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ticular to me when I was introduced to him ; and (can 3. imagine it 7) I was become so silly as to be a little mortified by it, till they told me that he never says any thing to any body the first time he sees them. The Dauphin, as I am told from all hands, declares himself on every occasion very strongly in my savor; and many people assure me that I have reason to be proud of his judgment, even were he an individual. I have scarce seen any of the geniuses of Paris, who, I think, have in general great merit, as men of letters. But every body is forward to tell me the high panegyrics I receive from them; and you may believe that * approbation which has procured me all these civilities from the courtiers. “I know you are ready to ask me, my dear friend, if all this does not make me very happy. No, I feel little or no difference. As this is the first letter I write to my friends at home, I have amused myself (and I hope I have amused you), by giving you a very abridged account of these transactions. But can I ever forget that it is the very same species that would scarce show me common civilities a few years ago at Edinburgh, who now receive me with such applauses at Paris.”
Hume's income was considerably increased by a pension procured for him by the interest of Lord Hertford; and the hope of becoming secretary to the embassy added to his comforts, as it gave the near expectation of a thousand a year additional, and—
“Puts me,” he says to Ferguson, “on the road to all the great foreign enjoyments. 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. 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.” . . . “I know nothing that is necessary to happiness but cordiality, and the talent of finding diversion in all places. I remember, some where, a man's being told that he was too nice, because he could not dine on a ragout, and must have cold mutton.”
In a letter to Robertson, Hume, who appears to have been always occupied in kindnesses to his friends, tells him of a translator or translatrix, a Madame Belot, who had done his “House of Tudor,” and was ready to do Robertson's or any other man's work. Hume praises her handicraft, but Grimm tells us of some strange blunders. Hume alludes somewhere to the Polish aristocracy, and Madame renders this “une aristocratie polie.” Poor thing ! Mr.
* A word or two obliterated.
Burton quotes a sentence from a French journal which tells of her in a year or two aster, when she was living with the President Mesnieres, in a relation which, though not that of marriage, seems to have been recognized as one not utterly humbling. The president's taste is, however, called in question for his choice as “Cette dame est peu jeune ; elle est laide, seche et d'un esprit triste et mélancolique.”
“Do you ask me,” adds Hume, in the letter which mentions Madame Belot, “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, o think they were wanting in the most indispensable duty, if they did not make a long and elaborate harangue in my praise. What happened last week, when I had the honor of being presented to the D–n's children, at Versailles, is one of the most curious scenes I have ever yet passed through. The Duc de Berry, the eldest, a boy of ten years old, stepped forth, and told me how many friends and admirers l 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. [Provence, afterwards Louis XVIII.,] who is two years younger, be: gan 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. [D'Artois, afterwards Charles X.,] who is but four years of age, I heard him mimble something which, though he had forgot in the way, I conjectured, from some scattered words, to have been also a panegyric dictated to him. Nothing could more surprise my friends, the Parisian philosophers, than this incident. It is conjectured that this honor was paid me by express orders from the D., who, indeed, is not on any occasion sparing in my praise.
“All this attention and panegyric was at first oppressive to me; but now it sits more easy. I have recovered, in some measure, the use of the language, and am falling into friendships which are very agreeable ; much more so than silly, distant admiration. They now begin to banter me, and tell droll stories of me, which they have either observed themselves, or have heard from others; so that you see I am beginning to be at home.”
