instead of "lxix."


Astell combines two of Herne's categories. The first comprises such items as "Shoos,"
"Stockings" and "Garters" at £44, the second "Shirts" and "fix Bands" at £22.


Herne includes "the Chappel-Clerk, Organist, Manciple and Matron" in his list


Cf. Herne: "Sixteen Gowns for Sixteen Grooms and other inferior Officers at xx s. a
man" (148).


Astell elides three pages of specific charges included in Herne—from the "Preacher"
(£40), to the "Gardner" (£20), to the "Clock keeper" (£2)—and instead provides only the
final total.


I.e, the total for "Ordinary Allowances." Note that Astell's final total reflects specific
categories not included in her list, hence the apparent discrepancy—the Manciple's fuel allow-
ance, for instance, was £2, while £10 was set aside for "Burials." "Washing" is indeed one of
the specific charges included in Herne's list.


Cf. Herne: "Sum total of the yearly Expence of the Hospital for Dyets, Liveries, Wages,
and other ordinary allowances" (152).


Page 232


  • Astell, Mary. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies Parts I and II. Ed. Patricia Springborg. London:
    Pickering and Chatto, 1997.
  • —"'Appendix,' from The Christian Religion, As Profess'd by a Daughter Of The Church of
    2d ed. (1717)." Appendix 3 to Mary Astell and John Norris: Letters Concerning the
    Love of God.
    Ed. E. Derek Taylor and Melvyn New. Burlington: Ashgate, 2005.
  • —, and John Norris. Mary Astell and John Norris: Letters Concerning the Love of God. Ed.
    E. Derek Taylor and Melvyn New. Burlington: Ashgate, 2005.
  • Ballard, George. Memoirs of Several Ladies of Great Britain. I752. Ed. Ruth Perry. Detroit:
    Wayne State Univ. Press, 1985.
  • [Berkeley, George], The Ladies Library. 3 vols. London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1714.
  • —. The Ladies Library [second edition]. 3 vols. London: Printed for J. T. and sold by
    W. Mears, and j. Brown, 1714.
  • Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England. 4 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press,
    1765-69. The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. 8 Aug. 2004 <
  • Coke, Edward. The Second Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England. 5th ed. London, 1671.
  • Dammers, Richard. "Richard Steele and The Ladies Library." Philological Quarterly 62.4
    (1983): 530-536.
  • Davies, Gerald. Charterhouse in London: Monastery, Mansion, Hospital, School. London: John
    Murray, 1922.
  • Forster Collection of Manuscripts in the Victoria and Albert Museum (48E5-48E10).
    Vols. XI-XVI.
  • Herne, Samuel. Domus Carthusiana: Or an Account of the most Noble Foundation of the Charter-
    House near Smithfield in London […].
    London, 1677.
  • Hickes, George. A Sermon Preached at the Church of St. Bridget, on Easter-Tuesday, being the first
    of April, 1684 […] upon the Subject of Alms-giving.
    London, 1684.
  • Hobhouse, Stephen. Selected Mystical Writings of William Law. 4th ed. London: Rockliff,
  • Jones, M. G. The Charity School Movement: A Study of Eighteenth Century Puritanism in Action.
    1938. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd., 1964.
  • Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Ed. Peter H. Nidditch. 1988. Oxford:
    Clarendon Press, 1975.
  • Parks, Stephen. "George Berkeley, Sir Richard Steele, and The Ladies Library." The Scrib-
    13.1 (1980): 1-2.
  • Perry, Ruth. The Celebrated Mary Astell: An Early English Feminist. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago
    Press, 1986.
  • Rapin, René. Some Christian Reflections. Translated with and appended to The
    Comparison of Plato and Aristotle […].
    London, 1673.
  • Richardson, Samuel. The History of Sir Charles Grandison. Ed. Jocelyn Harris. 7 vols, in 3.
    London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972.
  • Steele, Richard. The Tatler. Ed. Donald F. Bond. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.
  • Taylor, Derek. "Mary Astell's Ironic Assault on John Locke's Theory of Thinking Matter."
    Journal of the History of Ideas 62.3 (2001): 505-522.
  • Vander Meulen, David L., and G. Thomas Tanselle. "A System of Manuscript Transcrip-
    tion." Studies in Bibliography 52 (1999): 201-212.
  • Walker, A. Keith. William Law: His Life and Thought. London: SPCK, 1973.

The "third" edition of Christian Religion does not appear to contain any authorial revi-
sions of the second edition. The second edition, however, is substantively different from the
first edition; see below, note 15.


Springborg does refer in her "Note on the Text" to "significant amendments" evident
in the 1701 fourth edition of Part I (viii).


"Defoe," as Perry, 100, writes, "seized upon its central idea for a section on 'An Acad-
emy for Women' in his Essay Upon Projects (1697)." Richardson's "good man," Sir Charles Gran-
dison, similarly expounds a scheme for "Protestant Nunneries" (in The History of Sir Charles Grandison
[1753–54]), which, properly ordered, would prove "a blessing to the kingdom" (2: 355–356).


See Norris's initial response to Astell in Mary Astell and John Norris: Letters Concerning the
lave of God
(71–75). Perry reprints Atterbury's letter to George Smalridge in her biography of
Astell (219).


Astraea Hill, Aaron Hill's daughter and an early reader of Samuel Richardson's novel-
istic masterpiece Clarissa, or the History of a Hung Lady (1747–48) in manuscript and published
form, saw clearly how Astell's plan would have contributed to Clarissa's relief, as evidenced
in her letter to Richardson of 13 December 1748: "How fast, if England had such Sanctuary
Retreats as Protestant Nunneries, wou'd a Clarissa's State contribute to the filling of 'em!—I
am sure, for my own part, cou'd I have found myself in such a Situation as Hers was when she
left her Father's House (and Sister Minny bids me add for her part, too) I shou'd have made
such haste to take a place there, as to wave all Right to a probation year, for seasoning Novices
into a sense of their own undisturb'd Felicity. For certainly no vow cou'd be a rash one, that
but help'd a woman to throw off, to Distance unsurmountable, the Lovelace's, and Mowbray's
and Belton's, and Tourville's, and Solmes's, and sad Harlow's [sic]!" (Forster Collection, XIII,
f. 139).


A copy of William Cave's Antiquitates Christiana (1675), for example, contains the hand-
written inscription, "Mary Astell, her Book, given her by her uncle, Ralph Astell, pretium
Xs"; another of Cave's works, Apostolici (1677), contains a similar inscription: "Mary Astell her
book, 1677." The reference to Mary's uncle Ralph lends credence to George Ballard's report
in Memoirs of Several Ladies of Great Britain (1752) that "an uncle who was a clergyman," having
early recognized his niece's "great propensity to learning," elected to "be her preceptor" (382).
In her biography of Astell, Perry correctly identifies this refreshingly enlightened uncle as Ralph
Astell (53, 74).


Reproductions may be found in Stephen Hobhouse, Selected Mystical Writings (1949).