by Noel Malcolm
© Oxford University Press 2004 All rights reserved
Hobbes, Thomas (1588-1679), philosopher, was born on 5 April 1588 in Westport, a parish of the town of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, the second of the three children of Thomas Hobbes, curate, and his wife, Catherine, née Middleton.
Family and childhood
Hobbes's father belonged to a prosperous family of Malmesbury clothiers. An Edmund Hobbes, probably the philosopher's great-uncle, became 'alderman' (mayor) of the town in 1600; a William Hobbes, possibly Edmund's brother, was also a prominent clothier. Francis Hobbes, the elder brother of Hobbes's father, was a successful glover and, being childless himself, took a special interest in his brother's children, supporting Hobbes's education at Oxford and entering Hobbes's elder brother, Edmund, in his own trade. Of Hobbes's mother's family nothing is known, except that John Aubrey described it as 'a yeomanly family' of Brokenborough--the parish, just to the north-west of Malmesbury, of which Hobbes's father was curate (Brief Lives, 1.323).
Hobbes's father may well have depended financially on his relatives, as his own career in the Church of England was a peculiarly inglorious one. His curacy, Brokenborough, was one of the poorest livings in the district; he appears not to have had a university education, which must have limited his prospects; and in December 1602 he was brought before the archdeacon's court 'for want of quarter sermons and for not catechisinge the younge' (Wilts. & Swindon RO, archdeaconry of Wiltshire act books, office, 1, fol. 132v). In the following year he was accused of slandering Richard Jeane, the vicar of a nearby parish, and required to make a public act of penitence in Jeane's church; he failed to do this, and also failed to pay the fine of 33s. 3d. which was subsequently levied on him. As a result he was formally excommunicated. One Saturday morning in February 1604 he came across Richard Jeane in the churchyard of Malmesbury Abbey, shouted abuse, and then physically assaulted him (Wilts. & Swindon RO, episcopal deposition book, instance, 22b, fols. 48v-49r). Violence against a clergyman was a serious offence, liable to corporal punishment. According to Aubrey, who knew several members of Hobbes's family, Thomas Hobbes senior 'was forcd to fly for it' and died 'in obscurity beyound London' (Brief Lives, 1.387). His date of death is unknown, and, indeed, after his assault on Jeane he disappears from the records entirely.
By this time Hobbes was already at Oxford. His early education had taken place in Westport and Malmesbury; particularly influential was the teaching of a young clergyman, Robert Latimer, who had just graduated from Magdalen Hall, Oxford. Latimer (who was vicar of Westport, and took over the curacy of Brokenborough after the departure of Hobbes's father) was a fine classicist, and gave Hobbes a good grounding in Latin and Greek. He later also taught the young John Aubrey; this connection was one reason for Aubrey's special interest in Hobbes, which would eventually bear fruit in his valuable compilation of biographical information about him, on which all modern accounts of Hobbes's life depend.
Probably because of Latimer's advice or connections, Hobbes was entered at Magdalen Hall, Oxford. His precise date of matriculation is not known; in his autobiography he wrote that it was in his fourteenth year (that is, between April 1601 and April 1602) but Aubrey dated it to 'the beginning of an. 1603' (Brief Lives, 1.330). The latter date seems plausible, as Hobbes himself recorded that he stayed at Oxford for five years, and it is known that he was admitted BA in February 1608. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries Magdalen Hall had a reputation as a stronghold of puritanism--a reputation enhanced by the appointment of John Wilkinson, a strict Calvinist divine, as principal in 1605. Hobbes's familiarity with Calvinist theology (evident in his later controversies with John Bramhall) may well have been acquired during his Oxford years.
In his autobiographical writings Hobbes gave a very jaundiced account of his Oxford education, complaining that it consisted mainly of learning the barbarisms of scholastic Aristotelianism. There was some justice in this charge: there had been a definite revival of Aristotelianism at Oxford in the final decades of the sixteenth century, and modern anti-Aristotelian movements, such as Ramism in logic, had made only limited progress there. But Aristotelity, as Hobbes later called it, did not loom as large in the Oxford curriculum as it did in his retrospective complaints. Undergraduate studies were fundamentally humanist, involving wide reading among classical authors on rhetoric, moral philosophy, and history--an accomplishment clearly discernible in Hobbes's later writings. Many fellows of Oxford colleges also took an active interest in new developments in mathematics and the physical sciences. When Hobbes states in his verse autobiography that, instead of studying the prescribed texts, he preferred to look at maps of the earth and the heavens, he gives the impression that geography and astronomy were excluded from university studies; this is not correct. Unfortunately it is not known whether he had any contact with established Oxford scientists. All that can be deduced from the surviving evidence is that astronomy was one of Hobbes's earliest intellectual enthusiasms--a point confirmed by his own account, in his manuscript refutation of Thomas White, of his careful observation of a comet that appeared in 1618.
Early employment and first European tour
After being admitted BA in February 1608 and completing the requirements for 'determination' in arts during the following term, Hobbes was recommended for the post of tutor to William Cavendish. William's father, Baron Cavendish of Hardwick, was one of the major landowners of Derbyshire, with estates centred on Hardwick Hall and (from 1616) Chatsworth. The choice of such a young graduate as a tutor--Hobbes was only two years older than his pupil--was unusual; the idea, apparently, was to provide intellectual companionship as much as formal pedagogy. At the same time, the fact that Hobbes was recommended by the Magdalen Hall authorities suggests that he was regarded as both morally and theologically sound. His pupil had real intellectual abilities, but was little interested in academic studies; he spent some time at St John's College, Cambridge (where Hobbes joined him in the summer of 1608 and incorporated as a Cambridge BA), but left the university in November 1608.
In his verse autobiography Hobbes described his time with William Cavendish--who was knighted in 1609, became Lord Cavendish on his father's elevation to the earldom of Devonshire in 1618, and succeeded him as second earl in 1626--as 'by far the sweetest period of my life'; he noted that his pupil became not so much a master as a friend, allowing Hobbes both leisure and whatever sorts of books he needed for his studies (Opera philosophica, 1.lxxxvii-lxxxviii). These comments probably relate more to the latter part of his service to Cavendish, who came to treat him as a secretary and companion. The early years of his employment may sometimes have tried the patience of this young graduate, who, according to Aubrey, was treated as 'his lordship's page, and rode a hunting and hawking with him, and kept his privy purse' (Brief Lives, 1.330-31). As Cavendish was a notorious spendthrift, the responsibility for his purse was onerous, involving frequent meetings with creditors. At the same time, however, Hobbes's page-like duties would have brought him into contact with the Anglo-Scottish courtier society of Jacobean London. (Cavendish married the daughter of a prominent Scot and royal political agent, Lord Bruce of Kinross.) But Cavendish also had literary interests, including an evident passion for Bacon's Essayes, and in 1611 he published an extended essay of his own, A Discourse Against Flatterie; it can be assumed that Hobbes was involved (at the very least secretarially) in the preparation of this work.
