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EARLY LIFE Thomas Hobbes was born at Westport adjoining Malmesbury in Wiltshire on April 5 1588 His father the vicar of the parish so John Aubery tells us was one of the ignorant Sir Johns of Queen Elizabeths time could only read the prayers of the church and the homilies and valued not learning as not knowing the sweetness of it Letters written by eminent persons and Lives of eminent men 1813 Hobbes led a sheltered and leisured life His education was provided for by an uncle a solid tradesman and alderman of Malmesbury He was already a good Latin and Greek scholar when not yet fifteen he was sent to Magdalen Hall Oxford On leaving Oxford in 1608 he became companion to the eldest son of Lord Cavendish of Hardwicke afterwards created Earl of Devonshire and his connection with the Cavendish family lasted although not without interruptions till his death Three times in his life Hobbes traveled on the continent with a pupil His first journey was begun in 1610 and in it he visited France Germany and Italy learning the French and Italian languages and gaining experience but not yet conscious of his lifes work On his return the date is uncertain he settled down with his young lord at Hardwick an din London His secretarial duties were light and he set himself to become a scholar To this period belongs his acquaintance with Bacon Herbert of Cherbury Ben Johnson and other leading men of the time Hobbess pupil and friend died in 1628 two years after the death of the first earl his son and successor was a boy of eleven his widow did not need the services of a secretary and for a time there was no place in the household for Hobbes In 1629 he left for the continent again with a new pupil returning from this second journey in 1631 to take charge of the young earls education
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