14. Letter addressed on back:

To
Cornet Hume
of Lord Waldegrave's Regiment of Dragoon
Guards. Lewes
Sussex


St Andrews Square 12 of May 1771

Dear Josey, alias Joe

I give you thanks and at the same time ask your pardon: I give you thanks for your Letter, and ask your pardon for being so late in answering it. But if you knew the Occupation that proceeds from flitting, or as you Englishmen call it, removing, you woud excuse my delay in writing; especially as I have as great a reluctance to writing Letters as you have; though it is less excusable in me, as I write better; I mean, as to the mechanical part: For as to the rest, I am willing to yield you the Superiority. We are now almost settled fully in our new House in St Andrew's Square; and your Aunt and I are very happy in our Situation. Your Friend, Peggy, alone seems to agree ill with it in point of Health; I suppose because of the sudden change from a close suffocating Air to a free and open one. Your Family removes the End of this week; and your Pappa seems to be as happy in the prospect of his Situation. His new House is indeed very agreeable and agreeably situated. There is only one Disappointment we have met with, which vexes us not a little: We had both trusted to you for remittances to bear at least part of our Expences on this Occasion; but we find that we must now provide other Funds to that purpose. I do not even see, that your daily pay can afford a Supper in your present Establishment; and I do not think it will be possible for you to retrench a dinner too, in order to pay for our building and furniture. But take Comfort: Sir Robert Murray 34 tells me, that, when you are separated in Country Quarters, you will be able to add a Supper to your other Meals; and in the meanwhile, he thinks that the Pleasure of your Sword, and Cockade, and fine Horse, will, while these Objects are new, be able to supply you with so many agreeable Reflections, that you will not tire, even though you shoud lie awake, on account of your going to bed supperless. I hope your Horse is well, and well instructed in all his Steps, no less than Yourself in all your Motions; so that the King may have no reason to repent his Choice of his young Officer, and may consider you as one/ of the surest Props of his Crown against the infamous Mob of London: For these are the only Enemies His Mejesty seems to have at present in the World; and I shoud have a very bad Opinion of your Regiment, if they alone, with their Collonel at their head, were not able to dissipate a hundred thousand of such Rascals.

I believe all the Officers of your Regiment consist of Englishmen or Scotchmen thoroughly naturaliz'd; so that you have a good Opportunity of learning the pronunciation exactly; and I beseech you not to neglect it.It is an agreeable Quality, and easily carry'd about with you: I was too negligent in this particular, when I was of your Age. But you have scarce any bad Accent to correct; and your Companions, if you encourage them, and seem desirous to learn, will admonish you, when you transgress on any occasion. I am happy to find that your Relish for reading has not left you. You will find it a great Ressource in country Quarters. A soldiers Library cannot be very bulky; but the reading frequently the same good Authors will be more entertaining and contribute more towards forming your Taste, than the most voluminous Library.

Thus, you see that I exercise my Function of an Uncle in giving you Advice. You know that among the Romans a Father's Brother had great privileges even above a mother's; and had the Authority of reprimanding very severely upon occasion[.] Ne sis mihi patruus was even a proverb, when one woud deprecate a very severe reproof. If I have not us'd my powers at present, you must not imagine, that I renounce them, but only reserve them for a better Occasion.

Your Friend, Alleck Renton 35 (for you must not call him Sandy or Sawney) has now got his Commission; and though it be posterior to yours, he is, I believe, your commanding Officer: For, if I be not mistaken, the Cornets of the Blues have the Rank of Lieutenants. I therefore desire you to treat him with respect, if you meet with him.

If you have leizure, and have pen, ink, and paper ready and in good order, / pray write to the Miss Carres 36, to whom you are oblig'd for their friendship, and who will take it well. Poor Mrs Drummond is very ill at present; tho' I hope she may recover. I hope you have writt to Lady Haddington 37 or at least to Lord Binny 38. I am

Dear Cornet

Your affectionate Uncle and humble Servant
David Hume

PS.

Davie and Jock, alias Jack, did me the favour to dine with me today; and desire their Compliments to you. Davie says cedant arma togae, and will prove his Position either by Logic or Geometry: for[he has be-] 39 come a great Geometer, as well as Logician; and defies you at either weapon. As to your Sword and Pistol he despises them and desires you to keep them for the Enemy.

Dear Josie

Your Uncle was so Obliging as to Send his Letter Open, that any of us might Add a few Lines, tho'it may Seem a Bold Attempt in So Witty a Letter---whoever your Father Wish'd that I Shou'd let you know that he had Wrote a Postscript to a Letter of mine about two Weeks Since wch. I hope Came to hand. We long to hear that all went to your Wishes at the Review, and that you enjoy perfect good Health. I am

Dear Josie always
Affecte_ly Yours
A: H: 40


34.

Sir Robert Murray of Clermont, 6th Baronet of Dunerne, Receiver General of the Customs in Scotland. His first wife was a sister of Hume's friend Lord Elibank. Murray died 21 Sept.1771 (Hunter 131 n.)

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35.

Alexander Renton, whose home was at Mordington Hall, not far from Ninewells, was commissioned Cornet in the Royal Regiment of House Guards 22 April 1771. (Hunter.132 n.)

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36.

Probably relations of Hume's brother's wife, Agnes, daughter of Robert Carre of Cavers.

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37.

Lady Haddington (d.1785), wife of Thomas, 7th Earl of Haddington (?1720-94); succeeded to title, 1735. Hume was related to Lord Haddington and in 1739 had offered to be his tutor (HL 14).

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38.

Charles Binning (1753-1828), son of 7th Earl of Haddington; succeeded as 8th Earl 1794. Admitted a member of the Speculative Society 5 Feb.1771; read an essay on "Defects of the Laws of Great Britain"; resigned 10 Dec.1771. (Hunter, 132 n.)

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39.

MS.torn.Square bracket [ ] denotes editorial conjecture.

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40.

Agnes Home.

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