The household accounts of Cavendish's father mention a number of books purchased during the period 1609-13, presumably for Cavendish's studies with Hobbes: these included works by Plutarch, Cicero, Ramus, Montaigne, Huarte, Bacon, Keckermann, and Botero, as well as 'iii of the kinges bookes in defence of the othe of allegiance' (Hardwick MS 29, pp. 91, 219b, 303, 316, 355). The same source also reveals that Hobbes co-operated with the surveyor William Senior in his mapping of the Cavendish estates--which suggests that Hobbes had, or acquired, at least some practical knowledge of geometry at this early stage (ibid., p. 128, entry for April 1610).
Also listed among the books purchased were several primers and dictionaries of French and Italian, evidently in preparation for a continental tour. The traditional dating of this tour, 1610-15, given in most biographies of Hobbes, is incorrect; the household accounts show that Hobbes and Cavendish left in June 1614 and returned by October 1615 (Hardwick MS 29, pp. 371, 453). Their main destination was Venice; from there they made a trip to Rome in October 1614, returning to stay in Venice until the summer of 1615. Here Cavendish worked hard on his Italian, translating Bacon's Essayes into that language--once again, presumably, with Hobbes at his side. He also met the most influential intellectual in Venice, Paolo Sarpi, a man of wide scientific interests, suspected of protestant sympathies or even atheistic tendencies, who as 'state theologian' had defended Venice during its great dispute with the papacy in 1606. Cavendish (and, it may be assumed, Hobbes) cultivated the acquaintance of Sarpi's assistant Fulgenzio Micanzio, and Cavendish began corresponding with him during their return journey, via Paris, to England.
Secretarial employment (to 1628)
The correspondence with Micanzio continued for thirteen years, being ended only by Cavendish's death. Only Micanzio's letters have survived, in English translations by Hobbes. These were made, evidently, not for Cavendish (who knew Italian well) but for circulation to other readers, who might be interested not only in Micanzio's detailed political news but also in his thinking about foreign policy (which aimed at a strategic anti-papal and anti-Spanish alliance). Micanzio took a special interest in the Croatian-Venetian churchman Marc' Antonio de Dominis, archbishop of Split, who fled to England in 1616, joined the Anglican church, supervised the publication in London of Sarpi's Historia del concilio tridentino, and published a major anti-papal treatise of his own, De republica ecclesiastica. In 1617-18 de Dominis helped to revise Cavendish's Italian translation of Bacon's Essayes for publication, and therefore probably came into direct contact with Hobbes. Admiration for Bacon united Cavendish, Micanzio, and de Dominis; Micanzio's letters show that Cavendish was in personal contact with Bacon from 1616 onwards, and Hobbes is known to have visited Bacon on the legal business of the Cavendish family in 1619 and 1620. Aubrey records that Hobbes also did secretarial work for Bacon, taking dictation from him and translating some of his essays into Latin; biographers have traditionally assumed that this work took place after Bacon's fall from office in 1621, but it is now clear that Hobbes's connections with Bacon predated that event by several years.
Another sign of Cavendish's admiration for Bacon was his composition of a collection of essays of his own, published (anonymously) in 1620, under the title Horae subsecivae. The volume also contained his Discourse Against Flatterie and three other discourses: a description of Rome (arising from Cavendish's visit there with Hobbes in 1614), 'Discourse upon the beginning of Tacitus', and 'Discourse of lawes'. A fair copy manuscript of the essays (but not the discourses) in Hobbes's hand survives at Chatsworth; this demonstrates that he was not the author of the essays, as his occasional misreadings of the text he was copying are corrected in manuscript by another hand. However, a recent 'wordprint' analysis has suggested that the three new discourses printed in 1620 have the characteristics of Hobbes's own prose, and can therefore be attributed to him (Three Discourses, esp. 10-19). This claim has not been universally accepted by Hobbes scholars. Nevertheless, even if Hobbes's role in the preparation of these texts was little more than that of a sounding board, secretary, or stylistic improver, they must constitute important evidence of the cultural and political attitudes to which he was most directly exposed at this time. Particularly striking are the coolly political analysis of religion, the Tacitean emphasis on the role of interest and the value of dissimulation in political affairs, and the stress laid on the special evil of anarchy and civil war.
Cavendish himself had some experience of politics: he was a member of the parliaments of 1610, 1614, 1621, and 1624, and it can be assumed that Hobbes would have followed the debates in which he took part. More importantly, Hobbes was also associated with his master's activities in two trading and colonizing companies, the Virginia Company and the Somers Islands Company. Hobbes was granted a share in the former in 1622; the precise date at which he joined the latter (which dealt with the Bermudas) is not known. Between 1622 and 1624 Hobbes attended thirty-seven meetings of the governing body of the Virginia Company; there he must have encountered prominent politicians and writers such as Sir Edwin Sandys, Sir Dudley Digges, and John Selden. Both as an assistant to Cavendish and in his own right, Hobbes was thus involved in public or quasi-public affairs; it is significant that in the first surviving item of his own correspondence, a letter to him from a Cambridge don, Robert Mason, in 1622, he is treated as a well-placed source of social and political gossip.
In 1626 Cavendish succeeded his father as second earl of Devonshire. His tendency to lavish spending was now unchecked, and, given his literary interests, it is likely that he was an active and generous patron of other writers. These may have included Ben Jonson, with whom, according to Aubrey, Hobbes was well acquainted by 1628. Cavendish's patronage certainly extended to the physician and minor poet Dr Richard Andrews, a friend of Donne (and of Jonson), who visited him in Derbyshire; in August 1627 Cavendish, Andrews, and Hobbes went on a tour of the Derbyshire Peak District, visiting the so-called 'wonders of the Peak'. Travelogue poems celebrating this tour were written by Andrews (in English) and Hobbes (in Latin), and Hobbes's work later received a small, undated printing (probably in 1636), under the title De mirabilibus pecci.
Before the composition of that poem Hobbes had probably already completed a much more significant work: a complete translation of Thucydides, taken (unlike the only existing English version at the time) directly from the Greek. In his verse autobiography Hobbes explained that Thucydides was his favourite ancient historian; what apparently attracted him was the cool dissection of political motivation and the 'realist' approach to power, together with the peculiarly Thucydidean analysis of the role of rhetoric in political debate. This translation was an important achievement, establishing Hobbes at a stroke as one of the leading Grecianists of his day. Hobbes also drew the elaborate map of ancient Greece which accompanied the text. Possibly he had planned to add further materials of his own; otherwise it is not clear why he did not hasten to publish the work, eventually remarking in the preface: 'After I had finished it, it lay long by me' (English Works, 8.ix). In the end, the catalyst for its publication was the sudden death of his pupil-patron in summer 1628. By November Hobbes had prepared the dedication (a eulogy of the late second earl, addressed to his young son), and was nervously clearing it with the dowager countess: no doubt he hoped that such a public monument to his former employer would earn her approval and guarantee his re-employment. The book was published in early 1629; Hobbes was not, however, re-employed.
