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Hume's) to think the book bought by Mackintosh had ever belonged to Hume; and lastly, he might show—what, however, is of little importance—that the law of association does not appear to have been stated either by Aristotle or Aquinas—but that the origin of the mistake is, that both mention one or two facts acknowledged by all men, on which St. David, not without help, built up his theoria.” The advocates of canonization, if they went into evidence of character, would be able to prove that, however offensive his metaphysical speculations might be, and however little like those of St. Thomas, he was in society “simple, natural, and playful.” “I was,” says the venerable Henry Mackenzie, “during the latter period of his life, frequently in his company, among persons of genuine piety, and never heard him venture a remark at which such men, or ladies more susceptible than men, could take offence.” The next witness is Adam, lord commissioner of the jury-court, who died in 1839. The chief fact which he states is, that Hume, who was always playful in conversation, when at tea one evening a chair sunk under his weight, said, “Young ladies, you must tell Mr. Adam to keep stronger chairs for heavy philosophers.” Boswell, the young gentleman who escorted Rousseau's gouvernante to England, frankly told Hume he thought he ought not to keep company with him, on account of his books. “But, said I to him,” adds Bozzy, “how much better you are than your books.” A pleasant letter from Lady Anne Lyndesay, authoress of the song of “Auld Robin Gray,” will give some help. It contains Hume's character, “from a manuscript said to have been found in the Pope's library at Rome:”
“character of ——, written by himself.”
“1. A very good man, the constant purpose of whose life is to do mischief. “2. Fancies he is disinterested, because he substitutes vanity in place of all other passloils. “3. Very industrious, without serving either himself or others. “4. Licentious in his pen, cautious in his words, still more so in his actions. “5. Would have had no enemies, had he not courted them; seems desirous of being
hated by the public, but has only attained the being railed at. “6. Has never been hurt by his enemies, because he never hated any one of them. “7. Exempt from vulgar prejudices—full of his own. “8. Very bashful, somewhat modest, no way humble. “9. A fool, capable of performances which few wise men can execute. “10. A wise man, guilty of indiscretions which the greatest simpletons can perceive. “11. Sociable, though he lives in solitude. (t 12.* “13. An enthusiast, without religion; a philosopher, who despairs to attain truth. “A moralist, who prefers instinct to reason. “A gallant, who gives no offence to husbands and mothers. “A scholar, without the ostentation of learning.”
In this letter, Lady Anne tells us that Hume asked her, did she remember the time when this playful character was written ? “I was too young,” she replied, “to think of it at the time.” “How's this?” said he—“have not you and I grown up together " I looked surprised. “Yes,” added he, “You have grown tall, and I have grown broad.”
Home, the poet's, evidence is more doubtful. A banker's clerk, a young man of good character, robbed his master. Home accounts for it by the books he was in the habit of reading, “Boston's Fourfold State,” and “Hume's Essays.”
It is not easy to examine a subject at all connected with literature, without finding it in some way or other illustrated by Scott. In a letter to Mr. Morrit, dated Abbotsford, October, 1815, he says:—“We visited Corby Castle on our return to Scotland, which remains, in point of situation, as beautiful as when its walks were celebrated by David Hume, in the only rhymes he was ever known to be guilty of Here they are from a pane of glass at Carlisle:—
“‘Here chicks in eggs for breakfast sprawl; Here godless boys God's glories squall; Here Scotchmen's heads do guard the wall; But Corby's walks atone for all.'
“Would it not,” he adds, “be a good quiz to advertise ‘The Poetical Works of David Hume,” with notes critical, historical, and soforth, with an historical inquiry into the use of eggs for breakfast, a physical discussion on the causes of their being addled; a history of English church music, and of the choir of Carlisle in particular; a full account of the affair of 1745, with the trials, last speeches, and soforth of the poor plaids who were strapped up at Carlisle; and lastly, a full, true, and particular description of Corby, with the genealogy of every family who ever possessed it? I think even without more than the usual waste of margin, the poems of David would make a decent twelve-shilling volume.” Of the “wine of demons,” as a father of the Church calls poetry, Hume drank but moderately, and to the defect of imagination, which this indicates, may be ascribed his want of sympathy with the higher virtues, no one of which can exist without the imaginative power. Wordsworth almost identifies Imagination and Faith. Hume's “History” is that of the progress of society rather than the story of individuals. It would seem that in his view—and we are not prepared to dispute its justness—that condition of society is the happiest in which the individual is lost from sight. If a state of society could be imagined allowing free development to all that is good in man, it would be, no doubt, the best; but the very conception, we fear, implies a contradiction. Civilization with its Wilkies, its Blacklocks, and its M'Phersons, is, probably, something better than barbarism with its true Homer. Whatever Hume's abstract love for High Church may have been, and however opposed to the orthodox doctrines of the Scottish Church, he was in practice no Puseyite —at least he did not fast. Beef and cabbage he calls a charming dish; old mutton, too, he thought well of. He wished the Duke of Nivernois to become apprentice to his “lass,” to learn the secret of making sheep's-head broth. The fat philosopher was sond of children. He was so fat that the little thing who got possession of his knee remembered through all after-life keeping fast hold of his laced waistcoat to keep itself from falling; as for more than one climbing at a time, as in Gray's family picture, it was out of the question. Hume, in walking home from a party, with Ferguson, addressed his friend, pointing to the starry sky—“Oh, Adam, can any one contemplate the wonders of that firmament, and not believe that there is a God!” Men are forgiven any thing rather than inconsistency with the character which society forms of them; and we are afraid that we are diminishing Hume's claims to the honor of canonization when we men
* Compare Coleridge's statement of this matter in his “Biographica Literaria,” Vol. i. p. 105, with Mackintosh’s “Introduction to Ethical Philosophy,” p. 427.
tion that he was a good church-goer. When in France, he appears to have attended the ambassador's chapel pretty regularly ; and in Edinburgh he is said to have been fond of Robertson's preaching, and not averse to that of his colleague and opponent, John Erskine. Hume was seriously angry with a servant maid of his who did not attend church, where he had provided seats for all his household. The woman was a dissenter, and attended a disferent place of worship, which answer satisfied him. A number of stories are told on doubtful authority, all illustrative of Hume's good nature and good sense. They may not be true; but their being believed is some evidence of the character of the man of whom they could be plausibly told. A chandler's wife on one occasion visited him—“She had been intrusted,” she said, “with a message to him from on high.” Hume ordered her a glass of wine; and before she commenced her attack, contrived to divert her mind from theological topics, by fixing it on soap and candles and their price, and giving her an order for some. He is said to have got bogged in some marshy ground at the base of the Castle rock; an old woman finding “Hume the deist” in this slough of despond, refused to assist him out till he became a Christian. He repeated the creed and Lord's prayer, and thus her conscience was satisfied, and the philosopher rescued. A proof of Hume's good nature was his writing a review of Dr. Henry's History of England. His review was written for the Edinburgh Magazine and Review, a journal conducted by Gilbert Stuart. Stuart, it would appear, detested Henry; and ascribing his own passions to others, thought it good policy to get Henry reviewed by a rival historian. Hume's review was printed, but suppressed. It did not answer Stuart's malignant purpose; for, as might be expected, it was conceived in a spirit of the greatest kindliness to Henry, and contained almost unqualified praise of his work. Stuart's account of it is characteristic, and worth preserving for its insane vehemence He thus writes to a friend:—
“David Hume wants to review Henry, but that task is so precious that I will undertake it mysels. Moses, were he to ask it as a favor, should not have it; yea, not even the man after God's own heart. I wish I could trans port myself to London to review it for the Monthly—a fire there, and in the Critical, would perfectly annihilate him. Could you do nothing in the latter? To the former I suppose David Hume has transferred the criticism he intended for us. It is precious, and would divert you. I keep a proof of it in my cabinet sor the amusement of friends. This great philosopher begins to dote.”
Mr. Burton quotes another sentence from this letter:—
“Strike, by all means; the wretch will tremble, grow pale, and return [?] with a consciousness of his debility. When you have an enemy to attack, I shall, in return, give my best assistance, and aim at him a mortal blow, and rush forward to his overthrow, though the flames of hell should start up to oppose me.”
It is almost a relief to know that this scoundrel was absolutely insane.
In the early part of the year 1776, Hume wrote letters of congratulation to his friend Adam Smith, and to Gibbon, on their respective publication of the “Wealth of Nations,” and the “Decline and Fall;” of the latter he told Gibbon he could not expect to see the future volumes, as his health was broken. In April of that year he drew up the short sketch of his life, to which he has left little to his biographer to add. In the previous January he had made all arrangements with reference to his pecuniary affairs. The “Dialogues on Natural Religion” he had some reason to think would be suppressed, and he at once took effectual means to secure their publication, though he had withheld them for a period of thirty years, to avoid giving his friends offence. After writing the short memoir of his life, he set out for London, and at Morpeth met Home and Smith. Smith was obliged to return to Edinburgh. Home was enabled to accompany him to Bath, where the disease (an internal hemorrhage,) seemed to yield, and hopes were entertained of recovery. In Mackenzie's “Life of Home” are some letters of Hume's, which we think Mr. Burton ought to have incorporated with this selection, and we have a codicil to Hume's will, in which he records his difference with the poet, as to spelling the family name, and their opposed opinions on the subject of port wine. He leaves him “six dozen of port, provided he attests, under his hand, signed John HUME, that he has himself alone finished one bottle of port at two sittings. By this concession he will, at once, terminate the only two differences that ever arose between us
concerning temporal matters.” Hume returned home in July. His recovery now was plainly impossible. His friends appear to have been very much with him till within a few days of his actual decease. There is a mournful levity in their accounts of the indifference with which he awaited death. The letter of Adam Smith, in which the particulars are detailed, can be easily referred to, being prefixed to most of the editions of the History of England. We are glad to avoid a subject so deeply painful.
We are, on the whole, pleased with Mr. Burton's Book. His subject presented great difficulties, which are manfully met. To ourselves, an arrangement of the matter separating the letters of Hume more distinctly from the comments of his biographer, would seem a more convenient one both to author and reader. We close with Mr. Burton's account of Hume's burial place.
“On the declivity of the Calton hill, there is an old grave-yard which, seventy years ago, was in the open country beyond the boundary of the city of Edinburgh, and even at the present day, when it is the centre of a wide circumference of streets and terraces, has an air of solitude srom its elevated site, and the abrupt rocky banks that separate it from the crowded thoroughfares. There, on a conspicuous point of rock, beneath a circular monument, built aster the simple and solemn fashion of the old Roman tombs, lies the dust of David HUM E.”
* “As to the port wine, it is well known that Mr. Home held it in abhorrence. In his younger days, claret was the only wine drank by gentlemen in Scotland. His epigram on the enforcement of the high duty on French wine, in this country, is in most people's hands:—
“‘Firm and erect the Caledonian stood,
From the Metropolitan. FRANK MERWYN’S TFMPTATION.
A TALE FOR SPECULATORS. by M Rs. A BDY.
WHEN Mr. Vansittart reduced the interest of the navy five per cents., the measure was considered to be exceedingly judicious and politic, but although very satisfactory to the nation, it was in many cases fatal to the individual; people were not contented to be deprived of a fifth of their income by the government, but took immediate means to be deprived of every shilling of it by their own act and deed. There never was a period when such a phalanx of companies and societies started forth, all professing to “give new lamps for old ones,” or in other words, to take the poor remains of our mutilated navy fives, and give us, in lieu, shares that would pay from fifty to a hundred per cent. in the prettiest sounding investments ever heard of—not odious turnpike tolls and canal shares—but “Pearl Fisheries,” “Coral Fisheries,” “Gold Mines,” and such dazzling names, the last in particular coming sweetly on the ear, and reminding us of the gay and gallant king of the gold mines, who wooed and won the charming All-fair, despite of her unwilling engagement to the yellow dwarf. Many people, however, seemed likely to starve in the midst of plenty; all these schemes professed to build up a fortune for us in a very little time, but the point was which would be “safest and best;” which would do it most swiftly, and most securely. The world was not long suffered to languish for want of a guide; a certain Mr. Glossington most kindly volunteered to be gentleman-usher to the goddess of fortune, and to introduce timid novices into her immediate presence; he was conversant with all the plans and prospectuses of all the companies, and although he certainly gave a preference to a few, he was generously ready to allow that the very worst of them was immeasurably superior to the English funds, as an investment of property. It was not quite easy to divine who Mr. Glossington was ; he had been for a short time on the Stock Exchange; he had also practised the law; he had occasionally volunteered his services, before the introduction of the calculating machine, to arrange the intricate accounts of gentlemen under
temporary embarrassments, and he had now Wol. WIII. No. II. 54
and then officiated as a sort of house agent, and undertaken, for a douceur of fifty or a hundred pounds, to bring forward a nonpareil tenant, who would pay double the rent that any body else would, which nonpareil tenant—strange to say—was never forthcoming when wanted For myself, I was discreet and suspicious as an old man ought to be (to be sure I must allow that my property, being in the three per cents., had not suffered any reduction) and I felt extremely indignant with all the thickly gathering short roads to wealth, which I was disposed to define as short roads to ruin. Nevertheless, I kept my opinion to myself. The occurrences of every day brought more and more to my remembrance the title of an old drama, “A mad world, my masters;” but I did not annoy my acquaintance with interference, I recollected the saying of a clever man, parcel wit and parcel philosopher, whom l knew—“If any person choose to make himself a fool, it is his business principally, not to say exclusively,” and I offered to the community no portion of that valuable treasury of advice locked up in the mind of every old man, but which, sooth to say, unlike other treasures, is generally lavishly volunteered by them, and ungratefully rejected by their young friends. At length, however, I was induced to depart from my usual nonchalance, for the purpose of giving a “wizard's warning” to the . thoughtless, impetuous Frank Mervyn. I had been his father's friend, and, like most father's friends, saw great reason to lament that the son partook so little of his worthy sire's solidity and prudence of character. Frank inherited from his father the very inconvenient property of five thousand pounds, enough to prevent him from applying steadily to a profession, and not enough to support him independently of one. To do Frank justice, he was fully sensible of the insignificance of this sum, and had repeatedly wished to magnify the five thousand pounds to fifty, but wishes were in vain till Glossington, like the enchanter of a fairy tale, came forth to realize them. Oh! how plausible were his wordy calculations and paper schemes, the fair sex in particular admired and trusted in him; single ladies and widows, too numerous to be reckoned, sold out their four (late five) per cents., and brought the proceeds to Glossington, humbly hoping that he would accept of their small pittances, and give them splendid fortunes in return; and the worthy Glossington always complied with their requests, bowed, as though
