“That Giant Monster Call’d a Multitude”

A Precursor to Leviathan’s Figurative Invocation

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Scholarship on Leviathan has not fully explored the distinctive pattern of language that Hobbes used to invoke the central conceit of the treatise—“that great Leviathan called a Commonwealth.” This note highlights an earlier instance of that rare linguistic construction, one that presented a similar image of political monstrosity several years before Hobbes’s metaphor was published. Verses in Honour of the Reverend and Learned Judge of the Law, Judge Jenkin (1648) celebrated the jurist David Jenkins as a royalist martyr in the fight against “That Giant monster call’d a multitude.” It is possible that the pamphlet might have circulated among the network of English exiles in France, offering Hobbes a linguistic model with which to reconceptualize the early modern understanding of political community.


Scholarship on Leviathan has not fully explored the distinctive pattern of language that Hobbes used to invoke the central conceit of the treatise—“that great Leviathan called a Commonwealth.” This note highlights an earlier instance of that rare linguistic construction, one that presented a similar image of political monstrosity several years before Hobbes’s metaphor was published. Verses in Honour of the Reverend and Learned Judge of the Law, Judge Jenkin (1648) celebrated the jurist David Jenkins as a royalist martyr in the fight against “That Giant monster call’d a multitude.” It is possible that the pamphlet might have circulated among the network of English exiles in France, offering Hobbes a linguistic model with which to reconceptualize the early modern understanding of political community.

Much has been made of the monstrous trope at the heart of Hobbes’s Leviathan. Less has been said, though, about the distinctive linguistic formula that the treatise uses to invoke it. In the introduction to Leviathan, Hobbes offers up his bestial body politic as a prime example of the way in which human art imitates the machinations of nature: “For by Art is created that great Leviathan called a Common-wealth, or State (in latine Civitas).”1 Articulating the concept of a social community in the form of a monster, Leviathan makes the metaphorical connection in a way that has come to resonate as a distinctively Hobbesian locution—an apt turn of phrase for conveying what Hobbes later called his treatise’s “dreadful Name.”2 In the decades after Leviathan’s initial publication, writers not only grappled with the figurative image that Hobbes constructed, they also adapted the linguistic form he used to express it.3 One of the letters in David Jones’ The Secret History of White-Hall (1697) expresses concern at the return of “that terrible Monster called a Commonwealth,” playing on Leviathan’s invocation to allude more specifically to the specter of the Commonwealth government that reigned after Charles i’s execution.4 Over the centuries, Hobbes’s linguistic formula continued to echo through the tradition of political theory, even when detached from its more fearful associations. Orestes Brownson’s The American Republic (1865) used this construction to resist the Hobbesian materialism of a social contract, addressing “that mystic existence called a state or commonwealth.”5 A 1989 Guardian article on the work of Elias Canetti, the German author of Crowds and Power (1960) and student of Hobbes, mentioned Canetti’s fascination with “that mysterious thing called a crowd.”6 These allusions consciously parallel the construction of Leviathan’s figurative invocation. Though not every instance of this structure is connected to Hobbes, the underlying formula—“that [adjective] [noun] called a [noun]”—is rare in both modern and early modern English. I have been able to locate only twenty-three instances of this linguistic form in the portion of the early modern English print record that has been transcribed by the Early English Books Online – Text Creation Partnership, a corpus consisting of more than 44,000 texts, or over one billion words.7 Despite its rarity, Hobbes was not the first to use this form to articulate an image of political monstrosity. A similar structure appeared in a line of political verse published in the first half of 1648, about a year before Hobbes likely began systematic work on Leviathan.8 In a collection honoring Judge David Jenkins as a martyr to the royalist cause, one poem describes the upheaval of the English Civil Wars as the effect of “That Giant monster call’d a multitude.”9 Scholars of Hobbes have not, so far as I have seen, examined this phrase or the pamphlet it comes from as part of the larger effort to understand Leviathan’s place in the textual culture of the Civil Wars and Commonwealth period. If Leviathan is, as Johann Sommerville has suggested, “perhaps, the most stylishly written work of political theory in any language,” then the existence of a precursor to its figurative invocation would suggest that a key element of the treatise’s stylistic verve might have been a creative reworking of a discursive pattern used to articulate royalist fears. The linguistic parallel suggests the possibility that Hobbes’s adaptation of the anarchic force of popular strife into a foundation for the state’s absolute power may have been enacted not just conceptually but syntactically.10

