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" I was born,” says he, “ the 26th of April 2711, 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. cr Humne's; and my ancestors had been proprietors of the estate, which my brother por fefies, for several generations. My mother was daughter of Sir David Falconer, President of the College of Justice: the title of Lord Halkerton came by fucceffion to her brother.

“ My family, however, was not rich; and being myself a younger brother, my patrimony, according to the mude of my country, was of course very fiender. My father, who passed for a man of parts, died when I was an infant, leaving ine, with an elder brother and a fitter, under the care of our mother, a woman of fingular merit, who, though young and handsome, devoted herseit entirely to the rearing and educating of her children. I passed through the ordinary course of. education with luccels, and was reized very early with a passion for literaiure, which has been the ruling pation of my lite, and the great fource of my enjoyments. My ftudious disposition, my fobriety, and my industry, gave my family a notion that ihe law was a proper proseilion for me; but I found an unfurmountable aversion to every thing but the pursuits of philosophy and general learning; and while they fancied I was poring upon Voet and Vinnius, Cicero and Virgil were the authors which I was fecretlv devouring.

“ My very tlender 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 torced, to make a very feeble trial for entering into a more active scene of lite. In 1734, I went to Bristol, with some recomnendations to eminent merchants, but in a few months found that scene forally unsuitable to me, I went over to France, with a view of profecutinig nay studies in a country retreat; and I there laid that plan of lite, which I have steadily and successfully pursued. I resolved to make a very rigid frugaliiy tupply my deticiency of for-tune, 10 maintain unimpaired my independency, and to regard every object as comemptible, except the improvement of my talents in literature. · “ During my retreat in France, firit ar Reims, but chiefly at La Fleche, in Anjou, I compoted my Treatije of Human Nature. After passing three years very agreeably in that country, I came over to London in 1737. In the end ot 1738, I published my Treatise, and immediately went down to my mother and my brother, who lived at his country-house, and was employing himself very judiciously and luce sessfully in the improvement of his fortune.”

This narrative of Mr. Hume's life contains, as he himself obferves, little more than the history of his writings; which, as it is short, we shall cite without interruption; subjoining such reinarks as suggest themselves, by way of note, at the bottom of the page.

« Never literary atte:npt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature. It feli dend-born from the press, without reaching such distinction, as even to excite a murmur among the zealots. But being


naturally of a cheerful and fanguine temper *, I very soon recorered the blow, and prosecuted with great ardour my studies in the country. In 1742, I printed at Edinburgh the first part of my ElTays: the work was tavourably received, and soon made me entirely forget my former drappointment. I continued with my mother and brother in the country, and in that time recovered the knowledge of the Greek language, which I had too much neglected in my early youth.

66 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, tor 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 for. tune. I then received an invitation from General St. Clair to attend him as a secretary to his expedition, which was at first meant agains Canada, but ended in an incurfion on the coast of France. Next year, to wit, 1747, I received an invitation from the general to attend him in the fame 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 Grant. 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 to ; 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 ufual indiscretion, in going to the press too early. I, therefore, cast the first part of that work anew in the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, which was publined while I was at Turin. 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 Enquiry, while my pero torinance was entirely overlooked and neglected. A new edition, wbich had been published at London of my Efsays, moral and political, met not with a much better reception. .

* So sanguine that it does not appear our author had acquired at this period of his life that command over his passions, of which he afterwards makes his boast. His disappointment at the public reception of his Essay on Human Nature had indeed a violent effect on his passions in a particular inftance: it not having droppech fo dead-born from the press but that it was severely handled by the Reviewers of those times, in a publication, entitled, “? Works of the Learned:” A circumstance this which so highly provoked our young philosopher, that he flew in a violent rage, to demand satisfactio of Jacob Robinson, the publisher; whom he kept, during the paroxyim of his anger, at his sword's point, trembling behind the counter left a period hould be put to the life of a sober critic by a raving philosopher. Revery

*** Such . Such is the force 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 Essays, which I called Political Difcourses, and also my Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, which is another part of my treatise that I cast anew. Meanwhile, my bookseller, A. Millar, informed me, that my former publications (all 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 year; 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 body; and not being very irascible in my temper, I have easily kept myself clear of all literary squabbles *. These symptoms of a rifing reputation gave me encou. ragement, as I was ever more disposed to see the favourable than unfavourable fide of things; a turn of mind which it is more happy to poffefs, than to be born to an estate of ten thousand a year f.

" In 1751, I removed from the country to the town, the true scene for a man of letters. In 1752, were published at Edinburgh, where I chen lived, my Political Discourses, the only work of mine that was fuccefsful on the first publication. It was well received abroad and ac hoine. In the same year was published at London, my Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals ; which, in my own opinion (who ought not to judge on that fubject), is of all my writings, historical, philosophical, or literary, incomparably the best . It came unnoticed and unobserved into the world.

