Thomas Hobbes, one of England's greatest and most original political philosophers, was a tutor to both the 2nd and 3rd Earls of Devonshire. Hobbes' close links to the Cavendish family provided him not only with access to the highest intellectual circles of the day, but also with the use of the exceptional library then being formed at Chatsworth. Today, the library at Chatsworth includes the largest surviving group of Hobbes' own manuscripts.

This copy of the 'Elements of Law' appears to be written in Hobbes' own hand and may have been his own original copy of the work with emendations and insertions by the author. The monogram TH is found at the head of page one.  The volume forms a short treatise on political philosophy.

Initially, the document was not published and only circulated among his acquaintances in manuscript form. A published edition appeared ten years later, initially in a 'pirated' form not approved by Hobbes. Many aspects from Elements of Law feed into Hobbes later masterwork Leviathan, cited as the greatest political philosophy in the English language.

Stay in touch with Chatsworth

Newsletter sign-up

Never miss a thing. Stay up to date with our latest news, offers and events by entering your details below: