Letters of David Hume to William Strahan, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888). http://oll2.libertyfund.org/titles/652,
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Letters from Hume to William Strahan covering a number of topics including his trip to France, his thoughts on recently published books (by Smith and Gibbon), and generally about his relationships with leading members of the Scottish and French Enlightenment. It also includes his brief Autobiography.
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It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity, therefore I shall be short. It may be thought an instance of vanity that I pretend at all to write my life; but this narrative shall contain little more than the history of my writings, as indeed almost all my life has been spent in literary pursuits and occupations. The first success of most of my writings was not such as to be an object of vanity.
I was born the twenty-sixth of April, 1711, old style, at Edinburgh. I was of a good family, both by father and mother. My father's family is a branch of the earl of Home's or Hume's1.; and my ancestors had been proprietors of the estate which my brother possesses for several generations2.. My mother was daughter of Sir David Falconer, President of the College of Justice: the title of Lord Halkerton came by succession to her brother.
My family, however, was not rich; and, being myself a younger brother, my patrimony, according to the mode of my country, was of course very slender. My father, who passed for a man of parts, died when I was an infant, leaving me with Edition: current; Page: [xviii] an elder brother and sister, under the care of our mother, a woman of singular merit: who, though young and handsome, devoted herself entirely to the rearing and educating of her children1.. I passed through the ordinary course of education with success, and was seized very early with a passion for literature, which has been the ruling passion2. of my life, and the great source of my enjoyments. My studious disposition, my sobriety, and my industry, gave my family a notion that the law was a proper profession for me; but I found an unsurmountable aversion to every thing but the pursuits of philosophy and general learning; and, while they fancied I was poring upon Voet3. and Vinnius4., Cicero and Virgil were the authors which I was secretly devouring5..Edition: current; Page: [xix]
My very slender fortune, however, being unsuitable to this plan of life, and my health being a little broken by my ardent application, I was tempted, or rather forced, to make a very feeble trial for entering into a more active scene of life1.. In 1734, I went to Bristol, with recommendations to eminent merchants; but in a few months found that scene totally unsuitable to me2.. I went over to France with a view of prosecuting my studies in a country retreat; and I there laid that plan of life which I have steadily and successfully pursued. I resolved to make a very rigid frugality supply my deficiency of fortune, Edition: current; Page: [xx] to maintain unimpaired my independency, and to regard every object as contemptible, except the improvement of my talents in literature.
During my retreat in France, first at Rheims, but chiefly at La Fleche, in Anjou, I composed my Treatise of Human Nature. After passing three years very agreeably in that country, I came over to London in 1737. In the end of 1738, I published my treatise1., and immediately went down to my mother and my brother, who lived at his country-house, and was employing himself very judiciously and successfully in the improvement of his fortune.
Never literary attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature. It fell dead-born from the press2. without reaching such distinction as even to excite a murmur among the zealots. But being naturally of a cheerful and sanguine temper, I very soon recovered the blow, and prosecuted with great ardour my studies in the country. In 1742, I printed at Edinburgh the first part of my Essays, the work was favourably received, and soon made me entirely forget my former disappointment3.. I continued with my mother and brother in the Edition: current; Page: [xxi] country, and in that time recovered the knowledge of the Greek language, which I had too much neglected in my early youth1..
In 1745, I received a letter from the Marquis of Annandale, inviting me to come and live with him in England; I found also that the friends and family of that young nobleman were desirous of putting him under my care and direction, for the state of his mind and health required it. I lived with him a twelvemonth. My appointments during that time made a considerable accession to my small fortune2.. I then received an invitation from general St Clair, to attend him as secretary to his expedition, which was at first meant against Canada, but ended in an incursion on the coast of France3.. Next year, Edition: current; Page: [xxii] to wit 1747, I received an invitation from the general, to attend him in the same station in his military embassy to the courts of Vienna and Turin. I then wore the uniform of an officer, and was introduced at these courts as aid-de-camp to the general, along with Sir Harry Erskine, and Captain Grant, now General Grant1.. These two years were almost the only interruptions which my studies have received during the course of my life: I passed them agreeably, and in good company; and my appointments, with my frugality, had made me reach a fortune which I called independent, though most of my friends were inclined to smile when I said so: in short, I was now master of near a thousand pounds.
I had always entertained a notion that my want of success in publishing the Treatise of Human Nature, had proceeded more from the manner than the matter, and that I had been guilty of a very usual indiscretion, in going to the press too early2.. I therefore cast the first part of that work anew in the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, which was published while I was at Turin3.. But this piece was at first little more successful than the Treatise of Human Nature. On my return from Italy, I had the mortification to find all England in a ferment, on account of Dr Middleton's Free Enquiry4., while my performance Edition: current; Page: [xxiii] was entirely overlooked and neglected. A new edition, which had been published at London of my Essays, moral and political, met not with a much better reception1.
Such is the force2. of natural temper, that these disappointments made little or no impression on me. I went down in 1749, and lived two years with my brother, at his country-house, for my mother was now dead. I there composed the second part of my essay, which I called Political Discourses, and also my Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, which is another part of my treatise that I cast anew. Meanwhile my bookseller, A. Millar3., informed me that my former publications (all Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] but the unfortunate treatise) were beginning to be the subject of conversation; that the sale of them was gradually increasing, and that new editions were demanded. Answers by Reverends and Right Reverends came out two or three in a year1.; and I found, by Dr Warburton's railing, that the books were beginning to be esteemed in good company. However, I had fixed a resolution, which I inflexibly maintained, never to reply to any body2.; and not being very irascible in my temper, Edition: current; Page: [xxv] I have easily kept myself clear of all literary squabbles. These symptoms of a rising reputation gave me encouragement, as I was ever more disposed to see the favourable than unfavourable side of things; a turn of mind which it is more happy to possess, than to be born to an estate of ten thousand a year.
In 1751, I removed from the country to the town, the true scene for a man of letters1.. In 1752, were published at Edinburgh, where I then lived, my Political Discourses, the only work of mine that was successful on the first publication. It was well received abroad and at home2.. In the same year was published at London, my Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals3.; which, in my own opinion, (who ought not to judge on that subject,) is of all my writings, historical, philosophical, or Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] literary, incomparably the best. It came unnoticed and unobserved into the world1..
In 1752, the Faculty of Advocates chose me their librarian; an office from which I received little or no emolument, but which gave me the command of a large library2.. I then formed the plan of writing the History of England, but being frightened with the notion of continuing a narrative through a period of 1700 years, I commenced with the accession of the house of Stuart, an epoch when I thought the misrepresentations of faction began chiefly to take place3.. I was, I own, sanguine in my expectations of the success of this work. I thought that I was the only historian that had at once neglected present power, interest, and authority, and the cry of popular prejudices; and, as the subject was suited to every capacity, I expected proportional applause. But miserable was my disappointment: I was assailed by one cry of reproach, disapprobation, and even detestation: English, Scotch, and Irish, Whig and Tory, churchman and sectary, freethinker and religionist, patriot and courtier, united in their rage against the man who had presumed to shed a generous tear for the fate of Charles I4. Edition: current; Page: [xxvii] and the Earl of Strafford; and after the first ebullitions of their fury were over, what was still more mortifying, the book seemed to sink into oblivion. Mr. Millar told me, that in a twelvemonth he sold only forty-five copies of it1.. I scarcely, indeed, heard of one man in the three kingdoms, considerable for rank or letters, that could endure the book2.. I must only except the primate of England, Dr Herring3., and the primate of Ireland, Dr Stone4., which seem two odd exceptions. These dignified prelates separately sent me messages not to be discouraged.Edition: current; Page: [xxviii]
I was, however, I confess, discouraged; and, had not the war at that time been breaking out between France and England, I had certainly retired to some provincial town of the former kingdom, have changed my name, and never more have returned to my native country1.; but as this scheme was not now practicable, and the subsequent volume was considerably advanced, I resolved to pick up courage and to persevere.
In this interval, I published at London my Natural History of Religion, along with some other small pieces2.: its public entry was rather obscure, except only that Dr Hurd wrote a pamphlet against it, with all the illiberal petulance, arrogance, and scurrility, which distinguish the Warburtonian school3.. This pamphlet gave me some consolation for the otherwise indifferent reception of my performance.
In 1756, two years after the fall of the first volume, was published the second volume of my History, containing the period from the death of Charles I till the Revolution. This performance happened to give less displeasure to the Whigs, and was better received. It not only rose itself, but helped to buoy up its unfortunate brother4..Edition: current; Page: [xxix]
But though I had been taught by experience that the Whig party were in possession of bestowing all places, both in the state and in literature, I was so little inclined to yield to their senseless clamour, that in above a hundred alterations, which further study, reading, or reflection, engaged me to make in the reigns of the two first Stuarts, I have made all of them invariably to the Tory side1.. It is ridiculous to consider the English constitution before that period as a regular plan of liberty.
In 1759, I published my History of the House of Tudor. The clamour against this performance was almost equal to that against the History of the two first Stuarts. The reign of Elizabeth was particularly obnoxious2.. But I was now callous against the impressions of public folly, and continued very peaceably and contentedly in my retreat at Edinburgh, to finish, in two volumes, the more early part of The English History, which I gave to the public in 1761, with tolerable, and but tolerable, success3..Edition: current; Page: [xxx]
But, notwithstanding this variety of winds and seasons to which my writings had been exposed, they had still been making such advances, that the copy-money given me by the booksellers much exceeded any thing formerly known in England1.. I was become not only independent, but opulent, I retired to my native country of Scotland, determined never more to set my foot out of it; and retaining the satisfaction of never having preferred a request to one great man, or even making advances of friendship to any of them. As I was now turned of fifty, I thought of passing all the rest of my life in this philosophical manner2., when I received, in 1763, an invitation from the Earl of Hertford, with whom I was not in the least acquainted, to attend him on his embassy to Paris, with a near prospect of being appointed secretary to the embassy; and, in the mean while, of performing the functions of that office3.. This offer, however inviting, I at first declined, both because I was reluctant to begin connections with the great, Edition: current; Page: [xxxi] and because I was afraid that the civilities and gay company of Paris would prove disagreeable to a person of my age and humour; but on his lordship's repeating the invitation, I accepted of it. I have every reason, both of pleasure and interest, to think myself happy in my connections with that nobleman, as well as afterwards with his brother, General Conway1..
Those who have not seen the strange effects of modes will never imagine the strange reception I met with at Paris, from men and women of all ranks and stations2.. The more I resiled3. from their excessive civilities, the more I was loaded with them. There is, however, a real satisfaction in living at Paris, from the great number of sensible, knowing, and polite company with which the city abounds above all places in the universe. I thought once of settling there for life.
I was appointed secretary to the embassy; and in summer 1765, Lord Hertford left me, being appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland4.. I was chargé d’affaires till the arrival of the Duke of Richmond, towards the end of the year. In the beginning of 1766 I left Paris5., and next summer went to Edinburgh6., with the same view as formerly, of burying myself in a philosophical retreat. I returned to that place not richer, but with much more money, and a much larger income, by means of Lord Hertford's friendship, than I left it7.; and I was desirous of trying what superfluity could produce, as I had formerly made an experiment of a competency. But in 1767 I received from Mr Conway an invitation to be under-secretary; and this invitation both the character of the person, and my connections with Lord Hertford, prevented me from declining8.. I returned to Edinburgh in 1769 very opulent, (for I possessed a revenue Edition: current; Page: [xxxii] of one thousand pounds a year1.,) healthy, and though somewhat stricken in years, with the prospect of enjoying long my ease, and of seeing the increase of my reputation2..
In spring, 1775, I was struck with a disorder in my bowels3., which at first gave me no alarm, but has since, as I apprehend it, become mortal and incurable. I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution. I have suffered very little pain from my disorder; and, what is more strange, have, notwithstanding the great decline of my person4., never suffered a moment's abatement of my spirits; insomuch that were I to name a period of my life which I should most choose to pass over again, I might be tempted to point to this later period5.. I possess the same ardour as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company. I consider, besides, that a man at sixty-five, by dying, cuts off only a few years of infirmities; and though I see many symptoms of my literary reputation's breaking out at last with additional lustre6., I knew that I could have but very few years to enjoy it. It is difficult to be more detached from life than I am at present.Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii]
To conclude historically with my own character. I am, or rather was (for that is the style I must now use in speaking of myself, which emboldens me the more to speak my sentiments) I was, I say, a man of mild disposition, of command of temper, of an open, social, and cheerful humour1., capable of attachment, but little susceptible of enmity, and of great moderation in all my passions. Even my love of literary fame, my ruling passion, never soured my temper, notwithstanding my frequent disappointments2.. My company was not unacceptable to the young and careless, as well as to the studious and literary; and as I took a particular pleasure in the company of modest women, I had no reason to be displeased with the reception I met with from them. In a word, though most men, anywise Edition: current; Page: [xxxiv] eminent, have found reason to complain of calumny, I never was touched, or even attacked, by her baleful tooth; and though I wantonly exposed myself to the rage of both civil and religious factions, they seemed to be disarmed in my behalf of their wonted fury. My friends never had occasion to vindicate any one circumstance of my character and conduct: not but that the zealots, we may well suppose, would have been glad to invent and propagate any story to my disadvantage, but they could never find any which they thought would wear the face of probability1.. I cannot say there is no vanity in making this funeral oration of myself; but I hope it is not a misplaced one; and this is a matter of fact which is easily cleared and ascertained.
It is with a real, though a very melancholy pleasure, that I sit down to give you some account of the behaviour of our late excellent friend, Mr Hume, during his last illness.
Though in his own judgment his disease was mortal and incurable, yet he allowed himself to be prevailed upon, by the entreaty of his friends, to try what might be the effects of a long journey3.. A few days before he set out he wrote that account of his own life, which, together with his other papers, he has left to your care. My account, therefore, shall begin where his ends.
He set out for London towards the end of April, and at Morpeth met with Mr John Home and myself, who had both come down from London on purpose to see him, expecting to have found him at Edinburgh4.. Mr Home returned with him, and attended him, during the whole of his stay in England, with that care and attention which might be expected from a temper so perfectly friendly and affectionate. As I had written to my mother that she might expect me in Scotland, I was under the necessity of continuing my journey. His disease seemed to yield to exercise and change of air; and, when he Edition: current; Page: [xxxv] arrived in London, he was apparently in much better health than when he left Edinburgh1.. He was advised to go to Bath to drink the waters, which appeared for some time to have so good an effect upon him, that even he himself began to entertain, what he was not apt to do, a better opinion of his own health2.. His symptoms however soon returned with their usual violence, and from that moment he gave up all thoughts of recovery, but submitted with the utmost cheerfulness and the most perfect complacency and resignation. Upon his return to Edinburgh, though he found himself much weaker, yet his cheerfulness never abated, and he continued to divert himself, as usual, with correcting his own works for a new edition, with reading books of amusement, with the conversation of his friends; and sometimes in the evening with a party at his favourite game of whist. His cheerfulness was so great, and his conversation and amusements ran so much in their usual strain, that notwithstanding all bad symptoms, many people could not believe he was dying. ‘I shall tell your friend colonel Edmondstone3.,’ said doctor Dundas to him one day, ‘that I left you much better, and in a fair way of recovery.’ ‘Doctor,’ said he, ‘as I believe you would not choose to tell any thing but the truth, you had better tell him I am dying as fast as my enemies, if I have any, could wish, and as easily and cheerfully as my best friends could desire.’ Colonel Edmondstone soon afterwards came to see him, and take leave of him; and on his way home he could not forbear writing him a letter, bidding him once more an eternal adieu, and applying to him, as to a dying man, the beautiful French verses in which the Abbé Chaulieu, in expectation of his own death, laments his approaching separation from his friend the Marquis de la Fare.4. Mr Hume's magnanimity and firmness were such, that his most Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi] affectionate friends knew that they hazarded nothing in talking and writing to him as to a dying man; and that so far from being hurt by this frankness, he was rather pleased and flattered by it. I happened to come into his room while he was reading this letter, which he had just received, and which he immediately showed me. I told him, that though I was sensible how very much he was weakened, and that appearances were in many respects very bad, yet his cheerfulness was still so great, the spirit of life seemed still to be so very strong in him, that I could not help entertaining some faint hopes. He answered, ‘Your hopes are groundless. An habitual diarrhœa of more than a year's standing would be a very bad disease at any age; at my age it is a mortal one. When I lie down in the evening I feel myself weaker than when I rose in the morning; and when I rise in the morning weaker than when I lay down in the evening. I am sensible, besides, that some of my vital parts are affected, so that I must soon die.’ ‘Well,’ said I, ‘if it must be so, you have at least the satisfaction of leaving all your friends, your brother's family in particular, in great prosperity.’ He said that he felt that satisfaction so sensibly, that when he was reading, a few days before, Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead, among all the excuses which are alleged to Charon for not entering readily into his boat, he could not find one that fitted him: he had no house to finish, he had no daughter to provide for, he had no enemies upon whom he wished to revenge himself. ‘I could not well imagine,’ said he, ‘what excuse I could make to Charon, in order to obtain a little delay. I have done every thing of consequence which I ever meant to do, and I could at no time expect to leave my relations and friends in a better situation than that in which I am now likely to leave them: I therefore have all reason to die contented.’ He then diverted himself with inventing several Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii] jocular excuses, which he supposed he might make to Charon, and with imagining the very surly answers which it might suit the character of Charon to return to them. ‘Upon further consideration,’ said he, ‘I thought I might say to him, “Good Charon, I have been correcting my works for a new edition. Allow me a little time that I may see how the public receives the alterations1..” But Charon would answer, “When you have seen the effect of these, you will be for making other alterations. There will be no end of such excuses; so, honest friend, please step into the boat.” But I might still urge, “Have a little patience, good Charon, I have been endeavouring to open the eyes of the public. If I live a few years longer, I may have the satisfaction of seeing the downfall of some of the prevailing systems of superstition.” But Charon would then lose all temper and decency. “You loitering rogue, that will not happen these many hundred years. Do you fancy I will grant you a lease for so long a term? Get into the boat this instant, you lazy loitering rogue.”’
But though Mr Hume always talked of his approaching dissolution with great cheerfulness, he never affected to make any parade of his great magnanimity. He never mentioned the subject but when the conversation naturally led to it, and never dwelt longer upon it than the course of the conversation happened to require; it was a subject indeed which occurred pretty frequently, in consequence of the inquiries which his friends, who came to see him, naturally made concerning the state of his health. The conversation which I mentioned above, and which passed on Thursday the 8th of August, was the last, except one, that I ever had with him. He had now become so very weak that the company of his most intimate friends fatigued him; for his cheerfulness was still so great, his complaisance and social disposition were still so entire, that when any friend was with him he could not help talking more, and with greater exertion, than suited the weakness of his body. At his own desire, therefore, I agreed to leave Edinburgh, where I was staying partly upon his account, and returned to my mother's house here at Kirkaldy, upon condition that he would send for me whenever he wished to see me2.; the physician who saw him most frequently, doctor Black3., undertaking, in the mean time, to write me occasionally an account of the state of his health.
On the twenty-second of August, the doctor wrote me the following letter:—
'since my last Mr Hume has passed his time pretty easily, but is much weaker. He sits up, goes down stairs once a day, and amuses himself with reading, but seldom sees any body. He finds that even Edition: current; Page: [xxxviii] the conversation of his most intimate friends fatigues and oppresses him, and it is happy that he does not need it; for he is quite free from anxiety, impatience, or low spirits, and passes his time very well with the assistance of amusing books.’
I received, the day after, a letter from Mr Hume himself, of which the following is an extract:—
‘I am obliged to make use of my nephew's hand in writing to you, as I do not rise to-day.
[There is no man in whom I have a greater confidence than Mr. Strahan, yet have I left the property of that Manuscript to my nephew David, in case by any accident it should not be published within three years after my decease. The only accident I could foresee was one to Mr. Strahan's life, and without this clause my nephew would have had no right to publish it. Be so good as to inform Mr. Strahan of this circumstance.
You are too good in thinking any trifles that concern me are so much worth your attention, but I give you entire liberty to make what additions you please to the account of my life.]
I go very fast to decline, and last night had a small fever, which I hoped might put a quicker period to this tedious illness; but unluckily, it has in a great measure gone off. I cannot submit to your coming over here on my account, as it is possible for me to see you so small a part of the day; but Dr Black can better inform you concerning the degree of strength which may from time to time remain with me. Adieu.’
P.S. It was a strange blunder to send your letter by the carrier.]1.
Three days after I received the following letter from Dr Black:—
’Edinburgh, Monday, August 26, 1776.
‘Yesterday, about four o’clock, afternoon, Mr Hume expired. The near approach of his death became evident in the night between Thursday and Friday, when his disease became excessive, and soon weakened him so much, that he could no longer rise out of his bed. He continued to the last perfectly sensible, and free from much pain or feelings of distress. He never dropt the smallest expression of impatience; but when he had occasion to speak to the people about him, always did it with affection and tenderness. I thought it improper to write to bring you over, especially as I had heard that he had dictated a letter to you, desiring you not to come. When he Edition: current; Page: [xxxix] became very weak it cost him an effort to speak, and he died in such a happy composure of mind that nothing could exceed it1..’
Thus died our most excellent, and never-to-be-forgotten friend; concerning whose philosophical opinions men will no doubt judge variously, every one approving or condemning them according as they happen to coincide, or disagree with his own; but concerning whose character and conduct there can scarce be a difference of opinion. His temper, indeed, seemed to be more happily balanced, if I may be allowed such an expression, than that perhaps of any other man I have ever known. Even in the lowest state of his fortune, his great and necessary frugality never hindered him from exercising, upon proper occasions, acts both of charity and generosity. It was a frugality founded not upon avarice, but upon the love of independency. The extreme gentleness of his nature never weakened either the firmness of his mind, or the steadiness of his resolutions. Edition: current; Page: [xl] His constant pleasantry was the genuine effusion of good-nature and good-humour, tempered with delicacy and modesty, and without even the slightest tincture of malignity, so frequently the disagreeable source of what is called wit in other men. It never was the meaning of his raillery to mortify; and therefore, far from offending, it seldom failed to please and delight even those who were the objects of it. To his friends, who were frequently the objects of it, there was not perhaps any one of all his great and amiable qualities which contributed more to endear his conversation. And that gaiety of temper, so agreeable in society, but which is so often accompanied with frivolous and superficial qualities, was in him certainly attended with the most severe application, the most extensive learning, the greatest depth of thought, and a capacity in every respect the most comprehensive. Upon the whole, I have always considered him, both in his lifetime, and since his death, as approaching as nearly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the nature of human frailty will admit1..
|1711.||Birth, p. xvii.|
|1729.||Attack of illness, p. xix, n. 1.|
|1734.||Enters a merchant's office in Bristol, p. xix.|
|1734.||Visits France, where he studies three years, p. xix.|
|1737.||Visits London, p. xx.|
|1738.||Treatise of Human Nature, p. xx.|
|1739.||Returns to Ninewells, p. xx.|
|1741.||Essays Moral and Political, vol. i. p. xx.|
|1742.||Essays Moral and Political, vol. ii. p. xx.|
|1745.||Lives with the Marquis of Annandale, p. xxi.|
|1746.||Expedition to the Coast of France, p. xxi.|
|1747.||Mission to Vienna and Turin, p. xxii.|
|1748.||Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. xxii.|
|1749.||Returns from Italy to Ninewells, p. xxiii.|
|1751.||Removes to Edinburgh, p. xxv.|
|1751.||Candidate for the Chair of Logic at Glasgow, p. xxv, n. 1.|
|1751.||Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, p. xxv.|
|1752.||Political Discourses, p. xxv.|
|1752.||Librarian to the Advocates’ Library, p. xxvi.|
|1753.||Gets a house of his own, p. 231, n. 3.|
|1754.||The History of Great Britain. Vol. i. Containing the Reigns of James I and Charles I, p. xxvi.|
|1755.||Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul suppressed, p. 232, n. 8.|
|1756.||The History of Great Britain. Vol. ii. From the Death of Charles I to the Revolution, p. xxviii.|
|1757.||Resigns his office as Librarian, p. xxvi, n. 2.|
|1757.||Natural History of Religion, pp. xxviii, 19, n. 1.|
|1758.||Visits London, p. 29, n. 1.|
|1759.||History of England under the House of Tudor, pp. xxix, 29.|
|1761.||Visits London, p. 33, n. 3.|
|1761.||History of England from the Invasion of Julius Cœsar to the Accession of Henry VII, pp. xxix, 33, n. 2.|
|1762.||Removes to James's Court, p. 116, n. 2.|
|1763.||Attends Lord Hertford to Paris, pp. xxx, 40.|
|1765.||Appointed Secretary to the Embassy, pp. xxxi, 69, n. 1.|
|1765.||Pensioned, p. 33, n. 6.|
|1766.||Returns to England and resides in London, pp. xxxi, 73.|
|1766.||Quarrel with Rousseau, pp. 74–103.|
|1766.||Returns to Edinburgh, pp. xxxi, 86, n. 1.|
|1767.||Returns to London as Under-Secretary of State, pp. xxxi, 103.|
|1768.||Loses his office, p. 115, n. 1.|
|1768.||Pension increased, p. 55.|
|1769.||Returns to Edinburgh, p. 115, n. 1.|
|1771.||Visits Inverary, p. 221.|
|1772.||Removes to St. Andrew's Square, p. 250, n. 3.|
|1773.||Revised edition of the History of England, pp. 183, 212.|
|1775.||Struck with a mortal illness, pp. xxxii, 312, n. 1.|
|1776.||Writes his Life, xxxiv.|
|1776.||Visits London and Bath, pp. 319, 323.|
|1776.||Death, pp. xxxiv, 345.|
William Strahan, Hume's correspondent, was born in Edinburgh in the year 1715. ‘His father, who had a small appointment in the Customs, gave his son the education which every lad of decent rank then received in a country where the avenues to learning were easy, and open to men of the most moderate circumstances1..’ After having served his apprenticeship in his native town, he was enchanted, like so many of his countrymen, by ‘the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees,’ and took ‘the high road that leads to England2..’ There he carried on his trade with great success and rose to a position of importance and affluence. ‘I remember,’ wrote to him his friend Dr. Franklin, ‘your observing once to me, as we sat together in the House of Commons, that no two journeymen printers within your knowledge had met with such success in the world as ourselves3..’ It was in his coach that Dr. Johnson, Boswell and blind Mrs. Williams, were one day carried to a dinner at his brother-in-law's house in Kensington. ‘A printer having acquired a fortune sufficient to keep his coach was a good topic for the credit of literature. Mrs. Williams said that another printer, Mr. Hamilton, had not waited so long as Mr. Strahan, but had kept his coach several years sooner. Johnson. “He was in the right. Life is short. The sooner that a man begins to enjoy his wealth the better4..”’ In 1770 Strahan purchased from Mr. George Eyre ‘a share of the patent for King's Printer5..’ In the general election of 1774 he was returned to Parliament for the borough of Malmesbury, and had the honour of having Charles Fox for his colleague. Edition: current; Page: [xliv] In the succeeding Parliament he sat for Wooton Basset; but having supported the Coalition Ministry he lost his seat at the general election of 17841.. He outlived his friend David Hume nearly nine years, and died on July 9, 1785.
That he was a man not only of great worth but of a strong and cultivated understanding is shown by the men whom he had made his friends and by the services which he rendered to some of them. Garrick, it is true, thought that he ‘was rather an obtuse man’—one not likely to be ‘a good judge of an epigram.’ To which Johnson replied, ‘Why, Sir, he may not be a judge of an epigram; but you see he is a judge of what is not an epigram2..’ That he was a good judge in general of the merits of a book cannot be doubted. First in partnership with Andrew Millar, ‘the Mæcenas of the age,’ the man whom ‘Johnson respected for raising the price of literature3.,’ and then in partnership with Thomas Cadell, he published some of the most important works of his time. When Elmsly, the bookseller, ‘declined the perilous adventure’ of bringing out the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, it was Strahan and Cadell who ‘undertook the risk of the publication.’ It was by Strahan's ‘prophetic taste,’ writes Gibbon, that the number of the impression was doubled4.. ‘There will no books of reputation now be printed in London,’ wrote Hume to him, ‘but through your hands and Mr. Cadell's5..’ Though in this statement there is somewhat of Hume's flattery, yet it is true that they were the publishers of works not only of Gibbon and of Hume, but of Johnson, Robertson, Adam Smith, Blackstone, and Blair. Hume and Robertson availed themselves moreover of his knowledge of English in the correction of their proofs. ‘He was,’ writes Dr. Beattie, ‘eminently skilled in composition6..’ His services in this respect Hume more than once gratefully acknowledges7.. He ranks him indeed among the learned printers, who, since the days of Aldus and Stephens, had not been seen on the earth8.. He made him his literary executor9.. The long correspondence which he maintained with him shows the value that he set on his letters. ‘I have Edition: current; Page: [xlv] always said without flattery,’ he wrote to him, ‘that you may give instructions to statesmen1..’ A denial of flattery, it is true, means as little in Hume's mouth as it would have done in the mouth of any of those French philosophers or men of letters in whose society he so much delighted. Nevertheless the length of many of his answers is a proof that he thought highly of his correspondent's understanding and knowledge of public affairs. ‘Mr. Strahan loved much,’ wrote Boswell, ‘to be employed in political negotiation2..’
He must have had an unusual breadth of character, for he was the friend of men so unlike as Johnson and Hume, as Franklin and Robertson. It was at his house that Johnson and Adam Smith met when ‘they did not take to each other3..’ He tried to get Johnson a seat in the House of Commons4., and was ‘his friendly agent in receiving his pension for him, and his banker in supplying him with money when he wanted it5..’ When Johnson wrote to Scotland, ‘I employ Strahan,’ he said, ‘to frank my letters, that he may have the consequence of appearing a Parliament-man among his countrymen6..’ There was a difference between the two men which kept them apart for a few months, when it was healed by a letter from Johnson and a friendly call from Strahan7.. The warmth of the friendship that existed between him and other eminent men of letters is shown by their letters. Adam Smith writing to him signs himself, ‘Most affectionately yours8.,’ and so does Robertson9.. Beattie and Blair are scarcely less warm10.. Johnson indeed, when among the Aberdeen professors, mocked at his intimacy with Bishop Warburton. ‘Why, Sir, he has printed some of his works, and perhaps bought the property of some of them. The intimacy is such as one of the professors here may have with one of the carpenters who is repairing the college11..’ But Beattie who had seen the correspondence that had passed between the two men said that ‘they were very particularly acquainted12..’ The manly indignation of his answer to Hume, who had accused him of deception13., is not the letter of a man Edition: current; Page: [xlvi] who was intimate with any one on unworthy terms. The earnestness of the apology which Hume at once made to him is a sure proof of the high value which he set on his friendship.
His portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in those troubled days when London was still under the scare of the Gordon riots. During the week when the disorder was at its height Sir Joshua's note-book records that he had sittings fixed, among others, for Mr. Strahan. ‘No wonder the appointments between Monday and Thursday have a pen drawn through them1..’ Even if the great painter had had the calmness to go on with his work in the midst of such confusion, the eminent printer would not have kept the appointments. ‘He had been insulted,’ writes Johnson, ‘and spoke to Lord Mansfield of the licentiousness of the populace; and his Lordship treated it as a very slight irregularity…. He got a garrison into his house, and maintained them a fortnight; he was so frighted that he removed part of his goods2..’
Page 94, note 8. I failed to notice that Hume's Letter of May 15, 1759, quoted in this note, was written in a humorous strain. Dr. Warburton was the last man in the world whose compliments he would have transmitted.
I am entirely of your opinion, that Mr. Balfour's ill humor on this Occasion has no manner of Foundation. Mr. Millar seems to me to have all along us’d him very well; Only, I thought the Price offerd for the large Paper Copies a little too low; and I see you have rais’d it. He has disoblig’d me very much at present, by spreading about a Story, that, when we made our Bargain for the first Volume, I had promis’d he shoud have the second at the same Price. This was demanded, and positively refus’d by me: I only said, that I was not accustomd lightly to change the People whom I dealt with; but that I woud not bind myself. Accordingly, when all the Articles of our Bargain, even the most trivial, were written over, I woud not allow this to be inserted. Baillie1 Hamilton, who is a very honest Man, remembers and acknowleges this Fact. Indeed, it was very lucky I had that Precaution: For if I had entangled myself in such a Bargain, I never shoud have wrote a second Volume which I coud not hope ever to see succeed in their Management2. I am very well pleas’d with the State of the Sale; and hope it is the Prognostic of good Success. I certainly deserve the Approbation of the Public, from my Care and Disinterestedness, however deficient in other Edition: current; Page:  Particulars. I shall regard myself as much oblig’d to you, if you inform me of all the Objections, which you hear made by Men of Sense, who are impartial, or even who are not: For it is good to hear what is said on all Sides. It was unlucky, that I did not publish the two Volumes together: Fools will be, apt to say, that I am become more whiggish in this Volume: As if the Cause of Charles the 1 and James the 2 were the same, because they were of the same Family3.. But such Remarks as these, every one, who ventures on the Public, must be contented to endure4.. Truth will prevail at last; and if I have been able to embellish her with any Degree of Eloquence, it will not be long before she prevail.
EDINBURGH, 30 of November, .
P.S.—It is easy for me to see, that Mr. Millar has certainly offerd to take from Baillie Hamilton 900 copies at nine Shillings5. He never woud have offerd seven at the beginning. It was a strange Infatuation in the Baillie to refuse it.
Your Letter gave me a great deal of Satisfaction; and I am much oblig’d to you for it. I must own, that, in my private Judgement, the first volume of my History is by far the best1; The Subject was more noble, and admitted both of greater Ornaments of Eloquence, and nicer Distinctions of Reasoning. However, if the Public is so capricious as to prefer the second, I am very well pleas’d; and hope the Prepossession in my Favor will operate backwards, and remove even the Prejudices formerly contracted2.
I assure you, that, tho’ Mr. Millar has probably had Edition: current; Page:  an Intention of writing me to the Purpose he told you, yet he never did it, and his Memory has fail’d him in this Particular. On the contrary, he said to me, that he intended to put this Volume of my philosophical Writings3 into the same hands with the Dissertations4., which are soon to be publish’d, who is, I think, one Bowyer5.. I did not oppose him, because I thought, that was a Matter, which it did not belong me to meddle with. However you will see by the enclos’d, which I have left open, what woud be my Choice in such a Case; and I hope hence forth he will never think of any but you, wherever any of my Writings are concern’d.
I cannot think of troubling you so far in this new Edition as I did in my History; but I woud be extremely oblig’d to you, as you go along to mark any Doubts that occur to you, either with regard to Style6 or Argument. Mr. Millar thinks of making very soon another Edition in Twelves7, and these Observations woud then serve me in good Stead. These Writings have already undergone several Editions, and have been very accurately examined every Impression8; yet I can never esteem them sufficiently correct.
You will see by my Letter to Mr. Millar that I mention a Dedication, which may perhaps surprize you, as I never dealt in such servile Addresses9; But I hope it will not surprize you, when you hear it is only to a Presbyterian Minister, my Friend, Mr. Hume, the Author of Douglas10. I was resolv’d to do what lay in my Power to enable a Youth11 of Genius to surmount the unaccountable Obstacles, which were thrown in his Way12. You will probably see it publishd in a few Days. I hope the Goodness of the Intention will apologize for the Singularity of the undetaking [sic].
Edinburgh, 1 Feby., 1757.
I have wrote apart a Letter, which you may send to Mr. Millar: I shall here add a Word to Yourself; and ask a little of your Advice. Some time ago, I wrote to Mr. Millar, that if he was inclin’d to purchase the full Property of these two Volumes of History, I wou’d part with it, if he wou’d make me a proper Offer. He desir’d me to name my Terms. I ask’d 800 Guineas1; but have not yet receiv’d an answer from him. I own to you, that the Demand may appear large; but if Mr. Millar and I reason upon the same Principles it will not appear unreasonable. I think History the most popular kind of writing of any2., the Period I treat of the most interesting, Edition: current; Page:  and my Performance will I hope rise in Credit every day. We have so little, or rather nothing of this kind that has the least Appearance either of Impartiality3 or Eloquence, that I cannot doubt but in the long run it will have a considerable Success. Now I was offerd 800 Pounds for the first Edition alone by Baillie Hamilton; and he propos’d to have reasonable Profits after paying me that Sum: I cannot think but all the subsequent Editions must be at least equal in Value to the first alone. This is the View in which the Affair appeard to me: If it appears to you in the same Light, I doubt not but you will express your Mind to him. If you think my Demand unreasonable, I shall be oblig’d to you for telling me so, and for giving me your Reasons. For tho’ it is not probable, that I shall fall much, if any thing, of that Demand: Yet if I see it impracticable for me to obtain it, I shall endeavor to contrive some other Method, by which I may adjust Matters with Mr. Millar in case of a second Edition. It is chiefly in order to avoid the Trouble and Perplexity of such Schemes that I desire at once to part with all the Property.
I am Dear Sir Your most obedient humble Servant
15 Feby., 1757.
P.S.—You will certainly like my Friend's Play4. It was acted here with vast Success. And reads as well as it acts. Mr. Millar woud tell you the Accident, which occasiond many copies of the Dissertations to be sold without the Dedication5. It has given me some Vexation. However there is no Remedy.
I suppose you have now begun, and are somewhat advanc’d in the Quarto Edition of my Essays. I intend to make an Index to it1, and for this Reason have desir’d that Edition: current; Page:  the corrected Sheets may be sent me by the Post. I must also desire you to send them from time to time, as they are printed off; that, if there be any Mistakes in the Press (and some are unavoidable) I may be able to make a more full Errata. Please send under a Cover as many as a Frank will admit2: And if you want Franks, either Mr. Millar or you may send Covers directed to me to Mr. Mure3, Mr. Oswald4, Mr. Elliot5 or Sir Harry Erskine6. You may chuse either of them whose House lye most convenient. I fancy Mr. Mure may have most Leizure.
I have receiv’d the two first Sheets of the Quarto Edition of my philosophical Writings; and am very well satisfy’d with it. Please only to tell the Compositor, that he always employ a Capital after the Colons. Here follow a few Alterations, which I desire you to make on the last published Volume or four Dissertations which are to be inserted in different Places of the Quarto Volume.
[These alterations, as they are minute and can only be understood by a reference to the printed volume, I think it needless to print.]
Please to get a Copy of the Dissertations from Mr. Millar and make these Alterations. Observe also that the two Dissertations, which are to be inserted among the Essays, are to be entitled Essays. The other two are to be inserted in the Places as directed1
I am very well pleas’d to finish the Bargain with Mr. Millar. I hope we shall both find our Account in it. I believe his Offer may be reckond very reasonable and even frank and generous. We have only a small Difference about the time of Payment, which I hope will easily be adjusted. If it be not convenient for him to pay the Money in May next, I wou’d delay it till the 2nd of August, which Edition: current; Page:  is our Lambas term2., and woud endeavour to get his Bill discounted, tho’ that Practice be not very common in Scotland3..
I hope the Douglas has had a good Success in London4. The Public will certainly at first be divided. That Simplicity both of Fable and Style are Novelties on the English Stage, and will no doubt meet with Opposition; but they must prevail, I think, at last5.
I am Sir Your most obedient Servant
NINEWELLS6 NEAR BERWICK, 18 April, 1757.
P.S.—I return to Edinburgh in a few days.
I am positive not to reply a single Word to Dr. Hurd; and I also beg of you not to think of it. His Artifices or Forgeries, call them which you please, are such common things in all Controversy that a man woud be ridiculous who woud pretend to complain of them; and the Parsons in particular have got a Licence to practice them. I therefore beg of you again to let the Matter pass over in Silence1. I have deliverd to Mr. Becket a Volume of Essays2.
I am yours D. H.
I hereby send you the Index, Title-Page, and all the Preface, which I intend; being only a short Advertisement, to be inserted in any Corner: For I do not think it deserves a Page to itself1. The Errata are many of them Edition: current; Page:  small Alterations, which I coud not forbear making myself in the Style.
There are only two Errata which are material, those in page 455 and 459, where your Compositor has made me say the direct contrary to my meaning. I know, that such Mistakes are altogether unavoidable; but yet, if it were not too much Trouble, I coud wish, that they were corrected with the Pen, before publication2.
I am so sensible of your great Care in this Edition, that I have desird Mr. Millar to give you one of the Copies, which he delivers to me on every Edition, and I beg of you to accept it as a small Testimony of my Regard.
I am Sir Your most obedient Servant
Edinburgh, 3 Sept., 1757.
I have sent you a Letter of mine to Mr. Millar open, because I desire you to peruse it, and to give me your Opinion, as a Friend, of the Contents of it. Mr. Millar departs somewhat from an Offer he made me last Spring for a new Volume of History1. If the Reason be just which he assigns, the slow Sale of the former Volumes, I own I shoud be extremely discouragd to proceed. But tho’ I have never had any Reason to complain of him, some People in my Situation woud be apt to suspect, that, after I had gone some Length in composing the Work, he intends to extort it from me at somewhat a lower Price; which is so ungenteel a Method of Proceeding that I cannot allow myself to believe it, and it woud much discourage me from dealing with him. Your general Character and the Instances, which I have receivd of your Friendship, assure me of your Candor, and make me have recourse to you on this Occasion. Can I believe, that he has any real Reason for coming down of the Offer which he formerly made me?
I have sent you along with this, an ostensible Letter, of the Nature of those you desird me to write. I hope Mr. Millar did not forget to deliver you the Copy of my last Volume, as I desird him. I need not put you in mind to put a Wafer in my Letter to Mr. Millar.
I am oblig’d to you for the Letter with which you favord me. I fancy, you woud have found part of it answerd, before I receivd it. This day three Weeks, I sent up the second Volume of my History1 by the Stage Coach to Mr. Millar, which is probably put into your hands by this time. The Alterations I make on this Volume are not very considerable; those I make on the first Volume are more so, particularly in the Reign of James, which requires to be changd in many Places, in order to adjust it to this previous Volume2., which I am now composing, and which is nearly finishd. It is for this Reason, I coud wish Mr. Millar woud make a new Edition of both at once, and I have told him my Sentiments on that head. His Resolution will probably depend on the Number of Copies, which remain of the first Volume3.; but as there were only 250 thrown off more than of the Second, I fancy there cannot be many on hand, after all the second are sold off. For there is always a considerable Defalcation in the Sale of second Volumes4..
I am really concernd for what you tell me of Mr. Millar's being Ill, tho I hope his Ailment will only be slight. I know few who woud make a greater Loss to this Country, Edition: current; Page:  especially to the young Men of Letters in it5.. I propose to see you about the Autumn, when I hope to commence a personal Acquaintance with you.
EdinR., 12 June, 1758.
I am glad to find that Mr. Millar and I have agreed about reprinting the first Volume of my History1.. I shall soon send you up a corrected Copy of it; and in the mean time you may proceed in printing the second Volume. The Title of it will be History of Great Britain under the House of Stuart, in two Volumes2.. As the Title of the other Volume will be History of England under the House of Tudor. By this Means they will be different Works; and some few Repetitions which will be unavoidable in this Method of composing them, will be the more excusable.Edition: current; Page: 
I had once an Intention of changing the Orthography in some particulars: But on Reflection I find, that this new Method of Spelling (which is certainly the best and most conformable to Analogy) has been followd in the Quarto Volume of my philosophical Writings lately publishd; and therefore I think it will be better for you to continue the Spelling as it is3..
I woud not give you the Trouble of sending me the Sheets. I shall see you in London before the Publication; and shall then be able to correct any Errata that may have escapd you.
I sent off last Tuesday by the Stage Coach a corrected Copy of the first Volume of my History directed to you, and it will probably be with you as soon as this. There is only a small Correction more, which you will please to make. At Page 100. Line 16; Add this Note. Rushworth Vol. 1. p. 82.
On Tuesday come Sennight the 15 of this Month, the Manuscript Copy of my new Volume1. will be put into the Stage Coach, in two white Iron Boxes, directed to you. As there are in the same Boxes a few Papers on private Business, you will please to leave the Boxes unopened till I come to London, which will probably be about the End of this Month or beginning of the next. I go up on Horse-back2., which is the Reason why I send the Manuscript before me.
I shall be sure to see you as soon as I arrive, and hope then to commence a personal Acquaintance with you, and to return you thanks for the many Instances, which I have receivd of your Attention and Friendship.
EDINBURGH, 5 of August, 1758.
On the Conclusion of this Work, I thank you for your Care, Exactness, Diligence and Dispatch; and have put my angry Letter into the Fire, where, partly by its own heat, partly by that of the burning Coals, it was immediately consumd to Ashes.
I had a Letter from Dr. Robertson, who is very earnest with me to have a Copy of my Volume as soon as possible, promising not to show it to a mortal, till publication. I have obtain’d Mr. Millar's Consent2.; and therefore desire you to bind in boards a Volume of large Paper as soon as possible, and send it to the Stage Coach, directed to Mr. Robertson Minister of the Gospel at Edinburgh, near the head of the Cowgate3.. The Stage Coach sets up near you4.; so I must beg you to take this Trouble.
Mr. Andrew Reid5. was so good as to look over some Sheets for me, but has so blotted them with Corrections that he has renderd it useless for me. I must therefore beg of you to bind in boards another compleat Copy of small Paper, and to send it to my House as soon as it is ready.
You gave me a sensible Satisfaction by writing to me; and tho I am a little lazy myself in writing (I mean, Letters: For as to other kinds of writing, your Press can witness for me, that I am not lazy) there is nothing gives me greater Pleasure than hearing from my Friends, among whom I shall be always fond of ranking Mr. Strahan. You have probably heard from Mr. Millar, that I am wholly engrossd in finishing my History2.; and have been so above a twelvemonth. If I keep my Health, which is very good and equal to any Fatigue, I shall be able to visit you in eight or nine Months; and then you may expect to have a very troublesome Dun upon you, in making Demands of a regular Visit of your Devil3.; and I shall be able to cure you of some Indolence, which as our Friend opposite Catherine Street in the Strand4. complains to me, is growing upon you. If this Indolence comes from Riches, I hope also to cure it another way, by gaining your Money at Whist; tho’ really the Person abovementiond Edition: current; Page:  is a Proof that Indolence is no immediate or necessary Effect of Riches: So that I fancy it is born with you; and that there is no hopes of curing you. However, it will give me some Satisfaction to come to you in case of any Negligence, and first scold you and then gain your Money, in order to punish you.
I am sorry, both on your Account and Mr. Rose's5., for whom I have a great Regard, that it shoud be absolutely impossible for me, till my present Undertaking is finishd, to have any hand in what he proposes to me. If I had leizure, I shoud certainly comply with his Request: He only disobliges me in mentioning any other Acknowlegement, than his being sensible of my Inclination to oblige him.
Is this new Reign to be the Augustan Age6.? or have the Parsons got entire Possession of the young Prince7.? I hear that they brag much of their Acquisition; but he seems by his Speech to be a great Admirer of his Cousin of Prussia8., who surely is no Favourer or Favourite of theirs9.. I wonder how Kings dare be so free: They ought to leave that to their Betters; to Men who have no Dependance on the Mob, or the Leaders of the Mob. As to poor Kings they are obligd sometimes to retract and to deny their Writings.
I was glad to observe what our King says, that Faction is at an End and Party Distinctions abolish’d10.. You may infer from this, that I think I have kept clear of Party in my History; that I think I have been much injurd when any thing of that Nature has been imputed to me, and that I now hope the public Ear will be more open to Truth: But it will be a long time first; and I despair of ever seeing it11..
I beg my compliments to Mrs. Strahan, and all your Family, and am Dear Sir with great Sincerity,
I cannot give you a better Return for your obliging Letter than by introducing to your Acquaintance, the Edition: current; Page:  Bearer, Mr. Mcpherson, who translated some Fragments of Highland Poetry, which have been extremely well receivd by the Public, and have probably come to your Hands. He has also translated a larger Work, a narrative Poem of great Antiquity, which lay in Obscurity, & woud probably have been bury’d in oblivion, if he had not retrievd it. He proposes to print it by Subscription, and his Friends here are already very busy in procuring him Encouragement. He goes up to London with the same Intention; and you may readily believe, that I advis’d him to think of nobody but our Friend, Mr. Millar, in disposing of the Copy. He will probably need your Advice in several Particulars, and as he is an entire Stranger in London, you will naturally of yourself be inclind to assist him. He is also very worthy of your Friendship; being a sensible, modest young Fellow, a very good Scholar, and of unexceptionable Morals. I have advis’d him to be at first on a Footing of Confidence with you; and hope you will receive him as one who merits your Friendship1..
EDINBURGH2., 9 Feby. 1761.
I return you thanks for the favourable Sentiments you express, in which I am sensible there is great Partiality; a Circumstance, however, which renders them the more obliging. I do not expect ever to live and see the Completion of your Prophecy.1.
I send you the second Volume of the Stuarts2. Mr. Millar tells me, that he intends to throw off a small Number of 250 to compleat the Sets; and at the same time a larger number of 750, on Medium paper, which he intends likewise for a new Edition of the Tudors and this antient History. Now I am going to propose to you an Improvement, if it be practicable. I always intended, that the whole six Volumes shoud be printed and shoud read as one continued Work, and that the Chapters shoud go on without Interruption from beginning to end. In that Case, the first Chapter of James I, is the forty fifth of the whole. Could you not therefore without any difficulty alter the Types for the last 750 Copies, so as to accommodate the Work to this Alteration. There needs only to change the beginning of the Chapter & the marginal Title, which may be done without Trouble. Unless this be done at present, I do not know when we shall be able to bring them to an Uniformity3..
Mr. Hume's Compliments to Mr. Strahan: He sets out Morrow for France1.; but wishes to put Mr. Strahan in Mind, of what he promisd, to correspond with him at Paris. His Direction is under Cover to Lord Hertford, Northumberland House in the Strand.
I have long expected to hear from you and to learn your Sentiments of English Politics1., according to the Promise you made me on parting: Perhaps, you have as long expected to hear from me; and thus while we stand upon Ceremony, our Correspondence is never likely to begin. But I have now broke the Ice, and it will be your Fault, if our Commerce of Letters does not continue.
I have been on the Watch this Winter for any publication, which might answer in an English Translation, and have even fix’d a Correspondence with one of the Licencers of the Press to give me early Intelligence; but there has nothing appeard, which I thought woud answer, except Edition: current; Page:  Voltaire's Treatise of Toleration, of which only a very few stolen copies came here, and it was impossible for me to procure one2.
Are you acquainted with the Merit of Madame Riccoboni's Novels? She is the Author of Lady Juliette Catesby, and others which have been very well receivd both in France and England; and are indeed wrote with great Elegance and Decency3.. She has just now in the Press a Novel4., wrote upon English Manners, from which great Success is expected. Woud you think it worthy of being translated? I coud get from her some Sheets of it, which I woud send you by a Courier5., and which woud secure you the Property: The rest I woud send by any Traveller, of whom Numbers set out every day6..
As she is a Woman of Merit, but poor, any small Present, proportiond to the Success of the Work, I shall only mention in general, and shall leave the Amount of it to your own Discretion afterwards.
Please to direct to me, under Cover to the Earl of Hertford, and send your Letters to Northumberland House in the Strand.
P.S.—Pray inform me, if you can, of the Reason of this continued low Price of Stocks7.: They say, that Money is as scarce in private Transactions. But what is the Reason of that, after the Peace has been establishd for above a twelve month?
Since I wrote the above, I have procurd the two first printed Sheets, from Made Riccoboni. They will secure you the Property, if you think proper to have them translated, which I think they very much deserve. The whole will make two small Volumes.Edition: current; Page: 
These are the proof Sheets corrected. The Translator must follow the Corrections on the Margins. What do you think of a French Edition also of the Original?Edition: current; Page: 
Mr. Hume's Compliments to Mr. Strahan. He sent him the two first Sheets of this Work, which he hopes Mr. Strahan receivd. In case he has not, Mr. Hume recommends it to Mr. Strahan to be translated into English. It is a work of Made de Riccoboni, so well known by the Letters of Lady Juliette Catesby. Mr. Hume will send over the other Sheets as they come from the Press. He desires Mr. Strahan to write to him. His Direction is under Cover to Lord Hertford at Northumberland House in the Strand.
I receivd Yours, for which I am much obligd to you: It gave me great Insight into the Affairs you mention.
I am desird by some People here to enquire how many Presses there may be in London. I suppose it must be an Affair more of Conjecture than of exact Calculation1..
I send you over three other Sheets. The Work seems to be very fine. The Author cannot exactly tell how many Pages each Volume will contain; but two Volumes of such large Print in 12°, must make but a small Book.
P.S.—Since I wrote the above, I have again seen Madame Riccoboni, who tells me that she is now near a Certainty with regard to the Size of her Work. It will be 4 Volumes Edition: current; Page:  in twelves of about 240 pages each. The Dutch Ambassador has desird me to procure him the enclosd Medicine. The whole must not be bought nor sent at a time. Send only so many as may make a small Packet, which a Courier may carry. Pack them up carefully under Cover to Lord Hertford, and send them to Northumberland House in the Strand. Pardon this Trouble.
I see sometimes Made Riccoboni, who is extremely surpriz’d, that Mr. Becket answers none of her Letters, sends her none of the Copies which she bespoke, informs her nothing of the Success of her Book, and in short takes no manner of Notice of her1.. I beseech you make him write, or write yourself for him, if he continues obstinately negligent. I owe Mr. Becket three Pounds, which I shall either pay him in London, or pay Mde Riccoboni for him, in case the Success of her Book has been such, as to entitle her to any Recompence. You or Becket may write her in English. Her Direction is Rue Poissoniere au dela Edition: current; Page:  le boulevard. I am somewhat in a hurry, which will apologize for the Shortness of my Letter. I am always much oblig’d to you, when you have Leizure to write to me2.; being very sincerely Dear Sir
I receivd both your Letters, which gave me great Satisfaction. Your Accounts of things are the fullest and most candid I meet with; and if your Leizure allowd you, you coud not do me a greater Satisfaction, than to continue them, when any thing remarkable occurs. I think there is Edition: current; Page:  all the Probability that this will prove a quiet Session1.; and there is a general Tranquillity establishd in Europe2.; so that we have nothing to do but cultivate Letters: There appears here a much greater Zeal of that kind than in England3.; but the best & most taking works of the French are generally publishd in Geneva or Holland, and are in London before they are in Paris4.: So that I cannot have an Opportunity of serving you in the way I coud wish. I am sorry, that the last Publication5. has not been successfull. I only saw the Beginning and judged from the Authors Character. The Beginning is much the best of the Work. I have not lost view of continuing my History6.. But as to the Point of my rising in Reputation, I doubt much of it7.: The mad and wicked Rage against the Scots, I am told, continues and encreases, and the English are such a mobbish People as never to distinguish. Happily their Opinion gives me no great Concern8.. I see in your Chronicle9. an Abridgement of a Treatise on the Constitution10.; which Treatise seems to be nothing but an Abridgement of my History; yet I shall engage, that the Author has not nam’d me from the beginning to the end of his Performance. On the whole, I can have no Motive of Ambition or Love of Fame to continue my History: Money in my present Circumstances is no Temptation: If I execute that Work, as is probable, it must be for Amusement to myself, after I am tir’d of Idleness. My Health and Spirits are as good at present as when I was five and twenty. Believe me, Dear Sir, with great Sincerity,
The House of Lords was not however careless of the tranquillity of America. On March 6 of this year the keeper of the Sun Tavern, in the Strand, was summoned to their bar, and examined about an exhibition in his house of two Indian Warriors. He assured their Lordships‘that they had their meals regularly and drank nothing stronger than small beer.’ The House resolved:‘That the bringing from America any of the Indians who are under his Majesty's protection, without proper authority for so doing, may tend to give great dissatisfaction to the Indian nations, and be of dangerous consequence to his Majesty's subjects residing in the Colonies.’ Parl. Hist. xvi. p. 51.
