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the people had brought with them the laws and customs of a far wider area.

In the Latin compendium of the Laws and Institutes which forms the last portion of the volume, there are twentythree rude illustrations of various official costumes and characters, and of birds and animals mentioned in the text. These are of later date than the codes themselves, but they are curious specimens of the rude drawing of the time, and the editor did well to reproduce them in facsimile.

The foregoing sketch is incomplete, but enough, perhaps, has been done to convince any student of early English history that a rich mine of information is lying almost unread and unnoticed in the large folio volume containing the Ancient Institutes and Laws' of the Cymry. It is true that there is much in it that is trivial, coarse, and of little value. But there is also much of the deepest interest not only to the Welsh people, the lineal descendants of the tribes over which King Howel ruled, but also to the English. It is hoped that the brief notice contained in these pages may incite some students of history to examine the volume (unfortunately too scarce) for themselves, and do more justice to Howel the Good (Hywel Dda), the Celtic king and legislator of Wales in the tenth century, than the writer of these pages has been able in so short an article to render.

ART. IV. 1. Hobbes. By Prof. G. C. ROBERTSON. wood's Philosophical Classics, 1886.)


2. Hobbes's Works. Collected edition, Latin and English, in 16 vols. (1839-1845). By Sir W. MOLESWORTH.

3. Life of Mr. T. H. of Malmesburie. Printed in Letters, &c., and Lives of Eminent Men' in 1813 from Aubrey's papers in the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum.


HERE exists a remarkable contrast, which has probably been often noticed, between the historical fortune of Hobbes's speculations and the special character of those speculations themselves. He has been claimed by thinkers who believe themselves following in his footsteps as a radical freethinker, while in himself he was especially conservative and reactionary. The stoutest advocate of the irresponsible and inviolable authority of an absolute sovereign has been accepted as a prototype by those whose interest it was to advance the claims of democratic equality. It was James

Mill who began this remarkable reverence for a man whose conclusions, at all events in a political sphere, were diametrically opposed to his own; and he was followed by Austin and Grote. Sir W. Molesworth, in his magnificent edition of Hobbes's works, both English and Latin, tells us that Grote first suggested the undertaking; in order, seemingly, to secure by an accessible edition greater effect for doctrines which their author intended as a panacea for projects of revolutionary reform. No more curious homage has ever been rendered to a man by his theoretical opponents." Obvious though the contrast may appear, it is, however, more apparent than real. For of Hobbes, before all others, it may be said that his spirit was different from his performance, that his political motive was one thing, and his intellectual temper and genius quite another. There can be no question that the native bent of his mind was radical and freethinking, which is proved, among other evidences, by his lifelong struggle with ecclesiastical pretensions, and his heartfelt dislike of the Papacy. His philosophy again partook of that general revolt against authority on behalf of the individual, which characterises all the best thought of the sixteenth and seventeenth century; he has some points in connexion with Bacon and many with Descartes and Locke, and he carried on the war with scholasticism in the interests of a mechanical and atomistic system which is the philosophic mark of advanced heterodoxy. However much Hobbes may have imposed on some of his later critics, he assuredly did not deceive his contemporaries, who were never weary of calling him materialist, agnostic, and atheist. Even in the political theory which contains the conservative element of his creed, the conclusions do not follow from the premisses with that logical rigour which would prevent them from being interpreted in a wholly different light. The strong and autocratic government which it is his desire in the Leviathan' to see firmly established, however absolute it may be, is yet shown to have sprung from something like popular choice, and that which has made can also unmake. From his own premisses a different conclusion might be drawn, as we can see by the political speculations of both Locke and Rousseau,

"Georgio Grote-et quod præcipue laudi est, pro æquali universorum civium libertate adversus optimatium dominatum propugnatori ' acerrimo et constantissimo.'-Dedication in Molesworth's edition, vol. i.

the first of whom proved the right of the people to change their choice of sovereign, and the second justified the popular obliteration of the ancien régime. Indeed, Hobbes's own practice dealt a blow at his theory, for he found it not inconsistent with his principles to live under the protection of Cromwell and the Parliament. The complexion of his political theory was in reality due to his personal feelings, which were both timorous and worldly. Personal security is therefore the aim of those who established an imperium,' not self-realisation or a desire for progressive welfare; and Hobbes affords an instance-almost a melancholy instanceof the extent to which political necessities and the accidents of personal disposition can interfere in the logical evolution of a philosophical system. He was a radical in the garb of a conservative, a freethinker enlisted in the service of reaction.

The personality of Hobbes was neither pleasing nor attractive. He was prematurely born, owing to the fright his mother experienced at the news of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

'Atque metum tantum concepit tunc mea mater,
Ut pareret geminos, meque Metumque simul.
Hinc est, ut credo, patrios quod abominor hostes,
Pacem amo cum Musis, et faciles socios'-

is his own account of the affair. It is doubtful, however, whether Hobbes is right in saying that he is devoted to peace and agreeable companionship; a more vain and combative person rarely existed. In his youth, Aubrey † tells us, he was unhealthy, and of an ill complexion (yellowish). From forty he grew healthier, and then he had a fresh, ' ruddy complexion. His head was of a mallet form. His 'face was not very great-ample forehead, yellowish reddish 'whiskers, which naturally turned up, below he was shaved close, except a little tip under his lip; not but that nature 'would have afforded him a venerable beard, but being mostly ' of a cheerful and pleasant humour, he affected not at all austerity and gravity and to look severe.' His portraits (in the National Portrait Gallery and in the rooms of the Royal Society at Burlington House) give the appearance of a somewhat stern, but not unhandsome man. Far more unpleasing pictures than that of Aubrey are, however, to be found in the

* Vita carmine expressa.' Molesw. vol. i. p. lxxxvi.