It is not surprising that Hume loved Paris. In a letter to Blair he tells of a masquerade to which he went with Lord Hertford :
“We went both unmasked ; and we had scarce entered the room when a lady, in mask, came up to me and exclaimed:—‘Ha / Monsieur Hume, vous faites bien de venir ici a visage découvert. Que vous serez bien comblé ce soir d'honnétetés et de politesses 1 Vous rerrez, par des preuves pent equiroques, jusqu'à quel oint vous étes chéri en France.’ This proogue was not a little encouraging ; but, as we advanced through the hall, it is difficult to imagine the caresses, civilities, and panegyrics which poured on me from all sides. You would have thought that every one had taken advantage of his mask to speak his mind with impunity. I could observe that the ladies were rather the most liberal on this occasion. But what gave me chief pleasure was to find that most of the eulogiums bestowed on me, turned on personal character, my naivéte, and simplicity of manners, the candor and mildness of my iro &c.—Non sunt mihi cornea fibra. I shall not deny that my heart felt a sensible satisfaction from this general ef. susion of good will ; and Lord Hertford was much pleased, and even surprised, though he said, he thought that he had known before upon what footing I had stood with the good company of Paris.” There is an amusing chapter in Mr. Burton's book on the society of Paris, at the time of Hume's visit, but no attempt to describe that society has been perfectly successful. It can only approach to be felt after continued study of the thousand me. moirs of the day. The books from which we can learn most of it, and all we can learn is very imperfect, are, Grimm, Marmontel, and Madame du Deffand, and, in her way, Madame de Genlis. The mystery of fashion is impenetrable. Madame du Geoffrin, the star described as of most splendor in the Parisian heaven, had no claim of rank; she was the daughter of a valet de chambre, and the widow of a manufacturer; she brought round her artists, and authors, and celebrities of all kinds; D'Alembert, Helvetius, Marmontel, and Raynal were sure to be met with her on her public days, and Rousseau, when at rare intervals he ventured from his solitude. Her manners were natural and goodnatured; she believed, and acted on the belief, that if it were not for the rich, the poor could not live at all; and she patronized all manner of artists and artisans. At her parties, politics were carefully and even anxiously excluded. In spite of her patronage of the philosophers, she was suspected by them of some concealed religion—“Elle avait un apartement dans un couvent de religieuses et une tribune a l'Eglise des Capucins—mais avec autant de
mystère que les femmes galantes de ce temps-lä avaient des petites maisons.” Madame de Bocage did what she could to rival Madame Geoffrin, but failed; she was rich—she was beautiful, or was said to be so—her rank was unimpeachable, but she had one fault, and that was fatal—she wrote poetry; the Columbiade and the Amazones are, or were, epics, and the guests who appeared at her parties feared to be examined in them, and had not courage to submit to the test. Madame du Deffand declared war against Hume from the first. He went to Madame De Boufflers' parties, and she was jealous, as this was treason to her. There is a letter of her's to Walpole, from which a sentence is worth transcribing; it is lively, and will give some notion of the heartlessness, as well as the wit of these strange people.
“Vous me saites un, grand plaisir de m'apprendre que David Hume, va en Ecosse ; je suis bien aise que vous ne soyez plus à portee de le voir, et moi ravie de l'assurance de ne le revoir jamais. Wous me demanderez ce qu'il m'a fait? Il m'a deplu. Haissant les idoles je déteste leurs prétres et leurs adorateurs. Pour d'idoles, vous n'en verrez pas chez moi; vous y pourrez voir quelquefois de leurs adorateurs, mais qui sont plus hypocrites que devots; leur culte est exterieur; les pratiques, les cérémonies de cette religion sont des soupers, des musiques, des operas, des comedies, &c.”
With Madame du Deffand's circle Hume's relations became those of active hostility—the hostility being all on the lady's side—in consequence of her quarrel with Mademoiselle De L'Espinasse. Mademoiselle was young, and was a sort of companion, it would seem, to Madame, who was blind, and read with her young friend's eyes. The young friend soon discovered she had a soul of her own, and Madame du Deffand's guests came an hour earlier than the time fixed for her parties, to enjoy the society of Mademoiselle, who was exceedingly lively; a good deal pockmarked, however; and whose charms were most successful in the twilight. At six o'clock in the evening, madame entered her apartments one day, and found that mademoiselle had been all the time engaged in conversation, high and deep, with D'Alembert and others of the philosophers— this was treason, and Mademciselle was banished.
