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THOMAS HOBBES. No literary man excited more attention in the middle of the seventeenth century, and none of that age has exercised a more wide and permanent influence on the philosophical opinions of succeeding generations, than THOMAS HOBBES, born at Malmesbury, April 5, 1588. His mother's alarm, at the approach of the Spanish Armada is said to have hastened his birth, and was probably the cause of a constitutional timidity which possessed him through life. After studying for five years at Oxford, he travelled, in 1610, through France, Italy, and Germany, in the capacity of tutor to Lord Cavendish, afterwards Earl of Devonshire, with whom, on returning to Englan!, he continued to reside as his secretary. At this time, he became intimate with Lord Bacon, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and Ben Jonson. His pupil dying in 1628, Hobbes again visited Paris; but in 1631 he undertook to superintend the education of the young Earl of Devonshire, with whom lie set off, three years later, on a tour through France, Italy, and Savoy. At Pisa, he became intimate with Galileo the astronomer, and elsewhere held communication with other celebrated characters. After his return to England in 1637, he resided in the earl's family, at Chatsworth, in Derliyshire. He now devoted himself to study, in which, however, he was interrupted by the political contentious of the times. Being a zealous royalist, he found it necessary, in 1640, to retire to Paris, where he lived on terms of intimacy with Descartes and other learned men, whom the pa. tronage of Cardinal de Richelieu had at that time drawn together. While at Paris, he engaged in a controversy about the quadrature of the circle ; and in 1647, he was appointed mathematical instructor to Charles, Prince of Wales, who ihen resided in the French capital Previously to this time, he had commenced the publication of those works which he sent forth in succession, with the view of curbing the spirit of freedom in England, by shewing the philosophical foundation of despotic monarchy. The first of them was originally printed in Latin at Paris, in 1642, under the title of. Elementa Philosophica de Cive;' when translated into English, in 1650, it was entitled Philosophical Rudiments concerning Government and Society. This treatise is regarded as the most exact account of the author's poliucal system: it contains many profound views, but is disfigured by fundamental and dangerous errors. The principles maintained in it were more fully discussed in his larger work, published in 1651, under the title of 'Leviathan: or the Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth, Eccclesiastical and Civil. Man is here represented as a selfish and ferocious animal, requiring the strong hand of
are made to depend upon views of self-interest alone. Of this latter doctrine, commonly known as the Selfish System of moral philoso. phy, Hobbes was indeed the great champion, both in the ‘Leviathan' and more particularly in his small “Treatise on Human Nature,' published in 1650. There appeared in the same year another work from his pen, entitled, 'De Corpore Politico; or, Of the Body Politic.' The freedom with which theological subjects were handled in the ‘Leviathan,' as well as the offensive political views there maintained, occasioned a great outcry against the author, particularly among the clergy. This led Charles to dissolve his connection with the philosopher, who, according to Lord Clarendon, was compelled secretly to fly out of Paris, the justice having endeavoured to apprehend him, and soon after escaped into England, where he never received any disturbance.' He again took up his abode with the Devonshire family, and became intimate with Selden, Cowley, and Dr. Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood. In 1654 he published a short but admirably clear and comprehensive 'Letter upon Liberty and Necessity ;' where the doctrine of the self-determining power of the will is opposed with a subtlety and profundity unsurpassed in any subsequent writer on that much agitated question. Indeel, le appears to have been the first who understood and expounded clearly the doctrine of philosophical necessity. On this subject, a long controversy between him and Bishop Bramhall of Londonderry took place. Here he fought with the skill of a master; but in a mathematical dispute with Dr. Wallis, professor of geometry at Oxford, which lasted twenty years, he fairly went beyond his depth, and obtained no increase of reputation. The fact is, that Hobbes had not begun to study mathematics till the age of forty, and, like other late learners, greatly over-estimated his knowluilge. He supposed himself to have (liscovered the quadrature of the circil', and dogmatically upheld his claim in the face of the clearest refutation. In this controversy, personal feeling, according to the custom of the time, appeared without disguise. Hobbes having published a sarcastic piece, entitled “Six Lessons to the Professors of Matlicmatics in Oxford,' Wallis retorted by administering, in 1656, Due Correction for Mr. Hobbes, or School-discipline for not Saying his Lessons Right. Here his language to the philosopher is in the following unceremonious strain : 'It seems, Mr. Hobbes, that you have a mind to say your lesson, and that the mathematic professors of Ox ford should hear you. You are too old to learn, though you have as much need as those that be younger, and yet will think much to be whipt. What moved you to say your lessons in English, when the books against which you do chiefly intend them were written in Latin? Was it chiefly for the perfecting your natural rhetoric, whenever you thought it convenient to repair to Billingsgate ? You found that the oyster-women could not teach you to rail in Latin,' &c. 