Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary
1. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding appeared for the first time under this title in the 1758 edition of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. Earlier it had been published several times, beginning in 1748, under the title Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals was first published in 1751. I have drawn this and other information about the various editions of Hume's writings from two sources: T. E. Jessop, A Bibliography of David Hume and of Scottish Philosophy (New York: Russell and Russell, 1966), and William B. Todd, "David Hume. A Preliminary Bibliography," in Todd, ed., Hume and the Enlightenment (Edinburgh and Austin: Edinburgh University Press and the Humanities Research Center, Austin, Texas, 1974), pp. 189-205.
3. Hume wrote the Dialogues about 1750 but decided to withhold publication during his lifetime. When Adam Smith proved unwilling to take responsibility for the posthumous publication of the Dialogues, Hume entrusted it to his own publisher, William Strahan, with the provision that the work would be committed to Hume's nephew David if Strahan failed to publish it within two and one-half years of Hume's death. When Strahan declined to act, the nephew made arrangements for the publication of the Dialogues in 1779.
4. Hume's History was published between 1754 and 1762 in six volumes, beginning with the Stuart reigns, then working back to the Tudor and pre-Tudor epochs. A "New Edition, Corrected," with the six volumes arranged in chronological order, appeared in 1762 under the title The History of England, From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to The Revolution in 1688.
5. This edition contained the following essays: (1) "Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion"; (2) "Of the Liberty of the Press"; (3) "Of Impudence and Modesty"; (4) "That Politicks may be reduc'd to a Science"; (5) "Of the First Principles of Government"; (6) "Of Love and Marriage"; (7) "Of the Study of History"; (8) "Of the Independency of Parliament"; (9) "Whether the British Government inclines more to Absolute Monarchy, or to a Republick"; (10) "Of Parties in General"; (11) "Of the Parties of Great Britain"; (12) "Of Superstition and Enthusiasm"; (13) "Of Avarice"; (14) "Of the Dignity of Human Nature"; and (15) "Of Liberty and Despotism." Essays 3, 6, and 7 were not reprinted by Hume after 1760, and essay 13 was not reprinted after 1768. The title of essay 14 was changed to "Of the Dignity or Meanness of Human Nature" in the 1770 edition of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. The title of essay 15 was changed to "Of Civil Liberty" in the 1758 edition of Essays and Treatises.
6. This edition contained the following essays: (1) "Of Essay-Writing"; (2) "Of Eloquence"; (3) "Of Moral Prejudices"; (4) "Of the Middle Station of Life"; (5) "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences"; (6) "The Epicurean"; (7) "The Stoic"; (8) "The Platonist"; (9) "The Sceptic"; (10) "Of Polygamy and Divorces"; (11) "Of Simplicity and Refinement"; and (12) "A Character of Sir Robert Walpole." Essays 1, 3, and 4 were published by Hume in this edition only. Essay 12 was printed as a footnote to "That Politics may be reduced to a Science" in editions from 1748 to 1768 and dropped after 1768.
8. This edition contained the following essays: (1) "Of Commerce"; (2) "Of Luxury"; (3) "Of Money"; (4) "Of Interest"; (5) "Of the Balance of Trade"; (6) "Of the Balance of Power"; (7) "Of Taxes"; (8) "Of Public Credit"; (9) "Of some Remarkable Customs"; (10) "Of the Populousness of Antient Nations"; (11) "Of the Protestant Succession"; and (12) "Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth." The title of essay 2 was changed in 1760 to "Of Refinement in the Arts."
9. The 1758 edition of Essays and Treatises incorporated, from a 1757 work entitled Four Dissertations, the essays "Of Tragedy" and "Of the Standard of Taste" as well as two other works, The Natural History of Religion and A Dissertation on the Passions. Two new essays, "Of the Jealousy of Trade" and "Of the Coalition of Parties," were added late to some copies of the 1758 edition of Essays and Treatises, then incorporated into the edition of 1760. Finally, Hume prepared still another essay, "Of the Origin of Government," for the edition that would be published posthumously in 1777.
13. See John B. Stewart, The Moral and Political Philosophy of David Hume (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963); F. A. Hayek, "The Legal and Political Philosophy of David Hume," in V. C. Chappell, ed., Hume: A Collection of Critical Essays (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966), pp. 335-60; Duncan Forbes, Hume's Philosophical Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975); David Miller, Philosophy and Ideology in Hume's Political Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981); and Donald W. Livingston, Hume's Philosophy of Common Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
14. See, for example, Essential Works of David Hume, ed. Ralph Cohen (New York: Bantam Books, 1965); Of the Standard of Taste, And Other Essays, ed. John W. Lenz (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965); Writings on Economics, ed. Eugene Rotwein (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1955); Political Essays, ed. Charles W. Hendel (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1953); Theory of Politics, ed. Frederick M. Watkins (Edinburgh: Nelson, 1951); and Hume's Moral and Political Philosophy, ed. Henry D. Aiken (New York: Hafner, 1948).
18. T. H. Grose, in prefatory remarks to Hume's Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, admits to being struck by "the suddenness with which his labours in philosophy came to an end" with the publication of the Treatise (see "History of the Editions," in The Philosophical Works of David Hume, ed. T. H. Green and T. H. Grose [New Edition; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1889], 3.75). Grose maintains that Hume "certainly lacked the disposition, and probably the ability," for constructive philosophy, once the critical or negative task of the Treatise was completed (ibid., p. 76). Though contrary to what Hume himself says about his mature writings as well as to what other interpreters have said about his abilities, this view was a rather common one at the turn of the century. It helped gain for Hume's Treatise the attention that it deserves, but at the same time it discouraged the study of Hume's other writings, particularly the Essays, as proper sources for his philosophy.
19. A few years ago, Roland Hall observed: "Hume's Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary have not been properly edited, and the best text may still be that in the Green and Grose Philosophical Works." See Fifty Years of Hume Scholarship: A Bibliographical Guide (Edinburgh: University Press, 1978), p. 5.
20. Peter H. Nidditch writes: "In my view, a suitable and attainable standard of accuracy in the text (from printed materials) offered by an editor working single-handed is an average in his first edition of two brief miswordings and of six erroneous forms per forty thousand words of the text; in the first reprint taking account of his rechecking (which is a pressing duty), these allowances should be halved. This is the standard I have adopted as the General Editor of The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke (Oxford, 1975, in progress)." See An Apparatus of Variant Readings for Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield, 1976), p. 34.
21. In the 1777 edition of Hume's Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, proper names and adjectives derived therefrom (e.g., "BRITISH," "FRENCH") are printed entirely in capital letters, with the first letter being larger than the rest. Abstract nouns are sometimes printed the same way for emphasis or to indicate divisions in the argument (e.g., "FORCE," "POWER," and "PROPERTY" in "Of the First Principles of Government"; "AUTHORITY" and "LIBERTY" in "Of the Origin of Government"). Occasionally, however, words are printed entirely in large capital letters ("GOD") or entirely in small capitals (e.g., "INTEREST" and "IIGHT" in "Of the First Principles of Government"). It is uncertain to what extent this reflects Hume's manuscript practice, as distinguished from contemporary book trade convention, but in any event, Hume did have the opportunity to correct what finally went into print. Since these peculiarities of capitalization may be relevant to the interpretation of the text, they have been preserved in the present edition.
22. The Introduction and Appendix to Nidditch's edition of Locke's Essay provide a very helpful discussion of the techniques and terminology of critical-text editing. Nidditch's editorial work on some of Hume's most important writings is also noteworthy. He has revised the texts and added notes to the standard Selby-Bigge editions of the Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, and Concerning the Principles of Morals, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), and the Treatise of Human Nature, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978). Nidditch discusses the problems of editing Hume as well as the merits of various editions of Hume's writings in the aforementioned texts as well as in An Apparatus of Variant Readings for Hume's Treatise of Human Nature.