As the rhetorical turn in scholarship on Leviathan has demonstrated, Hobbes’s intellectual project was marked by a deep investment in the language of philosophy.11 Noel Malcolm has argued that Hobbes’s earlier writings, like The Elements of Law (1640), had been more Latinate in their linguistic terminology, while Leviathan is a treatise that “makes more of an effort to—so to speak—think for itself in English.”12 More thoroughly embedded in English discourse, Leviathan’s invocation was perhaps influenced by a felicitous pattern of language found circulating in the revolutionary print marketplace, a pattern that Hobbes might have repurposed to express his distinctive model of social power. Some of the rudiments of that linguistic form, though, did begin to take shape in his earlier work, even before his interest in the Leviathan trope emerged. While The Elements of Law lacks both the monstrosity and the metaphorical awareness of Leviathan, it demonstrates a conscientiousness about the language used to signify a political community, presenting a series of alternative names for the concept.13 Hobbes explains that the kind of social “union” he is describing “is that which men call now-a-days a body politic or civil society; and the Greeks call it πόλις, that is to say, a city.”14 Hobbes defines the concept in terms of what it is called, using the contrastive conjunction “or” to signal the terminological options available to seventeenth-century English speakers—“body politic” or “civil society”—and comparing these to a classical-language equivalent, in this case the Greek term polis. This string of words resembles the series offered later in Leviathan—“Common-wealth, or State (in latine Civitas).” Though the precise terms changed, what remained constant was Hobbes’s understanding of linguistic convention as a product of human agency and historical circumstance. In Leviathan, Hobbes takes advantage of these dimensions, pushing them further to articulate a new understanding of a political community. Invoking the Leviathan of scripture, he explains his tropological expression using the participle “called,” listing the conventional names used to refer to a social union but applying them to a monstrous image, thereby transforming his audience’s expectations.15 His readers, of course, were acquainted with the biblical Leviathan, which over the centuries had accrued a variety of figurative associations.16 Its status as a cultural touchstone was so entrenched that by the beginning of the seventeenth century the phrase “that great Leviathan” had crystallized as an English idiom for allusions to the creature.17 Hobbes capitalizes upon the familiar expression, tapping into its two key linguistic elements to affirm the Leviathan’s place and significance in the conceptual universe: the demonstrative adjective “that” signals a shared awareness of the beast between writer and readership, and the descriptor “great” illustrates the only feature of its creaturely nature that (despite conflicting interpretations of it as a whale, dragon, serpent, or crocodile) was unanimously agreed upon—its greatness in size. Yet, Hobbes invokes Leviathan’s collectively acknowledged immensity in order to connect it to the notion of a commonwealth, state, or civitas, names for a concept that was undergoing significant revision in the mid-seventeenth century.18 Suggesting that “that great Leviathan” might be “called” by these more familiar terms, Hobbes emphasizes the radical possibilities of his monstrous conceit while encouraging communal assent to its implications. Though the phrase “that great Leviathan called a Common-wealth” seems fine-tuned to serve Hobbes’s particular theoretical situation, the use of the same linguistic formula to articulate another metaphor of political monstrosity suggests how deeply embedded Leviathan may have been in the royalist anxieties of the English Civil Wars.

