Samuel Sorbière

Howard Warrender (ed.), The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes, Vol. 2: De Cive: The Latin Version

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8. Sorbière to Hobbes. 16462

I am angry that Elzevir has so long delayed the publication of your book; yet it happened quite against his will, since when he had the Physics of Le Roi in hand, some additions by the author were suddenly sent which caused a tedious delay of the work. Now indeed his press is labouring over the Table of Contents, and there is a hope that before the end of a fortnight he will send me the first copy. But look,3 even as I write this I have obtained that very thing, Elzevir himself bringing it. Get ready therefore the part that you had completed in English, so that you may send it, when a friendly occasion offers, and along with it duly, I beg, that M. Gassendi may entrust to our care his Physics, for which our printers are gasping. They [our printers] are much to be preferred to those at Lyons, whether he wishes an elegant or speedy publication. But most excellent Sir, now that you have been brought near the Prince, will you have enough time over to be able to write every day the line that remains to be written? O how worthy of you is the task that is laid upon you! How fortunate is your country likely to be, when it receives a most wise king imbued with your precepts! I rejoice and congratulate you from my heart, whatever the loss we perchance may suffer from the delaying of the promised part of your Elements. In truth I am grieved only for the lot of the most noble Martel as he returns to Montauban, for he will experience remarkable pangs in that parting. For my part I could wish that that most eminent man would take up his abode in Paris, a thing of which you might consider by what means it can be at last brought about, situated as you are on that pinnacle at Court, and at the same time look out if you can in any way to help our friend Du Prat the Doctor from Lyons, a man of the stoutest heart in the most adverse fortune; for he is among the few who cultivate4good sense;4 he is not unknown to Gassendi and, as I think, very dear to him. I still struggle on with the intention of surviving if perchance I may, and I am hastening with my dear wife to Leyden, where my house will be open to receive students. If therefore you know any noble Britons who are about to go to the University, I ask that you send them to me. Farewell most learned Sir, 1646.5


2 There is no indication of place or precise date. Tönnies dates this letter in August 1646.

3 en tibi. This has been translated as merely an exclamation. It is possible, however, that the 'tibi' could have the meaning 'here is for you' if Sorbière was enclosing the first proofs to Hobbes; cf. Letter 9 (En tibi epigramma).

4–4 Bonam mentem. This appears to be an attempt to render in Latin Descartes' phrase 'le bon sens'.

5 Bib. Nat., MS Fonds Latin 10352, vol. I, ff. 90v–91r. Tönnies, pp. 70–1.

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