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LETTER LXXXV.: The Cause of Hume's Illness discovered. - David Hume, Letters of David Hume to William Strahan 
Letters of David Hume to William Strahan, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888).
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The Cause of Hume's Illness discovered.
12 of June, 1776.
My Dear Sir
I leave not this Place so soon as I had intended; and shall remain long enough to hear from you. I am sensibly obliged1 to you for undertaking to execute my Will with regard to my Manuscripts; and I have this same day made a Codicil by which I make you entirely Master of them2 . It is an idle thing in us to be concerned about any thing that shall happen after our Death; yet this is natural to all Men, and I often regretted that a Piece, for which I had a particular Partiality, should run any hazard of being suppressed after my Decease3 .
The Cause of my Distemper is now fully discovered: It is a Tumour in my Liver, which Mr. John Hunter first felt, and which I myself can now feel: It seems to be about the Bigness of an Egg, and is flat and round. Dr. Gusthart, who had conjectured some such Cause, flatters me, that he now entertains better hopes than ever, of my Recovery; but I infer, that a Disorder, of so long standing, in a vital Part, will not easily be removed in a Person of my Years: It may linger some Years, which would not be very desirable. The Physicians recommend Motion and Exercise and even long Journies4 : I think, therefore, of setting out for Edinburgh some time next week; and will probably see you in London before the End of the good Season. I am with great Sincerity Dear Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
David Hume5 .
Note 1. ‘Sensibly obliged’ is one of Hume's Gallicisms. Sensibly even in the sense of judiciously or reasonably is given by Johnson in his Dictionary as ‘low language.’
Note 2. Hume must have found reason to substitute for this codicil that of August 7 (post, p. 345).
Note 3. In his will he showed his anxiety, not only for the publication of the Dialogues, but also for the general suppression of his other manuscripts. In this he was unlike Johnson, who, when he was asked by Boswell ‘whether it would be improper to publish his letters after his death,’ replied, ‘Nay, Sir, when I am dead, you may do as you will.’ Boswell's Johnson, ii. 60.
Note 4. On June 15 he wrote to Mr. Crawford:—‘The true cause of my distemper is now discovered. It lies in my liver, not in my bowels. You ask me how I know thus; I answer, John Hunter, the greatest anatomist in Europe, felt it with his fingers, and I myself can now feel it. The devil's in it if this do not convince you. Even St. Thomas, the infidel apostle, desired no better authority than the testimony of his fingers.... They tell me that motion and exercise are my best remedies, and here I believe them, and shall put the recipe in practice. The same remedy wou’d serve you. Will you meet me positively, and as a man of honour, this day month, the 15th July at Coventry, the most central town in England, and let us wander during the autumn throughout every corner of that kingdom and of the principality of Wales?’ Morrison Autographs, ii. 319.
Note 5. On his way back he sent the following note, written in his own hand and dated Doncaster, June 27:—‘Mr. John Hume, alias Home, alias The Home, alias the late Lord Conservator, alias the late minister of the Gospel at Athelstaneford, has calculated matters so as to arrive infallibly with his friend in St. David's Street on Wednesday evening. He has asked several of Dr. Blair's friends to dine with him there on Thursday, being the 4th of July, and begs the favour of the Doctor to make one of the number.’ Home's Works,, i. 161. Home had held the office of Conservator of Scots Privileges at Campvere. ‘He represented the Dutch ecclesiastical establishment there in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, to which that establishment had long had the privilege of sending a member.’ Ib. pp. 52, 59, 60.