'Sir, those persons needed not a sight of your ears, but could tell by the voice what kind of creature brayed in your books: you dared not have said this to their faces. When Charles II. came to the throne, he conferred on Hobbes an annual pension of £100; but notwithstanding this and other marks of the royal favour, much odium continued to prevail against bim and his doctrines. The ‘Leviathan' and De Cive' were censured in parliament in 1666, and also drew forth many printed replies. Among the authors of these, the most distinguished was Lord Clarendon, who, 1676, published 'A Brief view and Survey of the Dangerous and Pernicious Errors to Church and State, in Mr. Hobbes's Book, entitled Leviathan.' In 1672, in his eighty-fifth year, Hobbes wrote his own life in Latin verse! He next appeared as a translator of Homer, having published a version of four books of the • Odyssey,' which was so weil received, that, in 1675, he sent forth a translation of the remainder of that poem, and also of the whole “Iliad.' Here, according to Pope, ‘Hobbes has given us a correct explanation of the sense in general; but for particulars and circunistances, he continually lops them, and often omits the most beautiful.' Nevertheless, the work became so popular, that three large editions were required within less than ten years. Hobbes was more successful as a irinslator in prose than in poetry; his version of the Greek historian Thucydides--which had appeared in 1629, and was the first work that he published--being still regarded as the best English translation of that author. Its taithfulness to the original is so great, that it frequently degenerates into servility. This work, he says, was undertaken by him “from an honest desire of preventing, if possible, those disturbances in which he was apprehensive ihat bis country would be involver, by shewing, in the history of the Peloponnesian war, the fatal consequences of intestine troubles. At Chatsworth, to which he retired in 1674, to spend the remainder of his days. Hobbes continued to compose various works, the principal of which, entitleil · Behemoth, or a History of the Civil Wars from 1640 to 1660,' wils finished in 1679, but did not appear till after his death, which took plac:: December 4, 1619, in his ninety-second year.
Hobbes is described by Lord Clarendon as one for whom he had always had a great esteem, as a man who, besides his eminent parts of learning and knowledge, hath been always looked upon as a man of probity and a life free froni scandal.' It was a saying of Charles II. in reference to the opposition which the doctrines of Hobbes met from the clergy, that he was a bear, against whom the church played their young dogs, in order to exercise them.' In his latter years, he became morose and impatient of contradiction, both by reason of his growing infirmities, and from indulging too much in solitude, by which his natural arrogance and contempt for the opinions of other men were greatly increased. He at no time read extensively : Homer, Virgil, Thucydides, and Euclid were his favourite authors; and he used to say that, if he had read as much as other men, he should have been as ignorant as they. Macaulay characterises the language of Hobbes as more precise and luminous than has ever been employed by any other metaphysical writer.' Among bis greatest philosophical errors are those of making no dis
tinction between the intellectual and emotive faculties of man-of representing all human actions as the results of intellectual deliberation alone-and of in every case deriving just and benevolent actions froin a cool survey of the advantages to self which may be expected to flow from them. In short, he has given neither the moral nor the social sentiments a place in his scheme of human nature. The opponents of this selfish system have been numberless ; nor is the controversy terminated even at the present day. The most eminent of those who have ranged themselves against Hobbes are Cumberland, Cudworth, Shafiesbury. Clarke, Butler, Hutcheson, Kames, Smith, Stewart, and Brown. Though he has been stigmatised as an atheist, the charge is groundless, as may be inferred from what he says in his *Treatise on Human Nature.'
Conceptions of the Deity. Forasmuch as God Almighty is incomprehensible, it followeth that we can have no conception or image of the Deity; and, consequently, all his attributes signify our inability and defect of power to conceive anything concerning his nature, and not any conception of the same, except only this, That there is a God. For the effects, we acknowledye naturally, do include a power of their producing, before! they were produced ; and that power presupposeth something existent that hath such power: aud the thing so existing with power to produce, if it were not eternal, must needs have been produced by somewhat before it, and that, again, by something else before that, till we come to an eternal-that is to say, the first-Power of all Powers, and first Cause of all Causes: and thus it is which all men conceive by the name of GOD, implying eternity, incomprehensibility, and omnipotency. And this all that will consider may know that God is, though not what he is : even a man that is born blind, though it te not possible for him to bave any imagination what kind of thing fire is, yet be cannot but know that something there is that men call fire, because it warmeth him.