1In the Parl. Hist. xvii. 164, we read:—’April 10, 1771. Lord North opened his budget.’
Grimm, writing on Jan. 1, 1766, on the eve of Hume's return to England, says:—’M. Hume doit aimer la France; il y a requ l’accueil le plus distingué et le plus flatteur. Paris et la cour se sont disputé l’honneur de se surpasser….Ce qu’il y a encore de plaisant, c’est que toutes les jolies femmes se le sont arraché, et que le gros philosophe écossais s’est plu dans leur société. C’est un excellent homme que David Hume; il est naturellement serein, il entend finement, il dit quelquefois avec sel, quoiqu’il parle peu; mais il est lourd, il n’a ni chaleur, ni grace, ni agrément dans l’esprit, ni rien qui soit propre à s’allier au ramage de ces charmantes petites machines qu’on appelle jolies femmes.’ Corresp. Lit. v. 3.
Goldsmith wrote in 1759 in The Present State of Polite Learning, ch. vii:—’The fair sex in France have also not a little contributed to prevent the decline of taste and literature, by expecting such qualifications in their admirers. A man of fashion at Paris, however contemptible we may think him here, must be acquainted with the reigning modes of philosophy as well as of dress to be able to entertain his mistress agreeably. The sprightly pedants are not to be caught by dumb show, by the squeeze of a hand, or the ogling of a broad eye; but must be pursued at once through all the labyrinths of the Newtonian system, or the metaphysics of Locke.’ Dr. Moore, in his View of Society and Manners in France, 1779 (i. 24), says:—’Many of the eminent men of letters are received at the houses of the first nobility on the most liberal footing. You can scarcely believe the influence which this body of men have in the gay and dissipated city of Paris. Their opinions not only determine the merit of works of taste and science, but they have considerable weight on the manners and sentiments of people of rank, of the public in general, and consequently are not without effect on the measures of government.’ He points out the influence of the fashionable world on the men of letters,‘whose air, behaviour and conversation are equally purified from the awkward timidity contracted in retirement, and the disgusting arrogance inspired by university honours or church dignities. At Paris the pedants of Moliere are to be seen on the stage only.’ Ib. p. 26.
Mrs. Barbauld says:—’I believe it is true that in England genius and learning obtain less personal notice than in most other parts of Europe.’ She censures‘the contemptuous manner in which Lady Wortley Montagu mentioned Richardson:—’The doors of the Great,’ she says,‘were never opened to him.’ Richardson Corresp. i. clxxiv. Horace Walpole wrote from Paris on Sept. 22, 1765:—’For literature, it is very amusing when one has nothing else to do. I think it rather pedantic in society; tiresome when displayed professedly; and besides in this country one is sure it is only the fashion of the day. Their taste in it is worst of all: could one believe that when they read our authors Richardson and Mr. Hume should be their favourites? The latter is treated here with perfect veneration. His History, so falsified in many points, so partial in many, so very unequal in its parts, is thought the standard of writing.’ Letters, iv. 408.‘The veneration’ with which he was received Hume describes to Robertson, on Dec. 1, 1763:—’do you ask me about my course of life? I can only say, that I eat nothing but ambrosia, drink nothing but nectar, breathe nothing but incense, and tread on nothing but flowers. Every man I meet, and still more every lady, would think they were wanting in the most indispensable duty, if they did not make to me a long and elaborate harangue in my praise. What happened last week, when I had the honour of being presented to the D[auphi]n's children at Versailles, is one of the most curious scenes I have yet passed through. The Duc de B[erri] the eldest [afterwards Lewis XVI] a boy of ten years old, stepped forth, and told me how many friends and admirers I had in this country, and that he reckoned himself in the number from the pleasure he had received from the reading of many passages in my works. When he had finished, his brother, the Count de P[rovence], [afterwards Lewis XVIII] who is two years younger, began his discourse, and informed me that I had been long and impatiently expected in France; and that he himself expected soon to have great satisfaction from the reading of my fine History. But what is more curious; when I was carried thence to the Count d’A[rtois] [afterwards Charles X], who is but four years of age1, I heard him mumble something, which, though he had forgot it in the way, I conjectured from some scattered words to have been also a panegyric dictated to him.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 353.
The Marquis of Tavistock wrote to the Duke of Bedford from Paris on April 6, 1764:—’I have lived so much with French people that it's a wonder I have not yet seen the illustre Hume, for there is nobody so fêté by the fine ladies as he is.’ Correspondence of John, Duke of Bedford, iii. 261. The esteem in which Richardson was held at this time is shown by a letter of the Marquis de Mirabeau, the author of L’ami des Hommes, to Hume, dated Aug. 3, 1763. He writes:—’Je vous avoue que le plus digne des hommes selon moi, Richardson seul m’aurait souvent fait regreter de ne savoir pas l’anglais.’ M.S.R.S.E.
Lord Charlemont, after stating that‘no man from his manners was surely less formed for French society than Hume,’ attributes his reception to the fact that‘free thinking and English frocks were the fashion, and the Anglomanie was the ton du pays.’ He tells the following anecdote of the first Lord Holland who about this time visited Paris.‘The French concluded that an Englishman of his reputation must be a philosopher, and must be admired. It was customary with him to doze after dinner, and one day at a great entertainment he happened to fall asleep. “Le voilà!” says a Marquis, pulling his neighbour by the sleeve, “Le voilà qui pense!”’ He adds that, though Hume's conversation could give little pleasure to French men, still less to French women,‘yet no lady's toilette was complete without Hume's attendance. At the Opera his broad unmeaning face was usually seen entre deux jolis minois.’ Memoirs of the Earl of Charlemont, i. 234.
In one respect Hume had owned that authors were far better off here than on the other side of the Channel. After describing to Elliot in 1762 his comfortable flat in James's Court, for which he had paid £500, he continues:—’On comparing my situation with poor Rousseau's, I cannot but reflect how much better book-sellers we have in this country than they in France.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 360. Voltaire, in his review of Julia Mandeville, says:—’Pour peu qu’un roman, une tragédie, une comédie ait de succès à Londres, on en fait trois et quatre éditions en peu de mois; c’est que l’état mitoyen est plus riche et plus instruit en Angleterre qu’en France, &c.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, xliii. 364.
Little more than a year before Hume wrote that‘the little company in London that is worth conversing with are cold and unsociable,’ Reynolds and Johnson had founded their famous club. Boswell's Johnson, i. 477. Nearly ninety years after he had complained of the want of zeal in England for the cultivation of letters, Darwin was lamenting the indifference to science. Writing in 1854 about an unsolicited grant by the Colonial Government of Tasmania towards the expenses of Sir. J. Hooker's Flora of Tasmania, he says:—’ It is really a very singular and delightful fact, contrasted with the slight appreciation of science in the old country.’ Life of Darwin, i. 394.
1The three princes were nine, eight, and six years old.
’Edinburgh, March 10, 1763. I am in a good measure idle at present; but if I tire of this way of Life, as is probable, I shall certainly continue my History, and have no Thoughts of any other work. But in this State of Affairs, I suppose your People of Rank and Quality woud throw the Door in my Face because I am a Scotsman.’ M. S. R. S. E.
’Edinburgh, 12 March, 1763. I am engaged in no work at present; but if I tire of idleness, or more properly speaking, of reading for my amusement, I may probably continue my History. My only discouragement is that I cannot hope to finish this work in my closet, but must apply to the great for papers and intelligence, a thing I mortally abhor.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 146.
’Edinburgh, 28 March, 1763. I may perhaps very soon gather silently together the books which will enable me to sketch out the reigns of King William and Queen Anne, and shall finish them afterwards, together with that of George I; in London. But to tell you the truth, I have an aversion to appear in that capital till I see that more justice is done tome with regard to the preceding volumes. The languishing sale of this edition makes me conjecture that the time is not yet come; and the general rage against the Scots is an additional discouragement.’ Ib. ii. 147. (Seven weeks after this letter was written Boswell, on being introduced to Johnson, said:—’I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 392.)
’Paris, 14 Jany. 1765. I am now in a situation to have access to all the families which have papers relative to public affairs transacted in the end of the last and beginning of this century…. The rage and prejudice of parties frighten me; and above all, this rage against the Scots, which is so dishonourable, and indeed so infamous to the English nation. We hear that it increases every day without the least appearance of provocation on our part. It has frequently made me resolve never in my life to set foot on English ground. I dread if I should undertake a more modern history the impertinence and ill manners, to which it would expose me.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 264.
’[1766.] Some push me to continue my History. Millar offers me any price. All the Marlborough papers are offered me; and I believe nobody would venture to refuse me. But cui bono? Why should I forego idleness and sauntering and society, and expose myself again to the clamours of a stupid factious public ?’ Ib. ii. 392. (The Marlborough papers had been in Mallet's possession. For more than twenty years‘ he had a pension from the late Duke of Marlborough to promote his industry,’ in publishing them. On his death in 1765 it was found that he had not even touched them. Boswell's Johnson, v. 175.)
’Oct. 6, 1767. When Mr. Conway was on the point of resigning, I desird him to propose to the King that I might afterwards have the liberty of inspecting all the public Offices for such Papers as might serve to my purpose. His Majesty said that he was glad I had that object in my Eye; and I should certainly have all the Assistance in his Power.’ David Hume to John Home of Ninewells. M. S. R. S. E.
’8 Oct. 1766. I shall probably do as you advise, and sketch out the outlines of the two or three subsequent reigns, which I may finish at London.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 393.
’London, 27 Nov. 1767. The king himself has been pleased to order that all the records and public offices shall be open to me, and has even sent for some papers from Hanover, which he thought would be useful.’ Private Corresp. p. 250.
’London, 26 April, 1768. Lord Hertford told me that he and his brother [General Conway] had made a point with the King and the ministers, that in consideration of my services I should have some further provision made for me, which was immediately assented to, only loaded with this condition by the King, that I should seriously apply myself to the consummation of my History.’ Ib. p. 257.
’London, 24 May, 1768. The King has given me a considerable augmentation of my pension, expressing at the same time his expectation that I am to continue my History. This motive, with my habits of application, will probably engage me in this undertaking, and occupy me for some years.’ Ib. p. 261.
Strahan wrote to Sir A. Mitchell on April 1, 1768:—’Mr. D. Hume dined with me to-day. He is now applying in good earnest to the continuation of his History, having collected very considerable materials.’ M. S. R. S. E. On May 14, 1768, Boswell, whom Hume had lately visited, wrote:—’david is going to give us two more volumes of History, down to George II. I wish he may not mire himself in the Brunswick sands. Pactolus is there.’ Letters of Boswell, p. 151. On Dec. 9, writing from Edinburgh, Boswell says:—’ Mr. Hume is not to go to Paris; he is busy with the continuance of his History.’ Ib. p. 159. Hume relapses once more into indolence. He writes to Strahan on May 22, 1770:—’I am fully determined never to continue my History, and have indeed put it entirely out of my power by retiring to this country for the rest of my life.’ Two years later his determination is not quite so strong.‘If I find my time lie heavy on my hands, I may, for my amusement, undertake a reign or two after the Revolution. But I believe, in case of my composing any more, I had better write something that has no Reference to the affairs of these factious Barbarians.’ Post, Letter of March 5,1772. His amusement apparently does not require any fresh composition, for at the beginning of the next year he writes:—’ Considering the treatment I have met with, it would have been very silly for me at my years to continue writing any more, and still more blamable to warp my principles and sentiments in conformity to the prejudices of a stupid, factious nation, with whom I am heartily disgusted.’ Post, Letter of Jan. 30, 1773.
A great change was wrought in Hume by the storm of abuse which burst on his countrymen when the new King put himself and the nation in the leading-strings of the Earl of Bute. Though he had written the History of England, he never seemed to understand for one moment the anger that was stirred up in a proud people, when their Great Commoner had to yield to the favourite of a Palace, with his vile system of‘King's friends’ and secret‘influence.’ Some indulgence must be extended to him as a man, though not perhaps as a philosopher, on account of the disappointment which he himself had suffered through his origin. As will be seen (post, p. 58) he was refused the high office of Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland merely because he was born north of the Tweed. His return from France, which followed close on this humiliation, still further embittered his feelings. In that country his genius had been recognised to the full.‘Few people,’ wrote Dr. Blair to him,‘have been more fortunate than you; you have enjoyed in France the full blaze of your reputation and fame; you have tasted all the pleasures of a court and of public life; and after receiving every tribute due to letters and to merit, you retire before it was too late to your own philosophic ease and tranquillity.’ Blair to Hume, Oct. 8, 1765. M. S. R. S. E. Philosophic ease was not by any means enough. His ruling passion, as he himself owned in his Autobiography, was‘love of literary fame.’ To him might be applied, though not in all its extent, what Johnson said of Richardson:—’He could not be contented to sail quietly down the stream of reputation, without longing to taste the froth from every stroke of the oar.’ (Piozzi's Anecdotes, p. 184.) He returned to our shores one of the most famous men in Europe, and he at once passed from‘the full blaze’ to that dim and uncertain glimmer which was all that genius could throw round itself here. Had he been content with the company of men of letters, his love of fame might perhaps have been satisfied; but he was used to the homage of men and women of rank and fashion in the most famous drawing-rooms of Paris. Princes no longer made him addresses, nor did fine ladies‘believe him implicitly,’ (Walpole's Letters, iv. 426). His vanity, I believe, was wounded just as was Rousseau's, when that philosopher found how quickly a great writer sinks into insignificance in London. Both men were wanting in that humour which‘holds the world but as the world,’ and in the midst of disappointments and neglect smiles at them and at itself.
In the extracts from his letters given in Note 3 the bitterness of his feelings has been seen. The following passages show that it did not lessen with growing years:—
’Paris, 1 Dec. 1763. It is probable that this place will long be my home. I feel little inclination to the factious barbarians of London.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 178.
’Paris, 27 March, 1764. I have been accustomed to meet with nothing but insults and indignities from my native country1.’ Ib. p. 191.
’Paris, 26 April, 1764. The taste for literature is neither decayed nor depraved here, as with the barbarians who inhabit the banks of the Thames.’ Ib. p. 196.
’Paris, 22 Sept. 1764. From what human motive or consideration can I prefer living in England than in foreign countries? I believe, taking the continent of Europe from Petersburgh to Lisbon and from Bergen to Naples, there is not one who ever heard of my name, who has not heard of it with advantage, both in point of morals and genius. I do not believe there is one Englishman in fifty who, if he heard I had broke my neck to-night, would be sorry. Some, because I am not a Whig; some because I am not a Christian; and all because I am a Scotsman. Can you seriously talk of my continuing an Englishman2? Am I, or are you, an Englishman? Do they not treat with derision our pretensions to that name, and with hatred our just pretensions to surpass and govern them?’ Ib. p. 238.
’Paris, 14 Jany. 1765. The rage and prejudice of parties frighten me; and above all this rage against the Scots, which is so dishonourable, and indeed so infamous to the English nation. We hear that it increases every day without the least appearance of provocation on our part. It has frequently made me resolve never in my life to set foot on English ground.’ Ib. p. 265.
’Paris, Aug. 23, 1765. I have a reluctance to think of living among the factious barbarians of London; who will hate me because I am a Scotsman, and am not a Whig, and despise me because I am a man of letters…. Lord Hertford, on his arrival in London, found great difficulty of executing his intentions in my favour1. The cry is loud against the Scots; and the present ministry2 are unwilling to support any of our countrymen, lest they bear the reproach of being connected with Lord Bute.’ Ib. p. 290.
’Paris, Nov. 5, 1765. London is the capital of my own country; but it never pleased me much. Letters are there held in no honour; Scotsmen are hated; superstition and ignorance gain ground daily.’ Ib. p. 292.
It was my duty, as editor of Boswell's Life of Johnson, to gather in a Concordance Johnson's sayings against the Scotch. I shall feel more confidence among my friends of that race, when I show them that Hume in his abuse of the English as much surpassed Johnson in violence as he was inferior to him in wit. On one occasion, and on one alone, do I find him writing as an Englishman. In a letter to the Abbé Morellet, dated London, July 10, 1769, he says:—’The Abbé Galliani goes to Naples; he does well to leave Paris before I come thither; for I should certainly put him to death for all the ill he has spoken of England. But it has happened, as was foretold by his friend Caraccioli, who said that the Abbé would remain two months in this country, would speak all himself, would not allow an Englishman to utter a syllable, and after returning would give the character of the nation during the rest of his life as if he were perfectly well acquainted with them.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 428.
He urges indeed his brother to give his eldest son an English education, so that he may not, by staying in Scotland,‘acquire such an accent as he will never be able to cure of.’ Ib. p. 403. In his History moreover he recognises the advantage of a union of the two nations. So early as the reign of Edward I. he speaks of it as‘a project so favourable to the happiness and grandeur of both Kingdoms.’ He describes that King's attempt to seize the Scottish crown, as a‘great object, very advantageous to England, perhaps in the end no less beneficial to Scotland, but extremely unjust and iniquitous in itself.’ Ed. 1802, ii. 246, 250.
I do not find that Hume's friends among his countrymen shared in the violence of his dislike. On the contrary some of them remonstrated with him. Sir Gilbert Elliot wrote to him in the autumn of 1764:—’Notwithstanding all you say, we are both Englishmen; that is, true British subjects, entitled to every emolument and advantage that our happy constitution can bestow. Do not you speak and write and publish what you please? and though attacking favourite and popular opinions, are you not in the confidential friendship of Lord Hertford, and intrusted with the most important national concerns? Am not I a member of Parliament….? Had it not been for the clamour of a Scott, perhaps indeed I might have been in some more active, but not more honourable or lucrative situation. This clamour we all know is merely artificial and occasional. It will in time give way to some other equally absurd and ill-founded, when you, if you will, may become a bishop and I a minister.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 240. In the same month Millar sent him the following extract from a letter which he had received from Adam Smith, who was at Paris:—’Though I am very happy here, I long passionately to rejoin my old friends, and if I had once got fairly to your side of the water, I think I should never cross it again. Recommend the same sober way of thinking to Hume. He is light-headed, tell him, when he talks of coming to spend the remainder of his days here or in France. Remember me to him most affectionately.’ M. S. R. S. E.
On Feb. 25 of the following year (1765) Millar wrote:—’You are totally mistaken about any prejudice against the Scots in general here. I find no difference of respect to particulars. The cry was raised and is continued only with a view to distress Lord Bute whom they heartily hate, and it would have been happy for his Country he had never been born; his particular friendship being placed on weak or designing men is a misfortune and the certain [?] affectation and manner is disgusting.’ Ib. John Crawfurd wrote to Hume on Jan. 20, 1767:—’What you say of your being detested as a Scotsman, and despised as a man of letters is melancholy nonsense.’ Ib. Boswell,‘a very universal man’ as he was, we find associating with Churchill only two or three months after that scurrilous but most vigorous writer had bitterly assailed Scotland in his Prophecy of Famine. It was by‘the witty sallies’ of him and of a libeller equally gross, John Wilkes, that the young Scotchman‘was enlivened’ on the morning on which he first called on Johnson. Boswell's Johnson, i. 395. On the other hand, Boswell's friend, George Dempster, a Member of Parliament well known in his day, writing to him in 1775 about Johnson's Journey to the Western Islands, shows how strong the English antipathy was. He says:—’I hope the book will induce many of Dr. Johnson's countrymen to make the same jaunt, and help to intermix the more liberal part of them still more with us, and perhaps abate somewhat of that virulent antipathy which many of them entertain against the Scotch; who certainly would never have formed those combinations which he takes notice of, more than their ancestors, had they not been necessary for their mutual safety, at least for their success, in a country where they are treated as foreigners.’ Ib. v. 408. Nevertheless the great popularity of the Scotch authors, Blair, Beattie, Robertson, and Hume himself; the‘extraordinary applause’ that was given to Beattie in the Theatre at Oxford, when on July 9, 1773 he received his degree of Doctor of Laws, show that, however strong may have been the general feeling against the race, it did not necessarily extend in all its force to individuals.
That the provocation was very great that Hume as a Scotchman received cannot be denied. That much of the attack was provoked, as I have said, by the favour shown to his countrymen by the King's Scotch favourite, is equally true. Johnson, who was disposed to think well of the Earl of Bute, from whom as Prime Minister he had received his pension, said of him:—’Lord Bute showed an undue partiality to Scotchmen. He turned out Dr. Nichols, a very eminent man, from being physician to the King, to make room for one of his countrymen, a man very low in his profession. He had Wedderburne and Home to go on errands for him. He had occasion for people to go on errands for him; but he should not have had Scotchmen; and certainly he should not have suffered them to have access to him before the first people in England.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 354. There was however another and a less worthy ground for the general ill-will of the English towards the North Britons. There was a jealousy of the success which the Scotch were fairly winning in almost every path of life. The knowledge which they had gained in their schools and universities,‘countenanced in general,’ to use Johnson's words,‘by a national combination so invidious that their friends cannot defend it, and actuated in particulars by a spirit of enterprise so vigorous that their enemies are constrained to praise it, enabled them to find, or to make their way to employment, riches, and distinction.’ Johnson's Works, ix. 158.
The following anecdote, recorded by Jefferson in his Diary, illustrates this Scotch occupation of England:—’The confederation of the States, while on the carpet before the old Congress, was strenuously opposed by the smaller States, which feared being swallowed up by the larger ones. We were long engaged in the discussion; it produced great heats, much ill-humour, & intemperate declarations from some members. Dr. Franklin at length brought the debate to a close with one of his little apologues. He observed that “at the time of the Union of England and Scotland the Duke of Argyle was most violently opposed to that measure, and among other things predicted that, as the whale had swallowed Jonah, so Scotland would be swallowed by England. However (said the Doctor) when Lord Bute came into the Government, he soon brought into its administration so many of his countrymen, that it was found in the event that Jonah swallowed the whale.” This little story produced a general laugh, and restored good humour, and the article of difficulty was passed.’ Life of Franklin, ed. by J. Bigelow, 1879, iii. 299.
Having shown Hume's rage against the English, I will now give a few instances of‘the mad and wicked rage against the Scots.’ Wilkes, in the North Briton, No. xiii. (Aug. 28, 1762), in a passage which he says comes from Howell, writes:—
’As for fruit for their grandsire Adam's sake they [the Scotch] never planted any; and for other trees, had Christ been betrayed in this country (as doubtless he should, had he come as a stranger) Judas had sooner found the grace of repentance than a tree to hang himself on.’ This attack he follows up with such abuse as the following:—’Jany. 22, 1763. A Scot hath no more right to preferment in England than a Hanoverian or a Hottentot.’ Ib. No. 34.
’April 2, 1763. The restless and turbulent disposition of the Scottish nation before the Union, with their constant attachment to France and declared enmity to England, their repeated perfidies and rebellions since that period, with their servile behaviour in times of need and overbearing insolence in power, have justly rendered the very name Scot hateful to every true Englishman.’ Wilkes goes on to attack Lord Bute for‘his gross partiality to his own beggarly countrymen1.’ Ib. No. 44.
Churchill's Prophecy of Famine, published in 1763, is full of scurrilous passages such as:—
’Oft have I heard thee mourn the wretched lot Of the poor, mean, despis’d, insulted Scot.’
Works, ed. 1766, i. 105.
’Jockey, whose manly high-bon’d cheeks to crown With freckles spotted flam’d the golden down, With mikle art could on the bagpipes play, E’en from the rising to the setting day; Sawney as long without remorse could bawl Home's madrigals and ditties from Fingal. Oft at his strains, all natural tho’ rude, The Highland Lass forgot her want of food, And whilst she scratch’d her lover into rest Sunk pleas’d, though hungry, on her Sawney's breast.’
Ib. i. 111.
In his last poem, written in 1764, on his departure from England, he says, speaking of the Muses:—
’If fashionable grown, and fond of pow’r With hum’rous Scots let them disport their hour; Let them dance fairy-like, round Ossian's tomb; Let them forge lies and histories for Hume; Let them with Home, the very Prince of verse, Make something like a tragedy in Erse.’
Ib. ii. 328.
F. Greville, writing to Hume from Brussels on Sept. 24, 1764, about‘that wretch Churchill,’ says:—’My own heart glowed at the honest indignation he seems to have excited in your breast, and you flatter me very much in pouring it out so freely before me.’ M. S. R. S. E. Walpole wrote on Nov. 15 of the same year:—’Churchill, the poet, is dead—to the great joy of the Ministry and the Scotch.’ Letters, iv. 291. Beattie, in some lines written shortly after Churchill's death, did what he could to pay back the poet's insults. They end:—
'sacred from vengeance shall his memory rest? Judas, though dead, though damned, we still detest.’
The‘rage’ continued for years after Bute's retirement from office, for the secret‘influence’ was still suspected. Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. p. 509) says that in 1769 Garrick, who was bringing out a new play by John Home,‘justly alarmed at the jealousy and dislike which prevailed at that time against Lord Bute and the Scotch, had advised the author to change the title of Rivine into that of The Fatal Discovery, and had provided a student of Oxford who appeared at the rehearsals as the author, and wished Home of all things to remain concealed till the play had its run. But John, whose vanity was too sanguine to admit of any fear or caution, and whose appetite for praise rebelled against the counsel that would deprive him for a moment of his fame, too soon discovered the secret, and though the play survived its nine nights, yet the house evidently slackened after the town heard that John was the author.’ Murphy, in his Life of Garrick, p. 295, says of Home's play:—’The names of the persons of the piece are grating to an English ear. Kastreel, Dunton, Connon, and the like are exotics beneath the dignity of tragedy. The play might as well be written in Erse.’ Dr. Blair, on the other hand, as became the champion of Ossian, writing to Hume on March 11, 1769, says:—’I have this morning received The Fatal Discovery by post. I sit down to read it with great greediness. What made Home give it such a foolish Novel kind of name? Rivine ought to have been the name of the play.’ M. S. R. S. E. We may pause a moment to reflect on the vast change in sentiment that has been wrought since the days when a Highland name was thought sufficient to damn a play. Now, not only Lowlanders, but even Englishmen, when they go to‘the mountains of the North’ are proud to disguise themselves in a dress which their forefathers in Edinburgh or in London, in the days of David Hume and John Home, would have looked on with a feeling of scorn not altogether unmingled with fear. Perhaps by the end of the twentieth century the descendants of the Orangemen of Belfast and Londonderry, and people of rank and fortune from England, when they go to shoot and fish in the wilds of Kerry or Connemara, will hope in their long frieze coats, their knee breeches, and their worsted stockings, to be taken for the children of the soil. Johnson, when he was surrounded by the M’Craas with their‘very savage wildness of aspect and manner,’ and felt that‘it was much the same as being with a tribe of Indians,’ if any one had told him that in another hundred years English gentlemen would be proud to be mistaken for Highlanders, in all probability would have replied:—'sir, you lie, and you know that you lie.’ It was less than twenty years before the date of Hume's letter that Ray, in his History of the Rebellion of 1745 (p. vii), describes the Young Pretender's army as‘the barbarians that over-run the country.’
To return from this digression to the main subject of this note. Smollett in Humphry Clinker, published in 1771, (Letter of July 13), describes how‘from Doncaster northwards all the windows of all the inns are scrawled with doggrel rhymes in abuse of the Scottish nation.’ Lord Shelburne wrote:—’I can scarce conceive a Scotchman capable of liberality, and capable of impartiality.’ Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, iii. 441. Of Lord Mansfield he wrote that‘like the generality of Scotch he had no regard to truth whatever.’ Ib. i. 89. Horace Walpole was, in his old age, as violent against the Scotch as Hume against the English.‘June 14, 1780. What a nation is Scotland; in every reign engendering traitors to the State, and false and pernicious to the Kings that favour it the most! National prejudices, I know, are very vulgar; but, if there are national characteristics, can one but dislike the soils and climates that concur to produce them?’ Letters, vii. 400.‘Feb. 5, 1781. Pray look into the last Critical Review but one; there you will find that David Hume in a saucy blockheadly note calls Locke, Algernon Sidney, and Bishop Hoadly despicable writers. I believe that ere long the Scotch will call the English lousy! and that Goody Hunter will broach the assertion in an Anatomic lecture. Not content with debasing and disgracing us as a nation by losing America, destroying our Empire, and making us the scorn and prey of Europe, the Scotch would annihilate our patriots, martyrs, heroes and geniuses. Algernon Sidney, Lord Russell, King William, the Duke of Marlborough, Locke, are to be traduced and levelled, and with the aid of their fellow-labourer Johnson, who spits at them while he tugs at the same oar, Milton, Addison, Prior and Gray are to make way for the dull forgeries of Ossian, and such wights as Davy and Johnny Home, Lord Kames, Lord Monboddo, and Adam Smith!—Oh! if you [Mason the Poet] have a drop of English ink in your veins, rouse and revenge your country! Do not let us be run down and brazened out of all our virtue, genius, sense and taste by Laplanders and Bœotians, who never produced one original writer in verse or prose.’ Ib. p. 511.
A curious contrast to the violence of Walpole's attack is afforded by a passage in a letter written in the spring of 1759, in which Hume informs Robertson of the great popularity of the History of Scotland.‘Mr. Walpole,’ he says,‘triumphs in the success of his favourites, the Scotch.’ Stewart's Life of Robertson, p. 180. A justification for Hume's statement is found in Walpole's own letters; for on March 25 of this year he wrote to Sir David Dalrymple:—’I could not help smiling, Sir, at being taxed with insincerity for my encomiums on Scotland. They were given in a manner a little too serious to admit of irony, and (as partialities cannot be supposed entirely ceased) with too much risk of disapprobation in this part of the world, not to flow from my heart. My friends have long known my opinion on this point, and it is too much formed on fact for me to retract it, if I were so disposed.’ Letters, iii. 217. This was written, be it observed, while George II was King, and the Earl of Bute nothing more than the favourite of the Princess Dowager of Wales.
See post, Letters of Oct. 25, 1769; March 5, 1772; Jan. 30, 1773.
1By native country he means Great Britain, as distinguished from France.
2His correspondent, Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, had written to him:—’Love the French as much as you will; but above all continue still an Englishman.’ Ib. p. 235.
1He had intended to take Hume to Ireland as his Secretary, in his post of Lord Lieutenant.
2The Rockingham Ministry.
1Johnson in 1754 had said that Bolingbroke‘left half a crown to a beggarly Scotchman to draw the trigger after his death.’ Boswell's Johnson, i.268.
’Philada. July 5, 1775.
’You are a Member of Parliament, and one of that Majority which has doomed my Country to Destruction.—You have begun to burn our Towns, and murder our People,—Look upon your Hands!—They are stained with the Blood of your Relations! You and I were long friends.—You are now my Enemy,—and
’I am, yours,
[Franklin's Memoirs, ed. 1818, iii. i.]
Their friendship was renewed when peace was made between the two countries. Franklin wrote to Strahan in 1784:—’I remember your observing once to me, as we sat together in the House of Commons, that no two journeymen printers within your knowledge had met with such success in the world as ourselves. You were then at the head of your profession, and soon afterwards became a Member of Parliament. I was an agent for a few provinces, and now act for them.’ Ib. p. 172.Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page: 
There have some Transactions pass’d with you of late1., which much excite our Curiosity at a Distance; but I do not wish that you woud write me your Opinion freely about them, unless you can get a private hand, by whom you can send your Letter2..
I shall be much obligd to you, if you will be so good as to insert the following Article in the Chronicle3., and give it about to the other Papers.
’Paris. On Tuesday the fourth of June, being the Anniversary of his Majesty's Birth day, the Earl of Hertford, Ambassador from England, invited all the English of Rank and Condition in this Place, to the Number of seventy Persons, who dind with him and celebrated that Solemnity. The Company appeard very Splendid, being almost all drest in new and rich Cloaths on this Occasion; the Entertainment was magnificent, and the usual Healths were drunk with great Loyalty and Alacrity by all present4..’
I am sorry it is not allowd me to communicate to you any more interesting Intelligence; but be assurd of my Regard, and excuse my abrupt Conclusion, as I write in a Hurry.
’May 25, 1765. My last, I think, was of the 16th. Since that we have had events of almost every sort. A whole administration dismissed, taken again, suspended, confirmed; an insurrection; and we have been at the eve of a civil war. Many thousand weavers rose on a bill for their relief being thrown out of the House of Lords by the Duke of Bedford. For four days they were suffered to march about the town with colours displayed, petitioning the King, surrounding the House of Lords, mobbing and wounding the Duke of Bedford, and at last besieging his house, which with his family was narrowly saved from destruction. At last it grew a regular siege and blockade; but by garrisoning it with horse and foot literally, and calling in several regiments the tumult is appeased. Lord Bute rashly taking advantage of this unpopularity of his enemies, advised the King to notify to his Ministers that he intended to dismiss them,—and by this step, no succedaneum being prepared, reduced his Majesty to the alternative of laying his crown at the foot of Mr. Pitt or of the Duke of Bedford; and as it proved at last, of both. The Duke of Cumberland was sent for, and was sent to Mr. Pitt, from whom, though offering almost carte blanche, he received a peremptory refusal. The next measure was to form a Ministry from the Opposition. Willing were they, but timid. Without Mr. Pitt nobody would engage. The King was forced to desire his old Ministers to stay where they were…. Here are all the great and opulent noble families engaged on one side or the other. Here is the King insulted and prisoner, his Mother stigmatised, his Uncle affronted, his Favourite persecuted. It is again a scene of Bohuns, Montforts and Plantagenets…. When I recollect all I have seen and known, I seem to be as old as Methuselah; indeed I was born in politics,—but I hope not to die in them. With all my experience, these last five weeks have taught me more than any other ten years.’ Walpole to Mann. Letters, iv. 370-2.
’June 26, 1765. You have known your country in more perilous situations, but you never knew it in a more distracted one in time of peace than it is in at present. Nor had I ever more difficulty to describe its position to you. Times of party have their great outlines which even such historians as Hollingshed or Smollett can seize. But a season of faction is another guess thing. It depends on personal characters, intrigues and minute circumstances, which make little noise and escape the eyes of the generality. The details are as much too numerous for a letter as, when the moment is past, they become too trifling and uninteresting for history.’ Ib. p. 377.
Burke, writing on May 18 to Henry Flood, said:—’Nothing but an intractable temper in your friend Pitt can prevent a most admirable and lasting system from being put together; and this crisis will shew whether pride or patriotism be predominant in his character; for you may be assured that he has it now in his power to come into the service of his country upon any plan of politics he may choose to dictate, with great and honourable terms to himself and to every friend he has in the world; and with such a stretch of power as will be equal to everything but absolute despotism over the King and kingdom. A few days will shew whether he will take this part, or that of continuing on his back at Hayes, talking fustian, excluded from all ministerial, and incapable of all parliamentary service; for his gout is worse than ever, but his pride may disable him more than his gout. These matters so fill our imaginations here that with our mob of six or seven thousand weavers who pursue the Ministry, and do not leave them quiet or safety in their houses, we have little to think of other things.’ Burke's Private Corres. i. 80.
Dr. Blair wrote to Hume in Paris on July 1 :—’Our Political Revolutions here would amaze you…. All that seems to be certain is that L. B. [Lord Bute] is worsted and — [the King] made a prisoner. If the present Establishment take any root, it will probably end in his relapsing altogether into the condition of a private man and amusing himself with his Wife and his Children; now that they have found the ways of subduing him.’ M. S. R. S. E.
Macaulay, in his second Essay on the Earl of Chatham (ed. 1874, iv. 318), describing his conduct at this time says:—’And now began a long series of errors on the part of the illustrious statesman, errors which involved his country in difficulties and distresses more serious even than those from which his genius had formerly rescued her. His language was haughty, unreasonable, almost unintelligible. The only thing which could be discerned, through a cloud of vague and not very gracious phrases, was that he would not at that moment take office.’
’London, June 8, 1757. The public, perhaps at the moment I write this, is at the crisis of its fate∗ But I say no more. For at the Post Office, it is said, they use a liberty without licence (just the contrary of what is done everywhere else, where they use licence without liberty) to open people's letters.’ Warburton to Hurd. Letters from a late Eminent Prelate, ed. 1809, p. 244.
’London, June 26, 1765. You know, my dear Sir, I never expect you to answer me on these delicate subjects [a threatened change of Ministry]. I even send this by a safe conveyance to Lord Hertford at Paris, as I did a former one which I hope you received.’ Horace Walpole to Mann. Letters, iv. 378.
’London, Aug. 29, 1766. I am told there is a great fracas at the Post Office about a letter from the Duke of Bedford to the Duke of Grafton [the Prime Minister] having been opened. Mr. Saxby is named as the person doing it, and is under strict examination, I hear, to name who set him on to do it…. Sept. 2. Saxby is turned out of an office of £1200 a year for opening the Duke of Bedford's letter, it is said, to the Duke of Grafton.’ Mr. Lloyd to Mr. Grenville. Grenville Papers, iii. 311. The editor quotes a Private Memorial to Mr. Grenville, when Prime Minister, from Mr. Anthony Todd, the Secretary to the General Post Office, dated August 1763, containing an account of £5810 Secret Service Money applied to the payment of the allowances on the Secret List for one year. A request was made that the allowance of one Mr. Bode might be increased,‘for engraving the many seals we are obliged to make use of.’ On this Secret List Mr. Todd's name is entered for £750, with £25 added,‘for distributing these allowances.’ His regular salary was only £200 (Court and City Register for 1765, p. 129). It must have been raised later on, for on June 17, 1783, Mr. Pitt in the Debate on his Bill for Reform of Abuses in the Public Offices,‘speaking of fees mentioned the place of the Secretary of the Post Office, who with a salary of five or six hundred pounds made an annual income of upwards of three thousand. Mr. Pitt stated this to arise from his having two and a half per cent. on all packets [packet-boats]; and in the last year of the war he said £140,000 had been expended in packets, so many were either lost at sea or taken.’ Parl. Hist. xxiii. 951. I was puzzled at finding in the Secret List the Bishop of Bath and Wells as the recipient of £500 a year; but after some search I solved the mystery by discovering the following mention of him by Horace Walpole in 1741:—’Old Weston of Exeter is dead. Dr. Clarke, the Dean, Dr. Willes, the decipherer, and Dr. Gilbert of Llandaff are candidates to succeed him. Sir R[obert Walpole, the Prime-Minister] is for Willes, who, he says, knows so many secrets that he might insist upon being made Archbishop.’ Letters, i. 116. His death is thus mentioned in the Gent. Mag. for Dec. 1773, p. 582:—’In Hill Street, Berkeley Square, aged 80, Dr. Edward Willes, Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells, and joint Decipherer (with his son Edward Willes, Esq.) to the King. He was consecrated Bishop of St. David's in 1742, and translated to the see of Bath and Wells in 1743.’ Edward Willes is entered on the Secret List as receiving £500, and Thomas Willes £300.
’dublin, May 19, 1769. To avoid the impertinence of a post-office I take the opportunity of sending this by a private hand.’ Earl of Charlemont to Burke. Burke Corres. i. 167.
’Gregories, July 9, 1769. Might I presume to suggest that just at this time he [the Duke of Richmond] may possibly expect to hear from your lordship by the first safe conveyance. If the letter be given to his porter it will be sent by the coach to Goodwood.’ Burke to the Marquis of Rockingham. Ib. p. 176.
If we may trust Hume the correspondence of private life was safe. He wrote to the Countess de Boufflers in 1775:—’No private letters are ever opened here.’ Hume's Private Corres. p. 282.
At this time the posts to France left London on Tuesday and Friday in every week, and arrived in London from France on Monday and Friday. Their punctual arrival must of course have depended on a favourable wind. Court and City Register for 1765, p. 132.
1The Pitt and Newcastle Ministry was forming.Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page: 
Your Letter is the most satisfactory and most impartial Account of the present Transactions, which I have met with from any hand. I give you thanks for it. I had long entertain’d Hopes, that, being here in a foreign Employment, we lay much out of the Road of Faction; and that your Ministry in England might toss and tumble over one another, without affecting us; but I see we are now involvd to a certain degree, and must run the Fate of the rest. It is probable I shall be soon in England when I shall have an Opportunity of conversing with you and thanking you more fully1.. I am glad to hear better Accounts of Mr. Millar.
For some time it seemed that Hume was to have a still higher office.‘Lord Hertford had assured him that he would not accept of the Lord-Lieutenancy unless he were allowed the naming of the Secretary.’ He had now heard that‘the office was destined for himself in conjunction with Lord Hertford's son, Lord Beauchamp.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 287. On Aug. 4, Hume wrote to his brother from Compiègne:—’My Sallary [as Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant] will be about 2000 a year…. This is an office of Credit and Dignity, and the Secretary has always an unquestioned Claim, whenever his Term expires, of being provided for in a handsome Manner. Thus you see a splendid Fortune awaits me; yet you cannot imagine with what Regret I leave this Country. It is like Stepping out of Light into Darkness to exchange Paris for Dublin…. I shall probably have it in my Power to do Service to my Friends, particularly to your young Folks. For as to you and myself it is long since we thought our Fortunes entirely made…. I shall remain all the Winter and Spring in Ireland; and no more for two Years.’ M.S.R.S.E.
Before the end of the month he learnt that the office was not for him. He wrote to his brother:—’Lord Hertford, on his arrival in London, found great difficulty of executing his intentions in my favour. The cry is loud against the Scots; and the present Ministry are unwilling to support any of our countrymen, lest they bear the reproach of being connected with Lord Bute. For this reason Lord Hertford departed from his project; which he did the more readily, as he knew I had a great reluctance to the office of Secretary for Ireland, which requires a talent for speaking in public to which I was never accustomed. I must also have kept a kind of open house, and have drunk and caroused with the Irish, a course of living to which I am as little accustomed.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 290.
In a letter to Adam Smith, dated Nov. 5, after mentioning‘the Rage against the Scots,’ he adds:—’Perhaps the Zeal against Deists entered for a share.’ In the same letter he describes the office as one‘of great Dignity, as the Secretary is in a manner prime Minister of that Kingdom.’ M.S.R.S.E.
Two years later we find Junius mocking at‘a Scotch secretary teaching the Irish people the true pronunciation of the English language.’ In a note it is stated that it was Sir Gilbert Elliot, Hume's friend, who was meant. Letters of Junius, ed. 1812, ii. 474.
When the Earl of Chesterfield was made Lord Lieutenant in the year 1745, he chose for his Secretary‘one “who was,” he said, “a very genteel pretty young fellow, but not a man of business.” On the first visit his Secretary paid him, he told him, “Sir, you will receive the emoluments of your place; but I will do the business myself, being determined to have no first Minister.”’ Chesterfield's Misc. Works, i. 255. We may wonder whether Hume, if he had been appointed, would, like Windham, have felt‘some modest and virtuous doubts, whether he could bring himself to practise those arts which it is supposed a person in that situation has occasion to employ. “Don’t be afraid, Sir (said Johnson, with a pleasant smile,) you will soon make a very pretty rascal.”’ Boswell's Johnson, iv. 200. Among the Hume Papers belonging to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, I found the following letter written to him the year before by one Mr. O’Conor.
’The Author of the annexed printed Letter, is an Irish Gentleman, who is highly concerned, that so great a Man as Mr. Hume should be ranked among the Foes of IRELAND. He Observes, that you mention the Irish with Scorn and Contempt, whenever they fall in your way, not only in your history, but even in your Miscellanies. Prejudices against this or that Nation, are prejudices unworthy of a philosopher, who knows that all men are formed by NATURE of the same materials, and who ought to be the Common friend and protector of his Species.
The Author's intention was, that his friend in London should present you this letter in Manuscript, but his Friend being informed, that you did not reside in London, published [it] in the Gentlémen's Musæum1 for April and May of the year‘63.
’How far the reasonings contained in the annexed Letter, will contribute to change your Opinion, with respect to the Conduct of the Irish ever since they were reduced under the Yoke of England, I cannot determine. But I HOPE these reasonings will have a favorable Effect. Mr. Hume is not only a great man, but he is a good man, but he is an upright man. He will therefore expunge from his History, the ill-grounded Censures, which he has thrown upon the unfortunate Irish. He will cure the Wounds, that he has inflicted upon this most distressed Nation under the Sun.
’Grant, Sir, by way of Supposition, that the Charge you bring in your History against the Irish is false. On this hypothesis what has not Mr. Hume to account for?—the Roman Catholic Irish have been for seventy years past, the Continual Objects of political Calumny. Hence it is that all the Batteries of Law are perpetually playing against them. Hence it is that Penal Laws are enacted to beggar them, to corrupt them, to divide them, to force them to become Apostates, perjurers and Informers, for THE DESTRUCTION OF EACH OTHER.
’To consider the present Roman Catholic Irish in a proper Light, you must consider them, Sir, as a people half murthered, chained to the ground, and constantly trod upon in this situation, by a troop of wanton Oppressors. Shall the illustrious Mr. Hume join in the horrid Cruelty by propagating and swelling the political Lie that has always been, and continues to be, the Cause of it? If a Reparation of Honour be due to a Private Person who is injured by a false imputation, how much more sacred does this Debt become, when a whole Nation is Calumniated, when Thousands yet unborn are destined to feel the effects of the Slander.
’The Case between you, Sir, and Ireland stands thus: you have fastened the Chains, you have widened the wounds of an expiring people, upon the authority of some English historians who thought themselves interested in robbing the Irish of their reputation, as well as of their lands.
’Had the Account which you give come from an inferior Hand—it would do little hurt—but coming from the hands of Mr. Hume, one of the first Geniuses of the Age he lives in, it arms not only the Prejudices of England, but the Prejudices of the whole Human Race, against the forlorn Irish.
’For the justness and force of the reasoning contained in the annexed Letter, the Author appeals to your own bosom. You will therefore, Sir, it is hoped, do something to repair the Injury you have done a Nation that never did, that never could offend you. Your bookseller, A. Millar, is on the point of giving a new edition of your History. Something by way of Appendix may be added to atone for the Mistakes that have crept into the first Editions, and to prevent the growing Mischiefs of a popular Error, which has obtained the sanction of the [sic] great Name.
’I expect, Sir, that you will honour me with an Answer, which I shall transmit to the Irish Gentleman who wrote the annexed Letter. You will please to address it to Mr. Daniel O’Conor, At the Bull and Gate, in Holborn, London.
1The Universal Museum, or Gentleman's and Ladies’ Polite Magazine of History, Politicks and Literature. Vol. i. was published in 1762.Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page: 
Is it not strange that you and I have not yet met1.? I have been so hurry’d both with my own Affairs and with Monr Rousseau's, that I can excuse myself: But I own that I hopd your Leizure woud allow you to come hither. I go out of town to morrow and Sunday2.: As soon as I come back I propose to beat up your Quarters. My Compliments to Mrs. Strahan.
Buckingham Street, York Buildings3.,
Mrs. Adams's. Friday.
Rousseau, speaking of his arrival in England, says:—’J’y apportais l’estime universelle et le respect même de mes ennemis.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, ed. 1782, xxiv. 328. It was on Feb. 15 of this same year that Johnson said of him:—’I think him one of the worst of men; a rascal who ought to be hunted out of society, as he has been. Three or four nations have expelled him; and it is a shame that he is protected in this country…. Rousseau, Sir, is a very bad man. I would sooner sign a sentence for his transportation than that of any felon who has gone from the Old Bailey these many years. Yes, I should like to have him work in the plantations.”’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 11.
All I can say of Sir David Dalrymple is that he is now a Lord of the Session, and passes by the Name of Lord Hales or New-hales, I know not which1.. He is a godly Man; feareth the Lord and escheweth Evil, And works out his Salvation with Fear and Trembling2.. None of the Books Sir David publishes are of his writing: They are all historical Manuscripts, of little or no Consequence3.. I go to Woburn4. for three or four days.
All I can say of Sir David Dalrymple is that he is now a Lord of the Session, and passes by the Name of Lord Hales or New-hales, I know not which1.. He is a godly Man; feareth the Lord and escheweth Evil, And works out his Salvation with Fear and Trembling2.. None of the Books Sir David publishes are of his writing: They are all historical Manuscripts, of little or no Consequence3.. I go to Woburn4. for three or four days.
My Friends at Paris have thought it absolutely necessary to publish an Account which I sent them, of my Transactions with Rousseau, together with the original Papers: The Affair had made a great Noise every where, and he had been such a Fool, as to write Defiances against me to all parts of Europe; so that the Justification of my Character they thought requir’d a Publication, which, however, is very much against my Will, coud it have been prevented2.. The whole will compose a pretty large Pamphlet, which, I fancy, the Curiosity of the Public will make tolerably saleable. I desire you to take upon you the printing and publishing of it; and if any Profit result from it to you, I shall be very happy; reserving the after property and Disposal of the Pamphlet to myself. You will take in what Bookseller you please3.; Becket4. or Caddel5. or any other: For Mr. Millar woud not think such a Trifle worthy of his Attention.
I shall immediatly send you up a Copy of the original Edition: current; Page:  Manuscript, which is partly English, partly French; but more of the latter Language, which must be translated. I shall employ Mr. Coutt's Cover6.. The Method the Translator must proceed is this7.: My Friends at Paris are to send me over in a Parcel ten Copies, which will be deliverd to Miss Elliot8.. I have desird her to send them to you; open the Parcel and take out one Copy for your own Use. Get a discreet and careful Translator9.: Let him compare exactly the French Narration with my English: Where they agree, let him insert my English: Where they differ, let him follow the French and translate it: The Reason of this is, that I allowd my Friends at Paris to make what alterations they thought proper10.; and I am desirous of following exactly the Paris Edition. All my Letters must be printed verbatim, conformable to the Manuscript I send you.
My Parisian Friends are to add a Preface of their own composing, which must be translated: Add, by way of Nota bene, that the Original Letters will all be deposited in the Musæum11.. The Reason of this is, that Rousseau has been so audacious as to write, that I dare not publish his Letters without falsifying them12..
If you think, that a Republication of the French Edition will answer the Expence, I am also willing you should do it13..
Of the remaining nine Copies, send one to Lord Hertford, lower Grosvenor Street, another to Mr. Secretary Conway, another to Horace Walpole, Arlington Street14., another to Lady Hervey15., St. James Place. Send the remaining five to me by any private hand or by the Waggon.
Mr. Kincaid16. tells me, that two Years ago he sent enclosd in a Parcel of Yours a corrected Quarto Copy of my History to be deliverd to Mr. Millar. Yet Mr. Millar told me in London that he had never seen any such thing. I Edition: current; Page:  suppose he has forgot and will be able to find it upon Search. Try, if you can recollect and put him in mind of it17..
I have receiv’d by the Post a Copy of the Paris Edition of the Pamphlet I mention’d to you. I wish it were possible not to print an Edition in London, because the whole Affair will appear perfectly ridiculous1. to the English: But as I am afraid this is impossible, I believe it is better for me to take care, that a true Edition be printed. I committ that matter to your Care.
Contrary to my former Directions, I now desire you not to follow the Paris Edition in my Narrative; but exactly the English Copy which I sent you in Manuscript2.. There is Edition: current; Page:  only one Passage, where I desire a Sentence to be inserted: It is a little before the Copy of the King of Prussia's letter to Rousseau3.. I there say, ‘But I little expected, at the Distance of 150 Miles4. and employing myself constantly in his Service, to be the Victim of his Rage and Malevolence.’ Add, ‘An Incident happened about this time, which set this Disposition of M. Rousseau in a full Light. There had been a feigned Letter of the King of Prussias,’ etc.5.
There is a very material Note, ommitted by the Editors of the Paris Edition, which I desire you to insert. I send you a Copy of it, with Directions for inserting it6.. I suppose all along, that you have receivd the Paris Edition by this time: Otherwise I woud have sent it you.
P.S.—I need not tell you that Rousseau's long Letter to me is to be translated from the Paris Edition with all the Notes. The other Letters may be translated indifferently either from that Edition or from my Manuscript.
I had a Letter from Mr. Millar, complaining of my giving to any other besides him the Publication of my Account of this ridiculous Affair, between Rousseau and me1.. I am certainly in the wrong, not to have conjoind him, if I coud have imagind, that he woud have thought it worthy of his Attention. I wish you may find it worth while; but I fancy 500 Copies will be more than sufficient to gratify the Curiosity of the Public2.. It is necessity, not choice, that forces me on this Publication.
If it be not too late, add the following short Note to Page 59 of the Paris Edition, at these words: Des ce moment les imprimés ne parlerent plus de moi que d’une maniere equivoque ou malhonnete. So then, I find I am to answer for every Article of every Magazine and Newspaper printed in England3.: I assure Mr. Rousseau I woud rather answer for every Robbery committed on the high way; and I Edition: current; Page:  am entirely as innocent of the one as the other. If you have already printed the Page to which this Note refers, print the Note apart, as an Ommission or Erratum4.. I doubt not but you have already got the Paris Edition otherwise I coud send it you.
As I have not heard from you; I suspect that you have not yet got the Paris Edition of my Pamphlet. I have therefore sent you the Manuscript of Rousseau's long Letter with all the Notes such as I wish them to be printed; excepting the Note which I sent you in a Paper apart, and which must be inserted. Mr. Rousseau's Notes must be printed in Italics to distinguish them from mine1.; and you must advertise the Reader of this Precaution, in order to prevent Confusion. Even tho’ you shoud have got the Paris Edition rather follow the Manuscript, if it be not too late. The Paris Editors have added a Preface and a Declaration of M. d’Alembert2., and a Latin Motto3. at the End. You must not publish the Pamphlet without these. If you have not got that Edition I shall send it you; tho’ I wish you coud rather get it in London.