Second European tour; tuition of the third earl
Hobbes spent much of 1629 and 1630 in the service of a Nottinghamshire landowner, Sir Gervase Clifton, escorting his son Gervase on a European tour. The reason for this temporary departure from the Cavendish family is not clear; the dowager countess was making what savings she could, but she still needed a tutor for her two sons (aged twelve and nine in 1629), and did indeed employ one. Possibly Hobbes had hoped to carry on working as secretary and librarian, and was reluctant to teach at such an elementary level; his new pupil, Gervase Clifton, was aged seventeen or eighteen. On the other hand, although a later memorandum drawn up by Hobbes stated that he was 'discharged' after the death of the second earl (Hobbes MS D.6, fol. 2r), he was still receiving a half-yearly payment from the dowager countess as late as June 1630. So perhaps his service to the Cliftons might better be described in terms of being 'on loan' from the Cavendishes.
Hobbes and his new pupil travelled to France in October 1629 and spent the winter in Paris; in March-April 1630 they moved to Geneva, where they lodged with a Reformed minister. A planned visit to Italy was aborted because of the warfare raging there, and by late June they were in France again, at Orléans. At this stage they were intending to spend the coming winter in Paris; but the trip was curtailed, and Hobbes was back in England by the beginning of November 1630. He returned to the countess of Devonshire's house, Hardwick Hall, and wrote from there to Sir Gervase Clifton on 2 November: 'That I am welcome home, I must attribute to yor favorable letter, by wch my lady understandes yor good acceptance of my service to Mr Clifton' (Correspondence, 1.17).
Hobbes now re-entered the service of the countess, replacing the tutor who had been teaching her elder son--'wch imployment', as he put it in his later memorandum, 'he [Hobbes] neverthelesse undertooke, amongst other causes cheifly for this, that the same did not much divert him from his studyes' (Hobbes MS D.6, fol. 2r). In his verse autobiography Hobbes recorded that he gave the young third earl tuition in Latin, rhetoric, 'the precepts of demonstration' (meaning either logic or mathematics, or both), geography, and law (Opera philosophica, 1.lxxxviii-lxxxix). Some traces of this teaching survive among the manuscripts at Chatsworth: exercise books with geometrical problems and passages from the ancient historians Livy and Valerius Maximus. Of special interest is a dictation book in which the young earl took down Hobbes's Latin translation of Aristotle's Rhetoric--a text concerned as much with psychological analysis as with the rhetorical art. An English translation of this Latin 'digest' was later published as A Briefe of the Art of Rhetorique (1637).
Early philosophical interests
Biographers of Hobbes have traditionally dated the emergence of his serious philosophical interests to the early 1630s. The neat dichotomy between his 'humanist' period (up to the 1630s) and his 'philosophical' one (thereafter) is perhaps too neat, as his earlier interests had evidently not been confined to classical literature. His early passion for astronomy has already been noted; his connection with Bacon must have prompted some interest in that author's scientific and philosophical writings; and, whether or not Hobbes was himself the author of the three Discourses, it seems likely that he had shared the interest displayed in those texts in the analysis of religion, politics, and law. The earliest library catalogue at Chatsworth (Hobbes MS E.1.A) was drawn up by Hobbes, about 1629 (with a few items inserted as later additions); given Hobbes's later recollection, cited above, that the second earl had supplied him with all sorts of books for his studies, it can be assumed that many of the items in this list were bought by and for Hobbes. It includes numerous items by Calvin, many works of Catholic and protestant controversial theology, especially ones relating to the political issues disputed by Bellarmine, Suárez, and King James, and works by Machiavelli, Guiccardini, Botero, Bodin, Charron, Grotius (his De jure belli ac pacis is a late addition), and Selden. Scientific writings are less well represented, but the list includes the works of the geometrician Clavius, Napier and Briggs on logarithms, and textbooks by Case and Keckermann on physics. It may be significant that scientific works feature more prominently among the later additions (made, it seems, soon after Hobbes's return in 1630): these include Clavius's edition of Euclid, the works of Robert Fludd, Gilbert on magnetism, Vieta's algebra, and two volumes of the astronomer Tycho Brahe.
In his prose autobiography Hobbes stated that it was during his European trip with Clifton that he acquired his special interest in geometry, when he happened to look at a copy of Euclid's Elements. (Aubrey, telling this story, gives the place where this happened as '. . . . . a', with the number of dots corresponding to the missing letters of Geneva; Bodl. Oxf., MS Aubrey 9, fol. 36r.) What Hobbes emphasized in his account, however, was that Euclid impressed him 'not so much because of the theorems, as because of the method of reasoning': in other words, he may well have known some geometry before this, but he had not previously thought about the power of a deductive method based on definitions and axioms (Opera philosophica, 1.xiv). This suggests that he was already thinking about some philosophical problems to which Euclidean method seemed to supply a solution.
The only surviving clues as to the nature of those problems are a comment made by Hobbes in 1641, when he wrote that he had explained his 'doctrine of the nature and production of light, sound, and all phantasms and ideas' to the earl of Newcastle and his brother in 1630 (Correspondence, 1.108), and a similar claim addressed to Newcastle himself in 1646, referring to 'that wch about 16 yeares since I affirmed to your Lopp at Welbeck, that Light is a fancy in the minde, caused by motion in the braine' (BL, Harley MS 3360, fol. 3r). William Cavendish, earl of Newcastle, was a cousin of the earl of Devonshire, and had houses close to Hardwick (at Bolsover in Derbyshire and Welbeck Abbey in north Nottinghamshire); Hobbes would certainly have had contact with him during the second earl of Devonshire's lifetime, and his friends Jonson and Andrews both benefited from Newcastle's patronage. Newcastle had scientific as well as literary interests, and his brother Sir Charles Cavendish had a passion for mathematics and physics. The Newcastle Cavendishes played a key role in awakening Hobbes's scientific interests: thanks to them, he was put in touch during the early 1630s with the scientists Walter Warner (a survivor of the circle of Thomas Hariot) and Robert Payne (Newcastle's chaplain), with whom he discussed problems of optics and epistemology.
The central principle of the new epistemology explored by Hobbes was that developed by Galileo (and Beeckman and Descartes), the subjectivity of secondary qualities--meaning that 'redness' or 'heat' were not qualities or forms inhering in nature, but features of the human experience of external bodies whose motions impinged on the brain in certain ways. Hobbes made a special effort to find a copy of Galileo's Dialogo in London in 1634, at Newcastle's request; and it is possible that he actually met Galileo in Italy at the end of the following year.
Whether Hobbes wrote up his own theories in any systematic form during the early 1630s is very uncertain. A manuscript on the principles of physics and psychology, known as the 'Short tract', has commonly been attributed to Hobbes and assigned to this period; it has sometimes been dated to 1630 on the strength of the remarks by Hobbes quoted above. However, those remarks referred to claims made in conversation, not to any written work, and in his verse autobiography he emphasized that he began to write up his theories only after his return from his third European tour in 1636. Recent studies of the 'Short tract' have shown on the one hand that it contains phrases that reappear in Hobbes's later works, and on the other hand that it is not in his handwriting (as previously thought) but in Payne's, and that its theory of light is closer to Payne's views than to Hobbes's. The attribution of this text remains uncertain, therefore, and it is possible that Payne may have composed it (perhaps in the mid- to late 1630s) while making use of some Hobbesian ideas or materials.
