The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.
§ 13. Filmer
Sir Robert Filmer was also among the critics of Hobbes’s politics, though he owes his fame to the circumstance that he was himself criticised by Locke. He maintained the doctrine of absolute power as strongly as Hobbes did, and, like him, thought that limited monarchy meant anarchy; and he had written on these topics in king Charles’s time. But he would not admit that this power could rest on contract, and, in his Originall of Government (1652), attacked Hobbes as well as Milton and Grotius. His own views are set forth in his Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings, first published in 1680, twenty-seven years after his death. Filmer was by no means devoid of critical insight. He saw that the doctrine that all men are by nature free and equal is not true historically and, therefore, is no good ground for making popular consent the origin of government.
Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, is also to be counted among the critics of Hobbes’s political theory. His Brief Survey of the dangerous and pernicious Errors to Church and State in Mr. Hobbes’s book (1674) is a protest against the paradoxes of Leviathan, but is lacking in any element of constructive criticism.