1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

David Hume

William Rider, in Living Authors of Great Britain (1762) 12-13.



It must be acknowledged, for the Honour of Scotland, that it has in the present Age produced more Men eminent for having cultivated Literature with Success, than either Great-Britain or Ireland. David Hume, Esq. who reflects so high an Honour upon the Country of which he is a Native, was formerly Secretary to Lord Albemarle, when Ambassador at the Court of France. As an Author, he must be allowed to possess a considerable Share of Merit. His Essays are equally elegant and profound; but they have been greatly censured on Account of the Vein of Scepticism, which runs through them. Those, however, who consider them as Works of Genius, cannot deny them Praise, tho' they are certainly rather superficial in some Places. In History this Author comes the nearest to Dr. Smollet; in one Respect he even deserves to be preferred to him; his Observations are much more sagacious and profound; but his Manner is not equally picturesque, nor his Style equally pleasing.