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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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David Hume

  

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David Hume : [Hume's Essays]

...a desire for information which was by no means whollly neglected even whilst I was an apprentice, I always found some time for reading, and I almost always found the means to procure books, useful books, not Novels. My reading was of course devoid of method, and very desultory. I had read in English the only language in which I could read, the histories of Greece and Rome, and some translated works of Greek and Roman writers. Hume, Smollett, Fieldings novels and Robertsons works, some of Humes Essays, some Translations from french writers, and much on geography -some books on Anatomy and Surgery, some relating to Science and the Arts, and many Magazines. I had worked all the Problems in the Introduction to Guthries Geography, and had made some small progress in Geometry.

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Francis Place      Print: Book

  

David Hume : [Essays and Treatises]

The whole or nearly the whole of the eight months when I was not employed was not lost. I read many volumes in history, voyages, and travels, politics, law and Philosophy. Adam Smith and Locke and especially Humes Essays and Treatises, these latter I read two or three times over, this reading was of great service to me, it caused me to turn in upon myself and examine myself in a way which I should not otherwise have done. It was this which laid the solid foundation of my future prosperity, and completed the desire I had always had to acquire knowledge.

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Francis Place      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

I suppose I had read Hume's England when I wrote last; and I need not repeat my opinion of it.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, 2 vols

But too much of one thing - as it is in the adage. Therefore I reserve the account of Hume's essays till another opportunity. At any rate the Second volume is not finished yet - and I do not like what I have read of any thing so well as I did the first.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book

  

David Hume : The History of England

'In her teens [Frances] Burney was tackling on her own such works as Plutarch's "Lives" (in translation), Pope's "Iliad", and ... all the works of Pope, including the Letters; Hume's "History of England"; Hooke's "Roman History"; and Conyers Middleton's "Life of Cicero" ... She also ... studied music theory in Diderot's treatise ...'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Frances Burney      Print: Book

  

David Hume : 

"Deist" and "heathen" authors studied by the young Frances Power Cobbe: "Gibbon, Hume, Tindal, Collins, and Voltaire ... Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, Plutarch's Moralia, Xenophon's Memorabilia, and a little Plato."

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Frances Power Cobbe      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

have been in the shop steadily this day (which has been cold and blowing), reading in Hume's History of England- the Norman Conquest.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Adam Mackie      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

Am in shop about steady this day doing little else but reading Humes' England

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Adam Mackie      Print: Book

  

David Hume : The History of England from the Invasion

'I know that Historians are very subject to give us their own views, instead of Facts. Hume is very partial to Royalty, and at every opportunity is ready to sneer at Religion, for which I do not admire him.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Robert Sharp      Print: Book

  

David Hume : The History of England

'During these twelve months [in prison] I read with deep interest and much profit Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", Hume's "History of England", and many other standard works- amongst others, Mosheims "Ecclesiastical History". The reading of that book would have made me a free thinker if I had not been one before.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: James Watson      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Decline and fall of the Roman empire

?As spring and autumn were our only really busy seasons, I had occasionally , during other parts of the year, considerable leisure, which, if I could procure a book that I considered at all worth the reading, was spent with such a book of my desk, in the little recess of the packing room. Here, therefore, I had opportunities for reading many books of which I had only heard the names before, such as Robertson?s "History of Scotland", Goldsmith?s "History of England", Rollin?s "Ancient History", Hume?s "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", Anachaises? "Travels in Greece"; and many other works on travels, geography, and antiquities.?

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Samuel Bamford      Print: Book

  

David Hume : unknown

'I have been keeping rather different hours--though the Priory is far from a late place [...] Wm. [Lady Caroline's husband William Lamb] & I get up about ten or 1/2 after or later [...] have our breakfasts, talk a little, read Newton on the Prophecies with the Bible--having finished Sherlock [...] he goes to eat & walk--I finish dressing & take a drive or little walk [...] then come up stairs where William meets me, & we read Hume with Shakespear till ye dressing bell, then hurry & hardly get dressed by dinner time'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Lady Caroline Lamb      Print: Book

  

David Hume : The History of England (presumably)

