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Portraiture of Methodism, Night- Singers's Statement of the Number,
Livings, &c. of the Scotch Clergy 377
Smith's, James, Essays on the
Principles of Christianity 523
Smiths, Mary, Observations on Sen
550 Smith's, Thomas, Essay ou Money
467 Steadman's Charge at Pengilly's Oro
Stewart's Poem on the Resurrection 365
Stuckdale's Lectures on English
365 don on his Citation before the Spi-
562 Styles's Defence of his Essay on the
1 Stage against the Annual Review 185
Tanner, Hawker's Life and Writings
564 Trigonometry, Bonnyca:tle's Treatise
85 Twining's Letter on Indian Missions 70
363 Two Letters to the Proprietors of
462 Tuke's Duties of Religion and Mora-
563 Vega Carpio, Lord Holland's Life of
Reply to Owen
118 Watson's Compendium of Natural
468 Webster, Noah, Remarks on his Stric
469 Witchcraft, Hawkins's Sermons on 468
377 Wrangham's Assize Sermon 464
For JANUARY, 1808,
Art. I. Account of the Life and Writings of David Hume, Esq. By Thomas
Edward Ritchie. 8vo. pp. 520. Price 10s. 6d, Cadeil and Davies.
1807. THIS is by no means so ample a memois as the number
of pages would seein to indicate. The last 80 pages are occupied with Hume's publication in French, relative to the affair with Rousseau ; a translation of this pamphlet is inserted in the narrative, accompanied by several additional letters on the same business, and engrossing more than 100 pages; and about 130 pages are filled with criticism on Hume's writings, eight pages that were printed in the first edition of his Essays, but in the later ones omitted by the author, and a critique en Wilkie's Epigoniad, sent by Hume to the Critical Review. Much less than half the book, therefore, is occupied with what is strictly biographical, even if we include a considerable number of his letters to some of his distinguished friends, especially Dr. Robertson. In so much of the volume as we owe to the pen of Mr. Ritchie, we do not find occasion for any great measure of either praise or blame. It is written with perspicuity, in a style not clumsy, but not remarkable for ele. gance.
The detail of the few events of Hume's life would be sufficiently orderly, if there appeared less eagerness to seize and dilate every circumstance that can be introduced as an episode. A character of sense and independence is visible throughout; and the present is one of the very few biographers who are free from the weakness of enthusiastically admiring, or the hypocrisy of affecting so to admire, the mixed and imperfect subject of their pages.
If he could have brought himself to the obsequiousness of promising to laud his subject up to the pitch of eulogy which would have gratified the delicate ears of Hume's living relations, he might have been enabled to supply a great deficiency of ivformation respecting the early years and habits of the philosopher ; but we VOL. IV.
are compelled to approve the independent conduct described in the note at page 4.
. In the hope of being enabled to fill up any chasm in this narrative, I applied to a near relation of Mr. Hume, and was told, that if the work was to advance his fame, and a copy of the manuscript furnished to the family, the information wanted would, perhaps, be supplied. With such conditions I refused compliance, choosing rather to remain satisfied with the little I had otherwise obtained, than to fetter my sentiments, and subject myself to so laborious a task, in return for what was probably of little importance.'
In the narrative part, great use is necessarily made of Hume's own memoir, called “ My Own Life,” with the addition of Dr. Smith’s details of the circumstances which preceded the exit. This is followed by a general estimate of Hume, as a metaphysician, a moralist, a writer on general policy, and a historian. It is a brief review of all his writings, and evinces a good share of acuteness and knowledge. The last 18 pages of this review are filled with a curious collection of sentences from the History of England, as they stand corrected in the later editions, compared with the same sentences of the first edition, which are placed in an opposite column, with here and there a suggestion from Mr. R. of still further corrections, wanted in some of these sentences. It would not seem that Mr. Hume's composition can pretend to high merit on the ground of correctness.
It is not the biographer's fault that Hume's life furnished but a singularly meagre and uninteresting detail. It is curious to thiok how many thousands of his contemporaries whose names are forgotten, would have supplied each a far more animated and entertaining narrative. The story of many a common soldier or sailor, many a lighwayman, many a gipsey, many a deserted child, and many a beggar, would have kept awake the attention which is much inclined to slumber over an account of this celebrated philosopher.-He was born at Edinburgh in 1711. There was some undefined quantity of nobility in the blood of his ancestors on both sides, and therefore we suppose
io his own, of which he is said to have been always extremely vain. We are told, “ the juvenile years of Hume were not marked by any thing which can attract our notice. His father died while our historian was an infant, and left the care of him, his elder brother Joseph, and sister Ca. tharine, to their mother, who, although in the bloom of life, devoted herself to the education of her children with laudable assiduity.” He went to school and to college, was designed by his friends for the law, but was often guilty of slyly stealing from the lectures of his venerable tutors, Voet and Vinnius, into the much more dashing company of Ciccro and