My Own Life, by David Hume
24. [This autobiography and the accompanying letter from Adam Smith to William Strahan were published in March, 1777, as The Life of David Hume, Esq. Written by Himself (London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand). At the time the autobiography was written, the disorder that would take Hume's life on August 25, 1776, was already well advanced. To Adam Smith, who had been entrusted with his manuscripts, Hume wrote on May 3: "You will find among my Papers a very inoffensive Piece, called My own Life, which I composed a few days before I left Edinburgh, when I thought, as did all my Friends, that my life was despaired of. There can be no Objection, that this small piece should be sent to Messrs Strahan and Cadell and the Proprietors of my other Works to be prefixed to any future Edition of them" (in J. Y. T. Greig, The Letters of David Hume [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932], 2:318). Concerned lest Smith delay the publication of this and other manuscripts, Hume added a codicil to his will, dated August 7, leaving all of his manuscripts to Strahan and giving specific directions as to their publication. Regarding My own Life, he wrote: "My Account of my own Life, I desire may be prefixed to the first Edition of my Works, printed after my Death, which will probably be the one at present in the Press" (in Greig, 2:453). The 1777 edition of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects did not contain the autobiography, but it was added to the first, 1778, posthumous edition of the History of England. In writing his autobiography, Hume anticipated the keen desire on the public's part to know, in view of his scepticism about the claims of revealed religion, if he would face death with philosophical tranquillity. It was in the context of the lively public debate following Hume's death that Adam Smith composed his letter to William Strahan, describing Hume's tranquil state of mind during his final months and testifying to his strength of character. With the publication of his letter to Strahan, Smith himself now became the target of widespread indignation for his approval of Hume's manner of death. A decade later he would write: "A single, and as I thought, a very harmless Sheet of paper which I happened to write concerning the death of our late friend, Mr. Hume, brought upon me ten times more abuse than the very violent attack I had made upon the whole commercial system of Great Britain" (quoted in Ernest Campbell Mossner, The Life of David Hume [Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1954], p. 605.) The attacks on Hume's Life and Smith's Letter are discussed by Mossner, The Life of David Hume, pp. 604-607, 620-622, and by T. H. Grose in the "History of the Editions" that begins the Green and Grose edition of Hume's Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1889), 1:80-84. Almost all printings of Hume's Life and Smith's Letter, including that of Green and Grose, have followed the edition of 1777. A reliable version of the 1777 edition can be found in Norman Kemp Smith's "Second Edition" of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Edinburgh: Nelson, 1947; Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, n.d.), pp. 231-48. I have compared the Green and Grose version with that of 1777 and corrected a few errors of wording and punctuation. In the case of Hume's Life, the manuscript has been preserved; and it is reprinted in Greig, Letters, 1:1-7, and in Mossner, Life of David Hume, pp. 611-15. The first printed version of My own Life and subsequent printings based upon it differ markedly from Hume's manuscript version in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling; and there are also some important differences in wording. Hume did not, of course, have the opportunity to correct the printed version. I have noted these differences in wording at appropriate places in the present text.]
Part I, Essay I
1. [In the Treatise of Human Nature, Hume divides the perceptions of the mind into impressions and ideas. Impressions are divided into sensations and passions. Hume speaks of passions as secondary impressions, inasmuch as they usually arise from some preceding sensation or idea. He divides the passions into the calm and the violent. On occasion the term passion is used narrowly, as in the present essay, to designate only the more violent passions, such as love and hatred, grief and joy, or pride and humility. When Hume speaks here of a "delicacy of passion," he means a disposition to be affected strongly by the violent passions in the face of prosperity or misfortune, favors or injuries, honors or slights, and other accidents of life that lie beyond our control. What he here calls "taste"—the sense of beauty and deformity in actions or objects—is also a passion, broadly speaking, but normally a calm one. A delicacy of taste is a keen sensitivity to beauty and deformity in actions, books, works of art, companions, and such. This quality of mind is discussed at considerable length by Hume in Essay XXIII, "Of the Standard of Taste."]
2. [Hume sometimes uses the term sentiment broadly to mean passion or feeling as such, but at other times, as in this passage, he uses it synonymously with taste to refer to a special feeling of approbation or disapprobation that arises from the contemplation of objects, characters, or actions. Taste, or sentiment in this latter sense, underlies judgments of beauty and moral worth. In the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume argues that "morals and criticism are not so properly objects of the understanding as of taste and sentiment. Beauty, whether moral or natural, is felt, more properly than perceived" (sec. xii, pt. 3).]
3. [An "original" connection is one in human nature itself. Hume is alluding here to the fact that "taste" is itself a passion and has more in common with the other passions than this essay might suggest. The connection of the various passions is discussed by Hume in Book II of the Treatise ("Of the Passions") and in a later recasting of Book II entitled "A Dissertation on the Passions."]
4. [Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 18?), Epistulae ex Ponto (Letters from Pontus) 2.9.47-48: "A faithful study of the liberal arts humanizes character and permits it not to be cruel" (Loeb translation by A. L. Wheeler).]
5. Mons. FONTENELLE, Pluralité des Mondes. Soir. 6. [Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657-1757), French academician, poet, and popularizer of modern science, whose "Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds" was published in 1686.]
6. ["The judgment" is referred to by Hume in the Treatise as that operation of mind by which we make inferences from sense impressions, as in judgments of cause and effect. Feelings of moral sentiment are also treated on occasion, but not consistently, as judgments.]
Part I, Essay II
7. [Hume nowhere discusses thematically the important question of how the various forms of government should be classified, but he touches on the question in many places. This essay suggests that governments are to be classified as republics, monarchies, or, as in the case of Great Britain, a mixture of republican and monarchical elements. Aristocracy and "pure" democracy would, in this classification, be types of republican government, as would the representative system that Hume describes in "Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth." The distinction in the present essay between liberty and despotism or slavery is not equivalent or even parallel to that between republics and monarchies. Hume maintains that freedom can prevail in monarchical government, just as despotism can prevail in republics.]
8. [Tacitus (A.D. 55?-120?) The Histories 1.16.28. The quotation comes at the end of a speech by Emperor Galba to Piso, upon adopting Piso as his successor: "For with us there is not, as among peoples where there are kings, a fixed house of rulers while all the rest are slaves, but you are going to rule over men who can endure neither complete slavery nor complete liberty" (Loeb translation by Clifford H. Moore).]
9. [François Marie Arouet (1694-1778), who wrote under the name Voltaire, first published La Henriade in 1723 under a different title and republished it, with alterations, under the present title in 1728. Its hero is Henry of Navarre, who became King Henry IV of France. The passage praising Elizabeth reads: "And she made her yoke dear to the unconquered English, who can neither serve nor live in liberty."]
Part I, Essay III
ESSAY on Man, Book 3.
[Written by Alexander Pope (1688-1744) and published in 1732-34.]
11. [French king whose reign (1574-89) was marked by civil and religious strife. He is remembered for his partiality, extravagance, and distaste for hard work as well as for his oppression of Huguenot Protestants.]
12. [King of France, 1589-1610. Henry IV succeeded in calming religious warfare, improving the realm's finances and administration, and curbing Spanish designs through alliances with England and the United Provinces. He won acceptance for the Edict of Nantes (1598), which extended religious toleration to the Huguenots.]
14. [As Hume uses the term in the Treatise, a priori reasoning compares ideas in abstraction from experienced relationships. Whereas some of his predecessors, such as Hobbes, had attempted to base moral or political philosophy on a priori reasoning, Hume sets out to establish moral science on the "experimental method of reasoning," which was introduced by Francis Bacon and utilized by Isaac Newton. Nevertheless, Hume sometimes claims in the Essays that political principles can be derived a priori, i.e., by general reasoning on our ideas or concepts of the things in question and without reference to particular examples.]
16. [Verres was Roman governor of Sicily from 73 to 70 B.C. He plundered the province and committed many acts of extreme cruelty. At the expiration of his term in 70, he was prosecuted before the senatorial Extortion Court at Rome by Cicero, who represented the Sicilians. Cicero's prosecution of Verres was conducted so brilliantly that Verres withdrew into voluntary exile before the trial could be completed. Cicero thereby established himself as the leading lawyer of Rome, replacing Hortensius, who had defended Verres. Both Verres and Cicero were assassinated, along with hundreds of senators and businessmen, on orders of the ruling Triumvirate (Octavian, Lepidus, Antony) in 43 B.C.]
19. Egregium resumendæ libertati tempus, si ipsi florentes, quam inops ITALIA, quam imbellis urbana plebs, nihil validum in exercitibus, nisi quod externum cogitarent. TACIT. Ann. lib. 3.c [Tacitus, Annals 3.40: "It was an unequalled opportunity for regaining their independence: they had only to look from their own resources to the poverty of Italy, the unwarlike city population, the feebleness of the armies except for the leavening of foreigners" (Loeb translation by John Jackson). Tiberius was emperor from A.D. 14 to 37.]
21. [For most of the period between the mid-fifteenth and the early seventeenth centuries, the island of Corsica was subjected to oppressive and corrupt rule by the republic of Genoa. Frequent revolts against Genoese authority occurred during the mid-seventeenth century. Recognizing that it could not subjugate Corsica and fearing its occupation by a hostile power, Genoa finally ceded the island to France in 1768. Although Corsica had sometimes sought French control, a war of conquest in 1768-69 was necessary to establish French authority.]
22. [See Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), The Prince, chap. 4. Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) established a vast Macedonian-Greek empire after defeating the forces of the Persian Empire under the command of Darius III in 333-330 B.C.]