By early 1648, there was much for supporters of the monarchy to be anxious about. Royalist forces had largely succumbed to military defeat, the King was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, and Parliament had broken off their negotiations with him. The failures of Charles i’s generals and statesmen had left the King’s cause in need of a new kind of champion. Judge Jenkins filled that void.19 Captured at the siege of Hereford several years earlier, the Welsh jurist had refused to accept the legitimacy of parliamentary authorities to try him for treason. He declared before the House of Commons’ Committee of Examinations, “I am sworne to obey the King, and the Laws of this Land: you have not power to examine me by those Laws.”20 Jenkins used his keen judicial mind to resist Parliament’s efforts to prosecute him and to defend the legal foundation of the English monarchy, devoting his time as a prisoner in the Tower and at Newgate to the work of pamphleteering. Through publication, Jenkins built a reputation as royalism’s juridical protector, and he was prepared to die as a martyr, resolving, as John Aubrey recounted, “to be hangd with the Bible under one arme and Magna Charta under the other.”21 In a letter of intelligence collected by Sir Edward Hyde, one first-hand witness unsympathetic toward Jenkins reported that, outside a parliamentary hearing, there had gathered “a great many silly fellows” who “bowed & honored [Jenkins] as a Saint.”22 This observer noted also how a supporter of Parliament rebuked this gathering, declaring that the judge “should shortly be hanged (as I suppose he will).”23 In February of 1648, it seemed certain that Jenkins would be executed for treason. For his supporters, this meant that he would die in the name of the King and of English law.

Yet, Jenkins lived. The leaders of Parliament decided to deny him the martyrdom he sought, leaving him imprisoned until the time of the Restoration. In a set of four poems likely composed sometime in the tense moments surrounding the hearing described in Hyde’s intercepted letter but before it became clear that Parliament had decided against executing Jenkins, the judge was celebrated as a royalist martyr.24 These poems were compiled by “a Loyall Subject of his Majesties” and published as Verses in Honour of the Reverend and Learned Judge of the Law, Judge Jenkin, which Thomason dated at 14 April of 1648. With a title page that declares Jenkins “The sole Author of his Soveraignes Rights, Englands Laws, and the peoples Liberty,” the collection begins with “Upon Judge Jenkin, and his Plea,” a poem that directly places the judge alongside the royalist “Martyrdomes” of the Earl of Strafford, Archbishop Laud, and John Burley (an officer recently executed for trying to secure the King’s escape from Carisbrooke).25 The second poem, “Another Coppy of Verses on the Reverend Judge Jenkins,” echoes that sentiment, asserting “If thou fall for thy King and Kingdomes sake, / The Cause will thee, a glorious Martyr make.”26 Only the fourth and final poem, “To the Reverend and Learned Supporter of the Law, Judge David Jenkyns,” does not fixate on an impending death for him, celebrating the way in which Jenkins’ “pen cuts deeply, and more sharply strikes / Then doth a hundred thousand swords and pikes” and leaving open the possibility that he might continue to thrive as a polemicist.27

It is the third poem in the collection, “In Honour of the Reverend Father of the Law, Judge Jenkin,” that contains the line relevant to Hobbes’s Leviathan. In the effort to present Jenkins’ legal defiance as an alternative to the failure of martial resistance, the poet illustrates the precise threat England’s monarchical establishment faced:

