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ther, was written by Walpole—was shown to Helvetius and the Duke of Nivernois. The French was doctored and cured, and the letter forwarded to Rousseau. That Rousseau should have believed a lie, seems a poor reason for France regarding the utterer of the falsehood with admiration.* But so it was, the copies of Walpole's letter in Frederick's name “spread like wildfire, et me voici a la mode. I was sent for about like an African prince, or a learned canary bird.”f In a letter of Hume's (1765), are sentences we wish to transcribe :—
“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 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. 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 myself 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. Vous vous etes fait chasser de la Suisse, pays tant vanté dans vos écrits; la France vous a décréte ; venez donc chez moi. 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 assiz 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 sùrement ne vous arrivera pas vis-à-vis de vos ennemis, je cesserai de vous persécuter, quand vous cesserez de mettre votre gloire à l'étre. Votre bon ami, Fit Ed Emick.” f 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 £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
driven by the priests and the women from Neufchatel—
“Is it not strange,” said he to Madame de Boufflers, ‘that 1, who have written so much to decry the morals and conduct of the Parisian ladies, should yet be beloved by them, while the Swiss women, whom I have so much extolled, would cut my throat?”
“‘We are fond of you,” said she, ‘because we know that, whatever you may say, you love us to distraction. They detest you, because they know they are too ugly to attract you.”
On leaving Neufchatel, he went to a little island, in the midst of a lake, near Berne. The island was inhabited but by one German peasant, his wife, and sister. But the Council of Berne was alarmed, trembled at the thought of a revolution, and ordered him at once to withdraw from their state. Hume undertook his protection, when he thus seemed hunted out of all society.
To Paris he came, though outlawed by the parliament, in a strange dress, which rendered him conspicuous to the police, as to every body else. He refused the king's passport, because it could, under his circumstances, be only given to him in a false name, and this was a violation of truth to which he would not submit. The instant he came to Paris he was all the fashion. He claimed to have immediate communications with the Divinity, and Hume believed him to be speaking what he thought the truth. In January, 1766, Hume, he, and M. de Luze of Geneva, reached England. On disembarking, Rousseau says “he leaped on his illustrious friend's neck, embraced him without uttering a word, and covered his face with kisses and tears.” Rousseau's establishment consisted of a female, Mademoiselle le Waseux, who is called his “gouvernante,” and whom he insisted on accompanying him in all his visits, and his dog, “who,” says Hume, “is no better than a collie.”
“This woman forms the chief incumbrance to his settlement. M. de Luze, our companion, says that she passes for wicked, and quarrelsome, and tattling, and is thought to be the chief cause of his quitting Neufchatel. He himself owns her to be so dull, that she never knows in what year of the Lord she is, nor in what month of the year, nor in what day of the month or week; and that she can never learn the different value of the pieces of money in any country. Yet she governs him as absolutely as a nurse does a child. In her ab
sence his dog has acquired that ascendant. His affection for that creature is beyond all expression or conception.”—Hume.
The “gouvernante” followed in the train of the philosopher, for Hume, luckily, had not the trouble of conveying her. She was consigned to the care of another great man. While Hume was negotiating for a pension for Rousseau, and had nearly got the promise of a hundred a-year, he received a letter—
“A letter has also come to me, open, from Guy the bookseller, by which I learn that mademoiselle sets out post, in company with a friend of mine, a young gentleman, very goodhumored, very agreeable, and very mad He visited Rousseau in his mountains, who gave him a recommendation to Paoli, the King of Corsica; where this gentleman, whose name is Boswell, went last summer, in search of adventures. He has such a rage for literature, that I dread some event fatal to our friend's honor. You remember the story of Terentia, who was first married to Cicero, then to Sallust, and at last, in her old age, married a young nobleman, who imagined that she must possess some secret, which would convey to him eloquence and genius.”