23. I have taken it for granted, according to the supposition of MACHIAVEL, that the ancient PERSIANS had no nobility; though there is reason to suspect, that the FLORENTINE secretary, who seems to have been better acquainted with the ROMAN than the GREEK authors, was mistaken in this particular. The more ancient PERSIANS, whose manners are described by XENOPHON, were a free people, and had nobility. Their [chief nobles, peers. See Xenophon (428?-354? B.C.), Education of Cyrus 2.1.9] were preserved even after the extending of their conquests and the consequent change of their government. ARRIAN mentions them in DARIUS'S time, De exped. ALEX. lib. ii. [Arrian (A.D. 96?-180?), Expedition of Alexander.] Historians also speak often of the persons in command as men of family. TYGRANES, who was general of the MEDES under XERXES, was of the race of ACHMÆNES, HEROD. lib. vii. cap. 62. [Herodotus (484?-420? B.C.), History.] ARTACHÆAS, who directed the cutting of the canal about mount ATHOS, was of the same family. Id. cap. 117. MEGABYZUS was one of the seven eminent PERSIANS who conspired against the MAGI. His son, ZOPYRUS, was in the highest command under DARIUS, and delivered BABYLON to him. His grandson, MEGABYZUS, commanded the army, defeated at MARATHON. His great-grandson, ZOPYRUS, was also eminent, and was banished PERSIA. HEROD. lib. iii. THUC. lib. i. [Herodotus, History 3.160; Thucydides (472?-after 400 B.C.), History of the Peloponnesian War 1.109.] ROSACES, who commanded an army in EGYPT under ARTAXERXES, was also descended from one of the seven conspirators, DIOD. SIC. lib. xvi. [Diodorus Siculus (1st cen. B.C.), Library of History 16.47.] AGESILAUS, in XENOPHON, Hist. GRÆC. lib. iv. [Xenophon, Hellenica (History of Greece) 4.1] being desirous of making a marriage betwixt king COTYS his ally, and the daughter of SPITHRIDATES, a PERSIAN of rank, who had deserted to him, first asks COTYS what family SPITHRIDATES is of. One of the most considerable in PERSIA, says COTYS. ARIÆUS, when offered the sovereignty by CLEARCHUS and the ten thousand GREEKS, refused it as of too low a rank, and said, that so many eminent PERSIANS would never endure his rule. Id. de exped. lib. ii. [Xenophon, Expedition of Cyrus, bk. 2.] Some of the families descended from the seven PERSIANS abovementioned remained during all ALEXANDER'S successors; and MITHRIDATES, in ANTIOCHUS'S time, is said by POLYBIUS to be descended from one of them, lib. v. cap. 43. ARTABAZUS was esteemed, as ARRIAN says, ["among the highest of the Persians"]. lib. iii. . And when ALEXANDER married in one day 80 of his captains to PERSIAN women, his intention plainly was to ally the MACEDONIANS with the most eminent PERSIAN families. Id. lib. vii. . DIODORUS SICULUS says they were of the most noble birth in PERSIA, lib. xvii. . The government of PERSIA was despotic, and conducted in many respects, after the eastern manner, but was not carried so far as to extirpate all nobility, and confound all ranks and orders. It left men who were still great, by themselves and their family, independent of their office and commission. And the reason why the MACEDONIANS kept so easily dominion over them was owing to other causes easy to be found in the historians; though it must be owned that MACHIAVEL'S reasoning is, in itself, just, however doubtful its application to the present case.e
24. Essempio veramente raro, & da Filosofi intante loro imaginate & vedute Republiche mai non trovato, vedere dentro ad un medesimo cerchio, fra medesimi cittadini, la liberta, & la tirannide, la vita civile & la corotta, la giustitia & la licenza; perche quello ordine solo mantiere quella citta piena di costumi antichi & venerabili. E s'egli auvenisse (che col tempo in ogni modo auverrà) que SAN GIORGIO tutta quel la città occupasse, sarrebbe quella una Republica piu dalla VENETIANA memorabile. Della Hist. Florentinè, lib. 8. [Niccolò Machiavelli, The History of Florence 8.29: "A truly rare example, and one never found by the philosophers in all their imagined or dreamed of republics, to see in the same circle, among the same citizens, liberty and tyranny, the civil and the corrupt life, justice and license; because that order alone keeps that city full of ancient and venerable customs. And should it happen, which in time will happen anyway, that St. George will occupy all that city, it would be a republic more memorable than the Venetian one." The republic of Genoa, unable to pay its creditors after war with Venice, conceded to them the revenue of the customhouse until the war debt should be liquidated. The creditors, who took the title of the Bank of St. George, established a form of government among themselves, with a council and an executive body. Genoa came to rely on the bank for credit, assigning towns, castles, and territories as security, so that eventually the bank came to have under its administration most of the towns and cities in the Genoese dominion.]
25. T. LIVII, lib. 40. cap. 43. [Livy (59 B.C.-A.D. 17), History of Rome (from the founding of the city) 40.43. The Punic Wars were fought between the Romans and the Carthaginians. The first began in 264 B.C. and the third and last ended in 146 B.C. with the destruction of Carthage. The Tribunes were elected by the people (Plebeians) to represent their interests against the nobility (Patricians). A Praetor was a high judicial officer or a provincial governor.]
[These lines are adapted loosely from the tragedy Cinna, act 1, sc. 3, which was produced by Pierre Corneille (1606-84) in late 1640 or early 1641. In the original, "Oł l'aigle abattoit l'aigle" is followed eight lines later by: "Romains contre Romains, parents contre parents, / Combattoient seulement pour le choix des tyrans." Cinna, who is plotting to restore liberty to Rome by assassinating the emperor Augustus, describes his efforts to incite his followers thusly: "I painted pictures of those dreadful wars / When savage Rome was bent on suicide, / When eagle swooped on eagle, on all sides / Embattled legions stood against their freedom; / When the best soldiers and the bravest chiefs / Fought for the honor of becoming slaves; / When better to assure their fettered shame / All vied to fix the whole world to their chains; / And the base honor of giving it a master, / Making all hug a traitor's craven name, / Roman against Roman and kith against kin, / Fought only for the right to choose a tyrant." Translation by Samuel Solomon (New York: Random House, 1969). The "time of the Triumvirates" to which Hume refers extended from the formation of the so-called First Triumvirate (Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus) in 60 B.C. until 31 B.C., when the Second Triumvirate (Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus) was finally broken, opening the way for Octavian to become the first Roman emperor (Augustus).]
28. [Later in this essay, Hume identifies the party division of his time as one between the court party and the country party. See note 21 on Bolingbroke's use of these terms. Hume discusses the British parties in several of the subsequent essays. See "Of the Parties of Great Britain," "Of Passive Obedience," "Of the Coalition of Parties," and "Of the Protestant Succession."]
29. [In what follows, Hume has in mind the debate that raged in his time over a particular minister, Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745). As First Lord of the Treasury from 1721 to 1742, Walpole mastered Parliament by the skillful use of the patronage of the Crown to control a majority in the House of Commons. Walpole is usually considered to be England's first Prime Minister, although this term was applied to Walpole by his enemies. In the 1742 edition of Hume's Essays, there appeared an essay entitled "A Character of Sir Robert Walpole." In editions appearing between 1748 and 1768, it was printed as a footnote at the end of the present essay, "That Politics may be reduced to a Science." This footnote was dropped in the editions of 1770 and later. Hume's essay on Walpole can be found in the present volume under "Essays Withdrawn and Unpublished."]
30. Dissertation on parties, Letter 10. [Written by Henry St. John (1678-1751), who became Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712. Bolingbroke, a supporter of the Tory party in Parliament and Secretary of State from 1710 to 1714, went into exile in 1715, following the accession of George I and after articles of impeachment were brought against him in the House of Commons by Robert Walpole. His flirtation with James III, the Pretender, helped to bring the Tory party into disrepute during the period of Whig dominance from 1714 to 1760. After returning to London in 1725, he contributed over the next decade to The Craftsman, a periodical that opposed the Whig government under Walpole. Bolingbroke's Dissertation Upon Parties, which appeared in The Craftsman in 1733, is a vehement attack on Walpole. Bolingbroke argues that the ground for the old division between Tories and Whigs no longer exists. Both now form a constitutional or country party, which seeks to preserve the British constitution by securing the independency of Parliaments against the new influence of the Crown. Walpole's anticonstitutional or court party, on the other hand, is attempting to expand the power of the Crown and reduce Parliaments to an absolute dependency.]
31. [Hume refers here to the Revolution of 1688, which deposed James II, and to the subsequent accession of Mary, his daughter, and her husband, William of Orange, who was Stadtholder of Holland. William III ruled jointly with Mary from 1689 until her death in 1694 and then as sole sovereign until 1702. William was succeeded by Anne, the second daughter of James II and the last of the Stuart sovereigns. By the Act of Settlement of 1701, the royal line became fixed after Anne's death (1714) in the house of Hanover.]
32. [The reference is probably to Cato Uticensis (95-46 B.C.), great-grandson of Cato Censorius (234-149 B.C.), the noted statesman, writer, and orator. The younger Cato was the uncle of Marcus Junius Brutus (85?-42 B.C.). Brutus later married Cato's daughter, Porcia. Cato and Brutus supported Pompey against Julius Caesar in the Civil War. Cato committed suicide in 46 B.C., following the defeat of the Pompeians at Thapsus. Brutus was pardoned by Caesar, but later became a leader in the patriotic conspiracy that led to Caesar's murder (44 B.C.).]
Part I, Essay IV
33. [Probably James Harrington (1611-1677), author of the Commonwealth of Oceana (1656), who maintained that the balance of political power depends upon the balance of property, especially landed property.]
