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In the biographical sketch, drawn up by Mr. Hume previous to his death, and intitled My own Life, he has passed over unnoticed two very important incidents. The first of these is the complaint presented to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, against the metaphysical writings of our author and Lord Kames; an occurrence which derives additional importance from a late discussion of a like nature before that venerable body. The other is the dispute between him and Rousseau, which it was the more necessary to relate at considerable length, as an opinion, unfavourable to Mr. Hume, prevailed very generally, and even still prevails, among the literati in foreign countries. A sentiment of delicacy seems to have restrained him from alluding to these transactions, but such a motive cannot influence a stranger; and a fimilar omission in a Life of Mr. Hume, written by another person, would certainly render the work very imperfect.
Belhaven Barracks, Dunbar,
March 1, 1807.
LIFE AND WRITINGS
DAVID HUME, Esq.
DAVID HUME, the second son of Joseph Hume, Esq. was born at Edinburgh on the 26th of April, 0. S. 1711. His ancestors, for several generations, had been proprietors of a small estate called Ninewells, lying on the river Whit. water, about five miles to the east of Dunse, in the county of Berwick; and this estate is still en. joyed by their posterity. At a short distance from Ninewells, stands the manfion-house of Kames, which belonged to the late Henry Home, who, under the title of Lord Kames, officially assumed by him as a lord of session, or judge of the fupreme court of justice in Scotland, is so well known in the republic of letters, as a philofopher,
a lawyer, à lawyer, and a man of taste. His lordship was the contemporary and intimate friend of our historian.
The family name of Hume's mother was Fal
She was the daughter of Sir David Falconer, who was appointed a lord of session, by the title of Lord Newton, on the 11th of June 1676, and six years afterwards raised to the chair of president of that court. Sir David died in 1685, and was succeeded in his office by Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath. The title of Lord Halkerston devolved by succession on his eldest son; and it may also be mentioned, that Mr. Hume's father claimed his descent from the noble family of Home *: a circumstance which derives its importance solely from the family pride, or, more properly speaking, from the vanity of our author, who, during the whole course of his life, valued himself not a little on this double connection with nobility.
It is a common practice with biographers to push their researches, with much avidity and perseverance, into the earlier periods of the lives of those whose transactions they relate. This industry may, perhaps, be occasionally rewarded by the discovery of some fortuitous incident worthy of
* The family of Ninewells feem, from our author's last will and testament, to have spelt the name Home inftcad of Hume : but as David was remarkably pertinacious in writing his name Hume, his relations have fince followed his example.