Third European tour
In April 1634 Hobbes and the third earl of Devonshire were planning to travel to France within a few weeks; instead they reverted to a previous plan, which involved spending the summer months in Oxford (from where Hobbes visited his family and old friends in north Wiltshire). But by October they were in Paris, where they stayed until the end of August 1635. Then they travelled via Lyons to Italy: their destination was Venice, but it is not clear whether they reached it, or whether the military situation forced them to change their route. If they did stay in Venice, it seems likely that Hobbes would have renewed his acquaintance with Fulgenzio Micanzio. In November or December Hobbes and Devonshire travelled to Rome; on 26 December they dined at the Jesuit English College there.
It is during their journey to Rome that the meeting of Hobbes and Devonshire with Galileo (in his villa outside Florence) is traditionally supposed to have taken place. Tantalizingly, there is a reference in a letter written by Galileo on 1 December 1635 NS to a recent visit by an English lord, who told him that his Dialogo was translated into English: this probably alluded to a manuscript translation commissioned by the earl of Newcastle, a fact which strengthens the possibility that his informants were Devonshire and Hobbes. Yet Galileo's letter was addressed to Micanzio, and he obviously had no inkling that he was referring to mutual friends. An element of mystery still surrounds this episode, though Aubrey's definite statement that 'When he [Hobbes] was at Florence ... he contracted a friendship with the famous Galileo' must carry considerable weight (Brief Lives, 1.366). Aubrey's reference may in fact be to the period of several weeks in April 1636 when Hobbes and Devonshire stayed in Florence on their way back from Rome.
In May they moved to Turin, and then to Geneva and Lyons; they reached Paris on 1/11 June. Hobbes had kept up a correspondence with the earl of Newcastle during this tour; Sir Charles Cavendish put him in touch with the French mathematician Claude Mydorge, and it was probably thanks to Sir Charles's contacts that Hobbes made the acquaintance of the Minim friar, scholar, scientist, and intellectual impresario Marin Mersenne. In his verse autobiography Hobbes wrote that it was during this stay in Paris that he discussed his ideas about matter and motion with Mersenne, proudly adding that 'from that time, I too was counted among the philosophers' (Opera philosophica, 1.xc).
Philosophy and politics, 1636-1640
When Hobbes returned with Devonshire to England in October 1636 he was in the grip of a furor philosophicus: 'the extreame pleasure I take in study', he wrote to Newcastle, 'overcomes in me all other appetites' (Correspondence, 1.37). Physics, optics, epistemology, psychology, metaphysics, and logic seem to have been his main concerns. In a letter to Newcastle in 1635 he had expressed a wish to be the first person to explain 'the facultyes & passions of the soule'; by late 1636 he had informed Sir Kenelm Digby (who had been with him in Paris) of his plans to write a 'Logike' (ibid., 1.29, 42). His interest in optics received a special stimulus in October 1637 when Digby sent him a copy of Descartes's Discours de la méthode, the work which also contained an essay on refraction, the 'Dioptrique'. Hobbes made a careful study of this essay, and sent a lengthy criticism of it to Mersenne (a 56-page letter, now lost) in November 1640, shortly before returning to Paris himself. He also wrote a treatise on optics in Latin, containing several criticisms of Descartes; this work may have been substantially completed before his move to Paris in late 1640, though the surviving manuscript is a fair copy made by a Parisian scribe, probably in 1641 or 1642.
According to his verse autobiography, it was in the period 1637-40 that Hobbes began to organize his ideas in a tripartite scheme, dealing with 'body' (metaphysics and physics), 'man' (epistemology--including optics--and psychology), and 'citizen' (politics). The works eventually published under the titles De corpore, De homine, and De cive would be described as the three 'sections' of his 'elements of philosophy'. How fully worked out this scheme was during the late 1630s is not clear, though it may be significant that the Latin optical treatise contains a reference to the preceding section ('sectione Antecedente'; Harley MS 6796, fol. 193v) . Some manuscript notes on early chapters of De corpore do survive, but their dating is uncertain.
In view of the predominantly scientific interests of the people who had stimulated this philosophical awakening (Mersenne, Sir Charles Cavendish, Payne, and Warner), it may seem odd that Hobbes should have included politics as the culminating part of his philosophical programme. The personal interests of the earl of Newcastle--who was now playing an increasingly important role as a courtier-politician--were probably important here. But Hobbes's own experience must also have stimulated his interest in political theory. In 1627 he helped to collect money for Charles I's unpopular 'forced loan' in Derbyshire, which may have prompted some thoughts about the relation between political authority and property; and in January 1640 he was put forward by the earl of Devonshire--unsuccessfully--as a possible parliamentary candidate. Hobbes had also had some contacts in the 1630s (the precise chronology is again uncertain) with the so-called Great Tew circle, a group of literary men, divines, and lawyers who gathered round Lord Falkland at his country house near Oxford: the topics discussed by members of this circle, such as Edward Hyde and William Chillingworth, included the nature of religious authority and the relation between church and state.
It was at Newcastle's bidding that Hobbes first put his political theory down on paper, in an English treatise which may have been based, to some extent, on draft materials for his Latin work 'on the citizen'. This treatise, The Elements of Law, was completed on 9 May 1640 (just after the dissolution of the Short Parliament), and distributed in manuscript copies produced by a production line of scribes. Starting with an account of human psychology and a powerful analysis of the origins (and the necessity) of the state, it mounted a strong defence of royal authority in such matters as the imposition of taxation. Hobbes's name was now in circulation as a hardline theorist of royal absolutism. When the Long Parliament began to debate these issues in November 1640 such views came under fierce attack. Hobbes, who was staying in London at the time, hurriedly packed his bags and travelled to Paris.
Hobbes's own account of the reasons for this move (given in a letter from Paris five months later) emphasized the parliamentary debates, but also added that 'I thought if I went not then, there was neverthelesse a disorder comming on that would make it worse being there then here' (Correspondence, 1.115). His fear of being hauled before parliament may only have hastened a move which he had already planned for other reasons, both political and personal. One sign of such planning is the fact that in September 1640 he had withdrawn a sum of £100 which the steward of Chatsworth had invested for him; he also withdrew the £400 which he had banked with the Cavendish family, and thus had the financial security for a long stay abroad. His tutorial duties had ended in 1637, and the earl of Devonshire (who attained his majority in late 1638) may have used him thereafter only for minor secretarial services. With Newcastle distracted by politics, the prospects of a period of quiet study in Newcastle's household had receded; Mersenne's Paris thus became the most natural and alluring alternative. Hobbes would remain there for eleven years.