34. [During the period from 1698 to 1701, the House of Commons, under Tory control, opposed measures taken by William III for the security of Europe against Louis XIV of France. When the county of Kent sent petitioners to London in 1701 to chide the House of Commons for its distrust of the king and its delay in voting supplies, the petitioners were arrested. Public disgust at the treatment of the Kentish petitioners was expressed in a Whig pamphlet called the Legion Memorial (1701). The Kentish Petition and the Legion Memorial proved that popular feeling was on the king's side in this struggle with the Commons.]
Part I, Essay VI
35. See Dissertation on Parties, throughout. [Bolingbroke, Dissertation Upon Parties. See Essay III, "That Politics may be reduced to a Science," nn. 19 and 21. Hume here criticizes Bolingbroke's extreme partisanship and implicitly defends Walpole's use of Crown patronage to control the House of Commons.]
36. By that influence of the crown, which I would justify, I mean only that which arises from the offices and honours that are at the disposal of the crown. As to private bribery, it may be considered in the same light as the practice of employing spies, which is scarcely justifiable in a good minister, and is infamous in a bad one: But to be a spy, or to be corrupted, is always infamous under all ministers, and is to be regarded as a shameless prostitution. POLYBIUS justly esteems the pecuniary influence of the senate and censors to be one of the regular and constitutional weights, which preserved the balance of the ROMAN government. Lib. vi. cap. 15. [Polybius, Histories 6.15.]c
Part I, Essay VII
37. [See James Harrington, "The Second Part of the Preliminaries," in The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656). Harrington indicates that monarchy became untenable in England as a consequence of the emancipation of the vassals and the rise of independent freeholders. This development deprived the nobility of their property and power. Where there is equality of estates, there must be equality of power; and where there is equality of power, there can be no monarchy. Harrington also advanced this argument in other writings between 1656, when Oceana was published, and 1660, when the monarchy was restored under Charles II.]
38. [Marcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 B.C.) was a member of the so-called First Triumvirate, which was formed in 60 B.C. His death in 53 B.C. left Julius Caesar and Pompey as rivals for power in Rome.]
39. [The Medici family, which had accumulated vast wealth through commerce and banking, established an unofficial principate in Florence in 1434, which, except for two intervals (1494-1512 and 1527-30), ruled Florence for the next century. After 1537, the ruling Medici took the official title of Grand Dukes.]
Part I, Essay VIII
40. [The reference is to Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). After leading the parliamentary army to victory over forces loyal to Charles I, Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 to 1658. When the parliament of 1654-55 sought to revise the Instrument of Government, which had established the protectorate, and to limit the Protector's powers, Cromwell dissolved it and established military rule. Cromwell was offered the title of king by the House of Lords, but refused it. Subsequently, the House of Lords approved, and Cromwell assented to, a constitution document (The Humble Petition and Advice) defining his powers in relation to the other institutions of government, but this document was rejected by the House of Commons.]
41. [See Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Advancement of Learning, bk. 1. This work was published in 1605. Ceres, Bacchus, and Aesculapius were, respectively, Roman deities of crops, of wine, and of healing. Romulus, the legendary co-founder of Rome, and Theseus, legendary hero and king of Athens, were supposedly offsprings of gods.]
42. [The Neri ("Blacks") and Bianchi ("Whites") were opposing factions within the Guelf party of Florence, centering around the families of the Donati and the Cerchi. These names came into use in 1301, when the Cerchi intervened on behalf of the "Whites" in the town of Pistoia and the Donati came to the aid of the Pistoiese "Blacks." The Fregosi and Adorni were among the families who contended for the office of Doge in the republic of Genoa, beginning around 1370. In the modern Roman republic, beginning in the early thirteenth century, the nobility split into a Guelf party, headed by the Orsini, and a Ghibelline party, under the Colonna.]
43. [In the circus at Rome and the hippodrome at Constantinople, the professional charioteers (factio) were distinguished by colors, with green (prasini) and blue (veneti) being the most important. These contests were followed with special fervor in Constantinople and other cities in the Byzantine (or Greek) Empire, where the populace came to be divided into two factions, the "Blues" and the "Greens," which frequently engaged in bloody and destructive conflicts. These factional disputes are described by Hume's contemporary, Montesquieu, in Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline (1734), chap. 20, and by Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88), chap. 40.]
44. As this fact has not been much observed by antiquaries or politicians, I shall deliver it in the words of the ROMAN historian. Populus TUSCULANUS cum conjugibus ac liberis ROMAM venit: Ea multitudo, veste mutata, & specie reorum tribus circuit, genibus se omnium advolvens. Plus itaque misericordia ad pœnæ veniam impetrandam, quam causa ad crimen purgandum valuit. Tribus omnes præter POLLIAM, antiquarunt legem. POLLIÆ sententia fuit, puberes verberatos necari, liberos conjugesque sub corona lege belli venire: Memoriamque ejus iræ TUSCULANIS in pænæ tam atrocis auctores mansisse ad patris ætatem constat; nec quemquam fere ex POLLIA tribu candidatum PAPIRAM ferre solitam, T. LIVII, lib. 8. [Livy, History of Rome 8.37: "The citizens of Tusculum, with their wives and children, came to Rome; and the great throng, putting on the sordid raiment of defendants, went about amongst the tribes and clasped the knees of the citizens in supplication. And it so happened that pity was more effective in gaining them remission of their punishment than were their arguments in clearing away the charges. All the tribes rejected the proposal, save only the Pollian, which voted that the grown men should be scourged and put to death, and their wives and children sold at auction under the laws of war. It seems that the resentment engendered in the Tusculans by so cruel a proposal lasted down to our fathers' time, and that a candidate of the Pollian tribe almost never got the vote of the Papirian" (Loeb translation by B. O. Foster). The Tusculans, upon gaining Roman citizenship, were enrolled in the Papirian tribe, whose vote they were able to control.] The CASTELANI and NICOLLOTI are two mobbish factions in VENICE, who frequently box together, and then lay aside their quarrels presently.b
46. [Italian cities during the Renaissance were divided between parties aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor (the Ghibellines) and parties loyal to the Pope (the Guelfs). Hume refers here to events of 1499-1500. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, had formed an alliance with Emperor Maximilian I to stop the French invasion. The French forces were led by Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, who had once been Ludovico's own commander. Ludovico lost the city, retook it, and finally lost it again. He was taken as a prisoner to France, where he died in 1508. Pope Alexander VI, who had been an ally of the House of Sforza, formed an alliance with Louis XII in 1498.]
47. [This reference is probably to the civil war in Morocco that followed the death of Mulay Isma'il in 1727. Hume may have read John Braithwaite's eyewitness account of this conflict and its racial aspects in The History of the Revolutions in the Empire of Morocco upon the Death of the Late Emperor Muley Ishmael (1729).]
49. I say, in part; For it is a vulgar error to imagine, that the ancients were as great friends to toleration as the ENGLISH or DUTCH are at present. The laws against external superstition, amongst the ROMANS, were as anciente as the time of the twelve tables [The Twelve Tables (451-450 B.C.) codified Roman law]; and the JEWS as well as CHRISTIANS were sometimes punished by them; though, in general, these laws were not rigorously executed. Immediately after the conquest of GAUL, they forbad all but the natives to be initiated into the religion of the DRUIDS; and this was a kind of persecution. In about a century after this conquest,f the emperor, CLAUDIUS [ruled A.D. 41-54], quite abolished that superstition by penal laws; which would have been a very grievous persecution, if the imitation of the ROMAN manners had not, before-hand, weaned the GAULS from their ancient prejudices. SUETONIUS in vita CLAUDII. PLINY ascribes the abolition of the Druidical superstitions to TIBERIUS, probably because that emperor had taken some steps towards restraining them (lib. xxx. cap. i.)g [Pliny, the Elder (A.D. 23-79), Natural History, 30.4 in the Loeb edition. The emperor Tiberius ruled A.D. 14-37. The religious practices of the Druids included human sacrifice]. This is an instance of the usual caution and moderation of the ROMANS in such cases; and very different from their violent and sanguinary method of treating the Christians. Hence we may entertain a suspicion, that those furious persecutions of Christianity were in some measure owing to the imprudent zeal and bigotry of the first propagators of that sect; and Ecclesiastical history affords us many reasons to confirm this suspicion.*89
Part I, Essay IX
50. Judæi sibi ipsi reges imposuere; qui mobilitate vulgi expulsi, resumpta per arma dominatione; fugas civium, urbium eversiones, fratrum, conjugum, parentum neces, aliaque solita regibus ausi, superstitionem fovebant; quia honor sacerdotii firmamentum potentiæ assumebatur. TACIT. hist. lib. v.d [Tacitus, The Histories 5.8. "The Jews [between the time of Alexander the Great and the Roman conquests] selected their own kings. These in turn were expelled by the fickle mob; but recovering their throne by force of arms, they banished citizens, destroyed towns, killed brothers, wives, and parents, and dared essay every other kind of royal crime without hesitation; but they fostered the national superstition, for they had assumed the priesthood to support their civil authority" (Loeb translation by Clifford H. Moore).]
