A Blupete Biography Page

Dates & Events During Hume's Life
David Hume

§ The Glorious Revolution.
§ By the Union Act of 1706, Scotland and England were formed into one country, Great Britain. (See background contained in blupete's accounting of Culloden.)
§ April 26th, 1711, David Hume is born at Edinburgh.
§ Hume attends Edinburgh University.
§ Isaac Newton dies.
§ During March, 1734, Hume starts for Bristol visiting London on the way.
§ Alexander Pope's Essay on Man makes its appearance.
§ Leaving Bristol, Hume goes to France there to live at La Flèche, in Anjou. During this time he works on his book, A Treatise of Human Nature.
§ The Copyright Act of 1735, due much to the efforts of Hogarth, is passed by the British parliament.
§ The English law calling for the death sentence for witchcraft is repealed. Nonetheless, the average person was yet full of superstitions; "the mental food of children" was that of fairies and spirits.
§ Samuel Johnson -- lexicographer, critic and poet -- comes up to London; and, contra to what any other writer (without independent riches) had ever done before, was resolved to make a living with his pen: this was now possible, due to the increasing literacy of the ordinary man and his increasing awareness of what a collective political effort might bring.
§ In September of 1737, Hume returns from France and passes 16 months at London polishing his work, A Treatise of Human Nature.
§ Westminster bridge is built adding a second road over the Thames. Up to this time the only way was the London Bridge beyond which shipping could not go; below it, "a forest of masts covered the pool of London, with which no scene in the world save Amsterdam could compare."
§ Hume publishes Books I and II of A Treatise of Human Nature, "Of the Understanding" and "Of the Passions," London.
§ Hume publishes Book III of A Treatise of Human Nature, "Of the Morals," London.
§ Hume publishes Essays Moral and Political, Edinburgh.
§ Now living with his brother, Hume Essays comes out in a second edition, and, volume II of his Essays is published, Edinburgh.
§ For a period during this time, Hume is at the military embassies at Vienna and Turin.
§ Jonathan Swift dies.
§ On September 17th, 1745: Edinburgh surrenders to the forces of "Bonny Prince Charlie."
§ April, 1746: Battle of Culloden.
§ Adam Smith as a seventeen year old goes down to Oxford.
§ Essays' Moral and Political comes out in a third edition, Edinburgh and London.
§ The War of the Austrian Succession ends with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
§ Hume publishes Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding, London.
§ Henry Fielding is writing
Tom Jones.
§ Travelers of the day carried pistols to be used, if necessary, against highwaymen; Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard were popular heroes. "Beau Nash reigned king over the gaming-tables of Bath; the ostrich plumes of great ladies ... [and] the peacock feathers of the courtesans ... [mingled with the] young lords in velvet suit and embroidered ruffles ..." In dress the two sexes were never more alike. Men dressed with great flair whether going to a dance or going into battle in their "three-cornered hats, powdered perukes, embroidered coats, and lace ruffles"; their valets would serve them ices in the battle field.23
§ Dr. Johnson is busy writing his dictionary.
§ Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding, 2nd ed., London.
§ Hume publishes An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, London.
§ Adam Smith takes the Chair of Logic at the University of Glasgow.
§ Thomas Gray writes, in 1751, the meditative "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."
§ Hume becomes the Keeper of the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh.
§ Political Discourses is published at Edinburgh; before the year passes, a second ed. comes out.
§ At this time, England was not, in comparison to France, Spain or Germany, a big European power. She was "a small state, which had obtained abnormal influence only by commercial and mercantile alertness, by a well-ordered financial system, and by means of a well-equipped fleet."25
§ Start of the The Seven Years War.
§ Hume see to the publishing of The History of Great Britain, vol. I, Reigns of James I and Charles I, Edinburgh.
§ Hume writes The Natural History of Religion.
§ William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham becomes "nominally secretary of state, but virtually, premier."
§ Edmund Burke published A Vindication of Natural Society.
§ Adam Smith writes Theory of Moral Sentiments.
§ Hume sees to the publication of The History of Great Britain, vol. II, Reigns of James II and Charles II, London.
§ Ferguson Adam (1723-1816) succeeds Hume as the Keeper of the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh.
§ Hume brings out Four Dissertations, London.
Jedediah Strutt and his brother-in-law, William Woollatt are seeking a patent in London for their "Derby-rib stocking frame."26
§ Hume brings out Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, London.
§ The British Conquest and the death of James Wolfe.
§ The History of England under the House of Tudor, in two volumes, London.
§ George III becomes the king.
§ After twenty years of research and writing, Hume finishes his six volume History of England and brings out The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Accession of Henry VII, London. Hume's history was, generally, a great success and it made his reputation.
§ Rousseau sees to the publishing of two of his great works: Social Contract and Émile. Social Contract: starts with the opening sentence, "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains": it proceeds to elaborate Rousseau's life's theme: that man's natural goodness is corrupted by the influence of institutional life. Émile was a novel which sparked educational reform.
§ The Treaty Of Paris ends the Seven Years War.
§ During this time Hume is with Lord Hertford working at embassies which led him to spend time at Paris.
§ The Stamp Act is passed by the British parliament.
§ Lord Hertford's brother appoints Hume to a position at the Home Office.
§ Hume returns from France and brings with him, a visitor, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
§ The Encyclopaedia Britannica comes into being.
§ Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, another ed., London and Edinburgh.
§ A mathematical-instrument maker by the name of James Watt, in 1769, filed a patent for an engine which called for strange things such as condensers and steam jackets.
§ At around this time, Blackstone brings out his Commentaries on the Law of England.
§ Now, not well, Hume, "at last a prosperous and wealthy man," retires to Edinburgh.
§ The members of the "Long Parliament" take their seats, it sat for 15 years.
§ Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, another ed., London and Edinburgh.
§ A new authority was trenching upon the old. It went hand and hand with the growth of literacy and the ease by which political writers could get their pamphlets abroad. Though the old political guard were slow to recognize it: public opinion, right or wrong, was what was to rule: the plutocratic could rule but only through the shaping of public opinion. As Pitt observed, "Five hundred gentlemen, my Lords, are not ten millions; and if we must have a contention, let us take care to have the English nation on our side."
§ The Boston Tea Party.
§ David Hume dies at Edinburgh and was buried in a cemetery on the Calton Hill.
§ This is the year, 1776, that: Edward Gibbon gives forth with his first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations; Jeremy Bentham, Fragments on Government; and Thomas Paine, Common Sense.
§ Hume's Autobiography is published posthumously at London.
§ Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion is published posthumously at London.


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