Nothing coud more surprize me, Dear Strahan, than your Negligence with regard to this silly Pamphlet I sent you. You have never been at the Pains once to answer one of my Letters with regard to it; tho’ certainly I intended you a Friendship by sending it to you: You never informd me, that Becket had got over a Copy from Paris: You have never conveyd any of my Directions to the English Translator; but the greatest Enormity of all, and what covers me with Shame and Confusion, is your printing the Name of two Ladies, who had expressly forbid it; and that under Pretence, that the same Reason did not hold for concealing them in London as in Paris: As if it were impossible, that any Piece of Intelligence coud pass from the one Place to the other. How your Compositor came so much as to know the Name of Mde de Boufflers I cannot so much as imagine: He has surely read it thro my Razure and so has inserted it. What do you think of that Practice? I have scarce met with anything that has given me more Displeasure1.
I was sorry not to be at home, when you did me the Favour to call on me the other day: My occupations1. prevent my calling on you: But if you be any day at this End of the Town, the best way is to call on me at Mr. Conway's House, where I am every forenoon,2. and commonly between 10 and 3: It is in little Warwick Street3.: You’ll do me a Pleasure in allowing me at any time half an hour's Conversation with you.
I spoke to Lord Hertford on Sunday Evening: I know not if what I said woud have any Influence; but he seemd to think, that the Determination of that Question woud depend on the Lords who had been active in conducting the Affair, viz: Marchmont1., Sandes2. and Bautitout3.: I know not by what means you can have Access to them.
I send you a Volume of Olivet's Cicero4. at Mr. Millar's Desire, who proposes instantly to begin an Edition of my Essays in that Form, as a Forerunner to the like Edition of my History5.. Let us see a Sample of your English Press: I do not believe you can make such a Book; and I give you a Defiance. Pray return the Book carefully, after you have carefully survey’d it.
If Becket has a few Copies to spare of the French Edition of my Controversy with Rousseau, I shoud be glad to have three or four of them.
There was a good pleasant Paper, inserted, I believe in your Chronicle6., about three months ago. It containd Rousseau's Articles of Charge against me, and then some good humourd Raillery against him and Voltaire and me7.. I shoud be glad to have two or three Copies of it, if you can readily find them.
I know not if Becket printed Voltaire's Letter to me8., but if he did he may perhaps have two or three Copies to spare, which woud oblige me.
It was not possible for me to get an Opportunity last Night of speaking to Lord Hertford1.; I shall try if I can be more fortunate this Evening; and I shall as soon as possible, give you Information: A Moment will be sufficient, as I have only to put him in Mind of his Engagements—Yours
I have been so happy as to prevail in my Applications both to Lord Hertford and to General Conway1.: I doubt not but Charles Townsend2. will be favourable to you. Pray, are you thinking of this new Dress in which you promis’d to put me? Shall I pretend to rival Cicero in Garb and Accoutrements3..
Mr. Hume asks Mr. Strahan ten thousand Pardons: When Mr. Strahan was so kind to ask him to dine with him on Monday, he was already engagd several days before, but had forgot it. Meeting yesterday with the Gentleman, he put him in mind of it, and insisted that the prior Engagement was to him So that he hopes Mr. Strahan will be so good as to excuse him.
I never enjoyed myself better, nor was in better spirits, than since I came down here1.. I live as I please, spend my time according to my fancy, keep a plentiful table for myself and my friends2., amuse myself with Edition: current; Page:  reading and society, and find the generality of the people disposed to respect me more on account of my having been well receiv’d in greater and more renowned places3.: But tho’ all this makes my time slide away easily, it is impossible for me to forget that a man who is in his 59TH Year has not many more years to live4., and that it is time for him, if he has common Sense, to have done with all Ambition. My Ambition was always moderate and confind entirely to Letters5.; but it has been my Misfortune to write in the Language of the most stupid and factious Barbarians in the World6.; and it is long since I have renounced all desire of their Approbation, which indeed coud no longer give me either pleasure or Vanity.
As to my Notion of public Affairs, I think there are very dangerous Tempests brewing, and the Scene thickens every moment7.. The Government has, no doubt, great Resources, if they employ them with Prudence and Vigour and Unanimity. But have we any reason to think they will do so? The Parliament will certainly be [MS. torn.]∗∗∗ by the Populace every day next winter8.. If they bear it, they degrade ∗∗∗ and draw on ∗∗∗. If they punish, they will still more enrage the Faction, and give a Pretence for the Cry that Liberty is violated9.. Are we sure, that the popular Discontent may not reach the Army, who have a Pretence for Discontents of their own10.. The General in chief is a weak man, and fond of low popularity11.: It is true, you have a very honest Chancellor12. and a very courageous Chief Justice13., who will be a great Ressource in difficult times. But is it certain that Lord Bute will abstain from tampering and trying some more of his pretty Experiments14.? What if he take it in his head to open the Door to Pitt and his Myrmidons, who will, no doubt, chain the King for ever, and render him a mere Cypher15. Our Government has become an absolute Chimera: So much Edition: current; Page:  Liberty is incompatible with human Society: And it will be happy, if we can escape from it, without falling into a military Government, such as Algiers or Tunis16. The Matter will only be worse, if there be no shooting or hanging next Winter17: This Frenzy of the people, so epidemical and so much without a Cause, admits only of one Remedy, which however is a dangerous one, and requires more vigour than has appeard in any minister of late18. I have a very good Opinion of the Duke of Grafton but his Youth deprives him of Experience and still more of Authority19. I dare [not ve]nture to play the Prophet, but think you are in great Danger. I see ∗ low: Have the People sense enough to see their Danger, and to withdraw from that precarious Security. If they coud see it in time, and catch the Alarm, it woud be a great Ressource to Government: But this is more than can reasonably be expected from them.
You say I am of a disponding Character: On the contrary, I am of a very sanguine Disposition. Notwithstanding my Age, I hope to see a public Bankruptcy20., the total Revolt of America21., the Expulsion of the English from the East Indies22., the Diminution of London to less than a half23., and the Restoration of the Government to the King24., Nobility, and Gentry of this Realm. To adorn the Scene, I hope also that some hundreds of Patriots25. will make their Exit at Tyburn, and improve English Eloquence by their dying Speeches26.. I think, indeed, that no body of common Sense coud at present take the Road of Faction and Popularity, who woud not upon occasion have joind Catiline's Conspiracy27.; and I have no better opinion of the Gentleman you call my Friend28..
Pray have you seen Lord Stormont since he came home29.? Did he enquire after you?
I think, if you throw off the Errata as it is printed, it will do very well. It is not long for 8 Volumes30.; and they Edition: current; Page:  are not all Errors of the Press. You mention nothing of the small Edition of my Essays, whence I conclude it is not going forward31.. I am Dear Sir Yours sincerely and beg the continuation of your Friendship, tho’ it shoud be our Lot not to pass much of our time together. I wish much to see you possessd of some Farms in this Country32., where there is great Unanimity at present, and a Desire to support Government33..
I am extremely oblig’d to you for your account of the Debate in the house of Peers1.: It is very judicious and accurate and impartial, as usual. I now begin to entertain strong hopes, that the King will weather this Tempest2., and that the Infamy of Calumny, Faction, Madness and Disorder will at last fall on those heads, who merit it. The Ministry are much better advis’d not to give nor even to take Provocation3., than they seem to have been by the Paper of Ruffheads4. which you sent me last Autumn. And as every obnoxious Person is turnd out5., the King's Resolution is visible to support his Ministry, and men will either acquiesce or return to the ordinary, parliamentary Arts of Opposition6.. I apprehend, however, that, before the Session ends, this abandon’d Faction, not to be foild without hopes, will have recourse to the violence of the Mob, in expectation of provoking the Ministry to commit some Imprudence: Their greatest Imprudence woud be remissness on that Occasion. Open Violence gives such a palpable Reason for the severe Execution of the Laws, a thing much wanted, that it ought immediately to be laid hold of, and it will have a very salutary Effect7..
The part which Chatham acts, after all the Favours and Edition: current; Page:  Distinctions which he has receivd from the Crown, is infamous, like himself8..
I send you enclos’d an answer to one of Cadells. It is open, that you may read it, as the matter concerns you, no less than him.
Tho’ I have renouncd the World, I cannot forbear being rouzd with Indignation at the Audaciousness, Impudence, and Wickedness of your City Address1.. To Edition: current; Page:  punish it as it deserves woud certainly produce a Fray; but what signifies a Fray, in comparison of losing all Authority to Government. There must necessarily be a Struggle between the Mob and the Constitution; and it cannot come on at a more favourable time nor in a more favourable Cause. I wish therefore, (I cannot say I hope) that vigorous Measures will be taken; an impeachment immediately voted of the Mayor and his two Sherriffs for high Crimes and Misdeamenours, and the Habeas Corpus suspended till next meeting of Parliament2.. Good God! what abandon’d Madmen there are in England!
You have suspended my Chronicle on account of Sir Gilberts vacating his seat3.. I am of a Club4. here that get down News papers and Pamphlets from London regularly: So that you wont need to send me the Chronicle any more. Please only to let me know the Charge of it, together with other Articles I owe you.
I am sorry to hear that Dr. Armstrong has printed his Tragedy among his Miscellanies5.. It is certainly one of the worst pieces I ever saw; and totally unworthy of his other Productions. I shoud have endeavourd to dissuade him from printing it, had he been a man advisable. But I knew, that he keeps an Anger against Garrick for above twenty Years for refusing to bring it on the Stage; and he never since woud allow him to be so much as a tolerable Actor6.. I thought therefore it was wiser not to meddle in the Affair.
I have had a Letter from Mr. Cadell, which is very obliging: I agree to the reprinting in any form you and he please, and I believe ten volumes in large Octavo will be best. But I find, that I have been cutting a great way before the point, and that I am scarce ever likely to see an End of that detestable Edition7.. I really have no reason to believe seriously, that the half of it is yet sold, or that the Book has at present any sale at all worth speaking of: Edition: current; Page:  Such a habit you and he have got during seven Years past of deceiving me by false Intelligence, that I am determind never to believe a word either of you says on that head8.. For Instance you both told me when I left London, that there remaind not 700 Copies: He has since wrote me that before the meeting of Parliament he had disposd of 200 of these: In his last Letter he says, that the Sale still continues rapid. I must therefore suppose that before the month of May next, there woud not be 300 in your Warehouses, which is a little enough Number (or too little) for a Book which woud take near a twelvemonth in reprinting. But he speaks still of a distant Period for beginning the new Edition. You see, therefore, that these Stories are totally inconsistent. I need only say, that I have a Copy corrected, and I believe considerably improvd at your Service, whenever you please to call for it. I am nowise impatient to have another Edition: I only show you that I had taken my Measures, in consequence of the Intelligence conveyd to me; and I shall add, that, if the Book has really any Sale, it woud probably be the Interest of the Proprietors to run the Risque of losing some of that odious Edition rather than encumber the Market any longer with it. But of this you are the best Judges.
A few days ago, Lord Home1. told me, that, in consequence of a new Arrangement of his Affairs, he shou’d stand in need of a large Sum of Money, which he propos’d to bring from England at lower than legal Interest2.; and he hop’d his Friend, Strahan, woud be able to assist him on that Occasion. I said, that, tho’ Mr. Strahan was a Edition: current; Page:  rich Man, yet he had such great Enterprizes in hand, that I did not believe he had much ready Money to lend. My Lord replyed, that he expected more your good Offices than your Money, and that he was too well acquainted with the Opinion, entertained by the World of his Situation, to hope for borrowing Money at low Interest upon his own Security: But that Mr. Hay of Drumelzier and Mr. Gavin of Langtoun propos’d to bind with him3.: Upon which he took my Promise, that I shoud write to you upon the Subject. It is certain that Mr. Hay is a Man of above 4000 pounds a year clear, and Mr. Gavin above 5000; and both of them frugal Men, so that there cannot be better Security in Britain; and that they intend to bind with him, My Lord's Writer4., who is a man of Character, assur’d me. I think, therefore, that the Scheme is far from being inadmissible. I wish really, (as you no doubt do yourself) that you coud assist him on the Occasion; but in all cases, I must beg the favour of you to write me an ostensible Letter, which may satisfy him that I have not neglected his Request.
I find, that your great Reluctance to write me on a certain Subject5. proceeds from your Unwillingness to retract every thing that you have been telling me these seven Years: But your Silence tells me the Truth more strongly than any thing you can say. Besides, I know not why you shoud have a Reluctance to retract. What you told me was for a good End, in order to excite my Industry, which might be of Advantage both to myself and the Proprietors of the former Volumes. And if there has been any Misconduct with regard to the Octavo Edition, you are entirely innocent of it. So that I see not any Reason why I may not now be told the Truth; especially as you see, that I am fully determind never to continue my History, and have indeed put it entirely out of my power by retiring to this Country, for Edition: current; Page:  the rest of my Life. However, this is as you think proper: Only, it is needless for Mr. Cadel to give me Accounts, which are presently refuted by the Event. I say this without the least resentment against him, who is a very obliging, and I believe a very honest man.
Nothing coud be more agreeable than your political Intelligence. I have always said, without Flattery, that you may give Instructions to Statesmen. We are very happy, that this Session is got over without any notable disaster6.. Government has, I believe, gain’d Strength; tho’ not much Authority nor Character by its long suffering and forbearance. But the Request of the Country Gentlemen, who joind them, was a very plausible Motive7.; besides, I am told, that their Lawyers, particularly Lord Mansfield8., deserted them on this Occasion. But these are Matters that very little concern me; and except from Indignation at so much abominable Insolence, Calumny, Lyes, and Folly, I know not why I shoud trouble my head about them: These Objects too, being at a distance, affect me the less. We are happily in this Country united as in a national Cause9., which indeed it has become, in some measure, by the Virulence of this detestable Faction.
We expect to see Lady Grant soon in this Country; and I suppose, that I must pay my Respects to her Ladyship. I intend to give her her Ladyship very often, that she may at least have some Pennyworths for her Money10.
I suppose the Edition of my Essays in Twelves11. is now finished or nearly so. As soon as it is finishd, pray, put Mr. Cadel in mind to send me six Copies in any Parcel to Balfour or Kincaid.
P.S.—Please to tell Mr. Cadel that if a Volume of the Dictionaire de Commerce12. comes over for me from Paris, he pay a Guinea for it, which I shall refund him.
Even according to Mr. Cadel's present account, which I have not the least Reason to give any Credit to, you have copies enow1.to serve you for many Years’ Sale; and I give over all thoughts of any new Edition. Only, if such a thing shoud happen, I think it proper to inform you, that I have a Copy by me, corrected in many places, especially in the four first Volumes2.. This shall be sent you on demand either by myself, if alive, or by my Brother or Heirs; and I wish that no Edition be made without following it. I shall never make any more Enquiries about the Matter: I did not even make any Enquiries at this time; but receiving from Mr. Cadel some inconsistent Accounts, which he had sent me voluntarily of himself, I took Occasion to mention them to you. As he finds his Credit runs very low with me in that particular (tho’ I believe him a very honest man) he may spare himself the Edition: current; Page:  trouble of saying any thing farther concerning it. I wish Millar had savd the Expence of this Magnificent Quarto Edition3., which can serve to no purpose but to discredit the Octavo; and make the sale, if possible, still more slow.
There is a notable4. Error of the Press in this last Quarto of my Essays, which confounds and perplexes the Sense; and being so easily corrected, I wish you woud give orders for that purpose. It is Vol 2. p. 395. 1. I. for useful read usual5.. A boy with his pen in half an hour coud go thro all the Copies. It is the very first Line of the third Appendix. I beg of you not to forget this Request. I have writ to Cadel to the same purpose. It is in the second page of Sheet E. e. e.6.
I have seen Lady Grant. I am told, that she and Sir Archibald hold as much amorous play and dalliance7., as ever Adam and Eve did in paradise; and they make every body in love with the marryd State. It will be a curious Experiment whether his sly Flattery or her tenacious Avarice will get the better: I conjecture, that the contest is begun already. I took occasion to mention to her Sir Archibald's extensive and noble Plantations8.but she told me, that she thought that Planting was his Folly, and that people ought to take care, lest their concern for Posterity shoud hurt themselves9.. Thus she will check the poor man in the only laudable thing he has ever done10..
I wish you woud be so good as to send me an account of the Debt I owe you, which, tho’ it be but a trifle, I coud wish to pay11..
The Madness and wickedness of the English (for do not say, the Scum of London) appear astonishing, even after all the Experience we have had. It must end fatally either to the King or Constitution or to both12..
You say nothing to me of the new Edition of my Essays in 12°, and of my desire to have six copies of it whenever Edition: current; Page:  it is finishd. Perhaps, you have stopd short in that work, and I think you much in the right in so doing.
I am not in the least angry with Mr. Cadel: On the contrary, were I to go to the press with any new work (which it is utterly impossible I ever shoud) he is one of the first persons I shoud apply to for publishing it. But, pray, recollect, that a few weeks before I came down, he told me in your house of his regret that he shoud ever have been forced by Mr. Millar to deceive me; but that now I might entirely depend upon the Truth of his Information; there were less than 700 of the 8vo Edition upon hand. But after a twelvemonth's rapid sale, as he pretends, he acknowledges nine hundred and fifty, and I question not but there is above double the Number.
There has been a strange Fatality to depress the reputation of that book: First the Extravagance of Baillie Hamilton1., then the Rapaciousness of Mr. Millar: But this last is most incurable. I suppose you will not find one Book in the English Language of that Size and Price so ill printed2., and now since the publication of the Quarto, however small the Sale of the Quarto may be, it shows, by its corrections and additions, the Imperfection of the 8vo so visibly, that it must be totally discredited. Had it been thought proper to let me know the real State of the 8vo Edition, I never shoud have consented to the printing of the Quarto. I suppose the Proprietors will at last be oblig’d to destroy all that remains of the 8vo; I mean, if there appear any hopes of the Sale's ever reviving. If Mr. Millar had been alive, his own Interest, as well as the Shame for his Miscarriage, woud have brought him to that Resolution. There remains only the former Motive with the Proprietors.Edition: current; Page: 
I return the Sheet of the Essays which is very elegantly printed3.. The numerous Editions of that work, which is much less calculated for public Sale, may convince you of the Propriety of moderate Editions. I hope Mr. Cadel will send me down six copies as soon as the Edition is finishd, that I may have the Satisfaction of seeing one of my Works without Disgust.
I believe this is the historical Age1. and this the historical Nation2.: I know no less than eight Histories upon the Stocks in this Country; all which have different Degrees of Merit, from the Life of Christ, the most sublime of the whole, as I presume from the Subject, to Dr. Robertson's American History, which lies in the other Extremity3..
You will very soon be visited by one, who carries with him a Work, that has really Merit: It is Dr. Henry, the Author of the History of England, writ on a new Plan4.: Edition: current; Page:  He has given to the World a Sheet or two, containing his Idea5., which he will probably communicate to you. I have perus’d all his Work, and have a very good Opinion of it. It contains a great deal of Good Sense and Learning, convey’d in a perspicuous, natural, and correct Expression. The only discouraging Circumstance is its Size: This Specimen contains two Quartos, and yet gives us only the History of Great Britain from the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to that of the Saxons: One is apt to think that the whole, spun out to the same Length, must contain at least a hundred Volumes: And unhappily, the beginning of the Work will be for a long time very uninteresting, which may not prepossess the World in its favour. The Performance however has very considerable Merit; and I coud wish that you and Mr. Cadel may usher it in to the Public6.. I wish that Dr. Robertson's Success may not have renderd the Author too sanguine in his pecuniary Expectations7.: I dare advise nothing on that head, of which you are the better Judge. I shoud only think, that some Plan, which woud reserve to the Author the Chance of profiting by his good Success and yet not expose the Booksellers to too much hazard, might be the most suitable. You know, that I have been always very reservd in my Recommendations; and that when an Author, tho much connected with me, has producd a Work, which I coud not entirely approve of, I rather pretended total Ignorance of the Matter, than abuse my Credit with you. Dr. Henry is not personally much known to me, as he has been but lately settled in this Town, but I cannot refuse doing Justice to his Work: He has likewise personally a very good Character in the World, which renders it so far safe to have dealings with him8.. For the same Reason, I wish for his Sake that he may conclude with you9.. You see I am a good Casuist, and can distinguish Cases very nicely. It is certainly a wrong thing to deceive any body, much Edition: current; Page:  more a Friend; but yet the Difference must still be allowd infinite between deceiving a man for his Good and for his Injury10..
This Letter will be deliverd to you by Dr. Henry, concerning whom and whose work, I have wrote you by the Post: I have rather chosen that Method of conveying my Sentiments than by a Letter of Recommendation, which are often understood to be formal things and carry less weight with them. You will there see, that my Esteem of Dr. Henry and his Performance are very sincere and cordial.
Mr. Hume's Compliments to Mr. Strahan. Wishes him a good New Year: He has receivd the six Copies of his philosophical Pieces1., for which he thanks him: They are very elegantly printed, and correctly, tho’ there are some few unavoidable Errors. He has sent him an Errata, which he desires Mr. Strahan to annex if not inconvenient.
I am very glad to have heard from you, and have sent you my Letter to Lord Hertford1. under a flying Seal2.. I wish you good Success in your Project; tho’ I cannot easily imagine how an Estate on the Ohio can ever turn to great Account. The Navigation down the Mississipi is indeed expeditious and safe, except at the Mouth; but the return is commonly so slow, by the violence of the Current, that the Communication of that Country with the rest of the World, will always be under great Obstructions, and be carry’d on under considerable Disadvantages. But these Matters you have undoubtedly weighd and calculated, from better Information than I have had access to3..
There was an Error in the page in the Errata I sent you, which I have corrected and I return you the Copy. I own, that this quick Sale of my philosophical Writings is as unexpected as the slow Sale of my historical, which are so much better calculated for common Readers4.. But this proves only, that factious prejudices are more prevalent in England than religious ones. I shall read over several times this new Edition; and send you a corrected Copy by some safe hand. With regard to the History, I only desire to hear from you three or four Months before you put it to the Press.
Dr. Henry's History is undoubtedly liable to the Objection you mention. It will be of enormous Size; and he himself, tho’ a laborious Man, never expects to finish it. I think also the Price he demanded exorbitant5.. It is however writ with Perspicuity and Propriety of Style, as Edition: current; Page:  I told you; but neither sprightly nor elegant6.; and it is judicious, but not curious: There is danger of its appearing prolix to ordinary Readers: The Subject of his next Volume will be still more uninteresting than that of his first7..
I am totally detachd from all concern about public Affairs; and care not though all the Ministry were at the Devil8.. This Spanish War9. is so enormously absurd, unjust, and unreasonable that I think it never had its parralel. If we be savd from it, it will not be owing to our own prudence, but to the determind Resolution of the King of France10., who acts a very laudable part: But his Brother of Spain is as freakish and as obstinate as a Mule11.; and our Ministry are more afraid of the despicable London Mob than of all Europe12.: Had they punishd that insolent Rascal, Beckford13., as he deserved; we shoud have been in no danger of a Spanish War14.; or rather of a general War: For Hostilities never continue limited between two Nations; but soon draw in all their Neighbours: In which case, France begins with declaring a public Bankruptcy15. and we make it16. the third Year of the War. An Event which is indeed inevitable17.; but might have been delay’d, had it not been for this Quarrel about Falkland Island. You think we shall have peace: I am glad to hear it; but cannot allow myself to think, that any Chance will save Men so infatuated as our Ministry18.. It is a pleasure however that the Wilkites19. and the Bill of Rights-men20. are fallen into total and deservd Contempt21.. Their Noise is more troublesome and odious than all the Cannon that will be fird on the Atlantic.
I am here employ’d in building a small House22.: I mean a large House for an Author: For it is nearly as large as Mr. Millar's in Pall-mall23.. It is situated in our new Square24.; where I hope to receive you, on your first Excursion to this Country. I beg my Compliments to Edition: current; Page:  Sir John Pringle25.: I think you are not likely to send us any thing worth reading this Winter.
You will have a Copy of my philosophical Pieces corrected in a few weeks by a safe hand, who will deliver them to Miss Elliot1.. She will inform you by a Penny post Letter2. of their Arrival. I have perusd them carefully five times over; yet the Corrections I make are not of Importance. Such is the Advantage of frequent Impressions!
It vexes me to the last Degree, that, by reason of this detested Edition of my History, I shoud have so distant or no prospect of ever giving a correct Edition of that Work3.. I assure you, if Mr. Millar were now alive, I shoud be tempted to go over to Dublin4., and to publish there an Edition, which I hope woud entirely discredit the present one. But as you are entirely innocent in the Conduct of this Affair, I scruple to take that Resolution. The worst of it is, that Affairs have been so manag’d as to leave me in entire Ignorance of the State of the Sale; tho’ I am now confident, that, as you see evidently I am resolv’d never to Edition: current; Page:  engage again with the public, you will no longer have any Scruple to tell me the whole Truth of the Matter.
But to leave this Subject, which is so very vexatious, and to talk of public affairs; I am much inclind to have the same good opinion of Lord North, which you express5. : His taking the Helm in such a Storm6., and conducting it so prudently, prepossesses one much in his favour: I am also assurd, that he was the last in the Ministry who woud give up the Resolution of punishing that insolent Fellow, Beckford and the City of London7.. But to me, his Conduct of the Spanish Affair appears rash, insolent and unjust. The publication of the Spanish Papers confirms me farther in that Opinion. It appears, that the Spaniards had never abandond the Settlement, made by the French, which was prior to ours8.; and consequently that their right was in every respect undisputable. And as the Court of Spain offerd from the first to disavow the Governor of Buenos Ayros9., if we woud disavow Hunt10., to run the Danger of a War which woud have thrown all Europe, and almost the whole Globe into a Ferment, must be regarded as an unpardonable Temerity. We were savd from that Disaster by nothing but the extreme Love of Tranquillity in the French King11., an Incident which no Human Prudence coud forsee. But what must we think of the Effrontery of the Patriots, who rail at Lord North for Tameness and Pusillanimity? They did not probably know the secret, otherwise they woud have exclaimd with better Reason against his Rashness and Imprudence.
I wish I coud have the same Idea with you of the Prosperity of our public Affairs. But when I reflect, that, from 1740 to 1761, during the Course of no more than 21 Years, while a most pacific Monarch sat on the Throne of France12., the Nation ran in Debt about a hundred Millions13.; that the wise and virtuous Minister, Pitt, could contract more Incumbrances, in six months of an unnecessary Edition: current; Page:  War, than we have been able to discharge during eight Years of Peace14.; and that we persevere in the same frantic Maxims; I can forsee nothing but certain and speedy Ruin either to the Nation or to the public Creditors15.. The last, tho’ a great Calamity, woud be a small one in comparison; but I cannot see how it can be brought about, while these Creditors fill all the chief Offices and are the Men of greatest Authority in the Nation16.. In other Respects the Kingdom may be thriving: The Improvement of our Agriculture17. is a good Circumstance; tho’ I believe our Manufactures do not advance; and all depends on our Union with America, which, in the Nature of things, cannot long subsist18.. But all this is nothing in comparison of the continual Encrease of our Debts, in every idle War, into which, it seems, the Mob of London19. are to push every Minister. But these are all other Peoples Concerns; and I know not why I shoud trouble my head about them.
I maintaind and still maintain that Henry's History has merit20.; tho’ I own’d and still own, that the Length of the Undertaking is a great Objection to its Success; perhaps an insuperable one. But what shall we say to Sir John Dalrymple's new History21., of which, I see, you are one of the publishers? He has writ down that he has been offerd 2000 pounds for the Property of it: I hope you are not the Purchasers; tho’ indeed I know not but you might be a Gainer by it: The ranting, bouncing Style of that Performance may perhaps take with the Multitude22.. This however I am certain of, that there is not one new Circumstance of the least Importance from the beginning to the End of the Work23.. But really I doubt much of his Veracity in his Account of the Offer: I shoud be much obligd to you for your Information on that head. Never let the Bargain made by Dr. Robertson be thought extravagant24., if this be true. I shoud add a great Number Edition: current; Page:  of Cyphers to bring up the Knight's Performance to an equal Value with that of the Doctor.
I very much regret with you Sir Andrew Mitchels Death25.: He was a worthy, well-bred, agreeable man. If the Prince, at whose Court he resided, us’d him ill of late Years, he richly deserves the Epithet you give him26.. Sir Andrew's chief Fault was his too great Attatchment to that prince.
This will be deliver’d to you, along with a corrected Copy of my philosophical Pieces by Dr. Robertson. I remind you to send me six Copies, as usual. This is the last time I shall probably take the pains of correcting that work, which is now brought to as great a degree of accuracy as I can attain; and is probably much more labour’d1. (I know not with what degree of success) than any other production in our Language2.. This power, which Printing gives us, of continually improving and correcting our Works in successive Editions, appears to me the Chief Advantage of that Art. For as to the dispersing of Books, that Circumstance does perhaps as much harm as good3.: Since Nonsense flies with greater Celerity, and makes greater Impression than Reason; though indeed no particular Species of Nonsense is so durable. But the several Forms of Nonsense never cease succeeding one another; and Men are always under the Dominion of some one or other4., though nothing was ever equal in Absurdity and Wickedness to our present Patriotism5..
I long much for an Opportunity of bringing my History Edition: current; Page:  to the same degree of Accuracy. Since I was settled here, I have, from time, given Attention to that Object; though the Distance and Uncertainty of the new Edition threw a damp on my Industry: But I shall now apply seriously to the Task; and you may expect the Copy about August6.. I beseech you do not make this Edition too numerous, like the last. I have heard you frequently say, that no Bookseller woud find profit in making an Edition which woud take more than three Years in selling. Look back, therefore, and learn from Mr. Millar's Books what has been the Sale for the last six Years; and if you make the usual Allowance for a Diminution during the ensuing three, from the Number of Copies already sold, I am persuaded you will find 1500, a number large enough, if not too large7.: Be not over-sanguine. An Error on the one hand is more easily corrected than one on the other. I am perhaps the only Author you ever knew, who gratutiously (sic) employ’d great Industry in correcting a Work, of which he has fully alienated the Property; and it were hard to deny me an Opportunity of exercising my Talents; especially as this practice turns so much to the Advantage of the Bookseller.
I have another Proposal to make you in the same View. I have found by Experience that nothing excites an Author's Attention so much as the receiving the Proofs from the Press, as the Sheets are gradually thrown off. Now I have had an Opportunity of passing the last four Volumes of my History more than once through this Scrutiny, the most severe of any: The first four Volumes8. have only been once reviewd by me in this manner. I shall send you the whole Copy9. about the time above mention’d, and the last four Volumes you may throw off at your Leizure: But the Sheets of the first four, I shoud wish to receive by the Post five times a week. They will make about 250 Sheet and might be finishd in thirty weeks10.. For this Edition: current; Page:  Purpose I shall apply to Mr. Fraser, my former Collegue in the Secretary's Office, who will supply you with Franks, and such as are not confind to the usual Weight of two Ounces11.. The corrected Copies I shall send under his Cover; and you will only have to send for them to the Secretary's Office, the same as if I were in London. Mr. Fraser is as regular as an astronomical Clock, and will never dissappoint you. I am almost as regular; and you may give Orders to your People to be the same.
This Affair, therefore, being, I presume, settled to mutual Satisfaction, I come to give you thanks for the Perusal of Mr. Johnson's Pamphlet12., which is a good one, and very diverting from the Peculiarity and Enormity of the Style13.. One sees he speaks from the Heart, and is movd with a cordial Indignation against these Ruffians. There is, however, one material Circumstance, which either he did not know, or did not think fit to mention; namely, that the French had regularly settled Falkland Island full three Years before us, and upon Remonstrances from the Court of Madrid, gave up their Right and Colony to the Spaniards, who never had abandond that Settlement14.. Their Right, therefore, was prior and preferable to ours. For as to our ridiculous Right from the first Discovery [sic], allowing the Facts to be true; will any one say, that a Sailor's seeing a Montain from the Top mast head15., conveys a Title to a whole Territory, and a Title so durable, that even tho’ it be neglected for two Centuries, it still remains with the Nation. Our Ministry, therefore, have acted a Part most unjust, most insolent, and most imprudent; and which the Spaniards will deservedly remember long against us. But this Conduct proceeds entirely from the Timidity of our Ministry, who dread more the contemptible Populace of London16. than the whole House of Bourbon. I am curious to see how they will get out of the present Scrape17.; though their past Measures prognosticate nothing good Edition: current; Page:  for the future. I say still, had they punishd Beckford18., disfranchisd the City19., and restord the Negative to the Court of Aldermen20., they woud have prevented the present and many future Frays: But still it is not too late; though it may very soon become so.
When I blame the Insolence of our Ministry with regard to Spain, I must at the same time confess, that we do right to swagger and bounce and bully on the present Occasion: For we have not many Years to do so, before we fall into total Impotence and Languor21.. You see, that a much greater and more illustrious People, namely the French22., seem to be totally annihilated in the midst of Europe23.; and we, instead of regarding this Event as a great Calamity, are such Fools as to rejoice at it24.. We see not that the same Catastrophe or a much worse one is awaiting us at no distant Period. The monarchical Government of France (which must be replac’d25.) will enable them to throw off their Debts26.; ours must for ever hang on our Shoulders, and weigh us down like a Mill-stone27..
I think that Mr Johnson is a great deal too favourable to Pitt, in comparing him to Cardinal Richelieu28.. The Cardinal had certainly great Talents besides his Audacity: The other is totally destitute of Literature, Sense, or the Knowledge of any one Branch of public Business. What other Talent indeed has he, but that of reciting with tolerable Action and great Impudence a long Discourse in which there is neither Argument, Order, Instruction, Propriety or even Grammar29.. Not to mention, that the Cardinal, with his inveterate Enmities30., was also capable of Friendship: While our Cut-throat31. never felt either the one Sentiment or the other32.. The Event of both Administrations was suitable. France made a Figure during near a Century and a half upon the Foundations laid by the one33.: England—as above; if I be not much mistaken, as I wish to be34..Edition: current; Page: 
I was pretty sure that Sir John Dalrymple was an Historian35., with regard to the Price offerd him for his Book. So then, his Pride is interested in being esteem’d as good a Writer as Dr. Robertson! I am diverted with conjecturing what will be the Fate of this strange Book: Will it run a few Years? Or fall at once dead born from the Press36.? I think the last Event more probable, notwithstanding the Precedent of Mrs. Macaulay37., and notwithstanding the Antitheses and Rant and Whiggery of which it is full. After you have offerd him 750 pounds, my Pride, in case I shoud write another Volume, woud make me demand the Equivalent of a parliamentary Subsidy38.; I think without Vanity, my Book will at least be equal in Value to Falkland Island39..
But I have writ you a Letter as long as an Essay; and for fear of making it a Treatise, I shall conclude by telling you, that I am with great Sincerity
I have receivd both your favours, for which I am Edition: current; Page:  oblig’d to you. I shall be able to send off by the Waggon, in less than a Month, a corrected Copy of my History; and shall write you at the time, that you may send for it, if it be not immediatly sent to you. It gives me a sensible pleasure, that I shall now have an Edition of that work, corrected nearly to my mind1.. I have taken incredible pains on this Edition. It puts me in mind of a saying of Rousseau's, that one half of a man's life is too little to write a Book and the other half to correct it2.. Most of my Corrections fall upon the Style; tho’ there are also several Additions and Amendments in the Subject and in the facts3..
I have got about a hundred Franks directed to you; and we shall proceed in the manner you desire. I think, however, it will not be amiss to have some of Mr. Fraser's, for large Parcels; and for this purpose you may send him the enclos’d, with twenty Covers, which he will not grudge to frank to you4.. The rest you may get from your Acquaintance5. or mine, Lord Beauchamp6., Mr. Wedderburn7., Mr. Pulteney8., Mr. Adam9., Mr. Stewart of Buckingham Street10. &c., informing them by a short Note of the reason of your applying to them.
I return you Warburton's Letter11., which diverted me. He and all his gang, the most scurrillous, arrogant, and impudent Fellows in the world, have been abusing me in their usual Style these twenty Years, and here at last he pretends to speak well of me. It is the only thing from them, that coud ever give me any mortification. We have all heard of the several Schools of Painters and their peculiar manners. It is petulance, and Insolence and abuse, that distinguish the Warburtonian School, even above all other Parsons and Theologians12.. Johnson is abusive in Company, but falls much short of them in his writings13.. I remember Lord Mansfield said to me that Warburton was a very opposite man in company to Edition: current; Page:  what he is in his Books; then, replyd I, he must be the most agreeable Companion in Europe, for surely he is the most odious Writer14..
I wish to tempt you into a Discourse of Politics, because I get Information from you. I own, that I am inclind to have a good Opinion of Lord North, but his Insolence to the House of Bourbon15., and his Timidity towards the London Mob appear unaccountable. Only consider how many Powers of Government are lost in this short Reign16.. The right of displacing the Judges was given up17.; General Warrants are lost18.; the right of Expulsion the same19.; all the co-ercive Powers of the House of commons abandon’d20.; all Laws against Libels annihilated21.; the Authority of Government impair’d by the Impunity granted to the Insolence of Beckford, Crosby, and the common Council22.: the revenue of the civil List diminishd 23.. For Godsake, is there never to be a stop put to this inundation of the Rabble24.? We shall have fine work next Elections, if the people above and below We shall have fine work next Elections, if the people above and below continue in the same dispositions, the one insolent and the other timid25. For my part, I can account for Lord North's Conduct only by one supposition. He will not expose himself even in the best cause to the Odium of the populace, because he feels that he has no sure hold of the Cabinet, but depends for all his power on some invisible secret Being, call him Oberon, the fairy or any other, whose Caprices can in a moment throw him off, and leave him no Resources either in popularity or authority26. In this Light his caution is excusable: He bullies Spain and France27. and quakes before the Ward of Farringdon without28; because, if he shoud be suddenly displaced, he will still retain it in his power to become popular and formidable. But all these Inconveniencies are slight, in comparison of our public Debts, which bring on inevitable Ruin, and with a Certainty which is even beyond geometrical, because it Edition: current; Page:  is arithmetical. I hope you have more Sense than to trust a shilling to that egregious bubble29.
On Saturday last, the 20th of the Month, I deliverd to the Newcastle Waggon1. the eight corrected Volumes of my History, directed to Mr. Cadell. I chose to direct the parcel to him rather than to you, because his Shop was easier found2., and the Waggoner told me, that he often carry’d up Parcels to him. Please to tell Mr. Cadel, that he may call for it, if it be not deliverd to him about three Edition: current; Page:  Weeks hence. You will see that I have made many considerable Improvements, most of them in the Style; but some also in the matter. I fancy you might be able to send me a proof Sheet about a month hence; and I shoud have been here ready to receive it; But I am assurd that Lady Aylesbury3. and Mr. Conway are to be with the Duke of Argyle this Summer; which will oblige me to leave the Town for a fortnight and go to Inverara4.. But I shall fix to you precisely the day when I shall be ready to receive the first proof Sheet; and you may depend upon my punctuality afterwards. Mean-while, you may proceed to print the last four Volumes at your own convenience. You told me that you proposd to make this new Octavo Edition in ten Volumes5.. Each four of the Quarto must therefore be divided into five6., and you may cast them accordingly. I woud have you mind nothing but to finish the Chapter with each Volume, without forgetting the Index7.. You may send me down the Quarto Sheet with the Proof Sheet; and where it contains any Note that is to be printed at the End I shall return it by the Post8.. I hope the Sale of the Quarto is pretty well advancd: For this new Edition may a little discredit it. I know not whether the former purchasers may complain of my frequent Corrections; but I cannot help it, and they run mostly upon Trifles; at least they will be esteemd such by the Generality of Readers, who little attend to the extreme Accuracy of Style. It is one great advantage that results from the Art of printing, that an Author may correct his works, as long as he lives9.. But I have now done with mine for ever, and never shall any more review them, except in a cursory manner10.. I expect for my pains six Copies, over and above the six that are due me by Agreement11.. I believe I coud have writ more than a Volume with much less trouble than I have bestow’d on these. If you have leizure to peruse the Sheets, and to mark on the Edition: current; Page:  Margin any Corrections that occur to you, it will be an Addition to the many Obligations of the same kind, which I owe to you12.. But this I cannot expect, considering the many Avocations which you have, unless it prove an Amusement to you in this dead time of the Year. I fancy this Edition will not be publishd till after the new Year13.. As soon as the new Edition of my philosophical Pieces is printed14., I shall be obligd to you to have six Copies of it. It is a great Relief to my Spirits, that I have at last a near Prospect of being fairly rid of that abominable Octavo Edition of my History.
I have now the Prospect of being settled, so as to be able to attend the Correction of the Proof Sheets. If you can, therefore, contrive to send me one which will arrive on Saturday Sennight the 31 of August, you shall have it returnd by Course of Post; and I shall never after fail to return one every post, which will be five times a week. I am oblig’d to you for humouring me in this particular.
I have receiv’d a Present of a new Book, from the Author, The Principles of penal Law1.. The Direction of it seems to be writ in your hand; and Cadel is one of the Publishers. If the Author does not propose to keep his Name a Secret, I shoud be glad to know it: For the Book is very ingenious and judicious. In all cases, if you know the Author, make him my Compliments and give him my Thanks. I did not imagine, however, that so ingenious a Man woud in this age have had so much weak Superstition, as appears in many passages2.. But these perhaps were inserted only from Decency and Prudence: And so the World goes on, in perpetually deceiving themselves and one another3..
I am always oblig’d to you for your political Speculations: But I cannot agree with you, that, if matters came to a fair and open Strugle between the Land-holders and the Stock-holders, the latter woud be able to reduce the former Edition: current; Page:  to any Composition4.. The Authority of the Land-holders is solidly establishd over their Tenants and Neighbours: But what Stock-holder has any Influence even over his next Neighbour in his own Street? And if public Credit fall, as it must by the least Touch5., he woud be reduc’d to instant Poverty, and have authority no-where. My only apprehensions are, with regard to the public, that this open Struggle will never happen, and that these two Orders of Men are so involvd with each other by Connexions and Interest, that the public Force will be allowd to go to total Decay, before the violent Remedy, which is the only one, will be ventur’d on6.. But this Event will depend much on Accidents of Men and times; and the Decision will not probably be very distant: The first War will put the Matter to a tryal, I fancy about the third or fourth Year of it, if we exert ourselves with our usual Frenzy7.. You may judge, from our late Treatment of the House of Bourbon, whether we can regard the present Peace as very durable.
I own, that I am, at this time, very much out of humour, and with you. Near two Years ago, I wrote to Lady Aylesbury2., that I had orderd a new Edition of my History and Essays to be sent her: You wrote to me, that they were sent; but she tells me, that she never receiv’d them, and was continually in expectation of them. By what Accident this has happen’d, appears to me totally unaccountable; and the more so, as I know, that a Copy which I desird to be sent to Lord Hertford came safe to hand. I beseech you to send a Copy immediatly to Mr. Conway in little Warwick Street Charing Cross, and to enquire how the former Mistake happend: For I am certain, that it proceeded not from your Fault, notwithstanding the ill-humour with which I begun my Letter. But I desird, at that time, that a Copy shoud also be sent to Lady Holderness3.; and I am also suspicious that this Copy has miscarryd by the same Accident; and the more so, as she never wrote me that she had receivd it, which she woud naturally have done. If you be not sure, that this Copy has been deliverd, please to inform me, that I may enquire; or rather, send a new Copy, relating the former Accident, and desiring that this Copy be returnd, in case the former Copy was deliver’d. I shall be in Town Edition: current; Page:  at the time which I appointed, and ready to receive the Proof Sheets.
I write you in a great hurry; and can only tell you, that I like the Paper and Type very much, only I think that this Size of Type woud have suited better a Duodecimo than a large Octavo: However it will do very well.
I see the Cause of the Mistake with regard to Lady Aylesbury's Copy. Some body by Mistake has substituted Dr. Hunter1. in her place: But I never thought of making the Doctor a present, tho I have a great regard for him. Let Lady Aylesbury's Copy therefore be sent to her at Little Warwick Street Charing Cross.
I return the Sheet corrected; and am very sorry, that you cannot promise me to be regular: I dedicate my time entirely to it, and coud wish to have a Sheet regularly every post.
I find that any other Frank except Mr. Frasers2. will not suffice, both for the Proof Sheet and the Sheet of the Quarto; especially, if you return the corrected Sheet3., which I wish, though it be not absolutely necessary.
I thank you for your Corrections, which are very judicious; and you see that I follow them for the greatest part. I shall be obligd to you for continuing them as far as your Leizure will permit. For tho’ I know, that a man might spend his whole Life in correcting one small Volume1., and yet have inaccuracies in it, I think however that the fewer the better, and it is a great Amusement to me to pick them out gradually in every Edition.
I had a Letter lately from a Bookseller in Lausanne, who tells me, that he intends to publish a Translation of some of my philosophical Pieces; and desires to know the best Edition. If the last in large Octavo be finishd, I shoud point it out to him; and shoud likewise be willing to send Edition: current; Page:  him a Copy of it, if any of our Booksellers have any Communication with Geneva or Lausanne. I shoud be glad to learn from you what answer I can make him.
P.S.—I wish you coud come up to our Agreement of a Sheet every post2..
Your remarks are always very judicious and just; and I am much obligd to you. You see I have adopted all of them this sheet. Dr. Franklin left me a few days ago for the west; but I expect him again in a few days1.
I have writ this Post to Fraser1, whose Conduct has very much dissappointed me. But if he delays a moment, we can easily do without him. You need only send me the Proof Sheet under any Frank2, Dr. Franklin's3 or Mr. Pulteneys or Mr. Wedderburn's or Lord Beauchamps or Mr. Conway's4 (Who I hope, by the bye, has receivd the Copy of my History). The other Sheets, are in a great measure superfluous: Especially as I have a Copy of the Edition, from which this is taken.
I am glad to find, that the abominable Faction in England Edition: current; Page:  is declining5. The People never tire of Folly, but they tire of the same Folly6: And if their Leaders fall into the Contempt they deserve, it will be very great indeed. I hope that Pitt will have the Gout this whole Session and I pray it may be a hearty and sincere one7.
I do not think, that you will be able to publish this Season; unless the printing of the four last Volumes be well advancd. But as I have at last been able to get one correct Edition of that work, I am more indifferent. I am sensible, it is an idle Amusement; but still it is an Amusement to think that Posterity will do me more Justice than the present Age8, whose Suffrage indeed coud not have given me great Vanity.
I wish you saw (as I hope you will) my new House and Situation in St Andrews Square9: You woud not wonder that I have abjurd London for ever.
I am Dear Sir Yours sincerely
I have called on Dr. Millar and he on me; but have never met with him, because tho’ this place be not large1, I live in a manner out of Town, and am very seldom in it2. My Sister3 also has been dangerously ill of late, which has kept me more out of Company. But I am told by a Friend, that Dr. Millar said to him, there was a Bookseller in London, who had advertisd a new Book, containing, among other things, two of my suppress’d Essays. These I suppose are two Essays of mine, one on Suicide another on the Immortality of the Soul, which were printed by Andrew Millar about seventeen Years ago, and which from my abundant Prudence I suppress’d and woud not now wish to have revivd. I know not if you were acquainted with this Transaction. It was this: I intended to print four Dissertations, the natural History of Religion, on the Passions, on Tragedy, and on the metaphisical Principles of Geometry. I sent them up to Mr. Millar; but before the last was printed, I happend to meet with Lord Stanhope4, who was in this Country, and he convincd me, that either there was some Defect in the Argument or in its perspicuity; I forget which; and I wrote to Mr. Millar, that I woud not print that Essay5; but upon his remonstrating that the other Essays woud not make a Volume, I sent him up these two, which I had never intended to have publishd. They were printed; but it was no sooner done than I repented; and Mr. Millar and I agreed to suppress them at common Charges, and I wrote a new Essay on the Standard of Taste, to supply their place. Mr. Millar assurd me very earnestly that all the Copies were suppress’d, except one which he sent to Sir Andrew Mitchel6, in whose Custody I thought it safe. But I have Edition: current; Page:  since found that there either was some Infidelity or Negligence in the case; For on Mr. Morehead's Death7, there was found a Copy, which his Nephew deliverd up to me. But there have other Copies got abroad; and from one of these, some rascally Bookseller is, it seems, printing this Edition8. I am not extremely alarmd at this Event, but if threatening him woud prevent it, I woud willingly employ that means. I am afraid all will be in vain; but if you know him, be as good as try what can be done; and also learn from what hand he had the Copy. I believe an Injunction in Chancery might be got against him; but then I must acknowledge myself the Author and this Expedient woud make a Noise and render the Affair more public. In a post or two, I may perhaps get you more particular Intelligence of the Booksellers Name.
I am extremely obligd to you for the Pains you take about correcting my Sheets; and you see that I almost always profit by it.
I suppress’d these Essays, not because they coud give any Offence, but because, I thought, they coud neither give Pleasure nor Instruction: They were indeed bad Imitations of the agreeable Triffling of Addison1. But Edition: current; Page:  if any one think otherwise, and chuse to preserve them, I have no Objection.
Pray, recollect: Did not I send you up a Passage to be inserted in the Reign of Henry VIII, and which I desird you to pin upon the Leaf of the Volume? It ought to have been printed in the last Sheet, and is now too late: But it may be added as a Note. Or. is the whole an Illusion of mine, founded on my intending to send it you. The Passage contains a short Extract from an Act of Parliament, concerning the Marriage of the King with Jane Seymour, whom the Parliament recommends to him as a Piece of pure Flesh and Blood, very proper to bring him Heirs2. If you have not this Passage, I shall send you another Copy of it.
The Sheet you mention I deliverd with my own Hands on Friday the 31 of Jany to John Balfour1, who promis’d to send it with his own Letters to the Post house. Edition: current; Page:  It is by his unpardonable Negligence it is lost. I shall rate him about it; but if you do not receive it this post or the next, you will be so good as send me another copy which I shall not entrust to him in returning it.
P.S.—I am very well pleas’d that the Sheet is found; and also, that I did not know it, till I had writ a very scolding Letter to John Balfour for his losing it.
As we are drawing near a Conclusion1, I cannot forbear giving you many and hearty thanks, both for your submitting to so troublesome a Method of printing and for the many useful Corrections you have sent me. I suppose, since the days of Aldus2, Reuchlin3, and Stevens4, there have been no Printers who could have been useful to their Authors in this particular. I shall scarcely ever think of correcting any more; tho’ I own that the receiving of the Sheets regularly by the post has been an Amusement and Occupation to me, which I shall have a Difficulty to supply. I fancy I must take to some kind of Composition in its place.
Pray, have you gone any length in printing the other Volumes, or are you now to begin. In this case, you can Edition: current; Page:  scarcely publish this Season. But as you have probably a very large fount5 of this Type, I hope you are pretty well advancd. I need not put you in mind of sending me a dozen Copies of the History, and half a dozen of the philosophical Pieces.
Your Encomium on the Princess Dowager6 is elegantly written, and contains a very proper and spirited Reprehension of the scurrillous and scoundrel Patriots who had so long abus’d her7. I wonder what they will now do for a Pretence to their Sedition.
I have lately heard a Story, extremely to the King's Advantage; which I shoud be glad to find confirmd. I am told, that this parliamentary Enquiry into the Proceedings of the East India Company did not originally proceed from the Ministry, but from the King himself, who was shockd with the Accounts he receivd of the Oppressions exercisd over the poor Natives, and demanded a Remedy8. I wish it may be possible to provide any, that will be durable. I trust much in the Integrity of Andrew Stuart9 (who, they say, will certainly be one of the Supervisors10) for the carrying of such a Plan into Execution.
I hear also that there is an Intention of appointing Professor Ferguson11 Secretary to the Commission. Surely there is not a man of greater Worth in the World12. If you have a Vote or Interest, I beseech you, employ it all in his favour, as well for his Advantage as for that of Humanity.
The approbation of those whose praise is real fame is, in the very nature of the thing, extremely desireable. Judge then how very acceptable your last kind letter was to me; in which you acknowledge my small merits in a very generous Edition: current; Page:  and good-natured way, and much above what they have any title to.... The reading a sheet of your History every day with care and precision, though I at first imposed it upon myself as a task, soon became a most agreeable amusement....
You say the correcting the sheets has been an amusement to yourself, and an occupation which you will now find a difficulty to supply. This I can easily believe. And here let me make one observation, which I dare say has frequently occurred to yourself, because it is founded on experience and a knowledge of the human mind.—To render life tolerable, and to make it glide away with some degree of satisfaction, it is necessary that a small part at least of almost every day be employed in some species of real or imaginary business. To pass our whole time in amusement and dissipation leaves a depression upon the spirits infinitely less bearable than perhaps the hardest labour1. The sentence of, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, pronounced against Adam after his fall, as a punishment, is an apparent mistake, which I am not scholar enough to rectify, but which I hope will not escape future commentators2.—My application of this doctrine you will easily guess, which is no other than to add this to the other motives I have formerly taken the liberty to urge, to persuade you to the continuation of your History; in which, if you will make some progress, however trifling, every day, I will venture to say you will find your immediate account in it, in point of ease and cheerfulness and general flow of spirits. Fame which in some sense may be considered as a future reward, I will not mention. The various and complicated miseries to which mankind are subjected, the loss of those who are deservedly dear to us, the precariousness of our own existence; in short the contemplation of every thing around us, demands a constant diversion of our attention to some object or other3. As far as my experience goes I have generally, if not always found happiness to dwell not with men of much leisure and retirement, but with those who had a little less time than they had employment for.—But if after all I can’t persuade you to betake yourself to this kind of composition, I am sincerely sorry for it; but will not venture, by still further urging it, which I could easily do, to trespass upon your patience any longer.Edition: current; Page: 
The half dozen of your Philosophical Pieces shall soon be sent you; and a dozen of your History, as you desire, as soon as it is finished; which will not be for some time, having hitherto made little progress in the four last vols., as almost the whole fount, and a very large one it is, has been occupied in the four first. For to keep them going, it was necessary, not only to have the sheets constantly passing to and fro, but some composing, and some printing off, which all together engrossed a vast quantity4. However, I will dispatch them as soon as I can.
I am very happy that you approve of what I said of the Pr. Dowager. It was written in a great hurry upon slips of paper just as the Chronicle was going to press. The reprehension it contains of our worthy5 Patriots is surely well merited.—But to show you the obstinacy of John Bull, hardly any other newspaper copied it, nor has a sentence in her favour been written in any of them by any other person6. Though I am far from being of a desponding disposition, I almost begin to think, that if we go on at home vilifying and abusing all order and government, and abroad spreading famine and pestilence among those whom chance has subjected to our dominion7, we shall soon become ripe for destruction.
What you have heard of the King is very true, so I have taken the hint, and inserted it, as you will see by the enclosed, in to-night's Chronicle8. I have also taken occasion to do justice to the character of Mr. Stuart9. What I say of him I know to be true.—And they say he certainly goes to India in that capacity. I have not heard Professor Ferguson named; nor am I acquainted with him, else I should have paid my respects to him at the same time,—and which, if you will enable me, I can with rather more propriety do upon a future occasion. For John Bull would not fail commenting upon two Scotchmen being praised at once in a paper printed by a Scotchman.—My vote10 and any little interest I have, you may be assured shall be employed in behalf of a gentleman so warmly recommended by you. Our operations in Bengal demand a strict and speedy scrutiny. The barbarities committed upon that unhappy people are really unexampled in the history of all civilized nations, that of the Spaniards on the Edition: current; Page:  discovery of America11 only excepted.—You see how little efficacy the purest precepts of Christianity itself have with mankind, when opposed to the Auri sacra fames12.
I beg the continuance of your Friendship, which I prize above many Lacks of Rupees, and am with unalterable Esteem and Attachment,
If the Press has not got further than the 160th page of the sixth Volume, Line penult., there is a Passage which I shoud desire to have restord. It is this: The full prosecution of this noble Principle into all its natural Consequences has, at last, through many contests, produced that singular and happy Government which we enjoy at present1.
I own that I was so disgusted with the Licentiousness of our odious Patriots, that I have struck out the words, and happy, in this new Edition; but as the English Government is certainly happy, though probably not calculated for Duration, by reason of its excessive Liberty, I believe it will be as well to restore them: But if that Sheet be already printed, it is not worth while to attend to the matter. I am as well pleas’d that this Instance of Spleen and Indignation shoud remain.
I am much oblig’d to you for your Attention in returning me the Proof Sheets: But I never doubted of your Exactness in following my Corrections which were also, in part, your own1. I had unfortunately bespoke most of the Smith Work of my new house; but I still found a small Job to give Mr. Richardson, who seems to me a clever young Fellow. I remove in little more than two Months. If I find my Time lie heavy on my hands, I may, for my Amusement, undertake a reign or two after the Revolution2: But I believe, in case of my composing any more, I had better write something that has no Reference to the Affairs of these factious Barbarians3.
You will please to send this Letter to Mr. Cadel, which I have left open for your Perusal.
There is a Friend of mine, Capn Braiden, who has writ, in the form of Letters, his Travels thro Sicily and Malta1: They are very curious and agreeable; and I as well as others of his Friends have advisd him to publish them; and I also advisd him, to carry them to you. If you read them I hope we shall agree in Opinion. I conjecture they may make one Volume a little less than a Volume of the Spectator2.
I have receivd a Copy of the new Edition of my Essays1 and the four first Volumes of my History, with both which I am very well pleasd with regard to the Paper and Print. I have carefully perusd the Essays, and find them very correct, with fewer Errors of the Press, than I almost ever saw in any book; and I give you, as well as Mr. Strahan, thanks for the care that has been taken of them. The four Volumes of History passd thro’ my own hands; so that nothing needs be said of them. I fancy the other Volumes will not be finishd; so as to be publish’d this Season; but they will be ready early in the Winter2.
You have been guilty of a small Indiscretion in allowing a Copy of my new Edition to go out before the Edition: current; Page:  Publication: For I had a Letter yesterday from Mr. Piercy1, complaining tho’ in obliging terms, of the Note with regard to the old Earl of Northumberland House-hold book; as if it were a Satyre on that particular Nobleman, which was by no means my Intention: I only meant to paint the manners of the Age2. I reply’d to him, that I fancy’d it was too late to correct my Expressions; for that the Work was probably in the hands of the public. I hope it is; or at least beg it may be soon. I know I have no right to demand any account of your Sales: I only entreat you to tell me precisely, as far as you can, the time of your publication; and also when you can send off the Copies for me. You told me in a former Letter that you heard I was continuing my History: I beg of you to believe that such an extravagant and absurd Idea never once enterd into my head.
I find you must reprint all that Note about the Northumberland House-hold Book. The Alterations I make are very little material; but being requir’d in a very obliging manner by Dr. Piercy, and, I suppose, by the Family1, I could not now refuse them, without giving them great Offence, which I wish to avoid.
I have likewise sent you one Addition to the Errata. The Passage at present is Nonsense, tho’ I find it has escap’d me in three Editions, notwithstanding it was printed right at first2. Be so good as to insert it in its proper place; as I suppose the Errata is not printed.
I never, that I remember, mention’d to Capn Braidon any particular Sum which he might expect3, as I receivd his Manuscript in Parcels and coud form no Estimate of its Bulk. His Journey over Mount Etna is the most curious part of it; and I wish it be not anticipated by a late German Work which is translated, but I have not read it4. I recommended to Mr. Braidon to obliterate some Levities, too much in the Shandean Style5, which he promis’d to do. I do hope with these Corrections, it will be thought a good readable Book and curious6.
Considering the Treatment I have met with7, it woud have been very silly for me at my Years to continue writing any more; and still more blameable to warp my Principles and Sentiments in conformity to the Prejudices of a stupid, factious Nation, with whom I am heartily disgusted8. I wish my Continuators9 good Success; tho’ I Edition: current; Page:  believe they have sence enough not to care whether they meet with it or not. Macpherson has Style and Spirit; but is hot-headed, and consequently without Judgement10. The Knight11 has Spirit, but no Style, and still less Judgement than the other. I shoud think Dr. Douglas12, if he woud undertake it, a better hand than either. Or what think you of Andrew Stuart13? For as to any Englishman, that Nation is so sunk in Stupidity and Barbarism and Faction that you may as well think of Lapland14 for an Author. The best Book, that has been writ by any Englishman these thirty Years (for Dr. Franklyn is an American) is Tristram Shandy, bad as it is15. A Remark which may astonish you; but which you will find true on Reflection16.
I admire very much this Work of Andrew Stuart17; tho I was at first exceedingly alarmd at the Imprudence of the Attempt. I am less so, after perusing it; tho still it appears imprudent, according to the vulgar Rule of estimating these Matters.
I woud have you publish this new Edition as soon as it is ready; and rather submit to some Loss than allow the Book to be any longer discredited by that abominable Edition18, which has given you and me so much Vexation, and has been one Cause why I have thrown my Pen aside for ever.
On reviewing your last Letter and recollecting my Answer to it, I am afraid some mistake might arise between us. No doubt, any body, either from their own Edition: current; Page:  Inclination or from your Application, may undertake to write any part of English History they please; and I can have no Objection to it: But that this Work should be publishd as a Continuation of mine, I see liable to considerable Objections; and it is necessary for me to deliberate well upon it. If it be either much better or much worse than mine, it might be improper, for my own credit, to consent to it; and as long as both the Performance and the Author are unknown to me, I cannot without farther deliberation go so far. I beg, therefore, that this Matter may be fully understood between us, and that nothing I have said may be interpreted as my Approbation of a Scheme, which is totally unknown to me.
I desire much to ask you a Question, which, if the Matter depended solely on you, I know you coud answer me in a moment. But as it is, you can easily, by consulting your Partners, be able to give me Satisfaction in it. In short, I wish to know precisely, whether you intend to publish the new Edition this Season or the Season after, or any subsequent Season. It is needless to say any thing about the Index which coud have been ready long ago. I beg it of you, I even conjure you, to give me at last some Answer which I can depend on. I promise you, that this is the last time I shall write to you on the Subject.
I am Dear Sir
The Number of Copies of my History, which I desir’d to have, was twelve. I agreed with Mr. Millar Edition: current; Page:  verbally to reserve six on every new Edition; but as I had taken uncommon Pains on this Edition, I proposd twelve, which you very frankly agreed to1: I desire one copy to be sent to Lord Beauchamp2 with my Compliments, and the rest to be shipt off to this Place with the first convenient Opportunity.
You and Mr. Cadel had so much lost all faith with me, that indeed I thought it was impossible for you any longer to deceive me3: Yet when you mention’d a new Edition, I own I was so simple as to believe, that all the old one was nearly sold off. This woud have been very blameable in you, if you had proposd any other End than that of seducing me into the continuing of my work, which you thought, and probably with Reason, woud have been for my own Advantage in more respects than one. But however the Consequence is, that I am now at a Loss, and ever shall remain so, what I am to think and believe: And many Questions, interesting to me, which I wishd to ask you, woud, I find, be entirely vain and fruitless; and therefore I shall forbear them, since I can give no manner of credit to the Answers. A very little time will make me totally indifferent about these Matters, which is the State of Mind that I have nearly attain’d already. I only desire that before you begin any new Edition of any of my Writings, you give me Information some time beforehand.
I have read twice over all Sir John Dalrymple's new Publication1, which contains many curious Papers2; but it gives me great Satisfaction to find, that there is not one single Mistake in my History, either great or small, which it gives me occasion to correct. I could only wish to have an Opportunity of adding one Note in order to correct a mistake into which Sir John is very anxious to lead his Readers, as if the French Intrigues had had a sensible Influence in the Determinations of the English Parliament3: And I believe it is not too late even yet to annex it. I remember Mr. Millar added a similar Note to the last Octavo Edition drawn from K. James's Memoirs4; and it was inserted in more than the half of the Copies. I have sent you the Note, which I beg may be printed on a Leaf apart, and annexd to all the Copies afterwards disposd of, and even sent to all the Booksellers that have purchasd any considerable Numbers, as well as joind to my own Copies.
I hear you have given Sir John 2000 pounds for the Property of this Volume, which I scarcely believe5. The Book is curious, but far from being agreeable Reading; and the Sale will probably be all at first. I again repeat my Entreaties that this Note may be annexd.
Yours of the 15th I received today, which does not a little surprise me. After having been most unfeignedly attached to Edition: current; Page:  you ever since I had the pleasure of your acquaintance; after having done every thing in my power to oblige you; after having given the most careful attention to your works when under my press, for which I received your repeated ackowledgements; and after having behaved to you in the most open, candid, and ingenuous manner upon every occasion since I became a proprietor in your works; I did not, I could not expect to be told by you, after all, that I was a lying scoundrel, who had constantly deceived you, to whom you could give no manner of credit.
Such it seems, is now your deliberate opinion both of Mr. Cadell and myself. Produce, I call upon you, and have a right so to do, one single instance to support the heavy charge you bring against us; concealing from you, at the desire of the late Mr. Millar, the number of the 8vo. edition of your History alone excepted1; which we did purely at his request, having then no interest, nor the least shadow of interest, to deceive you in that or any other particular.
I own that I am quite astonished at the style of your last letter, which is such as should be directed to one of the most worthless of the human race, and to such only.
Do not imagine, however, that I mean to enter into a laboured defence of myself. Far from it. I have nothing to apologize for; nothing have I said or done respecting you, that I now wish unsaid or undone.—Some recent cause of disgust, however groundless, you have conceived; but as my whole conduct respecting you has all along be so more than blameless, this cause, whatever it may be, is to me a perfect mystery.—I told you faithfully, from time to time, how many were left on hand of the 8vo. edition. You told me in a late letter that we had better submit to some loss, than allow the book to be discredited by that abominable edition2.—All proper haste was made to finish and publish it. In my last I told you not above 100 Copies were left; this was so very true, that upon enquiry today, I find they are exactly 76, which we can either destroy, or sell abroad; they are no object3. But why do I trouble either you or myself to give you any detail upon this or any other subject; which, as you very politely tell me, is entirely vain and fruitless, as you can give no manner of credit to my answers.
Had not Mr. Cadell and I, from the moment we were free Edition: current; Page:  agents4 and concerned in your works, done everything we could devise for your satisfaction and honour; had we not invariably refused to have any interest in any thing that had a tendency to discredit or displease you; in particular Dr. Beattie's book5; had we not on many occasions—But I scorn to instance more particulars—we might have looked for this treatment from you, from which the most blameless conduct on our part has not been able to defend us.
True it is (and this does not depend on my veracity else I would not have mentioned it) that I have said and done every thing in my power to persuade (or, if you please, to seduce6) you to continue your History, from a full conviction, as you express it in your last, that it would have been for your own advantage in more respects than one7.—Your answer was constantly in the negative; of late, that such an absurd and extravagant idea never entered your head8; and that you had thrown your pen aside for ever9.—Whether I did well in thus repeatedly obtruding my advice upon you, and you in as repeatedly rejecting it, time only can discover. I know I meant well; that to me is great cause of satisfaction.—And now I cease to trouble you on this head for ever.
I had forgot that you desired 12 copies of this edition. They shall be directly sent you; and as many more as you shall hereafter desire are at your service. Your request respecting future editions of your Works shall be duly attended to. I shall only add, that at no period of my life could I have patiently borne the unmerited treatment you have given me; you will not therefore wonder, that having now, by my own industry, attained to a state of independence, and I will venture to say by a conduct umimpeachable, it should not sit very easy upon my stomach10.
Some time or other you will perhaps discover with certainty, whether I am or not
If my Letter surprizd you, I assure you yours no less surprizd me; and gave me no little Concern. You know, that I have frequently accus’d you no less than Mr. Millar and Mr. Cadell, of always representing the fair side of things to me1; and you have frequently remarkd that I was totally incredulous concerning the Representations Edition: current; Page:  you made me. If your End had been to circumvent me, or take any Advantage of me to my Loss, you would have been very blamable. But as your Purpose plainly was and coud be no other, than to put me in good humour with the Public, and engage me into what must prove both profitable and amusing to me, I thought the Crime very venial; as I told you in my Letter: And though I wishd that the Truth had always been told me, I neither was disobligd at you nor entertaind in the least a bad opinion of you2. On the contrary, there is no man of whom I entertain a better, nor whose Friendship I desire more to preserve, nor indeed any one to whom I have owd more essential Obligations. You may judge then of my Uneasyness when I found that I had unwittingly and unwillingly given you so much Disgust. But how coud you take it amiss, that I had told you in a Letter what I had so often told you without offence by words? Your protracting of this Edition, which you told me two Years ago was demanded3, was a sure means of renewing my former Jealousy.—But I shall not enter into any farther Detail on this Subject which is needless: But what I think extremely needful for my own Peace of Mind is to renew my Professions of that Friendship and Esteem, which I do and always will bear to you; and to beg of you very earnestly a Renewal of those Sentiments which you always professd towards me, and whose Sincerity I have seen in a hundred Instances. I do not remember any Incident of my Life, that has given me more real Concern, than your Misapprehension of me, which, I hope, a little Reflection without any Explication on my part woud have sufficd to remove. Sick People and Children are often to be deceivd for their Good4; and I only suspected you of thinking that peevish Authors, such as I confess I am, are in the same Predicament. Was the reproaching you with this Idea, so great an Offence, or Edition: current; Page:  so heavy an Imputation upon your Faith and moral Character? I again beg of you to be assurd of my sincere Sentiments on this head, and entreat the Continuance or rather the Renewal of your Friendship; a Word which I once hop’d woud never have enter’d into our Correspondence5.
I am with great Truth & Regard Dear Sir
I write to you in a great hurry and with great Earnestness: It is to beg your Vote and Interest in the India house for Coll. Stuart, Brother to our Friend, Andrew1, whose Appointment to command in Bombay is in danger of being over-haul’d by the Court of Proprietors2. This woud be a most invidious Measure, very cruel to the Collohel and all his Friends. I know that on Andrew's Account, you woud interest yourself against it; but as he thinks, that my Entreaties woud add something to your Zeal, I hereby join them in the most earnest manner, tho’ indeed rather to satisfy him, than that I think they will be any-wise necessary3.
I have writ you an ostensible Letter on the Subject of literary Property, which contains my real Sentiments, so far as it goes. However, I shall tell you the truth; I do not forsee any such bad Consequences as you mention Edition: current; Page:  from laying the Property open1. The Italians2 and French have more pompous3 Editions of their Classics since the Expiration of the Privileges than any we have of ours: And at least, every Bookseller, who prints a Book, will endeavour to make it as compleat and correct as he can. But when I said, that I thought Lord Mansfield's Decision founded on a vain Subtlely4, I did not consider the matter in that Light, but only on a simple Consideration of the Act of Q. Anne. The Essay5 I mentioned is not so considerable as to [be] printed apart; yet any pyrated Edition woud be reckond incompleat that did not contain it.
There is a Subject which I was desird to mention to you, but which I delay’d, till your Application to Parliament were finishd, that you might know on what footing your literary Property was to stand1: It is with regard to Dr. Wallace's manuscript, which was certainly finishd for the Press and which I think a very good Book2: I told his Son about four or five months ago, before the Decision of the House of Peers, that he ought not to expect above 500 pounds for it; and he has return’d so far to my Sentiments, as to leave the Matter entirely to me; I shoud wish to know, therefore, what you think you cou’d afford. I imagine this Decision will not very much alter the Value of literary Property: For if you coud, by a tacite convention among yourselves3, make a Property of the Dauphin's Virgil, without a single Line in Virgil's hand, or Ruæus's or the Dauphin's4, I see not why you may not keep Possession of all your Books as before. However, this Decision throws you into some Uncertainty, and you may be cautious for some time in entering on any considerable Purchase.
Lord Kaims's Sketches5. have here been published some weeks; and by the Reception it has met with, is not likely to be very popular, according to the prodigiously sanguine Expectations of the Author. But after his Elements of Criticism6 met with some Success, I shall Edition: current; Page:  never venture to make any Prophecy on that head. I am glad to hear, that in your Bargain with him, you had a saving Clause to ensure you against Loss7. Cou’d any such Clause be devis’d with regard to Dr. Wallace's Book? In the mean time, I ask 500 pounds for it8; as you desire that a positive Demand shoud always be made, which is indeed but reasonable. It is about half the Size of Lord Kaims's Sketches; and is better writ.
I am favoured with yours in regard to Dr. Wallace's book, to which I know not what to say in reply. It may probably be worth the money demanded for it, for anything I know to the contrary, because I have not seen a syllable of it; but when I consider the subject, the nature of which is not very saleable, and the character of the Author, who though a man of most excellent dispositions, and good abilities, never in his lifetime produced anything that was so received by the public, as could in any manner justify such a price as £500 for a work of his, of the size of a small quarto volume, I cannot hesitate a moment to decline the purchase.— What was got by his Essay on the Numbers of Mankind I know not; but his Characteristics of Great Britain2 Mr. Millar and I bought for £30, and I believe we did not make £10 of it. Not that I mean to undervalue the present performance; but when I have no other guide to go by, it is natural enough to reason from analogy, and to estimate one work by former publications of the same writer. The prices demanded, and indeed given of late for copies3, hath had a most strange effect upon our present Authors, as every one is abundantly apt to compare his own merit with his contemporaries, of which he cannot be supposed to be an impartial judge.—Mr. G. Wallace carries this idea farther, and asserts what to me is the greatest of all paradoxes, viz. ‘That little will ever be made by any work for which much is not given.’—I wish I could not produce so capital an exception to this rule4 as Hawkesworth's Voyages; the Edition: current; Page:  event of which purchase, if it does not cure Authors of their delirium, I am sure will have the proper effect upon book-sellers5.—I will not take into the account the present uncertain state of literary property in general. There is no occasion for it. The simple question here is, Is it likely that 2000 of this book will sell in a few years at the price of a guinea bound; because unless that number are likely to be disposed of at that price, it can never bear so large as sum as £5006.
As for Lord Kaimes's book, neither Mr. Cadell nor I had any hand in the purchase. It was entirely transacted between his Lordship and Mr. Creech7. But the saving clause removed every objection to our having a concern in it, as we had no trouble about it; but in the present case, to agree to give £500, even with a saving clause, would be undertaking all the trouble attending the publication with a moral certainty of getting nothing for our pains. After all, I wish not, neither does Mr. Cadell, to undervalue any man's performance, so it is better, perhaps, to decline it in our Names altogether, without giving the Reasons above assigned.—Or if you please, as Mr. G. Wallace's expectations from the book were so sanguine that he conceived hopes of getting £2000 for it, we will print it, run all risk of paper, print, etc., and give him half the neat8 profits: and as in this way, it will be evidently our own interest to promote the sale, he need not doubt our doing everything in our power to promote it9.
Lord Kaimes's book will be published here next week, and I doubt not but it will sell. It is light summer reading, and not unsuitable to the taste of the present times. It is not the intrinsic merit of any work that ensures the sale; but many other circumstances which men of true judgment and solid learning are apt to overlook10.
Our Literary Property Bill will be brought in next week, as soon as the parliament reassembles. We hope at least to get something. I wrote to Dr. Robertson for his sentiments above a fortnight ago, but have yet received no answer, which I wonder at11.
I am ever, with the most sincere Esteem, dear Sir, Yours etc.
The Delphin Classics are of that species of books that will never be pirated, and would indeed never be printed in Britain Edition: current; Page:  at all, unless by a large company of booksellers, faithful to one another, by whose joint trade an impression may be sold off in a reasonable time, so as to indemnify them for the expense, with some little profit12.—For such books we want no protection; nor for large works, voluminous Dictionaries, School books, etc., which no interloper will ever meddle with; but for your light and more saleable productions, of two or three volumes in 12o., the profit on which is sure, and the risk small, the charge of an impression amounting to a small sum.
If your commendations of Henry's History are well founded, is not his work an exception to your own general rule, that no good book was ever wrote for money13?Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page: 
I have often regreted the Interruption of our Correspondence1: But when you ceas’d to be a speculative Politician and became a practical one2, I coud no longer expect you woud be so communicative or impartial as formerly on that head; and my object with regard to Authorship, was, for a time, at an End. The Reason of the present Trouble is of a different kind: Dr. Trail3, the Professor of Divinity at Glasgow, is dead; and Dr. Wight, the present Professor of Church History, is a Candidate for the Office: The Place is filled by a Vote of the Professors: You are understood to have great Influence with Wilson, the Professor of Astronomy4: And I interest myself extremely in Dr. Wight's success5:. These are my Reasons for writing to you. But I must also tell you my Reasons for interesting myself so much in Dr. Wight's Behalf. He is a particular Friend of mine: He is very much connected with all mine and your particular Friends in the Church6: He is a very gentleman-like agreeable Man: And above all, he is (without which I shoud not interest myself for him) a very sound and Edition: current; Page:  orthodox Divine. The case of Dr. Trail, (his predecessor, as I hope) was somewhat particular with regard to Orthodoxy: He was very laudably a declar’d Enemy to all Heretics, Socinians, Arians, Anti-trinitarians, Arminians, Erastians, Sabellians, Pelagians, Semi-pelagians: In short, of every Sect, whose Name terminated in ian7, except Presbyterian, to whom he had a declar’d and passionate Attachment. He said, that it signify’d nothing to pick out a little straggling Absurdity, here and there, from the System; while the whole immense Chaos, sufficient to over-whelm Heaven and Earth, still remain’d entire, and must still remain. But in Prosecution of these Views (which one cannot much blame) he mix’d a little of the Acrimony of his own Temper; and, perhaps undesignedly, sent away all the Students of Divinity very zealous Bigots, which had a very bad Effect on the Clergy of that Neighbourhood8. Now, I shall answer for Dr. Wight, that his Pupils shall have all the Orthodoxy, without the Bigotry, instill’d into them by his Predecessor. I believe Dr. Robertson will write you on the same Subject; and I beg you woud not lose any time in applying to Mr. Wilson, in case he shoud take any other Engagements, tho we do not yet hear of any other Candidate.
I must, before we part, have a little Stroke of Politics with you, notwithstanding my Resolution to the contrary. We hear that some of the Ministers have propos’d in Council, that both Fleet and Army be withdrawn from America, and these Colonists be left entirely to themselves9. I wish I had been a Member of His Majesty's Cabinet Council, that I might have seconded this Opinion. I shoud have said, that this Measure only anticipates the necessary Course of Events a few Years; that a forced and every day more precarious Monopoly of about 6 or 700,000 Pounds a year of Manufactures10, was not worth contending for; that we shoud preserve the greater part Edition: current; Page:  of this Trade even if the Ports of America were open to all Nations; that it was very likely, in our method of proceeding, that we shoud be disappointed in our Scheme of conquering the Colonies11; and that we ought to think beforehand how we were to govern them, after they were conquer’d. Arbitrary Power can extend its oppressive Arm to the Antipodes; but a limited Government can never long be upheld at a distance, even where no Disgusts have interven’d12: Much less, where such violent Animosities have taken place. We must, therefore, annul all the Charters13; abolish every democratical Power in every Colony; repeal the Habeas Corpus Act with regard to them; invest every Governor with full discretionary or arbitrary Powers; confiscate the Estates of all the chief Planters14; and hang three fourths of their Clergy15. To execute such Acts of destructive Violence twenty thousand Men will not be sufficient; nor thirty thousand to maintain them, in so wide and disjointed a Territory16. And who are to pay so great an Army? The Colonists cannot at any time, much less after reducing them to such a State of Desolation: We ought not, and indeed cannot, in the over-loaded or rather over-whelm’d and totally ruin’d State of our Finances17. Let us, therefore, lay aside all Anger; shake hands, and part Friends18. Or if we retain any anger, let it only be against ourselves for our past Folly; and against that wicked Madman, Pitt; who has reducd us to our present Condition19. Dixi20.
But we must not part, without my also saying something as an Author. I have not yet thrown up so much all Memory of that Character. There is a short Advertisement21, which I wish I had prefix’d to the second Volume of the Essays and Treatises in the last Edition. I send you a Copy of it. Please to enquire at the Warehouse, if any considerable Number of that Edition remain Edition: current; Page:  on hands; and if there do, I beg the favour of you, that you woud throw off an equal Number of this Advertisement, and give out no more Copies without prefixing it to the second volume. It is a compleat Answer to Dr. Reid22 and to that bigotted silly Fellow, Beattie23.
I believe that I have formerly mention’d to you, that no new Editions shoud be made of any of my Writings, without mentioning it to me; I shall still have some Corrections to make. By Calculation, or rather Conjecture from former Sales, the last Edition of my History shoud be nearly sold off: Pray inform yourself whether it be not so: And how many remain on hand24.
I am with great Sincerity Dear Sir Your affectionate humble Servant
‘...And now a word or two of politics. The increased liberty of the press, which gives you the substance of almost every debate, is the sole cause of my being less communicative, and as for my impartiality, notwithstanding a little change in my situation, it is noway diminished. But I differ from you, toto cœlo, with regard to America. I am entirely for coercive methods with those obstinate madmen: And why should we despair of success?—Why should we suffer the Empire to be so dismembered, without the utmost exertions on our part? I see nothing so very formidable in this business, if we become a little more unanimous, and could stop the mouths of domestic traitors, from whence the evil originated1.—Not that I wish to enslave the Colonists, or to make them one jot less happy than ourselves; but I am for keeping them subordinate to the British Legislature, and their trade in a reasonable degree subservient to the interest of the Mother Country; an advantage she well deserves, but which she must inevitably lose, if they are emancipated as you propose. I am really surprised you are of a different opinion. Very true, things look oddly at present, and the dispute hath hitherto been very ill-managed; but so we always do in the commencement of every war. So we did most remarkably in the last2. It is perhaps owing to the nature of our Government, which permits not of those sudden and decisive exertions frequently made by arbitrary Princes. But so soon as the Edition: current; Page:  British Lion is roused, we never fail to fetch up our leeway3, as the sailors say. And so I hope you will find it in this important case. We had two exceeding long debates in the House last Thursday and Friday. Till ½ after 4 in the Morning the first Day, and ½ after 1 the second. Much was said on both sides, but the Address was at length carried by 278 to 1084, and I hope this decision will be followed by the most vigorous exertions both by sea and land.—At present I believe we have totally lost America; but a proper disposition of our fleet, and the troops we shall, even without foreign assistance (except the Hanoverians5) be able to send thither, will speedily recover it. Perhaps it may be still a difficult task, but it is worth doing all in our power to accomplish. And a little perseverance on our part will unavoidably throw the Americans into confusion among themselves, even were we to stand upon the defensive, and only block up their ports. They cannot subsist without trade; they must export their corn, or it is useless, and they must have cloathing for themselves and negroes6, and a thousand other necessaries and conveniences of life from Europe. Their present anarchy is already, and must every day become more and more intolerable. I have not time just now to launch out into particulars. But the Newspapers will make up the deficiency. Your friend General Conway has declared with the minority.... When we have subdued the Colonists, it will require little force to keep them in order; for all the men of property among them are in their hearts with us, and they will insensibly slide back into their former situation....—M. S. R. S. E.
Your Memory has fail’d you. The last Quarto Edition of my philosophical Pieces in 1768 was in two Volumes, and this Advertisement may be prefixed to the second Volume. There was another Quarto Edition in one Volume six or seven Years before1; but that Edition must be all sold off, as you have made four or five Editions since2. Your Correction is certainly just; and I had evidently been guilty of an Error in my Pen.
I am glad to find there is a Prospect of a new Edition of my History. I was indeed apprehensive, that the blind Rage of Party had entirely obstructed the Sale of it. I am as anxious of Correctness3 as if I were writing to Greeks or French; and besides frequent Revisals, which I have given it since the last Edition, I shall again run over it very carefully, and shall send you a corrected Copy. About six Weeks hence, I shall send off by the Waggon the four first Volumes; and shall direct them to Mr. Cadel's Shop, which will be more easily found than your House4. Edition: current; Page:  The other four Volumes shall follow at Leizure. I remember an Author5, who says, that one half of a man's Life is too little to write a Book; and the other half to correct it. I think, that I am more agreeably employ’d for myself in this manner, and perhaps more profitably for you, than if I were writing such Volumes as Macpherson's History6, one of the most wretched Productions that ever came from your Press.
I am sorry, that I cannot agree with you, in your hopes of subduing and what is more difficult, of governing America7. Think only of the great Kingdom of France which is within a days sailing of the small Island of Corsica; yet has not been able, in eight or nine Years, to subdue and govern it, contrary to Sentiments of the Inhabitants8. But the worst Effect of the Loss of America, will not be the Detriment to our Manufactures, which will be a mere trifle9, or to our Navigation, which will not be considerable10; but to the Credit and Reputation of Government, which has already but too little Authority. You will probably see a Scene of Anarchy and Confusion open’d at home, the best Consequence of which is a settled Plan of arbitrary Power11; the worst, total Ruin and Destruction12.
I am extremely oblig’d to you for your Letter to Professor Wilson. I am afraid, however, that all Efforts in favour of Dr. Wight will be in vain. It seems, Dr. Hunter supports a Friend of his; and nothing can be refusd him by the University13.
Last Monday, I sent to the Newcastle Waggon the four first Volumes corrected of my History. They are directed to Mr. Cadell. You will see by the Margins, that I have not been idle: And as the Corrections have cost me a great deal of care and Attention, I am anxious that the Books be safely deliver’d. They may arrive about three Weeks hence; about which time, if Mr. Cadell does not receive them, I beg, that he would take the trouble of enquiring about them; and as soon as they come to hand, let me know of it by a Line. The other Volumes will be ready, whenever the Press demands them; of which you will be so good as to inform me in time.
I hope you will employ one of your most careful Compositors in this Edition: For as it is the last, which, at my Age and in my State of Health1, I can hope to see, I wish to leave it correct. I think that it will not be prudent in you, to make this Edition more numerous than the former one.
I wonder what Smith means by not publishing2. I am glad to see my Friend Gibbon advertised3: I am confident it will be a very good Book; though I am at a Loss to conceive where he finds materials for a Volume from Trajan to Constantine4. Be so good as to make my Compliments to him: The Book has not yet arrived here.
I am employed in finishing the Corrections of the four last Volumes of my History, and these Volumes will probably be sent you by the Waggon next week. You have certainly Occupation enough on the four first till their Arrival. I beg that after the four first are printed off a Copy of the new Edition of them may be sent me by the Waggon, that I may return you the Errata.
I am very much taken with Mr. Gibbon's Roman History which came from your Press, and am glad to hear of its success. There will no Books of Reputation now be printed in London but through your hands and Mr. Cadel's1. The Author tells me, that he is already preparing a second Edition. I intended to have given him my Advice with regard to the manner of printing it; but as I am now writing to you, it is the same thing. He ought certainly to print the Number of the Chapter at the head of the Margin, and it woud be better if something of the Contents coud also be added. One is also plagued with his Notes, according to the present Method of printing the Book: When a Note is announced, you turn to the End of the Volume; and there you often find nothing but the Reference to an Authority: All these Authorities ought only to be printed at the Margin or the Bottom of the Page2. I desire, that a Copy of my new Edition shoud be sent to Mr. Gibbon, as wishing that a Gentleman, whom I so highly value, shoud peruse me in the form the least imperfect, to which I can bring my work3.
We heard that yours and Mr. Cadell's Warehouses had been consumed by fire: I intended to have written you Edition: current; Page:  on the Occasion, but as I received a Letter from you a few Posts after, in which you mentioned nothing of the Matter, I concluded the Rumor to be false. Dr. Robertson tells me, that there was some Foundation for the Report; but that your Loss was inconsiderable; and that your Copies were insured4. I shoud not have been sorry, if some Bales of my Essays had been in the Number; as I think I coud make some Improvements in a new Edition.
Dr. Smith's Performance is another excellent Work that has come from your Press this Winter; but I have ventured to tell him, that it requires too much thought to be as popular as Mr. Gibbon's5.
If your Ministry have as much Reflection and Combination of thought as to make a successful Expedition on the other Side of the Atlantic with 40,000 men, they will much disappoint my Expectations. They seem to have gone wrong already by the Lateness of their Embarkations6. But we shall see, which is the utmost that can be said in most Affairs of this Nature.
My Body sets out to-morrow by Post for London2; but whether it will arrive there is somewhat uncertain. I shall travel by slow Journies. Last Monday, I sent off by the Waggon, directed to Mr. Cadel, the four last Volumes of my History. I bring up my philosophical Pieces corrected, which will be safe, whether I dye by the Road or not3.
I arrived here yesterday very much improved by my Journey. I have seen no body but Sir John Pringle, who says that he sees nothing alarming in my Case2; and I am willing, and consequently ready to believe him. I intend to call on you this forenoon, and shall leave this in case I miss you. I know not yet what Sir John intends to do with me; so am ignorant how long I shall remain in Edition: current; Page:  London: But wish much to have a Conversation with you; I shall never eat a meal from my own Fireside; but all the Forenoons and Afternoons will be at my Disposal. It will do me Service to drive to your House; so that you need only appoint me by Message or Penny Post3 an hour any day.
P.S.—I lodge at Mrs. Perkins, a few doors from Miss Elliots4, and next door to Mr. Forbes the Surgeon. The Afternoons, if equally convenient for you, will rather be more convenient to me, to call on you.
I was very sorry not to see you again before I left London, both because I did not see you again and because of the Cause, your being confin’d. I arriv’d here on Wednesday Evening; improv’d, as before, by the Journey; And the short Trial which I have made of the Waters, seems to succeed wonderfully. Dr Gustard1, with whom I am much taken, says, that he never saw a Case so much what may be calld a Bath Case, and in which he is more assur’d of the Patients Recovery. To tell the Truth, I feel myself already so much reliev’d, that, for the first time these several Months, I have to day begun to open my Mind to the Expectations of seeing a few more Years: But whether this be very desirable at my Age I shall not determine. I have not ventur’d to write any thing to Sir John Pringle till we have made a further Trial.
You have probably or soon will have some Letters directed to me under your Cover2. Please direct them to this Place. I hope you will be able to give me the same Edition: current; Page:  good Accounts of your Health that I have given you of mine. I believe, I told you, that I had sent to the Newcastle Waggon at Edinburgh, near four Weeks ago, the corrected Copy of the four last Volumes of my History, directed to Mr. Cadell. The great Pains, that these Corrections cost me, make me anxious to hear of their safe Arrival.
When we pass’d by Spine hill3 near Newbury we found in the Inn Lord Denbigh4, who was an Acquaintance of my Fellow Traveller5. His Lordship inform’d him, that he, Lord Sandwich6, Lord Mulgrave7, Mr. Banks8, and two or three Ladies of Pleasure had pass’d five or six Days there9, and intended to pass all this Week and the next in the same Place; that their chief object was to enjoy the trouting Season10; that they had been very successful; that Lord Sandwich in particular had caught Trouts near twenty Inches long, which gave him incredible Satisfaction; but that for his Part, being a greater Admirer of Sea Fish, in which Bath abounded, and hearing that Friday was the great Market day there for Fish, he commissiond my Friend to send him up by the London Fly11 a good Cargo of Soles, John Dories, and Pipers12, which wou’d render their Happiness compleat. I do not remember in all my little or great Knowlege of History13 (according as you and Dr Johnson can settle between you the Degrees of my Knowlege) such another Instance; and I am sure such a one does not exist: That the first Lord of the Admiralty, who is absolute and uncontrouled Master in his Department, shou’d, at a time when the Fate of the British Empire is in dependance, and in dependance on him, find so much Leizure, Tranquillity, Presence of Mind and Magnanimity, as to have Amusement in trouting during three Weeks near sixty Miles from the scene of Business, and during the most critical Season of the Year. There needs but this single Fact to decide the Fate of the Nation. What an Ornament woud it be in a future History to Edition: current; Page:  open the glorious Events of the ensuing Year with the Narrative of so singular an Incident14.
You will be sorry to hear, that I must retract all the good Accounts, which I gave you of my Health. The Waters, after seeming to agree with me, have sensibly a bad Effect, and I have entirely dropped the Use of them. Edition: current; Page:  I wait only Sir John Pringle's Directions before I leave this place; and I shall, I believe, set out for the North in a few days1. If any Letters for me come under your Cover, be so good as to detain them, till I can inform you of my Route.
I am glad to find, that you have been able to set about this New Edition in earnest. I have made it extremely correct; at least I believe that, if I were to live twenty Years longer, I shoud never be able to give it any further Improvements. This is some small Satisfaction to me in my present Situation; and I may add that it is almost the only one that my Writings ever afforded me: For as to any suitable Returns of Approbation from the Public, for the Care, Accuracy, Labour, Disinterestedness, and Courage2 of my Compositions, they are yet to come. Though, I own to you, I see many Symptoms that they are approaching3. But it will happen to me as to many other Writers: Though I have reached a considerable Age, I shall not live to see any Justice done to me4. It is not improbable, however, that my Self-conceit and Prepossessions may lead me into this way of thinking5.
As soon as this Edition is finished, please to send a Copy of all the ten Volumes6 to Sir John Pringle, the same to Mr. Gibbon7, a Copy of the History to Mistress Elliott8 in Brewer Street; six Copies of the whole to me in Edinburgh or to my Brother there in case of my Death9.
If this Event shall happen, as is probable, before the Publication of this Edition, there is one Request I have to make to you: Before I left Edinburgh, I wrote a small piece (you may believe it woud be but a small one) which I call the History of my own Life10: I desire it may be prefixed to this Edition: It will be thought curious and entertaining. My Brother or Dr. Adam Smith will send it to you, and I shall give them Directions to that Purpose.Edition: current; Page: 
I am also to speak to you of another Work more important: Some Years ago, I composed a piece, which woud make a small Volume in Twelves. I call it Dialogues on natural Religion: Some of my Friends flatter me, that it is the best thing I ever wrote. I have hitherto forborne to publish it, because I was of late desirous to live quietly, and keep remote from all Clamour: For though it be not more exceptionable than some things I had formerly published; yet you know some of these were thought very exceptionable; and in prudence, perhaps, I ought to have suppressed them. I there introduce a Sceptic, who is indeed refuted, and at last gives up the Argument, nay confesses that he was only amusing himself by all his Cavils11; yet before he is silenced, he advances several Topics, which will give Umbrage, and will be deemed very bold and free, as well as much out of the common Road. As soon as I arrive at Edinburgh, I intend to print a small Edition of 500, of which I may give away about 100 in Presents; and shall make you a Present of the Remainder, together with the literary Property of the whole, provided you have no Scruple, in your present Situation, of being the Editor: It is not necessary you shoud prefix your Name to the Title Page. I seriously declare, that after Mr. Millar and You and Mr. Cadell have publickly avowed your Publication of the Enquiry concerning human Understanding12, I know no Reason why you shoud have the least Scruple with regard to these Dialogues. They will be much less obnoxious to the Law13, and not more exposed to popular Clamour. Whatever your Resolution be, I beg you wou’d keep an entire Silence on this Subject. If I leave them to you by Will, your executing the Desire of a dead Friend, will render the publication still more excusable14. Mallet never sufferd any thing by being the Editor of Boling-broke's Works15.Edition: current; Page: 
Two posts ago, I sent you a Copy of the small Essay which I mentioned16.
I leave not this Place so soon as I had intended; and shall remain long enough to hear from you. I am sensibly obliged1 to you for undertaking to execute my Will with regard to my Manuscripts; and I have this same day made a Codicil by which I make you entirely Master of them2. It is an idle thing in us to be concerned about any thing that shall happen after our Death; yet this is natural to all Men, and I often regretted that a Piece, for which I had a particular Partiality, should run any hazard of being suppressed after my Decease3.
The Cause of my Distemper is now fully discovered: It is a Tumour in my Liver, which Mr. John Hunter first felt, and which I myself can now feel: It seems to be about the Bigness of an Egg, and is flat and round. Dr. Gusthart, who had conjectured some such Cause, flatters me, that he now entertains better hopes than ever, of my Recovery; but I infer, that a Disorder, of so long standing, in a vital Part, will not easily be removed in a Person of my Years: It may linger some Years, which would not be very desirable. The Physicians recommend Motion and Exercise and even long Journies4: I think, therefore, of setting out for Edinburgh some time next week; and will probably see you in London before the End of the good Season. I am with great Sincerity Dear Sir
I arriv’d here about three weeks ago in a very shattered Condition: The Motion of the Chaise, especially during the last days, made me suffer very much; and my Physicians are now of Opinion (which was always my Sentiment) that all Exercise is hurtful to me. I am however in very good Spirits during the Intervals of my Colics; and employ myself in my usual Occupations. As a proof of it, I send you three Leaves of the sixth Volume of my History, which you will please to substitute, instead of the three correspondent Leaves as they stand at present. They contain some Corrections, or rather Omissions, which I think Improvements1. You will wonder, that, in my present Situation I employ myself about such Trifles, and you may compare me to the modern Greeks, who, while Constantinople was besieged by the Turks and they themselves were threatened with total Destruction, occupyed themselves entirely in Disputes concerning the Procession of the holy Ghost2. Such is the Effect of long Habit! I am Dear Sir
I must give you the trouble of making a new Correction, which however will be easily done. It is in the second Volume of my philosophical Pieces: That whole Passage from Page 231 till Page 239 line 3 must be thrown into an Appendix under the Title Of Self-love1: It must be the second Appendix; consequently the second Appendix becomes the third, and the third Appendix, the fourth. In like manner, what is called in Page 239, Part 2 must be Part I2, as also that in Page 241 must be Part 2. Let the Printer observe this Alteration with regard to the Appendixes in the Table of the Contents.
I feel myself a good deal better since I am settled here, Edition: current; Page:  and never stir abroad except in a Chair. My Physicians say everywhere that they have cured me, which is very agreeable Intelligence, though somewhat new to me.
I am glad to hear, that you and Dr. Robertson are fully agreed3: It gives me pleasure on his account, and I hope, in the Issue, upon yours. I am dear Sir
P.S.—The Title of the Section in Page 231 remains the same as before, viz. Of Benevolence.
Please to make with your Pen the following Correction. In the second Volume of my philosophical Pieces, p. 245, l. 1, and 2, eraze these words, that there is such a sentiment in human nature as benevolence1.
This, Dear Sir, is the last Correction I shall probably trouble you with: For Dr. Black has promised me, that all shall be over with me in a very little time2: This Promise he makes by his power of Prediction, not that of Prescription. And indeed I consider it as good News: For of late, within these few weeks, my Infirmities have so multiplyed, that Life has become rather a Burthen to me3. Adieu, then, my good and old Friend.
P.S.—My Brother will inform you of my Destination with regard to my Manuscripts.
In the same Page, 1. 4, instead of possession of it read sentiment of benevolence4Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page: 
My brother died on the 25th of August (as you would probably see by the newspapers1) and in a codicill to his latter will and testament of the 7th of August, has the following clauses. ‘In my latter will and disposition I made some destinations with regard to my manuscripts. All these I now retract; and leave my manuscripts to the care of Mr. William Strahan of London, member of Parliament: trusting to the friendship that has long subsisted betwixt us, for his careful and faithful execution of my intentions. I desire that my Dialogues concerning natural religion may be printed and published any time within two years after my death; to which he may add, if he thinks proper, the two essays formerly printed but not published. My account of my own life, I desire may be prefixed to the first edition of my works, printed after my Death, which will probably be the one at present in the press. I desire that my brother may supress all my other manuscripts.’ On the bottom of the same codicill is the following clause: ‘I also ordain that if my dialogues from whatever cause, be not published within two years and a half of my death, as also the account of my life, the property shall return to my Nephew, David, whose duty in publishing them as the last request of his uncle, must be approved of by all the World. Day and date as above.—David Hume.’
In consequence of which, and in execution of his intentions, Edition: current; Page:  that shall be always sacred to me, I have packed up in a round white iron box, a manuscript copy of the Dialogues, and of his life within it, directed for you, as also the two essays, with the same direction, and one in my brother's hand below the first cover2, both of which will go with the fly3. from this to-morrow morning; and which you will please take the trouble to cause enquire for: and beg you will take the further trouble of leting me know, of their haveing comed safe to hand, by directing for me att Ninewells by Berwick, where I shall be for two months; and when you have taken your resolution for the publication (as I hope you soon will and as it was the last request of your friend in so earnest a manner) shall be glad to know of it; and when the new edition of his whole works now in the press is published, my brother expected six copys, would be sent me, as presents to some of his most intimate friends. Mr Adam Smith with my brothers approbation, is to write a small addition to his life4, narrating the time and manner of his death, and as he is to be at London begining of winter, will give it you: and is to advise with you, whether that addition is to be made or not.
As the manuscripts were very tight when put in the box, they cannot be taken out the same way, without injureing them: therefore there will be a necessity of knocking of the bottom and pushing them forwards.
By a codicil to the will of our late most valuable friend Mr. Hume the care of his manuscripts is left to you. Both from his will and from his conversation I understand that there are only two which he meant should be published, an account of his own life, and Dialogues concerning natural religion. The Edition: current; Page:  latter, tho’ finely written, I could have wished had remained in manuscript to be communicated only to a few people. When you read the work you will see my reasons without my giving you the trouble of reading them in a Letter. But he has ordered it otherwise. In case of their not being published within three years after his decease he has left the property of them to his nephew. Upon my objecting to this clause as unnecessary and improper, he wrote [to] me by his Nephew's hand in the following terms. There is no man in whom I have a greater confidence than Mr. Strahan; yet have I left the property of that manuscript to my nephew David in case by any accident they [it] should not be published within three years after my decease. The only accident I could foresee was one to Mr. Strahan's life; and without this clause my nephew would [could] have had no right to publish it. Be so good as to inform Mr. Strahan of this circumstance.’ Thus far his letter which was dated on the 23d of August. He dyed on the 25 at 4 o‘clock afternoon. I once had persuaded him to leave it entirely to my discretion either to publish them at what time I thought proper, or not to publish them at all. Had he continued of this mind the manuscript should have been most carefully preserved and upon my decease restored to his family: but it never should have been published in my lifetime. When you have read it you will perhaps think it not unreasonable to consult some prudent friend about what you ought to do.
I propose to add to his Life a very well authenticated account of his behaviour during his last illness. I must however beg that his Life and those Dialogues may not be published together, as you resolved for many reasons to have no concern in the publication of the [those] Dialogues. His Life I think ought to be prefixed to the next edition of his former works, upon which he has made many very proper corrections chiefly in what concerns the Language. If this Edition is published while I am [you are] at London, I shall revise the sheets, and authenticate its being according to his last corrections. I promised him that I would do so.
If my mother's health will permit me to leave her, I shall be in London by the beginning of November. I shall write to Mr. Home to take my lodgings, as soon as I return to Fife, which will be on Monday or Tuesday next. The Duke Edition: current; Page:  of Buccleugh1 leaves this on Sunday. Direct for me at Kirkaldy, Fifeshire, where I shall remain all the rest of the season.
Let me hear from you soon2.
I received yours of the 13th inclosing the Addition to Mr. Hume's Life; which I like exceedingly1. But as the whole put together is very short, and will not make a Volume, even of the smallest size, I have been advised by some very good judges to annex some of his Letters to me on political subjects. —What think you of this?—I will do nothing without your advice and approbation; nor would I, for the world, publish any letter of his, but such as, in your opinion, would do him honour. —Mr. Gibbon thinks such as I have shown him would have that tendency.—Now, if you approve of this, in any manner, you may perhaps add greatly to the collection from your own cabinets, and those of Mr. John Home, Dr. Robertson, and others of your mutual friends2, which you may pick up before your return hither.—But if you wholly disapprove of this scheme, say nothing of it, here let it drop, for without your concurrence, I will not publish a single word of his. M. S. R. S. E.
It always gives me great uneasiness whenever I am obliged to give an opinion contrary to the inclination of my friend. I am sensible that many of Mr Humes letters would do him great honour and that you would publish none but such as would. But what in this case ought principally to be considered is the will of the Dead. Mr Humes constant injunction was to burn all his Papers, except the Dialogues and the account of his own life1. This injunction was even inserted in the body of his will2. I know he always disliked the thought of his letters ever being published. He had been in long and intimate correspondence with a relation of his own who dyed a few years ago. When that Gentlemans health began to decline he was extremely anxious to get back his letters, least the heir should think of publishing them. They were accordingly returned and burnt as soon as returned. If a collection of Mr. Humes letters, besides, was to receive the public approbation, as yours certainly would, the Curls3 of the times would immediately set about rummaging the cabinets of all those who had ever received a scrap of paper from him. Many things would be published not fit to see the light to the great mortification of all those who wish well to his memory4. Nothing has contributed so much to sink the value of Swifts works as the undistinguished publication of his letters5; and be assured that your publication, however select, would soon be followed by an undistinguished one. I should, therefore, be sorry to see any beginning given to the publication of his letters. His life will not make a volume; but it will make a small pamphlet. I shall certainly be in London by the tenth of January at furthest. I have a little business at Edinburgh which may detain me a few days about Christmass, otherwise I should be with you by the Edition: current; Page:  new year. I have a great deal more to say to you; but the post is just going. I shall write to Mr. Cadell by next post.
You certainly judge right in publishing the new Edition of Mr. Hume's works before you publish the dialogues. They might prevent the sale of this Edition; and it is not impossible that they may hereafter [affect] occasion the sale of another. I am still uneasy about the clamour which I foresee they will excite, and could1.... I am much obliged to you for so readily agreeing to print the Life together with my addition separate from the Dialogues. I even flatter myself that this arrangement will contribute not only to my quiet, but to your interest. The clamour against the Dialogues, if published first, might for some time hurt the sale of the new edition of his works; and when the clamour has a little subsided the dialogues may hereafter occasion a quicker sale of another edition.
M. S. R. S. E.
Presuming upon my connection with a Gentleman whose memory must undoubtedly be very dear to you, as to everyone who had the Happiness of his intimate Acquaintance, I take the liberty of addressing you. You already perceive, that I speak of the late Mr. David Hume; to whom I had the singular Felicity and Advantage of being Nephew.
I have never been able to learn, so fully and distinctly as I desire, your intention with regard to the Publication of those Manuscripts and Essays which he left behind him, and committed to your care. On this head, I am naturally very much interested: I hope, therefore, that you will excuse me, if I request it of you as the friend of my Uncle, that you would communicate to me all the information with regard to the extent, the time and manner of Publication, which consistently with your own convenience you can. A few Lines, in compliance with this Request, will be regarded as a great favour, and afford me the utmost Satisfaction1.
Directn at Professor Millar's3, College—Glasgow.Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page:  Edition: current; Page: 
It is a considerable time since Mr. Adam Smith left this, for London, and carryed along with him, the adition he proposed to make, to my brothers account of himself1, all by his own destination, to be prefixed to the edition of his works in the press, which if it be in the forwardness you intended, may perhaps be now finished, and since you was so obliging, as beside the 6 copys destined to be given to his particular friends by himself you wrote me that I might have as many more, as I choiced, you will please send 3 copys more, along with the 6, by the wagon, directed for me at St Andrews square; one of these copys, was desired by the author verbally, to be given to one Edition: current; Page:  he had personal obligations to, a little before his death, the other 2 copys, is at the request of my son and my brothers nameson, to be given to two persons he is under particular tyes to.
The request I am further to make, I am not so well entitled to, which is, that when you do me [the] favour of writeing me, with the above packet you will please let me know your intentions with regard to the printing of the Dialogues concerning natural religion, and if you have comed to a determination, when it may be executed: as you make no difficulty, that they shall be in proper time; the anxiety my brother showed by all his settlements, that it should be published; I hope you will admit of as some apology for intermedleing, with what is left altogether at your disposal from the confidence that was placed in you.
You was desirous to know, if my brother had got your letter immediately before his decease. I can inform you that he did, and it is now in my possession; but tho he possesed his facultys, and understanding and cool head, to the last, he was scarce in condition to answer it, nor the quesion you put to him: but so far as I can judge, his sentiments with regard to futurity were the same, as when he was in perfect health and was never more at ease in his mind, at any one period of his life; and happyly his bodyly uneasyness was not very distressing; and if you will allow me to add from myself, a regard to the estimation of others after we are gone, is implanted in our frame as a great motive for good conduct and I hope will always have an effect on that of
I wrote you about 10 days ago, and tho I have had no return, I expect it has comed safe to hand, and that you will take the trouble of writing me at your leisure.
Since which I have been informed, that your intention was, to make a seperate publication of my brothers life, with Mr. Smiths addition, which I could scarce have given faith to; if Mr. Smith had not told me, that you proposed it to him, and to add some of his letters, in order to make a volume, and to which he expressly refused to consent, and I hope the report is only founded on that, as it is a project so expressly against the clause in the codicil of his will with regard to it, which I sent you transcribed and is in these words. ‘My account of my own life I desire may be prefixed to the first Edition of my works, printed after my death, which will probably be the one at present in the press. I desire that my brother may suppress all my other manuscripts.’ This last clause impowers me, as far as I can, to prevent the publication of anything more from him, particularly his private letters, which is at all times unfit to be published: and tho he had made no destination, in which way his life was to be published, it was unfit it should be in a seperate pamphlet, as it would look more like the work of any other person than himself, to prevent which it seemed principally to [be] wrote, and if prefixed to his works, would appear to be genuine.
