Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XCVI.: The separate Publication of Hume's Life. - Letters of David Hume to William Strahan
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LETTER XCVI.: The separate Publication of Hume's Life. - 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 separate Publication of Hume's Life.
I wrote you about 10 days ago, and tho I have had no return, I expect it has comed safe to hand, and that you will take the trouble of writing me at your leisure.
Since which I have been informed, that your intention was, to make a seperate publication of my brothers life, with Mr. Smiths addition, which I could scarce have given faith to; if Mr. Smith had not told me, that you proposed it to him, and to add some of his letters, in order to make a volume, and to which he expressly refused to consent, and I hope the report is only founded on that, as it is a project so expressly against the clause in the codicil of his will with regard to it, which I sent you transcribed and is in these words. ‘My account of my own life I desire may be prefixed to the first Edition of my works, printed after my death, which will probably be the one at present in the press. I desire that my brother may suppress all my other manuscripts.’ This last clause impowers me, as far as I can, to prevent the publication of anything more from him, particularly his private letters, which is at all times unfit to be published: and tho he had made no destination, in which way his life was to be published, it was unfit it should be in a seperate pamphlet, as it would look more like the work of any other person than himself, to prevent which it seemed principally to [be] wrote, and if prefixed to his works, would appear to be genuine.
As my brother always entertained the most favourable oppinion of you, and showed it by the confidence he placed in you by his last deeds, I am confident nothing will be done by you, to make him have a different oppinion if he were alive; and that it is so, it will be a favour done, to asure Sir
your most humble Servt
Feby. 25th, 17771 .
[John Home to William Strahan.]
Note 1. Strahan wrote to John Home on March 3, to defend himself for making a separate publication of Hume's Life:—‘Your brother,’ he writes, ‘only desires it may be prefixed to the first edition of his Works printed after his death. So it shall.’ He points out that the purchasers of former editions ought to have the right of buying it separately. As regards the Letters which he had proposed to publish, he had consulted Adam Smith, ‘who judged this to be highly improper;’ and so he had instantly dropped all thoughts of it. ‘Dr. Smith,’ he says, ‘so far from objecting to the separate publication, has written a few lines by way of Preface to the Life.’