The impact of both density gradients and hydrodynamics on the evolution of the field compressing magnetothermal instability is considered [J. J. Bissell et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 175001 (2010)]. Hydrodynamic motion is found to have a limited effect on overall growth-rates; however, density gradients are shown to introduce an additional source term corresponding to a generalised description of the field generating thermal instability [D. Tidman and R. Shanny, Phys. Fluids 17, 1207 (1974)]. The field compressing and field generating source terms are contrasted, and the former is found to represent either the primary or sole instability mechanism for a range of conditions, especially those with Hall parameter v > 101. The generalised theory is compared to numerical simulation in the context of a recent nano-second gas-jet experiment [D. H. Froula et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 135001 (2007)] and shown to be in good agreement: exhibiting peak growth-rates and wavelengths of order 10 ns1 and 50 lm, respectively. The instability’s relevance to other experimental conditions, including those in inertial confinement fusion (I.C.F.) hohlraums, is also discussed.