Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 15
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half of Leviathan to "a demolition of the Church's claim to have any significant role to play, as
God's representative on earth, in the discourse of political sovereignty" (Hobbes 2, Sim 19).
Before continuing with a discussion of how particular Hobbesian theories applies to
specific Restoration and eighteenth-century libertines, it is necessary to define several general
terms appearing in Hobbes's Leviathan and demonstrate how they apply to Restoration and
eighteenth-century libertines in general. Hobbes describes the state of nature or the "natural
condition of man." He writes:
Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep
them in all awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is
of every man, against every man. For Warre, consisteth not in Battell onely, or the act of
fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the Will to contend by Battell is sufficiently
known: and therefore the notion of Time, is to be considered in the nature of Warre; as it
is in the nature of Weather. For as the nature of Foule weather, lyeth not in a showre or
two of rain; but in an inclination thereto in of many dayes together: So the nature of War,
consisteth not in actuall fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time
there is no assurance to the contrary. All the other time is Peace.
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is
Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other
security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall.
In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain:
and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that
may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and
removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the Face of the earth; no
account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall
feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and
short. (Hobbes 60, 62)
Restoration and eighteenth-century libertines, fictional real-life libertines, often misinterpreted
Leviathan. Instead of inferring that Hobbes opposed the chaotic life resulting from a state of
nature in which no controls existed, they implicitly embraced the state of nature Hobbes
denounced. Libertines typically advocated embracing and following instincts and ignoring-and
in some cases, as we shall see in the section following, attempting to destroy social institutions
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/21/?q=rochester: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .