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قراءة كتاب Life and Correspondence of David Hume, Volume I (of 2)

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Life and Correspondence of David Hume, Volume I (of 2)

Life and Correspondence of David Hume, Volume I (of 2)

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4
1752-1755. Æt. 41-44. Appointment as keeper of the Advocates' Library—His Duties—Commences the History of England—Correspondence with Adam Smith and others on the History—Generosity to Blacklock the Poet—Quarrel with the Faculty of Advocates—Publication of the First Volume of the History—Its reception—Continues the History—Controversial and Polemical attacks—Attempt to subject him, along with Kames, to the Discipline of Ecclesiastical Courts—The leader of the attack—Home's "Douglas"—The first Edinburgh Review. 367 APPENDIX. Fragments of a Paper in Hume's handwriting, describing the Descent on the Coast of Brittany, in 1746, and the causes of its failure. 441 Letters from Montesquieu to Hume, 456 —— the Abbé le Blanc to Hume, 458 Documents relating to the Poems of Ossian, 462 Essay on the Genuineness of the Poems, 471


THE LIFE

OF

DAVID HUME.


CHAPTER I.

1711-1734. Æt. 0-23.

Birth—Parentage—His own account of his Ancestors—Local associations of Ninewells—Education—Studies—Early Correspondence—The Ramsays—Specimen of his early Writings—Essay on Chivalry—Why he deserted the Law—Early ambition to found a School of Philosophy—Letter to a Physician describing his studies and habits—Criticism on the Letter—Supposition that it was addressed to Dr. Cheyne—Hume goes to Bristol.

David Hume was born at Edinburgh, on the 26th of April,[1:1] 1711. He was the second son of Joseph Hume, or Home, proprietor of the estate of Ninewells, in the parish of Chirnside, in Berwickshire. His mother was a daughter of Sir David Falconer of Newton, who filled the office of Lord President of the Court of Session from 1682 to 1685, and is known to lawyers as the collector of a series of decisions of the Court of Session, published in 1701. His son, the brother of Hume's mother, succeeded to the barony of Halkerton in 1727. Mr. Hume the elder, was a member of the Faculty of Advocates.[1:2] He appears,

however, if he ever intended to follow the legal profession as a means of livelihood, to have early given up that view, and to have lived, as his eldest son John afterwards did, the life of a retired country gentleman.

It is an established rule, that all biographical attempts of considerable length, shall contain some genealogical inquiry regarding the family of their subject. The present writer is relieved both of the labour of such an investigation, and the responsibility of adjusting it to the appropriate bounds, by being able to print a letter in which the philosopher has himself exhibited the results of an inquiry into the subject.

David Hume to Alexander Home of Whitfield.

"Edinburgh, 12th April, 1758.

"Dear Sir,—I was told by Mrs. Home, when she was in town, that you intended to make some researches into our family, in order to give them to Mr. Douglas, who must insert them, or the substance of them, into his account of the Scottish nobility.[2:1] I think that your purpose is very laudable, and is very obliging to us all; and for this reason I shall inform you of what I know of the matter. These hints will at least serve to point out to you more authentic documents.

"My brother has no very ancient charters: the oldest he has, are some charters of the lands of Horndean. There he is designated Home, or Hume, of Ninewells.

The oldest charters of Ninewells are lost. It was always a tradition in our family, that we were descended from Lord Home, in this manner. Lord Home gave to his younger son the lands of Tinningham, East Lothian. This gentleman proved a spendthrift and dissipated his estate, upon which Lord Home provided his grandchild, or nephew, in the lands of Ninewells as a patrimony. This, probably, is the reason why, in all the books of heraldry, we are styled to be cadets of Tinningham; and Tinningham was undoubtedly a cadet of Home. I was told by my grand-aunt, Mrs. Sinclair of Hermiston, that Charles earl of Home told her, that he had been looking over some old papers of the family, where the Lord Home designs Home of Ninewells either his grandson or nephew, I do not precisely remember which.

"The late Sir James Home of Blackadder showed me a paper, which he himself had copied a few days before from a gravestone in the churchyard of Hutton: the words were these—'Here lies John Home of Bell, son of John Home of Ninewells, son of John Home of Tinningham, son of John Lord Home, founder of Dunglas.'

"I find that this Lord Home, founder of Dunglas, was the very person whom Godscroft says went over to France with the Douglas, and was father to Tinningham: so thus the two stories tally exactly. He was killed either in the battle of Crevant or Verneuil, gained by the Duke of Bedford, the regent, against the French. Douglas fell in the same battle. I think it was the battle of Verneuil. All the French and English histories, as well as the Scotch, contain this fact. This Lord Home was your ancestor, and ours, lived in the time of James the First and Second of Scotland, Henrys the Fifth and Sixth of England.

"I have asked old Bell the descent of his family. He said he was really sprung from Ninewells, but that the lands fell to an heiress who married a brother of Polwarth's.

"By Godscroft's account, Tinningham was the third son of Home in the

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