Her exile was a triumph. Mademoiselle set up for herself—won philosophers, and artists, and poets, as many as she could, away from their allegiance to that elder throne. Her friends supplied her with a house and appurtenances of all kinds, and a pension from the king was obtained for her. D'Alembert visited her—the blind old lady soon learned the astounding fact, and the philosopher had to choose between madame and mademoiselle. He paid the compliment to youth, if not to beauty, and he had his reward. Not long after his secession, he became dangerously ill, and made moiselle nursed him. D'Alembert was removed to her house, and whatever was her love for the philosopher, her peace of mind was disturbed by the jealousies of some for whom she was supposed to entertain feelings of a warmer nature. She died early ; and vexation occasioned by his connexion with her, broke the spirit and probably hastened the death of D'Alembert. With D'Alembert and with Turgot, Hume had relations of more intimate friendship than with any others of the distinguished natives of France, in whose company he then lived. D'Alembert is mentioned with kindliness in his will. We have mentioned that Hume's opinions on the mechanism of the human mind, and of the evidence of our individual consciousness being insufficient to prove the actual existence of an external world—did not affect his habitual belief or conduct. He was in every thing favorably distinguished from the philosophical society, among whom he found himself in Paris. Romilly has preserved a conversation of Diderot's, who said to him—“Je vous dirai un trait de Hume, mais il vous sera un peu scandaleux peut etre car vous Anglais vous croyez un peu en Dieu ; pour nous autres nous n'y croyons gueres. Hume dina avec une grande compagnie chez le Baron d'Holbach. Il etait assis a coté du Baron ; on parla de la religion naturelle. Pour les Athées, disait Hume, je ne crois pas qu'il en existe; je n'en ai jamais vu. Wous avez été un peu malheureux repondit l'autre, vous voici à table avec dix-sept pour la premiere sois.” Mr. Burton gives us one or two of the letters of invitation to Hume, to French parties—one is amusing:—“M. L'Abbé Georgel fait un million de compliments a M. Hume. He makes great account of his works—admires her wit, and loves her person.” We fancy it would take some time to persuade Monsieur L’Abbé, that this was not very good English. Hume's pense!” “No lady's toilet was complete with. out Hume's attendance. At the opera his broad unmeaning face was o seen entre deus jolis minois. The ladies in France give the ton, and the ton was deism ; a species of philosophy ill suited to the softer sex, in whose delicate frame weakness is interesting, and timidity a charm. But the women in France were deists, as with us they were charioteers. The tenets of the new philosophy were d portée de tout le monde, and the perusal of a wanton novel, such, for example, as Therese Philosophe, was amply sufficient to render any fine gentleman or any fine lady, an accomplished, nay, a learned deist. How my friend Hume was able to endure the encounter of these French female Titans I know not. In England, either his philosophic pride, or his conviction that issil. was ill-suited to women, made him persectly averse from the initiation of ladies into the mysteries of his doctrine. I never saw him so much displeased, or so much disconcerted, as by the petulance of Mrs. Mallet, the conceited wife of Bolingbroke's editor. This lady, who was not acquainted with Hume, meeting him one aight at an assembly, boldly accosted him in these words: ‘Mr. Hume, give me leave to introduce myself to you ; we deists ought to know each other.’ ‘Madame,’ replied he, ‘I am no deist. I do not style myself so, neither do I desire to be known by that appellation.’”—Hurdy's Life of Charlemont. Vol I. p. 235.
interest was solicited in the disposal of church patronage. He is requested by Madame Helvetius, to procure an abbaye for her friend M. Macdonalt, “ of an illustrious Irish family;” and is told by another lady,
making a similar request, that the clergy will
feel more pleasure in obliging him, than in
performing the duties of their office. Lord
Charlemont again met Hume on this visit
to Paris—and again gives us an account of him. The passage is well worth looking
at by those who have an opportunity, in
Hardy’s “Life of Lord Charlemont.” Its
substance is, we believe, given by Mr. Burton, but broken into such fractions, as best fit it with the respective parts of his work.
