For the Greek alphabet, I have simply substituted the nearest ordinary letters that I can, and I have used initial capitals for foreign language words.
Neither Thomas Hobbes nor his typesetters seem to have had many inhibitions about spelling and punctuation. I have tried to reproduce both exactly, with the exception of the introduction of quotation marks.
In preparing the text, I have found that it has much more meaning if I read it with sub-vocalization, or aloud, rather than trying to read silently. Hobbes’ use of emphasis and his eccentric punctuation and construction seem then to work.
by Thomas Hobbes
the matter, forme, & power
of A common-wealth
By Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury.
Printed for Andrew Crooke, at the Green Dragon in St. Paul’s Churchyard, 1651.
my most HONOR’D friend
Mr. Francis Godolphin
Your most worthy Brother Mr Sidney Godolphin, when he lived, was pleas’d to think my studies something, and otherwise to oblige me, as you know, with reall testimonies of his good opinion, great in themselves, and the greater for the worthinesse of his person. For there is not any vertue that disposeth a man, either to the service of God, or to the service of his Country, to Civill Society, or private Friendship, that did not manifestly appear in his conversation, not as acquired by necessity, or affected upon occasion, but inhaerent, and shining in a generous constitution of his nature. Therefore in honour and gratitude to him, and with devotion to your selfe, I humbly Dedicate unto you this my discourse of Common-wealth. 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, ’tis hard to passe between the points of both unwounded. But yet, me thinks, the endeavour to advance the Civill Power, should not be by the Civill 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 unpartiall creatures in the Roman Capitol, that with their noyse 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, alledged by me to other purpose