Hume, one night, persuaded Rousseau to go to the theatre with him. There had been some previous arrangement with Garrick, who placed him in a box opposite the king and queen. At the very moment they were leaving home, he told Hume that he had changed his mind—“For what shall I do with Sultan 7" (his dog.) “Leave him behind,” said Hume. “He will get into the streets, and be lost.” “Lock him up in your room, and put the key in your pocket.” When they were at the door, the dog howled. Rousseau again changed his mind. Hume at last, half by force, half by urging that the king and queen were expecting to see him, got him to proceed. Efforts were made to lodge Rousseau and his family in one cottage or another with farmers and gardeners: these failed. Rousseau said that he had not come to England to be mixed up with farmers and gardeners, and he was only properly housed when Mr. Davenport, a gentleman of five or six thousand a year, located him and his at some nominal rent, in a house which he happened to have in the peak of Derby. Hume, who was beginning to know his man, thus describes the prospect of his continuing in this hermitage —“If it be possible for a man to live without occupation, without books, without society, and without sleep, he will not quit this wild and solitary place, where all the circumstances which he ever required, seem to concur for the purpose of making him happy. But I dread the weakness and inquietude natural to every man, and above all to a man of his character. I should not be surprised that he soon quitted his retreat.” Rousseau's suspicious temper had even before Hume wrote the sentence which we have just transcribed, been excited. Some dispute between mademoiselle and an old domestic of Mr. Davenport's seems to have been the immediate occasion of an actual outbreak of madness. Then, with diseased ingenuity, Rousseau put together all the facts connected with Walpole's letter. He had first attributed it to Woltaire, then to D'Alembert, then some accident led him to suppose an Englishman the anthor, then Hume himself became the great object of a thousand suspicions, and no act of kindness was there from Hume or his friends which he did not contrive to dovetail into the diabolical plot for his destruction, which he persuaded himself occupied all Europe. He wrote a letter to the English newspapers, in which he said, that the author of the forged letter from the king of Prussia had his accomplices in England. Hume says, that the excitement manifested in the language of this letter made him tremble for Rousseau. While Rousseau was thus agitating himself to frenzy, Hume and his friends were busy trying to arrange the pension affair in such a manner as would be most palatable to the philosopher. Jean Jacques first refused it because it was to be a secret. The king's consent was then sought to permit it to be published. This would not do either; Rousseau refused to allow Hume to interfere in his affairs at all. We have no intention of following Mr. Burton in his account of this quarrel, which is told at dreadful length, and for which Mr. Burton has not the excuse of Hume's former biographer, Ritchie, who published the original letters. A remark of Mr. Burton's may be worth preserving. In mentioning a letter of Rousseau's to Hume, he observes that “the frantic bitterness of the language is contrasted with the elaborate neatness of the penmanship, which, if handwriting conveyed a notion of character, would represent a calm, contented mind gratifying itself by the exercise of the petty art of calligraphy.” Among the illustrations which accompany Mr. Burton's work is a fac-simile of Rosseau's handwriting, from Rousseau's letter to Hume in reply to his propo
sal about the pension. Rousseau's insanity in reality appears at this period to have risen to such a height as to leave him scarcely an accountable agent; and to describe his frenzy as malevolence or ingratitude is rather to adopt a metaphor from language which assumes the sanity of all men, than to express with any but the loosest analogy, Rousseau's conduct or feelings. Hume was foolishly provoked into the publication of a pamphlet on the subject of the quarrel, and this gave rise to a war of pamphlets both in England and in France. Fuseli, the painter, was one of Rousseau's champions, an absurd enterprise for which he was well fitted. The caricaturists did not allow the incident to pass without supplying them with their share of the harvest, reaped by the thousand industrious livers on the bounty of the day, which is never so bountiful as when men, whose names are more known to the public than their writings, fall out. Rousseau was represented in one of their prints, and shown in all the shop-windows as a yahoo, newly caught in the woods; and Hume as a farmer offering him oats, which