Its effect is in this way lessened—Lord
Charlemont's narrative was written a considerable time after this meeting with Hume in Paris; and he speaks also of intercourse with him in London. On the whole, his recollections are favorable to Hume. Hume was, it would appear, in the habit of showing him his essays, as he was preparing them for the press, and was asked by Lord Charlemont whether he did not think the diffusion of his views on the subject of religio nwould not diminish the happiness of mankind, and whether he did not think the curb of religion a necessary restraint. Hume's answer was—“The objections are not without weight, but error can never produce good, and truth ought to take place of all considerations.”
“One day,” says Charlemont, “that he visited me in London, he came into my room laughing. “What has put you into this good humor, Hume 7–4 Why, man, I have just heard the best thing said to me I ever heard. I was complaining that I had written many volumes throughout which there were but few pages that contained any reprehensible, matter, and yet, for those few pages, I was abused and torn to pieces. “You put me in mind,' said an honest fellow in the company, whose name I do not know, ‘of a notary public, who, having been condemned to be hanged for forgery, lamented the hardship of his case, that having written many thousand inoffensive sheets, he should be hanged for one line.’”
“Le célèbre David Hume, grand et gros historiographe d’Angleterre, connu et estimé parses écrits, n'a pas autant de talens pour ce enre d'amusemens auguel toutes nos jolies femmes l’avoient décidé propre. It fit son début chez Madame de T–– ; on lui avoit destiné le rôle d'un Sultan assis entre deux esclaves, employant toute son eloquence pour s'en faire aimer; les trouvant inexorables, il devoit chercher le sujet de leurs peines, et de leur résistance: on le place sur un sopha entre les deux plus jolies femmes de Paris, illes regarde attentivement, il se frappe le ventre et les genoux à plusieurs reprises, et ne trouve
jamais autre chose à leur dire que: ‘Eh bien / mes demoiselles...Eh bien / rous voild donc. Eh bien / vous voilà...vous voilà ici ?” Cette phrase dura un quart d'heure, sans qu'il pút en sortir, une d'elles se leva d' impatience: Ah! dit elle, je m'en etois bien doutée, cet homme n'est bon qu'à manger du veau ! Depuis ce temps il est relegué au rôle de spectateur, et n'en est pas moins fété et cajolé. C'est en vérité une chose plaisante que i. rôle qu'il joue ici; malheureusement pour lui ou plutót pour la dignité philosophique, car, pour lui, il paroit s'accommoder fort de ce train de vie; il n°y avoit aucune manie dominante dans ce pays lorsqu'il y est arrivé; on l’a regardé comme une trouvaille dans cette circonstance, et l'effervescence de nos jeunes tétes s'est tourné de son cóté. Toutes les jolies femmes s'en sont emparées; ill est de tous les soupers fins, et il n'est point de bonne sete sans sui.” —Memoires et Correspondance de Madame D'Epinay, Vol. iii. p. 284.”
Hume's popularity was such as to have provoked Walpole into more than his usual waspishness. In one letter he describes him as treated “with public veneration.” In another, he speaks of the tone of conversation in Paris, as “solemn, pedantic, and seldom animated but by a dispute. Mr. Hume, who very gratefully admires the tone of Paris, having never known any other tone, said, with great surprise—“Why, what do you like, if you hate both disputes and whist " " To another correspondent, he says that “laughing is out of fashion at Paris. They have no time to laugh.There is God and the king to be pulled down first, and men and women, one and all, are devoutly employed in demolition. . . Mr. Hume is the only thing in the world which they believe implicitly, which they must do, for I defy them to understand any language that he speaks.”