When force of Armes could not one jot prevaile,

To make resistance ’gainst the Dragons taile,

That Giant monster call’d a multitude,

Which with a raging fury did intrude

Upon the peaceful quiet of the Land,

Then (like Gamaliel) in the gap did stand

Judge Jenkins…28

The poem contrasts Jenkins’ rabbinical wisdom with an image of grotesque chaos. Jenkins’ juridical interventions are the only measure holding back the ferocity of the untamed masses, a teeming agglomeration of people that the poem casts, using a well-worn figurative association, as a monster—unnatural, dangerous, and malicious.29 This poetic passage starts with “the Dragons taile,” a violent appendage of a fearsome creature that, much like Leviathan, had associations with Satan and the Apocalypse.30 The poem then develops the initial image by putting it into apposition with a more general reference to “That Giant monster,” securing the trope’s connection to the concept it signifies with the participial phrase “call’d a Multitude.” Anticipating the linguistic form that Hobbes would later use to proffer Leviathan’s central figure, this earlier line of verse conjures up an image of massive monstrosity and establishes its significance to an ungoverned collective. Though it is unsurprising for a defender of the traditional monarchy to associate the rabble with a monster, this construction is striking in the way that it delivers that figurative effect. The line treats “a multitude” as though it were another name applied to “That Giant monster,” reversing the implicit sequence of the figurative relationship.31 “Multitude” was the customary label for a mass of people, while “Monster,” as familiar a trope as it may have been, is understood as carrying over its distinctive implications to the initial concept.32 William Davenant, offering the same figurative association in a more conventional order in his preface to Gondibert (1650), wrote of “that which was anciently call’d a Monster, the Multitude.”33 As we would expect, Davenant’s phrasing ensures that it is the “Multitude” that has been called a “Monster,” not vice versa. The poem on Jenkins, though, coins a more dynamic formula for expressing a familiar sentiment, underscoring the treacherous character of the masses by grammatically treating “multitude” as a mere name for what is essentially a monster. There is suggestive force in the way that the poem articulates this well-known figure for social upheaval. In the hands of a more innovative thinker, this linguistic formula might have seemed ripe for exploitation, for rethinking the nature of political communities and transforming fear into a source of power.

As the example from Davenant’s writing suggests, the exiled network of royalists on the Continent were preoccupied with the social disruptions that had precipitated the Civil Wars. They had, after all, left their homeland behind, escaping the threat posed by Parliament, spurred on by fear of the chaos of an ungoverned people. While Hobbes did not adopt the form of Davenant’s reference to the monstrous multitude, he did share the poet’s concerns about political stability, lauding Davenant’s epic for its apt representation of “the actions of men” which “grow at last either into one protecting power, or into two destroying factions.”34 Like Davenant and other exiles, Hobbes, who fancied himself “the first of all that fled,” had an interest in his present historical predicament, which remained inexorably tied to events in England.35 There was a great appetite for English pamphlets and newspapers among the community of royalists on the Continent. Jason Peacey has demonstrated “the geographical reach of Civil War material.” Mid-seventeenth-century networks of personal exchange extended the circulation of texts beyond the local marketplace of London, facilitating “the distribution of print to readers as far away as Antwerp, Livorno, and even Constantinople, not least to supply royalist exiles with regular supplies of evidence about the old country.”36 News of the Jenkins affair certainly spread across the English Channel. At the time, Sir Edward Hyde was based primarily on the island of Jersey, just off the coast from France, where he maintained regular correspondence with the exiled courts. As the letter of intelligence cited above suggests, Hyde had an interest in Jenkins’ wrangling with Parliament. He collected dispatches, newsbooks, and pamphlets relevant to the case.37 It seems likely that some of these materials might even have circulated to him after passing through the courts in Paris, mediated through such contacts as the King’s Secretary of State Edward Nicholas.38 There was a continuous flow of English texts through the royalist network in France, and Hobbes, who resided in Paris and served as a tutor to Prince Charles, certainly participated in that exchange.39 While I have not been able to find documentary evidence confirming that copies of the Verses made it to the Continent, the traces we have of English print circulation permit the possibility that this pamphlet (or knowledge of its contents) could have made it to Hobbes or someone he knew.