Friendship with Mersenne provided an ideal entrée to Parisian intellectual life. The friar held regular meetings of scholars and scientists in his convent; thanks to him Hobbes became acquainted during the early 1640s with the anti-Aristotelian philosopher Pierre Gassendi, the mathematician Gilles Personne de Roberval, and young Huguenot intellectuals such as Thomas de Martel and Samuel Sorbière. Visitors to Paris who also frequented Mersenne's meetings included Sir Kenelm Digby and the Catholic philosopher Thomas White. Mersenne was a close friend of Descartes; he circulated Descartes's Meditationes to various writers, including Hobbes, soliciting their critical comments, which he published, with Descartes's replies, in 1641. In the case of Hobbes's criticisms, Descartes's responses were acerbic to the point of open contempt--an attitude expressed also in his correspondence with Hobbes (conducted via Mersenne) during the early months of that year. In November 1642 Mersenne performed another service for Hobbes when he organized the private printing and distribution of De cive, the third 'section' of his intended 'elements of philosophy'. This treatise presented (in Latin) the key political arguments of The Elements of Law, omitting the earlier text's material on psychology and developing further Hobbes's arguments about religion (which, probably, were the reason for Mersenne's cautious method of publication). De cive established Hobbes's reputation among select intellectual circles; later editions printed in the Netherlands by Elsevier in 1647 (at Sorbière's behest) spread it among a much wider public.
It was probably at Mersenne's invitation that, in 1642-3, Hobbes composed a huge manuscript refutation of a recently published work, Thomas White's De mundo dialogi tres. White's philosophical position was an amalgam of scholastic Aristotelianism and elements of the new mechanistic science; Hobbes's criticisms were directed particularly at White's scholasticism, and at the metaphysical and theological assumptions that underlay it. (This manuscript was read by Mersenne, but seems to have become unknown thereafter, being rediscovered only in the twentieth century.) Mersenne also published some short pieces by Hobbes, on physics and optics, in two scientific compilations which he edited in 1644. These pieces (some of them extracted from the critique of White) were evidently intended as samples of Hobbes's work in progress. His own efforts were now mainly directed at composing the first section of his philosophical elements, De corpore--a huge task, which involved setting out in a proper 'method' all the principles of logic, metaphysics, and physics. Sir Charles Cavendish, who was corresponding with Hobbes, wrote to his friend John Pell in December 1644: 'Mr Hobbes puts me in hope of his Philosophie, which he writes he is nowe putting in order, but I feare that will take a long time' (BL, Add. MS 4278, fol. 190r).
Sir Charles and his brother arrived in Paris in April 1645; from Hobbes's point of view their renewed patronage was a mixed blessing, since they caused several interruptions to his work. In the summer of 1645 Newcastle set up a philosophical disputation between Hobbes and an exiled Anglican bishop, John Bramhall, on free will and necessity; the short text Hobbes wrote on this subject was later published, without his authorization, as Of Libertie and Necessitie (1654). In late 1645 and early 1646 it was also at Newcastle's bidding that Hobbes wrote a treatise on optics in English. (The fair copy was written out by William Petty, who had contacted Hobbes in Paris in 1645 at the behest of the mathematician John Pell, to solicit a demonstration from Hobbes for a work eventually published by Pell in 1647.) And a further diversion came in the summer of 1646: when Hobbes was just about to travel to Montauban in the south of France (home of his friend Martel) to work intensively on De corpore, he was required to stay in Paris to give lessons in mathematics to the young Prince Charles, who arrived there in July. While this appointment further delayed the completion of De corpore, however, it did give Hobbes a personal acquaintance with the future king which stood him in good stead in Restoration England: the prince adopted an attitude of bemused affection towards his tutor, commenting, reportedly, that he was the oddest fellow he ever met.
In the second half of 1647 Hobbes's work suffered a much graver interruption, an illness which nearly killed him: according to his later recollections he was in bed for six months, and went for six weeks without eating. Recovering at last, he soldiered on with his work on De corpore. Prince Charles left Paris in the summer of 1648; so too did Newcastle, and his brother, who reported just after their departure that 'Mr: Hobbes hath nowe leasure to studie & I hope wee shall have his [philosophy] within a twelve moneth' (BL, Add. MS 4278, fol. 273r). Sure enough, in June 1649 Hobbes informed Sorbière that he hoped to complete De corpore by the end of that summer. So confident was he that the work was in its final form that he was already having the figures engraved, to facilitate speedy publication. And yet the book was not published for another six long years.
Paris, 1649-1651: Leviathan
The main interruption to the completion of De corpore was a self-inflicted one: the writing of Hobbes's major treatise on psychology, politics, and religion, Leviathan. The precise date at which he began it is not known; the evidence of his pattern of work on De corpore, described above, suggests that he may have started it only in 1649, but his verse autobiography implies that he had been working on it since 1646. In May 1650 Robert Payne (who was corresponding with Hobbes from England) learned that he had completed thirty-seven chapters; and in April 1651 Edward Hyde, on a visit to Paris, was told that the book 'was then Printing in England, and that he receiv'd every week a Sheet to correct' (E. Hyde, A Brief View and Survey of the Dangerous Errors ... in ... Leviathan, 1676, 7). It was published in the following month, by the London bookseller Andrew Crooke. The fact that this work was written in English and published in England strongly suggests that it was intended as a contribution to the internal political debate in that country. According to Hyde, when Hobbes was asked why he was publishing the work, he replied: 'The truth is, I have a mind to go home' (ibid., 8). Certainly the final section of the book, entitled 'A review and conclusion', contained a strong justification of submission to the new regime in England. It summarized Hobbes's general argument about the rational basis of political authority, pointing out that there was a reciprocal relationship between protection and obedience: Hobbes's point was that since the king (now Charles II) could not protect people in England, they were impelled by the dictates of self-preservation to transfer their obedience to the power that now ruled there. Whether this argument had any direct relevance to someone who, like Hobbes, was no longer living in England, is much less clear.
There were, nevertheless, some personal reasons why life in Paris may have seemed no longer so attractive to Hobbes. Mersenne had died in 1648; Gassendi had left for the south of France soon thereafter; Sorbière was permanently away from Paris during these years; Martel was absent for most of the time between 1646 and 1654. Hobbes did have some old friends there, and also acquired some new ones--notably the Huguenot physician Abraham du Prat and a young amateur mathematician from the Bordeaux region, François du Verdus, who became a fervent admirer. But Mersenne had been the linchpin of Hobbes's intellectual life in Paris, and his loss was keenly felt. In August 1651, when Hobbes had another severe illness, he was treated by the famous physician and philosophical sceptic Guy Patin: according to Patin, the pain that he was suffering, combined with his natural melancholy, had inclined Hobbes's thoughts to suicide. Significantly, however, he also recorded that Hobbes was so grateful for his treatment that he promised that he would send Patin a present when he was back in England: the move was definitely planned by this stage.
During his years in Paris, Hobbes had kept in touch with the earl of Devonshire, who returned to England in 1645 and made his peace with the parliamentary authorities. For most royalists living in England, 'compounding' for their estates was a practical necessity to which, by the end of the 1640s, no stigma applied. Some of the more flamboyant exiled royalists of Hobbes's acquaintance could not return, for reasons of personal safety: Newcastle was in this category, and so was the poet Sir William Davenant, whose epic Gondibert Hobbes praised in a letter published with Davenant's preface to the poem in 1650. But even friends such as these do not seem to have objected to Hobbes's own decision to go back.