51. [Gustav Eriksson Vasa was elected king of Sweden in 1523 after leading a war of independence against King Christian II of Denmark and Norway. He confiscated most of the property of the Catholic church, which supported the pretentions of the Danish king, and established a state church whose doctrines were predominantly Lutheran. He made the Swedish monarchy an hereditary institution before his death in 1560.]
52. [Beginning in 1559, the stadtholders, or constitutional monarchs, of the Dutch republic came from the House of Orange. In matters of religion, the House of Orange favored Calvinists over Arminians, who had broken with Calvinism on the doctrine of predestination. As a result of a dispute involving both political and religious issues, Prince Maurice, in 1619, arranged for the execution of the advocate of Holland Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and for the perpetual imprisonment of two others, including the statesman and jurist Hugo Grotius, in the castle of Louvestein. After this the party in the provinces opposed to the House of Orange came to be known as the Louvestein Faction.]
53. Populi imperium juxta libertatem: paucorum dominatio regiæ libidini proprior est. TACIT. Ann. lib. vi. [Tacitus, Annals 6.42. "Supremacy of the people is akin to freedom; between the domination of a minority and the whim of a monarch the distance is small" (Loeb translation by John Jackson).]e
54. [The "Great Rebellion" is a name for the civil wars in England and Scotland between 1642 and 1652, in which the parliamentary forces defeated the Royalist forces loyal to Charles I. Charles was executed in 1649, and a new government, the Commonwealth, was established.]
55. [Hume refers here to Charles I, who acceded to the throne in 1625. After a dispute over matters of church policy and taxation, Charles dissolved parliament in 1629 and ruled without parliament for eleven years. He called a new parliament in 1640, but dissolved it in three weeks because it refused to support him in carrying on war against the Scots. Later that year, as the Scottish army advanced into England, Charles was forced to call another parliament (the Long Parliament) and to consent to a broad range of measures strengthening the parliament's powers against the king. Civil war began in England in 1642 after Charles gathered a considerable army around him to oppose the parliament.]
56. [These names came into use in 1641 to denote, respectively, the adherents of the parliamentary party, who wore their hair cut close, and the Royalists, who were more dashing in their grooming and dress.]
58. [The names Whig and Tory apparently came into use as English party designations in 1679. At first they designated, respectively, members of the country party who petitioned Charles II to summon a parliament in 1680, and adherents of the court party who abhorred what they viewed as an attempt to encroach on the royal prerogative.]
60. Some of the opinions delivered in these Essays, with regard to the public transactions in the last century, the Author, on more accurate examination, found reason to retract in his History of GREAT BRITAIN. And as he would not enslave himself to the systems of either party, neither would he fetter his judgment by his own preconceived opinions and principles; nor is he ashamed to acknowledge his mistakes. These mistakes were indeed, at that time, almost universal in this kingdom.l
Part I, Essay X
61. [The Society of Friends, known also as Quakers, was founded in England in the mid-seventeenth century by George Fox. Its tenets include trust in the inward witness or divine principle in man, renunciation of violence and war, simplicity of speech and dress, and the conduct of worship without an ordained ministry.]
62. [The Independents, or Congregationalists, emerged in England in the sixteenth century and achieved great influence in the seventeenth century under the Commonwealth. They viewed local congregations of believers as the true church and insisted on the independence of these congregations from all other civil and ecclesiastical organizations.]
63. [Presbyterianism grew out of the efforts of John Calvin (1509-64) to return Christianity to its primitive form of church government. Presbyterians in England and Scotland agreed with Congregationalists in rejecting episcopacy, or government of the church by bishops who owed their appointment to the Crown, but they granted that the election of ministers and elders by local congregations should be subject to confirmation by larger assemblies, or presbyteries.]
64. [The Anabaptist movement, which originated in Europe during the Protestant Reformation, broke with Luther on the issue of infant baptism and insisted that only repenting adults could properly be baptised. Because of their vehement insistence on complete separation of church and state and their refusal to swear civil oaths, the Anabaptists were widely persecuted by civil authorities. In the Peasants' Revolt of 1528, radical Anabaptists in Germany under the leadership of Thomas Münzer made war on civil authority and attempted to establish by force a Christian commonwealth based on absolute equality and a community of goods.]
65. [The Camisards were French Calvinists who rose up in rebellion in 1703 following Louis XIV's revocation (in 1685) of the Edict of Nantes, which had granted to Protestants the right of public worship and admissibility to civil offices.]
67. [In the mid-seventeenth century, the name Covenanters was given to the party in Scotland which defended the presbyterian form of church government. Following the reestablishment of episcopacy in 1662 and the persecution of dissenting ministers, the Covenanters engaged in armed rebellion and were forcibly put down by the king's army.]
68. [The term deist was widely used in Hume's time for those writers who acknowledged one God, but based this belief on reason rather than on revealed religion. The deists disagreed among themselves on such matters as the moral role of the deity, a providence, and a future life.]
69. The CHINESE Literati have no priests or ecclesiastical establishment.e [Confucius (551-479 B.C.) was a teacher and thinker whose ideas on virtue and human relationships profoundly influenced traditional Chinese life and thought. Included among the tenets of Confucianism is awe for Heaven as a cosmic spiritual power with moral significance.]
70. [This conflict within seventeenth-century Catholicism centered on the issue of free will and predestination. The Jansenists viewed divine grace rather than good works as the basis of salvation, while the Molinists sought to preserve a greater role for man's will.]
Part I, Essay XI
71. [Marcus Tullius Cicero is sometimes referred to in English literature as Tully. Francis Bacon, first Baron Verulam and Viscount St. Albans, held many official posts, including Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor. Hume praises Bacon in the Introduction to the Treatise as the founder of the new "experimental method of reasoning" in the sciences.]
Part I, Essay XII
75. [Sejanus was prefect of the praetorian guard under the emperor Tiberius. He ruled Rome for a time after Tiberius's retirement to Capri (A.D. 26), but Tiberius later had him arrested and put to death (A.D. 31). Cardinal Fleury was tutor and subsequently chief minister of Louis XV of France in the decades preceding Fleury's death in 1743.]
76. XENOPHON mentions it; but with a doubt if it be of any advantage to a state. , &c. XEN. HIERO. [Xenophon, Hiero 9.9: "If commerce also brings gain to a city" (Loeb translation by E. C. Marchant).] PLATO totally excludes it from his imaginary republic. De legibus, lib. iv.b [Plato (427-347 B.C.), Laws, bk. IV (704d-705b).]
78. [Longinus (A.D. 213?-273), On the Sublime, sec. 44. The author indeed raises the possibility that writers and orators of genius are found only in democratic or free governments, but goes on to suggest, perhaps ironically, that the corruption of genius in the present age is due not to political tyranny but to the tyranny of the passions, especially love of wealth and its attendant vices.]
79. Mr. ADDISON and LORD SHAFTESBURY. [See Joseph Addison (1672-1719), The Tatler, no. 161 (20 April, 1710); and Anthony Ashley Cooper, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), Characteristics (1711), "Soliloquy," pt. 2, sec. 2.]
80. [The poets Ariosto (1474-1533) and Tasso (1544-92), the physicist Galileo (1564-1642), and the artists Raphael (1483-1520) and Michelangelo (1475-1564) were born in various Italian principalities.]
81. [During the lifetime of the painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Antwerp, in the southern Netherlands, was loyal to Catholicism and the Spanish king. Dresden in the early eighteenth century was often dominated by Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony, a Roman Catholic. Amsterdam and Hamburg were free and Protestant cities.]
84. [Thomas Sprat (1635-1713) was the first historian of the Royal Society. John Locke (1632-1704) is most famous for his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) and Two Treatises of Government (1690). Sir William Temple (1628-99) was an important essayist and historian.]
Part I, Essay XIII
2. [Cicero, Orator 29.104: "... so greedy and insatiate are they [my ears] and so often yearn for something vast and boundless" (Loeb translation by H. M. Hubbell). Demosthenes (384-322 B.C.) was the greatest Athenian orator.]
3. Ne illud quidem intelligunt, non modo ita memoriæ proditum esse, sed ita necesse fuisse, cum DEMOSTHENES dicturus esset, ut concursus, audiendi causa, ex tota GRECIA fierent. At cum isti ATTICI dicunt, non modo a corona (quod est ipsum miserabile) sed etiam ab advocatis relinquuntur. CICERO de Claris Oratoribus. [Cicero, Brutus 84.289: "They don't even see, not only that history records it, but it must have been so, that when Demosthenes was to speak all Greece flocked to hear him. But when these Atticists of ours speak they are deserted not only by the curious crowd, which is humiliating enough, but even by the friends and supporters of their client" (Loeb translation by H. M. Hubbell).]