We cannot be sure that Hobbes ever read “In Honour of the Reverend Father of the Law, Judge Jenkin.” He does, though, seem to have had a relationship with Jenkins himself, at least after the Restoration. Jenkins, of course, outlived the celebrations of his martyrdom, remaining a persistent champion of the monarchy in the print marketplace. His service to the King’s cause made it likely that he would be, upon Charles ii’s return, elevated to the office of Judge at Westminster. Jenkins, though, reportedly refused to pay Hyde, then Earl of Clarendon, for the privilege of the promotion. Hobbes heard the tale from Jenkins himself, with whom he seems to have been on friendly terms. Aubrey gave Hobbes the last word in his life of Jenkins, relating that “Mr. T. Hobbes, Malmesburiensis, told him one day at dinner that that hereafter would not shew well for somebodie’s Honour in History.”40 The comment says as much about Jenkins’ unrewarded virtue as it does Hobbes’s animosity toward Hyde, whose critique of Leviathan insinuated that Hobbes had sympathized with the Commonwealth government.41 We can only speculate on what else was discussed in a dinner conversation between Hobbes and Jenkins. Both men had spent years studying and writing on the problem of civil strife. Jenkins was committed to a conception of the kingdom that rested on the metaphysical wholeness of the body politic, asserting that “always the Assent of the King giveth the life to all, as the soul to the body.”42 For many royalists, monarchy was the realization of the state’s organic unity, and any deviation constituted a distortion of it. Though Jenkins did not himself gravitate toward images of monstrosity in describing the parliamentarian cause, other royalists—including the poet who sought to honor him—had cast the opposition to the King in the form of a monster. Jenkins, nonetheless, provides a stark contrast to Hobbes, who was quite alone in harnessing the monstrosity of popular power to an absolutist end. Hobbes’s effort to conceptualize a social union that remained alive to the dangers within it had led him to remake the traditional image of the body politic so revered by Jenkins and other royalists. The two men shared a table in an England once again ruled by a king, but they did not share a common understanding of the source of that monarch’s power. Hobbes had made a radical departure from conventional royalist thought and discourse. In the process, though, he might have taken some inspiration from a promising turn of phrase that vividly depicted that which threatened the order of the state.

As Sommerville has demonstrated, “Hobbes frequently adopted or adapted familiar materials,” taking “commonly held views and, by introducing a few changes, employ[ing] them to reach unfamiliar conclusions.”43 There was, inevitably, a linguistic dimension to this process, so we should be unsurprised to find a pattern of language that Hobbes, consciously or not, might have taken and made his own. While the image from the Verses on Jenkins is largely conventional in its content, highlighting the perversion and menace of the rabble run amok, its form is distinctive. In a poem celebrating a monarchical jurist as the last hope for resistance against a rebellion, this construction gave a traditional trope an evocative edge. In a treatise theorizing a new way to understand social power, this construction helped overturn the way that early modern minds fundamentally thought about political community. To give a monster the name “multitude” did not defy cultural expectations, but to give the greatest of all monsters the name “commonwealth” demanded a reckoning. In Book 2 of Leviathan, Hobbes explicitly lays out the connection between these concepts, explaining that “the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a Common-wealth, in latine Civitas.” “This,” he insists, “is the Generation of that great Leviathan.”44 Hobbes had made the leap from multitude to commonwealth, eschewing the harmonious imagery generally used to conceptualize a peaceful state by showing that a population’s monstrosity could not be stripped away, only harnessed. Whether or not he or someone he knew read the Verses on Jenkins, the use of the same rare linguistic form to conjure up societal monsters at such a charged moment in English history has suggestive implications for understanding the relationship between Hobbes’s masterwork and the textual culture from which it emerged. “That Giant monster call’d a multitude” contains within it the linguistic equipment to invoke the central conceit of that great treatise called Leviathan.


T. Hobbes, Leviathan, in The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan, ed. N. Malcolm, vol. 2 (3 vols., Oxford: Oxford up, 2012), 16.


Hobbes, “The Verse Life,” in The Elements of Law … with Three Lives, ed. J.C.A. Gaskin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 259.


I use the term “linguistic form” as D. Shore defines it, referring to “constructions that are at least partially lexically unfilled, abstract, variable, and therefore capable of producing and being instantiated in multiple distinct utterances,” “Shakespeare’s Constructicon,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 66 (2015), 116. Shore demonstrates the value of examining, not just the lexicon, but also the structural patterns of early modern texts.


D. Jones, The Secret History of White-Hall (London, 1697). Available from Early English Books Online.


O. Brownson, The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny, ed. A.D. Lapati (New Haven, Conn.: College and University Press, 1972), 66.