More problematic was the political theory of Leviathan, which implied that the submission of former royalists to the new authority in England was not a provisional measure, pending the return of the rightful king, but rather a recognition of a new authority just as valid as the previous, royal, one. Few of the politicians in exile could be happy with this view. Hobbes's arguments about religion also caused offence, though in different ways. The Anglican 'old royalists' in exile, such as Hyde, disliked Hobbes's rejection of the intrinsic authority of the church and his total subordination of religious activity to state power; the other main faction among the exiled courtiers and politicians, the so-called Louvre group, which clustered around the widowed Henrietta Maria, was offended by Hobbes's outspoken attack on Catholicism. One of the most important features of Leviathan, indeed, is its constant attention to the role of belief (especially religious doctrine) in subverting political authority. Hobbes's advice here may have been directed, at least implicitly, at the new powers in England, who had the opportunity to create a new, rational settlement of religion there. But it was also directed at the young Charles II, to whom, after his return to Paris in October 1651, Hobbes gave a fair copy manuscript of the work. Within two months Hobbes's enemies at the court-in-exile succeeded in having him banned from the court; there were also rumours that the French clergy intended to arrest him. He left Paris in mid-December, and sailed to England.
In his verse autobiography Hobbes suggests that on his arrival in England he was fearful that he might be taken for a royalist spy--he was, he emphasizes, a prominent defender of the rights of the crown--and says that he therefore presented himself to the council of state to regularize his position. This sounds retrospectively disingenuous. Although some royalists (such as the young Charles Cotton, whose translation of De cive was published in 1651) did see Hobbes as a defender of their cause, the ideologists of the parliamentary regime, such as Marchamont Nedham and John Hall of Durham, were well aware that Hobbes's theories could be used to support the new political settlement. His reconciliation with the council of state seems, unfortunately, to have left no trace in the written records of that body; but it was probably assisted by the young William Brereton (cousin of a parliamentary commander), who had studied mathematics under John Pell and was a friend of Sir Charles Cavendish.
Hobbes soon returned to the service of the earl of Devonshire, who stayed frequently at Latimers, a country house in Buckinghamshire. But it seems that his duties were slight, and that he spent much of his time during the 1650s in London, pursuing his own studies. De corpore was finally published there in 1655 (an English translation, supervised by Hobbes, appeared in the following year); De homine followed in 1658. Hobbes was able to renew some old friendships--with, for example, the physician William Harvey--and make some new ones. John Aubrey, a friend of Harvey's, became personally acquainted with Hobbes at some time in the early 1650s. Having sent John Selden a copy of Leviathan on its publication, Hobbes struck up a somewhat quarrelsome friendship with him; Selden's epigone, the lawyer John Vaughan, became a more unqualified admirer of Hobbes's work.
Sir Kenelm Digby and Thomas White returned to London in late 1653 or early 1654; Hobbes continued his philosophical disputes with White, but may have been sympathetic to White's main political aim, which was to win a settlement for English Catholicism by renouncing the authority of the pope in temporal affairs. This was a quasi-Erastian version of Catholicism; while Hobbes was not Erastian in the narrowest sense of the term (meaning that each state should have a single state church), Erastianism in its broadest sense (the subordination of religion to state control) was an attitude shared by him and many of his friends at this time.
Equally, Hobbes's views on religion, and on the relations of church and state, gained him many new enemies. Particularly offended were believers in the jurisdictional powers of the church, whether Laudian, presbyterian, or Catholic. Even the leaders of the Independents, such as John Owen at Oxford, who had least reason to reject Hobbes's ecclesiology, were scandalized by the scoffing, anti-theological tone of the last part of Leviathan. Critical responses to that book began to appear within a year of its publication, and the easiest targets for the critics were Hobbes's views on theological questions--his materialism, his 'mortalist' doctrine about the soul, and his apparent identification of Moses as the first person of the Trinity. One particularly tenacious critic was the Anglican bishop John Bramhall, who, offended by the publication (albeit unauthorized by Hobbes) of Hobbes's 1645 critique of his views on free will, issued two refutations of Hobbes, eliciting two further responses (The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance, 1656, and An Answer to a Book Published by Dr Bramhall, written in 1668 but not published until 1682). The desire for theological rectitude, however, was not the only motive of Hobbes's critics. Some, such as Seth Ward at Oxford, felt threatened by Hobbes's call for a reform of the universities; others, such as Ward's colleague John Wallis, were keen to discredit such an outspoken opponent of presbyterianism.
The publication of De corpore, with its incompetent geometrical demonstrations, provided an ideal opportunity for Wallis, who was one of the leading mathematicians of the age. His disdainful work of refutation, Elenchus geometriae Hobbianae (1655), set off a long-running dispute, in which Hobbes's philosophically acute remarks about the conceptual basis of mathematics were unfortunately quite overshadowed by his frequent mathematical blunders. Other mathematicians and scientists, such as John Wilkins and Robert Boyle, also joined the anti-Hobbesian campaign, and Hobbes would (to his irritation) never be invited to become a member of the Royal Society. In general intellectual terms, Hobbes was on the same side as these leading scientists--a proponent of the mechanistic 'new science' against the old scholasticism. But the more widely Hobbes was denounced for his dangerous theological and political errors, the more reason his fellow scientists had to dissociate themselves from him by attacking him as well. He could console himself with the thought that his works were--as his loyal French correspondents assured him--highly prized in French philosophical circles: François du Verdus even learned English in order to translate Leviathan into French, though his version was never in fact published. In England there were some equally fervent admirers, such as the maverick scholar Henry Stubbe, who began translating Leviathan into Latin; but as Stubbe's correspondence with Hobbes shows, admiration for the philosopher had to be a somewhat covert affair in 1650s Oxford.
After the Restoration, 1660-1679
In some ways the Restoration was beneficial to Hobbes: Aubrey cleverly arranged a meeting between him and his former pupil, the king, at the studio of the painter Samuel Cooper, whereupon the king ordered that Hobbes 'should have free access to his majestie' (Brief Lives, 1.340). Within a few years Hobbes was receiving a royal pension of roughly 100 guineas per annum. But the Restoration settlement also involved the return to power of an Anglican establishment that strongly disapproved of Hobbes's religious views. In 1662 a Printing Act was passed which required books to be licensed by episcopal authority; thereafter, nothing that Hobbes wrote in the controversial fields of politics, law, history, or religion could be published in his lifetime. (The last such contentious work, Mr Hobbes Considered, a short apologia replying to Wallis's accusations about his political record, was published in the summer of 1662, having apparently gone to press before the act was passed.)
Although the publication of Leviathan in 1651 was covered by the Act of Oblivion, Hobbes appears to have been genuinely afraid that he might be prosecuted for heresy: there was a rumour in the early 1660s that some of the bishops were planning such a move, and in 1666 a committee of the House of Commons called for an examination of the theological contents of Leviathan. Hobbes responded to the first of these threats by writing a treatise on the law of heresy, arguing that no one could be burnt for that offence; the second may have prompted his composition of a long appendix to the Latin edition of Leviathan (1668), in which he also defended himself from the charge of heresy. His fears seem to have been exaggerated; and he enjoyed, in any case, the protection of the earl of Devonshire, in whose household he remained, spending his summers in Derbyshire and the winter months in the Devonshires' town house in London.