'Much of it [ie. ?the daily instruction I received?] consisted in the books I read by myself, and my father?s discourses to me, chiefly during our walks. From 1810 to the end of 1813 we were living in Newington Green, then an almost rustic neighbourhood. My father?s health required considerable and constant exercise, and he walked habitually before breakfast, generally in the green lanes towards Hornsey. In these walks I always accompanied him, and with my earliest recollections of green fields and wild flowers, is mingled that of the account I gave him daily of what I had read the day before. To the best of my remembrance, this was a voluntary rather than a prescribed exercise. I made notes on slips of paper while reading, and from these, in the morning walks, I told the story to him; for the books were chiefly histories, of which I read in this manner a great number: Robertson?s histories, Hume, Gibbon; but my greatest delight, then and for long afterwards, was Watson?s Philip the Second and Third. The heroic defence of the Knights of Malta against the Turks, and of the revolted provinces of the Netherlands against Spain, excited in me an intense and lasting interest. Next to Watson, my favourite historical reading was Hooke?s History of Rome. Of Greece I had seen at that time no regular history, except school abridgments and the last two or three volumes of a translation of Rollin?s Ancient History, beginning with Philip of Macedon. But I read with great delight Langhorne?s translation of Plutarch. In English history, beyond the time at which Hume leaves off, I remember reading Burnett?s History of his Own Time, though I cared little for anything in it except the wars and battles; and the historical part of the Annual Register, from the beginning to about 1788, where the volumes my father borrowed for me from Mr Bentham left off?. In these frequent talks about the books I read, he used, as opportunity offered, to give me explanations and ideas respecting civilization, government, morality, mental cultivation, which he required me afterwards to restate to him in my own words.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: John Stuart Mill      Print: Book

  

David Hume : [Essays]

?While in this state I read the "Letters" of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and some of Dr Beattie?s and Mr Hume?s ?Essays?, together with part of Dr Beattie?s ?Essay on Truth?.?

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carter      Print: Book

  

David Hume : [unknown]

'At Maidstone, both on this occasion and subsequently when I served several months in separate confinement as a convict preparatory to going to Parkhurst, I was able, through the chaplain's kindness, to study not only Greek philosophy, but also Locke, Hume, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Fechner, Lotze, etc. Being a very rapid reader and having some ability in getting at the gist of a book I got through a fair amount of really interesting reading. ... In the summer I grabbed a book as soon as it was light enough to read, say, four o'clock, read till and during breakfast, dinner, supper and continued till 9:30 or 10 o'clock at night, an average of 8 to 10 hours a day. There were times, of course, when the burden of prison life bred a spirit of discontent and restlessness which books could not assuage.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Stuart Wood [pseud?]      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays Moral, Political and Literary

'I am highly indebted to you for Hume. I like his essays better than any thing I have read these many days. He has prejudices, he does maintain errors - but he defends his positions, with so much ingenuity, that one would be almost sorry to see him dislodged. His Essays on "Superstition & Enthusiasm", on "the Dignity & meanness of Human Nature" and several others, are in my opinion admirable both in matter & manner: - particularly the first where his conclusions might be verified by instances, with which we are all acquainted. The manner, indeed, of all is excellent: - the highest & most difficult effect of art - the appearance of its absence - appears throughout. But many of his opinions are not to be adopted - How odd does it look for instance to refer all the modifications of "National character", to the influence of moral causes. Might it not be asserted with some plausibility, that even those which he denominates moral causes, originate from physical circumstances? Whence but from the perpetual contemplation of his dreary glaciers & rugged glens - from his dismal broodings in his long & almost solitary nights, has the Scandinavian conceived his ferocious Odin, & his horrid "spectres of the deep"? Compare this with the copper-castles and celestial gardens of the Arabian - and we must admit that physical causes have an influence on man. I read "the Epicurean," "the Stoic," "the Platonist" & "the Sceptic" under some disadvantage. They are perhaps rather clumsily executed - and the idea of David Hume declaiming, nay of David Hum[e] making love appears not less grotesque than would that of ad ? -oc [covered by seal: d]ancing a French cotillon. As a whole however [I am de]lig[hted w]ith the book, and if you can want it, I shall mo[reover] give it a second perusal.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays Moral, Political and Literary

'The best book I have read, since I wrote you, is Hume's "Essays, political and literary". It is indeed a most ingenious production - characterised by acuteness and originality, in all its parts. I have not room to tell you where I agree with its Author, and where I differ; nor how highly I admire his reasoning powers. What pity that he is a Deist! How much might his strong talents have accomplished in the cause of truth, when they did so much in that of error! It is indeed melancholy to behold so many men of talent, in our times all leaning to the same side - but I am much inclined to believe, that the reign of infidelity is past its height.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book

  