7. The original is; Quod si hæc non ad cives Romanos, non ad aliquos amicos nostræ civitatis, non ad eos qui populi Romani nomen audissent; denique, si non ad homines, verum ad bestias; aut etiam, ut longius progrediar, si in aliqua desertissima solitudine, ad saxa & ad scopulos hæc conqueri & deplorare vellem, tamen omnia muta atque inanima, tanta & tam indigna rerum atrocitate commoverentur. CIC. in Ver. [Against Verres 2.5.67. The Loeb edition reads acerbitate rather than atrocitate.]
8. Ubi dolor? Ubi ardor animi, qui etiam ex infantium ingeniis elicere voces & querelas solet? nulla perturbatio animi, nulla corporis: frons non percussa, non femur; pedis (quod minimum est) nulla supplosio. Itaque tantum abfuit ut inflammares nostros animos; somnum isto loco vix tenebamus. CICERO de Claris Oratoribus. [Cicero, Brutus 80.278: "What trace of anger, of that burning indignation, which stirs even men quite incapable of eloquence to loud outbursts of complaint against wrongs? But no hint of agitation in you, neither of mind nor of body! Did you smite your brow, slap your thigh, or at least stamp your foot? No. In fact, so far from touching my feelings, I could scarcely refrain from going to sleep then and there!" (Loeb translation by H. M. Hubbell).]
9. [Parnassus is a mountain in central Greece, near Delphi, which the ancients considered sacred to the muses. The name is used allusively in reference to literature, especially poetry. See Robert Allot, England's Parnassus: or the choycest Flowers of our moderne Poets (1600). Hume is suggesting that modern lawyers lack the leisure to educate themselves in literature and poetry.]
15. [In 45 B.C., Cicero made a speech before Caesar on behalf of King Deiotarus of Galatia, an old ally, who was accused of having once plotted to assassinate Caesar. Rather than condemn Deiotarus, Caesar reserved judgment until he could go east and inform himself of the whole affair on the spot.]
16. The orators formed the taste of the ATHENIAN people, not the people of the orators. GORGIAS LEONTINUS was very taking with them, till they became acquainted with a better manner. His figures of speech, says DIODORUS SICULUS, his antithesis, his [sentences with equal members or balanced clauses], his [clauses with like endings], which are now despised, had a great effect upon the audience. Lib. xii. page 106. ex editione RHOD. [Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 12.53 in the Loeb edition. Gorgias (483?-376? B.C.), the leading rhetorician of his time and the first to devise rules of rhetoric, was speaking to the Athenians in 427 B.C. as leader of the embassy from Syracuse.] It is in vain therefore for modern orators to plead the taste of their hearers as an apology for their lame performances. It would be strange prejudice in favour of antiquity, not to allow a BRITISH parliament to be naturally superior in judgment and delicacy to an ATHENIAN mob.
21. The first of the ATHENIANS, who composed and wrote his speeches, was PERICLES, a man of business and a man of sense, if ever there was one,
Part I, Essay XIV
23. [Henry IV was king of France from 1589 to 1610. Cardinal Richelieu was the principal minister of Louis XIII and the real ruler of France from 1624 until his death in 1642. Louis XIV succeeded his father, Louis XIII, and reigned until his own death in 1715. Following the abdication of Charles I in 1556, Spain was ruled by Philip II (1556-98), Philip III (1598-1621), Philip IV (1621-65), and Charles II (1665-1700), all of whom were Hapsburgs.]
OVID, Fast. lib. i.
[Ovid, Fasti (Calendar) 6.5-6 in the Loeb edition.]
26. [Several Roman generals bore the patrician names Fabius and Scipio. Hume undoubtedly refers here to Fabius Cunctator, who was a leading general in the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.), and Scipio Africanus, who carried the war against Carthage into Africa and defeated Hannibal in 202 B.C.]
27. [Epistles 2.2.187-89: "... the Genius alone knows—that companion who rules our star of birth, the god of human nature, though mortal for each single life, and changing in countenance, white or black" (Loeb translation by H. Rushton Fairclough).]
29. TACIT. hist. lib. i. [Tacitus, The Histories 1.37: "... now he keeps us under his heel as if we were his slaves, and regards us as cheap because we belong to another" (Loeb translation by Clifford H. Moore). Hume's quotation varies from the Latin original.]
31. [The name peripatetic was given to the Aristotelian school of philosophy either because instruction was offered while walking about or because the building that housed the school contained a peripatos, a covered walking place.]
33. [Sir Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) revolutionary theory of nature, which was based on laws of motion and presented in mathematical form. Newton's physical theory vied with Descartes's for primacy in Europe up to the mid-eighteenth century.]
34. If it be asked how we can reconcile to the foregoing principles the happiness, riches, and good police of the CHINESE, who have always been governed by a monarch, and can scarcely form an idea of a free government; I would answer, that though the CHINESE government be a pure monarchy, it is not, properly speaking, absolute. This proceeds from a peculiarity in the situation of that country: They have no neighbours, except the TARTARS, from whom they were, in some measure, secured, at least seemed to be secured, by their famous wall, and by the great superiority of their numbers. By this means, military discipline has always been much neglected amongst them; and their standing forces are mere militia, of the worst kind; and unfit to suppress any general insurrection in countries so extremely populous. The sword, therefore, may properly be said to be always in the hands of the people, which is a sufficient restraint upon the monarch, and obliges him to lay his mandarins or governors of provinces under the restraint of general laws, in order to prevent those rebellions, which we learn from history to have been so frequent and dangerous in that government. Perhaps, a pure monarchy of this kind, were it fitted for defence against foreign enemies, would be the best of all governments, as having both the tranquillity attending kingly power, and the moderation and liberty of popular assemblies.
[Jean-Baptiste Rousseau (1671-1741), Poésies Diverses, "Sonnet," in Oeuvres (Paris: 1820), 2.366.]
38. It is needless to cite CICERO or PLINY on this head: They are too much noted: But one is a little surprised to find ARRIAN, a very grave, judicious writer, interrupt the thread of his narration all of a sudden, to tell his readers that he himself is as eminent among the GREEKS for eloquence as ALEXANDER was for arms. Lib. i. [Arrian, Expedition of Alexander 1.12.]
41. This poet (See lib. iv. 1165.) recommends a very extraordinary cure for love, and what one expects not to meet with in so elegant and philosophical a poem. It seems to have been the original of some of Dr. SWIFT'Sf images. The elegant CATULLUS and PHÆDRUS fall under the same censure. [Lucretius (94?-55? B.C.), De Rerum Natura (The nature of things) 4.1165. In the passage cited, Lucretius, a Roman poet and proponent of Epicurean philosophy, suggests that a man can escape the snares of love by taking notice of a woman's mental and bodily faults, which she tries to conceal by various artifices, such as perfumes to cover body odors. Catullus (84?-54? B.C.) was a Roman lyric poet. Phaedrus (15? B.C.-A.D. 50?) was a Roman writer of fables.]
44. ATT. Non mihi videtur ad beate vivendum satis esse virtutem. MAR. At hercule BRUTO meo videtur; cujus ego judicium, pace tua dixerim, longe antepono tuo. TUSC. Quæst lib. v. [Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.5.12: "Atticus. It does not appear to me that virtue can be sufficient for leading a happy life. Marcus. But, I can assure you, my friend Brutus thinks it sufficient and with your permission I put his judgment far above yours" (Loeb translation by J. E. King). Regarding Hume's reference to "Philalethes's friend in our modern dialogue," see Jeremy Collier (1650-1726), Essays (1697), which contains dialogues between Philotionus and Philalethes.]
47. In vita FLAMIN. [Plutarch (A.D. before 50-after 120), Lives, in the life of Titus Flamininus, sec. 2. Flamininus (225?-174 B.C.), a Roman statesman and general, was charged with the conduct of the war against Philip V of Macedonia, whom he eventually defeated.]
54. The frequent mention in ancient authors of that ill-bred custom of the master of the family's eating better bread or drinking better wine at table, than he afforded his guests, is but an indifferent mark of the civility of those ages. See JUVENAL, sat. 5. PLINII lib. xiv. cap. 13. [Pliny the Elder, Natural History 14.14.91 in the Loeb edition.] Also PLINII Epist. [Pliny the Younger (A.D. 61-112?), Letters.] Lucian de mercede conductis, Saturnalia, &c. [Lucian, On Salaried Posts in Great Houses, Saturnalia, etc.] There is scarcely any part of EUROPE at present so uncivilized as to admit of such a custom.
55. See Relation of three Embassies, by the Earl of CARLISLE. [Charles Howard, First Earl of Carlisle (1629-85), was England's ambassador to Russia, Sweden, and Denmark in the 1660s. The book to which Hume refers, A Relation of Three Embassies from His Sacred Majestie Charles II to the Great Duke of Muscovie, the King of Sweden, and the King of Denmark (1669), was written not by Carlisle but by Guy Miège, who accompanied him on the embassies.]
Part I, Essay XV
61. OR, The man of elegance and pleasure. The intention of this and the three following essays is not so much to explain accurately the sentiments of the ancient sects of philosophy, as to deliver the sentiments of sects, that naturally form themselves in the world, and entertain different ideas of human life and of happiness. I have given each of them the name of the philosophical sect, to which it bears the greatest affinity.