Hobbes may have been fearful and old (he was aged seventy-two at the Restoration), but he continued to display a remarkable vigour as an author--all the more remarkable given that since the mid-1650s he had suffered so badly from the 'shaking palsy' (probably Parkinson's disease) that he was obliged to dictate to an amanuensis. In the fields in which publication was permitted he kept up a stream of new works: a treatise on physics in dialogue form, Problemata physica (1662), a sequence of responses to his mathematical critics, De principiis et ratiocinatione geometrarum (1666), Rosetum geometricum (1671) and Lux mathematica (1672), and a scattering of pamphlets on physics and geometry.
More significant were the things he was unable to publish, at least in England. His Latin translation of Leviathan, with its important appendix, was made for an edition of his Latin philosophical works produced by Johan Blaeu in Amsterdam (1668). At some time in the late 1660s Hobbes wrote (in English) a history of the civil war in dialogue form, in which he paid special attention to the interplay of religion and human ambition: this eventually appeared in an unauthorized edition in 1679, and was later reprinted under the title Behemoth. His last reply to Bramhall (mentioned above) was written in 1668. Shortly thereafter (perhaps in 1670, but by 1673 at the latest) he wrote a treatise on law, A Dialogue between a Phylosopher and a Student, of the Common-Laws of England, in which he defended his theory of legislative sovereignty against what he regarded as the excessive claims of the common lawyers. Also significant for the study of his political thought is a long Latin poem about the encroachments of priestcraft down the ages, Historia ecclesiastica, completed in 1671 and eventually published in 1688. His Latin verse autobiography, written in 1672, was also published posthumously.
In 1674 Hobbes was permitted one small exception to the ban on his controversial publications: after John Fell, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, had inserted some abusive comments about him into an entry on Hobbes in a work by Anthony Wood, he wrote a letter of complaint and self-defence, and obtained the king's permission to print it, having approached him in person in St James's Park. This was the last year in which Hobbes was in London; thereafter, he resided only at Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth. Though his strength was failing, his intellectual energy was unabated: he published translations of Homer (books 9-12 of the Odyssey in 1673, the rest of that work in 1675, and the whole of the Iliad in 1676), as well as another treatise on physics in dialogue form, Decameron physiologicum, in 1678. In March 1678, just before his ninetieth birthday, he commented in a letter to Aubrey: ''Tis a long time since I have been able to write my selfe, and am now so weake that it is a paine to me to dictate'; yet his last dated letter (18 August 1679), addressed to his publisher, William Crooke, contained the tantalizing phrase, 'I am writing somewhat for you to print in English' (Correspondence, 2.767, 774).
Illness and death
Hobbes had enjoyed good health for most of his adult life, the only known exceptions being his two bouts of serious illness in France, another in London about 1668, and his 'shaking palsy'. When Aubrey first saw him (in 1634) he was struck by his 'briske' deportment; he would later describe him as a tall man (over 6 feet), with a 'fresh, ruddy complexion' and 'a good eie ... which was full of life and spirit, even to the last'. This last observation is confirmed by three of the best portraits of Hobbes: by Samuel Cooper (1660s; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio), John Baptist Gaspars (1663; Royal Society, London), and John Michael Wright (c.1669-1670; NPG). Aubrey also recorded that he was 'temperate, both as to wine and women', and that he kept to a simple daily routine, going for a morning walk to compose his thoughts, taking an early lunch, and writing in the afternoon. His health may also have benefited from his sceptical attitude towards contemporary medical science: he said he preferred 'to take physique from an experienced old woman ... then from the learnedst but unexperienced physician' (Brief Lives, 1.332, 347-51).
In October 1679 Hobbes suffered from strangury (pain when urinating); on 27 November he had a severe stroke, which left him paralysed and unable to speak. He died on 4 December, at Hardwick Hall. His amanuensis, James Wheldon (the earl of Devonshire's baker), reported that he seemed 'to dye rather for want of the fuell of life ... and meer weaknesse and decay' (Brief Lives, 1.383). He was buried two days later in the local church of Ault Hucknall, Derbyshire.
Hobbes had made three versions of his will. The earliest, in July 1674, included bequests to two nieces (daughters of his brother), five smaller bequests to members of the Devonshire household, and a legacy of £100 to Elizabeth Alaby, described as 'an Orphan and remitted by me to the Tuition of my Executor'; the residue was to go to his executor, James Wheldon. In the second version (December 1675) the five smaller bequests were omitted, and money left instead to 'the poore' and the minister of the parish where he was buried; Hobbes also stated his wish that Elizabeth Alaby be married off to Wheldon's son Jack, 'provided they liked one another, and that he was not a Spendthrift'. At this stage Wheldon calculated that Hobbes had £787 (Hardwick MS 19, final page). The final version (September 1677) added bequests to his brother's grandchildren, and doubled the legacy to Miss Alaby. Hobbes's estate, in the end, was worth nearly £1000 (Brief Lives, 1.346). The special attention paid to Elizabeth Alaby in his will seems to have given rise to the popular belief that Hobbes had an illegitimate daughter. In fact she was an orphan child, possibly the daughter of a travelling musician, who had turned up at Rowthorn (Wheldon's village, near Hardwick) in May 1674, 'supposed about 5 yeares old', and whose plight had evidently touched the heart of the elderly philosopher (Hardwick MS 19, final page).
Hobbes's enemies, of whom there were many, portrayed him as a disagreeable character: bullying, dogmatic, and irascible. Seth Ward's biographer claimed that 'if any one objected to his Dictates, he would leave the Company in a passion, saying, his business was to Teach, not Dispute' (W. Pope, The Life of ... Seth, Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1697, 118). His friends, on the other hand, took a different view: Aubrey commented on 'His goodness of nature and willingnes to instruct any one that was willing to be informed and modestly desired it' (Brief Lives, 1.352), and Sorbière exclaimed, in a letter to Hobbes, that he admired 'your goodness, your courtesy, and all those fine qualities which make you a perfect gentleman as well as a great philosopher' (Correspondence, 2.619). The truth may be that Hobbes was affable and generous towards his friends, and intolerant only in company which he felt was predisposed to hostility towards him.
The negative stereotype of Hobbes which developed during and after his lifetime was based, however, more on his teachings than on his personal character. There were three main charges: that he was an atheist (or, at least, guilty of gross heresies), that his political theory glorified despotism, and that he overturned traditional morality. The third charge connected the first and second: he was accused of deriving morality not from God or reason but from the will of the sovereign.
Whether, in his heart, Hobbes believed in God is a question no biographer can answer with certainty; the fact that he attended Anglican services and took holy communion does not settle the matter. In his writings he displayed not only a fierce anti-clericalism but also a type of negative theology in which the possibility of human knowledge of God's intentions was virtually eliminated; but neither of these is necessarily the same as atheism. As for despotism, his political theory did propose that sovereignty, to be real, must be absolute, and he observed that 'tyranny' was merely a term used for monarchy by those who disliked it. Yet at the same time he tried to demonstrate that it was in the interests of rulers to promote the well-being of their people, and his entire theory supposed that the authority of the ruler rested on nothing other than the will of the ruled. His moral theory was indeed unorthodox, but neither relativist nor arbitrarist: he believed that certain moral rules (the 'laws of nature') followed necessarily from the human condition, and his position might best be described as a naturalistic adaptation of the natural law tradition.