As my brother always entertained the most favourable oppinion of you, and showed it by the confidence he placed in you by his last deeds, I am confident nothing will be done by you, to make him have a different oppinion if he were alive; and that it is so, it will be a favour done, to asure Sir
I was favoured with yours of the 3d instant, to which you should have had a return sooner, if I had not thought it necessary to write my son at Glasgow, and to wait his return, as he was very materially concerned in the purport of yours; and tho a young man, only just past 20, is able to come to a sound and rational determination, which tho not yet absolutely fixed upon, seems to be contrary to my oppinion, which contrariety is perhaps partly owing to the difference betwixt old age and young and to different tempers.
My oppinion was that he should delay the publication of the dialogues on Natural Religion till the end of the two years, after this that he had a title by his uncles settlement upon your not publication of them1; otherways it carried the appearance of being too forward, and of more than he was called upon in duty; Edition: current; Page:  and if a clamour rose against it, he would have a difficult task to support himself, almost in the commencement of his manhood. What weighs with him is, that his publishing as early as he had the power, would look more like obedience, than a voluntary deed, and of judgement; and as such exculpate him in the eyes of the world; as well as that the publick being in expectation of the publication would receive it much better than some time after, when it might be almost forgotten. As it is a question of great importance, and the young man will not be here from Glasgow, till near two months after this, he will advise with his uncles2, and his own friends, and will then inform you, whether he accepts of your offer of the immediate surrender of your title; and in which case may possibly desire from you a more formal resignation, if such is requisite, after what you have wrote me3.
We will be both obliged to you, of takeing the charge of keeping the copy sent you, as well as of the printed Essays, tho I am possesed of the original of the first, which it seems has not been correctly copyed being taken in a hurry, and among the last things done by my brothers orders, and somewhat under his eye4.
I received from Mr. Balfour5 the 20 copys of the life you ordered, long before your letter, and am much obliged to you for your attention as to that point, but cannot but be still of oppinion, that its being desired by my brother, to be prefixed, excluded every other prior mode of publication, and left no other, in the power of any other person, whatever reasons might weigh with them. but since Mr. Smith saw it in a different light, I submit, and am more difident as to my own oppinion6.
As I never saw the printed Essays, being sealed up and directed by himself for you and consequently cannot judge of their merit, but as they were totaly left to your disposal and judgement, and no earnestness being shown that they should see the light, I am satisfied they be suppressed, since it is your oppinion, and am obliged to you, for asking my concurrence, as a favour no way entitled to by Sir
The writer of the two following curious letters was James Hutton, the Secretary to the Society of Moravians. He was the son of a Dr. Hutton, a clergyman of the Church of England who resigned his Church preferment on account of a scruple about taking the oaths. ‘James was bred a bookseller, and opened a shop by Temple Bar, whence he went to Moravia, to fetch himself a wife of that nation and religion; but this is not the age for booksellers to make fortunes by the sale of Bibles, Prayer Books, &c.; and as Mr. Hutton would do Edition: current; Page:  little else, that business would not do; and he betook himself to one which it seems did, that of a Moravian Leader.’ Thicknesse's Memoirs, i. 26, quoted in Nichols's Lit. Anec. viii. 447. ‘He was,’ says Nichols, Ib. iii. 436, ‘highly esteemed by the two first characters for rank and virtue in the British nation.’ ‘The two first characters,’ of course, were George III. and Queen Charlotte. Nichols quotes a letter by George Steevens, which appeared in the St. James's Chronicle on Dec. 17, 1776, dated ‘Q—'s Palace,’ and signed ‘Current Report.’ It says:—‘Politicians from this place inform us that a new Favourite has lately engrossed the K—'s attention.... It is no less a person than the old deaf Moravian, James Hutton, who was formerly a bookseller, and lived near Temple Bar, famous for his refusing to sell Tom Brown's Works and Clarke On the Trinity.... I am sure that a conversation between the King and Hutton must be exceedingly entertaining. Hutton is so deaf that a speaking trumpet will scarce make him hear; and the King talks so fast that an ordinary converser cannot possibly keep pace with him. Hutton's asthma makes him subject to frequent pauses and interruptions.’
According to Mme. D’Arblay, ‘Hutton considered all mankind as his brethren, and himself therefore as every one's equal; alike in his readiness to serve them, and in the frankness with which he demanded their services in return. His desire to make acquaintance with everybody to whom any species of celebrity was attached was insatiable, and was dauntless. He approached them without fear, and accosted them without introduction. But the genuine kindness of his smile made way for him wherever there was heart and observation.... So coarse was his large, brown, slouching surtout; so rough and blowsy was the old mop-like wig that wrapt up his head, that but for the perfectly serene mildness of his features, and the venerability of his hoary eye-brows, he might at all times have passed for some constable or watchman, who had mistaken the day for the night, and was prowling into the mansions of gentlemen instead of public-houses, to take a survey that all was in order.’ His sect, she adds, was looked upon ‘as dark and mystic.’ One day, on visiting her father's house, he said he had just come from the King, to whom he had spoken with praise of Dr. Burney [Mme. D‘Arblay's father] and of Dr. Burney's Tours. “Openly and plainly, as one honest man should talk to another, I said it outright to my Sovereign Lord the King—who is as honest a man himself as any in his own three kingdoms. God bless him!” Mrs. Burney said that the Doctor was very happy to have had a friend to speak of him so favourably before the King. “Madam,” cried the good man with warmth, “I will speak of him before my God! And that is doing much more.”’ Memoirs of Dr. Burney, i. 251, 291.
Hannah More says that ‘at the royal breakfast-table, to which he Edition: current; Page:  had the honour of being occasionally admitted, the King said to him one morning, “Hutton, is it true that you Moravians marry without any previous knowledge of each other?” “Yes, may it please your Majesty,” returned Hutton. “Our marriages are quite royal.”’ Memoirs of H. More, i. 318. According to Boswell, ‘there was much agreeable intercourse’ between Hutton and Johnson. Boswell's Johnson, iv. 410. ‘One of Hutton's female missionaries for North America replied to Dr. Johnson, who asked her if she was not fearful of her health in those cold countries, “Why, Sir, I am devoted to the service of my Saviour; and whether that may be best and most usefully carried on here, or on the coast of Labrador, ‘tis Mr. Hutton's business to settle. I will do my part either in a brick-house or a snow-house, with equal alacrity, for you know ‘tis the same thing with regard to my own soul.”’ Piozzi's British Synonomy, ii. 120.
It was Hutton who arranged the meeting in 1740 between John Wesley and Count Zinzendorf, the head of the Moravians, when an attempt was made at a reconciliation between the Methodists and the Moravians. The two great leaders met in Gray's Inn Walks, and conversed in Latin, but conversed in vain. Hutton was one of those men, says Southey, ‘who made Wesley perceive that all errors of opinion were not necessarily injurious to the individual by whom they were entertained; but that men who went by different ways might meet in heaven.’ Life of Wesley, ed. 1846, i. 299, 304. Southey gives some extracts from a Moravian Hymn-Book printed for James Hutton in 1746. ‘The most characteristic parts are,’ he says, ‘too shocking to be inserted.’ The following lines he gives ‘as a specimen of their silliness that may be read without offence:’—
In his old age Hutton had the happiness, wrote Miss Burney, ‘to fall into the hands of two ladies of fortune and fashion, who live very much at their ease together, and who call him father, and treat him with the tenderness of children. How singularly he merits this singular happy fortune! so good, so active, so noble as he is in all exertions for the benefit of others, and so utterly inattentive to his own interest.’ Mme. D‘Arblay's Diary, v. 267.
I was last night at the Q’ house1 in company with the Two2. I mentioned to Him that I had seen a strange Lr3 of David's expressing strange wishes and Hopes, it was that Lr of 1769 where there was a string of cruel wishes4. in another there was mention made of his wishes to have all the American Charters destroyd etc.5
I told Him that I hoped I should once be able to shew him even the Originals. If I went too far—you need take no notice. If you will, I can shew them to Him.
You could oblige me if you would send by your Servant this Evening or to morrow morning a Cover6 thus frank’d
to Mr Wollin's House No 45 Fetter Lane, who wants to send a Packet thither. No 45 is the second House from New Street.
I think to go tomorrow morning to Kew7 if fair. but I can shew those Lrs of David H. if you choose it, next Wednesday.
Here are the Original Letters of David Hume to Mr Strahan, mark’d A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H.
a sensible Lr (copy) of Strahan to Hume. I.
Lr from Hume's Brother. K.
a character of the Princess Dowager by Strahan. L.
Hutton perhaps will recieve them again next Wednesday or Thursday.
I. and L. need not be return’d1.
the above Lines I sent with the inclosed Papers to Kew. they were read on Monday Evening2 and were return’d to me yesterday. I know not as yet what was thought3, but L is left behind. the Fog hinders me from bringing them this morning. I learnt that both of the Personages had read them. the K. was out and the Q. I believe writing to her Brothers4, or I should Edition: current; Page:  have seen and spoken with one or other of them—I had only five words with Him, but as others were present, He could not enter into the Matter. I am glad they have read and kept L. you see by the above they know who wrote it.
They belonged to Mr. F. Barker, of 43, Rowan Road, Brook Green, a dealer in autographs, to whom I have expressed my acknowledgments in my edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, for the permission which he gave me to print some of Johnson's letters that were in his possession. I may add that he has lent me also a large and curious collection of letters written to William and Andrew Strahan, by men of letters and publishers, chiefly Scottish. Of these I have made some use in my notes to the present work. It would be a great pity if the dispersion which threatens them were not averted.
My extracts from these papers are marked M. S. R. S. E.
Post, p. 266.
History of England, ed. 1802, ii. 101.
Post, pp. 76–84.
Post, pp. 86–92.
Post, pp. 114, 151, 247, 248, 255.
Post, pp. 50–58.
Post, pp. 49, 58–63.
Post, pp. 113, 134, 185, 289.
Post, p. 195, n. 29.
Post, pp. 114, 161, 173, 185, 201, 217.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and The Wealth of Nations were not published till the last year of Hume's life (post, p. 314).
Post, pp. 174, 288, 308.
Post, p. 367.
Post, p. 289.
Post, p. 324.
Post, pp. 230, 233, 330–2, 346.
Post, p. 200.
Post, p. 342.
Post, p. 27.
Post, p. 351.
Post, p. 189.
Post, p. 163.
Hume showed his family pride by selecting the Earl of Home as one of the two witnesses to his will. For the spelling of the name see post, p. 9, n. 10.
The estate, which lay very near Berwick, bore the name of Ninewells. ‘It is so named from a cluster of springs of that number. They burst forth from a gentle declivity in front of the mansion, which has on each side a semicircular rising bank, covered with fine timber, and fall, after a short time, into the bed of the river Whitewater, which forms a boundary in the front.’ Burton's Life of Hume, i. 8.
Dr. Alexander Carlyle records the following anecdote, which he had from one of ‘Hume's most intimate friends, the Honourable Patrick Boyle.’ ‘When David and he were both in London, at the period when David's mother died, Mr. Boyle found him in the deepest affliction, and in a flood of tears. He said to him, “My friend, you owe this uncommon grief to your having thrown off the principles of religion; for if you had not, you would have been consoled by the firm belief that the good lady, who was not only the best of mothers, but the most pious of Christians, was now completely happy in the realms of the just.” To which David replied, “Though I threw out my speculations to entertain and employ the learned and metaphysical world, yet in other things I do not think so differently from the rest of mankind as you may imagine.”’ Dr. A. Carlyle's Autobiography, p. 273. With this anecdote we may contrast the following: Lord Charlemont ‘hinted’ to Hume, shortly after his return to England in 1766, ‘that he was convinced he must be perfectly happy in his new friend Rousseau, as their sentiments were, he believed, nearly similar. “Why no, man,” said he; “in that you are mistaken; Rousseau is not what you think him; he has a hankering after the Bible, and indeed is little better than a Christian in a way of his own.”’ Memoirs of the Earl of Charlemont, ed. 1812, i. 230.
The ‘ruling passion’ comes from Pope's Moral Essays, i. 174:—
Johnson speaks of this as Pope's ‘favourite theory,’ and adds:—‘Of any passion, thus innate and irresistible, the existence may reasonably be doubted.’ Johnson's Works, ed. 1825, viii. 293.
Paul Voet, born 1619, died 1677, a Dutch jurisconsult, published among other works Commentarius in Institutiones imperiales. His son John, born 1647, died 1714, published Commentarius ad Pandectas. Nouv. Biog. Gén. xlvi. 335.
Arnold Vinnen, born 1588, died 1657. Francis Horner, in the plan which he laid down for the study of the Scotch law in 1797, says:—‘I must study both Heineccius and Vinnius.’ Life of Horner, ed. 1843, i. 52.
Hume, in a statement of his health which he drew up for a physician in the year 1734, says:—‘Every one who is acquainted either with the philosophers or critics knows that there is nothing yet established in either of these two sciences, and that they contain little more than endless disputes, even in the most fundamental articles. Upon examination of these, I found a certain boldness of temper growing in me, which was not inclined to submit to any authority in these subjects, but led me to seek out some new medium by which truth might be established. After much study and reflection on this, at last, when I was about eighteen years of age, there seemed to be opened up to me a new scene of thought, which transported me beyond measure, and made me, with an ardour natural to young men, throw up every other pleasure or business to apply entirely to it. The law, which was the business I designed to follow, appeared nauseous to me, and I could think of no other way of pushing my fortune in the world, but that of a scholar and philosopher.’ Burton's Hume, i. 31.
In this same statement, after describing a weakness of spirits into which he had fallen, which hindered him from ‘following out any train of thought by one continued stretch of view,’ he continues:—‘I found that as there are two things very bad for this distemper, study and idleness, so there are two things very good, business and diversion; and that my whole time was spent betwixt the bad, with little or no share of the good. For this reason I resolved to seek out a more active life, and though I could not quit my pretensions in learning but with my last breath, to lay them aside for some time in order the more effectually to resume them.’ Ib. p. 37. It is a curious coincidence that Hume and Johnson were first attacked by melancholy at the same time. ‘About the beginning of September, 1729,’ says Hume, ‘all my ardour seemed to be in a moment extinguished.’ Ib. p. 31. ‘While Johnson was at Lichfield,’ writes Boswell, ‘in the college vacation of the year 1729, he felt himself overwhelmed with an horrible hypochondria.’ Boswell's Life of Johnson, Clarendon Press edition, i. 63. We may compare with both these cases the melancholy into which John Stuart Mill sank at about the same age, in the autumn of 1826. Mill's Autobiography, ed. 1873, p. 133.
In the Memoirs of Hannah More, i. 16, it is stated that ‘she was much indebted for her critical knowledge to a linen-draper of Bristol, of the name of Peach. He had been the friend of Hume, who had shown his confidence in his judgment by entrusting to him the correction of his History, in which he used to say he had discovered more than two hundred Scotticisms.’ He told her that ‘Hume was dismissed from the merchant's counting-house on account of the promptitude of his pen in correction of the letters entrusted to him to copy.’ The narrative is not free from error, as it is stated in it that Hume resided two years in Bristol.
The publisher, John Noone, gave Hume £50, and twelve bound copies of the book for right to publish an edition of the first two volumes, of one thousand copies. Dr. Burton, after praising Noone's ‘discernment and liberality,’ continues:—‘It may be questioned whether in this age, when knowledge has spread so much wider, and money is so much less valuable, it would be easy to find a bookseller, who, on the ground of its internal merits, would give £50 for an edition of a new metaphysical work, by an unknown and young author.’ Burton's Hume, i. 66. The book had become so scarce by the time of Hume's death, that the reviewer of his Life in the Annual Register for 1776, ii. 28, thinks it needful, he says, to give some account of it.
Pope, Epil. Sat. ii. 226.
Hume not only published these Essays anonymously, but feigned that they were the work of a new author. Burton's Hume, i. 136. On June 13, 1742, he wrote to Henry Home (afterwards Lord Kames):—‘The Essays are all sold in London, as I am informed by two letters from English gentlemen of my acquaintance. There is a demand for them; and, as one of them tells me, Innys, the great bookseller in Paul's Churchyard, wonders there is not a new edition, for that he cannot find copies for his customers. I am also told that Dr. Butler [the author of the Analogy] has everywhere recommended them.’ Ib. p. 143. The first volume was published in 1741. They are mentioned in the list of books for March, 1742, in the Gent. Mag., but are not reviewed. The Treatise of Human Nature was not even mentioned.
Hume, in a letter dated Feb. 19, 1751, speaks of ‘having read over almost all the classics both Greek and Latin.’ Burton's Hume, i. 326. See post, p. 322, n. 2, for an instance of his inaccuracy as a Greek scholar.
‘On March 5, 1748, the Marquis was found, on an inquest from the Court of Chancery in England, to be a lunatic, incapable of governing himself, and managing his own affairs, and to have been so since Dec 12, 1744.’ Burton's Hume, i. 171. ‘He appears to have been haunted by a spirit of literary ambition.’ He wrote a novel ‘of which,’ says Hume, ‘we were obliged to print off thirty copies, to make him believe that we had printed a thousand, and that they were to be dispersed all over the Kingdom.’ Ib. p. 173. Hume was treated with great insolence by a Captain Vincent, a cousin of the Marchioness-Dowager, whom he suspected of evil designs about the property. He was suddenly dismissed, and he was robbed of a quarter's salary of £75, which was clearly due to him. So late as the year 1761 he was still urging his claim, by which time the accumulated savings of the Annandale property amounted to £400,000. Whether he was paid or not is not known. Ib. p. 205. Dr. Thomas Murray, who in 1841 edited Letters of David Hume, says (p. 80) ‘that his claim was only resisted because the agents for the estates did not regard themselves safe in making any payments, unless the debt was established by legal evidence.’
So early as July 7, 1742, Horace Walpole had written:—‘Lord Annandale is at last mad in all the forms; he has long been an out-pensioner of Bedlam College.’ Letters, i. 185.
The incursion on the coast of France in 1746 was devised in the vain hope of saving the Ministry from disgrace, who had delayed the departure of the expedition against Canada till it was too late in the year. An attempt was first made against Port L’Orient; that disgracefully failing, a second was made against the peninsula of Quiberon. A ship of war was destroyed, a small fort was dismantled, and two little islands were held by our sailors for at least a fortnight. Lord Charlemont was told by General St. Clair (Sinclair), that he had earnestly requested from the War Office a set of accurate maps, as he was wholly unacquainted with the country which he was to invade. When he unpacked them, ‘they proved to be sea-charts!’ Memoirs of Charlemont, i. 16. Hume wrote to his brother:—‘The general and admiral were totally unacquainted with every part of the coast, without pilots, guides, or intelligence of any kind.’ Burton's Hume, i. 213.
Lord Charlemont, who met Hume at Turin, thus describes him:—‘Nature, I believe, never formed any man more unlike his real character than David Hume…. His face was broad and fat, his mouth wide, and without any other expression than that of imbecility. His eyes vacant and spiritless, and the corpulence of his whole person was far better fitted to communicate the idea of a turtle-eating alderman than of a refined philosopher. His speech in English was rendered ridiculous by the broadest Scotch accent, and his French was, if possible, still more laughable…. His wearing an uniform added greatly to his natural awkwardness, for he wore it like a grocer of the trained bands. Sinclair was sent to the Courts of Vienna and Turin as a military envoy, to see that their quota of troops was furnished by the Austrians and Piedmontese. It was therefore thought necessary that his Secretary should appear to be an officer, and Hume was accordingly disguised in scarlet.’ Memoirs of Charlemont, i. 15. Horace Walpole, writing of Sinclair's appointment, says:—‘He is Scotchissime, in all the latitude of the word, and not very able.’ Letters, ii. 100.
See post, p. 302, n. 21.
This work, which was published anonymously, and at first under the title of Philosophical Essays on Human Understanding, is included in the list of books for April in the Gent. Mag. for 1748. It is not reviewed. Hume's publishers put a very moderate price on his philosophical works. This book was sold for three shillings, and his Essays Moral and Political for half-a-crown. Ib. 1742, p. 168.
A Free Enquiry into the miraculous powers which are supposed to have subsisted in the Christian Church from the earliest ages through several successive centuries. Gent. Mag., December, 1748. Gibbon, describing how, in the year 1753, in his undergraduate days at Oxford, ‘he bewildered himself in the errors of the Church of Rome,’ says:—‘It was not long since Dr. Middleton's Free Enquiry had sounded an alarm in the theological world: much ink and much gall had been spilt in the defence of the primitive miracles; and the two dullest of their champions were crowned with academic honours by the University of Oxford. The name of Middleton was unpopular; and his proscription very naturally led me to peruse his writings, and those of his antagonists. His bold criticism, which approaches the precipice of infidelity, produced on my mind a singular effect; and had I persevered in the communion of Rome, I should now apply to my own fortune the prediction of the Sybil,
The elegance of style and freedom of argument were repelled by a shield of prejudice. I still revered the character, or rather the names of the saints and fathers whom Dr. Middleton exposes; nor could he destroy my implicit belief, that the gift of miraculous powers was continued in the Church during the first four or five centuries of Christianity. But I was unable to resist the weight of historical evidence, that within the same period most of the leading doctrines of Popery were already introduced in theory and practice: nor was my conclusion absurd, that miracles are the test of truth, and that the Church must be orthodox and pure, which was so often approved by the visible interposition of the Deity.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, ed. 1814, i. 60. In his Vindication Gibbon says:—‘A theological barometer might be formed, of which Cardinal Baronius and our countryman, Dr. Middleton, should constitute the opposite and remote extremities, as the former sunk to the lowest degree of credulity which was compatible with learning, and the latter rose to the highest pitch of scepticism in anywise consistent with religion.’ Ib. iv. 588.
Æneid, vi. 96.
It was the third edition. With three editions in seven years Hume might have been contented.
In the first edition, source.
‘Mr. Andrew Millar, bookseller in the Strand, took the principal charge of conducting the publication of Johnson's Dictionary…. When the messenger who carried the last sheet to Millar returned, Johnson asked him, “Well, what did he say?” “Sir (answered the messenger) he said, thank God, I have done with him.” “I am glad (replied Johnson with a smile) that he thanks God for any thing.” … Johnson said of him, “I respect Millar, Sir; he has raised the price of literature.”’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 287. ‘Talking one day of the patronage the great sometimes affect to give to literature and literary men, “Andrew Millar,” says Johnson, “is the Mæcenas of the age.”’ Johnson's Works (1787), xi. 200. Mr. Croker says that Millar was the bookseller described by Johnson on April 24, 1779, as ‘so habitually and equably drunk that his most intimate friends never perceived that he was more sober at one time than another.’ Croker's Boswell, 8vo. ed. p. 630. Drunkenness such as this seems inconsistent with ‘the consummate industry’ which Nichols praised in him. Nichols adds:—‘He was not extravagant; but contented himself with an occasional regale of humble port at an opposite tavern; so that his wealth accumulated rapidly.’ Nichols, Lit. Anec. iii. 387. By his italicising ‘not extravagant,’ he implies no doubt that he was somewhat near. In a note on Millar in my edition of Boswell, i. 287, I have made an absurd blunder in quoting, as if serious, a letter written by Hume in a spirit of wild extravagance.
See post, p. 149, n. 10, for the marriage of Millar's widow.
One of the answers was by Johnson's friend, Dr. William Adams. When Johnson and Boswell called on him in March 1776, at Pembroke College, of which he was then Master, ‘he told me,’ says Boswell, ‘he had once dined in company with Hume in London; that Hume shook hands with him, and said, “You have treated me much better than I deserve”; and that they exchanged visits. I took the liberty to object to treating an infidel writer with smooth civility…. Johnson coincided with me, and said, “When a man voluntarily engages in an important controversy, he is to do all he can to lessen his antagonist, because authority from personal respect has much weight with most people, and often more than reasoning. If my antagonist writes bad language, though that may not be essential to the question, I will attack him for his bad language.” Adams. “You would not jostle a chimney-sweeper.” Johnson. “Yes, Sir, if it were necessary to jostle him down.”’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 441.
Hume forgets his reply to Rousseau (post, p. 84), and his note in his History on ‘a person that has written an Enquiry historical and critical into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots; and has attempted to refute the foregoing narrative. It is in this note that he makes his famous assertion:—‘There are, indeed, three events in our history which may be regarded as touchstones of party-men. An English Whig, who asserts the reality of the Popish Plot, an Irish Catholic, who denies the massacre in 1641, and a Scotch Jacobite, who maintains the innocence of Queen Mary, must be considered as men beyond the reach of argument or reason, and must be left to their prejudices.’ History of England, ed. 1802, v. 504. The ‘person’ was the Scotch Jacobite, Patrick Lord Elibank, to whom Hume wrote a very bitter letter. Burton's Hume, ii. 252.
‘I have the strangest reluctance to change places,’ wrote Hume from London on Jan. 25, 1759. Burton's Hume, ii. 50. This reluctance he expresses on other occasions. He might have remained at Ninewells had not his brother ‘plucked up a resolution’ and got married. Writing on March 19, 1751, he says:—'since my brother's departure, Katty [his sister] and I have been computing in our turn, and the result of our deliberation is, that we are to take up house in Berwick; where, if arithmetic and frugality don’t deceive us (and they are pretty certain arts), we shall be able, after providing for hunger, warmth, and cleanliness, to keep a stock in reserve, which we may afterwards turn to the purposes of hoarding, luxury, or charity.’ Burton's Hume, i. 338. On June 22 he wrote from Ninewells:—‘While interest remains as at present, I have £50 a year, a hundred pounds worth of books, great store of linens and fine clothes, and near £100 in my pocket; along with order, frugality, a strong spirit of independency, good health, a contented humour, and an unabating love of study. In these circumstances, I must esteem myself one of the happy and fortunate; and so far from being willing to draw my ticket over again in the lottery of life, there are very few prizes with which I would make an exchange. After some deliberation, I am resolved to settle in Edinburgh…. Besides other reasons which determine me to this resolution, I would not go too far away from my sister, who thinks she will soon follow me…. And as she can join £30 to my stock, and brings an equal love of order and frugality, we doubt not to make our revenues answer.’ Ib. p. 342. At the end of the year he was a candidate for the Chair of Logic in the University of Glasgow, which was vacated by Adam Smith's transference to the Chair of Moral Philosophy. He had, it is said, Edmund Burke for his competitor, but to both of them was preferred one Mr. Clow. Ib. p. 350. Adam Smith wrote to Dr. William Cullen:—‘Edin. Tuesday. November 1751…. I should prefer David Hume to any man for a colleague; but I am afraid the public would not be of my opinion; and the interest of the society will oblige us to have some regard to the opinion of the public.’ Thomson's Life of Cullen, i. 606.
It is in the list of books in the Gent. Mag. for Feb. 1752, but is not reviewed.
It was published in Dec. 1751. Gent. Mag. 1751, p. 574.
It is not even mentioned in the Gent. Mag.
In this post Hume succeeded Thomas Ruddiman, the learned grammarian of Scotland; ‘whose farewell letter to the Faculty of Advocates, when he resigned the office of their Librarian, should,’ said Johnson, ‘have been in Latin.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 216. Hume describes the post as ‘a petty office of forty or fifty guineas a year.’ He calls it also ‘a genteel office.’ Burton's Hume, i. 370. In 1754 he was censured by three of the curators—James Burnet (Lord Monboddo), Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes), and another—for buying three French books, which they described as ‘indecent, and unworthy of a place in a learned library.’ Writing about this to Adam Smith, he says:—‘Being equally unwilling to lose the use of the books, and to bear an indignity, I retain the office, but have given Blacklock, our blind poet, a bond of annuity for the salary. I have now put it out of these malicious fellows’ power to offer me any indignity, while my motive for remaining in this office is so apparent.’ Ib. p. 393. See post, p. 352, n. 4. In January, 1757, he resigned his office in the curtest of letters. Ib. ii. 18.
‘David Hume used to say that he did not find it an irksome task to him to go through a great many dull books when writing his History. “I then read,” said he, “not for pleasure, but in order to find out facts.” He compared it to a sportsman seeking hares, who does not mind what sort of ground it is that he goes over further than as he may find hares in it. From himself.’ Boswelliana, p. 263.
Hume writing to his friend William Mure about the first volume of his History says:—‘The first quality of an historian is to be true and impartial. The next to be interesting. If you do not say that I have done both parties justice, and if Mrs. Mure be not sorry for poor King Charles, I shall burn all my papers and return to philosophy.’ Burton's Hume, i. 409.
It is in the list of books in the Gent. Mag. for November, 1754, but is not reviewed; Hume wrote to the Earl of Balcarres from Edinburgh, on Dec. 17:—‘My History has been very much canvassed and read here in town, as I am told; and it has full as many inveterate enemies as partial defenders. The misfortune of a book, says Boileau, is not the being ill spoke of, but the not being spoken of at all. The sale has been very considerable here, about 450 copies in five weeks. How it has succeeded in London, I cannot precisely tell; only I observe that some of the weekly papers have been busy with me.—I am as great an Atheist as Bolingbroke; as great a Jacobite as Carte; I cannot write English, &c.’ Burton's Hume, i. 412. Hume seems at one time to have attributed the smallness of the London sale to the fault of his Edinburgh bookseller, Baillie Hamilton. He wrote to Millar on April 12, 1755:—‘I think the London booksellers have had a sufficient triumph over him, when a book, which was much expected and was calculated to be popular, has had so small a sale in his hands. To make the triumph more complete I wish you would take what remains into your hands, and dispose of it in a few months.’ MS., R. S. E.
Horace Walpole, writing of it on March 27, 1755, speaks of it as ‘a book, which though more decried than ever book was, and certainly with faults, I cannot help liking much. It is called Jacobite, but in my opinion is only not George-Abite; where others abuse the Stuarts, he laughs at them: I am sure he does not spare their ministers. Harding [the Clerk of the House of Commons], who has the History of England at the ends of his parliament fingers, says that the Journals will contradict most of his facts. If it is so, I am sorry; for his style, which is the best we have in history, and his manner, imitated from Voltaire, are very pleasing.’ Letters, ii. 428. Johnson called Hume ‘an echo of Voltaire.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 53.
Horace Walpole, writing on Oct. 4, 1745, in the midst of the alarm caused by the Young Pretender's victory at Preston-Pans, says:—‘The nobility are raising regiments, and everybody else is—being raised. Dr. Herring, the Archbishop of York, has set an example that would rouse the most indifferent: in two days after the news arrived at York of Cope's defeat, and when they every moment expected the victorious rebels at their gates, the Bishop made a speech to the assembled county, that had as much true spirit, honesty, and bravery in it as ever was penned by an historian for an ancient hero.’ Letters, i. 394. Herring was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1747.
Horace Walpole says that Stone, ‘with no pretensions in the world but by being attached to the House of Dorset, and by being brother of Mr. Stone [sub-governor to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George III], had been hurried through two or three Irish bishoprics up to the very primacy of the kingdom, not only unwarrantably young, but without even the graver excuses of learning or sanctimony.’ Memoirs of George II, ed. 1822, i. 244.
Hume wrote to a friend on April 20, 1756:—‘Were I to change my habitation, I would retire to some provincial town in France, to trifle out my old age, near a warm sun in a good climate, a pleasant country, and amidst a sociable people. My stock would then maintain me in some opulence; for I have the satisfaction to tell you, dear Doctor, that on reviewing my affairs I find that I am worth £1600 sterling, which, at five per cent., makes near 1800 livres a year—that is, the pay of two French captains.’ Burton's Hume, i. 437. Horace Walpole, writing on March 28, 1777, says:—‘Have you read Hume's Life, and did you observe that he thought of retiring to France, and changing his name, because his works had not got him a name? Lord Bute called himself Sir John Stuart in Italy to shroud the beams of a title too gorgeous; but it is new to conceal a name that nobody had heard of.’ Letters, vi. 423.
For some Essays which he suppressed at this time see past, pp. 230–3, and p. 346, n. 2.
See post, pp. 20, 200. Gibbon in his Decline and Fall, ed. 1807, iv. 86, thus mentions ‘the Warburtonian school’:—‘The secret intentions of Julian are revealed by the late Bishop of Gloucester, the learned and dogmatic Warburton; who, with the authority of a theologian, prescribes the motives and conduct of the Supreme Being. The discourse entitled Julian is strongly marked with all the peculiarities which are imputed to the Warburtonian school.’
See post, pp. 2, 4.
See post, p. 75, n. 4, for his complaint in his last illness of the design of the Whigs to ruin him as an author. He forgets to point out that only four years after the publication of his second volume, by the accession of George III, the Tory writers were in a far more favourable position than the Whigs. See his Philosophical Works, ed. 1854, iii. 74, for a long passage on Whigs and Tories, which he suppressed in the later editions of his Essays. In it, speaking of the Tories, he had said:—‘There are few men of knowledge or learning, at least few philosophers since Mr. Locke has wrote, who would not be ashamed to be thought of that party.’
Hume wrote to Dr. Robertson on Jan. 25, 1759:—‘You will see what light and force this History of the Tudors bestows on that of the Stuarts. Had I been prudent, I should have begun with it. I care not to boast, but I will venture to say that I have now effectually stopped the mouths of all those villainous Whigs who railed at me.’ Dugald Stewart's Life of Robertson, ed. 1811, p. 342. Horace Walpole wrote of it on March 15:—‘I have not advanced far in it, but it appears an inaccurate and careless, as it certainly has been a very hasty performance.’ Letters, iii. 216. It was brought out almost at the same time as Robertson's History of Scotland, Voltaire's Candide, and Johnson's Rasselas.
Dugald Stewart says:—‘Adam Smith observed to me, not long before his death, that after all his practice in writing he composed as slowly and with as great difficulty as at first. He added that Mr. Hume had acquired so great a facility, that the last volumes of his History were printed from his original copy, with a few marginal corrections. When Mr. Smith was composing, he generally walked up and down his apartment, dictating to a secretary. All Mr. Hume's works (I have been assured) were written with his own hand. A critical reader may, I think, perceive in the different styles of these two classical writers the effects of their different modes of study.’ Life of Adam Smith, ed. 1811, p. 107.
‘Horne Tooke said that Hume wrote his History as witches say their prayers—backwards.’ Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers, p. 123.
See post, p. 33, n. 2. In 1767 writing to a friend he says:—'some push me to continue my History. Millar offers me any price.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 392.
‘When Mr. David Hume began first to be known in the world as a philosopher, Mr. Thomas White, a decent rich merchant of London, said to him, “I am surprised, Mr. Hume, that a man of your good sense should think of being a philosopher. Why, I now took it into my head to be a philosopher for some time, but tired of it most confoundedly, and very soon gave it up.” “Pray, Sir,” said Mr. Hume, “in what branch of philosophy did you employ your researches? What books did you read?” “Books?” said Mr. White; “nay, Sir, I read no books, but I used to sit you whole forenoons a-yawning and poking the fire.”’ Boswelliana, p. 221. See Burton's Hume, ii. 392, where Hume speaks of his pleasure in ‘idleness, and sauntering and society.’ In reporting to a friend Lord Hertford's invitation he said, ‘he rouses me from a state of indolence and sloth, which I falsely dignified with the name of philosophy.’ Hume's Private Corres. p. 70.
Hume wrote to a friend on Jan. 9, 1764:—‘When I came up to London, I found that Mr. [afterwards Sir Charles] Bunbury, a gentleman of considerable fortune, and married to the Duke of Richmond's sister, had already been appointed Secretary; but was so disagreeable to the ambassador that he was resolved never to see, or do business with his secretary, and therefore desired I should attend him, in order to perform the functions.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 183. In another letter he adds:—‘The King gave me a pension of £200 a year for life, to engage me to attend his Lordship. My Lord is very impatient to have me Secretary to the Embassy; and writes very earnest letters to that purpose to the Ministers…. Mr. Bunbury has great interest…. The appointments of this office are above £1000 a year, and the expense attending it nothing.’ Ib. p. 188. See post, pp. 40, 69, n, 1.
See post, p. 69, n. 1; 103, n. 1.
See post, p. 50, n. 3.
Johnson in his Dictionary gives resilience, and resiliency, but not resile.
See post, p. 69, n. 1.
He passes over in silence his quarrel with Rousseau which took place in this year (post, p. 74).
See post, p. 86, n. 1.
Hume, I conjecture, means to say that his invested property was not larger, but that by the addition to his pension, which he owed to Lord Hertford's friendship (post, p. 55), he had a much larger income. He had also a much larger stock of uninvested money.
See post, p. 103, n. 1.
On Oct. 6, 1767, he wrote to his brother:—‘My income will be above £1100 a year, of which I shall not spend much above the half.’ MS., R. S. E.
Gibbon, only ‘twenty hours before his death, happened to fall into a conversation, not uncommon with him, on the probable duration of his life. He said that he thought himself a good life for ten, twelve, or perhaps twenty years.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, ed. 1814, i. 422.
See post, p. 322, n. 2.
Six months before his death he had lost five stones’ weight. Post, p. 312, n. 1.
Gibbon in his fifty-second year wrote:—‘I shall soon enter into the period which, as the most agreeable of his long life, was selected by the judgment and experience of the sage Fontenelle. His choice is approved by the eloquent historian of nature [Buffon], who fixes our moral happiness to the mature season in which our passions are supposed to be calmed, our duties fulfilled, our ambition satisfied, our fame and fortune established on a solid basis. In private conversation that great and amiable man added the weight of his own experience; and this autumnal felicity might be exemplified in the lives of Voltaire, Hume, and many other men of letters. I am far more inclined to embrace than to dispute this comfortable doctrine. I will not suppose any premature decay of the mind or body; but I must reluctantly observe that two causes, the abbreviation of time and the failure of hope, will always tinge with a browner shade the evening of life.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 275.
See post, p. 55, n. 7, and p. 329. In an interesting review of his Life and Writings in the Annual Register for 1776, ii. 31, it is said that by the time his History was finished, ‘his reputation was complete. He was considered as the greatest writer of the age: his most insignificant performances were sought after with avidity.’
‘Dr. Robertson used frequently to say that in Mr. Hume's gaiety there was something which approached to infantine.’ Stewart's Life of Robertson, ed. 1811, p. 211. Dr. Blair, in a letter to Hume's nephew dated Nov. 20, 1797, speaks of ‘that amiable naiveté and sprightly gaiety for which his uncle was so distinguished.’ M.S., R. S. E. Gray, writing to Dr. Beattie on July 2, 1770, asks:—‘Is not that naiveté and good-humour, which Hume's admirers celebrate in him, owing to this, that he has continued all his days an infant, but one that unhappily has been taught to read and write?’ Mason's Gray, ed. 1807, ii. 298. Dr. Burton tells how at the beginning of Hume's last illness a woman called on him ‘with the information that she had been intrusted with a message to him from on High. “This is a very important matter, Madam,” said the philosopher; “we must take it with deliberation;—perhaps you had better get a little temporal refreshment before you begin. Lassie, bring this good lady a glass of wine.” While she was preparing for the attack he entered good-humouredly into conversation with her; and discovering that her husband was a chandler, announced that he stood very much in want at that time of some temporal lights, and intrusted his guest with a very large order. This unexpected stroke of business at once absorbed all the good woman's thoughts; and forgetting her important mission she immediately trotted home to acquaint her husband with the good news.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 457. See post, p. 320.
Goldsmith admitted to Walpole that he envied Shakespeare. Walpole's Letters, vi. 379. Hume, in like manner, was jealous of Thomas à Becket. After mentioning the thousands of pilgrims to his tomb, he continues:—‘It is indeed a mortifying reflection to those who are actuated by the love of fame, so justly denominated the last infirmity of noble minds1, that the wisest legislator and most exalted genius that ever reformed or enlightened the world can never expect such tributes of praise as are lavished on the memory of pretended saints, whose whole conduct was probably to the last degree odious or contemptible, and whose industry was entirely directed to the pursuit of objects pernicious to mankind.’ Hist. of Eng., ed. 1802, i. 422.
‘That last infirmity of noble mind.’
Milton's Lycidas, l. 71.
Lord Cockburn, in his Memoirs, ed. 1856, p. 201, gives a curious instance how thirty years after Hume's death the zealots of Edinburgh made use of the prejudices entertained against him to persecute Professor John Leslie.
See post, pp. 346, 348.
See post, p. 319, n. 2.
See post, ib.
See post, p. 321.
See post, p. 323.
Colonel Edmondstoune of Newton had served in the Expedition against France in 1746, when most likely he had become acquainted with Hume. Burton's Hume, i. 212. On Aug. 6, 1776, Hume wrote to John Home the poet:—‘Poor Edmondstoune and I parted to-day with a plentiful effusion of tears; all those Belzebubians1 have not hearts of iron.’ Mackenzie's Life of john Home, i. 65.
‘Edmondstoune was a member of what was called the Ruffian Club; men whose hearts were milder than their manners, and their principles more correct than their habits of life.’
‘Colonel Edmondstoune's letter has been preserved, and is as follows:—
My Dear, Dear David,—My heart is very full. I could not see you this morning. I thought it was better for us both. You can’t die, you must live in the memory of all your friends and acquaintances2, and your works will render you immortal. I could never conceive that it was possible for any one to dislike you or hate you. He must be more than savage who could be an enemy to a man of the best head and heart1, and of the most amiable manners.
Burton's Hume, ii. 510.
These lines were written seventeen years before Chaulieu's death. They are entitled Épître à M. Le Marquis De La Fare, qui m’avait demandé mon portrait, en 1703. They were incorrectly quoted by Colonel Edmondstoune, but I have corrected them in accordance with the text of the edition of 1774 of Les Œuvres de Chaulieu, tome i. p. 220. For David we find of course La Fare.
See post, p. 9.
‘Dr. Johnson added “something much too rough,” both as to Mr. Hume's head and heart, which I suppress.’ Boswell's Life of Johnson, v. 30.
Hume's final corrections were sent only thirteen days before his death (post, p. 342).
See post, p. 344, n. 3, for Hume's thrift, in the case of a letter which he sent to Adam Smith.
See post, p. 343, n. 2.
The passages enclosed in brackets, which were not in the letter as published by Adam Smith, are taken from the original in the possession of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Dr. W. Cullen wrote to Dr. Hunter on Sept. 17, 1776:—‘You desire an account of Mr. Hume's last days, and I give it you with some pleasure, for though I could not look upon him in his last illness without much concern, yet the tranquillity and pleasantry which he constantly discovered did even then give me satisfaction, and now that the curtain is dropped allows me to indulge the less alloyed reflection. It was truly an example “des grands hommes qui sont morts en plaisantant1; ” and to me who have been so often shocked with the horrors of the superstitious on such occasions, the reflection on such a death is truly agreeable. For many weeks before his death he was very sensible of his gradual decay, and his answer to inquiries after his health was several times that he was going as fast as his enemies could wish, and as easily as his friends could desire. He was not however without a frequent recurrence of pain and uneasiness, but he passed most part of the day in his drawing-room, admitted the visits of his friends, and with his usual spirit conversed with them upon literature, politics, or whatever else was accidentally started. In conversation he seemed to be perfectly at ease, and to the last abounded with that pleasantry, and those curious and entertaining anecdotes which ever distinguished him. This however I always considered rather as an effort to be agreeable, and he at length acknowledged that it became too much for his strength. For a few days before his death he became more averse to receive visits; speaking became more and more difficult for him; and for twelve hours before his death his speech failed altogether. His senses and judgment did not fail till the last hour of his life. He constantly discovered a strong sensibility to the attention and care of his friends, and amidst great uneasiness and languor never betrayed any peevishness or impatience.’ After recounting the anecdote about Lucian and the codicil to his will (post, p. 9, n. 10), Dr. Cullen continues:—‘These are a few particulars, which may perhaps appear trifling, but to me no particulars seem trifling that relate to so great a man. It is perhaps from trifles that we can best distinguish the tranquillity and cheerfulness of the philosopher, at a time when the most part of mankind are under disquiet, auxiety, and sometimes even horror. I consider the sacrifice of the cock as a more certain evidence of the tranquillity of Socrates than his Discourse on Immortality’. Thomson's Life of Dr. Cullen, i. 607.
‘In reference to a work so entitled, published at Amsterdam in 1732.’
Dr. Blair, in a letter to Strahan dated April 10, 1778, said:—‘Poor David! what an irreparable blank does he make amongst us here. Taking him all in all, we shall never see the like1 Indeed, I cannot but agree with what Adam Smith says of him in the last sentence of his printed letter to you.’ Rosebery ms.
Boswell records on Sept. 16, 1777:—‘I mentioned to Dr. Johnson that David Hume's persisting in his infidelity when he was dying shocked me much. Johnson. “Why should it shock you, Sir? Hume owned he had never read the New Testament with attention. Here then was a man who had been at no pains to inquire into the truth of religion, and had continually turned his mind the other way. It was not to be expected that the prospect of death would alter his way of thinking, unless God should send an angel to set him right.” I said I had reason to believe that the thought of annihilation gave Hume no pain. Johnson. “It was not so, Sir. He had a vanity in being thought easy. It is more probable that he should assume an appearance of ease, than that so very improbable a thing should be, as a man not afraid of going (as, in spite of his delusive theory, he cannot be sure but he may go) into an unknown state, and not being uneasy at leaving all he knew. And you are to consider that upon his own principle of annihilation he had no motive to speak the truth.”’ Boswell's Johnson, iii. 153. Boswell had suggested to Johnson on July 9 of the same year that he should ‘knock Hume's and Smith's heads together, and make vain and ostentations infidelity exceedingly ridiculous.’ Ib. iii. 119. See ib. v. 30, n. 3, for Dr. Horne's Letter to Adam Smith, LL.D., On the Life, Death and Philosophy of his Friend, David Hume, Esq. By one of the People called Christians.
Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 2.
Nichols's Lit. Anec., iii. 391.
Boswell's Life of Johnson, i. 425.
Post, p. 64, n. 11.
Boswell's Johnson, ii. 226.
Nichols's Lit. Anec., iii. 392.
Nichols's Lit. Anec., iii. 393.
Boswell's Johnson, iii. 258.
Ib. i. 287.
Gibbon's Misc. Works, ed. 1814, i. 222.
Post, p. 314.
Forbes's Life of Beattie, ed. 1824, p. 341.
Post, pp. 214, 224, 231.
Post, p. 235.
Post, p. 335, n. 14.
Post, p. 145.
Boswell's Johnson, ii. 137.
Ib. iii. 331.
Ib. ii. 137.
Ib. ii. 137.
Ib. iii. 364.
Ib. iii. 364.
Post, p. 352.
Letter dated Dec. 21, 1780, Barker MSS.
Boswell's Johnson, v. 92.
Forbes's Life of Beattie, p. 341.
Post, p. 266.
Leslie and Taylor's Life of Reynolds, ed. 1865, ii. 302.
Boswell's Johnson, iv. 428, 435.
Note 1.‘Baillie, Bailie. A magistrate second in rank, in a royal borough; an alderman.’ Jamieson's Dict. of the Scottish Language.
Note 2. In November 1754 he published The History of Great Britain. Volume I. Containing the reigns of James I, and Charles I. quarto. Price 14s. in boards; in November 1756 the second volume from the death of Charles I, to the Revolution; in March 1759 The History of England under the House of Tudor. 2 vols. quarto. Price £1 in boards; and in November 1761 The History of England from the invasion of Julius Cœsar to the accession of Henry VII. 2 vols. quarto. He had at one time intended to carry down the first instalment of his work beyond the Revolution. In a letter written in 1753 he says:—‘My work divides into three very moderate volumes: one to end with the death of Charles the First; the second at the Revolution; the third at the Accession; for I dare come no nearer the present times.’ Burton's Hume, i. 378. The following curious letter in my possession, written by Gavin Hamilton, of the firm of Hamilton, Balfour & Neill, Edinburgh booksellers, shews that a year later Hume intended to make the Treaty of Utrecht the conclusion of his work. No doubt he resolved to stop there to avoid the necessity of describing the Jacobite plot which was formed by some of Anne's ministers, and was baffled by her sudden death. Such a matter was of too delicate a nature to have much attraction for a man whose love of tranquillity grew far more rapidly even than his years.
‘My dear Willie,
‘in any important step I make, in bussines, I should rekon my self very much out of my duty to you as on of my sincerest freinds if I did not un bosome my self, lett this serve for preamble to what I am going to say.
‘I have within these ten days concluded a bargain that is rekoned very bold by every body that hears of it, and some think it rash, because they never heard of the like pass here; tho’ at the same time I remain very well content with my bargain.
‘John Balfour and I have agread to pay 1200£ sterling of coppy money, for a single impression of a book,‘tis the history of great britain composed by David Hume our scots authour. I print 2000 and have right to print no more, the calcul will stand thus, to print 3 quarto volls which it will make, will cost with advertisements and incidents about 320 per voll: the book will sell at 15/bound or ten shillings to Bk. Sellers in sheets, but lett us rekon the London coppies only producing 9 shilling, then 2000 coppies will yeald about 920£ sterling per voll after deducing 320£ for printing and 400£ to the authour which is not payable very soon, there remains of proffit for our selves about 200£ per voll, which we are content to putt up with as we are perswaded that this first impression will be short while in hands, and this is the next question, how do you know that? all I can say to you in the bounds of a very short letter is that we have been at due pains to inform our selves of the merit of the work and are well satisfyed one that head that it is the prittyest thing ever was attempted in the English History, the three volls contians three grand periods, the first from the union of the Crowns to the death of the king, the 2d voll from the death of the king to the Revolution, and the last till the treaty of Utrecht, the facts are well vouched and thrown together into a light as to give the treu character of the times, it is neither whig nor tory but truely imparshal.
‘To Mr. William Strachan Printer in New street near Fleet street London.’
Whether this bookseller was related to Burns's Gavin Hamilton I have not been able to ascertain.
It is clear from Hume's letter to Strahan that the bargain, as described by Hamilton, was never completed. To the Edinburgh firm he sold only the right of publishing the first edition of the first volume. The second volume was brought out by Andrew Millar, the great London bookseller, who became at length the owner of the entire copyright of the whole History. Writing to Millar on April 12, 1755, Hume had said:—Baillie Hamilton is a very honest Man, and far from being interested. But he is passionate and even wrong headed to a degree.’ On May 27, 1756, he wrote:—’I agree that the edition be 1750.’ M.S.R.S.E.
Note 3. In his letter to Millar of April 12, 1755 he had said:—’I have always said to all my acquaintaince that if the first Volume bore a little of a Tory aspect, the second wou’d probably be as grateful to the opposite Party. The two first Princes of the House of Stuart were certainly more excusable than the two second. The constitution was in their time very ambiguous and undetermin’d, and their Parliaments were, in many respects, refractory and obstinate: But Charles the 2nd knew, that he had succeeded to a very limited Monarchy: His long Parliament was indulgent to him, and even consisted almost entirely of Royalists; yet he could not be quiet, nor contented with a legal Authority. I need not mention the Oppressions in Scotland nor the absurd conduct of K. James the 2nd. These are obvious and glaring Points. Upon the whole, I wish the two Volumes had been published together. Neither one Party nor the other would, in that Case, have had the least Pretext of reproaching me with Partiality.’—M.S.R.S.E.
Note 4. Both in his Autobiography and in his correspondence he shews that he had but little of this kind of endurance.
Note 5. These must have been the unsold copies of the first volume.
Note 1. The first volume contained the Reigns of James I, and Charles I. Hume wrote to William Mure in 1757 (the exact date is not given):—’I must own that I think my first volume a great deal better than the second. The subject admitted of more eloquence and of greater nicety of reasoning and more acute distinctions.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 20.
Note 2. In his Autobiography he says of the second volume:—’This performance happened to give less displeasure to the Whigs, and was better received. It not only rose itself, but helped to buoy up its unfortunate brother.’ On the fly-leaf of the copy in the Bodleian of vol. i. of the first edition I have found in the hand-writing of the Rev. Charles Godwyn, Fellow of Balliol College, and a great benefactor to the Bodleian Library, the following entry, interesting as shewing the opinion formed of Hume at this time in England:—’I have heard much of Mr. Hume from persons who know him well, and think him to be one of the oddest characters in the world. Consider him as an historian and in private life there is not a better man living. No man has more generous sentiments of social virtue. He has great candour and humanity and the utmost regard for truth. Consider him as a philosopher in his speculative capacity, there is not a grain of virtue or religion in him…. I am informed that he has a great regard for the Church of England, and that if he was disposed to make choice of a religion, he would give this the preference. Written in the year 1757.’
Note 3. Hume refers, I believe, to the edition of his Essays and Treatises which was published in one quarto volume in 1758 (perhaps in the late autumn of 1757). He wrote to Millar on Dec. 4, 1756:—’I am extremely desirous to have these four volumes [of Philosophical Writings], with that which you will publish this winter, brought into a quarto volume.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 4.
Note 4. See post, p. 18.
Note 5.‘One Bowyer’ was William Bowyer,‘confessedly the most learned printer of the eighteenth century.’ Nichols's Lit. Anec. i. 2. Johnson wrote to Nichols on Oct. 20, 1784:—’At Ashbourne, where I had very little company, I had the luck to borrow Mr. Bowyer's Life; a book, so full of contemporary history that a literary man must find some of his old friends.’ Boswell's Johnson, iv. 369.