Pity and Indignation. Pity is imagination or fiction of future calamity to ourselves, proceeding from the serise of another man's calamity. But when it lighteth on such as we think have pot deserved the same, the compassion is greater, because then there appeareth more probability that the same may happen to us; for the evil that happeneth to an innocent man may happen to every man. But when we see a man suffer for great crimes, which we cannot easily think will fall upon ourselves, the pity is the less. And therefore hien are apt to pity those wbom they love; for whom they love they think worthy of good, and therefore not worthy of calamity. Thence it is also that men pity the vices of some persons at the first sight only, out of love to their aspect. The contrary of pity is hardness of heart, proceeding either from slowness of imagination, or some extreme great opinion of their own exemption from the like calamity, or from hatred of all or most men.
Indignation is that grief which consisteth in the conception of good success happening to them whom they think unworthy thereof. Seeing, therefore, men think all those unworthy whom they hate, they think them not only unworthy of the goodfortune they have, but also of their own virtues. And of all the passions of the imind, these two. indignation and pity, are most raised and increased by eloquence; for the agiruvation of the calamity, and extenuation of the fault, augmenteth pity; and the exteauation of th Worth of the person, together with the magnifying of his FUCCESE, which are the parts of an orator, are able to turn these two passions into tury.
Emulation and Envy. Emulation is grief arieing from seeing one's self exceeded or excelled by his concurrent, together with hope to equal or exceed him in time to come, by his own
ability. But envy is the same grief joined with pleasure conceived in the imagination of some ill-fortune that may befall him.
Laughter. There is a passion that hath no name; but the sign of it is that distortion of the countenance which we call laughter, which is always joy : but what joy, what we think, and wherein we triumph when we laugh, is not hitherto deelared by any. That it consisteth in wit, or, as they call it, in the jest, experience confuteth; for men laugh at mischances and indecencies, wherein there lieth 10 wit nor jest at all. And forasmuch as the same thing is no more ridiculous when it groweth stale or usual. whatsoever it be that moveth laughter, it must be new aud unexpected. Men laugh often-especially such as are greedy of applause from everything they do well-at their own actions performed never so little beyond their own expectations; as also at their own jests: and in this case it is manifest that the passion of laughter proceedeth from a sudden conception of some ability in himself that laugheth. Also, men laugh at the infirmities of others, by comparison wherewith their own abilities are set off and illustrated. Also men laugh at jests, the wit whereof always consisteth in the elegant discovering and conveying to our minds some absurdity of another; and in this case also the passion of laughter proceeded from the sudden imagination of our own odds and eminency; for what is else the recommending of ourselves to our own good opinion, by comparison with another man's infirmity or absurdity? For when a jest is broken upon ourselves, or friends, of whose dishonour we participate, we never laugh thereat. I may therefore conclude, that the passion of laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from a sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly; for men laugh at the follies of themselves past, when they come suddenly to remembrance, except they bring with them any present dishonour. It is no wonder, therefore, that men take heinously to be laughed at or deridedthat is, triumphed over. Laughing without offence, must be at absurdities and infirmities abstracted from persons, and when all the company may laugh together; for laughing to one's self putteth all the rest into jealousy and examination of thellselves. Besides, it is vain-glory, and an argument of little worth, to think the infirmity of auother sufficient matter for his triumph.
Love of Knowledge. Forasmuch as all knowledge beginneth from experience, therefore also nevesperience is the beginning of new knowledge, and the increase of experience the beginning of the increase of knowledge. Whatsoever, therefore, happenith new to a man giveth the matter of hope of kuowing somewhat that he knew not before. And this hope and expectation of future knowledge from anything tha' happeneth new and strange, is that passion which we commouly call admiration; and the same considerul as appetite, is called curiosity, which is appetite of knowledge. As in the discerning of faculties, man leaveth all cominunity with beasts at the faculty of imposing names, so also doth he surmount their nature at this passion of curiosity. For when a beast seeth anything and strange to him, he considereth it so für only as to discern whether it be likely to serve his turn or hurt him, and accordingly approacheth nearer to it, or fleeth from it: whereas man, who in most events remembereth in what manner they were caused and begun, looketh for the 21!! and beginning of everything that ariseth new unto him. And from this passion of admiration and curiosity have arisen not only the invention of names, but also -11]position of such causes of all things as they thought might produce them. ARI from this beginning is derived all philosophy, as astronomy from the admiration of the course of heaven; natural philosophy from the strange effects of the elements and other bodies. And from the degrees of curiosity proceed also the degrees of knowledge amongst men; for to a inan in the chase of riches or authority-Which in respect of knowledge are but sensuality-it is a diversity of little pleasure, whether it be the motion of the sun or the earth that maketh the day; or to enter into other contemplations of any strange accident otherwise than whether it conduce or not ta the end he pursueth. Because curiosity is delight, therefore also novelty is so; bus especially that novelty from which a man conceiveth an opinion, true or false, of