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William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire, pupil of Thomas Hobbes, 1590

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William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire, pupil of Thomas Hobbes. 

William Cavendish (1590-1628), the 2nd Earl of Devonshire, was the pupil of Thomas Hobbes, who was hired by Cavendish’s father (also William and the 1st Earl of Devonshire) as the private tutor of William, the younger, after Hobbes left Oxford with his B.A. in 1608. Hobbes accompanied Cavendish on a Grand Tour of France from 1610-1615, where the two interacted more as scholarly peers and as friends than as tutor and pupil. In his dedicatory epistle to his translation of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, published in the year of Cavendish’s early death, Hobbes praises his friend’s learned discernment. The Cavendish family played the very significant role of patron in Hobbes’s early life, allowing him access to books (at the time, dearly priced). They are also responsible for introducing Hobbes to Lord Francis Bacon in the years preceding Bacon’s death.


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