Note 6. Hume, Scot of Scots though he was, spared no pains to clear his style from Scotticisms. He laments‘his misfortune to write in the language of the most stupid and factious barbarians in the world’ (post, Letter of Oct. 25, 1769); but none the less does he rebuke Gibbon for composing his first work in French.‘Let the French,’ he writes,‘triumph in the present diffusion of their tongue. Our solid and increasing establishments in America, where we need less dread the inundation of barbarians, promise a superior stability and duration to the English language.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 204. Though he never, like Mallet,‘cleared his tongue from his native pronunciation’ (Johnson's Works, viii. 464), but always spoke‘in a broad Scotch tone,’ yet his words were always English.‘He never used Scotch’ said one who as a young man had known him well. Burton's Hume, ii. 440. Like most of the Scotch literary men of his day he had studied English almost as laboriously as if it were wholly a foreign tongue. Beattie (Life by Forbes, ed. 1824, p. 243) wrote on Jan. 5, 1778:—’We who live in Scotland are obliged to study English from books, like a dead language, which we understand but cannot speak.’ He adds:—’I have spent some years in labouring to acquire the art of giving a vernacular cast to the English we write.’ Johnson accused Hume of Gallicisms.‘Why, Sir, his style is not English; the structure of his sentences is French.’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 439. Lord Mansfield told Dr. A. Carlyle that‘when he was reading Hume and Robertson's books, he did not think he was reading English.’ Carlyle's Auto. p. 516. Hume in the fourth chapter of his History of England, expresses his deliberate preference for the foreign element in our language. He speaks of‘that mixture of French which is at present to be found in the English tongue, and which composes the greatest and best part of our language.’ Ed. 1802, i. 259. Francis Horner, in his student days at Edinburgh, making‘a very rigid examination of the style of Mr. Hume in his History,’ says,‘I am astonished to find it abound so much both in inaccuracies and inelegancies.’ Memoirs of Horner, i. 11. Mackintosh, speaking of Hume's philosophical works, says:—’In clearness and vivacity he surpassed all English speculators…. It must be owned that he not only copied the liveliness and perspicuity of French writers, but the structure of their sentences; that he has frequently violated the rules of English syntax; and what is a more serious offence, that his style exhibits little of the idiom and genius of the language; it too often betrays a Scotchman whose literary habits were formed in France.’ Of the History he says:—’The negligences of style, which are too frequent in this noble work, may be left to the petty grammarian.’ Life of Mackintosh, ii. 168. Horace Walpole, on the other hand, speaking of the first volume of the History, when it was as yet in its first unrevised edition, says that‘his style which is the best we have in history…. is very pleasing.’ Letters, ii. 429. Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 122) writing after Hume's death, records how in‘the repeated perusals’ of his History,‘the careless inimitable beauties often forced me to close the volume with a mixed sensation of delight and despair.’ Hume sought the aid of writers far inferior to himself in general powers in his eagerness to refine his style. Mallet, Johnson's‘beggarly Scotchman,’ treated him with the insolence of a superior. Hume writing to Millar in 1756 about the second volume of his History says:—’Notwithstanding Mr. Mallet's impertinence in not answering my letter (for it deserves no better a name), if you can engage him from yourself to mark on the perusal such slips of language as he thinks I have fallen into in this volume it will be a great obligation to me; I mean that I shall lie under an obligation to you; for I would not willingly owe any to him.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 3. Six or seven years later Mallet wrote to Hume about the last two volumes of the History:—’I have done at last what nothing but the greatest regard for the writer and the truest friendship for the man could have made me submit to; I have gone over both your volumes again with the eye and attention of a mere grammarian. The task of looking after verbal mistakes or errors against the idiom of a tongue, though not unnecessary, is trivial and disgusting in the greatest degree; but your work and you deserved it of me.’ Ib. p. 142. So early as 1754, Hume sending Wilkes a copy of the History‘asks his advice as to language, and says:—“Notwithstanding all the pains I have taken in the study of the English language, I am still jealous of my pen.”’ Historical MSS. Com. 4th Report, p. 401. As late as 1775, in the last year of his life, he set two young Scotch lads, fresh from an English school, the task of detecting the Scotticisms in his account of Harold. Caldwell Papers, i. 39. The following from a letter to a Scotch doctor settled in London, is an instance of the points on which he sought assistance:—’You know that the word enough or enuff, as it is pronounced by the English, we commonly in Scotland, when it is applied to number, pronounce enow. Thus we would say:—“Such a one has books enow for study, but not leisure enuff.” Now I want to know whether the English make the same distinction.’ Burton's Hume, i. 384. It will be seen hereafter how grateful he was to Strahan for the assistance which he gave him in correcting his style.‘Strahan,’ says Dr. Beattie,‘was eminently skilled in composition, and had corrected (as he told me himself) the phraseology of both Mr. Hume and Dr. Robertson.’ Forbes's Beattie, p. 341. Dr. Burton gives instances of the corrections in the second edition of the History. Life of Hume, ii. 79. See ante, Adam Smith's letter for the humorous way in which Hume a few days before his death joked about his love of making corrections. He was ready in his turn to help others in refining their style. Dr. Franklin wrote to him from Coventry, on Sept. 27, 1760:—’I thank you for your friendly Admonition relating to unusual Words in the Pamphlet. It will be of service to me. The pejorate and the colonize, since they are not in common use here, I give up as bad.’ Franklin goes on to regret that we cannot‘make new words when we want them by composition of old ones whose meanings are already well understood,’ as uncomeatable for inaccessible.’ M.S.R.S.E. Hume was shewn in manuscript Reid's Inquiry into the Human Mind. Though it was an attack on his own philosophy, yet in reading it‘he kept,’ he says,‘a watchful eye all along over the style,’ so that he might point out any Scotticisms. Burton's Hume, ii. 154. When Boswell told Johnson that ’david Hume had made a short collection of Scotticisms, “I wonder,” said Johnson, “that he should find them.”’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 72. In this list (given in Hume's Phil. Works, ed. 1854, i. cxii) some expressions were included which were good English at the time, and others which pass current now, as:—
|Friends and acquaintances.||Friends and acquaintance.|
|Tear to pieces.||Tear in pieces1.|
|In the long run.||At long run.|
|’Tis a question if.||’Tis a question whether.|
|Simply impossible.||Absolutely impossible.|
|Nothing else.||No other thing.|
|There, where.||Thither, whither.|
|Adduce a proof.||Produce a proof.|
|In no event.||In no case.|
|Common soldiers.||Private men.|
|To open up.||To open, or lay open.|
|On a sudden.||Of a sudden.|
It was this laborious study of English by Scotch authors that explains Churchill's lines on Dr. Armstrong's Day:
‘Where all but barren labour was forgot, And the vain stiffness of a Letter’d Scot.’
A passage in Dugald Stewart's Life of Robertson, which was published in 1801, places in the strongest, and I may add the strangest light the difficulties under which a Scotch writer still laboured.‘The influence,’ he says,‘of Scottish associations, so far as it is favourable to antiquity, is confined to Scotchmen alone, and furnishes no resources to the writer who aspires to a place among the English classics. Nay, such is the effect of that provincial situation to which Scotland is now reduced, that the transactions of former ages are apt to convey to ourselves exaggerated conceptions of barbarism from the uncouth and degraded dialect in which they are recorded.’ Within four years after this was written Scott was to publish his Lay of the Last Minstrel, and within thirteen years his Waverley.
Note 7. In duodecimo.
Note 8. Impression is defined by Johnson as Edition; number printed at once; one course of printing.
Note 9. Johnson was like Hume in this.‘The loftiness of his mind prevented him from ever dedicating.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 1. Boswell on the contrary dedicated his chief works.‘For my own part,’ he wrote,‘I own I am proud enough. But I do not relish the stateliness of not dedicating at all.’ Ib. n. 2.
Note 10. The author of Douglas signed himself John Home, as did most of that name.‘The practice of writing Hume,’ says David Hume,‘is by far the most ancient and most general till about the Restoration, when it became common to spell Home contrary to the pronunciation.’ Burton's Hume, i. 7. Sir Walter Scott, in a review of Home's Works, says:—’The word is uniformly, in Scotland, pronounced Hume; and in ancient documents we have seen it written Heume, Hewme, and Hoome.’ Quarterly Review, No. 71, p. 170. He should have added that a Scotchman's pronunciation of Hume is not the same as an Englishman's.
1‘Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator.’ Julius Casar, iii. 2.
The historian was not able to persuade his elder brother, the Laird of Ninewells, to adopt his mode of spelling. To the poet‘he at one time jocularly proposed that they should determine the controversy by casting lots. “Nay,” says John, “this is a most extraordinary proposal, Mr. Philosopher; for if you lose, you take your own name, and if I lose, I take another man's.”’ Home's Works, i. 164. Hume went on joking with him to the last about the spelling. When, accompanied by Home, he was returning to Edinburgh to die, after his fruitless journey to Bath, he sent a card of invitation to Dr. Blair which began:—’Mr. John Hume, alias Home, alias The Home.’ To his will he added as a codicil:—’I leave to my friend Mr. John Home of Kilduff ten dozen of my old claret, at his choice, and one single bottle of that other liquor called port. I also leave to him six dozen of port, provided that he attests under his hand, signed John Hume, that he has himself alone finished that bottle at two sittings. By this concession he will at once terminate the only two differences that ever arose between us concerning temporal matters.’ Ib. p. 163. Home, like almost all Scotchmen, drank claret.‘On the enforcement of the high duty on French wine’ in Scotland, he made the following epigram:—
‘Firm and erect the Caledonian stood, Old was his mutton and his claret good. “Let him drink port,” an English statesman cried—He drank the poison, and his spirit died.’ Ib. p. 164.
Wilkes in The North Briton, No. 12 (date of Aug. 22, 1762) makes no distinction between the names, no doubt intentionally. He writes:—’There is one Scottish pension I have been told of which afforded me real pleasure. It is Mr. Hume's; for I am satisfied that it must be given to Mr. David Hume, whose writings have been justly admired both abroad and at home, and not to Mr. John Hume, who has endeavoured to bring the name into contempt by putting it to two insipid tragedies and other trash in the Scottish Miscellanies.’ Hume's pension was not given till 1764. Burton's Hume, ii. 191. For Home's pension see below, n. 12. Johnson in his Life of Collins writes Home's name Hume. Works, viii. 403.
Note 11. Home was thirty-four years old.
Note 12. Home's tragedy was finished in 1754. In the first sketch of the play Young Norval was Young Forman.‘Even after the first representations [at Edinburgh] the name Randolph was substituted for Barnet, which had struck some of the English part of the audience as producing a bad effect from its being the same with that of the village near London.’ Home's Works, i. 36, 101. Hume writing about the play to Spence on Oct. 15 of that year, says:—’As you are a Lover of Letters, I shall inform you of a Piece of News which will be agreeable to you: We may hope to see good Tragedies in the English Language. A young man called Hume, a clergyman of this Country, discovers a very fine Genius for that Species of Composition.’ Spence's Anecdotes, p. 452. To Adam Smith he wrote:—’When it shall be printed (which will be soon) I am persuaded it will be esteemed the best, and by French critics the only tragedy of our language.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 17. It was in this same year, 1754, that in the Appendix to the Reign of James I, writing of Shakespeare, he says:—’His total ignorance of all theatrical art and conduct, however material a defect, yet, as it affects the spectator rather than the reader, we can more easily excuse, than that want of taste which often prevails in his productions, and which gives way only by intervals to the irradiations of genius.’ Adam Smith was not inferior to his friend in perversity of taste. He regretted that in comedy the English writers had not followed the model of the French school in the use of rhyme. Dugald Stewart's Life of Adam Smith, p. 71. Wordsworth had some justification for describing Adam Smith as‘the worst critic, David Hume not excepted, that Scotland, a soil to which this sort of weed seems natural, has produced.’ Wordsworth's Works, ed. 1857, vi. 367. H. C. Robinson (Diary, i. 311) records, though evidently with imperfect recollection, a saying of Coleridge about Hume's preference of the French tragedians to Shakespeare:—’Hume comprehended as much of Shakespeare as an apothecary's phial would, placed under the falls of Niagara.’ Burns however was no better than Hume or Smith. In one of his Prologues he says of Scotland:—
‘Here Douglas forms wild Shakespeare into plan.’
Douglas was refused by Garrick to whom it was first offered.‘After reading it, he returned it with an opinion that it was totally unfit for the stage.’ Dr. A. Carlyle's Auto. p. 304. It was brought out in Edinburgh in the end of 1756, and met with the greatest success. Among the clergy however a flame was kindled, for not only was the author a minister, but at the performance several ministers were present. The Presbytery of Edinburgh published a paper‘lamenting the extraordinary and unprecedented countenance given of late to the playhouse in that city.’ The Presbytery of Glasgow, on Feb. 2. 1757, the day after the date of Hume's letter in the text, supported their brothers in Edinburgh in the following manner:—’Having good reason to believe that this paper refers to the following melancholy but notorious facts, that one who is a minister of the Church of Scotland did himself write and compose a stage-play, entitled The Tragedy of Douglas, and got it to be acted on the theatre at Edinburgh; and that he, with several other ministers of this church were present, and some of them oftener than once, at the acting of the said play before a numerous audience: The Presbytery being deeply affected with this new and strange appearance do think it their duty,’ etc. Gent. Mag. 1757, p. 89. One of these ministers was punished by a six weeks’ suspension,‘owing a mitigated sentence to his plea that, though he attended, he concealed himself as well as he could to avoid giving offence.’ Dr. A. Carlyle's Auto. P. 315. Dr. Carlyle writing of himself says:—’I had attended the play-house, not on the first or second, but on the third night of the performance, being well aware that all the fanatics and some other enemies would be on the watch, and make all the advantage they possibly could against me. But six or seven friends of the author, clergymen from the Merse [Home's country] having attended reproached me for my cowardice; and above all the author himself and some female friends of his having heated me by their upbraidings I went on the third night, and having taken charge of the ladies I drew on myself all the clamours of tongues and violence of persecution which I afterwards underwent.’ Ib. p. 314. Home, who was threatened with an ecclesiastical prosecution,‘gave in a demission of his office on the following 7th of June, and withdrew from the Church.’ Ib. p. 325. Some years before he had been introduced to Archibald, Duke of Argyle, who said to him:—’Mr. Home, I am now too old to hope for an opportunity of doing you any material service myself; but I will do you the greatest favour in my power by presenting you to my nephew, the Earl of Bute.’ Home's Works, i. 33. The value of Lord Bute's friendship was now seen. Home from this time‘lived very much with him, and was in habits of intimacy with his young pupil, the Prince of Wales [afterwards George III].’ Ib. p. 50. A few days before he left the Church he had received a pension of £100 a year from the Princess Dowager of Wales. Walpole's Letters, iii. 78. Four years later George III in the very beginning of his reign‘settled on him a pension of £300 per annum from his privy purse.’ Not long afterwards he gave him a post worth the same sum. Home's Works, i. 58.
Churchill in The Prophecy of Famine (Poems, ed. 1766, i. 103) introduces, among the Scotch who flocked to London,
‘Home, disbanded from the sons of prayer For loving plays.’
‘Thence simple bards, by simple prudence taught, To this wise town by simple patrons brought, In simple manner utter simple lays, And take with simple pensions simple praise.’ Ib. p. 103.
Home made a generous use of his money.‘“His house,” said Dr. Adam Ferguson, “was always as full of his friends as it could hold, fuller than in modern manners it could be made to hold.” Hume told Ferguson he should lecture his friend on his want of attention to money-matters. “I am afraid I should do so with little effect,” he answered; “and to tell you the truth, I am not sure if I don’t like him the better for this foible.”’ Home's Works, i. 59. It was a foible from which Hume, who in early life had had to practise‘very rigid frugality’ (ante, Hume's Auto.), remained singularly free. When Lord Elibank, who was somewhat parsimonious, heard of the pension, he said,‘It is a very laudable grant, and I rejoice at it; but it is no more in the power of the King to make Adam Ferguson or John Home rich than to make me poor.’ Ib. p. 54.
Some years before Hume dedicated his Dissertations to Home, Collins had inscribed to him his Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands.
‘Home, thou return'st from Thames, whose naiads long Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay,‘Mid those soft friends, whose hearts, some future day, Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song.’
In 1760 Voltaire brought out his comedy L‘Écossaise under the veil of a translation of a piece by John Home. In the preface he says:—’La comédie dont nous présentons la traduction aux amateurs de la littérature est de M. Hume, pasteur de l’église d’Édimbourg, déjà connu par deux belles tragédies jouées à Londres: il est parent et ami de ce célèbre philosophe M. Hume qui a creusé avec tant de hardiesse et de sagacité les fondemens de la métaphysique et de la morale. Ces deux philosophes font également honneur à l’Écosse, leur patrie.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, ed. 1819. v. 12.
Note 1. Hume, as I have shewn (ante, p. 3), had sold only the copyright of the first edition of the first volume to the Edinburgh booksellers. The first edition of the second volume he had sold to Millar, for £700, it seems. Writing to him on Sept. 3 of this year about the History of England under the Tudors, which at that time he thought would be comprised in one somewhat bulky volume, he says:—’I am willing to engage with you for the same price, viz. seven hundred pounds, payable three months after the publication.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 37. What he now wishes to sell is the copyright of the first two volumes of the House of Stuart. As Hamilton and Balfour had agreed to pay £1200 for three volumes it may be assumed that they paid £400 for one. For the second volume, if my supposition is right, Hume received £700. If he was paid 800 guineas, i. e. £840 for the entire property in the two volumes, his total payment for the House of Stuart amounted to £1940. Robertson was offered by Hamilton and Balfour £500 for one edition of his History of Scotland. Burton's Hume, ii. 42. For his Charles V he was to receive from Cadell and Strahan £3400, with £400 more in case of a second edition. Robertson to Strahan, May 27, 1768. Barker MSS. See post, Letter of June 21, 1770, for Hume's complaint of Hamilton's extravagance.
Note 2. Addison, Bolingbroke, and Johnson had pointed out the inferiority of English historians. Hume wrote in 1753:—’You know that there is no post of honour in the English Parnassus more vacant than that of history.’ Burton's Hume, i. 378. Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 122) writing of the year 1759 says:—’The old reproach that no British altars had been raised to the Muse of history was recently disproved by the first performances of Robertson and Hume.’ Though Hume complained of the slow sale of his own History, yet he wrote in 1769:—’People now heed the theatre almost as little as the pulpit. History now is the favourite reading, and our friend [Robertson] the favourite historian.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 421. Robertson's History of Scotland went through fourteen editions in thirty four years. Stewart's Life of Robertson, p. 326.‘The first impression of Gibbon's Decline and Fall was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition were scarcely adequate to the demand.’ Gibbon's Works, i. 223. See post, Letter of Aug. 1770, where Hume says:—’I believe this is the historical age and this the historical nation.’
Note 3. Horace Walpole, Whig though he was, wrote of Hume's first volume (Letters, ii. 428):—’It is called Jacobite, but in my opinion is only not George-Abite: where others abuse the Stuarts he laughs at them: I am sure he does not spare their ministers.’ This was before Hume had made, as he tells us in his Autobiography,‘above a hundred alterations in the reigns of the two first Stuarts, all of them invariably to the Tory side.’ Rousseau wrote in August, 1762:—’M. Hume est le plus vrai philosophe que je connaisse, et le seul historien qui jamais ait écrit avec impartialité. Il n’a pas plus aimé la vérité que moi, j’ose le croire; mais j’ai mis quelquefois de la passion dans mes recherches, et lui n’a mis dans les siennes que ses lumières et son beau génie.’ Hume's Private Corres. p. 25. Voltaire begins a brief notice of Hume's History by saying :—’Jamais le public n’a mieux senti qu’il n’appartient qu’aux philosophes d’écrire l’histoire.’ He continues:—’M. Hume, dans son histoire, ne paraltni parlementaire, ni royaliste, ni anglican, ni presbytérien; on ne découvre en lui que l’homme équitable.’ He ends :—’La fureur des partis a long-temps privé l’Angleterre d’une bonne histoire comme d’un bon gouvernement. Ce qu’un tory écrivait était nié par les whigs, démentis à leur tour par les torys…. dans le nouvel historien on découvre un esprit supérieur à sa matière, qui parle des faiblesses, des erreurs et des barbaries, comme un médecin parle des maladies épidémiques.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, ed. 1819–25, xxv. 517.
Note 4. Douglas.‘The play had unbounded success for a great many nights in Edinburgh…. The town was in an uproar of exultation that a Scotchman had written a tragedy of the first rate, and that its merit was first submitted to their judgment.’ Dr. A. Carlyle's Auto. p. 311.
Note 5. Hume wrote to Millar on Jan. 20, 1757, that some of the poet's friends‘were seized with an apprehension that the dedication of my Dissertations to him would hurt that party in the Church with which he had always been connected, and would involve him, and them of consequence, in the suspicion of infidelity.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 18. A little later he wrote to Mr. Mure:—’Pray whether do you pity or blame me most with regard to this dedication of my Dissertations to my friend, the poet? I am sure I never executed anything which was either more elegant in the composition or more generous in the intention; yet such an alarm seized some fools here (men of very good sense, but fools in that particular), that they assailed both him and me with the utmost violence, and engaged us to change our intention. I wrote to Millar to suppress that dedication; two posts after I retracted that order. Can anything be more unlucky than that in the interval of these four days he should have opened his sale, and disposed of 800 copies without that dedication, whence I imagined my friend would reap some advantage, and myself so much honour?’ Ib. ii. 21. In the Dedication Hume addressing Home says:—’You possess the true theatric Genius of Shakespeare and Otway, refined from the unhappy Barbarism of the one and Licentiousness of the other.’
Note 1. On Dec. 18, 1759, Hume writing to Millar about the History of the Tudors, says:—’I think that an Index will be very proper, and am glad that you free me from the Trouble of undertaking that Task, for which I know myself to be very unfit.’ M. S. R. S. E.
Note 2. See post, note on Letter of March 25, 1771.
Note 3. William Mure of Caldwell, one of Hume's correspondents, who was in 1761 made a Baron of the Exchequer in Scotland. Burton's Hume, i. 152. He was at this time Member for Renfrewshire. Parl. Hist. xv. 321.
Note 4. James Oswald, Member for the Kirkaldy Burghs, at this time a Commissioner of Trade and Plantations. Ib. p. 322. Horace Walpole, writing of an important division in Parliament just before Sir Robert Walpole's fall, says of the Opposition :—’They have turned the Scotch to the best account. There is a young Oswald, who had engaged to Sir R. but has voted against us. Sir R. sent a friend to reproach him ; the moment the gentleman who had engaged for him came into the room, Oswald said, “You had like to have led me into a fine error! did you not tell me that Sir R. would have the majority?”’ Letters, i. 121. He was one of Hume's closest friends. See Burton's Hume, i. 156.
Note 5. Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Member for Selkirkshire, afterwards third baronet of that name, and father of the First Earl of Minto. See post, Letter of March 13, 1770.
Note 6. Sir Henry Erskine was Member for the Crail Boroughs. Horace Walpole, writing on March 13, 1751, says that‘Erskine, who had just come into Parliament, was laying a foundation for the next reign by attacking the Mutiny Bill.’ Letters, ii. 242. In Jan. 1756 he was dismissed the army (ib. p. 498); but a few days after the accession of George III, Walpole, calling him’the favourite of the favourite,’—that is to say of Lord Bute—says that he is to be rewarded with the command of a regiment. Ib. iii. 359. He and Hume had attended General St. Clair in his military embassy to the Courts of Vienna and Turin. Ante Hume's Autobiography. Hume describes him paying court to his constituents in 1754.‘I was lately told that one day last winter he went to pay a visit to a deacon's wife, who happened in that very instant to be gutting fish. He came up to her with open arms, and said he hoped madam was well, and that the young ladies her daughters were in good health. “Oh, come not near me,” cried she, “Sir Harry; I am in a sad pickle, as nasty as a beast.” “Not at all, Madam,” replied he; “you are in a very agreeable négligé.” “Well,” said she, “I shall never be able to understand your fine English.” “I mean, Madam,” returned he, “that you are drest in a very genteel deshabillé.”’ Burton's Hume, i. 397.
Note 1. In Feb. 1757, Hume published the four Dissertations, entitled The Natural History of Religion; Of the Passions; Of Tragedy; Of the Standard of Taste, separately in a duodecimo volume, price three shillings. Gent. Mag. 1757, p. 94. He included them in the quarto edition of his Essays and Treatises which was published either at the end of that year or the beginning of the next. It was the latter two of the Dissertations that were inserted among the Essays. See post, Letters of Jan. 25 and Feb. 7, 1772, for the two Essays which Hume had suppressed.
Note 2.‘Lammas, a name for August 1. Anglo-Saxon, hláf-mœsse, literally,‘loaf-mass.’ A loaf was on this day offered as a first-fruits of harvest.’ Skeat's Etym. Dict.
Note 3. Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, describes the great change caused in Scotland‘within these five-and-twenty or thirty years by the erection of new banking companies in almost every considerable town, and even in some country villages.’ After explaining the Scotch system of‘cash accounts’ he goes on to say:—’The facility of discounting bills of exchange, it may be thought, indeed gives the English merchants a conveniency equivalent to the cash accounts of the Scotch merchants. But the Scotch merchants, it must be remembered, can discount their bills of exchange as easily as the English merchants; and have besides the additional conveniency of their cash accounts.’ Ed. 1811, ii. 32, 38. Hume in his Essay Of the Balance of Trade describes the same system under the name of a Bank-Credit.
Note 4. In the Gent. Mag. for March 1757 nearly seven columns are given to an abstract of the story of the tragedy. Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. p. 325) says that‘it was acted in Covent Garden (for Garrick, though now the author's friend, could not possibly let it be performed in his theatre [Drury Lane] after having pronounced it unfit for the stage), where it had great success. It still maintains its ground, [written about the year 1800,] has been more frequently acted, and is more popular than any tragedy in the English language.’ The speech in it that begins‘My name is Norval,’ is perhaps all of it that is now remembered.
Note 5. Hume, writing of Home's earlier tragedy Agis, said:—’The author, I thought, had corrupted his taste by the imitation of Shakespeare, whom he ought only to have admired.’ He continues:—’But the same author has composed a new tragedy [Douglas] on a subject of invention; and here he appears a true disciple of Sophocles and Racine. I hope in time he will vindicate the English stage from the reproach of barbarism.’ Burton's Hume, i. 392.
Note 6. Ninewells was the estate of which‘Hume's ancestors had been proprietors for several generations.’ It was now held by his elder brother, John Home. It lies so close to Berwick, that Hume may be said to have missed being an Englishman by only a mile or two. Yet, according to Ramsay of Ochtertyre, before the Rebellion of 1745‘the people of Northumberland and the Merse, who spoke dialects of the same language, and were only separated by a river, had little more intercourse than those of Kent and Normandy.’ Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century, ii. 213. Ninewells takes its name‘from a cluster of nine springs, that burst forth from a gentle declivity in front of the mansion, which has on each side a semi-circular rising bank, covered with fine timber, and fall, after a short time, into the bed of the River Whitewater, which forms a boundary in the front.’ Burton's Hume, i. 8.
Note 1. Remarks on Mr. David Hume's Essay on the Natural History of Religion, by a Gentleman of Cambridge, in a Letter to the Rev. Dr. W., is advertised in the list of books for May 1757. Gent. Mag. 1757, p. 243. The book was written by Warburton and Hurd. On Feb. 7 of this year Warburton, writing to Hurd about Hume's Essay, says:—’I will trim the rogue's jacket, at least sit upon his skirts, as you will see when you come hither, and find his margins scribbled over … They say this man has several moral qualities. It may be so. But there are vices of the mind as well as body; and a wickeder heart, and more determined to do public mischief, I think I never knew.’ Letters from a late Eminent Prelate to one of his Friends, p. 239. In a second letter he writes that he is‘beating out of the mass’ an answer to Hume, to which Hurd is‘to give the elegance of form and splendour of polish…. I propose it to bear something like this title, Remarks on Mr. Hume's late Essay, called the Natural History of Religion, by a Gentleman of Cambridge, in a Letter to the Rev. Dr. W. I propose the address should be with the dryness and reserve of a stranger…. The address will remove it from me; the author, a Gentleman of Cambridge, from you; and the secrecy in printing from us both.’ Ib. p. 241.
The publication of Hume's Autobiography was at once followed by a republication of the Remarks. Speaking in it of his Natural History of Religion, Hume had said:—’Its public entry was rather obscure, except only that Dr. Hurd wrote a pamphlet against it, with all the illiberal petulance, arrogance and scurrility which distinguish the Warburtonian school. This pamphlet gave me some consolation for the otherwise indifferent reception of my performance.’ To the new edition of the Remarks was prefixed‘the following Advertisement from the bookseller to the reader:
‘“The following is supposed to be the pamphlet referred to by the late Mr. David Hume as being written by Dr. Hurd. Upon my applying to the Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry [Hurd] for his permission to republish it, he very readily gave me his consent. His Lordship only added, he was sorry he could not take himself the WHOLE infamy of the charge brought against him; but that he should hereafter, if he thought it worth his while, explain himself more particularly on that subject.
Annual Register, 1777, ii. 9.
Strand, March, 1777.
Hume at once suspected that Warburton had had a hand in the pamphlet. On Sept. 3 he wrote to Millar:—’I am positively assured that Dr. Warburton wrote that letter to himself, which you sent me; and indeed the style discovers him sufficiently. I should answer him; but he attacks so small a corner of my building, that I can abandon it without drawing great consequences after it.’ At the end of the letter Hume adds:—’I should not be displeased that you read to Dr. Warburton the paragraph in the first page with regard to himself. The hopes of getting an answer might probably engage him to give us something farther of the same kind; which at least saves you the expense of advertising. I see the Doctor likes a literary squabble.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 35. On July 28, 1759, in a letter to Adam Smith, mentioning some more‘abuse’ by Hurd, he says:—‘He is of the Warburtonian school; and consequently very insolent and very scurrilous; but I shall never reply a word to him.’ Ib. p. 60. Johnson shews why even Warburton might be left unanswered by those whom he attacked.‘When I read Warburton first, and observed his force and his contempt of mankind, I thought he had driven the world before him; but I soon found that was not the case; for Warburton by extending his abuse rendered it ineffectual.’ Boswell's Johnson, v. 93. Speaking of his controversy with Lowth he said:—’I do not know which of them calls names best.’ Ib. ii. 37.
On the publication of Hume's Autobiography, Horace Walpole wrote to Mason:—’It is a nothing, a brief account of his disappointments on his irreligious works making no noise at first, and his historic making some. He boasts that in the latter he dared to revive the cause of despotism—a great honour truly to a philosopher; and he speaks of your friend, Bishop Hurd, with a freedom that I dare to say the whole Court will profess to his Lordship they think monstrous rudeness. My Lord H[ertford], whose piety could swallow Hume's infidelity, will be shocked now that he should have employed such a brute.’ Letters, vi. 420. See ante in Hume's Autobiography, his‘fixed resolution never to reply to any body,’ and post, Letter of June 25, 1771 for a fresh attack on’Warburton and his gang.’
Note 2. Perhaps a corrected copy of his Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, of which a new edition was published in the following year.‘Mr. Becket’ is probably Thomas Becket, the bookseller, who had been, and perhaps still was, one of Millar's assistants. See Nichols's Lit. Anec. iii. 387. He had apparently some connection with the Scotch, for he published Macpherson's Ossian. He may at this time have been on a visit to Edinburgh.
Note 1. The Advertisement or Preface is as follows:—'some Alterations are made on the Titles of the Treatises, contained in the following Volume. What in former Editions was called Essays moral and political, is here entitled Essays, moral, political, and literary, Part I. The political Discourses form the second Part. What in former Editions was called, Philosophical Essays concerning human Understanding, is here entitled An Enquiry concerning human Understanding. The four Dissertations lately published are dispersed thro’ different Parts of this Volume.’
Note 2. The mistakes occur in the following passages in Sections viii and ix of An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals:—
‘The most profound metaphysics, indeed, might be employed in explaining the various kinds and species of wit; and many classes of it, which are now received on the sole testimony of taste and sentiment, might, perhaps, be resolved into more general principles. But this is sufficient for our present purpose, that it does not affect taste and sentiment, and bestowing an immediate enjoyment, is a sure source of approbation and affection.’ The word not that I have italicised should be omitted.
“Tis sufficient for our present purpose, if it be allowed, what surely without the greatest absurdity cannot be disputed, that there is some benevolence, however small, infused into our bosom; some spark of friendship for human kind; some particle of the dove, kneaded into our frame, together with the elements of the wolf and serpent. Let these generous sentiments be supposed ever so weak; let them be sufficient to move even a hand or finger of our body; they must still direct the determinations of our mind, and where everything else is equal, produce a cool preference of what is useful and serviceable to mankind, above what is pernicious and dangerous.’ Sufficient is a misprint for insufficient. In the copy in the British Museum the corrections with the pen have not been made.
Note 1. Hume had written to Millar on Sept. 3:—’I am pretty certain that I shall be able to deliver to you the manuscript [of the History of England under the Tudors] about a twelvemonth hence… You seemed desirous that we should mutually enter into articles about this volume; which I declined, till I should be so much advanced as to be sure of my resolution of executing it, and could judge with some certainty of the bulk.’ He goes on to ask for £700. Burton's Hume, ii. 37.
Note 1. The History of Great Britain under the Stuarts, of which Hume was preparing a second edition. The first volume, requiring as it did more alterations, was not sent up till six weeks later (post, p. 28).
Note 2. By‘this previous volume’ he means the second volume of The History of England under the Tudors. The History of the Reign of James I having been published before the History of the Reign of Elizabeth was begun had now to be so altered that one volume might be‘adjusted’ to the other.
Note 3. Millar had bought from Hamilton and Balfour the unsold copies of the first volume.
Note 4. Hume says that when the two volumes of a work are brought out at different times not so many copies are taken of the second as of the first.
Note 5. For Johnson's praise of Millar, see ante, note on Hume's Autobiography.
Note 1. Millar, as was seen in the last letter, was hesitating about reprinting the first volume of the History of the Stuarts, of which more copies had been printed than of the second volume.
Note 2. The original title of the first published portion of his work had been The History of Great Britain, Volume I. Containing the reigns of James I and Charles I.
Note 3. Hume writing to Millar on June 20, 1758 about a volume of Sketches and Essays that Dr. Armstrong published anonymously, says:—’I find the ingenious author, whoever he be, ridicules the new method of spelling, as he calls it; but that method of spelling honor, instead of honour, was Lord Bolingbroke's, Dr. Middleton's, and Mr. Pope's; besides many other eminent writers. However, to tell truth, I hate to be any way particular in a trifle; and therefore if Mr. Strahan has not printed off above ten or twelve sheets, I should not be displeased if you told him to follow the usual, that is, his own way of spelling throughout.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 43. Boling-broke and Pope certainly did not always follow the new spelling. In the Patriot King, ed. 1750, I find indeed splendor, but also honour and favour. In the second edition of The Dunciad, Pope follows the old spelling, as also in the first edition of Seventeen Hundred and Thirty Eight. He spells however again, agen. In turning over a page or two of the first volume of the first edition of Hume's History I came on such spelling as tho’, thro’-out, knowlege, spred, ardor, splendor, favor, rigor, labored. Boswell in the Preface to his Tour to Corsica, published in 1767, writes:—’Of late it has become the fashion to render our language more neat and trim by leaving out k after c, and u in the last syllable of words which used to end in our.’
Note 1. The History of England under the House of Tudor. It was published in two volumes quarto early in the following year. See Gent. Mag. 1759, p. 133.
Note 2. Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. p. 302) tells how John Home three years earlier started on the same journey on horse-back, with his‘tragedy in one pocket of his great coat and his clean shirt and night cap in the other.’ His friends, alarmed lest the tragedy should be lost, persuaded him to buy a pair of leather bags. In the spring of 1758 Carlyle accompanied his eldest sister to London.‘It is to be noted,’ he writes,‘that we could get no four-wheeled chaise till we came to Durham. Turnpike roads were only in their commencement in the north.’ Ib. p. 331.‘The first toll,’ says Hume,‘we read of in England for mending the highways was imposed in the reign of Edward III. It was that for repairing the road between St. Giles's and Temple-bar.’ Ed. 1802, ii. 496.‘The morning of the Perthshire election in 1761 I heard James, Duke of Athole, say that in 1713, when he was chosen member of Parliament, there was a great meeting, yet his father's coach was the only carriage there.’ Scotland and Scotsmen, ii. 88.
Note 1. This letter, I have little doubt, was written on the conclusion of the History of England under the House of Tudor. That it was written, not in Edinburgh, but in London, is clear from the letter itself. Hume had gone thither towards the end of 1758, to see this portion of his work through the press. Robertson, who was on the eve of publishing his History of Scotland, would be most eager to see how his friend had dealt with that period in which the affairs of England and Scotland became so much involved. Here there was some danger of a rivalry between the two friends.‘I was exceedingly sorry,’ wrote Hume to Robertson on Jan. 25, 1759,‘not to be able to comply with your desire, when you expressed your wish that I should not write this period.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 341. In the same letter he says:—’I am nearly printed out, and shall be sure to send you a copy by the stage-coach, or some other conveyance.’ The only ground of hesitation I had in fixing the date is that Hume speaks of‘my volume,’ whereas the History of the Tudors was in two volumes. In the last letter, however, he speaks of it as‘my new volume.’ He cannot be speaking of his History of the Stuarts which was indeed published a volume at a time, for he was in Edinburgh when both volumes were brought out. Dr. Burton is in error when he states (Life of Hume, ii. 65) that Hume on his return to Scotland about the beginning of November, 1759, left behind him the History of the Tudors for publication. It had already been shewn (ib. p. 52) that the book was published in the previous spring.
Hume wrote to Robertson about the beginning of March:— ‘Next week I am published, and then I expect a constant comparison will be made between Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume. I shall tell you in a few weeks which of these Heroes is likely to prevail. Meanwhile I can inform both of them for their comforts, that their combat is not likely to make half as much noise as that between Broughton and the one-eyed coachman.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 345. In the concluding volumes of his History he pays Robertson the compliment of speaking of him as‘an elegant historian.’ Ed. 1802, ii. 486.
Note 2. Millar, no doubt, without obtaining Hume's consent, had shewn a copy also to his old assailant Warburton ; who wrote to Hurd on March 3 of this year:—’Hume has out-done himself in this new History in showing his contempt of Religion…. If his history be well received, I shall conclude that there is even an end of all pretence to religion. But I should think it will not; because I fancy the good reception of Robertson's proceeded from the decency of it.’ Letters from a late Eminent Prelate, p. 282.
Note 3. Dr. A. Carlyle, writing of September, 1759, says that‘he supped one night with the celebrated Dr. Franklin at Dr. Robertson's house, then at the head of the Cowgate, where he had come at Whit-sunday, after his being translated to Edinburgh. Dr. Franklin had his son with him; and there were David Hume, Adam Smith, and two or three more.’‘Franklin,’ he adds,‘was a silent man;’ but his son was open and communicative, and pleased the company better than his father.’ Carlyle's Auto. p. 394. Sir Walter Scott's father had married the year before, and had taken a house at the head of the College Wynd which led up from the Cowgate to the College. Here Scott was born on Aug. 15, 1771. Lockhart's Scott, ed. 1839, i. 19. Robertson was not made Principal of the College till 1762.
Note 4. Boswell writing in May, 1775, about his departure from London for Scotland says:—’dr. Johnson went with me to the inn in Holborn, where the Newcastle fly sets out.’ Letters of Boswell, p. 196. New Street, in which Strahan lived, is close to Holborn.
Note 5.‘Andrew Reid, a man not without considerable abilities, and not unacquainted with letters or with life, undertook to persuade Lyttelton, as he had persuaded himself, that he was master of the secret of punctuation; and as fear begets credulity he was employed, I know not at what price, to point the pages of Henry the Second.’ Lyttelton's fear was of hostile critics. He published his book‘with such anxiety as only vanity can dictate.’ Johnson's Works, viii. 492.
Note 1. The reference below to the King's Speech shows that this letter was written shortly after Nov. 18, 1760.
Note 2. Hume was finishing the last part of his History, the first as it now stands—The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Cœsar to the Accession of Henry VII. On July 28, 1759, he had written to Adam Smith:—’I signed yesterday an agreement with Mr. Millar, where I mention that I proposed to write The History of England from the beginning till the accession of Henry VII; and he engages to give me £1400 for the copy. This is the first previous agreement ever I made with a bookseller. I shall execute this work at leisure, without fatiguing myself by such ardent application as I have hitherto employed.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 60. Francis Horner records:—’I have heard from very good authority that when Hume was engaged in the composition of his History, he generally worked thirteen hours a day.’ Horner's Memoirs, i. 175. It was published at the end of 1761.‘The copy-money given me by the booksellers,’ writes Hume in his Autobiography,‘much exceeded anything formerly known in England. I was become not only independent, but opulent.’ Horace Walpole wrote of these volumes on Dec. 8, 1761 (Letters, iii. 465):—’I not only know what has been written, but what would be written. Our story is so exhausted that, to make it new, they really make it new. Mr. Hume has exalted Edward the Second and depressed Edward the Third. The next historian, I suppose, will make James the First a hero and geld Charles the Second.’
Note 3. On June 29 of the following year, 1761, Hume wrote from Ninewells that he was‘so far on his road to London.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 90. That he was in London as late as Sept. 2 is shown by a letter in his Private Correspondence, p. 4. He went up, no doubt, to carry his two new volumes through the press. The Devil was the printer's devil, or messenger who would bring the proofs. See Boswell's Johnson, iv. 99, for‘a very respectable author who married a printer's devil.’
Note 4. Our friend was Andrew Millar. His first shop, when he started business in a very small way, was close to St. Clement's Church. Nichols, Lit. Anec. vi. 443. He had afterwards moved to the shop that had been occupied by‘Jacob Tonson, the friend and bookseller of Dryden, at “Shakspeare's Head, over against Catherine Street in the Strand,” now No. 141 (since rebuilt). Millar was a Scotchman, and distinguished his house by the sign of “Buchanan's Head.”’ Cunningham's Hand-Book of London, ed. 1850, p. 475.
Note 5. Perhaps Dr. William Rose, of Chiswick,‘the eminent schoolmaster and critic, and one of Andrew Millar's literary counsellors. He was largely concerned in the Monthly Review.’ Nichols, Lit. Anec. iii. 386.
Note 6. George III began to reign on Oct. 25, 1760.‘The accession of George the Third to the throne of these Kingdoms,’ wrote Boswell,‘opened a new and brighter prospect to men of literary merit, who had been honoured with no mark of royal favour in the preceding reign.’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 372. For Hume it was indeed the Augustan age. In 1765 he was appointed Secretary to the Embassy at Paris, having for nearly two years performed the duties of that office (ante, Auto.), and in 1767 he was made one of the Under-Secretaries of State. In 1765 a pension of £400 a year was settled on him. Burton's Hume, ii. 289. In 1751 his income was only £50 a year, while he had‘a hundred pounds’ worth of books, great store of linens and fine clothes, and near £100 in his pocket.’ Ib. i. 342.‘In 1769 I returned to Edinburgh,’ he writes,‘very opulent, for I possessed a revenue of £1000 a year.’ Ante, Auto. Johnson received a pension of £300 a year, Beattie of £200, and Home of £300 with an appointment. Adam Smith was made a Commissioner of Customs, and Robert Burns a gauger. The hack-partisan, Shebbeare, who had written himself into the pillory under George II, wrote himself into a pension under George III.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 112, n. 3. Gray, Goldsmith, Shenstone, Smollett, Sterne and Cowper lived and died unpensioned.
Note 7.‘Nov. 4, 1760. The Archbishop [Secker] has such hopes of the young King that he is never out of the circle. He trod upon the Duke's [Duke of Cumberland] foot on Sunday in the haste of his zeal; the Duke said to him, “My Lord, if your Grace is in such a hurry to make your court that is the way.”’ Walpole's Letters, iii. 359.‘Nov. 24, 1760. The Archbishop, who is never out of the drawing-room, has great hopes from the King's goodness that he shall make something of him, that is something bad of him.’Ib. p. 365.
Note 8.‘My good brother and ally the King of Prussia [Frederick the Great], although surrounded with numerous armies of enemies, has with a magnanimity and perseverance almost beyond example not only withstood their various attacks, but has obtained very considerable victories over them.’ King's Speech on opening Parliament, Nov. 18, 1760. Parl. Hist. xv. 983. Horace Walpole, writing six days later about his forthcoming Anecdotes of Painting, says (Letters, iii. 365):—’It neither flatters the King of Prussia nor Prince Ferdinand …; how should it please?’
Note 9. Johnson, writing in 1756 of the general toleration of religion granted by Frederick, says:—’It is the great taint of his character that he has given reason to doubt whether this toleration is the effect of charity or indifference, whether he means to support good men of every religion, or considers all religions as equally good.’ Johnson's Works, vi. 443. Voltaire, describing the life at Potsdam, says:—Il n’entrait jamais dans le palais ni femmes ni prêtres. En un mot Frédéric vivait sans cour, sans conseil, et sans culte.’ (Œuvres de Voltaire, ed. 1819–25, lxiv. 210. In La Loi Naturelle (written about 1751) Voltaire writes:—
Note 10.‘That happy extinction of divisions and that union and good harmony which continue to prevail amongst my subjects afford me the most agreeable prospects.’Parl. Hist. xv. 985. Horace Walpole, writing three weeks later, says:—’I have a maxim that “the extinction of party is the origin of faction.”’ Letters, iii. 370. In 1783 Boswell and Johnson were discussing how it was that‘this has been a very factious reign.’ Boswell's Johnson, iv. 200.
Note 11. In 1756 Hume wrote to Dr. Clephane:—’With regard to politics and the character of princes and great men I think I am very moderate. My views of things are more conformable to Whig principles, my representations of persons to Tory prejudices. Nothing can so much prove that men commonly regard more persons than things as to find that I am commonly numbered among the Tories.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 11. On May 15, 1761, he wrote to the Countess De Boufflers:—’The spirit of faction which prevails in this country, and which is a natural attendant on civil liberty, carries everything to extremes on the one side as well as on the other; and I have the satisfaction to find that my performance has alternately given displeasure to both parties.’ Priv. Corresp. p. 2. See ante in his Autobiography for the alterations made by him in his History of the Stuarts‘invariably to the Tory side.’ The student who reflects on the light that has of late years been thrown on the history of England under the Stuarts will smile at Hume's self-complacency when he writes:—’I have been very busy in adding the Authorities to the Volumes of the Stuarts…. I fancy that I shall be able to put my account of that Period of English History beyond controversy.’ Letter of Dec. 18, 1759. M. S. R. S. E. In his Autobiography, written shortly before his death, he says:—’I see many symptoms of my literary reputation's breaking out at last with additional lustre.’
Note 1. James Macpherson, in the summer of 1760, published Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands. Gray, who had seen some of them in manuscript, wrote:—’I am gone mad about them ; they are said to be translations (literal and in prose) from the Erse tongue, done by one Macpherson, a young clergyman in the Highlands … I was so struck with their beauty that I writ into Scotland to make a thousand inquiries; the letters I have in return are ill-wrote, ill-reasoned, unsatisfactory, calculated (one would imagine) to deceive, and yet not cunning enough to do it cleverly. In short the whole external evidence would make one believe these fragments counterfeit; but the internal is so strong on the other side that I am resolved to believe them genuine spite of the Devil and the Kirk…. In short this man is the very demon of poetry, or he has lighted on a treasure hid for ages.’ Mason's Gray, ed. 1807, ii. 163. He reproached Mason with‘the affectation of not admiring,’ who says in a note:—’It was rather a want of credulity than admiration that Mr. Gray should have laid to my charge.’ Ib. p. 170. Hume, in a letter dated Aug. 16, 1760, which was shown to Gray, says:—’Certain it is that these poems are in every body's mouth in the Highlands, have been handed down from father to son, and are of an age beyond all memory and tradition … Everybody in Edinburgh is so convinced of this truth, that we have endeavoured to put Mr. Macpherson on a way of procuring us more of these wild flowers. He is a modest, sensible, young man, not settled in any living…. We have therefore set about a subscription of a guinea or two guineas a-piece, in order to enable him to undertake a mission into the Highlands, where he hopes to recover more of these fragments.’ Burton's Hume, i. 463. Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto, p. 276) told Hume that he had met but two people in Scotland who doubted their authenticity. Gibbon even so late as 1776 quotes Ossian in the first volume of the Decline and Fall, ch. vi, though he admits that‘something of a doubtful mist still hangs over these Highland traditions.’ Horace Walpole at first was a believer. On April 14, 1761, he wrote:—’My doubts of the genuineness are all vanished.’ Letters, iii. 395. Eight months later, when the first volume of Ossian was published, his doubts returned as convictions :—’Fingal is come out; I have not yet got through it; not but it is very fine—yet I cannot at once compass an epic poem now. It tires me to death to read how many ways a warrior is like the moon, or the sun, or a rock, or a lion, or the ocean. Fingal is a brave collection of similes, and will serve all the boys at Eton and Westminster for these twenty years. I will trust you with a secret, but you must not disclose it; I should be ruined with my Scotch friends; in short I cannot believe it genuine.’ Ib. p. 466. In a long review of this volume in the Annual Register for 1761, ii. 276, we are told that‘the venerable author and his elegant translator have mutually conferred immortality on each other.’ The reviewer perhaps was Burke. The following passage is not unworthy of his pen.‘The editor has recovered from the obscurity of barbarism, the rust of fifteen hundred years, and the last breath of a dying language, these inestimable relics of the genuine spirit of poetry.’ Johnson from the first scorned them as forgeries and as froth.‘Sir,’ he said,‘a man might write such stuff for ever, if he would abandon his mind to it.’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 396, n. 3. To Macpherson, who had threatened him in‘a foolish and impudent letter,’he wrote:—’I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat by the menaces of a ruffian.’ Ib. ii. 298. Blair foolishly flattered himself at one time that he had convinced Johnson. He wrote to Hume on July 1, 1765:—’Have not I silenced all infidelity and even scepticism concerning Fingal in the Appendix to my Dissertation … I have converted even that barbarian Sam. Johnson by it, who as L[ord] Elibank tells me owns himself now convinced. Will you still have any scruples?’ M. S. R. S. E.
Hume in time changed his opinion both of Macpherson and his poems.‘I have scarce ever known,’ he wrote in 1763,‘a man more perverse and unamiable.’ Burton's Hume, i. 470. Dr. A. Carlyle says that‘Hume at first gloried in Ossian's poems, but on going to London he went over to the other side, and loudly affirmed them to be inventions of Macpherson.’ Dr. A. Carlyle's Auto. p. 276. From London, Hume wrote to Dr. Blair on Sept. 19, 1763:—’I often hear them totally rejected with disdain and indignation, as a palpable and most impudent forgery. This opinion has indeed become very prevalent among the men of letters in London.’ Burton's Hume, i. 465. He wrote an Essay on the Authenticity of Ossian's Poems, though he never published it, perhaps out of regard for his friend Dr. Blair, who stood forth as Macpherson's champion, perhaps from his unwillingness to expose a Scotchman. In it he says:—’I think the fate of this production the most curious effect of prejudice, where superstition had no share, that ever was in the world. A tiresome, insipid performance, which, if it had been presented in its real form as the work of a contemporary, an obscure Highlander, no man could ever have had the patience to have once perused, has, by passing for the poetry of a royal bard who flourished fifteen centuries ago, been universally read, has been pretty generally admired, and has been translated in prose and verse into several languages of Europe. Even the style of the supposed English translation has been admired, though harsh and absurd in the highest degree; jumping perpetually from verse to prose, and from prose to verse; and running, most of it, in the light cadence and measure of Molly Mog. Such is the Erse epic which has been puffed with a zeal and enthusiasm that has drawn a ridicule on my countrymen.’ Ib. i. 471.
Macpherson flourished by his roguery. He had a pension which Horace Walpole in one place puts at £600 a year and in another place at £800, for‘supervising the newspapers’ (Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 17, 483); he sat for a time in Parliament (Wheatley's Wraxall's Memoirs, v. 218), and he was buried in Westminster Abbey (Stanley's Westminster Abbey, ed. 1868, p. 298).
Note 2. A MS. letter of Hume of this time that I have seen is dated‘Edinburgh, Jacksland, 1st Jany. 1761.’‘Jack's Land,’ says Dr. Burton,’ was a tenement in the Canongate, right opposite to a house in which Smollett occasionally resided with his sister. The term “Land” applied to one of those edifices—some of them ten or twelve stories high—in which the citizens of Edinburgh, pressed upwards as it were by the increase of the population within a narrow circuit of walls, made stair-cases supply the place of streets, and erected perpendicular thoroughfares. A single floor was a century ago [written in 1846] sufficient to accommodate the family of a Scottish nobleman.’ Life of Hume, i. 343.
Note 1. What was the nature of the prophecy I have not been able to ascertain.
Note 2. Hume wrote to Millar on March 15, 1762:—’I am running over both the ancient history and the Tudors, and shall send you them up by the wagon as soon as they are corrected. Please tell Mr. Strahan to keep carefully this copy I send up, as well as that Edition: current; Page:  which I left of the Stuarts; for if you intend to print an octavo edition next summer, it will be better to do it from these copies which are corrected than from the new edition, where there will necessarily be some errors of the press.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 130. The copy which he tells Millar he is sending up is no doubt‘the second volume of the Stuarts’ mentioned in the letter to Strahan. It is not‘the ancient history’ or‘the Tudors,’ for both of these he is correcting, nor one of the volumes of‘the Stuarts,’ which he had left in London corrected on his visit in 1761. It must therefore be the second volume, and the letter must have been written at the same time as the one to Millar.
Note 3. Hume wrote to Millar on March 18, 1764:—’I shoud be glad to know how your new Method of publishing Volume by Volume has succeeded.’ M.S.R.S.E. Whether he is speaking of the edition of his own History in eight volumes published in 1763, or of some other book, I do not know.
The first uniform edition of the History was that of 1763 in 8 vols. octavo; in 1770 a quarto edition was published, also in 8 vols.
Note 1. Hume wrote from Edinburgh to Adam Smith on Aug. 9, 1763:—’I have got an invitation, accompanied with great prospects and expectations, from Lord Hertford, if I would accompany him, though at first without any character, in his embassy to Paris. I hesitated much on the acceptance of this offer, though in appearance very inviting; and I thought it ridiculous at my years to be entering on a new scene, and to put myself in the lists as a candidate of fortune. But I reflected that I had in a manner abjured all literary occupations; that I resolved to give up my future life entirely to amusements; that there could not be a better pastime than such a journey, especially with a man of Lord Hertford's character; and that it would be easy to prevent my acceptance from having the least appearance of dependance.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 157. Writing from London on Sept. 13, after mentioning all the advantages of the position, he continues:—’But notwithstanding all these considerations, shall I tell you the truth? I repine at my loss of ease and leisure and retirement and independence; and it is not without a sigh I look backwards, nor without reluctance that I cast my eye forwards.’ Ib. p. 161. On Nov. 9 he wrote from Fontainebleau:—’I am sensible that I set out too late and that I am misplaced; and I wish twice or thrice a-day for my easy chair and my retreat in James's Court. Never think, dear Ferguson, that as long as you are master of your own fireside and your own time you can be unhappy, or that any other circumstance can make an addition to your enjoyment.’ Ib. p. 173. In an undated letter he says:—’Thus you see my present plan of life sketched out, but it is unsuitable to my age and temper; and I am determined to retrench and to abandon the fine folks before they abandon me.’ Ib. p. 181.
Note 2. John Worrall kept a book shop in Bell Yard, Temple Bar; and his brother Thomas one at Temple Bar. Nichols, Lit. Anec. iii. 739.
