While in exile Locke finished An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and published a fifty page advanced notice of it in French. (This was to provide the intellectual world on the continent with most of their information about the Essay until Pierre Coste’s French translation appeared.) He also wrote and published his Epistola de Tolerentia in Latin. Richard Ashcraft in his Revolutionary Politics and Locke’s Two Treatises of Government suggests that while in Holland Locke was not only finishing An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and nursing his health, he was closely associated with the English revolutionaries in exile. The English government was much concerned with this group. They tried to get a number of them, including Locke, extradited to England. Locke’s studentship at Oxford was taken away from him. In the meanwhile, the English intelligence service infiltrated the rebel group in Holland and effectively thwarted their efforts — at least for a while. While Locke was living in exile in Holland, Charles II died on Feb. 6, 1685 and was succeeded by his brother — who became James II of England. Soon after this the rebels in Holland sent a force of soldiers under the Duke of Monmouth to England to try to overthrow James II. The revolt was crushed, Monmouth captured and executed (Ashcraft, 1986). For a meticulous, if cautious review, of the evidence concerning Locke’s involvement with the English rebels in exile see Roger Woolhouse’s Locke: A Biography (2007).
The final section of the Essay deals with the sections of knowledge. In this view, with the exception of the self and God, all knowledge of existing things is dependent upon sensation. The shortage of real knowledge is fulfilled to some extent by human judgment, which assumes things to be true without actually being aware of the connections. And, according to Locke's commonsense attitude, the major limitations placed upon knowledge reflect that man's mental capacity is appropriate for his character and situation.