D. Christy, “Flight from Enchanters: Review of The Torch in My Ear by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschet,” The Guardian (London), Dec. 21, 1989. For Canetti’s engagement with Hobbes, see H. Reiss, “Elias Canetti’s Attitude to Writers and Writings,” in A Companion to the Works of Elias Canetti, ed. D.C.G. Lorenz (Rochester, ny: Camden House, 2004), 66–70.


I conducted this analysis of the eebo-tcp texts using Andrew Hardie’s CQPweb [https://cqpweb.lancs.ac.uk], searching the most recent modernized and part-of-speech tagged version (v3) of the corpus. The tcp texts only represent around a quarter of the archive of early English print and contain a small percentage of omissions and errors in transcription, so future research on this linguistic pattern will likely find other relevant instances. On the limitations of eebo-tcp in terms of accuracy and scope, see M. Mueller, “Are the Text Creation Partnership Texts Good Enough for Research Purposes?,” Scalable Reading (2012), [https://scalablereading.northwester.edu]; and M. Steggle, “The Cruces of Measure for Measure and eebo-tcp,” Review of English Studies 65 (2014), 439–442. In addition to the Jenkins poem, Leviathan, and The Secret History of White-Hall, I have located three other early modern texts that use this linguistic formula to express a political sentiment, all of which were published in the decades after Leviathan’s composition and which lack the Hobbesian associations with monstrosity, relying instead upon the less evocative noun “thing.” These include William Howell’s reference to “that Rebellious thing called a Parliament at Westminster” in Medulla Historiæ Anglicanæ (London, 1679), 472; Elkanah Settle’s gibe at “that terrible thing called a Kingkiller” in his A Narrative (London, 1683), 3; and the mention of “that Glorious thing called a king” in Aphra Behn’s The Amours of Philander and Silvia (1687), 458. Most of the other examples use this form as a classificatory flourish, descriptively connecting genus to species. For instance, Anthony Fletcher describes “that precious stone called a carbuncle” in Certaine Very Proper, and Most Profitable Similies (London, 1595), 59; and Quakero initiates a bawdy innuendo with “that little creature called a cat” in Thomas Duffet’s The Mock-Tempest (London, 1675), 46. I have found only two other examples that use this structure to enact an explicitly figurative expression in the way that Hobbes does: Concavum Cappo-Cloacorum (London, 1682), 67, lauds “that dangerous weapon called a pen” and Thomas Brown’s A Collection of Miscellany Poems, Letters, &c. (1699), 334, disparages “that Hot Bed call’d a Play-house.” I omitted from my search a few irrelevant cases in which “that” is used as something other than a demonstrative adjective or “called” is incorporated into a verb phrase. The variant construction “that [adjective] [noun] named a [noun]” only finds one instance in the corpus. I also used Mark Davies’ search tool [http://corpus.byu.edu] to locate a few examples of this linguistic form in modern English corpora, including the Corpus of Historical American English and the British National Corpus.


A.P. Martinich supports January 1649 as the probable start date for Leviathan’s composition, Hobbes: A Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge, 1999), 213. N. Malcolm suggests a gradual development for Leviathan in the wake of Hobbes’s revision of De Cive in 1646, until “at some stage between the summer of 1649 and the summer of 1650 Hobbes began to think of his work as a book to be published in print,” “On the Clarendon Edition of Hobbes’s Leviathan: A Response,” Journal of the History of Ideas (2015), 305–307.


Anon., “In Honour of the Reverend Father of the Law, Judge Jenkin,” in A Loyall Subject of his Majesties, Verses in Honour of the Reverend and Learned Judge of the Law, Judge Jenkin ([London], 1648), 5–7, 6. Available from Early English Books Online.


J. Sommerville, Thomas Hobbes: Political Ideas in Historical Context (Bastingstoke: Macmillan, 1992), 1.


See V. Kahn, Rhetoric, Prudence, and Skepticism in the Renaissance (Ithaca, ny: Cornell up, 1985), 52–181; D. Johnston, The Rhetoric of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Cultural Transformation (Princeton: Princeton up, 1986); C. Cantalupo, A Literary Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes’s Masterpiece of Language (Lewisburg: Bucknell up, 1991); R. Prokhovnik, Rhetoric and Philosophy in Hobbes’s Leviathan (New York: Garland, 1991); and Q. Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (Cambridge: Cambridge up, 1996).


