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On his return from the continent, he became known to many persons of distinction, and particularly those who were distinguished for talents and learning. Lord Bacon admitted him to great familiarity; and it is said that Hobbes translated some parts of his lordship's works into Latin. He was likewise in high esteem with lord Herbert of Cherbury; and familiarly acquainted with Ben Jonson.
His patron, the earl of Devonshire, dying in 1626, and his son two years after, Hobbes accompanied the son of sir Gervase Clifton to France; but in 1631, his return was solicited by the countess dowager of Devonshire, to superintend the education of the young earl, then about the age of 13. In 1631, he accompanied his young pupil to Paris, where he employed his leisure in the study of mechanical philosophy; and particularly, bestowed much thought on the mechanism of animal motion. On such subjects, he had frequent conversations with father Mersenne, a man celebrated for his knowledge of the physical sciences.
Pursuing their travels to Italy, at Pisa, Hobbes became acquainted with. Galileo, between whom and the English philosopher, there
took place the most unreserved and intimate communication.
In 1637, he returned with his pupil to England; but, on the meeting of the long parlia ment, Nov. 3, 1640, to escape the turbulence and confusion which prevailed, he retired again to Paris, where he now associated familiarly with those learned men, who were encouraged and protected by the patronage of Cardinal Richlicu. On this occasion it was, that he was introduced by his friend Mersenne to Des Cartes, with whom he afterwards corresponded on mathematical subjects; as appears by the letters of Hobbes, published in the works of Des Cartes. Hobbes was also on terms of the most intimate friendship with Gassendi, and which was interrupted only by the death of the latter.
In 1647, he became mathematical tutor to the prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II.; a situation he obtained in consequence of the reputation he had gained two years before, in having enlisted himself in the controversy about the quadrature of the circle. Charles, however, subsequently withdrew his countenance from him at the representations of the clergy, who were alarmed at the gigantic figure of the Le
viathan, which appeared in 1550-1; but, on accidentally seeing him some years after, his majesty's regard for him returned, and he settled upon him a pension of one hundred pounds per annum from his privy purse.
At this period, he commonly passed his summers at Chatsworth, the seat of the earl of Devonshire, in Derbyshire, and his winters in town, where he associated with most of the greatest men of the age, among whom may be mentioned Dr. Harvey, Selden, and Cowley. As an instance of the high consideration in which Hobbes was held by his cotemporaries, he was visited, in 1669, by Cosmo de Medicis, then prince, and afterwards grand duke of Tuscany, who, among other marks of esteem and admiration, received his picture, with a complete collection of his works, which he caused to be reposited in his library at Florence. He died in 1679, at the great age of ninety-two years.
1. The first work given by Hobbes to the public, was his "Translation of Thucydides," first published in 1628. This was undertaken with the laudable desire of preventing those disturbances which he already apprehended, by hewing the fatal consequences of intestine di
visions; and is still regarded as an excellent translation of that admirable historian; indeed, it has been affirmed to be the best translation of any Greek writer extant. It is of importance too, as it relates particularly to Hobbes; for, it is asserted by Dr. Tennison, (afterwards archbishop of Canterbury,) one of the ablest, as well as the most candid of Hobbes's antagonists, that he derived his fundamental maxims in politics from the oration of Euphemus, in the sixth book of the History of Thucydides.
2. His next work was his book De Cive, written in Latin, as an antidote to those democratical opinions which began now to prevail, and which he deemed subversive of all order and peace in society. He had the hope, too, that it might contribute to appease those popular discontents already kindled in Scotland, and which had begun to spread with inflammatory violence towards the south. Its Latin title was, Elementa Philosophica de Cive. Auctore Thom. Hobbes, Malmesburiensis. In the English translation, the more enlarged title is as follows:
Philosophical Rudiments concerning Government and Society; or, a Dissertation concerning Man in his several habitudes and respects, as the member of a society, first-se
cular and then sacred: containing the Elements, of Civil Polity, in the agreement which it hath both with natural and divine laws; in which is demonstrated, both what the origin of Justice is, and wherein the Christian Religion doth consist; together with the natural limits and qualifications both of regimen and subjection." The book is dedicated to William earl of Devonshire, and the dedication is curious, as explaining by what train of reasoning he was led to these enquiries. It is valuable, too, as characteristic of the man, and of that philosophical spirit by which he was distinguished. After pointing out the great advantages which mathematicians derive from their skilful method of prosecuting their enquiries, he affirms, that the inferior success of moralists has arisen chiefly from their adopting a different and less perfect method:
For (says he) we may not as in a circle, begin the handling of a science from what point we please. There is a certain clue of reason, whose beginning is in the dark, but, by the benefit of whose conduct, we are led, as it were by the hand, into the clearest light; so that the principal of tractation is to be taken from that darkness, and then the light to be carried thither