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Searchable pdf - A Sketch of the Character of Mr. Hume_ and Diary

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 3

									Review of David Fate Norton, ed., A Sketch of the 

Character of Mr. Hume and Diary of a Journey from Morpeth 

to Bath, 23 April-1 May 1776, by John Hume

M. A. Stewart

Hume Studies Volume IV, Number 2 (November, 1978), 77-78. 


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                                                                                           77.
A S k e t c h o f t h e C h a r a c t e r o f M r . Hum, and Diary of a
J o u r n e y from Morpeth t o Bath, 23 A p r i l              -
                                                           1 May 1776,
by John Home. E d i t e d by David Fate Norton.
Edinburgh: The T r a g a r a PressI 1976. 29 pp. A6 o r $10.50.

               I n 1776 Hume set o u t , w i t h m i t i g a t e d s c e p t i c i s m , on
h i s l a s t j o u r n e y i n s e a r c h of a c u r e f o r h i s m o r t a l i l l n e s s .
H e was i n t e r c e p t e d and j o i n e d by John Home (1722-1808) , the
c l e r i c a l c o u s i n who had been dedicatee o f t h e Four Disser-
t a t i o n s and i s b e s t known t o l i b r a r y c a t a l o g u e r s as t h e
" a u t h o r o f Douglas".             Home's s h o r t , u n t i t l e d , j o u r n a l o f
p a r t o f t h i s j o u r n e y forms t h e more i n t e r e s t i n g h a l f o f
P r o f e s s o r N o r t o n ' s l i t t l e b o o k l e t . Home had wanted t o
publish t h e journal a f t e r t h e philosopher's death, but the
nephew David Hume demurred. The v e t o was l i f t e d i n 1822,
when t h e Scots a u t h o r Henry Mackenzie p u b l i s h e d an e d i t e d
t e x t w i t h h i s Life o f Home. I n t h e absence o f t h e M S ,
Norton h a s c o p i e d Mackenzie's v e r s i o n c a r e f u l l y , e x c e p t t o
omit an e x c e r p t from a l e t t e r from Adam Ferguson which Home
had p r e f i x e d t o h i s a c c o u n t , and t o which t h e o p e n i n g sen-
t e n c e makes an o t h e r w i s e p u z z l i n g r e f e r e n c e . The M S b o t h
                                                                                     S
o f F e r g u s o n ' s f u l l l e t t e r (summoning Hone back t o Edinburgh
b e c a u s e of Hume's c o n d i t i o n ) and o f Home's r e p l y o f 2 May
1776 ( a p r o g r e s s r e p o r t on t h e j o u r n e y w i t h H u m ) are i n t h e
N a t i o n a l L i b r a r y of S c o t l a n d ; so it i s a minor p i t y t h a t
Norton d i d n o t u s e up some o f h i s s p a r e s p a c e . b y i n c l u d i n g
t h e s e i n h i s n o t e s . On p.15, l i n e 1 9 , read ' f a c u l t i e s ' ;
p.20, l i n e 1 9 , add 'The' b e f o r e 'Duke'.
                The accompanying S k e t c h i s now p u b l i s h e d f o r t h e
f i r s t and p e r h a p s l a s t t i m e .        I t is an e x t r a v a g a n t encomium
c o n t a i n i n g n o t h i n g o f b i o g r a p h i c a l consequence , and d e s p i t e
i t s t i t l e i s less i l l u m i n a t i n g a b o u t Hume's c h a r a c t e r t h a n
t h e d i a r y , o r t h e p a g e s of Hume's own c o r r e s p o n d e n c e . The
M i n t h e N a t i o n a l L i b r a r y is m o s t l y i n t h e hand o f a
  S
p r o f e s s i o n a l amanuensis, w i t h a u t o g r a p h c o r r e c t i o n s by t h e
