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restraint; yet this want of government of himself was the more blamable, as nobody had greater command of resolution whenever he made a point of it. This appeared in his person: naturally very delicate, and educated with too fond a tenderness, by unrelaxed temperance and braving all inclemency of weathers, he formed and enjoyed the firmest and unabated health. One virtue he possessed in a singular degree—disinterestedness and contempt of money—if one may call that a virtue, which really was a passion. In short, such was his promptness to dislike superiors, such his humanity to inferiors, that, considering how few men are of so firm a texture as not to be influenced by their situation, he thinks, if he may be allowed to judge of himself, that had either extreme of fortune been his lot, he should have made a good prince, but not a very honest slave.
The reader will, I hope, indulge me, if in this place I cannot refrain from an encomium on the virtues of this my most learned and intimate friend, and a lamentation of his loss; for no man surely was more distinguished for genius, integrity, an admirable temper, most humane manners, exquisite learning. He had besides, such a talent of communicating and instructing, as I never knew in any other master; lastly, such a cheerfulness and sweetness, that it was absolutely doubtful whether he was most agreeable to his friends
or to his scholars. Both in the Greek and Latin languages he was deeply versed ; yet, like another Socrates, he wrote very little himself, though no one had more skill and precision in correcting the faults, or admiring the beauties of other writers: so that if his course of life or more benignant fortune had placed him at the bar or in parliament, and he had not undertaken the province of a schoolmaster, only in the talent of eloquence, which of all nations Britain alone now cultivates, he would have yielded the palm to no one: for several particular endowments, which of themselves recommend an orator, if not in perfection, were certainly much to be admired in him, a tuneful voice, polite diction, volubility of speech, humour, a remarkable memory; lastly, the eyes, the looks, the action, not of a player, but almost of another Demosthenes. In short, as Cicero, in some degree, said of Roscius, he was such a master as alone to seem worthy of instructing youth, and such an orator as alone to seem worthy of discharging the most important public trusts. Does not the name of such a one exact from me the highest honour? Such a one shall I not lament? For his death shall I not be afflicted? But let me beware of seeming to grieve more on my own account than for the death of my friend and instructor; for, by dying, what has he left but a frail, uncertain, wretched life, in which, except virtue and fame, there is nothing which a good man ought eagerly to covet? I indeed, by his death, am deprived of the most pleasing union of studies, and have also lost an assistant, whose judgment would have checked the redundance of youthful genius, have obscured the faults either of my speech or gesture, have polished my language, and would not only have urged me to compose a task which, on account of its extreme difficulty, almost all of us avoid, hut would kindly have animadverted on my writings, have detected my mistakes, and perhaps, by friendly commendations, which have the greatest influence on the best minds, have excited me to greater attempts. In this very work, which I am now publishing, how have I regretted the want of such a learned and candid critic! for though he once perused it cursorily, yet he added not a word; he scarce altered a syllable: the notes that he wrote in the margin of the book were written more for the sake of commending than of blaming: but such was his regard for me, that he had determined more accurately to revise with me the whole volume. If he had, it would perhaps have been free from many faults; at least it would have come forth more elegant and polished. But the perfection of my little book is a trivial loss; other things which have perished with him, I shall not cease most feelingly to lament; his friendship, his offices, his advice: but, as I said before, this is my misfortune; for he, as I trust, is most happy, and rather compassionates the empty cares of mortals, than requires either their praise or their grief. SIR WILLIAM JONES.
The celebrated David Hume, whose character is so deservedly high in the literary world, and whose works, both as a philosopher and as an historian, are so wonderfully replete with genius and entertainment, was, when I was at Turin, secretary to Sir John Sinclair, plenipotentiary from the court of Great Britain to his Sardinian majesty. He had then lately published those philosophical essays which have done so much mischief to mankind, by contributing to loosen the sacred bonds by which alone man can be restrained from rushing to his own destruction, and which are so intimately necessary to our nature, that a propensity to be bound by them, was apparently instilled into the human mind, by the allwise Creator as a balance against those passions which, though perhaps necessary as incitements to activity, must, without such control, inevitably have hurried us to our ruin. The world, however, unconscious of its danger, had greedily swallowed the bait; the essays were received with applause, read with delight, and their admired author was already, by public opinion, placed at the head of the dangerous school of sceptic philosophy.
With this extraordinary man I was intimately acquainted. He had kindly distinguished me from among a number of young men, who were then at the academy, and appeared so warmly attached to me, that it was apparent he not only intended to honour me with his friendship, bu
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to bestow on me what was, in his opinion, the first of all favours and benefits, by making me his convert and disciple.
Nature, I believe, never formed any man more unlike his real character than David Hume. The powers of physiognomy were baffled by his countenance; neither could the most skilful in that science pretend to discover the smallest trace of the faculties of his mind in the unmeaning features of his visage. His face was broad and fat, his mouth wide, and without any other expression than that of imbecility. His eyes were vacant and spiritless, and the corpulence of his whole person was far better fitted to communicate the idea of a turtle-eating alderman, than of a refined philosopher. His speech, in English, was rendered ridiculous by the broadest Scotch accent, and his French was, if possible, still more laughable; so that wisdom, most certainly, never disguised herself before in so uncouth a garb. Though now near fifty years old, he was healthy and strong; but his health and strength, far from being advantageous to his figure, instead of manly comeliness, had only the appearance of rusticity. His wearing a uniform added greatly to his natural awkwardness, for he wore it like a grocer of the trained bands. Sinclair was a lieutenant-general, and was sent to the courts of Vienna and Turin, as a military envoy, to see that their quota of troops was furnished by the Austrians and Piedmontese. It was, therefore, thought necessary that his secretary should appear to be an officer, and Hume was accordingly disguised in scarlet.