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4. Expeditio Buckinghami Ducis in Ream Insulam. This tract was written in 1630, though not published till 1656.
5. His lordship was also a poet ; and his poetry on occasional subjects was published in 1665, by his son Henry Herbert, dedicated to Edward lord Herbert, his grandson.
In respect of philosophical opinion, lord Herbert has been usually classed with Spinosa and Hobbes; with the latter of whom, he is known to have been upon terms of intimacy. But it appears, that he stopped short of the ne-plus-ultra scepticism of those distinguished philosophers; and that he was not only a confirmed theist, but was susceptible of no small degree of religious enthusiasm. Of this last assertion, the following anecdote from his own life will furnish a sufficient proof :
Being doubtful (says he) in my chamber one fine day in the summer, my casement being open towards the south, the sun shining clear, and no wind stirring, I took my book De Veritate in my hands, and kneeling on my knees, devoutly said these words
O thou eternal God, author of this light which now shines upon me, and giver of all inward illuminations, I do beseech thee of thine infinite goodness to pardon a greater request than a sinner ought to
Inake. I am not satisfied enough, whether I shall publish this book; if it be for thy glory, I beseech thee give me some sign from heaven ; if not I shall suppress it! I had no sooner spoke these words, but a loud, though yet gentle noise, came forth from the heavens, for it was like nothing on earth, which did so cheer and comfort me, that I took my petition as granted, and that I had the sign I demanded; whereupon also I resolved to print my book. This, how strange soever it may seem, I protest before the eternal God is true ; neither am I any way superstitiously deceived herein, since I did not only clearly hear the noise, but in the serenest sky I ever saw, being without all cloud, did, to my thinking, see the place from whence it came.
The life, whence the above extract was taken, was written by himself. It lay in MS. till 1792, when it was printed in a thin 4to. with a portrait; and it is remarkable as being the first instance of auto-biography.
Lord Herbert was a man of extensive know. ledge, derived both from books and from observation. He was well versed in languages and in the theory of the liberal arts, and is justly ranked among the first philosophers of his time. To these valuable qualifications he superadded the spirit of a hero and the polish of a gentleman.
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Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher of Malmsbury, was born at Malmsbury in Wiltshire, in 1588. His father was minister of that town. It is remarkable, that while his mother was pregnant, the Spanish armada was on the English coast, at which she was so much alarmed, that it induced a premature delivery.
Having attained to considerable proficiency at school in the learned languages, Hobbes entered, in 1603, at Magdalene-Hall, Oxford, whence, on the recommendation of the principal of that society, he was taken into the family of the right honourable William Cavendish, lord Hardwicke, (soon after created earl of Devonshire,) as preceptor to his son, William lord Cavendish, with whom, in 1610, he made the tour of France and Italy,
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 1681, 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 parliament, Nov. 3, 1640, to escape the turbulence and confusion which prevailed, he retired again to Paris, where he now associated familiarly with those learned
who were encouraged and protected by the patronage of Cardinal Richlieu. 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 Lea