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111.: From DAVID HUME - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith 
Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987).
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From DAVID HUME
MS., RSE ii. 43; NHL 176–9.
London, 08 Oct. 1767
I shall give you an Account1 of the late heteroclite Exploits of Rousseau, as far as I can recollect them: There is no Need of any Secrecy: They are most of them pretty public, and are well known to every body that had Curiosity to observe the Actions of that strange, undefineable Existence, whom one would be apt to imagine an imaginary Being, tho’ surely not an Ens rationis.
I believe you know, that in Spring last, Rousseau apply’d to General Conway to have his Pension. The General answered to Mr Davenport2 who carry’d the Application, that I was expected to Town in a few days; and without my Consent and Approbation he woud take no Steps in that Affair. You may believe I readily gave my Consent: I also sollicited the Affair thro’ the Treasury; and the whole being finish’d, I wrote to Mr Davenport and desir’d him to inform his Guest that he needed only appoint any Person to receive Payment. Mr Davenport answered me that it was out of his Power to execute my Commission: For that his wild Philosopher, as he called him, had elop’d of a sudden, leaving a great Part of his Baggage behind him, some Money in Davenports hands, and a Letter on the Table, as odd, he says, as the one he wrote to me, and implying that Mr Davenport was engag’d with me in a treacherous Conspiracy against him. He was not heard of for a fortnight; till the Chancellor receiv’d a Letter from him, dated at Spalding in Lincolnshire; in which he said, that he had been seduc’d into this Country by a Promise of Hospitality, that he had met with the worst Usage, that he was in Danger of his Life from the Plots of his Enemies, and that he apply’d to the Chancellor, as the first civil Magistrate of the Kingdom, desiring him to appoint a Guard at his own (Rousseau’s) Expence, who might safely conduct him out of the Kingdom. The Chancellor made his Secretary reply to him that he was mistaken in the Nature of the Country, for that the first Post–boy he coud apply to was as safe a Guide as the Chancellor coud appoint. At the very same time, that Rousseau wrote this Letter to the Chancellor, he wrote to Davenport, that he had elop’d from him, actuated by a very natural Desire, that of recovering his Liberty, but finding he must still be in Captivity, he preferd that at Wootton; For his Captivity at Spalding was intolerable beyond all human Patience; and he was at present the most wretched being on the Face of the Globe: He wou’d therefore return to Wootton, if he were assur’d that Davenport wou’d receive him. Here I must tell you, that the Parson of Spalding3 was about two Months ago in London, and told Mr Fitzherbert4 from whom I had it, that he had passed several Hours every day with Rousseau while he was in that Place; that he was chearful, good–humoured, easy, and enjoyd himself perfectly well, without the least Fear or Complaint of any kind. However, this may be, our Hero, without waiting for any Answer either from the Chancellor or Mr Davenport, decamps on a sudden from Spalding, and takes the Road directly to Dover; whence he writes a Letter to General Conway seven Pages long, and full of the wildest Extravagance in the World, He says, that he had endur’d a Captivity in England which it was impossible any longer to submit to. It was strange, that the greatest in the Nation, and the whole Nation itself, should have been seducd by one private Man, to serve his Vengeance against another private Man: He found in every Face that he was here the Object of general Derision and Aversion, and he was therefore infinitely desirous to remove from this Country. He therefore begs the General to restore him to his Liberty and allow him to leave England: He warns him of the danger there may be of cutting his Throat in private; as he is unhappily a Man too well known, not to have Enquiries made after him, shou’d he disappear of a Sudden: He promised, on Condition of his being permitted to depart the Kingdom, to speak no ill of the King or Country or ministers, or even of Mr. Hume; As indeed, says he, I have perhaps no Reason; my Jealousy of him having probably arisen from my own suspicious Temper, sour’d by Misfortunes. He says, that he was wrote a Volume of Memoirs, chiefly regarding the Treatment he was met with in England; he has left it in safe hands and will order it to be burnd, in case he be permitted to go beyond Seas, and nothing shall remain to the Dishonour of the King and his Ministers.
This Letter is very well wrote, so far as regards the Style and Composition; and the Author is so vain of it, that he has given about Copies as of a rare Production. It is indeed, as General Conway says, the Composition of a whimsical Man; not of a Madman. But what is more remarkable, the very same Post he wrote to Davenport, that having arrivd within Sight of the Sea, and finding he was really at Liberty to go or stay, as he pleas’d, he had intended voluntarily to return to him; but seeing in a News Paper an account of his Departure from Wootton and concluding his Offences were too great to be forgiven, he was resolvd to depart for France. Accordingly, without any farther Preparation and without waiting General Conway’s Answer, he took his Passage on a Packet Boat, and went off that very Evening. Thus you see, he is a Composition of Whim, Affectation, Wickedness, Vanity, and Inquietude, with a very small, if any Ingredient of Madness. He is always complaining of his Health; yet I have scarce ever seen a more robust little Man of his Years; He was tird in England, where he was neither persecuted nor caress’d, and where, he was sensible, he had expos’d himself: He resolvd therefore to leave it; and having no Pretence, he is oblig’d to contrive all those Absurdities, which, he himself, extravagant as he is, gives no Credit to. At least, this is the only Key I can devise to his Character. The ruling Qualities abovementioned, together with Ingratitude, Ferocity, and Lying, I need not mention, Eloquence and Invention, form the whole of the Composition.
When he arrivd at Paris, all my Friends, who were likewise all his, agreed totally to neglect him: The Public too disgusted with his multiplyd and indeed criminal Extravagancies, showd no manner of concern about him. Never was such a Fall from the time I took him up, about a Year and a half before. I am told by D’Alembert5 and Horace Walpole, that, sensible of this great Alteration, he endeavourd to regain his Credit by acknowledging to every body his Fault with regard to me: But all in vain. He has retird to a Village in the Mountains of Auvergne as M. Durand6 tells me; where no body enquires after him. He will probably endeavour to recover his Fame by new Publications; and I expect with some Curiosity the Reading of his Memoirs, which will I suppose suffice to justify me in every body’s Eyes, and in my own, for the Publication of his Letters and my Narrative of the Case. You will see by the Papers, that a new Letter of his to M.D, which I imagine to be Davenport, is publishd. This Letter was probably wrote immediatly on his Arrival at Paris; or perhaps is an Effect of his usual Inconsistence: I do not much concern myself which: Thus he has had the Satisfaction, during a time, of being much talkd of, for his late Transactions; the thing in the World he most desires: But it has been at the Expence of being consign’d to perpetual Neglect and Oblivion. My compliments to Mr Oswald; and also to Mrs Smith. I am Dear Smith Yours sincerely
P.S. Will you be in Town next Winter.
[1 ]This account should be compared with several others in HL and NHL; see, also NHL, Appendix A.
[2 ]Richard Davenport offered Rousseau the use of a house at Wootton, Staffordshire.
[3 ]The Revd. Samuel Dinham, Rector of Spalding.
[4 ]William Fitzherbert (d. 1772), M.P. for Derby, had arranged in March 1766 for a servant to accompany Rousseau from Derby to Ashburn.
[5 ]D’Alembert wrote to Hume on 13 July 1767 (RSE iii. 15); see Letters of Eminent Persons to David Hume, ed. J. H. Burton (1849), 210–11.
[6 ]‘Ministre et résident’ at the French Embassy in London.