Tag Archives: The Tempest

On this day in 1588 – Thomas Hobbes was born

Thomas Hobbes was born on 5th April 1588 in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. It was rumoured he was born early due to the incoming Spanish Armada.

Hobbes studied at Oxford and it took him nearly five years to complete his degree but upon graduating he was quickly recommended to become the tutor of William Cavendish. Hobbes and Cavendish became firm companions and in 1610 travelled Europe together; here he saw the scholars and philosophers at work. His companion and employer died in 1628 and Hobbes found himself unemployed but quickly gained another tutor position for Gervase Clifton. This short lived role only lasted two years as he was reemployed by the Cavendish family for the son of his former master.

During this period of time tutoring the youngest Cavendish Hobbes also expanded his own knowledge of philosophy and after 1636 he was a regular debater in Paris philosophic groups and he began considering himself as a philosopher as well as a scholar.

Hobbes began working and studying areas from physical momentum to bodily motions involved in sensation, knowledge and passions.

Hobbes returned to England in 1637, after the end of the Tudor reign. Within the next three years Hobbes wrote a paper called The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic. This was never officially published a copy did make its way to the public 10 years later and it was clear that the document showed hints of the political crisis that was to come.

When civil war broke out in England Hobbes was already in self imposed exile in Paris where he continued his philosophical studies. In 1647 Hobbes became the maths tutor to Prince Charles, whilst he was also in exile.

Hobbes also published work under the title Leviathan which set out a doctrine for the foundation of states and legitimate governments. This was written during the civil war era. After the civil war and England returned to a monarchy a bill was passed against atheism, which Hobbes had been accused of in the past. Due to his connection as former tutor to the new King Charles II he was somewhat protected. A committee believed that Hobbes’ Leviathan showed atheist tendencies, this led to Hobbes burning some of his more compromising books for fear of being labelled a heretic. With the bill passed Hobbes was unable to publish any more of his work in England he could not even respond to his critics. Hobbes continued publishing his work abroad and gained a great reputation.

Hobbes died on 4th December 1679 and was buried in St. John the Baptist Church in Ault Hucknall, Derbyshire.

Thomas Hobbes

On this day in 1572 – William Strachey was born

William Strachey was born on 4th April 1572 in Saffron Walden, Essex. He was born to William Strachey and Mary Cooke.

Strachey attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge but it appears that he did not undertake a degree. He is also recorded attending Gray’s Inn but again there is nothing to suggest he completed his education and began a career in law.

Strachey began writing sonnets and was a keen attendant of London plays. He also owned shares in the Children of the Revels child acting troupe who performed in the Blackfriars Theatre. Blackfriars was leased to them by Richard Burbage, who also owned The Globe Theatre with William Shakespeare.

In 1605 Strachey was in financial difficulty and gained a position with the ambassador to Turkey, which meant Strachey began travelling the world but less than three years later he was dismissed due to an argument. In 1609 Strachey bought shares in the Virginia Company and set off for the New World and joined Sir Thomas Gate and sir George Somers about the Sea Venture to set sail for Virginia.

The Sea Venture had set sail and was blown off course because of a hurricane. The ship found itself not in Virginia but in Bermuda, where they were stranded for a year. Strachey wrote a letter in 1610 simply addressed to ‘Excellent Lady’ in 1625 it was published. This letter is believed to be one of William Shakespeare’s key sources for one his later plays The Tempest. This was due to similar themes between the two.

Strachey died in June 1621 from unknown causesStrachey writing