value of the corrections and additions made in this edition will in part be seen from the notes at the foot of the page, in which the more important of them are indicated.
As to the book itself, it will give not a little pleasure to any thinking reader, being, in the words of Warburton, “full of shrewd remarks;” and it may be recommended as of high interest to the historical student as well as to the philosopher and politician. For, “in spite of his estrangement from the world around him, Hobbes continues to possess an increasing historical importance. Men and things change, but ideas expressed in words and in writing can soar above this change, and exercise an influence over the most distant epochs” (Leopold von Ranke, History of England, Engl, trans., vol. iii. p. 576). And in confirmation of this view it may not be amiss also to quote the words by which a former editor (Mr. Maseres) justifies the republication of “Behemoth.”
“As Mr. Hobbes,” he says (vol. ii. p. 657), “was a man of great ability and learning, and well acquainted with the history and forms of government of many different nations, both ancient and modern; and was also, as I believe, a very honest man and a great lover of truth; and as he lived through the two reigns of King James the First and King Charles the First, and through the Interregnum after King Charles’s death to the Restoration of King Charles the Second, and through the next following eighteen years; and as he was, for the most part, resident in England during the ten years immediately preceding the civil war, and had conversed with several of the most eminent persons who afterwards were engaged in it, both on the king’s side
- The words and passages which were never printed before, and amongst them the Epistle dedicatory, have been marked by asteriscs at the beginning and the end of them; and the sentences which were erased in the MS., by parentheses *[.…]* also. In the foot-notes I would chiefly draw attention to a number of corrections which are inserted in the MS. by the author’s own hand.