N. Malcolm, “The Writing of Leviathan,” in The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan, vol. 1, 102.


On Leviathan’s approach to metaphor, see J. Wilson-Quayle, “Resolving Hobbes’s Metaphorical Contradiction: The Role of the Image in the Language of Politics,” Philosophy & Rhetoric, 29 (1996), 15–32; and A. Musolff, “Ignes Fatui or Apt Similitudes?: The Apparent Denunciation of Metaphor by Thomas Hobbes,” Hobbes Studies, 18 (2005), 96–117. Skinner suggests that, in The Elements of Law, Hobbes’s “figures and tropes are almost invariably familiar to the point of triteness,” 308.


Hobbes, The Elements of Law: Natural and Politic, ed. F. Tönnies (2nd ed., London: Frank Cass, 1969), i.19, 104.


The simpler form of the formula—“[noun] called a [noun]”—was a common structure in early modern English and was most often used to do the work of classification. For instance, John Florio’s A Worlde of Words (London, 1598) defines several Italian words as “a fish called a carpe,” linking the familiar genus of creature to a particular species. As with the “that [adjective] [noun] called a [noun]” construction, figurative expressions that use the “called” form were more rare.


See S. Mintz, “Leviathan as Metaphor,” Hobbes Studies, 2 (1989), 3–9; and N. Malcolm, “The Name and Nature of Leviathan: Political Symbolism and Biblical Exegesis,” Intellectual History Review, 17 (2007), 21–39.


The earliest mention of the phrase “that great Leviathan” that I have found is from W. Gearing, The Arraignment of Pride (London, 1600), 14. Available from Early English Books Online.


On the transformation of the term “commonwealth” from a general reference to the public good to a specific association with republicanism, see J. Scott, Commonwealth Principles: Republican Writing of the English Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge up, 2004), 34–9. Hobbes’s use of the word seems to take advantage of its connection to popular power, while subverting its republican aspirations.


On Jenkins’ life and career, see C. Brooks, “Jenkins, David (1582–1663),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); W. Epstein, “Judge Jenkins and the Great Civil War,” The Journal of Legal History, 3 (1982), 187–221; C.G. Hall, “Nearly But Not Quite a Martyr: Judge David Jenkins of Hensol,” The Cambrian Law Review, 59 (1986), 59–75; and R. Ashton, Counter-Revolution: The Second Civil War and its Origins, 1646–8 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994), 109–114.


D. Jenkins, The Vindication of Judge Jenkins (London, 1647), 2. Available from Early English Books Online.


J. Aubrey, “David Jenkins,” in Aubrey’s Brief Lives, ed. O. Dick (Ann Arbor, mi: University of Michigan Press, 1957), 173.


Anon., Clarendon State Papers, vol. i, no. 2731 (24 February 1648), qtd. in Epstein, “Judge David Jenkins and the Great Civil War,” 216.




The first of the poems bears the date of Jenkins’ hearing—14 February 1647/8—as part of its full title. Anon., “Upon Judge Jenkin, and his Plea before the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, Lord Manchester, William Lenthall Esquire, at the Chancery Barre, Feb. 14. 1647,” in A Loyall Subject, Verses, 2.




T.I. (or T.J.), “Another Coppy of Verses on the Reverend Judge Jenkins, in A Loyall Subject, Verses, 5. This is the only poem in the collection with a clear authorial attribution, the initials T.I.


Anon., “To the Reverend and Learned Supporter of the Law, Judge David Jenkins,” in A Loyall Subject, Verses, 8.


