Sunday, May 28, 2006

HUME's Eulogy

When he was dying he admitted to James Boswell that he had no expectation of moving on to an afterlife. He died on the 25th of August 1776 and was buried in Calton Hill cemetery. Controversy continued to follow him even after his death, when Adam Smith’s eulogy, praising a man many believed to be an infidel, reopened the debate on his morals

"Upon the whole, I have always considered him, both in his lifetime and since his death, as approaching as nearly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the nature of human frailty will permit."
Adam Smith in a letter prefacing the Life of David Hume.

Adam Smith:
AS Wonder, surprise, and admiration indeed! Well, I am now beyond the reach of those who attacked my Eulogy of Mr Hume. 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. I had but reported that Mr Hume died as noble a death as Socrates, yet that he took comfort not from the ministers of the Kirk but from Lucian’s Dialogues of the Dead. Can you then wonder that I was so circumspect in matters of religion and of the foundations of government? In my circumspection I differ’d greatly from Mr Hume; in my principles I differ’d little.

From: Iain McLean's book "Adam Smith: Radical and Egalitarian

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