Note 3. In the list of books in the Gent. Mag. for November 1739, p. 608, is entered The Jamaica Laws from 1681 to 1737. Printed by J. Basket. Folio, price £1 1s.
Note 1. Two days earlier Hume, writing to Millar, had asked him to send to him‘a copy of this new Book burnd by Order of the House of Commons.’ M.S.R.S.E. Very likely he had heard of the book from the Earl of Hertford, to whom Horace Walpole had written on Feb. 24:—’The events of the week have been a complaint made by Lord Lyttelton in your House of a book called Droit le Roy; a tract written in the highest strain of prerogative, and drawn from all the old obsolete law-books on that question. The ministers met this complaint with much affected indignation, and even, on the complaint being communicated to us, took it up themselves; and both Houses have ordered the book to be burned by the hangman.’ Letters, iv. 198.
Note 2. Voltaire's Traité sur la Tolérance à l’Occasion de la Mort de Jean Calas was published at the end of 1763. Voltaire, in his letters written in December of that year, tells of the difficulties he had in getting it introduced from Switzerland into France. On Dec. 13 he wrote to D’Alembert:—’Vous ne savez pas combien il est difficile de faire parvenir de gros paquets par la poste…. L’éditeur a pris, pour envoyer à Paris ses ballots, une route si détournée et si longue, qu’ils n’arriveront pas à Paris cette année.’ In a postscript he adds:—’Les pauvres Cramer [his publishers at Geneva] ont été obligés de faire faire à leurs paquets le tour de l’Europe, pour arriver à Paris.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, ed. 1819—25, lxii. 252—4. On Dec. 31 he writes:—’deux paquets adressés à M. Damilaville sont restés entre les griffes des vautours. Il faut que le vôtre n’ait point échappé à leur barbarie, puisque je n’ai aucune nouvelle de vous; tout cela m’embarrasse. Je vois qu’on ne tolère ni la Tolérance ni les tolérans.’ Ib. p. 259. On Feb. 13, 1764, he writes:—’Le petit livret de la Tolérance a déjà fait au moins quelque bien. Il a tiré un pauvre diable des galères, et un autre de prison. Leur crime était d’avoir entendu en plein champ la parole de Dieu prêchée par un ministre huguenot. Ils ont bien promis de n’entendre de sermon de leur vie.’ Ib. p. 270. Later on he described the treatise as‘le catéchisme de quiconque a du bon sens et de l’équité.’ Ib. lxiv. 315.
Note 3. Mme. Riccoboni was born in 1714 and died in 1792. She belonged to a family of good position which was ruined by sharing in Law's speculations. For a short time she was on the stage, where she met with but moderate success. Her husband who died in 1772 was an actor, and belonged to a family of actors. Among her novels were Les lettres de Fanny Butler, Les lettres de Julie Catesby, and L’histoire de Miss Jenny. Her last days were passed in great poverty. Nouv. Biog. Gén. xlii. 153. She was a correspondent of Garrick. Writing to him on May 15, 1765, she says:—’J’ai reçu hier par un libraire de Paris des compliments très-honnêtes d’une Madame Broock ou Brock, je ne m’en souviens plus. C’est la traductrice de Milady Catesby: elle écrit qu’elle en est à la quatrième édition. Cela est fort différent de Monsieur Becket, qui s’est ruiné avec Miss Jenny. Cette dame me fait demander la permission de m’envoyer ses ouvrages. J’avais dessein de lui faire tenir les miens; mais Monsieur Hume ne la connaissait point, et s’avisa de donner cette malheureuse Jenny à Monsieur Becket, qui en a fait un garde-boutique, un fond de magasin pour ses arrière-neveux.’ Garrick Corresp. ii. 436. In the list of books in the Gent. Mag. for April and May 1760, p. 251, I find‘Letters from Lady Catesby to Lady Henrietta Campley. From the French. Price three shillings. Dodsley.’ According to the Dict. of Nat. Biog. vi. 420, this book soon reached a sixth edition. Mrs. Frances Brooke, the translator, was the author of The Siege of Sinope. She pressed Johnson to look over this play till at last he told her that she must correct it herself.‘“But, Sir,” said she, “I have no time. I have already so many irons in the fire.” “Why, then, Madam,” said he, “the best thing I can advise you to do is to put your tragedy along with your irons.”’ Hannah More's Memoirs, i. 200.
Note 4. L’histoire de Miss Jenny Revel, écrite et envoyée par elle à Milady Comtesse de Roscommon. In the translation, The History of Miss Jenny Salisbury, addressed to the Countess of Roscommon.
Note 5. No doubt one of the couriers or messengers going between the French Embassy and London. See post, p. 45.
Note 6. Horace Walpole, writing from Paris on Sept. 22, 1765, says (Letters, iv. 407):—’There are swarms of English here, but most of them are going to my great satisfaction.’
Note 7. Hume wrote to Millar on April 8, 1762:—’I was extremely obliged to you for advancing the money in order to enable me to take part in the last subscription. I shall certainly keep it till the Peace, which seems now to be in a tolerable good way; and then I shall be a considerable gainer.’ M. S. R. S. E. On Aug. 30 of the same year Robert Wood, the author of The Ruins of Palmyra and for some time an Under-Secretary of State, wrote to Hume:—'shan’t we see you next winter with a pair of quartos? You must make haste to put them into the funds, for scrip rises fast. Ramsay and little Hall talk of nothing else but their paper riches. We consider every shilling we put in as eighteen-pence the moment it goes to the Alley’ [’Change Alley]. Letters of Eminent Persons to David Hume, p. 263. On Nov. 22 following, Hume wrote from Edinburgh to Millar:—’The Stocks are now very high; but I suppose will not come to their full height this twelvemonth, and till then I fancy you will not think it prudent in me to sell out.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 140. On Sept. 3, 1764, he wrote to Millar from Paris:—’The lowness of stocks surely proceeds not from any apprehension of war; never was a general peace established in Europe with more likelihood of its continuance; but I fancy your stocks are become at last too weighty, to the conviction of all the world. What must happen if we go on at the same rate during another war?’ Ib. p. 232. Millar replied early in 1765:—’It is generally believed that Mr. Grenville is a good manager of the finances and in general means well; as a proof of it, our stocks have been creeping up daily, and it is now generally believed that 3 per cent. will soon come to par if affairs continue peaceable.’ Ib. p. 265. In Feb. 1762, the 3 per cent. consols were as low as 62, Gent. Mag. 1762, p. 96: by November they had risen to 86. Ib. p. 554. On March 2o, 1764, the day on which Hume wrote, they were at 85. Ib. 1764, p. 148. In March 1737, during the long peace of Walpole's ministry, Sir John Barnard in a motion for the reduction of interest said:—’Every one knows that even those public securities which bear an interest of 3 per cent. only now sell at a premium in‘Change Alley.’ Parl. Hist. x. 74.
Note 1. Messenger. See ante, p. 44, n. 5.
Note 2. Hume, writing on April 26 of this year, says:—’It is almost out of the memory of man that any British has been here on a footing of familiarity with the good company except my Lord Holderness…. I may add General Clarke, who was liked and esteemed by several people of merit, which he owed to his great cleverness and ingenuity, and to his surprising courage in introducing himself.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 194. Dr. A. Carlyle, who met Clarke at Harrogate in 1764, gives a very different account of him (Auto. p. 451):—’He was a very singular man, of a very ingenious and active intellect, though he had broke short in his education by entering at an early age into the army; and having by nature a copious elocution, he threw out his notions, which were often new, with a force and rapidity which stunned you more than they convinced. He applied his warlike ideas to colloquial intercourse, and attacked your opinions as he would do a redoubt or a castle, not by sap and mine, but by open storm. I must confess that of all the men who had so much understanding he was the most disagreeable person to converse with whom I ever knew…. You must contradict him and wrangle with him, or you had no peace.’
Note 1. Strahan replied on July 10:—’It is not easy to say how many presses there are in London, but as near as I can guess they are from 150 to 200—150 is pretty near the truth, I mean such as [are] constantly employed.’ M. S. R. S. E. He adds:—’At present, and indeed ever since Wilkes's affair was finished, we have been in a state of most profound tranquillity. The Names of Pitt and Wilkes and Liberty and Privilege are heard no more…. Lord Bute still holds his usual Influence at Court and is very likely to do so long; for the King (if I may use the expression) doats upon him. Certain it is, he does nothing without his Advice and Approbation.’ Wilkes, on Feb. 21 of this year had been convicted of re-publishing No. 45 of the North Briton, and of printing and publishing an Essay on Woman. As he did not appear to receive judgment he was outlawed and was at this time in Paris.
Note 1. T. Becket was the publisher of the translation of Mme. Riccoboni's new novel. On Aug. 31, 1765 she wrote to Garrick:—’J’ai remis à Mr. Foley la petite somme dont j’étais redevable à Mr. Becket. Remerciez-le bien pour moi, I charge you. Je ne lui écris point, dans la crainte qu’il ne se fasse lire ma lettre par son traducteur, qui y trouverait une foule de malédictions contre lui. Jenny est pitoyable; une traduction lâche, froide, pleine de contresens, de répétitions, de plates épithètes, snowy hands, the fountain of love, fy, eh, fy! rien de plus long, de plus maussade, ce n’est ni mon style ni mes idées.’ Garrick Corresp. ii. 457. In‘fy, eh, fy’ she is imitating Garrick. Boswell describes him as saying on one occasion:—’You are, perhaps, the worst—eh, eh!’Boswell's Johnson, ii. 83; and on another occasion:—’What! eh! is Strahan a good judge of an epigram?’ Ib. iii. 258.
Note 2. On Jan. 11, 1765 Strahan replied:—’Mme. Riccoboni's book does not sell at all. Of course we must be losers…. We have been all this summer in a state of profound tranquillity… Wilkes's last letter hath made very little impression, and serves only to bolt the door against himself, and seal his expulsion from his country.’ M. S. R. S. E. Wilkes's letter was addressed to the Electors of Aylesbury, dated Oct. 22, 1764, and first printed in Paris. Almon's Wilkes, iii. 85.
Note 1. Sir Gilbert Elliot wrote to Hume on March 25, 1765:—’Our business here draws to a close. To-morrow Mr. Grenville opens∗ the budget, as it is usually called.’ M. S. R. S. E. So quiet indeed was the Session that it closed as early as May 25. The King in his speech on that day said:—’The dispatch which you have given with so much zeal and wisdom to the public business enables me now to put a period to this Session of Parliament…. I have seen with the most perfect approbation that you have employed this season of tranquillity in promoting those objects which I have recommended to your attention; and in framing such regulations as may best enforce the just authority of the legislature, and at the same time secure and extend the commerce, and unite the interests of every part of my dominions.’ Parl. Hist. xvi. 78. It was in this quiet Session that the American Stamp Act was carried. Burke, in his Speech on American Taxation, in 1774, answering the statement that the opposition shown to it in Parliament had encouraged the Americans, said:—’As to the fact of a strenuous opposition to the Stamp Act, I sat as a stranger in your gallery when the Act was under consideration. Far from anything inflammatory, I never heard a more languid debate in this House. No more than two or three gentlemen, as I remember, spoke against the Act, and that with great reserve and remarkable temper. There was but one division in the whole progress of the Bill; and the minority did not reach to more than 39 or 40. In the House of Lords I do not recollect that there was any debate or division at all.’ Payne's Select Works of Burke, i. 140.
Note 2. Horace Walpole wrote to Sir Horace Mann on March 26 of this year:—’I don’t remember the day when I was reduced to complain in winter and Parliament-tide of having nothing to say. Yet it is this kind of nothing that has occasioned my long silence. There has not been an event, from a debate to a wedding, capable of making a paragraph. Such calms often forerun storms.’ Letters, iv. 337. Though he was in Parliament at the time, yet he only once mentions the debates on the Stamp Act. On Feb. 12, he wrote:—’There has been nothing of note in Parliament but one slight day on the American taxes.’ Ib. p. 322.
Note 3. Hume wrote to Blair on April 6 of this year:—’There is a very remarkable difference between London and Paris, of which I gave warning to Helvétius when he went over lately to England, and of which he told me on his return he was fully sensible. If a man have the misfortune in the former place to attach himself to letters, even if he succeeds, I know not with whom he is to live, nor how he is to pass his time in a suitable society. The little company there that is worth conversing with are cold and unsociable; or are warmed only by faction and cabal; so that a man who plays no part in public affairs becomes altogether insignificant; and if he is not rich he becomes even contemptible. Hence that nation are relapsing fast into the deepest stupidity and ignorance. But in Paris a man that distinguishes himself in letters meets immediately with regard and attention.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 268. When he was in London in 1767, while thanking Dr. Blair for offering to introduce him to Dr. Percy, he says:—’It would be impracticable for me to cultivate his friendship, as men of letters here have no place of rendezvous; and are indeed sunk and forgot in the general torrent of the world.’ Ib. p. 385.
Note 4. See ante, p. 43, n. 2, for an explanation of this.
Note 5. Mme. Riccoboni's novel.
Note 6. Hume's History closes with the Revolution. The following extracts from his letters show that a continuation of it was for some years in his thoughts.
Note 7. Dr. J. H. Burton, writing of the years 1765–6, says:—’Allusion has occasionally been made to the difficulty of satisfying Hume with any amount of literary success. His correspondence with Millar is a long grumble about the prejudices he has had to encounter, and their influence on the circulation of his works; while the bookseller, by the most glowing pictures of their popularity, is only able to elicit a partial gleam of content.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 263. It is shown hereafter (Letter of March 13, 1770) that Millar's pictures were more glowing than correct. Nevertheless, Hume's success as a writer was so great that‘Millar offered him any price’ for the continuation of his History. At the close of his life he wrote in his Autobiography:—’I see many symptoms of my literary reputation's breaking out at last with additional lustre.’
Note 8. The violence of Hume's feelings towards the English is not seen in his earlier correspondence. He had even at one time thought of settling in London. On Jan. 25, 1759, he wrote:—’I used every expedient to evade this journey to London; yet it is now uncertain whether I shall ever leave it.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 50. On July 28 in the same year he wrote:—’I am in doubt whether I shall stay here and execute the work; or return to Scotland, and only come up here to consult the manuscripts. I have several inducements on both sides. Scotland suits my fortune best, and is the seat of my principal friendships; but it is too narrow a place for me.’ Ib. p. 61. (Boswell in like manner‘complained to Johnson that he felt himself discontented in Scotland, as too narrow a sphere.’ Boswell's Johnson, iii. 176.)
Note 9. In 1756 Johnson‘accepted of a guinea for writing the introduction to The London Chronicle, an evening newspaper…. This Chronicle still subsists,’ continues Boswell,‘and from what I observed, when I was abroad, has a more extensive circulation upon the Continent than any of the English newspapers. It was constantly read by Johnson himself.’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 317. Boswell wrote to Johnson on March 12, 1778:—’The alarm of your late illness distressed me but a few hours; for I found it contradicted in The London Chronicle, which I could depend upon as authentic concerning you, Mr. Strahan being the printer of it.’ Ib. iii. 221.
Note 10.‘An Essay on the Constitution of England, price 1s. 6d. T. Becket and P. de Hondt, London’: London Chronicle, Jan. 5, 1765. In the number for Jan. 10 three columns of extracts are given.
Note 11. Franklin had met Hume when he visited Edinburgh in 1759. Dr. A. Carlyle's Auto. p. 395. Later on he stayed in his house in James's Court for several weeks. Ib. p. 437. Dr. Carlyle does not mention the year of his second visit, but I have little doubt that it was in 1771. See post, Letter of Nov. 12, 1771. Franklin's friendship with his brother-printer Strahan, which had been long and close, was broken by the American War. Strahan, who was a strong supporter of Lord North's ministry, received from his old friend the following letter:—
Note 1. The Grenville Ministry which had been formed on April 16, 1763, was succeeded by the Rockingham Ministry on July 13, 1765. The nature of the transactions which excited Hume's curiosity at a distance can be seen in the following extracts:—
Note 2. In the letter writers of this age distrust is very often shewn of the Post Office. Such passages as the following are not unfrequently met with:—’London, April 19, 1748. I know that most letters from and to me are opened.’ Lord Chesterfield to Mr. Day-rolles. Chesterfield's Misc. Works, iv. 47.
Note 3. It was inserted in the Chronicle of June 13.
Note 4. On June 5 of the previous year Wilkes wrote from Paris, where he was living in exile:—’Lord Hertford gave yesterday a grand dinner to all the English here except one, and to the true Irish Whigs; nor, like a good courtier, did he omit the new converts, the Scotch…. I am the single Englishman not invited by the ambassador of my country on the only day I can at Paris shew my attachment to my Sovereign, as if I was disaffected to the present establishment…. To say the truth, I passed the day much more to my satisfaction than I should have done in a set of mixed or suspicious company; a fulsome dull dinner; two hours of mighty grave conversation to be purchased (in all civility) by six more of Pharaoh—which I detest as well as every other kind of gaming.’ Almon's Memoirs of Wilkes, iii. 124-7.
Note 1. On July 13, 1765, Hume received his commission under the Great Seal as Secretary to the Embassy at Paris. On June 3, on hearing of the appointment, he had written to Elliot:—’In spite of Atheism and Deism, of Whiggism and Toryism, of Scotticism and Philosophy, I am now possessed of an office of credit, and of £1200 a year.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 281. The fall of the Grenville Ministry made a great change in his fortune. His patron, the Earl of Hertford, was offered by the Marquis of Rockingham the post of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. For some time the Earl hesitated between Ireland and Paris.‘He takes the former,’ wrote Walpole on July 30 (Letters, iv. 388),‘not very gladly, but to accommodate his brother, and his nephew, Grafton.’ His brother, General Conway, and the Duke of Grafton were the two Secretaries of State in the new Ministry. Hume was left to represent the Ambassador till the arrival of the Duke of Richmond, Lord Hertford's successor, in November, 1765. Horace Walpole, who visited Paris in the interval, wrote on Sept. 26 (Ib. p. 409):—’Lady Hertford is gone and the Duke of Richmond not come; consequently I am as isolé as I can wish to be.’ He lodged in the same hotel as Hume, and often met him; yet he makes very little mention of him in his letters. The two men had but little in common.
Note 1. Grimm, writing on Jany. 1, 1766, says that Rousseau came to Paris on Dec. 17, and was to leave for England with Hume on Jany. 4. Corres. Lit. v. 3. The travellers were detained some days at Calais by contrary winds. They arrived in London on the 14th. In the London Chronicle the following notices are given of their arrival.‘Jan. 14. Yesterday [Monday] David Hume Esq., arrived in London from Paris.’ p. 48.‘Jan. 16. Monday last arrived in town the celebrated Jean Jacques Rousseau.’ p. 50. It seems highly probable, as Strahan the printer of the paper was Hume's friend, that it was by Hume's own wish that it was not made known that they came together.
Note 2. Perhaps Hume paid the visit which he thus describes:—’I had accompanied Mr. Rousseau into a very pleasant part of the county of Surrey, where he spent two days at Colonel Webb's; Mr. Rousseau seeming to me highly delighted with the natural and solitary beauties of the place. Through the means of Mr. Stewart therefore I entered into treaty with Colonel Webb for the purchasing the house, with a little estate adjoining, in order to make a settlement for Mr. Rousseau.’ A Concise Account of the Dispute between Mr. Hume and Mr. Rousseau, p. 11.
Note 3.‘York Buildings, in the Strand, so denominated from the Archbishop of York's house there, purchased by Nicholas Heath the Archbishop, about the year 1556, of the Bishop of Norwich; but afterwards coming to John, Duke of Buckingham, he demised the house and garden to several builders, and they erected there several handsome streets and alleys, in which his name and title are recorded, viz., John Street, Villars Street, Duke Street, Off (? Of) Alley, and Buckingham Street. However these streets together are still denominated York Buildings.’ Dodsley's London and its Environs, ed. 1761, vi. 369.
Note 1. The fifteen Scotch judges, or Lords of Session,‘have,’ writes Boswell,‘both in and out of Court the title of Lords from the name of their estates.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 291, n. 6. Lord Cock-burn, writing in 1852, says:—’This assumption of two names, one official and one personal, and being addressed by the one and subscribing by the other, is wearing out, and will soon disappear.’ Cock-burn's Jeffrey, i. 365. Dalrymple took the title of Lord Hailes. His grandfather, who had bought the family mansion, then lately erected, had given it the name of New Hailes, to distinguish it, no doubt, from some older house. See Scotland and Scotsmen, i. 411 note. Boswell informed Johnson of‘Sir David's eminent character for learning and religion.’ Johnson thereupon ’drank a bumper to him, “as a man of worth, a scholar, and a wit.” “I have,” said he, “never heard of him except from you; but let him know my opinion of him; for as he does not shew himself much in the world, he should have the praise of the few who hear of him.”’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 432, 451. When Johnson visited Scotland he met Dalrymple and was highly pleased with him. Ib. v. 48. Later on he revised at his request the proofs of his Annals of Scotland, which he described as‘a new mode of history…. The exactness of his dates raises my wonder.’ Ib. ii. 383.
Note 2. Hume, in his Scriptural phrases, apparently has in mind Job ii. 3, and Philippians ii. 12. Dalrymple was one of‘the malicious fellows,’ who, as Curators of the Advocates’ Library, had‘struck out of the catalogue, and removed from the shelves as indecent books, and unworthy of a place in a learned library,’ three French works which Hume, when Librarian, had purchased. See ante, my note on Hume's Autobiography.
Note 3. ’dr. Johnson had last night [Aug. 15, 1773] looked into Lord Hailes's Remarks on the History of Scotland. Dr. Robertson and I said it was a pity Lord Hailes did not write greater things. His Lordship had not then published his Annals of Scotland.’ Boswell's Johnson, v. 38. Hume wrote from London to Sir Gilbert Elliot, on July 5, 1768:—’I have seen a book newly printed at Edinburgh, called Philosophical Essays; it has no manner of sense in it, but is wrote with tolerable neatness of style; whence I conjecture it to be our friend, Sir David's.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 414. Elliot having informed him that James Balfour was the author, Hume replied:—’I thought Sir David had been the only Christian that could write English on the other side of the Tweed.’ Ib. p. 418.
Note 4. Hume wrote to Dr. Blair on July 15, 1766:—’I go in a few hours to Woburn’ [the seat of the Duke of Bedford]. Burton's Hume, ii. 345. He had been introduced by the Countess de Boufflers to the Duke and Duchess,‘who have,’ he wrote,‘been essentially obliged to her in their family concerns. She wrote the Duke about a fortnight ago that the time was now come, and the only time that probably ever would come, of his shewing his friendship to her by assisting me in my applications [to be made Secretary to the Embassy]; and she would rest on this sole circumstance all his professions of regard to her. He received her letter while in the country, but he wrote her back that he would immediately hasten to town, and if he had any credit with the King or Ministry, her solicitations should be complied with.’ Ib. p. 279. Hume, in his last illness, complained to John Home of the design of the Whigs to ruin him as an author.‘Amongst many instances of this he told me one which was new to me. The Duke of Bedford (who afterwards conceived a great affection for him) by the suggestions of some of his party friends ordered his son, Lord Tavistock, not to read his History of England.’ Ib. ii. 500.
Note 5. So early as the summer of 1762, Hume touched with pity for Rousseau,‘who was obliged to fly France on account of some passages in his Emile, had offered him a retreat in his own house, so long as he should please to partake of it.’ At the same time he tried to procure him a pension from George III.‘It would,’ he wrote to Gilbert Elliot,‘be a signal victory over the French worth a hundred of our Mindens1, to protect and encourage a man of genius whom they had persecuted2.’ At this same time Rousseau was writing to the Countess de Boufflers:—’Ainsi successivement on me refusera partout l’air et l’eau…. Dans l’état où je suis, il ne me reste qu’à me laisser chasser de frontière en frontière, jusqu’à ce que je ne puisse plus aller. Alors le dernier fera de moi ce qu’il lui plaira3.’ To Hume he wrote on Feb. 19, 1763 from Motiers Travers, where he was under the protection of the exiled Earl Marischal of Scotland:—’Que ne puis-je espérer de nous voir un jour rassemblés avec Milord dans votre commune patrie, qui deviendrait la mienne! Je bénirais dans une société si douce les malheurs par lesquels j’y fus conduit, et je croirais n’avoir commencé de vivre que du jour qu’elle aurait commencé. Puissé-je voir cet heureux jour plus désiré qu’espéré! Avec quel transport je m’écrierais, en touchant l’heureuse terre où sont nés David Hume et le Maréchal d’Écosse,
Note 6. Hume writing to Blair on July 15, 1766, expresses himself in almost the same words. He writes:—’To-day I received a letter from Rousseau, which is perfect frenzy. It would make a good eighteen-penny pamphlet; and I fancy he intends to publish it…. I own that I was very anxious about this affair, but this letter has totally relieved me.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 345–6. Rousseau thus describes his letter to Lord Marischal:—’Je voudrais vous envoyer copie des lettres, mais c’est un livre pour la grosseur.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 382.
Note 7. How little his mind was at ease is shewn by the very long account of the affair which he wrote on this same 15th of July to the Countess De Boufflers. In it he says:—’I must now, my dear friend, apply to you for consolation and advice in this affair, which both distresses and perplexes me…. It is extremely dangerous for me to be entirely silent. He is at present composing a book, in which it is very likely he may fall on me with some atrocious lie…. My present intention therefore is to write a narrative of the whole affair…. But is it not very hard that I should be put to all this trouble, and undergo all this vexation, merely on account of my singular friendship and attention to this most atrocious scélérat? … I know that I shall have Mme. de Barbantane's sympathy and compassion if she be at Paris.’ Hume's Private Corres. p. 181.
Note 1. The fifteen Scotch judges, or Lords of Session, ‘have,’ writes Boswell, ‘both in and out of Court the title of Lords from the name of their estates.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 291, n. 6. Lord Cock-burn, writing in 1852, says:—‘This assumption of two names, one official and one personal, and being addressed by the one and subscribing by the other, is wearing out, and will soon disappear.’ Cock-burn's Jeffrey, i. 365. Dalrymple took the title of Lord Hailes. His grandfather, who had bought the family mansion, then lately erected, had given it the name of New Hailes, to distinguish it, no doubt, from some older house. See Scotland and Scotsmen, i. 411 note. Boswell informed Johnson of ‘Sir David's eminent character for learning and religion.’ Johnson thereupon ‘drank a bumper to him, “as a man of worth, a scholar, and a wit.” “I have,” said he, “never heard of him except from you; but let him know my opinion of him; for as he does not shew himself much in the world, he should have the praise of the few who hear of him.”’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 432, 451. When Johnson visited Scotland he met Dalrymple and was highly pleased with him. Ib. v. 48. Later on he revised at his request the proofs of his Annals of Scotland, which he described as ‘a new mode of history…. The exactness of his dates raises my wonder.’ Ib. ii. 383.
Note 2. Hume, in his Scriptural phrases, apparently has in mind Job ii. 3, and Philippians ii. 12. Dalrymple was one of ‘the malicious fellows,’ who, as Curators of the Advocates’ Library, had ‘struck out of the catalogue, and removed from the shelves as indecent books, and unworthy of a place in a learned library,’ three French works which Hume, when Librarian, had purchased. See ante, my note on Hume's Autobiography.
Note 3. ‘Dr. Johnson had last night [Aug. 15, 1773] looked into Lord Hailes's Remarks on the History of Scotland. Dr. Robertson and I said it was a pity Lord Hailes did not write greater things. His Lordship had not then published his Annals of Scotland.’ Boswell's Johnson, v. 38. Hume wrote from London to Sir Gilbert Elliot, on July 5, 1768:—‘I have seen a book newly printed at Edinburgh, called Philosophical Essays; it has no manner of sense in it, but is wrote with tolerable neatness of style; whence I conjecture it to be our friend, Sir David's.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 414. Elliot having informed him that James Balfour was the author, Hume replied:—‘I thought Sir David had been the only Christian that could write English on the other side of the Tweed.’ Ib. p. 418.
Note 4. Hume wrote to Dr. Blair on July 15, 1766:—‘I go in a few hours to Woburn’ [the seat of the Duke of Bedford]. Burton's Hume, ii. 345. He had been introduced by the Countess de Boufflers to the Duke and Duchess, ‘who have,’ he wrote, ‘been essentially obliged to her in their family concerns. She wrote the Duke about a fortnight ago that the time was now come, and the only time that probably ever would come, of his shewing his friendship to her by assisting me in my applications [to be made Secretary to the Embassy]; and she would rest on this sole circumstance all his professions of regard to her. He received her letter while in the country, but he wrote her back that he would immediately hasten to town, and if he had any credit with the King or Ministry, her solicitations should be complied with.’ Ib. p. 279. Hume, in his last illness, complained to John Home of the design of the Whigs to ruin him as an author. ‘Amongst many instances of this he told me one which was new to me. The Duke of Bedford (who afterwards conceived a great affection for him) by the suggestions of some of his party friends ordered his son, Lord Tavistock, not to read his History of England.’ Ib. ii. 500.
Note 5. So early as the summer of 1762, Hume touched with pity for Rousseau, ‘who was obliged to fly France on account of some passages in his Emile, had offered him a retreat in his own house, so long as he should please to partake of it.’ At the same time he tried to procure him a pension from George III. ‘It would,’ he wrote to Gilbert Elliot, ‘be a signal victory over the French worth a hundred of our Mindens1, to protect and encourage a man of genius whom they had persecuted2. ’ At this same time Rousseau was writing to the Countess de Boufflers:—‘Ainsi successivement on me refusera partout l’air et l’eau…. Dans l’état où je suis, il ne me reste qu’à me laisser chasser de frontière en frontière, jusqu’à ce que je ne puisse plus aller. Alors le dernier fera de moi ce qu’il lui plaira3. ’ To Hume he wrote on Feb. 19, 1763 from Motiers Travers, where he was under the protection of the exiled Earl Marischal of Scotland:—‘Que ne puis-je espérer de nous voir un jour rassemblés avec Milord dans votre commune patrie, qui deviendrait la mienne! Je bénirais dans une société si douce les malheurs par lesquels j’y fus conduit, et je croirais n’avoir commencé de vivre que du jour qu’elle aurait commencé. Puissé-je voir cet heureux jour plus désiré qu’espéré! Avec quel transport je m’écrierais, en touchant l’heureuse terre où sont nés David Hume et le Maréchal d’Écosse,
No further correspondence passed between the two philosophers till the middle of the year 1765, when Hume who was at Paris was informed that Rousseau wished to seek under his protection an asylum in England. ‘I could not,’ writes Hume, ‘reject a proposal made to me under such circumstances by a man so celebrated for his genius and misfortunes 5. ’ He brought him over to England, and treated him with the greatest kindness. ‘I must own,’ he wrote, ‘I felt an emotion of pity mixed with indignation, to think a man of letters of such eminent merit should be reduced, in spite of the simplicity of his manner of living, to such extreme indigence; and that this unhappy state should be rendered more intolerable by sickness, by the approach of old age, and the implacable rage of persecution. I knew that many persons imputed the wretchedness of Mr. Rousseau to his excessive pride, which induced him to refuse the assistance of his friends; but I thought this fault, if it were a fault, was a very respectable one. Too many men of letters have debased their character in stooping so low as to solicit the assistance of persons of wealth or power, unworthy of affording them protection; and I conceived that a noble pride, even though carried to excess, merited some indulgence in a man of genius, who, borne up by a sense of his own superiority and a love of independence, should have braved the storms of fortune and the insults of mankind1. ’
Hume was generous and even delicate in more than one scheme which he formed to help his friend. But while he was still planning, Mr. Davenport, ‘a gentleman of family, fortune, and worth,’ offered his house at Wooton in the County of Derby. That Rousseau's dignity might be saved, he consented to receive thirty pounds a year for his board and that of his housekeeper2.
Through Hume's intercession, the King moreover agreed to grant him a pension on condition that it should not be made public. To this Rousseau at first willingly assented3. But all the while the black clouds of suspicion were once more gathering in his mind. In the St. James's Chronicle was published a letter, as malicious as it was witty, addressed to him in the name of Frederick the Great, but really written by Horace Walpole. The Prussian King is made to offer him a shelter, and to conclude:—'si vous persistez à vous creuser l’esprit pour trouver de nouveaux malheurs, choisissez les tels que vous voudrez. Je suis roi, je puis vous en procurer au gré de vos souhaits: et ce qui sῦrement ne vous arrivera pas vis-à-vis de vos ennemis, je cesserai de vous persécuter quand vous cesserez de mettre votre gloire à l’être4. ’ Rousseau suspected Hume of having had a hand in its publication. He became sullen even before he left London for Wooton. In a letter dated April 3, Hume describes a curious scene with him ‘which proves,’ he says, ‘his extreme sensibility and good heart.’ Rousseau had charged him with sharing in a good-natured contrivance, by which Mr. Davenport hoped to save him part of the expense of the journey to Derbyshire. Hume in vain protested his ignorance. ‘Upon which M. Rousseau sat down in a very sullen humour, and all attempts which I could make to revive the conversation and turn it on other subjects were in vain. After near an hour, he rose up, and walked a little about the room. Judge of my surprise when, all of a sudden, he sat down upon my knee, threw his arms about my neck, kissed me with the greatest ardour, and bedewed all my face with tears! “Ah! my dear friend,” exclaimed he, “is it possible you can ever forgive my folly? This ill-humour is the return I make you for all the instances of your kindness towards me. But notwithstanding all my faults and follies, I have a heart worthy of your friendship, because it knows both to love and esteem you1. ”’
Hume referring to this outburst of feeling in a letter to Rousseau says:—‘I was very much affected, I own; and, I believe, there passed a very tender scene between us. You added, by way of compliment, that though I had many better titles to recommend me to posterity, yet perhaps my uncommon attachment and friendship to a poor unhappy persecuted man would not altogether be overlooked2. ’
The following day Rousseau went to Wooton, while Hume, who remained in London, went on busying himself about the pension. Rousseau had suddenly objected to its being kept secret, and had written a letter to General Conway in which he seemed to decline it altogether. To Hume's letters he returned no answers. ‘I thought,’ said the complacent philosopher, ‘that my friend, conscious of having treated me ill in this affair, was ashamed to write to me3. ’ What were the feelings which up to this time he had entertained of Rousseau, is shewn in the following extracts from his correspondence.
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘Edinburgh, July 1, 1762.’ After speaking of ‘my esteem, I had almost said veneration, for the virtue and genius of M. Rousseau,’ he continues:—‘I assure your Ladyship there is no man in Europe of whom I have entertained a higher idea, and whom I would be prouder to serve; … I revere his greatness of mind, which makes him fly obligations and dependance; and I have the vanity to think, that through the course of my life I have endeavoured to resemble him in those maxims4. ’
Hume to Elliot.
‘Edinburgh, July 5, 1762.’ Speaking of Rousseau's writings he says:—‘For my part, though I see some tincture of extravagance in all of them, I also think I see so much eloquence and force of imagination, such an energy of expression and such a boldness of conception, as entitles him to a place among the first writers of the age5. ’
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘Edinburgh, Jan. 22, 1763.’ After pointing out some faults in Rousseau's Treatise of Education, he continues:—‘However it carries still the stamp of a great genius; and what enhances its beauty, the stamp of a very particular genius. The noble pride and spleen and indignation of the author bursts out with freedom in a hundred places, and serves fully to characterize the lofty spirit of the man6. ’
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘London, Jan. 19, 1766. My companion is very amiable, always polite, gay often, commonly sociable. He does not know himself when he thinks he is made for entire solitude…. He has an excellent warm heart; and in conversation kindles often to a degree of heat which looks like inspiration. I love him much, and hope that I have some share in his affections1. ’
Hume to the Marchioness de Barbantane.
‘Feb. 16, 1766. M. Rousseau's enemies have sometimes made you doubt of his sincerity, and you have been pleased to ask my opinion on this head. After having lived so long with him, and seen him in a variety of lights, I am now better enabled to judge; and I declare to you that I have never known a man more amiable and more virtuous than he appears to me: he is mild, gentle, modest, affectionate, disinterested; and above all, endowed with a sensibility of heart in a supreme degree. Were I to seek for his faults, I should say that they consisted in a little hasty impatience, which, as I am told, inclines him sometimes to say disobliging things to people that trouble him: he is also too delicate in the commerce of life: he is apt to entertain groundless suspicions of his best friends; and his lively imagination working upon them feigns chimeras, and pushes him to great extremes. I have seen no instances of this disposition, but I cannot otherwise account for the violent animosities which have arisen between him and several men of merit, with whom he was once intimately acquainted; and some who love him much have told me that it is difficult to live much with him and preserve his friendship; but for my part, I think I could pass all my life in his company without any danger of our quarrelling2. ’
Hume to his brother John Home.
‘Lisle Street, March 22, 1766. Rousseau left me four days ago…. Surely he is one of the most singular of all human Beings, and one of the most unhappy. His extreme Sensibility of Temper is his Torment; as he is much more susceptible of Pain than Pleasure. His Aversion to Society is not Affectation as is commonly believd. When in it, he is commonly very amiable, but often very unhappy. And tho’ he be also unhappy in Solitude, he prefers that Species of suffering to the other. He is surely a very fine Genius. And of all the Writers that are or ever were in Europe, he is the Man who has acquird the most enthusiastic and most passionate Admirers. I have seen many extraordinary Scenes of this Nature3. ’
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘Lisle Street, April 3, 1766. The chief circumstance which hinders me from repenting of my journey is the use I have been to poor Rousseau, the most singular, and often the most amiable man in the world…. Never was man who so well deserves happiness so little calculated by nature to attain it. The extreme sensibility of his character is one great cause; but still more the frequent and violent fits of spleen and discontent and impatience, to which, either from the constitution of his mind or body, he is so subject. He is commonly, however, the best company in the world, when he will submit to live with men…. For my part I never saw a man, and very few women, of a more agreeable commerce…. It is one of his weaknesses that he likes to complain. The truth is, he is unhappy, and he is better pleased to throw the reason on his health and circumstances and misfortunes than on his melancholy humour and disposition1. ’
Hume to M.—. (A French friend.)
‘Lisle Street, ce 2 de Mai, 1766. Il a un peu la faiblesse de vouloir se rendre intéressant, en se plaignant de sa pauvreté et de sa mauvaise santé; mais j‘ai découvert par hasard qu’il a quelques ressources d’argent, petites à la vérité, mais qu’il nous a cachées, quand il nous a rendu compte de ses biens. Pour ce qui regarde sa santé, elle me paraît plutôt robuste qu’infirme, à moins que vous ne vouliez compter les accès de mélancolie et de spleen auxquels il est sujet. C‘est grand dommage: il est fort aimable par ses manières; il est d’un cœur honnête et sensible; mais ces accès l’éloignent de la société, le remplissent d’humeur, et donnent quel-quefois à sa conduite un air de bizarrerie et de violence, qualités qui ne lui sont pas naturelles2. ’
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘Lisle Street, May 16, 1766. I am afraid, my dear Madam, that notwithstanding our friendship and our enthusiasm for this philosopher, he has been guilty of an extravagance the most unaccountable and most blamable that is possible to be imagined.’ After describing Rousseau's letter to General Conway, in which he declined to receive a pension unless it were made public, Hume continues:—‘Was ever anything in the world so unaccountable? For the purposes of life and conduct and society a little good sense is surely better than all this genius, and a little good humour than this extreme sensibility3. ’
Not a whit discouraged by Rousseau's extravagance and sullen silence, he went on doing his best to overcome the only difficulty that remained about the pension, by getting the condition of secrecy removed4. In the midst of his self-complacency, while he was, no doubt, flattering himself with the thought that he had attained the highest degree of merit which can be bestowed on any human creature, by possessing ‘the sentiment of benevolence in an eminent degree5,’ the fat good-humoured Epicurean of the North received, one day in June, a ruder shock than has perhaps ever tried a philosopher's philosophy. A letter was brought to him from Rousseau. The postage, in spite of his early training in ‘a very rigid frugality1,’ he paid no doubt with cheerfulness and even with alacrity. His friend's prolonged silence ‘he still accounted for by supposing him ashamed to write to him2. ’ That feeling of shame must surely at last have given way to an outburst of gratitude, when he had learnt of the generous efforts which had been made, and successfully made, in his behalf. ‘Je vous connais, Monsieur,’ wrote his brother philosopher, ‘et vous ne l’ignorez pas … Touché de votre générosité, je me jette entre vos bras; vous m’amenez en Angleterre, en apparence pour m’y procurer un asyle, et en effet pour m’y déshonorer. Vous vous appliquez à cette noble œuvre avec un zèle digne de votre cœur, et avec un art digne de vos talens. Il n’en fallait pas tant pour réussir; vous vivez dans le grand monde, et moi dans la retraite; le public aime à être trompé et vous êtes fait pour le tromper. Je connais pourtant un homme que vous ne tromperez pas, c‘est vous-même3. ’
Hume, startled from his pleasing dreams, replied in a letter of manly indignation. ‘You say that I myself know that I have been false to you; but I say it loudly, and will say it to the whole world, that I know the contrary, that I know my friendship towards you has been unbounded and uninterrupted, and that though instances of it have been very generally remarked both in France and England, the smallest part of it only has as yet come to the knowledge of the public. I demand that you will produce me the man who will assert the contrary; and above all, I demand that he will mention any one particular in which I have been wanting to you. You owe this to me; you owe it to yourself; you owe it to truth and honour and justice, and to everything that can be deemed sacred among men4. ’ Rousseau took three weeks to rejoin, and then sent Hume his justification in an ‘enormous letter5. ’ He thus describes ‘the very tender scene’ that had passed between them6. ‘Après le souper, gardant tous deux le silence au coin de son feu, je m’aperçois qu’il me fixe, comme il lui arrivait souvent, et d’une manière dont l’idée est difficile à rendre. Pour cette fois, son regard sec, ardent, moqueur, et prolongé devint plus qu’inquiétant. Pour m’en dé-barrasser, j‘essayai de le fixer à mon tour; mais en arrêtant mes yeux sur les siens, je sens un frémissement inexplicable, et bientôt je suis forcé de les baisser. La physionomie et le ton du bon David sont d’un bon homme, mais où, grand Dieu! ce bon homme emprunte-t-il les yeux dont il fixe ses amis? l’impression de ce regard me reste et m’agite; mon trouble augmente jusqu’au saisissement: si l’épanchement n’eῦt succédé, j‘étouffais. Bientôt un violent remords me gagne; je m’indigne de moi-mème; enfin dans un transport que je me rappelle encore avec délices, je m’élance à son cou, je le serre étroitement; suffoqué de sanglots, inondé de larmes, je m’écrie d’une voix entrecoupée: Non, non, David Hume n’est pas un traître; s‘il n’était le meilleur des hommes, il faudrait qu’il en fῦt le plus noir. David Hume me rend poliment mes embrassemens, et tout en me frappant de petits coups sur le dos, me répète plusieurs fois d’un ton tranquille: Quoi, mon cher Monsieur! Eh, mon cher Monsieur! Quoi donc, mon cher Monsieur! Il ne me dit rien de plus; je sens que mon cœur se resserre; nous allons nous coucher, et je pars le lendemain pour la province1. ’
Hume, in that he had brought him to England, had been, Rousseau says, in some sort his protector and his patron. How he treated this patron, when once he had seen through his malicious tricks, he next shews. In this part of his narrative he closes each paragraph with words which Marmontel justly describes as ‘Cette tournure de raillerie qui est le sublime de l’insolence2. ’
‘Premier soufflet sur la joue de mon patron. Il n’en sent rien.’
‘Second soufflet sur la joue de mon patron. Il n’en sent rien.’
‘Troisième soufflet sur la joue de mon patron, et pour celui-là, s‘il ne le sent pas, c‘est assurément sa faute; il n’en sent rien3. ’
Voltaire in Les honnêtetés littéraires, published in 1767, thus ridicules this passage:—‘Ah! Jean-Jacques! trois soufflets pour une pension! c‘est trop!
(Amphitryon, acte 1er.)
‘Un Génevois qui donne trois soufflets à un Écossais! cela fait trembler pour les suites. Si le roi d’Angleterre avait donné la pension, sa majesté aurait eu le quatrième soufflet. C‘est un homme terrible que ce Jean-Jacques4. ’
It seems astonishing to us, perhaps because we have the key to Rousseau's character, that Hume did not see that this narrative, if it bore the marks of genius, bore quite as much the marks of madness. He should have remembered old Bentley's saying:—‘Depend upon it, no man was ever written down but by himself5. ’ ‘Que craindriezvous?’ wrote to him the Countess de Boufflers. ‘Ni Rousseau, ni personne ne peut vous nuire. Vous êtes invulnérable, si vous ne vous blessez pas vous-même6. ’ But Hume was wanting in that happy humour which enables a man, in the midst of the most violent attacks, to laugh at the malicious rage of his adversary. It was the same want of humour which made him take so much to heart the coarse abuse which Lord Bute's ministry brought upon the Scotch. Johnson with half a dozen strong words would have rent the fine but flimsy web of suspicion which Rousseau had woven; and would never have troubled his head about it again. But Hume was too much troubled by his ‘love of literary fame—his ruling passion,’ as he himself avowed it. He and his enemy were in the very front rank of European writers; Voltaire perhaps alone equalled them in fame. Rousseau, in the days of their friendship, had addressed him as ‘le plus illustre de mes contemporains dont la bonté surpasse la gloire1. ’ And now, to use the words of Hume's champions, ‘the news of this dispute had spread itself over Europe2. ’ There was a fresh terror added. Rousseau, he says, ‘who had first flattered him indirectly with the figure he was to make in his Memoirs, now threatened him with it.’ ‘A work of this nature,’ Hume continues, ‘both from the celebrity of the person, and the strokes of eloquence interspersed, would certainly attract the attention of the world; and it might be published either after my death, or after that of the author. In the former case, there would be nobody who could tell the story, or justify my memory. In the latter, my apology, wrote in opposition to a dead person, would lose a great deal of its authenticity3. ’ The Apology was accordingly published. The justification was complete, but the end was missed. For Hume's memory, which would have proved invulnerable to the attack, has suffered from the vanity which prompted the defence. In the brief memoir which he has left us of his life we observe without surprise that he passes over in silence his quarrel with Rousseau. It may be that he was unwilling to give his enemy a chance of escaping that ‘perpetual neglect and oblivion’ to which he maintained that he had been consigned4. It is far more probable however that, like some other conquerors, he grew to be ashamed of the quarrel into which he had entered, and of the victory which he had won.
The French were beaten at Minden by the English and Hanoverian army on Aug. 1, 1759. ‘All we know is,’ wrote Horace Walpole on the 9th, ‘that not one Englishman is killed, nor one Frenchman left alive.’ Letters, iii. 244.
A Concise Account, p. 2, and Stewart's Robertson, p. 359.
Hume's Private Corres. p. 11.
Ib. p. 59. The quotation is from the Æneid, vii. 120–2.
A Concise Account, p. 5.
A Concise Account, p. 9.
Ib. p. 13, and Private Corres. p. 161.
A Concise Account, p. 18.
Walpole's Letters, iv. 463. A translation is given in the London Chronicle of April 5, 1766.
Private Corres. p. 151.
A Concise Account, p. 85.
Ib. p. 26.
Private Corres. p. 8.
Stewart's Robertson, p. 358.
Private Corres. p. 56.
Private Corres. p. 125.
Ib. p. 142.
M. S. R. S. E.
Private Corres. pp. 148–153.
Ib. p. 161.
Ib. p. 169.
A Concise Account, p. 28.
Hume's Phil. Works, ed. 1854, iv. 243.
A Concise Account, p. 26.
Œuvres de Rousseau, ed. 1782, xxiv. 337.
A Concise Account, p. 31.
A Concise Account, p. 33.
Ante, p. 77.
Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 354.
Œuvres de Marmontel, ed. 1807, iii. 12.
Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 365, 367.
Œuvres de Voltaire, ed. 1819–25, xxv. 92.
Boswell's Johnson, v. 274.
Private Corres. p. 194.
Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 317.
A Concise Account, p. vii.
Ib. p. 92.
Hume wrote to Adam Smith on Oct. 8, 1767:—‘Thus Rousseau has had the satisfaction during a time of being much talked of for his late transactions; the thing in the world he most desires; but it has been at the expense of being consigned to perpetual neglect and oblivion.’ Burton's Hums, ii. 378.
Note 6. Hume writing to Blair on July 15, 1766, expresses himself in almost the same words. He writes:—‘To-day I received a letter from Rousseau, which is perfect frenzy. It would make a good eighteen-penny pamphlet; and I fancy he intends to publish it…. I own that I was very anxious about this affair, but this letter has totally relieved me.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 345–6. Rousseau thus describes his letter to Lord Marischal:—‘Je voudrais vous envoyer copie des lettres, mais c’est un livre pour la grosseur.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 382.
Note 7. How little his mind was at ease is shewn by the very long account of the affair which he wrote on this same 15th of July to the Countess De Boufflers. In it he says:—‘I must now, my dear friend, apply to you for consolation and advice in this affair, which both distresses and perplexes me…. It is extremely dangerous for me to be entirely silent. He is at present composing a book, in which it is very likely he may fall on me with some atrocious lie…. My present intention therefore is to write a narrative of the whole affair…. But is it not very hard that I should be put to all this trouble, and undergo all this vexation, merely on account of my singular friendship and attention to this most atrocious scélérat? … I know that I shall have Mme. de Barbantane's sympathy and compassion if she be at Paris.’ Hume's Private Corres. p. 181.
Note 1. Hume returned to Edinburgh late in this summer. Millar writing to him from Kew Green, on Oct. 4, says:—‘I could scold you most heartily if you were here, and so could Mrs. Millar, for breaking your appointment with friends that love you sincerely, when they had provided a turtle, and a fine haunch of forest venison for your entertainment, and to be disappointed of you and Geo. Scott two such heroes was too much, though we had tolerable heroes: both your losses was very mortifying, and I am sure to more cordial friends you could not go, though perhaps to more powerful.’ Hume replied from Edinburgh, on Oct. 21:—‘I hope to be often merry with you and Mrs. Millar in your House in Pall Mall; and I wish both of you much Health and Satisfaction in enjoying it.’ M. S. R. S. E.
A son of Hume's friend, Baron Mure, gives the following description of the historian and Sir James Stewart on their return to Edinburgh. ‘They came home from Paris about the same time. I remember, as a boy of five or six years old, being much struck with the French cut of their laced coats and bags1, and especially with the philosopher's ponderous uncouth person equipped in a bright yellow coat spotted with black.’ Caldwell Papers, i. 38.
Johnson defines Bag as An ornamental purse of silk tied to men's hair.
Note 2. The following extracts shew the opinions formed by Hume and others as to the expediency of publication:—
Hume to Blair.
‘London, July 1, 1766. I know you will pity me when I tell you that I am afraid I must publish this to the world in a pamphlet, which must contain an account of the whole transaction between us. My only comfort is that the matter will be so clear as not to leave to any mortal the smallest possibility of doubt. You know how dangerous any controversy on a disputable point would be with a man of his talents. I know not where the miscreant will now retire to, in order to hide his head from this infamy.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 344.
Adam Smith to Hume.
‘Paris, July 6. I am thoroughly convinced that Rousseau is as great a rascal as you and as every man here believes him to be; yet let me beg of you not to think of publishing anything to the world…. Expose his brutal letter, but without giving it out of your own hand, so that it may never be printed; and if you can, laugh at yourself, and I shall pawn my life that before three weeks are at an end this little affair, which at present gives you so much uneasiness, shall be understood to do you as much honour as anything that has ever happened to you…. M. Turgot and I are both afraid that you are surrounded with evil counsellors, and that the advice of your English literati, who are themselves accustomed to publish all their little gossiping stories in newspapers, may have too much influence upon you.’ Ib. p. 350.
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘Lisle Street, July 15. This is a deliberate and a cool plan to stab me…. Should I give the whole account to the public, as I am advised by several of my friends, particularly Lord Hertford and General Conway, I utterly ruin this unhappy man…. Notwithstanding his monstrous offences towards me, I cannot resolve to commit such a piece of cruelty even against a man who has but too long deceived a great part of mankind. But on the other hand it is extremely dangerous for me to be entirely silent. He is at present composing a book in which it is very likely he may fall on me with some atrocious lie. I know that he is writing his memoirs, in which I am sure to make a fine figure…. My present intention is to write a narrative of the whole affair…. to make several copies … to send a copy to Rousseau, and tell him in what hands the other copies are consigned; that if he can contradict any one fact he may have it in his power.’ Hume ends by calling him ‘this most atrocious scélérat.’ Private Corres. p. 180.
d’Alembert to Voltaire.
‘[Paris] 16 de juillet. Il [Hume] se prépare à donner toute cette histoire au public. Que de sottises vont dire à cette occasion tous les ennemis de la raison et des lettres! les voilà bien à leur aise; car ils déchireront infailliblement ou Rousseau, ou M. Hume, et peut-être tous les deux. Pour moi, je rirai, comme je fais de tout, et je tâcherai que rien ne trouble mon repos et mon bonheur.’ Œuvres de Voltaire (ed. 1819–25), lxii. 383.
d’Alembert to Hume.
‘Paris, July 21. [d’Alembert sends Hume the opinion of Turgot, Morellet, Marmontel and other friends who had met at the house of Mlle. de l’Espinasse.] ‘Tous unanimement, ainsi que Mlle. de l’Espinasse et moi, sommes d’avis que vous devez donner cette histoire au public avec toutes ses circonstances.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 354.
‘Then [towards the middle of July] arrived Rousseau's long absurd letter to Mr. Hume, which most people in England, and I amongst the rest, thought was such an answer to itself that Mr. Hume had no occasion to vindicate himself from the imputations contained in it. The gens de lettres at Paris, who aim at being an order, and who in default of parts raise a dust by their squabbles, were of a different opinion, and pressed Mr. Hume to publish on the occasion. Mr. Hume however declared he was convinced by the arguments of his friends in England, and would not engage in a controversy. Lord Mansfield told me he was glad to hear I was of his opinion, and had dissuaded Mr. Hume from publishing.’ Walpole's Works, ed. 1798, iv. 253.
Favart to Garrick.
‘Paris, Ce 24 juillet. Tout le monde littéraire se déchaine contre le philosophe de Genève.’ Garrick Corres. ii. 484.
The Countess de Boufflers to Hume.
