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between the enemy and his naval power. bably the only nation who have declined to act against an enemy, when it might have been done, in his own country; and who, having an armed, a powerful, and a long-victorious ally in that country, declined all effectual co-operation, and suffered him to perish for want of support. On the plan of a war in France, every advantage that our allies might obtain would be doubtful in its effect. Disasters on the one side might have a fair chance of being compensated by victories on the other. Had we brought the main of our force to bear
that quarter, all the operations of the British and imperial crowns would have been combined. The war would have had system, correspondence, and a certain connection, But, as the war has been pursued, the operations of the two crowns have not the smallest degree of mutual bearing or relation.*
METAPHYSICAL AND ETHICAL WRITERS.
The most remarkable metaphysical and speculative works which had appeared in England since Locke's Essay were, Dr. Samuel Clarke's Sermons on the Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion, 1705, in which he expounded his famous à priori argument for the existence of a God; Berkeley's Theory of Vision, 1709; his Principles of Human Knowledge, 1710, in which he announced his argument against the existence of matter ; his Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous, 1713; his Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher, 1732 ; his Analyst, 1734; the Earl of Shaftesbury's Characterstics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times, first pub
* These prophetic views are very similar to those that were urged twelve years later in a memorable article in the Edinburgh Review, known to be by a great living orator. (See No. XXV., Don Cevallos on the French Usurpation of Spain.)
lished in the form in which we now have them in 1713, after the author's death ; Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices Public Benefits, 1714; Dr. Francis Hutcheson's Inquiry into the Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, 1725; Andrew Baxter's Inquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, 1730; Bishop Butler's Sermons preached at the Rolls Chapel, 1726 ; and his Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, 1736. David Hume, who was born in 1711, and died in 1776, and who has gained the highest place in two very distinct fields of intellectual and literary enterprise, commenced his literary life by the publication of his Treatise on Human Nature, in 1739. The work, which, as he has himself stated, was projected before he left college, and written and published not long after, fell, to use his own words, " dead-born from the press;" nor did the speculations it contained attract much more attention when republished ten years after in another form under the title of Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding ; but they eventually proved perhaps more exciting and productive, at least for a time, both in this and in other countries, than any other metaphysical views that had been promulgated in modern times. Hume's Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals appeared in 1752, his Natural History of Religion in 1755; and with the latter publication he may be regarded as having concluded the exposition of his sceptical philosophy. Among the most distinguished writers on mind and morals that appeared after Hume within the first quarter of a century of the reign of George III, may be mentioned Hartley, whose Observations on Man, in which he unfolded his hypothesis of the association of ideas, were published in 1749; Lord Kames (Home), whose Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion were published in 1752 ; Adam Smith, whose Theory of Moral Sentiments was published in 1759; Reid, whose Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense, was published in 1764; Abraham Tucker (Edward Search, Esq.), the first part of whose Light of Nature Pursued was published in 1768, the second in 1778, after the author's death ; and Priestley, whose new edition of Hartley's work, with an Introductory Dissertation, was published in 1775; his Examination of Dr. Reid's Inquiry, the same year; and his Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity, in 1777. We may add to the list Campbell's very able Dissertation on Miracles, in answer to Hume, which appeared in 1763; and Beattie's Essay on Truth, noticed in a former page, which appeared in 1770, and was also, as everybody knows, an attack upon the philosophy of the great sceptic.
HISTORICAL WRITERS:HUME.ROBERTSON. -GIBBON.
In the latter part of his literary career Hume struck into altogether another line, and the subtle and daring metaphysician suddenly came before the world in the new character of an historian. He appears, indeed, to have nearly abandoned metaphysics very soon after the publication of his Philosophical Essays. In a letter to his friend Sir Gilbert Elliott, which, though without date, seems, from its contents, according to Mr. Stewart, to have been written about 1750 or 1751, he
"I am sorry that our correspondence should lead us into these abstract speculations. I have thought, and read,
and composed very little on such questions of late. Morals, politics, and literature have employed all my
The first volume of his History of Great Britain, containing the Reigns of James I. and Charles I., was published, in quarto, at Edinburgh, in 1754; the second, containing the Commonwealth and the Reigns of Charles II. and James II., at London, in 1757.7 According to his own account the former was received with "one cry of reproach, disapprobation, and even detestation;" and after the first ebullitions of the fury of his assailants were over, he adds, " what was still more mortifying, the book seemed to sink into oblivion : Mr. Millar told me that in a twelvemonth he sold only fortyfive copies of it.” He was so bitterly disappointed, that, he tells us, had not the war been at that time breaking out between France and England, he had certainly retired to some provincial town of the former kingdom, changed his name, and never more returned to his native country. However, after a little time, in the impracticability of executing this scheme of expatriation, he resolved to pick up courage and persevere, the more especially as his second volume was considerably advanced. That, he informs us, “happened to give less displeasure
* Dissertation on the Progress of Metaphysical, Ethical, and Political Philosophy, prefixed to Encyclopædia Britannica, p. 206, note 3. But we do not understand how Mr. Stewart infers from this letter that Hume had abandoned all his metaphysical researches long before the publication of his Essays. His Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding, which are those of which Mr. Stewart is speaking, were first published in 1749.
† The common accounts say 1756; but the copy before us, “printed for A. Millar, opposite Catharine Street, in the Strand,” is dated 1757
to the Whigs, and was better received: it not only rose itself, but helped to buoy up its unfortunate brother.” The work, indeed, seems to have now rapidly attained extraordinary popularity. Two more volumes, comprehending the reigns of the princes of the House of Tudor, appeared in 1759;; and the remaining two, completing the History, from the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to the accession of Henry VII., in 1762. And several new editions of all the volumes were called for in rapid succession.* Hume makes as much an epoch in our historical as he does in our philosophical literature. His originality in the one department is as great as in the other ; and the influence he has exerted upon those who have followed him in the same path has been equally extensive and powerful in both cases.
His History, notwithstanding some defects which the progress of time and of knowledge is every
* In a newspaper of 1764 (The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, for Wednesday, May 9), we find, besides the advertisement of a new edition of the History of the House of Tudor, in 2 vols. small paper, 4to., price 1l. 5s., the following announcement, which is curious both as an evidence of the popularity of Hume's work, and as showing that a mode of publication extensively adopted in our own day is no novelty :-"This day is published, printed on a new type and good paper, the seventh volume, in octavo, price 5s. in boards, of the Complete History of England, from Julius Cæsar to the Revolution. With Additions and Corrections. And to the last volume will be added a full and complete Index. By David HUME, Esq. *** The Proprietor, at the desire of many who wish to be possessed of this valuable and esteemed History, is induced to this Monthly Publication, which will not exceed Eight volumes ; a volume of which shall be punctually published every Month, for the benefit of those who do not choose to purchase them all at once. Printed for A. Millar, in the Strand; and S. Bladon, in Paternoster Row; and to be had of all the Booksellers of Great Britain and Ireland.”