a u t h o r , who i s n o t named b u t i s r e f e r r e d t o w h i m s i c a l l y as
  78.
"an a u t h o r o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h Century".              Norton c u r i o u s l y
n e v e r mentions th"ls, y e t must have u s e d t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i n
d a t i n g t h e work t o c.1802.              But by t h a t t i m e Home's w r i t i n g
was d e c r e p i t . The f l u e n t s c r i p t o f t h e MS s u g g e s t s an
e a r l i e r p e r i o d c l o s e r t o David Ilume's d e a t h .
               I n s e c u r i n g an a t t r a c t i v e l y h a n d - p r i n t e d l i m i t e d
e d i t i o n , Norton h a s Sound t h e most s u i t a b l e f o r m a t f o r t h i s
l i t e r a r y n o v e l t y . Dut it i s a n e c e s s a r i l y e x p e n s i v e f o r m a t ,
and s h o u l d have been s u b j o c t t o more m c t i c u l o u s e d i t i n g a t
t h e p r i c e . The s i g n s a r e t h a t t h e work was meant €or
posthumous p u b l i c a t i o n , so t h e e d i t o r i s r i g h t t o t i d y up
t h e o r t h o g r a p h i c eccentricities, a t . l e a s t t o t h e m i n i m u m
s t a n d a r d s of l a t e 1 8 t h - c e n t u r y p r i n t i n g p r a c t i c e . B u t he
does n o t a l t o g e t h e r do t h i s . Alongside mainly a r c h a i c
c a p i t a l s and p u n c t u a t i o n there a r e a few w i l f u l moderni-
zations ( . 'ancient'
                  =                    ,   ' c o e v a l ' , 'showed') and some
g r a t u i t o u s Americanisms ( ' d e f e n s e ' , ' t h r u ' ) .           The sub-
s t a n t i v e r e a d i n g is wrong a t a number of p o i n t s . Page 7 ,
l i n e 7 of t h e n a r r a t i v e :       f o r ' p r o d u c t i o n ' read ' p r o d u c t -
i o n s ' l i n e 8 , f o r 'any.* r e a d ' e v e r y ' ;             l i n e 22, f o r 'a'
r e a d 'an'. Page 9 , l i n e 11, f o r ' A n a d m i r a t i o n ' r e a d
'Admiration';           l i n e 15, f o r ' A d m i n i s t r a t i o n ' r e a d ' A d m i r -
a t i o n ' ; l i n e 2 1 , f o r 'head' r e a d ' t r e a d ' and f o r became'
r e a d 'become';         l i n e 30, f o r 'manner' r e a d 'manners'.
Page 1 0 , l i n e 2 4 , d e l e t e ' i s ' .         Page 11, l i n e 2 , f o r ' o r '
read ' a s ' ;    l i n e 4, f o r ' [thing] Fanciful' read 'Sacrifice'
and f o r ' F a s h i o n ' r e a d ' F a c t i o n ' ;   l i n e 11, f o r ' t h e i r '
perhaps read ' t h e s e ';         l i n e 1 7 , f o r 'doctrines' read
                                   ,
' d o c t r i n e , I . Page 1 2 l i n e s 1 - 2 , f o o t n o t e marker s h o u l d
f o l l o w 'Countrymen' not ' m e r i t ' ;          l i n e 1 6 , for 'rises' r e a d
'arises'.            Page 2 7 , n. 5 ( c f . I n t r o d . , p. 4 ) , f o r ' d e s t i n -
                                                                      ,
a t i o n , hades ' r e a d ' destined abodes ' ; n. 9 a f t e r ' appear.
add ' H e makes b o t h p a r t i e s s p e a k . ' .       Page 28, n. 1 3 , t h e
second d r a f t e n d i n g i s an a l t e r n a t i v e t o t h e last s e n t e n c e
o f t h e f i r s t d r a f t . The c o r r u p t i o h o f ' I m p o s t o r s ' on p,10
is n o t Home's.
                                                   M. A. Stewart
                                                   University of Lancaster

								
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