‘Ce 25 [Juillet] à Paris. Votre douceur, votre bonté, l’indulgence que vous avez naturellement, font attendre et désirer de vous des efforts de modération qui passent le pouvoir des hommes ordinaires. Pourquoi se hâter de divulguer les premiers mouvements d’un cœur grièvement blessé, que la raison n’a pu encore dompter? … Mais vous, au lieu de vous irriter contre un malheureux qui ne peut vous nuire, et qui se ruine entièrement lui-même, que n’avez-vous laissé agir cette pitié généreuse, dont vous êtes si susceptible? Vous eussiez évité un éclat qui scandalise, qui divise les esprits, qui flatte la malignité, qui amuse aux dépens de tous deux les gens oisifs et inconsidérés, qui fait faire des réflexions injurieuses, et renouvelle les clameurs contre les philosophes et la philosophie…. Vous ne serez pas son délateur après avoir été son protecteur. De semblables examens doivent précéder les liaisons, et non suivre les ruptures.’ Hume's Private Corres. pp. 188–194.
Horace Walpole to Hume.
‘London, July 26. Your set of literary friends are what a set of literary men are apt to be, exceedingly absurd. They hold a consistory to consult how to argue with a madman; and they think it very necessary for your character to give them the pleasure of seeing Rousseau exposed, not because he has provoked you, but them. If Rousseau prints you must; but I certainly would not till he does.’ Walpole's Works, ed. 1798, iv. 258, and Letters, v. 7.
Mme. Riccoboni to Garrick.
‘Paris, Ce 10 Aoῦt. La rupture de M. Hume et de Jean-Jacques a fait un bruit terrible ici. Les gens de lettres sont pour M. Hume; et les personnes sensées ne le soupçonnent point d’avoir tort.’ Garrick Corres. ii. 488.
Hume to the Abbé Le Blanc.
‘Lisle Street, Leicester Fields, 12 of Aug. 1766. I am as great a Lover of Peace as he [Fontenelle], and have kept myself as free from all literary Quarrels: But surely, neither he nor any other Person was ever engaged in a Controversy with a Man of so much Malice, of such a profligate Disposition to Lyes, and such great Talents. It is nothing to dispute my style or my Abilities as an Historian or a Philosopher: My Books ought to answer for themselves, or they are not worth the defending. To fifty Writers, who have attacked me on this head, I never made the least Reply: But this is a different Case: Imputations are here thrown on my Morals and my Conduct; and tho’ my Case is so clear as not to admit of the least Controversy, yet it is only clear to those who know it.’ Morrison Autographs, ii. 318.
Lord Marischal to Hume.
‘Potsdam, Aug. 15. You did all in your power to serve him; his écart afflicts me on his account more than yours, who have, I am sure, nothing to reproach yourself with. It will be good and humane in you, and like Le Bon David, not to answer.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 354.
Hume to Adam Smith.
[No date, probably London, about the middle of August.] ‘I shall not publish them unless forced, which you will own to be a very great degree of self-denial. My conduct in this affair would do me a great deal of honour, and his would blast him for ever, and blast his writings at the same time; for, as these have been exalted much above their merit, when his personal character falls they would of course fall below their merit. I am however apprehensive that in the end I shall be obliged to publish.’ Ib. ii. 349.
Hume to the Marchioness de Barbantane.
‘Lisle Street, Aug. 29, 1766. You will see that the only possible alleviation of this man's crime is that he is entirely mad; and even then he will be allowed a dangerous and pernicious madman, and of the blackest and most atrocious mind. The King and Queen of England expressed a strong desire to see these papers, and I was obliged to put them into their hand. They read them with avidity, and entertain the same sentiments that must strike every one. The king's opinion confirms me in the resolution not to give them to the public, unless I be forced to it by some attack on the side of my adversary, which it will therefore be wisdom in him to avoid.’ Private Corres. p. 210.
Rousseau to Lord Marischal.
‘[Wooton] 7 Septembre. Il [Hume] a marché jusqu’ici dans les ténèbres, il s‘est caché, mais maintenant il se montre à découvert. Il a rempli l’Angleterre, la France, les gazettes, l’Europe entière, de cris auxquels je ne sais que répondre, et d’injures dont je me croirais digne si je daignais les repousser.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 393.
Voltaire to Damilaville.
‘[Ferney] 15 Octobre. Il [Hume] prouve que Jean-Jacques est un maître fou, et un ingrat pétri d’un sot orgueil; mais je ne crois pas que ces vérités méritent d’etre publiées; il faut que les choses soient ou bien plaisantes, ou bien intéressantes pour que la presse s‘en mêle…. Je pense que la publicité de cette querelle ne servirait qu’à faire tort à la philosophie. J‘aurais donné une partie de mon bien pour que Rousseau eῦt été un homme sage; mais cela n’est pas dans sa nature; il n’y a pas moyen de faire un aigle d’un papillon: c‘est assez, ce me semble, que tous les gens de lettres lui rendent justice, et d’ailleurs sa plus grande punition est d’être oublié.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, liii. 492.
‘Paris, 15 Octobre, 1766. Il y a environ trois mois qu’on reçut à Paris les premières nouvelles de la brouillerie de J.-J. Rousseau avec M. Hume. Excellente pâture pour les oisifs ! Aussi une déclaration de guerre entre deux grandes puissances de l’Europe n’aurait pu faire plus de bruit que cette querelle. Je dis à Paris; car à Londres, où il y a des acteurs plus importans à siffler, on sut à peine la rupture survenue entre l’ex-citoyen de Genève et le philosophe d’Écosse; et les Anglais furent assez sots pour s‘occuper moins de cette grande affaire que de la formation du nouveau ministère et du changement du grand nom de Pitt en celui de Comte de Chatam (sic).’ Correspondance Littéraire de Grimm et de Diderot, ed. 1829, v. 191. (Grimm adds that several of Hume's friends in France wrote to him for no other purpose but to dissuade him from making the quarrel public. Ib. p. 193.)
Voltaire to Hume.
‘Ferney, 24 Octobre. A dire vrai, monsieur, toutes ces petites misères ne méritent pas qu’on s‘en occupe deux minutes; tout cela tombe bientôt dans un éternel oubli…. Il y a des sottises et des querelles dans toutes les conditions de la vie…. Tout passe rapidement comme les figures grotesques de la lanterne magique…. Les détails des guerres les plus sanglantes périssent avec les soldats qui en ont été les victimes. Les critiques mêmes des pièces de théâtre nouvelles, et surtout leurs éloges sont ensevelis le lendemain dans le néant avec elles et avec les feuilles périodiques qui en parlent. Il n’y a que les dragées du sieur Kaiser qui se soient un peu soutenues.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, liii. 503.
Hume to Horace Walpole.
‘Edinburgh, Nov. 4. I would give anything to prevent a publication in London (for surely the whole affair will appear perfectly ridiculous); but I am afraid that a book printed at Paris will be translated in London, if there be hopes of selling a hundred copies of it. For this reason, I fancy it will be better for me to take care that a proper edition be published.’ Walpole's Works, iv. 262.
Horace Walpole to Hume.
‘[London] Nov. 6. You say your Parisian friends extorted your consent to this publication. I believe so. Your good sense could not approve what your good heart could not refuse. You add, that they told you Rousseau had sent letters of defiance against you all over Europe. Good God! my dear Sir, could you pay any regard to such fustian? All Europe laughs at being dragged every day into these idle quarrels, with which Europe only [the rest of the sentence is too coarse for quotation]. Your friends talk as loftily as of a challenge between Charles the Fifth and Francis the First. What are become of all the controversies since the days of Scaliger and Scioppius of Billingsgate memory? Why they sleep in oblivion, till some Bayle drags them out of their dust, and takes mighty pains to ascertain the date of each author's death, which is of no more consequence to the world than the day of his birth. Many a country squire quarrels with his neighbour about game and manors, yet they never print their wrangles, though as much abuse passes between them as if they could quote all the Philippics of the learned1. ’ Walpole's Letters, v. 23.
Bishop Warburton to Hurd.
‘Prior Park, Nov. 15, 1766. As to Rousseau I entirely agree with you that his long letter to his brother philosopher, Hume, shews him to be a frank lunatic. His passion of tears—his suspicion of his friends in the midst of their services—and his incapacity of being set right, all consign him to Monro2. You give the true cause too of this excess of frenzy, which breaks out on all occasions, the honest neglect of our countrymen in their tribute to his importance…. The merits of the two philosophers are soon adjusted. There is an immense distance between their natural genius; none at all in their excessive vanity…. However the contestation is very amusing; and I shall be very sorry if it stops now it is in so good a train. I should be well pleased particularly to see so seraphic a madman attack so insufferable a coxcomb as Walpole; and I think they are only fit for one another.’ Letters from a late Eminent Prelate, p. 385.
Hume to Horace Walpole.
‘Edinburgh, Nov. 20. I readily agree with you that it is a great misfortune to be reduced to the necessity of consenting to this publication; but it had certainly become necessary. Even those who at first joined me in rejecting all idea of it wrote to me and represented that this strange man's defiances had made such impression, that I should pass universally for the guilty person, if I suppressed the story…. I never consented to anything with greater reluctance in my life. Had I found one man of my opinion I should have persevered in my refusal…. I am as sensible as you are of the ridicule to which men of letters have exposed themselves by running every moment to the public with all their private squabbles and altercations; but surely there has been something very unexpected and peculiar in this affair. My antagonist by his genius, his singularities, his quackery, his misfortunes and his adventures, had become more the subject of general conversation in Europe (for I venture again on the word) than any person in it. I do not even except Voltaire, much less the King of Prussia and Mr. Pitt.’ Walpole's Works (ed. 1798), iv. 266.
Hume to the Countess de Boufflers.
‘Edinburgh, Dec. 2. It was with infinite reluctance I consented to the last publication. I lay my account that many people will condemn me for it, and will question the propriety or necessity of it; but, if I had not published, many people would have condemned me as a calumniator and as a treacherous and false friend. There is no comparison between these species of blame; and I underwent the one to save me from the other.’ Private Corres. p. 229.
Walpole, writing from Paris on Nov. 21, 1765, had spoken with scorn both of Hume and Rousseau. ‘I desire,’ he says, ‘to die when I have nobody left to laugh with me. I have never yet seen or heard anything serious that was not ridiculous. Jesuits, Methodists, philosophers, politicians, the hypocrite Rousseau, the scoffer Voltaire, the encyclopedists, the Humes, the Lytteltons, the Grenvilles, the atheist tyrant of Prussia, and the mountebank of history, Mr. Pitt, all are to me impostors in their various ways.’ Walpole's Letters, iv. 441.
Note 3. Strahan, I think, had no shop. His chief business was that of a printer, but he was also a publisher. In that capacity he would need to ‘take in a Bookseller’ as his partner in the venture. Thus Johnson's Political Tracts bear at the foot of the title page:—‘Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell in the Strand.’ While Cadell's address is given, Strahan's is not.
Note 4. It was published by Becket and his partner under the following title:—A Concise and Genuine Account of the Dispute between Mr. Hume and Mr. Rousseau; with the Letters that passed between them during their Controversy. As also the Letters of the Hon. Mr. Walpole and Mr. d’Alembert, relative to this extraordinary Affair. Translated from the French. London. Printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, near Surry-street, in the Strand. MDCCLXVI. Becket was the publisher of Ossian, and, it should seem, not over-scrupulous. ‘What does Becket mean,’ wrote Boswell, ‘by the Originals of Fingal and other poems of Ossian, which he advertises to have lain in his shop?’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 294.
Note 5. Thomas Cadell was born at Bristol in 1742. In 1758 he was apprenticed to Andrew Millar. In 1765 he became his partner, and in 1767 his successor, In conjunction with Strahan he published the Histories of Robertson and Gibbon, the later editions of Hume's Works, and some of the later Works of Johnson. They were part proprietors also of Blackstone's Commentaries. Gibbon described him as ‘that honest and liberal bookseller.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 366. It was at his house that the dinner was given, at which Hume, by his own request, met ‘as many of the persons who had written against him as could be collected.’ Rogers's Table Talk, p. 106. In 1793 he retired, ‘leaving the business which he had established, as the first in Great Britain,’ to his son Thomas, and to William Davies. In 1798 he was elected Alderman of Walbrook Ward. He died on Dec. 27, 1802. See Nichols's Lit. Anec. iii. 388, 696; vi. 441; and Dict. of Nat. Biog. viii. 179. He was not related to Scott's publisher, Robert Cadell of Edinburgh, though it was ‘from the respectable house of Cadell and Davies in the Strand, that appeared in the course of January 1802, the first two volumes of the Minstrelsy, which may be said to have first introduced Scott as an original writer to the English public.’ Lockhart's Scott, ed. 1839, ii. 79.
Note 6. James Coutts, a banker in the Strand, was member for Edinburgh City (Parl. Hist. xv. 1099), and so could frank letters. He wrote to Hume, probably soon after his election in 1762, a modest letter in which he complains of his unfitness for his new position. He says:—‘With all pleasures there are great mixtures of mortification, and every instant my limited education stares me more and more in the face. I have hardly lookt on any but Manuscript folios since I was 14. You’ll say from idleness or want of taste. I say no, but from too much business and bad health. My constitution will probably be always unfit for deep study; but pray is there no remedying this great defect a little without much study, for rather as (sic) suffer such mortifications I had better continue a Banker still, which I‘m convinced would enable me better to purchase Merse Acres. But seriously I wish you would give me some advice on this head, what abridgements to read, &c.’ In another letter to Hume (also undated) he writes:—‘Coll. Graeme and Mr. Drummond Blair are candidates for Perthshire; the former will carry it unless the Pretender dies, and leaves some old fools at liberty to take the oaths.’ M. S. R. S. E.
Note 7. Hume sent Strahan a copy of the manuscript which he had placed in the hands of his French friends for publication in France. It contained his own narrative, and such part of his correspondence with Rousseau as he had preserved. Rousseau's letters to him were in French, and his to Rousseau in English. Each of the translators therefore had but a portion of the document to translate. The French editors, however, had his leave to make whatever alterations in his account they pleased. All these alterations are, he says, to be adopted, and his own narrative in such passages is not to be followed. In his next letter he gives contrary directions; for by that time he had seen the Paris editions and been displeased with some of the changes. His French translator was Suard, who translated Robertson's Charles V (Stewart's Robertson, p. 218). Gibbon, writing in 1776 about the first volume of his Decline and Fall, which had lately appeared, says:—‘To-morrow I write to Suard, a very skilful translator of Paris, who was here in the spring with the Neckers, to get him (if not too late) to undertake it.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, ii. 176. It was, no doubt, at this visit to London that ‘Suard at Reynolds's saw Burke for the first time, when Johnson touched him on the shoulder, and said, “Le grand Burke.”’ Boswell's Johnson, iv. 20, n. 1. When in 1774 he was admitted into the French Academy, Voltaire wrote to him:—‘Je vais relire votre Discours pour la quatrième fois.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, lvi. 387. It was to him that Mrs. Montagu made her clever reply, when Voltaire's ‘invective’ against Shakespeare was read at the Academy. He said to her:—‘Je crois, Madame, que vous êtes un peu fâchée de ce que vous venez d’entendre.’ She replied, ‘Moi, Monsieur, point du tout! Je ne suis pas amie de M. Voltaire.’ Walpole's Letters, vi. 394.
Note 8. ‘I shall lodge in Miss Elliot's, Lisle Street, Leicester Fields,’ Hume wrote on June 29, 1761. Burton's Hume, ii. 90. She was, I fancy, the lady for whose creature comforts he wished to provide in a letter written from London on May 15, 1759. ‘If you pass by Edinburgh, please bring me two pounds of rapee, such as Peggy Elliot uses to take. You will get it at Gillespy's near the Cross.’ The letter which thus begins with Peggy Elliot and her snuff ends with compliments to Adam Smith, and from Dr. Warburton. Ib. p. 62. She is again mentioned in an amusing letter dated July 6 of the same year, in which Hume shows his imagination in inventing extravagant news. ‘Miss Elliot,’ he writes, ‘yesterday morning declared her Marriage with Dr. Armstrong [the Poet]; but we were surprised in the afternoon to find Mr. Short, the Optician, come in and challenge her for his Wife. It seems she has been married privately for some time to both of them.’ M. S. R. S. E. No doubt she was a decent elderly body, the last person to give grounds for any scandal.
Note 9. The English translator was scarcely up to his work, as the following passages show.
‘Comme tout est mêlé d’inconvéniens dans la vie, celui d’être trop bien est un de ceux qui se tolèrent le plus aisément.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 323.
‘As there is nothing in life without its inconvenience, that of being too good is one of those which is the most tolerable.’ A Concise Account, p. 15.
‘Peu de temps après notre arrivée à Londres, j‘y remarquai dans les esprits à mon égard un changement sourd qui bientôt devint très-sensible.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 348.
‘A very short time after our arrival in London I observed an absurd change in the minds of the people regarding me, which soon became very apparent.’ A Concise Account, p. 42.
Note 10. With some of these alterations Hume was displeased. Writing to Horace Walpole he says:—'several passages in my narrative in which I mention you are all altered in the translation, and rendered much less obliging than I wrote them.’ He suspected d’Alembert of having had this done through malevolence towards Walpole. Walpole's Works, ed. 1798, iv. 262, 7.
Note 11. Hume wrote to the Librarian of the British Museum on Jany. 23, 1767:—‘I was obliged to say in my Preface that the originals would be consigned in the Museum. I hope you have no objection to the receiving them. I send them by my friend Mr. Ramsay. Be so good as to give them the corner of any drawer. I fancy few people will trouble you by desiring a sight of them.’ The Trustees refused to accept them. Dr. Maty wrote to Hume on April 22:—‘I longed to have some conversation with you on the subject of the papers, which were remitted to me by the hands of Mr. Ramsay, and, as our Trustees did not think proper to receive them, to restore them into yours.’ They are in the possession of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Burton's Hume, ii. 359–360. Dr. Maty was Under-Librarian of the Museum. He became Principal Librarian in 1772. Knight's Eng. Cyclo. of Biog. iv. 153. Perhaps the refusal to receive the papers was due to idleness. The Librarian may have dreaded troublesome visitors. How badly the Museum was managed eighteen years later is shown by W. Hutton in his Journey to London, p. 114. He paid two shillings for a ticket of admission, and was then ‘hackneyed through the rooms with violence,’ being allowed just thirty minutes to see everything.
Note 12. ‘Wooton, le 2 Aoῦt. M. Hume écrit, dit-on, qu’il veut publier toutes les pièces relatives à cette affaire. C‘est, j‘en réponds, ce qu’il se gardera de faire, ou ce qu’il se gardera bien au moins de faire fidèlement…. Plus je pense à la publication promise par M. Hume, moins je puis concevoir qu’il l’exécute. S‘il l’ose faire, à moins d’énormes falsifications, je prédis hardiment, que malgré son extrême adresse et celle de ses amis, sans même que je m’en mêle, M. Hume est un homme démasqué. Rousseau to M. Guy. Œuvres de Rousseau, ed. 1782, xxiv. 387.
The following is the note which was added to the translation of the pamphlet:—‘The original letters of both parties will be lodged in the British Museum; on account of the above-mentioned defiance of Mr. Rousseau, and his subsequent insinuation that if they should be published they would be falsified.’ A Concise Account, p. viii.
Note 13. It was published under the title of Exposé succinct de la contestacion qui s‘est élevée entre M. Hume et M. Rousseau, avec les pièces justificatives. Londres, 1766, 12°. British Museum Catalogue.
Note 14. ‘I was born,’ writes Horace Walpole, ‘in Arlington Street, near St. James's, London, September 24, 1717, O. S.’ Letters, i. lxi. Writing on Dec. 1, 1768, he says:—‘From my earliest memory Arlington Street has been the ministerial street. The Duke of Grafton is actually coming into the house of Mr. Pelham, which my Lord President is quitting, and which occupies too the ground on which my father lived; and Lord Weymouth has just taken the Duke of Dorset's.’ lb. v. 136. On Nov. 6, 1766, having received Hume's pamphlet, he wrote to him:—‘You have, I own, surprised me by suffering your quarrel with Rousseau to be printed, contrary to your determination when you left London, and against the advice of all your best friends here; I may add, contrary to your own nature, which has always inclined you to despise literary squabbles, the jest and scorn of all men of sense…. You have acted, as I should have expected if you would print, with sense, temper, and decency; and, what is still more uncommon, with your usual modesty. I cannot say so much for your editors. But editors and commentators are seldom modest. Even to this day that race ape the dictatorial tone of commentators at the restoration of learning, when the mob thought that Greek and Latin could give men the sense which they wanted in their native languages. But Europe1 is grown a little wiser, and holds these magnificent pretensions now in proper contempt.’ Ib. v. 23.
Walpole in italicising Europe refers to Hume's statement that ‘Roussean had sent letters of defiance all over Europe.’ Aute, pp. 90, 91.
Note 15. Lady Hervey was the widow of John, Lord Hervey, whom Pope, in the Prologue to the Satires (l. 305), attacked as Sporus with a brutality that defeated itself. Her brother-in-law was ‘Harry Hervey,’ of whom Johnson said:—‘He was a vicious man, but very kind to me. If you call a dog Hervey I shall love him.’ Boswell's Johnson, i. 106. She was the Mary Lepell whom Pope introduces in his Answer to the Question of Mrs. Howe, What is prudery?
Elwin and Courthorpe's Pope, iv. 447.
Mr. Croker (Memoirs of Lord Hervey, i. xxiv.) quotes the following verse from a ballad on her:—
Swift wrote to Arbuthnot on Nov. 8, 1726:—‘I gave your service to Lady Harvey. She is in a little sort of a miff about a ballad that was writ on her to the tune of Molly Mogg, and sent to her in the name of a begging poet.’ Swift's Works, ed. 1803, xvii. 97.
Horace Walpole, writing to her from Paris on Sept. 14, 1765, says:—‘Mr. Hume, that is the Mode, asked much about your Ladyship.’ Letters, iv. 405. It was Hume very likely who lent her Home's tragedy over which she wept, as Scott tells us in his review of that poet's Works:—‘We have the evidence of the accomplished Earl of Haddington, that he remembers the celebrated Lady Hervey (the beautiful Molly Lapelle of Pope and Gay) weeping like an infant over the manuscript of Douglas.’ Quarterly Review, lxxi. 204. On Sept. 22, 1768, Walpole mentioning her death, says:—'she is a great loss to several persons; her house was one of the most agreeable in London; and her own friendliness, good breeding and amiable temper had attached all that knew her. Her sufferings with the gout and rheumatism were terrible, and yet never could affect her patience or divert her attention to her friends.’ Letters, v. 129.
Note 16. Alexander Kincaid, Printer and Stationer to his Majesty for Scotland, died on Jany. 21, 1777, in his year of office as Lord Provost of Edinburgh. Gent. Mag. 1777, p. 48. Dr. Blair wrote to Strahan on Jany. 28, 1777:—‘I am just come from the burials of our friend poor Kincaid. He was interred with all the public honours which could be given him; and his funeral was indeed the most numerous and magnificent procession I ever saw here. The whole inhabitants were either attendants or spectators.’ Barker MSS.
Sir Alexander Dick, writing to Joseph Spence in 1762, says that Kincaid, who had been dining at his house, ‘mentioned freely that the bulk of the clergy of this country [Scotland] buy few books, except what they have absolute necessity for.’ Spence's Anecdotes, ed. 1820, p. 463. This is some confirmation of Johnson's attack on ‘the ignorance of the Scotch clergy.’ Boswell's Johnson, v. 251.
Note 17. Hume, writing to Millar from Paris on April 23, 1764, about a new edition of his History, says:—‘You were in the wrong to make any edition without informing me; because I left in Scotland a copy very fully corrected with a few alterations, which ought to have been followed. I shall write to my sister to send it to you.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 201. On Oct. 21, 1766, he wrote to him:—‘Kincaid sent you the corrected copy in a parcel of Strahan's. This circumstance is entered by Kincaid in his minute book of 16 of Oct. 1764. When in London I asked you about this copy, and you told me that you had never heard of it. I suppose this is only a defect of memory…. If you recover it, be so good as to send it me by the wagon.’ M. S. R. S. E. Hume seems to imply that Millar was not telling the truth. Later on he learnt that on another matter he had lied to him (post, Letter of March 19, 1773). On Nov. 2 Millar replied that he had the corrected copy. M. S. R. S. E.
Note 1. He used the same words in the letter that he wrote to Horace Walpole on the same day. See ante, p. 90.
Note 2. He apologises to Walpole for the omission in the Paris edition of a compliment to his ‘usual politeness and humanity.’ He continues:—‘I have wrote to Becket the bookseller to restore this passage, which is so conformable to my real sentiments; but whether my orders have come in time, I do not know as yet.’ Walpole's Works, iv. 267.
Note 3. See ante, p. 77.
Note 4. Hume was at that time in London, and Rousseau at Wooton in Derbyshire.
Note 5. This insertion was not made.
Note 6. Rousseau had charged Hume with opening his letters. Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 354. Hume, in a note on this, says:—‘The story of M. Rousseau's letters is as follows. He had often been complaining to me, and with reason, that he was ruined by postage at Neuf-chatel, which commonly cost him twenty-five or twenty-six louis d’ors a year, and all for letters which were of no significance, being wrote, some of them by people who took that opportunity of abusing him, and most of them by persons unknown to him. He was therefore resolved, he said, in England to receive no letters which came by the post…. When he went to Chiswick the postman brought his letters to me. I carried him out a cargo of them. He exclaimed, desired me to return the letters and recover the price of postage. I told him that, in that case, the clerks of the Post Office were entire masters of his letters. He said he was indifferent, they might do with them what they pleased. I added that he would by that means be cut off from all correspondence with all his friends. He replied, that he would give a particular direction to such as he desired to correspond with. But till his instructions for that purpose could arrive, what could I do more friendly than to save at my own expense his letters from the curiosity and indiscretion of the clerks of the Post Office? I am indeed ashamed to find myself obliged to discover such petty circumstances.’ A Concise Account, p. 51. In the French translation, instead of this note the following is given:—‘Ces imputations d’indiscrétion et d’infidélité sont si odieuses, et les preuves eñ sont si ridicules, que je me crois dispensé d’y répondre.’ P. 68.
Note 1. Millar wrote to Hume on Nov. 2:—‘I will tell you honestly that I was much hurt yesterday with yours to Mr. Strahan which he showed me when in Town about Messrs. Beckett or Cadell being employed by you in publishing this absurd dispute of Rousseau with you, as you imagined it would not be worth my while. Can you imagine anything however so trifling in which your name is concerned not worth my while? Surely [?] I never did. Dr. Lowth thought differently in a more delicate affair and even one less in point of value1 In truth the money that will be got I do not value but in the the eye of the World where I have so cordial a friendship, to see others names and not mine looks as you were offended.’
Hume sent the following reply; misdating it Oct. 8; it is endorsed by Millar, ‘David Hume's 8 Nov. 1766‘:—
‘Your letter gave me a great deal of Uneasyness, by letting me see, that I had, innocently and undesignedly given you Uneasyness. I assure you, that I believe I have made a very trifling Present to Mr. Strahan and what will scarce be worth his Acceptance. I fancy, that 500 Copies of the Account of that ridiculous Affair between Rousseau and me will be more than sufficient to satisfy the Curiosity of the Public at London. The Pamphlet will not appear as coming from my hand but as a Translation of the Paris Edition; and as Becket has commonly the first Copies of French Books, it will be thought quite natural to come from his Press. If I had imagin’d, that it woud have given you the least satisfaction to be the Publisher it shoud never have been sent to any other hand.’
On Nov. 22, Millar wrote that he ‘had asked Strahan to have his name put to the translation of the pamphlet, as people thought that there was some difference between himself and Hume. Strahan agreed, but Becket refused.’ He adds that 3000 copies of the History had been sold in the last three years, and ‘between 20 and 30 sets this and last week.’ M. S. R. S. E.
Millar published for Lowth in 1759 An Answer to an Anonymous Letter to Dr. Lowth, concerning the Late Election of a Warden of Winchester College.
Note 2. The pamphlet is in the list of books published in November of this year, Gent. Mag. 1766, p. 545. I cannot find that it reached a second edition.
Note 3. Rousseau, after describing how well he had been received on his arrival in England, continues:—‘Tout-à-coup, et sans aucune cause assignable, ce ton change, mais si fort et si vite que dans tous les caprices du public, on n’en voit guères de plus étonnant. Le signal fut donné dans un certain Magasin, aussi plein d’inepties que de mensonges, où l’Auteur bien instruit, ou feignant de l’être, me donnait pour fils de Musicien. Dès ce moment les imprimés ne parlèrent plus de moi que d’une manière équivoque ou malhonnête.’ He goes on to hint that the change was due to Hume. Œuvres de Rousseau, xxiv. 348. According to Lord Charlemont the change was due to a very simple and natural cause:—‘When Rousseau first arrived in London, he and his Armenian dress were followed by crowds, and as long as this species of admiration lasted he was contented and happy. But in London such sights are only the wonder of the day, and in a very short time he was suffered to walk where he pleased, unattended, unobserved. From that instant his discontent may be dated.’ Memoirs of the Earl of Charlemont, i. 230.
Note 4. It was printed as an erratum.
Note 1. They were distinguished, not by italics, but by the author's name at the end of each note.
Note 2. Rousseau had accused d’Alembert of being the author of the letter from the King of Prussia and of maintaining a secret correspondence with Hume. d’Alembert denied both one and the other. A Concise Account, p. 94.
Note 3. ‘Perdidi beneficium. Numquid quae consecravimus per-didisse nos dicimus? Inter consecrata beneficium est; etiamsi male respondit, bene collocatum. Non est ille qualem speravimus; simus nos quales fuimus ei dissimiles.’ Seneca, De Beneficiis, lib. vii. cap. 19. Ib. p. 93.
Note 1. Rousseau in his letter of Dec. 4, 1765, quoted in Hume's narrative, says:—‘It is the advice also of Madam….’ On which there is the following footnote:—‘The person here mentioned desired her name might be suppressed. French editor. As the motive to the suppression of the lady's name can hardly be supposed to extend to this country, the English translator takes the liberty to mention the name of the Marchioness de Verdelin.’ A Concise Account, p. 6. Mde. de Boufflers is mentioned on p. 86 as one of Hume's correspondents. Writing to her on Dec. 2, 1766, he says:—‘I had erased your name; but it seems not so but that it was legible; and it is accordingly printed. The bookseller, the printer, and the compositor all throw the blame on each other for this accident.’ Private Corres. p. 230.
Grimm writing on Oct. 15, 1766 says:—‘Les personnes dont les noms sont supprimés dans ce procès sont madame la comtesse de Boufflers et madame la marquise de Verdelin.’ Corres. Lit. v. 197.
Note 1. Hume wrote to the Countess de Boufflers from London on March 1, 1767:—‘There has happened, dear Madam, a small change in my situation and fortune since I wrote to you. I was then very deeply immersed in study, and thought of nothing but of retreat and indolence for the rest of my life, when I was surprised with a letter from Lord Hertford, urging me to come to London, and accept of the office of Depute-Secretary of State under his brother [General Conway]. As my Lord knew that this step was contrary to the maxims which I had laid down to myself, he engaged my Lady Hertford to write me at the same time, and to inform me how much she and my Lord desired my compliance. I sat down once or twice to excuse myself; but I own, I could not find terms to express my refusal of a request made by persons to whose friendship I had been so much obliged…. I do not suspect myself at my years, and after such established habits of retreat, of being ensnared by this glimpse of Court favour to commence a new course of life, and relinquish my literary ambition for the pursuit of riches and honours in the state. On the contrary, I feel myself at present like a banished man in a strange country; I mean, not as I was while with you at Paris, but as I should be in Westphalia or Lithuania or any place the least to my fancy in the world.’ Private Corres. p. 235. Horace Walpole writes in his Memoirs of the Reign of George III, ii. 414:—‘It happened at this period [Feb. 1767] that Mr. Conway, who talked of nothing but resigning, became in want of a secretary, William Burke quitting his service to follow his cousin Edmund into Opposition. My surprise was very great when Mr. Conway declared his resolution of making David Hume, the historian, who had served his brother, Lord Hertford, in the same capacity at Paris, his secretary. [Walpole's surprise was not so much at the appointment of Hume, as at the indication it gave that Conway had no intention to resign.]… I was pleased with the designation of Hume, as it would give jealousy to the Rockinghams, who had not acted wisely in letting Burke detach himself from Mr. Conway; and I prevailed on Lady Hertford to write a second letter, more pressing than her lord's, to Mr. Hume to accept. The philosopher did not want much entreaty.’
Hume in a letter to Blair dated April 1, 1767, thus describes his occupations:—‘My way of life here is very uniform, and by no means disagreeable. I pass all the forenoon in the Secretary's house from ten till three, where there arrive from time to time messengers that bring me all the secrets of the Kingdom, and indeed of Europe, Asia, Africa and America. I am seldom hurried; but have leisure at intervals to take up a book, or write a private letter, or converse with any friend that may call for me; and from dinner to bed-time is all my own. If you add to this that the person [General Conway] with whom I have the chief, if not only transactions, is the most reasonable, equal-tempered, and gentleman-like man imaginable, and Lady Aylesbury [the General's wife] the same, you will certainly think I have no reason to complain; and I am far from complaining. I only shall not regret when my duty is over, because to me the situation can lead to nothing, at least in all probability; and reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme happiness. I mean my full contentment.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 384. The cup of his philosophic happiness was never destined to be full. Like ordinary men he had his unsatisfied longings. His ‘full contentment,’ should have come in the following year, when he was consoled for the loss of the easy dignity and the emoluments of an English Under-Secretary of State by a handsome pension conferred by the English King, and paid by the English people. It was then that his ‘lounging and dosing, which he called thinking,’ his ‘supreme happiness,’ thus found expression. ‘22nd July, 1768. There are fine doings in America. O! how I long to see America and the East Indies revolted, totally and finally,—the revenue reduced to half,—public credit fully discredited by bankruptcy,—the third of London in ruins, and the rascally mob subdued! I think I am not too old to despair of being witness to all these blessings.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 417.
Note 2. Boswell, who was careful to clear his writings of Scotticisms, in the third edition of his Life of Johnson in at least four places changed forenoon into morning. Boswell's Johnson, ii. 283, n. 3. Hume in one of his early letters says:—‘I last summer undertook a very laborious task which was to travel eight miles every morning, and as many in the forenoon to and from a mineral well.’ Burton's Hume, i. 34.
Note 3. Little Warwick Street opened out of Cockspur Street, Pall Mall.
Note 4. This letter must have been written soon after Hume's arrival in London, at the end of February, 1767. Adam Smith, writing to him on the following June 7, addresses his letter:—‘To David Hume Esq. Under Secretary for the Northern Department, at Mr. Secretary Conway's house, London.’ M.S.R.S.E. In the Court and City Register for 1765, p. 108, is a list of Ambassadors and Ministers which shews how the business with foreign countries was divided between the two Secretaries of State:—
|Southern Province.||Northern Province.|
|Venice.||Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck.|
|Swiss Cantons.||Diet of the Empire at Ratisbon.|
|Elector of Cologne and Circle of Westphalia.|
Note 1. Hugh, third Earl of Marchmont, the friend and executor of Pope. He is the ‘Polwarth’ in Pope's Seventeen Hundred and Thirty Eight (ii. 130), and the ‘Marchmont’ of his Grotto. ‘Were there no other memorials,’ writes Boswell, ‘ he will be immortalised by that line of Pope in the verses on his Grotto:—
“And the bright flame was shot through Marchmont's soul.”’ Life of Johnson, iv. 51. See ib. iii. 392 for Johnson's interview with him. He was at this time Keeper of the Great Seal for Scotland. Court and City Register, 1765, p. 140. Boswell recommends his pronunciation of English as a proper model for a Scotch gentleman. ‘His Lordship told me,’ he says, ‘with great good humour that the master of a shop in London, where he was not known, said to him, “I suppose, Sir, you are an American.” “Why so, Sir?” said his Lordship. “Because, Sir,” replied the shopkeeper, “you speak neither English nor Scotch, but something different from both, which I conclude is the language of America.”’ Ib. ii. 160. Boswell's recommendation contrasts oddly with Colonel Barré's ‘ridiculous description’ of Marchmont's pronunciation. In a debate on Dec. 13, 1770, on a difference between the two Houses, the Members of the House of Commons having been turned out of the House of Lords, Barré said:—‘It seemed as if the mob had broke in; and they certainly acted in a very extraordinary manner. One of the heads of this mob—for there were two—was a Scotchman. I heard him call out several times, “Clear the Hoose! Clear the Hoose.” The face of the other was hardly human; for he had contrived to put on a nose of an enormous size, that disfigured him completely, and his eyes started out of his head in so frightful a way, that he seemed to be undergoing the operation of being strangled.’ The Scotchman was the Earl of Marchmont and the other peer the Earl of Denbigh. Cavendish Debates, ii. 162. See also Chatham Corres. iv. 58. For Lord Denbigh see post, Letter of May 10, 1776.
Note 2. Samuel Sandys, first Baron Sandys, who was known in his House of Commons days as ‘the Motion-maker.’ Smollett's History of England, ed. 1800, iii. 16. Horace Walpole describes him as ‘a republican, raised on the fall of Sir Robert Walpole to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, then degraded to a peer and cofferer1,and soon afterwards laid aside.’ Letters, i. 104. Sir Denis Le Marchant, in a note on Walpole's Memoirs of George III, iv. 119, says that Sandys ‘had been placed at the Board of Trade in 1760. He seems to have regarded the post as a sinecure—as indeed it in a great measure became by the withdrawal of the West Indies from the department.’
‘A principal officer of his majesty's Court, next under the Comptroller.’ Johnson's Dictionary.
Note 3. Norborne Berkeley, Lord Bottetourt. Horace Walpole, writing on Aug. 9, 1768, about a visit to London, says:—‘I saw nothing there but the ruins of 100, Lady Hertford's cribbage, and Lord Bottetourt, like patience on a monument, smiling in grief. He is totally ruined and quite charmed. Yet I heartily pity him. To Virginia he cannot be indifferent; he must turn their heads somehow or other. If his graces do not captivate them, he will enrage them to fury, for I take all his douceur to be enamelled on iron.’ Letters, v. 116. On Aug. 14, Walpole wrote :—‘There is a disagreeable affair at home, resulting from the disquiets in America. Virginia, though not the most mutinous, contains the best heads and the principal boutes-feux1. It was thought necessary that the Governor should reside there. It was known that Sir Jeffery Amherst [the governor] would not like that…. At the same time, Lord Bottetourt, a court favourite, yet ruined in fortune, was thought of by his friend, Lord Hillsborough. This was mentioned to Sir Jeffery with the offer of a pension. He boggled at the word pension; but neither cared to go to his government, nor seemed to dislike giving it up.’ Ib. p. 120. Walpole in his Memoirs of George III, iii. 151, describes Bottetourt as ‘of the Bedchamber and a kind of second-rate favourite. He had engaged in an adventure with a company of copper-workers at Warmley. They broke. In order to cover his estate from the creditors he begged a privy seal, to incorporate the Company, as private estates would not then be answerable. The King granted his request, but Lord Chatham, aware of the deception, honestly refused to affix the Seal to the Patent.’ In the end ‘he did acquiesce in resigning the Seal for a short time, that, being put into commission, it might be set to the grant.’ (See also the Chatham Corres. iii. 306–322.) Such was the swindler who on the eve of the outbreak with America was sent there as Lieutenant and Governor-General of Virginia. ‘Whom,’ asked Burke, ‘have they selected in these perilous times to soothe the animosity, and reconcile the differences that now unhappily subsist between our colonies and the mother-country? I need not name the man; everybody knows him as a projector, as one who by wild and chimerical schemes has not only so embarrassed his own affairs as to render his stay in this country impracticable, but brought irretrievable ruin upon many others.’ Parl. Hist. xvi. 723. He died in Virginia on Nov. 9, 1770, ‘greatly lamented by the whole colony.’ Ann. Reg. xiii. 191. Junius described him as ‘a cringing, bowing, fawning, sword-bearing courtier who had ruined himself by an enterprise, which would have ruined thousands if it had succeeded.’ Letters of Junius, ed. 1812, iii. 109. He it is, I believe, whom Churchill introduces in the following couplet:—
I have little doubt that ‘the affair’ which these three Lords were ‘conducting’ was connected with the printing of the Rolls of Parliament, and the Journals of the House of Lords. Nichols says that in 1767 William Bowyer was made printer, being ‘principally indebted for the appointment to the Earl of Marchmont.’ Lit. Anec. iii. 39. In a curious inscription written by Bowyer under his own bust in Stationers’ Hall it is stated, that ‘he was appointed to print the Journals of the House of Lords, at near LXX Years of age, by the patronage of a noble Peer.’ Ib. p. 293. In the Journals of the House of Lords, xxxi. 509, there is an order on March 9, 1767, to leave to a Sub-committee, to which these three Lords belonged, the question of printing the Rolls and the Journals. Ib. p. 429.
Note 4. Gibbon describing his student days at Lausanne, says of the writings of Cicero:—‘The most perfect editions, that of Olivet, which may adorn the shelves of the rich, that of Ernesti, which should lie on the table of the learned, were not within my reach.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 89.
Note 5. A new edition of Hume's Essays and Treatises in 2 vols. quarto was published by A. Millar, London, and A. Kincaid and A. Donaldson, Edinburgh, in 1768. A quarto edition of his History in 8 vols. was published in 1770.
Note 6. See ante, p. 64, n. 9.
Note 7. This paper, I have little doubt, is one quoted in Burton's Hume, ii. 340. Voltaire is only once mentioned. It begins:—
‘Heads of an Indictment laid by J. J. Rousseau, philosopher, against D. Hume, Esq.
‘1. That the said David Hume, to the great scandal of philosophy, and not having the fitness of things before his eyes, did concert a plan with Mess. Tronchin, Voltaire and d’Alembert to ruin the said J. J. Rousseau for ever, by bringing him over to England, and there settling him to his heart's content.
‘2. That the said David Hume did, with a malicious and traitorous intent, procure, or cause to be procured, by himself, or somebody else, one pension of the yearly value of £100 or thereabouts, to be paid to the said J. J. Rousseau, on account of his being a philosopher, either privately or publicly, as to him the said J. J. Rousseau should seem meet.
‘3. That the said David Hume did, one night after he left Paris, put the said J. J. Rousseau in bodily fear, by talking in his sleep; although the said J. J. Rousseau doth not know whether the said David Hume was really asleep, or whether he shammed Abraham1, or what he meant.’
Dr. Burton adds that this paper ‘has the appearance of having been written by a Scottish lawyer.’
‘To sham Abram: to feign sickness, a phrase in use among sailors.’ Murray's New Eng. Dict.
Note 8. Dr. Burton thinks that this letter only reached Hume through the press. At all events there is no trace of it among his manuscripts. Life of Hume, ii. 358. Rousseau had accused Voltaire of having written a letter against him, which was published as Voltaire's at London, under the title of Lettre au docteur Jean-Jacques Pansophe. The author was M. Bordes, of Lyons. Œuvres de Voltaire, liii. 497. An English translation, published by Payne, is in the list of publications in the Gent. Mag. for April, 1766, p. 192. See also Ib. p. 563. Hume himself at first had no doubt of its authenticity. On May 16, 1766, some weeks before Rousseau's outbreak against him, he wrote to the Countess de Boufflers:—‘You have probably seen Voltaire's letter to our exotic philosopher. I fancy it will rouse him from his lethargy. These two gladiators are very well matched; it is like the combat of Dares and Entellus in Virgil [Æneid. v. 362–484]. The sprightliness and grace, and irony and pleasantry of the one will be a good contrast to the force and vehemence of the other.’ Private Corres. p. 171. Rousseau, after charging Voltaire with being the author of the letter, continues:—‘Le noble objet de ce spirituel ouvrage est de m’attirer le mépris et la haine de ceux chez qui je me suis réfugié.’ Œuvres de Rousseau, ed. 1782, xxiv. 368. Voltaire replied to this accusation in a letter addressed to Hume, dated ‘Ferney, 24 Octobre.’ He says:—‘Il m’a fait l’honneur de me mettre au nombre de ses ennemis et de ses persécuteurs. Intimement persuadé qu’on doit lui élever une statue … il pense que la moitié de l’univers est occupée à dresser cette statue sur son piédestal, et l’autre moitié à la renverser.’ Œuvres de Voltaire, liii. 497. See ante, p. 90, for another extract from this letter. Grimm, writing on Nov. 1, 1766, says:—‘M. de Voltaire a fait imprimer une petite lettre adressée à M. Hume, où il a, pour ainsi dire, donné le coup de grace à ce pauvre Jean-Jacques. Cette lettre a eu beaucoup de succès à Paris, et elle a peutêtre fait plus de tort à M. Rousseau que la brochure de M. Hume.’ Corres. Lit. v. 211. An English translation was published by S. Bladon in Paternoster Row, 1766. It is curious in all the translations to find Jean Jacques turned into John James. ‘The great soul of John James’ reads as comically as ‘la grande âme de Jean-Jacques’ reads naturally.
We find no more mention of Rousseau in Hume's letters to Strahan. On Oct. 8 of this year (1767) he wrote to Adam Smith:—‘Thus you see, he is a composition of whim, affectation, wickedness, vanity, and inquietude, with a very small, if any, ingredient of madness. He is always complaining of his health; yet I have scarce ever seen a more robust little man of his years…. The ruling qualities above mentioned, together with ingratitude, ferocity, and lying,—I need not mention eloquence and invention—form the whole of the composition.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 377. When we consider the judgments, wide as the poles asunder, which Hume passed on Rousseau, we are the more ready to allow that, as regards him at all events, Dr. Carlyle was right when he said:—‘David Hume, like Adam Smith, had no discernment at all of characters.’ Dr. A. Carlyle's Auto. p. 278.
Note 1. Dr. Alexander Carlyle gives us a glimpse of Hume as an Under-Secretary of State. He met him at a dinner where there were some people connected with the Court. He says:—‘The conversation was lively and agreeable, but we were much amused with observing how much the thoughts and conversation of all those in the least connected were taken up with every trifling circumstance that related to the Court…. It was truly amusing to observe how much David Hume's strong and capacious mind was filled with infantine anecdotes of nurses and children.’ Carlyle's Auto. p. 518.
Fox wrote of Hume:—‘He was an excellent man, and of great powers of mind; but his partiality to kings and princes is intolerable: Nay, it is in my opinion quite ridiculous; and is more like the foolish admiration which women and children sometimes have for Kings than the opinion, right or wrong, of a philosopher.’ Edinburgh Review, No. xxiv, p. 277.
Note 1. Hume took advantage of his position to pay a compliment to an old friend. Writing to Dr. Blair on May 27, 1767 he says:—‘Tell Robertson that the Compliment at the End of General Conway's Letter to him was of my composing without any Orders from him. He smild when he read it; but said it was very proper and sign’d it. These are not bad Puffs from Ministers of State, as the silly World goes.’ M. S. R. S. E. Robertson earlier in the year had asked Hume to use his influence with General Conway about an appointment to some military chaplaincy. Stewart's Life of Robertson, ed. 1811, p. 355.
Note 2. Charles Townshend was Chancellor of the Exchequer when this letter was written, and, to use Burke's words, still ‘lord of the ascendant.’ (Payne's Burke, i. 146.) He died in office on Sept. 4, 1767.
Note 3. Hume is referring to the proposed new editions of his works. See ante, p. 106.
Note 1. By Conway's resignation (Jan. 20, 1768), Hume lost his office. ‘I returned to Edinburgh in 1769,’ he writes in his Autobiography, ‘very opulent, for I possessed a revenue of £1000 a year, healthy, and though somewhat stricken in years, with the prospect of enjoying long my ease, and of seeing the increase of my reputation.’ He had stayed on in London till the summer of 1769. Writing on Dec. 23, 1768 to the Countess de Boufflers to apologise for not paying a visit to Paris, he said:—‘The truth is, I have, and ever had, a prodigious reluctance to change my place of abode.’ Private Corres. p. 263. On March 28, 1769, he wrote to Dr. Blair at Edinburgh:—‘I intend to visit you soon, and for good and all. Indeed I know not what detains me here, except that it is so much a matter of indifference where I live; and I am amused with looking on the scene, which really begins to be interesting.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 424. It was during this stay in London that he called on Boswell in Half-Moon Street, Piccadilly. ‘I am really the great man now,’ wrote Boswell to the Rev. W. J. Temple, on May 14, 1768. ‘I have had David Hume in the forenoon, and Mr. Johnson in the afternoon of the same day visiting me…. David Hume came on purpose the other day to tell me that the Duke of Bedford was very fond of my book, and had recommended it to the Duchess. David is really amiable; I always regret to him his unlucky principles, and he smiles at my faith; but I have a hope which he has not, or pretends not to have. So who has the best of it, my reverend friend?’ Letters of Boswell, p. 151. On Aug. 20, 1769, Hume wrote to Adam Smith from Edinburgh:—‘ I am glad to have come within sight of you, and to have a view of Kirkaldy from my windows; but as I wish also to be within speaking terms of you, I wish we could concert measures for that purpose. I am mortally sick at sea, and regard with horror and a kind of hydrophobia the great gulf [The Firth of Forth] that lies between us.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 429. In Humphry Clinker (letter of Aug. 8), Matthew Bramble's sufferings are described in his sail across this ‘great gulf’ of seven miles. ‘I am much of the honest Highlander's mind (said he) after he had made such a passage as this: his friend told him he was much indebted to Providence. “Certainly (said Donald), but by my saul, mon, I'se ne‘er trouble Providence again, so long as the brig of Stirling stands.”’
Note 2. On Oct. 16, 1769, nine days earlier than the date of the letter in the text, Hume had written to Sir Gilbert Elliot:—‘I live still, and must for a twelvemonth, in my old house in James's Court, which is very cheerful, and even elegant, but too small to display my great talents for cookery, the science to which I intend to addict the remaining years of my life! I have just now lying on the table before me a receipt for making soupe à la reine, copied with my own hand; for beef and cabbage (a charming dish), and old mutton and old claret nobody excels me. I make also sheep-head broth in a manner that Mr. Keith speaks of it for eight days after; and the Duc de Nivernois1would bind himself apprentice to my lass2to learn it.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 361. Gibbon wrote to Holroyd at Edinburgh on Aug. 7, 1773:—‘You tell me of a long list of dukes, lords, and chieftains of renown to whom you are introduced; were I with you, I should prefer one David to them all. When you are at Edinburgh, I hope you will not fail to visit the stye of that fattest of Epicurus's hogs, and inform yourself whether there remains no hope of its recovering the use of its right paw.’ Gibbon's Misc. Works, ii. 110.
Boswell writing on June 19, 1775, says:—‘On Thursday I supped at Mr. Hume's, where we had the young Parisian, Lord Kames, and Dr. Robertson, an excellent supper, three sorts of ice-creams. What think you of the northern Epicurus style? I can recollect no conversation. Our writers here are really not prompt on all occasions, as those of London.’ Letters of Boswell, p. 203. The ‘three sorts of ice-creams’ were in those days a great luxury; for Lord Cockburn, writing of Edinburgh twenty or thirty years later, says:—‘ Ice, either for cooling or eating, was utterly unknown, except in a few houses of the highest class.’ Hume's old claret would not have been so costly as in England, for in Scotland claret was exempted from duty till about 1780. Cockburn's Memorials, p. 35. On April 17, 1775, Hume wrote to the Countess de Boufflers:—‘I have been always, and still am, very temperate. The only debauches I ever was guilty of were those of study; and even these were moderate; for I was always very careful of my health by using exercise.’ Private Corres., p. 282.
The house in James's Court he had bought in 1762. On July 5 of that year he wrote to Elliot:—‘I have hitherto been a wanderer on the face of the earth, without any abiding city: But I have now at last purchased a house which I am repairing; though I cannot say that I have yet fixed any property in the earth, but only in the air: For it is the third storey of James's Court, and it cost me 500 pounds. It is some-what dear, but I shall be exceedingly well lodged.’ Stewart's Robertson, p. 360. During his residence in France, more than once, in the midst of all his good fortune and his grand society, he regretted his snug quarters. From Fontainebleau, where he suffered, he says, more from flattery than Lewis XIV ever had in any three weeks of his life, he wrote to Dr. Ferguson:—‘Yet I am sensible that I set out too late, and that I am misplaced; and I wish twice or thrice a day, for my easy chair and my retreat in James's Court.’ Burton's Hume, ii. 173. Dr. Blair was his tenant for part of this time. Hume wrote to him in the spring of 1764:—‘ I am glad to find that you are my tenant. You have got an excellent house for its size. It was perfectly clear of vermin when I left it, and I hope you will find it so…. Never put a fire in the south room with the red paper. It is so warm of itself that all last winter, which was a very severe one, I lay with a single blanket; and frequently upon coming in at midnight, starving with cold, have sat down and read for an hour, as if I had had a stove in the room. The fires of your neighbours will save you the expense of a fire in that room1.’ M. S. R. S. E. On Dec. 28, 1765, writing to Blair, he said:—‘If you leave my House as you thought you would, Nairne may have it for 35 pounds as we agreed.’ M. S. R. S. E. This perhaps was the rent for the house furnished, as Hume had left it when he started for Paris. In his will he bequeathed the life-rent of it to his sister, ‘or in case that house be sold at the time of my decease, twenty pounds a year during the whole course of her life.’ Hume's Philosophical Works, ed. 1854, i. xxx. Blair in a letter dated May 13 , says that he is on the point of leaving. M. S. R. S. E.
By a house in Edinburgh, it must be remembered, a single story, or half a story, was commonly meant. In one single building there were generally many freeholds separately held. Sir John Pringle, writing to Hume from London on Nov. 2, 1773, about an Edinburgh house, says:—‘I will not answer for the clearness [of my reply], as I apprehend some danger in misunderstanding one another from the different terms in use here and in Scotland at present. When I left it, we had luckily neither parlours, nor first and second floors to confound us.’ Ib.
Dr. Robert Chambers, in his Traditions of Edinburgh, ed. 1825, i. 219, says that ‘till the building of the New Town James's Court was inhabited by a select set of gentlemen. They kept a clerk to record their names and their proceedings, had a scavenger of their own, clubbed in many public measures, and had balls and assemblies among themselves.’ Hume's flat was on the northern side of the Court, where the houses were built on so steep a slope, that he who from the south had entered on a level with the pavement found on going to the windows at the north that he was looking down from the fourth story. Below him he could have seen the topmost branches of a fine row of trees. ‘How well,’ says Lord Cockburn, ‘the ridge of the old town was set off by a bank of elms that ran along the front of James's Court, and stretched eastward over the ground now partly occupied by the Bank of Scotland.’ Memorials, p. 292. They and many another stately group fell before ‘the Huns,’ who in Edinburgh in the early part of the present century ‘massacred every town tree that came in a mason's way.’