he refuses to eat. Horace Walpole is making horns for him of papiermaché, and Voltaire and D'Alembert whipping him up behind. England, Rosseau found, was not the place for him, and he determined to fly. The solitary philosopher does not know, however, how to proceed, and he writes to the chancellor as the first civil magistrate in the kingdom, saying that he must “evacuate” England, and desiring a guard to escort him safely to Dover, “the last act of hospitality which he will desire of the English nation.” Rousseau's acts are quite those of a madman. He exhausts himself in language which, for the most part we think may represent, a real purpose entertained at the moment, but the mind becomes fatigued by the very effort of expression in words, or is satisfied, and does not one of all the things so earnestly and extravagantly expressed. He has scarce sent his letter to the chancellor, when he writes to Mr. Davenport, the friend of Hume's, whose house in Derbyshire he occupied, a letter conceived in an humble and penitent spirit, expressing his determination to return to Wooton, and this letter being written and despatched, he straight sets off, not to Wooton, but to Dover, from which he writes a letter to General Conway accusing Hume, Davenport, and every one else, of a conspiracy to bring him to derision; and this letter ends with entreating Conway not to have him assassinated in private, suggesting that such a step would not be safe—that in his memoirs, already written, and in the event of his death certain of being published, he has told the world of this conspiracy against his peace; that if he is allowed to return to l'rance, he will suppress this work. As a guarantee for his observing this part of the contract, he consents to accept of the pension from the king, after which no one will imagine that he could be so infamous as to write against the king's ministers or his people. “He would not even write against Mr. Hume,” he said, and he promised to ascribe all the unpleasant feelings that had arisen between them to his own temper soured by misfortunes. He at last, on the very day of writing one of his letters promising or threatening a return to Wooton, embarked for Calais. Better and kindlier feelings at last awoke in his mind towards Hume, whom he could not at any time have really believed to have been other than his friend. He attributed his conduct in England to the effects of the foggy climate, and his memoirs stop short just before the date at which his narrative would have brought him into contact with Hume and England. Hume appears to have been heartily sick of the whole affair, as he well might. It tormented him during what had promised to be a pleasant vacation year of life. It is during that time the sole subject of his correspondence, and he never seems to have recurred to it afterwards. Rousseau is not mentioned in Hume's autobiography. In the course of the year 1766, he returned to Scotland, and seems to have planned passing the rest of his life there; but in the next year we find him, through the interest of Lord Hertford, under secretary of state. Conway was secretary. It was a great day for Hume's friends. None of the Grafton cabinet were Scotsmen. There was no under secretary for Scotland, as in the days before Conway's secretaryship ; and Hume was consulted on all affairs that related to Scotland. Hume's heart was in the literary reputation of his country; and he did not loose the opportunity of preaching the merits of his friends. “Tell Robertson,” he says, in a letter to Blair, “that the compliment at the end of General Conway's letter to him, was of my composing without any orders from him. He smiled when he read it; but said it was very proper, and signed it. These are not bad puffs from ministers of state, as the
silly world goes.” Our next extract presents a more curious document. It is from “the king's letter to the General Assembly, in 1767,” supposed to be written by Hume :—
“Convinced, as we are, of your prudence and firm resolution to concur in whatever may promote the happiness of our subjects, it is unnecessary for us to recommend to you to avoid contentions and unedifying debates; as well as to avoid every thing that may tend to disturb that harmony and tranquillity which is so essential in councils solely calculated for the suppression of every species of licentiousness, irreligion, and vice. And, as we have the firmest reliance on your zeal in the support of the Christian faith, as well as in the wisdom and prudence of your councils, we are thoroughly assured that they will be directed to such purposes as may best tend to enforce a conscientious observance of all those duties which the true religion and laws of this kingdom require, and on which the felicity of every individual so essentially depends.”