" 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 library ll.' 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 place. I was, I own, fanguine 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 preju

* Perhaps this was owing to Mr. Hume's turn of study as well as temper of mind. 'He ran a race in which he had few competitors. History and Pbilosopby, are above the pursuits of literary-{quabbles. Had he been a poet, the genus irritabile vatum, the versifyers, would have tried his philofophy of teinper to the utmost. Fortunately for him, he was too wife to be a wit, and thus escaped. Rev.

+ Perhaps this disposition of mind was not a little confirmed by the ridiculous figure he inuit be conscious he made in the before-mentioned adventure with Jacob; before he grew “ callous against the impressions of public folly.” Rev.

1 In this inftance Mr. Hume shews himself to be a more impartial judge of his own writings than authors theinfelves usually are. Rev.

| About this time Mr. Huine was chosen secretary to a learned and ingenious society at Edinburgh, which published two volumes of Literary and Philosophical Essays. Rev. Vol. V. Dd

dices; dices ; and as the subject was suited to every capacity, I expected proportional applause. But miserable was my disappointment: I was af. jailed by one cry of reproach, disapprobation, and even detestation; English, Scotch, and Irish, Whig and Tory, churchman and sectary, free-thinker 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 I. and the Earl of Strafford; and after the first ebullitions of their fury were over, what was itill more mortifying, the book seemed to link into oblivion. · Mr. Millar told me, that in a twelvemonth he sold only forty-five copies of it. I scarcely, indeed, heard of one man in the three kingdoms, considerable for rank or letters, that could endure the book. I must only except the primate of Eng. land, Dr. Herring, and the primate of Ireland, Dr. Stone, which seem two odd exceptions. These dignified prelates separately sent me messages not to be discouraged.

* I was, however, I confess, discouraged; and had not the war been at that time 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 country. But as this scheme was not now practicable, and the subsequent volume was considerably advanced, I refolved to pick up courage and to perfevere.

is In this interval, I published at London my Natural History of Religion, along with some other small pieces: its public entry was rather obscure, except only that Dr. Hurd wrote a pamphlet against 'it, with all the illiberal petulance, arrogance, and fcurrility, which 'distinguish the Warburtonian school*. 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 role izlelf, but helped to buoy up its unfortunate brother.

" But though I had been taught by experience, that the Whig party were in poflellion of beitowing 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 farther study, reading, or reflection, engaged ine to make in the reigns of the two first Stuarts, I have made all of them invariably to the Tory side. It is ridiculous to contider 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 alınost equal to that against the

History of the two firat Stuarts. The reign of Elizabeth was particu·larly obnoxious. But I was now callous against the impressions of public folly, and continued very peaceably and contentedly in my re

* It is a little remarkable that the gentleman, to whose care this manuscript was entrusted, thould have ever carried his hand so even between religion and infideliry, as to have been made the instrument of ushering into the world, with cqual approbation, the doctrines of divine grace, and the dogmas of buman nature. Rev.


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treat 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 success.

“ But, notwithstanding this variety of winds and seasons, to which · my writings had been exposed, they had still been making such ad

vances, that the copy-money given me by the booksellers, inuch exceeded any thing formerly known in England; 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 fatis. faction of never having preferred a request to one great man, or even making advances of friendship to any of thein *. As I was now turned of fifty, I thought of passing all the rest of my life in this philosophical manner, when I received, in 1763, an invitation from the Earl of Hertford, with whom I was not in the least acquainted, to attend hiin on his embassy to Paris, with a near prospect of being appointed secretary to the embaffy; and, in the meanwhile, of performing the functions of that office. This offer, however inviting, I at firit declined, both because I was reluctant to begin connexions with the great, 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 lordThip's repeating the invitation, I accepted of it. I have every reason, both of pleasure and interest, to think myself happy in my connexions with that nobleman, as well as afterwards with his brother, General Conway.

io Those who have not seen the strange effects of modes, will never imagine the reception I met with at Paris, from men and women of all ranks and stations. The more I refled from their excessive civilities, the more I was loaded with them. There is, however, a real fatisfaç. tion in living at Paris, from the great number of sensible, knowing, and polite company with which that 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 fummer 1765, Lord Hertford left me, being appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. 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 Paris, and next summer went to Edinburgh, with the fame view as formerly, of burying myfelf in a philosophical retreat. I returned to that placı, not richer, but with much more money, and a much larger incoine, by means of Lord Hertford's friendthip, than I left it; and I was delirous of trying what fuperfluity could produce, as I had formerly made án 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 connexions with Lord Hertford, prevented me from declining t. I returned to Edinburgh in 1709,


How few writers can say this !--The fact reflects great honour on our author's spirit of independency. Not but that his general turn of study was toward such subjects as great men so little understand that it could hardly recommend him to many patrons. Rev.

+ It was during our author's connection with administration that he iaterefted himself in favour of that frange and inconsistent mortal, Rouleau ;


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