63. [The source and author of these lines could not be located. The octosyllabic couplet was widely used in the eighteenth century in a style of satirical poetry known as Hudibrastic, the archetype for which was Samuel Butler's Hudibras (pt. I, 1663; pt. II, 1664; pt. III, 1678). See Richmond P. Bond, English Burlesque Poetry: 1700-1750 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1932), pp. 145-54.]
Giuresalemme liberata, Canto 14.
[Torquato Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered 14.62: "Ye happy youths, whom April fresh and May/Attire in flow'ring green of lusty age," etc. Translated by Edward Fairfax (1600) (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press, 1962).]
Part I, Essay XVI
Part I, Essay XVII
Part I, Essay XVIII
70. [Ptolemy (second century A.D.) taught that the earth is at the center of the planetary system and immovable, while Nicholas Copernicus's (1473-1543) heliocentric system holds that the earth moves daily around its own axis and yearly around the sun.]
72. Were I not afraid of appearing too philosophical, I should remind my reader of that famous doctrine, supposed to be fully proved in modern times, "That tastes and colours, and all other sensible qualities, lie not in the bodies, but merely in the senses." The case is the same with beauty and deformity, virtue and vice. This doctrine, however, takes off no more from the reality of the latter qualities, than from that of the former; nor need it give any umbrage either to critics or moralists. Though colours were allowed to lie only in the eye, would dyers or painters ever be less regarded or esteemed? There is a sufficient uniformity in the senses and feelings of mankind, to make all these qualities the objects of art and reasoning, and to have the greatest influence on life and manners. And as it is certain, that the discovery above-mentioned in natural philosophy, makes no alteration on action and conduct; why should a like discovery in moral philosophy make any alteration?
74. [Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars, Domitian, sec. 3) reports that the emperor Domitian, at the beginning of his reign, used to spend hours in seclusion each day, doing nothing but catching flies and stabbing them with a sharp knife. William Rufus, king of England from 1087 to 1100, engaged in hunting as his sole amusement. He was killed accidentally by the arrow of a fellow hunter (see Hume, History of England, chap. 5). Alexander the Great conquered the area from Greece eastward to India.]
86. The Sceptic, perhaps, carries the matter too far, when he limits all philosophical topics and reflections to these two. There seem to be others, whose truth is undeniable, and whose natural tendency is to tranquillize and soften all the passions. Philosophy greedily seizes these, studies them, weighs them, commits them to the memory, and familiarizes them to the mind: And their influence on tempers, which are thoughtful, gentle, and moderate, may be considerable. But what is their influence, you will say, if the temper be antecedently disposed after the same manner as that to which they pretend to form it? They may, at least, fortify that temper, and furnish it with views, by which it may entertain and nourish itself. Here are a few examples of such philosophical reflections.
2. Every one has known ills; and there is a compensation throughout. Why not be contented with the present?
3. Custom deadens the sense both of the good and the ill, and levels every thing.
4. Health and humour all. The rest of little consequence, except these be affected.
5. How many other good things have I? Then why be vexed for one ill?
6. How many are happy in the condition of which I complain? How many envy me?
7. Every good must be paid for: Fortune by labour, favour by flattery. Would I keep the price, yet have the commodity?
8. Expect not too great happiness in life. Human nature admits it not.
9. Propose not a happiness too complicated. But does that depend on me? Yes: The first choice does. Life is like a game: One may choose the game: And passion, by degrees, seizes the proper object.
10. Anticipate by your hopes and fancy future consolation, which time infallibly brings to every affliction.
11. I desire to be rich. Why? That I may possess many fine objects; houses, gardens, equipage, &c. How many fine objects does nature offer to every one without expence? If enjoyed, sufficient. If not: See the effect of custom or of temper, which would soon take off the relish of the riches.
12. I desire fame. Let this occur: If I act well, I shall have the esteem of all my acquaintance. And what is all the rest to me?
These reflections are so obvious, that it is a wonder they occur not to every man: So convincing, that it is a wonder they persuade not every man. But perhaps they do occur to and persuade most men; when they consider human life, by a general and calm survey: But where any real, affecting incident happens; when passion is awakened, fancy agitated, example draws, and counsel urges; the philosopher is lost in the man, and he seeks in vain for that persuasion which before seemed so firm and unshaken. What remedy for this inconvenience? Assist yourself by a frequent perusal of the entertaining moralists: Have recourse to the learning of PLUTARCH, the imagination of LUCIAN, the eloquence of CICERO, the wit of SENECA, the gaiety of MONTAIGNE, the sublimity of SHAFTESBURY. Moral precepts, so couched, strike deep, and fortify the mind against the illusions of passion. But trust not altogether to external aid: By habit and study acquire that philosophical temper which both gives force to reflection, and by rendering a great part of your happiness independent, takes off the edge from all disorderly passions, and tranquillizes the mind. Despise not these helps; but confide not too much in them neither; unless nature has been favourable in the temper, with which she has endowed you.
Part I, Essay XIX
88. [According to ancient biographies, the Greek tragedian Euripides (480-406 B.C.) had two wives, but in succession. The first committed adultery with Euripides's servant, and the second also had loose morals, which supposedly accounts for his disparagement of women in his tragedies. In Aristophanes's comedy The Thesmophoriazusai, an assembly of Athenian women calls Euripides to account for his alleged insults.]
89. [Denis Vairasse, The History of the Sevarites or Sevarambi (London, 1675). Hume's summary is not exactly correct, for in the story each principal officer is allowed to have one woman wholly for himself.]
90. [The vanity of the world is the theme of the book of Ecclesiastes, whose authorship was traditionally ascribed to Solomon. Solomon was king of Israel from c. 970-930 B.C. His having seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines is mentioned in 1 Kings 11:3.]
Part I, Essay XX
96. [See Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (The ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha), pt. 1, 1605; pt. 2, 1615. Sancho Panza is the ignorant but loyal peasant whom Don Quixote chooses as his squire.]
105. [Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 10.1.129. Quintilian is observing here that the style of Seneca's writings is exceedingly dangerous for the very reason that "its vices are so many and attractive" (Loeb translation by H. E. Butler).]
Part I, Essay XXI
2. It is a saying of MENANDER,
3. Though all mankind have a strong propensity to religion at certain times and in certain dispositions; yet are there few or none, who have it to that degree, and with that constancy, which is requisite to support the character of this profession. It must, therefore, happen, that clergymen, being drawn from the common mass of mankind, as people are to other employments, by the views of profit, the greater part, though no atheists or free-thinkers, will find it necessary, on particular occasions, to feign more devotion than they are, at that time, possessed of, and to maintain the appearance of fervor and seriousness, even when jaded with the exercises of their religion, or when they have their minds engaged in the common occupations of life. They must not, like the rest of the world, give scope to their natural movements and sentiments: They must set a guard over their looks and words and actions: And in order to support the veneration paid them by the multitude, they must not only keep a remarkable reserve, but must promote the spirit of superstition, by a continued grimace and hypocrisy. This dissimulation often destroys the candor and ingenuity of their temper, and makes an irreparable breach in their character.
If by chance any of them be possessed of a temper more susceptible of devotion than usual, so that he has but little occasion for hypocrisy to support the character of his profession; it is so natural for him to over-rate this advantage, and to think that it atones for every violation of morality, that frequently he is not more virtuous than the hypocrite. And though few dare openly avow those exploded opinions, that every thing is lawful to the saints, and that they alone have property in their goods; yet may we observe, that these principles lurk in every bosom, and represent a zeal for religious observances as so great a merit, that it may compensate for many vices and enormities. This observation is so common, that all prudent men are on their guard, when they meet with any extraordinary appearance of religion; though at the same time, they confess, that there are many exceptions to this general rule, and that probity and superstition, or even probity and fanaticism, are not altogether and in every instance incompatible.
Most men are ambitious; but the ambition of other men may commonly be satisfied, by excelling in their particular profession, and thereby promoting the interests of society. The ambition of the clergy can often be satisfied only by promoting ignorance and superstition and implicit faith and pious frauds. And having got what ARCHIMEDES only wanted, (namely, another world, on which he could fix his engines) no wonder they move this world at their pleasure.
Most men have an overweaning conceit of themselves; but these have a peculiar temptation to that vice, who are regarded with such veneration, and are even deemed sacred, by the ignorant multitude.
Most men are apt to bear a particular regard for members of their own profession; but as a lawyer, or physician, or merchant, does, each of them, follow out his business apart, the interests of men of these professions are not so closely united as the interests of clergymen of the same religion; where the whole body gains by the veneration, paid to their common tenets, and by the suppression of antagonists.
Few men can bear contradiction with patience; but the clergy too often proceed even to a degree of fury on this head: Because all their credit and livelihood depend upon the belief, which their opinions meet with; and they alone pretend to a divine and supernatural authority, or have any colour for representing their antagonists as impious and prophane. The Odium Theologicum, or Theological Hatred, is noted even to a proverb, and means that degree of rancour, which is the most furious and implacable.
