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SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH, BART.
HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
TO MY MOST HONOR'D FRIEND
MR. FRANCIS GODOLPHIN,
Your most worthy brother, Mr. SIDNEY GODOLPHIN, when he lived, was pleased to think my
studies something, and otherwise to oblige me, as you know, with real testimonies of his good opinion, great in themselves, and the greater for the worthiness of his person. For there is not any virtue that disposeth a man, either to the service of God, or to the service of his country, to civil society,or private friendship, that did not manifestly appear in his conversation, not as acquired by necessity, or affected upon occasion, but inherent, and shining in a generous constitution of his nature. Therefore, in honour and gratitude to him, and with devotion to yourself, I humbly dedicate unto you this my discourse of Commonwealth. I know not how the world will receive it, nor how it may reflect on those that shall seem to favour it. For in a way beset with those that contend, on one side for too great liberty, and on the other side for too much authority, 't is hard to pass between the points of both unwounded. But yet, methinks, the
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.
endeavour to advance the civil power, should not be by the civil power condemned ; nor private men, by reprehending it, declare they think that power too great. Besides, I speak not of the men, but, in the abstract, of the seat of power, (like to those simple and unpartial creatures in the Roman Capitol, that with their noise defended those within it, not because they were they, but there), offending none, I think, but those without, or such within, if there be any such, as favour them. That which perhaps may most offend, are certain texts of Holy Scripture, alleged by me to other purpose than ordinarily they use to be by others. But I have done it with due submission, and also, in order to my subject, necessarily; for they are the outworks of the enemy, from whence they impugn the civil power. If notwithstanding this, you find my labour generally decried, you may be pleased to excuse yourself, and say, I am a man that love my own opinions, and think all true I say, that I honoured your brother, and honour you, and have presumed on that, to assume the title, without your knowledge, of being, as I am,
THOMAS HOBBES. Paris, April 15, 1651.