This was in 1765–In the next year marvellous was the change in Horace's tone. Rousseau, the vainest and the maddest of men, every now and then appeared in the salons of Paris, in his Armenian dress, complaining of kings and people. He was in that early stage of insanity in which the sufferer, viewing every thing around him in reference. to himself alone, weaves all into evidence of conspiracy. The case is so common that we believe it is one of the most ordinary incidents of insanity; in fact a regular stage in the disease. This was the hour for Walpole, and a play of small wit was directed against the savage philosopher. A letter with the name of the King of Prussia, inviting the persecuted Jean Jacques to his court, to live as a bro
ther, was written by Walpole—was shown
“There is a very remarkable difference between London and Paris (of which I gave warning to Helvetius, 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 i. 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. I found, immediately on my landing here, the effects of this disposition. Lord Beauchamp told me that I must go instantly with him to the Duchess de la Valliere's. When I excused mysels on account of dress, he told me that he had her orders, though I were in boots. I ac
* We may as well print the letter: “Mon ch ER JEAN JAcques, “Vous avez renoncé à Geneve, votre patrie. Wous vous etes fait chasser de la Suisse, pays tant vanté dans vos écrits; la France vous a décréte ; venez donc chez inoi. J'admire vos talens; je m’amuse de vos réveries qui (soit dit en passant) vous occupent trop et trop longtemps. Il faut à la fin &tre sage et heureux; vous avez fait ass. z parler de vous, par des singularités peu convenables à un véritable grand homme; démontrez à vos enemis que vous pouves avoir quelquefois le sens commun: cela les fächera sans vous faire tort Mes états vous offrent une retraite paisible: je vous veux du bien, et je vous en serai, si vous le trouvez bon. Mais si vous vous obstinez à rejettermon secours, attendez-vous que je ne le dirai à personne. Si vous persistez à vous creuser l'esprit pour trouver de nouveaux malheurs, choisissez-les tels que vous vondrez; je suis roi, je puis vous en procurer au gré de vos souhaits; et, ce qui sãrement ne vous arrivera pas vis-à-vis de vos ennemis, je cesserai de vous persecuter, quand vous cesserez de mettre votre gloire à l'étre. Wotre bon ami, Fit Ed Emick." t Walpole to Gray.
cordingly went with him in a travelling frock, where I saw a very fine lady reclining on a sosa, who made me speeches and compliments without bounds. The style of panegyric was then taken up by a fat gentleman, whom I cast my eyes upon, and observed him to wear a star of the richest diamonds;–it was the Duke of Orleans. The Duchess told me she was engaged to sup in President Henault's, but that she would not part with me—I must go along with her. The good president received me with open arms; and told me, among other fine things, that, a few days before, the dauphin said to him, &c. &c. &c. Such instances of attention I found very frequent, and even daily.”
Hume, soon after, was made secretary to the embassy. His appointments were to 1,200 a-year, and £300 for his equipage, and three hundred ounces of plate for his table.—[Letter to his brother, 14th July, 1765.] On Lord Hertford's appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Hume was thought of as secretary. The arrangement was understood to be fixed;—and among the manuscripts preserved among Baron Hume's papers are applications to David for church preserment. Mr. Burton quotes one from a general officer, supplicating a chaplaincy for a friend:—
“The divine in question has a very good living, but in a quarter of the world where he has not a creature to converse with. If his excellency would enrol him among that million of the tribe of Levi that attend at the Castle of Dublin, who are called his chaplains, it would excuse his attendance at quarters, and his general (I mean his bishop) would be under the necessity of permitting him to be absent whilst he had the honor to be about the commander-in-chief at head quarters.”
Lord Hertford found the prejudice against his bringing over a Scotchman too strong. He obtained for Hume a pension of £400 a-year. “There was,” says Hume, in a letter to his brother, “a kind of fray in London on Lord Hertford's declaring his intentions in my favor. The princess Amelia said that she thought the affair might be easily accommodated. “Why may not Lord Hertford give a bishopric to Mr. Hume 1”
Rousseau now appears upon the stage. He had succeeded in attracting Madame de Boufflers and the Marischal Keith, and thus Hume was prepared to respond to the vow of eternal friendship which was tendered to him. At the close of the year 1765, he came to Paris, having, as he said, been