David Hume : The History of England during the reigns of James I and Charles I

'I have read thro' that clear & candid but cold hearted narration of David Hume - and now seven of Toby Smollet[t]'s eight chaotic volumes are before me. To say nothing of Gibbon (of whom I have only read a volume) - nor of the Watsons the Russel[l]s the Voltaires &c &c known to me only by name. Alas! thou seest how I am beset. - It would be of little avail to criticise Bacons "Essays": it is enough to say, that Stewarts opinion of them is higher than I can attain. For style, they are rich & venerable - for thinking, incorrect & fanciful.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book

  

David Hume : The History of England During the Reigns of James I and Charles I

'I have been reading little except Coxe's travels in Switzerland, Poland, Russia &c, Humes history together with part of Smollet[t], Gibbon &c. Coxe is an intelligent man, and communicates in a very popular manner considerable information concerning the countries thro' which he passed - Hume you know to be distinct & impartial: but he has less sympathy than might be expected with the heroic patriots - the Hampdens & the Sidneys that glorify the pages of English history. I fear Smollett is going to be a confused creature. I have read but a volume of Gibbon - and I do not like him - his style is flowery - his sarcasms wicked - his notes oppressive, often beastly.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essay concerning human understanding

Letter to Miss Ourry Oct 14 1791 'This temporary triumph of irreligion and false philosophy will tear the mark off the monster ?What pains have been taken to promulgate that profound discovery, ?that bigotry and religious zeal have done more hurt in society, than scepticism and all the mere speculative, evils of philosophy?.? [it seems likely that this is a paraphrase of Hume's philosophical "Essay concerning human understanding"]

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Anne Grant [nee Macvicar]      Print: Book

  

[David] Hume : Dialogue on natural religion

'I have read since last October a good deal of the history relating to the East...: not much of books not connected with India. ...;[but includes] Hume's "Dialogue on Natural Religion"; ...'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Mountstuart Elphinstone      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays and Treatises on Several subjects

'I read Tacitus - 3 of Hume's essays VIII IX X - some of the German theatre - write - walk - Shelleys [sic] reads Political Justice & 8 Cantos of his poem.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects

'S. finishes Political Justice Read Tacitus & Hume - work in the evening read Mandeville.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects

'Finish the 1st part of Humes Essays'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays and treatises on several subjects

'S. reads Hume'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Percy Bysshe Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Four Dissertations

'Finish Humes dissertation on the passions'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688

'Read 23 Canto of Ariosto & Gibbon - & the 3rd Ode of Horace - S. finishes the clouds - Reads Humes England aloud in the evening'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Percy Bysshe Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688

'Read 25 Canto of Ariosto - Gibbon & 6 & 7 odes of Horace - S. reads the Lysistratae of Aristophanes - finishes Gibbon - and reads Hume's England in the evening'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Percy Bysshe Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688

'Read 33rd Canto of Ariosto - Livy - Horace & The Magnetick lady - S reads Aristophanes & Anarcharsis - & Hume's England aloud in the evening after our walk.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Percy Bysshe Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688

'S - translates the Symposium and Reads the wife for a Month - We ride out in the morning & after tea S. reads Hume's England'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Percy Bysshe Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Histoiry of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688

'Read Livy - and the Tale of the Tub of B. Jon[s]on - Transcribe the Symposium - S. reads Herodotus - and Hume in the evening'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Percy Bysshe Shelley      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays

Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning, 15 January 1846: 'Papa used to say .. "Dont read Gibbon's history -- it's not a proper book -- Dont read "Tom Jones" -- & none of the books on [italics]this[end italics] side, mind -- So I was very obedient & never touched the books on [italics]that[end italics] side, & only read instead, Tom Paine's Age of Reason, & Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, & Hume's Essays, & Werther, & Rousseau, & Mary Woolstonecraft [sic] .. books, which I was never suspected of looking towards, & which were not "on [italics]that[end italics] side" certainly, but which did as well.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Elizabeth Barrett Barrett      Print: Book

  

David Hume : [unknown]

'The conversation now turned upon Mr. David Hume's style. Johnson. "Why, Sir, his style is not English; the structure of his sentences is French. Now the French structure and the English structure may, in the nature of things, be equally good. But if you allow that the English language is established, he is wrong. My name might originally have been Nicholson, as well as Johnson ; but were you to call me Nicholson now, you would call me very absurdly."'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Samuel Johnson      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Enquiry concerning Human Understanding