Life of Mr. J. H. of Malmesburie. Letters, &c., of Aubrey, vol. ii.

writings of Hobbes's contemporaries.* have been the terror of his age.

He seems indeed to

'Here lies Tom Hobbes, the Bugbear of the Nation,
Whose death hath frightened Atheism out of fashion,'

was a scurrilous epitaph composed for him. Amongst the crowd of pamphlets, sermons, treatises aimed at his doctrines, there was an ingenious little book written by Thomas Tenison, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, which appeared in 1670, and was entitled 'The Creed of Mr. Hobbes, examined in a feigned conference between him and a student in divinity. It proves, as well as any other, the general opinions held about the philosopher.

'You have been represented to the world,' says the student to Mr. Hobbes, whom he meets at Buxton-well,†' as a person very inconversible, and as an imperious Dictator of the principles of vice, and impatient of all dispute and contradiction. It hath been said that you will be very angry with all men that will not presently submit to your Dictates; and that for advancing the reputation of your own skill, you care not what unworthy reflexions you cast on others. Monsieur Descartes hath written it to your confidant Mersennus, and it is now published to all the world, "That he esteemed it the better for himself "that he had not any commerce with you (je juge que le meilleur est que je n'aye point du tout de commerce avec luy); as also, that if you were of such an humour as he imagined, and had such designs "as he believed you had, it would be impossible for him and you to "have any communication without becoming enemies." And your great friend, Monsieur Sorbiere, hath accused you of being too dogmatical; and hath reported how you were censured for the vanity of dogmatising, between his Majesty and himself, in his Majesty's cabinet. You are thought, in dispute, to use the Scripture with irreverence.'

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Tenison cannot, indeed, deny the excellence of his style.

'He hath long ago published his errours in Theologie, in the English Tongue, insinuating himself by the handsomeness of his style into the mindes of such whose Fancie leadeth their judgements; and to say truth of an Enemy, he may, with some reason, pretend to Mastery in that Language.'

Yet he cannot forbear to have a cut at Hobbes's personal timidity.

They (the Student and Mr. Hobbes) were interrupted by the disturbance arising from a little quarrel, in which some of the ruder people in the house were for a short time engaged. At this Mr. Hobbes seem'd much concern'd, though he was at some distance from

* Cf., for instance, Hooke's description, Boyle's Works, vi. 486. + The Creed of Mr. Hobbes, p. 5.

the persons. For a while he was not composed, but related it once or twice as to himself, with a low and careful tone, how Sextus Roscius was murdered after Supper by the Balnea Palatina. Of such general extent is that remark of Cicero, in relation to Epicurus the Atheist, of whom he observed that he of all men dreaded most those things which he contemned, Death and the Gods.'

The system of Hobbes is then reduced into twelve Articles, 'which sound harshly to those professing Christianity,' under the title of the Hobbist's creed:

'I believe that God is Almighty Matter; that in him there are three Persons, he having been thrice represented on earth; that it is to be decided by the Civil Power whether he created all things else; that Angels are not Incorporeal substances (those words implying a contradiction) but preternatural impressions on the brain of man; that the Soul of Man is the temperament of his Body; that the very Liberty of Will, in that Soul, is Physically necessary; that the prime Law of Nature in the Soul of Man is that of temporal Self-Love; that the Law of the Civil Sovereign is the only obliging Rule of just and unjust; that the Books of the Old and New Testament are not made Canon and Law, but by the Civil Powers; that whatsoever is written in these Books may lawfully be denied even upon Oath (after the laudable doctrine and practice of the Gnosticks) in times of persecution when men shall be urged by the menaces of Authority; that Hell is a tolerable condition of life, for a few years upon earth, to begin at the General Resurrection; and that Heaven is a blessed estate of good men, like that of Adam before his fall, beginning at the General Resurrection, to be from thenceforth eternal upon earth in the Holy Land.'

There is caricature in all this, but not so extravagant as to prevent it from being a fair picture of Hobbes as he appeared to a contemporary divine. Fortunately, as Samuel Johnson had his Boswell and Goethe his Eckermann, so Hobbes had an indulgent biographer in Aubrey.

Hobbes, like an elder philosopher with whose nominalism he had something in common, Antisthenes the Cynic, was opalns. He took nothing away with him from his residence at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, except a dislike of the Puritans, who were strongly represented owing to the influence of Dr. John Wilkinson, and a contempt for academic learning, which came out strongly in the controversies of his later life. He was forty years of age before he ever saw the 'Elements' of Euclid; he was close on fifty before he became a philosopher. Although it is true, as Professor Robertson remarks, that there are few thinkers who succeeded better

*Creed of Mr. Hobbes, pp. 7 and 8.
+ Plato, 'Soph.' 251, b.

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