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

Contents
Find Location in text

Main Text

pg vFOREWORD AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

While not the first to be written, Hobbes's De Cive was the first version of his political philosophy to be published, and indeed the first of his major original works to be put into print. Not that this was Hobbes's initial intention. In his grand plan for the systematic exposition of human knowledge the treatise on society and politics was to be placed after the study of body and of man. But, as Hobbes explains, finding his native country sliding into civil war, the emergency plucked from him his political work and 'what was last in order, is yet come forth first in time'. Given such a pedigree, it is I hope not inappropriate that De Cive should be the first of Hobbes's works to appear in the present series.

The Latin and English texts of De Cive occupy respectively volumes two and three in the scheme, and though separately bound, the two versions as here produced are designed to complement each other and to be used together.

This edition of De Cive arises from a project I began as long ago as 1960. Whereas Molesworth's collected edition of Hobbes's works had done commendable service as a standard source of reference, I had found myself on occasion obliged to resort to the original editions in order to clarify matters of interpretation in Hobbes's doctrine, and so led to become increasingly aware of the inadequacies of Molesworth's texts for the needs of the advanced student and in particular for certain research purposes. It seemed worth while therefore to undertake a revised edition of Hobbes's works, which would embody modern editorial practices and would make a more complete use of manuscript as well as early printed sources than had been attempted by Molesworth and his assistant. I hoped, further, to be able to make significant use of the Hobbes and related correspondence. As the scheme was finally envisaged moreover, it appeared that allowance should also be made for a prospective decline of facility in Latin, accompanied by the spread of English as a universal language for scholars. In addition, therefore, it seemed advisable to make as much as possible of Hobbes's material readily available to the English reader.

I must in the first place record my considerable debt to the Delegates of the Clarendon Press for their encouragement and confidence many pg viyears ago in approving of this enterprise and in agreeing to the publication of De Cive. Indeed, without their encouragement and support it is unlikely that the project would ever have begun. At a critical stage, moreover, the editorial work was greatly advanced through a substantial grant from the Social Science Research Council of Great Britain, which enabled me to visit libraries and to secure research material and assistance. I am pleased to have the opportunity to express my gratitude for their invaluable support.

In the production of the two texts I have incurred many debts. Inevitably an editor must rely deeply upon his library resources. I must thank Bodley's Librarian and his staff for their courtesy and efficiency in supplying me with microfilm and photocopies of many of Hobbes's works from their excellent collection of the early editions. May I thank also the Librarian and staff of the British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale, always most helpful; likewise the University Librarians of Glasgow and Aberdeen for lending me special copies of De Cive in their possession. I recall with great pleasure my visits to King's College, Cambridge, where I was allowed to consult the Keynes Collection and given much assistance with my enquiries. But above all, I am indebted to His Grace the Duke of Devonshire and the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement for granting me permission to make such extensive use of the Hobbes manuscripts, and should like to add a tribute to Thomas Wragg for his friendship and helpfulness during the many visits I made to Chatsworth. May I also thank finally the Librarians and staff of my resident universities of Queen's, Belfast, and of Sheffield, who have coped so admirably with my numerous demands upon their time and patience.

A great deal of the editorial work for De Cive was completed while I was a member of staff of the Queen's University of Belfast, against a background of civil disorder only too tragically similar to that which led Hobbes to bring forth the original text. For her help with this editorial material, my greatest debt is to Mrs Mary Faris, who worked as my research assistant on the Hobbes project for a number of years, though the description understates her share in the exercise. Not only has Mary Faris provided specially for the present edition translations of Bruno's verses and the Hobbes correspondence, but has executed many of the translations required throughout the texts; and more generally both the Latin and English versions of De Cive owe a great deal to her erudition and enthusiasm. I am pleased to acknowledge the significance of her contribution. May I also thank Mrs Joan Barnwell for assistance with pg viimaterial on the Elzevir presses and Mrs Carol Needham for helping to check the holdings of the Bibliothèque Nationale.

I owe especial thanks to Mrs Elizabeth Dawson for her much-valued assistance in organizing and typing the editorial material for these two volumes. Thanks are due also to Miss Isobel Dougherty and Mrs Maureen Parrett who dealt with the formidable mounds of xerox copying required at various stages of the work; and to Dr and Mrs J. C. Davies who helped with the arduous task of checking the variant readings from sources for the Latin text. I have benefited considerably from the advice and encouragement of Peter Nidditch, as well as from his example, and must thank him for allowing some of his editorial virtues to rub off on me. E. G. Jacoby generously supplied me with material from his extensive knowledge of Tönnies' work in the field; and Tito Magri made available textual discoveries he had remarked while preparing his scholarly Italian translation of De Cive, at present in the press.

I must make particular mention of Maurice Goldsmith, who read my entire typescript in its final stages, and contributed much useful criticism, advice, and information, for which I am considerably in his debt. Not least, it remains to add my thanks and compliments to the Publisher and his staff for their invaluable assistance throughout, and to the Printer for delivering in such excellent form the most difficult of Hobbes's major works to extract from the original texts. May I also thank the editors and publishers of Rivista critica di storia della filosofia and The Library for permission to republish herein material I contributed erstwhile to these journals. Further, may I use this occasion to indicate my gratitude to many others from many parts of the world who have written to me at various times concerning the Hobbes project, and hope that the present edition will be some recompense for their interest and friendship. Lastly I should like to thank my wife, to whom this edition of Hobbes's De Cive is dedicated, for living so cheerfully with it for so many years, for the holidays spent in Hobbesian places and for her never-failing encouragement.

Without so much help and good will the present edition would have been much impaired if not impossible. Its shortcomings nevertheless are my own, and I shall be pleased to have the omissions made good and my errors amended. It will be sufficiently rewarding if I have been able to put the matter on a proper basis.

As I sign this foreword at the tercentenary of Hobbes's death, I am prompted to the reflection that whatever the deficiencies of the author pg viiiwhose work has been my preoccupation, there are few of the classic writers in political philosophy who have maintained so clearly their relevance to the ever unfolding political scene, or are as likely so to continue.

Howard Warrender

Department of Political Theory and Institutions

The University of Sheffield

4 December 1979

logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out