Revenge is a natural passion to mankind; but seems to reign with the greatest force in priests and women: Because, being deprived of the immediate exertion of anger, in violence and combat, they are apt to fancy themselves despised on that account; and their pride supports their vindictive disposition.b
Thus many of the vices of human nature are, by fixed moral causes, inflamed in that profession; and though several individuals escape the contagion, yet all wise governments will be on their guard against the attempts of a society, who will for ever combine into one faction, and while it acts as a society, will for ever be actuated by ambition, pride, revenge, and a persecuting spirit.
The temper of religion is grave and serious; and this is the character required of priests, which confines them to strict rules of decency, and commonly prevents irregularity and intemperance amongst them. The gaiety, much less the excesses of pleasure, is not permitted in that body; and this virtue is, perhaps, the only one which they owe to their profession. In religions, indeed, founded on speculative principles, and where public discourses make a part of religious service, it may also be supposed that the clergy will have a considerable share in the learning of the times; though it is certain that their taste in eloquence will always be greater than their proficiency in reasoning and philosophy. But whoever possesses the other noble virtues of humanity, meekness, and moderation, as very many of them, no doubt, do, is beholden for them to nature or reflection, not to the genius of his calling.
It was no bad expedient in the old ROMANS, for preventing the strong effect of the priestly character, to make it a law that no one should be received into the sacerdotal office, till he was past fifty years of age, DION. Hal. lib. i. [Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.21 in the Loeb edition.] The living a layman till that age, it is presumed, would be able to fix the character.c
4. CÆSAR (de Bello GALLICO, lib. 1. [The Gallic War 4.2 in the Loeb edition]) says, that the GALLIC horses were very good; the GERMAN very bad. We find in lib. vii. [7.65] that he was obliged to remount some GERMAN cavalry with GALLIC horses. At present, no part of EUROPE has so bad horses of all kinds as FRANCE: But GERMANY abounds with excellent war horses. This may beget a little suspicion, that even animals depend not on the climate; but on the different breeds, and on the skill and care in rearing them. The north of ENGLAND abounds in the best horses of all kinds which are perhaps in the world. In the neighbouring counties, north side of the TWEED, no good horses of any kind are to be met with. STRABO [64 or 63 B.C.-A.D. 21], lib. ii [Geography 2.3.7]. Rejects, in a great measure, the influence of climates upon men. All is custom and education, says he. It is not from nature, that the ATHENIANS are learned, the LACEDEMONIANS ignorant, and the THEBANS too, who are still nearer neighbours to the former. Even the difference of animals, he adds, depends not on climate.e
6. [The Piraeum, or Piraeus, is the port of Athens. It is uncertain which of Plutarch's writings Hume is referring to here. Wapping was a squalid area of London along the Thames River inhabited by sailors and purveyors of naval supplies, where pirates had once been executed. St. James's was the fashionable area around St. James' Palace, which was the principal royal residence in London (or Westminster) after Stuart times.]
7. A small sect or society amidst a greater are commonly most regular in their morals; because they are more remarked, and the faults of individuals draw dishonour on the whole. The only exception to this rule is, when the superstition and prejudices of the large society are so strong as to throw an infamy on the smaller society, independent of their morals. For in that case, having no character either to save or gain, they become careless of their behaviour, except among themselves.g
8. [The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, is a Roman Catholic order for males, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). It was noted for its centralized organization, discipline, and concern for education. There was a Jesuit college in the small French town of La Flèche, where Hume resided from 1735 to 1737 while writing his Treatise. The philosopher René Descartes had been educated there, and it continued in the 1730s to be a center of Cartesianism. Hume apparently maintained cordial relations with the local Jesuits and used their library, which numbered some forty thousand volumes. See Ernest Campbell Mossner, Life of David Hume (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1954), pp. 99-104.]
10. I am apt to suspect the negroes to be naturally inferior to the whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are NEGROE slaves dispersed all over EUROPE, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA, indeed, they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but it is likely he is admired for slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.i [Despite his views on the inferiority of the Negro, Hume strongly opposed the institution of slavery (see note 7 to Hume's essay "Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations," which is in Part II of the Essays).]
13. "Sed Cantaber unde
[Juvenal, Satires 15.108-10: "... but how could a Cantabrian be a Stoic, and that too in the days of old Metellus? To-day the whole world has its Greek and its Roman Athens; eloquent Gaul has trained the pleaders of Britain, and distant Thule talks of hiring a rhetorician" (Loeb translation by G. G. Ramsay).]
14. [Guido Bentivoglio (1579-1644) served as papal nuncio to Flanders and France before becoming cardinal, and he was noted for his writings on the government and diplomacy of those countries. See Relazioni in tempo delle sue nunziature (1629), translated in part as Historicall Relations of the United Provinces and of Flanders (1652); and Della guerra di Fiandra (1632-39), translated as The Compleat History of the Warrs of Flanders (1654). There were also various editions and translations of his letters.]
16. [Julius Caesar placed great reliance on the Tenth Legion because of its courage, and he showed it special favors. See The Gallic War 1.40-42. The Regiment of Picardy was the oldest regiment in the French army, and it enjoyed special rights and held a position of honor in the battle line.]
17. Lib. v. [Library of History 5.26.] The same author ascribes taciturnity to that people; a new proof that national characters may alter very much.k Taciturnity, as a national character, implies unsociableness. ARISTOTLE in his Politics, book ii. cap. 9. says, that the GAULS are the only warlike nation, who are negligent of women.
18. BABYLONII maxime in vinum, & quæ ebrietatem sequuntur, effusi sunt. QUINT. CUR. lib. v. cap. I. [Quintus Curtius Rufus (probably first century A.D.), Historiæ Alexandri Magni Macedonis (History of Alexander the Great of Macedonia) 5.1.37-38: "The Babylonians in particular are lavishly devoted to wine and the concomitants of drunkenness" (Loeb translation by John C. Rolfe).]
Part I, Essay XXII
24. Painters make no scruple of representing distress and sorrow as well as any other passion: But they seem not to dwell so much on these melancholy affections as the poets, who, though they copy every motion of the human breast, yet pass quickly over the agreeable sentiments. A painter represents only one instant; and if that be passionate enough, it is sure to affect and delight the spectator: But nothing can furnish to the poet a variety of scenes and incidents and sentiments, except distress, terror, or anxiety. Compleat joy and satisfaction is attended with security, and leaves no farther room for action.
26. Illud vero perquam rarum ac memoria dignum, etiam suprema opera artificum, imperfectasque tabulas, sicut, IRIN ARISTIDIS, TYNDARIDAS NICOMACHI, MEDEAM TIMOMACHI, & quam diximus VENEREM APELLIS, in majori admiratione esse quam perfecta. Quippe in iis lineamenta reliqua, ipsæque cogitationes artificum spectantur, atque in lenocinio commendationis dolor est manus, cum id ageret, extinctæ. Lib. xxxv. cap. 11. [Natural History, bk. 35, chap. 40, in the Loeb edition.]
Part I, Essay XXIII
29. [Taste, according to Hume, is the source of our judgments of natural and of moral beauty. We rely on taste, and not on reason, when we judge a work of art to be beautiful or an action to be virtuous. Taste "gives the sentiments of beauty and deformity, vice and virtue" (Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, App. 1). Taste is thus the foundation of both morals and criticism. Hume's initial plan was to discuss moral taste and critical taste within the framework of the Treatise, but he abandoned the plan of the Treatise before this could be accomplished. His Enquiry Concerning Morals gives his fullest account of how moral taste or sentiment can serve as the foundation of the science of morals. The present essay is concerned mainly with critical taste, and it represents Hume's primary contribution to what he calls "criticism."]
30. [François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon (1651-1715), Les Aventures de Télémaque, fils d'Ulysse (1699), translated as The Adventures of Telemachus the Son of Ulysses (1699-1700). Ulysses is the Latin name for Odysseus, the hero of Homer's Odyssey.]
41. [Polyeucte (1641-42), a tragedy by Corneille, is the story of an Armenian nobleman whose conversion to Christianity and martyrdom lead to the conversion of his wife, Pauline, and of his father-in-law, Felix, the Roman governor, who had sentenced Polyeucte to death for betraying the Roman gods. Athalie (1691), a tragedy by Racine, is based on the biblical account (2 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 22-23) of the victory of God's priest over Athaliah, queen of Judah and a worshiper of Baal. The scene described below by Hume is from Athalie, act 3, sc. 5.]
43. [Hume probably refers to the collection of 366 poems by Francesco Petrarca (1304-74), which has no definite title but is known in Italian as Canzoniere or Rima. Most of the poems are about Petrarch's love for Laura, which began when he first saw her in church in the year 1327 and continued after her death in 1348. It seems that Laura was beyond Petrarch's reach and that he loved her from afar. In the poems, Petrarch's love for Laura becomes a symbol for his own quest for salvation, and Laura herself, after her physical death, is resurrected as a sublime ideal with divine qualities.]