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The History of England, Volume I   By: (1711-1776)

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E text prepared by David J. Cole

Transcriber's Note:

Like much 18th and 19th century publishing, the edition of David Hume's "History of England" from which this text was prepared makes extensive use of both footnotes and marginal notes. Since this e text format does not allow use of the original superscripts to denote the lettered footnotes, they are indicated by the relevant letter within brackets, thus "[a]", and the footnotes themselves are reproduced within brackets and preceded by "FN" at the end of the PARAGRAPH to which they relate; since some of Hume's paragraphs are considerably longer than is normal in 21st century American or British writing, you may have to scroll some distance to find the text of the footnote. All footnotes are reproduced exactly as in the printed text.

More discretion has been exercised regarding marginal notes. Those which simply repeat chapter numbers and dates already given in the text are omitted as non essential clutter. The remainder are reproduced within brackets and preceded by "MN". Those marginal notes which appear to correspond to sub chapter headings are reproduced as the first line of the paragraph to which they relate. Other marginal notes are reproduced within the text of the paragraph. Some apparently incomplete marginal notes ending or beginning with ellipses are due to cases where what is logically a single marginal note has been broken into two or more pieces separated by a considerable vertical distance.


From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688



With the Author's Last Corrections and Improvements, to which is prefixed a Short Account of His Life Written by Himself



It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity; therefore I shall be short. It may be thought an instance of vanity that I pretend at all to write my life; but this narrative shall contain little more than the history of my writings; as, indeed, almost all my life has been spent in literary pursuits and occupations. The first success of most of my writings was not such as to be an object of vanity.

I was born the 26th of April, 1711, old style, at Edinburgh. I was of a good family, both by father and mother: my father's family is a branch of the Earl of Home's, or Hume's; and my ancestors had been proprietors of the estate which my brother possesses, for several generations. My mother was daughter of Sir David Falconer, President of the College of Justice: the title of Lord Halkerton came by succession to her brother.

My family, however, was not rich; and being myself a younger brother, my patrimony, according to the mode of my country, was of course very slender. My father, who passed for a man of parts, died when I was an infant, leaving me, with an elder brother and a sister, under the care of our mother, a woman of singular merit, who, though young and handsome, devoted herself entirely to the rearing and educating of her children. I passed through the ordinary course of education with success, and was seized very early with a passion for literature, which has been the ruling passion of my life, and the great source of my enjoyments. My studious disposition, my sobriety, and my industry, gave my family a notion that the law was a proper profession for me; but I found an unsurmountable aversion to every thing but the pursuits of philosophy and general learning; and while they fancied I was poring upon Voet and Vinnius, Cicero and Virgil were the authors which I was secretly devouring.

My very slender fortune, however, being unsuitable to this plan of life, and my health being a little broken by my ardent application, I was tempted, or rather forced, to make a very feeble trial for entering into a more active scene of life. In 1734 I went to Bristol, with some recommendations to several merchants; but in a few months found that scene totally unsuitable to me... Continue reading book >>

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