Hume was an earnest lover of his country. No Scotsman had the slightest literary claims that Hume did not at once ardently and vehemently support. Blind Blacklock was not only a great psychological curiosity, but also a poet to be ranked with blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides. Blind Milton was nothing to him. Wilkie, too, was a poet in Hume's esteem; for he measured poets by a sort of geographical scale, and Wilkie was a man born in the parish of Dalmanie, West Lothian, and a profesor of Natural Philosophy in St. Andrew's. Wilkie had heard of Homer, and had read Pope, and thought he could do something better in the way of epic than had yet been done. A bold preface, dealing with the topics of mythology and poetry in professorial style, —from a small array of false facts deducing —as the men of “the north countrie” know how to do—conclusions that not only prove what they please, but the additional fact, that they were the first persons to see what they would yet persuade you had been all along lying on the surface,—was prefixed to the volume; and this preface did something to help the sale in Edinburgh; for Wilkie's prose style had some life in it, and his speculations were not heavier than Lord Kames's, or Lord Monboddo's. The man who appended ten thousand lines of verse to his dissertation, must be presumed to know what poetry was, and how it should be dealt with. A preface to a poem is, however, a dangerous experiment. Your true critic reads it, picks some hole in it, and will not read further; and Willie Wilkie was pronounced to be no poet by the wise men who then managed the English oracles. Hume resisted the inspired voice of the Critical Review—modestly, as became a man pleading before a tribunal which he wished to persuade to a reversal of its own sentence,—but boldly, too; for the cause of Scotland seemed to be involved in procuring a triumph for Wilkie. Hume writes a letter to the Review, exhibiting, in detail, the argument of the poem. It was a bold step; and, perhaps, it is owing to his praises that both Blacklock and Wilkie are embalmed and placed in their due rank among the mummies in Chalmers's repository of the dead poets. John IIome, too, was his cousin, and one whom he loved; and Douglas and Agis, and other tragedies by the same hand, are, therefore, bidden by our great critic, to take rank with Shakspeare, or rather above him, with an admission, however, that but for the disadvantages of a rude age and barbarous country, Shakspeare might, perhaps, have rivalled his dramatic friend. Ossian, too, he was well disposed to believe in, and when M'Pherson's first fragments from the Erse were published, he cheerfully subscribed his guinea, to enable him to visit the Highlands, in search of more poetry of the kind. However, on this subject “a change came o'er the spirit of his dream,” and he appears to have been outwearied by M'Pherson's lying impudence, when the young blackguard affected to resent inquiry as if it involved personal insult. A book published by a native of Scotland it was Hume's delight to introduce to notice. The only exception we remember was “Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society.” He thought the book unequal to the author's reputation; but was delighted at its success—hazarding, however, in a low tone, the safe prophecy, that its reputation would not last long. In July, 1768, General Conway was superseded by Lord Weymouth, and Hume's under-secretaryship was at an end. In 1769 he returned to Edinburgh, “very opulent,” he says, “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.” His friends in France did what they could to make him live there. He, however, returned to his old house in James's Court; and we soon find him correcting his Histo
tory for another edition. Hume had no love for England. Its constitution, we have endeavored to prove in a former paper, was from the first mistaken by him. He had at one time called himself a Whig; he now found that the name was inconsistent with his present views, and the passage is altered in an after edition of the essay in which it occurs. The History is also essentially altered; and, in every instance— we have his own authority for the statement —the alterations lean to the Tory side. In the next year, Hume commenced building the house in the new town of Edinburgh in which he died. It is in the street now called St. David-street. The name of the street originated in a joke. The house was inhabited by Hume before any other house in the range had been built, and a young lady wrote on the wall, “St. David Street.” Hume's servant lassie, like Byron's man, Fletcher, thought it no good speculation to make a saint of her master; the thing would not do, and she ran to tell Hume how he was made game of “Never mind, lassie,” said the laughing philosopher, “many a better man has been made a saint of before.” Of Hume's claim to canonization we do not think very favorably, still a case might be made for him which the devil's advocate would find it hard to resist. If Coleridge could be called as a witness—as he usually is when any thing untenable in philosophy or in fact is to be proved—the advocates for Saint David could at once prove that his doctrine of association is identical with that of Saint Thomas Aquinas—may, borrowed from the angelical doctor's comment on Aristotle. Coleridge, too, would undertake to prove that books of Hume's, which contained the very treatise, were sold to Sir James Mackintosh, with marks in Hume's handwriting. Hume's private study of good works could be thus shown, and also his modest attempt to conceal his merits of this kind. The devil's advocate, however, might, on cross-examining the witness, force him to admit—first, that the books bought by Mackintosh did not contain any part of Aquinas's commentary on Aristotle, nor the work of Aristotle, in Aquinas's comment on which the law of association is alleged to be propounded; next, that it did not contain Hume's marks or Hune's handwriting; nor was there any reason (except that Mr. Payne, the bookseller, in a catalogue, suggested that some handwriting on the margins might be