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An undated document survives, in Thomas Hobbes's hand, urging the royalist side in the Civil War to win over Robert Rich, the second earl of Warwick (the parliamentarian naval commander). By this means, Hobbes argued, not only would the royalists win the war, but also England would be defended against a Swedish invasion, which he expected to accompany or follow the Scottish invasion of the country. This communication presents the text of the document and gives reasons for dating it not to 1648 (when an attempt to win over Warwick was in fact made) but to late 1643 or early 1644. It also discusses the basis of Hobbes's concern with Scottish–Swedish relations, and his misinterpretation of Swedish policy. It comments on his estimate of Warwick's character, in the light of his earlier connections with him; and it briefly discusses both Hobbes's assumption in this document of the role of a counsellor to the king, and the interpretation of the nature of the Civil War that the document implies.

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All Souls College, Oxford OX1
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N. Malcolm , Aspects of Hobbes (Oxford, 2002), pp. 5379

W. F. Craven , ‘The earl of Warwick, a speculator in piracy’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 10 (1930), pp. 457–79

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The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
  • URL: /core/journals/historical-journal
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