Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER V.: The Bargain with Millar concluded. - Letters of David Hume to William Strahan
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
LETTER V.: The Bargain with Millar concluded. - David Hume, Letters of David Hume to William Strahan 
Letters of David Hume to William Strahan, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Bargain with Millar concluded.
I have receiv’d the two first Sheets of the Quarto Edition of my philosophical Writings; and am very well satisfy’d with it. Please only to tell the Compositor, that he always employ a Capital after the Colons. Here follow a few Alterations, which I desire you to make on the last published Volume or four Dissertations which are to be inserted in different Places of the Quarto Volume.
[These alterations, as they are minute and can only be understood by a reference to the printed volume, I think it needless to print.]
Please to get a Copy of the Dissertations from Mr. Millar and make these Alterations. Observe also that the two Dissertations, which are to be inserted among the Essays, are to be entitled Essays. The other two are to be inserted in the Places as directed1
I am very well pleas’d to finish the Bargain with Mr. Millar. I hope we shall both find our Account in it. I believe his Offer may be reckond very reasonable and even frank and generous. We have only a small Difference about the time of Payment, which I hope will easily be adjusted. If it be not convenient for him to pay the Money in May next, I wou’d delay it till the 2nd of August, which is our Lambas term2. , and woud endeavour to get his Bill discounted, tho’ that Practice be not very common in Scotland3. .
I hope the Douglas has had a good Success in London4 . The Public will certainly at first be divided. That Simplicity both of Fable and Style are Novelties on the English Stage, and will no doubt meet with Opposition; but they must prevail, I think, at last5 .
I am Sir Your most obedient Servant
NINEWELLS6NEAR BERWICK, 18 April, 1757.
P.S.—I return to Edinburgh in a few days.
Note 1. In Feb. 1757, Hume published the four Dissertations, entitled The Natural History of Religion; Of the Passions; Of Tragedy; Of the Standard of Taste, separately in a duodecimo volume, price three shillings. Gent. Mag. 1757, p. 94. He included them in the quarto edition of his Essays and Treatises which was published either at the end of that year or the beginning of the next. It was the latter two of the Dissertations that were inserted among the Essays. See post, Letters of Jan. 25 and Feb. 7, 1772, for the two Essays which Hume had suppressed.
[2.]Note 2.‘Lammas, a name for August 1. Anglo-Saxon, hláf-mœsse, literally,‘loaf-mass.’ A loaf was on this day offered as a first-fruits of harvest.’ Skeat's Etym. Dict.
[3.]Note 3. Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, describes the great change caused in Scotland‘within these five-and-twenty or thirty years by the erection of new banking companies in almost every considerable town, and even in some country villages.’ After explaining the Scotch system of‘cash accounts’ he goes on to say:—’The facility of discounting bills of exchange, it may be thought, indeed gives the English merchants a conveniency equivalent to the cash accounts of the Scotch merchants. But the Scotch merchants, it must be remembered, can discount their bills of exchange as easily as the English merchants; and have besides the additional conveniency of their cash accounts.’ Ed. 1811, ii. 32, 38. Hume in his Essay Of the Balance of Trade describes the same system under the name of a Bank-Credit.
Note 4. In the Gent. Mag. for March 1757 nearly seven columns are given to an abstract of the story of the tragedy. Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. p. 325) says that‘it was acted in Covent Garden (for Garrick, though now the author's friend, could not possibly let it be performed in his theatre [Drury Lane] after having pronounced it unfit for the stage), where it had great success. It still maintains its ground, [written about the year 1800,] has been more frequently acted, and is more popular than any tragedy in the English language.’ The speech in it that begins‘My name is Norval,’ is perhaps all of it that is now remembered.
Note 5. Hume, writing of Home's earlier tragedy Agis, said:—’The author, I thought, had corrupted his taste by the imitation of Shakespeare, whom he ought only to have admired.’ He continues:—’But the same author has composed a new tragedy [Douglas] on a subject of invention; and here he appears a true disciple of Sophocles and Racine. I hope in time he will vindicate the English stage from the reproach of barbarism.’ Burton's Hume, i. 392.
Note 6. Ninewells was the estate of which‘Hume's ancestors had been proprietors for several generations.’ It was now held by his elder brother, John Home. It lies so close to Berwick, that Hume may be said to have missed being an Englishman by only a mile or two. Yet, according to Ramsay of Ochtertyre, before the Rebellion of 1745‘the people of Northumberland and the Merse, who spoke dialects of the same language, and were only separated by a river, had little more intercourse than those of Kent and Normandy.’ Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century, ii. 213. Ninewells takes its name‘from a cluster of nine springs, that burst forth from a gentle declivity in front of the mansion, which has on each side a semi-circular rising bank, covered with fine timber, and fall, after a short time, into the bed of the River Whitewater, which forms a boundary in the front.’ Burton's Hume, i. 8.