Anon., “In Honour of the Reverend Father of the Law, Judge Jenkin,” in A Loyall Subject, Verses, 6–7. The cryptic words “G.W. Basileophilos” appear in the margin just above the quoted passage. This may be a gloss of some kind, but it could also be an authorial attribution, albeit one that appears in the middle of the poem. If that is the case, the epithet translating to “lover of the king” might have been designed to distinguish between this G.W. and the parliamentarian poet George Wither.


On the monstrosity of the multitude, see C. Hill, “The Many-Headed Multitude,” in Change and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press, 1975), 181–186.


Malcolm, “The Name and Nature of Leviathan,” 26.


On metaphorical transference as conceptualized by Aristotle, the key authority on the matter for early modern thinkers, see J. Kirby, “Aristotle on Metaphor,” The American Journal of Philology, 118 (1997), 517–554.


For Hobbes’s conception of the people as a multitude, see P. Hammond, Milton and the People (Oxford: Oxford up, 2014), 139–49.


W. Davenant, The Author’s Preface, in William Davenant’s Gondibert, ed. D.F. Gladish (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), 12.


Hobbes, Answer to Davenant, in William Davenant’s Gondibert, 50.


Hobbes, “Considerations upon the Reputation, Loyalty, Manners, and Religion,” in The English Works of Thomas Hobbes, ed. W. Molesworth (London: John Bohn, 1966), iv.414. Martinich speculates that Hobbes was most likely in France by November of 1640, Hobbes: A Biography, 162.


J. Peacey, Print and Public Politics in the English Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 70.


Hyde’s papers contain material on the Jenkins affair from 1647 through 1648, including several versions of printed pamphlets, such as a hand transcription of Jenkins’ A Recantation of Judge Jenkins (London, 1647) and printed copies of Jenkins’ A Declaration of Mr. David Jenkins Now Prisoner in the Tower of London (London, 1647) and Henry Parker’s­ rebuttal to the judge, An Answer to the Poysonous Sedicious Paper of Mr. David Jenkins (London, 1647). See Calendar of the Clarendon State Papers Preserved in the Bodleian Library, ed. Octavius Ogle et al., 5 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1869–1970), vol. i, 364, 373, 378, 395, 409, 412, 413, 416. David Como has also brought to my attention two other entries on Jenkins that are not catalogued in the Calendar (the latter of which is misdated as 1646/7, while addressing events of early 1647/8): Bodleian, ms Clarendon 29, fol. 134r-v, 140r. Another royalist exile with an interest in Jenkins was William Beale, Dean of Ely, who served as chaplain to Hyde in both Spain and France. He died on the Continent in 1651, and his will, which also appears in Hyde’s papers, lists among his library Jenkins’ collected works, The Works of that Grave and Learned Lawyer Judge Jenkins (London, 1648), Calendar of the Clarendon State Papers, vol. ii, 80.


R. Ollard notes of Hyde’s time in Jersey that “[c]ommunication with France was easy and frequent: books and newspapers were to be had from Paris and Rouen,” Clarendon and His Friends (New York: Artheneum, 1988), 105. Nicholas had endorsed Hyde’s copy of Jenkins’ Declaration, Calendar of the Clarendon State Papers, vol. i, 378. Additionally, Hyde’s transcription of the Recantation may have been in the hand of Nicholas’ clerk, according to an editorial note in State Papers Collected by Edward, Earl of Clarendon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1773), vol. ii, 365.


While in France, Hobbes had access not only to philosophical texts but also to English pamphlets related to the conflicts at home. For instance, he reported, in a letter to the Earl of Devonshire, having read A Petition to the Parliament from the Countie of Nottingham (London, 1641). See “Hobbes to William Cavendish, Third Earl of Devonshire, From Paris,” in N. Malcolm (ed.), The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 120.


Aubrey, “David Jenkins,” 173.


Hyde reported that, upon asking him “why he would publish such doctrine,” Hobbes replied, “The truth is, I have a mind to go home,” suggesting an affinity for a kingless England, A Brief View and Survey of … Mr. Hobbes’s Book (London, 1676), 7–8. Available from Early English Books Online.


Jenkins, 7.


Sommerville, 2.


Hobbes, Leviathan, 260.

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