' [Johnson said] "Hume, and other sceptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expence. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to error. Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull. If I could have allowed myself to gratify my vanity at the expence of truth, what fame might I have acquired Every thing which Hume has advanced against Christianity had passed through my mind long before he wrote. Always remember this, that after a system is well settled upon positive evidence, a few partial objections ought not to shake it. The human mind is so limited, that it cannot take in all the parts of a subject, so that there may be objections raised against any thing. There are objections against a plenum, and objections against a vacuum; yet one of them must certainly be true." I mentioned Hume's argument against the belief of miracles, that it is more probable that the witnesses to the truth of them are mistaken, or speak falsely, than that the miracles should be true. [Johnson then argues against this]'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Samuel Johnson      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Enquiry concerning Human Understanding

' [Johnson said] "Hume, and other sceptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expence. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to error. Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull. If I could have allowed myself to gratify my vanity at the expence of truth, what fame might I have acquired Every thing which Hume has advanced against Christianity had passed through my mind long before he wrote. Always remember this, that after a system is well settled upon positive evidence, a few partial objections ought not to shake it. The human mind is so limited, that it cannot take in all the parts of a subject, so that there may be objections raised against any thing. There are objections against a plenum, and objections against a vacuum; yet one of them must certainly be true." I mentioned Hume's argument against the belief of miracles, that it is more probable that the witnesses to the truth of them are mistaken, or speak falsely, than that the miracles should be true. [Johnson then argues against this]'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: James Boswell      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

'When I talked of our [the Scots'] advancement in literature, "Sir, (said he,) you have learnt a little from us, and you think yourselves very great men. Hume would never have written History, had not Voltaire written it before him. He is an echo of Voltaire." Boswell "But, Sir, we have Lord Kames." Johnson. "You [italics] have [italics] Lord Кames. Keep him; ha, ha, ha! We don't envy you him. Do you ever see Dr. Robertson?" Boswell. "Yes, Sir." Johnson. "Does the dog talk of me ?" Boswell. "Indeed, Sir, he does, and loves you." Thinking that I now had him in a corner, and being solicitous for the literary fame of my country, I pressed him for his opinion on the merit of Dr. Robertson's "History of Scotland". But, to my surprise, he escaped." Sir, I love Robertson, and I won't talk of his book."'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Samuel Johnson      Print: Book

  

David Hume : 

[on the Apostles, Cambridge students' society to which Alfred Tennyson belonged] 'These friends not only debated on politics but read their Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Butler, Hume, Bentham, Descartes and Kant, and discussed such questions as the Origin of Evil, the Derivation of Moral Sentiments, Prayer and the Personality of God.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: The Apostles     Print: Book

  

David Hume : My Own Life

' [letter from Boswell to Johnson] Without doubt you have read what is called "The Life of David Hume", written by himself, with the letter from Dr. Adam Smith subjoined to it. Is not this an age of daring effrontery?'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: James Boswell      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

'I have now one great satisfaction, which is reading Hume's "History". It entertains and instructs me. It elevates my mind and excites noble feelings of every kind.'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: James Boswell      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

'David Hume and John Dryden are at present my companions'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: James Boswell      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

'I employed the day in reading Hume's "History", which enlarged my views, filled me with great ideas, and rendered me happy'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: James Boswell      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essays

George Grote to George W. Norman (April 1817): 'I send you down the best "Lucretius" I have [...] Though the reasoning is generally indistinct, and in some places unintelligible, yet in those passages where he indulges his vein of poetry without reserve, the sublimity of his conceptions and the charm and elegance of his language are such as I have hardly ever seen equalled [...] I likewise send you the Tragedies attributed to Seneca, which I think I have heard you express an inclination to read. I have read one or two of them, and they appeared to me not above mediocrity. **** 'I am now studying Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics." His reasonings on the subject of morals are wonderfully just and penetrating, and I feel anxious, as I read on, for a more intimate acquaintance with him. Hume's Essays, some of which I have likewise read lately, do not improve, in my view, on further knowledge.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: George Grote      Print: Book

  

David Hume : Essay on the Academical Philosophy

From George Grote's diary, kept for his fiancee Harriet Lewin, Saturday 13 March 1819: 'Rose at 1/2 past 7, after a sleepless night. Read some of Hume's Essay on the Academical Philosophy [...] Between 4 and 5 read some more of Kant.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: George Grote      Print: Book

  

David Hume : History of England

Catherine Talbot to Elizabeth Carter, 1 October 1763: 'Our after-supper book is Hume -- his English history however; but I hear it with infinite caution.'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Catherine Talbot and family     Print: Book

  

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