Edward Forsett

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Edward Forset (or Forsett) (1553 – 1630) was an English writer, known for political works and as a playwright.

A justice of the peace, he was involved on the prosecution side of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.[1][2]

In A Comparative Discourse (1606) he contributed to the traditional monarchist theory of the king's two bodies: the body politic and the body natural.[3] This is considered one important source for later divine right and royalist ideas, as well as spinning out the bodily metaphor (the King as the heart).

The 1624 Defence of the Right of Kings was a belated reply to writings of the Jesuit Robert Parsons.

His Pedantius was a Latin comedy. It made fun of Gabriel Harvey.[4]


  • Pedantius (1581) (online text)
  • A Comparative Discourse of the Bodies Natural and Politique (1606)
  • A Defence of the Right of Kings. Wherein the power of the papacie over princes, is refuted; and the Oath of Allegeance justified (1624)


  • Concise Dictionary of National Biography


  1. ^ [1]: Forset was a witness to the statement taken from Guy Fawkes under torture; the others being Sir Edward Coke and Sir William Waad.
  2. ^ [2]: Report in state papers of James I mentioning him (March 1606).
  3. ^ Wormuth, Francis D. (1949). The origins of modern constitutionalism. Harper & Bros. "Without a sovereign, said Edward Forsett, "no people can ever as subjects range themselves into the order, and community of human society, howsoever, as men, or rather as wild savages, they may perhaps breathe a while upon the earth."" 
  4. ^ [3]: the play was set in Cambridge.