The many denunciations of Hobbes by theological writers (including Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, Thomas Tenison, and Richard Cumberland) helped to reinforce a popular notion of 'Hobbism' in Restoration England as a concentrate of libertinism and irreligion. Some of the rare open admirers of Hobbes (such as the early deist Charles Blount) idolized him precisely because they thought he had undermined traditional religion; his name would continue to be invoked in this way by the radical Enlightenment. But his writings also had a more positive influence on some European thinkers, especially in the Netherlands (Velthuysen, de la Court, Spinoza), Germany (Leibniz), and France (Merlat, Bossuet); and the frequent reprintings of De cive on the continent guaranteed that writers such as Rousseau and Kant would give serious consideration to his ideas. In the nineteenth century a more sympathetic view of him emerged among utilitarians (who recognized an affinity with his moral theory) and legal positivists (who admired his theory of sovereignty). Some twentieth-century writers portrayed Hobbes as an ancestor of totalitarianism; but the tendency of modern scholarship has been to see his political theory as both authoritarian and individualist, embodying an unusual and intriguing mixture of illiberal and liberal elements. Increasingly, too, he is recognized as a philosopher whose importance extends far beyond the realm of political theory--someone whose work in theology, metaphysics, science, history, and psychology entitles him to be described as one of the true founders of modernity in Western culture.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, ed. W. Molesworth, 11 vols. (1839-45)
Thomae Hobbes Malmesburiensis opera philosophica quae Latine scripsit omnia, ed. W. Molesworth, 5 vols. (1839-45)
The correspondence of Thomas Hobbes, ed. N. Malcolm, 2 vols. (1994)
Brief lives, chiefly of contemporaries, set down by John Aubrey, between the years 1669 and 1696, ed. A. Clark, 2 vols. (1898)
H. Macdonald and M. Hargreaves, Thomas Hobbes: a bibliography (1952)
T. Hobbes, Critique du De mundo de Thomas White, ed. J. Jacquot and H. W. Jones (1973)
T. Hobbes, The elements of law, natural and politic, ed. F. Tönnies (1889)
F. Micanzio, Lettere a William Cavendish (1615-1628) nella versione inglese di Thomas Hobbes, ed. R. Ferrini (1987)
[W. Cavendish], Horae subsecivae (1620)
Three discourses: a critical modern edition of newly identified work of the young Hobbes, ed. N. B. Reynolds and A. W. Saxonhouse (1995)
book of accounts, beginning 1608, ending 1623, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Hardwick MS 29
library catalogue, c.1629 (with later additions), Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Hobbes MS E.1.A
W. Cavendish, 'Essayes', Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Hobbes MS D.3
'A narration of the proceedings both publique and private, concerning the inheritance of the earl of Devonshire', Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Hobbes MS D.6
J. Wheldon's personal account book, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Hardwick MS 19
T. Hobbes, Latin optical treatise, 1640-41, BL, Harley MS 6796, fols. 193-266
T. Hobbes, 'A minute or first draught of the Optiques', 1646, BL, Harley MS 3360
letters from Sir Charles Cavendish to John Pell, 1641-51, BL, Add. MS 4278, fols. 161-322
will, PRO, PROB 11/362, fol. 294
K. Schuhmann, Hobbes: une chronique (Paris, 1998)
T. Sorrell, ed., The Cambridge companion to Hobbes (1996)
A. A. Rogow, Thomas Hobbes: radical in the service of reaction (1986)
S. Schaffer and S. Shapin, Leviathan and the air-pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the experimental life (1985)
A. Pacchi, Convenzione e ipotesi nella formazione della filosofia naturale di Thomas Hobbes (1965)
S. I. Mintz, The hunting of Leviathan: seventeenth-century reactions to the materialism and moral philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (1962)
N. Malcolm, 'Hobbes, Sandys, and the Virginia Company', HJ, 24 (1981), 297-321
L. L. Peck, 'Constructing a new context for Hobbes studies', Politics and the political imagination in later Stuart Britain: essays presented to Lois Green Schwoerer (1997), 161-79
R. Tuck, 'Hobbes and Descartes', Perspectives on Thomas Hobbes, ed. G. A. J. Rogers and A. Ryan (1988), 11-41
N. Malcolm, 'Hobbes and the Royal Society', Perspectives on Thomas Hobbes, ed. G. A. J. Rogers and A. Ryan (1988), 43-66
A. Pritchard, 'The last days of Hobbes: evidence of the Wood manuscripts', Bodleian Library Record, 10 (1980), 178-87
D. M. Jesseph, Squaring the circle: the war between Hobbes and Wallis (1999)
P. Milton, 'Hobbes, heresy and Lord Arlington', History of Political Thought, 14 (1993), 501-46
Q. Skinner, Reason and rhetoric in the philosophy of Hobbes (1996), esp. 215-56
K. Schuhmann, 'Le "Short tract", première Ďuvre philosophique de Hobbes', Hobbes Studies, 8 (1995), 3-36
T. Raylor, 'Hobbes, Payne, and A short tract on first principles', HJ, 44 (2001), 29-58
J. Collins, 'Thomas Hobbes and the English revolution', PhD diss., Harvard U., 1999
J. M. Lewis, 'Hobbes and the Blackloists: a study in the eschatology of the English revolution', PhD diss., Harvard U., 1976
N. Malcolm, 'Charles Cotton, translator of Hobbes's De cive', Huntington Library Quarterly, 61 (1999-2000), 259-87
J. J. Hamilton, 'Hobbes's study and the Hardwick library', Journal of the History of Philosophy, 16 (1978), 445-53
N. Malcolm, De Dominis (1560-1624): Venetian, Anglican, ecumenist and relapsed heretic (1984), esp. 47-54
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Fonds français
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Fonds latin
BL, corresp., Add. MS 32553
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, papers and literary MSS | Bodl. Oxf., letters to John Aubrey
U. Nott. L., Clifton MSS
line engraving, 1646, BM, NPG
attrib. D. Beck, oils, c.1650, Scot. NPG
oils, 1650-59, RS
R. Vaughan, line engraving, 1651?, BM, NPG; repro. in T. Hobbes, Philosophicall rudiments (1651)
S. Cooper, watercolour miniature, 1660-69, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
J. B. Gaspar, oils, 1663, RS
W. Hollar, line engraving, 1665 (after J. B. Gaspar), BM, NPG
W. Faithorne, line engraving, 1667-8, BM, NPG; repro. in T. Hobbes, Opera philosophica (1668), frontispiece
J. M. Wright, oils, 1669-1670, NPG [see illus.]
oils, 1676, Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
W. Faithorne, line engraving, BM, NPG
Wealth at death
under £1000: Aubrey, Brief lives, vol. 1, p. 346
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