he were the obliged party, took charge of their property, and assured them that they should all be laden with wealth in a very short time. I had always a great horror of speculation; Mervyn assured me that many speculators were men of the strictest honor, but I would not altogether agree with him; it seemed to me that a habit of speculation, although it might not precisely stain the honor of him who practised it, must in a great degree deaden that nice sense of conscientiousness and moral principle which I should always wish to see prominently displayed in the character of a relation or friend. Mervyn denied the truth of my assertion, and the argument ended as arguments between old and young men generally do, neither party succeeding in convincing the other. A few days after this conversation I was walking up Cheapside, when I overtook Mervyn, who seemed to be in a great hurry, and in high spirits. “I think I shall soon have a large sum of money to invest in Glossington's hands,” he said, “I am just going to buy a prize in the lottery.” “I rather doubt that,” I replied, drily; “you may very probably be going to buy a ticket in the lottery, and I must say that considering you have risked nearly the whole of your property in speculation, you can ill afford to spare two and twenty pounds from the remainder.” “Nay, I cannot be going to do an imprudent thing,” said Mervyn, “for Mr. Creswell, my father's friend and yours, who is a perfect pattern of caution, hast just written to me, begging that I would purchase a ticket for him, and transmit it to him by the post.” “I can only say, in answer to that observation,” I rejoined, “that Mr. Creswell is a man of large fortune, and if he think proper to throw away two and twenty pounds, he can very well afford to do so; but I recommend you to purchase a ticket for him only, and to wait till you are at least half as rich, before you purchase one for yourself.” Mervyn merely smiled, and told me “I was very wise,” (a just observation certainly, only I did not quite like the tone in which it was spoken,) and the next moment we were both within one of the Cornhill temples of Plutus. Several persons were crowding round the counter, choosing shares. One man wished for the number of the year in which he was born, and another for that in which his grandfather
gained a lottery prize. A pretty young country girl said she had dreamed the night before of a wedding-ring, and as that was best described by a circle, she wished for a number containing a 0. One terminating in the desired cipher was immediately handed to her, a sign, as her brother who accompanied her told her, that “her wedding-ring would end in nothing.” This joke, poor as it was, flushed the offended damsel's cheek with indignation, which was not at all lessened by a smart young clerk, with a green bag under his arm, telling her “not to fret, for that if she got the ten thousand pound prize, he would marry her himself!” Mervyn advanced to the counter, and asked to see some tickets; he despised all speculation on a small scale, and that he might not be suspected of any partiality for lucky numbers, or any faith in dreams, he hastily snatched the two first that presented themselves, but not before I had taken a memorandum of their numbers in my pocket-book. I walked home with Mervyn to his lodgings, wishing to borrow a book from him. While I was selecting it, he hastily wrote a short letter to Mr. Creswell, enclosed in it one of the tickets (which I did not observe) and returned the other to his pocket. “I will go out with you,” said he, as I was preparing to take my leave, “and put this letter in the post.” We walked together to the end of the street, and then separated—I to return home, and Mervyn to proceed to the postoffice. Perhaps my readers may think me very prosy in entering into these minute details, and will be ready to accuse me of practising the “penny-a-liner” art of making the most of a story; but I beg to assure them that I have always a good reason for every thing that I do, and they will soon find out the necessity of my present exactness. The next morning the drawing of the lottery began, and about the middle of the day I happened to be passing down Cornhill, when my attention was attracted by a crowd round the office where Mervyn had purchased the tickets the preceding day. A prize of twenty thousand pounds was already drawn; the number seemed familiar to me; I looked into my pocket-book—it was one of those held by Mervyn. I instantly proceeded to his lodgings; he was at home, and I found him resting his head on his hand in an attitude of despondency